Thursday, November 30, 2006

Didn't they just get the last one debugged?




"SPARTY" answered the question correctly. The guy in the picture is Mark Dantonio, the new football coach at Michigan State. Without doing anything, Coach Ma'D has been given the highest salary of any coach in Michigan. So, I'm going to guess he'll succeed. In fact, he already has.

A SHIVER from the BBC

"British soldiers on patrol in Basra offer cash incentives for information in a new campaign against insurgent attacks."

This is what I saw on the BBC website

It gave me chills, not for what it is, but for what it suggests. What can the dollar not buy? Why didn't they use a Euro?


A couple of our friends forwarded to me a statement supposedly spoken by Tony Blair, that supported the United States. It included a religious message about Jesus dying to make us holy and GIs dying to make us free. I decided to research this and found out that Blair had made a statement like this, but without the reference to Jesus.

Here is what Blair said, (as confirmed here: BLAIR QUOTE )

"First, we should remain the closest ally of the US, and as allies influence them to continue broadening their agenda. We are the ally of the US not because they are powerful, but because we share their values. I am not surprised by anti-Americanism; but it is a foolish indulgence. For all their faults and all nations have them, the US are a force for good; they have liberal and democratic traditions of which any nation can be proud. I sometimes think it is a good rule of thumb to ask of a country: are people trying to get into it or out of it? It's not a bad guide to what sort of country it is."

It seems to me that the gentleman makes a good point. In time, Bush will be gone, and maybe America will return again to better policies more likely to make us attractive to other peoples. Meanwhile, it does seem to be true that the U.S. has many more Pull Factors than Push Factors, and our borders are busy with new arrivals. That must signify something about us, and surely that's good. So, Tony, thanks for the compliment. We hope to deserve it.

But then, there is the matter of hijacking the Blair statement in order to spread a little propaganda. Seems to me this crosses a border into the land of fraud.

ON A RELATED SUBJECT, when I was in Assisi, I took this picture of an olive grove. In some groves, pickers were working. The guide explained that olives must be picked by hand. Unfortunately, even though olives and olive oil are critical commodities for the Italian table and for the Italian balance-of-payments, not very many Italians wish to pick the crop any more. Schools are often given a holiday in order to get the youngsters to help. Many people from other countries want to come in and do the job. Some are legal, some are not. And yet, Italians generally don't want all these newcomers knocking on the gates. It's the same sort of dichotomy that the U.S. lives with, and it's the contradicition which free and prosperous societies everywhere have, from Japan to England.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Mikie Carroll, one of the few original signers of the Declaration of Independence still alive, sent a reference to this very funny video of John McCain singing Barbra Streisand songs. This is a full-fledged hoot.

CLICK HERE and then click on McCain's picture.


Forty generaions have passed through the gates ....
When these walls were built, Aztecs were ruling Mexico and Vikings were roaming the North Atlantic.


NOTE: So far, no one has added a comment to support the concept of the Watchmaker in the post below. We're still hoping someone will.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006



For an interesting Creationist view of how the universe got put together, depending heavily on an analogy that anyone can understand, go look here: WINDING UP

AND THEN: We would really like to have your thoughts on this presentation. Use "comments" below.

Tuesday Night Quiz

Who is this?

What are his chances of success?

How long will he last?

enviro... notes

Have you been meaning to switch to more efficient light bulbs, but you're unhappy with those pretzel shaped things they had on the market? You can find many new bulbs. Go here to get help in picking them: ENVIRON-DEF SUGGEST

There's this thing about butterflies in Finland. The fact that they're there. They never have been. They came from Central Europe. Whatever could this mean? And it has been reported that some robins, which used to migrate every winter, are actually hanging around all winter in colder states, even in Southern Michigan.

These things may be of no importance. The watch continues.

Monday, November 27, 2006


By Joe Benton
November 10, 2006

"The elections are over for two more years and gasoline prices seem to be headed back up again. Conspiracy theorists will say, 'I told you so.' "

The average price per gallon increase across the U.S. has been 2 cents. Let's watch it and see.


from Wikipedia:
"According to popular belief, tryptophan in turkey meat causes drowsiness[9]. Turkey does contain tryptophan, which does have a documented sleep-inducing effect as it is readily converted into serotonin by the body. However, tryptophan is effective only when taken on its own as a dietary supplement. Tryptophan in turkey is found as part of a protein, and, in small enough amounts, this mechanism seems unlikely.[10]"


Since the last Winter Olympics, there's a world-wide shortage of curling stones. They need to be made of granite and there are 16 in a set. The shipping costs from Great Britain, where they're made, can add up. There are 40 new clubs in America waiting for them.


