Saturday, August 30, 2008

RNC Welcomes Sarah Palin as McCain's VP Choice

Here we see a small group of enthusiastic Republican National Committee members as they welcome Gov. Sarah Palin (third from left) as John McCain's VP running mate.

They're sure Ms. Palin will learn what is involved being a Vice President--she wasn't sure a month ago.

"As for that V.P. talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the V.P. does every day? I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that V.P .slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that question."

Well, let's just hear it from her directly, shall we? Listen to her especially at around 2:50.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama's Acceptance Speech Last Night

Obama's speech last night was great! How's that for insightful political commentary?! We taped it, and my kids are watching it right now. Kind of...It may be a little above them--they are not the political animal that their mom is. My daughter announced the other day that she just cares about us, about our family--she's sick of politics. I think that's a reasonable feeling coming from a 7 year old kid. Adults though? We should all know how we are all connected, whether you like it or not, and our fortune rises and falls as a group as we all rise and fall individually, and visa versa.

I love Obama's speech. I think he made the case that McCain is McSame and that a vote for him is an endorsement of Bush's presidency and a vote for a continuation of the same abhorrent policies. I think Obama has a vision for the future and has the uncanny ability to surround himself with the very best people to enact it. He knows how to lead. How's that for an attribute for a leader?

Here is the text of Obama's speech. At the end is the video, so you can see and hear it from Obama yourself.

To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation;

With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest - a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.

To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia - I love you so much, and I'm so proud of all of you.

Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story - of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

It is that promise that has always set this country apart - that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.

That's why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women - students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.

We meet at one of those defining moments - a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.

These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.

This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.

This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.

We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land - enough! This moment - this election - is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."

Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.

The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives - on health care and education and the economy - Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisors - the man who wrote his economic plan - was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."

A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.

Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.

For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy - give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is - you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps - even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.

Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President - when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job - an economy that honors the dignity of work.

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great - a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.

In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.

When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.

I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.

What is that promise?

It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.

It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

That's the promise of America - the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.

That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.
Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

I will cut taxes - cut taxes - for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy - wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.

America, now is not the time for small plans.

Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American - if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.

Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.

And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.

Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime - by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less - because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.

And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength." Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.

Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility - that's the essence of America's promise.

And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.

For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell - but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.

And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

That's not the judgment we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice - but it is not the change we need.

We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans - have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.

The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America - they have served the United States of America.

So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose - our sense of higher purpose. And that's what we have to restore.

We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise - the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what - it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.

I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.

But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you.

For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us - that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it - because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.

America, this is one of those moments.

I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.

And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit - that American promise - that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours - a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.

But what the people heard instead - people of every creed and color, from every walk of life - is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one.

"We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."

America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise - that American promise - and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Damn Straight, Dennis Kucinich!

Here's Dennis Kucinich's speech from the other night at the convention.

Damn straight, Dennis Kucinich! Speak it!!

Transcript: Dennis Kucinich

Text Size:

Remarks delivered by Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday:

It's Election Day 2008. We Democrats are giving America a wake-up call. Wake up, America. In 2001, the oil companies, the war contractors and the neocon artists seized the economy and have added 4 trillion dollars of unproductive spending to the national debt. We now pay four times more for defense, three times more for gasoline and home heating oil and twice what we paid for health care.

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, their homes, their health care, their pensions. Trillions of dollars for an unnecessary war paid with borrowed money. Tens of billions of dollars in cash and weapons disappeared into thin air, at the cost of the lives of our troops and innocent Iraqis, while all the president's oilmen are maneuvering to grab Iraq's oil.

Borrowed money to bomb bridges in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. No money to rebuild bridges in America. Money to start a hot war with Iran. Now we have another cold war with Russia, while the American economy has become a game of Russian roulette.

If there was an Olympics for misleading, mismanaging and misappropriating, this administration would take the gold. World records for violations of national and international laws. They want another four-year term to continue to alienate our allies, spend our children's inheritance and hollow out our economy.

We can't afford another Republican administration. Wake up, America. The insurance companies took over health care. Wake up, America. The pharmaceutical companies took over drug pricing.

Wake up, America. The speculators took over Wall Street. Wake up, America. They want to take your Social Security. Wake up, America. Multinational corporations took over our trade policies, factories are closing, good paying jobs lost.

Wake up, America. We went into Iraq for oil. The oil companies want more. War against Iran will mean $10-a-gallon gasoline. The oil administration wants to drill more, into your wallet. Wake up, America. Weapons contractors want more. An Iran war will cost $5-10 trillion.

This administration can tap our phones. They can't tap our creative spirit. They can open our mail. They can't open economic opportunities. They can track our every move. They lost track of the economy while the cost of food, gasoline and electricity skyrockets. They skillfully played our post-9/11 fears and allowed the few to profit at the expense of the many. Every day we get the color orange, while the oil companies, the insurance companies, the speculators, the war contractors get the color green.

Wake up, America. This is not a call for you to take a new direction from right to left. This is call for you to go from down to up. Up with the rights of workers. Up with wages. Up with fair trade. Up with creating millions of good paying jobs, rebuilding our bridges, ports and water systems. Up with creating millions of sustainable energy jobs to lower the cost of energy, lower carbon emissions and protect the environment.

