Saturday, September 5, 2009

A very happy day for Irish fans!

The Golden Dome Boy howdy, did we ever have fun today!

Dad got here a little before 10 am--I said, "Someone is a little excited!"--and we visited a little, then got the truck loaded up and headed out. We had almost no problems getting up to campus and getting parked. We kicked back and did a little tailgating, had some sandwiches and beverages, and enjoyed the beautiful day. Everyone was having fun, and it's always fun to chat with other fans. People were as cool as could be, and we encountered no one that was obnoxious or disorderly. Come to think of it, I don't think we've ever encountered anyone like that, at least not at the games we've gone to.

Cousin Shane found us, then fellow blogger Doug found Shane--it was great to meet Doug!--and then it was getting time to head over to the Stadium. We took the shuttle over and found our seats with about a half an hour before kickoff.

It was a perfect day for football...a little on the warm side, but it was a little overcast, with a pleasant breeze. The sun set behind us, so we were in shade for most of the second half.

As for the game, it was better than we'd hoped. Notre Dame got its first shut-out of the Charlie Weis era, beating the Nevada Wolfpack 35-0! We got to see some great touchdowns (five of them, as a matter of fact), and things are looking up for this season. They still have some work to do, including working on their running game and clamping down on the run defense, but quarterback Jimmy Clausen was fantastic. 315 yards, 15 for 18 completions, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions. We've been saying for two years now that he's got the talent and potential, and I think this could be his year.

I was so pleased to be there with Dad and to see such a good win! It was also a great game for Shane's first game, and he said he had a great time. Of course, it's always fun to be there with my hubby! I think I might be a little sunburned, and I know I'm going to sleep well tonight! Oh, I didn't run into my friend Jimi, but I did see my friend Felicia (from the lab), who works a souvenir booth to raise money for her kids' school. It was so much fun to see her, and I miss talking with her at the lab! She's such a sweetie.

I'm still working on videos, but here's a slideshow. In the picture of the four of us, I know I look three sheets to the wind, but I swear to God I wasn't! It was a little bright, and I took my sunglasses off for the picture.

Now it's on to the cookout tomorrow. Hope you're all having a fun weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Gettin’ my Irish up

Touchdown Jesus2 No, I'm not angry, and I'm not even Irish. But it's the Notre Dame home opener against Nevada this weekend, and that makes everyone honorary Irish! Hey, it's Touchdown Jesus! Everybody wave to Touchdown Jesus!

We've got tickets to the game, and we'll be going with my Dad and Cousin Shane. It's Shane's first ND football game, so I'm excited for him! We'll meet him there, because he has to work until 1 pm, but we'll be tailgating with my Dad in the meantime. It's fun to just go and have lunch there, sit out in lawn chairs, just shoot the breeze. I got us all some sandwiches today, so we should have a nice little pickanick! Oh, and someone gave Shane's friend Doug (a fellow blogger) a couple of tickets--how cool is that?--so he'll be going, and I'll get to meet him. AND my friend Jimi from the lab is going with his Mom and his two boys, so maybe I'll run into him, too. There will only be a little over 80,000 people there inside the stadium, so I don't know why we wouldn't run into each other! Actually, we know what sections we're each sitting in, so we might actually find each other.

Anyhoo, I'm really psyched and excited for the game! As much as I hate to see summer end, it also means football season, and that is a good thing for Nutwoodians! When I was out at the store today, wow, things were hopping. Home football games are a very big deal, bringing in $6 million per weekend to the city in hotel, restaurant, and bar revenues. Then there is everyone buying food and beverage supplies for tailgating or watching the game at home. This is a big weekend in general, because there is a big motorcycle ride for Muscular Dystrophy on Sunday (that's when we're having our cookout), and all weekend long, the Blueberry Festival is going on nearby in Plymouth. We're quite the toddlin' town this weekend!

I'll be taking both my camera and my Flip to the game, so I hope to get some good shots for you. Go Irish!


