Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009!

Happy 2009!

Be safe. Be smart. Remember: there is no such thing as "tipsy" driving! So drink responsibly and stick around for another year, all right?

Have a Happy New Year! May success, happiness, and good health be yours in 2009!


Monday, December 22, 2008

An Update on benning's World: Why Not, Right?

F2K is over, Lesson-wise, and all that’s left is our session's-end Short Story Contest. We began the session with nearly 500 writers, of many levels of expertise. Some are already published and are merely looking for a kick-start, or a refresher in the very basics of Fiction Writing. Some are newbies, wishing to learn enough to be able to express themselves in a writing venue, and perhaps to see if they have the talent to go on and get published. And the rest are somewhere in between.

When I was a student in F2K I found it a fun, friendly place, with so many things to discover and learn, so many new people to meet, so many opportunities to stretch whatever writing muscles I had. Through F2K I got the gumption to submit my very first short story to an online magazine. And they were impressed enough with it to publish it - and they paid me for my story, too! Not to mention my second, third, and fourth, as well!

Three runs through the F2K sessions and I was invited to become one of the Mentors, which eventually turned into my being asked to become the Mentor-in-Chief. What that means is I get the emails complaining about passwords that don’t work, assignments that have mysteriously disappeared, and hurt feelings from un-diplomatic feedback. But, y’know, it’s gotta be done, and I remain humble that our Founder and Leader, Bob Hembree, who created the free course, not to mention our entire Writers’ Village University, thought I could do the job.

Now, as I said, we’ve gotten down to our session-ending contest, which is more important than ever. The prize is to be published in a real-life paper magazine, get a small payment - I think it’s $25 - and to have a published work on one’s resume. Yes, it may sound small, but it’s not! Some online ezines accept and publish stories, but pay nothing - “It’s an honor to simply be published!” - which means your work is worth nothing at all.

With our numbers dwindling as the weeks went on - we never finish with the same number as we started - I was worried that our students wouldn’t submit enough contest entries to make it a real contest.

Silly me!

We got 27 entries. 27! That’s a lot of short stories by aspiring writers. And our task, as Mentors, was to read each one, and then put them onto a list of our favorites. I listed every one, from my top to the least. Not one of them was a dog, not one of them was a waste of reading time. I was thoroughly proud of my F2K writers! 27 short stories entered into our contest! Now, with our Mentors having submitted their own lists, I had to meld them into a Top Five or so, and post that for the Mentors to vote on. Yes or No?

When they all have decided whether or not the list will do, we will notify our Fearless Leader and hand that list to him. If he accepts it we tell the writers who are Finalists that they are now part of what Bob calls the F2K Masters Workshop.

What does that mean for them? They’ll have a specified time to edit their works, in the Workshop, for the publisher. Then the publisher will choose the winner. So it ain’t over yet! But, dang! It’s close!

I don’t know if you understand what this means to new writers. For weeks now these men and women, from all across the country, indeed the world, have worked together, given feedback to each other, watched as they all learned, grew as writers, and discovered that it ain’t easy to be a fiction writer. And now 27 of them had the guts to write a brand-new short story - the contest has a rule about the content of the story so you can’t just resurrect an old favorite! - submit it to their Mentors, and wait for someone to judge their work.

Trust me, when my first short story was published, even though it was an online-only ezine, I was so happy and proud I could scarce get my head through the door! And so it will be for these folks who become Finalists. Their writing was judged to be good enough to be a Finalist. Good enough to be considered for publication. Good enough!

It’s a great feeling. And I’m so happy for these men and women I am ready to bust a gut! All of them are Writers! Whoo-Hoo!

And that’s what’s been going on in benning’s world. Writing, Mentoring, and reading the works of new authors!

Oh, and nibbling M&Ms, too!


If you're interested in learning some of the basics of Fiction Writing, we begin our next session in early February of 2009. The course is free, lasts for about eight weeks, and consists of six lessons - not to mention an Orientation Week - and usually a session-ending writing contest. F2K is geared toward fiction writing, and aims to get you proficient enough to write a short story by the end. We also offer more one-on-one Mentoring for a small fee of $25.

You don't have to be a member of our parent organization - Writers' Village University - to register and attend. All you need is a desire to learn or re-learn some of the basics of fiction writing, and the ability to take criticism without bursting into tears. We hold weekly chat sessions, too. So think about signing up, all you writers out there. I'll be Mentoring again, as I expect most of our present Mentors will.

I hope to see some of you there, come February!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

... And How Have You Been?

Well, F2K is almost over. Nothing remains but the late assignment posts and contest submissions from our students. Then we Mentors will choose which submissions are the finalists and toss them into what we call the Masters Workshop so they can edit and polish their tales. The winner will be published in the T-Zero magazine and receive $25, along with a copy of the Spring Issue. Not bad for a writing course, right?

January will find me Mentoring another writing Class based on the book, "Between The Lines" by J. P. Morrell. I did this once before and it was a learning experience, let me tell you. I don't really care for books about 'how to write' since they tend to get a writer over-thinking. But this one was very helpful. And Mentoring another class will be fun, as well as tiring. I can't recall how long the class runs, but it might even overlap our next F2K session which begins in ... wait for it! ... February!

I'm a very busy volunteer at Writers' Village University, these days. That's why I simply stopped blogging after Election Day. Not to mention the fact that I was also entered in the 2008 edition of NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month - which I finished. Finished! Over 50,000 words written in a month! Maybe not what a professional novel writer would do, but pretty good totals for me. And I was Mentoring that F2K class the whole time, too!

Yeah, I'm bragging a little. I think I can see the end of my Young Adult SF novel. And that's a plus. I've been noodling this for close to a year, but finally got down to it, and pounded it out. It helps when the story just sort of unfolds before you, and it has, for the most part. Once that's finished - the first draft, at least - then I will go back to my unfinished SF novel, "Space Pirates" and get it done. That one has been tickling my mind for awhile. Time to get it done, right?

Let's see ... Thanksgiving found me at my Folks' for supper, which was excellent! My step-sister was visiting from 'up north' and we had a good time chatting, nibbling, and drinking. When I left Mom not only gave me a heap of left-overs - yum! - but my step-Dad wrapped the turkey carcass for me to take, too. Simmered for a few hours, that carcass fed me for three days, and I have turkey broth left. Not bad, right?

I hope your Thanksgiving was a good one.

I'm not terribly happy with the election results, especially as the MSM remains in the pocket of the Socialist Democrats and is hurrahing the coming Coronation of their choice for our national Messiah. The Georgia U.S. Senate run-off shows that the Dems are not as popular and all-powerful as they claim. Al Franken, unfunny as ever, is trying anything he can to pull out a victory from his defeat in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race. I figure any state that elects an idiot to office gets precisely what they deserve. Maybe Minnesotans aren't completely foolish, eh?

Why the heck aren't all ships, plying the seas off Somalia, armed? Why aren't we blowing those murderous Pirates to Kingdom Come? The companies insuring those vessels should demand they be armed and sailors be trained in use of those arms or refuse to insure the vessels. The naval forces 'protecting' that shipping lane, and any others in the world pestered by Pirates, should stop trying to capture them and simply annihilate them. Any pirates captured should be hanged. Immediately. Or keel-hauled. Or simply shot and tossed over-board. It's not a criminal justice issue, folks, it's a war on the High Seas. Time to bring down the hammer.

I have more, but to heck with it! Time to make breakfast. I'm kinda back. And still busy.

