30 September 2008


The US has been on a orgy of spending off budget for the last eight years and now the piper has come calling. It is time to stop trying to lay blame and start trying to figure out how to protect the taxpayer from the depredations of those in power. At a minimum the bail out bill should allow bankruptcy judges to do something to renegotiate mortgages - not to protect speculators, but to keep those who through loss of jobs, family medical costs or other economic changes are losing their only remaining asset. The loans would still have to be repaid, but at least there would be some breathing space.

While they are at it, some relief from predatory usury charges and outrageous fees that throw so many into unending debt. Again not to let people off the hook for money owed, but to keep them from becoming victims of greedy lenders.

Once those protections are in bail out banks and investors, the foolish who thought booms never become busts, but main street comes ahead of wall street. It is their money and their future that is being spent.

28 September 2008

Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut

As I do every week, I was out cruising the Internet looking for an idea so that I could bat out a few words to make a big impression and blow away the other Manic Monday participants, when out of the blue I felt something start to simmer and boil just below the surface. It would mean going out on a branch to bring this bud of an inkling to full flower.

What started to bug me was just how the seemingly simple can be so difficult to express and then I started to carol out a song of success and celebrate as I began to chip away at the project and saw the words just click into place. The Manic Monday crowd is quite a discerning club, so I doubt that it will be necessary to leave them a clue as to what I have done this time. Their thinking caps are very crisp, and it won't take them long to see what I have done on this date.

Now here's the deal if I get bored with MM, I can always get my son to draw another doodle rather than drifting around for another idea. At least I won't have to take to drink in frustration as there is not a drop in the house. After MM and Doodleweek, there is always a picture of the earth looking like an egg hanging in space in order to do a post for the Blog for Peace in November. Anything we could do to stop the explosive sounds of war is a good thing. We have to have faith that at some point human beings will come up with a formula to live together without war.

Now I need to take a break and make a nice fresh salad, phone a friend and frost the cake that has finally cooled. Then I will return to the computer to grace it with a few more words hopefully not too graphic for the crowd. Of course I still have to come up with a menu for tonight and decide if I will serve gravy with the chicken or just make a nice green salad. It will be much better for the heart if I keep it simple.

Okay, now I'm starting to feel the heat and wondering if completion is possible. Do I have the independence to iron out all the kinks in order to feel the joy of a job well done. Is there still enough juice in the old brain to find the key to the next sentence or do I just throw it away into an old kit bag and give up on this labor of love and let it lick me. No! I will not admit defeat. I will not lie down and let others note that my last marble has finally been lost. I would miss posting my MM submissions every Sunday night. So I can't just say, "Nuts!". No this will be a one in one-thousand more posts. Even if I turn orange with the effort, this ornament will hang from the tree as a tribute to MM.

Now that it is almost over and once more peace is at hand. I will be able to go out and play filled with pride that I was able to pull it off rather than quake in shame. This may just rank up there with the silliest things I've ever tried. Will it be greeted with the rocket's red glare of celebration. Will others relish the effort I have made or will they rip me to shreds with sarcastic comments? Now another break to go drink a seven up and dream of taking a ship to some far off place where I can relax in silence to read and rest unless disturbed by the snap of some forest creature stepping on a twig.

Okay enough speculation. It is time to put a spike in this thing and declare it done and once more spring into the action of my normal life where I am a star through all the strife and storm of daily life. It takes a creature of another stripe to prefer the light of a computer screen rather than the bright sun of the real world. I will survive and this nutty exercise will no longer tax my brain. Then it will be time to track down a costume for the grandson to wear to trick or treat. The two of us will hunt over and under, high and low for the perfect disguise, one he will want to wear with pride and that I can wax eloquently about the next day.

Now we are coming to the absolute end, then I will throw caution to the wind and wish for others to get the joke. I'm not yellow because I will now hit POST.

Join Mo at MANIC MONDAY to participate.

WORDS TO DATE: cruising * bat * big * blow * blue * boil * branch * bud * bug * can * carol * celebrate * chip * click * club * clue * crisp * date * deal * doodle * drifting * drink * drop * earth * egg * explosive * faith * formula * fresh * friend * frost * grace * graphic * gravy * green * heart * heat * independence * iron * joy * juice * key * kit * labor * lick * lie * marble * miss * night * nuts * one * one-thousand * orange * ornament * over * peace * play * pride * pull * quake * rank * red * relish * rip * seven * ship * silence * snap * spike * spring * star * storm * stripe * sun * survive * tax * track * trick or treat * two * under * want * wax * will * wind * wish yellow

27 September 2008

Doodle Sins - Pride

Man invented Cheesecake
And He Ate The Whole Thing

It's doodle week! Go to doodle week headquarters to read all about it and see the other doodlers.

