Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Miracle

GREEN GRASS!!

OUTSIDE!!

NO SNOW!!!

DIH loves the Gulf Stream!

In other news we are now in Connecticut for further familial Yuletide celebrations. I went for a walk along the Long Island Sound this afternoon. Good to smell salt air again.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

It's tough to keep up a blog when you have to steal time from somebody else's computer. But I still want to wish everyone a Merry christmas.

I got a wristwatch!

Spouse got a hunting vest!

Daughter got night vision goggles!

All are pleased with their gifts.

Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Eastward Ha!

Well, we did it. We got in the car and drove from Minneapolis to Long Island. Made good time, too- 22hours-- despite rain and sleet and snow and jack knifed tractor trailers, not to mention Chicago. And a state trooper or two, but them's the breaks.

We arrived on LI to find the wind chills every bit as sub-zero here as they were back in Minnesota. Our relatives, of course, are blaming us. Where is global warming when you could really use it? I had a peek at my niece's 11th grade "Environmental Science" textbook. According to them global warming is a real and present danger. Hello, textbook publishers- I'm not even going to ask you to read the research that proves your theor is hooey. I'm just saying, it might be a good idea to look out the window once in a while.

But enough about current events. Only two more days 'til Christmas. It's good to be back home.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Money Talk

The New York Times reports that Yale's endowment has taken a 13.4% nosedive.

Mr. Madoff made off with a lot of rich folks' cash.

Funds are shutting down all over the place.

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that "broke" is the new chic? And there's a corollary: No one raises an eyebrow at the phrase "I'm too cheap"any more. It's cool to be cheap.

I can think of a long list of people who were ahead of their time in this respect. I once had a roommate who wouldn't let our friend across the hall come over and do her ironing, on the grounds that it used up our electricity. Time was such behavior would be labeled "pathological." Now it's "savvy," or some such word.

Suddenly I feel much better about the pile of clothes I've been meaning to take to the drycleaners for the past, oh, two years I guess. I hate to pay drycleaning bills. But now I can say it with pride. "I'm too cheap." I'm right in step with fashion.

Think of what the new cheap chic will spare us. Christmas shopping just got one heck of a lot easier: don't do it! Entertaining becomes effortless: no food! Vacation? Turn up the heat, turn on the tube and stare at a video of Polynesia. Isn't this relaxing?

Fashion is another issue. Here in Minnesota, of course, it basically doesn't exist. Or at least it doesn't matter. If it keeps the frostbite at bay, it's fashionable. You can wear the same LLBean parka for fifteen years and everyone will still admire your good sense. "Heck of a company, that Bean!"

Yeah. Cheap feels cooler every minute. Soon we'll be having contests to see who's cheapest. Cheap-offs. If my old roommate is reading this: your moment has arrived!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Poetry Corner

Winter is icumen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,

Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.
Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,

Freezeth river, turneth liver,
An ague hath my ham.
Damm you; Sing: Goddamm.
Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm,
So 'gainst the winter's balm.
Sing goddamm, damm, sing goddamm,
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.


"Ancient Music," Ezra Pound

Seven Below

...and feels like minus 28. Welcome to Minnesota!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Gaudete

Today is the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday. Traditionally the priest wears rose-colored vestments on this day. We didn't get that at Mass today. We got purple. It's hard for some men to wear pink, I guess.

I was going to put up a video of some choirboys singing "Gaudete, Christus est natus." This old Basque number has been popular in recent years. So I watched a bunch of different groups singing it. And I realized something: this old Basque carol, while real and genuine, is very annoying. So I didn't put it up.

Tonight we are waiting for a cold front to finish moving in. The temperature is supposed to drop over 40 degrees- we had upper 30s this morning and we're headed below zero. My goodness, the crowds at Costco. Everyone was anticipating not wanting to stick their noses out the door tomorrow.

It's an event, a cold front. It gives one something to talk about with strangers while waiting on line at the gas station or the ATM machine. It was kind of amazing to see how quickly things iced over out there. And of course driving was a real thrill. I can hardly wait until tomorrow. Getting my daughter to school should be quite exciting.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Herd Is Plentiful

A tale of the Great Bison.

Shops at Farmers' Market has returned from the hunt. The herd was plentiful this year. The Great Box of Ice in the cave beneath the abode is full.

Yet all is not well. The flesh of the prey is tough. Very tough. Even the Cooker of Great Slothfulness could not overcome it.

Now Shops Online speaks. "You must hunt from another herd. My people never consume the flesh of the bison if it's from Wisconsin. In fact we never touch anything from Wisconsin. Try South Dakota next time."

I, Shops at Farmers' Market, nod sagely. "Yet until now the meat has been most satisfactory. The tender steaks, and the chopped-up variety used for chili and burgers. It is only the pot roast that disappoints."

"Try cooking it on 'high,'" Shops Online advises.

Therefore I, Shops at Farmers' Market, have returned the flesh of the noble bison to the cooker of great slothfulness for the day. When the Great Orb of Light has passed from the sky and the small silver one appears, the tribe will once again attempt to feast on the bison pot roast. Should we fail-- thanks be to the Great Spirit!-- we know a good pizza place.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

And Now, A Reminder

We are in the third week of Advent. I've decided to call in redeemed.

And I want to extend my personal thanks to the Virgin Mary for making it possible.

Today's the Day

Today is "Call In Gay" Day.

I know we all have a list of people we wish would "call in gay" and leave us alone for24 hours. But unless they're gay they won't count today.

Obviously what we need is a whole bunch more activist days.

Like "Call In Loud And Pointless" Day. The entire crew of "The View" could take the day off.

Or "Call In Obnoxious" Day. Long list for this one, huh? And I'm not even talking about politicians. And quite a few gay activists would get a twofer.

"Call In 'Not Ready For Prime Time' Day." Yoo-hoo, Jon Favreau, your moment is calling.

"Call In Over-the-Hill" Day. Really, New York Times, we really could all survive a day without you. Maybe longer.

The floor is open to suggestions- DIH.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How Will It Affect You?

Out in West Hollywood a gay guy and his boyfriend have organized "A Day WIthout A Gay." They are urging homosexuals to stay home from work tomorrow. This will show America how "a day without a gay" will adversely affect their lives. This, of course, is to protest the vote on Proposition 8.

DIH is not concerned, as her hairdresser, God bless him, is a straight married man. But it sets one to wondering what havoc "a day without at gay" will wreak in the lives of her neighbors.
[h/t Jammie Wearing Fool. Click on today's post title- above- for the link.]

No barristas smirking "tough luck, sister" when you get the day's trivia question wrong at the coffee shop.

No waiting at the YWCA!

No one coming up with stupid, "original" ideas on how to decorate for Christmas this year.

And what will happen to the Episcopalians?

Yes, it will be a long, grey day tomorrow. Stock up your bar and wait it out at home is what I say.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Image Problem

Last night I went to a party at a friend's house. Very casual, very fun: soup and salad and homemade bread, everyone's kids running around upstairs, playing with the new puppy, etc.

Then I got a guilt-trip call from my daughter, home with Dad. "Mama. when are you coming home? I miss you. I don't feel well..."

Although I have learned to take such messages with a grain of salt, I did get up and leave.

So, this morning. Bump into another friend who was there last night. Sitting next to me, in fact. "I guess you had to go!" she said. "We were talking and talking and laughing. And then after about an hour I said-- hey, where's Susan?"

Yeah. They can't get along without me.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday Rant

It's been a strange, messy week here in DIH land. You may have noticed I haven't been blogging much. Partly this is because I have been struggling with my mystery novel, the first draft of which is due Dec. 25. I know, I know. "Now tell us the one about the seven dwarves."

It's never a good idea to establish December 25 as the duedate for anything. Well, it was once. The Virgin Mary did just fine. But for us mere mortals... no, scratch that. For us lazy writer types Dec. 25th is a bad idea.

Just when you think you've got your subplot off the ground someone, usually the spouse, starts making liberal use of The Marital 'We.' E.g.:

"When are we putting the tree up this year?"
Translation: When are you putting the tree up?

"Are we doing anything special this year?"
[Did you get the Nutcracker tickets?]

"So, are we all set to visit relatives for Christmas?"
[Did you pack: my toothbrush, my razor, my clothes, the gifts, the iPod, the portable dvd player- oh, yeah, did you buy that yet?- and by the way did you go to the post office yet to have our mail held up, is the car tuned up, did you ever find out about ....."]

