Tim, age 12, is very serious about his studies.
We're in Tapestry of Grace, Year 2, studying the medieval world. Right now the focus is on the development of the church and monastic life in the first couple of centuries after the fall of Rome. Last week I gave Tim a page of suggested projects and activities for the next two weeks, and he read through them and made a list of some he wanted to do. He researched monasteries, common names for medieval monks, vows they took, Books of Days, etc.
Yesterday afternoon he decided he wanted to try out a monk's life, so he took a Vow of Silence until noon today. He also decided to fast until lunchtime today (meaning no supper last night, no snacks, no breakfast.) He read that in many monasteries, the monks had only one meal a day during the winter.
He thought about a Vow of Poverty, too, until we mentioned something about the Game Cube and he (silently) allowed as how he probably wasn't that devout.
Things went along fine in his planning until he got down to the Vow of Chastity and asked what that was. I told him that so far he was doing fine in that department.
It's really quiet around here...
Quick. Cover the children's ears:
LONDON (AP) - On the streets of Birmingham, the queen's English is now the queens English.
England's second-largest city has decided to drop apostrophes from all its street signs, saying they're confusing and old-fashioned.
But some purists are downright possessive about the punctuation mark.
It seems that Birmingham officials have been taking a hammer to grammar for years, quietly dropping apostrophes from street signs since the 1950s. Through the decades, residents have frequently launched spirited campaigns to restore the missing punctuation to signs denoting such places as "St. Pauls Square" or "Acocks Green."
This week, the council made it official, saying it was banning the punctuation mark from signs in a bid to end the dispute once and for all.
It'll be here before you know it. We're next, I can just feel it in my bones.
There could be an upside, you know. We wouldn't have to endure the ugly sights at produce stalls:
To sticklers, a missing or misplaced apostrophe can be a major offense.
British grammarians have railed for decades against storekeepers' signs advertising the sale of "apple's and pear's," or pubs offering "chip's and pea's."
All my work. Down the tube's.
Its a catastrophe for the apostrophe in Britain
Our hopeful, compelling new president shouldn't have gone with this bill. He made news this week by going to the House to meet with Republicans. He could have made history by listening to them.
It's very good. Read it all.
Labels: Political Observation
Okay, Junior, get out your science book and turn to our chapter on bird migration. Do you remember what we talked about yesterday? Why do birds fly south in winter? Right! And when they fly farther south than usual, what does that tell us?
Poor snowy owls must be so confused with the papers telling them in one decade that their behavior means one thing, and then a few decades later attributing it to the opposite. How's a bird to know which way is up?
But this simple explanation--snowy owls are following cold weather and snow southward--escapes the Associated Press. To the AP, the owl's behavior is a mystery. Maybe a shortage of lemmings is driving the owls south? But no! The lemming population is thriving. That being the case, it's an insoluble puzzle. The obvious explanation, cold weather, is unmentionable.
What's doubly absurd about this is that when species have moved North, the AP and other news outlets have robotically attributed the migration to global warming. Like moths, opossums, and various flora and fauna.
In 1974, when armadillos were moving southward, Time magazine saw a "telltale sign" of global cooling that threatened the survival of humankind. But that was then, and this is now. The media are trying to sell global warming rather than global cooling these days, so if a cold-loving animal packs up and moves south, it can only be a mystery.
The Name is a Clue
Grammar Geek Alert: this is not a there-their-they're post. This one will tick off 90% of you. But hey, I've taken lots of suggestions for W.O.W. in the past few posts. This time, I'm going to discuss one that's getting on my nerves. Most of you aren't bothered by this one, but I'm tellin' ya, my ear HATES this one and it's only gotten worse now that there's a commercial FOX News has been playing lately that prominently features the term, "Well-paying job."
What's wrong with that, you ask?
Well, part of the reason it's so annoying to me is that despite the fact that it sounds WRONG to me, I couldn't articulate why. Now that I've dissected it, I don't feel much better, but I'm going to get it out of my system once and for all. For today.
So a "well-paying job" is, obviously, one that pays well. But unfortunately, it doesn't work grammatically. Let's think about it. Job is a noun. We modify nouns with adjectives. We landed a "good job." Good is an adjective. So is the job a volunteer job, or a paying job? Now we're describing the possible job with two other adjectives. Fine so far.
Now to get a little deeper into the grammar text...we normally modify adjectives with other adjectives. We don't buy a lightly green dress or taste a juicily ripe apple. (Yes, there are numerous exceptions, but they fall into distinct categories. This doesn't seem to fall in one of those.) And we don't accept a lowly-paying job, or even a highly-paying job. It's either low-paying, or high-paying. (I'm aware that lowly can also be an adjective, but not in this sense.)
