Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thursday Notes

Get Out of That Contract

I have discovered a wonderful little site called The Consumerist, which offers all sorts of tips on how to get out certain obligations you should never have committed such as gym memberships and cell phone contracts.

Iranian Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (a.k.a. "President Tom") just sent a letter to the American people. I didn't have an easy time finding the actual letter, but if you'd like to see it in it's entirety (on a Jewish website!) go here.

It's very easy to dismiss it at first. The stilted language and the earnest nerdiness of it all makes you think of that weird kid you avoided in highschool. You know, the one that always played Dungeons & Dragons and renamed all of his friends with codenames like Ulraf The Great and Frodo. He didn't bathe often, and was always trying to get in your face and vehemently discuss something that you had absolutely no interest in.

President Tom's disgusting prejudice against an ethnic group (the Jews) is enough to stop most educated people from wanting to read the letter. And I can't say that I blame anyone who wishes to avoid it.

Glenn Beck did a great run-down on it today. I don't feel like tackling it right now. Suffice it to say, the most important part is the last paragraph:

"We should all heed the Divine Word of the Holy Qur’an: "But those who repent, have faith and do good may receive Salvation. Your Lord, alone, creates and chooses as He will, and others have no part in His choice; Glorified is God and Exalted above any partners they ascribe to Him." (28:67-68) I pray to the Almighty to bless the Iranian and American nations and indeed all nations of the world with dignity and success."

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Islamic faith, this is President Tom's polite way of declaring war.

Just as Osama Bin Laden, he is telling us that the ultimate authority is Allah. And, in classic radical Islamic thinking, this means that if the U.S.A. doesn't accept that authority and turn to Allah, we are free game.

Make no mistake about it. President Tom has just declared war against us, and this is his final warning shot. It's aimed not simply toward us. It's also an attempt to let all the other Islamic countries know that he has fulfilled all the religious obligations which he must do before he can attack.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Leave it to Florida: The Freak Show State

I live in Florida: Land of Chads, where circus freaks retire, mermaids dwell, and 38% of us voted for Katherine Harris. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Florida attracts weirdos because it's easier to live on the cheap here. Many of our transplants couldn't make it anywhere else, so they moved to Florida where they can find just enough work to supplement their addictions, habits, and other neurotic behaviors.

After all, how many qualified people choose to work in a "Right to Work" state, where they can be easily fired for no reason whatsoever? That isn't to say there aren't good quality people here, but they're the minority. Most of our workforce is a living example of the maxim "You get what you pay for." My friends The Lazy Iguana and Michelle will back me on this, I know.

Yet another bizarre story was reported yesterday. Bizarre for you, that is. For us, this is the norm. A 38 year old woman went missing 3 days before Halloween in nearby New Port Richey. She was living with her parents and sister, who called the police to report that although she was missing, her purse and other personal effects were left behind.

Yesterday she was found. Rotting. Upside down. Behind her bookcase.

Her family says they noticed a bad odor but thought is was rats rotting in the wall. Why didn't they open up the wall to extract the rats? God only knows. The police do not suspect foul play. Yup, that's right. And you know what? I believe it was truly an accident (read the article for the reason).

Only in Florida: Land of the Freak, Home of the Brazen.

Update on Julio

He's home, resting. Until the swelling goes down, they can't operate on his eye. The men that attacked him have all been arrested and charged. One is an unregistered sex offender, another is an ex-felon with a record as long as your arm. The others that stood around him and encouraged the attackers were also charged.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Hate Crime

My friend "Julio" is a victim of a hate crime. He's a soft-spoken, sweet-natured Hispanic guy with a great sense of humor and engaging personality. Everyone loves Julio, or so I would guess.

However, during the weekend he walked outside his home to see some white rednecks lounging about on his vehicle. When he politely asked them to leave it alone, they grew beligerant and started throwing out racial slurs. He suddenly found himself surrounded.

Julio saw nothing good coming out of the situation, and he's a pacivist. As he turned to run, he tripped, fell, and suddenly they were on top of him. While his girlfriend stood there, screaming for the men to stop, one of the men took a brick and smashed in the side of his eye socket. We don't know yet if they'll be able to save the eye. He's in the hospital under an assumed name, as they do with all victims.

One of Julio's friends told him that they'll hunt down the guys when he's better, and teach them a lesson. Julio said no: Two wrongs don't make a right. The only good news that comes out of this is that the police know who the guys are, and the severity of the charges will be tripled now that it's labeled as a "hate crime".

