Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I Gotta’ Have One of These!

Okay, so maybe I don’t gotta’ have one; but I couldn’t help laughing as I saved the picture to my files. There was a list on Yahoo of Stupid Holiday Gifts which included the Hillary Nutcracker complete with stainless steel thighs. I wonder, is there a Bendable Monica, one that fits under a desk, complete with stained blue dress which can’t be found inside the box during impeachment hearings? A gift guaranteed to blow you away!

I send odd gifts to my folks for Christmas; but nothing quite that dumb. I figure my folks could buy anything they needed so they have all they need. Along those lines, they could also have anything they might want; separating the difference between a need and a want. I pick up trinkets that might amuse them to let them know they are always in my thoughts. Every now and then I get lucky and hit on a winner, sometimes I even get one that hits the heart strings; it takes a little effort and a touch of luck, the key is to be looking with your heart.

One year I bought Mom a plastic Godzilla electronic toy, the kind with a button at the base of the ten inch tall monster which, when pushed, created a familiar screeching sound as if from a cheap Saturday afternoon movie clip. Mom used to clean house with the television tuned into to Sci-fi movies, Godzilla and Rodan helped while dusting or putting away folded laundry.

I got Dad a Sammy Sosa action figure to put on his desk several years ago; that was before the corked bat incident. Dad and I took a weekend trip to Chicago one year just to pick up a couple of games at Wrigley Field. Sammy hangs from a lamp on Dad’s desk as a reminder of that trip, a chance to touch the past and enjoy the present.

I wrote about a Nutcracker Ornament I gave my folks many years ago. Gifts are more than packages and wrapping paper; they are a thought process, a process that attempts to touch each other’s soul. As we go about looking for the perfect gift, something that will be a sure fire winner, keep another thought in mind; the importance of how a gift is received far out weighs how much it might be worth in the market place.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Temples of Damanhur

What, you never heard of the “Temples of Damanhur”? Join the rest of the world, that is until recently these jewels of workmanship have been hidden away from public view in valley of Valchiusella, near the ancient city of Turin, Italy. These are not the remnants of an ancient civilization; but a modern work stemming from the vision of one man, Oberto Airaudi, who prefers to be called Falco.

“My goal was to recreate the temples from my visions,” he says.

“They are to remind people that we are all capable of much more than we realize and that hidden treasures can be found within every one of us once you know how to access them,’ says Falco.”

I stumbled across an article, “Wow!”, posted on Rhymes with Right this morning, having never heard of the Temples of Damahur before. Gregg had linked with the Daily Mail which is where I got a good bit of information as supplied here. I admit to having fallen off the turnip truck on this one. I then searched the Internet and found several interesting sites, some with books and additional photography, some with souvenirs which can be purchased.

The best of all the sites I visited has a schematic drawing of the three dimensional geographical layout of the entire complex along with some phenomenal photographs of the artwork and architecture. You can click on the individual Temple rooms and enjoy a private tour. Take some time to visit this, “Eighth Wonder of the World”, as it has been called by some who’ve viewed this work in progress.

Just as a thought, a “what if” kind of thought, a thousand years from now an archeologist stumbles upon the Temples of Damanhur; what false conclusions might he/she come away with? Just a thought as I recall the park service attempting to explain various structures built by ancient civilizations and the assumptions that were proposed as for the purpose of each item, room and what kind of people built them, what religious significance and so on…

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Hand of God

Today I got to listen to some talks at church which were based on something from the past General Conference in October. Henry B. Eyring had delivered a powerful reminder to keep a journal, more specifically to write down how the Lord had a hand in your life that day in order to preserve and share it with your family later. The archived article, Remember, Oh Remember, is worth reading; or if you are so inclined, there is a video stream available on the Sunday Morning Session of General Conference 2007.

Arlena Puffer read from her copy of Elder Eyring’s talk and I could hear Elder Eyring’s voice, having enjoyed that particular talk only a month ago.

“When our children were very small, I started to write down a few things about what happened every day. Let me tell you how that got started. I came home late from a Church assignment. It was after dark. My father-in-law, who lived near us, surprised me as I walked toward the front door of my house. He was carrying a load of pipes over his shoulder, walking very fast and dressed in his work clothes. I knew that he had been building a system to pump water from a stream below us up to our property.

He smiled, spoke softly, and then rushed past me into the darkness to go on with his work. I took a few steps toward the house, thinking of what he was doing for us, and just as I got to the door, I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.”

I went inside. I didn’t go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family. Grandpa didn’t have to do what he was doing for us. He could have had someone else do it or not have done it at all. But he was serving us, his family, in the way covenant disciples of Jesus Christ always do. I knew that was true. And so I wrote it down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it.”

I too keep a journal, maybe not as well as Elder Eyring’s; but I write those things which are important to me. Sometimes I share it with anyone interested and call it a blog while other times it becomes a more personal issue and I share it in the form of a letter. One year I made an effort to record my thoughts on a variety of subjects using a commercial booklet form complete with Thomas Kinkade art on the cover. I didn’t like the way the questions were to be filled in; instead I used the booklet as a guide only, creating my own journal, Father’s Memories To His Child. I then had my work copied at the local Office Depot where they bound it professionally so I could give each of my children a copy.

This past week I wrote and posted my thoughts about Thanksgiving, A Day to Give Thanks To God and found some interesting articles on the Internet which didn’t fit with my narrowed opinion regarding the purpose of Thanksgiving Day. In my own way this is a form of a journal, a means of recording how the Hand of the Lord has touched my family. It may also serve as a means of opening a door for anyone who happens to stop by to read my thoughts, a planting of a seed that may one day sprout.

