May You Live In Interesting Times...

Today was my eldest childs' 17th birthday. It seems like yesterday, I was a new mother, holding my newborn baby daughter in my (tired) arms.

She was (and still is) 'the first'...
...one I learned about teething with
...one I learned about breastfeeding with
...I learned that all children are individuals on
...the one that goes through my ignorance on every new stage of her life.

In many ways, her place in the family is, "I deal with Mom, so you don't have to".

Over the years, we have agreed and disagreed, and talked (boy, have we ever!) about everything under the sun. I have done my best to be a good mother to her and her siblings. I have tried to explain to them how the world really works, not just how the world says that it works.

I have tried to give them the benefit of my experiences (and my mistakes), and to live my life as best that I can in a way that I can look them straight in the eye when they ask me a hard question about why I did or didn't do something.

It seems to be paying off, although only time will tell in the end.

I was at church last Sunday, and a parent spoke about how teenagers don't talk to their parents. How frustrating it was, to have a child who won't talk to you. I found myself struggling to keep my face straight. From shock.

My children talk to me, sometimes about stuff I'd much rather not know about. About their friends, their feelings, their worries, and when they believe that I'm not living according to the guidelines that I've set for myself.

All in all, I think that I have a pretty good bunch of children. I drew a good hand in the child lottery.

Don't get it wrong, they get into trouble, they make mistakes, and they fight... two years ago, two of my younger children had a feud over one stealing the other ones' DIRT, for crying out loud!! Honestly! We live in the country... if there is nothing else here (no DSL, no T1 lines, no sewer, no town trash pickup), there is dirt... honestly, I tried not to laugh, but I'm sorry to say that I failed miserably. I was greeted with indignant looks at my ignorance about the difference in *this* dirt, versus the dirt over *there*. I did pull myself together long enough to apologize for laughing at them, and explained that we live in the country, and maybe, just maybe, we could find some satisfactory dirt for the both of them. "There's enough dirt in these two acres for the both of youse!"

Some days, I feel that I should have taken diplomacy classes, in addition to the law classes... those skills has been the most useful in dealing with children. They are amazingly, frighteningly logical... I don't know where they get it from, must be their dad, lol!!

I love you, children! You're going to be fantastic people... keep it up!!

©2007 LaVeda H. Mason All Rights Reserved.


More on Species Mixing...

This link talks more about zoonosis: what happens when a disease leaps from its accustomed nonhuman prey into a person, as happens with bubonic plague, bird-flu, Ebola and Marburg virus. Zoonotic diseases can infect more than one species, unlike, say, smallpox, which predominantly afflicts humans.


And, we still don't know the exact mechanism that causes zoonsois, and which diseases are more likely to make the animal-to-human jump. And we're going to be tinkering with animal DNA/RNA/mRNA and whatnot? When we can't even keep genetically modified crops spreading their genes to other plants? Does this even make sense, except in the minds of some bean-counters in the uberprofitable multinational corporations, where the highest priority is the money that can be made?!?!

Ok... The attendant has given me my nightly hypospray; I'm calm now. I tell you, it only makes sense if the health and safety of the population is not a concern. But then again, why is any of this surprising? Especially when you consider that as fast as the human genome is mapped, it is being patented?!? Yikes!!!!


Scientists Seek to Grow Human Embryos in Animal Eggs

Editorial - The New York Times
Of Animal Eggs and Human Embryos

Published: September 24, 2007

Stem cell research in the United States has been hobbled for years by severe and misguided restrictions on federal funding. But now a vexing additional problem is slowing even privately financed research. There are distressingly few women willing to donate their eggs for experiments at the frontiers of this promising science.

A respected team of stem cell researchers at Harvard spent nearly $100,000 over the course of a year advertising for egg donors. Hundreds of qualified women were interested enough to call but, after hearing what was entailed, not one was willing to donate eggs. Many were likely deterred by the time, effort and pain required — including daily hormone injections and minor surgery — to retrieve the eggs. And they were almost certainly discouraged by the meager compensation.

Although women can be paid thousands of dollars to donate eggs for fertility treatments, ethical guidelines and some state laws say they cannot be paid much for donating to research. These restrictions are meant to protect the women against exploitation, but they have created a dearth of egg donors for stem cell research.

Surplus embryos from fertility clinics can seldom be used to study specific diseases or develop treatments for them. Scientists need to develop new stem cell lines genetically matched to patients with diseases like diabetes or Parkinson’s. They typically take the nucleus of a patient’s skin cell and inject it into an egg whose nucleus has been removed. If all goes well, the desired stem cell can be derived from the result.

With few human eggs available, some privately financed stem cell scientists are studying animal eggs to see if they can work the same magic when injected with a human nucleus. That may send shivers of apprehension through people who imagine rogue scientists creating grotesque half-human, half-animal creatures in the laboratory. But a thorough examination of the process by British regulators should alleviate such fears.

The British have approved, in principle, the creation of “cybrid embryos,” produced when scientists grow human embryos in animal eggs. Although the embryos would be, in some sense, animal-human hybrids, there would be remarkably little animal — only about 0.1 percent — in the mix. The embryos, and the stem cells derived, would be virtually identical to cells in the patient.

