Saturday, November 29, 2008
1. Touch 'start'
2. Wait for 3, 2, 1.
3. Memorize the numbers positions on the screen, then click the circle from the smallest number to the biggest number.
4. At the end of game, the computer will tell you the age of your brain.
Your result for The Classic Dames Test...
You scored 29% grit, 24% wit, 38% flair, and 29% class!
You are the fabulously quirky and independent woman of character. You go your own way, follow your own drummer, take your own lead. You stand head and shoulders next to your partner, but you are perfectly willing and able to stand alone. Others might be more classically beautiful or conventionally woman-like, but you possess a more fundamental common sense and off-kilter charm, making interesting men fall at your feet. You can pick them up or leave them there as you see fit. You share the screen with the likes of Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant, thinking men who like strong women.
Your result for The Classic Leading Man Test...
You scored 7% Tough, 19% Roguish, 43% Friendly, and 33% Charming!
You are the epitome of charm and style, the smooth operator who steals the show with your sophisticated wit, quiet confidence and flirty sense of humor. You are able to catch any woman you want just by flashing that disarming smile, even if you're flashing it at a kindly aunt or engaging child at the time. When you walk into a room, women are instantly intrigued and even the men are impressed, but you're too nice a guy to steal anyone else's girl...unless the guy deserves it. You're stylish, yes, but you can also be a little bit nutty. However, you're primarily seen as dashing, suave and romantic. Your co-stars include Katharine Hepburn, Audrey Hepburn, and Grace Kelly, stylish women with a sense of fun.
Friday, November 28, 2008
I went to Mother's and took the tape I recorded of the Barbara Walters interview with the Obamas. We were discussing it Thanksgiving, and she missed it. She looked at me and scolded, "Why didn't you tell me that was on?" I told her she usually kept up with all that. So fortunately I hadn't deleted it from my DVR, so we enjoyed watching it together. I'd seen it but missed some of it because I often watch TV and am on my laptop at the same time. I'm not as good at multi-tasking as I used to be. Since she had some good leftovers from yesterday, we had a good lunch.
This bronchitis is finally getting better. Yesterday I thought I'd have to go to the doctor today, but my lungs quit hurting so much. Maybe I'll make it now.
I hope all of you are enjoying your holiday. What did you do?
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
If I would be a young man again and had to decide how to make my living, I would not try to become a scientist or scholar or teacher. I would rather choose to be a plumber or a peddler in the hope to find that modest degree of independence still available under present circumstances.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Warren and Kym performed the hustle and got a total score of 80/90. Lance and Lacey jitterbugged their way to a total score of 81/90. Brooke and Derek danced the Viennese waltz with elegance and grace for a score of 88/90. There were a couple of sweet moments at the end of their dance after the phrase, "Mothers be kind to your daughters" when Brooke danced over to her two daughters and hugged and kissed them. Then when the judges were praising her, we could see her fiancee fighting back tears. It was touching.
Now to add the audience votes to those of the judges.
And the winner is ... Brooke Burke and Derek Hough!
This is only one of two pictures I could find of her with some clothes on. There are many of her in bikinis, topless, and in almost nothing. Well done, Brooke!
In second place ... Warren and Kym!
All the clutter experts say that a traumatic event usually triggers this kind of house chaos, and that is the case for me. Just getting the living/dining room done makes me feel lighter and as if I've lost weight. I can't wait until I get the whole house back again!
The squirrel monkey’s brain accounts for roughly 5 percent of its body weight, the largest percentage of any animal. The human brain, by comparison, makes up about 2.3 percent of body weight.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I didn't pay that much attention to it when I first started feeling allergic and sinusey. Then my lungs got involved and made me feel draggy. Maybe it is more than I first thought, but it's overstayed its welcome.
They'll also have their free-style to do. My favorite in seasons past was Drew and Cheryl's cowboy dance. The weirdest was that doll dance Marie Osmond did.
• Brooke Burke and Derek Hough
Dance: Samba / Freestyle
Score: 28 + 30 = 58
Brooke and Derek chose their beautiful quickstep and intense Paso Doble. Derek said she has had consistently high scores and the highest average score.
Brooke's and Derek's samba was energetic, smooth, and good. Theirs was probably first. Her body is amazing. She must spend hours every day doing yoga, pilates, and all kinds of things to get in that shape.
Their freestyle is a jitterbug they danced to "You're the One I Want" from Grease. Their outfits were reminiscent of that era and changed by a breakaway for Brooke and added jacket for Derek. They'll probably get all 10's for this. Bruno said it was one of the best freestyles he's ever seen, and so did Len. All the judges loved it. Just as we've suspected all season, Brooke will undoubtedly win.
• Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer
Dance: Samba / Freestyle
Score: 26 + 27 = 53
Lance and Lacey showed their goth tango and the mambo. Lacy thinks Lance needs to win because he's the most improved and beat Brooke twice. Why don't I like them?
Lance did a good samba. He and Lacey looked great and were probably second.
OMG, they have on t-shirts that say LANCEY. Cute or gaggy? You decide. Their dance is a hip-hop. It was energetic, youthful, and good but not equal to Brooke and Derek. The judges were mixed in their critique but all gave them 9's.
• Warren Sapp and Kym Johnson
Dance: Samba / Freestyle
Score: 25 + 28 = 53
Warren's and Kym's favorites were their elegant Viennese waltz and their Matrix Paso Doble. Kym said Warren should win because he lights up the dance floor and excites the crowd. He started not knowing anything and can now dance all these dances.
Warren has amazed me every week with his footwork and style. Good job! They probably were third. Yep, I called 'em.
Their freestyle had all kinds of lifts, some of which looked a little awkward. They also did some costume changes during the dance to "Proud Mary." It was energetic and sometimes sort of frenetic. I don't think they'll get all 10's, but the crowd loves them. Len said he was a star and that no one touches him as an entertainer. Their routine was Carrie Ann's favorite. Len gave him a 10 based on entertainment.
They'll have one more score from the judges tomorrow night which will be half their score. Now let's vote!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
So far, so good. She's spending the night with Mother and will be back in the morning. We went over there for dinner and visited with my sister-in-law Janelle who stopped by. That was relaxing and fun. My mother's house is organized, clean, and always looks wonderful. She's amazing!
Just last week we were treated to news that some banks have set aside several billions of bailout money for executive bonuses this year. With the exception of one or two, there has been no announcement that the CEOs and other leaders of banks and corporations who wrecked the economy (leaving many elders and others destitute of a lifetime of savings) have been fired. No salaries have been reduced to governmental levels even though bailout banks are being partially nationalized.
While these people keep their several mansions, Bentleys, yachts, art that belongs in museums, dozens of $5,000 suits, astronomical salaries and bonuses, the American people are paying for it all in blood, hunger and cold in winter.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
DWTS has become a showcase for performers since it's so popular. Aretha Franklin, Leona Lewis, and John Legend sang on tonight's show.
The handsome guy I thought was Brooke's husband is her fiance, David Charvet. He was chewing gum, remember? Not cool. They have two children, and she has two from a previous marriage.
Well, just as we thought, cute little ol' Cody had to go. He did a great job making it to the final four!
I've dated and was married to someone who made quite a bit more money than I did, which isn't that hard to do with teachers' salaries being what they are. With the exception of a couple of times, it went well. Sometimes men acted as if they could make all the decisions and "take care of me" in patronizing ways, but they didn't get to stick around. I guess when the woman makes more money, is taller or older, or has a position of power in her career, things could be more difficult since those are not our role models. Lipstick Jungle has been dealing with this with the characters on there. I've been in relationships where I was from 10-15 years older than the guy I was going with, so I know something about that. In some cases it posed a problem but had more to do with other issues. Generally it was OK.
How do some of you same-sex couples handle this? The latest episode of Brothers and Sisters made me wonder since the gay couple on there dealt with one of them becoming more successful than the other who had made more money before. Does being equal play a big part of your relationship or not?
Anyway, what about you? Any thoughts on this?
Monday, November 17, 2008
We're down to four couples. Now they'll perform a dance they haven't done this season and one of the new dances. Here are the semi-finalists!
• Brooke Burke and Derek Hough
Dance: Jive / Salsa
Score: 21 + 28 = 49
The only woman in the competition, Brooke has consistently been the best dancer. Derek worked on Brooke's performan as well as the choreography. Their jive was sort of frenetic. Brooke seemed a little bit stiff or something I can't quite put my finger on. Len pointed them out for me. He said it was a disaster with many mistakes. Bruno said it had wow but no how. Carrie Ann was upset about the lift. Brooke said she missed the first step and couldn't get on track after that. Ooo, all 7's - their worst score of the whole season.
Their salsa redeemed them. Good job!
• Cody Linley and Julianne Hough
Dance: Paso Doble / Salsa
Score: 22 + 24 = 46
Julianne is back, and Cody was glad. He went to Nashville to see her at the CMA's. Julianne said the main difference she saw in Cody in the two weeks she was gone is his determination. Their Paso Doble was different. It looked 40's with Army uniforms (or parts of them) Cody was intense and focused. Bruno not so much, nor Carrie Ann, and Len not at all.
Cody has improved so much and did a good salsa. Len said he didn't realize he was such a strong lad, and Bruno said he came out like a little cheeky devil.
