Tuesday, January 31, 2006

2100 No matter what else Bush does

this will be his longest lasting legacy. Roberts and Alito.

"WASHINGTON (AP) - Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. was sworn in as the nation's 110th Supreme Court justice on Tuesday after being confirmed by the Senate in one of the most partisan victories in modern history.

Alito was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court building across from the Capitol at about 12:40 p.m. EST, court officials said."

2099 Case 2-2006 is dumb as a rock and supporting an entire industry with our tax money

Sipping my Starbucks today, I opened the NEJM, Jan. 19 issue to p. 284, "A 31-year-old, HIV-positive man with rectal pain" is the title of the case. Reading a bit further. He smokes a pack of cigarettes a day, regularly uses marijuana and meth. He is unemployed. (What a surprise!)

He has AIDS, rectal discharge, pain when defecating and blood in his stool, pelvic pain, nausea, and weakness. It's the pain, not the AIDS that has sent him to the doctor this time. He has regular anal intercourse without condoms with his "usual partner" who also is HIV positive, and he has other partners.

He was diagnosed 12 years ago (as a teen-ager) and has had sporadic care over 10 years including zidovudine, lamivudine, nelfinavir, and ritonavir-lopinavir, but has been inconsistent. A year ago he was sick and hospitalized with some things too long to spell or pronounce, but I know they are bad, and received cephalexin, clarithromycin and ethambutol.

After discharge from the hospital he received didanosine, stavudine, and efavirenz, after which he developed Kaposi's sarcoma, oral thrush, rectal herpes simplex and anal condylomas. Then he was treated with acyclovir, fluconazole, and dapsone.

For the current problem, he got ceftriaxone and azithromycin. Now he is diagnosed with proctitis--a first for him. The list is narrowed to gonorrhea, herpes simplex, chlamydia and syphilis--all common among men who have sex with men--but lab tests showed he didn't have those (small miracles).

So there are more tests, as his symptoms ease and then return--probably because he keeps reinfecting himself with more anal sex. The diagnosis section of the article says "he should be screened for sexually transmitted diseases, . . . and a thorough contact investigation should be initiated."

He is referred for a sigmoidoscopy and rectal biopsy, and it is determined he has lymphogranuloma venereum proctitis. (Never heard of if, but so far I know it is very expensive and self induced.) I won't even describe what the author says will happen if this condition goes untreated, but apparently the patient shares many of the clinical and epidemiologic features of other men in an outbreak that appears to be centered in the Netherlands and has spread to Western Europe, United Kingdom and the U.S. Now he's treated with doxycycline, which resolved his symptoms.

Now his "partner" is feeling poorly with the same symptoms.

My mind is going cha-ching, cha-ching for Medicaid and the drug companies. A marriage between the pharmaceuticals and gay men with the state governments the attendants. There are about 100 pages of text in this journal, and 55 pages of advertising by pharmaceutical companies.

The internet is listed as one of the means to spread these diseases that case 2-2006 has, as men find sexual partners across great geographic distance. Sort of gives a new meaning to computer virus, doesn't it?

2098 Another tip for right brained offices, dens and studios

It's OK to pile rather than file! Oh, thank the Lord! That's chapter 6 of Organizing from the right side of the brain, by Lee Silber. Reading further. Oh, oh. There's a codicil. "As long as you can find what you need when you need it." Hmmm.

What about when it's clean and you can't find it? Remember that extensive housecleaning and studio reorganizing I wrote about in December? Forgotten it already? Here and here. The other day my husband said, "I'm out of burnt umber. Have you got any?" I was pretty sure I didn't have any because it's not on my palette, but never mind, I couldn't find my watercolor tubes anyway. Everything is clean and tidy, but something better turn up quick, or I'll have to make a run to Dick Blick's soon.

Monday, January 30, 2006

2097 Maybe liberal is the key word here

Jane Galt is debating someone in cyberspace about the statistics used to show the success of education, contraception availability and cost in reducing abortions. Their data sources are different. She says:

"The places with the best contraception access, the most liberal sexual mores, and the most liberal sex ed, are also the places with the most abortions. These are the states with more than 23 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age, which is the national mean.

District of Columbia
New Jersey
New York
Rhode Island

All have outstanding liberal governments, dense populations, and high levels of spending on public health, as well as lots of Planned Parenthood clinics."

So we pretty much know what doesn't reduce abortion, don't we? More sex. Whether you want to accept it, more education, more access to contraception and more clinics seem to encourage more promiscuity resulting in more pregnancies followed by more abortions. How about looking at what does work? Neither debater seems to do a good job at that. Reading through it, I must say it sounds a bit cold and detached.

New cookbooks

One of my Thursday Thirteens is going to be about my favorite cookbooks, whether or not I use them. It will really be a memory blog. For instance, my mother-in-law died in 1998 and no one seemed interested in her cookbook, Betty Crocker (1950), so I got it. She had certain meals that were just terrific, but about the time I entered the family her alcoholism was slowly taking her out of the kitchen except for a wonderful tossed salad and garlic rolls to go with the steaks her husband fixed on the grill. But since my own mother had NEVER made anything like that meal, I thought it was a banquet. While collecting my thoughts for the TT, I took it off the shelf and remembered why I wanted it. It wasn't the recipes (most of which would now be called comfort food), it was her handwritten notes. She had the loveliest handwriting. I also found an index card with a recipe from my husband's grandmother, who had Parkinson's Disease, and you can see it in her tenacious handwriting.

Saturday I received a huge box of cookbooks, not exactly a gift, but more as a keeper of the flame from someone else's collection--a tiny part of her collection. She is now in a nursing home and will never return to her home. About 2/3 of these are Martha Stewart titles--hard cover and heavy duty, serious kitchen labor. This might be just what I need to try some new recipes I thought, anticipating that I might just start with one new one a week. It wouldn't be like that Julie blogger who turned her blogs into a marketable book as she cooked her way through Julia Child (Julie and Julia : 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen).

So I open what looks like the easiest one: "Martha Stewart's Healthy Quick Cook" (1997). It's January so I turn to Winter. Pot-au-Feu? Rutabaga? Monkfish? Fennel Carpaccio? Enlightened Creme Fraiche? Pappardelle?

Back to my mother-in-law's torn and stained pages, quickly.

2095 Chinook hymnody

A few posts back I mentioned the "fun" of browsing the Yale Beinecke Library uncataloged database and trying to discover the keywords that might bring up some entries. I used "horse," "letters," "manuscript," "woman" (didn't get much, which may mean those were rushed right to cataloging), and today I tried "hymns." I thought perhaps that genre would languish in a Yale backlog. I found a first reading book for Chinook that included hymns. Interesting. So I Googled Chinook because the only chinooks I knew about were strong winds and helicopters. There apparently are still a few Chinook Indians in the Pacific Northwest, they helped Lewis and Clark, and their language became the lingua franca jargon of the area. So I peeked around and found some interesting bibliographies, and eventually came to "Early Canadiana Online" and found some wonderful Chinookiana full text, online.

Now to the point of this blog, which isn't about Indians in the Pacific Northwest. I'm a Lutheran and although I love singing camp songs at informal gatherings in the woods and after potlucks, and I can swing and sway and raise my hands, I'm less than thrilled to stare at an overhead screen on Sunday morning and sing ditties that repeat and repeat. Here's what they were writing in the 19th century about teaching the Chinook Indians Christian hymns:

"These hymns have grown out of Christian work among the Indians. They repeat often, because they are intended chiefly for Indians who cannot read, and hence must memorize them."


2094 Are dentists as sensitive as doctors?

Because today he's going to "get a piece of my mind," and I don't have a lot to spare. I had a terrible pain in a tooth about 2 weeks before Christmas. X-ray, a one minute check up, big tab. Nothing was found, and I was sent home, with a "no problem that we can see." But all was not well. On Christmas Eve during dinner the tooth broke. I wasn't munching a crisp veggie or ice, I was eating dressing. The next week (3 day holiday) I go in and the filling, which was still doing its job and had been there over 50 years, was removed and replaced, but half the tooth was gone. It was covered with something.

Of course, then we're in to a new year, another 3 day holiday and a new deductible for 2006. Then it is back for the temporary crown, only the novacaine didn't seem to do the job, so I got two shots. This past week the gum has festered where I got the shots, I can't chew on either side, so I've bitten my cheek, and it looks like the gum line has really pulled away from the tooth root. I have to warm water before I can drink it. I can't even sleep on that side of my face. Today I'm supposed to get a permanent crown, and before I let him near me, I think we'll need to have a little talk.

