Saturday, January 31, 2009

He also is praying for Obama

Is anyone else ready for Spring?

This is our back yard in June. I'm listening to the snow plow scrape the ice off our street. It was very pretty floating down on Wednesday and Thursday, but . . . A water main has broken and we have many inches of ice in front of our drive. I am so ready. And all day I thought it was February, and it's only January 31!

When I pray for Obama

Although I'm not sure how God will do this without dumping the reading lists of better educated presidents like Bush, Truman and Clinton in Obama's lap, I often ask God to give the current president a sense and understanding of the past. Of all that is lacking in his qualities, and there are many, this one really stands out in every speech. You can't cover that with rhetorical flourishes. Even if he doesn't write them, I assume he tells his speech writers what he wants. I used to write speeches for a state of Ohio official, and to find her ideas and cadence I reviewed very carefully what she'd said in the past and who the audience would be. (She's deceased.) Charles Krauthammer mentions Obama's ignorance about the U.S. relations with Muslims in his limp apology on our behalf for being disrespectful (I don't think he used the word ignorance).
    "America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. It engaged in five military campaigns, every one of which involved -- and resulted in -- the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The two Balkan interventions -- as well as the failed 1992-93 Somalia intervention to feed starving African Muslims (43 Americans were killed) -- were humanitarian exercises of the highest order, there being no significant U.S. strategic interest at stake. In these 20 years, this nation has done more for suffering and oppressed Muslims than any nation, Muslim or non-Muslim, anywhere on Earth. Why are we apologizing?" Washington Post
Well, WE AREN'T. Mr. Obama's on his own here.

The not-so-green Mayor of Columbus

Usually I complain about tree-huggers, global alarmists, and the pantheistic Mother Earth folks who think she needs assisted care in a very expensive nursing home, but I truly do care about what happens to our land, and that includes the soil, water and air we all share. The Mayor of Columbus has big dreams--like a trolley line to no where and light rail to Cincinnati and Cleveland. On the other hand, he is penny wise and pound foolish. Do you know what he is cutting to save money? Yard waste pick-up. 26,000 tons of blowing, rotting green matter and trash that will have to be dumped somewhere by private parties who have no access to legal dump sites. Smart move! Now it will go into the rivers and streams, the nooks and crannies between jurisdictions, or into the regular trash, where the workers can't inspect every bag.

This is indicative of government at every level--local, state and particularly federal. Let's cut essential city services, like police, fire, and trash. The poor, low income and elderly will be hurt the most so the bureaucrats can keep their jobs and play around with new programs. I'm sure there will be enough money to install more cameras at trash sites and scenic ravines to catch the dumpers.

That was then, this is now

I'm not going to list it as a "new" word, but I was curious about when the little word "then" took over from ex- or former when referring to divorced spouses. "Then" is another one of those little over-worked four letter words. You know the others. It comes from the Old English word thonne related to the Old High German word denne. It means, "at that time," "soon after that time," "next in order of time," "following next after in order of position," "next in a series," "in that case," "according to that," and "as a necessary consequence." It's the little, multiple use English words that foreigners leave out.

Here's the definition that fits the use I refer to, "existing or acting at or belonging to the time mentioned." I suppose you can apply it to a wife or husband, but to say, "he and his then wife (1992) bought the house and remodeled it. . ." just sounds sort of crass. As though she is just one in a series, perhaps. To my tender ears. Still, if you can use it with a secretary of state or a judge. . .

When I googled the phrase, "his then wife," I got about 196,000 matches. I was wrong about the usage, because using this phrase goes back many, many years, to the point of being almost quaint. I found early 1800s:
    can any limitations be implied in favour of the testator's issue by his then wife unprovided for by the settlement (1845)

    yielding and paying therefore yearly during the said term unto the plaintiff and Nancy his then wife, since deceased (1870)

    I think this means his then wife. I feel that very strongly (1896)

    Plaintiff herein further states that, during and by reason of the late War of the Rebellion, the said deed from the said Joseph C. Parry and his then wife, ... (1905)
Even so, some of the more interesting ones were recent
    [Jenrette, a liberal Democrat] had sex with his then-wife, Rita Jenrette, behind a pillar on the steps of the Capitol Building.

    When I met my husband, his then wife threatened me, harassed me, and basically made life a living hell.

    Sienna might have been cheated on by Jude Law but Jude cheated on his then-wife, Sadie Frost, with Sienna.

    Snodgrass says Hyde carried on a five-year sexual relationship with his then-wife, Cherie, that shattered his family . . .

    He had the contract in his hand to sign when his then wife, Laura, asked him if he really, really was ready to give up the adrenaline kick . . .

    In September 1992, Pavarotti and his then wife, Adua, . . .

    Podhoretz recounts that Mailer rushed up to Podhoretz's apartment after Mailer had stabbed his then-wife Adele Morales in 1960. . .

    When Giuliani was in office and having an affair with Judith Nathan — who later became his wife — both she and his then-wife, Donna Hanover, ...

    His then-wife gave him some A.A. pamphlets which he pretended to ignore, but he sneaked into the bathroom to read them.
English: such an interesting language.

Sonya Apples

When I can't get Honey Crisp, my favorite, which is most of the year, I usually buy Braeburn, but last week an apple I'd never seen, heart shaped with the coloring of a ripe peach, appeared at Marc's for $.99/lb. So I bought 5, and this week bought 6 more. Very good eating! I eat an apple a day, and find that they control hunger much better than grain, dairy or another type of fruit such as bananas or grapes. So I know what I like. If you're near a Marc's today, take a few home. You won't be sorry.

Orange Pippin web site says: "Sonya has two distinctive features. Firstly, its unusual shape - it is a very tall apple, a shape which is characteristic of 'pearmain' apples such as Adams Pearmain. However the parentage is Gala and Red Delicious, so Sonya is very much in the Golden Delicious and Red Delicious style.

Sonya's other distinctive feature is its exceptional sweetness - which is what you would expect from an apple which is related to both Golden Delicious and Red Delicious." This is interesting in that I wouldn't cross the road for a Red Delicious--I find little flavor in them.

Friday, January 30, 2009

How did we get here?

So many people I know have given up. Their attitude is "Oh well, I'm not going to be here to see it." For some reason they think their pension and/or Social Security and annuities will still be here by the end of Obama's first term--perhaps enough to see them to the grave. Scary. While some of you were dancing in the streets and trashing the mall, some of us saw the lights going out all over the country--and not to save electricity. It was the dimming of a dream and hope for the future. Then I read
    April 1, 2013 -Unemployment is approaching 25 percent, inflation is close to 40 percent, major portions of the U.S. are having power "brownouts," and Americans are forced to go to foreign countries for timely and quality medical care. How did the world's largest and most prosperous economy fall into such a morass in only a very few years?
    Read the rest of Shape of Things to Come?

Shameful expenditures

$18 billion in executive bonuses is the height of irresponsibility, but spending $1.2 trillion in government pork is a fiscally justifiable use of taxpayer funds. Here’s a visual that will demonstrate. Brain Shavings

Today's new word is CLAMANT

Actually, this was yesterday's, but I got a bit bogged down looking through google entries and went to bed. Here's the reference
    We are content not to know the deep things of God. . . ponder the things He has said until we hear their clamant call, and obey." G. Campbell Morgan.
I didn't have a problem understanding the meaning--thought it might be something to do with "claim," because that is how I would pronounce it. But you just never know, so I looked it up. Big fat dining room dictionary says, it comes from the Latin clamare meaning to call, see claim. However, the meaning is "crying out, clamorous, loud, demanding notice, or urgent." I really don't get a sense of urgency in the word "claim." Like "quit claim deed," or as the CW song goes
You claimed you loved me,
but I was suspicious when
you dated three
of my best fren

So I checked google, and after about 40 entries that were just dictionaries, including Vietnamese, or were in Latin (clamant is 3rd person plural verb apparently), I decided no one is using it much these days, so there's no clamant call to learn or remember it.

It has only been a week

Africa and Hawaii have had their revenge for the European explorers and colonialists seizing their land. Our globalist, bi-racial president has taken this country further into socialism in one week than FDR and LBJ did in 4.5 terms. The stimulus package is a complete fraud--a ploy to take over what we didn't hand over since 1933; our future citizens, workers, soldiers and grandchildren will be tossed out with the FOCA garbage where they will neither cost us in social services nor contribute to the greater good; our cabinet officers are crooks and sneaks; and little acorns dance in the woods of green.

New roots in Vermont

The architectural article in today's WSJ is about a 3 generation Korean-American family (via Communist North Korea over 60 years ago) with a retreat reflecting Korean culture and Vermont practicality. They own quite a chunk of land and built the family compound for about $300 sq. ft. With 48' of glass in the 12' wide dining room, the children can play in the middle of winter without shoes as the room can heat up from the sun to 87 degrees. Our little manufactured porch, 6' wide, at Lakeside does that too--in the winter sun we can almost heat the entire house built in the early 1940s.