I had a few comments wanting the recipe for the pork tenderloin I made yesterday. It turned out quite tasty, but I let it go maybe an hour too long, so it was just heading over to the dry side. Stick to the 8 hours on low, because 9 was a little too long!

Plop your tenderloin into your crockpot. Salt and pepper.

Whisk together ½ cup balsamic vinegar, 3 Tbsp honey, and 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard. Pour over tenderloin and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours.

That's it! It was so easy, and I love the flavor of balsamic vinegar. If you don't care for it, you might not like this, because there's a distinct balsamic tang to this. I will definitely make it again.


Walking on eggshells I was sitting out on the deck today, enjoying these last gorgeous days of summer, and doing a little pondering. It was a good wildlife day, too, so I was feeling relaxed, happy, and meditative as I watched some of the birds and critters. Writing about my "previous life" yesterday reminded me of the difference between then and now. I feel contented and at peace, after walking on eggshells for too many years. Have you encountered people who you quickly realize you need to be wary of? Any misstep in the minefield of their persona, and you know you'll be scrambling to make amends and appease them. You learn to censor yourself, because you know there are certain things that will set them off. I've experienced people like that both in my career and in my personal life, and for a couple of brief, spectacularly bad years, I had both going on at once. I hated going to work because of such an individual there, and I dreaded going home because I never knew what I was going to find when I got there. I had no sanctuary.

I believe these sort of people practice a sort of psychotic, emotional blackmail, a threat of craziness if they don't get their way or if they don't like what you say. I think they like it when word gets around: "Jeez, don't mess with her...she gets crazy if you cross her!" Most people seem to learn early on that the most effective way to persuade others is to be knowledgeable about the subject; the best way to interact with others is to treat them with respect, kindness, and consistency. However, some prefer to remain mired in the "if you can't win 'em over with your smarts, scare 'em with your craziness" phase, and attempt to intimidate others with the threat of irrational behavior. It certainly can be effective for a while, in a very manipulative sort of way, but it doesn't work for the long term. People always figure it out, especially when they start comparing notes. I know I certainly resent people trying to manipulate me, and I think most others also resent being treated that way; the tactic eventually loses its effectiveness when people realize what is going on and decide that they will not allow themselves to be manipulated in such a way.

Once you see it, it becomes pretty laughable. Once you get out of it, or don't feel compelled to subject yourself to it any longer, it's quite liberating. It's nice to not worry about hearing the sound of crunching eggshells.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

All buzzed out

Bumble bee [hic!] No, not in that way. I've been a busy bee today and earlier this week. This weekend, Ken's stepbrother and his wife are coming to visit from Illinois. They'll be staying with Ken's Mom and stepdad, but we're going to have them all over to our place on Sunday for a cookout--it will probably be the last one of the season. *sniff* So I've been working on getting things tidied up and looking a little nicer, cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming, all that jazz. The place wasn't a pit by any means (I've seen much worse...believe me), but more of a sort of "controlled chaos." I needed to get it done, because on Saturday, we have the Notre Dame game, and I definitely won't feel like coming home and cleaning that evening! I'm happy with the results, and the things that are left on my list are minor ones.

Then I spent a little while drafting letters to our Senators, Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh, about health care reform. Dang if I didn't choke myself up a little bit! I sent essentially the same letter to both, just altering them a bit here and there, and maybe I'll post one of them in the coming days. Now I'm taking a breath (and smelling the balsamic pork tenderloin in the crock pot...mmm), doing an entry, then I'll get some reading in. I haven't read much in the last few days because of other things going on, like my lunch with my mother-in-law yesterday.

Bring out the best2 One of the things we talked about was how sometimes people bring out the best in you, and others bring out the worst. I've experienced both. In my relationship with Borderline Personality Disorder Boy, man, did he ever bring out the worst in me. Almost to the point where at the time, I thought to myself, "Who is this person I've become?" When in a situation like that, I think most reasonable people will simply react. When someone is in your face, telling you what an effing cee you are, I believe it's a natural reaction to go into defensive mode. I have to say, though, that I'd rather be the type that gives as good as I get, rather than a cowering, weepy mess. I may have been yelled at, but I was never broken...hell, I never even bent, and I refuse to be mad at myself, because I did what I had to do.