Racism? In the Tampa Bay Area? We're very metropolitan (we're ranked up there with New York City, Dallas, and the Miami area). It's very rare to find a southern accent here: We're not truly "The Deep South", but sometimes The Deep South intrudes upon us. And, like any major metro area, there is crime. But here? Where you can find people of all colors peppered throughout? Racism is a losing battle here: Redneck go home!

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Food Con

Why is it that there is always someone out there sneaking mice, cockroaches, worms, and (in at least one case) a finger into restaurant food? Pssst! You morons! It's time to give it up. They're on to you!

Those cons worked well in the 80s and into the 90s, but now the restaurants are fighting back! People are getting slapped with defamation suits, they're going to jail or getting fined for false testimony. Hellooo? If you want to pull a fast one, try something else.

The latest one that I've heard of is detailed here in the St. Pete Times today. It's about a woman named Muriel who supposedly ate a McDonalds hamburger covered in little green worms. Then she got sick, ended up on the hospital with an EColi infection, and is suing McDonalds.

Her testimony is shaky at best. She claims she wolfed part of it quickly, then saw the worms, had her hubby take a picture (he could only produce a picture with one worm). Then she fell ill, went to the hospital, and tried to get the doctors to agree that it was the burger that got her. They wouldn't. And an expert says the worm is most likely to be a butterfly caterpillar and wouldn't harm her if she ate it. (Unless, of course, the worm/caterpillar was carrying EColi, I should add. Maybe that will be her answer).

In my humble opinion, here's what really happened: Since Muriel has quite a record for getting busted for shoplifting in her past, we can assume she's good at the con game. We all know that there's no way that she got caught the only times that she did it. The paper points out that there are no recent records of her shoplifting, but we all know that this only means she got better at it.

One day Muriel started feeling very ill. She told her hubby to run out and grab an order from a nearby fast food restaurant so that she could blame it on the food and get some money out of it. Muriel assumed (wrongly, it appears) that the restaurant would like to pay her major hush money just to make a nuisance suit go away.

Muriel was wrong. She would have been much smarter to keep a little of the burger, smear a very miniscule amount of her stool on it, and when the tests on the burger came back, it would've shown the same EColi strain as what she was producing. Poor Muriel. She had no idea that it was EColi so she had to spin a much more elaborate story than what was needed.

As my mother used to say "Oh what a wicked web we weave, when first we practice to deceive." For Muriel, she might say "She who claims she's sick due to worms, will be grilled by the paper and made to squirm."

Sunday, November 26, 2006


I know, I know. I'm usually not the greatest writer over the weekends. Sorry about that, but I have SaurKid to play with and (if you do it the right way) kids get better with age. So we're off playing again today.

BTW, I had mentioned that we liked the new Destroy All Humans 2, but it's a little too sexually graphic for our taste as it progresses, and I would definately recommend against it for any kids 12 and under.

I also saw the new Borat movie (without SaurKid) this week and have to say that it's not all that. I really believed the hype, and I liked it OK, but it goes over the top too many times for me to be able to recommend it. It's certainly not something I would buy when it came out on DVD. On the other hand, it is shocking to find that there is still extreme prejudice among some of the citizens in our country. Ignorance, yes, I knew about that. But prejudice? I thought we'd really begun to put a chokehold on it. I guess we need to work on that some more, huh?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Out on a Gorgeous Saturday

SaurKid and I are out-and-about today. We've already visited the massive fleamarket, bought him a pair of those droopy shorts with a fantastic dragon on them, and some cool rocks/crystals which BoBo already knocked over in a Battle Royale with BugEyes. We started with only 3 large rocks, but ended up with many more (due to the Battle).

Hope you're having a great weekend! I know I'm slacking on my writing, but lately there's so much to see and do out there! ;o)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday

I'm off hunting bargains, no post today! This is WAY too exciting. Men, it's like hunting but without having to skin anything afterwards!

We have good news and a reason to give thanks: Rosie won't have to go on chemo. They got all the cancer!!!

"See" you tomorrow!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have so much to be thankful for.

For one thing, I've been divorced from my ex-husband for almost 10 years and no longer have to share his family's weird Thanksgivings. For a humorous rundown on those Thanksgivings, go here to read the entry that I posted last year.

I also am grateful for my family and friends, my success, and many of the little things that we, as Americans, take for granted.