Pat Woods at the Trevi fountain. She heard that if you throw in a coin, you will be blessed and return quickly to Rome. If you throw in four coins, you will return with a new lover. This belief system has been subjected to rigorous scientific testing and found to be accurate.

This is why Chippie threw in a handful of coins.Or more.

Now I've learned that the coins are used to aid the poor people of Rome. (And I thought that task was served by all the tourists who are pick-pocketed. In our group of 22, one person was "dipped" on the subway. The rest of us then learned to be cautious.)

I know you're wondering who is that person sitting there in a heavy winter coat? We don't know, but since the temps were in the 70's that day, we can only assume it's someone from the South.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Our good friend Bill from WNNCO has sent this example of Republican humor:

Coincidentally, in different parts of the city, a Republican and a Democrat, each armed with a pistol, and each accompanied by his wife and child, are confronted by crazed Islamic terrorists armed with knives. What should they do?

Democrat's Answer:
Well, that's not enough information to answer the question!

Does the man look poor or oppressed? Have I ever done anything to him that would inspire him to attack? Could we run away? Does he definitely want to kill me, or would he be content just to wound me? If I were to grab his knees and hold on, could my family get away while he was stabbing me? Maybe he's susceptible to reason. We could negotiate.
Why is this street so deserted? We need to raise taxes, have paint and weed day and make this a happier, healthier street that would discourage such behavior.
What does my wife think? What about the kids? What kind of message does this send to society and to my children?
Could I possibly swing the gun like a club and knock the knife out of his hand? What does the law say about this situation? Does this pistol have an appropriate safety system built into it?
Should I call 9-1-1? Why am I carrying a loaded gun anyway? Maybe I'll get in trouble with the police.

Republican's Answer:



"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction."*

----Blaise Pascal

* In quoting this, I have the following Wisconsin story in mind. (No one at the Arboretum is scornful of religious faith, but we are terribly afraid of the way some people practice it.)
Read on.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Boneheads Strike Again!

I have always thought that Maya Angelou is a beautiful woman. Her book, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings qualifies as a significant literary achievement. I used it in classes when I taught. Now comes this:
The Associated Press
Fond du Lac Parents Want Controversial Book Out of Class

FOND DU LAC Wisconsin — Some Fond du Lac parents have asked school officials to remove former U.S. poet laureate Maya Angelou's autobiography from the high school curriculum.

Students at Fond du Lac High School read "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" in sophomore advanced English classes.

But some parents have objected to passages that describe Angelou's rape and subsequent unwanted pregnancy. About 80 people attended a meeting Tuesday at the school this week to discuss the book and the request to remove it.

School Superintendent Gregory Maass said the initial complaint came from one family.

"We had a mother and father and student who questioned the book," he said. "The high school provided the student with an alternative book."

The parents were not satisfied and asked for the book to be removed from the curriculum, Maass said.

Fond du Lac High School Principal Mary Fran Merwin said parents, teachers, principals and at least two ministers spoke at the meeting, where no decision was made. She said the school has used the book for a decade.

"It is Angelou's own account of growing up," Merwin said. "It has a number of attributes, and it's a historically relevant story about a black woman growing up in the United States."

School board president Gary Sharpe said the request was the first to remove a book in his eight years on the board. A school committee will make a decision on the book, and if parents remain unhappy, they can appeal to the superintendent and school board, he said.


"And the sad part for everyone, especially our troops in the field and the Iraqi populace trying to live another day without being kidnapped and shot, is that Shrub hasn't the slightest idea how to fix what he has broken."

The Mandarin, whom we have quoted before - (we do not know him, by the way) - has written a very nice essay about the destruction of Iraq and the "Pottery Barn" analogy. It is worth your time to click here and read it:



This week, the Big Ten announced its official year end standings. Our buddy John once again had the right picks. At the end of the contest, he had the top 3 in correct order. Here is the prize, which will be sent to John, Someday, a Big Ten Cap having the logos of all the teams.

Thanks to all those who entered. At the end, there were 4 people in the running.

Oh, Yeah, here's a picture of John, for those who were wondering. He usually goes around in the company of a little spotted dog and a big black cloud, but I can't find that picture of him. Yet.



