Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday Memories--The last May

This photo was taken at the retirement apartments lobby where my parents were living in May 1999. Mother died the following January. I think I had been in Chicago for the Medical Library Association meeting, and took the bus to Rockford, where my sister who lived in DC, met me. Mother's birthday was in May, and I think we had chosen that time, and I'm so glad we did. The four of us had a wonderful visit. I remember my sister, mother and I drove to Forreston where we had lived from 1946-1951 and drove around looking at our former houses and where we'd gone to church. Mom showed us a little garden plot she had behind the retirement complex, and we attended some of the special program functions with her that the facility offered. I think I arrived on a Friday or Saturday, so we probably went to church together. I would be back again in August, 1999, to celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary, but this was our last May. When your parents are in their 80s or 90s, you often wonder, "is this the last" birthday, concert, family holiday, mother's day, etc.

Mother's Day is coming up on May 13th. Go to church with your mom if you are fortunate to still have her with you. Even if you are no longer Baptist or Catholic, or have converted to another faith, or you have to rearrange your schedule, or you don't like her pastor, or you like informal music and she likes traditional. Honor your mother--be a blessing and get a blessing. It's the only commandment that includes a promise.

Cleaning up the environment

Our local community paper showed the photos by a senior from Upper Arlington High School of her senior thesis of abandoned buildings in Columbus, titled "What about my generation." Her idea is that, "We should fix it up or turn it into parks." We shouldn't be building new shopping and housing areas in green farmland until we've restored these blighted areas, she proposes.

Do they teach civics, history or economics at UAHS? Does she realize she is making decisions about private property, or that some codes and regulations actually keep the less-than-UA-wealthy from improving their property? Or that if you improve your property your real estate taxes go up? Should she, or others on a board or committee of environmentalists, be making the decision on how and to whom a retired farmer east or south of Columbus should be selling his acreage if he can get market value from a developer? Does she know that huge parts of Upper Arlington used to be orchards and farm land?

Here's what I'd like to see for a senior thesis on the environment.
    Get permission from the parents of 6 of your friends to go into their teen's bedroom and photograph the mess. I'm sure a lot of parents would be willing to cooperate and teach them a lesson that "environment" starts at home, in your own house.

    Then move out into the community where you actually live. Photograph the trash and debris left after a community festival or art show.

    Photograph the plastic bags and cups the teens leave just a block or two from the high school around Donato's or Wendy's or Giant Eagle.

    Photograph the beer bottles left in the parking lots and streets for other people to drive over,

    or the yards they "turf" when they are out having fun.

    Ask the kids to ride the city bus to school for a semester instead of each driving one of the family's two or three cars--help with that carbon footprint stuff--photograph them in the snow and rain, waiting.

    Photograph any of the hundreds of middle aged and older people working to landscape and beautify their yards and then contrast that with the young people helping them or chipping in on the cost.

My son had a date with a stranger

the other night. By that I mean I don't know her (I never do). I wonder if he told her about the livestock, Rosa, who can knock down a grown woman with her tail, and Edie, who looks like a fat sausage link on toothpicks. Aunt Purl has a post about how to tell a guy on the first date (or first pick-up line) that you have four cats. A lot of people must identify, because when I read it she had 199 comments.

    When I was dating after my divorce, I used the cats to test the dates! If the cats didn't rub on them and totally fur-a-late them the first time they came over---no more dates! Bad mojo! If the cats didn't like them, I was suspicious. I swear, it worked! When I ignored the cat hate of one guy, he totally turned out to be a jerk later! I swear! When my now-husband came over, one of my cats sat on his lap and rubbed his face on his jacket zipper--love at first sight!

    Sorry, I have you beat here :) I'm a librarian! Thankfully I only had one cat when I meet my husband. Now we have 3 adorable fur babies. And he kids me that he saved me from becoming "an old maid librarian with cats".

    I will trade two teenage boys and dog for a cat. Any takers?

    I only have 1 cat but 3 ex-husbands, and let me tell you, THAT is a serious dating handicap, in my mind, at least!

Walking with 1776 by David McCullough

Four miles yesterday and two miles today, 45 miles for my 50 miles of Easter Walk (it started to rain so I quit). I'm in chapter two, "Rabble in Arms." Deeply moving to know the deprivation, hardship, and yes, ignorance that undergirded the poorly clothed and dirty men in the army of General Washington. It was a very long war, and the book just covers one year. Today I listened to the story of 16 year old John Greenwood, a fifer, from Boston.

"After reaching the army encampments, he was urged to enlist, with the promise of $8 a month. Later, passing through Cambridge, he learned of the battle raging at Bunker Hill. Wounded men were being laid out on the Common. "Everywhere the greatest terror and confusion seemed to prevail." The boy started running along the road that led to the battle, past wagons carrying more casualties and wounded men struggling back to Cambridge on foot. Terrified, he wished he had never enlisted. "I could positively feel my hair stand on end." But then he saw a lone soldier coming down the road.

. . . a Negro man, wounded in the back of his neck, passed me and, his collar being open and he not having anything on except his shirt and trousers, I saw the wound quite plainly and the blood running down his back. I asked him if it hurt him much, as he did not seem to mind it. He said no, that he was only to get a plaster put on it and meant to return. You cannot conceive what encouragement this immediately gave me. I began to feel brave and like a soldier from that moment, and fear never troubled me afterward during the whole war.

Nancy Pelosi on partial birth abortion and your daughter

"Here is how the law defines partial birth abortion:

"An abortion in which a physician delivers an unborn child's body until only the head remains inside the womb, punctures the back of the child's skull with a Sharp instrument, and sucks the child’s brains out before completing delivery of the dead infant."

Here is what Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says about partial birth abortion:

"This is about a procedure that any parent would want her daughter to have access to if she needed it. And to frame it as an abortion issue is doing a disservice to medicine and to our young women and our country. So I hope we can get the focus back on the fact that this Supreme Court is deciding what medical procedures are necessary for child-bearing women."

from Denny Burke's blog

How could any abortion supporter say she would want her daughter, or anyone else's daughter to have this procedure, killing her grandchild in such a vicious, cruel way? Wasn't she parading her grandchildren before the TV cameras not too long ago?

Will Sweden disappear? And who's next

"Sweden was presented during the Cold War as a middle way between capitalism and Communism. When this model of a society collapses – and it will collapse, under the combined forces of Islamic Jihad, the European Union, Multiculturalism and ideological overstretch – it is thus not just the Swedish state that will collapse but the symbol of Sweden, the showcase of an entire ideological world view. . . Native Swedes have thus been reduced to just another ethnic group in Sweden, with no more claim to the country than the Kurds or the Somalis who arrived there last Thursday. The political authorities of the country have erased their own people's history and culture." Read here about what's happening in Sweden's third largest city.

HT Mere Comments, which includes a lengthy poem about the requirement that Swedish men sit when urinating. Yes, feminism as come to this. Excerpt from Here sits Sweden:

"Should some Swedish Rip Van Winkle
Wake in Stockholm, all a wrinkle,
Still he'd have to sit to tinkle.

So he sits, obeys our rule or he
Finds how fast we punish foolery --
Confiscate his family jewlery!"

Sunday, April 29, 2007


No, it's not a good idea!

I was browsing a library blog today reading about all the things he'd seen at a conference. He said he could hardly wait to apply some of the new ideas to his library's web page. Thank goodness, I thought-- library web pages are often awkward and hard to navigate. Not the most exemplary sources of information I've seen on the web, especially for clarity and readability. So what was his brilliant idea? To jazz up his 404 page. That's the error page. No, a thousand times No. Get to work on correcting the four columns, the things that wiggle, and the no-way-to-contact-the staff-by-name problem.

Is your constipation contributing to greenhouse gases?

