Sunday, December 31, 2006

Friday, December 29, 2006

An Exciting Announcement and Friday Cat Blogging

Announcement: I'm a grandma!

OK, not really. Only sort of.

My sweet little dog, my sweet little and supposedly sterile dog (Shadow), just gave birth to six of the cutest mutts I've ever seen at about 5am this morning. Two girls and four boys.

There's a cat in this story so it's still cat blogging, right?

See, what happened was (all the greatest tales begin with "See, what happened was..."), my sweet little Shadow was just waiting on the right man, er, dog. It would seem that she wasn't sterile after all but just "confused", suffering an identity crisis if you will. Once she either realized she wasn't a cat or my cat Thor (who interestingly enough has been "fixed") would never return her love, she headed straight into the paws of a fellow dog.

Years ago, the vet assured me that Shadow must be unable to conceive after quite a few attempts over the years to introduce her to a certain fellow named Lucky (who turned out to be not so lucky after all). I would just like to note for the record that it was I who said, "Are you sure she's not just convinced she is a cat?" Yeah, he rolled his eyes at that, at me. Well, who is rolling their eyes now, Mister?! Everyone reading this post, you say? Shuddup, you!

Seriously, all the signs were there from the very beginning. The laying on her back and waving her feet in the air, like a total moron, every time so-called Lucky showed interest in her. Growling and biting him when he became more persistent, as if to say "Hello, I'm a friggin' C A T, you dope!" Then there was the refusing to eat anything but cat food. The chasing after and looks of longing cast Thor's way. Following him everywhere, wagging her tail (the tail tells no tales?) and slobbering on him whenever he walked by. The trying to follow him up trees and repeatedly attempting to join him on the back of the sofa, only to come crashing down again and again. Oh, and the sitting on his head! Dancing in circles on her hind legs, begging for him whenever I picked him up to save him from her obsession with licking his face. It was all there in black and white! Suffice to say, it was as if Shadow was never quite sure exactly what she was supposed to be doing in that respect...but whatever it was, she surely wanted to be doing it with Thor.

It probably didn't help matters much that Shadow was an apartment dweller the first years of her life, raised with cats, and never even saw another dog until she was two years old. Whaddyado? I loved her despite her sterile status (confused orientation) and only wanted her to have puppies for her own sake. I wanted her to experience the joy of motherhood just once before towing her off to the vet to be spayed, but it just wasn't in the cards.

Or so I thought...

Three years after moving to the sticks, Shadow has slowly but surely become a dog. She no longer smells of strawberries and cream, she rolls in the grass and dirt. She no longer lounges inside under the AC in the summer but digs a hole and lays in it. No more burying chew toys in the sofa cushions, she's out there running with the big dogs now. Her not so little friends, Duke and Zoe (both neutered males) from down the street stop by often to visit, play and chew bones (and anything else I forgot to put up). They bring her presents, such as the leg of a deer (I'm starting to think I'm not getting any good photographs lately because my neighbors are eating all the nature) and a good time is had by all.

Then, with the new neighbors came a new kid on the block, a blonde Lab. Oh, and a brindle colored Boxer too. Now where did he come from?! And here I thought that was sooo adorable, Shadow's making new friends.

Well, it would appear that Shadow was making a little more than friends as her tummy began to grow larger and larger (and larger still).

There was much stressing and running to the vet. I'm sure everyone found my major wigging out over it all quite amusing, but I had to make huge decisions for this very special little dog of mine. Could she safely have her puppies? Would they simply be too large? Would she need a C-section? Was it even worth the risk? Oh yes, there was much to consider and as you have already read, I decided that it was worth the risk (with close monitoring) as this was Shadows one and only chance to have puppies (at all, ever). Of course the good vet managed to reassure me with phrases like "nice wide bone structure".

If I didn't know better, I'd swear Shadow rolled her eyes at that.

Ahem.

So anyhow, today the six year old Shadow is one happy mommy. She did a great job and there was much rejoicing!

Most especially relieved by the recent turn of events, is Thor, I'm sure. :)

Brand new puppy pictures will follow. Tomorrow, after the new mom has had a chance to rest a little (and I've changed the grossness that is now her bedding, ew).

Until then...

Shadow, checking out the new camera. I think maybe she's checking to see if it needs killin'.











Here she is ferociously showing all the wild beasts of the forest her fangs in order to better protect me.










Honestly, that's really the middle of a yawn, getting terribly bored with all the taking photos.

Here she is even more bored than before, if such is even possible.










Last, but certainly not least, I give you Thor's thoughts on the entire subject.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Top Ten Tips to a Merry Christmas

I've created this list of tips in order to help my own family enjoy the holiday (which begins in less that one hour for us because my dad is working the holiday as usual...ggrr), and thought you guys might find these tips useful as well.

10. If sparks fly when plugging 20 year old Christmas lights into an outlet, go ahead and splurge on new lights.

9. It's way easier (and probably cheaper) to just replace certain decorations than to purchase 10 apple-spice plug ins to cover that electrical/melting plastic smell.

8. Spike that Christmas punch. Face it, nothing is more merry than getting grandma tipsied up.

7. Be certain that nobody is on prescription medicines (that aren't to be mixed with alcohol) before spiking the Christmas punch (doh!).

6. For those of you visiting alcohol free zones- Always keep trial sized bottles in the purse and glove compartment of vehicles.

5. NEVER drink and drive. Besides the obvious, it gives others joy to find you passed out under their tree, spooning the family pet, on Christmas morning.

4. When visiting multiple homes on Christmas day, never say "I've already eaten" or go on and on about how good someone else's stuffing is. Just shuddup and eat like you've never eaten before.

3. Never tell the story about when you first discovered there was no Santa in front of children.

2. Never tell that "When I was stationed in Korea at Christmas time..." story, involving two Korean prostitutes and an angry pimp, in front of children.

Honestly, we love it that you've served and adore hearing about how you came to get those stitches in your head (time and time again), but timing is everything here. ;)


And the number one tip to producing a Merry Christmas...


1. Never tell caroling 3-5 year olds in a Christmas choir to "shut up" then throw them out of the mall.

I guarantee, they will cry, and there's nothing merry about that.




I'll end with a funny Christmas quote:

The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C.

This wasn't for any religious reason.

They just couldn't find three wise men and a virgin!
--- Jay Leno

Merry Christmas to all. :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

First...Hooray it's no longer Monday!

Second...still all warm and pretty here- No Christmas snow. :(

Yet.

In case you've all not quite figured it out yet, posting will be light until after Christmas, and totally unrelated to politics at that. Who can think about today's political scene and keep their dinner down, much less enjoy the holiday? Oo

Speaking of losers, today I bring you the exact opposite- Winners!

The winners of the Christmas contest are Insolublog and Peakah (whose entry is in the comments here) , and not just because these were the only two entries (ok, that too) but also because their efforts totally rock. Bee-u-tee-ful! Be sure to check them out.

UPDATE I- Yay! I missed someone. Not yay I missed them but yay we have another winner. A Christmas memory from Wyatt Earp (that sentimental fool). Bring tissues. *sniff*

UPDATE II- Stew Magoo of The Right Place brings us "Twas The Night Before Christmas". A must read!

The second image, a digital Christmas painting, is finally finished. Preview here. First image here. The third image isn't finished so I'll just save it for a Christmas day post (if done by then).

Anywho, I guess maybe the busy week before Christmas isn't the best time to have a contest, huh? In any case, heartfelt thanks go out to both of you (yes, poetry makes me that happy *g*). Email at pj_maximum@yahoo.com with shipping information to collect prints and stuff (yeah, stuff is code for stalking), or hq images via email, your choice. :)

Hope everyone is getting in the mood for Christmas cheer (or booze), with less than a week to go now, the countdown begins...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Contests and Yummy Recipes

---Warning: Floating Post. Please scroll for new posts---

Update: One winter print has been completed. Click here to view. I think the next will be my favorite of the season, though, because kids are so darn cute. Be teased! :)



Yeah, we're still making "the list"...but the post will no longer float as there's even more holiday fun in store. But first, I'll share some yummy recipes (next post down). If you'd like to share a recipe (or two) in return, leave it in the comments and I'll give it a taste. ;)

Now for the contest.

