Sunday, December 31, 2006

3315 You are so blessed

This one will make you think about your blessings as we enter 2007.

You are so blessed

Saturday, December 30, 2006

3314 Dream Girls

is the movie I wanted to see this week-end, but there is wall to wall football, and you know what that means. A stunning review in Rolling Stone.

My husband says it's a chick flick, and even if there were no football he wouldn't see it. What do you think?

3313 Does this book make me look fat?

This surprised me a bit. Not sure how to take it.

"As a woman ages, she lets up a bit on what she sets as her ideal body weight. Systematic studies have found that over the age of 30, a woman will rate her ideal figure as significantly larger than that perceived as most attractive to men." p. 146, The Longevity Bible.

I like to think women over 30 are just less influenced by what the ad agencies say look good. What do you think? If I weighed what I did in high school--120--which was fine for a 17 year old, I'd probably be rushed to the hospital.

, ,

Friday, December 29, 2006

3312 Friday Family Photo

Our fifth Christmas in the condo.

Christmas Eve 2006

Christmas 2001, our 34th and last in the house where the children grew up

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Having the New Year's Talk about Finances

About once or twice a year we go over our finances. The upcoming new year is a good time to think about projects and special gifts that dip into our savings account. So this week we had "the talk."

1. My husband is going on a mission trip to Haiti--or as our daughter has reminded us since she heard, "one of the most dangerous countries on the planet." However, he isn't going to Port au Prince. Then our son-in-law chimes in with snake stories even though we tell them he will be in the city. He will be helping with construction projects for a Christian school where one of our pastors is teaching that is closer to the border with Dominican Republic than to the capital (which really is crime ridden).

2. Special one time gift for our church which seems to have hit a financial rut in the road to support three campuses and eleven Sunday services.

3. Annual gift for the Lakeside Association, the Methodist Chautauqua community on Lake Erie where we own a cottage.

4. IRA contributions for our children.

5. New stove top for the kitchen. This has been on the list for two years. Only two burners have a work ethic--the other two work when they feel like it.

6. Repaint the bedroom. It looked pretty good to us when we moved here compared to the dark brown and gray living room, orange dining room, electric yellow guest room and red family room, but now the dark blue faux stripe walls are looking a bit, um, dark (male decorators used to live here). We'd like to find a color that will work without replacing the carpeting. I asked my husband if he'd like to do the painting himself, and he quickly and emphatically said, NO.

7. Replace the ceiling fan in the bedroom. We really need the fan because it gets hot in the summer. It works fine, but has an ugly problem. Are there attractive ceiling fans? I've never seen one.

8. Replace the cheap medicine cabinet in my husband's bathroom. It's so cheap the door bends when you open it. Add a second mirror with a nice frame.

9. Replace the light fixture in the bathroom, which doesn't cover what it replaced.

10. Find a better bookcase for the bedroom (I've rearranged it and it looks better, but I have to leave it on the list or I won't have 13).

11. Try to find a head board for our bed that matches resembles our 1963 oiled walnut contemporary dressers. I believe this was on last year's list.

12. Find new bedding that works with the new wall color and the new headboard.

13. Replace the wall mirror in the dressing room area which has become streaky with age and can't be cleaned up.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! Leave a comment and I'll add your name and URL.

Visited and visitors last week and today:
Alison, Amber, Amy Christopher, Anale, AnnaMary, Beth, Bookworm, Bubba, Carol, Caylynn, Celfyddydau Chelle Y. Cheryl, Chickadee, Cinderella, Cindi, Christine, Dane Bramage, Darla, East of Oregon, Gracey, JAM, Jane, Janeen, Janet, Jen, Julie, Katia, Kitty, KT Cat, Lady Bug, LaughingMuse, Laura, Leah, Lisa, Ma, Mar, Melissa, Mikala, Misti, Momtoanangel, N. Mallory, Pippajo, Rashenbo, Sanni, She, Shoshana, Silver, Skittles, Something Blue, Sonny, Southern Girl, Smurf, Sparky, Staci T, Susan, Susan (Mustang), Teena, Terrell, Terri, Tiggerprr, Wackymommy, West of Mars.

3310 The MSM dissing President Gerald Ford

No, it can't be about him or his family, it has to be their agenda--anti-Bush, anti-war. I'm thoroughly disgusted that our media can't let the man's body even chill, can't get him brought home to Michigan. Just jump right in--it's all about you guys, right? It's not like you haven't had six years to beat this monotonous drum. Ford deserved better. We the people deserve better.

I listened to Sam Donaldson (former news grump) interviewed on radio yesterday. Of course, he had to mention it was a kinder, gentler time back then when Ford was president, that the 70s weren't like today--much less partisanship! Huh? It was Watergate, Sam. It was the Vietnam War, smug face John Kerry, the protestors, the failure to protect millions of our allies when we cut and ran. So Sam doesn't recall how the press was all over Ford for pardoning Nixon? Sam! What planet are you living on these days?

And then WaPo and Bob Woodward decide the day after his death is the day to release comments he didn't want published while he was alive. What'd they do? Post someone at the door of the bedroom and text message it in? And then ABC News had an interview with some idiot professor who taught History of the American Presidency who just guffawed about what an "ordinary" president he was, and how clumsy he was even though he was our most athletic President.

You guys ought to be ashamed.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald R. Ford

I was surprised when the tears came. He was a fine man who dedicated a large part of his life to his country. His memorial site.
The Ford family in 1976

3308 No more fat lips

My daughter gave me a lip restorer for Christmas. Yes, when I was young having fat lips was not in style, and now that they are and women pay a lot of money for all sorts of unhealthy enhancements, mine have pretty much disappeared (it's called aging). I don't try anything new without reading the ingredients--especially on my mouth. It's a two part system. In the first part I noticed "benzyl nicotinate." Sounds nasty, doesn't it, like it might be from tobacco? So I found this neat site called, "Science Toys" which I think is for kids, and it explains various chemical ingredients. It's a B vitamin, and a vasodilator, so I suppose that's what its purpose is in a lip plumper (doesn't that sound funny?)--opens the capillaries and makes the skin red.

Then in part 2 I found an ingredient called butyro spermum Parkii. Now that really sounded gross until I looked it up and its common name is Shea's Butter. It comes from a tree in Africa, and you can buy it in bulk to make your own cosmetics, or in health food stores, and you can even buy it fair traded from cooperatives like you do coffee.

The print is very small and I have another 10 or 20 to look up. But the next time you see me I just might have my fat lips back.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

3307 Not everything grows old gracefully

When leaving the public library this morning, I walked by the reference/ reserve section for . . . well, children I suppose. But very old children. When I was the librarian in the Veterinary Medicine Library at The Ohio State University, I was horrified by the science fair projects that brought school children to my library. Because school children can't get there on their own, they were usually with their parents and if I was on duty I could warn the parent that the project was not appropriate (if it involved the health and well-being of an animal). At that time, I looked at what was available in the public library so I could make referrals to better sources, but discovered many hadn't caught up with the times in terms of animal welfare.

So I stopped and looked again today. Here's the copyright dates I noticed--1950 [outdated even when I was in school], 1962, 1970, 1974, 1980, 1982, 1984. There were many from the early 1990s. But I was really stunned to see "Science projects with computers," with a 1985 copyright date. These books belong in a history of science teaching collection.

Although the general concepts and plans can remain the same in the revised editions, the bibliographies and web content information needs to be updated--many of these books pre-dated the web--and also this visually sensitive generation needs illustrations that don't look like mom and dad or grandpa when they were kids. I use a very well-heeled public library--it can afford to print color bulletin board displays that reproduce book cover images on deep hue backgrounds that must require gallons of ink. Surely it can spring to update the science fair collection and withdraw or send to storage the out of date materials.
Borrowed from a Manitoba science fair

3306 Three Silly Chicks

is the name of a group blog effort that reviews funny books for kids. The three contributors are also authors of children's books and have their own personal journals. Stop by here--if you have children, or grandchildren, and you love to put books in their hands, you'll really enjoy this site.