So then what's with well-paying?
Well is an adverb. Most of the time. It's an adjective when you're discussing whether you're sick or well, but that's not the operative function here. When you are paid well, you're compensated adequately, and well is the adverb that describes or modifies the verb paid. But in the term "well-paying," the paying part is NOT functioning as a verb. Remember, it's the adjective describing job. So modifying it with an adverb can sound awkward to the tuned ear. It needs to be modified by an adjective.
All right, to get even stickier, paying looks like a verb, right? And in many cases it is. I'll be paying you on Friday. (Yeah, I've heard that one before.) And since many people aren't aware that in the phrase well-paying the paying is not a verb, they feel perfectly justified in modifying it with a good adverb like well.
Well...if well-paying isn't correct, then what is? Good-paying? Uh, technically (and nauseatingly), yes. But as the snooty John Kerry discovered in 2004 when he repeatedly used the term good-paying jobs, being too correct these days can brand you either elitist or stupid. Or both. Don't get me started on John Kerry...but he was (unadvisedly) correct about the jobs. He just didn't get the chance to create those millions of good-paying jobs.
Hmmm....what to do, what to do. Several years ago, one of my favorite grammar gurus, the late James Kilpatrick, addressed this in his column, opting not to use the technically correct but ill-sounding (did ya catch that?) good-paying, and instead coming closer to the Granny disposition of things:
Elena Brenna of Port Ludlow, Wash., winces at news that college graduates will be hard put in June to find "well-paying" jobs. Should it be "good-paying" jobs or "well-paid" jobs? The court dismisses "good-paying" and inclines toward "well-paid," but recommends "jobs that pay well."
Granny's verdict: You can make a case (and believe me, I haven't begun to scratch the surface) for either well-paying or good-paying. Current convention favors the former; fastidious grammarians prefer the latter and eschew the former. I don't like the option of "well-paid jobs" either, because jobs aren't paid -- people are. The safest advice, then is just to recast it. Don't get caught trying to sound correct and then "outed" by people who know better. Just say it another way. You don't want the John Kerrys of the world looking down on you, now do you?
If anyone wished to know what the baby-boomer generation would do when, in its full maturity, it hit its first self-created, big-time recession, I think we are seeing the hysterical results. After two decades of unprecedented economic growth, rampant consumer spending, and unimaginable borrowing to satisfy our insatiable appetites, we are suddenly going into even larger debt and printing trillions of dollars in paper money to ensure that someone else after we are gone pays the debt. As if the permanent solution to a financial panic and years of spending wealth we didn't create were a government take-over of the economy in the manner we currently witness in Spain, Italy, and Greece—or the high-tax, high-spend ethos of a bankrupt California.
hat tip: The Papa
1) Transparency is one of those words, like "is," that doesn't mean what you think it means.
Courtesy Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
2) If you are the secretary of state, you can extend your purview to pretty much everything, becoming the de facto president, if you call it all a matter of national security.
Courtesy Hillary Clinton and Todd Stern.
3) You can flout whatever laws you want and totally get away with it IF you're deemed important enough that the nation can't do without you.
Courtesy Timothy Geithner.
4) You can garner at least some political goodwill in the last week of your unincarcerated life by claiming to have considered naming Oprah to the senate.
Courtesy Rod Blagojovech.
5) You can disregard the wishes and welfare of your constituents and volunteer to give terrorists a comfy home in your back yard and get away with it because the country already knows you're operating on only one cylinder.
Courtesy Jack Murtha.
6) You can solidify your position with your base by promoting billions of dollars in spending on birth control and claiming it will be an economic stimulus (despite the fact that other countries will vociferously disagree).
Courtesy Nancy Pelosi.
7) The way to help the ailing auto industry is to saddle it with more restrictions on mileage and emissions while pumping billions of dollars into its other end.
Courtesy U. S. Congress.
8) A woman can never please everyone by what she wears. Especially the "ethnic" design lobby.
Courtesy Michelle Obama.
9) If you're a criminal, it's called "recidivism." If you're a terrorist, it's called "resettlement."
Courtesy ACLU and friends.
10) You can duck out as fast and as cluelessly as you ducked in.
Courtesy Caroline K. Schlossberg.
There are more, but my brain is full.
Labels: Political Observation
Meeting Jesus' family, Simeon played a special role. He prophesied about their future, he praised God for their present, and he blessed them so they would someday remember this moment and rejoice that God had been with them from the start.
