Thursday, May 31, 2007

Strange Developments

So, what should be done about the personal injury lawyer who was diagnosed with a potentially untreatable form of TB and is asked to not travel to Europe, yet does anyway? This is not an uneducated or uninformed person. This is a 31 year old man, a lawyer practicing in his father's law firm in Atlanta. He knows the meaning of the term of willful negligence.

So, never mind the potential health risk to unknowing fellow travelers, this man boards an international flight and arrives in Italy. He and his new bride are told by the Italian officials that he must be quarantined. They flee instead. The CDC told him to get treatment in Rome, but he knew the best treatment would be best in the U.S.

Alert Michael Moore: he didn't go to Cuba for treatment. Or anywhere in Europe with the socialized health care systems. Just a side note.

He rented a car in Canada and drove back into the country, knowing the officials would be looking out for them.

The real twist from the news today? This new father in law, the wife's father, is a 30 year employee of the CDC in Atlanta. He's a microbiologist, dealing with TB research. He says he is regularly tested for TB and does not have it. Truly strange development.

The behavior of this young lawyer is beyond the pale. What a selfish, irresponsible person. Now his fellow passengers on the planes will undergo testing, repeat in six months and again in another six months. So, it'll be more than a year before they'll be told if they are out of the woods or not.

This fool isn't helping the reputation of lawyers, now is he.

The CDC botched the episode, too. They should have insisted on his quarantine as soon as his condition was discovered. Talk about bio terrorism.

And this botch can't be blamed on Bush.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Day Not Ordinary

What a strange day it's been here.

Today began with a trip to traffic court for jury duty. I was picked to serve on the jury. I'm always picked. I just did this in the same court about a year and a half ago. I'm not complaining, though, as I really do believe it is not a duty, it's an honor to serve on a jury. I don't mind paying my dues for the system.

I even served on a Grand Jury in Lafayette which was a 6 month commitment, one day a month for the duration. Now that was some interesting stuff. I'll wander down memory lane with that sometime.

Today's case involved two 17 year old high school students, rushing to soccer practice after school one afternoon last December. Fender bender produced somewhat greedy father of one boy and there you are. In traffic court. The police report showed that both were equally at fault so we awarded the plaintiff some monetary damages, but not the whole amount he was going for. It only took about an hour to get through so I was home by lunch time.

I was cooking dinner in the crock pot since I had no idea how long I'd be gone today. I had no way of knowing I'd only have to stay for one case. I did, however, assume I'd be picked. Turns out it was a good idea as it was done relatively early. The guys had a scout meeting tonight and as we were about to eat, the power went out.

It was a dark and gloomy evening. The sky darkened, thunder rumbled the low, window shaking variety, and the lightening crackled. The clouds opened and rain poured. And poured and poured. Hail spit across the yard, too. We watched it bounce into the pool in the backyard.

The street flooded in the front of the house. The power went out.

Good times.

The guys and I ate in the candlelight and the room was a little more illuminated with the help of the battery operated light used for camping purposes. The guys left for the scout meeting as the water in the street in the front of the house slowly receded. Max, Oreo and I sat in the great room and listened to the radio. We listened to some classical music and I read my book by the camp light.

About 45 minutes after the guys left, the power came back on.
The book I am reading is really interesting. It is called Three Cups of Tea . The sub-title is One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time. The man, Greg Mortenson, was a mountain climber and an emergency room nurse in San Francisco. He almost died attempting to climb K2 in Pakistan. He was cared for by villagers of Korphe and he vowed to return and build a school for the village children. There was no school there, as there were none in any surrounding villages.

Mortenson's father built a school and hospital in Tanzania while he was a teenager living there with his family. So, growing up around the world and seeing how schools and hospitals change the people of the world made an early impression.

The three cups of tea comes from a Pakistani tradition of offering tea to a visitor. It is a ritual and the belief goes: "the first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third, you join our family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything - even die", as told to Mortenson by his mentor in Pakistan, Haji Ali the Korphe Village Chief.

Mortenson offers an interesting perspective.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

H/T Rightwing Nuthouse

Breaking news from Rick Moran's blog, Rightwing Nuthouse:

"We knew the political affiliation of every lawyer and political appointee we hired at the Department of Justice from January 1993 to the end of the Administration," says a former Clinton Department of Justice political appointee. "We kept charts and used them when it came time for new U.S. Attorney nominations, detailee assignments, and other hiring decisions. If you didn't vote Democrat, you weren't going anywhere with us. It was that simple."

"Remember, we had our own separate database that we could cross check if we had names. Everybody today forgets about the databases we created inside the White House. It's funny no one talks about that anymore. We were doing stuff far more aggressively than this White House or the Department of Justice did."

That is a quote from a source close to the previous administration in a news publication.

Shocking, I know.

Again, political appointments are, as named. POLITICAL. And the Clintons are nothing if not political. They live and breathe politics. It is their only life. To have hacks like Chuckie Schumer, the Chair of the Senate Re-election Committee for heaven's sake, take on the Justice Department and it's handling of political appointees is shown over and over again for its absurdity. Grow up and find another way of whacking Bush.

The difference in then and now? Kinda obvious, isn't it?

This administration is not as polished and artful with the communication department. The Clinton's? Old pros and so was every member of their team. George Stephanopolous even got a Sunday morning show out of it. Yeah, no blurring of the lines there.

Deja Vu.

Thanks, Rick.

You can read Rick's post by clicking on his blog on my blogroll. He does good stuff.

Deja Vu

I'm finding more than a bit of entertainment coming from the race between Hillary and Barack. They seem to be racing towards the farthest left position on each issue, upcoming primaries in mind. Hillary is an old pro, of course, and Barack is inexperienced enough to take the bait. Hillary one-upped him today with her speech pulling out the old Clinton standard speech on dividing the haves and have nots and denouncing the tax cuts that have made this economy the strongest in decades. She'll have none of that. She actually used the term 'robber barons' and then did the old reliable slap at Halliburton. There is no other international company capable of doing what they do but never mind that. If Cheney was there it must be evil. She thinks we forget Clinton used Halliburton, with no-bid contracts, too. Your money is her money.

This standard Hillary pap was lapped up by the adoring sheeple in New Hampshire as Barack was debuting his 'plan' for universal health care. He gave no new ideas and he plans to let the tax cuts expire in 2010 so he can pay for it. Your money is his money.

You know who's the winner in this? Edwards. He's moved to a strong second in all three early big primaries - Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Barack is third in the newest polls out today. Interesting.

The new book by Bob Shrum, the political consultant with a 0-8 record on big campaigns, like for the presidency, has brought to light some juicy tidbits. He talks of Edwards telling Shrum that he's 'uncomfortable' around gays. He talks of Clinton strongly against gay marriage.

Interesting. Most interesting of all is that the standard media isn't covering much of anything. They still bring on Hillary on the morning shows and gush, but they've been doing that all along, since she was First Lady. They're determined to have Hill and Bill back in the White House and let the good times roll again. Break out the saxophones.

Cigars, anyone?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Remembrance Day

Yesterday's performance of Spamalot was two hours of laughter and fun. The silliness was nonstop and all three of us enjoyed it. A co-worker of the husband's, another engineer, was in the row in front of us so they were able to visit a bit before the play began. His girlfriend is from New York and they are big fans of live theatre, as we are.