I grew up in northern Illinois and even in the 1940s and 1950s I saw many out-buildings of similar concept on farms. They were probably designed by a clever farm wife who helped support the family and send the kids to college with her butter and egg business. These buildings had steep pitches to drop the winter snow and clerestory windows for warmth and light, the nests for the chickens were framed high enough for manure droppings to fall to the floor (also helps with heat and composting), with easy access waist high to reach under biddy for her precious eggs.

Outsiders who come in to rural areas or the inner city or to vacation/leisure towns and set about to recreate a feeling, or to preserve the past, or to establish a name for design, need to realize that eventually, the locals will not be able to afford to live there. I've seen that myself at Lakeside, where my husband has beautified the town with about 35 projects, being the architect for a renovation, a total remodeling or completely new designs on empty lots. When an area is "improved" the property values around it go up, and then the taxes go up. The early sellers do quite well; those who wait or who want to stay there because of location (ice fishing, boating) or family (generations of quarry workers from east Europe) may be out of luck. We have home owners from across the nation coming there for a few weeks in the summer to stay in fabulous cottages--that would have never happened before the 1970s gasoline crisis when leisure spots closer to home began to look more desirable to Ohioans, and the idea spread. Water mains and gas lines were laid and roads improved, and real estate development boomed. I've seen many homes in Lakeside, Marblehead and Catawba leave a family after 3 or 4 generations because the heirs cannot afford to own it, so it is sold to wealthier families. And I've seen owners sell because although they haven't "preserved" or "renovated," the neighbors have and they can't afford the taxes and insurance on a home they only use a few weeks of the year.

Most noticeable is what happens to the urban poor, what happens when a city neighborhood is "improved" or as we say these days "gentrified?" When I drive through some of the wonderful neighborhoods of user friendly townhouses in downtown Chicago full of white and light brown yuppies, close to the parks, the lake, museums and shopping, I do wonder what happened to all those poor and black welfare families of razed Cabrini Green. Did they go on to be middle or upper class citizens, no longer dependent on the government for housing?

When we moved to Columbus in the 1960s, one of the first architectural tours we took was German Village, which had been a run-down slum, and was experiencing a new birth. It was so exciting to see--I still have the fading color photos we took. Tiny brick houses and duplexes that still looked quite traditional on the outside and were already being subjected to some fairly rigid codes, were light, airy and contemporary on the inside--never really reflecting the humble origins of the German working class that built them in the 19th century. That was 42 years ago, so I'm sure those kitchens I lusted for have been done over again, once or twice, and now maybe are being subjected to all sorts of green remodeling to conserve energy, fight radon or remove toxic materials installed just 20 or 30 years ago. So where did the poor go when the gay decorators and lawyer-doctor trendy couples moved in? Well, they moved further out, maybe rented or got a foreclosed house with help from the government and started that neighborhood on a downward slide with trucks up on blocks and broken windows covered with plywood.

Some may have ended up on the Hilltop, where in the past 10-20 years non-profit housing groups with government grants have been trying to "improve" the housing, fairly solid early 20th century 4-squares cut up into 4-plexes. If they succeed, they will push the poor further away from jobs and city services, which are being cut back anyway, strangled by new environmental codes and regulations and the housing meltdown created by our government's belief that everyone needed a piece of the real estate pie.

I don't have a solution; but every improvement, whether private or government, has consequences. The green ones more than most.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Obama is not Jesus; he's Joseph

Excellent post at Billoblog on the stimulus package that concludes
    We can look forward to the economic miracle that is Zimbabwe and the liberty of Cuba. And, like the Egyptians, we will sell ourselves, and our children to the seventh generation, thoughtlessly. The only big difference is that the crisis for the Egyptians was real, while the Democrats are hyping a false sense of crisis about a problem they cannot solve using their socialization policies, but, as with the Depression, can only make worse. But, like the environmental “crisis” and the energy “crisis,” the goal is not solution; it is the destruction of individual rights in the name of socialism.

NYT needs to encourage births

Babies grow up to read newspapers and pay the salaries of journalists and editors. I heard about the March for Life because I listen to Christian radio, but I think that was the only outlet that mentioned it around here. Maybe the media were still drunk from the Tuesday festivities.
    “More than 300,000 people assembled in Washington, D.C. [January 22] for the 36th Annual March for Life. But as far as The New York Times is concerned, it never happened,” Feder observed. [ editor Don] Feder was the keynote speaker at the event’s Rose Dinner.

    He continued, “If 50,000 feminists had gathered on the Mall in D.C., to demand passage of the so-called Freedom of Choice Act, it would have been above-the-page-one-fold coverage in The Times, accompanied by an aerial photo of the crowd.” From Accuracy in Media
If 10 Code Pink ladies stood under a street light at 3 a.m. outside a veterans' hospital protesting, the NYT would have sent a crew. Didn't they get front row seats at the inauguration?

Invitation to President Obama.

From Washington Post story (section A):
    "Deirdre McQuade, spokeswoman for Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said turnout at the annual Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Northeast on Wednesday night filled the basilica's 16,000-person capacity and spill into two overflow buildings. A morning youth concert and Mass yesterday at Verizon Center also filled up -- there were 20,000-plus seats -- and crowds were sent to nearby churches. . .

    For eight years, marchers had been greeted by a message from President George W. Bush, who supported their cause and appointed two Supreme Court justices who voted to uphold federal restrictions on some abortion procedures.

    In contrast, Obama issued a statement yesterday reaffirming his support for a woman's right to choose to end her pregnancy. Roe v. Wade, the statement said, "not only protects women's health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters."
Of course, Washington Post is bi-lingual: "abortion foes," "abortion opponents," on the right side, and "a woman's right to end her pregnancy," and "reproductive freedom" on the left side.

Tonight's cruise dinner

You probably think this isn't the greatest time to go to the Holy Land, but reading the paper, it's not a good time to be in Mexico either. In fact, I'd say Mexico looks hotter than Hamas. Anyway, the people going on the cruise to the Holy Land are getting together for a pot luck tonight. We're in the section of the alphabet that's bringing a main dish, so I'm taking sweet sour meatballs. I've blogged this about 2 years ago, but it was an entire dinner. So here's the story excerpted from that entry
    To make the meatballs you first have to leave the computer--probably when is acting up. Go to the kitchen and mix in a sauce pan one 15 oz can of sauerkraut, one 12 oz. jar of chili sauce, and one 16 oz can of whole cranberry sauce (sizes make no difference). Remove half of it from the pan and put it in the freezer for another day. Makes a wonderful topping for a boneless pork roast. While the mix is warming up, check the computer to see if Blogger is working, and if so, download that picture before it quits.

    Go back to the kitchen and tear and crumble in a bowl at least two pieces of stale bread and let it dry a little while you go back and finish your blog entry. Oh, turn off stove and remove the sauce because you might forget and it will scorch.

    Next, add one and a half pounds of ground chuck to the bread crumbs, an envelope of dried onion soup, and 2 eggs and thoroughly mix. Shape into 10 nice sized meatballs, and lightly brown for a few minutes. Spray a casserole dish with a non-stick (I use olive oil), and arrange the meatballs. Pour the sauce over the meatballs, completely covering them. Put in the oven at 375 for at least 45 minutes. Check your e-mail. Freezes well, or makes great sandwiches the next day.
For this event I used a mix of ground pork, sausage and hamburger, probably a total 2.5 lbs, making 8 large meatballs to take tonight and a bunch of smaller ones which I popped in the oven at lunch time, of which I've just eaten 2 in case I don't get any tonight. Because I had more meat, I used all the sauce. Actually, I think I like the ground chuck version better.

A lot goes a little way

I just read the ingredients on my Trader Joe's "Next to Godliness Liquid Dish Soap" formulated to perform effectively while being safe for the environment. Usually, I love Trader Joe's products, and I thought I'd used this one before and found it satisfactory, but. . .
    coconut derived surfactants, earth salt, lavender oil, tea tree oil, grapefruit seed extract and water
just doesn't do it. The label says it hasn't been tested on animals so we don't even know if it's safe for humans, do we?

My tea bags of black leaves come from bushes, so I asked Google, "what is tea tree oil," and was told that it comes from steam distillation of the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a plant native to Australia. It's not even tea! "Tea tree oil contains consituents [sic] called terpenoids, which have been found to have antiseptic and antifungal activity. The compound terpinen-4-ol is the most abundant and is thought to be responsible for most of tea tree oil's antimicrobial activity." You can use it for vaginitis, dandruff, acne and athletes' foot. Gee, I didn't know those ailments were even related!