Bless you all, have a wonderful holiday, and I'll "see" you here tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

For Your Protection

Thank goodness for my local Walgreens! What bad guy wants to face a woman with a good supply of incense burners?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Selfish, Careless Bosses

Ten years ago, I was a stay-at-home mother that was being forced back into the workplace due to divorce. It was a terrible struggle at that time (I've written about this time in my life before). My first job was as a lowly secretary working for two partners.

Both partners made obscene money, lived in beautiful homes, drove expensive cars, and took incredible vacations. I had to struggle to make it (sometimes going without eating) on a salary of $23,000. That $23,000 was hard-won and a result of my being convincing enough to persuade them that I was worth more than the $17,000 they initially wanted to pay me.

But to add insult to injury, one of the partners was erratic and mercurial due to a cocaine habit. He went on a ski trip to Colorado one year, brought back pictures, and made me sit down and go over them while he bragged about everything he'd done.

The other partner went to Ireland yearly, and regularly whined about how he would "have" to buy his wife some more of that famous Irish lace, which she collected each year when they went. At the time, the only thing that I "had" to buy was food and the bare necessities, scrimping and saving so that my child would be cared for.

I lived in a low-rent apartment with a hooker down the hall and a heroin addict above me. My only vacation was usually paid for by a kind friend, and it was a yearly trip to Bush Gardens (in the next town over) with my son.

I tried to never resent these men, but many employees did, and with good reason.

The years went by, and with hard work and diligence, I made a success of myself. But I saw the pattern repeated!

A boss who would wrangle with an employee over a 25 cent raise would turn around and spend thousands of dollars on a sculpture for his front lobby. Another boss would regularly leave his secretary with the secret that he was spending the day on the golf course, while she was left with his paperwork. He never even considered taking her along as a caddy, while he spent money on yearly memberships, greens fees, and golphing paraphanalia.

I would like to think that there's a special place in hell for these bosses.

I try very hard to never flaunt what I have, even though I've earned it through hard work. I consider myself to be "well-off" now. However, I realize that I have very little in comparison to many others. I recently met a man who believes my income is chump-change (of course he's made and lost millions!) But no matter how much I make, I hope that I can avoid flaunting it the way that these men have. If not, I hope that someone calls me on it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Ebay Scammer

Quick Update on Rosie

The preliminary tests came back: It's definately cancer.

And yesterday her hubby went to visit his mom in a town that's hours away. One of her close friends called me to tell me that she was worried that Rosie hadn't eaten all day, so at 2 PM I went over to her home with a burger, fries, and her favorite milkshake. Rosie didn't respond. I called her hubby who said she was probably just doped out from her pain meds. Perhaps I should have called the police, but I went home instead.

However, when her hubby got home at 5:30 that night, he found her passed out with a huge gash on her foot. We took her to the E.R. where she stayed overnight. They continue to run tests today.

The Ebay Scammer

I sold a beautiful pair of designer sunglasses on Ebay, and they went for about $150. I subsequently mailed them out, but got a message from the buyer, asking where they were.

Having sold on Ebay for some time now, I've grown to realize that there are many people that would like to buy something, claim they never got it, and end up with the product for free. Experience has taught me to always make sure that I have some sort of proof that the item was delivered. So I sweetly wrote back:

"Oh no! Are you telling me that you haven't received them yet? Luckily I paid extra money to get a tracking number on the package and I'll be happy to pass that number on to you so that you can see where and when the package was delivered. I'm sure we'll be able to solve this right away!"

I hadn't heard from the guy for days, when I unexpectedly got a terse note telling me that he'd left me great feedback and would appreciate the same.

"Oh!" I wrote. "So you finally got the package? Everything's OK?"

Yes, he replied brusquely. No problems at all. Just please leave him good feedback. His attitude wasn't the best. Yup, it sucks to have to pay for something you were planning on keeping for free, huh? You see, I knew he had received that package.

I was tempted. OH how I was tempted. But, I left him good feedback. I almost added the warning: "Make sure that all packages sent to this guy have a tracking number," but I didn't. Or, I could have made it even simpler: Seller Beware.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Away For the Weekend

Just a quick note to let you know that I'm going to be more out than in this weekend, and will return on Monday with my "normal" programming schedule. Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Rosie is OK So Far

Rosie is OK so far. If all goes well, she will come home today. They removed the tumor but not the thyroid, which seems to be a very good indication that all is not as bad as we feared it might be.

