Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bring Out Your Inner Pagen

Happy Halloween, y'all! Thinking back to all the Halloween costumes, classroom parties, after school parties and night time walks to gather candy we've had through the years.

Good news today that the North Korean nutbag is now willing to go back to the 6 party talks. Again. I know that even this will be spun as a failure of the Bush administration in some quarters. If the president demands international cooperation and solutions from a country's neighbors, he is farming out the process. If he is thought to not have enough international support, then he is acting unilaterally. He's a cowboy. Being called a cowboy, by the way, is not an insult in the state of Texas.

From John Kerry, presidential wannabe:
"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don't you get stuck in Iraq."

The arrogance and condescendance of this piece of crap of a man is breathtaking.

Maybe he can go stand in an airport and spit on the heroes coming back from service in Iraq. Military and non-military.

Kerry was speaking at a rally for Phil Angelides who is running for governor of California. Angelides made news recently by stating when he is elected governor he'll pull out the troops from California from the war and then sue the government if he can't get the job done. Yeah, he's a rocket scientist.

You are known by the company you keep.

The low life statement by Kerry was met with a mix of laughs and gasps. Happy Halloween, Lurch.

"Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble." - from Macbeth Act IV, Scene 1
William Shakespeare

Monday, October 30, 2006

Served Fresh Daily

Good Morning. Here we are, a fresh week and the sun is out here. So far so good.

The President of the United States is making a campaign appearance this afternoon for the candidate running for Tom DeLay's former seat in Congress. I could have received a ticket for this event but chose not to do it. This isn't my district, I've already voted, and the political season is wearing on me a bit heavy these days.

I enjoyed the comic relief of the Courage, the Cowardly Dog marathon yesterday, that's all I'm saying.

In less than 100 days, you will need a passport to travel back from Canada or Mexico. If you don't have one, get on it. And why don't you already have one, anyway?

Soon, the election day will be here and we can get on with our lives. I am struck by a couple of truths that have emerged from the Michael J. Fox ads, though. A deservedly well - loved actor, his advisors may want to tweak his political commentary a bit. And some advise may be in order - it is now known that Fox made the comment that he is not in favor for cloning, not in favor of creating embryos for research and hasn't even read the amendment he is supporting in the state of Missouri. Wow.

I appreciate the fact that Fox doesn't want to be portrayed as a victim of his disease. This would be more believable if he didn't choose to do these ads and appearances without his meds, as he stated in his own book. The whole point of that exercise is to garner sympathetic attention. I may do the same thing, if in the situation, but let's state it up front. Something along the lines of, yes, I didn't take my medicine this morning so that you can see the full effect of my disease on my body, would be a good start.

In Missouri, Fox tells the audience Senator Talent doesn't support stem cell research. This is not the truth. Talent sponsored legislation to fund research on the federal level on adult stem cell and umbilical cord stem cell research. Not on embyonic stem cells research. The embryonic stem cell research to date has been the least successful. All of these kinds of research are also funded by private monies.

This Republican president is the first president to fund stem cell research.

To make it all about politics is a huge disservice to every person in America. This may be hard to understand for some but Republicans don't want people to suffer, to have dirty water, to have dirty air or for old people to eat pet food.

In the Senate race in the state of Maryland, Ben Cardin is supported by Fox in an ad campaign. Ben Cardin did NOT support stem cell research funding with his votes in Congress. Michael Steele, the Republican Lt. Gov of the state is his opponent. He DOES support stem cell research funding as has been in this congress but he is portrayed as someone who doesn't, even though he has never had the opportunity to vote on the issue.

This is why Fox is under fire. He is just plain wrong on the facts. If you put yourself into the political arena you have to be prepared to be called on inaccuracy.

Lt. Gov Steele's sister has put up an ad for her brother. She is a pediatrician and she suffers from MS. She sets the record straight. Good for her.

The issue of federally funded research is too important for anyone to monkey around with the facts. Anyone, celebrity or not, playing politics with it must be called on it.

I have people in my life who suffer from MS, from Lupus, and from diabetes. All of these diseases may one day benefit from research being conducted today. I will not sit on the couch and remain silent for fear of offending a celebrity or a fan of this celebrity when the facts are wrong. Celebrities are people, no more or less human than the rest of us. It was completely absurd for John Edwards/John Kerry to say that a vote for them was a vote for Christopher Reeve walking again. It was disgusting. It was wrong.

The stakes are too high. The world is too dangerous for this nonsense.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday Gameplan

Sipping coffee and deciding when to pop the cinnamon rolls into the oven. There is a bit of a chill in the air and they will be a fine treat.

Happy Birthday Statue of Liberty. She is 120 years old.

My bloodwork is back and my thyroid medication will be increased a bit. I need more protein, too, so my doctor recommended more beans/lentils and fish. No problem. She is Hindu, being Indian, so it's no surprise she didn't recommend other protein sources like chicken or red meat.

I got my flu shot and then took son yesterday morning for his. That's that.

Hubby called last night. The time difference is 13 hours so he is beginning his day as I am winding down. He is working in a river valley surrounded by mountains so it is quite foggy. The area is not polluted like Beijing, though. He is about 150 miles from where the Terra Cotta warriors were found.

CNN conducted a poll in the last few days and according to the results, most Americans don't believe the Bush administration has gone too far in restricting civil liberties in pursuit of the war on terror. Interesting. If CNN is saying that, the number is much higher, I would think. And I sure haven't seen that poll result published in anything other than their site online. No surprise.

Did you see Lynne Cheney's smackdown of Wolf Blitzer, speaking of CNN? I didn't, but I did see a few clips. Good for her. She was there to promote her new children's book and Wolfie wanted to goad her about politics. He should have known better. She used to be a commentator on the network and she is an accomplished author in her own rite. In a war of wits, she wins hands down.

Our son has a Best Buy giftcard burning a hole in his wallet so that is where we are heading out to this afternoon. Yesterday we had a good visit to a local bookstore. He enjoys that almost as much as me.

I enjoyed my extra hour of sleep this morning, thanks to the time change.

"There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin." - Linus

Friday, October 27, 2006

Banned in China

My husband has called two days in a row from his location in China and said he cannot access my blog. The Chinese government blocks blogs and we have decided as an American blog there is no way they will allow mine to be read there! So, I'm proud to say I'm banned in China.

My husband often uses my blog as a way of connecting with the civilized world from overseas locations void of news reports. He is the only American and the others there speak limited English so there is no English speaking broadcasting going on there. Poor guy.

