Tuesday, December 30, 2008

X-Ray Vision

If I had my choice of any superpower, I would chose invisibility - can you imagine going anywhere and nobody knows that you are there with them; listening, watching, etc.?

Next, I think, it would be nice to have X-Ray Vision. Look at the right bottom corner above - it's a guy working on a copier!

The bottle is empty - is that why he's leaning?

A football player who took his helmet and football along for the picture!

My personal favorite - 2 fruit bats.

The wheels on the bus go round and round...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Friends Christmas

This coming Friday night will be one of my favorite nights of the year! How do I know that?

Well, it's my friends christmas - where my friends from high school; Faith and Janice - along with their families and I have our annual get-together.

It is always a fun night, even though we've been doing it forever (really, I can't remember when we didn't do it!) A guaranteed fun night.

Every year it's at a different house, but has usually been at Faith's or Janice's. I've hosted it twice in the past 15 years. Now that two of Faith's kids have their own homes, we've been able to spread it out a little bit more. Last year was Tim and Becky's year to host and the year before that was Rachel and Mike's turn.

This year will be Faith's turn. We'll have our usual appetizers while everyone is arriving. Then dinner (no idea what it will be this year) and we usually play Trivial Pursuit (boys vs. girls.) Intermingled in there is lots of talking, laughter and catching up. I'd like to say that the game is the highlight of the night, but all aspects of the night are fun. I especially enjoy Faith and Janice working in synch with each other and getting completely off track as they try to answer our question. There are a couple of attendees that seem to be bothered by that, (which is something that I can totally understand) but I end up enjoying their annoyance as well. It is what it is and I've learned to appreciate it over our many years of friendship.

Last year we added a new element which was a great deal of fun. It's called a Yankee Swap and everyone was instructed to bring a gift wrapped present of about $10 in a brown paper shopping bag. Now this bag had to be folded over and stapled with 3 staples!! There were more details than I am sharing right now but it was quite fun. I took it one step further and wrapped my gift to resemble a brown shopping bag, which was quite clever if I do say so myself.

As the kids have gotten older, it's been more difficult to get everyone together. Joseph is home from school in Minnessota. The next day Kimmy heads to Florida. The math that goes into figuring out which night works out best for about 15 people is more than I can do, that's for sure. It's always disappointing when someone is missing. This year we should have full attendance, and that makes me very, very happy.

Very much looking forward to a fun night with fun people who I love dearly.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Christmas Story

I love this movie - one of the best Christmas movies ever.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Helen Philpot's Perfect Stuffing Recipe

This sounds so good I wanted to share it - I'll be trying it, that's for sure.

Helen’s Perfect Stuffing (Unless You’re Jewish or Vegetarian)

3 loafs day-old white bread, air dried
1 lb bacon
1 stick butter
1 large onion
1 stalk celery
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste

Prepare the night before. Chop the bread in a blender or food processor.

Fry the bacon but leave the grease in the pan when you remove the bacon.

Add stick of butter to the grease to melt. Chop onion and celery and cook in the grease/butter mixture.

Combine contents of pan with bread and crumbled bacon.

Toss in poultry seasoning and salt/pepper.

Mix well and if the dressing isn’t “gummy feeling” go ahead and moisten it with chicken broth or warm water.

Refrigerate until morning.

I like to stuff my bird - just make sure you adjust your cooking time to accommodate.

And forget about all that crap you hear about not stuffing a bird. Been doing it for 60 years and we’re all alive and well. Enjoy.

The Greatest Concert - 200 Years Ago Tonight

On December 22, 1808, Beethoven himself rented a hall in Vienna and promoted the concert to end all concerts: the debut, over four hours, of three of the greatest works in the history of music: his Fifth Symphony, the Sixth ("Pastoral") Symphony, and the astounding Piano Concerto No. 4, plus the wonderful Choral Fantasia (forerunner to his Ninth Symphony).

And yes, it was a fiasco.

But imagine: It was as if Orson Welles premiered Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, and Touch of Evil on the same night -- with The Lady from Shanghai thrown in for good measure.

This was mid-period Beethoven. He was 38 at the time and would live another 19 fitful years.

He had been losing his hearing for almost ten years and would soon be completely deaf. In fact, he would play piano in concert for virtually the last time at this epic 1808 program, as hearing himself play would eventually cease. That wouldn't stop him, a few years later, from producing his most astounding writing of all: the late piano sonatas and string quartets, the Ninth Symphony, and much more. If you know Beethoven only from his symphonies you are truly missing nearly all of his most amazing, moving, and profound work.