There are three categories and there will be three winners, one from each category.

Best Christmas Poetry (any style)

Best Christmas Story (fiction please)

Best Christmas Memory/Story (non-fiction please)

Whether the submissions are humorous, political, religious or plain ole mushy in nature...please try to work Christmas in there somewhere!

Bloggers, please post submissions on your own blog and either link back or leave a comment letting me know you're submitting an entry. Those of you who do not have your own blogs can either leave your submission in the comments or email it to me at pj_maximum@yahoo.com. Again, I'll choose one winner per category so be sure to let me know which category you're entering.

Our winners will receive their choice Christmas (or winter themed) image on an 11oz mug, 9.25" x 7.75" mouse pad, 4"x3" magnet, or large key chain (exact size of key chain is undisclosed). I'll be using
Photobucket.com's printing services and have never used them before so quality is unknown (although I've personally heard good things). I will add the Christmas or winter themed images to my Photobucket gallery then post the link to the gallery so winners can choose an image. I hope to have three or more photography, digital art (or combinations of both) images to choose from...but no huge promises there because I have no idea how many friends will be taking me up on the free portraits offer this year and may run short on time.

Winners will need to share their address with me via email so I can have their item of choice shipped directly to them via Photobucket prints, and I hereby promise to never stalk you. Unless you're single, hot (and male)...then I might just happen to bump into you in the bushes in front of your house. I kid, I kid! Seriously, I completely understand those of you who may be uncomfortable with sharing such personal information and the only alternate solution I can think of is to send a very high quality image to any potentially nervous winner via email so they are able to order their own product (be it a mug, print...etc) from wherever they like, or they can just click on "order prints" themselves once the gallery link is made available (in which case they'll have to pay for it themselves). Whaddyado?

As for everyone else, when the gallery link is posted, you are welcome to click on "order prints" in photobucket as well (not that I could stop you anyhow, just sayin'). :)

The contest deadline is midnight, December 18th. You have exactly one week from midnight tonight to enter.

So start writing!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Recipes

Irish Chocolate Cake

6oz self-raising flour
1/2tsp salt
2oz dark chocolate
4oz butter
6oz superfine sugar
3oz cooked mashed potato
2 eggs, beaten
4tbsp milk

Filling
4oz dark chocolate
4fl oz double cream
2oz confectionery sugar
3tbsp Irish cream liqueur

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease and line two 8 inch cake tins. Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Melt chocolate in a bowl placed over a saucepan of hot water.
In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar together til it's fluffy, then beat in the chocolate and mashed potato. Next, beat the eggs in gradually, adding a little
flour with each addition. Fold the rest of the flour in then stir in the milk. Equally divide mixture between cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes
(or until top is firm but springy to the touch). Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack.

While the cake is cooling, make the filling-

Melt the chocolate exactly as before, stir in the other ingredients, mixing well. Use the filling to sandwich the spongy layers together, then coat the top and sides of the cake.

(Note- If the chocolate sponge cake ingredients above make your tummy turn due to the potato-ee-ness, any basic chocolate sponge cake recipe will do. The devil's in the filling on this one, imo.)


Dough Bread

1 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. shortening
1/3 c. milk

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Blend in shortening with pastry blender. Stir in milk with a fork until soft dough is formed. On lightly floured surface, knead dough 2 or 3 times. Pat smooth to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into fourths with a knife (floured). Place several at a time into the deep fat fryer, turning often, browning evenly.(Cooking time is approx 4-5 minutes.) Drain on paper towels. You can sprinkle with cinnamon, confectioners' sugar or top with butter.

Personally, I top with butter and then sprinkle with sugar as well. Great dipped into Blueberry Wojapi (recipe to follow).


Blueberry Wojapi

3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar (can replace sugar with 1 cup of honey)
3 cups water
1 cup blueberries
(Additional water to mix with flour to make paste.)


Mix flour with water to make a paste, set aside. (So sorry, I've never measured exactly how much water, so just make a paste already. Honestly, it is difficult to go wrong here.) Put blueberries into a medium sauce pan. Add the 3 cups water and 1 cup sugar (or 1 cup honey replacement), then mash the blueberries. Heat until boiling. Slowly add the previously mixed flour paste to make a gravy-like mixture. Serve hot, warm or cold with dough bread.


Last but certainly not least...chili!

Note- If you are a fan of Wendy's chili, you'll love this quick and easy chili recipe. :)

2lbs ground beef
1 med onion, chopped
1 med green bell pepper, chopped
1 14oz can stewed tomatoes
5 8oz cans tomato sauce
1 29oz can pinto beans
1 29oz can kidney beans
1 14oz can diced Rotel Tomatoes
1 McCormick mild chili seasoning

Brown ground beef, drain. Add all remaining ingredients, along with browned ground beef, into large pot. Cook until onion and pepper are tender. Serve. :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Holiday Fun

All holiday fun should begin with song!




Oh the Senate change is frightful



Their leaders weak and spiteful



And since so many don't seem to know



Socialists blow! Socialists blow! Socialists blow!




It doesn't show signs of stopping



Pelosi's veins are popping



We have reached a new all time low



Socialists blow! Socialists blow! Socialists blow!




Give your security a kiss goodnight



How we'll hate the terrorist's scorn



But with our dollars liberals hold really tight



Laughing all the way (to the bank) they'll be warm




The freedom is slowly dying



Ruled with fearful spineless crying



Better stock your own arms and ammo
Cuz...
Socialists blow! Socialists blow! Socialists blow!



Hooray for holiday fun, huh?

Wait, that's not all!

Throughout the month of December, in anticipation of Christmas of course, we will be making a list. Yes, a list. A naughty or nice list to be more exact.

(pause for effect...)

We all know what a busy guy Santa is, so I thought we'd all pitch in and help him out this year by making a list (and uh, yeah, checking it twice...etc...etc).


Meet 3D Uber (who will be helping us keep track of those on Santa's list). Hooray for me in 3D! (created at IMVU.com)













Here is how we'll be keeping track of the naughty (and nice) who make our list.




If you'd like to add someone to the list, just tell me who in the comments and I'll add them. Add anyone you like (though I'm leaning towards crummy politicians). Giving a reason, quote, or link as to why you'd like to add them to the naughty or nice list is suggested but not required.

You can't produce a link? That's fine.

Your reasoning is merely because you don't like their looks? That works too.

You just want to make stuff up about them? Even better!

Hey, it's Christmas. :)

Just be careful to be nice throughout the month of December (the list will be finalized the 25th...or whenever I get to it). You wouldn't like to be the ham of a Clinton/Pelosi sammich on Santa's naughty list, would you?!

So what are you waiting for? Let's make that list!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Pearl Harbor Day

Here's an interesting read from the Naval Historical Center.


"7 December 1941 Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor was one of the great defining moments in history. A single carefully-planned and well-executed stroke removed the United States Navy's battleship force as a possible threat to the Japanese Empire's southward expansion. America, unprepared and now considerably weakened, was abruptly brought into the Second World War as a full combatant.

Eighteen months earlier, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had transferred the United States Fleet to Pearl Harbor as a presumed deterrent to Japanese agression. The Japanese military, deeply engaged in the seemingly endless war it had started against China in mid-1937, badly needed oil and other raw materials. Commercial access to these was gradually curtailed as the conquests continued. In July 1941 the Western powers effectively halted trade with Japan. From then on, as the desperate Japanese schemed to seize the oil and mineral-rich East Indies and Southeast Asia, a Pacific war was virtually inevitable.

By late November 1941, with peace negotiations clearly approaching an end, informed U.S. officials (and they were well-informed, they believed, through an ability to read Japan's diplomatic codes) fully expected a Japanese attack into the Indies, Malaya and probably the Philippines. Completely unanticipated was the prospect that Japan would attack east, as well.

