Friday, February 27, 2009

Oscar Meme- A La Me

Middle Aged Woman at Unmitigated has a post that covers the years 1981-2009.  Go check it out.  Our dates overlap because I give the year the award was given not the year of release.  Just because that was the way IMDB had it.

Movies are, I think, the quintessential American art form.  And in honor of the Oscar's that I didn't watch, let's take a look down memory lane. 
I begin with 1940.  I chose this year for two films: The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind.  The films prior to this awards year, while good, are old enough that most people have no idea what they are. Besides, I think you can argue the GWTW and The Wizard of Oz have had a lasting impact on American culture.  Winners are listed first.  Bold face are the ones I've seen.

1940- Gone With The Wind, Dark Victory, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Love Affair, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz, Wuthering Heights

1941- Rebecca, All This and Heaven Too, The Foreign Correspondent, The Grapes of Wrath, The Great Dictator, Kitty Foyle, The Letter, The Long Voyage Home, Our Town, The Philadelphia Story

1942- How Green Was My Valley, Blossom in the Dust, Citizen Kane, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Hold Back the Dawn, The Little Foxes, The Maltese Falcon, One Foot in Heaven, Sergeant York, Suspicion

1943- Mrs. Miniver , 49th Parallel,  Kings Row, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Pied Piper, The Pride of the Yankees, Random Harvest, The Talk of the Town, Wake Island, Yankee Doodle Dandy

1944- Casablanca, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Heaven Can Wait, The Human Comedy, In Which We Serve, Madame Curie, The More the Merrier, The Ox-Bow Incident, The Song of Bernadette, Watch on the Rhine

1945- Going My Way, Double Indemnity, Gaslight, Since You Went Away, Wilson

1946- The Lost Weekend, Anchors Aweigh, The Bells of St. Mary's, Mildred Pierce, Spellbound

1947- The Best Years of Our Lives, The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fift with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France, It's a Wonderful Life, The Razor's Edge, The Yearling

1948- Gentleman's Agreement, The Bishop's Wife, Crossfire, Great Expectations, Miracle on 34th Street

1949- Hamlet, Johnny Belinda, The Red Shoes, The Snake Pit, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

1950- All the King's Men, Battleground, The Heiress, A Letter to Three Wives, Twelve O'Clock High

1951- All About Eve, Born Yesterday, Father of the Bride, King Solomon's Mines
Sunset Blvd

1952- An American in Paris, Decision Before Dawn, A Place in the Sun, Quo Vadis, A Streetcar Named Desire

1953- The Greatest Show on Earth, High Noon, Ivanhoe, Moulin Rouge, The Quiet Man

1954- From Here to Eternity, Julius Caesar, The Robe, Roman Holiday, Shane

1955- On the Waterfront, The Caine Mutiny, The Country Girl, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Three Coins in the Fountain

1956- Marty, Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, Mister Roberts, Picnic, The Rose Tattoo

1957- Around the World in Eighty Days, Friendly Persuasion, Giant, The King and I, The Ten Commandments

1958- The Bridge on the River Kwai, 12 Angry Men, Peyton Place, Sayonara, Witness for the Prosecution

1959- Gigi, Auntie Mame, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Defiant Ones, Separate Tables

1960- Ben-Hur, Anatomy of a Murder, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Nun's Story, Room at the Top

1961- The Apartment, The Alamo, Elmer Gantry, Sons and Lovers, The Sundowners

1962- West Side Story, Fanny, The Guns of Navarone, The Hustler, Judgment at Nuremberg

1963- Lawrence of Arabia, The Longest Day, The Music Man, Mutiny on the Bounty, To Kill a Mockingbird

1964- Tom Jones, America, America, Cleopatra, How the West Was Won, Lilies of the Field

1965- My Fair Lady, Alexis Zorbas, Becket, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Mary Poppins

1966- The Sound of Music, Darling, Doctor Zhivago , Ship of Fools, A Thousand Clowns

1967- A Man for All Seasons, Alfie, The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming, The Sand Pebbles, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1968- In the Heat of the Night, Bonnie and Clyde, Doctor Dolittle, The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

1969- Oliver!, Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter,  Rachel, Rachel, Romeo and Juliet

1970- Midnight Cowboy, Anne of the Thousand Days, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Hello, Dolly! , Z

1971- Patton, Airport, Five Easy Pieces, Love Story, MASH

1972- The French Connection, A Clockwork Orange, Fiddler on the Roof, The Last Picture Show, Nicholas and Alexandra

1973- The Godfather, Cabaret, Deliverance, Sounder, Utvandrarna

1974- The Sting, American Graffiti, The Exorcist, A Touch of Class, Viskningar och rop

1975- The Godfather: Part II, Chinatown, The Conversation, Lenny, The Towering Inferno

1976- One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Barry Lyndon, Dog Day Afternoon, Jaws, Nashville

1977- Rocky, All The President's Men, Bound for Glory, Network, Taxi Driver

1978- (Otherwise known as the year that shall live in infamy)
Annie Hall, The Goodbye Girl, Julia, Star Wars, The Turning Point

1979- The Deer Hunter, Coming Home, Heaven Can Wait, Midnight, An Unmarried Woman

1980- Kramer vs. Kramer, All That Jazz, Apocalypse Now, Breaking Away, Norma Rae

New Look Redux

Okay, I've done it again.  I changed my template. Obviously.  And I must say I like this one for so many reasons.  First off, it's functionality is much better.  It was written specifically for the new Blogger and works much better. 

More importantly, the person who wrote it is really great at communicating fixes and how to tweek the code.  One of the things I missed from the last template was 1) I couldn't see the nav bar and 2) I couldn't see the quick edit icons.  With this template, I can fix both so that they're visible.  All because the author gives detailed, clear instructions that don't assume a level of html knowledge that his users don't have.  It's amazing.

Plus, it looks pretty damn cool.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's February 26th

And I just turned on the AC because it was 81 degrees in my house when I got home from work.

We went to dinner and then the grocery store and expected to come home to nice, cool house.  No dice.  Since this was the first time the AC had been run in, oh at least 2 months, it of course decided not to cool.

Seems like the AC filter was full of Myrddin hair and other unmentionables and froze up.  All is well (and cool) now that we let it rest while putting away the groceries and beat the worst of the dust out of the filter.  Since we just got back from the store and really didn't want to make a return trip for a new one.