Top 10 New year's Resolutions

Will you be making any New Year's Resolutions for 2007? Even if we don't keep them, it's always useful to reflect on our habits and lifestyle to assess what might need a change. The only resolutions I ever kept for any length of time were 1) to stop biting my fingernails, and 2) always put my keys in the same place in my purse. Those two tiny changes made a huge difference in my appearance, and my frustration level--and I did it about 30 years ago. There is nothing more off-putting than watching someone nibble at their hands (unless it is watching them smoke or getting smashed). By not digging many minutes a day in my purse, I bought myself a lot of time.

These are from Goals Guys website, and the original article, with permission to reprint, is much longer, but I've shortened for use here, adding a few asides.

Top Ten New Year Resolutions

The following list is the result of our extensive survey, which consisted of over 300,000 responses worldwide.

1. Lose Weight and Get in Better Physical Shape

Are you ever going to be fit again as long as you live? The answer is unless you make a resolution to get fit – you’re never going to be fit – ever. The choice is yours; it begins by opting for the stairs instead of the elevator, fruit in place of chocolate, and active rather than sedentary activities. I've lost the weight, now I need to add the exercise. I'm wearing my new pedometer I got for Christmas!

2. Stick to a Budget

The good news is that most people find the longer they can stick to a budget, the easier it becomes. We had to do this for a few years when my husband started his own business; wasn't that hard because we'd always been careful. But we are going to sit down together and review our year's expenditures.

3. Debt Reduction

Make a resolution now to stop charging anything and to get financially stable. If you can't pay cash for it, you don't need it, make it just that simple and you will find yourself out of debt in no time at all. We have no debt, so I can skip this one.

4. Enjoy More Quality Time with Family & Friends

Starting right now, you can begin to make choices and take day-to-day actions that will create nothing short of a phenomenal family. You can choose to have one if you just resolve to do it and know where to put your focus. Making our families stronger and healthier is important to our communities, our state and our world. We'd love to spend more time with our friends, but we seem to have more time than they do--grandchildren! Thinking about inviting a few folks in before I pack up the Christmas dishes.

5. Find My Soul Mate

Soul mate relationships Marriage gives both partners the fulfillment that deeply satisfies them and makes them feel that they have found the most wonderful person in the whole universe. I did this many years ago, and I think "soul mate" is an inaccurate, misleading term, so I struck it out. Soul mate sounds awfully narcissistic to me--not for the long term.

6. Quit Smoking

Becoming a non-smoker is probably one of the best decisions you can ever make, and is a life changing as well as a life saving decision. I am so thankful that I never got mired in this mess--in fact, I'm not sure I even feel sorry for you smokers anymore like I used to. If you don't care about yourselves, why should I?

7. Find a Better Job

It's corny, but true -- most of us get reflective at this time of year and if we are in jobs already, we begin thinking: Am I on the right path? Do I like where my position and my company are headed? Am I even in the right career? Oh yeah--I'm retired and loving it. But I still enjoy libraries and all they offer.

8. Learn Something New

Whether you take a course or read a book, you'll find education to be one of the easiest, most motivating and beneficial resolutions to keep. Challenge your mind in the coming year, break out of currents routines and challenge every comfort zone and watch your horizons expand. That's why I blog and why I read your blogs--so don't disappoint me in 2007.

9. Volunteer and Help Others

Resolve to replace the pursuit of success and materialism with the pursuit of contribution and generosity. For this to occur, the critical question must move from, “How can I become successful?” to, “What can I contribute that will significantly impact other people's lives?” By focusing on what we can contribute, we automatically become successful. Yes, I could use a little work on this one. Maybe a lot. Haven't quite found the right fit.

10. Get Organized

Resolve this year to plan your days, reduce interruptions, clean off your desk, say "No", and make detailed lists. The benefits of getting more organized include being able to save time, as you no longer look for the same things over and over again or need to replace things you can’t find at all. Last year at this time we did a massive clean out and reorganization, but I see some clutter reappearing behind closed doors--I'll try to nip it in the bud.

Goal Guys Reprint Policy: You can freely reprint this material (full version, not mine) with the following reference source: Gary Ryan Blair is the inspiration behind the phenomenon -

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Sunday, December 24, 2006

3303 Christmas service on Hallmark Channel

The listing of Christmas programs on TV today included one on Hallmark Channel by Church of the Brethren, the denomination in which I was baptized when I was 11. So I've been watching it, and found the service similar to what I expected--message of peace, reconciliation and some diversity with handsome young people. However, the music is lovely, all based on the Luke 2 birth story, and even if you know nothing about this anabaptist group, you'll enjoy it. The choir from Juniata College (Huntingdon, PA) performed, as well as a children's choir from Indiana, and congregational singing. Shawn Kirchner, minister of music at the LaVerne (CA) Church of the Brethren, directed the musicians and arranged many of the selections. It was originally created for CBS in 2004.

To purchase this on DVD.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

3302 Fresh coffee

I've got some new posts over at Coffee Spills my blog about the people I meet and greet at coffee shops. Sometimes the stories I hear are just too sad or mystifying to repeat even at a blog among millions. If you've ever pondered why some people seem so mired in the quicksand of near-poverty, just listen a bit. After you've heard about the live-in boyfriend who only occasionally works, or the son who is developmentally challenged, or that she doesn't want a better job because it's all she can do to make it through the day now, or the surgery that probably isn't going to work (because he's so overweight)--well, it's really hard to gin up the indignation I read in the hard luck poverty stories in the paper. Or catch that conversation of the grandmother telling about her granddaughter's $55,000 wedding for a marriage that went sour after one year because he was an alcoholic. You realize even rich folks with good jobs and first class educations can botch up what should be a very good life.

3301 In Hoc Anno Domini

Each year the Wall Street Journal reprints a 1949 editorial by Vermont Connecticut Royster, the Journal's editor and president (1960–71) of its publishing company, Dow Jones & Company.

Through the miracle of the WWW, I learned that Kay Kayser (band leader) was his cousin, and he was named after his grandfather Royster, whose siblings were also named after states. The boys were Iowa Michigan, Arkansas Delaware, Wisconsin Illinois, and Oregon Minnesota. The girls also had states' names: Louisiana Maryland, Virginia Carolina, and Georgia Indiana. These unusual appellations were listed in "Ripley's Believe It or Not" and found their way into the pages of the Saturday Review and Saturday Evening Post.[Book Rags]

Anyway, it's an excellent essay, well worth reading once or twice a year, especially if you're wondering about the price of freedom or the value of stability.

Friday, December 22, 2006

3300 Hannah Montana

Until I read someone's Thursday Thirteen yesterday whose daughter wanted a Hannah Montana (doll?) I'd never heard of this Disney character. Sort of out of my range of interests. But today the WSJ mentioned that the album for this 14 year old sold 1.6 million copies in 2 months. It is marketed to 8-12 year olds.
The Disney plot: a young teen moves from Tennessee to Malibu and moonlights as a rock star (undercover, I think) managed by her dad. In real life Miley Cyrus, who plays Hannah, and her TV dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, are in fact, father and daughter. Why would any dad in his right mind want his 14 year old dressing like a hooker--and encouraging your 8 year old to want those clothes?

3299 The Year in Sports

Allen St. John writes some pithy copy called "A year in numbers" in today's WSJ citing 10 top sports numbers such as percent of his team's points (67.5) by Kobe Bryant, and Trevor Hoffman's career saves (482). No women appear on the list. My non-sports-expert opinion:
  • Women talk too much (now it's official)
  • Women are not good team players; they hold grudges way too long (see my post on Nancy Pelosi)
  • Women's bodies are different than men's, putting them at a disadvantage for all the sports that were invented, arbitrated and refereed by men. Their blood pressure is different; blood volume less; muscle structure is smaller; center of gravity is lower; pelvis is wider. Hey, I couldn't make this stuff up; it matters in jumping, leaping, hitting, and trying to behave like a 15 year old when you're 30.

