Saturday, December 31, 2005

Friday, December 30, 2005

The string of taillights stretching ahead

. . . of me along the curving roads seemed endless. Somewhere at its front was the hearse. Except for when it pulled out of the church's parking lot I never saw it again until I parked at the cemetery.

The stream of headlights behind me was just a long as the taillights in front.

Last week was bad. This one wasn't any easier. To be honest, this one was worse.

No road rage this time. "Terry," who'd been part of my family's life for over 20 years starting when he was 16, just didn't wake up Christmas morning. He was one of Da Kid's two self-designated neighborhood "big brothers."

And big Terry was: 6 feet 6 and 350 or so pounds even back then.

Funny sight, this huge man-boy and the much younger AND SMALLER blond-haired kid standing there side by side.

When Da Kid was struggling in grade school, Terry used to sit at the table helping him with his homework. In actuality -- but I wasn't supposed to know it -- Da Kid was helping Terry learn to read.

On and on the stories go.

When I broke the ball joint in my shoulder, Terry was the first one here and the first one I saw (He was kinda hard to miss.) when I came out with my arm strapped to my side. Which is where it was for the next eight weeks, by the way.

"Ewwwww! You need me to feed you or something?"

"Shaddap, Terry. I've never tried to eat with my left hand before."

A few year's later Hubby's replacing part of the roof that had started to leak, and the only person who came over to help was Terry. Hubby says to Terry, "Don't step there. It looks weak." Next thing I know, one of Terry's legs is dangling down through the living room ceiling.

Da Kid graduates from middle school and had been accepted to one of the best private high schools in the area. To celebrate Terry, who was now driving 18-wheelers, took Da Kid on an instate, 24-hour-run with him. He brought Da Kid home a BIT wired.

"Terry said I could go to sleep in the back of the cab and it's got a bed back there and everything but I wouldn't so when we stopped I drank coffee with the other truckers just like they all do and had doughnuts for breakfast and coffee and for lunch I had coffee and candy bars and coffee and . . . "


He fled.

And the stories go on and on.

Da Kid very quitely broke during today's church services. He was managing until the pastor told another "Terry Story" of his that gave everyone a chance to laugh. We all have them. But in something like this there's a shell that's easily cracked. Laughter becomes tears.

Hubby was okay at the service, but it was close at the cemetery.

And now if you'll all excuse me, I think I'm just gonna have myself a damned good cry.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Forward this!

As another year will shortly be a memory, my heartfelt appreciation goes out to all of you who have taken the time and trouble to send me "forwards"overthe past 12 months.

Thank you for making me feel safe, secure, blessed,and wealthy.

Extra thanks for the ones that I have to open 15 times to get to it.

Special thanks to whomever sent me the one about rat poop in the glue on envelopes.

Also, I scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason. Because of your concern, I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains. I no longer drink Pepsi, or Dr Pepper, since the people who make these products are atheists who won't put "Under God" on their cans.

I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.

I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS.

I no longer go to shopping malls because someone might drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer receive packages from, nor send packages by UPS or FedEx since they are actually Al Qaeda in disguise.

I no longer answer the phone, because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.

I no longer eat KFC, because their "chickens" are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.

I no longer have to buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus, since I now have their recipe.

I no longer worry about my soul, because at last count I have 363,214 angels looking out for me.

I no longer have any savings, because I gave it to a sick girl who is about to die in the hospital.

I no longer have any money at all - but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special email program.

Thank you so much for looking out for me. I will now return the favor!

If you don't send this e-mail to at least 4,000 people in the next 7 minutes, a large pigeon with terminal diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 PM (MST).

I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of mine's next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beautician.

Via: Hey Joe!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Quotable Quotes

"If you have trouble visualizing what a trillion is, just remember that a trillion seconds ago, no one on this planet could read or write. A trillion seconds is thousands of years. That's the kind of money our . . . politicians are spending in order to keep getting re-elected." -- Thomas Sowell


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Gone but not forgotten

As I'm sure you recall, the United Nations immediately jumped into action in the wake of last year's monster tsunami. It stuck its hand out for money.

In an effort to highlight the massive humanitarian effort that a disaster of this magnitude would require, Jan Egeland, its undersecretary general in charge of something-or-other, wasted no time in slamming the U.S..

