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February 28, 2005

Storyblogging Carnival #13

I gotta admit, I love reading short fiction and the Carnival comes along often enough for to help me out cause I haven't the time to try and hunt down a new anthology of short stories at my local bookstore.

Thanks to Doc Rampage for hosting duties.

Posted by Darleen at 02:30 PM | Comments (1)

'Educators' in favor of fraud and theft ...

Just more proof of the moral bankruptcy, bigotry and now incipient criminality pervasive in the public University system:

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) Hundreds of University of Colorado faculty members came to the defense of embattled professor Ward Churchill.

Members of the faculty bought an ad in the Monday edition of the Boulder Daily Camera. The ad demands the university stop it's investigation.

hattip Michelle Malkin

Posted by Darleen at 10:01 AM | Comments (3)

Ten words on the Oscars

Chris Rock is no Johnny Carson.

Not a suprise.


Posted by Darleen at 09:49 AM | Comments (1)

Berzerker Baptists? Marauding Mormons?

Well, I mean, according to ranking House Democrat Charlie Rangel, reports like this must be in error, right?

LONDON (AFP) - A British Muslim pleaded guilty to conspiring with jailed "shoe bomber" Richard Reid to try and blow up airliners, an admission police hailed as a major breakthrough in anti-terrorism efforts. ...

Officers also searched an Islamic college in Blackburn, northwest England, which the academically strong student had previously attended. ...

Cannot be moslems. Cannot be Islamism. Obviously, this "news" service is lying. I fully expect the esteemed Mr. Rangel to call for a Congressional investigation into this discriminatory and racist matter.

I blame Karl Rove.

Posted by Darleen at 09:20 AM | Comments (1)

February 27, 2005

Those two words to Democrats, yet again ...

AP Photo/Evan VucciThank you.

"Moderate Republicans can't stand these people (conservatives), because they're intolerant. They don't think tolerance is a virtue," Dean said, adding: "I'm not going to have these right-wingers throw away our right to be tolerant."

And concluding his backyard speech with a litany of Democratic values, he added: "This is a struggle of good and evil. And we're the good."

Nice. Let's add this to Dean's "I hate Republicans and everything they stand for and putting together Republican candidate ad campaigns in 2006 is going to be a snap.

Scream it, brother! Scream it.

Oh. BTW, I was unaware that (a) tolerance is a right and (b) evilRepuglicans were trying to outlaw tolerance.

Posted by Darleen at 09:05 PM | Comments (1)

Bill Gates ... right and wrong on education

Bill Gates opened a two-day education summit and had this to say about US high schools:

"Our high schools were designed 50 years ago to meet the needs of another age," said Gates, whose philanthropic foundation has committed nearly a billion dollars to the challenge of improving high schools. "Until we design them to meet the needs of this century, we will keep limiting, even ruining, the lives of millions of Americans every year."
Now, there is a kernal of truth in what Gates is saying, and lord knows, he is not a stupid man. In addition, Gates does put his money where his mouth is:
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $2.3 billion to education since 1999. It has designated $733 million to a campaign for "smaller learning communities" to replace mass-enrollment high schools.
I, too, have written in many places that I believe much of the failure of public schools is that the larger and more impersonal they get, the higher the rate of kids slipping through the cracks. Anyone with kids in a public school with 2,000 or more students can easily recount tales of school administrators who run the gamut of merely to aggressively incompetent combined with a vicious defensive posture that is dismissive of parents and barely tolerant of the students. Gates promotes the ideal of schools with no more than 500 students apiece.

However, there is something he actually misses in all his good ideas.

And that's the students:

he trumpeted the goal of preparing every high-school student for either two- or four-year college programs
Not every person is cut out for college. While we should, indeed, vigorously pursue some of the goals Gates promotes to rehab public schools ... smaller, more responsive, flexible, accessible ... there has to be a renewed realization that college is not for everyone. Why should Johnny be writing a research paper comparing the use of literary devices of 18th century British poets when he would rather be apprenticing to a master carpenter and dreaming of creating his own furniture line? Are we going to have import plumbers, landscape designers, mural painters, mosiac tile setters?

Does it make any sense at all to beat the college drum and ignore vocational training?

Posted by Darleen at 02:37 PM | Comments (5)

February 26, 2005

Patriots' Picnic

From Citizen Smash comes this call to support the troops and cut the legs out from under the dissembled "anti-war" movement.

FOR THE FIRST TIME in many months, we’ve learned of planned protests targeting military bases right here in San Diego. Our town will be the focus of a "regional mobilization" of the radical left. ...

The other major mobilization, just in case you were curious, will be in Fayetteville, North Carolina -- the home of Fort Bragg, and the world-renowned 82nd Airborne Division. ...


We're asking everyone in San Diego to celebrate Independence Day a little bit early this year. On March 19, from 1 to 4pm, come to the west end of Balboa Park for a Patriots' Picnic, in the grassy area along Sixth Avenue, just south of Laurel Street.

Wear red, white, and blue. Pack a picnic for your family and friends. Bring a football, soccer ball, or frisbee (leave the baseball bats at home). Laugh, play, and have fun. Balboa Park is open for everyone -- nobody can prohibit you from using it peacefully.

Oh, and if you feel the urge, you might want to bring along an American flag, or maybe a homemade sign expressing your support for our troops.

We're promising a safe, fun, and peaceful event. We'll be working with the San Diego Police to ensure that the opposing groups are safely separated, and we'll have some of our own security in place, as well.

Don't let the seditionists take over our park, again.

Come on out and show your pride in America!

My in-laws live in San Diego. I'm going to check my schedule and see if I can attend. Wouldn't it be fun to outnumber the usual Left Cultbots?

Posted by Darleen at 03:11 PM | Comments (5)

FL Judge makes another ruling ...

Dr. Shackleford carries this disturbing, but unsurprising, news about Judge Greer's sense of how best to serve justice:

Clearwater, Fla. In a shocking development in the Terri Schiavo case today, a Florida appeals court ordered Vatican doctors to remove all life support from the ailing Pope John Paul II.

In a decision sure to have international repercussions, Judge George Greer ruled that although Terri Schiavo's lawyers had provided substantial evidence that the Pontiff responded to external stimuli by doing such things as "eating, talking, praying, and blessing the faithful," that such behaviors were simple auto-responses that in no way proved any type of self-awareness. Despite plans to attend Sunday prayers tomorrow, the judge proclaimed the Pope to be in a "constant vegetative state".

"We understand and sympathize with the feelings that Catholics, Christians, and humanitarians of all stripes have for the Holy Father," Judge Greer announced from the bench, "but this is a nation of laws. As such we must not let any moral considerations, whatever their source may be, interfere with justice."

Read the whole thing. Satire is a drink best served straight.

related post Bottom line on Terri Shiavo

Posted by Darleen at 02:29 PM | Comments (1)

I now declare this blog ...

... a "Michael Jackson" Free Blog. I created the graphic on the right with the sentiment "No Jackson, none of the time."

Please feel free to copy and use the graphic (credit me, ok?) as I'm sure I'm not the only one fed up with the dead trees and wasted time on the Gloved One's sorry, and downright creepy, existence.

Posted by Darleen at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

We love lists ...

Want to get a lively and entertaining discussion going? Start asking for lists ... and even the usually quiet and retiring wall-flowers and lurkers will perk up with their "faves" or "hates." I'm not sure what it is about the human condition about lists, maybe because the topic can be both personal ("I like this because ..") and safe (can you think of any one that would engage in flaming over a list?). The Oscars is an annual public list everyone has a love/hate relationship with. Rock stations love to do "Top 100 Countdown of ..."

Which brings me to my list just for fun this morning. I've recently been checking in on a blog recommended by a reader, and this morning, Rebecca of Adventures in Applied Math started the ball rolling with Ten Things I've Done that I Bet You Haven't Done. Now, I replied in her comment section with some coordination with her list. I'm going to reprint my list over the jump. Feel free to come up with a list that intersects mine, or is totally different. What a neat way to see what little adventures have highlighted our lives!

1. While being charge of a high school band on tour, stand toe-to-toe with a police officer and refuse to allow him to talk to any of 'my kids' without my presence

2. (this is an oldie) While as a high school student myself, was in charge of publicity for our spring play -- and was able to garner a full review plus two pics on the front page of the 'View' section (now Calendar) of the Los Angeles Times.

3. learned to touch type in the 7th grade because my handwriting was/is pretty much illegible.

4. I've lost more [than 60 lbs]..but it's the same 15 lbs. over and over again! (save for the time of losing 175 lbs of ugly fat...I divorced him)

5. Taught a dance routine to a bunch of 11 y/o's for a talent show when I was 8 mos pregnant

6. Took the opposite political position on a research paper for Poli-sci than the professor, still got an A (sweated bullets about that one)

7. was a divorced mom of 4 daughters who then met and later married via the Internet (AOL)

8. wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so read all five Harry Potter books in one weekend (love 'em!)

9. chatted with Ray Bradbury at a Christmas book-signing several years ago (charming man!)

10. a mom thing again - gave birth to all 4 kidlets sans any drugs.

Posted by Darleen at 11:20 AM | Comments (2)


As I recall, not long after the invasion of Iraq, the toppling and later dragging from the spiderhole of Saddam, Momar Gaddafi suddenly decided that cooperating with the Americans and turning over WMD's might just be a good thing. Of course, GW didn't have a thing to do with this, it was just the final fruition of eight years of superior diplomacy by Billy Jeff [are the sarcasm tags necessary?]