Anyway, use twice as much of the TJ Soap as the bad old stuff and don't expect suds.

Father John Corapi

If they are not praying to saints or Mary, or saying the rosary, I love to listen to Catholic radio. And Father John Corapi is one of the best. I heard a stunning sermon this morning in the car, rushed into the house leaving the groceries, and turned on the kitchen radio. It was all about his profligate past in Hollywood outrunning the police with cocaine in the trunk of his Ferrari and hanging out with starlets. I think he said he was at a party with John Belushi the night he died. Here's what catholic-tube says about him
    A soldier, investment banker, multi millionaire real estate investor, cocaine addict, and Catholic Priest. It’s said that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. So too, is the path of Father John Corapi, now famous for his touring the world to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and his Church. Fr. Corapi’s past has led to a great witness that has led many back to the church. He has put together many series that have aired on EWTN, including his famous series on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. You can find out more about the ministry of Father Corapi by visiting his website.
And I always thought it was the Baptists that had the great testimonies, but his is hard to beat. And he has a great voice.

Cash or cans?

Food is flying off the shelves at food pantries across the country. Instead of the clients being people on food stamps, it's people newly unemployed and living in their own homes. I'm a member of a large Lutheran church with three campuses, and we support (I think) an exceptionally well run "choice" Food Pantry with very capable staff. Our church, UALC, heard the appeal in November and December.
    "Through November and Thanksgiving services, enough food was donated to carry the local LSS Food Pantry through much of February: donations of 1,549 bags of food, cash and gift cards were valued at $30,935." UALC Cornerstone, January 11-17, 2009
Last year LSS of Central Ohio food pantries served 148,546 people. I'm guessing that is "visits" and not actual people, because when I've volunteered, I see the same people over and over. Most of that is a 3 day supply of emergency food for people with documentation and in the computerized system, but "over-nights" are at the discretion of the manager until the client can get into the social service system.

Is it better to give cash/checks or food stuffs? Here's my opinion. The manager/director can buy much more food for your dollar than you can. However, that food is cheap because of federal funding--so you're paying for it either way. Churches, clubs and immigrant societies have always had a community food basket for the poor, elderly and unemployed. Compared to the volunteer spirit that goes back to the roots of this country, the government is a newcomer as a food donor. The present food stamp program began during Johnson’s Great Society in the 1960s and was expanded during the Carter years, and every administration since, including the Republicans. It's political suicide to cut it and it began as welfare to farmers.

According to the Cato Institute, “The largest portion of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s budget consists of food subsidies, not farm subsidies. Food subsidies will cost taxpayers $55 billion in fiscal 2007 and account for 61 percent of the USDA’s budget. The largest food subsidy programs are food stamps; the school breakfast and lunch programs; and the women, infants, and children (WIC) program. The federal government as a whole has about 26 food and nutrition programs operated by six different agencies.“ When I serve at the food pantry I see brands and companies I've never heard of; I suspect they serve only charities with government surplus, or outright purchase. In Columbus we have a huge warehouse, Mid-Ohio Food Bank, that serves only the food pantries and they're asking for funding to enlarge it. MOFB's stocks are down. Supermarkets are more efficient and waste (donate) less, there are more odd-lot type discounters to buy up near due date and over stocks, and health regulations have cut down on what can be donated. Which means more of your tax dollar for food subsidies.

The biggest distributor of these programs is "faith based and community" initiatives like our Lutheran church. So any food pantry, whether they are supported by your church or a community cooperative, is really tax supported via the USDA (it was also involved in housing programs in rural areas which contributed to our melt-down). Which brings me to my point--purchasing your donation at the local level.

For every can of soup or package of pasta I buy locally whether at Marc's or Meijer's, I am helping a stock boy or produce lady keep their jobs. They in turn can meet their rent payments, put gas in their used auto, and eat a meal out occasionally at McDonald's. This allows the bulk gasoline driver to keep his truck on the road, the landlord of the apartment building to avoid foreclosure, and the feedlot owner in Kansas to ship spent, older cows to slaughter in Iowa where the butchers and packers will pay their rent, fill their gas tanks and maybe donate to their local food pantry to help the unemployed who planted too much corn for ethanol due to Al Gore's environmental hysteria which helped contribute to food shortages world wide.

I'm a pensioner. Every time I go to the grocery store, I pick up a few cans of soup, a package of pasta, a jar of jelly, or some canned meat and drop it off on Sunday in the food box at church--amounts to about $10 a week--and you know the prices, that doesn't buy a lot. I've read every label and compared every price, and I know the money is circulating right here in Columbus to help the people who aren't lining up on Champion Avenue.

Blago and the Gitmo detainees

Not that I have any sympathy for Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois governor accused of trying to sell Obama's senate seat, but the rush to impeach and marginalize him by his own party, particularly Obama supporters, is interesting in light of the care, feeding and pro-bono legal care of the Gitmo accused terrorists by the left. The smell of the bread crumbs that lead back to Obama's campaign managers, appointees and lackeys has the whiff of 3 day old fish left in the hot sun.

From little ACORNs marxism grows big trees

If you check out the roots of the various housing organizations to whom the Bush administration gave money to keep the housing industry afloat (literally throwing it with little oversite) and the tangled web of the various "get out the vote" groups in 2006 and 2008 that bussed people hither and yon for registration where they weren't eligible, you'll find ACORN or groups it is funding. So this item on Newsmax is no surprise--they had power to spend and money to burn long before Obama, the community activist, team took the reins.
    "Ordinarily, neighborhood stabilization funds are distributed to local governments. But revised language in the stimulus bill would make the funds available directly to non-profit entities such as ACORN, the low-income housing organization whose pro-Democrat voter-registration activities have been blasted by Republicans. ACORN is cited by some for tipping the scales in the Democrats' favor in November.

    According to Fox news, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., could appear to be a “payoff” for community groups’ partisan political activities in the last election cycle."
Republicans were so busy supporting the war abroad and fighting the Democrats in Congress, they forgot to check the foxholes and bunkers within our own borders for our homegrown axis of evil.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New notebook time and new word for the day

The notebook I started Dec. 5 is full. Last week I bought four spiral bound, hard cover note books, 8.5 x 5.3, lined, 100 pages, at Marc's for $.67 a piece. There is a clear acrylic over the front cover. They are called "Sherbert Notes Journal" and I bought them in pink, lime, pale blue and lilac. The stationer is FYI Stationers and the producer Carolina Pad of Charlotte, NC. Marc's carries overstocks, remaindered and seconds so if you see something you like, buy it--it won't be there when you return 10 minutes later. A few weeks ago I saw some plain white, Mikasa china bowls (probably seconds), 2 for $.99. I have white china with a silver band and am short a few bowls (replacements cost about $60.00), so I thought I could work with something similar, and they looked fine, but when I went back there weren't any more.

Now for the new word. About 20 years ago I was a volunteer in a nursing home with a young woman who had suffered a brain aneurysm when she was 18 and was totally paralyzed. She needed people with her during her waking hours because she couldn't generate thought (a theory of another volunteer). Fortunately, she had parents and sisters and not a husband who wanted to be free of her, so no one starved her to death to end her life, but she did eventually die at about age 50. She couldn't talk, move voluntarily or see, but she could definitely experience emotion, as I found out if ever I said "Would you like some sherbert." She is the one who taught me that there is only one R in sherbet. It took 10 minutes to spell it on her message board which involved rows of letters each assigned a number and holding her hand to see if I could detect a movement if I called out the right letter. So when I saw that these notebooks were titled, "Sherbert Notes," I decided someone didn't know how to spell sherbet. But when I looked in my dictionary, here's what I found:
    sherbet n. Turkish and Persian from Arabic Sharbah for drink. 1. a cold drink of sweetened and diluted fruit juice 2. or sherbert, an ice with milk, egg white, or gelatin added.
Even my spell check tried to drop that second R. And this is my new word for today.

The inaugural luncheon

Perhaps this is just a poor shot, but the wait staff is more diverse than the guests or head table.

History turned on its head

The story of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Don't miss this fascinating series featuring Joan Peters, White House advisor during the Carter administration discussing her writing of her 1984 book Time Immemorial.

HT Lady-Light

Things to do during an Ohio ice storm

Especially if you live in an all electric home and are watching the tree limbs outside droop to the ground.
    Run some water through the coffee pot to clean it, and watch the little clumps fall through

    Brew a 1/2 regular, 1/2 decaf pot of coffee in case you can't get to the coffee shop tomorrow, and put it in a thermos

    Run that load of laundry that's been sitting on the floor for 2 days

    Heat up a can of that wonderful hearty beef and vegetable Progresso soup and put it in a thermos

    Check the flashlights

    Look for batteries in the basement and office desk

    Find the candles and matches

    Finish the watercolor started yesterday while the light is good

    Make sure the double garage door which weighs 5 tons isn't frozen to the driveway in case the opener won't work

    Check for your scraper and shovel, this looks like more than a credit card size storm

    Call about that hair appointment and plead for a rescheduling

    Call "the children" (40 and 41) to see that they got to work OK and nag them about being careful on the roads

    Enjoy the peacfulness of fat snowflakes slowly falling.

