Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Hot on the trail of grant money

“The future of humanity and the quality of our daily lives necessitate a deeper understanding of Earth’s climate system, which sustains all life and is now threatened and compromised by human activities (population growth, economic development and unsustainable resource use).” Executive Summary Proposal for a $12 million Climate, Water and Carbon Program (CWC) at Ohio State University (dated 2006, but now approved and funded). On the web page, it says they want to find out why there is “rapid” climate change, so maybe they threw that word WHY in there to cover all their bases just in case it's the sun or weather patterns. Could there be a possibility that humans aren’t causing it? And if so, how would you get money for funding a new program if you didn’t comply with scientific orthodoxy that already has a “consensus” on the cause and effect of the problem? I thought it strange that the research is going to be on Mt. Kilimanjaro, when most of Ohio used to be under a glacier, and some of Ohio's climate changed quite rapidly, as did Europe's and Greenland's. And imagine the carbon footprint those faculty and grad students will make flying back and forth to Africa!

Click over to “Is it Hot In Here?” to watch the lecture of Dr. Jay W. Richards of the Acton Institute on April 17, 2008. He explores the biblical foundations for our stewardship over the environment and its importance in the debate on Global Warming. He also discusses the mainstream views on Global Warming and answers four of the main questions concerning global climate change:
  1. Is the earth warming?
  2. Are we causing it?
  3. If the earth is warming and we are causing it, is that bad?
  4. Would the advised policies make any difference?
Dr. Richards notes that if all the countries could manage to comply with the Kyoto Protocol, the reduction in temperature would be so small as to be unmeasurable, and would cost $50 trillion--to accomplish nothing. He poses the question--is there a better way to serve the poor and mankind with that money? Clean water, perhaps? He reminds us that the climate has been warming since 1850 (cooling since 1998), but not since 1000, and for awhile in the 1970s there was a consensus on global cooling. He agrees that concentrations of C02 is going up, but we don't know why--it increases as the temperature increases, but temps go up first. He also ponders: Do we know what the optimum climate is? Why do we think what we've experienced in our lifetimes is what is best in the future, when it wasn't that way in the past? Since the CWC appears to actually be concerned about water quality (I'm glad someone is), perhaps they need to also take on a few economists--I didn't see any on the list of cooperating faculty looking for grant money, but they could be there.

And what about President Bush's new goals for 2050? According to Steven Hayward in Monday's WSJ, "the average residence in the U.S. uses about 10,500 kilowatt hours of electricity and emits 11.4 tons of CO2 per year. [To meet the adjusted goals,] the average household emissions will have to fall to no more than 1.5 tons per year. In our current electricity infrastructure, this would mean using no more than about 2,500 KwH per year." This is not enough to run the computers and lights for the CWC program at Ohio State. "The clear implication is that we shall have to replace virtually the entire fossil fuel electricity infrastructure over the next four decades with CO2-free sources – a multitrillion dollar proposition, if it can be done at all."

Oh yes, Dr. Richards says that predicitions of global disasters are always wrong, and if I heard him correctly, he also includes in that various predicitions of end-times by Christians.

4809 Digging for Danners

My Ohio State e-mail account is currently a magnet for spam on gambling and Russian spam. Does everyone get Russian language spam or am I just one of the lucky ones? I never got it before the new "secure" system OSU OIT instituted awhile back. It can almost make one yearn for cheap ink cartridges, mortgages, and virgin lesbians, which used to be the content of my spam. Yesterday I had about 500 items in those categories.

After figuring out how to trash 20 at a time, but scanning for those I didn't want to lose, I found an older one I had not deleted but held to read later. And it was from the Brethren genealogy listserv on Samuel Danner, grandson of Michael Danner, Sr., who immigrated in 1727. I'm a descendant of Henry Danner, not Jacob, Samuel's father, but I copied and pasted into my Family Tree Maker notes to be figured out later. I'm a descendant of Henry's daughter, Rachel. Merle Rummel, who contributed this information to the listserv on April 16 had an interesting item about the location of a Sauer Bible in the Danner family. The first Bible printed in America in a European language was not in English, but in German and Christopher Sauer of Philadelphia published it:
    "Brethren Roots and Branches (predecessor of our current Brethren Roots) of 1987 (Spring-Summer and Fall-Winter) had two discussions on the Sauer Bible owned by Samuel Danner Sr (son of Jacob Danner - grandson of Michael Danner), father of the minister Samuel Danner. This was the family records of the birth and marriages of Samuel SR Family (did not include deaths). The second presentation included the children and spouses of Samuel JR - and a partial list of grandchildren. The Bible is at the Duggan Library, Hanover College, Hanover IN. The records are in German -from the sequence of names - the Bible was passed down for 3 generations.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jeremiah Wright is not the issue!

If I hear one more cable news or talk show host broadcasting the lies of Jeremiah Wright, I think I'll--change channels. White, mainstream liberal Protestant congregations have been hearing a just-as-damaging, more quiet, less call-and-response version of liberation theology since the early 1960s. Catholic Leftists Priests started it in South America in the 1950s, and bored Protestants who didn't think Marxism could be evil, picked up the theme for their various movements. They've always been sympathetic to Castro, to radical labor movements, and La Raza and the sanctuary movement. Wake up O'Reilly and Hannity--we've been hearing this for fifty years!

James Cone developed and refined liberation theology further with his book calling it black liberation theology in 1969. The feminists picked it up in the 1970s, and the environmentalists, vegans, animal rightists and America-for-illegals folks within the church also have used it as a spring board for organizing and action.

It would seem that the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the "Good News," God's plan for redemption of the world, one sinner at a time as the message of faith is created by the Holy Spirit in the believer, is just not flashy enough to make the news! But the ground work had been laid a hundred years before in the seminaries, first in Europe and then the United States. We Americans had "the social gospel" which shifted the burden of individual sin to the shoulders of social, institutional or corporate evil. You might say the preaching of the "gap gospel" that is pervasive in political speeches, tax plans, and protestant pulpits got its start right here in Columbus with Washington Gladden (1836-1918) at the First Congregational Church (forerunner denomination of UCC, Rev. Wright's group). Gladden taught that the teachings of Jesus were about the right ordering of society. Really, he could be Wright's mentor. The various liberal social movements and redefining of whole passages of Scripture gave rise to the Fundamentalists, and then the Evangelicals, attempting to correct or balance it. But even some of them, like Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life, Purpose Drive Church) have gone looking for an ambulance at the bottom instead of a fence at the top of the cliff in the late 20th century, abandoning the clear meaning of salvation for a less confining social gospel.

Feminists don't like the "oppressive patriarchal language" of the God-head, so in Protestant gatherings (conservatives stay home) we get nonsense like this from Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori saying Jesus isn't the only way to heaven because, she believes it would "put God in an awfully small box," and that "human beings come to relationship with God largely through their experience of holiness in other human beings." The Presbyterian Church USA’s 2006 General Assembly approved a document, "The Trinity: God’s Love Overflowing," which offered words for the Trinity such as "Compassionate Mother, Beloved Child and Life-giving Womb." The document only specifies the use of God-—Father, Son and
Holy Spirit—-in the baptismal formula, but I'm sure that will be tossed too within the decade. I've been hearing this bastardization of Scripture at Lakeside from the summer Methodist programs for years, praying to Mother-Father God and Sophia, the Spirit of Wisdom--so much so I don't even attend their gatherings in the auditorium on Sundays anymore. It's not worth the spike in my blood pressure (which is usually 118/65).

When liberation theology knocked on the door of the seminaries in the 1950s and 1960s asking for a hand-out from the plate of humanism and the cup of social gospel, it soon ate their lunch. In my Lutheran denomination, ELCA (headquarters in Chicago), they can beat up the English language surpassing even Bill Clinton in not being able to determine "what the meaning of IS is." They have repackaged Galatians and Genesis both, redefining the Law and Gospel as well as marriage.

"One of the tasks of black theology, says [James] Cone, is to analyze the nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ in light of the experience of oppressed blacks. For Cone, no theology is Christian theology unless it arises from oppressed communities and interprets Jesus' work as that of liberation. Christian theology is understood in terms of systemic and structural relationships between two main groups: victims (the oppressed) and victimizers (oppressors). In Cone's context, writing in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the great event of Christ's liberation was freeing African Americans from the centuries-old tyranny of white racism and white oppression." The Marxist roots of Black Liberation Theology

Truly, Jeremiah Wright is a prophet in reverse--he's reminding us again and again, how far we have fallen in our seminaries and churches, and what it will take to climb out of the pit. I do not doubt his salvation, but I do question his friendship with Barack Obama, who can't help but be hurt by his eagerness to be in the spot light.

