Thursday, December 31, 2009

A year after the promised transparency

White House dot gov yesterday, when everyone was focused on the crotch bomber or leaving the office for a 4 day week-end, another 25,000 new WH visitor list were posted for Sept 16-30. It was announced on Sept. 4, and this list appeared on December 30. It's pretty tedious to look through (like the e-mails of climategate), and by the time you're finished reading all the times the words "historic commitment," "unprecedented transparency," "milestones in transparency," and "transparency initiatives" the phrases begin to sound a bit hollow, PR-ish, and oh so campaign trail. Well, they promised December, they didn't say when, or how much. Who knew everyone who walked through as a tourist would be included with SEIU reps, CEOs of banks and equity firms and hundreds of lobbyists (apparently they are OK as long as they are "transparent"). Looks like more of the same MO--overwhelm us with information and then strike when the public is flat out gob smacked. While we look at all the energy CEOs' visits, they'll sneak cap and trade or amnesty for illegals in.

Robert Wenzel says these folks were there:
    Further research shows that Goldman Sach's CEO Lloyd Blankfein pretty much spent the entire day at the White House on October 29. He met with the president twice that day (one meeting had 119 attendees the other 16). On that day he also met one-on-one with Larry Summers. He also met one-on-one with Summers on February 4.

    On October 29, Jamie Dimon met with the president twice, it appears in the same meetings as Blankfein. He also met on that day with Larry Summers but with another person present. He also met one-on-one with Rahm Emanuel that day, something Blankfein did not get to do.

    Steven Rattner, who for a time ran the government's auto task force and is co-founder of the investment firm, Quadrangle Group, met with Larry Summers over 25 times.

    Microsoft's Steve Ballmer met with Summers once. George Soros met with Summers in February.

    While SEIU President Andy Stern doesn't show up on the visitors list this time, after topping it last time, his top assistant Anna Burger met with the President 10 times.

    Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers, met with the President 4 times.

    In addition to his many meetings with Larry Summers, Steve Rattner met with the President twice.

    David Rubenstein co-founder of the private equity firm, Carlyle Group, was in the 119 attendee meeting with Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon, when they met with the president.

    Daniel Weiss, Senior Fellow and the Director of Climate Strategy, for the George Soros front group, Center for American Progress, visited with the President (in large groups) 4 times.

Waterford's Times Square Ball

When we were in Ireland in 2007, we visited the Waterford factory and watched the incredibly skilled glass blowers, visited the museum (of duplicates) and the gift shop.

In January of this year, it declared bankruptcy. This year, the company made a Celtic knot pattern dedicated to the theme “Let There be Courage” for the traditional Times Square Ball. They'll need it.

From Nick Obourn here’s a little bit more information on the Times Square Ball itself: The 2010 version of the New Year’s Eve ball for Times Square is a twelve foot geodesic sphere, which weighs 11,875 pounds. The ball itself is covered in 2,668 Waterford Crystals and is powered by 32,256 Philips LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). And believe it or not, the ball is capable of creating a palette of “more than 16 million colors” and “billions of patterns,” according to the Times Square Alliance website

Yes, you found the mother load!

Someone searched "blogs of retired old people" on Google and found me.

So I looked at what else, besides me, this search turned up.

Old Democrats blogging for Obama

Blog catalog using retired folks as a topic

Senior citizen humor--check out the 91 year old stripper

The New Old Age, NYT blog on aging

Retirement home for old horses

Stix Blog

And others. You get the idea. Old people are blogging.

Love stories from my coffee blog

Looking through my old coffee blogs, I see a favorite topic is "love," although I certainly don't write often on that topic, I write so much, it does come up. Here are some favorites.

Boyfriend in the coffee shop (Nov. 27, 2004)

What a surprise when a college boyfriend stepped into the coffee shop that morning. Maybe five or ten pounds heavier, but the goatee and quiet mannerisms were the same--the standing back to assess the situation, about 5 '10", smiling bright gray/blue eyes glancing around, and wispy dishwater blonde hair peeking out from under a baseball cap. Closing my book, I stood up to put on my coat and noticed he was gone.

Carrying my paper coffee cup to the counter to add a little cream before leaving, I realized he was standing next to me at the condiments while waiting for his order. He said to the clerk, "Thanks for your help." That voice. Yes, it was him. Definitely him. I wanted to watch to see if his sports car was in the parking lot.

Of course, it couldn't possibly be him, common sense whispered in my ear. After all, the former sweetheart is older than me and lives in another state. The young man standing there was perhaps twenty five--young enough to be my grandson. But for a moment . . . I wanted to kick him in the knee.

Romancing the coffee bean (Nov. 20, 2004)

She came in the coffee shop today. I hadn't seen her for maybe four or five years. A single mom with the stress of a teen-age daughter with too much mascara and a sullen younger boy. They occasionally were with her on school holidays, pretending they didn't know each other. We spoke briefly and caught up--she's working in a different suburb now, having coffee at another place.

A finish carpenter also stopped by in those days. A fun guy with a twinkle in his eye. We always chatted. Another woman used to call him "the stud muffin" after he left--always a little swagger, full of himself, but oh so in love with his metallic cherry red pick-up truck.

He started chatting up Ms. Lonely Mom. Soon he was walking her to her car, as though it wasn't safe for a woman at 7:45 a.m. in Upper Arlington to walk alone through a coffee shop parking lot. Then one day I saw him kiss her at her car door as he opened it. Oh, so gallant.

That's the last time I saw him. She continued to come in, anxiously watching the door and parking lot. Maybe she was just too needy. Maybe he saw the children. Or maybe he found another coffee shop.

Dump him, Honey (Nov. 15, 2004)

She was the morning, cheery, part-time, counter assistant when I first met her at the coffee shop. An English major. We joked she was going to write the “great American novel.” She was excited about graduating from college, and even took some time off in June 2003 to travel to New York to check into grad school.

I’ve stopped asking her about her plans. She now has an official store name tag. She has a title. And responsibilities. Doesn’t smile as much. She, or her parents, probably spent $70,000 on her education and she is figuring schedules, taking complaints about spilled coffee, ordering supplies, training new college students to take orders and doing quality checks.

Some mornings I see her making furtive phone calls before 6:30 on her cell phone. The smile and bouncy step are gone. I suspect she has settled. She hasn’t settled for marriage instead of career or grad school--the way my generation might have done in the 60s. She’s not even a fiancée. No, I suspect it is “significant-otherhood.” Or maybe just shacking up, with no commitment beyond next week-end.

Dump him, honey. Move on. He doesn’t deserve your talent and sense of humor. Chase your dream. There’s plenty of time later for guys who will waste their lives and yours sleeping in.

And then there was Joey (April 28, 2005)

"The only guy I ever lived with was Mike," she said while sweeping the floor, "and oh yeah, Joey." Her co-worker said, "Joey is Joey." She nodded and said something I couldn't hear. And then the conversation moved on to bowling.

A Poem--Stranger in the Coffee Shop
May 18, 2005

One by one
She whispers to me
mistakes of 1981

leaving college, of course,
and early marriage
with babies, diapers and divorce.

One by one
She outlines for me
her new goals, no fun,

tired and sinking under masses
of expectations,
while taking night classes.

One by one
She arranges her thoughts
because romance has begun,

wearing a skimpy sweater
that would have fit a child
who probably knows better.

One by one
She counts her blessings
eating a cinnamon bun,

while sitting by the fire
with the man who’s joined her
touching her hand with desire.

One by one
she flicks her dreams
in the morning sun

into the fireplace flame
and tosses her head
with no one else to blame

Southwest? (June 14, 2006)

Today I saw a bright pink notice on Panera's bulletin board:

"SW Christian Upper Arlington Mom, 40s and her 2 fabulous sons would like to meet a similar super nice UA Dad."

My mind wasn't in gear, so instead of "single white" I was thinking "southwest." I was trying to figure out where southwest Upper Arlington was.

I hope she finds someone. Probably too old for my advice on how not to marry a jerk.

Former neighbor (June 1, 2006)

We often see each other across the room at the coffee shop and wave. He was our neighbor about 25 years ago--he and his gorgeous third wife. Then they divorced and it was he and his fourth wife--much younger and also quite attractive. They moved after their first baby, who I think is in college now. They too are divorced, and I'm not sure where he lives, but he doesn't look any different. Marriage keeps you young, I suppose. All that adjusting.