From my archives

Today I'm waiting to see what happens with the weather. The rain has turned to sleet, has turned to ice, and now a layer of snow. So I was playing around with the google site search command for my various blogs. Since I often change the quote at the top, I see that a 2009 quote may be attached to a 2003 blog entry. That must really mess up people doing keywood searches and the quote pulled them in. Oh well. It was fun to browse. For your reading enjoyment, but mostly for mine.

From October, 2003
    "Why do cats love to watch people in the bathroom? Not just the obvious stuff, but want to hang around even when the hair dryer is running and that's got to hurt little feline ears. Want to be with you, want to touch your arm when you're applying mascara. Why, when you close the door, do they slip their little paws under it? Do dogs do that? Or do they just whine and bark and chew up the rug until you come out?"
    "Today it was reported in WSJ that Harvard University researchers found a 55% greater risk of heart disease among grandmothers who care for their grandchildren than those who don’t. 36.3% of U.S. grandparents provide intermediate or extensive care for their grandchildren. One theory about the stress is that there are other events in the lives of their adult children, such as divorce or substance abuse, that causes the parents to have to help out, thus causing a lot of stress. And those of us with no grandchildren have a 47.95% greater risk of a broken heart. (I made that up.)"
In February 2007 I was commenting about illegal aliens getting mortgages with false documents and lying on applications. I noted
    "When there is a practice or law so clearly working against the average, tax paying, law abiding citizen, I always say the trite and true: FOLLOW THE MONEY. Who benefits when undocumented workers buy homes? [Now we know it was Barney Frank and ACORN and the supporters of our future president.]

    MurrayT has a home in Florida and the recent tornado wiped out some of those homes. He says FEMA is trying to find the home owners to give them aid--but they have fled fearing arrest for being in the country illegally and are afraid of the INS. Property owners paying taxes in that county and paying high insurance premiums and the rest of the nation (me) who donate to the very inefficient Homeland Security Department are paying."
    "I've learned a few things in retirement that I wish I'd known earlier. a) Always use a non-stick spray when cooking--sauce pans included. Sure makes clean up easy (I use a soybean oil spray). b) Trader Joe's sunblock makes a wonderful hand lotion--has zinc oxide, and their c) shaving cream works wonderfully for washing your face. Leaves your skin soft and smelling yummy. d) I can buy a B width shoe if it has laces or elastic inserts. e) Since I buy 1/2 decaf with 1/2 regular for my morning coffee, it just tastes a lot better if I start with 1/2 cup of regular and leave out the decaf until I'm ready to go (about an hour later). It also stays hot longer if you start with 1/2 cup. f) In the last few months I've learned there is life after peanut butter."
    "As much as I hate to see horse slaughter for human consumption, I would hate to see the laws become so restrictive, that disposing of an animal became difficult, and therefore would lead to abuse such as poor health care, food, or being sold to bad people just to get if off your hands. Also, if species-specific legislation outlawing slaughter for human consumption works with horses, you can bet pigs, cattle and chicken supporters will be watching very closely." [with a link to an extension article on how to compost your horse]
In June 2005 I was commenting
    "Shoe [a librarian] doesn't really mean it, but she'd like to announce it [“unattended children will be sold“]. She writes about unattended children in libraries. That wasn't a significant problem in an academic library where I worked from 1986-2000--although I did keep coloring books and crayons in my office for children of the occasional negligent parent who would lose herself in the stacks reading about nematodes or cryptorchidism."
    "I'd forgotten how effective that do not call list really is. Since we arrived around noon on Saturday [at our summer home] the phone has rung about every two hours--and since we have no answering machine, we don't know what is happening when we're out for dinner, or walking along the lake front, or attending a program. I've been offered a subscription to the Toledo Blade, a summer resort vacation package, several new phone plans, a lower mortgage rate, and possibly waterproofing something, but I hung up too quickly. We never added this phone to the list--indeed, we may get rid of the land line altogether and just use the cell phone, as many do here [we did that]. We're probably getting a huge share of the calls, since so many people's numbers are not accessible."
    "We're finally in Lakeside, rolling in about 11:15. And the cat didn't poop or puke. Good trip! The gates are down, the lines are long, and it is hot, hot, hot--about 94 I think. One more hour and our flowers would have been dead. We've watered twice, and they are starting to perk up. Dehydration is a painful way to die." (obviously a slam at you who thought Terri Schaivo was not human enough to feel pain)
Today's weather and coffee shop dilemma has happened before, according to this entry at my Dec. 23, 2004 coffee blog. While doing this site search I discovered that there is another blog called Coffee Spills but the URL differs by one letter. It's in Polish, I think.
    "Usually I don't see my doctor at the coffee shop, but today I didn't get there until about 3 p.m., and he said they'd cancelled all appointments at his office. It takes a level 2 to keep me from my 6 a.m. trek to the coffee shop, but we were socked in here with first rain, then 6" snow, then sleet, then rain, and then back to snow. Just south of us, it is a level 3, and you get a ticket if you're on the roads looking for a cup of coffee. But by 3 p.m., I was a bit stir crazy, and our roads locally were in good shape. By 5 p.m. about 400,000 people were without power and the temperature was dropping. We called a friend to see what was happening in Lakeside, Ohio, and he said they'd had 18 inches, but no ice. Streets were clear."
I'm supposed to get my hair cut today--hope this mess clears up!

What would we do without twins?

The media were all abuzz this week with the revelation from a pre-print e-article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS 2009 : 0806746106v1-pnas.0806746106) that analyzed 1,110 adolescent twins from 142 schools and discovered "your genetic background may help determine not only how many people count you as a friend, but also how many of your friends are friends among themselves." This apparently explains why on Facebook some people have hundreds of "friends," many of whom count each other as friends, and other people only have a few. But you wait, no one really cares why you have 120 cyberfriends, and I have three. Eventually they'll find a way to tie this into 1) poverty, and 2) global climate control. I read a lot of medical articles, and this is where they go--follow the (grant) money. Already one of the researchers is planning for this direction--otherwise, where would his funding come from?
    "Given that social networks play important roles in determining a wide variety of things ranging from employment and wages to the spread of disease, it is important to understand why networks exhibit the patterns that they do," Matthew Jackson, a Stanford University economist, wrote in a commentary accompanying the study.
All quotes are from the WSJ summary, because I didn't want to wade through the original. Similar reports appeared in Boston Globe, Columbus Dispatch, etc. Whether the writers actually read the pre-print, I don't know.

When I read the article I immediately thought of my friend Von. I hadn't thought of her in many years as she died about 20 years ago. She had the most amazing circle of friends--it was vast. I think we met at a neighborhood Bible study--and there was just something about her--the voice, the smile, her flashing black eyes, her attention to you that made you think you were the only person in the crowded room. At first I was a little puffed up to be one of Von's friends--basking in the reflection of her popularity. Then I discovered that if I wanted any quality time with her and we pulled out our pocket calenders, she had no time free for months! I'm a "can we meet tomorrow for coffee" type of woman, and if my friend has to schedule me in for November when we run into each other at the supermarket in July, I start to scan the horizon for someone with fewer friends. But she really was a fabulous woman. When we saw each other one autumn at a community event, I noticed she was gaining weight, but only through the middle. I didn't say anything, but within a few months I learned through mutual friends she had a massive tumor. And it was malignant. Her friend network didn't fail her. Most of us knew each other. There were management friends and line friends--she had many people to sit with her in the hospital and hold her head when she vomited; many to bring meals into her large family; many to call and send notes. Many to call each other and consult and grieve together. Eventually, her deteriorating health caused her to be selective because she needed to save her energy resources just to stay alive and hold her husband and children close.

This morning I saw something out of place on top of a bookshelf--a retail bookmark I'd never seen. My office may be messy, but the living room is rarely a place for clutter. I picked it up--the illustration was either a sunset or sunrise over an ocean. I turned it over, and there was a note from Von to my husband, written in 1977 for his *Cursillo week-end, November 10-13, 1977, Men's 52nd, Columbus. So Von's friendship is still here to bring a smile and thank-you.

