Saturday, August 15, 2009


I have to admit that we've been a couple of lazy bums today. Ken headed out to fill the gas cans, and I filled all the bird feeders.

Aaaaand...that was about it.

Balloonflower water colorTomorrow will be yard work. Lawn mowing for Ken, and flower planting for me. For the past few years, I've been trying to get perennials on sale in the summer, and Meijer has always had the best sale around this time. I haven't seen anything in their ads, so I popped over there yesterday. SCORE! In the past, I've gotten perennials four for ten dollars, and sometimes five for ten dollars. Yesterday they were $1.75! I got creeping phlox (I'll have to get a salve for that), coreopsis, dianthus, balloon flower (that's one in the picture, and it's done pretty well out front—that’s a water color effect), asters, and a hen and chicks, AKA Sempervivum, twelve plants in all. (Interesting note: the name Sempervivum means "live forever," and they used to be planted on rooftops to ward off lightning...and witches. I'll let you know if it works.)

We've been watching Tiger play in the PGA championship (still in the lead...Go Tiger!), and I took the opportunity earlier to finish my book club book, The Death of the Heart. Not bad, but not one of my favorites...I guess I just didn't see much point to it. A young girl in London learns what it's like to get her heart broken and is forced to learn some hard truths about growing up. I just didn't see much beyond that. Next up is A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul. It is set in Africa, and looks intriguing. It won the 2001 Pulitzer prize, so I'm hoping it will be a good one.

We also planned our December vacation! We were pretty certain that we wanted to go to Mexico. We loved stopping at Cozumel when we were on the cruise (and going to the Mayan ruins), and they're really hurting in Mexico when it comes to tourism (as well as other things). We thought about Cancun, but decided we wanted to do the Pacific coast, so we thought about Puerto Vallarta, but that was about twelve hours of we went with our original idea of Cabo San Lucas. It was a matter of using our extra timeshare week or losing it, and we weren't about to lose it! We booked at a place called Villa del Palmar, right on the beach, then booked our flights. We're both excited to be going somewhere new, and it looks like Cabo is a relatively safe resort town. We're already thinking about horseback rides, or maybe a three-hour boat tour along the coast. And what trip to Cabo would be complete without a visit to Cabo Wabo, Sammy Hagar's joint? Tequila, anyone?

I'm excited, and looking forward to doing a little research on our visit to a new place. Lots of cool-looking restaurants, and there's apparently a huge spa at this resort, but massages and manis aren't really my style. We'll do our usual vegecation thing, and I think horseback riding sounds like a cool outing. We'll do some planning in the coming months, but fun to have this booked and to have a new--and not unknown--destination!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Everybody chill…please

I am posting this article from ABC News in its entirety, because I think it's important. Commentary will follow.

Obama's Safety: Fear Grows for President as Hate Groups Thrive on Racial Backlash

Violent Signs, Gun, Standoff Latest in Emerging Anger Towards the President


August 14, 2009

Experts who track hate groups across the U.S. are growing increasingly concerned over violent rhetoric targeted at President Obama, especially as the debate over health care intensifies and a pattern of threats emerges.

The Secret Service is investigating a Maryland man who held a sign reading "Death to Obama" and "Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids" outside a town hall meeting this week. And in New Hampshire, another man stood across the street from a Presidential town hall with his gun on full display.

Los Angeles police officers apprehended a man Thursday after a standoff with him inside a red Volkswagen Bug car in Westwood, CA – the latest disturbing case even though officials said the man had mental problems.

"I don't think these are simply people who are mentally ill or off their rocker," Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told ABC News of those behind the threats. "In a very real sense they represent a genuine reaction, a genuine backlash against Obama."

Experts say a sharp growth in so-called militia groups that helped spawn a wave of domestic terrorism in the 1990s – and are now using YouTube, rock music and the Internet to recruit members and spread hate and fear - shouldn't be ignored.

"It's certainly a scary time," said former FBI agent Brad Garrett, now an ABC News consultant. Garrett said the Secret Service "cannot afford to pass on anyone," and he believes "they really do fear that something could happen to [Obama]."

Garrett said statements like one recently made by controversial radio host Rush Limbaugh comparing a logo for the White House plan to a Nazi symbol "legitimizes people who are on the edge to go do something or say something."

"And if you go and take a look at this, you will find that the Obama health care logo is damn close to a Nazi swastika logo," Limbaugh said.