Many of you are familiar with Neil Boortz, author of, Somebody’s Got to Say It, and his daily blog, Nealz Nuze. He usually has a place at the end of each day’s writings, a list of required reading which would further inform his readership of things which he considered important to be aware of; like a homework assignment. Along that line of thought I would include, The General Epistle of James as found in the New Testament; only a few pages if you’re worried about having too many pages to turn. I would include, as part of this great experiment on building faith, something from the Book of Mormon, Alma Chapter 32: all verses; but mostly 26-43 as they deal with the most basic elements of faith.

Continuing with your reading assignments, Helaman Chapter 12, a reminder of the nothingness of man. From the Hymn Book, Count Your Blessings, click on the option “Words and Music”. Last on the list would be a song recorded by Bing Crosby and performed in the movie, White Christmas, Count Your Blessings ( Instead of Sheep). I’d have printed the words out here except it would probably violate some copyright or royalty interest.

When you are through with the reading assignments you should have a better understanding of how important gratitude and being Thankful to your Heavenly Father is; more importantly, it might open your heart and mind to a more spiritual portion of life, something which is more important than all the gold in Fort Knox.

Cryptodeletion Conspiracy Theory

I watched the movie, Conspiracy Theory, with Mel Gibson and was drawn in by a character who lived in a very scary world where every event was connected to an all out effort, a Conspiracy by Them and They. I felt sorry for the deranged and traumatized individual running around the city, his mind having been chemically altered through government experiments intended to turn him into a controlled assassin. At no time was he ever certain of his reality, his mind being a toss salad of perceived events leading him to suspect the most mundane; often with uncanny results.

Oh, My Gosh! They and Them have silenced my blog. I went to check on the availability of information on the subject by other bloggers after having posted my article Crytodeletion only minutes ago. I Googled the word Crytodeletion and nothing came up, not my article or the one which I knew had been posted by Never Yet Melted, the one I’d linked with.

I’m hearing the melodramatic sounds employed on the Kraft Mystery Radio Show, that whirring Sci-Fi generated noise that implies skullduggery which can only mean They or Them are blocking my blogs on a minute to minute basis. I need to go to the bathroom but I’m afraid. Quick, climb on the roof, crawl around under the shade of the large oak tree where visibility is limited and crawl through the window on the other side of the house so They and Them can’t track my “movements”.

They're coming to take me away,

Haha, they're coming to take me away,

Ho ho, hee hee, ha ha,

To the funny farm

Where Life is Beautiful all the time

And I'll be happy to see

Those Nice Young Men

In their Clean White Coats

And they're coming to take me


I wonder how many of you remember that kooky song, They're coming to take me away, Ha-haaa!, from the late 60’s or early 70’s? Is that a black ops helicopter hovering over my house as I write or just the heater fan kicking in? I’d play it for you except it was removed from my iTunes files. See, I told you!


Until this morning I’d never heard of the word Cryptodeltion much less understood its meaning. David Zincavage has a blog called Never Yet Melted where he posted an article, SF Chronicle Indulges in Cryptodeletion. I recommend a visit there where he explained how the foundations of honesty have eroded a little more through the use of new technology and old time deception.

“The San Francisco Chronicle has recently activated a devious system by which it deceives commenters on its website, SFGate.com. Here’s how it works:

If you make a comment on an article posted at SFGate, and if the site moderators then subsequently delete your comment for whatever reason, it will only appear as deleted to the other readers. HOWEVER, your comment will NOT appear to be deleted if viewed from your own computer! The Chronicle’s goal is to trick deleted commenters into not knowing their comments were in fact deleted.”

Now go read the rest of the article and pay particular attention to the comment section where even more disturbing information is offered. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the San Francisco Chronicle couldn’t be the only large newspaper to have implemented such an insidious form of censorship.

I can understand the need to moderate patently offensive language which would include vulgarity, personal assaults which would include slanderous statements or otherwise inflammatory comments; however, the use of tactics such as have been unearthed in this article involving Cryptodeletion should be cause for alarm for anyone regardless of political leanings. When an opposing view is feared to such a degree as to be silenced without having the benefit of discussion then suppression of the truth has already come and gone and there is little hope for our society, at least in a democracy of free people.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Few More Old Newspaper Pages

I wrote about the anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy a while ago, posting a scanned front page Extra that had been stored away in our desk. I thought I’d scan some others; but they are too big for the scanner so I got out my camera and spread them as carefully as I could, not wishing to damage the already fragile newspaper.

Glean what you can from these pieces of history and remember how many folks were first hand witness to these events from so long ago, folks who may let a tear trickle down their cheeks as they stumble upon these memories.

Just an Old Newspaper in a Desk Drawer

Bonnie was looking for something in one of the drawers of our old desk. At one time we could hide candy from our grandkids; but that lasted about as long as a game of hide and seek, oh well. The drawer has been used for quite some time to save important front page headline copy over the years.

The desk was given to us by my folks and has front page articles about the end of WWII, the landing on the Moon, and then there were some on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. With Thanksgiving being yesterday the date slipped past without much of a thought at all.

This afternoon we read about the visit to Houston, the day before his fateful trip to Dallas. There had been political talk circulating on how if things got tough JFK might not include Johnson on the ticket; huh, guess that would have been a different footnote in the history books.

I’ll leave you with this partial scan from a long since defunct newspaper, The Houston Press. The quality of the picture isn’t that great; but the date is clear enough and the superimposed image was haunting.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Annual Stern Children Photo 2007

It has become a tradition to have my children sit together for a group photograph each Thanksgiving after dinner. You can take a peek at last year’s in 2006, then the year before in 2005.

