Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ellie Light meet H. L. Harris

Ellie Light (I first heard this on radio and thought it was "L.A. Light") is now claiming to be a Californian--a guy--who sent letters to the editors of many major newspapers in the U.S. supporting Obamacare--42 newspapers in 18 states, as well as Politico. Here's the Cleveland Plain Dealer story. Who knows. Maybe this guy is just trying to cash in on Ellie's fame and mystery. However, it happened 100 years ago too, according to the Jan. 6 issue of JAMA, which always has a "JAMA 100 Years Ago" feature in each issue.
    "Many and devious are the ways by which those who would "doctor" our food attempt to create public sentiment in favor of chemical preservatives. During the last few months a harmless looking letter signed "H.L. Harris" has appeared in the newspapers of those cities and towns in which deaths from ptomain poisoning have recently been chronicled. This letter--we use the singular advisedly--does not vary in its wording in different papers, except for the opening sentnence. . . Not only in the form of letters do we find these much-reiterated sentiments of Mr. Harris. Overworked editors occasionally use them en bloc to fill a gaping void on the editorial page." (Reports an incident in the Alliance, Ohio Review, Dec. 4, 1909.)
It seems that H.L. Harris was an advocate of using boron compounds as food preservatives, and it turned out he worked for the Pacific Coast Borax Company and sometimes used the name H.H. Langdon. He referred to himself as a food expert, but seemed to have only one topic--attacking pure-food legislation. Harris-Langdon differed from Ellie Light in that he focused on and fooled smaller town newspaper editors. 100 years ago there was no way for small town editors to check these things. Not so today. With Google, there's no excuse for editors, with their leftist bias and custom of carrying Obama no matter what, to not do a bit of checking when something seems "too good to be true." I do it with viral messages sent to me, and I'm just a blogger. Give those unpaid college interns something to do.

If you play you pay--Infections of Leisure

When I was a librarian at Ohio State's Veterinary Medicine library, I would buy textbooks for our reserve collection. Many academic libraries don't--in some fields like education or history that could break the bank. However, there's nothing like a good, solid, frequently revised and updated textbook to save you hours of time both in research and reading. What you'll find in chapter bibliographies, notes and illustrations could save you hours of searching on-line databases or poking around in Google, plus there's been expert editorial review for quality. Let's face it, most of us aren't writing or reading for publication but for information.

I won't request the 4th ed. of Infections of Leisure from my public library--I know what the response will be--you have an OSU address, get it from them. Well, no library in OhioLink has a copy; OSU has the 3rd (2004), parts of which have been digitized. Maybe it's in the pipeline, or maybe it's just the old librarian's prejudice against textbooks in their collections. But read this MD reviewer in the Jan. 6, 2010 JAMA:
    "As one who has completed an infectious diseases followship, I was astounded by the amount of new material I learned from this book--even gleaning one particularly salient fact from a table comparing infections acquired from hamsters, gerbils, and guinea pigs."
So what are infections of leisure? For a huge number of us that means our pets--dogs, cats, birds, horses, rodents. Or even our neighbors' pets who are burying their feces in our garden, or dropping them where birds can help spread the problem. For others it is combining the ancient practice of tattooing and body piercing with 21st century pathogens or cruise ship travel. Titles of the 19 chapters are:
    At the shore / Mark A Clemence and Richard L Guerrant
    Freshwater : from lakes to hot tubs / Bertha S Ayi and David Dworzack
    The camper's uninvited guests / Gordon E Schutze and Richard F Jacobs
    Infections in the garden / Burke A Cunha and Diane H Johnson
    With man's best friend / Julie M Collins and Bennett Lorber
    Around cats / Ellie J C Goldstein and Craig E Greene
    Feathered friends / Matthew E Levison
    Less common house pets / Bruno B Chomel
    With man's worst friend : the rat / James G Fox
    Closed due to rabies / Jesse D Blanton and John W Krebs
    Sports : the infectious hazards / Arezou Minooee, Leland S Rickman, and Geeta Gupta
    Traveling abroad / Martin S Wolfe
    From boudoir to bordello : sexually transmitted diseases and travel / Jonathan M Zenilman
    Infections from body piercing and tattoos / Mukesh Patel and C Glenn Cobbs
    Infectious diseases at high altitude / Buddha Basnyat, Thomas A Cumbo, and Robert Edelman
    Infectious risks of air travel / Alexandra Mangili and Mark Gendreau
    Perils of the petting zoo / John R Dunn and Frederick J Angulo
    Infections on cruise ships / Vivek Kak
    Exotic and trendy cuisine / Jeffrey K Griffiths
Humans are surprisingly smug about being able to control the planet or finding miniscule dangerous amounts of a chemical in processed food. Yet they can't control their own dangerous personal behaviors like oral/anal sex or cleaning up after their pets. We'd rather pass legislation costing billions but remain ignorant of many novel pathogens that jump from animal to man which we encounter every day--an area we could control. Maybe the library could buy one less book on global warming.

If you're interested, I've seen book sites selling this book for anything from $66 to $150. So shop around.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

O wert thou in the cauld blast

Tonight we're going to a Robert Burns dinner, and the hosts provide the food and the guests the entertainment. I will be reading this poem/song. He wrote it during his final illness for Jessy Lewars who helped the Burns family during his illness and his wife's confinement. The melody most commonly used for this song is by Mendelssohn, but I won't sing it, for which everyone will be grateful. I used to be a soprano. Now I have 4 notes--but they aren't all in a row.

O wert thou in the cauld blast,
On yonder lea, on yonder lea,
My plaidie to the angry airt,
I'd shelter thee, I'd shelter thee;
Or did Misfortune's bitter storms
Around thee blaw, around thee blaw,
Thy bield should be my bosom,
To share it a', to share it a'.

Or were I in the wildest waste,
Sae black and bare, sae black and bare,
The desert were a Paradise,
If thou wert there, if thou wert there;
Or were I Monarch o' the globe,
Wi' thee to reign, wi' thee to reign,
The brightest jewel in my Crown
Wad be my Queen, wad be my Queen.

cauld = cold
lea = grassland
plaide = length of tartan cloth
airt = direction
aroond = around
blaw = blow
bield = shelter

In writing about Bobby Burns, Elbert Hubbard says (1916), "Poetry and love-making should be carried on with caution: they form a terrific tax on life's forces. Most poets die young, not because the gods especially love them, but because life is a bank-account, and to wipe out your balance is to have your checks protested. The excesses of youth are drafts payable at maturity. Chatterton dead at eighteen, Keats at twenty-six, Shelley at thirty-three, Byron at thirty-six, Poe at forty, and Burns at thirty-seven, are the rule. When drafts made by the men mentioned became due, there was no balance to their credit and Charon beckoned. Most life-insurance companies now ask the applicant this question, "Do you write poetry to excess?" " Link.

Another Obama scandal--mirandizing Abdulmutallab

"We have since learned that the decision to Mirandize Abdulmutallab had been made without the knowledge of or consultation with (1) the secretary of defense, (2) the secretary of homeland security, (3) the director of the FBI, (4) the director of the National Counterterrorism Center or (5) the director of national intelligence (DNI).

The Justice Department acted not just unilaterally but unaccountably. Obama's own DNI said that Abdulmutallab should have been interrogated by the HIG, the administration's new High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group.

Perhaps you hadn't heard the term. Well, in the very first week of his presidency, Obama abolished by executive order the Bush-Cheney interrogation procedures and pledged to study a substitute mechanism. In August, the administration announced the establishment of the HIG, housed in the FBI but overseen by the National Security Council." Read Krauthammer's column

It was like Christmas!

First, the Christmas flower (amaryllis) from brother Rick and sister Kate bloomed. My, how magnificent! Cute pot too. Then Joan sent a check for $34 to buy my 1979 Lady Clairol make-up mirror. God knows, I don't need it--it's too late! It will probably cost half that to mail it, but I've found a box and wrapping paper. Lynne, a Watkins salesperson in Nebraska, sent me my 3 Lemon Cream Shea Butter in a JAR, plus 3 darling little samples, one being peppermint foot cream--never heard of such a luxury. Last week I got my once a year letter from my college roommate who put me in touch with a mutual friend, Denise from Forreston, I'd met when I was 6 and she was 3, and she mailed me a stack of photographs. What a joy to see her and her siblings after all these years, and actually she doesn't look much different from the only other photo I had of her in a snow suit with Santa Claus.

