Saturday, March 29, 2008

Things YOU Can Do Everyday

Light and computer are back on. So much for a quiet hour, my mother called and I spent most of the hour talking with her.

You can help stop global warming by taking these 10 steps to cut your yearly emissions of carbon dioxide by thousands of pounds.

1. Replace standard light bulbs with energy efficient fluorescent. (Reduces emissions by 500 pounds per year.)
2. Replace worn out appliances with energy efficient models. (Reduces emissions by up to 10,000 pounds per year.)
3. Choose the best energy saving models when you replace windows. (Reduces emissions up to 1,000 pounds per year.)
4. Wrap your water heater in an insulating jacket. (Reduces emissions up to 1,000 pounds per year.)
5. Install low-flow shower heads that use less water. (Reduces emissions up to 300 pounds per year.)
6. Insulate walls and ceilings and save about 25% of home heating bills. (And reduce emissions by up to 2,000 pounds per year.)
7. Next time you buy a car, choose one that gets at least 30 miles per gallon (reduces carbon dioxide 2,500 pounds a year over a car that gets 10 mpg less.
8. Where you can, choose an electric utility company that does not produce power from polluting sources such as fossil fuels and nuclear fission. (Enormous potential reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.)
9. Ask your utility company for a home energy audit to pinpoint the best energy wasters. (Potential reduction of thousands of pounds per year.)
10. Whenever possible, walk, bike, carpool or use mass transit. (Reduces emissions by 20 pounds for every gallon of gasoline used.)

And, remember, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Hopefully some of these things have already been done in your house. If so, great. If not, get with the program. In many ways it's already too late!

Earth Hour

On March 29, 2008 from 8pm to 9pm, cities around the world will join together to literally turn off the lights for one hour to offer leadership and symbolize their commitment to finding climate change solutions. Individuals, local businesses and corporations will also be asked to turn off their lights. Will you join in?

So I'm getting ready to turn off the computer, music and the lights. I will so enjoy the quiet.

If you'd like to do the same, no matter what day or time it is, just take an hour and turn everything off. Have a candlelight dinner, read a good book by the fireplace or a candle. Play board games or just relax and do nothing.

Dead Battery

I asked Patrick to go out today and start my car seeing as it's been a week since I went out. We didn't really have anywhere to go, but I just had a feeling about it. He came in a few minutes later and I didn't hear the car start in the meantime. Dead battery again! Now I just bought a new battery in January, so I knew there was a problem.

I called Triple A for service telling the woman that I purchased an AAA battery a couple of months ago. She said that she would give me the customer service phone number, but I told her I'd wait to see what the service guy said. I told her to make a note for him to not follow the GPS directions as they take anyone about 20 minutes out of the way unnecessarily. She said she would and he should be at my house by 3:15.

At 3:20 I got a call from the Providence office saying the driver was on his way. I told him again to tell the driver not to use GPS directions.

At 4:15 I got an automated call saying the driver was by my car, which was just outside of the window I was sitting at - no driver. As I was calling them, I received another automated call saying the driver was here. I finally reached a person who said the driver was at a location just about a mile up the road, thinking that it was the right location. By this time I'm getting a little ticked off. While I was waiting for them to track the driver, there he goes, right by my house. I waved him down and he pulled in. I asked why so long and he said the GPS directions were wrong!! Yikes, that did it. Now I was officially ticked off and I started yelling in the phone and at the service guy.

The service guy put his meter thingy on my battery, I tried to start it and he said it was my starter. I said no, it wasn't my starter and that's how the conversation went for the next couple of minutes. I finally got him to see that the lights in the car went on and off as he hooked the meter thingy up and that the battery was the problem.

Once he realized I was right he read the meter and my battery was putting out 0%. Thank goodness he had the battery truck so he changed the battery, gave me some new paperwork and he was on his way.

Patrick and I decided to take a ride so we went to pick up my mail, he shopped at Dave's and then we both hit the dollar store where I bought some new reading glasses.

I am so glad that I had that funny psychic feeling about my car, because tomorrow I HAVE to go out. I'll blog about why tomorrow.

Friday, March 28, 2008

When Torture Hits Home

When the unthinkable becomes acceptable.

Reported by Mother Jones: Smart, Fearless Journalism

Who's Behind Abu Ghraib?

For the first time, one chart shows the scandal's full chain of command from Bush to detainees.

Here's the link:

Funny how the court martials happened only to the people at the bottom of the list!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Seal Hunt

I just found out recently that Canada still allows seal hunting - as of tomorrow the seal hunting season is open for business, and a nasty business it is, to be sure.

Despite global opposition, Canada's sealers are gearing up to slaughter the first of 275,000 seals tomorrow. They kill mostly babies - for their fur.

