Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Birds

Today is a day to put aside party politics and just party!

First, we have the Habitat for Humanity house dedication--the one that Ken has been working on with his company--at noon. That probably won't take very long, and we'll head home for a little while. (Probably watch a little football.) Later in the afternoon, we'll head over to my sister Diana's house to celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday! Her birthday isn't until the 15th, but this works out better for everyone to get together.

I would guess the odds of politics coming up at our party are about 50-50, though! This will be just my immediate family, so we're all more comfortable with each other, and based on the past week, I'd say it's very possible that someone will bring up the subject. Not me! Although I may have to continue the fine tradition of my political impersonations (I killed a few years ago with my Ross Perot) and try out my Sarah Palin...!

Last night I had a really neat dream. I was sitting at a desk in a lab, although it wasn't a lab that I ever worked in. There was an open window by my desk (which never happens in a lab, but this was a dream) with a hummingbird feeder hanging there. A hummingbird flew up, then flew in the window and hovered just a few inches in front of my face. Then I held out my finger, and he landed on it! He eventually flew away, but kept coming back, and would land on my finger anytime I held it out. It was so cool!

Then my dream took a dark turn. It morphed into our deck, and I was sitting outside. Sheeba was lounging on a table in front of me. I was holding my finger up, trying to get a hummingbird to come up to me, and I looked up into the sky. A small hawk was flying over, and I could see him look down at us. Then he dived towards us, and I thought, "He's trying to get Sheeba!" and before I could move, the hawk had grabbed Sheeba by the ear and dragged him over by the wall of the house. I was unable to move for a moment, stunned and scared. Luckily, the hawk was small and Sheeba was too big for him to carry off, but the hawk was standing over him trying to keep me away. I finally swatted at the hawk with a magazine and was able to shoo him away. Sheeba ran, and was really scared when I found him. I picked him up and was comforting him, and the poor little guy was trembling for a while.

So what's it all about, Alfie? Any guesses? I'm stumped on this one. I'm glad it had a happy ending, though, and I was able to save Sheeba. I think it was just my brain cleaning house, because I was thinking about our hummingbirds being gone and that I need to take down the feeder; I saw a hawk on the way back from the store yesterday; and Cousin Shane's incident with his cat Boris was a scary one. Put 'em all together and you get my dream. There doesn't always have to be a deeper meaning! More later!

Friday, October 10, 2008

This one goes to 11--turn it down!

I'm seeing reports tonight that John McCain finally spoke up at a rally and tried to quiet the angry rhetoric.

When a woman said to him that she doesn't trust Obama, McCain nodded, but when the woman went on to say, "He's an Arab," McCain said, "No, ma'am, he's a decent, family man and citizen." After hearing other angry shouts about Obama, McCain said that there is no reason to fear Obama if he is President. (!!!) The initial reaction from the crowd was boos, which shows that even McCain is having a hard time reining in the crowd.

I give Sen. McCain credit for attempting to "dial it down," but I also haven't forgotten that it is his campaign that has allowed it to be "dialed up" to such a point that the hatred became truly frightening for most of us to watch. I suspect that the campaign has taken a look at the reaction to such invective and realized that this is not what America wants to hear. We want to hear about the economy, for Pete's sake!

From Jonathan Martin at

John Weaver, McCain’s former top strategist, said top Republicans have a responsibility to temper this behavior.

"People need to understand, for moral reasons and the protection of our civil society, the differences with Senator Obama are ideological, based on clear differences on policy and a lack of experience compared to Senator McCain," Weaver said. "And from a purely practical political vantage point, please find me a swing voter, an undecided independent, or a torn female voter that finds an angry mob mentality attractive."

"Senator Obama is a classic liberal with an outdated economic agenda. We should take that agenda on in a robust manner. As a party we should not and must not stand by as the small amount of haters in our society question whether he is as American as the rest of us. Shame on them and shame on us if we allow this to take hold."

I think that was very well said. By all means, address the issues, confront Sen. Obama on them. Let's see if McCain will continue to put the brakes on, not just at his rallies...but will he also put the brakes on his running mate? They need to put a stop to this unbridled hatred. Immediately.

Just a quick note about my Finetune music player over in the sidebar. I updated it to include more the of music I listen to these days, so it's got a little bit of a harder edge. Also, it's free to set up your own player, and it's fun to pick out different songs--they have a great selection! What I love about it is that it doesn't play automatically--you can check it out and play it if you want, even pop it out and play it on your desktop.


Breaking news! The investigative committee in Alaska has found that Sarah Palin abused her power as Governor in the Troopergate deal. Oh wow, I'm posting this and off to read other news!

"Let's Get Ethical!"