Another thing to worry about! OH NO! "The degree of breath methane production in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) correlates with the severity of constipation, Los Angeles-based researchers report in the April issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology 2007;102:837-841." [from Rueters story on]

Not to worry, though. The sufferers with IBS who have diarrhea instead of constipation have less methane produced by the bacteria in their intenstines, so maybe you can work out an exchange (we won't call it carbon credits--have to think on that one--maybe a stool swap?).

Old photos of lighthouses are sought

On Friday I uploaded a photo of a small, historic moment in 1916--rural folks gathered for a ride in an airplane. Here's your opportunity to look through grandpa's photographs. In the latest Keeper's Korner of Lighthouse Digest written by Timothy Harrison, there is this note about the removal of the Vermilion Lighthouse.

What Happened To Moving Photos
We know it is difficult to locate photographs of lighthouses and keepers in the era when the camera was just becoming available to the average person. But, by 1929 the camera had been around for quite some time and many Americans owned and knew how to use a camera. However, photographs of the removal of Ohio’s Vermilion Lighthouse seem to be non-existent. In 1929 the lighthouse was removed from Vermilion and shipped to Buffalo, New York. In 1935 it was barged to its new location to become the East Charity Shoal Lighthouse six miles south of the St. Lawrence River on Lake Ontario. Someone must have photographed some parts of this historic move. Yet photographs seem to have disappeared. There are many mysteries like this. For example, what happed to the photographs of the first Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina? It is amazing how much of our nation’s lighthouse history has been lost. Will it be rediscovered someday? We can only hope.
Someone somewhere (probably a young boy) had a camera that day.

If you vacation or own property near or just love old lighthouses, you'll enjoy Lighthouse Digest.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


Unintended consequences of emissions control

In my opinion, the most sensible gas saving regulation ever to go into effect was the 55 mph speed limit back in the 1970s. I'm sure it cut into someone's profits, but overnight it saved many lives--thousands a year--and miraculously, it seems to cut down on travel time because there were far fewer accidents holding you up on the roadways and interstates. One benefit never measured was that on the cardiovascular system of the drivers and passengers who weren't driving at 75 mph in a moving parking lot with their heart in their throats.

Now there are hearings for new regulations on emissions control of heavy trucks, which really are the life blood of this country. Virtually everything we eat, or wear or use one square of each time we go to the rest room, is shipped by truck.

Stricter emissions:

    Worse mileage will mean more fuel. 1 mile less per gallon

    Worse road conditions for other vehicles. Longer, heavier trucks will need to make up the added costs for everything moved by truck, tearing up our asphalt and concrete, causing more fatal accidents when we hit them.

    More unsafe trucks. Current trucks will be kept in service longer because they will not be covered by the new regulations.

    Hotter trucks. Engines need to burn at a higher heat with the new standards.

    Reduced competition. New standards hurt independents and small truckers, and some will go out of business.

    Stockpiles. Larger companies have stockpiled new trucks built before the new standards, raising costs for independents.

Add to this the cost of gasoline blends we're going to be forced to burn in our cars, and we're going to have a huge increase in food prices, hurting the poor who spend a larger percentage of their dollar on food.

I like clean air as much as the next gal, but green air costs you the green.

Why I agree with Bernie

From a blog I wrote March 3, 2007
"[I asked him to] cite a single program proposed by the liberals in the last 20-30 years that had been defeated by the conservatives. Couldn't do it of course, because liberals try to put up conservatives, particularly Christian conservatives, as some sort of powerhouse bringing down the government. No one has been a bigger spender on social programs than the Bush administration. Medicare. Biggest gains under Republicans. Illegal immigration. Huge muck job by Republicans--who was president in 1986 for IRCA? Social Security. Reagan was President when I lost mine. Legal abortion. Last time I checked, we're still killing babies--what--25-35 million since Roe v. Wade? If Christian conservatives manage to roll back a week or two in a sparsely populated rural state, the Dems go crazy ("oh no, a baby's made it out alive"), but the law's still there. DDT. Last time I ran the numbers, we'd killed more Africans with malaria in the last 30 years than died being shipped across the Atlantic as slaves in the 18th century, but not a single bird, let alone human, ever died from spraying DDT on mosquito eggs in standing pools of swamp water. . . Clean air laws. We've got bunches of empty factories in Ohio that have no smoke belching from the chimneys--the jobs went first to the southern U.S.A., then to Asia. Women's Rights. Leading cause of poverty in the U.S.A. is unmarried women having sex and babies before finishing school. The poverty gap is no longer racial, it is marital. And Democrats have a fainting spell if someone introduces an abstinence program or a chastity pledge."

Bernard Goldberg's new book.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Family Photo

This is such a great photo, I wish I could tell you more.

The information on the back is that it was a "barnstorming airplane pilot" in 1916 in a field at the O.D. Buck farm in Franklin Grove, IL. For those of you who are from Mt. Morris, the Bucks were parents of Lucille Kinsley, wife of our high school principal; like my grandparents, the Bucks were members of the Church of the Brethren in Franklin. The little girl in the white dress and hat holding her father's hand is my mother. She's much more interested in her brother Leslie, who is taking the photograph--he would have been about 14 years old. You can see some automobiles over on the left, one of which they would have driven to see the plane. The pilot charged $2.00 for one or two customers to go up with him. I suspect the little boy on the right might be Clare, my mother's other brother (1910-1944). He died in WWII as an aerial engineer for the 24th Mapping Squadron of the 8th Photo Group, Reconnaissance (10th Air Force) which served in the China, Burma, India theater. Sort of ironic when I look at this photo seeing what may have been his early interest in planes.

There are lots of elements of 1916 high-tech in this photo--a young teenager with a camera (this print I scanned was made from a glass plate--he also did his own developing), an airplane, electrical poles with lots of lines, and numerous automobiles. With a magnifying glass I can see 3 women in the most visible car. The women seem to be wearing hats, and the men dress clothes, so it might have been a Sunday.

Why I'm not voting for the library levy

SNP Publications

The Editorial in the April 25 UA News urged readers to 'keep the library at top of the class.' I don't plan to vote for the levy, although I use the library frequently and appreciate many of its good features, such as pleasant, helpful staff, digital genealogy sources, circulating magazines, and easy parking.

What I don't like is the response to concerns of the people the library serves. When parents came to them about the free-circ, sexually explicit journals and newspapers stacked in the entry way for pick-up by anyone coming or going, the library's response was to bring the material inside and build expensive shelving for protection of the distributors, not the children. No public library has a mission or responsibility to distribute free-circ material, which essentially is an advertising medium. And then there was that recent dust-up reported on TV because the librarian says she can’t block inappropriate material for minors at check out.

Money for the recently hired PR person could have been much better spent to upgrade the salaries of current staffers, or to add a librarian who would balance the lopsided collection or improve the catalog.

The library installed a very expensive drive-through drop off, destroying some nice green space and spending foolishly while Lane Road's plumbing rotted. I don't know if an in-house coffee shop is still being planned for Tremont Rd, but that idea definitely is poorly conceived.

The turn-key, on-line catalog is awkward and difficult to use, riddled with mistakes, and contains 2-3 hot links for each entry that go nowhere. The subject headings are inconsistent, and if there is keyword access (the easiest method), I haven't found it. The library web page is more attractive and helpful than what most libraries have, but could be much better.

The library regularly prints wall size posters in vivid colors and individual announcements on upcoming events and new acquisitions, using its supplies budget carelessly if the cost of my ink cartridges are any indication. The lyceum programs it sponsors duplicate many other activities and organizations in the community and Columbus. It increases the gate count, but not much else.

The current selection policies reflect the tastes of the staff--15 hard copies of Bob Woodward’s latest book, everything Michael Moore ever produced in every possible format, every anti-Bush administration book, 30 new cookbook titles always on the new bookshelves, a stunning collection of scrap booking titles, and a college-level collection on film, media and celebrities. I don’t know much about music, but 17 drawers of jazz CDs?