A friend (male) stopped by a few days ago for some "smart guy time" with the spouse. He has five daughters. I was asking him what it was like to live with all that femininity. He said, "It completely blows my circuits." he went on to explain that women just can't seem to focus on one thing at a time. This, he explained, is why there are no women Mozarts or Michaelangelos. Dames just don't have the focus.

An interesting theory. But the more I thought about it, the more one thing stood out: every time I get really, truly focussed on my work- writing- someone has come along and expected me to abandon it. Not in so many words, of course. Usually in more of a deep-sighing, shoulders sagging, disappointed look in the eyes way.

This is where the double whammy comes into play:

1. women usually are the nurturing part of the household, it actually is their job to see that people are fed and comfortable, and besides we like things that way

and

2. writing is a lonely occupation that most writers, even the best ones, dread to some extent, and the "someone needs me" is as good an excuse as you're going to get to turn away from the laptop for a while.

And yes, I do know all this is just an excuse. Suck it up and do both, I say.

I just wish I could do both a lot faster.

So that's my rant for today. All right, so it's more of a whine. Anyway. Back to work.

DIH Has Made Mistakes

"I have made mistakes, which I am learning from."

I'm going to practice that line over and over until it sounds just right. Then I am going to drive to Washington and ask for 35 billion dollars.

Hey, if it works for GM....

Monday, December 01, 2008

Read This And Cheer


This note is pasted on the door of a wounded Navy SEAL. H/t Black Five.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Perfect Gift!



Those "kind eyes" must have looked especially tender when The One voted against the Infants Born Alive Protection Act, don't you think?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Job Hunting?

h/t The Nose On Your Face.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We all have things to be thankful for. OK, we all have things to be ticked off about too, but that's not going to be our focus today. Let's get to work on our annual "I am thankful for" lists. The following is obviously not exhaustive, but it's a start.

DIH is thankful for:

- central heating.
- gas fireplaces
- wood-burning fireplaces
-basically anything that keeps one warm up her in the North Star State

-elephants. Elephants are cool. Smart, light on their feet, grand. Love them elephants.
-dogs. Love dogs, too. Warm, cuddly, loyal, loving. Especially labs. Don't get me started on labs.
- people who shoot squirrels with pellet guns. Hate squirrels.
- diet soda
- all modern diet conveniences

She is also thankful that:

- she is not a TV broadcaster hosting the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This means she does not have to claim to be a "big Smurf fan!" Did you see the look on that woman's face when she said that? Like she wanted to hide under the desk.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Where Is Bruce When You Need Him?

OK, Kid, Hand Over That Paper Hat Or There's Gonna Be Trouble

In today's LA Times:

For decades, Claremont kindergartners have celebrated Thanksgiving by dressing up as pilgrims and Native Americans and sharing a feast. But on Tuesday, when the youngsters meet for their turkey and songs, they won't be wearing their hand-made bonnets, headdresses and fringed vests.

Parents in this quiet university town are sharply divided over what these construction-paper symbols represent: A simple child's depiction of the traditional (if not wholly accurate) tale of two factions setting aside their differences to give thanks over a shared meal? Or a cartoonish stereotype that would never be allowed of other racial, ethnic or religious groups?

"It's demeaning," Michelle Raheja, the mother of a kindergartner at Condit Elementary School, wrote to her daughter's teacher. "I'm sure you can appreciate the inappropriateness of asking children to dress up like slaves (and kind slave masters), or Jews (and friendly Nazis), or members of any other racial minority group who has struggled in our nation's history."

Raheja, whose mother is a Seneca, wrote the letter upon hearing of a four-decade district tradition, where kindergartners at Condit and Mountain View elementary schools take annual turns dressing up and visiting the other school for a Thanksgiving feast. This year, the Mountain View children would have dressed as Native Americans and walked to Condit, whose students would have dressed as Pilgrims.

Raheja, an English professor at UC Riverside who specializes in Native American literature, said she met with teachers and administrators in hopes that the district could hold a public forum to discuss alternatives that celebrate thankfulness without "dehumanizing" her daughter's ancestry.

"There is nothing to be served by dressing up as a racist stereotype," she said.

A Good Day For the USMC Is A Good Day For DIH

FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan — In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it.

Shewan has historically been a safe haven for insurgents, who used to plan and stage attacks against Coalition Forces in the Bala Baluk district.

The city is home to several major insurgent leaders. Reports indicate that more than 250 full time fighters reside in the city and in the surrounding villages.

Shewan had been a thorn in the side of Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan throughout the Marines’ deployment here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, because it controls an important supply route into the Bala Baluk district. Opening the route was key to continuing combat operations in the area.

“The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat,” said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. “Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our ‘humvees’ was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast.”

The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.

“The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they’re given the opportunity to fight,” the sniper said. “A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong.”

During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t miss any shots, despite the enemies’ rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.

“I was in my own little world,” the young corporal said. “I wasn’t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.”

After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies’ spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.

“I didn’t realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies’ lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us,” the corporal said. “It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured.”

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Hero Plays Ping Pong

OK, not really. But this is great. h/t Ace



How Incorrect Can You Get?

OK, here was my Sunday:

Read Politico, Realclear Politics, caught up with Red State Update online. Failed to so much as consider watching Sunday TV news talking heads.

Set daughter and her overnight guest to making CHRISTMAS decorations for out CHRISTMAS tree.

Attended church. Signed up for prayer vigil across from local abortuary.

Went out with friends and shot rifles. Also handguns. Whistled "I Still Miss You, Baby, But My Aim's Getting Better."

Ate red meat.

Went home. Prayed with daughter before bed.

Incorrectly, my friends, is the only decent way to live.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This Is Almost Too Good



Thanks to Sonia

Shocker!

Obama's Girls Will Attend Private School

By LISA TOLIN
,
WASHINGTON (Nov. 21) - President-elect Barack Obama and his wife have chosen Sidwell Friends School for their two daughters, opting for a private institution that another White House child, Chelsea Clinton, attended a decade ago.
"A number of great schools were considered," said Katie McCormick Lelyveld, a spokeswoman for Michelle Obama. "In the end, the Obamas selected the school that was the best fit for what their daughters need right now."


28 grand plus fees for middle school. That's for ONE kid.

I wonder if they'll get a deal on the tuition.

And remember, Democrats: VOUCHERS ARE EVIL. Public school is good enough for your kids.
YOUR kids, that is.

Friday, November 21, 2008

"One, Two, Three...

...four,five.... twenty five. One. two , three...."

Across Minnesota hundreds of volunteers are chanting the mantra. "Piles of twenty-five. Piles of twenty-five." Then they add up the piles and do it all over again.

The Senate Race recount is by all reports going smoothly. It went fine where yours truly was posted yesterday. One challenge from the other side. But otherwise everything added up.

According to the morning paper the Republican incumbent's lead is now something like 136, with 46% of the precints recounted. They figure they'll have it all ironed out by December 1.

There is something weird about a race this close. Every so often one does get the awesome feeling that every vote counts, even yours, and you personally are a defender of democracy every time you step into a voting booth.
But then you get the feeling that there are way too many coin-flippers out there.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Countdown

I am sitting in the coffee shop across from City Hall. In a few minutes I have to go over there to pull my stint in the Great Statewide Recount. I wish I could liveblog from there, but since the city-wide wi-fi the folks on the St Louis Park City Council voted in two years ago doesn't work (I hear they're getting some of their money back), I probably can't get online over there.

Not that there hasn't been much to learn over here in the coffee shop. Two men were discussing the situation as I stood on line to order my 1% latte. "My basic impulse is a pox on both their houses," one of them was saying. "Both fighting like kids."

This is probably a fairly widespread opinion at this point, but it's, well, it's stupid. Senate seats are not supposed to be a door prize. Given the horrific issues of abortion and infanticide, it's just a fat: lives are at stake here.

Anyway, it should be an interesting morning.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'd Laugh, But....

... this looks Minnesotan, too.

Count With Me

The great Minnesota Senate Race recount starts tomorrow, barring a judge's order or the end of the world. DIH will be putting in her shift Thursday am, and probably a few more times after that. It seems they had a lot of people volunteer for the first day. More TV cameras? Dunno.