The hall in Vienna was freezing cold. Beethoven, as a taskmaster conductor, had alienated the musicians, rehearsals were inadequate, he finished one piece on the morning of the concert with (reportedly) the ink still wet that night.

Parts of the program went off very well; on the other hand, he stopped the Choral Fantasia after a few minutes and made the orchestra start over. In any case, the show went on, and on. In that era, it was hard enough for any audience to appreciate and/or grasp the unprecedented length -- and revolutionary nature -- of Beethoven's compositions, and now they were cold and tired.

The key newspaper review at the time noted the genius of Beethoven's new compositions but also the demands on the audience ("It is known that, with respect to Vienna, it holds even more true than with respect to most other cities, what is written in the scriptures, namely that the prophet does not count for anything in his own country").

Beethoven was the greatest composer in the history of Western culture. And in these tough times, you really might find that a little Beethoven -- principally the piano sonatas, trios and string quartets -- will help you make it through your week.

Below please findthe link to a brief clip, the 4th movement of the Pastoral Symphony, decades ahead of its time.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Grateful Nation? I Don't Think So!

At a private meeting after the failure of Lehman Brothers, President Idiot reportedly asked his advisors, "How did we get here?"

Funny because, according to The New York Times, he helped chart the course. Early in his presidency, the Idiot promised to "use the mighty muscle of the federal government" to help make housing available to low-income families, offering tax incentives and forcing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to set ambitious lending goals.

His reward? Mortgage bankers and brokers tripled their contributions to his campaign from 2000 to 2004 and the founder of the nation's largest subprime lender became one of the Republican Party's top 10 donors in 2004.

Bush coupled this with a weakening of the SEC: His first chairman promised a "kindler, gentler" agency; his second was forced out for being too aggressive; and the third chairman has presided over the present catastrophe.

Gee, Mr. President Idiot, we all are just so grateful for everything you've done for, er, I mean to us during your presidency. Thankfully, we are now within a month of this idiot leaving.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cecile Richards, President-Planned Parenthood

Minutes ago, President Bush's rule limiting the rights of patients to receive complete and accurate reproductive health information when they visit a federally funded health care provider was made official. And, unfortunately, it will take a great deal of work to reverse it — starting today. Please help.

We knew this was coming, of course. With your help, we've been fighting it for months. The rule is clearly a parting gift from Bush to the anti-choice fringe that supported him all these years. Now, anti-choice medical staff can withhold information about abortion, birth control, and sex education from their patients.

Facilities that receive family planning funding, like Planned Parenthood, will have to certify that they will not refuse to hire nurses and other providers who object to abortion and even certain types of birth control. For example, a doctor who opposes pre-marital sex could refuse to provide a prescription or even information about emergency contraception to an unmarried woman.

Frankly, I'm livid. I believe that tricking women when they are most vulnerable is wrong — and the federal government shouldn't pay people to do it. Especially now, when so many people are already in crisis as a result of the economy, I can't help but feel that this rule is a particularly low blow to the people who need our help, our support, and our most accurate and effective care the most.

Even with a new president and administration coming in soon, this won't be easy to fix. It's going to take more than a simple signature to reverse it. We're starting our work today and we need your help. Please ask the Obama administration to reverse the new rule.

This is a particularly challenging time for so many. More and more people are turning to Planned Parenthood as they lose their jobs and their health insurance — and at a time when donations are down. Your financial support of the Action Fund's advocacy efforts, if you can spare it, is much appreciated. Thank you.

Pogo Game For You To Play

Fun - especially if you are a good speller.

For more Word Whomp go to Pogo to play 100s of Fun Games!
For more Word Whomp go to Pogo to play 100s of Fun Games!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Finally Adam Walsh Can Rest In Peace

Could you imagine if you didn't know where your child was? I can't even imagine that.

In 1981, little Adam Walsh was with his mother in a mall when he just disappeared.

I remember when this happened and felt so sad for the Walsh family at that time. The picture above was all over the news and I can recall that everyone was talking about it and wondering how it could have happened.

Today, the police have finally said that the case is solved - a serial killer took their son and we can only imagine what horror that little boy went through before he was killed and decapitated.

Out of that terrible tragedy many good things happened. Mrs Walsh founded the Center For Missing and Exploited Children and Mr Walsh went on to host America's Most Wanted. Laws were changed. This case contributed to massive advances in police searches for missing youngsters across the country.

Mr Walsh's subsequent activism on his behalf helped put faces on milk cartons, shopping bags and mailbox fliers, started fingerprinting programs and increased security at schools and stores. It spurred the creation of missing persons units at every large police department.

