Thursday, March 31, 2005

971 Power

Who was the only one with no power in this story? Terri Schiavo. The president had it. The congress had it. The governor had it. The courts had it. Michael had it. Even her parents with lawyers and friends and supporters, had it. Even we the people had the power to speak out. Only Terri was powerless. [paraphrased, March 30 broadcast] Glenn Beck.

970 Judicial Oligarchy

That's what Glenn Beck was calling it this morning when it was announced that Terri Schiavo "died." Government by the few. Government by one branch of the three. We elected the Congress. We elected the President. Judge Greer and all the judges who refused to take another look overrode our system of government. The judges didn't find it odd that Michael only recalled her wish to die after the trial and the money award. Greer ruled that the evidence showed she wished to die, and all the other judges fell lock step in line. (Goose step might be a better phrase.) "What will we do now?" Beck asked. I'm hoping there will be some changes made; that we don't continue to have the courts make law and run the country.

When parents of the handicapped are polled on the value and importance of life, the figures are very different than when you poll the general public, Beck said. Do you suppose they know something we don't? He told of a family living a few blocks from Terri's hospice facility with an adult daughter in the same condition since 1991. Her husband gave her back to the custody of her parents and moved on with his life in another city. Her parents, in their 70s, consider it a privilege to have her. Her former husband visits her several times a year with their son. "Who loses in this arrangement?" Beck asked.

Glenn Beck started talking about Terri five years ago and brought her case to the attention of the public. I first heard about her through his program three years ago (Dr. Laura was pulled from this market and replaced by Beck after 9-11, probably because of pressure from gays). He is the one who got the ball rolling to save her life. And Terri has brought to our attention a multitude of issues through her final struggle, not the least of which is we've become a culture of death.

969 Ideas have consequences

One of the things that has disturbed me about the Terri news coverage is that the outrage about the starvation and thirst (even the callous Europeans are horrified), might actually work in favor of the pro-death crowd. Denyse O'Leary writes: "Starting slowly in the early 20th century, but now picking up speed, naturalism has begun to make deep inroads into our culture, including the school systems. And we are seeing the results.

At one time, only unborn children slated for abortion were treated with complete indifference to their possible suffering. Now it could be you. And if you complain that Terri is being treated cruelly, you will be told that a lethal injection would be more humane. In other words, going the whole way of treating all humans as animals would be more humane.

So, even if you are not religious or not socially concerned, but merely selfish, wake up and care."

The whole essay is well worth reading.

Cross-posted at Church of the Acronym

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

968 The explosion didn’t change who I am. .

Thirty six year old Maj. Tammy Duckworth of the Illinois National Guard was interviewed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC on C-SPAN today. Her amazing courage, positive attitude, sense of humor and devotion to her country are inspiring. Her husband of 12 years, Capt. Bryan Bowlsby, was with her and he is also in the National Guard. She has lost her right leg above the knee and left leg below the knee. Much of her right arm was torn away or crushed and it has been rebuilt with skin flaps and muscle from her stomach and chest. She hopes to return to active duty as an aviator, and that is her goal and why she is working so hard in therapy. She demonstrated her C-leg--a computer leg which should enable her to walk without a limp. “The explosion didn’t change who I am, and I am honored to serve. . .it is a privilege.” Friends in Illinois are rebuilding their home. Her civilian job is with the Rotary. The day before the interview, her father had been buried at Arlington Cemetery. The program was called “Conversations with U.S. Soldiers Wounded in Iraq.”

NPR also interviewed her.

967 Million dollar coupon

If you clip and save coupons, I've got a deal for you. In the WSJ today the O'Keefe Group at Russ Lyon Realty has a coupon for $1,000,000! It is only good on the Jensen Estate, priced at $9,950,000, near Scottsdale, AZ.

If you've ever wondered if a coupon was worth the paper on which it is printed, this should give you an idea. (Hint: It isn't.) Small print: one coupon to a customer please. Affirmative action marketer.

966 Writing your Memoirs

Deborah Santana, wife of Carlos Santana for 30 years, didn’t feel a sense of her own creativity, so she enrolled in a writing class in Oakland CA and wrote her memoirs, Space between the Stars, issued in hardcover and audio book this month. I listened to her interview on NPR, although I probably won’t read the book. Lives of entertainers are not on my to-do list.

I’m in a memoir writing class at our public library, but haven’t discovered anything--no skeletons in the closet, nothing longing to be set free, no drugs, sex and rock and roll. I’ve been married 45 years, grew up in two small towns in Illinois, lived almost 40 years in central Ohio and worked as a librarian in a variety of positions. Most of the really good stories can’t be told! What if I need to go back to work some day!

Some of the instructor’s prompts have been interesting, although I think I’ve scraped the bottom and sides of the memory barrel. My children have never shown any interest in family history, so I’m not sure for whom I’d been saving these. I have met some really interesting women in the class and have learned there are many ways to write down and preserve your past and that of your ancestors. One woman is using poetry, another family recipes and photographs, some are creating novels based on family stories, and some are combining straight genealogy with passed down stories. I enjoy listening during sharing time, and have helped others with editing. Last week Julian focused on grammar exercises and how to cut out wordiness [at this point in time, basically, in light of the fact, it is to be hoped, there is a desire on the part of. . .and so forth]. I was paired with a Korean woman who had taught English in Korea. She knew the rules much better than I who’d studied only the required freshman college English.

Deborah Santana has a lot more material to work with--she is bi-racial, bi-cultural, has dabbled in several religions, tried drugs, dated Sly Stone, and manages her famous husband’s business. The type of memoirs we focus on in my writing class are generally not for publication, except maybe using Kinkos or a print on demand publisher.

Maybe I’ll try that class on reliable but under-used perennials that starts next week.

965 Names for music groups

Coming up with an original name for your garage band must be tough. What if you really make it big? Does the name have to mean something? Should it reflect your roots? How about using a headline? Can you just put words in a hat and draw out 3 or 4, mix and twist, and that's the name? Here's some I found playing around the city this week.

Kola Koca Death Squad
Dogs Die in Hot Cars
Wigglepussy Indiana
Bloodlined Calligraphy
Poison Control Center
Code Blue Band
Principally Speaking
Moving to Boise

Lots of death, violence and mayhem in music these days. And then there's the ever popular,

No smoking
Open stage
Blues jam

What will librarians do with those names? Here's a list of rules for cataloging the names of performers. For example:

LCRI 24.4B: When establishing the heading for a performing group, apply the following:

If the name contains a word that specifically designates a performing group or a corporate body in general (e.g., band, consort, society) or contains a collective or plural noun (e.g., Ramblers, Boys, Hot Seven), do not add a designation to the name.

If the name is extremely vague, consisting primarily of single, common words (e.g., Circle, Who, Jets) or the name has the appearance of a personal name (e.g., Jethro Tull), add a designation to the name.

If the name falls between the above categories (e.g., Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane, Road Apple, L.A. Contempo), add a designation to the name.

If there is doubt whether a designation should be added, add it.

Use the designation "(Musical group)" unless special circumstances (such as a conflict) require a more specific term.

I suspect that if the works of "Dogs Die in Hot Cars" ever get cataloged, the librarian will definitely need to add a designation.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

964 Cruise Care

When we took an Alaskan Cruise in 2001, I was surprised to meet people who’d taken 15-20 cruises, and older people who appeared to be living on cruise ships, booking one cruise after another. Then in the February 2005 Harper’s Index, I noticed this comparison between living out your life on a luxury cruise ship or in an assisted living facility.

Average total cost for a U.S. eighty-year-old to live out the rest of his or her days on a luxury cruise ship: $230,497 [Lee Lindquist, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (Chicago)]

Average cost to live them out in an assisted-living facility: $228,075 [Lee Lindquist, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (Chicago)]

These figures are examined at Snopes Urban Legends, and found to not be too far off. Apparently there was an earlier version comparing nursing homes and living in the Holiday Inn. It also sites the Lindquist figures, although doesn’t say where they are published.

"Cruise ships offer such a range of amenities — such as three meals a day, often with escorts to meals if needed, room service, entertainment, accessible halls and cabins, housekeeping and laundry services and physicians on board — that they could actually be considered a floating assisted-living facility," says Lindquist. “

The author of the Snopes article says there are other, non-financial considerations, such as proximity to children and grandchildren, loss of friendships and volunteer activities. However, many retirees don’t live close to their children, and seeing them involves travel anyway. Many have already lost their best friends and burned out on volunteer activities. Perhaps the solution would be to have several travel together in lieu of relocating in an assisted-care facility.

963 Creativity

My friend Bev and I went to Capital University in Bexley today to see the 19th Biennial Exhibition of the Liturgical Art Guild, "Contemporary Works of Faith '05" which runs through April 8. It is in the Schumacher Gallery on the 4th floor of the library. We picked out a few pieces and gathered some information on the artists we'd like to pursue as possible exhibitors at our church's gallery. We had lunch at a little deli linked to the movie theater, and listened to two student jazz groups who had set up shop on Main Street. The weather was glorious and they drew a good crowd. One woman enjoyed the music so much she was dancing--probably in her 70s. Bev has a college age daughter in NY and knows various people in the music and arts community, so she kept running into people she knew from various life stages.

