Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Hallowe'en!

Brooke, and family, sent me this nice card for Halloween in the email!

Thanks, Brooke!

Camojack emailed me this image that I'll bet most of you have seen before. Scariest image of all! To help with the atmosphere of this image please click on the sound file below, then scroll down for the horrifying Hallowe'en image. ooOOOOOooooo!

Free file hosting from File Den

The Hillary Witch!

Now remember, if the lady caracitured in the above image gets to the White House, we'll be hearing this music:

Free file hosting from File Den

Yep, the Death March! But don't despair, just get the facts, tell everyone you know just how scary this person is, and vote!

For the love of everything Holy .... Vote!


National Novel Writing Month


NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow. One month dedicated to writing - the goal is 50,000 words in a month - which occurs each November. The purpose is to get as many writers together with the goal of writing a novel, or the beginnings of a novel, with the support of other writers who know how easy it is to be distracted, to fall into Writer's Block, who understand that the novelist can find any possible excuse to not write, and push, badger, and cajole them to write regardless of temptations elsewhere.

November 2005 was my first attempt at this and I failed to write 50,000 words. In fact what I ended up with was more a mish-mash of scenes and snippets that I saved them only to use in other works. Last year, 2006, I managed to pass the 50,000 word mark. For my efforts I got a nice little image which resides in my sidebar, and the satisfaction of knowing I finished. What I had was not sufficient for a novel, but I will find uses for it later on. In fact it will be used as a prequel to "Benning's War", my first published novel, and will form what I expect to be a trilogy of sorts. This month's exercise will be focused on the sequel, which I'm calling "Harry's War", for now. I've done a bit of research for this and I expect to get some decent prose written in the next month.

And that's the point of NaNoWriMo: to write! No editing, no feedback, no second-guessing. The participants will write and worry about the editing later on. It's the editing, after all, that can squelch the creative process by stopping it in its tracks while the writer plays around with eliminating adverbs, fixing spelling errors, removing anachronisms, and so on. All that detail-style work lets the creative juices dry up and blow away. As one successful writer has said, you write the first draft start to finish. And when it's done you put it away and forget it for a time. Then you go back and read it from the start and fix the obvious problems.

NaNo Participant 2007NaNo is all about that first draft. And with a goal of only 50,000 words, you're not looking at a modern novel, in length, anyway. That makes for a very thin book.

In our part of the NaNo forums we have a "room" for WVU and F2K members, and right now I think we're running at eleven participants. That may grow in a few days. And that's great! The more the merrier, eh?

Anyway, that's what's on my plate for the next month. So if this blog is updated less than normal - and I post infrequently already, as you all know - then you have an idea why. I will surf my favorite blogs, no matter what, but I hope I can concentrate on my novel rather than the ephemera of the Blogosphere for a time.

Wish me luck!

A Note:
I may be giving an "Author's Talk" at the Tarpon Springs Library in a month or so. Wow! Seems they hold these now and then, and since my book is one their shelves - Yay! - my own Mom spoke to somebody there about the book, and that person suggested doing a talk. So we'll see. Could be fun, could be scary, could be a huge fiasco. But it's a way to talk up my book and maybe sell a few copies. I'll let you know when I find out. Wheeeeee!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Record-High Gas Prices? Hardly.

At the gas station nearest to my apartment - between home and work, that is - the advertised price of a gallon of gas is $2.81/gallon. Looks high, and sounds high, to me. But though it may seem like it's getting awfully pricey to buy gasoline, is it really? Or is it just a mirage, an inflation-heightened price?

Fact is, adjusted for inflation, compared with the price at the pump for gasoline in 1988 dollars, the price is $1.88. Not so bad, looked at that way, is it? Now compare it to the price it would have been in 1973 dollars, the price for a gallon of gasoline would be $.60/gallon. Sound better? And that's simply the price you pay, everything included. That means all those taxes hidden in the price.

The average tax load added to the price of a gallon of gas in the US is about 46.9 cents. That's in July, 2007 prices, by the way. Here in Florida the taxes you pay for each gallon of gasoline depends on the county and even the city where you purchase the fuel (the average tax bite is 51 cents/gallon, while Patrick - in Oregon - is paying an average of 54.4 cents per gallon). Just subtract the taxes from the total and you have a slightly lower price/gallon of gas. Adjust that price for inflation - remember that prices are not static, unless you live in a Socialist fantasy world - and you have a better idea of what you are really paying for gas. The price you see is a bit of an illusion. (Find your own state's tax bite on gasoline here!)

So if I take the price at the pump today - $2.81/gallon - subtract the latest tax bite (average) - $.51/gallon - the non-taxed total is $2.30/gallon. Still not as easy on the eyes as $1.00/gallon, but when I adjust it to 1988 - The tail-end of Reagan's Presidency - I get a price/gallon of $1.31. Not too bad, looked at that way. Not too bad at all.

Click on image for larger version

Now I've seen some try to compare it with beer and wine prices. And that's all well and good, but my car doesn't run on beer or wine, and I don't drink nearly as much of those comestibles as I use gasoline. So the analogy is false. For instance, I bought a six-pack of Leinenkugel's Berry Weiss beer on October 10 for $8.19 (plus tax), and enjoyed it for a week. Actually I had a bottle a day. 72 ounces of a very nice beer, compared with gas usage comes to about 2 1/4 quarts of "fuel". That 2 1/4 quarts of beer cost me about $.11/ounce or $14.56/gallon of very nice beer. Now I think it was worth it - it was my birthday, after all - but it isn't really analogous is it? In 1988 prices it would have cost me $8.26 for that six-pack. I would never have paid that in 1988 for a six of beer. Yet I paid it this year. Hmmm ...

But I think you get the idea. The price of gas can't really be compared to other consumables, principally because we use it in different quantities than beer, wine, cheese, or even crackers! Fact is we are paying a pretty low price for our gasoline. We may grumble that the prices are way too high, but then the cost to refine and ship the fuel to the gas station is higher than it was, too. As is the cost of drilling for that crude oil.

What might lower the prices? More refineries. The US hasn't has a new refinery built since the 1970s. Not one. If ABFreedom is correct, South Dakota may well be on its way to building a brand-new refinery. And that's great news! Long as the Environazis don't kill the effort, we may see slightly lower prices for gas. And perhaps we'll see a few more oil refineries planned and built in the US. About bloody time! If you want to know why the gas prices are so high, and the supply seems so iffy, just bear in mind that there are more cars and trucks on the road today then there were in the 1970s, with no way to refine more oil into gasoline, here at home. It ain't the greedy oil companies that are at fault, friends, it's the lack of oil refineries. You can blame the spineless elected officials who allow themselves to be brow-beaten by the Environazis, and you can blame the Environazis. And you can also blame the short-sighted, selfish idiots who support NIMBY. Not In My Back Yard!

Remember, you aren't paying record-high prices for gas. That's what the MSM would have you believe, but they are, as usual, wrong.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Harry Reid: Querulous Old Woman

So Harry Reid attributes the massive wildfires of Southern California to the vagaries of Global Warming, does he? Seems there's nothing he and his minions cannot put under the all-encompassing aegis of "Global Warming" (add the ominous deep voice and echo-chamber effects here) which are then laid to rest at the feet of the Evil, Hitlerian Bush.

As the audio shows, once an inquiring reporter asks him about that inane statement - an inquiring reporter? - Reid tries to change directions. The original question asked him had nothing to do with the fires or Global Warming, but this was Reid's response:
“As you know, one reason that we have the fires burning in Southern California is global warming. One reason the Colorado Basin is going dry is because of global warming.”

A few questions later that inquiring reporter (I'm still surprised that any of them really exists!) asks Reid:
"Senator, on the California fires, you said that the reason the fires are burning in California is global warming?"