Later, someone painted a swastika outside the office of Congressman David Scott of Georgia, one of Obama's supporters.

While officials told ABC News that the President's daily threat matrix has yet to reflect a sharp increase in threats, White House officials privately admit deep concern and have told the Secret Service to keep security tight, even if Obama objects.

"I think the president has, in effect, triggered fears amongst fairly large numbers of white people in this country that they are somehow losing their country, that the battle is lost," Potok told ABC News. "The nation that their Christian white forefathers created has somehow been taken from them."

Protest sign2 Read it again, if you need to. White House officials have admitted "deep concern," and have asked the Secret Service to be hyper-vigilant.

I'm too young to remember President Kennedy's assassination, or those of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. As someone who loves history, though, I've read quite a bit about the reaction in the country and around the world, as well as talking with family members who do remember those horrible days. My Dad was in the National Guard, and it was a dangerous time for him.

Does any rational person in this country want to go through such turmoil again, or see anything bad happen to the President, his family, or those close to him? It would be disastrous on many levels, including our standing in the world. We finally get a President that much of the world kinda digs, and some lunatic takes him out? Is that really the image we want to project to the world?

I don't know how many ways I can say it. Those who are inflaming people with their incendiary words are now doing more harm than good. I believe that many of the people who are shouting at these meetings are concerned citizens who don't mean any harm to anyone (although yelling does nothing to further the discussion). However, and this is a very large and important caveat, there are people who hate our President and wish to do him harm, and those numbers are apparently increasing. The vitriol that we're hearing from those who are primarily concerned with their ratings is inflammatory and hateful, and there will be someone at some point who will become so incensed by what they are hearing that they want to harm the President.

For those who would say that President Bush got plenty of vitriol himself, there's no denying that. But come on...anyone can see that what we are witnessing now is at a level that is beyond what President Bush had to deal with. It would seem to be approaching the tipping point, and if these so-called "patriots" on TV and talk radio really wish to see their country safe, they will ratchet down the rhetoric several notches. Terrorists don't come only from overseas. Remember Timothy McVey? Words have power, and they can move people to action. Make sure that your words move people towards positive action rather than hateful, negative action.

Protest sign3 I would also remind anyone who wants to harm the President that the Secret Service has pledged to protect him and his family, and they are willing to give their lives to do so. Your goal may be to harm President Obama, but you may harm or kill others in your attempt, people who have done nothing but serve their country and their President. What does that accomplish, other than sating your own irrational anger?

So everyone needs to chill the eff out and calm down. Be civil, be respectful, and stop the hateful speech.

One more commentary on a related issue, then I'll pipe down for a while. [grin] Much of what I’m hearing from those who oppose health care reform is that countries like Canada and England have horrible systems and that people there have to wait so long for care that they die. I'm not sure who they're talking to, because every single online friend from those countries who has emailed me or commented here has been a great supporter of their health care system. Ziggy and Ted in Canada, Simon, Mort, Sybil, Andy in England...did I forget anyone? Indeed, some of our friends across the pond have taken exception to the right's hijacking of their National Health System for their own purposes, and have had a few things to say about it. One of the most egregious--and ludicrous--comments came from a business editorial which said that someone like Stephen Hawking "wouldn't have a chance" in the UK, that because of his affliction and physical limitations, he would be left to die.

Professor Hawking was born in the UK, lives there, and released a statement saying that he wouldn't be here today if it weren't for Britain's NHS.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Living in the past

Once I used to join in

Every boy and girl was my friend.

Now there's revolution, but they don't know

What they're fighting.

Let us close our eyes;

Outside their lives go on much faster.

Oh, we won't give in,

We'll keep living in the past.

~~Jethro Tull

My friend Mark at The Trash Whisperer noted on Facebook that one thing that most of these town hall protesters seem to have in common is that they just don't like change. It's odd that he mentioned that, because I was thinking the same thing this week. Seeing the anger made me think that maybe people were acting so angry because they are afraid, and one of the things that makes people afraid is change.

That led me to think (are you still with me?) about dealing with change in our own lives. We've all experienced change throughout the years of our lives, and change can be one of the greatest stressors, whether it's a welcome change like a wedding or an unwanted one like a funeral. I believe that how we deal with life's inevitable changes is one of the things that defines and sharpens our character, and is an indicator of our strength of will and mental health.

