Thursday, January 31, 2008

2008 Endorsements

Well, I have to admit that I've been somewhat apathetic about the Presidential campaign, but since our primaries are next week I decided to read up on some things and make a decision. It's no surprise that I will be voting in the Republican primary, and in Tennessee we cannot have mixed votes in our primary. In the big, general election we can vote as mixed as we want though.

The Republicans

Okay, it seems pretty apparent that the main choices are McCain and Romney, but I do like Huckabee for his casual Southern style and personality. While McCain is a great hero with lots of service and sacrifice for our country I cannot in full conscience support him because he's on the global warming bandwagon. Romney seems to have a more reasonable approach to that issue. Most of the other issues seem not really too different between them, although they seem to want to separate themselves from each other. So, that means that, at this point in time, I am endorsing Romney.

I do want to say that this endorsement isn't without some hesitation, but the reasons for that aren't well-defined or easily justified. He's slick. He's a politician. But I guess we hire politicians to politic so we should probably want one that is politician-like. ;-)

Anyway, it looks like if McCain gets the nomination he'll choose Giuliani as his running mate. They are getting really chummy and seem close to making out or engaging in some other PDAs (public displays of affection). ;-) It's hard to imagine that if Romney gets the nomination McCain would agree to be his running mate, but stranger things have happened. I suspect that Romney might ask Thompson to be his running mate. But I'm just guessing.

The Democrats

I tend to think that Hillary and Obama will kissy-kiss and make up and ultimately join forces, but it's not too clear yet who will be the running mate. I could be wrong about that, though, and Obama might choose Edwards if he gets the nomination. They are about as chummy as McCain and Giuliani, but it's really hard to trust all that this soon. Probably my worst nightmare would be for Hillary to choose Al Gore as running mate if she gets the nomination. ;-)

Closing Thoughts

What bothers me most about all of the candidates, except for maybe Huckabee to some extent, is that they seem pretty clueless about how real life and the real world of the average person actually are. I'm not sure McCain really understands the actual basis of the subprime debacle and what really needs to happen about it, and he seems to think that some "stimulus package" will solve everyone's problems. Not that we taxpayers don't like the idea of getting money back, but some of us do realize that it's not quite 'free' money, like taking a deposit out of a savings account. And what in the world is up with giving "tax rebates" to people who don't even pay taxes? That's just pure communist feel-good garbage.

I might change my mind about things as we go along, but for now Romney seems like the least of the evils. ;-)

Told You So

Okay, in the spirit of Vi Mo and some cruel tutelage, let's look at the current economic "crisis" centered on the housing "crunch" or whatever they are calling it now. A big part of the problem was that the crooked banks were giving people insane loans to "buy" more house than they could really afford. You see, this variable interest thing has been around for a long time, but only in the last few years have many people been fooled or just plain stupid enough to fall for it. And you can be certain that the banks were pushing these loans very hard, though I really have trouble understanding why an industry would shoot itself in the foot like that, unless they just refused to acknowledge that ignoring long term risks while focusing on short term profits is not a good plan.

I mean, imagine that you're a banker with some money to loan on a big house that is really more than the buyers can afford, but you decide that even if they default on this loan you'll have this house to cover it. You've assumed that the house will either retain its value or go up in value, so it seems like a pretty fair deal. But the buyers really need a more affordable payment, so you offer them a variable rate loan with an "introductory" very low or practically non-existent interest rate for a couple of years. Everybody's happy, right?

But if we think about it a little more, even if the economy doesn't falter and the house doesn't go down in value, can you really expect that the buyers will have the money to pay the higher payments in a couple of years? Nothing in history tells me that anyone should depend on such things. In their greed the banks and the buyers have shot themselves in the feet. I don't want to pay for their mistakes.

While some dummies want to blame Capitalism itself for these problems, they too are just being too short-sighted and narrow-minded. Saying that all capitalists are greedy and crooked like some bank executives is just as stupid as saying that all Muslims are terrorists. There are bad apples in every bunch but you can't say that all apples are rotten. Duh!

Well, it might be tempting to blame the consumers and call them all stupid, but that would also be too simple and wrong. I do feel some empathy for those who were pressured into bad loans because we all have had experiences of being "sold" on a bad thing. However, when it comes to homes and ownership, there have been a lot of 'get rich quick' schemes around that have encouraged people to "invest" in homes and rental properties, etc. I guess I'm conservative enough to keep my "investments" (in the liquifiable sense) separate from my basic needs, such as shelter. Anyway, good advice is always "buyer beware," and it's unfortunate that nowadays buyers must beware of even those who are supposed to be helping, like real estate agents who certainly do make arrangements with lenders to push certain types of loans.

My solution to this particular problem with the bad loans, etc., is to say to the banks, "You should have known better." Who else but financial institutions should be most careful with money? I think that they should foot the bill for the whole mess that they were mostly responsible for creating. We have trusted them to use our money (which ultimately it is our money that they've been carelessly lending out) wisely but they haven't. I would say, "You play, you pay."

We don't use a traditional bank anymore. We use a credit union. Maybe big banks are becoming obsolete in the same way as labor unions.

Fallen Tree Destroyed Nearby Church

A small, old church about a half mile from my house was destroyed when the wind storm blew through on Tuesday night. We didn't have any damage- just lots of tree limbs fallen on our road.

See WBIR for story and video.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dream On

(video is "Dream On" performed by Kelly Sweet)

Everytime that I look in the mirror
All these lines on my face gettin' clearer
The past is gone
It went by like dust to dawn
Isn't that the way
Everybody's got their dues in life to pay

Yeah, I know what nobody knows
Where it comes and where it goes
I know it's everybody's sin
You got to lose to know how to win

Half my life's in books' written pages
Live and learn from fools and from sages
You know it's true
All the things come back to you

Sing with me, sing for the years
Sing for the laughter, sing for the tears
Sing with me, if it's just for today
Maybe tomorrow the good lord will take you away

Dream on, dream on
Dream yourself a dream come true
Dream on, dream on
Dream until your dream come true
Dream on, dream on, dream on...

Sing with me, sing for the years
Sing for the laughter and sing for the tears
Sing with me, if it's just for today
Maybe tomorrow the good lord will take you away

"Dream On" by Aerosmith

Last night I had an eerie feeling, but I can't really elucidate it here for many reasons. Although I can't "prove" it or whatever I do know that our consciousness was a gift of Divine Infusion, an evolutionary and natural process that was helped along by the touch of some Divine Force.

Dream On in this life and Dream On in the next. Dream On until your dream comes true. Even if the only evidence of our lives is just a few electromagnetic traces here and there that might fade eventually into the vast void, I know it was real.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Lordy, Lordy, So This Is Forty


Happy 40th Birthday to me! The older I get and the harder life becomes the more thankful and happy I am to have another birthday. I'm unashamed to be forty, with plenty of natural gray highlights. ;-) I wonder if at some point in my youth I had fantasized about what life at forty might be, but I don't remember now any of that. Maybe I didn't ever imagine it. I just can't recall having any specific expectations.

I love my life and wouldn't want it to be very different. I have a beautiful home, nice cars, and a comfortable lifestyle. But above all of that, I have been blessed with three wonderful children and a great husband. I love my family (not limited to biological or geographical ties) of soulmates and I've been so lucky to find the love of my life.

Of course, it hasn't been easy, but it's the struggles that make us appreciate it all. And there will be more struggles to come, but we can hope that they won't be too much.

I'd like to party like Britney Spears and 50 Cent, but I lack the resources and connections for that. Besides, I might not survive that kind of partying at this age. ;-)

Go, go, go, go
Go, go, go shorty
It's your birthday
We gonna party like it's your birthday
We gonna sip Bacardi like it's your birthday
And you know we don't give a fuck
It's not your birthday

You can find me in the club, bottle full of bub
Momma got what you need if you need to feel a buzz
I'm into having sex, I ain't into makin' love
So come give me a hug if you into to gettin' rough

*Okay, so these pictures are from a few hours before I actually turned 40, but surely in the morning I won't wake up looking a whole lot different. ;-)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Shadow of the Day

I heard this incredibly sad song last night and thought it seemed eerily parallel to Heath Ledger's death on Tuesday. He was only 28 years old. I tend to think that his death was accidental and very similar to Anna Nicole Smith's accidental overdose. But we'll have to wait for the toxicology reports to know more. My deepest sympathy goes to his family and friends, especially his young daughter.

I close both locks below the window.
I close both blinds and turn away.
Sometimes solutions aren’t so simple
Sometimes goodbye’s the only way

Oh,and the sun will set for you
The sun will set for you
And the shadow of the day
Will embrace the world in grey,
And the sun will set for you...

In cards and flowers on your window,
Your friends all plead for you to stay
Sometimes beginnings aren’t so simple
Sometimes goodbye’s the only way

And the sun will set for you,
The sun will set for you
And the shadow of the day
Will embrace the world in gray,
And the sun will set for you..

And the shadow of the day
Will embrace the world in gray
And the sun will set for you..

And the shadow after the day
Will embrace the world in gray,
And the sun will set for you.

"Shadow of the Day" by Linkin Park

The video is available on YouTube, but its political theme does not appeal to me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Cruel Tutelage of Vi Mo

In case you don't know, the title is a play on the chapter of Kill Bill Vol. 2 called "The Cruel Tutelage of Pai Mei". Get it? Vi(cious) Mo(mma). ;-) And if I was a guy and could grow a beard I'd have a long one like his.

Sometimes my methods of enlightenment are a bit too similar to Pai Mei's, but most wise students know that their most difficult teachers are usually the best and most effective. And learning the most valuable lessons should involve some challenge and struggle. One shouldn't expect it to be easy to learn great and powerful things. Wise students should also, instead of getting angry and offended by a tough teacher, be honored and grateful that the teacher is even bothering with them. And you can be certain that a tough teacher has learned that toughness from her own hard lessons and hard teachers.

Well, of course, this is fantasyland, but if I was a Kung Fu expert you can be sure that I'd be just like Pai Mei. I could kick your ass without moving much more than a finger. You wouldn't know what hit you.