It's good for parents to help mold an appropriate vision for their children's future. How doubly powerful this would be if it also came from the previous generation -- grandparents and elder church members who'd play more than Santa Claus and take on the prophetic role of a Simeon, saying, "This is the kind of person I see God has fashioned you to be."
Similarly, in a society where too many of us suffer from a bewildering sense of aimlessness, what a vibrant task it could be for our elders to reassure us with their praises to God for our lives, the way Simeon praised God for the life of Jesus. These praises could be a beautiful form of offering--just one way that mature people could shepherd others who are still early in their journeys. I like the way Bill McConnell expresses such offerings in his poem "Community Life."
Old trees, hospitable as small towns
no longer afraid that high water, fire
or some endemic blight
will shrivel early growth
but now satisfied
that more summers and winters
will not dislodge them,
landmarks, reference points, sanctuary--
to hearten pilgrims
whose songs still tremble, newborn.
hat tip: Lyric. Thank you.
hat tip: The Papa
British man killed wife over 'single' Facebook status
Much has been made of the embarrassing mistake committed by Chief Justice Roberts on Inauguration Day. This is the first explanation I've heard that blames it on grammatical fastidiousness:
On Tuesday, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the Flubber Hall of Fame when he administered the presidential oath of office apparently without notes. Instead of having Barack Obama “solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States,” Chief Justice Roberts had him “solemnly swear that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully.” When Mr. Obama paused after “execute,” the chief justice prompted him to continue with “faithfully the office of president of the United States.” (To ensure that the president was properly sworn in, the chief justice re-administered the oath Wednesday evening.)
How could a famous stickler for grammar have bungled that 35-word passage, among the best-known words in the Constitution? Conspiracy theorists and connoisseurs of Freudian slips have surmised that it was unconscious retaliation for Senator Obama’s vote against the chief justice’s confirmation in 2005. But a simpler explanation is that the wayward adverb in the passage is blowback from Chief Justice Roberts’s habit of grammatical niggling.
To find out exactly which grammatical "rule" supposedly tripped up the chief justice, go here.
My sneaking suspicion is that it was simply nerves.
Oaf of Office
Just be sure to explain your rationale to Sasha and Malia ahead of time, because if the terrorists have their way, soon it will be too late.
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - An Internet posting purportedly by al-Qaida in Yemen says the group's No. 2 is a Saudi national who is a former Guantanamo detainee.
The Yemeni group - known as "al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula" - posted the statement this week on a militant Web site that regularly carries al-Qaida messages.
It says the man returned to his home in Saudi Arabia after his release from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba about a year ago and from there went to Yemen to join the terror group.
Report: Ex-Gitmo detainee joins al-Qaida in Yemen
UPDATE: Better article here:
Guantánamo detainee resurfaces in terrorist group
Labels: Political Observation
The ever-gracious Nancy Pelosi:
Pelosi said one of her favorite moments from Inauguration Day was when Marine One lifted off the Capitol grounds, signifying former President George W. Bush's exit from Washington. "It felt like a 10-pound anvil was lifted off my head," she said.
To comment the way I'm tempted to would make me sound way too much like her.
Labels: Political Observation
We're back this week with a couple of expressions that are often mis-spoken because they're "mis-heard." A few months ago we discussed the silliness of "all of the sudden" instead of the correct "all of A sudden." Here is another of those, followed by a non-word used as a word:
Raise your hand if you've ever heard someone (if it was you, you don't need to raise your hand) say, "For all intensive purposes, ..."? Now I'm not going to be nosy...perhaps your purposes are indeed very intensive. But being your Grammar Granny, I must inform you that the proper phrase is, "For all intents and purposes, ...". It's a pretty hackneyed expression and so I wouldn't recommend using it too often, but if you're going to write or say it, try to be very intensive about your accuracy in usage :-)
And then, regarding "irregardless." Please don't. RegardLESS already means "without regard to," or informally, "Nevertheless." When you include the prefix "ir" you are making a negative into a double negative, which actually (re)creates the positive. So "irregardless" ends up meaning the exact opposite of what you think you're saying. In the comments, someone is bound to tell me that they've found "irregardless" in the dictionary. Don't bother. While Granny is somewhat tolerant of language changes as a result of increased usage, such as nouns "morphing" into verbs, she is very INtolerant regarding dictionaries seeking to become popular bestsellers by accepting flat-out errors once they've become commonplace.
We must have standards, regardless.
hat tip: Lyric
“This man is Jesus”: Kenyans expecting food, jobs, schools from Obama
hat tip: The Papa
Labels: Political Observation
For those of you doing Tapestry of Grace Year 2, or using another curriculum and covering the Fall of Rome through the Reformation, here's a neat site The Papa found about the so-called "Dark Ages."
