Saturday, September 11, 2010

I don't resemble this remark

I feel a little older and a lot less male.


America2 It's nine years later, and all the appropriate tributes and memorials are going on around the country and on the Web. I won't bore you with my story of where I was that morning--we all have our own stories, and some are more harrowing than others. Although we've lost some very important things, chief among them being hundreds of loved ones, I'd rather talk about what we still have.

We might have to take our shoes off at the airport, but many of us still have the wherewithal and the means to travel anywhere in the world. We have the freedom to worship who, where, and when we want...or not at all. We are able to speak out against our government without fear of reprisals. We have the freedom to gather together and protest policies, and our voice is heard. We can contact our government officials and let them know our opinions (hopefully in a respectful way). We have unlimited access to information with little to no censorship. Although it's getting more difficult, we still have a pathway to a good education for ourselves or for our kids. We can learn about cultures around the world, rather than not be allowed to because they might corrupt our thinking. As a woman, I can go to school, work, drive a car, and have an opinion (which I sometimes do). We can go about our daily business without the constant fear of being shot or raped or kidnapped. If we choose, we can make a difference by casting our ballots in elections (and why on earth would anyone not exercise that right?).

I could go on, but you get the idea. Although I always feel sad today, and remember the horror of that day when I see the pictures and videos, I also feel defiant. They may have knocked us for a loop for a few days, and made us change the way we do certain things, but we still have all the freedoms that they can only dream of. They have not broken us...they have not even bowed us. We also have a duty to not let them change who we are as a nation, change what made us great. We had a few bad years there in which we lost our way (We do not torture. Period.), but I believe we're back on the right track. We cannot compromise our integrity because of the mistaken belief that we need to resort to their tactics. We do not, and we must not.

We're still here, and we're still kickin'. We, like the Dude, abide. Fuck yeah, America! (By the way, that picture is more than a little tongue-in-cheek!)

Zucchini Just to show that life does go on....

I paid a trip to my little Victory Garden yesterday and hauled in a few things. I was a little startled when I saw this mutant alien zucchini hiding under a leaf. What a monster! I know you're supposed to pick them smaller than this, but even when they get this big, they're great for making stuffed zucchini or zucchini bread. I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but it's as long as my forearm and hand, and bigger around. I've got another one growing out there, as well as a couple of yellow zucchini. I think there should be enough nice weather yet that they'll get bigger.

Serranos I also picked the serrano peppers. Holy capsaicin, Batman, what a haul! I planted four plants, and there have to be at least three dozen peppers here. My tomatoes may have crapped out (again, dammit...stupid Verticillium Wilt), but there is no pepper problem! I think I can probably chop some up and freeze them to use in the next few weeks. I'm pretty sure I've grown serranos before. I got those plants because they didn't have any jalapenos. Serranos are supposed to be hotter than jalapenos, but I don't recall them being that much hotter. I'll be brave and taste one, just so I have an idea of how hot they are. I think they'll be good in chili.

Black and blue earrings I hadn't made any earrings for a while, and I had some findings that I was looking forward to using. I think these are my favorites that I've made so far. I used black and blue beads (maybe I can call this style Punch in the Face earrings), and I think they're nicely dangly. I wear a lot of black clothes, with a fair amount of blue, so I think these will go nicely with many of my things. I might have to work on another pair today, because I'm so pleased with how these turned out. I like dangly earrings. I don't know why, but I've always liked big earrings.

At long last, I got my Sharpie Liquid Pencils! As many of you already know, I'm kind of an office supply whore. I inherited it from my Dad, who had a cabinet full of pads of paper, pens, pencils, and other such things. As hard as it was to clean some of that stuff out--my Mom will never use all of it--I had to grin knowing that I am so very like him in that regard! Anyway, as soon as I saw that Sharpie was coming out with a liquid graphite pencil, I had to have one. I'm more of a pen person than a pencil person, but it seemed to me that a pencil that eventually becomes permanent would be a pretty nifty thing. I was a little sad to see the initial bad reviews, but was still excited to try it out for myself.

Sharpie pencil I got a sketch pad out, because I figured that would give the best results of how a liquid pencil would behave.

My high hopes were quickly dashed upon the rocks of harsh reality. The reviews I'd read were right: it wrote like a pen running out of ink, with skips and faint lines. Perhaps as I use it more, it will flow better, and maybe I need to exert more pressure. But after years of working in the lab and being on the verge of carpal tunnel syndrome because of it (my wrists and grip are finally getting back to normal), I don't want to have to exert a lot of pressure when I write. The less the better, which is why I love my Jimnie gel pens. The words flow easily and smoothly, with a minimum of pressure.