But that means the clutter is starting to build on my desk again, and I haven't yet cleaned out the box.

[The two paintings on the easel are my husband's of our trips to Jerusalem (2009) and Ireland (2007); he's president this year of the Central Ohio Watercolor Society.]

Would you invite this scold to your next get-together?

"It’s all well and good that President Obama wants to meet with Republicans — giving the appearance of reaching out — but when it’s mainly to “chastise” them for opposing his programs, as the AP is reporting after his session at the House Republicans’ retreat in Baltimore today, it’s little but a continuation of the lecture he gave to Congress, the Supreme Court, and even the American people on Wednesday evening. “I am not an ideologue,” he’s reported to have said. Yet it appears that he rejected the Republicans’ proposals for a different approach to health care, a line-item veto for spending bills, and across-the-board tax cuts." Roger Pilon

I disagree Mr. Pilon. The appearance of reaching out means nothing--especially not "well and good." This man never grew up, never learned to accept responsibility or hard knocks. Not only is he the biggest narcissist we've ever elected--and that quality is probably essential to some degree for any pol--(is the count in on the first person singular used in that speech?)--he's the biggest scold, finger wagger, and head swirler/twirler with flaming eyes I've ever seen. He's just scary to watch with or without sound. Imagine scolding Congress before a TV audience when they are your team, and correcting the Supreme Court so everyone can see your speech writer didn't do his research.

The man never learned any manners and his managers are in chaos trying to figure out what they want him to be.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Great art, great message

Panera's changes the hanging banners/art about 5 times a year, I think. Some stores have permanent art, some don't. I created a fan page for the one at 5 points, Upper Arlington, because I see a lot of FaceBook and church members there. I also see artists and writers, professors, retirees, new mothers, a Roman Catholic book group, a collection of Columbus school teachers, a Lutheran book club, school children, my neighbors, and last week met a publisher/chef (who lives in our former house). And that's just the folks I talk to. When our town was hit by Hurricane Ike, this store was one of the few places around with power, and they practically fed the entire community for days. It's one thing to go without a shower--but no coffee?

Since I enjoy art and like to draw and paint, I want to call your attention to the winter banner. It's not only wonderful design, but a great message. For Christians, I'd add Reach, Redeem, Reclaim. The figure appears to be either an African or Asian male raising his hands in praise for blessings swirling and twirling, curving like vines, coming down from heaven, but also offering up something much more stylized like a small tree or leaf. In the background behind the head it could be his/her hair flowing or something roaring and twisting--maybe an ocean or an oozing mass of something he'd like to escape. I'm not sure why s/he's wearing a long sleeve sweater, but it does allow the artist to pick up on the most recent interior color scheme--gold, cream, brown, rust--yet some new colors, the purple, lavendar and pale blue are brought in and work well.

It looks great across the room, but even better up close where you can see the detail.

Update: The artist is Andrea Eberbach. You can see her portfolio here. Now that I've seen some other pieces, I think this is probably a woman and the dark background behind the head is her hair. But it works for me either way.

Exercise classes at Upper Arlington Lutheran

There are 3 fitness level classes at UALC, two at Lytham and one at Mill Run. I've seen those hard bodies leave the building at MR and I know that class isn't for me, but I can grapevine, cha-cha and swing, I can punch and kick and throw the basketball, I can stretch, and huff and puff with 5 lb weights, and I can enjoy my friends for an hour (I absolutely hate to exercise, always have) knowing it's good for my bones, heart and brain.

I also bring a bottle of window cleaner and an old t-shirt and mop up the spills left by the children. Works great on carpet.

Fair, balanced, and better looking

"A Public Policy Polling nationwide survey of 1,151 registered voters Jan. 18-19 found that 49 percent of Americans trusted Fox News, 10 percentage points more than any other network.

Thirty-seven percent said they didn’t trust Fox, also the lowest level of distrust that any of the networks recorded.

There was a strong partisan split among those who said they trusted Fox — with 74 percent of Republicans saying they trusted the network, while only 30 percent of Democrats said they did.

Read more at Politico.

Some call it fusion; I call it ugly--Arcosanti

A 1970 experiment of living in the desert. Paolo Soleri began construction on this experimental town in the Arizona desert nearly 40 years ago. Still going. Still ugly. If you read this blog often, you know I read all my husband’s professional journals, newsletters and e-mails. During our 50 year marriage I’ve been through the modern and post-modern phases (i.e. from buildings that look like tall cereal boxes lined up on a shelf to those that look like funnel cakes with gargoyles attached). I don’t just read about them; we tour them--sometimes on our own, sometimes with groups. Lately everything is about going green. It’s where the money is. And architects and builders are lobbying Congress hard to throw more ARRA money their way so they can tear down what their fathers did in the 70s and get some do-over money. I can’t think of anything I’ve seen recently that looks less friendly to the environment than blobs of concrete in a desert. This video has a number of stories on it--I only watched the Soleri one. Construction video. Maybe after I've had my coffee. . .

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fat cat bankers and corrupt CEOs

Fat cat bankers. Doesn't that have a familiar, 1930s ring to it? Sure sounds anti-semitic to me--I mean if you know anything about history and the lead up to WWII. I think it's code. Wouldn't surprise me if there were a purge coming for the White House staff. Axelrod and Rahm will decide they need to spend more time with their families or day jobs and quietly disappear. What other industry is being singled out for harassment, punishment, ridicule and defamation?

Robert Burns poem?

I was browsing YouTube looking for the audio of "Oh, Wert Thou in the Cauld Blast" by Robert Burns and found this lovely Ukrainian vocal band. I have no idea what they're saying, but it certainly is nice (I hope).

Thursday Thirteen--Cleaning the desk top

For many years when I was working at the Veterinary Medicine Library at Ohio State, I would have an annual review with my boss, Jay Ladd. He always did this in my office rather than his, because that way he could look around and see how things were progressing in my library (located a mile or so from the Main Library). Of course, you want to make a good impression, so we’d make sure the public areas were neat and dusted. But what to do about the mess in my office? I soon perfected this method. Scoop up everything on the top of my side desk, computer desk and top of the filing cabinets and dump ot into a large box which would then go under my desk (not visible to anyone but me). What I learned from many years of doing this was that if I left the box unpacked for 6-8 weeks or so, most of the “to do” list just disappeared.

Since Christmas (or maybe before) the clutter in my home office has been growing. So this morning, it all went into a box. I need a list of 13 things, so this will just scratch the surface of what's in the box.

1) Garage Slab, vol. 1, no. 1. This goes with my hobby bloggy, In the beginning, but I just got this one last week and haven’t entered the information yet.

2) Three 8 x 10 group photos of class reunions. I do that blog too, MMHS1957 and I think one of them is missing, but although I pulled out the photos, I haven’t checked yet.

3) A recipe for pie pastry and apple pie on a 3 x 6 lined index card found in a library book. Beautiful handwriting. Appears to be exactly the same as what I learned from my mother who was the best pie baker east of the Mississippi River.

4) 4 or 5 returned Christmas cards. Need to change the addresses in my records, but haven’t yet. Computers are not handy that way.

5) My I-Touch that I’ve never learned to use, inside a small plastic case designed for a calendar.

6) My little notebook for new words--one of my 2009 New year’s resolutions.

7) The warranty and instructions for my 1979 lighted make-up mirror, but the lady who wanted to buy it never sent me the money.

8) An empty bottle of Valu-Dryl I was using to look up the ingredients for my husband’s winter cold 4 weeks ago.

9) 215 photographs to put in a new album for our 50th anniversary event. The album is a Martha Stewart (too big for the box so it’s on the couch) on sale for about $7, and Walgreens was having a sale, $.15 per print. That way I don't have to take old albums apart. These were all stored on my computer.

10) A lighted magnifying glass that doesn’t work too great--should probably toss it.

11) A 2010 calendar of daily phrases in German. However, there’s no pronunciation guide, and I don’t know German. Must be why it was for sale at Marc’s for about 88 cents. It could be a note pad if I turn it over.

12) A letter and stack of genealogy information from 2nd cousin once removed Marianne in Iowa who is 93.

13) Several weeks’ worth of church newsletters with names checked of people I need to send cards to, but haven't gotten around to it.

That’s only the top inch or so. I have a ways to go.