Monday, April 28, 2008

A perfect score

on geeky buzzwords at the Wired site.
    "Wired has a history of sniffing out trends and launching them into the mainstream. Take our vocab quiz to see how many you know: Match the meme on the left with its definition on the right."
I subscribed to Wired for years and years--but haven't seen it for awhile. It was a solid bargain--$10 for a year. I also have the premiere issue in my collection.

HT Bruce Gee

My plan isn't working

Snacks don't bother my husband. And he doesn't bother them. I can buy him a 3-stack box of Ritz Crackers and he will carefully eat maybe 5 of them a few times a week, carefully spread with peanut butter and no-sugar jelly. One box lasts and lasts. That is, unless I get the munchies. My weakness is salty, crunchy snacks, and since our trip to Ireland in September I've taken on a few pounds that just don't want to leave. So if I buy him snacks, I usually have him hide them. Except. If I purchase the individually wrapped crackers, then I tend to leave them alone.

But today I bought him an 8 pack of Lance Captain's Wafers, Grilled Cheese flavor. I had a late breakfast/lunch because I had a 10:30 doctor's appointment. So I was sort of grazing--recovering my strenth from being poked and hooked up to a machine wearing one of those barely there gowns and freezing to death. Hmmm. Comfort food. Wonder what a grilled cheese flavored cracker snack tastes like? So I opened one. My goodness, that was yummy! Who in the world spent hours in the food lab taste testing cheese flavors so it would taste just a bit like your mother's slightly charred grilled cheese on a cast iron skillet smeared with a little margarine or Crisco? Can I get that job?

Are they good for me? Not as bad as you might think, except for the fat and sodium. At least there's no cottonseed oil. Look at the ingredients.
    Enriched Wheat Flour (Containing Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil (Contains one or more of the following Vegetable Oils: Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Palm Oil, Soybean Oil), Dairy Whey, American and Cheddar Cheeses (Cultured Milk, Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Salt, Reduced Lactose Whey, Malt Syrup, Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Butter, Buttermilk Powder, Nonfat Dry Milk, Whey Protein Concentrate, Sodium Phosphate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Cream, Artificial colors (Contains FD&C Yellow #5 and FD&C Yellow #6), Lactic Acid, Peanuts. CONTAINS: WHEAT, MILK, SOY, PEANUTS. 200 calories, 90 from fat. But it does have calcium and iron and 4g of protein.
Lip smacking, snacking good! And I do feel so loved--nothing like something from the kitchen.

Would you be confused?

Me neither.
    "Virginia-based Smithfield Foods is being sued by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for allegedly infringing the foundation’s “Race for the Cure” trademark, the Washington Post reports. The lawsuit came after the company filed a trademark application for “Deli of the Cure,” which it plans to feature on packaging to emphasize its corporate donations for breast cancer research. The foundation argues the slogan will confuse consumers."Seen at Capital Research Center Foundation Watch
Which consumers are confused? Consumers of deli products, or consumers of advertising for races? The national organization of all the races, marathons and walkathons take a huge cut of the proceeds for letting the locals use their name, advertising flyers, etc.

Frankly, save me from the colors pink and green. Curing breast cancer is about more than being aware or getting a mammogram; and saving the planet is more about respect for God's creation than thinking you're a big green deal with screwy light bulbs and crossover or hybrid cars. I'm all for businesses being "responsible," but there's way too much coziness between drug companies, food companies, clothing designers, etc. and these various causes, whether it's cancer, diabetes or MS. The Komen Foundation not only takes a cut from the local races, but gets money from huge corporate sponsors and its investments. It has bragging rights on something like raising $1 Billion--and that's great if it all went for research, but it doesn't. It goes to administer the foundation, to sponser races, and to raise awareness. A neoplasm found early doesn't mean it won't kill 10 or 15 years down the road--you just know about it sooner. Besides, it's been in business for 25 years. Is $1 billion that great? And if someone else makes a sandwich and says "it's for the cure," how are they hurt? Unless of course, Smithfield wasn't funneling their contribution through Komen.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Yearning for a Spudnut

If there's something from the 1950s that causes the heart to pitter a pat more than a 55 Chevy, it's got to be a Spudnut--a yeast do-nut made with potato flour. I've blogged about them several times here, here and here, and George Young sent me some additional information he found in the South Arkansas Historical Journal, VOL 5,FALL 2005 (Published by the South Arkansas Historical Society) "SpudNuts: A South Arkansas Breakfast Legend" By Joan Hershberger. The store (in 2004) was still open under original management and had quite a history since the 1940s in El Dorado, AR, with the manager being trained in the mysteries of the SpudNut by the Pelton Brothers, who invented them.
    "The shop’s continued success and recognition as a locally owned family business originates in part from the loyalty of the shop’s first, and only manager, Bud McCann, according to Nancy Varnell, second generation co-owner of the shop. Varnell’s mother, Daisy Stringfellow, original owner of the local shop, discovered Spudnuts during a trip to visit relatives in Salem, Ore. En route, she stopped and ate at one of the original Spudnut Shops in Salt Lake City, Utah, and was impressed with the taste and the fact that Spudnuts were sold door-to-door in the city every morning."

    "Currently, there are only 37 Spudnut Stores in existence. All exist because they maintained their own original recipes – owners can no longer buy from the Pelton Brothers. The Peltons dissolved their corporation and the Spudnut Franchise was sold at their retirement to a company which proved unable to reliably provide the mix and supplies. It is impossible to purchase a Spudnut Franchise.

    At one time, Varnell knew of Spudnut Shops in Texarkana, Pine Bluff, Magnolia and Bastrop, Louisiana. Only the Magnolia and El Dorado shops remain in business in this area."
George sent a link to some additional information on how to find a SpudNut with some addresses

Lice and locusts, but no butterflies

In the mornings I'm inside our church at Mill Run and see the paraments and banners depicting butterflies. They appear after Easter and probably are taken down after Pentecost. Although I know they are used as symbols of renewal and rebirth, they are not a biblical image. Butterflies as a spiritual symbol predate Christianity, and I don't recall seeing them used much until the 1960s and 1970s. (Although I really wasn't paying much attention.) The most frequently named bugs from the Bible are: Locust: 24, Moth: 11, Grasshopper: 10, Scorpion: 10, Caterpillar: 9, and Bee: 4. Lots of animals in the Bible. Eagles soaring; Lambs sacrificed; Fish caught; Goats separated; Bees swarming; Storks migrating; Lions killing; Deer leaping; Horses of war, famine, pestilence and wild beasts racing; Hens gathering a brood, yes. But no butterflies in the Bible that I can find.

Butterflies have a life cycle that involves a complete metamorphosis; locusts have what is called an incomplete metamorphosis--they just keep moulting and changing until they are mature. When Jesus comes back and the dead rise and we all get our new bodies--maybe then the butterfly will be a good symbol because there will be a complete metamorphosis--but until then, I think a locust might be a better symbol. They keep very busy during all their changes to the next level and really reproduce their numbers.

And I really don't expect to see one daintily embroidered into satin for a parament.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lake Wenatchee Washington

This must be about the prettiest state park in Washington--and we've never been there but I think I'll add it to the list of places I'd like to see. Bonita, a blogger who takes wonderful photographs of food, family and fun things to do, gave permission to use her photo as a reference for my husband's painting. He started it yesterday and finished around noon today. I think it turned out pretty good.

Caring for Aunt Ann

Michelle and I have known each other for several years, but during Advent we were both on the same communion team and chatted a bit while waiting for others to arrive. She told me about her aunt, and the frustration she was experiencing with nursing home staff. I asked her if she'd like to be my guest blogger, and she agreed. In the few months since we talked, her aunt died.
    My aunt died January 4 after her last urinary tract infection led to the kidney failure, to hospital treatment, to hospice and three weeks waiting for her wish to be fulfilled - to join her family in heaven.

