Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Another thought on Net Neutrality...

If the Internet becomes a tiered system, why should any of us use it? What would be the point? If I could only gather my news from, say Fox or CNN, then why would I bother checking out their websites? If we allow the big companies to charge on a tiered system, we are -- in effect -- paying for commercials.

Also, all the Net Neutrality is making strange bedfellows -- the Christian Coalition has aligned itself with MoveOn.org. I never -- NEVER -- in my wildest dreams ever thought those two groups would agree on ANYTHING.

Take the time to work to save the Internet from the likes of Verizon and AT&T -- these people can't keep your data safe from the government and now I'm going to trust them to allow me to view content on the web?


Friday, May 26, 2006

The Worst Side of Being a Nana...

I love my grandsons, who are now 1 year, two weeks and a day. They still aren't talking, nor are they walking, but they sure do get around.

The bad thing about being a Nana is that they are so far away. I only get to see them an average of once per month and I can tell you that isn't often enough. That's the bad.

The good is that Grandpa Dan, who sees them nearly everyday, likes to take pictures and movies and he makes sure that he passes them on. You couldn't ask for a better in-law in that respect. Cheryl and I often comment just how blessed we are to have Dustin's parents, Dan and Michelle, as co-grandparents.

But, anyway, I realized today that I have been remissed in posting pictures! I've hardly posted any in the past couple of months, which means I've been hogging the boys all to myself. So, I thought I would pass on a few shots that Dan has sent down --- BTW, Danny and Alex are both standing, so walking might not be too far off. I hope Dan catches it on video!

Oh, and one last thing -- even though I don't have a picture to post of him on hand -- Happy Birthday to my favorite nephew, Tyler, who turns 14 today and will probably mention that he's my only nephew!

God Bless!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

You can protest...

But you don't have to be rude about it.

Douglas J. Feith has taken a "teaching position at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown". Mr. Feith is a former Pentagon official who has been accused of promoting the war in Iraq using faulty evidence.

I'm not going to make a judgement on Mr. Feith's past or whether or not he should be a teacher. It isn't for me to say, I'm not on the faculty at Georgetown, nor am I a student. (Apparently, Mr. Feith "was hired without a faculty vote." The NY times article mentions that when Madeleine Albright, Anthony Lake and George Tenet joined the faculty, no one protested. But, the article did not say whether or not they were hired without a faculty vote.)

Anyway, my point is this statement:
"I'm not going to shake hands with the guy if he's introduced to me," said Mark N. Lance, a philosophy professor who teaches nonviolence in the program on Justice and Peace and who organized the protest. "And if he asks why, I'll say because in my view you're a war criminal and you have no place on this campus."
Now, that's just rude. You've made your point by protesting his appointment to the faculty and that's enough. Since when did we decide that it is okay to be rude to someone in this country. It happens on the right side of the fence and the left side of the fence with an astounding frequency. There is no reason to be rude to someone because you disagree with their politics.

Case in point, I disagree with President Bush on a lot of matters -- ooh, big surprise there! Anyway, if I was offered an opportunity to go to the White House and have dinner with him -- I WOULD NOT TURN IT DOWN. (So, if you're reading this, Mr. President, I'm free next Friday night.) It would be the polite thing to do.

I knew a guy who's friend was in the military. When Clinton visited the military base on which his friend was stationed, his friend flipped Clinton the bird and received punishment for it. The guy I knew said how unfair that was.

I don't think so.

I would think any serviceperson who flipped Bush the bird would receive the same punishment. It shouldn't be done. If you don't like the President, hold a protest banner, but at least be polite.

So, Mr. Lance, please shake hands and then sit down and rationally, politely discuss the reasons why you don't want Mr. Feith to be on the faculty. Then, try to find some common ground.

And, don't forget to say please and thank you.

God Bless

The End is near...

And it is being led by Verizon, Bell South, AT&T and Time Warner...

First, I barely have the extra money I spend each year to keep my two paid for websites -- topofmyhead.info and eskielover.com -- up and running. I don't make a lot of money from my CafePress site, nor from the few Amazon and Google Ads I have up and running. So, if Congress doesn't choose to protect the little guy -- mainly, me -- I will be dropping off the web and I'm not alone. Many of the blogs that we all like to read are not in a position to stay off if they have to pay an extra fee. Include in that the webcomics and personal webpages and a lot of real Americans will be disenfranchised by the Internet.

Second, I take Online Classes -- will my college be able to pay the extra fees to the carriers so I can bring up a webpage? And, if they don't pay and the page loads slow anyway, why should I bother paying the high fee I pay for Cable Internet Access? If it's going to run slow, then I'll just drop back down to a local dial up service. Won't make any difference to me. I'm sure that a lot of people will continue to pay the high rates, but I wish they wouldn't.