Top 10 Reasons The Dark Ages Were Not Dark
hat tip: The Papa
APPosted: 2009-01-21 11:07:39PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) - Bus drivers in northwest Pakistan have begun removing audio and video equipment from their vehicles after Taliban militants threatened suicide attacks against those who played music or movies for their passengers, an industry official said Tuesday.
Transport workers in Mardan town received letters this week from militants saying that buses offering such entertainment were guilty of spreading "vulgarity and obscenity," Walid Mir, general secretary of the town's transport union, told The Associated Press.
The militants said they would check the buses and that suicide attacks would be carried out against vehicles that still had audio and video equipment - prompting union members to act quickly, Mir said.
The Taliban letter complained that traveling in buses that provide audiovisual entertainment was a "source of mental agony for pious people," according to a text obtained by AP.
"It is obligatory on us to stop such violations. We request you to remove the vulgar systems ... otherwise suicide bombers are ready," the letter said.
Taliban demands end to music on Pakistan buses
In September, an HSLDA member family in Sinton was visited by a social worker who had a list of allegations an anonymous tipster had called in. The list included that the family homeschools, that the children are sent to bed “really early” and do not play with neighbor kids, and that there are firearms in the home.
The family knew better than to let the social worker into their home and called Home School Legal Defense Association for help. Senior Counsel Chris Klicka took the call and advised the family to let the social worker see the children, so she knew they were fine. In addition, Klicka had the family tell the social worker that he would be contacting her soon to set up an appointment.
After the social worker left, Klicka had the family compile letters of reference from relatives and friends who could vouch for the care the parents provide. In addition, Klicka drafted a letter and sent it to the social worker explaining that all the allegations were false. Klicka did confirm that the family does indeed homeschool their children and also keeps firearms in their home (although locked and inaccessible to children).
The letter further explained that homeschooling is legal, and that the family followed the Texas Supreme Court’s guidelines for operating a homeschool program. Klicka also explained that the possession of firearms in the home was legal, and that the firearms did not present a danger since they were kept completely out of reach of the children.
The letter indicated that the parents would be willing to schedule a time for the social worker to visit their house and talk to them about their children. Klicka made it clear, however, that the family would decline any request to enter their home and interview their children since the family already let the social worker see, and talk briefly with the children, during the initial visit.
After receiving the letters from friends of the family, as well as the letter from attorney Klicka, the social worker arranged to meet the family later and was again able to see for herself that the allegations were false. Social services has since dropped the case.
Bravo to Home School Legal Defense Association for being on top of this and so many other absurd cases.
Family Accused of Sending Kids to Bed Too Early
The text was 1 Peter 2:17, “Honor the king.” I closed with eight ways to honor a pro-choice president. The seventh was this:
We will honor you by expecting from you straightforward answers to straightforward questions. We would not expect this from a con-man, but we do expect it from an honorable man.
- Are you willing to explain why a baby's right not to be killed is less important than a woman's right not to be pregnant?
- Or are you willing to explain why most cities have laws forbidding cruelty to animals, but you oppose laws forbidding cruelty to human fetuses? Are they not at least living animals?
Of course, Mr. Obama is accountable to the people of the United States only in a shadow of the sense in which he's accountable to the God who created the baby. But we must be ready to respectfully ask the questions of him and expect to be honored with honest answers. Read Dr. Piper's two other questions here:
Being Pro-Life Christians Under a Pro-Choice President
OH. MY. GOODNESS.
In just about his last act as president, George W. Bush has declared Washington, D.C., a federal disaster area.
No, seriously. I'm not setting up some lame-o punchline here, like we used to do a decade back in the good old Monica days: "President Clinton today declared his pants a federal disaster area," etc. What happened last week was that the Bush administration formally declared a federal emergency in the District of Columbia.
So what was it? An ice storm? A hurricane?
No, it's the inauguration of his successor.
You can read why here. Along with the larger issue: The change we can believe in will probably be more like a slow creep to the left, unnoticed until it's too late.
hat tip: The Papa
Pray for global warming
(As a side note, I'm amused though not surprised at how the columnist is described at the bottom as "a local conservative columnist for The Flint Journal." Wonder how often they describe the others as "local liberal columnists.")
Well, it's another one of those crazy south Texas days where we had to have the heat on going to church and the air conditioning on coming home. Yeah, in January.
