Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Friend Needs HELP!!

Dear readers - I won’t do this kind of thing very often.

A friend is in desperate need. At this holiday season, please visit her website and consider ordering some of her Christmas cards. They are Christmas cards not your “generic” “holiday cards.” There is also a beautiful matted print of the for sale.

If you are in the market for cards or gifts, these are wonderful and economical options. Purchasing them will help this struggling young Orthodox Christian woman.

A boxed set of 10 Cards w/ envelopes is $12.50

If you are still shopping for gifts, a matted linoleum block print is, again, an economical and lovely gift. And it will directly assist someone who literally is struggling to survive.

The Virgin and Child Art Print is 4″ x 6″ on fine art printers paper makes a subtle and divine comtemplative statement to any decor. Price: $12.50

The Abstracted Icon

She uses PayPal, so you can use any credit card you wish. If you have a PayPal account, you can use cash from your bank account.

Thank you - the commercial is over, but the need is still there . . .

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Nativity Fast - Preparation for Christ's Incarnation

we Orthodox Christians prepare for each major event in the Church year in fasting and repentance. Fasting must be understood as abstention. We strictly abstain from all animal products (including dairy), wine and oil. However, the Nativity Fast is one of the least restrictive. There are many Wine and Oil days (WO), and many Fish, Wine and Oil (FWO) days.

The music of our Fasts frequently is both beautiful and somewhat mournful. Here is some of the Music of Nativity from the Russian Orthodox Church.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Did You Know I Love Cats? and Kittens??

Can't resist! YouTube has some wonderful kitten videos! Turn on your sound and be prepared to laugh - a lot!!

This is true food aggression!

Then there's this one:

This kitten is soooooo sleepy...

Hungry motherless kitten being bottle fed - I've done this sooooooo many times! And it's a joy each time I can save a kitten and grow it up to the point of being adopted!

Even German kittens are pretty food aggressive!

Hungry kittens are convinced there will be no more food - ever - and they HAVE to have food NOW!!

Finally, not to overdo the cute kittens for one day, there is this happy, playful kitten crabwalking all over the place!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Magnus - the Democrat!?!

O.M.G. !! The Ol' Curmudgeon has hit the nail on the head! Our beloved cat, Magnus, is a Democrat!!

"He is all mouth and emotion and demonstrates no intellect. He is totally non-productive yet thinks the Powers That Be should take care of his every need. He neither pays attention to nor shuts up for anyone else's opinion. He is only interested in running his own mouth. He expects the Powers that Be not only to feed him but to clean up all his messes. And everything - EVERYTHING - is someone else's fault and/or responsibility!!"

ROTFLOL!! I love it when he starts "ranting" about stuff!!

Will post a pic of Magnus the Magnifi-cat in a few days.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Of Neighborhoods and Homeowners Associations

I'm going to imitate the Ol' Curmudgeon - HARUMPH!!

We live in an older neighborhood. With the national trend in decreasing mortgage values, some of the residents recently decided we needed a Homeowners Association. We went to one meeting - assured ourselves that we weren't dealing with a "Covenant Community" situation (yuck). At the meeting, the Powers That Be told us that a Homeowners Association would decrease crime, increase property values and just be a Good Thing.

Two connected streets are involved here. Let's call them Rockytop and Aspen. The PTB, of course, live on Rockytop, and think that the people on Aspen (where we live) are lower class, or at least less classy than they think they are. So, all the children who live on Aspen are considered to be delinquents by the people on Rockytop. One of the Rockytop women said she had to keep chasing "those Aspen kids" out of her yard before he did something criminal.

Not only do we live on Aspen, 3 of our grandchildren live on Aspen - next door to us! Kids play in yards - not only their own yard, but the yards of everyone in the neighborhood. That's the way we played when I was a kid, and it warms my heart to see the kids in our part of The Neighborhood playing in the same way. They have a "secret clubhouse" under the huge bush in a yard several houses away. I remember having one of those - 5 houses up the street in the yard of a widow-woman who had no children.

Thankfully, she thought it was "cute," and didn't call the cops. The woman on Rockytop was ready to call the police because a kid was in her yard! Please note, she lives on the "outside" corner of The Neighborhood - right across the street from The High School - and the kid was in her yard right after school let out. Who didn't cross yards when walking home from school??? She's worried about her property values because a kid walked across her yard?

Speaking of property values, how does belonging to a Homeowners Association either increase or prevent decrease of property values - when the rest of the country is experiencing a general decline in mortgage lending?? Put signs up saying "Our houses cost more because we are holding the line on mortgage costs?" No, we will "keep up" our houses and yards better because we belong to this Association - because other neighbors will "tattle" on us if we don't. All the City Property Maintenance regulations will be Enforced!! So what now? Someone will sneak into our yard at night and measure the length of the non-existent grass? Count the number of leaves on our driveway? Count the number of patches of peeling paint on our abode?

BAH!! And again I say, BAH! At the first meeting, we asked what we were supposed to do - I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia and 2 degenerated disks in my low back. The Ol' Curmudgeon has 6 bad disks in his back and has had 2 heart attacks. We can't get out there and do major yard maintenance. The son next door had several episodes of heat prostration while in the military, and is very sensitive to heat - can't "do yard" in the summer. We finally found some kids up the street who are greedy capitalists (I love teenagers who are greedy capitalists!) and will mow our yard, front and back, for less than $100. So at least the mowing is taken care of. We'll teach them how to blow off leaves and stuff them into bags so the pick-up service will take them.

We were sent a message from The Homeowners Association that the police would be driving The Neighborhood and noting any deviations from the Property Maintenance Regulations.

OK - so now the police will take their valuable time inspecting the length of our grass and the number of leaves on the driveway? Great use of resources!!

The people on Rockytop say they are experiencing a small crime wave of break-ins. Especially on empty houses that are for sale. In addition, someone's garage was raided and several yard-maintenance tools (of the electronic and motorized variety) were stolen. OK. Rockytop is having a "crime wave" and the kids on Aspen who cross yards after school are part of this crime wave? How will our Neighborhood Association help with this crime wave? Well, the police will respond more quickly if we are United and have an Association!

HUH? How does that work? How about the people who live in Slum Row neighborhood? What if the residents there get together and create a Homeowners Association? Will the police respond more rapidly than they do now if they form the Slum Row Homeowners Association? The mind boggles!

Not only that, but to be a member of the Rockytop Homeowners Association (why isn't it the Aspen Homeowners Association?) we will be required to pay a membership fee! Currently it isn't much - only $35 a year. Remember that when I post the yearly fee every year from now on. Wanna make any bets as to whether it stays nominal or goes up?

Those of us on the "back end" of Aspen are considering having a block party and forming our OWN "Back of Aspen Homeowners Association." We'll help each other out with yard work, have block parties, and play loud music - so we can drive the residents of the Back of Rockytop crazy. Oh yeah - and we'll report suspicious kids setting up secret clubs in the bushes or cutting across yards to get home from school to the police.

Where's that CD of the Carmina Burana I got last year??

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Service Dog - For Me?

Well, Saturday was THE day. The woman from the dog organization came to do an in-home interview to see if I "fit" their profile of people to get one of their dogs. I've done all I can to make the house acceptable, but the master bath and my office are still in a mess, and there is a corner of the Ol' Curmudgeon's office dedicated to my clutter-stuff. I need to toss out 3/4 of it all and find "places" for the rest "to live."

She was very nice. So was her husband who came along also. The Ol' Curmudgeon waxed eloquent as only he can, and I spoke to my perception of my needs. She had me demonstrate grip strength, gently squeezed my hands to elicit pain level, and watched me walk and function at a couple of tasks. She looked at the (currently leaf covered) back yard approvingly.

So, now my "case" will be presented to their Board tomorrow (Tuesday). If approved, it will not mean a service dog tomorrow. First, we will have to raise funds. Not necessarily directly "pay" for the dog (to the tune of $7000), but literally fund-raise - find new donors to help support the service dog organization - a non-profit, 501c organization. The Ol' Curmudgeon is going to submit their corporate package to his place of business, and I'm going to submit it to several of the larger law firms I work with.

