Friday, December 31, 2010

Waking Up (Updated)

You know in the movie, Casablanca, early on when they're in Rick's club and the Nazis start singing their Nazi German song and then the French people stand up and sing La Marseillaise and the camera focuses on the pretty young French woman... that scene, right?

Well, this morning when my alarm went off, I got up and smacked the snooze button and crawled back in bed. And while I was snoozing, I was vaguely aware of my roommate (who has the day off) getting up, and then I heard the sound of a lot of water running, like she had turned on the shower, which is what I do as soon as I get up after I'm done hitting the snooze button. Well, that water noise got me jolted out of bed one minute before the alarm went off again, and I found my roomie in the kitchen with the faucet running and not in the bathroom starting a shower, thank goodness. I didn't want to be late for work.

But La Marseillaise was running through my head, and I had these flickers of images of the pretty young French woman singing, and I don't know why, except I must have been dreaming about the movie when the water noise woke me up, only I don't know why I'd be dreaming that because last night we'd been discussing which movie we want to see tonight, and Casablanca was definitely not on the list.

I'm not sure what it means. Maybe I have a battle to fight in the coming year, a war for freedom. Perhaps victory begins with a song...


Here's the clip from Casablanca.

I leave it to you to decide how the symbolism of the two groups of singers applies to today's world.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

O Holy Night

This is my favorite Christmas song. I blogged about it four years ago. It was written by a Frenchman, and the literal-ish translation from the French goes this way:

Christian midnight
It is the solemn hour
When the God-Man
Has descended unto us
To erase original sin
And by His Father stop corruption

The entire world trembles with hope
For this night that gives it a Savior

People to your knees
Await your Deliverance

Noel, Noel
Here is your Redeemer
Noel, Noel
Here is your Redeemer

You can listen to it in English. My daughter's friend who loves Josh Groban (and actually met him!), this is for you:

And for all of you, may your Christmas be blessedly filled with time spent with loved ones.

P.S. Happy 24th birthday to my baby girl!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Who's On First

A little viewing fun for Christmas Eve (HT: Power Line)...


Sunday, December 19, 2010

I've Been Shopping

If I could work my will, every fool who goes about with "Happy Holidays" on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart!

My apologies to Charles Dickens.

So what holiday could they possibly be wishing me to be happy for? Let's see...

Hannukah is over.

And all the Muslim holidays are over until February.

I suppose there's Kwanzaa, but one look at my pasty-white face would tell them that one's not very likely.

So that leaves the federal holiday that falls on December 25th every year, which somewhere along the way became a Really Bad Word that we must not name in public for fear of offending people who get the day off, even if they don't celebrate it. What's that one called?


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Weekly Republican Radio Message

It doesn't make much sense to me that they have a video for a radio address, but I guess that's one of the reasons I'm not a mover and shaker in the political world.

Krisi Noem is the newly elected Representative from South Dakota (one of those sparsely populated states that have more Senators than Representatives), and she was picked to give the weekly radio address for the GOP. I like what she had to say.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Quote of the Day

"There is something wrong in a government where they who do the most have the least. There is something wrong when honesty wears a rag, and rascality a robe; when the loving, the tender, eat a crust, while the infamous sit at banquets."

--Robert G. Ingersoll

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

White House Wants To Hear From You

But only if you're 21 years old or YOUNGER.

Some commenter on some opinion column I was reading at lunchtime had a link to something on the White House website, and while I was reading it, I saw a headline over on the right. It said, "Your Chance to be Heard at the United Nations Security Council."

Cool! I like giving my opinion, so I followed the link and found this instead:

Are you 21 or younger? Keep reading.

Bummer! If I were more obedient, I would have stopped there. But I didn't.

The United States is setting the agenda for the United Nations Security Council during the month of December, and Ambassador Susan Rice wants to bring your voice into one of the world’s most important decision-making bodies. From December 2-14, you have a chance to call attention to an issue that you care about. What’s the most vital challenge to international peace and security facing your generation? Send your answer in a one-minute video or in written form to, keeping your submission to fewer than 250 words. If selected, your answer will become a topic of debate at an innovative Security Council event that will be hosted by Ambassador Rice and broadcast live on December 21 at

This is pretty annoying on its face. The US ambassador to the UN wants to know what incredibly immature people think. But they don't give a rip about the thoughts of people who have worked for a living or raised a family or built a business from scratch or grown the food that feeds the world. No, grown-ups don't matter to the movers and shakers in the Obama administration.

So they don't want my opinion? Fine. They can have my kids' opinions. Except that at 23 and 25, my kids are way too old!

It gets worse. If you listen to Rice's video, it says more than just what's written. Here's a transcript of the opening:

On December 21st, the US is going to lead an important event in the UN Security Council, and today I want to ask for your help and participation. As you know, the UN Security Council works to resolve conflicts and pursue global peace and security, and we always have a very full agenda. But this month we're doing something a little bit different. No matter who you are, no matter where in the world you're from, if you're 21 years old or younger, we want YOU to tell us what issue is most important to you. You have the greatest stake in the future, and your voices deserve to be heard. So the question I'm posing to you is this: What is the most vital challenge to international peace and security facing your generation? Tell the UN Security Council what issue YOU believe deserves more attention and explain why it's important.

The rest of the video gives information on how to submit your Important Issues for them to consider.

It hurts. The US wants to represent the entire world's youths, not just American youths. It wants to plumb the depths of minds that believe the most pressing issues are things such as, "Um... Like, I think iTunes downloads should be free. And, yeah, college should be free too. Yeah."

It's maddening to read stuff like this and have it confirmed that the adults left DC in January of 2009, and the perpetual adolescents are now in charge.

Get the US and our cash out of the UN, put Ambassador Rice on 99 weeks of unemployment, and send the entire United Nations packing for some third-world backwater where it belongs. Then maybe we can sell the UN building and use the proceeds to apply as a the first drop in the bucket towards paying down the national debt.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


Having the roommate that I have has been very enlightening. She and I are so VERY different, and those differences have caused me to reflect on the way I'm wired and my upbringing and the effects these things have had in my life.

I've blogged already about sorters and stuffers. My movie-going friend in the post is now my roomie, and I addressed the issue again in this post as it relates to the kitchen.

My roommate goes to bed early because she has to get up way before dawn to go to work. She even gets up early on weekends. I don't get that, but she says it's because she's had to have this schedule for so long it's part of her nature now.

On the other hand, I like to stay up late and love to sleep in in the morning. I don't get to sleep in on weekdays, and I've had this schedule forever too, but it hasn't made me wake up early on my own. In high school I used to stay up reading until 2:00 or 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, especially in the summer, so I believe night-owlness is hard-wired. It's certainly not anything my parents encouraged me to do!

This early bird/night owl difference works for my roommate and me, though, because we almost never need the shower at the same time.

Another difference is our learning styles, although I think "learning styles" is a misnomer, because even when we're not learning, we still use our styles. I mentioned before that I'm visual and auditory, but that post was about the auditory side. Here at home, it's the visual side that comes out.

My roommate is NOT visual. Oh sure, she has her sense of vision, but she doesn't seem to see much. I notice the difference between us the most in the kitchen. My roomie leaves doors open. I've told her that sometimes I feel like Vanna White as I go through the kitchen reaching up and then down to shut cabinet doors and drawers. There have been some mornings after she's left for work and I get up before dark, that I've found a faint glow of light coming from the kitchen. It means she left the microwave door open again.

I find it entertaining. One day I even counted the open items I shut: 6. I reported that number to her. And yet I'm sure that she can't begin to understand why I would even care about doors being left open and food items out of order and pictures that aren't straight. Those things aren't important at all. It's just that I feel peace when things are in order, and I feel stressed at the sight of chaos.

Another thing I've realized is how much of what I do is because I hear my mom's voice in my head. Washing dishes by hand is one of those times.