The food's right up his alley, though. It's really spicy and that is what he loves. He developed a love of spicy food during his days in Thailand during his Air Force service, circa late 1960's. He has to have his hot peppers, the spicer the better. I think he has burned off his tastebuds by now.

I have an appointment this morning with my doctor to have blood drawn. It's an annual ritual so that she can monitor my thyroid level. I take a pill each morning for thyroid regulation and it's time for a renewal of the prescription. She draws it herself and does an ok job. I'm what is known as a hard stick. My veins don't always want to cooperate. Blech.

Seems thyroid medication is common with women at my stage of life.

Tonight, don't forget to watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown - 40th Anniversary". I'll fix a bowl of popcorn and enjoy it as I do each year.

"Texans understand that anger is not an agenda for our future, and attacking a leader doesn't make you a leader." - Rick Perry, Governor of Texas

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Who'll Stop the Rain

Remember that song, "Who'll Stop the Rain"? I can't remember which band did it but it's going through my mind as I sit here sipping my coffee and listening to the rain coming down. It's still dark out. I'm glad Max and I got up when we did so the newspapers are dry and Max doesn't have to cross his legs.

Not a whole lot of anything going on today. The highlight will be lunch with two women with whom I enjoy friendships of many years. Both met through son's school years in elementary and middle school. Both active in being hands-on moms and both perpetual volunteers like me. Neither are much interested in politics.

So, having children gives us an added bonus of expanding our circle of friends, doesn't it? These two women and I did a lot of volunteering for the school library. That was my favorite place to hang out and pick up the slack. It was a small private school with only one librarian who had no paid staff. Volunteers were essential to keep the place going. And the Book Fairs, well, good times and good memories.

President Bush held a terrific press conference yesterday. He was clear and solid speaking about Iraq. I had lunch last Saturday with my old elementary school days friend, our monthly lunch to stay in touch, and she always gives me the prospective from the ground there. Her husband is there in Baghdad, moving down to Basrah for two weeks now, and they talk twice a day on the international cell phones they have purchased to stay in touch. He is non-military and that's all I'm allowed to say.

To be sure, things on the ground are a mess right now. Ramaden was intentionally violent. The forces of death and destruction there are quite intelligent about what will play on the evening news. It's all about the U.S. losing the war by losing the will of her people. We have yet to lose a battle by the military.

I did my early voting yesterday, as planned. The turnout while I was there was steady and all the machines available for use where occupied with everyone arriving having to wait a bit. That's good news in my book. I do not understand when folks say they don't vote. It is our responsibility and our obligation in a free society. Those soldiers did not die in vain.

"The power of liberty will defeat the ideology of hate." President George W. Bush

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

To Do Today

Hubby called last night from Hong Kong. He's doing well and was waiting for his visa for entrance into China. His work location this time is well into the middle/north of the country, almost into Mongolian territory.

Today my son's AP American History class is taking a field trip to the Natural Museum of Science. They'll be viewing the Ben Franklin exhibit honoring his 300th birthday. This exhibit sounds really special - the artifacts are not reproductions. There is, for example, handwritten correspondence, a working copy of the U.S. Constitution, a first printing of Poor Richard's Almanac and a Franklin family Bible with his signature in it. They get to see Franklin's printing press, his dining room chairs, his china, chess set and the last known surviving lightning rod he made! I am really looking forward to going myself when hubby gets home. We love this stuff.

I heard on the local news last night that the "Lucy" remains will be exhibited here in October 2007, the real remains not reproductions. That is so incredible. My husband will be beside himself over hearing this news. Yes, we embrace our geekiness!

The political ads made by Michael J. Fox are disturbing. It's a shame his intentions have to be questioned due to the false claims someone wrote for him to say. The claim is that Senator Talent doesn't support stem cell research. False. He is on record voting in favor of funding it. He doesn't, however, support embryonic stem cell research federal funding. Fox doesn't take his medication before shooting these ads and the ravages of the disease are apparent. It's his right, of course. Just not very honest.

It's like when the Kerry/Edwards campaign claimed a vote for them was a vote for Christopher Reeve walking again. Cheap political points at the expense of false hope for the infirmed.

Now those questioning the claims made by Fox are accused of attacking him. Wrong. The questions concern Fox's factual content in the ads.

Like when the whole debate of immigration/illegal immigration comes up. Just be honest with your choice of words. The American people, the electorate are not ignorant. This ad very well may backfire. The midwest is not nearly as awestruck with celebrity as the coasts are. Two weeks out from an election looks a bit desperate.

Early voting began Monday here. I'm off to do it now and then to finish other errands. Just hoping I get it all finished before the rain falls again.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I'm Sorry

Sipping Starbucks, extra bold, and enjoying a blueberry English muffin this morning. Son is irritated with me for nagging him to clean up a little extra for school photos today. Life is back to normal.

Had enough with the state of the world as is being reported in the news? Is your will to win the war on terror broken yet? The jihadists are counting on you to be a spineless, gutless, head in the sand, pampered American and demand we call the whole thing off. Let's all just talk about it and make meaningless promises. That's the ticket. Maybe a few more resolutions from the U.N. would give peace a chance.

This week brings two apologies in the news. One apology is from the New York Times ombudsman, the other from a senior U.S. diplomat. And there is no apology from CNN.

Byron Calame, NYT ombudsman, reversed his prior defense of the report leaking the banking data surveillance program that was big front page news for the paper. He now is willing to admit that there is no evidence that the program and its execution is illegal. The program was brought into effect in the Clinton administration but you didn't hear of it until we were a country at war and the President was so vehemently hated by this paper. Calame's apology was buried deep into the front section.

Time for Mr. Calame to go.

Sunday night brought an apology from Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. Ah, a diplomat, you say. A voice of reason, you say. Let's look at what Mr. Fernandez said on al-Jazeera, as he spoke in Arabic : "...there has been arrogance and stupidity" by the U.S. in Iraq.

Again, he was speaking in Arabic on the al Jazerra satellite channel that takes pride in putting out the jihadist's propaganda so he probably thought it would not be picked up as a news item in the U.S., for whom he works. A day after he made the choice to voice his opinion instead of U.S. policy, his goose was cooked. His remarks were translated into English by the AP.

"This represents neither my views nor those of the State Department," he said. "I apologize."

Time for Mr. Fernandez to go.

Then there is CNN, a global news corporation, they proudly claim. This ain't no stinkin' American news organization. Nevermind that the founder of the company, Ted Turner, is an American and all of his money was made in America. The corporations buying ads to support the network are American. The headquarters of the organization are in Atlanta, a city in America. Are we seeing a pattern here?