• Warren Sapp and Kym Johnson
Dance: Mambo / Jitterbug
Score: 24 + 25 = 49
Warren flies to Philadelphia to do Inside the NFL after the results show and then back and forth again. Kym went with him for them to rehearse again. He's so tired but won't quit he said. The judges praised Warren's performance ability but said he needed more content and more difficult moves. All 8's - best score tonight so far. I think the competition is taking its toll on the celebrities because they all seem determined to make it to the finals and are nervous.
Warren is a competitive performer. He really moves well and is fun to watch.
• Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer
Dance: Mambo / Jitterbug
Score: 28 + 29 = 57
Lance flew his father and grandfather from Mississippi to watch him dance. He said his grandfather was his inspiration since he used to do the jitterbug. Their mambo was really good, and they got the best score of the night so far.
Very good jitterbug and high score! Two tens!
Cody will probably go home tomorrow night based on how things went tonight.
Oliver Stone's W., a biography of President Bush, is fascinating. No other word for it. I became absorbed in its story of a poor little rich kid's alcoholic youth and torturous adulthood. This is the tragedy of a victim of the Peter Principle. Wounded by his father's disapproval and preference for his brother Jeb, the movie argues, George W. Bush rose and rose until he was finally powerful enough to stain his family's legacy.The movie goes through decades of W's partying and disappointing his parents. He never holds down a job and quits because he doesn't like the hard work and time it cuts into his carousing. One poignant part is how his parents favor Jeb, who does everything right, over W who screws up all the time. Stereotypically, he tries to please his father (Poppy) and repeatedly fails. We all know how his mother said the wrong son became president. They tried to talk him out of running for governor of Texas because they didn't think he'd win or maybe should win and because Jeb was running for governor of Florida, and they wanted to campaign for him. James Cromwell and Ellen Burstyn were really good in their roles.
In the world according to W., Bush always fell short in the eyes of his patrician father (James Cromwell) and outspoken mother (Ellen Burstyn). He resented his parents' greater admiration for his younger brother Jeb. The film lacks scenes showing W. as a child, however -- probably wisely. It opens at a drunken fraternity initiation, and "Junior" is pretty much drunk until he finds Jesus at the age of 40. He runs through women, jobs and cars at an alarming speed, and receives one angry lecture after another from his dad.Colin Powell is shown relatively favorably, and Cheney and Rove are spot on in their manipulation of Bush. I never got a handle on Condoleeza Rice but just don't get her anyway. I don't understand how and why she is so loyal to W and went along with all that. She's a mystery to me. Rove and Lee Atwater are evil. I hope we see an end to their style of campaigning.
The focus is always on Bush (Josh Brolin): His personality, his addiction, his insecurities, his unwavering faith in a mission from God, his yearning to prove himself, his inability to deal with those who advised him. Not surprisingly, in this film, most of the crucial decisions of his presidency were shaped and placed in his hands by the Machiavellian strategist Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss) and the master politician Karl Rove (Toby Jones). Donald Rumsfeld (Scott Glenn) runs an exasperated third.The dialogue is taken from news conferences, speeches, and books written about all this. George Tenet, Rumsfeld, Laura, and W were as we'd expect them to be based on the news and reports. Richard Dreyfuss was so Dick Cheney that it seemed as if Cheney were playing himself! Excellent casting!
But what made them tick? And what about Colin Powell (Jeffrey Wright) and Condoleezza Rice (Thandie Newton)? You won't find out here. The film sees Bush's insiders from the outside. In his presence, they tend to defer, to use tact as a shield from his ego and defensiveness. But Cheney's soft-spoken, absolutely confident opinions are generally taken as truth. And Bush accepts Rove as the man to teach him what to say and how to say it. He needs them and doesn't cross them.
Unlike Stone's JFK and Nixon, this film contains no revisionist history. Everything in it, including the scenes behind closed doors, is now pretty much familiar from tell-all books by former Bush aides, and reporting by such reporters as Bob Woodward. Though Stone and his writer, Stanley Weiser, could obviously not know exactly who said what and when, there's not a line of dialogue that sounds like malicious fiction. It's all pretty much as published accounts have prepared us for.As infuriating as his administration is with all the incompetence, manipulation, greed, lying, and total disregard for humanity, human rights, the truth, and citizens of the US and the world, I felt a little sorry for W and certainly don't want to because I'll always be furious with him for what he's done to our country and for all the lives lost and ruined because of him. Watching him and his staff in action made me want to cry and scream.
Dried out, Bush is finally able to hold down jobs. The movie is far from a chronological record, organizing episodes to observe the development of his personality, not his career. Even several spellbinding scenes about the runup to the Iraq war are not so much critical of his decisions as about how cluelessly, and yet with such vehemence, he stuck with them through thick and thin. At a top-level meeting where he is finally informed that there are no WMDs in Iraq and apparently never were, he is furious for not being informed of this earlier. Several people in the room tried to inform him, but were silenced. Colin Powell spends a lot of time softly urging caution and holding his tongue. There is no indication that he will eventually resign.