Third, why should I -- who pay for my RoadRunner access and the hosting fee for my websites be expected to have to pay more so my free site can be viewed? Just how many people do these companies think will actually pay for this kind of service?

Here's my suggestion, write a letter to your Internet provider and one of the other ones. Let them know that this is a dumb idea. Trust me, AT&T, Verizon, etc. are all ready making plenty of money off of all of us. If they push for this, I can guarantee you that I will never use any of their products again. Don't really care if I drop Cable TV -- it'll leave a lot more money each month to buy books and rent movies.

God Bless

Hello, Ireland!

So, I was checking out the stats for my page. I like to see just from where my ten readers come. And I noticed that one reader -- who has returned once -- came from County Cork, Ireland. Now, this is a HUGE interest to me, because my great-grandfather, Percy (Patrick) Madigan came from County Cork, Ireland. (Which, if you're interested, makes me a fourth generation Irish American.)

Anyway, I thought just in case my Irish reader wanders back to my blog, I'd say HI!

And, since I was looking, I thought I'd say hi to a few other places, so a big "HI!" to...

Milton, FL
Carlinville, IL -- but I'm sure I'm related to you and say hi all the time.
Beirut, Lebanon
Rogers, AR
Ogden, UT
Madison, WI
Marble Falls, TX
Yukon Territory, Whitehorse, Canada -- you should know, I love to visit Canada!
Whitesburg, KY
Reston, VA
Memphis, TN
Plano, TX

There were more places, but these were the ones with repeat visitors!

Have a great day!

God Bless

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Veteran's Data Stolen...

A Department of Veterans Affairs computer analyst had their laptop and external harddrive stolen from their home. The Department of Veterans Affairs have not identified the individual, but they did say that the person is "administrative leave."

So, let me get this straight, you're not allowed to take home this kind of data -- you do take it home and you get an Administrative Leave?!? Excuse me, does that mean you're still on MY payroll, as it is MY tax dollars that pays YOUR salary?

According to the CNN article, "The computer disk contained the names, Social Security numbers and birth dates of every living veteran from 1975 to the present, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson said Monday."

Okay, my father did not retire from the NAVY until 1976. My younger brother served 18 months in the NAVY between 1988 and 1990. I have a cousin who just left the NAVY last year and a couple more cousins and an Uncle who served in the AIR FORCE. It seems to me that what all this means is that a large portion of my family have their private information compromised.

So, what's the government going to do about this? This information included their Social Security numbers and some information about the service members' spouses.

AND, THEY DIDN'T TELL ANYONE FOR 19 DAYS. Perhaps this was just a random event and the burglar doesn't know what information he/she has, but it's possible that it WASN'T a random event -- where's the information now?

God Bless

Monday, May 22, 2006

"What happens at Georgetown stays at Georgetown"

Chief Justice John Roberts is certainly showing two things as he leads the Supreme Court.

1) He believes in letting the lawyers state their case BEFORE interrupting, which has to be a good thing.


2) He has a sense of humor -- which I'm sure he needs.

In an address he made to Georgetown University's law students, he remarked on the "public scrutiny of the court".

He said, "Look at the graduates around you. Twenty-some years from now, these are the people the press is going to track down to find something embarrassing about you. Today is the day to decide among yourselves, what happens at Georgetown stays at Georgetown."

Funny guy, our Supreme Court Justice.

God Bless

Now the scammers are using God...

I opened my email this am and found the below email in it. At first, I thought it might actually be from someone I know, but then I realized that I don't know this person and I began to recognize it for the scam it truly is.

I'm reprinting it here in the hopes that anyone who reads my blog will point it out to others. I know that somewhere in this country is someone who will actually believe that they will become the beneficiary of $8million dollars out of the kindness of this woman's heart. And, in the process, be ripped off for their entire life savings or something.

In the interest of, well, just because I'm curious. I did send a response letter, asking what she needed me to do. If I receive a reply, you can be sure I'll post it here.

God Bless.

The untouched letter I received:

From: "jack smith"
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2006 5:29 AM

Greetings in the name of God , Pls let this not sound strange to you for my only surviving lawyer who would have done this died early this year.i prayed and got you email id from your countrys chambers of commerce which i have been with my late huband and liked to visit once more if God will in his infinite mercies.

I am Mrs. Kes Manfred ,I am 55 years old, I am deaf and suffering from a long time cancer of the breast which also affected my brain,from all indication my conditions is really deteriorating and it is quite obvious that, according to my doctors they have advised me that i may not live for the next Three months,this is because the cancer stage has gotten to a very badstage.

