Random Links

Maybe this simplest form of blogging will get me back into the blogging habit.

My favorite TV show: How It’s Made. Today I watched how clothespins are made. The youtube channel is here. The shows mesmerize me. What’s really engaging is walking in after the announcement of what it is they’re making and trying to guess what it is. One that I never guessed was the wheels on skateboards.

Something on which the left, the right, and independents agree: Drug tests for Congress. Personally, I’d add a history test, a math/logic test, and — if there is such a test — one for psychopathy.

We’re all just boobies.

Two Families Sue a Neighbor to Have Their Autistic Son Declared a Public Nuisance.  That’s pretty scary and obviously not the humane or even, correct, way to deal with autistic children. Perhaps our society is not good with that in general. See “We’re still dealing with autism like it’s this wacky historical aberration”




Show Me Some Respect!

Just a little bit (One of these days I’m going to learn how to embed youtube videos. Maybe.)

I’m pretty sure Aretha didn’t have in mind redistribution of any respect due her. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. Insty linked to that without endorsement, but observation over the years has led me to believe that the Instapundit respects Mickey Kaus in the best way possible — without always agreeing with him. Insty also linked to 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person, which is short primer on how to gain respect both from others and yourself. That link is NSFW and not safe at home if you have young children who can read. That warning applies to cracked.com in general.

Now Mickey Kaus was endorsing this post of Noah Smith’s: Redistribute wealth? No, redistribute respect. Neither article made complete sense to me. Neither one of them rang “always true”. Neither one of them seemed to consider respect to mean the same thing I’ve always thought it did. Basically, I feel and show respect to everyone I meet until they give me a reason not to. Those close to me, whose lives I know much more intimately, have greater or lesser degrees of respect even though my love for them might know no bounds.

On the surface, I agree that “the hard work of an unskilled laborer is considered worthwhile in social interactions, regardless of how many dollars it brings home”. And as far as I know nothing of someone beyond whether he works hard or not, he has gained my respect for his work. However, both articles leave out what comes afterwards regarding respect. The hard worker who drinks or gambles away his paycheck rather than spending it on food for his children gets no MORE respect from me. I might love that person, I might help him if I can, but I don’t respect him beyond his ability and willingness to work hard. I don’t hold him in high esteem.

Others express my discomfort with this idea of “redistribution” of respect much better than I can:

What sense does it make to talk of ‘equality’ of respect in any case? Is it equal like you have equal rights under the law? The reason you can talk about human equality in that sense — it is the only way in which it is possible to talk about humans as equals and avoid speaking nonsense — is that there is a single source for the rights you have under the law, which creates those rights the same way for every entity. Respect is not like that. Respect is not the creation of a single source, but is created (or not) by each individual you encounter. Some will elect to respect you more than others. You don’t even get equal respect with yourself: how much respect you get depends on whom you ask. (Free advice: ask your dog.)

You know the drill. Read the whole thing. And when you’re through with that, read this.

All Four Stanzas

This video made the rounds a few months ago and I like listening to the guy sing. The Star Spangled Banner is not an easy song to sing and he does a good job. At about 50 seconds in, this former Marine sings the 2nd verse of our national anthem.

He could learn something from Isaac Asimov. There are four stanzas.

One of my favorite bloggers, Eric at Classical Values has finally put Asimov’s essay “All Four Stanzas” online.

His reason for doing so is important. In his words:

Sometimes I have trouble sleeping peaceably in my bed at night because I know that rough men stand ready to do violence to quotations on the Internet.

As they say, read the whole thing. But if you don’t have time for the whole thing, at least read “All Four Stanzas“.

I’m Back!

And I’ve got stories to tell. Too many for one post, so I’ll just put up a photo of the reason for the trip to Arizona:

My youngest grandchild, Penelope, was born on April 6 and I think she’s beautiful! That’s a completely unbiased assessment.

Along with more photos of the baby and her big sister, I’ve got stories about my Amazon account being hacked, my car breaking down, a stinky motel room, a horrible hospital stay, rigid unreasonable health insurance rules, my husband’s 27 hour Greyhound bus trip. Let’s just say it was all interesting.

Obama’s “War” on Fox News

While neo-neocon may be correct in her assessment of the strategy behind Obama’s war on Fox, I think it’s possible that she is over-thinking the whole thing.

I think Obama is declaring “war” on Fox because he knows he can’t keep “running” against Bush forever and this is the next best thing.

It’s a proxy war.

There is very little that Obama is “for” that does not meet with protest from the electorate. Actually, there is little that Obama is “for” unless one turns upside down language and accepts a negative for some as a positive for all.

Simplifying, Or How My Clutter Owns Me

Assistant Village Idiot has a short post on simplifying possessions. It’s really no more than a note of how one task has inspired him to another.

But for me, it’s an emotional issue. He speaks of getting rid of perhaps 50-100 books, and how his children will not curse him for this decision. He is implying they will be grateful.