His born-again Christianity was shown as sincere. To me, he traded one addiction for another as addicts often do. He isn't at all reflective or multi-dimensional but plows ahead like a true believer. Wanting to please and then outdo his father is classic. He's so much more like his mother, as she's admitted. I've read that Poppy would leave the room when the two of them would banter cruelly with each other. This is from a Vanity Fair article "The Accidental Candidate" by Gail Sheehy: Once, after his mother banished him from the golf course, she turned to Hannah and declared, "That boy is going to have optical rectosis." What did that mean? "She said, 'A shitty outlook on life.'" So there you have it!
One might feel sorry for George W. at the end of this film, were it not for his legacy of a fraudulent war and a collapsed economy. The film portrays him as incompetent to be president, and shaped by the puppet masters Cheney and Rove to their own ends. If there is a saving grace, it may be that Bush will never fully realize how badly he did. How can he blame himself? He was only following God's will.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
We often say that Brendan is such a boy, and here is an example. He came over to me and said, "I farted." Then he pulled out his sweatpants and underwear and added, "See?" I looked (just to be sure) and told him you can't see farts, just smell them. I keep a straight face when he says this stuff but can't wait to tell it!
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The idea of achieving security through national armament is, at the present state of military technique, a disastrous illusion.
But this one for Sunday really cracks me up. It sounds like something Brendan might do. They are birds of a similar Asperger feather.
When I was young, I found out that the big toe always ends up making a hole in a sock. So I stopped wearing socks.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Last week a savant very similar to Rainman was on NUMB3RS. Charlie, the math genius, asked his brother if exceptional talent in math and poor social skills sounded familiar and then added that most of the ones he knew were higher functioning than this guy was.
There's the attorney "Hands" on Boston Legal who has Asperger's, and Tempe Brennan on Bones has the characteristics. Mr. Spock, of course, from Star Trek. Then there's Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory.
With more emphasis on autism, they are bound to appear as characters on shows. Now that I'm learning more about it because of my grandson, quite a few people I've taught with and known have it, I'm sure. We just weren't that aware of it then.
I told my son and daughter-in-law that Brendan and my cat Brigit remind me of each other at times. There is something to this, actually. Many of the traits of Asperger's are cat characteristics. There's even a book about it, and I'm going to order it!
Oh, does this bring back memories! We used to play that song over and over again in the dorm trying to figure out the lyrics we were told had dirty words in them. We couldn't figure them out, either, but there were many speculations.
Back then, profanity wasn't spoken in movies or on TV. In fact, George Carlin has a famous routine about the Seven Words You Can't Say on Television. It was on a comedy album for which he won a Grammy. That's where we could hear things like that - record albums. The only place to see nude photographs was in National Geographic Magazine, and those weren't exactly provocative. Now we're bombarded with nudity, sex, profanity, and all kinds of things. Breaking down taboos makes them less shocking but definitely blurs boundaries. We do need boundaries and limits. Too much repression leads to hypocrisy and too little leads to rudeness.
I'm from the South where we are expected to be polite whether we mean it or not. We understand that and are OK with it. A friend of a friend from NYC said that got on her nerves because she couldn't tell if Southerners were just being nice or really meant something. We can usually tell, but it doesn't really matter because we go on with our business anyway.
Albert Einstein never learned how to drive a car.
And this is the Einstein Quote of the Day:
Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.
But then here's the literary quote:
"Which came first, the intestine or the tapeworm?"
- William Burroughs
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Now I have homework. I'll take photos of my progress. There is hope!
Silly Putty started as a mistake in a New Haven laboratory, and was turned into a consumer hit in the 1960s. According to engineers, Silly Putty is a self-contradiction. Chemically, it is a liquid, but it resembles a solid. The molecular structure will stretch if the structure is slowly pulled. But if tugged, it snaps apart. The toy has a rebound capacity of 75 to 80 percent, whereas a rubber ball has only about 50-percent capacity. A silicon derivative, Silly Putty won’t rot; it can withstand temperatures from minus 70� Fahrenheit to hundreds of degrees above zero. On top of all that, it picks up newsprint, which often appears sharper than the original.
And now this:
In bowling alley slang, a turkey is 3 strikes in a row. The term dates back to the late 1800s when, around the holidays, alley owners presented live turkeys to the first member of the team to score 3 consecutive strikes.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The first practical can opener was developed many years after the birth of the metal can. Early cans were made of iron and weighed more than the food they held. Ezra Warner of Waterbury, Connecticut patented the first can opener in 1858, but it never left the grocery store. A clerk had to open each can before it was taken away. William Lyman of the United States invented the modern can opener, with a cutting wheel that rolls around the rim, in 1870.