Meeting an old friend (Nov. 17, 2006)

He stopped at my table today and spoke. I'd seen him come in with his two young children, but the face didn't ring a bell. Then when he spoke it all came back. We'd gone out to eat together and some parties with others in the building trades before they were married. My husband was his architect, and he'd known the wife professionally also when she worked for an interior designer. We'd attended their fabulous wedding on Lake Erie maybe 10 years ago. He and the kids, who were dressed in scarlet and gray for the big game, sat next to me close to the fireplace and we caught up. Then he leaned over and said, "I'm a single dad now." I looked at those adorable kids--maybe 6 and 3, and just felt sick.

On behalf of world peace in the coming New Year

This is my own comment to commenters at my blog about a world peace demonstration in Cairo organized for students of a private school by their parents. I reread it this morning, and still think that this is where peace really begins--with the individual, at home, in the family, in the community.
    "Although these kum-ba-ya experiences are mostly for show (although far better than the Frenchman charging $67 a piece to teach kids how to be street protesters), if even ONE child returns to his regular life determined that bullying, teasing, ridicule, insulting a sibling, sassing his parents, cheating on tests, envying someone else's appearance, friends or clique, or any area of conflict over which he personally has control, and realizes that is where "world peace" begins--with the individual--then the whole event was worth every penny and hour and committee and planning effort."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Coffee Artists

At one of my other blogs, Coffee Spills, I link to The Coffee Artists™ Angel Sarkela-Saur and Andrew Saur. Here is a YouTube of their experience in Milan after being invited by the Accademia Italiana Maestri del Caffè (AICAF) to demonstrate their art. Go to their web page--their 5 x 7 prints are very reasonable.

End of the year 2009 contributions

Time to get all those appeals and write the checks (or click the pay pal) before midnight tomorrow. Again this year we're sending a contribution to Pinecrest for their Good Samaritan Fund. Last year Pinecrest provided charitable care in the amount of $1.9 million. The Good Sam fund helps those people whose funds have run out and we donate in memory of my parents. Back in the days when Pinecrest was "The old folks home" I used to sing Christmas Carols there, and now some of my generation are using their fine facilities. No matter what community or church you claim, they all have financial struggles, with some states months behind in the Medicaid reimbursement. By-pass the bureaucracy and go directly to the source. They'll spend it wisely, I'm sure.

Lutheran Bible Translators are another fine group we support. There are still many peoples on earth that do not have scripture in their "heart language." Their Christmas card told about Rev. Tim and Lisa Beckendorf, working with the translating team for Khwe in Botswana. The national language is Setswana. Khwe is one of about 30 "click languages" found almost exclusively in southern Africa; clicks represent consonants. Some languages use only 5--others as many as 80, with 70% of the words beginning with clicks. Click languages are believed to be among the oldest of all human speech. We who speak and read English have so many resources--be generous with the translation projects. It takes many years just to develop an alphbet.

We're donating to Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio--they offered a silver ornament, but I really don't need one more thing. Organized in 1912, LSS still carries on the general charitable and religious work for which it was started through food pantries, homeless shelters, senior living residences, affordable housing communities and other services. I would wish that these services were less dependent on the government, but then that means more support from the Christian community, right?

I've been supporting the Pregnancy Decision Health Centers for years, helping women bring their babies to term rather than aborting them. Some babies are adopted, but most will go home with their mothers who just a few months before may have been abandoned by the baby's father or grandparents and will continue to have a tough struggle. If every Christian would cut their funding to Planned Parenthood, which funds abortions, and instead helped the mothers, this world would be a more peaceful, loving place.

Lower Lights Christian Health Center was started some years ago by Dr. Dana Vallangeon, and there are now 3 doctors on staff. It's at 1251 W. Broad St. in Columbus. It serves people who don't have health insurance or have a gap in their services. $100 will pay for one visit, and it's all done with the love of Christ. One program is called Rachel's House, transitional living for women who have been incarcerated. Another project is AIM, which supplies mentors for people attempting to leave a cycle of poverty. I've heard Dana speak, and she is an amazing woman of seemingly endless energy, ideas and love.

We heard about a family whose rented home had a fire and then the mother couldn't work due to illness after they relocated. A special Christmas Eve offering was to go for the family but the community was hit by ice and snow and attendance was small. So we sent a check to the pastor who knows their situation.

A group that had sort of fallen off our radar is World Mission Prayer League, 232 Clifton Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403, and when I looked them up, I could see why. They don't do mailings and solicitations. They depend on prayer, and they do have a blog!
    "We are committed to some very simple ideas: the power of community, the essential ministry of prayer, the adventure of a simplified lifestyle...and the urgent challenge of sharing the wonderful news about Jesus. We are today a community of more than 5000 members across the United States and Canada, and in sixteen countries around the world."
Think Hollywood and TV are just a cesspool of no interest to Christians? It's discouraging when you see the hostile, anti-Christian story lines of Law and Order and NCIS. Well, think again, think 168 Project. Some years ago a young man from our congregation, John Ware, went west to make films and decided the industry needed the light of Christ. The 168 Project allows amateurs and professionals alike some experience in writing, directing, producing and distributing films with a Biblical theme, and it's all done in 168 hours. 396 films have now been produced and they're hoping for another 100 entries this year. Each film is about 10 minutes--just perfect for small group discussion. You can purchase by the year, or "best of" disks. John tells me they've expanded into a prison ministry and are starting a program in China.

For other programs like missions sponsored by our church, COCINA, Lakeside, Cum Cristo (Cursillo), we'd given earlier in the year.

And this time of year, there are many bad people with scams. I heard one today about a phony "Make a wish" appeal. The internet is swarming with them. It's not hard to find out who is reliable and frugal--almost all reputable charities have web sites and there are tracking groups that report administrative costs (some are exhorbitant) and Director's salaries (non-profit doesn't mean low salaries!). So do your homework.

We need a movie night at our house

The switch to a new cable company didn't happen. At the last minute we discovered that the salesman was a "private contractor" and had promised some things the company couldn't provide, like the price and the rewiring. Plus we found out we'd have to have 4 boxes, and we only wanted 2. We may still make the switch, but we're wiser now.

In the process, I cleaned out more cabinets since they were going to be moved (empty) anyway. We have a DVD player in the living room and a VCR in the family room. We don't watch many movies at home, and I'd definitely forgotten how many we have. I think we could designate one night a week for movies and we'd be good for about 2.5 years just using the VCR. The the other half year for the smaller DVD collection. Here's some I thought looked worth viewing: African queen; about 15 Blondie movies; Dirty dancing; Fabulous Baker Boys; Fried Green Tomatoes, Lonesome Dove (series); My big fat Greek Wedding; Outbreak; Overboard; Road to Morocco; Russians are coming; Ruthless people; Stratton story; Thornbirds; White Christmas, Working girl. Most of these we've seen either in theaters or on a movie channel. We rarely watch movies at home. But maybe with a bowl of popcorn. . .

This sounds like my closet!

Don't recall how I got to Silly Rabbit of Sarasota, FL, probably a random click, but it's a vintage clothing store that sounds like my closet!
    Chic 20th century vintage clothing for men and women. Vintage fabric and crafty supplies. Great dresses, hats, shoes, purses, coats and accessories for men and women. From boho hippie chic to new wave, mod, disco, rockabilly, to classic Jackie O and everything in between, we have been collecting, wearing and selling vintage clothing for a zillion years. We love it all; but only pick the best quality, most gorgeous fabrics, mintiest condition, and chicest trends. All killer No filler!
Although I wasn't much into rockabilly.

I like to buy things at the Discovery Shop because 1) it's near by, 2) cheap, 3) you can still find quality clothing made in the USA, and 4) nice people (volunteers) working for a good cause (cure for cancer). And if you're willing to pay more than $5-10, you can get some really terrific stuff. I've bought things there brand new with the price tags on that apparently were part of a New Year's goal to lose weight, and got hung in the back of the closet until reality set in a few years later. Like my pink Talbot jeans.