It was really, really good and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the crazy side of British humor. In true Monty Python style, they insult absolutely every group of people possible, but not maliciously. All in good fun. I love it when we look forward to something and it doesn't disappoint. We've had the tickets since last fall when they went on advance sale. We splurged on orchestra seats.

My husband said of those like John Cleese who were writers of the show, "well, looks like they're smoking the same stuff they were 40 years ago!".

Happy Memorial Day. Remember those who fought for the freedoms of our country and gave their lives. The husband and I have been watching "War Diaries" on the military channel. They are videos made by the troops in the field in Iraq and in Afghanistan and Kuwait, too. They are 30 minute shows and everything is from their point of view, completely honest. They shoot video as they go out on missions and the down time at base. The videos show them being silly to blow off steam and it shows the realities of war. It's an excellent series.

This country of ours is the greatest country on the face of the earth. I am proud and grateful to have been born an American. Others are dying to get into this country; no one is trying to escape. There is a reason for that.

Remembrance Day.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Sunday Matinee

Today 2:00 pm
Hobby Center for the Performing Arts
"Always look at the bright side of life". - Monty Python's "The Holy Grail"

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Still making deals, being a star

So, what do you do if you're my husband and haven't heard from your mother is a few weeks? You Google her, of course. Welcome to our family.

She isn't returning his calls, it seems, over a little dust-up they've had via e-mails. Dust-ups with them are a way of life and nothing new. They are very much alike in the personality department and butting heads is the way it is.

So, there she is in the local newspaper in all her glory. Now, newspaper publicity for my mother-in-law also is nothing new. She's an actress and a realtor. She formerly was an antiques dealer. Self promotion is necessary in all of these careers.

So, what's new with her lately? Well, there's an article of her audition for the game show "Deal or No Deal". I'm not kidding. She went up to Indianapolis and auditioned. She was called back for a second interview and went. She's been told she has moved to the next level but she's not sure if that's another interview or a trip to L.A. to play the game.

The article talks of her local activities. She's a realtor for a local firm. She's an 84 year old grandmother who plays bridge, at the Master level thank you, and has a very active social life. She goes to church every Sunday. She's incredibly healthy, a fact that she credits to her consumption of many vitamins daily. She is on no medication. That's a fact I can't even make of myself.

She had a scare a few years back with breast cancer but it was caught very early and the tumor was very small. She had surgery but it wasn't necessary for her to have chemo or radiation. She was very lucky. She's since had reconstructive surgery and a tummy tuck with liposuction, thank you, while she was at it.

"I still feel like I'm young. I still do the same things I used to do in my 60s," she said.

I received an e-mail from her today thanking me for sending the new Paula Deen book to her for Mother's Day. She said if she is asked something she'd wish for as a contestant on the game show, she's saying she'd like to meet Paula. They are from the same area in Georgia originally.

In one of the interviews she was asked to relate an embarrassing moment in her life. She told the story about saying the word damn while doing her tv cooking show in the 1950's on a local station. She said she received tons of letters criticizing her for that language. It was live tv and no taking it out.

The title of this post is the title of the newspaper article about her.

Good publicity.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Gone Fishin'

Today's fishing expedition, at the expense of the American taxpayer, involved the House Judiciary Committee's testimony by Monica Goodling, former Justice Department liaison to the White House. To say it was a huge disappointment to the foaming at the mouth Dems would be an understatement. What I watched on C-SPAN was quite a theatrical experience.

The best part of the experience? No dressing up, finding a parking spot or sitting in a semi-uncomfortable seat for any given length of time. I could switch the channel whenever it just got to be too darn silly.

Chairman John Conyers, welding the gavel with a not too shaky hand for a man of his age, kept the testimony and questioning moving along fairly well. One glitch did happen when he left the room and the chair was occupied by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, our own state's and my city's version of a crazy black woman sent to the nation's capitol. She was completely unable to follow protocol, much less keep everyone on track. The rookie congressmen, the last to question Ms. Goodling, looked like buffoons on the left side of the room and I was enjoying that a bit. They all gave over their questioning time to one who they thought would really get to the bottom of things. They thought for sure they had a brilliant line of questioning going on and didn't want to disrupt it. Seriously, they all but broke out into group high fives at the end of their time. And Keith Ellison from Minnesota, the shining star of the recent election, the first Muslim elected to Congress? Wow. What a pompous ass he is, aggressive and rude in questioning. Apparently not a team player either. He kept his questioning time to himself. Everyone else on the left side kept it all businesslike and civil, polite but firm like professionals. Except him.

She was the ant at the picnic from the get go, though, when in her opening statement she stated that she had never spoken to Karl Rove or Harriet Miers. Much disappointment all around.

Those on the left, now conducting no less than 36 active 'investigations' into administration goings-on, are determined to lynch Karl Rove. Having failed to impeach Bush, Cheney or anyone major in the elected field, they are on a hunt for Karl. When the Plame non-controversy proved to be just that, they moved on to this next non-controversy with vigor. Problem is that absolutely nothing illegal has been uncovered, as is even verified by the Dems on this committee.

Political appointments are, cover your ears, political. The president is the only person with an opinion that counts on this matter. Shocking, I know. No one batted an eye when a letter from Sen. Diane Feinstein was found in the file of Carol Lam from the 9th district, expressing her disappointment over some immigration prosecutions. Yet, when two Republicans questioned the workings of a U.S. Attorney out of the southwest, well, they are meddling and it must be unethical and illegal.

The hypocrisy of Feinstein coming to the aid of Lam when she was fired, feigning outrage over the injustice of Lam's firing is priceless.

The Attorney General is not a particularly bright bulb. He, however, doesn't deserve this kind of treatment from the haters. If the President thinks he serves him well, then that's that. Those bellyaching about the whole blind loyality thing should think back to some previous administrations like JFK appointing Bobby Kennedy as his Attorney General. His brother. The haters are determined to hang someone at any cost. Bush Derangement Syndrome is at a fevered pitch in D.C.

Ms. Goodling was a huge disappointment.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


The little girl missing from the rented condo in Portugal? On vacation with her family from Great Britain? She is a child of such exquisite, large blue eyes and wonderfully natural blond hair, she takes my breath with her innocent beauty. The story is a heart breaker.

The parents were just about 40 yards away at a restaurant eating dinner after putting lovely Madelyn and her two younger siblings to bed for the night. They say they checked on the sleeping children every half hour to make sure all was well there.

From news reports we learn a window was facing the street. We understand a suspected local man living nearby with a record of abusive behavior towards children may have snatched Madelyn. She hasn't been seen in three weeks.

That beautiful little face haunts my thoughts.

At first, like many American parents, I imagine, I thought to myself, what do you mean the parents were off having dinner leaving those very young children on their own? They are in a foreign country. Do the children speak Portuguese if an adult was to speak to them?

Then I experienced a little flashback. For non-American parents, it is not so unusual of an action. Sometimes parents in other countries seem a bit naive about keeping a watchful eye on their children. It happens here, too, of course, but I've seen it elsewhere.

When we moved to Venezuela, our son was but 16 months old. As we became friendly with neighbors in our apartment building offers came of dinner parties. We were encouraged to put our son to bed and just hop on the elevator and come down to join in the fun. They were adamant that everything would be perfectly fine. These were well traveled people, college educated in San Francisco, the husband of the couple owned a retail shoe store in town. His parents were long time established residents in this town.