Lucy showed Jocelyne the pictures, pointing to a very small baby. “Daddy’s holding the baby!” Jocelyne wasn’t sure how to take it as Lucy explained that “the baby” was Jocelyne. The house looks wonderful and I wonder how long we can keep it this way; knowing full well how we tend to leave things until they get in the way and have to be moved.

This is a one year anniversary for the wood flooring that was installed the week before Thanksgiving; actually it was right up to the finish line, so to speak. We ended up moving furniture back on that morning so the house would be more useable. This year we were able to spend more time cleaning and I must say, I like what we did, wow!

A Day to Give Thanks to God

No, it’s not “Turkey Day”; it’s Thanksgiving Day. This is a day to acknowledge the hand of God in our daily lives; and yes, it’s a National Holiday. It may not always be that way thanks in part to those fine folks at the ACLU and their ilk; but for now it remains one of the few days that can still recognize God and all the blessings He’s bestowed on our land.

I work at the Houston Temple each Wednesday evening, a chance to serve the Lord as an ordinance worker. The president of the temple’s name is William Bradford, a direct descendant of another William Bradford, the first Governor of Massachusetts, the same who was in Plymouth during those terrible first years when illness and starvation took the lives of many each day. Those who survived had to bury their dead during the dark of night so hostile Indians wouldn’t know their true strength.

William Bradford has been credited with declaring the first Thanksgiving with a formal proclamation; but there is much more to the history worth reading. I’ve read where a specter of suspicion clouds the authenticity of the now famous Thanksgiving proclamation, doubts as to when it was written or even if Bradford wrote it at all. That having been said, other forms of proclamation which he certainly wrote would tend to justify or, at least vindicate our honoring the man as a true Christian hero. I borrowed this from the Descendants of William Bradford site:

"May not and ought now the children of these fathers rightly say: 'Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness, but they cried unto the Lord, and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity . . . Let them therefore praise the Lord, because He is good: and His mercies endure forever.' . . . When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord His loving kindness and His wonderful works before the sons of men."

Original Thanksgiving Proclamation

Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.

Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

William Bradford

Ye Governor of Ye Colony

Believe what you will, I prefer to give thanks to my Father in Heaven that such men as William Bradford were picked by the Hand of God to get this struggling nation past a very rocky start. I can’t say whether or not the “original” Thanksgiving Proclamation is authentic or not; all the same it’s worth reading.

I like another proclamation, this was given by George Washington on October 3, 1789. Before I forget, thanks to the Junto Society for providing a good portion of the information I’ve borrowed and linked with.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness":

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and
supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and
punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by
constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly
and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D.

(signed) G. Washington

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Individual Gun Rights or Not

Bill Mears, writing for CNN’s Washington Bureau held my attention with a lead story, “The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide whether the District of Columbia's sweeping ban on handgun ownership violates the Constitution's fundamental right to "keep and bear arms."” The case is expected to hit the court sometime in March with a final decision around June or July, just in time to be a hot topic prior to the presidential elections.

Quoting directly from the Mears article:

“City leaders had urged the high court to intervene, saying refusal to do so could prove dire.

"The District of Columbia -- a densely populated urban locality where the violence caused by handguns is well documented -- will be unable to enforce a law that its elected officials have sensibly concluded saves lives," wrote attorneys for the city.

Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty and other officials held a public rally in September, with the message that more handguns will only mean more serious crime.”

Did I read that correctly, “violence caused by handguns is well documented”? That’s interesting; I always thought violence was the result of humans without self control, and that is well documented. Handguns, if left alone are harmless and only hold the potential for violence when placed in the hands of humans. I suppose that Mayor Fenty could be correct seeing as how so many criminals reside in the Washington, DC area; and that would include folks who are not members of Congress as well.

The issue at hand is whether or not individuals have the right, something which is God given as opposed to an entitlement which is granted by the power of government, individuals have the right to bear arms for defense of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is what the United States Supreme Court will be looking at.

I took a few minutes to read what the ScotusBlog had to say on this issue and came away with a much more informed article; sorry Mears, I’d rather have facts than pap. I don’t hold my hopes too high when it comes to letting the “Men in Black” weigh in on important issues; look what happened to individual property rights with the Kelo decision.

“The city of Washington’s appeal (District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290) seeking to revive its flat ban on private possession of handguns is expected to be heard in March — slightly more than a year after the D.C. Circuit Court ruled that the Second Amendment right is a personal one, at least to have a gun for self-defense in one’s own home. (The Court took no action on Tuesday on a conditional cross-petition, Parker, et al., v. District of Columbia, 07-335, an appeal by five District residents seeking to join in the case. The absence of any action may mean that the Court has decided not to hear that case. If that is so, it will be indicated in an order next Monday. The Court also may simply be holding the case until it decides the Heller case.)”

I have little faith in government representatives to rule against the government, the temptation to usurp powers not granted them by the very Constitution they claim to revere has proven, at least in the past, too great for these far from perfect human beings we have given ourselves over to. Thank God I don’t live in Washington DC!

Autumn on Autumnbrook Drive

We’ve been getting the house ready here on Autumnbrook for Thanksgiving where our family and several of our friends will have a chance to enjoy a great meal and visit this Thursday. We’ll take a picture of the Stern Kids and Grandkids for posting, something of a tradition to document each year. I hope they notice how clean the chandeliers are with the crystals bouncing all manner of prisms off their squeaky clean surfaces; that was one of my jobs. I cheated on the one in the kitchen nook where I figured out how to place most of the glass into the dishwasher and let it do the hard work; all I had to do was put it all back together when it was clean.

