"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better [person].
~~Benjamin Franklin



By Ogden Nash:

"Winter is the king of showmen
Turning tree stumps into snow men
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes
Smooth and clean and frosty white
The world looks good enough to bite
That's the season to be young
Catching snowflakes on your tongue
Snow is snowy when it's snowing
I'm sorry it's slushy when it's going"



By Andy Kubis, from The Bob Edwards Show blog:

"I bet that every American middle school has at least one kid who knows the lumberjack song by heart, or the Dead Parrot sketch, or can do John Cleese’s Silly Walks…my nephew could do the silly walk before he could talk. For Monty Python’s entire 40-year history, there has been a new generation of fans waiting in the wings. In fact, there’s an entire Monty Python channel on You Tube.

"Terry Gilliam was the sole non-Brit in the comedy troupe, and was mostly responsible for the cartoons. That giant foot that crushes the show’s title at the end of the opening credits (see above)… it was his idea. It is the foot of Cupid, cut from a reproduction of the Bronzino masterpiece. That foot — and Gilliam’s style in general — are the visual trademarks of Monty Python. One of my favorite of Gilliam’s cartoons is suicidal leaves, worth the :59 seconds of your time.
"Terry Gilliam’s imagination has to be getting better with time. His movies — Time Bandits, Brazil, The Fisher King, and now The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus — prove it. This newest is Gilliam’s first original script since Brazil. It is a fantastical morality tale set in the present-day. The film stars Christopher Plummer as the title character, musician Tom Waits as the devil, and Heath Ledger as a mysterious stranger. It was Ledger’s last film; he died while the movie was being made. Gilliam decided to have three other actors (Johnny Depp, Jude Law & Colin Farrell) fill in, sharing the role. You can watch a trailer at this link.
"Gilliam has said that he doesn’t care if people leave the theater loving his films or hating them… he just wants a reaction. That he often succeeds in getting one is made clear by the frequently retold story of a woman who saw The Fisher King and walked home afterwards. .. 20 blocks in the wrong direction."


Alexis Ohanian, one of the founders of Reddit, talks not about Reddit per se, but how social media create memes and why the process is important. Thanks to TYWKIWDBE.



Whatever your philosophical bent, we wish you and yours a delightful, heartwarming holiday.

Zztopdog and Family

Artwork by Jim Shore



"The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep, and not to."
~~F. Scott Fitzgerald



"Be gentle with yourself. If you will not be your own unconditional friend, who will be? If you are always playing an opponent and you are also opposing yourself, you are going to be outnumbered."
~~Dan Millman



"Perhaps I am a bear, or some hibernating animal underneath, for the instinct to be half asleep all winter is so strong in me."
~~Anne Morrow Lindbergh



And we're not talking about DQ! Five to eight inches of snow expected overnight, with 40 to 50 mile per hour winds!
A good night to stay home.



From CNN.com:

"On a crisp Halloween night, icicle lights and Santa Clauses mingled with ghosts and jack-o'-lanterns in a Washington, Illinois, neighborhood.
"The community is helping a family squeeze in a little extra holiday cheer with their young son.
Doctors say 2-year-old Dax Locke is losing his fight with acute myeloid leukemia and may only have weeks to live, so parents Julie and Austin Locke put Christmas lights up outside their home for the little boy, who loves glowing things. Dax opens presents each day under a tree that's already been up for several weeks.
" 'We don't have much time left with Dax, don't know if he will make it to Christmas, so we wanted to have Christmas early,' Julie Locke told local news station WMBD.

"Neighbor and friend Trish Hurtgen says she and her husband were inspired by the family's efforts, so they put up their own lights and encouraged neighbors to do the same. Soon, the entire block was lit up with Christmas lights. They also planned a special surprise for the family.
"While the Lockes traveled to Chicago's Shedd Aquarium for a special trip with Dax, the neighborhood banded together to decorate a huge tree in the family's yard so the Lockes could be delighted when they returned just after Halloween.
"From there, she and other neighbors have helped encourage people to show silent support for the family by putting up Christmas lights at home and around the community. The effort, called Decorate for Dax, has its own Web site with space for people everywhere to send pictures and see others' displays.

"Perhaps, she said, people will see this odd display of early lights and wonder what is going on. Maybe they'll also pause for a moment to think about Dax and about what they can do to help. The family is asking people to make donations to St. Jude.
" 'That's what Christmas is about, giving and not needing to get in return.'
" 'Everyone is holding out hopes Dax will make it to Christmas.'
" 'Christmas would be a miracle. We're praying for a big miracle."


From People.com:
"The 2009 Sexiest Man Alive party is officially under way.
"Say hello, once again, to Johnny Depp.
"Bringing the fun with him wherever he goes -- whether it's onscreen in fizzy roles like Captain Jack Sparrow in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise or at home with his family on their private Bahamian island -- is just one reason why Depp, who also scored the honor in 2003, has joined an elite club of two-time SMA title holders (only Brad Pitt and George Clooney have matched the feat)."

Zztopdog's mom notes: They'll get no argument from me!



Zztopdog notes: OK, I admit I can't help myself....

