Saturday, December 31, 2011

Final Punctuation Quotes

My Page-a-Day calendar at work, from Eats, Shoots & Leaves, is at an end, and I wanted to share a couple of the last quotes, which summarize our punctuation situation quite nicely.

From December 29th:

We have a language that is full of ambiguities; we have a way of expressing ourselves that is often complex and allusive, poetic and modulated. All our thoughts can be rendered with absolute clarity if we bother to put the right dots and squiggles between the words in the right places.

From December 31st:

Proper punctuation is both the sign and the cause of clear thinking. If it goes, the degree of intellectual impoverishment we face is unimaginable.

So, please, use your punctuation the right way. We wouldn't want to have to face the unimaginable.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I'm a little late posting something for Christmas. I had nursery duty during the first service at church this morning and then attended the second service. But it's good that I didn't post anything yet, because they showed this video at church, and I love it:

For a special bonus, here's a nice Christmas song for you, Francesca Battistelli's "You're Here."

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011


It's been said that learning English as a second language is very difficult. English borrowed grammar and spelling rules from all over the place, and most of it doesn't even make sense to those of us who grew up speaking it like a native. We just know when it's right, except of course for sometimes when we haven't got a clue.

Probably the language groups that have the most trouble with English are those in Asia. When people over there translate important information for English-speaking tourists, it can be a challenge, and some of those challenges are showcased at, one of websites I visit when I need a good chuckle. Here are just a few that have given me a giggle lately:

Danger warning:

Helpful information:

Menu clarification:

Restroom help:


Lakeside instructions:

Friendly people:

Be sure to look around, especially at the Popular Engrish link.

What favorite websites do you have?

Monday, December 12, 2011


I woke up this morning on my back, and my lumbar region was a little achey, so I hit the snooze button and rolled over on my side to sleep in the fetal position. It usually helps ease the aching in my back.

Nine minutes later the alarm went off again, and my first thought was, "Time to wake up and face the music."

Now, I know that phrase means that you have to face the consequences of your misdeeds, but the worst "misdeed" I have is that I forgot to turn on the Out of Office Assistant in Outlook for my day off Friday. There won't be much music to face for that.

So here's my question: Where did "face the music" come from? In what part of life, way back whenever, was there music playing while you paid the penalty for your crimes?

In movies set in the Revolutionary period, they always play snare drums as the prisoner waits his last moments while the hangman or the firing squad gets ready. But drums aren't "music." Music is music.

So what exactly is the music we face?

Friday, December 09, 2011


The Duggars, from the show 19 Kids and Counting, announced recently that they were expecting their 20th baby. Today, however, I heard on the radio that Michelle miscarried during the second trimester. They'll be having a memorial service for the baby.

It's sad, because when you're that far along, the baby has already become a member of the family and you're just waiting to find out what he or she will look like and and be like.

The whole time I was growing up, my grandpa (my mom's dad) always talked about being one of ten kids. They didn't all reach adulthood, though, with what life was like back in the early 1900's, and my grandpa was the only one of the ten who carried the family name to the next generation.

One brother drowned when he was 16, and a sister married, so of course her kids had her husband's name. And Uncle Andy never had children.

When I was getting my Bachelor's degree in Psychology, we had to do a project that required getting some of the family history to create a genogram. I went back a generation further than we were supposed to for the project, because there were issues on the other side of the family that I thought had bearing on my generation. I called my mom to find out about her dad and his siblings, and what she told me rocked what I had known all my life.

My grandfather's mom had ten pregnancies, but four of them ended in miscarriages or stillbirths. Only six of the babies survived. And yet my grandfather said he was one of ten children the way we say we have two arms and two legs. Those four lost babies were as much a part of the family as the six.

So when someone you know miscarries, don't dismiss the loss. They may not have seen and held the baby, but they felt it growing and moving. They had hopes and dreams for the person the baby could become. It is cruel to assure them they'll have another or to remind them of the children they already have. First give them time to grieve the loss of part of the family. It will be easier on them in the long run if they're able to work through the pain before moving on.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Christmastime Fun

A long time ago I had this one boss, and he was really great to work for. He was the guy who knew what every single one of the See's candies had inside. For someone like me, who hates nuts and hates the taste of coffee, this boss was a lifesaver when a box of See's showed up. And if there was fun to be had, you could bet he'd be in the middle of it.

One Christmas he told me what his favorite thing to do was for that time of year. He always saved his Christmas cards from the previous year, as long as they didn't have the date written on them and they weren't from Mom or Uncle Harry or someone like that.

Most of his family and friends lived in California. But he had this old college buddy who lived in Omaha, and that's what made it all possible.

My boss would send Christmas cards to all his contacts. And then he'd get the cards from last year, the ones that said nothing more than, "Merry Christmas. Love, Jeff and Betty," and he'd get fresh envelopes and stamps and choose a family member or two and a few of his friends and write out their addresses on a separate piece of paper. And he'd put all the cards and envelopes and stamps and addresses in a manila envelope and send it to his buddy in Omaha.

Mr. Omaha would address the envelopes, put the Jeff and Betty cards in them, and mail them back to my boss's friends in California.

My boss took infinite delight in imagining his friends getting a card and asking themselves, "Who on earth are Jeff and Betty?" And I couldn't help but laugh with him until my cheeks hurt, because his laugh was so contagious and it was just so funny.

I've never had the nerve to try it. But I think about it sometimes when the Christmas cards start coming in the mail...

Sunday, December 04, 2011


Friday was my sister's birthday. I had tried to find a card I'd seen a couple months ago, but I couldn't remember where I'd seen it and it seems to have disappeared completely. And with something in particular in mind, I couldn't find any other card that felt right. So I didn't send one.

This is the card:

The front says, "They dared Mittens to do it, and Mittens never turned down a dare."

Inside, it says, "Here's to living life on the edge! Happy Birthday."

I called my sister instead.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I didn't call her until after work.

Just as I was wrapping up my work day, my roommate called to tell me that her BFF Forever - her son's mother-in-law, a wonderful Christian woman and the glue in her family - had just passed away. She'd been battling stomach cancer for several months, and we knew she might not survive to see Christmas. Still, it came too soon, and the news brought me to tears.

After work I struggled with how to handle my sister's birthday call. I didn't want to dampen her spirits, but it was hard to think about being happy when this family that I love was suffering. Finally, I decided to save the news until the end of the call and followed it by telling my sister how very, VERY much I love her.

Life is difficult. And it's rewarding. And good. It is a gift from God that fills us with joy and sorrow, sometimes at the same time.

Today, right this minute, there are families watching as their loved one slips away from this life. And there are families rejoicing at the arrival of a new life. Today people are celebrating a birthday (and I know who one of you is) and others are facing defeat and regret. Today little children can't contain their excitement as they stand in line to talk to Santa, and old people in senior communities take their lapdogs out for a walk, alone. And all of it (and so much more) happens at exactly the same time.

What amazes me when I try to comprehend it all (and can't) is that God is able to weep and rejoice and strengthen and celebrate and comfort and convict and draw people to Him. He is all we need - and some days we need it all.

Life is more fleeting than we realize, so we need to make sure to tell people we love them so we don't have any regrets. And when we've done that, when all of that is settled, we need to get on with life.

We need to come out from the shadows, out from our hiding places, to stop shrinking back from the challenges of life and start living a little more on the edge. We need to be more like Mittens.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mail Mix-Ups

I'm taking the week off, sleeping in and doing those things that I never seem to have time for otherwise. Exciting stuff like replacing the front porch light when the sun is up and taking my recycling to get redeemed when they're actually open.