Here's a link to the Humane Society:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

One Reason Why I Boycott Walmart

By Randi Kaye CNN

JACKSON, Missouri (CNN) -- Debbie Shank breaks down in tears every time she's told that her 18-year-old son, Jeremy, was killed in Iraq.

Even though the 52-year-old mother of three attended her son's funeral -- she continues to ask how he's doing. When her family reminds her that he's dead -- she weeps as if hearing the news for the first time.

Shank suffered severe brain damage after a traffic accident nearly eight years ago that robbed her of much of her short-term memory and left her in a wheelchair and living in a nursing home.

It was the beginning of a series of battles -- both personal and legal -- that loomed for Shank and her family. One of their biggest was with Wal-Mart's health plan. Eight years ago, Shank was stocking shelves for the retail giant and signed up for Wal-Mart's health and benefits plan.

Two years after the accident, Shank and her husband, Jim, were awarded about $1 million in a lawsuit against the trucking company involved in the crash. After legal fees were paid, $417,000 was placed in a trust to pay for Debbie Shank's long-term care.

Wal-Mart had paid out about $470,000 for Shank's medical expenses, but in 2005, Wal-Mart's health plan sued the Shanks for the same amount.

The Shanks didn't notice in the fine print of Wal-Mart's health plan policy that the company has the right to recoup medical expenses if an employee collects damages in a lawsuit.

The family's attorney, Maurice Graham, said he informed Wal-Mart about the settlement and believed the Shanks would be allowed to keep the money.

"We assumed after three years, they [Wal-Mart] had made a decision to let Debbie Shank use this money for what it was intended to," Graham said.The Shanks lost their suit to Wal-Mart.

Last summer, the couple appealed the ruling -- but also lost it. One week later, their son was killed in Iraq."They are quite within their rights. But I just wonder if they need it that bad," Jim Shank said.

In 2007, the retail giant reported net sales in the third quarter of $90 billion.

Legal or not, CNN asked Wal-Mart why the company pursued the money.

Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley, who called Debbie Shank's case "unbelievably sad," replied in a statement: "Wal-Mart's plan is bound by very specific rules. ... We wish it could be more flexible in Mrs. Shank's case since her circumstances are clearly extraordinary, but this is done out of fairness to all associates who contribute to, and benefit from, the plan."

Jim Shank said he believes Wal-Mart should make an exception.

"My idea of a win-win is -- you keep the paperwork that says you won and let us keep the money so I can take care of my wife," he said.

The family's situation is so dire that last year Jim Shank divorced Debbie, so she could receive more money from Medicaid.

Jim Shank, 54, is recovering from prostate cancer, works two jobs and struggles to pay the bills. He's afraid he won't be able to send their youngest son to college and pay for his and Debbie's care.

"Who needs the money more? A disabled lady in a wheelchair with no future, whatsoever, or does Wal-Mart need $90 billion, plus $200,000?" he asked.

The family's attorney agrees.

"The recovery that Debbie Shank made was recovery for future lost earnings, for her pain and suffering," Graham said.

"She'll never be able to work again. Never have a relationship with her husband or children again. The damage she recovered was for much more than just medical expenses."

Graham said he believes Wal-Mart should be entitled to only about $100,000. Right now, about $277,000 remains in the trust -- far short of the $470,000 Wal-Mart wants back.

Refusing to give up the fight, the Shanks appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. But just last week, the high court said it would not hear the case.

Graham said the Shanks have exhausted all their resources and there's nothing more they can do but go on with their lives.

Jim Shank said he's disappointed with the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case -- not for the sake of his family -- but for those who might face similar circumstances.

For now, he said the family will figure out a way to get by and "do the best we can for Debbie.""Luckily, she's oblivious to everything," he said. "We don't tell her what's going on because it will just upset her."

Walmart caved into public pressure a few days later and dropped their demand.

Was Eliot Spitzer Assassinated?

The predatory lending industry has a partner in the White House. And guess who it is? Our own President Idiot.

Here's a short video that explains how the White House went after Eliot Spitzer after his 2/14/08 editorial in the Washington Post. It's quite enlightening and gives us one more reason to distrust our government.

Something To Think About


Monday, March 24, 2008

Grim Facts

Of the 4,000 men and women who have been killed in Iraq during this illegal war, 97% of these human beings were killed after President Idiot declared "Mission Accomplished" on May 1, 2003.

Over half of the dead soldiers were under 25 years of age.

Approximately 2,200 children have lost a parent since this illegal war began.

And, the Idiot's Vice President implies that the military members have no one to blame but themselves. Here's his quote:

"We're blessed with families who have sacrificed as they have. The President carries the biggest burden, obviously; he's the one who has to make the decision to commit young Americans. But we are fortunate to have the group of men and women, the all-volunteer force, who voluntarily put on the uniform and go in harm's way for the rest of us. You wish nobody ever lost their life, but unfortunately it's one of those things that go with living in the world we live in. Sometimes you have to commit military force, and when you do, there are casualties."