26 September 2008



I will be leaving this post up all week again, simply because everyone wanders by on different days and times and I want to give you all a chance to make comments and ask questions.

You may have seen a public service commercial on TV called "We Are Ellis Island" encouraging people to support the renovation of the buildings on Ellis Island as a national monument to the immigrants who passed through there on their way to permanent residence in the United States. They encourage you to visit their site at We Are Ellis Island . At that site you can both read and watch stories of the people who came into the country written by their ancestors. You also can submit the stories of your own family, and they encourage you to do so.

If any of your ancestors entered the United States on the East Coast between 1892 and 1954, they were officially processed at Ellis Island and the records of their admission to the country, ship, and census information such as age, marital status, occupation etc. have been placed on file and are accessible for free at the official site Ellisisland.org. In addition, immigration, citizenship, and military information before, during, and after these dates are available from The National Archives.

Prior to 1890, the individual states (rather than the Federal government) regulated immigration into the United States. Castle Garden in the Battery (originally known as Castle Clinton) served as the New York State immigration station from 1830 to 1890 and approximately eight million immigrants, mostly from Northern and Western Europe, passed through its doors.

To give you a sample of the material you will find at the Ellis Island site: On a copy of the ship's manifest for the S. S. Algeria, Page 256, Line 6 you will find:

Stephen White a married man age 21 whose previous residence was Fauldhouse, Scotland and his nearest relative is his mother, Euphemia White, at 41 Castle Square, Bothwell, Fauldhouse, Scotland. Stephen speaks English and is literate. He is a miner by occupation who plans to live in the U.S. permanently. His first destination will be the Navarre Hotel in New York City. His complexion is pale and he has brown hair and eyes. He is of good physical condition. He is not a polygamist or anarchist and doesn't plan to overthrow the government of the United States (you have to wonder if anyone answered yes to those questions). On lines 2 and 7, you see where he is traveling with his brother, Robert White, and cousin, Robert Reid with similar information.

Stephen White

One building on Ellis Island has been restored with donations from the public. You can still donate to add ceremonial bricks to this building with the name of your ancestor and to assist in the research, transcription, and maintenance of the records.

If anyone would like additional information or assistance in tracing relatives, please let me know. I'm not a professional genealogist and I don't charge, but will be glad to get you started. In the meantime, do take the opportunity to visit both "We Are Ellis Island" and the official Ellis Island and Castle Garden sites for a great deal of interesting information and historical background on immigration.

Doodle Sins - Envy

A Cheescake reserved for someone else

It's doodle week! Go to doodle week headquarters to read all about it and see the other doodlers.

25 September 2008

Doodle Sins - Wrath

It's doodle week! Go to doodle week headquarters to read all about it and see the other doodlers.

24 September 2008

She Took Pity On Us

To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
(You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).

Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.

Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.

To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:

1. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour,' 'favour,' 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise.' Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').
2. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as ''like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as U.S. English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u'' and the elimination of '-ize.'
3. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
4. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist, then you're not ready to shoot grouse.
5. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. Although a permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
6. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
7. The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
8. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
9. The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. South African beer is also acceptable, as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of the British Commonwealth - see what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
10. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
11. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).
12. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
13. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
14. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
15. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 p.m. with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.

God Save the Queen!

This email has been making the rounds for years. This time, I was hoping it was a real news story, but as wonderful as she is, I don't think even she wants us back.

Doodle Sins - Sloth

Why Doodle Today
I just had Cheesecake

It's doodle week! Go to doodle week headquarters to read all about it and see the other doodlers.

23 September 2008

Doodle Sins - Greed


It's doodle week! Go to doodle week headquarters to read all about it and see the other doodlers.

22 September 2008

Doodle Sins - Gluttony

It's doodle week! Go to doodle week headquarters to read all about it and see the other doodlers.

21 September 2008


Today's Manic Monday word is Formula and I couldn't resist just publishing a link to this article that you may have seen about the formula for the grasshopper that eats time. Appropriately, Stephen Hawking, a man definitely aquainted with formulas about time, was on hand to unveil the grasshopper beginning to dine.