When we first married, he was at Dam Neck Naval Base in Virginia Beach to learn to maintain the computers that control the Polaris missles on the FBM class of nuclear submarines which was named for US presidents and explorers. I met some of the neatest people then and am still friends with our close group. It was my first time living out of state, and I have great memories of it.
The two FBM's he was on were the USS James Madison and the USS Lewis and Clark. It was strange when he was on patrol. There were two crews (blue and gold crews), and they alternated three-month periods. We couldn't hear from them while they were gone because the boats could receive messages but not send them because they were deterrent weapons. We were allowed three family-grams per patrol and got an extra one when we had a baby (a baby-gram). We had to call someone at the base who took down our twenty-word message that was transmitted all over the Atlantic and eventually typed out for the recipients.
I was so paranoid about saying anything that might breach security because wives had been arrested by the shore patrol for it and their husbands demoted and sent to a surface craft. Co-teachers would ask when my husband was coming home just to be friendly out of concern, but I couldn't even give an approximate date. I'd say it would be soon or in a month or something like that. Actually we didn't know and had to start calling a special number to find out when the plane would be at the Air Force base that brought them back from Rota, Spain, or Holy Lock, Scotland, bases where their subs sailed from. There was a calling network, so we'd know we could call that number.
Security was high since a whole crew could be wiped out by blowing up a plane. Navy Seals checked out the subs thoroughly before they went to sea for depth charges. I respected all the security because it was vital, and I wanted them to get home safely. He made sure not to tell me things that I would have to decide were safe topics or not - that "need to know" policy. I was tense the whole time he was gone and just about relaxed before I started dreading his leaving again.
On this Veteran's Day, I applaud all those who are in the service of our country and who have ever been and their families. Thank you!
"I am not personal vested this," he said, "yet this vote is horrible. Horrible... This is about the human heart." After going through the history of marriage in the United States, and reminding viewers not only that marriage between black and white people used to be illegal in 1/3 of the country, but illegal between slaves, he made a plea for love and the spread of happiness.
"The world is barren enough... with so much hate in the world, so much meaningless division... this is what your religion tells you to do?... this is what your heart tells you to do?... You are asked to stand now on a question of love."
Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the passage, last week, of Proposition Eight in California, which rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry, and tilted the balance on this issue, from coast to coast.
Some parameters, as preface. This isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics, and this isn't really just about Prop-8. And I don't have a personal investment in this: I'm not gay, I had to strain to think of one member of even my very extended family who is, I have no personal stories of close friends or colleagues fighting the prejudice that still pervades their lives.
And yet to me this vote is horrible. Horrible. Because this isn't about yelling, and this isn't about politics.
This is about the... human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.
If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not... understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want -- a chance to be a little less alone in the world.
Only now you are saying to them -- no. You can't have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don't cause too much trouble. You'll even give them all the same legal rights -- even as you're taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can't marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?
I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage.
If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal... in 1967. 1967.
The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't marry...black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death, Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance, Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.
You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are... gay.
And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing -- centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children... All because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage. How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?
What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace... that love? The world is barren enough.
It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.
And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?
With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness -- this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness -- share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of...love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate. You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know...It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow **person...
Just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.
This is the second time in ten days I find myself concluding by turning to, of all things, the closing plea for mercy by Clarence Darrow in a murder trial.
But what he said, fits what is really at the heart of this:
"I was reading last night of the aspiration of the old Persian poet, Omar-Khayyam," he told the judge.
"It appealed to me as the highest that I can vision. I wish it was in my heart, and I wish it was in the hearts of all:
"So I be written in the Book of Love;
"I do not care about that Book above.
"Erase my name, or write it as you will,
"So I be written in the Book of Love."
From the Huffington Post
Monday, November 10, 2008
• Cody Linley and Julianne Hough
Dance: Foxtrot & Mambo
Score: 24 + 24 = 48
Cody was very discouraged about being in last place last week and having his lowest score. Edyta worked with him again, and it's been hard for him to get used to someone else besides Julianne. I can tell a difference in his dancing since he seems a little hesitant now. He should feel better after the praise from the judges. It was a smooth, elegant performance.
Cody didn't start out that well with his mambo but got into it and was better inconsistently. His solo was not spectacular, but he's cute and tries hard. Carrie Ann said it was erratic and disjointed. Len thought he did two good dances tonight. Bruno said he had the mambo fever but that it was spasmodic at times. Julianne will return tomorrow night to dance on the results show.
• Brooke Burke and Derek Hough
Dance: Tango & Mambo
Score: 28 + 27 = 55
Derek said he was stepping up the choreography this week because Brooke could handle it, and he wanted good scores since she's the only woman in the competition and that men have won it many more times than women. Their tango was intense, precise, and focused. The judges were divided. Carrie Ann and Bruno gave her 10's and said it was pitch perfect. Len, on the other hand, scored her as if she were a professional and pointed out mistakes and gave her an 8. That seems strict since he said Derek plans difficult choreography that Brooke masters.
