Friday, September 30, 2005

Abortion and Crime

Just when I think I can't hear or see anything much more reprehensible from the Republican Right, Moral Majority, Conservative Christian, whatever the hell the Republican party is about this week - I'm surprised. Compassionate conservatives my ass.

Reagan administration Secretary of Education Bill Bennett says that if we aborted more black babies, crime rates would go down. This is a perverted permutation of the theory put forth in "Freakonomics."

Bennett says he has been taken out of context. Bullshit. Here's the "context."


From the September 28 broadcast of Salem Radio Network's Bill Bennett's Morning in America:

CALLER: I noticed the national media, you know, they talk a lot about the loss of revenue, or the inability of the government to fund Social Security, and I was curious, and I've read articles in recent months here, that the abortions that have happened since Roe v. Wade, the lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30-something years, could fund Social Security as we know it today. And the media just doesn't -- never touches this at all.

BENNETT: Assuming they're all productive citizens?

CALLER: Assuming that they are. Even if only a portion of them were, it would be an enormous amount of revenue.

BENNETT: Maybe, maybe, but we don't know what the costs would be, too. I think as -- abortion disproportionately occur among single women? No.

CALLER: I don't know the exact statistics, but quite a bit are, yeah.

BENNETT: All right, well, I mean, I just don't know. I would not argue for the pro-life position based on this, because you don't know. I mean, it cuts both -- you know, one of the arguments in this book Freakonomics that they make is that the declining crime rate, you know, they deal with this hypothesis, that one of the reasons crime is down is that abortion is up. Well --

CALLER: Well, I don't think that statistic is accurate.

BENNETT: Well, I don't think it is either, I don't think it is either, because first of all, there is just too much that you don't know. But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.


I am so freaking fed up with the Republican idiocy in this country that I could scream. If you're a person of color or a person of conscience and are voting Republican, or not voting at all, what in the hell are you thinking?!?!?

This is the mentality you're voting for, with or without your vote. Yeah, the candidate may not be saying it, but it's a firmly held belief and every once in awhile, one of them lets it slip - just like Barbara did about the evacuees. (Yeah, I was cutting her some slack. That's over. I realize it was just another case of "true colors" creeping forward.)

The republican party/moral compass/conservatives/whatever the hell they are this week, has made a contract with America all right. And it's to get rid of all who aren't white, rich people - either by letting them die in hurricanes or aborting them first.

It's MY fault we had a president getting head in the oval office. I voted for Clinton twice and I'd vote for him a dozen more times if I could. But I voted for him the first time knowing he was likely to do something like that. So, it's my fault. I'll accept that.

I wish the worst problem we had in this country now was the president getting his rocks off with a 22 year old intern. Instead, we have people dying in the streets because we have a government that lacks compassion - again, completely foreseeable.

But, hey, this one isn't my fault. I didn't vote for any of these heartless people.

Bill Bennett's show airs on approximately 115 radio stations. If one of them is in your area, this would be a good time to call and complain to have the show removed from the airwaves.


I have new tile in the sunporch downstairs. It's not sealed or grouted, but it's down. I love the way it looks, but now realize that the walls in there have to be painted. I was tired of them anyway, so no big deal.

I did take some pix, and I will share them, but I'm exhausted. This has been a very long week. So, I'm headed up to bed. I will post pix of the past week as soon as I get a chance to do be at the computer for more than a few minutes at a time.

Happy Birthday to Terry

Monday night a number of us gathered at China Star, a local restaurant, to celebrate Terry's birthday.

I know I've mentioned Terry here before. He's an all-around good guy. I also joke that Terry is the reason you always want to stay on good terms with your exes. Terry and Greg were - and are - friends. Because Greg and I stayed on good terms, I got to keep Terry as a friend, too. Thank goodness!

Terry's family was there. His mom is in her 80s and she was having a good time.

Terry's sister and brother in law, and their son, were all there. I had met his sister before, but had never gotten to talk with any of them much. It was the first time I'd met his nephew and he's funny.

Terry has been taking tai chi for quite some time and Joya is his teacher. We've had lunch together before and she's a blast.

It was a really fun night and was capped off when the restaurant people brought Terry an ice cream dessert, complete with shrimp on the plate. None of us know what the deal was about that.

Did I mention Terry is a strict vegetarian?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Guest Column

Below is a letter written by my friend, Mark Reddig, to the Associated Press. Mark is a very, very, very bright individual. He is also a devoted journalist who embodies the best of the profession. I'm pleased to present this letter as the first ever "guest column" on my blog.

Dear Sir/Ma'am,

I wanted to send a comment regarding a story produced by AP headlined "Nobel Laureates Frown on Curriculum Plans."

In that story, which I read on Yahoo, I read this passage regarding the debate between intelligent design and evolution in Kansas: "That increasingly popular theory argues that some features of the natural world are best explained as having an intelligent cause because they are well-ordered and complex. Its followers attack Darwin's evolutionary theory, which says natural chemical processes could have created the basic building blocks of life on Earth, that all life had a common ancestor and that man and apes shared a common ancestor."

Let me get right to the point: Intelligent design does not meet the scientific definition of theory. While your reporter did mention one reason at the end of the story - that it cannot be tested - it meets virtually none of the definitions for what constitutes a theory under the universally accepted rules of science. And I very carefully chose the word "universally" here - most of those who adhere to intelligent design are not, in fact, scientists. Just as veterinarians don't write the rules for architects, members of the religious community don't write the rules for science - and vice versa.

For this reason, I am concerned about the use of the term "increasingly popular theory" in reference to it. While my assumption is that this is an attempt at fairness and objectivity, it is in fact an inaccuracy when reporting on scientific matters. Frankly (please excuse a little hyperbole here), it's a little like saying a striped bass is an increasingly popular form of bicycle.

Sesame Street said it best - "one of these things is not like the other ones."

Let me offer some definitions of what the word "theory" means in science:

From the American Heritage Dictionary:
"A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena."

From Princeton University:
"A well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; 'theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses'; 'true in fact and theory.' "

Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary:
"The general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art. ... a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain natural phenomena a theory of organic evolution."

There are countless others. But you get my point, I'm sure.

To put it more simply: Ideas in science start life as a hypothesis - as my old science teacher put it, an educated guess.

If that hypothesis is tested against the known facts, used in experimentation, subject to review and criticism by other scientists (and survives), can adopt to new facts as they become available and meets numerous other criteria, in science, it can - not automatically does - become a theory.

This differs from the common definition of the word "theory," which is not even quite hypothesis.

Intelligent design is not an "increasingly popular theory" - it does not meet the definition of a theory in science at all. It cannot adopt to new facts. It cannot adopt at all. It does not allow for itself to be disproven.

There are volumes of evidence - not conjecture, but real evidence - behind evolution. And evolution is not just about the origins on man, or the creation of life. It is, and always has been, a complete theory of life, about how species originate and develop over time. It is what gave us our definition of species. It is biology. Until evolution, there was no unified science of biology.

You can't just declare something a scientific theory, anymore than I can run out in the middle of my street and declare myself a congressman. Saying it does not make it true. And just because I said it, I doubt that you would report it as fact.

Intelligent design is and always has been at best a hypothesis - an educated guess. Until it meets the requirements of a scientific theory, it cannot be one.

As a journalist, my concern is this - in an attempt to be objective and fair, to give reasonable coverage to both sides of an argunment, are we instead misrepresenting science itself, and misrepresenting facts to our readers?

And although I realize you cannot recite the definition of theory every time you write a story on this topic, you are not required to repeat a source's inaccuracies each time you report on him either.

To be quite blunt, inaccuracy is not the same as objectivity or fairness. Out of good instincts, you do a disservice to your readers, who you should be educating and informing.

Rant over. And thanks for taking the time to read.

Mark H. Reddig


I went for a mammogram today. I've had multiple ones and don't find them nearly as terrible as some women make them out to be. It's certainly not pleasurable, but it's not really painful either.

That said, imagine my surprise when I put my bra back on, looked in the mirror, and found my skin very, very red in a line at the top of my breast, from being squashed. Being who I am, I whipped out the camera and took a pic. I considered posting it here but decided readers might not want to be reading blogs and find such a photo. So, you'll just have to take my word for it.

It's just some minor skin irritation, and it's the first time I've ever experienced that. The squashing seems much less extreme these days than it used to be. If you're afraid to have one and worried about it, email me and I'll send the pic to you so you can see it's not a big deal.

It's very important that you have mammograms. The momentary discomfort is minor compared to the security of knowing all is well. I walked out of there, expecting to get good news, and looked at the other women in the waiting room, knowing that some of them were probably far more worried than I was. For me it was routine, for some of them it's life-saving.