From How Stupid Blog:
Josh Marshall at TPM:
"Public Policy Polling has a new poll out on the national 'birther' movement. And it turns out to be another fascinating look at the mystic overlap between ideological and simple ignorance.
Of the 24% of the population in the 'birther' category, one interesting thing to note is that more Americans seem to think Obama was born in Indonesia (10%) than Kenya (7%), which suggests not only that a frighteningly large number of Americans are birthers but that they have a shockingly low level of basic 'birther' literacy. As you know, according to orthodox 'birther' theory, Obama was born in Kenya.
"Even better, 6% fully concede that Obama was born in Hawaii. They just don't believe Hawaii is part of the United States."


From the very cool blog, How Stupid Blog:
"A new Public Policy Polling survey in Arkansas shows that only 45% of voters in the state say they believe President Obama was born in this country, while 31% say they think he was not and 24% are unsure.
"Arkansas is the first of four states where we've polled the birther issue (Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado were the others) and found less than half of respondents confident that the President is a natural born citizen. The numbers are particularly dramatic among Republicans with 49% saying Obama was not born here to just 23% who grant that he was."

Zztopdog notes: This is not a surprise.


I am ten years old today, and just as handsome as ever.
My mommas bought me a present (I can't open it until my party later). And we will have Frosty Paws and chicken sticks. Yummy! I can't wait till my other momma comes home so we can start the party! YIPPY!!!



"God, our Creator, help us to love all creatures as our kin, all animals as our partners on Earth, all birds as messengers of praise, all frogs as voices of hope, and all insects and spiders as expressions of your mysterious design."
~~The Reverend Lisa Hadler, Annual Blessing of the Animals, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Ottawa, IL.



Catholic Church Spends $550000 to Repeal Gay Marriage Law in Maine

Don't they have anything better to do with their money???


Thanks to our friend, Badtux, the Snarky Penguin:
"The right-wingers claim that they actually DO have a plan for health care: Simply remove all government regulation of healthcare altogether, and the Magic Free Market Fairy will wave her magic wand and magically provide health care for all Americans. I have just one question for these folks: Can they point to one nation, any nation, anywhere on this planet, where this in fact actually works?"



"If I hate 99.9% of the population, then that leaves about 6 million people who I like or at least can stand. Which makes me a people person."

Thanks to Chris at Cynical-C!


"Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things...every one! So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, 'Liberal,' as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won't work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor." -- Matt Santos, The West Wing

Thanks to Simply Left Behind for the great quote!




"Bittersweet October. The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking, perfect pause between the opposing miseries of summer and winter."
~~Carol Bishop Hipps, In a Southern Garden, 1995



The laptop is back and working like a dream. Have to reinstall some things, but it's so worth it to have the little guy back.



Today, the laptop may be coming home after an extended stay in the Tech Support ward.... We're keeping our fingers crossed.



"When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find that more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion."
~~C P Snow, English novelist and scientist



It's been about two weeks since my laptop went on sick leave. It just did not want to get up one morning. I ran diagnostics, tried starting it from the disc, but with no success. It has been in the hands of Maru's school tech guys for about 2 weeks. The one tech assures her that he can get it up and working again.... We'll see.... In the meantime, we're not on the computer much; just posting emails and twitters from my phone.



"Our lives are a flood of images and we are collectors who keep a strange assortment of images: moments of extreme emotion, pain, beauty, and fear stand out. Events we're taught to remember: weddings, graduations, births, deaths. Then there are the millions of images that we can't shake out of our heads, that come to us at strange times - things we can't remember why we remember: the gold threads in an old stereo speaker, the way the light hit a thousand cars in a parking lot by the water, the face of a stranger in a restaurant, a friend standing in a pool - you can't remember where, slapping the water with the flat of her hand. Memory is a sieve that holds curious things. A life is a trail of strange, colorful memories."
~~Risa Mickenberg



By Keith Olbermann on the Daily KOS
Mon Aug 10, 2009 at 04:25:13 PM PDT
"Have you perchance seen this? Here is where the slasher-film-politics of euthanasia replaces the reality of getting insurance to cover the conversation in which you tell your doctor to keep you alive no matter what; where Obama can wire money out of Grandma's checking account supplants authorization of electronic payment to and from the banks of insurers; where ACORN and union thugs replace input from Health Care advocates and where getting an insurer to pay for family counseling morphs into "They will insert government into your marriage." Here is where Sarah Palin did her research. Well, here is where whoever mentioned it to Sarah Palin did her research. If I didn't know better, and I read that handy "line by line analysis" by the same people who brought you "The War On Christmas," I might be at one of those Town Halls, screaming my head off too. Tonight: a Special Comment on the disruption of the Town Halls, the people behind these disruptions, and the urgency of common sense.




This little ditty also comes from our friend, Chris at Cynical-C. Click here to watch Glenn Beck try to spell a word. And be sure to read the follow-up comments on Chris's blog.


Discovered a fun new blog (thanks to Chris at Cynical-C). It is TYWKIWDBI (Things You Wouldn't Know If We Didn't Blog Incessantly). It is described thus: "Tai-wiki-widbee" is an eclectic mix of trivialities, ephemera, curiosities, and exotica with a smattering of current events, social commentary, science, history, English language and literature, videos, and humor. We try to be the cyberequivalent of a Victorian cabinet of curiosities." A finalist in the 2008 Weblog Awards.
Driftwood horses, a ceiling made of jewel beetles, kindergartners with Smart phones, a tower made of human teeth; the list goes on and on.
Check it out!