There's only one candidate. Unless you can think of someone better qualified considering this past week's events, he wins by acclamation!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Notes on birds


People often think they shouldn't feed the birds in the winter because they know they'll be gone for some extended time, and they're afraid the birds will then starve without a human food source.

The Audubon Society says not to fear. Birds are very industrious critters and will fend well for themselves. A study has been done that shows even birds which feed at feeders also forage for the majority of their food. It's in their nature. So go ahead, spoil them and enjoy watching them.


THE IVORY-BILLED WOODPECKER, assumed for decades to be exitinct, has been reportedly seen in Arkansas a number of times. Some experts doubt the evidence being presented and think that people reporting the Ivory-Bill are mistaken.

The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, reports on its sightings, here: IVORY EVIDENCE


The Upside of Conflict

The King of Saudi Arabia is entertaining the Vice-King of the United States. Let's hope they go hunting together.

The President of Syria and the President of Russia have this fortunate characteristic in common. Their enemies keep falling over dead. Let's hope they find each other detestable. In fact, let's start the rumors going.

The TomKats say they always talk before going to bed. Let's hope that's true; the marriage will soon be over. Enough of this racket.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Reader's opinion: The 'Macaca' Factor

Introduction: Let us hope that the number of Asian Americans who voted in Virginia against George Allen because of his racist name-calling exactly equals the number of votes by which Allen lost the election. The justice of such a parallel would be delicious!

There were plenty of reports about Allen's loose talk concerning a number of ethnic groups. Obviously, George Allen is casually indifferent to the effect of such talk on the sensibilities of others. This is his privilege. Let him enjoy the privelege now as a private citizen. That is absolutely appropriate, IPSE DIXIT.

We received a commentary from our good friend Diganta on this subject and thought it should be shared with as many people as possible. So, read on:

"To be frank I am still perplexed by Indian Americans who are loyal to a party that has historically had prominent leaders of their party that are/were unabashed bigots e.g. Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond, David Duke (elected as State Representative), and Trent Lott (who's now back as House Minority Whip) ... sadly this list is not exhaustive nor will it be static.

"As a person of Indian origin I'll be damned if I ever vote Republican, as long as the GOP keeps bigots like Allen and Lott around. I happen to think getting a $300 tax (2002) refund isn't worth a party that backs a person that insults my heritage or race. The real macaques are the likes of Ramesh Ponnuru of the National Review who in my opinion are sell outs, because they blindly walk in lock step with radicalized neo-conservatives and the right wing religious zealots."



It is my fondest wish that all of you will eat enough to be as fat as I am.

We discovered that Italy is a land of pasta. Did you know that? Did you know that pasta is wonderful in Italy? After Catholicism, it turns out to be the country's biggest money maker.

Furthermore, did you know that eating a lot of it is also wonderful? Something to be thankful for.


Here are a few thoughts for this day:

U.S. Qualifies for 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup with 2-0 Victory vs. Mexico

ABBY WAMBACH, who is on her way to besting many of the records set by Mia Hamm, scored both of the U.S. goals.

The team has won 31 games in a row. It has simply "reloaded" after some of its biggest stars and its coach retired. They may be an even better team than when they won the World's Cup. These young women play fantastic soccer and can be a pure delight to watch. TRY IT!!

Read more about the team: WOMEN'S SOCCER LINK


In Rome, we found an Irish pub. Its name was "IRISH PUB." Mike Lafferty will be very proud of us. Actually, another good Irish member of our tour group, Bob Hanley, fround the pub. Anyhow, it was broadcasting the Michigan - Ohier Game. Sad! Very sad! The outcome, that is. But I drank a couple of Harp's and had a good time, anyway. Chippie had enough to drink also. I didn't have to exactly carry her back to the Hotel, but .....

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Old Chip and his wife, Chippie have finally come home from Italy. Lufthansa dropped us into Detroit this evening, November 22, and we made our way back to Mid-Michigan where we 're trying to collect our thoughts, and evaluate damage to the finances.

We have some pictures and stories to share in the next few days.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Democratic Victory

Time to share a few thoughts on the famous and earth-shaking victory the Democrats achieved two weeks ago today. It was the culmination of a monumental shift in public opinion away from the Iraq War and our out-of-touch president. It was a resounding rejection of the corruption in Congress and the cynicism which the Republicans used to excite their base. Republicans did not win a single seat held by Democrats in either house of Congress. They lost several state legislatures. And in many places that remain "red" states, Democrats did better than they have in a very long time.

