Saturday, February 28, 2009

Something Better?

The lyrics of a song from “Sweet Charity” go like this, ‘there’s got to be something better than this – there’s got to be something better to do – and when I find that something better to do, I’m gonna get up, I’m gonna get out, I’m gonna get up get out and do it.’*

Trouble is…I can’t locate that ‘something better’ no matter where I look. I continue the job hunt (Ha!) and all I get is a world full of ‘no’ every step of the way. Hey, I know I’m not alone; I also know that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. That there are people in more dire straits than I is not in dispute. All I can say is – this is my life and my reality.

I cannot help others as long as I am straddled with the fact that life, as I have known it is gone and isn’t coming back any time soon; I’ve been here before but that was over four decades ago. When you’re young you’re indestructible, can overcome any obstacles, not so today. I have to work to secure my present – to hell with the future – that’ll work itself out.

Today was a particularly gray, cold, raw day and I needed some cheering up, a pep talk, if you will. It came in the form of a phone call from my oldest and dearest friend. Friends for 46 years, there is nothing that we’ve not shared. There have been times when one of us arrives at a better place before the other – and the other is pissed because their head just ain’t there yet – so there’s an inane semi-fight, we stop speaking for a few weeks, and when we’re back up to speed and in sync again, all is right with the world.

Our conversation lasted over an hour and ran the gamut of emotions with tales of recent adventures, misadventures, and non-adventures in my case. We laughed, cried, and electronically held one another close, as we always have.

We both know that there is someone who truly cares, who can always be depended upon, and will be there whenever needed. A comforting truth, that.

So, I haven’t found ‘something better’, I have a treasure. Someone who understands, doesn’t judge, and is ready to listen. I believe that has been the secret of our friendship for all these years. This doesn’t make life’s present challenges disappear, I am feeling blessed and loved this afternoon.

*H/T to Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields.

I’m spent. Done.

And so it goes.

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FEMA Still Doing 'Heckuva' Job in NOLA

From WWL - Radio:

The acting head of the Federal Emergency Managment Agency said in New Orleans Friday that she is shaking up the staff at the local FEMA office.

Ward said she is reassigning Doug Whitmer, the local chief of staff, to a regional office, but said that is the only change so far she is announcing.

This comes in the wake of allegations of cronyism, nepotism, sexual harrassment and other alleged misconduct in the New Orleans FEMA office.

The allegations include claims that managers in the office have been intentionally slowing the post-Katrina recovery in an effort to keep their jobs longer.

Ward said the first task was for the agency to conduct an internal review of the allegations about the New Orleans office.

"We are ready to make changes, but we want to make sure everyone has due process, and that we have all the facts before we make changes," she announced after hours of meetings in the New Orleans FEMA office.

Louisiana Congressman Joseph Cao today said that reassignment may not be enough.

"There will be changes that will be made," said Cao. "I would like Mr. Jim Stark to step down."

Stark is the Assistant Administrator for FEMA's Gulf Coast Recovery Office.

Cao commented after the meetings at the New Orleans FEMA office but did not offer specifics. Cao said that with changes in upper-level management of the local FEMA office, morale should improve and recovery should move more quickly.

"Move more quickly"? It's been 3.5 years since the levees broke? Could recovery move any slower?


There are audio clips and the rest of the piece HERE.


More later.

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Caturday Health Tip.

Tee-hee.

More later.

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Jindal Admits Katrina Story was False.

Aside from the fact that Lee was a racist, there is no proof that the Governor was anywhere other than Baton Rouge when Katrina missed and broken levees flooded NOLA.

This from TPM with links to original Politico story:

Looks like the game is up.

Remember that story Bobby Jindal told in his big speech Tuesday night -- about how during Katrina, he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with a local sheriff who was battling government red tape to try to rescue stranded victims?

Turns out it wasn't actually, you know, true.

In the last few days, first Daily Kos, and then TPMmuckraker, raised serious questions about the story, based in part on the fact that no news reports we could find place Jindal in the affected area at the specific time at issue.

Jindal had described being in the office of Sheriff Harry Lee "during Katrina," and hearing him yelling into the phone at a government bureaucrat who was refusing to let him send volunteer boats out to rescue stranded storm victims, because they didn't have the necessary permits. Jindal said he told Lee, "that's ridiculous," prompting Lee to tell the bureaucrat that the rescue effort would go ahead and he or she could arrest both Lee and Jindal.

But now, a Jindal spokeswoman has admitted to Politico that in reality, Jindal overheard Lee talking about the episode to someone else by phone "days later." The spokeswoman said she thought Lee, who died in 2007, was being interviewed about the incident at the time.

This is no minor difference. Jindal's presence in Lee's office during the crisis itself was a key element of the story's intended appeal, putting him at the center of the action during the maelstrom. Just as important, Jindal implied that his support for the sheriff helped ensure the rescue went ahead. But it turns out Jindal wasn't there at the key moment, and played no role in making the rescue happen.

There's a larger point here, though. The central anecdote of the GOP's prime-time response to President Obama's speech, intended to illustrate the threat of excessive government regulation, turns out to have been made up.

And don't forget to read the comments below the story.

Pond scum, pure and simple.

More later.
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Antoinette K-Doe RIP

I only just learned that the widow of R & B legend Ernie K-Doe passed away early on Mardi Gras day. She always said that Mardi Gras was HER holiday so what better day to leave us.
From NOLA.com.

Antoinette K-Doe, the irrepressible widow of rhythm & blues singer Ernie K-Doe who transformed the Mother-in-Law Lounge into a living shrine and community center, died early Tuesday after suffering a massive heart attack. She was 66.

"It was her personal mission to keep his memory alive," said Ben Sandmel, who is writing a biography of Ernie K-Doe. "But she also did so much for the community. It's a huge loss for the whole musicians' community of New Orleans."

Born Antoinette Dorsey, Mrs. K-Doe was a cousin of rhythm & blues singer Lee Dorsey. She had known Ernie K-Doe for many years before they became a couple around 1990.

At the time, the singer's best days were far behind him. After a string of hits in the early 1960s, most notably "Mother-in-Law," his career, and life bottomed out. By sheer force of will, she helped him return to the stage and transform himself into an icon of eclectic New Orleans. The couple married in 1994.