"The commitment I seek is not to outworn views, but to old values that will never wear out. Programs may sometimes become obsolete, but the ideal of fairness always endures. Circumstances may change, but the work of compassion must continue."
~~Ted Kennedy, at the 1980 Democratic National Convention



By William Rivers Pitt, for Truthout:

"For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."
- Sen. Edward M. Kennedy

"The nation awoke on Wednesday morning to the news that Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts had passed away in the night, in his bed, with his family by his side. The television news networks overflowed with metaphors for the moment - the Liberal Lion, the Last Brother, the End of an Era, the Last Chapter - but it was a man who was dead. Just a man, one we had come to know intimately during his half-century of service, triumph, heartbreak, disgrace and diligence.
"Just a man whose brother Joe volunteered to fly an experimental weapons platform in 1944 and was killed when the plane abruptly exploded; just a man whose brother John was cut down by an assassin's bullet in Dallas; just a man whose brother Robert died on a dirty kitchen floor in California, victim of another assassin. Just a man who narrowly escaped death when his own plane crashed, breaking his back and maiming him forever. Just a man whose family was visited with more tragedy than any one man should have to bear.
"And, yes, just a man who made tremendous mistakes, who drank too much, who partied too hard, whose irresponsibility took the life of a young woman named Mary Jo Kopechne and spawned a generation of insults, judgments and bumper stickers that read, 'My gun has killed less people than Ted Kennedy's car.' The Chappaquiddick incident, as it came to be known, nearly annihilated Kennedy's political career, and was surely the central reason why his attempts to win the presidency all ended in failure.
"Would we as a nation have been better off if Kennedy's political career had been derailed by his own shortcomings and tremendous mistakes? There are some who will surely say this is so, and they have every right to that opinion. Without Ted Kennedy in the Senate, however, the nation may well have never seen the passage of bills like the Immigration and Nationality Act, the National Cancer Act, the COBRA Act, the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Ryan White AIDS Care Act, the Civil Rights Act (1991), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Mental Health Parity Act, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, all of which and more he championed during his long service in the Senate. Kennedy sponsored more than 2,000 pieces of legislation in his time, and it can honestly and truly be said that his efforts have served more people than any five presidents who came and went under his watchful Irish eyes.
" 'The fact that his tangible accomplishments transcended his mythic role in the Kennedy drama," wrote The Boston Globe on Wednesday, 'attests to the vast extent of his legislative impact. In each of four areas, he dominated legislative politics for more than four decades, spanning ten presidencies, and played a large role in transforming the government's relationship to the people. Bill by bill, provision by provision, he expanded government health support to millions of children and the elderly, helped millions more go to college, opened the immigration doors to millions of new Americans from continents other than Europe, and protected the civil rights bulwark of the '60s through a long period of conservative domination. And by the time his life ended yesterday, surrounded by loved ones in a gentle scene that contrasted sharply with the violent deaths of his brothers, Ted Kennedy had built a nuts-and-bolts legacy to stand beside that of his presidential brother as a figure of hope and his senatorial brother as a figure of compassion.'
"Teddy was just a man, but ended his life as something far more than that. Teddy, now gone from us, has become an idea, a bulwark, a standard and a clarion call to service and national duty. He will no longer be in the Senate working for us, and it is impossible to believe someone will step forward to stand in his place. He was just a man, and he has finally paid that death we all owe in the end, so the rest is up to us all. The dream he spoke of can indeed end, and surely will, if we let it. He guarded it, tended it and enriched it for so long, but that is over. It is up to us now, just as he would want it to be."



In case you missed this piece by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, last week:
"Finally tonight, as promised, a Special Comment on Health Care Reform in this country, and in particular, the 'public insurance option.' In March of 1911, after a wave of minor factory fires in New York City, the City's Fire Commissioner issued emergency rules about fire prevention, protection, escape, sprinklers. The City's Manufacturers Association in turn called an emergency meeting to attack the Fire Commissioner and his 'interference with commerce.'
"The new rules were delayed. Just days later, a fire broke out at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. The door to the fire escape was bolted shut to keep the employees from leaving prematurely. One hundred and fifty of those employees died, many by jumping from the seventh floor windows to avoid the flames. Firefighters setting up their ladders literally had to dodge the falling, often burning, women. This was the spirit of the American corporation then. It is the spirit of the American corporation now. It is what the corporation will do, when it is left alone, for a week. You know the drill. We all know the drill.

