Wednesday, February 28, 2007

3549 A common error

Today I was reading a book I keep in the bathroom for just such occasions and came across the sentence, "By applying the techniques we've discussed in this book, I was able to enjoy this bell-weather year." Huh? Does she mean bellwether as in a leading indicator of a future trend, or is she thinking "belle" as in beautiful or pretty. A wether is a castrated male sheep, and a bell was tied around his neck and he led the sheep. So a bellwether is a leader.

This leads me to my favorite (next to the words "snogging" and "Oreo Cowkies") bit of trivia from the Veterinary libary. There are about 55 English words for sheep--not breeds, but words for the ages, sex and use of the animal itself. (Yes, I know I told you this about a month ago.) I can't seem to track down a list but the ones I remember are buck, dam, ewe, ram, wether, hogg, hoggett, lamb and shearling. I'm not sure poll and jumbuck were part of the list although I've seen those words in sheep descriptions. Anyone from Australia or New Zealand out there who can help me out with directions to a list? I know the list was in the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Yearbook, and I've checked the ones on-line, but didn't find it.

Update: Sort of poetic, isn't it?
Buck, dam,
Ewe, ram,
Wether, hogg,
Hoggett, lamb--
Waltz Matilda, waltz!

3548 The lost audition

This is a hoot. It's been around for awhile, but fun.

3546 $6.5 million wrongful death suit for illegals

In September 2004 there was a horrible tragic fire on Columbus' west side in which seven adults, all illegal immigrants and three children, all U.S. citizens died. At least, that's my recollection from the way the story was covered then. At the time we were told that the fire got out of control because the residents were fearful of being discovered, couldn't speak enough English to let 911 know what was wrong, were living several families in one small apartment, and were probably victims of an arsonist, perhaps a rival or disgruntled fellow-immigrant (don't remember if the theory was sex, drugs or bad debts).

Today's report says nothing about that, only that "Columbus lawyers working with colleagues in Texas and Mexico agreed to the terms of a $6.5 million lawsuit" against the property owners and a security firm.

"Most of the 10 people who died had traveled to the United States to work as landscapers. All were killed by burns and carbon-monoxide poisoning as the fire, set in a mattress in a hallway on the lower level, quickly spread and blocked their escape. Apartment owners were aware of an arson fire in the same building 90 days before the fatal fire but failed to increase security, lawyers said."

So who is at fault here? Not the people who smuggled them into the country; not the people who hired them; not the people who supplied false documents; not the other illegals who invited them to live 10 people to an apartment; not the liberals, Hispanic advocacy groups or church groups who do everything to keep them here; not the immigrant men who didn't allow their women outside to learn English; not the Congress who didn't supply the funding to protect the borders; and certainly not the Mexican government who refuses to clean up their mess at home, preferring to drain all it can from our economy. In 2004, our own emergency call service was blamed because they didn't speak enough Spanish and they all had to take crash courses.

No, through the shenanigans of lawyers who get their 1/3 of the settlement and the Mexican government (don't know how much they get, except perhaps they get to tax that portion that goes to Mexican citizens), the security company and the landlord are at fault for not providing enough security.

Several years ago my son lived in a lovely almost new apartment complex on the east side--off street parking, some garages, a pool, party house, gym, great access to major highways and shopping, etc. Young Hispanic men (if there were women we didn't see them) were jammed into some of these apartments, having fights, looking not at all anxious to be noticed outside the building, with a variety of junky cars littering the parking lots. As soon as his one year lease was up, he moved. It was a scary place.

How long will there be landlords willing to invest in Columbus and keep up property if they have to increase security to handle illegals, or be sued for not doing so? How long will we know the problems in these immigrant communities if our newspapers push the details under the rug? How many more children and parents will need to die at the hands of our homegrown enablers?

Global warming, the new bottle stopper

One hundred years ago, according to JAMA's peek into its archives, the general public was believing theories that boric acid as a food preservative and red rubber in bottle stoppers were the cause of increased number of appendicitis. Around that time telephone usage was on the increase, but apparently no one connected that to the rise in appendicitis.

Algore is remodeling a big old house and using a big old jet to fly around to his various treatments for sycophantitis. Seems he can buy carbon credits. That doesn't reduce any carbon in the air--just makes him feel better.

3544 The American Dream

Banks have been offering home mortgages to undocumented workers using a taxpayer ID instead of a Social Secuity number, and it's not illegal to do so. You don't have to be an American citizen to own property here. Think about all the rich European rock stars and middle eastern oil magnates who buy multi-million dollar homes that eat up our coastlines and forests so they can drop by a few weeks of the year. They are actually cheap tax shelters because their own property taxes are confiscatory.

Now a new bill has been introduced (H.R. 480) by John T. Doolittle R-CA to amend the Truth in Lending Act to make such mortgages to illegals difficult (I was going to say "illegal" but we know that there is an army of lawyers out there working for advocacy groups that will find the loophole, so I downshifted to "difficult").

When there is a practice or law so clearly working against the average, tax paying, law abiding citizen, I always say the trite and true: FOLLOW THE MONEY. Who benefits when undocumented workers buy homes? MurrayT has a home in Florida and the recent tornado wiped out some of those homes. He says FEMA is trying to find the home owners to give them aid--but they have fled fearing arrest for being in the country illegally and are afraid of the INS. Property owners paying taxes in that county and paying high insurance premiums and the rest of the nation (me) who donate to the very inefficient Homeland Security Department are paying.

But the banks with their fees and the real estate industry (now in sort of a slump) and all their linked industries like home inspectors, title examiners, insurance companies are not innocent. Local taxing districts probably don't care as long as the county or township gets its share. Nor are advocacy groups innocent, like La Raza, who normally would turn up their noses at a so-called American value. But they'll preach it brother, oh yes, "the American dream," how could you deny this to hard, working immigrants? Read their own material. They intend to "retake" the southwestern U.S. which Mexico lost in a 19th century war.

The sovereign Mexican government is the big bandito behind all this. And we have so many trade treaties with Mexico it would be hard to sort through. How about that latest one allowing Mexican truck drivers to deliver Mexican goods within the U.S. when we can't even inspect our own trucking industry. But our banks are doing lunch with their bancos you can be sure. Illegal immigrants sending money home, supporting (destroying?) villages and towns left with no young men, is the second highest source of income in Mexico, with oil being number one and tourism number three. The quasi-American left who will weep bitter tears over the 5% rich in this country who pay most of our taxes (but never enough, right?), have no problem turning a blind eye to the inequities in Mexico with the richest Spanish-Mexicans (they have very restrictive laws regarding citizenship) at the top of the government and industries and the poorest Indian-Mexicans at the bottom. Why should Mexico ever clean up its act and be responsible for its own poor and unemployed and create some upward mobility if we're willing to support them with the jobs and social benefits?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

3543 Great Balls of Fire!

as Jerry Lee Lewis would sing. Just go to technorati or Google and type "scrotum + Newbery" and read a few library blogs. The book is totally unsuitable in story line for 4th graders, in my opinion, but what in the world is wrong with a body part?

3542 What about threatening the Veep?

Isn't that against the law? I would think the Huffpo blog would have closed her blood thirsty maniacs down sooner. Some people are so evil.

Why do you blog?

The first four responses were exactly the same as I would write (if anyone asked, but no one did); but after that he, Chris Dillow, lost me in a swirl of music, poetry and English history.