I visited Sliding Through Life the other day where she’d posted several photographs of the fall colors in the Tennessee area. This afternoon as a light rain fell, the clouds nearly caught in the trees of my back yard; I decided to share a bit of the season here in Houston. The temperature is in the mid 70’s with a mist of light rain making for a perfect afternoon to be inside cleaning. I did the bathtub last night and nearly choked on the Clorox fumes used to get rid of the stuff that grows in the grout and corner seal material. It shines pretty good, enough so that anyone going in there won’t mistake it for a gasoline station restroom. The Hibiscus is full of buds ready to break out in awesome red blossoms any day, hopefully by Thanksgiving Day. Our mild winters permit the Philodendron next to the garage to flourish; but on rare occasion we’ve had to haul it inside to protect it from a hard freeze, every fourth year or so.

I have Scheherazade playing on iTunes; wonder if that’s Freudian, my having posted a picture of the Kama Sutra book cover on my last article? I downloaded the sounds my wind chimes make into iTunes, the sounds they make when the breezes blow through the port between the garage and my house. We have two sets, one with base tones that reverberate long after having been struck and the other with tenor tones. I hope my neighbors enjoy them as much as we do. I tried once before to include those sounds as part of my blog; but never could make that function work. The links provided will take you to a website where you can listen to each and give you a good idea of what they sound like, not being certain that these are exactly the same; close enough for most ears.

Please remember to thank your Father in Heaven for the many blessings we have here in our little corner of the world; not forgetting the many challenges that go along with those blessings. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

Invasion of the Nanny State

Dad is home now, having both knees replaced with all the rehabilitation therapy that goes with it. I called my folks this morning and Dad was tired out from walking the isles at the new Publix grocery store. They couldn’t understand what was wrong with the older, smaller store and why the new one had to be so big.

Mom wanted to know where I was while we talked; calling on my cell phone and giving her a heads up on traffic or where I’m headed next. I was turning into Northgate, by the golf course on my way home. Northgate has some of the high dollar houses; where the rich and shameless live, as a friend of mine likes to put it. A fire truck with lights and siren turned in ahead of me along with a support truck. I told mom that I hoped it wasn’t headed for the “invisible house”.

I may have written about the invisible house before; but couldn’t find it after a short search of my files, perhaps I should do a better job of filing. Some of the more affluent folks have large lots behind their huge homes. They sometimes add a garage apartment, entertainment room, barbeque area or any number of structures to improve their life styles.

A few years ago I observed what appeared to be preparations for such a structure as forms of sand were leveled and a “temporary” electric service pole was erected adjacent to that sand form. A fancy circular driveway was poured along with the installation of a fancy electrically operated wrought iron gate on either end of the drive. All manner of landscaping was put in; shrubs, trees and a lawn that was immaculately trimmed twice a week. I kept waiting to see construction, anything to justify the sand which had been prepared for a foundation; it never happened.

I came to the conclusion that the structure had been built; just that it was invisible. They’d used ultra secret high technology to make it appear as if nothing were there when in fact people were already living within; just not visible because the reflective surfaces used some kind of stealth materials to hide the building. Each time I drive past the invisible house I get a kick when I see a truck parked in the driveway, the yard man trimming away or folks sitting on the wooden park bench.

I noticed a green plastic form, something like a playground box shaped like a turtle shell that had been placed on top of the sand form where I had supposed a foundation would one day be poured. I then came to the conclusion that I had been wrong about there being an invisible house; instead it must be the entrance to an underground bomb shelter made to look like a child’s play area. Below, perhaps several hundred feet, there are living quarters, a swimming pool, a bowling alley and maybe even a miniature golf course for when the “big one” takes out Houston and surrounding areas.

Dad grew tired of listening, I often have that effect on folks, and left the conversation to Mom and me. I found that the Visiting Nurse Association had already made a visit to insure a safe environment for Dad as he continued his rehabilitation work on his new knees. Mom had been instructed to get rid of all the beautiful Oriental rugs to prevent any accidents. All the rugs had been rolled up and placed into storage until Dad passes off some check list of progress. I can’t imagine their home without those beautiful rugs; the Nanny State has arrived.

I asked if the VNA had gone through their Kama Sutra book marking which pages were safe to use; that got a laugh out of Mom. A few years back she recalled having watched a television show; I think it was the Golden Girls, where the ladies had given a wedding present to one of their senior citizen friends, a large print copy of the Kama Sutra. We both laughed; how often would such a conversation surface?

Dad once told me a story of an ambitious Irish lad intent on sailing for America to make his fortune. As he prepared to leave, his friends and neighbors surrounded him with advice and well wishing as he boarded the steamer. An old grey haired woman asked him to look up her son who’d moved to New York City many years ago but had never bothered to write home, “His name is John, John Dunn. If you see him tell him to write his dear old mother.” Dad made it a point when telling this story to talk with an Irish accent, “Write yer mither”; so shoot me for destroying the language.

Months went by and the lad found himself wandering around the financial district near Wall Street in downtown New York. Upon looking up he noticed the title on one of the buildings, Dunn and Bradstreet. He thought to himself, “Could it be the son of that dear neighbor has really made it big here in America?”

He walked in the front doors, amazed at the grandeur of the stately building, and walked to the receptionist’s desk. “Have you a John here?” The woman pointed down a hall and explained that it was on the left.

