Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Happy Mardi Gras

Today's brew: Community Coffee with Chicory. Enjoyed with a piece of King Cake. It's Mardi Gras!

If we still lived in our former city of Lafayette, LA, our son would be out of school this week for the Mardi Gras celebration. Used to be a two or three day holiday but by the time we moved away, it had grown to a full week of a school holiday. No time off here. Today at his school they begin this year's Sanford tests.

Max the dog decided to celebrate the day by somehow getting out of the fenced in backyard this morning and touring the neighborhood. Fortunately husband had not yet left for the office and he got into his car to look for Max. Found him not too far away and brought him home. I guess it was Max's way of celebrating the holiday.

I'm wearing my official Mardi Gras earrings. They are made of old glass beads from back in the day when the necklaces thrown in the parades were made of glass, not plastic like they are today. They are drop style and they are green.

Fais do-do.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Monday Musings

Today's brew: Community Coffee with Chicory. Solidarity with the peeps in the Big Easy.

Morning starting off slowly today. Traffic was especially slow and clogged up on the way to son's school. I can think of better ways to start the week.

The weather is getting springy now. The cold snap is leaving and the temp today should reach 73 degrees. Yes.

I read an article in the local newspaper a couple of days ago that we can expect gas prices to go back up here . Seems we may face price spikes and shortages due to refiners phasing out use of the fuel additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) in favor of ethanol. Energy forecasters say that gas supplies in Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth area along with some cities on the East Coast may be disrupted as refiners try to keep up with demands of the summer driving season. A little something to look forward to.

Keep in your thoughts the nine foreign oil workers taken hostage in Nigeria. Nigerian rebels overpowered a security detail and seized the nine employees from a barge that was laying pipeline for Royal Dutch Shell. The group that claimed responsibility is called the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. Three Americans, two Egyptians, two Thais, one Briton and one Filipino national comprise the nine hostages. It is scary stuff in this region of the world. My husband is an oil drilling rig engineer and he has been taken hostage himself three different times in the region of the Ivory Coast and Angola. These incidents usually don't make the news but do sometimes here in this area as we are the dominant area for oil drilling companies in this country. One of the hostages was seen on tv a couple of days ago. He is from a small town in this area and is 68 years old. It's scary stuff.

I see Cindy Sheehan and entourage are going to the Gulf Coast to walk from the coast of Mississippi to New Orleans to bring attention to the area and the damage done by the hurricane. She'll be in New Orleans to publicize the 3rd anniversary of the Iraq invasion. Gee, thanks Cindy.


"You've got to continue to grow, or you're just like last night's cornbread - stale and dry". - Loretta Lynn

Saturday, February 25, 2006


I have just finished browsing through an on-line stationary shop's catalog. It is a guilty pleasure of mine.

I love fine paper. I guess this appreciation began when, as a girl of 9 or 10 years, my grandmother gifted me with a monogrammed box of Crane stationary. The fold-over notes and the letter paper where a pale blue color and my monogram appeared in silver. It was a very grown up kind of gift and I thought it was the best gift ever.

I love the written word. I enjoy writing notes and sending them off to people. It is such an easy way to brighten up someone's day, just letting them know you are thinking of them, that you appreciate them. Who doesn't thrive on acknowledgement?

I enjoy the fine art of letter writing. It is a dying art as everything is electronic in nature now. I don't care. I continue on with my shopping for beautiful paper.

What a satisfying hobby.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Fool of the Week

This week the title is plural. The Fools of the Week are the American print media. All the newspapers in the land, with a few exceptions.

It's about the cartoons portraying Muhammad in a less than glowing light in the Danish newspaper. You know the ones I am talking about. You may have even seen them on the internet. Good luck seeing them in print. Three exceptions of note: The Austin American-Statesman, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Sun. These newspapers are your models of free speech on this subject.

The print media in this country has lost its spine. No guts. No glory. Where was the self-censorship with the photos of art exhibits of the Christian cross in urine? Where was the self-censorship over the cartoons of Ariel Sharon drawn as Hitler? Why is a different standard given to Muslims? Why is Islam singled out for special treatment in this country founded on the basic principle of freedom of speech, freedom of the press?

The reason is simple. It is fear. Fear is a reasonable reaction to terror but if you don't stand up to it, the terror mongers win. That is the lesson we should have learned after the attacks in this country on 9/ll/01. Some editors have been completely upfront about the fear, the fear for their employees, their buildings.

Understandable, but wrong.

By not publishing the cartoons, a message is sent that the violent, fanatic Islamists can dictate what is in print and what is not. Their mission is to takeover free societies and this plays right into it.

The print media in this country had no problem publishing treasonous leaks about the terrorist surveillance program or the classified information of the detention centers for captured terrorists and suspects. Both of these stories are harmful to our allies.

By not publishing the cartoons it condones the violent acts of our enemy such as the bombing of embassies, beheading journalists, taking hostages, rioting in the streets, and setting buildings ablaze because they are upset. It is sending the message that this is normal, expected behavior. Did Christians run wild in the streets after offensive art exhibits were made public? No. As a matter of fact, some of it has been government funded. Did the Jews run amuck over the offensive depictions of Israelis in cartoons? No. Life goes on.

Free societies. That's what we are fighting for.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sincerely Yours

Dear Mr. President:
I have a request of you. Please fire your communications office immediately. Immediately. They do not serve you or your administration well. Too often in recent times you and your policies have been misrepresented in the press and in the media simply because your communications office dropped the ball. Or had their collective heads in the clouds. Either way, it's not good.

Please put the human resources department on notice that you will give them 24 hours to create a new staff that is competent and eager to do a good job. A staff that will never again allow y ou to go on the airwaves and state you knew nothing of something before it happened, even though all departments of your cabinet were involved in the decision-making process.

Thank you.

Sincerely Yours,

Just a little something rolling around my brain this morning.

I watched the Oprah show yesterday and saw Son's classmate. He wasn't interviewed on air but he got lots of good face time on camera at the end. He was standing just behind Oprah in the group shot at the end of the show and his smiling face was a joy to watch. Oprah does "feel good" well.

