Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

      Alfred, Lord, Tennyson

Happy New Year, everyone.

Comment Link (same as above)


    (Note the time on the clock!)

Our youngest took this photo one week ago,
at midnight on Christmas Eve on Church Street in Burlington
about a block from where Howard Dean announced his candidacy.

It's a new year, a new day, a new season for justice and peace.
Hope springs eternal ~ and I am hopeful for positive changes soon.
I know it takes a little leap of faith for that.
So I am reminded of a bit of wisdom, to reach
toward something greater than ourselves in true expectation:

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
"Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown."
He replied, "Go out into the darkness and put your hand in the hand of God.
For you, it is better than a light and safer than a known way."   
   ~ Minnie Louise Haskins

What is your toast for the New Year?
CHEERS! *clink!*

~ listener

Haloscan Comment Link

Sunday, December 30, 2007

We Need A Little Kitten...

...Right this very minute!

See The Daily Kitten

Kittens are good for the soul!

Haloscan Comment Link

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Changing the party by using the primaries. Dean 2004

One reason my husband and I have donated to candidates in other states through DFA, Act Blue, and email to bring change with our votes. Maybe not so much "left vs right" change, but change in the mindset of our Democrats....

From what we have seen lately, it will be slow going to bring that change. We have decided we are not going to vote in the primary this time for the presidential nominee, but we will for sure support the nominee in the general election. It is crucial we get a Democrat in the White House this time. The choice on the Republican side is just plain too scary to do otherwise. BUT...that may be the last time we do that.

No, we have not fallen for the theme that this is the most important vote in our lifetime the way we did in 04. However, this will probably be the last time we vote Democratic just to say we did.

Besides, I would like to see the Democrats win the presidency with Howard Dean as chairman. After that...well, who knows.

I was rereading some stuff from notes I took when I was reading Dean's "You Have the Power" from 2004.

He made it clear that the only way to get people to stop voting against Democratic ideals is to "primary them."

"Democrats shouldn't be crossing party lines to help Republican ideology dominate, or breaking ranks to vote for measures like the Medicare prescription bill...."

"In the future there should be consequences for Democrats who do. For one thing, there is no reason not to pose primary challenges to Democratic incumbents who vote with the Republicans on critical Democratic priorities."

He points out how when our conservative Democrats vote with the right gives ammunition to the moderate Republicans not to have to stand up for things.

"When our own folks vote with Tom DeLay, it means that DeLay, who is not stupid, gets to go to congressional Republicans in moderate districts and tell them he doesn't need their vote to pass his right wing bill because he has enough Democratic votes to win. The "moderate" Republicans can go home and tell their constituents that they "stood up against" Tom DeLay while keeping him in power by voting for him as leader and falling in line with him on not-so-high-profile pieces of legislation.

I'm not trying to purge points of view from Congress. I like the idea of an inclusive party. If our opponents were reasonable people who shared our basic core values about fairness and decency, I'd think that by all means Democrats should have the freedom to vote with them if their consciences prodded them to do so."

And his point there is clear. We are not dealing with reasonable people who share our values.

"We're fighting now for the future of our country and the future of democracy. To vote with the Republicans is to let extremism get the upper hand. In the past, our party's own ideal about inclusiveness kept us from having the necessary tools to fight. We need to toughen up. We can't afford to be divided by members peeling off on issues that touch upon our deeply held beliefs."

We don't need to march in lockstep on every vote. But on critical votes that touch on our key issues, Democrats can not abandon their core values. The history of the twentieth century teaches that we must never compromise with extremists."

His term with the DNC will be up soon. I imagine he will have no shortage of choices. In the back of my mind I hope against hope that he will continue along the lines of working outside the party with DFA or similar groups. It would pay off in so many ways.

Haloscan comment thread

A weekend Open Thread which asks:
What creatures roam your yard or area?

~ photo of Yearling by listener's friend Mary.

We have four deer who like to "clean up" our bird feeders each night. I know life could be tougher because my friend Mary has four bears who like to "tend" her bird feeders, given the chance. Still, the deer were eating so much each night that this week I moved one of the feeders closer to the house, and it has worked great! Son*in*NC tells me that feeders near the house are actually safer for the birds. I was worried they'd hit the windows more, but he said that we may have a few more hit the window, but as they'd just be starting to fly they wouldn't have gotten their speed up yet.

Interesting. I wish the same held true for political candidates. Of course, watch out what you feed them!
And watch out for how much they're eating up of your resources when you're not looking. ;-)

♥ ~ listener

Haloscan comment thread

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Another Open Thread

Here's a new thread, since the last one was getting kinda full.

In memoriam Benazir Bhutto

Who Tried to Kill Benazir Bhutto? (Oct. 24, 2007)
NPR Coverage
PBS News Hour Coverage
BBC Coverage (Check righthand sidebar for related items)
Al Jazeera Coverage


Feel free to share any interesting stories of the day, if you've got them.

Egypt to copyright pyramids

Also, I've added a few shared items here.

Haloscan comment thread

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Star

photo credit

Shimmering through the snowfall of stars a song,

Sprung from the throne of the Lamb, falls in joy
Too clamorous for Man's closed heart to hear
And spills into Light, unlocking love long shackled.
For, the God we feared and fled as a wrathful father
We cherish as a child, cold and houseless. So the Star,

In place of the hearth-fire, warms Him and welcomes
The stumbling traveler to stave his sin with Love.

- Cat

Haloscan Comment Thread

Santa Paws

Posted on the Weather Underground Northeast Weather site
"Rain for most Sunday; White Christmas?" thread. post: 20. Alleyoops 2:05 PM GMT on December 24, 2007

Pic and weather report from listener

A peaceful and joyous Christmas to all HEP cats!

Haloscan Comment Thread

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve Open Thread

Tidings of comfort and joy, and all that jazz. Hope everyone is having a great day.

Update: My brother just told me about this web site with weird nativity scenes.

Haloscan comment thread

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Reports from the blogger's brunch

From the comments

Hi, all,

Just back from Donna's brunch. Really glad I got to meet Renee and Demetrius as well as Donna and Denise. And everybody who wasn't there missed some really wonderful food. Don't know what those lox and goat cheese crackers did to my salt count, but for the moment, who cares?
Bill Thomasson 12.23.07 - 6:49 pm

Thanks Bill. It was great to meet you too. We (or at least I) had a wonderful afternoon. Sydney and Brady got along great as dogs will. They sniffed each other and then ignored each other for the rest of the day.

