Wednesday, December 31
I'm gonna be drinking tea tonight (as in Red Rose - no more "Lawn Guyland" tea for me). My hangovers don't last a day anymore. They seem to hang on for the better part of a week now.
What's everyone else gonna be mixing up?
crossposted at BigBrassBlog
Inspired by DCup's post on the year of clean living, I thought I'd write down what I've been planning to do for the new year to improve my life. She did amazingly well in 2008 and I'm proud of her determination.
What I want to do in 2009 is something I should have done 10 years ago but it's never too late to clean up one's act.
First of all, I will quit smoking before my birthday in January. I have to. I got the results of my chest xray and breathing tests recently and it appears to be totally normal. How lucky was that? I think it's time to quit while I'm ahead before I get emphysema and then I'm really screwed. Plus the cost of butts is so expensive that I am going to put my cig money in a piggy bank and use it for new clothes (which pertains to the next point.) The cigarettes at the Indian Res are now expensive too. They got me. I give up.
2. I will go to drastic measures to lose all the weight I put on due to my meds and lack of sufficient or acceptable nookie (see point 3). By hook or by crook, I will not be a fat person this time next year. From the money I will save by not eating so much, I will put it away for a face lift and a singles cruise where I will finally meet a handsome young Prince Charming and will live happily ever after. heh. Okay, I'm a realist... just the face lift or new clothes.
3. I am a social drinker, but I tend to sometimes go overboard . I think it's time to put the beer bottle down once and for all. Beer isn't good for dieters anyway. Going to bars makes me even feel worse about myself. There's something ridiculous and sad about trying to be noticed by a bunch of pissfaced drunks that isn't good for my delicate sensibilities. Not to mention they don't remember who you are the next time you see them. Men in bars aren't thinking with their heads. With the money I save from not drinking like a fish, I will take scuba lessons and travel to exotic places to look at the pretty fishies with my new hot bod sans beer gut.
3a. I am substituting unsweetened ice tea for Diet Pepsi. Sugar and artificial sweeteners are not on my list of healthy foods, in fact I think that perhaps the artificial sweeteners are worse than real sugar.
4. I will give up unhealthy relationships in 2009. My bad luck with friends and relations is written all over my face, my fat butt and my psyche. I can't get the years back ( I do wish I could and if there are any genies out there, contact me) but I can make the future ones better and even if I am all alone for the rest of my life, it will be better than hating myself for enduring relationships that make me feel like shit. So goodbye to bullshitters.
5. But just because I am not eating fast food, drinking beer or smoking and ditching old relationships, it doesn't mean I will be a party pooper. I will have more fun than ever. In fact I plan to travel, go out dancing, ride my bike, sail, swim, scuba dive, learn astrophotography, perform music once again, start a business and have much more sex (even if it is with myself). I am not quitting the weed because I am a musician after all. I will go even blonder to assure that I have more fun.
6. I vow above everything else, to get my sense of humor back and lighten up. It got buried amid all the angst. A good friend of mine has vowed to make at least one stranger a day laugh. I like that and will do that too. I will report monthly on how I'm doing.
A lot of excess baggage will be shed in 2009. I hope you'll join me in saying adios to my bad habits and "buenos dias baby" to my new happy and healthier lifestyle.
And of course, a song to go along with my resolutions. It's Not You, Baby It's Me, By Norah Jones and the Little Willies
So far, best estimates give about 350 dead in Gaza, most of them Hamas; six Israelis are dead.
That's a better than 50:1 exchange rate. But Israel is missing the point, by returning to the past in which the application of high explosives is the solution to every problem.
One analyst, interviewed yesterday on NPR, stated that Israel's strategic objective was to drive a wedge between the Gazans and Hamas, and hopefully force a regime change. Troops and tanks are already massing on the border as Israel prepares for a possible ground assault.
One minor problem, that I think Israel is missing.
The United States dropped more high explosives on North Vietnam than the total of bombs dropped on Europe in World War Two, and it did nothing to dissociate the Vietnamese from Ho Chi Minh's government - in fact, it strengthened it.
Going back further, Germany's shock and awe campaign didn't break the will or morale of the British, now did it?
All Israel is doing is creating another two generations (at least) of potential converts to Hamas' cause.
Sometimes people should stop looking back at failed solutions and try new ones. Have the courage to look ahead.
Israel sees the Internet offensive as a way to keep open its window of opportunity to press forward with its thus-far devastating attacks in Gaza.
Since the massive aerial attack was unleashed on Saturday, at least 373 Palestinians, including 39 children, have been killed and 1,720 wounded, according to Gaza medics.
Am I allowed to say that I think they are a bunch of bullies without being called an anti-Semite, that dreaded label? Nevermind, I'll reserve comment at this time.
Our key ally in the war on terra, Iraq, condemns Israel for the attacks on Gaza
“Iraqi resistance groups have to retaliate against the Israeli aggression on Gaza by escalating their operations against the US military in Iraq since the US position is in favour of this aggression, firstly, and secondly because the United States and Israel are both enemies of the Arabs,” Omar Al Kubaisi, an activist of the Sunni Muslim Clerics Association.On Fox News, that idiot, John Bolton said that Israel's bombing of Gaza is all the more reason we should bomb Iran now. Such stupidity makes my head hurt. I hate Fox News.
Wanna see something hilarious? Zbig Smacks Down Mornin' Joe
Zbig to Joe: "You have a such stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on it's almost embarrassing to listen to you." hat tip oddjob
Gaza relief boat carrying Cynthia McKinney rammed by Israelis
Thousands of protestors demand end to Israeli raids in Gaza
Israel weighs 48-hour halt to Gaza air campaign
Protesters worldwide keep up pressure over Gaza
Tuesday, December 30
As if Things Weren't Bad Enough, Russian Professor Predicts End of U.S.Could that be why the US military is ready for action?
In Moscow, Igor Panarin's Forecasts Are All the Rage; America 'Disintegrates' in 2010
"There's a 55-45% chance right now that disintegration will occur," he says (to happy Russians who have grown very anti-American)....