Take care!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Done My Duty!

I finished work, hopped in my decrepit car, and motored over to my local Polling place. In this case it's amid the Florida Extension Service's Botanical Gardens. Quite a nice place to wander through on the way to vote. The day has been overcast - and lightly misting - but the air was fresh and cool. Nice!

I'd put a photo up, but I'll be danged if I can find one!

Inside, expecting long lines, since the MSM has been touting the huge lines and long waits for early voting (trying to discourage voting?), I was very happy and surprised to find no lines! Cool beans! It was a steady trickle of voters, but no waiting at all.

I went in, looked around, asked the older gentleman at the door where the long lines were - "Long lines? Hahahahah!" he chuckled and gave me a huge smile - and went to the row of tables marked "Step One". And I was on my way. The ladies manning the desks were very friendly, knew what they were doing, and pointed me to each step along the way. Finally, ballot in hand I went to one of the privacy tables, marked my ballot, and headed for the funny machines that suck your ballot in.

Stick your ballot in the slot, in it goes, the screen says it's scanning your ballot. Then it reads something like, "You have voted! Thank You!"

Well, that made me smile. I always feel good after voting. I turned and handed the man at the rear door my pen and ballot cover, he gave me a sticker, and out I went. As I passed the front door where I had entered, I leaned in and called out, "Thank you very much!"

Tha ladies looked over, smiled, and answered, "Thanks for voting!" Dang! That made me feel good, too!

I had one huge smile on my face!

Down the hall and out the door, past the big, softly swaying trees, and back to my car.

The Constitution of the United States guarantees my right to vote. Having that right it is up to me whether or not I vote. To me it is a duty as a free American to vote. I saw my duty. I voted!

How about you?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 2008

Watch your kids, Parents. Don't let them wander around without you being there, or a responsible adult nearby and alert. It gets dark pretty early on October 31. No matter how powerful the headlights on a car or truck, kids in costumes can be hard, if not impossible, to see. Can you think of anything more sad than having a child injured or even killed while 'Trick or Treating'?

Watch your kids! If you're out there and see kids without supervision, you watch them, too! Yes, it is, too, your responsibility as a member of the community, as an adult, as a fellow American. Do it! This is supposed to be a fun evening for the kids. Make sure it stays that way!

Just to drive home the point, my friends, here's a repost of a short story I posted in October of 2006. It makes the point even if a fictional event. Happy Halloween!

"The Dark Road"
by benning (10/03)

Leaves skitter along the road in the chill autumn breeze. The road is a dark and quiet place.

The boy is eight years old. Dressed in a brand-new Batman costume, the cape a swirling dull sheen in the twilight, he skips along the dark road. He carries an empty sack in his hand. Halloween is just beginning. The mask he wears limits his vision, and he watches the roadway a few feet ahead to avoid holes and roadkill. He doesn't want to ruin his new costume.

He can hear his breath echoing in his ears and thinks of Darth Vader.

"Luke, I am your father," he intones in his best grown-up voice. He giggles and tries it again.

Light streams around him from behind, his shadow suddenly appearing ahead of his skipping form.

"I'm the Batman," he whispers.

Too late, he realizes something is different. The road ahead is filled with light and the elongated shadow of Batman.

He stops. A horn blares close behind. He turns, his eyes widening in shock, then fear.

He has no time to even scream before the huge truck strikes him.

The red taillights fade into the distance; leaves skitter along the road in the chill autumn breeze. The road is a dark and quiet place.

* * * * *

Howard and June pulled off the road and stared into the dark night. They sat in the car, silent, as they had done each Halloween for the past ten years.

Howard glanced at his wife, saw the tears glistening on her cheeks in the dashboard light. He took her hand and gently squeezed it. She squeezed his in return, her eyes never straying from the dark road ahead.

"We should've been with him," she murmured.

Howard said nothing. They'd been over this before. Many times. Everything that could've been said had been.

"He shouldn't've been out here alone," she whispered.

Howard turned away, stared out the windshield. "He couldn't wait, June. We told him to wait for us. You know that." His voice was quiet, gentling.

"We should've been with him," she whispered again.

Howard watched the dark, windy road and sighed.

At last, June sniffled, patted his hand, and scrabbled through her purse for her hanky. It was her signal that it was time to go. Over until the next Halloween.

Howard started the car, glanced in the mirrors, and pulled out. The headlights illuminated the road, and the swirling leaves ahead. He drove slowly and carefully.

* * * * *

The red taillights fade into the distance; leaves skitter along the road in the chill autumn breeze. The road is a dark and quiet place.

The boy is eight years old. Dressed in a brand-new Batman costume, the cape a swirling dull sheen in the twilight, he skips along the dark road. He carries an empty sack in his hand. Halloween is just beginning. The mask he wears limits his vision, and he watches the roadway a few feet ahead to avoid holes and roadkill. He doesn't want to ruin his new costume.

Free Image Hosting at

Thursday, October 30, 2008

2008: Phillies Are The Champs

So the World Series is over, the ballplayers can come in out of the rain and chilly winds, and we can move on to Football and Ice Hockey.

Phillies LogoThe Philadelphia Phillies are the Champions of Baseball, once more. They last won the Series in 1980. So the 80 - 08 signs were very nice and poetic. A fairly young team, with a very old manager, the Phillies did everything they had to do to get to the world championship and win it. Reaching the National League Championship the experts made a point of telling us they couldn't win in Los Angeles against the Dodgers because the Phils hadn't won a single game there all season. So the Phillies went to L.A and won two out of three to take the pennant. Coming into the World Series, the Phillies were proclaimed underdogs and ignored the naysayers to win it all.

After the winning pitchBen Walker reports:
The Philadelphia Phillies have won the World Series, capturing the decisive fifth game 4-3 over Tampa Bay in a clinching game that took two days to complete following Monday night's rain delay.

Pedro Feliz drove in the winning run for the Phils in the bottom of the seventh inning. Phillies relievers J.C. Romero and closer Brad Lidge pitched scoreless ball from there.

When Lidge struck out Eric Hinske in the ninth to end it, the Phillies began celebrating their second World Series title in team history, and first since 1980. Lidge successfully closed all 41 save opportunities in the regular season and all seven such tries in the postseason, including two in the World Series.

Well done, Philadelphia Phillies!

I grew up in the suburbs to the northeast of Philadelphia. I remember listening to the games on the radio and hearing about Johnny Callison in the field and Jim Bunning on the mound, was confused by the collapse of the '64 Phils under manager Gene Mauch, shook my head at the insane antics of Richie Allen. And suffered through losing season after losing season.

Tug McGraw celebrates the win!By the time the Phillies had become steady contenders I was living in Southern California - the home of the hated Dodgers! I had to experience the rise of the Phillies at a distance. The 1980 march to the World Series was magical, but scary, too. The Phillies had been cursed with collapses for decades - The Whiz Kids of the 1950s are legendary! - and every game lost seemed to hint at another collapse. The power of Mike Schmidt, the on-field excitement of Pete Rose, the pitching wizardry of Steve Carlton was exciting and wonderful! We had our hopes. And we had our fears. Oh, please, not another collapse. Please?

Mike Schmidt and Phillies celebrate 1980 championship!

But the Phils won! And they remained contenders for a few more years culminating in a World Series in 1983. But Eddie Murray of the Baltimore Orioles destroyed the Philadelphia hopes that year with his two, game-five home runs to beat the Phils. Phillies fans turned into a Philadelphia version of Cubs fans: "We'll get 'em next year!"