Upon entering the men’s room another fellow was walking out, “Are you Dunn?” and the man replied that he was. “Well, then, write your mither!”

Sunday, November 18, 2007


To participate is very easy, just view the attached photo, correctly answer the following questions and send your answers to:International Olympic Committee, Private Bag, Lausanne , Switzerland .
1. Which student seems to appear tired / sleepy?
2. Which ones are male twins?
3. Which ones are the female twins?
4. How many women are in the group?
5. Which one is the teacher?
Good Luck!

File this under tasteless Western Humor totally lacking in good manners and most definitely not Politically Correct. I posted this for my friend the Teflonman, Eugene Tan.

Heads You Win Tails You Loose Sign

Rachael, one of the ladies who stops by to leave comments on Lucy’s blog got to stay at a bed and breakfast in Rugby, Tennessee this past week. Rachael posts about her experiences at Sliding Through Life if you’d like to take a few minutes to enjoy her writing style and, in this article, the fall colors this time of year.

I loved this photograph from the General Store she visited, enough to steal it for my files. (Click on the image to enlarge) This beats what I’d started to rant about, some ignorant buzzards getting their drawers in a bind because “those Mormons” claim to be Christians. I actually started to respond; never mind, I said what needed to said here and will leave the subject alone, for now anyway.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Response

I sent the below letter back to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the envelope intended to hold a check; but, since I had to supply my own stamp I saw no harm in that. The letter will get tossed in the trash once it becomes clear that no money accompanied it anyway.

On the off chance that you get the impression that I hold the Democratic Party to a higher standard than the Republican Party, I wish to make it clear that I find both parties sorely lacking in those qualities necessary to guide the United States of America. You will find a similar response I sent to the
Republican Party in April of 2005.

The aristocracy which these so called representatives have created for themselves, their utter disregard for the opinions of those who have elected them to office speaks much more than the fund raiser letters which arrive each year declaring their undivided loyalty as long as I send them a minimum donation of $25, $50, $100 or higher.

November 15, 2007

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
430 South Capital Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

Rep. Chris Van Hollen
DCCC Chairman

Dear Sir,

My wife received a letter from your office requesting funds to “overcome President Bush’s misguided and stubborn resistance to our ideals and policies”. Some of the items were listed; strengthened House ethics rules, repealing billions in oil industry tax breaks, lowering student loan interest rates, reducing prescription costs for people on Medicare, funding stem-cell research, raising minimum wages and holding the Bush Administration accountable for its disastrous policies on the war in Iraq. I think that about covered what was in the letter.

It went on, “despite public support for these initiatives, President Bush is vetoing key parts of our agenda…” Thank God for the Presidential Veto is all I can say to the disastrous policies that the Democratic Party would have implemented and continues to attempt to implement.

Your double standards on enforcement of ethics is beyond my ability to express with words as a certain well known legislator from Louisiana continues to remain active after having been caught red handed with bribe money, money that he had hidden away in his freezer; but he’s a Democrat so it can be overlooked.

You sound so righteous as you go after the big oil companies and their tax breaks; but what about the Lilliputian jump ropes, hoops and fences that must be straddled by these oil companies in order to drill for oil or refine that oil into gasoline. Maybe you haven’t noticed the price of gasoline doubled and continues to rise almost daily because oil companies can’t keep up with demand; and why is that, because they can’t skip your rope, jump through your hoops or straddle the fences erected by the Democrats in order to build new refineries. We have oil to spare in areas of our own country; but we won’t let our oil companies drill, instead we’d rather pay for foreign oil from those who could even be considered our enemies.

You have decided that stem-cell research is a national commitment, similar to the national commitment on making abortion available to anyone who desires one. Aside from the moral issues that could be drawn out for pages upon pages; what gives Congress the authority to use public funds for any of the “feel good” give away programs? The answer is simple, Congress never has had the authority to use public monies in this manner, at least the Constitution has never given Congress such powers.

The Constitution, for those who may never have heard of the document, is supposed to be a set of rules which define what government may and may not do; but those elected to sit in Washington have been ignoring the Constitution for so long as to relegate it into the dust bin, along with common sense, honor, dignity, truthfulness and character.

You brought up the war in Iraq, as if it was a slam dunk, no doubt about it the public has spoken kind of issue. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi continue to speak, out of turn mind you, as if the United States of America has no business defending itself from Islamic Terrorism which happens to use the Middle East as its stronghold. You may wish to hide your heads in the sand, please don’t expect the thinking public to follow suit.

I do not claim to be a war strategist; quite simply I do not have the necessary information to make an informed strategy. I must rely on those in the know, specifically the President, his advisors and the military. I have long since quit relying on the news media and Democratic Congress to be truthful on a wide range of topics, the war in Iraq heading the list at the present time. The Democratic Party has invested itself on the premise that the United States of America must loose the war, regardless of the price. That price includes abandoning the people of Iraq who have found a glimpse of Democracy and freedom. That price includes permitting al Queda to regroup and return to power as they continue to promise and threaten to destroy Israel and Western Civilizations which do not bow to their religion of death and hate. That price includes more than I am willing to pay, more than the American public is willing to pay; we must win regardless of how long it takes, there is no reasoning with terrorists.

I will do everything in my power to defeat the policies presented by the Democratic Party, a party which at one time had honorable men; but which has turned into the American version of the Socialist Party. You cannot even be honest with the public about your agenda, an agenda which provides for a totally socialistic way of life. My taxes have gone through the roof to help fund entitlement programs, my taxes have been used to pay for pork barrel spending which a reasonable thinking person would never spend a nickel on, much less millions or billions. You have the nerve to ask for voluntary donations; all the while you and the Democratic congress are robbing me blind. No, I don’t think I will send any money to help your cause; I gave at the office.

