Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bones

In addition to the ribbons! The wrappings! The tags! And the tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings! my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed every episode of Bones we could get our little mouse on (via Hulu - thanks Kim) this Christmas vacation. For those of you who know the characters, the following 21 seconds should send you into spasms of laughter.



For those of you who don't - I cannot recommend the show enough: it always starts with a badly decomposed body and goes straight up from there using forensic science, inductive and deductive reasoning, and the genuine affection/sexual tension between the two intelligent and highly motivated main characters - a beautiful genius forsensic anthropologist and an virile and honest FBI agent.

And more good news! On New Year's Day, there's a Bones marathon on TNT!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Color My World

Okay, who’s attaching those offensive footers to the bottom of my emails?

“Help make the earth a greener place. If possible resist printing this email and join us in saving paper.”

I…just…...can’t………..resist! [print] Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. It feels so good to be so bad.


First of all, who, exactly, is “us”? ‘Cause I know I didn’t write that stuff. Secondly, can I print it out in huge letters on lots of green paper and lay it out in the yard? That will surely make the earth a little greener, particularly right now. And finally, “if possible, resist”? (I added the comma. Apparently, they also resist punctuation.) Are you kidding me? I will do exactly what I consider to be the right thing for me to do under the circumstances and in no way will consider saving paper, unless, of course, I choose to save paper for some real purpose like not wanting to waste money, or needing to conserve the little paper I have before I can get to the store to replenish my supply! They do still sell paper at the store, right? It hasn’t been taken off the shelves for killing the planet yet, has it?

I have been tired of the greenies for a long time. I have obviously been aware of the companies who are adopting green policies, but concluded that it’s just a part of their marketing plans. Now the insidious propaganda campaigning to embrace the green outside of St. Patrick’s Day has spread so far that it has actually attached itself under my name. This, I will not tolerate and shall be met with my full fury!

All right. I’ll start slowly and work my way toward full fury.

I will begin by putting one of these on the bottom of all my email correspondence in a small effort to counterbalance the absolute tripe to which we have all become unwitting accomplices:

“Pave the world and slope it toward the ocean”; or, “Stop Plate Tectonics!”

They are neither more extreme, nor more ridiculous than heeding the global green siren and attempting to regulate the climate of the earth.

Regarding the color of our planet, I can say only two things for certain: I will never knowingly contribute to its “greening” and that I am slowly contributing to its whitening, which is much more of a concern to me.
________________________________

Here is Stephen’s email signature contribution: Please disregard any anti-industrial environmentalist propaganda that may be automatically appended to this message. Such messages not only contradict my own views, but are detrimental to the human race. - SRB”

He's a keeper.

Beribboned Battlements

As someone whose has publicly given thanks to the inventor of control top pantyhose, I appreciate this sweet little poem by Robert Louis Stevenson and offer it in the hope of sharing the joy that good things bring.

Now Bare to the Beholder's Eye

Now bare to the beholder's eye
Your late denuded bindings lie,
Subsiding slowly where they fell,
A disinvested citadel;
The obdurate corset, Cupid's foe,
The Dutchman's breeches frilled below.
Those that the lover notes to note,
And white and crackling petticoat.

From these, that on the ground repose,
Their lady lately re-arose;
And laying by the lady's name,
A living woman re-became.
Of her, that from the public eye
They do enclose and fortify,
Now, lying scattered as they fell,
An indiscreeter tale they tell:
Of that more soft and secret her
Whose daylong fortresses they were,
By fading warmth, by lingering print,
These now discarded scabbards hint.

A twofold change the ladies know:
First, in the morn the bugles blow,
And they, with floral hues and scents,
Man their beribboned battlements.
But let the stars appear, and they
Shed inhumanities away;
And from the changeling fashion see,
Through comic and through sweet degree,
In nature's toilet unsurpassed,
Forth leaps the laughing girl at last.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ho, Ho, H'OCON!

Now I know what I want for Christmas, but it's too darn late.

I'm going to have to do go into extreme saving (or returning) mode. Do you think I can return the two new hubs assemblies and bearings I needed to get on the front wheels of my car today for the low, low price of $800? Nah. Me neither.

Well I'm sure I'll think of something because being from the Boston area, there is really no excuse to miss it this year. Besides, I think I volunteered to line up some museum field trips for other OBloggers.

I'm already pretty darn excited!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday At Our House

This is what it looks like outside our house right now.



And it doesn't show signs of stopping (but it does show signs of tree damage from the recent ice storm - and man! those downed limbs are heavy).

But this is what it looks like inside.

The unbidden reading of the History At Our House notes by the 10 year-old to her father who is busy with holiday baking.

Life is good.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow Day!


This is my daughter's white board version of a snow day (the overlapping snow overloaded in the center is due to my attempt to fill in where the flash left a bright white circle - she took the picture and erased it before I could try to take one without the flash). She assures me that Sally, on the left, is not a nun, but rather likes to wear all black. I particularly enjoy the snow angel. Can you tell who made it? I'll give you a hint: follow the snow tracks.

Happy Snow Day from Massachusetts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

12-Hour Speed Visit to NYC at Christmas Time

Having just come home from a whirlwind tour of a small bit of Manhattan at Christmas time with my husband and daughters, ages 10 and 15, I have accumulated and would like to share with you the following bits of wisdom.

Don’t:
1) Bring anyone under 14 (Could also be read as “Don’t bring anyone whose legs are not at least as long as yours, who thinks she needs to eat every 40 minutes, or thinks that the Harajuku Lovers solid perfume tops are the height of holiday fun”.) All right – you can bring them as sharing NYC with your kids is half the fun, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

2) Show up at Rockefeller Center and expect to get on the ice. If you want to skate at Rockefeller Center, get in line by 8:00AM for the 10:00 session. Sure, this endeavor blows over 1/3 of your time budget, but it is one of the quintessential New York experiences (which we didn’t have).

3) Stand in a cordoned-off line around the corner from any department store to see the windows. This will eat up an inordinate amount of your time and the payoff is zilch. You can see about as much as you need to from the regular part of the sidewalk.

4) Eat in established or chain restaurants. They don’t try hard enough to make the customers happy – though don’t discount McDonald’s which is amazingly consistent, expedient, and inexpensive (memory from last time) when those things are a priority.

Do:

1) Remember to wear light layers – the temperature may vary wildly from packed stores (inside Macy’s approximately 97 degrees F) to the windswept concrete canyons (approximately 13 degrees F).

