Thursday, November 30, 2006


Read this story first. Man is this a long address or what? Thirty three feet long, that's longer than our house is wide or one tenth of a football field and with such a lovely "smile."

So naturally all the fundies are all over the story like white on rice. One poster’s entry was so misspelled and the grammar was so bad that only someone who really knows how English works would have even a slim chance of understanding what he or she was trying to say. Add in the ignorance of how science is really done and the result is appalling to put it mildly. And probably goes a long way to explain the generally f#$%ed up state of the country these days.


I know I’m sounding like an elitist, I’m not trying to be. But, it’s terrifying that someone this ignorant may be eligible to vote.


Ok, for the bazillionth time, the Bible is not a historical document. It is a wonderful and terrifying record of men and women trying to understand their relationship with God and each other. It is not History. In fact, many of the creation and flood stories are similar to Babylonian mythology only the biblical writers mislaid a couple of zeroes in their time lines. The Babylonian time line stretches out about 430,000 years instead of the Bibles’ 4,300 years. By trying to force it to be something the writers never intended you freeze it in time and it becomes truth with a “small” t.


The universe is old, very old and the earth itself is between four and five billion years old. Try wrapping your brain around this. The rocks at the top of the Grand Canyon were laid down just before the dinosaurs exited center stage Say, seventy million years old. It’s a vertical mile to the bottom of the canyon. By the time you reach the end of the day and the bottom of the canyon you are standing on rocks that are nearly a billion years old. I mean, wow!


And if that doesn’t give you a tingle, try this. The atoms in us were forged in countless supernovas. The earth, the other planets, the asteroids, everything around us is made of star stuff. When God/dess said “let there be light” there was one hell of a bang and creation keeps unfolding every day. Just because our physical lives are a flicker in time compared to the scale of galactic time doesn’t make us any less special. All the people who live on this planet now and of all the ones who came before us are and were unique. A one off, no copies allowed. Every time a life ends too soon or doesn’t reach it’s full flowering something unique and irreplaceable is lost.


I don't know about anyone else, but I find this extremely painful and full of sadness.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


On January 6, 1941, president Roosevelt gave a speech before congress. The finale of the speech came to be known as the Four Freedoms. January 1941. Western Europe was under the Nazi boot, the Battle of Britain was just over, Hitler and Stalin were eyeing each other over the shattered remains of Poland. It would be nearly a year before the US was officially involved in what would become a world wide war.

FDR gave voice to a dream and Norman Rockwell put it on canvas. The paintings not only graced magazine covers but were used for campaigns supporting the war effort. I've always loved the faces of the people Rockwell used in his paintings.

 I think this might be a New England town meeting or something similar. Flannel shirt, battered jacket, workworn hands; he's just as free to speak and the guys in the suits. Times have changed. Not all the faces would be male and white these days.

Pretty self explanatory, and we're still working on it. The whole world is still working on it.

My grandmother used to wear those little cotton dresses. Probably Thanksgiving and the table isn't nearly as ample as we're used to. Fresh fruit and vegetables weren't nearly as available out of season as they are now.

Instead of working to free us from fear, our elected hired help has done a real number on the American people. Scared to death of the things that probably won't happen to us. While we're convinced that we can't do anything about the fears we should be working on; the war, weapons control, decent medical care, decent wages, uncontaminated food, honest government. I wonder what FDR would have to say now, and what kind of pictures ol' Norman would paint.


We the People of the United States, in order to


  • Form a more perfect union,
  • Establish justice,
  • Insure domestic tranquility,
  • Provide for the common defense,
  • Promote the general welfare,
  • And secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,
  • Do ordain and establish this

Constitution for the United States of America.


This is the Preamble of our Constitution. The men who jockeyed back and forth, argued, compromised and prayed during that hot summer in Philadelphia had a dream. If they could come back today and see where that dream has taken their children; what would they say to us? Would they tell us, “job well done” or “uh, kids, you’ve got a hell of a long way to go, better head back about three or four forks in the road and start over?”

Thursday, November 23, 2006


And a Happy (if wet) Thanksgiving to everybody. Including the squirrels and the various birds that were having their own soggy Thanksgivings today. Seriously, it can dry out for a day or two anytime. At least we haven't had any high water down here. Something for us to be thankful for.

Hope everyone had a good day, I know we did. I’ve taken a couple of vacation days this week, one to help get ready and an extra one to recover. Seriously, there isn’t much to recover from.

