Thursday, May 31, 2007

For your children's children

Something to look forward to:

Bush sees South Korea model for Iraq
(copyright AP)
WASHINGTON -President Bush envisions a long-term U.S. troop presence in
Iraq similar to the one in South Korea where American forces have helped keep an uneasy peace for more than 50 years, the White House said Wednesday.

Another Snow job:
Asked if U.S. forces would be permanently stationed in Iraq, [White House Press Secretary Tony] Snow said, "No, not necessarily." He said that the prospect of permanent U.S. bases in Iraq were "not necessarily the case, either."

Later, Snow said it was impossible to say if U.S. troops would remain in Iraq for some 50 years, as they have in South Korea. "I don't know," he said. "It is an unanswerable question. But I'm not making that suggestion. ... The war on terror is a long war."

Again, we see the White House trying to equate the quagmire it created in Iraq with "the war on terror." Now, they're trying to prep us for U.S. involvement over there until, I guess, kingdom come. (Oh wait. That's literally until kingdom come, because the people in the White House actually believe this whole Middle-Eastern conflict is a prelude to a "Second Coming." It would be laughable if it weren't for the loss of so many innocent lives.)

What they're saying is, we've screwed this up so badly that we're going to have to maintain a presence over there for decades to come, but, we're going to make it look like we're fighting this noble "long war on terror" and hope that everyone will forget that Saddam Hussein had nothing whatever to do with 9/11, and that prior to our invasion of his country, al Queda had no presence in Iraq, or even the slightest connection with the Iraqi government.

And get this, the last paragraph of the article:

Adm. William Fallon, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, seemed a surprising choice when he got the job earlier this year, yet his experience as U.S. commander in the Pacific overseeing the Korean peninsula would serve him well if the U.S. military adopts a Korea model in Iraq.
This was planned. That's why there will be no timetable. These people have been thinking in terms of decades of involvement.

I just want to know, how the hell are we going to get through the next 18 months?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Have you tried this yet?

Tomcat brought home a pint of the new Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor, Stephen Colbert's AmeriCone Dream, and OMG, you have got to try it!

From their website:

The flavor, Stephen Colbert’s AmeriCone Dream™ is a decadent melting pot of vanilla ice cream with fudge-covered waffle cone pieces and a caramel swirl. It’s the sweet taste of liberty in your mouth.

Recognizing that we, as a country, are at a time in our nation’s history where we need to reach across the aisle to people of all political ideologies — the left-leaning liberals at the company’s headquarters in Vermont felt it was fine to combine forces with the media man-of-steel. The company adds there are many similarities between Colbert and themselves. “He’s about political activism, so are we. He stands up for what he believes in, so do we. He supports Bill O’Reilly, and we… think he has a right to his opinion,” says ice cream Co-founder, Jerry Greenfield.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Hill of Fun

As Ellen Cherry Charles would say, yesterday was "a hill of fun." I went to a children's writers' and illustrators' workshop and was regaled by the witty and talented Cheryl Harness, writer and illustrator of more than 40 children's books.

Grace, the artist, and I were inspired - as everyone else - to stop procrastinating and get to work. We agreed that we could get a lot more done if only we had Cheryl's energy, but alas, we didn't ask her the name of her medication.

Bottom line, we have to work with what energy we have. Grace, the artist, needs to get her website done, and I need to finish editing my YA novel.

This ain't dress rehearsal.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

When dog (owners) go bad

We have a pack of vicious dogs roaming our 'hood. It's been on the news, in the papers, and is the subject of numerous neighborhood crime-watch emails. Our City Councilperson has intervened to ensure that the 911 operators give calls about the dogs in our area priority, and an Animal Control Officer has given us her cell phone number. They are blanketing the area with extra officers.

The pack is responsible for at least 20 cat deaths. They chased a neighbor who was riding a bicycle, causing her to run into one of them, fall off her bike, and fracture her pelvis. She was not attacked by the dogs afterward because a neighbor ran out to help.

