Sunday, March 29, 2009

Quiznos New Torpedo Ad

Nobody is making you watch this ad, but go know you want to!

I don't know if I'm supposed to go out and buy this sandwich or take a cold shower!

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

The official Earth Hour website says it is at 8:30 p.m. tonight. I have heard and read different times, such as 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. I don't know where all the confusion comes from, but I am going to go dark at 8:30 for an hour.

It won't be that big a deal for me anyway, because I am a stickler for turning off lights! I think that comes from my childhood. Mom would come home from her night job, and the first thing she would say is "every light in the house is on...I told you..." A few times there would be variations that included some cuss words.

I have three brothers and a sister, so we always played the blame game. It's easy to stay out of trouble, when you have several brothers and a sister to blame LOL!

Seriously though, I think Earth Hour is a great idea. The first place I think of that definitely needs to go dark for an hour is the Las Vegas strip! Let me take that a step further and say the whole city of Las Vegas. A close second would be Times Square. Some other obvious places that could use some bulb cooling off would be Shanghai and Tokyo. Okay, all large cities should shut some lights off (IMHO).

Until you've lived in both large cities and a rural area, you really don't realize just how lit up the sky itself is above a large metropolitan area! If you ever get the chance, take a drive from Las Vegas to Laughlin and you will be shocked at just how dark it is in the desert between those two places! It is pitch dark during the entire drive, except for one tiny pit stop called Searchlight.

The title link takes you to the Earth Hour website.

So are you, or did you participate in Earth Hour?

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30 Years Ago Today - Panic at Three Mile Island

On March 28, 1979, America's worst commercial nuclear accident occurred inside the Unit 2 reactor at the Three Mile Island plant near Middletown, Pennsylvannia. I was a junior in high school and about a week before, I had saw the movie "The China Syndrome," which starred Jane Fonda as a TV anchor reporting on a catastrophic nuclear plant failure. Talk about bad timing! This news really peaked my interest.

It was then that Americans realized first hand the potential dangers of nuclear energy. The accident stopped the U.S. nuclear power industry dead in its tracks. No more nuclear plants were ordered in the United States following the accident and none started after 1974 were completed.

I remembered being glued to the news and seeing frantic locals being interviewed. People were fleeing the area like crazy. Roads were jammed. It seemed very chaotic and nobody seemed to know what to do, where to go, or what to expect. My curiosity must have came about after seeing "The China Syndrome." I had never seen anything like it, and those towers looked so futuristic back then. I wanted to see if for myself someday. I never imagined that I would get that opportunity. Then Chernobyl happened in 1986, and it was almost like a dare to see Three Mile Island. Well, curiosity finally got the best of me.

So during our east coast vacation in 1988, Ron and I routed our trip to make a brief stop there while passing through on our way to several eastern cities. That's me (don't laugh at my hair, remember it was in the 80's!), back in the day checking out the observatory deck at the visitors center. It offered a panoramic view of the plant from across the highway and Susquehanna River. That is from where I took the following photos.

Supposedly, it was safe to be there. After all, they had made a tourist attraction out of it by then! Besides the many exhibits in the visitors center, they offered two types of tours--drive around tours and in plant tours. We said no thanks to those tours and felt a little nervous that we were even as close as we were to the plant. I really just thought we would drive near the plant and see it from a distance. I was surprised to get so close.

It was a beautiful sight in a weird sort of way, definitely not a place you would visit again. The narrow river and lush greenery still didn't make it blend in. It seemed very out of place, so close to residential areas.

The visitors center had a lot of educational displays and was staffed by the Communications Division of the GPU Nuclear Corporation, the operator of Three Mile Island Units 1 and 2. Trained professionals in their field and staff members welcomed an opportunity to discuss questions (and there were many) about nuclear power, safety and Three Mile Island. In addition to several video presentations, there were actual equipment from the plant. What I remember the most was the Geiger counters and how they still click click clicked at just about everything they were aimed at. That in itself was a little eerie (but they claimed everything was perfectly safe) and needless to say, we did not stay and visit for very long.

I wonder if these staff people are still alive. And if they aren't alive, I wonder what they died from. I could not confirm, but from what I gather, the visitors center closed after 9/11 or before. Although it pales in comparison to the Chernobyl accident in 1986, the credibility of the nuclear power industry in the United States was lost. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is now reviewing industry proposals to build a new generation of reactors.