It took a decade for the Phillies to return to the Series. But 1993 was not to be the second winning World Series for them. Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays hit a 3-run homer in the ninth inning of Game 6 to turn the Phillies into World Series losers.

Phillies celebrateBut this year - 2008! - was the year. World Series Champions again! A tough team to love, those damned Phillies. But how can you not?


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Handling Capitalists Ayers-style

Here's what it boils down to. Obama is a Socialist. He has good friends who have helped him up the political ladder from the start. They are also Socialists. Some are terrorists. Obama can claim otherwise, but this supposedly terribly smart man cannot realistically claim he doesn't know what these creepy beasts think and espouse. Terror is their tool and the American populace was the target.

From Pajamas Media writer Bob Owens:
When Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn led the domestic terrorist group Weather Underground in 1969, a chance meeting led Army veteran Larry Grathwohl into joining the group. Grathwohl served as a courier, running messages between the group’s leadership (called the “Weather Bureau”) and individual cells that were to carry out attacks.

Grathwohl was also an informant for the FBI.

In an interview from the 1982 documentary No Place To Hide that recently surfaced, Grathwohl discussed what the Weathermen intended to do after overthrowing the U.S. government, including what they would do with those Americans who refused to embrace communism.

I asked, “Well what is going to happen to those people we can’t reeducate, that are diehard capitalists?” And the reply was that they’d have to be eliminated.

And when I pursued this further, they estimated they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these reeducation centers.

And when I say “eliminate,” I mean “kill.”

Twenty-five million people.

I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.

And they were dead serious.

"This isn't the William Ayers I knew." That's the explanation of Barack Obama. In fact it's how he deals with every revelation regarding his criminal associates once their words and deeds come to public light.

Me, I take them at thier words. They cannot be trusted with the lives and fortunes of Americans. And their Sock Puppet, Obama, cannot be trusted either.

Re-education camps and mass executions, America? Anyone?

Also, check out Negative Liberties and Obama Newspeak:
This is the newness of Obama in our history. Leftists like George McGovern and Jimmy Carter lived real lives. Both served in the military. Both seemed to have been genuinely religious. Both worked in private business. Both came from states that were conservative, and so they had to defend their political philosophies. Barack Obama, by contrast, has lived a life of utter sameness. There are no bumps or rough edges or hints of individuality at all.

It is not just his life, so marinated in rote theory, that makes Obama unique. He is an early prototype of a new creature in our lives: Orwell's children, if you will. These are the people who can honestly believe that September 11th was an "inside job" or that the CIA invented crack cocaine to hurt blacks. This is the generation which has grown up with no intellectual or cultural system of checks and balances.

The Great 2008 Depression! *snicker*

Just how wrong can our Mainstream Media be? In fact just how wrong can so many of our political representatives be? Pretty damn wrong! Oh, anybody with a lick of sense and a modicum of reading skill knows that the meltdown of the Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae institutions were brought aobut by the looting of them by such luminaries of the Left as Barney Frank (D - Pimp Basement) and the Messiah-self-Elect Barack Obama (D - Heaven Itself). Leftists in office have been stealing the taxpayers' money for Eons with little to show the American people other than their palatial Estates and condescending attitudes toward those who pay the bills for them. Whatever the economic problems the country faces, you can be sure that it's been the political Left that has orchestrated it, benefited from it, and pointed the finger of blame on anybody but themselves.

So, too, can any reasonable American recognize the stupidity, cupidity, and utter cluelessness of the MSM in its 'coverage' of the financial turmoil birthed by the American Left. These self-appointed Smart People haven't the foggiest clue about economics or economic theory, nor a single useful idea on how a thriving economy works. As willing handmaidens of the Left, and 'informational' Storm Troopers for The One (D - Sherwood Estates, Nottingham), the American media has ignored fact in favor of fairy tale (Barney Frank, D - Pimp Daddy) and lied to the American taxpayer whose economic well-being is being destroyed by the lies and machinations of the Socialists.

Tough times for American workers? Yeah, some. But not as bad as the MSM and the Leftists have been whining about. The Leftists like Chuckie Schumer (D - Clueless in NY) who can blithely destroy a bank with his ignorant, poorly-timed, public complaints, and still not accept that he may have, just possibly, perhaps, maybe, kinda been a straw that broke the camel's back, are at the root of any economic problems we face. They destroy because they aren't smart enough to know what they're talking about. Thier economic ignorance is second to nobody else's.

I don't know about you, but everytime I see that idiotic Obama ad that intones about rising gas prices, I have to laugh! The gas prices have dropped. Big time! Where they scratched $4/gallon, not long ago, they have now plummeted to $2.48/gallon. Has the MSM bothered to trumpet that news? They sure blamed Bush and Company every time gas prices rose! Where's Bush's credit for lowering the gas prices? Right! You can't give him credit because he didn't lower the prices. Guess what, lying Media and Leftists (but I repeat myself), Bush didn't make the prices rise, either. But policies of the elected Leftists did! Socialists calling themselves Democrats caused the problem. And, certainl;y, Republicans helped them.

So, we're in a Recession, right? The MSM says we are, and we all know what economic experts they are, right?


Randall Hoven, in his article in the American Thinker, says,
The message blasted at us day after day by the Obama campaign and its public relations machine, otherwise known as mainstream media, is that we are in a recession, we have been for essentially the last eight years, and the US is unique in this because of the failed policies of George W. Bush.

We are not in recession. The economy of the last eight years has been fine. And we are doing better than our European know-it-alls who favor an Obama victory. At least that's what the most recent economic data show.
A standard definition of recession is two consecutive quarters of negative real growth. However, the last two quarters of data, January through June, were both positive and in fact the most recent quarter was fairly strong at +2.8%. The preliminary estimate of GDP for the third quarter (July through September) is scheduled to come out this Thursday, October 30. So far, we have had zero consecutive quarters of negative growth. If Thursday's number indicates negative growth, that will still be only one quarter in a row.

Click on the link and read it! Plenty of facts and figures to make even the weakest-kneed of you sit up and take notice. We ain't in a Recession. We may be closing in on one, but we ain't there now. All the MSM and the Socialists are doing is pushing Americans to panic over nothing. By panicing they expect us to turn over the power of the entire government to the very lying, cheating scumbags who have caused so much misery already. Are you going to fall for it?

FCC Chairman IdiotIn a similar, related note, we find this interesting tidbit of news. While the government has been telling us just how hard things are, and how they need to spend billions to make the economy heal, we find the Chairman of the FCC spending $350,000 to sponsor a NASCAR driver. That's your money, folks! It ain't the government's money! The government doesn't have any money it hasn't taken by force from you! That's your $350,000 the FCC Chairman is spending. Why isn't he out the door, holding a box of his office belongings? Why hasn't the Bush Administration begun proceedings to fire this idiot?
Speaking of the sponsorship, Martin said, "I believe this sponsorship is an extremely effective way for the FCC to raise DTV awareness among people of all ages and income levels across the United States who loyally follow one of the most popular sports in America."
As if we haven’t been blanketed by TV Ads about this? As if the US government hasn’t spent millions or billions on this already? Yeah, we need to sponsor a NASCAR driver to make sure the ‘hicks’ who watch NASCAR know all about the DTV switch. Riiiight! Wanna bet the ‘hicks’ are ahead of the curve on this? I have my little, black decoder box. Betcha it won’t be NASCAR fans who start screaming in outrage and confusion once the analog signals disappear. Any takers?