The U.S. Fleet's Pearl Harbor base was reachable by an aircraft carrier force, and the Japanese Navy secretly sent one across the Pacific with greater aerial striking power than had ever been seen on the World's oceans. Its planes hit just before 8AM on 7 December. Within a short time five of eight battleships at Pearl Harbor were sunk or sinking, with the rest damaged. Several other ships and most Hawaii-based combat planes were also knocked out and over 2400 Americans were dead. Soon after, Japanese planes eliminated much of the American air force in the Philippines, and a Japanese Army was ashore in Malaya.

These great Japanese successes, achieved without prior diplomatic formalities, shocked and enraged the previously divided American people into a level of purposeful unity hardly seen before or since. For the next five months, until the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May, Japan's far-reaching offensives proceeded untroubled by fruitful opposition. American and Allied morale suffered accordingly. Under normal political circumstances, an accomodation might have been considered.

However, the memory of the "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor fueled a determination to fight on. Once the Battle of Midway in early June 1942 had eliminated much of Japan's striking power, that same memory stoked a relentless war to reverse her conquests and remove her, and her German and Italian allies, as future threats to World peace."
(Click for more.)

History teaches many a valuable lesson, does it not?

Visit The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.


"This date marked the first of one thousand three hundred and fifty one days of war that touched the lives of all who lived at that time.

The fabric of freedom is woven with the moral and spiritual lineage of the men and women of honor, courage and integrity. Those who value something more than their own personal safeties.

Let us never forget their strength, their love, their courage, their commitment, their dedication, their perseverance and their devotion for this great country."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Friday Romance

Today, December 01, 2006...I hold the object of my desire.

The Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi 10.1-Megapixel Digital SLR (released in August 06).



We are talking 0.2-second start-up time and shutter release lag of 0.01 sec. DIGIC II image processor, sophisticated signal-processing algorithms, low energy consumption, all sorts of photo style settings auto and manual exposure modes. 9-point, cross-pattern, wide-area autofocus with auto and manual point selection, AE lock, standard auto exposure bracketing; 35-zone evaluative, partial and center-weighted average exposure, and 3 fps continuous shooting with a maximum burst of 27 frames. White balance settings including auto, daylight, shade, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, flash and manual; built-in, pop-up E-TTL II auto flash (compat with EX-series Speedlite external flashes). Playback modes including single image, 9-image index, magnified zoom, auto play and auto play after shooting.

And all in a compact, lightweight design weighing 1.1 lbs.

Oh happy day, I am in love.

Canon does not make crap (and prices are sweet too)...remember that when/if filling those Digital SLR needs.

In celebration, I must go hiking. Photos to follow!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

OK, so I've been preparing and cooking for many days now, am totally unprepared and have no Thanksgiving post.

The uber-teen, in an attempt to help me with my bloggy woes, suggests I blog about her. "Tell them how pretty I am!"

There's a nice long (and totally unrelated) post for ya.

The uber-teen is pretty.

Really, really pretty.





How about Thanksgiving questions and advice?

Yay!

Have any pressing Turkey Day questions? Put them in the comments. Answers and advice will follow (probably after Thanksgiving has passed and it's no longer relevant, of course).

Ah well, just be sure to ignore all of the stupid health advice you're hearing all over your TV, radio, and Internet today.

Eat too much, drink too much, watch some football...nap it off and do it again! C'mon...it's just one day...



Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Oh My!

Those wicked, nasty Dems have taken over the House (and it seems the Senate, too!).
I know a lot of you are depressed by this.

Insol is keeping a stiff upper lip.
Wyatt is on suicide watch.
Jimmyb is cleaning his guns, and preparing to say good-bye to them.
Doctor Phat Tony is terminating another goat to lay food in for a l-o-n-g socialist winter.

It's really rather sad...

So, sporting my best Uber-attitude, I want to present to you some of the upsides of this whole socio-political debacle.

1. The comedic opportunities are going to be almost unlimited for the next 700+ days.

2. You won't have to take your kids to horror movies any more. They can watch Nancy Pelosi on C-SPAN for 10 hours a day.

3. Terrorist are going to be so happy, they will only kill 3/4 of the people they would normally kill.

4. Abortion clinic stocks will go through the roof! As disgusting as this is, the financial implications are guaranteed to make some hell-bound investors very happy.

5. Your taxes will go up, but because the economy is going to go down, you will still end up paying the same amount, because you'll be making less money. See, it all balances out.

6. The rights of many new heretofore unrecognized minorities will now be protected. Soon, EVERYONE will have special rights. Well, except for you white men, but you know how that goes. They are even going to have affirmative action for those odd people with the one blue and one brown eye! And about darned time, too.

So cheer up folks! We have many opportunities, and the comfort that in two years, we will have our revenge!! :)
Now where is my leather Christmas outfit...?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Bwhahahaha!


This Halloween, I bring you stupid Halloween jokes to amuse (irritate) friends and coworkers (Have any really good Halloween jokes? Put them in the comments!)

Also, Halloween just isn't Halloween without spooky sounds (the "This is Halloween" mp3 is awesome). Here are some cool (and free) Jack o Lantern and pumpkin carving patterns for all your pumpkin carving needs as well.

Last but not least, here be a Halloween desktop wallpaper designed by yours truly (blogger isn't allowing me to post photos, not sure why but decided to just go around them and use photobucket instead). Here's another, designed on request (not all that Halloweenish in my opinion though still kinda cool).

Last Halloween I shared a terrific Halloween link (extreme pumpkin carving comes to mind) so go digging in those archives for some extra spooky fun.

Hope everyone has a fantastic Halloween, I'm off to hack...er...I mean carve a pumpkin. ;)

Halloween UpdateI- If, like me, you have fooled around til the very last moment and still haven't carved your pumpkin, I just stumbled upon yet another fabulous website chock full of terrific (printable) Jack o Lantern patterns (scroll down to the faces, good stuff) complete with directions and helpful tips at the bottom of the page.

Halloween UpdateII- So I chose the "rolling eye" Jack o Lantern carving pattern even though it was a little large for my short and plump pumpkin and now everyone says my Jack looks like a splody tard. Grr!

Halloween UpdateIII- Due to popular demand (ok, just Insolublog), I give you the brand new (yeah I totally recycled older art...but in a brand new way) Spooky Fishnet/Kennedy Dagger Halloween wallpaper.

You can run, Teddy, but you can't hide!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bloggy Hiatus

Never fear! I will be back to blogging by the week's end.

Yeah, I know the usual thing to do would be to announce the Bloggy Hiatus at the beginning of the hiatus instead of at the end...but I have hundreds, no thousands, of lame blogger excuses so....I'm automatically excused. :)

On a more serious note, tomorrow -October 19th- is my daughter Cassie's birthday. At first, I thought this day would not be any more diffult than any other day (some days are difficult, some are not as difficult, and so it goes). I even thought it might just be a good opportunity to pull together and share in happy memories with family and friends. Her dad agreed. But as the day quickly approached, our minds began to drift back to birthdays past. These memories brought seemingly endless tears.

Friends from out of state arrived on the scene Friday afternoon in an attempt to make me smile (which was totally sweet and worked) and left Saturday afternoon. One very thoughtful friend actually gave me her excited 4 year old daughter (and my God-child) for the entire weekend, which made setting up the Halloween decorations a much more cheerful production. Yeah, she's pretty smart, and so is her mom.

Despite kind efforts, I fell apart as soon as the house was quiet, Cassie's dad fell apart next and the uber-teen fell apart after that.

The past weeks have been difficult but today we are more hopeful. I guess sometimes you just have to fall apart to get there, but we are reminded that we are not to mourn as if we do not have hope. Clearly there is a difference in mourning the loss of a loved one you are certain you will see again, and we are. This knowledge should enable us to share memories in happiness (even if mingled with tears) instead of just plain old painful tears. So, tomorrow will be filled with family, friends, and happiness (despite the inevitable tears).

It can be no other way.

So, while there is much to learn from all of this, I'd say the most important thing would be to love those in our lives like there really is no tomorrow. We cannot control everything all of the time, but we can control how much we love one another and how much effort we will put forth in showing it while we can. I would also add that even when we are at what seems to be our lowest point in life, all hope is not lost. I believe the latter more today than even this time last year when life was much happier, and I'm still learning.