3298 Pan's Labyrinth

I watched the trailer for Guillermo de Toro's political horror fantasy at someone's blog yesterday. Will definitely not be on my "to see" list. Got a movie you'd like to recommend for someone who doesn't like suspense, violence, action, mystery, fantasy, horror, or bad language? Also, the pets can't die, and it can't ridicule old people.

3297 Stop tweaking!

I am sooooo sick of everything I use trying to improve (keep the staff busy through Christmas?). I haven't yet been able to switch to Blogger Beta, which now isn't calling itself that. None of my blogs appear on the dashboard. The new adobe acrobat (version 7?) is just a pain to read on screen and to scroll. The new IE just makes a mess of my blogger template when I try to add a link (requires about 3 clicks), and it takes 4 or 5 clicks to get out of some people's comments. And the spam filters some of you are putting up. Gracious. Good-bye Chickadee--I'll never visit again. Switch to something better if your home for your blog can't protect you with some blocks. Firefox "improved" something a day or two ago--wonder if it will still make my computer crash if I don't start out in it. And I swear I won't click to register on Thursday Thirteen until the owner finds a way to stop flooding my mailbox with replies I didn't sign up for. I didn't register to comment on the TT forum to complain, because I'm plumb out of patience with registering so I can comment. You'll just have to find me after I find you on Thursdays. I think yesterday I had to delete 120 bulk mailings from my medscape account because of TT. And Mr. Linky--folks--all the links disappear the next time you use that link stealer. Links have to appear on the first page to be counted or recognized.

I'm off to get a cut and color so I'll be gorgeous for the holidays. Maybe everything will solve itself by the time I return.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

3295 December twenty first poem

I posted this three years ago, last year and here it is, December 21 again.

Christmas will be here in only four days.
House is festive--we found the artificial poinsettia
in the attic with other mementoes of holidays past.
A big roll of wrapping paper--blue with snowmen--and scissors
wait on the dining room table for those final exchange gifts
we’ll take to Indiana, socks for a guy, gloves for a girl.
The decorative shopping bag waits for its next assignment.

Christmas will be here in only three days.
It’s always been a pagan holiday, but now it’s more so.
The cranky ACLU is just spinning its wheels in snow
because not even Christians can make it religious these days.
Mistletoe, holly, evergreen trees, candles, and Santa Claus,
feasting, caroling, office parties, gift giving and shopping.
It’s all worldly or completely secular, therefore legal.

Christmas will be here in only two days.
The early Christians scooped up local winter festivities
in a giant snowball, soft and white, and pronounced it holy.
The godly let the Angles, Saxons and Romans keep their ways.
People do not care who they worship if they have a good time.
Our Puritan forefathers tried to stamp out the revelry.
They were the nay sayers of yesterday, spoiling the party.

Christmas will be here in only one day.
Yes, there really is a new born babe, and a sweet young mother,
and angels announcing to shepherds in the fields, Peace on Earth.
But Rachel is weeping because Herod is killing her sons.
One baby lives on only to die on a cross for my sin,
including celebrating his coming rather than going,
his birth, not his death and resurrection.

Thursday Thirteen

13 Gifts my mother gave at Christmas.

You probably think I'm going to list wonderful personal qualities and characteristics, like honesty, integrity, kindness, etc. No, this really is a list of presents given to us children at Christmas from a woman who made every dollar count, was practical and believed educational things would last. The gift tags said from "Mom and Dad" or "Santa," but we knew who picked them out and wrapped them. Looking back, some of these surprise me (we were were always supervised, but some don't look real safe in retrospect) and this covers about a 10 year period.

Thirteen Gifts

1) Wood burning set. I don't know if these are still made for young children; the box included stamped designs on wooden plaques, metal hooks for hanging, and an electrical tool with multiple points for burning. Then the plaques were painted and shellacked.

2) Building sets: Erector set (for my brother, but I got to use it). We didn't have elaborate sets, but there was a little electric motor. Lincoln logs (for my brother, and I didn't get to use this).

3) Records (probably 78 rpm) with stories; I think some were the sound track of movies. I remember "Treasure Island" with Bobby Driscoll.

4) Oil painting by number. Usually a horse or dog printed on canvas board.

5) Chemistry set. I think it had test tubes and little jars of crystalized chemicals.

6) Pottery kits. These were extremely popular in the 50s--don't know if they still are. The kits had rubber molds and a plaster to mix with water. After drying, the mold was removed and you painted the object. Getting out the bubbles was always a challenge. She also bought us pottery we could paint and glaze. I still have some of them.

7) Embroidery stamped towels, pillow cases and dresser scarves with the thread. Sometimes she also bought the transfer design and we would hem the towels, iron on the transfer, and make our own.

8) Small metal looms to make woven squares from stretchy loops which were then stitched together to make something. I doubt that I ever completed a single project.

9) My first Bible, a KJV with Jesus' words in red, maps, leather binding with gold print. I still have it.

10) Books. I still have some of them, like the Marguerite Henry horse stories and the Black Stallion series. We got magazine subscriptions from her mother.

11) Board and card games. Sorry, Monopoly, Checkers are some I remember best. Authors was a favorite card game. This was even approved for use at my grandparents.

12) Glass dishes, metal pots and pans, and metal stove and sink, white with red handles. I still have my glass dishes. The little kitchen appliances lasted into the 1960s and 70s for their grandchildren to play with.

13) Art supplies--drawing pencils of various hardness. Different types of paper. One box of "oil crayons" I may have kept for at least 40 years. Possibly still have them.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! Leave a comment and I'll add your name and URL.

Visited and visitors today:
Amber, Amy Christopher, Anale, AnnaMary, Beth, Bookworm, Bubba, Carol, Caylynn, Celfyddydau Chelle Y. Cheryl, Chickadee, Cinderella, Cindi, Christine, Dane Bramage, Darla, East of Oregon, Gracey, JAM, Jane, Janeen, Janet, Jen, JMom,John, Julie, Katia, Kitty, KT Cat, Lady Bug, LaughingMuse, Laura, Leah, Ma, Mar, Melissa, Mikala, Momtoanangel, N. Mallory, Pippajo, Rashenbo, Sanni, Shoshana, Silver, Skittles, Something Blue, Sonny, Southern Girl, Smurf, Sparky, Staci T, Susan, Susan (Mustang), Terrell, Terri, Wackymommy, West of Mars.

3293 Volunteering at the Food Pantry

Tuesday I had the opportunity to work at the Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio newly remodeled Choice Food Pantry. I was very impressed with the new layout and system which I believe provides the client with more responsibility, dignity, and less waste. The food is now all arranged on movable shelving units (can be stocked in the back and moved to the client area), color coded by USDA food pyramid graph. After the client is screened and approved by an experienced staff member, the volunteer picks up the card with the amounts allowed (a family of 10 with 6 children would have very different needs than a retired couple), and walks with the client through the aisles and they pick out what they know their families will eat. People with diabetes or cholesterol problems stop and read the labels. It takes a little longer than the old method where the volunteer selected the items, but in the long run there will be less waste. Tuesday had a special treat that I would have loved--30 piece slabs of wonderful, fresh corn bread from a local restaurant. Only one family unit turned it down. Each family can have as much bread (muffins, bagels, rolls, buns) as they can use up without it counting as a choice.

Because it is the Christmas season, each client also received age and sex appropriate gifts purchased, packaged and wrapped by the churches of central Ohio. Some families received table decorations and stockings with personal care items until we ran out. Adults received knit hats and gloves if they wanted them. Each child in the family received a very nice selection of new books, including a hard cover children's Bible.

Did you know that the "working poor" families and the welfare families in this country have about the same income, but the working families by percentage of income are the most generous of any group? Yes, they donate a higher percentage of their incomes than do the wealthiest income group; and welfare families with about the same income give almost nothing to others. There is dignity in work and self-sufficency. Occasionally, something happens to people of limited means--maybe grandchildren have to be taken in, or a heating bill is outrageous, the support check doesn't come, or there's an illness, so they need a little boost from the food pantry.