Just wondering. And how is your October going?

Related information: Dow jumps nearly 900 as investors seek bargains

AP tells us, again, that this is the worst financial crisis in 70 years. Clueless at the AP: Fed is expected to cut interest rates again today

Why the Mortgage Crisis Happened

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman Dies

Paul Newman has died after battling cancer. He was 83. The Houston Chronicle reports:
Paul Newman, a major figure in American cinema who created indelible characters for more than half a century, died Friday at his home near Westport, Conn., after a lengthy battle with cancer, publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was 83.

An Ailing Newman in MayIn this May 10, 2008 file photo, actor Paul Newman watches from the pit area during practice for the Indianapolis 500. (AP Photo)

Newman's first movie, The Silver Chalice (1954), was an embarrassment, but he was lauded for his portrayal of the boxer Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me two years later.

He chose roles wisely. Among his highly regarded films are Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Long, Hot Summer, both of which were released in 1958. He made some of his biggest hits in the 1970s, including The Sting, in which he starred with Robert Redford, and The Towering Inferno.

As a young actor, the charismatic Newman never exhibited the soul-baring intensity of Brando or Dean — to whom he was sometimes compared — nor the unguarded vulnerability of Montgomery Cliff.

"He seems to me an uneasy, self-regarding personality, as if handsomeness had left him guilty," the critic David Thomson once wrote of Newman. "As a result, he was more mannered than Brando when young, while his smirking good humor always seemed more appropriate to glossy advertisements than to good movies."

The camera, however, loved Newman and so did movie audiences. His appeal clearly went beyond looks.

Writing of his role as a cad in Hud in 1964, the New Yorker's Pauline Kael wrote, "They could cast him as a mean man and know that the audience would never believe in his meanness."

Continuing, Kael said Newman was the type of actor who projected "such a traditional heroic frankness and sweetness that the audience dotes on them, seeks to protect them from harm or pain."

Newman received nine Oscar acting nominations and won once — in 1987 for his performance as Fast Eddie Felson in The Color of Money. The film was Martin Scorsese's sequel to The Hustler, the 1961 drama for which Newman received his second Oscar nomination and one of several roles for which he shall be forever remembered.

Additionally, Rachel, Rachel, a film Newman directed in 1968, was nominated for best picture. He also received two honorary Oscars, once in 1986 for his body of work and again in 1994 for his humanitarian efforts.

The Color of Money was widely seen as inferior to The Hustler, but it demonstrated that Newman seemingly had grown more relaxed in a face and body that, while still strikingly attractive, no longer looked as if they had been sculpted by Michelangelo.

Arguably, Newman did his best work in middle age and beyond, in films such as Money, The Road to Perdition (2002) and, especially, The Verdict (1982), Sidney Lumet's drama (from a David Mamet script) about an alcoholic lawyer past his prime who must try the case of his life.

with Joanne Woodward in Long Hot Summer

Newser says:
Newman got his start in theater and on television during the 1950s, and went on to become one of the world's most enduring and popular film stars, as well as a favorite of his peers. He was nominated for Oscars 10 times, winning one regular award and two honorary ones. He is survived by his wife, actress Joanne Woodward.

I always enjoyed Paul Newman on the Big Screen. His political opinions were typical Hollywood, and not worth remembering. Actors do age and pass on, but it seems the greatest are never really replaced. Thus we lose some fantastic talents every year, it seems, while no one appears able to pick up thier mantle.

We'll miss Mr. Newman.


Butch Cassidy: Then you jump first.

Sundance Kid: No, I said.

Butch Cassidy: What's the matter with you?

Sundance Kid: I can't swim.

Butch Cassidy: Are you crazy? The fall will probably kill you.

Newman's finest fight scene:

"Rules? In a knife fight? No rules!" - Ted Cassidy

Click here for the final scene from Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid.

Kim Priestap notes Mr. Newman's passing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Moments With Obama

Yesterday, a little before 1:00 PM, as I was heading home from work - a three-mile drive of maybe 15 minutes duration - traffic ground to a halt at the intersection of Missouri Avenue and West Bay Dr. I wondered what the hold-up was about. I could see a few flashing lights through the windshields of the cars ahead, but nary a siren was wailing, and no smoke was rising from the intersection. Couldn't be an accident. At least not much of one.

One fellow in an SUV, ahead, got out and walked toward the intersection. He came back and spoke to the driver of the car next to his, then shrugged. I guess he didn't know what was going on ahead, and his short jaunt hadn't informed him. I waited, and wondered why the right lane wasn't turning to get out of the jam.

Now, since I was in the right lane, I impatiently waited for the cars ahead to either move up or turn into the parking lot of the store there. I'd just follow them in, pass around behind the store, and turn right onto West Bay and take the back route home. Cars were trying to edge to the right, so I knew others had the same idea. What the heck was going on?

Finally someone got the idea of escape, turned into the CVS lot, and the others followed - not always safely! What is wrong with some people? - and I finally made it up to the entrance and turned in, followed the truck ahead of me around the back of the CVS, and around to the West Bay Dr. entrance. Those ahead of me were turning right onto West Bay and escaping the stopped traffic. I got to the entrance and saw a cop car sitting in the middle of the road near the intersection to my left. The cop, in bright orange vest, waved and pointed at me.

I stopped. I ain't no fool!

He approached me, all the while turning his glance to the east, up East Bay. When he got to the side of my car he said, "You'll have to stay right there for a few minutes, sir."

Sir? Me?

"Barack Obama's motorcade is coming through and they want to keep the street clear."

"Okay," I said, and nodded. Well, at least here I was at the front of my own line, so I could see what was going on. And cars were lining up behind me, including one snot who insisted on honking the horn every few seconds. Guess he told me, huh?

The cop turned away, heading back to the middle of the road, then called over his shoulder, "They tell me it's about two minutes more."

I waved. Okay, I can take two more minutes, and now I know what's going on. That's an historical fact about Americans: they always want to know what's going on. Especially in a traffic jam!

I guess he must've thought a bit on how I looked - in my sweat-stained Wal-Mart-blue work-shirt - and decided to make sure. He stopped and looked at me, calling as he pointed at me, "If you take off, I'm gonna find you."

"All right," I answered him, "just bring some beer!"

He turned away, then looked over his shoulder at me, smiled, and yelled, "I wish I could!"

About two minutes later the whine of sirens rose from the east. Flashing headlights could be seen, grew closer, and a motorcade became visible. Cars flashing their lights, and a big bus with its headlights lit, then more cars behind. Loud sirens as the cars ahead zipped past me, heading west toward the beach. The motorcade went past fast - they were speeding, by the way! The limit is 30 mph through that stretch of road and they were going much faster! - and all I could see was darkened windows. *shrug*

And just like that the Obama motorcade had passed through downtown Largo. Where had they been? Dunno. Where were they heading? Dunno.

That cop waved me out and I took off, following close behind the motorcade's tail. I thought for a moment how unsafe that position was. But in a moment I was at the next big intersection and I turned south (the motorcade had turned north). My Obama moment was over.

Wow! I'm all atwitter! Hah!

O'Keefe'sNote: It turns out that Obama was heading for lunch in Clearwater, on Tuesday. He dined at O'Keefe's, which is a nice Tavern and Grill that my folks and I enjoy. The Shepherd's Pie is to die for! O'Keefe's sits right across the street from the famed Morton Plant Hospital. I wonder how the traffic there was.