Before we get down to business, just a couple of things to clear up. (I'm in Office mode, so bear with me.) Our friend Kim left a comment wondering about deleted comments, and wow, they must be pretty bad for me to have to delete them! No, nothing so juicy. I've noticed that Blogger can be a little wonky at times when it comes to comments, and there have been a few duplicates. If that happens, I'll delete the duplicate. I actually delete very few comments, and if it's a troll, I'm more likely to have a little fun with it than delete it! Kim also mentioned in an email that my music player was neat because it has a feature where you can pop it out and put it on your desktop, which she had done. That is a nifty little feature, and if you choose to listen to more than a couple of minutes of a song, you can do so. Now, on to today's agenda.

I think "The Office" is the funniest thing on TV right now, although that could change when "30 Rock" comes back on at the end of the month! Then, it's a tossup!

My laugh-so-hard-I-snort moment last night came when Holly had to do an ethics training seminar, and her and Michael came in wearing headbands and singing, "Let's get ethical, ethical, I wanna get ethical!" to the tune of "Let's Get Physical." Oh man, I just died.

I think what's so funny about that show to me is that most of us have had a boss like Michael Scott, or have been subjected to such lame morale-boosters. Seeing some of Michael's behavior reminds me so much of that. This morning I got to thinking about when a manager I used to have decided that talking about day shift, evening shift, and night shift was divisive and held a prejudicial connotation, so he started calling us robins, nighthawks, and owls.

I kid you not.

We laughed about that for years after he got the boot, and for any of my former coworkers reading this, I hope it gave you a chuckle! He would actually use those terms in meetings, and we'd all just look at each other and roll our eyes. Oh, those meetings...those horrid, endless meetings...if one of the lab assistants came in and said, "I have a stat," we'd all try to be the first to jump up and say, "I'll get it." I remember one time, my friend Jay stayed back and was taking care of stats or something, and he poked his head into the meeting and handed me a phone message. He'd written "Your lawyer, Mr. Icehouse, called and needs you to contact him right away." Icehouse as in the beer, doncha know. So I had to sit there and try to keep a straight face. He handed someone else a phone message, too, but I can't remember what theirs said. Just little ways of trying to stay sane in what seemed to be an insane atmosphere at times!

How about you? Do you have a favorite office or boss story, one that makes you laugh, cringe, or want to vomit? Do share! In the meantime, here's a 2-minute recap of last night's show.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Have logic and proportion fallen sloppy dead?

Mission: Migration

Status: Accomplished!

Whew, what a relief to get that done. I had some problems with Ken's, but turns out his password was case sensitive. Once I fixed that little problem, all went well. I had one hitch, where it created his new blog, but there were no entries there. That could have been my fault, though, for "refreshing" before everything was complete. Anyhoo, it's done! If I hadn't been able to do it, I don't suppose I would have curled up and died, but it would have been a shame to lose all of it. Even just seeing the names of some of my entries made me go, "Hey, I remember that!" I had titled one "He hit it an' quit it," and that was for when James Brown died. It made me sad.

It also made me sad to make what will probably be my last entry over at my AOL Journal. It was merely a repeat of the entry I wrote about the song "Closing Time," and it seemed very fitting. I'll admit that I got kind of choked up when I put it up there, and listened to the song again. I'll leave it up for a while, but I'll probably delete the journal myself. Hey, I think I'll delete it at the stroke of midnight, when October 30th turns to the 31st. Halloween! Yes, I think that's what I'll do. Maybe it's a little silly to get so verklempt over a journal, but I think you all understand. Just the fun I had with it, practicing my writing, but more importantly, all the wonderful friends I made there...I'm just so happy that most are making the move! I love you guys! I am NOT going to burst into tears, so just cut it out!! Ha ha! Just remember, "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."

I even managed to get a few things done today. WOW, I am so proud of myself! (It really has been pathetic.) Finished some laundry, took care of the garbage, and got a pot of chili going. I've had a hankering for chili for a while now, so this should taste good. I've been in the mood for all kinds of soup lately. I've got a recipe that combines tortilla soup with red beans and rice, and I think that sounds delicious. I've also got a package of black beans, so I'll try some black bean soup one of these days, then there's vegetable soup, and maybe some potato soup, and some beef stew...aaaaagh! Yum, it's just that time of year!

The latest feel-good news from the campaign trail comes from a McCain-Palin rally at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. McCain was talking about Obama's tax plan, and someone in the crowd yelled "Off with his head!"