LSSCO distributed 2,416,715 lbs. or $2.8 million worth of food, and used 28,000 volunteer hours in 2006. This time of year 80-90 family units are being served at the location where I worked. The poor in the USA are not underfed or poorly clothed; many are overweight or obese, they dress well and have access to or own an automobile. For whatever personal circumstance, they are in a moment--or a month--of hardship. However, the Bible says in Matt. 25:35 that it is the ones feeding the hungry who are benefiting, because they are meeting Jesus, the Son of Man, who will be separating the sheep and goats. Keep that in mind the next time you are needed as a volunteer. There are no goats in heaven; only sheep.

3292 More about Christmas letters

Previously, I posted about a Christmas letter I got from the OSU Medical Center, which hasn't yet deleted my name from its list of employees (6 years I've been retired). I just counted our printed Christmas letters on festive paper, fifteen, and our hand written letters and notes, also fifteen. This is a pretty skimpy survey, but based on past Christmases, I think only Democrats include political statements in their Christmas letters. Anti-Bush, anti-war, global warming, etc. Nothing like 2004, however. Although, I suppose if someone mentioned stem cell research or abortion (no one did), that would be a draw, because it could be considered a seasonal message, Jesus having been an unattached embryo at one point in his life. But I give liberals a pass on this, because I used to be a Democrat, and thinking back, I think I probably used my Christmas letter to smack others around too, but now I have blogs. Did you see me on the cover of Time Magazine?

We also received a lot of nice family photos. Most of the people we know seem to be repopulating the earth with grandchildren--5, 8, 10. Over the years, we've watched their kids growing up; now we're seeing the grandchildren. We love the family updates, and worry for a few moments over the people who are missing from the photos.

We've also received some wonderful original poetry and art. My friend Lynne (from high school) always has something fabulous. My brother-in-law is terribly clever, and our son-in-law-once-removed (brother of our son-in-law) also has a cute one. Several of our artist friends sent reproductions.

I just LOVE getting mail. Don't let any Grinchivious advice columnist tell you otherwise.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

3291 Joseph Rago doesn't have a blog

He's a highfalutin journalist, writing for the WSJ (MSM) and bloggers are just scum. Check it out. If you're reading this, you're an imbecile, and I'm a fool for writing it.

3290 The Christmas letters

Yesterday was probably the big haul--maybe 10 cards and 4 or 5 letters. Today I got a lovely Christmas letter [holiday letter] from the Ohio State University Medical Center thanking me for all my hard work and dedication in 2006. "The success we have achieved would not be possible without [my] your contributions and all of us working together as one team."

I retired over six years ago, but there's a few folks over there who haven't noticed I'm gone.

But I learned a lot reading the Christmas letter [holiday letter]:
  • There is a $780 million expansion project, the largest upgrade and expansion of facilities in OSU Medical Center history--this year they completed the Biomedical Research Tower (800 researchers identifying the mechanisms of disease) and started the expansion of the Heart Hospital and Digestive Diseases Tower.
  • All kinds of new talent and administrators have been hired.
  • The Center improved in national rankings in ALL three of the mission areas--patient care, research and education
  • The Leapfrog Group named the Center to its list of top hospitals in the USA in quality and safety.
  • US News & World Report ranked our hospitals among America's Best for the 14th consecutive year and in the top 20 for the 2nd year in a row
  • We were named one of the 100 most wired health systems by Hospitals & Health Networks and
  • received the CIO 100 Award from CIO magazine.
  • The faculty hold almost $200 million in sponsored research funding--triple the amount when I retired (was it me?)
  • We have the 8th largest medical student enrollment in the country--only 9% of the applicants are accepted.
  • Financially, 2006 was the best year ever--we generated more than $1 billion in revenue and reinvested almost $50 million back into our organization in all areas.
But we went to Finland, Estonia and Russia, Bay View, Michigan and Columbus, Indiana, California and Illinois.

3289 Malaria's Silent Spring

The October 2006 Budget Travel has two unrelated items, linked unintentionally. After p. 30 there is a full page ad for Malarone (atovaquone and proguanil HCl). An attractive couple is sunning on a tropical white sand beach joined on a third cot by an ugly, huge mosquito. "It could take just one bite from one infected mosquito to get malaria," reads the text.

Then after p. 57 there is a pull-out booklet, "Born in the U.S.A." by Michele McEvoy with details about where 50 important Americans grew up (includes Elvis Presley, but not Ronald Reagan). There is a paragraph on Rachel Carson, Springdale, PA, "credited for galvanizing the modern environmental movement" with Silent Spring and banning DDT.

Thus, we can also credit Ms. Carson, who was not a scientist, with the deaths of millions of Africans from malaria, more than died in the brutal trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 17th and 18th centuries. To date, there is no record of anyone ever dying from exposure to DDT.

That's one homestead I don't plan to visit.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

3288 How Kool is this?

Trinkets and Trash is a website that keeps track of all the artifacts of the tobacco industry with an archive of tobacco products and tobacco industry marketing materials. Items are indexed by brand, media, and type/category (point of sale, free gift, gender, ethnicity, signage, etc.). Database includes a photo of the item. I came across it when I was reading an article in Tobacco Control which mentioned that Kool offers small business grants for creativity. Apparently, a simple addiction isn't enough. Death has no measure with these guys.

Zippo lighter/tape measure Marlboro

3287 Next they'll be telling us there's no Santa Claus

Seven health myths about the kids and flu and cold season. I believed most of these, although my kids never had ear infections.

HT Rebecca, who has a really great blog with wonderful stories about hymns.

3286 Darwin's Works on-line

I'll never need this, but perhaps you will. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online.

"This site contains Darwin's complete publications, many handwritten manuscripts and the largest Darwin bibliography and manuscript catalogue ever published. There are over 160 ancillary texts, from reference works to reviews, obituaries, recollections and more. Free mp3 downloads are available."

Wrong, but on-line. Amazing world we live in. There are times, however, that I wish Christians had the faith in God that the secularists have in Darwin.

3285 It's still just a baseball cap

and it's rude and unattractive to wear them inside. I still have to remind my husband to take his off while kissing so I don't get an eyebrow injury or have my glasses knocked off. See this.

Monday, December 18, 2006

3284 Don't wait to start saving

It will cost you a lot of money.

"David is 25 years old.
He begins saving $2,000 a year for ten years (until age 34) then stops. A total of $20,000 has been invested.

Katie, age 22, plans to wait until age 35 to start saving and will invest $2,000 a year until age 65 at a total investment of $62,000.

Who would you expect would have more money at 65?

If you guessed David, you were RIGHT!

David’s initial investment of $20,000 in stocks (at an average interest of 10%) would be worth $545,344 at age 65.

Katie’s initial investment of $62,000 ($2,000 X 31 years) in those same stocks would be worth $352,427 at age 65."

And if David hadn't stopped, but kept going until he was 65? He'd have $815,771. think of it. Just $2,000 a year. That's just a little more than a pack of cigarettes a day not bought and smoked.

Project Cash How time affects the value of money

Monday Memories

Did I ever tell you about my brief, Christmas singing career?

my pimped pic!
This memory is a bit fuzzy, but I think it was for Christmas 1947 that my mother organized her four adorable children, 6, 8, 10, and 12, into a quartet and we performed for the various organizations and church groups in our little town of Forreston, Illinois. It was a very small town, so people must have heard us more than once. I'm not sure if Mother was overcome with ambition, or the townspeople were trying to make us feel welcome, or if there was a huge shortage of programming, or all three. My oldest sister played the piano, and the rest of us, little stair steps dressed in our Sunday best, faced the audience and sang, "Frosty the Snowman," "White Christmas," and "Winter Wonderland." My sister continues to perform as a church musician, but the rest of us had no talent and we outgrew cute. However, it was fun--and I still know the words.