Click the title link for the interesting NY Times "Three Mile Island Still Haunts U.S. Nuclear Industry."

Here's the cover of the tri-fold pamphlet about the visitors center and the tours, location, hours, etc. It really does look like it was made in the 60's! This was definitely one of the most bizarre tourist attractions I have ever seen.

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Lincoln Seen and Heard, Part 2

Ron, who is famous for taking bad blurry pictures took this one of me (Gee, thanks Ron), after I got my program signed by scholar and author Harold Holzer (standing behind me up on stage). Actor Richard Dreyfuss is standing next to him.

"Lincoln Seen and Heard" was co-hosted by Illinois College and the Illinois State Historical Society. The event was part of the annual ISHS annual Symposium, this year titled "Abraham Lincoln in Ante-Bellum Illinois: 1830-1861."

The presentation was preceded by a musical program featuring the Illinois College and MacMurray College (also located in Jacksonville) concert choirs, IC Wind Ensemble and local soloists Joel Tinsley and Addie Gramelspacher.

Harold Holzer, shown above, recognized as one of the nation's pre-eminent Lincoln historians received an honorary doctorate from Illinois College, when he delivered the commencement address to the class of 2007.

Mr. Holzer is a senior vice president for external affairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and serves as co-chairman of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. He is also the author, co-author or editor of 33 books on Lincoln and the Civil War era. Among his award-winning works are "The Lincoln Image," "The Lincoln-Douglas Debates," and with Gov. Mario Coumo, "Lincoln on Democracy," which has been published in four languages.

Mr Holzer and Mr. Dreyfuss are longtime friends. Following the dramatic performance, Mr. Dreyfuss received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree.

Mr. Dreyfuss is considered one of the leading actors of American cinema. Three of his films are included in the American Film Institutes list of the 100 greatest films. At age 29, Mr. Dreyfuss won the Oscar for best actor in "The Goodbye Girl." Twenty nine years later, his role as the teacher in "Mr. Holland's Opus" received Academy Award and Golden Globe. nomination for best actor.

The event featured more than 70 scholars from across the state and nation who shared their research and knowledge on those historic times with such general topics as abolitionism and the Underground Railroad, along with Lincoln's law practice and political career in Illinois, and his many local connections to Jacksonville and Illinois College.

Some excerpts from Greg Olson's article in the Journal-Courier

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Lincoln Seen and Heard, Part 1

Tonight Ron and I enjoyed a rare performance of "Lincoln Seen and Heard" by Academy Award-winning Richard Dreyfuss and scholar Harold Holzer held here in Jacksonville at Illinois College. The dramatic reading, accompanied by projected Lincoln images has been performed for only a few audiences during the bicentennial year of Abraham Lincoln's birth, including the White House, Ford's Theatre, the Library of Congress, and at the George H. W. Bush and William Clinton presidential libraries.

After the presentation I got my program booklet autographed--Richard Dreyfuss on top and Harold Holzer's autograph below it. It was a very special event, because both of these men are at the top of their professions. Mr. Dreyfuss is a friendly consummate actor's actor, as well as an actor for the people. And Mr. Holder is similarly a Lincoln scholar, who is accessible to the lay reader, and yet his latest of over 30 books has been highly praised by his peers in Lincoln studies.

A large selection of Harold Holzer's books were for sale, and he was happy to autograph them. I couldn't resist adding to my collection with his latest acclaimed book, "Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861," even though it has over 600 pages. The book is getting great reviews, so I am looking forward to reading it. The photo belows shows part of the page inside that he chose to autograph. It was a pleasure to meet Harold Holzer after having seen him on so many television programs. He is a very friendly and gracious man.
Some excerpts from Greg Olson's article in the Journal-Courier.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Portal of Ideas: They Blame America First

Here's a link to a great thought provoking blog with a different perspective about my previous post. Portal of Ideas: They Blame America First

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Free Range Chickens...down on the farm

After my last post, one of my blogger buddies wanted me to show some photos of what the farm looks like now. So I got my camera out after work the other day, which is the time we let the chickens out of their pen for free ranging. They also get to free range at least part of the day on most Sundays and holidays. They love to be out, and I've heard a happy chicken is a tastier chicken!

