Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Defense Lawyers in Terror Cases Plan Challenges Over Spy Efforts - New York Times

As I recall, the right to a defense does not mean a right to be found not-guilty no matter what.

But, then, I'm a "radical reactionary." If evidence is obtained illegally, it should not be thrown out, but the people who collected it illegally should be fined and prosecuted. If the evidence shows the defendant did the crime, then he does the time, no matter if the evidence was obtained illegally.

We are going too far in the direction of "criminal's rights," and not far enough in the direction of the rights of those injured by criminals. We need to come back to the middle ground - not too far to one side or the other.

Monday, December 26, 2005

TV Chefs

I've been reading some of the blogs on TV Chefs in the last few days, and I'm appalled at the negativity. Certainly there are a few that I'm less enamoured of than others. However, I believe each of them is a professional and has much to contribute. One blogger said that Giada couldn't possibly be a good chef because she is too thin. Then someone else gigs Paula Deen for being chubby. Excuse me! Giada went to Le Cordon Bleu, "did her time" as an assistant in various restaurants, and then worked with Wolfgang Puck - anyone who can work with Wolfgang Puck has to be good - Puck is a real stickler for competence in his assistants. Paula Deen is a great cook who "did it" the hard way - she borrowed money from everyone she knew and started a little restaurant in Savannah - which has multiple great restaurants. I've eaten there, and the other restaurants are in good company with hers!

Rachael Ray is so perky she makes my teeth itch. But, yes, by watching her I've discovered how to cut down on the time it takes me to prepare a meal. She is organized, and has her every movement down to it's most economical. Yes, I can put one of her meals together in 30 minutes or less - IF I am organized and use my movements economically. She not only developed from catering, she worked in her family's restaurants as a kid. She certainly knows what she is doing. Not everyone has to go to Le Cordon Bleu or one of the schools of Culinary Arts here in the US in order to learn to cook well - or to teach it to others.

Emeril may be flashy on Emeril Live, but he knows how to keep people's attention. If you can't follow his recipes on the show, go to the Foodnetwork website and read them! Emeril Live is more of a "showy" kind of show - not a recipe show. Did you know that Emeril turned down a scholarship to the Boston Conservatory to go to the Johnson and Wales University culinary program? And that he has a doctorate from there? He has no secret ingredients. The recipe for his "Essence" is all over the web, not to mention the Foodnetwork website - and you can buy his various seasonings in any major grocery store in the spice aisle. Doc Gibbs may not be your cup of tea, but he is a "master percussionist," and is much sought after by various bands. His little band doesn't have much chance to show off on most shows, but they are a very good jazz band.

I certainly don't "like" all of the chefs on the Foodnetwork, and I don't like all the recipes either. I think there is entirely too much southern Italian cuisine and insufficient other cuisines (French, Japanese, and Russian come to mind).

Ya' know something? If you don't like what's offered on the Foodnetwork, you can always change channels to 24-hour boxing or something equally intellectually stimulating.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


My friend Meg has started using her Blog to detail the lives of her departed loved ones. This is a good use of a Blog, and I will flatter her by imitation.

October is coming up, and that's my birth month. I think I'll start by telling a little about my parents.

My father was 1/2 Cherokee. He was not even an American citizen until he was 6 years old because American Indians and their offspring were not citizens until after 1915. He never got over the "disgrace" of being a "half-breed." He was distant and emotionally uninvolved with both my mother and me.

Mother was the only child. Her daddy fought in WWI in France, and didn't even see her until she was 18 months old. He wanted to make a career of the military, but his wife, my grandmother, didn't want him to - and made a big stink about it. Mama was their little princess. She had all the advantages they didn't have growing up - dancing lessons, piano lessons, summer camp, good city schools rather than poor rural schools. She met my father when she was in college. He was in the insurance business - with my grandfather's company. I believe I remember they met when she was meeting her father for supper after work one night.

Their marriage, like so many of the early 40's marriages, didn't survive WWII. Neither did my grandfather. He died of a brain abscess - the result of a head wound he had sustained over 27 years earlier in France - the same year my parents divorced.

Mama was a bubbly, happy character - the kind who made the best of everything and was always ready to have fun with her friends. She was a good Mom, and included me in on fun, too. We went to her parties together, she took me on many of her dates. She worked hard to give me, her only child, as many advantages as she could. I, too, had summer camp, piano lessons, dancing lessons and good city schools - because she was determined her child would have those things.

She worked hard, and just about the time she could have stopped worrying about raising me (I was in Nursing School) she developed Rheumatoid arthritis. It was fast developing, intense, and totally crippling. In 2 years she went from a 5'6" slender woman to a 5'3" cripple. Over the next 12 years she had over 30 major orthopedic surgeries to remove (not replace) joints and fuse her neck. During this time I married, began having children, and my husband was transferred by the Air Force to Utah. I had to leave her. By that time she was retired on disability and living at home with her mother. Leaving was the hardest thing I ever did, but she wouldn't hear of me staying with her. My place, she said, was with my husband. Four years later, when we returned, she put herself and her mother into a nursing home - they shared a room. After my grandmother died a year later, she had a series of roommates - mostly very elderly women who died quickly. She stayed on there for 4 years.