First on site, however, providing actual assistance were India and Japan and the military forces of the United States and Australia. Although they were still sitting with their thumbs up their butts, a UN spokesperson was quick to criticize these efforts saying it lacked the UN's "moral authority."

Donations poured in to help those who'd been affected. Unfortunately, some of it went to that great bastion of "moral authority, the United Nations.

Jay Tea at Wizbang points to a UPI article with the headline, Overheads take up to 1/3 of tsunami funds.

The newspaper also found several U.N. agencies continue to refuse to disclose details of their relief expenditure in spite of earlier pledges of transparency by senior officials.
Jay Tea wondered:

[What] did the United Nations do with that over half a billion dollars they solicited from the nations of the world? In the face of this catastrophe, unprecedented in the modern world, the single greatest national disaster since the United Nations was founded?
The link to the Financial Times article cited by UPI seems to have expired as well as another one to a companion article. But while they may be gone, the The Diplomad, a short-lived blog written by "career US Foreign Service officers" should not be forgotten.

Their stellar reporting -- on among other things the UN's need for five-star hotels and 24/7 catering before it could possibly provide any actual services -- offers numerous hints.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

WOOF! (and wag)

This week's Carnival of the Dogs is at Mickey's Musings.

Mickey also has . . . uh, other news to report this week so.. . .

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Saturday, December 24, 2005

T'was the night before Christmas


It's 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve and all good little boys and girls, at least here, are now tucked in their beds or heading there quickly and without argument. I kid you not.

I don't know how many years ago it started but we've been out here now for fifteen. It's getting too big out here too fast but it's still nice to know some things have remained the same.

The distant wail of a siren and the screech of brakes signal the beginning. Children head out the door or are carried outside by their parents. Next, a booming amplified voice. At first it's not clear what's being bellowed but it doesn't take long. "HO! HO! HO! MERRY CHRISTMAS!"

Then the flashing lights atop the biggest engine from the volunteer fire station. On its back waving, hanging on for dear life clings Santa. Down every road, some dirt, his cry continues until it finally fades away, until next year.




Where we are grew (and still is faster and faster I'm sad to say) and year after year, the sound of his firetruck's siren became increasingly distant. About two years ago or so while Hubby and Da Kid were decorating the Christmas tree, around 10 I said, "I guess Santa's not coming by tonight."

Da Kid stopped for a moment, thinking about how even he hadn't heard the sirens.

"I guess not," he said wistfully.

While Santa may not come by here on his firetruck anymore, that doesn't mean he's still not tearing up and down country roads on Christmas Eve clinging to one. Because it's gotten so big and busy here, I guess he had to go to the next county.

As a matter of fact, he even has a new volunteer "elf" as his driver.

"You're a little tall for an elf, aren't you?"


A new volunteer elf who isn't known for having a particularly good sense of direction.

"You did get Santa back to the station safely, didn't you? I mean, you didn't get lost and . . . "


They know that Santa's on his way . . .

And he is. But, where is Santa right now?

Click this and find out.

Friday, December 23, 2005


I want some dim bulb to open their mouth and tell me how bad the economy is. Come on! I dare you!

I have been Christmas shopping. I have been Christmas shopping for several days now, and I can't find a damned thing I'm looking for because IT'S ALL SOLD OUT! A buncha somebodies got there already and bought all of what I'm trying to get.

Oh, I order online when I can and that stuff's here and what had to be shipped out of town left last week. But there's some stuff I don't want to order online because I want to see what it really looks like or feels like before I buy it ‘cause if there's one thing I hate more than Christmas shopping, it's having to return shit.

Selected examples:

How the hell hard should it be to find some damned reasonably-priced, medium-sized flannel shirts, huh? Oh, I could probably find a few by now at one of the fancy-pants stores, but I'm not getting them for some guy so he can try to look manly by wearing them. I'm getting them for Hubby so when he, as he always does, rips the hell out of one while he's working, 40 bucks doesn't end up being tossed in the trash. Four stops over three days, I finally found three of ‘em tonight. (It doesn't matter how many he may get during the year or what else for Christmas, if Hubby doesn't find new flannel shirts under the Christmas tree, he frets.)

Herself, Da Kid's fiancé, is a voracious reader but between work and school hasn't had time. I have no idea what her hours are going to be like starting next month, but know that the only thing that kept me sane sometimes (and my eyes open when I was behind the wheel and all I wanted to close them) was plugging a book-on-tape into Ol' Blue's dashboard. And I discovered she's never read THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. Three different places, I finally found one set of CDs that someone hadn't already bought.