CNN, showing their concern that the jihadist point of view be known, ran a propaganda piece on an insurgent sniper killing an American soldier. Yes, you read that correctly. The reporter has admitted he knew it was a propaganda piece and that he negiotiated with the head guy of this band of animals to get the tape. CNN justifies this decision to air the piece by stating on a blog by producer David Doss, "Whether or not you agree with us in this case, our goal, as always, is to present the unvarnished truth as best we can."

I am sure the family of this fallen American hero appreciates CNN's quest for the unvarnished truth.

So, here is where I am this morning: I am a political scientist. All wars are of a political nature. Politicians send our treasure off to protect our way of life. The commander in chief is a politican. I pledge to continue to support those who I think will protect our country and my family best.

I vote.

I am an activist. I pledge to support causes greater than myself. I sent a donation this morning to an organization that supports American snipers in the military. That's right. American snipers are highly trained, highly skilled American soldiers and military support who are taking aim, so to speak, at the jihadists in theatre. I encourage you to go to their website and read about them for yourself:
I'll be proudly wearing a rubber band style bracelet for the organization. Santa will be delivering a calendar from this organization to my husband this year.

That's the side I choose to align myself with in this battle.

That's the unvarnished truth from me.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Merry Monday

So, I got about 3 hours sleep last night. Hubby got in from being out in the Gulf of Mexico a couple of days last week Friday night, then Saturday was told he'd be leaving on a 6:00 flight to China this morning. He left for the airport about 2:30 this morning. The flight goes from Chicago to Hong Kong. Then he'll connect in Hong Kong to go into China after probably a day or two's layover to get everything in order.

I watched a marathon of "Andy Griffith Show" on TV Land while I was passing the time last night, waiting for him to head out.

I'm a little disoriented this morning.

Sunday night tv viewing is a coming together of my favorite areas of entertainment, I was thinking last night. First I watch "Amazing Race" which combines travel and adventure, then "Desperate Housewives" which is light and trashy, then "Sons and Daughters" which is politics and social issues.

Heroes in today's times - The Alaskans in the remote village who refused the offer of cheap heating oil from Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Good for them. They said it was their patriotic duty to say no to the oil. They didn't appreciate how Chavez spoke about America and President Bush.

Too bad the politicians in Massachusetts didn't have that kind of character last year. The true nature of Chavez was shining through in speeches he was making around the world but the politicians chose to do a band-aid solution for feel good results instead of standing on principle.


I need a little nap.

Friday, October 20, 2006


The air is cool and somewhat on the crisp side. Crisp for here, anyway. My mood is lighter and the sun is up. So far so good.

My husband is out of town and it is just as well that he didn't have to suffer my moods the last couple of days. My poor son.

Choosing to believe the conclusion that the plot to vaporize us on Sunday from Reliant Stadium is indeed a hoax from a nitwit 20 year old in Milwaukee, I have made plans for lunch with two girlfriends next Thursday. It was quite the challenge to figure out calendars of three somewhat busy women but victory is ours.

Tomorrow is the monthly lunch with my old childhood friend from Shreveport, now also living here. Actually she has lived here more than 20 years which is a lifetime compared to my meager 8 years here. We had to resort to actually picking the third Saturday of each month and penciling in lunch together so that we would get together regularly. She is lots busier than me as she works downtown in a very tall skyscraper for an international law firm while raising a son, now a senior in high school, almost as a single parent. Her hubby is like mine but is away even more than mine.

I think it's a shame that women have such a challenge physically staying in touch. We can e-mail and speak on the phone but visits in person are so important. Sitting over a table and sharing a meal and good conversation is one of life's greatest joys to me.

On the political front, let me say that some of the races in this state are getting a bit on the stranger than fiction side. The race for Texas State Comptroller is in the news recently as it is one such race.

The State Comptroller, the incumbent Susan Combs, is running for another term. She is a Republican. Her opponent, Fred Head, is a Democrat and referred to by the Houston Chronicle as "a long shot". Remember his last name for the sake of this story.

Susan Combs, it is noted, is a published author. In 1990, a romance novel written by her was published entitled "A Perfect Match" , which is a story about a woman working for the NSA and she meets a superspy. Apparently romance follows this meeting.

Now, I have to say the genre of romance novels is not one of which I know anything. I don't believe I have ever read one. Maybe I should. According to Fred Head, remember his last name is the twist for me here, the romance novel is pornography. He has made this his issue. She is pushing pornography, people, and may be read by young people. You would think a person with his last name would not go down, sorry, this path as it brings chuckles to a person such as myself. As far as has been reported, this was her one and only book published.

This book was published in 1990. Fast forward to present time. Now, the Romance Writers of America is headquarted in an area community here in Houston. They claim a membership of 9,000 writers and the genre has sales in the area of $1.2 billion annually. Did you know half of all popular mass-market fiction books sold and 39 percent of all fiction is in the romance novel market? Me, either but that's according to the association.

"Women all across the United States and foreign countries are very angry at what they see as an attack on women." That was a quote in the Houston Chronicle from the article I read yesterday.

The membership in the association is indignant, to say the least. Members are quoted saying they will vote for Susan Combs no matter what their normal party voting pattern. They won't support Fred Head. Poor man thought he would brand her as some kind of hypocrite by pointing out she wrote a romance novel while claiming to have strong moral values. She has been married to the same man for 31 years and her husband likes to joke that her story's hero is patterned after him.

Fred Head. Bless his heart.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thursday Thoughts

The air is cool this morning and the breeze is blowing. The sky is dark and ominous as rain is again on the way.

I have a book review I have been meaning to submit to The Dew, finally. It's up and in the book review section. It's on "Ya-Yas in Bloom". I love the series of books Rebecca Wells has produced. Check it out by clicking on the button on the right side of the blog.

So, I guess we'll be vaporized this weekend. Houston is one of the dirty bomb sites for Sunday football games, at our Reliant Stadium. Nice. The intelligence and Homeland Security? I have little faith either way with them all after the failures of the past. You know I have little confidence in the government as a viable solution to much of anything anyway.

The dirty bomb threat comes on the last day of Ramadan. Interesting, no? This month of Ramadan has been brutally violent this year. So much for the religion of peace.

Do you notice the slights to Southern people on national tv by folks from other parts of the country? Especially the northeast? Yesterday I saw a female comedian make the crack that an opinion was quite progressive, especially for someone from Baton Rouge. What? Do we really have people in our population that still believe people in the South are slow, stupid, unthinking? Really, the arrogance irritates me to no end.