I thought Brooke was a little subdued during her mambo at times. The judges said the choreography was ambitious and that she is incredible. They agreed with what I noticed and all gave her 9's.
• Maurice Green and Cheryl Burke
Dance: Quickstep & Pasa Doble
Score: 24 + 24 = 48
Cheryl critiqued Maurice's dance while watching tapes, which he said helped him since that's what he does when training for the Olympics. He did well performing this dance and maintained his posture and routine. The judges were complimentary and all gave him 8's.
Maurice was a little stiff during this dance. He didn't have the intensity that many of them do during a Pasa Doble but still did a good job. The judges said he was focused and did well.
• Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer
Dance: Foxtrot & Samba
Score: 26 + 24 = 50
After being criticized by Len for using gimmicks, they performed a regular foxtrot which was smooth and graceful. The judges liked it, and Len said his footwork was still a bit dodgy but that the dance was well-done. Hmm, two 9's and an 8 from Len.
If I liked Lance and Lacey better, I'd be more interested in their dancing. Maurice, too. They all sort of leave me cold. Carrie Ann said the samba is one of the most difficult dances on the show adn that he did pretty well. Len wasn't impressed with the solo and said he has to work on his footwork. Bruno was more complimentary. It showed in their scores with an 8 from Carrie Ann, a 7 from Len, and a 9 from Bruno.
• Warren Sapp and Kym Johnson
Dance: Tango & Jive
Score: 28 + 26 = 54
This tango was good. I like to watch Warren dance. The judges said he brought his sparkle back and gave him a 10 and two 9's.
Go Warren! He had trouble learning the jive but rocked out. He seems to have fun and be focused at the same time. The judges loved his energy and fun but said his feet were all over the place. Wow! Two 9's and an 8!
Maurice will possibly go this week. I hope Cody doesn't have to leave yet, but he might.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Ailurus fulgens styani
Found throughout the Himalayan Mountains between 2200 & 4800 meters in elevation in northern Burma and the districts of Sichuan and Yunnan.
Temperate climates amongst deciduous and coniferous trees as well as bamboo forests.
The red panda is cryptically colored to blend in with its surroundings (usually mossy colored trees). Its face is mostly white with reddish-brown “tear” marks under the eyes. The body is reddish-brown with a black underbelly. The legs are black and the feet are covered in dense white hair. The tail is long & furry with alternating red and buff rings.
Diet in the Zoo: leafeater biscuits and grapes as well as bamboo
Diet in the Wild: bamboo, berries, blossoms, leaves, mice, birds, fruit, veggies, acorns, & roots.
In the wild, the longest lived (known) specimen was 14 years old. Life expectancy in the wild is usually between 8 and 10 years.
* Red pandas usually descend trees headfirst.
* Red pandas have been pivotal in taxonomic research on Family Ursidae (includes bears) and Family Procyonidae (includes raccoons). Red pandas were originally placed in the latter, then the former, and now belong to their own family Ailuridae.
Endangered due in large part to deforestation and expanding human populations in Southeast Asia.
Baby Polar Bear
Mother and Cub
Red Panda and Cub
Baby Red Pandas
Do you love New York? Following a 20-year study, a fertility specialist, Dr. Harry Fisch, reported in 1996 that Big Apple men have higher sperm counts and better semen quality than men of Los Angeles. Experts believe the warm weather and higher pollution in Los Angeles might be the culprit behind the lower quality.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
What probably happened is that Lee Atwater and Karl Rove appealed to those voters in order to manipulate them into thinking they are voting against abortion and gay marriage. We have huge numbers of Baptist and Church of Christ churches here as well as various forms of fundamentalist ones (emphasis on mental). They're everywhere and are smug, self-righteous, intolerant, and often hypocritical. They occupy all kinds of positions on school boards, local government, as teachers, blue-collar workers, and all kinds of various occupations. Then there is the redneck contingency who is racist, homophobic, and armed.
How do I stand to live here? Well, there are people who are intelligent, educated, tolerant, critical thinkers, and open-minded. I spend most of my time around them. That's all that keeps me sane. I have some friends who are Republicans and who go to fundamentalist churches, and we get along just fine even though I'm not religious. We can talk about all kinds of things and like each other.
I wouldn't, however, date Baptist Republicans. I use the term Baptist to include any of those churches along those lines. I grew up Methodist and then went to various others, including Episcopal, and can't understand those who are so narrow that they think their way is the only way to believe. Btw, have you noticed that most of the child molesters, perverts, hypocritical closeted gays who frequent airport restrooms and preach and/or pass legislature against homosexuality, and other menaces to society come from those strict, repressed, intolerant churches and belief systems? I don't go to any church now and am fine making decisions for myself.