Up with health care for all. Up with education for all. Up with home ownership. Up with guaranteed retirement benefits. Up with peace. Up with prosperity. Up with the Democratic Party. Up with Obama-Biden.

Wake up, America. Wake up, America. Wake up, America.

Show Some Emotion, Put Expression in Your Eyes...

Right on Joan Armatrading! Let's all show some emotion...good or bad.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Newsflash! Hillary Clinton Spoke at the Convention!!

I just want to bring it to your attention that Hillary Clinton spoke last night at the Democratic National Convention...I thought maybe some of you might have missed that.

Also, she has unified the party!!--that maybe she helped rend...

Enough about that!

Rock the vote--thanks Hillary for supporting Obama. Thanks Hillary supporters for supporting Obama and for shutting down McCain.

The Last Hurrah...or, the Fun Continues!

Green pool with diving board and shadow, paper pool 3-I 1978
David Hockney

Our local pool is now closed for the season. All of the tan, bored looking college students have gone back to U of I, or Madison or Northwestern (we have really bright kids around here...) so there are no more lifeguards, or jaded concessions stand workers. Here. None, right here. However, a pool across town is still open and still has tan, bored looking college students (I don't know where they're going to school) so we homeschoolers are going to go there for a last summer hurrah...until we do the next thing that comes along, because we still have nice weather and we still have a lot of time in our increasingly busy schedules in between the newly starting Fall dance classes and music classes and acting classes and interesting field trips. In fact, we can have even more fun as the museums clear out as the other kids are going back to school--more elbow room and less noise.

Whether homeschooler or public schooler, what are your last summer hurrahs where you are? Do you do anything to celebrate the beginning of school? Do you do anything to celebrate NOT going back to school? Any NOT going back to school picnics?

Hasn't this Summer zipped by?!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Michelle Obama and Ted Kennedy and Kids

Well, that was pretty wonderful, wasn't it? Michelle Obama was gracious, and genuine, and lovely. Not, that we would vote for Barack Obama because she's lovely, but she is a good promoter for her husband--if she loves him, some undecideds may have reason to look more...

You can't keep a Kennedy down. Ted Kennedy gave a great, rousing, emotional speech and all of the pundits have said that the torch has been passed to Obama. Amazing that he came considering the state of his health.

It was a fun time, although I though Pelosi's speech was a little flat, and apparently my kids did too, because it was about that time when my daughter decided to make a tent fort with a yellow Chinese parasol, a wooden sword, a couch, a blanket and a lot of tape...the speech wasn't riveting, was it? Michelle came on too late and the kids were already in bed, so I taped it and we'll watch it together today.

I didn't see any foam donkey ears. I was really looking forward to that...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Democratic Convention Tonight!

The kids and my husband and I are all going to pop popcorn and watch the convention together tonight. We will see all of the pomp and posturing and grand statements and we will have conversations about the electoral college and delegates and one person/one vote.

We will talk about protests and why people might be angry and how they show it, and whether it is covered by the media and how and why or why not. We will talk about commercials and who wants to sell us what. How do they show us their product? Why would they choose to show it that way?

We will talk about Hillary and maybe why she wasn't chosen as Obama's running mate. What does Biden bring to the ticket? Why did Obama want him?

Where is Delaware? Where is Denver, Colorado?

Why is that person yelling and wearing foam donkey ears? Why does that woman have on star shaped sunglasses? Why are their faces painted with 2008?

What does "smoke filled room" mean?

I think there all sorts of lessons to be gleaned from the convention...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Compost Happens...

With the talk about bees, and us realizing we should put in a garden--at least a place to grow tomatoes which I will turn into tomato sauce, tomato paste, catsup, stewed tomatoes,etc.--the conversation has naturally turned to compost. (As an aside, don't you hate when conversations turn to compost...I kid...)

Is there anything more hopeful and trusting than a compost pile? You have to have faith that Nature will do her thing and turn all of the vegetation and scraps into a rich soil. You are also trusting in the future--"I will do this now, and it will bear will turn fruit into fertilizer in a year or so!" I trust Nature, so, I want to compost.

What do you guys know about compost? I will research more, but here you all are from around the world and different backgrounds and I realize that you all are a wonderful resource--you are fonts of knowledge and I would like to pick your brains.

Do we need sun? Do we have to layer green with brown? How do you keep rodents out? Do you have to turn your kitchen scraps into it, or can you just pile them on? If you keep leaves over from the fall, how do you store them? Do you have to dry them out first? How often do you turn your pile? How? Do you keep 2 bins and transfer from one to another? Anyone use a drum? Chicken wire, or slats of wood? How big should it be? Just how big a hassle is this?

What else should I ask?

Thanks, soil lovers. Thanks, Nature lovers. Thanks, lovers of natural processes. Thanks, gardeners. Thanks, green-minded folks. Thanks, cyber-friends!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Don't Worry, Be Happy/I'm Mad as Hell

doulamamma reminds me of how overwhelming all of the bad news can be. To my post reporting about the gigantic crack in the ice in a glacier on Greenland

Blogger DoulaMomma said...