My roommate loves to get the mail and checks the mailbox every evening when she gets home, before she even unlocks the door. Me, I couldn't care less. But because I know she likes it, I went out to the curb in the middle of the day and got our mail. It was the Pennysaver, with a few pages of ads tucked inside, and a mass mailing of some sort on glossy paper. I checked the name to see if it was for me (unlikely), my roommate, her late father who died two years ago, or her late husband who died in 2004. About half the time, the two men get more mail than the two of us women do.

But that other piece of mail had somebody else's name on it, so I checked the address, and it was the neighbors two doors up the hill. I went over there and opened their mailbox, but they must like the mail as much as my roomie does because it was already empty. Then I noticed somebody was in the car in the driveway, so I walked up to her (startled her) and told her that they gave us her mail. As I handed it to her I said, "Looks exciting," in that way that, combined with the eyebrows lifting, says it looks nothing of the sort. She chuckled and said she'd get right on it, and I went back home.

On the short walk, though, I was reminded of my childhood. That was the time when only rural streets had the mailboxes all the way out by the curb. Normal people in town had the mailbox mounted on the house by the front door, and our mailman parked his modified-Jeep vehicle on some other street, filled up his bag on wheels, and walked down one side of our long, long cul-de-sac and up the other.

Most of the moms on our street stayed at home raising the kids, and they got to know the mailman pretty well (my brother and I were summertime friends with the garbageman, too, but that's another story). Every Christmas, my mom baked banana bread and put a loaf, wrapped in aluminum foil with a red bow on it, in the mailbox for him.

Our mailman was a friendly man, and he would chat with my mom and her friends on the block, and every once in a while, he would decide that the ladies hadn't visited each other enough lately, so he would intentionally mix up the mail. That way they'd have to take the mail to the other neighbor, who would invite the delivering neighbor in for coffee.

We knew he did it on purpose, partly because he said he did, but also because it was always the same few friends who had their mail mixed up. He never gave us the mail for the family down the street who had the juvenile-delinquent kids. Our mailman knew who the nice people were, and he didn't subject us to the others.

While I doubt today's mix-up was intentional, it gave me a chance to meet another neighbor, and it brought back a happy memory from my childhood. Just that is enough to make this a good day.

Occupy Bagram

Love it!

I found this at Michelle Malkin, and she found it at Black Five, and they stole it shamelessly from Steven T's Facebook page.

Herman Cain on Foreign Policy

Herman Cain is fading in the polls. First there were the sexual harrassment allegations, and then there was the Libya gaffe, which was reported widely as Cain's not being ready for prime time. These things take their toll.

Today, though, a friend sent me an email with Herman Cain's response to the foreign policy question (the text can be found here), and I was impressed. Here's some of what he said:

A few days ago, after coming under criticism for my answer to a question about Libya in an interview, I made a lighthearted comment that reflected all this – that I’m not supposed to know everything (most of the media quoted me as saying “anything”) about foreign policy.

Bizarre things happen when you run for president, one of which is that statements like this go viral, with people claiming I had somehow made the case that no knowledge of world affairs is required for the job.

I obviously don’t think that, but I’m also quite willing be honest about my strengths. My background is in the business world, and my greatest strength concerns the economy. My motivation in running for president is to apply my leadership skills to all issues – foreign and domestic. But clearly, as I have met with foreign policy luminaries like John Bolton and Henry Kissinger, I have done a lot more listening than talking – because they know a lot more about it than I do, and it would be absurd for me to claim otherwise.

That said, a man taking the oath of office for the presidency must have a sense of America’s place in the world, and must have a clear idea of the challenges, threats and opportunities that present themselves. Otherwise, success on the economic front likely goes for naught, as mistakes in the international arena tend to be costly both in the short term and in the long term.

My approach to foreign policy is to apply a general set of principles to each situation we face, and I have summarized these principles as peace through strength and clarity.


What does this mean?

In a broad sense, it means that I would not retreat on initiatives that strengthen America’s strategic standing in order to buy some sort of accommodation with those who do not have an interest in our security. For example, I would not have welched on America’s commitment to install a missile defense system in Eastern Europe because the Russians didn’t like it. The security of the U.S. and our allies would take precedence over the concerns of a nation whose strategic interests are often contrary to ours.


Peace through strength and clarity means there is no doubt about where we stand, for what we stand and with whom we stand. We stand in support of free nations who respect the rights of their people and do not threaten their neighbors. And we treat our allies like allies.


The most effective application of strength is that which is rarely used. Our troops are already overstretched and our financial resources are limited. An America that is capable and ready, and backs up what it says, won’t have to take action all that often. The world’s bad actors will know we are serious.

I think it’s clear by now that I am not going to score the best of all the candidates on media pop quizzes about the details of current international events. Some have claimed that I take some sort of perverse satisfaction in not knowing all these details. That is not true. I want to know as much as I can. But a leader leads by gathering all the information available in a given situation, and making the best decision at the time based on that information, and in accordance with sound principles. As president, I would not be required to make decisions on the spur of the moment based on a question from a reporter. I would make them the way I made them as a CEO – based on careful consideration of all the facts and the best advice of the best people.

But it is crucial to understand that my foreign policy decisions will always be based on the principles I have laid out here. That will not change, because these are the principles that best represent America’s heritage, and best advance our interests, as well as the interests of all freedom-loving nations and peoples.

I don't know if Herman Cain is even going to be in the running when Primary Season comes around, but I love his guiding principles for foreign policy. This is where I want the eventual GOP nominee to stand, and if he or she does, then I will be able to vote for that person and not just plug my nose and vote against the other guy the way I did in 2008.

America has been a great nation, but President Obama has hung a giant "Kick Me" sign around her neck. With a foreign policy like the one spelled out by Cain, America can go a long way toward removing that sign and having her greatness restored.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - A Parable

Occupy Wall Street started out as a supposedly peaceful protest by a bunch of clueless, radical '60s wannabes. And as this type of purposeless leftwing gathering tends to do, OWS degenerated into whining, filth, and finally rioting. Just like the Tea Party. Or not. Michelle Malkin has a pretty good roundup filed under her "Moonbats" category.

Over at Power Line, Scott Johnson posted this video. Its title is "Just After Halloween, 2011."

Johnson's comments following the video are perfect:

Given that citizens of lesser means always outnumber the rich, the classic political philosophers held that government based on majority rule was untenable. They were of the view that it would lead to organized theft from the wealthy by the democratic masses. Aristotle observed in The Politics, for example: “If the majority distributes among itself the things of a minority, it is evident that it will destroy the city.”

The Founders of the United States were deep students of politics and history, and they shared Aristotle’s concern. Up through their time, history had shown all known democracies to be “incompatible with personal security or the rights of property.” James Madison and his colleagues held that the “first object of government” was to protect the rights of property.

They understood the protection of property rights to be bound up with freedom itself. “In a word,” Madison explained, “as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights….” The Founders thus incorporated numerous provisions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights to protect the property rights of citizens from the power of the government.

Whatever else might be said about him, President Obama operates on a different philosophy of government from that of the Founders. His credo is reflected in the proposition: “I think at some point you have made enough money.” By contrast, the Founders thought that at some point the government had enough power. They created a system of government that was meant to establish protections against the likes of President Obama and the OWS crowd.

I'd say that 2013 can't come soon enough, but the politicians who have a track record of actually slashing government spending aren't the ones who are running. And the ones who are in the race have been ever so eager in the past to take away our candy and give it to Barry and the other kids in the neighborhood. I can't say I'm optimistic.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Games Men Play

I went on a date last weekend. It's been a while, since before the trip with my mom, and I'd forgotten some of the dynamics involved. Of course, I've had a few reminders because my roommate has been seeing a wonderful man (Hi, my roomie's gentleman friend!) for a few months, so I've been able to do a little observing. It's been nice seeing how well he treats her, so my protective instincts haven't been needed at all.

