Saturday, January 29, 2005


This is the entry I was going to make before I posted my last one. I guess writing the rough draft during my lunch hour worked some of the kinks out so I posted something much calmer. However, the grumpy bug is back and in full flower.

Just when you think you've heard just about all the idiotic things that
folks can come up with some enterprising idiot raises the bar. Some
sweepings from the strangeness mansion.

First, it's no secret Oregon is having budget problems. We can't get a tax
bill past the recall to save our souls or public education. Oh, we can get
bills out of the legislature, but once the recall is on the ballot the
legislators who passed the bill and the governor who sort of thinks it's a
good idea can't be found to campaign for them. The requisite letters from
folks saying, "I have to live on a budget, the state should have to too"
start showing up in the local papers. Yes, I agree, but I see moderate taxes
to support education, public health and safety and the like as investments
in the future. Think of it as building human infrastructure.
I think what really bothers me is this. If a politician
thinks the idea was good enough to vote yes on while the legislature was in session; that politician should have the guts to get up and say it in public. And say it loud and long. I honestly think that most voters will respect courage even if they don’t support the stand.

Second, it has now been revealed that Spongebob Squarepants of all people
(ok, so he's not exactly a "people") is the latest agent of the "gay
agenda." Along with Barney, Oscar the Grouch, and a whole host of cartoon
characters and puppets. Seems a video with the theme of tolerance is a good
thing has been produced. PBS is going to show and the video will be  distributed to several thousand grade schools. The actual tolerance pledge that is causing all the fuss is not on the video. It's on the We are Family website. I suspect that any second grader who actually goes to the website and reads the tolerance pledge will be asking their parents what all the long words mean. If you want to read the actual pledge please go to my earlier entry or Robbie’s Ruminations. The link is in the sidebar under other journals. My attempts to link haven’t been very successful, sorry.

Third, and this is tied to the second. Stumbled on a story about a gay couple
in the LA area who have enrolled their two adopted kidsin the kindergarten
class of a local Catholic school. Some of the other parents are up in arms.. I think they're afraid that if their kids find out that gay parents are as normal as their own parents they
might start wondering what all the fuss is about. The principal has pointed
out that if they kick out all the kids whose parents don't strictly follow
the policies and teaching of the church, it might drastically shrink enrollment.

Fourth, neither the Passion of the Christ or Michael Moore's documentary was
nominated for best picture. And it's all a plot. Against what, I'm not sure.
Repeat after me. Notoriety or making a pile of money does not make a good
picture. I haven't seen either one and don't plan to do so I can't judge how
good either film actually is. I have gotten the impression that when it
comes to soul, neither film really has one. Personally, I believe that limiting Jesus’s story to Good Friday is meaningless. How can the end of the story have any meaning if you don’t tell the beginning and the middle.

If you want a good film about how and why Jesus ended up where he was on Good Friday I recommend Jesus of Nazareth (the mini series).  The dialog can be a little clunky at times, but it's a good film (in my opinion) and it generally leaves me with plenty to chew on.  

Well, that's enough vitriol for now. Much more and I think my computer will

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Just when you think the enterprising idiots out there can’t get any worse. They raise the bar. Or maybe they’ve lowered it. I’m afraid the result is the same. The latest hue and cry concerns a video put out by the We are Family Foundation. The following pledge is not, I repeat not on the video. It’s on the Website. Honestly, I can’t really picture second graders repeating this without their teachers having to explain what half the words mean. Maybe I’m underestimating second graders but at that age I was still enjoying the 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cubbins and Bartholemew and the Ooblek.

“The We Are Family Foundation is pleased to provide's Declaration of Tolerance, part of the Southern Poverty Law Center's National Campaign for Tolerance

Tolerance is a personal decision that comes from a belief that every person is a treasure. I believe that America's diversity is its strength. I also recognize that ignorance, insensitivity and bigotry can turn that diversity into a source of prejudice and discrimination.