    For the past five years, I had to be a strong advocate for her, fighting for what I consider good treatment. You need to understand, Ann was in a "good" nursing home. But she and many other patients who could not get about by themselves, were wheeled to their rooms and left there without an attempt to give them their push cords to call for assistance. Staff or volunteers would wheel a cart by and put ice and water in their pitchers. That was good, but many couldn't lift the pitcher after it was filled. I never saw anyone put any water in a cup that the resident could take by himself/herself. I asked several to do it and, while they didn't say, "That's not my job," I never saw them do it in other rooms where they were filling pitchers. Often the pitchers were on the tables and way out of reach of the residents. (Lack of water increases potential for urinary tract infections and kidney failure with change in mental status.)

    When busy, staff would put Ann on the toilet where she could sit for more than a half hour at times. Ann would sit there scratching previously inaccessible areas but the staff would haul them off the toilet, wipe their bottoms, restore them to their wheelchairs and bring back out into the room. I would protest that Ann's hands needed washed, and they said "We wiped her." I explained about her scratching and showed them her fingernails and the dead skin, etc., under them. Staff would wheel her back in bathroom and help her wash. That gradually became wheeling her to the sink and leaving her there to care for someone else -- but Ann couldn't reach the faucet or handles from her wheelchair.

    I discovered that oral care (tooth brushing) was asking "Do you want to brush your teeth?" (not asked nightly) at the end of the day. So longing for their beds, the elderly would say "no." Weeks would go by that no toothbrush would be used. I tested once by bringing in my own toothbrush to use on Ann and winding a couple of Ann's hairs in the tooth brush. After two weeks unchanged, I reported it to the director and head nurse.

    I went on rampage after rampage in the winter when the heat was up and I would walk through the halls, stopping in various rooms where I had made friends and offering water. No one refused and no one drank less than 6 ounces of water. Most drank at least 12 ounces. When I told the facility I had offered to find a new place for Ann to live but she told me "No, I have friends here. And the other place will be the same or worse" - it got the director out of her office daily to walk the halls and survey who didn't have their call cords in their hands, offering water to patients, checking to see if water was available for those who couldn't pour. She did this for nearly two months during the heating season -- and guess what?? People were healthier when appropriately hydrated, were less listless and more interactive per my observations However, when the director stopped her daily walks, things went back to the way they were before.

    Ann had numerous urinary tract infections (UTI) over the years, sometimes two or three in a row before they were conquered. She also contracted an MRSA (methacillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infection and had to be moved from her nursing home to a sister facility to share a room with someone else with MRSA. This is highly contagious and challenging to treat. However, with any infection and the elderly, using a new, powerful antibiotic is very hard on their systems, often resulting in yeast infections, stomach irritation and other side effects.

    Keep watch and an open ear to your loved one's condition -- seek to discover if they are feeling unwell while under antibiotic treatment. Good aides will notify the nurses. Good nurses will respond quickly to the aides comments about a change in condition (stomach upset, not wanting to eat, yeast discoloration, redness in genital area). Sorry to say, not all aides and nurses respond appropriately or quickly. If you are able and the resident is willing, ask to see the condition yourself.

    During those years, as I struggled to get attention for many of the nursing home residents and did some of the things they needed done on my own. I had a phone conversation with a doctor who cared for Ann there. He told me that my expectations for what the aides could provide in care was "unrealistic." (i.e., forget keeping their teeth clean, forget them getting body lotion immediately after a shower, offering water when they entered her room to serve her). He explained that during an eight hour shift, with the number of patients an aide had, the charting, showering, serving food, assisting in needs, it was his thought that I could not expect any more than 30 minutes of care per shift by an aide for my loved one. If I were lucky, or her need was more severe than other patients, perhaps 45 minutes. I was stunned into silence with that. But I did tell him, I would not be able to accept that what he was proposing was an acceptable level of care for any of the patients. And, you can probably guess that cantankerous and challenging patients that don't offer warm fuzzies with staff have a slightly decreased opportunity for his/her "number of minutes."

    Knowing the suffering that Ann had endured over 5-6 years (Ann still had her mental capacity to protect herself and demand certain care, but also hesitated to do too much in fear of making staff angry with her. Those with dementia may not always be able to seek appropriate care.

    While Ann wanted to "go home to the Lord" for some 10 years before her death, Ann was so amazingly happy to "be back home" after a hospital stay, it shocked me. She rejoiced in our visits, but did acknowledge that the times in between weren't so great for her, but I would watch her interact with staff, and the staff and Ann would each tell me their versions of stories when they shared fun and happiness together. I saw that interaction as being moments of quality that she appreciated. I found this contrasting with the desire to be done with her life on earth and sometimes challenging to reconcile.

    Hospice nurses have told me that pneumonia can be a gentle opportunity to escape from life. So, there is an option that can be written and added to health directives:
      1) that a patient who is debilitated can ask not to be treated for pneumonia.
      2) That should breathing difficulties and pneumonia symptoms appear, patient and family can request NO transfer to the hospital for treatment and implement hospice treatment (care centers or specialty hospice groups can provide that.)
      3) It is my understanding that the pneumonia process gradually lessens the patient's responsiveness and she succumbs to death reasonably easily.
      4) This peaceful death is with pain medication appropriate for condition.
      5) Ann might have been granted release from nursing home a few years earlier had she and I implemented this plan together. It's not an easy choice, but one that deserves conversation.
Thank you, Michelle--this is better than I could have hoped for, and I'm so thankful that Ann had a loving, Christian niece to help her through difficult times. In part 2, Michelle will share her experience with a 90 year old neighbor who needed emergency care.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Death on a Spring night

We've been having beautiful weather--we've been eating dinner on the deck, watching the birds and bees, enjoying the breezes wafting through the open windows in the evenings. Last night shortly after dark we began to hear sirens and then the helicopter going around and around our area. We decided there must have been an accident and maybe the helicopter was going to life-flight someone to the near-by hospital. Then it stopped. On the 10 o'clock news and again at 11 we learned that two young men had stolen a Mustang, had led the police from the west side, around the free-ways and into Arlington going about 70 mph on the city streets, and crashed about 1/2 mile from our home. The police closed the intersection. About 11 p.m. when we were in bed our phone rang. Our daughter had seen the report too, recognized the address, and then panicked when they said the fleeing thieves had hit an elderly couple in a gray van which is what had spun them out of control and into the pole. The couple walked to the ambulance; the 2 men were dead at the scene, the car barely recognizable.

Update: According to the Columbus Dispatch, April 26, the men were identified as Brian R. Faler, 33, and James E. Bush, 43, of Canal Winchester. Both men had spent much of the past 10 years in prison for some very serious crimes, and were subjects of arrest warrants.

Volcanoes, climate change and politics

A child born in Europe in 765 AD would have lived to the ripe old age of 55 without experiencing a single severe winter to threaten his food supply and economic system. A child born in 763 might not have made it through the first winter. A child born in 820 AD would have five such crisis winters to live through. Volcanoes which brought on rapid climate change which brought on famines and eventually the "little ice age" are the topic of this interesting study in a recent issue of Speculum, the journal of the Medieval Academy, "Volcanoes and the Climate Forcing of Carolingian Europe, A.D. 750-950," By Michael McCormick, Paul Edward Dutton and Paul A. Mayewski.

So what happens when there is a lot of volcanic activity, as there was after a lull in the first 500 years of the Christian era?
    Microscopic particles, if lifted into the stratosphere as an aerosol—solid or liquid particles suspended in a gas, in this case, the atmosphere (e.g., a cloud)—may diminish the global temperature by blocking solar radiation. This in turn will work various and complex effects on atmospheric and oceanic circulation. Furthermore, volcanic aerosols increase nucleation sites for water. The resultant cloud condensation nuclei can produce precipitation. Volcanic emissions are typically rich in sulfur dioxide (SO2), which is converted to sulfuric acid (H2SO4). In addition to reflecting solar radiation back into space and thereby cooling the earth, the aerosols also fall to the earth. The resultant sulfate (SO4) particles are preserved in the millennial record of atmospheric deposits—snow—in the great Greenland glaciers, and, through mass spectroscopy, the particles can be measured in parts per billion (ppb) in the annual layers of ice.
The authors suggest that Charlemagne may have been more lucky than smart, and his son just got dealt a bad hand by the weather. "His act of public penance would have little effect on the volcanic aerosol that produced yet another terrible winter, famine, and disruption but a year later." Obviously, politics and weather went hand and glove even 1300 years ago--Kyoto and the UN fiddling isn't new.

The thought occurred to me that maybe God was at work getting the church established by quieting down the volcanoes in the early years of the church; and now natural and atmospheric events have been loosed--but former and current presidents want to believe otherwise.