Changes It seems there are more people than usual going through major changes these days; a job or a business lost; a marriage ending; a midlife crisis begun. I've seen the gamut of reactions, ranging from grace, good humor, and acceptance to anger, bitterness, and denial. I've seen people realize that the only choice for them is to roll with the changes (thanks, R.E.O.) and move forward to the next challenge, and I've seen people make the choice to never accept that the world has moved on and instead, to stay mired in the stagnant pools of their personal misery. I've seen people take the crummy cards that have been dealt them and turn them into a winning hand; I've also seen those who would rather throw down their hand in anger and shoot the dealer.

I have regretted actions in the past, but I try not to dwell on my mistakes. I understand that is part of being a human being, and I truly hope that I've never hurt anyone too badly by the things I've said or done. There are always hurts along the way, and some of those I have caused have stuck with me; I've tried to apologize when I've had the chance. Sometimes I've even been forgiven. For those hurts that have been done to me, I've done my best to get over them and forge ahead. Certain things will always linger, but I try not to let them define me, or to carry around excessive emotional baggage. And I don't hold onto anger, at least not that slow-burning anger that smolders in your gut like a banked fire. When I think of specific things, I might have a flare of anger, but it really doesn't last long. What's the point? Who is it hurting other than myself? I just throw a little sarcasm at it and move along.

There aren't a lot of people from my past that I still encounter. I'm fortunate in that with those I do, I mostly have good relationships, and there are some who I consider good friends. I've known some people who seem to hate pretty much everyone from their past, except for those who have died. When it comes to those types of people, I guess you have to die in order to get in their good graces! It wouldn't surprise me that if the departed were still with us, the haters would find reason to hate them, too. It's easy to eulogize people that you don't have to deal with every day. The question is, how do you treat those who are still around?

Change is happening constantly. On the best of days, we control the changes; on the worst, they control us. How do you deal? Nothing less than your long-term peace of mind is at stake.

Thursday Roundup

Yes, it's another roundup. I just have too many odds and ends to tie up the past couple of days!

R.I.P. Les Paul. Without you, the music that I love so much would not exist.

Les Paul Dan of The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind gets one of the Silver Squirrel awards for knowing that the no brown rats in the Alice Cooper python's bowl of rats was in reference to Van Halen's infamous tour rider, in which they specified that in their backstage bowls of M&M's, there were to be no brown ones. Ahhh, spoiled rock stars! Don't you just want to smack 'em? A few others had the correct answer, but Dan was the first.

Still no winner on the question about the TV miniseries. A couple of people did give the correct answer, but one admitted that she Googled it, and the other admitted that he saw her answer. (Both get an Honorable Mention for their honesty.) In light of that, I am throwing out that question, and the Silver Squirrel will ride again another day. The correct answer was "The Stand," the TV miniseries based on Stephen King's book of the same name. I don't think the critics liked it much, but I enjoyed it. I just wish it could have been gorier. They're doing a theater remake of "It," so I wish they'd do one of "The Stand." I'd love to see what they could do with it in a theatrical remake.


I thought about reposting my entry about health care in its entirety, but I decided to just link to it. I wrote this back in January, and I still stand completely by the opinions I wrote of back then. Even the part about not wanting a national health care system. There are plenty of people who are happy with their health insurance. The concern is those who cannot afford it, and that's why I support a public option. (Key word there: OPTION.) Besides, the reality is that a bill with a national health care system would never get passed. Why push for something that has no chance of success? That's the pragmatic side of me.


Thanks for the feedback on the suspicious Craigslist email. I think I was right to trust my instinct. The people who came to look at it last night bought it, so I took the ad down immediately. Now I don't have to worry about it.


Sheeba Kitty Sheeba caught another mouse last night. It seems that our basement has turned into freakin' Disney World, and there are meeces everywhere, but I guess that's to be expected out in the country. I'm glad Sheeba is such a good mouser, and he got lots of praise and treats for his efforts. Good boy!


I got to see my folks today when they stopped by and gave us another loaf of raisin bread [grin] and dropped off a bag full of--get this--empty journals. There was a big sale at a store they stopped at a while back, and they went back and got me a bunch. I'm still trying to decide what to do with them. Stay tuned....


We got an email from our friend Kimberley, and it looks like her and Steve are on for Florida next year! Yippee! I'm already thinking about cookouts and taking them to our favorite places...they'll love the manatees! Especially Steve, because he's a science teacher and marine biologist who always takes his students on a field trip to the Monterey Aquarium. I will calm down about this pronto, since it's almost an entire year away. I was just really happy to hear that they can join us next year!