Are you freakin' kidding me? What is this? France in 1789? Maybe a better analogy would be Alice in Wonderland and we've followed the White Rabbit down the hole and through the Looking Glass. I'm going to start looking for a hookah-smoking caterpillar in the audience at these rallies! There is no excuse for this, and with every day that goes by that McCain allows these violent and hate-filled outbursts to continue, his silence is complicit endorsement of violence against a fellow human being. Palin seems to whip the crowds into an even more violent frenzy. How can we condone this kind of behavior? I may be passionate about politics, but there is NO EXCUSE for allowing such attitudes to continue, and anyone who truly cares about their fellow human beings and about our society in general would stand up and say, "Stop this. It isn't right, and this is unacceptable behavior." I cannot begin to tell you how disgusted I am with the sight of fellow Americans shouting such murderous invective, and I'm even more disgusted that no one is putting a stop to it.

See you on the other side of the Looking Glass.

White Rabbit

Jefferson Airplane

One pill makes you larger

And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah-smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
Call Alice
When she was just small

When men on the chessboard
Get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low
Go ask Alice
I think she'll know

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's "off with her head!"
Remember what the dormouse said:
"Feed your head
Feed your head
Feed your head"

Finetune playlist

For your listening pleasure, I have included my Finetune playlist over on my sidebar. It should give you an idea of some of the music I like. It doesn't play automatically. You have to play it if you want to hear it. Just press that big honkin' green arrow. Ha ha!


Oh my God. It worked! I moved my AOL Journal! It's now residing happily in Nutwood Archives. I'm actually shaking. Now I'm off to do Ken's.

It worked! Bwah-hah-hah-hah!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Political platform

No, not any of the candidates' platforms. Mine.

Since some of you are new to my blog, I feel like I should give you a little insight into how my brain operates. (Stand back...this could get ugly.) And for those of you who have been reading for a while, there's nothing wrong with a little clarification and explanation.

I dig politics. I'm fascinated by it all, I am really into it, and I'm really excited about it. That means I write about it a lot, and you'll see more as the weeks go by. I can't help who I am or what I'm fascinated by, and I love the process, and the fact that we are free to vote for whom we want. It's something I don't take lightly, especially at such a crucial time in our country's history.

I also have an opinion about things, and I have no qualms about voicing them. These blogs are our own forums, and we can certainly state our own opinions. There will be some that don't agree, and here's the important part: THAT IS OKAY. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, and in fact, it's not fun when people do! If there is someone that just can't stomach my opinions, that's okay, too. I won't be hurt if you don't want to read any longer. There are some things that I read that I don't agree with, but I don't feel it's my duty to argue or change someone's mind--I respect their opinion and respect their right to voice it. I just move along to the next topic. When I write about such things here, it's just my opinion, although any poll numbers are actual numbers. I'm not out to convince anyone, or persuade anyone to my opinion, I'm just fascinated by all of this, and sometimes just reporting on what I have read. People who know me understand that I have no ulterior motives or hidden agendas. As the sweet potato said, "I yam what I yam." In short (because I'm that, too!), I totally respect your opinion, especially your right to have it.

I also promise you that while I may have a preference for a certain candidate, and have a differing opinion about another, I won't be overly nasty with my remarks here. That's just not my style, or I guess I could say, "That's not the way I roll." (That one was for you, Jamie!) I won't lie to you...I do get angry about some things, and I do get disturbed by some things. I may bring it up, but I don't like ugliness and I'll do my best to not get ugly here.

So this isn't going to go away, and we've got a month to go. Let's just all hunker down together and hang on. You don't have to read my opinions, and I won't be hurt if you don't. My whole thing, whether in life or in politics, is that while we might not always agree, we should always respect each other's opinions, and be able to have a reasonable dialogue without ridicule and nastiness.

I'm Beth, and I approve this message

AOL Journals update

Hi Folks,

If you haven't seen the post yet, you can find it here:

There is a link provided to start our migration, although I haven't tried it yet.

"That one."

First of all, would everyone please say a little prayer for Cousin Shane's cat Boris? He thinks she might have had a stroke this morning, and I'm waiting to hear back from him. I'm in distress over this, and I know it's ten times worse for Shane.

Update: Boris is okay! She somehow got her head stuck between the dresser and a chair, and she must have really freaked herself out trying to extricate herself. When Shane found her, she was panicky and her back legs weren't functioning well. She also appeared to be blind. The vet said there are still some problems with her legs, but he gave her a cortisone shot, and Shane said that her vision is improving. Whew! I said now Shane has to figure out how to keep her from sticking her head in places like that! Shane says he has widened that space. Ha ha. I'm glad we can chuckle about it now. I felt so bad for both of them!