I was brought up from a motherless babies home, was married to my late husband for twenty years without a child.My husband died in a fatal motor accident.Before his death we were true Christians. Since his death I decided not to re-marry,I sold all my inherited belongings and deposited all the sum of $8million dollars with a Security Company.

Presently, this money is still with them and the management just wrote me as the true owner to come forward to receive the money for keeping it so long or rather issue a letter of authorization to somebody to receive it on my behalf since I can not come over because of my illness or they get it confisticated.

Presently, I'm with my laptop in a hospital where I have been
undergoing treatment for cancer of the lungs. I have since lost my
ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only a few
months to live. It is my last wish to see that this money is invested
to any organisation of your choice and distributed each year among the charity organization,the poor and the motherless babies home where i come from.I want you God fearing, to also use this money to fund churches, orphanages and widows.

I took this decision, before i rest in peace because my time will soon be up. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Security Company.I will also issue you a letter of authority that will prove you as the new beneficiary of my fund. Please assure me that you Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I stated herein.

Hoping to hearing from you soon.

Waiting for your reply.

Yours in Christ ,

Mrs Kes Manfred

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Rambling thoughts about family...

My father is one of nine children -- two died in childhood -- the seven surviving children grew up, married and brought forth 21 grandchildren into the world. Those 21 grandchildren have grown up, married and produced, well, I've forgotten how many "little" cousins I have, but let's just say -- it's a lot! And, I shouldn't call them little, because most of them are taller than me. Out of the 38 marriages in my family, only 7 of them have ended in divorce. That's less than an 18% divorce rate, which is well below the national average of 50%.

Yesterday, Cheryl and I had the honor of attending my Aunt Ellen's 75th birthday party. When I was growing up, going over to Aunt Ellen and Uncle Marvin's house was a great treat. We were allowed to play games and be a part of the adult conversation. Uncle Marvin and Aunt Ellen could even get Santa Claus to show up on Christmas Eve!

Anyway, Cheryl made a comment last night about how little my family drank. A few beers or a couple glasses of wine, but no one got drunk or acted like a fool, etc. For Cheryl, who had been married into a big drinking family prior to being with me, this is highly unusual. Even after our ten years together, she can't get over how my family joins together in celebrations that don't end in arguments or someone being a sloppy drunk.

This morning when I went to church, one of the ladies mentioned that if she had to do it all over again, she probably wouldn't bring a child into this world. She mentioned issues she had with her kids and a few of the other families who had troubled children and she, knowing that Cheryl and I are trying for children, asked me if I was sure that I wanted to bring a child into this world. I smiled and told her that I was sure.

And, it got me thinking about my family. Growing up as a Totsch meant that you could have a good time, but there were standards you needed to keep. You didn't have to be the star basketball player or the CEO, but you needed to play and work as if you were. To be a Totsch means that when you see someone in need -- whether family or friend -- you give them a helping hand. Look up the word family values in the dictionary and you'll find a picture of my family.

I don't know what makes a child grow up to be a productive member of society, but somehow, my family seems to know how to pass it on. Maybe it's just good genes or maybe, it is the sense of history and family pride that our parents have passed down to my generation and now we're passing down to our kids.

I just hope that when it is my turn, I figure out of way to pass it down to my offspring.

God Bless

Saturday, May 20, 2006


So, a few days ago I went over to a friend's house and we were discussing the President's speech on immagration. First, my friend complained that the illegals didn't pay any taxes and therefore, don't belong here. Plus, she said, our tax dollars go to educate their children and pay for their hospital bills, etc. Well, I countered with the fact that personally I think anyone who wants to be an American should be allowed to live here. Immagration laws are just a lot of BS. Plus, the illegals are usually taking the jobs that legal Americans don't want anyway. And, since my tax dollars go to support a school system I neither benefitted from personally nor sent my child to, frankly, adding a couple extra kids didn't matter much to me. I pay a lot in taxes -- more than my friend, since she's married and can write off her children, etc. -- so I really don't want to hear anyone whine about where their tax dollars go. (Just a sidenote, I benefit the least from government programs and laws to protect my rights and yet, I pay more in taxes than a married couple who earn a lot more and can write more off. Doesn't seem fair to me.)

Anyway, we then -- carrying over the fact that illegal immagrants usually take jobs legal Americans don't want to do -- I stated that a white American isn't going to take a job picking fruit or vegatables and black Americans don't want to do it either. And, my friend answered, "Blacks don't want to work anyway."

Now, how can anyone in my generation make a comment like that? Where do you learn crap like that? Her parents are younger than mine, so could she have learned it from them? And, why would you want to teach your child an untrue stereotype of another race? Don't all our kids have to work together? Won't all the races in this country have to stand together to keep this great nation of ours going?