What to wear in Italy

Cannes, the site of the film festival, isn't in Italy, but it's close enough. I saw an article on what to wear in Cannes (for the festival and site seeing), so I thought it would be a good hanger for my travel wardrobe in early summer when we visit Italy.
      designer jeans
      colorful tight top or
      wrapped dress in bold print
      trimmings of diamonds, flashy handbag and expensive sun glasses

      bleached teeth
      designer gown
      a tan

      good flats or expensive sandals (absolutely no athletic shoes)
      you can also use the sunglasses, jeans, tight shirt and white teeth

      tight jeans
      fitted white shirt or
      rocker t-shirt
      expensive shoes
      gold Rolex


I'm not sure my on-sale Talbot's jeans with sparkles and flowers qualify; even so, I do hate to see women "dressed up" in jeans--especially tight jeans. Ladies, I think the gay designers are after our men, because most of us just don't look that terrific after age 16 in tight jeans. Muffin tops, saddle bags, cellulite, sausage links--you know the routine. What we look like in that 3-way mirror in the store is exactly what someone walking behind our behinds sees.

So here's my plan--black, white and taupe, with a little color thrown in for evening. I now have two new pair of black sandals, and one pair of black walking shoes--tie oxfords. I agree with the writer--athletic shoes for strolling around ancient ruins and art museums look a bit tacky. But so do tight jeans on plump or saggy Americans.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's the Greenies

Just in time for Earth Day 2008, in a very short period of time, the Greens have returned the world to the brink of starvation for millions, from which it had been rescued (not very effectively) in the 1970s through better agricultural methods and massive government aid from Europe and North America.
    It wasn't over population.
    It wasn't drought.
    It wasn't lack of infrastructure.
    It wasn't civil war.
    It wasn't terrorism.
    It wasn't landfills overflowing with garbage.
    It wasn't bankers conspiring to steal land.
    It wasn't melting glaciers flooding the cities, with polar bears washing up on the beach.
    It wasn't loss of the rainforest or lack of fairly traded coffee and tea.
    It wasn't native crops disappearing under pressure from hybrids and pesticides.
    It wasn't species disappearing from overuse by humans.
None of those things we were warned about for 35 years brought on today's global food crisis. The people who were going to save the earth for their children and grandchildren, are driving people to starvation and rioting. How?
    By denying to the world new sources of coal, gas and oil;
    by refusing permits for new refineries;
    by caring more about snails and rats than people.
    by hyping a problem (warming temperatures) and
    saying people could control it through laws and regulations;
    by giving tax breaks to companies who produce biofuels;
    by encouraging farmers to convert acreage that used to grow wheat and soybeans to corn and other crops to burn as fuel;
    by driving out entreprenuers and venture capital through punitive taxes and regulation.
Now we have "rice riots," and no one seemed to see it coming--but they can predict global temperatures a hundred years from now. It's supply and demand. When people can't get other grains and legumes, they buy up the rice. Then the richer people hoard it to make money.

Thank you, environmentalist greenies. You are sure saving the world.

Your dog or your wife

We have a cat. When we've been gone for awhile, she will roll on the floor and show her tummy, spreading cat hair everywhere, and then later climb daintly in my lap and wipe her wet nose (it runs when she's emotional) all over my hands. If we had a dog, say a chocolate lab or a fawn Chihuahua, she would jump on me, knock me down, and lick my face.

This morning on my morning walk I passed a neighbor's place being remodeled. Extensively. Workers' trucks, vans, cars and trash bins everywhere. When a young carpenter jumped out of his Volvo and opened the trunk, I stopped and told him this joke. "If you put your dog and your wife in the trunk of your car for three hours, when you open it, your dog will be happy to see you, your wife won't." He didn't crack a smile, just said, "That's a funny joke." Maybe he's tried that.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What's in that soap?

My daughter was watching NBC Dateline on toxic chemicals in common ingredients and asked me to print off the list--never could find the list, but I decided to look at my own common, people products. She was particularly concerned about "moisturizers," products that keep your skin and hair soft, and I'm guessing she uses more of these products than I do (even though she's always been much prettier, even without help). Usually these are scare stories and I'm betting a lab rat would die if you washed him too many brownies and milk, too. So I'm just picking a few things one thing up at random:
    Meijer moisturizing liquid soap, Milk & Honey. The label says, "contains light moisturizers to help leave your hands soft . . . great for the entire family. Warnings: For external use only; avoid eyes; keep out of reach of children [scratch that "family" part, I guess]
      sodium laureth sulfate
      sodium chloride
      sodium lauryl sulfate
      cocamidopropyl betaine
      glycol stearate
      cocamide mea
      DMDM Hydantoin
      tetrasodium EDTA
      citric acid
      Aloe Barbadensis gel
      MEL (honey) lactose
      milk protein
      silk peptide
      hydrolized silk protein
      D&C yellow no. 10
      FD&C red no. 40
You don't need to go to a health web site, you can go directly to a toxic substance list by the government, but one that's broken down by cosmetic ingredients is useful. So here's the first chemical ingredient, sodium laureth sulfate
    Used in car washes, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers - and in 90% of products that foam. [That sounds a bit harsh for a foaming ingredient that is widely used in cosmetics also. Do you suppose they've left something out or misled you?]

    Animals exposed to SLS and ALS experience eye damage, central nervous system depression, laboured breathing, diarrhoea, severe skin irritation, and even death. ["Exposed." Does that mean full strenth into the eyes, not mixed in tiny amounts with other ingredients, then mixed with water when it's on your skin for a few seconds?]

    Young eyes may not develop properly if exposed to SLS and ALS because proteins are dissolved. SLS and ALS may also damage the skin's immune system by causing layers to separate and inflame. It is frequently disguised in semi-natural cosmetics with the explanation "comes from coconut".[So, does it come from coconut or not? What's with the scare quotation marks. How young is young, and whose eyes? How much is on the skin to cause it to separate and inflame?]
Hmm. Doesn't sound too good--or it's an anti-industry site. Let's look for another site.

Keeping in mind that hardly any group--retired bloggers, housewives, mothers or health care staff--is washing their hands often enough or even getting close to guidelines.. Alcohol rub is probably the best for disinfecting--you need about 2-3 minutes of sudsing and scrubbing with a non-medicated soap to remove even some of the microflora on your hands, and if you didn't have these various agents in your soap, you'd probably have very raw knuckles very quickly, and develop an infection from that. (BTW, doctors are less careful than nurses, did you know that?)

So then I checked for this ingredient, but it is only looking at a circulating e-mail on SLS and cancer, not the NBC story. He says it is a foaming agent in shampoos, soaps, toothpastes and cleaning agents, provides links to various sites, FDA, OSHA, NTP and IARC, and says they all say it is non-carcinogenic. I try those sites and either find articles so technical that I can't read them, or I find "no results."

Here's what I found on sodium laureth sulfate at an Australian government site about dermal irritation--nothing close to these quantities appears in soap, shampoo or moisturizer products, and multiple applications were needed to induce an irritation. Huge quantities taken orally did kill lab rats, but generally we don't drink our shampoo and liquid soap.
    "Sodium laureth sulfate: A large number of studies were performed with a variety of concentrations under occlusive patch for 24 – 48 hours. Applications produced no irritation at 5 – 5.6%, mild erythema and oedema at 6 – 10%, 17.5% and 26%. Severe irritation occurred at 15, 25, 28 and 30%. Severe irritation was produced in 3 applications of a 15% solution on consecutive days but similar studies with 17.5% produced only mild irritation. Single applications of 26 and 28% produced mild and moderate irritation, respectively, and an application of 58% produced no irritation. Three studies using 30% applications for 3 days produced severe irritation. Effects on the skin and hair cycles were investigated by application of the chemical daily for 65 days. A 60% concentration caused inflammatory changes, epidermal hyperplasia, epidermoid cyst formation and diffuse hair loss. A 30% concentration caused similar but less severe changes and 9% caused no changes.
Keep in mind that the reason cancer is at the top of the death list today is that we are an aging population, and if you live long enough, you'll get it. But also, through various medical advancements and miracles, the reasons people died young 100 years ago, have been eliminated. The big killer of babies and children in 3rd world countries is diarrhea--bad water. Another killer of children in those countries is malaria (with the help of environmentalists who got DDT removed). We don't have those diseases in the U.S. We are killing ourselves young with behavior related health problems--lack of exercise, too many calories, sexual promiscuity, and nicotine.