There are no words that can adequately describe the sadness that I feel for the families, the moms and dads, the sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers and especially the children.


U.S. death toll in Iraq reaches 4,000

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Duma Key by Stephen King

Brice Leclert , whose entry is shown above, was chosen by Stephen King as the winner of the DUMA KEY poster competition.

I have been a fan of Stephen King's books since the beginning. Each book is like a gift - to be cherished and enjoyed. To me, there's no feeling that matches how I feel when I get his newest book, so full of promise. And they never fail me. Well, except for The Dark Tower series. I just never got into them, they're fantasy, though I have a bit of a crush on Roland, the main character.

Back in the 80's and early 90's my favorite thing to do was to head (alone) to the cottage in Maine and start reading his latest book about 10:30 at night. I would read all night and not go to sleep until the sun came up. It would scare me to death, well not completely to death, but pretty damn close. I loved it.

Last year I reread all of my Stephen King books. With all of the spare time that I had I thought it would be fun to revisit them all together. There were, however, two books that I just couldn't get the energy to read; Misery and Cujo. They are too close to real life and I just couldn't go there. It was great to read the books all at once as I was able to see the thread of characters he has woven into his books much more clearly than I had previously when the books were released a year or more apart from each other. Once I finished, I boxed all the books and gave them to my friend Jason to enjoy.

I don't buy his books anymore. I figure he's made enough money off me with the 30 or so books I've bought, so I get his books from the library now. And my habit of just leaving the newest King book out for a few days (or weeks) to build anticipation isn't so great with a 3 week return date. When he released Desperation and The Regulators at the same time in 1996 it took me 2 years to start to read them. I just didn't know which one to read first!

So I just this morning finished reading Duma Key, the latest (and possibly one of the best) of Stephen King's dozens of books. It's a story of a man who loses his right arm in a freak accident, then loses his wife to divorce. He moves to a tiny island on the west coast of Florida and becomes a prolific painter and strange things begin to happen. Here's a synopsis I found from his site:

Edgar Freemantle reaches a T-junction in his life's journey when a freak accident costs him his arm... and his marriage. He takes the turning marked Florida - home, as they say, of the newly wed, or nearly dead.

But rather than choosing a typical holiday location, Freemantle is drawn to a beautiful, eerily remote stretch of land off Florida's West Coast: Duma Key, a tangle of banyans, palms and pines next to a deserted beach - uninhabited bar a few houses owned by an old lady named Elizabeth, once a famous patron of the arts.

Encouraged by his youngest daughter, Freemantle discovers a unique talent for painting, starting with the fabulous sunsets. But soon he finds himself experiencing weird phantom pains in his missing arm. And something strange and disturbing is happening with his pictures: they are becoming predictive, even dangerous to those who buy them.

Freemantle must team up with his fellow resident, Wireman, to chart his way through the increasingly disturbing mystery of Duma Key, where out-of-season hurricanes tear lives apart and a powerful undertow lures lost and tormented souls. Eventually, they will have to discover what really happened to Elizabeth's twin sisters, who disappeared in the 1920s - and the haunting secret to which this strange old lady holds the key.

Duma Key is a mesmerizing and compelling story about friendship, and the bond between a father and his daughter. It is also about the power of memory and truth, art and nature.

Here's a link to the first 30 pages of 611 total pages.

I recommend it highly - even for folks that don't think they would enjoy his books. You just might!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Jae Mae At Christmas

I love this picture of Jaelyn Mae. Especially if you click on it and get a bigger than real life version.

Happy Belated Birthday Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O'Donnell turned 46 yesterday! (I thought today, Saturday, was the 21st)

I really like and admire Rosie - she is a wife, mother, artist, writer, comic, actress and an advocate for disadvantaged children.

I first noticed her and her comedy when she was the host of VH1's Standup Spotlight back in the 80's. And I've enjoyed her ever since. She makes me laugh and when she had her own show, she was a fan, just like all of us, of the stars she was lucky enough to meet; Barbra Streisand, Elton John and, of course, her Tommy among others. She brought her friends and family along for the ride and they got to meet people they admired also. And, as her fans, we got a peek into that world.

Thankfully she has a blog - - where we can still get a glimpse into her life. It's always fun to read her answers to questions asked of her in the Ask Ro section. She ocassionally posts videos of what she's doing, who she's with and pictures of her kids.

She and I agree on most things; politics and human rights especially, and while I don't always agree with everything I admire that she always knows the facts before she voices her opinions and she makes me think about her point of view.