I will be eating leftovers for days. I know, I know, I said I'd bring them here, but I can't figure out how to send them through the Internet tubes.

The food was pretty good, if I say so myself. Of course, everything goes better with Mimosas.
donna in evanston 12.23.07 - 7:06 pm

Demetrius took a picture of the canine contingent of the bloggers' brunch...

Haloscan comment thread

Introducing Zhen Zhen

Mama and baby are doing well, and soooo derned cute!

Read the story

Haloscan Comment Thread

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Should Old FEC Be Forgot

As Primaries Begin, the FEC Will Shut Down
By Matthew Mosk
The Washington Post
Saturday 22 December 2007
No quorum on election board as nominees stall in Congress.
The federal agency in charge of policing the torrent of political spending during the upcoming presidential primaries will, for all practical purposes, shut its doors on New Year's Eve.

The Federal Election Commission will effectively go dark on Jan. 1 because Congress remains locked in a standoff over the confirmation of President Bush's nominees to the panel. As a consequence, the FEC will enter 2008 with just two of six members - short of the four votes needed for the commission to take any official action.

"There is, in effect, nobody to answer the phone," said Robert F. Bauer, a leading Democratic campaign finance lawyer.

Although the 375 auditors, lawyers and investigators at the FEC will continue to process work already before them, a variety of matters that fall to the commissioners will be placed on hold indefinitely. Chief among them are deciding whether to launch investigations into possible campaign finance violations and determining the penalties.

Seven presidential candidates have applied to receive public matching funds for their campaigns, but they may not be able to access the money until the FEC certifies their requests. That takes four votes.

The national political parties each anticipate an infusion of about $1 million from the U.S. Treasury to help pay for their national conventions. Releasing that money takes four votes.

And then there is a range of vexing campaign finance questions that hang in limbo: Can a firm that operates a blimp accept unlimited contributions to fly it over New Hampshire with Ron Paul's name on the side? Can a senator use his campaign account as a legal defense fund? How will campaigns comply with the new law that requires them to identify the lobbyists who are collecting campaign checks on their behalf?

"Work on those questions will grind to a halt," said FEC Chairman Robert D. Lenhard, whose recess appointment will expire on New Year's Eve. Lenhard said he did not wish to reflect on the situation, other than to offer a familiar lament.

Full article

No comment from the editor is necessary, especially since any such comment would, in all likelihood, be scatological rather than constructive.

Haloscan Comment Link

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Diversity/Inclusiveness in Community and Worship

- Photo by listener

Haloscan Comment Link

Away In A Manger

Also posted at The Arty Blog

A week or so before Christmas, we put up the Manger scene. The dragons brought in small evergreen and holly branches to arrange around the Stable. It took a while to do this to everyone's satisfaction. Winsome wanted to make a tiny wreath to hang on the Stable door, and got very upset when he realized that our stable didn't have a door. Vincent made festoons across the front of the roof instead. And, we made a sort of nest around the Stable with the remaining greenery.

Finally I said, "I think that's enough to be going on with. Very nice, fellas."

"What next?" asked Vincent, who had a holly leaf stuck behind his ear.

I surveyed the Stable. "We really ought to have something to scatter on the floor. Straw or something."

"How about Styrofoam popcorn?" Winsome suggested. "We have lots of that." He pointed to a large bag of it inside the kitchen door.

"Well, yes, we have lots of it," I said, trying hard to look and sound serious. "But, that's not really the criterion for what to use in the Manger."

Vincent, who loved learning new words, asked with gleaming eyes, "What is the crittrion, then?"

"Cry teer ee on," I said. "It means basis for judgment or decision or, in this case, choice. And, the criterion for us in the present case isn't what we happen to have a lot of, but what would have been around in the Stable in Bethlehem. I don't know much about stables, but I know there aren't usually a lot of Styrofoam peanuts, or popcorn, or whatever they are around in stables."

"What is there, then?" Vincent and Winsome asked together. They were sitting still, looking at me with all their attention.

"Well," I said, wishing I knew more than I did about farm life. "There's straw for the animals to sleep in, and hay for them to eat. Thats why I really want hay or straw. Because, you see, when Baby Jesus was born, his mama, Our Blessed Lady Mary, had to put him down to sleep in a manger. That's the place where the farmer puts the hay for the animals. See?" I held up the small figure of Baby Jesus from the Nativity set. "He's lying in hay or straw. So, it's customary to put hay or straw on the stable floor."

Winsome looked as though he were thinking hard. "Straw," he said. "That's one, like 'a' straw."

"Stringular," Vincent said knowledgeably.

"Singular," I corrected, smiling. I knew they weren't listening.

Winsome was looking at the Stable. "We don't need straw stringular," he said, measuring the stable floor with his paw. "We need straws, poolwell, lots of straws." He looked around excitedly. "We have straws, a whole box of 'em."

"Yes," I began. "But that's not..." I stopped and threw a helpless look up towards Heaven. Winsome was gliding into the kitchen. In a moment, I heard him rummaging in the drawer where we kept the paper napkins, the plastic utensils, and the straws, plural. How could I argue with his logic? When you came down to it, he was right.

"What's not what?" Vincent asked anxiously. "Aren't straws poolwell?"

I sighed. "Yes, straws are plural," I said, reaching over to give Vincent a quick hug. "And, Winsome's right, I suppose, that we could use them. I never thought of it before, that's all."

"You never thought of lots of things before you had us," Vincent said contentedly, hugging me back.

"That's true."

Winsome swooped down to set the box of straws on the tabletop in front of the Stable. "Don't I get a hug too?" he asked. "I'm the one who figured out that we need straws, poolwell."

"Of course," I said, and squeezed him.

"Humph," he said, a small jet of fire narrowly missing my left ear. "Don't squish me. I have work to do." But, he cuddled against me for a moment just the same.

Vincent was busy opening the box. He pulled two or three straws out and placed them experimentally in the Stable. "I don't know," he said. "They seem kind'a long."

I got the scissors, and we had fun cutting several straws to different lengths and strewing them artistically on the Stable floor.

"There," Vincent said when we were finished. "The animals will feel at home now."