Bev is a creative person. Today I heard the most creative reason for not exercising, one I just must remember. She'd decided to begin a healthier life style--good nutrition and exercise. So she started the day with a bowl of steaming oatmeal. But the ceramic bowl was so hot she dropped it on her toe. Now she will have to postpone the exercise part, and I think the dog took care of the oatmeal. Way to go, Bev!

962 ABC headlines another “fake” memo

They didn’t say it was “Republican,” just "GOP." Duh! What were the listeners to think?
Story here, including reports on all the other rush to judgment media who ignored researching it first.


PowerLine and PowerLine

and this
Michelle Malkin

and that

and In the Agora really went after it.

Monday, March 28, 2005

961 How to lose a wife with no questions asked

See? There are easier ways.

960 Maybe you're asking too much?

Lots of bloggers gripe about as their hosting site. I don't--well, OK, sometimes I do. I think for something free and easy, it's pretty nifty. But I see a lot of sites that are asking way too much and just inviting failure. I left a note at The Crusader's comments. He's really unhappy about's performance. He's a Homespun blogger and I just stopped by to look at his site. There are Bible verses, books' adverts with photos, flags and symbols, all sorts of logos for things he cares about.

As you can see from the load of links I have, I should perhaps not be talking. But I do go through and remove those I think are causing problems. I'd love to have Sal Towse here, but every time I add her link, kaboom, the whole thing goes whacky, so I go to Paula or PJ or Hip Liz and link from them. I also try to not load too many photos and quizes, because I think they slow things down (and seem to add pop-ups and cookies). My note:

"Just an opinion, Mr. Crusader. You have an awful lot loaded on your page--even in your comments--which means more ways to fail. It's like buying the dishwasher or washing machine with all the gizmos, bells and whistles. Sometimes less is more in writing as blog as well as architecture.

I've noticed on mine, that certain links, even to individual bloggers, will cause mine to malfunction or load slowly, and I've had to remove them.

Also, if I've really worked hard on a post I either do it in wp first, or I block and copy before I hit draft. Then I check it, and publish. Occasionally even "draft" malfunctions, but if I've copied it I have it. I've noticed that "publish" in compose causes more problems than "publish" in html."

959 Tinker Tinker little Stat

There was an AP Story reported in today's Wall Street Journal that will have the economists and feminists rewriting the stats.

"A white woman with a bachelor's degree typically earned nearly $37,800 in 2003, compared with nearly $43,700 for a college-educated Asian woman and $41,100 for a college-educated black woman, according to data being released Monday by the Census Bureau. Hispanic women took home slightly less at $37,600 a year.

The bureau did not say why the differences exist. Economists and sociologists suggest possible factors: the tendency of minority women, especially blacks, to more often hold more than one job or work more than 40 hours a week, and the tendency of black professional women who take time off to have a child to return to the work force sooner than others."

They've even suggested that hiring incentives may have something to do with it.

I expect no protests on the campus by the women's studies department.

958 Don't know, don't care

That's a bit cavalier for a librarian to say about why children are hanging out at the library. At least these days. I'm guessing she'll bring that entry down soon. Librarians are already under fire for their snippy attitudes on filters to protect children and the Patriot Act. If you've ever been at a public library after 3 p.m. or on a school holiday, you'll see unattended children. Some are well behaved and quietly doing homework; others doing mischief and playing on the computers. Sort of free daycare by careless parents. I also see creepy adults I wouldn't want to sit next to. Some libraries in NJ, according to Conservator, consider unattended children under 6 as abandoned.

I just checked our county database for sex offenders in the library's zip code.

957 The Dream

If I can remember a dream, it is usually so fractured it is not worth repeating. The dream that woke me up this morning was a doozy, worth recording in my diary.

I was walking in a park in the dark when I saw what looked like an old 19th century bottle on a ledge, so I stepped off the path to retrieve it. When I picked it up I realized I couldn't get back up to the path, very wet and slippery, and besides the bottle half full of water looked like a fake. After some struggling and wiggling in the mud, I got back on the path and went into a restaurant which became a Bob Evans. I realized sitting in Bob Evans that I was in the wrong restaurant to meet my friend Adrienne. I left and got in my car and drove south on Olentangy (should've gone north). Realizing my mistake, I got on Lane Avenue heading west but ended up in a grassy field with no road. I looked at the houses lining Lane, and they didn't look at all familiar.

I saw what looked like a construction site, so I got out of the car. I walked around some large equipment and buildings and encountered some men talking about photographing the president. There were 2 doors in the main building and I saw a woman in a nice brown tweed pantsuit go upstairs through the one door. I figured she might be the secretary and wondered why she was so nicely dressed to work in such a shabby building. I went in the other door to ask for directions and a phone. A man, white-haired, about 50, was talking to someone, so I went outside to look for my car, but it was gone, and I also realized I didn't have my purse with the keys. I went back into the office and the man was leaning on the window taking photos with the most elaborate camera I'd ever seen. He was photographing the bubbles made by the rain on the window.

Finally, I get to tell him I'm lost. He explains that I'm not lost, I'm in the wrong century. That the president they were talking about is in the 22nd century (he called it the third century) and that people make this mistake all the time. They will either send me back to the 21st century, or they can bring my husband forward in time to join me.

The woman staffer (in brown tweed) then comes in the room with a small spiral bound book of photos of food (I was apparently to select something for dinner). I saw cole slaw and ham salad and remarked that things hadn't changed much in the third century and then I woke up. (I've never cared for science fiction.) I was on the couch; it was 5:20 a.m.

C-SPAN was broadcasting a meeting of photographers of the president. A noisy rain was hitting the windows. Beside me was a book about a 19th century ship that goes down in a hurricane and the recovery process of the ship and all the passengers' personal items. I'd had clam chowder and crackers for supper last night with various spreads including ham salad, and a very spicy creamcheese mix with salsa. It was Monday and I was supposed to meet Adrienne at the coffee shop (not Bob Evans) in an hour.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

956 A quiet Easter

We had no one to spend the day with today, our daughter and son-in-law drove to Cleveland to spend time with his terminally ill mother and they ate at the nursing home, and our son had other plans. After church we enjoyed a much too big breakfast at First Watch.

But we had a wonderful Sunrise service at our church (and the sun was actually shining when we drove there) and were blessed to be the communion servers. I was a little nervous when we first volunteered for this, but now that I've done it a few times I can't think of anything I've done in recent years at church about which I've felt better. Having grown up in the Church of the Brethren where communion was a twice a year solemn service with a meal, foot washing and wearing a prayer covering, I had a bit of a struggle shifting my focus from something we the believers do to something God does. I remember when we took instruction in 1976 our pastor told us we could argue about anything we wanted (how well he knew me!), but Lutheran baptism and communion were not up for discussion and if I had doubts, I shouldn't join.

Then this afternoon we went to see "Finding Neverland" the movie about James Barrie the author of Peter Pan. Johnny Depp plays Barrie and we thought he did an outstanding job--actually all the cast did. If you haven't seen the movie yet, do go. It will restore your faith in the film industry. I hadn't read the reviews before we went, but checked them when I got home, and they were all A or A+.

955 Colorado Blogging

Twylah, who blogged at Lutheran in a Tipi, is folding her tent and moving on to other activities, but she has promised to stop by from time to time and make comments. I have another Colorado blogger Babs, Girl in Right, who actually uses the same blogger template that Twylah used. She's a former NCAA champion and a new adoptive mother of a Russian toddler. Recently she's been wondering where the feminists are in the Terri Schiavo death by starvation case. She's done a search and found silence.

I seem to recall a case 20 years back when the battle was between the parents of a brain injured Lesbian and her partner. The parents were next of kin and the partner had no rights. I believe we heard quite a bit from feminists in that case--and the partner won the right to bring her home. If Terri were a Lesbian, an African-American, or an endangered Sanibel Island rice rat this case might have ended differently.

954 Young and eager to take on the world

This morning (I'm going to Sunrise Service) I came across Patrick's blog about Colby College in Maine. I think he has graduated and moved on but still keeps in touch with the campus and Maine issues. I think I attended Colby. I'd check my transcript to be sure, except I know absolutely that Maine is such a fabulous place for a college co-ed to spend the summer, that I didn't have my credits transferred (didn't want to mess up my grade point). I had such a great time, that I'm not even sure it was Colby! I need to check a Maine website and see what other small colleges are in that area.

See? Librarians know how to have fun--at least before library school.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

953 Blogging problems

This has jumped ahead a bit since I see I've repeated a few numbers in the 940s. I can correct them, but then that messes up the entry title, which has already been picked up for the internet aggregators.

Plus, blogging has been a bear lately. I think people are really jumping in and can't keep up, nor can the "ping" sites, which have been malfunctioning.
I just tried to revise my template and got a huge error message about an entry on March 21. Well, duh. Why tell me now? So I'll try sending this one through and hope that cleans it up the template problem. Sometimes that works.

In addition, if I want the window where I type to come up faster, I can't see the numbering, which is why I often make mistakes (and I'm number-challenged).

951 Those of us who volunteer. . .

We see many people like this in nursing homes. Loved, cared for, manicured, shampooed, read to, responding, smiling, happy people. These people are Terri.