I hate the bullying of others, and I also hate it when others try to bully me. I'm not sure what it is about me that makes some people think they can do so, but they find out pretty quickly that they picked on the wrong gal.

Anyhoo, it's unfortunate that I was in such a situation, because it was a little damaging to my psyche. When you are forced to become someone you don't care for, or do things that go against your very nature, it is profoundly disturbing. While I was in the situation, I even went to a few counseling sessions. I'm cool with admitting that, and I don't think there's any shame in talking to someone when you're going through a tough time or experiencing a bad situation. It was also kind of nice to get a little validation; she had me take the MMPI, a comprehensive personality test, and I hate to break it to you all, but I'm pretty normal. A slight tendency towards addiction, but I smoked for 20+ years, so no surprise there. Of course, the person I was with at the time said, "I might have known she'd tell you that. I've heard that's always my fault." Talk about cognitive dissonance! Dude, she sent the test out for interpretation...she only gave me the results. Deal with it.

Bring out the best So that was my experience with someone bringing out the worst in me. Fast forward several years, and I'm hooked up with Ken. My life then and my life now are like night--almost literally--and day. I've said this to Ken before, and I said it to his Mom yesterday, but he brings out the best in me. He'd had similar experiences in his life, and we've sometimes talked about "Can you imagine me doing such-and-such?" or "Can you believe I once did whatever?" It's funny, because it's so far removed from what we are together that neither of us can imagine doing such things in each other's presence. I don't think you'll see me pushing Ken and yelling, "Don't call me stupid!" anytime soon! Ha!

It also leads me to wonder about interactions with others outside of relationships. Do you consistently bring out the worst in others, or do you feel that you bring out the best? What will be the sum of your life...will others remember you fondly, even those from many years ago, or will they rue the day they met you?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Born to be wild

Today I had lunch with my mother-in-law, and we had a great time! We went to a place called Mazatlan (a restaurant, not the city, har har), and both agreed that it was excellent. For anyone who lives in our area, I recommend it highly--the food is about ten times better than Hacienda (the sort of "generic" Mexican chain around here) and much more reasonably priced. We had some good laughs, but some serious conversation, too. She is very proud of her son, and I know she's happy that he's finally happy. We had a very nice time. Whew, I'm not used to eating that much for lunch, though...I was very close to taking a nap, but I've gotten my second wind.

Jamie, I think the other place you were talking about is Fiesta Tapatia. I had seen commercials for it, but couldn't remember the name, but saw it on the way to Mazatlan--it's just east of there, on McKinley. We'll have to try that one, too.

So I'm behind on blogs, but I'll catch up!

Bears Did anyone catch the show on ABC last night about the Alaskan bear guy? His name is Charlie, and he has 40 acres in Alaska. He's what you could call a Bear Whisperer, and started making friends with all these bears that came into his yard. Black bears and grizzlies...he started feeding them (which is illegal to do unless you are hunting them), and became very friendly with them. He would play with them, lay down by them, let them snatch fig newtons out of his mouth...the guy was obviously more than just a little eccentric. It was kind of neat to see these huge bears play with him, but it also made me very uneasy.

They talked to a biologist about this, and he said that what Charlie was doing was wrong. These are wild animals, and should not be made to have no fear of human beings. (I was recently in a discussion with someone about wolves not fearing humans, so it reminded me of that.) He was also essentially training them to do tricks (grabbing the cookie out of his mouth, for example), and the biologist felt there was a certain circus element to the whole thing. He said that it was inevitable that someone would get hurt, and felt that the state would eventually put an end to this. He was right on both counts.

A cameraman filming for a documentary about this got a deep slash on his ankle when he got between a bear and her cub. The state of Alaska soon began working towards stopping this, and Charlie had to put up a fence and stop feeding the bears. You could tell that it broke his heart, but he did seem to realize that it was for the best. The program ended by saying that Charlie is facing several counts against him, even though he's stopped feeding the bears and stopped letting them come up to (and into) his house.