There is little doubt that human eggs would be better for research and ultimately treatment. But with a shortage of donors, animal eggs could prove a valuable alternative. Meanwhile, many scientists are hoping that it will be possible, without using eggs at all, to convert human skin cells directly into embryonic stem cells, as has been shown possible in mice. That would be an elegant solution to the vexing egg donor problem.


[This piece does not address:
- What is the effect of the RNA that is *outside of the nucleus* of the animal cell... 'virtually' identical is *NOT* identical. Can you say "Frankenpeople"?

- The status of these embryos; are they human? Animal?

- Disease - there are diseases that exist only in non-human species... this experimentation may potentially create diseases that will 'jump' to humans that will make 'bird flu' look like a mothers' kiss! -- LaVeda]


Definition of a Diplomat

A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age.
Robert Frost


From Amazon to Your Library

I can't speak for anyone else, but we go through a LOT of books at my house, so we give the local public library a real workout. One of the things that used to drive me crazy was buying a book, and then discovering that the library had it, because I didn't think about checking out the library's online catalog.

Here's a site that can help you:

The LibraryLookup Bookmarklet Generator

From the website: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/stories/2002/12/11/librarylookup.html

"After you've "installed" your bookmarklet by dragging it to your browser's link toolbar, you can use it to look up books at your local library. Let's say you're on a book-related site (Amazon, BN, isbn.nu) and your current page's URL includes an ISBN. (Choose a hardcover edition for best results -- see tips below.) You can click your bookmarklet to check if the book is available in your local library. The bookmarklet will invoke your library's lookup service, feed it the ISBN, and pop up a new window with the result."

Really cool!! And it saves me a bundle on shipping charges!!


The Nine Most Important Words to Know

... if you are a man. Yes, this is satire (just barely)!

Here we go...

1.) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2.) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to do what you’re doing before helping around the house.

3.) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in “fine”.

4.) Go ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don’t Do It! The best way to defuse this situtation is to say: “On second thought’s you’re right. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

5.) Loud sigh: This is actually a word, but it is often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of “nothing”.)

6.) That’s Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That’s okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7.) Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say “you’re welcome”.

8.) Whatever: Is a women’s way of saying “you’re dead”.

9.) Don’t worry about it, I’ve got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking `What’s wrong?’ For the women’s response refer to #3.


Republicans' Diversity Plan Criticized

WASHINGTON, DC–A plank in the Republican Party platform calling for a 'Diversity Through Imported Africans' program is drawing fire from civil-rights leaders.

"I do not see why the NAACP would be opposed to the further enrichment of our nation's glorious patchwork of races," U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC), co-author of the plan, said Monday.

"We merely seek to increase America's already remarkable diversity through the importation of 10 million strong-backed West African males. These healthy, disease-free males from such nations as Gabon, Benin, and Togo will only add spice to the wondrous cultural stew that is America."

Helms added that the plan will also create millions of jobs in the fields of housekeeping and farmwork.



The View While Writing

This is the view that I am treated to while I write:

The green things in the center are pots that originally had petunias and roses in them, but they died in the latest heat wave. I'm not certain what to replace them with.


Interesting Eyeglasses

Check out the article!


Word of the Day: Obviate

Word of the Day: Obivate (verb)

Pronunciation: ['ahb-vi-yeyt]
Definition: To make unnecessary or prevent (an action).

Usage: There is no semantic relation with "obvious"-beware!

Suggested Usage: This woefully underused verb is a convenient
replacement for much longer and less specific phrases. Try expressions like "Lorraine's introductory remarks obviated most of my speech" or "The new software obviated most of the jobs in his division."

Etymology: Latin obviare "meet, withstand, prevent" from the
preposition-prefix ob "to, toward" and via-re "go, travel". Related to via "road, way" and derived from the same Indo-European source as German "Wag-en", English "wag-on" and "way", as well as the veh- of "vehicle".

Dr. Language, yourDictionary.com


Overcast Days are Nice

Finally!! We are enjoying several lovely days of cool weather. It feels like fall now. The sun is hiding (for now), while we wait for the clouds to dispense the rain that our soil needs (too late for the corn crop, though). I stood outside this morning for a few minutes, enjoying the misty rain. It felt good on my skin. Women pay ridiculous sums for the kind of moisturizing that comes down from the sky for free :-).

It is the kind of day that begs you to sit on a window seat, look out at the gray day, and reflect on life. Or, maybe just to sit and think about nothing, to allow your brain cells to rest from the stress from dealing with the needs and demands of the people around you....

Ok, enough of that! Back to work; but carry a piece of that serenity back with you :-)!


Arrakis... Dune....

Among their many firsts, the Mars Rovers photographed Earth-like clouds in the Martian sky for the first time from the planet's surface.

I must admit, I wish that Frank Herbert could have seen this, because this photo *looks* like Dune! Any second, I expect to see the giant sandworms traversing the desert while the 'thopters fly overhead, transporting the spice to the Emperor and the Spacing Guild.

If I look closely, in my minds' eye, in the photo I can see Paul Atreides and his mother during their flight from the Harkonnen coup against their House.