After doing the fund raising, or while that is going on, there will be a waiting period for me of between 1 and 5 years while they find a "match" for me. The dog has to meet my needs and be compatible with both me and the Ol' Curmudgeon. Then, when a likely dog has been found, it will have to be trained to the particular tasks I need done. All that takes time. Not to mention, there probably are people of higher priority ahead of me.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Drought in GA

Georgia is experiencing the worst drought in decades.

Governor Purdue has asked all the Churches in the state to pray for rain. Following is a Prayer in Time of Drought from and Orthodox Patriarch (Patriarch Callistus, d. 1363).


A Prayer in Time of Drought
by Patriarch Callistus of Constantinople
O Master, Lord our God, who heard Elijah the Tishbite in his zeal for Thee and commanded the rain to hold itself back when it was about to be sent to the earth, and then later granted it fruit-bearing rain by his prayer! We beg Thee, O Master of all: from the depths of Thy own goodness, liberally give rain to Thy inheritance. Overlooking our sins, send down Thy rain upon thirsty places in need. Gladden the face of the earth for the sake of Thy poverty-stricken people, children, livestock and all others looking for Thee to give them food in good time -- for Thou art our God, the God whose nature it is to have mercy and to save, and we send up glory to Thee, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.


We here in Georgia, Florida and Alabama are suffering from a lack of rain. Without a large influx of rain between now and then, sometime in January Atlanta will be OUT of water! We in that area already are having to forego watering lawns (not a problem for us - we hate grass anyway) and washing cars (except at approved carwashes that recycle water). We are asked to conserve by not flushing the toilets as much, not showering or bathing as frequently, not washing clothes unless we have a full washer's worth. But soon even this won't be enough.

Many businesses have had to shut down, with resultant hiatus in employment and paychecks for those working for those companies. Many people are drinking bottled water, but this will soon be too expensive to buy.

The water-based recreation industries (fishing, boating, swimming) are taking a big hit - especially around the lakes. Other tourism and recreation areas (Lake Lanier, Lake Alatoona, Callaway Gardens, Chattahoochee National Forest, Okeefenokee State Park, etc) are also down, leading to marked decrease in income for the entire state. All the ancillary industries - fast foods, bait shops, sports equipment stores, motels, etc - also take hits.

This all adds up to PEOPLE losing jobs, losing incomes, losing their homes, families breaking up etc.

Please keep us in your prayers!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Role Models

Someone asked who my role model was. But I have not one but thousands of role models - the saints who have gone before us and who pray for us.

One of these, and the chiefest among them, is the Theotokos (the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary). She was a human being in every sense of the word - yet she CHOSE to live according to what God wanted her to live. She CHOSE to be without sin. God blessed her and chose her to bear His Son for the salvation of the world. In bearing Christ, God, she became in effect the mother of us all. So I turn to her first and foremost to be my role model - to help me see that willingly fulfilling God's Will, I am "doing the right thing." When in trouble most of us turn in thought or in reality to our mothers. When in trouble my thoughts turn to my mother (Memory Eternal!), who died at a young age from the same disease I have. And at the same time, I turn to the Theotokos. Her prayers are powerful, and I petition her to pray for my troubles. Daily, I praise the Theotokos for her sacrifices that had brought us our salvation - Christ our Lord and Saviour, the very Son of God.

Some of the others I consider to be role models, are:

St. Xenia of St. Petersburg - a "fool for Christ" who lived in the early 19th century. When her husband died, she was so concerned about the salvation of his soul that she took to wearing his clothes, took his name, "Andrew," and gave away all her possessions. She voluntarily lived on the streets of St. Petersburg. Her life is inspirational.

St. Elizabeth, Mother of the Forerunner and Baptist, John - This is my Patron (or Matron) saint. She was righteous in the sight of God and of men. She was married, she loved her husband and desired his child. After many years of childlessness, this was granted to her. The Church, which glorifies virgins, glorifies her for her marriage and for her childbearing. This is a good model for those of us who are married.

St. Macrina the Elder - This is a wonderful saint who has remained in obscurity entirely too long! It is rather incredible to contemplate the life of a woman who was the wife of a saint (St. Basil), the mother of a saint (St. Basil the elder), the mother-in-law of a saint (St. Emilia, wife of St. Basil the Elder) and the grandmother of 4 saints (St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Macrina the Younger, and St. Peter of Sebaste)! Saints ran in this family, due mostly to the strong influence of the women, particularly that of St. Macrina the Elder. She is considered to be the Matron saint for grandparents. She underwent persecution for her faith, and, with her husband and child, lived in the wilderness for over 7 years during the last and worse persecution of Christians under Diocletian. Contemplating what is known of her life helps me to be patient and to be the best guide I can for my own 11 grandchildren. She also gives me strength to bear up under the subtle but real persecution Christians undergo in this country as it wends it's way toward atheism and suppression of Christianity.

These are only a very few of the many thousands of saints who have gone before us and provide role models for us. More information about various saints may be found HERE and HERE. I commend their lives to my readers.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Mr. Tambourine Man by the Byrds! They Rock!!

The Byrds Playing "Mr. Tambourine Man" with Bod Dylan. I used to adore the Byrds!

Hope you enjoy it as much as I used to - and still do!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Reposted from August 2004: Marbles in My Pocket

I posted this over 3 years ago. Andreas recently commented upon it, and I re-read it. It had been so long, it was almost like reading someone else's words, and I decided it wasn't too bad! I've cleaned up some typos, and I'm reposting it - because I want to! LOL!

5 / 18 August 2004
Marbles in My Pocket

I was asked by an acquaintance what Adult ADD was like. This was my response.

I've been ADD all my life. But I didn't "know" it until I was in my 50's! I thought it was some kind of character defect, and I struggled against it for decades.

But I'm now kind of resigned to it - or, more likely, accustomed to it. I admit I function best in a *slightly* cluttered environment. If something isn't "in my face" I forget it's around or needs to be done. That's why I have to keep a calendar on the computer and have it pop-up the minute I turn on my computer every morning. That way I know exactly what I need to do. If I put away my current projects, I may not get back to them until they are past due because I won't think of them. So my desk will always be messy. Problem is, the "slightly cluttered" environment "gets away from me" and the entire house quickly becomes a total wreck.

I'm the original "pack rat" - I see "something shiny" in the living room, pick it up and trek toward the kitchen to put it away. On the way, I notice "something shiny" in the dining area, put down the first object and pick up the second object and trek toward the bedroom to put it away. I stop by my office to check e-mail, and put the object down. After checking e-mail and playing a couple of computer games, I get up and go out to the kitchen to make lunch. There I see "something shiny," pick it up and take it with me toward the workshop. On the way, I walk through the family room, and notice one of the GKs left a game out. I put down the current object, start putting away the game, notice the rug needs to be vacuumed, get out the vacuum, notice the floor in the hall needs sweeping, put down the vacuum and go to get the broom. On the way to the broom I notice the game in the family room and get it picked up - but it doesn't fit on the shelf, so I "jam" it in one way or another, and head to the laundry room - I don't know why, I just go there. I turn around a few times wondering why I went there, and start back through the family room. Notice the vacuum is out, and hook it up, turn it on and start vacuuming. Notice that there are a few marbles and a chess piece on the floor, and turn off the vacuum to pick them up. Can't find the box and board for the chess set, so I drop the chess piece in "a" drawer (I'll probably never find it again when it's needed - only when I happen to open the drawer and notice it). Put the marbles in my pocket. It is now noon, we usually eat lunch at 11:15 or 11:30, and the poor Ol' Curmudgeon plaintively asks me about it. I fix lunch and we eat about 12:30 - not bad, only an hour late - and look around. The living room is not straightened, the family room is a mess, the kitchen is a mess, my office has something in it that belongs in the bedroom, and I've accomplished nada beyond vacuuming a 20 square inch area of the family room and preparing lunch. I have marbles in my pocket and I don't know why! This is my ADD. Someone else may have a different experience.

My dear Ol' Curmudgeon is very good about reminding me to do things. He long ago gave up ever expecting a "neat-nik" kind of house. The kids think I'm a "space biscuit" (light and flakey). Long ago they told me, "Mom, we'll never know if you develop Alzheimer's - you've been spacey all your life!" This is true! I have very little short-term memory and have *never,* not even as a child, been able to remember names (nouns) or descriptors (adjectives, adverbs). Found out, after several botched "memory courses" that this is probably genetic and has to do with wheter you have access to a particular area of your brain - apparently mine has been in hiding all my life!