From my closet--49+ year old "going away" dress from my wedding in 1960.

Face time, not Facebook

Today's surprising conversation at the coffee shop at Coffee Spills, where I record that sort of trivia.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Obama finally gets on board

Maybe it's the time change; or the rainbows. Maybe the TOTUS of the POTUS finally arrived in Hawaii. But today Obama changed his lackadaisical, let-me-get-to-the-golf course attitude. From CNN.

Rebecca's holiday tip

My husband has come down with a cold, and we've had to cancel two social eating events. Both were with good friends from our condo association, so it will be no problem to reschedule--but my, I sure don't need the calories. I've even been nipping into my husband's special stash of sugar free cookies from Cheryl's. Unlike home made sugar-free, they actually are delicious and have the right texture. All my good intentions of October are fleeting memories. Rebecca has a word for us diet and exercise failures at her wonderful (and forgiving) blog, Power, Love and Self-Control.
    "NEVER GIVE UP is my tip for today. And I need it!

    No matter how many home-made caramels you ate. No matter that you ate 12 dark chocolate truffles from the bag. In the car. Before you got home from the gift exchange. No matter that the day went by and you didn't get your 30 minute walk in. No matter that the scale shows you gained 2 pounds for the first time in six months of consistent loss or maintenance. No matter WHAT. Never give up. Begin where you left off and keep going strong!"
Like me, Rebecca is a multi-blog person. Visit all of them. I love her thrift shop blog.

The costs of health care

The next time you hear a politician or pundit lamenting the costs of health care remember this: As of 2006, an estimated 11,400,000 adults and children were LIVING with cancer in the United States, and that number is estimated to increase to nearly 17,000,000 by 2020. (JAMA, citing It costs a lot of money to LIVE with a chronic condition--more than to die of a fatal one. People living with a chronic condition are also benefitting from research on diet, exercise and weight, and when you throw that into the mix--and we all benefit from that--the bill goes even higher.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Now they can blame Bush!

"Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans." ABC News. I knew they'd find a way.

Ohio State School for the Blind to march in the Rosebowl Parade

Thirty two musicians and 36 volunteers will be marching in the Rosebowl parade when the Bucks meet the Ducks on New Year's Day. Blind musicians aren't particularly rare, but marching together? That takes a lot of effort, practice and heart.
    "This is going to be hard. Six miles is a long way, longer than the parades they've marched in to prepare for Pasadena. In the past year, they've been playing and playing and playing. Performances in Lancaster, at churches, in Cincinnati, at the Ohio State University skull session and in the Circleville Pumpkin Festival parade.

    Practice has not made perfect. That's the honest truth.

    Eleven band members have perfect pitch (hearing them hum during marching-only practice is beautiful enough to make you hold your breath).

    But when they pick up their tattered and battered and borrowed instruments, not every note is hit just-so.

    Having perfect pitch "doesn't mean you have the finesse you need. It doesn't mean you have the articulation skills you need," says Carol Agler, the blind school's music director and co-director of the band. She turns no one away who signs up to play at the beginning of the year. No auditions are required, just desire.

    It hasn't made a lick of difference to the audiences who have heard the blind band play."
Story by Jennifer Smith Richards. Go Marching Panthers!

As a brief Monday Memory, I mention watching my grandmother play the piano at our home in Forreston, IL. They didn't have a piano in their home, as I recall. They didn't visit often--we would go there--because she got car sick. I'm not sure how old she was--maybe mid-to-late 50s. She began losing her sight in grade school so wasn't able to go to high school, and was completely blind by her early 20s. So I was really surprised that her hands and her ears remembered from all those years when she was a child and took piano lessons. Thirty some years later she was residing in the nursing home in Oregon, IL and her roommate was a woman a few years older, named Olive. She had been Grandma's piano teacher. They had such a wonderful time together, and when Olive went back to her home/care giver, they talked on the phone just like young girls.

Detroit Attack

The CounterTerrorism blog, Dec. 27, by Roderick Jones asks:
    "What has caused this [new round of inconveniences for the passengers]? At this point, it is the reaction of United States Department of Homeland Security to any terrorist event involving aviation [which then spreads throughout the global aviation system], which heightens the operational success of militant Islamist terrorists against aviation targets. The noted, counter-insurgency expert David Kilcullen expertly puts this into focus [in his book Accidental Guerrilla] by highlighting the detrimental effects of US counter-terrorism policy. In short al-Qaeda does not represent an existential threat to the US, it has no path to victory looking at any reasonable scenario including the use of WMD-- but the US can defeat itself by unnecessary over-reaction and a fundamental misunderstanding of basic risk management and terrorist theory. Once again this is being demonstrated by the events in Detroit and the DHS reaction, which creates more disruption than the attack itself, destroys DHS and US credibility by mandating absurd responses, which focus on securing events after they have happened (for example, turning off in-flight entertainment because passengers can see a map - passengers can still look out the window or use their watches).

    If the US and other states are to contain terrorism they needs to adopt the more thoughtful responses, which have been developed within and outside of government. The work of inside/outside experts such as Killcullen largely moves in one direction conclusive direction -- less is more and multi-agency approach is paramount. The central thesis of Kilcullen's book is that the west creates 'accidental guerrilla's' by using military force and thus creating 'guerrilla anti-bodies'."
Apparently, even when we change presidents, it's still our fault. Call me crazy but I think profiling for militant islamists (act smartly and speak softly) might be called for instead of pulling my husband over and asking him to practically disrobe when we were already late for our connecting flight. But maybe that's what he was implying and wants to keep his day job.

Napolitano claims the system works?

If you include a sharp eyed, very brave Dutch vacationer as part of your "system." Nothing worked, lady, including the terrorist's parents alerting authorities that their son had disappeared and been radicalized, his name, Umar farouk Abdulmutallab, being in a watch database, the Netherlands not agreeing to use our information (wasn't our president going to use his charm on the European nations, not clout?), his side trips to Yemen, his paying cash for his ticket, and his smuggling explosives aboard when the rest of us can't even get a water bottle or shampoo smuggled in. Now she wants to inconvenience the rest of us with a final one hour proscription against bathroom use (no one will want to sit next to me since I've had vomiting and diarrhea on my last two international flights). I hope she's retracted this ridiculous statement that no one, not even her boss, believes.
Link. Now he'll get a pro-bono lawyer and sue the airlines for his burns, I'm guessing.

Update from all sides of the political spectrum: Hell No, it didn't work! And she has now admitted it didn't, but her words on CNN Sunday were "taken out of context."

Update 2: This administration's backpeddling is just amazing. A day after his fourth day wimp-out that sounded like a weather report followed by a game of golf, Obama comes out with "new information" trying to pretend a little fire in his belly, but he's hopeless. Either he was hopelessly uninformed yesterday for that speech, or he doesn't care, never has, never will. Obama's second speech link. Never mind, couldn't find one except Tadjikistan.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snow by Loreena McKennitt

I think some is predicted for tomorrow. Christmas day it was 47 here with green grass. I looked at a number of videos of this lovely song--and this one had the words and most looked like what we have when it snows.

Music: Loreena McKennitt; Lyric: Archibald Lampman (1861-1899)

Life isn't fair

A mother and her two young adult children. Read it here. "The fact is the worst age for a human being on this planet is between 13 and 23. If we’re honest with ourselves and each other we’ll admit that those were our STUPIDEST years . . . "

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Read the manual day--a new holiday

I need to invite my children over for a "Read the Manual" day so they can create a log for me about buttons, bangles and basics. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by new and high tech. I just want to go back to the days of #2 pencils and black and white TVs. For my son, I'd ask him to go through the manual of my new Town and Country (800 miles on it) and help me put it through some of its paces. I'm still unsure just what it does and doesn't do. I could swear it locks sometimes when I don't lock it after parking. I have learned that some of that extra 14" is in the rear cargo space, and that it's easy to pull my back when bending and reaching. I've put a low tech laundry basket back there so my groceries are a bit more accessible.

My daughter is the go-to-techie source. I need to stop her long enough to learn how to use my I-Touch, now six months old and used about 3 times. Also, we have a new flat screen TV in the living room (our Christmas gift to each other) which we are trying not to play with much until we switch cable companies and will have to relearn channel numbers and settings for new cable boxes (high definition and DVR).