I certainly will be interested in how the petulant pettifoggers of the Left spin this little ME revelation:

CAIRO, Egypt - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered a revision of the country's election laws Saturday and said multiple candidates could run in the nation's presidential elections, a scenario Mubarak has not faced since taking power in 1981.

The surprise announcement, a response to critics' calls for political reform, comes shortly after historic elections in Iraq and the Palestinian territories, balloting that brought a taste of democracy to the region. It also comes amid a sharp dispute with the United States over Egypt's arrest of one of the strongest proponents of multi-candidate elections.

As Capt. Ed points out:
Once again, we see the transformative power of democracy and the fulfillment of the so-called "neocon" philosophy of security through democratization.
Of course, let the teethgrinding begin:
In the end, it seems difficult for me to imagine that the progress likely to be achieved towards democratic reforms in the Middle East can ever justify the Iraq Debacle,
Well, at least he avoided "quagmire". Still is the implicit sentiment that all was kite-flying and laughing children under eccentric but benevolent Uncle Saddam. dKos sounds almost like cheerleading compared to the bots at DU who are, shall we say, underwhelmed, by the news:
Democracy in Egypt... Pft

We are supposed to be a democracy, yet we have Bush leading us.

Naw, wasn't like there was an election or anything last November. Just a Rovian plot that envolved mass quantities of drugs via the water system (like the old commie floride conspiracy) and a page from 70's show Dallas' "Who killed Bobby Ewing?" Dream Season. Mmmm... GW, Rove, Texas, Dallas ... wow, it all makes sense now! Where was Jeff Gannon in 1985 and who was he "servicing" on the Dallas set?

Sarcasm aside, I'm alternately annoyed and wearied by such continued efforts by the Left Cult to deny reality on the ground.

Posted by Darleen at 10:13 AM | Comments (2)

February 25, 2005

Fiction for a Friday night

It's been one of those days ... and as I was searching for another story I've written (sheesh, where did it go??) I ran across the one over the jump that I wrote when I was not in the best of moods. I used to suffer on and off from night terrors since I was a kid. I used one of them as the jumping off for this story:

It’s Waiting Under the Bed

I had the dream again.

It never feels like a dream when I'm in it. Oh, I recognize it and tell myself Relax, Jan, it's just a dream! But I can't wake up until it's over and by then I'm screaming.

I'm always in my parent's home. Which is strange in itself, because I haven't lived there for close on fifteen years. I'm upstairs in my old room and it looks just like it did when I was a teen. This is usually the first time I talk to myself, because I'm aware that after I got married my room was changed into a t.v. room. Jan, this is ridiculous. Just wake up! I reach out and touch the stuffed animals on my bed. I can feel the plush fur and the cold of the button eyes. I can smell the strawberry incense I used to burn and I notice that the arrangement of candles on my dresser; vanilla, bayberry, evergreen, are in need of dusting. I can hear the wind moaning under the eaves and the branches of the liquidambar tick-tapping at my window.

It is early morning, when the pearly gray steals away the darkness just enough to reveal that the nighttime crouching creature is just an ottoman heaped with clothes. The darkness gives up reluctantly, everything seems smudged. A three dimensional Impressionist painting. I catch sight of myself in my dresser mirror. I'm wearing a nightgown; thin straps over shoulders and crossing low over my bare back, skimming my hips and flowing just above my ankles in a swirl of silk the color of heavy cream. My face looks alien; my hair mussed and loose, framing a face where my eyes are dark pits in a pale oval. I need to escape that face.

I turn quickly and the first wave of panic washes over me. My closet door is open. No, not all the way. That would just reveal clothes hanging and rows of shoes and boots. Safe. No, the closet is open a few inches and in that space is darkness black enough to conceal a whole universe.

I try to cross quickly out of the room and stumble near the closet. It's like a wind, icy cold, is blowing into that black space. A corner of my nightgown slips into the space and I cannot see it! I lean with all my might, knowing any minute the nightgown is going to shred off me. Blood roars in my ears, I open my mouth to scream and I'm suddenly free, falling out of the room onto the landing.

Relief floods over me. I reach out and grab the banister and steady myself. I need to get downstairs, away from my room. A cup of coffee to steady my nerves. I start down, a lightness to my step as I get further away from the room. Should I fix myself a full breakfast? Or just toast? Through the living room and into the kitchen.

The voice stops me. It's soft. It surrounds me, penetrates, I hear it in my ears, in my mind.

"I've found you."

Like a rip in the fabric of space, a column of blackness, man shaped, in front of me. I feel paralysis, numbing cold, race up my legs and swirl in ever tightening bands across my chest. I cannot close my eyes but stare as a face is revealed. Burning amber eyes, a smile of glittering teeth. He starts to reach for me. Like a cape, blackness falls from his outstretched arms, rippling and endless. His hands are cold on my shoulders as they slide to my back, drawing me closer. I'm not breathing, slipping towards the blackness, knowing when I fall, I will fall forever with only the constellation of his teeth as companion.

I woke up with a scream so enormous it ripped at my throat and I was immediately hoarse. I threw back the covers and swung my legs over the side.

And snatched them back as fast as I could. Looking for my slippers I saw the dust ruffle move. A tentacle of blackness slipped along the floor and then withdrew. It could have been just the shadow cast by my leg. . .but, I wasn't taking any chances. I glanced at the clock. 3:30 in a soft red glow. I huddled in the middle of my bed, arms around my knees and waited for dawn.


"God, Jan, you look like hell," Tom said.

"Just a touch of insomnia," I looked up at my boss, "Thank you for the compliment." I could just see the look on his face if I explained I had a nightmare and wouldn't go back to sleep because I was afraid of whatever was under the bed.

Yeah, right. Hello, unemployment.

Of course, maybe that wouldn't be so bad. I couldn't stand my job. I started working for Omoni Technology right after my divorce. One of two secretaries on a floor full of engineers. I was only going to stay here until I got on my feet and figured out what I wanted to do. Eight months, maybe a year.

That was four years ago.

"Have you tried warm milk? How about herbal tea and a warm bath?"

I resisted an urge to close my eyes and let my head fall on my keyboard, "Thanks, Tom, I'll give them a try." It was about the 6 millionth time I had heard the exact same suggestions.

Tom smiled at me and went away pleased. I was just glad he went away. I started back on my reports when the phone rang.

"This is Jan Newman," I said.

"Hey, mom!"

"Hey, Matthew!" now here was a bright spot in my day. The one success of my marriage was an adorable son all of 13, "What gives, kiddo? I miss your ugly mug."

He giggled and my heart raced, "I love you, too, mom. Dad wants to take me on a houseboat vacation when school's out."

My heart sank. A couple years ago Matt had decided to live with his dad. I still saw Matt regularly and talked by phone with him almost everyday. I was looking forward to time with him during the summer. Now, this. Typical.

"Sounds okay with me, sport," I gritted my teeth.

Matt wasn't stupid, "Listen, it's only seven weeks. I'll call and write. And I'll come be with you before school starts again. Promise."

"I know, love. Listen, have your dad call me tonight with the details."

"Love you, Mom!"

"Love you, too. I gotta get back to work. Bye."

I got up and went to go get a cup of coffee. I decided to splurge on three sugars in it and ran into Stacey. Could my day get any worse?

"Good morning, Stacey," I hoped I stretched my lips in a good imitation of a smile.

She stood back, stirred her coffee and looked me over. She was the other secretary on the floor and felt she was in competition with me over any available male in the department.

"Hello, Jan. Been burning the candle at both ends?"

"Nope, just a little insomnia."

"Too bad."

I didn't have to worry about her offering any suggestions. If I came to work looking like hell, all the better for her. She was one of the main reasons I didn't date from work. Stacey had started about six months after me. I thought we might become friends. We went to lunch, took breaks together. I showed her the ropes and introduced her around. I was always told I was an attractive woman. Stacey was flash. Sparkling blonde hair, lacquered nails, bright blue eyes and expensive dresses that clung in all the right places. But she was friendly and eager to learn.

I had been dating Cliff, a manager from another department two floors up for about three months when Stacey had been with us one month. Matt was going to spend the weekend with me and I asked Stacey if she wanted to come for dinner with us. Cliff was going to be there, too. She begged off and I thought nothing of it. Until Cliff called to cancel, too.

A few days later he called to say we needed to talk.

Uh, oh.

I was sweet, you see. And kind. And attractive. And anybody would love to be with me. I was a nice person.

"And I don't think I'm ready for an exclusive relationship," Cliff said. He wouldn't look me in the eye. Kiss of death.

Two weeks later and I hadn't heard so much as a peep from Cliff. I don't know what sixth sense alerted me, but I looked up to see Cliff on my floor talking with my boss when Stacey walked by them. She stopped and exchanged a quick word with Cliff. It wasn't that she did anything overt, but her hand on his arm lingered just a bit too long, and she leaned in just a little too close to whisper in his ear. As she left, she looked directly at me with a self-satisfied smile.

That night I had the nightmare.

Twice more I dated someone from work. And got the "you're so nice, but" speech within two months. I soon found out that Stacey began dating them right after me. She kept them for about three months and then dumped them.

She also had the annoying habit of trying to chase away from me any male friend. When we were friends I made the mistake of telling her my birthday. And while we looked like we were the same age, I was twelve years her senior and she loved to work it into any conversation.