At Christmas, UAPL couldn’t even find a Christian title to include in its recommended nine new Christmas books published for a local magazine. Although Upper Arlington has three Lutheran churches, one of which is among the largest in the country, it has only 9 books on Lutherans, 2 of which are biographies of Martin Luther. There is more on Wicca and Wiccans than Lutherans in the UAPL collection. Methodists and Presbyterians don’t fare much better, and the Baptist title count is inflated only because of books--probably over 100--on Martin Luther King. There are probably more titles on the Amish than other Christian groups combined other than Catholics. The blatantly anti-Christian books, however, cover many shelves in the 300s and 900s. They are biased, hate filled, and political. You want to raise our taxes by $800,000 for that?

You say we UA folks are only paying 40% of the library’s operating budget? No sir, we’re paying ALL of it--just from different pots of taxes.


For other essays on UAPL where I site specific titles and subject headings, check here.

Smoking bans

Ireland was the first country to implement a true smoking ban. Not very many states have a ban, but Ohio is one of them. Unfortunately, the legislation is poorly worded, so there will probably be lawsuits. Like if a cross country trucker is driving through Ohio, is it illegal for him to smoke in his cab. Huge parts of Canada are smoke free (although that's sort of to be expected since it is much more socialistic than the U.S.), New Zealand has a full country ban and most of Australia.

I heard two guys on a morning drive/talk radio show discussing this as a loss of freedom. Saying only the restaurant owner should decide, and then determine if he needed smoke-free sections. That view totally ignores the needs of the wait staff, kitchen and janitorial staff, the band and musicians. And as a non-smoker, I could never get away from it even in the non-smoking section of restaurants. I can remember when clerks in stores smoked at the cash register, when librarians smoked in their offices and at public desks, and people smoked inside our church in the classrooms and fellowship hall. It wasn't pleasant. Everyone stunk smelled bad.

Clean air is good for the tax payer (lower health costs which we hope will offset the decrease in tobacco taxes), good for the worker, and good for the brain. So on this issue, I definitely side with the liberals, who are the folks against personal freedom, because the freedom of others matters too. If you have a partial ban now in your city, state or country, eventually it will be total. There's absolutely nothing positive about poisoning yourself and the air around you. Get over it, and get on with living.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


Why older Democrats left the party

This looked like a pretty balanced explanation of what has happened to the Democratic Party since the early 1960s. The author is wondering why there aren't Moslem Methodists, i.e., mainstream. If you've watched the flap about PBS using our tax money to create a film on moderate Moslems, then refusing to show it, this explanation starts to expose some of the bizarre behavior of liberals. Still, it was written in September 2005, and since then the Democrats in Congress have gone completely over the edge, groveling before their New Left, socialist party leaders.

"The biggest problem in analogizing Democrats to Moslems is that the former did have other voices surrounding them, voices that were pointing out the radical nature of those organizations [Matt] Barr mentioned (NOW, the unions, and the teaching establishment): first, the Republicans, of course; in our republic, the critiques from the GOP could not be entirely shut out, even back in the 60s and 70s.

But second and more important, we need to bear in mind what Barr himself noted: Democratic leaders and organizations were not always so insane. The switchover (I'm using Judge Bork's timeline here from, I think, Slouching Towards Gomorrah) was when the New Left began to arise following the Port Huron Statement, released by the SDS in 1962 (the Students for a Democratic Society was the group from which the radical faction the Weathermen later spun off).

Most older Democrats never particularly embraced the New Left -- which was radicalized, hard-core, and Stalinist, inexplicably combined with feverishly anti-science, anti-technology, Luddite "environmentalism" -- and the New Left didn't take over the Democratic Party until, to be blunt, the older generation died off.

Thus, there has been reasoned resistance to the radicalization of the Democratic Party from the very beginning, coming from sources with unassailable liberal credentials, such as Hubert Humphrey and Pat Moynihan. Many Democrats retained their basic love of America... and unfortunately for the new radicalized Democratic Party (but fortunately for the country), that meant a lot of people left the Democrats and joined the Republicans, bringing the two parties into rough parity (during World War II, I would guess the Democrats enjoyed at least a 2-1 advantage over the GOP)." Big Lizards Blog, Where are all the Moslem Methodists?

Decides to remain seized of the matter

If you ever wanted proof that United Nations Resolutions are hole cloth worth not even one square of toilet paper per toilet use, just scroll to the bottom of the U.S. Treasury Sanctions Program Summary on Sudan for the list of their resolutions on Sudan going back to 1995. Each resolution about Sudan in the last 12 years ends with the phrase, "Decides to remain seized of the matter," whatever that bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo means. And the 1996 Resolution 1044 lists all the letters and condemnations that came before then.

If you google that phrase you get about 34,000 hits, and it seems to mean, "It's not going away, but we're not doing anything about it, now or ever" so keep sending money.

No matter how you seize it, the war in Sudan has always been about Arab Moslems killing black Africans, until 1997 it was African Christians, more recently African Moslems.

Thursday Thirteen

13 things I've learned this week or forgot and had to relearn

  1. Always take your slacks off when sewing a button on the waist band.
  2. Don't eyeball where you think the button should go if you have trifocals.
  3. If you add about l/2 pumpkin puree to your favorite peanut butter pie filling, it tastes and looks about the same and has a lot fewer calories (in my recipe).
  4. If your garage door goes back up after you've pushed the down button when you've pulled the car in, don't push it again; you didn't get the car in far enough.
  5. Home made mashed potatoes taste 50% better than packaged, even with lumps, and at a fraction of the cost.
  6. After a tragedy, the talking heads don't know as much as the investigators and police, so hold off on judgement.
  7. If you weigh exactly what you did 25 years ago, the distribution is very different.
  8. When you volunteer at the food pantry, you'll see some of the same people you saw three months ago. See Matt. 25.
  9. Friday date night at the Bucket is more fun when shared with another couple or two.
  10. When something goes wrong, whether it is pet food, home mortgages or a mentally ill college student, the proposed legislation and regulations done in the heat of the moment will probably be worse, cost more and lay the ground work for future problems.
  11. Loyalty and reward cards whether offered by airlines, retailers, or supermarkets, are like an additional tax--very few benefit, but everyone pays.
  12. If you contact someone in charge of a web page, a library, a church, a network, a party, or a government office, concerning something very urgent and important, you will hear nothing, or get an "I'm out of the office today" reply, or a canned response.
  13. If you drop a line to just let them know, "I'm here and like what you're doing," you'll be their best friend and forever on their mailing list.

Minorities hit hard by subprime loans

is the headline of USAToday's latest article on how the poor and minorities are victimized in the U.S.A. It really makes you wonder if the journalists learned anything else in college! A closer look at the middle paragraphs:
  • Minority home buyers helped fuel the housing boom--49% of the increase between 1995-2005. [Note that this trend of "empowering" minorities by burdening them with impossible debt began under Clinton, and any attempt to reverse it has brought condemnation on Bush.]
  • 73% of high income ($92,000-$152,000) blacks and 70% of high income Hispanics had subprime loans, compared to 17% whites.
  • Lenders were supported by politicians and "community leaders" eager to promote minority home ownership.
  • When Illinois (Cook Co.) tried to establish credit counseling programs for new minority buyers by targeting ZIP codes, the program was pulled as being "racist".
  • Access became a buzz word at the expense of sound lending policies.
  • Buyers/borrowers with poor credit or low salaries who wanted a cheap deal is a large part of the problem.
  • Investigation by a counseling group found 9% of those in trouble were victims of fraud; the rest was poor judgement and poor financial skills.
  • Rather than focus on the borrowers' poor financial skills, it appears that new regulations and programs will pounce on predatory lenders.
  • Government investigations of charges even before the current problem came to light showed a "good chunk" [not my term] of higher loan cost is attributed to borrower's income, not to race or ethnicity.
But this is America, where nothing happens if it isn't about poverty, race, gender or disability.