However, she bought us a small flat screen (13") TV for the kitchen and an under the cabinet AM-FM-CD player. These two appliances will take the place of my tiny B & W $14 TV-radio that was even too cheap to work with a converter box, otherwise I'd be using it. We aren't very good at figuring out our disc player or VCR, and have to call for help each time we use them. Our new cable service is supposed to include boxes for all the TVs, but I don't think I want that. Two is plenty.

Meanwhile, I've started in on the low tech jobs, I know how to do, like
    1 putting away ribbons and boxes, and finding things I can't use anymore like the Clairol make-up mirror. Do you reuse ribbons and paper? We do. I took the time to sort the tissue paper by hue this morning. I rolled up ribbon and separated them from the ready made bows.
    2 write thank you notes and sympathy notes and get-well notes (life goes on during the holidays too)
    3 clean out every possible storage area in the kitchen to accomodate the newbies. I don't have a large kitchen, and counter space is at a premium. Do you have a kitchen junk drawer? I do. Everything from scotch tape to night lights to paper clips to candles for emergency.
    4 take the cat to the vet to see why she's sneezing.
    5 I'm anticipating our two new membership/magazines one on birds and the other on Great Lakes history from our son. That just requires a cup of coffee, a good lamp, and curling up on the couch for a good read. Can hardly wait.

Recipes I've never tried

Have been found while I was cleaning my kitchen shelves, rearranging things to find just the right spot for the new TV.

They include
    The Saturday Evening Post Family Cookbook, c1984--supposed to be healthy stuff, bran raisin bread, carrot muffins, barley soup, which is probably why I bought it (library sale, $2.00

    Joyce's Amaretto Peach/Blueberry pie with a note from her, 2005

    Florida Key Lime Pie, on a post card purchased in Florida

    "Fun food for football," real easy munchies from Columbus Parent Magazine; includes Mexican Chili dip and those meatballs made with grape jelly--plus a few I've used before--super easy

    Chocolate chip ice cream pie, creamed chicken and biscuits and others on some fancy cards that must belong to someone else's set. "Grandma's Kitchen"

    Hillary Rodham Clinton's chicken and rice deluxe clipped from the Columbus Dispatch.

    Poached Salmon--hand written recipe, with note, "Norma--call me" but I don't remember who wrote it.

    Blueberry muffins using Splenda

    Sausage cheese balls using Bisquik.

    Slow-cooker lasagna from the Dispatch

    Corn stuffing--I think I might have made this a few Thanksgiving days ago.

    Soup recipes from our Germany river tour in 2005, on MS Switzerland. They were fabulous on board as I recall. Probably not quite the same from my stovetop.
I think they'll all fit inside the Sat. Evening Post book, so I'll keep them.

Vintage make-up mirror

CLAIROL True-to-Light, 3 Way Lighted Make-up Mirror. Purchased for Christmas 1979. It has 2 adjustable fold out side mirrors, and a large center mirror. Center mirror can rotates for magnification. The light bulbs are replaceable (2026 lamp)--or were 30 years ago. It has 4 settings for Day, Office, Evening, and Home plus ON and OFF button. Gently used by former 30-something housewife turned librarian who rarely wore make-up.

These things are outrageously priced on the various on-line web resale sites. I'm cleaning closets today, and it will go for a song, a poem, or possibly nothing if I take it to the Discovery Shop. The guide book says the lamps last 4,000 hours, so I figure there are at least 3,750 left, and I turned it on--everything works--I just don't want to be that close to my face anymore.

As you age, you need less make-up, not more. I dab a bit on about 5 a.m. in the morning--takes about 2 minutes after I wash and moisturize my face (with Watkins if I have it). Some foundation, a whisk of cheek blush and I'm good to go. Mascara and liner makes my eyes itch. I rarely wear lipstick anymore because it has a tendency to want to climb into my lip lines. Not a pretty sight.

The other day I was talking to an old friend and we were trying to remember the name of a woman we knew 30 years ago. I'm sure she was younger then than I am now, but he described her as the woman with all the make up and smeared lipstick. Then I remembered her! Isn't that just so sad? To be remembered by the wrong hair color, or the make-up collecting in your wrinkles, or smeared lipstick. Oh. Dear. Soul.

J.R. Watkins Lemon Cream

At Hokulea's blog, Christmas cancelled, she writes about trying to help customers whose orders have expired. Although I don't understand the procedures or what she does, it sounds like sometimes you can get a caring, kind representative like Hoku at a large company. And it doesn't hurt that she has a very specialized skill (makes jewelry) and knew what to do to expedite a ring. So here's my try--again--to get a cream I like that has been discontinued, only I wrote a paper letter and put it in an envelope with a first class stamp, and hope I get a Hokulea clone:
    Dear J. R. Watkins Customer Service, I apparently sent my daughter on a wild goose chase when I asked for your Shea Butter Lemon Cream in a jar (4.6 oz.). This product no longer is available, anywhere, either from your sales staff or local stores like Walgreens. So she purchased Shea Butter Body Cream in a tube (3.3 oz.) which the web site more or less said was the same thing. It isn’t. Read the label. I know ingredients are listed in order of quantity, and although many are the same in the two products, many are different in quantity and type. The first five of the jar product are water, shea butter, glycerol stearate, PEG-100 stearate, and steric acid. The first five in the tube are water, shea butter, glycerol stearate, steric acid and cetearyl alcohol. Both lists are followed by Macadamia seed oil. Both PEG-100 stearate and cetearyl alcohol are an emollient, an emulsifier, and a moisturizer, and the cetearyl alcohol is also an opacifier and a thickener. That’s the difference I see on the label, and probably makes the tube product work. But I don’t like tube products--too much of the product is left inside the tube, plus I just like the jar product. You don’t mention on the label that it is a moisturizer for the face, but I use it on my face, and it doesn’t interact with my cosmetics. Do you still have some in the vault of discontinued products that I could buy? I’m 70, and not to give you a sob story, but I think my skin looks fine for my age, and I don’t want to try something new. Please check around for me, and get back to me soon--I only have 2.5 jars left (plus 2 tubes). The lavender is OK, but I love the Lemon Cream.
Update: Here's something I wouldn't have thought of when thinking Watkins--an architectural tour.

Update 2: I now have 3 more jars of Lemon Cream Shea Butter sent to me by Lynne at Seasons for Success. Excellent service!

Friday, December 25, 2009

New Christmas carol for the troops

Matt Hodge, a Campbellsville University graduate student, has dedicated this new carol to the troops. It was recorded by the Campbellsville University Choir.

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky open to all denominations. Founded in 1906 by the Russell Creek Baptist Association, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,601 students who represent 93 Kentucky counties, 27 states and 31 foreign nations.

Santa Clauses in the cash for cloture deal

Michelle Malkin in Beltway Christmas peeks inside this Congress' stimulus spending where more money went to higher income areas than low income and then analyzes the costs to the taxpayer for the fatso, flatulent Demcare. She reports Democratic districts have raked in nearly twice as much porkulus money as GOP districts -- without regard to the actual economic suffering and job loss in those districts.
  • $54 million no-bid contract was awarded to a firm with little experience to relocate a luxury Bay Area wine train due to flood concerns. [Pelosi]

  • $1 billion for the dubious FutureGen near-zero emissions "clean coal" plant earmark championed by disgraced Democrat and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin. [Burris]

  • billions in high-speed rail stimulus earmarks to fund a pie-in-the-sky public transportation line from Los Angeles to Las Vegas [Reid]

  • Wall Street regulatory "reform" bill larded with $4 billion in payoffs to minority special interests -- including former failed Air America radio partner Inner City Broadcasting Corp run by Percy Sutton [Rangel and Sharpton and Frank]

  • $12 million in TARP funds for OneUnited, a minority-owned bank that is one of her key campaign donors and a company in which both Maxine Waters and her husband own massive amounts of stock.[Waters]
Then she looks inside Santa's bag for all the goodies we just had to have before the Christmas recess.
  • $300 million "Louisiana Purchase" [Landrieu]

  • $45 million "Cornhusker Kickback" [Nelson]

  • cash for cloture votes also included a Hospital Helper of $100 million [Dodd ]

  • bennies for insurance companies and hospitals in Michigan

  • "frontier freebies" for hospitals in Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota and Wyoming

  • New England's Special Syrup for Vermont and Massachusetts -- similar to Nebraska--$1.2 billion over 10 years. $10 billion to Vermont for “community health clinics”. [Sanders]

    ACORN/community organizer-friendly provision for minority health bureaucracies in Illinois [Burris]

    $10 billion socialized medicine sop to Vermont for "community health clinics" serving in essence as universal health care satellite offices. [Sanders]
HT Bill L.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last minute shopping on the 24th

Today my husband was putting away the wrapping paper and ribbons when he found a gift card from last Christmas that had a receipt on it and it had been tossed into the sack. Beginning 1 year after purchase (12/24/08) a $2 monthly charge would go into affect. By this time I was a bit gooey from slathering the turkey and cooking the liver for the kitty (oh, she loves it), so I suggested he run up to Barnes and Noble (1/2 mile) and buy himself a book. He did that about 1:30 p.m., but when he got back, he wouldn't let me see what it was, so I suspect he didn't buy a gift for himself. This was really last minute shopping.