Tonight I'm channeling New Orleans as I serve muffulettas for dinner. I'm not sure what made me crave them, but my mouth is already watering, and we're a couple of hours away from dinner! Muffulettas are big sandwiches with ham, salami, cheese, and olive salad. I made the olive salad this afternoon by chopping up black and green olives and a jar of giardiniera. The ones I make can't compare to Central Grocery's, but they're still pretty tasty!

Central Grocery

Introducing the anti-health care SpokesModel

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Katy Abram.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and my opinion is that Ms. Abram is a bobblehead who has no grasp of what is really happening here, and is simply vomiting up whatever limited information she's managed to absorb from those around her, who are simply vomiting up whatever limited information they've managed to absorb from FauxNews.

She's tired of all these programs being funded by her and her family. Which programs, Katy? Things like, you Immunizations? Medicare? Social security? City, state, and national parks? Infrastructure maintenance? Snow removal? County and state health departments? The CDC? The FDA? The NIH? The DOD? Are those the programs you're talking about?

When asked if her family's income is above that $250,000 per year level, the level at which the President says he'll raise taxes, she laughs and says, "I don't even know," that her husband pays all the bills. Ken pays our bills, too, but I still have a pretty good idea of what we're taking in.

She says that their health care plan is their choice, and they have a $5000 deductible. It's really great that you and your family have that choice, Katy, and I'm betting that there are people out there that would dearly love to be able to afford such health care. But they can't. Our friend Raquel had a neat idea: let's limit attendance at these town hall meetings to those who don't have insurance because they can’t afford it. I suspect that would change the game a little, wouldn't it?

When asked if her parents are on Medicare, she says not yet, but they soon will be. She says, "We don't talk politics." That isn't about politics, Katy. That's about the difficult choices that everyone has to make as they get older. I do talk politics with my parents, and we've also talked about health care. I know that they don't have to worry about it, because Dad was in the military for 35 years, and has great coverage because of that. He and Mom get health care via (dare I say it?) TriCare and the Veteran's Administration. Those are programs run by the government, Katy. Would you like my parents to be denied that care? Would you like your parents to be denied Medicare? They are all government programs, after all, ones not laid out by our founding fathers. You seem to be against anything that wasn't specified in the original documents that established our country. I wonder if you or anyone you know might be adversely affected by such actions?

When asked about her lack of interest in politics prior to this, Katy laughs and says, "Honestly, I didn't really care." She then goes on a nonsensical ramble about war, and about how it seems like it's a constant thing, and maybe it was going on before the first Gulf War, but she doesn't really know. Huh?

When faced with hard questions about Medicare and Social Security, and whether or not those should be discontinued because they are socialist in nature (and they are), as well as not in line with what was written in the initial documents that defined our country and set our policy, she is like a deer caught in the headlights.

For anyone who thinks I'm a big meanie for picking on Ms. Abram, or that Lawrence O'Donnell is a big meanie for picking on her, all I can say is that Ms. Abram made a choice to go on the show. If she watched a little more news, she might have realized what a stupid mistake it was to accept an offer to appear on "Hardball." If this is the opposition, I think they need to do some homework. Her arguments are inchoate and obviously not well thought out. She seems to have fallen prey to that “government is bad” mentality, all the while ignoring the numerous taxpayer-funded agencies that defend us, care for us, do their best to keep us healthy, and try to keep us moving, whether we're driving on an interstate highway (preferably a back road) or hiking the Appalachian trail, and I'm not talking about the way Mark Sanford does it!

For the most part, I'm seeing nebulous opposition, a sort of generic I-hate-the-government attitude. I will leave it to others to speculate as to why this is happening, and they already are. In the meantime, if someone like Katy Abram is the voice of those who are "ticked off," as she put it, they need to find a new SpokesModel. This one is not very convincing, and is certainly not eloquent.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Roundup

BMV Hey there, dudes and dudettes, nothing big happening at Nutwood, so here are some odds and ends.

I went to the BMV this morning, my first time since they opened the new branch (consolidating a couple of smaller ones). My license expires this month, so it was time to renew. They were so nice and friendly, and I was out of there within 15 minutes, my new license with its crummy new picture safely tucked away in my wallet! They've also gone from a four-year expiration to a six-year. Sweet! I took my book along, but only got through a few pages while they printed out the new license. Indiana's Governor Mitch Daniels deserves a lot of credit for making the BMV a relatively painless experience these days. He's taken a lot of flak for a couple of the things he's done (leasing the Toll Road and having us go on Daylight Savings Time--jeez, what a cruel and horrible dictator!), but anyone who fixes the BMV is okay in my book. I voted for him, and guess what? He's a Republican! Personally, I think he's done a pretty good job.