I hesitate to answer my phone now. In the past few days we have been bombarded with political calls in the form of taped recorded messages. It's relentless during the day when I am puttering around the house. Early voting began Monday and the various campaigns are in hyper mode to get the vote out. Hubby and I will vote tomorrow as he has the day off so I've waited to go with him.

I am supporting a woman candidate who is a member of a political group I belong to for State Rep . Gotta support your own, you know. Solidarity.
One of her competitors turned me off during a stop he made at my house to pass out his campaign propaganda, er, literature, and you know what they say about first impressions. I know he has been a hard worker in the area for the right reasons but I really don't like it when someone pats themselves on the back like they got nothing out of it. He's made a career of representing this area in the business community. That's fine. Just don't tell me what a great person you are. I told him the group I belong to and who I support so he hands me a brocheure and puts his campaign office's phone number on it and says to give it to my husband. Then asked for my support if my candidate doesn't make it into the primary run-off.
The whole way he brought in my husband like my husband wouldn't be supporting a woman over other men, well, it's not a good attitude for a woman my age who grew up in the whole woman's movement era. Sets us off. Whether he meant to send the signal or not, it is how I perceived it and that is what matters in the getting out the vote exercise. I was expecting him to pat me on the head and call me "little lady". Bleech.

I'll tell you who I will support if my candidate doesn't make the primary run-off: the guy who came to my door on a Saturday afternoon when it was pouring down raining and he was dressed in a business suit and sporting an umbrella. It was a miserable day yet he was friendly, pleasant and chatty. He presented his broucheure, shook my hand and thanked me for my time. Yeah, he's the man.

For the State Senate race, I am supporting the guy who left the seat who the above candidates are running to replace. I don't have a problem with his positions and one of his sons goes to my son's high school. He and his wife appear very nice and active in the community. I wish him well.

"Following the course of least resistance makes for crooked rivers and crooked men". - Lanny Henninger

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Wish Day

I wish this fog and humidity would leave. Two days in a row and that's enough now.

I wish I felt better about watching Oprah's show yesterday. It is a lead up to today's show where it will show her partnership with Habitat for Humanity and building homes for the Katrina survivors. I like Anderson Cooper. I like Lisa Ling. Both are good reporters, as far as I've seen. I guess since I live here it just wasn't shocking or surprising to me to see the devastation still there after 6 months. We've seen it all along on the news here. Maybe because we have so many evacuees living here and our local stations have done more coverage. It breaks my heart every time.

I wish I had an answer. I see stories of people living in the area trying to get things back to a liveable condition. I hear the "leaders" of New Orleans calling for the evacuees to come home and today the call is for them to come home and work to rebuild the city. Why will they when they have free rent and utilites here in Houston for a year? Many have made a transition and don't plan to return.

I wish the people affected by Hurricane Rita had the publicity they deserve. The western coast of Louisiana and the eastern border towns of Texas are devastated, too.

I wish I would hurry up and win the lottery as my plan is to help rebuild a library in southern Mississippi when I do. I was born there and they need all the help they can get.

I wish there wasn't the corruption and political in-fighting involved in absolutely everything. The trailers on yesterday's Oprah show that aren't getting to the people in southern Mississippi as quickly as they need to? Or the trailers for the New Orleans area? It's because, in the case of New Orleans, only the other day did the state and city governments come to an agreement where they will allow them to be set up. No one wants to deal with a "trailer city".

I wish this time folks will pull together and do the right thing for the future. Don't rebuild in flood zones. Take care of the wetlands that act as a kind of barrier on the coast. There are no guarantees in life.

The definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

"Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for". - Jose Addison

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Back and Forth

I go back and forth. I have been over Oprah for several years now. i could probably count on one hand the number of her shows I have watched in the past two years, definately. I admire her work ethic, her persistance in trying to be the best person she can be, and her philanthrophy.

I don't think she is a good judge of people and as soon as she starts singing the praises of someone, I go the other way. I remember, back in the day, when she thought Mike Tyson and Robin Givens were just the best couple ever. Then we learn he is on tranquilizers, abuses her, is manic depressive, and all that good stuff. After that I was leary, to say the least, of her choice of character.

But when it comes to philanthrophy, Oprah is the queen. Billions of dollars will do that for you, I guess, but still. I don't like when she combines it for ratings yet understand it is business for her, after all.

After Hurricane Katrina and all the evacuees came to our fair city, Oprah was one of the first celebrities to take the route here and a lot of it was for the ratings for her new season of shows. We knew that. But after doing the show from the Astrodome and all, she committed to partnering with Habitat for Humanity and building houses for some of the people displaced.

She set up a section of property that will hold 50 houses for 50 families. She was here in town Sunday checking on the progress and filming for her show. It will air tomorrow, Wednesday.

My son came home from school yesterday and said I should watch Oprah Wednesday. After I picked myself up off the floor, as he dispises Oprah, he told me of a classmate. This boy is in his biology class and is an evacuee. Son's high school is very new and wasn't quite to capacity so it received about 200 students from the hurricane.

Anyway, this boy, Brian, and his family will be featured on the show as a family helped through Oprah's efforts. Or so he thinks. He was interviewed by Oprah and told he'll be on air. I hope it happens for him. My son says he's a nice guy and happy to be here. My son's biology class is pre-AP so he must be a good student. We'll tune in and watch.

So, I go back and forth with her.

Monday, February 20, 2006

And Today's Entertainment

After going through a weekend of non-stop yakkity yak about the NBA All Star Game held in our fair city and all the celeb sightings and what parties who went to and blah, blah, blah, I heard on the radio this morning that Cindy Sheehan and entourage will be gracing us with a visit today.

Cindy and her posse, Code Pink (you remember them, they love to protest outside Walter Reed Hospital while our injured soldiers heal), Gold Star Families for Peace, and Veterans for Peace will have a march in front of the church attended by former President George H W Bush and Barbara. The Church.
The theme is, "For the love of God can you make him stop?". Nice, huh.

Poor Cindy.


It's 38 degrees out there this morning. Too bad we don't have President's Day off. This would have been a good morning to stay snug in bed.