Well, I am a typical overprotective American mother. And I was a fairly new mother in those days. Add to the mix I am an 'older' mom, his birth coming in my 34th year. I was shocked that our new friends thought this would be normal behavior.

I watched him like a hawk. Once on a trip to visit relatives in Indiana, my own family teased me for my habit of following my son from room to room, supervising him. They couldn't believe I wouldn't just assume others would keep an eye on him. Well, I didn't and still don't. He is my responsibility and I take it seriously.

So, while I think the parents made a poor choice, I don't judge them too harshly. I think it is a kind of naive way of looking at parenthood.

My husband and I never accepted those dinner invitations. I could never have just left our son and gone to another apartment for an evening. Probably nothing would have happened, but I just couldn't have lived with myself...

Friends with Benefits

I hear on the radio this morning that John McCain is to be in town today. He'll have a fund raising luncheon put on in his honor. It's $2300 per ticket so it's not on my calendar for today's activities.

Besides, it's raining here today and it's a mess out there.

Our mayor, Bill White, was presented with the JFK Profile in Courage award in Boston yesterday. It was in recognition of all the Katrina people being brought here. Too bad they didn't see fit to do a co-award with White's partner in the leadership thing, Judge Robert Eckel. He spearheaded the entire county operation. It's a co-leadership office here with the mayor's office. I don't know. Don't ask me how it all shakes out but it's an elected position, too.

Oh yeah, Judge Eckel is a Republican so I guess that explains it. The mayor's race in Houston is suppose to be non-partisan. Yeah, right. And it's no secret the party of White's affiliation as he is the former deputy Secretary of Energy for Bill Clinton's administration. Whatever. He's rumored to be looking at running for governor next time around.

Caroline Kennedy and Teddy "the Swimmer" Kennedy were to present the award. The award is a sterling silver lantern modeled after the lantern on the USS Constitution. The USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy. There's a little cocktail party trivia for you.

"Mayor White's quick actions evacuating thousands of families displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita most certainly helped to save lives," Caroline Kennedy said.

The illegal immigration debate going on is interesting. Wonder if anyone will take on McCain today at the luncheon. Here in Houston, a sanctuary city, it is estimated we have 225,000 illegal immigrants living here. So, I would feel fairly secure saying that is a low estimate. It always turns out these estimates are low.

225,000. Here in Houston alone. That number is larger than a lot of communities in this country. It's not a good thing for quality of life. Ours or theirs. We have increased crime, including the gang MS-13 heralded the most violent of gangs. Our education and health care systems are stretched to the breaking point. The vast majority of these people, if they are working, are paid in cash and not paying taxes to the city. Or the country they have illegally entered. Those that say they are just here to work and they pay taxes? Don't kid yourself.

Our police force has been instructed to not ask if someone stopped for a traffic violation has proper documentation to be here in this country. Same with the school system. Same with the hospital emergency rooms. Illegal immigrant college students are given reduced in-state tuition here in Texas.

I think it all has to begin with closing the borders, both north and south. It has nothing to do with xenophobia. That is a red herring thrown into the discussion by those wanting completely open borders. The United States, Canada and Mexico are all sovereign countries. Borders are meant to be respected. We pride ourselves as being a nation of laws. The fact that these immigrants entered our country illegally means the very first act was one of complete disrespect for our way of life. Our compassion has to have limits.

So, build the fences. Use resources to monitor the border areas. Electronic surveillance, a beefed up Border Patrol that is allowed to do its job without fear of imprisonment, and enforcing the laws currently on the books. Deport those caught violating our laws. They've got families here you say? So, it's their choice. They can leave them here or take them with them. They took that risk when they ran through the border. Or drove in hiding under blankets in the back of a truck.

I think postponing a vote on the proposed legislation until June is a good thing. What's the rush? The rush is to seal the borders. The rush isn't to provide a fast track to citizenship for illegal aliens. They are here. They aren't going anywhere. It's all the same old same old. Do you really think they'll pay the fines, go back to their country of origin for the waiting period, only bring a certain amount of family members allowed by the legislation? There are those complaining that not enough family members will be allowed a free pass into the U.S. Please.

Amnesty in the 1980's, by Reagan, was touted as the answer to the border problems. And here we are 20 years later. Projected 12 million illegal immigrants in our country. Times have changed. The world is a different, much more dangerous place. It is past time for us to know who is in our country. The murderers of 9/11 came in from Canada. The nitwits from the Fort Dix interrupted terror plot came in from Mexico.

The most irritating part of the illegal immigration debate? The sense of entitlement by those demanding amnesty. The waving of Mexican and other flags at demonstrations. The fact they take to the streets and demonstrate in the first place. A few well placed INS people movers and roaming agents would curb that nonsense. The arrogance of the illegal immigrant, unwilling to assimilate into American ways, to learn our language, to abide by our laws is unacceptable.

From the beginning of forever, immigrants to our country wanted to be Americans. They wanted the American way of life. All of us, except for Native Americans, are descendants of immigrants to this country. It's what makes America the greatest country on the face of the earth. The illegal immigrants are not here for that. They are here for money and services. Period.

First, seal the borders. Then have a process of citizenship which includes fines for breaking the law in the first place. Only after the fines are paid may they begin the paperwork to citizenship. It is not fair to those doing the right thing and going through the process legally for us to look the other way. There is no other country on this planet that allows illegal immigration.

Any time I see Teddy 'The Swimmer' Kennedy smiling, I grab for my wallet and look for the catch.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Here's How I Got There

This week is Finals week for my son. We're on an early dismissal schedule, with school letting out at noon. Two finals a day, last day is Thursday. Then summer. I'm ready.

Did you see Venus rising along side of the moon over the weekend? It was a spectacular sight from our viewing area.

I've been lucky in my life to live in different states, different parts of the country, with the most time concentrated in areas of the South. I'm first generation Southern. My parents were both from southern Indiana, though my father was born in St. Louis. Solid Midwestern stock. So, I have a lot of that old fashioned common sense attitude towards life. My thought process is governed by a strong sense of right and wrong.

In my lifetime I have lived in two states that have seen their governors rise to the position of President of the United States. So, during two periods of time in my life I have seen two men govern the state in which I lived, then my country. One Democrat and one Republican. Both huge disappointments, but consistent with their past histories. I can't really say it has been a shock.

Jimma Carter was the governor of the state of Georgia when I moved there as a teenager in my senior year of high school and then into my college years. I am a student of political science so I was an interested observer of state government. Jimma was not a good governor. Taxes were raised regularly, nanny state laws being passed at the state level, all standard issue Democrat strategies.

I was astounded when Jimma became the Democrat nominee for President. I kept thinking, how could the people of this country be so clueless? Did they just find his southern accent charming? Did they like his big toothed country boy grin? It certainly couldn't be on any kind of intellectual level. Jimma's no scholar. His way of governing is to micromanage every issue.

I moved to the state of Texas in 1998. George W. Bush was governor of the state at that time. I moved to Houston. The first President Bush and his wife Barbara live here. I thought the first President Bush an honorable man, a good man. Sure, he made some mistakes, he's human and I'll never find a politician to agree with 100%, but I had respect for him. His son was ok as governor of this state. Our governorship is not very strong. Our state legislature only meets every other year so they don't have a chance to do a whole lot of damage at any one given session. George W. Bush holds a degree from Yale and an MBA from Harvard. He governs like a CEO, keeping a core group around himself and delegating tasks for others to oversee.