Then, I realized, my friend spent part of her childhood in the south, as did her husband, who feels the same way. Does that have something to do with the differences in our feelings toward the different races? I spent all of my schooling years safe and sound in the intergrated North. My classmates -- who worked just as hard as I did -- were a mix of blacks, latinos and asian. I didn't once think that somehow I'm better than a classmate because I was white and they weren't.

I guess this comment my friend made was just a big slap in the face. I pretty much thought that racism -- at least for my generation -- was a thing of the past. In our childhoods, we studied together, played together and sat in classes together. We spent time, if not learning about our differences, at least we complained about our homework together.

Anyway, I guess I'm still in shock. How can my generation contain such open racists?

God Bless

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Only Two?

I read in blogs and see it on the news the rampant corruption that has allegedly infested our Congress and only two Congressmen -- one from the Dems and one from the Repubs -- are actually going to be investigated?

Is this suppose to be some sort of sacrificed offering -- Let's give them something and make all this ethics stuff go away?

Or, are most of our lawmakers law abiding citizens? (Wait, that CAN'T be it).

God Bless

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Unmarried - Living Together -- Don't move to Black Jack, MO

Have you seen this story? The Black Jack, MO City Council voted against changing an obviously outdated city ordinance that "prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by 'blood, marriage or adoption.'"

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving moved into a home and were denied an occupancy permit -- you need a permit in order to live somewhere? What is this, Russia? -- to live together with their three children (one of whom is not biologically related to Loving).

The Mayor of Black Jack issued this statement: "The purpose of these occupancy permit laws generally is to avoid overcrowding by non-related parties, assure the lifelong maintenance of the city's housing stock, prevent new buyers from being obligated to repair residences that were not kept up to code, preserve the character of the neighborhoods and the city, and to protect the general safety and welfare of the city's residents."

So, they're assuming that the character of the neighborhood will be lowered if Loving and Shelltrack are allowed to remain there.

The couple moved into a five-bedroom home -- doesn't that mean something? These are people who can afford a bigger home than most, so I'm sure they'll keep it in good condition.

This is just further proof that we're all going to Hell in a handbasket.

God Bless

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Are you listening, President Bush?

I call my mom from my cellphone quite a bit. It's easier for me to put my earplug in and yak with her on my drive home from work. Plus, I miss calling my now deceased grandmother on my long drives home and it is nice to talk to Mom -- most days.

Anyway, Mom is upset about all of this "spying" the government is doing on the average citizen. I tried to explain to her that there is no way for the government to listen in on all of our phone calls. There are 260 million people in this country -- if only half of them place a phone call in a day, that's still 130 million phone calls for the government to track. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not supporting the government's ability to listen in on any call they want without a warrant under any circumstances, but I'm not worried that President Bush is listening in.

My mother, and I think she's kidding, often tells me to watch my language if I say Ass or damn or, on the rare occasion I say something worst. She's worried the government will over hear my call to her and bust me for speaking obscenely. (I really hope she's kidding.)

This past weekend, I tried to explain to her that if the government was listening, they're probably listening for certain words, like bomb, blow up, terrorist, etc. and recording those calls. They can't possiblily be recording ALL of our calls ALL of the time.

So, for my mom's sake, Mr. President, if you are listening to my phone calls, please let my mom know that I'm really not wanted for swearing on the phone.

God Bless

Good Tax Cuts VS Bad Tax Cuts

If Congress wanted to cut taxes that would help the average American, they would raise the limit on Social Security, not give tax breaks to those who have earned investment capital gains.

The taxable limit on Social Security is $30,000. If you earn -- including your Social Security benefit -- $30,000 per year, the government taxes your Social Security. So, if you've worked hard all your life and saved for your retirement and now you're starting to take money out of your tax free investment accounts, you're paying taxes on Social Security. How can that be right? Has anyone in Washington, D.C. ever tried to live off of $30,000 a year? With rising gas prices and medicine, etc. $30,000 doesn't go far.

Further, what about tax breaks for single Americans? A single American earning $40,000 per year, really brings home -- after taxes and insurance -- around $22,000 per year. Does that seem fair?

I'm running late for work, so I don't have time to put in more figures, but trust me -- Washington is definitely not looking out for the right people.

God Bless

Sunday, May 14, 2006

This is Justice?

I should note that this was a story from the other day, but I wasn't going to rant on my grandchildren's birthday and I was busy all weekend to post it.

So, we can't have the Justice Department investigate the NSA's domestic surveillance program because they AREN'T being given the proper security clearances?

Say what?

This is NOT the answer the American Public wants to hear -- that we can't have answers to ensure that the NSA has not broken any laws. If everything is on the level, why not allow the Justice Department to investigate?