*A three-day experience of Christian renewal which originated in the Roman Catholic Church. The Cursillo program has been duplicated in some Protestant denominations, Walk to Emmaus, Vía De Cristo, Tres Días, with changes made to reflect the doctrines and culture of different denominations. In Columbus it is now called Cum Cristo, and is mixed Catholic and Protestant event.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Today's new word is IATROGENIC

This word entered the English language in the 1920s and the short version is that it means "physician induced," as in iatrogenic illness or iatrogenic disease. IATRO means physician. However, it started out meaning the distress a patient has from an incorrect diagnosis. Now it's much broader, according to an article in MedSurg Nursing June 2001. Today's meaning includes nosocomial infections in hospitals, adverse drug effects, reactions from anaesthesia, complications from surgery, errors in diagnostic tests, mistakes by nursing staff, misdiagnosis--really, just about any error caused by a human that can happen in a medical setting. It's the drive behind your doctor's office to computerize your records (it would be my bet that this could really mess things up, but what do I know), and lots of law suits. I tried to find some recent statistics that didn't have huge ranges or weren't guesses by groups with conflicts of interest (everyone sites a 1999 study), or surveys of patients, but the CDC reports just hospital infections as 1.7 million infections and 99,000 associated deaths each year, so if you add up all the other iatrogenic illnesses, you begin to see the problem. Here's a list of some nasty bugs you can pick up just by being hospitalized. You can check the mortality rate for hospitals in your zip code here.
Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful U.S. female Roman Catholic, supports a pro-abortion president and harvesting human embryos for research.

Pelosi--fewer babies, reduce costs to government

Wait! Isn't she a Catholic with five children and a bunch of grands, with illegals working in her gardens and vineyards? She had hers, heated up the globe, so now you can't? Especially the brown and the black who already have the highest percentage of the costs from Planned Parenthood and its "family planning."

San Fran Nan
She's the baby gran
who brings home the bacon
and fries it in a pan.

From her lips and her face,
Nanny Gran's in a race
with mother nature, father time,
so baby girls will have no place.

"Don't procreate!
It's much too late.
I've had my turn,
Your future's with the state.

When workers we don't grow
and the economy is slow
the planet then will cool
and greenward we will flow."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Today's new word is DOYENNE

This word, which means a senior member of a group, is the feminine of doyen, and comes from the French word meaning "leader of 10" and I believe it shares some ancestors with dean. I joted it down and forgot to note where I'd seen it, but here's a nice juicy phrase I read in a review of the biography of Brooke Astor who lived to be 105. I guess she was in pretty good shape until she was 100 . . . For that birthday party guest list she wanted "99 men and me." She had a thing for Charlie Rose.
    "Mrs. Astor Regrets" is a saga about sex, avarice, jealousy, betrayal, infidelity, alcoholism, social position, gossip, power, vanity and ultimately money - lots of it, and Brooke Russell Kuser Marshall Astor, the doyenne or queen of New York City, is at the center of it all.
And here's a two-fer--denizen was also in that review, so I checked to be sure I was using it correctly--means one who frequents a place.

Change really is happening

"More than 144 hours into Barack Obama's presidency, the economy is still in recession, the country is still at war, and in many parts of the country it's still cold outside. Citizens are growing impatient: Wasn't President Obama supposed to bring change?

Yet one institution has changed dramatically, and in a very short time: the press. After spending the Bush years as a voice of opposition, American journalists have by and large turned on a dime and become cheerleaders for the man in power." James Taranto, January 26, 2009

A page out of the Nixon handbook!

The President has instructed the Republicans in Congress to stop listening to radio host Rush Limbaugh if they want to "get things done" with him. If this was his idea of a joke, it flopped. The press wasn't too kind to Nixon for his "enemies" list--but then, that was a different era, and a different party.
    President Obama warned Republicans on Capitol Hill today that they need to quit listening to radio king Rush Limbaugh if they want to get along with Democrats and the new administration.

    "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.

    One White House official confirmed the comment but said he was simply trying to make a larger point about bipartisan efforts. Fox News
Obviously, if Rush had any power with the Republicans in Congress, or the party big-wigs, Obama wouldn't be in office today. McCain wouldn't have been the candidate.

More thoughts on volunteerism

My mother was a volunteer for 30 years at the nursing home in my home town. However, over the years she saw many changes--particularly in the amount of contact the volunteers had with the patients. Early in her "career" she carried food trays to the room and tenderly fed some of the patients--some her contemporaries whom she'd known in college or in a young mothers' group. As rules and regulations changed, there was less and less of the satisfying personal contact. Today I chatted a few minutes with a woman working the produce table at a supermarket. She was quick, efficient, attractive, funny, and in a word. . . classy. When she said something about her shift, I asked her where she had worked before. "I'm a recent divorcee," she said, "and I've had to go to work due to my situation--this is my second job, my primary job is with (a home health care agency). She described to me her other job, the one with the benefits, which was helping a woman in an assisted care wing of a nursing home get back and forth to the dining room and attending a few personal needs in her apartment--but no bathing or dressing--a different paid assistant did that. These are jobs that may be "low pay," but they use to be "no pay"--they were volunteer jobs. As I noted in the entry about "outreach" ideas for church groups, there are layers and layers of laws and regulations dealing with health, safety, education, liability, and environment that relegate volunteers to almost "stand aside" status. And then if your group or activity takes government money, you are even further restricted, especially in matters of religion, even if you are representing a church and providing the service because of your religion.

Sometimes I take a bag (I still use plastic) and walk around the grounds and along the street and pick up trash. People throw an awful lot out of car windows, plus some of it blows off trucks. But, gosh, I wonder if I'm putting someone out of work! As far as I know, we're still allowed to do this, although if I were to get hurt or hit by a car (a teen-ager crashed into our condo street entry lamp post the other day and totalled his dad's new car), I suppose I could sue someone for NOT keeping the area clean and inspiring me to do it as a volunteer.

Obama's people create jobs

"Washington trash trucks hauled away at least 130 tons of garbage after the inauguration of President Obama, with more to go. National Park Service workers picked up almost 100 tons on the Mall and near the White House. "

Yes, right on the heels of that inspiring rhetoric on the 20th, Obama's followers were busy creating jobs . . . for sanitary engineers. No volunteers, please. Pros (i.e., union jobs and civil service) were needed for this massive clean up on the mall after the inauguration. I don't know what happened to all the global goodness-me people who could have handed out canvas tote bags with the Obama logo in order for his fans to take their trash home to their own neighborhoods--or at least to the nearest trash container. One hundred and thirty tons!

Today's Obama Prayer
Father God, in the name
of your Son Jesus,
I pray for President Obama.
Increase his faith,
Help him remember his charge
and his heritage.
Pull him into Your Word
where he will find truth and righteousness.

MLKing the memory

Milking the memory of a Civil Rights leader and taking credit for service already in place, the media and Democrats too young to remember the 80s and 90s, seem to forget a service day designated on August 23, 1994 by President Clinton as "The King Holiday and Service Act", a challenge in 1988 by Bush I for all Americans to be points of light, and memorializing September 11 as a service day (see, which looks like it is being folded into Obamanation and will probably lose its 9/11 roots) in memory of those lost in the terrorist attact. In fact, as early as 1980, black pastors were concerned that the King holiday was becoming an "idle day" and might reduce some mischief if kids did service.
    "Iowa’s Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration coincided with the National Day of Service called for by President Obama to honor the legacy of Dr. King. Across the nation, thousands of volunteers – including the President, Vice President, and their families – joined together to improve the lives of their fellow Americans. This theme was echoed in the President’s Inaugural Address yesterday, where he called on Americans to serve their country during these challenging times." Link to Governor's site [huge Obama supporter].
This has all the authenticity of sending a president to the grocery store to "experience " the rising cost of food. It is not "volunteering" or service when your president, whether Bush, Clinton or Obama, governor, boss, or school superintendent tell you to do it, "or else". And Obama is VERY serious about your doing service--and I'm guessing he'll decide whether your current activity is worthy. Volunteering at the Pregnancy Distress Center probably won't qualify because you'd be saving the unborn.

Millions of Americans volunteer everyday in organizations from A to Z (Amazing Grace Day Camp, City Vision, Clothes Closet, Faith Mission, Food pantries, Habitat for Humanity, health centers and hospitals, Make a Wish, prisons, resettling refugees, classroom tutors, adult language instruction, pregnancy centers, nursing homes, hot meals for shut-ins, survivors of AIDS assistance and care, wigs for cancer patients, and on and on). As far as I know, no one tracks the actual hours, but if they did, they'd see Americans don't need top down pressure to help their neighbors. I don't remember this excitement from the left or the media when service to community was called a "thousand points of light."
    And there is another tradition. And that’s the idea of community -- a beautiful word with a big meaning; though liberal democrats have an odd view of it. They see "community" as a limited cluster of interest groups, locked in odd conformity. And in this view, the country waits passive while Washington sets the rules.