"She had him on a short leash," Sandmel said. "She cleaned him up and opened the lounge to give him a place to play."

Ernie K-Doe died in 2001. But thanks to his wife, he maintained a schedule of public appearances via a life-size, fully costumed, look-alike mannequin. Mrs. K-Doe referred to the mannequin as "Ernie."

As the mother hen of the Mother-in-Law Lounge, she presided over one of the city's most diverse, funky-but-chic watering holes. With its vibrant, larger-than-life exterior murals and adjoining gardens, the Lounge stood out on an otherwise rough stretch of North Claiborne Avenue.

As the Ernie mannequin looked on from its corner throne, Mrs. K-Doe served a mix of neighborhood regulars and hipsters from across the city. The Lounge was a favorite haunt of such non-traditional musicians as Mr. Quintron, the Bywater avant-garde keyboardist, inventor and marching band impresario.

The Lounge badly flooded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's levee breaches. In advance of the floodwaters, Mrs. K-Doe dismantled the mannequin, stored the pieces in plastic bags, and stowed them in an upstairs closet. In the months after the storm, she revived the Lounge with the aid of an army of volunteers and financial support from contemporary R&B star Usher.

Read the rest HERE.

More later.
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Laughing at the GOP

In an otherwise stressful week, Bobby Jindal's performance (?) made it aaallll beddah. His train wreck response to President Obama’s brilliant speech the other night was a magical elixir of sorts that had me doubled over in belly laughs – after the initial shock, of course.

I couldn’t believe his mincing, bouncy entrance and facial expression. Only thing missing was the beany with propeller. Then when he opened his mouth it was as if he was talking in front of a class of fourth graders. When I realized he was dead serious everything – including his use of Katrina as a positive for the GOP – I lost it.

Talking with a friend in NOLA yesterday was great fun. We kicked little Bobby from here into next week. He explained that Rhodes scholar “Piyush” Bobby Jindal had to dumb himself down to reach the GOP base. He was doing the best he could under those conditions. He’s no redneck southerner and it can’t be easy being that evil and stupid. I pointed out that poor Piyush couldn’t act like a Cajun because he hates getting all sweaty and he would be gator bait if he went into bayou country. And his scrawny ass would be no more than a snack at that. That’s why half the Cajun population have no idea who he is.

I mentioned that Jindal probably would have sounded Rhodes-like had he been responding to a speech by the shrub, and we laughed some more.

After about a half hour of laughing so hard with tears in my eyes my face hurt, he ended our conversation with the comment that some southerners can be intelligent and electable – like Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter - but most are just Richard Shelby and Phil Graham stupid. I’ll drink to that.

It was good to laugh after such a week. I enjoyed two glasses of wine with dinner and watched a couple of documentaries on Science Channel before hitting the sack. Fortunately, I didn’t have to work today as I slept until 6:30 am, unheard of for me. The sun woke me up, which was a pleasant surprise since it was supposed to rain all day. I grabbed a coffee and sat on the deck for a while. Yes, it was that warm – about 58’F and getting up to the mid-sixties by afternoon. That’s likely when the rain will arrive. (sigh!)


Update: And this just in -

BATON ROUGE -- After giving one of the biggest speeches in his time as a politician, Gov. Bobby Jindal is heading to Disney World.

Jindal's office says the governor and his family leave for the Orlando vacation resort today.

The vacation comes one day after Jindal gave his first televised speech to the nation, offering the Republican Party's response to President Barack Obama's address to Congress.

Rather than face the music now and get it over with, he skips out for a vacation? Does he think this is going away and we'll all forget about it? Will someone tell ALL politicians that this kind of behavior is no longer tolerated in the age of YouTube.

More later.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dr. John With a Fitting End to Carnival.

I'm totally spent. Inventory day, and all that. Wish I could have been with friends in NOLA, but maybe once more before I die.

I think just about everyone knows this song, but have no idea of it's meaning and background.

Oh, and if by some chance you don't know Dr. John, I feel sad for you. If you've seen "The Last Waltz" - a documentary film by Martin Scorsese of the final performance of The Band - you've seen Dr. John. If you haven't seen the film, get it from Netflix - NOW!

See you in Church tomorrow, Maybe?

And so it goes.
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Happy Mardi Gras, Y'all.


And don't forget, the masks come off by midnight.

It's the law.

Enjoy.

More later.

(yes, the photo is a sad legacy of post-Katrina NOLA)

Monday, February 23, 2009

It's A Monday!

Oh man, was this ever a Monday!

Arrived at work where the heat was not working. No one to call at 7 am, so I futzed around and discovered the circuit breaker had been inadvertently switched off with the lights and outlets. Someone was not thinking when they closed up shop last night. It was 40' F when I got the thing going.

Setting up was a slow process due to the cold. I couldn't wear gloves - it's jewelry, you know - so I'd stop after setting up each case and shove my cold digits into pockets for a few minutes attempting to bring feeling back into them. It took hours to heat up the place and fortunately it was a brisk 62 when I opened the store. I removed the coat but kept the sweater on all day.

When I left to keep the Dr. appt. the poor old heater continued chugging away, it hadn't stopped once all day just trying to get the temperature up to 67'F. I left plenty of time to get the the Dr's office but, wouldn't you know, there was major road work going on and the back roads were crammed with every kind of road working device one could imagine. Then one machine stalled on the roadway and all traffic was diverted, forced to detour around the mess. I followed the cars ahead of me and waited to find a familiar road to get me where I needed to be in less than 10 minutes.

It turns out that we had back tracked a few miles but ended up on a major roadway that would still get me to the destination, but not on time. Why? Because of school buses stopping and disgorging little ones all along the route. This meant that traffic in both directions was building to a major problem. When drivers get antzy in situations like this, they forget how to function because, well, life is all about them, after all.

I came up to the light for the last back road to the office and arrived - 10 minutes late - but I made it. When I was called in and weighed I asked the nurse not to take my blood pressure right away as I knew it would be high. She smiled and agreed to wait.