Doctors don't like to be told they've messed up, or that you aren't getting any better under their care. Let's hope dentists don't have the same god complex.

Update: The answer is YES. And he is to blame for none of my problems, and he doesn't like "to be lectured." In fact, he started in on "dialog," and I told him I didn't want a dialog, I just wanted him to listen to me. He refused and kept right on talking so I'm in the market for a new dentist. I don't like to drive too far, so if you have suggestions for Upper Arlington or Dublin, Ohio, I'm open.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

2093 Making fun of liberal education ideas

is like swatting at pesky flies too groggy to move away. Surely this can't be true, I thought, when I first read it at Sister Toldjah's site who referred to Bill Quick. So I looked it up in the Daily Telegraph, and I'm still not convinced that it isn't a put on.

"Pupils have been stopped from putting their hands up to answer questions because their school believes it leads to feelings of victimisation."


Apparently, teachers have been conditioned to call on the students who don't raise their hands, so that's where the victimization comes into play.

"'No hands up' notices have been posted in every room at the Jo Richardson comprehensive in Dagenham, east London, as a reminder that the teachers will decide who should answer.

The head, Andrew Buck, says it is always the same children who wave their arms in the air, while the rest of the class sits back. When teachers try to involve less adventurous pupils by choosing."

How come if the kids are feeling so badly and so poorly prepared, they don't crack open a book and study to save themselves a little embarrassment? How will they survive in the work world? Now the teacher asks them anyway. One more way to punish achievers, I suppose.

2092 Katrina moved gangs to Houston

The gang members that moved to Houston after Hurricane Katrina so far haven't tangled with the locals but are taking out each other.

"Twenty-three slayings in the Houston area since the hurricane are believed to be related to Katrina evacuees, police said. The gang members in custody in 11 of the killings also were charged with aggravated robbery, kidnapping or weapons possession. Their alleged victims were all from Louisiana.

Three additional gang members wanted in the slayings remain at large." LA Times via Conservator

A similar thing is happening in Chicago now that the city is gentrifying some of the projects. The Jan. 26 WSJ reported on the distruption of community and communication now that the poor have been scattered here and there with housing vouchers as "mixed income" housing is going up where the projects came down. Not only are the poor having problems getting the services they once had in one location, but gangs have started establishing control on new turf. Crime is not a result of poverty (that's an insult to all law abiding, decent, poor people), but a result of bad behaving people (i.e., sin). So providing new bricks and mortar doesn't make the crime rate go down--it just moves it to a fancier area.

2091 The Lessons of Alito and Roberts--smart, experienced and cool under pressure

In the Feb. 6 Weekly Standard, Terry Eastland reviews the lessons of Alito (and Roberts), going back over the Harriet Miers* nomination, the rebellion of the conservatives, and the hoopla and hype of the liberals.

"In the end, a big lesson from the search for O'Connor's successor--a lesson of both the Roberts and Alito nominations--is that quality matters. Democrats were unable to convince anyone but themselves that the nation must maintain the Court's "balance" by having someone like O'Connor succeed O'Connor (assuming, that is, such a person could ever be found, her method of judging being entirely unpredictable). In Roberts and then in Alito, the country saw smart, experienced lawyers who could handle anything thrown at them--without losing their cool. . . Another lesson is that quality nominees can make a winning case for judicial conservatism.. . . There is another lesson from the two nominations, which is that Democrats have succeeded in making Supreme Court nominations a matter of partisan politics."

*I still believe this was a ploy on Bush's part to get who he wanted, but I'm no pundit getting paid for what I write.

2090 Now that's a fan!

This morning I caught a short human interest story on Spanish language television about a woman who is the #1 fan of Los Tigres del Norte, a Mexican-immigrant band based in San Jose, California. The walls, halls, and surfaces of her home were covered with framed photos of the family band consisting of four brothers, a cousin and a friend who came to San Jose as teens and released their first record in 1972. She has posed with the group for many of the pictures. Her couch had pillows with photo transfers. Her clothing was trimmed in a tiger stripe, and her bedroom was decorated with tiger bedspread, blankets and sheets, with tiger drapes. She certainly loves her Tigres.

The group started with songs about narcotic smuggling and crime, and later moved to social issues and the problems of living in the USA with your heart in Mexico. Currently immigration is a big focus in their music. After achieving wealth and success in the US, the group, which has made 30 records and 14 movies, didn't return to Mexico to live. So I suppose that supplies a lot of photos for their number one fan (whose name I didn't catch).

Saturday, January 28, 2006

2089 Does the ACLU know about this?

In the United States Capitol, there is the Rotunda canopy, a 4664-square-foot fresco painting entitled The Apotheosis of Washington, which depicts the first President of the United States rising into the clouds in glory.

"[Constantino] Brumidi depicted George Washington rising to the heavens in glory, flanked by female figures representing Liberty and Victory/Fame. A rainbow arches at his feet, and thirteen maidens symbolizing the original states flank the three central figures. The word "apotheosis" in the title means literally the raising of a person to the rank of a god, or the glorification of a person as an ideal; George Washington was honored as a national icon in the nineteenth century." Overview

2088 Keeping Faith

When I got to page 104 of Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult, the February selection for our book club, I had a huge flash back to my working days. There was a security tape glued to the page. I thought of all the security strips I'd inserted in books and journals when my staff got behind and I had to pitch in on the clerical work. It even looked like someone had tried to remove it, but discovered it disintegrated when tugged.

You know what? We don't trust people like you who use public and university and private libraries in this country. Actually, it isn't you, it's that tiny minority who abuse the system. They steal books, cut out illustrations, rip out graphs and plates, deface, underline, hi-light and spill coke and leave greasy finger prints on property paid for by all of us and intended for the betterment of community. You may not even know anyone that rude or mean; you might even think everyone is as honest as you.

So, we purchase security systems, but still people get around them. They'll drop books out of windows, mishelve them so only they know where the book is, lift them over sensors, sweet talk or bribe staff, and cut the material into pieces to fit into backpacks. And these are future ministers, bankers, farmers, teachers, nurses, veterinarians, and the ordinary housewife and plumber.

So what do you think the Islamo-fascist will do to accomplish his end? Might really be worth it to know where that phone call is coming from, and why he is calling your neighbor, or banker, or teacher, or plumber, the person you trust. If we're watching you this carefully with our library books, it's a good idea to watch the bad guys too.

2087 Art towns in America

the 100 best? When I returned my magazines and books to the public library this week I noticed The 100 best art towns in America, 4th ed. was sitting on the book truck awaiting reshelving. It will go back next trip. It seems to be a relocation guide for artists rather than those who want to view art. Would you believe there's nothing in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota or Missouri? Come on! Apparently, towns over 100,000 didn't make the list, but there is nothing in the title, or subtitle that says that, although I suppose the word "town" would be a clue. Having grown up in a town of 3,000, I called 20,000 a "city." According to the introduction, the big cities are filled with artists just longing to escape to a place with cheaper real estate but a supportive arts community. Well, maybe so. I've yet to see very many areas of the country that doesn't have more going on in the arts than you can possibly take in without it becoming a full time job.

2086 Afternoon walk in the park

It was nearing 60 degrees today--pretty unusual for January in central Ohio, so we headed to the park for a walk. The golf course seemed to have almost as many golfers as a warm fall day, and we saw people playing tennis in the park in shirt sleeves and shorts. There was also a game of football, lots of dog walkers, joggers, bikers, and families walking with children and playing with them on the playground. The sky was a bright blue (also unusual around here in the winter). I talked to someone in Illinois this afternoon who was getting rain, so we'll probably get that tomorrow. But this hint of spring was nice. As I get older, time goes by so quickly I hardly even notice winter anymore. We had seven adult deer in our back yard this week--not sure that is a sign of spring, or if they are just getting bold about finding something to eat. One came right up to the patio.

Friday, January 27, 2006

2085 Catching some highlights of history

I was visiting Florida Cracker's blog and discovered that she is a librarian (been reading and linking to her for probably 2 years and don’t recall coming across that item). Now I'll have to move her link. In one of her entries, she mentioned the Romanov photo albums at Yale Beinecke Rare Book Library, so I had to hop on over there and take a look. I was a Russian major, you know. Absolutely charming family photos of the whole family in leisure activities--Nicholas, Alexandra, and their children, their friends, servants, etc. It’s now been about 90 years since they were murdered. A hauntingly beautiful example of the marriage of libraries, donors and the internet. There is also a finding guide

Then I clicked around on the Beinecke site until I came to a data base of Uncatalogued Acquisitions. In my day, we called that "the backlog," and I have many not unpleasant memories of wandering through spooky shelving areas pulling off interesting items. In veterinary medicine an 18th century book was extremely rare, but we did have a few.