Well, as we all know from news accounts, particularly since the onset of the war in Iraq, Jimma hates George. I think Jimma hates George almost as much as he hates the Jews. Both are well documented. For a man who claims to have such strong Christian faith, he sure does feel entitled to publicly announce his hateful thoughts.

This weekend brought a fresh batch of Jimma quotes. In a BBC radio interview Jimma said Tony Blair's support of Bush is "abominable. Loyal, blind, apparently subservient". It's all about the "unwarranted invasion" of Iraq.

If Jimma had a clue while in the White House, there would have been no need for the Iraq War today.

In Little Rock, Arkansas, Jimma told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, "I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history." "The overt reversal of America's basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including those of George HW Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me."

Hardly worthy talk, especially on an international level, from a former president.

You may remember Jimma challenging Ronald Reagan's strategy for the Cold War. How many millions were killed during the Cold War? I love it when the Dems bring up former Republican presidents to make their case seem stronger to a larger audience, when, in fact, at the time of these former presidents' terms Jimma and the others in the opposition party did nothing but speak without respect and with incivility. I guess Jimma thinks we forgot. And, don't even start me up on his corrupt administration. Burt Lance was just the beginning.

So, I ponder the differences of these two former governors, now one current, one former president. As I stated before, both disappointments. In the end, I'll stick with President Bush. Here's how I got there:

Under Jimma Carter, off the top of my head, I remember unbelievably high interest rates, an economy in the tank, an energy policy that focused on lowering home and office thermostats (you remember Jimma in his cardigan encouraging us all to just throw on a sweater, don't you?) and gas lines at the pumps due to rationing and then high prices, and of course the ushering in of the current war on terror with the Iranian hostage situation he completely botched. His Camp David summit he still claims as a shining moment dissolved in short order but he got his Nobel Peace Prize out of it.

Under George W. Bush, off the top of my head, I've seen over 50 million Muslims have a shot at a level of freedom they dared not dream of before 9/11, our economy not only recovered from the ravages of 9/11 but has come back stronger than ever in the history of this country, our country has not suffered another attack on our soil since 9/11 and the policy of playing offense not defense on the world stage, more aid and support to the continent of Africa than ever before which will reap long term benefits for our country. He has shown the courage to look at the big picture into the future of the world, not just the easy way of kicking it down the road for the next administration. He gets it. Like it or not, the events of 9/11 changed our lives forever as a people and a country. Refusing to face up to that fact puts this country in peril.

"I think it's sad that President Carter's reckless personal criticism is out there," deputy press secretary Fratto told reporters. "I think it's unfortunate. And I think he is proving to be increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments." Indeed.

This morning comes a bit of a softening of Jimma's remarks. He told an early morning talk show he "may have been careless" with his remarks.

I don't for a moment think Jimma is experiencing an enlightening moment, however. He's on a book tour promoting his new audio book series so I think it's all about making headlines. Just like the times before. The American and international press laps it up. Any excuse for some president bashing at the expense the regular folks here and abroad.

Words have meaning.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A Young Woman of Substance

You've graduated from high school.....what do you do? You climb Mount Everest!

Samantha Larson from Long Beach, California is 18 years old and one of the youngest people ever to climb Mount Everest. And she's blogging about it.

Check out this blog: She has no technological connection, of course, but she does call her mom and update her posts to her blog using a satellite cell phone. Her mom is acting as a scribe for her.

It's no surprise someone this young and so motivated is an honors student. The truly amazing fact of this adventure is that this is by no means her first significant climb. She is one of the youngest people to climb all of the seven summits, the highest peak on each of the continents. The article I read about her in the Houston Chronicle says she is definitely the only teen blogging from one.

Samantha climbs with her father. He's an anesthesiologist. They are thought to be the first father-daughter team to climb all seven summits.

Look out world. Here comes Samantha.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Penguin Next to You

Except for the part where I awoke at 4:30 this morning and went ahead and got up, it's been a good Saturday. I completely enjoyed my visit to the salon and now have freshly highlighted and cut hair. Nothing perks me up faster than a good hair day.

I'm enjoying a nice Pinot Grigio and relaxing this evening with my guys. I brought them some freshly made sushi upon returning from said salon, as I knew they wouldn't have eaten while I was gone. I so love that the major grocery store chains here all have sushi stations in them and they'll make up requests, too.

Max killed a bird today out by the pool in the backyard. The husband went out to do some pool maintenance and there he saw Max, feathers in mouth, looking up at him as if to say, "What?". I hope it wasn't one of the mourning doves. I like them. The blue jays? Open season on them.

At least Max kept his capture outside this time. Last time he caught a squirrel, he was so proud he tried to bring it inside to show me what a good hunter he is. Yuk.

"Turn to the penguin next to you and give him a hug." - Happy Feet

Friday, May 18, 2007

Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Lemon and Asparagus

It's Friday. I am totally ready for my usual light weekend posting, if any, and tonight's is a little different for me. It's a recipe. I love to read a good cookbook. I troll the newspaper and magazines for something yummy looking to break up the usual hum drum. This one was a hit tonight for all three of us. Leftovers for another meal, too.

From the Houston Chronicle

Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Lemon and Asparagus

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Packages of cut-up chicken in the supermarket often have 8 pieces. For even cooking, cut the breast pieces in half crosswise, making a total of 10 pieces. For dark, crispy skin use a shallow roasting pan (3 inches deep or less). Deeper pans trap more steam, keeping the meat from browning.

1 1/2 lbs new potatoes, halved
3 tbsps butter, cut into small pieces, divided
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 package cut-up whole chicken, about 3 lbs
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
6 springs fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Place the potatoes and half the butter in a roasting pan. Season with the salt and pepper.
Roast, tossing once, until potatoes are golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
Place the chicken, skin side up, on top of potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast until chicken begins to brown, about 20 minutes.
Scatter the asparagus, lemon, remaining butter and thyme around chicken.
Roast until the asparagus is tender and the chicken is opaque throughout, 5 to 15 minutes.
Serve chicken, vegetables and lemon drizzled with pan juices.

Makes 4 servings.

A salad and some rolls and you have a feast. I skipped the thyme, as I didn't have any. I increased the butter (I'm Southern) and also tossed in some scallions I had to roast with the potatoes. I used 2 large lemons instead of one. I use Kosher salt and it was coarse ground. I use fine ground sea salt for the top of the dish.

The best part? One dish to toss in the dishwasher.

Good stuff.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Column A, Column B

Today's cool breeze and low humidity were a welcome relief from the 90 degree temperatures we've had for the past 4 days. It was 80ish and spectacular. I was out most of the morning running errands and it was so comfortable.

I did see a bit of the press conference with Bush and Blair though. Both fine strong men when the need is there.

I read in today's newspaper that author, historian, professor Douglas Brinkley will be a tenured professor at Rice University next year and is moving the family here. They came here when they evacuated from Katrina, he teaching and writing at Tulane, so it's not a big surprise. I guess he wants a bigger pond. I run hot and cold with him. He either irritates the snot out of me or I find myself smiling and nodding to what he is saying. He wrote the book about John Kerry during the 2004 election to counteract the Swift Boat Vets so maybe the book he did on the Katrina experience resurrects his image with me, but not much. The leader of the Swift Boat Vets, John O'Neill lives here so that's a bit of irony. I read he has a new book coming out, an edited book 'The Reagan Diaries' so I'll be interested in that.