2) Go to the top of the Empire State Building. It’s worth the time and money, particularly if you’ve never seen the views. Unfortunately the gorgeous interiors of the lobby are under restoration right now – but do try to walk around in there when they have been restored. The Art Deco plaques, ceiling, and general design are simply fabulous!

3) Do try to see the Bergdorf Goodman windows – very cool.

4) Take lots of pictures, particularly of the streets and places you’ve heard of and possibly sung about!

5) Do pay for the hansom cab ride through Central Park. Yes, it is for tourists, but, lest you forget - you are a tourist. It gives you an opportunity to rest, recombobulate, and take in the sites of the surrounding city listening to the clop-clop-clop of the hoof beats.

6) Be sensitive to the likely confusion of any old women who may be around when you attempt to replicate some silly fun with revolving doors or escalators as in the movie Elf. (You should also warn those in your party that you are likely to do either of these at any opportunity as well.)

7) Remember to warm-up before trying the escalator stunt mentioned above – a pulled groin muscle will hamper the rest of your fun.

8) Bring a map. NYC is quite easy to get around, but if you have a map, you can make the best strategic plan.

9) Make a strategic plan. Sure, you can let Seredipity be your guide, or you can be a Tourist on a Mission and make the most of your limited time.

10) Remember to wear your mink coat if you have one. All the fine ladies who lunch were wearing theirs and my daughters were trés impressed by this profusion of fur.

Things for Next Time (or Other Things I Meant to Do):

1) Visit the permanent exhibits at the Museum of Natural History.
2) Buy a Michael Kors pony hair knock-off.
3) Have Breakfast at Tiffany’s (which is to say, eat a croissant while looking in the windows just because I can).
4) Eat at Craft (love Tom).
5) Visit the Frick.
6) See Wicked (did that 3 years ago – am ready to do it again, particularly with my Wicked score loving 10 year old).
7) Visit the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.
8) Find Mood Designer Fabric store and buy some fabric for girls’ dresses (the patterns for which they will get for Christmas).
9) Find the Atlas building that the designers of Project Runway live in (cool looking building).
10) Go to all the museums.

There are only so many hours in a 12 hour day (12, to be precise) so plan to go back.

I certainly have.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Lily

This is Lily decorating her Christmas tree.

I'm not sure what all this is about, but my youngest daughter has taken to drawing an entire town/mall/park/Christmas scene with recurring characters on the white board every day. I find her use of the limited dry erase marker colors interesting (I "yellowed" the star on the tree at her request). At least Lily looks happier here than when her posters weren't selling.

A Good Pruning

As CEO owner of a failing damaged company property, I got together with a few of my competitors neighbors and appealed to Congress the Board of Selectmen for a financial bailout handout. Showing both our solidarity and sensitivity to the environment, of course we drove our electric cars walked to the Capitol Town Hall before we requested the funds necessary to fix our companies properties.

After much discussion, we determined that $75 billion $200,000 ought to provide us with the necessary funding to clear the hurdles of the tough economic times weather. Rather than learning better management pruning practices from the current situation, we will use this money specifically to continue our currently inefficient business model duct tape the weak and fragile limbs back on.

After all, these are American cars trees. We must protect their manufacture growth at all costs.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Iceman Cometh

And he taketh away our telephone, internet, cable, and electricity... but not our library privileges!

Hope to be back soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Free Market Reality


What it lacks in grammatical correctness, it more than makes up for in simple understanding.

It does beg the question: why is she still wearing a skirt? Because she can (and because she hasn't purchased any pants yet - so I've been told).

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!



Just thought you'd want to know.

The Encouragement of Literature, etc.

Wisdom, and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections, and generous sentiments among the people.

So says the Chapter 2, section 5 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts adopted on June 16th, 1780. From this brief statement (actually, one quite-long sentence as is the style of legal ease and parathetical personal comments) we arrive at the now bloated, bleeding (as in pouring out money, not necessarily a reflection of the teaching institutions churning out those liberal hearts), and broken system of public education in our state.

Industry and frugality? Yeah, right. Has anyone received a list of things that students must have in high school these days? TI-84 graphing calculators ($150-200) are all the rage. Screw knowing how to develop and envision the graph of a line in your head - just follow the calculator instructions and go! Using tools, which should take about 4 minutes to learn, has replaced the knowledge required to build new ones. And most disgustingly, personal industry has given way to community service.

I think they left out the inculcation of environmentalism, altruism, collectivism, and the complete overriding of personal judgement in the lower grades (everyone must be included).

Most importantly, however, this 228 year-old sentiment has warped from cherishing literature and science education in order to have a wise and knowledgable citizenry who will, in turn, be able to uphold our rights and liberties, into funding with individuals' tax dollars, institutionalized, one-size fits all, good citizenship education which will, in turn, guarantee future in-kind expectations and the self-feeding and incessant growth of the monster.

Grrrr.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Espalier

Today's A Word A Day is espalier. Beside being a famous restaurant in Boston, espalier is the technique of flat tree growing.

At first glance this might strike you as alternatively beautiful and crazy, but it made perfect sense inside a medieval courtyard when light was good, but space was limited. Because this maximizes sunlight on the branches, this manipulation is also a way to grow fruit trees in cooler climates where they would not normally grow.

I think it's beautiful, and unlike topiaries, has a more than just decorative purpose.

More information about the trees, shrubs, vines, and patterns of espalier can be found here.





Sunday, December 7, 2008

Virtual Christmas Cards.




These are the cards I would send out if I hadn't already sent out all of my cards and newsletters in a fit of efficiency last week.


I just love that Anne Taintor.










The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing

These are just a few of the men who are able to convey utter joy through dancing and whom I find highly entertaining.

Danny Kaye, seen here in one of my favorite songs from White Christmas (in which he and the lovely Vera-Ellen really define the art of pole dancing) is just plain wonderful. His few lines delivered after the dance are hilarious. I love watching him on screen.



Though a little younger than Kaye, Donald O’Connor was to play the role of Phil Davis in White Christmas, but in another bit of irony, fell ill due to a disease from the mule, of Francis, the Talking Mule fame. I’ve linked to a previous post about the sheer happiness his tap dance as part of “Good Morning” team from Singing in the Rain brings. Yes, Gene Kelly is awesome, but Donald is awesome AND hilarious.