This cleaning method only works if you don’t stop to put anything away while you’re filling the box. The original dump only takes a few minutes. Once you begin sorting, shelving and filing, it’s an all day job.
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Really bad frugal living tips

Driving home from the coffee shop this morning, I heard a review of a frugal tips book currently getting air play and pixels. The worst was "use a beauty school student instead of your regular hair dresser and pay only $20." Well, why not go really cheap and cut it yourself, or let your husband and/or girl friend do it? No thanks. I pay about $90 every 7 weeks, and I'm fine with that. I help the local economy and a small business woman. Melissa (Shear Impressions) owns her own business, attends the same church we do, graduated from Grandview H.S., is about my children's age, and I've known her since she finished her own schooling about 25 years ago and worked for David Keith. We can pick up the chat where we left off in December, she calls if I've forgotten, and I can buy the products I like at her shop. One time I had to have a work-in because I'd scheduled wrong, and was planning to leave town for a class reunion. There was another younger gal renting a chair from Melissa, so she took me. "Your reunion?" she cooed. "Oh, honey, let's jazz it up a bit." For six weeks, I was about as blonde as Marilyn Monroe, whose real name was Norma, remember.

I had my first professional hair cut for another class event--the eighth grade trip to Chicago. (I'm the one in the middle.) Before that, my mother chopped away at it with her sewing shears. I'm sure she read up on it, but. . . She also gave us home permanents. Whew! Did they smell.

Most women I know would give up their church before they'd give up their veterinarian or their hair dresser.

Bare foot walking, pt. 4

Remember last summer when I was walking barefoot in the grass in an effort to ease some foot problems? My theory, as I recall, was that the grass would stimulate the nerves in my feet which had started to hurt after wearing a certain pair of sandals. And in the course of my very brief research, I learned that barefoot we walk and run differently than when we wear shoes. Keep in mind, however, in many countries parasites enter the body through bare feet. But here are some bare truths from Nature Magazine which I just received today.
    Runners in sports shoes run differently from those who run barefoot and who have never worn shoes. Research published online by Nature this week shows that unshod runners land on their toes, or the foreparts of the sole (fore-foot strike), whereas shod runners tend to land on their heels (rear-foot strike). The first style of running uses the body of the foot to cushion the leg and body from the shock of impact, whereas shod runners might run more risk of impact-related injury.

    Watch the video free online on the Nature Video YouTube channel.
And of course, always watch for dog poop. Not fun between the toes.

Itsy bitsy contact lenses

Even in the summer, I rarely wear sunglasses, although I have in recent years purchased big giant ones that cover about 1/3 of my face and just place them over my regular glasses (I wear trifocals). Research done at Ohio State shows we should wear them even in the winter, and if you wear contacts, you can have UV blocking lenses. Little rabbits wore them to test their effectiveness. I don't even want to know how they found out they were or weren't affected. (But if you read the original, it will tell you.) From OSUToday:
    "Heather Chandler, PhD, assistant professor, and a group of researchers from The Ohio State University College of Optometry found that UV blocking contact lenses protect the eyes from harmful UV rays.

    According to the article (“Prevention of UV-Induced Damage to the Anterior Segment Using Class I UV Absorbing Hydrogel Contact Lenses”), overexposure to UV radiation can lead to harmful changes in the cornea, conjunctiva and lens, including cataracts, the most common cause of visual impairment around the globe. According to the researchers, some estimates say that by the year 2050, there will be 167,000 to 830,000 more cases of cataracts.

    “Unfortunately, people are generally unaware of when their eyes are at greatest risk for damage from UV exposure,” said Dr. Chandler. “This research involving UV-absorbing contact lenses can provide another option for protection against the detrimental changes caused by UV.

    The study exposed rabbits daily to the equivalent of about 16 hours of exposure to sunlight in humans — enough to induce UV-associated corneal changes. The rabbits who wore UV-absorbing contact lenses (Senofilcon A) were not affected by the UV exposure."
Looks like I should be paying more than five bucks for my sunglasses, too. Yes, and we should be wearing sunblock year around, however, in Ohio, we are so thrilled to see sunshine, we rarely think about blocking it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Who’s more dangerous, Rana or O’Keefe?

Tahawwur Hussain Rana, the Canadian Pakistani who has been living and working in Chicago for 15 years in the immigration business and is accused of helping in the Mumbai, India, terrorist attacks and the terrorist attack on a Danish newspaper, got 2 lines yesterday in the New York Times for pleading not guilty. However, James O’Keefe the journalist famous for his ACORN tax-advice-for-pimps video scoop, got a ton of ink and pixels in the NYT for a possible felony arrest stemming from a trespassing incident in Mary Landrieu’s office--sort of a libertarian Woodward and Bernstein act for the other team. (That one's OK--investigative journalism. . . sniff!) We all knew she took that perfectly legal bribe on behalf of Louisiana--she corrected the amount to a larger figure on national TV. So if he was involved in something dangerous or illegal to get a story, sort of makes you wonder what he was looking for.

From the left wing media angle, exposing ACORN's moral bankruptcy is a far more serious crime than blowing up hotels and killing innocent people. So he'll need some darn good lawyers. You'll have to google up an Indian paper or a Canadian one to get much detail on Rana. Or you could wade through the NYT archives for an AP story.

Update: September 2012: Story on Rana and Headley.


Glenn Beck's been hitting the progressives pretty hard--and much of what those of us my age and younger (that would be most of the nation) know as the good old USA. Needless to say, we're getting a bit defensive. Oh sure, Hitler and Stalin are flip sides of the same coin and need a good smack, but Teddy Roosevelt? This morning in reading a piece by Nancy Pearcy editor at large of The Pearcey Report, I read this:
    "Most of the ideologies that bloodied the 20th century were influenced by Rousseau. His writing inspired Robespierre in the French Revolution, as well as Marx, Lenin, Mussolini, Hitler, and Mao. So if you get a grip on Rousseau's thinking, you have a key to understanding much of the modern world."
She goes on to describe how he hypothesized that human relationships "are not ultimately real; instead they are secondary, or derivative, created by individual choice. . . . his most influential work opens with the famous line, "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." He did not mean chains of political oppression, as we Americans might think. For Rousseau, the really oppressive relationships were personal ones like marriage, family, church, and workplace." And what will liberate us according to Rousseau, she asks?
    "The state. The state would destroy all social ties, releasing the individual from loyalty to anything except itself. Rousseau spelled out his vision with startling clarity: "Each citizen would then be completely independent of all his fellow man, and absolutely dependent on the state." No wonder his philosophy inspired so many totalitarian systems."
Rousseau and his mistress abandoned their five children on the steps of a state-run orphanage, Pearcey writes, even though most died or became beggars. Rousseau thought the state better qualified to raise children than the parents. In his own case, he might have had a point.

Today the government approves and encourages aborting them if they are inconvenient or not perfect; it spends their money before they are born turning them into beggars more dependent on the state.

Quotations from "Rousseau," A Faith and Culture Devotional, Daily readings in art, science and life, by Kelly Monroe Kullberg and Lael Arrington, Zondervan, 2009, p. 225-226.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A sad day in Lakeside

The auction of Abigail's Tea Room. Two years ago it sold and we all had high hopes, but it didn't work out. Then last year there was a temporary tenant, and that didn't draw enough customers. Now the two cottages joined at the hip that once were the Abigail will be auctioned with the contents.

Here's a photo of a painting I did of the Abigail a number of years ago.

Yes, you can't see much--it was mostly covered with vines in the summer, usually with people waiting to get in. If you already have another job, wouldn't you like to open a restaurant 12 weeks during the summer?

HT Wes

Norma's Mushroom Soup

After my husband brought home some wonderful cream of mushroom soup from Malabar Farms Restaurant on Sunday, I decided I wanted to try making it. I googled, and I asked on FB, but didn't find or hear anything that resembled what I tasted. So I made it up, using what I do with all vegetable soups. Broth, potatoes, onions, a blender, plus half and half or milk or canned milk and whatever is the vegetabe of the day--broccoli or sweet potato or carrot. Here's how it worked out.

1 can (8 oz.) beef broth
2 medium size potatoes, peeled, cut in small chunks
1 medium onion

Cook together until soft, then removed the solids and run through the blender. Return to the broth.