And here's where Reid switches directions:
"No. Here’s what I - I didn’t say the reason the fires were burning in Southern California was global warming ... "

C'mon, Harry, how deaf and stupid do you think we are? Isn't it time you retired?

As Sister Toldjah writes:
The obvious question (to me) anyway is: What are Reid’s credentials to be confidently asserting that the Southern California wildfires are a product of global warming? Has he been out there and conducted his own little investigation? I mean, haven’t we been told countless times by global warming alarmists that people who aren’t scientists, meteorologists, climatologists, and the like shouldn’t be weighing in on the global warming debate? Well, that is unless your name is Al Gore, of course, and then you’re allowed to spout off all the unprovable nonsense you want to about the impending “doom” we will face if we don’t deal with this “urgent crisis” now, in spite of the fact that Gore is not an expert in his chosen “field” and in fact, if I’m not mistaken, the best he could do in college on environmental-related courses was a “C.” Let’s remember that Reid himself is no gw expert either, as he has a law degree, not any degree in a science-affiliated field.

Duane R. Patterson writes about the Q & A at Hugh Hewitt's Townhall Blog. It's titled, "Harry Reid Blames California Wildfires On Global Warming...Before He Denies He Said It." Read the entire thing.

Rovin tells us that Senator Babs Boxer (D - Leftist Coast) is also bringing her non-existent scientific credentials to play in the Dem's Blame Game:
Blame game begins............

It's being reported that U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, who's district includes Southern California, has made this disaster political by stating that there are too many national guard in Iraq that should be home to help in fighting the fires. While fire officials say more resources could have always been supplemented, the conditions on the ground would have made little difference in this battle because of the natural fuel supply and the 30 to 50 mile an hour winds that made this inferno unstoppable.

I would ask this question [of] Boxer: "Why did you let these conditions develop in your region that many knew was a disaster waiting for the right time to strike?"
Read this and look at the list of conditions he alludes to, and ask yourself why these Dems are still being re-elected when they cannot do the bare minimum to protect their constituents? In fact they collude with clueless environazis to keep the people from doing the things that might mitigate the scope of these fires. The same thing happened in the massive fires in Yellowstone in 1988. Remember those? Remember how the Democrats blamed the Republicans for this disaster? Remember the screams of indignation against President Reagan for causing this?

And what was the cause? Besides the natural order of things? Environazis making rules that forbade the clearing of tinder, debris, and anything else that fuels fires. They were one of the causes of the huge conflagration at Yellowstone, with their "back to nature" simple-mindedness, and "Humans are the problem" world-view. And when the inevitable occurred, they did a 180 and blamed everybody else. Of course the MSM, reporting with their error-filled, now-typical lack of facts, stuck that blame to their favorite targets of the time (as now): the Republicans and the Republican President.

Grow up! If you create the very conditions for a disaster then you cannot truthfully blame anyone else if the disaster occurs. That's what little children do. Not adults. Stop playing politics with everything. Everything is not political! That's an old Communist ploy. It's not an American attitude. Got it?

Finally, Senator Reid, stop acting like a querulous old woman whose tea is too hot. Start acting like an American with a job to do. And bloody well do it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Politically Tone-Deaf Candidate

Brooke gave us this revealing image at the Neo-Con Command Center, at NeoCon Command Center: First the Lapel Pin Goes in the Trash, Now This?

Obama stares into space as the National Anthem plays

What's Barack Obama doing? The National Anthem is playing, or about to play, and he's staring off into space, covering his biscuits? Can you get any more Politically Tone-deaf than this? I'm not even saying this is intentional - that he's making yet another 'statement' of principle like his silly refusal to wear an American flag lapel-pin - but is he aware he's on a stage? That he's seeking to become a Nation's Leader? And this is how he leads at a simple campaign appearance?

"Look at the grouse!"

As Brooke said, "For pity's sake, even Hillary can get this stuff right, and she's a dyed-in-the-wool commie!"

No wonder the Daily Kos has him languishing in third place on their poll. If you lose the Lunatic Left you can't win as a Democrat, Obama. Better get your grouse in a row.

Right now, Hillary is going to be the Dem nominee. Even Hillary won't choose Barack Obama as a running-mate. Probably she won't choose Silky Phony Edwards either. Expect her to choose Bill Richardson. He's not a pretty face by any stretch of the imagination and may make Clinton look pretty by comparison.


Also found at Brooke's blog was this. I post it here for my Li'l Bro - he has those two cats, Lucy & Ethel - because he probaby gets this quite often!

"Meow, Baby." - Telly Savalas as Kojak

Early Morning Grumble

I went to this morning - my day off but my body said, "You have to wake up! Gotta go to work!" Lousy, traitorous body ... *grumble yawn* ... so I'm up and sipping my Day Off morning coffee, and ...

Anyway I was looking at the coverage of the wildfires in Southern California, and the headlines are dismal:
‘We can’t stop it’
Officials all but concede defeat to wildfires as estimated 1 million evacuate
and some others are just sad because they're even considered 'news':
Find out who got voted off on ‘Dancing’ | ‘House’ latest
not to mention the obligatory sop to the GCC Priests:
Warming killing New England's fall hues?
... hmmmmm ... 'Hue Murder'? I can just imagine the angst of the Artsy set at this depressing non-news. Seems the Murder of Hues is not happening in North Carolina, according to Sister Toldjah's recent visit to Grandfather Mountain ...
but I also found ... wait for it! ... a Quiz! Well, why not? I have a pot of coffee, so I'm almost awake.

The authors of ‘The Intellectual Devotional’ challenge your history smarts

“The Intellectual Devotional: American History” offers daily passages designed to increase your knowledge of key events in American history. How much help do you need? Find out by taking this quiz on war and peace from authors Noah Oppenheim and David Kidder.

Now I got 10 of 11 correct, missing the final question. Which I should have known since I saw it on a PBS documentary film (that's a clue if you need it), but I claim sleep-deprivation stupidity. Give it a try and see how you do.

Note: If you want a good take on the California fires and the reactions to it, see the Liberty Pundit, then follow his update to this depressingly inane article "Ain't that America: Rich evacuees, poor evacuees" at Attytood. The replies are hard to stomach, and would feel more at home at the DU or Daily Kos. Just sad how purely stupid some people have become, isn't it?

"Stopped caring about New Orleans when the locals and the Democrats decided that the white people who were contributing, taking in families and showing up to help were all racists. Karma is indeed a bitch.

Posted by: at October 23, 2007 12:47 PM"

And the burning of the homes of the retarded morons who chose to vote for guvnor "Ah'll be back" is also a bitch

hope those moroons enjoy the ash and cinders that'll be all that's left of their McMansions........hopefully the insurance companies will tell 'em to f**k off when they try to claim - if they were dumb enough to build wooden homes in a firetrap, those dumb bastards DESERVE to be burned out

Posted by: at October 23, 2007 3:02 PM
Makes you feel the Milk of Human Kindness doesn't it?

I think Bookworm struck just the right chord.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bishop Ussher: Another Look - October 28, 4004 B.C.

6,011 years ago the family of Adam was created of the dust of the earth. The Creator breathed life into the form of the first man of this family, and called him Adam, which means "Man" in Hebrew. This man was the progenitor of one human family whose destiny was to bequeath to all of humanity one man - the Son of the Living GOD - Jesus of Nazareth. How do I come to this particular reckoning of this momentous birthday? A 17th Century scholar, delving into, not only Biblical texts but the ancient texts of the Egyptians, Babylonians and many others, came to the conclusion - erroneously, in fact - that the earth itself was created in 4004 B.C. Bishop Ussher was correct in his calculations, but errant in his overall conclusion.