I personally doubted that the camels, sheep, oxen and donkey would know what to make of green, blue, pink, and yellow plastic straw, but I kept my doubts to myself. "Now we can set up the figures, the people and animals themselves," I told the dragons. They came close and tried to look in the small box holding the figures. "Baby Jesus goes in the middle," I said. "You can put him there, Winsome, since Vincent set the angel on the top of the tree. Be careful, now." With some misgivings, I handed Baby Jesus to Winsome and directed him where to position the manger.

He placed it carefully and moved back. "Good. Now Vincent, put Our Lady on this side. That's right. And, Winsome, St Joseph goes on the other side."

Winsome hesitated, St Joseph poised in mid air. "That doesn't make sense."

"What doesn't make sense?" I asked in surprise, unwrapping the first Wise Man.

"Well," Winsome said, looking from Mary beside the Manger to Joseph in his paw. "Our Lady is Baby Jesus's mama, isn't she?"


"And St Joseph is Baby Jesus's papa, isn't he?"

I swallowed. My dragons were bright, but I wasn't sure they grasped the finer points of Christian theology. And, not being a trained religion teacher or youth minister, I didn't feel quite up to explaining it. "Uh," I said. "Well, foster papa. Adopted papa."

Winsome waved away such technicalities. "St Joseph adopted Baby Jesus like you adopted us. That makes him Baby Jesus's papa," he said confidently, and I smiled. "So, if she's the mama and he's the papa, that means they're married, right?"


"So," Winsome said, placing Joseph carefully, "if they're married, then he should be beside her, like this. Because, he has to help her take care of the baby. And, besides, married people always sit together."

I looked at Mary and Joseph, side by side next to the Manger, and thought that it did make sense. It wasn't right, though, and I couldn't imagine how to explain why.

But Vincent rescued me. "That's not how it goes," he said firmly. He moved Joseph to the correct position. "That's how it should be."

"How do you know?" demanded Winsome.

"Because, that's how the one at church is."

Winsome looked doubtful. "Are you sure?"

"Sure, I'm sure. You should pay more attention."

"OK, OK," I said quickly, laying a restraining hand on Winsome's head. "Don't be smug, Vincent. And, You, Winsome, don't attack your brother. You know I don't want the two of you fighting." They backed apart, heads down. "It's a good idea," I told Winsome, running my hand soothingly down his back ridge. "Tell you what. You can draw a picture afterwards of how you think the Manger scene ought to look. All right?"

Winsome looked up hopefully. "All right," he said in a subdued voice.

"And you, Vincent," I said, turning to him. "That was good observing." I put my other hand on his head, and he too looked happier. "But, it's not quite so important for everybody else to b in exactly the same place in every Creche."

"Creche?" they asked, coming close again to look at me.

"That's right," I said, wishing I could remember always to use the same word for things that had several names. "Sometimes the Manger scene is called a Creche." I hesitated, desperately searching my mind for the origin of the word, and not finding it. "I think it's a French word."

"Oh," they said, apparently satisfied.

"So," I went on quickly, "you can sort of put everyone else where you want them, except that the Wise Men, the Three Kings here," I gestured toward them standing on the table, "stand together. And, the announcing angel, the one with the scroll, stands at the head of the Manger." Very glad that the announcing angel in this set had a scroll rather than a trumpet, I rummaged for the angel and set him in place. What would the dragons have said about someone blowing a trumpet right over Baby Jesus' head! "There you are," I said. "You can take over now."

I watched for a moment, smiling, as they carefully set the other figures in place. Then, taking up my mug of tea, I looked out at the louring sky beyond the branches of a large beech that grew near the den window. There'd be more snow today. I blinked. Yes, large flakes were drifting slowly through the still air. It was a good day to stay inside and...

"That's not right, is it?"

Startled back to myself, I turned to the dragons. Winsome seemed puzzled rather than upset, his head bent close to the open front of the Stable.

Vincent made the squirming motion that is the dragon equivalent of shrugging. "The baby lammy just wanted to get up close to Baby Jesus," he said. "I donno, it just seemed right somehow. I'll move her if you want me to. He reached past "Winsome.

Winsome shook his head. "Ask Mama," he said, backing away.

"Ask Mama what?" I said on queue as the dragons turned to me, Vincent with the lamb held carefully in his paw.

"Vincent wants to put that lammy right up next to Baby Jesus," Winsome explained, waving a paw vaguely. He looked as if he didn't quite understand why the idea troubled him.

"She wants to keep Baby warm," Vincent put in. He looked at me anxiously. "Is it OK, Mama?"

I thought of snow, and wind, and the dark sky lit by a strange new star, and a bitterly cold cave warmed only by the closeness and the soft breath of animals. And I smiled at Vincent. "Yes, I think it will be all right, I said. Put your lammy there by the Baby. After all, Jesus is a lamb too, the Lamb of God; and, so, it is fitting that the little lamb would recognize and love him."

The dragons exchanged a startled look. They plainly had no idea what I was talking about. But, after a moment, Vincent reached in and set the lamb close to the Manger.

Haloscan Comment Link

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lucasfilms Christmas Cards

Storm Troopers Christmas Card

I don't know about you, but nothing quite captures the spirit of Christmas for me like rows of Stormtroopers brandishing...songbooks. ;)

Click the image to see the cards sent out by Lucasfilms in Christmases past.

Haloscan comment thread

Monday, December 17, 2007

Deck the Halls

Crossposted at The Arty Blog

Since nobody seems interested in helping to write the story about putting up the Christmas tree, probably nobody's interested in the next part of the saga. But, I got an appallingly late start today (and everything I try to do is taking *forever*), so I've not yet had a chance to read the news and find suitable blog topics.

The dragons couldn't wait to start decorating the tree. After breakfast, I brought the boxes of ornaments down from the attic to the living room, while they carefully carried in a tray of cocoa and cookies. Once everything was ready and I had sat down, Vincent started zooming around in great excitement, while Winsome tried to burrow into the boxes to find interesting decorations. I spanked his paws lightly and said, "I'll unpack, and hand things to each of you to hang up. Move back, now, and give me room."

Winsome stepped back obediently. Vincent landed nearby and they waited, eyes gleaming, while I started to unwrap ornaments. To my relief, and mild surprise, the decorating went pretty smoothly for the first half hour or so. But, I should have known the peace and normality couldn't last.

After a while, I decided to get up and hang a few decorations too. And, while my back was turned, Winsome picked up a cute little quilted bird with red and green striped wings and a stained glass bluebird. He examined them with a puzzled air. "Why do you want to put this sun catcher and this little toy in our Christmas tree?" he asked, holding them carefully up to a branch a foot or so over my head.