Even President Idiot finally got something right when in 2006 he signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection Act to establish a national sex offender registry and to make it harder for predators to reach children on the Internet.

I've posted this before, but here it is again.

About 100 children a year are abducted and murdered, and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children expects that number to remain about the same for 2009. Seventy-five percent of those children are murdered within three hours, the center says.

Peter Banks, a former Washington, D.C., police officer who is the center's director of training and outreach, says parents should prepare their children by talking to them because an abduction can turn violent. "Most abductions are not really abductions: They are seductions by people whose sole ambition is to use their guile and cunning to victimize helpless children," Banks said.

"The No. 1 weapon to arm a child with is self-esteem. Tell your kids you love them and make them feel proud. If you don't tell them you love them, then someone else will."

Whatever you do, don't try to scare your kids. Dr. Carl Metzger, a Portland-based child psychiatrist, recommends parents try not to instill fear in their children or harp on the topic. Repetitive warnings make the parent seem weak or unable to provide care. "Instilling fear ruins the balance for a young child. It would make them fearful or anxious," Metzger said. "The most effective approach is for parents to give a warning in context, such as if something appears on television or a child brings the subject up. That's the perfect time to give the message."

And what is the message? Metzger says it depends on the age of the child. You can talk to a 9-year-old about how it is unsafe to go with a stranger. But you might want to tell a 5-year-old that they may go only with Mommy or Daddy. Metzger says parents need to be vigilant because society has changed in recent years. "There has been a lessening of the network that keeps children safe, and by that I mean children are often left on their own while their parents work," Metzger said. He recommends that children not veer from their destination, avoid occupied parked cars, and if someone does try to physically overpower them, shout, scream and kick.

Police have found that many abductors will flee if a child reacts in that way. As with most attempted abductions, never let yourself be taken to a second location, do whatever needs to be done to get away. "It's fight or flight. You don't have a lot of options."

Steps to take to keep your kids safe:

-Never leave a child unattended in a parked car, park, playground or store.

-Have a family "code" word to use when someone other than the parents is picking up the child. If the "code" word isn’t give, the child should not go with that person.

-Let children know that they don’t always have to listen to adults. If someone they don’t know tells them to do something, let them know that it’s okay not to listen. They should draw attention to themselves in whatever way is necessary to avoid a predator.

-The number one target of predators is adolescent girls, mostly between the ages of 8 and 15. Most girls in this age group should be warned of the dangers to them. Have a plan of action as to what they should do in any instance of danger.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Not-So-Funny Part Of Shoe Throwing

The Iraqi people have been suffering for over 5 years now because of the U.S. invasion. They have every right to be pissed off. I'd throw shoes or whatever was handy at President Idiot.

"This is a farewell kiss, you dog," al-Zeidi yelled in Arabic as he threw his shoes. "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."

Al-Zeidi's tirade was echoed by Arabs across the Middle East who are fed up with U.S. policy in the region and still angry over Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein.

The response to the incident by Arabs in the street was ecstatic.
"Al-Zeidi is the man," said 42-year-old Jordanian businessman Samer Tabalat. "He did what Arab leaders failed to do."

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Biggest Full Moon

The full moon Friday night will be the biggest one of the year as Earth's natural satellite reaches its closest point to our planet.

Earth, the moon and the sun are all bound together by gravity, which keeps us going around the sun and keeps the moon going around us as it goes through phases. The moon makes a trip around Earth every 29.5 days. But the orbit is not a perfect circle.

The moon's average distance from us is about 238,855 miles (384,400 km). Friday night it will be just 221,560 miles (356,567 km) away. It will be 14 percent bigger in our sky and 30 percent brighter than some other full moons during the year, according to NASA.

Tides will be higher Friday night, too. Earth's oceans are pulled by the gravity of the moon and the sun. So when the moon is closer, tides are pulled higher. Scientists call these perigean tides, because the moon's closest point to Earth is called perigee. The farthest point on the lunar orbit is called apogee.

Some other strange lunar facts:

The moon is moving away from Earth as you read this, by about 1.6 inches (4 centimeters) a year. Eventually it'll be torn apart as an expanding sun pushes the moon back toward Earth for a wrenching close encounter.

There is no proof the full moon makes people crazy.

Beaches are more polluted during full moon, owing to the higher tides.

The moon will rise Friday evening right around sunset, no matter where you are. That's because of the celestial mechanics that produce a full moon: The moon and the sun are on opposite sides of the planet, so that sunlight hits the full face of the moon and bounces back to our eyes.