"Hi, Steve. Hi, Jan. Can I join you for break? Jan, that's a great color for you! Doesn't she look good, Steve? Can you believe she's twelve years OLDER than me?"

I want to rip every expensively dyed blonde hair from her head.


I hung up the phone after a very unsatisfactory conversation with Matt's dad. I looked at the time. 10:30. Somehow, I had to try and get some sleep. I had taken a warm bath. I sipped at a cup of herbal tea. I could even feel fatigue weighing at my shoulders. But I couldn't get my eyes to close.

"Here, Tribble, here, kitty," I reached down and picked up my cat. A huge ball of smoke gray fluff, I nuzzled his neck and cradled him in my arms, "What say we go to bed, hmmmm?"

I walked across my apartment, down the hall past Matt's room and almost got to mine when Tribble tried to claw me.

He wasn't really trying to get me. He just wanted down, NOW. And I was in the way. He went hissing and spitting down the hall to the kitchen.

"Thanks a lot, cat," I looked at a scratch on the back of my hand oozing beads of blood, "I hope I've got some bandages in my bathroom."

I started into my room and stopped. I was awake. I knew I was awake. Just under the dust ruffle, a tendril of blackness. Too black to be a mere shadow. It slid further out and raised up like a hand waving to me.

My vision started to close down and it felt like I was falling backwards in slow motion.


"Jan, I want you to meet Christopher Hall," Tom said, "He's a new engineer in our department. Chris, this is Jan. She's one of the most dependable people here."

At least he didn't say "nice". My nerves couldn't take it. I reached out and shook Chris's hand, smiled into his eyes and was lost.

Oh, no. I couldn't do this again. I smiled at him, trying not to notice the way his dark eyes sparkled or the faint laugh lines around his eyes. Or his dimples. Or the way one shock of dark hair fell forward onto his forehead.

Get a hold of yourself, Jan!

What is it they say about sharks being able to smell one drop of blood for miles around? I suddenly noticed Stacey about ten feet away, watching us carefully, eyes narrowed. Oh, God, she knew.


I went into my bedroom during the day. But I was sleeping in Matt's room at night. It was the only way I was getting any sleep. Over the last couple weeks I would check my room at night. The darkness was spreading. It now looked like a head and shoulder emerging from under the dust ruffle. And it continued to wave. Two nights ago I swear I could hear it whispering.

I don't think I'm going to check much anymore.


I took the risk and started dating Chris. My heart acted like a high strung race horse every time I was near him. I did everything I could to maintain my cool. We talked endlessly over coffee, fingertips playing. We held hands walking through the park on a Sunday morning. A few stolen kisses in the parking lot before we each went our separate ways home.

It wasn't easy. He was the first man in a long time I wanted to make love with. Desperately.

And I missed Matt. Oh, I was getting smudged postcards and crumpled letters regaling me with his adventures on the river. A modern Huck Finn. He was due home in two weeks and I couldn't wait. Of course, I'll be sleeping on the couch when he visits. I still couldn't go into my room at night.

Chris had just left my desk after we made our lunch plans when the phone rang.

"Hey, mom!"

"Matt, sweety! How'd I rate a phone call? I just got your last letter. It had enough chocolate on it to make me gain a pound."

"Naw. Not that much," there was a silence and I knew something I didn't like was coming, "Mom?"

"I'm here, Matt. What's up?" I had to remind myself to breathe.

"Look, while we've been up here dad's taken me to see some prep schools. And I kinda like one of them."

God save us. Prep school. Living away from home. The lights in the office seemed to dim.

"What do you mean by 'kinda'? Don't you want to talk it over with me before you make a decision?"

Silence greeted me and I knew it was a fait accompli.

"Matt. When do classes start?"

"Oh, mom, you're so cool! Their fall term starts early, in about three weeks."

"Matt! When am I going to see you?"

"Um. I dunno. When I get settled, I can come home for the weekend."

"Matt. Is your father there?"

"Mom, dad said he'd call you later tonight. We gotta go now. Bye."

I slammed down the receiver and squeezed my eyes shut trying not to cry. I opened them to see Stacey watching me.

Blood in the water.


The grocery parking lot was well lit with those halogen lights that make chrome sparkle and cast funny shadows. I fumbled for my keys, balancing a bag on my left hip. I pulled the car door open and banged my shin. Hadn't I been through enough today? I sat down heavily behind the wheel, dropping the bag on the seat next to me. I let my head rest against the wheel and let the tears I denied earlier come. I gripped the wheel, sobbing, feeling like my insides were being ripped out. I was only vaguely aware that my door was still open and my left foot was outside on the pavement.

Did someone turn on a hose? My left foot was suddenly cold, like it had been dipped into a pool of ice water. I sat up, wiping my eyes. I turned, looked out of the car and felt my heart freeze.

I was still dressed for work, skirt and pumps. I could see my leg from knee to about mid-calf. And I could see the tip of my shoe. But the rest was gone. Disappeared into the bottomless blackness oozing from under the car and wrapped around my leg. I couldn't move. I waited. Would I be pulled under the car? Where does it lead? If I could only scream. I could barely breathe and my vision started to cloud.

Suddenly, the dark began to withdraw. But not before a hand formed and softly caressed my leg. A whisper, "Soon."


Now that the dark seemed to be on the move, small wonder I wasn't sleeping much again. My only lifeline seemed to be the times I shared with Chris. I felt safe with his arms around me. I just kept wondering when he'd make a suggestion. When would we make love? I needed him so. I even began to plan, just in case. I had bought a beautiful new negligee, wrapped in pink tissue tucked away in the top drawer of my dresser.


"Hmm?" I looked up and felt blood rushing to my cheeks. I had been visualizing Chris slowly removing my negligee and making love to me and here he was standing at my desk.

"Jan, are you free for lunch? Is there anything wrong?"

"No, no," I put a hand to my cheek, it was burning. "Lunch? Great! Let me grab my purse." And grab a cold shower! I thought.

I reached out across the table for his hand and he reached for his napkin and fiddled with his silverware. Chris played with his salad and kept looking every where but at me.

Oh, crap. I knew this routine. I put down my fork. No food would get by the lump that was forming in my throat.

"Jan, I know we've been seeing each other for a couple of months. And I have lots of fun with you. But. . . "

I slammed my hand on the table and Chris jumped. He looked straight at me that time, "But what, Chris? We don't fight. We do have good times. What's the problem? My divorce? My kid? What?"

"Nothing like that, Jan. You're real nice . . ."

I screamed and all conversation in the restaurant stopped. I jumped to my feet, dumping most of my lunch on Chris. All I could see were eyes; dozens of pairs of eyes. Shocked. Wary. Disgusted. Not good for a "nice" girl like me.

I fled.

I didn't think I could make it through the rest of the day at work. I only went back for my coat and dayplanner. I wish I hadn't.

Chris was standing near the copier talking with Stacey. He didn't see me, but she did. I guess he was explaining the stains on his clothes, gesturing with his arms and making a good imitation of my scream. Stacey glanced at me to make sure I was watching. She leaned close to Chris, cooing sympathetically. Her lacquered fingernails played with the buttons on his shirt. Then she let her hand dip, letting her fingers play with his belt buckle. And he didn't stop her. And I suddenly knew. Suddenly realized what had happened. Happened while I waited, and dreamed of making love.

I tried to leave with dignity, even though it was only an act.


I looked at myself in the mirror in Matt's room. I realized the gown I bought to wear for Chris was almost exactly like the one from my dreams. The cream colored silk skimmed over my body and fell just above my ankles. Crying had smeared my makeup and my eyes had disappeared into dark pits, my face pale, hair a dark, mussed frame. I turned to walk to my room.

This was no dream. I was awake. And this was my fate.

No longer a tendril from under the bed. A man. A man made of darkness stood next to my bed. Waiting.

He stepped closer, whispering, "I've found you."

This time I didn't scream. I felt hollow, a shell that would blow away in the slightest breeze.

"I don't understand."

He chuckled, teeth flashing against the darkness, "I have searched for you. Across that which has no time. I have watched. I have waited. I've only allowed myself the pleasure of you in your dreams." He reached out and caressed my cheek. The cold didn't bother me now.

"There's nothing special about me. Don't you know, I'm just a 'nice' girl."

He threw back his head and laughed. Deep, rich bass sounds that wrapped themselves around me. I noticed he did have a face. High cheekbones, full, rich lips.

"Yes!" he said, "You are now seeing me. And you will remember me." He tapped my forehead, "Soon."

My thoughts suddenly revolved around Chris and Stacey and my ex-husband and my deadend job.

"But the pain!" I sobbed.

"You have to want to come to me," his hands moved from my shoulders down my bare back and he started to draw me close. "You were never meant for these people." His eyes shown like twin suns, "Eternity was yours and shall be again. With me."

Why had I thought of cold? His lips were warm and soft as silk. The arms that held me were strong. He pulled back from the kiss and smiled at me and the cape of darkness that flowed around him billowed and I could see galaxies expanding and contracting in its depths.

"Yes!" I held out my arms and fell forward.


Posted by Darleen at 05:50 PM | Comments (1)

She gets threats ...

Nothing like a little public stand-up-and-be-counted blogging on the Terri Shiavo matter to bring out the squirming grubs from under their rocks. Sherri Reese, who has been blogging about Terri Shiavo writes today of receiving one of those telephone calls that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.