If you're a woman over 40 and haven't had one, get thee to the doctor immediately. If you're a woman over 50 and haven't had one within the last 12 months, start dialing for an appointment. If you're over 30 you should have a mammogram on file for a base line comparison in the future. If you're over 20 and have a family history of breast cancer, you should have one. I had my first one in my 20s. Sometimes you may have to remind your doctor. DO it.

Your chances of breast cancer increase with age, but other factors - like a mother, aunt or daughter diagnosed with breast cancer, increase that risk. The government gives the following stats about your risk:

from age 20 to age 30. . . 1 out of 2,000
from age 30 to age 40. . . 1 out of 250
from age 40 to age 50. . . 1 out of 67
from age 50 to age 60. . . 1 out of 35
from age 60 to age 70. . . 1 out of 28
Ever . . . . . . . . . . . 1 out of 8

Don't hesitate.

Germs! Yikes!

The question was asked about germs and are you germaphobic and what do you do. I like to think I'm "cautious."

OK. I hate germs.

Salad bars. Oh my gosh. I look at those handles and think about all the people who've touched them and the germs that have made a happy place in the salad fixings. OK, I do eat from salad bars at times, but I do think about it.

Never use those air dryers in bathrooms - they're pulling dirty air from the floor. Disgusting. I use the towel to open the door, or barring that my shirttail, or if I have to I use a pinky finger and pull it at a place on the handle where others aren't likely to touch.

I wash my hands many times a day - certainly after being outside or doing anything "dirty."

I HATE shopping carts. Yuck yuck yuck. Do you know how many people have touched those handles!?!?!? And people let their babies chew on them, which is disgusting for the baby, and also makes it more covered with germs.

When I am in public, I never touch my eyes, mouth, etc. without washing my hands first. I also rarely get colds - because of this and the frequent hand washing.

I carry wet ones with me all the time. I never eat without using a wet one or going to wash my hands.

If any food falls on the table, it's trash. Have you seen the water/rags people wipe tables in restaurants with? Please, some bleach.

Bleach. Ah, yes, bleach. I keep it in the kitchen, both bathrooms and by the laundry. When I serve a group of people, I soak my dishes in bleach water afterwards to make sure all germs are killed. If you think your dishwasher is killing germs, you're kidding yourself, unless you have a commercial dishwasher and are using sanitizing material in it.

I rinse all can lids before opening.

Even as a child, I often asked, "Mama, my hands are duh-ty, would you wash my hands?"

Well, I could go on and on and on and on and on. But I'll stop here for the moment.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


I have been up since a little after 5. I had to put rugs down in various places because they were bringing my furniture back from storage.

The movers arrived at the same time as the Home depot truck dropping off the tile they're laying tomorrow. Meanwhile the handyman was here to replace two doors. There's nothing like wandering down the hallway, toward your office, and noticing that there's a gaping hole in your home where once there was a door.

Now, 12 hours later, my house is stuffed with things again, I have two new doors and storm doors installed, the tile has been brought into the house and the only big project I have left for the day is to remove everything from the sunporch for them to do tile tomorrow and figure out how to clean my neighbor's driveway where the forklift left tire marks.

Ah... the joys of home ownership. I do love it. Thank goodness. Because I'm having one of those days like when the computer is trying to self-destruct and I remind myself that it's a good thing I LOVE computers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sentences that Have Not Been Uttered Previously

Friends and I have an ongoing discussion about "sentences that have not been uttered previously."

Our latest favorite is, "If you're not going to sell it, it doesn't matter what it's worth. You might as well glue it to your jackalope."

I am the proud speaker in this case, referring to Greg wanting to glue some toy goggles from GI Joe on Ace Jackalope before the cruise.

Bush Visits LA

So... Bush is visiting Louisiana. Again. Finally. What is this? Seven times?

OK, quite uncharacteristically, I'm going to cut him some slack. Yes, it's too little too late. But if he were sitting in the white house, or - more likely - on vacation, I'd be bitching about that. So, just this once, I'm going to cut him some slack.

This seems to be a no-win situation. And regardless of your party affiliation or your views on the man in the white house, no one would be able to walk the right "fine line" after the Katrina debacle. That debacle is a different discussion. For the moment, I'm just going to give him a break and say no one could figure this mine field out.

And, no, I'm not getting soft. Just trying to be objective.

Monday, September 26, 2005

sig line

"We need men who can dream of things that never were." John F. Kennedy

I HATE to shop

Today at lunchtime I go went out to Lowes and Home Depot to do more hunting and gathering for the house.

So, I'm at Lowes, looking at light fixtures. This gentleman comes along and asks if he can help. I tell him I'm looking for something to go in the kitchen.

He says, "Get a ceiling fan."

I say, "I have a ceiling fan now. I want to get rid of it."

"Why would you do that?" he asks, incredulous.

"It's ugly," I say. "Besides, it's useless in the kitchen - I don't use it - the air would blow the gas underneath the burners. And it's ugly. Very ugly."

"They make pretty ones, now." He says, waving to draw my attention to the dozens hanging up.

"That's a matter of opinion," I laugh. "They've made them more decorative. I don't think they've made them pretty yet."

He laughs - I think AT me, not WITH me - and asks, "How old is your house?"

"A little over 100 years old," I say.

He says, "Put in some recessed lights."

"No, I don't care for those. I want something with some character."

He says, "Well, that's all they're putting in new houses anymore."

The tone was one that indicated I was a fool for not wanting to do whatever the latest thing is. Now, think about this... if I thought new houses were wonderful, I wouldn't have bought a 100 year old one. See? Doesn't that make sense?

Why in the world would I give a flip what they're putting in new construction? Obviously, I think new construction leaves a lot to be desired because I bought something old. I want to get as far away from new construction as possible.

I wanted something solid. Something with real wood in it. Something built by people who cared about standards. Something with real baseboards, real wood floors, windows built by people who knew how to build windows instead of just buying them prefab. Shoot, when people who knew how to build HOUSES built them instead of just buying the parts prefab and assembling them in some fashion.

Last week I bought quarter round and had to explain that I wanted REAL wood, not psuedo wood. The kid just could not understand why anyone would want anything other than the fake stuff. Well... damn... because it's FAKE!!!!!!! I like real cheese as opposed to "process cheese-like" substances too.

Finally, I gathered my things at Lowes and went to Home Depot to get some paint mixed.

Early this morning I opened the can of Behr paint that was left after painting my living room three years ago. I have some touch up work to do. I opened the can to find goo in the bottom.

I was not impressed with Behr paint when I was painting with it. And I'm certainly not impressed with this discovery. I have probably eight different brands of paint from that time and this is the only brand that has turned to goo.

Nonetheless, I now own another gallon in the same color so I can touch up. I started to just get a quart but it's 2/3 the cost of a gallon and if I don't have enough... well... you know the routine.

Getting paint mixed required me digging in my purse for an old receipt to get their phone number and placing TWO calls to get someone to show up to mix the paint. Yes, not one, but two, phone calls.

The other night I went to buy some doors and spent 25 minutes waiting on someone to help me. I asked one of the 11 employees that were in the front of the store and they said someone would be back there. There was no one. Of course, it was 9:45 by the time I left - they close at 9 - but if they had shown up the first time I had someone paged, instead of me having to do it two other times, they would have gotten out on time. To their credit, they were very pleasant about the whole thing.

But... did I mention... I HATE to shop. It is far too complex.

phones, phones, phones

I have found a new way to indicate when one is too busy... I haven't had time to even listen to the messages on my cell phone that came in while I was talking to other people on my cell phone. They're playing in the background now. I just was on the regular phone and had to interrupt that call for a cell phone call who's number I recognized as urgent. I know I'm not this important. How can things be this crazy?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Moving Things Around

I spent a large part of the day moving things around in the house, preparing for them to bring my furniture back from storage later this week. It seems I spend way too much time moving things around.

I ran into Diana today at K-mart. We started talking and she wanted to borrow some things for an event. So, she and Austin and Amy came over tonight and got a lot of my dishes - snack trays and such. It's a bonus for me since I need to deal with all these dishes anyway.

She also cut some of my sweet potato vines to experiment with. She's going to use some to decorate with. They are growing like crazy and overtaking everything else in the flower bed. I hope the other things I planted have survived underneath all these vines.

One of my goals is to organize my life. I want to find a place for everything and get everything in its place. I spend too much time moving things around because they don't *belong* anywhere. So, I move them from one room to another. I'm sick of it.

So, once I have everything back and have figured out what to do with it, I'm moving into a new phase of life where home is a place of sanctuary - not just a place to store my crap.

Of course, as Mary Ann said tonight when I talked to her, I'm thankful that I'm able to move stuff around and do what I need to do. Always need to remain thankful of that.

Well, I need to get to bed early. My first thing is at 7 in the morning. It's going to be a frantic week.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Corpse Bride - no spoiler

You may know if you read here regularly that I am NOT a movie person. I go to one or two every year or so and it has to be something MAJOR to get me to go. Well, yesterday I saw "Corpse Bride" because I love "Nightmare Before Christmas" and I wanted to see Tim Burton's latest entry. It is no "Nightmare."