I am an "organizational hobbiest." As my dear Ol' Curmudgeon will say, "It's another vain attempt at organization by the Space Biscuit!" The DKs just giggle and nod. They all know. And it *is* amusing. Thank goodness both the Ol' Curmudgeon, the DKs and the DGKs all have a sense of humor about it! They don't get mad (usually). Just a little exasperated and impatient from time to time, but they quickly get over it, and whatever set them off becomes the latest in a string of "my flake, the Mom" (or "my flake, the Wife") stories to use to regale friends and relatives.

So we ADD'rs have to make decisions and try to stick to them! We stumble and get side-tracked, but over time, we try to get to where we can handle things better and better. I don't ever expect to be perfect! It doesn't happen to anyone! But I can be a success at nearly anything I put my mind and determination to. I've managed to (in order):

get a BSN (nursing)
have 2 kids
get a masters
have a third kid
move three times
go through a divorce
go through bankruptcy
marry again
*Convert to Eastern Orthodoxy* - best decision I **ever** made!
move several more times
teach in a university
marry off 2 kids
get a PhD
assistant direct choir
marry off the third kid
manage a complex computer-based Operating Room support system
start and run my own business
Enjoy the 10 grandchildren (now 11)
enjoy my husband

I still struggle, at well past 60, to deal with my ADD, but I can look back and see that I compensated for it, and I know I will be able to continue compensating for it. It will always be with me, like someone with diabetes will always have that with them, but just as diabetes can be managed, so ADD can be managed. I just have to work a little harder at it than some other people do. But I'm really blessed by God. I have a husband who adores me - and I adore him right back - I have 3 wonderful children and 11 marvelous grandkids (my reward for not strangling the 3 kids when they were teens!). I'm respected in my career.

Well, That's what Adult ADD is for me. I have marbles in my pocket and I don't know why!

PS - Andreas commented that the marbles were his (LOL) so I told him he needed to come get them! Of course, that assumes I can figure out where I might have put them then I took them out of my pocket . . .

Monday, October 29, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo!

Snowball is a Medium Sulphur Crested Eleanora Cockatoo that dances to the Back Street Boys. He came to the Bird Lovers Only Rescue in August 2007 and is a joy. Visit them at

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Orthodox Blogs

I've linked to a few Orthodox Blogs over in the right hand column, but I want to "highlight" them here.

First, there is "Bigger than a Breadbox", which is Mimi's blog. She has managed to integrate her Orthodoxy into her life rather well. She tells what it is like to be a mother with young children and still follow the precepts of the Orthodox Church.

"Christ is in our Midst" is by HandmaidLeah. It is very reflective. She, like I, has rheumatoid arthritis. We have other things in common, also.

"Fr. John Whiteford" has a "news and comments" kind of blog, but frequently posts hymns of the Church.

In "Glory to God for All Things," Fr. Stephen Freeman, a former Anglican, as are we, posts about various aspects of the Church, us and culture. Very inspiring posts.

My friend Athanasia blogs "Lost in-Elegant Cogitations" which documents her journey to Orthodoxy and then deeper and deeper into it.

"Muttonings" is by my friend Meg. She blogs about nearly everything -

Then there is "My Mountain Home" which is Shelly's site out in Idaho. She's into crafting in a big way! She also has cats and dogs! Lovely!

The last two are my husband's (the Ol' Curmudgeon) and one of my other blogs that I post to more regularly than I do here. "Rumblings of an Ol' Curmudgeon" reflects his outlook on various things. He's been more than bemused that he can and does write "essays" that others are interested in. He's a very politically and socially conservative individual - and tends to rant about that a good bit. He's also into exploring cooking and bread baking. Posts a good bit on the philosophy of food, cooking and how to make some things. "Turtle Rock" is a bunch of different topics, but mostly with what I hope is an Orthodox view.

I hope you will put these in your "watch" lists!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ethan Laughing

This website doesn't have an "embed" code, so you'll just have to "go there" to view it! If you like to watch and listen to a baby laughing, you'll love this video! This little guy is having such a good time tearing paper!!



Sunday, September 09, 2007

Incredible Beauty

Millions miss Pavarotti. The man was incredible - as this video demonstrates. Yes, he was arrogant, and proud of his voice, but he was also gracious and generous with other artists.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Would The Ol' Curmudgeon Bring Me Home to Mom??

RSB had this on her blog, so I "went there" and took the test.

I'm pretty much what I thought I was! Luckily it worked - actually, MIL and I were friends before Ol' Curmudgeon and I even met!

Your Guy Could Bring You Home

When it comes to meeting the parents, you're cool and calm.
In fact, you're so self assured, you may forget to try to impress them.
Work that famous charm a little more, and your boyfriend's family will be loving you.

Try it!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Transfiguration Tuna Salad

Last Sunday was the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ. It falls in the midst of the Fast for the Dormition of the Theotokos, and is the ONLY day in the fast on which Fish is permitted!

We were blessed, on the Sunday of the Feast of the Transfiguration to have our priest and his Matushka come to our home. Father brought us Holy Communion (long story, short version: we are physically unable to attend Church), then he and Matushka stayed for a repast.

It was HOT - one of those over 100 degrees days. How to serve fish? Tuna salad, of course!

I drained 4 cans of tuna packed in olive oil (I wouldn't TOUCH that dried out stuff, or the tna packed in water - tasteless!) while I blanched and peeled tomatoes. Put the tomatoes back in to the refrigerator to chill down from the blanching.

Then I broke up the tuna until it was in very small pieces and placed it in a bowl. I added finely chopped celery and Vidalia onion (Father is allergic to onions, but can tolerate a small amount - I only used about 1/8th of a very small onion, whereas normally I would use 1/2 onion). I put the tuna into the refrigerator to chill.

When we were ready to eat, Matushka helped me "flower" the tomatoes, place them in individual beds of chopped Romaine, and heaped them with the tuna. I drizzled a small amount of olive oil over, and served with a choice of salad dressings. We had Southern sweeeeeeeet tea to drink. Next time, I'll serve fresh squeezed lemonade, as Father has problems with the oxalates in tea (as many people do).

Later he said it was the "perfect 100 degree day meal." I was so pleased.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hot Weather -

It is so hot . . .

First son has a heat problem - he had heat prostration several times while in the Army, and now must be very careful to not get overheated. This makes yard care rather difficult in the summer (which, for him, lasts from April through November). So the Ol' Curmudgeon, with his bad ticker, is having to "do" our yard. He broke down and got an electric lawnmower (got a *deal* on Amazon). So it is now early (relatively) on a Sat AM, and he's out there working on the lawn - chopping it back to a reasonable height.

Why the concern about yard? Well, we have a brand new Neighborhood Council. Never had one before, but faced with some of the real estate problems of the current market, it was decided that we needed one. Thank goodness it's NOT a "covenant community" kind of organization, but they are still nosy and want all the yards pruned. Have to invest in some "better living through chemistry" products to get rid of all the poison ivy and poison oak. Need to chop the English Ivy and Virginia Creeper down, too. For the parts in the trees, we just cut the link to the ground, and it will "die up" the tree and eventually fall off.

I'd just as soon dig it all up and put in Astroturf.

Oldest Son will be over shortly to clean the gutters and sweep the roof clear of the accumulated pinestraw and leaves. Shoulda-coulda-woulda done it last winter, and it will have to be done again in December - once all the leaves have fallen.

I'd just as soon replace the entire roof with photovoltaics, but the Ol' Curmudgeon says it would cost more than it would save in the long run, given our ages. O well, my attempts at "greening" are rather desultory. Living "green" for the most part means doing more ourselves - planting, gardening, recycling, etc. We are just too exhausted too much of the time to do that. It also would end up costing us more - example: to heat our house with wood (or at least part of the house), we'd have to have the chimney removed and rebuilt. Don't have the $$$ for THAT little project! We heated our house in SC very efficiently with a stove insert in the chimney with tubes and a fan that circulated the air warmed by the fire. We would go through about 1 cord of wood a year - that little stove was REALLY efficient, and didn't use much wood. I even made "logs" out of old newspaper until DH pointed out it would make the chimney more likely to burn because of the residue, so I quit doing that.