Bishop James UssherIn 1650 James Ussher, Anglican Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, between 1625–1656, published "Annales Veteris Testamenti, a prima mundi origine deducti" ("Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world"), in which he calculated the date of the Creation to have been nightfall preceding 23 October 4004 BC. Looked upon today as a silly man whose work was a joke to more scientifically-educated, modern people, he was a highly respected scholar in his day and was doing work considered of great importance at the time. Indeed, coming on the heels of his own work came the similar work of another scholar - Cambridge academic, John Lightfoot - and was preceded by a similar work by Renaissance scholars such as Joseph Justus Scaliger. In Ussher's time such a calculation was still regarded as an important task, one previously attempted by many Renaissance scholars. This was not a folly.

Wiki says:
Ussher's chronology actually represented a considerable feat of literary scholarship if not science. It required the Bible to be firmly anchored in history, which demanded great depth of learning in what was then known of ancient history, including the rise of the Persians, Greeks and Romans. Constructing a biblical chronology also required expertise in biblical languages and in-depth knowledge of the Bible itself. Ussher's account of historical events for which he had multiple sources other than the Bible is usually in close agreement with modern accounts; for example, he placed the death of Alexander in 323 BC and that of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. On the other hand, the period of time between the Creation and the Flood depended on the version of the Old Testament that was used: Hebrew (1656 years); Samaritan Pentateuch (1307 years); or the Ethiopic text (2262 years). Ussher favoured the Hebrew version.

Ussher was an interesting man, a Protestant at the time of the English Civil War, he nevertheless supported his King, the Catholic Charles I, and was protected by his Protestant friends in Parliament, despite his loyalty to their enemy, against Protestant attacks.
He watched the execution of Charles I from the roof of the Countess of Peterborough's London house but fainted before the axe fell.
Such was his loyalty. He was no lightweight as modern "scholars" and experts would have us believe, but a scholar who preferred to delve into scholarly pursuits when he could follow them.

Now, knowing, due to modern geologic studies and discoveries, that the earth herself is extremely old, we know that Bishop Ussher's conclusions are in error. But in what aspect? As they relate to the age of the planet they are in error. Even if you consider the earth to be far younger than the accepted chronologies of modern science - and they are guessing in many places and computations - the earth is older than 6,000+ years.

But what if we simply remove the earth's age as a planet from consideration? What if we actually eliminate the doctrinal aspects of the Bishop's inquiry, and look at it as a simple historical chronology? What do we see?

We see a genealogy that spans the history of the planet from before the earliest known great city: Ur - Ur of the Chaldees - to the birth of a Jewish boy of Bethlehem in Roman Palestine, whose birth, Ministry, and Death and Resurrection are the crowning achievements of the Bible. It is a genealogy which some may question, but which Bishop Ussher managed to trace from the beginning to the end.

Important Dates from Ussher's Chronology:
Ussher's chronology provides the following dates for key events in the Biblical history of the world:

  • 4004 BC - Creation
  • 2348 BC - The Great Flood
  • 1921 BC - God's call to Abraham
  • 1491 BC - The Exodus from Egypt
  • 1012 BC - The founding of the Temple in Jerusalem
  • 586 BC - The destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon and the beginning of the Babylonian Captivity
  • 4 BC - The birth of Jesus

Why is all this this significant? Basically the Bible is a book about the lives and struggles of one family. It is not the history of all Mankind, nor was it ever intended to be. Nor is it a book about the Jews, for their history begins at the seperation of Israel into two Kingdoms. No, the Bible has a single family in mind, which is winnowed over vast ages to one particualr line within that family, and then through that line to one particular man. That is the point of the Bible. That is its reason for existence. To show all humanity what was promised by GOD, the Creator, to all Mankind, if they would follow the Laws HE gave them. And when those Laws were violated - the punishment for violation of any of HIS Laws is Death - HE provided a Way Out. HIS book has one aim - to show what has been done, what is going to be, and how to claim the Way Out and Salvation. That's all.

For those who complain that "Adam and Eve only had three sons so where did all those other people come from?" ... Only three of Adam's children (Cain, Abel, and Seth) are explicitly named in Genesis, although it does state that there were other sons and daughters as well (Genesis 5:4). But remember that the Biblical account is not about all humanity but this one family. Other people populated the earth at the time, but only this family was a Divine Creation with a Divine purpose. That purpose was begun on the Sixth Day (Gen 1:26), and proceeded from there.

So, assuming Bishop Ussher's calculations are correct, and assuming as I do, that the first Five Days were of immeasurable length, then we arrive at the Sixth Day, the 28th of October, 4004 B.C. as the Birthday of the family of Adam, Abraham, and Jacob; the Family and Lineage of David, and Jesus the Christ.

Note: The Supernova Vela X exploded, some scholars maintain, in circa 4004 B.C, creating a spectacle of light around the Meditteranean. As describes:
"The Vela supernova most likely occurred 6,000 years ago (although estimates range from 5,000 to 11,000 years). At a distance of 1,300 light years from earth the Vela X pulsar is three to four times closer than the Crab Nebula. The supernova would have hung low on the horizon over the Mediterranean, a brilliant star shining as bright as the moon (-12.5 losing brightness at 4.5% per day). Due to defects in the cornea of the eye, a person viewing the supernova would see spikes a quarter to a third the diameter of the full moon (7.5 to 9 minutes of arc). It would appear as an endlessly dancing, varying mass of fire, shooting spears of intense color every way like a fountain. The landscape and the observer would be flooded with pulsing illumination. Tossed flocks of shadow bands would animate the landscape, moving eerily through forest and town."
The dead star is even now sending radio signals through the Universe. Could it have been a sign of the creation of this First Family?
Vela Remnant

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Big Sis's Birthday: Another 29th

My Big Sis was born 354 days before I was, the family's first-born of three. We began our family existence in Ambler, Pennsylvania, which is near Chestnut Hill and Philly, a place I remember only in old 35mm films of the time. She was a blond-haired, hazel-eyed beauty who would shortly have a brother - myself! - and be oft-times considered a twin. Big Sis and I grew up to be very close. We had many of the same friends, even into High School, and we did many things together.

Big Sis has perfect pitch and can sight-read sheet music, so has a lovely facility for playing the piano. I loathed practicing the piano, wanting to learn something I could master immediately, and never got the skills she attained. But she and I could sing pretty well, so I could sing along as she played. She still has a pretty voice, but sadly, Big Sis never had a lot of power in that voice. That limited what she could do with it. Me, I had some power but once my voice changed I could never reach that boy-soprano quality that I had had. Ciggies and drinking put me more in the Sinatra category than the Harry Nilsson category.

Big Sis and I could quarrel, and did, and she had the exasperating habit of hitting me, fleeing to the living room, throwing herself on the sofa, and kicking like mad to escape my just retribution. Such are sisters.

She decided to become a nurse, something she would eventually abandon as the profession became every hospital's political football. But she studied hard and earned her degree and was a nurse.

Of course by that time I was far away on the Left Coast, and so had little knowledge of what she was doing and who she was seeing, so I missed meeting her betrothed. This was someone who turned out to be a creep. I don't know if I would have seen that, or seeing that would have said a thing. And would Big Sis have paid any attention had I said anything? Prolly not.

benning, Big Sis, and Li'l Bro at Big Sis' first wedding - ain't she purty?

Big Sis is the miniature of the family, a throwback whose diminutive size echoes that of our great-grandmother. She was a tiny woman with a short husband, and Big Sis is definitely dwarfed by her brothers and her parents. She's either 5'3" or 5'4". Mom is a good 5'7", I think, Dad was 6' or a shade over, and Li'l Bro is 6'2" or 3". Me, depending on which foot I'm on, am 6' 1&1/2" or 6'2" (accident result *shrug*) So Big Sis is the runt of our litter.

As a little girl she collected Paper Dolls - remember those? - and had a Barbie (I had a very manly G.I.Joe). We were both taught how to swim at a very early age, our parents loving to visit Ocean City, NJ, and we both filled our summers swimming competitively. We were quite at home in the water and spent our summers red-skinned, white-haired, and water-logged. We had a lot of fun, and I miss it a great deal!