Google’s PageRank

I was using the command, "link:collectingmythoughts," and came across Who links to me site and it reported that my Google PageRank was 6. So I looked that up. It doesn’t get its name from “page,” as I thought, but the surname of one of the founders of Google, Larry Page. It‘s been patented and sold to Stanford University for stock worth many millions, but Google gets to use it. I glanced through the formula/algorithms, but I'm math challenged.

“PageRank is an independent measure of Google’s perception of the quality/authority/credibility of an individual web page. It does not depend on any particular search phrase. For the public (you and me), Google conveniently reports this as a number from 0-10 (10 being the best).”

Well, that’s nice, I guess. Six is better than five or four. Given all the webpages out there, it's nice to know I rank that high. Probably nicer if I were selling something. Anyway, if I ever ask you to be a guest blogger, don't mess up my ranking.

My solution for the health care dilemma

I haven't crunched the numbers, but just knowing how the government pads everything and costs go up everywhere when their sticky fingers go into the pie, I think my plan would not only be better, please everyone but would also be cheaper.

First, it would only be for U.S. citizens, native or naturalized.

Second, it would be clear and easy for anyone to understand; changes would have to fit into 10 pages or less.

Third, it would be the best health care found anywhere in the world based on the life expectancy and useful working years of a 40 year old.

Fourth, it would be completely portable and not dependent on an employer or a union.

Fifth, the federal government, not the states, would be responsible for the poor, and no pork would be allowed in determining those benefits, and children would need to be under age 18. The states, however, would have the task to getting the poor into the proper, competitive, market-driven program.

Sixth, Medicare is such a mess, I haven't figured that one out, because my generation has become accustomed to socialized medicine and don't want any claw backs. But then, neither has your esteemed and brilliant Congress. Whatever I come up with couldn't be worse than the current overpriced and easily scammed system.

So what is it?

The current health care system for federal employees.

"The Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program can help you and your family meet your health care needs. Federal employees, retirees and their survivors enjoy the widest selection of health plans in the country. You can choose from among Consumer-Driven and High Deductible plans that offer catastrophic risk protection with higher deductibles, health savings/reimbursable accounts and lower premiums, or Fee-for-Service (FFS) plans, and their Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO), or Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) if you live (or sometimes if you work) within the area serviced by the plan."

Just the choices and options and the number of companies providing the services would bring costs down drastically. If a federal worker moves from HHS to HUD, she doesn't lose her insurance--it's portable. If he's unmarried and has no risky behavior, why shouldn't he take a high deductible and save oodles? If she wants tattoo removal and lasix surgery, she'd be able to buy it with her health savings plan (that's going away under the new take over). If genetic testing shows there's a problem down the road, she'll have plenty of notice.

What's for Christmas dinner

Most of the food is ready. I dashed into Giant Eagle this morning--ran out of butter and milk of all things. Don't like that store, but it was close. I thought I'd beat the crowd since it was still dark. For our Christmas Eve dinner we're having roast turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, colorful green beans (with red peppers and white mushrooms, onions and bacon), carrots with a dab of honey and herbs, and my daughter is bringing a sugar free cherry pie with real whipped cream. Yes, I know it's not terribly original, but the left-overs are good. Church service is at 9 p.m. at Lytham Road. Then tomorrow we're serving communion at 10 a.m., so I'm serving two kinds of soup--broccoli and chili (already made and ready to be warmed up) with assorted spreads on bread and crackers, a few sweet sour meatballs, and probably some homemade applesauce if I have enough apples. I think we'll skip a rich dessert since none of us really need it. Only one member of the family lost weight in 2009, and the rest of us are enlarging our footprint and our sitprint.

I've had a real problem with my chili. For years, I made it with Brooks chili beans which has a nice sauce and flavoring. That was a tip from my mother-in-law 50 years ago--she never used anything else and always made fabulous chili. After 3-4 stores and not finding it, I bought another brand. The beans were pale, the sauce tasteless, so I've added a can of dark red kidney beans, and now it looks like something a new bride would make with the neighbors pitching in.

Now all I have to do is shift a little clutter and vacuum. I woke up about 1:30 thinking of everything I needed to do, but most of it I've forgotten. Oh well. I never have been a list maker.

Senator Brown responds

Just so we know. . . "there is continued debate related to provisions that would establish a public option, insurance reforms, tax credits, and an excise tax on “Cadillac” insurance plans. Additionally, the Senate continues its dialogue on Medicare issues, including provider payment rates, program eligibility, patient access, medical malpractice, and further improving Medicare benefits for the more than 44 million current enrollees."

In other words, they have no idea what they are voting for because no one can figure out the bill, nor have they read it. There's no bone here for pro-lifers, probably because he doesn't have my position on record (I think pro-lifers are being tricked into voting for Reid's bill and Pelosi's), but there is an oblique reference to tort reform, and lots of squishy phrases like "patient access" and "provider payment rates." All I asked was why he didn't get a huge bribe for Ohioans like Nebraska and Louisiana and caved so early in this game of the government buying up and running private industries.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ornament for the White House tree

We've been hearing some stories about some of the odd and hyper-political ornaments on the White House Tree--like Obama's face on Mt. Rushmore, Mao Tse Tung and drag performer Hedda Lettuce. The left wing bloggers/journalists are criticizing the right for being upset (although they don't refer to themselves as left wing). Actually, Mao wouldn't be the first marxist at the White House. Last year the only ornament out of 370 submitted that was rejected was political. The artists was anti-everything, including life, and that's not particularly appropriate for a Bush Christmas tree. That the Obamas kept the highly political ornaments that pleased and agreed with them, reflects their tastes.

Too bad bloggers at both ends don't focus on some of the really great ornaments, like my friend Jeanie's, a local artist, retired teacher and member of my church. She created an ornament to reflect the history of the Ohio Theater in downtown Columbus.
    "The tree on which Auseon's bulb hangs is one of several trees First Lady Michelle Obama asked artists nationwide to help decorate. Obama said she wanted as much input from the country as possible when it came to celebrating the holidays in the White House.

    That meant recycling about 800 ornaments left over from previous administrations and sending them out to community groups nationwide for artists to decorate. . .

    She artfully covered the orb in glittery red and green ribbon and rhinestones, mixing in pictures and facts about the theater's history in three days.

    "It's very ornate," she said of the piece which incorporates decoupage vintage photo of the theater on the bulb's face and nearly a foot of hanging ribbon.

    Looks aside, the bulb's design is meant to tell a story, Auseon said.

    "I just hope that ... they might go up to look more closely at it and, as they look more closely, that the story might reveal itself and that they'll think, 'Hey that's really neat,' " she said." SNP News
From an archival viewpoint, I would have preferred that White House ornaments not be recycled, and I don't know how far back they went (at least the 8 years of the Bush administration) and I don't know if they are federal property or belong to whoever lives there. But it would seem a "blank" canvas ornament/bulb could have been sent to the artists rather than reusing the old ones.