Anyway, living in Texas is always an adventure.  We can go from 80 degrees one day to near freezing the next.  So while I haven't seen snow in almost a decade, I do get to run the AC in what's supposed to be winter. 

Speaking of this mild weather, this is the last week of Girl Scout Cookie sales in our area.  This is the first time in 13 years that I've not had cookies taking over my house and my weekends filled with cookie booths.  I've joked for a long time that winter doesn't really start in Austin until January 18th or thereabouts when the sale starts.  This year, it's been really mild weather.  I think that's patently unfair.  I froze my ass off for years and now this global climate change crap is making cookie sales a breeze.  And when we were selling cookies it seemed like I couldn't turn around without tripping over a Girl Scout.  This year, I've seen two booths. Two!  And the only cookies I bought were from Daisies.  That's just wrong.

Ask me if I miss selling cookies.  Really.  Don't be shy.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's Wednesday

It must be time for weird news from around the globe or at least the continent.

We begin in Florida where the state cosmetology board has moved to ban the practice of letting fish nibble away dead skin.  The practice that hails from Asia wasn't even offered, as far as the board was aware, in any salons in the state but folks were making inquiries so they decided to nip it in the bud, so to speak.  Citing the fact that it was impossible to sanitize a bowl full of fish between clients as their reason, the board banned the treatment. I've heard of this "spa treatment" before and it sounds intriguing and like it probably tickles.

In Johannesburg, South Africa, a 4-year-old hippo has taken up residence in a water treatment plant.  He managed to enter the facility because the fence was stolen.  Who steals a fence? Anyway, they've named the fellow Zorro in honor of the Z-shaped scar on his back.

You've heard that excessive playing of video games is responsible for the general downfall of western civilization.  Makes those who play the games violent and anti-social.  Apparently it also causes a medical condition known as "PlayStation palmar hidradentitis".  The disorder causes painful lumps under the skin from holding the controller too tightly.  Sony points out that only one person was involved in the study and they include health guidelines in their manuals.  How does a study comprising one participant make it into the British Journal of Dermatology?

From PlayStation to Facebook.  A 19-year-old man was arrested in Florida for snatching a laptop to check his Facebook account. He was charged with, and this is the best part, "robbery by sudden snatching" after being refused access to check his account.

And last we have some really dumb teens.  They stole a safe containing antique money from one of their parents and a van, drove to Alabama from Michigan and tried to get change for a $1000 bill.  Seems like they weren't aware that the US Treasury last printed $1000 bills in 1945 thus tipping off the bank teller that something was amiss.  D'oh!

Slim pickings today.  Hopefully the crazies will be out in force next week.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spin Cycle-Change

In which I attempt to satisfy both Sprite's Keeper's meme and talk about transgender issues.  It's Tuesday, right?
My transfriend has had a set back.  He had made an appointment with a endocrinologist to begin hormone therapy but the doctor has told him that she doesn't feel comfortable handling his situation.  Because she's not compentent, she says.  Riiight.  She's not competent to give him a prescription or shots or whatever.  I kinda thought that was part of what an endocrinologist did.  Prescribe hormone therapy when needed.

Oh, I see, that's the problem.  She doesn't think it's a real need.  So her bias against transgender people has delayed an integral part of my friend's transition.

Now we come to the change part.

This, my friends, needs to change.  The medical community needs to accept that being trans is not a psychological disorder.  Do you know, he has to be first "diagnosed" with Gender Dysphoria or Gender Identity Disorder before many insurance companies and many, many doctors will help him.  So, he has to in effect be diagnosed as mentally ill.  This is madness.

Just as homosexuality is not a physchological disorder, even though it was once defined as such, neither is being transgender.  Just because the men in the white coats define the thing they are uncomfortable with as a disease or illness does not make it so.  And just because we don't understand how someone can be male when they were born biologically female does not negate the fact that this is so. 

We cannot divorce the mind from the body.  To do so ignores how each affects the other.  When you start talking about something as nebulous and difficult to define as our sense of self, how we see ourselves and how we want to be seen, you enter a world that is many, many, many shades of grey. 

Male and Female.  These are at essence limiting labels. Within ourselves, we recognize behaviours and outlooks that are both feminine and masculine.  Even the most hyper male man has something that he experiences or feels that skews more feminine.  I remember, and this is really telling my age, when Rosey Greer came out of the needlepoint closet.  This was a former professional football player who had a serious hobby that in the eyes of many at the time brought his sexuality into question.  If the big macho football player can do needlepoint, then I think it's safe to say that we limit ourselves by defining gender roles in a strict male/female dichotomy.

And its time to change that.  Real men do eat quiche.  Some of the most insane football fans I know are women.  They are neither any less a woman or a man because of it.

If you can recognize the masculine in yourselves, ladies, then how can you deny that my trans friend has the right to live his life as he was born. 

Change comes when it must.  When the momentum of history forces it to the forefront of our collective consciousness and we can no longer deny its exisistence, change sweeps through our lives.  We are seeing just such a change in terms of the understanding of homosexuality.  Transgender acceptance is next.  The change in how we perceive ourselves will be radical. 

And we will be better for it.

Dogs, Cars & Comments

It's Random Tuesday again!

I have "fixed" the comments.  Meaning I removed JS-Kit and we're back to Blogger comments.  While I really like the JS-Kit system I could not for the life of me get it to work.  If I just left it alone, I suppose it would've been okay, but whenever I tried to do something to personalize it, the dreaded html got in the way.  The website was less than helpful since they assumed a level of knowledge that poor little old me did not have.

So, comment away but no more nifty "latest post" or posting using your Facebook account.  Not that anyone did.

And sorry to those comments and their authors that got lost in the shuffle.