She calls those of us who know her but haven't met her stranger friends. I think that if we ever got the chance to meet, we'd become real friends.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Energy Efficiency vs Kidney And Brain Damage

Those great light bulbs that we've all been encouraged to buy - Compact fluorescent light bulbs, long touted by environmentalists as a more efficient and longer-lasting alternative to the incandescent bulbs that have lighted homes for more than a century, are running into resistance from waste industry officials and some environmental scientists, who warn that the bulbs’ poisonous innards pose a bigger threat to health and the environment than previously thought.

All CFLs contain mercury, a neurotoxin that can cause kidney and brain damage.

The amount is tiny — about 5 milligrams, or barely enough to cover the tip of a pen — but that is enough to contaminate 6,000 gallons of water beyond safe drinking levels, Stanford University environmental safety researchers found. Even the latest lamps promoted as “low-mercury” can contaminate more than 1,000 gallons of water beyond safe levels.

There is no disputing that overall, fluorescent bulbs save energy and reduce pollution in general. An average incandescent bulb lasts about 800 to 1,500 hours; a spiral fluorescent bulb can last as long as 10,000 hours. In just more than a year — since the beginning of 2007 — 9 million fluorescent bulbs have been purchased in California, preventing the release of 1.5 billion pounds of carbon dioxide compared with traditional bulbs, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Manufacturers and the EPA say broken CFLs should be handled carefully and recycled to limit dangerous vapors and the spread of mercury dust. But guidelines for how to do that can be difficult to find, as Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine, discovered.

“It was just a wiggly bulb that I reached up to change,” Bridges said. “When the bulb hit the floor, it shattered.”

When Bridges began calling around to local government agencies to find out what to do, “I was shocked to see how uninformed literally everyone I spoke to was,” she said. “Even our own poison control operator didn’t know what to tell me.”

The state eventually referred her to a private cleanup firm, which quoted a $2,000 estimate to contain the mercury. After Bridges complained publicly about her predicament, state officials changed their recommendation: Simply throw it in the trash, they said. WRONG!

Before cleanup: Vent the room
1. Open a window and leave the room for 15 minutes or more.
2. Shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one.

Cleanup steps for hard surfaces
3. Carefully scoop up glass fragments and powder using stiff paper or cardboard and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
4. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
5. Wipe the area clean with damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes and place them in the glass jar or plastic bag.
6. Do not use a vacuum or broom to clean up the broken bulb on hard surfaces.

Cleanup steps for carpeting or rug
3. Carefully pick up glass fragments and place them in a glass jar with metal lid (such as a canning jar) or in a sealed plastic bag.
4. Use sticky tape, such as duct tape, to pick up any remaining small glass fragments and powder.
5. If vacuuming is needed after all visible materials are removed, vacuum the area where the bulb was broken.
6. Remove the vacuum bag (or empty and wipe the canister), and put the bag or vacuum debris in a sealed plastic bag.

Disposal of cleanup materials
7. Immediately place all cleanup materials outside the building in a trash container or outdoor protected area for the next normal trash.
8. Wash your hands after disposing of the jars or plastic bags containing cleanup materials.
9. Check with your local or state government about disposal requirements in your specific area.
Some states prohibit such trash disposal and require that broken and unbroken lamps be taken to a recycling center.

Future cleaning of carpeting or rug
10. For at least the next few times you vacuum, shut off the central forced-air heating/air conditioning system and open a window prior to vacuuming.
11. Keep the central heating/air conditioning system shut off and the window open for at least 15 minutes after vacuuming is completed.
Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

My advice: Don't break the bulb in the first place.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

10 Safest States For Kids

By Karen Cicero for Parents magazine

To give you a quick idea of how much location matters, consider this: Kids are six times more likely to die from a violence-related injury in Alaska than they are in Massachusetts. In California, public playgrounds must meet all federal government safety recommendations, but 34 states offer no standards for where your kids climb, jump and swing. Connecticut and 20 other states have made big improvements in school-bus crossings, while 13, including Nebraska and Arizona, are way behind.

Surprisingly, basic safety devices like booster seats and bike helmets aren’t required in most states — 31 fail to mandate one or both of them. “Having a law is essential, even if you wouldn’t dream of putting your preschooler in the car without a booster seat,” says Alan Korn, director of public policy for Safe Kids Worldwide, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C. “Not only does a law educate parents who might not be as safety-conscious as you, but it also makes it easier for you to handle protests from your kids. When my 7-year-old says he’s too big for a bike helmet, I just remind him that it’s the law. Argument over.”