So, let me get this straight -- the President claims that his allowing eavesdropping on wireless communication without being granted a warrant is legal and yet, the Justice Department cannot do a complete investigation to prove he's right?

If you were George W. Bush, wouldn't you want the investigation to proceed without any hinderances, without any issues, so that you could be vindicated and proven that "See, I was right?"

I can't believe the President isn't stepping in and saying, "Hey, give the clearances that are needed. I want to put this mess behind me and get on with the rest of my presidency."

I guess if you thought the investigation wouldn't prove you right, you wouldn't interfer with the denial of the security clearances.

But, that can't be what's happening here, since President Bush has denied any wrong doing. The one thing I believe about him is that the man does not lie. When President Bush makes a statement, he believes every word that he is saying, so when he said the eavesdropping was perfectly legal, then he believes it to be true.

So, now I'm right back where I started, wondering why he doesn't step in or make a public statement that he's upset about this situation.

God Bless

Thursday, May 11, 2006

It's Been a Year...

Can you believe it, because I can't, but my grandsons are a year old today. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about how much they've changed over this past year.

So, no ranting today, no complaining about the state of the world, just a great big:

Happy Birthday Danny and Alex!

My only complaint today is that I can't be in Green Bay to celebrate with them.
God Bless

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Diff between Dems and Repubs...

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (Dem) appeared at the University of Illinois in Urbana yesterday. He's touting a decision to sell off some of the Illinois Student Assistance Commission's student loan portfolio. Governor Blagojevich says that this will free up money for more student aid.

Apparently, some College Republican students disagree with this. Which is not surprising because right now the Dems can't agree with the Repubs and vice versa. If these two groups each came up with the exact same idea -- they would still argue about it!

Anyway, these students wore t-shirts that said, "Blagojevich sucks", which I think might be rude -- I wouldn't wear any of the anti-Bush tees I sell in front of President Bush, but hey, this is their right to wear what they want.

Did Blagojevich have the students removed?

GASP! Shockingly, no!

Did he single the kids out as a group who were just trying to cause trouble for the administration?


He said, "I promise you if I get a blue one like that, I'll wear it when I go out jogging."

The students gave him one and then -- hold on to your hats -- posed with the governor.

Let me repeat that:


I challenge any reader to find one Republican since Ronald Reagan who was so gracious to those who oppose him.

Go on, I'm betting you can't find one.

And, that is the difference between Dems and Repubs.

God Bless

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

If this is true, then the Bush boys are jerks...

According to the NY Times, President Bush and his brother , Jeb, have not been standing behind Katherine Harris in her bid for the Republican Senate nomination.

Now, I don't live in Florida, so it is really none of my concern who becomes the next Senator from there, but what is up with the Bush boys? Didn't Barbara and George Sr. teach them to stand by their friends? Didn't they show them how to be gracious?

The Bush boys have been pushing for Allan Bense to run for the nomination. And, on Monday, Jeb Bush publicly announced that he didn't think MS Harris could win and he mentioned that she has problems in her campaign.

Now, maybe, with President Bush's ratings dropping to toilet level, his lack of endorsement for MS Harris won't matter. Or, maybe she's doing so poorly, because MS Harris is linked so closely with the 2000 election and President Bush and the people of Florida are mad their state went to Bush. Again, I don't know, I don't live there.

So, enough with the speculation.

I'm still upset that the President and Governor cannot stick by their friend. It shouldn't matter whether or not she can win, she's one of their friends and friends always stick up for friends -- at least publicly.

God Bless

Bill Maher and Victor Davis Hanson

Bill Maher had Victor Davis Hanson, the author of "A War Like No Other", on his show recently. I'm not sure what date, because I was watching HBO on Demand.

Normally, I don't review TV shows, but Mr. Maher asked a question I would like someone to give me a straight answer to: "If we had to go around the world and attack all the countries that were evil, we'd never really stop. Why don't we attack Darfur?"

Mr. Hanson interjected with "We're not at all." Then, his answer was "We're not. Secretary Rice gave a very good lecture to the Egyptians about reforming their political process last summer. We put pressure on the Saudis..." He went on to mention the other places we've been putting pressure on, but he never answered the question. "Why don't we attack Darfur?"

Why can't anyone answer that question? If we didn't like the killings Saddam Hussein was committing in Iraq and he was evil enough to take out of office by starting a war, why aren't the people of Dafur just as important?

God Bless

Consumer Reports

Do you have a subscription to Consumer Reports? Do you pick it up on the newsstand? Well, you should. Cheryl and I subscribed just over a year ago. She's really big on reading all the reviews on , well, everything. My wife wants to know everything she can about anything we're going to purchase -- cars, TV's, Stereos, etc. So, Cheryl subscribed us to Consumer Reports.