So, my biggest problem lately has been the dog- Myrddin the Goofy one.  He's a nutcase.  (See the picture in the sidebar) He absolutely hates the leash.  He's actually terrified of it.  Not really sure why.  It could be, I suppose, that the first time we tried to put him on the leash and take him for a walk with Rowan we used this really insane torture device nifty double lead.  Problem was that Rowan outweighed him by about 30 or 40 pounds and hadn't been on a walk for a while.  Rowan gets excited.  And likes to charge out the door.  Especially since that's the quickest way to cross the evil tile in the foyer.  Myrddin was not sure he liked the whole leash concept and then Rowan took off.  Poor puppy was literally drug out the door at high speed.  We think his feet may have left the ground.  He bounced along until about six feet past the door when Rowan pulled his collar completely off.  Myrddin sat there in a daze, looking frightened and well, frightened.  Wouldn't you if something 3 times your size drug you out the front door while attached to a lead like a flag unfurling behind him?  And your ass bumped along while your feet scrambled madly for purchase?  This was Myrddin's first experience with the leash.  Could be he has cause.  Hmm.

Any way, after much cajoling and some irrational anger, I managed to get the leash attached last night.  Myrddin proceeded to plant his ass and dig in.  I had to drag him around the couch and out the door.  It was unpleassant for both of us. Just the day before he was just fine.  Only mildly reluctant to be leashed and perfectly fine, albeit with some whining, on the walk.  Yesterday, a bare 24 hours later, and he would have nothing to do with it.  It's like one step forward, two steps back.

Hopefully, we can get accustomed to the damn thing before we go on vacation in March.  With the dogs, 3 teenagers and 2 cars.

Speaking of cars, my Eldest just bought her first.  It's a piece of shit 1995 Chevy Monte Carlo.  She's in love.  Especially since Denton has really crappy public transport and being stuck on campus was getting old.  So was having to drive up there and back every time she wanted to come home.  So yeah! No more back and forth to Denton.  And oh crap, she has a car of her own.  Watch out world.  Here's hoping she and it survive until graduation.

Youngest has been a bear lately.  She is so not a morning person.  Add to that the fact that she rarely gets to bed before 2 AM and then has to get up at 7 AM and you get the picture.  This is the child that will sleep, given the opportunity, until 4 or 5 PM. I actually don't know how long she would sleep since sooner or later we start throwing things at her to get her lazy perfectly lovely butt out of bed. Though yesterday she was actually civil when we dropped her off at the shuttle bus stop. (One car, three people, welcome to my personal hell life).  Joy.

Well, I have to get back to work.  Lunch was over half an hour ago. Stop by and leave a comment. Or don't.  No pressure.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

JS-Kit is the devil-UPDATED!

I can't get the new comment system to work.

I have duplicate comments, comments from other people with my name attached and when you look at the blog it looks like no one is commenting. Grr.

Unfortunately, I set this up on my work computer and so the saved template of my blog is at work. I will restore the original blogger comments first thing Monday morning. Until then, comments are disabled. Hope the ones you all have left since I add this new system make it through the transition.

Bear with me until then.

And now I've deleted a comment I didn't mean to while trying to disable comments!!!! Sorry, Jane.
We are back to Blogger comments with only 2 comments lost. The experiment is officially over.

You Tube wonders

I may be late in coming to this realization, but You Tube is amazing!  I was scornful at first.  I mean , who wants to watch everyday people babble about their life or any number of random and boring things.  And indeed there is much to find on YouTube that is just like that.  But then there are the jewels.

Ever wanted to know how to tear a phone book in half?  There are several hundred videos showing you how to do it or with folks showing off their prowess.  This one has over 3 million views.

Want to learn how play an instrument?  Name one.  It's there.  I 've found videos for ukelele, guitar (there are over 30,000 choices for that one instrument, acoustic, electric & bass), Piano (there's a whole series), drums, harp, harmonica, accordion, etc.  I could link them all but you get the idea.

Want to know how to change a tire or a diaper or your IP address?  It's all there.

And then of course there are the folks who take the You Tube thing really seriously.  People who've created their own channels.  Like John and Hank Green's Vlogbrothers. Or Michael Buckley's WhatthebuckShow.

Musicians have found a whole new outlet with YouTube and homemade music videos.  Some are bad.  Some are great.  Some are professional.  Some are amateur but in no way amateurish. You can probably find any type of music you like.  Try it. You never know what you might find.

Politics, music, comedy, diaries, stuff blatantly stolen from TV and film.  You name it, it's there.  Want to find a clip of some politician saying something he shouldn't?  It's there.  Want to see a celebrity get back at the paparazzi? It's there.

And then there are my kiddos.  They have their very own YouTube channel.  And sometimes they do some pretty amazing things.  Like Ethan's video for my birthday that I've shown previously.  And this:

Maybe she's picked the right major.

Sunday moment of Zen

We greet the arrival of our children with glee and amazement that sooner or later gets swallowed up in the day to day living that makes up the greater part of our lives.  The new baby smell wears off and we are faced with a squirming, squalling infant that requires all of our time and energy.

And life goes on.

One day, our child goes off to school and whether we are sad or joyful at their venturing into the world, we know that they are taking the first of many, many steps away from us and into their own life.  We try to keep them safe, comfort their bumps and bruises both real and symbolic and encourage them to excel. 

And life goes on.

Sooner than you can believe possible, they’re walking across the stage receiving their high school diploma.  They’ve learned to drive, had their heart broken and done things you have no knowledge of at all.

And life goes on.

Then it’s college and serious relationships and before you know it, they’re getting married, starting their own family, moving away.  No matter that you will always see the sweet baby asleep in your arms, the toddler covered in spaghetti sauce (and a noodle where?!) or the kindergartener off to school for the first time whenever you see them, they have become their own person; an adult with responsibilities and life of their own.

And life goes on.

You’ve weathered the times, both good and bad, and come out the other side.  Those times we’ve wanted to hang onto have slipped away, those times we thought would never end have passed.

And life goes on.

Life goes on whether we want it to or not.  It is neither fair nor easy but it is worth living. It is up to us to step forward and face the new dawn with fierce devotion and determination.

Whether we are in the midst of great joy or great sorrow, the knowledge that the world keeps turning without our help or guidance is sobering.  During happy times, we want to grab hold of life and the joy it brings and keep time from moving forward.  During times of grief and hardship, it’s easy to believe that nothing will ever get better.   We are stagnant in our grief and time seems to stand still. 

Yet life goes on.

This is the greatest lesson that we can learn and in turn pass on to our children. 

Life goes on.  And as long as it does, there is hope. Hope that sees us through the hard times. Hope that infuses the good times with the knowledge that though this time may indeed pass, another just as joyful will take its place.

