Wednesday, August 31, 2005


And now they are predicting that they expects the fatalities to be in the thousands in New Orleans..
My heart goes out to them. My prayers go up for them.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Telling it like it is..

William Pitt has a good essay today at;

There is no joy in Mudville
High & mighty Dubyah has struck out

Monday, August 29, 2005

Me oh my.. the world continues to turn, & we have maintained our grasp on it's whirlingness. Katrina leaves her indelible mark on the southern states of the Gulf. New Orleans is busy creating 'toxic soup' from the spilled oil rigs, popped open coffins, over-filled septic tank run-offs, and just general washed up trash. Brewing something that will taint the lovely lady for decades to come. I'm glad I got to visit her so many times in the past, when she was the 'Jewel-of-the-South'. Personally I don't think my waistline could take another hit of those Cajun delicacies anyway. Any city that starts out EVERY recipe w/ 'Take one lb of buttah..' can only be adding to my cholesterol overload. But lawdy, how I did love that food! (I wouldn't be requesting the oysters & shrimp after this poison 'soup', if I were you..)

In Iraq, US soldiers just killed another Reuters journalist, bringing their 'kills' up to 66. More than the # of journalists killed in all 20 yrs of the VietNam fracas.
Nothing is scared anymore.. & certainly free speech has taken a big hit in VietRaq.
To add to our downward spiraling (free fall) lack of credibility, comes word that a whistleblower has been fired by the Army, for calling Halliburton the sidewinding thieves that they are. Truth = demotions/firings. Lies = promotions/new contracts. Just ask Gen Richard Sanchez of the Iraqi prison-torturing fame, how he got his new 4th 'star'.. that's right.. lies/cover-ups/good ole boy's club.
Anybody who dares to complain about the goings-on in Iraq is subject to a gut-smashing end to their careers. Whether it be about needing more troops for the mission, to not having a clear exit strategy.. mention one word of it to the general public & get a rapid-fire "you're fired!" worthy of the Donald.

It's not all doom & gloom on this sunny Monday. Over the wk-end I have packed up most of our home, for the impending move to TN. Which included the glass inserts in all my coffee & end tables. The cats, proving not to be the sharpest knives in the drawer, keep jumping up on them.. immediately falling thru to the floor. I know, it's an evil source of amusement, but it makes me laugh. And they walk haughtily away, giving me their 'death ray' squints for disrespecting their furry selves.
Hey, let them complain to the man who buys their catnip. And watch them get demoted faster than they can say 'meow?'

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Great Blog!

There is an excellent essay today on

Please go by & read it. Mark is a wonderful 'thinking man' from the UK.
You Go, Mark!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Cat Herding

Here's a funny for your viewing pleasure. Imagine this scene on a daily basis. Thus go the days of my life.

Good times..

Friday, August 26, 2005

Chicken Head

No, I'm not calling you names. It's just a great satire website. www.chickenhead.com They have a feature that I love called Bottom 50.. & now that I've told you about it, I can never steal from them again. But I thought this catagory in the Bottom 50 was really funny.. blog names. hehehe
Check them out & try not to smile. Can't do it.

>>>>> BLOGS! <<<<<


Thursday, August 25, 2005

I Am Blessed..

In keeping my tradition of stealing from my Sister-Friends blog ideas, I decided to use one of Kat's themes in a recent blog. She just allowed 'stream-of-thought' to preclude any prepared 'list' of what she felt were blessings in her life. So here's my thoughts for today's blessings.

I Am Blessed Because..
1) My daughter is my best friend
2) And she never fails to lift my spirits
3) I am packing for my new life in TN
4) And I have the ability to bend & move & pack & lift, without too much pain
5) I have a wonderful husband!
6) After many disasterous previous attempts
7) My cats tolerate me
8) It's all you can expect from a cat
9) Buddy even curled up on my stomach today & we napped on the couch
10)He's never done that before
11)I have email friends that feed me emotionally
12)On many levels
13)Everything is falling into place for the move
14)Including insurance
15)I come from a close family
16)And after all these years, we still communicate
17)And even like each other
18)I have music that moves me
19)I have so many books that I won't be able to read in this lifetime
20)But I'll die trying
21)I have good health
22)I could have better if I walked more & ate less
23)I'm learning to accept & love myself more
24)Menopause is not for sissies
25)It makes me tougher everyday
26)I will protect my 'soul' to keep her soft & yielding
27)I have a wonderful 'Path' to live
28)And that excites me
29)I'm ready to 'give' to 'receive'
30)This is Dubyah's last term!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Bushie's L-O-N-G Vacation from Reality

Man, I need a vacation. Maybe one about a year long. Maybe one in the backwoods of a lone star state, far away from the madding crowds, or at least away from those scary media-types. I think I'll take an expensive bike & just go peddling into never-neverland.
No wait! The Prez already did that one..
Guess I'll just have to settle for a week-end on the beach.
Meanwhile.. go get 'em Maureen!!

My Private Idaho

Published: August 24, 2005
W. vacationed so hard in Texas he got bushed. He needed a vacation from his vacation.

The most rested president in American history headed West yesterday to get away from his Western getaway - and the mushrooming Crawford Woodstock - and spend a couple of days at the Tamarack Resort in the rural Idaho mountains.

"I'm kind of hangin' loose, as they say," he told reporters.

As The Financial Times noted, Mr. Bush is acting positively French in his love of le loafing, with 339 days at his ranch since he took office - nearly a year out of his five. Most Americans, on the other hand, take fewer vacations than anyone else in the developed world (even the Japanese), averaging only 13 to 16 days off a year.

W. didn't go alone, of course. Just as he took his beloved feather pillow on the road during his 2000 campaign, now he takes his beloved bike. An Air Force One steward tenderly unloaded W.'s $3,000 Trek Fuel mountain bike when they landed in Boise.

Gas is guzzling toward $3 a gallon. U.S. troop casualties in Iraq are at their highest levels since the invasion. As Donald Rumsfeld conceded yesterday, "The lethality, however, is up." Afghanistan's getting more dangerous, too. The defense secretary says he's raising troop levels in both places for coming elections.

So our overextended troops must prepare for more forced rotations, while the president hangs loose.

I mean, I like to exercise, but W. is psychopathic about it. He interviewed one potential Supreme Court nominee, Harvie Wilkinson III, by asking him how much he exercised. Last winter, Mr. Bush was obsessed with his love handles, telling people he was determined to get rid of seven pounds.

Shouldn't the president worry more about body armor than body fat?

Instead of calling in Karl Rove to ask him if he'd leaked, W. probably called him in to order him to the gym.

The rest of us may be fixated on the depressing tableau in Iraq, where the U.S. seems to be delivering a fundamentalist Islamic state into the dirty hands of men like Ahmad Chalabi, who conned the neocons into pushing for war, and his ally Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric who started two armed uprisings against U.S. troops. It was his militiamen who ambushed Casey Sheehan's convoy in Sadr City.

America has caved on Iraqi women's rights. In fact, the women's rights activists supported by George and Laura Bush may have to leave Iraq.

But, as a former C.I.A. Middle East specialist, Reuel Marc Gerecht, said on "Meet the Press," U.S. democracy in 1900 didn't let women vote. If Iraqi democracy resembled that, "we'd all be thrilled," he said. "I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy."

Yesterday, the president hailed the constitution establishing an Islamic republic as "an amazing process," and said it "honors women's rights, the rights of minorities." Could he really think that? Or is he following the Vietnam model - declaring victory so we can leave?

The main point of writing a constitution was to move Sunnis into the mainstream and make them invested in the process, thereby removing the basis of the insurgency. But the Shiites and Kurds have frozen out the Sunnis, enhancing their resentment. So the insurgency is more likely to be inflamed than extinguished.

For political reasons, the president has a history of silence on America's war dead. But he finally mentioned them on Monday because it became politically useful to use them as a rationale for war - now that all the other rationales have gone up in smoke.

"We owe them something," he told veterans in Salt Lake City (even though his administration tried to shortchange the veterans agency by $1.5 billion). "We will finish the task that they gave their lives for."

What twisted logic: with no W.M.D., no link to 9/11 and no democracy, now we have to keep killing people and have our kids killed because so many of our kids have been killed already? Talk about a vicious circle: the killing keeps justifying itself.

Just because the final reason the president came up with for invading Iraq - to create a democracy with freedom of religion and minority rights - has been dashed, why stop relaxing? W. is determined to stay the course on bike trails all over the West.