Reid quotes his hero, the other King

After comparing Republicans to opponents of outlawing slavery during Civil War times (remember, that was the forerunners of the current Democrats, but let's ignore history) just days ago, Haughty Heartless Harry Reid now quotes peacemaker Dr. King Rodney King (badly) and asks if we can't all get along. Reid is probably the most contentious politician hiding behind the blandest personality and most unpleasant demeanor I can remember in my life time. Story at Gateway Pundit. He was one of the worst and most vicious of the Bush bashers, declaring the war in Iraq lost and giving comfort to the enemy. Who elects people like this?

The Democrats.
Constant in criticism, sniveling in surrender, but bold against the unborn and the elderly.

Today’s new word--dyad

A dyad consists of two. It’s two units treated as one; a couple, a pair. It comes from the Greek, dyas. I’ve never used this word. Have you? The context was academic, of course.

“The FAST team structures repetitive, positive interactions sequenced in dyads (parent to youth, parent to parent) and in small groups (the youth's family, peer groups for parents, peer groups for youth).” Huh?

Oddies and endies in e-mail

I'm always surprised that so many people in other countries have died and left me, little ol' me, bunches and baskets of money! Here's today's catch. Did you get one?

    "On behalf of the Trustees and Executor of the estate of Late Engineer Reinhard Hermann, I once again try to notify you as my earlier letter to you returned undelivered. I hereby attempt to reach you again by this same email address on the WILL. I wish to notify you that Late Engr. R. Hermann made you a Beneficiary to his WILL. He left the sum of Seventeen Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars ($17,500.000.00 USD) to you in the codicil and last testament to his WILL. This may sound strange and unbelievable to you, but it is real and true. Being a widely traveled man, he must have been in contact with you in the past or simply you were recommended to him by one of his numerous Friends abroad who wished you good."
The spelling and sentence structure is improving however, (must have out of work college students employed in these schemes) and this guy was UK not Nigeria, and an engineer, member of the Helicopter Society, and a philanthropist, not just a scumbag prince or potentate. Still, the capitalization of nouns doesn't look right. But maybe that's the UK way.

When Fed Ex called for our address yesterday I was hesitant. That's another scam going around, although that one usually comes via e-mail--a "delivery problem." But in that case, the insurance company had left out part of our street name, and since there are 15 or so streets around here with a similar name, and ours doesn't appaear on some maps because we are private, they couldn't find us.

One of the Christian groups to which I subscribe has apparently sold their mailing list--or maybe an organization went belly up and some other company got possession, because I've been receiving a really odd collection of end-times, money appeals, and book announcements in the past week or two. Groups I've never heard of and haven't visited their web sites. Although data mining is very sophisticated these days. I just hate to visit Amazon and then have the site tell me where I've been and what I looked at. It's just creepy. Like each click has a little RFID embedded. Since I visit Christian bloggers and many of them have ads, and you have to leave an e-mail address to comment, it's possible these companies found me that way.

But Helicopter Society? The UK philanthropist? Who falls for this?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Vote for Grande Conservative Diva Blogger

Gay Patriot is having a poll to vote for your favorite Conservative Diva--I'm not on the list--no one knows who I am, but Tammy Bruce is. Right now, Neoneocon is leading. She got my vote. But I just might vote again.

My note to Sherrod Brown

Ohio Senator--Democrat

"Why didn't you hold out for the bribe and corruption that Nebraska and Louisiana got? What exactly did you get for voting for this mess?"

Mindful meditation

Your child probably can’t sing Christmas carols at school this time of year, but you will find wide acceptance of Buddhism in classroom exercises, taught as “mindful meditation.” In the western way of thinking, if you’re not “doing” --reading scripture, praying, singing, volunteering--then you’re not technically practicing a religion. But in the eastern way, it’s the technique, not the teaching or the doing, that matters. You can "believe" anything you want. That’s because the godhead is inside, not outside, the body in that faith tradition. Therefore, lots of schools close their doors to our traditional religious practices--prayer, religious symbols in the classrooms, daily Bible readings, Bible stories of heroes, teaching creation, and songs--while welcoming warmly religions from other cultures with wide open arms if they can masquerade as something "healthy" like meditation, thought control for a good purpose, anxiety and stress control, and drug and alcohol reduction tools. It's ignorance of religious thought and teaching on the part of your school board and administration that allows this.

If you are a Christian, "man up" and object to your child being taught that god is within. That's a religion. It's not our religion, it's not our culture, and what's sauce for the Christian is sauce for the Buddhist, Hindu and Humanist. Don't let the word "meditation" fool you. In the Christian and Jewish traditions, that is mediation on God's word. It is content, not a blank mind stilled to allow anything in with the power of suggestion from the teacher or guru.


Meditation therapy

How to, from Shambhala Sun

Alcohol relapse prevention U. of Wisconsin

With children, academic studies

Mindful schools

Mindful techniques to use with children

Staples on a dollar and a head

I was looking for information on whether it is legal to staple a $20 bill to a letter and came across a story from Florida where a woman took her 8 year old to an ER for a small head wound caused by a pillow fight, and left with one staple over the wound and a bill for $1,654, of which $754 was covered by the family's insurance. Both the article and the readers' comments are mostly filled with the outrage over the cost of medical care for such a small accident. Duh! I wonder why?

It appears that few read it, or know anything about insurance, medical care or the costs of doing business--any business. Isn't it odd that other workers seem to want to be paid for their labor, to get their benefits paid by their employer, to receive unemployment and worker's comp, but doctors, nurses, lab techs, schedulers, and janitors in clinics should work for nothing or minimum wage? Isn't it strange that your landlord, electric company, gas and water utilities, gardeners, and street pavers all need to be paid and factored into your business costs, but not hospitals (she took him to the ER) or "doc in a box" clinics. And I found it odd that most people can grasp, when they get the bill, what 4 years of college costs, but are in la-la land about tacking on another 4-8 years of medical school to those costs. It appears from the article that no further testing was done to pad the costs (regardless of what Obama says about wrong foot amputation), so we can assume the doctor recognized from his training that a superficial head wound would bleed--a lot.

That ER where Mrs. Tobio took her child is also treating people who have no regular doctor, no insurance and no intention of ever paying. By law, it has to treat them too. So that cost is picked up by the people who do have insurance. And the doctor that stapled the wound has to carry malpractice insurance so that's factored into his costs--and no tort reform will be included in the current Senate or House bill because the lawyers have a powerful lobby. Also, in order to save costs, and they've already saved a bundle, the Tobios carry a very high deductible policy--$2500--choosing instead to cover the out of pocket expenses and pocket the savings. Some years they win, and some they don't. Even a few months of savings covered that $900 they had to pay. And their state regulates who they can buy from so that reduces competition and increases cost. That too isn't addressed in the current "reform."

When I was a kid, I was jumping on a bed like a trampoline and hit the ceiling cracking my head open. I don't remember if Mom took me to Dr. Dumont or not--there were puddles of blood everywhere so she probably did. Head wounds bleed like crazy. He probably used a needle and thread. I still have a bump and it's covered by my hair. But parents would not settle for that today. Childhood bumps have to have first class, non-scarring treatment. And no one had health insurance.

The reporter did her job--she got the scoop on what the real costs are behind that little staple in Ben Tobios head, but that's at the end. Most readers commenting, never got that far.
    His staple paid for all the things the hospital does not, or cannot under current laws that regulate government programs such as Medicare, charge for, Sullivan said: bed sheets, plastic medical tubing, privacy drapes.

    "Staples may be something we can charge for, so those things end up with what looks like a very high charge based on what the cost is," Sullivan said.

    "At the same time," he added, "what drives the cost of health care is people get in a facility and they want the best doctors, the nice MRI machine that costs $1.5 million; they want the best of everything because we have very high expectations in a time of need, and there is a cost to that."
If I make coffee at home, it costs about ten cents a cup; if I go to Panera's it's about $1.80 plus my driving costs which includes auto insurance.

Unintended consequences--livestock production

Or was it? New laws in Europe regarding the caging of chickens might destroy the industry and remove a valuable food source from the table.