My roommate likes to wash dishes by hand. I don't get that. When I moved in, her diswasher was broken and had been for some time. If it had been my house, I would have had a repairman over in a heartbeat or had a new dishwasher installed yesterday. Not her, but with two people's dishes to wash, she finally decided that a functional dishwasher was a good idea. Hallelujah!

But there are some items that still need to be washed by hand. The stainless steel frying pans are that way, and because I have a fried egg as part of my breakfast every day, I wash that pan almost daily (sometimes my roomie gets to it first). I've discovered myself doing that finger motion my mother instilled in me when I was a girl having to take turns doing dishes with my sister. My mom would run her fingers around the "clean" dishes and pans, and if she found any residual food that I'd missed, back it went into the dish water for me to do it RIGHT this time.

I mentioned to my roommate about remembering my mom's dishwashing demands, and she said when her mother found food stuck to the clean dishes, her mom would empty the cupboards of every pot, pan, plate, and cup and make her wash everything. Starting when my roommate was 7. Yikes!

When I look at what my roommate suffered as a child at the hands of various family members (this is just the tip of the iceberg), and when I look at the wonderful woman she is now, I am amazed. God has done an incredible work in her.

I am a visual, purse-sorting night owl, and she is a non-visual, purse-stuffing, warm, generous early bird. We get along just fine, and I am truly proud to call her friend.

Copy Cat Crimes Continue

Mob rule. Disturbing the peace. Anarchy. They're running rampant, and there's nothing you can do to stop them when they strike near you.

First it was rogue dancing interrupting commuters in Europe.

Then a 650-member choir disrupted shoppers at Macy's in Philadelphia.

And now the copy cats are at it, singing the same song. In a food court, no less. How is a person to eat?

Bah! Humbug, I say.

No, I mean, PLEASE do it near me!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vulcan Terrorist Attacks Portland

A Vulcan terrorist was caught Friday in an attempted attack on Portland's Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Disguising himself as a Somali native, the Vulcan took pains to cover the pointy tips of his ears, but he neglected to also disguise his eyebrows, a mistake that tipped off authorities to his true origins.

The attack didn't go through as planned due to undercover efforts by Romulans, who substituted a non-functioning detonator into the bomb-making supplies provided to the terrorist. The Obama administration has been unwilling to speculate as to a possible motive.

Friday, November 19, 2010

If I Could Make Them Pass a Law

I'd make it illegal to drive a VW bus during rush hour.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nancy Pelosi Has Dementia

Or maybe it's schizophrenia, because the woman is seriously delusional. Her column in USA Today yesterday is proof positive.

President Obama and this Congress were job creators from Day One, saving the country from the worst economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. The Recovery Act created or saved more than 3 million jobs, and America is moving forward. October marks the 10th straight month of private sector job growth.

Congressional experts have called the 111th Congress the most productive Congress in a half-century. Our Democratic members took tough votes to support America's working families, putting the American people before politics and thinking of the next generation, not the next election.

Pelosi goes on to list the Democrats' "accomplishments." They passed Wall Street Reform so those bad apples in the Big Apple won't "cause joblessness." As though it's not Congressional recklessness causing the joblessness in the country.

And they passed a bill that lets small businesses borrow money that they'll have to pay back from the revenues that they're not getting because people aren't buying because the economy is in the toilet because of Congressional recklessness (I mean, Congressional "accomplishments").

We made the largest investment in student aid in our nation's history, reducing the cost of loans to families and reducing the deficit.

Pelosi thinks we don't know that an "investment" by Congress is really your money that they taxed so they can spend (and spend and spend) it on sending somebody else's kids to college when you can't even afford to send your own kids to the local junior college. How that reduces the deficit is beyond me.

We achieved more progress over the last four years for our veterans and military families than any time since the passage of the original GI Bill in 1944. And we did all of this while restoring fiscal discipline to the Congress by making the pay-as-you-go rules the law of the land.

Usually when the word, "progress," comes out of the mouth of a politician, it's a bad thing. But I'm not really sure what kind of progress they inflicted on our military and veterans. But let's assume that this time it's a good thing. Notice that she goes back four years, not just the last two. Could it be that President Obama hasn't been progressive for our military? Could it be that President Bush was beneficial? Could it be that the Democrats want to take credit for anything good that happened during the last two years of the Bush Administration but want to place all the blame for the bad things on Bush? Pelosi's got a lot of nerve on that one.

But the one that really frosts my chaps is the part about "restoring fiscal discipline" by passing pay-as-you-go rules. Riiiiight! They waived the Pay-Go rules for the Stimulus bill and used some neat tricks and carved out plenty of exceptions, so that the federal debt limit is over $12 trillion and the deficit for fiscal year 2009 was $1.42 trillion. If that's "fiscal discipline," I'd hate to see what happens when Congress runs amok with our money.

So now, after two years of shutting Republicans out of the decision-making process, the Democrats suddenly want to "work together" with Republicans. In fact, they "welcome Republican ideas about job creation." How truly selfless of them. Because Pelosi assures us that she and her fellow Democrats are fighting for us - the people - for our jobs, for the economy, and for the middle class.

And she thinks we're going to believe that. Like I said, Nancy Pelosi is demented.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Election Results (Updated)

I was hoping that California would finally wake up and smell the manure and get rid of it. But apparently not. State offices are going to a straight Democratic ticket with just under 50% of the precincts reporting.

If the results continue this way, we're so screwed.

Update (Wednesday):

They did, and we are.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

British Imam Tells the Truth

This is a clip from CNN's Parker Spitzer show in which they interviewed British Imam Anjem Choudary (I'm not sure when it aired). Choudary explained the beliefs of Islam and how he expects his fellow Muslims to live that out. Greg Hengler at TownHall posted the video.

I don't know why TownHall included the clip of Obama at the end. It doesn't belong.

Here's the key exchange:

SPITZER: Mr. Choudary, are you communicating with individuals within the United States and encouraging them to participate in attacks of this sort?

CHOUDARY: Of course I am. You know I am participating in communication with people all around the world. As you know, the internet makes the world a very small place....

SPITZER: Mr. Choudary, based upon your answer I believe, and I'm sure many prosecutors will listen to your answer. You violated US law. You deserve to be arrested, prosecuted, jailed for the rest of your life. That is what you, sir, deserve. You are a violent and hated terrorist. You could speak it from behind prison bars as far as we're concerned, sir.

CHOUDARY: My invitation is a peaceful one to people to embrace Islam and to warn them obviously of the consequences of occupying Muslim land. I think that's a very decent thing. If we said to you, "Look, there's not going to be any consequences by people attacking Muslims," I think that would be not a very honorable thing to say.

Yes, the imam's invitation is a peaceful one. But if you don't accept it, be prepared for violence. Oh, that sounds fair!

I find Spitzer's reaction surprising, considering his Democrat background and his employment by CNN , but he handled Choudary's answer perfectly. If he worked for NPR, though, he might have been fired by now.

Moving to Mexico

A commenter named Oracle1 in Atlanta, over at Town Hall had this to say in response to Virgil Goode's column, Who's Really Dividing the Country?

Dear President Obama:

I'm planning to move my family and extended family (a total of 20 or so) into Mexico for my health, and I would like to ask you to assist me. We're planning to simply walk across the border from the U.S. into Mexico , and we'll need your help to make a few arrangements.

We plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws. I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here.

So, would you mind telling your amigo, President Calderon, that I'm on my way down? Please let him know that I will be expecting the following:

1. Free medical care for my entire family.
2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.
3. Please print all Mexican Government forms in English.
4. I want my grand-kids to be taught Spanish by English-speaking (bi-lingual) teachers.

5. Tell their schools they need to include classes on American culture and history.
6. I want my grand-kids to see the American flag on one of the flag poles at their school.
7. Please plan to feed my grand-kids at school for both breakfast and lunch.
8. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access to government services.