SaurKid brought her a stuffed toy, and we gave her flowers. Other friends brought gifts or love or both. At the end of the day, Rosie's hubby ("Syd") gave us all a single long-stemmed rose as a thank you for being there for Rosie. Although "Rosie" isn't her real name, I found it very appropriate. ;o)

Thank you so much for your thoughts, well-wishes and prayers. I am certain that they helped.

By this time next week, we'll all be nursing sore bellies from Thanksgiving! It's hard to believe that we're in the middle of the holidays once more. I am hopeful that we will have many things to give thanks for.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Rosie's in Surgery Today

We won't know anything until tomorrow, but are hoping and praying for a full recovery and that the doctor will get everything. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers today. Thank you!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rosie Has Cancer

You remember one of my best friends, Rosie, don't you? On Friday we found out that it looks like thyroid cancer, although there's a very slim chance that it isn't. She's only 42.

Rosie's having a very hard time with this. She knows there's a good chance that she can beat it, but it's like being handed a death sentence. She's been in tears for days, but is trying to be strong. She goes in for tests today, surgery tomorrow, so I won't be available a great deal over the next 3 days.

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Why the Republicans Lost

Many pundits and analysts still don't get it. This recent election isn't about why the Democrats won, but why the Republicans lost so stunningly.

You see, voters were overwhelmingly voting anti-Republican. If there were any third party candidates, most voters avoided them in the fear that they would be handing the election to the incumbent (which is reasonable, although it's what keeps us shackled to a two-party system). So, voting anti-Republican means choosing a Democrat, but the motivations behind that choice are very different.

Look at it this way: Jack and Jill are married. Jill finds Jack cheating on her with Goldilocks, so in retribution she sleeps with Wee Willie Winkie. In retribution, you see. If Jack had been faithful, Jill wouldn't have looked twice at Wee Willie. The Republicans are Jack. They cheated on the public, broke our trust, and they neglected us.

I've heard some pundits waffle about how the country is obviously much more liberal than anyone thought. Really? In only 2 years? Then we must be dealing with a scenario straight out of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," because *I* haven't seen any radical shifts to the left. The U.S.A. remains centrist. Both parties would be wise to remember that, but usually they don't.

This may be the best thing that could have happened to the Republicans! If the Democrats are stupid, and the Republicans play their cards right, they can still win the Presidential election in two years. This is their wake-up call. It's time for them to return to their roots and throw out that silly neo-con platform that no one (except the neo-cons) ever warmed up to. Become a party of the people again!

Jack married Jill for her money.
Jill went by the voice in her heart.
Jack said that he was Jill's honey,
But he ran off with another tart.

Jack thought Jill was very silly,
And that he could easily cheat.
So then Jill turned to Wee Willie,
Much to Jack's defeat.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I'm a Glass Painting Rock Hound!

Glass Painting

I thought I'd give it a whirl this weekend. SaurKid and I took us wherever the winds led us (which is why I was silent all weekend) and I ended up with this goblet and a set of iridescent paints. (The paints dry within 10 days to be dishwasher safe. The painting is on the outside of the glass.)

I don't like the way the project ended up. I wouldn't recommend glass painting to anyone, because if you are a perfectionist (or want something that even looks semi-professional) these paints are annoying. They don't give an even coverage. Look at that picture of the goblet in front of the wood panelling. It really shows how spotty the paint job is, even after four careful applications!

Now, that may not matter to some people, but to me the results look half-arsed, even though I devoted a great deal of time to this (as I watched SaurKid play "Destroy All Humans 2" on his XBox). So, glass painting is now officially off my list of Fun Things to Do.

(P.S. The top picture shows the final product. I decided to outline it all in a pewter type of liner and I think it definately looks superior. Although I was hoping for the wispy look, it just didn't work.)

I do recommend "Destroy All Humans 2", though. It's wonderful for exorcising some of the angst after your glass painting project continues to frustrate you. Of special note: The alien anal probe. Although you don't really see it in action, the concept is enough. Overall, the game has a "thumbs up" from both of us.

Rock Hound

I'm a rock hound. Lately I've found a dealer that can supply me with my heart's desire at a very reasonable price. I truthfully must admit that I need to start a rock garden if this keeps up. This isn't a great pic of the latest crystal clusters that I've purchased, but I assure you that they're stellar and they're each at least the size of two fists put together.