I watched very little of the Winter Olympics this weekend. I never knew what was on or when. I tune in for the ice skating competitions. The Houston area is proud of one of it's own, though for the speed skating competition. Chad Hedrick has performed well and won gold. His big rival is Shani Davis, the "First black athlete to take individual gold in a Winter Olympics", according to the headline in yesterday's newspaper. It's good for both to be recognized for their achievements. The whole first black athlete thing is a non-story as far as I'm concerned. Won't it be nice when we can all get over that kind of labeling. And for idiots like Bryant Gumbel to stop saying nonsense like the Winter Olympics aren't interesting to him as they are as white as a GOP convention. Stupid political rhetoric had no place in his interview. This from a man who cheated repeatly on his black wife and left her and their kids to marry a white woman. Idiot.

Shani Davis is a different kind of personality and is creating his own kind of controversy. He chose to persue his own gold than to help out the US team effort, so the US team didn't win first place ranking, which they would probably have done if he had participated in the team events. I thought sports was suppose to teach sportsmanship and team player mentality. He said in an interview that he got there on his own and didn't owe anyone anything. And he is angry that corporate sponsorship deals, like commercials, aren't coming his way. Wonder why.

Remember the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi from the 1960's? He was the perceived wise man that all the celebrities and jet setters went to in India to learn how to meditate. He's a 89 year old man now living in a compound in The Netherlands and hosting conferences, aiding a medical curriculum for his university in Iowa, sponsoring schools in India, and meditation centers in Europe. All on 2 - 3 hours of sleep. He is usually isolated from people except a few attendants. He has studied the lessons of the Vedas, the Sanskrit canon compiled 3,500 years ago. Here are his solutions for the troubles of today's world:
Tear down major structures, including the White House and The United Nations, and rebuild them to Vedic architectural plans that harmonize construction with nature.
Send meditation groups to world hot spots as psychic shock troops whose positive energy will allevate negativity, reduce crime, ease conflict and promote world peace.
And, the clincher, his latest project: a $10 trillion plan to eradicate poverty. An ad was placed in the International Herald Tribune in mid-December looking for investors for a minimum $60,000 for a World Peace Bond, promising a 10 to 15 percent annual return.

Here's his plan: He wants to buy 5 billion acres in 100 developing countries for labor-intensive farms which will provide employment and income for the world's poorest people and feed the first world market for organic food. No takers from the ad, so far. All righty then.

"If you like a man's laugh before you know anything of him, you may say with confidence that he is a good man". - Fyodor Dostoevsky

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Taking it easy today. I'm catching up on reading as much as I can and enjoying not doing much more than a little laundry and cooking. Hubby and Son have gone to Best Buy so Son can use a gift card he has and hubby is suppose to pick up a new answering machine, of which we are sorely in need.

Saw a couple of stories of the beginning of Mardi Gras in New Orleans yesterday. I guess the city is putting the best face on it that they can. The medical community, though, is really concerned that they are not prepared to handle enough medical emergencies for the crowds. The city only has two hospitals with functioning emergency rooms. Health care has only been rebuilt 1/3 of what it was pre-Katrina. They are having to use a regional approach this year. I wish them well.

Tonight, with the leftover pork loin, steamed spinach, buttered noodles, sauteed fresh mushrooms, and freshly baked bread(with the help of the Pillsbury Dough Boy) will be served. This cold snap brings out the desire for good hot meals. And the kitchen stays warm!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

What's Cookin'

It was a dark and gloomy night, last night. The rain was drizzling all day and a cold front moved in. Fortunately, hubby was off yesterday and I had a fun night planned.

My guys and I went to our favorite Indian restaurant, located not far from our home. I can't remember a better meal in quite some time. I had a shrimp dish, hubby and son had fish dishes. And the dessert was to die for. Son had a creme brulee with fruit, hubby had tapioca and mine was a pastry surrounding blood orange ice cream. Yee Gads, it was so all so delicious. Spicy but just right.

While we were eating, unbeknownst to me, parents of a former classmate of son's were seated behind us. My back was to their table so I was pleasantly surprised to turn when I felt a hand on my shoulder. The mom came over to visit while she was waiting on her entree. We hadn't seen her in a couple of years so it was good to catch up. I'm just happy I connected her name to her face in a decent amount of time!

Did I mention our appetizers? We ordered two for the table - one pickled shrimp salad, the other crab cakes with fruit chutney. Also very good.

Then we went to The Country Playhouse to see "Love Letter" performed. The female was son's theatre teacher. It was really good. So, it was a full evening and the weather was not important at all.

The Country Playhouse was founded 40 years ago as a non-profit performing arts theatre "committed to providing quality entertainment, creative and educational opportunities and to rewarding fellowship through the pursuit of excellence in the theatre arts. It is a volunteer organization, founded when this part of Houston was considered "The Country". Today the theatre offers seasons comprising 6 plays and musicals on the Cerwinske Stage and more avant garde and usually productions in the Black Box theatre." That is from a blurb in last night's program. Last nights performance was Black Box. Son has taken acting classes and workshops there was many years now.

Tonight I am cooking a boneless pork loin, accompanied with steamed asparagus, mushroom risotto, and cucumber salad with yogurt and dill dressing. The pork loin is big for the three of us so we'll eat it again tomorrow night. I did that last weekend with a semi-boneless leg of lamb. Works out good. Just have to fix different side dishes and it's all done.

"We deal with the world the way it is, not the way we hope it is." - President George W. Bush

Friday, February 17, 2006

Fool of the Week

The Fool of the Week is Al Gore.

Al Gore went to Jiddah, Saudi Arabia last Sunday and delivered a speech at the Jiddah Economic Forum. This is an annual event and many speakers are brought in, much like the Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Jiddah Economic Forum is funded by Bin Laden Family Group- Osama's brothers and cousins, among other groups.

Al's shining moment was delivering this line - Arabs in the United States have been "indiscriminately rounded up, often on minor charges of overstaying a visa or not having a green card in proper order and held in conditions that were just unforgivable." He continued - "Unfortunately there have been terrible abuses and it's wrong." "I do want you to know that it does not represent the desires or wishes or feelings of the majority of the citizens of my country."