While no state has a perfect track record, Parents’ investigation turned up a top 10 ranking of those that are at least trying hard. If you live in these states, consider yourself lucky:

1. Connecticut
2. Rhode Island
3. New Jersey
4. New York
5. California
6. Maine
7. Pennsylvania
8. Massachusetts
9. Maryland
10. Oregon

The War By Numbers

Fifth Anniversary

1,825 days

3,992 dead American soldiers

over 25,000 wounded American soldiers

$503,995,000,000 and rising each second

Taxpayers in the United States paid $137.6 billion for the cost of the Iraq War in FY 2007. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:
40,554,560 People with Health Care

And for the over $522,000,000,000 spent by the end of FY 2007:
540,922,142 Homes with Renewable Electricity or
11,285,097 Public Safety Officers or
8,960,343 Music and Arts Teachers or
80,782,313 Scholarships for University Students or
38,313 New Elementary Schools or
4,064,478 Affordable Housing Units or
230,292,880 Children with Health Care or
71,703,033 Head Start Places for Children or
8,583,162 Elementary School Teachers or
7,549,214 Port Container Inspectors

Taxpayers in the United States will pay $83.8 billion for additional proposed Iraq War spending FY 2008. For the same amount of money, the following could have been provided:
24,688,119 People with Health Care or
86,719,188 Homes with Renewable Electricity or
1,809,197 Public Safety Officers or
1,436,498 Music and Arts Teachers or
12,950,804 Scholarships for University Students or
6,142 New Elementary Schools or
651,606 Affordable Housing Units or
36,919,937 Children with Health Care or
11,495,238 Head Start Places for Children or
1,376,030 Elementary School Teachers or
1,210,270 Port Container Inspectors

Is President Idiot Drinking Again?

If he's not drinking, he must be back on drugs because he's losing touch with reality much more than he has in the past. Here are some examples:

In a video conference with some servicemen and women in Iraq, the Idiot said "It must be exciting for some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks." WTF?

A soldier's (Jim Morin) reply "I didn't feel like there was anything romantic in not seeing my daughter grow up, in watching Afghan children starve to death, in explaining repeated deployment extensions to my soldiers. No, Mr. President (Idiot) there's nothing romantic about being sent on an important mission and not being given the tools to accomplish it."

President Idiot: "Iraq war was worth it" and "The successes we are seeing in Iraq are undeniable, yet some in Washington still call for retreat," the president (Idiot) said. "War critics can no longer credibly argue that we are losing in Iraq, so now they argue the war costs too much. In recent months, we have heard exaggerated estimates of the costs of this war."

He's completely out of touch with reality.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Larry Bird Is Old

and fat!!!

I saw this picture and just had to blog about it and him. I love, love Larry Bird.

The NBA just hasn't been the same since he and his teammates from the Celtics retired. Larry was one of the hardest working players ever in the NBA!

He was known to fly over tables and into the crowd to get a loose ball. He made those around him play better and I sure do miss DJ, McHale, Parrish, and even crybaby Danny Ainge. I especially liked when Bill Walton joined as I am known for my appreciation of red headed men.

I haven't watched a game since to be honest.

There was nothing like the rivalry they had with the Lakers, and Detroit. Boy did we hate Bill Laimbeer. That one time that Larry turned around and socked him brought us all to our feet.

Anyway, Larry is almost 6 months to the day younger than me, as his birthday is 12/7/56. So it's nice to know that he and I are in good company in the old and fat category.

A True African American

I have never liked the term "African American". I don't even remember when it was first used.

It is certainly a much better term than "colored" or "negro" which was used when I was a kid. But I'd like to know what was wrong with the term "black" anyway? Being called "brown" should also be acceptable as most black people I know are different beautiful shades of brown.

Are we to assume that every black person's ancestors actually came from Africa? Should I be known as a "Irish/English/French Canadian American"? And what about two of my nieces who are half black? Would they then be "Half African American"? Their distant ancestors may have been from Africa, but it's not information that has been passed to them.

I like the term "person of color". And I especially like the term"black". After all, I am called "white!"

Barack Obama, however, is a true African American. His father was from Africa and his mother was from America. So it's okay when he is called an African American. But other people, I'm just not so sure.

Maybe I'm being too literal, but as I wrote in my blog the other day, aren't we taking political correctness just a bit too far.

Shouldn't we think that maybe any labels aren't even a good idea at all.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Couple Married For 83 Years!

This is one sweet story!
The year was 1925. Calvin Coolidge was president, Adolf Hitler released the first part of his book, “Mein Kampf,” Charlie Chaplin’s big movie was “The Gold Rush,” flappers were singing and dancing to “Sweet Georgia Brown” and “I’m Sitting on Top of the World,” the Scopes Trial played out in Tennessee, the first television images were broadcast, Al Capone ruled the streets of Chicago, flagpole sitters were all the rage, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington were the newest recording artists, the price of a first-class stamp hit 2 cents.