Men, in general, like to talk about how women, in general, play games when it comes to dating and relationships. We have a bad reputation in the eyes of the opposite sex, who conveniently forget all about their favorite Post-First Date Game. I'm in the middle of that one right now.

The PFD Game doesn't get played every time, to be honest. One time I went on a first date with a guy I knew from the Singles group I attended. We went out for dinner and a movie and had a great time, but we both knew it wasn't going to go anywhere. There wasn't any chemistry. He didn't call me back for another date, for which I was thankful. And we continued to be friends without any awkwardness at all.

In contrast, there was another first date I had with a man I didn't really know very well but who, in the course of conversation, said he was a Christian. He brought me flowers and took me to a nice restaurant and let me know that he was hoping I would go away with him on weekends to the different resorts owned by the company he worked for.

Ummm.... No. I told him there was no way that would happen. He called me later that week, which I didn't want him to do, and I told him nicely at first that I wasn't what he was looking for. When he didn't get the message, I said point-blank that I didn't want to see him anymore. After the phone call, I felt such great relief that I didn't have to go through that again.

And then he called again the next week! And I had to go through the agony of telling him all over again, because he didn't understand me any better the second time than he had the first. He finally stopped calling, but I was afraid to go out with anyone for a long time after that.

There's a message I tried to drum into my girls (my daughter and the two of her friends who each lived with us for a while): If a man will pressure you to give him what he wants before marriage, he's not the right man. The kind of man who will put his own desires ahead of your best interest before marriage is the kind of man who will put his own desires ahead of yours and the kids' best interest after marriage. You must read that kind of relentless pressure as a giant red flag and RUN, not walk, away from the relationship.

But, of course, you should never bring up that or any remotely related topics on the first date. Which I somehow managed to do last week.

I knew this guy before he asked me out about as well as I knew the first guy I mentioned above. He's a very nice man, and we went to a restaurant. I won't go into detail. Suffice it to say that I said something that might have been OK, except that the conversation just kept going into the Territory That Must Not Be Discussed On A First Date. And all those things that your mother or grandmother or favorite aunt (or The Rules, if you didn't have a maternal-type to explain this) told you not to bring up, I said those things. And he was really sweet, but my goodness! I stuck my foot in my mouth so far, it came out my ears.

As we parted (again, no details), he kicked off the PFD Game: He said, "I'll call you."

The Game has rules that women aren't privy to and usually only learn the hard way. When he says he'll call, he does NOT mean tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the next. He means not before Wednesday at the absolute soonest.

It's a test. You. Must. Not. Call. Him.

If you call him, you lose. Game over. Buh bye.

You must wait. Longer than you can stand, and then wait some more. And the whole time, you're wondering if you said something stupid (OK, I'm not wondering that - I did say it) that turned him off or if there was some deal-breaker that flashed like a neon sign in his mind, and you alternate between feeling defeated because he's not going to call and trying to convince yourself that he really will call just as soon as whatever is keeping him busy gets cleared up.

But what keeps him from calling usually isn't what you said. It's the Cave Time portion of the Game. This begins the moment he finishes saying he'll call.

Cave Time is something men need that women can't comprehend. Men withdraw into their cave to process what just happened. They don't talk things through with their friends the way women do. He'll stay in his cave as long as he needs to, and when he's ready he'll come out and give you a call. Or not.

Where am I in the PFD Game? He hasn't called, so I'm alternating between being sure he saw some deal-breakers and trying to convince myself of the perfectly good reasons why I shouldn't expect a call before this coming week. I'm busy not getting my hopes up so I don't get disappointed too badly if he decides my foot-in-mouth condition is way too unattractive.

What I'm not doing is calling him. By not calling, the Game is still on. I still have that small shred of hope to hang onto, because it's not game over. Not yet.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Are You Freakin' Kidding Me?

I apologize for being incommunicado for so long (and for the strong language in the title). I've been busy.

But this is enough to get me out of the fast lane, because I'm absolutely apoplectic about it. First, a little background:

Earlier this week the Justice Department divulged that they had foiled a plot (which they knew about for six weeks) on the part of Iran's government to assassinate the Saudi ambassador on American soil. To normal people who understand foreign policy and national sovereignty, this constitutes an act of war against both America and Saudi Arabia by Iran.

To President Obama, however, it constitutes a reason for giving another strongly worded response, letting Iran know that they really, REALLY need to start behaving now or somebody's going to be upset with them.

Now that he's lectured Iran's President Ahmadinejad, President Obama has announced that we're sending troops.

To central Africa to fight the Lord's Republican Army.

Why? Because "[t]he LRA continues to commit atrocities across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan that have a disproportionate impact on regional security."

Iran is actively destabilizing the Middle East and the West, and we do nothing but scold them.

I'm at a complete loss for the right words to describe how I feel. Instead, you need to watch the newly released video of the Administration's War Council.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Saving Israel

Victor Davis Hanson is a mensch, about as sharp as they come. His latest Townhall column is, "Can Israel Survive?" Here are his concluding paragraphs:

The Arab Middle East damns Israel for not granting a "right of return" into Israel to Palestinians who have not lived there in nearly 70 years. But it keeps embarrassed silence about the more than half-million Jews whom Arab dictatorships much later ethnically cleansed from Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and sent back into Israel. On cue, the Palestinian ambassador to the United States again brags that there will be no Jews allowed in his newly envisioned, and American subsidized, Palestinian state -- a boast with eerie historical parallels.

By now we know both what will start and deter yet another conflict in the Middle East. In the past, wars broke out when the Arab states thought they could win them and stopped when they conceded they could not.

But now a new array of factors -- ever more Islamist enemies of Israel such as Turkey and Iran, ever more likelihood of frontline Arab Islamist governments, ever more fear of Islamic terrorism, ever more unabashed anti-Semitism, ever more petrodollars flowing into the Middle East, ever more chance of nuclear Islamist states, and ever more indifference by Europe and the United States -- has probably convinced Israel's enemies that finally they can win what they could not in 1947, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982 and 2006.

So brace yourself. The next war against Israel is no longer a matter of if, only when. And it will be far more deadly than any we've witnessed in quite some time.

Also at Townhall is the indication that, as vacuous as Obama's speech yesterday to the UN was, at least there's still a smidgen of dignity left in his administration because our delegation to the UN walked out during Ahmadinejad's diatribe before the UN General Assembly. Good for them!

Unlike Obama, however, I hold out no hope for peace. "Peace is hard work," the President said at the UN, and it's true. But only if both sides are willing to do the work. And right now, the enemies of Israel aren't willing.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Random Questions

Bekah at Bekah's Bits answered some questions she found in a magazine, and I can't resist this kind of thing, so I'm going to answer them too.

Has anyone ever thought you were pregnant when you weren't?
No. But I did that to my boss one time, and she was horrified. I kept my job, but ever since then I never say anything to anyone about their pregnancy until I know for certain that's what the belly is all about.

What level of SPF do you wear?
70. I hate the stuff on my face, because it makes me break out. But that's much better than burning to a crisp.

What is one lesson you learned in school that you'll never forget?
I took a Shakespeare Extensive class in college, and in Shakespeare's day, they had a concept called Right Reason, which was the perfect balance between using your emotions and using your reasoning. All decisions should be made using the proper balance and should never be based on just one or the other. Unfortunately for King Lear, he made the biggest decision of his life based solely on emotion, and because he failed to use Right Reason, he went mad. It was the appropriate result of what he did.