What a beautiful, spare landscape. I can imagine myself standing there, leaning against the warm breeze, feeling it in my hair, on my skin, simply _being_ part of nature, and it being a part of me. How glorious sunrise and sunset must be in such a place!! Even in my daydream, I feel the tension melt away... there is no past, and no future, only the present... this moment.


Police state USA: Student assaulted and tasered by police for asking John Kerry the wrong question

Police state USA: Student assaulted and tasered by police for asking John Kerry the wrong question

This isn't right... what's next? Quartering soldiers in our homes?

The thought police are out...


E. Coli Fears Spark Bagged Salad Recall

E. Coli Fears Spark Bagged Salad Recall

This new health scare makes it even more imperative that we all start backyard (or tabletop) gardens, to protect our health.

We cannot count on government oversight to protect our food supply. While most of us are unable to have the old-fashioned, large-scale gardens that (maybe) our grandparents had, we *can* grow edible plants instead of the standard houseplants. Many plants that are edible are also beautiful. For example, I visited the mother of a friend of mine. She had a *very* large cucumber plant growing in a pot. I asked her if she liked cucumber, and she told me no, she just liked how the plant looked... cucumbers gave her heartburn :-).

Try planting some lettuce in a pot... lettuce has shallow roots, so it won't require repotting; and you're going to eat it anyway :-). The stomach trouble you prevent, may be your own!!


Must see comic: How to Buy Organic Apples



No Left Turns

[LaVeda here: this is not my story; I received this story in my email, and thought it was a good one... enjoy!]

My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive.

He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove
was a 1926 Whippet.

"In those days," he told me when he was in his 90s, "to drive a car you had
to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which
way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it o r drive through
life and miss it."

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in:
"Oh, bull----!" she said. "He hit a horse."

"Well," my father said, "there was that, too."

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all
had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams
across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941
Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines, would take the streetcar to work
and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my
mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet
him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes,
at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. "No
one in the family drives," my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes, my father would say, "But as soon as one of you boys turns
16, we'll get one." It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16

But, sure enough, my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents
bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a
Chevy dealership downtown.

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with
everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my
brother's car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it
didn't make sense to my mother.

So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to
drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the
following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice
driving. The cemetery probably was my father's idea. "Who can your mother hurt
in the cemetery?" I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in
the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded
up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself
navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic,
and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to
bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage.

(Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or
so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin's Church. She would walk
down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which
of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning. If it was the pastor, my
father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of
the service and walking her home.

If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head
back to the church. He called the priests "Father Fast" and "Father Slow."

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she
drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the
beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was
summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on
the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: "The Cubs lost
again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on
first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored."

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags
out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the
navigator, and once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said
to me, "Do you want to know the secret of a long life?"

"I guess so," I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

"No left turns," he said.

"What?" I asked.

"No left turns," he repeated. "Several years ago, your mother and I read an
article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn
left in front of oncoming traffic.

As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth
perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left

"What?" I said again.

"No left turns," he said. "Think about it. Three rights are the same as a left,
and that's a lot safer. So we always make three rights."

"You're kidding!" I said, and I turned to my mother for support "No," she
said, "your father is right. We make three rights. It works." But then she
added: "Except when your father loses count."

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started

"Loses count?" I asked.

"Yes," my father admitted, "that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem.
You just make seven rights, and you're okay again."

I couldn't resist. "Do you ever go for 11?" I asked.

"No," he said "If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad
day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day
or another week."

My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car
keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few
years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have
a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father
would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times
what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101
because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep
exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to
give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he
was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about
politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, "You know, Mike, the first hundred
years are a lot easier than the second hundred." At one point in our drive that
Saturday, he said, "You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer."

"You're probably right," I said.

"Why would you say that?" He countered, somewhat irritated.

"Because you're 102 years old," I said.

"Yes," he said, "you're right." He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him
through the night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look
gloomy, he said:

" I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet"

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words:

"I want you to know," he said, clearly and lucidly, "that I am in no pain. I
am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth
could ever have."

A short time later, he died.

I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how
it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.

I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life, or because he
quit taking left turns.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you
right. Forget about those who don't. Believe everything happens for a reason.
If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life
would be easy, they just promised it would most likely be worth it.


Bush Addresses Climate Crisis

Addressing Climate Crisis, Bush Calls For Development Of National Air Conditioner

WASHINGTON, DC—In a nationally televised address reminiscent of President Kennedy's historic 1961 speech pledging to put a man on the moon, President Bush responded to the global warming crisis Monday by calling for the construction of a giant national air conditioner by the year 2015.

At right: National Air Conditioner
Concept art shows how the 800-mile-wide device would function on a "high cool" setting.

"Climate change is real and it demands a real solution," Bush said. "Therefore, I am committed to dedicating all of the technology, all of the brainpower, and all of the resources we need in order to keep America cool and comfortable well into the 21st century."

The National Air Conditioner Initiative is expected to be the largest public works project in the nation's history. Because technology capable of creating an air conditioner that can fulfill the cooling needs of a continental land mass does not presently exist, the president estimated that research and development alone will require at least $100 trillion in both federal and private sector funds.

"The challenge of building an air conditioner for all Americans will be the greatest we have ever faced," Bush said. "But we must face it. We must act now to ensure that our children and our children's children can live in a world where they don't get sweaty and have to change their shirts all the time."