Funny. History takes a bit of time to reveal the true person, doesn't it. At the time, Reagan was called stupid, gullible, 'an actor', and all sorts of nasty remarks by those opposing his politics. After his death and all the lovely letters he authored and his journals came out, we see what a proficient writer he was after all. He truly changed history with Margaret Thatcher and the Pope.

He understood big ideas and the big picture. And, he was a good man.

Remember when Nancy Pelosi, aka Grandma Mimi came into her leadership position and declared her congress would be the most ethical of all? Did you flinch when she said that? When someone feels the need to tell you how ethical they'll be, watch out. Like when Clinton came into office and declared the same thing. His administration ended up with indictment after indictment from the get go and then he was impeached for lying to the feds.

Well, Grandma Mimi almost pulled quite the maneuver yesterday. Fortunately the Republicans were awake and ready to take her on. Seems Grandma wanted to change the rules of the House to make it a breeze to raise taxes. It involved jerking minority floor rights, the ones that have been in place since 1822. Yes, 1822. The House Republicans, lead by Rep. Eric Cantor, the deputy Republican Whip, fought back and a surprised Grandma had to rethink that decision.

Remember how she whined and complained when her party was in the minority and those mean Republicans insisted on doing things their way? Remember she made a point of saying the minority would be able to offer amendments and be heard like she felt the Dems weren't while in the minority? Again, when someone feels the need to bellow from the rooftop about how great they'll be? Yeah, not so much.

Score: the American people 1, House Dems 0. Now, Grandma needs a timeout. Her political ear is a tin as Hillary's after all.

The last day of classes at my son's school is a week from today. I'm ready for the break. He'll do a quick course in summer school but just one and it's in June so he'll be free for the big Scout excursion to west Texas and Big Bend camping in July. Woo hoo.

My stylist, Trinh, will be doing my color and cut Saturday afternoon. I'll feel much better then. She is a miracle worker. I love that gal. She's first generation American, maybe I'll talk a little immigration reform bill with her... I'm thinking she's not too thrilled with the whole amnesty thing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Good Thing He's Pretty

Because John Edwards is one big no class act. I know the ambulance chasing trial lawyer/hedge fund money making man/perennial presidential candidate should have been the first clues. But he was making a decent showing as a concerned husband when his wife's cancer came back earlier this year. So, I had a little hope for his character.

Alas, it is not to be.

The Edwards' oldest child, daughter Cate, is dating a Georgetown University med student. He's a Republican. Gasp! The horror of the situation! Upon meeting said boyfriend for the first time, Edwards is quoted as saying, "I hear you're a registered Republican." Boyfriend said, "Yes, sir, but in my family we don't take politics that seriously," to which Edwards responded, "Well, son, in this family we take politics very seriously."

There's your open-minded liberal talking. What a supportive father.

Last night I came across an article written by someone on the American Legend's website. I learned that John Edwards has pimped out Memorial Day for the purposes of advancing his campaign talking points. He has made a video calling on Americans to bring signs proclaiming 'Support the troops, End the War' to local Memorial Day weekend parades.

The American Legend website states: "The families of those killed in war should not be led to believe that their loved ones died for a less-than-worthy cause. They died because they took an oath to defend this nation and its Constitution. The sacrifice is the same whether it's for a "popular war" or an unpopular one. Memorial Day should be an occasion to bring Americans together to honor these heroes. If you want to honor these heroes, visit a veterans cemetery on Memorial Day. Attend a parade without the divisive political signs. Make cards for the comrades of the fallen that are recuperating in military and VA hospitals. Lay a wreath at the stone of a departed hero."

Well said.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Here's My Take

Yes, of course I watched the dog and pony show with the Republican presidential candidates. Why do they call it a debate? Too many people on stage, too little time for answers. How in the world can a person desiring the highest office in the land answer a question on the huge, pressing questions of the day in a minute or two? It's nonsensical. All they can hope for is to not put their foot in their mouth.

I still have nothing against any of these guys. Except for Texas' own, Ron Paul, because, you know, he's crazy.

I really, really, don't want to hear again how it is you can't be a conservative and pro-choice. I beg to differ. I am both, thank you very much. To let abortion be the most important issue in this election is to wish for folly in 2008. My most important issue? National security. It should be number one with everyone.

"Substance over bologna" is how tonight's arena was predicted to be by Newt Gingrich this morning. The bologna was the previous appearance with Chris Matthews and the Politico people. That was purely all about Matthews, as it always is if he's involved. He is the stereotypical baby boomer: it's all about me, me, me, look how smart I am, how evolved I am as a brilliant human being. Oh, I am so wonderful. Brit Hume is a class act, well thought of by both sides of the aisle in the political world. He ran a professional event.

I would have to say the most memorable moment was when Ron Paul finished his blame America's foreign policy for 9/11 diatribe, channeling every moonbat in the hater's corner, and Guiliani spoke up and asked to be able to respond to Paul's fantasy world. He stood and delivered.

Paul's toast. The rest neither moved up or down. No harm, no foul.

Monday, May 14, 2007

What a Dork

The guys arrived home late Saturday evening and had a terrific time rafting the Guadalupe River. My son has sunburned knees. I sent sunscreen with them but for some reason he thought his knees to be immune to sun rays. So, he's been dousing them with aloe since he came home.


This morning started out reasonably well for a Monday. After dropping the son off at school, I stopped by the grocery store for a few items. After collecting said items, I proceeded to the checkout area. Mind you, this is a nationally known grocery store chain. It is recently remodeled but still a bit smaller that the mega store version of the chain. I usually only stop at this one for basic necessities like milk or bread or pet stuff. It's handy on the way home.

Anyway, there are no cashiers at the cash registers! I had to use the U-Scan lane. To say I was not a happy camper is to understate my reaction. I asked the store manager how a customer is to know when the store has cashiers in the morning. He said it varies as to when they come in. Sometimes by 8:00 or 8:30. There usually is the same woman there when I stop in early but she wasn't there today. He said he would have checked me out if I had asked. I inquired as to how I was to know that?

What a dork.

At one time in our newly married life I shopped at a no-frills kind of supermarket. They were the newest rage and if you bagged your own groceries you paid a lesser price. That's a fair enough trade-off. Well, I'm older and less inclined to just give my labor away without forethought. There's no extra discount at this place. It's just bad management to not have your store properly staffed. Don't get me started on the state of customer service in this country.

In case you needed further proof that Sam Brownback will not be the next Republican nominee for the presidential race, he said to an audience in Green Bay something about Peyton Manning being the greatest football quarterback ever. In Green Bay. Brett Favre, a terrific Mississippi guy, is the quarterback for Green Bay and the fans there think he walks on water.

What a dork.

Speaker Pelosi, aka Grandma Mimi, came into town yesterday. She was here for a grandson's first communion at St. Anne Catholic Church. He is the son of one of her daughters that lives here. There is a photo in today's paper of Grandma autographing a church program. Since she was in town she also had a fundraiser lunch today before winging back to D.C. The entrance to the event began at the $2,500 level and in order to be considered a 'committee member' you had to pledge to write a $10,000 check. Co-chairs had to commit to raising $25,000 per couple.