No one wants to be reminded, but here's what it took in 1968 to get a home mortgage (our third home): the monthly PMI didn't exceed one-third of the husband's income; there were married parents/in-laws to chip in on the down payment to help a young couple; most mortgages were for 20 years; typical mortgage rate was around 6.5%; the average home and what owners expected was smaller and less grand; a typical applicant for a mortgage wasn't also paying for a leased a car, or a cable bill, monthly broadband, or a cell phone bill, nor did they eat out 2 or 3 times a week and take vacations at resort spots.

Yes, I know it sounds terribly fusty and old fashioned back in the old days when the state and federal governments weren't our foster parents, overseers and field bosses, but that's just how it was.

David Sarnoff Library damaged

When I read a lengthy description of the damage to the valuable archives caused by the storm in the northeast about 10 days ago, (at the listserv of archivists) the first thing I asked myself was why any library anywhere with a valuable historic collection would store items in the basement. Especially since the companies that do this kind of rescue work from mopping up to freezing paper items to stop the rot will be stretched to the max because everyone in the area probably has damage. True, a tornado can take the top floors, but even a sewer backup can take your basement storage. Story in Philadelphia Inquirer

"Just outside Princeton, the building housing the David Sarnoff Library took nearly two feet of water in its basement, a level the staff had never expected. The water damaged a collection of laboratory notebooks, technical reports, manuals and manuscripts from the early days of radio, television and electronics.

The library rushed to hire a document-repair company to try to dry them out and save them.

"We saved these files in the first place because of their importance in documenting the birth of modern communications, from broadcast microphones to color TV picture tubes, from satellite communications to the microchips that surround us in cars, computers, and cell phones," library director Alexander Magoun wrote in an e-mail seeking donations to offset the cost of the emergency repair work."

I probably ought to check my own basement. For 34 years we lived in a house without a basement, but it's really easy to slip back into old habits.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's not your father's marijuana

"The marijuana being sold across the United States is stronger than ever, which could explain a growing number of medical emergencies that involve the drug, government drug experts on Wednesday.

Analysis of seized samples of marijuana and hashish showed that more of the cannabis on the market is of the strongest grade, the White House and National Institute for Drug Abuse said.

They cited data from the University of Mississippi's Marijuana Potency Project showing the average levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in the products rose from 7 percent in 2003 to 8.5 percent in 2006." Reuters

And the druggie bloggers are out in full force denying any problem, but they did that 35 years ago (without blogs, of course).

Rosie's anti-Catholic, anti-Christian tirades

She's gone from The View (although probably not from view), but I don't think her virulently anti-Christian, bigoted remarks are the reason. A new columnist for the St. Louis Dispatch, commented on the long term affects of the Catholic compromise beginning with JFK in her February 2007 piece. So I doubt that they really bombarded Barbara Walters and Disney with their anger:

"What role should a Catholic politician's faith play in his governing decisions? After dominating U.S. headlines during the 2004 presidential contest between Catholic Senator John Kerry and Methodist President George W. Bush, the question has emerged again. The midterm elections of 2006 swept pro-choice Catholic Senator Nancy Pelosi into the third-highest position in the U.S. government, cost the pro-life movement more than a dozen House and Senate seats, and found Catholic voters migrating back to the Democratic Party despite its staunch support for legal abortion. Pro-choice Catholic and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has informally launched a presidential bid, as has pro-life Catholic Senator Sam Brownback. And the U.S. bishops recently released a statement affirming that Catholics must uphold Church teaching in public life if they wish to receive Communion." Collen Carroll Campbell

If there's a group wimpier than Republicans, it has to be Christians. The PC chat that a Lutheran pastor gave at the VA Tech memorial clearly demonstrates that.

Is this like that?

While browsing through some "Rachel Carson is our hero" blogs, I noticed a carbon neutral festival. I didn't click on it because it seemed to be serious. But it would be a great put up/down, wouldn't it? "What if we gave a festival and nobody came?". Just ask the folks to mail their ticket money and stay home. That would be carbon neutral. No cars driven from the neighboring city, no food stands burning fuel, no fast-food-consuming people wandering the booths expelling CO2, no trash to clean up, no garbage to bag, no Sheryl-porta-potties. I love it.

Crow droppings #3

Sheryl Crow now says it was a joke, but at least it got people talking about global warming. When I first heard it, I thought she was joking. Then I realized liberals have no sense of humor, no irony, nor does it bother them to set rules and standards for others which they never intend to follow (Barbra Striesand's SUVs, Rosie O'Donnell's potty mouth discussing appropriate behavior or gun control, et al) because they have wealth and employ a lot of people who tend to their every personal and transportation need.

I think Sheryl's joke backfired. It did get everyone talking, yes, even other liberals, but about how silly some of the global warming advocates are. Now if we could just get people to wise up about lightbulbs, bio-fuel, and weather patterns over time maybe we won't have to suffer from more disastrous outcomes like the Carson-induced malaria deaths.

3747 Homeowner fights back, gets his way

Amy Ridenour reports on a man in Atlanta who was turned down on his request for a porch by a local historic commission, so he painted his house lime green with purple spots. Eventually, he got his way. This was reported in the 5th edition of her book Shattered Dreams: One Hundred Storiesabout government abuse. However, I know this quote just isn't so:

"Randall Carlson, a builder who has done work in Avondale Estates, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the city's preservation officials should have their power curtailed: "Most people are not going to do anything that would detract from the value of their home. I think the [commission] should be a last resort, only if people do something way out of line." "

We own property in an historic community--people buy there because they love the nostalgia and ambiance, and when the ink on the contract is dry they immediately try to add a 21st century design addition to a 19th century house, or add a huge storage shed that blocks a neighbor's view of the lake, or create a huge footprint to add a garage in an area where many of the lots are only 33' wide. My husband is an architect who probably has had 30+ jobs in that community that make it more beautiful. Now that he is virtually retired, he is part of the design review board. He has seen the problem from three angles--as a home owner who wants to protect his property values, as an architect who wants the best interests and best design for his client, and as a board member with a larger view looking out for historic preservation. The home owner is much more likely to be the problem than the association or the design board.

At our condo we have the same problem. Everyone who has ever visited here remarks on the beauty--if it were to be built today, there would be double the number of units and it would have an army base look with row on row of garages or porches. We have quite a selection of colors available to the individual unit owners, and variety in landscaping, but there are rules. Often it is the wealthiest owners, or those who spend part of the year somewhere else who think the rules are for everyone else and ignore the owner's handbook.

Jazz vs. Rock

At the public library the other day I was browsing the CDs in the music collection. If I wanted Contemporary Christian I'd have a pretty small selection (it all sounds like secular music to me), but since I don't know much about choral or orchestral, the collection suits my needs. Something seemed a bit odd. There were 17 drawers of jazz and 13 drawers of rock. So I asked a musician friend of mine about this. "Isn't rock a much larger, more popular genre of music than jazz?" She thought for a moment, and then said, "It probably reflects the taste of someone on the staff." Then she followed that with, "Well, jazz lovers are probably more likely to use the library, and people who like rock are using a different source--either purchasing or downloading or sharing." I didn't look for the break-out of rap or hip-hop, so I don't know how that is cataloged. I'll have to look the next time.

I'm so glad my library allows journals to circulate. Some libraries don't. And good parking! I was talking to a Worthington Public Library user the other day and she said she likes to use ours just because the parking is so much better. Our new drive through drop off was a huge waste of money, however, as is the proposed coffee shop inside the library (at least I haven't heard that it has been removed from the proposed levy renewal) and the salary of a marketing director.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Crow Droppings, #2

The Sheryl Crow absurd story did inspire me. Did you know the bacteria count on women's desks and keyboards is much higher than on men's? Yes, it's because of make-up and keeping food to nibble. So imagine what is going on in our bathrooms? The toilets are probably cleaner than the medicine cabinet or cosmetic shelf.