At right: Bush
'We have a responsibility to future generations.'
-- President Bush

While Bush's speech left many questions unanswered, such as whether the one-touch cooling settings would be under federal or state jurisdiction, reaction from congressional Democrats and Republicans has been largely favorable.

"I applaud the administration for finally taking this issue seriously," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. "Such a giant apparatus means that Americans from all walks of life, not just the wealthy and privileged, will be able to get relief from the rise in the Earth's surface temperature. And it will create a great many jobs. Just removing and rinsing out the huge filter will require tens of thousands of seasonal laborers."

Petrochemical industry leaders voiced early support of the plan, which would stimulate additional exploration and production of oil and gas to satisfy the machine's staggering energy needs.

Some fiscal conservatives, however, decry the cost of the project and the gargantuan electric bills that would result, saying that a series of mile-high oscillating fans stationed in the Pacific Northwest and blowing in the direction of the jet stream would accomplish essentially the same thing and save billions. Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan expressed his concern that illegal aliens would benefit unfairly from the air conditioner, since many of them work outside, and questioned President Bush's ability to "seal the nation's borders in order to keep the cool air in."

Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have taken a tough stance on the president's plan, demanding it contain legally binding language that ensures the air conditioner will be switched to a special energy-conserving "sleep" setting when the country cools off at night. The White House has shown interest in an "economy mode" option that could be used in the event of a budgetary crisis, but it is still unknown whether such a massive unit would qualify for an Energy Star certification, let alone accommodate built-in money-saving features.

The strongest opposition to the plan has come from Canada. Because the proposed National Air Conditioner would cover 90 percent of the state of North Dakota and face south, the U.S.'s northern neighbor would be directly in the path of superheated air expelled from the machine's back vents. Though Prime Minister Stephen Harper said this would create drought conditions and devastate their farmlands, most believe Canada lacks the clout to halt Bush's air-conditioning agenda.

American air conditioner manufacturers, with whom President Bush reportedly consulted extensively prior to announcing the initiative, will soon be awarded tens of trillions of dollars to design and build the components necessary for the giant unit. Industry leader Lennox is expected to receive at least $30 trillion, including a massive installation fee, while the Carrier Corporation, Trane, and Amana are all jockeying for the next largest contracts.

"Global warming threatens us all, whether we're mowing our lawns, rafting down a river in a national park, or driving to the end of the driveway to get our mail," Bush said. "The task that lies ahead is undeniably hard. But if we do not succeed, we will be profoundly inconvenienced. And I promise you: America will not let that happen."

Speaking at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser Monday night, Al Gore said that now that Bush has taken up the cause of global warming, the former vice president and environmental activist will redirect his energies toward developing a personal spacecraft capable of transporting a family of four to a distant planet.



Hedge Fund Managers March on Washington

September 8, 2007

Largest Chauffeur-Driven Protest in Capital's History

Demanding further intervention from the Federal Reserve to protect
their endangered fortunes, thousands of the nation's leading hedge
fund managers marched on Washington today.

Dubbed "The Million Mercedes March," the protest was said to be the
largest chauffeur-driven demonstration in the capital's history.

Limousines started jamming the streets of Washington at approximately
ten in the morning as irate hedge fund owners converged in front of
the Federal Reserve building to demand stronger action to protect
their imperiled riches.

Chanting "No Rate Cut, No Peace," the furious money managers
were pepper-sprayed by police as their protest threatened to take a violent

Tracy Klujian, a hedge fund manager from Greenwich, Connecticut, said
that simmering anger in the hedge fund community was "a powder keg"
waiting to explode.

"We have yet to see the ripple effects of this crisis," Mr. Klujian
said. "When these guys have to freeze their trophy wives' shopping
allowances, there's going to be hell to pay."

Mr. Klujian's words seemed almost prophetic as a mob of angry trophy
wives looted a Ralph Lauren boutique in East Hampton, New York later
in the day, stripping the establishment of its entire fall collection.

If the Fed fails to intervene, Mr. Klujian warned, an ugly situation
among the nation's wealthiest money managers will only get uglier.

"A lot of these guys are mad as hell right now," he said. "But wait
until they're down to their last billion."

Elsewhere, FEMA announced that it would commemorate the second
anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by returning phone calls from 2005.


Fly the Flag Today!!


Public Service Announcement

All I can say to this one is *_*_*AMEN*_*_*!! Spread the word!!

"Gray Rape"


Senior joke...

At 85 years of age, Wally married LouAnne, a lovely 25 year old.

Since her new husband is so old, LouAnne decides that after their wedding she and Wally should have separate bedrooms, because she is concerned that her new but aged husband may over-exert himself if they spend the entire night together.

After the wedding festivities LouAnne prepares herself for bed and the expected "knock" on the door. Sure enough the knock comes, the door opens and there is Wally, her 85 year old groom, ready for action.

All goes well, Wally takes leave of his bride, and she prepares to go to sleep.

After a few minutes, LouAnne hears another knock on her bedroom door, and it's Wally. Again, he is ready for action.

When the newlyweds are done, Wally kisses his bride, bids her a fond goodnight and leaves.