Add 8 oz. half and half, or whatever you have. If you want fewer calories, use milk.

Meanwhile saute 8 oz or so of sliced or chopped fresh mushrooms (mine were organic from Canada) in a little olive oil. While cooking (shrinks), sprinkle with a little flour, pepper and thyme. Stir frequently. When the mushrooms have browned, add to the broth/potato mixture.

I checked some on-line recipes that used a little sherry, but I didn't have any so I sprinkled in a little Merlot, maybe a TBsp. Tastes great.

I decided to use beef broth instead of chicken, which I usually use. It just sounded better with mushrooms. The potatoes, in any vegetable soup, provides the thickening. Plus, I think it makes the soup much more hearty than making a white sauce.

If you have a better one or a favorite--let me know. I'd invite you over for lunch but you probably live in Florida, Georgia or California.

This in the blog so I don't lose it.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Scott heard 'round the world

Is there any explanation we haven't heard? The silliest was that the voters are angry that health reform hasn't happened. Wow. Is that a misintrepretation. The second silliest was that Obama didn't get his message out. However, he's just one man, and not really all that conservative on other issues, but winning that seat is historic. Neo-neocon after watching Greta's piece on him (Fox) writes
    "It struck me that, less than a week after the Brown election, we’ve already heard more good things from friends of the previously-unknown Brown than we’ve heard about Obama from his friends in the more than two years he’s been in the spotlight. In fact, if it weren’t for Obama’s shady friends—the ones he suddenly wasn’t all that friendly with, or whose dirty deeds he hadn’t really known that much about after all, such as Ayers, Rezko, and Wright—we’d think him nearly friendless."
She's always worth reading--on any topic. And it would seem that some lefties are getting nasty. Now they are throwing Obama, hope and change under the bus--getting crowded down there. That's how you can tell they weren't real Democrats. Those guys stick with their man through thick and thin, scandal and mayhem.

Haggis, neeps and tatties

Today is Robert Burns birthday (b. Jan 25, 1759) the traditional time for Burns Suppers in Scotland and serving haggis, neeps and tatties. We're going to a Burns dinner this week-end and it's traditional for the guests to perform and the hosts to serve the food. Not sure what they'll serve or we'll do. But we missed several Christmas and New Year's events due to my husband's cold, so we're a bit starved for some good food and conversation. Yup. This is how old people party.

Here's a note from last year's blog about this event. "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 again 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."

What is haggis? "Haggis is a meat dish which is made by stuffing a sheep or cow stomach with offal, oatmeal, and an assortment of spices, and then boiling the dish until it is thoroughly cooked."

What is neeps? Peeled and chopped turnips. I actually like this dish and used to serve it to the family on mystery vegetable night. Lots of Scots descendants in Appalachia and grandpa loved his turnips.

What is tatties? Mashed potatoes.

Stalking the evil French fry again!

Noticed this at OSU Today: "Ohio State researchers are looking for healthy MEN ONLY, ages 35-65, who are overweight (body mass index 25-40). You may be reimbursed up to $415 for your time and participation in research on how psychological stress boosts the unhealthy effects of fast foods in ways that could promote obesity and heart disease."

Fat men rejoice. No one cares if you eat home made cookies and pie, lasagna and spaghetti, steak and potatoes, when you're under stress. And if you've already participated in the Yoga and breast cancer study, then don't sign up for this.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ritalin for the elderly

Today I was going to blog about the use of Ritalin (methylphenidate) for children who are ADHD or ADD. It is one of the most frequently prescribed medications since it gained FDA approval in the 1980s, working as a stimulant to improve the symptoms of poor concentration, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. I'm agin it, as you might suspect. However, as I was reading its affects on the body, I wondered if it had been used with older people. And yes, says one of my favorite science writers, Tara Parker Pope, at the Well Blog of the NYT. There are small studies that show it improves balance and walking in the elderly, and possibly cognitive ability. Also has been used in depression studies.

"Fundamental change"

That is getting to be a really ugly phrase from government officials. And it isn't just our president; it was building long before he set his cap for becoming the most powerful man on the plant. I saw it today in a JAMA editorial, "Extra calories cause weight gain--but how much?" The up side is, no one knows. The down side is, the government will take action anyway.

There's a lot of interesting detail in this editorial. For instance, in the 1970s women age 20-29 had a mean body mass of 23; 30 years later the same group had a BMI of 29, representing a weight gain of 35 lbs (16 kg). I've been to a lot of class reunions over the years, and I'd say that's shy 10 lbs or so.

Also, did you know that in theory if you ate just one more chocolate chip cookie each day, you'd gain hundreds of pounds in your life time? But you don't. Why? Because after you reach a certain weight, it takes a lot of those cookie calories just to maintain your weight gain. The same principle applies to weight loss through calories restriction and increased exercise. That same body will attempt to conserve energy, and after you reach your goal and go back to eating normally, you gain weight rapidly.

[Pause here to wipe off my fingers--I'm eating chips.]

So the conclusion after weighing all the evidence is,
    "An effective public health approach to obesity prevention will require fundamental changes in the food supply and the social infrastructure. Changes of this nature depend on more stringent regulation of the food industry, agricultural policy informed by public health, and investments by government in the social environment to promote physical activity."
Last night for dinner I had one skinless chicken thigh, baked, beans and rice, fresh strawberries -- and two donut holes. I'd had my other fruits and veggies earlier in the day. Just let the government come knocking at my door for those donut holes.

Missing Mom

January 24, 2000

A blog about prisons

I've been in a number of prisons, not as a prisoner, but as a visitor primarily following the same guy through the system until after seven years or so he was "shock parolled" after his 5th wife was murdered by her boyfriend leaving a baby to raise. I guess the parole board thought he was the guy to do it. The reason he had a baby was that he had escaped in the prison garbage truck and they left town together.

Yesterday the Conestoga group met at the Ohio Historical Society (now open only on Saturdays due to budget cuts by the state) to hear David Meyers talk about the local music scene. Wonderful presentation with great photos. David has over 4,000 pages of manuscript on this topic and a huge rare record collection--that's sort of what a fascination with local history can do. But he has also written about Ohio's prisons, and his latest book is out. While checking that web page I came across his blog, Central Ohio's Historic Prisons. Because of Dave's encyclopedic interests in music, records, film, prisons, local history (he also worked on Columbus Unforgettables series now out of print), screen writing, religion and family, he somehow manages to merge all of them in his blog--with photos. See the record labels about the great Ohio Penitentiary fire, April 21, 1930! And did you know the Professor of psychology at OSU who coined the term "moron" was once the coach of the USC Trojans? It's all on Dave's blog. Ah, a blogger after my own heart.

He's also on Facebook, and a member of UALC for you locals.

Should you forward a chain letter?

I don't. But you have to decide. Some I check out and if they prove to be true, and I think the message is reasonable, factual and important for people who stop by here, I will post excerpts or direct to it. A recent one was "Luteran Airlines" which I posted (after checking) on my faith blog. It was hysterical. One of the reasons I fact check is that although there may be parts of it that are true, someone along the links in the chain has modified, twisted or glamorized it. I didn't see most of the hate-Bush chains because people I know either didn't believe them or didn't receive them, but I've certainly come across them on the internet. Obama's "I will fundamentally change the country" theme and his blatant narcissism making him the butt of so many jokes have certainly caused an increase in these letters. People are angry, hurt and outraged, and I don't blame them. But there's no need to lie or twist the truth--his lack of transparency, his lies and his colleagues are sufficient. Please, stop with the chain letters.

Here's a web site useful for Christians who either do or don't forward chain letters. Very interesting. Christians who break all chain letters But you decide. Read the right hand column.
    "But it's real, I checked." "It isn't animation or photoshop." "It's a real person in that video."

    That doesn't matter. It's still a chain letter because it's viral and it's circulating like wild fire. If you got it once, you'll probably get it again from someone else.

    "But I don't really believe all the chain curse stuff, I just liked the joke/poem/sayings etc."

    That is what's called the 'hook' and it is the big manipulation. Give you a tasty carrot so you'll pass it along with the stick as well. It's still a chain letter, it's still viral, and you won't be the first or last person who was impressed enough by the joke or poem or whatever to pass it along, with the curse crap still attached. Whether you believe the curse stuff or not, passing it along, posting it without thoroughly trashing it makes you appear to believe it, and you don't want to look like a gullible schmuck, so just don't promote/spread it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The D Word

Carlos Alcala who writes for McClatchy had an article in today's Dispatch about the reluctance to use the D (death, dying) word. My goodness, I wrote about that thirteen years ago. I even wrote a poem about it because I like to write about words, fudge phrases, jargon, new words, vocabulary and euphemisms. My concern is not the euphemisms, but that now more and more people don't even get a verb!