The GOP made it easy for Democrats to reclaim the majority because they had essentially abandoned reason. Their objection to stem cell research, their denial of global warming, their contempt for teaching evolution all flew in the face of science. The foundations of the Iraqi war were built on sand, and the truth about the failure of the war could not be denied any longer.

In the end, evangelicals came to see the GOP as a cheating spouse, who was using the relationship merely for personal gain. The GOP said a lot of nice words and made many flattering promises, but in the end, the evangelicals saw, the real power brokers of the GOP didn't share their goals. We've been saying this for some time: The Republican Party uses religion, nationalism and race to whip up emotional support for a number of policies which no sane majority would ever support. I'm sure Republicans and bible-thumpers will try to patch things up for the sake of expediencey, but I hope that cynical relationship has been permanently soured.

But now that Democrats control Congress, what next? I hope for a steady drumbeat of easy-to-understand legislation which has wide popular support. Send Bush dozens of simple, one-issue bills and dare him to veto them. When he does, try to override the veto, and use the GOPs votes against them in the next elections. The vast majority of Americans want to act on global warming, repeal oil-industry subsidies, tax the rich fairly, give troops body armor, reform the Medicare drug program, increase the minimum wage, etc. There are a whole lot of good, popular, not-too-controversial ideas out there for moderate, sensible legislation which have been building for the last six years or longer. Unleash them! Do real legislative work, and the voters will reward you, Democrats!

I also applaud the Democrats for promising to be more aggressive on oversight. I have no desire to see witch trials or Whitewater-type persecutions, but I do want Democrats to get government working properly again. We have a whistleblower protection agency which hasn't protected any whistleblowers for years. We have agencies simply refusing to enforce environmental legislation. Goverment offices which look for waste and fraud have been de-funded and de-staffed. And of course, the problems in Iraq, Iran, North Korea and elsewhere are ongoing. It's time to shine some light in all those places.

I'm a staunch supporter of Democratic candidates, but for me right now, they are a means to an end. I strongly supported Democrats in this election, but I did that as a citizen, not as a political player. I want to see our country head in the right direction again, and I have a LOT of criticisms of the Dem. party.

I guess my feeling is, "OK, we've given you guys another shot. Don't disappoint us now by getting too enamoured with your own power."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

An emotional time

Dear readers,

We "arborists" have not been tending to our virtual garden lately. The week since the famous Democratic victory in the mid-terms has been a busy one for Tdec31 and I for personal reasons, and Old Chip is gallavanting around Italy. So the Arboretum has been untended for the past week, and for that, dear reader, I most sincerely apologize.

I am about to collect my soccer things and head out for an indoor game; this keeps me young. Tdec31 is with her family today, tending to a very sick grandmother. It is a hard thing to watch someone who was so recently strong descend into the twilight. It is even harder to watch the family who have known her their entire lives balance the need to hope against the weight of saying goodbye.

I won't go into the details here, in the interest of privacy, but these are difficult times for us. In the evanescence of another, we all confront our own ephemerality. Who would wish this experience upon another? Yet, it's an immutable part of the human condition, and the fragility of life imparts beauty to our existance. Watching my wife lift spoonfuls of water to her grandmother's parched lips, our bond takes on new meanings.

In these past few weeks, there has been much laughter through the tears as we all remember, as we touch, as we break bread. Amid the descending fog of dementia, there are moments of surprising clarity and immeasurable love. We would be so much poorer without this.

We don't know just when, but sometime soon we are going to lose one of us. The thought hits me with the force of the winter cold at odd moments, like when I'm buying milk at the gas station or feeding the dogs. And she knows it is coming, knows that her story here is ending, and I can't wrap my mind around that thought in its entirety.

Again, who would wish this on another? Yet the beauty of these days also needs to be remembered. We are drawn more tightly as a family through this, and we see each other in our full depth and breadth. We see the things that make us cry and what makes us smile, and we see the raw honesty of the familial love that runs through the generations.

We would be much poorer without this.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

ARRIVEDERCI or just "Ciao!"

Old Chip and his wife "Chippie" are leaving for Italy this day, and so you won't have us to kick around for awhile. Here's a couple of parting impressions:

Scot-boy and the angel are in exclusive charge of the Arboretum. What could possibly go wrong?