Let's not even talk about the crowds in the stores and I'd prefer not even mentioning the parking lots. (If I do, I'll start cussing again.) These people aren't taking their daily constitutionals there! They're buying stuff. Lotsa stuff. In one check-out line I think the lady ahead of me had tried to buy out the entire store.

And I still have to figure out what the hell else to get Da Kid. This is the first time I've ever felt so clueless. Ever.

At least he flat out told me what he wants for his birthday on December 26. He wants me to take him out to eat at a specific place. A Japanese restaurant he and Herself discovered.

Da Kid assures me that despite the fact that I'm allergic to fish and seafood, there are other things on the menu. He also promises that I won't start gagging as soon as I walk in the place because I will not even smell the presence of any fish or seafood, despite the fact that I'll be surrounded by people — he and Herself at the same table as I am — all of them basically eating bait.

This should be interesting.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

I don't know

How does one deal the death of their 22-year-year old son? A call in the middle of the night from cops that a driver in another car had had a hissy fit and put a bullet through their child's head?

I damned well don't know.

I guess, as my friends did, you start by sitting in an ICU unit listening to the pings and watching the monitors, before finally coming to the realization that the only thing they're signaling is that the machines he's hooked up to are working just fine and dandy.

Your child, on the other hand, is gone and has been.

Next, I guess, you sign whatever paperwork is needed to allow the harvesting of any and all viable organs in his body for transplant to others.

His father called me Tuesday to tell me what had happened and ask me if I'd come to a Celebration of Life tonight, that he and his wife had chosen to have for their son instead of a funeral.

It was okay if I didn't, he said, 'cause he knew it's a helluva drive to start with but with the traffic and all the road construction . . . but if I did, please, (he kept saying) no cards, flowers, donations, memorials. Or fancy dress. It's casual attire.

I'm guessing 200 people were there tonight at a Moose Lodge. Family, friends of the family; his friends and coworkers.

Food, drinks, pool tables, video games and a juke box going non-stop.

The swapping of stories between young and old. Those who knew him his entire life, only as a child and those who knew him only as a young man before his life was cut so terribly short.

I doubt I could handle any of this the way they did.

I pray I never have to find out.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Things I've learned along the way

Tank had chemo (Vincristine this time) again Wednesday. As happens each and every time, by the time we get home he's completely tuckered out and spends the rest of the afternoon and night snoozing.

Not always but on several occasions, the next morning he refuses treats, his peanut butter flavored Glucosamine / Chondroitin supplement (a.k.a. "Chewy Thingies") and feed? Forget about it. It's not that he isn't hungry. He is. He just won't eat. Anything.

One meal or one day, okay. Under normal conditions this wouldn't necessarily be a problem but Tank's situation, as you know, isn't normal, and this went on for several days the first time no matter what Hubby and I tried to do, until Michelle at Dr. LaDue's told me why and explained what to do.

Tank's stomach was upset. The treatment had probably made him queasy and rather than eating and vomiting it up, Mama Nature was telling him not to eat at all.

With Tank there's no pattern on when this will occur. It doesn't matter what chemical he's administered. His stomach may be absolutely fine after treatment, other times it won't be. Sometime's he's back on his regular feed within a day; other times it takes longer. This time for the first time Tank didn't "tell me" Mama Nature had told him to stop eating the day after treatment, but two days after.

Earlier I'd had to give him his 10 mg tab of Prednisone rather than him gobbling it down. He wouldn't eat a Chewy Thingie and barely showed interest in a treat. There were other things, too, but I recognized the signs even before I tried to give him his feed, already knowing he'd reject it. Which he did.

After I pulled Tank's bowl (to keep The Wonderdog from scoffing down Tank's feed when he'd finished his own) as I reached into a kitchen cabinet I started thinking how easily I could do this now, and other things I've learned along the way since Tank was first diagnosed with Canine Lymphoma.

(A quick note: If you've stumbled in here via a search engine looking for information on it, and apparently some of you are, I highly recommend this site. There are good folks there and what they have has helped me a lot. I think, though, that Tank and I can help a little bit, too. Like with:)

Instant Chicken and Rice for a possibly / probably queasy dog

If this is going to happen on a regular OR you have a large dog, buy chicken. Lotsa chicken. Boil and debone it. Toss the skin and add only enough stock to the water you're using to cook the rice in to give it some flavor. No salt, no spices. Nothing. The point is totally bland and as little fat as possible because with delicate stomachs, fat only makes the situation worse.