Today in the obituaries

Dying for a Verb
By Norma Bruce
September 28, 1997

Emmy Lou departed this world;
Frank entered his eternal rest;
Polly is at home with the Lord.

Ray’s gone to his home in glory;
Ted is asleep with the angels;
Ann Louise simply crossed over.

And I am left to wonder why
They sent him off without a verb--
“Ralph David, May 15, at home.”

When my earth's book is overdue,
Please open heaven’s library;
Let me live in God’s promises.

When finally I fold this tent,
Lease me a heavenly mansion
Renewable eternally.

When I slip out of the saddle,
Boost me up high to ride bareback
On a steed into the stronghold.

When the last crumbs have been swept up,
Seat me at the banquet table
To listen with the disciples.

When the final ticket’s been bought,
Give me the best seat in the house
To hear the angels’ choir sing.

When I’ve gathered up the harvest,
Fill my buckets, silos and bins
To overflowing with God’s love.

When the bow breaks in the treetops,
Bear me up on wings of eagles
Never faint, tired or weary.

Pine box, urn, or fancy casket,
Paragraph, note or just a line;
Don’t send me off without a verb!

Buppie, Who me?

This morning there was an e-market mail for me, "Buppies who are looking for love, romance or just friendship now have a unique resource that can help them discover their future soul mate." That gave me a chuckle--I'm a WURL--White Urban Retired Librarian not a Black Urban Professional. This appeal was only slightly less on target than "You have a mega-fortune waiting from a long lost relative (in Nigeria, Uganda, UK) if you just send me some cash."

But I did go on-line and found out there is a BET web series called Buppies that has had all sorts of problems getting off the ground, but apparently is now up and running starring (and partially financed by) Tatiana Ali of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fame (which I only saw on reruns). She plays the role of Quinci. Just glancing through the plot lines, it sounds a bit like Sex and the City meets Friends, but I never watched either one, so that's a wild guess.
    After losing her father and being dumped by her fiancé, Quinci, the socialite daughter of a Hollywood celebrity, realizes that her friends are her only real family left. This provocative and ironic series chronicles the relationship dramas of Quinci's dysfunctional but virtually inseparable friends as they navigate the perks and pratfalls faced by LA's young black power elite.
From there I wandered into Steve Harvey and an award show. Didn't know he had a clothing line. Looks like hats are indeed coming back.

Eating out--we're creatures of habit

It's price. It's taste and freshness (i.e., the menu). It's relationships. It's wait time. So we usually go to the Rusty Bucket on Friday night, about 5 p.m. and meet Joyce and Bill or Wes and Sue or Jack and Sue (a different Sue, of course) or Joan and Jerry or the Visual Arts Ministry from UALC. It's a sports bar and neighborhood hang out--not far from Ohio State with a bazillion TVs and a noisy bar area (we don't sit on that side so we can talk). I also usually stop at Panera's in the morning. I used to visit 3 different coffee spots, but then they made a slight change in their coffee, and it became worth going back on a regular basis, plus there is a fire place, good music, and again, the relationships you build over time. The morning staff. The exterminator. The retiree who's taking care of his invalid wife. The high school students. The Christian author. The friend you met in a Bible study in 1973. The chef/publisher you meet quite by accident who now owns your former home of 34 years.

Panera's is a lovely place for lunch or breakfast meetings, but somehow, a Friday night date? Hmmm. Not so much. Just not the right ambiance. But I did do a little price comparison this morning, since I'm big on price. Panera's has a yummy new sandwich--"Mediterranean salmon salad" with chilled salmon, field greens and romaine, Kalamata olives, red onions, feta cheese, mandarin oranges and sliced almonds for $8.95. Laying down a few pieces of chicken or fish on a bed of lettuce with a little fruit and nuts seems to be all the rage today, and Rusty Bucket has something similar--"Blackened salmon salad" with baby spinach, iceberg and romaine lettuce, fresh strawberries, candied pecans, red onion slices, and blue cheese crumbles for $9.95. Very little difference in price, although you'd need to tip at the Bucket for them serving you at the table. At 5 p.m. there's no wait at the Bucket, but at 6 you might wait 20-30 minutes. At Panera's you might wait to order, and then wait for your name to be called as they prepare it. So for a dollar or two, I think we'll stick with our regular date night spot for 5 p.m. on Friday, and continue paying ridiculous prices to drink coffee away from home at 6 a.m.

Either one of these salads probably has 480-550 calories, depending on what you do with dressing, but last night I had the Philly Cheese sandwich with fries and sour cream dip, which is probably about 2,000 calories and a week's worth of sodium.

It only took me a month

There have been many assessments of Obama's first year--the left claiming his victories, and the right claiming his failures, or even victories if like me they thought the downward spiral was intentional. But at the end of February 2009, I provided a first month evaluation. If he'd been like other state and federal employees, he wouldn't have made it beyond the probation period. I was 100% on target.
    I think the federal government--whether Bush with the Democratic Congress or Obama with the Democratic congress--needed to back off in 2008 and 2009 and let those companies in debt, banks and insurance companies included, struggle and die or merge and be bought out. President Bush failed his party and became President Hoover overnight--but he really stopped governing in October and turned everything over to Treasury and the incoming Obama administration. Hoover had 3 years of throwing money at the problem 1929-1932, Bush didn't. Then FDR continued socializing industries and the courts for another 12 years, until WWII pulled us out of it. Hoover is blamed and Roosevelt acclaimed. Baffles me. Allowing the economy to come back on its own is what happened in 1999-2000 during the last bear market. Jump starting it with tax cuts for tax payers, not tax takers, is what got it going again after 9/11.

Obama and the banks

When the clutch/herd/murder/band/covey/swarm of advisers around Obama saw the stock market rally Monday at even the hint that Scott Brown might win, they squashed it on Wednesday with Obama's announcement of more bank regulation. I never had an economics course, but I was listening to Michele Bachmann, the lone voice of sanity in Minnesota (and the next legislator I'll support), yesterday who says Pelosi has painted a bulls eye on her forehead. Let me paraphrase until I can look her up. "Just get out of the way--no more new regulations or taxes and reduce what we already have. The economy will start to turn around in a quarter." Obama's move was a real smack down for any even considering saving the economy, a pay back for Tuesday's vote. I think he was responding to Brown's clear message, "Brown ran on a very specific, very clear agenda. Stop health care. Don't Mirandize terrorists. Don't raise taxes; cut them. And no more secret backroom deals with special interests." Krauthammer link.

But how was this portrayed by WaPo, which continues to carry his water even after all the disastrous moves (I won't call them mistakes, because I think they were intentional) with the economy, national security, and the environment of his first year. Here's what showed up in my e-mail--"The populist brushfire that has burned through Democratic fortunes this week threatened Friday to claim Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, imperiling his nomination for a second term and sending an unsettled stock market tumbling for the third straight day." Not a peep that the stock market tumble was as a direct result of Obama's announcement. Nope--just those stupid independent voters, those misinformed racist chicken littles out there running around like their heads were cut off. Why did this hurt the economy when unemployment is over 10%--and much higher here in Ohio?
    "Daniel Ariens, whose company manufactures and markets snowblowers and lawnmowers, works closely with two regional banks in Chicago. If you want to stimulate the economy, he says, you can't keep "beating down on people who finance the infrastructure of this economy."

    Todd Teske, CEO of Briggs & Stratton Corp., is concerned about who will pay for more regulation. "I've heard this has the potential for driving up costs for the banks," he said. "To the extent those costs are passed on to their customer base, that becomes problematic."