Mom and I baked up a storm yesterday. Two people can work in our kitchen at the same time if you plan ahead, clean up between projects, and take your time. So we did and we had almost as much fun in the making as the eating. Dinner rolls, some seriously sinful cinnamon rolls (actually I think they were the best I’d ever made and I was very happy to send them OUT the door) and three pies. The extra trouble on the pies was worth it when the berry lover spotted the marionberries. Kid’s an atheist or something. He doesn’t like pumpkin pie. LOL


They passed out turkeys at work so we did the traditional turkey thing. I think I may be an atheist or at least an agnostic. I don't really like turkey that much anymore. I kept wanting to dose that bird with a load of garlic and some nice Italian or Southwest type seasonings. And a nice batch of dried tomato basil foccacia. Ah, the sacrifices we make for our families. :-) Seriously, it was good if a little............bland. And thankful to have it.


My brother in law teases sis once in awhile. He tells her he married her so he could get a shot at mom’s apple pies. So part of an apple pie headed north along with assorted goodies. Hey, he spent part of his day keeping track of two boxers and their seven pups. And from what sis said that’s it, for the puppy production. She doesn’t want to put too much stress on Daisy and that’s a good thing. ‘Cause she’s a real sweetie.


So we waved good by to most of the goodies when my sister and the kids took off this evening. Sis came down with the two younger nephews. Wah! 5'6" me can’t hug any of the kids around the neck anymore unless they bend over. Way over. Even N#5 is over six feet tall now, and he’s only 14. Sis’s oldest, N#2 topped out at 6’2” or so. He’s the football player. Oregon and Oregon State are playing their Civil War game tomorrow so he only had the afternoon off today. With luck they won't get drowned tomorrow afternoon during the game in Corvallis.


Anyway it was fun to watch the boys catch up with each other. Between practice and classes their big brother has barely been home all term. Then the guys did some serious channel surfing. What is it with guys and the inability to stick with a TV channel for more than five minutes? And I definitely found myself keeping my comments to myself. I had to bite my tongue to keep from offering opinions on the movies they were skipping through. As in “somebody actually got paid to make this?” You have got to be kidding. I’ve seen better acting in my junior high Thanksgiving skits. Definitely a time to just smile and grab a good book.


So we were well fed, had a good time and then made sure most of the leftovers went out the door. Heck, the fun is in the making and the sharing. This way sis doesn’t have to make dinner after the game tomorrow and somebody who has to put in some serious study time Sunday will have a good supply of munchies to carry him through. Anyway I hope everyone else had a warm, safe day. I know I have a lot to be thankful for.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I can almost, almost, feel sorry for Bush. Once the other Republicans found out that Bush was actually planning to fire Rumsfeld before the election, but “didn’t want to skew the election” the elephant fertilizer has hit the fan. Goddess what a stink! Actually, it’s one of the few smart things he’s done. Not because Rumsfeld did such a great job, but because we cast our ballots assuming that he would still be screwing up.


Seeing Newt Gingrich, now on wife number three, trying to pass himself off as an elder statesman was enough to nearly separate me from my lunch yesterday. Listening to some of the ranking ‘Pubs complaining “I’d be chairman of such and such if only” was embarrassing.


You still don’t get it do you? The war in Iraq is one thread in the whole unraveling tapestry.


  • Enron
  • Abramoff
  • health care
  • insurance costs
  • fuel prices
  • hands caught in cookie jars
  • inappropriate contacts between middle aged men and teens
  • evangelists who don’t do what they preach
  • the environment
  • homeland security that isn’t
  • disaster aid that turned into its very own disaster
  • Immigration reform (a problem that could have been dealt with years ago if big agriculture and certain other businesses  weren’t dependent on cheap illegal labor to keep our own minimum wage workers in line and Mexico wasn’t dependent on the safety valve of money sent from the US
  • treating your fellow citizens as if they are invisible because they don’t share your politics
  • trying to tell us the constitution is “just a piece of paper”
  • telling the rest of the world the treaties we’ve signed aren’t worth the paper they’re  written on                         
  • claiming the one man can declare anyone an enemy with no recourse to the law.
  • And on and on and on……….

The list is getting longer and seems endless.The tapestry that is the United States is in shreds. This mess has been building since the Nixon years and the “dirty tricks” of the ’72 campaign. I just hope it doesn’t take over thirty years to clean it up because I don’t think we have that long.

Sunday, November 12, 2006



I’m fairly happy with the election results. In spite of the screaming and bitching from the right instead of the left. The newest complaints are coming from the one who believe that if Bush had fired Rumsfeld before the election the Republicans wouldn’t have lost so bad last Tuesday. Just keep telling yourselves that guys. I think the problems go a little deeper than that. And Iraq wasn’t at the top of the list at the exit polls.


What I’m really happy about is the number of ballot measures here in Oregon that failed. Many of the states that have the initiative process are being used as labs for their pet projects such as term limits and lowering taxes. Out of all the measures the only one that succeeded concerned the use of eminent domain powers to seize private property and make it available to other private developers to increase the tax base. Something that has not been a real problem in Oregon. All the others went down in flames. All got on the ballot using paid signature gatherers and were financed by out of state interests with most of the money coming from two individuals. Neither of whom lives in Oregon. Hell, one of the money bags is a millionaire real estate developer who lives in NEW YORK. I’ve got no problem with asking us to vote these measures. But, damn it, come here and live with the results and quit treating us like lab rats. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a majority of my fellow Oregonians agree with me.