(Above) This is a view to the east. That grey colored bird in the front is a guinea. On the far right is a glimpse of the little hen house. The brown color farm land in the back ground is what it looks like this time of year, after the corn has been harvested last fall. The man who farms that land has not tilled it yet. He will most likely plant soybeans this year. Way in the distance is a Nestle's factory. The factory used to be called Carnation, and it is where they make non-dairy coffee creamer.

(Above) This view is looking south. Not too far off in the distance, you can see railroad tracks. I love to take walks back there and walk along the tracks. I planted the Weeping Willow tree in 1994, and it is very tall now. We don't have a lot of large trees on the farm, because lightening has taken them out. This tree was split in half by lightening a few years ago, but it didn't kill it. However, a week long ice storm in December of 2007 caused some of the branches to break. You can see the damage with two downward pointing straight branches. Later in Spring until Winter the tree will be a beautiful shower of green with each branch growing up and out and curving downward. Each day more green grass pops up like in the front of the picture.

(Above) A hen and a banty rooster in the freshly tilled garden area. I don't know the variety of these chickens, but this little rooster has a very high pitched crow. He is the sneakiest of them all and has hidden a few times, just so he could be out all day the next day.

Above is just another random shot of guineas and chickens. I spent about thirty minutes trying to get a good picture of the eight guineas, but they are fast and won't be still for long! When the chickens are out, they spread out--making it impossible to get them all in one good picture. We have about sixty chickens right now. Some of them hardly ever leave the hen house. These chickens are raised for breeding and for their eggs.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Finally, it's Spring!

Here's a past Spring view of my back yard. The photo was taken with a cell phone, so it's not the best quality. Don't laugh at my windmill, remember I do live on a farm! I love windmills and have since I was a small child. My Uncle Carl & Aunt Barb's family lived on a farm that had a huge working windmill that always fascinated me. They both died tragic deaths many years ago. The decorative windmill always makes me think of them and their family and brings back good memories.

My younger brother laughed and made fun of me for having the windmill. He laughed even harder, when he saw I used a giant tractor tire as a raised flower bed! You might be a redneck if you...don't say it! You can't see it in the picture, but the trellis is in the center of the tire. The giant tire was already at the farm, when we bought it and I loved it too. You can call me the redneck version of Martha Stewart haha! No, please don't...that was a joke! I do try to make use of everything though. And I can do anything Martha can! Yeah, right!

As you can see, my love for tractors goes way back too. I loved playing on them as young boy! Yep, that is me--probably about three years old, on the tractor. However, I never got to operate a tractor by myself. My uncles would let me ride inside their combines though, so that was fun for a kid living in the country. Driving one by myself would have been more fun though! See how large a tractor tire is! Now how could I dispose of the one on my farm now?

In the first picture the Irises are up and bloom after my few scattered tulips and daffodils. Once my Iris bloom, I will have one flower after another blooming right up until winter. This year we have already tilled more of the back yard to have even more flowers (and less mowing).

In the background you can see acres of tilled farmland (not ours) that surrounds us on three sides. One year corn is planted, and the next year soybeans. Along the edge we will grow pumpkins, watermelons, and lots of sunflowers. It's going to be a great Spring and Summer!

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Plinky is here!

If you've ever read Blogger Buzz on your Blogger Dashboard, you may have noticed the March 3rd post about Plinky. If you haven't noticed it, you might want to check it out. In my previous two posts, you will see what a sample Plinky shared answer looks like on Blogger. Those posts were made at Plinky and "shared" to this blog with a single click!

The fact that there are tens of thousands of results for "blogger's block" suggests that more than a few of you have struggled to think of what to say on your blog at one time or another. If that sounds like you, you might want to take a look at Plinky. Basically, you just answer a question and it's easy to tell Plinky that you use Blogger and all your answers posted through Plinky can go right to your blog. I will probably share something from Plinky nearly everyday. Hopefully my blog will be a little more interesting! It's definitely going to be more personal. I hope you like! Don't worry, I will still continue to blog the way I have been doing--a little bit of this and a little bit of get the picture.