"You get something done, at a doctor's, at a dentist's, at an emergency room, and the bills are in your hands before the pain medication wears off. And if you're one of the lucky ones, and you have insurance, you submit the endless paperwork and no matter whether it's insurance through your company, or your union, or your non-profit, or on your own dime, you then get your turn ... at the roulette wheel.
"How much of it is the insurance company going to pay this time? How much of it is the insurance company - about which you have next to no choice, and against which you have virtually no appeal - how much is this giant corporation going to give you back? What small percentage of what they told you they were going to pay you, will they actually pay you?
"You know the answer. And, you know the answer if you don't have insurance. But do you know why that's the answer?
"Because the insurance industry owns the Republican Party. Not exclusively. Pharma owns part of it, too. Hospitals and HMO's, another part. Nursing homes - they have a share. You name a Republican, any Republican, and he is literally brought to you by... campaign donations from the Health Sector. Sen. John Thune of South Dakota? You gave the Republican rebuttal to the President's weekly address day before yesterday. You said the Democrats' plan was for...
'...government run health care that would disrupt our current system, and force millions of Americans who currently enjoy their employer-based coverage into a new health care plan run by government bureaucrats.'
"That's a bald-faced lie, Senator. And you're a bald-faced liar, whose bald face is covered by...your own health care plan run by government bureaucrats. Nobody would be forced into anything; and the Public Insurance Option is no more a disruption than letting the government sell you water, and not just Poland Spring and Sparkletts. But, as corrupt hypocrites go, Senator, at least you're well paid. What was that one statement worth to you in contributions from the Health Sector, Sen. Thune?
"Five thousand dollars? Ten? We know what you are, Sir, we're arguing about the price. What about your other quote? 'We can accomplish health care reform while keeping patients and their doctors in charge, not bureaucrats and politicians.' Wow, Senator - this illustrates how desperate you and the other Republicans are, right? Because Sen. Thune, if you really think 'bureaucrats and politicians' need to get out of the way of 'patients and their doctors,' then you support a woman patient's right to get an abortion, and you supported Michael Schiavo's right to take his wife off life support, and you oppose 'bureaucrats and politicians' getting in the way, and we'll just mark you down on the pro-choice list. That's a rare misstep for you Sen. Thune. No twelve-thousand dollar payoff for that statement! I am not being hyperbolic, am I, Senator? On the money?
"Sen. Thune has thus far received from the Health Sector, campaign contributions - and all these numbers tonight are from 'The Center For Responsive Politics' - campaign contributions amounting to one million, $206,176. So much for Sen. Thune. How about Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite? Good evening Ma'am. You are the Florida representative who claimed on the Floor that Democrats had...'...released a health care bill which essentially said to America's seniors: drop dead.'
"Now those are strong, terrorizing, words - that's exactly what your Insurance and Medical Overlords wanted to hear. But are you truly worth every dollar of the $369,000,255 of them you have received over the years from the Health Sector? I'd read the rest of the operative part of your speech myself, but your rendition actually cannot be matched:
" 'Listen up, America, seniors have special needs. This bill ignored the, ignores the needs of Florida's health care system. We should be fixing what is broke. Not disseminate, disseminating, decimating, the care of our senior population.' - July 21, 2009
"You can always tell, can't you, Congresswoman, when the hostage is reading her own ransom note, and when she is reading one written for her? So much for Rep. Brown-Waite. There are so many other Republicans, bought and sold - like the unfortunate Congresswoman there - by the Health Sector. Minority Leader McConnell of the Senate?
"You're worth $3.1 million to the Health Sector? A million and a half just for last year's election? And I'm supposed to think you aren't a sellout, a liar, a paid spokesman, a shill, a carnival barker? So much for Sen. McConnell. Rep. Joe Barton of Oklahoma - $2,660,000, Congressman? That's ten times what Sen. Robert Byrd has accepted from the Health Sector.
"Congressman! What a guy! So much for Rep. Barton. Sen. McCain - $1.6?
"To serve the Hospitals, and the Drug Companies, and the Nursing Homes? And not to serve the retirement communities of Arizona? Or the cancer survivors? Or the veterans? So much for Sen. McCain. I could go on all night and never exaggerate in the slightest.
"PBS pointed out that the health and insurance industries are spending more than a million, $400,000 a day, just to destroy the 'public option' - the truly non-profit, wieldy, round-up and not round-down, government, from helping you pay your medical bills with about a billionth of the recklessness with which it is still paying Halliburton and its spin-offs to kill your kids.
"And much of this money is going to, and through, Republicans. But that's the real point tonight.
"Not all of it is going through Republicans. Because the evil truth is, the Insurance industry, along with Hospitals, HMO's, Pharma, nursing homes - it owns Democrats, too.
"Not the whole party.
"Candidate Barack Obama got more than $18 million from the Health Sector just last year. And you can bet somebody in the Health Trust, somebody responsible for buying influence, got fired over what Obama's done. No, the Democrats are not wholly owned. Hundreds of Democrats have taken campaign money from the Health Sector without handing over their souls as receipts. But conveniently, the ones who are owned, have made themselves easy to spot in a crowd.