Obama inside O'Keefe's

It is reported that Obama ordered a Cheeseburger to go, then worked the lunch crowd for about an hour. A cheeseburger in an Irish Pub? I'm sure O'Keefe's makes a mean cheeseburger, but, come on! At least get the Fish and Chips! I doubt he had any of the fine beers, but probably ordered a glass of water. Sheesh!

Obama schmoozes
Does this look posed?

Well, when you're campaigning, it probably isn't a good idea to quaff a pint of Guinness as you talk in public, huh? I'll give him a pass on that, but a cheeseburger?

Obama Gets A Burger In Clearwater

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Moses' Horns: No Longer An Excuse

Misinterpret: mis·in·ter·pret [mis-in-tur-prit] - to interpret, explain, or understand incorrectly.

When we read a passage, whether in the newspaper, a letter, or a book, we base our understanding of what we are reading on our knowledge of the language. Thus, presented with information we have never before encountered, we must interpret the writer's intention, and meaning, using a limited amount of facts. Over the past few years the limited amount of facts have become nearly unlimited. That being the case we are no longer unable to see behind the writer's words, but have the ability, if we choose to use that ability, to see that the writer may be biased, mistaken, in error, even exactly correct.

Today no newspaper can get away with publishing out-and-out propaganda, half-truths, and hatchet-jobs with impunity. Not if the readers use the resources available now, and take the time to ferret out the facts. A writer can, once confronted with the evidence of error, claim misinterpretation by the reader, mistranslation by the writer's own source material, even, in extreme cases, claim the writing has been taken out of context. But the writer is no longer writing in a knowledge vacuum; the reader is no longer in a vacuum, either. The reader has tools readers of past ages never had, and can easily discover when the writer is pulling the wool over the reader's eyes. Or when the writer has made a mistake so as to draw the writer's attention to it.

We used to depend on the knowledge and expertise of the writers, believing that, as educated, trained professionals, their product was reliable. Such a case resulted in the Vulgate Bible. Jerome, commissioned by Pope Damasius I in A.D. 382, to revise the four Gospels from the Old Latin texts, eventually went beyond his original commission. Jerome would abandon some of the Greek translations to finally delve into the Hebrew texts of the Septuagint to produce a version of the Bible that was drawn from a purer source than the muddled Greek and Aramaic versions of the time. Although Jerome was considered fluent in Greek, and thus well-qualified to translate the Greek Gospels into Latin, his Hebrew was not fluent, though he moved to Jerusalem to perfect his understanding of the language. He was not wholly successful. But the end-product of his endeavors was better than the Bible the world then knew. Still, Jerome made errors, and they resulted in some very odd understandings which we can see today.

Moses by Michelangelo
Photo of "Moses" by prasenberg

I expect most of you have seen Michelangelo's magnificent sculpture of Moses. Wiki says:

The Moses is a marble sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti 1513-1515 which depicts the Biblical figure Moses.

Originally intended for the tomb of Julius II in St. Peter's Basilica, "Moses" and the tomb were instead placed in the minor church of San Pietro in Vincoli on the Esquiline in Rome after the pope's death.

You notice, of course the horns growing from Moses' head. This is not a political or religious statement by Michelangelo. Rather it is probably the result of Jerome's faulty Vulgate translation of Hebrew in Exodus 34: 29-35. The text contains the word "Haran" (or Qaran) which, depending on the context, can mean 'radiated (light)' or 'grew horns'. Jerome's mistranslation then became a regular image of Moses created by many artists, of Moses with horns growing from his head.
From Moses Hand:
Jerome took the basic meaning of the word and neglected its derived meaning of "to emit rays." Many times in Hebrew one must assign the meaning of a word based on its context. In Psalm 69:31 qaran is used to describe an ox or young bull. There the translation as "horn" is appropriate. But in Exodus 34:29 qaran is used in conjunction with the phrase "skin of his face." From the context of following versus[sic - should be verses] the meaning as "horns" is not supported. The Apostle Paul understood this to mean "shone" and not "grew horns" as can be seen from 2 Corinthians 3:7-13.

Horned Moses in stained glassThe Jews of Paul's time understood exactly what the passage meant. They knew and spoke Hebrew and understood it. But Christians of Jerome's time did not understand or speak Hebrew. Imagine all the beautiful art created by later Christians that are based on this simple mistranslation of a word - taken out of its proper context. Naturally, taken in context, the passage is powerful, but probably difficult to reproduce in marble:
Exodus 34

Verse 29: And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.

Verse 30: And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.

Again, from Moses Hand:
As a result of this some Christian representations of Moses can be found with ram's horns. Further, some have taken this image and used it in their synthesis of Christianity with the Egyptian Amun and the Greek Aries to form mystic cults.


1965 Moses in terracotta by Joseph KiselewskiAt Syracuse University members of the Latino American Law Student Association, the Black Law Student Association, the Women's Law Caucus, the Lambda Law Student Association and the Jewish Law Student Association all lodged complaints against Mr. Kiselewski's Moses. They claim that the horns protruding from his head are demonic.

So much mischief from one little mistranslation, one tiny misinterpretation. Ages passed before that mistranslation was corrected. But in the interim, how many errors were compounded. So it is with the written word. What we read may be intended for good. But if it is in error we must challenge it. If only to correct what may be misunderstood by folks who will not look into the facts, or those who rely on misunderstandings to fuel their agendas.

You are responsible if you take as ‘gospel’ what is written as propaganda. You are responsible if you accept ugly rumors as truth without discovering the facts. You don’t have the excuse Jerome might have had. You have the Internet! Use it!

Horned MosesNote: To be fair, some believe that artists portraying Moses with horns were promulgating an ancient artistic, or religious, tradition. According to Ruth Mellinkoff in "The Horned Moses in Medieval Art and Thought", as reviewed in The Art Bulletin:
St. Jerome's translation must have made sense at the time. . . . The reader of the Vulgate would have understood this passage in the light of an age-old tradition: the horned head or the head wearing a horned headdress symbolized divinity, honor and power in ancient civilizations. Such horned accouterments rated as devices which made manifest both magical power and protection.
Of course, the problem is that times have changed, so have our traditions and traditional understandings. I think it's a mistranslation. Jewish understanding would not agree with portraying Moses in such a way. The rays of light radiating from his face, after meeting with G_D, were as expected. Horns were something pagan.

Check Google for more on this oddity.

Maria has thoughts on this, too. Her take has nothing to do with my theme, but is interesting.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sarah Palin: 3 Weeks Later

So it's been nearly three weeks since McCain announced his choice as running-mate. The initial screams of horror from the unhinged Left have cooled to mostly dark mutterings and the normal Democrat Party scandal-mongers have gone into re-cycling mode as they continue their quest to find something - anything! - that will torpedo Sarah Palin, and by extension John McCain, in their bid for the White House in November. The attacks on Sarah Palin, of course, remain unutterable ugly.

We've watched as Sarah Palin's private email account was hacked and exposed to the Internet - nothing there? Aww, gee-whiz! - and had to shake our heads as the Left's handmaidens in the MSM have turned this felony into a non-story. The AP, which has proven itself a willing accomplice of the Democrat Party, called the stolen emails a 'leak' rather than admit that a crime had been committed.

A leak implies that someone was entrusted with information of a secret nature, but exposed it - for whatever reason - as the People's Right to Know. That simply isn't close to the case here. The AP knows it. So this election cycle has proven that the vaunted AP is in the bag for the Left, the Democrats, and thus for Obama.