Photo from Bayly Blog

950 The Exercise Outfits Drawer Spring Cleaning

This week I washed all the sweaters I've only worn occasionally this past winter (which isn't giving up yet here in Central Ohio). I used to have sweaters dry cleaned, but the last two dry cleaners left such an awful odor in the fabric, I had to let the clothes air out in the garage. I'm not taking any chances with that gunk next to my skin! Besides, if they are ruined or faded by the soap and water, for some it will be no great loss.

As I was looking for a place to put them until I decide if I want to keep or donate (places that take donations don't want winter clothes in March), I opened two drawers in my closet that have reminders that I haven't been in an exercise class for 2 years. Then I decided those shirts and shorts and pants needed to be sorted for keep-or-throw-away too, but needed to be washed first.

The t-shirts are some of my favorites; 1) a pink and black shirt with a smug cat saying, "I don't do mousework;" 2) Readmore's "So many books so little time;" 3) Shedd Museum in Chicago logo for its beautiful colors; and 4) Many "Walk with Majors" (book distributor) from Medical Library Association conferences in various cities like San Antonio, Boston and Seattle. It's hard to give up some of those memories, so I refolded them and made a special drawer just for exercise clothes. (I've written about this problem at our cottage too.)

Then I created a memory pile on the floor, items to be given away like the white jeans, size 8. Those days of the mid-90s will never come around again. A lavender stipe shirt that always looked ugly on me (wrong color for pale skin) and is about 20 years old; a stretchy fabric capri pants with orange, red and pink flowers that makes my husband scream when I put it on (also too tight); a sleeveless t-shirt I bought in Florida in 1987 (rarely worn).

Next I piled up the "think about it" outfits I specifically bought for aerobics class in 2001. These are snappy little numbers in black with stripe down the leg or the shirt. Shows you mean business. I suppose it is possible I might return to class. . . which is why I'll reserve judgement.

I must have thought that clothes make the exerciser.

949 On being silent

Florida Cracker has noted the famous poem “The Hangman” at her site, which was used as the text in a 1963, 12 minute film about the Holocaust. It appears in many Social Studies curricula for school children, to point out the dangers of cooperating with evil, because when the Hangman comes for you, all your friends and neighbors who could have saved you are gone. As a blogger for Terri, she is pointing out that this issue is bigger than one handicapped woman.

At another site, a lay pastor has used "The Hangman” as the form for his poem “The Deceiver.” In this poem, Satan dressed up in the name of Jesus visits a small gospel, Bible-centered church where even the little ones know right from wrong. One by one the Deceiver takes out the believers.

He takes out a deacon by blessing him the "gift" of laughter and barking; he pulls the “Purpose” sign out of the yard; reads to the congregation from a paraphrased Bible; brings in a rock band to replace the hymns and so forth. Finally, when there is only one man left to finally speak up and protest, the Deceiver says:

Then a twinkle grew in the eye of lead.
"Lied to you? Tricked you? Of course I did.
But I answered once and I told you true,
My best disciple is none but you.

"For who has served me more faithfully
Than you with your silence?" gloated he,
"And where are the doctrines that once stood
To help you to know and choose the good?"

"Changed," I whispered, and hatefully,
"Corrupted," Deceiver corrected me:
"Bible, salvation, Spirit too...
I did no more than you let me do."

In the silence, Deceiver said with a yawn,
"My work is done here. I'll move on."
And he left me scornfully in the lurch,
And no prayers rose from the empty church.
By Mike Fischer

And so, many churches who could have spoken out, have kept silent. They are empty of believers.

948 Another woman officer down

In Toledo, a pregnant petite prisoner overpowered her female officer escort on a visit to the obstetric office, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Aurelia Dyer, the prisoner, punched Lisa Osbourne in the nose and choked her unconscious with the belly chain. Then she got out of her handcuffs and leg irons and fled. She was only doing 90 days on forgery. That’s one tough Mama!

Update: The Toledo Blade reports her “capture” and shows a photo of the belly chain (loop is large enough to get over someone’s head.) Like the Atlanta case, she was talked into surrendering, although no book was used. This time a family friend who was on parole was the good Samaritan. He called the police when he realized she had escaped. He had given her clothes and fed her breakfast when she came back a second time.

Friday, March 25, 2005

947 Tax Time

Upon reviewing our tax forms yesterday before returning them to our accountant, I found a $1400 error. It wasn't hers--my husband thought he'd turned it in, but it was medical insurance drawn directly from our checking account and he'd forgotten to write it down with the figures he turned in. (Forgetting to include automatic withdrawals is a common error, according to our accountant.) Be that as it may, the mess our government has made of our tax code is absolutely incomprehensible. (I'm trying to be more careful about always overusing adverbs, but I truly need adverbs for this post.) ;-) If line 2H on p.1 is 20% higher than the total you can't find on p.5 line 17-Q, then go to line 9-b on p. 2 and multiply the difference by the size of your thigh after subtracting your shoe size. I mean, who in the world thinks these things up? Is there a special school to teach legislative staff to design tax code this way?

948 Creepy database search

The TV is reporting another child abduction by a possible sex offender, this time in Iowa. So just out of curiosity I went into our county's sex offender database, which can be searched by zip code. It supplies the photo, current address, and crime details, including the sex of the victim. In my ZIP there were 4; in my son's about 12; and in my daughter's 57! I called her right away--thought she should know.

947 It's not about you, Jill

Remember that 1973 song, "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you, don't you. . ." In that case, the song really was about the unnamed "you." But Baldilocks tells Jill Porter that Ashley Smith's story isn't about Jill.

"My dad says that some who are blind to miracles are willfully so. To give credit to Jesus Christ for a miracle like that of a nearly a week ago would nearly kill them. So it is that a person like this Jill Porter only looks at this story in terms of herself and her own beliefs. Porter must find any excuse to diminish the fact that Ashley Smith seems to have exorcised whatever demons possessed Brian Nichols using words like “I was his sister and he was my brother in Christ.” Couldn’t have been the work of God. Anything but that."

946 See Dick and Jane Go to Jail

Bloggerben reports on how far we've come. Photo and comment.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

945 Sandwiched between feeding tubes

Both her mother and daughter are on feeding tubes, so she knows what she is talking about when it comes to the value of human life. Doctors have stopped predicting her daughter’s death because they are always wrong.

"If I turned our cat loose on the streets and refused her daily Little Sheba rations, I'd be charged with misdemeanors galore and sentenced to community service at the pound. And our cat has no cognitive skills, save for the ability to sniff bumpers. Scott Peterson will enjoy hearings and representation over the next decade as he sits on death row, where he will die a natural death. Where is Terri Schiavo's lawyer? Who does indeed speak for her? When our Claire turned 18, my husband and I had to petition to become her guardians. We were investigated, went to court, and paid for a lawyer for Claire so that the state of Arizona could be assured that Claire was in the right home with decent folk. There was no clamoring at the court house for custody of Claire, and the hearing was mercifully short. Three months and $972 later, not including copying costs, we were appointed guardians of our own child. How do Florida courts get away with less, not for just guardianship, but for the life of the ward herself? If Congress can dictate disability benefits, medical privacy, and any number of long-term care issues, it should make public policy on euthanasia for the disabled who have no living will."
Marianne Jennings

944 They seem to have fallen half in love with death

Peggy Noonan writes:

"I do not understand the emotionalism of the pull-the-tube people. What is driving their engagement? Is it because they are compassionate, and their hearts bleed at the thought that Mrs. Schiavo suffers? But throughout this case no one has testified that she is in persistent pain, as those with terminal cancer are.

If they care so much about her pain, why are they unconcerned at the suffering caused her by the denial of food and water? And why do those who argue for Mrs. Schiavo's death employ language and imagery that is so violent and aggressive? The chairman of the Democratic National Committee calls Republicans "brain dead." Michael Schiavo, the husband, calls House Majority Leader Tom DeLay "a slithering snake."

Everyone who has written in defense of Mrs. Schiavo's right to live has received e-mail blasts full of attacks that appear to have been dictated by the unstable and typed by the unhinged. On Democratic Underground they crowed about having "kicked the sh-- out of the fascists." On Tuesday James Carville's face was swept with a sneer so convulsive you could see his gums as he damned the Republicans trying to help Mrs. Schiavo. It would have seemed demonic if he weren't a buffoon.

Why are they so committed to this woman's death?

They seem to have fallen half in love with death." Full essay.

Why stop with half? They've gone 'round the bend, cackling, sneering, cavorting, whooping with each judge who knocks down the hopes of the Schindlers. I saw more genuine caring and grief from the anti-life crowd over Islamic terrorists in women's panties than I see over a woman dying of thirst in a desert blooming with bizarre court findings.

As Screwtape said to Wormwood: "Hatred is best combined with Fear. Cowardice, alone of all the vices, is purely painful--horrible to anticipate, horrible to feel, horrible to remember; Hatred has its pleasures." [C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters]

943 ABC has thanked me for my input

Here's a copy of the note I dashed off to ABCNews about the survey they conducted.

"I've read the questions of your Schiavo poll and frankly, have seen few
polls as biased as yours.

Food and water are not "life support." You probably don't grow and
harvest your own--or even it cook it. We all need help with that. She
could be fed by mouth if her "husband/guardian" permitted it.