The problem when faced with a search window for a database of material unknown to you, is what keyword do you enter? If you know what's in there, it's no problem. But I had no idea what Yale might be leaving uncatalogued. So I returned to my veterinary roots and used “horse,” coming up with some interesting items including the court-martial papers of George Sackville in 1760. Not knowing who that was, I Googled him, and discovered he was Secretary of State for America in Lord North's cabinet during the American Revolution. His ministry received much of the blame for Britain's loss of her American colonies. And there sits his court martial in Yale’s uncatalogued collection. What an ignominious ending for a politician. I can think of a few at the Alito hearings I would wish to have locked up in a library gathering dust.

Call Number
Sackville, George Germain, Viscount, 1716-1795
Proceedings of a general court-martial held at the Horse-Guards on Friday the 7th ... to Monday the 24th of March 1760 ... on Tuesday the 25th of March ... to Saturday the 5th of April 1760. Upon the trial of Lord George Sackville
Printed for A. Kincaid, J. Bell, R. Fleming, and for A. Millar in the Strand
Physical Description
1 v.

Another interesting keyword to use in this uncatalogued database is "letters." I think it got about 700 matches.

2084 Thinking in thirteen

This week I completed my fourth Thursday Thirteen, a meme to challenge the blogger with new ideas and to bring new people (and returnees) to your site. Here's the results. You can see that Thursday is a big day.

Obviously, everyone's a slacker on Saturday and are off finding things to blog about the rest of the week. My first TT was Jan. 5, then 12th, 19th and 26th.

Here's mid-October-November, 2005

So some are just stop and peek, but a few keep coming back.

This entry is about Thursday Thirteen, but it is also about my stats. I have a little freebie stat counter--you can see it over on the left, and I also have another one that doesn't show, and it looks at a different range of things. If I were willing to pay for an ungrade, God only knows what else I'd know about you besides your ISP, your city, how many times you've returned, how you got here, what keywords you used, etc. And I know you're out there looking at me and dropping little cookies along the way so the big bad wolf called "No Privacy" can find me.

The news media and blogs have been full of the outrage over the government requesting, not names, but statistics from Google for porn searches. Google has said "No." Lots of unhappy libertarian and Democrats over this one. Brought the Bush-bashing to new levels.

Well folks, that horse got out of the barn and fled years ago. Any passworded staff member of any library, credit card company, hospital, mortgage lender, retail store, membership organization, etc. can look at your private information, and that capability has been out there for years.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles has been selling your personal information since long before we had personal computers or anyone heard of porn on the internet. So have the utility companies. Insurance companies have been sharing your personal medical information at least since the 70s when I first read an article about the huge databases that were maintained, and maybe before that.

When my husband first became a sole proprietor in 1993, we got all kinds of offers for "lists;" by ZIP, by phone number, by hobby, by house size, by automobile make--I'm sure if we'd inquired, we could have bought a pornography list, a gay list, a leather list, etc. [that string ought to bring 'em here] You and your life's details are out there for a price, for sale to absolutely anyone.

All these loyalty cards you've signed up for at CVS or Krogers or one of the airlines for "free" miles? All that information is sold--but usually with your name. Had a speeding ticket, DUI, brought a law suit or been in a brawl that brought out the police? It's all in your county court system's databases that are out there for anyone to see.

Want to know where the doors and windows are in your victim's house and what streets and alleys are near by for escape? Just check your county auditor's website that provides a photo and floor plan of all the homes along with the valuations. So unless you are visiting child porn sites, I don't know what the fuss is about, because you and I certainly lost the privacy battle going on 20-30 years now.

"The federal government's requests [of Google]--which amount to a list of 1 million random Web addresses and a week's worth of search queries--is supposed to help the government build a case that Internet porn is readily accessible to minors, thus creating a need for its once-denied Child Online Protection Act (COPA)." Forbes

A quarter of all internet searches are for porn. Don't you believe it that Google (which I love) guys stay up at night thinking of ways to protect your privacy. Porn is a huge part of the search engine business, and probably the stat businesses you and I are using "for free."

This is about money. Not privacy. Not civil liberties.

2083 Great vacation ideas

are over at Courtney's Thursday Thirteen, where she lists 13 national parks she has visited an enjoyed. She's a young mom with 2 children, but I don't know if these were trips with the kids. But the links she gives will provide the details.

I'm working on a series (well, I've written one called, Part 1) of essays for my writing class about our family vacations that weren't at my mother's farm or Lakeside. You'd be surprised how you'll forget what you never thought you'd forget, or what you'll remember that didn't happen. So, mommies, blog about those vacations and then print it out. Digital isn't forever, it doesn't even have a 5 year plan, and paper will last at least for your grandchildren.

Speaking of which, did you see on last night's news (every channel) that James Frey has finally admitted that Million little Pieces was a thousand big lies? At this point, I'm wondering if it was all a big bag of marketing (parent company of CNN, Court TV and Smoking Gun is apparently the same--maybe they own the publishing house?) between the author, Oprah, the publisher and the American Library Association to get more people reading!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

2082 A new installment

over at Neo-Neocon. Can a former liberal find happiness as a conservative? Will this therapist ever be accepted by her colleagues (I'm betting they aren't as liberal as the library profession). In Part 6B of "A Mind is a Difficult Thing to Change" she continues with the unfolding of her escape:

"The access was provided by the internet. The worldwide media was newly at my fingertips. Without it, I would never have encountered the varied sources that led me down the path of change, but would instead have stuck with the old tried and true--the Times, the Globe, the New Yorker, Nightline, and NPR--and I am certain I would not be sitting here today, writing this blog."

And she's pretty open about how she'd been misled by her trusted sources, but also how she didn't question anything:

"It may seem hard to believe, but in years past I had never paid particular attention to who had written a story as long as it appeared in a major media source that I trusted. The Times, the Globe, the New Yorker--I trusted that their editors would only publish reliable writers, and that all articles would be scrupulously fact-checked. Yes, I knew that all newspapers and magazines had a political slant (be they liberal or conservative), but that was only in the editorials, right? Even though I knew there might be some underlying agenda, the news pages--the facts--were sacred. . . How can I explain my previous naivete? How had it escaped me that bias was not confined to the editorial pages?"

Read this installment, and check out her earlier posts.

Thirteen things about appliances and equipment NORMA has learned over the years.

Sure, you're going to say "Oh, that's just Murphy's Law in action," but actually, it's just the accumulated wisdom of someone who's been a homeowner since 1962.

1. The furnace will go out on the coldest day of the year, air conditioning on the hottest.

2. The hot water heater will give up when you have a houseful of overnight guests.

3. The freezer chooses to throw in the towel when it is full of expensive meat.

4. The garage door opener will stop in mid-lift and jam when the car is inside, not outside.

5. The built-in kitchen appliance that matches the cabinets will not be available in that style or color when it starts taking occasional naps.

6. The hair dryer starts to smell funny and smoke when your hair is wet and you’re getting ready for a formal event or a job interview.

7. The foot feed on the sewing machine starts to spark when you’re rushing to finish a small child’s school costume for a play that is today.

8. The lamp shade that scorches is no longer available in that size or color, and it’s part of a matched set.

9. The electricity is interrupted during a storm only if you’ve been working furiously for an hour in a rare fit of inspiration and have neglected to periodically save your document on the computer.

10. The only time the iron ever tips and falls on the carpeted floor is when it is set on the hottest temperature.

11. The cell phone only fades during a true emergency like a late appointment--but it always is in perfect working order when you’ve forgotten to turn it off before church.

12. The clothes washer (or dish washer) will only die when it is filled to capacity for “large load” with the maximum amount of water it will hold.

13. The garbage disposal begins to whine and stops when you’ve just scraped the plates from a dining room table full of guests.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Joan, 2. Matthew 3. Wendy, 4. Mar, 5. Better Safe, 6. Lisa, 7. Mary, 8. Nicole, 9. Transplanted Frog, 10. Chickadee, 11. Colleen, 12. Sleeping Mommy, 13. Busy Mom, 14. Uisce, 15. D., 16. Karen, 17. Stacie, 18. Shelli, 19. Jen, 20. Renee, 21. Courtney, 22. Janne, 23. Kelly, 24. Nancy, 25. Charity, 26. JK 27. Killired, 28. Autumn, 29. Jane, 30. Randy, 31. D. Challener Roe

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

2081 The Westcott House in Springfield, OH

Let me be very clear, this restored Frank Lloyd Wright house is in Springfield, Ohio. Take a look at this link and several of the side bars and other links, and you'll see that the city and address aren't noted. If you work your way through the links all the way to the right to "Home," it will give you the address.