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'Reno 911! Miami' was a bad choice to watch with the family

I've seen all the Comedy Central episodes and thought the movie would be funny, so I brought it to my Mom's for us to watch together.

Mom lives nearly 5 hours away, so I spend a few days at a time with her and get easily bored. I thought sharing a new movie (at the time) would be a fun evening.

OMG, I was mortified that this movie had a sex scene in it! I apologized to my Mom...and I never brought another movie to Mom's!

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Seat me next to the person who keeps staring, please!

PLINKY QUESTION: Who would you rather be seated next to on a daylong bus trip: a talkative person with a really irritating voice, or a quiet person who keeps staring at you?

I would definitely rather sit by the quiet person. He (or she) could stare all they want. I would be reading a book or newspaper and sure wouldn't want a talkative person seated next to me. And if I was not reading, I would have earphones in listening to music. But if it was a really long trip, I would probably take some naps. Stare all you want, as long as you're quiet!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Country Night on American Idol

...and I thought I wasn't going to watch this show LOL! I'm glad Adam was on early, because I fell asleep during the show. I think Adam just might win. He is like a cross between Elvis and Freddie Mercury! Anyway, I enjoyed his version of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" enough to put it on my blog, so there you go!

I hope everyone had a Happy St. Patrick's Day! Even though I have Irish roots, I didn't celebrate with a mug of green beer, and I'm not crazy about corned beef. I had big plans of making a St. Patrick's Day blog post about my Irish heritage, but I was just too tired. Oh well, I will just save that for next year. I will just leave you (at the last minute) with a few colloquial blessings and sayings of Ireland.

  • When Irish eyes are smiling,
  • Tis like a morn in spring.
  • With a lilt of Irish laughter
  • You can hear the angels sing.
  • When Irish hearts are happy
  • All the world is bright and gay.
  • When Irish eyes are smiling
  • Sure, they steal your heart away.

May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.

May you live to be a hundred years, with one extra year to repent.

May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.

May you be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you're dead!

May those who love us, love us. And those who don't love us, May God turn their hearts. And if he can't turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles. So we will know them by their limping!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Erin Go Bragh! The Chicago River is Green

A modern day miracle occurs each year as part of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebration when the Chicago River turns an incredible shade of Irish green. This spectacular transformation ranks right up there with the parting of the sea by Moses and the Pyramids of Egypt, according to the linked website, "The Story Behind Dyeing the River."

For the past 43 years the Chicago River turns green for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebration. One would ask how this is different from the rest of the year when the river is always a murky shade of green. The difference is both significant and breathtaking because the color green is identical to the greens of Ireland from where it got its name “The Emerald Isle.”

This is a very interesting website, so be sure and click the title link for the rest of the story and great pictures and video. Curious about how they dye the river? Don't worry it isn't toxic.

As you can imagine, it really is quite a sight to see! I saw the green Chicago River several times years ago. My pictures suck, but I found this great photo at Creative Commons. I love Chicago and lived near there many years ago, when I worked at Richton Park--a suburb as far south in Cook County as you can get. I was never bored living in Chicagoland. Chicago is still one of my favorite cities to visit, and I have returned many times, since there is so much to see and do there. The St. Patrick's Day celebration is just one more reason to visit, if you need one!

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Burris gets cold reception at St. Pat's parade

CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Sen. Roland Burris both made customary appearances at the annual Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade Saturday, but they drew very different reactions from the green-clad crowd of thousands.

Parade-goers in leprechaun hats, green jackets and clover-spotted socks clapped and greeted Quinn warmly as he approached. But for Burris, they just pointed derisively and chuckled.

The annual parade is a must-do for many Illinois politicians. Quinn worked the crowd by waving, grinning and shaking hands. Burris, meanwhile, kept to a clump of Chicago aldermen led by Mayor Richard Daley.

Wrapped in a green sash and carrying a walking stick, the senator rarely acknowledged the crowd. As he passed by, conversations sprouted on the sidelines as spectators pointed and nudged each other, reminding people standing closest to them that Burris was controversially appointed by ousted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. (Click the title link for the full Chicago Tribune article).

...only in Illinois would they whoop and holler at a tax raising governor! I would've booed them both!