    "Uncertainty over financial regulatory authority and what it means to the largest financial providers to the economy is not good," Keith Sherin, chief financial officer of General Electric Co., said Friday. GE is challenging some proposals in Washington that could change how its bruised finance arm, GE Capital, is structured, regulated or taxed. A recently proposed Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee could cost GE Capital $500 million, after taxes, for a full year." WSJ Link
Could the problem be that no one in the Obama administration has ever worked for any sector other than the government which only sees higher taxes and more regulations as the way to recovery and/or growth? Think about it. Gov. Granholm of Michigan is one of his economic advisers.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday family photo--Kirby

I was tracking back through some visitors to my blog that had stopped at my story about my cousin Kirby Johnson and his time with The Lincolns, a group of friends from the University of Illinois which later changed their name to the Wellingtons, and found this photo (p. 75 of Mouse Tracks in case this shows differently on your page).

Living cheap in New York

This one surprised me. Not that a 22 year old could live on less than $30,000 in NYC, but that she could also save $5,000, contribute to a retirement fund, and travel to Europe. Read about cheapskate's daughter at "Down but not out in Brooklyn." The keys?

Shared a nice apartment ($3,100 a month) and took the smallest room.

Used a subway card.

Ate inexpensive but healthy meals--beans and rice, whole grains, fresh vegetables, lentils, joined a food co-op. Ate at cheap restaurants.

Had no college debt to pay off.

Enjoyed the many free things to do in New York.

Faith Lutheran Church, Forreston, Illinois

Our family members were "visitors" here for five years--we participated in everything. Bible school, junior and senior choirs, Sunday School, confirmation classes, lots of church dinners, special dramatic events--we did it all. In the past 50 or so years I've been back several times. Still a warm, loving, welcoming congregation. This video is in honor of their 150th anniversary last fall.

Please eat and drink in the staff lounge

Yesterday I closed out an IRA at a local bank and moved it to a stock account. It's like trying to round up a bunch of cats, and once you start drawing these down, you really are better off to have them in one place.

It's a handsome, beautifully appointed bank. The woman invited me to her desk in the open lobby when I explained what I wanted. She brought with her a large, Styrofoam coffee cup with the rim completely covered with lipstick. I looked. There was none on her mouth--it was all on the cup. Also on the desk was a pint jar of flavored tea, and a smaller bottle of coke. Really now, it's a bank. It's a place of business. Must you eat and drink in front of the customers?

About two years ago we went to a different local bank to begin the process of selling a house to our son. The loan officer was talking to us through her sandwich--rustling bag, drippy napkin, picking her teeth, etc., so she turned us over to the new guy. He knew nothing about mortgages, so we moved on, but at least he wasn't eating.

I've been in clinics awaiting a colonoscopy where the staff not 10 feet from the gurneys are eating and drinking and discussing the week-end events.

No wonder we have an obesity problem in this country! People are in a state of panic thinking they might be be out of sight of food for an hour so they bring it into the work area. Someone needs to swab and culture their keyboards and use it in a health class.

When Hitler found out about Scott Brown

HT husband's high school buddy

I had to shink this a little to get the subtitles to read, so you can go here.

Thirty seven years ago

"Today is the day, 37 years ago, that changed our world.

37 years ago today, nine male justices on the United States Supreme Court decided that abortion should be legal in all fifty states, for any reason, at any time during pregnancy.

50,000,000 unborn children have lost their lives since then.

Today, one child is aborted every 23 seconds in the United States.

One child. 23 seconds.

By now, we all know someone who has been touched by this demon. Someone in your church, a friend of a son or daughter, someone in your neighborhood, a relative . . ."

Tim Welsh, Executive Director
Pregnancy Decision Health Centers
614.888.8774, Extension 6116

All of us were "fearfully and wonderfully made" according to the Bible--Psalm 139: 13-14 "For you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

Donate and save a child's life or help a mother raise her child or assist her with an adoption plan. Someone out there feels desperate, like there's no solution. Offer your hand and help her.

Fifty million. That's a holocaust and no one lifted a gun or built a gas oven.

Massachusetts Independent

Robert Allan Schwartz, an MA-I, had a passionate letter in today's WSJ:
    I do not need, want or expect a town, city, state or federal government to take care of me."
Oh really? That sounds great at tea party rallies, but how does that actually work out?

My home in Upper Arlington, Ohio was built in 1977 with codes that probably wouldn't pass muster today but which were much improved over our home of 34 years built in 1939 in the same community. In our former home, we found a tangle of wiring and plumbing (previous owner's improvements) every time we remodeled. The furnace took up an entire room and all the windows leaked. Trees, that are no longer allowed for landscaping, sent roots through the waste pipes and had thorns 3-4" long that could go right through a shoe. Dogs had no leash laws back then--and a friend of my son was knocked down in the city, tax supported park by a friendly, non-biting mutt, and broke both legs.

The residents of UA had taxed themselves plenty to live here and enjoy snow removal, garbage pick up, strict zoning, and outstanding schools. But there were plenty to vote against these amenities that kept our home values high. Sidewalks and streetlights, something I always had where I grew up, were illusive, and some neighborhoods 40-50 years old are just now getting them after many local battles at the polls. And a community center for the youth which I enjoyed in tiny Mt. Morris? It's been voted down for over 40 years.

We had a luxury 1969 Oldsmobile 40 years ago with an 8-track sound system, that couldn't hold a candle to the 2010 Town and Country I bought 2 months ago in cost, safety, comfort, gas mileage and gadgets. If conservatives and libertarians or the auto companies had led that fight, where would we be today? Would competition with Japan or Germany really have accomplished that?

Our first vacation week in Lakeside in 1974 the lake was like a mud bath. You wouldn't dream of eating a fish you caught and I didn't want the kids to swim in it. By the time we bought in 1988, you could see the bottom. The streets in June are now crunchy with the may flies--they had all but disappeared in the 1970s. The lake was too dirty. Industry didn't do that clean up for good PR. No. It took some strict environmental laws.

Everything about schooling and education seems up for grabs. Those folks seem to think the educational system is one big petri dish. It's hard to say if what my children got in 13 years in UA in the 1970s and 1980s was better or worse than today, but I think it was better than what I got in the 1940s and 1950s, except for history and geography. I think they both know WWI came before WWII and that Florida is south of Ohio and north of Brazil, but all other bets are off. And I did an awful lot of threatening and cajoling to make sure homework was accomplished because in those days "learning responsibility" was way more important than wisdom or knowledge and if a child couldn't or wouldn't plan ahead, well, that was just too bad. And God forbid you suggested memorizing or phonics!

I think some of the resulting laws of the women's movement that developed steam around 1970 have been a disaster for women and families alike. In some areas, the trade offs and "settling" make us oldsters weep. Soaring divorce rates, huge credit card debt for 2 income families, so many kids born out of wedlock to face a life of poverty with lots of "uncles" while mom gets her college degree, even odd diseases and allergies unknown when I was a child. But I really don't want to go back to the 2 or 3 tier system, where I was flat out told in a job interview I couldn't have it because my child was 9 months old and it was a policy at that school that the teachers' children couldn't be younger than 2 years. And I had walked 2 miles to the interview because we couldn't afford a car. No, those were not the "good old days" for women and children.

So I don't get too caught up in Glenn Beck complaining about "progressivism" of the 20th century from Wilson to McCain to Obama, because I know I benefitted from many changes--and after all, he's talking about the only USA I know. I'm not so naive that I didn't learn about federal money for canals and railroads that then built the country and huge fortunes, that I can't see that some green investment has the same goals. On the other hand, I know that what the government gives it can take away, like killing Ohio's energy industry through cap and trade and lining the pockets of the green investors.

So think twice or three times before you decide that everything local, state and federal government did for you in your lifetime was a waste.

More rules for banks--how's that working out?

Obama loves a straw man, doesn't he? If it's not fat cat CEOs, it's banks, it's lobbyists, or Americans who haven't heard enough of his speeches on healthcare. Anyone but him. On Thursday he proposed more rules that would impede the growth of large banks. In Wednesday's WSJ there was an article about HAMP, Home Affordable Modification Program--the $75 billion mortgage modification program which is suffocating the banks with its accounting rules. I think it's part of ARRA and so far has a 1% success rate. Has there ever been a boondoggle like ARRA with so many billions and so little to show for it? It requires banks to declare a loss when they haven't had one. Now how would you like to step into that cess pool and have the IRS or some regulator 5 years from now send you to jail? And you can bet your old passbook that strategic defaulters will learn how to muck it up and make it work and the plumber or university professor who foolishly bought at the top of the real estate run up won't be able to make it through the red tape, or will just walk away from their mortgage. (Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I don't think any of these programs are designed to work.)