When "Nightmare" came out, Greg tried valiantly to get me to go see it. It was a big departure at the time. I didn't go, and after seeing it on video later - at his urging - have wanted to see it on the big screen. I love the Oogey Boogey Song and many of the characters. It was one of those cases where Greg was so right and I was so wrong.

So, when I learned about "Corpse Bride" I wasn't going to miss out. It was OK, but nothing to get excited about. I didn't leave humming any songs. A few hours later I couldn't remember any particular scene from the movie. I don't have a memory for such things, anyway, but generally it stays with me at least a few hours.


I was thinking tonight that something that's missing in my life is anticipation. Looking forward to something makes the experience even better for me.

I was trying to figure out why there's not enough anticipation in my life. I have come up with a couple of answers, and I don't like either one.

One answer is that I'm so busy with the day to day details of life that there's not time to actually THINK about things that are coming up and plan for them. It's that contemplation that adds to an occasion for me.

Maybe it's one reason I love the Christmas season so much - I anticipate it all year long. And it never disappoints.

The other reason I've come up with for not anticipating is that I lead a blessed existence that has many wonderful surprises in it. A week ago I didn't even know Bob Newhart was coming to town, much less that I'd get to see him. And I certainly love those surprises in life, but I think I need to temper them with other things too - planned things.

Planning is very difficult for me. It requires me to commit to a certain thing at a certain time and that's always a struggle for me. I'm sure there's a book for a psychiatrist in all that, but if I don't have time to anticipate things, I don't have time to write that book either.

One of the things I loved with my last boyfriend was that I could anticipate a visit from him. Unfortunately, if something happened and he couldn't come on a particular weekend, I was very, very disappointed after anticipating it. So, it's a mixed blessing. But, it was fun getting to think about seeing him and then the reality of getting to be with him.

I'm sure there's more here to contemplate - why I don't have enough "anticipation" in my life. It seems that I should. I must figure out how this works. It seems there's always something to occupy my thought that's "current" so there's no time for anticipating the future.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bob Newhart

I was treated to a performance by Bob Newhart tonight. Martha had an extra ticket and asked if anyone would like to join her tonight. I happened to be online so I was lucky enough to be the first to reply.

It was a real treat - old fashioned comedy. I kept expecting Johnny Carson to make a cameo at any moment. I grew up on Carson and remember seeing Newhart on there all the time when I was a kid.

I was born so late in my parents' lives that they were very permissive. I never had a bed time. I could stay up and watch Carson as long as I got up the next morning. It was a lovely way to have a childhood. I miss knowing that Johnny Carson is still with us.

Newhart did some nice routines - everything from Polish jokes to more modern material. He worked with news information, which I always enjoy, although not things currently in the news. He also used a bit of video as a closer.

It was the opening night of the Fox season. We are blessed to have the Fox Theatre in Hutchinson. Martha was one of the driving forces behind restoring it. I could go on at great length about the Fox and how beautiful it is, and believe I have in this blog before, but you can see their photos - where this one came from too - from various times over its history at

We also heard the a jazz ensemble from Hutchinson Community College perform, and they were really good. They had a guest singer who was a high school freshman. She had a lovely voice and was very composed. I was impressed with her.

It was a nice evening. I've already written Martha a thank you note. I'm blessed to have such wonderful friends. Knowing Martha has been so good in so many ways - she has taught me to be a kinder person by example.

Check for the blog, art, and more.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I have more to do these days than I have time or energy to get done. I can't seem to figure out how to get a grip on the bits and pieces of my life and pull them all into a coherent whole. Maybe everyone has these problems... then again... maybe it's only me.....

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Creative Sisterhood

Tonight was our Creative Sisterhood gathering. I look so forward to having these women come together each month. Everyone was here tonight and it was a wonderful evening.

It feels good to have their energy in my house. They hadn't been here since I had the floors done. Teresa and Diana had seen them but the others hadn't.

When the six of us gather, it's always an amazing time together.

One of the things I discussed tonight was that I am feeling more and more like I do not belong in the US. I'm not sure where I belong, which is why I'm still here, and I may never figure it out and live here the rest of my life, but the actions of our government - not the talk, but the actions - demonstrate values that are completely opposite my own.

And beyond that - the real issue - is that a majority of people in this country agree that these are appropriate values - either by voting or choosing to vote, which is the same as casting a vote for "the winner," whoever that is. That is what really troubles me - that a majority of the people I'm living with in this nation think this is what's appropriate for a society.

I have tried to change it and failed miserably. I am at a loss as to what I can do. Majority rules in this country, and what the majority wants is not at all what I want. Obviously, the system is not going to change, so it seems that I must change.

I just don't have any idea how to accomplish that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

FEMA sends Ice to Maine

We don't know why... but FEMA has sent trucks full of ice for Katrina victims to Maine. Could someone please get FEMA a map? Delorme? Rand McNally? Mapquest? Someone?

FEMA Sends Trucks Full Of Ice For Katrina Victims To Maine
created: 9/19/2005 8:31:47 PM
updated: 9/20/2005 10:46:21 AM

The trucks started arriving this weekend, and they're expected to keep coming through Sunday.

City officials say they have no idea why the trucks are here, only that the city has been asked to help out with traffic problems. But the truck drivers NEWSCENTER spoke to said they went all the way down to the gulf coast with the ice -- stayed for a few days -- and then were told by FEMA they needed to drive to Maine to store it.

The truck drivers, who are from all over the country, tell us they were subcontracted by FEMA.

They started arriving over the weekend, and city spokesperson Peter Dewitt says as many as 200 trucks could come to the city by the end of the week.

The trucks are storing the ice at Americold, a company with a warehouse on Read Street in Portland. People who live nearby say all the traffic has been baffling them for days.

The trucks can only unload 4 at a time -- so the city is allowing some of them to sit at the International Marine Terminal and at the Jetport's satellite parking lot.

No one NEWSCENTER talked to has any idea when, or even if the ice will go back to the gulf coast.

The Day

It has been a trying day in many ways. And tomorrow is a busy, busy, busy one. Today there were five things I was supposed to be at from late morning to early afternoon. I just cannot be more than one place at a time.
I can never figure out how people just set a time for something and expect everyone to be there. I guess that works for lots of people, but it doesn't work for me. I just can't manage bi-location.

Zenor was here today again. Dennis worked about six hours but got that project done.

I had a board meeting tonight and then I went to the reception for Rob. I missed the one the other weekend, so really wanted to make this one. I had just a few minutes. I was practically in tears. I'm going to miss him so much.

I know it's a great opportunity for him and I'm happy for him and Shirley in that regard but I'm going to miss him so much.

I think I'll try to get to bed early tonight as I have a full, full day tomorrow.

Monday, September 19, 2005

It's all there. It's just injured.

"It's all there. It's just injured."

A Lorena Bobbitt wannabe didn't get the job quite done. What in the world possesses women to do this?!?!?

I've been pissed before - MAJORLY pissed - at men in my life. I have never, not once, thought of cutting off any of their body parts - much less that one. Is this a new trend? A way to show our displeasure? I think I'll pass on that one...

Read the full story at


Estranged Wife Arrested In Stabbing

By Amy Sherrill
Monday, September 19, 2005 8:47 AM CDT


Fort Smith police arrested a woman Sunday after she allegedly cut her estranged husband's genitals with a pair of pruning shears.

Police were called to the woman's residence in the 11000 block of Hunter's Point just after 5 p.m. in reference to a stabbing, said Sgt. Dawn Sprayberry of the Fort Smith Police Department.

Cherie Jones, 61, was arrested on suspicion of first-

degree domestic battery in connection with injuring Harold Jones.

Harold Jones, 58, showed up earlier at the residence, where the two used to live together, with some beer and plans to talk things over, said detective Cpl. Kris Deason.

Harold Jones had moved out a couple of months ago and into an apartment complex on Meandering Way.

The two have been visiting off and on trying to work things out and Cherie Jones had just arrived home from an out-of-state trip.

At some point Harold Jones went to sleep in a bedroom and he awoke to find Cherie Jones cutting his genitals, Deason said.

Blood was all over the bed, police said.

"He didn't lose anything," Deason said. "It's all there. It's just injured."

Harold Jones left the residence and drove to his apartment complex where someone called police.

He was later transported to St. Edward Mercy Medical Center where his condition was unknown late Sunday.

Police said Cherie Jones told authorities she couldn't remember what happened.

Talk Like a Pirate Day

It's Talk Like a Pirate Day today. While I don't intend to engage in any celebratory activity as a result, I can direct you to The Lope's blog for a photo of him as a pirate, posing with a pirate model.

Weekend Winds Down

Mark and I had a lovely, long, leisurely lunch today at Houlihans. I had the penne and it was very good. I only ate about half of it so will have the leftovers tomorrow.