One day soon, and I hope before a child is injured or killed, these dogs will be caught. And then, they will have to be put down. I know it has to be done, but I wish the dog owners could be euthanized with them.

You know I love dogs. I also believe that there is no such thing as a "bad" dog, only bad dog owners. We would not have the problem of vicious dogs if all of the dog owners in the area were responsible people with more than two working brain cells.

They don't spay and neuter their dogs, and they allow the animals to run loose. What happens when unspayed and unneutered dogs who are roaming the 'hood find each other? They breed. Duh. And they and their offspring form packs because they are pack animals. Duh. What do pack animals do? They hunt. Duh.

That's only part of the problem. In some parts of the 'hood, there are crack houses. The dimwits who run these places think it's cool to have pitbulls "protect" the premises. They will mistreat and tease these animals to make them act mean because it's, you know, more macho. (Newsflash: having a vicious-looking dog does not make your dick bigger, dumbass.)

These owners don't take their animals to the vet for rabies vaccinations, either. Rabies is still at epidemic levels in Texas - not so much from dogs, but skunks. But all it takes is for a stray dog to chase and be bitten by a rabid skunk. Fortunately, there aren't that many skunks in the City (of the four-legged variety, anyway.)

This situation just makes me sick. Headlines scream: Vicious dogs on the loose! as if it's the fault of the dogs. It is not. But it's the dogs who will have to be caught and killed, not the owners. It ain't right. I'm just sayin.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Scruffybutt Sez

Weekends. That's when I get to take Daddy walkies! (Mommy has to wait 'til Monday.)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I don't know about you, but I'm having a hard time dealing with the fact that Melinda was voted off American Idol last night. Week after week, she blew the competition away. Her gorgeous voice, her power, her versatility, her sheer damn talent, and she's voted out? It ain't right.

I have my smelling salts ready because this week at Maxwell House, I'm taking estimates on rewiring this whole place. It's a hundred-year-old house, and some of the wiring is (yikes!) original. (The last time we had an electrician out here, he took pictures with his cell phone to show his boss.)

I was visiting Hoss's b**g today and he was talking about being a bird freak. I am, too. Birds love to talk to each other, and our remaining lovebird, Lisa, chirps away whenever she hears another bird. Or something that she thinks is a bird. Like the beeps from the microwave, timers, answering machines ... She also loves music, especially Pink Floyd and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Rolling Stones? Not so much.

When you were little, did you have picture books? I can't remember anything like that from my childhood, although sometimes my father would make up stories for me about twins named Millie and Tillie. Anyway, did you have a favorite character? I got to thinking about this because I'll be going to a costume party later in the year for a children's book writers group I belong to. We're supposed to dress up as a favorite book character. I just can't think of any!

Monday, May 14, 2007

As the worlds turn

We had our last class today, in Pooks' Blueprinting Your Novel course. This is the second class I've taken from her, the first being Writing a Novel a few years ago. I wish the class could have continued for a few more weeks - in fact that was the only "criticism" I made on the evaluation sheet - that the class was too short! (Pooks, however, may not agree - after all, she wasn't just teaching the class I was in, but another Blueprinting class in the evening, plus two other classes.)

Anyway, today was Show and Tell. We each brought things from the times and places our novels are set in. I was impressed that one person brought music (jazz) and scent (lavender mixed with things I'd never heard of and, alas, don't know how to spell, but that smelled wonderful, just the same.) Another brought photographs and a handmade artifact of the people she's writing about, and someone else brought a mock-up of her characters' MySpace pages. It was a lot of fun, and it let us in on a way to get into the world(s) of our characters. Very effective.

Speaking of worlds ... this IMVU 3-D chat thing is amazing (to me, anyway, because I'm so new to it - it might be ho-hum for the rest of you, and if so, I don't care!) You can create a world of your own for your Avatar to explore. Say ... this would be a great way to explore your characters! Pooks? You must mention this to your next class! Oh, and if anyone still has an invitation that I sent them, all you have to do is accept it and I'll get tons of points. Just thought I'd mention that. Ahem. Doesn't mean you have to actually participate or anything. :)

Here's me (on the left) with Lavender on her very own IMVU pirate ship. (Why didn't I think of getting a pirate ship?) This is virtual reality, so I could have... I could have ... anything ... OMG.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

OMG, if anyone ever sends you an invitation to IMVU, do not, I repeat, do not accept (UNLESS I was the one who sent you the invitation, then please DO accept because that way I'll earn credits, and the more credits I have, the more STUFF I can get, so accept!!! because right now I have my eye on a really nice Roman Villa.)

Evil Lavender Dawn sent me an invitation and I ... accepted ... and now I will never get anything done ever again because I'll be playing around with this stuff! She is evil! I was having enough trouble just keeping up with emails and blogging, but now ... oh man, I'm in big trouble. First I had to choose how my avatar looked, then what she'd wear, and then what her house looks like, only I need more credits for that, plus then Lavender (did I mention she's evil?) and I had to try out the 3D chatroom, which is amazing! and then all the things you can do and the sounds you can make and omg, just be forewarned that this is a complete waste of time and you'll love it/hate it just as much I do.

Carry on.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Just the truth

This headline caught my eye:

Twilight of the neocons

Click on it for an excellent article by Andrew Leonard.

Leonard writes specifically about the resignation of a top aide to Paul Wolfowitz, Kevin Kellems. Kellems was formerly a spokesman for Dick Cheney, and as such, he

"was responsible for doing his best to push the line that the U.S. was justified in invading Iraq because Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and supporting al-Qaida -- two of the most damaging falsehoods ever promulgated by the U.S. government."

Leonard quotes this gem from Kellems, "The United States did not seek this conflict."

I think we'll see Wolfowitz' resignation soon.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Kitchen Sink

Scruffybutt started a new blog - check it out.

I'm starting a new category, called Kitchen Sink, which I stole borrowed from Lavender because I'm lazy today's post is about a bunch of unrelated things.

Pooks' class was canceled this morning because she's under the weather, and so are a couple of others. So, here I sits, all dressed up, and ... that's when I thought of you! Speaking of dressed up, Tomcat and I went to a banquet Saturday night, and the new picture over there in my Profile is from that.

Another change: Scruffybutt's blog is no more. She's just too busy running the house and doing dog things to keep up with her blog. She may start a new one over on Wordpress or someplace like that. Blogger, which is now Google-ized, would not let me have two blogs with two different Profiles, so her blog had my picture and my profile on it. She was very upset, and between you and me, I think that's the real reason she stopped posting.

I went to a (free!) seminar on webpage design, sponsored by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) a while back. Grace, the artist, who is also a member, went with me, and she said the seminar was better than the ($$) course she took at SMU! Grace, the artist, will have no trouble setting up her own webpage because she has Mac. I, however ...

Yesterday I pulled out the materials and started mucking around on the internets to see if I could possibly design my own webpage. Stop laughing!

After I got over that silly notion, I thought I'd look for a free template. There are tons of them out there. I found one that I loved, loved, loved, so I downloaded it. Then, it wouldn't open because I don't have the right software on my computer to open it with. Was there a way I could have known that before I downloaded the dang thing? I checked out the price of the software, and it was over $600!

Finally, reality sinking in, I decided to try using one of the icky templates that come with my web host (yes, I actually did figure out how to get one of those and register my domain.) I don't understand, at all, why it won't do stuff it says it will do. For example, if I want to have a picture on the right side of the template, and there's an option to put it on the right side, why then for the love of god does the picture stay on the left, and I can't move it no matter what I do?

Why am I doing this to myself? Because, if you're a writer and/or illustrator, you just really need to have your own website, that's why.