I heard late yesterday that the Secret Service is investigating the incident in which someone yelled "Kill him!" at a Palin rally, because they take "every threat seriously." Yay for the Secret Service! I hope they find out who the guy is so his inexcusable behavior can be exposed. I suppose some people think it's easy to hide in a crowd and get away with something like that. Not so much these days!

Well, I can't disappoint the one reader who wanted to hear my take on the debate. Ha ha! Thanks, Betty! Nah, I was going to write about it anyway. This is merely my opinion of it, although I'll include some poll numbers.

I thought Obama was the clear winner. He seemed incredibly "together" and unrattled, answering the questions with details and empathy for the "common man." As McCain was speaking, Obama sat in the tall chair, seemingly very at ease. It was a little harder for McCain to sit in that chair easily, and he seemed uncomfortable much of the time. McCain seemed a little rattled in the beginning, and several of his references to Obama were quite snide, including the "that one" comment. Incredibly disrespectful. He tried some lame jokes that must work well at his rallies, but fell really flat in this forum. He came on a little stronger at the end, but he didn't get the win, let alone the "knockout punch" that many were saying he needed last night, and the town hall is supposed to be his strong suit.

We watched CNN's coverage of it, and they had a small group of undecided Ohio voters that were giving their responses during the debate with a little meter. I know these things are extremely unscientific, but I think they can be a decent indicator of initial responses. Obama seemed to do really well with women--a couple of times plateauing out at the highest level! (When he was talking about when his mother was dying and having to deal with insurance companies, for example.) What was really astounding to us was how the negativity caused the levels to plummet--and that usually happened with McCain. On the rare occasion that Obama said anything remotely negative, his level dropped slightly, but Ken and I got to laughing about how as soon as McCain started being nasty, we'd make a diving motion with our hands. It was a huge difference.

I'm sure it played well to the GOP base, but it seems that the McCain campaign's negative tactics of late are not getting a good response from independents and undecideds. Another group of undecided voters in Colorado had similar responses to the Ohio group, with a very interesting statistic on favorability ratings. Pre-debate, McCain's rating was 48% favorable, 46% unfavorable. Post-debate numbers were 56/36%. Obama's numbers? Pre-debate: 54/36%. Post-debate: 80/14%. Those are even better numbers than Bill Clinton received in town hall meeting formats, and Clinton did great in that kind of forum. The McCains also took off right after the debate, but the Obamas stuck around and talked to the crowd, connecting better with people.

Initial polls: CNN had Obama winning the debate by a margin of 54% to 30%. In the CBS poll, it was Obama 40%, Tie 34%, and McCain 26%. As one of my email friends put it, McCain came in third in a two-person debate.

Early on, when McCain was looking REALLY bad, Ken said to me, "This is it. He lost the election tonight." I don't know if we can pin it down to one debate, but I think the past couple of weeks, yeah, probably (although there's still a month to go). He needed to play to undecideds and independents, not his base, and he didn't succeed, any more than Palin's rallies are garnering their campaign any of that support. She got the base, she's playing to the base, and the base is the only one that really likes her. Her numbers are dropping like a stone among the voters that they most need to reach. In early October, an ABC poll showed that 35% think that she has the experience necessary to be president (down 12 points from early September) and 60% don't believe she has the needed experience (up 15 points from September).

Just this gal's opinion, although the poll numbers are real. No, I didn't make them up. That would be dishonest.

I'll give McCain an extra point, though, for using the word "apparatchik." That's just such a cool word, all Spy vs. Spy, James Bond-y, and junk. (Don't forget--"Quantum of Solace" November 14 in the US!)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Just...stop it

I was going to write a bit about the debate tonight, but I don't suppose there's a lot to write about. There's a debate on...and we'll watch it. 'Nuff said!

However, I do want to write about what I find to be a disturbing development in this campaign. According to the Washington Post, at recent McCain and Palin rallies, there were some rather nasty things being shouted from the crowds. One person yelled, "Terrorist!" and another yelled, "Treason!" One even yelled, when the talk was about Bill Ayers, "Kill him!" Reporters have been subjected to taunts and abuse, and one Palin supporter called an African American sound man a racial epithet and told him to "Sit down, boy."

I find this absolutely abhorrent. I don't care what side of the fence you're on, this sort of ugliness has got to stop. McCain did not say anything against the person who shouted "Terrorist!" and Palin is actively promoting the chants and hatred. If John McCain doesn't have the balls to stop this kind of behavior, the Secret Service needs to step in and say "Tone down the rhetoric before someone gets hurt."

This is the kind of mob mentality that results in physical violence, and we do not want to engage in that type of behavior again. McCain's campaign has already admitted that they are losing, and don't think they can win as long as the focus is on the tanking economy, so they plan to up the personal attacks.

