Thursday, January 31, 2008


Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.
-Gene Fowler

Did you ever have one of those days when you just cannot think of anything to write about?

Yeah, me too.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Great Melting Pot Is Leaking

In the end antiblack, antifemale, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing - antihumanism.
-Shirley Chisholm

The bigots have come out of the woodwork this election year.

McCain- to old.

Romney- wrong religion.

Obama-to black or not black enough.

Clinton- wrong sex or to much like a man.

Then there are the groups that should know better. The New York Chapter of NOW ( National Organization for Women) has released this statement after Ted Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy came out for Obama. The president of NOW released this statement yesterday pullling back from what the New York chapter had said.

What the heck is going on? The hatred, anger, and lack of tolerance surrounding this election is off putting and somewhat scary. Is this a symptom of the hatred, anger, and lack of tolerance that we as a country project out to the rest of the world?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Poopy Weather

One of the things I do not like about winter is picking up dog poop. I'm not too fond of it in any other season but doing it in the winter is the worst. This winter picking up dog poop has been more unpleasant than usual. With three big snowstorms hitting us one right after another added to the wind and the freezing temperatures I have not been able to go out and do poop scoops as often as I normally do. Any time there is snow on the ground dog poo removal is a little tricky.

First, a dog's normal body temperature is anywhere between 100.5F/38C to 102.5F/39.2C which means when he or she has defecated into snow that poop sinks into said snow almost as soon as it hits. If you are not right there to pick it up (which I never am since I am not going to follow my dogs around waiting for them to do their business) it freezes into the surrounding snow. Later when you try to pick it up you have to use the pooper scooper like an ax and chip around the frozen poopcicle.

Second, sometimes poop is covered by another snowstorm which means you don't find it until that snow starts melting. When that snow is melting the poopcicle is also thawing and absorbing the water produced by the melting snow. This you must not and cannot pick up. I would explain why but I think you have a good enough imagination to figure it out yourselves. Let's just say it's not a pretty sight.

Third, some of the melting snow hides poop that will not be exposed but will be encased in ice once the snow freezes again. This poop you will not see again until the spring ice melt- especially if it is on the north side of the house.

Finally, there is the poop under the snow that has slid off the roof and slammed into the ground in a compact mound. That poop is also out of sight until the spring thaw if it's buried under north-side-of-the-house snow.

Yesterday after three days of warm temperature and brisk winds I went out on poop patrol. The brisk winds were important since they help remove moisture and firm up the poop. I concentrated on the areas of the yard with no snow cover. That mission was a success. This morning, after a night with the temperature down to 15F/ -9.4C, I did another sweep and picked up all the poop that was in but not of the snow. After waiting so long to get this done I felt a great sense of accomplishment as I scooped up the last lump of poop.

I have got to get a real life.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Where The Wind Comes Sweepin' Down The Plain

My husband and Duke out hunting yesterday. It was a beautiful day with temps up to 66F/18.9C by mid afternoon. In town the warm weather has melted most of the snow, leaving behind rivers of swift moving water in the gutters. Out in the country- lots of mud.

(Duke in photos with his tongue out is beginning to be a trend. See here and here. )

Friday, January 25, 2008

Saint Clint

I find this image breathtaking. I have no idea who the photographer is but I found it at if charlie parker was a gunslinger, there'd be a whole lot of dead copycats.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Since Every Death Diminishes Us A Little, We Grieve-

not so much for the death as for ourselves.
-Lynn Caine

The cult of celebrity has turned actor Heath Ledger's death into a media feeding frenzy. When I did a Google name search under News I found 8,849 news articles listed. Part of this frenzy is because he was so young (28), but a major part is because he was an actor. This phenomenon is not without precedent. When silent screen star Rudolph Valentino died in 1926 at age 31 an estimated 100,000 members of the public showed up at his funeral and there were reports of at least one fan committing suicide.

I find the voruristic, looky-loo*, aspects in all of this news coverage very disturbing.