Read Arkadi Kuhlmann's article "Why mortgage modification isn't working."

A Buckeye In Beltland

The election of Scott Brown has energized many independents and Republicans. Not so fast, says Daniel Williamson, Buckeye Rino. Is Capitol Hill really listening? He made 5 visits to Ohio legislators and had a few disappointments when he attended the 9/12 event last fall--especially with Voinovich, a Republican. He waited til now for his tell-all tale:
    "And let’s recount the ways in which I’ve supported George Voinovich: I’ve voted for him every single time his name appeared on my ballot. I volunteered as an intern in his office on the 29th floor of the Riffe Tower when he was Governor helping file the “Governor’s Clips” gleaned from print media for ready reference at his fingertips. I’ve listened, in person, to his campaign speeches at venue after venue, including the swanky digs at Landerhaven for a very formal fundraiser where I had to make a large campaign donation to even gain entry. I’ve distributed his campaign literature door-to-door, even as I was doing my own campaigning for state rep in 2004. I’ve manned phone banks to help drum up commitments for donations, yard signs, and GOTV efforts. I’ve defended him against his adversaries in letters to newspapers and postings on internet bulletin boards. On my own blog and on the blogs of others, both on the left and on the right, I have vouched for Voinovich as a principled man, and have highlighted his strengths while others were bemoaning his deficiencies. I even went so far as to reprint one of his press releases in its entirety on my blog which I prefaced with my compliments to the Senator.

    I thought we were on the same team. I was mistaken. I was rebuffed and repudiated."
It's probably not on the level that John Edwards' campaign workers are feeling, but it is disappointing. Probably why I do little other than stuff the occasional envelope, write a few checks, attend a rally if it's close to home, and gripe. And he goes on to visit Brown, Murray, Cantwell, and Smith. For fun this guy must slam his fingers in swinging doors. He concludes:
    "I certainly have hopes that Scott Brown will adhere to his pledge to be the people’s Senator. But I’ve seen how the Beltway mentality seduces members of Congress over time. They don’t emerge from DC the same way that they arrived. I know this, though: the fresher they are in office, the less they are removed from the voters that sent them, and, conversely, the more veteran they become, the less they resemble anybody back home. They become creatures of the Beltway."
Excellent piece. Read the entire article.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday Thirteen--the magazine clutter

Before I cleaned off the living room table I decided to count the magazines. Actually, there were more than 13, but two of the titles weren't really ours by subscription, residency or membership. In no particular order:
  1. Timeline--this is the publication of the Ohio Historical Society, and we are members of Conestoga, and by virtue of that membership, we get the magazine and a newsletter, plus on-line notices. The on-line site of Timeline has a photo of a Lustron. I haven't seen that issue. My grandparents had one of those built in 1949.

  2. American Artist--we could stock a small library with our back issues which we don't seem to be able to throw away.

  3. Thrivent Magazine--this used to be called Lutheran Brotherhood and we have an IRA through this organization which made up a new word when it merged with something else.

  4. Inland Seas--This was a Christmas present from our son and comes with a membership in the Great Lakes Hisotrical Society. Includes a newsletter. We have a home on Lake Erie.

  5. Watercolor Artist--the newest issue is in my husband's office.

  6. Columbus City Scene--local what to do.

  7. Capital Style--a recent Columbus magazine. So far I haven't subscribed but it keeps finding its way to my door. Published by the Columbus Dispatch.

  8. Lake Erie Living--really nice for anyone of the states or provinces bordering Lake Erie. I also have the premiere issue in my collection.

  9. JAMA--although this journal of the American Medical Association is often over my head, I enjoy the poetry, essays, CDC reports, and editorial discussions. I have a donor for this one. When I accumulate a stack of 10 or so, I give them to a Columbus vo-tech teacher who passes them along.

  10. Bird Watcher's Digest--another Christmas present. Published in Ohio--really interesting material even for a novice bird watcher like me.

  11. UA Magazine--PR and advertising stuff about the community in which we live, published by Columbus City Scene.

  12. Art Speaks--We're members of the Columbus Museum of Art, and this comes with the membership. We love to go down on Sunday after church and see the new show and eat lunch--my husband designed the cafe in the museum.

  13. Garage Slab--my latest find, which I'm passing out at the coffee shop, published in Bexley (suburb). I'm not a "guest mechanic."
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Watkins Wish

Remember me whining about not being able to find Watkins Shea Butter lemon cream in a jar? Even my daughter tried, and finally bought it for me in a tube (it's not the same, trust me). I even wrote to the company, J.R. Watkins in Minnesota, and inquired if there might be some stashed away someplace. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Then I googled "discontinued Watkins" and found a list of those items 'to be discontinued' in 2010 and there was my product! So I chopped the url a bit to find where it had come from, and found the very helpful Lynne, a Watkins salesperson. You can check her out here with links to a Watkins catalog. Anyway, Lynne has promised me THREE jars. Woot. I'm so excited I'm plugging her great service even before I get it.

Also I've had an offer on the Teco pottery, (photo is of a reproduction) but I'm holding off a bit checking with a source that Mike B., an old friend from home and an antique dealer, has suggested. The lady who wanted to buy my lighted make-up mirror must have gotten cold feet, because I haven't heard from her lately. Oh yes, and the Garage Slab (magazine) guys came by yesterday and gave me a stack to distribute at the coffee shop. Really nice guys--an architect and an interiors contractor dabbling in publishing. And they gave me a vol. 1, no. 1, which I collect. I chatted up a lot of folks at the coffee shop today about the magazine. Talked to 3 guys were were light fixture repairmen--they didn't look like readers, but they really did pour over that magazine I gave them. So did the Columbus school teacher who only has a car port.

Revisiting federal aid to religious organizations

I'll revisit the topic--no one else is. I just don't want to contribute to Christian organizations that are accepting government grants to do their Christian good works. Period. End of discussion.

There are two mandates in the book of Matthew. One is to evangelize--Go and tell people about Jesus--in a nutshell. The other is to offer a cup of cold water, or food, or comfort to a prisoner, or clothing to the naked--NOT to change a system, NOT to use up tax money, NOT even to change an individual life. No promises are made here, except one. No, the reason given is that this provides the giver, the donor, the one doing the good deed, the opportunity to meet Jesus in the needy one. It's that simple. Don't believe me? Read the story of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25. I find it a bit of a stretch that we'll receive the inheritance prepared for us from the beginning of the world because we got a government grant and distributed it to the needy. That might be a worthy career if you are a federal employee, but it's not for the Christian layperson or staff.

Jesus never suggested that any follower take money from one person and give it to another; he never asked the disciples to go to the Romans for donations to spread the good news; he never said rich people were evil or that poor people were good--he always considered the individual.

Therefore, I was really unhappy to read this in an article about World Vision, whose President Richard Stearns is now on Obama's advisory board of faith based and neighborhood partnerships (I think that is a name change from the Bush years)
    "Last year, World Vision received just over $280 million in federal grants — both cash and food — amounting to about 25 percent of what we received from U.S. sources. Little, if any, of this resulted from former President Bush's faith-based initiative. Those grants have met a wide range of needs including helping address AIDS in several nations, providing food for victims of famines, conducting gang-prevention activities in several U.S. cities including Seattle, and delivering aid and emergency services in responding to natural disasters." Link.
Once you accept money from the federal government, you must play by their rules, and they may let you give that cup of water, but smack you down on the telling about Jesus part. This is really unfortunate. As Americans, through no choice of our own, we already give generously to many projects through government agencies to help the poor, the disaster victim, the diseased, and the misguided. On our own by choice and sacrifice, we give vast amounts through charities and churches. I do not expect those agencies and groups to then use my gift to turn around and become the government's handmaiden to do the cleanup through federal grants.

TSA choice out--blames his critics, not self

"President Obama's nominee to lead the Transportation Security Administration withdrew from consideration Wednesday, saying his appointment had "become a lightning rod for those who have chosen to push a political agenda at the risk of the safety and security of the American people." "

Like there isn't anyone out there better qualified who hasn't misused his office?

"Errol Southers's nomination had been stalled due to a hold placed by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who said he had concerns about whether Southers would implement collective bargaining for TSA employees. Southers was also dogged by concerns about an episode in which he, as an FBI agent, used law enforcement resources to run a background check on his estranged wife's boyfriend."

Link at Politico 44.