And finally, Dick Van Dyke, whose dancing talents were somewhat lost on me in my youth (despite being a big fan of The Dick Van Dyke Show), but whose recent jig at the end of Night at the Museum renewed my interested in his abilities and sparked a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang evening at my house. I couldn’t find his bit in Night at the Museum, so instead, I hope you enjoy the following new-to-me clip combining Dick Van Dyke, the incomparable Mary Tyler Moore, Christmas, and dancing!




And, as if this weren’t enough joy to sustain one for an afternoon, I leave you with this extra bit of delight: Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian is expected to be out May 22, 2009, starring most of the original cast (including Dick Van Dyke) and starring Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart, no less!

Blogging: As Easy as 1,2,3

First, it's snowing. Eeeeeee!



(Someday, I'm going to post on the absolute joy that comes from watching Danny Kaye, Donald O'Connor, and Dick Van Dyke. Maybe even later today.)

Secondly, for health reasons, I'm contemplating the idea of fasting and the effects of Vitamin D. That's all. No decisions. It's really no more than contemplation at this point. [File under irony: as I am writing about diet and health, my darling husband has brought a lovely grilled cheese on fresh Italian bread to my bedside. Perhaps I need to be comtemplating these things out loud.]

And lastly, I haven't been blogging because I've had relatively little to share. I've been going about the business of being me, and I have gone into hibernation-prep mode (loading up on the essentials, not to mention the non-essentials like chocolate and pie, and now, grilled cheese sandwiches, which may have much more to do with my lack of blogging than I am willing to herein admit). But, I have been reading, trying to keep up with the wit and wisdom of my bloggy friends, and making comments hither and yon (maybe yawn is more appropriate here, for when I'm preparing for hibernation, my mind struggles to make connections beyond the cold of winter and the warmth of sharing the holidays with my husband and children).

I will be back in full swing when the inspiration or desire to share more strikes me. Maybe this practice is just the jumpstart I need.

In the meantime, I'd like to direct you to my friend Fiddler's blog which is consistent in presenting the joy of music and poetry. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Got Art?

Art historian Lee Sandstead has his own show on the Travel Channel called Art Attack. You can see bits of the upcoming shows there as well. Its season starts tomorrow morning, Sunday, November 30 at 9am.

Here is an interview with Lee, not about the show, but about his passion about art and artists.



In the show, he's more like the Billy Mays of the art world, but I guess he can't help himself. Art is cool.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New World Peanuts



Am I the only one who has never seen the Peanuts version of the Voyage of the Mayflower? It was on last night after the 1973 Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving. Apparently, it was part of a series called This is America that ran between 1988 and 1989. Somehow, I missed the entire series. I don't know if it's the presence of the adults, or the Peanuts Gang in semi-historical clothing, but I found it slightly disconcerting. Not nearly as good as Schoolhouse Rock, but worth a watch.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Jane and Baseball

Recently, I was introduced to a blog for Jane Austen fans. I stopped by and had to share this hilarious tidbit (beginning at 1:50) from Stephen Colbert.



This is good stuff, so I've added the blog to my sidebar. Thanks, Fiddler.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Random Six

Really, I’m nothing if not compliant.

Okay, so I’m not usually compliant at all. In fact, what is the opposite of compliant? Pain in the ass? Yes, that’ll do. Normally, I’m a pain in the ass, but as the request from AmyMossoff is just one of the little things, I figured I’d give it another shot.

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write 6 random things about yourself.
4. Tag 6-ish people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know he/she has been tagged.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Numbers 1. and 2. are taken care of above.

3.

1) My left eye is tremendously far-sighted with a serious astigmatism. My right eye is slightly near-sighted. This means that when I wear my glasses my left eye appears quite a bit larger and my right eye appears somewhat smaller than they really are. Yup. Just call me googly-eyes. Don’t really. I won’t respond.
2) My pre-teen alias was Jacqui Nestlé.
3) I hold my pen as if I have been trained to write at Ug’s School for Cavemen.
4) I am obsessed with concrete as a residential building material.
5) My teeth hurt when I think about the applications of ‘4)’
6) I wouldn’t make a good spy because when I walk down stairs, noises emanating from my knees could wake the dead. I’m pretty sure that is the only reason.

4. Since I already tagged Kim, Fiddler and Stephen, was marginally successful with TheAestheticCapitalist, and not successful with Manoj or C. August the last time I tried to induce anyone to divulge six things about her- or himself, I would like to share this challenge with Shez, Deb, Beth, Sue, Janelle, and Trixy. [All right. Those last two are just friends of Jacqui – see ‘2)’.] If any of the aforementioned previously tagged bloggers want to play, or anyone who reads this, has not been tagged, but would like to, please consider this your invitation and let me know in the comments so I can be sure to read your list.

5. Does this mean more than writing this in my blog? How shall I get in touch with them? I’ll try it.

6. Okay Amy – it’s up!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thought for the Day

(courtesy of Word a Day)
"The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error."

John Stuart Mill, philosopher and economist (1806-1873)

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Popular Oxymoron

"I want to pause here and talk about this notion of consensus, and the rise of what has been called consensus science. I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

"Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

"There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period."

Michael Crichton (1942-2008) from a lecture given in 2003.

Why isn't this better understood?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Inherit the Wind

I had the distinct pleasure of watching a fabulous local production of Inherit the Wind this weekend. Despite my love for all things Spencer Tracy (and Katharine Hepburn), I had never seen the movie. Here for your viewing pleasure is Spencer Tracy as Henry Drummond, the fictionalized Clarence Darrow role of the Scopes "Monkey" Trial.



As the authors of the 1955 play, Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee said, "It might have been yesterday. It could be tomorrow".

Friday, November 14, 2008

Things I Have Recently Discovered to be Lost

My quintessentially-fall orange scarf,
My favorite black velvet dress,
My Precious Metal Clay,
Our Nancy Drew 1930’s/ 1940’s DVD collection.

I wore the scarf early in the month of October, but couldn't find it toward the end. It's bright, but small, and could have easily been misplaced within the house. It may show up yet (passive, I know, but I've looked!), but it runs the risks of having been worn outside the house into the big, big world. The PMC was left in a box on my desk in the kitchen for about a year because I didn’t know what the heck to do with it. I finally cleaned off my desk and it is nowhere to be found. I’m guessing that we lent out the DVD’s, so I’ll do some asking around but, seriously – how does one lose a dress?