T F Stern

Give This Guy the Dirty Harry Award

A neighbor, reportedly in his 70’s, observed burglary suspects coming out of his neighbor’s house during the night and grabbed his shotgun. A few minutes later he explained to the police how he’d shot each of them as they tried to escape. So, “What’s wrong with that?” I ask; forgetting the disconnect between the rational society from when I was brought up and the new society which protects the so called rights of the bad guys more than the rights of those trying to preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Quoting directly from the Houston Chronicle article:

“Texas law allows people to use deadly force to protect their own property to stop an arson, burglary, robbery, theft or criminal mischief at night, or to prevent someone committing such a crime at night from escaping with the property.

But the person using deadly force must believe there is no other way to protect their belongings and must suspect that taking less drastic measures could expose themselves or others to serious danger.

A state senator who authored a law passed this year giving Texans
stronger rights to defend themselves with deadly force said he did not believe the legislation he spearheaded would apply to the Pasadena case, based on the sketchy facts that have emerged so far.

Sen. Jeff Wentworth, a San Antonio Republican, said the so-called
castle doctrine law he wrote doesn't apply to people protecting their neighbors' property. The measure "is not designed to have kind of a 'Law West of the Pecos' mentality or action,"

Wentworth said. "You're supposed to be able to defend your own home, your own family, in your house, your place of business or your motor vehicle."”

Sen. Jeff Wentworth is saying that we should turn our backs on neighbors in need, that burglary suspects, robbers and thieves who are not burglarizing your house, robbing you personally or thieves who haven’t stolen anything from your house must be considered off limits. Sen. Jeff Wentworth needs to smell some of what he’s shoveling.

This is where Dirty Harry would have said, “Well I’m all broken up about the suspect’s rights”, turning away in disgust as the judge and District Attorney explain the finer points of law.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Is My Blog a Tough Read?

Move Mike displayed a “diploma” showing the readability of his blog.

Here’s my diploma…

cash advance

That explains it, too many drop outs.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Want some neat wallpaper for your monitor?

Click on each picture, save it to your files, go to your Control Panel and go to where you change the background or wallpaper. Then pick one of these and use the "stretch" to fit mode so it takes up the entire monitor without having any borders. I hope you enjoy what you see.
These were some of the many photographs available from the Digital Dragonfly Museum. I altered these to remove the printing and captions, either with a digital air brush or simply by cropping the photos.

Jennifer’s 28th Birthday

Here’s Jennifer and Justin just before we lighted the candles for her 28th birthday celebration. You will notice that we can’t add, 24 + 5 doesn’t equal 28; but we didn’t have any other candles so we had to be creative.
Jocelyne enjoyed singing Happy Birthday to her mommy and when the song ended she was clapping for having done a good job. Lucy shared a piece of chocolate cake and some Natural Vanilla Bean Blue Bell Ice Cream from her plate so that the table cloth would survive until its next use on Thanksgiving Day.

Love is Spoken Here

This afternoon we were blessed by the Primary’s Sacrament Presentation where all the children participated in a scripted lesson interlaced with a variety of songs. I worked as a teacher in the Primary for many years, perhaps the most enjoyable calling I’ve ever had in the Church. Many of the songs were familiar; however, none were more powerfully rendered than Love is Spoken Here, the men’s/boy’s part being carried strongly by Brother Ben Ireland. Both Lucy and I wept openly as the Spirit touched our hearts.

I’ve included a link in the title bar to a simple version, a chance to hear it while at the same time I’d have to say that it comes no where near as powerful as today’s presentation by a large group of Primary children and Ben Ireland’s voice helping out. Make sure to click on the option “words and music”.

“Love Is Spoken Here,” Children’s Songbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 190–91

Gently Sing parts separately, then combined using third ending.

1. (Girls) I see my mother kneeling with our family each day. I hear the words she whispers as she bows her head to pray. Her plea to the Father quiets all my fears, And I am thankful love is spoken here.

2. (Boys) Mine is a home where ev’ry hour is blessed by the strength of priesthood pow’r, With father and mother leading the way, Teaching me how to trust and obey; And the things they teach are crystal clear, For love is spoken here.

[3rd ending] I can often feel the Savior near When love is spoken here.

Words and music: Janice Kapp Perry, b. 1938© 1980 by Janice Kapp Perry. This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial church or home use.

A Dragonfly with Class

I get a kick out of watching Dragonflies, an ancient flying insect with uncanny abilities that have baffled scientists for years. I read some information on Kathy Biggs website where, “you couldn't find a handy guidebook for identifying dragonflies until quite recently. The Audubon Society’s Insects and Spiders field guide could be helpful, but this and other older insect guides cover only a few of the desert species of dragonflies.”

“Like hummingbirds, and unlike the butterflies, dragonflies can maneuver quickly, making rapid zigzag maneuvers. Occasionally though, you’ll find one basking in the sun or claiming and defending a territory on a pond or creek where it can be observed at leisure. Otherwise, enjoy the aerial antics of one of Earth's very first fliers: indeed, they predate the dinosaurs and are among our most ancient creatures.”

I think the Dragonfly I spot from time to time, I’m assuming it’s the same one, resting motionlessly on the antenna’s tip has been dreaming of the wind rush he might feel as my little green BMW Z-3 Coupe zips down the road; he’s never landed on the antenna of my work truck. I snapped this through my kitchen window and then tried to slip out the back door, around the trunk and zoom in even closer. The moment I rounded the bumper of my truck it took off, having noticed my movement its four wings sprang into defensive mode. With reactions like that it’s no wonder these wonderfully equipped flying machines have survived and flourished.