So glad I asked for that extra time to decompress, because the BP has been the major concern lately, and I wanted to make certain the new medication taken for two months had an opportunity to help me readjust to the situation. Testing the med, instead of me.

It worked. The BP is back within normal range - for my age and weight - and the Dr. was very pleased. In December the BP was 197 over 125. Today it came in at 122 over 78 which is a huge difference. I have a new one year prescription for the same medication and got a clear green light for the next six months. Yay Me!

I stuck with the main roads on the way back, dropped off the prescription, and picked up a bottle of wine to celebrate. Well, you gotta celebrate any little victory these days; they are so few and far between. Besides, they say red wine is good for the heart and digestive system and I believe them, whoever "them" is.

I am relieved and relaxed now and having slipped out of the clothes plan to slip into a glass of Merlot and figure out what to do for supper. It's too late to do a crock pot thingy, but I'll come up with something creative.

And so it goes.

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Ben & Jerry's Creams George W.

OK, it's all in fun, but what if...?

Ben & Jerry have created "Yes Pecan!" ice cream flavor for Obama.

Due to the new flavor's popularity, they asked for suggestions from the public for flavors to commemorate George W.

Here are some of their favorite responses:

- Grape Depression

- Abu Grape

- Cluster Fudge

- Nut'n Accomplished

- Iraqi Road

- Chock 'n Awe

- WireTapioca

- Impeach Cobbler

- Impeach Mint

- Heck of a Job, Brownie!

- Chunky Monkey in Chief

- George Bush Doesn't Care About Dark Chocolate

- WMDelicious

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Movies, Hollywood and Hoopla

When it comes to screening new, good movies I live in a black hole. Driving back to the apartment after work yesterday I was stopped at the light next to the multiplex and, I swear, I recognized only three of the films on the marquees. One was ‘Slumdog’ (which was a surprise itself) and the other two are already on PPV – yes, it takes the theater owners a while to catch on. The other eight are unknown to me and I can’t even remember their titles.


It took the local Film Society to get the owners to bring films like ‘Capote’ ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ and ‘Good Night and Good Luck’ to town because the theater owners were certain that these films wouldn’t draw audiences – but they did. However, these experiences didn’t change their ways and they continue to bring in films that have not been reviewed in the local papers. Oh, well. I stopped going to the movies when cell phone use wasn’t policed and stopped. I’ll not cough up ten bucks to hear some jackass screaming into their phone in the middle of a film. But, that’s just me.


That’s a long way of getting to the hoopla over the bloated Oscars tonight. Yes, even though Hugh Jackman is hosting (and I heart me some Jackman) I guess I'm just not into him that much.


I was invited to an Oscar party this evening, but I have to be at work by 7 am tomorrow followed by a 3 pm doctor appointment, I was able to decline. I haven’t watched the entire overblown broadcast since I lived in NYC. The broadcast was, at least to our minds, more elegant and sophisticated. Glamour was still in and the only shock came from a streaker or some technical goof up. No more. Nowadays, the fashion statement has become more of a fashion question, as in “WHY?” Some clueless starlet in a Swan Dress comes to mind. If you get my drift.


It’s rainy and cold today and there is no where I have to be, so I’ll pop some corn and watch a fave DVD, then I’ll get under the covers at my usual time and wake up to the pundits analyzing every second or the show. That will be quite enough, thank you very much.


More later.

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

President Obama's Position on UN Call for Human Rights

Just one more Bush stand bites the dust.
In late December the United Nations General Assembly held a symbolic vote on a statement calling for the universal decriminalization of homosexuality. France spearheaded the resolution, which was a 13 point declaration "to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention." The statement received 60 votes in support, mostly from Europe and South America. Opposing the resolution, were the United States, the Holy See, and members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. At the time, the Bush administration couched its objection to the measure in legal technicalities.

Well, that was then. This is now: At the so-called "Durban Review Conference" on racism and xenophonia underway in Geneva, Europe again put forward language condemning “all forms of discrimination and all other human rights violations based on sexual orientation.” According to UN Watch, "The Czech Republic on behalf of the E.U., with the support of New Zealand, the United States, Colombia, Chili on behalf of the South American states, the Netherlands, Argentina and a few others, took the floor in support." (emphasis mine).

The efforts to include language on discrimination based on sexual orientation ended up failing for lack of support from non-western countries. Still, it's relieving to see that the United States is now back on the side of the enlightened on this issue of basic human rights.

There is good news to offset the bad. Seems like that is the case almost daily for the past month. I am loving it.

And so it goes.
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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Memories - and I ain't talkin' CATS here.

Do certain smells, foods, or pieces of music, (or anything else for that matter) trigger memories of people, places, events; wonderful, or terrible times?

I have always been sensitive to these things, but I find they are magnified, as I get older. Once triggered, the waves of memories are as vivid as they were when they occurred. Be they good, bad, and/or uncomfortable – they return amplified. Whenever I smell a certain brand of pipe tobacco, for example, I remember my grandfather.

Sometimes I wake during the night in need of a glass of water and when I get back under the covers the mind springs into action and scratches the surface of some event of long ago. Last night triggered one of these, what to call them – movies? - that project themselves in my head. It was of a happy time featuring friends I haven’t seen in decades and some who are no longer with us. The experience was bitter sweet, but comforting as well. It was an actual event that took place 39 years ago; so vivid that I could smell the wild roses that surrounded us at the time.

Well, we don’t have all those senses for nothin’ after all.

It was fun to relive that happy time; remembering the intricacies of the relationships; not to mention how young we were.

I don’t know where I am going with this. Maybe it’s the peculiar way these memories enter the consciousness and how I react to them. When the memories are of a negative, disturbing nature, I find myself wondering what I could have done differently that may have made a difference. That was me! Always trying to make everything right, or at least better. Only to realize that there was nothing that could have altered the outcome of that particular situation.

This may make no sense to anyone but me. Just sharing.

And so it goes.

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Gay Scientists Isolate Christian Gene



'Nuf said.

More later.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Facebook and Me

I have become a FaceBookee. There, I've said it. I suppose that's what we're called.