Sometimes I feel like Andie McDowell in Sex Lies & Videotape re. garbage (if you know the reference).
It's so freaking overwhelming. I know there are things I can personally do (& I do them, to a great extent), but it's hard to stand by & watch this all take place & feel pretty damn helpless.

August 22, 2008 7:15 PM

Yes, it is very hard to realize that the ice is melting away and there's pollution in the air and water and earth and erosion and desertification and the Amazon is being gobbled up and we just seem to be throwing it all away.

But, in the meantime, I have my husband and my kids and my family and my friends and sunny days and dramatic storms and art and music and food and laughter and irony and so it's all still so beautiful. And you have yours, and she has hers, and he has his and so on all over the earth.

So, what to do? We all can do what we can do. Can we do more? Can we all strike a balance between what we really need and what we must do?

I think life is beautiful and amazing. That's why it is all so tragic and awful that we are screwing it up. I am awed by the butterflies we have seen this summer grow from egg to a tiny line of a caterpillar to a plump caterpillar to a jewel chrysalis to a new tentatively flapping monarch. I am awed by my children daily. I am awed by my friends and their kids. My husband amazes me...How could the ice be melting away? Why is the ice melting away?

It's gonna take more than just shaking our heads and tisking. It's going to take more than people bitching on blogs and on the radio and on TV. We could be yelling like Howard Beale from the top of our lungs and it wouldn't do anything...unless it was in unison. That does work. That has always worked. That does make change. But, not if we're all just amusing ourselves to death (which is a great book, by the way). If we're just living our insular lives without ever extending outward into the world's problems, we will never fix them. Ultimately, they really are all of our problems. The world is us.

I think in our personal lives, in our human dealings with one another, we could do well to follow Bobby McFerrin's advice--Don't Worry, Be Happy. Be gentle with one another. Be easy on yourself. Be lovely. Don't get out of joint and disconnected from what is true and important.

The problems with the world, however, I think we need to all rise up and speak out about. It is not freakin' OK that the ice is melting and the seas are rising and we continue to amuse ourselves by buying plastic crap that pollutes at every step of the manufacturing/shipping/purchasing/throwing out process.

I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it any more!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Greenland Ice Cracks Worry Scientists

This article is from Huffington Post, by Seth Borenstein.

Just freakin' great. This is what my husband has been telling me is the more worrisome outcome--ice melting in Greenland, not so much at the poles. This ice melt is what will raise the sea levels. How soon until we see significant climate change refugees? How will the world respond to that?

Just freakin' great...

This image provided by the Byrd Polar Research Center, Columbus, Ohio, taken July 25, 2008, shows a growing giant crack and an 11-square-mile chunk of ice hemorrhaging off a prominent glacier in northern Greenland. The crack, at center, right, is seven miles long and about half a mile wide. It is about half the width of the 500 square mile floating part of the glacier. If the cracking continues, the floating part of the glacier could lose up to one third of its size. (AP Photo/Byrd Polar Research Center)
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WASHINGTON — In northern Greenland, a part of the Arctic that had seemed immune from global warming, new satellite images show a growing giant crack and an 11-square-mile chunk of ice hemorrhaging off a major glacier, scientists said Thursday.

And that's led the university professor who spotted the wounds in the massive Petermann glacier to predict disintegration of a major portion of the Northern Hemisphere's largest floating glacier within the year.

If it does worsen and other northern Greenland glaciers melt faster, then it could speed up sea level rise, already increasing because of melt in sourthern Greenland.

The crack is 7 miles long and about half a mile wide. It is about half the width of the 500 square mile floating part of the glacier. Other smaller fractures can be seen in images of the ice tongue, a long narrow sliver of the glacier.

"The pictures speak for themselves," said Jason Box, a glacier expert at the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University who spotted the changes while studying new satellite images. "This crack is moving, and moving closer and closer to the front. It's just a matter of time till a much larger piece is going to break off.... It is imminent."

The chunk that came off the glacier between July 10 and July 24 is about half the size of Manhattan and doesn't worry Box as much as the cracks. The Petermann glacier had a larger breakaway ice chunk in 2000. But the overall picture worries some scientists.

"As we see this phenomenon occurring further and further north _ and Petermann is as far north as you can get _ it certainly adds to the concern," said Waleed Abdalati, director of the Center for the Study of Earth from Space at the University of Colorado.

The question that now faces scientists is: Are the fractures part of normal glacier stress or are they the beginning of the effects of global warming?

"It certainly is a major event," said NASA ice scientist Jay Zwally in a telephone interview from a conference on glaciers in Ireland. "It's a signal but we don't know what it means."

It is too early to say it is clearly global warming, Zwally said. Scientists don't like to attribute single events to global warming, but often say such events fit a pattern.

University of Colorado professor Konrad Steffen, who returned from Greenland Wednesday and has studied the Petermann glacier in the past, said that what Box saw is not too different from what he saw in the 1990s: "The crack is not alarming... I would say it is normal."

However, scientists note that it fits with the trend of melting glacial ice they first saw in the southern part of the massive island and seems to be marching north with time. Big cracks and breakaway pieces are foreboding signs of what's ahead.

Further south in Greenland, Box's satellite images show that the Jakobshavn glacier, the fastest retreating glacier in the world, set new records for how far it has moved inland.