It's like what your mother used to do for you when you were small and felt sick and she was trying to get you to eat something but you wouldn't because you knew if you did, you'd . . . you know.

But I'm talking INSTANT. Instant, like you get up in the morning and your dog tells you, "Here we go again."

1 - 10 oz. can of chicken.
1 ½ cups of Minute Rice.
1 ½ cups of liquid

(Two batches a day for Tank. How much will your dog need? That depends on its size so please check with your vet.)

Dump some water in a sauce pan and put it on the stove to boil. While it begins heating open the can of chicken, and drain the water (juice?) from it into a measuring cup. Add water from the pan for the remaining 1 ½ cups of "liquid" needed. Toss the rest.

Plunk the chicken from the can into the sauce pan. Break up the larger pieces so that if you're dealing with a quick learner like Tank, they won't sneak out just the big chunks and leave everything else.

Add the liquid and return the sauce pan to the burner bringing the contents to a rolling boil.

Stir in the rice, cover, and remove from heat. Stir once about 10 minutes later and re-cover.

Once cool if it's not devoured, if you haven't already talked to or have a call in to your vet, it's time to make one.

Day Two and thereafter: Dump the chicken and rice over and mix with small but slowly increasing amounts of the dog's regular feed while just as slowly backing off of the chicken and rice. Let stand until the flavors have melded.

This progression is an outline only and is no way written in stone. Sometimes I've had to keep Tank on straight chicken and rice for two days before starting to introduce small amounts of his regular feed to it. Sometimes we've had to back up a day or two or start all over again from the beginning. It's been as short for us as one day on chicken and rice, and as long as two weeks before Tank was completely back on his regular feed.

Canned chicken is expensive and as I said, if you're going to be doing this on a regular basis it's much less expensive to buy lotsa real chicken. But, doing the whole chicken thing can be a problem, too, when you're only one or two batches (spread over several feedings) away from finally (maybe?) getting all the way back on normal food.

A middle-of-the-road solution for me (since I REALLY stock up on them when they're on sale and then re-wrap each one individually before sticking them in the freezer for OUR use) is boneless-skinless chicken breasts.

After unwrapping the frozen hunka bird, nuke it for 45 seconds. It will still be firm but defrosted just enough to cut through. Cut it into small chunks, tossing the pieces (as you cut them) in the pot of water heating on the stove. (By the time you get everything else assembled, the chicken will be cooked.)

Remove the chicken and add water to the broth for the 1½ cups of liquid required.

That much chicken and rice can cause constipation, though. How to handle that, is something else I've learned along the way.


Every day is a good one
Invisible dog food
Week Five
Week Four
Week Three
Week Two -- Part Three.
Week Two -- Part Two (We begin).
Week Two -- Part One.
Week One.

I hate these things!

You're an introspective intellectual.

What Sort of Intellectual Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via: Tammi


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Blogging Lite

Tank's having a couple of rough days after his chemo (Vincristine this time) Wednesday. So, I'm going to just toss up a couple of articles I've found interesting. Commentary (mine) may or may not be included.

I wonder how anyone can take the op-eds Molly Ivins writes seriously. Unfortunately, too many do. The day after Iraq's latest elections, Ivin's nonsense is titled Despite Bush's claims, situation grows steadily worse in Iraq.

. . . the oil production and electricity in Iraq both remain below pre-war standards.
I don't know about oil production, but based on her obvious familitarity with Iraq's electrical system, I doubt Ivins does, either.

Iraq's electrical system is being extended throughout the entire country instead of it just being available to Saddam and his favored few. Its capacity has also being increased. Both are continuing projects.

In addition to the insurgency blowing up sections of it at every opportunity, there's another "problem," a bigger one, that Ivins has no interest in and it isn't going to be solved any time soon.

Iraq's booming economy has people going out and buying television sets, air conditioning units and other electricty-eating appliances that they never had before, and this new usage is outstripping the increases. Bad. Add to that one other thing: Right now and a holdover from Saddam's time, Iraqis don't pay for the electricity they consume. It's free so there's no need for individuals or families to conserve.


We are so constituted that we believe the most incredible things; and, once they are engraved upon the memory, woe to him who would endeavor to erase them.