Picture this: You own two expensive velvet dresses – synthetic velvet, but they’re expensive nonetheless. You really like those velvet dresses. But you don’t like the expense and effort of getting the velvet dresses dry-cleaned. So you buy a wildly inexpensive synthetic velvet dress (at Sears – I’m not proud) in order to be able to dump it in the washing machine. You find that the dress is so neat looking, can be dressed up or down, actually fits well, is, dare I say, flattering, and is so comfortable to wear, that you amortize the cost per wear to something like $1.25 in the first year! This is your “go to” dress. In short, you love this dress. Then you lose it.

This is not like losing my keys or my glasses which I do approximately 5 times a month each. Those aren’t really lost. They’re just not exactly where they’re supposed to be. But a dress? There are really only so many places that a dress can be.

The worst part of being a loser is that I have a cocktail party to go to on Saturday night. An actual cocktail party – it says so right on the invitation! I would have loved to have worn a dress like the one on Betty Draper (the blonde) for the occasion, as I consider cocktail parties to be right out of the MadMen era, but I would have happily settled for my “go to” dress. Now it looks like I’ll be wearing my jeans, t-shirt, and marled wool sweater coat (also known as my house coat) because over the age of 28, one’s birthday suit is never in style.

If only these things had fit into a 3 Ring Binder.


Update: I really needed to access my inner Nancy Drew on this. Once I figured out the last time I wore the dress, with no less than photographic evidence, I found it hanging out with my husband’s tux in the downstairs closet. Bonus! My orange scarf was wedged in between two as of yet unworn winter coats in there (how it got there, I really can’t explain). The PMC ended up in my de facto sewing area, a corner of the abandoned school room which has become a catch-all for craft projects.

It just proves the adage: A place for everything and everything in its place. When I have more than one viable place to keep my stuff, I’m busted. Now regarding Nancy herself – I’m sticking with this one: Neither a borrower nor a lender be!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Own Central Planning

I just got an interesting newsletter from the local Superintendent of Schools. It reminded me that I should be making or updating our 72-hour emergency kit. I waffle between being bitter that I would need such a thing (for no reason other than I don't remember thinking I needed to have one as a child) and thinking, now there's a really good idea.

Of course it is a good idea. What's the downside to it?

We've gone through the exercise in the past, though incompletely, and have now let our emergency kits get old. I downloaded the lists and suggestions (I've included the links below for you), and am determined to get it started this weekend.

Here are some links to help build your Family Emergency Plan and Kit:

Overall Family Preparedness
Family Emergency Plan
Tri-fold personal plans to carry
Check list for Emergency Supply Kit
Building Your Family's 72 Hour Kit

That last link is good because it suggests 20 weekly activities to build your kit over time.

And of course I recommend keeping these helpful documents in a clearly labeled 3 Ring Binder.

Update: If you'd rather buy than build, Rebecca left a comment for the vendor, shelfreliance. The site has lots of storage systems, food information and recommendations, and pre-made kits, not to mention a clever name.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Road to where, exactly?


I think this little friendly snowman with the sticks full of money says it best: I'm from the government and I'm here to help.

This is the image that eHow has used to help explain the Bush Mortgage Bailout Plan - 2007! Not the latest and greatest plan. Is anybody reading this stuff? Exactly how does this help?

"To qualify for the new program, homeowners whose loans are owned or packaged by Fannie and Freddie must be 90 days or more past due on their payments for single-family dwellings in which they live. They must prove hardship, can't be in bankruptcy and their outstanding loan values must be at least 90 percent of their homes' current values."


"The goal could be achieved three ways: The loan could be stretched into a 40-year fixed-rate mortgage; the interest rate could be reduced; and/or money going to the mortgage balance, called the principal, could be deferred interest-free until the end of the loan and recaptured in what's known as a balloon payment. Fannie and Freddie will pay $800 to financial institutions for each loan they modify."
What? What?

So if you really can't pay your mortgage, but haven't pursued the legal avenues currently available to you, and have a house that is way more than you can afford, we'll not only help you by getting you to stay in debt longer, or by requiring you to pay a big lump sum somewhere in the future, we'll even pay the folks a nice fee who do this for you. And by "we" I mean the American taxpayers will foot the bill for your irresponsibility. After all, it's good for the country.

And if you can't get enough of paying for the mistakes of others and eat up the fear pedalled by the bureaucrats, the patriotism drummed by the politicians, and the "sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice" being chanted by the altruists, don't worry, there's plenty more to come. Soon enough we'll be paying to fund the Auto Industry Bailout Plan and maybe even the Mall Bailout Plan.

With all this economic central planning, can serfdom be that far ahead? We've already come so far along the road that we don't even need an external enemy to jump start the process.


(From Hayek's illustrated The Road to Serfdom).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blogect: Sorted Books

Inasmuch as I find "blog" to be an ugly word, I think "blogect" is cute.

I found this project on Homeschooled Twins blog and thought it was really a fun idea. As I am not the fun homeschooler, I kept the idea for myself rather than share it with my child as Shez suggested (okay, I’ll share it with the wee lass later today.)


Here are just a few sorted books in my home right now.



The secret of my success:


The worry and wisdom of middle-age:


And a political one for good measure:


Now that I look these over, I might have to change the order of the titles for clarity (and work on better lighting).

Most importantly, I have to restack those books!

If you try your hand at sorted books, post your efforts and let me know.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why I am an Objectivist

I am a human being who values her life on this earth above all other things. The right and good is that which contributes to my life and the wrong and evil is that which destroys it. Every action I take must pass through the gates of identification before being pursued as a value which I understand will contribute to my life. Happiness is my ultimate goal.

I understand the importance of identifying, applying, pursuing, and achieving those values which will contribute to my life, not just in the immediate sense (which every child understands), but in the long-term sense (which develops with experience). This is not to say that I’m really good at always identifying, pursuing, and achieving those values, or that I remain consistent in my applications of them; merely that I had already understood that this selfishness was the key to my happiness when I was relatively young. The importance of the fact that I understood I was responsible for my own happiness can not be overemphasized here. What I didn’t realize until much later was that this idea was controversial or that it had been developed into a philosophy called Objectivism.

Selfishness

As all children do, at an early age I sought to achieve my own immediate happiness. This is a natural state, often as short-lived and as short-sighted as our experiences will allow and as reality dictates (i.e. how fast your parents can knock it out of you or reality gives you negative feedback). As we mature, we begin to realize that immediate gratification is more like candy than a meal: not fit for a steady diet. (How many of us have dined gleefully and exclusively on candy only to throw up later? I know I have.) Indulging childish whims is not selfishness – it is self-destructive.