That concerns Colorado's Abdalati: "It could go back for miles and miles and there's no real mechanism to stop it."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Daughter, the Cinematographer/Producer/Director

As a family, we like to do things together. We like to go to places and try new things. Earlier this summer we went canoing, although we do that every year, that's not new. This time, however, while I was out paddling around with my son, my husband took a new low key approach, a.k.a. benign neglect, and let my daughter take our little digital camera to make a couple of short videos, while he laid on the ground.

Don't our kids need a little freedom to make open ended discoveries of their own? Isn't this one of the reasons some of us are homeschooling?

Here, we see my daughter's first effort. Note the sweep of the camera shots. She has long distance and close up. She pans a car and people walking. She has a great P.O.V. and changes it frequently.

Here's the first one. "Oooo! I Could be a Troll!"

This one might be called, "Hey...Got Some Mud on There...". Note the next to ending shot--classic.

There may be some evidence here of a certain level of casual disregard for the delicate nature of electronic equipment. Perhaps. But, maybe a veneer of mud, a mud filter if you will, is just the thing that those nature shots needed. Did anyone ever think of that?! However, my daughter did choose to scrape the mud off with her finger, so... Sometimes you find what you tried simply won't work. Creativity takes you down many paths.

It's all how you frame it, baby. It's all how you frame it...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why I Will Not Vote for John McCain By Phillip Butler

I think it reveals an awful lot when the people who know candidates or have been in similar situations as they have decide that there is no way they can possibly vote for them. That's the case here with Phillip Butler who was a POW in Viet Nam for 8 years, and knew McCain in the U.S. Naval Academy.

Here, he explains why he can not possibly vote for McCain.

About Phillip Butler

Doctor Phillip Butler is a 1961 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a former light-attack carrier pilot. In 1965 he was shot down over North Vietnam where he spent eight years as a prisoner of war. He is a highly decorated combat veteran who was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merits, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Heart medals.

After his repatriation in 1973 he earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at San Diego and became a Navy Organizational Effectiveness consultant. He completed his Navy career in 1981 as a professor of management at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He is now a peace and justice activist with Veterans for Peace.

Why I Will Not Vote for John McCain
Phillip Butler | March 27, 2008

As some of you might know, John McCain is a long-time acquaintance of mine that goes way back to our time together at the U.S. Naval Academy and as Prisoners of War in Vietnam. He is a man I respect and admire in some ways. But there are a number of reasons why I will not vote for him for President of the United States.

When I was a Plebe (4th classman, or freshman) at the Naval Academy in 1957-58, I was assigned to the 17th Company for my four years there. In those days we had about 3,600 midshipmen spread among 24 companies, thus about 150 midshipmen to a company. As fortune would have it, John, a First Classman (senior) and his room mate lived directly across the hall from me and my two room mates. Believe me when I say that back then I would never in a million or more years have dreamed that the crazy guy across the hall would someday be a Senator and candidate for President!

John was a wild man. He was funny, with a quick wit and he was intelligent. But he was intent on breaking every USNA regulation in our 4 inch thick USNA Regulations book. And I believe he must have come as close to his goal as any midshipman who ever attended the Academy. John had me "coming around" to his room frequently during my plebe year. And on one occasion he took me with him to escape "over the wall" in the dead of night. He had a taxi cab waiting for us that took us to a bar some 7 miles away. John had a few beers, but forbid me to drink (watching out for me I guess) and made me drink cokes. I could tell many other midshipman stories about John that year and he unbelievably managed to graduate though he spent the majority of his first class year on restriction for the stuff he did get caught doing. In fact he barely managed to graduate, standing 5th from the bottom of his 800 man graduating class. I and many others have speculated that the main reason he did graduate was because his father was an Admiral, and also his grandfather, both U.S. Naval Academy graduates.

People often ask if I was a Prisoner of War with John McCain. My answer is always "No - John McCain was a POW with me." The reason is I was there for 8 years and John got there 2 ½ years later, so he was a POW for 5 ½ years. And we have our own seniority system, based on time as a POW.

John's treatment as a POW:

1) Was he tortured for 5 years? No. He was subjected to torture and maltreatment during his first 2 years, from September of 1967 to September of 1969. After September of 1969 the Vietnamese stopped the torture and gave us increased food and rudimentary health care. Several hundred of us were captured much earlier. I got there April 20, 1965 so my bad treatment period lasted 4 1/2 years. President Ho Chi Minh died on September 9, 1969, and the new regime that replaced him and his policies was more pragmatic. They realized we were worth a lot as bargaining chips if we were alive. And they were right because eventually Americans gave up on the war and agreed to trade our POW's for their country. A damn good trade in my opinion! But my point here is that John allows the media to make him out to be THE hero POW, which he knows is absolutely not true, to further his political goals.

2) John was badly injured when he was shot down. Both arms were broken and he had other wounds from his ejection. Unfortunately this was often the case - new POW's arriving with broken bones and serious combat injuries. Many died from their wounds. Medical care was non-existent to rudimentary. Relief from pain was almost never given and often the wounds were used as an available way to torture the POW. Because John's father was the Naval Commander in the Pacific theater, he was exploited with TV interviews while wounded. These film clips have now been widely seen. But it must be known that many POW's suffered similarly, not just John. And many were similarly exploited for political propaganda.