I seem to be in a bit of a bad mood today. These mood swings are fun, I'll tell you. If this mood doesn't lift soon, as this is the second day of it, I suppose I'll have to visit the family doctor. She is a wise Indian woman who always suggest holistic approaches besides standard pharmaceutical ways. I like that about her.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Mind Wanderings

Another foggy morning here in Space City.

The James Gang rides again! The James Gang was one of my favorite bands in high school. I loved their sound with all the heavy guitar. Hey, I graduated in 1973, so what do you expect? It was the times. Now I hear on the radio they are coming to town. The original group is touring. I have to say as much of a kick it gives me, I do find all this geriatric band touring a bit disturbing. I still am a huge Paul McCartney fan, Rolling Stones fan, Aretha Franklin fan, and all but I really don't want to "see" them so much. I'll just listen, thanks.

A 17 year old student at an area high school brought a gun to school and committed suicide in the courtyard at lunch time. He went to a secluded spot and no one else was in danger. So very sad. My son has a good friend attending that school. Brand new school, the friend will be in the first graduating class next year. Upscale, urban sprawl kind of area.

The stock market broke through 12,000 this morning. The economy continues to go, although you would never know it from the news reports. It goes ignored. I find that a bit strange since all we heard about during the previous administration was how booming the stock market was for those 8 years.

I paid $1.93 for gas yesterday.

Housing is slowing a bit nationwide but still booming here. For the 4th largest city in the country, our cost of living is still lower than most metro areas.

The Childrens Museum here is announcing plans to double in size in the next couple of years. Cool. Working those years as a volunteer in Lafayette to open a Childrens Museum is still a rewarding accomplishment I look back on.

I look at volunteerism as I do voting - if you aren't doing it, you have no room to complain. Be a part of the solution.

Tonight at the Boy Scout meeting, the guys will sign Christmas cards to be sent to the troops via the lady in Georgia. I'll send them down to her, and all the guys have to do is sign them, hopefully they'll add some notes, too. It's a great way to use up cards you have from previous years.

Here's the address again, in case you are interested:

Mrs. Kathy Orr
P.O. Box 1660
Loganville, GA 30052

Remember to leave them unsealed. Mrs. Orr will send them to Afghanistan and Iraq for soldiers in tough locations. This is a project she has been doing for a couple of years.

September 30 to November 30.

Think about it. So easy, yet something those without mail will appreciate.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Here Comes The Sun

The sun is out today and the streets are drying up. The ground is muddy and squishy. The sun is out and doing its best. It'll be 92 today. Finally we may be in the 70's by Thursday. The weather guessers have been promising us this cooler weather for two weeks now.

The storms of the past two days were a complete surprise to most of us. The weather guessers said rain but nobody said monsoons. It seems Tropical Storm Norman stalled out over Acapulco, moved over Mexico and came into Texas. We had a similar situation in 2001 when Tropical Storm Allison stalled over the area and Allison ended up lasting longer and was worse in inches dumped. However, with Allison, our piece of the rock fared much better.

Yesterday was a hellacious day. First with the flooding of the streets in the subdivision came the clogging of the sewer lines. We were without working bathrooms until the middle of the afternoon. Good times. I kept son home and we hung here at home. Hubby went to work after daylight and later in the morning after rush traffic. He left the office early and got to within 3 blocks of home and flooded out in high water in our subdivision.

We wanted to replace that vehicle but not with this aggravation! Now there is the insurance company involved and the repair place with estimates, etc. It'll end up a total loss, though. So this will accelerate the auto upgrade for that vehicle.

It's always something.

I watched President Bush sign into law the Military Commissions Act. That issue is finally settled now.

"This nation will call evil by its name." - President George W. Bush 10/17/06

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mucky Monday

The week is not starting off on a very pleasant note. We seem to have a tropical front over us and it began raining yesterday and hasn't stopped since. We had some really strong storms last night and the flooding of the streets began. It looks like the front should move out after tonight. It's not pretty out there. Tornadoes in the area.

The big news yesterday was the earthquake activity in Hawaii. When we vacationed there about 3 years ago, we were on the Big Island and our resort was in Kona. I saw the name of our resort, Royal Kona Resort, listed as receiving extensive damage from the moving earth.

All three of us really enjoyed that vacation. We were in a room with an oceanfront view. The resort had a private laguna area where our son could snorkel to his heart's content. He loves it. As a little boy he said he wanted to be a marine biologist. That ambition has since shifted a bit as he has gotten older but he is still a science guy. He enjoys writing and is quite good, if I may say so, which explains the shifting thoughts.

One of my favorite memories of our time in Kona was sitting on the patio off our room, book in my lap, camera in hand, and watching my guys jet ski past me in the ocean. That was so much fun to watch them zipping along the water, knowing they were really getting into it. Together.

We chose the Big Island instead of the wildly popular destination of Maui so that we could witness the beauty of the rainforest area, in Kona, while also experiencing the volcano area on the other side of the Big Island. We did the all day bus tour of the island, all 8 hours of it, and it was magnificent. We went through a lava tube, did a short hike over lava fields, saw incredible waterfalls and birds. Our tour guide was a long time resident and was able to give us lots of local history of the different parts of the island and she loved to laugh. She was fun.

We flew in and out of Honolulu. Honolulu was not impressive to me. It was just another large city. We walked a bit on Waikiki Beach and it was mostly just so we could say we did out of curiosity. It was any big deal, so crowded from all the mega hotels on it. We just took Hawaii Airlines over to the Big Island. I am so glad we opted for the Big Island and Kona.

My husband received an e-mail from one of the engineers he worked with in Iraq in 2003, just before the war. Hubby continues to advise them on work matters. A few have been here in the past year or two for classes from my husband and his colleagues. This engineer was a younger guy and he told hubby in this e-mail that he was married last month.

Hope springs eternal.

"Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use." - Wendell Johnson

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Weekend Notes

It's the weekend so that means cooking and books. While I was at the grocery store this morning gathering menu items, I purchased sushi, freshly made at the sushi station, for lunch. We enjoyed ribeye steaks and baked potatoes, along with chopped avocado and tomato salad for dinner. Dessert was a pecan pie I made last night. Tomorrow brings burgers on the grill for lunch and salmon with cous cous for dinner.

Our weather has been really nice yesterday and today. It's really the best time of year for Houston. The mornings are cooling off and the air conditioning doesn't have to run so much. My checkbook will be grateful.

