“Everything I’ve done, I’ve done for you. I move the stars for no one.” ~ Jareth, from Labyrinth (Writers Dennis Lee and Jim Henson)

Hoggle: This is an oubliette, labyrinth’s full of ’em.
Sarah: Really. I didn’t know that.
Hoggle: Oh don’t act so smart. You don’t even know what an oubliette is.
Sarah: Do you?
Hoggle: Yes. It’s a place you put people… to forget about ’em! ~ From the movie Labyrinth

Like an Oubliette, St y Nyll, Wales, UK
by Capt’ Gorgeous (FCC)

                   

Music by Eddie Vedder, “Light Today”

“I’ll explain, and I’ll be sure to use small words so that you’ll be sure to understand. You wart-hog-faced-buffoon!” ~ William Goldman, The Princess Bride

 

“You be careful. People in masks cannot be trusted.” ~ William Goldman, The Princess Bride

If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .

Where do I begin? There is so much fodder to sift through and disseminate that I really don’t know who to lambast first. Perhaps I’ll just start with one of my favorites: Rush Limbaugh

  • On Wednesday (6/16), Limbaugh once again attacked the poor by suggesting that those school children who might go hungry this summer could resort to dumpster diving for nutrition. Opening with a comment about “these people,” Rush had this to say: “A summer off from government eating might be just the ticket” to curbing childhood obesity. He later characterized children “starving to death out there because there’s no school meal being provided” as “one of the benefits of school being out.” But did he stop there? Of course not, Limbaugh suggested adding a spot to his program called “Where to Find Food”:

“It’s a thing called the refrigerator. You probably already know about it. Try looking there. There are also things in what’s called the kitchen of your house called cupboards. And in those cupboards, most likely you’re going to find Ding-Dongs, Twinkies, Lays ridgy potato chips, all kinds of dip and maybe a can of corn that you don’t want, but it will be there. If that doesn’t work, try a Happy Meal at McDonald’s. You know where McDonald’s is. There’s the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s and if they don’t have Chicken McNuggets, dial 911 and ask for Obama.

There’s another place if none of these options work to find food; there’s always the neighborhood dumpster.”

Why don’t you try skipping a few meals, you boorish blowhard of a buffoon.

“Would you consider me as an alternative to suicide?” ~ William Goldman, The Princess Bride
 

  • Republican Representative Steve King of Iowa thinks that racial profiling is all right as long as it isn’t being used in a discriminatory fashion . . . Huh? Does this guy even know what racial profiling is? He further claims that police offers can use common sense indicators to determine illegal immigrants, indicators like clothing, footwear, and grooming. And oh yes,  how people speak. You know, their accidents (his word, not mine)? And ESP:

“It’s just a common sense thing. Law enforcement needs to use common sense indicators. Those common sense indicators are all kinds of things, from what kind of clothes people wear—my suit in my case—what kind of shoes people wear, what kind of accident [sic] they have, um, the, the type of grooming they might have, there’re, there’re all kinds of indicators there and sometimes it’s just a sixth sense and they can’t put their finger on it.”

“I do not accept excuses. I’m just going to have to find myself a new giant, that’s all.” ~ William Goldman, The Princess Bride
  • I must not forget Sharron Angle, Republican Senate candidate (Nevada). Angle is big on the Second Amendment. In a January radio interview with Lars Larson, Angle said, ” . . . if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I’ll tell you the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.” Lest anyone not think that Angle was serious, she reiterated her stance last month when she told the Reno Gazette-Journal that “it’s almost an imperative” that conservatives win. “The nation is arming,” she told the newspaper. “What are they arming for if it isn’t that they are so distrustful of their government? They’re afraid they’ll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways.” Scary, scary woman.
  • On Wednesday, Texas Representative Joe Barton (R) called President Obama’s agreement with BP to set aside of $20 billion in escrow funds a “shakedown.” Now let me get this straight: Obama is wrong for not making BP more accountable. Obama is wrong for not being tougher and not acting outraged over the oil spill. But Obama is wrong to accept BP’s pledge of money in escrow for spill reparations? You can’t have it both ways. But of course, you can. What was I thinking? And I’m certain that the $1.4 million Barton received from oil interests had nothing to do with his declaration . . . Right.

“Am I going mad, or did the word ‘think’ just escape your lips?” ~ William Goldman, The Princess Bride
  • Continuing with the oil spill . . . BP COO Doug Suttles gave an interview to NBC’s Tom Costello in which he declared that oil spill clean-up technology hasn’t really progressed because there just haven’t been any big spills in the last 40 years to warrant a need for progress on that front. “The events haven’t driven the technology change that’s out there,” Suttles told Costello. Rachel Maddow of MSNBC revealed just how erroneous that statement was when she mapped U.S. spills just since 2000. It was classic Maddow.
  • Do I even both to mention Sarah Palin and the Dutch, dykes and a Norwegian?
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More later. Peace.