He based the forecast on classified data supplied to him by FAPSI analysts, he says. He predicts that economic, financial and demographic trends will provoke a political and social crisis in the U.S. When the going gets tough, he says, wealthier states will withhold funds from the federal government and effectively secede from the union. Social unrest up to and including a civil war will follow. The U.S. will then split along ethnic lines, and foreign powers will move in.
California will form the nucleus of what he calls "The Californian Republic," and will be part of China or under Chinese influence. Texas will be the heart of "The Texas Republic," a cluster of states that will go to Mexico or fall under Mexican influence. Washington, D.C., and New York will be part of an "Atlantic America" that may join the European Union. Canada will grab a group of Northern states Prof. Panarin calls "The Central North American Republic." Hawaii, he suggests, will be a protectorate of Japan or China, and Alaska will be subsumed into Russia.
Unrest caused by bad economy may require military action, report says
"Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities ... to defend basic domestic order and human security," the report said, in case of "unforeseen economic collapse," "pervasive public health emergencies," and "catastrophic natural and human disasters," among other possible crises.
The report also suggests the new (Barack Obama) administration could face a "strategic shock" within the first eight months in office.
Do you think that if it became known that a giant asteroid was to crash into the earth that all this world unrest would stop and we would come together as nations? Oh hell, we can't even come together as a country.
Did you see this? Racism is splitting the GOP That's so 40 years ago. Grow up already.
My art friend who lives in Israel is terrified that there is going to be a war. She wishes us a happy new year. Indeed.
Monday, December 29
Our government invests in abstinence only sex education which has been proven time and time again to not work. You would think in a so called first world country that we'd get with the program, deal with the fact that kids will be kids as they have always been and teach them to protect their young lives from dangerous diseases and unwanted pregnancies.
The article above is quite interesting and goes further than previous studies.
I grew up Catholic in a time where we were strongly encouraged to not even lie in a bed with a boy before marriage. We were taught that birth control was evil. It was no wonder that so many Catholic girls were getting married before they even finished high school. It's no wonder that there were so many dysfunctional large families in church on Sunday with impossibly overwrought young mothers. So what is it with the new religious right and their insistence upon abstinence only education? Misery loves company? Is that it?
In the 1950's during the atomic age craze you could buy your kids an "Atomic Energy Lab" complete with chunks of Uranium 238. This product only lasted on the shelves for a year when someone thought that kids capable of splitting atoms in their bedrooms and messing around with radioactivity was not a necessarily a good thing.
Fast forward to the 1990's when naysayers were complaining that your kids could learn to build a bomb on the internet and therefore you shouldn't go online. It hasn't stopped terrorists from using the internets to wreak havoc on innocent people.
This story, Hobbyists are trying genetic engineering at home, explains that using homemade lab equipment and the vast scientific knowledge available online, people are trying to make new life forms.
In her San Francisco dining room lab, for example, 31-year-old computer programmer Meredith L. Patterson is trying to develop genetically altered yogurt bacteria that will glow green to signal the presence of melamine, the chemical that turned Chinese-made baby formula and pet food deadly.There are critics out there who are afraid that someone could unleash a disaster on humanity that may even out-fuck-up what the bush administration has wrought on an unsuspecting world. Most evil scientists are working for world governments though. Hey, you never know, someone may find the cure for cancer or invent an easy test to detect dangerous substances contained in crappy Chinese imports.
"People can really work on projects for the good of humanity while learning about something they want to learn about in the process," she said.
We already know that there are terrorists out there planning dangerous activities and there are manufacturers cutting costs and incorporating dangerous chemicals into everyday products. Our own government is fighting to build coal plants or dump toxic waste near pristine national parks. We also know that an asteroid could destroy the earth. There are a lot more things to worry about than the possibility of giant mutant turtles.
Also in science news for all you disappointed star gazers out there is this story, Death Valley works to preserve night sky
Acclaimed for its ink black skies, Death Valley, the hottest place in North America, also ranks among the nation's unspoiled stargazing spots. But the vista in recent years has grown blurry.Only once in my adult life have I seen the sky from an unspoiled vantage point and that was in Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania, one of the only 2 parks certified by the International Dark-Sky Association as dark-sky enclaves. It was like a planetarium only better. I can't even describe the wonderment I experienced. I thought about setting up an observatory in my backyard only to discover that light pollution from NYC made it nearly impossible to enjoy all that is out there.
The glitzy neon glow from Las Vegas and its burgeoning bedroom communities is stealing stars from the park's eastern fringe. New research reveals light pollution from Vegas increased 61 percent between 2001 and 2007, making it appear brighter than the planet Venus on clear nights as seen from Dante's View
Sunday, December 28
Three-quarters of the people polled by CNN say that they're quite happy to see Bush leave office and don't want him ever coming back.
The last, tiny, fleeting glimmer of a bright spot - his efforts to salvage some sort of Mideast peace plan before January 20th - was extinguished under sixty Qassim rockets, one hundred tons of bombs and at least 200 dead Palestinians.
We may be looking at war between India and Pakistan.
And the economy is still lodged in the sewer pipe thanks in very large part to the Bush Administration's deregulation efforts and a Republican history of letting the markets dictate the markets (and not taking into account the fact that human greed would trump even common sense).
So if there is a setting beyond 'Epic' on the Fail-o-meter, Bush owns it.
Lock, stock, and barrel.
Saturday, December 27
and for those of you who are just too happy!
You've got old-lady hair. It's going gray and the texture of it is no longer hair like but more like string or perhaps straw that the cat has seen fit to suck on all day. Your skin has turned against you somehow; indeed, it seems it would crawl completely off your frame if possible. It feels like snakeskin actually. If only it might split open and allow you to crawl off in a shiny new skin, leaving the old dried-up husk to crisp in the sun. But no, in it you just remain.
You gaze in horror at some formerly familiar body part----your arm, for instance---and notice with a shudder that when you bend it as you have done a million times a day for your entire life with no ill effect, the skin ripples and wrinkles in a bizarre fashion. Whose arm is that hanging from your body? you ask. And have you looked at your knees lately? Don't even bother. Just trust me---it's bad.