They call it the "Chronophage" (time-eater).
From the The Times on Line by Lucy Bannerman

On Friday night a monster began measuring the passage of time using new and decidedly sinister technology outside one of Britain’s most prestigious colleges.

Unlike conventional timepieces, the extraordinary “Chronophage”, due to be unveiled today by Stephen Hawking at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, does not use hands or digital numerals to show the time.

Instead, it relies on a mechanical monster – part demonic grasshopper, part locust – that rocks back and forth along a golden disc, edged like a lizard’s spine. By a complex feat of engineering, its movement triggers blue flashing lights that dart across the clockface, letting students know if they are late for a lecture.

About two metres in diameter, the clock is made from discs of stainless steel and plated with 24-carat gold. With each slackening of the monster’s jaw, and release of its claws, another second is devoured. Each new hour is signalled by the rattle of a chain on an unseen coffin to remind passers-by of their mortality.

The £1 million invention is a tribute to John Harrison, the world’s greatest clockmaker, who solved the problem of longtitude in the 18th century.

The timepiece is completely accurate only every five minutes. The rest of the time, the pendulum pauses then corrects itself as if by magic. The blue lights play optical illusions on the eye, whirring around the disc one second, then appearing to freeze the next. The effect is hypnotic.

“Clocks are fixed, whereas we all know, time is fluid. It drags and it flies. Like Einstein said, an hour sitting next to a pretty girl can be like a minute, and a minute sitting on a hot stove can seem like an hour. I wanted this clock to reflect that, to play tricks with observers.” Dr Christopher de Hamel, Fellow Librarian at Corpus Christi, said: “I wanted it to be a monster, because time itself is a monster . . . It is horrendous, and horrible, and beautiful. It reminds me of the locusts from the Book of Revelations.
“It lashes its tongue, and flicks its eyes at you. It’s bonkers.”

Time is of the essence

Baby Love - Mefis & Saki

20 September 2008

Doodle Sins - Lust


It's doodle week! Go to doodle week headquarters to read all about it and see the other doodlers.

17 September 2008

Happy Birthday

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, 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.

On this day in history 38 of the 41 delegates to the Convention to ratify the Constitution of the United States. From that day to this, it has been the basis for all laws written in the United States, and those rights guaranteed by this document should be treasured by every American.

14 September 2008

Monday Carnival

Jannaverse is sponsoring the Monday Carnival. For some of the best blog articles by your favorite Manic Monday bloggers, simply click on Jannaverse for the links and make the rounds. My submission was "The Play's the Thing and I hope you will enjoy it. Today we also have a two for one special with a retread of how I learned to read, a joy we all seem to share.

Many of you who come by hear often visit Shelly over at This Eclectic Life. When she isn't spending hundreds of volunteer hours running a marvelous charity called Share A Square or solving all of the world's most pressing problems past and present as Dear Dora, she actually has a career traveling all across Texas as a storyteller. Well I have to talk with her. You see I don't remember learning to read and I think it just may be a story teller's fault.

Somewhere between the day I was born and the Christmas before I turned three, I picked up a new book just given to me and read a poem out loud for the first time. Well to tell the truth, the little, obnoxious brat I was sometimes known to be at the time, grabbed the book from my mother and said, "I'll read it to you this time!". I can even remember the very first poem:

A was once an apple pie,
Nice insidy
Apple Pie!

Now I was bright, one of those non-children children who look at adults speaking baby talk as if they have lost their minds, but not genius level smart - just a bright kid. So why was that child an absolutely hopeless bookworm before ever entering the first grade. Well a storyteller did it. It's all her fault that my house looks like an exploded library.

All the manuals tell you to read to a child every night. They don't tell you that this is your chance to practice all those acting skills you've been saving up for when Hollywood comes to call with that multi million dollar contract. Bees buzz, the wind howls, wigglies and squigglies crawl up legs and arms. Carriages rock back and forth as high speeds carry you away from danger. Shadows and gloom descend, swords flash and slash, and animals of every kind oink, honk, neigh, moo, and whinney. What good is a dragon if your eyes don't open wide when it breathes its terrible fire, and how can a princess go to a ball if you aren't dancing around the room.