Why do you blog? I'm arrogant enough to think I've got something worth saying, and stupid enough to think anyone cares.

What has been your best blogging experience? The kind words of many good, intelligent people, which I have been too ungracious to properly acknowledge.

What has been your worst blogging experience? Realizing that time and inspiration are negatively correlated.

What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? It's better to be wrong but interesting than right but dull.

He writes Stumbling and Mumbling.

The Librarian

Isn't this a magnificent portrait? The artist Winold Reiss was a well known artist of the early 20th century who "believed that portraits were windows into the souls of his subjects as well as renderings of their faces and forms. Motivated by his big-hearted humanism, Reiss also loved variety and believed that a full appreciation of the universal could only come about through contact with diversity." I don't know if I'm more impressed with her dignity and determination or her clothes. (Librarians definitely led the charge to dress down at work.) He did a series of Negro Women for Survey Graphic, Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro, March 1925. Very interesting articles in this issue, also.

Some fascinating architectural stuff, too, done by Reiss. He was the muralist for the Cincinnati Union Terminal, and many of the murals which depict Cincinnati industries have been moved to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.

3539 Why it's better to trust the Bible

Bible scholars disgree on a lot of points, like whether a "day" is a literal 24 hours or a couple of million years, or how Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in the New, or the true meaning of various miracle stories and parables, or how much first century sexuality should carry over to the 21st century. But it's nothing as changeable or as debatable as what you find in scientific, peer-reviewed journals.

I just love to read science literature and blogs. Fascinating stuff. But anytime you hear politicans or non-scientific people (media talking heads and journalists) claiming all disagreement needs to be limited on a particular topic, like global warming or stem-cell research or Alzheimer's treatment, I invite you to read the first 5-10 pages of any issue of Nature. Here's what I noticed today:
  • The fat metabolism of Drosophila (fruit fly) is a mystery. . .
  • They still haven't figured out the influence of genes vs. environment in disease, and some studies are "controversial."
  • Astronomers' galaxy theories are in need of a new model because of new observational techniques.
  • "despite intense investigation. . ."
  • "it is a mystery. . ."
  • "new techniques reveal. . ."
  • "will test the hypotheses that . . ."
  • "previously unknown changes. . . "
  • "reveal an unexpected connection in. . ."
  • "more widespread consequences than previously predicted. . . "
  • "may play a role in climate change (this was not human related). . ."
  • "long running debate in how . . . "
  • "the nature of how this works is unclear. . ."
  • "the reason for this variation has been something of a mystery. . . "
  • "there is only one fossil of this 150 million year old species available for analysis. . . "
  • "Even some of the most accomplished scientists are in the dark about the most basic information underpinning their work. . . "
  • "The plant with the largest flower (a metre across) has no roots, leaves or stems and has no DNA clues on how it is related to other plants. . . "
  • the question of whether this property plays an active role in tumors has remained under debate. . . "
I rest my case--for the Biblical truths.

3538 Late in life learning

I've learned a few things in retirement that I wish I'd known earlier. a) Always use a non-stick spray when cooking--sauce pans included. Sure makes clean up easy (I use a soybean oil spray). b) Trader Joe's sunblock makes a wonderful hand lotion--has zinc oxide, and their c) shaving cream works wonderfully for washing your face. Leaves your skin soft and smelling yummy. d) I can buy a B width shoe if it has laces or elastic inserts. e) Since I buy 1/2 decaf with 1/2 regular for my morning coffee, it just tastes a lot better if I start with 1/2 cup of regular and leave out the decaf until I'm ready to go (about an hour later). It also stays hot longer if you start with 1/2 cup. f) In the last few months I've learned there is life after peanut butter.

But here's the biggie I learned yesterday. I'm not particularly tall--5'5"--and have short legs. Therefore, PETITE slacks or jeans fit fine in the inseam, but the trunk/waist is completely in the wrong place. Yesterday I noticed a nice pair of Bill Blass jeans on the 75% off rack, but they were a TALL. I've never bought a TALL because I have to shorten even a REGULAR. But the price was a winner (about $6) so I bought them. They fit much better than a REGULAR, which apparently is not the size I should have been buying all these years. I shortened them 3.5" but when I sit down, they stay put.

I hope you've enjoyed this public service announcement.

3537 Speech code?

Barack Obama was in Columbus yesterday. I've been hearing snippets on the radio. Hmmmm. Seems to be a change in his speech--all of a sudden (or maybe not so sudden) he doesn't sound like a young educated white lawyer from Illinois. He sounded like a young Jesse Jackson, who also used to be from Illinois. Kind of reminds me of Edwards in jeans or Kerry in the bunny suit. You need to go with the flow when you're in politics. Read the polls and what the latest focus groups say. Now, the President? He always sounds like a good old boy from Texas and it sure makes his enemies mad. He certainly doesn't respond to polls or he'd know how unhappy conservatives are with him about his border follies.

Monday, February 26, 2007

What Oscars? - Create custom images

3535 Cuddle time

My favorite time of day.

3534 Gang Green

Who are the worst offenders amongst the greenies? Follow the money. Smell the rotting flesh. Check out CRC's list of the worst environmental groups. What companies are they targeting and what absurd, non-achievable demands are they making?

3533 Why do Republicans try so hard to look stupid?

Laura Ingraham (radio talk show host based in California) sounds like she's living 3 centuries back by trying to equate the HPV vaccine with conservative, Christian values. Did she ever raise a daughter? Was she ever a daughter? Your little virgin sweety pie could have saved herself from birth through age 30 for her future husband because of all your careful upbringing, private schools, Sunday school and VBS, and your selection of her peer group, but you didn't raise the man she will marry! And since women get HPV from men, who are you kidding lady? For some reason she thinks that 6th graders will run out and have sex if they have this vaccine's protection from a cancer they won't get until they are 40, despite what they are taught at home and church, but won't behave that way if they don't have the vaccine, being taught the very same values. Are our values that fragile? Someone in this future couple will have had pre-marital sex. HPV vaccine cannot protect your daughter from pregnancy, or herpes, or syphilis, or any number of STDs--nor can a condom--and the vaccine can't protect her against a broken heart and an unfaithful husband. But for the love of God, give her the protection you can for the cancer!

Then they try to top that stupid behavior by seriously considering Rudy Giuliani or John McCain as presidential candidates for 2008, both unfaithful to their wives and personally not men of good character, instead of Romney because he's (whisper) a Mormon.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

3532 Strong willed mother-in-law

Prayer Job Jar
I have so many people on my prayer list with really serious, mind numbing problems, I admit I got a bit testy and talked back to the ingrate woman who wrote "Dear Abby" this week about her mother-in-law.

It seems her MIL does her laundry and dishes when she comes over to babysit. She started doing it when the complainer was bedridden and really needed the help, but she just won't stop! Really, what some people call a problem, I can fix in 3 shakes of a lamb's tail. DO THE LAUNDRY AND DISHES BEFORE SHE GETS THERE. Start picking up after yourself so Mama and others won't see your home looking like a cyclone went through as you run off for lunch with your friends, or where ever you're going. If your home looks like a federal disaster zone, don't be surprised when the volunteers show up for cleaning. Or, here's another thought. HIRE SOMEONE TO BABYSIT. Then invite your in-laws over for a non-working time with the kids (she wanted MIL to supervise the kids instead of cleaning up messes).