Moles have started to reproduce themselves at will all over your body but show a particular fondness for your chest, neck and back. One might be considered a "beauty mark:; one thousand and you've moved past overkill----it's distracting, at best. And, I note happily, moles now come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. I'd have to say that skin-tag types are my favorites.....right up there with the ones that overnight grow a six-to seven inch hair smack in the middle of 'em.
And, of course, your eyesight is so bad you might easily go several entire days before you realize you have got this long------usually black---hair sticking straight out of the side of your face. You normally don't see it yourself; someone else---a small, very loud child in the checkout line or your ex-husband's new child-bride or possibly, the worst-case scenario, your very own boyfriend will notice it and give it a little tug.
One of the reasons your eyesight is so poor is that your upper eyelids are spending most of their time hanging down into your actual line of sight instead of perching up there about your eyes displaying eye shadow, the way nature intended.
There seem to be two choices (or rather destinies for who would actively choose either one); You turn out to be one of those stringy, beef-jerky-looking old ladies or you're fat.
Let me address the under forty readers here for just a moment. First of all, you should know that, in my humble opinion, you are mere lava. It's a wonder you even have all your hands and feet. You really can't fathom this right now----I know because I remember......but you are a baby and you should not be out loose running around unsupervised. Trust me, nearly every choice you're making today is the wrong one, but take heart. Crazy as it sounds, it's apparently what you are supposed to be doing----nobody does it any different. And the consequences of all the stupid crap you are doing today, which you will regret, will make you a fabulous woman is just a few short years!
Go look in the mirror right this second. I know, you think you're a mess. But hey, listen to me! If you are under forty, you are a precious, darling girl, and you should put on the skimpiest garment you can legally wear in public and commence prancing around in it night and day because I promise that in about ten years, you are going to look back at photographs of yourself and say, "My Gawd---I was perfect!" What was I thinking? If I looked like that today, I would rule the world!I was thinking about that just the other day. If I had had any sense of how very adorable I was back then, I would have run naked down the middle of the street. So, honeychile, you ain't never gonna look this good again in your life, and you'd better be making that hay while the sun is shining 'cause I am here to tell you that a change is gonna come!
Now, while you're appreciating your current cuteness, run out and have your picture taken---the one you will want used in your obituary, especially if you plan on living a whole lot longer. You see it all the time in the paper'; an obit with a picture of a winsome lass with a fetching smile and a devilish twinkle in her eye---a sweet young thing. When you read the obit to find out how someone so young was snatched from this good earth in such an untimely fashion, you learn that she was actually ninety-seven years old when she died. Trust me, you could drag your picture behind you car and leave it out in he rain and sun for two years, and it would fare better than you will in the aging process. Getting old is the rudest awakening will will ever have: It is the ultimate slap in the face with a wet squirrel.
You are probably anticipating aging with some degree of humor and.....denial. Oh, I know all about that. My best bud, Jana O'dell, and I used to plan ---when we were fifteen---how we would dye our hair blue. We would wear cinnamon-colored hose with reinforced heels and toes and roll them down at the knees. We would wear polyester short-sleeved, round-necked dresses that we had made ourselves. Mine was to be "a lovely shade of turquoise with patch pockets of royal blue" (all this is from an actual note we exchanged in the he ninth grade, which I still have). Our shoes would be those stretchy gold metallic things with the toes that curl up, which come in a bag in the sock department. We would take up smoking and keep one cigarette burning in an astray and one hanging off our lower lip at all time, especially while we're taking to it would kind of flop up and down and sling ashes all over. we would have deep raspy, whiskey-sounding voices and we would yell a lot and be real crabby all the time and scream at the neighborhood kids to get out of your yards. We would have our hair ratted up professionally once a week and never comb it otherwise, and wrap our heads in toilet paper and put on big hair nets at night. We would wear glasses---thick, ugly ones----whether we needed them or not, with silver chains attached to keep them hanging around our necks when not in use. Our homes would be filled with ugly ceramic souvenirs and brightly painted statues of children with big eyes and small dogs. We would find useless items made from two-liter Coke bottles, coat hangers, and yarn to be wildly irresistible, and we would cover our furniture with clear plastic to "save" it.
Yes, we planned to do all this when we turned the ripe old age of forty.......knowing, as we did with the infinite wisdom that is the exclusive domain of the the incredibly young, that life would be completely over by then, anyway, so why not? My fortieth birthday was.....well, it was a some years back and I don't feel any different from the way I did at fifteen when I wrote that note to Jana. That's what's so madding about getting old: You still feel young and cute!
You know all those songs that exhort you to "shake your money-maker"? Listen to'em and shake while the shaken' is good because your entire body will turn into a veritable money pit before you can say "bilateral blepharoplasty" or even "eye job," for that matter. My advise to you is to go out and buy the cheapest clothes---- don't waste a penny on cosmetics. Oh, Lord, pre-forty, you can wash your face with Tide and use Vaseline for moisturizer, toss on a little mascara and lip gloss, and you look like you're a friggin' cover girl. Those of us on the slippery slope that is the Other Side of Forty can testify-----those days days are so over. Save your money. Consider it a trust fund for your old self, because trust me, it cost the proverbial shitload of money to maintain an old lady. Course there is an upside to getting older: You stop taking yourself so gawd-darn seriously.
Toys for (good) Girls!
Sure to make someone's wish list...and not wanting to wait til next Xmas!
The Hadron Collider picture gallery
Check out the site and especially the
"10 Ways the Large Hadron Collider will blow your mind!"
Another toy for the Cops
This has the potential for getting out of hand FAR beyond TASERs!
The comments are rather interesting!
Friday, December 26
Viagra the way to an Afghan warlord's heart
THE CIA is using Viagra to entice Afghan warlords into supplying information on Taliban movements and supply routes.
Reports yesterday said US intelligence officers were offering the pharmaceutical enhancements to ageing Afghan chieftains and warlords burdened with their duties as tribal patriarch and husband to several younger women.
The Washington Post reported that while the CIA had a long history of buying information with cash, the growing Taliban insurgency had prompted the useof novel incentives and creative bargaining to gain support in some of the country's roughest areas.