"They've called themselves 'Blue Dogs,' and they are out there, hand-in-hand with the Republicans who they are happy to condemn day and night on everything else, throatily singing 'Kumbaya' with the men and women who were bought and sold to defend this con game of an American health care system against the slightest encroachment.
"Rep. Mike Ross of Arkansas. Leader of the Blue Dogs in the House. You're the guy demanding a guarantee that Reform won't add to the deficit. I'm guessing you forgot to demand that about, say, Iraq. You're a Democrat, you say, Congressman? You saw what Sandy Barham said?
"Sandy Barham is 62 years old, she's got a bad heart, and she's hoping her valves will hold together for three more years until Medicaid kicks in, because she can't afford insurance.
"Not just for herself, mind you. For her employees. She needs the public option. So do those six people who work at that restaurant of hers, Rep. Ross. And why should you give a crap?
"Because Sandy Barham's restaurant is the Broadway Railroad Café, and it is at 123 West First Street North in Prescott, Arkansas.
"Prescott, Arkansas, Rep. Ross. Your home town. You are Sandy Barham's congressman. Hers, Sir. Not Blue Cross's and Blue Shield's, even if they do insure 75% of the state and they own you. The top donor so far to Congressman Ross's bid for re-election next year? The Blue Dog PAC - $10,000. Second? Something called Invacare - $7,300. Oh, they make wheelchairs and rollers. And slings, they're big in slings. Tied for third? The American Dental Association, another $5,000.
"Your top donors by industry, Rep. Ross? Health professionals: $29,250. Then, Pharma and Health products: $12,250. And so far in your career, Rep. Ross, your total haul from the Health Sector is $921,000. That's 90th in the combined list of donations for the House and the Senate, Sir. 90th out of 537. You should be proud, Congressman!
"Except for the fact, that before you started living off the public dime, you owned a pharmacy. And your grandmother was a nurse. And turns out you're not Sandy Barham's congressman, you're Blue Cross's. So much for Rep. Ross.
"Rep. Bart Gordon of Tennessee. Congressman? Undecided on the public option? At $1,173,000 in donations from the Health Sector, I'm surprised. You should have already said no - and loudly. The only thing you should be 'undecided' about, is whether or not you're really a Democrat. So much for Rep. Gordon. Sen. Max Baucus of Montana. Good evening, Senator.
"So you're supposed to be negotiating all this out with the Republicans and hesitant Democrats? To gain bi-partisanship with a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Health Sector? Bi-partisanship that will get you, what? A total of no votes? And your price has been, let's see $414,000 in donations from Hospitals. About $667,000 from the insurance companies and just over a million from Big Pharma. There was a $1,300,000 from other health professional and $237,000 from Nursing Homes.
"When you think of getting $237,000 in campaign contributions from nursing homes, Sen. Baucus, do you ever think about whether they subtract that amount of money evenly from all the patients suffering and dying in the lousy ones, or just from a few of the lousy ones? So much for Sen. Baucus. Sadly, this list could go on almost all night, too.
"I could ask Blue Dog Congressman, Democrat John Tanner of Tennessee, if, since he's gotten $215,000 from hospitals over the years, if I and the appropriate number of my friends were willing to make it $216,000, if we could buy his vote - or would there have to be an auction?
"We could bring up Senator Hagan, and Congressman Pomeroy, who, at 628-thousand, appears to represent the Insurance Industry and not North Dakota. I could bring up Sen. Carper, and Sen. Blanche Lincoln.
"Senator Lincoln? By the way, considering how you're obstructing health care reform, how do you feel... every time you actually see Sen. Kennedy? I could bring up all the other Democrats doing their masters' bidding in the House or the Senate, all the others who will get an extra thousand from somebody if they just postpone the vote another year, another month, another week, because right now without the competition of a government-funded insurance company, in one hour the health care industries can make so much money that they'd kill you for that extra hour of profit, I could call them all out by name.
"But I think you get the point. We don't need to call the Democrats holding this up Blue Dogs. That one word 'Dogs' is perfectly sufficient. But let me speak to them collectively, anyway. I warn you all. You were not elected to create a Democratic majority. You were elected to restore this country. You were not elected to serve the corporations and the trusts who the government has enabled for the last eight years.
"You were elected to serve the people. And if you fail to pass or support this legislation, the full wrath of the progressive and the moderate movements in this country will come down on your heads. Explain yourselves not to me, but to them. They elected you, and in the blink of an eye, they will replace you.
"If you will behave as if you are Republicans - as if you are the prostitutes of our system - you will be judged as such. And you will lose not merely our respect. You will lose your jobs!
"Every poll, every analysis, every vote, every region of this country supports health care reform, and the essential great leveling agent of a government-funded alternative to the unchecked duopoly of profiteering private insurance corporations. Cross us all at your peril.
"Because, Rep. Ross, you are not the Representative from Blue Cross.
"And Mr. Baucus, you are not the Senator from Schering-Plough Global Health Care - even if they have already given you $76,000 towards your re-election. And Ms. Lincoln, you are not the Senator from DaVita Dialysis.
"Because, ladies and gentlemen, President Lincoln did not promise that this nation shall have a new death of freedom, and that government of the corporation, by the corporation, for the corporation, shall not perish from this earth.
"Good night and good luck."