See, I have a plan. There's going to be an SCBWI conference in October, and I have that YA novel, The Earthquake Doll, sitting around here collecting dust. It really needs to be rewritten, but I put it off because one, that's a lot of work, and two, I was writing the murder mystery, Gino's Law. I'm going to put Gino's Law aside and let it percolate for a few months and work on the YA novel between now and October. That's where the webpage comes in, because I'd like to have that up and running by then, too.

After that, I'll pick up Gino's Law again and see how it wants to end.

The male lovebird, Bart, died. That left us with just one - his sister, Lisa. I was surprised that she wasn't moping around after that. We decided to get her a companion, anyway, because I couldn't stand the thought of her being lonely. Well, it's a good thing we talked to an expert on the subject before we bought a bird. Did you know that lovebirds are color specific, meaning that they will have nothing to do with another lovebird without the same coloring as their parents (and themselves, of course?) I had already picked out a lovebird who was all by himself at the pet store, but his coloring was different. The bird lady told us that they would fight each other. Who knew that they discriminated like that? The lady suggested getting a mirror. So far, Lisa ignores the mirror completely. I think she's just being coy.

I heard on CNN last night that during Friday and Saturday, meteorologists reported 125 tornadoes in the Texas panhandle, Oklahoma, and Kansas. They said a normal two-day event at this time of year would produce around 50.

We had four small tornado touchdowns around here a few weeks ago, btw. One man was killed in Ft. Worth.

But back to the weekend - a tree across the street was hit by lightening. That's way too close, people. The wind tore up a shade and a gutter on the balcony of our house. The miracle is that it didn't bring down any branches on the humongous pecan tree in the back yard. I'm collecting estimates this week on having that tree trimmed - one huge branch is hanging over wires.

Stay safe, everyone.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

As many of you know, I'm a Pastafarian. Once in a while I like to check out the Hate Mail (and concerned criticism) section of the Prophet's (Bobby Henderson), website, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM).

Here's a sampling:

It is my considered view that you are poisoning the minds of the worlds [sic] youth with your outrageous claims that a Flying Spagetti [sic] Monster (”FSM”) created the universe and not our Heavenly Father.

This is what happens when people don't read the fine print. Evidently, this person thinks the Prophet said that the FSM created the universe, but did NOT create "our Heavenly Father." (I love the "considered view" part.)

Here's one from a logical thinker:

Seriously think about this logically. How can a flying spaghetti “whatever” live or make something? If we are made in Gods [sic] image, I’m not spaghetti am I? you have probably ruined millions of people’s lives.

This one is at least instructive:

Woah…. [sic] that is just…dumb. Really, it is. I hope no one actually thinks that that graph has any purpose, or credibility. Global warming and pirates have nothing in correlation. The reason global temperatures have increased is due to (not only just greenhouse gas, which actually do not contribute much overall) the earth’s natural process of heating and cooling. Pirate numbers have decreased because the practice is far less accepted and is more easily restricted.

My favorite title is:

I’m very against this site.

I like it even better than "jesus loves you bobby." I think what appeals to me most is the combination of the sophomoric "very" and the word "against," as if there's going to be a referendum on Saturday.

I hope you'll enjoy browsing as much as I have today.

May you be touched by His Noodly Appendage,

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Attention Soccer Moms!

I saw a great comment by Lizzy to Tom Harper's post about the Army's new Chief of Staff wanting to increase the number of active duty soldiers by 65,000. She said, "... if you're under 50* and you voted for Bush - enlist."

Yes! Especially all you soccer moms out there driving around town in your SUVs with the "W'04" sticker on the back window, and the woman I recently saw in a black Lexus with the "I Support President George W. Bush" sticker on the bumper - get your butts down to the recruiting office and enlist! The President you support needs you. Yes, you! And any children you have aged 18 and over. Oh, and be sure to say hello to all the Bush and Cheney children while you're down there, okay?

* 42 is now the maximum age.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007