And in Hugo, Minn., an 18-year-old man named Clarence Vail married his 16-year-old sweetheart, Mayme. They had met in the eighth grade, and marriages at such young ages were more the norm than the exception back then. Unremarkable at the time, that union, now 83 years old and still as strong as ever, has finally claimed a place among the historic events of the year.
NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reported for TODAY on Monday that Clarence and Mayme Vail are going into “Guinness World Records” for being married longer than any other living couple on earth.

They don’t have a magic formula to explain the success of their marriage. They just took seriously what they said to each other when they stood at the altar.

“You take your vows, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer,” Mayme said. “I guess you just stick to it, come what may.”

They say they haven’t had an argument since 1946, something that Mayme attributes to the fact that her husband, who is 101, is the strong, silent type who isn’t given to argument. “That’s why we got along so well,” joked the 99-year-old Mayme. “He never spoke out of turn. I didn’t give him a chance.”

The 1920s were in full roar when they were married and moved into their first home — a one-room house. They survived the Great Depression and World War II, raising six children along the way. But their biggest challenge came in 1948, when Clarence was diagnosed with tuberculosis.

‘Look to the future’

According to “The Catholic Spirit,” the newspaper of the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Mayme promised that if her husband survived, she would attend Mass every day for the rest of her life.

She kept it up for nearly 60 years, until the couple moved into a retirement home within the last year. Now, she’s down to two Masses a week, but she still says the rosary regularly — another daily ritual for nearly her entire life. She offered few secrets to long life and a long marriage, other than to say they never smoke or drank — both seemed a waste of money.

Their faith told them to stay faithful through thick and thin, and they did that. It also told them to be fruitful and multiply, and they did that, too.

Their six children — three have been married for 50 years or longer — begat 39 grandchildren, who begat 101 great-grandchildren, who have so far begotten 40 great-great-grandchildren. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 186 descendants.

One of those great-great-grandchildren, David, has been married for two years to Christine. He was asked if he was shooting for the record.

“Two down, 81 to go,” he said. “Yes, yes, absolutely we’re working on it. Look to the future — no matter how old you are.”

Clarence and Mayme are still doing just that. He’s slowed down considerably and spends much of his time napping, but Mayme, who looks a decade or more younger than her age, continues to make quilts as she has all her life. And she takes care of her husband.

Just as she vowed to do 83 years ago.

St. Patrick Day Quiz

What Irish county is the ancestral home of the Kennedy political family?
a) Cork
b) Wexford
c) Dublin
d) Mayo

Answer: b) Patrick Kennedy — the great-grandfather of President John F. Kennedy, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy of New York and their siblings — emigrated in 1848 during the Irish potato famine. He left his home in Dunganstown — near New Ross in County Wexford, located in Ireland’s southeastern corner — settling in East Boston, Massachusetts.

JFK visited the family homestead during a triumphal visit to Ireland in late June 1963.

Online biographies produce a striking historical coincidence: Patrick Kennedy died in a cholera epidemic on Nov. 22, 1858, exactly 105 years to the day before John F. Kennedy lost his life to an assassin’s bullets while on a presidential visit to Dallas, Texas.

Patrick Kennedy died not long after the birth of his son, Patrick J. Kennedy , who would go on to success in business and served in the state legislature, beginning the family’s emergence as a political force. His son, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, became vastly wealthy in business, was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as first head of the Securities and Exchange Commission and as U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, and was father to nine children, including JFK.

Patrick J. Kennedy , a namesake of the family’s immigrant forebear and a son of Edward M. Kennedy , is in his seventh term as a Democratic House member from Rhode Island.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Oh Happy Day

I just got my computer back and it's running like new. I'm so excited, it's been hard not having it and especially not knowing if my pictures, documents and music could be saved.

Everything was saved!! Unbelieveable, right?

According to Nick, the computer guy at The Computer Store 401 762-0660 (I highly recommend them) the problem started because I wasn't doing a defrag often enough. When you get into defragmentation and you click on analyze and it tells you it's not needed, ignore that! I have been told that all computers should be defrag'd once a month regardless of what your computer is telling you.

I would like to thank my friend Micro, who was nice enough to help me through this upsetting time. He dropped it off and picked it up for me after talking me through some troubleshooting. It seems he is always helping me and I couldn't be more grateful.

So I now have the music of John Entwistle coming out of the speakers, I'm blogging away and, for today anyway, life is good.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Math Lovers Rejoice - It's Pi Day

Pi or π is one of the most important mathematical constants, approximately equal to 3.14159. It represents the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter in Euclidean geometry, which is the same as the ratio of a circle's area to the square of its radius. Huh?? Whatever...

I'm not crazy about math, that's for sure. And I don't understand at all that there are letters in math - should be numbers only. But there's something I'm crazy about - Pi. I love Pi.