"Infatuation is when you think he's as sexy as Robert Redford, as smart as Henry Kissinger, as noble as Ralph Nader, as funny as Woody Allen, and as athletic as Jimmy Conners.
"Love is when you realize that he's as sexy as Woody Allen, as smart as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Ralph Nader, as athletic as Henry Kissinger and nothing like Robert Redford - but you'll take him anyway.
~~Judith Viorst, Redbook, 1975



Probably. Well, to complete the look, I think I need to add a furled Swedish flag below the Dala Horse; and then, a small SVERIGE below that. That should pull it all together.



The following Facebook post, from one of my "friends" got me riled up before I ever got out of bed this morning:

"If you're considering that cash for clunkers, you might want to read what Glenn Beck has to say about the Terms of Service on the application. Apparently in agreeing you're giving the government your computer, full access/ownership of all files and whatever's on it, and they can go back to it whenever they like. Also if you've got Internet phone, they can tap it, listen to your calls, do whatever w/the info."

The person who wrote this little piece of mind-numbing, wing-nut stupidity is a fiction writer. I have assumed that even fiction writers do some research when they write - trying to bring a realistic atmosphere to their work. Fact checks? Well, not this chick! Glenn Beck said it, so it must be so.

Granted, she is not a journalist, but still.... Scarey stuff!



Yesterday, I went to a local shop to have a tattoo put on the back of my shoulder. The shop, O'Tooles, had been recommended by several people; and it is consistantly voted "Cleanest Tattoo Parlor" in the QCA.
The artist asked if I would be able to go bra-less for the next week, because the rubbing of the straps could harm the tattoo. Because going bra-less was not an option, I had him put the tat on my upper right arm.
For those of you unfamiliar with Swedish art, the image is a Dala Horse. The detailing on and around the horse are traditional. In order to show this detail, the size is slightly larger than the original 2 x 2.
I was quite nervous about how much pain would be involved; but I needn't have been. A friend at work had described the feeling as "annoying" - not really pain at all. And she was right! If it had not been for the annoying buzz of the equipment, I could have actually fallen asleep. According to my artist, Wind, some areas are more sensative than others; the middle of the back, for instance, is full of nerve bundles, and is much more sensative than arms, calves, etc.
My experience was awesome, and the artist was very good at conveying what I described o him. Needless to say, I am already planning Tattoo 2 - when I have the money. When I do, I'll be going back to Wind at O'Tooles.



Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
~~John Lubbock



Nealee is nearly two years old. Unlike most young ladies, she does not have a cell phone; but she does have a Twitter account. Nealee does all the typing with one paw. She has made many new friends on Twitter; most are kitties and doggies, but her friends also include hamsters, rats, birds, turtles, and a snake.
She would love for you to stop by to say "hi!"



Excerpted from The Bob Edwards' Show Blog:
"On the evening of June 17th at the newly renovated Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center in New York City, Bob (Edwards) interviewed Bob (Redford). Backstage, two dressing rooms were assigned – Redford was to use Dressing Room A, and Bob, Dressing Room B. Dressing Room A, Bob (Edwards) quickly pointed out, was stocked with a selection of nice chocolates and nuts. Those treats were untouched by Bob (Redford) upon his arrival, however. Instead of hiding in his own dressing room, Redford stepped into Dressing Room B to chat with Bob (Edwards) and I about the interview which was about to begin. Redford seemed shy to talk about his acting career. Rather, he wanted to focus on the NRDC and the environmental work they have completed since 1975 (the year he became a trustee of the legal advocacy organization).

"Once on stage, the conversation flowed nicely from film-making (and the arts) to the environment (and politics). John Adams is the founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and he’s been close to Redford since the actor joined the organization more than thirty years ago and has seen him talk many times. Following the event, Adams commented that he heard stories from Redford that he never had before. It’s nice to know, that even after interviewing Redford several times prior, Bob was able to elicit new tidbits from the actor.

"Redford regularly posts entries to the NRDC’s On Earth web site (https://xmail.xmradio.com/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.onearth.org/author/robert-redford). It’s worth flagging that page, because just as he demonstrated during his interview on stage at the Lincoln Center, Redford is very knowledgeable and involved in the fight to protect the environment, and his blog posts convey that passion. What’s more, On Earth is a great resource in general.

"Now more than ever, the subject of protecting the earth is a priority, whether it’s a conversation with a Hollywood celebrity or a lesser-known environmental journalist. As you can see, the NRDC is a strong resource in that effort."



"The people we are in relationship with are always a mirror, reflecting our own beliefs, and simultaneously we are mirrors, reflecting their beliefs. So... relationship is one of the most powerful tools for growth...." If we look honestly at our relationships,we can see so much about how we have created them.
~~ Shakti Gawain ~



From The New York Times:
"Walter Cronkite, who pioneered and then mastered the role of television news anchorman with such plain-spoken grace that he was called the most trusted man in America, died Friday at his home in New York. He was 92.
"From 1962 to 1981, Mr. Cronkite was a nightly presence in American homes and always a reassuring one, guiding viewers through national triumphs and tragedies alike, from moonwalks to war, in an era when network news was central to many people’s lives.
He became something of a national institution, with an unflappable delivery, a distinctively avuncular voice and a daily benediction: 'And that’s the way it is.' "
May he rest in peace.



From our friend, Badtux, the Snarky Penguin:
"Given who the GOP has grilling SotoMayor (Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina), why don't they just break out with the Confederate flags and white hoods? White redneck crackers being obnoxious, WTF? The GOP really expects to get *any* Hispanic votes in the future after this?!"
~~Badtux the Somewhat-amused Penguin
"(Hey, it's always amusing watching GOP fail, as long as they aren't taking the *rest* of us with them -- and Sotomayor is getting confirmed short of suddenly exploding on the stand and shouting 'Kill Whitey!', so why NOT just munch popcorn while watching the GOP kill their electoral chances outside of the racist belt for the foreseeable future?)"