During that time, we were able to talk about everything we needed to talk about. It was during that time that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about "Death and Dying." Mama read that, and we talked about death and what she had wanted for me. We said our "sorries" and our "happies" and our "goodbyes." Finally, the RA invaded her spine and led to dislocation of several vertebrae which in turn caused paralytic ileus. She couldn't keep anything down. The doctors at that time could not do anything for her, and she decided she didn't want any more interventions. The nursing home staff refused to remove her IV, and I ended up having to take it out. One of the hardest things I've ever done. She lingered for 2 1/2 days. Most of that time she was in and out of consciousness. But she would rouse from time to time to talk to someone that I couldn't see. She would smile and seem so happy. But if I spoke to her, she would look worried and "interrupted." On the last day, I told her I was going to lunch and would be right back. There was no place to eat in the nursing home, and I had to go up the street to Steak and Shake. When I got back, she was gone. She had died 10 minutes after I left. To this day, I believe she waited for me to leave so I wouldn't be there when she died.

We didn't convert to Orthodoxy until over a year later, so I never had the opportunity to tell her about the Church - but somehow I believe, no, I KNOW, she entered the Church before we did.

I do miss her so much. This year she would have been 87.

May God grant Memory Eternal to His handmaiden, Elizabeth.

Monday, September 19, 2005

From: Meg


The rock 'n' roll raucousness now is stilled;
with Vivaldi the halls of the house are filled.
Where gerbils and hamsters once reigned supreme,
there's time to think, and plan, and dream:
The kids are gone.

Two-a.m. feedings have long since fled,
and two-a.m. entrances nothing to dread.
From close of day to dawn's rose-red,
We sleep the sleep of the grateful dead:
The kids are gone.

The bathroom is free, our showers are short,
we no longer hasten from sport to sport,
the mountains of laundry are molehills at last,
and supper in shifts is a thing of the past:
The kids are gone.

There's time for our hobbies, we read at our leisure,
we walk and we talk to each other for pleasure.
But once in awhile, a brief, sorrowful sigh,
or a tear quickly wiped from a treasonous eye,
reveals our awareness: Our life's task is done.
The kids are gone.

(c) 2005 by Meg Lark

We've been "empty-nesters" for about 12 years, now. Restful. Oh, initially, I had butterflies - would they be ok? had we prepared them adequately? would they ever come to visit? etc.

Well, they are OK. They've had their "moments," and "seasons" but they are OK. Yes, for the most part, we had prepared them adequately - and they used their bad times to learn. They come to visit, but, of course, not frequently enough for us. On the "up" side - there are grandchildren, and the kids have formed their own, strong nuclear families. They are supporting their families. They are planning for the future, and are resigned to the fact we will not always be here, on earth.

The ol' curmudgeon and I have "our" life - and we are enjoying it. We are in the twilight of our lives and it is even warmer and more satisfying than the earlier parts were.

Yet, even now, the kids need us - for advice, companionship, as a "sounding wall," or to vent to. And our life's tasks are not yet done. Grandchildren come to visit - and we fall back into correcting table manners, break up squabbles, remind them about and supervise them in cleaning up the family room when they are ready to leave, teach them to cook, make webpages with them, talk about school - it all comes back!

God bless all who are empty-nesters. It's hard, but it's a "normal" part of life.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

I'm a Gryffindor!

Want to Get Sorted?
I'm a Gryffindor!

Rather a fun site.

ORTHODIXIE ... Southern, Orthodox, Convert, Etc.: All for One?

Fr. Joseph "Orthodixic" Hunnycutt strikes again with this article by Khouria Frederica Mathewes-Green. Worth taking a look at.

Mr. Stanley

We have been invaded by a (now 1 pound 4 oz) bundle of fluff originally named "Lucky," but renamed Mr. Stanley (after the explorer who found Dr. Livingston) because he is an intrepid explorer. Mr. Stanley is a "little kittenin" who is now 4 weeks old. We've had him for about 1 1/2 weeks. Daughter-person rescued him at approximately 2 weeks of age when his mother rejected him. He's almost pathologically fierce - and has our three elderly felines terrified. I'm covered with toothmarks and scratches. He is food aggressive to the nth degree, and will attack anything that moves - or doesn't move. So far he has destroyed 2 little toy "mousies" from PetSmart.

It's obvious he's here to teach us something - maybe patience? maybe the fact that lack of overt gratitude doesn't mean it isn't "there?" maybe that all of God's creation is inter-connected - even fierce little kittenins and grumpy ol' curmudgeons who talk baby talk to him when he thinks I'm not listening. And maybe because God knows we need something to laugh at during our current difficulties.