I was listening to NPR driving back from school this morning. They had a Dartmouth professor on, explaining how if somebody voted for Barack Obama but left the Senate race blank, he probably really meant to vote for Franken and just forgot. So that should count as a vote for Franken. This is called an "undervote."

Of course, it could also mean "Look, I may be a Democrat but I've got some semblance of a conscience, and there's no way I can help send that clown to Congress." But according to Dartmouth guy this is not the case.

In the meantime I have today to work on my mystery novel. Here's hoping it goes better today than yesterday. When you have to resort to making vats of curried butternut squash soup just to collect your thoughts, that's not a good writing day.

The soup was good, though.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just Doin' My Job, Ma'am.

I was sitting in my office down on Cretin Avenue watching the snow flurries fly when she walked in. She had it going on, you betcha. Legs like a pair of Great Lakes sturgeons, eyes like the deep, dark pools my dad and I used to ice fish in. The kind of dame you'd scarf down a plate of lutefisk for, no questions asked.

"Mr. Desperate? I need your help."

Ja sure ya do, I thought, but all I said was, "Have a seat."

"Thank you." She looked around as she settled herself. "I, um, I never consulted anyone in --your line of work before."

Ha. Never heard that one before. "What can I do for you, Miss...?"

"It's Mrs. Mrs. Sylvia Carlson." She looked puzzled. "Or maybe it's Anderson. I'm not sure. The names all sound alike out here."

'Out here?' I decided to go with her first guess. "I take it you're not from these parts, Mrs. Carlson. Let me guess. East Coast?"

She almost smiled. "You're very shrewd, Mr. Cretin."

"Desperate," I corrected. "Cretin's the address. It's a major St. Paul thorofare," I added loyally.

"Mr. Desperate." She leaned forward. "Something very strange is going on. Last weekend my husband disappeared. He was gone when I woke up. I didn't see him for days. Then on Monday morning he came home, acting like nothing had happened.

"Pardon me for noticing, but you don't look like the kind of woman who would have trouble hanging on to her man."

"I don't. We're happily married." Another great line, I thought. "But then, well, some women were talking in the coffeeshop, and-- they said the same thing happened to them!"

"This was when, exactly?"

"Two weeks ago." She looked at her hands. She had one of those fancy French manicures. "And then," she said quietly, "it happened again."

"He took off again, huh."

"And not just my husband, Mr. Desperate. Everyone! Every man, anyway. In fact every male over the age of twelve just seemed to vanish! I went to the Costco to pick up a carton aof Vitamin Water and I had to lead it into the car all by myself." She looked pretty put out at that. "I almost broke a nail. It was horrible."

"Look, Mrs. Carlson Anderson--"

"And then Monday the same thing! He just shows up at the breakfast table again! "

"Hold it right there," I broke in. "Let me guess: he ate like a pig?"

"Yes! A pig and a horse combined!"

"Stank to high heaven? If you'd had a barn you would've told him to move into it?"

"Exactly." She cocked her pretty head and eyed me with those big deep pools. I swear if I'd looked into them long enough, well, I'm pretty sure I coulda landed me a walleye. A big one. "How did you know?"

I sighed, and pulled a bottle of Leinie's out of the drawer. "It's nothing new, ma'am. It happens every year." I knocked the cap off and took a pull. "Sorry, where are my manners. Drink?"

She eyed the bottle curiously. Like she'd never seen a local brew before. "No, thank you."

"Suit yourself. Look, lady, You don't need a private eye. You need a calendar."

"I always use my Daytimer."

"I mean from the DNR. Check the date, lady. What month is this?"

"It's November--"

"Right. And what happens in November?"

I could tell she thought she smelled a trap. "Thanksgiving?" she said cautiously.

"Well, yeah, that too. But it's the season that's important."

"The season," she repeated. I could tell she was wondering if I mean sleigh bells and elves. I almost had to laugh.

"Lady," I said, "the season! Hunting season! You know, deer, guns, bang-bang? Any of this ringing a bell?"

She stared blankly at me. Now I had to laugh.

"Every year I get a case like yours," I said. "Some clueless dame from the Coast wondering where all the menfolk are. Like you never watched the Deerhunting Channel."

"Oh my God," she whispered. "There's a deer hunting channel?"

I waved that one off. "Welcome to the Midwest, lady. Next time you're walking around the Mall of America take a look around you. See all those men? Forty nine weeks out of the year they 're pretty much like your east Coast guys, except they're taller and they can fix things. But for three weekends in November they're transformed. Thousands of years of evolution might just as well never have happened. They want to kill their own food and nothing's going to stop them. Not a beautiful wife, not a cocktail party, nothing. If you're gonna make it here in the MiniApple you better get used to it."

Ever see an East Coast dame at a loss for words? Stop by my office next November and stick around a while. It's quite a sight.

Friday, November 14, 2008

For Some Reason...

... this just seems apropos this year. It seems to cover everything.
LSJ, the nudist part is for you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

The MSM reported yesterday that Michelle and Barack Obama visited some D.C. public schools as part of their search for new schools for their daughters after they move into the White House. They also planned to visit Sidwell Friends School (tuition $28, 442, plus fees, for the Lower School) and similar private schools before they make their decision.

Gee. I wonder which they'll pick.

I understand their dilemma. I really do. It's tough finding a new school for your beloved child.

My first school search experience took place in Massachusetts. We were living in Berkshire County, one of the East Coast centers for preciousness, and we were looking for a preschool for our newly adopted daughter. The preschool at the Stockbridge elementary school (that's Stockbridge as in Alice's Restaurant, by the way) was highly recommended. I seem to remember it was privately run, but held inthe public school. So we went to check it out.

The preschool was run by a married couple who had been teaching together for more than 20 years. If you go to Hollywood and call Central Casting and say "Send me some aging hippies pronto" these two, or their twins, will show up. But they were very nice and pleasant, and seemed to really enjoy their work and the children they taught. We stuck around to watch a while.

Out on the playground a conflict developed. A little boy wanted to play on the swing; a girl was on it; he shoved her off and took over. The little girl ran to a teaching assistant, crying. "He pushed me off the swing!' she sobbed.

"Tell him how that made you feel," the teacher counselled.

Seconds later you could have heard an enraged child screaming "IT MAKES ME FEEL SAD WHEN YOU DO THAT!" for at least ten miles.

This did not seem like proper training to us. "Wait your turn" seemed more appropriate. Maybe even "Kid, if you push people around, one day one of them is going to push back and you won't like it, so a little enlightened self-interest, okay?" But they really believed in the rule of Feelings, I guess.

After we'd said our goodbyes we left the school by the front door. There was a sign taped to it:

"Stockbridge Elementary School will be closed for Memorial Day. Where have all the flowers gone..."

At this point the spouse snapped. "That's it! We're moving!"

"You're going to see this kind of thing everywhere," I said.

"Not if we move to Prussia!"

We then visited a school in the next town, privately run and not in a public school environment. The teachers did not allow things like pushing or grabbing. We picked that one.

Good luck, Obamas. Hope you find the right place. And remember, vouchers are evil, evil, EVIL.

Let's Hope He Didn't Cut Class

Buzzing Sign

ROCHESTER, MINN. - The Cambodian Buddhist community in Rochester is abuzz over what they believe is a miracle: a wasp nest in the shape of a seated Buddha built in the eaves of their temple.

The nest was spotted last week. Elder members of the community say they have never seen an apparition of the Buddha in their lifetimes.

Robert Jeanne, an entomology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the Buddha-shaped hive could actually be four different nests formed over a couple of years. He says if someone wants to read miracles into that, that's their privilege.

Moeun Ngop, a 76-year-old monk, has a more mystical take. He says the insects are trying to communicate Buddha's message.

h/t Star Tribune

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veterans! Songs! Funny Hats!

Yesterday was Veteran's Day. As is their custom, the children at my kid's school threw a breakfast party for any vet who felt like showing up. I could tell it was going to be a good party from the parking lot. I could smell the bacon from there.

Sadly, DIH did not get to sample any of the bacon. Apparently you had to have served in the armed forces to get your strips. I did, however, wolf down a serving of a breakfast casserole made with bread, eggs. sausage and I think cheese. It was the kind of thing I knew I shouldnt' do. The kind of thing I'm sure Barack Obama would have taken one look at and said "Oh, I can't eat that." It was in fact this very inspiration that made me chow down on the stuff. Ohhhhh. It was so gooood....