I put it off for a long time. A friend joined up a while back and suggested I do too. I attempted to check out what exactly it was only to discover that their secrets were only divulged to members, so I dropped the idea. Turns out he signed up then dropped the idea, as well. For awhile.

The FB bug invaded his bonnet once again last weekend and, again, he hit me up to join him. So, I did. See how easily I can be manipulated? I immediately had one friend. Duh!

There are redundancies in the interface and I can't figure out 'why' yet, and it's not that intuitive unless you're say, oh, seventeen years old. It will take some time for my tired ol' brain to sort it all out.

No one can contact you unless you invite them as a friend, so there's no opportunity for spam - unless of course, one of your friends decides to try selling you Avon, AmWay or a time share. Within hours four people from my previous life sent messages via FB asking if they could add me to their lists. I have given permission to two so far. I was a bit surprised. Haven't been in touch with any of them socially since the breakup over 2 years ago.

I found my old friend from NOLA on FB so I wrote asking that he join me, as well. He responded almost immediately. A relatively recent acquaintance sent the same request. This could get interesting - or become overwhelming - so we'll see.

As my friend wrote when I signed on, "this could be the start of something big." h/t to Steve Allen. I am not as excited about this as he seems to be, and I feel like I ought to be.

Stay tuned.

More later.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Copeland & Bela Fleck

It's been an exhausting day, maybe I'll write about it tomorrow, not now. I stumbled across this video and had to share. It is a live performance by Bela Fleck and the Flecktones of Aaron Copeland's Hoedown.

Oh, in case you don't know Fleck, he plays a mean Banjo. This video also includes a short jam between Bela and an Indian drummer... Just trust me. Enjoy.

This one made my day.

And so it goes.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Suze Orman's Valentine Wish...

This is amazing and I am sure her hate mail has been rolling in. But I say, good on ya Suze! Here is the text accompanying the YouTube video:
Suze Orman explains why gay marriage ban hurts so many americans financially. These are Americans who work hard, pay their taxes, but don't have the rights of other Americans.

Busy holiday weekend here. Whoda thunk it?
More later.
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Catchphrase “War on Terror” Fading

I was wondering why I haven’t heard the phrase more than once or twice (usually by some rightwing nut spitting it out like the old worn-out talking point it is) since January 20th. Now I know.

WASHINGTON – The "War on Terror" is losing the war of words. The catchphrase burned into the American lexicon hours after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is fading away, slowly if not deliberately being replaced by a new administration bent on repairing the U.S. image among Muslim nations.

Since taking office less than two weeks ago, President Barack Obama has talked broadly of the "enduring struggle against terrorism and extremism." Another time it was an "ongoing struggle."

He has pledged to "go after" extremists and "win this fight." There even was an oblique reference to a "twilight struggle" as the U.S. relentlessly pursues those who threaten the country.

But only once since his Jan. 20 inauguration has Obama publicly strung those three words together into the explosive phrase that coalesced the country during its most terrifying time and eventually came to define the Bush administration.

Speaking at the State Department on Jan. 22, Obama told his diplomatic corps, "We are confronted by extraordinary, complex and interconnected global challenges: war on terror, sectarian division and the spread of deadly technology. We did not ask for the burden that history has asked us to bear, but Americans will bear it. We must bear it."

During the past seven years, the "War Against Terror" or "War on Terror" came to represent everything the U.S. military was doing in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the broader effort against extremists elsewhere or those seen as aiding militants aimed at destroying the West.

Ultimately and perhaps inadvertently, however, the phrase "became associated in the minds of many people outside the Unites States and particularly in places where the countries are largely Islamic and Arab, as being anti-Islam and anti-Arab," said Anthony Cordesman, a national security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank.

Now, he said, there is a sense that the U.S. should be talking more about specific extremist groups — ones that are recognized as militants in the Arab world and that are viewed as threats not just to America or the West, but also within the countries they operate.

The thinking has evolved, he said, to focus on avoiding the kind of rhetoric "which could imply that this was a struggle against a religion or a culture."

Obama has made it clear in his first days in office that he is courting the Muslim community and making what is at least a symbolic shift away from the previous administration's often more combative tone.

He chose an Arab network for his first televised interview, declaring that "Americans are not your enemy." Before his first full week in office ended, he named former Sen. George J. Mitchell as his special envoy for the Middle East and sent him to the region for talks with leaders.

According to the White House, Obama is intent on repairing America's image in the eyes of the Islamic world and addressing issues such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, unrest in Pakistan and India, Arab-Israeli peace talks and tensions with Iran.

Using language is one way to help effect that change, said Wayne Fields, professor of English and American culture studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

"One of the contrasts between the two administrations is the care with which Obama uses language. He thinks about the subtle implications," said Fields, an expert on presidential rhetoric. The Bush administration "didn't set out deliberately to do things that were offensive but they liked to do things that showed how strong they were, and to use language almost in an aggressive sense."

Obama, he said, understands that language and conversation must be worked at and that it's "not just a series of sound bites."

Not just a series of sound bites? That was clear at his first news conference and the talking heads whined that they found it difficult to “cut” the Presidents words into short phrases…um, as it ‘sound bites’. Well, get used to it. Eight years of the sound bite master (and his master) have made ‘reporters’ lazy. Bush/Cheney did their work for them. It’s refreshing to actually listen to someone with a command of the language.

The rest is HERE.

More later.

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Sharing on Caturday

More later.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Oh! It's Friday the 13th! That Explains it...

Well the beautiful, warm weather of yesterday and Wednesday turned into a bummer last night. The relentless winds did indeed gust up to 65 mph shaking the place, rattling glassware, and wreaking havoc with the trees and small animals.

I went to bed thinking it would be over by morning. Well, wasn’t I surprised when I awoke before dawn with a very cold nose and head? Yes, indeed. There were no night-lights, no light from the clock radio; no light anywhere. The only light came from the moon. I looked out to find all other homes were in total darkness and the entire area bathed in moonlight. It was beautiful - and cold.

I grabbed another blanket and got back under the covers covering as much of my head and face as possible without smothering to death and was asleep in no time.

When I finally woke up after sunrise the power had not been restored. I called the electric company and (of course) got a recorded message telling me what I already knew, but offered no timeline for restoring power.