Polar bear Personally, I hope they drop the charges and let the guy be. He's stopped doing it, he's 70 years old...just let it drop. However, I believe that what he was doing was wrong. There is a reason that any state or national park you drive through has signs erected to NOT feed the bears, but you always see some dumbass in the Smokies with a bag of freakin' marshmallows. These are wild animals, and they can kill you. (Especially grizzlies...the program said that grizzlies are known for decapitating their victims. Yikes.) If people feed them, they become emboldened, and will be less wary of coming into an area where humans are. That's when people get hurt, and you know what happens when people get hurt by a wild animal? They kill the animal.

It's just a bad idea all the way around. You know that I've spoken about how cute our raccoons and Groundy (our groundhog) are, and how sometimes I feel like I could reach out and scratch the raccoons on the head. The young ones will come right up to the sliding glass door and look in at me, raise up on their back legs and wave their little arms around in the air...oh my God, they are so cute! I'll usually indulge myself a little when they're younger, and try to get closeup pictures of them, but I try to make sure that they know the boundaries and know that if they come up here, they're apt to get popped with the BB gun. I guess I feel that it's best to try to keep a line drawn between us. Groundy may make her home under the deck walkway, and the raccoons may like to come over and look in our windows, but I'm not inviting them into the house. I suspect Sheeba would have something to say about that! (Imagine a black cat with his back arched, tail all bushed out.)

I'm of the "let the wild things be" school.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Trying to understand the illogical

Cognitive dissonance Milwaukee Dan #2 posted a Newsweek article on Facebook the other day called "Lies of Mass Destruction" by Sharon Begley. In the article, the author tries to understand the reasoning behind those who continue to believe several lies about health care reform, even in the face of incontrovertible evidence that there is no truth to the claims. (This also applies to Birthers and their refusal to accept a valid, legal document.) I've wondered about that, too, so I was very interested in this article, which believes that there is a psychological aspect to this phenomenon.

As I've written before, I don't have a degree in Psychology or anything like that, but it's something that I've always found interesting. I loved the couple of classes I took in college, and I've just always enjoyed reading about various personality disorders and other psychological disorders. I guess you could say it's a hobby. At least it's one I don't have to buy a room full of supplies for!

The article states that people stick with their false beliefs, even though there is ample evidence to the contrary, because of something called "motivated reasoning." It means that people tend to look for information that confirms their beliefs rather than contradicts them. Anything that is not in line with what they believe is either completely ignored, or rationalized away. This comes as no surprise, because I wrote some time ago (I think during the election) about a study that showed that people tend to migrate towards news sources that jibe with their own beliefs. I certainly do that in watching CNN and MSNBC, or reading Huffington Post, but I do read sites like Politics Daily and magazines like Time which include both right and left wing columnists. You won't find me watching Faux News because I find it...well, sort of ridiculous...but I'm sure there are many people that refuse to watch CNN because they feel the same way about it. I think most of us recognize that we gravitate towards opinions that are similar to ours, whether in a news channel or in friends.

A study is mentioned in which the scientists conducted surveys concerning Saddam Hussein's link to 9/11. That was the main reason we attacked Iraq: Saddam blew up the Towers, right? Everyone knows that...except Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. 73% of the 246 participants still believed in a link between Saddam and 9/11, and extended interviews were conducted with 49 of those people. Even after they were shown evidence that there was no such link--including the admission by President Bush that there was no link--48 of them still found a way to justify our attack of Iraq. They did this by using inferred justification, in which they rationalize, "Well, since we invaded, we had to have a good reason to do so...if it wasn't because of 9/11, it was because he had weapons of mass destruction." Of course, there were no such weapons. "Well, it had to be because of something." They worked backwards from the invasion to try to find justification. Some just expressed confusion, like "I don't know what I know!" about the difference between what they believed and what the facts showed.