I believe this will backfire. Personal attacks and attack ads are one thing. Standing passively by while your supporters shout out to kill someone is quite another. Do we really want to sit back and watch this kind of bitterness and hatred? Especially when we have such serious economic problems? Don't fall for this bait and switch tactic. We've got problems, folks, and this kind of nastiness only detracts from the real issues.

What's next? A public stoning? Paging Shirley Jackson!

It's a Grand ol' Forks!

The fifteenth is my Mom's 80th birthday, and my sister Diana is having a get-together in the afternoon. I hadn't gotten a present for Mom yet, so I thought I'd hit the Christian bookstore before I went grocery-shopping. I found a book that contained three of Billy Graham's books, so I got that, and then I found a neat little plaque with a cross and the text of the song "The Old Rugged Cross." Perfect! That is Mom's favorite hymn, so I think she'll like both gifts.

When I was checking out the clerk asked me if have a blah-blah card and when I said no, he asked if I wanted one. I said no, I don't shop there often, and he said, "Do you know what it is?" I replied that I assumed it was some kind of frequent shopper card, and he said, "Mm-hm. It's a punch card. You don't want one?" When I politely said, "No, thank you," he said, "I know...not a real neat place to shop, is it?" Wha--? I said, "Actually, you have a lot of neat things here [and they did--lots of those Willow Tree angels, little figurines, etc.], but I just don't shop that much."

I thought it was kind of odd. Did I look like a heathen or something, in my baseball cap and Notre Dame sweatshirt? Maybe it was my camouflage pants. Gee, I thought I looked like a good ol' red-blooded hockey mom Joanne Sixpack! Ha ha!

Here is what I wrote to Jann about Vicki, my former coworker:

I thought of Vicki many years after I'd left United. When I went on my first interview for my most recent job, it was just after the big flood in Grand Forks. As I was sitting in the reception area, I was leafing through a news magazine and saw a big article about it. There was a picture of Abby [Vicki's daughter] in her prom gown, and I was so grateful that everyone was okay, but so distraught at seeing such destruction in a place that was my home for 5 years. When I went in to talk to the HR person, the first thing I talked about was how I just saw a picture of the daughter of one of my coworkers in North Dakota, and I was so worried about everyone, yadda yadda yadda...I probably sounded like an emotional wreck and a bit of a lunatic! Thanks a lot, Vicki! It turned out okay--I got the job and spent 10 years there!

I remember Vicki's great laugh, and I remember that she used it often. She was always so kind and helpful to this "newbie," and always willing to help me learn new things, or to show me the ropes of how things worked around the lab and office. Her sense of humor and positive outlook was a great role model for me and others, and to me, Vicki personified the lines from the Rudyard Kipling poem "If":

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you...
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it..."

Vicki, I wish you much joy and happiness in this new phase of your life. You will be remembered fondly by many.

I hope that sounds okay. I got kind of choked up when writing that and thinking about everyone up there. I don't know if you all remember the flood of 1997, but the entire area was flooded, and downtown Grand Forks caught on fire. I'll never forget seeing those buildings burning even though they were submerged in several feet of water. It took me several days to get a hold of anyone, but it was such a relief to talk to Carol and hear that everyone was safe. Her main sentiment was that as bad as it was, no lives were lost, and she said everyone was so grateful for that. I had already been gone for almost 10 years by then, but it was still devastating to think about all my friends and wonder if they were safe, and to see the downtown burning, places where I'd spent so much time. One of the hardest to take was the demise of the original Whitey's Cafe, a really cool diner with Art Deco interior and a stainless steel horseshoe-shaped bar. It's actually in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, just across the Red River. I spent many hours there with my friends, enjoying a cool beverage and their fabulous onion rings. Whitey's had to rebuild, and happily they are still in business, AND they managed to save much of the interior--and the famous steel bar! (Whitey was the original owner's nickname, by the way.)

Mmm, and now that I'm reminiscing, I'm thinking of Widman's Candy Shop, and their unbelievably tasty Chippers...those are chocolate-covered potato chips. Sounds weird, but oh man, are they ever good!! I used to have someone send me a couple of pounds, but I bet I could order them online now! (I've written it down for further investigation.)

As The Kinks say, "No more looking back, no more living in the past." But I can still try and order some Chippers. ;)

Yesterday I was determined to visit all those kind souls who have started "following" my blog here. Moving to Blogger has been an eye opener, because I had no idea that so many of you read my crap writing, so it's been fun to visit those who I haven't been to see for a while, or those who are new to me. I'm following them all, which means that I've got lots to read, and I think I need to get a handle on it...only read some every couple of days, or if there are multiple entries, make one comment instead of on each entry...that sort of thing. I want to have time to read some books here soon! After the election, of course. Ha ha! (More about that later, by the've been warned!) Anyhoo, thanks for being patient with me as I tried to get settled in before I made my rounds. I think we're all in the same boat, so I'm sure you all understand!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Will it go round in Cirques?