I set up a makeshift burner using a votive candle and made a hot cup of green tea, still bundled up and covered with a comforter. I thanked God that this didn’t happen when the temps were in the 20s. That said, 38’ is none too comfy to wake up to. The tea did the trick and the power was back on an hour later. I reset all the clocks.

After a shave and shower I made a to-do list and set out to make short shrift of it. The winds were still blowing between 15 and 25 mph, but the sun was bright and warming so before returning to the apartment I took another walk on the beach at north shores up to the cape.

The photo was taken today. The towers are WWII lookout towers used scan the ocean for German submarines. There are few of these left today. The cape is that land mass behind the towers, jutting out into the Atlantic. Click the image to make biggen.

When I got back to the apartment I noticed that all the clocks were blinking so I guess the power went off again. At least it was back on, though the place was cold. I have reset all the clocks – again.

Let’s hope that’s the last time I have to do that today.

I had planned to bake bread today, but with the unreliable power situation I think I'll wait until tomorrow.

And so it goes.

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Reunited: Sam the Koala and Mr. Tree

The rescuer and rescuee share a moment together. I swear this story is everywhere now, and rightly so. With hundreds of people dead or displaced, and possibly thousands of animals dead as well, we can all use a good story with a happy ending. Don't you think so, too?

More later.
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rescued Koala Update.

The burns were quite severe, but the little girl pulled through the surgery and is said to make a full recovery. It looks like love has come into her life, too!

CANBERRA: A love story between two badly burned koalas rescued from Australia's deadliest bushfires has provided some heart-warming relief after days of devastation and the loss of over 180 lives.

The story of Sam and her new boyfriend Bob emerged after volunteer firefighter Dave Tree used a mobile phone to film the rescue of the bewildered female found cowering in a burned out forest at Mirboo North, 150 km (90 miles) southeast of Melbourne.

Photos and a video of Tree, 44, approaching Sam while talking gently to her, and feeding her water from a plastic bottle as she put her burned claw in his cold, wet hand quickly hit video sharing website YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XSPx7S4jr4), making her an Internet sensation.

But it was after reaching a wildlife shelter that Sam met and befriended Bob, who was saved by wildlife workers on Friday, two days before Sam, in Boolarra, about 180 km from Melbourne.

The rest is HERE.

Image is from REUTERS/Southern Ash Wildlife Centre/Colleen Wood

More later.

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It Might as Well be Spring!

Temps hit the upper 70s yesterday and it looks like today may be a duplicate, though maybe not quite as warm. It feels more like April than February. I took a walk on the beach after finishing the chores in the afternoon and hope to do so again today.

Maybe not. We're scheduled for wind gusts of between 30 and 50 mph by afternoon and I don't think I could handle being sand-blasted this early in the year. We'll see. The sky is a deep blue but the sea grass is bent almost horizontal back in the marshes.

I've been singing (or humming) this song since yesterday's walk.

I keep wishing I were somewhere else,
Walking down a strange new street.
Hearing words that I have never heard
From a man I've yet to meet.
I'm as busy as a spider spinning daydreams,
I'm as giddy as a baby on a swing.
I haven't seen a crocus or a rosebud
Or a robin on the wing.
But I feel so gay,
In a melancholy way,
That it might as well be spring,
It might as well be spring.

A big sigh and thank you to Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Hammerstein. Song is from the 1945 film, State Fair.

More later.
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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Marines Can't Dance?

Really?
Don't tell that to these really cool grunts in Iraq doing the cha-cha slide. I don't know what the cha-cha slide is, but they are sure gettin' down. The guy in center frame really works it and has some interesting moves, don't you think? Video is titled "Your Tax Dollars at Work" and I'd say it's money well spent.

I don't know about you, but I feel safer just watching this video. (sigh!)

And so it goes.
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Koala Rescued From Australia Fires

This is so touching and uplifting at the same time. A short video of the event is below this Yahoo News story:

SYDNEY – It was a chance encounter in the charred landscape of Australia's deadly wildfires: A koala sips water from a bottle offered by a firefighter. David Tree noticed the koala moving gingerly on scorched paws as his fire patrol passed. Clearly in pain, the animal stopped when it saw Tree.

"It was amazing, he turned around, sat on his bum and sort of looked at me with (a look) like, put me out of my misery," Tree told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "I yelled out for a bottle of water. I unscrewed the bottle, tipped it up on his lips and he just took it naturally.

"He kept reaching for the bottle, almost like a baby."

The team called animal welfare officers to pick up the koala Sunday, the day after deadly firestorms swept southern Victoria state.

"I love nature, and I've handled koalas before. They're not the friendliest things, but I wanted to help him," Tree said.

Often mistakenly called koala bears because they resemble a child's teddy bear, the marsupial is actually a rather grumpy creature with a loud growl and sharp claws. It rarely comes down from the trees and doesn't like walking.

Koalas are especially vulnerable to wildfires because they move slowly on the ground.

The wildfires cut through parks and forests and sent countless wombats and other native species fleeing. One resident reported seeing kangaroos bouncing down the road with flames at their backs.

The fires also razed farmland, killing or panicking sheep and cattle. Television footage showed cows running down the main street of a smoke-filled town.

A count of the animals killed has not been made.

Tree said he found the koala in a burned-out forest near Mirboo North, about 90 miles (150 kilometers) east of Melbourne, Victoria's capital.

Koalas normally drink almost no water because they get almost all their fluids from the leaves they eat.

Read the rest at the link above. Here's the short YouTube video.


The arsonists are being referred to as "mass murderers" and that's as it should be.

More later.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Gulf Coast Recovery?

You know, whenever I hear comments that NOLA is back to normal (it's never been normal, God forbid) I have to look no further than our delightful friends at FEMA. Unfortunately, stories like this one are few and far between. 3.9 billion in hurricane aid still unspent:
WASHINGTON — A massive effort to fix public works destroyed more than three years ago by the Gulf Coast hurricanes remains largely stalled, leaving more than $3.9 billion in federal aid unspent and key repairs far from complete.