Big Sis is working on her second marriage - the first she ended with urging from the family (he was an abusive, degrading, insulting putz, who needed a butt-kicking in the worst way!) - and has three kiddies to show for it. One is in High School, one is a Collegian, and the first born is biding his time, I suppose, looking for fame and fortune. Hubby is a tad odd, but look who's talking! The family is deeply into the Church scene and are very devout. Big Sis and I came to Christ around the same time, though I wanted more proof - I can be a stubborn idiot - and we both are what I consider Fundamentalists. She remains a conservative, as do I (surprise?), and we can talk about religion and politics without getting angry.

Big Sis is also an inveterate reader. As I, she will read anything she can get her hands on. We are both book addicts. Were we living in closer proximity - she's up in Jacksonville, while I am down here in Largo - we would be sharing books all the time. Heck, she even read my book! Says she liked it. Such are sisters, eh?

I miss the closeness we used to share, but we all grow up, grow older, and grow apart. That's the way of Life, and you can't recapture the past. I see her maybe twice a year, and we have a good time, but it's not the same, of course. It never can be the same.

Happy Birthday, Big Sis! Enjoy your 29th! Again! I miss you!

Note: Just in case you're wondering ... Dad and I shared October 10th for a birthday, Li'l Bro has October 5th, Big Sis October 21st, and our Nana was October 17th. Poor Mom was an August 3rd baby - just a family oddball, I guess.

Monday, October 15, 2007

From the eMail: "An Awesome Texas Morning"

"An Awesome Texas Morning
Isn't this a beautiful sight..
After the horses moved on, the doe came for her fawn. So all is well in case you were wondering."

[Click on the images for a bigger view]




A nice view of nature for a Monday. Hope your weekend was enjoyable.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Quiz Time

As seen on Born Again Redneck (Patrick, why do you do this to me?), this quiz. Yes, I took it. I'm addicted!

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Literate Good Citizen

You read to inform or entertain yourself, but you're not nerdy about it. You've read most major classics (in school) and you have a favorite genre or two.

Dedicated Reader
Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Of course I couldn't stop at just one, so ...

You are 85% Try-Lingual!!

You are quite the Linguist! I suppose you wouldn't be trying to show off to your friends, would you. Splendid job. Time to put the quiz on a blog or email a link to your friends. Check out some of the good quizzes here, but be sure to avoid the bad ones. Auf Wiedersehen! Adieu.

Foreign Words and Phrases
Create MySpace Quizzes

And then there's this one ...

Your Language Arts Grade: 100%

Way to go! You know not to trust the MS Grammar Check and you know "no" from "know." Now, go forth and spread the good word (or at least, the proper use of apostrophes).

Are You Gooder at Grammar?
Make a Quiz

And finally this ...

Your Score Is.... 100%!

Congratulations, you scored in the highest percentile. You don't let very many mispronunciations slip by. No sir, not you. You speak quite properly, and everyone is impressed with your command of the English language. But do keep in mind, you probably come across as bookish and pedantic!

Do You Pronounce Words Right?
Make a Quiz

I'm feeling a bit cocky, now. Heheheee!

You scored a 100%

Good job. You proved to yourself why you're an American Citizen. Now go to my blog at and tell me what you think of the questions.

Naturalization Quiz
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Thursday, October 11, 2007

On Boiling An Egg: Shell Shock Cured?

"I once poked a badger with a spoon"
~ Pedro Gonzales

I enjoy hard-boiled eggs. I like egg-salad (which for me consists solely of chopped hard-boiled eggs, mayo, and pepper. No onions, relish, celery, or anything else!), and sliced egg sandwiches. And I like to just eat a hard-boiled egg all by its lonesome. But I hate peeling the suckers! I don't know how many times I've ended up smashing an egg into the sink disposal in frustration at the shell peeling away the egg. Peeling a hard-boiled egg is not rocket science, and I have tried a few things to solve the problem. They have rarely worked, and I've been reduced to ignoring hard-boiled eggs. Why go through all that?

Egg-peeling tragedyOne tip was to poke a little hole in the fat end of the egg before boiling it. The theory is that the boiling water slips between the egg and the shell and releases it. Okay, I tried that, but it doesn't always work. So that's a crap shoot.

One theory recommended a cold water start. Put the eggs in cold water and bring to a hard boil. Nope

Drop them in boiling water? Good way to watch eggs explode, but that doesn't solve the peeling problem.

Cool the eggs in ice water? Nope. No, none of those worked, and the three-day old egg theory never worked for me.

My grandpop would crack the cooled egg and hold it to his mouth and blow into the shell. Sorry, but no, that doesn't always work either.

So what's the answer?

It seems that egg cartons have some interesting numbers on their ends. The "Sell By" date is the one we're most familiar with. But there are other numbers there, too. What do they mean? Are they useful?

Recently I hard-boiled a dozen eggs, using the codes on the carton as my guide. Not one gave me trouble with peeling off the shell. Not one! That is a first! How did I manage it?

Egg Carton CodesFrom AMS@USDA website:
Cartons that have the USDA grade shield are marked to identify the company and location where the eggs were packed, and the date that the eggs were washed, graded, and placed into the cartons. In addition, most packers also provide consumers with a code date, which indicates the last date the eggs should be sold at retail, or used by the consumer.

Straightforward enough. But what do the codes mean?

Egg processors typically print dates commonly called "Code Dates" on cartons for purposes of rotating stock or controlling inventory. "EXP", "Sell By", "Best if Used Before" are examples of terminology used for code dating. Use of code dates on USDA graded eggs is optional, however, if they are used, certain rules must be followed.

If an expiration date is used, it must be printed in month/day format and preceded by the appropriate prefix. "EXP", "Sell By", "Not to be sold after the date at the end of the carton" are examples of expiration dates. Expiration dates can be no more than 30 days from the day the eggs were packed into the carton.

Another type of code dating used indicates the recommended maximum length of time that the consumer can expect eggs to maintain their quality when stored under ideal conditions. Terminology such as "Use by", Use before", "Best before" indicates a period that the eggs should be consumed before overall quality diminishes. Code dating using these terms may not exceed 45 days including the day the eggs were packed into the carton.

That's useful. Nobody wants to crack open a rotten egg. And nobody wants to get poisoned if they can' smell the old egg. But the other numbers? What about them? Well there's the Plant Number, that tells you where the eggs were packed into the cartons. Those numbers begin with the letter "P". If you care about that, now you know!

Now here's the payoff information about the codes:
The day of the year that the eggs are processed and placed into the carton must also be shown on each carton with the USDA grade shield. The number is a three-digit code that represents the consecutive day of the year. For example, January 1 is shown as "001" and December 31 as "365." Typically, eggs are packed within 1 to 7 days of being laid. The pack date in this example is "218", meaning that the eggs were packed on the 218th day of the year, or in this example, August 5. If your carton shows a USDA grade shield, you can determine the date that the eggs were packed from the carton date code.

Ah-HAH! And just how do you use that information? Well, that's what I'm going to tell you.

How did I get that carton of eggs to hard-boil properly without the dreaded peeling problem? I let those eggs hit the fourteen-day mark (14 days), which was recommended to me. Not 14 days after the "Sell By" or "Expiration" dates. No. Fourteen days after they were processed. And it's actually easy to figure out.

Day Number ChartThere are 365 days in a year. The first day of the year is 1, or 001. The last day of the year is 365. Look at the processing number on your carton of eggs. Add 14 to it. Then figure out which day that is. That's the day when it's perfect to boil those eggs for an easy peel!