It was also fun driving up there, because it's on one of the remaining brick streets in South Bend. The main roads have all been repaved, but several of the side streets are still brick, and I just love them. (I have a brick paver from one of the roads that ran by one of the Studebaker buildings.) The brick streets have a sort of nostalgic charm, and they sure seem to hold up well.


You know my entry about the Alice Cooper show? I had an email from Milwaukee Dan #1 who said that he sent it along to a music critic. The guy read it and asked Dan to pass along to me that Alice is a big fan of Studebakers and even owns two. Very cool on two counts: a music critic actually read my entry, and Alice loves Studebakers!

Speaking of that entry, I found out that a UK fan site linked to it, so I've had visitors from all over the world stopping by. Again, very cool on two counts: someone found that entry and linked to it, resulting in lots of visits, and people still love Alice all around the world!

Ahhh, there's sort of an international feeling in the air at Nutwood...can you sense it? Almost an...I don't know ne sais quoi.


Silver Squirrel Award There are still two Silver Squirrel awards pending, with no correct answers yet!

1. What TV miniseries used the song "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" in the opening credits?

2. When I mentioned the python that Alice used to bring onstage, I wrote that maybe the snake was dropped because he was getting too demanding, specifying no brown rats in his bowl of rats backstage. What was I referencing there?


When I was at the store the other day, they had a big bin of cantaloupes, and they were INDIANA cantaloupes. I was on those babies like milk on cereal. I'll cop to a complete and utter (and probably illogical) bias here in my belief that Indiana cantaloupes are the best cantaloupes evah. They always seem to have a sweetness and flavor that I've never had elsewhere. I'm sure that part of it is that they aren't shipped from BFE, so are picked more at their peak. This one smells wonderful, and I'll be slicing it up this afternoon. It's a monster, too. [going off to measure] Eight inches in diameter, nine inches in length. [going out to weigh it] Seven pounds. I think next year, I'll try to grow some cantaloupe, although our soil back in the garden is more dark and rich rather than sandy (which cantaloupe like). I bet it will work just fine, though. (Yes, I know that the correct term for what is grown here is muskmelon. In these parts, we call ‘em cantaloupes.)


Craigslist We had a few large things left from the garage sale, including Ken's Mom's like-new stove, and yesterday I put them up on Craigslist. Holy mackerel! Within an hour of putting up the ads, I started getting phone calls. We sold three of the things yesterday, and I've gotten phone calls on the other items. Someone is coming to look at the stove this evening, and I'm fairly certain they'll buy it. (Ken's Mom will be so pleased!) I'll be glad when it's all gone, because this is way too many phone calls for me. I am not a phone person. I'm grateful, though, that there are people willing to buy these things and can get some use out of them, rather then sending them off to a landfill. It's a win-win situation, and I have to say that Craigslist is a fantastic service. We still have some electronic things to sell, and were planning on putting them on eBay, but I think we'll try Craigslist with those, too, and not worry about shipping them.

I got an email about the stove, and you guys tell me your opinion. This person is hearing-impaired so can only email with me. He lives in Houston, but has things arranged with a mover as soon as the money is in our hands. He wants to send a money order, and needs our name, address, and cell phone number. When he inquired via email this morning whether or not we still had the stove, I said yes, and someone is coming to look at it tonight and has made an offer. The Houston guy then sent me an email stating that he would be paying by money order, and listed the above as what he would need. I wrote back and said hold up there, Tex (okay, I didn't really write that), don't send anything, because someone is coming to look at it and they will get first right of refusal.

I don't know for certain, but something just seems fishy about it. Obviously, you know I would have no problem dealing with someone who is hearing-impaired, but that takes away the phone call option. I also don't care much for this out-of-state sale, and would much prefer that someone in the area were to pick any item up. And why on earth would they need our cell phone number? Something about it just sent up red flags, and I think there's some sort of scam there.

Just like the email I got about the TV we had for sale, saying that they know it sounds weird, but they want to give me a TV. thanks. We're selling one, remember? If something about it seems fishy, it's probably fishy.


Hope you're all having a lovely day! The humidity here has let up somewhat, and it's a gorgeous Nutwood day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Godwin, I presume?