She is set to go to sleep again, but, aha you guessed it - Wally is back again, rapping on the door, and is as fresh as a 25-year-old, ready for more. And, once again they enjoy each other.

But as Wally gets set to leave again, his young bride says to him, "I am thoroughly impressed that at your age you can perform so well and so often. You are truly a great lover, Wally."

Wally, somewhat embarrassed, turns to LouAnne and says: "You mean I was here already?"

The moral of the story: Senior moments have their advantages.


Cute PA jokes...

1) Good: An Erie, PA policeman had a perfect spot to watch for speeders, but wasn't getting many. Then he discovered the problem. A twelve-year-old boy was standing up the road with a hand-painted sign, which read "RADAR TRAP AHEAD". The officer then found a young accomplice down the road with a sign reading "TIPS" . . . and a bucket full of money. (And we used to just sell lemonade!)

2) Better: A motorist was mailed a picture of his car speeding through an automated radar post in Pittsburgh, PA. A $40 speeding ticket was included. Being cute, he sent the police department a picture of $40. The police responded with another mailed photo of handcuffs.

3) Absolute Best: A young woman was pulled over for speeding. As the Pennsylvania State Trooper walked to her car window, flipping open his ticket book, she said, "I bet you're going to sell me a ticket to the State Troopers Ball." He replied "Pennsylvania State Troopers don't have balls." There was a moment of silence while she smiled, and he realized what he'd just said. He then closed his book, got back in his patrol car and left. She was laughing too hard to start her car.......


Friday Night Lights

Well, my eldest talked me into going to the local football game tonight. It was interesting; we saw people that we hadn't seen in a while.

The cheerleaders and band were pretty good, and their enthusiasm made up for anything that they may have lacked.

Unfortunately, our team was losing when we left [with 5 minutes to go], by about one touchdown.

But, the concession stand french fries were very good!! It was nice to see everybody relaxing and having a good time at the game.

Can you tell that I'm not a football nut, lol?

Although, after 15 years of patient explanations by my dh, I can at least explain what a 'down' is [smile] to my daughter.


It is all so sad...

Mark Morford says it in a entertaining way (I enjoy how he words things), but *what* he is saying isn't funny.

It's really sad, because unfortunately, too much of the time, what he has said *is* true.

The GOP has left themselves open to ridicule, and all because the leaders lacked integrity and control enough to deny their impulses. And then, to compound it, they attack others who are doing the *very* same thing that they are doing!

I may not agree with people, but if they are living in accordance with their beliefs, even if I think their beliefs are wrong, I can respect that. But this hypocrisy leaves a real bad taste in my mouth. As I suspect, it does for most people.

My 2¢...



I sat down to write, but it's harder than I thought

I'm trying to compose a poem in memory of September 11th, 2001.

Trying to convey the shock, horror, and disbelief of that day is almost impossible. And, I wasn't there!! Just watching it on television was traumatic. (Yes, I can't watch a lot of what passes for programming these days... it's simply too violent for me. But that's another post.)

This is one time that being telepathic would be useful. The emotions that rise within me are turbulent & overwhelming, even today. I don't feel that I have fully processed what happened.

The constant media coverage of the event was not a substitute for spending time alone, thinking about what happened, and what it means to us, both as individuals, and as a nation. I know, that today, trying to tap into my feelings about it, I remember the CEO of a firm on the upper floors breaking down on national television from the loss of so many employees, coworkers and friends.

This feels like a wound that only scabbed over, and never fully healed. And now, in trying to write this poem, I've caused this wound to begin bleeding. If I try to think about it, I start crying.

On some level, I know that I *have* to think about it, to put it behind me. But it has changed everything... physical , personal, political, and emotional landscapes are in some ways, no longer recognizable. Wiped as clean as Ground Zero.

I was born and raised in NYC, and only in the past several years relocated to South Carolina. So, seeing the carnage of places that I used to travel, hang out at, and work near, brings back memories.

I remember walking through the open space in front of the buildings, and going up to the observation tower, and shopping in the mall under the buildings. The towers were such a part of life in NYC, even the subways ran through there... I remember calling everyone that I had numbers for, because if they lived in NYC, they could have been there when it happened.

My best friend works in Jersey City, and lives in Brooklyn. And she saw the second plane crash into the tower. Thank heaven that she had enough sense to go through upper Manhattan to go home. Even though it took her over eight hours to get home, she was ok. So were my parents, and my husband. Everyone that I could get in touch with was okay, but I still felt that all those people who died were connected to me... it still hurts to think about it.

I am shaken by the strength of my feelings about this, after so many years have passed.

[Taking a deep breath] I'm getting chest pains... Thank heavens I have a few days to work on this poem. I don't know how professional writers do this. Separate their feelings from what they have to write about, I mean. Well, I'll write more blive, and maybe later I can do this without crying.


It's so wonderful!!!

The weather has been very hot lately, but it is beginning to cool off... down in the low 90s, lol!

But the sky is just as beautiful as it is in the springtime. Sometimes, I just look up at the sky, and all those beautiful clouds, and I think that I'm going to burst with happiness.

South Carolina really agrees with me. It is warm and beautiful, with lots of greenery and trees, and there is lots of space to simply _be_, without having to rush about.