CIA officials told the paper that in their efforts to win over notoriously fickle warlords and chieftains, the agency's operatives had used a variety of personal services. These included pocketknives and tools, medicine or sweets for ailing family members, toys and school equipment, tooth extractions, travel visas, and, occasionally, pharmaceutical enhancements for ageing patriarchs with slumping libidos. continued
Tensions continue to escalate: India's National Command Authority apparently met and both sides are increasing the number and readiness of troops along their shared border and along the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir region. Both sides trade accusations while at the same time making conciliatory statements. We'll have to keep an eye on this, big time.
Bishop Desmond Tutu weighed in over the Christmas holiday, calling on possible armed force to oust Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe from office. Mugabe, 84 years old, has turned into the biggest handicap to his nation. Inflation is astronomical, malnutrition and cholera are increasing as the economy lies moribund, and the recent elections were a joke. Mugabe will only leave office feet-first.
Please refer to my earlier indication that he is 84 years old. Obviously he doesn't have too much longer to go, and it's only a matter of time before he either goes by natural causes or some member of his own staff puts a bullet in his brain. We'll have to watch this too.
And finally, in our "No Shit" Department, we have word that a recent report from the Heimatsicherheitsdiensthauptamt (or Department of Homeland Security) concludes that we can expect the next five years to feature terrorist activity emanating from Africa and the Middle East due to instability.
Do you think that this 'instability' that Chertoff and his analysts speak of may have been caused by our inaction in Darfur and our stupid blundering about in Southwest Asia? Freaking idiot.
The 38-page assessment goes on to say that we can expect RCyCB (Radiological/Cybernetic/Chemical/Biological) attacks over the next five years, along with increasing pressure along our borders. With the US economy tanking, we've already started to see indications that illegal immigration may slow down. As to cyber attacks, yes, they'll be a major nuisance as well as posing a possible infrastructure threat.
The Big Three (RCB) are problematic, but I think, personally, that radiological and biological weapons of mass destruction are still a bit out of reach. Chemical agents such as mustard gas are cheap and easy to make. Hussein used them against the Iranians and the Kurds for just those reasons (and we gave him those, ladies and gentlemen). Chemical weapons are known as "the poor man's atomic bomb" and that's a true statement. Mustard gas is a blistering agent that can kill but usually disables and disfigures; it's persistent as well.
So the New Year may be born crying and kicking. Either way, it bears watching so it doesn't grow up to be a brat.
No, I'm not crazy - I have paperwork to prove it.
Traditionally in my family, I cook Christmas dinner for the family on December 24th and we open the presents I have for them. On the 25th, I go over to my brother's house for another dinner and more presents. Neat, eh?
Well, this year we've had to make a few minor changes because I had to work on the 24th.
I took all the presents over to my brother's house yesterday (the living room floor was half-obscured by boxes and bags) and settled down for a midday feed that featured smoked turkey breast, ham and little nibbles. My brother and his wife believe in grazing on Christmas Day.
Which makes today my day to strut my foodie cred, so here's the menu:
Prime rib, rubbed with a dry rub of dried mushrooms, salt and pepper
Green beans with herbed butter
Rum raisin apple pie
And in keeping with a tradition started last year we're going to sprawl out on the living room carpet to eat. It's a lot less formal and everyone seemed to have a great time, so we're doing it again.
Going to have to eat light the next couple of weeks, though.
Thursday, December 25
If you had a nice day, you may not want to read this.
Is this what we've become?
Oh yeah, Happy Holidays!
When He Died
Lights are flashing, people are dashing,
so cold out it would kill a snowman,
Cash register's ringing, Caroler's singing,
and a man digs through a trash can.
Everyone's shopping, nobody's stopping,
as he holds out the paper cup he's found,
With holiday cheer, filling the air,
he begs as he sits on cold ground.
Music is playing, everyone's saying,
Merry Christmas and oh yes Happy New Year,
Yet all step around, the man on the ground,
pretending there's no one to see there.
Hungry and cold, broken and old,
With a beard and all dirty they think he's strange,
They're filled with detest, by his simple request,
"If you please, do you have some spare change?"
No one would dare, to venture near,
the old man with change to be given,
All stepped aside, as he walked with no pride,
to the alley and the box that he lived in.
On the way there, he happened hear,
these words from the mouth of a child,
Look! It's Santa Claus!, which made him pause,
then he turned and he winked and he smiled.
His eyes twinkled bright, on that cold winter's night,
when he climbed in his box from the storm,
Then he laid down his head, on his newspaper bed,
with the words from that child he felt warm.
And the very next day, when they brushed all away,
the snow from the box where he'd "reside",
They all thought it strange, with his cup full of change,
of a smile on his face when he died.
President George W. Bush withdrew a pardon yesterday for a New York real-estate developer after the it became known that the developer’s father made the maximum $28,500 donation to the Republican National Committee months earlier.
The father, Robert Toussie, also of Brooklyn, contributed $28,500 to the Republican National Committee on April 25 and $2,300 to Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign five days later.
In October, Toussie made $2,300 donations to two Republican U.S. senators in close races, Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Gordon Smith of Oregon.
Now if it'd been four hundred grand in a plain brown envelope....
NY Daily News Photo of the Lovely Couple:
Wednesday, December 24
Ho Ho Ho!
Christmas Eve is a special time of celebration as we await the birth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ and ask the time-honored question: “Who would Jesus hate?” Well, our guess would be that long list of crooks and liars and swindlers that surfaced this year but some say, like the Pope -- it is the gays and that they pose as great a threat as rainforest destruction.
We beg to differ. So LWOH asks the Pope:
"If a gay sings and dances in the rainforest and nobody else is around to hear it, did the DVD never materialize?"
Anyway, Christmas Eve has got to be the most delightful holiday on earth, next to Halloween and of course, one’s birthday, and what better way for everyone to deck the halls but with song and dance?
The enchanting movie White Christmas has something for everybody! And who could ever forget the Holiday Kings of Comedy Goof -- Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby --- doing the drag version of “Sisters” immortalized by the forever dazzling Rosemary Clooney?
Well here it is! Click on the above video for an instant and joyous holiday refresher.