Music by Gayngs, “Cry”

“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.” ~ Dale Carnegie

Speeches that Changed the World

  

“A speech is poetry: cadence, rhythm, imagery, sweep!  A speech reminds us that words, like children, have the power to make dance the dullest beanbag of a heart.” ~ Peggy Noonan

On Wednesday night’s broadcast of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, Maddow delivered a mock presidential speech about the oil spill, the kind of speech that she wishes President Obama had delivered, the kind of speech I wish he had delivered. Obama’s speech was tepid. It lacked passion. It lacked decisiveness. It lacked, well it lacked the power of the person sitting in the Oval Office. 

President Kennedy's Inaugural Address

Aside from the fact that I am a liberal Democrat, I believe Barack Obama to be an extremely gifted orator. He possesses the ability to move audiences in a way that this country has not seen in many years. The two Bush presidencies left me aching for an articulate, erudite president, one who could take the presidential platform and elevate it, exploit it, invigorate it. 

I mean, “Bring it on” just does not a “Four Score” speech make. So I could appreciate what Maddow and other pundits were saying about Obama’s speech, how it did not reflect the true abilities of the man or the power of the office. 

As Maddow said, 

“You know how sometimes you get into an argument or confrontation with somebody, you can’t help afterwards thinking of all the things you wished you’d said?” Maddow said. “Well, last night after the President’s big Oval Office speech on the BP oil disaster, I had a version of that experience. I hadn’t, of course, been in an argument with the President or anything. I just couldn’t stop running tape in my head of what I wish that speech had been like, what I wish he’d said. An Oval Office address is a priceless chance to get the nation to stop what it’s doing, to stop every other TV show in the country, to get us all to pay attention all at once to this crisis and to what the President has to say about it.” 

So here is Rachel Maddow’s mock presidential speech. I wonder if Obama’s invitation to Maddow to visit the White House on Thursday had anything to do with her impassioned version . . . 

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More later. Peace

Music by David Bowie, “As the World Falls Down” 

“Perfect valor is to behave, without witnesses, as one would act were all the world watching.” ~ François de la Rochefoucau

   

 

“Four things support the world: the learning of the wise, the justice of the great, the prayers of the good, and the valor of the brave.” ~ Muhammad 

Memorial Day is upon us again. I won’t bother to harp on how this day—which was created to honor our fallen, our warriors, our heroes—has turned into yet another shopping extravaganza, a three-day weekend heralding beach weather, a day off from work with pay. Originally called Decoration Day, Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May. The first known celebration was after the Civil War in 1866 in Waterloo, New York, to honor fallen Union soldiers.

In 1971, the name was officially changed to Memorial Day as part of the Uniform Holidays Bill, which created three three-day weekends: President’s Day, Veterans’ Day, and Memorial Day. In 1978, Veterans’ Day was changed back to its original date of November 11. The VWF has long taken issue with the official date change from May 30 to the last Monday in May as having “undermined the very meaning of the holiday” (2002 address).

In my own attempt to honor those who serve, I thought that I would do a post on something quite timely: I came across this piece by Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s “Hardball.” Matthews is one of my favorite political analysts. He isn’t afraid to be enthusiastic, nor is he reluctant to admit that he might be wrong. But I felt that this particular piece about a gay man in the military is wholly appropriate for Memorial Day. The sexual orientation of the person who stands next to you when you go into battle matters less than the person’s ability to do his or her job, less than that individual’s belief in country, less than that man or woman’s commitment to having the back of the man or woman five feet away. 

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Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was essentially a slap in the face, yet another thing that Clinton backpeddled on and soft soaped. Gays have been serving in the military for as long as there has been war. If you don’t believe that, then your head is stuck somewhere, not sure where. And these people deserve the right to have their partners informed when they are hurt, or worse, killed in action. These dedicated men and women deserve no less and no more than anyone else in their companies, their units, their battalions. 

Memorial Day is a day to remember, a day to pause and reflect. Memorial Day should be the same for everyone because blood that is shed runs red, regardless of faith, orientation, political belief, or color.  I long for the day when there will be no need to send our brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, daughters and sons to war, but I know that that time will not come in my lifetime. 

 

Peace be with you all. 