—Goethe, 1774
Writing for Commentary Magazine, Wilfred M. McCray takes a look at the blame game in The Storm Over Katrina.


Eye on the UN (if you haven't bookmarked this site, you really should) points to a webcast, and says that John Bolton isn't the only UN ambassador telling Kofi & Company that unless they get busy on reform, their country's purse strings may tighten. Way to go Canada!


Grab a barf bag before Seeing the humanity in the man When lights went out during Tookie interview, reporter was illuminated.

That's it. Tank's saying "I think I gotta go, again."

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Friday, December 16, 2005

Picture this?


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Thanks loads

Gekko tagged me with one of those idiotic memes. Which is really neat and nifty 'cause she doesn't do 'em, but did this time because Paula tagged her.

Well I don't do 'em, either, Gekko! But <deep sigh> since it's you . . .

Name five oddball habits:

1. When a friend asks a favor, I try to do it. That may not seem oddball but look at what I'm doing right now, okay! Enough said.

2. Since I hate being late to anything, I'm pathologically early. Since it's also rude to be too early, I sit out in my car (or hide somewhere else) for gawd knows how long so that when I finally go in, it looks like I'm on time.

3. I chew my finger nails. In order to make sure I don't, I smooth the edges every day with a nail file 'cause I can't have any snags or rough edges on them 'cause it drives me nuts. If I don't do that, I start worrying the spot and then picking it and then . . . the next thing ya know, no nails again.

4. When I eat corn on the cob, I pry the kernels off with my bottom teeth one row at a time, all the way across the cob.

5. Christmas shopping? I gotta have a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone. Gotta.

I ain't tagging five others. If someone wants to volunteer, feel free.

Purple Power!

Forget the MSM. Iraq the Model has non-stop coverage from throughout Iraq.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The way to do it

We've all been there: graduation ceremonies that never seem to end.

They start late, there are 274 different speakers and some of them are so in love with themselves or the sound of their own voice or think what they have to say is so earth shattering, they don't know when to shut he hell up.

The warning sign a gasbag is going to start yammering away endlessly is always their opening sentence in which they say they will be brief. You sit there for hours, or what seems like hours or perhaps even days, bored out of your mind.

Then, finally, each graduate's name is called. Applause (if any is allowed) is polite, broken occasionally by (Oh, the horror!) a family member daring to yell out the graduate's name. In order to further eliminate any disruption, the taking of photographs by "family members or guests" is forbidden under penalty of getting tossed out on their butt strongly discouraged.

With great decorum, each graduate accepts their diploma . . . then the next graduate . . . then the next . . . The graduate shakes hands with whomever, while posing, freezing for a moment so that the official photographer can capture the moment, which can later be recaptured for a fee by the graduate in various packages.

And then to close the ceremony, the next batch of windbags starts in.

If you're like me, long before they do I gotta pee. Bad. But on and on they drone, which only magnifies my focus which long ago became centered on which will give out first: The speakers sucking so much air out of the room they finally keel over from the lack of oxygen, or my aching bladder.

Herself was one of 168 who graduated Monday night and as if they don't already have enough to do, I'd like to suggest that in the future all graduations be run by Registered Nurses and the faculty and staff that train them.

The doors opened at promptly at 6 pee-em for the seating of family and guests. I don't have a clue how many of "us" there were but I'd guess close to a thousand.

(While others tried to get seats closer to the front, Herself's immediate family, Da Kid and I snagged and took up two rows way in back in one section so that we could all sit together.)

At 6:30 the lights dimmed and exactly as scheduled, the ceremony began.

(Before it did and just before the lights went down, I had a quick chance to look at the program. Fifteen speakers PLUS a musical presentation? I knew I was doomed.)

Speaker after speaker got up and after saying they would be brief (Oh dear gawd, NO!), actually was.

Not only were they all brief, but interesting, informative and encouraging. Entertaining, even!

Unlike other graduations, the dignitaries weren't talking about themselves or pontificating at the graduates or their families and guests.

It was kind of an affirmation among them, almost one generation passing the torch on to another, that we'd, the family members and guests, were permitted to share in.

We know how hard you worked to get here tonight. We know not only because we were there with you every step of the way these last two years, but because tonight you're sitting exactly where we once did.

That wasn't one-way communication, either. The graduates because of the close contact they'd had with them, obviously knew and respected the dignitaries.

It was also fun.

