Friday, August 29, 2008

While Visions Of Dan Quayle Danced In Their Heads

Sara who?

Let me start out by telling you I was raised a Democrat while my husband was raised a Republican. Fourteen years ago we both turned our backs on our respective parties and re-registered unaffiliated. We had reached the point where we decided that both parties were just different sides of the same coin. Both groups seem to think that political party comes first and country second; we were sick of it.

This morning when it was anounced that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was John McCain's pick for vice-president my husband, who is a mild-mannered man, blew-up, exclaming, "I am sick of all this political crap! Do they think we are that stupid and can't see that they only picked her because she is a woman?!"

Yes, yes they do.

The Change We Need

The Democratic National Convention ended last night with a speech by its candidate for president, Barack Obama. How did he do? Well, any speech that makes me forget the passage of time is a good one to me. I glanced at the clock toward the end of the speech and was surprised to find almost an hour had gone by since the man started talking. He said all the things I thought he would about the changes need in this country's policies at home and abroad but what caught my ear was the following about the promise of America:

It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves – protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

That’s the promise of America – the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.

That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now.

Then later:

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America’s promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our “intellectual and moral strength.” Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can’t replace parents; that government can’t turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility – that’s the essence of America’s promise.

He is telling us what Dumbledore told Harry Potter in The Goblet of Fire, "Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy."

Responsibility- individual responsibility and governmental responsibility are the keys to America's recovery. Is America up to that? God, I hope so.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

...That's More Of The Same

Watched the spectacle that is the Democratic National Convention last night. I was amused by the "unanimous" support showed for Barack Obama during the vote to bypass the rules and cut to the chase. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, did not give the nays a chance to say nay before declaring Obama the Democratic Party candidate for president.

Although I did not watch every minute of the convention I did tune in to hear Bill Clinton's and Joe Biden's speeches. Both made it a point to acknowledge John McCain's service to his country in the Vietnam War. Both also pointed out that McCain was on the same road politically as George Bush.

My favorite part of Clinton's speech was when he pointed out how the Republicans political philosophy has damaged our country and will continue to do so if they are allowed to remain in control:

The Republicans will nominate a good man who served our country heroically and suffered terribly in Vietnam. He loves our country every bit as much as we all do. As a Senator, he has shown his independence on several issues. But on the two great questions of this election, how to rebuild the American Dream and how to restore America's leadership in the world, he still embraces the extreme philosophy which has defined his party for more than 25 years, a philosophy we never had a real chance to see in action until 2001, when the Republicans finally gained control of both the White House and Congress. Then we saw what would happen to America if the policies they had talked about for decades were implemented.

They took us from record surpluses to an exploding national debt; from over 22 million new jobs down to 5 million; from an increase in working family incomes of $7,500 to a decline of more than $2,000; from almost 8 million Americans moving out of poverty to more than 5 and a half million falling into poverty - and millions more losing their health insurance.

Now, in spite of all the evidence, their candidate is promising more of the same: More tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that will swell the deficit, increase inequality, and weaken the economy. More band-aids for health care that will enrich insurance companies, impoverish families and increase the number of uninsured. More going it alone in the world, instead of building the shared responsibilities and shared opportunities necessary to advance our security and restore our influence.

Joe Biden got more specific in his speech, showing the ways McCain has or is following in George Bush's footsteps :

John McCain is my friend. We've known each other for three decades. We've traveled the world together. It's a friendship that goes beyond politics. And the personal courage and heroism John demonstrated still amaze me.

But I profoundly disagree with the direction that John wants to take the country. For example, John thinks that during the Bush years "we've made great progress economically." I think it's been abysmal.

And in the Senate, John sided with President Bush 95 percent of the time. Give me a break. When John McCain proposes $200 billion in new tax breaks for corporate America, $1 billion alone for just eight of the largest companies, but no relief for 100 million American families, that's not change; that's more of the same.

Even today, as oil companies post the biggest profits in history-a half trillion dollars in the last five years-he wants to give them another $4 billion in tax breaks. But he voted time and again against incentives for renewable energy: solar, wind, biofuels. That's not change; that's more of the same.

Millions of jobs have left our shores, yet John continues to support tax breaks for corporations that send them there. That's not change; that's more of the same.

He voted 19 times against raising the minimum wage. For people who are struggling just to get to the next day, that's not change; that's more of the same.

And when he says he will continue to spend $10 billion a month in Iraq when Iraq is sitting on a surplus of nearly $80 billion, that's not change; that's more of the same.

The choice in this election is clear. These times require more than a good soldier; they require a wise leader, a leader who can deliver change-the change everybody knows we need.

Even with all the ballyhoo and hype it was an interesting evening.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic Convention last night was great. My favorite moment was when she ask her supporters whether they were going to transfer their allegiance to Barack Obama. At the beginning of her speech she talked about three people she had met during her campaign:

I will always remember the single mom who had adopted two kids with autism. She didn't have any health insurance, and she discovered she had cancer. But she greeted me with her bald head, painted with my name on it, and asked me to fight for health care for her and her children.