This president has never had to pull all-nighters or work very hard, because Daddy's friends always gave him a boost when he flamed out. When was the last time Mr. Bush saw the clock strike midnight? At these prices, though, I guess he can't afford to burn the midnight oil.

E-mail: liberties@nytimes.com

Monday, August 22, 2005

I Am One With the Box

Can one develop an allergy to cardboard? Hells Belles I am so tired of bending over these infernal boxes. They never end.. & still I see more & more 'stuff' to pack. And then I aggravate myself when I find like, an extra pair of shoes in the closet, when the 'shoe' box has been taped shut & stacked on top of, w/ the 't-shirt' box for a week now. There's no going back to re-pack a pr of shoes. So I'm left w/ the dilemma.. how much do you love those shoes? Can you give them to Goodwill.. or throw them out.. or burn them.. or start a new box for 'everything-you-didn't-get-right-the-first-time'? And why is this even a pressing question on my wee mind right now??
Packing does this to you.. just zaps those brain cells right outta your noggin. And then you have to look around for brain cells.. where to pack them.. yadda yadda.

Meanwhile Dan has thrown out 1/2 his clothes. How do men DO that? Just toss those nice suits, shirts, slacks right out to the Goodwill bin. I have to angst over my clothing.. especially those not worn since the 80's. I mean, will they come back in style? Do I donate them to a theater group, who specialize in the 'gaudy'? Or do I imagine any of my family members appreciating them as much as I did? Probably not..
And what about the 2 closets of clothing in a size I will never in this lifetime fit into again.. unless I am stricken w/ consumption, or have my ass amputated in a really bad accident. I'm sorry, hope springs eternal & reality dies a slow death. I'm keeping those size 4's.. just to whip myself emotionally w/, if nothing else. 'See those, you fat ass cow? You used to wear those.. Don't argue w/ me, I have photos.' You know, healthy dialogue like that.
So Dan now has 6 outfits & so do I in actuality.. but my boxes say I have clothing out the wazoo. Lucky me!

The cats are slinking among the boxes, very suspicious of what is going on. Cats are Republicans, they hate change. And this one is the mother-of-all-change for them. I pray we survive the 12 hr drive w/ their weeping & wailing & gnashing of teeth.
It's either going to be them on drugs, or us.

OK, that's the end of my break. Back to the boxes.. back to the wrapping & packing.. and where is that faint 'mee-ow' coming from? Well, too bad, there's already boxes stacked on top of that one.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Powerful Words..

A worthy essay by a retired soldier on the event of the crosses being mowed down at Camp Casey..
It is moving.

You Mowed Down His Cross
By Perry Jefferies, First Sergeant, USA (retired)
t r u t h o u t | Letter

Thursday 18 August 2005

Mr. Northern:

I am a Veteran of the Iraq war, having served with the 4th Infantry Division on the initial invasion with Force Package One.

While I was in Iraq, a very good friend of mine, Christopher Cutchall, was killed in an un-armored HMMWV outside of Baghdad. He was a cavalry scout serving with the 3d ID. Once he had declined the award of a medal because Soldiers assigned to him did not receive similar awards that he had recommended. He left two sons and a wonderful wife. On Monday night, August 16, you ran down the memorial cross erected for him by Arlington West.

One of my Soldiers in Iraq was Roger Turner. We gave him a hard time because he always wore all of his protective equipment, including three pairs of glasses or goggles. He did this because he wanted to make sure that he returned home to his family. He rode a bicycle to work every day to make sure that he was able to save enough money on his Army salary to send his son to college. At Camp Anaconda, where the squadron briefly stayed, a rocket landed inside a tent, sending a piece of debris or fragment into him and killed him. On Monday night, August 16, you ran down the memorial cross erected for him by Arlington West.

One of my Soldiers was Henry Bacon. He was one of the finest men I ever met. He was in perfect shape for a man over forty, working hard at night. He told me that he did that because he didn't have much money to buy nice things for his wife, who he loved so much, so he had to be in good shape for her. He was like a father to many young men in his section of maintenance mechanics. They fixed our vehicles with almost no support and fabricated parts and made repairs that kept our squadron rolling on the longest, fastest armor advance ever made under fire. He was so very proud of his son-in-law that married the beautiful daughter so well raised by Henry. His son-in-law was a helicopter pilot with the 1st Cavalry Division, who died last year. Henry stopped to rescue a vehicle belonging to another unit on what was to be his last day in Iraq. He could have kept rolling - he was headed to Kuwait after a year's tour. But he stopped. He could have sent others to do the work, but he was on the ground, leading by example, when he was killed. On Monday night, August 16, you took it upon yourself to go out in the country, where a peaceful group was exercising their constitutional rights, and harming no one, and you ran down the memorial cross erected for Henry and for his son-in-law by Arlington West.

Mr. Northern - I know little about Cindy Sheehan except that she is a grieving mother, a gentle soul, and wants to bring harm to no one. I know little about you except that you found your way to Crawford on Monday night in August with chains and a pipe attached to your truck for the sole purpose of dishonoring a memorial erected for my friends and lost Soldiers and hundreds of others that served this nation when they were called. I find it disheartening that good men like these have died so that people like you can threaten a mother who lost a child with your actions. I hope that you are ashamed of yourself.

Perry Jefferies, First Sergeant, USA (retired)


Friday, August 19, 2005

Keeping Current w/ Cindy

For those of us who hope to keep the spirit of 'Bringing the Troops Home!': this website has done a great job in maintaining an up-to-date running stream on the activities of Cindy Sheehan in Crawford, TX. (Now in L.A. taking care of her post-stroke mom)
And while we are sending prayers of healing out, let's remember Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who suffered a stroke today. Dealing w/ Dubyah would give anyone a stroke, that's for sure..


Intolerance Blows

I borrowed this post from a Sister-Friend. I found it very moving and very needful in the days in which we live. Intolerance is rampant. And it's time we waged love & peace, not war

"Fuck Intolerance

I am the girl kicked out of her home because I confided in my mother that I am a lesbian.

I am the prostitute working the streets because nobody will hire a transsexual woman.

I am the sister who holds her gay brother tight through the painful, tear-filled nights.

We are the parents who buried our daughter long before her time.

I am the man who died alone in the hospital because they would not let my partner of twenty-seven years into the room.

I am the foster child who wakes up with nightmares of being taken away from the two fathers who are the only loving family I have ever had. I wish they could adopt me.

I am one of the lucky ones, I guess. I survived the attack that left me in a coma for three weeks, and in another year I will probably be able to walk again.

I am not one of the lucky ones. I killed myself just weeks before graduating high school. It was simply too much to bear.

We are the couple who had the realtor hang up on us when she found out we wanted to rent a one-bedroom for two men.

I am the person who never knows which bathroom I should use if I want to avoid getting the management called on me.

I am the mother who is not allowed to even visit the children I bore, nursed, and raised. The court says I am an unfit mother because I now live with another woman.

I am the domestic-violence survivor who found the support system grow suddenly cold and distant when they found out my abusive partner is also a woman.

I am the domestic-violence survivor who has no support system to turn to because I am male.

I am the father who has never hugged his son because I grew up afraid to show affection to other men.

I am the home-economics teacher who always wanted to teach gym until someone told me that only lesbians do that.

I am the man who died when the paramedics stopped treating me as soon as they realized I was transsexual.

I am the person who feels guilty because I think I could be a much better person if I didn’t have to always deal with society hating me.

I am the man who stopped attending church, not because I don't believe, but because they closed their doors to my kind.

I am the person who has to hide what this world needs most, love.

I am a person, just like you."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Finally, Someone with a set of Cahones!

It's about time someone quits quakeing in their boots & approaches King Geo w/ the news that 'we're mad as hell, and we aren't going to take it anymore.'
This is the ONLY way the GOP currently in office are going to be able to keep their jobs. And the Dems should be playing their hand in every way possible. (Rather than pouting, in-fighting, demurring, & running scared.)
Go Russell!

Feingold Urges Troop Withdrawal by End of '06
By Peter Baker
The Washington Post

Thursday 18 August 2005

Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) called on the White House yesterday to withdraw all US forces from Iraq by the end of next year and criticized fellow Democrats for being too "timid" in challenging the Bush administration's war policy.

Feingold, who is among the Democrats considering a run for president in 2008, became the first senator to propose a specific deadline for pulling all 138,000 US troops out of Iraq. His comments also laid bare the rising tension within his party about how to respond to President Bush on the war.