Confused? Okay, this is October 11, the 284th day of the year. If I have a carton of eggs with 284 as the processing number then I won't hard-boil them until I get to day 298, which is October 25. We're talking about some mathematical egg boiling here. Of course you can do the same thing by writing the date two weeks hence on the carton. The math is easy, really. Even for me. Buy eggs, figure out the date in two weeks and scribble that on the carton. Now I know when I can boil those suckers and not have a war with the danged shells.

Yeah, I'm making a big thing of this, but I hate wrestling with egg shells. It makes me feel idiotic, and ruins my calm disposition.

Tip: Choose a push pin to use to make a small hole in the fat end of the egg before hard-boiling it. Keep the pin in your silver-ware drawer. The theory is that this also allows the gasses to escape the egg while it boils without cracking the shell. I do it. It doesn't seem to help the peeling process, but I have danged few cracked eggs in the pot.

Turning off the burner and allowing your hard-boiled eggs to slowly cool is fine, I guess. But if you want to eliminate the "greening" of the yolk, put the eggs in a pot of cold water with ice cubes. A quick cool down. It's supposed to eliminate the sulphur taste, too. So, egg-boiling tips galore! Wheeeeee!

Another Noose; Another Rally

noose hanging from Prof Constantine's doorFrom the NY Daily News:
A black Columbia University professor targeted by a hangman's noose delivered a defiant message during a protest rally Wednesday: "I will not be silent."

A day after the racist symbol was left dangling on her office door, Madonna Constantine was greeted by raucous cheers of support at Teachers College.

"Hanging a noose on my door reeks of cowardice and fear," said Constantine, who teaches psychology and education and has written on racism.

"I want the perpetrator to know I will not be silent."

The NYPD Hate Crime Task Force is investigating the incident as a bias crime.

"We have no suspects in this case, no 'persons of interest,'" said NYPD Inspector Michael Osgood, who assigned a sergeant and six detectives to the investigation.

Interesting how New York can assign seven people to this 'important' investigation but cannot afford to fix the city's infrastructure, isn't it?

The article continues:
Cops were conducting DNA tests on the noose, a 4-foot length of hand-tied twine.

They also planned to question some of Constantine's colleagues, including Prof. Suniya Luthar.

Police sources said Constantine and Luthar crossed swords over a plum assignment at the university, but stressed that Luthar was not a suspect.

In May, Constantine filed suit in Manhattan Supreme Court seeking damages of $100,000 from Luthar for defamation.

The filing contained no details, and Constantine's lawyer Paul Giacomo declined to discuss the matter.

Outside her Scarsdale home yesterday, Luthar said she was leaving town on a business trip.

"I can't talk to you," she said. "I have no comment."

Teachers College President Susan Fuhrman said the academic contretemps had been under investigation for a year but would not elaborate.

Nobody's ever a suspect, are they?

This is the part of the article that I found most interesting, as well as depressing:
State Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Harlem) raised the specter of Jena, La., which has been gripped by racial uproar since white teens hung nooses on school grounds last year.

"Even in the Ivy League towers at Columbia University, we might as well be in Columbia, S.C., in 1809. It's a virus and it's here as well as it is in Jena," he said.

Several hundred students also attended a forum with top university officials after the rally.

Teachers College student Nicole Woodard told them she wasn't surprised by the noose incident because she believes the college lacks racial diversity.

"When I walk into a class of 100 students and can count on my fingers how many look like me, that's a problem," said Woodard, who is black.

Teachers College, which was founded in 1887 and is the nation's largest grad school for education, has a student body that is 12% black, 11% Asian-American and 7% Hispanic.

Perhaps Ms. Woodward has six fingers on each hand, but it seems to me that 12% is about the national average for Black Population, isn't it? Or maybe it's now a little less since the 'Hispanic' population is growing faster. And this woman is going to be a teacher? She seems to have no grasp of mathematics or statistics, does she?

I do understand that she might have been swept up in all the excitement of yet another rally against racism, but her statement seems to be a complaint of long-standing. Sounds a tad 'racist' to me.

Prof. Madonna Constantine speaks at the rallyLook, hanging a noose on the doorknob of a black professor's office is a rather ugly thing to do. If only a prank it's a mean, thoughtless, and stupid act. Until we know exactly who did it, though, we are being just a tad premature in comparing this with other racially motivated happenings. And don't forget that there have been some supposed racial 'hate crimes' that were self-perpetrated as a way of garnering attention, deflecting attention, or otherwise causing trouble. In reality they had nothing to do with the random bigot, lurking in the shadows, waiting to express hate for some ethnic minority.

From the NYTimes:
“It’s like throwing a match on a haystack,” said Christien Tompkins, 21, a senior who is co-chairman of the United Students of Color Council. “This obviously really touched a nerve for a lot of folks.”

Mr. Tompkins was one of about two dozen students who met with Columbia’s president, Lee C. Bollinger, to discuss the case yesterday afternoon.

At that meeting, Mr. Tompkins said, students have used the noose as a point of departure to talk about other issues, including Columbia’s plans to expand into adjacent neighborhoods.

“It’s the latest and maybe most visible and extreme case of a climate of racism that we face in our entire society but of course is manifested at Columbia as well,” he said.

Mr. Bollinger, in an e-mail message sent to students and faculty, wrote, “An attack on the dignity of any member of our community is an assault on all of us.”

At a separate meeting, 600 Teachers College students and faculty members gathered to air their own grievances before Susan H. Fuhrman, the president of Teachers College, and other administrators.

“I came here from Virginia,” said one black doctoral student, who did not identify herself. “I’ve been here since 2003 and there has been incident after incident. It’s not so different from the South.”

Earlier in the day, more than 100 students rallied outside Teachers College and marched in Professor Constantine’s support. Her colleagues said it seemed particularly jolting that this had happened to a professor whose work is devoted to issues of race.

Hey, Toots, I'm in the South. I haven't seen "incident after incident" in my 22 years of residence here. What I have seen is a lot of rioting against racism as a screen for criminal behavior, and a tool for political antics by some very shady characters. South St. Petersburg has had plenty of that. But most of the so-called racial incidents have been nothing of the kind. They have been reactions to black criminals being nailed by the police. And if a community allows itself to be used by the Race Warlords to further their own separatist, racially-inspired agenda, then they have made a pact with the Devil.

How about, when one of these things happen, we keep our yaps shut, call the police, and let them investigate before we begin marching? How about we not start painting signs and denouncing the entire nation before we know exactly what happened? This was one ugly little incident that hurt feelings and nothing else. Can we stop trying to raise this to the level of Mass Murder?

How long before Jesse and Al are on the spot, eh?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Today I Am Older. Yeesh!

Shool Days ~ 1908 ~ Maxfield Parrish

benning on a humid windy day at Waxhaws - 199752 yeas ago I entered the world. My family then consisted of my parents and my Big Sis who was eleven days shy of her first birthday. On October 10th, 1955, my parents were celebrating my Dad's birthday with a nice Pork Roast dinner when Mom went into labor. I had decided to join them, thus becoming a birthday present for Dad. I have always been a sucker for a nice Pork Roast.

My parents loved to read and took pains to instill that same appreciation in their children. Me, I hated it. I liked picture books, of course, and comic books were always worth poring over. But read a book? Without pictures? *shudder*

But they didn't give up. On one holiday Dad gave me a paperback book - one of those Ace versions with two novels front and back - of one of his youthful favorites. It was Edgar Rice Burroughs' "The Moon Maid" and "The Moon Men". And I was well-and-truly hooked. Soon I had devoured every Science Fiction book on the book shelves and had to turn to other genres to feed my appetite. To our parents' chagrin they had created reading monsters, two children who would rather sit in their rooms reading rather than go outside and play. So the struggle thereafter consisted of shoving benning and Big Sis out the door and ordering them to play.