Today was one of the sweetest days ever in the life of our church. A long sermon seemed very short; the music was nothing short of glorious; the brunch following the service was a joy; and the ladies' Bible study tonight was a huge blessing. Thank You, God.
Anne and Caleb have arrived in their new home in Blacksburg, Virginia where Caleb will start back to school on Wednesday. We hope the semester FLIES by because they'll be spending some weeks with us in the late spring/summer!
Is it an Inauguration, a Coronation, or a Beatification? I'm just sayin'....
So after sending my monstrously big ESV Study Bible back (I needed a rolling backpack for it), I'm now looking for a replacement. I've decided that I'm going to go against my principles and actually walk into a store and hold a few in my hands before making another choice. The return shipping could end up costing me the price of one of the good ones!
Is my husband the only one in the country who has to work on MLK Day? Ugh.
People actually eat Nutella. I know they do, because I saw them doing it just tonight. On perfectly good French bread. Seriously.
It's time for the annual Elfa 30% off sale! Yippee!
Good night...hope you get to sleep in tomorrow :-)
Obama team weighs government bank to ease crisis
The Papa says, "Weatherize modest-income homes? Expand broadband internet access? I love the smell of paper money being printed…"
Hold on to your
Stimulus pie chart
hat tip: The Papa
I am not one to begrudge the incoming president a great, even expensive, celebration. But if we're going to preach ecological disaster and communal sacrifice out of one side of our collective mouth, shouldn't we be consistent out the other side?
The carbon footprint of Barack Obama's inauguration could exceed 575 million pounds of CO2. According to the Institute for Liberty, it would take the average U.S. household nearly 60,000 years of naughty ecological behavior to produce a carbon footprint equal to the largest self-congratulatory event in the history of humankind.
The same congressfolk who are now handing out thousands of tickets to this ecological disaster only last year mandated the phased elimination of the incandescent light bulb — a mere carbon tiptoe, if you will. The whole thing seems a bit unfair.
And on a side note from the lower environs of the thermometer:
I've been informed, quite forcefully, that "climate change" can induce weather to warm, make it colder and, miraculously, produce whatever climate condition we happen to be experiencing at that very moment. So I wholeheartedly concur with my environmentalist friends: Climate does indeed make weather fluctuate.
LOL. Read David Harsanyi's whole column here.
hat tip: The Papa
Stimulating Our Way to Rock Bottom
God is not running for office.
Labels: Social Observation
In the meantime, I'm enjoying The Count of Monte Cristo in my ear...
I read a lot. Occasionally I do a short book review here and recommend (or pan) a certain book. Seldom do I present a book as being something everyone should read. And never have I gone so far as to issue a challenge to the readers of Granny's House to choose and read a particular book.
That just changed.
My careful attention to the events in this country in the past few months (and the educated predictions of those who pay attention for a living) have convinced me that it's time to use whatever influence I have to encourage the reading of a book that half a century ago predicted today's political and economic climate and demonstrated what could happen when government decides to be the savior of mankind.
Okay, that sentence was about as long as the book I'm about to recommend.
Yes, it's long. Yes, it's brutal to get through. Yes, it has an element or two that sensitive readers may consider offensive. Yes, it was written by an admitted atheist and a woman not known for purity, morality, or delicacy. But I believe the message and the picture this book portrays is too important for you to ignore if you care about the world your children and grandchildren will inherit and inhabit. If you don't, then you'll accept your portion of the bailouts and shut your eyes to the real, easy to ignore but inevitable consequences. But assuming you are willing to look your grandchildren and generations yet to be born straight in the eyes and admit what you're handing them, you need to read this book. Or listen to it on your iPod. However you do it, read it this year. Become part of the resistance. Care enough about those who come behind you to become the solution.
Some of you lead such busy lives that it will take you six months to get through this book. I predict, though, that the quality of the plot will carry many of you to the end...the economic prescience in the book is not its only claim to fame. It's a darn good story! Other than one or two long soliloquies, the whole thing had me riveted for several weeks and I intend to go back and read it again.
I'll do it for my grandkids.
(Start with this opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal. Then order or download the book and email and tell me you're accepting my challenge. Or if you're brave, declare yourself in the comments. I dare you.)
'Atlas Shrugged': From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years
Atlas Shrugged, audio
Obama climate czar has socialist ties
hat tip: The Papa
Labels: Political Observation
This is one of the busiest weeks, and especially weekends, I have had in years. I have had a stack of school stuff, conference details, HOPE prep, work, home issues (read: washer), church stuff...and I won't be coming up for air until tomorrow night. So the Snippets are on a diet ;-)
Consequently, I can barely tell you who's in the NFL playoffs! Okay, I CAN tell you, but I haven't been able to watch!