Now, wasn't that easy?

3531 Horses slaughtered for human consumption

When I was working in the veterinary medicine library in the 90s, I often read the trade newspapers for horse owners. The op-ed and health articles often cautioned readers/owners about selling their "retired" horse to someone they didn't know, because chances were good they would be slaughtered for meat to be sent to Asia and Europe. Over 100,000 American horses were killed in 2006 in the three remaining foreign-owned US slaughterhouses and shipped abroad to Europe and Japan for human consumption. He might come along with a story that he wanted a gentle, older horse for his granddaughter, but that wasn't the fate that awaited the pet of a gullible owner. Amy's story about rescuing Beau and my memory of the efforts being made by horse owners well over 10 years ago to stop this practice caused me to stop at this House Bill, H.R. 503 (report 109-642), to amend the Horse Protection Act, passed last September to "TO PROHIBIT THE SHIPPING, TRANSPORTING, MOVING, DELIVERING, RECEIVING, POSSESSING, PURCHASING, SELLING, OR DONATION OF HORSES AND OTHER EQUINES TO BE SLAUGHTERED FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES." Scroll down to read the amendments, which apparently were defeated, including the one that allowed Native Americans to do what other Americans could not. If I read this correctly, it would be against the law for an owner to sell or donate his horse for this purpose. This is now being reintroduced to the new Congress. (I'll get out of the saddle here because I don't understand how bills work their way through Congress to become law. Wrong version of the bill sent to the Senate.)

According to this website, Illinois is one of the few states where horse slaughter for human consumption is still done.

As much as I hate to see horse slaughter for human consumption, I would hate to see the laws become so restrictive, that disposing of an animal became difficult, and therefore would lead to abuse such as poor health care, food, or being sold to bad people just to get if off your hands. Also, if species-specific legislation outlawing slaughter for human consumption works with horses, you can bet pigs, cattle and chicken supporters will be watching very closely. How to compost a horse.

The ever changing sciences often support Biblical views

Randy Kirk in his blog The truth about everything comments on how science is self-correcting, and often brings us back to the objective truths at the foundation of our Judeo-Christian culture (which even many Christians ignore). Good job, Randy. I don't envy you taking on all those unbelievers, but you seem to be up to the task. I'll send Chuck The Unbelieving Librarian over.

Big Brother

Sometimes he's watching; sometimes he's paying. This item is from my archives. I wrote about my conversation with the young male cashier--a Chinese OSU graduate in engineering. Surprised that he didn't have a job in his field, I'd suggested he send out more resumes, and he responded he was too lazy, and would probably go to grad school instead. I then wrote:

"There is an older brother paying his way, I thought. And if he gets a good job, he'll have to help his younger siblings. It is the Chinese way, and every Chinese student who ever worked for me had that sort of deal, whether the brother was a doctor in the USA or technician in China.

Big brother. So that's where that expression comes from.

This morning I asked my cashier Raiz (Pakistani Muslim) what had become of the "happy bagger," when the turn styles were installed. He was a middle aged, retarded man who was always laughing and smiling and reminding the customers loudly to smile. "Oh, he was fired," he said. "Did he find another job?" I asked, thinking that his talkativeness and his handicap might have made it difficult. "Yes, he did. It took two months but he found a new job and likes it very much."

So a man that couldn't even go to regular public school can find a job and be happy, but an OSU graduate in engineering can't. Interesting."

From Norma's archives.

3528 Browsing in libraries

When I visit a city, I try to make a stop at the public library. Often I can't get inside because I get up too early and am on my way to or from the coffee shop! But today, you can visit some of the most fabulous libraries on line. I keep a link at the left to the New York Public Library. In the early days of my career in the mid-1960s, when libraries were just beginning to figure out how computers could help store and access information, the card catalog of the NYPL had been photocopied and bound into huge volumes. It was a good source for slavic material, as I recall, so I would often take my handful of slips and cards into the huge reference room of the University of Illinois Library (I used to get very light-headed and thought it was excitement but later learned I had atrial fibrillation), write out the transliteration, and search the many possibilities of the authors' names. This was called doing an "authority search," and if you found the author, you made a little check mark. NYPL was considered a reputable authority and we trusted the toiling, underpaid librarians who had worked the decades before us.

February in the United States is called Black History month, and I'm awfully tired of the same old PSAs I've been hearing on the radio. Someone has not put much thought into the historical riches, particularly poetry, literature and music, that are available on-line. ("Hello! There are topics other than slavery and misery to show accomplishments!" she says to the radio.) I went to the NYPL home page and typed in "poet" in the search window, and received a huge number of photographs of African-American and Afro-other literary figures. I looked through the photos and selected this woman, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture:

I then went to Google and looked up her biography and some of her poetry. She had a very interesting life (born to free parents in 1825 and raised by a relative) and received an education far better than most white women of her time. I really enjoyed her poem about Moses, which you can find and read, but she also wrote several novels and this essay was included in a Unitarian sermon source, still worthy of being read today:

True and False Politeness [by F.E.W. Harper]

False politeness can cast a glamour over fashionable follies and popular vices and shrink from uttering unpalatable truths, when truth is needed more than flattery.

True politeness, tender as love and faithful as truth, values intrinsic worth more than artificial surroundings. It will stem the current of the world's disfavor, rather than float ignobly on the tide of popular favor, with the implied disrespect to our common human nature, that it is a flaccid thing to be won by sophistry, and satisfied with shams.

False politeness is an outgrowth from the surface of life. True politeness is the fair outflowing of a kind and thoughtful life, the sweet ripe fruit of a religion which gives to life its best expression and to humanity its crowning glory.

True politeness is broadly inclusive; false politeness narrowly exclusive. …

True politeness has no scornful epithets for classes or races, who, if not organically inferior, have been born under, or environed by inferior conditions. Humanity is God's child, and to fail in true kindness and respect to the least of His "little ones" is to fail in allegiance to Him.

Contemptuous injustice to man is treason to God, and one of the worst forms of infidelity is to praise Christ with our lips and trample on the least of His brethren with our feet,-to talk sweetly of His love, and embitter the lives of others by cold contempt, and cruel scorn.

Beyond the narrow limitations of social lines are humanity's broader interests…

If today you believe that your faith is simple and vision clearer than that of other forms of belief, should not the clasp of your hand be warmer, the earnestness of your soul greater, and the throbbings of your heart quicker to clasp the world in your arms and bring it nearer to the great heart of God and His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ?

3527 The importance of friends

Although it is important to raise a child in a home with married parents who have good values, by the time they get to about 11 or 12, we know from our own experience and various studies that their friends, the peers, take over in the "training and raising." I really enjoyed Hispanic Pundit's story about his two friends Edgar and Sid, his love for them, his respect and treatment of their parents, and his sadness about the turn in their lives. I was left wondering how HP came through that on the other side. I guess he'll have to tell more stories.

One of his readers left the following comment: "My "salvation" in the old neighborhood was to hang out with the Vietnamese immigrants: they all were going to college, so I went too."

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Just change a few key phrases

Sometimes, reporting one illegal activity can be a template for another. How is illegally coming across the border taking jobs and services any different than downloading music illegally? The current crack down on both will make the criminals--whether CEOs, workers or college students--think twice.