As far as planting goes, I've **never** been a "green" thumb person. My XH used to forbid me going into his garden because all I had to do was touch a plant and it would die! No joke! the Ol' Curmudgeon hasn't been a gardener for the entire 30 years we've been married. He says, "I don't do 'yard.' " Well, now he's talking about putting in a "square-foot" garden, elevated so he can get to it without bending over. I've put in my bid for several tomato plants. There is NOTHING like a fresh tomato, just picked from the vine and warm from the sun. Take your salt shaker with you, go out to the garden, and graze! That's my idea of salad. We'll see if he actually does it.

As far as recycling goes, once again it requires too much of MY energy. And I'm really not convinced of the efficacy of it. Now if I could just find a use for used cat litter ...

Well, time for breakfast. It's the Dormition Fast, so no butter, eggs, meat, etc. Toast, fruit juice and coffee.

The Ol' Curmudgeon has been baking bread, recently, so we'll probably have toasted Pain de Mie for breakfast. He even got a Matfer Bread Pan with Cover 15.75x4">from Amazon so he could make "real" Pain de Mie.

He's turning into quite the baker! I may have to "show him up" when I next have a good day.

Well, we stay indoors and try to keep cool. Speaking of cool, it is getting warmer "out there" and I need to call the Ol' Curmudgeon in. He forgets the time, sometimes, when he's concentrating on getting a task done.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sumpin' fer Nuttin'

Seems like more people are suing their docs and hospitals these days. I'm certainly getting plenty of work. But the stuff I'm seeing now differs from what I saw 10 years ago. Back then, most of the cases were pretty focused and even if not meritorious, at least I could see the connection between event and outcome and could understand a patient and his family thinking something went wrong.

Now, most of the cases I see not only are unfocused, but are totally unrelated to the events at hand. Many of the cases are nursing home cases that involve people in their 80's and 90's who have dementia of one sort or another, and finally die, frequently of simple old-age-related conditions. But because the person died, the family wants to be paid. Huh? "Aunt Hattie," whose closest relative is "great-nephew Barty" who lives 3 states over and never came to see her, finally dies and "Barty" thinks the nursing home "owes" him? For what?

Or the person who has chronic heart disease has a heart attack 3 days after having a perfectly normal stress test. Well, bad things happen to good people. Modern medicine isn't magic. It can't predict all conditions. And it isn't as if the person didn't know he had a bad ticker.

Some cases I do understand, and end up agreeing that there was a breach of the applicable standards of care. But all these cases I'm seeing these days are very frustrating to me. They are just giving me a bad taste in my mouth. Is this where the country is going? Everyone gets something for nothing?


Sunday, August 05, 2007

My Mind is Blank . . .

I'm totally without anything to say! Believe it or not!

Here is a pic from the picnic:

Aren't they cute?!

Friday, July 20, 2007

When Personal Horrors Become Family Disasters

Dr. Laura's Blog for 7/20/07 says in part:
... The evolution of talk radio and television news from information to confrontation, as well as the loss of any ethical foundation of print media (newspapers and magazines) and the unleashing of anonymous venom on the internet and blogs, have served not only to destroy reputations with undocumented vicious gossip, but have lowered the level of discourse and civility to an unbelievably dangerous level.
Decent folks who wish to serve their country in the military, politics, social work and other public arenas, become fodder for indecent attacks based upon ideology, with the sole purpose of eliminating their voices and ability to function.
Gone is the civility of negotiations, arbitrations, discussions, and debates.
Soon, only the indecent will reign. Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, etc., have only to wait; we are destroying our own society. MORE...

Dr. Laura is right on - all we have to do is wait, and our enemies will take over. We need to reclaim civility in this country. It needs to start with each of us - giving and expecting respect.

An idea of mine is that all schools should require: uniforms, civility. That means, at the least on the high school level, addressing each other as Miss or Mister, shaking hands when greeting each other (no hugging and kissing) and taking turns in arguments / debates. Every school should require at least one course in rhetoric - in which the rules of formal debate are observed and practiced. Public speaking. Both practical applied arithmetic (accounting) and higher math (algebra, geometry, trig, beginning calculus). Phys ed involving heavy, sweat-producing exercise should be required of all students (unless physically unable for acceptable medical reasons). English - both grammar and literature, essay-writing with tough grading standards; History, simple Agronomy, Climatology and Geography - integrated with a beginning understanding of how weather affects agriculture and thus invasion and wars.

Yes, standards must be toughened up and discipline enforced.

The "hows" can come after commitment to the concepts is achieved. At that time, the hows and wherefores can be determined. I do have some ideas about that, too, however, and will discuss them later.

Strawberry Shortcake!

OK, I'm tagging: Suzanne, Denise, Meg and Loch on this one!

Do not cheat on this one, go with the first dessert you picked..

If all of the desserts listed below were sitting in front of you, which would you choose (sorry, you can only pick one!) Trust me....this is very accurate. Pick your dessert, and then look to see what psychiatrists think about you. After taking this dessert personality test, send on to others, but when you do, be sure to put your choice of dessert in the subject box.

Here are your choices:

1. Angel Food Cake

2. Brownies

3. Lemon Meringue

4. Vanilla Cake With Chocolate Icing

5. Strawberry Short Cake

6. Chocolate on Chocolate

7. Ice Cream

8. Carrot Cake

No, you can't change your mind once you have selected, so think carefully what your choice will be..............

OK - Now that you've made your choice this is what the research says about you...

No Cheating!!

1. ANGEL FOOD CAKE -- Sweet, loving, cuddly. You love all warm and fuzzy items. A little nutty at times. Sometimes you need an ice cream cone at the end of the day. Others perceive you as being childlike and immature at times.

2. BROWNIES -- You are adventurous, love new ideas, and are a champion of underdogs and a slayer of dragons. When tempers flare up you whip out your saber. You are always the oddball with a unique sense of humor and direction. You tend to be very loyal.

3. LEMON MERINGUE -- Smooth, sexy, & articulate with your hands, you are an excellent after-dinner speaker and a good teacher. But don't try to walk and chew gum at the same time. A bit of a diva at times, but you have many friends.

4. VANILLA CAKE WITH CHOCOLATE ICING -- Fun-loving, sassy, humorous, not very grounded in life; very indecisive and lack motivation. Everyone enjoys being around you, but you are a practical joker. Others should be cautious in making you mad. However, you are a friend for life.

5. STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE -- Romantic, warm, loving. You care about other people, can be counted on in a pinch and expect the same in return. Intuitively keen. Can be very emotional.

6. CHOCOLATE ON CHOCOLATE -- Sexy; always ready to give and receive. Very creative, adventurous, ambitious, and passionate. You can appear to have a cold exterior but are warm on the inside. Not afraid to take chances. Will not settle for anything average in life. Love to laugh.

7. ICE CREAM -- You like sports, whether it be baseball, football, basketball, or soccer. If you could, you would like to participate, but you enjoy watching sports. You don't like to give up the remote control. You tend to be self-centered and high maintenance.

8. CARROT CAKE -- You are a very fun loving person, who likes to laugh. You are fun to be with. People like to hang out with you. You are a very warm hearted person and a little quirky at times. You have many loyal friends.

LOL! Of course, being the contrary person I am, I actually like all these desserts - I just like dessert! It depends on the day and time as to what I would choose!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Ol' Curmudgeon's Vacation is Over

Rats! I'm just bereft! Yes, I'll get more of my work done, but I'm very, very lonely. It was sooooo comfortable having him home for 2 weeks.

The most painful loneliness is to be next to your spouse and yet be unable to transmit your inner feelings, even as external messages are transmitted instantaneously from one hemisphere to another. It is painful loneliness for married couples to keep secrets from each other for years. It is painful when dialogue is non-existent between children and parents, between children and teachers, between children and clergy. There is no more cruel loneliness than for a family to sit for hours in front of the television without speaking a word among themselves. We live in a difficult time. Loneliness is at an all-time high. Man is lost. God is silent.

In this loneliness, in this desolation of the cities, in this apparent absence of God, man is called to gather his thoughts, to come to his senses, to put aside his many worldly preoccupations and to retire to his place of prayer ­ speechless, naked, a child ­ so that God may speak to him, clothe him, and endow him with spiritual maturity. Then his loneliness will become the divine loneliness of liberation and he will achieve a sense of fullness. Only such radical loneliness leads to a fundamental understanding and experience of God, destroying every hesitation, doubt and torment.