She has not received the therapy the award was to pay for, so how would
anyone know if the damage is irreversible. You set up a "straw-woman"
a disabled one at that, in order to stay true to your anti-life

Give us some real, honest questions, and you might get honest, reliable

Click, click. The sound you hear of the remote changing channels."

942 Jesus died for Michael Schiavo

It is Maundy Thursday and I’ll be serving communion at the 6:30 p.m. service. I’m preparing for this. Some time today I’ll probably read through one of the Gospels to put the last week of Christ’s life in perspective (the major focus of the four Gospels is the final week). I’ll do the practical things--like making sure I don’t have hangnails or chipped nail polish, runs in my stockings or stray hairs. I won’t put on perfume today. I’ll make sure I have on low heel shoes or sandals and pick out the right size white robe from the rack in the choir room. I’m rehearsing my lines. As I tear off a piece of bread to give to the members kneeling at the rail, I’ll say, “The body of Christ given for you,” and in my mind I’ll say, “and for Michael Schiavo.”

Sometimes it is hard to put a name and face to the forgiven. Some people claim to have a problem forgiving themselves. Maybe, but let’s look at. It is possible that deep down, by denying that Jesus died for someone else or something really hateful, we are subconsciously denying that Jesus death on the cross was really sufficient. He either died for all, and I‘m in that all and Michael is in that all, or he didn‘t. I can‘t start chipping away at who I‘m going to include in “all.” Whether Michael is in a condition to enjoy the gift of salvation is beyond my knowledge.

“Jesus was put to death for Michael Schiavo’s offences and raised for Michael Schiavo’s justification.” (Rom. 4:25) Maybe you think he is doing the right thing. And that’s OK. You haven’t had the same experiences with the severely disabled that I’ve had and haven’t seen the soul and spirit in the brain injured. You hold your beliefs. For this experiment you don‘t need a Michael; you can substitute someone else’s name--someone who cheated you, deserted you, stole from you, fired you, gossiped about you, favored your siblings, killed your mother, abused your sister, committed adultery, etc. "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins." (1 Cor. 15:17) Think about Christ being raised for them, because if you can’t, maybe you're doubting he was raised for you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

941 Books in the Kitchen

My husband took a look at the newest pile of books on the kitchen floor and sighed, "Why do we have a National Water Summary 1985--hydrologic events and surface-water resouces? " So I had to tell him about the freebie table outside the Agriculture Library (no longer its name, but you get the idea). I'd picked up three government publications from 1985 to see if anything had changed in twenty years. The water summary had really nice maps of all the states, and I'll probably pull out Ohio's. I compared it to the 1999 which was also on the table, but it was only boring computer printouts--no maps on slick paper.

Then there was the 1985 Environmental Education: Progress Toward a Sustainable Future Conference in Washington DC. You should see the mission statement--a full page. Couldn't help but notice that the editors said the papers were "copywrited" instead of "copyrighted," and the articles look completely reuseable if you need them for a 2005 conference. Not much has changed even though we are now in "the future" about which they were writing.

Here's my favorite. "Time Use Patterns and Satisfaction with Life of Single Parent Families; with special emphasis on the female, low income and/or minority family-head." The author was hopeful that her study could be a benchmark; that using her data agencies and institutions would do a better job of supporting and helping low-income, single mothers. But based on her "happiness scale," I think she may have worked herself out of that role. Maybe 51 families is too small a base, but I didn't see much unhappiness (dissatisfaction) here.

Feelings and perceptions were rated 1-5, negative to positive. In the happiness scale if you grouped the 3+ figures with the happy end, you get 80.3% felt good about their lives; if you grouped the threes with the unhappy, you'd get 61.7% were unhappy about their lives. Apparently it wouldn't do to have all those satisfied single moms, so they compared this study with a two-parent study done in 1979 using a different scale, and determined that single mothers had a more negative outlook on their lives than married mothers.

The biggest block of time for single moms (most weren't employed) in a 24 day, was of course, "rest," with slightly over 8 hours; the next largest block of time was "Leisure activities by yourself" at slightly over 5 hours (this was primarily TV). "Personal and family care" got 2.5 hours.

Anecdotal career advice I've seen seems to show that working women with high incomes and family responsibilities are unhappy about time with their children and lack of personal time. This study shows that low income single women are unhappy with their finances but very happy about time spent with family and their leisure time.

So that's what is piling up at my house. What's on your kitchen floor/table?

940 A grim joke

Sometimes macabre humor says it best. Florida Cracker comments today:

"I'm kind of embarrassed about that whole giving to the tsunami victims thing. If I had known how painless death by dehydration and starvation was, I could have used the dough to get my car detailed instead. It's definitely the best way to die. Except for maybe freezing to death- that might be better.

In any case, I don't know what I was thinking keeping Indonesian kids from peacefully going off to heaven."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

939 Let Grant Bondoc stay

With all the illegal aliens we have pouring into this country, I’m baffled that we’re trying to kick one out who has been here for 20 years, since he was a 15 year old child and who knows no other culture.

“Grant Bondoc and his family were members of the Marcos entourage that was evacuated to Hawaii under the Reagan administration after Marcos was ousted in 1986. But after Marcos died in 1989 in Honolulu and his widow, Imelda, returned to the Philippines three years later and ran unsuccessfully for president, the U.S. government ordered the remaining members of the Marcos group to return home, saying there was no longer a reason for them to remain.” LA Times

"A lot of stories we hear on the news are about persons who came to the United States illegally," said Elif Keles, Bondoc's lawyer. "They either crossed the border or came in on a tourist visa and stayed. Grant's case is different. He entered as a minor. He entered with the permission of the U.S. State Department. He was promised political asylum."

Now maybe there is a lot more to this story than what appeared in the LA Times, but I saw him interviewed on the Philippine broadcast of the International Channel last night. He still lives with his parents and according to the article looks after them. He works as a medical office manager and is pursuing a master's degree. He says he doesn't even remember life in the Philippines. I’m guessing he’d have a tough time making it there. The U.S. promised the family asylum and I think we should stick with that if the family doesn't want to return.

What to paint? What to paint?

Elaine from painting class was looking for capri pants for her upcoming trip to Costa Rica and I was looking for any kind of a navy blue top to wear with a new jacket/skirt outfit I bought for Easter before I remembered I'm serving communion and will be covered up with a white robe. "Do you have any idea how hard it is to find ANYTHING in navy these days? It's like the fashion police had decided to pull the plug on navy," I complained. As we stood at the racks ("My size 6 jeans are too big," she commented) she asked if I was going to painting class this Friday. "On Tuesday and Wednesday I always think I'm going to, but by Friday I can't think of anything to paint," I said.

What to paint is always a problem. It has to be small enough to schlep in my bag; can't be breakable; we need some sun for natural light which happens only 37% of the days in Ohio; and then it needs to be something that interests me. Two weeks ago I painted a man praying in a pew from a photo I saw in the Billy Graham magazine. Everyone thinks it is Fritz Hoffman (a local watercolorist), including Fritz.

What to paint? Some artists resort to painting pictures of paint brushes stuck in a jar, or their studio set up, or perhaps a bug that has strolled across the easle. Albrecht Dürer had this problem and here's how he solved it.

937 How to Escort a Prisoner

When I listened to the Atlanta police chief (not sure if that was his title) on TV last week explain why it was safe to have a small woman deputy in her 50s escort a strong, younger, male prisoner I was stunned. I'm sure his mouthing the PC-isms about gender and size were necessary at least until the law suits start hitting the fan and the lawyers for the families start hogging the spotlight. But in the meanwhile, Ann Coulter gets it right.

"I think I have an idea that would save money and lives: Have large men escort violent criminals. Admittedly, this approach would risk another wave of nausea and vomiting by female professors at Harvard. But there are also advantages to not pretending women are as strong as men, such as fewer dead people. Even a female math professor at Harvard should be able to run the numbers on this one." Coulter's article

936 Six dead cattle and the least of these

"In some cases, the food and water were just feet away." That was the opening line of the newspaper article in today's Columbus Dispatch. Writers are taught to put something compelling first, then the general story, then bury the details. This opening did catch my eye, and I thought about Terri. I thought about the outrageous behavior of a judge who decided to postpone his review of her case until 3 p.m. yesterday even though the President of the United States had returned to DC rather than go directly to AZ from his home in Texas. Think maybe the judiary is getting a bit arrogant? Do you suppose he thought she might just die if the judges wait around long enough? When the take abused and starving pets away from their owners do they not feed them while deciding whether to kill them or return them to the abusive owner?

In this case in Franklin County, six cattle starved or died of dehydration because the winter rains had made the pen so muddy, they couldn't get to the troughs. Whether or not the farmer will be charged remains to be seen. But imagine their struggle to get to the food. He apparently wasn't aware of their plight. And what's our excuse? Terri can feel hunger and pain. She's not aware in the same sense we are, but she knows what hunger is. Michael has tried unsuccessfully to kill her before.

Is there a person in the country who doesn't know food and water were close by, that she could actually be fed by mouth if her husband allowed it? That she was trapped in a room with no TV, no window, no stimulation? Sort of like those unfortunate cattle. Stuck and helpless. Matt. 25:42,45 (NIV) "For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink.. . .I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.""