Although critical of the administration's handling of the war, many leading Democratic lawmakers have been reluctant to press for a concrete timetable for withdrawal, agreeing with Bush that it could harm the war effort. Many congressional Democrats voted in 2002 to grant Bush authority to invade Iraq, but their liberal base has grown increasingly vocal in opposition to the war, making it difficult to send a consensus message. But as Bush's poll numbers have fallen, some Democrats have grown increasingly outspoken.

In a telephone interview from Wisconsin, Feingold said he has heard a wave of public disenchantment at 15 town hall meetings so far during the August recess, leading him to propose a Dec. 31, 2006, deadline.

"There's a deepening feeling of dismay in the country about the way things are going in Iraq," Feingold said. He rejected Bush's assertion that a deadline would make it easier for insurgents to simply hang on. "I think he's wrong. I think not talking about endgames is playing into our enemies' hand."

The White House had no comment, except to point to Bush's past statements rejecting a withdrawal timetable, a position shared by Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). "Like other members of the caucus, he's been calling for some benchmarks from the administration to measure progress," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said, "but he is opposed to setting a date certain for withdrawal, concerned that would undercut the troops."

Feingold is the first senator to call for a specific deadline, but several members of the House have introduced a resolution calling on Bush to initiate a withdrawal no later than Oct. 1, 2006. In a speech in January, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) called on the president to pull out all troops "as early as possible in 2006."


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Kitty Kuts

You know.. there's nuttin' uglier than a nekked cat. Thse two are normally w/ hair 3" long.. so they look totally skinned-alive at this point.
But it had to be done, since they refuse Sage Woman's Beauty Salon, & get their hair all dreadlocked.
That left 2 cats w/o the grooming.. & are they pissed. Not at being over-looked, but at the new fresh clean (& unknown) smell of their brother & sister. Puki is just hissing up a blue streak. Poor Tigger tries to let him know, 'It's just me, bro..' but he's totally alien to his littermate now.
And Buddy is acting like the Prez.. a true dickhead. Hissing, growling, trying to bite. He is now in 'time-out' on the lanai, until he can find his manners. Oh, that we could do that to the Prez.
The groomer spent 4 1/2 hrs on these 2.. & she looked very spent at the end of it.
I wouldn't have her job.
But it made for a stressful day, what w/ all the yowling, caterwalling & sad pleading eyes of the haircut duo. I can't go thru this anymore! They simply must put up w/ my brushing them occasionally. Maybe I could catnip them into submission..

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Birthday Numerology

Here's a fun thing to do during your busy work day. That's right, be a slacker & play w/ numbers.
I'm a '1', btw. What're you?

Your birth date describes who we are, what we are good
at and what our inborn abilities are. It also points
to what we have to learn and the challenges we are
facing. To figure out your Birth Number, add all the
numbers in the Birth Date together, like in the
example, until there is only one digit.

A Birth Number does not prevent you from being
anything you want to be, it will just colour your
choice differently and give you a little insight.
Example March 20, 1950
3 + 20 + 1950 = 1973
1 + 9 + 7 + 3 = 20
2 + 0 = 2
Keep going until you end up with a single digit
2 is the Birth Number to read for the birth date in
the example.
# 1 - THE ORIGINATOR 1 's are originals. Coming up
with new ideas and executing them is natural. Having
things their own way is another trait that gets them
as being stubborn and arrogant. 1's are extremely
honest and do well to learn some diplomacy skills.
They like to take the initiative and are often leaders
or bosses, as they like to be the best.
Being self-employed is definitely helpful for them.
Lesson to learn. Others' ideas might be just as good
or better and to stay open minded. Famous 1's Tom
Hanks, Robert Redford, Hulk Hogan, Carol Burnett,
Wynona Judd, Nancy Reagan, Raquel Welch.

#2 - THE PEACEMAKER 2's are the born diplomats. They
are aware of others' needs and moods and often think
of others before themselves. Naturally analytical and
very intuitive they don't like to be alone. Friendship
and companionship is very important and can lead them
to be successful in life, but on the other hand
they'd rather be alone than in an uncomfortable
relationship. Being naturally shy they should learn to
boost their self-esteem and express themselves freely
and seize the moment and not put things
off. Famous 2's President Bill Clinton, Madonna,
Whoopee Goldberg,Thomas Edison, Wolfgang Amadeus,

# 3 - THE LIFE OF THE PARTY 3's are idealists. They
are very creative, social, charming, romantic, and
easygoing. They start many things, but don't always
see them through. They like others to be happy and go
to great lengths to achieve it. They are very popular
and idealistic. They
should learn to see the world from a more realistic
point of view. Famous 3's Alan Alda, Ann Landers,
Bill Cosby, Melanie Griffith, Salvador Dali, Jodi

# 4 - THE CONSERVATIVE 4's are sensible and
traditional. They like order and routine. They only
act when they fully understand what they are expected
to do. They like getting their hands dirty and working
hard. They are attracted to the outdoors and feel an
affinity with nature. They are prepared to wait and
can be stubborn and persistent. They should
learn to be more flexible and to be nice to
Famous 4's Neil Diamond, Margaret Thatcher, Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Tina Turner, Paul Hogan, Oprah

# 5 - THE NONCONFORMIST 5's are the explorers. Their
natural curiosity, risk taking, and enthusiasm often
land them in hot water. They need diversity, and
don't like to be stuck in a rut. The whole world is
their school and they see a learning possibility in
every situation. The questions never stop. They are
well advised to look before they take action and make
sure they have all the facts before jumping to
Famous 5's Abraham Lincoln, Charlotte Bronte, Jessica
Walter, Vincent Van Gogh, Bette Midler, Helen Keller
and Mark Hail.

# 6 - THE ROMANTIC 6's are idealistic and need to feel
useful to be happy. A strong family connection is
important to them. Their actions influence their
decisions. They have a strong urge to take care of
others and to help. They are very loyal and make great
teachers. They like art or music. They make loyal
friends who take the friendship seriously. 6's should
learn to differentiate between what they can change
and what they cannot. Famous 6's Albert Einstein,
Jane Seymour, John Denver, Merly Steep, Christopher
Columbus, Goldie Hawn

#7 - THE INTELLECTUAL 7's are the searchers. Always
probing for hidden information, they find it difficult
to accept things at face value. Emotions don't sway
their decisions. Questioning everything in life, they
don't like to be questioned themselves. They're never
off to a fast start, and their motto is slow and
steady wins the race. They come across as philosophers
and being very knowledgeable, and sometimes as loners.
They are technically inclined and make great
researchers uncovering information. They like secrets.
They live in their own world and should learn what is
acceptable and what is not in the world at large.
Famous 7's William Shakespeare, Lucille Ball, Michael
Jackson, Joan
Baez, Princess Diana

# 8 - THE BIG SHOT 8's are the problem solvers. They
are professional, blunt and to the point, have good
judgment and are decisive. They have grand plans and
like to live the good life. They take charge of
people. They view people objectively. They let you
know in no uncertain terms that they are the boss.
They should learn to exude their decisions on their
own needs rather than on what others want.
Famous 8's Edgar Cayce, Barbra Streisand, George
Harrison, Jane Fonda, Pablo Picasso, Aretha Franklin,
and Nostrodamus

#9 - THE PERFORMER 9's are natural entertainers. They
are very caring and generous, giving away their last
dollar to help. With their charm, they have no
problem making friends and nobody is a stranger to
them. They have so many
different personalities that people around them have a
hard time understanding them. They are like
chameleons, ever changing and blending in. They have
tremendous luck, but also can suffer from extremes in
fortune and mood. To be successful, they need to
build a loving foundation.
Famous 9's Albert Schweitzer, Shirley MacLaine,
Harrison Ford, Jimmy Carter, Elvis Presley

Monday, August 15, 2005

My Week-end in Hell

This review will go on our website; www.gourmetcampers.com.. but here's a preview for my blogging pals.

How Dan Found Religion.. or The story of going to hell (& back!)

A review of Little Manatee River State Park

First off I should say that this campground came highly recommended to me by a little Mennonite nurse that I used to work with. I no longer work there, & it’s not nice to go kick the butts of nice little ladies.. even for such terrible recommendations, so I won’t.