Approximately two hours after my conversation with Bernie McCabe, I received a phone call from a man that was intended to intimidate me by subtle, yet obvious means. A veiled threat was made to the well-being of not only myself, but also my children.

Let me tell you, California law enforcement takes a very dim view of crap like that. It's covered under PC 422

422. Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, with the specific intent that the statement, made verbally, in writing, or by means of an electronic communication device, is to be taken as a threat, even if there is no intent of actually carrying it out, which, on its face and under the circumstances in which it is made, is so unequivocal, unconditional, immediate, and specific as to convey to the person threatened, a gravity of purpose and an immediate prospect of execution of the threat, and thereby causes that person reasonably to be in sustained fear for his or her own safety or for his or her immediate family's safety, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.

I put the emphasis on intent on purpose just so idiots will be warned that when the cops show up at the front door with an arrest warrant, protestations of "I was just kidding!" are NOT going to impress anyone.

As I wrote to Sherri, anyone who receives such threats should immediately file a police report and continue to follow up with the agency. Always start a papertrail incase the dickless wonder of the phone threats keeps calling or escalates his indecency.

Posted by Darleen at 12:25 PM | Comments (1)

Larry Flynt is 'wealthy Washington socialite'?

Rusty at The Jawa Report picks up on the story from a rather clueless Kelly Ann Collins

A wealthy Washington socialite is offering a $10,000 reward for proof that Jeff Gannon (pictured), an allegedly gay kinky-sex prostitute / escort / white house reporter / GOP operative, has had sexual relations with top-ranking government officials.

Excuse me if I cringe at the mental image of Larry Flynt in drag (I was going to Photoshop it, but I just had breakfast).

And the irony of Kelly's blog that boasts blogging about :::ahem::: dating and relationships in D.C. that is now on the "crush Gannon" party circuit BECAUSE OF THE HYPOCRISY* induces the same queasy sensation as listening to a tony white liberal at a cocktail party defending quotas and set-asides for "minorities" because " ... because, you know, those people are incapable of truly succeeding without our help."

I don't put too much stock in her quest though, since this statement of hers ...

It remains unclear how Gannon got White House press access for almost two years
... demonstrates that Kelly Ann has reality comprehension issues.

Then there's Eric at Classical Values who grins about being accused of being a paid Republican shill because he's not castigating Gannon 24/7 on his blog. Hey, Eric, I haven't got my week's Rovian paycheck yet, you?

Eric points to this post from David Corn that sounds a cautionary note about being careful about what you wish for if you aggitate for "more background checks" on White House reporters. As I've argued in emails and on other blogs, are the Get-Gannon crowd really prepared to say that only those "reporters" who have been declared personally "clean" on their sexual [financial/family/drug/alcohol] histories be allowed into WH briefings?

Well, that would certainly shrink the "journalism" crowd.

Posted by Darleen at 06:22 AM | Comments (2)

February 24, 2005

Cry me a river ... those poor illegal aliens!

The Lost Angeles Times runs an story on illegal aliens living on the island of Catalina in a sobsister style of "reporting" redolent with the strained images of oppressed innocents cowering in fear of the Federales.

For generations, the Spanish-speaking locals have called the mainland "el otro lado," the other side, borrowing a phrase more commonly used to refer to the U.S.-Mexico border. But for some, the 22 miles of sea that separate Avalon from mainland Los Angeles really has become a border, one that many are wondering whether they'll ever risk crossing again.

"I haven't left since I heard they were out there," said restaurant worker Juan Moreno, 43, sitting on a bench at Island Plaza during a lunch break, calmly finishing a cigarette. "Well, what else can I do?"
"For a long time, one of us would go back home [to Mexico] during wintertime, telling people 'It's going good, there are jobs,' and then come back with two or three others," said Jose Luis Cervantes, 44, a naturalized citizen who seems to greet everyone he meets on Avalon's brick sidewalks with a familiar wave.

Cervantes said he's lived in Avalon since he was 14. "I know everyone here. We're all like one family."

That closeness, some said, is what made news of the document checks spread so quickly.
Reports of Coast Guard officials springing from hiding after the boats leave harbor have been circulating in the community and produce resentment.
The situation on Catalina Island "really plays into the schizophrenic nature of our immigration laws and our immigration situation," said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. "Now you have a population that can no longer come to the mainland. They're literally trapped on Catalina Island."
[emphasis added]

And just incase, you hardhearted Norte Americanos don't get it, writer Daniel Hernandez entitles his piece.

For Some, Avalon Is Alcatraz

crossposted at Redstate.org

UPDATE I think it apropos to point out this recent study -- "In 2002, the net loss to U.S. natives from immigration was $68 billion."

Posted by Darleen at 06:35 PM | Comments (2)

Preeminent Post on Pernicious Pearcy Perfidy

check it out at Digger's Realm. Seems that the cuddly couple from Berzerkly have been harassing their neighbors in the small Sacramento neighborhood for the better part of two years -- even harassing their tenants in the home they enjoyed hanging all sorts of things on and using a rope noose as their favorite method of display.

Strange, sick people.

Posted by Darleen at 01:08 PM | Comments (1)

February 23, 2005

Bottom line on Terri Shiavo ...

I haven't posted on this issue before. It's a modern Greek tragedy, or almost a Shakespearian mystery fraught with sorrow, twists and accusations. I've read of the updates from time to time and it all came back to a basic question I had and couldn't find an answer for.

Why was this really in court at all? Has our judiciary really lost so much respect, not only for the Rule of Law but for the actual history and philosophy behind Western law, that this event should have dragged on and on and on through the courts for years?

I've been following the story on a few blogs, Straight up with Sherri, La Shawn Barber and the latest by Kevin at Wizbang. In reading and commenting in Wizbang it struck me the very basic things that are lost in the arguments that revolve around Terri's condition or Michael's motives or the how the court ruled. Let me restate here my sentiments in those comments.

I think even debating whether or not she is PVS (permanent vegetative state) is irrelevant. Please understand, her condition is IRRELEVANT. Her parents and her siblings are willing to care for her.

This issue is "she can be cared for" VS "she can be killed." And killed in a very cruel manner (death through starvation is not fun. I've seen pics of kids starved to death by their "parents" in the course of my job and I hope never to see it again.) This should not have caused more than a moments consideration by the court.

I'm a very firm believer in the Rule of Law ... and I also recognize that the LAW does good when it serves as a vehicle for morality. When it fails to serve the moral good, it becomes BAD law ... be it Jim Crow laws, or whatever judicial ruling that allows a man with an obvious conflict of interest to withdraw, not extraordinary life support, but basic food and water.

Somehow, I see this as the equivalent of the ancient practice of leaving helpless and unwanted infants outside to die of exposure and starvation.

Terri may be helpless, but she is not unwanted.

UPDATE Looks like Terri has gotten a reprieve. Sherri is on the case. Do read her blog.

Posted by Darleen at 07:24 PM | Comments (24)

An open question ...

... for those of you who continue to believe that women earn 70cents to every dollar that men earn for the same work.

If this were true, and you were a business owner who is always looking to improve the bottom line, why would you EVER hire a man?

Posted by Darleen at 01:39 PM | Comments (5)

In the interests of 'equal time' ...

... I'm shocked and a bit saddened to find out that some of you have been right all along. Seems that unceasing research and digging by Tim Blair has, indeed, revealed the hidden hand of Karl Rove in the Rather debacle.

(hattip LGF)

Posted by Darleen at 01:27 PM | Comments (1)

February 22, 2005

Another look around the Gannon teacup ...

While the hyperventilating voyeurs of the left continue to titilate themselves into next week with sweaty imaginings of just how many double-secret gays are in the White House and How.Did.They.Know.Gannon.And.When.Did.They.Know.Him, JustOneMinute runs one of the most succinct summaries I've seen of this Revenge of the Easily Offended Peeping-Toms.

There've been times I felt I was arguing with tree stumps for as much understanding I was getting from those who keep saying "but, HEY, how'd he get a PASS? I bet EvilGeniusRove™ gave it to him, after he gave it to Rove, if you know what I mean [insert Butthead laughter]"

From now on, I'll just send 'em Minute Man's way.

hattip Jeff Harrell

Posted by Darleen at 01:18 PM | Comments (1)

February 21, 2005

Baghdad Blob admits he's a 'bottom'

Like this from Ollie is a surprise considering his attacks on Gannon.

Oliver emails: "Now, am I willing to launch a campaign based on firsthand knowledge? You bet."
Maybe Ollie asked for a discount using his site traffic to prove his celibritiness and got turned down.

hattip Confederate Yankee via Jawa Report

Posted by Darleen at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

In the meantime ...

One of my regular readers, fellow blogger Mieke, has nudged me via email to read Newsweek's Mommy Madness article and a few followup discussions. I actually wanted to avoid commenting because the first time I tried to read the article I almost tossed my laptop out the window (and I love my laptop!). Maybe I can get through the whole thing this time and still retain my chi. In the meantime, let me recommend --

Eric at Classical Values highlights what may be one of the most important cases to reach the US Supreme Court concerning private property rights and the corruption of "eminent domain."

Bill at INDC Journal has a timely and very important warning to Republicans in the wake of the CPAC. A must read.

It's Jeff Harrell's five-year blogiversary. Do stop by and offer congrats to a thoughtful and entertaining writer! Happy day, Jeff! Now when do we get to see that new massive article you promised?? huh?? huh?? ;-)

Digger has been covering Steve and Virginia Pearcy, the nutcases with the hanged US soldier effigy on their house. His latest report of pernicious Pearcy perfidy reveals the oft-noticed link in other such leftist nutz, they hate not only GW and America, but Israel and Jews.