Mark then helped me move some things around the house - including a couch. I got some little things done around the house and it did make a difference. He also helped me set up the TV again so once again I have a TV working downstairs. I have, literally, not seen anything but CNN, MSNBC and such in weeks, so it's curious to have TV going again.

Greg spent all day at the fair. I drove up to Skaets and met him for dinner at 9. I drove him to his car in the fair parking lot and headed home.

I've been getting ready for the work week. It's going to be a busy one. Seems that's the story of my life lately - lots happening in all directions. But things are getting done - slowly but surely - just more slowly than I'd like, but what else is new.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Kansas City Star Turns 125

The Kansas City Star is celebrating its 125th Anniversary today. They've done a neat layout with the old fashioned look from their first day. The stories are current ones but the look is from 125 years ago. Neat idea. I wholeheartedly approve. (Like they need my approval - they're the freaking KC Star.)

Saturday at the Fair

I spent most of the day at the fair, covering the rest of the things I hadn't gotten around to doing.

I know I've mentioned that this is an agricultural fair. One of the exhibits that has only been there a few years is the birthing center run by the vet school. They bring in various critters about to give birth and you can watch it in all its glory during the fair - at least that's the hope.

I grew up on a farm, and yet somehow had managed to never see anything born. That changed a couple of years ago when I watched them pull a calf. Let me tell you - if I'd ever had any doubts about my decision to not have children - that quelled them. Chains were involved - need I say more?

Today when I went in, there were some sows that had new piglets. This sign cracked me up. Being a farm girl, this seemed evident, and not something that needs a sign - much less a laminated, color sign.

One of the other "must-dos" for me each year is riding the train. OK, so, technically, it's for children, but they don't stop adults from riding. They have two trains and the tracks snake through the fairgrounds. It takes about eight minutes and costs $2.

It was about 9:30 by the time I left tonight. I'm very dusty and need a shower, but I think I'll just go on to bed and use that as a good reason I need to change my sheets tomorrow.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Whenever I put pen to paper, I expect magic. And I'm rarely disappointed. - Patsy Terrell

Friday, September 16, 2005


Since seeing Garrison Keillor at the fair last weekend, I've been reading at the website now and again.
One of my favorite parts of the show last week was the catchup bit because it included blogging. The script is now on the website, as well as the whole show. The friends I was with were mighty interested to see my reaction to the blogging bit. Laughter, of course - what else could it be.

When I read Garrison's responses to people, I'm sometimes struck anew at what a nice command of the language he has. I think that's the determining factor. His voice is pleasant - certainly - but his words carry a message far beyond definition.

I don't listen to the show regularly, so that means I've got a backlog of ones to hear online.

There's some beauty in that - just like seeing the powdermilk biscuits logo with a grain elevator in the background.


I spent most of the day doing little jobs - those things that only take a couple of minutes, but you can let pile up until you have hours worth of them to do.

On the upside, you feel like you've accomplished a lot at the end of the day.

I had planned to go to the fair tonight, but Greg and Mark were there and wanted to eat at Skaets so I went there and then it was getting a little late to head to the fair. We ran into Sandy and Leland and it was good to chat with them. The three of us were doing a little ranting about the democrats and why they don't get off their asses and DO something, instead of just letting the Republicans run unchecked doing one stupid thing after another.

Anyway, after Skaets, I went out to Lowe's to look around at some things for the house and ran into Reba, who I hadn't seen in awhile. We chatted for quite some time and it was nice. She used to own a little shop that I was in regularly. I miss her store and I miss her. So, it was good to see her.

Mark turned in early. Greg has popped by to download his pix. Terry called and was on his way out to Wal-mart. I think I'm going to turn in shortly. I'm weary tonight - maybe too many chiropractor visits and too much ibuprofen.


So... there's this little thing called the Davis-Bacon act. It was passed in 1931 - you may recall that was during the depression era - to set a minimum pay scale for workers on federal contracts.

This guy named Robert Bacon thought it would help get the country out of the depression if government contractors had to pay a "prevailing" or "accepted" wage in a particular area. He got a northern guy to put his name on it too and there you go.

Sounds reasonable? Right?

It was a way to insist that people be paid a basic level of wage for certain kinds of work. It would help people get their feet on the ground and since most of the work those days was government work, it was all the more helpful.

Well, we've been going along all this time - almost 75 years - with this idea that companies hiring people to work on government contracts should pay a certain, average, wage.

That was until this week, when Bush suspended the law so that his buddies who own construction companies, can make MORE money when they rebuild from the hurricane.

Prevailing wage for a construction worker in New Orleans was $9 an hour. I wish I could hire one for that out here on the plains, but I digress. OK, so, Bush has decided that's just completely unreasonable. So, lets say a company was going to build a $20,000 building. Maybe they'd spend 9,000 of it on labor. Now, the building is still going to cost $20,000 but they'll only have to pay $6,000 (or whatever) in labor. So, gosh, the company (can you say Halliburton?) get to keep an extra three grand.

He's saying that $9 an hour is overpayment for rebuilding a community. Can he screw this up even further? I swear, every day I don't think so, and every day he surprises me yet again.

Never mind we already had an area that was depressed economically, now he's trying to make it worse - all the while lining the pockets of his friends.

How do we stop this madness? When will it end? We aren't going to have a country left to save in another three years. We've got to get rid of him.

Impeach Bush. He's demonstrated incompetence - surely that's sufficient. He said the debacle of the hurricane relief was his fault, thankfully ending all the stupidity I've been reading the last couple of weeks about how it wasn't his fault. I knew it was. Any thinking person knew it was. Finally, a week and a half later, he caught on too. I'm willing to make this one exception and BELIEVE what he says this time.


Bill Maher to George Bush

In case you missed HBO's "Late Night with Bill Maher," here was his open letter to the President:

Mr. President, this job can't be fun for you any more. There's no more money to spend--you used up all of that. You can't start another war because you used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people. Listen to your Mom. The cupboard's bare, the credit cards maxed out. No one's speaking to you.

Mission accomplished.

Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or space man?

Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't.

I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.

But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.

On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans.

Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side.

So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: "Take a hint."

Pig Races

Doesn't your state fair have pig races? Pity.

Art at the Fair

I went to the fair tonight with a group and checked out the professional art show.

Of course, I am somewhat biased to my friends who are in the show. Jocelyn's piece was "Emily with the Blues" and is one of my favorites in the show.

Another one I loved was Kathie Moore's piece. I didn't get a decent pic of it because of light reflection, but it's beautiful. Kathie and I were in a book club together years ago and are now very involved with the democrats locally.

Don Fuller, who I'm on a board with, won the Hutchinson Art Center's Grand Award for his mixed media work called, "Balancing Act."

J. Alex Potter got an award of merit for her pastel of pears. I adore her work. It's always amazing. Her work is way out of my price range but I certainly admire it. Being in her house feels like being in a really fun art museum to me - really great. I didn't get a good shot of her entry this year, but it's wonderful.

Hutchinson is such a small community that I realized as I was looking at the art that I knew all but a couple of the Hutchinson artists, either personally or through mutual acquaintances.

There were pieces there from all over the state, of course. I really enjoyed this particular one from an artist, Marty Ferguson, of Wichita. Beautiful work.

It's always interesting to see what the judge picks from year to year. This year it seems to be the slightly unusual, but not too far out there, things. It varies from one year to the next. That's one of the great things about art - different strokes for different folks.

Apotemnophilia and acrotomophilia

You learn something every day and today I've learned that there are people who want to have limbs amputated. It's a desire. Well, it's actually a condition called apotemnophilia, and was first noted in the late 1970s.

Causes are being investigated.

One thing is certain, the internet seems to be offering people a way to accomplish these goals; as well as connect amputees with people who are attracted to them, a condition called acrotomophilia.

Bertrand Berger and colleagues wrote in the research journal, "Comprehensive Psychiatry," about a patient who packed both legs in dry ice until frostbite require amputation.

They write, "The Internet helped provide a blueprint for self-amputation. Without the Internet, our patient may never have conceived, let alone used a method to bring about, self-amputation. We anticipate that increasing Internet access will lead to more cases of self-amputation."

I'm not sure what to do with this information... but it's out there... and I didn't want to be alone with that knowledge so I'm sharing here. Lucky you.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bush Light Bulb Joke

Mia sent this joke and I can't resist sharing it...


The Answer is TEN:

1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed,

2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed,

3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb,

4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either for changing the light bulb or for eternal darkness,

5. One to give a billion dollar no-bid contract to Halliburton for the new light bulb,

6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a step ladder under the banner "Bulb Accomplished,"

7. One administration insider to resign and in detail reveal how Bush was literally "in the dark" the whole time,

8. One to viciously smear #7,

9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light-bulb changing policy all along,

10. And finally, one to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country.

Life is Weird

Today I went to ship my ex boyfriend's things back to him. There are some incidentals and then some really important things. I just haven't wanted to face doing it but decided to just go ahead and get it done. So, I get to the shipping place, and discover that something that was in the box has spilled out onto some of his clothes. So, I brought them home to wash them again. For some reason, I guess I wasn't supposed to send them back yet.