Tonight the gals at our church started a six-week Bible study on Galatians, taught by our dear friend Tammy M. She is so good! And it was good for me...it's been soooo long since I've been able to participate in something like this. Here's Tammy, Bible on lap, teaching us....
...and here's the pregnant couch. These gals are all due within about thirty second of each other late this spring, and while they love their Bibles, food and drink are definitely on top ;-)
This week I bought a new Bible and have now packed it up to return it. Too big. Can't do it. And we bought a washer and returned it before it was ever delivered. We had only been home an hour before we knew we'd made a mistake and so we went back and bought another. It's now running happily 17 hours a day and probably has a life of nearly six months left.
I'm headed for bed. Falling asleep typing writing sentence fragments....
Three years and thirteen days ago, Dave and Kristen and four elves backed out of our driveway, headed for their new home in Virginia. They had shared these walls with us for two and a half years before that, and the separation was as painful as an amputation for me.
The three intervening years have brought all kinds of growth in all of us. None of us had any idea if the distance between us would be permanent or whether God would move in some unseen way to erase (or yes, even increase) the miles.
Today, we see glimpses of His next plans for this precious part of our family. Dave is ready for the next step in the vocation he loves...and after some priceless experience with a great home builder in Maryland, he has even more of the tools he needs to be successful in building a business of his own. Next month, the Slaughters will return to San Antonio (one child richer than when they left) and we'd like to think the whole city will be cheering...Granny's House, at least, will be celebrating and thanking God for the opportunity of another season of togetherness.
One season following another...laden with happiness and tears...
Performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate about the same amount of carbon dioxide as boiling a kettle for a cup of tea, according to new research.
While millions of people tap into Google without considering the environment, a typical search generates about 7g of CO2 Boiling a kettle generates about 15g. “Google operates huge data centres around the world that consume a great deal of power,” said Alex Wissner-Gross, a Harvard University physicist whose research on the environmental impact of computing is due out soon. “A Google search has a definite environmental impact.”
After careful computation, I have come to the painful realization that I, a mild-mannered Granny minding her own business, am personally responsible for a 1.1 degree rise in global temperature in the past five years. I have single-handedly melted icecaps from my recliner and caused the extinction of polar bears from my featherbed. The Sahara now extends 46 miles farther in three directions because of my nimble fingers, coupled with my unfortunate ignorance of the consequences of my selfish actions.
I repent. I hereby promise that every time I fall off the wagon and perform a Google search, I will compensate by hanging my next five loads of freshly-washed clothes on a clothesline to dry instead of using electricity, and for one solid week I will refuse to eat meat from animals whose gaseous "emissions" coupled with my technological malfeasance have this earth careening toward destruction.
Revealed: the environmental impact of Google searches
How you can help reduce the footprint of the Web
Labels: Theater of the Absurd
For just one week we should ban the verb "stimulate" and the noun "stimulus" — and substitute instead the more honest "borrow," or "print," or "debt"; as in "The government plans to borrow another $1 trillion for the economy," or "The administration today decided to print another $300 billion in cash." Or "Congress met to consider a $1 trillion debt program." But as it is now, the euphemisms only take us ever more distant from reality, as trillions of dollars are bandied about as if they were mere five and tens in the government wallet.
~~Victor Davis Hanson
hat tip: The Papa
Come on, there's gotta be room in the now trillion-dollar stimulus package for a wad of toilet paper and some light bulbs, huh?
DETROIT -- A Detroit elementary school is asking for donations of toilet paper and light bulbs to continue functioning.
The principal of the Academy of Americas sent a letter to staff, parents and partners asking for donations of items "that are of the utmost importance for proper school functioning and most importantly for student health and safety."
In the letter, Principal Naomi Khalil cited budget constraints within the district as the reason that the school could no longer stock the items.
The district is grappling with a more than $400 million budget deficit and is on the verge of being assigned an emergency financial manager by the state.
The letter asks for toilet paper, paper towel rolls, trash bags and 60-, 100- or 150-watt light bulbs.
What they don't tell you is that if you don't bring it in, they'll just raise the state taxes to cover it. Either way, you'll pay.
But go ahead and stop off here and leave some of the trash bags and the 100-watt bulbs for the school at Granny's House, will ya?
If not, I'll apply for a bailout.
Detroit School Lacks Toilet Paper, Light Bulbs
"Only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe. Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy."Oh God, save us from our government.
~~Barak Obama, January 8, 2009
OR THE RETURN OF THE ORGAN? Oh.my.goodness!