"Today’s college students have grown up during the rise of illegal peer-to-peer services, and now there is an expectation that music should be free, that it should be available on multiple platforms, and that it should be easily transferred to their preferred portable device, including the iPod. These Internet-savvy consumers do not care for excessive rules being placed around the content they want, and until their needs have been addressed, the challenges of mass adoption will continue for a great many businesses." Cdigix [legal music download service] letter as reported in Chronicle Wired "Why the music died."

Today's Mexican citizens have grown up during the rise of easy access to services and jobs across the border, and now there is an expectation that multiple medical, educational and social services should be available, and that they should easily be transferred to any Mexican national who wants them, including their non-resident relatives. These immigration-savvy illegals do not care for excessive rules being placed on them in various states where they want to be and until their needs have been addressed by a weak Bush administration in league with the labor unions, American businesses and various advocacy groups, the challenges of mass illegal immigration will continue for a great many Americans.

The exclusiveness of being Norma

There are no men named Norma. There are no similar or even fairly similar names to Norma for either men or women. But there are a small number of men named Annie. And a huge number of similar names to Annie for both men (Ernie, Ananias) and women (Alexandrea, Ginny). You're probably thinking, What about Norman, but there are actually some women named Norman; but no men named Norma. So, I'm special.

The popularity of my name peaked in 1931, long before I was born. I think there were some movie stars named Norma (Shearer, Talmadge and the fictional Desmond) and for some reason, mommies want to name their babies after people who can't put three words together unless someone else has written it down for them. Marilyn Monroe didn't like her name and changed it. Maybe she didn't know about those other famous stars named Norma.

I was named by my father, a story my mother often told me when Dad was out of the room and mad at me for something. Apparently, with his third child he decided to try the daddy thing and was bouncing me around when I was an infant, tossed me in the air, and I hit my head on the ceiling light fixture. It was a long time before he picked up a baby again. By the time the great-granddaughters came along, he was getting pretty good at it, although I don't think he ever changed a diaper.

If you are choosing a baby's name and you wish the child to totally confuse future employers and the draft board, pick either Byrd or Kendall, the top two sexually ambiguous names. But if you want your daughter to stand out in a crowd, name her Norma.
The special one

To check out your own name, try The Name Playground.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Citizens Against Government Waste

was founded following the lead of President Ronald Reagan in establishing the President’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control, or the "Grace Commission," after Chairman J. Peter Grace, in 1982. In its more than 20 years of existence, CAGW has grown to include more than one million members who have helped reduce government spending by three-quarters of a billion dollars. The work of CAGW has also identified as much as $200 billion in unrealized one-year savings and more than $1.6 trillion in five-year savings. (Ohio Piglet Book)

Whichever party is in power, is the big offender, so for 2006 it was the Republicans. "The 2006 Congressional Pig Book is the latest installment of Citizens Against Government Waste’s (CAGW) 16-year exposé of pork-barrel spending. This year’s list includes: $13,500,000 for the International Fund for Ireland, which helped finance the World Toilet Summit; $6,435,000 for wood utilization research; $1,000,000 for the Waterfree Urinal Conservation Initiative; and $500,000 for the Sparta Teapot Museum in Sparta, N.C."

Some states have their own Piglet Book. Here is Ohio's for 2006, "The book Columbus doesn't want you to read." Congratulations to Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Florida and Georgia for being the states that are the least greedy in bringing home the federal pork. Alaska is number one, and Hawaii number two.

The terrible, sad marriage of Annie and Frank

You never know the tales you'll find when browsing a digitized, obscure record in the New York Public Library! I found Annie's photo in Cabinet Card Portraits in the Collection of Radical Publisher Benjamin R. Tucker. Tucker was publisher of The Radical Review from 1877 to 1878, and the anarchist magazine Liberty from 1881 to 1908. His magazine was the first to publish George Bernard Shaw in the U.S., and to translate Pierre Joseph Proudhon. Tucker also published other works considered radical at the time, such as Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Tolstoy's Kreutzer Sonata, and Oscar Wilde's Ballad of Reading Gaol. [notes from the catalog record at NYPL]

The Besants
by Norma Bruce
February 23, 2007

Frankie and Annie were married,
Oh Lordy, how they could fight.
Clergy was he, a writer she,
taking her fees was his right.

Frankie preached long dull sermons,
Short stories Annie would write.
Divorce for them was unthinkable--
society and God would smite.

Annie helped farmers to unionize,
Frank to the landlords leaned.
The couple was split by politics,
you’ve probably already gleaned.

"You read too many damn books,"
Frank was known to tell his wife.
He got custody of their children,
And she kept his name for life.

3522 Baldism

Today I was reading the Nov/Dec 2006 issue of Where to Retire and noticed something very odd. Although this magazine is supposed to focus on people over 50, it leaves out bald men. Zip, nada, zilch. What? They don't own property, stock, go fishing or play golf? There were no bald men in the ads--not one, and that's the major part of this very fat journal (over 260 pages). There was a bald man on p. 64 and p. 130 in news stories with candid shots. To the magazine's credit there were also no bad hair pieces or comb overs ala Donald Trump.

Murray had hair the last time I saw him (2002?) and my brother did the last time I saw him (2006), and my neighbor Jerry, and my friend Nancy's husband, but most of the men my age are bald, or so close to it they should just shave what's left. So, let's give a shout out for bald, male models who need the work.

Britney Spears

3521 Friday Family Photo--The story of Beau

A few weeks ago I told you the tragic story of my niece's husband, who manages a ranch in Illinois, developing a terrible infection in his hand when a thorn went through his glove, which required surgery, hospitalization and then physical therapy (still going on). While he was in the hospital, some of the horses got out of the corral before dawn, and two were hit in the road by a passing car, injuring severely the driver and two passengers, killing the one horse outright, and disabling the other. The injured horse was Beau, my niece's special pet, and this is his story.

Beau and Amy saved each others' lives five or six years ago. She was about as down and depressed as a young single mom could be, and he was headed for the slaughter house to become dog food. A girlfriend called her about two horses she heard about and Amy, who surely didn't need another pet to complicate her life (she already had a burro that was stretching her budget), fell in love at first sight. Beau was a young, unbroken stallion--had never worn a saddle or bridle. She got books and read everything she could about gentling and training horses--although I've seen her with animals and personally know she always has had a special knack with them. They spent a lot of time just loving each other, talking about life, sorting through the problems and walking--for miles. People used to ask her how her "dog" was because she wasn't riding him--just walking along with him. He would lay his head on her chest and come when she called his name. Eventually, the riding stage was no big deal because there was such a trust between them.

The night of the accident someone came to the house and told Amy some horses had escaped from the corral and been hit. It was dark so she couldn't see which ones, but in the headlights of the stopped traffic, she could see Beau standing along the road. She'd brought a halter with her, slipped it on his head, which he rested on her just like he always did, and she asked someone standing nearby to hold him while she checked on the other horses. She told him Beau wouldn't go anywhere, that he was gentle, but got a very strange response she didn't understand. Then the vet came up to her as she was about to lead Beau to the barn. The vet stopped her and said that wouldn't be possible, the horse was in shock and critically injured. Just then the traffic from the other direction started to move, and the headlights shone on Beau. She was horrified to see his injuries and knew right away, that he would need to be put down.

Beau will always have a special place in her heart, and I suspect he is irreplaceable even if someday she owns another horse. He came into her life when she rescued him, he then rescued her, worked his equine magic, and moved on.