Moving on..

Some have asked what they might be able to do to honor Cassie's memory on her birthday, and I thought I'd share that with you all as well, just in case any are interested.

Put on your most expensive clothing and go to dinner at the most expensive restaurant you can find (drive 50 miles if need be) and change your mind about exactly where you're going several times before finally settling on the original choice. On the way there, locate a wild-eyed and possibly diseased stray cat on a parking lot who is terrified of your calling kitty-kitty making you have to crawl around on your hands and knees in your best clothes chasing it down. Bite your tongue while others cheer and urge you on despite little kitty's flashing sharp teeth/hissy fits. Once you've set off multiple car alarms and ripped your pants dragging the poor little stray kitty from under an SUV by its tail, decide to skip the dining out. Go instead, straight home to disinfect your wounds and make an appointment with your local doctor and veterinarian, lock the kitty in your bathroom with food, water and litter box then hit the McDonalds drive through. Heh.

If this is not your cup of tea, you could just make a donation to a private animal shelter that does not put stray animals to sleep unless they are not able to save them. If this isn't complicated enough for your taste, you could always make up 20+ wild hypotheticals in order to conclude under exactly what circumstances they may or may not choose to put an animal down, just to be safe. (You should be really cute and aged 2-6 when trying this though, otherwise they'll propably just tell you to go away & close the door in your face.)

On the other hand, were she here with us today, Cassie would also be coloring like mad and making "presnents" to add to packages for service members in war zones. (the last of the few "baby words" I couldn't make myself correct her on because it's just so darn amusing). She'd be breaking out her little pocket calculator to make sure the packages were mailed so they'd be received right at Thanksgiving and Christmas, chattering about what she wanted to be this Halloween (and stilltrying to teach her mommy how to say "I love you" in ten languages). So anyhow, I think sending a service member a package and/or card would be a perfect way of honoring Cassie's memory on her birthday, if anyone feels so inclined. (No pressure, honest.) :)

All that said, I leave you with a funny. This time last year I had all sorts of children over making cards to add to packages for service members (because "cards from kiddies" always seems to go over so well with service members and children alike). One little boy, aged 9, kept spitting. I don't just mean the spit kind of spitting but the super gross sniffy-snorty then spit production kind of spitting. You said it! Ew. After about an hour of the inhumane grossness, I could take no more and finally asked him to "please not spit in my presence". Cassie looked horrified and pulled the nearest open package into her protective embrace and said, "Ew! Don't spit in my presnents either!" *g*

Support our service members - send presnents!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Our World

I thought I'd throw some links to news items from around the world that I've found particularly interesting all these past 4 days of October. After gathering the list of links, I sat back and read through and wondered what Churchill might say about current events. Well, Churchill certainly left us nuggets of wisdom so it isn't all that tall an order.

I present current news items with special commentary by Sir Winston Churchill.

North Korea Planning Nuclear Test But Also Said It Was Committed To Nuclear Disarmament, Suggesting A Willingness To Negotiate

When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.

Or perhaps...

Never hold discussions with the monkey...

Ohhh, what was the rest of that quote? Ah well, never mind. A partial quote will suffice. :)


U.S. May Cut Military In S. Korea Unless The South Korean Government Agrees To Pay More Of The Cost Of Hosting American Forces

Myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else.

Chinese Secret Agents Have Made Repeated Attempts To Poach An Australian Scientist Behind The Invention Of A High-Speed Gun That Could Revolutionise Warfare.

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

Israel Completes Withdrawal From Lebanon Handing Their Security Over To The Lebanese Army and U.N. Peacekeepers

Are they $#%^&*@ crazy?!

Ok, ok. That was me. Churchill would likely have said...

One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.

Hizbullah: "Our Weapons Will Stay Along Israeli Border"

To Israel-

Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.


*Fatah, Hamas Preparing For War With Israel
*Syria Threat Over Golan Puts Israel On War Alert
*Assad Gives Israel 6 Months For Peace Negotiations
*Global Leaders Call For Action On Arab-Israeli Settlement
*Palestinian Authority President Abbas' Stated Recognition Of Israel's Right To Exist A Political Calculation Aimed At Destroying The State, Claims Terror Group Leader And Member Of Abbas' Fatah Party

They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.

Oops, not Churchill but the Good Book. From Psalm 83: A Prayer For Israel. (Pretty music by Barry and Batya Segal.)

Iran Pushes France Nuclear Deal...

France falls down.

Yeah, I'm running out of Churchill quotes.

Still Waiting For The Imam's Return To Earth (Iraq War To Prevent The Return)

He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.

Muslim Rips Down Tribute To 9/11 Hero

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.

Continuing Violence In Iraq

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.

"Sensitivity Training" For U.S. Troops In Iraq

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

Spaniards Show Sensitivity By Toning Down Exploding Mohammad At Fiestas

Toning down exploding Fiesta Mohammad out of sensitivity? Now that's just too funny for Churchill quotes.

Russian Oil Grab Puts Western Supplies At Risk

I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma: but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.

London- Hard line Muslim Teacher Who Denounced Pupils For Celebrating Christmas Has Been Made A Government Schools Inspector

To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.

French Philosophy Teacher In Hiding After Attack On Islam

Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities... because it is the quality which guarantees all others.

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.


UK- Outcry as clergy say calling God 'He' or 'Lord' encourages wife-beating

The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.

Besides, these "clergygenderlessfolk" connect the dots like preschoolers hyped up on Coca-Cola Blak and Candy Cigarettes.

Monday, October 02, 2006

No Excuses For Terror

This is a British documentary you'll want to watch. (H/T Harry's Place)

“A terrific, unflinching documentary on Islamic terrorism by British left-wing journalist David Aaronovitch” raves LGF.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Do You Know What Day It Is?

Why, it's the Flying Spacemonkey's birthday. You should go wish him a Happy Birthday because the best gifts are those from the heart (and warm wishes are way cheaper than actual gifts).

Happy Birthday, Spacemonkey! :)

Beta Blogger...

just killed my inner child.

The template is hostile, folks.

It's like that guy I went out with once at age 19. Sure it looks cool in its leather jacket but is it really worth the drama? If I get rid of it, will it keep calling and stopping by my house flashing those pretty pearly whites (pretending I didn't walk away muttering "I never want to lay eyes you again...")?

Ok, I'm not giving up just yet (I really like the leather coolness, and it smells nice too).

In case anyone else has (or is thinking of) upgrading to Beta Blogger, I will detail the issues and solutions as I go in order to make this as painless as possible. In the event that this process does become too painful to endure, Blogger does save your old template and you can make it all go away with little effort (although I will warn you now that you should make your own copy of the "classic template" before making permanent changes because Blogger only saves the last template you've saved after the initial Beta upgrade).

Clear as mud so far, huh?

Anyhow, the first issue encountered (after locating the old template and discovering, the hard way of course, that it's a whole new ballgame now) is HaloScan's comment/trackbacks not working with Beta Blogger.

Therefore I present-
Getting Haloscan to work in Beta Blogger.

"For all you Beta Bloggers: Haloscan comments do work in Beta!"

Yay! Follow the link above to learn how. Thank you,
Logical Philosopher. Maybe.

We'll see how it works out.

Have any suggestions for your favorite Uber-Conservative (or actually know what the heck you're doing and want to take over and do it for me)? Please leave a comment. :)

Update- Until Haloscan works this Beta Blogger issue out, there will be no Haloscan (at least not for moi while using the current template).

Verdict? Beta doesn't always mean better.

Blog Reorganization

I thought I'd make a few changes to the blog and it seems that it is a wee bit more complicated than I originally thought. Schweet though, huh? But now it looks like work and I just want coffee (will finish later).

I leave you with a warning. When blogger says you will lose some information when changing your template, this really means lots.