A New York doctor who gave his wife a kidney is suing her for $1.5 million — or the return of the vital organ — after he says she cheated on him with a physical therapist.
Richard Batista, 49, is demanding the sum in the middle of a messy divorce with his now-estranged wife, who suffered kidney ailments for years before the transplant.
The Long Island surgeon said he gave the gift of life to his wife in 2001, but things turned sour just two years later while she was recovering from a karate injury, the New York Post reported.
I'm not sure whether I'd be more worried about her keeping the kidney or that she practices karate. Maybe he'd better let well enough alone.
And I think we might need some help here from the resident medical ethicist at Granny's House. Trish?
New York Man Demands $1.5M From Estranged Wife for Kidney
(BTW...this is almost as good as the headline I once saw on the National Enquirer: "Doctor threatens to rejoin Siamese twins for non-payment of surgical bill!")
Army Apologizes for Sending 'John Doe' Letters to Families of Slain Soldiers
There are issues facing this great nation which outweigh even the economy and Iraq.
In at least one respect, President Barack Obama is not bringing change to Washington. Just like the Bush administration, and the Clintons, and Johnsons before that, Obama will oversee a unencumbered by male children. In the 80 years before the Obama administration, only the Kennedys brought a boy into the White House.
American voters apparently have evolved beyond such simplistic notions of what makes a good head of state, but they were not ever thus. In the 19th century, the occupants of the White House had herds of boys.had four. The Grants had three sons and a daughter. The Hayeses had seven sons and a daughter. The Garfields had seven kids, five of them sons. Not all of these male heirs lived in the White House - many died young, or were too old to be living with their parents - but several did.
So why no modern manlings in the east wing? I have a theory, born of careful historical analysis and solipsism: It's impossible to be elected to the White House if you have young sons, because that would mean you have to campaign with them.
Please go ahead and read the rest here, especially if you're the mother of boys. I would finish reading it with you but my son has locked the cat in the pantry.
hat tip: Trish
The cost of your Whopper is about to go up. And it has nothing to do with inflation.
EPA 'Cow Tax' Could Charge $175 per Dairy Cow to Curb Greenhouse Gases
Labels: Theater of the Absurd
It's obvious that we're not going to have much of a winter here this year. Yes, we've had a few nights down in the 30's but they've all been followed by days in the high 70's and low 80's, mixed in with a few days that have been a bit cooler. Not exactly sweater and boot weather here in south Texas. 'Course we never get a long or truly hard winter, but sometimes we get a few weeks that stay consistently cold in December and January. Guess it won't be this year...
Yesterday I finished my first book of the year, Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. I liked it, but I can understand why kids forced to read it in high school might be tempted to abandon literature altogether. I can't see that it would hold much appeal for high school students, and it's really one that I think appeals to a more feminine audience. It's concise and compelling, in my opinion, but if you choose to read it, DON'T get audible.com's audio version. The narrator stinks.
So all the Christmas stuff is put away and the living areas swept free of pine needles by our sassy new little Roomba. Its humorous tracks in the carpet attest to its thoroughness and bring a big smile to my face. Now if we could just get it to do stairs...
If I never see another piece of Christmas candy it will be too soon. Until after Thanksgiving.
The Papa referred in yesterday's comments to Huntington's 2004 book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Few serious authors have been as reviled as Huntington in the past decade, but many are taking a second look at the way he attempted to tell us what was "in front of our collective nose and to describe it to people who didn't want to hear." Read this opinion piece and then consider reading the book...Sam Huntington was plainly correct.
Sometime tomorrow, my new Bible should arrive. I feel like it's still Christmas :-) (Now we'll see if there's life after NASB...)
And...it's too early in the year for me to have accumulated any more snippets. Enjoy your first full week of 2009!
Brace yourself: this is important reading.
Mark Steyn: Gaza has its version of rocket scientists
Labels: Political Observation
There's a special place in my heart for Psalm 23, as my grandmother used to put me up on her bed and read it to me when I was a little girl. When I was all (or mostly) grown up, Philip Keller's A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 became one of my favorite books and one of the few I've read over and over, most notably during the third trimester of each of my pregnancies.
Now comes a book for children on the 23rd Psalm that I think may be destined for the same "classic" status. Susan Hunt has woven a sweet story through a verse-by-verse explanation of the most beloved Psalm, one that will give children an understanding of the roles and the value of the Great Shepherd. Several of us have this on our wish list to give to our ten-and-under crowd...check it out:
Sammy and His Shepherd
In With the New
hat tip: Lyric
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Governors of five U.S. states urged the federal government to provide $1 trillion in aid to the country's 50 states to help pay for education, welfare and infrastructure as states struggle with steep budget deficits amid a deepening recession.