The misnomer of this state park still eludes me.. ‘Little’ (meaning there is ‘little’ to NO chance you will ever see this river unless you get in your car & drive to it.) ‘Manatee’.. which names the county, I suppose. And ‘River’, which we did eventually find. But by that time we were in such a state of dehydration, all we could manage to do was lift the camera & shoot a picture. Forget the fishing or canoeing that we had so looked forward to. When you are excreting 20# of sweat per hour, one only has the strength to inhale & exhale. (And you can skip part 2 of that one, if you have to)

When we arrived at Little Manatee River State Park (hereby called LMRSP from this point because it’s not worthy of my typing time).. a tremendous thunderstorm had just passed through. Checking in; the portend of things to come.. ‘Sorry folks, the electricity is out, I’ll have to do all this by hand’. Granted, we tent camp.. so we don’t have all the gee-gaws of an RV or pop-up tent.. but we do have the bed to blow up, and lights that need the ‘joy-juice’. So we sucked it up a little & drove to our 2 ‘adjoining’ sites. The roads leading there had not been graded in this decade & had potholes which we could have circled in for a couple of days, had Dan not had a sense of direction equal to a GPS.

And so we found the ‘adjoining’ sites, separated only by a 15’solid wall of palmetto/oak/pine/citrus plants. That’s right, we now had condo’s.. one for the kitchen/dining/living rm; the other for the bedroom/trailer storage. Now ask me how many times the car keys were.. oops! Over on the bedroom side.. & the flashlight was.. drat! Over on the kitchen side. And between the 2, you danced over the 2’ radius of a fire ant bed. It keeps you on your toes, & you learn conservation of movement over the next 48 hrs.

This experience is definitely a Good News/Bad News tale. The good news was; We had a new piece of furniture in the kitchen! New shelving & tabletop, granting lots more prep space & waterproof storage area. Great buy from Sportsman’s Guide! (Go to Great Gear, click on Camp Kitchen.. & see for yourself) And on the screen room dining area, we had new ‘Parrot’ lights from iParty.. nice soft glow that added fun to the campsite.

*But I have to be honest, we could’ve had 10 prancing ponies & Bozo the clown & still not have been able to give much ‘fun’ to this campsite. We also had a new oven; Brinkman with 2 cooking levels.. wahoo!

The bad news was; All the rest.

The rains had stopped by the time we arrived, leaving us with short rapid gasps of 100% humidified air. That breathing scenario never changed.. rain or shine. I felt as though we could chew the air up & spit it out.. just that thick. Some years ago I went to Jamaica & felt as though I was wearing a wet towel around my head the entire time. Believe me, that place was as arid as Arizona in comparison to LMRSP. About 15 minutes into setting up camp, Dan began his religious conversion. It started out with a simple, ‘Dear Lord..’ and quickly escalated to ‘Oh my God’ & ‘Sweet Jesus, help me..’ This was not sacra-religious.. they were true prayers from someone who feared dying of heat stroke at any given moment.

It took us until 8:30 to set up the 2 campsites. We were both dripping in sweat. There were no dry areas on our bodies.. & the mosquitoes were discovering the joys of human sodium deposits. Along with their not-so-distant cousins, the dreaded no-see-ums. And so we began the shower brigade which would be repeated not less than a dozen times in a 2 day span. *(I have to interject, in my complaining travelogue here, that their bathrooms were very nice. Clean, & empty.. secondary to every other camper having the good sense not to be there in mid-August. There was a washer & dryer & coke machine as well)

However, exiting from the shower, we would immediately break into a flop sweat & need the whole process all over again.

At 9:30 Dan suggests starting dinner. I look at him through a sweaty haze & inform him that I don’t have the strength to masticate..’ let’s just go to bed’. We did pull our chairs into the dining/screen room & sat up for awhile, assuring each other that someday we would be laughing about all this, & agreed unanimously that this would happen by 2020. (and you & I both know this is simply a target date)

Taking flashlight in hand, we retired (gingerly over the fire ants) to the next condo. I am at a loss for expression when I try to describe to you the feeling of absolutely NO AIR MOVEMENT! There simply are no words. One must just experience that feeling of having the ever-loving life sucked out of you. All tent windows open, no clothes, no linens over you.. & still you feel the breath of Dante’s Inferno about you. I asked Dan when he thought our bleached bones would be found, if we expired of heatstroke that very night.

‘Love you too.. g’nite’.

0700- weird perception.. We can breathe without effort. Praise be! The coolness has arrived.

0715- False alarm.. that was just the new day’s arriving on gossamer wings. Now comes the gut-wrenching heat.

But then thank goodness, the mosquitoes had died down, so now we could anticipate.. the horde of flies! I had never seen the entire tops of the pop-up tents covered with flies. Yet another sentence I can never repeat. I had to wave paper plates around Dan, so that he could cook breakfast without adding fly-protein to the mixture. He did create a lovely breakfast of Potatoes O’Brien, bacon, biscuits, & scrambled eggs.

And I noted a wonderful insect called the ‘Assassin Bug’, which picks off flies one at a time & gobbles them down. Now I’m usually one to squirm at Mother Natures food chain; the seeming unfairness of it all. HA! I was pulling for Assassin, like he was in the home stretch of the Kentucky Derby. Folks, dehydration does that to you.. be forewarned.

With tummies full and clothing saturated, it suddenly made good sense to walk around the campgrounds. *See above signs & symptoms of dehydration.

On our walk we noted that we were the only tent campers. Such wienies in RV’s & pop up tents (the other 3 brave souls). Yes, we were emerald-green with envy.

We walked (staggered) around the periphery.. to the Youth Camp area & amphitheater area.. Past a gopher turtle, which quickly gave us the right-of-way, doing a 180 to avoid us. But Wild-Kingdom-Dan harassed him for a photo shoot. Paparazzi!

After 3 long days (ok, 1 hr?) we found a bit of the river. It was covered in duck-weed, so that hardly counts. We saw some lovely tigertail swallow butterflies. They resisted the photo shoot. Divas..

Returning back to our campsite.. we were once again thrown into the Near Death Experience of the ‘hades-humidity’. Folks, we were perspiring out of places that just don’t sweat.. but they do & they did.

We watched a mama mud-dauber dig a hole & lay her eggs in this hole, then cover it against predators. Yes, we are mature adults, and yes this process took a couple of hrs. I’m telling you, it was the HEAT!

So, on the pretense of ‘going after more ice’ & secretly knowing that we just yearned for the a/c of the truck, we decided to drive to Sun City. 5 miles up the road, to that wondrous Dorian Gray town where everyone drives a golf cart (probably due to drivers license being revoked for drunk driving.. but whatever. Who am I to judge.. I was in the a/c truck & I felt magnanimous.) We watched one lady nearly tip her golf cart over, riding up on a curb. I was ready to simply sit & people-watch, but we had a mission. We were looking for a fan!

That’s right.. why had we never considered such a thing before? A miracle of invention.. the fan. And when we brought it to camp, we proceeded to sit in it’s glorious presence for the rest of our sentence.. excuse me, camping time. We dragged it from kitchen to dining room to living room. That novelty lasted about 2 hrs. Then we knew the heat was closing in again, so we might as well do as our neighbors to the South do.. take a Siesta. Forced sleep to avoid the mid day/mid nite/ mid life, sun. We did this for 3 ½ hrs. I told Dan that if we had the strength, we would pack up & go home. Even given the fact that this trip had already cost us $250, I was willing to count it as loss, to be able to breathe again. But alas, the spirit was willing, but our flesh was near death.

Dinner that night was excellent (mainly because I sat in the screen room with the aforementioned fan, while my hardworking husband *& my nomination for camper-of-the-year, cooked dinner while dancing the ‘Ow! Mosquito-got-me!’ tango.)

We had grilled chicken marinated in Mrs Dash (this is new) Herbal Garlic sauce. Corn on the cob, and Zatarain’s Caribbean Rice (wow! Gotta try this!)

Several showers later, we were off to bed. But with the blessed addition of ‘the fan’. It is now my favorite camping piece of all time. We slept like babies, except for the lightning storm going on around us. No rain, just death-bolts from the blue.

0700- hey, it feels pretty good out there.

0715- what made us think this day would be any different?

Packing up, without benefit of the fan.. again, there are no words. It’s like a bad, bad dream.. & I don’t want to go there.

In fact, if you ask me to go to LMRSP, that’s what I will say.. ‘I don’t want to go there..’

The End

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Holding Back the Truth

It's not so much the fear of recruiting new 'insurgents' as it is pissing off the American people when it comes to abusive tactics of the military! The buck stops at Bushit.. when will we believe the 'truth'?
And so it goes..