If you're in need of enlightenment (go somewhere else), check out-


Loose Canons
Islamic Brownshirts
By Jed Babbin


"Of the many wrong lessons the Clinton presidency taught us, the cheap apology is one that continues to haunts us. The world became accustomed to America -- through our lip-quivering president -- apologizing reflexively for every offense, real or imagined. Apologies have since become expensive. Because the radical Islamists demand -- and we supply -- an endless stream of apologies for conduct that is either entirely justified or inoffensive, they are winning their campaign of intimidation. Like Hitler's Brownshirt "Sturm Abteilung," the Islamofascists seek political dominance by violence and intimidation. And we, like the Weimar Republic before us, are letting the fascists get away with it.

Some, such as Charles Krauthammer, find irony in those who inflict violence to prove Islam is a religion of peace. To some, there is humor to be mined from the irony. For the rest of us, it's among the few parts of this war we can fight personally. We must summon up outrage at fascists who have intimidated the president of the United States out of calling them what they manifestly are. President Bush (I recall only one speech, and only two uses of the term) called them Islamic fascists. Which happens to be an historically defined and precisely accurate term. The cacophony of complaints from phony allies such as the Saudis and Islamists here intimidated the president out of further use of this enormously useful political term..

Now the Pope has drawn death threats from the "religion of peace" because of his reference to a 14th-century Byzantine emperor's statement about Islam being spread by the sword. The Pope has been driven to express regret (without technically apologizing) and is meeting today with Islamic representatives to calm them. He will fail to mollify them one way or the other because nothing can. Even if he accedes to their demands they will pronounce themselves unsatisfied and ask him to do more to prove he respects them more than they respect him. If my mother's mother were still alive, I've no doubt she'd have been penning a letter to the pontiff. In her rounded script, she would have written in the kindest terms she knew, "Dear Pope Benedict: Enough with the apologies already!" And she'd have been more correct than the president or the pontiff.

The Islamic Brownshirts are serving the same two purposes that Hitler's did. First, to intimidate people and separate them from their freedom to speak out against an ideology that aims to enslave them. Second, to legitimate the use of violence to punish anyone with whom they disagree. Someone who calls himself a "cleric" -- be it Moqtada al-Sadr or some radical imam in America -- has no more right to circumscribe our public debate or the Pope's speeches than did Hitler. Under the First Amendment, free speech still lives. In too many nations, including most of Old Europe, the Islamic Brownshirts have already killed it.

Italy and France surrendered preemptively. Spain fell when the Madrid train bombings caused its government to be defeated in an election held a day later. Britain, as Melanie Phillips has documented brilliantly in Londonistan, gave up free speech eagerly in favor of multiculturalism. The country that gave us the Magna Carta is now a place in which a street preacher can be fined about $500 for parading with a sign that says, "Stop immorality. Stop homosexuality. Stop lesbianism," but Muslim thug Abu Izzadeen (the former Trevor Brooks) is not spoken to rudely when he incites murder. When France fell in June 1940 Churchill said, "What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin." Europe has surrendered to the Islamic Brownshirts. Their battle is over. Ours has begun."


Read the rest.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up

Well, you could, but why bother?

Update on Six Flags Great America's Halloween-themed FrightFest (the amusement park is daring customers to eat a live Madagascar hissing cockroach in exchange for unlimited line-jumping privileges).

As if that's not ridiculous enough all on its own, PETA Leaps to the defense of ‘gentle’ cockroaches in the Six Flags promotion.


"Cockroaches have been given a bad (reputation) in our society," said PETA spokeswoman Jackie Vergerio. "They are gentle, complex animals."

We can all rest assured that this guy, at least, won't be jumping any lines.

In other news-


Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Gaza's Jihadia Salafiya Islamic outreach movement, which seeks to make secular Muslims more religious, called the pope a "puppet" for "that Crusader George Bush."

The Gaza imam said the only Christian-Muslim dialogue that is acceptable is one in which "all religions agree to convert to Islam."


Also, Iran TV: 'Pirates of Caribbean' a Zionist plot
Campaign links Disney to Jews, says 'Aladdin' denigrates Arabs


WND reported then that Prof. Hasan Bolkhari, a cultural adviser to the Iranian Education Ministry, told Iran's Channel 4 the Tom and Jerry cartoon is a Jewish conspiracy.

An excerpt of that video also was made available by MEMRI then.
"The Jewish Walt Disney Company gained international fame with this cartoon," said Bolkhari. "It is still shown throughout the world. This cartoon maintains its status because of the cute antics of the cat and mouse – especially the mouse."


I guess Pinky and The Brain represent Ahmadinejad and Chavez.

Does Mighty Mouse represent Jesus Christ?

"Here I come to save the day!!"

Monday, September 25, 2006

I'm Shocked! (Ok, I'm Over It)

Clinton comes unglued. (video)

I guess that's what happens when a Democrat who has been coddled by the media for so long is finally asked this very simple question. (He totally has that "I did not have sexual relations with that woman!" look on his face again, doesn't he?)


Also, Malkin has a post up About that National Intelligence Estimate everyone should read.

Within this post is a reference to The Sword of the Prophet, the politically incorrect guide to Islam. For those of you who'd rather stare into the solar eclipse (or this photo) with the naked eye (thanks, Insolublog, thanks a whole lot) than spend your hard earned cash to learn more about Islam, the The Prophet of Doom, is a good (free) resource.

From the website-


Overview

Prophet of Doom presents the Qur'an in chronological order and in the context of Muhammad's life as it is known through Ishaq's Sira (Biography) and Tabari's Ta'rikh (History). There is no better way to understand Islam's lone prophet, his god, their message, or their purpose--especially since the Qur'an itself is a jumbled and incoherent mess.

The translation presented in Prophet of Doom was a blend of the literal Noble Qur'an by Khan (the one found in most American mosques), and English translations by: Ahmed Ali, Pickthal, Yusuf Ali, and Shakir. Collectively, these represent the five most respected and universally accepted Muslim translations of Allah's book.

To validate Craig's scholarship in regard to his presentation of the Qur'an, you will need access to all five of these. While we encourage you to conduct your own investigation of the Islamic scriptures, you may be comforted to know that of the many thousands of emails we have received from angry Muslims claiming that Craig has misrepresented their religion, no one has found an inaccurate Qur'anic portrayal.

To compose the The POD Qur'an, we consolidated the references made to each Qur'anic Surah in the book and then placed them in numerical, rather than chronological order. Every reference was pulled directly from Prophet of Doom just as it was presented in the book, and thus most contain Craig Winn's commentary as well as related Hadith.

While you will learn much more reading the Qur'an in chronological order--the order it was supposedly revealed and thus the order it is presented in POD--and with its surahs set within the context of Muhammad's life, we understand that most people are accustomed to the Qur'an's current order--jumbled, and devoid of circumstance, place, time, and chronological order as it may be.

The POD Qur'an can be set along side the five Muslim translations that served as its basis to demonstrate that Craig did not "cherry-pick" the most rotten verses from a Qur'anic tree filled with nurturing ones. The POD Qur'an also proves that Craig didn't take Qur'an verses out of context or misrepresent them. The simple truth is that immorality, violence, and idiocy completely dominate the texts of the Islamic scriptures.

It is also important to note, that Muslims have recently published more politically correct versions of the Qur'an and of the Hadith. Although they cannot fix the author's (Muhammad/Allah's) complete lack of moral character and intelligence, the recent renditions have sought to remove many violent verses, rewriting them to suit modern sensibilities. Therefore, if you own a "politically correct" Qur'an or a sanitized Hadith collection, we ask that if you come across an instance where it appears we may have misrepresented Muhammad/Allah's actual message, that you take the time to review all five of the most universally accepted and respected translations, and buy printed versions of the Hadith collections, before you criticize our scholarship. If you take the time to do this, what you will discover is that today's Muslims are obediently following their prophet/god's policy of lying to and deceiving Infidels so as to make us easier prey. Don't let that happen to you.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Teh Saturday Funny

Police called after one flea is found on student's kitten

Animal lover Robert Emberson thought he was doing a good deed when he adopted a stray kitten from a cat charity.

The police, it seems, did not agree.

A few weeks after giving the 16-week-old cat a new home two officers swooped on his house accompanied by charity workers to demand he return his new pet.