What's always in your refrigerator?
French Vanilla creamer. I just bought more because I was getting low. Must. Not. Run. Out.

What is the craziest thing you've done while sleep deprived?
I'm always sleep deprived. And I don't really do crazy, so probably the craziest thing was going upside-down on the Mickey roller coaster at Disneyland's California Adventure. Three times. Once with my daughter. Once with my now-roomie. And once with my very good friend the astrophysics major (who has now graduated and is a space cadet or something). I hated the roller coaster every time and only did it for them. I believe they appreciate my sacrifice.

What do you do to make your mornings less hectic?
That's not possible.

Monday, August 29, 2011

TMI Update

Following my overly personal TMI post, I came to a conclusion:

The slippy straps were slippy because they're made of fabric and not elastic. Elastic has gripper qualities that smooth fabrics don't have, so that was the problem. The exploding bra had elastic straps, so they stayed up better.

Following the advice of a couple of the commenters, I went to Nordstroms over the weekend and received some terrific help with my strapitude challenges. All is now well in TMI Land.

'Nuff said.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Punctuation Without Verbalization

Victor Hugo, when he wanted to know how Les Misérables was selling, reportedly telegraphed his publisher with the simple inquiry "?" and received the expressive reply "!"

--Lynn Truss

From my Page-A-Day calendar that has excerpts from Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

Monday, August 08, 2011


But I have to tell the story, because there really hasn't been much else exciting going on in a while.

I've mentioned before that I have difficulty keeping my bra straps from falling down, especially on the left side. So whenever possible, I wear a racerback bra or (now that those are hard to find) a criss-cross style, because the straps actually stay where they belong. Unfortunately, because of the way the straps lie, the straps would show when I wear certain tops, which is really tacky (not that it isn't tacky to go fetching the strap after it slides down my arm).

I found some dress tape at Target a while back. You tape one side to your skin where you want the straps to stay, and then you stick the straps on top of the tape. It works really well, unless you keep the tape there all day. Then it blisters your skin. This is not a good option.

Yesterday I wore a really cute top to church, but this top has a wider neckline that requires the slippy-strap bra, and I opted to forego the dress tape. Church went fine, other than the frequent annoyance over the strap situation, and I came home to find my roomie and a mutual friend getting ready to watch Season 6 of "24," so I joined them.

Sitting there, the Annoyance Factor got too great, and I remembered a bra I hadn't worn in a long time which wouldn't show and which had straps that stayed in place better than the one I had on, so I changed into the other bra and went back to watching Jack without the worry of strap-fetching.

My roomie made us some sugar-free banana splits (sugar-free ice cream with sugar-free caramel sauce on them), and they were wonderful. But shortly after I finished mine, I noticed a wet spot on my shirt above my waist. It wasn't watery, and my first thought was that I must have spilled some of the caramel sauce on myself, so I tasted it but it didn't taste like caramel.

I went in my room to check on it and change tops. By the time I got there, the wet spot was bigger. I took off my top carefully so I wouldn't get anything on my face or my hair, but my belly was wet and slippery where my shirt had been.

Then I figured it out. The bra I was wearing - the one that gave me freedom from errant strapitude - had gel cups (I had needed that bra to help me fill out the top of a dress that fit in the hips but was a bit too big on top, but I don't have the dress anymore). One of the cups must have sprung a leak, and whatever it was filled with was oozing out all over me. Just when I had found straps that stayed up!

I took the traitor off and threw it in the trash and took a shower to wash the gel off myself so I could get dressed in something dry. But I didn't know if the gel was safe (goodness, I had TASTED it!).

Then I remembered that I had another one of those gel bras buried way down under everything else. I found it in a plastic bag with other things I don't wear anymore. Wouldn't you know, that bra felt slimy too. But I found the tag that says what it's made of, and the gel is mineral oil and water. Reassured about my continued survival after having ingested the stuff, I threw the second bra into the trash with its partner in crime.

And when I had to go out for a couple hours later in the evening, I used the dress tape on the slippy straps without suffering any harm.

Sometimes, underneath it all, life is more challenging than we're ready for.

Flashy Thing Update

A few days after the traffic camera flashed at me, when I got the mail, I saw the City name on the return address of one envelope, and my heart sank. Then I checked the addressee, and it was my roomie. Probably the water bill.

That's the closest I came to getting a ticket, so they must have recognized the long time I spent at a complete stop after they flashed me and done the Emily Litella routine.

I'm very happy about that.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Power Line Prize Winner

Justin Folk was the $100,000 prize winner of the Power Line Prize for the best creative depiction of the federal debt crisis. Here is the winning entry, “The Spending Is Nuts”:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Look!

No, you haven't come to the wrong place.

I've only been blogging for six and a half years with the same green background as the day I started, and I would have kept my faithful green except for one thing: I got tired of the videos I posted not fitting right. That green template wasn't adjustable, so I couldn't widen my posts to fit a standard video. Bummer!

So that meant change. "Change" is a bad word--not a four-letter word but a bad word just the same. I like knowing where things are, what they look like, and how to find them. Change means I don't know those things anymore, at least not for sure. And that messes with my comfort levels. And that means I really, REALLY don't like chopped-off videos more than I don't like change, or this change wouldn't have happened at all. Probably ever.

Anyway, I hope you like the new look. Chances are good that you're going to be seeing it for a very, very long time.


The Power Line Prize has been awarded, and this one didn't win. But it's great.

The prize was designed to encourage depictions of the national debt in ways we can understand. This video is called, "Goldfish."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Are They Crazy?

I was driving home from work today and saw this kind of sign over one of the buildings along the freeway that has trouble staying occupied:

This. Is. Still. July.

Whoever made the decision to open the store now ought to have his head examined. Or lobotomized.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Movie Quotes

There are times that movie quotes are exactly the right thing for the situation. Two movies come to mind:

Star Wars (the first one, and probably all of them)

"I have a bad feeling about this...."

Exactly. I have one of them.

Men In Black (the first one)

"Did you ever flashy-thing me?"

I think they may have.

Here's what happened:

Tonight at 7:45 pm, I pulled up to a major intersection where I needed to turn right. Just as I was almost at a stop, I saw the flashy light on the yellow-light traffic camera flash. I didn't notice anyone who was obviously violating any traffic laws, and I think I may have had the nose of my car slightly beyond the painted stripe where you're supposed to stop.

Now, before you go accusing me of doing a rolling California stop (which I don't do, even though there's a huge risk that I'll get rear-ended someday by someone who thinks I shouldn't have actually stopped at a STOP sign), let me point out that there were cars going across the intersection on their green light, so I couldn't go if I wanted to not get hit. I waited at the light until about five or six cars had gone by and there was a gap in traffic.

So I was stopped. For a good long time. But that doesn't mean the insidious traffic light camera people won't be sending me a ticket in the mail with my face in it. And how can I prove that I was stopped? I can't. All I have is the fast-food napkin that I grabbed so I could jot down the details of how I wasn't in violation of any laws. As if my notes on a napkin will have much pull in a court of law (or in front of some highly biased "third party" mediator at the City).

Dang! "Whoever wrote this episode should DIE!"

Friday, July 08, 2011

A Thousand Words

Unemployment Rate 2000 - 2011

The chart and the data behind it can be found at Portal Seven.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Getting Meaning from Classes

I got my first real job as a computer programmer at a bank in Spokane. Before that I had temp jobs. One of the nice things the bank did was send us to workshops. We learned about time management, stress management, goal setting, Banking 101, and other topics I've forgotten since then.