And life goes on.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hate comes in many forms

I seem to have been inundated with examples of hate this week. It started with Sidhe at the Musing of a Wandering Elf and her post on the Westboro Baptist church's protest at the funeral of Caylee Anthony. What the hell? I will not post this group's website but I did visit it after reading Sidhe's post. It was vile and so full of hate as to be a complete mockery of Christianity. Please God, don't think this is what most Christians are like. It's only a loud, misguided few who call themselves Christians, but aren't.

Then I found yet another lovely example of hate with a post about Hal Turner on Welcome Back to Pottersville. Mr Turner all but froths at the mouth he's filled with such hate. Again, I will not post a link to this man's blog. He doesn't need me to gather a following. I'd advise you to stay away.

Then there's the 4 page rambling credo from James Adkisson that's been floating around the interwebs for days now. How can anyone think that folks like Bernard Goldberg, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and others aren't partly responsible for this fellow's killing spree after reading the garbage he wrote? Apparently, some do. Go check out Jobsanger and see for yourself.

And then of course there was the oh so lovely cartoon in the NY Post. You've all seen it. How can anyone think that it shouldn't be interpreted as insulting, at best, and racist and inciting violence at worst? I don't get it. Really. Do people not know their history? Is there really anyone over the age of 21 who doesn't know that African-Americans were routinely compared to apes in our not so distant past? Even if you take it as the "even a monkey will write Shakespeare given enough time" thing, it's insulting. And childish.

Speaking of children, let's move on from racial prejudice to hate crimes of another sort. Again, all over the interwebs this week were examples of state governments perpetuating discrimination against homosexuals. In Florida, you actually have to check off a box on the adoption application that says: I'm not a homosexual. In Georgia, a dad is told he must keep his children away from his homosexual partners and friends as part of his custody agreement. Really? Do they think it's catching? Joe.My.God has the skinny on both of these and others. Why do these states think that letting an openly homosexual individual or horrors couple adopt is somehow going to turn kids gay? Are they really that behind the times? I don't get it. Florida would rather let the kids stay in foster care and wait 2 years to be adopted than let them go to a homosexual.

It's just crazy talk. Just like the latest from North Dakota. Legislators have cleared up one of those sticky wicket problems that us mere mortals and medical professionals haven't been able to agree upon. They have put into law the concept that life begins at fertilization and that fertilized egg has all the rights of any person thus making abortion legally murder in the state of North Dakota. Go read the post at BarkBarkWoofWoof. He says it better than I can.

I don't understand the level of hate obvious in all of these cases. Whether its hatred for Liberals, women, Gays, African-Americans or whatever it is that the crazies at Westboro Baptist hate (it's a long damn list), it takes so much energy to hate as this level. It's a waste of time. It's unproductive. And ultimately, based solely upon ignorance and fear. That lovely pairing that has done so much damage over the millennia is still alive and well. I suppose it's foolish to think that we could break free of their influence.

But I can hope.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Weekly Weirdness

Hokay, here's this week installment:

First off, we have the story of the Wedgie Wielding Woman.  Yvonne Morris of Salt Lake City subdued a man who broke into her co-workers car by grabbing his boxers and giving a hefty yank.  She added a headlock for good measure.  See!  I told you those stupid low-riding pants were trouble! Bet he wears a pair that fits next time.

Next, we turn to the Whaddya mean it ain't Philly gaffe.  Seems the Philadelphia transit agency printed a discount pass to hand out during Philly Beer Week in hopes of cutting down on the inevitable drinking and driving.  Good idea.  Except the stock photo they used wasn't of Philly.  It was New York City.  Oops!

 A Smart-thinking Seattle man saved his three flat screen TVs from burglars by, get this, stealing their van!  He was in the basement, unbeknown to his would-be thieves.  He snuck out, called 911 and moved their van to a neighbor's house.  Police found all 3 TVs, a laptop and a jewelry box by the front door.  That'll teach them to leave the keys in the getaway car!

And last we have the stupid criminal of the week.  Frank Salvador Solorza allegedly tried to extort money from his own relatives by posing as a federal agent and threatening to deport them if they didn't pay up.  Best part is, he was arrested after arriving to pick up the cash dressed in a clown suit and riding a bicyle. Yes, you read that correctly.  He retrieved his pay-off wearing a clown suit while riding a bicycle.  What's he got against clowns?

That's it for this week.  Return next week for another exciting installment of  Weekly Weirdness!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yup, that's about right

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.

I appear to be the type of liberal every conservative intellectual. Just cause I have a brain and am not afraid to use it doesn't make me bad.

I may just have to buy this book. Maybe it will help when next I encounter a certain relative.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Post to the President

Ryan of Pacing the Panic Room has had a genuinely amazing idea.  He's set up another blog called Post to the President.  The idea is that you write a letter to President Obama, email it to Ryan at the address on the blog and he'll post it.  Brilliant!  Go write your own.  Mine's below.
Dear Mr. President-

Congratulations on your election.   For once I voted for someone who won. 

I am a married mother of 2 college-age daughters in Texas.  My husband and I work for the same market research company that is based in the UK.  We are fortunate that our company is doing well and foresees no need to reduce its workforce in the UK or the US.

I’m pleased to see that the stimulus bill has finally passed despite Republican hostility.  I had hoped that we would see a new day dawn on Washington but that is not to be.  Old ways die hard and it will be a long fight to restore our democracy.

You have inherited quite a few problems but I believe you are the man for the job.  Don’t let yourself fall into excuses or rhetoric.  You may have inherited these problems but we’re looking to you to fix them.  Keep looking forward and not back.

Change comes neither easily nor swiftly but it will come.  Know that there are many Americans who await this change and look to you to lead this charge. 

We are entering a new political landscape, one that allows the electorate more voice than ever before.  The Internet and all that can be accomplished using its many wonders and voices will change the way politics are played forever.  Your campaign was a herald of things to come but know that the genie is out of the bottle.  Just as you were able to use the Internet to defeat your opponent, it can used to keep you honest.

I recently wrote to my Senators and Congressman with a plea to put aside their partisan differences and vote Yes on the stimulus package.  I ended those letters with a phrase that I share with you here:

“The electorate is awake, we're pissed off and we're paying attention.”