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

OctoMom on Jimmy Kimmel

Nadya Suleman, a.k.a OctoMom is all over tv lately, but the only place I can stand to see her is on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Jimmy's youtube channel has a bunch of these short videos. This one is hilarious!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Although I have linked this post to one of the latest reviews of Jimmy Fallon's new show, this post is just some of my own rambling thoughts. I'm not a regular viewer of any late night talk show (because, well they are late night talk shows). I have read a lot of the bad reviews of "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" last week, and some good ones this week. Since the first show, there have been hundreds of reviews. It looks like they are starting to ease up and give him a chance.

When I heard the Pussycat Dolls would be on last night, I decided to check out his show. I was surprised that I liked the show so much! It was disappointing; however, to see him lose control with the timing. That led to not enough time to show the Pussycat Dolls full performance of "Jai Ho" at the end. Fallon didn't apologize or say anything about the screw up. I think he should ask them back, and put them on earlier in the show!
Fallon wasted a lot of time. He had some lame jokes--especially the ones about Chris Brown and Rhianna. There is nothing funny about their situation. I was glad to see some audience participation, but the Wheel of Carpet game show was just plain dumb. When his guest Emily Blunt was on, he couldn't take his eyes off her boobs...even though they weren't big or hanging out. She did look hot though! He wasted too much time with her. And he got her a hot pretzel--WooHoo! And when two pretzels were brought out, he wouldn't even touch his and had her give it to an audience member--more wasted time. Fallon seemed awkwardly uncomfortable with his other guest Michael Stipe. He didn't even thank him for the gift Michael personally made and gave to him! Jimmy was just a bundle of nerves all night, but I think he will get better as he settles in to his new role of talk show host.
Apple must be paying him a nice chunk of money, since he has an Apple notebook on his desk. But for what? He never touched it. Of course, the game show prizes were Apple store gift certificates. And did her really have to whip out his iphone? That reminded me of the movie "Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion," where one of the girls pulled her giant cell phone out of her purse to try and impress her former classmates! "If anyone needs to make a call, I have a phone!"
Wow, it almost seems like I didn't like the show LOL! I will give it a chance though...hope it does well.

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

He Rips People Off and Has A TV Show!

It's past time for us to tell HIM, "You're Fired!"

Show your disgust for this (click title link for the article) by not watching his television show.

Even though the winner's money goes to charity, the star of the show will still make money.

If you have a dvr or Tivo, please search for the program and press your red thumbs down button three times, so that it will never get recorded.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Hearing Set for Springfield's 'Medical Marijuana Club' Operator

On Wednesday an Illinois state House committee approved legalizing medical marijuana. House Bill 2514, still has to be approved by the House and Senate and signed by the governor before it becomes law.

Apparently a Springfield man, Scott Carriere, couldn't wait and announced the formation of his medical marijuana club, which he said has three members, to the media early Wednesday. I nearly fell out of my chair, when I saw him being interviewed on the news! It was like a free advertisement for his new business. What a dumb ass!

Dan Linn of the Chicago-based Illinois Cannabis Patients Association said Thursday his organization had never heard of Carriere , and that Carriere’s claims had given a “black eye” to legitimate efforts to legalize marijuana for medical use.

Citing his group’s victory in getting the bill out of committee Wednesday, Linn said he thinks Carriere was “confused about what actually happened yesterday.” Yeah, he was confused alright!

About 15 minutes before narcotics agents raided his house at 7 p.m., Carriere spoke by phone with a State Journal-Register reporter in defense of his club, which he said charged membership fees. As always, click the title link for the full story and the Springfield man's real picture.

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As if you needed a reason not to watch American Idol

It was bad enough that Fox was blighted at least three nights this week with Idol. After all, it's not the Olympics! Obviously Fox does not have enough programs to fill a weekly schedule.

As Simon Cowell might say, it is "excruciating" or "positively awful." I'm not talking about the performances, I'm talking about the commentary by four judges, plus the host! The bantering back and forth between Cowell and Ryan Seacrest is getting old! As for the performances, all I can say is "owwww my ears!" And is there any real talent this year (besides Lil Rounds)? Please let this program hurry up and be over!