The best-laid plans, and all that, huh?

benning and Daddy - Christmas 1956Dad had an active imagination, which held him in good stead as he worked in advertising with RCA. I suspect he had to dampen down that imagination to concentrate on raising a family. And I know it wasn't easy. We never had much in the way of money, but we weren't poor, we never went hungry, and my folks made sure we always had whatever we needed, though they were smart enough to not give us everything we wanted.

Mom was and is a funny woman with a wacky, or odd, sense of humor. I come by my clowning naturally. Mom once confessed that she, too, had been a class clown in school. I come by my warped personality honestly, with too much day-dreaming imagination, and an "off" sense of humor that has gotten me into trouble more than once. Though it has saved me from traffic tickets twice!

Big Sis and I, being the only youngsters in the family until 1960, were very close. We were often mistaken for twins as we looked much alike - two little blond-haired cherubs. Don't let the cherubic look fool you. We did get into trouble. We did most everything together and had a pretty good time, growing up. We would sneak out the bedroom window and sit on the garage roof to look at the stars. In the winter, when it got cold at night, we would creep down the stairs and curl up around the heater in the hallway, where we would fall asleep looking through the little openings at the glowing light inside, snug in our jammies on the warm floor.

Momma benning in the mid-1970sBig Sis was more adventurous than I, and we did get into trouble. But we always survived. One summer day at the beach in Ocean City, New Jersey, we paddled out into the surf on our raft. Big Sis and I were pretty far out, but we didn't pay attention. Mom noticed we were too far out, and drifting away, and tried to wave us back. Big Sis waved right back, thinking Mom was just enjoying our rafting. But I recognized the "Get back here" attitude, and began to kick, trying to get us back to Mom.

And so the Lifeguard thundered into the surf and rescued us! I tried to leave the raft because I could swim just fine ( I think I was all of six or seven at the time), but he shoved me back on and towed us to the beach. Embarrassing as all get out. And we still talk about it. With a chuckle.

The folks always introduced us to different foods that they enjoyed. Unfortunately they couldn't afford to feed us the kind of foods they addicted us to, and we never got enough of the really yummy stuff we now craved. Our grandfather - Dad's father - took us to dinner and made sure the little kinds had lobster. Big mistake! We were hooked! From then on, when Mom would ask how I liked what we were having for dinner, my standard answer became, "It's good! But I'd rather have lobster."

Grandpop also tried to get us interested in one of his favorites - raw oysters. The story goes that I gladly took the proffered goody into my mouth, shuddered at the feel and taste of it, and then sat there with a miserable look on my face, unwilling to chew the thing or swallow it. We had been trained well in table manners, so I could not spit it out. Mom still laughs about it, but she was never terribly happy with grandpop's antics. (Shoving his false teeth out of the front of his mouth made for screaming, giggling kids, but Mom thought it was gross.)

benning and Daddy - Christmas 1956Dad had thinning hair and I never knew him when he had full head of it. Since my own pate is very thin on top I blame him. We both struggled with our weight, and I continue to do so, as do my Big Sis and Li'l Bro. We never failed to kid Dad about his hair, to which he would chuckle and reply, "Very funny."

Mom was the disciplinarian, as you might expect, and we had a healthy regard for her spanking skills. Since Big Sis and I were rather mischievous we got our share of reddened butts. Only once do Irecall Dad actually coming home to find his children arrayed before him waiting or a spanking. He used his hairbrush and we learned our lesson. "Wait until your Dad gets home," was not an often used threat. We were too smart to go that far very often. Besides, as noted above, his hairbrush would always be practically new! Ouch!

With five decades behind me I can see where I went wrong with my life, and regret my laziness and lack of ambition. But I have most of what I need in life, and can change my circumstances if I choose. That's one of the things we should all learn, don't you think?

So benning is 52 today. I still feel like I'm just a kinda tired eighteen, and sometimes a thoroughly worn-out twelve. My humor remains thoroughly warped, and I still read everything I can get my hands on. And now I write, and even have a published novel. So it ain't all bad, is it?

And one of these days some fine woman will decide I'm not all that bad and make an honest man out of me.


I'm going to go buy some pork, some spuds, some applesauce, and maybe a German Chocolate Cake. And I will celebrate surviving past a half-century. Y'all have a great day!

Quote from a very young benning:
Looking at a neighbor girl, playing inside her fenced yard, "Hey, Girl! Let me in that cage!"

Seeing Dad's thin hair blowing in the wind, "Daddy's hair is laughing!"

In 1955 (the year you were born)

Dwight Eisenhower is president of the US

Hurricane "Diane" claims 184 lives form North Carolina to New England

Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat, which leads to bus segregation being declared unconstitutional

The AFL merges with the CIO, creating the nation's largest labor union

Dr. Jonas Salk discovers a vaccine for polio

The Scrabble board game debuts

Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California

Kevin Costner, John Grisham, Arsenio Hall, Steve Jobs, and Billy Bob Thornton are born

Charlie Parker, Albert Einstein, and James Dean die

Brooklyn Dodgers win the World Series

Cleveland Browns win the NFL champion ship

Detroit Red Wings win the Stanley Cup

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov is published

benning and Li'l Bro at Grandfather Mountain - 2000

Birthday Update: Went to the store to buy some nice pork - found some great pork ribs which are slowly cooking in Italian dressing, etc! Yum! - and other comestibles, and while wandering along the Beer and Wine aisle - I keep looking for Samuel Adams Cranberry Lambic, and never can find it, even during the Christmas season - I found something that looked interesting. I admit that a fancy package will draw my eye, and this did. It was a beer called Berry Weiss - Weiss being a version of German White beer - Bier by Leinenkugel's Brewing Company.

Berry Weiss Beir

It's a tad sweet, as it is brewed with berries, among other things, but it has a nice flavor. Unusual but thoroughly enjoyable. I like it! So it's my Birthday present to myself~! Heheheee!

I thought some of you might find another brewery interesting. If nothing else the web site is busy and the images are artistic and colorful. *shrug*


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Patrick Suckers Me In Again!

Patrick found a quiz at Hillbilly White Trash and decided to post it. He does it knowing I will be forced by my very nature to take the danged quiz! Darn him! Drat! So here it is. Here's the finger that is me!

You Are the Index Finger

You are ambitious, driven, and capable.
You aren't afraid to take responsibility for your actions - or place the blame on whoever deserves it.
You are honest, free thinking, and objective. You see things in your own way - and you aren't afraid to let everyone know about it.

You get along well with: The Thumb

Stay away from: The Ring Finger

Monday, October 08, 2007

Running On Religion

I know this rambles a bit, but I was on a roll. So please bear with me.

As the election cycle begins to move into its serious mode - Spend that money! Make those commercials! Move to the middle! Campaign! - we find the candidates, particularly those on the Democratic Party side, making the noises they expect the voters to interpret as religious conviction. Now is when they explain to us that they are people with Faith, believers in a Higher Power (which is not supposed to mean the Federal Government), and second to nobody in their appreciation of our Christian/Judaic foundation. The MSM will go out of its way to show us the spiritual side of the Democrats while exposing the Republicans as paleolithic savages with an outdated system of beliefs.

Was anyone really convinced of Bill Clinton's faith during his administration? Did he ever evince even the slightest regard for what the People might think of his behavior in the White House? Were we really expected by the MSM to buy into the image of Bill Clinton the faithful church-goer with the pictures of him leaving a church with a big Bible in his hand? Do we honestly respect him for turning every church visit into a political rally?

Now we are being told that Barack Obama is a man of Faith and are being inundated with his tepid pronouncements on Christianity - along with his tepid pronouncements on patriotism. And with each new revelation of this candidate's beliefs and this candidate's church membership we are shown, once more, the MSM's and the Democrat Leadership's barren understanding of Christianity. Their understanding of Judaism is similarly bereft of understanding. How is it possible that in the early years of the 21st Century we can have a media so shallow and so unable to seek knowledge that they do not know what the Bible says? That they do not know much of anything of the history of the Hebrews? That the trials and suffering of the early Christians is a matter of little importance or meaning?