I also bought this chunk of petrified wood from the same guy last week. Now this is the size of a basketball:

(Come to think of it, it looks a little like a chunk of meat, doesn't it? Ewww! It doesn't look like that "in person", however... )

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Life is a Fair

I got this letter from my dear friend, Greg, a couple of days ago. I absolutely fell in love with it, and got his permission to share it with you. I know it will resonate in you, just as it did in me! I am simply amazed beyond belief that Greg doesn't realize that he should write for a living. This is typical of the sort of letter which he writes off-the-cuff.

Incidentally, the people that are mentioned here are Cindy (his ex-wife), and his three children: Lydia, Jared, and Caleb.

I don't know if you ever think like this but sometimes I see truth in strange places. I see life in terms of symbols and I tend to assign meanings to those symbols and my head is full of them. They can be as simple an aroma, like the smell of diesel fumes which always reminds me of the smoky diesel engines on the fishing boats I used to love.

I think this symbol was etched strongest in my mind on the fishing trips my dad and I would take to Key West. These were good times. My father would charter a boat and we'd go deep sea fishing together, the smell of diesel fumes and the salt air were beautiful to me. Dad and I had very few good times together but these times were precious and that smell always brings thoughts of hope and good times to me and usually cheers me up as I'm driving down the road and I get a whiff of a semi in front of me. I'm sure most people would find that smell annoying and unpleasant and even more would think I'm a real wack-job for loving such a disgusting scent, but I as I have come to understand lately I am different from most people and I tend to think that I will never be completely understood and for the first time in my life I don't really care.

This afternoon Cindy called me and invited me to see Lydia's dance performance at the Tallahassee Leon County Fair. I first declined because I wasn't sure I wanted to spend time with my ex-wife on one of the few Saturdays I had to myself. Later, I thought about it and called her back and accepted the offer.

We arrived just as it was getting dark and almost as soon as I got out of the car I realized that my mind would be working overtime processing, categorizing and retrieving thoughts and memories in this place so rich to me in symbolism.

I guess the first thing that hit me was the smell of food in the air, a rich mixture of cooking Polish sausages, popcorn and some really sweet smell that was either cotton candy or funnel cakes. With my first whiff I suddenly was thrust back into ten different times of my life, yet only one place. I was a kid again and me and my friend Billy were trying to win a goldfish. In my mind I was back to the time I took Cindy to the fair when we were first dating, it was cold and she never let go of my hand and we walked as one keeping each other warm. I was also back to the time Cindy and I took our little boys and they were so awed by the beautiful lights, the rides and the noise. I was struck by the fact that here in the middle of rapidly changing world was an oasis where time had stopped and nothing had changed. Nothing that is, but me.

It's funny sometimes when the knife is jammed deep into your belly and is twisted by an unknown hand. You can feel your life leaking out of the the wound past the blade as it turns. It seeps out , and falls to the ground in big drops. This is what I was feeling almost from the minute we arrived. I felt very stupid to have returned to a place with her that held so many happy memories for me, so many symbols that now will be infected and tainted forever. What was I thinking?

We started the evening the way we always did walking the grounds and people watching a so called family again walking the rows of freak shows and carney games, people yelling at us, trying to get us to play there rip-off game or see the Woman with No Head. It was cold yet Cindy stayed as far from me as she could get without being completely transparent as to her lack of feelings toward me. It hurt beyond words when I went back in my mind to the time we were there and she expressed such open affection towards me. I worried that I would never have that feeling again and that scared me.

Jared wasn't impressed anymore by the lights or the smell or anything else for that matter. I think he felt the same way that I did as he watched his family, no longer one but now five individuals pretending to have fun. He expressed more than once with his eyes that he wished he was somewhere else. I really longed to see that wonder in his eyes again to somehow pull some emotion up from deep inside him something that would tell me that my little boy was still in there and he was alright, but there was nothing, just a dull expression of pain and I knew his healing from this divorce was going to take a long time. I wished he was taking things more like Caleb and Lydia who seem to have adjusted without any trauma, but then I thought his pain will make him special too, lie me, I only hope not lonely as I am right now.