I think we probably have a lot of SLS and SLES on our skin because it's in so many products, but we're not going get rashes, die or develop cancer--unless maybe it's part of our diet, or we smoke it, or use it during sex, or stay inside and wash our hair rather than going outside to walk.

Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Ammonium Laureth Sulfate. J Am Coll Toxicol. 2: 1 – 34 (1983).
Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate. J Am Coll Toxicol. 2: 127 – 181 (1983).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Digging for the pony

In a former life when I was a Democrat I wrote a few speeches for a member of the governor's cabinet. I know how to write jargon and doublespeak and how to read it. I am making it through the draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality (ELCA, March 2008) line by line because I'm supposed to speak on it to a group tomorrow. I'm very conscious these days both of the word TRUTH and the biblical concept of TRUTH because of our current small group Bible study. In this draft statement, the word TRUTH appears only once, in a Bible quote (John 1:14).

The word TRUST, however, or a version of it (TRUSTWORTHY, or TRUSTING, or ENTRUSTING) appears 138 times! The phrases "husband and wife" and "mother and father" do not appear at all--just references to family and parents (which these days could be any mix and match, and in this context is a collection of negative images of violence, abuse and economic deprivation). There is ONE reference to a family headed by a married man and woman as we would recognize the term on line 673 "legally married, heterosexual 'nuclear family'." On line 641 the writers say that Scripture places family as secondary to the community! (It takes a village. . .?) Maybe 9 of the 19 uses of the word gender were to "same-gendered" or "gendered." I had never heard or seen the word "gendered" before, implying it is a past participle of an active verb--and "same gender" would have the same meaning--unless of course, the implication is that this is something done to the couple by someone--someone like God perhaps?

Examples from the first page only--as there are just too many to list
    Line 13-15: “This social statement addresses the question: What does it mean for us as sexual creatures to love our neighbors as ourselves and thus fulfill God’s law of love in this time and society?”

    Dogs and cats, horses and zebras are also sexual creatures. God’s law is for men and women, for human beings, one aspect of which is sexuality. Humans who have lost sexual function from injury, birth defect, illness, age, or immaturity are still men and women with other defining qualities and worth and can still fulfill God’s law of love, because that love is revealed most perfectly in the cross of Jesus, where he died for all sin, including misusing our sexuality, and in his resurrection in which we share as Christians.

    Line 21-22: “The past six or seven decades have seen immense changes in every aspect of human life, including human sexuality.”

    Although we think we sense more changes, they are no greater now than our parents, grandparents, St. Paul, or Moses experienced. My grandmother was born in 1896 and died in 1983--she experienced a tsunami of change just in communication, travel and health care with the advent of telephone, radio, television, print media, the automobile, air travel, vaccines, modern drugs, health insurance, and nursing homes. For a woman who had all nine of her babies (all healthy who grew to old age) at home and rode a draft horse to church when they were little, I’d say that’s much more mind bending change and societal chaos than I’ll ever see or experience.
This ELCA draft does violence to our English language--verbal abuse, noun abuse, adverb abuse and adjective abuse, to say nothing of abusing our Christian faith. It is Scripture twisting and gymnastics! This draft criticizes "Lutheran historical teachings concerning homosexuality" with no footnotes (Book of Concord? Luther? Lutheran Brethren? Missouri-Synod Lutheran? Wisconsin Synod? the old ALC?). It does not analyze or reference any teaching, research or biblical criticism by known Christian homosexuals, theologians or Lutheran pastors who promote ordination and marriage for gays. It does find space to comment on and condemn children's clothing, playground bullying, consumerism, date rape, dangers of the internet, early sex education, grandparents raising grandchildren and inappropriate touching of female pastors. If you throw in the kitchen sink maybe no one will notice there is no Biblical foundation?

I didn't find anything in this document about ordination of openly gay or closeted gay Lutheran pastors--which was in the original charge in 2001, as was gay marriage blessed by the church--also not specifically addressed in this document. It's possible it is in there--as the saying goes, if you keep shoveling the **** there's bound to be a pony in there somewhere. We know and love such a man--and his synod hasn't let him go after he left his marriage. It's apparently a local choice not addressed in this document.
    "This church encourages all people to live out their faith in the community of the baptized. Following previous decisions of this church, we call on congregations to welcome, care for and support same-gender-oriented people and their families, and to advocate for their legal protection."
What this document doesn’t say, refuses to say, is that marriage is an exclusive lifelong pledge of fidelity between a man and a woman sealed in physical intercourse. In Genesis 2:24, Moses says, “a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to his wife, and they become one body,” and Christ in Matt. 19:6 added, “So then what God has united, man must not divide.” (Baker's Dictionary of Christian Ethics) It follows that Christ is talking about the marriage of a man and a woman, and he is commanding people of whatever culture and society in whatever century, that they are not to destroy marriage or pretend they have it harder than any previous era.

Marriage is not a human invention. God planned it from the beginning. He created a woman from a man's side and put them together in a perfect environment. God sent Jesus for our redemption to be born into a family of a man and woman. Since this was done in a miraculous way, he could have just as easily dropped him in the cabbage patch, but he didn't. The Bible uses marriage imagery to describe Yahweh's relationship with Israel, and Christ's relationship with the church, and when gay activists in the church enlist pastors, theologians, and sociologists to twist that to mean something else, it is blasphemy.

I don't know what our congregation (UALC) is waiting for--it took this sexuality task force seven years to write a mish-mash and hodge podge and submit it to the people of God as a serious work. Every paragraph looks like the sentences were drawn from a hat of former reports and pasted to a page. It is an insult to our common sense and a travesty of our faith. It's time to go. It really is. These people will not back down; they'll just wear us out.

Fashion challenged career women

The USAToday Snapshot chart today showed that 55% of women say making it past the glass ceiling is less difficult today and 15% say there is no limitation at all--this based on research by Adecco. Women would have an easier climb to the ceiling and above (if they want the hassle) if they'd make an effort to look like they are serious about the job and not a date after work, or rushing back to the day care to pick up the kids.

It's a sad, sad time when a retired librarian sitting in the coffee shop in $8 jeans (new), a 4 year old white camp shirt (nice detailing and stitching), and black chunky heels looks more serious about earning a living than the gorgeous 20-something I saw ordering coffee and a bagel this morning. I've seen her before, and she is stunning--but usually she has on more clothes. Today she had on above-the-knee, khaki shorts (we used to called them bermudas), a patterned, sleeveless tank top, and 3" cork wedgies with white straps up above the ankles. I know she was going to work because her ID badge was clipped to her belt. Her shoulder length hair and fresh-look make-up was perfect. So, was it a photo shoot for a picnic? Does she work at COSI taking children through the exhibits? Or does she work in an office and has her eye on a guy in management?

Ladies: A man in khaki slacks from Kohl's, loafers and a pressed sport shirt looks more serious about work than a woman in a $500 pants suit with a bit of cleavage peeking above the $150 jewel-toned blouse, teetering on pointy power heels. With all the help and assistance from the government, non-profits, leadership workshops and academic programs in assertiveness, women should have swamped the top echelons 15 years ago--but they insist on looking like they've come to play, or find a husband not to work.

Update: Today she had on my yesterday outfit--dark jeans and a fitted white blouse. Of course, her athletic shoes were aquamarine with glow-pink heels.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Memories--Rose Parade Covered Casserole

Last night I made swiss steak in my pretty blue covered casserole. The pattern is Rose Parade and it was made by Hall China of East Liverpool, Ohio.

Twenty years ago we bought a cottage in Lakeside, Ohio, which I've written about many times. When we were gathering up things to set up our household (much of the furniture came with the cottage, but the kitchen wasn't furnished), my good friend AZ was revamping her kitchen in Columbus, and had decided to give her 30 year old dishes to a church group. I looked at them--a box of 10 or 12 place settings of the blue and white Currier and Ives pattern that had been premiums at the A & P (as I recall), and asked if I could have them for our cottage, which was going to have the colors pink and blue. In the box I also found pink melamine dishes and platters, and a lovely blue covered casserole. I still have all of them, but the casserole I eventually brought back to Columbus because it is so nice and cooks with an even heat and is easy to clean. I rarely fix casseroles at the lake, and for years have enjoyed it more here.