You'll find lots of ways to modify your photos with beards, wigs, hats or antlers with this.

My visitors and those I'll visit this week are:
Anna, Becki, Chelle, Chelle Y., Cozy Reader, Debbie, Friday's Child, Gracey, Irish Church Lady, Janene, Janene in Ohio, Jen, Katia, Lady Bug, Lazy Daisy, Ma, Mrs. Lifecruiser, Melli, Michelle, Paul, Susan, Viamarie,

3282 Person of the Year

Finally, I'm a POTY mouth. Time magazine named all of us who have contributed content on the internet, such as BLOGGERS, as person of the year. The magazine started this in 1927, so we've got some illustrious and infamous covermates.

With a mirror on the cover, Time released its Person of the Year today, "because it literally reflects the idea that you, not us, are transforming the information age," Editor Richard Stengel said.

According to Reuters, we "beat out candidates including Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, China's President Hu Jintao, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and James Baker, the former U.S. Secretary of State who led Washington's bipartisan Iraq Study Group."

I humbly accept this POTY award.

What's your blog list?

A-List Blogger

This is based on the frequency of posting and the number of links. With 809 links in the last 180 days, I'm an A list blogger. It's based on Technorati figures, and that's about as much as I know. Certain people who comment here who haven't posted since last winter, would be a D-list blogger.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

3280 Munching through Sunday

My, it's a rough season to be watching your diet, isn't it? We had a lovely Christmas, sit down dinner at Howard and Betty's beautiful new home up in the next county this afternoon. After two hours we said good-bye to old and new friends and headed for Jan and Marvin's for an afternoon open house. There we saw many we knew from church. After an hour of munchies and conversation we came home to rest up, now we're leaving for church to hear Dave and Pam, recently returned from their ministry in Haiti. They'll be going back after Christmas and in February my husband will go there on a short term mission. Then after that presentation, our small group will be going out--eek. More food. But so wonderful to get together with so many great folks.

3279 Tattoos for librarians

Lorcan Dempsey reports in his blog about a recent visit to book sites in Chicago where saw this at Chicago Comics: The Illustrated Librarian: 12 temporary tatoos for librarians and booklovers. Includes 'I love Dewey Decimal System', 'Read or die', 'Born to read', 'Literate 4 life' with conventional assortment of hearts, skulls, scrolls and gothic script.

3278 And we're giving AIDS/HIV advice and drugs to Africans?

Dr. Anonymous in her memoir Unprotected which was reviewed in the Dec. 14 WSJ reveals that medical personnel can warn college kids about healthier living--trans fat, exercise, sensible weight--but not that their sexual behavior is dangerous and unhealthy.

"I'm discussing a taboo topic here: the dangers of radical social agendas in my profession. My colleagues are well-intentioned, and care deeply about their patients. But campus counseling centers are whitewashing the painful consequences of casual sex, STDs and abortion.

They are promoting the notion that men and women are the same. They are not educating young people about future and family. In these issues, so central to campus health and counseling, we are failing our young people."

She can't suggest to a depressed female student that the source of her pain might be the casual sex vs. her desire for love and commitment.

When she treats a young homosexual college student engaged in "high risk behavior with multiple people she discovers by policy she cannot insist that he be tested for HIV. And if he were to submit to voluntary testing and the tests were to prove positive, she would not be allowed to report this information to the local health department--even as she would have to for any other communicable disease." [from the review]

Publishing details.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

3277 Brightly colored lunch

Yesterday I ate one of the prettiest, most colorful and healthy lunches I've had in a long time, and three months ago you wouldn't have been able to get me to even consider it. If you read this blog, you know that for a Thursday Thirteen, I listed my 13 food triggers I was going to avoid, so I could lose some of my "blogging weight." After getting broadband about three years ago, I'd put on 20 pounds, flirting with 150, a new friend I definitely didn't want to get to know better because it had bounced me to the low end of the "overweight" BMI category. After 77 days, I was at 134 and feeling great. Eventually I'll get back to my "normal" 130, but there's no hurry, and with the holidays upon us, it will probably be nearer the end of January.

But what do you eat to replace all those bad-for-you favorites? I tried a number of new things and kept at it until my taste buds adjusted. Prepared food and bags of snacks no longer fill my grocery cart. Black beans and bell peppers were two things I never ate. Now I open a can of fiber rich, high protein beans (someday I may learn to cook dried beans, but I suspect life is too short), rinse them (to get rid of the salt and goo) and put them in the frig mixed with brown rice for my lunch salads. I keep the peppers, high in Vit. A, in 3 colors always around to throw at something that needs a little color.

Yesterday's lunch was a colorful masterpiece. First I grilled some chopped onion in a little olive oil; then I added some dark collard greens, the leaves rolled and sliced into pretty, thin circles; I put the lid on just a few minutes to steam a bit, then added some chopped red bell pepper and about 1/3 cup of frozen yellow corn; earlier in the week I had prepared a mix of brown rice and black beans, dividing it into 4 containers, so I added a container of that--probably 4 oz. of the beans and 2.5 oz of the rice. Oh my. Tender crisp and almost too pretty to eat! I should have taken a photo.

Collard greens are mild tasting, and really easy to fix sauted. I think one of the reason I had a negative impression of this wonderful cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli and cauliflower is that I'd only had the overcooked drowned in bacon grease or steamed-to-death dishes. One cup of collard greens (and I probably only had 1/2 cup or less) has 880% of the Vit. K requirement, 119% of Vit. A, almost 60% of Vit. C and lots of the trace minerals and vitamins you're probably buying in your multivitamin pill. It's high in fiber and calcium.

If you're taking a blood thinner for some reason, you should avoid foods high in Vit. K. When my dad, who never met a green leaf vegetable he liked, was taking coumadin for congestive heart failure, he would just beam when reading the list of green leafy things he shouldn't eat. Even without green veggies, he lived to 89.

3276 The Multiple Cat Household

How do you do it? Yesterday, see previous post, I stripped all the bedding, including the blankets, and vacuumed and turned the mattresses. We have one small, short hair domestic, 7 lb calico. The cat hair I clean up day-to-day and week-to-week is just amazing--from the cold air returns, from the chair seats in the dining room, from the kitchen floor, from every upholstered piece in the living room, from my office chair (black) and settee, from the lint filter in the dryer, from the blinds, the lamp shades, inside the ribbon and bow sack we pulled out to wrap presents, and occasionally (but I'm very careful), from the food! So I'm asking you with more than one cat (and I see them on your blogs), do you just live with it and send your guests home covered with fuzz and hair, or do you spend the time you're not blogging vacuuming cat hair?

Friday, December 15, 2006

3275 All I want for Christmas is a new pillow

While stripping the bed down to the mattress today to wash all the bedding, I looked at the stained, sad, pathetic down pillow that my husband uses (I'd taken off the pillow protector and the pillow case), and said to him, "Ten percent of a two year old pillow might be made up of dead mites and their droppings, either the North American or the European, but we probably have the North American, don't you think?" (Don't tell me people who've been married close to 50 years don't have anything to talk about!) "How old is this one?" he asked. "I think my mother got us new down pillows about twenty years ago for Christmas," I said. "Maybe you could get me a new pillow for Christmas," he suggested.

See the fact sheet here--then go out and buy your family new pillows for Christmas.