I have my camera now, so I'll be taking some pictures soon of sunrises and sunsets from my bedroom. It's a fantastic thing, to have your master bedroom have windows on the east *and* the west side of the house. No matter what time of year it is, there's always plenty of light during the day (if I could only do something about those shorter days, lol!)... Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful home!!


Honor the memory by flying the flag

From my local weekly newspaper, The People- Sentinel:

Wednesday, September 5, 2007 6:15 PM EDT

There's no flashy advertising campaign on this particular cause, no
fancy lobbying group backing it, no slick public service announcements
fronted by the celebrity du jour.

No, this is strictly a grassroots effort.

The anonymous e-mail urging support for this cause had been forwarded
so many times its electrons were probably exhausted.

What is this cause, this effort, this Big Purpose?

Fly the American flag.

Specifically, fly Old Glory on Tuesday, Sept. 11 if you aren't already
flying the flag every day (which isn't a bad idea).

It's been six years since we as a nation stood transfixed by the awful
images frozen on our front pages or unfolding on our television

The scenes come to our minds with an uneasy quickness: World Trade
Center office workers leaping to a quicker death than face a burning
one within the crippled Twin Towers. New Yorkers, faces scarred in
panic, outrunning the dust clouds of debris and ash as the Towers fold
inward on themselves and collapse. The grim faces of firefighters
finding too many bodies and many of them ones they served beside only
days earlier.

It's been six years since that watershed day.

Yet the images remain, along with the memories, the pain, the shock
and the disbelief at this national tragedy.

But with the uneasy images come ones of pride: The tired and tight
faces of firefighters (again) and emergency workers at Ground Zero as
they work around the clock. Americans lining up to give blood (another
perennial good idea).

One more image from that time six years ago - flags, many flags,
flying in unison with yellow ribbons.

Let's honor them again and show our colors on Sept. 11.

Unfurl a flag on that day of all days.



You want to stop racism? Send in the clowns!!

This is so cool! Start treating this behavior like the stupidness that it is!! Article follows:
Saturday May 26th the VNN Vanguard Nazi/KKK group attempted to host a hate rally to try to take advantage of the brutal murder of a white couple for media and recruitment purposes.

Unfortunately for them the 100th ARA (Anti Racist Action) clown block came and handed them their a*ses by making them appear like the a*ses they were.

Alex Linder the founder of VNN and the lead organizer of the rally kicked off events by rushing the clowns in a fit of rage, and was promptly arrested by 4 Knoxville police officers who dropped him to the ground when he resisted and dragged him off past the red shiny shoes of the clowns.

"White Power!" the Nazi's shouted, "White Flour?" the clowns yelled back running in circles throwing flour in the air and raising separate letters which spelt "White Flour".

"White Power!" the Nazi's angrily shouted once more, "White flowers?" the clowns cheers and threw white flowers in the air and danced about merrily.

"White Power!" the Nazi's tried once again in a doomed and somewhat funny attempt to clarify their message, "ohhhhhh!" the clowns yelled "Tight Shower!" and held a solar shower in the air and all tried to crowd under to get clean as per the Klan's directions.

At this point several of the Nazi's and Klan members began clutching their hearts as if they were about to have a heart attack. Their beady eyes bulged, and the veins in their tiny narrow foreheads beat in rage. One last time they screamed "White Power!"

The clown women thought they finally understood what the Klan was trying to say. "Ohhhhh?" the women clowns said. "Now we understand?", "WIFE POWER!" they lifted the letters up in the air, grabbed the nearest male clowns and lifted them in their arms and ran about merrily chanting "WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER!"

It was at this point that several observers reported seeing several Klan members heads exploding in rage and they stopped trying to explain to the clowns what they wanted.

Apparently the clowns fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the rally, they believed it was a clown rally and came in force to support their pointy hated brethren. To their dismay, despite their best jokes and stunts and pratfalls the Nazis and Klan refused to laugh, and indeed became enraged at the clowns misunderstanding and constant attempts to interpret the clowns instruction.

The clowns on the other hand had a great time and thought the Nazis were the funniest thing they had ever seen and the loud laughter of over 100 counter protesters greeted every attempt of the Nazis and Klan to get their message out, whatever that was.

Many of the local Knoxvillians that came to counter demonstrate had no illusions about why these out of state bad clowns with swastikas were doing in their town.




Were just a few of the chants that the non clown counter protesters rained down upon the Nazis. The clowns interacted with the non clown protesters with glee and even participated in a chant or two, though apparently with no idea that the Nazis were indeed not clowns thinking it was just part of the show.

In the end the 20 or so sad VNNers left with their tails between their legs. At this point over 150 counter demonstraters were present. The clowns seeing how dejected and sad the Nazi's looked began singing to cheer them up.

"hey hey hey hey, ho ho ho ho-good bye, good bye" everyone sang waving their arms in the air in unison.

After the VNNers left in their shiny SUVs to go back to Alabama and all the other states that they were from the clowns and counter demonstrators began to march out of the area chanting 'WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!"

But the cops stopped the clowns and counter protestors. "Hey, do you want an escort" an African-American police officer on a motorcycle asked. "Yes" a clown replied. "We are walking to Market Square in the center of town to celebrate."