I see a lot of websites for libraries, churches, hospitals, museums and public buildings that make this mistake. The webmaster forgets that many people will come to the site from Google or Yahoo and will not land on the "home" page. This link will tell you the hours of the tours and when the gift shop is open--but it is mum about where the house is or how to get there. Before you start your bling bling slides, tell the reader where it is!

Anyway, back to the point. We are meeting friends for lunch in Springfield today and then will take a tour. There is also a restored Frank Lloyd Wright house in Springfield, Illinois, but you're on your own for that. If you google, "Frank Lloyd Wright Springfield" you can get a two-fer.

2080 Run it up the flag pole

As I mentioned yesterday, I put Stephen Harper, the new Canadian Prime Minister, in the prayer job jar (a clear glass jar on the kitchen table from which we take requests when we say grace). I showed my husband his photo on my blog, and explained who he was, what a tough job he was going to have, and why we should pray for him. But the name was new (to both of us), and twice during the prayer he stopped and asked me his name. "Stephen Harper," I whispered, as though God wouldn't notice how rusty we are on our Canadian politics.

In today's WSJ, Mark Steyn, a Canadian columnist, has an article "An Act of Political Hygiene" in which he gives a tepid endorsement of Harper and a red hot condemnation of the previous liberal government. One funny story (which I hope is an urban legend, but perhaps Mr. Cloud knows) he reported was that when the Canadian Liberal party was trying to win over the Quebecans, it was so burdened by scandals and incompetence that it outsourced a flag project to overseas companies which for $45 a flag, sent back "a gazillion flags that can't fly." No eyelets, no sleeve, no halyard line for a rope, no toggle.

Steyn says Harper won't be "George W. Bush's best friend," as his liberal opponents threatened, and there will be no military presence in Iraq. They don't even arm their border guards so they won't be much use for domestic threats in this hemisphere, either.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

2078 If you are a certain age

click over to Bonita's site and answer some questions. It will help to be 60 or over. Don't know if people in their 50s would know these. Like

Before inline skates, how did you keep your roller skates attached to your shoes?

What did all the really savvy students do when mimeographed tests were handed out in school?

2077 660 dozen cookies

Yes, you read that right. Some of the men at our church participate in the KAIROS ministry in prisons around the state, and they take in homemade cookies. Lots of cookies. The next week-end is February 16, and they need the cookies by February 10. I'm trying to decide if I feel ambitious enough to make a few dozen cookies that I won't be tempted to eat. I have no problem at all leaving store-bought cookies alone, but at that art luncheon yesterday--someone brought home made chocolate chip cookies and I think I ate three.

Scheduled outage

Blogger's going to have a scheduled outage, so I'm thinking of launching my Thursday 13 early. I mean, what if it doesn't come back up and I've wasted 13 thoughts?

2075 Pro-Bono for the enemy

Apparently, our country is so great and so just, that there aren't enough poor and unfortunates on our soil to use up the pro- bono time of the fancy law firms. Amy Ridenour points to this article by Deroy Murdock.

"Why our best law firms would dedicate their pro-bono resources to suspected terrorists rather than, say, people rendered homeless by Katrina, is beyond me," marvels one former high-level federal attorney who previously was involved with these issues. "By definition, these representations only serve to expand the rights of alien enemy combatants during wartime."

You probably won't recognize the names of the law firms, but check out your investments and pensions which are in the companies they represent for the big bucks. You're subsidizing these lawyers' bizarre behavior.

Members of the Guantanamo Bay Bar Association:

"Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw, (1,300 lawyers; Am Law Global 100 rank: 11; Its clients include Bell South, Caterpillar, Dow Chemical, Whirlpool, and UAL Corp., the parent company of United Airlines, two of whose airliners al Qaeda agents smashed, respectively, into 2 World Trade Center and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 11, 2001. This left United's 94 passengers and 16 crewmembers dead. Mayer leads John Does 1-570 v. George W. Bush, essentially, a class-action lawsuit involving every enemy combatant at Gitmo not already suing the president for release during wartime.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, Los Angeles (300 lawyers; Among its clients: Alaska Airlines, Anschutz Entertainment, Harley-Davidson, Mattel, Pfizer, and Transport for London, the British agency that runs the London Underground, which al Qaeda bombed July 7, killing 52 commuters. On October 24, Manatt attorneys sued President Bush in federal court on behalf of suspected Islamic extremist Adbulkadar Abdulkhalik Dad.

Shearman & Sterling (1,000 attorneys; Am Law No. 15; $775 million estimated 2005 gross). Clients include Deere & Co., Delphi, Ford, Morgan Stanley, and PG&E. Shearman partner Thomas Wilner, lead attorney for 12 Kuwaiti enemy combatants, wants Uncle Sam to compensate detainees for time at Guantanamo.

Allen & Overy (1,800 lawyers worldwide; Am Law ranks the British firm No. 6 with $1.22 billion in approximate 2005 revenues, and Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, and JPMorgan Chase among their clients.

Covington & Burling (520 lawyers; Am Law Global 100 rank: No. 76; $337.5 million in estimated 2005 earnings.). Clients: Coca-Cola, Deere & Co., Emory University, Goodyear, IBM, Merck, Microsoft, the NFL, UBS, and 13 Yemeni enemy combatants at Guantanamo.

Dorsey & Whitney, Minneapolis (640 lawyers; Am Law No. 78; 2005 gross: about $330 million). Clients: 3M, Cargill, ConocoPhillips, General Mills, Northwest Airlines, and six Bahrainians at Guantanamo.

Holland & Hart, Denver (300 attorneys in 12 offices). Clients: Safeway, Sears, the Williams Company, and five Algerian terror suspects, including Dr. Abu Muhammed, Abbar Sufian al Hawary, and Motai Saib.

Hunton & Williams, Richmond, Virginia ("850 attorneys. 16 offices. Since 1901.") Clients: Bank of America, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Eli Lilly, General Dynamics, General Electric, and six Yemeni suspected terrorists, including Issam Hamid Ali Bin Ali Al Jayfi.

Paul, Weiss (Am Law No. 38; approximately $504 million in 2005 revenues). Clients: Chubb, DirecTV Group, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Philip Morris, Time Warner, Viacom, and 11 Saudi Guantanamites."

2074 We can't have it both ways

Nothing has infuriated conservatives more than liberals saying, "I'm against the war, but I support the troops." It just didn't make sense, and you could hear the Vietnam guilt over the treatment of our returning troops just dripping as they tied their yellow ribbons around the old oak tree. So over at Sister Toldjah yesterday I read about Joel Stein's article, Warriors and Wusses in the LA Times. I thought he made perfect sense; an honest disagreement on the war issues, but hey, at least he wasn't playing games. Then I heard Glenn Beck read the entire article on the radio this morning, and it sounded even better. You go, Joel.

Now why are conservatives so mad when a liberal admits they sound ridiculous? What does it take into today's political climate for people to have an honest difference of opinion and not attack each other?

Then I went back and read some of his other stuff, and for a liberal, he's darn funny. I like the guy. Refreshing after all the teeth gnashing conservatives whose faces crack when the jokes do.

2073 Stephen Harper, the new Canadian PM

Welcome. It was time.

"Monday's vote showed that Canadians are weary of the Liberal Party's broken promises and corruption scandals. They were willing to give Harper a chance to govern despite concerns that some of his social views are extreme." USAToday here.

"He pledged an immediate 1% cut in national sales tax, a new vigour in fighting crime and gang violence, and a re-evaluation of relations with Washington, which have become strained in recent years." BBC story here.

I will drop him in my prayer job jar today.

2072 Nanny goat

There's a family in Bexley Ohio (well-heeled, old money suburb of Columbus) that is advertising in today's paper for a nanny for their one year old triplets. (Pause here: get your mind around the chaos of 3 toddlers all the same age, still in diapers, that is driving a woman out of her lovely suburban home to the peace and quiet of the office.) 50 hours a week, 4 day week. "Should have child care experience." Well, duh!