I never really stop loving someone, once I fall in love. When I'm forced to, I change the way I love them, but I never stop. It's a curse in many ways.

I love as much on day 1445 as I did on day 223. I don't experience that drifting away. Love, for me, only grows in a relationship - it does not diminish. I guess I'm odd in this way since that's not how it's "supposed" to work.

I didn't want this to end, but there were two of us in it and I was the only one who felt that way. So, there you go...

Nothing to do but the laundry, I guess.


The question was: What are you proud of having taught yourself to do?

One of the greatest skills I have, that I had the foundation for, but have honed myself on, is I can make conversation. That sounds stupid, but incredibly few people can sit down at a table with seven people they don't know and have actual conversation.

I have started to dread going to events because as I told my friend, Trish, "I'm always the floor show." Some days I just don't feel like being that "up" and want to just take someone else's lead. And, sometimes I run into someone I know and just enjoy visiting with them, but in general I am the conversation starter.

I sit down, extend my hand to the person next to me and say, "Hi, I'm Patsy Terrell..." I then go around the table and ask everyone's name. Then, I try to engage people in a conversation. I always wonder if I didn't sit down if they would just sit there the whole meal not talking to anyone except the person they came with.

Another thing I taught myself to do, that I'm very proud of, is swim. I'm terrified of the water and decided that everyone should face at least one fear. So, I learned to swim. I'm not an exceptional swimmer by any means, but I can move myself through the water. And everytime I do it, I have to convince myself to put my face in the water all over again. It's not a natural thing for me at all.

I grew up on a farm and I know what Bull Shit looks like, smells like and sounds like. People in the southeast are getting a lot of it these days from insurance adjusters in the aftermath of Katrina. Most people don't have flood insurance and insurance adjusters are telling them the damage to their homes is due to floods, not the hurricane. I just knew this was going to happen. On day one I said to a friend that the insurance companies would try to avoid paying.

I'm soooo fortunate to have a great insurance company, but I have dealt with some that view their entire purpose to be avoiding paying any claims. Weasels.

After much chiropractic care today, my back felt good enough to head out to the fair tonight. Greg was kind enough to drive me to a gate and let me off so I could limit my walking on concrete, which was helpful.

We went to see the hypnotist, Ron Diamond, who's always entertaining. We also took in the tiger show and the pig races. I did a quick run through of domestic arts.

What could be more state fair-ish than jars of canned goods?

I have more pix to post, but I'm too weary to do it tonight... but soon.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Oh, my aching back

Last night about 5:30 my back started hurting and it just kept getting worse and worse. I got very little sleep. And, had to not go to the Food for Thought event this morning. I hated to miss, but I just couldn't move around enough to get dressed and go.

I went to the chiropractor and he helped a ton. I'm going back in the morning for another treatment.

I just don't lead a lifestyle where I can be "sick" this much. I've got to get my body back to cooperating with me.

Aches and pains are such a boring topic - I must find something new to talk about!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


It's been a busy and not especially productive day. I was scheduled to have electricians here today, but they didn't come. How you actually GET the people you've arranged in advance to work on your house to show up when they've agreed to, I don't know. It's a trick I've not mastered. And, yes, this is the most reputable company in town.

I got a lot of MHA things done, so that was good. But, it seems I'm always behind, regardless.

I went to the Democratic Women's Club luncheon today and it was really great. Greg Halling of the Hutchinson News talked about their mission and how they make decisions about candidates and such.

Tonight was Altrusa. We're getting ready for our Mad Hatter party in two weeks.

I'm moving very slowly. I am suffering some serious pain in my left leg. I stepped off a ladder a little crooked the other day and it seems to have affected a muscle. Ouch! I'm taking piles of Ibuprofen. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow.

Well... I'm off to bed. I have a breakfast in the morning at 7, so I need some sleep.

LJ Meme

The LiveJournal meme... sent by someone... sorry I can't recall who...

1. Your LiveJournal user name and what it means:
It's my name. Nothing fancy.

2. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest) how well does your LiveJournal represent who you actually are? 10 - as much as people in real life know me, other than intimates

3. How much about your life do you post to LJ? I write about my life in general but it is for publication - not like my private journals. My private, written, journals are not shared with anyone.

4. Is there anything you refuse to post about?
very personal things

5. On a scale of 1-10 how interesting do you think your own journal is to others?
I don't have a number for that - but I get about 65,000 hits on my blog on my website, which is the same info, every month so someone must be looking/reading

6. Has anyone ever joined LJ because of you?
don't know

7. What proportion of your posts are friends only?
none... I don't get the point in having a public journal that isn't public

8. What are your top five favorite interests on LJ?
??? don't know what this means

9. How often do you post in communities, and did you ever start your own?
I've posted in one within the last week or two. Don't know much about them.

10. How often do you respond to/comment on other people's journals?
a few times a week... I read often, but don't comment often

11. Do you prefer to write in your journal or read other journals?
I write more often than read

12. Have you ever had something mean said to you or been stalked, harassed, or got into an argument on LJ?
nope... been stalked in real life and it was very unpleasant...

13. Have you ever banned someone from your journal?

14. Who are your four favorite LJ friend(s) and why?
you can look at the friends list and judge your favorites - that's probably more helpful

16. Why are you most likely to add someone to your friends list?
Because I find their journal through some method and enjoy what I'm reading. My friends list is to bring together the journals that I want to read.

17. Do you automatically add friends to your journal if they add you first?
no... but if I enjoy reading their journal, I do

18. What is the most likely reason you wouldn't add someone to your friends list? All they talk about is whatever illness they have or are just very, very, very dull. For awhile there was someone who read mine that - literally - talked about her day moment by moment - very dull stuff.

19. Is your "significant other" on LJ? No significant other at the moment. Last bf was not on LJ and can't imagine him ever donig such a thing

20. Have you ever wanted to meet someone on LJ? there are people I'd like to meet... most on my friends list.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Start with a Bang

The work week started with a bang - OK, not so much - I was dragging today.

I think I kicked some allergy into high gear at the fair on Saturday because I woke up dozens of times last night, unable to breathe from my congested head/nose/throat/etc. I would sit up, drink some water, clear it out and go back to sleep for about - oh 13.2 minutes - and then be back up again.

I know why people who have sleep apnea are always tired now. Good grief - it's exhausting to be up every few minutes. Hopefully I'll get to bed earlier tonight and be able to actually SLEEP, which will be a bonus.

I did accomplish quite a few things today - despite my lagging energy. Tomorrow will be a busy day and then Wednesday even busier, so I do have to get right into the week.

Mark is coming back this weekend for more of the fair. I'm not sure how much I'm going to get out there this year. I do enjoy it, but it seems the week is getting pretty full.

I do enjoy the State Fair. It's one of the last agricultural fairs in the country and I find it charming to see ribbons on tomatoes and peppers and pumpkins.

There was an event yesterday afternoon that I really wanted to go to - a gathering for Rob - but I just couldn't do it and the other things that were on the agenda.

Tonight I was at an Arts and Humanities Council board meeting and they were giving us dates of events. There were 7 things, I think, and I had something competing with everyone of them. I'm not sure how to find more time and more energy.

Greg is still thrilled with his Garrison Keillor picture with Ace Jackalope and it is very cool.

Garrison's performance is still the talk of the town. We were thrilled to welcome him to Hutchinson and hope he returns soon. In fact, he's coming to Lindsborg next year, so he will be back in the area.

Mark Ponders Pumpkins

Mark Ponders Giant Pumpkins at the Kansas State Fair on Saturday... I don't think this needs any further comment...

CSI Effect

Does this seem like a good idea???

Our local newspaper has a story today about how local prosecutors are working to keep up with the "CSI effect," and how that changes the public's expectation of how a trial will be.

"From the prosecution side, we have tried very hard to increase the entertainment value of our trials," District Attorney Keith Schroeder said.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Katrina Investigation

"The president said he's going to lead the investigation into what went wrong. He needs to look only in the mirror."

-- House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California


It's Sunday night and I'm tired. The weekend had some fun in it, but I get weary when I'm around people constantly, and I have been most of the weekend. I'm 4/6 respectively on the introvert/extrovert scale and I need quiet time.

But, we had a good time at the show last night and it was fun to run around. I just need more quiet than other people do, I think. Maybe that comes from growing up as an only child. Maybe if you have siblings around all the time you're used to more noise and commotion. I need quiet to think and relax and restore. I stayed up very late last night to have some quiet time.

I think I'm also just worn out from all the emotion of the past couple of weeks - not that I have been doing anything difficult compared to what evacuees are going through, but listening to people who don't "get it" has just worn me out.

