Sticky Top Post

Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All Saints Day Reminder

From Stephen Colbert.

Caught the monologue, where he said something to this effect (verbatim will no doubt be available from You Tube tomorrow...)

"I had all sorts of people ringing my doorbell and yelling 'Happy All Saints Day [or All Saints Day is tomorrow], which is a Holy Day of Obligation and if you are Roman Catholic and don't go to Mass you are committing a mortal sin.' "

Who knew trick-or-treaters cared so much?

Things we do well

Sometimes we don't take the time to notice how nice some predictable things can be. After a long day, I headed out into the darker-than-last-week 6 PM route to the beach (where I'll through late Saturday afternoon.) I decided to follow the Google directions from my office to Pawley's Island (yes, Gashwin, I'm using the term "Google", as in "the well-known website," correctly.)

Sadly, Google didn't take into account the construction on 521 (or on Gervais and in Five Points!), and I got here just over 3 1/2 hours after leaving work at the Asylum. (For Izzy, yes, I did stop for Mac & Cheese & a V8 for dinner.) I was pretty tired when I checked in.

Arriving in my room, and putting things away, I stopped to realize how grateful I was for the predictability of a clean, well-lighted, well-appointed room, with soap, towels, a comfortable bed & couch, fridge, micro, etc. All four wheels on the luggage cart worked at the same time. The cable is working, the cell phone has great reception, the coffee was really good, and the temperature is comfortable. The WiFi is acting up, but even there I knew that I'd be easily able to find a dial-up number to check email, etc.

It's incredibly mundane, and absolutely remarkable. We Americans do "predictable" well. Nothing against adventures, but it's good to be thankful for the everyday, as well.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

One by-pass, to go, please

Yahoo Headline: Because we don't already have enough fried foods

NEW YORK, Oct 26 (Reuters Life!) - A new fast food is making its debut at U.S. fairs this fall -- fried Coke. Abel Gonzales, 36, a computer analyst from Dallas, tried about 15 different varieties before coming up with his perfect recipe -- a batter mix made with Coca-Cola syrup, a drizzle of strawberry syrup, and some strawberries. Balls of the batter are then deep-fried, ending up like ping-pong ball sized doughnuts which are then served in a cup, topped with Coca-Cola syrup, whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and a cherry on the top.

"It tastes great," said Sue Gooding, a spokeswoman for the State Fair of Texas where Gonzales' fried Coke made its debut this fall. "It was a huge success." Gonzales ran two stands at the State Fair of Texas and sold up to 35,000 fried Cokes over 24 days for $4.50 each -- and won a prize for coming up with "most creative" new fair food.

....Gonzales gave no indication of the calories in his creation and said he would not patent it. "The best I can hope for is that it's the original and hopefully the best fried Coke out there," he said. But Gonzales said the success of his fried Coke had inspired him. Next year's fair-goers can look forward to fried Sprite or -- for those watching their weight -- fried diet Coke.

...Ray Crockett, a spokesman for Coca-Cola Co., said: "We're constantly amazed at the creative ways folks find to enjoy their Coke and make it part of celebrations like fairs and festivals. This is one is definitely different!"

Dallas Morning News (registration required) headline: They'd like to Fry the World a Coke.

Article reveals that this same guy brought out the "breakout hit at last year's fair --the Fried Peanut Butter, Jelly and Banana Sandwich. "

Goodness, gracious, I miss Texas.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Election Info

This is mainly for Izzy & me, since the election is in 10 days and I usually know next to nothing about down ballot candidates. Gives us a chance to look folks up.

Maybe by the next election cycle, I'll be able to type in our address and get all of this info in one place. Will certainly make for a shorter post.

US Congress:
2nd District - Columbia and upper Richland County plus Allendale, Barnwell, Beaufort, upper Calhoun, upper Colleton, Hampton, Jasper, Lexington, and upper Orangeburg counties
Michael Ray Ellisor - Democrat
Steve Lefemine - Independent, Write-In
Joe Wilson - Republican, Incumbent

SC Governor
Tommy Moore - Democrat
Mark Sanford - Republican - Incumbent

SC Lieutenant Governor
Robert Barber - Democrat
Andre Bauer - Republican - Incumbent

SC Secretary of State
Cheryl Footman - Democrat
Mark Hammond - Republican - Incumbent

SC Treasurer
Grady Patterson - Democrat - Incumbent
Thomas Ravenel - Republican

SC Attorney General
Henry McMaster - Republican - Incumbent

SC Comptroller
Richard A. Eckstrom - Republican - Incumbent
Drew Theodore - Democrat

SC Superintendent of Education
Tony Fayyazi - Independence
Karen Floyd - Republican
Arnold Karr - Green
Ralph Lindblad - Constitution - scroll down
Tim Moultrie - Libertarian
Jim Rex - Democrat

SC Adjutant General
Glenn Lindman - Democrat
Stan Spears - Republican - Incumbent

SC Agriculture Commissioner
Emile DeFelice - Democrat
Hugh Weathers - Republican - Incumbent

State House
District 89– Kenny Bingham - Republican - Incumbent

State Senate District 26
No election this year.

Lexington School District 2
(Can’t find candidates listed)

Lexington County Council District 9
Incumbent is Todd Cullum (R)
Not sure if opposed in election.

Cayce Mayor
Avery Wilkerson Jr. (I)
Paul Giugliano.
Candidate Profiles
More Coverage of Cayce Races

Cayce City Council District 2
Incumbent is Skip Jenkins. No one filed to run against, election cancelled.

Constitutional Amendments

Must Article XVII of the Constitution of this State be amended by adding Section 15 so as to provide that in this State and its political subdivisions, a marriage between one man and one woman is the only lawful domestic union that shall be valid or recognized; that this State and its political subdivisions shall not create, recognize, or give effect to a legal status, right, or claim created by another jurisdiction respecting any other domestic union, however denominated; that this amendment shall not impair any right or benefit extended by the State or its political subdivisions other than a right or benefit arising from a domestic union that is not valid or recognized in this State; and that this amendment shall not prohibit or limit the ability of parties other than the State or its political subdivisions from entering into contracts or other legal instruments?

Explanation of above:
This amendment provides that the institution of marriage in South Carolina consists only of the union between one man and one woman. No other domestic union is valid and legal. The State and its political subdivisions are prohibited from creating or recognizing any right or claim respecting any other domestic union, whatever it may be called, or from giving effect to any such right or benefit recognized in any other state or jurisdiction.
However, this amendment also makes clear it does not impair rights or benefits extended by this State, or its political subdivisions not arising from other domestic unions, nor does the amendment prohibit private parties from entering into contracts or other legal instruments.

Shall Article III, Section 9 of the Constitution of this State be amended so as to provide that the annual session of the General Assembly shall commence on the second Tuesday in January at the State Capitol Building in the City of Columbia, but that each body shall be authorized by majority vote to recede for a period of time not to exceed 30 consecutive calendar days at a time, or by two-thirds vote to recede for a time period of more than 30 consecutive calendar days at a time, and to sit in session at the State Capitol Building in the City of Columbia, and to provide for meetings as each body shall consider appropriate, and to provide for an organizational session for the Senate in those years in which the membership of the Senate is elected and to delete obsolete language relating to earlier sessions of the General Assembly?

Explanation of above:
This amendment permits either house by majority vote to recede for not more than thirty days at a time or by a two-thirds vote to recede for more than thirty days at a time, permits each house to meet during the legislative session as it considers appropriate, and permits organizational sessions of the Senate in the years senators are elected after the election before the next regular session the following January. The House is presently permitted to organize this way but the Senate is not.

Shall Article III of the Constitution of this State be amended by deleting Section 21 which provides that neither house of the General Assembly shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which it shall be at the time sitting?

Explanation of above:
This amendment deletes a requirement that prohibits either house from adjourning for more than three days without the consent of the other house. This deletion is necessary to permit the meeting and receding provisions outlined in paragraph one. (from Amendment 2 a)

Must the first sentence of the fourth paragraph of Section 16, Article X of the Constitution of this State relating to the equity securities investments allowed for funds of the various state-operated retirement systems be amended so as to delete the restrictions limiting investments in equity securities to those of American-based corporations registered on an American national exchange as provided in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 or any successor act, or quoted through the National Association of Securities Dealers Automatic Quotations System or similar service?

Explanation of above:
Currently, South Carolina’s Retirement Systems may invest only in publicly traded stocks and stocks of companies located in the United States. This amendment would allow prudent investing in all stocks as a means of seeking higher profits.

Must the second through the seventh sentences of the fourth paragraph of Section 16, Article X of the Constitution of this State relating to the establishment and membership of the State Retirement Systems Investment Panel be amended by deleting these sentences thereby abolishing this constitutionally established panel?

Explanation of above:
This amendment would eliminate the Investment Panel, an advisory body, and its accompanying expenses.

Must Article III and Article X of the Constitution of this State be amended to authorize the General Assembly to establish the method of valuation for real property based on limits to increases in taxable value, adjusted for improvements and losses, of no more than fifteen percent over a five-year period, unless an assessable transfer of interest occurs; to provide that for purposes of calculating the limit on bonded indebtedness of political subdivisions and school districts, the assessed values of all taxable property within a political subdivision or school district shall not be lower than the assessed values for 2006; and to provide that the General Assembly, by general law and not through local legislation pertaining to a single county or other political subdivision, shall provide for the terms, conditions, and procedures to implement the above provisions?

Explanation of above:
This amendment will limit increases in the value of a parcel of real property for purposes of imposing the property tax to no more than fifteen percent every five years after the current value of the property has been adjusted: (1) to reflect improvements made to the parcel; (2) to reflect a decline in the value of the parcel; and (3) to reflect the value of the parcel when ownership of the property changes as the General Assembly by law defines such changes.

Must Section 13, Article I of the Constitution of this State be amended so as to provide that except as otherwise provided in the Constitution, private property shall not be condemned by eminent domain for any purpose or benefit, including, but not limited to, the purpose or benefit of economic development, unless the condemnation is for public use; and to further provide that for the limited purpose of the remedy of blight, the General Assembly may provide by law that private property, if it meets certain conditions, may be condemned by eminent domain without the consent of the owner and put to a public use or private use if just compensation is first made for the property; and must Section 17, Article I of the Constitution of this State be amended to delete undesignated paragraphs that give slum clearance and redevelopment power to municipalities and housing or redevelopment authorities in Sumter and Cherokee Counties; and must the Constitution of this State be amended to delete Section 5, Article XIV, which provides slum clearance and redevelopment power over blighted properties to municipalities and housing or redevelopment authorities in Spartanburg, York, Florence, Greenville, Charleston, Richland, and Laurens Counties?

Explanation of above:
This amendment prohibits the State or a local government from condemning, or taking, private property for any purpose except for a public use, and says that economic development in itself is not a public use; allows the General Assembly to pass a law that allows condemnation for a private use only if the property is blighted and is dangerous to the community’s safety and health and if fair compensation is paid; and deletes language about condemnation of blighted areas by some specific local governments.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Limits on Caring

I'm afraid I no longer have the time or energy to care/worry about everything that the news & my life toss my way. I'm having to make some hard choices (samples shown below.)

In the In-Box (some engraved, some on sticky notes):

  1. Safety of nephew headed for Iraq.
  2. Izzy doing well in the new job (my Mom prays for his safety on the bike each AM.)
  3. Izzy's next younger brother (chronic Hep C, congestive heart failure, addiction, etc.)
  4. Safety and health of both of our extended families.
  5. Strength for those caring for their chronically ill children.
  6. God's clear guidance for those discerning vocations.
  7. Intentions of North Korea and Iran for their nuclear arsenals.
  8. Counting carb and protein grams and then waiting to see (via blood test results) if I made the right choices.
  9. How my boys will do this season.
  10. Whether or not I'll get to the flu shot clinic in Florence by 6:45 AM tomorrow.

In the Out-Box:

  1. Foley-gate. Bad, yes, but I just don't have time anymore.
  2. SSPX schism w/Rome. Don't quite understand all that led to the current state of affairs, don't have time to learn everyone's viewpoint. Same for rad-trad Catholics.
  3. People put out about musical stylings and choices at Mass. Yes, chant should have pride of place and we need to improve the participation of the laity and avoid songs with heretical content. It's just that there's no time to worry about that while trying to assure that what we sing each week is appropriate, worshipful, well-played and not a hindrance to focusing on God. Besides, it's just too reminiscent of the Protestant "Worship Wars" to invest the energy again.
  4. Ecclesiastical politics (talk to me sometime about chairing a Presbyterian pastoral nominating committee.)
  5. Most SC Politics, even though I serve in the Executive Branch.
  6. Celebrity couplings.
  7. Madonna's adventures in adoption.
  8. McDreamy, McSteamy, McAdulterer, etc. Sorry, GA quit being a medical show.
  9. Whether or not I can come up with two more out-box items
  10. so that it'll be a top 10.

In neither box:

  1. Pandemic influenza. Half my work-life gets spent preparing for this. It becomes less scary with increased familiarity.

Now they are saying Castro is dying (or might have died, or maybe not)--gotta decide into what box to put this rumor. Tomorrow ... off to bed now.

Electoral Guidance

Saw this on MSNBC's website. Might not be a bad way to go...

(No, I don't really think that way, I'm just tired beyond all belief of some political ads, especially this one.

Scroll down to "Rooster" in the Campaign ads box to view some serious "over-Southerning."

I'm not a great fan of the Gov, but I don't think you can fault someone for spending "all those years" in Washington, when those years were spent as a US Congressman, elected from this very state. How stupid must they think we are?

(Fill-in-the blank question, not multiple choice.)

While you're at it, listen for the reason folks in Mississippi have hope now.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Me & My 16 Peeps

Got this link from my ontologically-challenged friend Gashwin. There are 17 of me (real name) on record in the US.
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Could be worse....

Monday, October 23, 2006

Motorcycle Ride, Part 2

A few more photos from the Peak Leaf Weekend in NC.

Mr & Mrs Michelin

Gorgeous composite by Izzy of morning fog in the Blue Ridge. Click to see (& appreciate) full-size!)

More morning fog from the overlook. The NC flag has lost all of its blue coloring.

Autumn flowers in the overlook.

Creek bed in NC.

Higher resolution trees in Tennessee.

Interstate color (where's Izzy?)

More on Flickr.

Motorcycle Ride

Or, "my corrected oil," "Coerced Limy Rot," "Try comedic role," "Melodic Rectory," "Comely creditor," or for this weekend "Record Icy Motel." (anagram source)

We left my office Friday just after 4:30 PM. I was dressed in jeans, tights, two pairs of socks, hiking boots, plus turtleneck, fleece jacket, lined motorcycle jacket, gloves and helmet. The pieces des resistance (sorry, I cannot do French accent marks in Blogger) were the genuine pre-Flashdance leggings. Pink, lavender, blue, teal, silvery threads, and I've had them since 1982. I got quite a few comments on them while I waited in the Lobby for Izzy's arrival.

Good thing I was wearing so many layers. It got fairly cold, fairly quickly, especially after sunset as we entered NC. Izzy did a great job handling the Wing on the curvy roads in the dark. We arrived at our lodge around 8:30, and I don't think I got warm until after 10 PM.

There was an amplified band in the main dining area, so ordering dinner became a bit of a comedy of misinterpretation. At one point, a waitress came up to me and said (trying to talk over the band) "I'm so sorry about your order." Me: "What's wrong?" Her: "You tried to order the veggie burger." Me: "I DID order the veggie burger. What are you fixing for me?" We never saw her again, and the veggie burger arrived as ordered. Izzy had the small (for which read, "really large") flank steak.

We retired to a commons room/non-smoking bar after dinner and I got to meet a few of the riders in the group. These are a lot of "regular people." People who work in plants, people who make things---ball bearings, wires, things people use. We were in the younger age group, through not the youngest (Izzy used to be the youngest rider in a group of Goldwing riders back in we've aged just a bit.) These people like to RIDE--Izzy's kind of riders.

Saturday AM, we all met for breakfast. The menu reminded me of the Spam sketch: imagine all of the possible combinations and most of the ordering possible for 1, 2 or all 3 of eggs, bacon, and pancakes. I think they had a dozen combinations, all priced at $5 (including coffee, tea, juice or combination thereof.) They suggested that if you needed more variety, you try McDonalds. There was no Spam.

We left on the group ride around 9:30, bundled to the hilt against the cold and fog. When we passed the McDonalds, the temp sign read 37 degrees. Turns out this was optimistic. Our group leader had a general idea in mind of a route, but (in a manner that reminded Izzy of me in a car), took side roads as the mood struck him. If there were signs warning off the trucks, we took the road. I took a few pics from the back of the bike with the cheap digital camera that came with our 1999 iMac. I'll post some after this note.

The fog didn't completely clear for a couple of hours When it did, we were treated to some gorgeous colors! We stopped only for gas, once to walk around a bridge, and for lunch. These guys are not about overlooks and photos--they are about conquering the next set of twisties and eating up road miles. Izzy did a great job in our small group. Riding with your spouse is a sure way to test your faith in the person's judgment, skills and love.

Lunch in Tennessee at a home-cooking place that believes in miracle physics (non-smoking tables placed right next to smoking ones!) The prophylactic Benadryl made the long, curvy ride back to Little Switzerland interesting for me. Izzy & the gang headed back from the inn to Mount Mitchell, where he left me a cell phone message saying "Top of the world, Ma!" (Yes, apparently there is now cell phone reception at the highest point on the eastern seaboard. Who knew?) He arrived back a bit too late to make the run to Black Mountain for Mass, so I'll have to wait of another chance to see the cute church.

We downloaded the pix and edited on the laptops last night. There was WiFi, but we couldn't connect to Blogger to post. We hung out with the gang, heard stories of rides and plans for future rides. Vegetarian sloppy joes (Izzy had one of their signature jumbo burgers.)

Up this morning for another communal breakfast (same selections, same price. Plus, the owner had actually gone out and gotten sugar free pancake syrup for me!) and chatting about more rides. Again, these are Izzy's kids of riders.

Back to SC a roundabout way. I suggested NC 9--mountains, twisty curves, almost no guard rail to speak of, and nice views of Chimney Rock and Lake Lure. Lunch just north of Spartanburg at a cafeteria, where all the church folks were also in line. A little guy kept staring at us, but hid whenever we made eye contact. We managed to avoid almost all the rain that was forecast for the day.

560 miles for Izzy, around 500 for me. Not a bad weekend.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Home Again

Home from our trip to the mountains (& from PM Mass.)

Time for laundry, dinner, anagrams.

My name, minus the honorific, comes to:

  • A celibate cozy, eh? (the only kind to have)
  • Zealot? Yea, be chic. (or the Irish version: Zaelot? Aye, be chic.)
  • Zealot Ale? Be chic, yo. (Not a successful malt liquor ad campiagn)
  • Be lazy to each ice.
  • Chaotic? Yea, Bezel.
  • Acetic zeal boy, he. (enthusiastic friar?)
  • Catechize Ale Boy (teach the drunkard?)
  • Catechize ya lobe (learn you a thing or two.)

There's hundred more. Izzy (as Stizzy O'Cayce) includes:

  • Coca? Yes, Tizzy.

See what your name or nickname derives. Check out the topical anagrams, too (plus attributions.) Warning, most of these aren't so nice...

  • April Fool's Day = Diary: spoof all!
  • Congressman Mark Foley = Sly menace grooms Frank
  • The Crocodile Hunter = Cute Hero to Children
  • The Miss World Beauty Contest = Study Charline's sweet bottom!
  • Da Vinci Code plagiarism trial = Voiced aim: grill parasitic Dan
  • Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori = Fear arch-risk, if she's in the top job
  • Heather McCartney = Hatchet Mercenary
  • CIA covert prison system = Secret Company visitors
  • George Walker Bush = Rake, who glugs beer
  • George W Bush's approval ratings = War is grave, boss. Graph to plunge
  • Mel Gibson, anti-Semite = Mean gentile sobs, "I'm it!"

Now to edit & post bike pix. Honda Goldwing = Waddling hog? No!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bike-a-rama, part 2

We're leaving tomorrow afternoon for a weekend of riding in the NC mountains.

Our route for one of the rides is here.

The weather is supposed to be great, the leaves are at their peak, the tavern is non-smoking and serves vegetarian food--what's not to like?

Looks like we'll head towards Black Mountain for Mass on Saturday. Izzy's found a small church that's an hour or so away.

Pics when we return, if we remember to pack the camera.

This one's for Pritcher

I followed a link* to the website of a Chicago advertising agency. Their White Papers make a good read if you like marketing theory, but I especially enjoyed the Cover Letters from Hell.

I think folks who get to read student prose daily will love it even more than I.

Teasers (plenty w/snarky editorial comments):

It is my desire to develop and generate the revolving scheme to filter to the consuming public in.

I expect the position to pay commissary to that of its value, as well as to the performance completed.

Skills: Microst word, excel, and power point. Mulitaks person, public speaking, and surveying. Professional Associations Chairwomen of Studnts Teaching Awareness and Responsibility organization Responsible for research of all 10 event topics, coordinating all campus chiarpersons.

"[My] proven record of successful brand building ... demonstrate[s] my ability to perform in a fast paced environment. Originally from Vietnam, I also offer expertise in the following areas:

- Asian cuisine: I deliver Nem, in-box or out-of-the-box,

- Traditional massage: I satisfy Client above their expectation,

- Karaoke singing: but also a lot of listening, listening and listening to Client. Would you like to taste any of those, please feel free to contact me on my email address mentioned above.

... But that's the past. I've given them a year of my life in a minimum security work camp and I'm nearing work release status where I'll be for the next 15 months or so... I need to connect with open-minded people like myself! My crime was a 'non-violent, victimless' one. I'm hoping this letter is reaching people who have or do smoke weed ...

At school he is a student of advertising, on the streets of Chicago he is a student of culture and memes...

Finally, the best reason ever to not just rely on Spell-Check when trying to impress:
I am seeking a new position as i have recently been laid.

Read them all--especially the one that led the firm to actually respond with helpful corrections--a response which led to a 4-page angry reply. Search for "Differently Stable."

* Our new "modern" route of discovery.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Another Headline--Absolutely true

Found it at the bottom of this page.

Links to article here.

Whatcha think, Ms. Water Person?

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Real. Surreal.

Principal quits after shooting kittens at school.

USC ranked No. 2 in first BCS standings (wrong USC, alas)

Study: TV, good grades don't mix. Duh. (On a TV station's site, of course.)

and for Paula, assuming she's still following the show:
McDreamy, Burke Brawl On 'Anatomy' Set.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I'm a sucker for country songs about soldiers

Yes, they're corny, but they also serve as reminders of things I often don't have to think about in my mostly protected world.

My sister-in-law (B2W2) posted to You Tube a video from some of the stills they had from my nephew's graduation from Basic Training at Ft. Benning, GA yesterday.

They also added some shots of training exercises. Gotta admit the music and pics got to me (maybe just becasue I'm an aunt.) Now that I'm done blubbering, I'll share a few of the family photos.

Nephew with most of his sibs:

Nephew with his youngest sister.

Nephew & my brother (aka Hugh Laurie's stunt double.)

Battlestar Galactica

Nice crowd here at the House of Chez Casa for the 2nd episode in this season of Battlestar Galactica. Izzy served up place-n-bake cookies, and set up the data projector for viewing Sci-Fi on the big screen. Folks very nearly got to see the cat--but one person made a "Here, Kitty" sort of noise and the cat retreated under the bed until everyone was gone.

There were great discussions afterwards, as always. We had a nice range of ages, experiences, etc., in the group and lots of folks with lots to say about lots of topics. I think the Scotch helped. It was also (as always) wonderful to have Gashwin here, especially when we got to talking about the Church and about politics (do read Mattheus' post on the proposed constitutional amendment.)

It's after midnight now. The cat is back in the living room, having sniffed all the spots on couches and floors where folks perched themselves for the televisual feast. Izzy's is looking at his Mac and I'm just finishing surfing a bit on the PC. Dishes are done and the rest of the cookies are wrapped.

Time to sign off.

Friday, October 13, 2006

What's wrong with this picture?


Click to enlarge and heighten the effect as you imagine winter approaching for the people without electricity in the North, whose entire country's output goes to create bombs to make their "dear leader" feel more important (we know he keeps warm--he's got the only power for 46,540 square miles.)

Smoking Cows

On occasion, we in government get to show a bit of a sense of humor.

To wit [pun intended]

From CNN:

E. coli strain traced to ranch near spinach fields

WASHINGTON (AP) -- -- The same strain of deadly bacteria that sickened dozens of people nationwide has been found at a cattle ranch in California's Salinas Valley within a mile of spinach fields, investigators said Thursday.

Investigators still can't be sure that the E. coli found in cow manure contaminated the fields, but said the find warrants further investigation.

"We do not have a smoking cow at this point," said Dr. Kevin Reilly, deputy director of the Prevention Services Division of the California Department of Health Services. Nevertheless, Reilly called the match an important finding.

It goes on...

Prizes available for best "Smoking Cow" puns, poetry or other bon mots.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Catholic Content

...which I occasionally include--there are so many others better suited to write about the Church than I.

Izzy and I visited a large Catholic church (with an "award-winning school," as the Padre reminded us several times) last Sunday. When we arrived, I looked at the Bulletin and got excited about the music. Hymns included "I Sing the Mighty Power of God" and "Church of God, Elect and Glorious" (tune Hyfrydol), and saw that we would also sing One Bread, One Body. There was an organ AND modern-style icons. Modern and conservative.

I assumed we'd found a more conservative church, which was both confirmed (by the content) and disproved (by the substitution of a guest speaker from a pro-life organization without any preaching by the priest) in the homily. I've seen guest speakers, just not the ambo turned over completely to someone non-ordained.

So, what's worth blogging about? Ad libbing.

Our home Parish is certainly not known as conservative, but even our priest adheres to the adage: "Say what is in black; do what is in red." This Msgr. read almost nothing from any book. He added to or changed the introduction to the Gospel, the Eucharistic prayer, and the final blessing. It really seemed as if he was reciting from memory. No Sacramentary was visible on the altar.

Most interesting, he performed a baptism without using any printed materials. Even as newish Catholics (Sunday was the 3rd anniversary of our reception into the Church), we recognized that bits of the form were missing. The child was not presented with a candle until the end of Mass--it was obvious that this had been forgotten. The parents were not asked what they wanted from the church; there was no litany of the saints. I'm not sure if anyone renounced Satan or his works. We did get an interesting innovation of having the congregation extend their hands towards the child while pronouncing the blessing, one phrase at a time, with the priest.

I've read a lot in St. Blogs about people's dissatisfaction with liturgical innovations. Hadn't seen it before. I think I'd rather sing melody on "On Eagles Wings" again than watch ad libbed rituals.

And now I know how I feel about that.


Palate cleanser after that last (handbasket) post.

Whilst at the beach last weekend, Izzy and I saw several times a commercial for one of the professional wrestling showcase programs on USA Network--maybe RAW?

(assume deep roaring voice) Coming up this Monday, three hours of RAAAAWWW! Don't miss the thrill-packed action of this Live event! (more over-hyped verbiage) (end deep, roaing voice)

Brought to you by Skittles.

Gotta love it.


As in what the world seems to be heading to Hell in.

People are killed all of the time in this country--we often get numb to the tragedies until something comes along that boggles even the most jaded imaginations. This is what I think happened last week after the murders of school girls in Lancaster County, PA. The Amish, according to the agreed-upon script for our society, are supposed to be interesting, quaint relics of some previous era who don't mind serving as tourist attractions. In exchange, they are granted immunity from the evils inherent in society at large.

Last week, we, the "English" didn't keep our part of the bargain.

The news coverage after the shootings was remarkably respectful. It was really amazing--no "Camp OJ." The Amish were admired for their simplicity, faith and consistency--especially in their forgiving of the man who took five of their daughters from them.

I think that those of us who wondered "if it can happen to the Amish, then is anyone safe?" hoped we'd be marked by the same faith, courage and certitude if faced with tragedy.

To which, as nuclear tests in North Korea, body bags in Iraq and kidnapped fetuses demonstrate, we are none of us immune.

Saints George, Joan of Arc, Martin of Tours, Sebastian and Michael the Archangel, pray for my nephew who graduates from Basic Training this Friday.


So, when I agreed to speak at a nursing conference* in Myrtle Beach last weekend, I had no idea that it would be during "Biketoberfest." All the Harleys were there--and I do mean all of them. They were up early so Izzy could hear them and they stayed up late, I guess for my benefit.

Actually, the bike noise isn't a problem for me. I get more concerned about all of the biker skulls without even the minimal protection of the WWI era brain bucket. Fortunately for trauma hospital staff, the Harley folks spent almost as much time sitting in parking lots watching the noisy parade as they spent riding.

Izzy rode down to the beach on his Goldwing (with a muffler, thank you very much) and rode some with buddies he's getting to know from around the greater Cayce metropolitan area. We'll be riding with some of these folks the weekend after this one around twisty-curvy roads in western NC. I'll put on my peril-sensitive sunglasses for the scariest bits and enjoy the foliage when the road straightens.

Ought to be fun.


* The conference was for perianesthesia nurses (pre-op, OR, recovery, etc.) Since much their work involves dealing with heavily sedated patients, Izzy took great delight in referring to them as Perry Coma nurses. Gotta be the reason I've stuck around so long.

Typing all week, but not blogging

I spent scads of time last week tweaking and revising a couple of presentations that I made on emergency preparedness and pandemic influenza to a group of nurses.

This left little time for blogging the things going through my mind, but assured that the talks were well-received.

It also got Izzy and me to Myrtle Beach for a couple of free nights. Not bad.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Looking for the "Real" Victims

(for those of us who remember OJ's vow to spend the rest of his life looking for the real killers)

Former Congressman Mark Foley, he of the recently unearthed naughty emails to underage pages, has revealed...

wait for it...

that he was sexually abused by a clergyman as a teenager, but accepts full responsibility for sending salacious computer messages to teenage male pages.
This behavior is, of course, explained by...

wait for it...

Attorney David Roth said Foley was molested between ages 13 and 15 by a clergyman. He declined to identify the clergyman or the church, but Foley is...

wait for it...
Roman Catholic.
Reading further in the ABC News Story:
The lawyer said Foley, who is now in treatment for alcohol abuse, never had any inappropriate sexual contact with a minor. He said Foley was under the influence of alcohol when he sent the e-mails and instant messages.

Asked why he didn't disclose this information sooner, Roth said, "Shame, shame."

"As is so often the case with victims of abuse, Mark advises that he kept his shame to himself for almost 40 years," Roth said.

Something makes me think the newest resident of rehab found himself a convenient scapegoat (even if true, his experience is not an excuse for perpetuating abuse), and a new identity as a victim.

Shame, shame.

Monday, October 02, 2006

More things to protect children from: Texas style

First it's the Veggies, whose proselytizing NBC deems to dangerous to air (unless on Sunday--did anyone SEE the show before getting the air rights?!?), now it's trips to the art museum. This strikes home as Izzy's field (DWEM) has lots of inflammatory statuary.

From the NY Times:

FRISCO, Tex., Sept. 28: "Keep the 'Art' in 'Smart' and 'Heart,'" Sydney McGee had posted on her Web site (gone) at Wilma Fisher Elementary School in this moneyed boomtown that is gobbling up the farm fields north of Dallas.

But Ms. McGee, 51, a popular art teacher with 28 years in the classroom, is out of a job after leading her fifth-grade classes last April through the Dallas Museum of Art. One of her students saw nude art in the museum, and after the child's parent complained, the teacher was suspended.

Although the tour had been approved by the principal, and the 89 students were accompanied by 4 other teachers, at least 12 parents and a museum docent, Ms. McGee said, she was called to the principal the next day and "bashed."

She later received a memorandum in which the principal, Nancy Lawson, wrote: "During a study trip that you planned for fifth graders, students were exposed to nude statues and other nude art representations." It cited additional complaints, which Ms. McGee has challenged.
Over the past decade, more than half a million students, including about a thousand from other Frisco schools, have toured the museum's collection of 26,000 works spanning 5,000 years, he said, "without a single complaint." One school recently did cancel a scheduled visit, he said. He did not have its name.

The uproar has swamped Frisco school switchboards and prompted some Dallas-area television stations to broadcast images of statues from the museum with areas of the anatomy blacked out.
Retracing her route this week through the museum's European and contemporary galleries, Ms. McGee passed the marble torso of a Greek youth from a funerary relief, circa 330 B.C.; its label reads, "his nude body has the radiant purity of an athlete in his prime." She passed sculptor Auguste Rodin's tormented "Shade;" Aristide Maillol;s "Flora," with her clingy sheer garment; and Jean Arp's "Star in a Dream." None, Ms. McGee said, seemed offensive.

"This is very painful and getting more so," she said, her eyes moistening. "I'm so into art. I look at it for its value, what each civilization has left behind." School officials have not named the child who complained or any particular artwork at issue, although Ms. McGee said her puzzlement was compounded when Ms. Lawson referred at times to "an abstract nude sculpture."
Some parents have come to Ms. McGee's defense...Another parent, Maijken Kozcara, said Ms. McGee had taught her children effectively. "I thought she was the greatest," Ms. Kozcara said. But "knowing Texas, the way things work here" she said of the teacher's suspension, "I wasn't really amazed. I was like, 'Yeah, right.'"

Like yeah, right indeed. Gotta love close-minded Texans.

Note: A senior branch of the O'Cayce's lived for several years in nearby Little Elm, TX. We would drive through Frisco on the way to see them--nothing but a few houses with large porches and a feed store. With the suburbs come the suburbanites.