After Amy told me this story I asked her if she knew that Beau had been her father's nickname when he was a little boy. She didn't.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pure Evil

Three adults, a dead child and one of the most awful, strangest cases I've ever heard about people who appeared on the surface to be normal, acting out unbelievable evil, has been on the news here in Ohio. Supposedly, the child was developmentally disabled, but I'd say the adult caretakers were definitely at the shallow end of the gene pool! The murder case of Liz Carroll in Cincinnati for killing her foster child, Marcus, by wrapping him in a blanket with duct tape and storing him in a closet while she, her husband and her husband's girlfriend went off to a family reunion for the week-end to leave him to suffocate has been playing out in Cincinnati this week. Today she was sentenced to what seemed to me, not nearly long enough. The girl friend, Amy Baker, who participated in this will apparently go free for turning on her lover/friend, and regain custody of her own children. I assume the husband will come to trial too.

I listened to the summation on the radio today on WLW. It was the most awful thing I'd ever heard. I don't believe in the death penalty, and this case in Ohio didn't even qualify, but I think all three of these people need to be put away forever, and ever. 54 years to life hardly seems adequate given the parole system for good behavior. Poor little guy. His life must have been pretty bad to be taken away from his parents, and then to end his life as someone else's punching bag. How awful for him.

It makes me wonder where were the social workers who placed this child, Butler County Children Services Board and its foster care contractor, Lifeway for Youth? What's their punishment? Where were the neighbors who noticed that all the children--foster and biological--in that family were roaming the neighborhood without supervision. The lady who thought about reporting it but didn't. What about the other girl friends who seemed to float in and out. Did no one notice how strange, weird and evil these people were?

The WLW reporter I heard alluded to something awful about the dog. He actually refused to report it. Yesterday I watched an interview with a humane society employee who said when they get a report about a mistreated pet, there are usually other charges against the owners for domestic violence, child abuse, gun violations, etc. Watch the pets. Save a child.

Trip Tales, Haiti #5

Hugues Bastien has also had a medical clinic built not far from the school. So far, it is not permanently staffed, but medical mission teams are also going there. The day our construction team left for Haiti, we had a medical team returning. Bill, who did all the organizing for the construction group, is married to a nurse, and she returned from Haiti the day he left, and picked up their car at the airport. They are an amazing couple, really committed to the welfare of the people in Ouanaminthe.

Modern medical clinic in Ouanaminthe

Pam, our pastor's wife, teaches Bible at the school, however, she is a trained artist and has done this mural. In Columbus, she had done a number of murals at Highland Elementary School where many of our members volunteer and mentor.
Jesus with the people of Ouanaminthe--you can see the town square in the background of the mural, and the girl is wearing the school's uniform

Friday evening before the team left on Saturday for DR to fly home on Sunday, they had a party for all the school staff and their family members to thank them for the help they'd given the team.
The school choir sang, and that is pastor Dave standing by the stage. Each staff person received a gift bag from the team members--with 1400 students you can see it is a fairly large staff, possibly the 2nd largest employer in the city. In addition to the gift bags, the church also sent down ahead of the team, 200 bicycles to be given to children who didn't have any.

Hugues performing at the party for the staff

Read part #1. Read part #2. Read part #3. Read part #4.

3518 Technological tics

Did you know no one cares enough about Haiti to make a map? You know, the kind that you fold up for the glove compartment and tells you how far you are from the border? My husband wants one. We've checked with all the bookstores in the city and he drove up to the map store in Dublin, which has closed. Then I checked the OSU map library and I think there were 4--3 topographical and 1 satellite. It's not hard to see why. No one goes there, and all the residents are trying to leave. The government is in shambles and it is one of the poorest countries in the world and it has no infrastructure. So, what cartographer/printer would ever try to make money selling a map of Haiti?

So we scanned the teeny tiny one we had in an atlas. But I didn't notice how many megabytes it was and when I clicked on "print" it came up with something like a bazillion, so my poor little printer has grabbed a sheet of paper and is making a clicking noise every 5 minutes or so.

So I'm sitting in the kitchen with the cat, who is watching the snow melt at about the speed of my printer, using the laptop. Also, when I tried to get into my second Blogger account (which hadn't been moved to the new now out of beta blogger) it reminded me to type in my Google account, which I did, and it threw me back to this dashboard where I have 8 blogs instead of the other one where I have 2. Now I can't add anything over there at mmhs1957.

I sure hope it is finished by morning. I have a really great family photo to show you. It's residing on the other computer. It's possible that both contraptions will work at the same time, but I don't want to push it.

Confidential except for. . .

The IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, the Privacy Act of 1974, and the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 requires that the IRS ask for information. But first they want me to know why, and who else might see it, and what would happen to me if they didn't receive it.

The IRS has a right to ask and it is mandatory for me to answer this because of the Internal Revenue Code sections 6001, 6011, and 6012(a). But here's my favorite part:

My tax returns are confidential BUT Code section 6103 allows or requires the IRS to give it to a whole bunch of others such as
  • Department of Justice
  • cities
  • states
  • DC
  • U.S. commonwealths or possessions
  • certain foreign governments
  • so they can carry out their tax laws.
The IRS may disclose my tax information to obtain information it can't get any other way to the
  • Department of Treasury
  • its contractors
  • other persons as necessary
The IRS can disclose my tax information to
  • The Comptroller General of the United States
  • the Committees of Congress
  • federal, state, and local child support agencies
  • other federal agencies concerning entitlement for benefits or repayment of loans
  • other countries under a tax treaty
  • federal and state agencies to enforce federal nontax criminal laws
  • federal law enforcement
  • federal intelligence agencies to combat terrorism.
This information is on page 22 of the 35 page instruction booklet for the 1040EZ for filing electronically (so much for paper reduction). But the booklet does not contain any tax forms.

The pie chart on p. 33 says that 37% of the federal income goes for Social Security, Medicare, and support for the disabled and elderly; 20% goes for social programs like Medicaid, food stamps, assistance for the needy, Supplemental security income and related programs like health research and unemployment compensation; 10% goes for physical, human and community development such as agriculture, natural resources, environment, space, energy, science, etc.; and ta-dah, 24% for national defense, veterans and foreign affairs, of which 20% is funding the global war on terror.

Poetry Thursday #8

This week's (completely and totally optional) idea for Poetry Thursday is this phrase: "the body knows." I'm submitting here a poem I wrote in January. One of the ways (other than aches and pains) that our bodies speak to us is discreetly via a mirror--maybe it's in the bathroom or a department store cubicle, or the quick glance in the rear view mirror as we travel to work, sipping the latte, skipping through and humming along with the radio.

Mirror, mirror on the wall
January 26, 2007
by Norma Bruce

You used to be my friend.
We’d hang out together
for hours of girly talk,
share secrets, giggle over
girdles and bobbi pins,
lipstick, powder and mascara.

You used to wait for me.
Chat in the dressing room,
whispering gossip
at the counter where
we’d go to order
double chocolate cherry cokes.

When did you change?
Sometimes I feel you’ve joined
the witness protection program,
embarrassed to see me.
Now you’re pious and prim--
no longer zealous for my best.

Oh, how I miss you, dear heart!
Your face isn’t clear when I squint,
your motives are obscured.
What did I do to offend?
Can’t we go back to the old days,
make silly faces and stay out late?