...And I'll huff and I'll puff
...Open Sesame
...The better to see you with my dear
...An Elephant's faithful one hundred percent

There are picture books and then there are just written books where the storyteller paints the pictures. You're competing with the TV set for goodness sake ... instant noise, instant music, and instant pictures ... ones you don't have to work to see, but a great storyteller shows a child black letters on white paper and says ... "here there be magic." All the miracles of the universe are waiting to dance across your brain, you just have to see the pictures the letters are painting.

... the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas
... By the laughing big, sea water

So the next time you read to a child, rub the latern to release the genie and look up as the smoke billows to form the huge, smokey shape. Quivver under the covers in fear of the growling, giant stalking the room with a fee fi fo and fum. Shriek, laugh, sigh, whisper, and moan, and then at the absolutely most appropriate time kiss first the left eyelid and then the right eyelid, and then the forehead as you send baby out to sail among the stars with letters in their head that spell:

Wynken and Blynken are two little eyes,
And Nod is a little head,
And the wooden shoe that sailed the skies
Is a wee one's trundle-bed.

If all else fails and nodding does not occur ... remember the warning to ill behaved children ...

The Goblins 'll get you ef you don't watch out!

12 September 2008


With Ike coming in and Galveston Island evacuated, I thought it appropriate to at least show some of the scenery and a great Jimmy Webb song sung by Glenn Campbell

Courtesy of the seawall and the advance warning, we can hope that no lives will be lost unlike the great hurricane of 1900 with its death toll of between 6,000 and 12,000 in the Great Galveston Flood

Once More With Feeling

Shelly Tucker over at This Eclectic Life is at it again. This time it is a project to bring smiles, wonderful things, and gentle good wishes to all the children of Camp Sanguinity next summer.

You can read all about your mission by going to her site, but basically she is sending us all on a scavenger hunt to fill medicine bags with three treasures, but they need to be the treasures that would be of interest to a child and ones that preferably come with a story ... Shelly is a story teller after all.

Now this lady doesn't think small except in size. She needs 140 medicine bags each containing three good luck charms, and she wants stories ... 560 notes and stories. Fortunately for those of us with a few limits on our horizons, we only have to come up with a bag or a charm and send them to her. She and her cohorts will do what needs to be done to find the smile on a child's face. Next summer you will be able to go back to her site to see the pictures of those smiles and know you helped.

While scrounging remember the gifts in the box of the littlest angel:

There was a butterfly with golden wings, captured one bright summer day on the high hills above Jerusalem, and a sky-blue egg from a bird's nest in the olive tree that stood to shade his mother's kitchen door. Yes, and two white stones, found on a muddy river bank, where he and his friends had played like small brown beavers, and, at the bottom of the box, a limp, tooth-marked leather strap, once worn as a collar by his mongrel dog, who had died as he had lived, in absolute love and infinite devotion.

Happy Hunting

07 September 2008

Aunt Ruth

Manic Monday Logo courtesy of Jannaverse


I didn't appreciate her then when forced on someone to care for me, but when she was long dead, I became a Jew (She wouldn't have approved) and made the promise of Ruth on the Bema moved by things taken for granted: Socks perfectly white bleached into submission every night, reddened knuckles on a washboard. Fresh squeezed juice with every dawn, dresses ironed to perfection, and angel food cake beaten by hand.

She raised someone who didn't want to be there. I only knew her in her middle years. A barren woman who loved me more than I did her. How do you pay back a roof or place to be from a woman once young enough to give me an Uncle Don who opened a mind to classical music by osmosis, and taught me to read when I should have been too young to read at all.

Aunt Ruth read condensed books when she read at all, but bought me Alcott rather than unwanted dolls and the Great Books for graduation with a quote by Hume on the dedication page. She didn't lead a happy life. There were too many reasons to complain, and she never learned to say thank you for favors done. They didn't exist when she had to clean up after everyone while no one understood her pain.

But then again I must have loved her. I still can't stand juice made from concentrate, and when she was gone, I took her name.

05 September 2008

02 September 2008

A Life of Illusion

On this date in 1946, what is considered Eugene O'Neill's finest play, The Iceman Cometh, opened on broadway. For more than 60 years it has been played, studied, critiqued and mesmerized. At it's center is the universal question of what is the reality of life with all the hidden secrets and self delusions, and whether or not anyone could live in full reality or do we need at least some illusions to survive.

Here is Al Pacino with a reading of Hickey's speech.