Fearing Backlash, Pentagon Moves to Block New Abu Ghraib Photos

The Pentagon has moved forcefully to block the release of new video evidence of prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, arguing it would help recruit new Islamist insurgents and endanger American lives.
The request is contained in a motion filed in federal court by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Richard Myers in response to a plea by several human rights groups to make public 87 photographs and four videotapes made at Abu Ghraib by Specialist Joseph Darby that thus far have been kept under wraps.

Darby triggered the Abu Ghraib scandal last year when he turned over to military investigators extensive photographic and video evidence implicating his fellow military policemen in brutal abuse of prisoners.

The pictures showed inmates piled up naked on the floor, cowering in front of snarling military dogs, chained to beds in stress positions, with women's underwear put over their heads, and forced to stand naked in front of female guards.

At least eight low-ranking US soldiers have been convicted or voluntarily pleaded guilty in the wake of the scandal that has sparked condemnation of the United States all around the world.

A Pentagon probe has cleared all top US commanders of any criminal responsibility in the matter.

But so far, only a fraction of pictures made by Specialist Darby have been released to the public.

A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and several other human rights groups with the US District Court in New York seeks to fill this gap by making the remaining pictures available.

But in an affidavit filed with the court on July 21 and unsealed this past week, Myers insists the release "would aid the recruitment effort and other activities of insurgent elements."

He further states that should the pictures become public, they will "endanger the lives and physical safety of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in the United States Armed Forces presently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The suit comes at a particularly sensitive time for the administration of President George W. Bush, which is trying to stem the erosion of public support for its policies in Iraq following a new spike in US casualties in that country.

As many as 61 percent of Americans expressed their disapproval of how the president is handling Iraq in the most recent Newsweek magazine survey.

Myers says he personally condemns "in the strongest terms" the misconduct and abuse depicted in the images.

But he argues the situation in Iraq is "dynamic and dangerous," with US forces and their allies having to face on average 70 attacks a day mounted by an insurgent army that now numbers about 16,000.

The top US military commander also suggests the release of new photos could have an effect similar to that caused by a since retracted Newsweek story about the desecration of the Koran at the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The story about the Islamic holy book allegedly being flushed down the toilet, which was published in April, sparked riots in Afghanistan that, according to Myers, claimed at least 17 lives.

But the general's arguments was sharply rebuffed by retired colonel Michael Pheneger, a former classmate of Myers' at the US Army War College and intelligence officer with experience in the Middle East.

Pheneger writes in court papers that Myers "mistakes propaganda for motivation."

"Insurgents average 70 attacks a day regardless of provocation as part of their effort to achieve specific objectives," the intelligence expert argues.

Meanwhile, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero insists the real reason the Pentagon is fighting the release of the new evidence is because it demonstrates "the failure of American leaders who placed our young men and women in compromising situations and are now seeking to blame them for it."

© 2005 Agence France Press

Thursday, August 11, 2005

My Heroine Cindy Sheehan

Up to the minute reporting by Truthout & some great video coverage. The woman just has such presence & poise.. I respect & honor her for what she's willing to stand for. Facing the 'dogs' of Rove-r, who is seeking any dirt on her he can find, up to & including a 'godmother' who had little contact w/ her son Casey.. but professes to love that dick-tater Bush! Cindy quietly displays the class & quality person she is. Not one in the White House can ever hope to have as much integrity as she evinces. I am in awe of this woman..


Please hold her in your thoughts & prayers.

Borrowing from my Sister-Friend

I saw this on Pryncess Kat's blog, & had to borrow it for awhile. (I promise to bring it back next Tuesday..)
Isn't it nice to see the questions being put on the other side of the equasion? I love it!!
Very thought provoking..


1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?
2. When and how did you decide you were a heterosexual?
3. Is it possible that your heterosexuality is just a phase that you may grow out of?
4. Is it possible that your heterosexuality stems from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?
5. If you have never slept with a person of the same sex, is it possible that all you need is a good gay lover?
6. Do your parents know that you are straight? Do your friends and/or roommates know?
7. Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality? Can't you just be who you are and keep it quiet?
8. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex?
9. Why do heterosexuals feel so compelled to introduce others to their lifestyle?
10. A disproportionate majority of child molesters are heterosexual. Do you consider it safe to expose children to heterosexual teachers?
11. Just what do men and women do in bed together? How can they truly know how to please each other, being so anatomically different?
12. With all the societal support marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships between heterosexuals?
13. Statistics show that lesbians have the lowest of sexually transmitted disease. Is it really safe for a woman to maintain a heterosexual lifestyle and run the risk of disease and pregnancy?
14. How can you expect to become a whole person if you limit yourself to compulsive, exclusive heterosexuality?
15. Considering the menace of overpopulation, how could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual?
16. Could you trust a heterosexual therapist to be objective? Don't you feel that (s)he might be inclined to influence you in the direction of his/her own orientation?
17. There seem to be very few happy heterosexuals. Techniques have been developed that might enable you change if you really want to. Have you ever considered aversion therapy?
18. Would you want your child to be heterosexual, knowing the problems (s)he would face?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My Guest.. Maureen!

I'm surrendering my soapbox to a fine spitfire of a redhead today. She says what I'm thinking.. Ladies & Gents, I present my 'likemind', Maureen Dowd. Go get 'em gal!!

Why No Tea and Sympathy?

Published: August 10, 2005

W. can't get no satisfaction on Iraq.

There's an angry mother of a dead soldier camping outside his Crawford ranch, demanding to see a president who prefers his sympathy to be carefully choreographed.

Skip to next paragraph

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Forum: Maureen Dowd's Columns
A new CNN-USA Today-Gallup poll shows that a majority of Americans now think that going to war was a mistake and that the war has made the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorism. So fighting them there means it's more likely we'll have to fight them here?

Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged yesterday that sophisticated bombs were streaming over the border from Iran to Iraq.

And the Rolling Stones have taken a rare break from sex odes to record an antiwar song called "Sweet Neo Con," chiding Condi Rice and Mr. Bush. "You call yourself a Christian; I call you a hypocrite," Mick Jagger sings.

The N.F.L. put out a press release on Monday announcing that it's teaming up with the Stones and ABC to promote "Monday Night Football." The flag-waving N.F.L. could still back out if there's pressure, but the mood seems to have shifted since Madonna chickened out of showing an antiwar music video in 2003. The White House used to be able to tamp down criticism by saying it hurt our troops, but more people are asking the White House to explain how it plans to stop our troops from getting hurt.

Cindy Sheehan, a 48-year-old Californian with a knack for P.R., says she will camp out in the dusty heat near the ranch until she gets to tell Mr. Bush face to face that he must pull all U.S. troops out of Iraq. Her son, Casey, a 24-year-old Army specialist, was killed in a Sadr City ambush last year.

The president met with her family two months after Casey's death. Capturing W.'s awkwardness in traversing the line between somber and joking, and his love of generic labels, Ms. Sheehan said that W. had referred to her as "Mom" throughout the meeting, and given her the sense that he did not know who her son was.

The Bush team tried to discredit "Mom" by pointing reporters to an old article in which she sounded kinder to W. If only her husband were an undercover C.I.A. operative, the Bushies could out him. But even if they send out a squad of Swift Boat Moms for Truth, there will be a countering Falluja Moms for Truth.

It's amazing that the White House does not have the elementary shrewdness to have Mr. Bush simply walk down the driveway and hear the woman out, or invite her in for a cup of tea. But W., who has spent nearly 20 percent of his presidency at his ranch, is burrowed into his five-week vacation and two-hour daily workouts. He may be in great shape, but Iraq sure isn't.

It's hard to think of another president who lived in such meta-insulation. His rigidly controlled environment allows no chance encounters with anyone who disagrees. He never has to defend himself to anyone, and that is cognitively injurious. He's a populist who never meets people - an ordinary guy who clears brush, and brush is the only thing he talks to. Mr. Bush hails Texas as a place where he can return to his roots. But is he mixing it up there with anyone besides Vulcans, Pioneers and Rangers?

W.'s idea of consolation was to dispatch Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, to talk to Ms. Sheehan, underscoring the inhumane humanitarianism of his foreign policy. Mr. Hadley is just a suit, one of the hard-line Unsweet Neo Cons who helped hype America into this war.