This is due to a psychological concept called "cognitive dissonance." I only vaguely recalled the term, so I did a little further research. It's basically what happens when what you believe to be true conflicts with evidence showing that it is not. A person experiencing cognitive dissonance will try to relieve the psychological tension this causes by finding other evidence that confirms their beliefs, or by ignoring fact or discrediting the sources of such facts.

Cognitive dissonance2 This relates to the persistent lies about health care reform, and President Obama himself, in this way: there were millions of people who did not vote for President Obama. They have found something here to latch onto in order to rationalize their belief that they made the correct choice. Whether they believe the nonsense about him not being a citizen, or point to bogus evidence that he's a Marxist, a Socialist, or a Muslim, or think that health care reform will mean insuring illegal aliens, it's all about cognitive dissonance. It's changing the facts--or ignoring or disbelieving them--to fit your own version of things. If someone didn’t vote for him because they don’t care for his politics, that’s one thing; believing obvious lies is quite another.

The mind is an amazing thing, but what energy it must take to constantly try to rationalize mistaken beliefs, whatever they happen to concern. I would think that would be a full-time job, and would lead to further psychological conflict. I'm sure we all rationalize our behaviors to some extent ("I'm going to eat that extra doughnut because I had a bad day," or "I'm not going to get lung cancer because I don't smoke as much as some people do"), but when you ignore clear evidence, that seems to go a little beyond simple rationalization and into the realm of delusion.

I almost forgot! Rabbit rabbit rabbit...evil spirits begone from Nutwood! :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

I feel dirty

Hazmat scrubdown Before I call the HazMat team to scrub me down, I thought I would post about my harrowing experience this afternoon.

Some of my more liberal-leaning friends and I were having a discussion on Facebook about Sarah Palin's Facebook page. That is where she first floated her lie about "death panels." She rarely posts on it, but plenty of "fans" do, and it makes for some pretty entertaining reading. I toyed with the idea of joining so I could leave comments. My friend Tim said that he wasn't going to do so because he hates it when right wingers invade liberal blogs, and he was just going to leave them to it. Another friend (I won't mention his name so he can remain incognito) thinks he might join so he can leave a pointed, subtle comment here and there. He was most worried about having "So-and-so just became a fan of Sarah Palin" showing up on his page. I don't blame you, buddy, that's the main reason I can't bring myself to join! I think he can delete that line when it shows up, though, so he should be okay. Perhaps we can collaborate in a covert ops mission, and I can report here on any responses he receives. I will leave that up to him, but he will remain anonymous.

Anyhoo, I took a couple of Valium (not really, but I would have if I had any), girded my loins, and spent a while checking it out. I did not go there in the interest of learning anything and I did not go in the belief that anything there would change my mind about Palin. I'm beyond that point; I know it, and you all know it. No, I went purely on a comedy-seeking mission, and I'm happy to say that I was successful. Let me say that I'm sure there are a lot of decent people over there. The vast majority obviously care for this country (although I'm at a loss as to what they think Palin can do for it), and I'm not one to ridicule anyone's religious beliefs (unless they start stepping on my rights to believe what I will). However, there were a few comments that were really...out there...and those are the ones I zeroed in on. Here we go, typos, misspellings, and all....

SARAH I can't to watch you save our country from people that are high on political crack

I give this person points for imagery. "High on political crack" is a dilly of a phrase!

This swine flu is no more dangerous than other flues this is the emergency they will use to bring out marshal law. Keep your eyes open at this time we must distrust media and government there in bed together. Only fox is half way fair. More people died last year from regular flu than did from swine flu.

"Flues" and "marshal" law. Haha! This commenter does get points for partial truth, though. Swine flu is not a highly virulent strain, and mortality is quite low at this point. As with all viruses, the concern is a mutation that will make it much more lethal. Morbidity is quite high--it's highly transmissible and contracted easily--so if it becomes more virulent, then we've got a big problem.

What is wrong with Hawaii, Calif., NY, Mass, NJ???