To help keep diversity a wellspring of strength and make America a better place for all, I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own.”

I’m so thankful that Focus on Family’s James Dobson is attempting to protect me from Spongebob Squarepants and excessive tolerance.

I’ve composed several entries in my head on this. Robbie of Robbie’s Ruminations has a wonderful entry.Better, I believe than I could do. I’m afraid a couple of mine came close to melting my computer. I'd put a link in this entry but the links aren't behaving. You'll find her in the sidebar under other journals.

For all of you who find conspiracies in videos for grade schoolers, gay parents enrolling their adopted sons in a Catholic kindergarten or that the Passion of Christ didn’t get nominated for Best Picture may I make a humble suggestion. Go find your bible and read the Sermon on the Mount. Then read Matthew 25:35-36. I believe that if you focus your time and energy on acting on these passages  you’ll barely have time to mind your own business much less anyone else’s.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


Well, we're into winter in Western Oregon. Not many pictures to take. I was hoping for some shots of the early crocus this weekend. But, it was foggy the whole time. No sun, the crocus don't open. Oh, well.

As for the politics, the less said about politics, local and national the better.

As for the posies. Not much shakin' right now. As I said, we have a few crocus. There are doffodils, snowdrops, bluebells and the like showing foliage, but they're in no hurry. Blooming doesn't come with a rewind button, so why push it. We had a few warm days last week and birds were actually sounding off as I went to work. So far we've had several kinds of finches, chickadees, juncos and flickers. There is a wooded hill behind the house and that helps keep the birds around.

And the pussycats. It's winter. What can I say about cats and winter. They're a pair of lucky pussycats and have plenty of nice warm corners to curl up in and they take full advantage of the situation. If a warm lap makes an appearance so much the better. If they look really cute, the lap may actually stick around for awhile.  

We've been doing some clearing out. It's the old "let's pretend we're going to move" routine. Among the things we've unearthed is a large stash of yarn. I used to knit and crochet a lot. Then I discovered computers. Took me several days to locate my needles and other supplies. So if I don't show up in J-land quite so often. I'm a knittin'

Now, if I could just figure out how to type and knit at the same time. LOL

Saturday, January 22, 2005


I had fairly good luck shooting through the window at the feeders. And what film couldn't do, Adobe could. A little cropping, a little enhancing, and they don't look too bad.

The first two are goldfinches, the little guy at the wooden feeder is a chickadee, and I believe the darkheaded ones are juncos. The last little one is a flicker (per Lisa and it does look like the picture in my birds of the Willamette Valley book) Thanks girlfriend. We almost never see these in the open and when you do they are flying the other way. However, they love dogwood berries and there were plenty on the ground when I got this shot. If you enlarge the shot, you can just see the bird among the leaves.
Decided not to upload the rest of the fuzzy pictures.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of an “ownership society”. I’m not sure that any of us can really “own” anything.


The way I see things, you can only claim ownership of something if you created it. All of it, from the beginning, right down to the building blocks. But, none of us can claim to have completely created anything. It’s like a giant pyramid. What we do depends on what has all ready been done. I’m not even sure if the universe can claim to own itself. After all where did the building blocks come from?


You may ask what brought on this little philosophical burble. A lot of things actually. I used to knit and crochet-a lot. Hell, it beats Valium or Prozac and you have something to show for it at the end. Then I discovered computers in the mid-nineties and the handwork slowed down, got glacial actually. Anyway, I started up again this winter and got to thinking. There are all the things that came before that makes it possible for me to sit down to my knit one purl two’ing. Somewhere, sometime some bright person figured out that you could twist strands of sheep or goat hair and get thread. Somebody worked out that you could take pieces of wood or metal and work that thread back and forth and get cloth. Somebody else worked out how to use plants to color their work. What I’m trying to say is that what I’m doing with my double pointed, flexible size 6’s and 8’s is built on all the thinking, imagining and doing of hundred’s of generations. Yeah, in the end I’m making the sweater, but I’m not sure that I can sayit’s all MINE. It's for mom actually, but that's another story.