In this sacred loneliness man finds himself face-to-face with his existential poverty and the fear of death which it provokes. Yet, even here, there is the danger that he may choose procrastination as a solution and, for a time, set his panic-stricken self at ease. He may resume running back and forth endlessly, expanding social activities, and seeking a variety of entertainments ­ a program of extreme busyness. Other people, other things, work and extensive involvements may serve as a cover for his spiritual impoverishment ­ for a time. And he may continue wandering aimlessly, driven by circumstances, tormented, flirting with one thing and another, fighting, being torn ­ and finally annihilated.

A life of work without the liberation of communion with God is slavery. The struggle for excessive wealth is an incurable, tormenting disease. Fear of the future can stimulate greed, miserliness, hoarding. And God can be easily forgotten.

From The Community of the Desert and the Loneliness of the Cities - Monk Moses
Copyright: 1999, Holy Cross Orthodox Press, Brookline, MA
Source: taken from the book, Athonite Flowers

This gives me the direction for dealing with loneliness. Turn my mind toward God and seek communion with Him.

Monday, July 16, 2007

From the Depths of Pain

From the Depths of Pain

Why me?
Why not you?

It hurts
Many hurt more
Many hurt less
Not you

I used to climb trees
And skin my knees
I used to hike and camp
And chop wood for fires
I used to live in the outdoors
Chase children through the leaves
Play hide and seek
and tag

So you did
But no more

Why me?
Why not you?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Curmugeon Blogs On ...

It had to happen - the Ol' Curmudgeon now has his own blog! He'll be posting about 3 times a week.

Check it out!!

Silly Sayings

For a while I've been collecting sayings - some pithy, some common sense, some Biblical, some humorous, etc.

So I'm going to post some here from time to time.

~*~ “Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks” ~*~
~*~ Laugh every day; it's like inner jogging. ~*~
~*~ The most important things in your home are the people. ~*~
~*~ Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional. ~*~
~*~ There is no key to happiness. The door is always open. ~*~
~*~ Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance ~*~
~*~ Modern Man is the victim of the very instruments he values most. Every gain in power, every mastery of natural forces, every scientific addition to knowledge, has proved potentially dangerous, because it has not been accompanied by equal gains in self-understanding and self-discipline. ~*~
~*~ Lewis Mumford ~*~
~*~ Humor is our way of defending ourselves from life's absurdities by thinking absurdly about them. ~*~
~*~ Lewis Mumford ~*~
~*~ Our national flower is the concrete cloverleaf. ~*~
~*~ Lewis Mumford ~*~
~*~ A grudge is a heavy thing to carry. ~*~
~*~ Basic research is what I am doing when I don't know what I am doing. ~*~
~*~ Wernher von Braun ~*~
~*~ He who dies with the most toys is still dead. ~*~
~*~ We do not remember days, but moments. Life moves too fast, so enjoy your precious moments. ~*~
~*~ Nothing is real to you until you experience it; otherwise it's just hearsay. ~*~
~*~ It's all right to sit on your pity pot every now and again. Just be sure to flush when you are done. ~*~
~*~ Surviving and living your life successfully requires courage. The goals and dreams you're seeking require courage and risk-taking. Learn from the turtle, it only makes progress when it sticks out its neck. ~*~
~*~ Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. ~*~
~*~ Save the whales. Collect the whole set. ~*~
~*~ A day without sunshine is like...night. ~*~

Monday, June 04, 2007

Urban Legends About the Iraq War

Urban Legends About the Iraq War

In recent weeks, by claiming that President Bush lied us into the Iraq war, many on the Left have restarted their efforts to rewrite history. But this revisionism isn’t new. In the midst of the 2004 Presidential election, the cries were just as loud. The Bush Administration is finally pushing back, and many conservative bloggers are asking their readers to Google Clinton, Iraq, 1998 for all the information they need. Last fall, The American Enterprise debunked many of these same urban legends. Click here to purchase this issue.

Urban Legends About the Iraq War

Urban Legend: The Bush Administration in general, and the Vice President and his office in particular, pressured the Central Intelligence Agency to exaggerate evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Reality: Here is the verdict of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s bipartisan Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq: “The Committee did not find any evidence that intelligence analysts changed their judgments as a result of political pressure, altered or produced intelligence products to conform with administration policy, or that anyone even attempted to coerce, influence, or pressure analysts to do so. When asked whether analysts were pressured in any way to alter their assessments or make their judgments conform with administration policies on Iraq’s WMD programs, not a single analyst answered ‘yes.’”

Urban Legend: The President and his administration intentionally misled the country into war with Iraq—and the “16 words” that appeared in the 2003 State of the Union are the best proof of it. In the words of Senator Ted Kennedy, “The gross abuse of intelligence was on full display in the President’s State of the Union…when he spoke the now infamous 16 words: ‘The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.’… As we all now know, that allegation was false….”

Reality: On July 14, 2004—after a nearly half-year investigation—a special panel reported to the British Parliament that British intelligence had indeed concluded that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy uranium from Africa. The Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction, chaired by Lord Butler, summarized: “It is accepted by all parties that Iraqi officials visited Niger in 1999. The British government had intelligence from several different sources indicating that this visit was for the purpose of acquiring uranium…. The statement in President Bush’s State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that ‘The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa’ was well-founded.”

In the U.S., the Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community’s Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq revealed that the CIA considered it important that the Nigerian officials admitted that the Iraqi delegation had traveled there in 1999, and that the Nigerian Prime Minister believed the Iraqis were interested in purchasing uranium, because this provided some confirmation of foreign government service reporting.” The Select Committee on Intelligence also noted that the CIA reviewed and cleared the President’s State of the Union address....

Urban Legend: Helping democracy take root in Iraq was a postwar rationalization by the Bush administration; it was an argument that was not made prior to going to war. In the words of a November 13, 2003 New York Times editorial, “The White House recently began shifting its case for the Iraq war from the embarrassing unconventional weapons issue to the lofty vision of creating an exemplary democracy in Iraq.”

Reality: The President argued the importance of democracy taking root in Iraq before the war began. A February 27, 2003 New York Times editorial shatters the very myth the paper was perpetrating just nine months later: “President Bush sketched an expansive vision last night [in an American Enterprise Institute speech] of what he expects to accomplish by a war in Iraq. Instead of focusing on eliminating weapons of mass destruction, or reducing the threat of terror to the United States, Mr. Bush talked about establishing a ‘free and peaceful Iraq’ that would serve as a ‘dramatic and inspiring example’ to the entire Arab and Muslim world, provide a stabilizing influence in the Middle East, and even help end the Arab-Israeli conflict. The idea of turning Iraq into a model democracy in the Arab world is one some members of the administration have been discussing for a long time.” President Bush’s 2002 State of the Union made the same case….

Urban Legend: Saddam Hussein posed no threat. In the words of former Senator Max Cleland, “Iraq was no threat. We now know that. There are no weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear weapons programs, no ties to al-Qaeda. We now know that.”

Reality: Upon his return from Iraq, weapons inspector David Kay, head of the Iraq Survey Group, said in Senate testimony: “I think the world is far safer with the disappearance and the removal of Saddam Hussein…. I actually think this may be one of those cases where it was even more dangerous than we thought…. After 1998, it became a regime that was totally corrupt…. And in a world where we know others are seeking WMD, the likelihood at some point in the future of a seller and a buyer meeting up would have made that a far more dangerous country.”

Dr. Kay’s report noted that, “We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities and significant amounts of equipment that Iraq concealed from the United Nations during the inspections that began in late 2002.” He concluded, “Saddam, at least as judged by those scientists and other insiders who worked in his military-industrial programs, had not given up his aspirations and intentions to continue to acquire weapons of mass destruction…. Saddam intended to resume these programs whenever the external restrictions were removed. Several of these officials acknowledge receiving inquiries since 2000 from Saddam or his sons about how long it would take to restart CW [chemical weapons] production.”

Urban Legend: There were no links between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

Reality: The 9/11 Commission Report indicates that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan in late 1994 or early 1995 and that contacts continued after bin Laden relocated in Afghanistan. Iraq harbored senior members of a terrorist network led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an al-Qaeda associate. CIA Director George Tenet told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (in a 10/7/02 letter), “We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda going back a decade.” Senator Hillary Clinton stated on October 10, 2002 that Saddam “has given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members.” The Clinton administration tied Iraq to al-Qaeda back in 1998, arguing that Saddam Hussein had provided technical assistance in the construction of an al-Qaeda chemical plant in Sudan….