I'm telling you all of this because of the headline in our twice-weekly local newspaper, so you'll see what I mean. It isn't online, unfortunately, so I'll just type it on here. What a crappy way to report an election this historic! I so have blue state envy!
Dickson County sees red,
nation goes Obama blue
I've been thinking about the clothes issue with Sarah Palin. The money's been spent. The clothes have been worn. They fit her. Let her keep them as lovely parting gifts. What's the point of taking them back? What would they do with them really? Move on. It's over.
We need to be patient with President-elect Obama. It's going to take a long time to fix this mess we're in. Don't expect miracles but progress. At least we have hope now.
Did you know you can exchange your Christmas lights for ec0-friendly lights at Home Depot? Tomorrow is the last day, so I doubt I'll make it over there. I don't decorate that much anyway, but that is a good idea.
Amy and Chris
Mother, Sally, Will, and Ally
Sally and Ally
Amy and Sally
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Just as I expected, Susan and Tony danced their last time together, and Erica Kane has left the studio.
My son expressed how I also feel when he wrote in his blog, "I feel like I'm coming out of a long, abusive relationship and someone is finally treating me nice and I don't know how to react."
After so much tension and stress, it will take a while to relax. I sincerely hope we can have some unity in this country for a change. We need to grow up as a country, and perhaps this is a beginning. Now we need to have civil rights for everyone and quit treating gay people like second-class citizens. We must quit sucking when we're compared with other industrialized countries, as in high infant-mortality rate, no affordable national healthcare, education, and other areas in which we need to improve.
I stayed away from all people today and feel better able to face the rest of my week. I'm thrilled about this historic election and will be able to actually feel it tomorrow after a good night's sleep.
To the surprise of nobody who’d been following state tracking polls, McCain carried Tennessee — and carried it so decisively that the networks were coloring the state red on their maps minutes after the polls closed. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, McCain carried the state with 57 percent of the vote to Obama's 42 percent — an even wider margin than the 12-point lead he enjoyed in most statewide polls.
Obama carried just six of Tennessee's 95 counties.
While the Democrats were making historic gains in other traditionally Republican states, Tennessee, if anything, was getting redder. Obama lost the state by a wider margin than John Kerry's decisive 56 percent to 42 percent defeat in 2004.
Obama did win a comfortable majority in Nashville. As of deadline, Shelby County had not released any results, but he was expected to do equally well with Memphis voters.
“I can’t vote for anybody as old as my grandfather,” said Brian Sucher, 28, a restaurant manager from Nashville. “He says ‘I’m experienced,’ but he didn’t make an experienced decision on the vice president he chose. His comment ‘I know where Bin Laden is’ is something he should have told Bush in the first place.”
Most observers agreed the main reason Obama didn’t do well in Tennessee was that he didn’t really try. The campaign invested few resources in the state, instead relying on enthusiastic local volunteers, and the only time the candidate set foot in Tennessee in the past year was to participate in the Belmont presidential debate.
“Tennessee is a red state, there’s a lot of Republican support here,” said Vanderbilt political scientist John Geer. “Frankly, that could have been changed if the Obama campaign had invested in this state. It became sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
This might be true, but they probably made an informed decision based on our having only 11 electoral votes and past performances in elections. Please let's do all we can to contact our legislators to abolish the electoral votes and to go by the popular vote. I'd like for my vote to count and for them to campaign all over the country.
Have I mentioned enough times that I have blue state envy? It would be great to live surrounded by people who vote the way I do instead of so many stubbornly ignorant dumbasses. My friends and family help each other, but it's beyond frustrating. Maybe we can move en masse where the weather is good. OK?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I was so tired after working at the polls all day that I couldn't blog. I watched the speeches in bed and fell asleep with the TV on, which I don't like to do, and slept off and on all night. I'm taking today off and am resting, catching up on recorded TV shows, and might take a nap soon!
McCain's concession speech was gracious and positive. It felt good to hear him make that speech. I hope this can be an example for him and others to follow. Soon-to-be PRESIDENT OBAMA was eloquent and inspiring. Here are his words:
Or if you prefer:
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.
I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.
I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.
To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.
I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.
It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.
I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Foxtrot Fast Facts:
* During the summer of 1914, actor Harry Fox was appearing in shows in New York with Yansci Dolly, in an act of Hammerstein's. Soon people at the Jardin de Danse on the roof of the New York Theater began copying the act that Harry was putting on downstairs, leading them to refer to the dance as "Fox's Trot."