3) John was offered, and refused, "early release." Many of us were given this offer. It meant speaking out against your country and lying about your treatment to the press. You had to "admit" that the U.S. was criminal and that our treatment was "lenient and humane." So I, like numerous others, refused the offer. This was obviously something none of us could accept. Besides, we were bound by our service regulations, Geneva Conventions and loyalties to refuse early release until all the POW's were released, with the sick and wounded going first.

4) John was awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart for heroism and wounds in combat. This heroism has been played up in the press and in his various political campaigns. But it should be known that there were approximately 600 military POW's in Vietnam. Among all of us, decorations awarded have recently been totaled to the following: Medals of Honor - 8, Service Crosses - 42, Silver Stars - 590, Bronze Stars - 958 and Purple Hearts - 1,249. John certainly performed courageously and well. But it must be remembered that he was one hero among many - not uniquely so as his campaigns would have people believe.

John McCain served his time as a POW with great courage, loyalty and tenacity. More that 600 of us did the same. After our repatriation a census showed that 95% of us had been tortured at least once. The Vietnamese were quite democratic about it. There were many heroes in North Vietnam. I saw heroism every day there. And we motivated each other to endure and succeed far beyond what any of us thought we had in ourselves. Succeeding as a POW is a group sport, not an individual one. We all supported and encouraged each other to survive and succeed. John knows that. He was not an individual POW hero. He was a POW who surmounted the odds with the help of many comrades, as all of us did.

I furthermore believe that having been a POW is no special qualification for being President of the United States. The two jobs are not the same, and POW experience is not, in my opinion, something I would look for in a presidential candidate.

Most of us who survived that experience are now in our late 60's and 70's. Sadly, we have died and are dying off at a greater rate than our non-POW contemporaries. We experienced injuries and malnutrition that are coming home to roost. So I believe John's age (73) and survival expectation are not good for being elected to serve as our President for 4 or more years.

I can verify that John has an infamous reputation for being a hot head. He has a quick and explosive temper that many have experienced first hand. Folks, quite honestly that is not the finger I want next to that red button.

It is also disappointing to see him take on and support Bush's war in Iraq, even stating we might be there for another 100 years. For me John represents the entrenched and bankrupt policies of Washington-as-usual. The past 7 years have proven to be disastrous for our country. And I believe John's views on war, foreign policy, economics, environment, health care, education, national infrastructure and other important areas are much the same as those of the Bush administration.

I'm disappointed to see John represent himself politically in ways that are not accurate. He is not a moderate Republican. On some issues he is a maverick. But his voting record is far to the right. I fear for his nominations to our Supreme Court, and the consequent continuing loss of individual freedoms, especially regarding moral and religious issues. John is not a religious person, but he has taken every opportunity to ally himself with some really obnoxious and crazy fundamentalist ministers lately. I was also disappointed to see him cozy up to Bush because I know he hates that man. He disingenuously and famously put his arm around the guy, even after Bush had intensely disrespected him with lies and slander. So on these and many other instances, I don't see that John is the "straight talk express" he markets himself to be.

Senator John Sidney McCain, III is a remarkable man who has made enormous personal achievements. And he is a man that I am proud to call a fellow POW who "Returned With Honor." That's our POW motto. But since many of you keep asking what I think of him, I've decided to write it out. In short, I think John Sidney McCain, III is a good man, but not someone I will vote for in the upcoming election to be our President of the United States.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I like this music by Squirrel Nut Zippers. Do not be afraid.


I'm Going to Keep My Suburban Yard!


My husband and I have been talking to Neo-agrarian about it, and we think we're going to keep bees too. No, it is not crazy. No, it is not dangerous. The bees are already out and about, you know. By keeping a hive in our yard, we would just be supplying them with a home and they could feel safe and do their bee thing and make honey that they would share with us. OK. We'd take it from them, but we would be grateful and we would be sure to leave plenty for them too.

We will not use a skep as pictured above and was used extensively in Europe for centuries. Although, doesn't that look idyllic in a garden with bees buzzing about? Instead, we will use a top bar system--the bees will make their hives free form hanging down from wooden slats at the top in a box. It's easier to harvest the honey, they make less and we don't need the amount made in larger commercial hives.

Top Bar Hive Filling up With Bees Building Honeycomb

I've already realized some of the health benefits of raw honey and it's pretty darn delicious besides.

I've just looked at this site and it is filled with comprehensive information about Top Bar Hives. There is a lot of information out there. I think we will easily get help with all of this.

Do any of you keep bees? Do you know anyone that keeps bees? What can you tell me about it? What should I keep in mind? How has it worked out for you? How much honey have your bees generated, with how many hives?

Who knew that a suburban yard could be a space of workable, arable land? What says that our yards must only be showcases of stretches of Kentucky Bluegrass and Fine-leaf Fescue and nothing else? Why can't we have bees buzzing in and out of our yard and landing on our strawberry blossoms and raspberry blossoms and echinacea and any other flower in a 3 mile radius? Who thinks our yard has to look the same and serve the same functions as every other yard in our suburban neighborhood in Very-Republican-Town, Illinois?