3274 The HPV Vaccination Debate

The religious parents who are objecting to the HPV vaccination on the belief it will encourage promiscuity need to rethink what they know about sexuality, viruses, and human behavior. Yes, you can teach your daughter your standards and ethics when she is an eleven year old middle schooler, but that control and information will not extend to the man she marries 15 years from now. She could be a pure as the driven snow, absolutely faithful to your standards, a wonderful godly woman. But she meets and marries a man, let's say a future Calvinist pastor, who didn't have your standards before his conversion to Christ a few years before he met your daughter. You would risk your daughter developing cancer in middle age through no action of her own because of what you objected to when she was in middle school? Or let's say, she's the one who slips up. I know, I know. You can't imagine that she'd ever be willful or commit a sin (God doesn't grade on a curve, you understand). But it could happen, and that pesky virus might stick around for many years to develop genital warts and then cervical cancer. Wise up, religious parents. Protect your daughters. This is not birth control pills or condoms handed out with a wink and a nod for next week's prom. This is a vaccine for a life time of protection.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

1) will not appear today.
2) Roadrunner was down in our area for a long time, and
3) although I drafted something yesterday,
4) there wasn't enough time to tweak it.
5) If you come here often,
6) you know I have high standards for blogs written by women (and some guys).
7) I'm even fussier about my own stuff.
8) Besides, I'm going to a party this afternoon,
9) and hosting one this evening,
10) so I really don't have time to come up with a meme worth reading.
11) But I did bake an apple pie, and
12) put out some snack yummies for this evening,
13) so it's not all bad when the internet goes down at our house.

Have a good day--and I'll check on you later.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! Leave a comment and I'll add your name and URL.

Visited and visitors today:
Amber, Amy Christopher, AnnaMary, Beth, Bookworm, Bubba, Carol, Caylynn, Celfyddydau Chelle Y. Cheryl, Chickadee, Cinderella, Cindi, Christine, Dane Bramage, Darla, East of Oregon, Gracey, JAM, Jane, Janeen, Jen, JMom,John, Julie, Katia, Kitty, KT Cat, Lady Bug, LaughingMuse, Leah, Ma, Mar, Pippajo, Sanni, Shoshana, Silver, Skittles, Something Blue, Sonny, Southern Girl, Smurf, Sparky, Staci T, Susan, Susan (Mustang), Terrell, Terri,

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

3272 This doctor is clueless

Dr. John A. Parrish, Harvard Medical School, writes about his 89 year old mother's death in "An unquiet death," JAMA Vol. 296, No. 21, Dec. 6, 2006. At age 89 his mother was imprisoned in an observation unit of a hospital (no bathroom, no nursing care) for knee swelling and agonizing pain. She had an orthopedic surgeon who was abrupt, superficial and no time to listen to Dr. Parrish's sister, who had become her mother's caregiver in this medical wasteland. Finally, his mother had had enough, and insisted on being taken home "to die." Her mind was absolutely clear when she talked to her daughter by phone. When the daughter arrived, her mother's speech was garbled and she was disoriented. Then in what sounds like a three stooges movie if it weren't so tragic and pathetic, the mother dies, alone and unconscious, in transit after a generous dose of morphine on the way to a non-acute care facility, which sends her back to the emergency ward. Now after her death, the loving caregiver, her daughter, is despondent and has sold her home which she shared with her mother, and can't stop crying.

John Parrish, who apparently never took time off from his busy academic schedule to do anything but check with his sister by phone, should have never written this essay, because he comes out looking not only like a bad doctor covering for other medical personnel, but a whiny, ineffective, uncaring son and brother. Read his list of rhetorical questions--you haven't even read the article, but I'll bet you'll be coming up with some snarky answers for him, as I was.

"With righteous indignation should I investigate and document every decision by every actor in my mother's care?"

"Am I obligated to use my mother's story as a case study?"

"Would my complaints help call the frequently unanswered question of who is in overall charge of a complicated patient hospitalized by a specialist managing an acute episode?"

"Should I feel guilty because I wasn't there?"

"Would my mother's providers have listened to a chaired professor at Harvard Medical School?"

"Would my discussions with her physicians and nurses have resulted in more communication among them?

"If I had been there, would I have participated in decisions about definitive care, assignment to a fully staffed hospital room, and regulation of pain meds?"

"Does my sister now having sobbing and shaking need an apology from a series of busy people?" [I can certainly think of one.]

"Should I focus on the benefits of my mother's prior health care--decades of caring physicians? Mastectomy, pacemaker, etc."

And this he doesn't put in the form of a question, but a statement: "My mother and sister were spared the stressful communications and difficult decisions required for end-of-life care at home. . . a dignified, calm death at home with loved ones is the exception because it requires so much decisiveness, planning and coordination with health care professionals. . .uncomfortable with the goals of dying at home."

I hope he's a better doctor than he was a son, but that final comment that we really can't expect a calm death because the medical profession is too clumsy makes me wonder.

3271 Is trans-fat making you fat?

No. Too many calories and too little exercise is making you fat. If New Yorkers don't reduce their calories will it make any difference if foods have only healthy fat? No. So why the war on trans-fat when it is behavior and not ingredients? Will it cause Americans to eat less? If the war on fat content of prepared foods and snacks a few years back is any indication, it will make us heavier. The tasteless texture of snack food with zero fat and more sugar didn't help anyone, did it? Has a worst textured and more disappointing morsel been created than fat free ice cream?

Trans Fatty Acids accounted for about 2.5 percent of the calorie content of the U.S. diet prior to any changes prompted by the 2006 requirement for the inclusion of trans fat in nutrition labeling. Overconsumption will not be solved by getting this minor amount out of our diet.

Let's globally warm up the bird flu with the trans fatty acids and throw in some spinach and green onions for flavor to keep this scare alive.

Read or download Trans Fatty Acids and Heart Disease

3270 Responses to Kerry and Rangel insults

James Taranto's column (he's on vacation) is carrying responses to John Kerry and Charlie Rangel who both recently insulted the fine men and women in uniform, while hiding behind the cloak of being veterans themselves. I thought this one (pt. 5 of a series) by Stephen deVore was pretty good:

"Because I'm so stoopid, per Jon Carry, I'm probably writing to the wrong Web address to add the tale of my own idiocy to the ranks.

Just like Rangell suggested, I was one of those Midwestern kids too poor to go to college on my parents' dime, so I thought I had to go into the military. And just like Jon Carry said, I ended up in Iraq, or near enough (the Persian Gulf, twice, Kuwait, and Somalia for good measure). I only had a 1460 SAT, which put me in that mental category of "bright enough" to go to Annapolis, but obviously not up to Carry's or Rangell's standards.

After I drove ships and flew planes for the Navy, I got out and went to law school at Columbia (I know, Sen. Carry, it's not Yale, but what do you expect from a stoopid military guy?). To make my wife happy I went over to the Sorbonne and got a French law degree too, although there is no doubt that Jean le Carré must certainly speak la belle langue better than I, as he is well-educated and looks the part too. All I can do is practice law in French, which is about all that us mental category III guys who had to go into the service are able to do.

Today, I work down at one of those big Wall Street law firms, which means that I am heartless to the plight of the poor, being too rich (as contrasted with that man of the people from Massachussetts--hey, he married well!). More proof of both arrogance and sorry-sod sailor's ignorance: I don't know how to windsurf."

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

3269 How Women Work

Nancy Pelosi has selected former Border Patrol agent Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, whose ignorance on international matters is well known, to lead the House intelligence committee instead of Rep. Jane Harman, D-California, who everyone, even Republicans, says was eminently qualified and the best candidate. Why? She hates her, according to the gossip. That I couldn't say, but I do know this. For a guy in charge, that wouldn't make any difference. He'd want to select someone who'd make him look good. Not so a woman; the relationship is the primary focus. Who cares about Al Qaeda. Who cares about our security. If you've crossed her (not just Pelosi, but any woman) you're in trouble and it will never change.

3268 An Update on Katrina

St. Casserole says there are reasons their place is still a mess--others need the help more.

The latest issue of Preservation (Nov-Dec 2006) has an article on New Orleans in 1867. That year the mayor said, "Our city is in a state of utter hopelessness." During the Civil War its great port had fallen faster and farther than any other city, from nearly unrivaled commercial success to scarcity. One in five of Louisiana soldiers had died in the war; vestiges of slavery were everywhere. The levees were neglected, and Lake Pontchartrain was a natural marsh buffer which would later be drained.