Monday, March 21, 2005

935 The Right to Live vs. Deeply Held Prejudices

When she was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia last year, she found staff willing to "assist" her to death. Jane Campbell, a Disability Rights advocate, finds prejudice against the otherness of the severely disabled alarming. Cambell writes:

"When I was born, my mother was advised to take me home and enjoy me as I would die within a year. As can happen with the prognosis of terminal conditions the doctors got it wrong. Although I was often unwell, mostly with life-threatening chest infections, I thrived in a positive medical environment. Happily, some 40 years later, I remain very much alive.

So before we consider regulating the process of dying we need to deal with deeply held prejudices about the quality of life of people such as myself and those with a so-called terminal illness. When I was admitted to hospital with pneumonia I was viewed as someone near death, but I survived to carry on chairing the Social Care Institute for Excellence. “Terminal illness” is not easy to define. More than a quarter of doctors who authorise assisted deaths in Oregon said that they were not confident they could give an accurate six-month prognosis."

934 A Living Will Won't Settle It

There are two articles in the print Wall Street and one in the on-line version about Terri Schiavo today, all from a different view point. The editorial points out that this is a much larger issue than just Terri's right to live, supporters of Terri are stomping on another favorite cause:

"The "right to die" has become another liberal cause, part of the "privacy" canon that extends through Roe (abortion) and Lawrence (homosexuality) and the Ninth Circuit's views on assisted suicide that the Supreme Court is taking up this year. Of course, it gets a little messy when someone is actually being killed, and a husband with a conflict of interest is the one who claims she wanted to kill herself, but the left apparently believes these are mere details that shouldn't interfere with the broader cause. Thus the discovery of federalism."

Taranto at "Best of the Web" (on-line): "The grimmest irony in this tragic case is that those who want Terri Schiavo dead are resting their argument on the fiction that her marriage is still alive."

What isn't on-line is James O. Wilson's article. He points out the flaws in the hope that a DNR or "living will" will solve future cases. He says these are often ignored because situations or technology are unknownable. He recommends a durable power of attorney. He also has little faith in the courts.

"The moral imperative should be that medical care cannot be withheld from a person who is not brain dead and who is not at risk of dying from an untreatable disease in the near future."

The Netherlands model, he points out, has resulted in over 1,000 doctor-induced deaths among patients who had not requested assisted suicide.

So, regardless of what your opinion is of states' rights, these are issues that need to be out in the open. Also, if you are a Democrat, watch your back.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

933 Almost 15,000

The site meter turned up this statistic from Technorati as it clicked into my site, "14,979 posts matching Schiavo sorted by most recent."

932 Florida Cracker warns Wasserman-Schultz

". . .one of the three Florida Reps who plan to oppose the bill [to help Terri], is my Representative, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. I didn't say anything when her supporters stood with their signs directly in front of the doors of the polling place when I was trying to get through, but if she goes up there and embarrasses us, I'll be out there on the corner of Arvida and Weston with a "No Food, No Water, No Votes" sign the next time that fool runs for anything." Florida Cracker

931 How CBS handled the Smith story

I've been reading the various links that Ted Olsen's blog supplied to the Ashley Smith hostage story--CNN, LA Times, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Christian Science Monitor, and CBS News. Interestingly, only CBS chose to make her past a focus of the story. When I first heard the story, before we knew anything about her faith or the book she'd been reading, my first thought was that if she were a Christian, the media would go after her past, not her present. And CBS came through for me.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

930 Learn English

You can learn English by watching British pop videos. Good luck. I didn't understand some of the words myself. But heard some really great songs.

929 Back when we were young and high-tech

We received a "portable" television set for a wedding gift from my in-laws. It weighed a ton, so only a hefty man could have lifted it, but it did have a handle. My father-in-law worked for RCA, so we were sort of up-to-date on sound and vision high tech doo-dads in 1960. It was also my first experience watching TV on a regular basis--my parents didn't own one, and I certainly didn't have any reason to go looking for one in college (there may have been one in the dorm lounge, but I don't remember). This is when I learned to sleep through football games on the couch with my head in my husband's lap. Even today, a pre-game interview will immediately cause me to look around for a place to nap.

What made our set unusual was that we had a remote control. Yes, in 1960. The wireless remote was invented in the 1950s, not too long after the 1939 launch of television. But sunlight made its photo cells malfunction.

"In 1956, a Zenith engineer named Robert Adler solved this problem by using ultra-sonic technology to create the Space Command 400 Remote Control. This remote, which Adler patented, used aluminum rods and tiny hammers to create the pitched sounds that the television set interpreted as “off” or “on” or “channel up” or “channel down.” The sounds emitted were inaudible to humans (although not to dogs, which were known to howl painfully as the Space Command went about its business) and the device itself required no batteries. The Space Command was the first reliable remote control device, convenient and well-designed, and Zenith had high hopes for its appeal to consumers. . . A slew of copycat devices soon followed, but the increased cost of fitting televisions to receive the remote’s signals kept the remote control from becoming immediately popular with consumers." New Atlantis article.

Our RCA probably had the copycat version, and as I recall, it worked just fine for channels and sound, although you had to either go forward or back. With only 3 major stations, plus a few locals, no one really needed a remote in 1960, which is probably why it didn't succeed the first time around. Today, 99% of TV sets have remotes, and according to the New Atlantis article before the era of cable, there really was no need for the remote. Choices, not need, created the modern remote.

Well, here's a shocker!

Why didn't I think of this research project when I needed something easy to add to the CV? Maybe because it was too obvious?

"A literature review suggests that there is, as might be imagined, an association between sexually transmitted diseases and alcohol consumption, according to Pennsylvania-based researchers."

Sex Transm Dis 2005;32:156-164. Summarized by Reuters Health at

927 Activities this week

My husband thinks he has too many shirts; this week that is good, because I'm behind in the laundry. Have you ever noticed that the more time you have, the less you get done around the house? In the bank of minutes and hours, I'm a millionaire. But I'm so far backed up on laundry, that today I'm doing a pile of blue hue shirts, a pile of green tones, and a bunch of brown/taupe/beige shade, and I've set the water level in the Maytag to "large" for each load. He's such a tidy person that he hangs up his shirts after wearing them, so that's how I get behind (ha ha, what an excuse--it's all his fault, right?).

So what else is going on around our fair city besides my laundry? Well, the activists are busy, busy. It's still cold despite Spring arriving tomorrow, and so they are congregating in meeting places planning events or listening to invited speakers. Here's the calendar for the week, as listed in Alive.

Democratic Socialists of Central Ohio discussing Irish Communist history
Progressive Libertarians
Ohio Medical Reform
Friends of Alum Creek Clean-up (FACT)
Interfaith Prayer Meeting observing the 2nd anniversary of the War in Iraq
Peace March (I think this is national and only for those who haven't heard the war is over and the Iraqis have installed their own government with a higher voting turn out than we had)
Central Ohioans for Peace--something about Israel and Palestine (one guess which side they are supporting)
Columbus Vegetarian Leafleting
Workshop for Social Activists
Stonewall Union
Green Party
Bicycle Advocacy Coalition
Progressive Alliance
Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE)
Earth Institute/Simple Living
IMPACT Safety programs (violence and abuse)
Jobs for Justice
Action Ohio (family violence)

Although I don't know if these groups ever accomplish their goals, they do provide friendship, camaraderie, a sense of purpose, snacks and protection from the weather for lots of people, and therefore are contributing to the betterment of the community. Sort of like churches who've lost their message.

926 Food phrases and foibles

Food writers have the best of both worlds--first they have to eat it, then write about it. In Alive, one of our local free papers that focuses on entertainment, the "Whine List" this week included restaurants in Clintonville, and most seem to be the small neighborhood, greasy spoon variety. Still, the phrases were creative even if the cuisine wasn't.

forgettable run-of-the-mill salads
stuffed with happiness
naughty sirens shimmering in the dessert case
petite primo pizza parlor
sex on the beach sorbet
Cowtown** champion
forks up champion chomp
you'll have the daily special or else
cooked-into-submission green beans
half pound burgers dressed in interesting fashions
down right evil wings
a touch of Youngstown**
small culinary bloom in a concrete garden

** Hometown people under 25 and non-natives of any age without children love to call Columbus a "cowtown"--even though you would never have enough time or money to attend all the art, music, theater and lecture events in the city. Now, you can actually see cattle in what is now the center of the the metropolitan area, because Ohio State has pasture land and barns for research on the west side of the campus (the city grew up around it). This slur is only neutralized by bringing Youngstown into the conversation, which then can qualifiy you as a local.

Last night we switched from "Old Bag of Nails" in the Tremont Shopping Center to "The Rusty Bucket" in the Lane Avenue Shopping Center for our Friday night date. Our suburb's recent non-smoking ordinance has moved all the smokers out of the Old Bag down to Grandview Heights, which means a lot of the alcohol sales are also gone. So in this one location, the owners have changed the menu and raised the prices, moving to more dinners. We like the "pub" atmosphere and seeing our friends and neighbors, so we decided to try Bucket, which opened about a year ago. The decor is just about the same with a little more of a sports bar feel (more TV screens than Old Bag), similar menu, and cheery young ladies to wait the tables. We thought the food was tasty, hot and well-prepared, and the noise level wasn't too painful. We'll probably go back--although we didn't see a soul we knew even though the two restaurants are within a mile of each other.