And for all of us holiday skiers and snowshoers traveling to colder, stormier winter-wonderlands from Seattle to the Great Lakes to the northeast, lots of luck, patience and peace.
Merry Christmas Eve and Happy Holidays to you all,
For me - Christmas has always been a time for reflection. Who I am now is part and parcel of who I was – good or bad, there’s no escaping it. A past and future me, I guess. Tomorrow? Well….tomorrow always seems to hold such promise – yet that promise remains fungible, if you know what I mean - stamped with indelible ink. I cannot escape it – so I remember; and in remembering, lay to rest the tiny pin-pricks of memory that can cause so much pain. I am not that child. Why then does Marley’s ghost haunt me so?
Every child has a Christmas stocking. It’s tied up with their identity - symbolizing family and tradition. Every year it is lovingly unpacked, creases smoothed, the story of its making passed around like some treasured heirloom. Up on the mantle it goes next to all the others - its owner’s tiny face shining with anticipation – reflected in the light of a cheery fire. Soon…..soon it will be filled with tangible evidence of the love that created it – peppermint sticks, a small stuffed bear, that card saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and signed ‘With Love from Mom & Dad’. Perhaps Santa will add something special – something unexpected.
I had a Christmas stocking – one that I treasured. Every Christmas I’d free it from that box in the attic, wipe the cobwebs and soot away, get a white tack out of the kitchen drawer and hang it from our fireless fireplace. It was made of thick red felt, with faded sequins and brick-a-brack - each sewed on with a single stitch. Not very big – maybe a foot in length - but I didn’t care. Yes, it looked rather puny next to my niece’s larger, store bought stockings; and my friends all had fancier versions too – better made, better cared for; yet I loved mine all the same. I clung to it as a symbol that I belonged in my family – even though the story of its making belied that very fact. Still – I would clutch it against my chest every Christmas and ask, “Mommy – tell me about my stocking.”
She’d make a face, she’d sigh – and I’d begin to beg. “Please, mommy. Please tell me again.” And out it would come – the same story I’d heard every Christmas for every year of my life. How when I was two the next door neighbor came over and asked why there was no stocking for me hanging on the mantle next to those of my much older brother and sisters. My mother would then dismissively wave her hand while coming to the next part – telling the neighbor that she just hadn’t gotten around to making me one yet. That it didn’t really matter, as I was too small to even notice – but I did notice. I remember not having a stocking – not feeling like I belonged. I remember crying when my brother would tease me with all the candy in his – say how I was adopted and adopted children didn’t get Christmas stockings – or candy. My brother was one evil son of a bitch.
Anyway - this neighbor, out of her own sense of compassion, went right home and made me my very own stocking. She cut some red felt, she stitched it together, glued silver ribbon around the edge, sewed a few sequins here and there, and presented it to my mother for me to use ‘until something better could be provided’. How could she know that nothing better would ever be provided. That her single act of kindness would be treasured by me for years to come.
Pretty sad little story – yes? Yet I insisted on its re-telling each and every Christmas. It made me feel loved, you see; as if the person making the stocking had actually been my mother, instead of some faceless stranger I have no clear memory of. I still have that stocking, by the way; even though I replaced it myself when I became an adult celebrating Christmas on my own. The sequins are rubbed bare of glitter of course - and its inside is stained with coal dust. Yes – my mother actually put real coal inside my stocking on Christmas. Not every year, mind; but enough that I remember how bad it felt. Any transgression in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas warranted it. If I so much as looked at her wrong – out came that coal. Yet I’d still put my stocking up every year – just in case. And I believed in Santa. I believed he would come help me. Just like I’d pray to god for rescue – around Christmas I’d also pray to Santa; that he’d whisk me up the chimney to Christmas Town.
I no longer hang that old stocking – but I lovingly unpack it every year, smoothing out any wrinkles, looking for tiny stains or tears. There’s a permanent hole in the felt where the white tack used to go. It’s not very big. There was never anything heavy enough in the stocking to stretch it out. The silver on the ribbon trim has flaked with age and the sequins are now transparent. I marvel that it has lasted all these years. The memories it invokes are thick and heavy; though not all bad. If not for that stocking, I would have had nothing of my own on Christmas. Whether it contained coal or candy – items put in there were for me and me alone. Nothing in my stocking was ever re-gifted to one of my nieces (my mother’s favorite ‘gotcha’ for reasons that still surpasseth understanding) – a circumstance I remain thankful for to this day. Had this unknown woman not stepped in – no stocking would ever have hung from my chimney with care. In a very real way she gave me a family, a tradition. I think of her every year – wonder who she was and why she did it. Wonder if she went out and bought the felt, or already had it at home for her own children. She must have been a very special person. She must have been very much loved.
Somewhere in the world there is an old woman who made her little neighbor a Christmas stocking a long, long time ago. How I wish I could thank her.
It's called the Doghouse
Take a walk on the wild side!
Merry Christmas to everyone!
From an article dated Sunday, February 25, 2007:
"Last week, outgoing United Nations World Food Program chief James Morris reminded us that 18,000 children die every day from hunger and malnutrition."
'Course, as some benevolent buttfuckboy pointed out in the comments on another blog when I mentioned the above statistic: "Maybe it's God's way of curbing the population explosion."
UPDATE: US Votes No for Right to Food, Rights of Children as Basic Human Rights
From the British Daily Mail:
"Secret of the Lusitania: Arms find challenges Allied claims it was solely a passenger ship"
(Begins): "Her sinking with the loss of almost 1,200 lives caused such outrage that it propelled the U.S. into the First World War.
But now divers have revealed a dark secret about the cargo carried by the Lusitania on its final journey in May 1915.
Munitions they found in the hold suggest that the Germans had been right all along in claiming the ship was carrying war materials and was a legitimate military target."
Related article: Who Really Sunk The Lusitania?
(Quote): "The Lusitania’s sinking created widespread public outrage and was the decisive factor in bringing America onto Britain’s side in W.W.I. However, the real story has yet to be told. For just as Pearl harbour and 9/11 were staged theatre pieces, so the Lusitania was sunk with the same end in view: to widen conflict from which the Illuminati would gain, financially, politically and crucially on an esoteric level too."