A couple of fun things today....

When I got the mail, I was surprised to see an envelope from a lady I use to work with in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Jann worked in Hematology. When I opened the card, it said, "Bet you're surprised to hear from me!" Ha ha! I WAS surprised, Jann! The deal is that another coworker, Vicki (who ran the front desk of the lab), is leaving. Her and her husband are moving to the Twin Cities to be closer to their kids and granddaughter. So Jann is trying to get a hold of as many people from the past as she can, and she got my address from one of the ladies I still keep in touch with. Jann is putting together a video and a book for Vicki, so asked me for a story and a picture or two. I'll be happy to oblige, and will get it out to Jann pronto.

Just seeing that brought back some good memories for me. Whenever I think of Jann, I think of her story about how her daughter was running a toy lawn mower up and down her Dad's legs and torso, and Jann saying, "And I think he liked it!" I don't know why that sticks in my mind, but I remember we just lost it, and laughed for quite a while about that.

The other cool thing is that I got our tickets for Cirque du Soleil's "Love" show in Vegas, for our January trip with Kim and Steve. Front row seats, baby, woohooo! "Love" is the show that's based on Beatle's music (it's at The Mirage), and I was just reading that it's not as big on the acrobatics as other Cirque shows, but the music is the main thing for this show. The theater is filled with speakers, and there are even speakers in some of the seats. How cool is that? Diana (my sister) and Tom recently went to see it, so I'll have to get her take on it. She's an original Beatlemaniac, so I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that she liked it...A LOT. In fact, I can hear her now: "Ohhhhh! It was SO NEAT!" And I bet she'll have a book and other memorabilia to show us. Ha ha! Yes, I know my sister!

Is everyone watching the stock market tank again? Criminy. I looked up a little bit ago and it was -800. Agh! I hope none of you were planning to retire in the next few months, because what a horrible time for mutual funds, etc. Scary. Oh brother...they're scrolling emails on the bottom of the screen that people are sending in to CNN. One person just wrote that they're a college student and there are several friends who are thinking about moving to Canada because our economy is in shambles, and for the health care. I guess this person hasn't gotten the word that this is GLOBAL, it's not just the U.S. economy.

So gee...what do you think is going to be the big topic of tomorrow night's debate? Are they both going to keep harping about "palling with terrorists" and about the Keating Five scandal, or are they going to address this very real issue? The issue that is consuming the thoughts of the majority of Americans, as they struggle to make their mortgage payments and are scared about being able to pay their heating bills this coming winter. You know...THAT issue.

I'm feeling quite disgusted right now. I want to get back to my happy thoughts.

All you need is love...La-la-la....

Picky, picky!

Some of you may remember a while back when Ken and I spent about a week and a half in California, including a few days in San Diego. We had initially talked about "heading for the border" to spend a day in Tijuana.

My niece Jen works on a military base and sent us some extremely dire warnings about Tijuana due to the danger posed by drug cartels. Murders, kidnappings, severed heads...not a good place to be right now. Jen said she thought we'd probably be okay, but wanted to make sure we saw the warnings. (Even the military was not allowing personnel to visit Tijuana.) Based on everything we read, we decided not to go.

A wise decision! We read about the latest in the paper yesterday, and here is a snippet from the L.A. Times: "In all, at least 57 suspected organized crime members, a majority of them believed to be part of the Arellano Felix organization, were killed in the last week, including 12 dumped in front of an elementary school Sept. 29 and eight tossed in an industrial yard Thursday."

That's in the last week. The story we read yesterday mentioned that a couple of severed heads were also found. That is some really scary stuff, and I hope they're able to get a handle on this horrible violence soon. I just saw an ad for Mexico tourism today, and I know we really enjoyed our visit when we were on the cruise. I'm sure their tourism is really taking a hit, because I doubt if a lot of people are visiting there now! Somebody call Crockett and Tubbs!

Okay, I need a laugh after that!

I read this in Annie's Mailbox yesterday:

"Dear Annie,

I have been dating 'Edgar,' a 37-year-old man, for about four months. Everything is great, but I have one question.

Edgar likes to groom me. This means he looks over my skin, face and body and tries to remove any blemishes. He does all this in a very loving and respectful way, but I think it's very foreign to me. Edgar says it shows he is taking care of me.

I love him very much and don't want to break up over this. I am just curious about such a practice. What do you say?