Says who?

Monday, August 18, 2008

How to Have a Hootenanny...a What?

When my husband was a senior at U of I, he broke his leg while skateboarding. He was hopping a curb, as he always did, and somehow he landed wrong and broke his leg. It was a compound fracture, the kind you hear about in health class when you're learning about such things. The kind of fracture that everyone goes "Ewwwww..." about. My poor husband.

He had to have a cast and use a cane for a year. He hadn't gotten a job yet after school, and his mother saw a dulcimer kit on one of her many travels (she travels a lot), this time in Kentucky or South Carolina or somewhere in Appalachia. She thought this would be something enjoyable for her son to work on while his leg healed.

So because of the broken leg, and the loving Mom, my husband came to have an instrument that he had never seen or even heard of. How can there still be things in America from other cultures that we don't know about? It's exciting, though, to always have more to learn. Always.

My husband now has his mountain dulcimer that he made. It looks something like this.

Along the way, he has also picked up a love of ukuleles. He has two that look like this.

One is smaller and is called a Flea.

He plays camp songs, and of course Hawaiian songs and even 60's songs. He joined my daughter on stage for the talent show at the Homeschooling Conference we went to last year and played Take Me Out to the Ballgame while my daughter sang her heart out. He can jam on ukuleles. Well, as much as one can jam on a ukulele.

My husband also can play the beginnings of tons of songs on guitar which he learned to do while a teenager. He wasn't much interested in perfecting any one song, but it would be suh-weet to learn the beginning of a bunch. So, he can play: Blackbird and Smoke on the Water, and Pinball Wizard. My husband is musical but never really thought so because he hasn't perfected many songs. And yet, right after he rides home on his bike from work, he'll grab a uke from the top of the piano and start playing as he walks around the house and says hello to us. For many years he's been wanting to play music with other people.

A while ago, our friend Neo-agrarian got a hammer dulcimer. It looks a little like this.

It was a while before my husband knew that our friend had gotten this. Our friend didn't realize that my husband had a mountain dulcimer, and then somehow they both found out and decided they should try to play them together. So they did.

For a couple of months, our friend would come over on some weekends and play. Sometimes he would come during the week after a class that our kids are all in together. I enjoyed listening to them together. There were long discussions about the different tuning and different characteristics of the two dulcimers.

I realized that it could be fun if we had a hootenanny. We could all make music together--the kids included!

What is a hootenanny? Here's part of a Wikipedia entry:

Hootenanny was used in the early twentieth century America to refer to things whose names were forgotten or unknown. In this usage it was synonymous with thingamajig or whatchamacallit, as in "hand me that hootenanny." Hootenanny was also an old country word for "party". Now, most commonly, it refers to a folk-music party.

According to Pete Seeger, in various interviews, he first heard the word hootenanny in Seattle, Washington in the late 1930s. It was used by Hugh Delacey’s New Deal political club to describe their monthly music fund raisers. After some debate the club voted in the word hootenanny, which narrowly beat out the word wingding. Seeger, Woody Guthrie and other members of the Almanac Singers later used the word in New York City to describe their weekly rent parties, which featured many notable folksingers of the time. Joan Baez made the analogy that a hootenanny is to folk singing what a jam session is to jazz.

We all worked on a handful of songs: Shenandoah, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, Amazing Grace, Greensleeves and Scarborough Fair. I realized that I could get some practice in with the guys before the big party day, so I got out my flute from the crawl where it has been sitting idle and unblown for the 10 years we have been in this house. I took lessons as a kid and I never have really played as an adult. But, I did now and it was a blast.

Saturday night was the Hootenanny. We had the two dulcimer players, the floutest, a mandolin player, a recorder player, a cellist, a trombone player, a guitarist and a snare drum player. Um, not exactly the classic folk music line up, but a thoroughly enjoyable mix of adults and kids all playing their hearts out in all sorts of keys and tempos. It was hilarious, uproarious and amazing. We were making music together!

The kids all scattered and ate up the cookies and the chocolate almond torte and the chips and guacamole and salsa and deviled eggs all disappeared and the trifle I made was good but too rich and so it was just us adults making music on the porch while the kids all played. We drank sangrias and mead and beer and red wine and pink lemonade, and we laughed. And we took solos. And we played the same song over and over again really starting to groove.

I taught the group a couple of rounds to sing, and it was fun even with the realization that many of us are terrible singers. OK I am--it's not a crime, you know. Again, hardly the point of all of this, and it didn't matter any way.

Listen to this. If we were a little bit better we would have sounded like that--kind of.

There is serious discussion now about someone hosting a chili cook off in the fall and there will be music again. The theme this time is songs of the west. So far we have Home on the Range and Ghostriders in the Sky. Can you think of other songs we might try? Based on this first hootenanny, I know we will need lots of practice to get something that sounds good. Practicing is part of the charm and the fun.

Here's how you have a hooteanny: agree on some pieces of music to practice, invite friends who can play something, or sing, or tap a toe, make some fabulous food, have some wine and then play your hearts out in unison and with friendship and joy.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Love Claire de Lune

This is beautiful.