The incomparable Ray Charles singing “America the Beautiful”
 

 

“Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, “Is life a multiple choice test or is it a true or false test?” . . . Then a voice comes to me out of the dark and says, “We hate to tell you this but life is a thousand word essay.” ~ Charles M. Schulz

Old Whiskey Barrel

“Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.” ~ Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

The reality that has been today is such a cliché that I think I might have to go outside and hug a tree before I put my fist through a wall. It’s a classic case of good news/bad news; why can’t it ever just be good news?

Corey has an interview set for tomorrow for the port security position. He is absolutely convinced that it will not go well. Somehow, I have to convince him not to dig this hole too deeply, or he will fall into it and not be able to climb out again. This is the good news, sort of.

This is the bad news: Corey’s parents, who have spent the past few months helping us to stay on our feet, are now facing a crisis of their own. It just breaks my heart. Corey is convinced that the dark cloud under which we exist has now spread to his parents, kind of a bad luck by association kind of thing. I try to remind him that they have their own good ju ju going in the form of their deep faith. Yet somehow, Corey has assumed the blame for this, too.

Sometimes, I feel as if this whole life thing is much too confusing. Just when it seems that I have figured out how things work, something happens to make me realize that I really know very little. Sisyphus comes to mind: continually pushing that big boulder uphill only to have it roll down again. No forward motion. No gathering momentum. No strong foothold.

Don’t mind me. I’m feeling lost and confused and very, very frustrated.

“I know the answer! The answer lies within the heart of all mankind! The answer is twelve? I think I’m in the wrong building.” ~ Charles M. Schulz

I am in the process of developing something, though. It’s much too tenuous to talk about in any detail. Let me just say that if this works out, it would be tremendous. It would mean that I have finally found that small magic porthole through which I might be able to touch my dreams. And no, it’s not a job. It’s a project, a big project that I have thought about for almost ten years. Let me leave it at that.

I sent out yet more forms today: three to pharmaceutical companies, one to my long-term disability carrier, and one to the company that is serving as my interface to the Social Security administration. I collected everything last night, and Corey took all of it to the post office today. As a result, my desk is much cleaner now. Well clean might be an overstatement—perhaps neater is more accurate.

I just had to pause to listen to “Vide Cor Meum,” which is playing in the background. I’m playing all of my YouTube selections. If anyone is interested in subscribing to my YouTube account, I believe that this is the link: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=1B61E79445B7518E. I’m kind of new at this whole YouTube account thing.

I told Corey that I want to make some videos of my own for some songs that I cannot find, but I don’t know how to go about doing that. I imagine I need some kind of program. If you are a YouTube person, some advice would be much appreciated.

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

Winter Stilllife

I took a look at my stats page yesterday, something that I haven’t done in a while. I always find it interesting to see who is linking here, and from which sites people are getting to my site.

I found a few new addresses, but it’s always a bit disconcerting to go to an address listed and find your own blog as part of a larger blog. I don’t really know how that works. I mean, I know about web crawling and spiders, and all of that, but it never fails to amaze me when I end up on things like a forum for psychologytribe.com. When I first began this whole blogging thing, I never anticipated having my blog name or url show up in some of the places that it has been featured.

Don’t misunderstand, I appreciate the exposure. I really do. I suppose it’s just that I’m still a bit ignorant as to the hows and wherefores of links and referrals. That being said, my two posts about beauty continue their unbroken reign in my top posts/most viewed, as does my post on The Great Gatsby. In fact, I just received a new comment on the Gatsby post from a 15-year-old girl who wanted to assure me that not all teenagers are mindless twits, which, of course, I already knew, but I was delighted that she took the time to comment.

By the way, I’m not ignoring the devastating earthquake in Chile. But writing about the quake in Haiti three times in a row took its toll on me emotionally. I am offering this link to an MSNBC slideshow featuring pictures from the quake in Chile, which was ranked 8.8 on the Richter Scale, one of the most powerful quakes to hit anywhere on the earth in over a century. Thankfully, the death toll is much, much lower than that in Haiti, mostly because of Chile’s stringent building codes. The quake, which hit 200 miles outside of Santiago, was especially destructive to the town of Concepcion.

Unfortunately, the tsunami that hit the coast after the quake was also powerful. The seaside town of Constitucion was hard hit by the surging tsunami, and hundreds of people are missing. Three waves hit after the quake, with the third one being the most powerful and causing the most damage.

Fortunately, the waves that passed Hawaii, Australia, Japan, and other places were much smaller than had been originally predicted.

That’s all for today. Images featured are more pictures taken after the snowstorm.

More later. Peace.