The program was a lot like last year's. The pre-k kids marched in wearing their paper hats- kind of like red-and-white striped cones- and sang. They were followed by every other class, reciting or singing something. There was a speech by and Air Force colonel. Oh, and I got to sing "From The Halls Of Montezuma" for the first time in years. That brought back memories.

I know from my daughter that the children spend weeks preparing for this event. They learn new poems and new songs and the older girls brush up their waitressing skills. All in honor of a holiday that most of my neighbors ignore.

But not Holy Family Academy kids. Or teachers. Or parents.

ROCK ON, PATRIOTS!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

As Long As We Still Have The Rockettes and The Marines...

...we might be ok.

From Blackfive[h/t Ace]:

"Just came from the memorial ceremony here at NORTHCOM. LTC (CH) Robert Leivers led the group in a ceremony here at the headquarters. During the ceremony, he relayed this little-known story from the Pentagon on 9/11:

"During a visit with a fellow chaplain, who happened to be assigned to the Pentagon, I had a chance to hear a first-hand account of an incident that happened right after Flt 77 hit the Pentagon. The Chaplain told me what happened at a daycare center near where the impact occurred.
"This daycare had many children, including infants who were in heavy cribs. The daycare supervisor, looking at all the children they needed to evacuate, was in a panic over what they could do; there were many children, mostly toddlers, as well as the infants that would need to be taken out with the cribs. There was no time to try to bundle them into carriers and strollers.
"Just then a young Marine came running into the center and asked what they needed. After hearing what the center director was trying to do, he ran back out into the hallway and disappeared. The director thought, 'well, there we are- on our own.' About 2 minutes later, that Marine returned with 40 others in tow. Each of them grabbed a crib with a child, and the rest started gathering up toddlers. The director and her staff then helped them take all the children out of the center and down toward the park near the Potomac and the Pentagon.
"Once they got about 3/4 of a mile outside the building, the Marines stopped in the park, and then did a fabulous thing- they formed a circle with the cribs, which were quite sturdy and heavy, like the covered wagons in the West. Inside this circle of cribs, they put the toddlers, to keep them from wandering off. Outside this circle were the 40 Marines, forming a perimeter around the children and waiting for instructions. There they remained until the parents could be notified and come get their children."

Happy Veteran's Day.

A South Dakota Moment

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why The Rockettes Rock

Here in Minneapolis we are so far "out of town" that we get to see the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular on November 9. Then they move on to some other smallish city, all building up to their NYC opening., which will be at actual Christmas time. But we provincial folks in Minnesota? Cutting edge, baby.

DIH had not see the Rockettes since she was a Girl Scout. Except once,when she dragged the spouse to see a demo team do the Toy Soldiers number at a shopping mall. As DIH predicted the spouse was instantly smitten.

The Rockettes are always the greatest. All that long-legged precision, all those big smiles, all those fabulous costumes ranging from giant teddy bear suits to skimpy rhinestone tights. I mean, come on, this is America at its best. Show me one Western European country that has cuter reindeer? Lotsa luck, Finland, you'd never come close.

The Christmas Spectacular doesn't change all that much from year to year. That would be tough. You have to use Christmas carols and Santa Claus and elves and toy shops, and there's always the "obnoxious kid who doesn't believe in Santa becomes convinced" skit. The Rockettes do make some variations, but it's basically the same show they've been doing for 75 years now.

There are two things about the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, though, that have always been in the show and hopefully always will be: the famous Toy Soldier number, and the "Living Nativity."

Toy soldier number, self-explanatory. See YouTube for details.

But the "Living Nativity." Watching this long. lavish telling of the Christmas story- all the lines were from the Gospel, thank you very much- DIH was struck by , well, what a world we live in. All I could think was, How are they getting away with this? How are these people not being shut down? I mean,they're talking about Mary and Joseph and the Three Wise Men? They're telling all these people in the Target Center that Jesus' birth was the most important, amazing, generous, universe-changing thing that ever happened! What do they think this is, 1952? Where are the lawyers, where's the ACLU?

But there it was. big, beautiful and unabashed. Cesar Augustus put forth a decree that all the world should be taxed. Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem. The Savior was born, the shepherds gathered, the angels sang. The reason for the season.

Get stuffed, secular humanists.

ROCK ON, ROCKETTES!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Gutter Standards

If I hadn't gotten my gutters cleared out a few days ago I don't know how I would have gotten through the week. There's something about accomplishing something you've been putting off for, well, a lifetime that lifts the spirits wonderfully.

Obviously it's been a rough week. Obama elected, Dow in the tank, Washington Post finally admits they were biased toward the Dems all along and gosh, we're so sorry about that, but aren't we noble admitting it now that the election's over? Of course we are. Congratulate us.

Well, in an effort to further raise th spirits, DIH did some kamikaze Christmas shopping yesterday. Bought a fake tree at Costco and some lights at Home Depot.

The high point of my day was when I got the Home Depot guys to redeem some coupons they weren't so sure about. They had this deal where if you brought in any old strands of regular Christmas lights they'd give you a coupon for three bucks off any LED lights.

I brought them five strands, they gave me five coupons, I selected one humongous strand of LED lights and four sets of LED fake candles.

Checkout guy: Um, you can't use the coupons for the candles. They're only for strands.

DIH: No, they're for LED lights. These are LED.

Checkout guy: It says "three dollars for each strand."

DIH: It says "three dollars for every strand you recycle." It doesn't specify anything about the purchase except for the LED part. These are LED fake candles.

Checkout guy calls for backup. Backup gives me same story. I point to same words on coupon. Backup backs down. I get my fifteen dollar discount. Leave store in triumph.

Life is on the road to recovery already.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Go Dog Go!

AOL reports that President Bush's dog, Barney, bit a reporter who tried to pet him.

Anyone want to bet the Obama girls will NOT get thier puppy now? Liability, you know...

p.s. Somebody tell this idiot reporter never to go for a dog's head. Especially not a terrier's.

A New Day Dawns

..and it's covered it wet snow. I love Minnesota in the fall. Uh, winter. No wait, that doesn't start 'til December, right? I gotta think about this...

It's been a rough week for the economy. The Dow tanked two days in a row, and DIH is out eight hundred bucks on emergency car repairs. All following the election of BO. Coincidence?

My car was fine when I left the house early Wednesday afternoon. We have a perpetual adoration chapel at our parish, and DIH has the 2-3pm slot on Wednesdays. This has been a bit glitch-ridden. A couple of times I forgot to go, and once I couldn't find my car keys. This does not put the previous adorer, who is supposed to leave at two in an especially good mood. And I can't really blame her.

So the other day I was determined to get there early. All is going well- the lights are in my favor- when all of a sudden I hear that telltale thump-thump-thump-thump sound just as I'm pulling into the church parking lot. I check my tires. Yup. A nail.

So I ask myself, What would Jesus do? Would he go into the chapel for an hour and hope the tire held up until after adoration? Or would He high-tail it down to the mechanics' shop before things get any worse?

Not sure. Try the saints.

St. Therese of Lisieux would have gone in to the chapel. And smiled sweetly at the flat.
Teresa of Avila would have gotten the tire fixed.

I went with Avila. I headed for the shop. Where I found out that in addition to needing four new tires I also needed new front brakes, plus an oil change.

So, I'm out big bucks this week. Which is fine, if I consider it practice for life under BO. Practice, practice, practice. That's the key to success. Or at least endurance.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Chris Matthews Explains A Journalist's Job

You only need to watch about half of this to get to the money quote.
So now we know, huh?

Iowahawk Says It Best

http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2008/11/election-analysis-america-can-take-pride-in-this-historic-inspirational-disaster.html

For those who only follow read "click HERE to read this"-type links, text below.

Election Analysis: America Can Take Pride In This Historic, Inspirational Disaster

Although I have not always been the most outspoken advocate of President-Elect Barack Obama, today I would like to congratulate him and add my voice to the millions of fellow citizens who are celebrating his historic and frightening election victory. I don't care whether you are a conservative or a liberal -- when you saw this inspiring young African-American rise to our nation's highest office I hope you felt the same sense of patriotic pride that I experienced, no matter how hard you were hyperventilating with deep existential dread.