Did you know that they DON'T accept any advertising in their magazine (and, I'm assuming, their website).

Did you know that they DON'T accept anything they test for free. They purchase all of it -- and the consumer versions, so that what they review is what we, the consumers, will be purchasing. They conduct reader surveys so that when you purchase a product, you know what other people thought of it.

In this month's issue, the have an interesting article about Privacy and the RFID tags that can now be found in all kinds of products. I didn't know a lot about the RFID tags, but I remember reading an article about them a couple of years ago. Wal-Mart was going to start adding them to the products they sell, so they can track all their products in a particular store. Great idea for any retail environment. You can keep track of all your inventory within minutes.

However, what I didn't know about RFID tags is that they can be tracked as far away as 750 feet. I'm not going to rewrite the whole article here, you can get your own subscription, but after reading the CR article, I'm a little leery of these tags. All ready my purchases are tracked by my Jewel, Pick N Save and Barnes & Noble cards. Now, according to CR, these purchases can be linked to my credit card and more of my personal information. I'm a little concerned at the idea that the government could, at a whim, ask Barnes & Noble and my local library what books I read (I like to screw with the system and every so often I research bomb building or anarchy in books or on the Internet, guess the government isn't paying any attention to little old me). But, I'm not comfortable with my shopping habits and my prescription needs are in a database that easily hacked. Yes, I know that ShopKo and Walgreens have my prescriptions in their databases, but I worry that more and more of my personal information is getting spread out over more databases, which makes it more venerable.

Or, maybe, I'm just paranoid for no reason at all.

God Bless

Monday, May 08, 2006

Lesbians' Brains...

I'm not sure that I like the news that the Stockholm Brain Institute has discovered that there is indeed a biological difference between Lesbians and Straight women, proving that sexual orientation is more than just a learned behavior.

I have a friend who has a relative who once was gay but now has been found and proclaims that he is no longer gay. Now, I know that there are some men and women who dabbled in homosexuality for whatever reason and then decided it wasn't for them and now live "straight" lives (whatever that means). But, no, sorry, you didn't find God and suddenly change your sexual orientation. You merely choose NOT to live a "gay" life (whatever that means).

You can't change your sexual orientation, you can only change how you accept it. I went through many years trying to change myself and all I was left with was a broken heart, the realization that I'm gay and the knowledge that I wasted a lot of years trying to be someone I'm not.

So, on one hand, I'm thrilled to be able to point to my disbelieving brethen and say, "Hey, my parents didn't cause this. I didn't choose this. This is simple biology."

On the other hand, I'm not to keen on the idea to discover that my brain works in a similar manner to that of a straight man.

I mean, ignoring all the man hating jokes I could put here (afterall, I don't have to live with them), I have been battling with my parents for over 10 years that they did not raise three boys. They did raise a daughter and two sons. Constantly, I hear otherwise and its annoying! I'm a girl -- got it?

So, finding out that my brain reacts like a guy's brain is really not helping my cause.

But, it might help the further cause that FINALLY gays are treated like human beings and not second class citizens and for that, I'm willing to put up with some teasing.

God Bless

Who is General Michael Hayden?

Let me say right up front that I don't know much about General Hayden. So, I don't know if he is the right man for the CIA job or not, but, what's the deal?

It seems like Congress is all ready waiting to throw darts at this man. Can't we all just learn something about him before we qualify or denounce Bush's choice?

And, what's wrong with the idea that a military man runs the CIA? Since they (and the FBI) managed to screw up the events leading to 9/11, wouldn't it be a good thing to have someone with military discipline running the show?

So, here's what I'm saying, let's try something new in this country and learn something about General Hayden before we judge whether or not he's worthy to run the CIA.

God Bless

Closed Caption

Have you ever used the closed caption option on your TV? I have on numerous occasions. I'm hard of hearing and some TV shows sound to me like the actors are mumbling, so I'll turn on the Closed Caption so I don't miss anything.

Well, I want to know how you get the job to be a Closed Caption typist. Sometimes, I didn't hear the word and I can't read it because it is so far misspelled it is unbelievable. Now, maybe, they use voice recognition and it isn't really up to par. I really have no idea, because I've never tried to research it.

I was watching a tape episode of the View and the closed captioning was horrid -- which is why I'm blogging about it right now -- I know that the gals talk over each other and they are hard to understand, but this was the follow up to the Emmys, where Mario Caltone (I think that's how you spell it) does his little blurb. He called the ladies Losers (because they lost the Emmy, yet again). The word on the screen was loer. What? That isn't even close.