At moonrise, the moon will appear even larger than it will later in the night when it's higher in the sky. This is an illusion that scientists can't fully explain. Some think it has to do with our perception of things on the horizon vs. stuff overhead.

Try this trick, though: Using a pencil eraser or similar object held at arm's length, gauge the size of the moon when it's near the horizon and again later when it's higher up and seems smaller. You'll see that when compared to a fixed object, the moon will be the same size in both cases.

You can see all this on each night surrounding the full moon, too, because the moon will be nearly full, rising earlier Thursday night and later Saturday night.

Interestingly, because of the mechanics of all this, the moon is never truly 100 percent full. For that to happen, all three objects have to be in a perfect line, and when that rare circumstance occurs, there is a total eclipse of the moon.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Castle

I got a phone call from my friend J who went through the castle with me last year. He was at George's Pizza for supper (there is no George at George's Pizza, the owner's name is Hercules!) and he ran into the guy who lives across the street from the castle. He told J he had bad and good news. The bad news is that someone broke into the castle and stole all the copper pipes (which is not a real big problem as the heating and plumbing systems need to be completely replaced.) The good news is that the owner, Marc Piccoli, who I have been trying to find for a year and a half has agreed to sell the castle for just $115,000!!! A friend of Richard (who lives across the street) is interested. When I get my voice back - it's been gone since Friday - I am going to call Richard and see if he can hook me up with the guy who is interested! I can give him some history as well as some information that could be handy with the renovations that need to be done.

I'm very pleased and I really hope that someone, anyone buys this beautiful piece of art that doubles as a house!
It's in some serious need of attention and love. To be continued...

Monday, December 8, 2008

October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980

Twenty eight years ago tonight, also a Monday, I was at the castle getting ready for bed when my father yelled up the stairs "Do you know John Lennon?" Once I heard the news, I called into work and said I wouldn't be in the following day. On Tuesday, one of the local radio stations (I don't remember which one, probably HJY) played only Beatles and Lennon songs. I called in and requested Elton John's Funeral For A Friend which they did play. I felt and still feel absolutely awful about his death. I think a little bit of my heart died back then, as well.

Here is a video tribute regarding his death: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE2m9cF_4Xo I have always loved The Beatles. The first album I ever bought was Beatles 65. It started my life long fascination of John, Paul, George and Ringo.
Thank you, John Lennon, for your genius and your music which, thankfully, lives on. You are missed.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Friday, December 5, 2008

Another Brain Fart

Wow, our President Idiot sure has noticed a bunch of things lately. I just wonder where the H E double hockey sticks he's been the past 8 years.

New revelation: President George W. Bush said Friday that the fight in Iraq has been longer and more costly than expected, but he defended the U.S.-led invasion, saying the world could not risk leaving Saddam Hussein's power unchecked.

At the rate he's going, he might even realize how bad a job he's done and that we want him to go away. Gee, maybe OJ has some room in his cell for a roommate.

Can You Say Buh Bye?

See ya never, OJ, hope you die in prison!

Unprepared For Life

Since December 1st I've been trying to behave myself and not blog about our outgoing criminal in chief. I really have. But, I really, really have to blog about the interview President Idiot did with Charlie Gibson. It seems that finally some truth is coming out of his big fat lying pie hole:

Looking back on his eight years in the White House, President George W. Bush said he was "unprepared" for war and pinpointed incorrect intelligence that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction as "biggest regret of all the presidency."

Incorrect intelligence, my big fat butt. He lied then and he's still lying about it.

President George W. Bush expressed remorse that the global financial crisis has cost jobs and harmed retirement accounts and said he'll back more government intervention if needed to ease the recession.

"I'm sorry it's happening, of course," Bush said in a wide-ranging interview with ABC's "World News," which was airing Monday. "Obviously I don't like the idea of people losing jobs, or being worried about their 401(k)s. On the other hand, the American people got to know that we will safeguard the system. I mean, we're in. And if we need to be in more, we will."

The American people got to know that we...blah, blah, blah. He can't even effing speak correctly. His whole entire life has been one friggin mistake after another. And he's sorry. He's the cause of most of it. Sending hundreds of billions of dollars over to Iraq and being responsible for the deaths of far to many service men and women, never mind the countless Iraq civilians who have died or been displaced.

He has to be one of the most idiotic people to ever live. I cannot wait for him to go. Just go, George, now!


Sometimes I wonder...Why is that frisbee getting bigger?

...and then it hits me.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

#53 With A Bullet??

Okay, you all know that I spend a lot of time on the internet - a real lot of time!!