Today, of course, is the four year anniversary of 9-11. It seems that was a world ago and I guess in many ways it was. I lead a very different life now than I did then.

At the time I was working at the radio station and learned about it when I went in that morning. We watched TV for awhile and then the manager sent everyone who didn't have to be there home. He was always wonderful about that.

I went home and thought that I'd take advantage of the day to do some things around the house, but could not tear myself away from the television. I kept trying to, but I'd find myself curled back up on the couch crying, everytime I'd try to get away from it.

It hit me in an odd way - it was four months to the day after my mom's death and I was just getting through the really tough grief part. It was still very fresh and very raw. Very raw. And knowing how grief was, and that all those people were going to experience it en masse, it just seemed like the whole world was going to crumble under the weight of all that grief.

I have felt the same way about the hurricane victims, even though my own grief is more "managed" now. But, there's something about grief that is magnified when many people are suffering at the same time, for the same reason.

I have not watched any television today. The first year it felt like a "celebration" to me more than a commemoration and I haven't wanted to participate in that since then. I'm sure the TV is filled with salutes of various sorts, but I don't want to invite any more sadness into my life. It's not that I don't remember what happened, but I don't want to "celebrate" it in any way.

I'm going to try to get back to a more "normal" sense of posting here, but frankly every time I try to write much these days it just comes off trite if I'm talking about daily life.

But, of course, that's what this blog is about - daily life - so I will get back to that. That does not mean there will not be political posts - those will definitely continue - because I think that is the only way we can make changes.

I looked at the stats last night to see if I had driven away all my readers because of the political stuff, and readership has actually increased.

But, I will also be trying to offer more "normal" things mixed in. I still have not blogged my Puerto Rico or Route 66 trips. Life has just been a really fast merry go round lately and time at the computer has been scarce to do time intensive things like photos. One of these days soon...

But, that's not tonight. I have promised editors that freelance writing will be in their inboxes when them come in Monday morning so I must get about making that happen.

That's a Jackalope

Ace Jackalope and entourage went to the Kansas State Fair tonight where the headlining act was Garrison Keillor with a live broadcast of "A Prairie Home Companion."
Garrison was delighted to make Ace's acquaintance, and pose for a photo after the show. As he exclaimed, "Whatever the joke is, I'm in on it."

How can you not love that?

Kansas native, Kelley Hunt, did a fabulous job during her songs, and made us proud. She's been on the show before, and we're lucky to get to see her around here now and then.

Our beloved Governor, Kathleen Sebelius, played herself during the Guy Noir skit and did a great job. She was on stage again and just handled herself amazingly well. She and Garrison seemed to really hit it off. She is a democrat in this very red state, and is loved by many in both parties.

Garrison is very interested in politics, and did have a few comments about everything from evolution to the lack of response to the hurricane victims. The crowd was very responsive to him.

The set was an elaborate one, including a house front with a porch, from which Garrison started the monologue. But, he only sat down briefly - showing his red socks and shoes off - but then got up to wander the stage as he talked. He does favor the left (his left) side of the stage so if you're planning to see him you might bear that in mind.

Later tonight there was a fundraiser for the democratic party that both Garrison and Kathleen were going to. I wish I could have gone, but I just couldn't. Instead I ended up working the democratic party booth with Debbie, as last minute replacements.

Garrison signed autographs and chatted with people for well over an hour after the show. He was really quite charming, although Greg and Ace were the only ones in our party who visited with him.

I got to see Garrison years ago in Minnesota when the station I worked for did a trip. He was much more casual tonight about chatting with folks.

You can listen to repeats of the show on the website if you miss it. Prairie Home Companion has been the most popular public radio show for years.

The show was really great. If you listened to it tonight or if you catch a repeat on Sunday and hear the Catchup script late in the show, you'll know why this photo is here, although I don't have a cheese danish handy.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


"The most dangerous thing to average Americans is not some mullah in Iraq, not even Osama Bin Laden, but George Bush." Steve Gilliard

Flood Area Maps shows the area of the New Orleans flood compared to a number of different US cities. It gives you a sense of the size of it if you're familiar with one of those cities.

These are not my words, I just think they're worth sharing... see the link below for more from this writer.

The Great Uniter
After September 11th, the nation was united as it has not been since World War II. Seen that sentence before? Thing is, it's true. For a good stretch there, Americans had their sleeves up, ready to engage in shared sacrifice. Bush squandered the political unity of that moment, a moment in which he might have done anything, with the foolishness of Iraq. The only sacrifice asked of most of us, was slaughtering our common sense at the altar of trickled on economics.

Now we have another of those extremely rare moments of perfect national clarity. Only this time the theme of the day is they screwed up big time. Four years in which they've done nothing but talk about being prepared for an emergency. Four years in which they've spent huge amounts of money, reshaped the government, eroded rights, suspended laws, broken treaties, and expended blood like it was free, and what do we have to show for it? Rats eating old women in the street, that's what we have.

Read more at:

Friday, September 09, 2005

George Bush Don't Like Black People

One of the great things about the internet is the speed at which information can travel. Scarcely had I posted about music than a comment from streetdreams pointed me toward this "little ditty" as my piano teacher would have said. (Sorry, I can't resist the personal fun of hearing Mrs. Jerrell say "little ditty" in my head while referring to a rap song. She would have appreciated this one.)

It's titled "George Bush Doesn't Like Black People" and I encourage you to listen. It's rap - of course it has "language" - but at this point, I can't imagine what language is not appropriate to express anger, rage, frustration, or other adjective of your choice.

The only thing I might add is that I don't think George limits who he doesn't like to only black people - it could be extended to anyone of any color - and anyone who's poor - or even lower or middle middle class. He doesn't like anyone who's not his "base," defined as: "This is an impressive crowd of the haves and have mores. Some people call you the elite, I call you my base". Governor George Bush-Oct 13, 2000-at the 55th annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York.

But, I'll admit, even I never imagined he'd willingly stand by and strum guitar while those of us not his "base" died in the streets. I stand corrected.

Al Gore

Al Gore spoke to environmentalists at the Sierra Club in today at their opening convention. This is one of his comments...

"When the corpses of American citizens are floating in toxic flood waters five days after a hurricane struck, it is time not only to respond directly to the victims of the catastrophe, but to hold ... the leaders of our nation accountable," Gore told environmentalists at the Sierra Club's national convention.

Gore was responsible for getting two plane loads of people out of New Orleans. He did it by placing phone calls - personally - and securing the planes. American Airlines apparently went on the mission without a contract or previous payment. to read more

So, Al Gore evacuated people with his own money and his own connections. Bush has the whole freaking military at his disposal and couldn't manage it for a longer time period.

It's really a shame Al Gore didn't get in the white house back when he won the election. Of course, Al knows about water, being from Tennessee, so he would have maintained the leeves so this wouldn't be an issue. Because, oh yeah, we wouldn't be using all our resources to fight a useless war. I knew there was a reason.


Timeline for Katrina. What really happened when?


OK, I'll admit straight up, I'm not a huge music fan. What that means is I don't go to concerts, I don't worship singers, etc. I sing along with the radio and that's about it. I'm not into fandom. I've met a few celebrities in former jobs and it loses its thrill very quickly.

But, music seems to be a great force for many people. And at times like this national crisis it seems to be helpful to people to turn to music as a unifier. It always happens - generally very quickly.

With that said... where are all these musicians that were writing songs about 9-11 before the dust even settled? Do they not care any more about the south than the president and his staff?

Aaron Neville sang on Larry King tonight and it was wonderful, but is all of country music - generally so quick on the "Where were you?" types of songs - in a cave and unaware of what's going on? Where are our rock crusaders Sting, Bono and the Boss? Does NO ONE care any more than the government?

Aren't most country singers IN the south? As far as I know, Nashville recording studios are still functioning. Are we not even going to get yet another remake of "Candle in the Wind?"

Of course, country singer Mark Wills was with the president when the president should have been in New Orleans, anyway. Wills presented him with a guitar and the president strummed along while people were fighting for their lives in New Orleans. That seems fair. Right?

I was willing to cut Mark Wills a ton of slack - after all he wasn't the one who should have been in New Orleans - and meeting the president is a big deal, regardless of who you are. But, before writing this piece, I went to his website, fully expecting an apology of some sort for the unfortunate timing, but that photo of Bush playing air guitar is the first thing you see and they're obviously very proud of it. for those of you interested...

The very next thing you can click on is a story about Wills Tour Bus helping block traffic at an accident and the quote is, "What a wonderful example of how God can send us help in the midst of strife. Thank you for your example to all." I don't think that really needs any additional comment from me.

Wills needs to keep better company. And hire a PR person.

Maybe there's no country music because there's nothing patriotic about this. Seeing your countrymen die because you've been gung ho on supporting a president and a war half a world away - and glorifying soldiers dying a la "I Made it to Arlington" - probably doesn't give you much to sing about.