The scale of that job is enormous. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has promised $5.8 billion to repair everything from flooded libraries and schools to sewer systems and roads that were ruined when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita obliterated huge sections of coastal Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005.

Nearly 3½ years after those storms hit, new FEMA accounting reports show two-thirds of the money to pay for permanent rebuilding work still has not been spent, the latest bottleneck in a recovery long beset by criticism that it has been too slow and inefficient. And despite a handful of high-profile successes, officials who had vowed to speed up the pace of repairs concede it is still going far more slowly than it should.

"I think it can go better. That's almost obvious," says James Stark, who runs FEMA's recovery effort in the region. "Public safety, health and education are critical. That's not proceeding as quickly as I think many people in southeast Louisiana would want." Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has ordered the agency to take a "fresh look" at those roadblocks. Its first report is due Tuesday.

The delays have led to "dilapidated buildings, roads and sewer systems in our communities," says Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who chairs a disaster recovery subcommittee. "As we approach the fourth anniversary of Katrina and Rita, we simply cannot permit billions off dollars to remain bottled up in bureaucratic red tape."

When I visited NOLA last summer few of my old friends wanted to talk about the Katrina/Rita debacle - most are Repubs, after all and didn't want to trash talk the party - (yes, I know) but others shared their stories and pictures and what the related left me speechless. One friend who lost her home on the MS coast (with 2 sons serving in Iraq) waited almost 2 years for a contaminated FEMA trailer. During the waiting period she spent 3 days a week in a tent on her property; the other 4 days with family in LA. Her new home still isn't completed.

Let's pray that President Obama gets on top of this and gets things straightened out.

And so it goes.
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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Being Gay is a Gift From God

I've known this for a long time...but it appears to be a relatively new concept in most circles. Here's a very interesting video of a recent Oprah show. Spirituality 101 with Rev. Ed Bacon:

I am amazed that the two clergymen are in agreement on this issue. G*D, I can only imagine the wingnut heads exploding while watching this live...and that's as it should be.

And so it goes.

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Thrilling Saturday & Adventures in Budgeting…

The deep freeze finally loosed its grip so I headed out early this morning to run a few errands. Checking the PO Box I found a notice of a package being held for me – the rest was junk - and no bills. When I presented the notice to the person tending the window, he smiled and when he returned and I signed for the package, he said, “treat yourself well this weekend and enjoy the weather.”


I had already planned a walk on the beach, but I was curious as to what this package contained. I didn’t order anything and no one gave me a heads-up that something was on the way.


I drove to North Shores and after parking opened the package. There was no note, no return address, was post marked NOLA, but no other clues. the package contained Mardi Gras beads and a bottle of Absinthe. I just sat there behind the wheel stunned with my jaw resting on my lap. Who did this? And, why? I still have most of the surprise bottle that arrived last summer, so I hardly needed another.


I put the package under my seat and took my walk on the beach wondering who would have sent such a gift, and came up with no one. Feeling elated and loved once again, but unable to make a connection to someone I know, I drove back to the apartment.


This afternoon I set about checking the budget and how I was sticking with the plan. Well…Sorting out expenses for January, you know, food, fuel, meds, etc., (rent and utilities come off the top) I realized that I over shot the budget by a whopping 20%! Not good, especially with shorter hours and fewer working days of February upon me.


So, I embarked upon a mission to determine what happened and soon discovered that the regular items in the budget had not increased, but a few items otherwise purchased quarterly or more had run out and had to be replaced. Ingredients only used in certain dishes at certain times of the year, or items purchased periodically, turn out to be the villains of the piece. Like coffee, green tea, balsamic vinegar, olives, sea salt, herbs, and windshield washer fluid for the car – all of which have doubled in price from last year – while my income hasn’t.


I’ll have to be more careful about flagging these items and eliminating a regular item until the following month. I thought I had a pretty good handle on expenditures over the past few months, but hadn’t noticed price increases on products purchased only occasionally.


Still, baking my own bread and cooking in large batches means a nice bit of savings too.Watch those pennies, folks, and never shop without a list - - and stick to that list.


Just my two-cents, plain…


Now, if I find another job all would be, not well, but better than it is.


I smell olives.


And so it goes.

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Don't Divorce My Family - "Fidelity"

This is important. Please read the text below and watch the video, then do what you feel led to do. But Hurry, the deadline is Valentine's Day, Saturday February 14, 2009
couragecampaign.org/divorce

Ken Starr, who led the campaign to impeach President Bill Clinton, filed a legal brief last month -- on behalf of the "Yes on 8" campaign -- that would forcibly divorce 18,000 same-sex couples that were married in California last year before the passage of Prop 8.

Watch "Fidelity" and sign our letter to the state Supreme Court. Tell the Supreme Court to invalidate Prop 8, reject Ken Starr's case, and let loving, committed couples marry. DEADLINE: Valentine's Day.

couragecampaign.org/divorce


"Fidelity" used with permission from Regina Spektor and EMI Records.


"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.


I tried posting this last evening, but Blogger had the hiccups and didn't feel up to cooperating. Better late than never, but this is serious. Help out by clicking on the links above.

More later.
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FEMA Does it Again!

As if the bungling of the Gulf States following Katrina, Rita, and the others wasn't bad enough FEMA topped themselves by delivering salmonella tainted (and recalled) peanut products to victims of the ice storms in Kentucky and Arkansas.
From Yahoo News:
According to an internal FEMA briefing document dated 8 a.m. Thursday, FEMA has delivered 959,000 meals to Kentucky in the aftermath of the ice storm, with 490,000 more on the way over the next few days. Arkansas received 468,864, and no more were expected. State emergency workers there identified four trailers containing the food kits but said the kits had not been distributed.

FEMA Acting Director Nancy Ward said during a visit to Kentucky Thursday that the agency learned about 10 days ago that some of its stockpile of meal kits included peanut butter affected by the recall. It sorted through national inventories and pulled out about 10,000 meals, she said.

The company that produced the food kits, Red Cloud Food Service Inc., had earlier identified 530,000 meals that needed to be recalled, according to a memo posted on FEMA's Web site. But Ward said the agency learned late Wednesday that "the footprint of (the) national recall got larger," affecting more meals that hadn't been included before.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Thursday that FEMA was not told about this particular brand of peanut butter right away, though she did not specify what brand she was talking about.