I checked several antique dish sites on the internet and this casserole is going between $65 and $80. But it's too nice to give up--unless she would want it back.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lining up behind the gay marriage advocates

Take a good look at the polygamists you're seeing on TV and in the newspapers--the attractive, modest women, the adorable children, and the clean cut young men. They are waiting in line behind the gay activists for their opportunity to legalize their way of life. As I work my way through the Lutheran Draft social statement on human sexuality, there's hardly a line in it that couldn't be used on behalf of the FLDS culture--or man-boy love, or marrying your sister, for that matter.

Then take a second close look at the culture or sub-culture you consider normal, that you accept without thinking. You'll find a culture that over values and sexualizes very young girls, and encourages pregnancies (with free access to abortion, of course); listen to the hip-hop and rap music if you want abuse of young women; look at the clothing gay designers drape over stick thin teen models; listen to Dr. Phil or Maury Povich talking to proud, strutting baby-daddies; watch a reality TV show about girls gone wild; walk through any high school and see the young girls with eating disorders trying to look like waifs and 12 year olds; count the teens on welfare rolls--the children who will be raised with government assistance and school lunch programs by moms who got pregnant at 14 or 15 and didn't finish school; check out some movies and see how entertainment moguls, bigger slime than you see in that FLDS compound, discourage and disparage marriage--the only hope children have for a better life; then look up the senator or representative you elected and ask what s/he is doing to stop marginalizing poor women with handouts and another program to make the electorate feel less guilty.

Then go take another look at the polygamist colony run by men for men and ask yourself if what we're offering these young women is that much better.

Fortune 100 Foundations Lean far to the Left

From article summary: "Although many believe selfinterested corporations lavish funds on politically conservative groups, it just isn’t true. A painstaking analysis of tax returns for Fortune 100 foundations reveals the nonprofits overwhelmingly favor groups that push for bigger government and tougher regulations." Of the 53 nonprofits of the top 100 which donated or funded political causes or candidates, the ratio was 14.5:1--$59 million for the left, and $4 million for the right. Read the story here

If this defies common wisdom (not to mention common sense), there must be a reason. As in most things--you only need to follow the money. Or follow the banker or CEO into the halls of the Senate. They give to left leaning, pro-big-government politicians because the regulation or influence will hurt their competition. Why would big oil or big automaker or big lumber be funding and supporting environmental issues that on the surface would seem to be anti-business-as-usual. Well, obviously, it's the small guy with fewer resources and smaller R & D budget who will be hurt, not the mega-behemoths of industry.

La Raza, for instance, which wants the Southwest returned to Mexico in fact if not in treaty or out and out war, is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the wealthy foundations of the top Fortune 100 companies. Now why do you suppose big business has a stake in keeping wages down through illegal immigration? Hmmmm. Banks also are heavily investing in Hispanic causes, which tend to be sympathetic to amnesty and illegals. James Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, has made political contributions to high-profile Democratic lawmakers and candidates, including New York Senator Hillary Clinton and Illinois Senator Barack Obama, and extremely small amounts to a few Republicans (I'm betting they are RINOs). The JPMorgan Chase foundation gave 2.6% of its giving dollar to political causes, all of which were on the left.

So the next time you read or hear a whiny liberal or progressive legislator, journalist, academic or bloggers moaning about the conservatives being so rich, look for those crossed fingers behind their back or keyboard--just 'taint so.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


There's an old country song that goes something like, I've forgotten more about him than you'll ever know. At my age, forgetting (the past) and forgetfulness (in the present) are problems. The memory tapes are full, and to my knowledge there's no way to jettison the old stuff to make room for the new, and in order to even keep the past, you do need to occasionally revisit it. This morning I was reading something dated November 17. "That's Patrick's birthday," popped into my mind. Then I began to doubt. No, it was November 14; or was it the 18th? Patrick died 44 years ago, but he was my baby--we had such a brief time together, and you'd think I'd never forget his birth date, but apparently I have. It wouldn't be hard to look it up, but messy files isn't my topic today; forgetting is.

The past is forgotten primarily by the passage of time, but happy times also start to replace the unhappy memories like a difficult pregnancy and loss of a child in order to build new memories. Both my adult children have November birthdays so I think Patrick's date would come and go and eventually, I paid no attention to it. Alcohol also destroys the memory, as does dementia--those aren't my problem.

Time doesn't always do it if you refurbish and polish the memory like prayer beads. Years ago we "fixed up" a widower we knew with a delightful, handsome divorcee whom I knew through work. I think she was in her late 50s or early 60s, and he was about 70. Both had been single many years and had grown children--I think his wife had died of cancer about 25 years earlier. During dinner I began to spot the problem--he wouldn't stop talking about his deceased wife. It was embarrassing. I talked to my co-worker the next day and she said it continued even when he took her home and she invited him in. He had allowed neither time nor happy memories to chip away at the painful memories of his wife's death. I also considered the possibility that he used this to assure he'd never need to follow up on a social contact!

Some of the happiest second and third marriages I've known are cases where the two bereaved spouses were friends before their loss--each knew the others joys, sorrows, illnesses, children--they had shared memories. I also know a few where this didn't work out at all--resulting in a quick divorce or annulment. Memories are wonderful props for living, but sometimes you need a brick or two replaced, or some new mortar, or maybe a whole foundation.

Librarians are bossy

The younger, 2.0 librarians are quite proud that they don't "shush," can wear trendy clothes and tattoos, and have Wii and e-books streaming out the wazoo in their libraries. But they are still just as bossy as my generation and the generation who were my supervisors and revisers (in the old days of the 1960s, everything you did was revised or inspected by someone above you in seniority and position). Here are some rules to participate in an electronic list by a group called Web4Lib. Note: each statement could stand alone and be perfectly understood, but in true librarian fashion each has to be expanded and explained, some with parentheses. (Librarians love parentheses.) A version of these rules appear everywhere that people are sharing information on the web, but I'm betting that a librarian is somewhere way back in the family tree of every listserv and Usenet BB. Don't let those IT or OT folks pull your leg. They are really librarian wannabees who had better math grades. In fact, I think Moses was the first librarian--at least he was good at making lists and organizing information.

Guidelines for Appropriate List Behavior

The following guidelines are offered as advice for how to best participate in this discussion in a manner that will both contribute to the experience of all readers and also reflect well on you.

Say something substantial. Simply saying "I agree" (in so many words) or "I disagree" (in so many words) does not meet this guideline. Specific technical questions are, however, quite appropriate, as are brief answers to such questions.

Say something new. Mere redundancy will not convince an opponent of their error. Explaining the same argument differently in an attempt to make them see the light has not been proven to be an effective strategy.

"Getting the last word" is for children. [Yikes--how condescending is that!] We're all beyond the age when we should be concerned with being the one to end the argument. Just because you are the last to speak doesn't mean you won the argument.

Agree to disagree. The likelihood of convincing someone to change a strongly held opinion is nil. State your case, but give up on the idea of converting the heathen.

Take "conversations" off the list. When list interaction becomes two-sided (two individuals trading comments or arguments) it is a sign that you should take the discussion off the list and correspond with that person directly. If the discussion was of interest to the general membership you will see others posting on the topic as well.

Remember that you are being judged by the quality of your contributions. No matter whether you are employed or not, or a certain age, or have a certain education, you can create a good professional reputation by how you contribute to a large electronic discussion like Web4Lib. On the other hand, you can ruin your reputation even faster and easier.

NEVER send email in anger. [Isn't that in the Bible? I know I've heard it at church.] Go ahead and compose a message in anger, since that may help you work through what you're angry about, but don't send it. Sleep on it. You will nearly always decide to not send it or to recompose it. There's a reason for that.

Be civil. Treat others how you wish to be treated. No matter how insulting someone is to you, you will always look better to the bystanders (of which there are many, I hasten to remind you) by responding politely.

Respect the rights of others. An electronic discussion is a commons. Your right to post ends at the right of others to not be insulted, badgered, or to have their time needlessly wasted.

Friday, April 18, 2008

There are worse things than modest women with long hair

Bonita's wonderful craft

I've been reading Bonita's blog for several years and have admired her artistic photographs and informative posts. She says she has an old camera and an old computer, but she certainly has an eye for beauty and composition and a knack for story telling, whether about her Baha'i faith, her family, or her wonderful mountain and lake sojourns in Washington. I especially enjoy her food entries--always artistic, photographed during preparation, explained and displayed for the final reveal with a lovely background, plate, napkin or plants. Hawaiian lasagna, dilly bread, Salmon slaw--oh, yummy. Do go for a visit--after dinner. Even her campfire recipes are incredible.