As soon as the graduates began entering in the processional, during the ceremony itself and finishing with the recessional, the cameras everyone in the audience came packing started going off. Some I thought might float out of their seats and disappear overhead because of the bundles of celebratory balloons they were desperately trying to control, some with little success.

(Spellcheck doesn't like "celebratory." Tough.)

Instead of a somber march across the lit stage, some of the graduates gave a thumb-ups or showed their happiness (delicate cough) in other ways, encouraging even louder cheers from fellow graduates, and those sitting in the dark.

And it was dark in there so I can't be certain, but I think I may have spotted one group sitting together, rising from their seats and sitting back into them, in a wave.

This was a celebration in every sense of the word. The way all graduations should be.

It became suddenly quiet, though, when one of the speakers asked not only the graduates but those in the audience who were also nurses to stand, and join her in reciting The Nightingale Pledge.

I don't know how many were seated overhead and above us in the balconies, too, but I do know from where I was seated way in back, the number I could see who rose in the dark to speak almost as one . . . well, there were plenty.

And then it was all over and I was back out on the sidewalk.

That's when I realized my aged bladder had not screamed at called to me even once. Surprised? No, amazed.

I glanced at my wristwatch for the very first time.

From the time the doors opened including seating, fifteen speakers, one musical presentation and the pinning of 168 Registered Nurses had taken one hour and thirty-five minutes.


Note: It's dark, I'm way in back and there's flashes going off everywhere. I'm shooting blindly.

It's a rotten pic, I know, but if you see the line of white uniforms, Herself's in it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


This week's Carnival of the Dogs is up at Mickey's Musings.

Want more doggie goodness?

Florida Cracker asks

Did you know that every puppy in the Transportation Safety Administration's explosives detection program is named for a victim of 9-11? The dogs are born at Lackland Air Force Base, then fostered for their first 14 months by local families.
If you didn't, she describes this Living Tribute.

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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Colts 26, Jaguars 18

It's not that the Jags lost today that bothers me. What does is the way they did.

When Del Rio, the head coach can't discipline himself enough to keep his own mouth shut and pulls a penalty all on his very own, what the heck example does that set for the players.

A play or two before that a personal foul by one of the Jags on the field, and a play or two after Del Rio's penalty, John Henderson earns his team another big one for pushing a Colts player's face into the turf. Repeatedly.

And this was just in one series!

I didn't like the fumbles or turnovers, but those I can take.

What I can't stand are the kinds of stunts, the temper tantrums, I saw today.

My apologies to David Garrard, the backup quarterback who may be Numero Uno for the rest of the season because Leftwich's broken ankle could and probably will keep him out until next year.

Garrard played his heart out again but today, the Jags deserved to lose.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Shady Pines

Da Kid and Herself, his fiancé, have promised both her mother and me that they will take care of us when we are old and feeble, by paying for our stays in an imaginary nursing home they dubbed Shady Pines. Nothing is too good for us, they've always said, after all they've put us through over the years.

Herself called early last week to let me know about her interviews for R.N. intern at two different hospitals.

A job is a job but she was really (and I mean really) hoping for one over the other. The drive would be about 45 minutes shorter each way and the salary and benefit package was far better.

She'd start off at about $2 more an hour than she's earning now. As soon as she gets the paperwork that confirms she's eligible to take the state Board exams, she gets another $4 or so an hour on top of that. Once she's passed the Boards, approximately $7 an hour more.

Salary alone even without shift differential, in a few short months she'd be making more a year than I did after almost 25.

And that's to start.

Then there's also the full insurance, paid leave, tuition reimbursement, 401k, employee home- buying assistance plan . . .

In that particular hospital, she was really (and I mean really) hoping that of the three openings they had, if they hired her she'd get the one in a specialty ICU step-down unit.

She called late last week and I could tell by her voice she was trying her best not to sound like she was crying: "I got it."

Yep. The hospital she wanted AND the slot. She starts January 3.

Meanwhile, Da Kid got a call a couple of days after the "physical" on his day off to come in for an interview. When he got home after it on his day off this week, he was a mix of positive and negative. He thought he'd done well but hadn't realized there would be 30 other candidates vying for whatever training slots the department was trying to fill, and they only have 65 paid firefighters.

Whatever the decision, one of the chiefs would call him Friday.

Da Kid called just before noon.

"Mom, I'm a firefighter."