9. I do plan to get a car and drive in Mexico , but I don't plan to purchase car insurance, and I probably won't make any special effort to learn local traffic laws.
10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from their president to leave me alone, please be sure that every patrol car has at least one English-speaking officer.
11. I plan to fly the U.S. flag from my housetop, put U S. flag decals on my car, and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative comments from the locals.
12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, or have any labor or tax laws enforced on any business I may start.

13. Please have the president tell all the Mexican people to be extremely nice and never say critical things about me or my family, or about the strain we might place on their economy.
14. I want to receive free food stamps.
15. Naturally, I'll expect free rent subsidies.
16. I'll need income tax credits so that although I don't pay Mexican taxes, I'll receive money from the government.

17. Please arrange it so that the Mexican Government pays 4,500 dollars to help me buy a new car.
18. Oh yes, I almost forgot, please enroll me free into the Mexican Social Security program so that I'll get a monthly income in retirement.

I know this is an easy request because you already do all these things for all his people who walk over to the U.S. from Mexico. I am sure that President Calderon won't mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely.

Thank you in advance for your kind help in assuring that Mexico does for us what you and the Left are doing for their citizens who come up here illegally.

American Citizen John Doe

The oracle is on target. If a principle is right and good one way, it has to be right and good when it's reversed. If it's wrong in the reverse, maybe, just maybe it's wrong no matter which way you look at it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Beltway Adventure

Oh my goodness! This is priceless.

IowaHawk writes satire. Friday's post is written in the form that many of you may remember. For you youngun's, this is what computer games used to look like back in the days before computers had any graphics. Here's how it opens:





















Read the whole thing. It just gets better.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Quote of the Day

"It takes a high IQ to evade the obvious."

-- Thomas Sowell

He said this in reference to the intelligensia's failure to recognize the problems inherent in multiculturalism.

Smarter Than a Fifth Grader

I saw this at Michelle Malkin's blog. Sweet Justice!

The Los Angeles Times reported today on a speech Sarah Palin gave in Reno at a Tea Party Express event. In it, the Times quoted Palin as saying they "couldn't 'party like it's 1773' until Washington was flooded with like-minded conservatives."

Of course, that launched a thousand left-leaning ships proclaiming to the world that the stoopid doofus Sarah Palin is, well, a stoopid doofus when it comes to knowing her history. Cuffy at the Perfunction blog has the run-down of the big-name opinionators who felt it was their citizenly duty to point out Palin's abject ignorance. People like Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos, and Presidential Debate Moderator Gwen Ifill, people whose job it is to know things and be accurate. Because EVERYBODY knows NOTHING of interest happened in 1773. Right?

Oh snap!

The Palin-bashers are backpedaling, now that they've obviously been handed a fifth-grade history lesson. "Just satire, ha-ha. No, really!"

And I bet Sarah Palin didn't even have to write "1773" on her hand...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

President Obama's Health Challenge

Vice President Joe Biden, who can always be relied on to blab things that shouldn't be known to the general public, has let slip the news of a serious challenge to President Obama's health:

If the president's brain is bigger than his skull, that means he's suffering from intracranial pressure, usually caused by a head injury. Based on the fact that President Obama's judgement has been very impaired (Obamacare, Cap & Tax, GM takeover, etc.), I suspect his injury was caused by beating his head against the wall so many times over Biden's gaffes, slips, foul-ups, and general oratory ineptitude. The frontal lobe is the portion of the brain that controls rational judgement and decision-making. It's just so sad.

Here's how Wikipedia describes the implications of the president's injuries:

An increase in pressure, most commonly due to head injury leading to intracranial hematoma or cerebral edema can crush brain tissue, shift brain structures, contribute to hydrocephalus, cause the brain to herniate, and restrict blood supply to the brain.

Goodness! It could even get worse.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The "Ignore Us" Ad

This is the perfect political ad for this year (HT: Power Line). All the candidates who weren't in lockstep with the Pelosi-Reid legislative full-court press should run it.

Watch it over and over. And send it to your friends.

And be sure to vote! (Unless you want more Pelosi-Reid 2000-page legislation. Then just stay home on election day.)

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Obama Warns the Nation

The Hill reported yesterday that President Obama warned of the dire consequences we face if Republicans are elected.

President Obama warned Wednesday that his agenda will be stuck in gridlock for the next two years if Democrats lose control of the House.

“Unless we are able to maintain Democrats in the House and Senate, then we’re going to be stalled for two years or four years, and we’re going to start going backwards,” Obama said in remarks at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in New Jersey, according to a pool report.

Gridlock and stalling are good. Going backwards is even better!

Obama said the struggling economy and high unemployment is hampering his party and giving the GOP momentum.

And that's a problem how...? Our country needs a shift in momentum to stop us from going even deeper into the tank than we've already gone in the last two years.

“Now when unemployment is still at 9.5, 9.6 percent that gives an enormous advantage to whoever is not in power because they can simply point at the status quo and regardless of causation say, ‘You know what? It’s the folks who are in power that are at fault,’” Obama said. “So that gives a natural momentum” to Republicans, he said.

I love that part about "regardless of causation." Just as President Obama can't quit smoking, he also can't quit his Blame-Bush addiction. Of course, I don't think he's really trying to quit.

Rather than taking this as a warning, I'm hoping it's a promise.

I can see November from my house...

Monday, October 04, 2010

Let That be a Warning

Fire is an ever-present danger. My roommate never leaves the dryer running after she leaves the house or goes to bed, because someone she knows came home to a burned-up house that started from a dryer left unattended. So I only leave the dryer running when I go to bed if it's set on Air Fluff. Nobody's dryer ever caught fire from cold air, at least that I'm aware of.

But house fires are caused by other things than dryers. There's the cigarette or cigar left smoldering in the sofa, which catches fire after everyone has gone to bed.

Pattern: Never go to bed. This will prevent most fires.

No, wait. That's the wrong lesson. Because about 10 or 12 years ago, my ex-husband's house caught fire in the afternoon right after my son had used the old electric typewriter (circa 1970) on his bed then turned it off and left the room. The fire department blamed the typewriter.

I mention this, because I saw an article in the Las Vegas Sun that said somebody's candle was left unattended, at which time it decided to run amok and catch the house on fire. It caused $180,000 in damage. That's a very expensive candle.

Pattern: Never be inattentive. This will prevent most fires.

Actually, the candle issue isn't a problem for me. I know people who love candles. There are whole industries and businesses built around selling nothing but candles. But for some reason, I never seem to get the candles to work right. I smell the scented ones more when they're NOT lit than when they are. One candle (was it gardenia or camelia? I don't remember, except that it ended in "-ia") was so powerful unlit that I had an allergic reaction to it and had to keep it in a gallon-size Ziploc for my protection. But mainly, what I smell is the aroma of a freshly blown-out wick when I'm done, and what's the point of giving my house the dead-wick smell? I just don't do candles.

However, the article reminded me of one of my favorite Dave Barry columns: The Pop Tart story, in which Dave conducts a scientific experiment on Pop Tarts and their generic equivalents, following the story of a man whose kitchen was burned down by Pop Tarts left too long in the toaster.

No matter what it is - dryers, cigarettes, electric typewriters, candles, Pop Tarts, or some other fire hazard waiting to surprise you - let that be a warning to you. Don't light things up, don't type, don't toast, and for heaven's sake, don't go to bed. You may wake up to more heat than you can stand.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."

--Agatha Christie

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Brett Carter, the Democrat nominee to fill the 6th District seat in Tennessee for the ougoing Bart Gordon — a seat once held by Al Gore — is trying to fulfill his lifelong dream of waking up next to the severed head of a horse."

-- Doug Powers

OK, a little background: Carter is urging Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi NOT to seek the speakership next year. (via Michelle Malkin)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Not Working

I'm working. That's not the problem. It's the things around me that are the issue.