Al, what the hell are you talking about? How much did Bin Laden's family pay you for performing a treasonous speech? I know you have to do outlandish speeches to make the evening news but since you were so over the edge with this, you didn't even make the evening news. Your peeps in the world of journalism love this kind of thing and won't condemn it.

How much did you sell your soul for this time, Al?

As Ben Shapiro wrote, "It is now considered bad form to criticize those who commit seditious acts against the United States. Challenging the patriotism of a traitor draws more ire than engaging in treasonable activities. Calling out those who undermine our nation creates more of a backlash than actually undermining our nation."

How dare Al Gore go to one of the most repressive societies in the world where women are property, women aren't allowed to drive, women are killed for imagined or real disgraces to the family, women are not properly educated, any citizen is executed in a public square if he/she commits an offense, etc, etc, and apologize to them for these outrageous and false charges. How dare he.

At some point we have to say it is enough.

Is Al referring to the 1,200 Arabs in the U.S. detained immediately after 9/ll? With buildings still burning and a field in Pennsylvania cratered from jets used as missiles, it should hardly be considered unreasonable not to mention abusive. Yes, Al has freedom of speech. It is the same freedom of speech that permits fools to show themselves.

We would all like world peace. We would all like to have a truly strong mutual friendship with all nations, including Saudi Arabia. Kumbiya. Let the Saudis go first.

Al is a bitter, washed up politican. He was groomed from birth to be president and then saw it slip away. He wasn't up to the task and especially when the stakes are so high for the security of our country now during this world war, it is fortunate for us he failed.

Visa violations after 9/ll are hardly light infractions to be brushed aside. The express visa system put in place by Al's administration did us no good.

In 2002, Bill Clinton was paid $267,000 for his speech at the Jiddah conference. Al's speech, a treasonous act committed in a foreign land against his own country, surely was worth far more to the Saudis. The future propaganda value is priceless.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Road

Is this the road "the offended" want to go down? Those so insulted that the national media was not immediately notified as soon as the bird shot left VP Cheney's rifle? Note the ones running to the microphones with their oh so important opinions of how Cheney handled the accident.

Hillary Clinton - hard to imagine an administration served with more indictments than hers. She had her chief of staff move and destroy evidence at the scene of Vince Foster's suicide and demanded she determine when the suicide note should be made public, which was several days later.

Harry Reid - who waited 3 days to tell the press that he had suffered a stroke in June, 2005.

Charles Schumer - who had staff dig into personal financial info on the Lt. Gov of Maryland running for Governor, a black Republican. Where is his resignation or the grand jury investigation?

Teddy Kennedy - murdered a young woman and didn't come forward for 72 hours afterwards. Never accepted responsibility. Rewarded with lifelong Senate seat.

Calls for Cheney's resignation abound. I would have been disappointed otherwise. It is difficult to think of anyone in this administration who has not been called upon to resign from the opposition. They forget they lost the election. They should remember that each and every time they show poor judgement with public remarks the voters are reminded why they continue to lose.

The accident's coverage with the press could have been handled better. The Secret Service detail contacted the Sheriff within 10 minutes of the occurance. The Secret Service are cops, remember. Do you think they didn't do things by the book? The Sheriff investigated. He determined it was a hunting accident.

Move on.

The piece on Nightline last night about the tapes of Saddam talking to his posse about weapons of mass destruction and impending terrorist attacks on America was interesting. Where is the coverage in the rest of the media? Where is the publicity of the book published by Saddam's number two guy from his military force? Those with too much invested in the Bush lied, we rushed into an unneccesary war, crowd won't be showing you anything else but what validates themselves.

It's still just all about them.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Today's morning cup of coffee - Starbuck's Italian Roast "Extra Bold". It is a heavenly aroma that wafts through the kitchen when the beans are grinding. That and a nibble of fine milk chocolate from the Valentine's Day haul makes for a great way to jumpstart the day.

With all the problems in the world, we are enduring yet another day of panting press coverage of the hunting accident involving the Vice President and his friend over the weekend. Not seeing that the American public finds it not a newsworthy story at this point, the White House journalists continue on as if they can single handedly force Dick Cheney out of office. They are pompous and immature people making a mountain out of a molehill. Mr. Whittington has a right to privacy concerning his health concerns and the only thing the Vice President is guilty of is not informing the press soon enough for their egos. Accidents happen. It is a shame. It is not criminal.

Senator George Voinovich, R-OH, gave a little interview recently for the press to voice his support of John Bolton, the US Ambassador to the UN. You may remember that Voinovich made an ass out of himself by crying on the floor of the Senate during confirmation hearings for Bolton to be placed in the job. He is on the Senate Foreign Affairs committee, but didn't bother to go to the hearings and hear testimony of those both for and against Mr. Bolton. He relied on gossip circulated by Senate Democrats hell bent on destroying Mr. Bolton's reputation for cheap political points. So it is fitting that now he looks like an ass. He admits Bolton is good in the job at this time of UN reform and the right pick. Idiot.

Paul Hackett, an Iraqi war veteran backed by Democrats to run in a special election for a Congressional seat in Ohio, made a good showing in the traditionally Republican district. So, he announced his candidacy to challenge Mike DeWine, the sitting Senator from Ohio (Republican), and was encouraged and backed by top Democrats. That is until Sherrod Brown, a House of Rep member and very liberal Democrat decided he wants to be the next Senator from Ohio. The Democratic party dropped Hackett like a hot potato and fully endorsed their man Brown. Hackett is so angry that he dropped out of the race and says he is out of politics for good. The Democrats shot themselves in the foot with this. Hackett could have really given DeWine a run for the seat, but Brown will now be the raging liberal running against DeWine. He may have won a district in Ohio for his House seat but he won't win statewide in Ohio. The state is too conservative now.

Rufus, the winner of the Westminster Dog Show, is a fine looking animal. I can't watch dog shows anymore without thinking of "Best of Show", the mockumentary about Westminister. It is a really funny movie and will make you laugh outloud at the antics that go on behind the scenes of these shows.

The Dow is over 11,ooo again. A major report came out yesterday that all levels of government failed in the response to Katrina - written by a committee with a majority of Republicans. Iran is closer to blowing people off the face of the earth with nuclear force. The City of New Orleans may have to release a large group of people picked up on criminal offenses due to a lack of public defenders in the city now. The Iraqi military has taken over 25% of the responsibilities now. But, nevermind all that stuff.