"We need at least one bird in our tree, and I like those. My mother gave them to me," I said, glancing up for a moment. Then, I went back to disentangling the hooks of a frosted glass bell and a fat, curly bearded Santa. "Don't put them on the same branch, though, Winsome. Give one to Vincent, so he can put it lower down on the other side."

Winsome glided over to hand the bluebird to Vincent, who was taking a cocoa break and looked around at Winsome with whipped cream on his nose. "Why do we need them in the tree?" Winsome asked again, as he flew around looking for a good spot for his striped bird.

"They're good luck," I said, setting the Santa aside and reaching into a small empty space to find a solid twig to hang my bell on. "You should always have birds in your Christmas tree."

Winsome looked at me, then at the bird in his paw, and then back at me. He flew over to the table where I'd been unpacking the decorations, and set the bird down on an empty piece of tissue paper. Vincent looked up, munching a chocolate chip cookie. He seemed puzzled too.

"If you want birds," Winsome said, "there are a couple of cute little brown ones I saw at the feeder this morning when I went out to stretch my wings. I'm sure they'd be happy to come in and sit in our Christmas tree for a while. Why don't I go' ask them?"

Finally the tree was decorated, with two very confused little sparrows fluttering and chirruping in the branches. It was time to put on the angel at the top and the tinsel garlands. Vincent flew up to place the angel, giving us a chorus of "Angels We Have Heard on High." Winsome snorted grumpily and accidentally set fire to the chocolate chip cookie he was eating.

And then, things got exciting.

Since the dragons had never seen tinsel garlands before, I explained that we wanted to loop them loosely over the tree so that it would look as though silver and gold icicles were sparkling on the branches.

"We have some glass icicles," Vincent said, pointing around the tree.

"Yes," I said, sighing. "Yes, I know we do. I don't know exactly wy people put tinsel on Christmas trees, or when and where the custom began. But, we do. And, it's a lot easier to cope with when its in garlands - ropes like this, see? - instead of individual strands. So, be good, and loop this first garland around the tree for me." I held up the golden rope I'd just uncoiled from its box. The dragons looked at each other. Apparently deciding to humor me, they swooped down and each grasped an end of the ten or twelve foot rope.

And then, I made a terrible mistake. I turned away. I took a long swallow of my now tepid cocoa, and then another. I picked up a sugar cookie, and started to eat it. And, when I looked at the tree again, wondering vaguely why the sparrows were so excited all of a sudden, I saw my dragons happily flying in opposite directions around the tree, wrapping it and themselves more and more tightly in the sparkling golden garland.

I dropped my cookie, hardly noticing the sparrows who zoomed over to peck at it enthusiastically. "Stop," I cried, waving my arms, trying to get the dragons' attention. "Stop! That's not what' I meant!"

Vincent on one side of the tree and Winsome on the other stopped in mid air, beating their wings only enough to hover, and looked at me in surprise. Vincent had a couple of loops of the rope around his tail and one around a back leg, while Winsome was sporting one loop in front of his wings, and one loop behind them. They both looked as though they were thoroughly enjoying themselves.

"What's the matter?" Vincent asked tentatively.

"Aren't we doing it right?" Winsome demanded, suddenly sounding and looking anxious.

I stared at them for a moment, hovering there, wound in gold tinsel and still clutching the ends of the sparkling rope. I stared, and then I began to laugh. I couldn't help it. "Nothing's wrong," I said with difficulty. Moving back to my chair, I sat down weakly. "You're doing fine. You - you just need a little more practice." I hesitated, not sure I could handle the consequences of my next suggestion. "Do you think you could, uh, unloop it and start again?"

"Sure," they said eagerly, and began flying around the tree again.

I flung my arms up. "Wait!" As I started to get to my feet,, I felt a strange sensation and, glancing down, saw one of the sparrows pecking a cookie crumb off my slipper. He fluttered over to his mate, and together they retreated under the table. The dragons were hovering again, now looking puzzled.

"You said..." Winsome began.

"I know." I paused, thinking. "The best thing to do might be for one of you to stay still, and the other to unwind the rope. That way, there's less chance of you both getting tangled up again."

"We're not tangled up," Vincent said indignantly, pulling the loops around himself tighter as he moved his tail for emphasis.

"Yeah, well, you just stay where you are, and let Winsome unwind."

It took Winsome a couple of tries before he figured out which direction to go. But, in about ten minutes the tinsel rope was lying in a neat, straight line in the middle of the living room floor, and the dragons were curled up on the couch, panting. The sparrows ventured out to investigate the garland, but discovering that it was not nice to eat, and that they could not carry bits of it off, they decided to go sit in the tree again.

I leant back and closed my eyes. Really, I thought. It's a good thing I couldn't find the Christmas tree lights.

Haloscan Comment Link

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Music Open Thread

I'm sure there are more impressive "Christmas lights synchronized to music" out there, but I just had to post this one, because it's done to Vince Guaraldi's Linus and Lucy. That was the one specific request we had for the jazz band that played at our wedding.

Years later, I met a man who told me that he and his wife had chosen the same music to be played as they were leaving the church at the end of the ceremony. Now that's cool, I thought. But I wasn't quite brave enough to do something like that, back when I was a bride--a few short months after graduating college. If I had it to do over again, sure, I'd go for it. :)

Haloscan comment thread

Open Thread

Last opportunity to sleep in for a while, since I'm starting a temp project tomorrow. Happy Sunday, everyone.

Haloscan comment thread

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Advent reflections

The image you see above is a digital montage by Barbara Desrosiers, and is entitled Luminous Dawning

Meditating upon the birth of the Christ-child led me to combine the images of a baby, a cathedral, and dancing light. Luminous Dawning is an attempt to hint at the power of faith, the protection of the Almighty, and the eternal birth of hope despite this world of pain. Upon the completion of this piece I found a kindred spirit in the words of Meister Eckhart.

“The awakened heart is like a luminous sphere just giving without thought to any who may come close or gaze at it. The soul becomes blessedly lost to all but its own holy being.” ~Meister Eckhart, Jerusalem
The web site Explore Faith features a section, A Time of Miracles, which includes reflections on the seasons of Advent and Christmas. I've used a couple of them for our family's evening Advent reflections.

Haloscan comment thread

Friday, December 14, 2007

NO War with Iran meeting with US Rep. office

Sometimes the most spontaneous events become the most inspiring.