First, it was the lamp in my room. It's a pole lamp with the main bulb on top, hidden by a nice upward-facing shade, and a reading lamp halfway up the pole, which I keep turned off. The main bulb has been getting dimmer, and I figured that just meant it was close to burning out. That seems to be the way those fluorescent twisty bulbs work. Then, earlier this week, the bulb went out.

No problem. I turned on the reading lamp and made the darkness flee again. But that only lasted about 20 minutes, and then that bulb went black.

So I went outside my room and flipped on the hallway light switch, but nothing happened. I deduced that the circuit breaker must have been tripped. At the box, none of the switches had tripped, not even the one marked "Bedroom lights & outlets." Hmmm... The outlets were working, just not the lights. I gave up and went to bed.

The next morning I put a new bulb in the top socket (it was incandescent, not fluorescent) and tried again. Nothing. Put the old bulb back in and went to work.

After work, when I came home, out of habit I flipped on the light switch in my room. The light came on. I checked the light in the hallway. It was on too. Much happiness!

I ran some errands (turned the lights off when I left), came back, and my lamp was dark again. Hallway too. Later, the lights worked again and have ever since.

Meanwhile, we have an alarm system in the house. Over a month ago, it woke us up in the middle of the night with the slow beeping that tells us the battery is running out of steam. Unfortunately, the battery is in the attic, and neither one of us wants to go up there. Creepy things like spiders probably live up in the attic. Uh-uh. No thanks. Not me. No sir.

But after beeping at us now and then over the course of a week or so, it must have figured we knew already, and it hasn't done that anymore. Instead, this week it decided that it wasn't going to let us set the alarm. It tells us when we open a door (beep, beep, beep), but it's as though the thing doesn't have the strength to go on patrol.

My roommate scheduled the alarm company to come out and check things out, but then the alarm started working again. When it let us set the alarm when we left the house and unset it when we came back home, she canceled the appointment, because it wasn't worth spending the money for something that was working.

Yesterday morning she left for a long weekend visiting family. Shortly after her departure, I tried setting the alarm when I was heading to work, but it wouldn't go into alarm mode. Great! No alarm and no appointment.

Last night before bed, I tried again, and this time it worked just fine. I was protected from bad guys for the night.

Until 4:00 am, when a scary loud beeping woke me up. I punched the "I'm home and everything's fine" code, but it wasn't paying any attention to me at all. It just kept beeping while I tried all kinds of combinations of setting the alarm then disarming.

Then after about five or ten endless minutes, it stopped. I went back to bed. I couldn't get to sleep. I finally got up and turned on my computer.

It started beeping again at 4:30 am. I punched buttons again, hoping to shut it off, and then I tried calling the alarm company, but it said it was the customer service number, so I hung up. And then the beeping stopped.

Back to bed. Try to sleep. Start to doze off. Beeping again at 5:00.

This time I called the alarm company and finished listening to the message. It said to hit '4' if it's an emergency. It was for me, so I hit '4.' After giving the secret password and other locater info, I explained to the guy what was happening. He had me try stuff, while the beeping continued, but nothing worked. Then he said he'd have a Tech guy call me.

The beeping stopped by itself again, and a while later a very sleepy-sounding Tech guy called. After I described what had happened, he said that the only fix was to find the main box where the battery is, remove the battery, and unplug the alarm system. Oh. The attic. No. I thanked him, we hung up, and I went back to bed. It beeped at 5:30.

This time, I tried pushing buttons again. No dice. Then I thought of smothering the thing. I grabbed a big, fluffy throw blanket from my room and held it over the buttons in a homicidal embrace. The sound was muffled. Bingo!

I got a broom from the garage and propped up the blanket on the end of the handle, but the broom wanted to slide on the floor. A kitchen chair shoved against the broom kept it and the blanket in place, and I went to bed in peace. I dreamed that my roommate came home, and I told her what happened with the alarm, so she went out to the garage to turn off the circuit breaker to the alarm system, but I noticed my alarm clock start flashing from losing power and having it returned, and I thought that I should get up and reset my clock so I wouldn't be late for work, but I slept...

My alarm clock went off, and I looked at it, and it said 6:06. I thought it would say sometime after midnight from my roommate having flipped the power off... Oh... It was really my roommate's clock going off, because she must have accidentally turned it back on before she left for the airport yesterday. I got up to turn it off and realized the house alarm hadn't beeped at 6:00. So I pulled the blanket away, and it let me disarm it to say I was happily at home and not in danger. Then I went back to bed for another half hour until my clock woke me up to get ready for work.

My lamp and the hallway light were still working and the alarm system was still silent when I left the house this morning.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Hanging Out in Texas

I arrived in Cisco Saturday night. It was an uneventful trip until about half an hour before I got there, probably somewhere around Clyde. I was driving about 5 or 6 mph over the limit, when I saw a law enforcement vehicle's lights go on. There was nobody else on the road near me who could have been the target, so I pulled over.

The officer was nice-looking with a strong jawline reminiscent of the evil terminator in Terminator 2. It left me unsure what to expect. He told me I was driving a bit fast and asked me where I was headed, and I said, "Cisco." Then he asked me why I was going there, without conveying any sense of surprise that anyone, especially from California, would choose to go there. I told him, "Family."

He took my license back to his car to check to see if I was a wanted fugitive from the law, then he returned with my license and a small piece of paper. "I'm giving you a warning. There's no cost." I thanked him and drove away at slightly under the limit and then got to my mom's house.

When I told my family about my warning, they all agreed that Clyde's speeding enforcement is brutal, and it's usually the local cops, rather than the state troopers, who are patrolling the interstate in that area. Duly noted for my return trip.

I had expected my arrival at my mom's house to be announced by her little dog Misty, but I managed to get there while Misty was away for her every-other-month grooming. Not long after I arrived, Misty was delivered by her groomer, who lives only a block away from my mom. Small towns sure are different from city living!

Misty had two bows on her head, one of which she lost almost immediately, and a pink and blue bandana around her neck. She started biting on the end of the bandana, and soon it was her newest tug-of-war toy.

Unlike Scooter, who kept my mom and me entertained on our big trip together, Misty doesn't play by herself. Scooter's favorite toy was one of my dad's old socks with a knot in the middle, and he would shake it until it was dead. And then he'd kill it some more. Scooter chewed on balls, but he didn't chase them.

Misty, on the other hand, loves nothing more than to chase a ball and bring it back so you can throw it again for her. She allows the variety of occasionally playing tug of war with her rope or her grooming scarf. This is Misty:

And here she is in the back yard yesterday morning, when I was trying to wear her out so she'd be calm in the house (she still, at just over a year old, has puppy levels of energy and relentlessness). Going for a catch:

Successful capture of prey:

Coming back for more:

My efforts were rewarded when Misty took the ball with her through the doggie door, dropped it on the kitchen floor, and drank lots of water. Then she found a spot in the living room to take a nap.

I was without internet access for over a day, because my mom's modem konked out since the last time I was here, and she had a new one with a new secret code that nobody knew. Only my nephew, who is the computer guy of the family, knew what the code was because he set it up, and he couldn't come over right away to give his sister and me access to the wireless. We're good to go, now.

Yesterday, my mom and I went over to Eastland to get groceries at Wal-Mart. The countryside around Cisco is mostly flat with occasional slightly rolling hills. Here are a couple shots from road to Eastland:

Once we got to Wal-Mart, we spotted this truck parked near us, and I snapped a picture right when the owner was coming back. "You like my truck?" she asked. We chatted for a bit.

Yes, I like her truck.

I also like how friendly people are here, although I can hear myself starting to drawl a little. It's one of the hazards of coming to visit Texas.

This morning, we had planned to drive to Abilene to go to Target and maybe Best Buy, but the new day gave us rain sent by Tropical Storm Hermine. The rain should clear up by Thursday, so we'll go then.