I left a comment there, expressing the comfort that being surrounded by books gives me… and expressing the discomfort I’ve felt after having sold books I wish I still had. I acknowledge obliquely that I am a packrat.

Whether I am the blessed recipient or helpless victim of items beloved deceased individuals have put into my possession… I’m not sure. I certainly can’t quite keep up with them even if they are so small as snapshots. When the items are furniture, machines, keepsakes, collections… there’s a space problem as well.

Books are a special problem for me. I have, without doubt, absolutely worthless books on my numerous bookshelves and in piles in various not-so-out-of-the-way places.

My fondness, love, attraction, addiction to these printed and physical items might be related to my love/hate relationship with digital everything.

While I have physical prints of my children and grandchildren worthy of framing that have been framed and which I cherish, there are those snapshots not necessarily worthy of framing which mean so much to me. There are the “action” shots where personality shines, but the composition isn’t ‘artistic’ or even pleasing. Yet, the expression on the child’s or adult’s face is timeless and worthy of remembrance.

Sometimes that snapshot captures an essence that ‘art’ does not.

So… where am I going with this post? Mostly, it’s that my children and grandchildren are going to have to deal with a lot of junk to get a 3-dimensional image of who I am. And… that while it may not be easy, it will be – I hope – enlightening in some way.

Is It Late Saturday Night Or Early Sunday Morning?

My mental clock runs  7 hours late. I won’t get into how my physiological clock runs other than to say it’s not exactly on time.

The mental clock was programmed by working for years in a 24 hour industry. Three shifts, and the last one started at 11 pm. Can we agree that it would be a mathematical and bookkeeping nightmare to be accurate and calculate the hours and pay spanning two different days rather than one?

So, a day — for minimal distress and the payroll bookkeeper’s sanity started at 7 am. Of course, a simple solution would be to start the work day at midnight, but… frankly that would be too damn simple and still confusing for the workers who headed off to work on the 2nd day of the month but didn’t clock in until the 3rd.

Also, it’s just best to not have shifts end at noon or midnight. There’s always that 59 minute question, is there not? Does morning end at 11:59 am? Does afternoon start at 12:01? Frankly, every 24 hour business would lose 2 minutes of work per day. That adds up to an entire 12 hour shift being lost every year per worker.

Business could not function under that loss, since it would be added to the 3 hours per 8 hour shift lost to surfing the internet and general goofing off.

What should be understood is whether I finally finish this post at 11:59 on Saturday, September 19 or 4:02 am on Sunday, September 20, it is still a Saturday night post.

This manner of time-keeping also comes in handy for those who have had instilled in them the idea that drinking on Sunday is a bad thing. Using this method, Saturday night parties can last much longer. An there’s no reason why one can’t drink until 2 or 3 am, then have a leisurely breakfast at Waffle House and still grab a few hours sleep before church.

Don’t think I can’t sense the rumblings of some of you disagreeing out there. Rationalization, you say? Hell yeah! Why else did we evolve big brains?

Is My Granddaughter Cute, Or What?


From left to right: Issie, 5 days old; Issie 5 mo. old; Issie 2 years old. The last photo was taken by a professional photographer who I highly recommend, Gina Kolsrud. She is in Chandler AZ and takes wonderful photos even when her subject is not as wonderful as my granddaughter. Here’s her photography website.

I’m fairly proud of the first two photos which I took, but artistically they don’t quite compare do they? (Of course the only reason is equipment, grandma said… Yeah, that’s the ticket!) What doesn’t show is that those two photographs are two out of a few hundred that grandma snapped. Everybody gets lucky once in a while.

The other thing that should be immediately apparent to everyone is that the model is exceptional. Even to a non-grandparent this should be apparent! It will, however, probably not be apparent to other grandparents. I understand.

I have three other grandchildren that I did not have the opportunity to spend lengthy times (30 days+) with and thus didn’t have time (it takes a LOT of time for an amateur photog) to get what I’d call artistically good photos. I am suggesting the parents of the other three to get to Chandler post haste.  Gina Kolsrud is an exceptional portrait photographer. 

I have great photographs of my other three grandchildren, but I feel a little guilty scanning them in without being able to give credit to the photographer. I think Nonna should spend a month with them taking her own, don’t you?

For The Second Time In My Life, Political Tears Flow

I’d have been hard-pressed to explain why Jimmy Carter’s win over Gerald Ford caused a few tears to flow in 1976. I was not politically involved at that time. In fact, I had two children under the age of two. I really didn’t have time for politics. I don’t remember paying much attention to the campaign at all. Yet, I was incredibly disappointed that Ford lost.

On my old, now defunct blog created in the fury of Dan Rather’s last hurrah, then continued because I thought defeating Kerry was a good thing, I wrote:

I was wrong

Shocking, I know.

I once said that even though Jimmy Carter was a horrible president, that as a person I’d be happy to invite him into my home because he was a decent man. This was in contrast to Clinton, who I thought was a much better president, but not as decent. Forget it, Jimmy. I rescind the dinner invitation.