Did you hear Cheney was involved in a hunting accident?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Heart Day

Happy Valentine's Day, y'all! I hope everyone is feeling the love today. My gift from my hubby is 3 boxes of chocolates! Three different brands and all milk chocolate, my fave. After 23 Valentine Days together, the man has the hang of it.

I was witness to a true act of courage last night. I was watching the doubles figure skating competition of the Olympics as figure skating viewing is a favorite pasttime, if nothing else is on. A Chinese pair was skating. The Russian pair was in first place. This Chinese pair was the last to compete in this round. The beginning of their routine included a complicated leap into the air that these two are known for. They went into this maneuver and during the landing the girl skater came down completely on her knees. I tell you my whole body tensed up watching what must have been excruciating pain for that 20 year old woman. He helped her to the side of the rink and her coach and physical caretaker took a look at her knees. She moved around and they all nodded. Then the pair went back out on the ice and finished the routine. I couldn't believe what I saw. They were magnificent and received the silver medal.

What courage and determination. They received a standing ovation from the crowd, as well they should. It was just amazing. What a treat they gave the audience there and viewing on tv.

Yesterday afternoon I experienced a different kind of viewing on tv. I was watching the White House press secretary's gathering with reporters. The main topic of questioning was the Vice President's hunting accident. What a hissy fit that was. The reporters were suffering from a severe case of nose -out-of-joint syndome and behaving badly. I know Cheney's office could have handled the situation better but come on. It was a personal hunting trip over the weekend to an old friend's ranch in south Texas. The friend, a 78 year old man, came up behind Cheney without announcing his presence and in the process was sprayed with bird shot as a covey of quail was flushed out. Accidents happen.

I seriously doubt there were any hunters among the White House reporters. Instead of getting to the bottom of everything with the Vice President's office, they chose to beat up on the President's press secretary. They really went off the cliff. I heard questions like, "Will he be charged with a crime?", and "Will he resign?". Just stupid, not to mention projecting the fact that resignation is what they hope for every day from either the President or Vice President. They are not professional or mature and prove to viewers that regular news programs, like evening news on the networks, are no longer relevent to most people.


Now I am off to do a little quality control testing on some chocolate.

Monday, February 13, 2006


The difference in leadership in American cities can be quite telling. Did you see the mayor of Biloxi, Mississippi, Mr. Holloway, this weekend on C-Span? Brian Lamb, my hero, did an hour long interview with him.

I am proud to say that I was born in Biloxi fifty years ago. Our home was on the beach directly across from the Gulf of Mexico in Ocean Springs. Back then, not much was in Ocean Springs so for medical care a person was required to go across the draw bridge to Biloxi.

The mayor did a fine job in his interview. The citizens of Biloxi must be proud. Mayor Holloway had a recurring theme in the interview - the people of Biloxi are doing it for themselves when it comes to recovering from the Hurricane Katrina disaster to the Gulf coast. He said he knows President Bush is doing all he can to help. He said it is silly to think the bureauocracy that is the federal government can do anything quickly or without following rules and paperwork. What a fool he makes Ray Naquin look like.

About those cartoons so offensive to Arab Muslims - the Houston Chronicle published an interesting interview with a local Muslim, Dr. Javed Aslam, a retired physician and native of Pakistan. Dr. Aslam has lived in the U.S. for 43 years. He often speaks at local mosques as a member of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston. The article appeared in yesterday's Sunday edition.

Dr. Aslam was asked about the feelings of Houston Muslims toward the Danish cartoons. He said the community is upset and hurt. It was a major topic of conversation but now he said everyone is saying Muslims protesting should go home. He said they have protested and there is no reason to keep on burning and other destruction. Moderate Muslims feel a different kind of hurt, he said that distinguishes them from the radical Muslims. He said those showing Muhammad as violent is hurtful to their cause. The people rioting and the like are ignorant people and Houston Muslims dislike what they are saying, he said.

Dr. Aslam's point is "who is insulting the prophet now? We are because we are behaving in a way that he would never approve." He said by getting emotional they are doing the wrong thing. " The Quran says that we are not supposed to lose our balance no matter how angry or distressed we are...If I am in the grocery store and I see a Danish product and don't want to buy it, that's ok. But to destroy property or to kill, that is wrong."

He was asked it the cartoon controversy is an East-West problem or a problem within Islam. He said there is misunderstanding between Muslim and Western communities . He said the two are talking on two completely different aspects. "In the West, people are talking about freedom of speech issues. But we feel it transcends the freedom of speech issue because it enters into an area where a person is using that freedom to insult and inflict injury on others. If someone did a cartoon like that about Martin Luther King Jr, in this time when Coretta Scott King has just passed away or of the late pope, I would be offended".

What he doesn't mention, however, is that of course cartoons lampooning the Kings and the late pope have been published all over the world. And more than once. Our own American government has sponsored "art" thru the NEA that depicts the Christian holy symbol, the cross, in urine. That's just one example. I didn't see offended Christians blowing up embassies or burning other nation's flags or murdering innocent people.

So, while I think Dr. Aslam is going in the right direction concerning religious differences and the fact that free speech in democratic societies must win out, I don't think he is quite there yet. If it is acceptable for one religion to be offended then it is acceptable for other religions to be offended when it comes to depiction through free speech. Denmark is a free society. I am glad they have not been cowed by radical Islamic threats.

Our own media could take a lesson.

"The first duty of love - is to listen." - Paul Tillich

Sunday, February 12, 2006


Maybe part of the reason some Americans are having difficulty coming on board with doing more and more for the City of New Orleans is that its priorities seem to be a little out of whack. The latest evidence is the insistance of those in the city that Mardi Gras should go on as it does every year.

The official start of Mardi Gras is scheduled for next Saturday. No corporation has come up with the $2 million offered by the city for naming rights to Mardi Gras. Glad Products, the trash bag maker, has said it will contribute an unspecified six-figure donation and a gift of 100,000 trash bags.