Finally, after a few rides in which I only watched, we went home. As I drove back I realized how perfect the symbol of the fair was for me and what I have become. When I was younger I thought of life as a wonderful place like the fair, full of light delicious smells, sounds and tastes. As I grew I still had this view and I brought Cindy along and showed her and eventually my kids my sweet exciting view of life and for a while they walked with me. But like the carnival games and shows my life has turned into an illusion and lately I feel like the clown in the dunking booth casting insults into a laughing crowd, getting humiliated time and time again as he is dunked into the cold water by a well thrown ball.

Right now, I am walking as a spectator through life neither participating or enjoying it. I am simply there, wishing for someone to walk with me, share a funnel cake and see the world smallest horse with. Maybe next year.

I wonder if the Woman with No Head is seeing anyone.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Post-Election Relaxation

America has breathed a long sigh of relief that it's all over, and has settled back into its comfort zone once more. The elected officials will again be left to their own devices.

Although we get all fired up for the elections, only 40% of us actually vote during non-presidential elections, and we are the ones that determine the direction of the country. The 60% who don't bother to vote, sit about on their keisters happily talking smack about the latest policy issues. And, sadly, perhaps 35% of that 40% also return to doing nothing.

Our elected officials know that. Once they're in office, they are much less influenced by the reasons we voted for them. But, it's our own fault. They aren't mind readers! So, they're left to their own interpretations and we can hardly cry "foul" unless we change what we are doing.

Now that you know this, let's see who gets to determine our policies in Florida going forward:

And the Winners Are...

Florida Governor: Charlie Crist (R)
Florida Attorney General: Bill McCollum (R)
Florida CFO: Alex Sink (D)
Florida Agriculture Commissioner: Charles Bronson (R)
Florida U.S. Senate: Bill Nelson (D)
Florida U.S. House: Gus Bilirakis (R), Bill Young (R) etc., etc., ad nauseum

I'm really not surprised or very disappointed by the results.

Gov. Charlie Crist: Although I voted differently, I've met Crist and he's a very personable man who's carefully positioned himself as a moderate. Let's just hope that he doesn't forget what he's recently claimed to be, because when I met him 10 years ago, he was pandering to the ultra-right wingers.

Charles Bronson: I also voted against Charles Bronson (Agriculture Commissioner) because he's in the pocket of Big Sugar and the cattle industry. We can be guaranteed that he will not be particularly interested in any environmental concerns. And if it comes to consumer vs. Big Business, I think we know who will win.

Overall, we did great, Florida! I'm delighted to see that the heavy rains didn't hold back the Democrats, as they usually do.

On the national front, the Democrats won the House of Representatives, which is probably very healthy for our country right now. We're still waiting to find out if the Senate remains red (R) or has turned blue (D). Interestingly, Bush is calling for everyone to work together. Er... just as they always have... Right? Right?

Bush may quickly discover that "paybacks are hell."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Voting With Kitty Litter Convictions

It's Election Day. That makes it almost mandatory to write something about the elections. After all, I used to be a political advisor! So, here's my intelligent, well-thought out advice: Um... wait a minute, I know I've got something. Hang on, hang on...

The truth is that in most of our elections, there are few candidates who are worth your vote. So, lotsa luck with that. Seriously.

Most of America joins me in being "moderate". At one time, we all viewed moderates as the fence sitters. These were the morons who either didn't have moral convictions or weren't bright enough to know the issues. And sure, we've got our village idiots.

But for me, being a moderate is to be an individual. I don't have to goosestep with the rest of the Republican party, I don't have to chant rhetoric with the Democrats. I sift through the kitty litter box to get to the nuggets of crap.

That kitty litter box needs cleaning this year.

The problem is, there are sometimes valuable things which are found in the kitty litter. Oh yes, it's rare to find anything of worth in there, but it happens. Say your cat swallowed your best cocktail ring, and you caught him just as it was going down. So you have to go through that litter box with a fine tooth comb, unpleasant though that may be.

Your political arena is your kitty litter box. If you haven't taken time to sort through the issues and politicians yet, it's time to break open your paper and read their op-ed piece today. Sure, they may give you some bad advice, but they'll give you enough information so that you can get out and vote a little more knowlegably than The Village Idiot.

I believe that many politicians will be cleaned out this year, and that's a good thing. The Republican Party stopped being the party of the people in the early 90s. The Democrats stopped at some point in the early 70s. There's a tiny chance that some of the newcomers may be willing to do the right thing for a little while, even if absolute power corrupts absolutely. We need a fresh start once more.

The problem is, you keep feeding that cat, you've gotta keep cleaning the litter box.