2071 It’s a great book and the art is more important than the truth.

No, that's not Oprah talking about James Frey's "A million little pieces," which has been revealed to be a complete fraud. It was the response to a warning that Alexie Sherman gave the editor of Nasdijj, whose book The Blood was about to be released.

In a article full of intrigue, gay sex, phony adoption stories, autism, KKK and the growing cadre of whites posing as Native Americans in order to be published writers, Matthew Fleisher attempts to shed some light on why and how readers, talk show hosts, critics, editors and film producers want to continue supporting made-up memoirs. The difference between Nasdijj and the other Indian imitators, says his critics, is that he doesn't try to appropriate and promote Indian spirituality and culture, but primarily uses it as a backdrop--he prefers young boys. Even when he was a "leather lit" writer, Nasdijj (then known as Timothy Barrus), was claiming service in Vietnam, also a lie.

After reading "Navahox" I imagined that before we know it, Oprah will be revealed as part Native American with a closet life in the KKK, Ward Churchill as her cousin, and James Frey as her autistic adopted son. Hey, it's art that matters, not truth, right?

HT to Galley Cat who was writing about fake authors coming in threes.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

2070 Going out of business blog

The Blog of Daniel is a blog set up to discuss both the issues brought up in the TV show "The Book of Daniel" and the show itself. Now it reports that the show has been cancelled, so what should it do with no reason to exist? Send them your ideas.

The show mocked Christianity and even basic values of non-Christians, but it apparently died of poor numbers, not poor taste. Or maybe that's one and the same for once.

2069 Two art shows in one afternoon

Today we went to an artist friend's home for lunch. She'd invited other artists and friends interested in art, so in addition to good fellowship, we had a time of sharing as those who wanted to, displayed and discussed some of their recent work. The core group was from the Central Ohio Watercolor Society, but much to our surprise, a number of them had started working in oils and some had gone from tightly representational work, to very strange (to my eye) abstracts. Our hostess also no longer works in watercolor, and we saw a display in the living room of her lovely oils, particularly trees (she has a degree in agriculture) and some smaller versions of horse paintings she'd done on commission.

One of the artists mentioned that she was in the current city of Upper Arlington show in the Concourse Gallery, called "Landscape." This show comes down tomorrow, so on our way home we stopped to see that show. If you live in the area and have time, it is really a lovely show. "The painters of Landscape are Rick Akers, Debra Dawson, Rachel Stern, Michael Hoza, Stacy Leeman, Edwin Shuttleworth III, Malcolm Baroway, and Betsy Arvidson. Uniquely reflecting the landscape of nature, the artists’ deep appreciation for the Ohio scenery and beyond is seen in every brushstroke and wash of color. All painters of Landscape are represented by Sharon Weiss Gallery."

A lovely afternoon.

2068 The judges who don't believe in punishment

Judge Edward Cashman doesn't believe that punishment works for men who rape children, so he gave Mark Hullet, 34, 60 days for sexually abusing a child for three years. Story here. He's right, it doesn't work in the sense of changing or reforming sex offenders, so let's keep them away from children and warehoused in prison for the rest of their days. Expensive? You bet. What is your daughter's life worth? Safety of the general population should also be a factor in sentencing. Just a guess, but I'm betting Judge Cashman thinks registration of sex offenders is an invasion of his privacy and a violation of his civil rights.

Here in Columbus, Ohio we've had a similar case bubbling on the back burner, but all the neglect and screwy sentences happened before the most recent crime. The man was sent to prison in 1997 for rape of a child and released in 2004. Since his 2004 release he:

1. was returned to prison for 100 days for leaving the state

2. failed to register as a sex offender

3. was arrested for driving under suspension

4. was jailed on parole violation

5. was picked up for stealing a car

6. was charged with felony theft and sent to jail for 3 days

7. was sent from jail to a hospital because he was "acting strangely'

8. was released from the hospital and then kidnapped and raped a 15 year old in a vacant apartment complex

9. which was in violation of city code so it had been shut down; it had six security guards on duty to keep out vagrants, drug dealers and the criminal element; the previous firm the owner hired had quit due to lack of payment from the owner

10. and he [the rapist] had been living in one of vacant apartments where he'd taken the child.

This is a very large net of incompetency. You'd need more than two index fingers to point and blame. Let's hope the rapist gets a judge who understands that our citizens need some protection, and that short of a miracle from God, this man is not going to change through the criminal justice system.

Monday, January 23, 2006

2067 Young People in Debt

This morning I read a book review of Tamara Draut's "Strapped." Draut says that today's young adult children of the baby boomer generation can't get ahead financially because of astronomical student debts, depressed wages, rising health care costs and soaring property values. The solutions offered by some young adults are silly and counterproductive--"the government should do something."
If I've heard it once, I've heard it a hundred times, "things aren't like they were in your day." I agree. We had it much harder, thank goodness. We started married life with an 8 year old car and eventually went on foot and bicycle when the car died. But our parents, who had been teens during the Depression, thought we had it easy--and frankly, so did I.

I believe there are a few basics that still apply, so I'll just jump right in on Ms. Draut's coat tails. So if your mama was a baby boomer and went into debt or worked two jobs to give you everything you asked for rather than what you actually needed, you may just have to go back to grandma's methods if you want to turn this around in your generation.

1. Postpone your wants and take care of your needs.

2. Tithe your gross income to your church or synagogue.

3. If you have two incomes, save one and live on the other for month to month expenses. Use the "other" account for new tires, a leaky roof or a health emergency, but if you're using it to buy groceries and movie tickets, you'll never get ahead.

4. Borrow money only for a home mortgage or car loan.

5. Pay off all credit cards in 30 days to avoid charges and interest.

6. Never put groceries on your credit card. If it won't last until the bill comes, don't put it on the card.

7. Buy less house than the bank says you can manage. Instead, go for the best, safest and most convenient neighborhood you can afford. Same for renting if you are still in that stage.

8. Children get very little from fancy vacations that they can't get from something closer to home. It's your time they want. Take them to a state park, family farm or the local amusement park and save the tours or cruises for "couple time."

9. NEVER let the children see or hear you obsessing over brand names, styles and models, whether it's clothes, cars or appliances. Don't take them to the mall as an event.

10. Meals will cost you either time or money. If you can contribute your own labor you'll save a lot of money, fat and sodium. Save eating out for "date night."

Here's two tips about the English language: SALE is a four letter word that means SPEND, and CREDIT is a six letter word for DEBT.

Ms. Draut's testimony in 2004 for Demos (a liberal think tank) before the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

2066 A new study on Body Mass Index at MidLife

Yes, now that the early boomers have turned 60, we'll be seeing a lot more of this. There are a few things I was surprised to find in JAMA's January 11 article "Midlife Body Mass Index and Hospitalization and Mortality in Older Age."

Even if you started out fit and trim with no risk factors for coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease or diabetes, if you packed it on in mid-life, you were in trouble by age 65, with more hospitalizations and/or early death. The study was done in the Chicago area with 17,643 men and women with a baseline for 1967-1973 with review of hospitalization and mortality beginning at 65.

"Whether excess weight has an impact on cardiovascular outcomes beyond its effects on established risk factors is controversial. Using data from a prospective cohort study of individuals who were free of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or major electrocardiographic abnormalities at baseline, Yan and colleagues assessed the relationship of midlife body mass index with morbidity and mortality outcomes in older age. The authors found that compared with persons who were normal weight at midlife, overweight or obese persons with similar cardiovascular risk factors had higher risks of hospitalization and mortality from coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes when aged 65 or older." JAMA This week

Since I've been within 15 lbs of 130 (ranging from 115 after my first pregnancy to 145 after age 64), I'm trying to figure out where I fall in this range. I'm not "normal weight" now, but I was at mid-life and baseline. Well, maybe there will be another study for us late bloomers.

Another thing I found interesting was the education level of the participants. I didn't see any mention of this in the text (just the charts), but only among the low risk people (there were 5 risk categories each with normal, overweight and obese groups) did the normal weight participants have the highest mean of education. In all the other categories the overweight (but not obese) had slightly higher levels of education than the normal or the obese.

2065 How to warm a Canadian

Instructions here.

2064 Asking questions in heaven

This morning in the car I was listening to Bill Pierce on 760 am (Detroit WJR) and heard an interview with Bill Hancock, an NCAA director, who took a 2,700 mile bike ride across the US to work out his pain and grief over losing his son Will, an Oklahoma State basketball player in a plane crash. The title of the book is "Riding with the Blue Moth," and that is the name he gives grief, because sometimes it is flying constantly in your face, like at the anniversary of a death, and other times it leaves you alone. "The Moth becomes an almost welcome companion, allowing Bill to mourn when he needs to. “Now I do not try to escape it when it arrives. I simply listen to what it has to say, and wait quietly for it to fly away.” " Curled up with a good book.