It evokes feelings of comfort, family and fun. Share pi. Whether you make or buy pi, share it. By its very nature, pi is meant to be eaten with others.

Got a crush? Invite the “apple pi of your eye” for some pi and get to know each other better. But make it chocolate – most Americans believe it’s the most romantic pi. Before long, you may be calling each other “sweetie pi.”

You can have a pi-throwing or pi-eating contest or just a pi auction. Pi is so versatile.

And there's so many ways to have Pi. A la mode, with cheese, whipped cream and so on. I've made a list of some of my favorite Pi.

There are the Pi that you have for dinner: Pizza Pi, Shepard's Pi, Steak and Kidney, Quiche, Pork, Tuna Fish, Minced Beef, Chicken and Mushroom, Corned Beef and then there's the favorite Pot Pi - Chicken or Turkey. So many to choose from, huh?

And the Pi that you have for dessert: Strawberry, Strawberry Rhubarb, Chocolate Creme, Cherry, Banana Creme, Apple, Mock Apple, Dutch Apple, Pumpkin, Lemon Meringue, Mincemeat, Pecan, Blueberry, Custard, Key Lime, Squash, Sweet Potato and the always mysterious Shoofly Pi. Can't forget my personal favorite - Boston Creme Pi.

I'm telling ya - there's something about Pi!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Is anyone else getting outraged yet? Are you going to do anything about it?

Oil prices touch a new high of $111 a barrel
Gas also hits a record

With the economy in free-fall and prices soaring for basic goods such as gas and food, and costlier commodities such as gold, consumers are in no mood to go out and shop.

Dollar losing clout around the world
Even in South America workers prefer euros, other local currencies.

Homeowners still waiting for Katrina checks

Rocket blasts kills 3 U.S. soldiers in Iraq
12 soldiers die in 3 days; rise in deaths cast doubt on 'surge'

Price of homes plunge across California

February retail sales worse than expected

Severed fingers reportedly sent to U.S. military
FBI confirms they are from contractors abducted in Iraq in '06.

Mortgage relief plan falling short.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Safety First

It's getting pretty scary out there for young women and girls. Each day we hear or read about another pretty young college student who is missing or has been killed.

Helping people to stay safe is something I've been doing since the 70's. It has become part of who I am, not just what I did for a living.

I'd like to encourage all - not just young people - to go to the bottom of this page and click on the safety category. You will find my safety blogs where there is some very good information on how to stay safe.

Please don't pass up the opportunity to learn how easy it is to keep yourself and your family safe.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spitzer? I Don't Even Know Her!

Politicians almost always disappoint. This one was a surprise though.

How dumb or stupid do you have to be to be (almost literally) caught with your pants down as the Governor of New York?

Especially after the stellar career he had as NY Attorney General.
I don't know what is dumber though, what he did or the fact that he paid $4,300 to do it. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb!

Seventeen Seventy Six

Today is the 1, 776 day since the declaration of mission accomplished. You do the math.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Life Questions

I realize that we're never going to understand everything in life. There are, however, things I think and wonder about.

Why is it that only kids skip?

Why are Marlee Matlin's ears so big? She's deaf.

Why does Chap Stick make your lips more chapped?

When did we stop putting our pajamas under the pillow when we got dressed in the morning?

How in the world did anyone come up with the idea of the original coffee pot?

I'm sure there are other things that I just am not thinking about right now, so I'll add as I think of them.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Gas Hits Record High

U.S. average retail gasoline prices have reached a new high of almost $3.20 per gallon and will likely jump another 20 to 30 cents in the next month. The price has risen 64 cents per gallon in the past 12 months.

The average U.S. diesel price was $3.80 a gallon in the latest survey, up 22 cents a gallon from two weeks ago, and $1.02 higher than this time last year.

Who do you think is making money during this time? We know it's Exxon/Mobil, and of course, their shareholders. Other oil companies, for sure.

Wonder if the steady price rise during the Bush Administration has anything to do with the corrupt people in the Bush Administration? Hmmm, what do you think?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Another Saturday Night

I woke up just a little while ago and all the windows in my house were fogged over. I thought that was odd until I opened the front door to let Hannibal out. It is actually warmer outside than it is inside my house!

So I'm sitting here playing Solitaire on my laptop. Thank goodness I bought a mouse for it. I really miss my other computer, I still can't believe it's not working. All my music, pictures, favorite websites are on there and I feel like a part of myself is missing.

I know that sounds a bit melodramatic, but it's absolutely true. In my life the most important things are the computer and books, and on occasion, the television. The computer is where I get all of my news, other than what I get when watching Countdown. I hope all my stuff can be saved. If not, I'll really be bummin.