I got this great little book on the so-called fishermen knits. They’re patterned sweaters used by the farmers and seaman from northern Britain, Scotland and Ireland. I’m familiar with the Aran Islands patterns but didn’t know there were so many others. The author chased down dozens of motifs from little fishing villages and the Channel Islands. You see, none of these were written down. They were passed down from mother to daughter, aunt to niece over the generations. She wanted to get them down before the women who knew them were gone. (I’ll probably be mentioning these a lot as time goes by. I’m totally in love.)


I’m not sure I’m making a lot of sense here. It’s just that everything we do depends on what came before and what hundreds of other people are doing now. I get such a kick out of people who say “I don’t have kids, why should I pay to educate someone else’s kids?” Well, buddy, unless you’re planning on taking out your own appendix when the time comes you’d better hope that somebody else’s kid studied surgery

Tuesday, January 18, 2005


A co-worker e-mailed me this the other day.

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that the United States government can track a cow born nearly three years ago in Canada, right to the stall where she sleeps in the state of Washington.  And then track her calves right to to their current stalls.  But they are unable to locate 11 Million illegal aliens wandering around our country.  Maybe we should give each one a cow.

Note from me: If we could find them to give them cows, we wouldn't need the cows.

They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq.  Why don't we just give them ours?  It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years and we're not using it anymore.

Note from me: We're using it, we just don't want to apply it to everybody.

The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse?  You cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery," and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians!  It creates a hostile work environment.

Note from me: I have this picture in my mind of Moses right after he's explained what's on those big pieces of stone. There's a silence, and then everybody starts talking at once: "What exactly to you mean by"-fill in the commandment of your choice.

We're switching computer programs for the dealership and I was pretty bombed mentally when I read this. I think some of my co-workers were wondering what I'd been sniffing over lunch. LOL

Saturday, January 15, 2005


Found the quiz on Sorting the Pieces. (thank you for posting this by the way) I am surprised and tantalized by the results

Ah, when you have a mac you have to be creative about getting reults like this picture on your site. Thank you Apple for drag and drop. I think the new machine is going to include virtual pc. While I adore tweaking until I solve a problem, there are times when my brain is fried and I'd rather be able to JUST DO IT!


A co-worker e-mailed this to me and I really got a kick out of it.

I recently picked a new primary care physician. After two visits
and exhaustive lab test, he said I was doing "fairly well" for my

A little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking
him, "Do you think I'll live to be 80?"

He asked, "well, do you smoke tobacco or drink beer or wine?" "Oh
no", I replied. "I've never done either."

Then he asked, "Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?" I
said, "No, I heard that all red meat is very unhealthy."

"Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf / sailing
/ ballooning / motorcycling / rock climbing?" "No I don't", I said.

He said, "Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or sexually fool around?"
"No", I said. "I have never done any of those things."

He looked at me and said, "Then why do you give a shit if you live to
be 80?"

While I don't do a lot of these things. I believe many in this country are more worried about living long than living period. We're all going to die of SOMETHING. The important thing at the end is to able to look back on a life lived as well as we could and doing the best we could by each other.

There's a character in one of Robert Heinlein's novels (for those unfamiliar with Heinlein, he was one of the classic Sf novelists of the 50's and 60's) reflecting on life in a journal entry. The past is gone, it's over you can't go back, there's no guaranty on the future; all you can be sure of the moment you are in now.

One way or another let's make those nows count the best we can. :-)

Monday, January 10, 2005


If you heard the sound of spluttering and expletives deleted coming from the general direction of the southern Willamette Valley tonight it was probably me.

The court martial for the soldier accused of being the ring leader behind most of the abuses at Abu Graib started today. I nearly drowned the cat in lukewarm tea when the defense attorney compared the pyramids of prisoners to the pyramids cheerleaders do at ball gaimes.