It's getting harder for the president to hide from the human consequences of his actions and to control human sentiment about the war by pulling a curtain over the 1,835 troops killed in Iraq; the more than 13,000 wounded, many shorn of limbs; and the number of slain Iraqi civilians - perhaps 25,000, or perhaps double or triple that. More people with impeccable credentials are coming forward to serve as a countervailing moral authority to challenge Mr. Bush.

Paul Hackett, a Marine major who served in Iraq and criticized the president on his conduct of the war, narrowly lost last week when he ran for Congress as a Democrat in a Republican stronghold in Cincinnati. Newt Gingrich warned that the race should "serve as a wake-up call to Republicans" about 2006.

Selectively humane, Mr. Bush justified his Iraq war by stressing the 9/11 losses. He emphasized the humanity of the Iraqis who desire freedom when his W.M.D. rationale vaporized.

But his humanitarianism will remain inhumane as long as he fails to understand that the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute.

E-mail: liberties@nytimes.com

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Support for Cindy

Word on the street is interesting today. Appears that Rove is trying to pull a 'Joe Wilson' & find some crap on Cindy Sheehan, our activist mom squatting on the Crawford ranch. 'The Grudge Report' states she once had good things to say about Bush.. big whoo! Now that's a nat'l crime if I ever heard one.
If that's the best they can come up w/.. good gravy.
Word is that she'll be arrested on Thursday, because Little Dubbie's gotta go out & make some $ for the hungry GOPers. Because his limo has to pass in front of Cindy, she will be labeled a 'NATIONAL SECURITY RISK!' & arrested. Yeah, that would raise those terror colors to about a nice shade of pink, I would think. She might be tempted to throw a sneaker at the bullet proof vehicle, & we can't have that risk. If I were her, I'd be throwing the contents of my latrine at the buffoon.

You can keep apprised of the latest, on this website;
Cindy is one of the founding members of 'Gold Star Families for Peace'
I wish I could be there in TX w/ her! But for now, I'll send her my best wishes & surround her w/ protective light. She'll need it when the demon-from-hell drives by.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Bonus Update

Check out the update on Cindy Sheehan.. Mother-of-the-Decade in my books. She's articulate, she's determined, & she's media savvy. This spells t-r-u-b-e-l (or trouble for the educated..you know, people that READ) but 'trubel' for Dubyah, the illiterate yayhoo in Crawford (the village got it's idiot back for the month of August)

Movie Rec

Rainy Mondays & housework always get me down.. so it was breaktime by 11 am. Netflix had delivered a movie called 'What I Want My Words to Do to You'. I had forgotten even ordering it.. but I'm oh so glad that I did. This is a documentary produced by Eve whats-her-face, of 'The Vagina Monologue' fame. You know her, right? The Darla Jean haircut-lady from 'Little Rascals'? Right, that one.. Same haircut in this one too. In this film, Eve moderates/teaches/ & lends a philosophical ear to women prisoners in Bedford Hills Maximum Security Prison.
Inside prison, we meet close to a dozen women who are taking a writing course; answering searing questions about their crimes, their feelings, their families. Some look barely out of high school (which they are), some look borderline retarded, some look like they could be movie stars, & others looked whipped out, used up & spit out.
However, getting to know these ladies over the course of a couple of hrs, I began to have the increasing sense of 'there but for the grace of God, go I.' All of us are inbued w/ the passionate sense of anger, sadness, fear, joy, pride. We are all capable of doing great good or tremendous harm. Hopefully, we make the correct choices & end up on this side of the prison bars. But this particular group of women did not.
It shocked me to see what tough sentences some of them received for what seemingly (to me, anyway), were victimless crimes.. drug possession (20 to life!?) But other, babyfaced young girls were in for 25 to life for 2nd degree murder. One beautiful girl had been raped by her boyfriend.. went to confront him days later, to ask for an apology.. he came at her w/ a knife & said he'd do it again. She was in shock.. this had been her best friend & love of her life. Instead of walking away, she shot him.
Another lovely demure blonde.. had been hurt when her husband cheated on her. So she had an affair to pay him back. The new lover became angry when she wanted to break it off. He killed her husband, & she was arrested as an accomplice. She's now serving life w/o possibility of parole. Can you imagine the abject sense of 'knowing' that you are never going to be outside the walls of a prison..
Some of the women were older.. one a revolutionary of the 70's who was responsible for some bombings where people lost their life. She looked like a sweet little activist granny.
The film takes these women's stories, poems & essays & hands them to a group of actresses, Glenn Close, Rosie Perez, Mary Alice, & several others.. They perform the readings as live art.
It is phenomenal.. making you laugh, cry, celebrate life, & regret mistakes. Well worth watching!
Now back to the laundry..

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Civic Sunday

Ok, you knew my Lazy Saturday would not hold over into my Civic Sunday. Just wanted to send kudos to Cindy Sheehan, the mother of another of Bushit's 'Collateral Losses'. I'm sure we'll be seeing his full 60 second profile on 'Fallen Heroes'.. but until then..
God bless his mom for going the extra mile to try & get some answers to her grief-torn questions. Because of the intense media coverage of her plight, the Prez was forced to send out a couple of higher-up lapdogs. These were like the poodles & bishons compared to the labs & bluetick hounds that he usually appropriates to the 'liberal' press. Go Cindy!
Then the idiotic flatfoot of Crawford, TX.. US of A, tries to hassle them for walking in his pious ditches. Cap'n Vanek, you suck eggs! You could easily be replaced by Barney Fife.

Today's Civic Sunday award goes to;
Cindy Sheehan. Mother extraordinare!

Fallen Soldier's Mom Leads March on Crawford
By Deb Riechmann
The Associated Press

Saturday 06 August 2005

Crawford, Texas - The angry mother of a fallen U.S. soldier staged a protest near President Bush's ranch Saturday, demanding an accounting from Bush of how he has conducted the war in Iraq.

Supported by more than 50 demonstrators who chanted, "W. killed her son!" Cindy Sheehan told reporters: "I want to ask the president, 'Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?'" Sheehan, 48, didn't get to see Bush, but did talk about 45 minutes with national security adviser Steve Hadley and deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin, who went out to hear her concerns.

Appreciative of their attention, yet undaunted, Sheehan said she planned to continue her roadside vigil, except for a few breaks, until she gets to talk to Bush. Her son, Casey, 24, was killed in Sadr City, Iraq, on April 4, 2004. He was an Army specialist, a Humvee mechanic.

"They (the advisers) said we are in Iraq because they believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, that the world's a better place with Saddam gone and that we're making the world a safer place with what we're doing over there," Sheehan said in a telephone interview after the meeting.

"They were very respectful. They were nice men. I told them Iraq was not a threat to the United States and that now people are dead for nothing. I told them I wouldn't leave until I talked to George Bush."

She said Hagin told her, "I want to assure you that he (Bush) really does care."

"And I said if he does care, why doesn't he come out and talk to me."

Sheehan arrived in Crawford aboard a bus painted red, white and blue and emblazoned with the words, "Impeachment Tour." Sheehan, from Vacaville, Calif., had been attending a Veterans for Peace convention in Dallas.

The bus, trailed by about 20 cars of protesters and reporters, drove at about 15 mph toward Bush's ranch. After several miles, they parked the vehicles and began to march, in stifling heat, farther down the narrow country road.

Flanked by miles of pasture, Sheehan spoke with reporters while clutching two photographs, one of her son in uniform, and the other, a baby picture, when he was seven months old.

She said she decided to come to Crawford a few days ago after Bush said that fallen U.S. troops had died for a noble cause and that the mission must be completed.

"I want to ask the president, `Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?" she said, her voice cracking with emotion. "Last week, you said my son died for a noble cause' and I want to ask him what that noble cause is?"

White House spokesman Trent Duffy said response that Bush also wants the troops to return home safely.

"Many of the hundreds of families the president has met with know their loved one died for a noble cause and that the best way to honor their sacrifice is to complete the mission," Duffy said.

"It is a message the president has heard time and again from those he has met with and comforted. Like all Americans, he wants the troops home as soon as possible."

The group marched about a half-mile before local law enforcement officials stopped them at a bend in the road, still four to five miles from the ranch's entrance. Capt. Kenneth Vanek of the McLennan County Sheriff's Office said the group was stopped because some marchers ignored instructions to walk in the ditch beside the road, not on the road.

"If they won't cooperate, we won't," Vanek said.


Saturday, August 06, 2005

Lazy Saturdays..