The Left - by which I mean the MSM, the Democrat Party, and all the hangers-on - has one aim which is the acquisition of power. Anything that may dilute that goal is anathema to them. Thus they cannot understand or even empathize with Faithers, despite their attempts to be "religious" to the voters whom they seek to fool.

These individuals and groups like to prattle on about "tolerance" as if it had a meaning beyond its most basic. "The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of others." You notice that nothing that implies an acceptance of the beliefs or practices of others. Acceptance is what they want you to define tolerance as. And it's a complete fraud. While they demand that Christians and Jews "tolerate" - accept! - the beliefs or practices of others, specifically Muslims, Atheists, and any whose activities debase human existence - they do not, will not, cannot accept the Faith, practices, or beliefs of Christians and Jews.

The United States House of Representatives can issue a proclamation to mark the commencement of the Islamic Holiday of Ramadan, but it does not make any similar proclamations to mark the observance of Yom Kippur, Easter, Rosh Hoshanah, or Christmas. What is it about the religions of Christianity and Judaism that is so distasteful to these people that they cannot publicly support its holidays and must pretend to be practicing members of those faiths (like Hillary pretending to be a NY Yankees fan) to garner votes?

One problem is that little dilemma of "tolerance". Non-believers think that Christians and Jews must be tolerant. After all, isn't that what the Bible says? No. It says nothing of the kind. Not for Jews. Not for Christians. Tolerance is not a Christian or Jewish tenet. Nowhere in the Old Testament will you find an iota of tolerance for beliefs or behavior that gainsaid the Word of GOD. What you will find is a very long list of Hebrew and Israelite wars on those who were not following the Word of GOD. There was a very strong charge to be kind to strangers. The implication being that one never knew when one might be host to an Angel. But to "accept" and honor alien beliefs was not a way honored by the Hebrew people. It is, however, something we Americans have been doing, without Governmental orders, commands, or laws, for most of our history.

Search the New Testament, if you will. You won't find any commandments by Christ to be tolerant. He was not tolerant. Notice when He heals He usually admonishes the formerly ill person to "go, and sin no more," ascribing the illness to sin rather than anything else. Not that He did not understand germs, bacteria, etc. But He was not being "tolerant". The New Testament shows no tolerance. None of the Church "Fathers is tolerant. James is even intolerant of those who were not Jews, demanding that they be circumcised. Paul's intolerance was monumental, though he was also monumentally forgiving and loving. But when his words were rejected by any city, he "shook off the dust of that place" and went his way. Christian evangelists routinely denounced the pagan practices of the people they attempted to convert. Nowhere do they show "tolerance" in the way the Left would have today's Christians show it.

Tolerance is a code word. The Democrats love them as they allow the unthinking to simply plug in a simple word and feel superior to all. But tolerance is not something they show to Christians or Jews. They have no tolerance for anything that demands of its followers a moral code that is less than hedonistic.

GOD demands some things of us, whom HE created. HE doesn't give us leeway. HE doesn't say, "Well, just say the words, or toss a few pennies," and you have a free pass. HE demands obedience. Period. HE is not tolerant. Again, search your Bible for any mention of HIS tolerance. You won't find it. There are places where HE discusses HIS choices with HIS people. But HE does so, not to be tolerant, but to teach. In the end HE does what HE will. And HE still demands our obedience. And the Left despises that.

So they demand that Christians and Jews be perfect! Sadly some of the religious leaders ask that of their congregants, too. But that is not our nature nor our lot in life. Christians and Jews recognize that and are not fooled by posturing fools who demand our perfection before we can speak out against their foolishness.

They denounce us for being intolerant, while they tear down the defenses of our nation and our culture. They call us bigots for believing that GOD spoke to us and has rules (which we cannot follow because we are imperfect mortals) while they treat us with hatred and violence. And they parade around the country with their lapdog press, pretending they are believers while showing no evidence of that belief. Some can debate religion without any Faith, which is not terribly hard for an intelligent person. And at the end they believe they have "won" the debate because their debating skills are well-honed.

And they want you and I to vote for them because they are just like us, though smarter, and will do what is best for us, because we aren't bright enough to know what's best. And they will feign their religious heritage while understanding none of it.

Remember that the next time one of these Leftists tells you how moral and religious they are while their opponent is out of touch. Our Faith may be based on millennia old words, but they are words inspired ("breathed" in the original) by our Creator, and they are timeless and eternal. They will not change simply because our tastes change or our leaders change. So don't be fooled.

Friday, October 05, 2007

benning's Li'l Bro: 10/05/2007: Happy Birthday, Baby Brother!

benning and Li'l Bro, Boone, 1999

Li'l Brother has reached the ripe old age of 47! Like his older, distinguished brother - namely me! - he is nearly bereft of hair atop his head, has to fight to keep his weight from ballooning to astronomical heights, and tends to wear facial hair. He was born in 1960. Big Sis and I had no choice in the matter, were never asked, and would have preferred to remain just the two of us. Parents don't really care what the little kids think, do they?

So our grandmother arrived from Philly to stay with us while Dad took Mom to the hospital. I can remember watching them go out the door, but little else. I was five days shy of my fifth birthday. Big Sis was sixteen days shy of her sixth birthday.

In 1960 (the year you were born)

Dwight Eisenhower is president of the US

Sit-ins begin after 4 black college students in North Carolina refuse to move from a deli counter when denied service

A U-2 reconnaissance plane belonging to the US is shot down in the Soviet Union

Hurricane "Donna" strikes the East Coast causing over 100 deaths in the US and the Antilles

John F. Kennedy defeats Vice President Richard Nixon in the presidential race

Cassius Clay (who later took the name Muhammad Ali) wins his first professional fight

Michael Stipe, Tony Robbins, Bono, John F. Kennedy, Jr., and Jeffrey Dahmer are born

Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series

Philadelphia Eagles win the NFL championship

Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is the top grossing film

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is published

The Beatles make their debut in Hamburg, Germany

The Flintstones debut

So you've worn out the Old Folks. Where are you going now? Disneyland!

While I was living in California my Folks flew Li'l Bro out to visit me during the Christmas Holiday one year. We went to Disneyland - of course! - and Li'l Bro burned one of my white teflon pans trying to cook eggs. He'd never used a gas range before, so flames licking over the top of the pan meant nothing to him. On the plus side, he carried with him, on the plane all the way from Philly, a freezer container filled with Mom's Lentil soup! Yum!

When he was younger Li'l Bro hated steak. We didn't have it often as the folks couldn't afford it. But when we did, Mom made a hamburger for Li'l Bro while the rest of us enjoyed a good steak! I wish that had lasted longer. He hates mashed potatoes but enjoys broccoli, and all of us love seafood! Li'l Bro and I have an affinity for beer. We do like to try all sorts although he tends to favor the bitter lagers - like Budweiser - while I prefer less bitter concoctions.

Li'l Bro appreciates a New Year's brew

Li'l Bro attracts accidents. When Dad was building a closet upstairs one year, and left a can of walnut stain on a shelf, Li'l Bro, who was very little then, wanted to see what was in the can. Unlike adults who bring the can down and look inside, little kids tend to turn the can over to see inside. So Li'l Bro was rushed to the hospital. A little, white-haired, hazel-eyed child whose skin was a deep walnut brown. *grin*

One day the oil man, who was filling the tank - the heating oil was below ground. Dunno why - knocked on the door with my little brother in tow. He had found Li'l Bro eating pills from a small bottle. De-worming pills for our puppy, Toby. So Li'l Bro was rushed to the hospital. A little boy who has never been bothered with worms.