*A Looky-loo is a person who slows down to look at a car accident in the hope of seeing something gory.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Copy From One, It's Plagiarism;

copy from two, it's research.
-Wilson Mizner

I am amazed to learn from my stats that the most requested post of mine is the one on the song The Battle Of New Orleans. And I've noticed that the interest in that post always increases when school is in session. No one out there is "borrowing it" for a school paper, are they? As you can see it was written in 2004, which means your chances of getting caught are pretty good. Do the research, OK? It's safer.

Anyway, if you are going to cheat at least cheat big like Mizner brothers did. Click on the Wilson Mizner link above to find out what I am talking about. They have been dead over seventy years and people are still talking about them.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

You Say Tomayto And I Say Tomahto

One of my most favorite actors is Anne Bancroft. What most people don't know is she had a great sense of comedy which she displayed brilliantly in her Emmy wining 1970 television special, Annie, the Women in the Life of a Man. I was lucky enough to see it when it aired and still remember bits of it to this day. Imagine my surprise when I discovered someone had put pieces of video from this show on YouTube. I searched though the listing hoping that a skit which had made me fall to the floor in laughter (at the silliness and slyness of it) had been uploaded.


For those of you who do not recognize the lyrics from Cole Porter's Let's Call The Whole Thing Off:

You say eether and I say eyether,
You say neether and I say nyther;
Eether, eyether, neether, nyther,
Let's call the whole thing off!
You like potato and I like potahto,
You like tomato and I like tomahto;
Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto!
Let's call the whole thing off!

The other segments from this show now on YouTube include:

1. Anne Bancroft singing I Don't Want To Walk Without You, Baby. Wonderful.

2. Yma Dream, my second most favorite skit, with Lee J. Cobb.

3. A take-off on Broadway musicals with very 1960's Peter Gennaro style choreography.

4. A skit with Jack Cassidy.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory Of The Coming Of The Lord!

Today is Martin Luther King Day.

Ending of the speech Dr. King made at Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee on April 3, 1968- the day before he was asasinated.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Recognize This?

It is a photo of the aircraft that this model replicates. Thanks to my nephew I now know it is a Vickers Vedettee . The Vedettee first appeared in the 1920's and was built specifically for use in Canada. It was mainly used by the Royal Canadian Air Force for surveying and photographing forests. Most of the topographical maps of Canada are based on the photos taken from these aircraft.

Knowing one of the photos I bought is based on a real aircraft gives me hope for the other two photos. I'm still trying to identify which aircraft those models represent.

Go here and here to view those photos.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Teach Your Children Well

Their father's hell will slowly go by
-lyric from the song Teach Your Children by Graham Nash

Those of you who do not live in Colorado may not recognize the name Douglas Bruce but he is the man who came up with The Taxpayer's Bill Of Rights (TABOR) back in the late 1980's. This bill amended the state's constitution and limited any increase in state and local government's taxes by requiring the increase to be subject to a vote by the people if that increase was over a certain percentage. It also limited, by vote, the amount of money any government could spend. In the years following the passage of the amendment many local governments ask voters for permission to exceed these spending limitations. Doing so was was referred to as "deBrucing" and a great number of voters across the state decided to "deBruce."

Well, Bruce is back in the news this week. First he caused a commotion after he was selected to fill in a vacant Colorado House of Representative seat by saying he wanted to be swore in as a Representative with the House members in attendance and the House in session; something that is not done with people filling out another person's term of office. Oh,yeah, he would also like to make a speech after his swearing-in ceremony. The request was turned down so Bruce decided not to turn up on the opening day of the second half of this year's legislative session. When the higher ups in his party (Republican) threatened to replace him with someone else he decided that maybe he didn't need all the other House members there for his swearing-in ceremony at all.

You think that would be the end of it, wouldn't you? Nope. This story had snowballed and many local news departments decide to cover his no-House-members-in-attendance swearing-in. Right before the ceremony and during a prayer he kicked (video here) a Rocky Mountain News photographer for taking his picture. Bruce, of course, refused to apologize since it was all the photographer's fault. Classless behavior from a classless guy.