Now, that's just one minor example and I could list others, but I don't have that much time. I feel sorry for someone who is deaf and can't rely on their own hearing to know what's going on.

So, basically, I'm just complaining today.

God Bless

Friday, May 05, 2006

Remember Cole Hein?

Remember way back in December I mentioned Cole Hein -- this is the little boy who chokes and stops breathing and his mom is searching for a cure. Well, I posted a blurb about him on all my blogs and even my myspace blog -- which I hardly ever post on.

His mom, Mandi, wrote me a short note thanking me for posting about her son. So, I revisited the website and it is way cool! Make sure to visit it and send little Cole an email.

Here's a blurb of Cole's condition from the website:

" Cole Hein has an undiagnosed illness. Cole can "retch or dry heave" morning, noon, or night while playing, eating, sleeping, or even just watching TV. When Cole "retches" he can stop breathing and when he does someone needs to be there to either stimulate him by rubbing his back or even give him CPR to get him breathing again. COLE DOES NOT SELFRECOVER. You NEVER know when Cole will "retch" or even when he does "retch" that that is going to be the time he stops breathing because he doesn't always stop breathing when he "retches" We do know that a bronchial cough or stomach flu brings on more consistent if not constant "retching” Bingo Cole's dog has been trained to "bark" whenever Cole makes the "retching" sound. Bingo is a godsend she is an extra set of ears for Cole. We still continue to watch and listen to Cole but having Bingo has ease the burden! Cure4Cole.com is part of an international effort with the help from Lamar Outdoor advertising to find anyone with information that could help save Cole's life! This site is an effort to help save our son's life and spread the word about this unknown illness and find a diagnosis for him! Thank you for stopping by please sign the guestbook as I read them to Cole everyday and he loves when I read him his "stories” God Bless, Mandi (Mom), Dwayne (Dad), Kaela (sister 11) and Eric (Cole's twin brother 4)"
So, I thought it was time to re-visit the topic of Cole. If you know someone who can help, send them to Cole's Website. I don't know anything about medical conditions, so I'm no help, but at least I can post a blurb here. It's the least I can do.

Feel free to copy this info and post it on your own blog or send it off to your friends. It takes a village to raise a child, it might take the world to cure Cole.

God Bless

What is going on?

What is up with all these people resigning from the Bush White House / administration? And, who is going to be next? Should we be taking bets?

Porter Goss just resigned as the CIA chief. He hasn't even been there for a full two years.

Now, maybe, President Bush is asking for resignations. I don't know, he doesn't call me to let me know, but I can't remember this many resignations such Nixon! (That's a joke, I really didn't pay too much attention to White House staff until President Bush.)

Maybe this isn't uncommon -- maybe the information age just makes it easier for us to all be aware that staff is changing.

Well, I wish him all the best in his future endeavors, but I'm really glad my co-workers don't change this often!

God Bless

Supply, Demand and Gas Prices

Cheryl and I were talking about our budget this week -- as I'm sure most couples do. We were trying to figure out just why we suddenly don't have any money.

Is it the extra we spend on our grandsons? No, we buy only one case of diapers that usually costs around $15.00 -- we certainly shouldn't even notice that in a month.

Are we eating out more? No, that's not it. In fact, since Cheryl decided to put us on a diet, we're actually eating at home more and eating out less.

Then, it dawned on me, we're buying the same amount of gas per month, but spending nearly twice as much for it.

Simple supply and demand, right?

Well, for most things, like say oranges, that would probably be the case. When the orange crop is low, we pay more for our oranges, but we, also, can lower our demand. If I was going to have to pay $10.00 for a bag of oranges, I would most likely not buy oranges -- hence, the high price will cause the demand to drop.

But, gas does not work that way. Case in point, my own gas usage.

I drive 50 miles to work one way, five days a week. I fill my 6 year old mini-SUV's tank once every four days. The only variance is the once per month we visit our grandsons in Green Bay. For that, I purchase one extra tank of gas.

I can't control my gas usage. I keep my car in tip top shape -- change my air filter every other oil change, whether it needs it or not. My vehicle is maintained so that I get the most mileage per mile possible -- I average between 25 and 28 MPG. I try, in the summer, to not run my air conditioner. If I could take a bus or a train that would drop me off near work -- and wouldn't take 6 transfers and 3 hours of travel time -- I would only drive to work on days when I have other appointments.

Now, I could buy another car that gets better gas mileage, but Cheryl and I can't afford two car payments, and her car is 14 years old. It's time for it to be replaced.

Anyway, this is a long way to get to my point which is just because gas prices go up, the demand is not falling off as it does in other goods. In fact, the demand stays the same -- it probably goes up some, as we gain new drivers, etc.