Christmas At Rock-Away Rest
'Twas the night before Christmas at Rock-Away Rest,
and all of us seniors were looking our best.
Our glasses, how sparkly, our wrinkles, how merry;
Our punchbowl held prune juice plus three drops of sherry.
A bedsock was taped to each walker, in hope
That Santa would bring us soft candy and soap.
We surely were lucky to be there with friends,
Secure in this residence and in our Depends.
Our grandkids had sent us some Christmasy crafts,
Like angels in snowsuits and penguins on rafts.
The dental assistant had borrowed our teeth,
And from them she'd crafted a holiday wreath.
The bed pans, so shiny, all stood in a row,
Reflecting our candle's magnificent glow.
Our supper so festive -- the joy wouldn't stop --
Was creamy warm oatmeal with sprinkles on top.
Our salad was Jell-O, so jiggly and great,
Then puree of fruitcake was spooned on each plate.
The social director then had us play games,
Like "Where Are You Living?" and "What Are Your Names?"
Old Grandfather Looper was feeling his oats,
Proclaiming that reindeer were nothing but goats.
Our resident wand'rer was tied to her chair,
In hopes that at bedtime she still would be there.
Security lights on the new fallen snow
Made outdoors seem noon to the old folks below.
Then out on the porch there arose quite a clatter
(But we are so deaf that it just didn't matter).
A strange little fellow flew in through the door,
Then tripped on the sill and fell flat on the floor.
'Twas just our director, all togged out in red.
He jiggled and chuckled and patted each head.
We knew from the way that he strutted and jived
Our social- security checks had arrived.
We sang -- how we sang -- in our monotone croak,
Till the clock tinkled out its soft eight-p.m. stroke.
And soon we were snuggling deep in our beds.
While nurses distributed nocturnal meds.
And so ends our Christmas at Rock-Away Rest.
'fore long you'll be with us, We wish you the best!
Merry New Year
Tuesday, December 23
Click to download THAT’S THE WAY WE DO IT IN DETROIT
LWOH dedicates this song to all of our friends in Detroit, including Citizen Carrie as we pay a very cool-yule tribute to Stewart Francke’s Motor City Serenede, which has been described as the most important blue-eyed soul record in a musical generation. Detroit’s own Stewart Francke’s terrific music plays at the daring crossroads of soul and rock, mixing up an Urban R&B sound which is influenced by Marvin Gaye and Brian Wilson.
From Stewart Francke’s website:
“This song was initially called "The Auto Trade," about my own memories of growing up in the car business, but with the matters at hand regarding the survival of the Big 3 (and in effect our very area), I'm now simple calling it, as a point of pride, "That's The Way We Do It In Detroit." I guess this song is both a protest song and love song (toward the city) about the current criticism of Detroit's 100 year work ethic by a buncha political weasels who wouldn't know a work callus if it suddenly appeared on their forehead. Like many of us here in town, I’m sick and tired of hearing all this hypocrisy about Detroit and all we've done wrong--when over the years we've done far more right than wrong. I’m sick and tired of my town takin' it on the chin, like we didn’t help build a nation or feed a million families or make the most beautiful cars in the world for 75 years. This song is in protest to the ignorant derision toward Detroit, and a statement of pride in my city. I grew up in the car business, as did my father and his brothers; I worked in Steering Gear factories before I was able to earn a living as a musician. Use this song as you’d like--I hope we use it as an anthem for positivity; I hope we use it as a statement about where we've been and where we're going--a comeback anthem for Detroit and Southeastern Michigan. The Gospel choir accompaniment is courtesy of many church members in town.”
Let’s hear it for Francke’s cool yule, and for finding a pair to start kicking a few “political weasels’” tires on this corporate-welfare enabled, hijacked bus we call “Congress” to restore economic and civil justice at the community level in 2009 all across this country! We don’t need no stinkin’ Czars…
Peace and Joy,
omg the hair
and those those glasses!!
I recall watching this one year on television back when I was a child, and while it didn't traumatize me for life it did feed my twisted sense of humor. I'm talking, of course, about Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, featuring Pia Zadora as the little Martian girl.
Here's a clip of it, as mugged and snagged on by Joel and the Bots (I will refrain from posting all ten installments of it in order to spare you the horror):
Now, as everyone knows, holidays are a time for family. Mainly for family drama as long-buried animosities surface and people say destructive and hateful things. But hey, it's only once a year, isn't it?
This kind of thing has been going on forever, as seen in my absolute all-time favorite holiday film, The Lion in Winter starring Katherine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole (and featuring Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton):
Finally, Christmas movies tug at your heart-strings. Movie adaptations of Charles Dickens' immortal A Christmas Carol are a favorite staple, and the best one (in my opinion) is the classic black & white starring British actor Alastair Sim:
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the rest of it!
Compiled from lists I found on the internets.
- Women get off sinking ships first.
- Women can scare male bosses with the mysterious gynecological disorder excuses.
- Multiple orgasms.
- Taxis stop.
- Women don't have to pass gas for amusement.
- If women forget to shave, no one has to know.
- Free drinks.
- Women never have to reach down to make sure their privates are still there.
- Women have the ability to dress themselves
- Women can talk to the opposite sex without having to picture them naked.
- If women marry someone 20 years younger, they are aware that we will look like an idiot.
- Women will never regret piercing their ears.
- Women can make comments about how silly men are in their presence because they aren't listening anyway.
- Women know the truth about whether size matters.
- A woman can fully assess a person just by looking at their shoes.
- A woman can hug her best friend without worrying she'll think she's gay.
- Women know who their children are without having a DNA test.
- A woman won't drive to Hell and back before she asks for directions.
- Women don't feel threatened if their partner earns more than they do.
- Women don't think reading the manual is a betrayal of all their species stands for.
- Women don't have to worry about catching anything important in their zipper.
- Women can talk to attractive members of the opposite sex without having to picture them naked.
- Women can be groupies. Male groupies are stalkers.
- A woman can get a whole new lease on life just by changing her lipstick.
- If a woman cheats on her spouse everyone will assume it's because she was being emotionally neglected.