How to destroy an industry
    "Are EU consumers to be deprived of eggs based on the misplaced perceptions of flock wellbeing by extremists intent on destroying established intensive livestock production? Will EU consumers be supplied with eggs from countries with a lower cost of production from cages or cage free systems or even eggs labeled as "cage free or free range" but derived from conventional cages? Either way consumers will be deprived of the nutritional value of eggs or will be required to pay more for their purchases.

    We should carefully monitor events in the "old world" and be careful not to emulate the folly of the EU in our industry."

Brr it's cold

Yesterday was the first day of winter, and although we haven't had the snow that the east coast and midwest have experienced, I think my blood has thinned. I checked and still have plenty of fat layers. When browsing my site meter today I found someone looking at this, apparently I had linked to it in the past. Looks mighty good today. Even the prices didn't blow me away. And I don't even like Florida! Time to put on my heavy coat and mittens and go to the coffee shop.

The w.c. is from 7 years ago--you can tell we're all from Indiana and Ohio by the amount of clothing and the umbrellas--and it was a hot day.

Monday, December 21, 2009

New words, familiar sound

Last week when our young Haitian friends were visiting and we were sitting in traffic waiting to get into the Zoo, Frandy and Zeke sang "O Holy Night" for us in French. Here's a treat if you like language--the Christmas album, of Jana Mashonee singing ten traditional carols in different Native American languages – “O Holy Night” in Navajo, “Silent Night” in Arapaho, “Winter Wonderland” in Ojibwe, “Joy to the World” in Chiricahua Apache, etc.

Jana’s website You can hear her new album. In addition to providing all the vocals and piano, Jana wrote and co-produced the album. I think she was on Fox this morning if I got the dates right, although I'm not sure it was local or national. Which ever, I missed it.

For native youth, through her organization Jana's Kids, “Jana addresses the issues of cultural pride and identity, motivation and ambition, education, alcohol, tobacco and drug awareness, and gang association. She proactively involves her audiences in this extraordinary interactive presentation. Music, lecture, questions, answers, and demonstrations are the main components of this educational, entertaining, and motivational program.”

What makes the leftists unhappy about Obama

Although they don't seem to mind his spending trillions for more socialism, it's his spending it and getting the same ol' same ol' that ties their shorts in a knot.
    "Somehow the president has managed to turn a base of new and progressive voters he himself energized like no one else could in 2008 into the likely stay-at-home voters of 2010, souring an entire generation of young people to the political process. It isn't hard for them to see that the winners seem to be the same no matter who the voters select (Wall Street, big oil, big Pharma, the insurance industry). In fact, the president's leadership style, combined with the Democratic Congress's penchant for making its sausage in public and producing new and usually more tasteless recipes every day, has had a very high toll far from the left: smack in the center of the political spectrum."
I had that spotted in 2007. Even with strings to a puppet master, it's hard to get an empty suit to dance. Although unlike Drew Westen at Huff'npoof, I think he's still way left of center. I still think he's a marxist; it's just that he had a few ethical, smart and patriotic Democrats in his own party that he hasn't knocked over yet or bribed into silece. And Drew--Joe Wilson still did and said the right thing, "You lie." Only now you libs know it too.

The peacemakers

This is Shane. I don't know him--just came across an item about him. He's going to talk to youth. Notice the ear stud, head bandana/scarf holding back the long hair, and scruffy but endearing face. The outfit hasn't changed in 40-50 years, much. He's a professional peacemaker going here and there. Willowcreek, Iraq, Calcutta. The usual. We need a few peacemakers in a suit and tie, or at least a button down oxford, khaki slacks/dress jeans and loafers. Someone who doesn't dress the part. They are needed first in families, church councils, schools, board rooms, cafeteria lines, muffler shops, prisons, factories, twitter, Facebook and Blogger, and the halls of congress. Then when they are sufficiently battle scarred and wise, send them into other war zones. The exciting thing about peace seminars and radical faith workshops is, you get to hang with people who think just like you do.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Academe's bias against white males

Any parent who would pay to send a kid, male or female, into this hell hole should be charged with wallet abuse.
    "You might think that a university whose students were victims of the most notorious fraudulent rape claim in recent history, and whose professors -- 88 of them -- signed an ad implicitly presuming guilt, and whose president came close to doing the same would have learned some lessons.

    The facts are otherwise. They also suggest that Duke University's ugly abuse in 2006 and 2007 of its now-exonerated lacrosse players -- white males accused by a black stripper and hounded by a mob hewing to political correctness -- reflects a disregard of due process and a bias against white males that infect much of academia.

    In September, far from taking pains to protect its students from false rape charges, Duke adopted a revised "sexual misconduct" policy that makes a mockery of due process and may well foster more false rape charges by rigging the disciplinary rules against the accused.

    Meanwhile, none of the 88 guilt-presuming professors has publicly apologized. (Duke's president, Richard Brodhead, did -- but too little and too late.) Many of the faculty signers -- a majority of whom are white -- have expressed pride in their rush to judgment. None was dismissed, demoted, or publicly rebuked. Two were glorified this month in Duke's in-house organ as pioneers of "diversity," with no reference to their roles in signing the ad. Three others have won prestigious positions at Cornell, Vanderbilt, and the University of Chicago." The rot at Duke
The bios and photos of those 88 should be tacked on public bulletin boards along with the faces of other identity theft criminals.

Need a bowl game printout?

All on one page. Save a twig.

Ohio State Buckeyes are in the Rose Bowl playing the Oregon Ducks. Bucks vs. Ducks. But if they were playing Oregon State, we could say OSU vs. OSU!

A very teary Christmas

This song always makes me teary, not cheery:

I'll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light beams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

It makes me think of all the promises I've heard in my life time (or made), only to have them dashed. And yet, every time I hear it, whether Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Josh Groban or the local high school choir, I'm lulled into believing--yes, this year the promise will be kept. I make it all the way to the last line with the beautiful words, and find out it was all a dream. I assure you, you have the job; we'll get together soon; I'll stop by just as soon as. . . ; I'll never take another drink, I promise; she is doing so well she'll be discharged from the hospital Tuesday; look this present is for you; congratulations you're pregnant; you can't miss it; I'll always love you, and so on.

But I still love the song.

When the globe was really hot

From 600 to 200 BC there was a cold period, followed by a warming, called Roman Warming, from 200 BC to about 600 AD. You know what's neat about that? God used it for the spread of the Gospel! Then from 600 AD to 900 AD there was another cold period, and we call that the Dark Ages, probably because it's difficult for science, technology and learning to flourish when you're so cold you have to migrate, and the crops won't grow so you spend all your time looking for food and fighting off bigger people with better horses and spears from warmer climates.

But, looky here, more "global warming" before the industrial age and sooty smoke stacks and coal mines--the Medieval Warming period from 900 AD to 1300 AD, followed by the Little Ice Age, which went right up to about 1850--around the time people began to notice it was getting warm again. It's "normal" I suppose for humans to be so self-centered that they believe their own life time is the way it's supposed to be, but we've had far more cooling periods than warming, so look out! And other warming periods have been longer and hotter than this one.

The Chinese have even better records for this--notice how similar the warming periods are (note the line going up around 1000 AD). Don't take my word for it. Hundreds and hundreds of studies from ice, sedement, tree rings, tree lines, fossils, etc., show that warming and cooling are natural cycles for the earth, and for humans to survive, warming is definitely better than cooling. Read earth's own story free of political scam and hands out for higher taxes in Unstoppable global warming by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery (rev. ed. 2008, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers). Or for a summary of studies on the medieval warm period, read it here at Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change.

Stop the hot air of Cap and Trade Plunder. Tell your senators and congressional representative, NO.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Perspective of an immigrant

"When I came to America in 1980 and experienced life in this country, I thought it was fortunate that those living in the USSR did not know how unfortunate they were.

Now in 2009, I realize how unfortunate it is that many Americans do not understand how fortunate they are. They vote to give government more and more power without understanding the consequences." Read Svetlana's article here.

Laughing at the left

'Taint funny, though. Just a few examples here.

"They believe we can spend our way out of debt.

They believe people who have never run a business can run a business better than people who have spent their whole lives running businesses.

They believe that teenage girls who aren't allowed to get even minor cosmetic surgery without a parent's permission should nevertheless be able to procure an abortion without a parent's permission.

They believe it is unconstitutional for a legislature to mention Jesus but perfectly okay to mention Allah.