Now, Jake brought up a point in a comment he made (BTW, Jake, that was a guest blog, which means I didn't write it) that when you adjust the cost of gas from the 70's to now, we're actually paying less. I haven't done the math, but I'll take his word for it.

But, in the 70's, we had a real shortage. I remember the long lines at the pump and the stations that were closed due to a lack of gas. Plus, you couldn't even buy gas on Sundays.

I don't buy this "shortage" that is driving these prices up. None of my local gas stations have had to close due to a lack of gas. Plus, I really don't trust any industry that is producing record profits while telling consumers they're raising prices because of a shortage. (When you can afford to grant a retiring CEO a 400 million dollar retirement package -- you aren't hurting for money.)

I don't recall orange growers posting record profits during years the orange crop sucks.

God Bless.

Deadbeat Parents

So, I was watching TMJ4 last night and saw a story about Deadbeat Dads, but to be fair, there are some deadbeat moms out there, too.

Anyway, first, why is the federal money drying up to prevent these guys from getting away with not providing for their children?

Second, why are states like Texas allowing these jerks to not pay their child support?

Third, why aren't more of us doing something about it?

While we sit in our comfortable homes, we really should be out there getting our legistlation to put these guys in jail, garnish their wages or not allow them to flee to states that don't enforce child support payments. (What the Hell did Bush do as Governor of Texas? Why didn't he stop this crap?) We should have a federal law that will allow one state to garnish the wages of a non-paying parent who lives in another state.

Screw state rights -- could care less if Texas is offended -- our nation's children should come first.

God Bless.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Off the Top of My Head...

I was thinking last night, as I got ready for bed, just how much the world has changed in the last sixty years. Not the technology, but the people.

Now, I know that not everyone in this country supported WWII, at least not in the beginning and I know that there were dissenters, but the people rallied around the troops more. We were willing to ration meat, sugar, gas, etc. We bought war bonds and volunteered at USOs. We pulled together to get our nation through a difficult time.

So, it made me wonder, what are we doing now to support our troops in Iraq? Are we sending them books, letters, supplies to let them know that we love them and we're behind them all the way? Why isn't the government offering war bonds? Wouldn't that be a way to finance the war rather than go as far into debt as we've gone? Wouldn't it help.

And, yes, I don't believe we should be in Iraq and yes, I support the right of dissenters, but we're there and I was just thinking we should be doing more for the troops.

Well, I wasn't sure what we could do for the troops, but then I remembered Operation Dear Abby. It's now offered year round. Let's all join together and send a letter to a member of our armed forces. It'll only take a few minutes and it'll brighten our day -- and it might make up for what we are lacking in supporting our troops.

God Bless

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Moussaoui Gets Life

Al Qaeda Terrorist Moussaoui received life in prison and, as he was leaving the courtroom, he said, according to CNN, "America, you lost."

No, Mr. Moussaoui, you lost. You now have to spend the rest of your days in one of our prisons. You and the other terrorists who died trying to destroy America lost the battle and the war. We're still here.

And, Mr. Moussaoui, death would be too good for you. You should have to live knowing that you can't harm any of us. You should live knowing that no matter how much we fight amongst ourselves that we will stand united against any foe. You will live with the knowledge that you and your terrorist friends did not succeed. America grows stronger every day. America is the beacon of freedom for the whole world and she stood tall on 9/11, she's standing tall now and she will remain standing long after your bones turn to dust.

I know that some will say the jury should've given you a sentence of death, but as a Catholic and a Christian, I can't abide by the death penalty. Everyone has to be given the chance to ask Jesus Christ for forgiveness so they can stand at His side during the end of time. You, Mr. Moussaoui, you will not ask him for forgiveness, so once you are done living our your days in a jail cell -- where most likely, you'll have to be kept from the rest of the prisoners -- you will spend eternity suffering in the fires of Hell for what you did.

God Bless

Like I'm surprised....

I'm shocked that the GOP -- that Grand Old Party that during my childhood was the one who fought for the little guy and (with the exception of Nixon) gave us all the feeling that they cared -- has killed the ethics bill that would make them be accountable to us -- the people who pay their salaries. Only 5 of them broke from party lines and voted the right way. They are: Sheryl Albers of Reedsburg, Brett Davis of Oregon, J.A. "Doc" Hines of Oxford, Terri McCormick of Appleton and Mark Pettis of Hertel. Now, I don't know anything about them, they don't represent my district, but here's the deal.

This November, vote them all out -- every single one of those unethical, moronic Republicans who have managed to mangled this great state. I'm not sure if he's running, but I'll check, so we can start with that big jerk Robin Vos of Racine.

God Bless