Speaking of news, I see that Marion Jones has reported for jail - what's wrong with the fact that a black female athlete is the only one to go to jail for steroid use?? No double standard here, huh? Let's hope Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens join her before long.

I think we're suppose to move the clocks ahead tonight - seems so early - with all the rain today, maybe it's April instead of March.

Can you believe that Sherwood Schwartz, who created the TV comedy classics "Gilligan's Island" and "The Brady Brunch," finally got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? Two totally great shows. It's about time!

I've been like a bear this week, totally hibernating. Other than going out to vote Tuesday night, I've been home, mostly sleeping. I owe Dawniebird and Lillian phone calls, just haven't felt like talking with anyone, even those two lovely ladies. I think of you both every day and we'll speak soon, and that's a warning.

President Idiot Does It Again

By his veto of the bill to ban waterboarding, the Idiot has proven that he wants the fabricated information that anyone, including terrorists, give when being tortured.

It's been proven that when being tortured information will be made up to stop the torture.

Hopefully the soldiers who are assigned to torture will not use waterboarding and prove that they are better men than their commander in chief.

The Endangered Polar Bear

The Interior Department's inspector general has begun a preliminary investigation into why the department has delayed for nearly two months a decision on listing the polar bear as threatened because of the loss of Arctic sea ice.

A recommendation to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne was to have been made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on whether to declare the bear threatened in early January. But when the deadline came, the agency said it needed another month, a timetable that also was not met.

A spokesman for the department's inspector general's office said a case had been opened in response to a letter from several environmental groups. He said the preliminary inquiry would determine whether a full-fledged investigation is warranted.

Last September a series of reports from the U.S. Geological Survey predicted that as much as two-thirds of the polar bear population could disappear by mid-century because of the loss of sea ice attributed to climate change.

Environmentalists have argued that politics is involved. They cite the decision to proceed with an auction for oil and gas leases in early February in the Alaska's Chukchi Sea. The sea ice in those waters provides a key habitat for polar bears.

Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who held a hearing in January on the polar bear listing, said "this internal investigation is needed and long overdue.

"Given this administration's closeness with the oil industry, its history of politicizing scientific decisions ... I am wary of the integrity of this process," said Markey in a statement.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Hillary "Monster" Clinton

How ridiculously stupid has political correctness gotten? Well, a Barack Obama unpaid volunteer called Hillary a "monster" and the volunteer was forced to quit the campaign!

Aren't we all responsible for our own opinions? When I call the president an idiot, it's just my opinion, though in this case, I am correct.

Which monster was this volunteer referring to: the Monster job search company? Monster trucks? And what about Cookie Monster? Cripes, Halle Berry won an oscar for her role in a movie named Monster's Ball and Charlize Theron won an oscar for the movie Monster.

Enough already with being politically correct. Let's all just call everything the way we see it.

I've been doing that my entire life.

I mean really, sticks and stones and all that garbage...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Helen Keller Photo

This 1888 photo released by the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston shows Helen Keller when she was eight years old, left, holding hands with her teacher, Anne Sullivan, during a summer vacation to Brewster, Mass., on Cape Cod.
A staff member at the society discovered the photograph in a large photography collection recently donated to the society. When Sullivan arrived at the Keller household to teach Helen, she gave her a doll as a present. Although Keller had many dolls throughout her childhood, this is believed to be the first known photograph of Helen Keller with one of her dolls.
(AP Photo/Courtesy of the Thaxter P. Spencer Collection, R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, New England Historic Genealogical Society-Boston)

Brett Favre Retires

Football will not be quite the same now that Brett Favre has retired from the Green Bay Packers. I always enjoyed him and watched him regularly through the years.

He was always fun to watch, because he showed how much fun he had while playing.

He played 276 consecutive games, which is amazing considering there are just 16 games in the regular season.

I watched his press conference where he showed the same type of emotion he showed on the field. He gave it his all, he said, and he doesn't have anymore to give.

Now he wants to do nothing, which I can say from my own experience, is a pretty good thing to do.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Finally, I Backed The Winner

Hillary had a great night here in RI - not a big surprise. Ohio was a big surprise and a really big win. She's ahead in Texas, but just barely. All in all, a good night for Hillary!

I've Got The Computer Blues

I was so looking forward to today. Primary day is here. But, I have some bad news - my computer won't turn on! I am totally bumming and am now forced to use my laptop.

I love my PC and it's 6 years old this month. I never used to turn it off at night, but recently I started because I was worried that it's time might be running out.

I don't think it's a fatal problem, I just need to talk to my brother Michael or Micro and I think they'll be able to deal with it and get me back up and running. I think it's only a matter of time though and maybe I should start backing up all my info. Ugh.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Vote Early, Vote Often

Finally, tomorrow is Primary Day in Rhode Island.