There’s a Dragonfly Museum on line where much more information can be found, photographs of these prehistoric jewels and other information for those interested. Take a moment or two, maybe three to appreciate something older than the dinosaurs.

Veteran’s Day 2007

I hadn’t given much thought about Veteran’s Day until I got something from the Houston Police Retired Officers Association in my email. They had a slide show presentation honoring veterans who’ve served our country, many of whom are sons or daughters of police officers here in Houston. The link is provided in the title bar.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Trip to Wal-Mart

My oldest daughter, Bonnie, was telling me what a good time she had with a friend last night at the local Wal-Mart. They had been to a birthday party at Jennifer’s, my other daughter’s house, playing on the “Wii” computer game thing; golf and bowling. Bonnie decided that they needed to go to Wal-Mart to buy some socks so they could go to a real bowling alley. The link in the title bar would indicate they should have gone to Target, oh well.

“It’ll be fun”, she told her date. Did I mention that Bonnie’s decided that being an adult doesn’t necessarily require acting grown up; a chip off the old block so to speak.

I then was told how they went to the toy department where a game of dodge ball broke out in the isles. That led to the more advanced game, a combination of hide and seek dodge ball; running down various isles in the store, hiding at the end and peeking around corners, more running down isles and bonking the opponent with the plastic dodge ball. I’m sure the management was thrilled to have these young people in the store.

The nice thing about having Bonnie explain things like dodge ball in the Wal-Mart store is how she can also explain the mathematical formulas involved, the trajectories for each ball could be plotted with X and Y coordinates to establish when it would hit the opponent. Look our NASA, here she comes.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Swift Boated

I read where former sexual predator President Bill Clinton was concerned about vulnerability after the Democratic debates last week; well, since most sexual predators remain active the part about having been a former president is accurate. A reference was made to advertisements that were highly successful in blocking John Kerry’s bid for the White House, “Former President Clinton said Wednesday that all the Democratic presidential candidates could be open to a "swift boat kind of ad" if they try to give quick responses to complicated issues like driver's licenses for illegal immigrants.”

I suppose a little history lesson would be in order, a means of explaining the meaning of the term Swift Boated”. Correct me if I’m mistaken; but John Kerry was exposed for being a liar and for attempting to gain the presidency based on the fabrications which came to light by members who had served along side of him, all fellow Swift Boaters. To be Swift Boated means to be exposed as a liar or someone who can’t be trusted; but then again I could be mistaken.

Having that in mind as the term Swift Boated is tossed out as a caution to all Democratic presidential hopefuls would and should be accorded extra weight. Bill Clinton has warned us, accidentally perhaps; but he has alerted everyone that all the Democratic presidential hopefuls can’t be trusted to tell the truth.

These folks can’t afford to tell the public what they really believe, what they really intend to do if given the opportunity as president or they couldn’t be elected dog catcher. They want to raise taxes; to confiscate money from the public in order to make that public subservient to government. They want to override public opinion regarding illegal immigration and destroy any hope of controlling our nation’s borders or citizenship issues. Sleep safe and vote for Hillary because it’s all “for the children”.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

All you need now is milk

A special tip of the hat to my friend Richard Sutton for sending this one. Normally this would be something Lucy would post on her blog, this is important stuff, more than who will be the next president, more than who will go to the Super Bowl. Cookies are that important.

Just click on the name of the cookie and bam the recipe is there. Good to keep handy