Classy concession speeches: a. Santorum. Who would have thought he was such a gracious man? b. Harold Ford Jr. c. Rumsfeld.

The House of Reps: I think it's going to be in very good hands. Pelosi appears to have her stuff all together. Compare her to Gingrich and you'll see what I mean.

There is nothing that I know of in George Bush's life that would have prepared me to believe he was capable of such a stunning realization of his problem, or that he would have been able to handle it all with such aplomb. This is the only time I've ever admired his behavior. I think it's a temporary enlightenment for him, but nevertheless, appreciated. Maybe he has an eye on his legacy and is worried that he might look bad in the books.

I think the neocons have been ruined! Forever. I think the voters have slammed the brakes on the slide toward dictatorship.

I wish there were someone less death-like than Harry Reid to head the Senate.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006



--"One has a stronger hand when there's more people playing your same cards."
— GWB, Washington, D.C., Oct. 11, 2006

*Wondering how that's working out now.

The KAHN-Job wins

In our neck of the woods, here in mid Michigan, money bought another State Senate seat. Roger Kahn, our mud-slinging local cardiologist spent, by his own admission, more than 1 million dollars to whoop on Carl Williams. It worked. Kahn lost his home county, Saginaw, but in Gratiot County where he is less well-known, the cash brought home the office. The election was a close one despite William's money disadvantage and the disadvantager of being a nice and honorable man.



This old man, he talked smack,
Got his ass stuck in Irak,
With a knick-knack paddy-wack
Give the cat a mouse,
This old man has lost his House.

This old man, he played dumb
Got his ass stuck in Bagrum,
With a knick-knack paddy-wack
Give the cat a mouse,
This old man has lost his House.

This old man, he was b-a-a-d
Got his ass stuck in Baghdad,
With a knick-knack paddy-wack
Give the dog a bone,
This old man comes crawling home.

[modern mama gooser]





Seems to me it's now the responsibility of the government to quickly find a safe, prudent exit from Iraq. What other conclusion could there be after this election?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


[The picture from last week's Tuesday Evening Quiz was a group of clowns in Mexico City (I mean, literally) .
Thanks to youse guys who had other guesses and put them under comments. You make me smile.]

TODAY'S QUIZ: Who the hell is this?

Republican Humor (Prt.4)

I saw this one on and thought it was a good smiley I could share with all-y'all. Never mind the slight 'sexist' tinge to the thing.

Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly said that if Democrats win she is going to clean the house. Maybe if Pelosi starts with the contaminated lettuce and spinach she might get my vote.


Here in the Arboretum, we will all be voting today. There is nearly always a 100% voter turn-out amongst us.

Ooops, well, that might be an exaggeration. Steve has lived in so many places lately, he's having trouble remembering where he's registered, but if he figures it out, there will be total participation.

We understand that all of the doves have hired a bus to go to the polls together, because they think there is safety in numbers. We don't think anyone would shoot a whole bus full of doves, but a police escort might be advisable.

One good thing is that elections are still being held at all. (Some people were in doubt.) The votes will be honestly counted in the Arboretum, but there's no guarantee that will happen in other parts of this republic.

Most of our lawyers have gone to Virginia to help out there. Yes, Virginia, there really is corruption.

We have made several recommendations. For those of you around Chelsea and Grass Lake, you ought to vote for Ms Renier, and against a flamer known as Walberg. In Mid-Michigan, we are recommending that you do not vote for a liar named Kahn.

And for Governor, DeVos is a very poor choice because of his attitudes towards environmental and conservation issues. Granholm has been good on these issues.

Monday, November 06, 2006

My item on eBay

Bid on my current item for sale. Seriously.


Add a comment -- Introduce yourself and let us know how often you've been reading!

Going to war at the Five and Dime

Donald Rumsfeld has gotten a lot of criticism for trying to run the Iraq War on the cheap. His generals were telling him he needed more troops, but he wouldn't listen. That would be politically unpalatable, and when you're trying to foist an unjust war on the American people, you have to dress it up as pretty as you can. But facts are insistent things. Here's the first sentence from a CNN story from Saturday:

"A series of secret U.S. war games in 1999 showed that an invasion and post-war administration of Iraq would require 400,000 troops, nearly three times the number there now."

It gets even more jaw-dropping:

"In the simulation, called Desert Crossing, 70 military, diplomatic and intelligence participants concluded the high troop levels would be needed to keep order, seal borders and take care of other security needs."

Full story here.