The action came after a single flea had been spotted on the kitten, named Plume, by one of the charity's officers during an earlier visit to check the animal's welfare.

The heavy handed reaction astonished 18-year-old Mr Emberson, from Canvey Island in Essex, who complained that the officers could have been better spent dealing with troublemakers that plague the area.


(Yeah, it was way funnier when I misunderstood and thought the overzealous charity workers named the little lone flea, Plume.)

Death to fleas!!




Women arrested after bizarre sex sting

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A police sting took an odd turn when an officer pretending to be a john met a suspected prostitute pretending to be an officer.

Police spokesman Sgt. Tom Connellan said here's what happened Thursday:

A male undercover officer driving in a neighborhood known for prostitution was flagged down by a woman. The woman got in his car and they went to a nearby parking lot to negotiate a price for sex.

She asked the officer if he was a cop and he said no.

"That's OK, because I am," the woman said as she pulled out handcuffs and a two-way radio. She barked into the radio: "Move in!"





Wanna cut in line? Eat a live cockroach

GURNEE, Illinois (AP) -- Why wait in line when you can just eat a cockroach?

That's the question Six Flags Great America is asking thrill seekers during a Halloween-themed FrightFest. The amusement park is daring customers to eat a live Madagascar hissing cockroach in exchange for unlimited line-jumping privileges.

The promotion, which has Lake County Health Department officials shaking their heads, starts October 7.

Anyone who chows down the entire 2- to 3-inch horned cockroach gets a pass for four people to cut to the front of ride lines through October 29.

Park officials insist it's safe to eat the crunchy critters, but health officials are cautioning participants.


(Ok, that's not really funny or even "frightening", it's just plain old stupid. And gross.Oo)



Defendant hurled slipper at judge

An Indian man allegedly hurled a slipper at a court judge who promptly threw a paperweight back in reply.

Nazir Mohammad was in court in Baroda on charges of housebreaking and theft when he jumped out of the witness box and rushed towards the judge.

The robber, reportedly irritated with the slow pace of the case, took off his slipper and threw it at Chief judicial magistrate C D Vaghela.

Judge Vaghela immediately picked up a paperweight from his desk and threw it back at the accused, reports Midday.



I leave you with talking dogs, one possessed little kitty, and facetious critters.

Have a great weekend! :)

All Ahmadinejad, All The Time

Mesmerized Media

When will Ahmadinejad’s radical religious beliefs get covered?

By Joel C. Rosenberg


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinjad has certainly launched a charm offensive through the American media. First was his “exclusive” interview with Mike Wallace on CBS’s 60 Minutes. This week, the Iranian leader is on the cover of Time. Yesterday, he did a lengthy interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, the only network interview he agreed to on this trip. And, of course, Ahmadinejad’s speech Tuesday blasting the United States (while on American soil) made headlines around the world.

Yet something has been curiously absent from all this media coverage. American journalists aren’t asking Ahmadinejad about his Shiite religious beliefs, his fascination with the coming of the Islamic Messiah known as the “Twelfth Imam” or the “Mahdi,” his critique of President Bush’s faith in Jesus Christ and encouragement of President Bush to convert to Islam, and how such beliefs are driving Iranian foreign policy.

Time’s cover story and exclusive print interview with Ahmadinejad never broached the subject of his eschatology. Nor did Williams. Nor did Wallace. Nor does a just-released book, Confronting Iran: The Failure of American Foreign Policy And the Next Great Crisis in the Middle East, by British Iran expert Ali M. Ansari. Nor does almost any of the saturation coverage Ahmadinejad is receiving.

Journalists aren’t typically shy about asking tough, probing questions about the religious views of world leaders. President Bush has been grilled at length about being an evangelical Christian and how this informs his foreign policy, particularly with regards to Israel and the Middle East. Clearly the pope’s views of Christianity and Islam are now under fire. Why such hesitancy when it comes to the religious beliefs of a leader who has called for the Jewish state to be wiped off the planet and urges fellow Muslims to envision a world without the United States?


Read more...

It does seem "odd" that journalists would miss this tidbit considering Ahmadinejad's praying at the UN so recently.

TRANSLATOR: Today's world, more than ever before, longs for just and righteous people with love for all humanity, and above all, longs for the perfect righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace, and brotherhood on the planet. Oh, Almighty God, all men and women are your creatures, and you have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirst for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by you, and make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause.

(He sorta left the part out where love, justice, peace, and brotherhood are achieved via warfare & chopping off our heads. Oopsie.)

Transcript...


Ahmadinejad: I’m not anti-Semitic

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said during a press conference in New York on Thursday "We love everyone in the world - Jews, Christians, Muslims, non-Muslims, non-Jews, non-Christians.

"We are against ugly acts. We are against occupation, aggression, killings and displacing people - otherwise we have no problem with ordinary people. Everyone is respected. ... We declare this in a loud voice," he said.


Wow, really?! Well, as long as you say it loud...cool. That clears it all up. We can all just relax and forget about his nuclear aspirations then, I guess.

Riiight.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has openly called for Israel to be wiped off the map. - Aljazeera.Net

Admadinejad said, "As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map."

"Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury"
-International Herald Tribune

There are also the anti-Semitic comments themselves to contend with.

(Let's be inclusive and not leave Democrats out by forgetting their softening of a Senate resolution condemning the president of Iran for said anti-Semitic comments.)

Yes, Admadinejad's recent statement is a rather large pill to swallow. Especially considering his embrace of a faith that encourages its followers to lie to "infidels" (yeah, that means you), deceive, make war with, maim and kill them.

Why, exactly, is it that journalists deem this madman's radical religious beliefs, which drives his political views and actions, off limits or unimportant?


Update: Mr. Huber, writing for the Daily Kos, describes Ahmadinejad's remarks to the UN as "nothing short of brilliant". He goes on to add, "In eloquent, measured fashion he [Ahmadinejad] admonished the rest of the world to join him in telling the United States of America to pound sand up its canyon, and the rest of the world subtly but perceptibly smiled and nodded "yes.""

If retired U.S. Navy Commander Jeff Huber, who writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia, can be used as "the lefty example", I'd have to conclude that the answer is-

Because journalists are rather smitten with Admadinejad and agree with him completely regardless of his radical religious beliefs. Furthermore, they're silent on the topic of these dangerous beliefs so as to not muddle the part of his message they do agree with (and would like more Americans to agree with as well). Also, obviously absent is the usual outrage at the idea of one way and one God, prayer expressed publicly, and a whole laundry list of other things lefties ordinarily tend to rail about. They're not complaining. Ahmadinejad is more than happy to answer questions about his beliefs. They're simply not asking.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday America

In 1814, about a week after the city of Washington had been badly burned, British troops moved up to the primary port at Baltimore Harbor in Maryland. Frances Scott Key visited the British fleet in the Harbor on September 13th to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes who had been captured during the Washington raid. Both were detained on the Naval ship so as not to warn the Americans while the Royal Navy attempted to bombard Fort McHenry. At dawn on the 14th, Key noticed that the huge American flag was still waving and had not been removed in defeat. The sight inspired him to write a poem entitled Defense of Fort McHenry and later the poem was set to music that had been composed by a Mr. Smith. The song was immediately noted as an inspiring song that should be the national anthem of the United States of America. It was accepted as such by public demand for the next century, but became even more accepted as the national anthem during the World Series of Baseball in 1917 when it was sung in honor of the brave armed forces fighting in the Great War. The World Series performance so moved everyone in attendance that it was repeated afterward for every single game. Finally, on March 3, 1931, Congress proclaimed it as the national anthem, 116 years after it was first written by Francis Scott Key.

As I read the words, verse after verse, I can only imagine how Mr. Keys must have felt as he watched all these things unfold from the British ship where he'd been detained. One can feel the fear and worry for his country as well as the great pride and triumph as he notices the flag's strong presence by light of bombs throughout the long night, until finally morning comes to show the flag still stood and the battle had been won. Read for yourself, those words written so long ago.


Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
'T is the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us as a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


It was July 4, 1776, when we claimed our independence from Britain and America, "land of the free and the home of the brave", was truly born. Each year on July 4, Americans celebrate that freedom and independence with barbecues, picnics, family gatherings, fireworks and more. We continue to fight for our freedom to this very day, even as we celebrate that which we enjoy so much.

As many of you may already know, my six year old daughter, Cassie, was killed in an accident just two months ago. It is through the same trust in God and determination, which Mr. Francis Scott Key wrote so eloquently, that I come out of seclusion to celebrate this country's independence. My sweetest July 4 memory (although there are so many), is sitting in a field on Ft. Knox, unexpectedly able to watch the fireworks show far from the crowd where we sat enjoying one another's company. Curled in my lap, my daughter (then aged four) and I shared this most precious moment in awe as a large group of new soldiers, basic trainees, broke into a sweet and haunting cadence at the very moment that our eyes were cast to the exploding sky. Their voices were filled with fear and hope, wise determination and youth, pride and joy. The summer breeze seemed to carry their verse over the entire base, causing a tear to the eye and goosebumps on our arms as they sang on and on. Later, we took a late dinner to the soldiers pulling guard (knowing full well that they'd been served a holiday meal several times already) and asked that they save the plates for us to pick up the next day (knowing full well the plates would disappear as always, but still taking the very best we had). We hung out with them awhile, talking with and amusing them as long as possible (but not so long as to get them into trouble) and on the way home she wondered aloud about the mystery of the disappearing plates until finally jokingly concluding that they were such big and hungry guys that they probably ate the plates all up as well. "I know! Dey eat um, mommy...like da Cookie Mosser!!" Insert noisy gobbling sound effects *here*, because she's just so danged cute like that.

Fast forward just a couple years. Life changes so much sometimes, sadly enough. This year I was unable to join the many soldiers in their festivities as I'd kindly refused the many heart-felt invitations this past weekend. I absolutely did not feel like traveling out of state or celebrating at all, period. I assure you, it was my loss because only service members truly know how to laugh and grab each moment as if it's their last, despite all manner of heartache and hardship.

Today, I woke and decided that this day would not, could not, pass me by unnoticed. So far, I've given a history lesson, two if you count this post only the first was way more fun in person and involving children (isn't everything involving children more fun?), sung a few versus to entertain (or torture, however you want to look at it), and am planning to gather with more family and friends later this evening. Tonight, I will go to the show with family and friends, remember better times and hope for more. I've already purchased the fireworks to put on a little show of my own (ok, I totally just sit back and watch overgrown child-men set themselves on fire, but still, that's fun too), so that those who had to work this evening and missed the show can still enjoy a show (and some leftovers, yum).
Yes, I'll have to stop by to visit my baby at a church where I never fathomed I'd be visiting her on this most beautiful night (even though I know she is not there but in Heaven). I still cannot seem to quite get my heart and mind around it all. But, I will take her the ribbons and balloons that always pleased her so much and try to think only of the day which I'll see her again (and yes, I believe with all that I am that I will see and hold her again). I will not be alone but with those who I still have to care for and care for me, I'm so thankful for this.

We will light the sparklers for her and pray she is watching us, knowing well just how loved and missed she is. I'll cherish and remember every single moment and memory made with this beautiful little girl to get through the night and many to come, and I will keep in mind that there are others in my life to create the special moments with as well. I'm totally going to cry, I know I will, but I'm determined to smile and laugh some too. If I've learned nothing else in the past two months, I've learned to make every moment count. I've always been particularly good at this throughout my lifetime, it is only now that I falter. This same ability I've had in the past which lends comfort now (having made every moment of those 6 yrs with Cassie really count)is the same which inspires me to try some more and value what I still have. Just being part of this great nation, enables us to not only provide a good life for those we love, but also enables us to enjoy the moments with them in freedom. So often it has been under the protection of our service members that we enjoy such a life. They sacrifice so much, often their very lives, to make this possible so let's remember them all on this most special day (if not every single day). :)

I've missed you all so much (no, I missed you more!), all the kind words and prayers are appreciated so much more than I'm able to express. Please know and remember this, whether I'm able to visit and post regularly yet or not.

Now, go out there and make today count. Have fun and laugh! (Or I'll have to HURT you!)

Happy Birthday America ;)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Steal Your Neighbor's Job Day

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Organizers are predicting an unprecedented turnout for Monday's rallies against a proposed crackdown on illegal immigration and a widespread boycott of jobs, schools and businesses meant to show the economic power of immigrants.

So, if you are looking for a job, today is your lucky day! Let's see if we can turn this ugly scene into something more positive, snap those jobs up, folks. ;)

Illegal Immigration Roundup

Malkin- A DAY TO HATE THE YANQUIS (Michelle also provides links on this topic.)

Fmragtops is Live Blogging The Boycott (Exciting stuff happening over there! Ok, not really, but maybe later.)

Insolublog's Still Beating the Drum (A must read!)

Rooster Cashews goes all poetic on us with A Poem For The May 1st Protest (Funny but true.)

Striving for Average asks all the right questions. (No, really.)



On a more personal note, the CUG asks for all our prayers. For the nonreligious, I'm sure some words of encouragement would be appreciated as well (you heathen). I kid, I kid. I know in situations like this, it's hard to know what to say, everything just seems so darn lame, but I also know that just a few words of support from others does make a difference when we are going though a tough time. So, go leave a lame comment for the CUG and family already.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Reality Bites

A Children's Cartoon From the Middle East Has a New Mideast Peace Plan



From the article-

But the real goal of "Ben and Izzy" is more serious: to help young Americans and Arabs steer clear of the prejudices of their parents and grandparents, which may have been reinforced by the Sept. 11 attacks and the war in Iraq. In promotional materials, Ben the American is described as "a symbol for his country" who is "big" and "energetic," but "on the negative side, he is a bit xenophobic, self-centered, needs-to-win competitive."

"Like his native land," the creators write, "he sometimes blunders into situations without thinking."

Izzy the Jordanian, by contrast, is "slight of build, sinewy and studious," but "on the downside, Izzy can be a little too serious, self-righteous, superior, even devious."

The boys don't like each other at first, they argue but don't fight with guns or knives, the promotional materials point out, but they will ultimately learn "that as a team, they can outsmart almost anyone."


While I'm not convinced that this cartoon from the Middle East can really claim a new Mideast peace plan (the plan of burying heads in sand is pretty common, after all), I can understand why it's not more realistic. Asking why it's not more realistic would be like yelling "Why are you going out there?! Everyone knows what happens when you go out!" when the third in a group of five ventures out to see what happened to the first and second who ventured out into the foggy night while watching a horror flick. Like the cartoon in question, they have to follow a certain plot or there will be no movie. In reality, Izzy would strap bombs to his body shortly after Ben stopped walking on eggshells or forgot that the price for being oneself (and daring to actually believe in individual freedom) in less civilized parts of the world, is death.

I mean, imagine a realistic episode. It would be all over in ten minutes or less.

Izzy tells Ben that his mother is a whore who deserves to be buried to her neck and stoned to death because she doesn't cover her head, ventures into public without a male chaperone, and wears those risqué calf and ankle revealing capri pants and dare I say blue jeans (gasp). Ben explains to Izzy that his mother behaves in a manner comparable to many American women, which inspires Izzy to verbally damn the entire Western civilization, which inspires Ben to yell "Bring it on!". Somewhere between his fear of seeing Middle Eastern women catching American capri wearing cooties and his anger over the exchange, Izzy finds his slim form laden with explosives. Ben has calmed himself but only by deciding to just stay away from all those of such uncivilized cultures who aren't happy with merely liiving their own lives but also seek to try to change the way everyone else lives theirs. The bomb laden Izzy soon pulls Ben from his isolation though, so Ben decides to blow the hell out of Izzy before Izzy blows the hell out of a bunch of little girls in blue jeans.

Hooray Ben! The show's over, folks.