“When the Music’s Not Forgotten,” by Deadman (heard on an episode of “Criminal Minds”)

“America’s healthcare system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.” ~ Walter Cronkite

“You know, when we see a good idea from another country, we grab it. If they build a better car, we drive it. If they make a better wine, we drink it. So if they’ve come up with a better way to treat the sick, to teach their kids, to take care of their babies, to simply be good to each other, then what’s our problem? Why can’t we do that?” ~ Michael Moore in Sicko 

On tonight’s “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” I watched a Special Comment section that brought me to tears. Olbermann’s father has been in the hospital for six months, and now Olbermann finds himself facing a life decision.  

I am reposting Olbermann’s segment for several reasons: First, I have faced this same decision, not once, but twice. I understand completely what he is saying. I have felt his fear and his helplessness. I know that deep place from which he beseeches in his attempt to find answers. 

But aside from that, and perhaps more importantly in the general sense, I believe that Olbermann’s comment, as personal and impassioned as it is, speaks to the very heart of the the current healthcare debate. It puts a face on the perversely-labeled “death panels” (yes you, Palin, you maroon). It makes human some of the issues that are being bandied about so carelessly by those we have elected to represent us, to serve us, to make decisions that will help the quality of our lives.  

Healthcare in America has been reduced to statistics, skewed facts, sound bytes, and partisan bickering. The men and women who are going to Blair House tomorrow for the health care summit have forgotten about the important things: the quality of life, the quality of death, the access to care, the ever-increasing cost of coverage, the continually-escalating insinuation of obstacles into the physician’s ability to make decisions regarding treatment, the ability to make informed decisions not based upon what a family can afford. The politicians, the lobbyists, and the companies the lobbyists represent do not view this issue as being about people. And that, my friends, is precisely the problem. 

The bottom line here should not be the profits made by the healthcare industry. The bottom line should be what the American people need, what they have spent generations working for, what they deserve: Affordable, quality health care, comparable to that found in all of the other industrialized nations in the world. 

I contend once again that at such time the members of Congress begin to pay for their own healthcare and that provided at no cost for their families, only then do they deserve the right to makes decisions about what the rest of us are entitled to when it comes to affordable premiums, coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, and all of the other terminology that is used to obfuscate, complicate, and adumbrate the real issues related to national healthcare. 

If you care at all about this issue, please telephone, write, or e-mail your Senators and Representatives, and let them know exactly how you feel. Click on this link to find the contact information for your elected officials.  

  

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To read a transcript of Olbermann’s full segment, go to Keith Olbermann at Daily Kos. 

  

More later. Peace.

If it’s Friday, it must mean leftovers . . .

Another Full Moon by Lachlan Donald of Melbourne, Australia

“Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms.” ~ Sir Laurence Olivier

Well, last night was a bit better. I managed to fall asleep by 3:30 a.m. and slept for three straight hours before Tillie woke me to go out. It took a bit, but I fell asleep again around 8:30 and might have slept longer, but Eamonn called from his Dad’s house to complain that his phone wasn’t making outgoing calls. He was rather peeved when I told him that we would not be paying the phone bill anytime soon as we were between a cash influx.  

You would think that I had just stripped him of all his human rights in the way that he carried on. It’s amazing, though, this parenting thing. I used to get distressed whenever Eamonn got distressed until I realized that the maxim about boys being easier to raise than girls was a complete and utter lie. Eamonn is just as dramatic, if not more so, than Alexis was at his age. So I have finally gotten to a point at which I subtly tune out his beseeching until he sort of wears himself out, and then I comment.  

Is that an awful thing to admit? Not really. Don’t judge me unless you’ve raised teenagers.  

“Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

January Snow

So about 6 hours of sleep, more than I’ve been getting lately, and almost enough to make me feel refreshed.  

It is quickly darkening here, and the forecast calls for 5-8 inches of snow. I will be completely surprised if that happens, but who knows. I was looking at the weather report, and Lima, where Corey’s parents live, was a whopping 18 degrees today, so our 34 degrees is almost tropical.  

Other than the weather report, not a lot happening around here. I finally got the 2010 calendars up for everyone. I mark all the birthdays, holidays, school events, etcetera on the various calendars throughout the house. My logic is that perhaps one of us will glance at the calendar for the day and remember an appointment, although I must say that I have been much better about going to appointments on the correct days since I stopped taking that horrible medication for migraines (originally typo as migration—ha), Topamax.  

In some circles, it is referred to as dope-amax because it really wreaks havoc on the whole cognitive/short-term memory function—as if I need any more quashing of that particular ability.  

Anyway, the calendars have been marked, and in so doing, I realized that my youngest son will be graduating from high school this coming June. How wonderful and horrible at the same time. I know that he’ll be elated to be out of high school, but I’m really not sure how I feel about such a rite of passage.  