For the next couple days, I'll just be hanging out with family. My nephew (the computer guy) will be coming tonight with his wife and little daughter (who won't be nearly as little as she was the last time I saw her). And so far we have no plans for tomorrow. That's the way I like it on vacation.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Halfway There

I made it to Deming, New Mexico about 8:30 local time tonight. I had forgotten about the time change I'd have at the New Mexico border, making it an hour later. That'll happen again tomorrow when I get past El Paso, Texas.

It was eleventy-one (111°) when I was outside waiting in line for the lone restroom at a gas station someplace beyond Yuma. And no, Bekah, I didn't sweat. Not at all. That's why it's called a dry heat.

When I was driving along the stretch of road between Gila Bend and Casa Grande, the place where the smuggler warning signs are supposed to be, my car said it was 116° outside. I didn't see the smuggler signs, but I did see an actual "Miss Me Yet?" sign with GW Bush on it, and right after it was a sign with Reagan's picture and the message, "Remember real Hope and Change?"

Not far from there was a yellow diamond warning sign that said, "Do Not Follow Trucks." I have no idea what that was about.

I had brought snacks with me, so I wouldn't have to stop for food too much and could make good time. But when the temperature outside was 116° and the sign for Dairy Queen magically appeared up ahead, I made a decision to splurge. When I pulled off the interstate, I recognized the exit as the one by Picacho Peak, where my mom and I waited for AAA to come and replace the motorhome tire that blew out on our trip. I ate a chocolate-dipped cone, refilled my water bottle, and hit the road again.

Just as a note, the gas prices in Arizona are about 30¢ cheaper than in California. I should drive to Arizona to buy gas more often...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Vacation Coming!

I'm getting my ducks in a row, getting ready for vacation.

Tomorrow morning I leave for Texas to visit my mom and my sister. It's a two-day drive if I can get at least as far as Deming, New Mexico, which is within ten minutes of the half-way point.

Yesterday I checked the weather reports, only to discover that tomorrow will be Phoenix's hottest day (107º) of the next 10 days. My route takes me near Phoenix without hitting any of the city's normal traffic. Depending on the time I go through there, I could hit some Labor Day weekend traffic leaving the city, so I'll try to drag myself out of bed earlier than I want to.

The weather report for Cisco says that I'll be there in time to enjoy thunderstorms. I'm sure that means I may learn how to read all those satellite images on the Weather Channel. People in Texas like that channel. People in California barely know it exists.

Another fascinating development in my vacation preparation came in the form of a news item I saw at Michelle Malkin's blog. It seems the Obama administration's answer to border security is to post signs warning the gringos that Arizona isn't safe.

The federal government has posted signs along a major interstate highway in Arizona, more than 100 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, warning travelers the area is unsafe because of drug and alien smugglers, and a local sheriff says Mexican drug cartels now control some parts of the state.

The signs were posted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) along a 60-mile stretch of Interstate 8 between Casa Grande and Gila Bend, a major east-west corridor linking Tucson and Phoenix with San Diego.

They warn travelers that they are entering an "active drug and human smuggling area" and they may encounter "armed criminals and smuggling vehicles traveling at high rates of speed." Beginning less than 50 miles south of Phoenix, the signs encourage travelers to "use public lands north of Interstate 8" and to call 911 if they "see suspicious activity."

Perfect! That's where I'll be driving at 107º tomorrow. I'll have to look for the signs.

But once I get to Texas, I'll have fun. And the fun starts just east of El Paso, where the posted speed limit is 80 mph. Love it! Then, when I get to my mom's house, I get to meet her new little dog Misty. (My mom had to put Scooter down a while ago - He had liver cancer.) I've heard Misty already, because when I call my mom, Misty starts barking to say, "Hey! You stopped paying attention to me!"

When I come back, I'll be bringing my telescope with me. I didn't have enough room for it in my car when I came home from The Trip with my mom.

So tonight is serious packing, followed by serious sleeping, followed tomorrow by serious driving. I have some books on tape checked out from the library to keep me company. Life is good!

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Classic

I think I might be getting old.

This brings back fond memories of going to the movies when I was in high school:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Abusive Behavior (Updated)

It's hard to know exactly what's going on. A month ago, I fell down and hurt my knees. Those injuries have healed now, except for a few spots that are still a bit pink. I was able to get back to praying on my knees within a few days of the Shameful Incident, and I wore my jeans to work that Friday (and every Friday since) without any pain to my band-aid covered wounds.

I had even begun to believe that perhaps the SI was just a strange aberration, a freak of nature that randomly struck an otherwise steady person.

I was deluded.

Last night, my daughter and a friend of hers and mine came over to play games. I went into my roommate's room (she was out for the evening), where the games were, and turned on her light so I could read the names of the games. After calling out the names, we decided to watch movies instead, and I walked toward the bedroom door. As I did, the door to one of the under-the-bed compartments was slightly open, and I walked right into the top corner, which smacked my kneecap and then banged into the fleshy part below it.

I said, "Damn it!" about five times, with the last one properly spelled in all caps, and this alarmed my daughter, who knows that I don't swear unless I'm really hurt.

She came in the room, and I pulled up my sweats to inspect my knee and check for bleeding. Swelling had already started, but I didn't see blood. She did, though, and mentioned it, and on my second look, I could see one wide drop trying to form.

I washed it, dried it, and applied a band-aid. Then I grabbed the gel pack out of the freezer (I got it from my chiropractor to use on my back when I feel a twinge) and put it on my knee for a while.

The ice didn't help much, and all night my knee had the look of a beluga whale with its bulging forehead. The swelling was about the size of a plum that had been cut in half and attached under the kneecap. I iced it several times while we watched Camille and then the Brothers Bloom.

At one point during the movie-watching, I glanced into my roomie's room and saw that the very door which had attacked me, AND WHICH I HAD CLOSED, was open again, waiting for another victim!

I gave it no quarter. Throwing off my ice pack, I went into the room and rearranged the stuff in the compartment until the evil door acknowledged that I was boss and stayed shut.

By this morning the swelling was down to the size of a large apricot. It doesn't look like there will be any lasting effects, but I can't help but wonder what is going on in me that my walking has suddenly become a danger to my knees.

Maybe I should consider attaching curb feelers to my lower legs as a protective measure...

Update (8/30/10, lunchtime):

I mentioned my new injury to my boss, and I told her I need curb feelers. She suggested rubber pads.

In retrospect, I think this is what she had in mind:

But this is what I thought of when she said it:

One on each knee. It'll look great with a dress.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Zebras on the Loose

KGW News reported today about two zebras who got loose in Northern California. (Slideshow here.)

A pair of zebras on the way to Oregon got loose in traffic on a busy California road and it took hours to capture them.

The zebras were getting loaded into a horse trailer in Carmichael, Calif., a small suburb east of Sacramento, when two dogs apparently spooked them and sent them running in opposite directions. Much of the scramble was caught on camera.

Authorities said the zebras darted in and out of traffic and one of them was hit by a car but continued to run. Confused residents reported zebra sightings throughout the downtown area for next five hours.

Both were eventually caught and the animal that was struck by the car was checked over by a veterinarian and given a clear bill of health with just one superficial cut. The second zebra was found in the pool of an apartment complex.

Their owner, Michael Mastagni, was able to finally load the animals onto the trailer and transported his entire herd of seven zebras, including the two runaways, to the ranch in Bly, Ore., on Sunday.

I love that one of them found its way to a pool. It is summertime, after all...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dereliction of Duty by ICE

Power Line reported Wednesday on a vote by the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council of the American Federation of Government Employees, the union that represents ICE agents and employees. The rank and file unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in the agency's leadership.

Did you get that? The vote was unanimous. Every single person voted against the leadership.

The union "stated that ICE has 'abandoned' its core mission of protecting the public to support a political agenda favoring amnesty. "

The union denounced John Morton, who heads ICE, and Phyllis Coven, assistant director for the agency's office of detention policy and planning. It stated that the integrity of the agency "as well as the public safety" would be "better provided for in the absence of Director Morton and Assistant Director Coven."