Reply: Demacrats and Raicals!

Reply: Careful might be surprised at the support for Governor Palian in NY:)

Reply: ..pointing out those BIG liberal states in the union...pretty scary.

Reply: Not everyone in those states are loons :)

Reply: ..well no, but majority are...these are the true typical BLUE states.

Wow, way to generalize about a whole bunch of your fellow Americans. I guess these folks commenting must be from Real America™. As opposed to Faux America. Or I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-America.

Just saw a little bit of Bob Dole on Cavuto. What a disappointment. "Republicans should compromise on HC. If there 20 or more Republicans voting for it, then the American people would be more willing to accept it."

Reply: was listening to that windbag too. He ruined the lunch I was trying to eat. I thank God that compromiser wasn't elected president in 1996, quite frankly. We need LESS backroom Senate deals to expand the state, and MORE gutting on the federal government!

Reply: The reason we need all the career politicians out on both sides, start over with Sarah at the helm.

Reply: He sounds like another Arlene Spector to meeeeeeeeeee :)

Reply: Bob Dole, go home and be one of the medicare recipients who has to be rationed.

The same Bob Dole who served in WWII and suffered an injury that has been with him all his life, then served his country in the Senate (as a Republican, no less) for many more years? That Bob Dole? What a cowardly slacker, and how dare he even suggest any sort of compromise in order to pass legislation. Disgusting, isn't he? That last comment about Medicare was pretty shitty, though.

Sarah Palin...For a time such as this!

Hey, that's brilliant. Sounds like a campaign slogan to me!

From the same person:

The egg vs. the ham...The chicken is involved, but the pig is committed. Are you more like the chicken or the pig? I put lipstick on a PIG daily...and Proud of it Sarah Palin my friend!


Some people (trolls) have said "Please don't try to make any sense of what you read on this website. The writers are very confused." Apparently we are making too much sense, they are still here glued to their screen, hanging on to every word we type...

See above explanation of looking for comedy fodder.

Have you considered asking the Living God to cause confusion among those who are trying to radically change this country. That has been my prayer the last few weeks.

Yes. That's a much better prayer than asking for an end to war, starvation, poverty, and suffering.

Sarah--Are we really going to be able to make a difference????? What is going on with all of the Czars?????? What are they trying to do to Rush and Beck???? I hear the republicans are against Rush too...... Does our vote matter anymore or are they going to do what they want anyway???? Anyone have any answers ..... What about the underground volunteer army and health care.... Who is stepping up here???? Is anyone listening to us or are they going to proceed with anything they want to do????? Really is it worth it???? Does anyone know what is going on here??? I am certainly confused...

You're confused???? I'm not sure I understand???? There's going to be an army underground???? Or do you mean underground health care...or volunteer health care???? I'm so confused, too????

Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann WOW!!! DAMN WHAT A TICKET THAT WOULD BE

I completely agree with this comment. That would be quite a ticket, and I would be quite happy to see it happen. I'd create a new blog just to write about it.


Google the guy. Ugh. Although again, that would be worthy of another blog so I could focus on just that.

Governor, why don't you head to Washington DC on the 12th, stand in front of the crowd for one minute and click your heels. That will be enough for the MSM to press the panic bottom. Rats will run in all directions and WH will declare state of emergency.

Just watch out for the Wicked Witch of the West and her Flying Monkeys. That bitch'll cut ya.

Sarah will you end the federal reserve?

Umm...she is now a private citizen. She can't do that anymore than you can. Even as Governor of Alaska, she couldn't do that. This is a very silly question.

From a Reverend:

Yer loved. Not because of your beauty but because of your brain. God bless and keep you. Keep you for US!

Yer comment is a little on the creepy side, Reverend. I don't love it...not just because of its use of "yer" but also because of its dirty-old-man vibe.

Last but not least, one that seems a little misogynistic.