I hope that you, as an intelligent, gifted individual (and let me just say how refreshing that is to see in a politician) will be able to move our nation forward through these difficult times and into a new day.  You have a difficult job ahead of you fraught with hardship both personal and public, but one that I feel you were called to do.  Move forward with hope and peace and the knowledge that despite the many shrill voices allayed against you there are those who wish you well with all their hearts.

Go add your voice.  Hopefully, the President will really see these.  I did my part by emailing the White House.  Why don't you write a letter, post it to the new blog and let the White House know where to find it.  If we are loud enough, we will be heard.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's Singles Awareness Day!

That's what my kiddos call Valentine's Day, at least.  And I think it a wholly appropriate moniker.  So who started this lovely tradition of roses and chocolates and singles being keenly aware they have no one to give them such goodies?  Good question.  Turns out its far more complicated than I thought.

There is a Saint Valentine.  In fact, there are several.  We have our pick of three associated with the date February 14.  So little is known about them that the Catholic church removed them from the calendar of saints in 1969.  He was either a priest in Rome, the  bishop of Interamna or a martyr in Africa.  In none of these cases is he associated with romantic love or lovers.

Some have said the association of Saint Valentine's Day with romantic love is another example of the early church tying a saint's day to a pagan celebration but this has been disputed. Some try to pin the blame of Geoffrey Chaucer for his poem Parlement of Foules which mentions Valentine's Day.  However, a closer read suggests that this Valentine's Day is in May not February.  Cause, you know, there was another Saint Valentine's whose feast day was May 2.  Valentine used to be a really popular name in late antiquity.  So, there's a few of them who made it to Saint. Go figure.

Anyway, the tradition of associating Saint Valentine's feast day with romantic love seems to have come about in the Middle Ages in France and England.  Courtly love was big in those days and with the influence of Chaucer and others, Saint Valentine's Day slowly grew into its association with romantic love.

But what really isn't in dispute is that we owe a woman for the headache and heartache that afflicts the singles of America on February 14.  Esther Howland is credited with reinventing Valentine's Day in the 1840s.  Her father owned a large book and stationery store and she sold the first Valentine's cards.  She took her inspriation from one she received from England. The Greeting Card Association thinks so highly of Miss Howland that they've named an award after her; the Esther Howland Award for a Greeting Card Visionary given annually.

From these humble beginnings has spawned the second largest card-sending holiday.  Only Christmas tops it.

Different countries, especially ones without a strong Christian tradition, celebrate Valentine's Day differently or not at all.  My favorite is South Korea.  There is a day on the 14th of every month associated with love: Candle Day, Valentine's Day, White Day, Black Day, Rose Day, Kiss Day, Silver Day, Green Day, Music Day, Wine Day, Movie Day, and Hug Day. So, women give men chocolate on Valentine's Day, men give women non-chocolate candy on White Day and those who got nothing the two previous months eat black noodles and "mourn" their single life on Black Day. 

Now that's a true Singles Awareness Day. 

Friday, February 13, 2009

New Comments

Okay, I'm trying out something new. I have seen on a few blogs the comment luv widget thingie that lets commentors leave the URL for their most recent post. So, I'm trying it. It also allows for frequent posters to be automatically posted without moderation. So, Skye and others, you won't have to wait for me to moderate.

To leave a comment, you have several choices. You can post using your OpenID, which if you have a Blogger account is simply your blog URL. Same for Wordpress and others. Go to the Open ID site to see if you may have an Open ID and not know it.

You can also use your JS-Kit ID or create one. Or use HaloScan ID or even your Facebook ID. So, please don't be intimidated by the fancy schmanzy look of the new comment box. All the old comments are there, I hope.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Weekly Weirdness

I found some new resources this week and hope they meet with your approval.

We begin with more naked Germans.  I don't get it.  Hiking through the Alps nude. In February.  Yikes!  Police in the canton of Appenzell-Innerrhoden are tired of the naked hikers and plan on issuing fines payable on the spot for 200 Swiss Francs or about $170.  Hopefully these guys are keeping their wallets handy.

Now I love my puppies. I've written about them more than once. But even I wouldn't go as far as this lady.   She locked herself, 20 dogs and 2 puppies in her car when a constable tried to sieze the dogs.  The ammonia levels were 23 parts per million after the dogs and owner were removed.  The owner has been turned over to Adult Protective Services and no charges have been filed.

Last week we had two New Zealanders try to play ring around the rosy with a telephone pole.  This week, a 16-year-old Michigan prisoner left custody after appearing for a probation violation.  Unfortunately, he decided to hide in a car in the courthouse garage.  A judge's car.  Oops.

A 27-year-old Sheboygan woman was arrested after leaving her two children in her car while she has a tanning session.  It was 12 degrees outside with a wind chill factor of minus 2.  Apparently she thought making sure her tan was perfect for her upcoming vacation was more important than the safety of her kids.  Passersby called police. They found the parents arguing about why the kids had been left in the car.  Apparently since the 10-year-old and 23-month-old suffered no lasting ill effects after their 20 minute stay in the cold, all they'll be charging her with is misdemeanor child neglect.  I say she should forfeit her tickets, her reservations, her custody rights and her uterus.  No more babies for this idiot.  Some people just simply should not be allowed to procreate.

This one makes me giggle.  A teenage robbery suspect was caught after his "fashionable" pants puddled around his knees when he tried to run.  You know the ones.  Pants worn so low they're barely hanging on to what is generally a pathetic excuse for an ass, boxers showing and a belt snugged so tight that the gonads must be shrieking every time they bend over or sit down.  How is this attractive?  I ask you?  Does anyone find this sexy or hot or whatever lame adjective is in the current vernacular?  My daughters once had a middle school principal who, when this fashion was new, liked it about as much as I did.  He would gather the ridiculously loose pants, drag them back up where they belonged and use a plastic cable tie between two belt loops to secure the mess.  Beautiful!

That's it for this week.  If you find something you think worthy of the news blotter, shoot me an email.  I need all the help I can get.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts

A new meme, fresh from the Unmom.

So, I must be random. Keely was talking about Zombies.  I got this really cool card game last night called Zombie Fluxx.  The original game, Fluxx, is pretty damn cool.  Can't wait to play this version. 

I also bought the Monty Python version.  It's the second time I've bought it but I keep using it as a gift.  This time, it was for my Hubby's birthday.  So it's cool. 