Mr. Stanley is resolutely trying to attack 20 pound Magnus, the Magnificat. He's practicing pouncing on his tail. Magnus spits at him, gets up and walks off. Mr. Stanley follows. Magnus bats him across the floor. Mr. Stanley gets up and returns to the attack. Magnus runs and hides! Magnus has teeth that are bigger than Mr. Stanley's tail, and he outweighs him by 15-fold - but he runs away from the little fluffball. Brave kitty!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Where is the Ghandi of Islam?

Charles Moore wrote this very interesting article for the Daily Telegraph, London, England. One point really spoke to me:

The faith Mohammed taught does not just hope that the world will become Muslim. It wants all human society and politics to be governed by religious law: it draws no distinction between the secular and religious sphere (except to condemn the secular). Therefore, Muslim leaders find it very difficult to resist the hotheads who say that Sharia - the divine law - should be imposed wherever possible.

In addition, the religion is absolute in its attitude to particular bits of territory. It is forbidden, for example, that any other religion be practised in the Arabian peninsula, because that land is considered sacred to Islam. Therefore, it is hard for a "moderate" to oppose the second-class citizenship of Christians or Jews in Muslim lands, or to say that "infidels" fighting in Muslim countries should not be murdered - even when they are his fellow citizens in a Western country.

When someone like bin Laden says that Islam should confront the "Cross-worshippers" and the "Zionists", he is making a claim in which politics and religion dangerously reinforce one another - a claim which most Muslims might not like, but which most of their leaders cannot find quite the right words to resist.

I find I am less trusting than I used to be. We don't hear much on the news about hte Islamic communities disavowing the actions of the so-called "radicals." Is that because they actually agree with them? Where are the protests to discourage more?

I'm very disappointed in my Muslim friends. We are in the grips of international terrorism and they don't condemn the perpetrators. Could it be they want the rest of the world to succumb? Is, "Convert or die!" once again the Islamic mantra?

I really worry about it.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

An Old Bluejacket's 22-Year USN Career, Duty Stations, Patriotic Flash Movies, Links & Blogs, Humor & Some Politics

An Old Bluejacket's 22-Year USN Career, Duty Stations, Patriotic Flash Movies, Links & Blogs, Humor & Some Politics

For those who are interested in patriotism and nostalgia, here is the ultimate site! It is so big it had to expand to two other websites:
Patriot Files and Patriot Files Annex.

I'm just bowled over by the talent this veteran has for developing Flash productions. We need to remember that our military is protecting us 24/7/365, not just on Memorial Day or the 4th of July.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Club Gitmo

Boortz strikes again! These comments on the Gitmo "scandal" are priceless!

Eminent Domain? Rather Your House is My House

I can't believe this! Eminent domain has been abused and misused for decades, but now there is no recourse! What do these old men mean by taking the roofs from over the heads of children? Think I'm overstating? Well just read the ruling HERE.

I predict a backlash from this, much debate, name-calling, and, eventually - perhaps - legislation that will either add protections or further reduce the rights of property owners. I have to admit I don't like the idea that at any time a developer could sweep down on my neighborhood, have it condemned and suddenly a shopping mall appears where my house used to be! And if you really think people will be paid what their property is actually worth, think again.

Three decades ago, Atlanta and the state of Georgia swept down on the venerable Morningside neighborhood and condemned numerous homes creating a divisive swath through the neighborhood that was going to be a new freeway connector. That swath was eventually (after years of litigation) reclaimed for private property and the neighborhood was "saved." The highway project was canned. But the original property owners had been displaced, their homes taken from them and they were paid a pittance compared to what they could have received on a free market basis. The houses went vacant for several years, without repair. At least one had to be demolished, and most of the rest required extensive renovation before they were again habitable.

If the free market wants a section of land, then they need to pay the owners what the land is truly worth on the open market. Government needs to butt out of private development except to confirm that building codes are observed in new construction.

"We the people of the United States" need to take back our inalienable rights. Preventing the confiscation of property without due procedure is one of the reasons this country exists. Back to basics.

SHRIEK! How long are we going to allow our courts to run away like this??

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Too Long!

Too long since I last posted anything here! Several friends had bad results from their blogs, and I became "leery."
One of my DH's friends sent this to him (it goes around the internet from time to time):

"Home Economics High School Text Book, 1954

"Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal, on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.

"Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so that you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

"Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the home just before your husband arrives, gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift, too.

"Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair, and if necessary change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

"Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad he is home.

"Some don'ts: Don't greet him with problems or complaints. Don't complain if he is late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or suggest he lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

"Listen to him. You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

"Make the evening his. Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other places of entertainment. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to be home and relax.

"The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit. "

I remember that textbook! (Guess that dates me, hunh?) And I thought it was a bunch of hooey back then!

Well, I love my DH's response to his friend (he copied me):
"Yeah -- I've seen this. I prefer a companion with some brains & spunk. Any man that has to marry a maid has serious problems."

O Joy! what a great guy!