Did you see Bono boarding Air Force One with the President and Christy Turlington a couple of days ago as he was leaving Chicago? They visited about 10 minutes. Bono wantd to talk to the President about aids and Africa. He thanked the President for his stand up attitude and for honoring his commitments of financial support. One of the Bush twins, Barbara, has been in Africa several times to work in programs going into place for the people.

I love Bono. He is a performer that truly gets it. He leaves personal political beliefs out of his humanitarian work and gets so much accomplished. Lots of others out there would be wise to follow his example.

Did you see the photo of Alec Baldwin doing the finger stab gesture to th NYC police officer at the crime scene tape in front of the apartment building the Yankee player's plane crashed into? Baldwin, full of himself as ususal, was demanding to be allowed to cross the barrier. He's so important, you know. Yuk.

Former Congressman Gerry Studds is dead. His husband announced his death. He had been in the hospital since collasping Oct. 3 from a blood clot in his lung. He regained consciousness but remained in the hospital. He was scheduled to go to rehabilitation center but he died. I wish could be all Amish now but I'm not. I don't have the urge to say RIP about this death. He was censured by he House for having a physical sexual relationship with a 17 year old intern, then 2 others came forward. He was openly gay so no one was outting him. He refused to apologize to anyone for his behavior. He would not resign and as re-elected by his Massachusetts constituents for several more terms. At the same time, a Republican congressman from Illinois was censured for inappropriate behavior with a intern and he ran again after apologizing. He wasn't re-elected.

These were physical relationships, not just messages or notes.

"America is not just a country, it's an idea." - Bono

I watched some of the dedication of the Air Force Memorial in DC today. Very nice. I love the design. My husband is a veteran of the Air Force from the Vietnam war days. I hope we get up there and have it on the itinary in the not too distant future.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

Yesterday hubby stopped at a roadside market on the way home from the work site and this morning I have a bag of field peas on the stove simmering for later and making the house smell really good. The second load of laundry is in the dryer and the day progresses.

Two anniversaries yesterday: the 6th anniversary of the bombing of the USS Cole and the 75th anniversary of one of the most famous landmarks in the world, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio. I find it sad that more was not done to express a mention of the USS Cole and the families left behind of those killed. We have a wooden souvenir of the Rio statue among the bookshelves in the great room of our home brought back from one of hubby's trips to Brazil.

Yesterday I participated in a coffee survey online. It was quick and easy and I'll be compensated $5.00 for my time.

I've decorated the kitchen window sill above my sink with son's Halloween Pez dispensers. He has quite a collection of Pez dispensers acquired over the years and I thought it would be fun this year to enjoy some of the seasonal ones as I work in the kitchen. They make me smile.

Last night on the local news I watched my son's AP English teacher from his high school explain the difficulties the Katrina kids, as they are known, are having in school here. My son's school is a public school, a very large urban public school. It is 6 years old now and above capacity for student population after the evacuation from Hurricane Katrina brought 250,000 new residents to our generous city. The magic number for student enrollment was to be 3,000 but exceeds that now. The children from New Orleans are about a grade behind their Houston counterparts. So, Houston Independent School District (HISD) as received a $3 million grant from private and local sources, not the Feds or the State of Texas, and it is to be used to help all the students lagging behind to catch up. Son's teacher was explaining how it will help the students this year. I'll hope for the best.

I saw Salman Rushdie on an interview show late last night as I was thinking of heading to sleepy town and he was quite interesting. I never read his book "Satanic Verses" but maybe I'll get around to reading his new one. He is very persuasive in his arguments about the rise of radical Islam, particularly in Europe, and how it must be dealt with without fear and with firm resolution. He is a brave man to continue to publish his ideas as the fatwa issued on him after the first book is still out there.

"The calling of our nation is whether or not we will help the voices of moderation prevail." - President George W. Bush 10/11/06

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Thursday's This and That

I am an early riser. I am the one to rise and push the button on the coffeemaker and let the dog out. Max comes back in and gets his morning treats. I pour myself and hubby, if he is home, a cup of coffee and begin whatever I need to do. Shower and wash my hair? Start a load of laundry? Unload the dishwasher? Is Oreo ready for a can of Fancy Feast yet?

This year, however, Thursdays feel downright decadent. I am slowly adjusting. One would think it would be easy but as a creature of habit and routine, it isn't for me. Son's classes don't start until 9:30 on Thursday. If I sleep in, I rise at 6:00 instead of 5:00. That's sleeping in for me. This morning hubby was home until just about 8:00, very unusual. His work involves a project just outside of the city so he had some leeway in his departure time. Son sleeps in on Thursday so I was able to check e-mail and do some chores in quiet.

Still just feels wierd.

The pitcher for the NY Yankees who died yesterday crashing his plane into the building on the east side of Manhattan was flying with his instructor. So tragic. Even more so is the fact that I read a Reuters report that his father learned it was Cory from the news account as he was finishing a game of golf with a friend and watching tv in the clubhouse after the round. He thought Cory had already begun his way to California since the season is over now. His wife and 6 year old son were in the air traveling back so a priest was to meet them at the airport and tell her the news. So horrible.

Cory Fulton Lidle was his name. His middle name is a nod to a celebrated member of his family tree - Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat. There's a little trivia for you.

The City Council of Houston is trying to decide if it will vote in favor of banning smoking citywide in all public places. Smoking bans are all over the city and in most places already but this would also ban smoking in bars and other places adults gather for socializing and entertainment. All sides have hired high dollar lobbyists. My council woman is for voting for a complete ban, no exceptions for any place.

I'm torn. I'm a Gemini so that frequently happens. I know all about the health risks to smokers and the problems concerning second hand smoke. But, a part of me says this is just more government as nanny legislation. I have a very strong Libertarian streak and this is the rub. I haven't smoked in 24 years and there is nothing worse than a reformed smoker, I know, but I am thinking this is overkill.

An executive headhunter guy just called looking to speak with hubby about a project. This is not uncommon. What I liked about taking a message from this guy is his name. Liam. I love that name.

I really have to get the whole going to Ireland project off the ground.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Common Sense

My favorite item brought back from the Wyoming trip by hubby is a big, quite big, bag of coffee beans from Venezuela, a gift from a guy also on the work site. Very nice. I'll be breaking into that baby tomorrow.

The theme of common sense continues to haunt me. Yesterday I was reading the Wall Street Journal, as I do each day except Sunday, as it is not published that day, and I notice an article on the whole recess/structured play debate concerning school age children. Now, maybe I just missed something but really, did we need major studies and findings to know that children need recess in school?