The police officers got in front of the now anti racist parade and blocked the entire road for the march through the heart of Knoxville. An event called imagination station was taking place and over 15,000 thousand students and their parents were in town that weekend. Many of them cheered as the clowns, Knoxvillians and counter protestors marched through the heart of Knoxville singing and laughing at the end of the Nazi's first attempt at having a rally in Knoxville.

Might I add what a beautiful thing it is to read that the police were cooperating with the anti-racist public, and not facilitating the racists? Much still needs to be done in places like TN, but clearly, much has already been accomplished!



On Being Happy

"We should try never to let our happy frame of mind be disturbed. Whether we are suffering at present or have suffered in the past, there is no reason to be unhappy. If we can remedy it, why be unhappy? And if we cannot, what use is there being depressed about it? That just adds unhappiness and does no good at all." - Dalai Lama


Ebay Auction - archived on owners' blog... funny, and true!!

Been here, and done this!! LaVeda

I'm reprinting the auction here before Ebay takes it down.

I'm selling a bunch of Pokemon cards. Why? Because my kids sneaked
them into my shopping cart while at the grocery store and I ended up
buying them because I didn't notice they were there until we got home.
How could I have possibly not noticed they were in my cart, you ask?
Let me explain.

You haven't lived until you've gone grocery shopping with six kids in
tow. I would rather swim, covered in bait, through the English
Channel, be a contestant on Fear Factor when they're having pig brains
for lunch, or do fourth grade math than to take my six kids to the
grocery store. Because I absolutely detest grocery shopping, I tend to
put it off as long as possible. There comes a time, however, when
you're peering into your fridge and thinking, 'Hmmm, what can I make
with ketchup, Italian dressing, and half an onion,' that you decide
you cannot avoid going to the grocery store any longer. Before
beginning this most treacherous mission, I gather all the kids
together and give them "The Lecture".

"The Lecture" goes like this…
MOM: "We have to go to the grocery store."
KIDS: "Whine whine whine whine whine."
MOM: "Hey, I don't want to go either, but it's either that or we're
eating cream of onion-ketchup soup and drinking Italian dressing for
dinner tonight."
KIDS: "Whine whine whine whine whine."
MOM: "Now here are the rules: do not ask me for anything, do not poke
the packages of meat in the butcher section, do not test the laws of
physics and try to take out the bottom can in the pyramid shaped
display, do not play baseball with oranges in the produce section, and
most importantly, do not try to leave your brother at the store.

OK, the kids have been briefed. Time to go.

Once at the store, we grab not one, but two shopping carts. I wear the
baby in a sling and the two little children sit in the carts while I
push one cart and my oldest son pushes the other one. My oldest
daughter is not allowed to push a cart. Ever. Why? Because the last
time I let her push the cart, she smashed into my ankles so many
times, my feet had to be amputated by the end of our shopping trip.
This is not a good thing. You try running after a toddler with no feet

At this point, a woman looks at our two carts and asks me, "Are they
all yours?" I answer good naturedly, "Yep!

"Oh my, you have your hands full."

"Yes, I do, but it's fun!" I say smiling. I've heard all this before.
In fact, I hear it every time I go anywhere with my brood.

We begin in the produce section where all these wonderfully,
artistically arranged pyramids of fruit stand. There is something so
irresistibly appealing about the apple on the bottom of the pile, that
a child cannot help but try to touch it. Much like a bug to a zapper,
the child is drawn to this piece of fruit. I turn around to the sounds
of apples cascading down the display and onto the floor. Like Indiana
Jones, there stands my son holding the all-consuming treasure that he
just HAD to get and gazing at me with this dumbfounded look as if to
say, "Did you see that??? Wow! I never thought that would happen!"

I give the offending child an exasperated sigh and say, "Didn't I tell
you, before we left, that I didn't want you taking stuff from the
bottom of the pile???"

"No. You said that you didn't want us to take a can from the bottom of
the pile. You didn't say anything about apples."

With superhuman effort, I resist the urge to send my child to the moon
and instead focus on the positive - my child actually listened to me
and remembered what I said!!! I make a mental note to be a little more
specific the next time I give the kids The Grocery Store Lecture.

A little old man looks at all of us and says, "Are all of those your kids?"

Thinking about the apple incident, I reply, "Nope. They just started
following me. I've never seen them before in my life."

OK, now onto the bakery section where everything smells so good, I'm
tempted to fill my cart with cookies and call it a day. Being on a
perpetual diet, I try to hurry past the assortment of pies, cakes,
breads, and pastries that have my children drooling. At this point the
chorus of "Can we gets" begins.

"Can we get donuts?"
"Can we get cupcakes?"
"Can we get muffins?"
"Can we get pie?"

You'd think they'd catch on by this point, but no, they're just getting started.

In the bakery, they're giving away free samples of coffee cake and of
course, my kids all take one. The toddler decides he doesn't like it
and proceeds to spit it out in my hand. (That's what moms do. We put
our hands in front of our children's mouths so they can spit stuff
into them. We'd rather carry around a handful of chewed up coffee
cake, than to have the child spit it out onto the floor. I'm not sure
why this is, but ask any mom and she'll tell you the same.) Of course,
there's no garbage can around, so I continue shopping one-handed while
searching for someplace to dispose of the regurgitated mess in my

In the meat department, a mother with one small baby asks me, "Wow!
Are all six yours?"
I answer her, "Yes, but I'm thinking of selling a couple of them."

