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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Picking and Choosing

This link to the "Nine Big Stories the Mainstream Media Missed in 2009" is a good explanation of why I get most of my news from the internet.

Here's hoping for more objective--and competent--news coverage in 2010.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Time


The Twelve Days of Christmas are only up to Day 3. There's plenty of Christmas time to still come after the "three French hens," but denuded Christmas trees are already being tossed into dumpsters, and festive lights and decorations are being torn down and stashed away.

Each year, this American rush to stow Christmas in the attic always makes me feel forlorn. Why are we in such a hurry to dispense with the most joyous time of year?

As I never tire of pointing out to people, December 25 is the merely first day of Christmas. It continues in twelve sequential days, up to January 5, the eve of the Epiphany--which celebrates the Magi visiting the Christ child.

There's a Christmas carol, "Good King Wenceslas," entirely devoted to December 26--"the feast of Stephen." In the British Isles, December 26 is part of the Christmas holiday. When the kids and I were in Ireland three years ago, everyone referred to it as "Stephen's Day" (they pronounced it "Steffen's Day"). It's called "Boxing Day" in Britain and Canada, but the point is--it's still Christmas time!

Those twelve lords will come a-leaping soon enough to let you it's time to move ahead into the New Year. So in the meanwhile, sit back, sip some eggnog, and enjoy your Christmas tree for a few more magical evenings.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Blank Verse


"Here are your tools," indeed. Gore should use one of them to nail himself into a cave until the climate is safe for hot air.


There once was a poet named Gore
Whose poem was a terrible bore,
When he read it aloud
He stunned the whole crowd,
And will be thought sane--nevermore.


Photo: AP

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Home for Christmas


For the first time since 2005, I’ll be at home for Christmas. Since Pete died in January 2006, I’ve been on a quest to outrun the evocative memories and emotions of the season, always his favorite and our family’s primary holiday.

Our plans never varied on Christmas. Guests were always welcome, but we stayed home, every year. Each Christmas Eve I would prepare lasagna and stash it in the fridge, to bake on Christmas Day when the company arrived. We always attended the earliest Christmas Eve Mass at our church so that we could spend a full evening with eggnog, gingerbread cookies, and the classic movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

During the past three Christmases, my kids and I have been to Ireland, Chicago, and New York. They were all wonderfully festive journeys that allowed me to elude the innumerable traditions our family had lovingly constructed over twenty-five years.

But, sooner or later, it’s time to face the living room. This will be my year to do that. Fortunately, I’ll have the good company of my son, Matt, and daughter-in-law, Nicole. We’ve bought a tree, the first in four years, although it’s in the back yard; we’re still deciding the best time to decorate it. Tree trimming was always an elaborate ritual for our family, even after the kids were grown. We would coordinate schedules in early December until all of us could be together to spend a day or evening on the project.

Christmas almost here, and I’m gingerly feeling my way towards it. Not only is Pete long gone, but our daughter, Kristine, now lives in Boston and will be celebrating Christmas in her own new home.

Life is always changing, sometimes very painfully; but Christmas remains a constant light at year’s end. Somehow, I think I’ll be just fine.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Festival of Lights


And so they kept the dedication of the altar eight days and offered burnt offerings with gladness...


Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is the Hebrew word meaning "dedication" or "celebration."

The miracle of Hanukkah is described in the Talmud, the major text of Jewish teaching. In short, in the year 168 B.C., the Syrian king Antiochus IV seized the holy temple in Jerusalem and dedicated it to the Greek god, Zeus. Judah Maccabee and his soldiers decided to fight back. In the year 165 B.C., after the forces of Antiochus IV had been driven from the Temple, the Maccabees discovered that almost all of the ritual olive oil had been profaned. They found only a single container that was still sealed by the High Priest, with enough oil to keep the menorah in the Temple lit for a single day. They used this, and miraculously, that oil burned for eight days (the time it took to have new oil pressed and made ready).

It's an ancient story of human bravery and God's grace, a holiday worth celebrating each year.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Manhattan Declaration

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.

The Manhattan Declaration, released on November 20, 2009, is a document whose time has come. With the proposed health reform bill threatening to force doctors, through the power of government, to end lives against their conscience, it's time that Christians of every denomination and philosophy take a firm stand in asserting our values.

Our intrinsic right to life, natural marriage, and religious liberty are imperiled today as never before in our history. The Manhattan Declaration is a step in the direction of protecting not only our faith, but our principles and our way of life.