- If a woman cries, she's sensitive; if a man cries, he's a wimp.
- If a woman says something stupid, most men will just think she's cute.
- A woman can never be blamed if it's wet on the floor around the toilet bowl.
- Women live longer than men.
- If a woman inexplicably disappears for two weeks, one of her friends will notice.
A Commentary on Excess and Inequality
Has any year ever showcased greed as dramatically as 2008? We sift through the avarice to bring you the highlights and lowlights — and a little hope for a less greedy 2009.
Monday, December 22
Angels soaring through the air
as they did in Bethlehem
Angels answer every prayer
once they get around to them
Please be patient, an angel will be with thee shortly
Due to increased prayer amounts
Seraphim will have delays
Servicing thy prayer accounts
For the next five million days
Please be patient, an angel will be with thee shortly
Please continue thee to hold
All thy ills will be relieved
Every human grief consoled
In the order’ twas received
Please be patient, an authorized prayer technician will be with thee shortly
Or to save thee time, wait for the chime
Thank the goddess above for Leslie Feist
She's one of a few that have gotten me through this music slump. (my poor kids...)
Featured on “A COLBERT CHRISTMAS - THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL!”
and thank the goddess above for Stephen Colbert (and My main man Jon Stewart).
A big fat FUCK YOU to all the 'Gorden Gekko's' out there - "Greed has pushed political credibility and financial trust into freefall" - by GARY YOUNGE
WELL SAID Gary Younge from the Guardian in New York - --- Recent scandals in America reveal a value system that puts the wealth of a few before the welfare of many
Does anyone else out there in the blogosphere feel so unbelievably helpless
that they are about to lose it....
really really soon???
Then one of those questions came out of left field that either starts arguments, deep thoughts or some sort of introspection.
I offer it here for consideration because it involves a personal, somewhat self-centered answer. Thinking about those who are no longer with us, we always come up with a couple of items that endeared them to us or troubled us about them. That night we decided not to dwell on any negative, but remember the happier, positive aspects of those lives.
But the evocative question was not what we thought of our friends, rather:
"According to your own beliefs, what will your spouse or family, significant other or good friend(s) miss the most about YOU when you leave this plane of existence?"
It became quite illuminating to all after that.
Any thoughts any of you may choose to share with the group?
Men Are Just Happier People-- What do you expect from such simple creatures? Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves. Chocolate is just another snack. You can be President. You can never be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. You can wear NO shirt to a water park. Car mechanics tell you the truth. The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky. You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. Same work, more pay. Wrinkles add character. Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100. People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them. New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet. One mood all the time.
Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. You know stuff about tanks. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase. You can open all your own jars. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough. You almost never have strap problems in public. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes. Everything on your face stays its original color. The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades. You only have to shave your face and neck.
You can play with toys all your life. One wallet and one pair of shoes -- one color for all seasons. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look. You can 'do' your nails with a pocket knife. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.
You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.
No wonder men are happier.
Send this to the women who can handle it and to the men who will enjoy reading it
It went to bonuses, stock options, country club memberships.
Bailed-Out Executives Got $1.6 Billion In 2007 so why do they need so much?
World stocks lower after news of Toyota's first loss since 1941.
Auto execs can't fly their jets but Wall St execs are still enjoying the perk.
Hedge funds gain access to $200bn Fed aid
Confession: I attended a lovely party on Saturday night in a ritsy titsy town full of hedge fund managers, stock brokers, bank execs and financial services types and got into a mild shouting (well not exactly shouting, but close) match over union busting. Some of the people were my friends from our hippie days. I actually told one of them, "You've become The Man!" after he told me how poor people and unions are to blame for this financial meltdown. Our host then put on loud rock music and told us to sing or dance. Good call. Apparently I am the one who feels that people should get stuff for nothing. Projecting are we?
Sunday, December 21
It wasn't bad enough with just turkeys...
Now we know The Real Sarah Palin!
Too bad, kids!
"Israeli blockade 'forces Palestinians to search rubbish dumps for food'"
UN fears irreversible damage is being done in Gaza as new statistics reveal the level of deprivation
Impoverished Palestinians on the Gaza Strip are being forced to scavenge for food on rubbish dumps to survive as Israel's economic blockade risks causing irreversible damage, according to international observers.
Figures released last week by the UN Relief and Works Agency reveal that the economic blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza in July last year has had a devastating impact on the local population. Large numbers of Palestinians are unable to afford the high prices of food being smuggled through the Hamas-controlled tunnels to the Strip from Egypt and last week were confronted with the suspension of UN food and cash distribution as a result of the siege.
Happy Winter Solstice!
This image is now the larger one, 1600 x 1200. It should make it easier to increase to a larger wallpaper without too much distortion.
After suing over 35,000 people since 2002 over music piracy, the RIAA is changing its policy and will discontinue suing individuals over unauthorized music sharing through P2P networks.
With that good news however, comes possibly worse news.
The RIAA is now making agreements with ISPs (Internet Service Providers) that would have the companies send out emails to customers they believe are "making music available online for others to take."
The first three emails will be warnings asking the customer to stop, but a 4th may warrant having your Internet connection cut off entirely.
Although they will stop sending out mass lawsuits, the RIAA retains the right to sue "heavy users." All current lawsuits will be settled as well.
- RIAA's New Piracy Plan Poses a New Set of Problems
- The RIAA turns off its lawsuit machine
- Music Industry to Abandon Mass Suits
In related music news, Boom in music video games helps original artists:
"...the Recording Industry Association of America pegged its U.S. members' sales at $10.4 billion in 2007, down 11.8 percent from the year before, with a further drop expected for 2008. By comparison, sales of music video games more than doubled this year, hitting $1.9 billion in the past 12 months, according to NPD Group. And they're expected to keep growing.
"Aerosmith made more money off the June release of "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" than either of its last two albums, according to Kai Huang, co-founder of RedOctane, which first developed "Guitar Hero.""
Saturday, December 20
Weather Channel Accused of Pro-Weather Bias
(Hey! It's Saturday and it's too cold to go outside and play!)