* The foxtrot is a very smooth dance and there should be no jerkiness. It is a dance with many continuously forward or backward moving patterns which are straight and well aligned on the competition floor. It is called the Rolls Royce of the standard dancing styles because the smoothness that is required. ***
* The timing is very important. It should be: slow, quick, quick, slow. The dancers should drive off on the slow and let the quicks take care of themselves. This makes it a very difficult dance.
* The Weave - the weave is six quick steps in a row, all taken on the toes. Quick steps are generally taken on the toe, slow steps on the heels.
* The Feather Step - when the man steps outside the girl.
* Look out for the zig zag patterns that the dancers create on the floor.
*** American Smooth Style:
On Dancing with the Stars the couples will be dancing an "American Smooth"-style Foxtrot. The American Smooth style means couples can break the traditional ballroom "hold" throughout the performance allowing more open movements, including under arm turns. Think Fred and Ginger.
Paso Doble Fast Facts:
* The Paso Doble on the competition floor should create a Spanish Bull Fighting atmosphere. The Paso Doble is the dance for the Man, which allows him to fill the "Space" with strong three-dimensional shapes and movements danced with "Pride and Dignity."
* The woman's role varies depending on the intepretation of the dance. The woman can take the role of the matador's cape, the bull or even the matador at different times within the dance.
* Characteristics of the Paso Doble are the "Marching" flavor given to the steps and the cape movements creating the required tension between both dancers.
* It is one of the only dances that is danced only in the ballroom world.
* It is one of the most dramatic of the dances.
* Look out for chassez cape - the man using the woman as the cape to bring her around.
* Apel - this is when the man stamps his foot - this should be very strong. The man would stamp his foot as if he was trying to attract the bull's attention (the bull often gets distracted by the crowd in a bull fight).
* There are strong Flamenco influences in the dance where the use of castanets is simulated.
* The arpel is a commencement of a movement with the stamping of the feet where the man and woman walk in separate directions.
• Warren Sapp and Kym Johnson
Score: 21 / 50
I like this dance. Len is back in all his glory this week. All the judges said it wasn't his best dance and that it wasn't a smooth dance and a regular foxtrot. Carrie Ann asked him what was wrong, and he said those weren't his shoes. He wears 15 EEE's!!! My goodness! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more!
• Susan Lucci and Tony Dovolani
Dance: Paso Doble
Score: 24 / 44
Praise from the judges. Carrie Ann is acting strange this season. She's been jumping up and whooping (not as horrifying and shrill as Mary Murphy on that other dancing show, thank goodness!). Now she asked Susan to come over there by her, look at the audience, and shout, "I'm doing good!" (incorrect grammar and all). Oh, please!
• Maurice Green and Cheryl Burke
Dance: Cha Cha Cha
Score: 25 / 54
The judges were happy with Maurice's dancing tonight. He was crestfallen about being in the bottom last week which made him try harder but also feel discouraged because he wasn't learning the steps fast enough. He overcame it and danced well.
• Cody Linley and Julianne Hough
Dance: Viennese Waltz
Score: 22 / 42
Edyta helped Cody since Julianne had surgery. It was hard for Cody to adjust to a new partner but said this was for Julianne. I thought he did well. Len didn't. Bruno said it was like watching a fledgling bird not quite able to take off and that he was clumsy. Carrie Ann said he wasn't clumsy. And so goes the bantering of the judges!
• Lance Bass and Lacey Schwimmer
Score: 25 / 45
Oh, drama with Lacey! She's tired of trying to make Lance happy 24/7 and trying to be positive and can't do it any more. Oh really? In this case, I have to say that she seemed unreasonable. I don't know what has been going on and how he's been, so she might have had a point. She seems really high-maintenance to me, and I'm not that crazy about him. She might not be cut out for this show. They did a barefoot rumba that Bruno loved (9). Carrie Ann liked it very much (9). Not Len! He hated it (7). Then the judges argued! Tom (LOVE HIM) said to Len, "Fiber, Len, fiber!"
• Brooke Burke and Derek Hough
Score: 30 / 59
Elegant and graceful! All the judges loved it. I'll bet they get the first 10's from all the judges this week. Yep! First time for this. They'll definitely win this.
Now for the team dances!
Orange Team Cha Cha: Tony & Susan, Lacey & Luke, Cody & Edyta
The judges said the team part was a disaster but that Lance and Lacey's solo saved the team. Who knew?
Blue Team Paso Doble: Derek & Brooke, Kym & Warren, Cheryl & Maurice
Score: 29 (Wow! They deserved it.)
The blue team kicked ass! They were great!! I loved Warren in rehearsal! He took on the role of team captain and watched everyone and gave Maurice pointers. Then he gave a team pep-talk. The judges were enthusiastic about how they looked like a team and did great solos. Len brought it down some, and Tom (LOVE HIM) asked how his love life was. LOL
Here she is as herself with my daughter Kathy a few years ago.