Can't imagine what it found

Either I mentioned I believed in God and the meter was running, or it caught Mr. Jake or Mr. Chuck on one of their rampages.

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou

Friday Follow-up

Here's a Friday Family Photo--taken about 2 weeks ago at our little family gathering to celebrate my husband's birthday.

Taxes were due this week. In 1919, P.G. Wodehouse observed: "The only difference between the United States government and the ordinary practitioner in a black mask was that the latter occasionally left his victim carfare.

John of the Cross, after his ordination (in the 1500s), traveled nearly 18,000 miles all over Spain, mainly on foot.

"When millions of people are going hungry, it's a crime against humanity that food should be diverted to biofuels," said India's finance minister, quoted Monday in the Wall St. Journal. Not to be out done, the Turkish finance minister said, "The use of food for biofuels is appalling."

Richard at 3 score and 10 blogged about why it is important for men to learn to put the toilet seat down. At the coffee shop I see that women runners come in to use the restroom about 10 times more often than men (or maybe there are more of them at 7 a.m.) In the medical literature, this is called urodynamics.

The fourth reason to vote for Senator McCain is that he says (now) that he will keep the Bush tax cuts. Sen. Obama needs to go back to math or economics class. He says he will cut taxes for the middle class (earning less than $200,000), but his plan (according to WSJ today) will actually raise middle class taxes because 47% of all tax returns reporting capital gains were from households with income below $50,000 (that'd be us), and 79% came from households with incomes below $100,000. He wants to raise the capital gains tax even though it brings in less money because "it's fair." Not being a boomer, perhaps he hasn't noticed how many will need to be living off their investments.

"People of all colors and income levels don't hate the rich. They want to get rich." Jack Kemp, WSJ 4-17-08

Randi Rhodes is the foul-mouthed, ranting profane anti-Hillary talker on AirAmerica. She's 49. Give her a break. She's probably having hot flashes. Anyway, she was fired for her "comedy" routine on her own time. That doesn't seem fair, and I know liberals are all about fairness. Also, I think she was the only show on that sorry network that had listeners. Liberals love trash talking, especially from women. She probably thought she was safe since an Obama supporter, Charlie Kireker, bought controlling interest.

"Jesus is a liberal" and "Grandmothers for peace," are two bumper stickers I saw on a flashy convertible. Rich Democrat Anabaptist?

Joe Rosebrook, 33, is in the Logan County jail charged with conspiracy to commit murder. His father, also named Joe Rosebrook, is currently serving a sentence on the same charge. Little Joe has droopy eyes, long hair, and a scruffy face--Big Joe may look a bit better if the prison has standards.

Sunset Cemetery west of Columbus has a large grave stone in the shape of a loaf of bread. It memorializes the life of a man, called the Bread Man, who took food to the poor on his own dime and effort--not the USDA's (our tax money).

Today I'm having lunch at Spageddies Kitchen in Hilliard. I've browsed their menu, selected what I want to order, checked out the map, and read about the benefits they offer employees (really good!). I needed a log-in to read the annual report. I have also e-mailed the corporate office and suggested they give their web designer a raise, because it's beautiful, clear, easy to navigate and librarians could learn a lot from them.

Everyone afraid of temperatures who thinks global warming is to blame for too much cold or too much water needs to read Patrick Michaels' article in WSJ today. Did you know that one of the reasons we have an uptick in temperature, and it's very small, is because the IPCC revised the numbers from the 1950s and 1960s downward well after the fact? There's a lot more in it, like what's happening, or not happening in Greenland. You'll sleep better after reading it, but I don't think it will stop the stampede for government grants or investments of the rich folk in phony carbon credit schemes.

The new 2009 Dodge Journey crossover has half the cargo space as my 2002 Dodge minivan, will hold 2 fewer people, has a larger engine, gets poorer gas mileage and costs a few dollars more. I think I'll pass.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

By whose standard is this controversial?

My latest LAS News p. 24, Winter 2008 [University of Illinois] reports on the research of Richard Akresh about fostering children among Africans. It seems that poor African families often send a child to live with wealthier relatives who agree to feed, house and educate them in exchange for their labor. Akresh did surveys, accumulating 600 pounds of paper. Yes, he did find some abuse, but in 15 randomly selected villages 600 households were surveyed tracking 300 foster children. They found that the fostered children were better off than their biological siblings in education and health. So the system, developed through the wisdom of the people, did work. And yes, the children did work, and they weren't as well treated as the children of the host family, but I'm guessing even the better off relatives weren't wealthy.

Maybe it was the headline that irritated me: "The fostering dilemma: Controversial practice benefits some African children." It sounds to me that families were developing their own methods and giving their children the best possible opportunities. Checking the author's homepage, I see this is not his title.

This practice was common in the United States and Europe--there were informal child care arrangements, whether you call them fostering, adoption via orphan train, poor farms or child labor. There is still informal fostering arrangements in this country, particularly in black communities. The HBO movie Lackawana Blues starring S. Epatha Merkerson tells of a woman in the 50s and 60s who took in not only children, but other down and outers. A few years ago I was reading an old journal of my great great grandfather who was a farmer/ teamster/ doctor in Ohio before the Civil War. One of the entries in his log (in German and English) was about a niece taken into the family in exchange for her labor, and when she reached maturity, she would receive certain items of furniture and clothing. When I was doing research on 19th century serials, I found ads in religious magazines placed by mothers looking for families to take their children for awhile.

But considering some of the odd stories we hear today, I wonder who really has the more strange customs. I heard one this morning from an adoption attorney that just curled my toes. No servitude was involved, but the child AND the two sets of would be adoptive parents were treated callously and cruelly by the state agency which was holding them all hostage. Only families with a lot of wealth could have hired lawyers to work out the mess that social workers and state bureaucrats had created "in the best interests of the child."

The history of peace

"Writing the history of peaceful endeavor is much harder than writing the history of titans of war. . . The history of peace does not excite the emotions or does it cause the heart to pound. Even the most desk bound intellectuals can relish the account of the siege, which serves as a metaphor for their own lives under siege by personal traumas, social pressures, or technological changes." Paul A. Blaum, "From Steppe to Empire: the Turkmens in Iraq," International Journal of Kurdish Studies, v. 21, no. 1-2, 2007, p. 57

Some articles of this very interesting journal are on line through Access my Library, but not this one. It focuses on Kurds regardless of the country in which they live--Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Sweden, U.S. or other.

Is it too late to draft Al Gore?

He's not a Marxist, he's not a Socialist, he's a patriot, he's a Christian; he's just a bit tetched in the head from his own hot air, but I think I could live with that. When Obama finally admits what we all knew--that tax increase isn't about the revenue, it isn't about health care or the needy, it's about "fairness," (i.e., punishing the rich for success), the gloves are off, as are the bets. If Gore's home state would have supported him, or Bill Clinton hadn't sandbagged him in 2000, he probably would have been the one to take us into Afghanistan and Iraq, because all the Clinton years we heard about WMD, and the 9/11 still would have happened.

Is it too late? Please! I really don't like John McCain, although I've got 4 reasons now to vote for him. I think I could vote for old Algore as a place holder until the Republicans could field someone. As long as we have 3 Democrats to chose from, couldn't one of them be Al Gore?

The Hillobama speechifying

When this whole Democrat battle boiled down to two candidates, I thought Obama was the better speaker. After listening to countless sound bites, interviews, debates and off-the-cuff remarks from both, I have to say, Hillary is much better. Once you get Obama off the no-content message of hope and change, he has nothing else to say and he says even that badly. He's even worse on off-the-cuff remarks than John Edwards, who's really a stammerer with a southern accent. Obama's as clear as John Kerry, who's really murky.

Hillary might lie a lot, but at least she's articulate and believes her own lies.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

He's probably a Democrat

Les Moonves' salary in 2006 was $5.6 million, plus a bonus of $15 million for a total package of $28.6 million, according to the week-end WSJ. He got a 29% increase for 2007, for a package valued at $36.8 million. Guessing from what CBS offers us in entertainment, I'm betting he votes Democrat and is supporting Mrs. Clinton.

My 2007 pension was under $20,000, and I'm a Republican even though they also spend money like a drunken Kennedy. Still, I believe he should answer to the stockholders and not liberals who want to put a cap on the compensation of CEOs and executives of corporations.