The very basis of the cartoon is about attempting to improve personal relations and those issues cannot possibly be touched upon in a realistic manner so they just have to make stuff up to deal with instead. I think most Americans don't really care how those in the Middle East choose to live as long as they are left alone to live their own lives as they see fit, free from threat. Most not only don't care but couldn't have even found them on a map until after the horror of Sept. 11th. The very basis of this cartoon ignores the important fact that this struggle between the Middle East and the West is more about barbarian behavior and beliefs versus modern and civilized behavior and beliefs. Seriously, I wouldn't expect a cartoon for children to contain this type of reality but one wonders why they bother with the cartoon at all. If the cartoon is not for pure entertainment and only deals with fake issues, what's the point?

Besides, I'm rather fond of Ben (America), just the way he is.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Say It Aint So

Yup, it's Monday.

The most exciting things have occurred today, despite the Mondayesqueness of the moment. Not only did my special SPF girly stuff arrive but my t-shirt from Striving for Average did as well. Hooray! This definitely lessens the bluntness of its actually being Monday. Ok, so I ordered it way back before the hiatus (if you can call it that), but I'm just now getting around to picking up the mail sooo, it's a very exciting day. Now all I need to do is replace the IMAO gear (eaten by an evil dryer) with new IMAO gear and my evil conservative wardrobe will be complete!

Also exciting on this fine Monday, Michelle Malkin (who I fully support despite the fact that she is a really hot chick and a minority though perhaps I'm a bit late in the game) brings us Hot Air. Add Hot Air to your side bar to remain informed as well as entertained.

See, Mondays don't always completely suck. :)

{Update: Even as I typed the Monday post the uber-teen was asked out by an apparently very cute 18 year old who lives just 20 minutes away. I've been sent his MySpace page and no I can't share it with you all for the purpose of some good old fashioned "threatening ridicule" nor will she tell him that I could easily fix him up with his desire to some day meet God and am perfectly capable of eating chocolate chip cookies over his cold dead body.}

I joke, I joke... He may very well be, even likely from what I'm able to gather, a very nice young man. I bet he'll love going to the movies, with us, sometime in the near future. Heh



Dang Mondays.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I'm Alive!

Ok, just barely.

The past two years I've made the mistake of fooling around until late spring to even start any outdoor projects here in uber-land (otherwise known as hell, here lately) and every year I'm out there in June, still at it but not accomplishing much, ready to pass out from heat exhaustion. This year I decided to do things a little different since it would seem that I can only take the heat in spring and fall.
So, I participated in the standardized test thing, even though it's only a suggestion that you have someone else test your child and not a requirement at all, some actually care what the state suggests (just not me). The rest of the month of March was spent with children of various ages playing Q&A...


"What would happen if you ate a suppository?"

You didn't eat a suppository, did you?!

"No..."

Oh, ok. Not sure exactly, nothing good. Never eat a suppository.

"What is a suppository anyhow?"

Ask your grandma or grandpa.

"Where do babies come from?"

God.

"I know that, but how do they get in there?"

Uh, God.

"But, how do they get out then?"

Ask your mom and dad.

"But I already asked you."

Break time! Who wants ice cream? Yay!

Ah, kids. Gotta love 'em.

After the inquisition I did a few things around the property like clear another half acre, mow two and a half acres (twice), plant 3 Japanese maples, two rhododendron, one unidentified flowering tree (see photo below to help identify) an innumerable amount of flowers and took several long nature walks through the wooded areas of the property in search of rare plants and trees to transplant & attract certain wildlife. Hooray! Translated, all that means briars kicked my ass, I broke another mower, fell into a hole while laughing at the uber-teen (attempting manual labor for the first time in her entire life), got lost in the woods and slid down a mountain of wet leafy forest goo (head first).

I now know why all the country folk get up at dawn and are in bed before dusk. It's like being two all over again and falling asleep with your face in your dinner. I have a new respect for these individuals but I'm totally looking forward to staying up until all hours and sleeping in again, beginning each day with lip gloss and a curling iron, ending it with a nice bubble bath and scented lotions (which makes one a creepy bug magnet outdoors) with plenty of blogging in between instead of waking to an alarm and aching muscles and going to sleep to the sound of my own sobbing.

There goes my dream of farming for a living, dang. Ah well.

My new goal in life is to never sweat again, at least not without an AC blowing at me from all directions. I've a new plan to get things done around here without paying someone an ungodly amount of money to do it for me. It's so brilliant that the word maniacal comes to mind. The downed trees waiting to be sawed into logs? Plan A- Buy a friend that chainsaw he's been wanting for his birthday. Plan B- Ask to borrow it soon after, wearing daisy dukes and batting eyelashes. Plan C- Put an add in the paper that goes something like "Free wood, you saw and haul. Contact me at IMaHotHotHottie@hotmail.com."

Mwahahahaha!


Ahem.


Here's the photo of the unidentified tree which grows wild in North Carolina. Bonus points for anyone able to identify this tree (I've searched high and low to no avail).











p.s. Thanks to everyone who keeps stopping by, I really missed you guys! It's great to be back. Think I'll take a nap now. ;)

Monday, March 27, 2006

Teh Monday Funny

Thought I'd pass along this joke that my mom emailed to me (almost a week ago but I'm only now getting to because I am just that lame) since Mondays are but a blot upon humanity and should always begin with a laugh so you don't snap and kill someone.

A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband. Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen.

"Careful," he said, "CAREFUL! Put in some more butter! Oh my GOD! You're cooking too many at once. TOO MANY! Turn them! TURN THEM NOW! We need more butter. Oh my GOD! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER? They're going to STICK! Careful ... CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL! You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking! Never! Turn them!
Hurry up! Are you CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind? Don't forget to salt them. You know you always forget to salt them. Use the salt. USE THE SALT! THE SALT!"

The wife stared at him. "What in the world is wrong with you?! You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?"

The husband calmly replied, "I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving."

The joke is even funnier coming from my mom because she's been performing this 'nagging passenger act' for my dad for more years than I care to count. I notice she sent it to him, too. He'd better reply or she'll be forced to walk into the other room and ask why he never replies to her email. *g* Sometimes it amazes me that he's still alive. Or is it amazing that she's still alive? Heh

Either way, it's funny because it's true!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Hooray For Saturday!

Well, it's cold out and I have no weekend plans so maybe hooray is a strong word. On the other hand, sometimes nothing is good. Not being eaten by a Dobsonfly? Even better.

Last weekend I should have done a post about how busy I am in spring, too busy to blog even, but I couldn't move my arms. After using a tiller for the first time in my life last Saturday, I literally could not lift my arms to reply to comments after the first few initial arm lifts to click. Who could have imagined that a little tilling could be so debilitating?! And just a few areas for flowers? Anyhow, surprisingly enough, that really hurt.

Then the rest of the week was a busy time because it's that standardized test time of year for home educators, so I was helping some out with all of that mess. Personally, I don't do the testing with the uber-teen until mid or late June even though it is suggested that I do it in March because they didn't ask nicely and can't make me (and spring really is a busy time). Who are "they", you ask? Why, the NC Board of Education, of course.

When I first moved to the area they sent me a home educator's informational packet that was full of lies and insinuations. When not willing to just lie outright in every instance, they insinuated that one must do certain things in a certain way in order to not break the law. Since I'm not stupid I'd studied the laws and what they really meant months before moving here, and also hired a lawyer, just in case. So, it's not absolutely mandatory that the testing be done in March, it just makes things easier on those breathing down the necks of home educators. Maybe they should have just said so in the first place because now I'm waiting until June just because I can. It also amuses me greatly that they are really supposed to ask for the results of the tests once a year but are only able to do so every three years because of the sheer numbers of home educators in NC. What a shame, huh? Bwahahaha.

Anyhow, back to my point. It's likely that spring things will interfere with my blogging for the next couple of months. Between wrapping up the school year, setting up a pool on my own (yeah, I'm that crazy) and turning that pond (mud hole) into something to behold (besides froggy porn), I'm probably going to be MIA from time to time.

There's just so much work to be done in Uber's world and not enough time!



Since I don't have any new cat photos (stop crying), I'll post a couple of something entirely different.

My neighbor's horse.

Luckily, close enough to visit yet far enough away to not have to smell.