It is unfortunate that the immediate gratification stage of a child is most often mistakenly identified as “selfishness”. As we begin to interact with others, and more importantly, to appreciate some people as values in and of themselves, we learn that achieving our own happiness may often include the happiness of those we hold as valuable (as in friendship and love). When I value someone, their happiness is also important to me. I want them to be happy for selfish reasons. This is in keeping with my desire to be happy rather than in conflict with it. If you can not divorce the word “selfish” from the castigations of youth, then “rational self-interest” may be used in its place. Upon being introduced to Objectivism, I preferred to redress my mistake and properly define selfishness as the key to not only life, in and of itself, but moreover, to a happy life.

With experience, we begin to broaden our identification of things that will make us happy. We pursue longer term values which are important to us - truth, knowledge, friendship, love, health, etc. – and begin to apply those values to our decision making process. This identification and application brings satisfaction, a form of happiness. Our increasing abilities to accurately assess things, proves the efficaciousness of our minds and lessens internal conflicts. A rational approach to life, that in which the application of reason and logic based upon our understanding of the way the natural world works, in turn brings happiness.

Altruism

It is important to note that altruism is the antithesis to selfishness. Altruism is the “unselfish concern for the welfare of others” and is in disastrous, direct conflict with rational self-interest. This is not a definition of convenience, but the actual meaning of altruism. I reject altruism in every form.

When someone is repeated told that he must put the welfare of others before himself, he begins to develop a sense that his worth is somehow linked with his concern for others, extending as far as those unknown to them, and unidentifiable by the values they hold – as if each human being is responsible for the life of every other human being regardless of that other’s choices, values, or morality. This moral code dictates that one reject cause and effect and assume that every human being, by virtue of being a human being is worthy of his efforts in the form of his time, money, and consideration before he, or his loved-ones are worthy of his efforts.

If you care about others at your own expense, shortly, you will be depleted. The destructiveness of altruism is really that simple, and should in no way be confused with the concern of others based on your own self-interest, nor should it be confused with simple good will or benevolence.

Consistency with Reality

We’ve all heard, “You can’t fight City Hall.” In fact, no matter how complicated and messy it may seem, you can fight against any man-made system in existence. What you can’t fight are the rules of physics, chemistry, biology, geology…natural laws. We can and should try to understand those immutable laws and make them work for us, but you can’t alter the facts of reality. Objectivism, at its foundation, requires adherence to reality.

While this sounds self-evident, I was surprised to discover that not all philosophies are based on reality. Mystics base their philosophies on unknowable, unworldly magic-guy-in-the-sky morality whereas skeptics base their philosophies on the lack of absolutes – a “nothing is knowable”, “anything goes” morality. Objectivism does not lie between the two, but rather identifies through reason that we know what exists by adjusting our thinking to reality, not that reality mirrors our thinking.

There are absolutes, both good and bad. Being able to identify the good (that which contributes to human life) and the bad (that which seeks to destroy human life) is critically important.

Intellectual Leadership

I am not an intellectual. No one who knows me or reads this blog needs to be reminded of this fact; I just want you to know that I am painfully aware of this fact as I am writing this piece.

I do, however, know enough about myself and the importance of intellectual leadership in our culture to understand that while I am not yet a very capable person regarding the explanation of the philosophy of Objectivism, I am making efforts to become so. Understanding of philosophical systems requires tremendous effort and study. As someone who has never studied philosophy, I lack ownership of some basic philosophical terms (i.e. metaphysics, epistemology) and I can be trapped by people who are unabashed in their employment of logical fallacies (it can take me some time to recognize and refute them). This is my way of explaining that I am clearly not attempting to be an intellectual spokesperson here.

This being said, the works of Ayn Rand, who developed the philosophy, are the best source if you are interested in exploring Objectivism. I recommend that you read one or all of her works of fictions (there are only four novels and a play, and you needn’t begin with Atlas Shrugged, though it is my favorite). You should visit the Ayn Rand Institute and read her introduction to Objectivism to which I have linked. I do strongly recommend that you read her works prior to reading any applications of her ideas by others and judge for yourself.

I cannot say that identifying myself as an Objectivist has made me a happier person; I grasped the importance of selfishness when I was young, well before I had heard of Ayn Rand. However, I can say that if the promise of religion doesn’t appeal to you, if the uncertainty of skepticism leaves you feeling empty, or if you have embraced the doctrine of altruism all the way to its logical end, the destruction of self, perhaps Objectivism will make you happier. Knowing that Objectivist intellectuals exist does in some small way contribute to my hope for the rest of the world.

In Conclusion

Everything I have read by Ayn Rand only deepens my understanding of exactly how Objectivism is an excellent philosophy based on the morality of the life and sovereignty of the individual man. There is no mysticism or skepticism in Objectivism, and unless you think that conformance with reality and living for your own sake is cultish or too extreme, then Objectivism may resonate with you too. If you choose to live for no man and would not force another man to live for you, but would rather cultivate relationships based on mutual benefit and shared values, then I urge you to read more from Ayn Rand herself.

Objectivism is a philosophy which gives a moral foundation to man’s rational pursuit of happiness – that is why I am an Objectivist.
______________________________

This is just my first attempt on this much larger subject, and is not my last (nor, hopefully, best) word on the matter. I have not touched upon the politics, nor fully developed the metaphysics or epistemology of Objectivism herein, but rather limited my thoughts to the ethics of selfishness as that is what I understand best.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Kay Thompson

Are you a fan of the Eloise books? Are you a fan of Audrey Hepburn movies? If you are, you should really know that Kay Thompson, the writer of the Eloise books is the same Kay Thompson who plays the indomitable Maggie Prescott in the musical Funny Face.



Okay. I wouldn’t give up black or be quite so quick to dismiss chartreuse, but you have to love her. She steals the scene from eveyone but Paris itself in this number "Bonjour Paris!"



As a fan of the Eloise movies, and of Audrey Hepburn, I was thrilled to discover this information only yesterday and be able to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this remarkable woman’s birthday.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

42nd Street

For our friends who were unable to join us today but love a good tap dance number, I present to you a montage of 42nd Street at the North Shore Music Theatre.



Who knew that Lullaby of Broadway, We're in the Money, Shuffle Off to Buffalo, let alone I Only Have Eyes for You (or as Stephen says, I have eyes for only you - it's one of his pet peeves)were in it? I didn't! Sure, the story set woman's lib back a good 30-40 years, but the song and dance numbers were great.