Alan Jackson did his bit with "Where were you." Come on people, he can't write EVERYTHING. Surely some of you patriotic types that always have a pro-war song at the ready have something to say. Oh, no, wait, you love this president and his war that has now killed people in New Orleans as well as Iraq. (read the CNN article that having National Guard tied up in Iraq resulted in deaths in Louisiana)

I wish I could call the Dixie Chicks, the only freaking voice of reason from that quadrant during this whole @*##$(%&# season of war. (There are some words I just don't use and that expletive is really all that will fit in that sentence.)

I See Dead People

Well, I'm up... only about 3.5 hours since I went to sleep. I can't sleep. I see dead people - when I'm awake on television and when I'm asleep in my mind. And I didn't even vote for Bush.

So, I've been out to the garage, doing a little possum proofing. Yes... possums. And before you start telling me how cute the nasty, snarling, rabies laden things are, let me tell you it won't work with me. I grew up on a farm - I'm familiar with many types of wildlife - and little of it is conducive to cohabitation with humans.

Unfortunately, possums are now an urban problem. A friend has had one in his basement. And someone told me they had seen one in our neighborhood.

I have one garage door that won't close all the way to the bottom and so I went out and did a little jury rigging on it to block entry - just in case one of the critters decides it looks like a good place to settle in. My garage is at the alley, a lot away from the house, and I don't use it for a vehicle, so I'm not out there much.

Figured I'd go out while it's still dark so hopefully if there was one who was there he would be active and get out. I opened the door at the front to turn on the light and decided to leave it open. Sure enough, while I was at the back of the garage, messing with the big door, the front door opened as something pushed it open to get out. Could have been a cat, but I'm not taking any chances. Whatever it is won't be getting back into my garage - I'm sure of that - I did a very good job of possum proofing if I do say so myself.

Hutchinson animal control says possums are a major problem in the area. They'll provide you with a trap, but they don't kill them when they catch them - they "relocate" them. This is another example of stupidity - studies show that almost all die shortly after being released - 88% in the first week. I guess animal rights people think it's better for them to be killed by foxes or other predators than put to sleep peacefully.

I just know that they're not compatible with human habitation. And in an urban area they have no predators so flourish unchecked. Man - the one predator they could have - isn't even one I guess.

My theory on such things is simple - they can be anywhere on the planet except my tiny bit of it.

Standing Water

"And most chillingly of all, this is the Law and Order and Terror government. It promised protection - or at least amelioration - against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological.

It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water." Keith Olbermann

Read more at:

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Taking to My Bed

Well, as Southern Belles have done for generations, I'm "taking to my bed." Unfortunately, I'll be rolling out of it about 6:30 in the morning for a normal work day. Geez, how did they manage *that* part...

Barack Obama's Words

Part of Senator Barack Obama's Statement regarding the Hurricane response...

Whoever was in charge of planning and preparing for the worst case scenario appeared to assume that every American has the capacity to load up their family in an SUV, fill it up with $100 worth of gasoline, stick some bottled water in the trunk, and use a credit card to check in to a hotel on safe ground. I see no evidence of active malice, but I see a continuation of passive indifference on the part of our government towards the least of these.

...I hope we realize that the people of New Orleans weren't just abandoned during the Hurricane. They were abandoned long ago - to murder and mayhem in their streets; to substandard schools; to dilapidated housing; to inadequate health care; to a pervasive sense of hopelessness.

First Person Account

To read a first person account of New Orleans...

Finally Red

I mentioned I was painting my dining room red. Well, it's finally red. Nearly three gallons of paint and 5 coats and it's the deep red I wanted. This isn't a great photo because I just noticed I've got some crud on the lens that is making it spotty. But, you get the idea.

And... hey... it's just a "normal" post. No rant included.

You know that question... if you were a color, what color would it be... this is the color I am - a deep, rich red with blue undertones... deep, ruby red... I hope I don't ever feel the urge to make a whole room this color again. Or if I do that it's only after they've come up with a way to make red paint actually COVER.

I'm starting to live like a grown up - I have curtains up and everything. OK, not everywhere... but I'm making progress. OK, it's slow progress... but it's progress.

Quote of the Day

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."
-Martin Luther King Jr.

God is Not American - Who Knew?

So... today for lunch Greg and I are tooling down Adams Street, headed to fifth, for a run to Roy's. We're chatting - had to stop for a train - looking forward to some exceptional barbecue.

We have to stop at a light at fourth street and I glance to my left and what do I see? Well, it's a billboard. But it's one I can't believe I'm seeing my little red midwestern town that's smack dab in the middle of a red state.

I don't know who put it up - no doubt they'll keep their identity well under wraps in this conservative spot. But, oh my gosh, there it was for everyone to see in stark black and white - "GOD IS NOT AMERICAN ...think about it."

We both whipped out the cameras and started snapping away. I'm sorry I didn't have time to post it earlier in the day but it was a busy day today. Thank goodness for digital cameras and the convenience of always having them handy.

I'm surprised there have not been massive pile-ups at the intersection. And I'm amazed churches are not demanding it be taken down because of its lies. We all know God is an American - more specifically a REPUBLICAN American. Right? (Hopefully all readers of my blog recognize sarcasm.)

I'm guessing it's a take off from the book, "God Is Not: Religious, Nice, One of Us, an American, a Capitalist" but I don't know. I just know someone paid some money to print it and post it. I'm curious who.

Hee hee hee... and right in time for the Kansas State Fair that starts in town tomorrow...

There's someone around I like, and I don't even know who it is. Obviously, there's another group I need to join.

Quote of the Day

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one
wild and precious life? --Mary Oliver

For Hutchinson Residents

For those of you in Hutchinson, Love Box will provide a box you can fill with supplies for victims of the hurricane, and they will ship it free for you. Pick up a box at their location by the mall. Return it by the 12th. Bravo Love Box.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Are You A Democrat?

From: Sharon Webb,

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you believe that the country should have public schools?

2. Do you believe that the federal government should offer aid to our citizens in times of emergency such as flood, fire, earthquake, etc.?

3. Do you believe that people should be able to earn a living wage?

4. Do you believe that the people of New Orleans are worse off now than they were before hurricane Katrina?

5. Do you believe that Americans should be able to receive affordable medical care?

6. Are you concerned about clean water and air? And do you think we need to develop alternate forms of energy?

If you answered yes to two or more of the above questions, then you are a democrat, whether or not you are aware of it.

If you answered no to the questions above, then you subscribe to the same ethic as George W. Bush, whose tactic is to "starve the beast" by cutting funding for disaster relief, education, conservation, and medical care...and then cutting it again, and again, until those agencies concerned with these matters cease to exist.

Politicians who believe as George Bush does are usually republican, and believe that government disaster aid is a boondoggle which awards slackers and those unwilling to work.

They further believe that the federal government should tax unequally, drawing a higher percentage from the poor and middle class with the idea that those people get more services than the rich and should pay more for it.

They believe that disaster relief should be provided by churches and charities and the federal government should not be saddled with the bill.

They believe that education should be provided by churches or the private sector.

They believe that the minimum wage is already too high and only those too shiftless to work hard benefit, and they further believe that it is unfair because it cuts into the profits of big business.

They believe that to be concerned with environmental issues is to live in an ivory tower and be out of touch with the realities of business.

They believe that the only function of government should be to provide an army and military capability.

They didn't tell you any of this when they ran for office, because they knew that you wouldn't vote for them if they did. But this is what they believe to the marrow of their bones.


Today it was suggested that those of us typing should be DOING something more. People spoke up to say we should all pull together and we should stop slandering the president.

A combination of my responses there, and to another list, is below...


For something to be slander, it has to untrue. It's true people were left to die for days with no food or water. That's not slander. That's fact.

If you really think all we need to do is pull together and do something for victims you have no understanding of how our political system works. *Someone* has to speak out about the horrible injustices or they just continue unchecked. And, they get worse. This should be an example of how things get worse.

If you just want to pull together that's great. I applaud your efforts. But don't criticize mine because I want to do something beyond this disaster.

We all do what we can. Frankly, writing is one of the things I do best and it can have a small impact in a different way than handing out sandwiches or taking in a family or whatever. I get over 65,000 hits a month on my website. If I can convince a couple of those people that we need to make major changes and do something beyond the immediate concern, then I've done something very valuable for the next group of potential victims.

You're concerned for these folks who were harmed by this - and so am I - but I'm also concerned for the next folks and the ones after them and on and on and on. We can't always just be reacting to the current situation. We have to change. And in our system - broken though it may be - change doesn't happen until a bunch of people do a bunch of bitching and holding people's feet to the fire. We all have our talents. I'm not good at one on one relief efforts but I'm damned good at holding people's feet to the fire and I don't intend to stop anytime soon.