But that's not all folks! The LA Times says Michael Jackson will play a big part of the first week! Eeeeek! I hardly think I am alone in saying this is a mistake! The baby dangling and the Jesus Juice is still fresh in people's minds, not to mention the salacious accusations and criminal trials and tribulations. Even with no conviction, Jackson's reputation is beyond tarnished.

The LA Times has confirmed that the first week of "American Idol's" final rounds will be devoted to the songbook of the self-proclaimed King of Pop, Michael Jackson.

The controversial performer has been in the news lately, announcing a series of concerts that he has labeled the last of his career.

The Jacko songbook will be taken on by Idol's newly minted Top 13, the last of whom were named last night in the Wild Card show.

No word yet on which contestant has claimed "Beat It" and who will try to top David Cook's star-making turn on "Billie Jean" last year. However, we can only pray the group number will not look like this.

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This is it, proclaims Jacko, King of Pop

"This is it, I mean, really, this is it, after all, I am just a burnt out frail 50 year King of Pop. I don't have shit for new music, so this is it folks," said Michael Jackson at a press conference today in London.

Okay, I admit, those weren't the exact quotes...if you want the whole true story, well, as true as it can be across the pond, then click the title link for the article.

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Mamma Mia

The dvd is out, but why settle for just the movie, when you can watch my friend Miranda and the lovely ladies at Body Perfect rocking out as Donna and the Dynamos from Mamma Mia! I talked to Miranda yesterday and told her I'd like to post her video on my blog, and she gave me her blessing!

I asked her though, how could I explain to people that I can't convince her to change that hairstyle? I mean, really, that blond afro-puff must go! Yes, that's Miranda, girl #2 in line with that hot mess of a hair style. She asked me me not to tell people that she dresses that way all the time--oops!

Razzle Dazzle lives on...on John abuzz!

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Chris Brown--oh yes he did.

US R&B singer Chris Brown is seen during his arraignment at a Los Angeles court, California, USA, 05 March 2009, on two felony charges of assault stemming from what a police detective described as a brutal argument between the singer and his girlfriend, Rihanna. Brown, 19 was free on 50,000 US dollars (39,800 euro) bail. The complaint handed down in court identified Brown's alleged victim only as 'Robyn F.' Rihanna's real name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty. The assault happened early on 08 February 2009 after a pre-Grammy Awards party. EPA/BOB CHAMBERLIN Read more: "Rihanna stands by her man" -
to read more, click on the title link

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta says Thanks, but no Thanks

When the announcement was first made about Dr. Sanjay Gupta as U.S. Surgeon General, I was adamently opposed! I'm happy to hear that Dr. Gupta has withdrawn his name from consideration as surgeon general of the United States, he said today!

As always, click the title link for the rest of the CNN story.

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Civil unions bill moves to Illinois House floor

Well, it's not exactly equality, as in right to marry, but it is certainly a step in the right direction. My partner of 22 years and I talked about this tonight and decided, should this bill pass, we will have a civil union...even if it makes the front page of our local newspaper! We own and operate a well established business in our community. We realize we could potentially, unfortunately lose customers, should this news come out. We feel confident; however, that the majority of the community already knows and could care less about our personal life--as it does not affect them.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill - Supporters of gay marriage say 2009 could be the year Illinois seriously considers establishing civil unions, but opponents say the pendulum of public support is swinging the other way.

A bill giving gay couples the right to form civil unions squeaked through a legislative committee Thursday. It would not legalize same-sex marriage, but it would give gay couples many of the legal benefits of marriage.

Rep. Deb Mell, who is gay, said 648 state laws -- on topics from inheritance to health care -- help married couples.

"I find it very strange that I can be elected to the General Assembly and vote on rules and laws, but these don't apply to me and my family," said Mell, D-Chicago. "We're not protected."

Click the link for the rest of the story from today's Chicago Tribune.

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Name that Blago Book Contest

Chicago Tribune readers have submitted literally thousands upon thousands of entries, and it has winnowed it all down to a top 10 list and now it's time for you to vote.
Polls close at 4 p.m. CST on Thursday, so that a column can be written for Friday's paper.
I cast my vote for choice # 10... "They Paid Me a [Bleeping] Bucket of Cash to Write This [Bleeping] Book."
Now head on over to the Chicago Tribune and place your vote before the deadline!
I've even made it easy for you. Just click the title link and you're there!