Speaking of Hubby, he's been sick.  Running a fever and coughing.  Why is it that men are such crappy patients?  It's a damn fine thing he only gets sick like once every three years cause if it was more frequently, I'd kill him.  Though in his defense, he's mostly slept through this one.

Youngest is having her birthday Monday but her party Sunday.  She planned it and invited people tonight.  Way to plan, kiddo.  Still, she'll probably get most of those she invited to come.  Damn sight better than one birthday party when she was in elementary and no one showed up.

The only family member without a birthday in February is Eldest.  Mine was last week.  Hers is in June.  And it was one of the hottest June's in Austin ever.  I have never sweated so much in my entire life, before or since, as I did in my last trimester.  I think it was 103 or more the day she was born.  Speaking of which, it's a funny story.  She was breach and I had a cesarian.  She grabbed onto the incision and tried to keep from entering the world at all. My husband laughed out loud.

I've been reading lots of mommy blogs lately. I feel somehow that I must share my wisdom.  I apologize to all I have offended.  Something about having nearly grown kids that don't hate makes me think I'm qualified to offer advice.  Someone needs to stop me.  Seriously.

Any way, please don't think my kids were extra easy or even for that matter extra difficult.  They were kids.  My youngest cut her sister's hair. Twice.  The first time, I blamed the youngest but the second time I was like, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. (see, not all Texans are idiots) Eldest got what she deserved for sitting still a second time. I boiled Eldest pacifier every time it hit the floor.  When the youngest got here, I maybe rinsed it off before I popped it back in her mouth. Eldest is allergic to the world.  Youngest has her father's constitution.  Take from that what you will.

And what is it about all those people out there that think every Texan is like Bush?  Dude, those people piss me off.  Granted, Bush was an idiot.  But he really wasn't from Texas. He was born in Conneticut, people.  Get it right.  He and Daddy just claimed Texas cause it was a big red state. Only his equally idiotic daughters are real Texans and that just goes to show you that not all of us are firing on all cylinders.  Not everyone in Texas voted for Mr. Bush. Please don't tar us with the same brush.

One last thought.  I dropped my phone in the toilet Sunday.  Not a sound you want to hear associated with your personal electronics- sploosh.  By some small miracle, I managed to dry it out.  It only took  disassembling it and setting it under a fan to dry for like 12 hours. And I was looking forward to a new phone...

Spin Cycle: Love

Love has to be one of the most complicated, misunderstood and maligned conditions of the human heart. It's one of those things that cannot be adequately described or articulated but, much like Justice Potter Stewart said in regards to obscenity, "I know it when I see it".

For me, unconditional love only exists between me and my dog and then it's really only one way from him to me.  He's always glad to see me no matter how long I've been away or how mean I was to him the day before.  If only all relationships could be like this.  Alas, as humans, we are poorly equipped to maintain our side in any relationship, even with a dog.

We remember things said and done that hurt us or offended us and we view the object of our love through the prism of the past.  Perhaps the only time this isn't so is at the birth of a child.  They have no history with us and so our prisms are clear.  If only we could hold onto that vision of our children no matter what they do.

When they're small, it's easy to look at them and remember the infant lying in your arms, all innocent and warm.  As they get older that becomes harder.  And that's right.  They're no longer that babe but a person that has feelings and desires and needs that reach beyond you and your ability to give.  One of the hardest things about raising children is to let go of our own expectations for our children and let them find their own way. Sometimes our expectations are the same but often they are not.  We must let go of the child we dreamed of and mourn their passing, if only in our own hearts, before we can accept the reality in front of us.

The unconditional love from parent to child should be able to weather anything that child throws at us.  From crayons on the wall as a toddler to wrecking the family car as a teen and even to coming out to us as transgendered or homosexual.  Some things they throw are way are easier to field than others, clearly, but it is part of the job description to love them no matter what.

For me that means accepting them as they are not as I want them to be.  I wish that my trans friend's mother could remember this.  She is holding on so tightly to the child she wants to see that she doesn't realize the damage that she's doing by refusing to call him by his new name. What's in a name indeed.

I see it as my job as a friend to accept him as he is.  It's easier for me since he is not my child, but I hope that I would be as supportive if he was.   Regardless, there will always be days when he irritates the shit out of me and even the occasional one when I'm ready to walk away, but that's only human. And it has nothing to do with his gender.  No matter how often we butt heads over stupid things, we always seem to find a way to forgive each other and move forward.

That is really the true meaning of love.  Accepting someone else, warts and all, and sticking by them no matter how much you might want to give into the urge to punch them in the face or to walk away.

Monday, February 9, 2009


File this one under "what the hell was he thinking?"

The sheriff in Richland County, SC has gone and bought himself an armored personnel carrier complete with a 50 caliber machine gun.

A .50 caliber machine gun will penetrate walls, reinforced concrete (with sustained fire), automobiles and even tanks (with armor piercing rounds). It's optimum range is about 875 yards. That's almost 9 football fields. It's can't be fired precisely but instead is generally "walked" to the target by choosing an approximate target and adjusting while firing until you hit your target. This is the same weapon used on tanks, on battleships as antiaircraft guns and even on aircraft.

It's a big damn gun. One that's hard to use accurately, apparently has a hair trigger and can easily penetrate homes, car and, oh yes, people!

There were 355,786 people in Richland County in 2005 and a total of 3,342 violent crimes reported in the county that year. My math is pretty wobbly but that looks like a fairly low crime rate. How do they justify the use and estimated $14,000 spent on this weapon?

They say it will save lives. Riight.

My email to Congress-UPDATED!

Here's what I sent to John Cornyn, Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Carter. What a motley crew. I expect nothing but a standard autoreply email from any of them, but I did try. Now it's up to you.

Please vote YES on the stimulus package. We need this legislation. We cannot continue with failed policies and expect a different outcome. We need the jobs this will create. Our nation needs you to take responsibility for your actions and stand up to do the right thing.

I beg you to do the right thing. Set aside the partisan talking points and do what is right for the country.

The electorate is awake, we're pissed off and we're paying attention. Remember that as you vote.

Hopefully, i won't end up on some "list".


To date, (2/13/09) only John Cornyn has replied. And it was, of course, an auto-reply. Neither Hutchinson or Carter have done even that. Whee! Ain't it great to be from Texas?