Here are a couple of definitions for you from the Urban Dictionary (one of my favorite reference sources):

1. Godwin's law

There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. Godwin's Law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups. However there is also a widely-recognized codicil that any intentional triggering of Godwin's Law in order to invoke its thread-ending effects will be unsuccessful.

Example: "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

2. Godwin's Law

A term that originated on Usenet, Godwin's Law states that as an online argument grows longer and more heated, it becomes increasingly likely that somebody will bring up Adolf Hitler or the Nazis. When such an event occurs, the person guilty of invoking Godwin's Law has effectively forfeited the argument.

Example: "Dude, shut up. Nobody cares what you think."

"Oh, so now you're trying to censor me? Go to hell, you damn Nazi!"

It can also be used as a verb, to Godwin, as in "Aww, man, you just Godwinned the thread! You lose!"

Obama protester Nancy Pelosi recently commented on some of the recent town hall protests, saying "They're carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on healthcare." Well, that's a statement of fact, as you can see in the picture. However, many people have interpreted that as her calling them Nazis.

Rush Limbaugh went a little further, though, saying this:

"Obama's got a healthcare logo that's right out of Adolf Hitler's playbook. Now, what are the similarities between the Democrat Party of today and the Nazi Party in Germany? Well, the Nazis were against big business — they hated big business . . . They were insanely, irrationally against pollution . . . They had a whole bunch of make-work projects to keep people working . . . They were for abortion and euthanasia of the undesirables, as we all know, and they were for cradle-to-grave nationalized healthcare."

Limbaugh not only Godwinned the discussion, he Godwinned himself! What a maroon! You lose!

I'm not even going to dignify his comparison with all the reasons why it's untrue, patently absurd, and just plain goofy. I have to comment, however, on the "insanely, irrationally against pollution" statement. The Nazis weren't insanely against pollution, obviously, but the bigger concept here is that in Limbaugh's Bizarro World, being anti-pollution is insane and irrational. Who IS this guy, honestly? Talk about insane and irrational!

At the meeting that Ken and I went to, a couple of people angrily demanded an apology from Speaker if Congressman Donnelly could do anything about that. I felt like yelling, "Then Limbaugh needs to apologize to our President!" But I didn't. Why? Because I don't believe that sort of arguing serves any purpose to further the discussion, and in fact, has the opposite effect, bringing the discussion to an end.

Stop the hatred We've all seen on the news lately the angry rhetoric being shouted at town hall meetings. Legislators trying to speak and to explain things have been shouted down; a Congressman was hanged in effigy at one meeting; another was chased through a parking lot by an angry mob; others have received death threats. Limbaugh and others of his ilk are feeding this hysteria with their words. They are no longer informing; they are inciting. Sarah Palin gets all pissy with people for picking on her kids, then brings her own kid up when she says Obama's "death panels" will kill him...then she turns around and calls for civility in the discussion. I submit to you that she and Limbaugh and others are harming the country they claim to love so dearly by fomenting unrest and anger in the place of civil, rational discussion, and by promoting and furthering misinformation. When discussion ends, fighting begins. Is that really what they, or anyone, wants in our country?

I have no problem with anyone speaking their mind, or discussing issues with their legislators either in private or in a public meeting. I have a big problem with those who would shout down those with opposing views rather than let them speak in a public forum, and those who continue to spew misinformation like they're some sort of walking, talking chain letter.

If this continues to fester, someone somewhere will eventually get hurt. It's not a question of if, it's a matter of when. I will blame haters like Limbaugh with their incendiary remarks, and liars like Palin with her imaginary "death panels." It will rest solidly on their shoulders. Of course, they won't care, because they're beyond the fray, out of the reach of the huddled masses, above it all. They don't care about their country, and they don't care about us. They care about their ratings, and Palin cares about...well, I don't know what the hell she cares about.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A rilly big shew

The Morris Okay, pictures are edited and videos are uploaded, so it's time to discuss last night's Blue Öyster Cult/Alice Cooper show!

After a bite to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings, we walked over to the venue, the Morris Center, just a block or so away. The Morris is a beautiful place, lovingly restored, and is consistently in the list of top venues in the country, based on ticket sales. My Dad remembers seeing Louis Armstrong there, I remember seeing rock shows when the ceiling was crumbling, and it's wonderful to go there now and see what a wonderful job they did on renovation and restoration. The Morris is a gem!