Over 260,000 people have signed the document since its release. If the Founders of our country were here today, I'm willing to bet that their signatures would have been among the first.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

For the Police Officers











For the just man, though he die early, shall be at rest.



Photo by Mike Siegel, The Seattle Times

Friday, November 27, 2009

Acting Thankful

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. -W.J. Cameron


Matt, Nicole and I shared our Thanksgiving Day with two young Marines stationed here in San Diego. It was a happy day of food, fun, and conversation around the patio fire pit in the evening.

Our military service men and women can never be repaid, only honored and appreciated. Thank you, David and Angie, for the privilege of sharing this holiday with you. Thank you especially for your service to our country. May the Good Lord keep you safe.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Reverse the Vote

I contributed to this fund, Reverse the Vote, last Thursday. At that time, the total funds raised stood at a little over $73,000.

Today, five days later, over $121,000 has been raised. It seems large numbers of Americans are trying to send a message to Congress. Too bad they're not listening. Next November, many of our dismissive elected officials will join the growing ranks of our financially troubled nation's unemployed.

The only difference between them and the growing percentages of out-of-work Americans will be that they had a choice to keep their jobs, but refused.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Schooled in Terror


Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world...
~ W.B. Yeats


If you’d like clear answers for a change on the reality of the radical Islamist’s war against America, I think Andrew C. McCarthy’s Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad is going to be required reading.

McCarthy was the prosecutor of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers, so he has been immersed in the hard facts of the jihad for a long time. I’ve heard McCarthy interviewed numerous times on the radio, discussing his book and national security issues. The man is razor-sharp, bluntly articulate, and extremely well-informed about the dangers we face.

The hardcover and Kindle editions of Willful Blindness were published in April 2008. The paperback is scheduled to be released on December 8, 2009. Considering the seemingly endless crop of reckless idiots we have currently running our government, Willful Blindness is going straight to the top of my Christmas list.

Meanwhile, McCarthy's most recent article at NRO is linked here. Click here for more information on this champion against the jihadists that are determined to destroy us.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Docs 4 Patient Care

If you think all doctors believe healthcare reform as currently presented is a good idea, you should drop by the Docs 4 Patient Care website, linked here.

Below are the "20 Big Lies" listed on the homepage. The thought of this monstrosity passing the Senate is enough to make any healthy American sick.

THE 20 BIG LIES IN THE HEALTHCARE REFORM DEBATE

  1. You can keep your insurance if you like it.

  2. You can keep your doctor if you wish.

  3. US healthcare ranks near the bottom of the industrialized world.

  4. Major cause of bankruptcies is related to medical expenses.

  5. 14,000 people per day are dying due to lack of medical insurance.

  6. Most doctors support Obamacare as endorsed by organized medicine (AMA).

  7. Senior citizens will not lose any Medicare benefits.

  8. Insurance premiums will be reduced for most Americans.

  9. This plan will only result in tax increases for the super wealthy.

  10. Proposed HC bills are budget "neutral" and will not add to the federal deficit.

  11. There are only 2 choices: the current system or Obamacare.

  12. The Republicans say NO because they lack and alternative plan.

  13. The public "strongly" supports Obamacare and public option.

  14. There will not be any rationing in healthcare.

  15. The government will not interfere between you and your doctor.

  16. Most doctors oppose HCR legislation so they can preserve their income.

  17. This is a "crisis" situation and needs to be passed into law immediately.

  18. A public option will increase competition and not result in a single payer system.

  19. Members of Congress will be subject to the same healthcare as the general public.

  20. Contents of the bill will be available to read at least 72 hours prior to a vote.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Weighty Words

“It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy.”
~ President Obama at Fort Hood

I disagree, Mr. President. I think it is very easy to understand what happened.

A radical Islamist terrorist, operating within the U.S. Army, carried out a jihad attack against our military. All of the numerous warning signs were ignored due to the government’s increasingly fatal attraction to “political correctness.” Because nobody in the chain of command had the courage to call out the threat, 14 Americans died.

The unborn baby counts as a murdered American, Mr. President. Although with your track record on abortion, I’m sure you would disagree.

Dozens more of our soldiers were wounded, some critically so. The painful psychological toll on those present at the scene and family members of the victims is incalculable and will be lifelong. Yet MSM tells us we are supposed to be concerned that the murderer may have had post traumatic stress syndrome? Please. There's some “twisted logic” for you.