For the first time in years the Dems not only control the governor’s office but the legislature. I don’t know if it will help but the Oregon legislature has been a joke for the last couple of sessions. Same problems with rabid partisanship that the rest of the country has been seeing. One example has to do with civil unions. Oregon passed a “defense of marriage” initiative a couple of years ago. It was implied during the campaign that some kind of civil union measure might be possible. When more liberal legislators tried to bring a civilunion bill in the legislature last session the Republican speaker of the house blocked it, wouldn’t even let it be debated, on the grounds that the “voters had spoken” in the initiative vote. A lot of people were not happy, including me. I can live with a no vote, I won’t be happy, but I can live with it for awhile. But to not allow any kind of vote at all that’s not right. She got re elected but won’t be speaker next session. Yippee, yippee, yippee.


One result did surprise me. We had term limits on the menu again and our own little lobbyist scandals just before the election. The majority said no to term limits this time. Last time we passed them the judges threw them out on a technicality. I suspect that some voters exercised term limits of their own at the ballot box for some of the legislators involved in the lobbyist scandals. Which is as it should be. We have term limits, it’s called voting for the other candidate And we probably have a window of a session or two before it comes up again. Maybe we can get the worst of the messes cleaned up before then. Hope springs eternal.

Friday, November 10, 2006


This is the text of Maureen Dowd's column in the paper today. Granted the humor is really pretty dark, but it's kept me smiling most of the day. The gal does have a way with words. Too bad they didn't have this illumination on the road to Damascus moment BEFORE we invaded Iraq and ended up to our brass in quicksand.
As you might guess, I'm cautiously optimistic about the way the election went. However, the little flag stays flying upside down for awhile. We're not on the road yet, we haven't even made it to the exit onto the freeway.
I managed to watch a couple of minutes of the coverage on The News Hour before I hit the mute button. I'd had a wonderful home made taco salad for dinner and, well, I think you get the picture. I could not believe how these two had managed to convince anyone they should be trusted with anything more complicated or dangerous that a bottle of soap bubble solution and the little thingy you blow on.
A Come-to-Daddy Moment 



Published: November 9, 2006

Poppy Bush and James Baker gave Sonny the presidency to play with and he broke it. So now they’re taking it back.

They are dragging W. away from those reckless older guys who have been such a bad influence and getting him some new minders who are a lot more practical.

In a scene that might be called “Murder on the Oval Express,” Rummy turned up dead with so many knives in him that it’s impossible to say who actually finished off the man billed as Washington’s most skilled infighter. (Poppy? Scowcroft? Baker? Laura? Condi? The Silver Fox? Retired generals? Serving generals? Future generals? Troops returning to Iraq for the umpteenth time without a decent strategy? Democrats? Republicans? Joe Lieberman?)

The defense chief got hung out to dry before Saddam got hung. The president and Karl Rove, underestimating the public’s hunger for change or overestimating the loyalty of a fed-up base, did not ice Rummy in time to save the Senate from teetering Democratic. But once Sonny managed to heedlessly dynamite the Republican majority — as well as the Middle East, the Atlantic alliance and the U.S. Army — then Bush Inc., the family firm that snatched the presidency for W. in 2000, had to step in. Two trusted members of the Bush 41 war council, Mr. Baker and Robert Gates, have been dispatched to discipline the delinquent juvenile and extricate him from the mother of all messes.

Mr. Gates, already on Mr. Baker’s “How Do We Get Sonny Out of Deep Doo Doo in Iraq?” study group, left his job protecting 41’s papers at Texas A&M to return to Washington and pry the fingers of Poppy’s old nemesis, Rummy, off the Pentagon.

“They had to bring in someone from the old gang,” said someone from the old gang. “That has to make Junior uneasy. With Bob, the door is opened again to 41 and Baker and Brent.”

W. had no choice but to make an Oedipal U-turn. He couldn’t let Nancy Pelosi subpoena the cranky Rummy for hearings on Iraq. “He’s not exactly Mr. Charming or Mr. Truthful, and he’d be on TV saying something stupid,” said a Bush 41 official. “Bob can just go up to the Hill and say: ‘I don’t know. I wasn’t there when that happened.’ ”

Bob Gates, his friends say, had been worried about the belligerent, arrogant, ideological style of Rummy & Cheney from the start. He fretted at the way W.’s so-called foreign policy “dream team” — including his old staffer and fellow Soviet expert Condi — made it up as they went along, even though that had been their complaint about the Clinton foreign policy team. A realpolitik advocate like his mentor, General Scowcroft, he was critical of a linear, moralizing style that disdained nuance, demoted diplomacy and inflated villains. In 2004, he publicly questioned the administration’s approach to Iran.