We got there about five minutes late, and the opening act, BÖC, had started right on time! We made our way to our seats, 11th row on the side. We scoped out some empty seats in the center, and when they weren't filled, we were able to move over and get even better seats. We gave our original seats to a couple who was sitting in different rows, so it worked out well for everyone. As I mentioned previously, I was never that much into BÖC, but they're excellent live. Buck Dharma was and is one of the best guitarists in rock, and he still sounds great. The highlights were of course "Burnin' For You," "Godzilla," and "(Don't Fear) The Reaper." For the latter, they did the extended version with the guitar solo, which is much better than the radio edit version. (A Silver Squirrel award to anyone who knows which TV miniseries used that song to such great effect.)

BOC bass player I had to chuckle at the bass player. He had the whole 80's hair band thing goin' on, with the long hair, tight jeans, and he was a very active bass player, unlike most bass players, slappin' that bass like he was...well, never mind. He even did a bass solo. Does the world really still need bass solos? Turns out he used to play for Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, and Ozzy. I was never into any of them, so that explains why I found this bass player amusing. (Apologies to any fans of those bands out there, but they just weren't my cup o' tea.) Anyhoo, solid effort from BÖC, but I was there for Alice.

This tour is called the Theatre of Death Tour, and "theatre" is very apropos. Alice has never had the best voice in the rock biz, but he's always had the shock factor thing going for him, and the guy still puts on one helluva show. I owe Alice an apology, because I had assumed that he wouldn't do many of the props or gags like he used to...I figured he was an elderly statesman of rock doing a diplomatic tour, just doing straight up versions of his classic rock songs.

Well, smack me on the ass and call me Shirley, I couldn't have been more wrong. He pulled out all the stops and everything from his infamous shows made an appearance. The guillotine and Alice's severed head; the gallows and Alice being hanged; the naughty nurse with the huge hypodermic needle; the straight jacket; and the baby doll's head cut off with a sword. It was one of the coolest shows EVAH! The only thing missing from the "olden days" (haha) was the electric chair and the python. Maybe the snake became too demanding, stipulating that there were to be no brown rats in the bowl of rats backstage. (Another Silver Squirrel to anyone who gets that reference!)

AliceF Alice did all the usual suspects, including "School's Out" (a brief intro with it, then a raucous, full-version encore), "I'm Eighteen," "Be My Lover," "Under My Wheels," "Billion Dollar Babies" (that's when he cut the doll's head off), "Only Women Bleed," "Poison," and two of my favorites, "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and "Welcome to my Nightmare." He also did "Dirty Diamonds," "Go to Hell," "Guilty," "I Love the Dead," and "I Never Cry." I was surprised that he didn't do "Elected," but all the other awesome songs more than made up for it! I think I started losing my voice towards the end there, when everyone was singing along to "School's Out" and "No More Mr. Nice Guy." Man, "School's Out" is still such a kickass song. I loved it when the whole crowd shouted "We can't even think of a word that rhymes!" The crowd was really into it, and we were on our feet the entire time. I don't know if it was a soldout show, but I think we gave Alice a very warm reception, and when he shouted "Thank you, South Bend!" he said it with a smile, and I think he meant it. (When he did "Under My Wheels," he sang, "Under my Studebaker wheels," which I thought was kinda cool!)

I am so glad I got to go, and it really was a fantastic show. For anyone who thinks Alice is irrelevant, I say "piss off!" (I seem to be saying that a lot lately!) He is a true original, and one of the pioneers of rock. There would be no White Zombie or Marilyn Manson or any other shock rockers without Alice. He was the first, and he's still awesome. I love you, Alice! By the way, everyone needs to remember that Alice is an entertainer. I remember hearing at church when I was a kid that Alice Cooper and other rock artists were Satanists, sending subliminal messages in their music. Pffttt. What a bunch of hooey. Alice (real name Vincent Furnier) is the son of a minister, owns a restaurant in Phoenix, says he's a Christian, and loves to golf. How many Satanists do you know who are avid golfers? The only thing that might make me think he's evil is that he has, in the past, said that Sarah Palin was a breath of fresh air. Now that is some scary stuff! [grin]

Alice guitarists I also have to give credit to his band. Man, those guys were smokin' hot. They seemed to have two lead guitarists rather than lead and rhythm, and these two were just incredible. Great band, great show!