The goal-setting class is the one that gave me what I needed to fulfill my dream since junior high of seeing the châteaux of the Loire Valley in France. The instructor told us to think of a goal, give ourselves five years from the day of the class, write it down, and post it where we could see it every day. I wrote, "I will visit the Loire Valley of France by November 19, 1985." Then I pinned it to the front wall of my cubicle at work.

We (my then-husband and I) got there in May, 1983.

At another class I took, I think it was the stress management class, the instructor was talking about morale in the workplace (in general, not ours in specific). He said the progression goes from good morale, where the workplace is pretty quiet. There's no grumbling or sabotage. People are happy.

Next comes discontentedness, and that's when the grumbling starts. And that's when management notices a problem and tries to fix it. They might bring the staff together and hope someone will tell them what's bothering everyone, but it doesn't usually work too well, because unhappy people don't have much desire to help the source of their unhappiness. So management tries something to fix what they think the problem is.

Unfortunately (and this comes from observation and discussion with my peers, not from the instructors), upper management is not made of the same cloth as the peons who populate the ranks of the workers. Peons are normal people. Upper management is full of defective types who believe that achieving power within the organization will make them feel fulfilled. They are not normal people. So, what upper management thinks is the problem is never the problem, and the things they try tend to make things worse not better.

Back to the instructor: When the managers implement their solution (or do nothing, hoping things will improve), they tend to notice that things get quiet again, and they're self-satisfied with what they've accomplished. But what they don't know is what the instructor told us: On the downhill slide of morale, after the grumbling comes the silence of discouragement and defeatism. What would be the point of saying anything when you have no hope that things will get any better? There's no point to complaining. All you can do is just bide your time with your nose to the grindstone while you look for a better job to come along, and when it does you bail. Fast. And management doesn't have a clue.

I hadn't thought about those classes in a long time, and they don't apply to my job at all--it's a happy place to work. What it applies to is my blogging. The light went on for me that the morale slide into the silence abyss is the reason I haven't been motivated to comment on what's happening in our country lately.

Once upon a time I grumbled. Issues that made my blood boil also made me hit the computer keyboard to give the world a piece of my mind. When President Bush and his RINO friends in Congress (Senator McCain, you know who you are) tried to open the borders under the guise of "comprehensive immigration reform," I had plenty to say. When Robert Mugabe made new inroads into the total destruction of Zimbabwe, I had plenty to say.

The outcry about Bush's immigration reform scuttled that monstrosity of a piece of legislation. And while nothing has been done about Mugabe and what he continues to do, World Vision still offers hope in Zimbabwe one child at a time.

Lately, though, I haven't had as much to say. Oh, my blood still boils, but I don't have much hope anymore that if I say something there might be a chance someone would listen. Michelle Malkin speaks to this in her conclusion to her latest column:

As always, however, this administration’s problem is that it hears but doesn’t listen. It makes lavishly funded gestures toward engagement while remaining divorced from economic and political reality. The core failure of Team Obama is not a failure to communicate, but a failure to comprehend.

The people running our country right now are like corporate upper management. They're defective types who want power over other people's lives, while the rest of us are just normal people who want to be left alone to live in peace. Not the ideal combination, for us regular folks anyway.

But this all reminds me not just of my old bank-funded classes but also of something we talked about in Bible study at church: God did not give us discouragement, so any discouragement I feel is not from Him.

I'll do my best in the future to let my boiling blood get my fingers typing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Before I begin, I must point out that behind me sits a highly admired President of the United States and decorated war hero while I, a cable television talk show host, have been chosen to stand here and impart wisdom. I pray I never witness a more damning example of what is wrong with America today."

--Conan O'Brien

Here's the background, courtesy of Scott Johnson at Power Line:

Dartmouth College awarded President Bush (41) an honorary degree at commencement over the weekend.... Harvard alum Conan O'Brien was Dartmouth's commencement speaker this year (the text and video of the commencement speech are posted here.) Bad things could be said about the choice of O'Brien, but I will say that he was a far better choice than Stephen Lewis, last year's commencement speaker. Lewis paid tribute to Dartmouth's president in fulsome terms that would have embarrassed an ordinary mortal. And O'Brien actually had something worthwhile to say.

Given O'Brien's preface to his speech, I might actually want to tune in to his show sometime (if I can figure out when he's on and what channel that is).

Monday, June 13, 2011

Judge Richard Leon for Supreme Court

I wish!

Of course, under President Obama, there's not a snowball's chance that Judge Leon would ever be considered for the US Supreme Court. Kathleen Hartnett White reported today on the slapdown of the EPA by Judge Leon.

At last, a federal court has sharply rebuked the EPA for exceeding its statutory authority. On May 26, 2011, Judge Richard Leon of the federal district court for the District of Columbia ruled that the agency’s regulatory process cannot trump a clear Congressional mandate, nor override judicial authority to compel EPA’s compliance with the law.

The issue at stake is the statutorily [one-year] maximum timeframe for EPA’s final decision to issue a Prevention of Significant Deterioration air-quality permit, a fundamental authorization for large industrial sources such as power plants and refineries....

Thankfully, Avenal Power Center, L.L.C., an electric utility in California, was willing to stand up to the EPA. After waiting over two years on a permit for its planned state-of-the-art combined-cycle natural-gas-fired power plant, and before the EAB process had even begun, Avenal sued. It challenged EPA’s delay in granting the permit under section 165(c) of the CAA.

The EPA argued that, because they created an internal review board that added extra time to the approval process, they didn't have to comply with the deadline.

“How absurd!” responded Judge Leon. “It is axiomatic that an act of Congress that is patently clear and unambiguous — such as this requirement in the CAA — cannot be overridden by a regulatory process created for the convenience of the Administrator. . . . Administrators of regulatory agencies derive their power from Congress’s statutory enactments — not from their own discretionary regulatory pronouncements that are drafted for their assistance and convenience.”

...Judge Leon responded to the EPA’s claim that the statute’s one-year deadline was ambiguous with deft nonchalance: “Horsefeathers!” Calling the EPA’s argument “too clever by half,” he noted simply, “That dog won’t hunt.” Mark one for limited government under the rule of law.

...Permit timeframes may seem a humdrum matter, but it is through clever procedural maneuvering that agencies continually expand their powers well beyond the confines of their enabling statutes.... The administrative probity by which federal power is asserted makes all the difference between regulation by fiat a là Venezuela or limited government under the rule of law.

...The stakes are too high, and EPA’s recent actions far too legally questionable, not to challenge the agency. May Judge Leon’s stout riposte to the EPA be one of many decisions to come in what now may be over 500 lawsuits challenging EPA decisions over the last two years.

When Judge Leon is done wiping up floor with the EPA, there are plenty more agencies that could use some slapping around.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Quote of the Day

Global warming alarmists with private jets and mansions are like cardiologists preaching healthy diets to their patients while walking through the waiting room smoking cigarettes and eating pork rinds.
-- Doug Powers

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Michael Ramirez says it all (HT: Power Line):

We owe what liberty we have to those who gave their lives to preserve it. God bless the US military.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pre-Memorial Day Thoughts

I realize that Memorial Day is not about our living service members, but is a day for remembering those who died in service to our country. This column, however, by a former Marine who served in Iraq, captures the heart of many of the men and women who volunteered to put their lives on the line to fight those who would destroy us if they could. He writes a thank you to Islamic extremists:

As I write this, I can't help but think how ironic it was that your attacks on September 11th took place during my economics class. Further reason I am so compelled to write you now. I watched the second plane crash into the World Trade Center live from my school's computer lab, as well as the ensuing chaos and massive loss of innocent life. Little did I know, your attacks proved to be the foundation to save my guilty soul...