The governors of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio and Wisconsin -- all Democrats -- said the initiative for the two-year aid package was backed by other governors and follows a meeting in December where governors called on President-elect Barack Obama to help them maintain services in the face of slumping revenues.
(Remember when they were saying, "That's B-illion, not million!"? Well pay attention, folks, because now it's TR-illion, not billion.)
Okay, help me understand this. I happen to live in one of nine states that are currently operating "in the black." Since the other 41 can't seem to keep out of the red (and politically speaking dare not raise their state taxes enough to cover their own expenditures), five of the most brazen of their governors want the FEDERAL government to come up with the money. In other words, say these governors, we can't tell our people we're raising their taxes enough to cover the free college tuition and health care for illegal aliens, so YOU raise the federal income tax enough to cover it. That way, not only do we not have to fight with our own state constituents, we can spread the cost out over those OTHER states who have so obviously and unfairly denied their people (and their illegal "visitors") needed services and therefore are not running deficits.
Hey. I say, what's another trillion. Congress has deep pockets, right?
U.S. governors seek $1 trillion federal assistance
A new Bible, any day now. I have been using the IISB (NASB) as my primary Bible for ten years now, and for nearly fifteen years before that it was The Open Bible (NASB). I'm ready for a change. About five years ago I got a nice study Bible in NKJV and could never get used to it or feel like it was "my own," so I'm a little nervous about making a choice. I have narrowed it down and when I take the plunge (read: hit the "Buy Now" button) I'll let you know which one I'm getting...
A re-reading, after many years, of Oswald Chambers' My Utmost For His Highest. I have the 1963 hardcover edition from the library of my mother, printed when I was just nine years old. The book is copyrighted 1935 (18 years after Chambers' death) and has become almost the definition of a classic. It's already on my bedside table, ready for tonight's first reading.
Hopefully, another 50 books. I managed 51 in 2008, just short of one per week. About half were in audio form. This year will include Crime and Punishment and the next few #1 Ladies Detective Agency volumes, a biography of John Calvin in this 500th anniversary year of his birth, and several others already sitting in my left-hand sidebar.
A purging of our library. It's gotten messy, unwieldy, and therefore un-useful. I want it to continue to be valuable to us and our extended family and friends, and so I need to get it in shape.
Increased use of the public library for our school needs. We go through a massive amount of books in a school year, and because I'm no longer buying books for a stair-step line of younger kids, it's time to put the money elsewhere (college bookstore?) and use the library when I can.
Trimming of my blog feeder. I don't need to read all the ones I've subscribed to and don't need to feel guilty when I see at 11pm that I have "297 unread" blogs or news sites. About a third of what I have on the list is valuable; the rest is clutter.
So far, everything has to do with reading. So...
A purge of our files. They, like our library, are bloated, messy, and outdated. I mean, do we really need electric bills from 2002 and notice that my dental cleaning was paid for by insurance in '04?
Headway on planning, if not actually "building," a new kitchen. This must start, by virtue of a looming crisis, with the reshelving of the rest of our pantry that we started in January of '08. One wall down, two to go.
Revival of my sewing skills and my 27-year old sewing machine to make at least one piece of clothing or home decor item. I've been tempted a few times to replace the machine, but since it's only been used for mending and sewing on of Awana patches in the past few years, I need to determine if there's enough fire left in me to invest in a new one.
Increasing my knowledge of HTML, web design, and other helpful computer skills. This will include an expanded use of Google Docs, which my daughters and I have learned to rely on for multiple uses in the past year.
Scrapping and replacing of our fairly new but despised Dell printer/copier. If you have an extra, oh, $400 a month to waste on ink and would like our printer, sign up here. Or not.
A new vacuum cleaner. I did treat myself to a new Roomba with some gift money, but I haven't unpacked it yet and am not under any illusion that it will replace the human-powered version. As I've noted before, we are the world's unluckiest family when it comes to vacuum cleaners, and the last two were no exception. Not sure if it's the volume of vacuuming we do or some gigantic cosmic curse, but we can't run a machine for longer than two years and many times it's been six months. Oh wait, that was the one I tried to use to vacuum up live geckos. Never mind.
Repainting of the exterior trim of the house and replacing of all the porch railings. Don't even get me started.
Better control of meal planning and grocery buying. I have several tools at my disposal to accomplish this and just need to muster up the will to use them better!
Have you decided on any projects, personal or otherwise, for the new year?