Friday, March 18, 2005

925 Peggy Noonan lays it down for Republicans

Ms. Noonan points out today that the Terri supporters are in the hundreds of thousands, and those who want to kill her number only one (or two if you count the judge). If her death is a mistake, it can't be undone, AND there will be a political price. To help Schiavo, she resorts to self interest.

"It is not at all in the political interests of senators and congressmen to earn the wrath of the pro-Schiavo group and the gratitude of the anti-Schiavo husband, by doing nothing.

So let me write a sentence I never thought I'd write: Politicians, please, think of yourselves! Move to help Terri Schiavo, and no one will be mad at you, and you'll keep a human being alive. Do nothing and you reap bitterness and help someone die.

This isn't hard, is it?"

The article.

Listening to radio talk shows on this subject all afternoon (Medved and Hewitt on News Talk 870 KRLA) I think many callers and the hosts are missing the point. Even in a diminished capacity, she has a right to live. Regardless if she will get better (and I don't believe she will), we don't kill people for being less than they were, or less than they could have been if the treatment had been better. We also shouldn't let a man decide AFTER his huge monetary award from a jury, that his wife wouldn't want to live this way, when "this way" is the reason he got the money.

Peter Jennings' coverage on ABC tonight was one of the worst, most biased I've seen. But then, I'm not surprised. If Bush is for it, it must be bad.

924 Mass transit, 35 years later

P.J. O'Rourke wrote about mass transit hysteria in the Wall Street 2 days ago, and as usual, was funny until he got ridiculous.

He reported some number crunching on Minneapolis' "Hiawatha" light rail: "The Heritage Foundation says, "There isn't a single light rail transit system in America in which fares paid by the passengers cover the cost of their own rides." Heritage cites the Minneapolis "Hiawatha" light rail line, soon to be completed with $107 million from the transportation bill. Heritage estimates that the total expense for each ride on the Hiawatha will be $19. Commuting to work will cost $8,550 a year. If the commuter is earning minimum wage, this leaves about $1,000 a year for food, shelter and clothing. Or, if the city picks up the tab, it could have leased a BMW X-5 SUV for the commuter at about the same price."

Then he goes on to say this would be unfair to the poor, who would then be contributing to environmental destruction by driving SUVs. A good point on cost, but stomping it to death.

Two of the earliest neighborhood meetings I attended in 1968 when I was a new homeowner and young mother were about 1) the need for mass transit (actually decent bus service with more lines) in Columbus, and 2) need for a teen center in our suburb (our daughter was 6 months old). We had focus groups, neighborhood meetings, ballots, time and again. Many, many years later and we have neither. People really didn't want them.

I really wish we had decent bus service--convenient, timely and cost effective. I live about two miles from the agriculture campus of Ohio State, but I could walk (not jog) there faster than I could take the bus (which stops literally at my door), then transfer when I arrive downtown to another bus up High Street to the OSU campus, where I would transfer to a campus bus to ride to the west side. I'm guessing it would take about 1.5 to 2 hours. And that's the problem. In our spread out metropolitan areas, there is no convenient way to get from point A to B with light rail, bus or trolley for everyone who needs to get to work, school, shopping or church.

I'd much rather throw my support to train service between cities, so I didn't have to park in Toledo in order to catch a train to Chicago or New York.

923 The Auto Show, or Men in groups

We went to the Columbus Auto Show this morning. Unlike the malls, where the women reign supreme, we saw 10 men for every woman. Groups. Bands. Herds. Packs. Old men. Young men. Hispanic men. Black men. White men. Dads with sons. Grandpas with sons and grandsons. Dads pushing baby strollers. Teen boys sitting in convertibles. Peeking into SUVs and Hummers. Men in wheelchairs. Men with canes. Men limping on artificial knees. Ah, they love their wheels.

I showed my husband the Dodge Magnum, my favorite, because the Bentley, the Rolls and the Lambourgini all had "sold" signs so we walked on by after gasping at the prices.

Then we returned to the Scion, a Toyota made car about $13,000, 5 door hatchback, and very comfortable with good leg and head room. Not the boxy, ugly, awkward doored XB but the XA.

"Evidently you don't have to wear hip-hugger jeans or a backwards baseball cap to appreciate a $12,995 car that's fun, frugal, eminently practical, and bulletproof. Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles total car; 5 years/60,000 miles powertrain. . . Scion market research showed that buyers wanted simplicity, so that's what you get. The xA's base price includes power-operated windows, locks and mirrors, A/C, antilock brakes, and a CD/MP3 player. The only functional options are an automatic transmission ($800), side airbags ($650), and keyless entry/alarm ($459)."

The one we saw was sort of a purplish-red. Hmmm. I'll really have to think about this.

922 And they're probably not bloggers

This week I've seen two women at Panera's in the morning wearing pajamas. And possibly one man. I'm sure if I questioned them, they'd tell me to MYOB, or it's the style, or I forgot to dress. Still, it was a bit disconcerting to see a young couple sitting in the lounge chairs by the fireplace, drinking their morning coffee, wearing wrinkled pj's and winter coats. She was in pink, yellow and white stripe with pink rick-rack along the pant leg hem line. She carried a large purse in similar colors. His pj's were sort of a grey and white check.

Novelty pajamas were noted as a fashion trend 3 years ago. It's probably taken awhile for it to get to the Columbus suburbs, and for me to notice.

921 What's going on in Pennsylvania?

The price index for real estate in today's WSJ showed that the average sales in zip code 19085 has changed 72.8% in one year. I suppose it only takes a few sales at the high end to change the figures. That's going to make all the web-sites about Villanova out of date.

920 The male's advantage,

Listen up Harvard. You don't need your President to suggest that maybe men and women have different brains. Just look at their feet!

I saw an ad in USAToday (3-18) for (sells shoes). It was a simple, classy black and white ad with a powerful message at several levels. The shoe on top was a man's dress, slip-on business shoe. I wiggled my toes. I breathed deep. Casual, but dressy. Youthful, but with the message, "I know a few things."

The second, lower shoe was an ankle-breaking, corn-festering, 4" sling-back for women. My feet hurt just looking at it. I frowned. Hers had a message too, "I'll look good no matter what, no matter the price."

The bold words screamed from the page, "You're going places." Yeah. But the men will get there faster and be more rested and comfortable.

The March issue of Nature has an article about the X chromosome factor in the brains of women and men. As they further investigate how the X factor affects social behavior, maybe they'll come up with a foot-fetish clue that causes male designers and women consumers to think alike.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

House acts to save Terri

This website of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee contains the press release on H.R. 1332, the Protection of Incapacitated Persons Act of 2005.

"H.R. 1332 authorizes the removal of cases in State court to U.S. federal court to vindicate the federal rights of incapacitated persons under the U.S. Constitution or any federal law. Such proceedings would be authorized after an incapacitated person has exhausted available State remedies and the relevant papers must be filed in federal court within 30 days after the exhaustion of available State remedies.

“What’s going on in Florida regarding Terri Schiavo is nothing short of inhumane. She’s facing what amounts to a death sentence, ensuring she will slowly starve to death over a matter of weeks. Terri Schiavo - a woman who smiles and cries and who is not on a respirator or any other 24-hour-a-day medical equipment - has committed no crime and she has done nothing wrong. Yet the Florida courts seem bent on setting an extremely dangerous precedent by saying we must stop feeding someone who can’t feed herself. Who’s next - the disabled or those late in life? This legislation is the humane and right thing to not only protect Terri Schiavo, but also to reinforce the law’s commitment to justice and compassion for all, especially the most vulnerable."

918 A lovely Library in Dublin

I've already blogged about this day at 916, however, in checking a link to the Book of Kells that wasn't working right (probably too many hits today), I found this lovely web page for Trinity College Library of The University of Dublin, with a very friendly and attractive newsletter on site.

"Trinity College Library is the largest library in Ireland. Its collections of manuscripts and printed books have been built up since the end of the sixteenth century. In addition to the purchases and donations of almost four centuries, since 1801 the Library has had the right to claim all British and Irish publications under the terms of successive Copyright Acts. The bookstock is now over four million volumes and there are extensive collections of manuscripts, maps and music." [from library web page]

So as I clicked through some of the databases, I came across the "Early English Books Online," but of course, I needed a login and password to use it. EEBO, I learned, was: "Launched in 1999 as a joint effort between the University of Michigan, Oxford University and ProQuest Information and Learning, the partnership allows participating libraries to help shape this full-text archive. Partnership is open to libraries that purchase Early English Books Online (EEBO)."

Once I saw the word "ProQuest" I was pretty sure I could get into this by switching to the Ohio State University Libraries web page (which is not pretty or easy to use like Trinity), so I did. And if you have some connection to a major library, or even visit one, you'll be able to see this marvelous resource, including the facsimiles of both the most famous and most obscure works in pre-1700 English (including North America) language, literature and culture. I chose the author William Tyndale to search (77 entries).

From the EEBO webpage: "Early English Books Online (EEBO) contains digital facsimile page images of virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America and works in English printed elsewhere from 1473-1700 - from the first book printed in English by William Caxton, through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare and the tumult of the English Civil War.