The other day I came across an article titled The 100 Greatest Artists Of All Time, which intrigues me to no end as I am a major music lover. Come to find out it was a Rolling Stone magazine article from 2004. Many, many years ago I was a regular Rolling Stone reader. I had subscriptions and enjoyed knowing what was up with the music world. And Rolling Stone was and has been the preemptive music magazine for decades.

So back to the article - the first 50 are called "The Immortals" and number one on the list, of course, is The Beatles; #2 Bob Dylan; #3 Elvis - okay so far. #4 Rolling Stones (huh?) #5 Chuck Berry (he did sort of invent rock and roll) #6 Jimi Hendrix; #7 James Brown (not one of my favorites) #8 Little Richard (????) #9 Aretha Franklin, (queen of soul) #10 Ray Charles!

So, I'm wondering where is Eric Clapton, guitar god extraordinaire, if he's not in the top 10?

Well, come to find out, he's not even in the top 50!!!! What is up with that? There he was at #53 - Eric Clapton, who single handily changed the way guitars were played and perfected heartfelt white man guitar blues. And most of his success was while he was in the midst of highly public drug and alcohol addictions, which, thankfully he cleaned up in the mid 1980s.

Here's some highly questionable choices by whomever came up with this list (all I can think of is that the folks who voted must not have been born when Clapton Is God was the rage all over the freaking world!)

#16 Sam Cooke
#18 Marvin Gaye??? WTF is up with that one? He was a singer, not a musician!
#19 The Velvet Underground (who??)
#25 Fats Domino
#26 The Ramones
#27 Nirvana (they were around for just a few years, not decades like Clapton!!)

Boy, am I getting pissed all over again. And where the hell is Pink Floyd???

#28 Prince
#30 The Clash
#32 Smokey Robinson and the Miracles (again - singersss only)
#33 The Everly Brothers
#44 Public Enemy (!!!!!)
#46 Janis Joplin (again - a singer, and for just a few years)
#47 Patti Smith
#48 Run DMC
#51 Howlin Wolf (I have never even heard of this person or group or whatever they are)
#52 The Allman Brothers
#53 Eric Clapton - what an insult to him, his talent, his songwriting and his fans!
#66 was Cream - named for the "cream of the crop" when Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton joined forces for the first "supergroup."

Well, come to find out, Pink Floyd did not even make the top 100!! Unbelieveable.

But at least AC/DC at #72, and Radiohead at #73 were (heavy sarcasm)!!! The list goes on to include The Beastie Boys, The Stooges, N.W.A (again, who are they?) Tupak Shakur was #86 (who was known as Onepak after one of his nuts was shot off.) And, last and certainly not least (again, heavy sarcasm) at #100 is Lee "Scratch" Perry.

Granted, some of these artists that I haven't heard of because they were more behind the scenes, or, more likely, music that I didn't listen to. But really, Public Enemy and Janis Joplin weren't (even on a good day) "greater" than Clapton or Floyd.

I suppose that I'll get over this in time, but I really had to share my outrage.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Today In History

On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, defied the law by refusing to give up her seat to a white man aboard a Montgomery, Ala., city bus. Parks was arrested, sparking a year-long boycott of the buses by blacks. It's hard to believe that just 53 years later a black man has been elected President of the United States! Rosa Parks is a true American hero.

Here's the original AP story:

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The arrest of a Negro who refused to move to the colored section of a city bus may bring a court test of segregated transportation in the cradle of Confederacy.
While thousands of other Negroes boycotted Montgomery City Lines in protest, Mrs. Rosa Parks was fined $14 in police court today for disregarding a driver's order to move to the rear of a bus last Thursday.

Negro passengers ride in the rear of buses here; white passengers in front under a municipal segregation ordinance.

An emotional crowd of Negroes, estimated by police at 5,000, roared approval tonight to continue the boycott.

Spokesmen at the meeting said the boycott would continue until people who ride buses are no longer "intimidated, embarrassed and coerced." They said a "declaration of citizens" is ready to help city and bus line officials develop a program that would be "satisfactory and equitable."

The boycott was organized after circulars were distributed in Negro residential areas Saturday urging "economic reprisal" against the bus company.

Mrs. Parks appealed her $14 fine and was released under $100 bond signed by Negro attorney Fred Gray and a former state president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, E. D. Nixon.

Gray and Charles Langford, another Negro lawyer representing the 42-year-old department store seamstress, refused to say whether they plan to attack constitutionality of the segregation laws affecting public transportation.

But Gray told The Associated Press that "every issue will be raised that I think is necessary to defend my client."

Rosa Parks was not trying to make a political statement or start the civil rights movement, she was tired that day and just wanted to sit.