Normally I wouldn't waste my time on this guy but one news story caught my eye. Denver Post columnist Susan Greene discussed Bruce's behavior with a group of preschoolers. They thought he was wrong and had suggestions for just how Bruce's behavior should be handled.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Cure For The Blues

We have been going through a cycle of snow followed by warm weather for about a month now. This has caused the eight to ten inches of snow we have on the ground to melt and freeze many times. Some of the melting snow had turned to water while the rest has been compressed into very thick ice/snow. At the entrance to most of the alleys and all but the main street intersections the snow had melted into huge lakes of frozen ice that reach to the top of the sidewalk curbs.

The last few days the weather has been warm enough for the melting snow and ice to form channels of water. Now instead of ice lakes at the intersections we had large chunks of ice about six inches high separated by just as deep channels of water. This has made driving and walking around town even more difficult that it had been.

Yesterday was a sloppy wet day with the temperature reaching 54F/12.2C. The weatherman was forecasting very cold temperature and (of course) high winds for today. All that melting snow and ice was going freeze up again by this morning.

Yesterday afternoon I looked out the front window and noticed our truck was sitting in its own lake of water. I told my husband and then said we should go out and see if we could open up a channel along the curb to allow the water to drain away before it turned to ice. He agreed and we got a couple of shovels and started digging at the ice next to the curb. What we really needed was a pick-ax. It took forever to slowly chip away enough ice to get the water to drain away from the truck. When it did I notice all we had really done was create a larger lake right in front of our next door neighbor's house. I walked down there and started chipping ice away from their cub while my husband tried to make the channel we had already created a little wider to get the water to move faster.

After a bit I got enough ice chipped way to start the water moving again. My husband had also finished widening the canal we had created and the water moved at a pretty good clip. While I stood there watching the result of all our hard work I realize I no longer felt depressed. Nothing like a little physical labor to change your brain chemistry and pull you out of the blues.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It's One Of Those Days

Billie Holiday - Good Morning Heartache

Monday, January 14, 2008

Portrait Of A Sleeping Dog

Duke after a very hectic Christmas morning. Photo taken by my nephew.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Dancing On Thin Ice

If you are going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance.

Chris Bowman-1989 World Championships

Two men who's lives were connected with ice died yesterday and their lives couldn't have been more different. Sir Edmund Hillary, first man to make it to the top of Mount Everest, dead at age 88, and Chris Bowman, former world class figure skater and US Men's Champion, dead at age forty.

The New Zealand Herald described Hillary as "down to earth" while a man who knew Bowman said, "Christopher was always on." Maybe that is why one man died a world hero and the other under suspicion that his untimely death was drug related. One man was comfortable with the person he was while the other was not. One man's life expanded outward after that fickle finger of fame touched him while the other one's life collapsed inward. Did one man listen to his soul and the other not?

My first thought after hearing of Chris Bowman's death was, "Poor baby."

My first thought after hearing about Edmund Hillary was, "Ahh, God rest his soul."

Now I realize that Chris Bowman is the one who could use my prayer to God because Edmund Hillary's soul has always been at rest.

Tribute To Sir Edmund Hillary

Thursday, January 10, 2008

All The News That's Fit To Hype

I turned on the TV this morning to get a quick update on the news. I started with CNN which was covering the explosion of a tanker on I-75 in Detroit. That would be news breaking in Detroit but not to me. After 10 minutes I switched to CNN Headline News. Headline News (way, way back) used to be advertised with the slogan, "You Give Us 20 Minutes And We'll Give You The World." Not any more. I got there just before a commercial break and the announcer told me that next up would be a story about a dog that had been bitten by a tiger followed by a story about a sports announcer who was suspended for making a inappropriate remark about Tiger Woods. I switched to MSNBC but it was on commercial break so next I tried FoxNews.

I don't know why I expected anything not sensational from Fox. Fox loves to do "in depth" stories on missing young women. If those women are blond-even better. I switched to Fox in the middle of a phone interview the announcer was having with an Onslow County, North Carolina sheriff about the disappearance of a young Marine, blond of course, from Marine Corp base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina last month.

The generically good looking, young, white, bland news announcer was pushing the sheriff about something he, the sheriff, had allegedly said earlier. The sheriff replied that he did not deal in hunches but only facts. The announcer got a little snarky asking what "facts" could the sheriff share with him.