The need is far greater than it should have been. Many people have died that didn't have to. We were ill prepared and unwilling to even admit it, much less change it. NOW is the time to keep this in the news.

Six months from now when people are resettled and there's a Mardi Gras and things are moving along, it will be very easy for the public to forget that our government messed up - big time - and no matter what they do to "fix" it - it can't be undone. Our government the last few years has been very big on "accountability" and I want to see some of that.

This should be a huge wake up call to everyone who thinks security on the homefront is all we need to be concerned with. I participated in a mock disaster a year ago - funded by homeland security - to make sure we were all prepared in case of a terrorist attack. It was so horribly mismanaged and confused that I knew it was hopeless if anything ever happened here.

I live near a city that's in the top ten of their guess of potential targets. I stockpiled some bottled water in my basement and decided to hope for the best because I knew there was absolutely no hope that anything "official" would happen if we were hit. There were three agencies involved - they didn't even bother to CALL one of them when the supposed disaster hit - the medical one. And, of course, they *could* call.

Why do you assume that those of us who "type" are ONLY typing? We're multi talented people who can manage many things. Just because we don't chose to share with the world what we may view as private business does not mean we have no right to point out what is wrong with the system.

Absolutely we need to be doing all we can to help these victims. But that only addresses the RESULT of the real problem, which is our government is broken. I want to address the real problem so this doesn't happen again in another circumstance. And, trust me, it will.

Not everyone understands the frustration I - and others - have expressed. Not at all. You may, most of the people here may, but about half of the people in the country approve of how this was handled. Those people are the ones that want the rest of us to shut up - to get about doing something to help. I *am* doing something to help. I'm trying to fix what's broken.

I'm fed up with the people who say we should stop criticizing about any idiotic thing the government does. I thought leaving people to die in the freaking streets would wake people up, but apparently not. Well, I won't be silenced. I've had all of the ineptitude I'm going to take.

When we get to the point that we're leaving corpses to be eaten by rats in the streets, it's time for SOMEONE to take notice. I'm not going to be the nice little quiet person who just hushes up about this mess and digs in with both hands to tidy up yet another of our government's screw ups. I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it anymore. We've been putting bandaids on the results of the screw ups for a few years now and I'm sick of it.

I COMPLETELY applaud the efforts of people who are doing hands on, in the trenches, relief work. I am truly amazed at the generosity of people who are taking people into their homes for some undetermined amount of time. I'm awed by that. Totally, completely, awed. I'm grateful that people want to volunteer for the Red Cross and hand out sandwiches and do paperwork for new ID information and whatever else needs to be done. It's all great - and very important - and I never want to diminish that in any way. I'm thankful that so many are willing to do so much. I am touched by the heart warming stories.

But, I'm insulted by your suggestion that keeping the topic of the gross mismanagement on people's minds is not helping. It's the only way something will change long term.

The public's memory is very short. We have to talk about it now - while it's hot news - and keep talking about it - for something to change. Pretty soon the memory of people languishing in filth and wading through water with corpses floating in it while Rice bought shoes and Bush strummed a guitar and Lance Armstrong cycled with him will fade. We'll focus on the good news - like Jabbor Gibson - and we'll forget there should have been no reason for those hero stories.

White House aides, after the poll I've mentioned here, were "relieved" that the numbers were so good for the president. They were worried about his approval rating. If someone had been worrying about the people drowning in their homes instead, we might not have lost so many. This insensitivity is what makes my blood boil.

I'd just as soon not repeat this whole scenario. If we don't fix the problem, we will. People who are concerned about terrorists should realize they have TVs. They can see that we can't handle even something we've planned for. They could blow up dams. Obviously, we don't know how to deal with water. We've already demonstrated with people fleeing NY during a 6 hour power outtage that we can't deal with not having power. How many more vulnerabilities should we demonstrate in full blown, living color?

Our government is in chaos and incapacitated by its own bureaucracy. I, for one, am not going to be silenced about it, regardless of how many want us to be quiet so they can keep their heads in the sand about the real problems.

If we do not keep the *reasons* this happened in the forefront, and make changes, the next time people die because our government failed, their blood is on all our hands.

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
Theodore Roosevelt (1858 - 1919)


I've been remiss in not mentioning how much I enjoy Pink. I wonder if Natalie Maynes has one of these.

And this was before the hurricane. Apparently a long standing view. Geez, I like that woman.

I found the pic at:

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Poll Question

Someone asked what the exact question was that led to 46% of people saying they approve of how Bush has handled the hurricane situation in the ABC/Washington Post poll. Here is the question:

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation caused by Hurricane Katrina? Do you approve/disapprove strongly or

Total Approval - 46%
Approve Strongly - 26%, Approve Somewhat - 20%
Total Disapproval - 47%
Disapprove Strongly - 31%, Disapprove Somewhat - 16%
The remaining 8% had no opinion.

See the whole survey at:


Just in case anyone is confused, although I can't imagine why in the world you would be, since this is a PERSONAL blog - what I say here - past, present and future - has absolutely nothing to do with my employer, my former employers, my future employers, my family, my friends, my neighbors, my home town, my current home, my former residences, boards I've served on, restaurants I've eaten at, plumbers I've hired, former lovers, long dead relatives, ISPs current/past or future, trips I've taken, former co-workers, future colleagues, hotels I've slept in, or any other thing you can imagine. It's just ME and my thoughts, rants, and views - no connection to any one/thing else. OK. Did I cover it all? If there's anything I left out, consider that covered too. There's no connection. OK? Good Deal. Now, we're clear.

NYT editorial - In Case You Missed It

From The New York Times

A Failure of Leadership -
"Bush to New Orleans: Drop Dead"

Neither the death of the chief justice nor the frantic efforts of panicked White House political advisers can conceal the magnitude of the president's failure of leadership last week. The catastrophe in New Orleans billowed up like the howling winds of hell and was carried live and in color on television screens across the U.S. and around the world.

The Big Easy had turned into the Big Hurt, and the colossal failure of George W. Bush to intervene powerfully and immediately to rescue tens of thousands of American citizens who were suffering horribly and dying in agony was there for all the world to see.

Hospitals with deathly ill patients were left without power, with ventilators that didn't work, with floodwaters rising on the lower floors and with corpses rotting in the corridors and stairwells. People unable to breathe on their own, or with cancer or heart disease or kidney failure, slipped into comas and sank into their final sleep in front of helpless doctors and relatives. These were Americans in desperate trouble.

The president didn't seem to notice.

Death and the stink of decay were all over the city. Corpses were propped up in wheelchairs and on lawn furniture, or left to decompose on sunbaked sidewalks. Some floated by in water fouled by human feces.

Degenerates roamed the city, shooting at rescue workers, beating and robbing distraught residents and tourists, raping women and girls. The president of the richest, most powerful country in the history of the world didn't seem to notice.

Viewers could watch diabetics go into insulin shock on national television, and you could see babies with the pale, vacant look of hunger that we're more used to seeing in dispatches from the third world. You could see their mothers, dirty and hungry themselves, weeping.

Old, critically ill people were left to soil themselves and in some cases die like stray animals on the floor of an airport triage center. For days the president of the United States didn't seem to notice.

He would have noticed if the majority of these stricken folks had been white and prosperous. But they weren't. Most were black and poor, and thus, to the George W. Bush administration, still invisible.

After days of withering criticism from white and black Americans, from conservatives as well as liberals, from Republicans and Democrats, the president finally felt compelled to act, however feebly. (The chorus of criticism from nearly all quarters demanding that the president do something tells me that the nation as a whole is so much better than this administration.)

Mr. Bush flew south on Friday and proved (as if more proof were needed) that he didn't get it. Instead of urgently focusing on the people who were stranded, hungry, sick and dying, he engaged in small talk, reminiscing at one point about the days when he used to party in New Orleans, and mentioning that Trent Lott had lost one of his houses but that it would be replaced with "a fantastic house - and I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch."

Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever by a president during a dire national emergency. What we witnessed, as clearly as the overwhelming agony of the city of New Orleans, was the dangerous incompetence and the staggering indifference to human suffering of the president and his administration.

And it is this incompetence and indifference to suffering (yes, the carnage continues to mount in Iraq) that makes it so hard to be optimistic about the prospects for the United States over the next few years. At a time when effective, innovative leadership is desperately needed to cope with matters of war and peace, terrorism and domestic security, the economic imperatives of globalization and the rising competition for oil, the United States is being led by a man who seems oblivious to the reality of his awesome responsibilities.

Like a boy being prepped for a second crack at a failed exam, Mr. Bush has been meeting with his handlers to see what steps can be taken to minimize the political fallout from this latest demonstration of his ineptitude. But this is not about politics. It's about competence. And when the president is so obviously clueless about matters so obviously important, it means that the rest of us, like the people left stranded in New Orleans, are in deep, deep trouble.