I was interested to hear what he was going to ask in heaven, because I'd just blogged about it here.

"But Andie [his granddaughter], seventy-two days old when the tragedy occurred, would have to grow up without her father. Bill talks to her as he travels, trying to establish a link, through his insights, to her lost parent. He writes, “Andie, we’ll learn the reason when the time is right…the first day when I get to Heaven, I’ll be sitting in the front row with my hand in the air…my question for God will be, Why have you been so good to me?” "

I almost had to stop the car. What a wonderful question to ask.

2063 In case you didn't understand

why some of us didn't want Terri's life taken from her by her care givers, it's because some of us knew such a person in a similar condition. Here's an excerpt from the obituary of a friend, age 52, who had a stroke at 17 when she was a freshman in college, and has been totally dependent on others all these years. I used to be one of her volunteers and still stopped in at the nursing home to say hello occasionally. She died Friday.

"[survived by parents and sisters and an extended family] and a large number of volunteers who have enriched her life since she suffered a debilitating stroke at the age of 17. [She] loved classical music, good books, languages, friends and family, and orange sherbet. Thanks to her loving family, her volunteer family, and the caring staff at [the] Care Center she continued to laugh, cry, and enjoy life through those who were willing to share their lives with her."

And oh, she loved her sherbet, and would cry if you pronounced it "sherbert."

Talking points from the NYT, Michael Moore, and the Democrats

Chris Matthews suggested on Hardball that bin Laden had taken his talking points from Michael Moore. But others have gone further.

"MSNBC's Joe Scarborough weighed in on the subject [of the bin Laden tape], going beyond Moore to claim that bin Laden was also borrowing language or ideas from the likes of Howard Dean, Sen. Kerry and Sen. Ted Kennedy. His guest, Tucker Carlson, who has his own MSNBC show, then spread the net further, to include opinion columnists at The New York Times.

The exchange from the transcript follows.

SCARBOROUGH: Now, of course, Tucker, I'm not comparing these Democrats to Osama bin Laden, but look.

First thing, Osama talks about how our troops are terrorizing women and children in Iraq. John Kerry said the same thing in front of Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation."

Osama's saying that George Bush knows he can't win this war, something that Howard Dean said, and, also, that this was launched for political reasons, which of course Ted Kennedy said last year, that this was all dreamed up in Texas for political benefit.

CARLSON: By the merchants of war who financed Bush's presidential campaign, in the words of Osama bin Laden and many on the left. In other words, Halliburton is responsible for this war, every single talking point.

I hate to think of Osama bin Laden reclining in his cave in Waziristan, reading the op-ed page of "The New York Times."

But, clearly, he is. He's got every talking point. It's uncanny."

2061 Can't tell her friends from her enemies

WaPo ombudsman and colmnist, Deborah Howell, has received such hate mail for stating the facts about Democrats and the Abramoff lobbying scandal, that the Post's web site was shut down. She says, Yes, it is a Republican mess, but. . .

". . . there is no doubt about the campaign contributions that were directed to lawmakers of both parties. Records from the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Public Integrity show that Abramoff's Indian clients contributed money to 195 Republicans and 88 Democrats between 1999 and 2004. ...These facts have been reported many times in The Post and elsewhere. So why would it cause me to be called a 'right-wing whore' and much worse?"

Well, I know why, and I'm surprised she doesn't get it. The Left isn't used to the MSM reporting truth, so when it happens they are shocked, horrified, and driven nasty e-mails and blogagging. Actually, Rush gets this all the time (he says) when he wanders from the right's expectations.

Story at Editor and Publisher

2060 A Democrat looks at the Alito Hearings

Dan Gerstein has some interesting thoughts on leftwing bloggers and Democratic leadership during the Alito hearings. You can almost see him shaking his head in disbelief that the fringe still thinks the old tactics will work.

"We think that if we simply call someone conservative, anti-choice and anti-civil rights, that's enough to scare people to our side. But that tired dogma won't hunt in today's electorate, which is far more independent-thinking and complex in its views on values than our side presumes."

I love that line "that tired dogma won't hunt" don't you?

". . . Republicans have won the presidency twice in a row because they're doing a better job of pulling moderates/independents their way--in particular married women and white Catholics who are uncomfortable with the Democrats on values issues. Judging from the dreadful tack our party took in the Alito process, it's clear that we haven't yet internalized these political realities--most likely because our anger at George Bush continues to blind us to them. Many Democrats just don't want to acknowledge that he's president and is going to pick conservative justices--let alone that the two we got, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, are about as good as we could hope for."

And to borrow a phrase, he says, Let's move on. He's also asking where is the leadership that will do that? And when I look ahead to 2008, I'm thinking the same thing about the other side.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

2059 The Girl Next Door

is now hosting the Thursday Thirteen which was started by Leanne. I've closed a lot of restaurants in my day; I hope I didn't close this down. But I've visited the girl next door and her site looks stable. I don't know how all this works, but the various color codes are on her site.

2058 People like this are amazing

There is a blog called 25 things for Charity that I clicked to because of Zoanna, who is one of my links, and one of its participants. These people commit to making 25 things for charity, then they post a photograph and tell about the organization that will be receiving it. Isn't that a terrific idea? Also, being the type of person I am (what you see is what you get, just the facts ma'm, no nonsense, always on time, why in the world would you do that type), I just love the name of the blog. Very descriptive, leaving no doubt about what it is. And they've got a great motto:

"Hell, there are no rules here-- we're trying to accomplish something."
Thomas A. Edison
US inventor (1847 - 1931)

With rules like that, even I might find 2 1/12 things a month.

2057 A New Year's Resolution for the Guys

At the coffee shop this morning I was reading a gay journalist's column in Columbus Alive, our local entertainment paper. I won't go into most of it, because I just don't care what young junior high guys see in the locker room--or think. But he did mention a New Year's resolution he made about three years ago that he has kept, and I thought it was worth passing along, with my own added suggestions.

He resolved to not make "old man noises." This he described as sighing and moaning and groaning through various physical activities. And he has kept that resolution. If his knees ache when he suddenly stands up, so what. No one needs to know, and he just bites his tongue.

My suggestion is that you guys resolve to give up your young man noises too, and you all know what those are. Women hate them, we just keep quiet. We are not impressed. It doesn't increase our affection for you. Doesn't raise the libido. Doesn't get you out of the job jar. Pretend you're in a job interview, or meeting a client, or performing on stage, and just hold it. It won't kill you. Women the world over will thank me if you keep this resolution.

2056 Television confessional

TV has never fascinated me. Perhaps I was too old--21--when I actually first watched regularly. So my early memories of TV aren't what most people my age have. Little Opie on Andy Griffith was the first star I actually followed, and soaps were 15 minutes and so was the evening news. And our set was black and white (a wedding gift from my in-laws), so watching TV didn't seem to take so much effort. Or I was younger and had more working brain cells. Now we have cable with about 60 choices and there's nothing to watch.

But over at Blest with Sons, there is a really great confessional and a conversion, not only what TV meant to her growing up (it was her friend and companion), but what she thinks of it now.

Blest writes: "I was raised on television! (not blaming my parents, mind you) I was a socially inept, persecuted (gotta love that public school socialization), fantasy-livin’, latch-key kid. Television was my social life, my comforter, my escape, my friend, my mentor… Oh yeah, I had books too. But the beauty of A.D.D. is that I could read and watch tv at the same time! (and eat too! Multi-tasking at its finest!) I have hours and hours of warm comfortable memories built around television."

And then she goes on with 5 random thoughts, like why do we call that piece of furniture for which we all rearranged our lives the "entertainment center?" The center of entertainment! And why shouldn't something else in our lives like a bookshelf or spending time together be the center?

HT Sherry.

Friday, January 20, 2006

2055 Unintended consequences--loan fund opens a can of worms

When Ohio legislators set up a Research and Development Investment Loan Fund the purpose was "to position Ohio to compete aggressively for private-sector R&D investments that will create high-wage jobs; . . . to target large investments from companies with significant assets and sales; . . . to aggressively pursue research and development operations and facilities and to fund the cost of capital purchases. Assistance from the State would be in the form of a low-interest loan, partnered with a tax credit." We Ohioans were told we'd be country bumpkins if we didn't get on the technology bandwagon.