I will always remember the young man in a Marine Corps T-shirt who waited months for medical care. And he said to me, "Take care of my buddies. A lot of them are still over there. And then will you please take care of me?"

And I will always remember the young boy who told me his mom worked for the minimum wage, that her employer had cut her hours. He said he just didn't know what his family was going to do.

Then later she told her suporters to stop thinking about themselves and think about others:

I want you -- I want you to ask yourselves: Were you in this campaign just for me, or were you in it for that young Marine and others like him?

Were you in it for that mom struggling with cancer while raising her kids?

Were you in it for that young boy and his mom surviving on the minimum wage?

Were you in it for all the people in this country who feel invisible?

Good stuff.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Making The E-mail Rounds

One day, in the Garden of Eden, Eve calls out to God, "Lord, I have a problem!"

"What's the problem, Eve?"

"Lord, I know you created me and provided this beautiful garden and all of these wonderful animals and that hilarious comedic snake, but I'm just not happy."

"Why is that, Eve?" came the reply from above.

"Lord, I am lonely, and I'm sick to death of apples."

"Well Eve, in that case, I have a solution. I shall create a man for you."

"What's a man, Lord?"

"This man will be a flawed creature, with many bad traits. He'll lie, cheat, and be vain and glorious; all in all, he'll give you a hard time. But.....he'll be bigger, faster, and will like to hunt and kill things. He will look silly when he's aroused, but since you've been complaining, I'll create him in such a way that he will satisfy your physical needs. He will be witless and won't be too smart, so he'll also need your advice to think properly."

"Sounds great." says Eve, with an ironically raised eyebrow. "What's the catch, Lord?"

"Well... you can have him on one condition."

"What's that, Lord?"

"As I said, he'll be proud, arrogant, and self-admiring, so you'll have to let him believe that I made him first. Just remember, it's our little secret.......You know, woman to woman."

Monday, August 25, 2008

Next, 2012

I haven't be writing about the Olympics because I have been too busy watching them. I have a love-hate thing going on with the Games, what with all the jingoism, hype, and behind the scenes politics but in the end I am always happy that I watched. I guess I have to agree with Esther Myers Wenzel who, when she was 20 years old, attended the 1936 Berlin Games. After they were over she said..."the world stood poised on the verge of war, and yet for 10 glorious days in August, 1936, joy, excitement, and friendly competition made the world forget."

And for 10 days in August, 2008, it happened again. What is going on in Georgia has shadowed the Games but what was happening in Beijing made it seen less threatening. Wars come and go but the Olympic Games endure. I guess the Games represent hope and as long as the Games endure there is hope for humankind. I find that a comforting thought.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

We Have Company

Babe is staying with us for a few days. Hopefully we will not have any adventures like we did last time she was here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Medical Miracle?

Remember when I stubbed my toe? That was last Wednesday. I had bruised it badly and the whole toe had turned a deep royal purple. Well, Monday when I looked at it I was surprised to find it looking normal. It still was tender but there was absolutely no bruising.

I have never had a bruised anything heal that quickly. Usually it takes over a week, more like a week and a half, for a bruise to heal on my body and they always go through those purple/blue, green, yellow stages before finally disappearing. This bruise was there and then not. Is that normal for a bruised toe? Is that normal for a bruised anything?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

'Whatchutalkinbout, Willis?'

-line from the tv show Diff'rent Strokes

(via Donna at Changing Places)

John Schwenkler used a software program called Wordle to create these graphic word piles showing which subjects are getting the most play at both John McCain's and Barack Obama's blogs. Interesting how McCain's campaign is so focused on Barack Obama, isn't it?

(Original graphic from the Boston Globe here. It may be easier to read.)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Rain, Glorious Rain

My Canna Lily leaves. What looks like damage done by someone with a 3-hole punch is actually the aftermath of hunger grasshoppers. Lots of grasshoppers this year (bad) along with lots of rain (good).

Friday, August 15, 2008

True Or False?

- Bigfoot found.

-Chinese gymnast really is sixteen years old.

-Harry Potter fans are not going to be upset by the delay in the release of the sixth Harry Potter movie.

And lastly,

-Most scientific research projects are just bad science.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere

It is kind of interesting how when you notice something once, you start seeing the thing you noticed everywhere. You know, like pregnant women if you or someone you know is pregnant of a certain make or color of car after you buy one yourself. This morning when I took Kate for a walk around the block I noticed my water meter out by the street:

(click on photos to enlarge)

On the cover are written the words: FORD METER BOX CO., WATER, METER, TYPE, X, WABASH INDIANA.

When I walked passed my neighbor's water meter I glanced down and saw:

On its cover are the words: UNITED FOUNDRY, WATER, METER, DENVER.

My curiosity was up and around the corner I find a water meter in the driveway of another neighbor and stop to look at it:

On its cover are written the words: MUELLER CO., WATER, METER, DECATUR ILLINOIS.

Now I start checking all the water meters covers I come across and find one more made in Denver, one more made in Decatur, and three more made in Wabash. I then see two larger ones in the middle of the street and go to look at them:

At first I am confused by the S but then I look at the other cover:

Ahh, WATER, of course, the S means sewer.