Congress needs to be fired

It's far past time for Congress to wake up and smell the coffee.  We need this stimulus package and we need it now.

Tax cuts didn't work, will not work and the Republicans who keep whining about how we need to cut the taxes of the upper income brackets should be forcibly taken to some place like Elkhart, IN and be forced to explain in simple language how their tax cuts for the rich are going to help the 15.3% of the population in this area that are now without work.

Harry Reid is a tool for being completely unable to stand up to Republican pressure.  The GOP seems bent on their own destruction.  But really, what else can you think about a party whose lead spokespeople are the insane (otherwise known as Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh)?  Moderate Republicans (if there are any left) need to stand up and throw out the fringe element of their party that has taken control and led us down this rosy path. If they can't, the GOP deserves to fade away.

But seriously, we need this package.  I have a friend who has worked at IBM for 30 years.  He was just recently laid off.  If someone with that kind of seniority is not immune to lay offs, what hope is there for the poor schmo who's been there 6 months?

It's time that we all stood up to Washington.  I urge you to email, call, write a letter or send a telegram to your Representatives and Senators.  Let them know that no matter what party they may belong to, you're watching them.  You're holding them responsible for the mess we're in and urge them to vote for the stimiulus package as soon as possible.  Go here to find the email.

Or don't.  But if you won't stand up and be counted now stay quiet when the shit really hits the fan for you will have lost your right to complain.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

One CEO gets it

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson will not acccept his 2008 bonus and will not receive a pay raise for 2009.  Along with 120,000 other MANAGERIAL employees of the company.

Randall had a $4.5 million bonus in 2007, so he's not turning away chump change.  AT&T is doing fairly well and the telecoms industry has not been as hard hit as others in this recession.  Still, AT&T is playing it safe. They know it could get worse and they're preparing for it.  They've cut 12,000 jobs but at the same time are returning some 4,000 outsourced support center positions to America.

So while Jack Welch and his minions cry foul at the idea of a salary cap, Randall Stephenson does something that proves them wrong.  If you want your company to survive, those at the top must show some kind of respect for the reality of the day.  Stepehenson is doing that.

Let's hope others will follow.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Jack Welch is a tool

And I quote, "If I didn’t pay [bonuses], the people were going to go. … These people didn’t choose to cure cancer. These people didn’t choose to do public service work…These people chose to make money.” H/T to Think Progress.

Welch is speaking about President Obama's announcement that top executives at firms accepting TARP funds would have their salaries capped at $500,000.  Seems like Welch thinks that half a million freaking dollars is chicken feed. 

Yo, Jackie.  According to the US Census, the median income in our country is $52,092. Your measly $500,000 is ten times that amount.  Quit f*cking whining already.

And since these same executives have done such a stellar job of leading their companies into the shitter maybe its time for some fresh blood.  Say any one of the untold numbers of MBA holders out there. (It's untold cause I sure as hell can't find it)

I'm really tired about hearing how Wall Street has to pay these ungodly amounts of money to their executives or rick losing them.  Well, baby, I say it's time we lose 'em.  They've sure done a bang up job.  They got rich while the rest of us took the consequences for their malfeasance.  I say:

As my Dad said, "Crawl up on it and Crow"


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Wednesday Weirdness

We've had a good week in the weird world.  From smuggling odd items to stupid criminals to a burning fire station, it's been busy.  As an added bonus, I thought I'd post this at the beginning of the day instead of barely making it by Wednesday.  Being late would really mess with the lovely alliteration.

Let's start with the Tokyo fire station that caught fire while most of its crew were out on call.  The fire fighter left behind was cooking dinner when he too had to respond to an emergency.  Except he forgot to turn off the stove. It took ten engines from other stations to put out the fire.  Apparently, take out is on the menu from now on.

Two German tourist were arrested in Brazil for undressing in the airport.  They thought it was "normal" to change clothes wherever the spirit moved you in the beach town of Salvador.  Officials disagreed and charged them with obscenity.  Oops.  Plus they were 66 and 64.  Couldn't have been pretty.

Remember a while back when I mentioned the gentleman suing his ex-wife for the return of her breast implants?  Seems like a California man decided a law suit would take too long and attacked his ex  and tried to cut out her implants himself.  He's currently on trial for attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, stalking, burglary, and false imprisonment.  Since when did breast implants become a fashion accessory that folks think can be returned on a whim?  Both these nut jobs need serious psychological help.

Big Brother really is watching . Police in Switzerland discovered a marijuana field using Google Earth while investigating an alleged drug ring.   The field was hidden within a field of corn, of all things, and police discovered the field while using the mapping service to find the address of two farmers suspected of involvement with the drug ring.  

I've seen this headline all week and finally clicked on it.  It made me laugh out loud.   Two prisoners in Wellington, New Zealand made a daring escape while handcuffed.  Running in a mad dash away from the Hastings District Court, they encountered a light pole. And promptly forgot they were handcuffed together.  Merry goes left and Pippin goes right and BAM! they butt heads. End of escape. And apparently there is CCTV tape of the whole hilarious affair.  And I just have to share.

And last but certainly not least, a man returning to Sydney, Australia from the Middle East was searched when customs officials found eggs in his luggage.  What did they find when they searched this hirsute gentleman?  Two live pigeons .  Yes, you read that right.  This genius had wrapped two live pigeons in padded envelops that he then attached to his legs via a pair of tights.  They also found seeds and an eggplant in his luggage. What was this guy going to do?  I mean, what's the recipe that calls for eggs, pigeon and eggplant?  And isn't this just a lovely picture?

Blogroll Amnesty Day

Today is Blogroll Amnesty Day.  Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, Jon Swift and Blue Gal took this idea from some A-listers, turned it on its head and voila!  
So I'm supposed to  talk about some of the smaller blogs out there that I read and hopefully introduce some them to new readers.  Hmmm, let's see what I can come up with. 
The first would have to be NovemberFifth.  Skyewriter is one my regular commentators and her writing is witty, pointed and beautifully opinionated.
Another up and coming blogger is Feet Off  the Table. Aliceson has a great blend of family topics and personal observation.
Unmitigated tickles my funny bones pretty regularly.  She has a wonderfully snarky sense of humor.
Another faithful commentator is Political Morsels and Other Droppings.  We have similar politcal leanings and often end up writing about similar topics. It's pretty damn great to know your not alone out there.  D was one of the first who let me in on that little secret.
Sprite's Keeper is a mommy blogger extraordinaire.  Her Spin Cycle is really a gift to the blogosphere. Ever need a topic to write on?  Look no further.
There are more, of course. A virtual endless supply of small bloggers out there that all deserve a look or two or three.  Start with these, follows their links and have fun.  You never know what jewels await you.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I was tagged by Catherine at A Time for Change. 