Among the other points unanimously agreed to are these:

• The majority of ICE's enforcement and removal officers are prohibited from making street arrests or enforcing U.S. immigration laws outside of the jail setting.

• Hundreds of ICE officers nationwide perform no law enforcement duties whatsoever because of resource mismanagement within the agency.

• ICE detention reforms have transformed into a detention system aimed at providing resortlike living conditions to criminal aliens based on recommendations not from ICE officers and field managers, but from "special-interest groups."

• The lack of technical expertise and field experience has resulted in a priority of providing bingo nights, dance lessons and hanging plants to criminals, instead of addressing safe and responsible detention reforms for noncriminal individuals and families.

• Unlike any other agency in the nation, ICE officers will be prevented from searching detainees housed in ICE facilities, allowing weapons, drugs and other contraband into detention centers -- putting detainees, ICE officers and contract guards at risk.

• Senior leadership ignores reports that ICE internal investigations by the office of professional responsibility conceal agency and supervisor misconduct and are used to retaliate against employees who make whistleblower-type disclosures or question inappropriate policies and procedures.

As Paul Mirengoff, the Power Line writer, says, imagine if this vote had happened during the Bush administration. Imagine if it was only a handful of ICE agents voting against Bush's ICE leadership. Every single paper and every single left-leaning news outlet would be trumpeting the news 24/7.

But under Obama, it's only the right-leaning Washington Times that ran the story.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Boys Will Be Boys

I spend an inordinate amount of time in and around parking lots in my daily life, and it's given me the opportunity to observe people and what they do.

A few weeks ago, there was a family gathered outside one of the doors of a building I was at. They may have been waiting for someone who was still inside, but one little boy about age 3 had separated himself from the rest. He had found a tiny puddle in the parking lot, the only spot of water in the dry, barren reaches of inland Southern California, and he was playing in it.

There must be something in the DNA of the Y chromosome, a gene that homes in on standing water and mud and compels the male to approach it, stick his hands in it and then stomp around in it until his mother lets out a horrified shriek and comes over to whisk said miscreant away. Being a girl, I don't completely understand.

There's another male gene that I see on display the parking lots, and this one afflicts older males, those of driving age. It's the Backing Into Parking Spaces gene. Although I'm willing to consider that this one may be an effect of the prenatal washing of the brain by testosterone that occurs early in the development of males and some rare females. By my estimation (not just at work but everywhere), about 90% of the vehicles that are parked for easy exit were parked by men. I think it's the modern manifestation of the same thing that caused Wild West men to sit in saloons with their backs to the wall. A lady doesn't normally think about that unless her man has drummed it into her over the years.

The other day I was looking out a window, and I noticed motion out in the parking lot, and I looked to see what it was. A pickup truck was starting to back into a spot. Naturally, my brain registered: Pickup = male; reverse parking = male. But then the truck pulled forward because the driver had miscalculated the proper trajectory. (My brain: Lack of awareness of surroundings and vehicle direction = potential female driver.) I watched more closely and saw that the driver didn't turn the wheels the right way to allow for a better approach, so he or she ended up in about the same position as the first time. Attempt number 3 was slightly improved, just enough to allow for full access to the parking space, but the driver wasn't sure how far back to go, so the truck moved forward a little then backwards again, and then it stopped.

I watched for confirmation of my conclusion that the truck was being driven by a rogue female, one who probably had to borrow hubby's truck because her little, maneuverable car was in the shop. The driver's door opened, and a man got out.

Hmmm. He parks like a girl when he's parking like a man. I'm not quite sure what to make of that.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Missouri Rejects Obamacare

"The God of Israel spoke. The Rock of Israel said to me: 'The person who rules righteously, who rules in the fear of God, he is like the light of the morning, like the sunrise bursting forth in a cloudless sky, like the refreshing rains that bring tender grass from the earth.'

But the godless are like thorns to be thrown away, for they tear the hand that touches them."
II Samuel 23:3-4, 6

It looks like Missouri has started throwing the thorns away, by nearly 3 to 1.

America is willing to be governed. But. We. Will. Not. Be. Ruled.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Falling Down on the Job

It's probably not what you think...

Yesterday. I needed to get to work (to my desk, actually) ON TIME. Which means I have to clock in on the wretched time clock system on my workstation no later than 8:07 a.m. so I can take not one minute less than a 30 minute lunch so I can leave work at 4:30 so I can make it home to grab a few things for an appointment at 5:15.

I set my alarm clock about 20 minutes earlier than usual and got up after hitting the snooze button only once. The only problem was that my roommate's family was here, and everyone was still getting ready for Disneyland. The daughter (the one from Florida, who you may remember from the trip my mom and I took a couple years ago) was in the shower when I dragged myself out of bed. That was OK, because I got my clothes out and readied my breakfast stuff and was generally efficient with my waiting time. Then it was my turn.

The granddaughter took her shower while I was having breakfast, and then the son-in-law needed a shower, but since I hadn't finished my breakfast yet, I let him go ahead, rather than try to brush my teeth mid-breakfast. Eeeww!

But he took longer than I had counted on (I hadn't really given it much thought). When he finished, I brushed my teeth, grabbed everything, said my goodbyes (and told them I knew they were going to be SO JEALOUS of me being at work while they were suffering their way through the Happiest Place on Earth), and got in the car. That's when I noticed I was cold. I had forgotten my jacket. So I turned off the car, ran back inside ("Are you done at work already?"), grabbed my jacket and ran back outside to my car.

I ended up leaving with just enough time to get to work and still be able to clock in On Time, provided traffic wasn't bad. It wasn't, but my timing was close. I parked my car and walked very quickly to the entrance, and that was where my foot didn't quite clear the curb, and I went down.

My knees took the worst of it. I was wearing a dress, so it was skin on cement. Hard. My hands hit next, my left hand grazing the knuckles closest to the nails on my thumb and two middle fingers, because that's the hand that had my lunch in it. My right hand hit on the heel of the palm after letting go of my purse and sending some of the contents spilling, including my cell phone which opened up as if to mock me. And then, because I'd been walking so fast, my momentum kept me moving until my right cheek touched the cement, fortunately without any injury or pain. If it hadn't been for my knees taking the brunt of the damage, my face could have been.... no, I don't want to think about it.

One of the ladies at work was right behind me, and she asked if I was OK, but I had to be OK, because I had to clock in first and then survey the damage once that task had been accomplished. I walked quickly, without tripping up the stairs, and checking as I went to make sure I didn't feel any blood running down my shins, to my desk and clocked in at 8:06 a.m. Success with a minute to spare! Then I went to the restroom and washed my injuries with soap and water.

It's bad enough that I felt like a dope for falling down like a little kid, but my job includes tracking unusual occurrences and typing up some of them when they're reported. And this was definitely an unusual occurrence. I asked my boss if I had to write it up, hoping that I wouldn't have to immortalize my shame, but she said yes, I needed to do that. And I also had to send a copy to HR.

Later, my knees started screaming in pain at me, so I went to the mailroom and looked in the first aid kit, but all it had was teeny band-aids and some purple gloves. Nothing for pain. I walked down the hall to where the head pediatrician was in his office, and I asked him if there was something I could put on the abrasions to make them stop hurting but that would let me pretend that I wasn't seeking medical care (pediatricians see more of this type of injury than adult physicians do or I would have asked an adult provider). He told me to ask the nurse.

The nurse, whose office was right next door, told me that if I put some antibiotic ointment on it, it would keep the air from getting to the wounds, and it was the air that was making my knees hurt. She dug out a box of antibiotic ointment from a desk drawer and informed me that it was expired, which was why it wasn't in the first aid kit. As a nurse, she would NEVER suggest that I use expired ointment. As a friend, though, she was letting me know that it was an option should I decide I wanted to use it. But it was expired. Just so I know.