And, by the by, there is no such thing as the 'People's Right to Know' beyond a certain point. Doesn't exist as it's portrayed in the political realm. It's a purely fictional pretence of the Media to exonerate the stealers of secrets. Well, except for the secrets revealed against Democrats. Then it's a crime. Hey, we get it! Really, we do.

Sarah Palin's choice to knowingly allow her Down's Syndrome-afflicted son to be born has been assailed non-stop. Seem she isn't allowed a 'choice' if that choice goes against the received wisdom of the Femi-Nazis or the Left (thanks for coining that word, Rush! It's perfect!). No matter that Palin and her husband may have beliefs that cause them to accept this child with love and acceptance. No matter that they are more than qualified to raise this child without demanding money from the taxpayers to do so. No, this is unacceptable to the Socialist-Fascists. That child should have been aborted! And for not aborting that horrid, damaged piece of tissue, the Palins must be excoriated.

It certainly doesn't matter that it's none of the business of these Nanny State architects. They may react in horror at the thought of government busybodies sticking their noses where they don't belong, but in this case, by Marx!, it's their absolute Right to castigate Sarah Palin for having the utter audacity to choose for herself. Marx damn her, she chose wrong! Sic 'er!

And so they have, those paragons of virtue and rectitude on the Left. And as the ugliness grows deeper, smellier, scarier in their endless attempts to destroy the family and thus candidacy of this Alaska Governor, the American electorate has to wonder ... what the hell's wrong with the Democrats? What's wrong with Senator Obama, that he sends his workers out to do this? Why is the media reporting the accusations but ignoring the truth, the facts?

What's going on?

Win or lose, come November, Sarah and Todd Palin will not be destroyed, nor will their family be permanently harmed by all this. No, the losers in this are the American people, who have watched the press slide almost completely into the waiting arms of the modern Democrat Party, and the majority of the Democrats in the country, who have seen their Party taken over by the most divisive, fanatical, radical members.

And certainly America is hurt when a once great political Party goes to pieces like this. Attacking a candidate for their words - not the edited version you swear are the actual words, Charlie Gibson! - is politics as it should be. Attacking a candidate's positions on the issues is politics as it should be. Attacking candidates for their friendships with oddballs and criminals is certainly politics as it should be. Attacking candidates on their records is politics as it should be. Hiding the facts and telling lies is not politics as it should be. Nor should threats.

Sarah Palin might not be the perfect candidate for the vice-presidency, especially if you are a Democrat, but that does not excuse the lies, distortions, criminal attacks, and all the rest that have been aimed at her. Debate her stances if you like, but stop tossing mud, hoping it will stick.

Try to act like an adult, won't you?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Another Voice On 9/11

DJ Drummond, at Wizbang, posted "On This Day", where he compares then versus now, and in which he says:
On this day then, evil came to America and murdered thousands of people, men and women, child and adult, soldier and civilian, Christian and Muslim and Atheist and Agnostic, in hopes of destroying Liberty.

On this day now, our soldiers fight to create Liberty in the very nations which spawned the evil which attacked us.

On this day then, thousands of our enemies cheered the death and pain brought about by villainy.

On this day now, millions of our new friends live in freedom and prosperity because of the efforts of Americans.

On this day then, monsters targeted people they knew to be innocent, in hopes of creating despair.

On this day now, our troops have destroyed many of the worst terrorists in the region, yet are careful to spare innocents, in hopes of fighting justly.


On this day then, some in America chose to side with the terrorists.

On this day now, sadly some in America still side with the terrorists.

On this day then, many in America supported the troops only in words.

On this day now, many in America support the troops only in words.

I suggest you click the link and read the entire post.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years Ago

Flag found in the WTC rubble

American flag found in World Trade Center rubble at the Fresh Kills Landfill, Staten Island, New York. Transfer from the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Seven years ago. 19 Muslim murderers. 4 hijacked airplanes. 2,996 murdered innocent people. Seven years ago, today. The arithmetic of Islamist ignorance, envy, and hatred.

Helmet worn by FDNY Battalion Chief Joseph Pfeifer

Helmet worn by FDNY Battalion Chief Joseph Pfeifer, the first fire chief to arrive at the World Trade Center on September 11

The Left wants you to forget. The Left wants you to 'understand' why you deserved to be attacked. The Left wants you to stop targeting Muslims with your hatred. The Left wants you to forget why we have soldiers fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Seven years ago, today. Have you forgotten? Do you dare forget?

photographer's last photo

Bill Biggart’s last photograph, of the fallen south tower, taken shortly before the north tower collapsed

The World Trade Center, the Pentagon, a field in Pennsylvania. Islamist fanatics brought their ugly, savage, inhuman practices to the United States of America. We've been fighting them ever since, in one place or another; in one way or another. Have you forgotten?

Shanksville, Pennsylvania

Tim Shaffer’s photograph of investigators at the Flight 93 crash site, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

They brought their hatred to us. They brought their ugliness to us. They brought thier insanity to us. The Left wants you to forgive them and understand them. Do you understand them? The Left wants you to blame yourself for the attacks. Have you forgotten?

Images from the National Museum of American History's commemorative exhibition, September 11: Bearing Witness to History.

From Patrick comes this poem by an unknown author:

On Monday we emailed jokes

On Monday we emailed jokes.
On Tuesday we did not.

On Monday we thought that we were secure.
On Tuesday we learned better.

On Monday we were talking about heroes as being athletes.
On Tuesday we relearned who our heroes are.

On Monday we were irritated that our rebate checks had not arrived.
On Tuesday we gave money away to people we had never met.

On Monday there were people fighting against praying in schools.
On Tuesday you would have been hard pressed to find a school where someone was not praying.

On Monday people argued with their kids about picking up their room.
On Tuesday the same people could not get home fast enough to hug their kids.

On Monday people were upset that they had to wait 6 minutes in a fast food drive through line.
On Tuesday people didn't care about waiting up to 6 hours to give blood for the dying.

On Monday we waved our flags signifying our cultural diversity.
On Tuesday we waved only the American flag.

On Monday there were people trying to separate each other by race, sex, color and creed.
On Tuesday they were all holding hands.

On Monday we were men or women, black or white, old or young, rich or poor, gay or straight, Christian or non-Christian.
On Tuesday we were Americans.

On Monday politicians argued about budget surpluses.
On Tuesday grief stricken they sang 'God Bless America'.

On Monday the President was going to Florida to read to children.
On Tuesday he returned to Washington to protect our children.

On Monday we had families.
On Tuesday we had orphans.

On Monday people went to work as usual,
On Tuesday they died.

On Monday people were fighting the 10 commandments on government property.
On Tuesday the same people all said 'God help us all' while thinking 'Thou shall not kill'.

It is sadly ironic how it takes horrific events to place things into perspective, but it has. The lessons learned this week, the things we have taken for granted, the things that have been forgotten or overlooked, hopefully will never be forgotten again.

He has more. Visit him. AOW remebers, as does Victoria, and Bookworm. The Anchoress gives her thoughts. Chris Muir remembers.

Pejman Yousefzadeh posts "Seven Years" over at Red State. Jay Tea, and Lorie Byrd, at Wizbang, give thier thoughts.

Sister Toldjah posts her 9/11 thoughts and memory.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

On Pigs & Lipstick

Okay, it’s time to calm down and get a grip. Sarah Palin’s a big girl and quite able to handle the smears of the rabid Leftists at the beck and call of the Obamamaniacs. So there’s no reason to leap to her defense based on yet another of Barack Obama’s clumsy public pronouncements.