Yes, I do eat sometimes at this messy desk. Janeen takes photos of her projects. Here's mine.

So today I decided to do a thorough check of the bathrooms and pitch samples and half-used things. Believe it or not, I threw out a can of Avon bathpower from the mid-50s. Yes, I know people collect that stuff, and I wouldn't have dreamed of using it, but it just felt a little creepy that I would still have something I got from my sister when she sold Avon products (I think she was a sophomore or junior in high school and did quite well at it).

You'd think with all this help I'd be prettier--or at least smarter, since some of these bottles are at least a decade old. Most of this was thrown out.

While I was doing it, I spread out to the upstairs closets and my husband's bathroom. So the whole area is in total chaos, and I've come downstairs for a cup of coffee and a little blog reading.

It's really strange to be inspired to clean by crow droppings.

Update: Now she says she was kidding. A little slow there.

Crow droppings

Have you ever lived in an area where the sky turns black on a sunny day and the grackles or blackbirds or crows descend and roost in the trees dropping a white slimy goo on everything? I remember visiting someone in Annandale, VA and it literally was not safe to breathe the air outside her condo. Dried droppings everywhere, driveway, sidewalks, patio, lawn furniture, flowers, shrubs under the trees; and where it wasn't dry, it was wet, smearing the windshields, covering the lawn, disfiguring the trees, a threat to human health and driving away native song birds.

That's what Sheryl Crow wants for us with her one square of toilet paper per visit to the rest room idea, and special sleeves for nose blowing and mouth wiping. Not for her of course, she has people. To wait on her. Do her laundry. Mop up the floors her bathrooms.

Then in some residential areas, the pest control comes out and tries to scare away the birds with loud noises, gun shots, firecrackers or music. They try to dislodge the birds and make them go elsewhere, to become someone else's problem.

Sheryl Crow needs pest control.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Chemo Brain

Sheryl Crow has reportedly said that we should use less toilet paper. Maybe 1 square per visit to the rest room. I hope this is an urban legend, a misquote, and joke on the conservative bloggers who try to find ways to make fun of the fundy evironmentalists. Perhaps she and her girl friend are whooping it up at the fuss they stirred. Because if it isn't one of those, it's chemo brain, the impaired mental function of some cancer survivors.

"Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required." [Washington Post blog]

They already use this method at the St. Petersburg, Russia top tourist spots. We were well acquainted with the lack of toilet paper last summer. If you didn't take some tissue or paper towels into the rest room, you were out of luck.

Even with adequate toilet paper, women (I don't know about men) have both urine and fecal residue on their hands with every use of a toilet--at home or public restroom--and toilet paper is getting thinner and weaker, especially in public restrooms. Serious implications for women with long or artificial fingernails. This stuff is found in the open sample dishes in restaurants, for goodness sake. How do you think it got there? On hands! They transfer the matter and bacteria to their clothing, their purse, their wrist and hand jewelry, cell phones, the flush knob on the toilet, the door clasp of the stall, the faucet at the sink, and anything else they touch in the rest room. The hand blow dryers just move it all around the rest of your clothing. Then it's back to the children, the car, the restaurant, or shaking someone's hand. (Maybe Sheryl just doesn't want her fans to touch her?)

But who will ever see it?

I asked when I discovered my husband had ordered a mirror for his bathroom from the Frank Lloyd Wright Studio in Oak Park, IL. "I will. Every morning. And I'll love it," he replied matter of factly.

Lots of popcorn packing

The cat had to inspect everything

Short Librarians?

In 1966 I finished "library school" (master's degree program) at the University of Illinois. I didn't have to look for a job because I'd worked in the Slavic Languages department of the library both as an undergrad and a graduate student. Those were the cold war years--today someone with a slavic specialty might have to do something else. Those who entered library work in 1965 were told in a conference with Dean Downs at the University of Illinois there was a shortage and a great future. Those who entered in the 70s, 80s, 90s, and today are told the same thing. We were all pretty much told the same thing--the librarians of the 30s and 40s were retiring--technology was changing the face of the profession. Yet, every year library schools closed limiting regional choices. There is no shortage of librarians. There might be a shortage of students to sit in the classroom or dial in for on-line courses and pay the salaries of professors and deans in the library schools that are left, but there is no shortage. There may be a shortage of librarians willing to work for $25,000 a year after years in graduate school and huge school debt, but there is no shortage of highly qualified people with masters degrees willing to design systems, manage libraries, supervise paraprofessional staff, work with decent budgets, and publish in the professional journals. The big lie. Don't let our Congress build another bridge to nowhere.

The lonesome blog

The lost cause. Unfortunately. The crazy dems and the wimpy republicans killed it. But I blame mostly the Republicans.

Monday Memories--looking back on an employment issue

This memory is taken directly from a letter I wrote to my mother in 1991--16 years ago. We were both Democrats (I no longer am) so it wasn't unusual for me to ramble on about political things, just the way I do now with my blog. I had to give a report at my department's faculty meeting and wasn't too enthusiastic about the topic or recommendations. But given what happened last week with the Supreme Court decision about partial birth abortion, I thought I'd resurrect the letter.

"I have to report to the library faculty on Thursday on a rule change for tenure. It is to allow an extension of time for babies, child care, care of an ill person or personal illness. I was not enthusiastic about the rule, but my committee voted me down, so I have to report anyway.

Why is it I get so suspicious about all these rules that are suppose to help women when things don't get any better? Safe legal abortions were to give women a choice--well, we've aborted 25 million babies and 54% of women with children under 6 are in the labor force. In 1950, only 12% of women with children under 6 were working. There is more violence against women, more child abuse, and recently I read that the surplus of women in all age groups is shrinking, not because men are living longer, but because women are dying at a faster rate than they used to. Meanwhile, I think we inched up about 5 percentage points on closing the income gap.

The reason I wasn't enthusiastic about the rule change is because tenure is already a much too long, grueling process--this is just a band-aid on a big wound. But without acknowledging it, they are saying that Yes, all those services women supplied in the home for families in the past are important and do have to be accounted for (the rule applies to both men and women, although I don't think the men are rushing home to take care of the children.)"

Hmmm. Sixteen years. Aren't women still asking for special exceptions and exemptions on the job for family needs?

You do the math

Which presidential appointee has given orders that killed more Americans? Attorney General Janet Reno (Clinton) or Attorney General Albert Gonzales (Bush)?

Which organization has promoted legislation and law suits which have killed more babies able to live outside the womb? The NRA or NOW?

Which are vilified more in the media?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The shy bridesmaid

After a week of really heavy emotions and anger at all the talking heads and media types both liberal and conservative, I just laughed out loud at this wedding photo, which I'm calling, "The camera shy bridesmaid." I was looking for a website that would tell me how to wash a silk garment (the Ohio State extension folks said be very careful, but a site that sells silk by the type and yard gave some good additional information). Somehow, I wandered into a message board for brides-to-be losing weight. One bride then posted her wedding and honeymoon photos, which is where I found this. Maybe one of her friends didn't meet her goal weight.