I am so disappointed with my Sharpie Liquid Pencils, but there is no time for despair, since today is the day that Notre Dame plays Michigan here at home! I'm happy to be watching from home today, as it's a cool and damp day (although I think the rain might be out of here). This is a huge interstate rivalry, since we're just a few miles from the Michigan border, and this is always a big game. It's considered to be mostly a tossup, but with the home field advantage, I think the Irish will prevail. GO IRISH!

ND football

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tidying up a week of detritus

Odds and ends I apologize for my absence of a week, but believe it or not, I'm still fighting this stupid cold! I honestly don't feel too bad now, just tired and with a lingering cough. I tell ya, this was a sledgehammer to the head reminding me of why I quit smoking. If you recall, they told me I had the beginnings of emphysema, at the tender age of about 45. I've been generally healthy since I quit, but for some reason, this sucker really got a hold on me (and not in a good way like the cool Miracles song). My cough reminds me exactly of the cough I had when I was still smoking, and I've had to take a cough suppressant and use my inhaler a couple of times. What a drag. Anyway, I think you'll forgive me for not having a whole lot of energy lately, and I do hope to be on the mend soon.

I'll play a little catch-up here, with a few bits and pieces I wanted to mention.

It's football season! As much as I hate to see the summer come to an end, I'm always happy to be watching football again. Notre Dame's season opener was on Saturday, and they beat Purdue 23-12. I am cautiously optimistic for their season.The Colts play this Sunday, and I'm under the assumption that their 0-4 preseason record will not translate to the regular season. I don't pay much attention to preseason football anymore, other than having it on just for the sights and sounds, because I know it's mostly just a way to trim the roster. Peyton still looks awesome (I read an article a while back that made the case for him being the best athlete in sports right now, and I won't argue with that), so I'm looking forward to seeing how they do this year.


One of my Facebook friends has published a book! Woohoo! The lovely Diana Agorio is the author of Sex Rites: The Origin of Christianity. I already have my copy (signed...thank you, Diana!), but haven't started it yet (I'm in the middle of two other books right now). Diana discusses the use of drugs, sex, and human sacrifice in ancient religious rituals, and the persistence of these elements in today's Christianity. I know that she's been working on it for some time, and her research is thorough and extensive. I look forward to reading it, and I'm certain that I'll learn a lot. Congratulations, Diana!


The non-mosque that isn't at Ground Zero continues to make news, most notably with the recent spate of anti-Muslim violence. A mosque was damaged in Tennessee, and it was determined to be arson; a mosque and its playground equipment sustained $20,000 in damage in another fire suspected to be arson. A pastor in Florida is going forward with his plans to burn copies of the Koran. Way to win friends and influence people, dude.

Get a grip, people. We are better than this. The people running these mosques—or the children attending their schools—are not the perpetrators of 9/11. This is absolutely appalling, and the people committing this violence against innocents should be ashamed of themselves. These are nothing less than hate crimes, and it needs to stop before someone gets seriously hurt.


On a related note, a recent poll showed that one-fifth of Americans polled think that President Obama is a Muslim. It would seem that a significant portion of our populace has lost their collective minds. This is just beyond stupid. Remember how they were all pissed off because he was a member of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church? Not just for a little while, but for two decades? Did they forget that part? You know, at this point, I think I'd like to hear one of these people just stand up and declare, "You know what? I don't like the guy 'cause he's colored. There. I said it." It would be somewhat refreshing, and it might help them overcome the weight of denial that is crushing them as they try to come up with excuse after excuse to hate the guy. As I've said before, it's one thing to dislike his policies, although many of these people seem to not have a full understanding of what those are. It's quite another to try to brand him as "Other," whether you think he wasn't born in the United States or is a closet Muslim.

That one-fifth of Americans believes this fallacy is bad enough. The fact that the media continues to report on it without addressing the larger issue is equally as bad. Remember the No Religious Test Clause of the Constitution? Article VI states:

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

What that is basically saying is that it is none of our fucking business as to what religion a public official is or is not. Of course, Americans being the bunch of Nosy Parkers they are, you can bet there will always be questions about a candidate's or official's private life, and that includes religion. Wouldn't it be great to hear someone say, "It's none of your goddamn business what I believe"? I would enjoy that.


Finally, it seems that former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania is really barking up the ol' Presidential run tree. Unfortunately (for him), he has a little problem with the continued existence of the website Spreading Santorum, which was started in response to his hateful, homophobic comments. If you do a search for Rick Santorum, you'll get that site right towards the top. I feel that it is my duty to link to the site and make sure that it gets plenty of hits, staying right up there at the top of results returned on a Google search. You're welcome, Rick.