The American Academy of Pediatrics now says recess "can foster creativity and social skills, arguing that when play is undirected, kids become resourceful in figuring out conflict resolution, negotiation and even leadership - which might not surface as naturally in an adult-structured atmosphere", according to the article. Here's my reaction:


The elimination of recess time and of phys ed class in school is not a good thing. Anyone blessed to raise a child can tell you that the little darlings need free time. Children need to move and hang with classmates outside of the classroom walls.

I am the mother of a boy. My son, who entered school settings at the age of three years in order to keep him stimulated, is not a slug child. He was never one to sit quietly and not move in class. He tests as gifted and is way too interested in his surroundings and others to just not ask questions or interact with others. He was one of the young ones who gave his teacher gray hair as he would need reminding to be quiet in class or be still. A lot of teachers will make a parent feel guilty for this natural state of a child. I learned to speak up and tell anyone complaining that I much preferred an active, intellectually curious child than a slug child who would be "good" and glassy eyed. Children need to have breaks and recess to let the excess energy out, for Heavens sakes.

This is common sense.

Due to new testing requirements and standards imposed on today's teachers, I know the first instinct is to keep the children in the classroom longer. I still see this as an unproductive solution. Maybe extend the school day a half hour or something and leave breaks and recess in place. Bored, distracted brains will not retain what is being taught.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tuesday This and That

Hubby arrived home last night. I took the photos to be developed from the disposables he purchased in Wyoming this morning. He didn't have his digital on him. He had three full disposables.

I noticed on the Amazing Race last week that one of the challenges was for a member of each team to use ascenders and go up a stone side of a bridge over a cave. I thought of my once, now retired, world class spelunker husband. He is written up in the books as the inventor of the Inchworm Method, an ascension technique on ropes for climbing.

I paid $1.97 a gallon for gas yesterday.

Saturday is the dedication in D.C. for the U.S.A.F. memorial. 54,999 are memorialized there. There's another reason hubby should go with son and me on our next visit to the nation's capitol. He's an Air Force vet and it think he would really be impressed with the design of the memorial from what I saw on tv over the weekend.

I continue to be struck by the grace and faith of the Amish in Pennsylvania. I knew they were of an incredible amount of faith and solid in their beliefs and way of life. But wow. The parents of the murdered girls extending their hand in grief to the widow of the murderer. The community pulling together to protect the Amish from outside media and looky-lous. Their behavior gives me hope in these times of boldface hypocrisy and political scores instead of moral decency and policy. Something to hold on to as my head explodes.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Wrapping Up The Week

And on the seventh day we rest...

This morning I spoke with hubby and he is meandering the roads of Wyoming to entertain himself all day. I'm envious of that, I must admit. When I was a little girl, my aunt's in-laws had a place in Jackson Hole and I know how beautiful the landscape can be out there. He'll be able to catch a non-stop out of Salt Lake City tomorrow and be home tomorrow night.

There's talk he may be heading back down to Bolivia.

I watched the one and only governor's candidate debate Friday night. I had to tape "Grey's Anatomy" to do it. Only one debate. Friday night in Texas with the classic rivals, UT/OU playing Saturday and all the folks on the road for that, not to mention all the Friday night games for high school? What were they thinking? Anyway, it was pretty much a snore.

Kinky Friedman is running as an Independent for governor. Have you heard of him? He is an entertainer and is quite witty, but it's hard to take him seriously. There have been moments, though, when the idea doesn't sound so bad to me. I am no fan of Rick Perry, the Republican governor now in office, formerly a Democrat. He's a pretty boy/man kind of guy. All hat no cattle, as they say in Texas. He, too, loves the entertainers. Russell Crowe and his band played at Perry's daughter's 16th b'day party. Carole Keeton Strayhorn is running as an Independent. She used to be a Democrat when she was mayor of Austin, then a Republican as State Comptroller now an Independent. She is the mother of 4 sons, two of which have been in D.C. with President Bush - Scott was the President's press secretary and her son, Mark is the FDA chief. Then there's Chris Bell, the Democrat running for governor. I don't want to be ugly here, but, the man's a little whiner. He has those beady little eyes and whiny voice. He is a perpetual candidate since losing his one and only trip to D.C. as a member of the House of Reps due to re-districting. He blames Tom DeLay for all the failures in his life as he engineered the re-districting efforts. Bell was also responsible for moving along the Ronnie Earle grand jury scavenger hunt against DeLay. Bell's wife is a Republican insider here in Houston, or used to be. Don't hear anything from her lately. I do know she was battling cancer earlier this year.

SO, slim pickings this year for the big office in Austin.

My mother in law called yesterday. She's waiting for hubby to get home to sign some papers she needs. Seems her attorney notified her of the existance of 60 acres of land owned by her and my deceased father in law that she didn't know were out there. So, she needs hubby to sign on the dotted line that he doesn't care if she sells the property. Hubby's father owned a lumber mill and apparently this land was purchased in those days. It's in the beautiful hill country of southern Indiana. Anyway, I'm golden with her for the time being. Her birthday is rapidly approaching - her 84th- and "we" gave her a subscription to Southern Living and Paula Deen's magazines as her present. Both have begun arriving. We will also send flowers as we always do. She is a south Georgia native and still loves the southern stuff!

Let's just say she knows who is responsible for gift giving around here, after all these years!

Friday, October 06, 2006

An Excellent Idea

Good morning. Doing a little relaxing as I decide what to do with the day. Son is to stay at school until 7:30 tonight as he is to volunteer to help in the hosting duties at the school. His high school is hosting a UIL Debate tournament so his team is taking responsibility for the concession stand of snacks and running errands. A go-fer. The debate coach/teacher sponsor is making them a spaghetti dinner to keep them energized. Son said tomorrow's volunteers are being treated to the coach's father's gumbo, they are Cajuns.

I am taking a break from the troubles on the news today as my head is going to explode. The abundance of hypocrisy is staggering and I'm stepping back today. I'm breathing.

I heard on the radio this morning as I took son to school that a new survey has been released by eBay Express that finds the top cities that are what they call impatient. Houston is number three on the list. Austin and Indianapolis are number one and two, if you're curious. They consider us impatient due to the number of convenience stores and 24 hour places we have as one indicator. As the guy said on the radio, that's not impatience, that's efficiency and convenience! We have found Houston to be an easy place to live. It has its faults, to be sure, but for standard and cost of living, it's quite good.