We've been rockin' out too much around here lately. We've listened to quiting-heroin anthems and classic Stones songs. There are other forms of music, you know, that are quite moving. Let's not be limited. Here's a classical piece from Claude Debussy.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Movie Recommendations from my Mom

After my post about wanting movie recommendations, my Mom came through and typed me up some ideas she had. And when I say "typed" I actually mean typed. As in, on a typewriter. My Mom is not comfortable with my Dad's computer and so uses her own typewriter. She is a mean typist too--very fast hands.

She suggested some Woody Allen, some foreign films, some Fellini. She thought I'd like Persepolis, an Iranian animated film. Did she also suggest period romance movies, something like Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth (oh my God--that stare...*faint*), or a film Noir like Laura? My parents love the song Laura and named me that...OK, so I'm not sophisticated like that character and not mysterious and my husband is not like Dana Andrews and we don't know anyone who is like Vincent Price. No. In fact, her other two suggestions weren't like that at all.

What did my rockin' 74 year old jazz piano playing Mom suggest that I watch? Not surprisingly, they both involve music.

First, she highly recommends the recent Martin Scorsese film, Shine a Light, which is a documentary about the Rolling Stones. My Mom is not a Stones fan. But, she now gets the Stones. She loved that film. It's in queue now Mom. She also recommends a movie called, Young at Heart, which is about a bunch of 80 year old singers whose repertoire is comprised of rock and roll and punk...They are young at heart.

In light of all of this rockin' out exuberance, lets hear some music. Thanks for the movie ideas Mom. How did you get so cool? No, seriously.

Here's some Stones for you. Check out John Lennon and Pete Townsend in the audience too...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lust for Life

The kids were watching the Olympics and finding the interviews with the athletes interesting. They also liked certain commercials. My kids haven't been exposed to a lot of TV other than public TV stations and whatever DVDs we get from the library or from Netflix. They're not brand conscious. They don't care about clothes or toys or electronic gizmos of a certain manufacturer. There is no cool associated with things other than if the thing is inherently cool, like a cicada shell, or kittens or Wii. They've visited their cousin's Wii and they are hooked. Things seep in very quickly.

After seeing a commercial, the kids want us to change over to Comcast, even though they don't know what Comcast is, in order to get the free Wii that is offered. They don't know that there will be entrapping details like a certain mandatory length of time with them or a certain rate that then goes up after a few months--stuff like that. Now the kids are saying, "Comcast Mom! A free Wii!! Come on!" Uh, no. Nice try sucked in kids, but I'm stronger than that. There may be a Wii in your future, but it will be when we are ready and on our terms, not theirs. In the mean time, you'll just have to visit Wiis.

Another commercial I noticed was one for Royal Caribbean cruise line. It features Iggy Pop's energetic quiting heroin rock anthem, Lust for Life. Do the Royal Caribbean folks know it's a song about being screwed over and being seduced by drugs, but rejecting them because you've now got a lust for life? It's not really about climbing a small rock wall set up on the ledo deck of a Royal Carribbean giant cruise ship. It's not about going for it on a jet ski! It's about not puking any more and being able to keep a little weight on and remembering to take care of the baby...maybe later there'd be room for a jet ski or two, but it's really about kicking the white horse's ass and saying goodbye to all of that.

Do they know that, or do they just dig how catchy the song is? I love the song and know the song and think of the new found energy that the reformed addict has to shower and eat and look for a job and get their shit together. That's the lust for life. That's what it means. I don't really think about mixed drinks and a tiny pool and food buffets filled with institutional food. Sorry Royal Caribbean.

Here's Iggy Pop singing it. Catch this Royal Caribbean executives. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Purchase Confessions

We find that it's not too difficult to forgo purchasing new things. It's not, at least not for most things. But, we have purchased a couple of new things recently. I confess.

After the hey-we're-all-in-this-together celebratory 4th of July bike helmet rip off, I had to get a new helmet and I did--it's grey and willow. Willow is a lovely green, isn't it? I can go biking with the kids again. Well, now I can go with a helmet on and exhibit a good example of safety consciousness for them. Husband... When they're ready, I'm ready.

Yesterday, a giant box was on the front step. Finally, my husband's Father's Day gift arrived. A reel mower. We do already have a gas powered mower, yes, but my husband wanted to stop wasting gas to cut a lawn we really don't have much affection for, and felt he could enjoy the mechanical/manual nature of a reel mower.

I bought it new...I didn't even look for one online. We haven't done that much. This computer I'm typing this post at was bought from Craig's List as a Christmas gift for me by my husband. All of our drinking glasses are from Goodwill. The kids clothes are from e-bay or Goodwill. My clothes are from Goodwill. We've been diligent.

But, I wanted a brand new mower for my husband and I wanted it now, damn it! I didn't know which one to get him. So, I harangued him, and harangued him, and he looked up from what he was reading and said, "Huh?" My haranguing skills aren't up to snuff, clearly. I can't tell you how often I feel like Charlie Brown's indistinct, muffled teacher speaking around here. If you can hear me talking, but you don't know what I said, you have to say to me, "What did you say Mom?" or "What did you say beautiful wife of mine?" Why don't they get that?!