"So we need to find out about that," she said.

She said FEMA was telling people to throw away the packets and the meals would be replaced by tomorrow. She did not know if the new batch would include peanut butter products.

Kentucky National Guard Col. Phil Miller said guardsmen there were posting fliers with pictures of the peanut butter packets at food distribution points. Soldiers carrying emergency food supplies in their vehicles also had the fliers to give to hungry people they encountered.

National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Connie Vick said emergency meals containing peanut butter had likely been distributed to nearly two dozen counties.
Another heckofajob FEMA. The stoopid, it burns.

More later.
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Movie Caturday: What a Wonderful World


May it be so...

More later.
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Friday, February 6, 2009

Documentary: Out of Annapolis

This is film way overdue:

Of over 200 known gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender US Naval Academy Alumni, more than 120 have "come out" as the LGBT alumni of the US Naval Academy. Many other LGBT alumni remain "in the closet," serving in silence while on active duty in the service of their country as officers in the US Navy and US Marine Corps.

This film will explore the lives of many of these alumni, how the US Naval Academy shaped their character, their enduring strong bond to the Academy and share their experiences while at Annapolis and while serving in the naval service as an LGBT officer, both pre- and post- Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell.

Here's the trailer:


h/t to Russ at Blue Truck/Red State

And so it goes.
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Where's My Bail Out?

I found this over at Peter's place and he asks that it be shared. So here you go. This is a powerful film.

Here's what Peter wrote about the film and filmmaker on his blog "TIPPIN' THE SCALES":
This is a first finished short film! Shot, acted, edited and published by Jeroen of DutchImport

Yes, he made some mistakes shooting in different modes, so he couldn’t get every shot the same size. He used a free software program, Windows Movie Maker… not that fancy.

And here’s the thing: when you make and edit your own movie for fun, and there’s no deadline… when are you done editing? There are always different effects and transitions to use, the font to pick for the end credit… When are you done?

Today he decided that this is it! No more tweaking, changing or anything! This is his movie, and it’s done!

The song, “Elephants Instrumental” by Rachael Yamagata, inspired him to make this film. A statement about the current situation he’s in… many people are in. He tried to tell a story, and he hopes that comes across.

Please, ANY comments are appreciated. Let him know what you think! Good or bad, so he can improve as he continue to make movies.
And… if you liked it… please share on your blog… Facebook… or anywhere, so his movie gets seen.



Pay Peter a visit and leave your own comments/reviews of this film. That's how we learn to do better and reach more people.

Make sure you check out his delicious recipes while you're there.

And so it goes.
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Thursday Surprise

OK, following the dire warnings and fears of school closings we braced for another big snowstorm yesterday. Yes it did snow all morning, but then the winds died down, snow tapered off to flurries, the Sun came out and the sky cleared to a lovely deep blue. By the time I left work and headed back to the apartment there were hints of stars and a sliver of moon. There was no sign that snow had fallen that day.


The evening weather report called for a 20% chance of snow overnight and a sunny, cold Thursday. They got it half right.


You can imagine my surprise when I greeted a dawn featuring 2 or 3 inches of beautiful fresh powder covering everything and glistening in the morning sunrise. Fortunately, the temps were low enough that a broom did the job on porch and steps, walkway and car in minutes. No ice to scrape. BTW, They don’t make scrapers like they used to; I’ve broken 3 already and even the small ones without brushes crack or splinter without much effort.


Off today with no need to travel so I’ll take advantage of the free time to catch up on small projects that need to be done before spring. Maybe even do a bit of cooking while I’m at it.


More later.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Oldest Gay Bookstore to Close.

Back in the early-sixties while living on Horatio Street in Greenwich Village I kept running into a neighbor who lived across the street. We would always say hello to one another and eventually became friends. We had many mutual friends and began hanging out and having house parties whenever possible. That was the safest thing to do back then.

By 1966 we were pretty well known around the neighborhood (He more than I) and some even thought we were lovers, though that was never the case. That year was also a turning point for both of us. Having been in crappy jobs for a while and complaining about the harassment conditions to one another over "festive after-work cocktails" we decided that the next time we were verbally attacked we would have the last say and walk out immediately after. The verbal assaults were just a price one paid for not giving a shit what people thought of your personal life.

No, we weren't nelly queans or swishy (and we both believed that fact is what freaked them out) but we didn't boast about girlfriends, or our weekend adventures either. Anyway, I forget who walked first, but we both did within two weeks and enjoyed the looks on the faces of our attackers for many weeks after.

I got another job almost immediately, but Craig did not. He had long nurtured a dream which in 1966 seemed impossible; he wanted to open a gay book store. Remember this is a couple of years before the Stonewall riots and gays & lesbians were harassed daily and nightly even in the Village.

In 1967 Craig Rodwell's dream became a reality when he opened the now famous Oscar Wilde Memorial Bookshop on Christopher Street - you couldn't get any gayer than that. Craig had plenty of struggles and challenges but the store remained open even after his death from cancer in 1993. It is believed to be the oldest - if not the first - such book store in the country. Craig was very proud of what he accomplished and I was very proud of him for doing all he did for the community.

I received news today that after four decades the Oscar Wilde will close at the end of March this year. Very sad, but not unexpected in today's climate.
Here is an open letter from the current owner that appears on the website:

"It is with a sorrowful heart that after 41 years in business the Oscar Wilde Bookshop will close its doors for the final time on March 29, 2009. We want to thank all of our customers for their love and loyalty to the store over the years. You have helped make this store a world wide destination and all of us at the store have enjoyed welcoming our neighbors whether they are next door or half way around the world. In 1967 Craig Rodwell started this landmark store that not only sold Gay and Lesbian literature but also became a meeting place for the LGBT community. Over the years it grew into a first-rate bookshop thanks to the loyal, smart and dedicated staff. There are not enough words to thank these dedicated booksellers for making the OWB one of the world’s finest LGBT bookstores. I feel very honored to have gotten to work with them. Unfortunately we do not have the resources to weather the current economic crisis and find it’s time to call it a day. So thanks to all who have been a part of the Oscar Wilde family over the years, you have truly been a part of a great global community."