2 days ago a national Moveon organizer called and asked if I would be willing to help get people together to give our local congressman, Don Manzullo, petitions asking to sponsor HR 64 bill to remove Bush's authority to wage a war against Iran. The first thing I thought, oh dear, one more thing to do. I was running a candidate forum on Wed. and participating in a county Democratic meeting on Thursday. HOKay, just one more thing. I have to admit; it really is hard to pass up an opportunity to let our Republican US representative know how I feel.

I sent out over 400 email notifications and printed out the petition. To my surprise, there were over 260 signatures from all around the 16th district and most of them were not the "usual" peace activists that I knew. They included some incredible and thoughtful comments like, "We can not allow this administration to compound errors and mistakes. Disaster awaits those who do not head their mistakes and make changes to prevent their re-occurrence."

I called the representative’s office. The receptionist said that they would be glad to have a representative meet with the group "Holly". I guess I am on first name basis with his staff now. ☺

Twelve hardy activists met in the icy parking lot. A pastor read his inspirational poem, we discussed what we would say, and took pictures of the group with a peace sign under our representatives sign.

We ushered the group into the entryway and jammed ourselves into the 12 by 12 foot space. As we waited, another constituent needed to squeeze by to get some government papers from the front desk. As he spoke we could detect a middle-eastern accent. They slipped his papers under the glass barrier to him. He asked why we were there and we explained that we wanted to get the message to our representative that we wanted to prevent war with Iran. His eyes lighted up and he just stood in the middle of the group to hear this for himself.

Our congressman’s PR man squeezed in from the office door to join us in the foyer. Guess there will be not comfy conference room for these uninvited guests. I always wonder why people worry about security with PEACE activists.

I read him the petition and explained that we wanted to pass on to our congressman that we did not want a war with Iran and to have him sign a bill to remove Bush’s authority to wage this war. Almost all stated their strong opinions including wasting of billions of dollars, losing thousands of lives, and resenting Bush’s fear tactics, it was hard not to wander off on Manzullo’s miserable voting record, including issues such as health care, energy and his distorted logic for saving money by eliminating human services and spending billions in Iraq. We may question if any of this does any good but it sure felt good! I handed him the 10 pages of signatures as we left.

Outside the door the extra visitor asked if he could share a word with us. He explained that what is going on in Iran is complex. Russia and China are negotiating with Iran for oil. He told us to listen to the truth teller Olbermann.

He finished by saying, "I love America and I have lived here for over 10 years. I come from Iran."

He added, "It was an experience for me to see people like you care about other people in the world. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you," and he kissed his fingers and extended them to each of us in the group.

Haloscan comment thread

Thursday, December 13, 2007

'Tis the season...

I read this story:

"Merry Christmas" a group called, and this guy and three friends called back "Happy Hanukkah!" So ten people jumped them.

At least a good Samaritan came to their aid--a Muslim. He confirms that nothing else was said; there was no antagonism, just the greeting. He got beaten too.
And the story about the "Christmas is wonderful" resolution that was passed by the House of Representatives. And I just came up short. As I wrote here, I'm really at a loss.

We need to do something.

Something positive. And now.

I'm at a loss. It's like those dreams I have where I try to scream and nothing comes out. I feel immobilized.

I know what not to do. Talking about "those people" and how horrible they are will not make it better. I'm not criticizing anyone for doing so, because the impulse can be hard to resist.

But we need to start recognizing our common humanity. Can't do that by pointing fingers, though. I'm pretty sure we need to lead by example.

That's all I've got, though. No wonder I don't blog much these days.
I'm still pretty stumped by all of this. But I thought this might be a good time to post the bumper sticker I made a couple days ago...

We are all God's children...and God doesn't care "who started it"

Haloscan comment thread

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mr. Splashy Pants

Mr. Splashy Pants won!

Mister Splashy Pants got a huge 119,367 votes (over 78 percent of the vote) with his nearest rival being Humphrey at 4,329 (less than 3 percent). The rest of the top ten were Aiko, Libertad, Mira, Kaimana, Aurora, Shanti, Amal and Manami.

Many websites also took credit for the rise and rise of the Splashy-Panted One. Some websites encouraged their readers to cheat and vote more than once, while others like Treehugger seemed to imply that Mister Splashy Pants wasn't a proper name for a whale.

We're sure Treehugger didn't mean it that way but it resulted in a final wave of votes from their readers that took Splashy to an unreachable position at the top of the pod.


Haloscan commen thread

December 12

I saw this painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe at a local retreat center. (Sorry it's so blurry.) I had a little mini-retreat of about two hours. I think I'll be going back for more before this busy season is over.

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. That, and the approach of Christmas, serves to remind me just how radical and countercultural the message of this season can be.

From an essay on "Liberation Spirituality":

Interestingly enough for Catholic spirituality (but with increasing ecumenical implications), the rediscovery of the historical Jesus is being accompanied by a rediscovery of Mary of Nazareth, the faithful woman of the gospel, the model of the "poor of Yahweh" of yesterday and today. She who is always found among the poor (like our Lady of Guadalupe, for example) becomes a model of a spirituality of liberation for the poor and for those who live in real solidarity with the poor. Her Magnificat becomes a song of historical liberation. In the Puebla documents she becomes a model "for those who do not accept passively the adverse circumstances of personal and social life . . . but who proclaim with her that God 'exalts the lowly' and, if it is the case, 'pulls down the princes from their thrones"'

We can agree to disagree about religious matters, but I think most of us here can relate to the desire to "pull princes from their thrones". :)

Haloscan Comment thread

Monday, December 10, 2007

Open Thread

Took this picture of Stevie this morning. Tried to think of a caption for it, but he doesn't really seem to be doing anything. "I has a big, climby, stratchy toy?" Nah.

Then I remembered having seen lolcats with the caption you see here. Stevie does kinda look like he's staring at you.

Haloscan comment thread

Pine Ridge Reservation Christmas Drive

Thank you to Jessica for reminding us of the help needed at Pine Ridge Reservation this time of year. Click here for more information about the current donation drives.

Haloscan comment thread

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Autism awareness t-shirt designs

Some of you may be aware that we had a problem with another shopkeeper offering one of our graphics in his/her store. Thankfully, that has been taken care of, and Demetrius has been adding some new designs to the autism awareness section in our store. Anyway, to make our designs all "Google-icious", I'm posting this to the front page.