Signed, Want to Know in West Yarmouth, Mass."

Here was "Annie's" response:

"Dear Want to Know,

Edgar has a fetish. Either that or he's a little closer to his primate ancestors than most of us. Still, as with all fetishes, if this one doesn't particularly bother you, then it isn't a problem. To each his own."

Here's what MY response would have been:

Dear Want to Know,

Run the other way! Edgar is a NUTJOB! Next thing you know, he'll buy you a little red hat and little red coat, and make you play the organ while know...plays his!


Ha ha ha! Good grief! Okay, I suppose if this lady is okay with it, Annie is right: to each his own. I know if I was dating someone and he started picking at my head looking for lice, I'd bat his hand away and say, "Do that again and you'll pull back a bloody stump." Yikes!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A rolled rump...Bethian style

I thought for sure my Colts were dead meat, but after a couple of forced turnovers late in the game, they came back to beat the Houston Texans! Woohoooo! (Sorry to anyone who is a Texans fan. Miss G, if I recall, you don't care for football, so I hope I'm not hurting anyone's feelings.) I really couldn't believe they came back to win that game. They were down 17 in the fourth quarter, and got 3 touchdowns to win it. I was really starting to wonder about them...they just haven't seemed like themselves lately. But that was COOL!

It's starting to smell good in here. The roast is in the oven, with some onion soup mix and red wine. (I suppose we'll HAVE to drink what I didn't use on the roast.) In about 45 minutes, I'll add some carrots, potatoes, and onions, and let it roast for about 45 minutes longer. I decided to use the Dutch oven (It was a gift from Ken's mom, and originally belonged to Ken's grandmother, so it makes everything taste better!), because it's one of our really nice roasts--not a tougher one like a chuck roast--a rolled rump. Feel free to roll your own rump right now. Ha ha! What's wrong with me? I'm in VERY high humor tonight!

Maybe it's because I'm already thinking about the letter I want to write to the editor of our local paper. I finally finished reading the paper a little while ago, and on our editorial page, our Letters to the Editor section is called Voice of the People. Vox Populi! Shane and I have had a lot of fun with it over the years, including the letters from an elderly gentleman from LaPorte who always began his letters with "Methinks." Imagine my surprise when I began working with my friend Jackie in Indianapolis (her and her husband were from LaPorte), and when I somehow mentioned this writer, she started laughing and knew exactly who I was talking about! Anyhoo, someone today wrote, "Many on the left tend to be driven by their own self-absorption and lack of moral guidance, therefore acting upon their own rage and hatred."

Exsqueeze me?! Gregory M. of Mishawaka, Indiana, you have no idea what hell you hath wrought. Don't worry, I'll keep it cool. But seriously, "lack of moral guidance" and "rage and hatred?" Come ON. That is just ridiculous, and I find your self-righteousness quite humorous. I'll let you all know what I decide to write, but this deserves a response. I'm looking forward to fact, I love this kind of stuff! Sorry, Gregory M., but you don't get a pass on this one. I'm calling you on it. Heh heh heh.

On a lighter, more Deutsch note, Cousin Shane sent me an email today. I'm not exactly sure about the timeline on this, but I think it was the summer between my first and second year of college, and the summer before Shane's senior year in high school. It could have been the year before, and Shane will correct me if I'm wrong. The important thing here is that he spent a few weeks that summer in Krefeld, Germany. Shane and I both took a lot of German in high school, I went on to take some in college, and Shane was lucky enough to actually get to spend some time in Deutschland! He recently reconnected via Facebook with some of the people he went on the trip with, and he's been having a great time remembering his trip!

He sent me a picture of one of the castles he visited, Burg Linn. Isn't that gorgeous? He also sent me this email (Shane's text is in brown), and I had to put on my German hat to try to translate. I did okay, although Shane had to help me out with a couple of things.

john finally persuaded me to get out the bags of stuff from germany and i've been having a verklempt day so far. i saved everything, and there is a veritable treasure trove of goodies. i can't wait to look through all of it, but i wanted to quickly mention that i have a letter that you wrote to me when i was there in my hand right now. on the back flap, in true "bethian" style, you wrote "ideale sind wie sterne: man kann sie nicht erreichen, aber man kann sich nach ihnen orientieren." -- carl schurz wrote your letters in german, too.

[I like the "Bethian" style part! I still like quotes! The quote is "Ideals are like stars: one can't reach them, but one can still orient themselves by them." Wow, that is STILL a great quote!]

you wrote about having a lot of fun over the 4th of july that summer. you said "deine mutter ist verrueckter als ich dachte!" LOL "sie hatten ein ding, das heisst bloedesurteil. jede zeit, jemand dumm sagte or machte, diese person hate das bloedesurteil bekommen. (ich habe es nie bekommen! whew!)" do you remember what that thing was?