Obama’s recent clumsy verbiage?
“You can put lipstick on a pig,” he said as the crowd cheered. “It’s still a pig.”

“You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink.”

“We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”

Okay, so this was on his teleprompter, thus obviously planned beforehand. So what? Did he mean to slime Sarah Palin as a pig? Did he intend to smear McCain as a smelly, old fish? Could be. So what? This is politics. As the old saying goes, it ain't beanbag. Politics gets ugly fast, and it gets personal. I would agree that some things are beyond the Pale, but that’s my opinion. As long as we are free to speak our minds, or whatever the Left uses for minds, we’ll have ugly attacks as a part of our political discourse. That’s the way it is.

So what to do, just ignore the dimwitted slaverings of the Democrat’s standard-bearer? No.

First, let’s not play the from the Democrat Party playbook. Do we need to whine and demand apologies? No. Let the girlie Left do that. It’s how they respond to every disagreement. So, stop whining!

Secondly, make sure every ugly, nasty, personal attack is posted and played for public consumption. Nothing makes American voters angrier than personal attacks based on lies, smears, and innuendo. The Press won't publish these things of their own accord, so you need to. Eventually the public will find out and they won’t be happy.

Thirdly, laugh! It’s funny! Watch the frenzy with which the Obamamaniacs screech in horror when their Messiah is mocked. Chuckle when their spokesloons try to explain away every silly gaffe The One utters. Mock Him, mock them, laugh! It’ll drive them crazier.

Whatever you do, though, stop going crazy every time Obama or his minions do something ugly, uncivilized, or phony. It’s what they do, so enjoy it and publicize it. There’s more to come. You know it! Get ready for it!

And laugh!

Cool & Refreshing

I'm not much of a fan of "soft drinks" though I occasionally have one. Soda or Pop are not what I choose to drink unless I'm having a "mixed drink". Since I don't really care for hard liquor I cut it with something - no, water doesn't cut it sufficiently!

Briardale Cola - originally the clor was red on whiteBut I got to thinking about soft drinks as opposed to "adult beverages" and I remembered a few of the ones I didn't mind terribly. Now, when I was growing up, and spending my summers at the Langhorn Country Club - I was a competitive swimmer for a long time, and was a part of their summer swim team for over a decade - they used to have a soda machine out behind the locker rooms. You could sip your soda while looking over the eighteenth fairway. Always a nice breeze in the summer, under the porch that held the country club building.

The soda I always liked - remember, I was a kid! - was called Briardale Cola. Not Coke or Pepsi. It never seemed as sweet as the rival colas, was a redder color, and had a kind of nutty, or nutmeggy, flavor to it. The logo was a horse's head - some versions had the horse's head coming through a horseshoe. I liked Briardale. I've never seen it any other place and have not had a Briardale Cola since 1973.

Never an After-ThirstOnce I moved on to a kind of adulthood, and might want to drink something a bit sweet, I discovered "Squirt". Squirt is a citrus soft drink. Unlike 7-Up, or other citrus-flavored drinks, Squirt's main flavor seems to be grapefruit! Yuck! I loathe grapefruit! But I like Squirt. Wonder why. Fact is Squirt is not nearly as sweet as the other brands. So, I guess it's more of an adult soft drink. Anyway, I do like Squirt. It is available in the supermarket.

Little SquirtSquirt was developed just before World War II. The lower sugar content was a plus considering the rationing of sugar at the time. Herb Bishop created a new carbonated drink that required less fruit and less sugar. In Bishop's opinion, it was the freshest, most exciting taste in the marketplace. He named it Squirt. Understanding that marketing was required to compete with the bigger soft drinks, Bishop and his partner, Ed Mehren, came up with a little mascot called "Little Squirt"which was a success.

The Squirt BuildingAfter the war Squirt was marketed as a mixer in the 1950s, and it's market share has grown, expanding into Central and South America over the years. The Squirt brand is now owned by Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc., a subsidiary of Cadbury Schweppes of London, England. Now, I don't remember ever seeing that mascot, Little Squirt. Probably because the company stopped using it long ago. But I do remember looking for Squirt at the store. It's one of my favorite non-adult beverages, I recommend it.

When we kids were young, and we'd get sick, Mom would dose us with Ginger Ale for nausea. As it was sweet it was easy to get us to drink it, even though it was served at room temperature. Ginger Ale does work for nausea, though peppermint is better, and tea works, too. But Ginger Ale seemed to be saved strictly for sick kids. We rarely saw it otherwise. My folks have never been tea-totalers, so I am well-acquainted with the mixers they used to use, way back when. Ginger Ale was always Schweppes or Canada Dry. In those days I don't think there was any such thing as a store brand. And that was the brand of Ginger Ale you got. Schweppes or Canada Dry. I didn't know there was any other brand out there.

Old Vernors Logo with GnomeWhen I moved myself to Florida in 1985, I discovered a soft drink called Vernors. It is billed as Ginger Soda rather than Ginger Ale. Is there a difference? A little, I guess. For one thing Vernors has a fuller body to it than your run-of-the-mill ginger ale. I think it has a touch of Cream Soda to it, which is how it was first recommended to me. Don't ask why, that was many years ago.

And the oddest fact is that Vernors is aged. How long do the bottlers age Ginger Ale? The very first batch of Vernors was, according to the Vernor family legend, aged for four years. Detroit-area pharmacist James Vernor put his drink concoction - made of 19 different ingredients, including ginger and vanilla - into a wood cask in 1862, then left for the Civil War. When he returned home, he opened the cask, and discovered something wonderful had happened in the meantime. The drink had acquired a zippy, gingery flavor. He had a hit on his hands. Vernors still takes four years of aging before it is bottled for the public.

Vernors history

As you can read here:
A golden colored ginger ale was being imported from Belfast, Ireland and was becoming quite popular throughout the United States (ginger ale would be the nations most popular soft drink for about seventy years). A nineteen-year-old James Vernor began experimenting with his own ginger ale recipe. However, like many young men his age, during 1862 in Detroit, he put his plans on hold and enlisted as a Union soldier with the Fourth Michigan Cavalry. Before leaving for war though, James placed his experimental ginger ale extract into an old oak cask. At the end of the Civil War, James would return home and open a drug store of his own at 235 Woodward. Another thing that James opened was that old oak cask. To his surprise, the four years of aging blended a select group of secret ingredients to perfection.

Turns out James Vernor was a bit of a fanatic when it came to quality control, so the fame of Vernors spread a little slowly. But spread it did. From the Cadbury Schweppes page:
A soda fountain owner who wrote to Vernor in 1898 noted that the ginger soda had acquired an enthusiastic following in his city. "Its purity, delicacy of flavor and great refreshing powers have been testified to by thousands of our soda customers," the franchisee wrote. In time, The Vernors Company would open a landmark bottling operation in downtown Detroit to handle its expanding business. This riverfront business became a favorite stopping place for locals and tourists alike in the 1940s. It was here one could sip a fresh Vernors for only a nickel and watch as it was being produced.

The Vernor family owned Vernors until selling it in 1966. Cadbury Schweppes owns Vernors now, as they do Squirt.

My last recommendation to you, beverage-wise, is Kool-Aid. Not just any Kool-Aid, but Watermelon-Cherry Kool-Aid. I don't know why they needed to add cherry flavoring to this, but maybe the watermelon flavor is too delicate. Anyway, my ex told me about it, and, being madly in love, I tried it myself.