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Monday, March 2, 2009

Who doesn't love Dr. Seuss?

One thing I love about google is the festive google logos that you will find on their homepage for holidays and other notable events, like today. Check it out today, it will be gone tomorrow!

That's how I learned today is the 105th anniversary of the birth of one Mr. Theodor Seuss--better known to the world as the incredible, indelible Dr. Seuss. He passed away in 1991.

Of course, as a child I read all of his books. My favorite is "Green Eggs and Ham." And I absolutely love the cartoon, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book? I also have great memories of reading Dr. Seuss books to my daughter and then my grandchildren, when they were little.

I knew there would be all kinds of great Dr. Seuss stuff on the Internet! After googling, I found "The Lost Dr. Seuss Poem" on a blog that hasn't been updated since last Fall. Don't you just hate that! I hope the blogger is ok. Looks like she had a really great blog, until it abruptly ended. Enjoy the lost poem!

The poem above is via Echoes of Cold Moon

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

On This Day... history, on March 1, 1692, in Salem Village, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Salem witch trials began.

Four women were the first to be charged. Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba are brought before local magistrates in Salem Village, Massachusetts, beginning what would become known as the Salem witch trials.

Now it is an even bigger tourist destination than it was during my visit. Salem, Massachusetts was one of the many stops during a two week vacation throughout the east coast back in the eighties. I loved spending a few days in Boston, but I could not wait to get to Salem.

I learned more about the Salem witch trials than I ever imagined! Even though I took a lot of pictures, I didn't have a very good camera, and I was, and still am just an amateur photographer. So, no need to share a bunch of dark pictures. Our day in Salem ended at a nice seafood restaurant overlooking the Atlantic ocean.

I like to use "this day in history" to tie into my own lifetime travels. I will do these kinds of posts occasionally. Back then, on this trip we were able to travel more freely as our store had a larger staff. For the past several years, it has been next to impossible to take a vacation together. We simply do not have a big enough staff to keep our store open in our absence, and closing would be foolish. I look forward to the day, when we can travel with each other more often. I have taken a few trips by myself though! Together, we can only take short trips-- not only because of work, but also all the farm chores. For now I will settle for reminiscing...and dreaming about our future travels... or travel alone, or with other friends and family.

This photo above is one I took of the Salem Witch Museum. Obviously it is right in town on the corner of a busy intersection. In the left part of the picture you can see a witch statue on top of a large rock. I'm sure there are thousands of better photos of the museum at flickr and various websites.

Yes, that is me in the cemetery. Hey, don't laugh at my short shorts! They were in style at the time in 1987. I do look so respectful though, don't I? LOL I was fascinated at all the old tombstones at Old Burying Point, also known as Charter Street Cemetery. It is the oldest cemetery in Salem, and the second oldest known cemetery in the country, started in 1637. It is located on Charter Street, next to the Witch Trials Memorial.

Here is another shot of some of the tombstones. Due to the lighting, I couldn't get good pictures of some of the creepiest monuments. If you are morbidly curious, be sure and click on the link for some great photos (highly recommended). It was touching to read some of the old tombstones; that they died of consumption-- means they died of tuberculosis, or the different symbols on the graves such as the cherubs versus the skull and crossbones. You will see it all, and they date back to 1637 and include the grave of a passenger of the Mayflower, Captain Richard More, as well as a judge and others that were involved in the Salem Witch Trials.

By the way, there is more to Salem than witches. It is also the birthplace of Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of "The Scarlet Letter." His famous "House of Seven Gables" is right there at 54 Turner Street. I'll probably show that picture on another day that will honor this great author.

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It looks like Spring... least on my kitchen window sill it does! You can see my lifeless trees and barren farmland, garage and implement building (taken over by the turkeys) out my window.

Just look a my colorful Coleus! Not exactly Spring, but these beautiful plants can flourish in your window sills, if you bring them in before frost. They grow like crazy, and you can continuously take cuttings and easily root them in water for later planting. My plants aren't as big as they appear. They are in four inch pots, but I have zoomed in on them.

Outside my tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths haven't came up yet, but they will soon. I did notice today I have many little grape hyacinths about an inch tall. I can't wait for Spring!

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