Just a woman of the people. "We've always been impressed with the way she rules with an iron fist inside that beautifully wrought velvet glove. You'd think she was a Southern woman," the host wrote inside the e-mail invitations. Really? Southern never comes to mind when I think of Grandma.

"We're honored whenever she comes," Pelosi's daughter, Jacqueline, said. Well, at least she was able to rake in the dough, kill two birds with one trip.

What a dork.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Free Day

The sun is out this morning and I'm hoping it stays for a while. We had a nasty storm Thursday, including hail, golf ball size in some places.

My guys have gone rafting on the Guadalupe River in the beautiful Hill Country of Texas this weekend. The Boy Scout troop has lots of adult volunteers to accompany the boys on this trip! The Canyon Lake dam has released a lot of water so the river is high and moving fast. I hope the weather holds for them.

I'm having a girly weekend here, enjoying the quiet and doing whatever I feel like doing. My Mother's Day present was delivered yesterday. It's a pretty plant. Some kind of tropical blooms on it. If I was smart about this area of knowledge I would tell you what it is. But I don't know plants and flowers so I just enjoy their beauty and try not to kill them. My thumb is not very green. I have the desire and enthusiasm to grow pretty things, it just doesn't always work out.

I was sipping my Boca Java this morning and checking my e-mail when I noticed a note from the company saying the shipment I contributed to for the troops overseas has been shipped. This one is going to the 310th Military Police Battalion. Okey Dokey.

I was pondering the differences in the level of interest in outdoor activities with my son and husband. My son's camping experiences and outdoor adventures have mostly been with the scouting program and some from his school years. The private school he attended in elementary and middle school had an outdoor 'education' program that each class participated in each year. They took some awesome trips. By middle school they were ready for a week's camping adventure in the Big Bend section of west Texas and then for 8th grade they did 10 days in Colorado.

My husband developed a love of caving during his teen years in south central Indiana. Lots of caves in that area of the country. He went caving every weekend, to hear him tell it. He became an expert caver, as a matter of fact. He developed a new technique to ascend a cliff after repelling down on ropes. So, he's written up in the books as the one who invented the 'inchworm technique'. He's presented a paper at a national convention in Nevada as a young man. He did the deepest cave in the world, in Mexico. And, he's participated on rescue teams when cavers have needed help. He's the man. Uh huh, uh huh.

My son loves the water. He really loves to canoe and I know he will love the rafting trip. He was born and has always lived on the Gulf coast so it's in his blood. Just like his mom. I'm not an outdoors girl but I need to be near water. It soothes my soul. A big thrill for his memory bank was snorkeling in Hawaii in a lagoon in Kona. And jet skiing with his dad in the Pacific Ocean there, too. We went on a whale watching boat but didn't see any. We did see sharks, though.

From the time he was a small guy, my son has expressed an interest in marine biology and he has a big fascination with sharks. He may pursue marine biology in his college career. We'll see.

And, the joke around here? What's Karen's idea of roughing it? A hotel without room service. Yeah. That's me.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Today is a beautiful and sunny day. Almost too perfect. Not too hot, low humidity, white fluffy clouds in the sky. This afternoon rain is forecast, so there's that.

I am having another one of those days. It seems I am having a week of them. You know that feeling as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders? Yeah, that one. I don't know why the feeling strikes as it does sometimes. Maybe it is a form of depression. I suspect the hormonal changes stuff.

Last night as I was trying to get sleepy enough to go to bed, I watched the last of an old Dick Cavett show. Remember him? It was a re-broadcast from 1973. The year of my high school graduation. His guest was Katherine Hepburn. I love her. She is one of my all time favorites. Not too long ago, I read a really good biography of her life written by a young man who was treated like a nephew by her and was quite close to her in her last years. Then, after the show, the station ran "Holiday" with Hepburn and Cary Grant, circa 1938. I enjoyed some of it before I finally nodded off.

I love those old movies. I love old Hollywood.

1973. Quite the year for me. I graduated from high school after only one semester of Senior year. My family moved from Shreveport to Atlanta the summer between my Junior and Senior years so my high school credits exceeded what was needed in Georgia to graduate. I waited for my diploma until May with the rest of the class. I went to work at K-Mart in January and worked part-time until it was time to start college in August.

Pulling up roots and moving just before my Senior year was the perfect opportunity for major drama in our home. I have two sisters, both younger. The next in the sibling line is only 16 months younger than me so we were in this thing together. Our youngest sister is 7 years younger than me so it wasn't such a life alternating for her.

Our move was due to a transfer in the career of our father. He was a vice-president for a distillery with the head offices in Boston. We lived in Shreveport for most of my life, up until then, and he traveled from home to wherever his sales meetings were for the upcoming week. His territory was the southeast but he traveled all over the country and occasionally overseas. He left on Monday mornings, with my mother taking him to the airport after taking us to school, then we would pick him up at the airport on Friday evenings. Usually he traveled 3 out of 4 weeks a month. He had a home office where he could work if he was home.

The company wanted to expand their market's territory and wanted my father to open up an office in Atlanta. They originally wanted him to go to the new offices opening up in Miami but my mother refused to move to Miami. So, Atlanta it was.

Big city. Big opportunities. My parents were always generous with us to include us on as much of their traveling as possible, school calendars and activities dictating our lives. My grandmother lived with us a good part of the time so she was the babysitter. Plus my mother had household help so she was free to travel with our father whenever the opportunity arose. Most of their trips were business related.

Our family trips were mostly during summer vacations, as it was with most families. My father always took 2 weeks in August before school re-started and we would pile in the car and go. Sometimes we drove to Indiana to visit family, sometimes it was to event kind of vacations. We went to HemisFair in San Antonio one summer. We went to some conventions, too, like to St. Simon's Island in Georgia where the business gathering was made into a family friendly event so that the men wouldn't have to leave the family at home.

When we moved to Georgia, we settled in a suburb. Roswell, Georgia. Now it is huge and congested. Then it was woods and dirt roads. Quite literally almost a one stop light kind of place. We joined Peachtree Presbyterian Church, 'in town' in the city and now I see Sunday services are televised here. Weird.

New starts. New beginnings.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mickey Hates the Jews

As a recruitment tool, and a brainwashing excercise, a character looking almost exactly like Mickey Mouse is talking to young pre-school and kindergarten age Palestinian children. He is inciting hate and anger towards Israel, 'the Jews', and then the natural progression to America. Even Dr. Rice is named in the latest hateful tape shown on television. It is enough to turn your stomach.

I continue to encourage you to read blogs from those living in the Middle East. Look at It is an excellent source for those wanting to learn what is going on there. Not just Iraq, but the other Muslim countries in the region. Remember this when ignorant celebs say their hateful diatribes against our country and say that Christian evangelicals are just as big a threat as IslamoFacists.

When every hateful celeb and politician, including bin Ladin, are thought of as part of the 100 most influential people by Time Magazine, but not those doing their job like the President of the United States, you see how far this country of ours has gone downhill. The more outrageous, the more you are lauded. To think the President is not the most influential person on the planet is just so asinine, I can't even understand how these people buying into it all get out of bed and dress themselves by themselves every day.