    But that's not what community means -- not to me.

    For we’re a nation of community; of thousands and tens of thousands of ethnic, religious, social, business, labor union, neighborhood, regional and other organizations, all of them varied, voluntary and unique.

    This is America: the Knights of Columbus, the Grange, Hadassah, the Disabled American Veterans, the Order of Ahepa, the Business and Professional Women of America, the union hall, the Bible study group, LULAC, "Holy Name" -- a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky." GHW Bush, August 18, 1988
In fact, did they even notice that in 1994 it actually became a day of service? Or that 9/11 is a day of service? Iowa's governor is pretty young--maybe he doesn't remember or never noticed the service opportunities in Iowa B.O., Before Obama.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Did real people suggest these?

Not to be cranky, but. . . (when someone says that, they are about to be cranky). When I read through "100 idea starters for outreach that any church, any size" could do, I had a few questions. First of all, unless you live in an unincorporated town of 273, most towns and cities have codes and standards, even for good deeds. Secondly, some of these require so much preplanning and follow through, I wondered if the "idea" person had ever chaired anything or tried to organize volunteers. Keep in mind, that the intention is to proselytize or evangelize, depending on your point of view. That's what outreach is, regardless of what you call it. For instance,
    "Leave $20 at the library to cover fines for the next several people who come in "overdue." Leave connection cards (that's like a business card with a church's name, address and maybe a Bible verse) in the envelope, telling people why their fine was paid." Hello! Libraries are very busy places--especially during economic downturns; they cannot proselitize; you do people no favors by encouraging careless behavior. I can barely get my library to even purchase a Christian book let alone hand out material for me.

    "Say thanks and support the women behind the men serving in the military by offering free childcare and a child-free breakfast. Give spa gift baskets filled with candles, lotions, shampoo and conditioner and other fun items like chocolate, phone cards and coffee or tea." Oh. My. Goodness. There are many, many women in the military, and I think the kiddoes are with grandma or daddy! Do you have any idea how long it takes to run all your volunteers through the guidelines, child safety, and security checks (link to our church web site for security) for working with children? I could go for phone cards for military families, but unless you've got a batch of volunteers already fully vetted to work with children, this one won't fly. And make sure your insurance is paid up.

    "Identify times in your community when kids are busy with activities and parents wait for them, like soccer practice. Then offer seminars at those times to help moms and dads improve their parenting skills." Where? In the parking lot? If the parents have paid their money and signed the kids up, and are appearing at practice, they could already be pretty good parents. Plus, they should be there cheering them on, or helping the coaches. Just take a thermos of coffee along and join them as an interested friend--don't try to organize them.

    "Identify retired pastors or qualified lay leadership in your church or area, and post them as chaplains in an airport, a business, a hospital, a fire department a coffee shop or even a laundromat." I hardly know what to make of this one. We use retired pastors in our church--lots of them; they are paid to preach, visit the sick, teach Bible study classes, and be the "ordained" person on duty when a lay person is acting as a pastor. You just can't waltz into a hospital and say, "Hello, I'm a pastor, can I visit someone?" Oh, and I can just imagine the complaints the manager of a coffee shop will get if you hang out there and tell people about Jesus. I see Bible study groups in every coffee shop I've ever visited (except Starbucks in California), but they aren't advising or proselytising.

    "Ask hair stylists to bring their own equipment, including chairs and styling tools, to the church and serve those in your community who can't afford a professional haircut." This one baffles me. It probably violates most health and business codes in even tiny towns, plus, styling tools have to be sanitized, and where are you going to get the sinks that fit those chairs, assuming you can move them? Crazy!! If you think you know someone who would enjoy a visit to a barber or a beautician--pick them up, take them there, wait for them, and pay for it. And don't forget the tip.
And there are about 90 more where these came from.

Cleaning the office

Some dusting and a box of books ready to go out the door. You may remember the cat was inspecting my bookshelves and found them a mess.

It still looks cluttered, but much better.

A few notes on decor. The small chair with the wicker seat was my great-grandmother's, recaned by my mother. I think there are four of them--three here and one at my aunt's. The little writing desk was probably one of the first purchases of my husband's grandparents when they got married about 100 years ago. It has very delicate inlaid wood designs of flowers, but something leaky was set on top, and it's damaged. You might think we are into antiques, but not really. It's just that when you inherit them, what are you going to do? They all have stories!

In the photo of the shelves there's a little hand painted figurine on the middle top shelf. That was done by me in the 1940s in Forreston. There was a woman who had a little craft shop in her home and you could make plaster figurines from her molds and she also had all the paints and finishes. It was a very popular craft as I recall--even my mother made some. It's standing between a stack of Human Life Review, still just as accurate and truthful as when published, and Biblio, a nice journal about books that folded too soon (1999?).

One of the items I tucked away is the photo of my grandmother's grandparents Williford wedding photo (Tennessee, 1868). I didn't have it in a frame and it was starting to curl. They probably never had another photo taken. Need to take care of that. And all those spiral bound pages, 3rd shelf middle? Blogs, printed. Mine.

As technology goes, you can still see a few of the "antiques" like a cordless answering phone that's probably 10-15 years old, and a cd player/radio about 15 years old.

Today's new word is RECTITUDE

Today's is another good, solid lofty word you probably don't use in everyday conversation or correspondence. The piece I was reading was 100 years old. It comes from the Latin word rectus meaning straight or right, like rectangle. However, rectitude implies motives and judgement. It means strict observance of standards of integrity. Correctness of judgement. Rectitude is in such short supply, I can't even imagine using it. I'm not sure this is a word we would toss around the halls of Congress or the White House.

And now for today's prayer for President Obama, based on Psalm 62. The Psalms are great for Presidents; the book of Job instructive for pantheists who think they control the climate.

In God alone is our hope.
Jesus is our only fortress and rock,
and he is unchanging.
Whether high born or low born
our leaders are nothing without the Lord.
Make our President strong
so he won't be injured in falls from lofty places
where worshipers have put him in place of God. Amen

A grandmother told me this. Her grandson, attending a Lutheran pre-school in another city, watched the inauguration on Tuesday (most schools at all levels did this--we also did it when I was in grade school). He told his mother when he got home that "someone just like God was going to take care of them and nothing bad would happen."

Mystery visitors come to your church

Columbus used to have 2 newspapers, the Dispatch and the Citizen-Journal. I think it was the CJ that had a reporter who visited churches and then reported on the service and how he was treated. There are web sites that still do this--some quite humorous. Outreach magazine's final article is usually based on that. A recent issue had a mystery visitor who was not only not a Christian, but was a Muslim. Still, if I had visited "one of the top five fastest growing churches in America" that she did, I think my reaction would have been similar. The number one defining reason people chose a church is the worship style, i.e., the music. And it's probably the number one reason they leave. I have on occasion actually had to leave the building in order to protect my ears! Here's what this young Muslim woman wrote:
    "The band looked like modern, alternative artists. There were guitars, bass, drums and keyboards, with words displayed on the screen. I felt a bit awkward singing along, as alternative music seems hard to sing along with."
Amen to that. Also very repetitious. We were at an event last night where I recognized the music, but thought it so boring my ears would bleed. It's not that it was loud. I think we've used it during cool-down in exercise class. One of the largest, most popular churches in Columbus uses this style. Then she described the message she heard:
    "[it was] about getting baptized and the feelings you have before taking this step. The speaker was on the screen; he was not actually there. I found this impersonal. Several other movie clips were used throughout, and Bible verses were referenced. The message was not especially applicable to me as a Muslim, but I could see how it would apply to a Christian."
Not to this Christian. I just love sermons on baptism if there is a strong gospel message, and maybe an actual baptism--but feelings while being baptized? Not so much. I was about 12 and much concerned about what I would look like while wet and choking. Then she continues about the setting
    "It was different for me that men and women were together because Muslims meet in separate areas of the mosque. Intermingling between sexes is frowned upon in my culture, especially in a religious setting. You could not talk to the speaker. No one came to talk to me. There was a small statement in the bulletin about a tent where first-time guests could receive a free gift, but I did not see this notice until after I came home. People seemed nice, but no one, except for the greeters at the entrance, acknowledged my presence. I wouldn't go back because it wasn't my idea of worship. I respect everyone there, but it really just wasn't for me."
In every Christian sanctuary or fellowship hall there is behavior that if off-putting for the stranger, especially the noise and talking during the prelude of traditional services. Still, if you are a visitor, you need to be respectful, as this woman was, of another's culture. We attended a tiny Lutheran church a few years back and a toddler was running up and down the aisles squealing, much to the delight of the members, but we were a little surprised. It turned out he was the pastor's son, and different members would just pick him up and kiss him and pass him along to the next parishioner. Once we understood, it was sort of sweet. Being a print person, I'm always reading the literature, and mentally composing a letter to their communications staff on how I would do it differently to help the visitor in their midst (an address of the church would really help, and it's shocking how often this is left off).