Noonan knows

the press, and she really laid it out in Week-end edition of WSJ in "Cold Standard." In describing how common sense has broken down in many areas of our lives, particulary the mental health gurus uprooting the walls that used to protect us and then blaming someone else,

"The literally white-bearded academic who was head of the campus counseling center was on Paula Zahn Wednesday night suggesting the utter incompetence of officials to stop a man who had stalked two women, set a fire in his room, written morbid and violent plays and poems, been expelled from one class, and been declared by a judge to be "mentally ill" was due to the lack of a government "safety net." In a news conference, he decried inadequate "funding for mental health services in the United States." Way to take responsibility. Way to show the kids how to dodge."

the politicizing of every tragedy and event, and the Bush derangement syndrome,

"The anxiety of our politicians that there may be an issue that goes unexploited was almost--almost--comic. They mean to seem sensitive, and yet wind up only stroking their supporters. I believe Rep. Jim Moran was first out of the gate with the charge that what Cho did was President Bush's fault. I believe Sen. Barack Obama was second, equating the literal killing of humans with verbal coarseness. Wednesday there was Sen. Barbara Boxer equating the violence of the shootings with the "global warming challenge" and "today's Supreme Court decision" upholding a ban on partial-birth abortion."

culminating with the inexcusable actions that NBC took (and other networks followed) to allow Cho to glorify his insanity,

"Brian Williams introduced the Cho collection as "what can only be described as a multi-media manifesto." But it can be described in other ways. "The self-serving meanderings of a crazy, self-indulgent narcissist" is one. But if you called it that, you couldn't lead with it. You couldn't rationalize the decision. Such pictures are inspiring to the unstable. The minute you saw them, you probably thought what I did: We'll be seeing more of that."

For some reason Noonan chose not to list among the demise of common sense Cho's course work in literature (and I'm guessing other humanities and social sciences), might have included the bizarre twisting of every thing that might be positive in western literature and history (it did when I was on campus in the 90s). This is one area of his ramblings which pretty much reflected what he was being taught in college.* For that, one only needs to open a syllabus of a freshman lit or history course to find the poison that will rot a young, unstable mind, and turn off a health one.

*You can fulfill an English requirement by studying movie Westerns, or gangsterism in hip hop music, or sexuality in disabled women or probably even the fantasy life of your professor if you make a good case. It's ideology before thinking and politics before craft.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


Is Al Gore the new Rachel Carson?

Were you surprised that the Christian Science Monitor declared Al Gore "the Rachel Carson of global warming?" [Story was in Wall Street Journal by Katherine Mangu-Ward] I was stunned. This should be an insult, a death blow to his movement. Do the editors not know? More Africans have died of malaria since the 1970s when her book was read by do-gooders and entertainers who then lobbied and protested DDT off the market than were killed in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Malaria was all but defeated. They aren't apparently being killed by the increased use of pesticides to deal with the resurgence of mosquitoes, although that can't be too healthy either. Then when I checked I see that he wrote an introduction to a new edition of one of her books, so I guess he just doesn't care about black and brown people, to turn on a phrase of a well-known comedian.

Now, through Al Gore's misinformation and whipped up hysteria, the West will be shutting down factories and mines in developing countries, even as we try to find places (outside our own country) to manufacture energy saving lightbulbs that contain mercury. And then the food stuffs we might have sent them to keep their poor babies alive (assuming we don't send in medical teams to abort them), we'll be burning in our SUVs.

I don't think this is good for your movement, Al.

Ten great Christian biographies

was the name of the radio program I walked to for exercise yesterday. I'd never heard Albert Mohler before, but a very interesting program for a librarian. He says he's done shows on a number of different biographies, his favorite genre. I'll have to dig around and see if they are on-line. I walked 2 miles before lunch, and 2 miles in the afternoon. So now I have 21.5 miles in my 50 Days of Easter Walk, which I do with other bloggers. I should have really done a few extra rounds and clipped off that .5 mi. I think he said it was G K Chesterton who thought fast walking was best for thinking. Because of time for commercials and finding it a bit late, I heard Augustine, Aquinas, Luther and Chesterton.

3733 Many conservative bloggers are rude

to their peer bloggers on the left. They call them names like moonbats and wingnuts, change their surnames, i.e., Moore and Moran might become Moron, disparage their 19th century Marxist reasoning, or bully them for having no reasoning at all, point out the failed socialist programs that undergird their solutions, ridicule them for misleading the poor to get votes for the Democrats, post unflattering cartoons of leftists or videos of mumbled speeches that go nowhere, and upload photos showing lines and wrinkles on has-been senators or a covered humble head of an attractive Californian visiting a dictator. For shame!

Yesterday I was reading a media site for information on new and discontinued magazines for my other, other, other blog. And I discovered they keep an eye on Rush Limbaugh, excerpt part of his monologue, and put it out like raw meat for the wild dog, scavenger bloggers. There were two obvious errors, both of omission, in what was posted, because I was listening to that show.

First, Rush had either seen or been sent the information from the website at VA Tech (said it was in the English Dept. site). He quoted some of it, apparently not realizing it was from Nikki Giovanni's poem read at the memorial service--at least he never mentioned it. The poem included the usual concern for the poor, dispossessed, and baby elephants who also don't ask for their fate and the violence done to them.* Rush then went on to comment, that based on Cho's manifesto which railed against the rich and the bullies and the fact that he'd been in this English class, the only conclusion was that he was a liberal. Rush parodies the left all the time (knowing they have no sense of humor), and although this was not said to be funny, it was said to be ironic (left also has a problem with irony), and to juxtapose a madman's ramblings with the marxist, deconstructionist blather that passes for literature and writing courses on our campuses of higher education.

Second, most of his program yesterday was devoted not to Cho, but to his favorite charity, leukemia research. He has raised approximately $17 million dollars in the last 17 years devoting just a few hours of air time one afternoon a year. His listeners contribute, but this year he personally was donating over $300,000. I doubt that any left of center media watch organization or left wing blogger ever mentions this, choosing instead to pull several sentences out of his monologue, and not mentioning the context in which it was said. Then that fuels the fanatics who don't do their own listening and research.

*from Giovanni's address: "We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army, neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy."

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Family Photo--Cousins

Sister on the left, me on the right, and our cousin Dianne in the middle

I think this was taken in October. We weren't doing anything special--just sitting around having a cup of tea. My cousin had stopped by on her way to visit her mother, and I was in Illinois visiting my sister. We've lived in Ohio for 40 years, so times with my family are done in little snatches--mini-vacations, weddings, funerals, health emergencies and reunions. When I was a child it never really occurred to me that I would be away from my siblings, or lose touch with the cousins I saw every Sunday at grandparents. Then I got married, moved to another state, and became part of another family, and saw more of them in Indiana than mine. Now it seems normal, and our holidays and special times revolve around our little family here, but for many years I felt adrift.

Dear Bill O'Reilly,

Your using the Cho clips while discussing whether it was gratuitous, was ridiculous. We are regular watchers of your show, but this is a story you bungled.

Bill's note to me:

"Dear Valued Visitor,

Thank you for contacting the Customer Service Team at

[publicizing his show]

Sorry, but due to the overwhelming volume of emails, we are unable to respond to specific show content questions for The O'Reilly Factor."

I'll bet you are.

What it means to be me. . .

Cynthia Blair Kane in The New Standard (central Ohio's largest circulation Jewish newspaper) writes:

"I have always been a Jew.
I was a little Jew in my mother's womb,
I was a Jew before my parents knew if I was going to be a boy or a girl and
I was a Jew before they picked out a name."

Reminds me of Psalm 139.

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in the secret place...your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before they came to be." Psalm 139: 13-16

Hoping-for-Defeat Harry

Senate Majority Leader Hogwash Harry Reid (D-Nev) said Thursday the war in Iraq is "lost." Heedless Harry Reid (D-Nev) said he told President Bush on Wednesday he thought the war could not be won through military force, although Haughty Harry (D-Nev) said the U.S. could still pursue political, economic and diplomatic means to surrender in Iraq.

"I believe myself that the secretary of state, secretary of defense and - you have to make your own decisions as to what the president knows - (know) this war is lost, with my help, and the surge is not accomplishing anything as we've successfully blocked funding, as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday," said Help-the-Enemy Harry Reid, (D-Nev). slightly adjusted for truth from Associated Press story on MyWay News

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

How to say thank you to your employees by age group

Today's WSJ had an article on the "kudo kids" now entering the labor force. From the time they were infants, they've been told how great they are, receiving a lot of affirmation for not doing very much. A "thank you" guru reports on how to say thank you or "good job" to your employees based on their ages.