Maybe I'm just in an ass-kicking mood and the only way to express it is through these encoded words pounded into the make-believe realm of cyberspace, and since none of that is really real then it shouldn't matter what I say or do. It's all fake and secret (incomprehensible to me) codes anyway, unlike a firm kick to the ass that would leave a very real and unmistakable bruise.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I Can Do It, Again!

In trying to keep one of my resolutions to finish projects, etc., around the house I finally decided to repair the broken cabinet drawer in the kitchen. It had been broken for probably almost a year (because one of the kids mistakenly thought it could be used as a step-ladder), and the reason my husband didn't fix it was because he works so much that when he comes home he doesn't want to have to do even more work. ;-) The reason I hadn't fixed it was because I was intimidated by it and also because most of last year, as I realize in hindsight, I was really too ill to do much of anything.

The bottom drawer was the broken one, but actually it was the drawer slide hardware that was broken and not the drawer itself. In this picture I had already removed the white rail that was broken:

Here is my cute little Makita drill and the drawer with one of the new heavier-duty rails installed:

I only made one mistake at first by mis-aligning the slide bracket in the back of the cabinet, but in the end I was able to get it perfectly aligned. Here is the finished drawer:

I keep my frying pans and skillets in the drawer:

Now I don't have to leave them in the floor anymore and it's nice and neat again. The cabinets are made of hickory wood which is popular in this area for more rustic style kitchens.

Well, of course, I was very proud of myself for finally getting it done and getting it done right without too much trouble.

See also I Can Do It! for phone installation.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Old Wisdom

I was browsing through a book that I had forgotten about, and found this passage that I want to share. The book is Seven Arrows by Hyemeyohsts Storm and is a story about the Plains Indians and their struggles and triumphs. It also discusses much of their spiritual wisdom, though I have to confess, I haven't read most of it yet. However, I've read a bit about the Native American spiritual ideas and most of them are pretty close to ideas I've independently formed. Anyway, here is just a very small but significant piece of that old wisdom:

To Touch and Feel is to Experience. Many people live out their entire lives without ever really Touching or being Touched by anything. These people live within a world of mind and imagination that may move them sometimes to joy, tears, happines or sorrow. But these people never really Touch. They do not live and become one with life.

The Sun Dancer believes that each person is a unique Living Medicine Wheel, powerful beyond imagination, that has been limited and placed upon this earth to Touch, Experience and Learn. The Six Grandfathers Taught me that each man, woman, and child at one time was a Living Power that existed somewhere in time and space. The Powers were without form, but they were aware. They were alive.

Each Power possessed boundless energy and beauty. These living Medicine Wheels were capable of nearly anthing. They were beautiful and perfect in all ways except one. They had no understanding of limitation, no experience of substance. These Beings were total energy of the Mind, without Body or Heart. They were placed upon this earth that they might Learn the things of the Heart through Touching.

According to the Teachers, there is only one thing that all people possess equally. This is their loneliness. No two people on the face of this earth are alike in any one thing except for their loneliness. This is the cause of our Growing, but it is also the cause of our wars. Love, hate, greed and generosity are all rooted within loneliness, within our desire to be needed and loved.

The only way that we can overcome our loneliness is through Touching. It is only in this way that we can learn to be Total Beings. God is a presence of this Total. Heamavihio, the Breath of Wisdom, and Miaheyyun, Total Understanding, are but two of the words in the Cheyenne language which express this Wholeness.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Elvis Born 73 Years Ago

Elvis Presley was born 73 years ago today. Unfortunately, he died more than 30 years ago. The flashy jump-suited Elvis of this video was always my favorite, but it's too bad that it doesn't show enough of his famous pelvis thrusting. I do recall watching this "Live Aloha From Hawaii" concert on TV with my parents when I was almost five.

In 1993, after my mom's first liver cancer surgery, I took her to Graceland in Memphis.

Elvis was a hoe for sure. I shall now officially induct him into the Hoe Hall of Fame. ;-)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Resolutions 2008

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, but since last year was so chaotic I decided maybe it couldn't hurt to make some resolutions for this year.

1. BACKUP FILES! If there is something that I think I'll be sad to lose then I must back it up.

2. Finish the household projects (painting, etc.) I started last year and get the list repaired if possible (#8 has already been fixed).

3. Actually start some of the projects that have been knocking around my mind for a while.

4. Continue with some self-guided cognitive work to focus on the good and positive instead of worrying too much.

5. This one is probably the hardest: put myself on a schedule so that I don't neglect certain jobs that I really dislike (like filing paperwork, etc.).

What are your resolutions, or even anti-resolutions?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Aeron the Hare

I haven't seen "The Golden Compass" or read the book(s). But Bee had this fun quiz so I had to try it. ;-)

I'm not sure if I'm well matched with Aeron the Hare. But hey, you take what you get, right? ;-) This daemon soul-keeper idea is very similar to shamanic animal spirit guides. Apparently, Aeron is one of 31,748 Hare daemons (so far) in a total daemon population of 853,745.