[The first part is "Your mother is crazier than I thought!" Ha ha! That would be my beloved Aunt Bert, Shane's mom, and when I wrote "crazy," it was definitely in a fun, loving way. Aunt Bert was something special. The rest of it is something like, "She had this thing that was called Bloedesurteil, and each time someone said or did something dumb, they got it, but I never got it." I was stumped by "Bloedesurteil," and Shane looked it up...something like a "silly decision," and we presume that it was some kind of game that I was playing with Aunt Bert while Shane was in Germany. I wish I could remember what it was, but I can't!]

you go on in the letter to give me an update on the news from the latest edition of rolling stone. you mentioned hearing "beyond the valley of 1984" by the plasmatics. you said "es war FREMD, aber nicht immer so schlecht." haha you also mentioned finding an album called "exposed." it had adam and the ants on it, and loverboy, ellen foley and a few others. you said you will buy it when you have enough money. it was only $2.98, but you only had $2. then, in true music fanatic style, you said "ich muss jene platte haben!" jawohl!

[This was a commentary on the new Plasmatics album, which I said was "STRANGE, but not really so bad." (I thought that "fremd" was crazy, but Shane reminded me that it meant strange.) As for the album with Adam Ant, et al, I said, "I must have this album!" Ha ha!]

I was amazed to see how well I used to be able to write German! I certainly couldn't do that now, but I was happy to see that I was able to translate much of it. What a blast from the past, and what fun to share this with Shane.

AND, to top it all off, my friend Bruce from Indy just called, and we had a nice chat and got caught up, and had some good laughs! (Just a little insider info here, without divulging any particulars...if they can sign the main players, Disney will be making the third, fourth, and fifth installments of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise. Sweet!)

Whew, what a day. I'm hungry!

My Karma ran over your Dogma

First of all...FREAKIN' CUBS. That's all I'm going to say about it.

Well, there are a few interesting news stories, but I found this one especially interesting.

O.J. Simpson was found guilty of kidnapping, armed robbery, and 10 other charges in Las Vegas. He and his co-defendant, Clarence "C.J." Stewart, could spend the rest of their lives in prison.

I always believed that there would be some sort of justice for him one day. It started right after his murder trial, when he became a virtual pariah. It seems that he's going to get his prison time, after all, even if it's 13 years late. I would hope that none of the jurors looked at it that way...that their verdict came only after studying THIS case and this testimony. I believe that the majority of the time, jurors take their duty very seriously and understand the importance and gravity of their service. I would like to believe that if it had been me sitting in the juror's box in that Las Vegas courtroom, I would have been able to set aside my feelings about the murder trial and focus on the charges in this one.

I was working the evening shift at a hospital in Indianapolis when that trial was going on. I had the day open to watch the trial proceedings. It was pretty fascinating, and the details about the DNA testing were particularly interesting to me. At that time in the lab, DNA testing was just becoming available, and that was one of my jobs at work: DNA probe testing for Chlamydia and gonorrhea. So when I started hearing the numbers, and the statistical probabilities of who the blood drops could belong to, I thought, "He's toast."

Of course, I was wrong. I'll never understand why he was able to beat that. I feel that it was a foul miscarriage of justice, and Simpson was free to spend his days hunting for the "real killer" on the golf course. His 13 years of undeserved freedom are coming to a close. Looks like his golfing days are over.

I also see that Sarah Palin is saying that Obama is "palling around with terrorists." ( he taking terrorists for a stroll in the park, followed by a cappuccino at Starbucks?) This is because he has met and dealt with William Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground. I don't condone the WU's activities, but I also believe that the sixties were turbulent, troubled times, with many radical and opposing viewpoints. Your current next door, baby boomer neighbor could very well have been a radical, peace-loving, war-hating, acid-dropping *gasp* HIPPIE, who went to *gasp* Woodstock or something equally as nutty. We think it's crazy now, but it was even crazier then.

Get over it. It was 40 years ago, and in the 40 years since the Weather Underground was active, Ayers has spent his time as a philanthropist, raising money for and serving on the board of various community organizations and charities, as well as becoming a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Obama has condemned Ayers' past activities and radical views of the sixties. So Palin says Obama is "palling around with terrorists." Oh yeah? Well, Sarah, I think you're passing judgement on someone who has spent the last 40 years trying to find retribution for what he did in the past. Last I knew, it isn't your job to pass judgement on anyone.

And just in case you missed it, here's SNL's opening skit last night. Blowin' ya a big ol' kiss and givin' ya little ol' wink!