From the first book published in English through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare, this incomparable collection now contains about 100,000 of over 125,000 titles listed in Pollard & Redgrave's Short-Title Catalogue (1475-1640) and Wing's Short-Title Catalogue (1641-1700) and their revised editions, as well as the Thomason Tracts (1640-1661) collection and the Early English Books Tract Supplement. Libraries possessing this collection find they are able to fulfill the most exhaustive research requirements of graduate scholars - from their desktop! - in many subject areas, including: English literature, history, philosophy, linguistics, theology, music, fine arts, education, mathematics, and science."

Although I'm a confirmed "book person," I am many times overwhelmed by the richness of resources on the internet that time, space and money would never allow me to see otherwise.

917 The economics of health

We had a low budget wedding and received modest, but useful gifts--many of which I’m still using after 45 years. Like the butcher knife I used on the corned beef slab to make it fit in the crock pot this morning; the turquoise color nesting Pyrex bowls I use everyday to either mix, serve or store food; and the white metal bathroom scales I haven’t stepped on in the last four weeks. I looked through Google’s images to see if I could post what this little treasure looks like with all its 1950s sleek, aerodynamic design, but couldn’t find one. I remember the couple who gave it to us, but not their names. Indianapolis. The husbands worked together as draftsmen for a coal company. She was a hair dresser. They were about 45-ish, so have probably gone to their rewards now. This metal scale has followed me through lots of dress sizes over the years, and depending on what that is, may accumulate dust for months at a time.

However, today in a WSJ article about new household appliances and gadgets I noticed the "HoMedic Total Body Fat Analyzer Scale." It sells for about $140 and will tell you where the fat is on your upper and lower body (currently I use a mirror for that), and what your optimum levels are (I've had this body for 65 years and I think I know that answer). It measures how much body water you have, skeletal muscle mass, and the calories you can have to maintain the weight you want.

In 2003, the most recent date I could find for comparison, $10.00 in 1960 would be $62.16 using the Consumer Price Index; $50.21 using the GDP deflator; $76.13 using the unskilled wage; $129.77 using the GDP per capita ; and $208.66 using the relative share of GDP Relative value. Relative value

In 2004 the adjusted dollar cost for a gallon of gasoline was the same as the 1960 price ($1.79), but it would take 20 new cars to equal the pollution of one 1960 car (which we didn’t have in 1960 so we were polluting even more). But I digress--the price of gasoline in 1960 really doesn't have a thing to do with this story. So I’m thinking I could probably buy the $140 scale, and go with the GDP per capita figure (adjusted a little for 2005), and completely justify it in my mind as the replacement for a 1960 scale. Still, the 1960 scale was a gift, costing us nothing (because the wedding was in Illinois, they didn't attend). Maybe I’ll just keep it and use the mirror and tape measure and start walking to the coffee shop.

916 Happy St. Patrick's Day

The best book you'll ever read about Ireland is "How the Irish Saved Civilization." But the best card is the one I saw last week at the St. Pat's dinner at our friends' home. The main cartoon showed a weary man behind the wheel of a car with a bunch of snakes stuffed in the back seat some leaning out the windows. The caption said something like, "Why St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland." The snakes were saying things like "I gotta pee," "Are we there yet?" "He's touching me," "I want the window." All the parents howled. Even after all these years how well we remember those car trips with kids in the back seat.

"Cahill tells of how the Roman and Irish worlds met in a young Roman kidnapped from his British home by Irish marauders. Born Miliucc, he would spend six years in slavery, escape, and return as a Christian missionary. That missionary had learned much about the Irish people during his time as a slave and, blessed with a gentle faith and a wonder of the world around him, would make Ireland the only land converted to Christianity without violence. The Irish in turn would come to love their St. Patrick and approached Christianity with energy and fervor. A form of Christianity evolved that allowed the Irish to maintain some of the Celtic traditions that were an integral part of their world.

As Christianity settled in, monasteries were established throughout Ireland. The monks became passionate scribes not only of the Scriptures but also of other classical texts that were as risk of being lost after the fall of the Roman Empire. Celtic art forms were among the traditions that survived into the Irish Christian era and would lead to the development of spectacular illuminated manuscripts at the monks' hands. The Book of Kells is one well-known example of the monks' phenomenal artistry. "

When I went into the kitchen to feed the cat this morning, on the counter was a card, a small gift and a huge St. Pat's day pin from my husband. And what did you get your spouse? (Confession: I always forget, and didn't even have a card.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

915 Kerry blames the media--just not the right ones

Now John Kerry is blaming the media for his failures last fall. Says they are biased toward Bush. That’s so absurd it is laughable--just pathetic. Every book store and library I stepped into was loaded with anti-Bush material. The mainstream media went out of their way to report negatively about Bush and ignored the charges of the Swiftboat Veterans when they surfaced in March 2004. Even when their book was on the best seller list, it wasn’t reviewed in the major sources. It seemed half the country knew about the Swiftboat Vets but ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN were afraid of Kerry--or hated Bush too much.

So Kerry isn’t pointing fingers at the MSM, because he can’t. According to Howard Kurtz in WaPo,

"'We learned,' Kerry continued, 'that the mainstream media, over the course of the last year, did a pretty good job of discerning. But there's a subculture and a sub-media that talks and keeps things going for entertainment purposes rather than for the flow of information. And that has a profound impact and undermines what we call the mainstream media of the country. And so the decision-making ability of the American electorate has been profoundly impacted as a consequence of that. The question is, what are we going to do about it?'"

A sub-media that keeps things going for entertainment purposes? Wouldn't this include "Hardball" and "Crossfire" as well as O'Reilly? Al Franken as well as Rush Limbaugh? Cable networks going wild over Scott Peterson and the Jacko trial? For some reason, Kerry exonerates the mainstream media for some of the same sins he sees in other parts of the news/info world.”

Yes, it does look like bias--but not against Kerry. Fortunately, says John O’Neill, in a recent interview, Kerry threatened stations after the first ad appeared in August (the Vets had hoped their March story would keep him from being nominated so the Democrats would have time to select someone else--many weren’t Republicans).

“The threats against the station managers led to extensive publicity, particularly on the "Hannity and Colmes]" show and then on other FOX News shows. Then it spread to CNN and to MSNBC. More than 1,400,000 people downloaded that first ad, and it swept through the Internet. It also allowed thousands and thousands of people to start donating money to us at our Web site.

Three weeks after it was put up, half of all the people in the United States had heard about that ad and about us and yet there had never been a story about us on ABC, NBC, or CBS or in the New York Times.”

Some good has come out of the torturous months and threats the Swiftboat Vets endured. O’Neill says:

“It haunts all of us that the first Vietnam veteran nominated for President would be John Kerry--the very last person most veterans would pick for high office. But it is ironic that his run for the White House may have finally initiated some less fictionalized thinking about the war.”

914 Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

This hymn in 4/4 time with 4 flats is almost 120 years old. Written by Elisha A. Hoffman based on a passage in Deuteronomy 33:27, it can be slow and nasal, or toe tapping, hand clapping and sprightly, “what a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms.” I came across it today because it was the March 16 selection in the book “Amazing Grace; 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions” (Kregel, 1990).

I don’t recall ever hearing this hymn in my home church in Mt. Morris, Illinois--we rarely sang anything with a strong beat, a waltz tune, or revivalist vigor--and you could almost do a slow jitterbug to this one. So I will forever associate it with a tiny church in Flat Creek, Kentucky, (near Manchester) where my sister Carol served with Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) in the summer of 1956. The only service I attended in the little church included this hymn, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” but they sang it like a mournful dirge. The small, poor congregation, who leaned not only on God but each other, the nasal harmony, and the heat of that summer have always stayed with me reminding me of Carol when I hear it.

The Church of the Brethren is a small, Anabaptist denomination founded in 1708 in Germany, and is often linked with the Quakers and Mennonites because of its pacifism and service. After WWII the church started a volunteer service program in 1948 with one or two year service opportunities preceded by a training program. Initially, it attracted mostly young people, but in the 60s began drawing more older and retired adults. Click here for history and service information about BVS.

My parents, brother and I had traveled to Flat Creek to visit Carol in the mountains where she lived with another volunteer and a “house mother” who sort of acted as a chaperone and helped with the domestic duties and a garden while the young women taught Sunday School and Bible School, provided recreational programs for the children and programming for adults. The mission also had a minister, but I’m not sure where he lived or if he may have served several churches. We went in July, so we may have driven down to be with her on her birthday.

I don’t know what the area looks like today, but getting there by automobile was quite a challenge in 1956. The unpaved roads seemed to be teetering on the edge, and if you met someone coming the other way. . . well, someone would have to give. The houses on the hillsides seemed to be built on stilts and cars and trucks on blocks shared the yards with chickens and dogs. To get to one of the little mission churches they served (may have been a home rather than a church building), Carol rode there on horseback. Since she’d never shown any interest in my horse, I found the sight of my older sister riding bareback almost more amazing than anything else I saw that week. I also encountered young girls my age who were already married, and some with babies--I was 15. We grew up in rural Illinois, but rural Kentucky in the mountains in the 1950s could have been another country--even the language didn’t sound like anything I’d heard.

We talk about kids growing up fast today because of the media influences, but after Mother's death in 2000 I brought home and re-read her letters to my parents she’d written that year and was just stunned by what the church expected of those very young men and women, many away from home for the first time, and most without even college or work experience. Today’s young adults of that age are in a time warp trapped in fantasy, make-believe and gaming compared to those teens of the mid-50s who were experiencing real life.