Yup! You betcha! We need to start reaching across the table (except for those undesirables called "progressives", you know, the ones that got him elected, so he could ignore us!) Pay no attention to the last 8 years. It was only a dream...like Dallas!
But I guess we have to start somewhere and with someone from the Fundie Party. After all, they really do luv all of us libruls!
I'm one of those SAD sufferers despite all the anti-depressants. I'd really like to check out for the next 2-3 months, but since I can't, I found sunrisesunset.com where I can track the sunrise and sunset times for my area. It's nice to see the days will now be getting longer. Where I live we'll have another 30 minutes of daylight by the time Obama is inaugurated.
This is Blondesense reporting live from dismal, snowy Lawn Guyland.
Friday, December 19
Troopers charged Johnston with second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance -- generally manufacturing or delivering drugs -- as well as fourth-degree misconduct involving controlled substances, or possession. -Miami Herald
The Army Experience Center, located in the Franklin Mills Mall just north of Philadelphia, bills itself as a "state-of-the-art educational facility that uses interactive simulations and online learning programs to educate visitors about the many careers, training and educational opportunities available in the Army."If was the president, the minimum age for service would be 21. But that's the mom in me speaking.
Nonsense. The only thing they're teaching here is how to blow shit up. If it's state-of-the-art anything, it's state-of-the-art adolescent boys’ wet dreams.
Maddow: One of the things I think has been so I guess challenging to the American debate about this is that President Bush and Vice President Cheney have essentially argued that they have legalized waterboarding. That they have legalized torture. They think that the actions of their Justice Department made things like waterboarding not war crimes any more. Are they right?
Levin: You can't just suddenly change something that's illegal into something that is legal by having a lawyer write an opinion saying that it's legal. Things can't work that way or else someone could get a lawyer to say a crime is not a crime and then that would be a defense. That is not a defense and I just, I was astounded frankly when I heard the Vice President of the United States sort of just blandly, blithely saying that oh he thought that was an appropriate thing and yes he was involved in the discussions about it.
Levin spoke hopefully that the Obama administration would take some "major steps" as "clearly this Justice Department is not willing," and the need for an independent commission that could be appointed by the Obama administration to examine the role of the CIA in the treatment of U.S. detainees as their role has not yet been made clear. Then with all the facts they "may or may not lead to indictments, or civil action."
"You heard the "I" word here," Maddow concludes. "Indictments!"
source Raw Story
Thursday, December 18
LA TIMES: The foreign nonunion auto companies located in the South have a plan to reduce wages and benefits at their factories in the United States. And to do it, they need to destroy the United Auto Workers.Bye bye middle class America. Have a nice depression.
Last week, Senate Republicans from some Southern states went to work trying to do just that, on the foreign car companies' behalf. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Bob Corker ( R-Tenn.) and Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) -- representatives from states that subsidize companies such as Honda, Volkswagen, Toyota and Nissan -- first tried to force the UAW to take reductions in wages and benefits as a condition for supporting the auto industry bailout bill. When the UAW refused, those senators torpedoed the bill.
continued... Hundreds of billions were given to the financial-services industry with barely a question about compensation; the auto bailout, however, was sunk on this issue alone.
UPDATE: Speaking of the financial-services industry screwing taxpayers over, read Did America Get Punk'd on the Bailout? You betcha! We have work to do and letters to write.
A career Army specialist who survived the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, claims that no evacuation was ordered inside the Pentagon, despite flight controllers calling in warnings of approaching hijacked aircraft nearly 20 minutes before the building was struck.
According to a time-line of the attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration notified NORAD that American Airlines Flight 77 had been hijacked at 9:24 a.m. The Pentagon was not struck until 9:43 a.m.
On behalf of Spc. April Gallop, who served in the Network Infrastructure Services Agency as an administrative specialist, California attorney William Veale has filed a civil suit against former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and former US Air Force General Richard Myers, who was acting chairman of the joint chiefs on 9/11. It alleges they engaged in conspiracy to facilitate the terrorist attacks and purposefully failed to warn those inside the Pentagon, contributing to injuries she and her two-month-old son incurred.
More at the link.
More at GoogleSearch.
I wonder if they're going to call Dick Cheney and Norman "Do the orders still stand?" Mineta to testify.
"As part of the project, 100 student volunteers were asked to watch the 2001 romantic comedy Serendipity, while a further 100 watched a David Lynch drama.It's true that new relationships are full of excitement and do not reflect the reality that sets in after years of togetherness. Only with maturity can a couple accept the not so exciting contentment that comes with time. It's up to the couple to work on keeping a relationship alive. It doesn't just happen while you're sitting there or just going through the motions. That's why I like a good drama- the stuff that happens outside of the fairy tale relationship you have in a new found love.
"Students watching the romantic film were later found to be more likely to believe in fate and destiny. A further study found that fans of romantic comedies had a stronger belief in predestined love.
"Kimberly Johnson, who also worked on the study, said: "Films do capture the excitement of new relationships but they also wrongly suggest that trust and committed love exist from the moment people meet, whereas these are qualities that normally take years to develop.""
Yesterday afternoon Netflix delivered the movie, Sex and the City. I have no idea why I ordered it but in the first half hour I was ready to hit, "EJECT." It was the most barf inducing portrayal of "everywoman's" romantic fantasy. After 10 years of waiting for "Big" to come to his senses he bought Carrie the most opulent penthouse apartment in Manhattan (which must have cost a cool $10 million) and built her a closet that was bigger than any room in my house. (I was thinking of which room I could sacrifice to get me one of those closets though.) Then Vogue magazine decided Carrie, the ugliest one of the foursome, should be model for the most lavish wedding gowns ever. Like that would ever happen in real life. And she turned into Bridezilla.
I couldn't believe during the first few acts of the movie that women everywhere were thrilled with it. Ack! I was thinking while watching the beginning, that this movie might give hope to some butt ugly women that Prince Charming himself will come to his senses and give you everything you ever dreamed of in your little girl fantasies if only you starved yourself anorexic. I was munching on some tortilla chips when all of a sudden there was a twist in the plot (so I stayed with it) and three of the four gals did not live happily ever after... until the end when they lived happily ever after. I was looking for a good cry. Didn't happen. Oh well.