Over 60--It's called a paycheck

40-60--A few self-indulgent treats or freebies

Under 40--Require a lot of stroking and constant feedback. They need praise for showing up.

This all started sometime ago. I remember going to a middle school athletic "honors" banquet with my daughter, maybe around 1981-82. Every child got a little trophy. I think hers was for working at the refreshment stand during sporting events. I was a bit deflated (although I knew she wasn't an athlete, I sensed a lot of praise inflation even 25 years ago).

At my other blogs


Ask at your local library

Dear Home Editor,

I am a regular reader--my husband is an architect, I'm a retired librarian. I note that you suggest to your readers that to apply for "a chance to win great prizes," one of which is a $35 acrylic throw, they need to have internet access and an e-mail address. Then you offer the services of their local library where the staff will help them set up a free e-mail account and, presumably, teach them how to get onto your website, find the right page, the correct window, and enter all the appropriate information. Whether a person would actually go to this much trouble to get a "chance to win" a $35.00 throw, I don't know, but I do know it would cost about $100 in staff time to teach someone who knew nothing about the internet how to set up and manipulate an e-mail account.

Also, once this person is up and running on the internet, she must enter your giveaway site by noon Eastern Time. That would be 9 a.m. in California. Are libraries even open that early on the west coast? As you well know, nothing is free, not even giveaways which are part of marketing. Libraries are definitely not free, nor is information. Please be responsible in your own offers and suggest a phone number or snail mail option if people don't have, don't want, can't learn, or physically can't get to the internet. You are a print medium.

I have 10 blogs and 2 e-mail addresses, and use the internet 4-5 hours a day. My husband does not know how to turn on the computer and I don't mow the lawn. It's not for everyone.

Norma Bruce
Faculty Emeritus
Ohio State University Libraries

Doing my part for the environment

You've heard the expression, "Think globally, act locally." Yesterday on my walk I picked up some trash along the way. Now, that does slow me down, but if I don't do it who will?

At one spot I found both the letter and the envelope. I don't know if it was tossed out of a car window, or if it had blown out of the garbage truck because we've had some really windy days with our very cold spring, or perhaps it blew out of a trash recepticle placed for pick up. When I looked at the addressee I thought someone had listed a fake name and address which got into database--it was just too classic. The first name was of a well known painting of a woman with an enigmatic smile; the surname phonetically was "mall walker;" and the house number was 1234. Obviously, I have way too much time on my hands, but I actually googled the person, and yes, the family lives in a nearby neighborhood. Then I found the vita of one of the residents (recent MBA from Ohio State looking for a job), with e-mail and phone number, reviewed his job history, and of course, Google showed me a map of where the family lived, and the letter from ADT told me that they didn't have a security system and that 1 in every 5 homes will experience a problem with security. If I wanted to, I could have pulled up a floor plan of the house from the county auditor site showing me the location of windows and doors, drive-way's relation to feeder streets and main arteries to the free-ways.

Trash is so informative. Don't let anything go in the trash intact that you wouldn't want someone else to find, because there are just too many ways to find you.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Poetry Thursday

"Think of places that most need to see a poem. Think of people who most need to read a poem. Go to those places, to those people and leave your words for them to find." The assignment calls this Guerrilla Poetry. Not my term, but I did pass this one out to a few people and post it on a bulletin board at the coffee shop. Actually, my blog is where I do this. I don't really like the idea of cluttering up public places. It seems a bit pushy.

I wrote this poem while reading about the difficulty of preserving archives, how memory changes over the years, varies from person to person, and is valued depending on who the victors are. The archives themselves can be biased and/or violated, as we learned in the Sandy Berger theft of 9-11 materials from our National Archives, or even by what is selected to be released, printed, digitized and stored within our various levels of government.

Interview with a western journalist
by Norma Bruce

The problem is not
that I know nothing,
but that I know everything.

Now that I've disappeared
into the general population,
it's with the locals I survive.

So when you speak to me of
identity, ethnicity and faction,
who would you have me be?

Unless you've seen your mother raped,
don't talk to me of the evils of
genocide, vengeance or escalation.

Correct your own country's history,
douse your own archives with gasoline,
then we'll talk.

For my past, present and future
I shall burn in Hell,
but at least I'll burn for Croatia.*

*Quote about Croatia from "Archives, documentation and institutions of social memory, essays from the Sawyer Seminar."

Do you work with difficult people?

Fat Doctor has the answer. She "pretends the patient is Jesus. And that he's testing me. Don't wanna make Jesus angry, so I behave myself appropriately."

It's a hilarious story.

What do you think of NBC's behavior

The murderer gets his wish for immortality--NBC complies, and all the other media fall in line and once out, it will never die on the internet. When I bring up my RR homepage, his ugly face and the tape is there.

A foul mouthed Don Imus MSNBC hired to say outrageous things gets fired for doing what he was hired to do. He says "nappy headed hos. A man who murders over 30 people sends NBC taped rants and then uses NBC to tell his story to the world. Same network. I'm trying to think of as many synonyms as possible for the executives of NBC (and Fox, ABC and CBS and cable affiliates) who made the decision to play the Cho images over and over and over. These words describe NBC, the main newsperp, not Cho.
  • money driven
  • bottom liners
  • bottom feeders
  • profit motivated
  • power besotted
  • goof ups

  • disgusting
  • bumblers
  • bunglers
  • shallow
  • muddled thinking
  • screw ups

  • rotten
  • fetid
  • odious
  • vile
  • four letter word for bottom discharge

  • irrational
  • atrocious
  • outrageous
  • scandalous
  • unrestrained
  • merciless
  • undignified
  • disrespectful to families of victims

  • unprincipled
  • brutal
  • barbarous
  • repugnant
  • loathsome
  • evil

  • troubled
  • disturbed
  • creepy
  • careless
  • duplicitous
  • rotten

  • 3721

    Nominate a library web site

    I've been ranting at a library blog about how difficult most library websites are to navigate. Since the Mt. Morris Public Library was the first I ever used (when it was still in Old Sandstone) and I worked there in high school (before the present building expanded), I looked at it in my quest for easy-to-use and understand library websites. Although I don't care for the pea green background color of the site, I must say, it is easy to navigate and clear, and has a helpful form for requesting information. Good job, Mt. Morris.

    As I recall, this collection which began as a philanthropic effort by the women's club became a public library around 1931. My mother was a teen-age college student in Mt. Morris and was issued card number 14 or something like that and used it until she died in 2000 at 88.


    Usually I express nothing but frustration with the Ohio State University Libraries web sites, however, I've just looked at the Cartoon Research Library (part of OSUL) and after staring at it for 2 or 3 seconds, figured out how to use it. I loved the special database, especially searching by genre. How cool is that--especially if you are unfamiliar with the names of the artists or even what to call their art.

    Just ignore the little band of boxes across the top which send you off into the larger library system (don't go there unarmed without vast knowledge of how to work the system).

    Bismarck, North Dakota: address (name and state) at bottom; four columns, too many colors, difficult to read and find information; couldn't find a link to staff names or comment/contact window--possibly buried on a hard to find page.

    New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, IN: Very amateurish, too many colors. Main photo appears to be of an office through the glass doors, but it's hard to tell. Purples, green-blues. Blobs of information. Can't find a list of staff or way to comment or request.

    Alameda Free Library, California: seems to have a new library. All the money must have gone for the building, leaving none for the website, which is amateurish, with poor color choices (what is it with libraries and sense of color--I've never seen so much purple and pea green!) Can't find any list of staff or way to contact them. Might be there, but not easy to locate.