Enjoy! I know I did.

The New Scientists on the Block

Here are President-elect Obama's science advisors. Four out of the five are experts in life science, but that doesn't seem to stop the rush to regulate climate change. He seems to have stacked the deck with non-creationists. Have we come that close toward government sponsored mysticism that that's really necessary - in science advisors?

If you're interested, one of the advisors, Sharon Long, was interviewed in a SciAm podcast. She says she knows nothing about economics or politics and then goes on to talk a little about both. Overall, I liked what she had to say (probably because I like well-spoken scientists). While she didn't say anything about Global Warming, its spectre hung about when she spoke about the limits of science, and Obama's promise to step-up government research funding with our tax dollars. I just hope she wasn't suggesting that regulations should precede the scientifically proven, but somehow, I think she was.

Another little frightening tidbit of an interview with Obama by the ScienceDebate2008:

SD2008: How do you see science, research and technology contributing to improved health and quality of life?

Obama: These are difficult problems, and science and technology can solve only some of them. The effectiveness of medical care can be improved, and its costs can be reduced , by greater emphasis on best practices, electronic medical records, hospital safety, preventive strategies and improved public health surveillance.

Any way you look at it folks, we're in for a bumpy night.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Hear America Singing

by Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics--each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work;
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat--the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench--the hatter singing as he stands;
The wood-cutter's song--the ploughboy's, on his way in the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;
The delicious singing of the mother--or of the young wife at work--or of the girl sewing or washing--Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else;
The day what belongs to the day--At night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.



Today, somehow, this poem makes me sadder than all of Emily Dickinson's strung together. I think it's the implied pride of each of the singers in what belongs to him. They each had reason to sing. Do we still?

I'll try not to dwell on it too long.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

You're Selfish.

You can't help it. Your mother never taught you right from wrong, apparently. She never told you that you must share your toys and be kind to everyone you meet - regardless of your judgment or developing sense of justice. Now you want to keep the money that you've earned for yourself and for your family. You nasty, selfish bastard.

You should have learned that by giving ever increasing amounts of money you've received and saved from your labors (earned) to other people for the simple reason that they have less money than you do (unearned) that you will encourage them to buy things, or encourage them to think they can afford those things...all on your dime. You will not only stimulate the economy you will also feel good about yourself: in fact, you might even feel virtuous.

What fresh hell is this? No, it's not the ghost of your mother's misguided efforts at raising good Christians or her second-handed "what will the neighbors think of my spoiled children" mentality. It's the advice and dire warning of the next presumed POTUS.

Read it here yourself. You know, that is, if you want to be selfish and actually try to improve yourself when you could be spending your time on bettering someone else. Of you could just sit around and rot and wait for the thinkers and producers to bail you out until they're bled dry and then we'll see exactly how morally critical selfishness is.

Now, even I'm offended.

Am I Missing a Chic Gene?



I got this interesting email Halloween morning and it got me to wondering.

I really do like shoes, bags, and other accessories (oddly, not jewelry) as much as the next woman, but c'mon!

Are these bags really that attractive to anyone for the mere price of $2450 (the Jimmy Choo, top center)?

Does anyone actually consider the purchase of these grossly overpriced practical items as an investment?

Are handbags the new real estate?
Am I just missing the point because I don't have that kind of cash to fling around?

Is this an urban vs. suburban vs. exurban priority thing?

Am I just a cranky old witch?

Just wondering.

Friday, October 31, 2008

On Being Sarah

I figured I'd be the most frightening thing my Democrat friends would encounter today.


But I thought I might be the darling of my more Republican neighborhood.

I like to call this one "Sarah and the coven".

Except for the fact that I needed to remain mute all evening (that is one hard accent to master), I enjoyed walking in Sarah's shoes - only not literally. After dinner at a neighbors, but before trick-or-treating began, I needed to put on my Alaskan boots in order to maintain my caribou Barbie look and actually be able to walk.

And one last time: what's the difference between a homeschool mom and a Pug?


Yup. Lipstick. Oh, and not barking near as much.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween


The heads ended up shrinking to about 1.5 inches tall with a slightly pinkish tint.



The results of our efforts at pumpkin carving this year.













A Handicrafts Holiday

In light of the scary economic times and the general nervousness that people are feeling about their own financial situations, there seems to be a return to the simpler things in life. In keeping with that simplicity, and our discussions of the warm joy of a homemade Christmas, my friend bestowed me with this lovely sampler for my birthday yesterday.
It just about sums things up, doesn't it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Truly Scary

The only thing scarier than these guys is how much I love this song. It's time for me to get some new music people!

Does anyone have any music that has come out in the last five years or so that they actually like?

And I've tried. Lordy, lordy knows I've tried. But after Maria McKee from her Lone Justice days, I just can't bring myself around to enjoying any country music. Sorry, BIL.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pithy Parenting

Your thoughts become your words;
Your words become your actions;
Your actions become your habits;
Your habits become your character;
Your character becomes your destiny.

Tell me something. Is it just me, or is this just great advice to give your teens and tweens? I don't know who said it originally, but I've found it very appropriate for two of my three children during that time period.

The other one got this Eleanor Roosevelt classic:

Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yum.

Okay, this is not the work I needed to prepare for next week, but I just had to make certain you took a gander at today's Martha Stewart's Halloween Idea of the Day today. It could be that I am making great strides in eating right and therefore cannot have such treats so it looks more appetizing to me than it really is, or it could be that it just screams YUM!

And then there were....Fifteen!

Izzy the wonder pug alerted us to the turkey circus going on outside this morning before we heard the ruckus ourselves. There, in the street beside our house, we saw the turkey show in the center ring! While a mostly turkey audience looked on, five or six turkeys were fighting for superiority. Then we noticed Tom, in all his fluffed out glory, playing the barker in ring one. As the action died down in the street ring, the turkeys returned to surround Tom as he turned slowly watching his turkey ponies prance around him. Fifteen in all, including Tom.

It was interesting. And confusing.

Which ones are mine?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Time Challenged

I'm not talking about "so many books, so little time" type stuff, here. I'm talking about those who view those little sets of numbers with that funny colon in the middle as a guide to the order of activities in their day rather than the explicit delineators for a specific, weekly, shared activity. Of course it wouldn't bother me much except that I am most often left waiting, thereby waisting* my time. This is my challenge. (*That, and apparently spelling.)