Saur Recommends

Florida Governor: Max Linn (Reform Party)
Florida Attorney General: Bill McCollum (R)
Florida CFO: Alex Sink (D)
Florida Agriculture Commissioner: Eric Copeland (D)
Florida U.S. Senate: Bill Nelson (D)
Florida U.S. House: Gus Bilirakis (R), Bill Young (R)

Florida Amendment 1: YES
Florida Amendment 2 was removed
Florida Amendment 3: NO
Florida Amendment 4:
Florida Amendment 5 was removed
Florida Amendment 6: NO
Florida Amendment 7:
Florida Amendment 8: YES

Monday, November 06, 2006

Heap Big Prestige!

Originally I wrote: "Sorry! I'm just way too busy today to write anything. The phones are going NUTS!!!"

However, as I'm on the phone, I'm skimming through ebay (I often do this. It beats fidgeting with a pencil!) and I came across this ad:

"Welcome to my ebay,now you can see a beautiful and wonderful artware,the item is very value .look at its figure,it is nobler and enthralling,it will give you the elegance and made you exalted. what magnetic item,please don't miss it,it will be a good present for you or for your friend,also it will give you more fortune and good luck."

This makes the book editor in me come out as a roaring lion (yes, it's something I've done in my checkered past). My fingers desperately itch for a red markup pen, and I immediately want to start slaying poor punctuation, radically altering grammar, and surgically removing horrific sentence structure.


If you are from another country and you wish to sell something to the English-speaking part of the world, you might want to bone up a little on it. First, (of course) the grammar is horrifically off-putting.

Second, they are marketing to westerners using eastern methods! After all, the western mentality is not geared toward a strong belief in "luck". Also, the average American is not sitting around saying to himself "Hmm! I need to buy something to make me exalted and enhance my prestige!" Of course they may think it (which is why so many BMWs and Porsches are sold every year) but no one wants to hear it said so blatantly. It makes your skin crawl!

I am thinking of writing to the seller and asking if it will also make me ooze sensuality and give me heap big prestige. That's what I'd like right now, more than anything.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saddam Hussein Sentenced to Hang

The verdict's in, and Saddam is sentenced to hang.

There's no doubt that Saddam richly deserved any sentence he received, due to the overwhelming evidence against him. I was sold the moment I heard of the children's prisons. Even Scott Ridder (a peace activist) spoke of the horrors of those children's prisons and said he would not repeat what he saw, for fear of escalating the war even further. The barmy allegation that they were merely "orphanages" is not to be suffered.

Zainab Salbi is a very strong woman who grew up under the thumb of Saddam Hussein. I remember reading some of her chilling memories of the complete and abject fear that even the people who were closest to him shared with the lowest of his victims.

Perhaps CNN's leadership should hang with Saddam, since they contributed to the evil by covering up the atrocities in order to maintain a bureau in Bagdad. Their complicity encouraged his feeling of omnipotence and allowed the atrocities to continue for much longer than they might have. Of course there are so many people to blame here, including every past administration that turned their eyes away from the suffering and allowed them to pass almost unnoticed.

Along with Saddam will hang his half brother, Barzan Ibrahim, who is almost equally sadistic and murderous.

Whether Saddam is Muslim, Jewish, or Christian... Whether he is Shiite or Sunni... Whether he is Iraqi or American... he deserves to hang. But I am afraid that the trial took so long, and so few people followed it, that we may have forgotten exactly what he did.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Kindness of Others

My mom has a simple necklace of assorted agate beads that I made her many years ago. She loves that necklace, and wears it often. In fact, she wears it so much that it's broken twice. Each time I fix it (but I'm beginning to wonder if the fault lies in my fixing abilities!)

The second time it broke (recently) she was standing in the post office. She said it was amazing to see how many kind and helpful people went scrambling about, hunting down the beads for her, until every last one was retrieved. When she had finally gathered everything up, she thanked everyone and went home.

Yesterday, she got a lumpy package in the mail which she wasn't expecting. "Looks like someone sent me anthrax," she said to Dad (our family has a quirky sense of humor at times). She ripped it open, and found inside... another missing bead. Someone at the post office had apparently found it, got her address off one of the packages she'd been sending, and popped it in the mail.

What a pleasant surprise! It's reassuring to realize that there still are times when we are blessed by the kindness of others.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Little Things That Excite Me

Remember hearing Julie Andrews sing "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things..."