Training Unit photo. BVS unit 28

The training period was 8 or 9 weeks in New Windsor, Maryland, on the site of a former Brethren college. While she was still in her training, there was terrible flooding in Pennsylvania, and these kids were pulled from classes to go out and help clean up the disaster, which included finding a dead baby (mentioned in one of her letters). She served as a community surveyor in a suburb of Denver while living in the basement of the pastor’s house (and I believe babysitting was part of that job, too). She was also a guinea pig at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland before being sent to Kentucky. After Carol’s year in BVS she enrolled at Goshen College in Indiana and became an RN. Some years later she earned a master’s degree. She died of a diabetic stroke in 1996.

Looking back at her life that year and her subsequent years of ill health, I think Carol truly must have been “leaning on the everlasting arms.”

913 English and Alcohol

When I took the English test and got a score that said I was more knowledgable than 99% of the people in my age group, I thought WOW. But when I took the alcohol knowledge test and it also said I knew more than 99% in my age group, I figured it just wasn't running the numbers for my age group because not enough people were taking the test. I answered the alcohol questions randomly because I know nothing about alcohol and only have an occasional glass of house wine. I've never even tasted beer, so I left one of the beer questions blank which offer that option. Still scored pretty high. So I guess that's why I curved so high in English. Darn.

Update: The link to the test for Mr. Cloud.

912 LeetSpeek

If you’ve wondered why you see so many numbers, capital letters and screwed up spelling in some teens-on-line-chat, you’ve probably been reading “leet.” Take a look at this site, “A Parent’s Primer to Computer Slang” by Microsoft to decipher what those bilingual kids are talking about. If you come across pr0n (porn) or h4x (hacks), it may mean something bad is going on.
Tip from In Season Librarian

911 Worst Neighbor Award

When we were in Florida in February 2003 I recall reading in the local Longboat Key paper about the battles with street lights and dog feces. Now Florida Cracker has the follow-up to one of the stories I might have read.

"[Psychologist] Holli Bodner had a yearlong feud with Jean Pierre Villar about street lights and dog poop before committing him to a mental health center in April 2003." Tampa Bay 10 News

I debated about skipping this number because of all the false hits it will bring to this site, but it is also the date of our anniversary. So if you've wandered in here expecting something else, my apologies, but enjoy your visit.

The Blogger posting mechanism is really messed up and is double and triple posting entries.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

910 Tara Parker Pope

Tara Parker Pope writes a weekly column for the Wall Street Journal on health, and she answers questions from readers. She also contributes occasionally to career articles. She has also written a book on the cigarette industry. I know nothing about her--I just think her name is fabulous and wonderful. Because she writes about health issues, I’m guessing she gets a ton of mail telling her that she is wrong, crazy or in cahoots with the evil pharmaceutical industry or conversely, the alternative medicine wackos. This entry is not about that. I just like her name. With a name like Tara Parker Pope, she should be in a sit-com or on stage, so I’ve written a poem about her.

Tara Parker Pope--
such a lovely name;
sing it, play it,
hang it on a rope.

Tara Parker Pope.
she of Wall Street fame;
read her, write her,
She will help you cope.

909 Mending is a sacred rite

Several weeks ago a button popped off my husband’s sport coat as he was getting ready to walk out the door to usher at church. He rushed upstairs to grab another jacket, leaving the button on the kitchen counter, where is sat until yesterday. About three days ago he brought the button-missing coat down stairs and hung it wordlessly in the hall, where it stayed for a day. I finally moved the poor thing to the dining room and laid the button on top. That put it within 5 ft. of my mother’s sewing cabinet. I think I was secretly hoping a needle and thread would appear and do the job. Meanwhile, the cat has discovered it and thinks the button should be on the floor.

Today I was looking through the photocopy of my mother’s commonplace book which she compiled between 1946 and 1999, although I think some things were published earlier, just not pasted in (poems about the war, for instance). Reading one poem about mending made me pause and wonder if young wives and mothers mend these days.

Women Mending by Nelle Graves McGill

All women at their mending wear a look
As legible as any open book;
And by the way in which they bend above
Each garment, show their wisdom and their love.

A girl just mends her dress to make it do--
Impatiently--till she has something new.
A young wife darns an unaccustomed sock,
With proud, expectant eyes which seek the clock.

A mother sews a tiny button in place
On baby’s gown, a glory on her face;
Or patches up a rent in son’s best breeches
As if she’d reinforce the youth by switches.

But grandma’s fingers touch a boy’s torn cap
As if it were his head upon her lap;
Her tremulous hands are light above the seam
Of grandpa’s coat, as though she darned a dream--
Most frail and beautiful--to make it last
Until his need, and hers, of dreams be past.

Old women know that women must repair
Life’s worn habiliments, to keep life fair;
They know that mending is a sacred rite,
To be performed with prayer, while God gives light.

I checked Google to see if Mrs. McGill might have a collection of verses. I didn’t find anything, but she is in my anthology of “Contemporary American Women Poets" (1935). However, I did find an obituary for her daughter Monna who died two years ago at age 93. She’d been a radio and stage actress in New York, had worked in Kansas City, and then returned to her hometown to live with her parents (probably to care for them) and worked as an editor and correspondent. She published short stories, poetry and essays.

I’m sure there is a story in there somewhere, but I need to go pray over a button while there is light.

908 Using Loose and Lose

Are you lost? Losing your way with the words "loose" (lus) and "lose" (luz)? “She had to loosen her slacks, so she dieted to lose weight and then her slacks were loose.” “Loose morals caused him to lose his way.”

lose, lost, losing--a verb
loose, looser, loosest--an adjective
loosen, loosened, loosening--a verb

“People who study errors in language make a systematic distinction between inadvertent errors -- in the case at hand, slips of the pen or typos -- and another type of mistake, which arises from imperfect command of the conventions at work in the larger community of language users -- in the case at hand, "spelling errors" in the sense of errors involving the conventions of spelling. Writing or typing "teh" for "the" is an inadvertent error, and a very common one. Writing or typing "loose" for the present tense or base form /luz/ of the verb whose past tense is spelled "lost" is, I maintain, almost always something else; people who spell this way, and there are a great many of them, almost always intend that spelling (while those who spell "teh" surely do not intend that spelling).”

Read the whole article by Arnold Zwicky at Language Log.

907 When dependency means a death sentence

“Terri Schiavo’s death is not imminent. She is not on a ventilator, dialysis, or other life sustaining equipment. She is not awaiting a transplant or other major surgery. She is not in pain. She has two parents and siblings who love and care for her. She has access to good health care. If given basic care and food and water her life will continue in more or less its present state. The very fact that her present state is pretty miserable is precisely why some think she should die. . . .Those advocating Terri Schiavo’s death, including her husband, are not making their case on medical grounds, but on Terri’s radical condition of dependency and low quality of life. “ Father Michael Black

First seen at Jordan's site.

906 The Democrats' resistence to private accounts

Why have the Democrats been so virulently opposed to salvaging Social Security with private accounts, I've wondered. It didn't make sense. It could save our safety net. It could help the poor. In the late 90s they were saying SS was broken and broke. (Of course, they were also reporting that Iraq had WMD in those days.) Maybe it is just hatred of anything Bush?

I think John Zogby has really put his finger on it in an editorial essay in today's Wall Street Journal (Mar. 15, 2005) Zogby's polling firm has analyzed the 2004 election from every possible angle, and turned up some interesting information about Democrats who are also part of the self described investor class.

It is possible that if George W. Bush is successful in creating a larger investor class, a group that goes across all the demographics of female, Hispanic, Black, middle-class, etc., the Democrats will lose their base.

The investor class is self-identified as 46% of the total vote in 2004, and their world view tends to be conservative, middle-class, modest, and saving for the kids' college. And if they are Democrats, many of them voted for Bush.

"Like the New Deal, the president's "ownership society" is a compelling new vision and veritable redefinition of a society less dependent on government largess, of a middle class more independent and more capable of securing financial security on its own."

That would be bad news for the Democrats who need a large group of poor, disadvantaged and minority constituents to maintain their base. There will be many more theories and ideas thrown out for consideration to save Social Security, but this one by Zogby answered a nagging question for me.

Monday, March 14, 2005

905 No Late Fees

Scribbling Lizard (Gekko) is really determined to find out the true story behind the "no late fee" advert at Blockbuster. So, she clicked, and clicked, and clicked on their website until she finally found something definitive about just how they get those videos back with no incentive.

"If you still have a movie or game seven (7) days after the due date shown on your receipt, we will convert your rental to a sale. The movie or game will be sold to you at the selling price in effect at the time of rental, which is either the retail price, or, when available, at the previously-rented selling price, less the initial rental fee you paid."

Gekko muses and does the math: "So you do get a late fee, after all. The fee amounts to somewhere around $15 - $25. They've simply extended the late fee period from the due date, to seven days following the due date. Seven days times their previous $3 a day late fee charge was $21. Hmmmm. And they pretty much say "You just bought yourself a movie or a game, fella." Cool. Unless the movie was a piece of crap.

Well, thank goodness they have that covered! If you don't want the movie, you can return it, and get credited the sale charge."

Nice investigating, Gek.

I think libraries do something similar. If you keep it too long, you own it.