With my grades in the gutter and graduation approaching I had planned to stick to the standard script of an American youth at that time. I was going to go to college. Now I know I said my grades were in the gutter, and they were, but in this great country even the worst student with a high school diploma or G.E.D. is given the opportunity to better himself through attending a community college. I told my parents that was what I was going to do, and that if I was unsuccessful at community college then I would join the Marines. It did not work out exactly to plan. Over that summer, my best friend died in a senseless car accident, no doubt attributed to the irresponsible behaviors we were practicing. This was a wake-up call not only to me, but also to those who today are my best friends. I was not going to waste my time nor my family's money on community college when I now knew I needed to change my life and do so immediately. And thanks to you, my country needed me, it needed my brothers, and it got us.

I would end up serving three tours of duty totaling 19 months and 21 days in Iraq. I witnessed firsthand an uneducated, close-minded, poor populace led by a twisted ideology, and realized just how lucky I was to be born in the great nation of America.

Thank you, Islamic extremists, for opening my eyes.

You have declared us your greatest enemy, but you are not ours. In fact, you are an unworthy adversary. America's greatest enemy is itself. America's greatest enemy is the complacency that we tend to have because we have it so good here. But you woke this sleeping giant on 9/11 and reinvigorated generations of Americans to answer the call in any and every way they could. Thanks to you, an increased percentage of my generation has voluntarily served in the greatest military to ever exist. Meanwhile in your countries, young boys are forced to fight, impressed into service after being snatched from their villages. The young women whom you [would] deny education and personal freedoms through Islamic Sharia law throughout most of the Middle East continue to serve America honorably and excellently throughout the ranks of our military.

And there is still more I would like to thank you for, Islamic extremists. You cannot break the will of this country, or that of its people, and while you won't stop trying, you will only succeed in making us stronger. With every sand-lot plot of yours we foil, every amateur video you shoot with our thrown-away camcorders spouting your anti-American propaganda, millions of Americans are taking it personally, and doing something about it. You have given us something to fight for together. You've taken selfish, lazy youth like me and turned them into great Americans, great people who are physically and mentally equipped to deal with anything you throw at us. With the constant threat of your cowardly attacks the people of my country are ever diligent to protect each other and the morals that bind us together. Without you and your actions in the past, present, and future, I promise you our focus would not be so clear as we set our sights on you.

I thank you for showing me your disgusting, degenerate, and devolutionary hate for us. It has made me realize how beautiful, gratifying, and important is love for thy fellow man. Everything you stand for is wicked, and everything you fight against is true. The very principles you dedicate every waking hour to destroy are made 1,000 times stronger for each attempted pass you make at them. Your closed-mindedness has opened the minds of all mankind, and long after you are gone, dwelling in my God's basement for eternity, good men such as I will prosper. Through your weakness, you have made The United States of America stronger, and I will be forever thankful.

-Andrew Kirkland, Sergeant, United States Marine Corps, October 2003 - October 2007

These are just excerpts. Be sure to read the whole thing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Telling All About Palin

Power Line has this on the recently released "tell-all" book about Sarah Palin.

The Associated Press is excited that a former aide to Governor Sarah Palin has written a "tell-all" expose[.]

It may be a tell-all, but Mr. Bailey evidently doesn't have much to tell. In paragraph 13, we finally get to a specific claim: that in 2006, Palin's campaign for governor "coordinated with the Republican Governors Association, or RGA, in violation of campaign rules." The purported violation apparently consisted of Palin being filmed entering an Anchorage hotel. Whatever. This is what the AP calls "scathing?" Surely Mr. Bailey's "tell-all" has hotter stuff than that.

No, actually, it doesn't:
Mr. Bailey said the final straw for him came in the summer of 2009, when Mrs. Palin didn't attend a rally he believed she repeatedly had agreed to attend, for supporters of a voter initiative to require minors get parental consent for an abortion.
Wow, you can really see how that pushed Bailey over the brink, coming on top of Palin's being filmed walking into a hotel. In reality, it is a testament to Governor Palin's rectitude that a former aide who wants to get rich by writing an expose can't come up with anything better than this.

Boy, it sure must stink to be a Palin aide. No juicy gossip to sell to the highest bidder. Just clean living and clean air.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

We're Still Here

It's going on 8:00 at night. The world was supposed to end by 6:00, and we're still here.

Did the world start ending somewhere else and it's taking a while to get to California?

Did the Rapture happen and my roomie and I got left behind? I doubt that one, because I didn't see any accidents where cars were unmanned and had crashed into buildings and other things, causing chaos and mayhem.

Hmmm... Could Harold Camping have been wrong? Again?

Monday, May 02, 2011

1000 Words

Another great one from Michael Ramirez:

Birthday Tea Party

It seems like only yesterday that I had a birthday. Probably because it was only yesterday...

But before that: A couple weeks ago I arrived at the movie theater earlier than my friends and I had scheduled, so I wandered around the shops nearby. One of them is Clay 'N' Latte, where you can go to paint ceramics with your friends, and they had pink flyers announcing their Mother-Daughter Tea Party special event, which just happened to be on my birthday.

The party consisted of mother and daughter painting a little tea set while drinking tea and eating scones and other tea-compatible delights. When I told my daughter about it, she loved the idea as much as I did. This is the set they had on display to show us how cute it could be.

We were assigned to a small table at the front window, and our blank tea set was waiting.

The first order of business was to wipe each piece down with a damp sponge.

Next was choosing paint colors. The paints look different from the way they'll be on the finished product, so you have to go according to the finished samples on the yellow wall. Each color shows what it looks like with one, two, or three coats.

We decided to make our set look like the sample, because it was so adorable, so the girl prepared our base colors and we were set. Of course, we got some tea and goodies to fortify ourselves for the task.

These are the purple items with three coats of the base color. The white parts still needed the darker contrast color.

The party was scheduled for two hours, but we took a lot longer. Our conversation was punctuated by "Oops" quite a bit, followed by either grabbing a paper towel to wipe off the messed up spot or by painting over the splotch if it wasn't too far out of the lines.

We had planned on meeting my son for lunch, but our lunch time came and went while we painted multiple coats, so my son came to sit with us while we finished. It was great just hanging out over paintbrushes and dot-making bottles.

And here's the final product of the day.

They'll be firing everyone's tea sets during the week, and we'll be able to pick them up next weekend, just in time for Mother's Day.

It was a great start to a wonderful birthday.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Tornado

Michael Ramirez nails it. Click to enlarge.

Quote of the Day

"I've come to New Hampshire today because I'm very concerned. I want to see the original long-form certificate of Donald Trump's Republican registration."

-- Rand Paul

Some notes on Donald Trump's politics, first from John Hinderaker of Power Line:

Donald Trump has no history as a Republican. In the past, he has contributed mainly to Democrats. He was as bitter a critic of President Bush as he now is of President Obama, and his policy positions--support for universal health care, protectionism--are, in key respects, more liberal than conservative.

Then there's this look at Trump by Michelle Malkin:

Trump has been wooing conservative activists for months and flirting with a GOP presidential run — first at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington and most recently at a tea party event in South Florida. He touts his business experience, “high aptitude” and “bragadocious” deal-making abilities. But he’s no more a standard-bearer of conservative values, limited government and constitutional principles than the cast of “Jersey Shore.”