So, if additional corporate sponsors do not come forward, the city will be responsible to pay for the celebration out of a non-existent treasury. "Yes, it will be a challenge for us to come up with money, but this is a tourist economy, and we need to have it," said Ernest Collins, the city's director of arts and entertainment. Have what, Mr. Collins? The parade season has been cut to 8 days down from the typical 12, participation of krewes (social clubs) that build and ride on the elaborate floats is down.

Mardi Gras has been cancelled 13 times in the past. The election of the city's mayor was postponed until May. How much tourism will really benefit the coffers of the city? The hotels and restaurants are not fully opened and staffed. Just having a bunch of drunks in the French Quarter is not really what the celebration of Mardi Gras is all about. Most tourists older than college age expect more of the city.

- "Some people develop a wishbone where their backbone should be." - unknown

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Glass Houses

People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, the saying goes. The current expression of choice for those opposed to the party in power in Washington, DC is the Republican party is operating under the "culture of corruption". You will hear this expression on a daily basis until the stories concerning the "culture of corruption" surface about the Democrats.

Recently the office staff of Minority Leader Senator Harry Reid sent out a letter slandering 33 Republican members of Congress. When Senator Reid learned of it, the letter was denounced as a mistake and he apologized to the slandered ones. Perhaps Senator Reid is beginning to see the writing on the wall.

In today's newspaper an article is published about Senator Reid and his connection to Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist in deep do-do in Washington, DC. While Abramoff, a conservative, has mostly funded Republican candidates in the past, he has not been totally lacking in spreading the wealth to Democrats. Apparently that would include Senator Reid.

On numerous Sunday talk shows and other press conferences in recent days, Senator Reid has denied any connection to Jack Abramoff and when confronted with the fact that several Indian tribes and casinos that are clients of Abramoff have contributed approximately $68,000 over the course of 3 years to his campaigns in exchange for at least four letters helpful to Indian tribes represented by Mr. Abramoff, said it was only money recieved from the tribes. He refuses to return it. Records show Abramoff's lobbying partners billed almost 2 dozen telephone contacts or meetings with Reid's office in 2001 alone.

In the state of Nevada, represented by Senator Reid, it is frequently noted how he, his two DC lobbyist sons, and his wife skirt the laws of lobbying. Seems to be a lucrative family enterprise.

Other politicans mentioned in the Abramoff scandal, like Tom DeLay, for example, have returned the contributions or given them to charity. Hillary Clinton returned hers, too.

January 13th, an opinion piece was published in the Houston Chronicle. The author, Senator Harry Reid wrote: "Our nation's capital has been overrun by organized crime - Tom DeLay style. The gangsters are the lobbyists, cronies and lawmakers who have banded together and abused their power to serve their own interests." Hmm. He doesth protest a bit too loudly.

Et tu, Harry?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Fool of the Week

This week's Fool of the Week honor goes to Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles.

Yesterday, in a speech outlining an example of a thwarted terriorist plot, President Bush spoke of the threats to the city of Los Angeles and the Library Tower. The Library Tower is the tallest building west of the Mississippi. It is a logical target for those who would fly planes into buildings and kill people in this country.

The Mayor of Los Angeles seized this moment in the spotlight and declared his outrage that he was not briefed of this foiled attack before President Bush gave the speech. He called a news conference to voice his concerns for later in the afternoon.

One problem - the office of Homeland Security in California has records of such briefings to the mayor's office and explained the mayor's office had indeed been briefed. Later, the mayor had to backtrack and admit his mistake. The foiled plot occurred in 2002, by the way. This mayor was sworn into office in Los Angeles in May, 2005.

The true shame is that the mayor had a good message to deliver during his press conference. He didn't use it to bash the President or his staff. After voicing disappointment that he was not briefed as fully as he would have liked, as it was already out of the bag that he was briefed by then, he brought up some very legitimate points of funding shortages in large metropolitan areas for Homeland Security expenditures.

Congress insists on distributing monies made available to Homeland Security throughout the nation with even very small populations given generous amounts of funding. While I want everyone to be safe, I don't think it is practical for rural areas in the middle of the country to be over-funded at the expense of larger metropolitan areas. Also, if there is no real need for some funding in a community, the money winds up in some politician's pocket.

For instance, the Chief of Police for the city of Houston, Chief Harold Hurrt was in Washington, D.C. yesterday along with other Chiefs, testifying to the need for more funding to the local office of Homeland Security. Houston has many points of interest that are potential targets of terrorism, whether it is our ship channels, our Port of Houston, NASA, The Galleria, or the skyscrappers downtown, and we are the home to a former President and his wife. We were identified as a target of flights grounded during the morning of September 11, 2001 and our security needs have escalated since. It is just a fact of life. Houston is the nation's 4th largest city.

So, while the Mayor of Los Angeles had some very valid points concerning inequities in Homeland Security funding distribution, the message was lost because of his petty, unprofessional grab for the spotlight. Partisan politics have to get out of the way of protecting this country's people.

" The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong". - Mohandas Gandhi

Thursday, February 09, 2006

You, Too, Can Bid

I saw mention of this on a couple of sites I read and thought I would check it out. It is on EBAY. A speaking engagement with Cindy Sheehan is being auctioned off and the proceeds go to yearlykos - sponsored by the website dailykos. So far the bid is $900.00. With her normal published speaking fee of $12,000 this looks like quite a bargain price.

That Cindy. She's a giver.

There is a mention that they expect "obvious potential for right-wing shenanigans" and she retains the right to refuse to speak to groups not aligned with her. Those right-wingers, they are a surly bunch.

The 2006 YearlyKos convention will be held in Las Vegas at the Riviera Hotal in June, so sign up early to attend. I understand Senator Harry Reid will be the featured headliner. You don't want to miss out on the opportunity to hear Mr. Charisma, now do you?

I don't want to sound rude but Cindy sure could use a good makeover. And a good voice coach, too.

"Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realizing that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor - that is the only way out of a hole". - C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Feeling the Pain

"Houston is feeling some of the pain from the failure of the New Orleans criminal justice system, " said Rafael Goyenche, head of the watchdog Metropolitan Crime Commission of New Orleans. "The people who are the most dangerous know the system the best," he said. Criminals in the jails came to cities of evacuation on the buses just like lots of people from New Orleans. Since Houston took the bulk of the evacuees, the city services and citizen's patience have been sorely tested. A study was conducted using end of year crime statics and crime is on the rise. This is not a surprise to those of us living in the city and watching the evening news.