When Donato's Pizza, a small fast food pizza chain based in Ohio (yes, high tech, high wage paying pizza) tried to get some of that R & D money last year to develop a different kind of dough for the crust, they were turned down. So Donato's hired a lobbyist (with ties to the state house) who apparently convinced our legislators that because pizza flour is made from wheat, and wheat is an agricultural product, and Ohio is heavily agricultural, and it is "food science," AND TWENTY-FIVE new jobs may be in the works if Donato's qualifies for this loan, and MAYBE (but no promises) Donato's will expand their franchise in Ohio . . .etc., etc.

"The same request by Donatos for a $2.9 million low-interest loan that lawmakers turned away in October will be back Monday before the state Controlling Board. This time, Donatos is expected to win easy approval from the legislative spending-oversight panel.

The company wants the 10-year, 2 percent loan to help pay for a $4.6 million expansion of its operations in Gahanna. The renovations and new equipment would help it develop a pizza dough that rises in one day instead of three, according to state documents." Columbus Dispatch, Jan. 20, 2005

It would seem that Ohio legislators have learned nothing from our retirement fund coin scandal, the golf ethics charges for our Republican Governor who ranks 50th out of 50, and ties to the Abramoff lobbyist fiasco.

Politics. Doesn't it just drive you crazy?

2054 Procrastination Tip

Procrastination isn't my biggest problem, but I've been known to find the Christmas tablecloth in the clothes basket in July. Right now I'm kicking a grocery sack I filled when I cleaned my office in November. These are NOT trash items, but just things removed from the surface so that the room looked nice for Thanksgiving. Now I'm sort of wondering what's in it since I haven't missed anything.

The other day, reading a right brained blog (artistic), I came across the book Organizing from the Right Side of the Brain by Lee Silber. Since we had just reorganized our art studio, laundry room, storage room and furnace room, I thought I'd take a peek and see if we'd done anything right. Our local library couldn't find its copy, and couldn't find a location to loan it (that's a whole other story to be shared only with fellow librarians). But my friend Adrienne (also a librarian) found a copy in the Worthington Public Library, and today her nice husband handed it to me at the coffee shop. I have only looked at the title page and table of contents (no index), but I did see one little after thought on the last page of text that I thought was excellent if you're having trouble getting started (procrastinating as we call it) on a task:

"I put my favorite song on the stereo and make the goal of organizing the length of the song. Of course, once I start I continue because starting can be the hardest part--especially when something feels overwhelming." Jill Baldwin Badonsky, Creativity Coach.

I have a tape player and a Cynthia Clawson tape in the laundry room. This might work with the ironing.

2053 I've been tagged

Checking my e-mail this morning, I discovered that I'd been tagged by Randy Kirk. He has just celebrated his one year blogiversary, and writes that this occasion gives him the right to make up his own meme, and tag five regulars to his site. He’s thought about this question for a long time, and here it is:

The question is: What are the first five things you want to ask Jesus when you get to heaven?

1. It’s so obvious when I looked around my earthly home, that you are a master artist. Is it the fallen world that makes so many of us visually and artistically challenged and impairs our thought closing our eyes to the beauty?

2. Where are you keeping all our pets and how soon can we get together? It must be like Noah’s Ark around here because my pastor says that if heaven is to be perfect and have no sorrow, and that includes our pet, she’ll be here.

3. Did you really care about how we baptized? As you well know (since you were there when I went under in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit), I grew up Anabaptist, and spent over 30 years as a Lutheran--so I‘ve heard just about every imaginable sermon on this topic in my life time of pew sitting. And they were all convinced they were doing it your way!

4. Why didn’t you come back sooner? If you were waiting until I witnessed to a particular unbeliever you put in my path, will you let me know who she was?

5. Although I think I understand free will, could you just lay out for me, touching the highlights of history since I know others have questions and you are quite busy, what you had in mind? All that killing and disaster, hate and envy, incest and adultery, abuse and anger, disrespect and gossip, emptiness and loneliness--I tell you Jesus, it’s enough to make me fall on my knees and say, Save Me!

Thanks, Randy, for selecting me for your very own meme.

Now I’m Tagging Hokulea, Vox Lauri, Daddy’s Roses, Vinni, and Sherry. But you are welcome to add your comments here.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

2051 Living with the dead

Pastor Petersen writes: "I feel very close to those I've buried, often closer than I do to those I've married or confirmed or baptized. It is a great honor and privilege to confess on behalf of the dead, to evangelize in their name, and to comfort those who mourn for them. I think about them a lot, am always aware of them. I don't really mourn for many of them, not like their families anyway. For it has not yet been my mother or father, my wife or my child who is dead. But I do commune with them, and I do remember them, all of them. For I've spoken for them, I've witnessed to what they now behold and the reward they now enjoy, and that creates a bond that goes beyond the boundaries of this life."

Is the Oscars award ceremony doomed to have shrinking audiences each year?

This was a question dated today from an on-line newsletter I receive, so I thought they really wanted my input. I clicked over to the polling site, and got the message that the poll was closed; and thank you for your participation. I was going to say that if Hollywood ever produced a movie worth seeing (worth $6, the horribly loud sound system, the bad language, and no roles for women over 45), well, sure, I might watch the awards. But if I wouldn't watch Chris Rock, why would I watch Jon Stewart?

2049 Tips and Clips from columnists and the news

Lots of interesting topics in the news--I'll check around for links, although even if on-line, they might not be accessible. These are slightly altered or paraphrased (some columnists get a tad heavy on the adverbs and adjectives).

"For those who have longed to go to movies that are uplifting, End of the Spear is one of the best. It is about forgiveness and reconciliation. The Waodani (an Ecuadorian tribe) at first refused to cooperate in the retelling of their past. Then they learned of the violence in American culture and agreed to the film to help us change." Cal Thomas. http://www.everytribe.com website for the movie.

"Organized labor, having tried and failed to unionize Wal-Mart's employees, has turned to organizing state legislators." George F. Will, on Maryland's legislative mugging and social engineering. Their hate for Wal-Mart hurts Maryland's poor and low income by limiting their choices of jobs and reasonably priced products. And if you've ever driven through western Maryland, you'll see that this will be a hardship.

"Most European countries have seen an increase in greenhouse gas emission since signing Kyoto in 1997." WSJ editorial, Jan. 19, 2006. It goes on to say that despite our industrial growth, emissions in the USA have actually declined (slightly). Something like 15 out of 17 European signers are going to miss their targets. Unfortunately, there has been no reduction in hot air by the liberals.

"The battle over wiretaps isn't a legal issue, it is a political issue between Congress and the White House over supremacy on matters of national security." WSJ editorial, Jan. 19, 2006, "Highwire Tap Act." Points out the really bad knowledge of constitutional law the current lawsuits are based on.

When reading a timeline about progress for women in Scholastic's Monthly magazine, I was surprised to see instant macaroni and cheese (1937) and the dishwasher (1949) listed right along with the sewing machine (1833), which truly did make a stunning difference in women's lives. Vol.55,no.5, Feb. 2003. The shallowness of knowledge about women displayed on the chart makes me wonder about the literary accomplishments it included.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

2048 Who's eating my take-out?

Every time there's a survey on what Americans are eating or drinking, I always wonder who's eating mine? "Americans are now more likely to take out food from a restaurant than to eat on-site (NPD, 2005a). In 2005, Americans ate 80 meals per person at restaurants, down from 93 in 1985,
and took home 57 restaurant meals per person, up from 33 meals 20 years ago. Americans carried 27 restaurant meals to work this year, vs 23 in 1985." Food Technology. I'm eating about 60 meals a year in restaurants and perhaps 12 take out. Unless they count morning coffee, then I'm over 300, but I'm guessing that isn't in this figure.

OK. OK. So we did have a pizza from Iaccono's tonight, but it was the first time in three weeks we had a take out meal. And I'm sure they don't count the half a sandwich I bring home on Friday nights from our date night at a sports bar. But we Americans are fixing fewer meals at home, which may account for the increasing acceptance of overweight people. They's us. Pizza is the third most popular take-out and restaurant food in America, and french fries are number one for women and children (hamburgers for men) for restaurant food.

This one surprised me--I don't think I see it in Columbus: "Today, there are more Chinese restaurants in the U.S. than McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King outlets combined (NAD, 2005). Young consumers dramatically favor ethnic foods. While families with kids under age 12 account for 34% of total dollars spent on foods and beverages, they account for 52% of dollars spent on Mexican foods. And, to a lesser extent than Hispanic foods, a similar trend exists with Asian foods (Lempert, 2005)."