Too many mega-developers like Trump have achieved success by using and abusing the government’s ability to commandeer private property for purported “public use.” Invoking the Fifth Amendment takings clause, real estate moguls, parking garage builders, mall developers and sports palace architects have colluded with elected officials to pull off legalized theft in the name of reducing “blight.” Under eminent domain, the definition of “public purpose” has been stretched like Silly Putty to cover everything from roads and bridges to high-end retail stores, baseball stadiums and casinos.

While casting himself as America’s new constitutional savior, Trump has shown reckless disregard for fundamental private property rights. In the 1990s, he waged a notorious war on elderly homeowner Vera Coking, who owned a little home in Atlantic City that stood in the way of Trump’s manifest land development. The real estate mogul was determined to expand his Trump Plaza and build a limo parking lot — Coking’s private property be damned. The nonprofit Institute for Justice, which successfully saved Coking’s home, explained the confiscatory scheme:

“Unlike most developers, Donald Trump doesn’t have to negotiate with a private owner when he wants to buy a piece of property, because a governmental agency — the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority or CRDA — will get it for him at a fraction of the market value, even if the current owner refuses to sell."

So, despite the Trump-induced media circus about Obama's birth certificate, Donald Trump is neither a conservative nor a free-market businessman. Instead he's an opportunistic leech on the taxpayer in capitalist disguise.

I'm willing to let him keep pushing for the release of more of Obama's documentation (in particular his college records), but don't want to let the guy anywhere near the GOP nominating process.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

It's very simple:

Jesus wins.

Satan loses.

Read the Book.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Navy Medicine

Great video.

My roommate works at a Navy medical center in patient care. I'm very proud of her.

You can also watch it at YouTube here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Quote of the Day

Today's quote is from an email I was copied on from one of my friends to our mutual friend, who had said she agreed with her daughter: This daughter posted on her Facebook status that Turner Classic Movies had ruined her by giving her unrealistic expectations of men.

"Unrealistic expectations of men, huh? You should socialize as much as I do, my friend. You won't have unrealistic expectations anymore. You will expect them all to be clods, ask inappropriate questions, not call back, lie, expect sex on the first date, drop you for someone younger, thinner, and stupid, who will then get knocked up and trap them...

Remeber, men are like parking spaces: all the good ones are taken, the rest are handicapped."

-- My friend the astrophysics major

Rescued Again!

A few years ago, I had some "special" challenges with my computer. A virus pretending to be antivirus protection invaded my laptop and tried to destroy it. But I stopped it with a little help from my friends in India.

All was good until Friday night just a little after midnight (that would be Saturday morning for those of you who get nit-picky about such things). A little box popped up from my taskbar, telling me that I might have a virus and should click on it to check.

Not having been born yesterday, I ignored it and double-clicked on McAfee to make it go find the virus and destroy it, but it said a crucial module was missing, so it didn't open. The virus must have stealth weapons that attack and disable the real antivirus software. I shut down my computer by holding down the power button and didn't turn it on again all weekend.

My daughter brought her laptop to my house yesterday, so I used it to sign up for my India buddies to clean up my system. Just after midnight I called and within a half hour, my new favorite friend Dinesh had my computer in tip-top shape again. Even better than before, because after the time I had to have my operating system re-installed, it couldn't find the icon for Internet Explorer, so I've been clicking on a generic icon to get to the internet for over a year.

Now the proper icon is back, thanks to Dinesh, who probably had no idea he was fixing that problem for me for free. It's good to be back.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Eating Budget Cuts

When you're talking about real money, like billions or trillions of dollars, those numbers are so big we have no clue how much that really is. So they give us analogies, like if you stacked dollar bills on top of each other, a trillion dollars would go to the moon and back and halfway to the moon again. But we still don't get that.

We do understand food, though.

Back in March, John Hinderaker at Power Line explained the $6 billion spending cut in that continuing resolution in terms of a Big Mac Value Meal.

Hinderaker gives the math, but I'll just cut to the chase:

So, consider: if you were to go on what the Democrats consider a starvation diet, and "slash" your calorie intake to exactly the same degree that the Republicans' $6 billion cut has "slashed" the federal budget, you would do the following. Go to McDonalds and order a Big Mac Extra Value meal. Eat the Big Mac. Drink the Coke. Eat 86 of the 87 french fries. Carefully take the last fry and bite off two-thirds of it. Put the remaining one-third of one fry back in the bag.

Yep. I understand that.

But that was then. This is now. Now they're talking budgets for whole years, not just continuing resolutions for three weeks. A year is over 17 times bigger than three weeks, and the proposed budget cuts are only 10 times bigger than the continuing resolution cuts. It feels as though we're going backwards, while Washington is screaming either that we've really done a Great Thing (the Republicans) or that we're Killing Babies and Old People (the Democrats). How do we make sense of it all?

With more food, of course. Leave it to Michael Ramirez to make understanding the budget cuts as easy as pie (HT: Power Line). Click to enlarge:

Now isn't that clear? They're all full of beans, soon to be followed by a lot of hot air.

And we're not swallowing any of it anymore.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Obama's Inner Bracket

There's a sport that people follow, but I don't because I'm not a sport. They call it basketball, but I don't believe that's really what game it is.

When I was in junior high, they taught us basketball, and there was this rule that I've never seen enforced in the professional version of the game. The rule is that if you're moving and you have the ball, you have to keep the ball bouncing. If you don't, you get called for traveling, and there's some dire penalty that you have to pay that I don't remember because it's been way too long since junior high.

They don't have that rule in the professional game that they pretend is basketball. The men with serious pituitary problems who play the game make a show of bouncing the ball once or twice, but who are they kidding? That's why I don't watch this sport, because I get too frustrated by the lack of ball-bouncing enforcement.

And there's another part of the sport that I have trouble understanding. There are two seasons each year that are devoted to "basketball." There's the Regular Season, and then there's the Tournament Season which lasts longer than Regular Season. And if you're a betting man (which I'm not), you pick the team you think will be the winner of Tournament Season, but it's not that simple. You can't just say, "I think this team will kick everybody's butt." You have to say exactly how you think the butt-kicking will happen by picking the butt kicker of every game and how that all works to having YOUR team be the top kicker of the other butt-kicking team's butt. All that kicking is written down in a format known as a bracket. And everyone who's a betting man (which I'm not) has his own bracket.

Got that? Me neither.

So what does this have to do with President Obama?

Much has been made in the news about Obama's 2011 bracket. This is for college basketball, but I don't know enough about how they play it in college to decide if it's fake basketball like the pros or if it's real basketball like high school. Even people I otherwise respect pay attention to college Tournament Season (Bekah's comment is what gave me the clue that people actually take ownership of their brackets), so it might be real.

The President has been criticized for playing the fiddle and not noticing that Rome is burning. Or something like that. But this isn't the point I'm trying to make.

Obama really likes having a bracket. So much so that he took time out of his busy presidential schedule to make not one but two: Men's and Women's.

There are other people who like brackets too. People who like to make brackets about things that aren't basketball (real or fake). One of those people is Zombie, who made a bracket about Presient Obama's inner cranial workings (HT: Power Line).

That’s all very well and good, but one wonders: Don’t we all have what is essentially an “inner bracket” which delineates our personal hierarchy of priorities, beliefs, behaviors and traits? If there was a bracket which revealed the inner workings of Obama’s mind, what would it look like? And what trait would emerge dominant?

Here's what she came up with. I think she came pretty close. (Click to see full size.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Educating Afghanistan's Children

America's Marines are making it possible (HT: Mark Hemmingway at the Weekly Standard).

Don't let Corporal Lottering's South African accent fool you. He's one of ours.

If you want to donate, go to the Spirit of America's site here.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

The confusion of the possessive "its" (no apostrophe) with the contractive "it's" (with apostrophe) is an unequivocal signal of illiteracy and sets off a simple Pavlovian "kill" response in the average stickler.