Actual photograph of the interior of some of my friends' heads. And you know who you are!

Is this the curse of homeschoolers everywhere? Or is it just me unable to go with the flow? I'm willing to accept that it's my problem with being too rigid, but then I wonder, how do they get anywhere on time? Surely there are things in life that absolutely require them to be on time. Somehow, miraculously, they get there on time.

Is it possible that my time is just not a priority for them? Hmmm. I'm going to have to think about that one.

As we like to say around here, "I've got issues."

Aaaaaagh.

There. I feel a little better now.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Objectivism and Objectivists Round-Up #67

I am continuing to work on an essay entitled "Why I am an Objectivist".

In it, I am not trying to explain Objectivism inasmuch as I am attempting to explain why I identify myself as an Objectivist. Oddly, I am finding that my essay requires much more effort and editing than I originally thought it would. After all, how hard could it be? It's all about me - a subject on which I am a uniquely qualified expert! In its current state, however, my essay lacks precision and the depth necessary to clearly explain the importance of this moral philosophy. In short, it is perfectly reflective of my intellectual short-comings in this area.

There is one thing of which I am certain regarding Objectivism (or any philosophy for that matter): if you are really interested in its ideas, you should read the original sources of the philosophy, in this case, the fiction or non-fiction works of Ayn Rand. While there are many Objectivist writers whose books and essays on Objectivism and its application I enjoy reading and often find inspiring, Ayn Rand is unsurpassed in her clarity, precision, and application of the philosophy she developed.

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
—Ayn Rand
In the meantime, you can peruse this week's collected posts of some of the Objectivist bloggers.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wisdom Supporting Liberty



While I would certainly not agree with his politics, Aime-Jules Dalou created this inspiring bronze entitled "Wisdom Supporting Liberty" displaying an armored Athena holding up an unarmed and exhausted Liberty.

There were 10 casts made, one of which grabbed me at the Clark Art Institute this weekend.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Who's Intercepting My Mail?

It's a damn good thing I haven't yet gone over the edge like Naomi Wolf, or I might get a little paranoid about receiving this:




Instead of this:



Well at least they did heed this:

Because except for being opened and empty, the envelope was in perfect condition.

Shrunken Head Update

I know you're dying to see the progress on our Halloween Shrunken Head project. So without further ado, I give you two of them on Day 1 (as carved).



















And here they both are on Day 10, respectively.




Ew. The guy above looks really gross (mold in your mouth will do that), and the guy on the right - YIKES!
I can hardly wait to see what they look like when they develop that pinkish tinge.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Helpful Halloween Hints

Costume of the year: Caribou Barbie (aka: Sarah Palin/Tina Fey)

(Where have I been? I just read the "Caribou Barbie" in a comment on Pharyngula - that's hilarious!)

I've got to get a red Chanel-like suit and and work on the Alaskan (by way of Wisconsin) accent. I've got the glasses and the hair and a push-up bra, so I won't need one other thing.

Oh yeah, except the party to go to. I think my efforts will be wasted on the neighborhood kids.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Victims!

This is from my parents' local newspaper police blotter:


All four wheels were stolen from a Honda on ****** St. overnight. The car was left on blocks.

Yes. My poor parents were rudely jolted into action early Friday morning by a call from their concerned neighbor. It appeared that all four tires were stolen off of their new Honda Fit and the car was left on cinder blocks in their driveway, approximately 40 feet from where they slept in their little house on the incredibly safe dead end street where I grew up (I'm still waiting for copies of the photos).

My father is downright apoplectic over it, while my mother seems to be handling it with more humor (which is in turn causing my father to have more apoplexy). I have to admit, it's kind of funny in a National Lampoon's Vacation kind of way, but really, they must feel horribly violated.

How does one properly direct one's anger here?

I wonder if this means they'll be packing up and heading toward me? I think that might be an improper overreaction at this point.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Get Happy



Some how the words don't match the bluesy-snappy thing, but it works nonetheless.

We're singing this in chorus, too!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Too Funny To Not Post

The SNL version of the VP debate. I'm sure that Stephen will have plenty to say about how the Moderator-Queen stared longer at the ridiculous answers given by Sarah-Tina, but it's SNL for cryin' out loud!

In related news, the 30 Rock season starts October 30th!

Virtual Coffee Mug #3

I'm sad because one of my two matching "Life is Good" mugs (featured center above) cracked when I was pouring hot water in it for tea. I love that mug - it's got a good weight and a nice diner-style shape, and now it's only fit to hold the lint roller. Sad. Happily I did get a new witchy one from a friend who only recently found out about my mug-collecting habit. Thanks, Fiddler!

Speaking of tea, we've gone from water and juice, to tea and hot cider. It's been unseasonably cool around here and I refuse to allow the heat to go on until November.

As those of you who may have been checking Martha Stewart's Halloween Idea of the Day may know, she's not keeping up with posting her craft ideas too well. So here is my contribution.


This is the best pug costume ever. I wish I could say it was mine (dog or costume), alas it is not, but my dog does look just like that. This brings me to my next point:


I love that expression. It all comes down to a few seminal movies, doesn't it? Not to be confused with Seminole movies - I don't actually know any of those.

In other good news, the Sox won the ALCD and are up next against the Rays in the ALCS beginning Friday night. I'm guessing that a lot of homeschoolers have a chalk or white board in their dining rooms.
But I bet you don't have this posted on it:
Thanks, stats guy.

And finally, in my internet travels, I have come across three minutes of happiness. (I'm just trying to expand the definition of being rickrolled.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Snow Report

In keeping with Christmas time thinking, here's a snow report, from Mars!

Christmas Time is Here

Okay. Not really, but I've been thinking about it and this beautiful little song.



We're singing this song in chorus this year. I love the memories of watching this on TV when I was young, but even more, it sounds beautiful when we are singing it all together now.

I hope Martha Stewart has some awesome, low-cost things to make for Christmas this year. I'm going to need the help budget- and spirit-wise.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Stemming the Tide of Fear

I sure am glad those congressmen rammed through the expropriation of our funds for the good of the country. Glad their Blue Hippo efforts gave us what we deserved in order to save us from ourselves. They really knew what they were talking about when they decided that taking and redistributing 700 billion of our collective dollars in an emergency measure would help calm the fears about our economy. They really understood how that one day plummet of the stock market meant that we were beginning to panic. Phew! Sure am glad that's over.