Our multi-campus church has three locations and nine services. I try to be friendly and welcoming, but often find out I have welcomed someone who joined 10 years ago, and just got up early that Sunday. Still, it's good practice.

In any case, it doesn't sound like this non-Christian heard the gospel--but then, neither did the members. And it's so important to remind the "regulars" why they have made the effort to gather and praise God.

Happy Birthday Robert Burns

We're going to a Robert Burns birthday party tonight. He was born on January 25, 1759 and after his death on July 21, 1796, Burns admirers have been celebrating each year at or around his birth date with "Burns Suppers". We're fortunate in that one of Columbus' finest host and hostess have invited us to enjoy a Burns Supper at their home.

My husband and I both have surnames that travelled with invaders to Britain during the Norman invasion in 1066, which means our origins were French, then into Scotland, but with so much mixing and matching over the centuries, especially in the British Isles, who knows really? We are both 8th or 9th generation Americans, with families that originally settled in Pennsylvania after getting off the boat before the Revolution, then traveling further west and south in the next generations and intermarrying with boatloads of Germans, some of whom kept their language for almost 100 years. Lots of Presbyterians in our family trees. . . his more recently than mine.

Churches in Scotland are celebrating according to Christianity today.

    Churches join Burns celebrations by Anne Thomas Posted: Sunday, January 25, 2009 Around 10,000 people are expected to gather in the Scottish town of Dumfries on Sunday to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of national bard Robert Burns. According to Scotland on Sunday, the crowds will be carrying several thousand handmade lanterns through the town, past Burns’ house and the place of his burial at St Michael's Churchyard, before gathering at the River Nith to see the torching of a 15m wooden model of Tam O’Shanter atop his horse. Church groups, Scouts, Brownies, Boys Brigades, Guides and other community groups have been running lantern workshops over the last few months for members of the public to come and make their own lanterns for the procession, reports Scotland on Sunday. Two specially commissioned stained glass windows, one of Burns and the other of his wife Jean Armour, will be unveiled at St Michael’s Church earlier in the day. The occasion will also see the unveiling of a life-sized bust of Burns, gifted to the church by the World Burns Federation. Although Burns was born in a small stone cottage in Alloway, he spent much of his life in Dumfries and died there in 1796 at the age of 38. His most famous works include Tam O’Shanter, Auld Lang Syne, and My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose. Burns Suppers, held each year on or around the bard’s birthday, are taking place around the world this weekend to commemorate the bard’s life and works, continuing on a tradition of more than 200 years. A special evening service will be held in his honour in Westminster Abbey in London, where a white marble bust of Burns is positioned on the wall of Poets’ Corner. The service, held in association with the Burns Club of London, will be led by the Rev Graeme Napier and include recitations of Burns’ verse as well as solo performances from the canon of his songs.
Update on menu:

New jobs? Don't count on it

Can't imagine that anyone is surprised that the "stimulus" is a political grab for power; here's point 6 of Jan. 24's Morning Bell from the Heritage Foundation.
    "While President Obama has said the stimulus could create as many as 3 million jobs, Speaker Pelosi said yesterday that 4 million jobs will be created or saved. Yet, when pressed by Congressman Camp (R-MI) this week, Tax Committee Staffer Thomas Barthold could only shrug and admit that they had no estimates that any jobs or economic growth would be created by this legislation. [There's a video of this, but I haven't been able to view it.]

    Some legislators are beginning to catch on to the left's game. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) says he opposes the Medicaid bailout "because some governors would use the money to mask poor decisions in other portions of their budgets." Rep. Heath Shuler (D-TN) claims "he is concerned about returning fiscal responsibility to Washington" and says the stimulus bill "can’t be the pet projects of the House and Senate."

    It's time to wake up. This stimulus bill is nothing but the permanent implementation of the pet projects of the House and Senate. And that is exactly why Speaker Pelosi doesn't want you to know what's in it, and certainly doesn't want it to be debated. "We're on our timetable." she said unapologetically yesterday. There is nothing temporary about any of the spending increases in this bill. They are all designed to make the American people more dependent on the federal government. And there is nothing stimulating about that. Let's hope they get on the timetable of the American people before it is too late."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It was a much kinder, gentler inauguration than the last two

Comments a James Taranto reader: "The Mall was a lot friendlier this week than during the past two inaugurations, so I did an anecdotal survey. Turns out most of my conservative friends who went to the last two Bush inaugurations (and are still in D.C.) also went to Obama's inauguration and were there chanting for the new president too. Because my friends were there cheering and decked out in red, white and blue (which liberals can now be seen wearing again), everyone thought they fit right in.
Contrast that to 2001, when they had to tolerate screaming liberals protesting Bush's "selection" by the Supreme Court's "partisan decision to place him in the White House," and 2005, when they had to put up with the CodePink and protests.

When you cast it in that light, of course the atmosphere this week was nicer! Of course there were fewer people being divisive!"

So it was the polite, well behaved conservatives who made the Mall in Washington a pleasant place to be on January 20. Amazing! How different than the treatment of Bush.

Move along folks, no Obama cells were used

The headlines in the Dispatch certainly have an Obamarvelous ring, "U.S. OKs testing stem-cell use in paraplegics." But as I've noted many times, there was no restriction on stem cell research in the U.S., only on new lines using government money to harvest the embryos from the cottage industry of womb gardens.

Geron Corp. of Menlo Park still has to jump through the hoops of safety and efficacy of our federal government to launch the injection of stem cells into humans instead of lab animals (where they have more hoops due to animal rightists who care more about animals than embryos or fetuses of the human variety).

Dr. Thomas Okarma (total compensation about $2,500,000) says Obama's election has nothing to do with this stem cell research--the project has always been eligible for federal funding. Still, the company has spent at least $100 million of its own money, and I'm sure that if they are successful, they plan to recoup every penny. The study involves people treated within 14 days of their injury. Story in the WSJ.

Here's a little Obamadvance info for you on stem cells:
    "Obama recently promised to lift former President Bush's ban on stem cell research. If signed into law, this controversial area of science will present the law community with a new challenge. Intellectual property lawyer Kent Cheng, a partner in the firm of Cohen Pontani Lieberman & Pavane, told Forbes that the ban lifting would provide more government funding to stem cell research. He added that this would give the government more control over who owns patents and would help bring products to market faster than if they were controlled by a corporation." Forbes
Sort of sounds like dual standards, doesn't it? Never let it be said that biopharm could benefit from its years of research. But it will mean full employment for lawyers, both private and federal.

The Rebel side of Heaven

He's good enough to make it without the bathroom images, but I guess that draws in the middle school crowd. His real name is Sean Scolnick from Pennsylvania--sounds like a few Irish and Serb coal miners in his family tree. (Yes, coal was good enough for the nation's immigrants, but today isn't green enough.) Now he's Langhorne Slim, and I saw him at Eamonn Fitzgerald's blog. Click and listen; you won't be sorry.

Not to over-spiritualize his song, but we're all rebels, all sinners, so in a way, we're all going to the Rebel side of Heaven, but only if our ticket was paid for by someone else. I just liked his music.

If Congress approves Timothy Geithner

they prove what a phony President Obama is (I prayed for him this morning; did you?*). They won't need to wait 100 days, which is around the time we would expect to find out he has feet of clay in that mouth with a golden tongue. There aren't enough Republicans to stop this ridiculous slap in the face of honest Americans who struggle with that bizarre tome called the tax code every April, or quarterly the way this financial wizard nominated for the Obama cabinet refused to do, people who spend hundreds of dollars and even more hours wrestling with obscure phrases and filling in little lines, "if line 457d is less than the sum of P and Q of line 560, then go back and refigure line 30z and start over."