I'm so glad to see a woman who has conservative values serving her state and country as Sarah Palin has done. What a relief not to have my gender falsely represented by some 60-year-old female hippie with matted hair and still wearing maxi skirts in the name of feminism, or the more cleaned up versions like Hillbillary and Pelosi, or the angry, black militant version of Rep. Watson. These women are still stuck in the 1960's and need to progress into the present!

Wait! It's misogynistic...but it's from a woman?! I'm fairly certain that Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi are not "stuck in the 1960's," despite being more "cleaned up" than those matted-haired, maxi-skirted hippies from 40 years ago. This is just weird, and sounds like some cranky woman who just plain doesn't like uppity women.

Whew, that was exhausting. I feel like I need a little break, and maybe even a spelling lesson. Maybe this will help....


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Whoops, missed one!

Manhunt A big thanks to the abfab Rebecca of Provocation of Mine(d), who reminded me that I'd forgotten a biggie in my list of Republicans who can't seem to get their stories straight, or who offer not-so-convincing apologies for their nasty, offensive remarks. (Cartoon from SeeMikeDraw. Some genuinely funny—and a little twisted—cartoons there!)

Governor-wanna-be Rex Rammel in Rebecca's state of Idaho let loose with a doozy the other day. At a rally in Twin Falls, there was discussion of the state's planned wolf hunt coming up soon. Those who want to participate have to purchase an extra tag in order to do so. (I won't say much about that. You all can guess how I feel about a wolf hunt.) Someone in the crowd shouted out something about "Obama tags," and Rammel said, "The Obama tags? We'd buy some of those."

When he got flak for this obviously inappropriate remark, he told the AP that he doesn't see why he should apologize for the remark, since it was "just a joke."

"What I would say to all my Democrat Idahoans: Take a deep breath and relax," Rammel said. "We're not going to go out and hunt Obama."

He also said, "I would never support him being assassinated."

Gee, Rex, your enthusiasm is underwhelming. The joke was not funny; not when the atmosphere is so highly charged lately, and not in a state known for its high number of militias. Making such a comment verges on criminal incitement, and saying "Just kidding" is a lame attempt to rid yourself of responsibility for something so egregious and offensive. ya covered, Rebecca!

A quiet day at Nutwood today, with a little puttering, a little reading, and a little golf on TV. Ken got the mowing done, and we're looking forward to a bit of a warm-up this week. Highs of 65° in August? I want a re-do! Looking at the week's forecast, the Notre Dame home opener next Saturday should be a gorgeous day, one made for tailgating and enjoying the game! (We have tickets.) I made a big dish of enchiladas today, and I'll be popping those in the oven before too long. Hmm, perhaps some Sangria would go well with the enchiladas...!

Still loving Angle of Repose, and here's another line that struck me today:

The gate opened and dressed-up children spilled into the street, bright beads from a broken string.

Nice imagery, eh?

Cry me a river, honey

Cry me a river I'm dumbfounded by some of the recent GOP bonehead remarks and the subsequent scramble to rephrase and say, "That's not what I meant." Everyone does that once in a while, and we are often misconstrued in our remarks; this certainly seems to be becoming quite a pattern with the GOP, though. Some of it is, I believe, thinly-veiled racism.

First we had Sarah Palin telling lies on her Facebook page, writing about President Obama's "death panels," and how her parents or her child with Down syndrome would somehow be targeted for elimination because they aren't productive members of society. (Hey Sarah...if you're worried about that, you would probably do well to start getting a little nervous on your own behalf.) These so-called "death panels" are utter nonsense, nothing more than another scare tactic. After writing about the "death panels" and about how Obama's plan is "evil," riling up the base to the point of frothing at the mouth, Palin then backpedaled and told everyone that they should be respectful in their disagreement and maintain civility.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele issued an op-ed piece stating his opinions on health care, and when interviewed by NPR and asked to clarify his answers, he only became more inconsistent and nonsensical, seeming to back down from his original opinions and then going back to them...and finally accusing the interviewer of "doing a wonderful little dance here and trying to be cute." That's the way, Mike, when backed into a corner, attack the interviewer!