I didn't care. I took several of the little foil packets and used one to put some ointment on my knees and also my thumb knuckle, which was still bleeding slightly. I had just enough band-aids in my Bag of Tricks that I keep in my purse for my knees. My thumb got a red crayon-shaped band-aid.

The hardest part of the day was at night when it was time to pray. I do that on my knees with my elbows on my bed, but there was no way I was going to put my knees on the little rug I keep by the bed. So I climbed into bed and prayed sitting up straight, and even though I felt farther away from my prayers that way, it was still better than not praying at all.

Today I wore another dress to work, so my knees wouldn't have to rub against pants, and tomorrow it'll be a skirt and jacket. On Friday, Jeans Day, I'll have to see how I'm doing, because I'd absolutely hate to miss out on a Jeans Day just because I fell down on the job on Tuesday.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Obama Bumper Sticker Removal Kit

This is from NewsBusters, via Doug Powers at Michelle Malkin's blog.

Doug Powers helpfully points out that the BS Removal Kit can also be used to remove the "McCain" half of your McCain/Palin bumper sticker.

I don't have any bumper stickers to remove, but I'm always happy to help a friend find something useful.

Then again, you might just want to keep those stickers on for posterity. I used to commute long distances to work and would frequently see another commuter with a really old Dodge Dart that had a Nixon/Agnew sticker on his car. Together, the sticker and car made a nice time capsule of another era. Something to consider before you plunge headlong into the BS Removal decision...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Bastille Day!

Today's French phrase on my Page-A-Day calendar is:

La liberté à tout prix.

Liberty at all costs.

It's in honor of France's Bastille Day, their independence day. It's not a day I celebrate, although I remember, after having had 5 years of French in school plus various conversational French classes, that it falls on July 14th. But it got me thinking about France's revolution compared to ours.

Liberté. Liberty from what? The French liberated themselves from monarchy, a monarchy that oppressed them and left most of them starving in the streets. In return, they gained the Reign of Terror. Some liberty!

Égalité. Equality of what? The French are still basically ruled by elites. It may not be the monarchy anymore, true, but it's still a class system of the lessers being subject to their betters. I described the French school system, which fosters this class structure in this post from 2005. Yes, the French people all get to vote, but the elites still rule.

Fraternité. Fraternity with whom? "Disaffected" (Muslim) youths? The Jews who are being beaten? Fraternity seems to be only with other pasty-white French people. Outsiders need not apply.

The American Left loves to look to Europe, to France, for inspiration when they try to transform our country into something "better." But America, for all its faults, is the better place.

We gained liberty from the ruling monarchy without the bloodbath that followed France's revolution. Granted, geography had a lot to do with keeping King George III's head on his shoulders. But we had a peaceful transition to a new power structure that ensured liberty in the fledgling nation.

Within the context of the times, America promised equality in a way that hadn't been seen before. Property rights, the vote for free men, and equal opportunity were available to all.

Fraternity is what America does best. All who would subscribe to America's ideals and become citizens are welcome. It doesn't matter where you're from. It doesn't matter what color you are or what language you spoke in the Old Country. If you want to be an American, you can. Nobody is outcast. Nobody has to take the back seat. And anyone who wants to apply him or herself can succeed.

We're even seeing, this election cycle, a resurgence of would-be citizen-legislators.

America is a great country. Let us celebrate her greatness this Bastille Day.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Clark S. Judge on Governors

I like Clark S. Judge and look forward to his guest column every Monday at Hugh Hewitt's blog. Today he addresses the weekend's meeting of the National Governors Association.

The National Governors Association met in Boston this weekend. Usually NGA meetings rank among the blandest of political events.... Not this meeting. Guns were blazing in criticism of the Obama Administration.

Said one frustrated state chief executive, “They [the administration] have oversold the job creation part of [the stimulus legislation]… Whether the president of the United States inherited this [economic] situation or not, he’s now owning it…. [T]o have not delivered [jobs] more quickly has become a problem.”

Said another governor from another region: “Are we just protecting government, or are we really stimulating the economy.”

The surprising part is that even the New York Times reported the story. Clark Judge continues:

As yet another governor of the president’s party told the Times, in joining Republicans wondering why there was no attempt by his party’s Congressional leadership to at least add constructive immigration legislation to obstructive administration lawsuits, “There are 535 members of Congress…. Certainly someone back there can chew gum and hold the basketball at the same time.”


Judge goes on to mention a concern that I've expressed before:

November is not a done deal yet. We have a two-party system. It is not enough for the Democrats to fail in governing, as they have. The Republicans must come up with an alternative....

There is talk of Congressional Republicans issuing a new Contract with America, a pledge of actions the party would take if it were to control the next Congress. Apparently some are afraid of painting in such bold colors as endorsing repeal of Obamacare, stopping further spending of the stimulus money, and continuing the 2003 tax rates. With voter skepticism running so deep, Republican timidity is the greatest danger for the GOP this fall.

He's right. My congressman, Darrell Issa, is a rock star, and so is Rep. Paul Ryan, but the GOP leadership in the House, like Minority Leader John Boehner, strikes me as being made of Jello. We need to shed the go-along-to-get-along Republican members in Congress and elect some true Men of Steel to stand up against the Democrat agenda. If we do, maybe just maybe we can stop the hurtling of our nation in time before it plunges into the abyss.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Botched Clichés

There are so many upsetting things going on in the news that I can't deal with them all, so instead I'll head off in another direction.

When I was a kid, I didn't understand some of the figures of speech or clichés people used. The most confusing for me was, "A stitch in time saves nine." I pictured this as somebody, most likely God, stitching His way through the Fabric of Time. I had no idea why He would stitch time and what effect those stitches would have in the world and what His stitching would save nine of. Nine seconds? Nine minutes? Nine people? I'd get overwhelmed from pondering this (much like the recent news), and I'd have to push it from my mind so I wouldn't go crazy.

It wasn't until I was much older, probably when I had to do some mending, that I figured out it meant something more mundane than God and time. If you get a little hole in the seam of your clothes and you sew it up right away with a little stitch, it saves you from having to sew up a lot because you let the hole get bigger because you're too lazy to nip it in the bud.

Another misunderstanding I had was the (incorrect) saying, "Don't kick a gift horse in the mouth." In my mind, a gift horse fell into the same category as the goose that laid the golden eggs. Somewhere out there was a horse that, when it opened its mouth, wrapped gifts came out. You wanted that horse to keep on giving gifts, didn't you? And if you kicked that horse in the mouth, it would quit giving you the gifts. So don't do it!

Again, in teenagerness or early adulthood, I got this one straightened out. It's really: "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth," of the "Beggars can't be choosers" variety of saying. A gift horse is a horse that somebody gives you for free. And people who understand about horses (which certainly wasn't me) know that you can tell how old a horse is by looking at his teeth and how worn down they are. If someone gives you a horse, don't bother to look at his teeth. You don't want to know.

The rest of these are things that other people said.

I shared a cubicle with a guy who would say, "If it was a snake, it would've kicked me." Love it!

A British guy I worked with, a supervisor of some sort but not mine, was talking to a group of us about some work-related matter, and he said, "That opens up a whole new can of beans." We laughed at him later, when he wasn't around.

Finally, a guy I worked with who was from Costa Rica had come to America not knowing much English. He said he learned English by reading the New York Times every day with a Spanish-English dictionary close by. His English was excellent by the time he had moved to California and started working where I did. One time, though, he needed to vent, and he did. Then he finished by saying, "There. I had to get that out of my chest."

All I could think of was that first main scene in the first Alien movie where the horrible alien beats its way out of the guy's chest, and I didn't want to laugh, because my co-worker was really a nice guy (not like the British supervisor, who was a pain in the neck), but oh my goodness!

What about you? What botched clichés or figures of speech have you said or heard?

Monday, June 28, 2010

R.I.P. Robert Byrd

The longest-serving Senator, Robert Byrd, passed away this morning. There have already been plenty of moving tributes to him in the mainstream media.