If you Twitter, you have most likely heard of Sockington, a most unusual cat. Sockington is Jason Scott's cat, who logs daily, sometimes hourly, Tweets about his life. Hairballs, dust balls, dinner, and his "companion" cat, Penny, are all hot topics. Socking has 832,647 followers - more than many "celebrities."
Today, one of the most "trending topics" is "HELP - Sockington is missing." Trending topics are those that have lots of people Tweeting about them.

We hope that little Sockington is OK; and that if he is missing, he is soon reunited with Jason.

But we cannot help but wonder, with a celebrity of his magnatude, is this is merely a stunt to garner more followers as Sockington nears the 1,000,000 followers mark.



Two tired kids after a day at the zoo....


From John Marshall, for The Huffington Post:
WASHINGTON - "Due to the recession, politicians who only a year ago were able to afford prostitutes and mistresses may actually have to engage in sexual acts that do not go beyond the boundaries of law or marital vows.
"Economists cite Senator John Ensign (R-NV), a 51-year-old with gray hair, who was forced to borrow $96,000 from his parents to pay off his mistress, dipping not only into his parents' retirement fund, but also into any hopes of affording another mistress.
" '$96,000 is a lot for some trim,' said one economist. 'Even good trim.'
"He added that most Republican parents want their children to be able to afford things they could never have, like mistresses, and seeing them unable to do so was a source of heartbreak.
Governor Mark Sanford (R-SC) made headlines earlier this year when it was revealed that he kept a mistress in Argentina. But the cost of airfare, apartments and aftershave may now be too high for most governors, not to mention international implications.
" 'If politicians are forced to have sex at home,' said one expert, 'it could cause a ripple effect on the mistress-producing nations of the world.'
"Even that most venerable of political institutions - prostitution - may be hurt by the economy. Experts say that former governor Eliot Spitzer (D-NY), if he were still in office, would most likely be unable to afford the $80,000 he spent on escort services.
" 'That's too much for today's Democrat,' said an expert. 'Spitzer would have to settle for sex with his wife while fantasizing that she was an expensive 22-year-old from New Jersey.'
"Some politicians hope that a second stimulus package will include provisions for extramarital sex, but admit that such hopes are dim. 'We need another $787 billion just to f**k around,' said one. 'We'll probably have to borrow it from Ensign's parents.' "



From our friend, Badtux, the Snarky Penguin:
"On the evening of July 4, 2009, Eric De La Cruz died, killed by the patchwork U.S. 'healthcare' system and its infuriating inability to provide a working system of healthcare for all Americans. This young man had a congenital heart defect which was quite solvable by a heart transplant, but because he was uninsured and Nevada Medicaid won't pay for transplants, he died.
233 years before Eric De La Cruz was killed by our 'healthcare' system, some guys in Philadelphia wrote these words:
" 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ...'
"Over 18,000 Eric De La Cruz's are killed by our 'healthcare' system every year because of its refusal to pay for needed care for all Americans who need care. This is a slaughter of innocents, over six times the death toll of the 9/11 attacks PER YEAR. Clearly our 'healthcare' industry is killing, slaughtering, tens of thousands of innocents per year guilty of nothing except being born poor or maybe not the brightest bulb in the chandelier or just plain unlucky, and has no intention to stop doing so. Whenever any industry infringes so baldly upon our inherent human right to life, it is completely within the realm of our founders' intents to have our government secure these rights, and if it does not do so, to change our government if necessary -- which we did, in November 2008, when we elected President Obama on a platform of healthcare reform and withdrawal from Iraq.
"There are some people who say that the right to life is conditional -- that you have a right to life only if you have the ability to pay cash for your health care. There are others who say there is no such right because it is not listed in the Constitution of the United States of America, 9th Amendment of the Constitution nonwithstanding. This is utter nonsense. Rights are granted to us by our Creator, not by a piece of paper, and are absolute, not conditional, and the right to life is the most fundamental right without which all other rights are meaningless. When any entity infringes upon this most fundamental of our human rights, it is well within the provence of government as envisioned by our founding fathers to deal with this threat to our most fundamental human rights via whatever means are necessary -- which, in the case of our corrupt murderous health insurance industry, should with all fairness be the death penalty just as much as for any other mass murderer, but I'll settle for Medicare For All single-payer health insurance and let those bastards spend the rest of their lives begging for alms on streetcorners."




Michael Jackson is dead at the age of 50.
It's hard to know what to think about this. Michael was a pop icon and had more Number 1 hits than any other pop star.
On the other hand, he may have been a child molester.
May his children grow up to in a loving, understanding, compassionate environment.