If you have a chance to visit before the end of March, be sure to thank the current owner for her dedication and purchase something to honour the store's memory. It will be sorely missed.

h/t Towleroad for the image.
More later.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

When Are WE Going to Get Over It?

Just received this in an email from a friend. I believe it puts into words the very fear so many of us are unwilling to even contemplate, though it must be acknowledged and confronted.

Andrew M. Manis is associate professor of history at Macon State College in Georgia and wrote this for an editorial in the Macon Telegraph.


Andrew M. Manis: When Are WE Going to Get Over It?


For much of the last forty years, ever since America "fixed" its race problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have been impatient with African Americans who continued to blame race for their difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, "When are African Americans finally going to get over it? Now I want to ask: "When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?

Recent reports that "Election Spurs Hundreds' of Race Threats, Crimes" should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in "Bombingham," Alabama in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do more than "talk the talk."

Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame we are once again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.

We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent. Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes. Criticize them, yes. Call for their impeachment, perhaps. But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.

But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we're back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we've proven what conservatives are always saying -- that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president. But instead we now hear that school children from Maine to California are talking about wanting to "assassinate Obama."

Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, "How long?" How long before we white people realize we can't make our nation, much less the whole world, look like us? How long until we white people can - once and for all - get over this hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color? How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white skin makes us superior? How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites?

How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin? How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only conversations?

I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners? How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?

How long before we starting "living out the true meaning" of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that "red and yellow, black and white" all are precious in God's sight?

Until this past November 4, I didn't believe this country would ever elect an African American to the presidency. I still don't believe I'll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem. But here's my three-point plan: First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves Built, I'm going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him and his family from us white people.

Second, I'm going to report to the FBI any white person I overhear saying, in seriousness or in jest, anything of a threatening nature about President Obama. Third, I'm going to pray to live long enough to see America surprise the world once again, when white people can "in spirit and in truth" sing of our damnable color prejudice, "We HAVE overcome."

**************************************

It takes a Village to protect our President !!!!!

And so it goes.
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Enough Said?

Yes, it's at it again and, as usual, everyone forgot how to drive. Supposed to get an inch or two by morning.

Time for some sippin' whiskey.

More later.
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Monday, February 2, 2009

"End of the World" - Matt Alber

I came across this video a few days ago, but didn't immediately view it though the artist's name rang a bell. Then I found it again yesterday at another site and decided to have a look. Then it clicked. Matt Alber used to be one of the "Orchestra of Voices" known as Chanticleer. I used to own many of their CDs, but lost them in the settlement.

The song is beautiful and made me a little weepy - OK, so shoot me! - and the video is well done.
Oh, how I wish I had enough hair to merit a visit to a barber shop...sigh. Enjoy.

It only just occurred to me how much I miss being touched, hugged, held, and snuggled. Yes, I am a hopeless romantic, and doubt any of the above is anywhere in my future. I suppose I had my life ration during that 30 year relationship that went south.

It's all me now, baby. Only me.

And so it goes.

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday on the Cape with the Cajun

Focused on getting in a walk today, I drove into town with the idea of a brisk walk on the boardwalk. Unfortunately, the Boardwalk is torn up and under construction, so I drove up to North Shores and hit the beach instead.

Only one other person was there with his two cute dogs (who clearly loved the ocean and beach) off leash and having the time of their lives. As they played and did their romping thing, I joined him in laughing at their antics. Those dogs will sleep well tonight, for sure.


Then I continued my walk north toward the cape inhaling deeply the salt air and enjoying sound and rhythm as the Atlantic did its thing sending waves crashing on the beach. The wind was pretty strong but I had on layers so the only part exposed was my nose. It still burns and I may wake up to a wind-burned schnozzle tomorrow. Whatever. It was worth it for the relaxing environment as well as the head clearing effect the sea spray delivered to me in a personal way.


When I got back to the apartment, I took a hot shower, decided what I was going to prepare for supper and began making a loaf of bread – this time a Monterey Jack and green olive loaf. Smells great right now and it hasn’t even begun to bake.


Time for some sippin' whiskey and music, then supper - in that order – and just like those dogs on the beach, I know I will sleep well tonight.


And so it goes.


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My Bus Slogan


Go on over and make your own. You know you want to do it.

And so it goes.

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Pope Benny's Latest Gift to NOLA...

Elevate some batshit crazy cleric to Bishop; you know, the Austrian guy who claims Katrina was God's wrath for the sins of the city.
VATICAN CITY -- An Austrian pastor who has been quoted as calling Hurricane Katrina God's punishment for sin in New Orleans is being promoted to the rank of bishop.

The Vatican announced Saturday that Pope Benedict XVI has tapped the Rev. Gerhard Wagner, 54, to be auxiliary bishop in Linz, Austria. It made no mention of the reported remarks about Hurricane Katrina.

Wagner has served since 1988 as pastor of a church in the Austrian town of Windischgarsten and received a doctorate in theology from the prestigious Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome, the Vatican said.

In 2005, Wagner was quoted in a parish newsletter as saying that he was convinced that the death and destruction of Hurricane Katrina earlier that year was "divine retribution" for New Orleans' tolerance of homosexuals and laid-back sexual attitudes.

Kath.Net, a Catholic news agency in Austria, released in 2005 excerpts of what it said were comments Wagner made in a parish newsletter in Linz about Katrina.

It said the newsletter quoted Wagner as saying that Katrina destroyed not only nightclubs and brothels in New Orleans, but also abortion clinics.

"The conditions of immorality in this city are indescribable," Wagner was quoted as saying.
For some reason I don't think that ol' Ratzy has ever read 'How to Win Friends and Influence People.' Reinstating the loon who insists the Holocaust never happened was proof enough, but this really nails it.

This is so bogus. I visited last summer and can vouch for the areas of the city hardest hit and they were primarily residential. Everyone knows the most 'sinful' parts of NOLA were spared the flood waters, but don't tell the Catholic Church.

Taxi! Drive me off this movie.

More later.

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