    Toledo Lucas County, Ohio: although the site is attractive and eager to please, the main features are the lyceum--all programming, not the collection. That's not why I come to a library, and for a web site, it is really disappointing. I wasn't allowed to even look at the database titles without a pin number, so can't tell you much about that. The staff, at least, is not in alphabetical order, although based on their titles, there are no librarians there, only "managers." I did finally find a "suggestion for purchase" form, which my library doesn't have. This library has a very long list of rules, procedures and guidelines, maybe being urban they have to, but the overall impression is sort of oppresive.
    Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library: The main page is a bit hokey--can't decide between flashing cartoons and dignified photos. I'd not miss it a bit if all library sites dumped the free, flashing cartoony stuff. No address or state name on the main page; no list of staff, only departments. You'd have to hunt a bit to find a way to send an e-mail or request. Very nice history page--more libraries should have one. The long list of rules to get a library card really makes my PL look like the tooth fairy--I suppose they have more of an illegal immigrant problem than we do. There you have to show your ID and proof of address--mine lets you register online, but does want your SS#, which I'm against. But everyone seems to do it, even with the high turn over of staff who have access to it.

    Amazing gifts for women soldiers

    If you ever need a reason to feel crummy about your craft skills, just go visit a knitter or quilter's blog! Oh my goodness those folks are talented. Somewhere on a shelf in my laundry room I have some yarn and needles, but have never even made it to "purl." Today I wandered into the blog home of Debra Spincic of Texas. Not only is her own work amazing, but she had photos of a quilt show that I assume is a local Texas group. Then scrolling down, I see she is buying quilt tops on e-Bay, having them quilted (finished, I assume), and then they will go to injured women soliders at Walter Reed. See her project here. Here's the quilt show favorites she featured.

    I'm so depressed by my total lack of talent, I'm going out for coffee where I'll try to post my poetry for our Poetry Thursday assignment, "Think of places that most need to see a poem. Think of people who most need to read a poem. Go to those places, to those people and leave your words for them to find."

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    Nominated again!

    I got another Thinking Blogger Award from RennyBA, who blogs from Norway. Right now he's enjoying Springtime and a Lifecruiser Cyber cruise. So stop by and say hello. Although he gets a lot more comments than I do. Since I've already nominated a few other thinkers in a previous post, I'm assuming I've fulfilled that requirement.

    Politicizing the tragedy

    Within minutes of the news of the shootings at VA Tech, the terrible tragedy was being politicized on both the left and the right, by the talking heads, the talk show hosts, the blogs, the politicians. The poor parents hadn't even been notified yet--they were still trying to call their dead children, and we had started a very angry, politically charged "conversation" about gun control, American culture, "we" and "we're all to blame." Rosie O'Donnell and other hot shots have a private security force to protect them, so we know she'll call for gun control for others--that's what left wing entertainers do. But it was equally upsetting to hear the conservative talk hosts railing against the lefties who they believe are trying to bring them down with this issue, and then second guessing the police investigation of the first murders in the dorm. The blame game was unbelieveable. I feel so sorry for the school officials who never ever thought they would be facing a carnage like this. A pox on both houses. As I understand the laws of Virginia, the murderer had done everything legal. I think the college administration and the police who must have faced a scene most would only see in war or horror movies have behaved with honor and dignity. No one would ask a city of 30,000 to secure a shut down after a murder or have cameras in every building, but that's what people are shouting now! Let the parents at least bury their children before you get on the soap box for your favorite cause.

    This man, as it now turns out, was criminally insane. You don't pass legislation or make grand judgements about an entire nation because an insane college student has fantasies, is paranoid, or is a psycopath--and consumed with or by evil. What we may need to look at, instead of gun control, is our privacy laws and disability laws which have put many of us in danger both from disease and people who can't control their minds or take their medication.

    Do smoking cessation pills and programs work?

    I know many former smokers; my son-in-law quit 9 years ago, his father knows the exact day in 1980 that he quit after 37 years of being a smoker. Both my father and my husband's father began smoking as teen-agers; one quit at 39, the other around 50 (his wife didn't quit and died of lung cancer). A good friend of ours quit about 5 years ago in his 60s after heart surgery, but has recently been diagnosed with cancer. I know many people who thought they could not live without a cigarette but miraculously discovered after lung cancer, COPD or triple by-pass, they could indeed live well and not smoke. Of all the former smokers I know, all quit by. . . quiting. They stopped lighting up, usually cold turkey not gradually, and just suffered the short term consequences and discomfort rather than the agony and pain of losing a lung or the disability of having a stroke or heart attack.

    So when I read about Medicaid paying for smoking cessation programs I wondered if that's the best use of our tax money. 41 million Americans have their health insurance through Medicaid, and 29% of them are smokers. Medicaid is handled by the states--in Ohio, 37.6% of our state taxes go to fund Medicaid. Thirty-eight of the 50 states offer some sort of coverage for at least one smoking treatment according to MMWR 2006:55:1193-1197. Some are a mix and match between drugs and behavioral modification.

    Obviously, it's not healthy for anyone to smoke, but does any one but the pharmaceutical companies and the people who run these programs really benefit?

    Tuesday, April 17, 2007


    Global warming, wind, wet ground and change

    If it hadn't warmed up in Ohio several thousands of years ago melting our ice cap*, we wouldn't have this old tree to mourn. I don't know how old it is--maybe 75-100. The rain fell, the winds blew and it toppled over. We're grateful for its life and service in making this world a more beautiful place.

    *North America ice sheet was 3500 to 4000 m thick over Ontario covered the continent to as far south as St. Louis, 500 m thick over central Ohio. Climate change

    Apologies are NOT accepted!

    "We regret to inform you that during the weekend of March 31/April 1 there was a criminal intrusion into a university database of current and former employees and that some of your personal data--your name, social security number, employee ID, and date of birth--has been compromised and could be misused. . . Please accept our most sincere apologies"

    I first read about this in today's paper, but because it was the OSU Office of Research, I retired in 2000, and because I hadn't been notified of something that happened over two weeks ago, I figured I was safe. I was wrong. I never applied for a grant through the Office of Research, never worked there, had no reason to even think my name was in their data base. I was the co-author of an article in JAVMA in the 90s and that information may have in some way been cycled through the Office of Research by the other author if he obtained a grant. With 14,000 names hacked and thousands and thousands of faculty and staff members at OSU who get money for research, what were the chances one would be mine? I'm baffled.

    "We regret that your personal information has been subject to unauthorized access due to this attack." What is it with apologies these days? People don't do anything wrong--only inanimate objects screw up. Stuff happens to stuff? Not even, "our firewall collapsed."

    Two weeks after the theft of my identity from my employer's database, I'm offered a 12 month credit protection plan--but of course, I have to put my identifying information on-line. Goody goody.

    Teach the Swarm Technique

    "Youngsters in a suburban Fort Worth school district are being taught not to sit there like good boys and girls with their hands folded if a gunman invades the classroom, but to rush him and hit him with everything they have: books, pencils, legs and arms.

    "Getting under desks and praying for rescue from professionals is not a recipe for success," said Robin Browne, a major in the British Army reserve force and an instructor for Response Options, the company providing the training to the Burleson schools."

    Story here from Oct. 2006.

    Then the program was cancelled in a few months because parents didn't like it.

    A very sad interview

    A young man from a counseling center--Christian or new age or secular, couldn't tell--was interviewed in Blacksburg today by Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts about how to counsel the parents and children in the aftermath of yesterday's shooting. Of course, he had no answers--who would? But he could have offered something positive and hopeful. He was either muzzled, tongue tied, or didn't know the Biblical truth that there is evil and sin in this world and that God has a plan. He stumbled around in some theological quicksand about "free will," but that was about as far as he got, and Robin even had to throw him a few prompts. Some students, however, knew the source of comfort.