We went online just last week to pick out the mower and get it from a company in Indiana. Fantastic! We would be supporting an American company from just next door--not a big carbon footprint on our carbon reducing manual reel mower. It's already green and we haven't even used it yet!

Guess where it's manufactured? Yes, China...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Honey--What I Just Learned

UPDATE: Yesterday, Tuesday Aug. 5th, my son went to see a doctor at our group of family doctors, to have his wound checked. The doctor who was here, at home, for my son's birth so many years ago was on vacation, so we saw another doctor. Guess what! My son's injury is healing perfectly--no infection, no discoloration, no inflammation, no ooze of any kind. It's almost as if something is helping it to heal...hmmmm...

It's looking good for the honey treatment, isn't it?

UPDATE II: Yesterday, Tuesday Aug. 12, my son got his stitches out. His wound is perfectly healed and he's fine. He didn't take any antibiotics, just loads of Vitamin C every day, to support his own body's ability to fight infection, and raw honey topically on his wound every time we changed his bandage--twice a day.

I would say that the honey treatment was a huge success. It's also nice to know we didn't contribute to the support of any superbugs by needlessly administering an antibiotic to my son that he didn't need. There was no infection--why prescribe a strong antibiotic when that would knock out my son's healthy gut flora, which would therefore increase the risk of future infections and sickness, and would possibly kill off some bacteria, but give the stronger ones a niche to grow in and multiply and flourish and cause some real problems down the road?

Do doctors not know about this stuff? The Mayo Clinic does. The mainstream medical literature does. The alternative medical literature does.

I'm glad we questioned and researched and made a decision for my son that helped him have such a healthy outcome.

My son had a bike accident yesterday (Fri. Aug. 1st) He plowed into a fire hydrant and the fire hydrant won. His cut on his leg wasn't too bad, but it still did require a trip to the emergency room and 6 stitches. He was brave, but it's never fun going to the emergency room. Poor kid. Well, he did get to watch Bonanza and Leave it to Beaver on a retro TV station and he liked that. Also, the nurse let him bring home the giant syringe that she used to irrigate the wound. My son has discovered that he can shoot water across the yard with this thing. He's mightily impressed with its power, and can't wait to try it out at the pool.

My friend Unnamed took my daughter for a playdate so I could help my son. Her daughters made my son very sweet get well cards. He was very touched by their concern.

After we got home from the hospital, as is my way, I got online to investigate and do some research. What was the recommended prescribed antibiotic? What are the side effects? What is the risk of infection for this very clean, well cared for wound? Does my son really need to take a very strong antibiotic prophylactically? Are there other options? What are they? What is their efficacy? What is their risk?

I found out a lot about honey. I had some idea, but didn't realize fully the healing powers of honey, raw especially. Honey cures wounds and fights infection, internally and topically. I didn't realize that honey on a wound could help heal it.

Sure, alternative medicine sites were singing the praises of honey for wound care, but so were a couple of mainstream sites. OK. It's known across the board. Sounds reasonable.

Here's a quote from one of the articles I read,

Using honey to treat wounds is nothing new; even ancient civilizations used it in this manner. However, this is the sort of thing that usually gets relegated to "folk healing". It seems scientifically obvious: honey is very acidic (antibacterial), and it produces its own hydrogen peroxide when combined with the fluid which drains from a wound! The extremely high sugar content of honey means it contains very little water. So, it draws the pus and fluid from the wound, thereby speeding the healing process. Furthermore, the honey contains powerful germ-fighting phytochemicals from the plants that produced the pollen harvested by the honeybees. Having already been accepted by the overseas mainstream medical community for some time, North America finally caught on.


Honey has a number of properties that make it effective against bacterial growth, including its high sugar content, low moisture content, gluconic acid - which creates an acidic environment - and hydrogen peroxide. It has also been shown to reduce inflammation and swelling.


Honey has been used for centuries to aid in the healing of persistent wounds and burns. Documentation regarding its use dates as far back as 1700 BC. Several characteristics are likely to contribute to honey’s effectiveness as a wound-healer: it is rich in sugar, which allows it to draw infection and fluid from wounds by a process called osmosis; its acidic pH, and the presence of an enzyme that stimulates small amounts of hydrogen peroxide to form, prevent bacterial infections; and, it can promote healing by maintaining a protective barrier and by holding in moisture. Furthermore, antibacterial and wound-healing components from the plants used by the bees in the production of honey might contribute to its effectiveness. To date, more than 500 reports, including several controlled trials, of successful wound healing with honey have been published.

That sounds good to me and much better than antibiotics whose overuse have increased germ resistance to the point of creating scary superbugs like MRSA.

I'll let you know how our honey treatment works for my son.

We'll bee seeing you!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Do You Want Other Wars?

This video is quite graphic because there are images in it that are from the Iraqi war...this is what war looks like and what we haven't seen very much of on American TV.

John McCain wants more wars--that is, he thinks they will be necessary. Many more wars. I think that's what he knows. War is his M.O., and is the starting point for him rather than a last resort, as Gen. Wesley Clark points out.

The background music in this video is very emotionally manipulative, but if you can look past that and see what people are saying and what war is, you might get something out of this video.

Do you want other wars?

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