Do you have extra holiday cards leftover from previous years that you haven't gotten to use? I have an excellent idea to recycle them:

Operation: Love From Home

This idea will provide the troops stationed in high-combat areas in Iraq and in Afghanistan with cards to let them know we appreciate them and are thinking of them during the traditional holiday time at home. It could also be a hand written note.

If you do this, please note that they are to arrive to the woman coordinating this project without being sealed. It is a great project for Scout troops, church groups, school groups, or civic organizations. I have asked my son's Boy Scout troop to sign cards I will provide for them and then I will send them to the woman doing the project. All the boys have to do is sign them and they will do it next week at the meeting.

The project runs from September 30 to November 30. I'm using is as a way to use up all the boxes of cards I've purchased the past few years. I love to shop for cards and stationary so I have several partially full boxes.

You can send your signed, unsealed cards to:

Mrs. Kathy Orr
P.O. Box 1660
Loganville, Georgia 30052

No political statements allowed!

For all those who claim to "support the troops but not the war", this is a good way to make good on the claim.

This woman deserves a huge thank you.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Day of Mass Resistance

Good morning. Slowly sipping Boca Java and moving around. Son goes late today to school so the house is still quiet.

Today, according to The World Can't Wait, is A Day of Mass Resistance. I have read about this on a couple of my favorite blogs, Michelle Malkin and Rick Moran over at Rightwing Nuthouse. Rick Moran, by the way, is the brother of ABC News reporter Terry Moran. Rick is the black sheep of the family, as he is conservative and all the many siblings in the Moran family lean left.

Here's the idea - drive out the "Bush regime" .

Here's the plan - mass resistance.

The group calling for this action is World Can't Wait. Here is their mission statement:
"World Can't Wait is organizing people living in the United States to take responsibility to stop the whole disastrous course led by the Bush administration. We seek to create a political situation where the Bush administration's program is repudiated, where Bush himself is driven from office, and where the whole direction he has been taking U.S. society is reversed.
We seek to mobilize to express their outrage, to speak the truth, to act with urgency and form an organized political resistance. We welcome any individuals and groups who agree that the Bush Regime should be driven out, whatever their political party affliation or lack thereof. We reach out to people who have been fooled by Bush, and to those who have been most seriously affected by the outrages inflicted by the Bush Regime."


This leaves two questions :
1. Does this mean that this group desires a President Cheney?
2. "Those who have been most seriously affected", etc.,- who,
the terrorists and those financially supporting them?

Drama, drama everywhere. Not an ounce of common sense to spare.

Now, I'm all for peaceful protest. I am a child of the sixties, after all, and was raised on the whole peace and love, all we are saying is give peace a chance, don't trust anyone over 30, we don't need no stinkin' rules. I'm with them so far. But maybe it's the fact that the 60's are long gone and the reality of the new century are upon us, but I don't get it.

President Bush has 2 years left in office. He will leave Washington and retire to the ranch in Crawford, Tx. Wouldn't it make more sense, common sense, to lasso this energy into working for elections that would actually affect the outcome this group desires on a legislative field, if reversing policy is the goal?

The group wants people to bypass work and school today and take to the streets. The way I see it, this just results in less money in the pockets of the protesters and less knowledge in the brains of the students. Does that help their cause?

Unfortunately, in reality the protests lead by this group and others most often aligned with it, such as Not In My Name, led to unpeaceful actions. They are a big sponsor in marches against the WTO which have destroyed downtown areas of cities like Seattle with vandalism and violent acts against people and property. They align with A.N.S.W.R., a group lead by avowed Communist and Socialist activists.

Where's the love?

It's the question on my mind this week. Where's the common sense?

The group could take a page from the play book of George Soros and sponsor groups who ambush congresspeople days before an election with information gathered over the past couple of years and feed it to a major news network...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Common Sense

Well, the world is still off its axis, but I am trying to work through it all. Too many subjects on the old brain, I'm afraid.

Something that is sorely lacking in the modern day is common sense. Good old fashioned common sense. Let's talk about it in the context of the Congressional Page Program:

Let's mend the program not dump the program. Overreacting to the current wave of scandal? I don't think so. I know it's a great opportunity for young people interested in government to observe and work in the process up close and personal. That's all fine and good. However, in it's present form it is a continued disaster waiting to happen. The young people in the program are, well, young people. Too young, I would argue.

The age of eligibility for pages is 16 years. They must have proof of a B average in school, proved by a school transcript. They must be processed through a congressperson's office, no direct application to the program. So far, so good.

But I think and must say I have always thought that these students are too young for a month's stay in Washington, DC. I know there are lots of mature young people out there and it may be so. I think it is asking for trouble. Lots of young people have a difficult enough time coping with life on their own as college freshmen.

I think the eligibility age should be raised to 18 years. This puts it at the college student level. Unfortunate things will always happen in society but at least this gives the students a couple of more years of maturity and life experiences. Students are naturally a little more cynical at 18 years than 16 years of age.

Please don't misunderstand - I love this program and fully support it. The students are paid a meager wage and are allowed access to our government at work. For a political scientist, like me, it would be nirvana. For a mom, like me, I think a little common sense must be inserted into the debate.

Young people with an interest in government and a possible future in the political arena are able to participate at a local level. All congressmen and women have local offices in their districts. Senators have offices scattered around their states. Local government, through the mayor's office or offices of the local city council are also a great training ground. Actually, I think the local level is the best for starting out. It's the foundation.

Also, political campaigns are always begging for volunteers. Young people can volunteer as distributors of yard signs, and political brocheures and flyers in their neighborhoods. They can learn how to walk a neighborhood and talk to people about getting out the vote for their candidate.

Common sense.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Not Much

My husband called from Wyoming to ask what in the world is going on with current events - madness everywhere. School shootings in Amish country, guns on campus in Las Vegas, Turkish man hijacking an airplane and landing in Italy so he may receive political amnesty, North Korea is testing the nuclear weapons it claims it doesn't have, Iran and France are working on a deal for France to enrich nuclear materials for Iran, and the politicalization of the Foley fiasco continue with the Dems resuming measuring for curtains after pausing when the president went back up in the polls recently.

And the weather is still hot here - our highs are still in the 90's and my air conditioning continues to run.

I feel blechy today.

I started out feeling really good, though. A little bounce in my step this morning. The stock market reached a new record high this afternoon.

Will President Bush and the republican congress finally receive credit for the robust economy we continue to have despite all of the roadblocks? Like it or not, the tax cuts are responsible.

The price of oil per barrel is down. I paid $2.01 at the pump the other day. Any positive response from the president's opposition?

So today maybe it's just hormonal mood swings. Who knows. I just don't have the energy.