Urban Legend: President Bush and his administration wrongly tried to link Iraq and Saddam Hussein to the September 11 attacks. “President Bush should apologize to the American people” for this “plainly dishonest” effort, insists a New York Times editorial.

Reality: Neither President Bush nor any member of his foreign policy team has ever said Iraq was linked to the attacks of September 11. On September 17, 2003, for example, in response to a question from a reporter, President Bush said: “No, we’ve had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September 11.”

Urban Legend: President Bush has shown an “arrogant disrespect” for the United Nations on Iraq, according to Senator Ted Kennedy.

Reality: The administration devoted enormous time and energy to pass five separate U.N. Security Council Resolutions on Iraq, each by unanimous vote.... President Bush personally addressed the U.N. General Assembly in September 2002. The administration supported the work of Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N. special envoy in Iraq, and a continued U.N. role in Iraq’s political transition.

Urban Legend: The President launched a “unilateral attack on Iraq,” to use the words of former Vermont Governor Howard Dean.

Reality: The coalition that liberated Iraq ranks among the largest war coalitions ever assembled. President Bush in his 2004 State of the Union address: “Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador, and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq…. There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations, and submitting to the objections of a few. America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country.”

Urban Legend: Flights out of the country for members of the bin Laden family were allowed before national airspace reopened on September 13, 2001; there was political intervention to facilitate the departure of the bin Laden family from America; and the FBI did not properly screen them before their departure.

Reality: Here are excerpts from The 9/11 Commission Report: “First, we found no evidence that any flights of Saudi nationals, domestic or international, took place before the reopening of national airspace on the morning of September 13, 2001. To the contrary, every flight we have identified occurred after national airspace reopened.

Second, we found no evidence of political intervention. We found no evidence that anyone at the White House above the level of Richard Clarke participated in a decision on the departure of Saudi nationals....

Third, we believe that the FBI conducted a satisfactory screening of Saudi nationals who left the United States on charter flights.... The FBI interviewed all persons of interest on these flights prior to their departures. They concluded that none of the passengers was connected to the 9/11 attacks and have since found no evidence to change that conclusion. Our own independent review of the Saudi nationals involved confirms that no one with known links to terrorism departed on these flights.”

Published in The Year the Democratic Party Sailed to New England October-November 2004

Posted: November 16, 2005
This information was found online at:

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I'm so tired of all the myths (aka lies) posted by the miserable liberals. It's abot time someone dispelled some of them!!

In the Eye of the Beholder

Eye of the Beholder

by Victor Davis Hanson.

The American Enterprise Online

War torn Iraq has about 26 million residents, a peaceful California perhaps now 35 million. The former is a violent and impoverished landscape, the latter said to be paradise on Earth. But how you envision either place to some degree depends on the eye of the beholder and is predicated on what the daily media appear to make of each.

As a fifth generation Californian, I deeply love this state, but still imagine what the reaction would be if the world awoke each morning to be told that once again there were six more murders, 27 rapes, 38 arsons, 180 robberies, and 360 instances of assault in California yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day. I wonder if the headlines would scream about "Nearly 200 poor Californians butchered again this month!"

How about a monthly media dose of "600 women raped in February alone!" Or try, "Over 600 violent robberies and assaults in March, with no end in sight!" Those do not even make up all of the state's yearly 200,000 violent acts that law enforcement knows about.

Iraq's judicial system seems a mess. On the eve of the war, Saddam let out 100,000 inmates from his vast prison archipelago. He himself sat in the dock months after his trial began. But imagine an Iraq with a penal system like California's with 170,000 criminals - an inmate population larger than those of Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Singapore combined. Just to house such a shadow population costs our state nearly $7 billion a year or about the same price of keeping 40,000 Army personnel per year in Iraq. What would be the image of our Golden State if we were reminded each morning, "Another $20 million spent today on housing our criminals"?

Some of California's most recent prison scandals would be easy to sensationalize: "Guards watch as inmates are raped!" Or "Correction officer accused of having sex with under-aged detainee!" And apropos of Saddam's sluggish trial, remember that our home state multiple murderer, Tookie Williams, was finally executed in December 2005 - TWENTY SIX years after he was originally sentenced.

Much is made of the inability to patrol Iraq's borders with Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Turkey. But California has only a single border with a foreign nation, not six. Yet over 3 million foreigners who sneaked in illegally now live in our state. Worse, there are about 15,000 convicted alien felons incarcerated in our penal system, costing about $500 million a year. Imagine the potential tabloid headlines: "Illegal aliens in state comprise population larger than San Francisco!" or "Drugs, criminals, and smugglers given free pass into California!"

Every year, over 4,000 Californians die in car crashes - more than the number of Americans lost so far in the years of combat operations in Iraq. In some sense, then, our badly maintained roads, and often poorly trained and sometimes intoxicated drivers, are even more lethal than IED's (Improvised Explosive Devices.) Perhaps tomorrow's headline might scream out at us: "300 Californians to perish this month on state highways! Hundreds more will be maimed and crippled!"

In 2001, California had 32 days of power outages, despite paying nearly the highest rates for electricity in the United States. Before complaining about the smoke in Baghdad rising from private generators, think back to the run on generators in California when they were contemplated as a future part of every household's line of defense.

We're told that Iraq's finances are a mess. Yet until recently, so were California's. Two years ago, Governor Schwarzenegger inherited a $38 billion annual budget shortfall. That could have made for strong morning newscast teasers: "Another $100 million borrowed today - $3 billion more in red ink to pile up by month's end!"

So is California comparable to Iraq? Hardly. Yet it could easily be sketched by a reporter intent on doing so as a bankrupt, crime-ridden area with murderous highways, tens of thousands of inmates, with wide-open borders.

I myself recently returned home to California, without incident, from a visit to Iraq's notorious Sunni Triangle. While I was gone, a drug-addicted criminal with a long list of convictions broke into our kitchen at 4 a.m. Was surprised by my wife and daughter, and fled with our credit cards, cash, keys, and cell phones. Sometimes I wonder who really was safer that week.

(c)2006 Victor Davis Hanson

- - - - - - -

Victor Davis Hanson is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a Professor Emeritus at California University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services.

He was a full-time farmer before joining California State University, Fresno, in 1984 to initiate a classics program. In 1991, he was awarded an American Philological Association Excellence in Teaching Award, which is given yearly to the country's top undergraduate teachers of Greek and Latin.

Hanson was a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California
(1992_93), a visiting professor of classics at Stanford University
(1991_92), a recipient of the Eric Breindel Award for opinion journalism
(2002), and an Alexander Onassis Fellow (2001) and was named alumnus of the year of the University of California, Santa Cruz (2002).

He was also the visiting Shifrin Chair of Military History at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland (2002_3).

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This guy is right on.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Saints Alive!

Cribbed this from Denise!

1. Name four of your favourite Saints.
2. Name one who was well on the way to sanctity, is widely venerated already and very likely to be made a Saint in due course.
3. Name one who isn't yet publicly declared a saint but probably should be made a Saint.

1 {{WHINE!!}} Only 4?!? Can't I list more?!?

A The Theotokos

B St. Elizabeth, Mother of the Forerunner

C St. Macrina the elder

D St. Theodore the Recruit

2 Father Seraphim Rose - but I suppose everyone thinks he is a soon-to-be-saint!

3 Archbishop Alexander (Mileant)

I Be a Literature Nerd!

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.

It's okay. I understand.

Drama Nerd
Science/Math Nerd
Social Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
Artistic Nerd
Anime Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quizzes for MySpace

Friday, May 11, 2007


On May 10, 2007, Neal Boortz printed the following article in his Neal's Nuze. I refer you to the webpage, but you'll have to scroll down to get to it. Each article isn't individually linked.

How do you feel about border control now? It turns out that the three of the Muslims arrested in connection with the terrorist plot to attack Fort Dix are, in fact, illegal aliens. There is no documentation that they came into this country, which means that they were smuggled across the border. And not only that, but they have lived in the United States and enjoyed the benefits of being U.S. citizens (even though they are not) for 23 years, since 1984. Wow, maybe I had hair then!