The City of Houston is in need of approximately 500 more police. The Fire Department has incurred approximately $450,000 in overtime per month due to the incresase in needed EMT services. For reported heart attack victims alone, EMT services have been called upon 33.9% more than last year, pre-Katrina. FEMA compensation may or may not come.

From personal experience, our subdivision has a rather large apartment complex at the entrance and they are at full occupancy thanks to allowing section 8 housing now to fill vacancies with FEMA vouchers. The elementary school took in the largest number of evacuees. The crowds of students waiting for school buses in the morning at the complex has easily tripled. Crime, according to our subdivision's monthly newsletter, has risen. More reports of theft, whether it is stealing lawn equipment or household goods from empty houses during the day or cars overnight, are of concern to all of us. Our doors are locked whether we are home or not.

Governor Kathleen Blanco called a second special session of the Louisiana legislature. They met at the New Orleans Convention Center. They took a bus tour of damaged areas of the city. Many legislators did not do the tour in protest. Why are they being treated as tourists by the governor? To make political points of the slow recovery. Perhaps she doesn't realize it is she, as the top government officer of the state, who is responsible. Blame others.

Governor Blanco told the special session that Washington, D.C. has lost interest in the people of south Louisiana affected by Katrina. And Rita never happened as far as she could tell by their attitude. Mayor Ray Naquin said he is hosting foreign leaders in the city and asking for foreign aid, as the federal government is not throwing money at the problem fast enough for him. A bus of evacuees living now in Houston has gone to Washington today to demand congressmen provide them the opportunity to return to New Orleans.

Contrast this with the people of coastal Mississippi. Citizens of communities like Pass Christian, Gulfport, and Waveland lost absolutely everything but the most important, their lives. Yet when was the last time you saw them holding a press conference saying they are marching on a congressman's office? Instead they are marching around their property trying to rebuild their homes for themselves. They are living in tents and trying to get debris removed. They are rebuilding libraries and putting their children back into schools. They say they will make do until everything is up and running again.

Hurricane Katrina was not a racist event. As long as black America chooses to be victimized by outdated hateful speech by liberal America, their lot in life will not change. Hurricane Katrina destroyed the lives of more white Americans than black. The statics are in.

Yesterday, in a huge modern church north of Atlanta, a funeral service was held for Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, Jr. As is in vogue today, some politicians took it upon themselves to make it a political rally. This does not honor the dead. Missing WMD and Hurricane Katrina had no relationship with the death of Mrs. King. How pathetic that the audience allowed themselves to applaud and whoop with glee when victimization was the topic of discussion. Are they proud to be encouraged to live their lives as victims of the white people and especially conservative America?

Joseph Lowery, co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and former President Jimmy Carter both appealed to cheap political speech instead of kind words for the grieving family and friends of Mrs. King. And the reference to wiretapping from Teddy Kennedy was rich. DOMESTIC wiretapping of political enemies by LBJ and JFK was the order of the day. Nixon came after them. Bobby Kennedy wiretapped Martin Luther King.

Joseph Lowery, after doing his hateful speech, passed by all of the former presidents and the current president to shake hands on the way back to his seat. President Bush, setting aside the lies he had just endured, smiled as he was shaking the hand of Lowery and pulled him closer for a hug.

New Orleans is a mess because of decades of corruption. The cost of the war on terriorism has nothing to do with it. The city has a black mayor who wasn't able to evacuate the most vulernable of his city's population. Many of the "victims" had automobiles at their disposal. They chose not to leave until they had to climb out onto their roofs and scream for help.

The same way of life they expect to find in other cities does not exist.

"Everything that is worthwhile in life is scary. Choosing a school, choosing a career, getting married, having kids -- all those things are scary. If it is not fearful, it is not worthwhile". - Paul Tornier

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

In Cartoon Form

Recently a Danish newspaper re-ran previously published political opinion cartoons depicting Mohammad in the form of a terrorist. For example, Mohammad wearing a bomb in his head dressing. There was no reaction recorded last summer when the cartoons were orginally run in newspapers in Europe but this time around all hell has broken loose.

I heard one scholarly person say that the Muslims are so upset because it is against Islam to draw images or publish photos of images of Mohammad. To vent their outrage Muslims are burning buildings and attacking innocent people in countries such as Lebanon, Syria and Iran. The fledgling democracy in Iraq is facing threats from outsiders as further protest of this form of free speech.

The only bit of free speech in the Middle East is the budding free speech in Iraq now. The only voices allowed in the rest of the region are the official government voices. People are not allowed the luxury of speaking what is on their mind in public or in print.

The religion of Islam, a religion of peace we are told, a religion hijacked by extremists we are told, is the banner under which the riots and violence hide. Is one to think being offended by an expression of free speech in a free country is reason enough to burn, maim and kill?

When cartoons are published throughout the world depicting Christians or Jews in unflattering ways, what is the response of the depicted? Opinions are voiced as a response in print or the media but it stops there. No rioting, no flag burning, no death threats. This is democracy.

Websites have sprung up in support of the Danes. Supporters are urged to buy Danish products whenever possible.

Freedom of speech is a basic human right. Those without it understand this principle best.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Much Ado About Nothing

Because of the number of leaks coming out of Congress today, our national security has been placed in serious jeopardy. Because no more than 10 actual cases of electronic surveillance per year since 2001 have occurred, the Senate judiciary committee is now grilling Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General, on a highly sensitive program. The CIA director, Porter Goss, Friday testified that the leaked information of this program in question has now put our allies on the spot and they no longer have confidence that the US can be trusted with classified information overseas. Nice.

Because the Democrats can not be trusted with national security, the American people overwhelming support this administration's position on using FISA and the Constitutional authority granted to a US President during a time of war. The Democrats still have not learned this lesson and will continue to be the minority party in 2006.