The article has spectacular photos by Theodore Lilienthal, a Frenchman hired to photograph the city to draw investors for rebuilding. The photos were rediscovered in 1994 and the entire portfolio will be published in 2007.

Archaeologist Shannon Lee Dawdy wrote an article for the July/Aug 2006 issue of Archaelogy, "In Katrina's Wake." She says it is a city shaped by disasters. "Every past catastrophe has sparked a growth spurt and launched a new and interesting period in New Orlans' history. The city wouldn't be what it is without disasters, and there have been many. Hurricanes and floods ravaged New Orleans in 1722, 1732, 1831, 1874, 1915 and 1965. Fires decimated the city in 1788 and 1794. Yellow fever and cholera epidemics killed tens of thousands of residents in 1832, 1853, and 1878."

The current efforts at clean up have given her a new perspective on another disaster she had been researching before Katrina from a fire in 1788. On this assignment she spent a lot of time doing neighborhood surveys, photographing sites and talking to residents who had returned to rebuild. She thinks now that many of the items she found in a 1788 trash pit thrown out by the family were the result of the emotional aftermath of the disaster and impatience with the clean up--just what she has seen with the current disaster.

She sees many differences in this disaster from the earlier ones: people just have more stuff; in the past there was no insurance or FEMA; rebuilding is much quicker; most of the population is manually unskilled, unlike earlier generations who would have repaired rather than dump their belongings.

3267 Fiddy thinks Oprah is an Oreo

Mr. 50 cents, an ex-con rapper, will probably not be too thrilled with Barack Obama then, if he doesn't respect Oprah for her accomplishments and being the wealthiest business woman in America. Thinks she caters to white women. Yeah, Fiddy, like there's a huge audience in day-time TV for gangsta rap.

Rapper $.50 told Elle magazine that Oprah isn't black enough, according to Leonard Pitts Jr. in today's Dispatch. She's better known than Hillary, and more influential than Condi. This loser seems to hate successful black women. Maybe because she hasn't dropped a baby for some man of his ilk to abandon?

It will be interesting to see what Fiddy and others say about Barack Obama, who looks white, talks white, walks white, probably doesn't let his kids listen to hip hop or rap music and is supported by white, left-wing money. That's why the MSM loves him--they can close their eyes and not see a black man. He's a vanilla frosted Oreo.

And it wasn't Rush Limbaugh who called the Senator Osama Obama, it was Ted Kennedy. Rush Limbaugh just made fun of Kennedy for stumbling over his name (Kennedy first called him Osama bin Baden, then corrected it to Osama Obama during a speech). The left needs to stand up and take credit when they screw up and not blame it on unelected talk radio hosts.

3266 Comment Problems in Blogger Beta

I've tried to leave comments at some blogspot sites, but if you've switched to beta, it won't let me in--like Janene (Ohio), for instance. I don't know if this is also going the other direction. It didn't seem to be a problem a day or two ago, unless a whole bunch of you have converted this week. I'm still using regular blogger because I have such a huge blog, I'm afraid I'll lose part of it since it has so many bugs.

You can e-mail a response if you can't leave a comment. I'd appreciate it.

3265 Christmas Shopping

If there's anything worse than shopping with toddlers, it's shopping with your husband. My shopping gene has shriveled (I think that happens around the time you stop producing eggs) and my husband never had one. He strolled 10 paces behind me gazing at all the decorations at Tuttle Mall yesterday. I'd stop and let him catch up, then he'd fall back again. He needed new athletic shoes at least a year ago, so we decided to go to the New Balance store. We were shocked to see that the only shoes that weren't coal black, or red and green with neon lights, were about $125. And they had no arches. The young man who waited on us said that was the trend so they sell inserts for arch supports. Huh?

So we left and stopped by Penney's. After three times ignoring him when he said, "Let's go, there's nothing here," I found an 8D that fit him perfectly for about $50. Yes, 8D. We are not big people. We also have problems finding furniture that fits us. I wear an 8.5 AA shoe, a size that is virtually impossible to find except on the internet. And I won't buy something if I haven't tried it on. My theory is Americans' feet are spreading to accomodate their girths, or the fact that they've grown up wearing athletic shoes. Thirty years ago I could try on 4 or 5 pair in my size and make a choice by color or style. A year ago, I was down to one or two--if it was ugly, I bought it anyway. Recently when I've walked through shoe departments scanning the sizes, there were no narrows in any size.

When we got home, he wrapped his present and put it under the Christmas tree. Maybe he can't shop, but he's a darn good wrapper.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Memories

Backed up by my family

Today I'm going to identify what's in this photograph--a lot of family history. Certainly, I'm in it, dressed for my painting workshop in my black cat apron that my sister gave me for Christmas about 8 years ago.

On the bottom two shelves is my premiere issue collection of magazines. About two years ago I put them into subject groups--women's, men's, sports, technology, science, etc., but they are all messed up again. My blog about this hobby, In the Beginning, is only occasionally updated. It feels too much like work, I suspect. The red and green box on the right of the bottom shelf contains a rug hooker [Griffin Rug Machine] with the printed instructions which was my great-grandmother's. I think it would have been high tech for its day since most people probably crocheted scrap rugs in the 1880s. The green is actually tape to keep the red box together. On the left below the corner of the red bag I'm holding is a narrow wooden box of children's blocks, with a woodburn design crafted by my Uncle Leslie when he was a little boy.

On the second shelf are two etched glass jelly jars with glass lids that belonged to my grandmother, and the jug behind them stored some kind of liquid on her parents' farm. It probably came from Adams County, Pennsylvania which is where they grew up. In front of the jug being used as a book end, is an old black iron--probably weighs about 10 lbs and is made of iron, with a removable wooden handle. It was heated on the cook stove and used to press clothes. It was also high tech for its era, because it caused much less damage to the hand of the presser than the "old fashioned" irons made completely of metal.

On the third shelf is a small music box my mother gave me perhaps in the late 1980s. Behind me (you can't see it) is a iron shoe form for a child's shoe--apparently my great grandfather used it either to make shoes for his children or repair them. There is also his rolled up tape measure--he was a carpenter in Rockford when he first came to Illinois in the 1850s and used his wages to buy acreage near Ashton. And there is a metal dough punch with four blades he made for his wife.

On the fourth shelf over my left shoulder is a photo of my parents taken in 1991 about a decade before they died. I think this was for the church directory--there must be millions of photographs like this spread around the homes of America. Over my right shoulder is a thread spool holder with a pin cushion on top, also made by my great grandfather for his wife. It's pretty handy, and I assume some of the thread is over 100 years old. Next to it is a brass trivet I found in 1968 buried in the dirt at our house where our children grew up. I cleaned it up and have used it for a variety of tasks--now it just holds a book. I think it is brass.

And of course, behind me are lots of old books from four generations. They look like they have fancy bindings, but books of my grandparents' era had a lot of chemicals in the paper, and disintegrate easily. Like me, they bought for value, not for quality. I think it is funny that I saved a book from my childhood called "Bruce" about a collie, never imagining someday it would be my name.

The shiney white, blue and green box on the far left of the 5th shelf contained a card catalog of my grandparents' library, assembled by several members of the family when they were closing up their home after their deaths in the 1960s. This list of books, found by me in the late 1980s, launched several publishing projects, including a spin off into agricultural magazines used by farm families in the early 20th century and women who wrote for Ohio farm magazines in the 19th century.

You can barely see the top shelf, but that holds children's books, some old, some from my childhood--mostly horse stores--and some I purchased because I liked the illustrations (from the days when I wanted to write a children's book).