"I love someone with autism" puzzle heart design

Yeah, it's another open thread. But at least it doesn't *say* open thread in the title. I'm a little tired of looking at those words. ;)

Haloscan comment thread

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Open Thread (Lunch Hour Edition)

So I thought I'd post this image that Demetrius just created of a Guacamole, Lettuce, Bacon and Tomato sandwich.

GLBT Sandwich


I just thought it was too clever not to share. But maybe I'm biased. ;)

Haloscan comment thread

I definitely want it

Just realized that John Lennon was killed 27 years ago today. At the time, by the way, I had no clue who he was. It was many years later before I realized what we lost that day. Anyway, I thought I'd post this video...

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear ones
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear
War is over, if you want it
War is over now

I want it. I know we all do.

Haloscan comment thread

Friday, December 07, 2007

Open Thread

Hoping for some down time tomorrow, so thought I'd post a new thread before turning in.

New shared items here.

Haloscan comment thread

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Greetings from listener, who took this New Snow on the Fence photo and received the following notice from her town clerk this week:

We have 8 pairs of snowshoes that are available to be rented and returned during regular Town Clerk office hours.

Snowshoes may be rented by town residents for up to three days at a time. Please return them before 11 am on the date they are due so that people waiting to rent them only need to make one trip to pick them up.

There is a $20 deposit for each adult pair and $10 for each child pair. The deposit is returned to the renter when snowshoes are returned in the same condition they were rented.
Happy White Advent! ~ listener

Haloscan comment thread

Happy St. Nicholas Day

Click here for the Wikipedia article about St. Nicholas. (Ever try stir-fried wikipedia?)

Haloscan comment thread

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Why do you blog?

Yesterday's Question of the Day at My Left Wing asked the question, "Why do you blog?" Since I'm still busy working on grades, I thought I'd "borrow" that idea for a post here.

My response in that thread:

Wow-- deep questions, seriously. And one I've been trying to think about. I was reminded of that fact when I saw a fellow parishioner at church the other day. He's on the adult education committee and had approached me a while ago about taking part in a session about the internet and blogging.

We were in a religious education group together last year, and he recognized my writing from diaries at Big Orange. I blogged a lot more back then. I still feel like I need to keep blogging now, but don't have much sense of purpose or direction at the moment. Anyway, I was relieved that he didn't come over to me to talk about this issue on Sunday, because I'm still working on it.

Anyway, one of my answers with regard to why I blog, is that it allows me to occasionally have in depth conversations that could never happen in "real time". Face to face or (bleah) on the phone, the pace is too fast for me. But it's possible to have "deeper" conversations on blogs...and eventually bring those insights into real time conversations.

P.S. Go vote for Mr. Splashy Pants. ;)

Haloscan comment thread

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Unwatched DVDs

I gave a couple of final exams yesterday, and have one more plus some make-up exams to give on Thursday. Right now I have some grading to do, but, for the first time in weeks, we have our living room back. Daughter was sleeping on the couch while she had a cast on her leg, so that she wouldn't have to go up and down the stairs to her bedroom. The cast finally came off yesterday (and there was much rejoicing).

So now I'm looking at the DVDs I recently checked out from the library, thinking I really should watch one of them before they need to go back to the library. I can't even begin to count how many DVDs or videos I have checked out, only to return them, unwatched, to the library. I just, um, treat them to a little car ride. Inanimate objects enjoy that, right? ;) Or wait--maybe the service I'm offering them is sort of like a retreat. Some quiet time during which they will not be subjected to any new scratches or additional wear and tear.

Anyway, right now I've got "Outfoxed" and "Shut up and sing". Both are things I'd kind of like to see. But my husband doesn't like to watch anything that might make him even more angry at the right wing than he already is. And I'm not much for sitting down and watching a DVD by myself.

As the day wore on, I started watching a documentary called The World According to Sesame Street

Sesame Street” originator Joan Ganz Cooney explains the show like this: “Our producers are like old-fashioned’s not religion they’re spreading, but it is learning and tolerance and love and mutual respect, and in a way, you have to say it must be the most wonderful job in the world.”
It really is fascinating, and probably less likely to make me cranky than the other two options. (Which I may eventually watch as well.)

Here's a link about the documentary.

I should probably go grade a few more exams now.

Haloscan comment thread

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Open Thread (with birds)

listener passed along some pictures of the pine grosbeak, along with some comments. You'll have to take my word that I really don't have the focus today to piece together a post involving someone else's words and pictures. But here are a couple of the photos she sent--maybe she'll have something to say about them in the comments.

Haloscan comment thread

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Thin Places

I just wanted to share this tonight...

Thin Places are ports in the storm of life, where the pilgrims can move closer to the God they seek, where one leaves that which is familiar and journeys into the Divine Presence. They are stopping places where men and women are given pause to wonder about what lies beyond the mundane rituals, the grief, trials and boredom of our day-to-day life. They probe to the core of the human heart and open the pathway that leads to satisfying the familiar hungers and yearnings common to all people on earth, the hunger to be connected, to be a part of something greater, to be loved, to find peace.

This sermon expands on the idea...
But thin places aren’t always literally places. The arts are sometimes thin places for some of us. Music. Poetry. People can be thin places. Marcus Borg believes one of the best ways of understanding Jesus is to think of him as a particularly thin place where the transcendent reality Jesus called the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of heaven shone through.

One of the emphases of the Celtic Christians about thin places is that they are porous and permeable. Marcus Borg says: “They are places where the boundary between the two levels becomes very soft, porous, permeable.”
Haloscan comment thread

World AIDS Day

Click here for a listing of World AIDS Day events planned by members of the One campaign around the country.

From the UN Chronicle

World AIDS Day is an opportunity to raise awareness and fight prejudice about HIV/AIDS and express global solidarity with people living with the disease. Commemorated on 1 December every year since 1988, the Day provides an occasion to remind Governments and world leaders of their commitments to fight AIDS.
More here.

Haloscan comment thread

Friday, November 30, 2007

Rehab-ing a Pine Grosbeak

Well, we've had QUITE the afternoon-evening!

A female Pine Grosbeak hit our upstairs window, leaving a few tiny feathers and a teeny red spot (I strongly suspect a hawk swooped through the yard, because ALL the birds dispersed.)
I went to the living room windows and spotted her under the (heated) birdbath, with one wing out a few inches more than the other.

I watched her from the window for a long time, while consulting Son*in*NC the wildlife biologist and Daughter-in-law*in*VT who graduated pre-vet.