As I continue our walk I wonder just how many different types of manhole and water meter covers there are embedded in the streets, sidewalks, and front yards of town.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Pinky Toe

Hark, wee pinky toe
Unnoticed, tiny, deformed
What is your purpose?

-author unknown

The pinky toe is the little toe on the outer edge of the foot. Also know as a little piggy it is the one that went " wee, wee, wee, all the way home." This little toe consist of three bones called phalanges. The bone with the nail on it is called the distal phalange, the bone connected to the metatarsus (long bones making up the sole of the foot) is called the proximal phalange, while the bone connected to the proximal and distal phalange is ingeniously called the middle phalange.

Now, there are a lot of things that can happen to the pinky toe when cramming it into a shoe. It can develop corns, calluses, blisters, or become crooked (known as hammer toe). The nail can also develop problems becoming ingrown or infected with a fungus. Then there is the painful condition known as a bunionette or tailors bunion first noticed on tailors centuries ago. It is said that the painful bump that sometimes appeared on their pinky toes was caused by those toes being pressed into the ground as the worked sitting cross-legged.

Although you may develop anyone of these toe problems in your lifetime, you are more likely to do damage to your toe while walking barefoot. This damage is usually caused by spraining your interphalangal joint or, as it is more commonly known, stubbing your toe. I managed to do this yesterday afternoon when I banged my toe into the leg of my coffee table. Today my right pinky toe is very swollen, a beautiful shade of royal purple, and tender.

This week is definitely not starting well for me.

i get banged up a lot,
like a pinky toe
on coffee table legs, and
rocks buried in the snow
you should leave your jacket outside,
inside's too warm
it's just a thought;
you'll wear what you've always worn

i get banged up (oh)
i get banged up (oh)

i get banged up a lot,
like a pinky toe
on escalator steps and
welcome mats that say hello

-Lyics from Pinky Toe by A Weather

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sorry I'm Late

I would have been back yesterday if I had not had a migraine Sunday. I made the mistake of fighting it as to not go into a full blown attack which only caused it to bounce back yesterday. Feeling better today but still a bit shaky.

While I was gone a few things happened around here. First, the weather got better. When I left the temperature at bedtime was mostly in the low 90'sF/30'sC -last night the thermometer was reading 67F/19.4C when I put the dogs out for the last time and it dropped down to 60F/15.5C during the night.

Next, speaking of dogs, my dog Kate is feeling well enough to run up to me every so often with her tail wagging, her eyes sparkling, and a great big smile on her face that says, "Say, I have a great idea, let's get me some more food!"
The change is remarkable.

My time away also came at fair week and as usual my husband and I did our civic duty and volunteered to work a shift one night. And as usual the best part was the excitement shown by the kids. Fair week is a big deal around here and we were lucky enough to have it fall during cooler weather and just after a couple of big rainstorms. No eating dust at the demolition derby this year. Not that I went, it just make it easier breathing all though the fairgrounds when there is no dust being stirred up by a bunch of cars tearing around on the arena dirt.

Finally, there was another death in town last week. A nineteen year old boy killed himself with a shot gun. I did not know him personally but I do know his mother by sight. As if the death wasn't shocking enough word got around that the young man had left a note to his family saying that since they did not appreciate him while he was alive maybe they would now that he was dead. That poor mixed-up kid. As I have pointed out before suicide can sometime be the ultimate F-you.

Now, if that wasn't bad enough I found out that someone in town decided that he/she had a duty to tell this boy's mother that she (the mother) was responsible for his death. The cruelty and stupidity of some people is amazing to me. I'll bet you a hundred dollars that this person considers him or herself a good christian.

After reading what I wrote I see that I could have titled this post, The Bad, The Good, and The Ugly. The Ugly really bothers me but as Albert Einstein once said, "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe.”

He got that right.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Hot Town

Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
-Lyric from Summer In The City by The Lovin' Spoonful

All up and down the western plains the temperature is forecast to reach the low hundreds for the next four days. Add that to higher humidity readings than normal and you have a recipe for misery. This morning I mowed the lawn and by the end I was hot, sticky, and dripping. The temperature was 85F with the humidity at 62%, which translated to a heat index reading of 90F/32C.

I am sure some of you are sneering at me for complaining about the humidity being "only" 62% but remember I grew up in Colorado (see number 6 on You're From Colorado If list). I am used to practically no humidity. When I went running for the first time after my husband and I moved to Tampa, Florida I started perspiring profusely and felt very weak. I turned around and returned to our apartment convinced that I was ill and had just had a fever I did not know about break. When I told my husband this he started laughing (he had lived in Texas for four years) and then explained how humidity, perspiration, and evaporation worked. I never did get used to the feeling of my running clothes hanging wet and sticky on me during a run the entire time I was down there.

Anyway, like I said it is going to be miserable for the next several days and the thought of it makes me want to spend each day just lying in front of the a/c with a pitcher of ice cold lemonade and a stack of books ignoring the heat, humidity, and the outside world. To accomplish that goal I am also going to take a short break from blogging. See you all on Monday the eleventh.