Check out today's DJIA. It's not pretty. Right now it's down 768 points. And now we're out that $700 billion to boot.

Go Legislators! Go Legislators! Go! Go! Go Legislators!

I thought they might want some chanting of their own. It seems that feeling like a rock star and/or part of a tribe is more important than understanding how a government of laws, not of men, sets America apart.

Update: So the Dow Jones closed only 369.88 points down - below 10,000 (9955.50).

Dating Conventions

No, I don’t mean bringing flowers or knocking on the door instead of beeping in the driveway; I mean B.C., B.C.E., A.D., and the like. I thought it was interesting that immediately prior to the signatures on the Constitution of the United States, the document contains the following:

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

Was this A.L.(Anno Libertas) convention, conventional? How long did it last? Does this mean that our Founding Fathers tried to buck over 1000 years of history? Or was it a sign of how strong their convictions ran regarding the establishment of the greatest nation on earth?

I feel defeated to admit that it seems but a quaint notion now held dear by so few of us.

The Circumvention of the Constitution

Mini-lesson on the malleability of the Constitution (you know, that pesky old document our elected officials are sworn to uphold).

Article I. Section. 7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Because the House voted down the bailout last Monday, the Senate had no choice but to scavenge a technically live, but substantially defeated House Resolution, gut its insides, replace its language with something more suitable to the immediate purposes of the Senate, leaving behind only the number (in this case H.R. 1424) and originator’s name and then it can effectively originate a resolution in which Revenue is raised.


The fact that this Frankensteinian practice is widely accepted as a “congressional vehicle” disgusts me and just adds insult to the injury caused by our elected officials.

I suppose I should be running out of shock and awe, but this little tidbit of information came as quite an unwelcome surprise to me as I read it (via HBL) yesterday morning.

Friday, October 3, 2008

How They Re-voted - Revolting

This is how each member of the House voted for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 today. As you'll see, there is no trouble getting through now.

Now that it's a done deal, maybe quick thank you notes to the brave hold-outs are in order. I'll think about it.

"A capitalist economy can't be fixed with socialist ideals."

Head over to SmartMoney.com and read some of the articles of Jonathan Hoenig. It'll be worth your while.

via HBL.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Jane Taylor (1783-1824)

The Violet

Down in a green and shady bed,
A modest violet grew;
Its stalk was bent, it hung its head
As if to hide from view.

And yet it was a lovely flower,
Its colour bright and fair;
It might have graced a rosy bower,
Instead of hiding there.

Yet thus it was content to bloom,
In modest tints arrayed;
And there diffused a sweet perfume,
Within the silent shade.

Then let me to the valley go
This pretty flower to see;
That I may also learn to grow
In sweet humility.


Do you know Jane Taylor? You should. She was a novelist (compared to Jane Austen) who also happened to write the words to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star".

And Then There Were Six

Rather than being eaten, it’s possible that at the age of four to five months old, our turkey chicks may actually be living on their own, so we shouldn’t be too sad that another one is missing (one other is just not pictured) today – so I explained to my youngest this morning .


No doubt inspired by my frank discussions with her twenty year-old brother about his uncertain future due to his lack of enthusiasm in college, she suggested that perhaps the turkey “is living in his mother’s basement”.

Maybe I should stop wearing this t-shirt around the house.


Update: my daughter may have been onto something this morning. This afternoon Butterball decided to grace his family (and our back yard) with his presence, so there are still seven of them.

Do You Feel Like I Do?



Lately, when I'm not channeling Peter Frampton, I've been feeling like this grumpy looking fellow (just the curmudgeonly sqwinched up face, not the whole head on a pike thing).

If you'd rather make the shrunken head look out of apples than with your own face, visit Martha Stewart's Halloween Idea of the Day, today.

The Red, White, and Blue Hippo

Over the last few days, I’ve heard a lot of disturbing things come out of the mouths of politicians mostly echoing this sentiment of Nancy Pelosi, “We need to insulate and protect the taxpayers”. I thought this save them from themselves attitude was a rather odd way of describing a $700 billion government spending spree on bad debt being that the government doesn’t actually have any money except that which it can raise from the taxpayers. Now, in case you haven’t guessed, I’m not an economist (although I did get A’s in both macro and micro and finally borrowed the text book toward the end of the second semester – a flimsy claim at knowledge, I know) but it appears the “leadership” in our country may have forgone even attending economics class.

This is what I understand so far: the crisis, or credit crunch, is due to overextension of credit for housing loans, much of which was originated (?) or purchased by the government sponsored enterprises (GSE), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or through other private institutions that were encouraged to extend this credit risk through various regulations and government policies. The mortgage seekers, who, not meeting the market standards of good credit risks, were granted loans through these GSE’s and other less shrewd lenders, began to default on the loans (which means – not pay them back) and the loan owners began to foreclose (which means to take back the right to redeem) on those properties. Now there are a whole bunch of people who can’t afford to pay for their houses (because they never could afford it) and a whole bunch of companies who are going belly-up because their customers defaulted on the bad loans they wrote them due to government interference in the market.

The proposed solution: more government intervention in the form of a massive influx of fiat funds (more on that below in the first referenced WSJ article) for failing GSE’s and unscrupulous companies for which the taxpayers will pay now and in the future.

And they have the audacity to call this a failure of the free-market.

Three weeks ago, it appeared that no one in the government saw this coming. We, the people, seemed outraged at the sudden request of the President to bail out these companies at the price of $700 billion. The House resisted, possibly fearing the unpopularity of the bill and their chances for reelection. With the help of one bad day – not the worst – on Wall St. to point to, the Senate bulldozed it through and the House will likely revisit it tomorrow.

I know that the above is an oversimplification of the situation – it just has to be – but I think it is essentially correct. Please feel free to straighten out any of my incorrect assumptions or facts. I want to know.

In the meantime, please read this excellent article on the roots and solution in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, and today’s eye-opening entry, What They Said About Fan and Fred.

This fiasco is a perfect example of the tendency of those in power to improperly expand the function of government garnering more power for themselves under the distortion of what principle of government exactly? Promoting the general Welfare? Again, you can’t mandate the stupid out of people, but you can certainly subsidize it. This is contrary to promoting the general welfare.

We get the government we deserve. What will it take for us to realize that that crushing sensation is not from our strenuous efforts to achieve our personal values within the individual rights protected by our government, but from the Red, White, and Blue Hippo sitting on our chests claiming to save us from ourselves?