Border control is vitally important to the safety and integrity of this country. I don't care whose feelings are getting hurt by preventing them from entering illegally. If you can't do it legally, if you can't follow the proper laws of entry, then stay where you are. We don't want you here. And even more so, I don't want terrorists in my country. And guess what folks, they didn't come from the Canadian border. They came from Mexico, as we know because they entered the U.S. near Brownsville, TX. More...

Just love Boortz...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

82 Year Old Ex-Beauty Queen Thwarts Thieves!!

WAYNESBURG, Ky. — Miss America 1944 has a talent that likely has never appeared on a beauty pageant stage: She fired a handgun to shoot out a vehicle's tires and stop an intruder.

Venus Ramey, 82, confronted a man on her farm in south-central Kentucky last week after she saw her dog run into a storage building where thieves had previously made off with old farm equipment. MORE...

Well good for her!! We need more people like this!! Yeaaa Venus Ramey!!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Dr Laura's Blog: A Lesson from the Massacre

Dr. Laura said, in part:

As a mother I, of course, thought about how horrendous this whole nightmare is to the families of the victims as well as all the emotional damage to the survivors. From listening to the reports on this heinous occurrence, I heard repeatedly that the shooter had to reload several times and went from classroom to classroom. As a military mom, I immediately wished that our young people had the same obligation and experience that all young folks in Israel have: two years of military training and service. Those reloading and trolling periods were windows of opportunity that only young folks trained militarily would have been able to use to subdue or terminate the perp and save many lives. MORE HERE

As the mother of 3 adult children who all served in the miltary, as the wife of men who served in the miltary (both XH and my FINAL husband :-)), as the daughter of a man who served in the miltary, as the daugher-in-law of men who served in the military, as the granddaughter of a man who served in the military - I can only agree! My XH's grandfather was the first man on Utah beach on D-Day and is mentioned several times in The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan.

With that background, I hope you can understand that I strongly favor military training for all youth. I also believe that an armed populance is the greatest deterrant both to crime and invasion.

And I believe that we have become a country full of WIMPS!

Our country is worth defending, and I'd rather see that defense take place BEFORE we are attacked and invaded.

I'm sure I'll get some nasty comments. but I challenge you to search for the FACTS on gun ownership and universal military participation.


Monday, April 16, 2007

It's Not Just a Black Thing

The USA's younger generation is being wooed by the flashy hip-hop lifestyle, which has gone increasingly mainstream — from baggy fashions and bejeweled 'grillz' to 'pimp and ho' slang. But a growing chorus of cultural critics is wondering "At what cost?"

Journalist Cora Daniels stumbled on the first raw material for her new book quite literally on her Brooklyn doorstep, where teenagers found it terrifically fun and "ghetto" to play cards, drink beer and cuss into the wee hours on school nights.

Several months and a few thousand miles later, she argues in Ghettonation that a "ghetto" mind-set — which she says celebrates the worst of human nature — has taken hold coast to coast.

"Ghetto" styles, from wearing gaudy jewelry to using the n-word in ordinary conversation, have caught on with teens and young adults who aren't black, yet who seem to enjoy imitating famous hip-hop artists such as 50 Cent and Three 6 Mafia.

The "ghetto-ization" of America, which includes everything from baggy clothes to racial slurs and slacker attitudes, is triggering concern far beyond urban neighborhoods. Last week, white radio host Don Imus lost his job at CBS after he used "ho" (hip-hop slang for "whore") on the air, and drew widespread condemnation. MORE . . .

Horrible - hip-hop is not a good thing!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Culture of Corruption: Dianne Feinstein Edition?

My goodness - where in the world is the main-stream media?? Dianne Feinstein has to resign, apparently under pressure, from an important committee because of monetary conflicts of interest?

According to MetroActive, she resigned quietly (where was the MSM?) from a Military Construction Appropriations committee after a conflict of interest involving her husband, tens of millions of dollars in defense and construction contracts, etc. surfaced in January.

MetroActive speculates that the resignation was due to the impending release of a scathing expose (funded by
The Nation) that threatened to blow the lid off the air-tight kettledrum of ethical problems.
Hmmm - let me see, it'a ok for Feinstein's husband to benefit from military contracts, but it isn't ok for Cheney to benefit from military contracts. Is that right?

Disillusioned about Bush

“The Bush administration is embroiled in the most ridiculous non-scandal scandal in human history—set off when the administration stupidly apologized for firing its own employees. U.S. attorneys are political appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president... Democrats have the breathtaking audacity to claim that Bush’s replacing his own political appointees is ‘politicizing prosecutions.’ They say this as Sandy Berger walks free after stealing and destroying top-secret national security documents—but Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby faces decades in prison for not outing a covert agent. (Let’s hope he’s learned his lesson!)... They say this while Sen. Teddy Kennedy is still at large (and getting larger)... The president has absolute authority to fire U.S. attorneys, hold investigative hearings and grant pardons. What’s he worried about? That the media will be hysterical and Democrats will call him names? Constantly apologizing doesn’t seem to have worked out too well for him either. How about doing something for the Americans who elected him? Ah, but I see he has! As we go to press, news comes across the transom that Bush has withdrawn the nomination of Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium because Democrats are upset that Fox gave a donation to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. There’s no hope.” —Ann Coulter

If Coulter is disillusioned about Bush, who's next? Rush?

We don't see Bush doing the things we elected him to do. More and more he is caving in to the radical right and the wimpy pacifists.

History will tell if we are right, or wrong; whether Bush is right or wrong. But from where we sit, this is a miserable example of national leadership.

Ethanol: Time to steer away

“The jump in ethanol use certainly didn’t come about because of a groundswell of popular demand; it came about, like so many bad ideas, because of a government mandate. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 required that 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel (mostly ethanol) be added to the gasoline supply last year. It goes up to 4.7 billion this year and to 7.5 billion in 2012. But ethanol lowers fuel economy—according to the Department of Energy, a gallon of ethanol contains only two-thirds the energy content of a gallon of gasoline. And you’re actually paying more for less performance. It’s difficult... to transport ethanol from its Midwestern home base to far-off markets, and that adds to the price you pay at the pump. Ethanol can’t be sent in an energy-efficient way through pipelines like gasoline can, because it would be contaminated by moisture along the way. Ethanol must be shipped instead by trucks, barges and railroads. And that brings us to ethanol’s environmental impact. After all, shipping by truck, barge or rail uses... well, fossil fuels. So the more ethanol we move, the more fossil fuel we use—which, Al Gore and Company tell us repeatedly, spews the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. In addition, all that extra corn farming means more fertilizer and pesticide use, along with increased irrigation. More diesel fuel will be needed to run the tractors and the harvesters. In the end... ethanol may wind up putting about as much carbon dioxide into the air as it takes out. So, from an environmental perspective, we’ll be paying more to more or less maintain the status quo.” —Rebecca Hagelin
We've been suspicious of ethanol for quite a while. This editorial makes sense, and it is well researched. Check it out!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dr. Laura's Challenge

I'm not a Dr. Laura fanatic, in fact, I disagree with her on some things. But in this article, she is absolutly RIGHT ON!!

Go Dr. Laura!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"You are just a sweet person. When a friend needs a shoulder to cry on, you are happy to offer yours with a box of tissues as well. Once in awhile, you wish you could be a little more dramatic but then sensibility sets back in and you know that you are perfect the way you are."

I don't really fit this, I don't think - certainly I'm NOT perfect! But it was a fun quiz!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Lord of the Rings

We are watching the Lord of the Rings for the 24th time. I've heard comments about Frodo and Samwise being gay. All I can say after reading the entire series a bunch of times, including most of the other, ancillary, books, is that people just don't understand deep male friendships outside of sexuality. I'm beginning to think that any deep friendships are suspect.

This was not a problem years ago, but it is now. I think it reflects the general sexualization of our society.

A shame.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Misplaced Priorities?

What is it about the media and our politicians?

We have thousands of illegal aliens crossing our borders, setting up housekeeping and sucking down resources without paying taxes themselves.

We have our military in harm's way in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Iran is threatening the free world with nuclear meltdown.

Islamic terrorists are threatening Europe and the N American continent.

And the media and politicians are obsessing over the firing of 6 non-productive federal prosecutors?

Sorry - I just don't get it.

It's as though they have all gone crazy and think the only news is inside the DC beltway. Sorry, this country is much bigger than that little island of political intrigue and sleezy scandal.