Ok, I'm off my rants & rages today. Makes me sweat. And today is waa-ay hot enough without working up an inside heat to match what mother nature's throwing at us. 95 in the shade, & probably the humidity to match. When I walked this morning, felt like the air was thick enough to be drank. (I'm working on my southern euphemisms here.. or is that metaphors & similes.. whatever!)

Today I'm a slug. A slow-moving one, leaving a slime trail.
This summer day calls for naps, books (dropped when one of those 'naps' sneak up on you), libations w/ lots of ice & lime squeezin's, & hammocks under big oak trees w/ spanish moss dipping close to the ground. Birds as lazy as I am.. too tired to chirp. Squirrels, legs splayed on the fence, trying to find the shady spot. Butterflies that have given up on their flittery mating calls, satisfied to land on your toe, & just chill.

Y'all come on in & make yourself comfortable.. pardon me if I don't get up.. just too darn comfortable right now.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Friday's News

While the White House beats the drum saying, 'We're winning! We're winning!'.. more mothers & fathers here at home are burying their babies. More & more stories on the evening news highlighting 'Fallen Heroes'. Telling us of their plans that will never come to fruition. Showing us pictures of their sweethearts, their children, & their war ribbons. Worked in on the TV screen between commercials for a foot fungus product & a feminine odor control agent.. we get this 60 second spot for one of Bush's 'collateral losses'. The buffoon won't even call it a death/killing/murder.. it's just 'loss'.. now don't that feel better little momma?
I watched a documentary on WWII recently & one of the old soldiers, now near death, states, 'When we have tasted a period of peace, why don't we try harder to keep it?' Indeed.. why don't we? Instead, here in the land of the free/home of the brave.. if you even utter the word 'Peace' these days, you are considered a bleeding heart non-patriotic satan-worshiping no-family-value gay-marrying abortion-seeking pitiful-Democrat. And we have sat back, not wanting to hurt feelings, & allowed this travesty to happen.
Even as Bush holds media-friendly pre-selected-audience 'chats' & offers the camera his best smirky grin & speaks the trash of 'staying the course..' And selling the tale of 'fighting terrorism', when he will go down in history as the worst terorist of modern times. Meanwhile, we bury our children, our brothers & sisters, our nephews & nieces. We only hope to welcome home the rest of our soldiers who will be bearing the mental anguish of this ridiculous war for the rest of their lives. Homes will be broken, suicides will happen, & post trumatic syndrome will wipe out another generation. I've lived thru it w/ VietNam.. and realize that history recycles when not heeded.
Here's todays 'news' which will probably hold the nat'l attn for all of about 5 minutes. The paratheses comments are my own.

Rebel Offensive Kills 48 US Soldiers in 12 Days
By Robert H. Reid
The Associated Press

Thursday 04 August 2005

The US military said Thursday that four more American service members died in Iraq, including a Marine killed in the Euphrates River valley where 14 Marines lost their lives in the worst roadside bombing targeting American forces in the Iraq war.

In Crawford, Texas, President Bush dismissed the threat, saying, "We will stay on the offense against these people. They're terrorists and they're killers and they will kill innocent people ... so they can impose their dark vision on the world."

Bush added: "The comments of the No. 2 man of al-Qaida make it clear that Iraq is part of this war on terror, and we're at war."
*(Again, the man will stop at nothing to blame 9-11 on Iraq. None of his Saudi buddies will EVER be blamed. Even tho 15 of them were involved that fateful day)

Three US soldiers were killed Wednesday night in a roadside bombing in Baghdad, the military said. The statement identified them only as members of the Army's Task Force Baghdad, but Georgian officials said they were assigned to the 48th Brigade of the Georgia National Guard. The 48th has lost 11 soldiers since arriving in Iraq in May.

At least 1,825 members of the US military have died since the Iraq war started in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. Bombs in vehicles or planted alongside roads account for up to 80 percent of US deaths in Iraq, military spokesman Lt. Col. Steven Boylan said.

The death brought to at least 24 the number of Marines killed over the last week in the Euphrates Valley in one of the bloodiest periods for US forces in months. In all, at least 48 American service members have died in Iraq since July 24 - all but two in combat.

Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the Iraq campaign a tough situation "that's going to get tougher before it gets easier."

"The truth of the matter is that we've made some pretty significant miscalculations in term of policy from the outset, and we leave these Marines in a very, very tough spot," Biden said Thursday on CBS's "The Early Show."

Seeking to reassure the public, Iraq's prime minister announced a new plan for combating insurgents, declaring "we are in a state of war."

Violence is on the rise in Iraq despite plans by Bush to begin withdrawing American forces next year and gradually hand over security to the Iraqis.
*(This withdrawal was leaked by the UK memo, so it's old news & stole Rummy's thunder.
They only plan on 'withdrawing' as far as Kuwait. Johnny is NOT coming home.)

A Marine officer, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons, said the troops were traveling in an armored amphibious vehicle to assault insurgent positions near the Haditha dam when a thunderous blast flipped the vehicle over and set it afire.

The Marines killed Wednesday were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines based in the Cleveland suburb of Brook Park, Ohio, and attached to the Regimental Combat Team-2. Nine of them were from a single smaller unit in Columbus, Ohio.

Bush called the attack a "grim reminder" that America is still at war. US leaders have been hoping that political progress toward a constitution and broadly elected government will dampen an intransigent insurgency.
*(Thank you for that 'grim reminder' Bubba. But I guarantee you that we are reminded of your ilk & unjustified war everytime we see the smirk of your face. That look that says, 'at least Jenna & Babs are safe' Yeah, that one.. I have no idea how you sleep at night Dubyah. I hope the 1830 innocent souls of soldiers & the 25,000 Iraqi civilians circle your bed & head, until it finally sinks thru to you. Peace on Earth!)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Movie recommendation

So much of what we see & read is just mental-fluff. And I'm aware of that as I read an inane novel every couple of days, & watch DVD's via Netflix, that are forgotten as soon as viewed. I figure that time spent is not totally wasted.. it gives us a view of human nature, if nothing else.

But once in awhile something comes along that knocks our socks off.. awakens us to new depths & heights of discovery. Something that calls to some tender shoot in our subconscious that whispers, 'look at this.. listen to this.'
And the movie I watched today hit me right in the solar plexus. It's called 'Born into Brothels'. A documentary filmed in India by an Indie photographer, who originally goes there to film the life of women in the Red Light district. She lives among the women.. great grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers, & daughters. Young girls as young as 7,8,9 yrs old being sold/traded/initiated into joining their family members 'on the line'.. where men, mostly drunk or on drugs or both, come to choose the small, most innocent & immature-appearing 'on the line', to garner sexual pleasures.
The photographer gets to know some of these children & sets up a class to teach them the rudiments of taking pictures. Kids who have never seen a camera before, discover their innate talents of composition, lighting, features, etc. Breath-taking photos are produced, & end up being shown around the world. Getting involved with their personal lives, she tries to further their education & get them out of the destructive 'death' of brothels.
It's a facinating journey, & you become so attached to these beautiful big brown-eyed wunderkins. Full of hope & promise, dreams & ideals. Children of the Universe.
I do hope you rent it, and say a prayer for children like them all over the world. And then a word of gratitude that your own children are safe in their homes.
Amazing footage!!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Plague Returns

When I read this report, my heart was broken anew. Landmines.. that do little beyond killing & maiming the innocent. The old farmer, the playing child.. then BOOM! Limbs, lives.. forever lost.
I know Princess Di must be turning in her grave.. as she fought so hard to rid the world of this plague. There is no earthly use for landmines. And yet it appears Bush is using them even as we speak.
How long, God? How long until you let this man trip on his own weapon.
I am heartsick.

After 10-Year Hiatus, Pentagon Eyes New Landmine
by Isaac Baker

UNITED NATIONS - The George W. Bush administration may soon resume production of antipersonnel land mines in a move that is at odds with both the international community and previous U.S. policy on the weapons, says a leading human rights organization.

In December of this year, the Pentagon will decide whether or not to begin producing a new type of antipersonnel land mine called a ”Spider”. The first of these mines would then be scheduled to roll out in early 2007.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the funds for Spider's production are already earmarked, as the Pentagon has requested 1.3 billion dollars for the mine system, as well as for another mine called the Intelligent Munitions System, which is expected to be fully running by 2008.

A new report by the HRW issued Wednesday notes these weapons that kill and maim an estimated 500 people, mostly civilians, each week. The group called on the Bush administration to halt all research and development on all types of these widely-banned weapons.

”With very few exceptions, nearly every nation has endorsed the goal of a global ban on all antipersonnel mines at some point in the future,” the HRW report says. ”Such acts (by the U.S.) would clearly be against the trend of the emerging international consensus against any possession or use of antipersonnel mines.”

The U.S. has not used antipersonnel land mines since the 1991 Gulf War, when it scattered over 100,000 land mines from planes in Iraq and Kuwait, according to HRW. Then, in 1992, Pres. George H.W. Bush signed into law a moratorium introduced by Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy on the export of all antipersonnel land mines.

In 1994 the U.S. called for the ”eventual elimination” of all such mines and in 1996, Pres. Bill Clinton said the U.S. would ”seek a worldwide agreement as soon as possible to end the use of all antipersonnel mines.” The U.S. produced its last antipersonnel land mine in 1997.

It has also been the stated objective of the U.S. government that it would someday join the 145 countries party to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which bans the use, production, exporting, and stockpiling of antipersonnel land mines.

However, the Bush administration made an about-face in U.S. antipersonnel land mine policy in February 2004, when it abandoned any pretense of joining the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, also known as the Ottawa Convention.

”The United States will not join the Ottawa Convention because its terms would have required us to give up a needed military capability,” the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs said in a statement in February 2004, summing up the administration's new policy.

”Landmines still have a valid and essential role protecting United States forces in military operations... No other weapon currently exists that provides all the capabilities provided by landmines.”

It was this policy, HRW says, that laid the groundwork for the U.S. government's new antipersonnel land mine slated for production as early as 2007.

”We are beginning to see the bitter fruit of the new Bush administration land mine policy,” Steve Goose, director of HRW's arms division said in a statement. ”The U.S. appears well on the way to resuming production of antipersonnel mines. Renewed export and renewed use of these inhumane weapons may not be far behind.”

However, there are reports that the U.S. use of antipersonnel land mines may already have occurred or be occurring now.

The Pentagon is yet to confirm or deny reports that the U.S. government was to begin deploying a remote-controlled antipersonnel land mine system called Matrix to Iraq. A total of 25 of these mine systems, which can be detonated from a distance via radio signal, have allegedly been sent to Iraq in May of this year for use by the U.S. Army's Stryker Brigade, the report says.

Given the immensity of international support for the banning of antipersonnel land mines, if the Pentagon does resume production of the weapons, diplomatic problems are almost certain to ensue.

”If they go ahead and do this, they will really be breaking some new ground,” Mary Wareham, a senior advocate in HRW's arms division, told IPS. ”It will be a massive step backwards for the U.S. in terms of making any good will. If they did it, it would be bad news all around and I'm sure that there would be protests.”

The 145 parties to the Ottawa Convention are also forbidden to ”assist” others in acts that are prohibited by the treaty. Therefore, U.S. military allies could be at risk of breaching the treaty in joint military operations where antipersonnel land mines are being used.

© 2005 Inter Press Service


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Don't Go There.

In keeping w/ Miss World's Vacation Bolg on the Yay-Yays.. I felt I had to share where 'not' to go on your summer vacation..
I didn't make these up.. so the politically incorrect ones are not my doing. But the Mt Pampers in Cincinnatti looks mighty appealing..


Bottom 50 Best Vacation Spots!
Museum Of Teeth: Bredford, South Carolina
Suburban Wigger Heritage Theme Park: Lake Ronkonkoma, Long Island
Wesson® Canola Oil Flume Family Fun Park: Gainsboro, Illinois
Three Mile Island Playhouse Featuring Hortence, the Mennonite Spinster With the Superfluous External Heart: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Rufus' "World of Maggots and Leecharium": Pensacola, Florida
Asphalt Flats State Park: Newark, New Jersey
Post-Industrial Blight & Mugging World: Detroit, Michigan
HomoDisney: San Francisco, California
The Eiffel Tower: Las Vegas, Nevada
Mt. Pampers: Cincinnatti, Ohio
Gratuitous Christian Allegory Hotel: Narnia
Interpretive Dancing Whimsical Chimney Sweep Theme Park: London, England
The Amazing World of Dirt: McHenry, North Dakota
Birthplace of Walter Mondale: Ceylon, Minnesota
Reverend Lonnie's Clothing-Optional Trampoline Park: Fullerton, Oregon
The World's Third Largest Meatball: East Orange, New Jersey
Triple Crown Glue Factory: Louisville, Kentucky
Annual "Miss Nostrils-Full-Of-Blowflies" Human Skeleton Pageant: Khartoum, Sudan
Yellowstone National Park Annual Snowmobile Drag Race & Bison Stampede: Madison, Wyoming
Thunderdome: The Outback, Post-Apocalyptic Australia
La Isla de Carnival Cruise Lines' Tropical Poverty Voyeurism Safari
Jackowood: Vatican City
Deep Fried Snout 'n Hoof Chow Down: Birmingham, Alabama
The Colossus of Toads: Swamptown, Louisiana
Harmony Starfire's Organic Composting and Garbage Recycling Commune: Bennington, Vermont
Wet & Wanton Water Orgy Park: Montgomery, Alabama
Swanson International Foods Central Poultry Processing Abattoir & Gift Emporium: Allentown, Pennsylvania
La Jolla Sludge Pits: La Jolla, California
Enslaved Sickly Ocean Mammal World: Orlando, Florida
Enchanted Valley of the Strip Malls: Keene, New Hampshire
Camp Cockfight: Dozier, Alabama
Fairfield, Nebraska: Home of Dickie the Cowboy Dwarf's Miniature Collie Rodeo
Cellulite Beach: Galveston, Texas
Atomic Testing and Fallout Zone State Park & Recreation Area: Frenchman Flats, Nevada
Franzia Vineyards Annual Wine Lover's Chug-a-lug Face-Off and Riding Mower Demolition Derby: Sonoma, California
The Fetid Grotto: Star City, Arkansas
Smith & Wesson World Famous Taxidermy Petting Zoo: Springfield, Massachusetts
Mt. Bushmore: Crawford, Texas
Six Flags Over Chernobyl
The Leaning Tower of Trenton, New Jersey
Annual White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Hillbilly Hootenanny & Christian Pyrotechnics Workshop: Flora, Mississippi
The One and Only 72-Hour "Techno Tots" Pre-Schooler Ecstasy Rave: Ibiza, Spain
Styrofoamhenge: Fairview, Oklahoma
Jerome the Jolly Jumbo Lawn Jockey: Darlen, Georgia
Crystal Lake Fantasy Serial Killer Camp: Vorhees, Illinois
Universal Studios – Catacombs of Capitalism: Dallas, Texas
Monument to Veterans of Foreign Brothels: Chippewa County, Minnesota
World Famous Phosphorescent Mucus Geyser: Flifton, Arizona
Ye Olde Drive-Thru Colonoscopy Clinic: Hanna, Wyoming
Whitey McPowder's Pink Eyes Jamboree: Albinoville, USA

Monday, August 01, 2005

Monday's & other bits & pieces

Welcome to the 1st of August.. ye gods, where did the summer go? We have not camped since the end of May & that is just criminal. Too much going on w/ the sale of the house, the buying of the cabin, the job searches. Energies can only go so far.
But we'll get back into the swing of 'Nature' soon, I hope.

I did a reading for myself this morning w/ the Russian Gypsy Cards. Happy days are near again! Wahoo!! And I fully expect the Universe to bring us the abundance, like today.

How about that rascally Dubyah appointing old broom lip to the UN position during the senate recess? Let's send someone who despises the UN, who lies like a rug, who no one respects in THIS country.. yeah, lets send someone like that to represent us to the world. They're gonna love us for this one. I don't think all the blowjobs that Karen Hughes has in her, could repair that image-breaker. She certainly has her work cut out for her.. & I trust she packs kneepads in her carry-on.

And aren't we going to have fun w/ the John Bircher/John Roberts addition to the Supremes? KKKarl Rove will appreiciate his neo-con background, even if nobody else does. Ladies, the Victorian era can't be far behind.. sharpen those wire hangers & umbrella tips! Amd men.. load up on those chastity belts soon to go on sale at your favorite Walmart. Those 5 yr old Chinese workers are already putting a shine on 'em.

But other than that, how did you like the play Mrs Lincoln?
I think August is going to be hot & steamy.. but still a great month to move to TN!
Y'all stay well.

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