(Still searching for a garbage can at this point.)

Ok, after the meat department, my kids' attention spans are spent.
They're done shopping at this point, but we aren't even halfway
through the store. This is about the time they like to start having
shopping cart races. And who may I thank for teaching them this fun
pastime? My seventh "child", also known as my husband. While I'm
picking out loaves of bread, the kids are running down the aisle
behind the carts in an effort to get us kicked out of the store. I put
to stop to that just as my son is about to crash head on into a giant
cardboard cut-out of a Keebler elf stacked with packages of cookies.

Ah! Yes! I find a small trash can by the coffee machine in the cereal
aisle and finally dump out the squishy contents of my hand. After
standing in the cereal aisle for an hour and a half while the kids
perused the various cereals, comparing the marshmallow and cheap,
plastic toy content of each box, I broke down and let them each pick
out a box. At any given time, we have twenty open boxes of cereal in
my house.

As this is going on, my toddler is playing Houdini and maneuvering his
little body out of the seat belt in an attempt to stand up in the
cart. I'm amazed the kid made it to his second birthday without
suffering a brain damaging head injury. In between trying to flip
himself out of the cart, he sucks on the metal bars of the shopping
cart. Mmmm, can you say "influenza"?

The shopping trip continues much like this. I break up fights between
the kids now and then and stoop down to pick up items that the toddler
has flung out of the cart. I desperately try to get everything on my
list without adding too many other goodies to the carts.

Somehow I manage to complete my shopping in under four hours and head
for the check-outs where my kids start in on a chorus of, "Can we have
candy?" What evil minded person decided it would be a good idea to put
a display of candy in the check-out lanes, right at a child's eye
level? Obviously someone who has never been shopping with children.

As I unload the carts, I notice many extra items that my kids have
sneaked in the carts unbeknownst to me. I remove a box of Twinkies, a
package of cupcakes, a bag of candy, and a can of cat food (we don't
even have a cat!). I somehow missed the box of Pokemon cards however
and ended up purchasing them unbeknownst to me. As I pay for my
purchases, the clerk looks at me, indicates my kids, and asks, "Are
they all yours?"

Frustrated, exhausted from my trip, sick to my stomach from writing
out a check for $289.53, dreading unloading all the groceries and
putting them away and tired of hearing that question, I look at the
clerk and answer her in my most sarcastic voice, "No. They're not
mine. I just go around the neighborhood gathering up kids to take to
the grocery store because it's so much more fun that way."

So, up for auction is an opened (they ripped open the box on the way
home from the store) package of Pokemon cards. There are 44 cards
total. They're in perfect condition, as I took them away from the
kiddos as soon as we got home from the store. Many of them say
"Energy". I tried carrying them around with me, but they didn't work.
I definitely didn't have any more energy than usual. One of them is
shiny. There are a few creature-like things on many of them. One is
called Pupitar. Hee hee hee Pupitar! (Oh no! My kids' sense of humor
is rubbing off on me!) Anyway, I don't think there's anything special
about any of these cards, but I'm very much not an authority on
Pokemon cards. I just know that I'm not letting my kids keep these as
a reward for their sneakiness.

Shipping is FREE on this item. Insurance is optional, but once I drop
the package at the post office, it is no longer my responsibility. For
example, if my son decides to pour a bottle of glue into the envelope,
or my daughter spills a glass of juice on the package, that's my
responsibility and I will fully refund your money. If, however, I take
the envelope to the post office and a disgruntled mail carrier sets
fire to it, a pack of wild dogs rip into it, or a mail sorting machine
shreds it, it's out of my hands, so you may want to add insurance. I
will leave feedback for you as soon as I've received your payment. I
will be happy to combine shipping on multiple items won within three
days. This comes from a smoke-free, pet-free, child-filled home.
Please ask me any questions before placing your bid. Happy bidding! :)



Google works for patients, doctors

Vindicated at last!!



SkyNet, anyone?

Sometimes, we just need to keep the line between fiction and real life firmly demarcated!! (there's a new word for ya, lol!!)

UAV swarms

The skies above future battlefields are likely to be filled with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) monitoring the action and homing in on enemy targets. But how do you control a sky full of UAVs, particularly when communications links with the ground are patchy?

Perhaps you don't have to. Yossi Ben-Asher and colleagues at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel, say UAVs can control themselves instead.

Their idea is for a swarm of UAVs to create its own communications network and swap the information needed to calculate flight paths and avoid collisions. This not only eliminates the need for constant communication with the ground, it can also be used to make the aircraft swarm together, like a flock of birds.

This swarming behaviour can then be used to mount more effective attacks, the team says. The UAVs could monitor a target and decide for themselves how best to attack it, based on the position of each aircraft and the weapons it is carrying.

The patent application stops short of explaining how the final decision to engage is taken. Presumably somebody on the ground has to give the go-ahead. But how long before technology like this makes the military think it can dispense with even this step?


Hot Gas in Space Mimics Life As We Know It

No, I'm not talking about life on Capitol Hill !!



This is taking government control too far!!

In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission.

Derivative article

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