1. Go to the fourth picture folder on your computer.
2. Post the fourth picture in that folder.
3. Explain the picture.
4. Tag four more bloggers.

This is my Dad.  It's a scanned photo as you can tell. He had this portrait taken in 1999, two years before he died.  He was 80 and it was no doubt that occasion that prompted the photo session.

For his 80th birthday, we planned a big surprise party at a restaurant in Houston.  We invited family,of course, neighbors and people he had worked with in the residential contracting arena in Houston. We got quite a crowd.  My sister created a photo montage and I gathered information that covered the many things he saw in his lifetime.  That document is long gone, lost in cyberspace on the incarnations of computers past.

My father was  born April 12, 1919 in Nacogdoches, Texas.  He was the next to youngest child of James Martin and Euphemia.  He had 3 brothers and 3 sisters and was the second youngest son. He grew up in the Great Depression. He worked to rebuild Pearl Harbor after being turned down when he attempted to enlist. I was never clear on why. My parents married in 1942.  He was 23. She was 20.  Wow, I've never done that bit of math before.  Seems young. His first car was a Model A. 

He worked construction and eventually formed his own residential construction business that mainly focused on remodeling. That business was successful enough to put my sister's and I through college and pay for our weddings.

So much happened during his lifetime that it's hard to really appreciate it all.  
  • Two world wars
  • The rise and fall of Communism
  • The first transatlantic flight
  • The first space flight
  • The moon landing
  • The entire Computer Age from its inception (more about this later)
  • The Korean War
  • The Vietnam Conflict
  • The first Iraq war
  • Television moved from a novelty to a necessity
He never used a computer and barely new how to program his VCR but he was a self-taught draftsman and could design and build furniture, built-in bookcases and entire additions to homes.  He was a closet romantic who cried at ET when I drug him and my mother to see it in its first release.  And developed a fondness for Reese's Pieces afterwards.  He never forgot a Valentine's Day (Russell Stovers chocolates in a heart-shaped box) or a Mother's Day. He was shameless flirt that would get flustered and blush if a woman ever flirted back.  

He gave me my appreciation for history and country music.  He loved animals and had a green thumb, which he failed completely to pass on. The part about the plants not the critters.  

There have been times in my life since his death that his absence is most missed.  They usually have to do with my kids.  He never got to see them perform with their high school choirs and at times I've watched those performances and been sad because he would've been so amazed and proud.  He couldn't sing at all and in fact no one in my family can.  Sometimes I hear him laughing.  That's usually when they do something that I swear I never did or when the phrase, "I was never that bad" falls out of my mouth.

So, before I become completely maudlin, I'll move on to tagging four more unsuspecting bloggers.

Those of you that can, go hug your Dad.

Best Birthday Present Ever!

Some background, my daughters and "adopted" son (he calls me Mom) have this video blog they do on You Tube.  This is the latest post from Ethan and may I just say, I found this completely hysterical.  So I had to share.  Enjoy!

Rangel Rule

My US Representative John Carter has written a bill that kinda sums up the entire Republican party: what's wrong with it, what it's wrong-headed attitudes are and it's general level of snark. Here is the actual wording of the bill:

"Any individual who is a citizen of the United States and who writes 'Rangel Rule' on the top of the first page of the return of tax imposed by chapter 1 for any taxable year shall be exempt from any requirement to pay interest, and from any penalty, addition to tax, or additional amount, with respect to such return"

Screw up on your taxes, intentionally or not, and cover your ass by writing "Rangel Rule" on the form.  Supposedly, this is a reference to the "Hobby Rule" Carter insinuates is in common usage in Texas.  It refers to former Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby who was arrested for DUI but released when his lawyer arrived and pointed out his high status.  Carter claims that lawyers are using the Hobby Rule to spring their clients on drunk driving to this day (Hobby was Lt Gov from 1973-1991).  His logic is since this is "standard practice" in Texas, which is so much BS, then we should let the average American off of tax invasion or tax fraud just like Charlie Rangel.

This is just so much political grandstanding,  Carter has no intention of supporting this into law.  In fact, the bill got sent to the committee of which Rangel is chair.  It's all about making a point.  The amazing thing is there are people out there that think this is a great idea. What they don't get is that he's just grandstanding.  I'm all for punishing those who misfile, "forget" to pay taxes or otherwise defraud the government.  I think the IRS gets a little bit heavy handed in the way it deals with people- wage garnishments, endless penalities, etc. Changing how the IRS deals with underpayment and fraud is a different subject.  There should not be one law for the rich or politicians and one for everyone else.  However, Carter is attacking this serious subject in a facetious manner that only makes himself, his state and his party look stupid.

There seems to be a sense in Washington, no matter who sits in the White House, that by simple fact of being elected to Congress you have priviledges and entitlements that exceed the job title and excuse you from obeying the law.  That's ridiculous.  And as long as each party sees the righteous calls for resignation and legal action against their members as being politically motivated, they will always rally to the defense of their colleagues, deserved or not.

Whether Rangel intentionally defrauded the government or made an honest mistake doesn't matter.  The IRS doesn't care how I made the mistake, it only sees the mistake.  The same should be true for every American, high or low.  When the Congress has no respect for the laws that it is creating and has created, it creates a lack of respect for their office.  They forget that respect must earned, not given blindly.

Groundhog Day!

Groundhog day reminds me of two things:  tomorrow is my birthday (I'll be 45) and the movie with the same name.

Remember that list of movies I was talking about a few days ago, this one is defintely on it.

By the way, the rodent saw his shadow. Sorry guys, looks like no relief from the cold.  Though how a rodent can make this judgment is a mystery.  Apparently, what they do isn't too far from the film.  Here's a clip form 2008. They pull Phil out at 1:36.