Did we learn nothing from Katrina?

Bush was vilified for waiting for the chain of command to kick in from the governor of Louisiana and the Mayor of New Orleans in 2005 to let them call the shots on rescue and relief (although the coast guard responded immediately). That was actually the law. Our law. It's called the federal government not stepping on the state. But what about Haiti? Why would Obama first send USAID to do an assessment, when the people were desperate for what the military could bring them? Another dawdle incident indicating he really doesn't like the military much. I know some conservatives don't think the military should be "meals on wheels" for every disaster, but when Russia, Cuba and Brazil can get there in a timely fashion, why couldn't the U.S.? Read the sorry story here. How many lives and limbs were lost due to his incompetency?

The one year anniversary assessment

A year in review. A total success, I'd say. Obama's plan to take over every aspect of our personal lives and to destroy our economy has been wildly successful, beyond what anyone in 2008 could have imagined with just the platitudes of "hope and change." Sure, he's had a few minor set backs, but those were from within his own party--Republicans have offered no road blocks at all. The falling poll numbers can all be blamed on Bush. All backward steps in the forward, goose stepping march to utopia can be blamed on someone else.
  1. The only job growth has been in the government sector
  2. his signature program, health care, is about to be realized even though 83% of Americans had health insurance and only 94% will under his plan to raise taxes, destroy small business, and ration care.
  3. he redefined terrorism, which allowed him to be very concerned about the death of an abortion doctor, but keep a lengthy silence on the deaths at Ft. Hood
  4. under his plan, he will try Gitmo terrorists in NYC, giving them all rights as well as the best in pro-bono, anti-American lawyers
  5. and he will move the rest to Illinois where he has no plan at all, except to create another Gitmo in the midwest
  6. he has further divided the country along racial lines after decades of improving race relations
  7. he has staffed his administration with Communists, AKA progressives, socialists, New Party, marxists, Alinskyites, etc.
  8. his closest advisers and wannabee appointments have violated numerous federal laws
  9. Jennifer Granholm, Michigan's governor, the state with the highest unemployment and "let's tax the rich" to get them to leave the state, is one of his economic advisers
  10. he brought the worst of Chicago mob politics to Washington
  11. he dawdled for 90 days on a plan for the war he said was the good one during his campaign
  12. he has selectively targeted news sources and industries to personally attack
  13. he continues to lie to the nation about transparency and ethics in his government
  14. he accepts a prize that made the country the butt of jokes
  15. despite the clear warning signs from both the weather and numerous scientists he will pursue the Cap and Trade scheme to further increase taxes and destroy businesses
  16. he began his plan to remove religion from the public square and influence at Georgetown
  17. he has two mouths when it comes to money talk--one speaks only in trillions for the government, the other cautions us about fat cat CEOs

and other accomplishments almost too many and too small to record

When the state makes adults children

So much in this excellent article, "The audacity of the state," about the nanny state, or the paternal state, or the savior state, both in Canada and the U.S., that I can't find just one or two excerpts, but here's a good one:
    "Replaced by a kaleidoscope of transient sexual and psychological configurations, which serve chiefly to make children of adults and adults of children, the declining family is ceding enormous tracts of social and legal territory to the state. At law, parent-child relationships are losing their a priori status and privilege. Crafty fools ask foolish fools, “What harm does same-sex marriage do to your marriage, or to your family?” The truthful answer is: Same-sex marriage makes us all chattels of the state, because the state, in presuming to define the substance rather than the accidents of marriage, has made marriage itself a state artifact."
Crafty fools asking foolish fools. . . that's good. The author compares his province's (Québec) interference in the family to that in the U.S.
    " . . in the land of Obama and [Rev.] Wright, though its history and habits are different. To be sure, there is a much stronger tradition there of resistance to the overweening state, but the forces of the state are also far greater. In America, Christians will require the courage of Dorothy Cotton’s hero, Martin Luther King, Jr., if they are to repair the pillars of freedom that have sustained such damage, and to roll back the impressive gains that have lately been made by the savior state. In America, too, the churches will need to renew their pedagogical mission and to fight for freedom of education. The natural family will need somehow to reclaim, if it can, the rights it is losing."
Yesterday at Panera's I noticed a banner that should hang in every church:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The high cost of aid

No country has received more U.S. foreign aid and U.S. charity from NGOs and churches than Haiti. There's a very high cost. Not to us, but to the recipients.
    "The real problem of aid to Haiti . . . has less to do with Haiti than it does with the effects of aid itself. "The countries that have collected the most development aid are also the ones that are in the worst shape," James Shikwati, a Kenyan economist, told Der Spiegel in 2005. "For God's sake, please just stop."

    Take something as seemingly straightforward as food aid. "At some point," Mr. Shikwati explains, "this corn ends up in the harbor of Mombasa. A portion of the corn often goes directly into the hands of unscrupulous politicians who then pass it on to their own tribe to boost their next election campaign. Another portion of the shipment ends up on the black market where the corn is dumped at extremely low prices. Local farmers may as well put down their hoes right away; no one can compete with the U.N.'s World Food Program." See the full story at Wall Street Journal, by Bret Stephens To Help Haiti, end foreign aid.

Do you suppose it's the butter?

What a good idea, I thought. Mini bags of microwave popcorn. Only 2 servings in a bag, 4 bags to a box. For some reason, I can't discipline myself to NOT eat the entire bag (4 servings) when I pop microwave popcorn. That I even buy the stuff is a bit of embarrassment, but I weakened when my neighbor came to the door last spring with her grandson "selling" it for his Boy Scout fund raiser. At the lake house I keep a small jar of unbrand popcorn and just pop about 1/4 C in a little oil when I get a snack attack. So I have a pack of 15 from the boy scout--or did have--only 3 are left. But the labels don't lie. The only "flavor" of the minis on the shelf at Meijer's this morning was "Movie theater butter," which we all remember from our movie watching youth (as a teen I saw at least one movie a week because my boyfriend ran the concession stand), isn't really butter but some sort of tinted oil. Corn, palm oil and salt. Yum. The Boy Scout fund raiser pop corn, Trail's End, has canola oil, corn oil and cottonseed oil, but has half the calories of the mini bag popcorn. What to do, what to do. Fortunately, today I'm not hungry after a sensible lunch of rice, asparagus, carrots and peas. And 2 cookies.

Besides, cottonseed oil isn't good for you. Next time I'll buy plain and add butter.

What crisis at home? ACORN?

I realize journalists don't write the headlines for their stories that appear in the paper or our WaPo e-mail alerts, but exactly what "crisis at home" is Patrick Gaspard dealing with that would come anywhere close to what's happening in Haiti? One news talking head referred to the Massachusetts race as a "crisis at home." Really? And as I recall the Hurricane of 2008 response was quite large. If he could do little then, as reported, was it because he wasn't on staff, didn't have enough money, didn't volunteer, or because Bush was in office and WaPo can never think of a thing good or decent to say about him?

Here's the lead-in headline this morning to a personal story about Patrick Gaspard of the Obama administration, who is not a native Haitian, but grew up there. "A White House portrait of grace under pressure; Adviser balances crises in Haiti and at home (By Jason Horowitz and Anne Kornblut, The Washington Post)

Just how big is Gaspard in the Obama administration? Huge, says the same journalist at another publication.
    "Earlier this year, Mr. Gaspard, a Brooklyn-based, 41-year-old Democratic operative, succeeded Karl Rove as the White House director of the office of political affairs. Unlike Mr. Rove, Mr. Gaspard is at his most comfortable making his presence felt without actually being seen.

    “He’s become a real player in the White House, the president himself told me,” said Representative Gregory Meeks. “He’s a low key, behind-the-scenes, no-fingerprints kind of guy. I need something, I call Patrick. And if he calls, it’s a big deal. He’s close to the president.”

    Mr. Gaspard’s official responsibility is to provide the president with an accurate assessment of the political dynamics affecting the work of his administration, and to remain in close contact with powerbrokers around the country to help push the president’s agenda."
So perhaps Obama's falling numbers and crashing support for health care is a "crisis," for this very far left adviser. And if Karl Rove was "seen" in the Bush WH, it was because the media decided he was the other half of Cheney's brain and Bush was just a puppet.

New Zeal probably has the best run down on Gaspard's communist ties, via New Party, Working Families Party, ACORN, SEIU, etc.