While Mom was visiting a lady down the street, with my little brother wandering in her backyard, Li'l Bro decided to look into their dog house. The dog took umbrage at this breach of etiquette and bit Li'l Bro on the chin. So Li'l Bro was rushed to the hospital. He now has a scar on his chin and no longer peers into dog houses without asking permission of the occupant.

While riding his bike to swim team practice, one summer, he careened around a corner where men were laying fresh asphalt. His front tire hit the asphalt and stuck and Li'l Bro went flying. Kid had gumption, though. He continued to practice, and then went to the hospital. The doctor mentioned that the chlorine in the pool water had probably helped. At that same pool - in Langhorne - the way to the pool area from the parking lot goes down a cement-pathed hill. One summer, early, while skipping down that hill, he tripped. Let's just say Li'l Bro's knees are kinda scarred.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Accidents follow Li'l Bro.

Strange Hair Summer, 1982 - Step-Dad, benning, and Li'l Bro

The accidents continued, but Li'l Bro persevered. At least he didn't succumb. Today he works in a plant as a Quality Control Supervisor, or something of the sort. He keeps a pair of cats - Lucy and Ethel (you figure it out), a pair of mischievous felines - and has had two others. First there was Spud (Li'l Bro is odd, what can I say?), then Armageddon (but I repeat myself), and now the pair. I don't get the cat attraction, but they make him happy.

Like his distinguished older brother, Li'l Bro is reticent about his love life, if there is any, and he remains a bachelor. But I figure one of these days he'll find the right lass to make him happier than the kitties do. Me, I'm not so sure of.

Funny how five years age difference can actually spell so much difference in tastes. He is a different generation than I. Our musical tastes are far different. Which is how I measure a person's place in time, I think. Much of what he listens to I cannot abide! Luckily, though, he predates the horror of Rap. We do tend to read much the same - we read everything we can find - and while I will pick up histories or biographies, I think Li'l Bro steers toward the suspense and mystery genres. He is a tad to the left of me politically, but that only means he is conservative with a small "c". While Big Sis and I are committed Fundamentalist Christians, I'm not sure what Li'l Bro is or believes. He won't really say.

But then, Big Sis and I are merely 354 days apart in age. Li'l Bro seems much younger. His friends were people we didn't know and had never met, while Big Sis and I knew practically the same people. After all, Big sis and I had nearly four years to bond together before Li'l Bro came along. Like all Baby Brothers he was coddled and babied far longer than we were - as we saw it - and I suppose we resented that. But we outgrew the feeling.

Li'l Bro is 47! Holy Crap! He's middle-aged!

Li'l Bro at the age of 23

Hard to believe! Happy Birthday, Li'l Bro! I love you!
Li'l Bro on Blowing Rock - North Carolina

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Be It Ever So Crumbled .... A House?

Click here to view my house

Well I found this over at The Anchoress. I am reminded that drawing with a mouse is a lot harder than drawing with a pencil. That mouse won't stop squeeking and squirming. Take a look. Try it yourself. It has questions after the drawing.

Based on your drawing and the 10 answers you gave this is a summary of your personality:
You are sensitive and indecisive at times. You are a freedom lover and a strong person. You will avoid being alone and seek the company of others whenever possible. You love excitement and create it wherever you go. You are very tidy person. There's nothing wrong with that because you're pretty popular among friends. Your life is always full of changes.

You will avoid being alone and seek the company of others whenever possible. You love excitement and create it wherever you go. You have a strong personality and you like to command, influence and control people.

You added a flower into your drawing. The flower signifies that you long for love. It also safe to say that others don't see you as a flirt. You don't think much about yourself.

Well, it's as good as a coin toss. I guess.

Why do I do these things? It's a sickness!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Some Boogie Woogie & Some Sinatra

Growing up in the Sixties, I remember that my folks played a lot of music. Dad worked for RCA then and had some wonderful stereo equipment. They played their old 78s and then the LPs of the music they had grown up with. Rock 'N Roll was not on the playlist. But what was on the playlist was some wonderful music. It isn't like we kids were unaware of the Rock 'N Roll scene, but we didn't hear it at home. Grown-ups run things, don'cha know? And I have to confess I missed out on not one thing.

So my Sibs and I listened to Sinatra and Glenn Miller, Jo Stafford and Bing Crosby. We were infused with Classical music and Nat King Cole. As we grew a tad older we were allowed to buy 45s of "our" music and play them - at a lower volume than everybody else! - and we were given transistor radios to use - my brother managed to drop his in the toilet (Tim has these accidents; we're all surprised he survived his youth!) and destroy it - so we joined the Rock generation at last. But I had been touched - or tetched - with an enjoyment of earlier forms of music that I've never lost. For that I am so thankful!

In fact, the very first LP that I can recall receiving as a gift from my parents was not Swing Band or Classical, nor even tepid Rock 'N Roll. It was "The World of Johnny Cash"! A country music album! Imagine that! And I loved it. Was a time when I knew all those songs by heart - though I may have missed some of the lyrics - and would sing them while I mowed the lawn. What else you gonna do while laboring under the summer sun, cutting grass? Dance the Frug? I was 14 or 15 and I didn't care about the Rock Generation or bell-bottom pants.

So I had an eclectic upbringing in Music, as well as Art, and I think it made me more accepting of new music forms and styles than a lot of people. (But I will not listen to Rap! This truly sucks! Fuggedaboudit!)

This is Frank Sinatra near the beginning of his career. His voice is just starting to acquire the bourbon and cigarette tone that we recognize from later works. But the voice remains clear and sweet. And this is one of those 78 records that I remember. This is such a nice song I have never forgotten it. Give it a spin. It's called "If You Are But A Dream" and was written by Moe Jaffe, Jack Fulton, and Nat Bonx. Lyrics follow! Then scroll down some more - there's a little more music to go!

A young Frank Sinatra

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"If You Are But A Dream"
~ by Jaffe, Fulton, and Bonx

If you are but a dream
I hope I never waken,
It's more than I could bear
To find that I'm forsaken.

If you're a fantasy
Then I'm content to be
In love with lovely you,
And pray my dream comes true.

I long to kiss you
But I would not dare,
I'm so a-fraid that
You may vanish in the air,

So darling,
If our romance would break up,
I hope I never wake up,
If you are but a dream.

Tommy DorseyNow, part of the Big Band or Swing Band repertoire was the form of music called Boogie Woogie. We sort of forget about it, or expect it was a minor song or two from the era. But it was a popular way to write a tune. The 30s and 40s saw this come to the fore for a bit. Like so much of the early popular music of the 20Th Century, this was developed by, or credited to, black Americans. Among the boogie woogie songs I've listened to, though, my favorite one is by Tommy Dorsey and his band. It's called simply "T.D.'s Boogie Woogie". What could be simpler?

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The sounds are very early 20Th Century, aren't they? I love the way this prowls around, yelling, then tip-toeing, circling around demanding that you get up and swing! Just magnificent! Then you have that quiet little piano line, a shout, and then some silence to let you gather yourself before you're off again.

Meade 'Lux' LewisFrom Colin Davey:
Boogie woogie piano is a dynamic, colorful music form with an equally colorful history. Beginning as dance music for poor southern blacks, boogie woogie became a national craze when Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, and Meade Lux Lewis performed at Carnegie Hall in 1938. It has had a major influence on blues, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, jazz, and pop, yet it has been widely neglected in the history books and is frequently misunderstood.

Boogie woogie is often confused with ragtime and stride piano. However, unlike these early jazz styles, it is defined by its blues structure, fast pace, and driving, repetitive eight-to-the-bar bass line. Although boogie woogie has been played by big bands and small ensembles, at its heart, it is a solo piano style.

Okay, I may not be able to describe what this music does in way that makes sense, but I can certainly feel it. What about you? One of my favorites, and one of the best. Enjoy!