After reading that post, my brother (who I identify there as merely a reader) lent me  None But A Blockhead, which contains Larry L. King’s 1976 Esquire article, “We Ain’t Trash No More!” I still don’t find a link to the full article anywhere.

That’s a pity, so my excerpts will be a bit longer than if I could link to the whole thing. (I wonder if the copyright was renewed?)

Jimmy Carter has proved he’s smart and tough; I also suspect he’s about half mean. This conviction is based on more than the observation that his mouth often smiles when his eyes do not. He’s a “born-againer,” an evangelical. You can shake every goober plant and magnolia bush between here and Stone Mountain without finding a group more wedded to its absolutes or less tolerant of dissent. Jimmy may prattle on about love and Jesus, and believe it, but at the bottom that soft spiritual goop is a bedrock conviction that the vengeful Old Testament God, extracting eyes for eyes and teeth for teeth, is what makes the mule plow.

Evangelical proponents of anything make me suspicious, whether it’s politically right or left, spiritualism or materialism, PC or Mac, Coke or Dr. Pepper.

Ain’t no free lunch, you see. You gotta pay the piper for all dances. Jimmy Carter’s creed teaches that what you sophisticated Damyankees often call fun is the sort of sinful mischief certain to be taxed — even to the extent of eternal roastings. Maybe that’s why you’ll never discover more than a nickel’s worth of humor in Jimmy. Fun is for the frivolous, and Jimmy sees the world as a hard and serious place.

A humorless world view is a bleak one. Only a humorless man could have engaged in “the most remarkable exercise in presidential navel-gazing in American history.” [Steven Hayward, Reagan biographer]

That navel-gazing produced the “Crisis of Confidence” speech, called by some the most important speech of the Carter presidency. It was at least equally responsible for his failure to get re-elected as the Iranian hostage crisis. It was a sermon. And liberals today worry about George W. Bush’s religious roots?

…home boys who’ve learned the difference between Pouilly-Fuisse and RC Cola, or who’ve had their tastes for Moon Pies replaced by craving for caviar, may find Carter more a throwback to laissez-faire, simplistic Rotary Club solution or even Nixonian repressions than will comfort them. Jimmy’s talked a fair liberal game, sure. But Mo Udall wasn’t just whistling Dixie when he cracked, “If Carter’s elected he’ll never make Mount Rushmore because there’s not enough room for two more faces.” Jimmy is as hard to get a handle on as a greased pig, which is about as elusive as a lightning bug.

Getting a handle on Jimmy may be easier today, but I think King had a pretty good one in 1976.

Awright. I’m admitting my reservations. My fear is that I’ve seen hundreds like the man, ruling boondock courthouses and marking up prices in their shops on the square, and, yes, I gotta squirm a little bit when a humorless man grins like he’s in a grinning contest. But there’s this history, all this goddam haunting history, of the South having been shut out for so long that even us lontime expatriates defensively feel that should Jimmy Cah-tah prove to be a sumbitch, then at least he’s our sumbitch.

And, dammit, that’s what Jimmy has forgotten about: loyalty to your own sumbitches. He’s already forgotten his own words, “Whenever you have a chance, say something good about our country.”Instead, since at least 2000, he seems to be going out of his way to say notsonice things.

Dangit, I have an even worse time trying to figure out where Obama’s coming from. Chicago? Sure, that’s easy and probably applicable. Perhaps someday a political scientist will compare today’s Chicago with yesterday’s Ole South.

Yet, it is as difficult to get a handle on Obama as it was Carter. They are twins in their combination of upper/downer talk. They are, IMHO, twins as far as a mean-streak. Though Carter didn’t (to my recollection) try to remake the entire country and its economic system in the first month of his presidency, both Carter and Obama have different historical and future visions of this country than do most of its inhabitants.

The stimulus bill passed this evening was never read by a single Senator or Representative or by the President and his staff. No one person knows what the hell is contained in the full thing. I expect Obama to sign it Monday, not knowing having a clue what he is doing.

This is the reason for my tears tonight.

Shouldn’t It Be In The Best Interest Of The Daughters

And shouldn’t they get what they want? The dog is obviously for them, as neither of the adult Obamas has shown interest in owning a dog.

But more importantly, how can dog lovers show more love for a rescue dog than for a “breed” ?

Aren’t both dogs? Don’t both deserve a loving family? It isn’t like the Obamas are special ordering a specific breed, but that they’ve narrowed their choices down to breeds acceptible to their family and situation.

As we’ve just brushed away about a pound of hair from our Great Pyrenees puppy (he’s 10 month old, near a 100 lbs. now) I can’t recommend that breed for any child who has allergies. But, for one who doesn’t, this breed is the most gentle I have ever seen for his size.

When it comes down to basics, children love dogs and dogs love children MOST OF THE TIME. Get the girls a dog and everything else will work out.