Yes, I know there are probably other African-Americans much better qualified and prepared for the presidency. Much, much better qualified. Hundreds, easily, if not thousands, and without any troubling ties to radical lunatics and Chicago mobsters. Gary Coleman comes to mind. But let's not let that distract us from the fact that Mr. Obama's election represents a profound, positive milestone in our country's struggle to overcome its long legacy of racial divisions and bigotry. It reminds us of how far we've come, and it's something everyone in our nation should celebrate in whatever little time we now have left.

Less than fifty years ago, African-Americans were barred from public universities, restaurants, and even drinking fountains in many parts of the country. On Tuesday we came together and transcended that shameful legacy, electing an African-American to the country's top job -- which, in fact, appears to be his first actual job. Certainly, it doesn't mean that racism has disappeared in America, but it is an undeniable mark of progress that a majority of voters no longer consider skin color nor a dangerously gullible naivete as a barrier to the presidency.

It's also heartening to realize that as president Mr. Obama will soon be working hand-in-hand with a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard like Senator Robert Byrd to craft the incoherent and destructive programs that will plunge the American economy into a nightmare of full-blown sustained depression. As Vice President-Elect Joe Biden has repeatedly warned, there will be difficult times ahead and the programs will not always be popular, or even sane. But as we look out over the wreckage of bankrupt coal companies, nationalized banks, and hyperinflation, we can always look back with sustained pride on the great National Reconciliation of 2008. Call me an optimist, but I like to think when America's breadlines erupt into riots it will be because of our shared starvation, not the differences in our color.

It's obvious that this newfound pride is not confined to Americans alone. All across the world, Mr. Obama's election has helped mend America's tattered image as a racist, violent cowboy, willing to retaliate with bombs at the slightest provocation. The huge outpouring of international support following the election shows that America can still win new friendships while rebuilding its old ones, and provides Mr. Obama with unprecedented diplomatic leverage over our remaining enemies. When Russian tanks start pouring into eastern Europe and Iranian missile begin raining down on Jerusalem, their leaders will know they will be facing a man who not only conquered America's racial divide but the hearts of the entire Cannes film community. And those Al Qaeda terrorists plotting a dirty nuke or chemical attack on San Francisco face a stark new reality: while they may no longer need to worry about US Marines, they are looking down the barrel of a strongly worded diplomatic condemnation by a Europe fully united in their deep sympathy for surviving Americans.

So for now, let's put politics aside and celebrate this historic milestone. In his famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial 45 years ago, Dr. King said "I have a dream that one day my children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Let us now take pride that Tuesday we Americans proved that neither thing matters anymore.

After the Fall

As usual Red State Update have the clearest outlook on the political situation.

Here in Minnesota we are in the midst of a recount. DFL senatorial candidate Al Franken lost to Norm Coleman by such a small margin they have to count the ballots all over again. Last night they were saying Coleman was ahead by 725 votes; by this afternoon that lead had shrunk to around 300. Maybe this will teach Coleman to wuss out on things like the bailout.

Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, on the other hand, managed to keep her seat, despite being sneered at on air by MSNBC's pudgy blond anchorman and despite having the RNC pull her television ad money. Bachmann, you will recall, voted against the bailout. You go, girl!

And a chorus of yippees to the voters of California, who flipped off the courts who had flipped off them and made damn sure marriage means "between a man and a woman." Rock on, sane people.

My McCain sign disappeared for good today. But this time it was blown away by a powerful gust of wind. Weird, huh?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

E-Day

So it's here at last. Election Day.

DIH went to her polling place and voted earlier this morning. My polling place is the basement of an Episcopal church. While you stand on line to vote you get to read all sorts of posters about global warming and recycling.

You don't get to do much else. You can't bring a newspaper in to a polling place so the crossword is out. You have to get creative. Play little games like "Count The Men With Earrings" or "Women With Studded Tongues: Who Are Their Dentists?" Or you can count the kids in private school uniforms, add up the tuition the lady with the Versace bag must be paying, and wonder why the hell she would want socialism. Does she think her life will get better? Or is she just trying to teach her children the importance of sharing?

I have to say, for the crowd I was in- my neighborhood is overwhelmingly for Obama-- there was a certain lack of jubilation in the air. A few polite smiles and "hellos," but no "Party tonight!! Yee-hah!!" stuff going on. And these are the guys the polls say are going to win. You have to wonder- what is wrong with these people? Don't they ever have any fun? Or is it immoral to seem happy in the presence of global warming and recycling posters?

As for DIH, she plans to spend some time today resolving her television situation. She does not have one, or not one that works, anyway. And I gotta have the tube on tonight.

I'd invite the neighbors, but ... well, they probably wouldn't be much fun.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Stop Me Before I Rake Again

The little cardboard signs went up a few days ago. "No Parking This Street Monday."

Meaning that today the harbinger of winter, the big leaf suck-up, should take place here in the 'hood. Which is the least the city can do, given tax rates and abundance of mature trees.

So yesterday I raked. And raked, and raked. Got every last little fallen leaf into the gutter.

There was a wind in the night. More leaves. Again I raked, and raked, and raked. Now have two good-sized blisters on my hands.

Now, DIH hates raking leaves. In fact she hates anything connected with yards, gardens, anything growing out there. You think, Oh it's so nice to have something green around one's home! But I say, Feh. Every pretty little bud you swoon over in the spring will end up dead on your lawn in a few months' time, and you'll have to haul it away in plastic bags. Or hire someone else to do it. And given what teenagers are charging these days the odds are DIH will have to do it herself.

A few years ago a couple of boys turned up on my doorstep. "Want us to rake your leaves?" they said.

"Sure," I said. "How much?"

"Seventy-five dollars."

"Goodbye," I said.

I don't know when teenagers got so expensive. My mother has a theory that it all has to do with the price of video games. She could be right. Domo arigato, Nintendo!

So yesterday I raked. I got my daughter to rake, too, as well as her little visiting friend. "I like having a job to do," said the little friend. Stick around, kid, thought I.

I wonder how good that child is with a snow shovel?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Weather Weirdness

For some days now we have been having beautiful weather here in the Twin Cities.

Let me repeat that: Beautiful. Weather. Here.


Looking outmy window now I could swear I was back in Northern Virginia. It's going to be 60-some odd degrees today and sunny. And it's All Souls' Day.

If this is climate change, bring it on.

Friday, October 31, 2008

So, While I'm Waiting

Happy Halloween

It's after 6pm and DIH is ready. I have a big bowl full of Nerds and a lit-up fake pumpkin on my doorstep. Wonder how many trick-or-treaters I'll get this year.

Last year I got quite a few. The year before that I got three, I think. The weather's great this year, maybe that will make a difference. And of course I have my McCain/Palin sign up-- will that scare children off? Attract youthful offenders? We shall see.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Come On, Barack, How Bad Can It Be?

If Only

Release the Tape

The L.A. Times has a videotape of Barack Obama at a going-away party for Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian spokesman/cheerleader for the PLO. The L.A. Times is refusing to release the tape on the grounds that the source's feelings might be hurt.

Well, I feel their pain. I've been captured on tape a few times myself, mostly at weddings. Usually a couple of hours into the reception. It's not a pretty picture. Somewhere out there there is photographic evidence of DIH doing her best Pee Wee Herman impression after a couple of toasts. Not pretty, people, not pretty at all.

As a matter of fact I'm sitting on some pretty, let's say, "interesting" video right now. We gave a Halloween party the other night. All the adults came in costume and the cheap wine was flowing freely. You think I couldn't put together a little expose? Think again.

No, I won't be posting any pics, unless someone makes it worth my while. But then again I'm not a major American newspaper whose reputation depends on the free distribution of information to a public who have the right to know everything about their candidates.

You have to wonder what the L.A. Times is hiding. What, did somebody have a terrible haircut? Maybe they turned on the karaoke machine? Did Barack get weepy, or just sloppy drunk? Did the party involve a bong, or jello shots, or Naked Twister?

The people have a right to know.

Contact the L.A. Times at

http://www.latimes.com/services/site/la-contactus,0,3944908.htmlstory

and demand that they release the video. Unedited.

DIH will feel so much better about that Pee Wee Herman thing if they do.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Oh, Well, That's All Right, Then

From the November issue of Ranger Rick Magazine:

"Q. Why do wild animals sometimes attack people?- Brad W. New York

"A. The truth is animals hardly ever attack people. When they do, it's for all sorts of reasons... But it's most often by mistake."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Election Break

Alea iacta est. Or something like that.