That's the partial title of a book by Rick Shenkman: "Just How Stupid Are We? Facing the Truth About the American Voter" (Basic Books, June 2008). Mr. Shenkman, an Emmy award-winning investigative reporter, is an associate professor of history at George Mason University and editor of the university's History News Network. It is also the title of his blog. The following is a post from June 2, 2009:
"Cheney Finally Admits No Connection Between Saddam and 9-11
"As anyone who has read my book knows, it was the Bush administration's success in making people believe that Saddam was behind 9-11 that triggered my decision to write 'Just How Stupid Are We.'
"Now along comes Dick Cheney to say--7 years too late!-- that Saddam had nothing to do with 9-11. Here's the money quote from CNN:
" 'Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that he does not believe Saddam Hussein was involved in the planning or execution of the September 11, 2001, attacks. He strongly defended the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq, however, arguing that Hussein's previous support for known terrorists was a serious danger after 9/11.'
"Cheney, in an appearance at the National Press Club, also said he is intent on speaking out in defense of the Bush administration's national security record because 'a clear understanding of policies that worked [in protecting the United States] is essential.'
" 'I do not believe and have never seen any evidence to confirm that [Hussein] was involved in 9/11. We had that reporting for a while, [but] eventually it turned out not to be true,' Cheney conceded.'
"He's still insisting that: the evidence was 'overwhelming' that al Qaeda had a relationship with Hussein's regime in Iraq, and that media reports suggesting that the commission investigating the 9/11 attacks reached a contradictory conclusion were 'irresponsible.'
"I guess we couldn't hope for him to completely abandon his ill-considered views. Cheney wants to blame George Tenet and notes that Tenet in open testimony before Congress declared that Saddam and al qaeda had a relationship. But who's Cheney kidding? We know from numerous books that it was his office that was responsible for pushing the Saddam/9-11 angle over the objections of people like Richard Clarke."



Although I'm a couple of days late, the wishes are no less heartfelt. Congratulations on eight terrific years together, Greg and Jen! You are a delightful couple, and have created a beautiful family and life together.



"Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far."
~~Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States.



From our friend, Badtux, the Snarky Penguin:
"The right-wing terrorists are chortling over the murder of Dr. George Tiller. These are the same terrorists who threaten the lives of judges who rule according to what the law says, rather than according to what their Invisible Sky Demon says. They chortle that their invisible sky demon is happy about the murder.
"What a bunch of sick, disgusting terrorists. Who needs al Qaeda to threaten America, when we have our own home-grown terrorists willing to wage Christian jihad just like al Qaeda wants to wage Islamic jihad?
~~Badtux the Disgusted Penguin



"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather is one of those things that give value to survival."
~~C. S. Lewis



"When for too long I don't go deep enough into the woods to see them, they begin to enter my dreams. Yes, there they are, in the pinewoods of my inner life. I want to live a life full of modesty and praise. Each hoof of each animal makes the sign of a heart as it touches and lifts away from the ground. Unless you believe that heaven is very near, how will you find it? Their eyes are pools in which one would be content, on any summer afternoon, to swim away through the door of the world. Then, love and its blessings. Then: heaven."
~~Mary Oliver, "The Faces of Deer"



"I do not believe we can repair the basic fabric of society until people who are willing to work have work. Work organizes life. It gives structure and discipline to life."
~~Bill Clinton



"The Taliban tried to blow up Dick Cheney. ... He was never in danger -- at the time of the attack, he was safely asleep in his coffin. ... I just hope that this attempt on his life doesn't turn him bitter, vicious, and paranoid."
~~Bill Maher



"I don't have a dime left. I am dependent on my friends for food and a small old-age pension."
~~Bela Lugosi



“I went to a conference on bisexuality about 15 years ago. A woman there said to me, 'I wish you gay men would stop putting your energy into fighting homophobia and instead put your energy into eradicating misogyny. Because the problem society has with gay men isn't that they're with other men - it's that they're men who are 'acting like women.' If it were ok to be a woman in this culture, homophobia would just disappear.' I think she's right.”
~~Jess Thompson-Adams, commenting on Judith Warner's Domestic Disturbances blog entry, Dude, You've Got Problems



Zztopdog's note: It is difficult to believe that there are still areas in this country where banning books is an accepted practice. The following article is from About.com. To find more articles and banned-book archives, please visit their Contemporary Literature site.

"A banned book is one that has been removed from the shelves of a library, bookstore, or classroom because of its controversial content. In some cases, banned books of the past have been burned and/or refused publication. Possession of banned books has at times been regarded as an act of treason or heresy, which was punishable by death, torture, prison time, or other acts of retribution. A book may be challenged or banned on political, religious, sexual, or social grounds. We take the acts of banning or challenging a book as a serious matter, because these are forms of censorship--striking at the very core of our freedom to read.
"A book may be considered a banned book if the work has been banned in the past. We still discuss these books and the censorship surrounding them not only because it gives us insight into the time in which the book was banned, but it also gives us some perspective on books that are banned and challenged today. Many of the books that we consider rather 'tame' today were once hotly debated works of literature. Then, of course, books that were once popular bestsellers are sometimes challenged or banned in classrooms or libraries because the cultural view point and/or language that was accepted at the time of the books publication is no longer deemed appropriate to read. Time has a way of changing our perspective on literature.
"Why Discuss Banned Books? Just because a book has been banned or challenged in some parts of the United States doesn't mean it has happened where you live. You may be one of the fortunate few who has never experienced banning. That's why it's so important for us to discuss the reality of banned books. It's important to know about the cases that are happening in other parts of the United States, and it's important to be aware of the cases of book banning and censorship that are taking place around the world. Amnesty International directs attention to just a few writers from China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, and Saudi Arabia, who have been persecuted for their writings."

About.com's reading list of banned books: http://contemporarylit.about.com/od/readinglists/tp/bannedBooks.htm