At Redstate.org, Thomas offers a rather grim scenario and admonishes us to take it seriously now.

Back later!

Posted by Darleen at 10:36 AM | Comments (3)

Another public school indecency ...

I'm a proponent of vouchers not because I "hate" public schools or p.s. teachers but because they have become a shining example of how a government monopoly, insulated and rarely held to meaningful account, devolves. Parents are ordered by law to deliver up their children to schools over which they have little choice in choosing, let alone vetting the teachers.

Whatever your personal politics, if you are a reasonable person, this person should appall you.

An American soldier overseas is fuming over letters he received from Brooklyn middle-school children accusing GIs of destroying mosques and killing civilians in Iraq.
Pfc. Rob Jacobs of New Jersey said he was initially ecstatic to get a package of letters from sixth-graders at JHS 51 in Park Slope last month at his base 10 miles from the North Korea border.

That changed when he opened the envelope and found missives strewn with politically charged rhetoric, vicious accusations and demoralizing predictions that only a handful of soldiers would leave the Iraq war alive.

"It's hard enough for soldiers to deal with being away from their families, they don't need to be getting letters like this," Jacobs, 20, said in a phone interview from his base at Camp Casey.

Of course, don't hold your breath that this teacher will be even minimally disciplined for a total breach of his profession's mission and responsibilities. The teacher's principal, Xavier Costello, issued this mealy-mouthed dodge:
"While we would never censor anything that our children write, we sincerely apologize for forwarding letters that were in any way inappropriate to Pfc. Jacobs. This assignment was not intended to be insensitive, but to be supportive of the men and women in service to our nation."
The man is as morally clueless (or politically corrupt) as the teacher. We would never censor ... our children? Oh for crissakes. Not only are these children who the school is charged with teaching things like appropriate behavior, does Xavier Costello really think we'd buy that "never censor" remark if what the kids were writing were things vicious or critical about him, the teacher, or fellow students?

Yeah, right, sure, uh huh.

Thanks to Kevin at Wizbang

Posted by Darleen at 09:35 AM | Comments (7)

February 20, 2005

Another certifiable Democrat ...

I think I'm going to be physically ill. It's bad enough to witness the on-going campaign of personal destruction against Jeff Gannon for the "crime" of being a non-leftist gay. And what's worst, after reading reams of actual defense of this immoral and indecent attack in many forums, it has become clear that this is just a cynical cover in order to LIMIT the free press by demanding some sort of "certification" or "licensing" of "real" journalists.

And along with this echo of Stalinist Russia comes Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) who frighteningly sounds like a Soviet apparatchik in full prosecutorial mode.

Rep. Hinchey launched into a barking moonbat conspiracy rant worthy of Democratic Underground, telling the audience he believed the fake CBS memos were planted by Karl Rove to discredit Dan Rather, and divert attention from President Bush’s “draft dodging.”

When Hinchey was pressed for evidence, he admitted he had NONE. When asked if it were then irresponsible to make such charges, he bristled

No, I don’t, I think it’s very important to make charges like that ... I think it’s very important to combat this kind of activity in every way that you can, and I’m willing, as most people are not, to step forward in situations like this and take risks.

Audio courtesy of LGF here

This is more than unacceptable. This is actionable. This is assassination by unfounded allegation. This is what the Stalin did, what the Nazis did, what Islamists do. There is no need to present evidence, all that is necessary to destroy your enemy is to denounce them with charges.

I used to just feel sorry for unhinged Democrats like Hinchey who are obviously suffering from BushDerangementSyndrome and then dip into the realm of assault or libel.

No more. I want them civilly sued or prosecuted. Now.

UPDATE: Wizbang picks it up by Paul here and by Jay here

Power Line picks it up here

Posted by Darleen at 08:17 PM | Comments (5)


Startling revelation: Men and Women are different.

Of course, this will come as a complete surprise to the "Gender? What gender? We don't recognize no stinkin' gender!" crowd. Usually found disproportionately amongst the hoi paloi of universities, this crowd gathered the torches and pitchforks when Lawrence Summers raised some questions about their orthodoxy. All manner of charges against Summers being a sexist bigot pig who wants to Keep.Womyn.Oppressed were tossed about.

But the transcript of Summers' remarks don't buttress the vitriol leveled against him. An excellent analysis is to be had at Scylla & Charybdis

Short subjective version: Summers does not say that men generally have a greater innate science ability that women. Rather, he makes a narrow observation about the statistical data, corrected for differences in a family's economic means and ethnicity, at the VERY HIGH END - e.g., 4 standard deviations above the norm, at the edge of the bell curve where high-end specialists reside. Summers states that at such extremes, in certain sciences, the sex of the persons receiving those aptitude scores skews 4-1 male, and maybe 5-1 male. That is, 4 or 5 men for every woman. Summers notes that small, perhaps insignificant differences between the sexes in the middle of the bell curve (remember taking 8th grade algebra class?), nonetheless become highly pronounced when you run data in the far extremes of the bell curve.

Thanks to Bill at INDC Journal

As Dennis Prager wrote earlier

In the year 2005, nearly four centuries after Galileo was forced to recant observable scientific facts about our solar system, the president of Harvard University was forced to do a similar thing. He was compelled to apologize for advancing an idea about men and women supported by scientific research and likely to be true.

But for most professors, neither finding truth nor seeking wisdom nor teaching is the primary goal of the university; promoting leftist ideas is. ...

What is most amazing about the Harvard story is that by and large neither the Harvard community nor any other university seems to be embarrassed by it.

Posted by Darleen at 11:50 AM | Comments (3)

Appreciative geek moment ...

... take some time and go marvel at Jeff Harrell's demo of skill with Adobe's After Effects 6.5. As someone who is about to start learning MacroMedia's Flash, I'm very suitablely impressed!!

Bravo, Jeff!

Posted by Darleen at 11:32 AM | Comments (1)

February 19, 2005

With 'friends' like these ... the GW tapes

How would you feel if your 'old friend' secretly taped your private conversations against the day in the future when you might be a celebrity or person of power?

Well, say hello to Doug Wead.

As George W. Bush was first moving onto the national political stage, he often turned for advice to an old friend who secretly taped some of their private conversations, creating a rare record of the future president as a politician and a personality.

In the last several weeks, that friend, Doug Wead, an author and former aide to Mr. Bush's father, disclosed the tapes' existence to a reporter and played about a dozen of them.

Obviously, this "old friend" is anything but, and his excuses for taping GW ...
Mr. Wead said he recorded the conversations because he viewed Mr. Bush as a historic figure, but he said he knew that the president might regard his actions as a betrayal. As the author of a new book about presidential childhoods, Mr. Wead could benefit from any publicity, but he said that was not a motive in disclosing the tapes. ...

Mr. Wead said he recorded the conversations because he viewed Mr. Bush as a historic figure, but he said he knew that the president might regard his actions as a betrayal. As the author of a new book about presidential childhoods, Mr. Wead could benefit from any publicity, but he said that was not a motive in disclosing the tapes.

"I believe that, like him or not, he is going to be a huge historical figure," Mr. Wead said. "If I was on the telephone with Churchill or Gandhi, I would tape record them, too."

... strain credulity. However, what is most interesting about this article that appears in the usually-hostile-to-GWBush NY Times is that the tapes so far revealed by Wead don't yield much in the way of scandal that the Bushate crowd will be able to exploit. Indeed, these tapes, made almost seven years ago show ...
The private Mr. Bush sounds remarkably similar in many ways to the public President Bush. Many of the taped comments foreshadow aspects of his presidency, including his opposition to both antigay language and recognizing same-sex marriage, his skepticism about the United Nations, his sense of moral purpose and his focus on cultivating conservative Christian voters.
This man on the tapes is not a sock-puppet of Cheney's nor Rove's, as charged by some. Nor is he the Machiavellain Bu$Hitler portrayed by others. George W. Bush is, by the NYTimes own admission, a WYSIWYG President.

Early on, though, Mr. Bush appeared most worried that Christian conservatives would object to his determination not to criticize gays. "I think he wants me to attack homosexuals," Mr. Bush said after meeting James Robison, a prominent evangelical minister in Texas.

But Mr. Bush said he did not intend to change his position. He said he told Mr. Robison: "Look, James, I got to tell you two things right off the bat. One, I'm not going to kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?"

Later, he read aloud an aide's report from a convention of the Christian Coalition, a conservative political group: "This crowd uses gays as the enemy. It's hard to distinguish between fear of the homosexual political agenda and fear of homosexuality, however."

"This is an issue I have been trying to downplay," Mr. Bush said. "I think it is bad for Republicans to be kicking gays."

Told that one conservative supporter was saying Mr. Bush had pledged not to hire gays, Mr. Bush said sharply: "No, what I said was, I wouldn't fire gays."

Here we have in GW's own words reaffirmation that he is not out to "get" gays or that he operates from "homophobia" and is attempting to "strip gays" of rights. What we have is a restatement of much of non-left's view of gays -- that their personal lives are free to be lived as they like it, but when talk turns to same-sex marriage, a public POLITICAL policy non-leftists should be free to criticize such political policies without being labeled as "homophobes."