1-2-3 Cookies 7 Layer Cookies Allie Nelson's Famous Snickerdoodle Cookies Almond Crescent Shortbread Amish Sugar Cookies Andies Candies Cookies Angel Crisps Angenets Applesauce Cookies Apricot Fold-Overs Aunt Edy's Molasses Crinkles Auntie Linda's Ginger Gems Bakeless Dream Cookies Banana Drop Cookies Best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the World Biscotti Biscotti Blueberry Cookies Boiled Chocolate Oatmeal Drop Cookies Bronwnies Brown Sugar Shortbread Brownie Cookies Brownie Delight Brownies Buccaneer Snowballs Buried Cherry Cookies Butter Cookies Butter Nut Balls Butterballs Butterscotch Haystacks C.O.P. Cookies Candy Cane Cookies Candy Cookies Caramel Shortbread Cheesecake Brownies Cherry Buns Cherry Crowns Cherry Winks Chewies Chewy Noels Chinese Chews/Haystacks Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars Chocolate Chip Cookies Chocolate Chip Meltaways Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies Chocolate Christmas Trees Chocolate Cream Cheese Squares Chocolate Crinkles Chocolate Mint Snow-Top Cookies Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (no bake) Chocolate Snowball Cookies Chocolate Streusel Bars Chocolate Sundae Cookies Chocolate Walnut Crumb Bars Choco-Scotch Crunchies Choose A Cookie Dough Recipe Christmas Crackers Christmas Crunch Bars Christmas Ginger Snaps Christmas Macaroons Christmas Mice Cookies Christmas Shaped Cookies Church Window Cookies Coconut Cookies Congo Squares Cookie in a Jar Corn Flakes Cookies Cornflake Christmas Wreaths Cowboy Cookies (oatmeal) Cream Cheese Cookies with Apricot Filling Crème De Menthe Chocolate Squares Crème Wafers Crescent Cookies Crispy Crunchies Date Nut Balls Date-nut Pinwheel Cookies Diabetic Peanut Butter Cookies Disgustingly Rich Brownies Doodles Double chocolate chip cookies Double-Chocolate Crinkles Eatmore Cookies Eggnog Cookies Elizabeth's Sugar Cookies Elves Quick Fudge Brownies Emily Dickinson's Gingerbread Cookie Recipe Emily's Best Brownies Famous Oatmeal Cookies Firemen Cookies Fluffy Shortbread Cookies Forgotten Cookies Frosted Peanut Butter Brownies Fruit Cake Cookies Fruitcake Squares Fry Pan Cookies Gems Ginger Cookies Ginger Crinkles Gingerbread Baby Gingerbread Cookies with Butter Cream Icing Gingerbread Men Gingerbread Men Ginny's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Glory's Golden Graham Squares Glory's Sugar Cookies Gramma Chapman's chocolate coconut drops Grandma Elsie's Zimt (cinnamon) Cookies Grandma J's Butter Cookies Grandma Olson's Parkay Cookies Great Grandmothers Sugar Cookies Gum Drop Cookies Gumdrop Gems Haystack Cookies Ho-Ho Bars Holiday Cereal Snaps Holiday Chocolate Butter Cookies Holiday Raisin Walnut Bars Holly Cookies Hungarian Cookies (Little Nut Rolls) Ice Box Cookies Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies Italian Cookies Jacob's Peppermint Snowballs Jam Bars Jessica's Famous Brownies Jessie's Chocolate Chip Cookies Jubilee Jumbles Juliet's Peanut Butter Blossoms Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies Kentucky Colonels Kiefle (cream cheese cookies with jam filling) Kifflings Kiss Cookies Lacy Swedish Almond Wafers Lemon Angel Bar Cookies Lemon Bars Lemon Cake Cookies Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies Lemon Squares Linzer Tarts Log Cabin Cookies Luscious Lemon Squares M&M Cookies Magic Cookie Bars Melt in Your Mouth Cutout Sugar Cookies Melting Shortbread Meme's Cream Cheese Cookies Milk Chocolate Florentine Cookies Mincemeat Cookies Mincemeat Goodies Molasses Cookies Molasses Forest Cookies Molasses Sugar Cookies Mom Mom's Crescent Cookies Mom-Mom's Ginger Cookies Mom's Nutmeg Sugar Cookies Mom's Old Fashion "Puffy" Sugar Cookies Monster Cookies Moravian Christmas Cookies Nana's Famous Soft Southern Cookies Nitey Nite Cookies No Bake Chocolate Cookies No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies No Bake Cookies No Bake Cookies No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies No-Bake Cookies Norwegian Sugar Cookies Nut Balls Oatmeal Bars Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Nut Cookies Oatmeal Coconut Crisps Oatmeal Cookies Oatmeal Scotchies Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies Ooey Gooey Caramel Chocolate Dunk Ooey Gooey Squares Orange Slice Cookies Parking Lot Cookies Peanut Blossoms Peanut Butter Bars Peanut Butter Blossoms Peanut Butter Cereal Cookies Peanut Butter Chewies Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars Peanut Butter Cookies Peanut Butter Cookies Peanut butter fingers Peanut Butter Reindeer Peanut Butter Surprises Peanut Marshmallow Cookies Pecan Puff Cookies Peppermint Snowballs Peppernuts Persimmon Cookies Persimmon Cookies Petey's Yummy Spicy Almond Thins Pfeffernuesse Pffefferneuse Cookies Pineapple Filled Cookies Pizzelles Potato Chip Cookies Potato Flake Cookies Praline Cookies Praline Strips Pterodactyl Nests Pumpkin Bars Pumpkin Bars Pumpkin Chip Cookies Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Pumpkin Cookies Queen Biscuits Quick Cookies Raised Sugar Cookies Raisin Filled Oatmeal Bars Raspberry Meringue Bars Really Peanutty Butter Cookies Reese`s Brownies Reese's Peanut Butter Bars Rich Flavor Christmas Cookies Rich Lemon Bars Ricotta Cheese Cookies Royal Almond Christmas Bars Rudolph Cinnamon Cookies Russian Tea Cookies Russian Teacakes Samantha & Kelsey's Chocolate Chip Cookies Sand Art Brownies Santa Claus Cookie Pops Santa Claus Cookies Santa's Butterscotch Melts Santa's Shorts Santa's Special Squares Scotch Cakes Scotch Shortbread Scotcharoos Scotcheroos Seven Layer Cookies Short Bread Cookies Shortbread Skor Squares Snicker Doodle Cookies Snickerdoodles Snickerdoodles Snow Balls Sour Cream Apple Squares Sour Cream Christmas Cookies Special K Cookies Spice Cookies Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Spritz Cookies Stained Glass Window Cookies Stir & Drop Sugar Cookies Sugar Cookies Sugar Cookies Sugar Cookies Swedish Pepparkakor (Pepper Cake) Cookies Swedish Sugar Cookies Sweet Marie's Swiss Treats Taralle (Italian Cookies) Tea Time Tassies Texas Brownies The Best Shortbread in The World Thumbprint Cookies Thumbprint Cookies Toffee Squares Traditional Christmas Sugar Cookies Traditional Gingerbread Men Cookies Triple-Chocolate Chip Cookies Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies Vanilla Waffer Balls Walnut Butter Cookies Walnut Crumb Bars White Chip Chocolate Cookies Wild Oatmeal Cookies Will's Famous Apple Jack Cookies Yummy Yummy Peanut Butter Blossoms