One packet of Watermelon-Cherry Kool-Aid to a quart of water - no sugar! - and pour it over a glass of ice. You're an adult, so don't whine about the lack of sugar. Just try it! I'm talking about a refreshing drink. A nice flavor that refreshes! Try it!

PerkinsKool-Aid has an interesting history. Wiki's entry says:
Kool-Aid was invented by Edwin Perkins and his wife Kitty in Hastings, Nebraska. Its predecessor was a liquid concentrate called Fruit Smack. To reduce shipping costs, in 1927, Perkins discovered a way to remove the liquid from Fruit Smack, leaving only a powder. This powder was named Kool-Ade. A few years later, it was renamed 'Kool-Aid' due to a change in U.S. government regulations regarding the need for fruit juice in products using the term "Ade. Perkins moved his production to Chicago in 1931 and Kool-Aid was sold to General Foods in 1953.

A little inventiveness, a little chemistry and you have a popular drink! See this for more Kool-Aid history, and more on Mr. Perkins.

So, ignoring politics for a bit, I present to you three drink recommendations. Got any favorites yourself?

Leftist Arithmetic

By now I’m sure most of you have seen the typically moronic attacks on Sarah Palin’s slashing of funds for Special Needs students in Alaska. I say typically, because we’ve seen this odd type of arithmetic used by the Democrats before, and I say moronic because it just is so easy to disprove that you wonder how desperate they have to be to use such nonsense in the first place.

The first I saw of this funding shenanigans was from CNN’s own Soledad O’Brien. Part of Republican Convention coverage included this as part of an interview with McCain Advisor Nicolle Wallace. O’Brien said/asked:
“One area that has gotten certainly people sending to me a lot of e-mails is the question about as governor what she did with the special needs budget, which I'm sure you're aware, she cut significantly, 62 percent I think is the number from when she came into office. As a woman who is now a mother to a special needs child, and I think she actually has a nephew which is autistic as well. How much of a problem is this going to be as she tries to navigate both sides of that issue?”

Now, unfortunately, Wallace was not ‘up’ on that particular subject. Her reply was useless and did not really answer the question. And I have to wonder who sent the email(s) to O’Brien. Because they sound like they come from the Democratic Party itself. Want to give the public a scare? Tell them the Republicans are slashing funding for whichever program you choose. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Wallace should have said, simply, “Special Needs funding in Alaska was not cut at all. Look it up, Toots.”

Nobody can imagine O’Brien or her handlers to have truly done their homework on this, can they? It's not as if O'Brien is a disinterested party, either. So what is the basis of this lie about Palin’s record? Well, it seems that Palin moved certain school items from one place to another in order to streamline the education budget. Thus “slashing” the schools budget!


Here’s what happened to Special Needs funding, according to
According to an April 2008 article in Education Week, Palin signed legislation in March 2008 that would increase public school funding considerably, including special needs funding. It would increase spending on what Alaska calls "intensive needs" students (students with high-cost special requirements) from $26,900 per student in 2008 to $73,840 per student in 2011. That almost triples the per-student spending in three fiscal years. Palin's original proposal, according to the Anchorage Daily News, would have increased funds slightly more, giving intensive needs students a $77,740 allotment by 2011.

So why the claim that Palin slashed special needs funding? Again, from
According to Eddy Jeans at the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development, funding for special needs and intensive needs students has increased every year since Palin entered office, from a total of $203 million in 2006 to a projected $276 million in 2009.

Those who claim that Palin cut special needs funding by 62 percent are looking in the wrong place and misinterpreting what they find there. They point to an apparent drop in the Department of Education and Early Development budget for special schools. But the special schools budget, despite the similar name, isn't the special needs budget. "I don’t even consider the special schools component [part of] our special needs funding," Jeans told "The special needs funding is provided through our public school funding formula. The special schools is simply a budget component where we have funding set aside for special projects," such as the Alaska School for the Deaf and the Alaska Military Youth Academy. A different budget component, the Foundation Program, governs special needs programs in the public school system.

These funding foul-ups are old hat for the Democrats. If they propose 150% increase in funding for wart-removal research and the Republicans say, “it’s too much, let’s just hike funding 50%,” the Dems then trot out the same nonsense as always to the willing press hand-maidens: “The Republicans want to slash funding by 100%!” And that’s how it’s reported. Whenever I read the reports of funds being heartlessly slashed I consider the source and ignore it. It’s usually Leftist lies and their typical faulty arithmetic.

One commenter at had this reminder:
MSM did exactly the same thing with the “Republicans slash medicare benefits” story for over six months during 1996 Presidential campaign.

Every night Leno and Letterman parroted the Dems’ line of Republicans “cutting” benefits.

Truth: Reps. wanted about a 4% increase, while Dems. wanted a 6% increase. The 2% smaller increase was called a “cut” by Dems. In January 2007 Clinton signed a 5% increase and called it “medicare savings”.

Problem: MSM went along the whole year and NEVER explained the facts to the public; they just repeated the Dem. line.

As I said they’ve done this before. They will do it again. Don’t expect the MSM to check the information they get from the Dems. It’s no longer the job of the MSM to discover the facts and publish them. So you have to do that yourselves!

This election season the Dems have someone with a solid record to run against. Thus the lies are bigger, the smears uglier, the fear on the Left palpable. While Obama can snidely refer obliquely to Palin as a pig, he remains a man of no accomplishment, no record, no substance. His opponent remains a man of substance, record, and many accomplishments. Obama thinks he can use Sarah Palin as a target to get folks looking the other way. But Obama is still standing there, directing the hate, hiding behind his race to cover his basic flaws.

Don’t be fooled. Do your homework. It’s your country.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah Barracuda!

Chris Muir gave us this great comic for the day. Do you remember "Heart"?:

Click here for a bigger image. Feel free to donate to keep Day By Day going!

Also ... Weasel had this to say about Sarah Palin and the Leftist MSM:
Okay, here’s what I don’t get. The moment I heard Sarah Palin was the nominee last week, I did what every self-respecting card-carrying noun-hyphen-adverb does in 2008 — I ran right to Google and plugged her in. I read up on her, old and new. Pro and con. Then I did a Google Images search and gave her the hairy eyeball. I wanted to hear her speak, so I watched footage of a debate performance in the Alaska gubenatorial race. I spent maybe an hour at it, and then I pretty much made up my mind.


So how the hell could our mainstream media be caught so flat-footed by her performance? We know they read D-KOS, because they helped spread that stupid lying trash about Trig Palin. So, like, we know they have computers with internet. How could they POSSIBLY not read a little news while they’re at it? (You know what this means: other than the echo chamber of the op/ed pages, they don’t consume their own product. No wonder it’s such shite).

You have to read this! Warning: Weasel writes with naughty words, too. But read it! He nails the MSM to their own booger-encrusted wall!

Note: Don't miss The Anchoress' round up, nor her live-blogging of Palin's speech. The Anchoress, as always, is spot on! Donate to her, too! She can use the help to keep her blog going.

Also, Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle spoke at the Convention. She didn't make a great speech, but it was worth listening to. And she did have this enjoyable line:
I find it especially amusing that the other party says Governor Palin lacks experience when their own candidates for president and vice president ... have NO executive experience ... ZERO! Neither Senator Obama nor Senator Biden has ever managed a multi-billion-dollar budget, or been a chief executive of any city ... or state, of any size ... or of anything for that matter.

Which gave me the inspiration to make this banner:


And this, too: