Friday, October 31, 2008

Guess who I was for Halloween this year?

Good grief, am I that fat? The camera adds 25 pounds. I swear!
Ah, who cares. Just more of me to love. Woo Woo.

Top Fifty Most Popular Mysteries of our Time

How many have you read?

1 The Complete Sherlock Holmes -Arthur Conon Doyle

2 The Maltese falcon - Dashiell Hammett

3 Tales of mystery and imagination - Edgar Allan Poe

4 The daughter of time -Josephine Tey

5 Presumed innocent - Scott Turow

6 The spy who came in from the cold - John le Carre

7 The moonstone - Wilkie Collins

8 The big sleep - Raymond Chandler

9 Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier

10 And then there were none - Agatha Christie

11 Anatomy of a murder - Robert Traver

12 The murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie

13 The long goodbye - Raymond Chandler

14 The postman always rings twice - James M. Cain

15 The godfather - Mario Puzo

16 The silence of the lambs - Thomas Harris

17 A coffin for Dimitrios - Eric Ambler

18 Gaudy night - Dorothy L. Sayers

19 Witness for the prosecution - Agatha Christie

20 The day of the jackal - Frederick Forsyth

21 Farewell, my lovely - Raymond Chandler

22 The thirty-nine steps - John Buchan

23 The name of the rose - Umberto Eco

24 Crime and punishment - Fyodor Dostoevski

25 Eye of the needle - Ken Follett

26 Rumpole of the Bailey - John Mortimer

27 Red dragon - Thomas Harris

28 The nine tailors - Dorothy L. Sayers

29 Fletch - Gregory Mcdonald

30 Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy - John le Carre

31 The thin man - Dashiell Hammett

32 The woman in white - Wilkie Collins

33 Trent's last case - E. C. Bentley

34 Double indemnity - James M. Cain

35 Gorky Park - Martin Cruz Smith

36 Strong poison - Dorothy L. Sayers

37 Dance hall of the dead - Tony Hillerman

38 The hot rock - Donald E. Westlake

39 Red harvest - Dashiell Hammett

40 The circular staircase - Mary Roberts Rinehart

41 Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie

42 The firm - John Grisham

43 The Ipcress file - Len Deighton

44 Laura - Vera Caspary

45 I, the jury - Mickey Spillane

46 The laughing policeman - Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo

47 Bank shot - Donald E. Westlake

48 The third man - Graham Greene

49 The killer inside me - Jim Thompson

50 Where are the children? - Mary Higgins Clark

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Political Imprinting Begins Earlier Than We Think...

I think this cartoon is funny and interesting at the same time. It got me thinking about children, and how much they absorb from their parents behaviors. So much is not only taught, but caught, in ways we as parents never realize. I learned a great deal from my parents, adopting some of their blended philosophies, but was allowed to explore on my own at the same time. Did I stray back to a similar path as them eventually? Almost always. As I've gotten older, for me I've realized we really are just bit sized, blended versions of those that gave us life.

I bring this up now, because my son is trying to express his own individuality in regards to this hotly contested presidential race, by removing my Obama sign from his window and putting up his own home made version pictured below. My first thought was to take it down while he's at school. But I decided that it's his room, his choice; I need to let him have some freedom of expression of ideas even though they are different from his parents. Every kid wants to stand out in some way. I'll take this over doing drugs any day.

How much of our opinions do we force down our children's throats, sometimes so subtly we don't even know we are doing it? Are we always careful to allow creativity and imagination to develop into a love of learning about new things, of new ideas even if they differ from our own?

It's definitely a fine line. I may of crossed it here. My son now lives with a band of gypsies that happened to be passing through...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hands off, Hands on - Alan Greenspan pulls a Karate Kid

Tom DeLay (yuck) recently said, “All three branches of our government should stay out of the economy…”

Last week, before the House Oversight Committee, the former Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, did some serious fessing up. His economic theories had a flaw, “a flaw in the model that I perceived as the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works.” Indeed. In layperson speak that means: I screwed up. The market couldn’t take care of itself after all. Go figure.

This from a man who openly proclaims himself to be a Libertarian, who has held that governments shouldn’t interfere in the market, who has fought regulation for years. Now he says, the only way to sustain support for capitalism “is to continue to support market incentives that create jobs and to find productive ways to ease the pain of job losers.” He also spoke of “the recent growing inequality of income,” a new problem that “requires insight into its roots, and policy action where appropriate.” I find this all immensely ironic. Sounds a little like “spread the wealth around” to me, or maybe that some government oversite is needed. And that leads me to my next point.

I have heard over and over how scared people are of Obama being elected president. Is it mainly because of this comment he made to Joe the plumber? Do they find it offensive because it sounds socialistic – taking money from the taxpayer and giving it to someone else, in this case someone who makes less? Maybe part of the reason the country as a whole is moving towards the center is because, if taxpayer money can be used to bail out stupid bankers, then why can’t the every day person get help from the government before they lose their house?

Or is it that if Obama is elected, that he and the Democratic controlled congress and senate will reign unchecked in Washington and according to DeLay, go about "prohibiting conservative talk radio, validating socialization of the energy industry, and billions in new taxes on small businesses and the resulting job losses and wealth evaporation?" I could be wrong here but it seems to me that when FDR and his congress took over the mess Hoover made, they were able to successfully set America right again from the brink of collapse. Can it happen again? Maybe. I believe Obama should be given at the very least, a chance. He's not an idiot after all. When the bases are loaded, I want my best and smartest hitter at the plate. Could it get any worse than what we’ve already been through these last eight years?

What I can’t figure out is why no one is scared about McCain and his hard-line taking with Russia and China, wanting them kicked out of the G8, his not agreeing with Bush being so soft on North Korea, not having a problem with bombing Iran, and continuing the war in Iraq for 100 years if necessary. How many of these countries have nuclear weapons? Most of them! Good grief. You know what I worry about? I worry about this:

Now to me, that's scary.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Spooky Menu!

Every year right before Halloween, my extended family puts together a special holiday meal (I swear my kids look more forward to this than Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner) My sister did a fun menu, and my kids had a blast. A copy of her menu list is below, along with a description of each of the items ‘secret spooky’ meaning. It was way fun!


Batwings (Chicken fingers carved in the shape of wings)
Eyeballs (Deviled eggs with an olive in the middle of each one)

Main Dish:
Spookghetti with Blood Sauce (We made the noodles green with food coloring)
Ghoulsticks (Breadsticks with Salad Supreme sprinkled on them)
Skull and Crossbones (A pear half with choc chip eyes and crossed celery sticks)
Purple Slim Jello (You can make your own design here)

Vampire blood (Any red drink, one year I put gummy worms in the ice cubes)

Mummy Tarts (Cupcakes decorated like mummies)

Spiced Pumpkin Squares - Recipe of the Week

Sweet and spicy and everything nicey. Just like the Democratic Party. (And please, like the Democrats, just give these poor, defenseless ‘squares’ a chance.)
Happy Halloween!

Mix dry ingredients –
2 cups flour
1 tblsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt

In blender mix –
2 sticks butter
1 ¼ cup sugar
Add one egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
Add dry ingredients and a bag of choc chips

Grease and flour a 9 X 13 cake pan
Spread mixture in it and bake for 35-40 minutes
At 350 degrees until the edges pull away from the pan
Cut into squares
(I got this recipe from a Martha Stewart magazine)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

An article I read yesterday out of Provo, Utah –
One of the nation’s most conservative universities now has just as many College Democrats as College Republicans.
There are about 1,200 Brigham Young University students signed up in each group, which are sponsored by the school’s political science department.
In September, the Democrats had about 700 students. But within the first few weeks of classes, membership nearly doubled as the presidential campaign heated up. The Democrats have come a long way – 15 years ago their club had seven members.

Have aliens landed in Provo, Utah and taken over the once conservative minds of its young ones, turning them over to the “Dark Side” as it were, turning them into what North Carolina Rep. Robin Hayes recently told a crowd, “liberals {that} hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God” ?

I have another, more reasonable explanation that I will again quote from a book I read from recently, Why I’m a Democrat, edited by Susan Mulcahy, as to maybe why more people, of all ages, are moving away from the once Grand Old Party.

At its best, the Democratic Party has always been the party in which ordinary people could have their voices heard and their interests represented and in which each individual is honored for who they are. Like many Democrats, I like to refer to myself as a “progressive,” because that term communicates not merely a laundry list of issue positions but the animating spirit that binds us together. The belief in progress – the faith that things can be better, that we can solve the problems that vex our nation, that though we will experience tragedies and setbacks the future is where our best days lie – makes a Democrat a Democrat. Republicans can be relied on to look backward, to argue that the answer to any current ill can be found in a return to an imagined Edenic past in which strict hierarchies were enforced and people knew their place, where shame and fear kept everyone in check. But Democrats are different.

And to that I must add, Waa-hoo...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Crime Aid instead of Farm Aid - Who knew?

Hey, I have a new favorite show! Am I the last person on the planet to be watching this 'mockumentary'? It's hysterical! It's on at a bad time of night for me (between homework, latenight snacks, potty breaks, more homework) so I haven't had a chance to watch it until now. But between Michael and Holly's exploring "third date" possibilities, exboyfriends showing up, the sycophant Dwight intermingling with the monotone lady, and the fake Bruce Springsteen tickets, I'd have to say, it's funny, funny stuff. And it's not on cable. Who'd of thought? Time to break out the ancient VCR and do some taping - For you younger kiddies that's the machine you put those big black ugly (you know like the 8 tracks) tapes in and it plays on the TV. No really, it does.
I'd hate to miss another episode. Because I have no life apparently...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Remember the $400 haircut?

Ah, he is a handsome devil, isn't he? The events of the past week remind me of the spring of 2007, the beginning of the end of John Edwards political career, just because he billed his campaign for his expensive Hollywood stylest haircuts. Out of touch elitist they called him. He took alot of heat for it, and I believe eventually paid it back. We all know now why he needed that stylish do, to impress the girlfriend that the (pardon my french) SOB had on the side. But enough about him, he's moved on into the pantheon of political-never lived up to their potentials because they are dumb, dumb, dumb-group.

I want to discuss how this relates to the issue of the $150,000 ($400 x 375) clothing and accessories bill for Sarah Palin and her family for the month of September. First of all, in her defense, I realize she probably bought very few, if any of the clothes, just like all the other candidates. I also realize that being in the public eye is expensive, and her clothes would be scrutinized, just like Hillary Clinton’s were (although for completely different reasons.) The McCain campaign asked Sarah Palin and her family to give up basically their entire lives until the election, so should they have to pay to look the part? Go into debt over it? Although it was a choice they made, I would say, probably not.

I do take some issue with how the amount of money spent on making her ‘presentable’ takes her message off task a bit, the one that says “she relates to everyday Americans,” the she’s just like you soccer moms, Walmart mom’s out there. For me personally, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a suit from Nordstrom’s or a suit from JcPenney. Being a politician is all about image, being careful what you do and say for fear of how it might look to potential voters. So I guess I’m surprised she didn’t put two and two together, especially after what happened to John Edwards, and when she was presented with these clothes, I wonder why she didn't say, “No, let’s tone it down a bit.”

Having grown up with a father who’s held some kind of political office for at least a third of his life, I know to be a politician or even a member of their family, you need skin as thick as buffalo hide. It’s hard and stressful to run for office, and equally so if you get elected. For some people that want to make a difference, it’s worth the mental toll it takes.

I watched the NBC interview last night with Sarah Palin, and I noticed something that bothers me still. Sarah Palin did not look like the fresh faced barracuda that gave that now infamous speech at the RNC. She looks older, the lines and crevices around her tired eyes have deepened. Even her hair had taken a different shape. The tone of her voice wasn’t light and snappy; it was sharper, harder, colder, like a hard sheet of ice covered that which it once was. She’s pissed, feeling like she’s gotten an unfair shake with the media. It’s taking a toll; that was extremely obvious, and after the interview I felt something I never thought I would. I felt bad for her.
If McCain’s ticket is elected, will she be nothing more than pretty window dressing on what I consider the tired old policies of the McCain building? I hope not. I hope she will have an effective, influential role in the Whitehouse because I would want any woman in that role to succeed. But, if the McCain ticket loses, will she bare the brunt of the blame? Probably, and that’s unfortunate. But, that's just my dumb, uneducated opinion.
So is she being unfairly scrutinized by the public and media, or does she deserve part of the negative attention she gets?

Something to get our minds off of politics

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ah, if only it was real.....

Much thanks, Suz

"How can a president not be an actor?" Ronald Reagan

With all the talk about how much Barack Obama is liked within his own party, even to the point of "hero worship" brought to a fanatical point by some, my mind is taken back to a time at the beginning of the 80's when I was in junior high. I remember when Ronald Reagan ran for president, and how much the Republicans were galvanized behind the charismatic governor.

I watched the debate between him and Jimmy Carter, and I was mesmerized even at that young age by his every-guy language, his witty banter, his handsome, ranch foreman looks. My father, a Democrat, was leery, as were all Democrats. Just a pretty boy actor whose career failed so he decided to dabble in politics, just a sweet talker, and way too conservative. But the Republicans loved him. He'd come off the heals of some disappointing Republican leaders, like Ford and Nixon, and the current president had low approval ratings. The country in general was heading in a more conservative direction and they found in Ronald Reagan what they needed, a steady, strong voice; in other words, change. And change everything he did.

Now, fast forward a bit to now. Enter Barack Obama, a charismatic, good-looking, well-spoken, smart guy appearing virtually out of no where. Democrats instantly love him, having had to deal with the Clinton years, going through some disappointing presidential candidates, Gore and Kerry, here is a person that can wipe that all away, like an eraser on a white board. Republicans are instantly leery, he's too much of a celebrity, in love with himself, no one questions him, way too liberal, etc. (The list goes on and on, and on.) The country's in deep recession, we're disappointed with the current president, an evolution of philosophy is occurring politically; we're moving away from the far right closer to the middle as a nation. What the Republicans found in Reagan, the Democrats find in Obama; someone who will change the direction of the country.

I read a quote a few weeks ago by Ronald Reagan's son about his mother, Nancy. He said, (in a nutshell) she likes Obama; that he reminds her of her husband, in that people only thought he was a good speaker; that he wouldn't amount to much else.

I will end with yet another quote (one of thousands) from him, that master of speech,
"I never drink coffee at lunch. I find it keeps me awake for the afternoon."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Austenland - Book Review

by Shannon Hale
"Jane thought: I wouldn't throw him out of bed for eating crackers."
For those of you self-professed Austenites out there, this is the book for you.
I'm a fan of Shannon Hale's young adult books and quite liked this transition into the adult book world. The story is clever, about a young unmarried woman who is obsessed with Colin Firth and the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice - A mini series I have watched at least 200 times. Her deceased aunt sends her on an adventure to try and cure her of it. Is she finally able to fill the Mr. Darcy void in her life? Does she find love? Is their a cad involved? Those of you who faithfully read Austen every year should already know the answer, but who cares?
A genuinely delightful read.
Up Next: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sean Hannity - A Beacon of Truth? Please...

Before anyone reads this, please realize - Sean and I will never be friends. This isn't a glowing review. So.....

On Monday, I accidentally came across the Sean Hannity Radio Show (The last beacon of truth in a troubled time? Hmm…) and because Colin Powell had just endorsed Obama, I was curious about what he’d say about it. I wondered if he too, would say what Rush said, that it was because they are of the same race that he endorsed him. (Whatever helps you sleep at night, Rush, since you’ve supposedly quit taking the drugs.)

So, for three mind-numbing, excruciatingly horrendous, scratching the blackboard hours, I listened, I cringed, I controlled my gag reflex, waiting, hoping, he would finally have a point that wasn’t – World War III is coming if we elect Obama (Let me correct you there Sean, you will not elect Obama. I will.) He used the words, WWIII at least 10 times! All because of comments Joe Biden made, when he made public an assertion- that all Republicans in every election they might lose always bring up - that because Democrats don’t want to blowup and fight the world, we’re soft on the military. This is one of many standard Republican scare tactics. What, are you mad Sean because he lessened the sting before the political hit could be delivered? He beat you to the punch?

So, is it true? We’ll let’s see. I remember when George Bush Sr. was running for a second term against Bill Clinton, when his vp pick, Dan Quayle said a similar thing about a Bill Clinton presidency. That we could expect some world catastrophe to happen while he’s in office. Would a Democrat president be able to handle it? Did something major happen? (Regarding the world no, regarding other stuff, maybe, but I'm not discussing that here.) No. In fact, if our enemies are just waiting for a Democrat in office to attack, then why did Bin Laden wait until Clinton was out of office, and attack us right after President Bush was put in? Hmm, interesting. My point, the one I couldn’t find in that lovely Hannity broadcast is thus, we don’t know what will happen, we don’t know when it will happen, we can’t control the world and predict what it will do on any given moment. Just because a presidential nominee expresses an interest in peace instead of war doesn’t mean he will not defend our nation.

Sean Hannity did little to convince me otherwise. He does nothing but pander to the extreme rightwing. Have the last eight years been so fantastic, so wonderful, such a great time for America here and abroad that it would make me want to put another Republican in the White House? Just tell me, because they’ve done such a great job, why they deserve another shot? Give me one good reason. The two party system was created for a reason by our founding fathers; to create balance. It's called having a choice. Because, if one political philosophy consistently controls and dominates the other, then is that democracy? No, it’s tyranny; it’s dictatorship, it’s Russia.

So, after all this did he ever say anything about Colin Powell? No. All that brain cell loss for nothing. Great. Better go read Austen to fill it back up again.

Sorry, but I couldn't help myself.

The Amazing Race - Hi, I'm FeelsDud. Welcome to New Zealand

"I wonder if they like blonde's in New Zealand?" Apparently not.

Oh, I am sad to report that the pink ladies made a teary exit this week-Does anyone else think they look like twin Jamie Lynn Spears's? (I wonder where they got those fingernail polish pink sweatsuits.)

There was a lot of bickering between some of the teams this time. The frat boys were funny, one working, one complaining if the tasks were about sports trivia, he'd have all the answers. (We'll isn't that true of us all. We all remember useless information, and cannot name the three branches of our government.) The long distance dating couple didn't tango so well this time either. I don't remember his exact comment, but he was complaining about how fast his girlfriend's mood changed with her circumstance. I wanted to say: Welcome to the intricate psyche of the female. We are all that way. Maybe you'd know that if you lived in the same town as her.

The highlight of the night was finally figuring out that Phil's dad was the one introducing them to the country. At first I kept wondering who FeelsDud was. Was he a national leader? Coach of the soccer team? A sheep herder? No, he's Phil's dad!! And then, after I finally figured it out, they quit showing him close up! (I was wondering if he's as cute as Phil is. From what I could tell - no.)

Who's my favorite now? The 'Divorcees' are probably the most entertaining.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell Pulls a Switcherooie

Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama?
Is anyone surprised? Hard to tell. Being a retired army general, a Republican and working for the last three Republican presidents, as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Secretary of State for the last two, it might of come as a surprise to some.
This morning on Meet the Press, he finally gave his long-awaited endorsement, "because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of this campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities – we have to take that into account – as well as his substance – he has both style and substance – he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president."
Regarding McCain and Obama he said either, "man would be a good president." Powell praised Obama's "depth of knowledge" and "steadiness," while he was critical of what he described as McCain's uncertainty over how to deal with the economic crisis. He also talked about Sarah Palin as McCain's vice presidential choice. "She is a very distinguished woman and she is to be admired," Powell said. "But ... I don't believe she is ready to be president of the United States."
So, what does all this mean for those of us who want Barack Obama to win? It's extremely good. I like Colin Powell. I have liked him since he worked for the first George Bush. In fact, I was secretly hoping he would run eight years, or even four years ago. I would've voted for him, even though he's Republican. Alot of people would have. I read then, that he considered it, but something to do with his family, and safety concerns were part of what prevented him. Can you imagine how different our current situation would be, especially regarding the Iraq war, if he'd been elected, instead of the person who eventually gave him the conciliatory prize of Secretary of State. A position he could only bare for so long. (We can probably thank Rumsfeld for that.)
He has great military experience, and is exactly what Barack Obama needs resting and waiting on his side of the world boxing ring, like a sleeping giant whose expertise is just waiting to be unleashed. And unlike President Bush, Obama will actually listen to his advice.

Cucumber Dip - Recipe of the Week

Cucumber Dip -
Like the 'Dips' in Congress, it's filled with sweet things and bitter things and when mixed together, it's only real use is on potato chips and a carrot.

1 pint of sour cream
1 8 oz cream cheese softened
---- Mix together well with a blender
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion
1 cucumber peeled and shredded over a paper towel, squeeze and drain
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste.
Mix together well and chill.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sarah Palin to appear on SNL tonight!!

Our prayers have been answered ladies, set your alarm clocks, ipods, cell phones, camera's (do they have alarms now?) to wake yourself up from your early bedtimes, because our comic Nirvana is about to reach its zenith! Believe it or not, Sarah Palin in scheduled to appear tonight on Saturday Night Live on NBC with Josh Brolin as host, I assume right after the evening news.
Regarding Fey, Palin says, "I love her, she's hot." And I'd like to add, "Of course, she's hot. She looks like me!"
I can't wait, and personally, although hard to admit, Sarah Palin's stock just went up ever so slightly in my "She drives me nuts" meter.
Don't forget ladies....

Friday, October 17, 2008

Joe Cool vs. Yosemite Sam - A SNL sum up of the last debate

You're right Mandy, SNL came up with some great cultural comparisons. I thought of another one too. (It dates me a bit unfortunately...)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe the Plumber - A Freath of Bresh Air

Anybody else watch the debate last night? I thought it the best by far of the three. The commentator was good, giving them plenty of time to answer - we'll let the philosophers decide if that was a good thing. There being so close to each other improved their being able to interact, and the split screens were hilarious. I want to do a whole other post on their smiles, Obama's -How you doing? Joey from Friends smooth one - to McCain's -I forgot to take my Kopecktate and I hate your guts Obama one.

I got so absorbed in the language, I only got Bingo once. McCain threw a bunch of new phrases and words into the mix that I wasn't prepared for. I took a semi-tally of some keepers that were mentioned alot or just plain stood out:
Joe the Plumber (see picture)- 21 times
Spread the wealth - 12 times, probably more; I lost count.
Well, a - they both said this about 100 times.
Kakamamee - McCain said it once, but that was enough.
Senator Government - Again only once.
If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should've run four years ago - McCain's best line of the night.
Sarah Palin is a freath of bresh air - Definitely my personal favorite.

But seriously, I learned alot about the differences between the two men, because I was engaged enough in this one to actually pay attention. McCain, obviously so frustrated, it seemed to ooze out of his pores. And Obama seemed a little too confident to me. Was that because he's ahead in the polls, or just because he's that way in general? I think both. McCain kept him on the defensive all night, turning it up a notch as he said he would. But instead of getting ruffled, Obama remained a study in freakish calm. The guy is seriously good at remaining in control, even with McCain throwing some serious fast balls his way.
Boy, am I glad it was the last one. Anyone else have any thoughts?

Book Review - The Enchanted April

The Enchanted April
by Elizabeth von Arnim
"It was cloudy in Italy, which surprised them. They expected brilliant sunshine. But never mind; it was Italy, and the very clouds looked fat."
Seriously one of the best books ever written for women. This is my third or fourth time reading it and each time I draw something new from its pages. I would say a woman's adult life could be divided into four stages: single, married, married with children, and widowhood. All of these are represented in this book through the lives of four women, strangers, who are drawn from 1920's England, and all that weighs them down there, to San Salvatore, a small medieval castle off the shores of Italy. They lose themselves within the showering, fragrant wisteria, the intoxicating heat, and the sun-kissed landscape, and in turn come to true understandings about what's really important in their lives.
I can still smell the flowers my imagination drummed up from the pages. Beautifully written.
I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Buzzword Bingo - The Last Presidential Debate

Finally! Something the whole family can enjoy while glued to the TV.
We'll use pennies, even though now they're worth only half of one each....
(And what you win, you can put in the bank and earn .00000001% interest!)
Just copy and print in Word.

(I would've done an Obama one, but I couldn't think of any buzzwords attributed to him that I didn't already use. His habits more than his words annoy me, his long pauses, his long enunciation of words at the ends of sentences...ugh, drives me nuts. Hard to put those in bingo form.)

MY FRIENDS------------CHANGE----------------ECONOMY

BAILOUT---------------BIPARTISAN------------THAT ONE

VOTER-----------------FREE SPACE----------------BUSH





STRAIGHT-----------FREE SPACE----------------ECONOMY



The Amazing Race - another pretend photo finish

I'm sad to report that the only 'couple' that was more functional than dysfunctional has effectively 'BEEN ELIMINATED'; the nerdy man friends. Read the clue closely people! I thought the 'Divorcees' had the monopoly on decoding the clues like Inspector Clouseau.
You'd think with their leads and the fantastic paper bike riding they would of been far ahead of the pack whether they cheated, unknowingly or not. Apparently biking, and wrestling with skirted women are not their forte. (Did anyone else think of Nacho Libre during that last part? Did anyone else think the guy from the 'Newly Separated Couple' team won that wrestling road block so easily because of his on the job training?)
Who will we clasp onto and love like family members now? Probably the "Dating Long Distance Couple', or perhaps the frat brothers, who look like they're straight out of Revenge of the Nerds. Stay tuned....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

How much would you pay in taxes?

How Much Would You Pay in Taxes? (From

Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain both say they’ll cut federal taxes if elected. Here’s what their proposals would mean for you.

----------------------------------- Obama--------------------- McCain
If you make:-------------------you'll save.....-------------you'll save.....
less than $19,000----------------$567------------------------$21
$161,000-$227,000----------------$2796-------------- -------$4437

If you are among
the top 5% of earners--------you'll pay out.....-------you'd save....
$603,400-$2.87 million------------$93,709-------------------$48,862
more than $2.87 million----------$542,882-------- --------$290,708

*Source: Tax Policy Center. Numbers have been rounded. For complete details, go to If your annual salary is less than $112,000, you’d pay less in taxes under Obama’s plan; if your salary is higher, McCain would cut your taxes more. “While the aggregate tax cut is bigger for McCain, a larger number of voters get more money under Obama,” says Alan Viard, a tax-policy expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “Obama is choosing to emphasize tax cuts for the middle class, whereas McCain’s strategy is to keep rates lower at the top as a way to facilitate long-run growth.” For example, a person with an income of $1 million could see his taxes increase under Obama by as much as $94,000, whereas under McCain’s plan he could save about $48,000. — Rebecca Davis O'Brien

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I'm an Obama Lover, not a Fighter

Lately, I've been feeling like a lone liberal reed in a vast field of conservative friends and associates (Not including my family of course, I come from a long line of Democrats.) Don't get me wrong; I love the heterogeneous diversity, the friendly banter back and forth is healthy and fun. Different political preferences need not be the acid test of friendship. Neither I, nor my friends are afraid to voice our opinions. I don't expect everyone to share mine and I'm mature enough to not let it bother me. My opinions are my own, nobody else's. It's called respect.

Not surprisingly, I'm often in the position of having to refute the many lies that have been told about Barack Obama, more so than any other candidate I can remember, even Bill Clinton! We are being fed a steady diet of lies backed up by fake "evidence"; let me name a few found on the Internet:
People still insist that he's Muslim; that he was born in another country; that his birth certificate is a forgery; that he won't say the Pledge of Allegiance; that he hates the American flag; that he hates Americans and America itself, and he even hates Americans who hate America because Americans hate the American flag -- in America.

And then there's the worst one imaginable, that he's for the killing of babies left alive from botched abortions. He's not. I'm wondering what they'll come up with next, since the "he's in bed with terrorists" plot isn't really panning out.

Now come on, Barack Obama is a smart, articulate, thoughtful person. He is not the devil. If he's elected he will not bring about the end of days. He will not condone 'live birth abortions'. He'll do what every other president has done on that issue. Not much. Are some of you under the impression that if McCain is elected he'll reverse Roe vs. Wade? That he will end all abortions? Did President Bush, who has invoked the name of his Creator in more speeches than any other president do it? No. Did Ronald Reagan, almost the most conservative president ever do it? No.

For those of us in Utah and Idaho, did the Republican dominated legislatures make abortion laws stronger in these states? No. Why, because unfortunately, and I'm pro-life by the way, it's all about electability. They say one thing and do another. It's what politicians do. Whoever is elected will not be able to change much, if anything.

I'm a democrat of many parts. I'm for the little guy, not going to war against every dictator who disagrees with us, everyone paying their fair share, health care for the elderly, and for not just the rich, investing in education, the environment (yes I do recycle, do you?), reasonable gun control, like banning guns from bars (a fantastic place to be carrying) and schools (an even better place) - a measure Governor Palin fought against in her state while mayor, eventually firing the police chief who disagreed with her.

These principles make perfect sense to me; they might not to anyone else, and I'm alright with that. Obama is also the sum of his parts. I don't agree with everything he's ever done, but who really says that about any political candidate? Only weird people. The fact that Obama can talk in complete sentences and doesn't require cue cards is just gravy on the stack of mashed potatoes. But if McCain's elected, I'm not frightened it will be the end of the world. We'll all survive. In all actuality, because of the financial crisis, there probably will be little difference between the two men.
(But, I must beg exception if McCain's second in command has to take over, because that does frighten me...)

Recipe of the Week - Sarah Palin's hearty quick (Say it ain't so, Joe) or slow (Katie Couric interview) stew

Like her message, it's filled with folksy ingredients and no meat -
Perfect for those cold Alaska nights, or wherever you are.

1 32 oz. can tomato juice
2 14.25 oz. cans stewed tomatoes, Italian style
2 cups water
2 medium potatoes, unpeeled and chopped
1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained
1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup each of red and green peppers, seeded and diced
1 10.oz package frozen chopped spinach
2 carrots, cut into 1-inch julienne strips
2 tblsp. dried parsley
2 tblsp. chili powder
2 tsp. dried basil leaves, crushed
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 cup reduced calorie sour cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt

Combine all ingredients, except topping. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes, or until lentils are tender. It also works well, cooking low and slow in the crock pot.
Garnish with topping and serve with corn chips.
(Because Palin is all that, and a bag of chips...)

This makes a lot of soup. I freeze the leftovers in usable amounts. Fantastic for fall!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Survivor vs. The Amazing Race -- Round Two

Clear winner this week, drum roll please....The Amazing Race
My favorite lines from the team subtitled - Newly Dating Couple
"Could you just put pressure on it please!" Said the man who's hair sticks up like he's straight out of a Jetson's cartoon.
"I don't see anything," said the perplexed girlfriend, looking at his forehead that he'd supposedly cut.
"Just blow on it!" He whines. "I can feel the blood dripping down my face!"
She holds a rag to his imaginary wound, and has a look on her face like - What the.. (You fill in the rest.)

In their next shot, he had a tiny bandaid on his forehead. I'm talking the tiniest bandaid in the box, small. I laughed until even my 'I need some attention' pretend wounds hurt. We've all been there, haven't we ladies...

Between that couple and the "Newly Separated Couple" - you know, the blond woman who looks like a professional wrestler, the one who not only bosses around her weak husband whom she clearly has by the you-know-what's, but also entire airlines - this is turning out to be a great season for the show.

You seriously can't write this stuff..

The ten things I'd rather do than watch another Presidential debate

Odd picture...are they trying to tell us something we don't know??
The 10 things:
1. Run head first into a wall. (Without a helmet)
2. Cut my fingernails too short.
3. Have eye surgery to correct my eyeballs from rolling back so far in my head.
4. Get my lips puffed with my leg fat.
5. Home school my children.
6. Visit my OB/GYN.
7. Have a positive pregnancy test.
8. Get my'a feet scrapped. (For you Suzette)
9. Wear a swimming suit in public.
10. See the name IRS on my caller ID.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Did I like the VP debate? You betcha! Darn right I did!

Biden - 1
Palin - 1
People who don't really care: 4.1 Billion (The population of the world)

Boy, debates are boring, especially when no one falls on their face. Between Palin's cutesy memorized phrases, and Biden biting his lower lip off to keep from being condescending, even when she kept getting the names of generals wrong, it was almost more than I could bare. I, of course, liked Biden better. Let's face it, if needs be, he'd make a better president.

If the Republican's win this election, I can only imagine the cabinet meetings and the visits with heads of state. I'm sure Governor Palin is a nice person, just like President Bush; I'm sure he's a nice guy too. But just because they're nice and fun to talk to on a personal level, doesn't mean I want them in the White House, representing my country. I don't want someone to tell me they're just like me, that they know what problems I face even when they pull down more than a million a year. In McCain's case, it's multi millions a year.

I don't want some ordinary man or woman just like me, or at least pretending to be, as the greatest elected officials in the land. I want someone extraordinary.

The Woods by Harlan Coben - Book Review

The Woods
by Harlen Coben

Although I found his large name on the cover of this book distracting, it was even larger than the title, my first foray into the world of Harlan Coben was more satisfying than I expected. Not exactly a big slice of chocolate cake, but semi-close, more like a plate of garlic mashed potatoes with lots of brown gravy. I definitely felt full at the end. Maybe a little bloated from the unbelievable finish, but full just the same.

The plot centers around Newark NJ County Prosecutor Paul Copeland as he tries to mesh his hidden, painful past with incidences in the present that are beyond his control. It was a fast paced mystery that kept my interest most of the time and flowed without too many jaggedy, unexpected turns. His characters were people-next-door likable, and the lawyerish jargon was kept to a minimum. Not too John Grisham, thank goodness. I never got lost in the words, like I sometimes do in lawyer novels.

The language was moderate, no f bombs dropped here, thankfully.
I would rate this one a 5 out of 10.
Would I read Harlan Coben again? Probably. A good mystery read for October? Absolutely.
Anybody else read any of his other books??

Recipe of the Week - Republican Convention All White Brownies

Republican Convention All White Brownies -
(No explanation necessary)

1 box yellow cake mix
1 cube margarine - softened
2 eggs
Mix together and put in a greased 9x13 pan.
In a bowl combine:
1 8oz. cream cheese - softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb. powdered sugar
Mix together and pour on top of cake mix.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until brown in the middle.