Wake up!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Getting to Know Your Friends - Part ???

Welcome to the new edition of "getting to know your friends". Just copy this entire article and paste into a new e-mail that you can send. Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know.

Some of you may get this several times -- that's the fun of having friends who will play!

1.What is your occupation? Legal Nurse Consultant

2. What color are your socks right now? White with Red and Purple hats on them! :-)

3. What are you listening to right now? The Purr of my Cat (Magnus the Magnificat)

4. What was the last thing you ate? Toast and a banana

5. Can you drive a stick shift? yep

6. Favorite color to wear: the blue-green spectrum with emphasis on teal

7. Last person you talked to on the phone? A client

8. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes

9. How old are you today? Guess!?

10. Favorite drink: Hot tea (yumm)

11. What is your favorite sport to watch? Figure Skating

12. Have you ever dyed your hair? No!! I earned every bit of the gray.

13. Pets? Yes - 3 furry felines who own us

14. Favorite food? sushi

15. What was the last movie you watched? I don't remember! And it was just last night!

16. Favorite day of the year? Pascha!!

17. What do you do to vent anger? Sigh -- a LOT

18. What was your favorite toy as a child? My Bicycle

19.What is your favorite season? Spring!

20. Hugs or kisses? Hugs!

21. Cherry or Blueberry? Neither - Yuck! I like raspberries, cranberries and strawberries

22. Do you want your friends to email you back? Yes

23. Who is most likely to respond? Don't have a clue.

24. Who is least likely to respond? “ “ “ “

25. Living arrangements? Married happily

26. When was the last time you cried? 2 days ago

27. What is on the floor of your closet? Everything not on a rack or on a shelf

28. Who is the friend you're sending this to that you have known the Longest? I'm blogging it, so who knows who will read it??

29. What did you do last night? Finished up a case I was working on all day

This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Syriac Prayer

Create eyes in me, and so may I see with Thy eyes,
for I cannot see with my own eyes.

May my mind travel inwards
towards the hiddenness of Thy sacrifice,
just as Thou hast travelled out into the open
and been cojoined to Thy Mysteries.

At this moment
may I be totally forgetful of myself,
and remain utterly unmindful
of my own person.

May every bodily image
be wiped away from my mind's Eye,
and may Thou alone
be depicted before the Eye of my mind.

And now, when Thy Spirit descends from heaven
upon your Mysteries,
may I ascend in spirit from earth to heaven.

-- Prayers of Joseph the Visionary in "The Syriac Fathers On Prayer And The Spiritual Life," translated from the original Syriac-Aramaic by Sebastian Brock, Cistercian Publications. Adapted to Thee-Thou.

But Y'all Kin Call Me Elizabeth...

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Lady Madame Elizabeth the Convincing of Bartonhurst in the River
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Friday, February 16, 2007

Only Old Folks Know the Answers. . .

From an e-mail - too good to not publish here!

01. After the Lone Ranger saved the day and rode off into the sunset, the grateful citizens would ask, Who was that masked man? Invariably, someone would answer, I don't know, but he left this behind. What did he leave behind?____________

02. When the Beatles first came to the U. S. in early
1964, we all watched them on The __________________ Show.

03. "Get your kicks, ___________________."

04. "The story you are about to see is true. The names have been changed___________________."

05. "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, ________________."

06. After the Twist, The Mashed Potato, and the Watusi, we "danced" under a stick that was lowered as low as we could go in a dance called the "_____________."

07. "N_E_S_T_L_E_S", Nestle's makes the very best _______________."

08. Satchmo was America's "Ambassador of Goodwill." Our parents shared this great jazz trumpet player with us. His name was _________________.

09. What takes a licking and keeps on ticking? _______________

10. Red Skelton's hobo character was named __________________ and Red always ended his television show by saying, "Good Night, and "_______________".

11. Some Americans who protested the Vietnam War did so by burning their____________.

12. The cute little car with the engine in the back and the trunk in the front was called the VW. What other names did it go by? ____________ & _______________.

13. In 1971, singer Don MacLean sang a song about, "the day the music died." This was a tribute to ___________________.

14. We can remember the first satellite placed into orbit. The Russians did it. It was called ___________________.

15. One of the big fads of the late 50's and 60's was a large plastic ring that we twirled around our waist. It was called the ________________

Scroll Down for the Answers........


01. The Lone Ranger left behind a silver bullet.
02. The Ed Sullivan Show
03. On Route 66
04. To protect the innocent.
05. The Lion sleeps tonight
06. The limbo
07. Chocolate
08. Louis Armstrong
09. The Timex watch
10. Freddy, The Freeloader, and "Good Night, and may God Bless."
11. Draft cards (Bras were also burned.)
12. Beetle or Bug
13. Buddy Holly
14. Sputnik
15. Hoola-hoop

Oldie but Goodie!!

Years ago, Fr. Joseph Huneycutt posted this on the "O" list. It was funny then, and is still funny, now. It's copyrighted, so please don't take it without the copyright notice and the website reference!!


10) At Pentecost, your church is decorated with Kudzu.

9) You spell "feast" with only three letters: B B Q.

8) You say "Father," "Barsonuphios," and "Monastery" without any pronouncing an "r."

7) You drive 3 hours to an Orthodox Church. But, could hop ... on one foot ... with your eyes closed ... (and a rock in your shoe) ... to the nearest Baptist Church.

6) All your services are all in English -- at least that's what YOU call it.

5) There's women in your church known as: Photini Beth, Thecla Beth, and Elizabeth Beth.

4) There's men going by: Athanasius Lee, Euphrosynos Lee, and Vasiliy Lee.

3) You got white folks, black folks -- even Democrats -- in your parish, but no Russians, Serbians, Arabs or Greeks.

2) You know someone who knows someone who knows someone with a velvet picture of Elvis celebrating the Last Supper.

AND ... the number one sign that you are an Orthodox Southerner:

1) You think grits are too good to be considered fasting!

(copyright 2000 - Fr Joseph Huneycutt)

Now, I'm very ROC (Redneck Orthodox Christian), but in my parish we do have Russians, Serbians, Arabs and Greeks - and most of them speak English with a Southern drawl! The services are partially in Slavonic - with a Southern drawl. And I *do* know someone with a velvet picture of Elvis celebrating the Last Supper!

I think this list from "Memoirs of a Neophyte" is more to the point:
You know you’re Orthodox if...
• On Wednesdays and Fridays you eat Japanese food.
• You are more comfortable standing in church than sitting.
• You can suck/vacuum up the crumbs of bread out of your hand without coughing.
• You can sing ison to any song (and you know what an ison is… LoL).
• Lent to you means peanut butter, tofu, soy, lots and lots of pita bread and hummus, and services at least five times a week.
• You’re used to skipping breakfast on Sundays.
• On your first encounter with long words, you pronounce them stressing the ‘next to the next to last’ syllable.
• You wonder why the Pope crosses himself backwards when you see him on TV.
• You wear comfortable shoes to church, because you know you’ll be standing a long, long time.
• To you, a ‘topless’ gal is one without a headscarf.
• You get great deals on Easter candy.
• You spend time figuring out the best way to remove smoke stains from your ceiling and wax from your walls.
• When you see a shopping-mall Santa, your first instinct is to hold out your hands to get his blessing.
• Before you pray, you say a prayer.
• You don’t flinch when someone throws water at you.
• When you first tell people who ask what religion you are, at first they think you’re Jewish. Oy!
• You’re experienced at removing wax from clothing.
• The service routinely starts at least 15 minutes late and lasts 2 ½ hours — and nobody around you complains.
• You consider any service two hours or under short/regular.
• You know you’re in an Orthodox church when the priest says, “Let us complete our prayer to the Lord”, and there’s still half an hour to go.
• At the end of Holy Week, you have rug burns on your forehead.
• Your Easter isn’t Easter without an all-night party (featuring 10 dishes of sausage with cheese).
• Your priest is married.
• You have seen all members of clergy in purple robes.
• You can differentiate between the eight different chanting tones.
• You typically celebrate a feast day by observing strict fasting.
• You celebrate feast days the night before.
• You address the City as Constantinople instead of Istanbul.
• You can say "Lord have mercy" 40 times without making a mistake.
• You say 'unto the ages of ages.' instead of 'world without end.'