They believe explicit words in the Constitution protecting contracts, and gun ownership rights, and property rights against government seizure, are to be ignored; but that wholly invented "rights" that cannot be found in any words of the Constitution, but that merely "extend" from "emanations" from "penumbras" of other judicially created "rights," are somehow sacrosanct and essential parts of the Constitution."

No, not funny. And he goes on and on.

Nelson caves

"Sen. Ben Nelson has said he would support the health care bill, all but ensuring that Sen. Harry Reid will be able to secure the 60 votes he needs to set up final passage on Christmas Eve." American Spectator

Blackmail, corruption, bribery (he also gets more Medicaid money), deceit, lies, Chicago thugery, and God know what else--oh yes, no Christmas recess if you don't fall in line. Well, at least the air force base is safe. What a backbone.

Update: There is a rally in Omaha, Nebraska Sunday Dec. 20 demanding Senator Nelson switch his vote back to NO. The rally will be held at the Omaha Music Hall, 17th and Capitol. Doors open at 2 PM. Rally starts at 3 PM. Other participants besides Mike Huckabee will include Congressman Terry, Auditor Foley, Senators McCoy, Fulton, Krist, Price and Lautenbaugh.

Are we at the end of a natural warming period

There are two strong memories from my childhood: the snow was very deep and we were at war most of the time. I was born at the end of a warming blip that had existed during most of the the lifetime of my parents (1916-1940) which was part of a larger trend that began around 1850 after a cold period of several centuries. Whereas their formative years contained memories of dust storms, shriveled crops and nights so hot in Illinois they couldn't breathe, I remember giant snow drifts and winters that seemed to last forever followed by warm, idyllic and pleasant summers. Of course, I was shorter then, so it wasn't that tough to say it was up to my waist. However, another warming blip began in the 1970s, and I can remember driving to Illinois in the winter with our children and not seeing a snowflake. I still remember the summer of 1988--it was so dry and hot in Ohio, the Bruces broke down and bought an air conditioner for our Columbus house, and took a lake cruise to get out of the heat of Lakeside. Now things seem to be getting cooler again with lots of ragged, wild weather around the edges. I wouldn't even think of driving to Illinois in the winter now--the last five years where I grew up have been brutal with deep snow. Here in temperate mid-Ohio we muddle through gray winters as we always have with one or two blizzards a year and then weeks of melting snow drifts. This morning I woke up to the sound of snow plows, but didn't recognize the noise. We may get 2-4" as the northeast is pummeled.

The other memory--that of war--is a reminder that we need to be vigilant. Hitler was marching through Poland (Polenfeldzug) when I was born. I believe our President was trying to work out some sort of "accord." During my youth and right up to the collapse of the USSR, some version of socialism has been the enemy of our republican form of government--either the National Socialism of Hitler, or the Communism of Lenin/Stalin/Mao--both of which chewed up most of Europe and Asia. The other, centuries old absolute loyalty to a monarch, was Japan, now a democracy. This is another thing that is cyclical. Our ignorance and forgetfulness. Socialism doesn't need armored tanks anymore.

Sports and Greed

Recent events in science, politics, national security and the economy have caused many of us to completely lose faith in our so called “free and independent press,” because broadcast and print journalists carried the water for Obama in 2007-2008, downplayed the pinholes in the expanding housing bubble when there was still time to do something, research institutions and gatekeepers of the peer review sources manipulated data and blacklisted colleagues for the sake of government grants and personal gain in science, and cable, new media “fact checkers” and news aggregators played up every mistake of the military during the Bush years while ignoring the big picture with an end result of helping our enemies. The final straw has been the Tiger Woods story, at least for me. Yesterday I was reading How Tiger Protected his Image, in the WSJ. As I tried to work my way through the convoluted, complex story of Tiger’s deal with Golf Digest, I stumbled over many other media sources--Conde Nast, Tiger Woods’ own foundation, American Media, Inc., The National Enquirer, Men’s Fitness, News of the World, News Corp., Woods’ handlers, representatives, photographers, Laveley & Singer law firm in LA, spokespeople, editors, Media Industry Newsletter, and finally (but not the first) the hapless, untipped waitress in the church parking lot and her family.

And no, this isn’t just a story about sex, or even possible redemption, which for some reason many Christian writers are playing up. It’s a story about a systemic problem--greed. When his wife or babies test positive for an STD, then maybe we can say it’s about infidelity and sex, but in the meantime, the sports and information industries have some explaining to do their values.

Obama has led us off the cliff

We've all been wondering--why are they doing this to us?
    "This week the president told the nation that we are "on the precipice" of passing historic health care legislation. He could not have chosen a better word, because that's what a majority of readers -- and the American public -- believe: that we're about to plunge into a health care system that is more expensive and offers lower-quality care than what we have now." Byron York
HT Murray

Why I believe in global warming

"The Earth has recently been warming. This is beyond doubt. It has warmed slowly and erratically for a total of about 0.8 degrees C since 1850. It had one surge of warming from 1850 to 1870 and another from 1916 to 1940. The official thermometers suggest the net warming since 1940 is only about 0.3 degrees C. If we correct the thermometer records for the effects of growing urban heat islands, for widespread intensification of land use, and for the recently documented cooling of the Antarctic continent over the past thirty years, the net warming since 1940 would be even less.

Physical evidence from around the world tells us that human-emitted CO2 has played only a minor role in the planet's recent temperature increases. Instead, the mild warming seems to be mostly due to the natural 1,500-year climate cycle (plus or minus 500 years) that goes back at least one million years." (p. 6, Singer and Avery, 2008)

You don't have to read very far into the book Unstoppable Global Warming to see how much and how long we've been manipulated to be fearful and loathing of a natural cycle, or how politicians on the right and left both could take advantage of this. It's not a long book; you don't have to give up believing in global warming. An open mind is all you need--and just a suspicion that man doesn't control the climate but that he does have the capability and technology to relieve the suffering, poverty and pollution he has caused.

Read it for yourself. I'd hate to think Americans are repeating the story of the Vikings who sailed from Iceland to Greenland around 985 finding green pastures and a wonderful, productive land to colonize, only to be starved and frozen out 400 years later when the weather patterns changed, as they had been doing regularly. Now we have technology and science on our side. Or do we?

Let's consider the motivation of the AGW scare mongers. The big three of all ages comes to mind: wealth, power and religion.

Welcome home from the Global Warming conference, Mr. President.

Friday, December 18, 2009

How the government can make you an outlaw

Wendy Williams of Massachusetts writes in the Wall Street Journal
    My husband retired from IBM about a decade ago, and as we aren't old enough for Medicare we still buy our health insurance through the company. But IBM, with its typical courtesy, informed us recently that we will be fined by the state.

    Why? Because Massachusetts requires every resident to have health insurance, and this year, without informing us directly, the state had changed the rules in a way that made our bare-bones policy no longer acceptable. Unless we ponied up for a pricier policy we neither need nor want—or enrolled in a government-sponsored insurance plan—we would have to pay $1,000 each year to the state.

    My husband's response was muted; I was shaking mad. We hadn't imposed our health-care costs on anyone else, yet we were being fined ("taxed" was the word the letter used).

    We've spent much of our lives putting away what money we could for retirement. We always intended to be self-sufficient. We've paid off the mortgage on our home, don't carry credit-card debt, and have savings in case of an emergency. We also have a regular monthly income of about $3,000, which includes an IBM pension. My husband, 61, earns a little money on the side, sometimes working as an electronics consultant on renewable energy projects. I'm 58 and make some money writing science books. We are not wealthy, but we aren't a risk of becoming a burden on society either. How did we become outlaws?
Read more how what was supposed to save the middle class from the costs of the uninsured ended up costing every one more and offering less. But then, have you ever known the state or federal government to take over a private industry and then save you money? Wendy concludes, "The mandate in Massachusetts was sold as something that wouldn't penalize people like my husband and me. But those political promises were only good for as long as it took to get the mandate enacted into law." And that's exactly what will happen with Obamacare, which at this time, no one even knows how it reads or what it is, not even the sponsors. "Getterdone--we'll hope 'n change it later" is Reid and Pelosi's motto.

HT Bob C.