I'm making a chili macaroni dish and steaming broccoli for dinner and calling it a day.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Sipping a rare afternoon cup of coffee, warmed up from this morning. It's Boca Java's South Beach Rhythm blend and it's tasty.

Today is Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. It is a day of atonement after the period of days from Rosh Hashana. The holy days are used for meditation and reflection with prayer.

This morning I attended the monthly meeting for my womens political group. As the elections are looming large, we had representatives from the campaigns of Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Rep. John Culberson and our speaker was a member of the Houston City Council. Our speaker spoke to the issue of illegal immigration, among other subjects of local interest, and the press conference held yesterday afternoon with the mayor and police chief of Houston. They declared that Houston is not a sanctuary city and of revisions to city law enforcement policy in light of the previous week's tragic murder of a city police officer by a previously deported illegal immigrant who had come back to the city.

Our City Councilperson speaker was not the one from my district but of a neighboring district. She is the sister of Barbara Olson, who you may remember was murdered on the plane crashing into the Pentagon on 9/11. Barbara Olson was married to Ted Olson, the Solicitor General at the time. Barbara and her family are Houstonians, with her sister and brother still living here.

So, with the subject of atonement in the air today, I am listening with interest to the story that broke over the weekend of Rep Mark Foley of Florida and his text messaging to teenage boy pages in D.C. His actions are despicable and inexcusable, to be sure. It seems on the surface with what is being reported now that it was messaging and not actual physical action taken with the boys. There seem to be maybe three teens coming into the picture with concentration to one in particular. This, I am convinced more and more of as the facts come out, is an October surprise by the likes of Carville and Begala and those who play gutter politics. With the election so close and the balance of power posed to shift in the House, this was to be predicted. Usually this is saved for a higher profile election, such as presidential, but the House is in play and the stakes are high. Any seat the Dems can pick off is important. Foley was a sure winner in his district with no real Democratic opposition.

You will notice a difference, though in how the parties react to scandal. Here is an observation I have heard made and I tend to agree with : The Speaker of the House has called for the Justice Dept to investigate the allegations, and to investigate the possession of these text messages. These messages have been known to some outside of the leadership for some time now, apparently, and are only now being brought out into public knowledge. Just thirty days out from election time. No one on the Republican side is saying a word to discredit the young people involved. The parents of the main teen have asked for the process to not go forward and don't want their son involved publicly. No matter, it's out there and Foley has resigned and gone into treatment for alcoholism.

Remember when President Clinton was being investigated for abusing women? Carville is famous for making the remark during the Paula Jones investigation that she was trailer trash - you never know what you'll get when you drag a dollar bill through a trailer park. Nuts and sluts. It was common knowledge the Clinton campaigns retained Betsy Wright to corral the "bimbo eruptions" during his years running for Governor of Arkansas and then President. They had the game plan of humiliating the victims and thus scaring off others from coming forward with stories of what happened to them. But, you know, the feminists stood by their man and Hillary. It was hypocrisy at its highest level.

Rep. Foley was a champion of legislation to protect children from online predators. This is so sad and hard to understand. But for the Democrats to run forward and act as though this behavior is only in one party and that there is some big cover-up going on is just flat wrong. As far back as the 1980's pages to Capitol Hill were told to steer clear of members from both parties. One difference, though, can also be highlighted with the example of the Congress person from Massachusetts, a Democrat, who was caught in a page scandal and yet continued to be re-elected.

Don't read the transcripts on the internet if you haven't already. They will sicken you. I stopped midway through the first one. Adults have to be brought to justice if they refuse to act like adults. A man of 54 years has no business "being pals" with teenage boys, especially those who are subordinates.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunny Sunday

Sipping the last of Boca Java Ocean Drive blend. I must say I noticed the bags aren't very big. I know the trend in marketing is to sell less and less for the same money but wow. I think this bag is 8 oz when coffee used to be sold by the pound.

I have taken a complete news coverage break this weekend and I feel great. I love Book TV on C-Span every weekend and yesterday it was coverage of the National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Laura Bush and the Library of Congress teamed up 6 years ago to put the festival on at the National Mall and this year the attendance was over 100,000 people with over 70 authors. How cool is that, especially for a book reading fool such as myself.

The authors I saw yesterday include: Doris Kearns Goodwin, "Team of Rivals"; Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, "American Heroines"; Douglas Brinkley, "Deluge"; Andrew Carroll, "Operation Homecoming"; Nathaniel Philbrick, "Mayflower"; Dr. Khalid Hosseini, "The Kite Runner"; Bruce Feiler,"Where God was Born", and then Bob Woodward made an appearance.

Now, the Bob Woodward appearance was interesting. I admit, I don't care for him as a writer. I know he is excellent at rooting out investigative work for his newspaper, The Washington Post. Kudos. But, as an author of books, he uses mostly anonymous sources, gossip and makes his own conclusions as fact. That has always been my opinion of his work and I do not read this books. So I was prepared to flip the channel at the end of the festival coverage as he was the last one. But, instead, they put him on a stage with a "conservative" leaning author who asked him questions. Woodward was not allowed to speak of his new book's contents as part of the agreement with the publisher. So, that was interesting.

The New York Times scooped all the other media outlets on the new book, I might add. They broke the embargo from the publisher and ran their story of the book Friday. The book wasn't to be out in bookstores until Monday but now it is available at bookstores as of Saturday, thanks to the NYT. That newspaper is even nasty to its friends. The excerpts were to have been previewed in the Washington Post this morning.

Yesterday in the Wall Street Journal weekend edition Laura Bush listed five books that inspired her to champion literacy. They are: "Hop on Pop"
"The Little House" series
"The Brothers Karamazov"
"Little Women"
"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"
I love Laura Bush.

As a young girl, my addiction was for Nancy Drew mysteries. My mamaw gave me my first hard back copy one year for Christmas and she dutifully bought every one she could find for me after my love of them became obvious.

I remember really being moved by "The Peaceable Kingdom" and the use of animals as symbols of the world's population. I have always loved biographies and windows into what others have done with their lives and why they did it. I don't have the concentration to sit and make a list of only five books, though, after a life of reading for pleasure. Too many books floating around in the old brain, you know.

That Bruce Feifer was really entertaining to listen to at the festival. I didn't know who he was, I confess, even though he is the author of "Walking the Bible" and "Abraham", both huge bestsellers, as it turns out. He also spent a year as a circus clown. His is an interesting story and he has travelled extensively in the areas of the holy land as basis for his writing.. He is also the father of 17 month old identical twin daughters! Busy man.