Then there's the weepy Glenn Beck, who said that President Obama has shown himself to be "a guy who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture. I don't know what it is...." When his Faux News cohorts called him on it and said that he couldn't really say that, because a lot of people in Obama's administration are white, Beck said, "I'm not saying he doesn't like white people."

Say what?

After first saying that Obama hates white people, then saying that he's not saying that Obama doesn't like white people, he then says, "I'm saying he has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist."

Umm...just a can you hate a race, but not dislike them, but still be a racist when it comes to dealing with them? Is that kind of like saying, "I don't like black people, but I'm not a racist?"

Michelle Bachmann...I guess I have to give her a little credit here, because she's actually sticking to her convictions, mistaken though they may be. When questioned about Sarah Palin's "death panels" by a caller on a radio show, Bachmann crowed that she was so glad Palin talked about death panels because these "are true." No. No, they are not. Apparently Bachmann has swallowed the lies hook, line, and sinker, and actually believes them to be true. Of course, Sarah Palin had to weigh in and praise Bachmann for her remarks. Small minds think alike.

Freudian slip Finally we have Kansas Representative Lynn Jenkins, who when talking about who will oppose President Obama in the future, said that the GOP needs a "great white hope." As I wrote on Facebook, her Freudian slip was showing. And yes, she backpedaled, too, said that wasn't what she meant, and "I apologize if my words have offended anyone." The standard non-apology apology that seems to be de rigueur for the GOP these days.

I guess this just goes to show you that no matter where you go, no matter what you do, and no matter how old you get, there will always be bullies. There will always be those people who believe that they can say whatever they want, and when someone actually dares to poke back, they then offer up some lame-ass apology as if that negates everything they have said before. Or else they get all pissy, like "Okay, just stop it." Give me a break. As Wyatt Earp said in "Tombstone," "You called down the thunder, well now you've got it!"

Let me tell you a little story. I used to know this girl...I won't say when, but it was some time ago. She was the type who loved to throw little digs at everyone. Usually they were nothing major, but sometimes they could really cut a person to the quick and really hurt their feelings. After every such dig, she'd say, "Just kidding." For real..."Wow, that was stupid. Just kidding." "Those shoes are ugly. Just kidding." It was like she felt that her little addendum of "just kidding" gave her a free pass to say whatever the hell she wanted, no matter how much it might hurt the person she said it to. I was one of many recipients of those insults followed by a "just kidding." Several of us had finally had it one day, and we proceeded to fire back. I don't recall us saying anything really nasty, just little insults, always followed by "Just kidding." At first, she sat there with her arms folded in front of her, a smirk on her face, her leg crossed and swinging wildly. Eventually, she began to put a hurt look upon her face, followed by a few little tears. Yeah...just kidding.

Did any of us feel bad about it? No. Not a bit. Sometimes you have to make a bully--and that was bullying behavior--understand that words can hurt every bit as much as fists. Such retaliation is usually not my style; I'm a person who is normally very easygoing. But if you push me hard enough and long enough, I will turn on you, and you will not like the results. I especially love it when the bully has to face someone who actually is willing to fight back, and then ends up all teary-eyed and put-upon, crying, "Stop it, guys, just stop it!" I have no sympathy, no compassion, and no quarter for bullies. I still remember someone on the school bus picking on someone I liked very much, and telling the bully, "Hey, why don't you just SHUT UP?" And they did. Yeah, I may not be big in size, but I make up for it in fierceness.

Striking snake Why on earth would anyone think that they can say whatever they want and get a free pass on it? Do they think people are just going to sit back and take it? Do people like Beck, Palin, et al, think it's okay to spew whatever hatred, idiocy, and lies that happen to bubble to the surface of their swamps of a mind and then expect to not get called on it? Do you get a pardon just because you say "That's not what I meant" or "Just kidding"? Do you expect people to back off because you cry "Foul!" after your constant litany of nastiness? It just doesn't work that way, folks. You keep poking that snake, the snake is eventually going to strike back. There are always consequences; best to think about them before beginning a campaign of hate.