Anyway . . .  

“Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal.” ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Icy Sunset, Point Woronzof Park, Anchorage by Janson Jones

I’m in the middle of book four of the Harry Potter series. Getting through all the books is taking longer as I haven’t been able to focus enough to read lately. I was reading a bit just before writing this post, and I came across a word that just doesn’t appear that much in the U.S. but probably is used more often in the UK: betweentimes. What a lovely, polysyllabic word. I love words that are different, words that aren’t used much in casual conversation. I’ll have to manage to find a way to work betweentimes into something soon, which is likely to get a raised eyebrow from Corey.  

I watched “Real Housewives of Orange County” last night, and I have to say that the women are getting annoyingly tiresome, I mean, more than usual. Recent shows focus too much attention on Lynne’s daughter Alexa, who is out of control, and now that Vicki has decided to act nicer, the timbre of the show seems to have shifted. I don’t care for the superior attitude of housewife Alexis and her controlling husband, and Tamra is essentially a basket case.  

Speaking of which, it’s really grating on my nerves how she says “between Simon and I” all the time. It should be “Simon and me.” Me. Me. Objective. Geez. I know, I’m nitpicking, but making the same grammatical error over and over and over again makes me cringe. (Yes, I need something else on which to focus my attention).  

So I believe that I’ve gotten to the point at which RHofOC has grown old. With any luck, RHoNY will be a bit more fun as it hasn’t been on as long as the original.  

I watched my other reality television addiction last night (both on the same night—how convenient), “Project Runway.” I don’t know if it’s just my state of mind, my inability to focus, or what, but that show is also starting to seem like a rehash. After the season with Christian Siriano (fierce), everyone else seems boring. However, now that I think of it, a few other shows seem less interesting this season: “Leverage” (what happened to the fast pace?), “CSI” (don’t even watch it any more), and then there’s the new one that just came out: “Spartacus: Sand and Blood” or something like that.  

Boy was that a mess. It was kind of like a horrible mishmash of 300 and Gladiator, only with lots more fake blood and stop-action for every fight sequence. I wanted to shake the television. I mean please.  

“None of us knows what the next change is going to be, what unexpected opportunity is just around the corner, waiting a few months or a few years to change all the tenor of our lives.” ~ Kathleen Norris

NOAO Enhanced Image of the Moon

Okay. You know that my life is slow when I go on and on about television. Maybe once I begin to sleep more normally, I’ll be able to focus on other things of more importance.  

Along with my winter/moon-themed images, I thought that I’d feature a new photograph from Janson Jones’s newly-revised Floridana v3.0 blog. He has decided to drop the Alaskiana from his blog’s title, but it’s kind of hard for me not to think of the two words together as they flow so well (Floridana Alaskiana).  

Other than that, let me close with a few ponderables:  

  • Why did Heidi Montag have 10 plastic surgery procedures done at once? I mean, she’s only 25, and now she looks like a bad version of a Barbie Doll. Let me just pause here to say that I am not a Montag follower, but I read a blurb in Newsweek about her plastic surgery addiction, and it made me cringe. Botox at 25? Really? Supposedly Montag prayed over the decision to have the head-to-stomach reno done; might I just say that this is not the kind of thing you pray over . . . I mean how about Haiti? Or the economy? But a boob job? Again, please.
  • How did my much-shorter-but fluffier Jack Russell Shakes learn to get into the kitchen trash, which is a pedal-opening container? I now know for sure that it’s him and not Tillie (apologies to the Lab) because Tillie was sound asleep next to me when I heard the commotion in the kitchen. Very strange.
  • Why do Little Debbie oatmeal cookies taste so much better at 3 in the morning? Just saying.
  • What gives with being cloudy and overcast on the night of the Wolf Moon? According to an article on MSNBC, tonight’s moon is expected to be the biggest and brightest (in appearance) of the year, and the term wolf moon dates back to the Native American notion that hungry wolves howled at the winter moon. I love looking into our backyard when the moon is full. The entire yard just glows.
  • Which idiot decided that sending formaldehyde-laced trailers to Haiti would be a feasible idea? Remember the trailers that FEMA sent to New Orleans, the ones that actually made people sick? Yep, those trailers. Let’s send them to Haiti. No, I don’t think so. Yes, the Haitians are dirt poor, but do they deserve to live in infected dwellings even temporarily?
  • And finally, what would cause a Roman Catholic priest to shoplift a tub of butter and a sofa cover from a Wal Mart? Okay, maybe the butter if he was starving, but a sofa cover? I just don’t get it.

More later. Peace.  

Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” (and by the way, this song existed loooong before that hack movie Twilight) . . .