My visitors and those I'll visit this week are:
Anna, Becki, Chelle, Chelle Y., Cozy Reader, Debbie, Friday's Child, Gracey, Irish Church Lady, Janene, Janene in Ohio, Jen, Katia, Lady Bug, Lazy Daisy, Ma, Mrs. Lifecruiser, Melli, Michelle, Paul, Susan, Viamarie,

3263 California is losing population

Cap'n Bob thinks it's more than the cost of housing (what would cost about $350,000 here would be about a million in California). Here's a few of the problems he sees:

California is a state where:

  • income taxes are extremely high
  • sales taxes are extremely high
  • property taxes are extremely high
  • gasoline taxes are extremely high
  • courts are generally soft on criminals
  • immigration laws are not enforced
  • a half-million illegals and supporters clogged the streets of Los Angeles
  • vehicle emissions controls are unreasonably severe
  • congressional districts are gerrymandered to assure Democrats stay in power
  • judges make rulings for political reasons rather than upholding laws
  • unreasonable environmental laws cripple business and industry
  • a jury acquitted OJ Simpson of murder despite compelling evidence he was guilty
  • extreme firearms laws exist that violate citizens’ second amendment rights
  • cities like San Francisco attract and cater to degenerates

3262 Probably filming a commercial

There were at least 10 cars parked at our neighbors on Saturday clogging up the street with people I didn't know running in and out of the garage and front door. Sunday they were back, so after church I just walked over and knocked on the door and ask if something had happened to Mrs. ----. The young lady laughed and said, "Oh we're having a home invasion." She thanked me for checking and said they were filming [I didn't catch what], but they are back today. Vans, trucks, SUVS, and bunches of people. This should be something at least 5 minutes long.

3261 Editor and Publisher

is a magazine you probably don't come across often, but I like to read it (or did), and sometimes find information about a magazine or a writer or publisher to use with by hobbylog. But lately, seems they've gone the way of the MSM, so I wrote to them:

"I could swear that I used to read Editor and Publisher for information about, well, publishing, but now when I scan your stories all I see is Bush administration bashing. Have you changed direction? Did you think that the main stream media, all losing readership, weren't doing enough of that?"

Thank goodness for talk radio, or conservatives would have no voice at all. And they aren't in lock step and are positive and upbeat. How refreshing. Right now I'm listening to News Talk 870 (California).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

3260 The importance of exercise

"When astronauts come back to earth after extended space missions, they sometimes can’t walk or perform other physical activities very well, at first. Because the weightlessness of space makes it possible for astronauts to push and pull objects without effort, their muscles become weak. Back on earth, the same principle applies to the muscles of sedentary older adults: If you don’t use them, you lose them. The good news is that, at any age, almost any older adult — or astronaut — can improve strength through exercise."

The National Institute on Aging has a very nice 86 page guide to exercise you can download from the Internet, titled Exercise; a guide. Maybe you think you're too young to benefit from this, but I doubt it. Or maybe you've been looking for ideas for Mom or Dad or Grandma. It wouldn't hurt a 30 or 40 year old to know some of these tips about stretching and warm ups and good nutrition.

My husband has been in a regular exercise class either as a participant or instructor for over 2 decades. Now he works out with 25 ladies 3 times a week--he's no dummy. I've tried a variety of things, but usually stick to walking if I can find a surface that isn't too hard, and lately have been using some resistance bands. There's no one more resistant to exercise than I.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

3259 Less and fewer

This is probably as lost a cause as diagramming sentences, but at a blog I was reading tonight I saw a phrase that was like fingernails on a blackboard, but I had no idea why. "I think that less and less people have other people in their lives enough." So I just punched it into Google and found a blog called Pedant's Corner, who wrote that you use fewer with countable nouns, and less with noncountable:

"The most important thing to appreciate here is the distinction between countable and non-countable things. This distinction is not always clear, but it usually is. If you consider people, you can always count them. (Even conjoined twins count as two distinct people.) There is always a distinct number of people in any given group. Contrast this with a quantity of water. Water is not a countable thing, even though it is measurable. You could try to confuse this by saying that even water is made of discrete molecules that can be counted, but in practice you don't usually think of water that way: instead, you measure it on a scale like gallons or litres."

Think of many or much: too many (implying few), or too much (implying less).

Seeing the sign at the check-out, "Ten items or less" doesn't help. It's grammatically incorrect, but it's everywhere.

3258 Absolutely

Lake Superior State University, the smallest state school in Michigan, has issued its 2006 list of banished words (and phrases), including "an accident that didn't need to happen" (are there accidents that need to happen?); "first time caller" (who cares?); and "talking points." I have submitted a word for 2007--ABSOLUTELY. I am really sick of hearing this word every time a simple YES would do the job. In fact, sometimes people will say, "Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely," when they agree, pausing and emphasizing along the way. I hear it in ordinary conversation and on TV and radio. It is also said with a very solemn face, as though the speaker were saying something incredibly wise. Anyone else sick of this?

3257 Three reasons I love language

Phonics. Diagramming. Latin. And I learned in that order from age 6 to 16. I really enjoyed the review of Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog by Kitty Burns Florey in today's WSJ. I think I want this for Christmas (someone who reads this blog has been asking for ideas).

I don't know how children are taught to read and write these days in public school. Someone is doing a good job because I've found some amazingly good writers on the internet, and they can't all have been home-schooled or have attended private schools. Perhaps it is self selective--if you hate to write, know you're a poor speller and can't make a sentence sound right--you take up another hobby. Or you type with your thumbs and can only text message.

Were you taught to diagram sentences when you were in school? Were your classes called "language arts," or "communication," or "English?" Were you taught "whole language" or phonics? Did you have instruction in penmanship (cursive) after the early grades?

Friday, December 08, 2006

3256 The monetary returns of a college degree

I've said this for years, but no one wants to believe it. They shift the topic to other values. But dollar for dollar for many students, investing the college fund and just getting a job would pay better over a 40 year career--probably 9-10%. What's interesting about this article is that it shows a public education gives a better return (4.42%) than a private college education (1.9%).

3255 Why he gives away his e-books

Cory Doctorow's first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, has been downloaded 700,000 times--it's free on the internet. But he's made a lot of money:

"Most people who download the book don't end up buying it, but they wouldn’t have bought it in any event, so I haven’t lost any sales, I’ve just won an audience. A tiny minority of downloaders treat the free e-book as a substitute for the printed book--those are the lost sales. But a much larger minority treat the e-book as an enticement to buy the printed book. They're gained sales. As long as gained sales outnumber lost sales, I'm ahead of the game. After all, distributing nearly a million copies of my book has cost me nothing."

Full story at Forbes. HT Bibliofuture at

3254 Darfur

"A stunningly diverse range of individuals and organizations are pushing for the United States – and the world – to put a stop to it." Religion Link.

Whoa! Isn't that the drum beat for war we heard in the 90s about Iraq? Evil government. Democide. UN waffling. Torture. Suffering. . . The US needs to DO something.

3253 Garbled, inflated and pretentious

While browsing a thesis database for something else, I came across a master's thesis on public library architecture. I didn't want to download 23 MB to my computer, but I think architecture students and their advisors need more English classes if the abstract is an example of their writing.

"Contemporary society is gifted with the ability to retrieve the world’s wealth of information from anywhere, to anywhere, at any time. However, this ability calls into question the continued relevance of the special places that first rose to prominence for their once-unique ability to provide that information. Despite serving as the heart of many communities, the public library building is faced with questions of its purpose and utility in a networked society. Rather than attempting to combat positive change, the library must instead reform itself around the mission that begat its creation - enhancing the lives and freedom of the common citizen through culture. In this sense, the building will shift -- from simply being a repository of information to serving as an agency for the development of creative skills. Though still housing books, the building is focused on delivering experiential, collaborative learning, organized around the psychological flow of creativity." After Books: Re-Imagining the Role of the Public Library Building Hines, Scott Alan, Master of Architecture, 2006, University of Cincinnati.

I think it says The modern public library building design needs to accomodate both digital and print resources within its traditional role of acquiring, storing, preserving and delivering information. I simply have no idea what "psychological flow of creativity" is, or how you "re-imagine," so I won't touch that. And any student today who thinks a public library was ever just a "repository" within his lifetime, hasn't been in one for awhile.