Sometimes it's the small things in life that you give you the greatest satisfaction. For instance, a couple weeks ago, my ex-boyfriend had his bike stolen. I loaded up his daughter's bike (she doesn't come here to visit any more) and brought it to him. He was pleased, and I knew that when he got another bike, he'd still have hers around so that they could go riding together.

But, I had been riding her bike with SaurKid (if you recall, I taught him how to ride recently). What to do?

I'm a thrifty shopper. I fail to see the need to buy something new if a used one will do. So, I kept my eyes open. Two days ago, I happened by a house with a sign up: "Bikes for Sale!" The guy's hobby is used bikes. He buys them in big lots, tinkers with them to get them in working order, then resells them. If a bike is missing a part, he undoubtedly has a good substitute.

I stopped, and we fell to talking. I didn't like what he had, and told him I was looking for something a little nicer. That's when he told me about a bike that was still awaiting new tires, which was why it hadn't been put out. It's an excellent brand-name bike that sells (when new) for $300-$400. It had been taken horrible care of and there were scratches and gouges all over the frame. I was a little reluctant, but he assured me that it was a deal at $65. He put on the new tires, and urged me to hop on and try it.

It rode like a dream! But I was still concerned about the way it looked. I asked if he knew anyone that did custom paint jobs on bikes. "Yeah," he said, "for a couple hundred bucks! If you are willing to spend that, I'd recommend you get a new bike." He had a good point. "Look," he said. "Go to the local drugstore. They have nail polish in all colors, with a built-in brush. Touch up the paint yourself. You'll be surprised!"

So, I bought the bike (I had done my homework and knew that it was a good one). I took it home, and set out in search of nail polish that would match it. I found some on the first try, and took a little time yesterday to dab it everywhere it was needed.

It worked like a charm! The bike still looks obviously used, but the polish was a perfect match. It doesn't even look like the same bike! I also had to buy a kickstand for it, and I need a couple handlebars (the current ones are pretty worn). Altogether, I will have spent a total of about $80 for a bike worth a minimum of $300. Not a bad deal, huh?

And here I spent the entire post talking about something which has probably put every one of you to sleep.

Which illustrates my point. It's the little things that excite me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Kerry SNAFU

I've never been a fan of John Kerry. I think the guy's got mincemeat for brains. But, because I believe he's not too bright, I may have to cut him a little slack on his most recent comments.

Perhaps you've heard of the newly released records which show that Bush and Kerry had a virtually identical grade average at Yale University four decades ago.

"In 1999, The New Yorker published a transcript indicating that Bush had received a cumulative score of 77 for his first three years at Yale and a roughly similar average under a non-numerical rating system during his senior year.

Kerry, who graduated two years before Bush, got a cumulative 76 for his four years, according to a transcript that Kerry sent to the Navy when he was applying for officer training school. He received four D's in his freshman year out of 10 courses, but improved his average in later years."*

So... we're not exactly dealing with a rocket scientist here.

As you all probably know, here's the comment he made which is causing all the furor:

“You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Here's what his spokesperson claims that he meant to say:

“Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush.”

(If you ask me, his spokesperson should be running for office).

Many conservative talk show hosts pounced on this immediately, as did George Bush and other politicians. I've heard some pundits righteously declare that even Hillary Clinton spoke out against Kerry's comments, therefore why should we cut him any slack?

However, let's not forget that Hillary's got her eyes on the goal. She wants to be the first female President of the United States. Kerry was one of her main competitors. Hmmmm. Could she have a hidden (or not-so-hidden) agenda?

And I think it's pretty obvious why others were eager to make hay out of Kerry's SNAFU. However, love him or hate him, it's very possible that he had not intended to make such a politically suicidal comment. But it's also very possible that he had never considered the repercussions of his hypocritical attack on George Bush's IQ (which he claims was his original intent).

PeeWee Herman used to say "It takes one to know one!" John Kerry is claiming that Bush is an idiot, and I don't disagree. But... when I start quoting PeeWee Herman as a more intelligent source than John Kerry, it's time to stop writing for the day.

* Source: The Boston Globe

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Telemarketer's Nightmare

My assistant, Zen Buddhist, works only part time for me. Her primary job is as a telemarketer. Her son sent her this snippet last night and we laughed ourselves sick!

So, although there is interesting news everywhere (such as Kerry's major SNAFU in California yesterday), let's take a break and listen in on the ultimate telemarketer's nightmare call...

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