One more thing you should be aware of, Mr. President. You seem very fond of the word “tragedy” to describe
the massacre at Fort Hood. It is not a tragedy. A tragedy is a car full of teenagers crashing, or a young parent dying and leaving small children behind. A tragedy is a wildfire, a tsunami, an earthquake that destroys homes and lives.

A calculated act of cold-blooded, brutal, hateful murder is not a “tragedy.” The jihad at Fort Hood last week was an atrocity. It was the first successful Islamist terrorist attack on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001. It was an act of war against the heartbeat of our nation—the men and women of our Armed Services.

Tragedy differs starkly from atrocity. There is nothing “incomprehensible” about what happened.
The majority of Americans clearly understand that. When our government, up to and including the Commander-in-Chief, will not acknowledge the terrible reality of Islamic jihadists burrowed into our midst, we are well on the way to more atrocities like Fort Hood.

Evil speaks for itself, Mr. President, and is easily understood--especially by those who are harmed by it. Your willful refusal to speak the truth regarding the Fort Hood terrorist attack is the tragedy that is hard to comprehend.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Celtic New Year


What we call "Halloween" (literally, "Holy Evening"), the ancient Celts called Samhain, or "Summer's End." It was believed that the line between this world and the next was thinnest on this night, and that spirits, both good and bad, could cross over. The custom of dressing in disguises was meant to protect against the evil spirits.

Samhain was also considered the Celtic New Year, as it began a new cycle. The other major holiday was Beltaine in the spring. In modern times, we call it May Day. But Samhain, on November Eve, marked the principal calendar feast of the Celtic year. The Druids would light bonfires to usher in the light of a new year.

In modern-day American, Halloween marks the official start of the holiday season, which extends for the next two months and concludes, appropriately enough, on New Year's Day.

Another year gone by. Boo!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Communication Breakdown




Considering the fact that everyone seems to be connected in one electronic form or the other to someone at any given point in the day, we don't seem to communicate very well anymore.

There's Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for keeping track of people. I know people who spend literally hours each day on these programs. There are blackberries, iPhones, cell phones, e-mail, texting, and voice mail for contacting people. And then there's my favorite boogeyman of the technological age--instant messaging. IM is the night stalker of technology. Whoever invented it should be imprisoned on a desert island, with no electrical or wireless access, until flat screen TVs become obsolete. Which, at the rate techno-innovation has been moving, shouldn't take long.

But, back to communication overload--where is all this electronic hoopla getting us? More isolated, with less real-time interaction and more machine-managed relationships.

Think about how we've been isolated by our equipment. Have you ever sat at a conference table during a meeting and watched the person across from you checking his blackberry messages? Were you ever in a conversation with someone who interrupts you to answer a cell phone call? Do you ever get e-mail from the person sitting in the next cubicle? Do you ever see co-workers walk around plugged into their iPods?

I suspect most of us have experienced all of these scenarios, and plenty more. What's wrong with this picture? Too much communications technology, not enough time to talk to people. When a ringtone takes precedence over the person in front of us, we have innovated ourselves out of our social graces and basic good manners.

That's just MHO. If U disagree, feel free 2 contact me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, e-mail, or cell fone--or leave a blog comment.
C-U L8r.

Picture from www.sonofthesouth.net

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Spell Breaking

At one time or another, Obama and his supporters have, rather scurrilously, insulted doctors, insurers, the police, tea-partiers and town-hallers, opponents of his health-care plan, non-compliant members of the media, and a host of other groups as either greedy, dishonest, treasonous, unpatriotic, moblike, racist, or in general worthy of disrespect.

The great VDH delivers a fine forensic evaluation of the country's crash from its temporary Obama high in "American's Obama Obsession: Anatomy of a passing hysteria." This article explains just about every reason for the Administration's increasing crankiness, not to mention its ineffectiveness. And it is with regret that I must say I agree with Hanson's conclusions (see closing paragraph) regarding the final outcome of Obama's presidency.

How's that "hope and change" working out for you these days?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Closing the Circle


All things work to the good for those who love the Lord...

Romans 8:28


In a surprising move, Pope Benedict XVI today opened the door of the Roman Catholic Church to Anglicans. By doing so, Benedict seeks to mend a rift nearly five centuries old.

Henry VIII, in a fit of executive pique, created the Church of England when Pope Clement VII excommunicated him following his divorce from Catherine of Aragon and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn. I think of the whole historical drama as two CEOs in a power wrestle. There was a lot of spilled blood and suffering so that these two alpha males could each feel they had the last word.