Oprah Winfrey is endorsing Obama. What will her sheeple do now? Will they support her guy or will they go against their hero? Hillary is counting on women to not be able to think for themselves and support her because she's a woman. That didn't work out so well for the French woman socialist.

President Bush goes to Kansas today. I'm sure we'll hear some Democrat complaining that he didn't get there soon enough. We've already heard the governor of the state of Kansas sound like a political whore. Complaining from the time of the storm and daily since, that heavy equipment used by the state's National Guard is in Iraq now and not available to her doesn't make her look like a strong leader. Maybe she thought it played well to the haters. Maybe she thought the two Republican senators from her state would be replaced with fellow hateful Democrats. The problem is she is not being truthful. Fran Townsend, Deputy Homeland Security director was in constant contact with her and her office immediately. The hateful governor told Ms. Townsend she had every thing she needed. Both senators have be in touch with her office and even toured the damages with her personally and both have been told she has what she needs. Those leading the recovery say more people and equipment would only be in the way at this point. But, anything for politics, right governor?

The people of Kansas deserve better than that hack. She embarrasses me as a woman.

She reminds me of another disgusting woman governor - Kathleen Blanco. Both Democrats. Both blame the federal government and in particular the president's administration when your incompetence shows.

Where's all the Hollywood celebs and entertainers raising money, telethons, and photo ops on location to help out the town of Greensburg? It was completely obliterated. Not as worthy as New Orleans, which we continue to be told is more important than the Mississippi coast.

I ponder. Why would that be? Hmmm...

Monday, May 07, 2007

I'm Going with Happy

I must say I enjoyed the two day break from technology. No computer time at all Saturday or Sunday.

The sun is out and despite the incredibly high level of humidity, I'm going with optimism today. I've read some encouraging stories over the past couple of days and I'm choosing to focus on them.

Saturday our son took the SAT exam and now that is behind him. I hope he scores well so that I won't feel the need to 'encourage' him to re-test for higher scores. Then Saturday night the guys and I went to the theatre. We saw Noel Coward's 'Blithe Spirit' and that was a nice treat. The play was the last of this year's season ticket line-up. I had not seen this play before so it was a new experience. For those playing at home, it's billed as an after-life comedy. It's a good vehicle for British comedy. A man's dead wife comes back to interrupt his current marriage, then the second wife dies and teams up with the first wife to tag team the guy.

Let's hear it for the French! That's something I don't think I've ever said. Finally, we bid adieu to slimy Jacques Chirac and deliver a hearty bonjour to President-elect Sarkozy! Further proof of the ravages of socialism, the French embraced this Romanian born, conservative, blunt spoken, America and Israel supporter, who wants the failed country of France to bounce back. The unemployment rate has skyrocketed, the 35 hour work week has failed to produce much of anything, ignoring Muslim immigrants in the name of diversity and then isolating them and not encouraging assimilation brought rioting in the streets, and Chirac allowed this country to look like a huge loser on the world stage by going back on his word on supporting other countries so that he could remain in corrupt deals sanctioned by the U.N., all the while whining that France wasn't being taken seriously as a world leader.

I'll welcome a new era. I might even plan a trip to Paris after all. My husband truly hates the city but never mind that. All I want to see there is the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, then I'd like to go to Normandy and then the Champagne region, the home of my favorite guilty pleasure!

Barbara Hillary is a 75 year old black woman who grew up in Harlem and devoted her career to nursing and community activism. She retired by age 67 and battled lung cancer. Five years out of that experience, she went dog sledding in Quebec and then she photographed polar bears in Manitoba. "What's wrong with this picture?", she said, when she learned that no black woman had ever made it to the North Pole. The first female visitor to the North Pole was Ann Bancroft, a physical education teacher from Minnesota, a member of the Steger Polar Expedition.

Barbara Hillary had never been on the ski slopes so she enrolled in cross-country ski lessons and hired a personal trainer. On April 18, she landed in Longyearben, Norway from where she then flew to the base camp on April 23. She left base camp on skis and in the company of two guides. Upon reaching the North Pole, she got a little carried away with excitement and removed her gloves. Her fingers suffered frostbite and then, standing at the top of the world, she found herself speechless.

She hopes her journey will be inspirational for other cancer survivors.

Last night, here in our fair city, the parents of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter beheaded in Pakistan five years ago accepted an award honoring him with the Holocaust Museum Houston's Lyndon Baines Johnson Moral Courage Award. Ok, never mind the name of the award. LBJ, moral courage? Ummm. No. Anyway...

His parents, Ruth and Judea Pearl, co-wrote an op-ed piece for the Houston Chronicle's Sunday paper. The well thought out and intelligent expression of hope and steadfastness expressed by these two loving parents was moving indeed. They spoke of a 'tsunami of hatred' and the threat of this hatred to all of us living today. They quoted Danny's last words to his murderers: "My name is Daniel Pearl. I am a Jewish-American from Encino, California. My father is Jewish, my mother is Jewish. I am Jewish." Through diversity, we recognize our common humanity. Those murderers had no interest in common humanity.

They chastised educators and media outlets who fuel the fires of lunatics while downplaying coverage of good works of moderates and those working on the big picture of world peace. Only by supporting moderates and letting them know they have our support, will they know of "their place in the sun."

They spoke of opposite sides on the objective scale of morality. "Moral relativism died with Danny in 2002." The battle is among those who target the innocent with pride and those who are appalled by such an act. All of it boils down to apathy. Like the Holocaust in 1942, the apathy of the civilized world is the greatest danger in today's world.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The ABC's of Me!

I was tagged by that rascal, Wordnerd. Blame her.

A- Attached or Single? Attached. Our 24th wedding anniversary is July 30. We were together a year before that. And they said it wouldn't last. Seriously.
B- Best Friend: No. I have lots of friendships but don't think of one over another. I'm thrilled I have a re-established friendship with my best friend from elementary school in Louisiana.
C- Cake or Pie: German Chocolate Cake. Or, Strawberry Shortcake. Depends on the season.
D- Drink of Choice: Iced tea.
E- Essential Item: My eyeglasses. Or the contacts if I'm in the mood.
F- Favorite Color: Purple. Seen my blog?
G- Gummi Bears or Worms: Bears. Definately.
H- Hometown: I take that as place of birth. Biloxi, Mississippi. Many hometowns since then.
I- Indulgence: Chocolate. Daily.
J- January or February: January. Fresh start, new year, husband's birthday.
K- Kids: One son. Age 17. Junior in high school. Help me.
L- Life is incomplete without: My guys, friendship, pets, books, pasta
M- Marriage Date: July 30, 1983
N- Number of Siblings: 2. Both younger sisters.
O- Oranges or Apples? Apples
P- Phobia/Fears: Claustrophobia, snakes, heights
Q- Favorite Quote: Hmm. So difficult. "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." Mark Twain
R- Reasons to smile: My son's sense of humor, the dog, the cat, a good day
S- Season: Fall. It is the most welcome of seasons after a long, hot, humid summer here on the Gulf coast.
T- Tag Three: I'm just tagging random blogging friends who I think might actually do it. Roxanne at, AC at http://www.achronicleof wasted , and Beverly at All good women, smart, compassionate, independent spirits. The blogosphere connects me with some amazing people.
U- Unknown fact about me: Are you kidding me? I have a teenage son. Hello? Blackmail?
V- Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals? Carnivore
W- Worst Habit: Nagging. I prefer to call it 'reminding'.
X- X-rays or Ultrasounds? Ultrasound from my pregnancy. Awesome.
Y- Your Favorite Foods: Seafood, pasta, Southern food, Tex-Mex, Asian, Mediterrean, on and on
Z- Zodiac: Gemini. The twins. I can understand both sides of an issue. I drive myself crazy.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Race On

Oreo's collar is still one and the bell is still on it. Wonder of wonders.