Over at Power Line, Scott Mirengoff has links to several of them. He also adds this, because the MSM seems to have selective amnesia about Byrd's career:

Byrd was old enough, for example, to have vowed memorably regarding the integration of the Armed Forces by President Truman that he would never fight "with a Negro by my side. Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."

Even after his resignation from the Klan, Byrd continued to hold it in high esteem, writing to the Klan's Imperial Wizard in 1946: "The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia."

And Byrd was old enough to have participated in filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as to have voted against it after cloture along with 18 other Democrats -- in the name of the Constitution, of course.

Democrats love to accuse Republicans of racism, but the KKK's membership was Democrats like Robert Byrd. Don't expect them to tell you that, though.

Byrd's passing leaves its mark on the succession to the presidency, should anything untoward happen to President Obama and Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton and Speaker of the House Pelosi all at once. After Pelosi, now, the presidency would go to Daniel Inouye (D-HI). I understand he's much more bland than Sen. Byrd.

I'm going to miss hearing Byrd's rants from the floor of the Senate, from stories about his childhood to mentions of his little dog, to declarations that the Republicans' position on something is, "Wrong. Wrong! WRONG!!!" The Senate will be less colorful without Robert Byrd.

As for the hereafter, I leave it up to God to decide where Byrd will go. God knows much better than I do about such things...

Zoo Time

Saturday I went to the World Famous San Diego Zoo with my roommate, her son and daughter-in-law and their two little boys. I took my camera.

My roommate's son and grandson walking down Easy Street toward the monkeys...

We came to Gorilla Tropics first. This gorilla isn't a redhead. The red is a reflection of somebody's shirt in the glass that lets people get close-up shots. This picture was not cropped.

The baby gorilla, besides having an enormous belly, also had quite an attitude.

After the gorillas, we found the tigers. There were two, and they started out by the water, where the grass blocked some of what could have been some good photos (except for the huge yawn that I was able to capture), but then they wandered over to a better viewing area. They didn't stay long, though. After a quick walk by the glass, they climbed up the hill and disappeared.

We had a map, and we thought we were following it, but somehow we ended up back at the monkeys when we were trying to get to the polar bears to see their new digs. This picture of the Lesser Spot-nosed Guenon is the only one I'm posting that I cropped.

Since the monkeys were near the Zoo entrance and the polar bears were at the far, far reaches of the back of the Zoo, and since the boys were getting tired, we decided to come back another time for the bears (annual passes are beautiful things). Instead, we went to the kiddie play area near the petting zoo.

That route took us past the Reptile House, and what would be a trip to the San Diego Zoo without a look at the albino Burmese Python? He's been in the same corner exhibit since I was a kid. I believe, however, that this guy isn't the one I stared at when I was little. He looks a lot smaller, not as big around as he used to be. Plus, they only live about 20 or 25 years in the wild. I don't know what effect albinism has on their longevity.

And of course, the Zoo has Stuff For Sale. I took its picture, because buying stuff isn't in my budget, even if it's cute. These (and more) gourds are carved by Pablo Teodoro Hurtado Laveriano, a Peruvian artisan. I especially liked the owls he carved (not pictured here).

My roommate and I are planning to go back to the Zoo with grown-ups and do the photo safari thing. Zoos are different with kids than without. With the price of food there, though, we decided that it's best to eat an early lunch, then go to the Zoo and stay until just before dinnertime, then leave and get something to eat afterward. That will really help the cash flow not to hemorrhage.

And then when winter comes, we can go to the Wild Animal Park, because it's just plain foolish to go there in the summer. In the heat. When we could be at the Zoo where it's cooler.

Yep. Wild Animal Park. Winter. They both start with "W". Zoo. Zummer. It's meant to be.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Clint Webb for Senate

Just in case you can't tell, this is not a real candidate.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Soviet Slide

A friend and I were talking, and she said she heard a short portion of the Glenn Beck radio show this past week. He took a caller who said he had come to America from the Soviet Union, and I asked if the Russian guy's name was Boris. She thought it might have been.

I asked that, because last week I also heard a Russian guy who immigrated to America from the Soviet Union. The guy I heard on Hugh Hewitt's radio show was named Boris, and he lives in Cleveland. My friend said her Boris is in Miami.

After Hugh asked Cleveland Boris if his wife's name is Natasha (it's not), Boris said that Obama and the Democrats are remaking America in the Soviet image. According to my friend, Miami Boris said the same thing.

My friend and I were discussing the Borises on our way to a meeting where we'd be seeing at least half of a Russian couple who came to America in 1979. Briefly, this is their story:

They met in Moscow, talked for a long time, and really liked each other. He asked her out, and then he stood her up. A few months later, they saw each other again on public transportation, talked some more, he asked her out, and this time he showed up for the date and impressed her parents by bringing a basket of fresh fruit in the middle of winter. They got married and had to live with one of their grandmothers, because in the Soviet Union, they weren't allowed to have their own place, even though he had a cushy, important job that gave him access to fresh fruit in the winter.

At his job as an engineer, he got to work around 10:00 am, shuffled papers until 11:00, went to lunch until 1:00, when he locked his office door and listened to the Voice of America broadcast until 2:00, and then at 3:00, he decided he'd worked enough for the day, so he went home. Because of his important engineering job, his boss, who liked him, got him a deferment from mandatory service in the Soviet military.

It wasn't what you knew that counted in the Soviet Union, but who you knew, what they had to offer, and what you had to offer in trade. He had access to airplane tickets, which is how he got the fresh fruit from someone who had access to that.

After listening religiously to the Voice of America broadcast every day, he eventually decided he wanted to go to America. He told his wife, who was horrified, but he said he was going with or without her.

It doesn't seem like much to us to decide to move somewhere, but in the Soviet Union, any defection reflected badly, VERY badly, on the people around them. His boss would be damaged goods and would likely lose his job. His wife's father was high up in the Communist Party, and it would be bad enough that his son-in-law was going to America--they could salvage the situation if she divorced her husband and stayed behind--but for the both of them to go to America would destroy her dad's position.
Her mom advised her to stay, because you can always get a new husband, but you can't get new parents. But she decided she and their baby would go to America with her husband.

Somehow, through connections and probably luck, he was able to get the documents giving them permission to leave. But in getting them, it signalled to his boss and the rest of the Soviet hierarchy that his heart had turned against his home country. Immediate orders were generated for him to enlist in the Soviet Army and be shipped to Siberia. The small family had to go into hiding, avoiding all family, friends, and acquaintances to keep him from being taken into the Army, while they waited for the paperwork to come through. When the papers were finally ready, they got out of the country with only a few minutes to spare before the travel documents expired.

They had lived under socialism, where the government controls everything, where you are not your own. The choices you make are only those choices allowed you by the government. Everything else is controlled, except the Black Market, and that puts you at risk if you're discovered partaking. We have no concept, here in America, what that's really like. Some on the Left have idealized it, I believe because they envision themselves as the Ruling Party and not as the controlled masses.

On our way back home, my friend told me she had asked the wife what they thought about what's been happening in America under the Obama Administration. She said they're scared. We're sliding quickly into what the Soviet Union used to be, and we as a nation don't see it, because we don't know what to see.

I'm not entirely optimistic (this is me talking here, the woman who was once accused of being Pollyanna). We have November coming, and it may be our last opportunity to stop the slide. But that depends on electing enough Republicans to be able to overturn the Obama takeover of so much of our nation. And if we manage that, it depends on those Republicans having enough backbone to FINALLY stand up to the Democrats and mean it and to Shut. The. Heck. Up about "my good friend across the aisle." Those words spoken by Republicans between now and January 20, 2013, will signal compromise, the white flag being waved. And that will be closely followed by the hammer-and-sickle being waved in spirit over a once-great nation.

Pray. And vote. And pray some more.