After a really long time she hadn't expired; in fact she began to turn her head from side to side! But she didn't move around and the cold wind was blowing from behind her. So I set a box over her, cut open on one end so she could be free if desired.

About 40 minutes later she hopped out of the box! Then she proceeded to hop clear across the back yard, but, sadly, she could not fly. With the day dimming and a very cold night ahead, I set her into a box and brought her in.

I called the vet who had me call the VT Institute of Natural Science (VINS), who had me call a rehab-er, who had me call a different rehab-er, who had me call a third rehab-er who won't be home until this evening.

So we have Ms. Grosbeak all set up with seeds and cherries, and water. She is in the Guest Room and had enough warmth without being too warm (we want to keep her acclimated, if we can).

Hopefully she will wake up and be able to fly. If so, we'll watch for her mates to return to the cherry tree out back and release her to rejoin them. If she cannot fly she may need expertise and long-term care than we can provide.

I am encouraged that she was more alert when we moved her to the more spiffy box set-up. I had my thin leather gloves on and could feel her struggle a bit, and she felt stronger than earlier. Hope, hope!

Caring for Creation is a huge job! It's amazing how complex this world is.
Keep the hope coming! ♥ listener

Haloscan comment thread

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Special Election in IL-14: Is Everybody Confused?

by W.A. Thomasson

Dennis Hastert’s resignation from Congress, effective now, means there will be a special election to fill his unexpired term. The dates have not been officially announced, but it is anticipated that the special primary will be Feb. 5, to coincide with the regular primary, and the special general election will be sometime in April.

Although having the special and regular primaries on the same day will save money, it is also generating a good deal of confusion. Some things even the Illinois Board of Elections is unsure of. The special and regular primaries are technically separate elections. Does that mean voters will have to cast separate ballots? With duplicate sets of touch-screen and optical -scan counting machines at each polling place? What about election Judges? One set or two? And — OK, maybe this is a stretch. But since Illinois is an open-primary state, would it be legal for someone to take a Democratic ballot for the special primary and a Republican ballot for the regular primary?

One thing for sure, however, is that candidates will have to file new nominating petitions. The ones they filed earlier this month are only valid for the regular primary. That means they have three weeks to collect a minimum of 873 valid signatures from registered voters in the district. Since challenging nominating petitions is something of a tradition in Illinois, that means they really need 2000 signatures. Or maybe 3000 to be on the safe side. There is little doubt that all the current candidates will be able to do this, especially since Hastert’s resignation has been rumored for months and they have all had contingency plans. Still, it means that for the next three weeks they are going to have to focus on signature gathering rather than voter persuasion.

There are two Republican and four Democratic candidates. On the Republican side, archconservative State Sen. Chris Lauzen is p;ositioning himself as Hastert’s heir. Dairy magnate Jim Oberweis, who finished second in both the 2004 senatorial primary and the 2006 gubernatorial primary, is a flaming radical rightist. He and the state Republican leadership openly loathe each other. Oberweis was not named the senatorial candidate after the primary winner withdrew because he had campaigned explicitly against George Bush and his “soft-on-immigration” guest worker proposal. And after the gubernatorial primary, he described the winner as “another Hilary.” Oberweis won’t win this primary if the party leadership has anything to say about it. But given the current state of Illinois Republican politics, they may not.

There is a really excellent diary at Prairie State Blue that gives a lot of detail on the Democratic candidates as well as other aspects of the special election. I think there is a great deal to like about each of the candidates, although in different ways. John Laesch, the 2006 candidate against Hastert, is the most progressive on the issues. He’d probably agree that he’s basically in the Kuchinich mold. Jotham Stein has the most innovative ideas on the issues and is running a strong campaign. I have donated to him simply because he personally called me, even though I am dozens of miles outside the district. Those things matter. I like Bill Foster both because of his scientific background and because of his emphasis on fiscal responsibility, a la Howard Dean. Additionally, he is in a position to put a lot of his own money into the campaign and, even though a first-time candidate, has a lot of political savvy from the 10 months he spent as a volunteer staffer with Patrick Murphy’s campaign in Pennsylvania. Those sorts of things will matter in April and November. I don’t know much about Joe Pera, the 2004 candidate, because he got into this year’s race very late. That may make it hard for him to catch up to campaigns with established momentum.

A lot of people are looking to this special election as a barometer of how well Democrats will do next November. It’s maybe a biased barometer, since Bush carried the district 55-45 in 2004. But between declining GOP fortunes, shifting demographics, an open seat, and maybe even an Illinoisan at the top of the Democratic ticket, it could be winnable.

Haloscan comment thread

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Heart Radio

A post by Subway Serenade/Astral Technician (who is celebrating his birthday today).

Imagine that you're driving in your car listening to your favorite music from your favorite radio station. If you live in a major city, thousands of people are listening to the same song you are and all of your hearts are beating to the rhythm of the music. Your brainwaves are also keeping time. As the songs change, so do your internal rhythms. I demonstrated this principle at the mini DeanFest in Vermont earlier this year.

Now, if you didn't have a radio, you wouldn't be able to hear the music. Songs of all sorts, from every station would be passing through you unnoticed, and your internal rhythms would be going their own merry way.

However, those who hear the music share a bond, a focal point that has all of the hearts dancing to the same tune, even though they don't realize it. I have found in practical terms that not only do the internal systems receive waves and react to them, but we also broadcast waves of our own to which others react. We are in fact, exchanging waves of various sorts all the time. Not only that, but we and everything around us are just a series of complex, but simply ordered waveforms.

Today I was thinking of how so much of the world seems to be listening to some radio station that plays nothing but Rush Limbaugh droning on and on. Yet we don't realize that a really beautiful music station is just a few stations up the dial. What if Peace on Earth were made possible simply by having enough connected hearts reaching up and changing the channel?

Haloscan comment thread

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Howard was right, example 4597

From the comments...

Howard was right, as usual. We need to appeal to people with Confederate flags on the backs of their pickup trucks. But who would have thought an African-American would be the person to do it?