It is a well documented, fact filled report in a reliable journal.

2047 Brand new baby blogger

Bona is a brand new blogger at My Passions, and is excited about everything, especially finding a new way to communicate her passions. Stop by and welcome her to the blogosphere as she learns the ins and outs of blogging.

2046 Oprah needs a session with Dr. Phil

says WaPo columnist Richard Cohen. Others are calling James Frey’s “memoirs,” A Thousand Little Lies. When you stretch a three hour prison visit waiting for a friend into a three month prison sentence, I’d say that’s a bit elastic for a definition of non-fiction, even by Mary Mapes standards for her wannabe National Guard story. It isn’t even “truthiness,” whatever that is, because everything that occurred during that three months just didn’t. Here’s a link to Cohen’s column, although because of my registration cookies, I don’t know if you see what I see. Sort of like Oprah’s judgment, innit?

“A mention of anything on her show will make a millionaire out of a pauper or, in the case of a writer such as the Frey the Fibber, a bestseller of undreamed proportions. The man became famous and rich on account of Oprah -- and, or so we all seem to believe, happy as well“

“The Smoking Gun Web site found out, for instance, that Frey had not spent three months in jail, as he wrote, but maybe a couple of hours or so waiting for a friend to post bond. His account of his stay in a treatment facility is questionable, as is his involvement in a train-car collision that took the lives of two teenage girls. These are not, as Frey keeps claiming, the usual tussle we all have between memory and fact, but veering departures from fact into fiction.”

“In this vast corporation [Doubleday, the publisher], there seemed to be no one who knew the difference between fact and fiction, truth and a lie. (Fiction packaged as fact is a lie.) Doubleday did not seem even a tad embarrassed that it had been snookered, that it had lent its considerable name and reputation -- built on the hard work of many an honest writer -- to a sham.”

The Smoking Gun website provides a fascinating read, especially since much of this was supposed to have happened in Ohio.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

2045 A huge thank-you

to my cousin Connie in Florida who sent me her family memoirs on DVD prepared by her niece. How wonderful to see all her parents' old family movies converted to a modern medium with voice overs looking back over 60 years. Connie and her sisters reminisced about their parents, the homes they lived in, their schools, the town where we all grew up, the parks we knew, the church we attended and especially their mother's sewing and handiwork. I think you could fill a small museum with my aunt's sewing, knitting, crochet, handmade dolls and animals and craft projects. It just blew me away. Another segment on the DVD had Connie's father and two of his sisters (my grandmother's siblings) retelling the old family stories they remembered.

Connie's grandmother was my great-grandmother, so it was a surprise to see great-grandma moving quickly, slender and straight, smiling at the camera from the late 1930s. My aunt did a wonderful job of capturing her husband's family in natural settings, walking in and out of the house, or getting together for picnics and family dinners, sitting together in lawn chairs laughing and talking. She had a good eye and a steady hand. My aunt took movies over the years of her daughters' school classes, so I recognized many old acquaintances from home--but in the years before I knew them. I saw the old gradeschool and playground with huge trees in a town that no longer has a school. I even saw my own sisters smiling back at me before the time I have any memory of them.

If you have old fading family movies or slides from your childhood, and a few relatives around who remember what they are about, get them to someone who can preserve them (the film, not the people), before the medium and the memories are lost forever.

2044 Women and Losers

This could have been a Thursday 13, because these all appeared in one recent Dear Abby column, and it worked out to 13 items. How do needy women find these losers? I'm guessing she knew he was drinking too much and was abusive before she married him--they were probably living together--maybe even made a few babies. Did she think he would change? Did she think marriage was magic? That a creep was better than nobody? Here's the list. I can't figure it out.

1. She married at 23, now is 30.

2. She has 3 children, one from a previous “relationship.”

3. Husband can’t hold a job.

4. He was fired for a bad attitude and harassing women.

5. He’s addicted to alcohol and weed.

6. He wants her to participate (she doesn’t say she doesn’t).

7. He calls her 15 times a day or instant messages her.

8. He accuses her of cheating if she doesn’t respond.

9. He slaps her.

10. He has grabbed her by the throat.

11. He verbally abuses her.

12. He treats her oldest child (by the other man) abusively.

13. She has no friends or family.

Dear Abby says: Get some help. Call 1-800-799-7233.

2043 Exercise and Alzheimer's

My husband called this to my attention on the news last night. He is a participant and fill-in instructor in an aerobics class where he is the only guy. The ladies love him--and they've seen him at his worst. But he brings them flowers on Valentine's Day and had t-shirts made for them.

Anyway, back to the story: "Routine exercise, even as simple as a 15-minute walk three times a week, can help ward off dementia and related conditions among those 65 and older, according to a study published on Monday.

Exercise may help by improving brain function since it boosts blood flow to areas of the brain used for memory, according to the chief author of the study, Eric Larson, director of the Group Health Cooperative Center for Health Studies in Seattle. . .

The six-year study involved 1,740 people age 65 and older. It found that those who exercised three or more times a week had up to a 40 percent lower risk for developing dementia compared with those who exercised fewer than three times per week."

Monday, January 16, 2006

2042 The seven deadly sins

Judy and I had coffee at Panera's this morning and somehow got on the topic of the seven deadly sins. We could only name four: greed (I think that's how we got started talking about it--corporate greed), sloth, lust and gluttony. We racked our brains and couldn't come up with the other three. I told her I'd check Google, but then forgot when I was at home. Later in the day I was at the public library looking for a book they said was "lost" (usually that means misshelved). Before leaving, I wandered over to the area where Friends of the Library has its perpetual book sale. I looked through a few magazines on the shelves and before turning to leave my eye wandered to a box on the floor. The magazine cover on top was the September 2005 Johns Hopkins and read, "The 7 deadly sins and why they are not always so bad."

As it turns out, the other three are pride, envy and anger, and what we called greed is referred to as avarice. The opening statement says that over the centuries, the seven deadly sins have changed some. Each sin has its own article. But I did notice that the avarice article was about greedy CEOs. I'm guessing Howard Stern's salary with Sirius exceeds most CEOs who are actually contributing something to the business and society besides 4 letter words, don't you think?

2041 The American emergency health system

as explained to an EMT in the UK appears in the comments of Random Acts of Reality, the blog of an EMT. The blog started with a recruiting video for EMTs in the USA, and the Brits were wondering if that's the way it really was, and someone made a remark that the injured would need his credit card to get into the ER. That's where the American EMT jumped in with what I think is one of the best overviews I've heard of emergency care, how it is provided, its speed, and how it is paid for.

"I've never worked a shooting that came from a legally owned gun. From what I've heard, while guns are illegal in England, illegal guns are still available if you know where to look. I've never had a paramedic or EMT shot. Any scenes that sound dangerous automatically have a police car sent to secure the scene before ambulance crew are let in."

"At no point during emergency treatment is a patient asked if they can afford to pay. They may be asked if they have insurance, and what kind if it isn't urgent, as the ambulance crew knows that somewhere down the line the patient will have to pay, and insurance companies may pay more of the bill if the patient is at the "right" hospital. That is waived in a true emergency, and they are taken to the nearest facility that will handle them. Every hospital in the country must post signs either in the ER waiting or triage rooms informing patients that they have a right to medical treatment, regardless of their ability to pay."

". . . the poor recieve medical insurance from state and national programs. Because there is a charge (but usually little or no enforcement) for an ambulance, people tend to call more for true emergencies, and maternataxis are rare (unless you count complications). I have never in my life sent or recieved an ambulance that took more than 6 minutes."

"While it would be nice for everyone to have full and complete (including preventative) care, I prefer knowing that I can always have access to an ambulance in an emergency, that it will usually get there within 4 minutes (the magic time they tell us that it takes a major artery cut to bleed to death), even if it takes me a year to pay it off later. I like knowing that we can prosecute people who purposely fake calls."

"Once a year, many local hospitals and other groups sponsor "health fairs", where for as little as $5-10 US (or less if you qualify for low-income assistance, or have insurance which prefers to pay the lower bulk cost for these tests), you can have a full physical, including a blood draw which scans for 50+ different indicators, and your results are given back to you with directions on who to follow up with."

The UK EMTs were polite and thanked him for the information--most of which they didn't know, and most Americans don't either, unless they know someone who works in the ER.