But the last word has been a long time coming, and we don't quite have it yet. I've attended Anglican services, and they could easily pass for Catholic Mass. It shouldn't be too difficult to incorporate our separated brethren, and it's a shame it's taken so long. The next part of the conversation will come from the world's conservative Anglicans, who have appealed to Pope Benedict as they seek a spiritual home more in keeping with their values. It will be fascinating to see how they respond to Pope Benedict's welcome.

If Anglicans choose to close the centuries-old circle and come home to the Catholic Church, there is only one true last word: Amen.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

You Were Saying?


But you can
kill 40-70 million Chinamen, and that's fine and dandy: You'll be cited as an inspiration by the White House to an audience of high school students. You can be anything you want to be! Look at Mao: He wanted to be a mass murderer, and he lived his dream! You can, too!

Only Mark Steyn could make me laugh over this story. I hope it's helpful for you, too.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Safe Haven


From the Mission Statement of Keep America Safe:

…to provide information for concerned Americans about critical national security issues. Keep America Safe seeks to influence public policy by encouraging dialogue between American citizens and their elected representatives in order to produce legislation and executive action that enhances the national security of the United States.

Imagine, an organization that realizes the U.S. is at war with a ruthless enemy and works to keep us safe from future 9/11-style attacks. Keep America Safe is also an organization that recognizes the travesty of prosecuting our intelligence agents, who have worked so diligently to protect us.

In our “through-the-looking-glass” world, one in which
our own president deems the U.S.A. unexceptional, KAS represents a refreshing dose of reality. America remains on “the world’s” speed dial in the event of any emergency. Aside from all the other good our country has accomplished, our military reliability alone renders us exceptional among nations.

Keep America Safe. It’s a concept that should make sense to “the world.” Perhaps even Norway.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

About the Peace Prize...

...Peggy Noonan says it all better than I could possibly hope to do. Her article is linked here.

In fulfillment of the ancient Chinese curse, we continue to live in increasingly interesting times.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Win or Leave


Michael Yon paints a grim picture of the state of the war in Afghanistan. Somber reading, but necessary in light of the wavering resolve evident in Washington D.C. This is Vietnam 2.0, a depressing flashback to unnecessary loss.

If the Commander in Chief is not going to fight to win a war, then get us out of there--fast. Don't play political games with our fighting men and women. The lives of our military heroes are far too precious to waste.

They'll be going back soon enough after the next Al Qaeda attack hits America.


Monday, October 05, 2009

Changing the Subject

Longtime readers know that I usually chip in my two cents' worth on political topics. No doubt you've noticed that I'm avoiding such issues lately.

The reason for the shift is that I'm so thoroughly disgusted by our current lack of national leadership that I prefer to ignore the daily mortifications of the U.S.A. unfolding in the news on a near-daily basis. Far worse than the embarrassment is the real and present danger surrounding and growing around us as a result of the president's pratfalls.

This president's popular approval numbers may be tanking, but his prospects for ensuring that a good percentage of the American population are impoverished--and quite possibly killed--are excellent. Jimmy Carter, eat your heart out.

Three more years of Obama's nonsense? I need to keep it simple. Maybe I'll switch to Twitter.

Friday, October 02, 2009

A Day for the Angels


For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.


October 2 is the feast day of Guardian Angels. Atlhough it's not an article of faith in the Catholic Church, many believe (myself included) that one of these mysterious heavenly creatures is assigned to each of us at birth, to protect us throughout the perils of our individual lifetimes.

I've survived many life-threatening situations, beginning with febrile seizures in infancy, to near-drowning at age six, to surviving a highway rollover in my teens, to recovering from a mysterious, incurable disease in my 30s. Those are just the circumstances I can remember off the cuff. Consequently, guardian angels make perfect sense to me.

You may or may not agree, and that's fine. But I taught my children to say the Guardian Angel prayer as part of their bedtime routine. I still say it as part of mine.

Hey, it's worked so far.

Prayer to Your Angel Guardian

Angel of God,
my Guardian dear,
to whom His love
commits me here,
ever this day
be at my side,
to light and guard,
to rule and guide.
Amen.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Waking Up Is Hard To Do"


"Patients goin' down, doobie- do-down-down..."
~ the Laryngospasms

Okay, it's the weekend and I'm ignoring Iranian missile tests, U.N. speeches caving in to tyrants, ACORN corruption, and the national debt. My nurse gal-pal sent me this YouTube spoofing the health care cram-down to the tune of "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do."