Despite the trash, fluff and fodder, the Rathers and Courics who get enormous salaries to read the news, they should get what they pay for. . . and they are. And when you read Rather's remarks about Couric, you realize how many words that man uses to say, Yes, No, or Maybe.

Maher and the Muslims

Don't you wonder how long Maher's head would stay on his scrawny neck (either on earth or on the air) if he were as insulting to Muslims as he was to the Pope and Catholics? I've never watched even 3 minutes of him. He's a twirp made of diseased sputum and fecal matter, of such filth that I'd be afraid to even step near his piles and splatters. But I do think subscribers to HBO should let the owners, producers, and stockholders know just how insulting he is to Catholics in particular, and all Christians in general. I would never say he shouldn't have a right to be an idiot or slanderer or scumbag, but I'd hit him and his owners where it hurts--his wallet. I mean, it's not like the entertainment industry protects the best interests of children by protecting porn and every imaginable filth for the big bucks.
    "I'd like to tip off law enforcement to an even larger child-abusing religious cult," Maher told his audience. "Its leader also has a compound, and this guy not only operates outside the bounds of the law, but he used to be a Nazi and he wears funny hats. That's right, the Pope is coming to America this week and, ladies, he's single."

Advice for boomer retirees

Readers jumped all over those whiners that the WSJ wrote about on April 1. I blogged about them, too. Usually, in letters-to-the editor the WSJ tries to offer a cross section, but I guess no one feels too sorry for a 57 year who had a 6 figure salary and can't retire early at their accustomed standard of living because the economy burps. Here's a summary of comments in yesterday's paper

    Live modestly

    Learn to understand risk

    Learn from past bubbles, whether it's technology or real estate

    Take responsibility for your own actions

    Locate that document that guarantees you will never experience problems [that was my personal favorite]

    Use a little hindsight--like what was your property worth 2 years ago compared to 5 years ago
Not a single sympathizer in the boatload.

You want how many cookies?

Twenty nine thousand, give or take a few dozen. Our Upper Arlington Lutheran Kairos Prison Team will be going to the Marion Correctional Institution April 24-27 for a Christian Renewal Week-end, and each team brings their own cookies--28,800. Usually, we need only 10,000-12,000, but we have so many members on the team for this week-end, we need a lot of cookies. So I'm baking--which is pretty unusual for me. I've made eight twelve dozen brownies (with a little help from Duncan Hines), some with chocolate chips, because there's nothing like chocolate to say, "love." And that's what the cookies are for--tangible evidence of God's love for a sinner in a batch of homemade cookies or brownies. The freezers at the church are probably full--it's hard to find room for that many cookies. A team member is using our garage refrigerator.

To learn more about the program go to

Many of the men reached by Kairos Renewal will never be released into society, but many will--and our UALC men are committed to work with them then too, to ease them back into employment and their families.

"Faith-based programs that start in prison and continue after sentences have been served can produce meaningful outcomes when they offer the mentoring, guidance, and hope needed to face a future often marked by social exclusion and fear of the unknown." also, "Working with prisoners before they are released can increase the chances of successful reentry."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The paperless society

This morning I moved a mature IRA from one bank to another, because the first bank was charging me $30 a year just to use my money! Do you know that by the time I got home from those two transactions about a mile apart, I had 26 pieces of paper, or 27 pieces if I counted the check, 25 of them 8.5 x 11. Both banks used to be called something else--or at least one was, and the other was started by officers of a former savings and loan. I can remember the days when they rolled the certificate into a typewriter and I signed a little card for the beneficiaries which stayed there. In those days, I thought it took a long time, but now with computers it is much longer. Plus, the computers don't even update your account until the next day, so on one sheet I had to write in the new amount. But the staff are always pleasant, handsome and cheerful, so it's nice to go to a bank and enjoy the comfy furniture and have a chat. Just make sure you have plenty of time. Plus it is a beautiful, sunny day in central Ohio. My artificial flowers are doing fabulously even in the cold snap.

Rather like a story we've read before

I have no interest in Hip Hop and the shooting death of Tupac Shakur, but I do care about what happens to our media, journalists and Truth. Read the sad, sad story at Smoking Gun about how a high esteemed reporter from the LA Times, Chuck Philips (who incidentally hasn't been fired and is still active) fell for phony FBI documents created by a convict who also lived in a fantasy world about what a big shot he was on the Hip Hop scene.

I'm no hot shot, award winning journalist, but if a 31 year old, white convict who has spent most of his adult life in prison told me in 2008 that in 1994 he was wheeling and dealing with black hip hop artists--with deals that would go back to when he was even younger, I think I could have subtracted 14 from 31 and guessed that performers worth millions probably weren't linking up with 17 year old teen-agers. Come on!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fat children keep many people employed

Last week the results of an important two year study on obese children were published in the April 2008 Pediatrics, "A Policy-Based School Intervention to Prevent Overweight and Obesity." According to Sandy Szwarc who writes Junkfood Science
    "This is a critically important news story because there is a lot riding on proving these childhood obesity initiatives are effective — for literally thousands of organizations, special interest groups and government agencies across the country working to prevent childhood obesity and promote their ‘healthy’ eating and physical activity programs, as well as billions of dollars in government money at stake. [The CDC’s budget for its healthy eating and physical activities, alone, has grown 2,000% since 1999.] And, most at stake is the welfare of our children.

    Since every school-based childhood obesity intervention to date has failed to show lasting improvements in children’s diets, activity levels or health outcomes, or in reducing obesity, this study has added importance. As the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and even the Institutes of Medicine have concluded after reviewing 6,900 studies and abstracts, there is no quality evidence to support these childhood obesity interventions. And the government’s own statistics even negate the need for them, as there have been no significant increases in the numbers of children considered “overweight” since 1999-2000 and children are healthier and expected to live longer than at any other time in our history." Complete article here with percentages, percentiles, and risks
According to Ms. Szwarc, the intervention was ineffective, although this is not how it was reported. There was no difference between the intervention group and the control group, and in healthy eating there was evidence that the intervention group actually went backward. They had been eating 5.64 servings of fruit and vegetables a day and that decreased to 4.17, plus the intervention group were eating fewer calories but not losing weight. "Clearly, the School Nutrition Policy Initiative failed to reduce overweight or obesity in the children," she says.

Last week I wrote about a delinquency prevention study of 4 years duration done here in Columbus with 6th graders back in the 1970s. After 4 years of intervention and special attention to improve the children's self-esteem and self-concept, the intervention group had just as many contacts with the law as the control group. Like the School Nutrition program discussed above which integrated good nutrition into the curriculum, the delinquency group had healthy self concept integrated into all their classes. Social and peer pressure were also used both in the nutrition and the delinquency behavior modification programs. The failure to prevent delinquency by building self concept didn't stop the "self esteem" drive of the 70s and 80s as the cure for whatever ailed Johnny, probably because so many academics and sociologists had invested their lives and careers in the concept. So I'm guessing there are already too many programs, initiatives, salaries and grants riding on obese children to stop the train now, even though Ms. Szwarc points out obesity in children hasn't changed since 2000.

The ACK Stacks

The main library (Thompson) on the Ohio State University campus has been closed for over a year for remodeling. Hard hat tours are now available to see its 1970s and 1980s cocoon of bastard designs and add-ons removed to reveal the original butterfly of the early 20th century. I'm sure it will be lovely, similar to when I first saw it in 1967. But that means many OSU students will never be in the library--not Thompson, and not the temporary one on Ackerman Road (they have to take a bus). I really enjoy the temp facility--it is close to my home, the parking is great, and I usually have the whole place to myself, because I think students have forgotten about it. The books are easy to find and the people aren't. OSCAR, the online catalog, is now pretty subservient to a behemoth that brings up everything in WorldCat and OhioLink when you do a search, with OSU as just one of the locations. So you need to learn how to limit and do advance searches or you'll be overwhelmed with books located in Atlanta and New York, and smidgens in articles and microfiche--maybe 350 matches when you were expecting 10. It's like walking down the snack aisle of a major supermarket looking for plain old Ritz crackers.

The ACK Stacks

Near the railroad tracks
on Ackerman Road
are the ACK Stacks
tucked away for me,
the vast collection
of the OSU library.

Foreign and Esoteric,
Religious and Oversize,
it’s hard for me to stick
to the task at hand.
Now other libraries
seem so bland.

A mile or two away
lies OSU main campus.
Some librarians say
a generation or so
of students and grads
to the library never go.