Here are two others I wrote this week; if you've got a moment. . .:
The vows
When you're falling in love

3515 Maid in the USA

It's been suggested by a sibling I'm a bit of a pack-rat. If so, I'm a tidy one (except for my office). I have small, intimate, personal collections--like Hull pottery, first issues of magazines, glass children's dishes, a few household items from my great-grandparents' home, some of my high school dresses, my grandmother's scrapbooks, sewing patterns from the 1950s, and my mother's handwritten recipe cards. But today proves it. I am wearing a pair of jeans with a "Made in the USA" tag that I'm pretty sure my daughter gave me in 1986. She was either losing weight or gaining it--don't remember--and for some reason gave me 4 or 5 pair of her jeans. She was 19 and living on her own, buying clothes with every paycheck. So maybe she was just tired of them. I remember selling one pair at a yard sale because they were so small I never could get them on--and I'm not sure what happened to the others. The pair I'm wearing today is really tough--the denim is very heavy. I remember wearing them in the late 80s when my library (Veterinary Medicine, OSU) was recarpeted and painted and I had to move a 50,000 volume collection. I think they've been on a few bike rides on my no-speed 1968, white-side-wall, fat tire bicycle. I don't have much occasion to wear jeans--although I grew up in them--but these seem just about right for a cold, foggy February morning and wondering about whatever happened to the U.S. textile and clothing industry.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

3514 The global slave trade

Last night I watched an interesting program on the misogyny, criminality and homoeroticism in hip-hop music. Would you believe one guy interviewed actually found a way to tie the problem to President Bush? Then today I was reading "The new Global slave trade," by Ethan B. Kapstein, Foreign Affairs, Nov/Dec 2006. There were clues in the first four paragraphs whose fault it would be (the United States because we have the powers of physical force to stop it), but I asked myself, "How far will he go before it is George W. Bush's fault?" Paragraph Five.

"Meanwhile, President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice may have made some bold pronouncements about eliminating slavery, but the U.S. administration is so focused on the war on terror that Bush and Rice rarely press matters such as slavery at meetings with relevant governments." (p. 104)

Eighty percent of the slaves are women and children, 43% of which are being used in prostitution. Multinational criminal gangs capture, transport and sell them for huge profits, estimated at $10 billion a year--much higher than the 18th century slave trade--with the protection of their own governments. Incidentally, I don't know where the UN and Kapstein have been all these years, but this has been reported for at least 15 years in Christian magazines and websites because that's where I first read about it.

As you move through the article, you learn that the U.S. is the ONLY country speaking out about this abomination, President Bush is the only world leader to include it in a major speech, that the UN has passed its usual resolutions and then done nothing, and that other countries have tried legalizing prostitution, regulating prostitution, criminalizing prostitution, promoting economic growth, condemning economic growth and tried "naming and shaming" sanctions. The U.S. actually prosecutes the traffickers (unless they are from you know where). Any guess what country the California police are complaining about when they say they arrest the slave traffickers but they just get deported? (The author doesn't cite a source for this comment.)

The author, who condemns the war on terror, wants to see the United States use FORCE against, India, Russia, China and any wealthy Mideastern country using camel jockeys (there goes the economic theory) as well as about 30 other countries including Algeria, Brazil, Cambodia, Egypt, South Africa, North Korea, Syria, and Zimbabwe.

World wide the author estimates possibly 800,000 people are subjected to bondage each year. The Department of Justice estimates about 17,500 come to the United States each year. Still and yet, Kapstein persists in his wrong headed belief that if it just weren't for this pesky old war on terror, Bush would be mopping this problem up with the police, intelligence and military force of the United States.

3513 On-line genealogy and tourism

Is on-line research about our ancestors hurting the tourist business in Ireland?

"In the last decade, with the increase in the digitization of genealogical documents and the prevalence of the Internet across the globe, online genealogical research has become a popular pastime among the citizens of the western countries. While this increase in popularity has been an economic boost for online companies that specialize in genealogy, it has had the unintended consequence on Ireland of decreasing the incoming revenue of the genealogy tourism industry." Read article here.

What about Scotland and Germany?

My Social Security and yours

It's been mentioned here before that although I am retired, I am not eligible under my own or my husband's Social Security account for any pension from our "trust fund". But illegals who worked in the U.S. using false documents are. My case is because I have a Teacher's Pension (STRS Ohio), and since the mid-80s (I returned to work in 1986), this has been considered "double dipping." The teacher glitch is not a mistake or a loophole; it was intentional. It is OK for Congress to double dip, but not teachers. The case for the illegals is because of a loophole.

"After numerous refusals over three and a half years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has released the first known public copy of the U.S.-Mexico Social Security Totalization Agreement. The government made the disclosure in response to lawsuits filed under the Freedom of Information Act by TREA Senior Citizens League, a 1.2 million member nonpartisan seniors advocacy group.

The Totalization Agreement could allow millions of illegal Mexican workers to draw billions of dollars from the U.S. Social Security Trust Fund.

A loophole in current Social Security law could allow millions of today's Mexican workers to eventually collect billions of dollars worth of Social Security benefits for earnings under fraudulent or "non-work authorized" Social Security numbers, putting huge new pressures on the Social Security Trust Fund.

If an illegal worker working in the United States today gets a "work authorized" Social Security number through guest worker immigration legislation, the Totalization Agreement, or perhaps just over time, that worker could eventually apply for Social Security benefits once he or she has met eligibility requirements.

In addition, that worker could be able to claim credits for work performed while in the U.S. illegally. The SSA maintains an "earnings suspense file," which tracks wages that cannot be posted to individual workers' records because there is no match for a name and Social Security number. Once an immigrant gains access to a work authorized Social Security number -- whether a legal citizen or not -- wages earned while in the U.S. unlawfully could be reinstated to the worker's new Social Security account."
Source: "U.S.-Mexico Social Security Agreement Released After 3 Year FOIA Battle; Mexican Illegals Could Get Billions of Social Security Dollars." The America's Intelligence Wire, 01/04/2007 via "Access my Library."

We have an agreement with a number of countries, and some of the benefits are more generous than for our own citizens. But the difference with Mexico can be found here, along with the information on stopping it.

3511 Trip Tales, Haiti #4

Read part #1. Read part #2. Read part #3. Here are some scenes of the town of Ouanaminthe, Haiti, an area of about 100,000 residents, on the very northeast corner of Haiti, bordering the Dominican Republic.

Women on their way to set up shop at. . .

the market where you can buy food, clothing, art, and household goods

But there are also small businesses in buildings.

The customers of this barber also enjoyed some music.

3510 Trip Tales, Haiti #3

Read part #1. Read part #2. In addition to working construction jobs, many of the team members also offered special classes for the children at the school--art classes, tin whistle classes, perspective drawing classes and a bicycle repair clinic. My husband taught the upper grades perspective drawing and he says they were outstanding students who caught on very quickly. Most classes had a translator, but one class didn't (the students were all learning English) and he said they had no problem. He'd prepared a multi-page handout ahead of time for the 75 students.

On Friday the children performed with their tin whistles. A red shirt indicated academic excellence.

The bicycle repair clinic was very popular. Bicycles are a major means of transportation.