(Thanks to Jerry Brasseur for sending this to me.)


Dis'in' The Demoralized

Ted Haggard's ironically named "New Life" church has kicked him out. I believe the term is "dismissed." Is this because they 'love the sinner? '

MI-7th: Slimeball tactics

Somebody's not playing fair in the race for Michigan's 7th Congressional district seat. A series of automated phone calls have been going out to voters featuring a woman posing as Sharon Renier, the Democratic candidate. The call (which I haven't heard myself) "features an unknown woman blasting Renier's opponent, Tim Walberg, R-Tipton," according to the Jackson Citizen-Patriot

In a laughably incompetent and inexplicably short story in the Cit-Pat, which apparently has more important things to cover four days before a huge midterm election, the "vile" robo-calls are discussed, but not well-described. For instance, How many calls were there? When were they received? Did the reporter talk to a voter who received them? How about an election expert on the legal issues? How about a fricking clue, O editors of the Cit-Pat? This isn't even minor-league reporting.

Anyway, the Walberg campain has raised the alarm about these calls (which of course, brings attention to the story), which Renier has denounced. Renier has announced that she's filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission.

My strong suspicion is that the Walberg campaign is up to its ears in this dirty little trick. Methinks the wingnut doth protest too much.

In the first place, the Renier campaign doesn't have enough money to blow their mini-budget on fake robo-calls. If they were paying for the ads, one presumes they would have access to the actual candidate (that would be Renier) and wouldn't need to hire an imposter.

Second of all, the whole sordid affair is bound to hurt Renier, as offended voters turn on her. So when trying to determine who's behind this, ask first, "Who benefits?"

Third of all, this is a fairly typical GOP dagger operation. Blogs like Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo have described a pattern of GOP behavior this election season designed to disgust voters and depress turnout (which always works in their favor).

Fourth, the Walberg campaign itself has already engaged in this sort of "spoofing" in this campaign. I have a shiny mailing featuring Renier's picture, which talks in glowing terms about her liberal agenda and plans to raise taxes. Only by reading the fine print do you see that it came directly from wht Walberg campaign.


Folks, we can't let a scoundrel like Walberg get away with this and get into Congress. VOTE!

MI-7th: The power of the Schwarz

My Congressman, Joe Schwarz, seems like a good man. He's a level-headed moderate, and in his two years in Congress, he's backed stem-cell research, opposed torture, and tried to represent his Republican-leaning district in a level-headed Republican way. If he had won his primary and was running for reelection tomorrow, I'd have to vote Democratic because control of the U.S. House is so imporatant. But he'd cruise to reelection, and I wouldn't feel too bad about that.

But Schwarz lost in the primary to a right-winger named Tim Walberg, who used character assassination and slimy funding tricks to slam Schwarz, and that turned out enough wingnuts to carry him to a primary victory. Now Walberg faces a much closer race against the Democrat, Sharon Renier, than Schwarz would have. Despite a huge funding disaprity, Renier has polled fairly close to Walberg. But I've gotten a ton of Walberg mailers and seen lots of yard signs; I don't think Renier has enough money to run a competent campaign.

But she still has a shot, against all conventional wisdom. Schwarz has made his displeasure with Walberg's tactics and politics well-known, and in this anti-Republican year, that could tip thousands of normally Republican votes to Renier. Schwarz says, "Sharon is a woman of good character. As far as I can tell, her positions are fairly moderate." While he won't endorse her (that just too much to ask of a loyal GOP man, I guess), the Cit-Pat reported yesterday:

Schwarz says he has made up his mind -- and he won't vote for Walberg.

So, I'm saying there's a chance.

Jackson Cit-Pat: Schwarz factor -- Where will his supporters go?

These pesky Families.

Thought you might like to know that 4 of Michigan's Congresspersons, all Democrats, scored absolute zeroes on a recent test.

The test was devised by the "Family Research Council"(FRC) a wholly owned subsidiary of Focus on the Family, a Protestant watchdog group headed by a highly Godly and sanctimonious, I mean holy, man named James Dobson.

These Congressional family haters were: Sander Levin., John Dingell, John Conyers and Carolyn Kilpatrick. What are the odds that they would all be Democrats? Astonishing!

An interesting note: While some well-known Protestants like Hillary Clinton scored zero (for God's sake, don't tell Chelsea), some Jews, such as Joe Liebermann actually hit positive numbers. Who would have thunk it? Just no tellin' what religions might like their families.