Well, I did it. I signed up for NaNoWriMo.

What? you say.

NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. Wherein insane writer types get to take the big challenge: turn out 50,000 words in 30 days. If you go to their website (www.nanowrimo.org) you can read all about it. This is NaNoWriMo's tenth year, so they should be getting tons of participants.

Anyway. You take a blood pledge that between November 1 and November 30 you will write-- well, not your Great American Novel; more like your Not So Bad American Novel. Or your At Least I've Got A First Draft American novel. 50,000 words of it.

This is a daunting challenge. It will require new highs of self-discipline and new lows of housekeeping and personal hygiene standards. I'm ready for those last two challenges. As for the first, we'll see, I guess.

So those are my November plans. Wish me luck. I need all I can get.

The Morning After

We gave our Halloween party on Saturday. Damage reports are still coming in, but they appear to be minimal. Note to self: no more fires in the back yard when ten-year-old boys are around.

I am writing this on the spouse's computer. For some reason mine won't allow me to go online. It's been a problem for a few days now. So I had no chance to complain about the snow showers we were treated to yesterday. Really I can't keep up with the change of seasons around here. Every time I look out the window I would swear it was Thanksgiving. But it's not even All Saints' Day yet.

All Saints' Day presents its usual challenges. Like how to dres your kid up like a saint without actually making her look like a walking tablecloth. I found this great website that sells pretty decent saints costumes- for 67 bucks your kid can look like MOther Teresa minus the wrinkles- but 67 bucks struck me as a little steep, and my daughter would probably change her mind at the last minute anyway and decide she'd really rather go as a Kateri Tekakwitha/Pocahontas hybrid. So it looks like another walking tablecloth year.

Uh-oh, spouse emerges from shower. Gotta go.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Today, So Far

Up at5:30 am. Sneak downstairs. Make tea for self. And for once, I get it perfect. I mean, perfect. Perfectly steeped. Perfect strength. Perfect amount of sugar. Perfect amount of milk. Irish bliss.

Bring teacup to table. Fire up laptop. Set teacup down.

Miss table. Spill tea all over carpet.

Later decide coffee might be safer. Discover the bag of Dunkin Donuts medium roast from Costco is empty.

Root around in cupboard and find the last of the Kona beans from Hawaii trip. Then discover the coffee grinder is nowhere to be found. Currently considering sucking on the beans.

Something tells me it's going to be a long day.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Guess He Misses Being Taxed Into the Next Dimension

Newsmeat(http://www.newsmeat.com/2008a-list.php) has a list of all the celebrities who have contributed to Obama and McCain.

John Cleese gave Obama $2,300. And him not even a Yank.

I always said the guy was a riot.



h/t Powerline

Good Monday Morning

Lifted from Some Have Hats.

Sarah Palin was invited to meet with the Pope while both were vacationing in Venice. The press reluctantly watched the semi-private audience, hoping they will be able to allot minimal coverage.

The Pope asks Governor Palin to join him on a Gondola ride through the canals of Venice.

They're admiring the sights and agreeing on moral issues when, all of a sudden, the Pope's hat blows off his head and out into the water.

The gondolier starts to reach for the Pontiff's hat with his pole, but this move threatens to overturn the boat.

Sarah waves the tour guide off, saying, 'Wait, wait. I'll take care of this. Don't worry.'

She steps off the gondola onto the surface of the water and walks out to the Pope's hat and picks it up. She walks back across the water to the gondola and steps aboard.

She hands the hat to the Pope amid stunned silence.

The next morning the topic of conversation among Democrats in Congress, CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, PBS, CNN, the New York Times, MSNBC, Hollywood celebrities, and most of the people in France and Germany is:

'Palin Can't Swim.'

Sunday, October 19, 2008

THUNDERING HERD!!!

Part of one, anyway. We got our quarter of a bison yesterday. Or "buffalo," if you prefer. Which I do, as it tends to freak out my East Coast relatives more.

We ordered ours at the farmer's market a couple of weeks ago. "How long will it take?" I asked.

"Well, let's see," said the Buffalo Lady. "Today's Saturday, we butcher on Tuesdays, then the inspector comes on Thursday..." Actually she gave me quite a few details I could have lived without. I shall endeavor to put them out of mind.

I am very excited about my buffalo. I've never had a significant portion of an animal in my freezer before. It makes me feel like I'm living on the frontier, only with electricity and all that stuff. Which makes mine a much nicer frontier than the one Laura Ingalls Wilder lived on.

All of this means we will be eating a lot more red meat this winter than we did last year. I think of last winter as The Winter of the Frozen Salmon Fillets. I think we went a little overboard on them. Wanted to swim upstream after a while.

I am planning to make buffalo vegetable soup, buffalo stew, buffalo pot roast and buffalo sirloin steaks. I will probably lie to visitors and tell them they're eating beef at first. You never know how people will react to the "buffalo" part. My sister always reacts by bursting into song ("Oh give me a home...") I notice she never sings about free-range chicken.

So... anybody know any good buffalo recipes?

Wine Time

Last night the spouse and I attended a wine tasting party. It was a fundraiser for our church. I swear, I love this parish.

I've been to wine tastings before. They're a lot of fun. You start out all classy and serious with your list of wines. You sniff. You sip. You make intelligent comments on the first selection. ("Fine start, slightly bitter finish.") Then on the second selection. On the third your comments tend to get a bit whimsical. ("Good to have on hand, especially if the in-laws come to dinner. Ha ha.") Fourth time around they serve an expensive Italian red. ("Who the hell needs a seventeen dollar pizza wine? Gimme a seven-dollar magnum of Frontera per favore.") Desserts and bubblies. ("I looooove this one! 'Specially wit' cheesecake. I loooooove cheesecake! They got any more cheesecake?")

The best part, it being a fundraiser for a good cause and all, is you don't feel too guilty about ordering a case of something. Which we did. I can't remember which wine we ordered, but I'm sure we'll enjoy it.

Free Speech Again

I am pleased to report that my returned McCain/Palin sign is still alive and well. I wish I could say the same for my neighbor. Signs trashed in the street and garden covered with toilet paper. Very mature stuff. I took photos and will put them up as soon as I can get iPhoto to cooperate.

By my count that leaves only me and one other house with an intact McCain sign in the 'hood.

Friday, October 17, 2008

That 70's Show

As we crawl toward election day and the polls keep threatening Obama, DIH recalls what she said to a friend early last summer: Obama will be elected, he'll be Jimmy Carter redux, let's just hope the next Reagan is ready for 2012.

Jimmy Carter, you will recall, was a Democrat president with a Democrat congress. Yet he never managed topush a single piece of his legislation through. People really didn't like him, I guess. Not even his own party. And remember double-digit inflation? What fun that was!

Yeah, I remember inflation. The real thing, not some namby-pamby "they raised the price of gas this week" stuff.

So as I contemplate the next four years, I'm throwing a little farewell party.

"Things DIH Will Miss Once the Government Inflate the Hell Out of the Currency and Everything Costs Five Times What It Used To"

-The smug feeling of superiority whenever I buy anything organic. Hello, pesticides, Desperate is back!
-The scent of the fancy-schmancy hand soap in my dojang's ladies' room. It's pretty, too-- clear salmon pink in these cute little teardrop-shaped dispensers. Yeah, that soap meant a lot to me. (Especially since my last dojang barely had indoor plumbing. I am not kidding.) It'll be back to industrial-strength supermarket stuff, I guess.
-The blithe way I used to add detergent to the washer. It sounds scandalous now, but I admit it-- I never measured. I guess I'll be measuring now, though.
-Might even start watering it down. Sigh. The high-rolling days are coming to an end...
-Full gas tanks
-Dry cleaning. Not that I ever get it now, being far too cheap. But still. It was nicce to know it was there if I needed it.

Please feel free to add to the list. And remember, four years of Carter got us Ronald Reagan in the end.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Now Here's Something Strange

My McCain/Palin sign reappeared on my lawn yesterday. Or maybe it's somebody else's McCain/Palin sign, it's a little hard to tell.

Not sure what this means, but it's good to have the sign back.