If they approve tax cheat Geithner, Congress confirms that nothing Obama has said about "change" is true, except that he will continue to push the envelop on ethics and morality, not just in matters of life and death of fetuses and embryos, but in matters of personal behavior.
    * Heavenly father, be the father he never had. Lay your hand on him and guide him into righteousness, respect and obedience to your holy word, into a knowledge of history and a new found humility. Protect him, his family, staff and our nation from the terrorists within and outside our country's borders. In the holy name of Jesus, Amen.
Some of us meekly comply, others just cheat their way to the top.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Today's new word is SELFSAME

Whether this is British English, or just old fashioned, I rarely come across SELFSAME unless reading something old--in this case, G. Campbell Morgan, a famous expository preacher in England over 100 years ago. As long as I don't stumble while reading, I'd just move on. This time I stopped.
    "In the early Bible history the throne is unnamed, but it is always there. In the early movements chronicled for us I find men in relation to the throne, submissive, at peace; in rebellion against the throne, disturbed. The throne of God is everywhere. I come at last to the point where the chosen people make their great mistake, and I hear God's explanation of it, "They have rejected me, that I should not be King over them." I come further on until I find this SELFSAME chosen people in the midst of circumstances full of terror. . . "
My big dining room dictionary has several pages for "self" as a noun, adjective, pre-fix, suffix, and a list of hundreds of words, both hyphenated and joined thereof, from self-abandon to self-wrought. SELFSAME seems to mean "exactly the same," or "precisely the same"--probably with a touch of irony or criticism in Morgan's voice, since these 10 volumes (The Westminster Pulpit) are taken from his sermons preached over a 13 year period at Westminster Chapel in London. 2,500 people were showing up to hear him preach on Sunday, so Friday night Bible classes were added and week after week, with notebooks and Bibles in hand, 1,500-1,700 people would show up on Friday night from throughout London.

SELF is one of those very busy, horrid little English words that must give second language people fits. You can say, "payable to self," in correspondence or on a check, or you can make a dress with a "self belt," although few women are sewing dresses these days, and if they are, they are probably using elastic, not the same fabric to cover a stiff material for a belt. You can say, "my own dear self" and your native born neighbor will know what you mean (although you'd sound a bit quaint), but your neighbor born in Turkey might think you somewhat egotistical to be speaking so lavishly. Then there is "self-rising flour," which really isn't because baking powder has been added to it, so there's some cheating going on, just as in "self-made man" because no one is. God was always there, from conception to life outside the womb, to self-diapering stage at the end and all the stages inbetween.

Another January 20 insult from Obama

"We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost."

President Bush saved our country from the ethical morass of harvesting human embryos for stem cell research. The breakthrough of 2008 might have never come if government money had been used for embryo farming and more demands for embryos. Under Obama, we can be assured of far less respect for human life and fewer ethical concerns at the beginning and at the end, especially with his promise of FOCA.

Scientific Breakthroughs, December 30, 2008 at reporting Science, magazine article.
    "In a triumph of molecular magic, scientists took skin cells from adults suffering from a range of genetic diseases and transformed them into stem cells that could be used to test potential treatments or replace damaged cells in patients.

    In its December 19, 2008 issue, Science magazine, one of the world’s most prominent scientific journals, hailed this and related advances as the breakthrough of the year, first on a list of the top 10 scientific advances of 2008.

    “When Science's writers and editors set out to pick this year's biggest advances, we looked for research that answers major questions about how the universe works and that paves the way for future discoveries,” deputy news editor Robert Coontz said in a December 18 statement. “Our top choice, cellular reprogramming, opened a new field of biology almost overnight and holds out hope of life-saving medical advances.”
    Before scientists developed methods to reprogram cells, isolating stem cells from people required harvesting them from human embryos, an ethically controversial procedure. Several countries, including the United States, restricted the technique, thereby hampering stem cell research. [This is incorrect--the research was never restricted--only the government funding beyond certain cell lines. Private research was always an option for any company wanting to put up the money and the USA produced far more research and papers on stem cell research even with limited cell lines than any other country.]

    Normally, a mature cell maintains its identity for life — skin cells do not transform into brain cells, muscle cells do not become liver cells. In 2006, researchers turned on four genes in cells from a mouse’s tail and found that the cells had been “reprogrammed” into stem cells — immature cells that have the potential to mature into a variety of different cell types.

    Cultured in a dish, stem cells can be incubated with chemical cocktails to coax them to mature into different cell types, including those found in the liver, muscle and brain.

    This year’s breakthrough in cellular reprogramming allows researchers to generate new stem cell lines from people with genetic diseases."

President Bush's malaria initiative

If you click on the link to the White House to learn about President Bush’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), a U.S. government initiative designed to cut malaria deaths in half in target countries in sub-Saharan Africa, you'll get the Obama White House and no information--or it is buried in another topic. It was announced on June 30, 2005, when President Bush pledged to increase U.S. funding of malaria prevention and treatment in sub-Saharan Africa by more than $1.2 billion over 5 years. The five years isn't up yet, so there's no telling where the money went. All White House links were changed by January 20, 2009, so if you linked there for information or data or speeches, I doubt that the links are archived. Worldwide, malaria causes around 350 to 500 million illnesses and more than one million deaths annually, but it is particularly devastating in Africa, where it kills an African child every 30 seconds.

Environmentalists in their eagerness to save bird eggs based on the tales (Silent Spring) of a non-scientist, have killed more Africans than Atlantic slave trade. Bush's efforts can't undo the hasty removal of DDT before an alternative could be found, but they can help. The money, our money, provides for technical and programmatic strategies, training and supervision of health workers, laboratories, communications, monitoring and evaluation, and surveillance systems as well as house spraying and bed nets. Of course, killing the mosquito eggs would have been better and cheaper, but lives will be saved--eventually.
    In Africa, at least one million children under-5 die each year from malaria. The President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), a five-year, $1.2 billion program, announced by President George W. Bush in June 2005, aims to cut malaria deaths by 50 percent in 15 of the hardest-hit African countries. Photo gallery
I doubt that this link will be available long. Laura Bush's efforts for malaria victims are still on, but will probably disappear. Each first lady choses her own defining activity. Remember Lady Bird's beautification projects--and billboards just got larger? Digital history is very iffy--regardless of who's in power. It takes a long time to burn a library, but digital archives can be wiped out with a computer stroke. And even paper archives can be stuffed into socks and stolen. I wonder if President Bush will ever get the credit he deserves? Or if the program will be continued?

The War against Universal Pre-School

has already been lost, so don't even enlist. I was browsing some articles on the internet, and the other side is so well-funded that if you care about anything else in life, you'll need to rethink your priorities. I'm not even going to give you the links. Trust me on this one, or do your own google work.

When "Head Start" got going about 50 years ago for poor families it created an image that some kids might get ahead of others if you just did the right things early enough. Teach some colors, how to paste and draw, some social skills, and perhaps it won't matter that mom's on drugs, or dad deserted the family. So middle-class parents (like me) rushed to the challenge--and they put their kids in programs too, thus moving them ahead of the low-income kids who didn't have an enriched home environment, good health care and nutrition, college educated parents, and a father in the home. Or--and I'm just guessing here--that's the excuse for Head Start children (government pre-schools) not making up the difference when they are matched to middle-class and wealthy kids who attended private pre-schools PLUS had all the family advantages. I know my children attended pre-school in the 1970s, but I'm sure no one had heard of it in the 1940s, or if they did they called it grandma's house or babysitting. I taught them to read and count because I think their pre-school emphasized social skills, sitting still for story time, and not throwing fire trucks at each other.

Speaking of which. Today I was putting away exercise equipment in a room full of pre-pre-schoolers (under age 3) and their parents. I noticed a foster child, and not because he was black, but because he was the only one not using the toys "appropriately"--he was throwing them across the room (had a great arm, too). The other toddlers just worked and played around him very intent on whatever they'd chosen--sandbox skills, riding tricycles, crawling through tunnels, sitting on daddy's lap, etc. When I was using the rest room, the little one in the next stall asked her mommy if she could watch me. And mommy was there to explain manners and rest room behavior. Not all little girls get that sort of one-on-one discussion with their mothers about using public toilets--toilet paper, hand washing, manners, etc. The difference between what I saw and day-care is that there were probably two children for every adult, and it only lasts 2 hours--the parents, not paid aides, were doing the supervising.

Back to the war you missed. The education system is salivating--it enlisted years ago in this war and is extremely well trained to combat any argument you may have. Pre-schools have a patch work of standards by city and state for buildings, curricula, teachers, aides, safety, play time, unions--I mean, can you see the economic opportunities here for colleges of education, the building trades, the regulatory agencies? My head just swims with visions of dollars in chubby little fists. Convincing people that a child's mind and behavior are completely malleable with just 20-30 hours a week away from mom, grandma and the hood, and that the payback to the government will be enormous when they don't go to prison, shouldn't be any more difficult than convincing them we control the climate. If we just spend enough money. . . Whoopee. It's worth a chunk of that stimulus, right? After all, stingy old Bush was only spending $7 billion a year on pre-schoolers--Obama and the teachers unions who supported him can do better than that.

So what if the research is totally shaky and biased? (No research denying the value of universal pre-school will ever see the light of day in peer reviewed education journals which are totally dependent on federal money from the editors' salaries to the grants for research to the professors' tenure track requirements to the library subscriptions to the license for digitizing the information in huge databanks).

Although the little squirts do have to be born first before we enroll them in pre-school. Maybe that's the angle we should take? Pit FOCA and the feminists against the universal early childhood education movement.