Story from last night's Obama for President/Democratic Party of Oak Park Meetup: Rob Baren, the local party's political director, has been visiting his father in the hospital in Dayton. He couldn't quite believe everybody telling him everyone they knew was voting for Obama. But driving back through rural Ohio, a guy in one of those big, fancy pickup trucks waved as he went past. And in the back window of the pickup were three signs:

Nitional Rifle Association

Confderate flag

Obama for President
Bill Thomasson | 11.27.07 - 11:15 am |

I am currently in the middle of end-of-the-quarter craziness, by the way, so I'm probably not going to be posting much. Remember, if you'd like to do a guest post, you can e-mail it to me at ohiorenee(at)

Haloscan comment thread

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Changed comment settings

I just remembered that it was possible to choose "new posts have no comments" under the comment settings. This way, I can still have the traditional Blogger-integrated comments available for use when Haloscan is messed up--for a while there, Haloscan seemed to be messed up on a regular basis, if you'll recall. But with this change, people won't be coming to this site and commenting in the wrong place.

Haloscan comment thread

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Open Thread

Going to an early service tomorrow, so I thought I'd go ahead and post a new thread before turning in tonight.

Haloscan comment thread

Finding the right fit

Originally posted at My Left Wing

For much of the past year I've been way too busy with work and family in one form or another to be able to write a proper essay about anything of substance. At least, I assumed that was the reason I wasn't writing. And, when I occasionally did have a bit more free time, well, I really needed that to actually be free time, you know? But it's actually way more complicated than being busy. I've been doing a lot of thinking, when I went on an overnight retreat at the beginning of last month, and every time I get a few minutes to myself. I think about all sorts of things, but those things revolve around the big picture question of "Where do I fit?"

Where do I fit in the political world?

Where does political involvement fit into my life?

What kind of political involvement?

How can I live more intentionally--acting rather than reacting, choosing where to invest my energies and talents? How can I find balance in all of this--remembering who I wanted to be and making choices that are in keeping with my core values?

While I've done a lot of thinking along these lines, I haven't come up with much that I can write about yet. But Maryscott remarks in the Daily Rant about this site "dying" moved me to try to put at least some of this into words.

I have been revisiting the reasons I started to frequent political blogs. In a nutshell, the emergency of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and later the 2004 election changed me from someone who tuned out most of politics and never watched the news to someone who had to get involved because the stakes were so high.

There's a book called Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers. I was telling my class about it not too long ago. Zebras don't tend to have chronic stressors. They have the sorts of stressors that end quickly, for better or worse. Either they are captured by the lion or they escape. The classic "fight or flight" situation. One of the reasons humans are prone to ulcers (among other things) is that we deal with more chronic stressors.

I'm sure someone reading this will find flaws with this analogy and want to point them out to me. Just this once, please don't. Whether or not my zebra comparison makes sense or seems appropriate to you, I'm telling you the truth as I see it. Which is is not healthy or adaptive to be in "emergency response mode" for an extended period of time. I do believe that it is part of my "calling" (for lack of a better word) to be doing something toward healing the world. Even just a little part of it. My hunch is, that's something I have in common with a lot of people here, even if we express it differently.

Haloscan comment thread

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving food for thought

Many people across the country today w,ill be having their Thanksgiving dinner at thousands of locations that serve meals to the poor and homeless. But this would be largely unnecessary if our priorities were a little different.

From the Washington Post:

Food banks are a dominant institution in this country, and they assert their power at the local and state levels by commanding the attention of people of good will who want to address hunger. Their ability to attract volunteers and to raise money approaches that of major hospitals and universities. While none of this is inherently wrong, it does distract the public and policymakers from the task of harnessing the political will needed to end hunger in the United States.

The risk is that the multibillion-dollar system of food banking has become such a pervasive force in the anti-hunger world, and so tied to its donors and its volunteers, that it cannot step back and ask if this is the best way to end hunger, food insecurity and their root cause, poverty.

During my tenure in Hartford, I often wondered what would happen if the collective energy that went into soliciting and distributing food were put into ending hunger and poverty instead. Surely it would have a sizable impact if 3,000 Hartford-area volunteers, led by some of Connecticut's most privileged and respected citizens, showed up one day at the state legislature, demanding enough resources to end hunger and poverty. Multiply those volunteers by three or four -- the number of volunteers in the state's other food banks and hundreds of emergency food sites -- and you would have enough people to dismantle the Connecticut state capitol brick by brick. Put all the emergency food volunteers and staff and board members from across the country on buses to Washington, to tell Congress to mandate a living wage, health care for all and adequate employment and child-care programs, and you would have a convoy that might stretch from New York City to our nation's capital.

But what we have done instead is to continue down a road that never comes to an end. Like transportation planners who add more lanes to already clogged highways, we add more space to our food banks in the futile hope of relieving the congestion.

We know hunger's cause -- poverty. We know its solution -- end poverty. Let this Thanksgiving remind us of that task.

Something to think about as we give thanks for the harvest.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Haloscan comment thread

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Unbelievable this is not butter

Can't seem to fall asleep, so I decided to get out of bed for a bit rather than just lying there feeling frustrated.

Popped over to BBspot to see if today's Daily Links had been posted yet. They had, and I found this one rather amusing. Products whose names were variations on the "I can't believe it's not butter" theme. I thought I'd go ahead and post it now, because I might forget by the time I eventually fall asleep and eventually wake up again...

Now I'm going to go try that thing where I'm horizontal with my eyes closed again and see if it works this time.

Haloscan comment thread

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Short attention span theater

I am slooowly getting over a yucky cold, but it's been gray outside all day, so that's amplifying the usual virus-induced bleariness.

"Distractibility" has been the name of the game for me today, and I've been hopping around various sites on the interwebs, but not really accomplishing anything.

Found this article about the science of cooking interesting. As I was reading it to Demetrius, he said that Alton Brown of Good Eats had addressed some of the same issues. Turns out that Harold McGee, who I'd never heard of before today, was a major influence on Alton Brown. He's got his own web site, Curious Cook, which I will check out when I have a longer attention span.

But from there I moved on to this geography quiz, which I liked because you actually get points for being "close". So I ended up wasting a fair amount of time on that as well.

Eventually, I did manage to get myself out the door to run a couple of errands. While I was out, I thought of a blog essay I wanted to write, and had every intention of starting once I got home. So now that I'm home, I should get to work on that. Actually, I should work on lecture prep first. But...

Look! Some bouncy balls!

Bounce, bounce, bouncy, bouncy--will you look at that? All bouncy and the sun that's hiding behind the clouds today. In that the sun is yellow, I mean, not that the sun bounces. At least, I don't think it does...

Now, what was it that I was going to do next? I'm sure it was important...

Haloscan comment thread