Monday, October 13, 2008

DIH Plans Her Next Post

Meanwhile, Back at Dora the Explorer's

Across the street, a few doors down.

I'm pretty sure they don't speak Spanish.

But this isn't Spanish. This is -- what?

This Is Getting Old

Another day, another McCain/Palin sign stolen from my front lawn. Ah, the locals love free speech.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

It's Not A Baby. It's A Libertarian.

Christopher Buckley, son of the late great William F.Buckley Jr., writes in a column for the online journal "The Daily Beast" that he is endorsing Barack Obama for president.

He admits this will surprise many readers. After all, Obama is a big-government liberal and Buckley is "a small-government conservative who clings tenaciously and old-fashionedly to the idea that one ought to have balanced budgets."

Buckely's stand on the most glaring social issues of today is different: "On abortion, gay marriage, et al, I’m libertarian." This is the live-and-let-live school of social thought; the one that says "if it's what you really feel and it doesn't involve taxing me any more, go ahead and do it, really who gives a hoot."

I don't think anyone could seriously call Obama a libertarian on the issue of abortion. Come on, the guy's a freaking cheerleader for abortion. Who else opposed the born-alive protection act with such fervor? For once we were all glad the feds stepped in and called the shots there.

But the issue of libertarianism and abortion must be confronted. So the ever-helpful DIH decided to conduct a spot of research.

So I called Pregnant Friend. "Hello," I said. "I'd like to speak to the fetus, please."

"You mean the baby?" I could hear her jiggling her belly. "Hey. Hey, kid. Wake up. Telephone."

"Oh, lord, not another one," said a tiny voice. "I hate election season. Yes? Can I help you?"

"Sorry to bother you, fetus. But I need your input on this. How do you feel about abortion on demand? I mean, what's your gut on this?"

There was a soft sigh. "Let me guess. You've been talking to the libertarians."

"How did you know?"

"Because only a libertarian would ask me such a stupid question. Sorry. I just get so tired of this nonsense. As I understand the libertarian philosophy- I'm simplifying here. of course- they believe in a kind of laissez-faire attitude towards social issues. Let things thrive or fail on their own strengths. Well, as a matter of fact, I agree. And I would deeply appreciate the right to be left to thrive or fail on my own, without the influence of some (you should pardon the expression) half-assed social theorist butting in."

"But what about choice?"

"Choice, my dear Desperate, is a word one uses to describe a side of beef. Am I here by my own choice? Of course not. The 'choice,' if you want to know that truth, that brought about my existence was probably made when my father decided a bottle of Moet-Chandon would be a nice surprise for Mother last Valentine's Day. But that's another story."

"Okay, but... what about ...you know..."

"Birth defects?"

"I was searching for a nicer term."

"Let me know when you find it. Personally I've never heard of anyone without a truckload of defects. I can only wonder if the younger Mr. Buckley has taken a good look in the mirror lately. Enough said."

"So, you're saying the libertarians are wrong."

"Not at all. I'm just saying they should follow their own philosophy. They don't have to have anything to do with me at all. In fact I'd prefer it that way. Put Mother back on, would you? And switch me to Line 2."

Pregnant Friend took the phone. "Yes. Yes, all right. Go back to sleep." She switched back to me.

"What did he- uh, she-- uh, what did the little person say?

"No more pollsters. He says they're-- well-- dense."

"Dense?"

"His very word." She sighed. "And no more pesto sauce. 'Take a break and try Bolognese,' he said."

"Demanding little guy."

"He promises he'll make it all worth my while."

"You believe him?"

"Absolutely."

Friday, October 10, 2008

ACORN Season

The MSM have finally started paying attention to ACORN and Barack Obama's involvement with that wild and crazy crew.

And why shouldn't they be wild and crazy? They're a bunch of lawless nuts. Just ask the five hundred squirrels living in my attic.

"It's not everyone who should take up the art of the acorn," their leader told me the other day. "You have to be wily. You have to be totally focussed- greedy, basically. And you gotta be able to dodge the bullets."

"You're good at that," I observed.

"You're damn right I am. How many rocks you thrown at me this week? And did you ever once come close to a hit?"

"Not once," I admitted.

"Partly that's because your aim is lousy. But also I'm fast. You'd have to throw your next rock ten minutes before I showed up to make a hit. They don't call me the Scamper Master for nothing."

"I thought they called you 'Scam.'"

"That's just a nickname."

"Oh."

"But seriously, acorns are not for the faint of heart. You gotta get out there and pick up the goodies. Sure, Mother Nature promises they'll just fall from the trees. The Lord will provide, yadda yadda. And that's fine, if you're the naive type. But I learned a long time ago if you want the really choice nuts you gotta go out there and grab them. Rip 'em off the trees. Get high and go wild, that's my motto."

"Sounds familiar."

"People have the wrong idea about how we gather acorns. I saw some of that cartoon you were watching on the internet the other day, and--"

"Oh- uh, that was a nature show."

"Right. With Bullwinkle the Moose. Anyway you humans seem to have the idea that we squirrels all get together in one big happy family and gather nuts for all to share during the long winter months. La la la, we share and share, we're cute and furry and we're all about love. Bull. Look, basically this is the deal with acorns. Two words: get yours. Get yours, stash 'em away in your private account, and screw the other guy."

"That sounds familiar too," I said.

"Of course you don't want to broadcast any of that. You gotta keep the suckers- uh, community thinking you're all about them. Climbing up those oak trees, hanging on by your sharp little nails to grab all the nuts you can- you're doing it all for the common good."

"Obviously."

"You see that guy Obama, you tell him I could use a man like him. I'm always on the lookout for talent."

Monday, October 06, 2008

Season Opener

I'd like to announce that as the cold and flu season just barely gets underway, DIH has already gotten well into her first major infection. On the cutting edge, as always.

It's a nasty one, all right. Itchy throat. Itchy ears. Nose rubbed raw by the second day. A lot of tissue usage.

But while the symptoms themselves are unpleasant, a cold like this one has its uses.

For example, it's a handy way to dodge the "Sign of Peace." Celebrant intones "Let us offer each other a sign of peace," annoying hand-shaking commences, but all Desperate has to do is sniffle and touch a finger to her schnoz. How about a piece of this, buddy? No thanks, the peaceniks wimp out. Ha ha on them.

It's a good excuse to take a long, hot shower in the morning. "I need to clear my sinuses!" Usually the morning shower is the domain of the spouse. But now he sort of feels he has to share.

[Actually there are no hot showers for anyone this morning, as there is no hot water. Long story. Thankfully the plumber is on his way.]

Of course one has to watch the dehydration-- especially DIH who has a nasty record on that subject- so coffee and Coke Zero are out for the time being. I look forward to a long day of sipping hot ginger tea. By tonight I'll be ready to hang on a Christmas tree.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Morning After

Ahh, there's nothing like the frantic babble of Air America on-air hosts the morning after Sarah Palin connects with America.

They sound like....

Yeah. Victory.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Uh, Uh-- uhuhuhuhuh.....

Lifted this from The Anchoress, who lifted it from Iowahawk. Who says the machines are never on our side?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fall Entertaining

The leaves are turning, the winter squash are in the farmers' markets, a chill is in the evening air. Yes, it's autumn again. Time for hot apple cider, cozy suppers, a glass of something special in front of the fire as we enjoy the last warm days before the snow flies.

Autumn entertaining is something special in the Desperate house. Every year DIH buys scores of magazines with pictures of pumpkins and fallen leaves on the covers and scours them for ideas. How to cook a turkey. How to carve a jack-o-lantern. How to prepare something called a "hot dish" for something called a "pot luck." (She has never done this, but it's nice to know the instructions are there somewhere.)

You can find any number of menus, recipes, etc. in these tempting rags for "A Halloween Supper," "A Thanksgiving Feast." But as always it is Desperate Irish Housewife's job to pick up where the main stream media leave off. Here are her favorite autumn entertaining ideas. Hope you're hungry!

The "Somebody Left The Freezer Open" Party. You know that gorgeous roast you were saving for, I don't know, New Year's? What's wrong with tonight? Toss that hunk of nicely thawed meat into the oven and get out your address book. There must be somebody who's not coaching a basketball game this evening. Open a bottle of cheap wine and enjoy!

The "I Just Spent The Whole Day Raking Leaves And You Expect Me To Cook?" Party. One of Desperate's favorites. Two words: pizza delivery. Open a bottle of cheap wine and enjoy!