He goes in on December 20 (his day off) to go over his salary and benefit package, and starts January 6.

After these last two weeks, the hell with Herself's mother and me just having rooms at Shady Pines.

Each one of us deserves our own wing and heck, it looks like they'll be able to afford it.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Picture this?



I'm not done myself but before I forget to mention it (again), check out this week's Carnival of the Dogs at Mickey's Musings.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pearl Harbor Day

Pearl Harbor Speech
Franklin D. Roosevelt

To the Congress of the United States:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversion with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

December 8, 1941

Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

This morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken in for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in the righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the act that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces—with the unbounding determination of our people—we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Better safe than sued

P-C Holiday Greeting...

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all ... and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only "AMERICA" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.


(By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.)

Via: Hey Joe!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

She's here, she's there . . .


Who? Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, naturally, according to the 100,000 pages of information SHE released to the House Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina. Did I read them all? Of course not.

The 33-page pdf Governor's Narrative Timeline (scroll down) was more than enough, and I couldn't even finish that.

See, Blanco has a person in her administration charged with the responsibility of letting her know each and every time a tropical depression even pops up, and as soon as she was advised that something (eventually dubbed Katrina) had hatched, she immediately started screaming, "Buses! We need Buses!"

After Hurricane Ivan the year before and "Hurricane Pam," to test their disaster preparedness, Blanco knew.

As the system strengthens and becomes Katrina, SHE's calling all the parish presidents telling them to get ready and those who will probably be most affected to begin evacuation procedures. Implementation of HER contra-flow plan to speed people out of harm's way begins.

Meanwhile, she's also be-bopping all over the place to lend her authority to the evacuation messages elected officials are sending out to their constituents.

One such stop was to New Orleans, where she added her voice to Mayor Ray "Naggin'" Nagin's very strongly worded suggestion that if it wasn't too much trouble, people should thinking about it.

At the same time Blanco is making television appearances in order to get the word out to anyone and everyone that they need to go door to door knocking on their neighbor's doors to encourage them to leave.

And she's calling "African-American ministers" telling them that they need to get the word out at Sunday's service to "Pack and Pray."

Meanwhile, Blanco somehow squeezes in a call from Max Mayfield. SHE then calls Nagin and tells him to call Mayfield. Nagin calls her back later and says he's going to order an "I really mean it this time" mandatory evacuation of New Orleans . . . the next morning.

Meanwhile, FEMA ain't sent no buses yet!

Blanco's calling up and activating the state's National Guard. She's calling other governors asking for help from theirs.

And, she needs buses. Lots of buses. Lots and LOTS of buses to transport the people out of New Orleans especially since even afterward, FEMA STILL ain't sent none. So, Blanco takes matters into her own hands.

Or something.

Digging through some of the paperwork submitted behind Blanco's Narrative Timeline, The Times-Picayune notes an interesting tidbit:

An e-mail passed on by state Sen. Robert Adley, D-Benton, complained that school buses sent to New Orleans to help rescue stranded residents were turned away.

"They were not wanted they were told because they weren't air conditioned or had toilets. Why? . . . I believe if I were a victim of this disaster, I'd be willing to take any conveyance that was offered," read the e-mail to Adley from Webster Parish's Valorie Boyles.
Blanco's Narrative might have mentioned that. I doubt it but I can't tell you that it doesn't.

I bailed out right about the time SHE -- alone, without another person anywhere doing a darned thing about anything -- was calling the Texas governor and several mayors in that state alone, trying to arrange emergency shelter and housing . . .

She's here! She's there! She's everywhere!

Somebody really needs do a photoshop of Governor Blanco wearing either Supergirl's or Wonder Woman's costume.

Images via Sacred Cowburgers.

Quotable Quotes

"[T]he United States Army is "broken," "worn out" and "living hand to mouth." If the reaction to Murtha's remarks by my military readers is anything to go by, he ought to be grateful they're still bogged down in Iraq and not in the congressional parking lot." -- Mark Steyn

Read it all.


Friday, December 02, 2005

I hate these things!

You Are "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow"
Oh the weather outside is frightfulBut the fire is so delightfulAnd since we've no place to goLet It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Forget a new iPod or laptop...What you want Christmas morning is a winter wonderland.

Snow on Christmas Eve is okay with me, too. Except for that, I NEVER want to see it again.


Via: Jenna


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Picture this?

Via: Ed Gamble