Oh, by the way, one of the standards of acceptability was whether or not you voted for Justice Alito. Who knew he was such a bellwether?

A final note: Based on the political positions taken by the evangelicals, Ted Haggard would have scored 100% on the family values scale, had he been in Congress.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


(try the tune of Casey Jones)

Gather round you people If you wanna know
A story about a brave Denver joe.
Mikey Jones was the fella's name
'Twas on the cable networks that he won his fame.

Mikey Jones,
- called his favorite meth lab
Mikey Jones
- crack pipe in his hand
Mikey Jones
- promised he would not blab
Then flew his buddy to the Promised Land.

They pulled into Denver nearly high as a kite,
Soon they were speeding through a sinful night.
All the people knew by the Pastor's moans.
That the man at the throttle was ol' Mikey Jones.

Mikey Jones!
- made himself a livin'
Mikey Jones!
- lyin' in his bed
Mikey Jones!
- no excuse he's givin',
He blew the cover off'n Pastor Ted

Saturday, November 04, 2006


WEATHER forecast for FLORENCE, ITALY, where I will be next Friday.

Partly Cloudy. High: 60° F. / 16° C. Wind NE 8 mph. / 14 km/h.

Friday Night
Partly Cloudy. Low: 44° F. / 7° C. Wind NE 8 mph. / 14 km/h.

Even though I think Kerry handled this incident ineptly, as usual, I also believe that Tom Friedman is correct, and I'm sick of being treated this way by them.

Insulting Our Troops, and Our Intelligence

Published: November 3, 2006
The New York Times

George Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld think you’re stupid. Yes, they do.

They think they can take a mangled quip about President Bush and Iraq by John Kerry — a man who is not even running for office but who, unlike Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, never ran away from combat service — and get you to vote against all Democrats in this election.

Every time you hear Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney lash out against Mr. Kerry, I hope you will say to yourself, “They must think I’m stupid.” Because they surely do.

Greenhouse Effect


Greenhouse gases hit record levels in 2005: U.N.
Fri Nov 3, 2006 12:52pm ET

GENEVA (Reuters) - Levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a record last year and are likely to keep rising unless emissions are radically cut, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said in a report on Friday.

To read the whole article, click here: GREENHOUSE GASES

Friday, November 03, 2006


John Kerry

a. Not being careful with his tongue
b. Not knowing how or why or if to apologize
c. Falling into the same old trap. (Some
people live and learn, some not.)


Ted Haggard


New phone

My apologies to those of you who tried to call me by cell phone over the past 6 weeks. One day, I was utterly unable to find my trusty old phone. I scratched my head, and hoped it would show up again, but it seemed to have vanshied into a crack in the universe. Turns out, it had slipped the surly bonds of my pocket and vanished into a crack in my buddy Bill's couch, where it lay dormant for over a month. Meanwhile, I was phoneless, and unable to get an affordable replacement because I was still locked into a contract with Sprint. Just before becoming un-indentured to The Sprint Guy, Bill located my battered old Samsung during a cleaning frenzy.

I've cut ties with Sprint after several years, opting to join the in-laws family plan (now that I'm family) at T-Mobile. So I don't suppose I'll be able to deduct the phone as a business expense any longer, but at $15/month vs. $55, who cares? I have better uses for that $40/month.

I didn't have any problems with Sprint, which was usually crystal-clear and had good coverage. But the big monthly bill was an avoidable expense, and a good chunk of my calls go to lines in the new family plan, so it made sense. But I did have to wait out my locked-in contract before I could make the jump.

Now I have a shiny new Nokia, with camera, voice-dialing, and purportedly an FM radio built in there somewhere (haven't found that feature). Nice, compact little jobby that only set me back $50. And I even get to keep my old number. And thanks to Bill, I can salvage all my crucial numbers off the old phone.

My old Samsung phone is junk -- it didn't close properly anymore, the antenna was bent like the nose of a talentless boxer, and the microphone didn't work well anymore. But I have an old wall charger, car charger and over-ear headset I can let go cheap. So if you could use these accessories, talk to me. You can call me on my new phone.



When I was but a little boy,
With a Hi! and a Ho! and a Hey!
I dreamed that tigers ruled the world,
Oh, ruled the world would they!
And now I've grown much older
With a Hi! and a Ho! and a Hoy!
And how do the Tigers rule the world?
They rule with infinite joy!
(Modern Mama Gooser)