A squawk of "Jesus, Mary and Joseph" (I was raised a Protestant, but this is very handy when mom is around) followed the comparison of leading these guys around on leashes to the tethers put on small children so they don't wander off in busy public places!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Writng what I was THINKING would probably get me blacklisted off AOL. But it ended with "These guys are in prison.Where exactly are they going to WANDER off to?"

I don't know where this trial is being held. but sombody better either check the water supply or find out what this guy's been sniffing.

Sunday, January 9, 2005


“I know it’s too late to turn aside. I know there’s not much point now in hoping. If I were a knight of Rohan, capable of great deeds, but I’m not. I’m a hobbit and I know I can’t save Middle Earth. I just want to help my friends; Frodo, Sam, Pippin. More than anything I wish I could see them again.  Merry Brandybuck in Return of the King.

Merry the hobbit got left behind with the forces of Rohan. He isn’t supposed to be with King Theodens’ troops, Neither is Eowyn, Theoden’s niece when you come to it. But, they there they are. Each has their own reasons for being where they aren’t supposed to be.  This scene is included in the extended version of the film It’s one of many scenes that deal with hope or the loss of it. In this instance the characters ride into a battle that they have little hope of winning but for reasons other than the hope of victory. Some of the reasons include friendship, personal honor, and the honoring of old alliances.

Peter Jackson has been accused of warmongering. I have a feeling that the viewers see in the film what they bring with them. I have a tendency to flip it. If we can understand  that those we sympathize with and admire are capable of such sacrifices why can’t we understand that others can do the same thing.

Our government has stated that the “insurgents” in Iraq are opposing us because they hate our way of life. There may be some who feel that way, but I think the motives of many of them are much simpler. Their leaders appeal to their identities as Sunnies, Shiites, or Kurds. They remind them of friends, family members or tribal members who have made the same sacrifices. Until we try to understand why those in opposition prefer to die for their cause rather than to live for it we don’t have a snowballs’ chance in Hell in July of getting out of Iraq with our military or our honor, personal or national, intact.  Since those making policy on our side show about the same interest in understanding the opposition as that snowball’s chances, I’m not holding out much hope myself right now.

Saturday, January 8, 2005


Not really ready to hang up the Christmas Carols yet.

Well, the post holiday let-down has set in with a vengence. It's helped along by our computer program switch at work. We've used ADP for years. The new program is probably a good thing but it does EVERYTHING differently from ADP and I do mean EVERYTHING. I spend about 75 percent of my time in Excel so I'm not affected as profoundly as most of the other people in the dealership. I still have my hair, but even I had to hump to get my data transferred over to the new system. My oh my, the trees that gave their lives for new instruction manuals.

Finally got the Christmas decorations put away today. I loved our little artificial tree this year but that puppy sheds worse than both cats put together. By the time we got it upstairs I was all over flocking, looked like I'd been caught in a snow storm.

Speaking of snow. We've had an unusually dry winter so far this year. I think my uncles in Banning (very southern California) have had more rain and snow this year than we get in two or three years combined. Ah, the joys of an El Nino year. We've had a few mornings when the temperature was in the low twenties when I went to work. The two little yellow primroses by the driveway are still truckin' though. I've found daffodil and bluebells peeking through on the south side of the yard. At least they were peeking through last weekend. For all I know this last week has sent them looking for the rewind button. "Daffy to Mother Nature! Hey can I go back down until about June. Geez, it's cold up here. And for heaven sakes lose the fog!"

Right now I'm just thankful that everyone in the family came through the holidays healthy and happy. The Portlanders are in their long awaited new house. No grass in the yard to speak of and plenty of mud, but they are in. Umatilla bunch didn't make it over this year, they were too darn tired. Anyone who thinks that teachers have it easy is welcome try taking over their classes for a few days and see how it goes. Good luck.

Well, I think it's time put this rather disjointed little entry to bed. LOL

Sunday, January 2, 2005


Literally. The fog is back. Just a little something to remind me that summer is coming. Happy New year/