At this point Fox did something that did not surprise me. Fox is know for taunting their guests if what the guest is saying is not what Fox wants to hear. During this interview Fox had information about the case crawling across the bottom of the screen. After the sheriff said he only would talk about facts, not hunches, Fox changed the crawl to include the words Fox Fact before each sentence. Why anyone would talk to these clowns I'll never understand.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sent It High Into The Blue

-lyric from U.S. Air Force Song

I was in Denver last week and at an antique store I found three old black and white photos of three different aircraft. It wasn't until I turned the photos over and looked at the back that I discovered the photos were not of real airplanes but of model airplanes. That didn't matter. I wanted them and so I bought them. My only problem is I have no idea just what aircraft these models represent. I will be posted all three of them here and would appreciate anyone helping my out with an identification.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Twelfth Night

(image via Playa Maya News)

Today is Three Kings Day and the official end of the Christmas season. Those of you who haven't already done so may now take down the tree and the Christmas decorations. Leaving them up any longer will bring you trouble.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Into The Wild

I spent part of my Christmas in Pagosa Springs, Colorado this year. A small part of that time was spent in the San Juan National Forest which surrounds the town. One afternoon we went on a sleigh ride south of town and another day for a hike north of town. The hike got me thinking.

On the day of the hike my husband drove us up to the parking area and we got out and walked about a mile up a country road and then stepped off onto a snowmobile trail that weaved through the trees. We walked deeper into the forest heading one direction then another whenever the trail we were on intersected with other trails. At one point we passed a tree that had the ribcage and spine of some animal, either a deer or elk, wedged between two lower branches. I have no idea how it got there but my dog Duke found it very interesting.

Finally we reached an open meadow where Duke left the trail and took off running across the deep snow. I ask my husband where Duke was going and he said he was probably heading to the dead elk he had found the day before. We stumbled after him and found him gnawing on a large femur bone that stuck up out of the snow at a slight angle. The femur was definitely connect to the rest of the elk body since Duke was trying very hard to pull the bone out of the snow without success.

Something about the bone sticking out of of the snow disturbed me. I think it was because this bone was the only thing visible in a sea of snow. Under all this snow laid the body of an animal. If the leg bone had not been standing up like an old sign post we would have had no idea that it was there.

I looked around me and realized that I had no idea just where we were and no idea which direction the parking area or our car lay. I had been blindly following my husband without keep track of were we were going or where we had been. If something happened to my husband, like an accident that left him unconscious or a heart attack, I would have been is a bad situation. I knew I could follow one of the trails and that whatever trail I picked would lead me back to the parking area or a house but how quickly that happened depended on which trail I picked. If I picked the wrong one I could end up wandering around until dark, which would have been life threatening.

Earlier in the week I had read a news story about a family that got lost for three days when the went into a forest to cut down a Christmas tree. At the time I wondered how someone could do something so stupid. Now I know.

When we go into a state forest we forget that we are in the wilderness. We think that since the area we are in has roads and parking areas we are still in civilization. Heck, I was in an area where my cellphone rang when my sister called me. The connection was so bad I could not hear her but it did ring. I was feeling safe when I really wasn't because of this and because my husband was with me and knew the way back to the car.

That ribcage and elk body were reminders that in the forest you are not safe unless you are prepared. That day being prepared meant being aware of where I was at all times. Something I failed to do. Robert Frost wrote a poem that starts with this line, The fog comes on little cat feet." In the wilderness the same thing can be said about death.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Best Christmas Gift This Year

My sisters and me bringing our older sister out to spend her birthday and Christmas with us. Here she is with my dogs Kate and Duke.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha

The above is the best non-Christmas present I got this year. A photo of the Green Tara given to me by my sister Tara.

As usually Christmas was a roller coaster of emotions with the ghosts of Christmases past making frequent appearances. My New Year's resolution this year is to stay more in the now. That is, to not let what has happened in the past to influence how I react to things that happen this year.

No, I think I will downsize that resolution. This year I will be more aware of when events from the past are influencing how I react to things this year. Only when I am aware of what is going on inside my own head will I be able to change anything. That sounds doable.