While Vice went off to a corner to lick his wounds, W. was forced to do his best imitation of his dad yesterday, talking about “bipartisan outreach,” “people have spoken,” blah-blah-blah — after he’d been out on the trail saying that electing Democrats would mean that “the terrorists win and America loses.”

“I share a large part of the responsibility” for the “thumpin’ ” of Republicans, he told reporters. Actually, he gets full responsibility.

W. has stopped talking about democracy as a standard of success in Iraq; yesterday, he said that Iraq had to “govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself.”

He was asked if his surprise at the election results showed he was out of touch with Americans. “I thought when it was all said and done,” he replied, “the American people would understand the importance of taxes and the importance of security.”

So it was just that the American people were too dumb to understand? W. also managed to bash Vietnam vets, saying that this war isn’t similar because there’s a volunteer army, so “the troops understand the consequences of Iraq in the global war on terror.” Is that why W. stayed out of Vietnam? Because he understood it?

An ashen Rummy was also condescending during his uncomfortable tableau with W. and Bob Gates in the Oval Office, implying that he was dumped because Americans just didn’t “comprehend” what was going on in Iraq. Actually, Rummy, we get it. You don’t get it.

“Baker’s no fool,” a Bush 41 official said. “He wasn’t going to go out there with a plan for Iraq and have Rummy shoot it down. He wanted a receptive audience. Everyone had to be on the same page before the plan is unveiled.”

They don’t call him the Velvet Hammer for nothing. R.I.P., Rummy.


Monday, November 6, 2006


I didn’t get a chance to read the story but there was a headline in the local paper this morning concerning how many ballots in Oregon’s vote by mail that haven’t been turned in yet. I suspect that one reason is sheer mental exhaustion. Between the national scandals and the local low jinks a lot of my neighbors are getting that glazed eyed, retreat into my turtle shell look on their faces.


For the record mom and I filled out our ballots last night and she’ll drop them off at one of the local drop stations today.



Sunday, November 5, 2006


Lucky is big ol' softy, but not as big as she used to be. She's round. Round head, short round feet, and so on. Being a softy, she likes warm, cushy places. The back bedroom doesn't get a lot of use so she's staked out a couple pillows. The one in the corner is another soft pillow. I have found her using it as a pillow just like we would.

When Misty's feeling a little put upon she stakes out the top of mom's recliner. She hangs on like a limpet and you could rock her into next Christmas without her letting go.. She reminds me of the old Peanuts cartoons where Snoopy is pretending to be a vulture. She doesn't quite have the "gimlet" look here, but that one didn't turn out.


We can go from frost to warm overnight sometimes. Last week we lost the dahlia foliage and the last of the peppers and tomatoes. This morning in temperatures in the low sixties we played in the mud.

A variety of Acorus called fall magic. It's yellow and green striped and is supposed to keep it's colors through the winter we'll see.

A blue fescue  variety called blue boulder. It's supposed to be about a foot across and a foot tall. A lovely fine textured blue green mound.

A smaller acorus variety called Japanese rush. It's supposed to be semi evergreen and produce a tiny bloom and berries. I'm looking forward to summer.

Another talller grass called avalanch. Behind the silver santolina. Odd how the foliage looks a lot brighter in the shot than it did when I took the shot. The grass is striped green and almost white. The santolina is silver blue.

A variety of New Zealand flax. The stripes are red and dark green. It may get as tall as three or four feet and almost that much across. Fingers mentally, permanently crossed.

Anyway this is how it all looks after we spent about an hour and a half getting them in. Mom planted some wild bleeding hearts along the wall and fence. They come up a pale pink and are delicate and quite pretty. I'm keeping my eyes open for some kind of garden art for that empty space in the middle. Maybe one of those three part dragons peeking through the grass, we'll see.



I take more shots of Bandit because she sleeps inside while the other two are out on the enclosed, very comfortable deck. Three busy cats having a blast at two in the morning is a little more than we want to face at that time of the morning.

She came padding out of the back bedroom about ten last night with a clothes pin. It ended up on the plastic pad by the computer desk and it didn't take long for her to discover that if you put the right "spin" on the pin it "spins" instead of rolls. You can have fun without losing your new toy under the chair.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006


To the junior senator from Massachusetts: way to go chowderhead. Thanks for giving free ammunition to Dick "I've got better things to do with my time and multiple deferments" Cheney and G W "I manged to go AWOL from the air guard without sanctions" Bush. So help me. I'm so freakin' disgusted with both sides right now.

Don't even bother to think about running in 2008.