Mr. Wead's behavior in this instance is morally reprehensible, regardless of benevolent or malevolent motivations. This betrayal of trust is no small thing. I'm at least thankful that those who may have hoped to have their darkest suspicions about GW confirmed will leave empty-handed and bitterly disappointed.

crossposted at Redstate.org

Posted by Darleen at 06:39 PM | Comments (4)

Whoa! Car alarms just went off ...

View up from Pismo pier I'm sitting here typing when a thunderclap went off right overhead. Windows rattled, dogs started howling.

Eric and I got back from Pismo yesterday. About the time we went over the hill and dropped down into the Thousand Oaks area on the 101 the sky opened up and the traffic ground down to crawl.

And it was that way all through the Valley, didn't really open up until Glendale. (and I shouldn't have had that second cup of coffee along the way...)

View further north along the beach from Pismo pier We got home to a lively house. Erin, the twins and Jenn were here. Siobhan came home from school and presented us with her third college acceptance package from her list of applications. Heather was rushing off to work.

I'm glad we had a few days of calm!

As you can see, I captured a view or two of Pismo featuring the green hills as well as the breeze lifting spray from the waves. One of the things Pismo is famous for is clamming and you can see what a wonderful environment those clams have with the wide beach. Course, as a clammer you have to compete with the otters! We enjoyed watching them frolic as we had breakfast each morning.

Surfers and waves, from the pierAnd almost as omnipresent as the otters are the surfers. From sunup to sundown, there wasn't a time I couldn't look out from the balconey and not see surfers.

Interestingly, too, was a good many of the guests at our hotel had British accents. I suppose a winter trip from England to California has a great deal of appeal, even when the weather is cool and moist by California standards.

All in all, a fun time, though too short. I adore the Central Coast and all along it has been a destination of choice for short, re-energizing getaways for us. If you ever have the chance to indulge, do so, there is a myriad of little towns along the coast, each with their own charm.

And no, Schwartenegger is not sending me a check for this.


Posted by Darleen at 09:35 AM | Comments (8)

February 17, 2005

Sometimes ya just gotta get away

Pismo Beach, looking sw Pismo Beach, looking nw
Click on images for really big images

Eric and I decided to take some of our vacation time and get the heck outta Dodge. Wintertime and mid-week was perfect for impromptu escape up the coast to Pismo Beach. I took the above pics from our balcony this morning ... all gray, misty and ABSO-FRICKING-LUTELY WONDERFUL! Eric brought along his trusty Canon SLR and shot the sunset last night. We'll see how those pics turn out later.

As much as I love spending extra time at home, it just isn't very relaxing and my focus can be interrupted easily by fairly constant refrain of "Mooom? Can you/I need/Where is/Have you seen ....?" Granted, it's part of the job description of momhood, but I need a vacation from that, too!

I have to say all the rain we've had in So. Cal so far this winter has really woken up the area. Our drive up hwy 101 was a feast for the eyes. The hills were rolling new green velvet spotted with California oak. Ancient sycamores reached out and up with gnarled gray and white branches, just starting to bud new leaves. Some hills glowed, almost florescent, in the yellow-green of acres of mustard. Purple larkspur, bright yellow daisies, orange Calif. poppies accented the landscape. The further up the coast we got from Los Angeles, the more we could feel the normal tensions of day-to-day life slip from our bodies.

No plans, just relaxation is on the agenda. Just thought I'd pop in and share a couple of pics of the ocean (good lord, what a way to fall asleep!). We're about to go out for some meandering and exploring. When the clouds lift I hope to get a few shots of the mountains in their glorious raiments.

Posted by Darleen at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2005

The cure for curdled paranoia

Science won't convince those who make conspiracies the warp and weave of their lives. It really is a psychological affliction. For the rest of us who are thoroughly annoyed at each new "9/11 was a Goverment Conspiracy" ranting chock full of pseudo-science and misinformation, let me recommend, from Popular Mechanics, Debunking the 9/11 Myths.

Three and a half years later, not everyone is convinced we know the truth. Go to Google.com, type in the search phrase "World Trade Center conspiracy" and you'll get links to an estimated 628,000 Web sites. ...

Healthy skepticism, it seems, has curdled into paranoia. ...

To investigate 16 of the most prevalent claims made by conspiracy theorists, POPULAR MECHANICS assembled a team of nine researchers and reporters who, together with PM editors, consulted more than 70 professionals in fields that form the core content of this magazine, including aviation, engineering and the military.

I urge you to take the time to read this report and pass the link onto your friends.

Posted by Darleen at 08:12 AM | Comments (2)

February 15, 2005

When jr. high bullies grow up ...

... chronologically, but not emotionally, what you get is "adults" who figure the way to deal with people they don't like is the way they dealt with them in jr. high. Most of us have some sort of story, about ourselves or just another kid we knew. The bullies ruled by fear and intimidation and deluded themselves that their way was the only way. They extorted lunch money and never thought it as stealing but as their due. If some nerdy kid didn't give them "respect" then it was the nerdy kid's fault if he was pushed, humilated or beaten. One was either part of the bullies' gang, or one was fair game. Male or female, the bullies were of one kind with one anti-ethic regarding others, submit or suffer.

Bullies are also of the kind that become the acolytes of cults. They are enamored of the insularity, the call that they alone are special and above the rabble, the anointed of The Revealed Truth.

No where has this mentality been "mainstreamed" than within the cult of the far Left. And no more easily illustrated than with the vituperative attacks on a (until now unknown) reporter, James Guckert who used the professional name Jeff Gannon.

Who, you ask? Until I saw the venom dripping off my screen when checking out the usual reality-challenged sites of the Left, I had no idea who Jeff Gannon was either.

His "crime" was to lob a softball question that :::ahem::: was partisan (code speak for right of center, lefty reporters are applauded for their partisan hostile questions).

Now I realize some of those lefty sites are smarting since the election and especially when their religious tenets were successfully exposed by non-lefty sites, toppling their fellow acolytes in the media (Danny Rather and Eason Jordan), so they were ready for any blood they could find and a hapless soul like Gannon got in their way.

I mean, if softball questions really are the issue, when has there been this kind of dissembling done to Larry King?

There is really no reasoning with these True Believers. Debate is unknown, because they truly are divorced from any reality except what they imagine. Every "value" they put out for public consumption -- tolerant, fair-minded, liberal, non-judgemental, pro-gay -- is belied time and again with the most vicious gay-bashing being done to Gannon without tying him to a fence and beating him with sticks.

Good job, dKos, Atrios, Americablog, Billmon, Democrats.com, democraticunderground, et al, you make Fred Phelps PROUD!

I could not care less what Gannon did in his past of an adult consensual manner. And until the Leftist gangbangers come up with a rap sheet, I hope they learn the hard way about the term "libel per se."

The "access issue" is the mindnumbing mantra that Gannon was not a legitimate reporter from a legitimate news organization.

According to whom? At this point, let's examine what a few other White House reporters have to say

"Virtually no one is not allowed in," said Gwen Flanders, a USA Today editor who oversees the paper's White House reporters. "Getting that [day] pass is a simple matter of passing a background check and working for a news organization." But she added that there is not as much scrutiny of the legitimacy of the news organizations: "Who is in the position to say who is not legitimate?"
Who indeed? Are the Lefties really concerned that only "legitimate" organizations gain press briefing passes?
Herman, who has covered the White House on and off since 2001, said there are a number of reporters who show up from news organizations he's never heard of or offer questions as partisan as Gannon's, although in their cases, mostly likely, they are working under their real names. "There are times in that briefing room where I am hard-pressed to tell you who they are working for or who sees their reporting," Herman said.
"Every day there are a whole bunch of people there I have never seen, and their questions make you wonder who they are representing," said Judy Keen, a USA Today White House reporter whose time there dates to 1992. "It is not as rigid and structured as people might think."

Several reporters pointed to Russell Mokhiber, editor of Corporate Crime Reporter, who has been attending press events through a daily press pass for several years. Some say he is as partisan as Gannon in his questions, but often with a left-leaning approach. One reporter called him "the ideological flip-side of Gannon."

Gays, to be considered "authentic" by the Left cult must submit to their dogma. To disagree or be outside the authentic group is to be guilty of apostasy.

Gannon is an apostate, and we know how cults (Jim Jones, Islamists, Stalinists) deal with apostates.

Bill at INDC Journal clearly labels it: This is Madness. Bill later makes a shocking discovery [work and small creature warning]

Rusty at Jawa Report has had to endure the Left's virtual pitchforks-n-torches mob after tweaking the gay-bashing of one of their high priests.

And I absolutely love Jeff Goldstein's multiple takes on this l'affaire de Guckert here, here and most certainly here.

Bravo, men, bravo.

Posted by Darleen at 02:09 PM | Comments (2)

February 14, 2005

For my husband ...

Happy Valentine's Day to the man I look forward to growing old with. We haven't always had it easy, blending families are rarely like the Brady Bunch. They never had to deal with an eccentric or alcoholic ex. But we've always trusted in each other and, most importantly, in us. We are poised at yet a new chapter in our relationship to unfold when Siobhan graduates and goes away to college. In the time since we met (online 1/1/98) through our wedding in July 2001 to now, we've never had the opportunity to be fully on our own as just a couple.

Each year that has gone by, each crisis dealt with, each success celebrated, my love for you has deepened, my respect and belief in you has grown. I look forward to our journey in the future together and I use this day as just one more remembrance along the way.

Posted by Darleen at 12:02 AM | Comments (2)

February 13, 2005

Can we stop patronizing 'Indians?'

I'm not trying to pick on one of my readers who has been posting to the Ward Churchill thread, because Morgan offers a lot of valuable insight on many subjects. However, I think his statement --

When I look at the pollution and abuse to the land that has been caused by my "white" race I am not proud of that. The "indians" had tribal wars and made slaves of each other, but they had more respect for the land than to pollute it.
-- must be definitively addressed.I, too, grew up with the romantic image of the stoic, proud Indian, in harmony with nature around him. I remember the famous ad of Iron Eyes Cody[ed. note -- he was a faux Indian, too], with one tear trickling down his cheek in response to all the pollution caused by "white man." And leaving aside that we all should practice the ethos I learned as a Girl Scout -- "Leave the campsite you've used in better condition than you found it" -- can we please acknowledge that the image of American Indian as uber environmentalist is a myth.
where land was abundant, it made sense to farm extensively and move on. Indians would commonly clear land for farming by cutting and burning forests. After clearing, they would farm the fields extensively until they depleted soil fertility; then the Indians would clear new lands and start the process again. From New England to the Southwest, wherever Indian populations were dense and farming was intense, deforestation was common. Indeed, the mysterious departure of the Anasazi from the canyons of southeastern Utah in the 13th century may have been due to their having depleted the wood supplies they used for fuel.
Morgan also states
They never killed animals just for sport and left them to rot in the sun. They made use of almost every part of the ones they took for food.
I suspect that refers to the practice whereby buffalo were stampeded over cliffs. Well, if "white" man was doing it, he learned it from the Indians.
Similarly, where game was plentiful, Indians used only the choicest cuts and left the rest. When the buffalo hunting tribes on the Great Plains herded hundreds of animals over cliffs in the 18th and early 19th centuries, tons of meat were left to rot or to be eaten by scavengers - hardly a result consistent with the environmental ethic attributed to Indians. Samuel Hearne, a fur trader near Hudson's Bay, recorded in his journal in the 1770s that the Chipewayan Indians would slaughter large numbers of caribou and musk ox, eat only a few tongues, and leave the rest to rot.

Indians also manipulated the land to improve hunting. Upland wooded areas from east to west were burned to remove the undergrowth and increase forage for deer, elk, and bison. Indeed, because of this burning, it's possible that fewer "old growth" forests existed in the Pacific Northwest when the first Europeans arrived than exist today. In some cases, however, the improvements sought by burning were short term, because anthropogenic fire altered the succession of forests. In the Southeast, for example, oak and hickory forests with a higher carrying capacity for deer were displaced by fire-resistant longleaf pine that support only limited wildlife. Biologist Charles Kay concludes that "Native Americans were the ultimate keystone species, and their removal has completely altered ecosystems, not only in the Intermountain West but throughout North America."

I'm not stating this as to cast some evil aspersions in the direction of American Indians, but to show that they are just as human as "white" people and not some strange mythical race immune from the human condition of pursuing their own interests. Like all human cultures, there are good and bad aspects, just like each individual can act in good or evil ways. The image of the American Indian as either all good or all evil is equally damaging to the effort to fully understand the myriad of cultures that existed on this continent prior to the modern arrival of Europeans. Indeed, American Indians can be just as fiercely protective of the history that favors them as any other group ... as evidenced by their resistence to any archeological discovery that may challenge their own arrival in the Americas, ie the bitter struggle over Kennewick Man, a 9300 y/o skeleton that doesn't resemble American Indians. In my opinion, I think American Indians are trading on the "noble" myth by insisting that any ancient remains within their "indigeonous" range are "theirs", regardless of any evidence of geneological link. It is nothing more than a desire to "freeze" history to their specifications and seize and destroy any evidence to the contrary.

But non-Indians may be afraid to challenge them in this regard because they, too, buy into somesort of "collective guilt."

This has got to stop.

Posted by Darleen at 08:35 AM | Comments (3)

I have two words for Democrats this morning ...

...Thank you!

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Posted by Darleen at 07:48 AM | Comments (2)

February 12, 2005

Battlestar Galactica - 'Litmus' - adult moral questions

click for larger imageLast night's episode ratcheted up the tension and changed some storylines in ways that just continue to bring up more questions. A good summary of the basic plot can be found here. If you've seen the episode, be sure to view the deleted scenes linked at the bottom of the summary. "Billy's first news conference" is a hoot.

I'd like to say I am enjoying a sci-fi series that is written for adults. This week's script was so finely balanced and really respectful of its audience. It never feels it has to take a stand on the issues it presents and then bludgeon you over the head with it. (I'm looking at you, Paul Verhoeven. Neil Patrick Harris in an SS uniform? Sheesh) The episode, through the dialogue between President Roslin and Cmdr. Adama, the dissembling of Sgt. Hadrian and the full realization by Chief Tryol of what he has wrought with his illicit relationship with Boomer, explores themes of power, paranoia and the difficulties in dealing with competing responsibilities. The writers create full, sympathetic characters, put them in morally untenable situations then toss the ball to the audience implicitly leaving it up to us to think "well, what would I have done?"


Add to this, Edward James Olmos has taken his written character and, like many fine actors, has created a powerful, many-faceted Cmdr. Adama. Each week we get to see yet another aspect of his personality and why he is commander. He is able to wield tremendous influence with such a calm, lowkey but resolute manner that the very few times he raises his voice even a notch or two rocks you back. The final scene in his confrontation with Chief Tyrol was masterful in bringing together all elements of responsibility, consequences and showing that most times there are no neat, clean solutions. Too many times choices are not between good and bad, but between bad and worse, and we must all own our choices.

If you haven't gotten around to watching, I highly recommend you find some time.

Posted by Darleen at 08:47 AM | Comments (2)

February 10, 2005

How does such an evil man ...

not only operate for years unrevealed, but actually get promoted?

Of course I'm speaking of the ridiculous Ward Churchill [also see this comprehensive list - hattip LGF...] who has been revealed as of late when the rock of contemporary academia has been overturned and he is found squirming, pale and leprous, in the sunlight.

I haven't addressed the issue before because, frankly, Ward Churchill is not the only pseudo-professor who uses his position as a license to engage in the most blatant of agitprop as an apparatchik of the anti-Western/anti-American/anti-Israel Left. Forty years out from the radicalism of the 60's where anti-American chic reigned supreme, and major universities have operated as hermitically sealed environments that nurture a delusional ideology that would have its well-[taxpayer]paid acolytes flipping burgers or scrubbing toilets out in the real world. Everyone I know encounters these nutburgers in college on a regular basis if they take any class within the "liberal arts" category. In an algebra class any professor that would stop at the end of each class and spend 20 minutes talking along the lines of "GW Bush snorted coke until he was 40 and then his daddy bought him the presidency" and also listed on the board eleven reasons why Ronald Reagan was exactly like Hitler would probably get a visit from the administration. But have such a professor teach "California History" and no one bats an eye*.

*My co-worker just finished this class at a local university and these are a couple of the tales she related.

Churchill has used his postion in the "Ethnic Studies" department to engage in the worst sort of race-baiting. I suppose as long as this self-loathing faux Indian was directing his mendacity towards the melanin-challenged and Jews, few paid attention. Some that did pay admiring attention are the usual "Jews are Nazis" ilk.

There has also been a more recent major elaboration of the scope and meaning of genocide as it applies to the Palestinian and many other people, in a book by a Native American academic Ward Churchill. In his brilliant book on the genocide by European settlers and soldiers against the entire Western Hemisphere, Churchill, a professor at Colorado State University, in A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas 1492 to the Present (San Franciso, City Lights Books, 1977) articulates Raphael Lemkin’s definition of genocide. In doing so, Churchill points out that Holocaust exclusivists--like Cornell’s Stephen Katz--have completely misrepresented Lemkin’s careful definition of genocide ...

[Ward writes] The factors motivating exclusivists to conduct themselves as they do have been analyzed elsewhere. They concern the agenda of establishing a ‘truth’ which serves to compel permanent maintenance of the privileged political statues of Israel, the Jewish state established on Arab land in 1947 as an act of international atonement for the Holocaust; to forge a secular reinforcement, based in the myth of unique suffering, of Judaism’s theological belief in itself as comprising a ‘special’ or ‘chosen’ people, entitled to all the prerogatives of such; and to construct a conceptual screen behind which to hide the realities of Israel’s ongoing genocide against the Palestinian population whose rights and property were usurped in its very creation.

This is not a matter of "free speech" regardless of what the "A"CLU says. Academic freedom is but a subset of freedom of speech for a reason. Free speech contends you can be as stupid as you want, academic freedom says you have the free opportunity to pursue truth, but you will be held accountable when you breach that mission.
In my view, there are plenty of reasons that the University of Colorado might wish to dismiss Churchill from his tenured position. The guy's record is a tapestry of fabrications. But I also believe that Ward Churchill is a red herring, a distraction from the real issue, or rather issues. There are two. One issue revolves around the distinction between free speech (the right to peaceful political dissent) and academic freedom (the more limited right to pursue, teach, and publish about the truth). This is a distinction that was often lost in the controversy over Ward Churchill. I have already said something about this here, where I quote Edward Shils on the point that academic freedom does not "extend to the conduct of political propaganda in teaching."
Why should professors in the liberal arts arena held to less rigorous standards than those in math and sciences? Would a university have to suffer a science teacher who preached the boon of crystal therapy to his/her pre-med students?