Laughter is good for our health. We'll need more of these...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Matthew's Day


Although the Gospel of St. Matthew is my favorite, Matt wasn't named for it. I chose Matt's name when I was twelve years old, after reading Anne of Green Gables and seeing my favorite supporting character, Matthew Cuthbert, dispatched in the closing chapters. Awash in tears and hiccuping sobs, I vowed that "If I ever have a son, his name is going to be Matthew!"

When the time came, convincing my husband of the need for the name Matthew was going to be tricky, I realized. No man is going to relish the idea of his firstborn son being named after anything pertaining to a sentimental young girl's book. So when the time came to choose names when I was expecting our daughter, I casually floated the idea: "What about Matthew?"

Pete thought about this for a few suspenseful moments. "Matt," he mused. "Like Matt Dillon, on Gunsmoke?" He was associating the name with one of our generation's most popular and long-running TV shows. "Yes!" I grabbed the lifeline and held my breath for another endless moment. "Yeah, Matt. That's a cool name." Sold!

Kristine was born first, and another five years passed before Matt came along to claim his name. It was at least five more years before I told Pete the full story of Matt's name. He didn't seem to mind, but by then we had been married a while. As most husbands would attest, a certain numbness to wifely antics takes over at some indefinable point in marriage. Besides, what could he say, really? He had liked the name as much as I did.

Matthew, from Hebrew, meaning "Gift of God." Named for an endearing fictional character, which happens to be the name of the great evangelist saint commemorated today. Happy Name Day, Matt.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Constitution Day


The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.
~ Patrick Henry

Today is Constitution Day. Will any elected official outside of Rep. Mike Pence make note of it?

A National Embarrassment

One man, singlehandedly, transformed me into a conservative nearly 30 years ago. Today, that man, the disastrously inept former president, Jimmy Carter, is reinforcing my decision every time he opens his mouth.

Lately, that's far too often.
His charges of racism against people objecting to the outright arrogance and incompetence of the Obama White House are both disgusting and stupid. According to the latest Gallup poll, 60% of Americans doubt President Obama's policies on healthcare reform and its costs. You can't reach that percentage of Americans without a large segment of minorities agreeing with "us white folks," as Carter would no doubt describe us.

Jimmy Carter should stick to helping the world through
Habitat for Humanity. It's the best work he's ever done, and he should know that will be his most enduring legacy. His shamefully twisted and degrading political commentary is nothing but a national embarrassment.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wishing it Away

For the best coverage of the 9/12 Obamacare protest in Washington D.C., you have to go to the clip on YouTube, linked here. The networks gave it very short shrift, as though by ignoring the event, they could make it vanish. Not this time.

My favorite sign is the one reading "Obamunism." Great stuff!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Moving Forward



But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord; he is their strength in the time of trouble.
~ Psalm 37:39

Eight years after September 11, 2001, much has changed in each of our lives. Yet, we Americans rightly pause to remember a terrible day on which thousands of our fellow citizens were murdered in cold blood by brutal Islamic extremists. I remember, too, a spiritual unity that briefly enfolded our nation, a moment in time when all Americans stood as one against an evil enemy.

National Geographic’s website has a beautiful photographic tribute to the resilience of the American spirit, a series of “before and after” pictures. They depict scenes from the carnage of 9/11/01 along with tranquil recent shots of the same locations as they appear today. Just looking at them will make you proud.

We honor the memory of 9/11’s brave and innocent victims by moving forward and rebuilding in life. As
one of the day’s countless heroes so aptly put it, “Let’s roll!”

Gather my saints together unto me, those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.
~ Psalm 50:5

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Diagnosis: Futility

The speech was very inconsistent in tone, from don't-frighten-the-horses utilitarianism to the grandiosity he finds so hard to resist...
~ Mark Steyn


If you'll pardon the medical metaphor, it must be a bitter pill for the the Obama White House to swallow that they are so unintentionally transparent to such scathingly elegant writers as Steyn. The president must be getting headaches, eyestrain, and laryngitis from reading so many impassioned, regurgitated, teleprompted speeches.

Poor guy. Well, at least he's got good health coverage.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Pausing to Remember


Greater love hath no man...

On August 30, two Los Angeles County firefighters died while battling the Station Fire. Their emergency response vehicle went off-road and plunged into a canyon, killing them both.

To them, it was just another workday. But during this particular shift, they were called upon to sacrifice their lives in the line of duty. On this Labor Day, it is right to remember the public servants who routinely place their lives on the line as part of their jobs, to keep us safe from harm.