Here is a slideshow of pictures--a lot were fuzzy, but I got a couple that I really liked, especially the last one in the slideshow of Alice in his shiny suit and top hat--followed by a video of him doing “Welcome to my Nightmare" and "Cold Ethyl." It cracked me up the way he flung "Ethyl" around, and even tangoed with her. If you go to the video on my YouTube page, you can see other, shorter videos of the guillotine and the naughty nurse.

Rock on, people! You know I will!

A taste of Alice

Pictures and more video to come, as well as my thoughts on the show, but here's a little something for you. I was so pleased to see that he brought the gallows! (If you watch, you'll be able to see when I passed the video camera to Ken. The point of view suddenly becomes considerably...higher. Ha ha!)

You can see Ken’s entry and pictures here.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bloggin’s like a box o’ chocolates….

You never know what you're going to find...or what is going to find you.

As if I wasn't have a great enough weekend already, I received an email today that went to my spam folder. I didn't recognize the address (and neither did AOL's software, obviously), but the subject line concerned the Alba Court Inn. At the risk of opening some sort of scam email, I decided to check it out.

Florida07 Alba Court Inn5 First of all, a little background. Most of you know that Ken and I have a timeshare in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and go there every year. We really do feel as though it's our second home, and we enjoy our visit and the town every time we go. When we first started going, there was a place in town called the Alba Court Inn. It was an old hotel, long abandoned, and of course it captured my imagination, as such places often do. I always speculate that places like that are haunted, but that's just my runaway imagination. If they're haunted by anything, it's memories, or by people like me who wonder about the visitors over the years. Although, one never knows, does one...? [spooky laughter]

I tried to find out some information about the Alba Court Inn, but there wasn't a whole lot out there. I wrote to one of the city officials, and he didn't have much more information for me, other than that the hotel was slated for demolition. We were able to get quite a few pictures before that happened, including of the trashed interior, and he later sent me a few of the actual demolition. Although we know it's been gone for a couple of years now, we still drive by the location. I was saddened to see this time that even the sign is gone. I wrote several times about the place, and you can read those entries here, here, and here. I was able to find a postcard on eBay, and it resides in one of the curio cabinets with other treasures like a nail from John's Modern Cabins on Route 66.

Back to the email. When I opened it, I was delighted to read this:

Dear Beth

I just came across your blog postings at etc

I am doing some research on the Alba Court Inn, as it was owned in the 1920s by T J Talty, first cousin of my greatgrandfather. When T J died on April 1, 1926, he left a substantial estate but no will. The case became known as the Talty Millions here in Ireland, and my greatgrandfather was one of numerous beneficiaries (first cousins, etc) who shared in the proceeds (more like a quarter of a million dollars in total).

I thought you might be interested in the bits and pieces below which I have come across in my search. If you ever come across any further information on T J Talty or the Alba Court Inn, I would be delighted to hear from you.

Best wishes

Paddy W.



In December 1922, the Miami Herald Record in its Business and Hotel Directory of the East Coast of Florida carried regular advertisements for `Alba Court Inn BOTH PLANS






The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Winter Resort Directory, 1923-24 gives a more detailed description. The Alba Court Inn was one of four establishments in New Smyrna Beach in this directory. It accommodated 75 guests, was half a mile from the local (railway?) depot, was near water, the proprietor was T J Talty and the season ran from November to March.

At is a directory of New Smyrna (an incorporated city in Volusia county) from Polk's Florida Gazetteer and Business Directory 1925 in which the first entry is: `Alba Court Inn T J Talty prop hotel' says that the Alba Court Hotel, Alba Court Inn, a 26-room hotel, `was built in 1906 by James and Clyde Pennell. The three-story lobby provided cross-ventilation to the guest rooms. Steam heat and gas were supplemented by in-room plumbing added in 1917.'

The hotel address is 114 or 115 Washington Street.

`Maine cottages: Fred L. Savage and the architecture of Mount Desert' by John Morrill Bryan, Fred L. Savage, Richard Cheek (House & Home, 2005) says that by 1911 Herman Savage, brother of Fred, owned the Alba Court Hotel.

According to, the Alba Court Inn, built in 1906, was demolished Abt 19 Oct 2007.



Co. Clare



How amazing is that? Someone from County Clare, Ireland came across a 2007 entry of a girl from Indiana about an obscure and now-demolished Florida hotel, and he is related to one of the people who owned it. I have responded and asked him if he would like me to send the pictures I have.

As you can imagine, it made my day.

Florida07 Alba Court InnB