Because essential members of the congressional intelligence committees were briefed on the limited use of the warrantless surveillance program and did not question the legitimacy of said use, unserious politicians like Jay Rockefeller, D-WVA, now say they showed "concern" with the legality of the President's power in this arena. He claims he gave a hand-written note on loose leaf paper stating his "concern" to VP Cheney, but this note was only recently remembered by him and he will not produce any reproduction of it for verification.

Because this constitutional authority provided the President during a time of war goes all the way back to George Washington and his surveillance on the Brits, and only goes into place with one party communicating from overseas, most Americans shake their collective heads in disgust that it is being used as a political football by the party of no. The party that has no new ideas to policies they do not support soley because the administration does support them. Hatred of the opposition has so blinded common sense that reasonable debates are few and far between.

I would love for someone to ask Teddy Kennedy if he approved of his brother, Robert Kennedy, as Attorney General during JFK's administration, wiretapping Martin Luther King's phone calls domestically during those days. Domestic wiretapping of citizens in this country - very different than the program in question now.

And speaking of football, I watched the Super Bowl halftime show with hubby last night. It was lame. The sound system was not up to the job and the performers were not clearly heard. The Rolling Stones were just sad. I love their music and have for 40 years but please. Even my husband asked what was wrong with Mick's voice. I had to tell him it was Mick's age and not the tv reception. Also, as this is a purely All American event, was there no American band available to perform as the big headliner? Just asking.

"True humility doesn't consist of thinking ill of yourself but of not thinking of yourself much differently from the way you'd be apt to think of anybody else". - Federick Buechner

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sunny Sunday

The weather this weekend has been absolutely beautiful. The temps are 70ish and the sun is out. A little wind rounds it out. Feels great.

Yesterday I had lunch with a girlfriend. Always an excellent way to spend time. Son and Hubby went back to museum district to finish a second project son is working on for art class.

Super Bowl today. To be honest, I couldn't care less about it. I'll probably tune into the very last of it to see who wins. I'll be watching alternative programming today and tonight. A & E will re-broadcast Flight 93, which I missed the first time around. It has gotten excellent reviews and gave the A & E network its largest ratings ever. Also, tonight Paula Deen will have a marathon of her cooking shows and I love her. It's the whole Southern cooking thing.

I'll be making a standing rib roast this afternoon for supper. I purchased this one during the holidays when it was at a great price and froze it. My guys do so love their beef. In the meantime, the Pillsbury dough boy and I are making sweet rolls for a late breakfast treat. Hot dogs for lunch.

If you are into it, I hope your team wins today.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Fool of the Week

Drum roll, please...

The Fool of the Week easily goes to Julian Bond, head of the NAACP.

At a meeting of the organization held in North Carolina, Julian Bond let loose with poisonous hate filled speech concerning his thoughts on the Republican party and President Bush's administration. So much for the claim that the organization is "non partisan".

Among the jewels of the speech:
* Bush's "lies" are more serious than the ones told by Clinton as Bush's lies kill people. Too bad he forgot to mention Clinton was presented with the opportunity to have Bin Laden handed over to him 3, count 'em, 3 different times and he declined each time. I think that killed about 3,000 of our own on our soil. Not to forget the other attacks on foreign soil during his administration.

* Bush's judicial nominations were likened to the Taliban.

* Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice are tokens.

* Republicans would fly the swatzika along with the American flag. It's a party of Nazis, you know.

* Referred to John Ashcroft, former Attorney General, as J. Edgar Ashcroft.

He's a peach, that Julian Bond. I lived in Atlanta when he was a member of the city council. Then he moved on to state government as a state senator. He seems incapable to make a speech without using hate-filled race baiting rhetoric.

The NAACP must relieve itself of this type of "leadership" to restore the reputation it once enjoyed with people of all colors.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

And Phil Says...

Happy Ground Hog Day! Phil says we will have 6 more weeks of winter. Is that a big deal this year? I don't think any place in the country has had a particularly bad winter this year. The high temp here today is suppose to be 76.

While taking son to school this morning, one of those out of the blue flashbacks occurred. The guest interview on son's radio station of choice was Rick "Jesse's Girl" Springfield. His old hayday brought back memories. Much younger days.

Andrea Yates is in the news locally again. She is now released on bond and going to a mental hospital until it is time for her new trial. Hubby had a few snide remarks to make this morning when her lawyer was quoted saying Andrea is doing much better these days.

Bono was a guest at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning and President Bush commended him for putting his opinions into action globally. I love Bono.

Cindy Sheehan and Rep. Young's wife are not the first people to be removed from a State of the Union address. Back in 1999 a man was removed from the House gallery for wearing a shirt stating "Clinton doesn't inhale, he sucks." I think the expression is time and place, people. There is a time and place for everything.

"Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall". - Oliver Goldsmith

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Wet Wednesday

The day begins dark and gloomy. Rain to come pouring down later, we are told by the forecasters.

Prince Harry is being sent to Iraq as a troop commander. Good on him. Seems he has turned around his party boy existance and growing into quite a young man.

The State of the Union address was fairly good. None of them are particularly riveting but important for the historical ceremonial tradition nonetheless.

What was surprising to me was a Hilary Clinton led applause by some Democrats when the President said that Social Security reform had not been achieved last year as he had hoped. Not often you see the opposition party pleased as punch with themselves that they blocked reasonable discussion to reform a system that affects everyone in this country. The party of no rolls on.

Governor Tim Kaine, D-VA, gave the Democrat's response after the speech. He did a good job and hit all the points well. But what is with this man's eyebrows? I was so distracted by them that I had to look away to listen to him. One side shoots up markedly higher than the other. Yikes.

I loved seeing Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito is the front section with the Supreme Court. After all the nonsense these two were put through, they deserved the attention given them.

Sorry, Cindy Sheehan, no disrupting the State of the Union address. As the guest of Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-CA and a huge supporter of the group known as Code Pink, Cindy was escorted out after ignoring instructions by security to stop yelling taunts from the balconey seat she was given and to cover up her anti-war t-shirt.

Rex, the bomb sniffing dog, a veteran of the Iraq war, was a cool guest last night. He was an invited guest of Laura Bush in her section.

"I understand my time has expired". Ted Kennedy, on the floor of the Senate prior to the Alito vote for confirmation. That's an understatement there, big guy.