Not only should Churchill be summarily fired, but there should be severe consequences for those that ignored what was going on in his classroom and promoted him.

Posted by Darleen at 06:00 AM | Comments (15)

February 09, 2005

I have one word for the Sharon/Abbas 'truce'


Posted by Darleen at 06:20 AM | Comments (4)

February 08, 2005

COTV 125 and bits and pieces

Carnival of the Vanities is always a good read. I've been a bit remiss in writing this week, so I know some enjoyable and provocative reading will jump start the muse.

What also gets me thinking is getting some tips from my readers via email. Morgan Painter points me to this post about one Navy officer's rant of frustration at having the USS Lincoln infested with international dilettantes getting in the way of the Lincoln's efforts to help tsunami victims. Geez, never let hurt and suffering people get in the way of sucking the cream for oneself then badgering and berating the [American] cow.

On the other hand, Mieke (who runs a very interesting blog herself, even if it is from the left side of the field) writes to point me to this charming bit of excrement wrapped in gilded paper.

But Rockwell (and Roberts and Raimondo) is correct in drawing attention to a mood among some conservatives that is at least latently fascist.
When USA Today founder Al Neuharth wrote a column suggesting that American troops be brought home sooner rather than later, he was blown away by letters comparing him to Tokyo Rose and demanding that he be tried as a traitor. That mood, Rockwell notes, dwarfs anything that existed during the Cold War. “It celebrates the shedding of blood, and exhibits a maniacal love of the state. The new ideology of the red-state bourgeoisie seems to actually believe that the US is God marching on earth—not just godlike, but really serving as a proxy for God himself.”
It may behoove you, gentle reader, to remember at the so-called American Conservative Magazine was founded by Pat Buchannan. And as I wrote back to Mieke upon first read of the article
would call the person writing it possibly a "paleocon" of the Buchannite stripe...an isolationist that believes "those people over there"...especially the brown ones ... are incapable of freedom and democracy, so not only should we not bother, it really is just wrong to even try.

The only "fascist" tendencies which I have seen manifested in American culture as of late (and I put the word in quotes deliberately because I think it is way overused..and in this instance is an echo of the Bush=Hitler perfidy) has come almost exclusively from the far Left, which is also anti-Israel and apologizes for Islamist terrorists.
I dashed off that before I went back to see, indeed, the writer was Scott McDonnell, Editor and co-founder along with Buchannan.

'nuff said.

Posted by Darleen at 10:11 PM | Comments (2)

February 06, 2005

Thoughts on a funeral ...

You couldn't have asked for a prettier day. Rains had rolled through a few days earlier and everything look newly scrubbed and fresh, including the afternoon sky of porcelain blue. The local mountains, dusted at the peaks with powered-sugar snow and along the freeway as my husband, Eric, and I traveled to the cemetary, California poppies and larkspur bloomed in early riot colors of orange and purple.

The sheer beauty of the day kept coming back to me; the way the afternoon sun sparkled the rolling grass of the hill we parked on and made deep blue shadows on the Old North Church where the funeral was to be held. A slight breeze stirred the trees and we could look out across the valley, over Burbank, the pass into the north end of the San Fernando Valley clear in the distance. It was if Anne had ordered a postcard perfect day, the kind that inspires eastcoasters to abandon shoveling snow in January and vow to move to Southern California.

We stepped into the vestibule of the church, where in hushed tones we greeted old friends and nodded to strangers, all united in coming to honor Anne.

I realize that many people don't like funerals. The distaste runs from personal uncomfortableness when faced with our own mortality to an outright hostility towards the funeral "industry." Even death, itself, is viewed more as a "disease" in our culture, rather than just a normal part of living. We even seem to view grief and mourning as distasteful emotions. But that, too, is part of life, to be embraced and understood for what it is, in and of itself.

And I mourn Anne, even as the grief has subsided and the joy of my memories flood through me.

As I looked around the church as the soloist sang, the sunlight slanting through the tall windows, I thought about all the people gathered in her honor, the people whose lives she touched as sister, mother, aunt, grandmother, and friend.

I met Anne when I was seven years old. She was my Girl Scout leader and I had just joined the Brownies. Her oldest daughter, Patty, was in my class at Rinaldi Street Elementary school and we'd go on to be best friends through elementary and junior high. As I sat listening to the service, to the Reverend talking about her life, I flipped randomly back and forth though the scrapbook of memories of years past. Being in Anne's livingroom with fifteen other small girls learning to tie knots and how to roll up sleeping bags in preparation for our first camping trip. Listening to her late-husband Bob's horselaugh as Patty and I raced about the backyard. Standing proudly in my full uniform as Anne handed me my pins during the "flying up" ceremony that moved us from Brownies to Junior Girl Scouts.

Anne and Bob and my parents would become fast friends. My mom would be co-leader for several years and Anne and Bob would introduce my parents to snow skiing (something they still do). About 1965 Anne and Bob moved from a small house below Rinaldi Street to a larger one above it. One Saturday they and my parents bundled the gaggle of us children off to a matinee -- me and Patty "in charge" of our younger sisters, I have one, Patty has three -- so the four adults could put in plants and grass in the new front yard. The theater was almost exclusively filled with children, hooting and hollering and having a grand time watching "It's a Mad Mad World", the floor sticky with jujubees, spilled soda and popcorn in a scene almost reminscent of the Gremlins watching "Snow White." Such was the innocence of the age that parents could dropoff and pick up kids under the age of 11 from the movie theater without worry.

Near the end of the service the Reverend invited anyone who wanted to step forward and speak a few words on how Anne had touched their lives. A nephew stood to speak saying that one of the great lessons that he took was Anne's dedication to "plain speaking." We all chuckled at that diplomatic understatement. Anne was a California transplant from Brooklyn, NY. And while one took the girl out of Brooklyn, one never took Brooklyn out of the girl. Anne was almost a force of nature and never held back on telling you exactly what was on her mind. I think this was also one of the reasons she was so successful as a GS leader for well over 25 years, controlling, herding and teaching gaggles of girls -- gaining their respect without ever losing her mind.

Then Paul stood to speak. He had been the little boy across the street, the young son of a curmudgeonly character actor. Paul related to us he had been arrested twelve times by the time he was 17 and while his parents had given up on him, Anne wouldn't/didn't. She had gone to his last juvenile hearing and fought for him, promising the court that she'd take him in and see to it he obeyed the house rules.

"And after I got home with Anne and learned the rules, I thought Juvenile Hall would have been an easier go."

And thirty some odd years later, Paul was standing in front of a church telling us that Anne was his mom and always would be.

The reception was at Anne's home, a place where I spent so much time. I took Eric around the house pointing to places and relating memories ... this where we had our GS meetings and slumber parties ... over here, pool parties and birthday parties ... this is where littlest sister, Debbie, fell down the stairs and broke her jaw ..this is where a sliding glass door was, the one Patty ran through when she was 12 ...

Photograph albums were scattered on the table and we all flipped through them. Pictures of Anne as a young woman, young mother. Pictures from camping. Pictures of Patty and me at Camp Lakota, mugging for the camera. A yellowed newspaper clipping of Anne in GS Leader uniform at the dedication of a new GS council office. Pictures of skiing. Pictures of school graduations, of baby grandchildren, of her life over decades.

In all the laughter and hugs and memories shared that evening, there were few tears. Mostly because Anne would have been fiercely against anyone crying over her. Her life had been full, of love and dedication and trial. She would want to be remembered with the funny stories and a house full of people laughing. She was getting her wish, even down to having a couple ex-sons-in-law showing up to honor her.

Whatever beliefs you have about death and afterlife, Anne lives on, in the lives she impacted, in the children she raised, in the memories we have and pass on.

I love you, Anne. I miss you, Anne. Peace be with you.

Posted by Darleen at 11:03 AM | Comments (3)

February 02, 2005

In the wake of glory - an indecency

Most Presidential SOTU speeches can put people to sleep faster than a couple shots of Wild Turkey and GW is no exception. However, tonights speech really hit so well, so hard that even those parts that might give me pause were so minor in the totality of the messages.


Of course, I sat up at the low, rumbling negativity that almost broke into "boos" from the leftwingers in the audience. What the heck? I thought this was Congress, not England's House of Commons. Get a grip, guys and gals.

Outside of Congress, the trashing of the SOTU was being committed by the usual pettifoggers, but THIS is an unforgivable indecency:

your son is dead

you got 4 minutes of fame. that should do.

by Miss Devore on Wed Feb 2nd, 2005 at 18:59:47 PST

If "she" had said that in my presence, I would have slapped her silly ... screw the consequences.

Disgusting slut.

BTW here is Devore's email dwijas@email.sjsu.edu Feel free to tell "her" what you think. I certainly will.

Posted by Darleen at 09:56 PM | Comments (7)

More to come ...

I attended the funeral of someone very prominent in my young life on Monday and have been working on an appropriate post in her honor. Just hasn't quite come together yet. My heart is so full and the words seem so inadequate. In the meantime,

Smoking Gun has a hilarious take on the GI Joe "kidnap" hoax that took the too-willing-to-believe-the-worse-about-Americans Mainstream Media on Monday, the AP "news" service leading the way. LGF has original "Cody" picture here. Powerline has more here.

Another smile can be had in reading about France's pique at Aussie PM Howard's candid views about Old Europe's anti-Americanism.

Later, gators!

Posted by Darleen at 06:16 AM | Comments (2)