The rain has passed through our fair city and I think we're good for a pleasant weekend. My husband, weather geek, has a local weather radar on his computer that he faithfully monitors. All seems to be clear and the tornado watch is over.

Is the Queen of England incredibly inspiring or what? The woman is 81 years of age and she de-planed and went about the tours of Jamestown and Williamsburg along with making a speech like she wasn't fazed at all. She was smiling and acting as though she truly enjoyed it all. I confess to gobbling up all things British and rightly so. My mother's family originated in England and our family tree involves founding fathers of our republic.

And, the Queen's hat? Fabulous.

The highlight of the Queen's trip is said to be attending the Kentucky Derby. Who could blame her? The woman still rides, too. Maybe if I partake in a couple of gins every afternoon, as I've read she enjoys, then I would have discovered the fountain of youth, too. Wonder if she'll enjoy a mint julep or two on Derby Day? I know I will as I watch the race for the roses. I love those beautiful horses.

The husband and I watched the debate tonight starring the Republicans running for President. Still not thrilled with the format. So many people on stage, running. All were good, except perhaps our Texas nut job, Rep. Ron Paul who is truly a Libertarian, not a Republican. He's like the stereotypical Southern eccentric (which is southern speak for crazy) Aunt. He's out there but everyone just kind of lets him slide.

Chris Matthews did an ok job, especially since I had such low expectations for him, a known snarling, spitting Bush basher. The questions reached some low marks, though. He and the guy from were doing some kind of tag team style of questioning. Some of the most likely to be waste of time questions: How do you feel about Bill Clinton back in the White House?, Would Karl Rove be in your administration?, What do you dislike most about America?

Cause, you know, Rove is much more dangerous than Islamo Facists and the threats of radical Islam to America. Some goofy questions from obviously left leaning questioners via e-mail questions to panelists. It was quite a contrast from the Dem debate. Blatant liberals asking questions, Republican candidates not missing a beat over the obvious bias. Makes the Dems look small and petty, especially refusing to use the Fox News/Congressional Black Caucus format as has been used in the past.

Mitt Romney was the most comfortable and polished on stage. He is the complete package, except for that religion thing hanging over him, I think. McCain was strong and I think more so than Guliani tonight. The rest didn't hurt themselves. Huckabee from Arkansas was surprisingly calm and steady.

The problem is that 18 months before the actual election is just too early to be doing all this stuff. We'll be bored silly by the time we have to go vote.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

This and That

Sometimes I have too many thoughts wandering around my brain. Distraction sets in and I have trouble focusing long enough on any one subject to write out a somewhat literate post. I blame it on menopause hormone brain. ADD in the AARP years. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I gave myself the gift of a good read this past weekend. I read "It's Not All About the Cookin'" by Paula Deen and a co-writer. I do so love a biography, or an autobiography, as the case may be. She is a really interesting person. All kinds of good stories in her life's tale. Plus, the woman can cook. I just think people are fascinating.

I'm trying to take more of a break from so much 'political wonk' reading and enjoy some books normal people read.

My son is reading the new book out that is "Children of Hurin" completed by the son of JRR Tolkien. It's the story leading up to the Lord of the Rings series. My son is a huge fan of all things Lord of the Ring. Took 30 years to write. 30 years.

My son is at the point of submitting his Eagle Scout project for approval by the board in the District. Finally. The project is to build squirrel cages for a local wildlife rehab rescue center. It has to be completed by his 18th birthday, which is going to be here before I know it. He is my Labor Day baby.

The project is a bit ironic as Max loves to chase squirrels more than just about anything in life. And, unfortunately, he has been known to catch one now and then.

And, my baby takes his SAT Saturday. Yikes.

The company the husband is with is having a crawfish boil tomorrow at lunch for clients. I won't have to worry about cooking much for him for dinner tomorrow night. The husband ate prime rib twice, twice, last week for lunch. Once with his boss and a client, the second time with his old boss and his client. The bosses picked up the tab. Life's rough, huh. Normally he skips lunch as he gets busy but then he was on a roll.

The dog and the cat both got new collars this week. Both red with different designs. Max the dog is stylish in his paw print collar and Oreo the cat kept his 'cat friendly' geometric design on for less than 24 hours. It had a bell on it and the easy breakaway latch. A little too easy, we discovered. Rascal.

We'll see how long Oreo stays in the not so cat friendly collar I bought for him today.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

More of the Same

Today is the 41st anniversary of the premiere of Citizen Kane. It is my husband's favorite movie. He's an Orson Welles fan. Classic.

Last week the further extension of FEMA aid to the Hurricane Katrina renters was decided. They will get yet another 18 additional months. One difference this time is that next year they will be expected to contribute to their rent. So, more than 120,000 families will continue with their housing assistance through March 2009. It was scheduled to end on August 31 this year.

When it became apparent that the August 31 deadline for cutoff was looming in the foreground, the city of Houston co-hosted a workshop day for the Katrina people, once again. Lots of volunteer do-gooders were there to assist the filers with paperwork asking for extensions. Some came for the job fair. Most felt that they would again receive an extension.

Yes, that's right. Most are so empowered with a sense of entitlement from 'the government' that they fully expect to be on the taxpayer's dime for the foreseeable future. They are victims and it is everyone else's fault but their own. Same old, same old.

On September 1, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will take over the program from FEMA. Keep in mind that they are not only getting free rent, but also free utilities. The elderly and the disabled will be exempt from the new payment plan when it goes into effect.

I have no problem with the truly needy in our society, the elderly and the disabled, receiving help from the government, from us the taxpayers. What I do become really, really irritated with is the site of grown men and women, completely healthy by all appearances, not stepping up and getting the training or education necessary to support themselves and all the children they bring into the world. They have had almost two years now and who knows how much longer it will continue. This was the problem in New Orleans. Complete reliance on 'the government' and the politicians who kept them under their thumbs. We see what that reaped.

So, in order to try to fend off this way of life simply transferring here to Houston, the hope is that by moving the program from FEMA to HUD may encourage some responsibility on the part of those receiving aid. Rep. Kevin Brady said "This is a good approach, A lot of these families don't have any hope of going home any time soon so this gives them more certainty about their housing for the next two years and gives New Orleans a chance to make some housing decisions." He said the Democrats wanted permanent housing aid for the evacuees and Republicans had concerns about moving HUD's Section 8 program and endless assistance.

So, over the weekend a march was held in the 9th Ward of New Orleans by Jesse Jackson and local politicians like Mayor Ray Naquin. They were demanding more money, of course. Hey, maybe if the City of New Orleans and the mayor presented real plans to 'the government' they could receive even more billions of dollars for re-building. The governor of the state is sitting on all kinds of money and doling it out very slowly to those re-building. But, you know it's the Bush administration's fault, don't you?

More of the same.