--Lynn Truss

From my Page-A-Day calendar that has excerpts from Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

Apparently, I am the average stickler. You don't want to be around when I see that someone has used the wrong "its" or "it's."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Who's Your Daddy?

You can tell by people's actions exactly who they owe their allegiance to. On my job my schedule is pretty flexible, so I can run quick reports for people in other parts of the organization. But when there's a conflict with my time, I'm answerable to my boss. She gets what she needs from me when she needs it, and everybody else has to wait. The other people understand, because that's the way of things everywhere.

The Democrats in the Wisconsin legislature have shown by their actions this week who they're accountable to, and it certainly isn't the voters who elected them. They're bought, paid for, and completely owned by the public employees' unions.

This is how the AP reported the reaction of the Democrats:

Faced with a near-certain Republican victory that would end a half-century of collective bargaining for public workers, Wisconsin Democrats retaliated with the only weapon they had left: They fled.

The Wisconsin state Senate needs one Democrat to be present in order to hold a vote. If they stayed in the state, they'd be subject to being arrested and brought back to the Capitol to vote for the losing side. So they did the scaredy-pants thing and ran off to Illinois in a desperate attempt to save the unions from having their chokehold on Wisconsin pried away.

In 2009, when Democrats were busy ramming Obamacare through Congress, they loved to say things like, "Elections have consequences." But since Democrats were turned out of office in 2010 in large numbers, they've stopped repeating that mantra. Just because they don't say it anymore, however, that doesn't stop the consequences of elections from happening.

It's 2011, and 2008 is nothing but old news. The election of 2010 is the one we're dealing with now. Last year voters overwhelmingly demanded fiscal responsibility by tossing Democrats out of office and replacing them with Republicans. Even in Wisconsin.

It's time for Democrats to face the consequences of the most recent election. In spite of what they may believe, their Daddy isn't the union bosses. Their Daddy is the voters, who won't be forgetting what a slap in the face the Democrats delivered. I see the back of a very big woodshed in the Democrats' future...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why You're Not Married

This was posted Sunday. The day before Valentine's Day. On (you'd never guess) the Huffington Post. It's remedial help for feminists who find themselves suddenly wanting to be married. If you're a regular reader of my blog, this does not apply to you. Here are her top six reasons why "you" the feminist are not married (tasteful editing of bad words is mine):

1. You're a B***h.

Here's what I mean by b***h. I mean you're angry. You probably don't think you're angry. You think you're super smart, or if you've been to a lot of therapy, that you're setting boundaries. But the truth is you're pissed. At your mom. At the military-industrial complex. At Sarah Palin. And it's scaring men off.

The deal is: most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them. I am the mother of a 13-year-old boy, which is like living with the single-cell protozoa version of a husband. Here's what my son wants out of life: macaroni and cheese, a video game, and Kim Kardashian. Have you ever seen Kim Kardashian angry? I didn't think so. You've seen Kim Kardashian smile, wiggle, and make a sex tape. Female anger terrifies men. I know it seems unfair that you have to work around a man's fear and insecurity in order to get married -- but actually, it's perfect, since working around a man's fear and insecurity is big part of what you'll be doing as a wife.

I'll just list the rest. You'll have to read the article to see the details.

2. You're Shallow.
3. You're a Sl*t.
4. You're a Liar.
5. You're Selfish.
6. You're Not Good Enough.

OK. On second thought, I'll explain that last one. She means that "you" the unmarried feminist don't think you're good enough, so that affects your relationships.

My overall take on her assessment of this kind of never-married women is that she's exactly right. Men don't marry angry, shallow, sl*tty, lying, selfish women who think they're not good enough. Men of good character (which is the kind of man a woman wants to marry) marry women of good character. Which I suppose can be kind of a shocker for women of low character.

And the comments aren't nearly as apoplectic as I expected.

Going After Issa

Darrell Issa (pronounced "EYE-suh") is my congressman. When the Republicans took over the House, Issa became the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (aka the Oversight Committee), and he promised to do plenty of investigating.

Funny thing, but the likely investigatees don't see Issa's promise as a good thing. So their friends have started what Politico calls an "anti-Darrell Issa crusade." (Can they say, "crusade"? I mean, Issa is Lebanese... you know, Arabic.... Isn't that hateful, racist, beyond-the-pale rhetoric? Just asking...)

But a handful of liberal political operatives in California — including a former Hillary Clinton hand — are taking their anti-Issa passion to a whole new level, launching a nonprofit group, a website and even paid media advertisements aimed at undermining and investigating the rabble-rousing chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

I didn't know my congressman was a genuine rabble-rouser.

The launch of this group — which calls itself The Third Lantern, and is naming the website the Issa Files — is remarkable because it’s wholly focused on the activities of one lawmaker who has no immediate plans to run for higher office. The purpose of this new group is to make public documents more public, make life difficult for Issa and sow seeds of doubt on his investigations.

They plan to run TV advertisements and other paid media in the future, saying they already have a “significant commitment” of cash.

The structure of the organization does not require that it disclose its funding.

But the goal is clear: Newman, Smith and the third partner, Sean Clegg, want to raise enough questions about Issa’s background and personal history that anything he turns up in probes of the Obama administration will be immediately discredited.

You can read about Issa's background and the kinds of incidents they're going to "expose" in the Wikipedia article about him.

Frankly, this smells of desperation on the part of the Left. They wouldn't want anyone to find out about the culture of corruption that's running rampant in the Obama administration.

Just be forewarned. When you read hit pieces about Rep. Darrell Issa, it's really about trying to keep the curtain shut that's hiding the truth about the man (Obama) behind it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gutenberg and Grammar

It's really about punctuation, but "Gutenberg and Punctuation" loses the alliterative effect, so I opted for taking alliterary license this time.

This year my boss gave a Page-A-Day calendar to each of us in our group. The lady next door got a Brevity calendar like the one I had last year, and I got Eats, Shoots & Leaves, which is all about the joys of proper punctuation.

Today, Lynne Truss quotes from the Oxford Companion to English Literature: "There never was a golden age in which the rules for the possesive apostrophe were clear-cut and known, understood and followed by most educated people." I must not be "most educated people."

I already knew, from my days trying to become a romance writer, that printers were responsible for the rule about the period ALWAYS belonging inside the ending quotation marks. The typesetting machines had a doohickey with a period-quote on it but a quote-period doohickey did not exist. Hence, the period always goes inside the quote. Same for the comma.

The last several days of my calendar trace the evolution of the use of the apostrophe, and all of the changes were the result of decisions made by printers.

First, in Shakespearean times, printers started using the apostrophe to substitute for missing letters. That's all the tiny apostrophe did. Possessives were on their own without any special punctuation.

In the 17th Century, printers started using apostrophes for singular possessives. In the 18th Century, printers added them for plural possessives as well.

If you've got your eyes open at all, you can see the trend. It's because of Gutenberg the Genius and his Marvelous Invention that we have apostrophes in use today, if only most of us could remember the right way to use them:

1. When letters are missing (gov't).
2. When it's a non-pronoun plural (the girl's dress, but NOT the dress is hers / the girls' dresses, but NOT the dresses are theirs).

And maybe there's a morphing of the language again, because people often choose to use it for plurals of acronyms or numbers (RUS's or 100's) because sometimes it looks funny without the apostrophe. But these haven't become hard-and-fast rules yet. Personally, I'm for using the apostrophe with plural acronyms but not with plural numbers.

Given a little more time, though, I'm guessing the printers will let us know what's correct for sure.