The "Thanks For Helping Me Clean Out The Garage- NOT!" Party. This one is on the spouse. Send him out for Thai. And another bottle of cheap wine.

The "I Got A Little Carried Away At The Farmers' Market" party. Veggies, veggies, veggies- and yes, you are finally going to learn how to prepare brussel spouts. If you have any vegetarian neighbors now's the time to invite them over. Or better yet, pop over to their house with a nice bag of rutabagas- everyone loves rutabagas! They love cheap wine, too.

The "Some Jerk Stole My McCain Sign Again" cookout. Shoot a deer and roast it on a spit. On the front lawn. Right across from that house with the "Hope" sign on the porch. Knock back a lot of cheap wine. Better yet, whiskey. Maybe you'll start a little sing-a-long later. That'll show 'em.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Places, Everyone

Yesterday was Sophia's birthday party. She had been working on it for weeks. She decided she wanted to throw a theater party. She had scripts printed out, props ready, costumes lined up, music, the whole ball of wax.

The spouse worked with her on the production. My husband has some theater training and actually is quite a good amateur actor, so his involvement was inevitable. So picture this: you're out at the party store buying pink paper plates and a paper tablecloth, and you call home to see how things are going. And the spouse says, "We're blocking scenes right now."

I'm not sure what "blocking" means in this case but it sounded ominous. "Um, Rich," I said, "You do know what's going to happen tomorrow."

"Of course. We're putting on a play, it's going to be great."

"Rich. A bunch of little girls are going to play dress-up and eat ice cream."

"No no. This is acting. I'll talk to you later."

Sigh.

So yesterday eighteen little girls gave us the 15-minute version of "Enchanted" on our sunporch. There were several big dance scenes, the dragon was slain, the princess got married. The play ended with everyone getting a piece of ice cream cake. I'm telling you, it was better than Broadway. And a lot cheaper. You just can't top that.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Genius Time!

The 2008 Macarthur Foundation "Genius" awards have been announced, and once again DIH has been shamefully overlooked. But I shall endeavor to be big about it and celebrate the winners.

Who include:

Will Allen, Urban Farmer. For "transforming the cultivation, production, and delivery of healthy foods to underserved, urban populations through a novel synthesis of low-cost farming technologies." Said low-cost technologies are rumored to include spades, cotton gloves and so-called "found" fertilizers.

Tara Donovan, Sculptor. For "transforming accumulations of ordinary materials into visually arresting, sculptural works reminiscent of geological and biological forms." What can I say? Except "uh-oh..."

Plus a lady who weaves baskets from sweetgrass and a bald guy who plays the saxophone, and a few others.
Honestly I can't figure out why then never call me. OK, so I'm not a brain scientist. (They threw in a couple of those too. Just to be safe, I guess.) But give me time, I'm sure I'll come up with something genius-y one of these days.
Then again, the award is only for $500,000. You'd think real genius would be worth a bit more than that. I'm not sure I'm willing to put in the work for a mere half a mil. Hello, Mac Foundation? Call me when you're really willing to pay up. We'll talk.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Parentspeak, Catholic Style

"Offer it up."
[Shut up. already.]

"Jesus loves everyone, dear."
[But I agree, Obama is something of a jerk.]

"Thank your guardian angel."
[For God's sake, how many times do I have to tell you to look both ways before you cross??!!]

"There are children starving in India."
[OK, OK, so it's a lousy recipe- excuuuuse me for trying!]

"People have different ways of honoring God and His creation."
[No, we are not going to get a recycling bin. Recycling is for suckers.]

"God wants us to be good stewards of our money."
[Wait-- if we just order the recycling bin, we get the seven bucks off our taxes every month, right? I mean, there's nothing in the regulations that says we actually have to use the thing, right?]

"Be as innocent as doves and as wise as serpents."
[Order the bin! Order the bin!]

"What was the sermon about this morning, sweetie?"
[You neither, huh.]

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Can't Tell If I'm Diversifying Or Branching Out

http://www.mysignstory.typepad.com
(my second blog!)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Case Closed?

My daughter and her buddy Anna figured out quite a lot about my vandal. It was a man (Handwriting analysis, plus size of shoe) and he was walking a dog (pawprints).

Needless tosay we have ordered more lawn sing. So there, Democrats.

All of which brings us to today's Sharing Session:

Have any ofyou had this experience? Lawn signs stolen, bumper stickers keyed? Please write and let DIH know. She'd love to hear all about it.

Footprints!

The Girl Is On The Case

Free Speech

Half the houses in my neighborhood have lawn signs. Obama! Franken! Biden!

DIH thought she'd like to get in on the fun. So, I got me a sign: "Sarah Palin."

It lasted three days. On the third day- Sunday morning, to be exact, I woke up and found what you see above. The "Nazi in a skirt" message is pretty readable. The "Why do you plaster your face like a trollip [sic] you f****** c***!" is a bit more puzzling.

What impressed me was the lengths my own persoaln vandals went to. They brought their own photo of McCain. They brough ttheir own duct tape (this is Minnesota, after all) to attach the photo to the sign. And they must have lugged that orange and white barrier thing at least four blocks.

Remember, liberals love free speech. They really, really do.

And Just So No One Would Miss The Message, The Final Touch!

Same Sign, Other Side

My Lawn Sign

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Frustration of Barack O'B.

(With apologies to Robert W. Service)

There’s strange things done on a White House Run by the fellows who would be elected,
The campaign trail has it secret tales that could make half of us disaffected.
Desperate Irish Housewife has seen some queer sights, but the queerest she ever did see
Was one frosty, cold night in the northern moonlight : she bumped into Barack O’B.

He had no Armani, no Prius, no Streisand,
And no Secret Service detail,
But he drove a dogsled and he wore a fur coat—
The kind only Michelle would buy retail.
“Barack,” Desperate cried, “whatcha doing out here?
Hawaiians don’t make good dog-sledders!”
“It’s that new girl,” he growled, as the Malamutes howled,
“I’ve just got to make voters forget her!”

“I’ve slipped in the polls since that Palin gal spoke,
And my mojo I’ve got to recharge.
So I bought me this sled an these dogs and this coat
And these earmuffs in size extra-large.
So now I look rugged and real, don’t you see?
A regular Admiral Peary!
Undecideds will all now come flocking to me
And I’ll take back the world blogosphere-y!

If it’s Yukon they want then it’s Yukon they’ll get
I’ll show them I’m no city slicker!
I’ll have moose, I’ll have wolves, I’ll have Great Northern Loons
All on my next bumper sticker!
Then I’ll give ‘em a speech. You know, more hope-and-change.
They’ll forget all about ‘Miss -McCain’s- Pick!’
I’ll send her right back to the cold Wasatch Range-
Hey, do you know if sea lions wear lipstick?”

Now things get mighty queer in Election year
And the strongest men’s judgement gets hazy.
But this candidate’s panic was so un-messianic
I feared the poor guy had gone crazy.
“It isn’t the wolves or the loons,” Desperate said,
“It’s the heart, and the brains. She’s a keeper.”
Barack shook his head, and to himself said,
“What I need is a prettier veeper.”

Then the load on his sled seemed to move! And it said,
“I told you, you shouldn’t have picked me.”
‘Joe, you just need a fire,” said Barack in tones dire.
Joe shrugged. ”Fine. Just don’t try to lipstick me.”
Then Barack shouted, “Mush!” And all in a rush
The dogs took off over the tundra.
DIH shook her head, and to no one she said,
“The pressure this country is under!”

There’s strange things done on a White House Run by the fellows who would be elected,
The campaign trail has it secret tales that could make half of us disaffected.
Desperate Irish Housewife has seen some queer sights, but the queerest she ever did see
Was one frosty, cold night in the northern moonlight : she bumped into Barack O’B.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

911

Seven years ago today America was attacked. Over 3,000 innocent people- civilians, unarmed, unsuspecting-- were murdered by Islamic extremists.

In deference to their memory DIH will refrain from snarky blogging today.

Pray for America, people.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Today's Lesson

Let's get this straight once and for all, America. This is "down-home common sense", "witty" and "great lines":


And this is "sarcasm, exagerrations, smug provincilaism , hypocirys and personal attacks" (Wahsington Post, Richard Cohen- http://salon.com)