3509 Trip Tales, Haiti #2

Read part #1. The mission team's purpose was to help with construction at the school--building platforms for the school rooms (European style with the teacher somewhat elevated) and wiring for lighting. The heavier pieces of lumber and equipment had been coordinated and sent ahead by Howard, who before retirement was a construction manager. The younger men primarily worked with the wiring (crawling around above the ceiling) and the older men built the platforms with help from some local men. The dirt and dust (no paved roads) plus the heat was almost overwhelming, so some of the men had breathing difficulties by the end of the week.

Howard and his crew building the platforms

Lunch was in the main cafeteria with the children--beans and brown rice, or rice and beans, and there was plenty for all.

Exterior of the school

In the U.S., we having vending machines in schools; in Haiti, the vendors set up shop in the school compound.

3508 Autism statistics

Many of us over age-50 parents are stunned by the autism statistics we see in the TV PSAs and news stories. Where were all these autistic kids when we were growing up or when our children were in school? Children with learning problems were not hidden away in the 1970s--they were side by side with my children, and I was a volunteer in the classroom. For one thing, there has been a redefinition--now thousands of children that use to be called retarded (or one of the challenged words), or ADD or ADHD, are now being called autistic. It seems that any kind of attention deficit or repetitive behavior has to be pathologized, which then qualifies a child for special classes or teachers or programs. A pediatrician, David Safir, had a letter in the USAToday last week saying that in the 1990s the definition of autism began to include many children with a milder collection of symptoms--now called autism spectrum disorder, and this new umbrella definition has created hysteria and an epidemic of austism.

I checked his letter on-line, and he is being attacked by the true believers, the blame the vaccines crowd. I wonder how loud they'd be yelling if they lived in the days when children were mutilated by small pox eating their flesh, or crippled by polio? And this mommy has the best advice: "My son will never die from Autism, but he could die from childhood diseases if not vaccinated. Or he could die from the flu, as has 4 other children already this season in the state I live, because they did not vaccinate. Stop arguing and start helping our little ones to be accepted and to get the proper therapies they need."

3507 Deere John

Earnings are up at John Deere--a wet finger in the wind senses alternative fuel--which means new demand for large farm equipment (which can be used only on huge farms, with huge government subsidies). You've got to hand it to the greenies and tree huggers. They pave the way for new technology and profits for business. Located in Moline, IL, John Deere's focus on ethanol probably makes the unions, big-ag and investors rejoice.

The company started in Grand Detour, Illinois, where the river takes a mighty turn, or detour. Deere found a way to open up the prairie sod with a better blade to cut through the deep, matted roots of the grass. I think my grandparents were living on a farm there when my dad was born (and the doctor never filled in his name on the birth certificate so he found out at age 65 when applying for Social Security that he was "baby boy" in the county record.) We used to take our children to the John Deere Museum in Grand Detour (between Dixon and Oregon) in the 1970s.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

3506 Trip tales: Haiti #1

When the team arrived at the airport in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, they were greeted by Dave and Pam, our pastor and wife, who are on assignment there at Institution Univers school, and the school director Hugues. Because it was a large team, they all boarded a school bus, and the luggage went into a truck. They headed for the border between DR and Haiti where they would spend the night--normally a four hour trip. But the truck broke down, so the bus had to tow it, slowing things down to a bumpy crawl, and six and a half hours.
Pam and Hugues

The border between Dominican Republic and Haiti

The day they entered Haiti was Sunday, so they went directly to the school and mission house where they would be living, and then walked to church.

The mission house was very nice with modern facilities including plumbing and electricity (part of the day).

Despite the extreme poverty, the Haitians are a proud people and dress well--the women in dresses and hats, and the men in white shirts and ties--to attend church.
The service was jammed (Baptist Church) and lasted for 2 hours, with a lot of beautiful singing and a full choir.

It wasn't unusual to see partially completed buildings in use. They make the cement blocks or bricks by hand, and when they have enough, the building constuction continues.

How many anti-Bush books does one library need?

While browsing the new book shelves at the Upper Arlington Public Library today I glanced through the 973.931 section. In the Dewey classification system this is "Administration of George W. Bush, 2001- ." On the shelf were 1) Pretentions to an empire, 2) Impeachment of George W. Bush, 3) Static; government liars, media cheerleaders and the people who fight back, 4) Voting to kill, 5) U.S. v. George W. Bush, 6) How Bush rules, 7) Vice; Dick Cheney and the hijacking of the American presidency, 8) The architect; Karl Rove and the master plan for absolute power, preceded by two Clinton books, a his and hers (positive, glowing) in 973.927.

Just out of curiosity, I went into the stacks and checked this class number--the Bush years. There were 4 packed shelves, about 30 books to a shelf (ca. 120 books), and only four were positive, balanced or fair to the President of the United States. Some titles had multiple copies. Within this class are also the books on 9/11, ranging from touching to wild to absurd, John Kerry's campaign hype, a bio of Tommy Franks, an anti-Bush women title and two on Hillary Clinton, but compared to the anti-Bush tirades, they don't account for much space. Included in the stacks were items like Gore Vidal's Dreaming War, Woodward's Plan of attack, and James Bovard's Bush betrayal. The previous 5 shelves (ca. 150 books) covered the presidencies of Carter, Reagan, Bush 41 and Clinton (973.926-973.929).

Someone at UAPL REALLY believes in the power of print, because I'm guessing that well over half of the voting residents within our city limits are Republicans. I used to be a Democrat--voted right across the street from the library at St. Mark's Episcopal, and I never ever had to wait in line. Those poor poll attendants looked like the Maytag repairman. Now I'm a registered Republican voting at a Catholic church further north, and there is always a wait. So it appears that either the director or her bibliographer-in-charge of current events thinks if they just buy enough anti-Bush titles they can move this white, suburban, business class community on the edge of the University to the left. Meanwhile, they aren't serving the people who vote on their bond issues.

Book banning begins with the publishers, then moves to the reviewers at LJ, PW and NYT who act as gatekeepers for the public, and then on to the libraries where the few conservative titles that squeak through are carefully scrutinized to make sure they are safe and politically bland.

3504 Will Bush be blamed?

Women soared ahead of men in the U.S. job market in this decade. They posted a net increase of 1.7 million jobs paying above the median salary and 52.5% of the total increase in jobs.

The myth still persists that there is a wage gap between the genders, but studies show when you adjust for career track behavior, sometimes women are ahead of the men who won't move, won't apply for advancement, won't take additional courses, and won't take risks.

This report (which appears in WSJ today) might leave reporters in a rut, but fortunately for them, illegal immigrants continue to depress many wage and social indicators, so they are a two-fer for the media who need to trot out sad stories of working class America about every six weeks and also report on how heartless we are not to want an open border policy.

My indiscretions

While my husband was in Haiti, I committed a few acts of random wildness. The first Sunday, I walked right into Talbot's and bought a pair of size 8 fashion jeans on sale that started out near $100 last fall and I got them for $18. All sorts of shiny beads, bangles and appliqued leaves and stuff. Then on Monday, while shopping at Meijer's for groceries, I picked up a package of mini-Tater Tots! I enjoyed them four nights for dinner, while eating alone--twice with steak. On Thursday I stopped at a book sale and blew $2.00 on a frayed copy of That Printer of Udell's, by Harold Bell Wright--rumored to be President Reagan's favorite book. The following Sunday I just skipped church altogether! Then on Monday I bought two chartreuse pillows for the couch, because I'd sat by myself through an entire show on HGTV about decorating a living room for $5,000 copying one that cost $50,000. The room was monochromatic with splashes of color, the two chartreuse pillows on a tan couch particularly caught my eye. So here's my poem about my new pillows.

The Vows

Polyester pillow chartreuse chamois,
in accordance with the law
Federal RN# 57893
[or is it Reg. No UT 1417 (MO)],
I will not cut off your precious tag
until we are one,
or bleach you
or place you on the furniture
or on the floor
while you are wet.

And you in turn vow that you
are 100% polyester,
certified by your manufacturer,
that the materials of which you are made
are described in accordance with law,
exclusive of ornamentation,
and that you are 19-21284CSE,
Key 67, $9.99, bar code 0 86268 05831 1
and that you were made in China
and are bilingual in Spanish.

Snip. Snip. Snip.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Flight Delays

My husband's trip home from Haiti has been delayed twice, and now the word is, "Don't come to the airport until I call you as we get off the plane." In Columbus, this is not hard to do--it's an awfully easy city to get around in--unless I'm driving. I usually start out about an hour early for this 20 minute drive so I can ask directions after I get lost. I double checked with my friend AZ on how to get onto 670 this morning. She even offered to ride along to direct me, but I think the arrival is a bit too iffy.

However, when I talked to him this morning, not even an unexpected night in New York could dampen his enthusiasm. I asked him if he wanted to go back to Haiti, and he said, "It's not IF, it's WHEN."

Speaking of driving, last week I had another one of those rude men in a pick-up roll down his window and scream at me. And I do mean screaming--his face was purple, my windows were rolled up and the radio was on, but I could hear him. I guess he had been behind me until the stop light for which I had slowed down in order not to rear end the car in front of me. I was driving the speed-limit--seems he wanted to go faster. I just gave him the "Yo mama wears combat boots" look.

Monday Memories--Salt Dough

Are your kids home on winter/bad weather break? In central Ohio schools were closed 3 days due to cold two weeks ago, and then the following week we got snow, then sleet, then more snow, so they closed again, along with some businesses and malls. Well, turn off the TV and computer and make some Salt Dough. I guarantee a good time with lots of built-in memories for their future winters. My mom used to make this for us kids by the bowlful when we were bored and couldn't play outside, and I used it with my kids too. You can add food coloring. Or maybe kids are so high tech these days that they no longer say (in a whiny voice), "Mommy, there's nothing to do!" This recipe is small, but it can be doubled.

Salt Dough

1 c salt
4 c flour
1 1/2 c water
4 T oil

Mix salt and flour. Add water and oil. After making objects or shapes, bake 45 min at 350 degrees. Paint if you wish. But most of the fun is in the sticky, gooey shaping.

I was reminded of this reading through In the kitchen with Krista.

Not many will be doing this meme today, but here are links to those I'll visit to see what's going on:
Chelle, Chelle Y., Cozy Reader, 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,

Sunday, February 18, 2007

3500 Donating books to a library

If your public library is worth diddly squat, you shouldn't have to donate books which balance, common sense and current events require be on the shelves. CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America has a list at its website of suggested titles for you to purchase and donate to your public library. First of all, donations are not "free"--it costs a lot of money to process and add a book to a collection; second, why should your library, supported by your tax money, be taking sides on the middle east question? If they've bought everything President Carter and leftist, anti-semitic organizations have written on the topic in multiple copies, why shouldn't they include some titles from the pro-Israeli camp? Third, I think this list needs some updating.

Do your homework, and then submit the list to the library director. If you get no response, ask some questions about fairness when the next bond issue comes up. Librarians, as a profession, lean heavily to the left, and occasionally have to be reminded about what they learned in library school.

The puzzling media frenzy

The hype about Ms. Smith's death has really puzzled me. She had a talent only for getting herself in the news, even at the end, so I suppose that's something. I'm guessing that a few more potential dads will step forward for the riches of her daughter, but then DNA will show she wasn't the biological mother, so the brainless, aimless coverage will heat up even more. Still, it seems unfortunate to be a blonde celebrity, or at least one who posed for Playboy. Jayne Mansfield. Marilyn Monroe. Anna Nicole. All dead before 40. And the earlier blondes didn't fare all that well, either. Jean Harlow dead at 26. Betty Grable, bless her beautiful legs, did make it to 56.

These paper dolls I think may have belonged originally to my sister Carol, who passed them down to me when she moved on to movie magazines and photos. Also, they are pretty beat up--there's ancient scotch tape holding some of the limbs together. I've also got Mary Martin and Marguerite O'Brien, but as collections go, it's pretty sad.

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3498 A poem about love and marriage

Today I read a story in our paper about a couple married in 1943 when he was still in uniform, who were both living in a nursing home at the end--she from Alzheimer’s and he from a fall. They died at the same time on Valentine’s Day this week.

When you’re falling in love
Feb. 18, 2007
by Norma Bruce

When you’re falling in love
you probably don’t think about
pre-nups and the rug color
that you’ll argue about some day.

When you’re falling in love
you might think about
romantic dinners for two
and not KFC in front of the TV.

When you’re falling in love
you probably don’t think about
why her mother is obese
or his dad is such a gossip.

When you’re falling in love
you might think about
an Hawaiian cruise and moonlight
and not the small lake when he fishes.

When you’re falling in love
you probably don’t think about
her toddler who will be a teen someday
or that he’s changed jobs so often.

When you’re falling in love
you might think about
a cute house with a picket fence
and not missing where you grew up.

When you’re falling in love
you probably don’t think about
when he is old and deaf
and when she’s forgotten your name.

These are the building blocks of love
you probably should think about,
you might want to think about
when you’re falling in love today.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Western culture

I've enjoyed watching Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Book-TV talking about her new book, Infidel, and then answering questions from the audience. Ali, a Somali with Dutch citizenship, commented on Europeans' lack of appreciation for freedom and individual liberty (said she hadn't been in the U.S. long enough to make a judgement about us). She said Europeans have little appreciation for their advantages because they've never been denied it or had to fight for it (speaking of the post WWII generation). A woman in the audience who had attended college in Cairo said women there were beginning to cover their heads. Ms. Ali said the belief behind covering of women was so that men would not become inflamed and out of control at the sight of a woman's body. Wouldn't it be better, she said, for men to learn to control themselves and develop some discipline rather than depend the women to keep them reined in. (Obviously, I'm paraphrasing.) When the prophet developed these guidelines for dress it was the 7th century--and things have changed. She received a rather hostile comment from a male Muslim in the audience who thought she was disparaging Muslim culture while claiming to be Muslim. He asked about poverty [in the West?], and she responded, "I would rather be poor and free, than poor and a slave." She also suggested to him that he try that question in a Muslim country--that only in the U.S. would he not be in danger and only laughed at.

Also, when she was asked about the difference between Muslim and Christian immigrants (in Holland), she said the first and second generation immigrant Muslims were better integrated than the third, but with the Christians it was just the opposite--they had a hard time with the first generation fitting in, but by the third, all the performance and attitudes was the same as the native Dutch. She said that Americans are too concerned with the growing Muslim population in Europe, but that the Muslim culture is growing much faster in Latin America. Radical Muslims in the U.S. she says, are very well funded, and very patient. She also said Americans are much too apologetic when trying to have an open dialogue with Muslims. She suggests treating Muslims as equals who will understand what you say.