Monday, January 31, 2005

Overnight Changes in the World

Just a quick, random roundup of the few thoughts that have slipped out of the fog that is my brain these days:

So apparently, while I was busy being a new daddy and husband to a new and very sore mommy, Iraq gave birth too, to a democracy. I really can't find the words to express how happy I am for the people of Iraq. Congratulations. Let's hope the next step is to help you establish your own muscle to back up that democracy, so that our boys can come home soon.

TWB is eating on his own now, they removed the IV today. He's up to 33 cc's per feeding, and also nursing some. His Bilirubin is under control, he's been breathing on his own since birth and they took him of the O2 sat monitor on Saturday, and he's done a good job of maaintaining body temp from the get-go. We're hopeful he'll be home by this weekend.

Once he comes home, I'll be taking time off from both work AND Blogging. That's a warning, not an apology -- I'm not in the least sorry to put everyone else aside to get to know my kid.

TFR came home Saturday. She is still in pain, please pray for her recuperation. Her mom is in town for a week, so that's a big help.

I had to call a friend to make sure yesterday wasn't the Superbowl -- you lose track of time. Is it just me, or is there something very wrong about a February Superbowl?

11:45 AM PST
Just got off the phone with TFR, and The Lad is out from under the UV therapy, his color is looking pretty good.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Meet the New Boss

(Held by the old boss).

Finally got some pictures of the Wee Bairn burned from memory stick to CD, and appropriately enough, the best one of him is when he's being held by his momma. Allow me to introduce you all to my son.

Now, Anchorman was, IMHO, a lame movie. But I was inspired to borrow from Ron Burgundy's introduction to the movie video found on the DVD.

If you don't agree that this is the most beautiful baby ever born, I will fight you. That's no lie:

IT'S A BOY!!!!!

Chay Baron B. was born last night, Thursday, January 27 at 9:26 PM PST. The Wee Bairn weighed in at 6 pounds, 9.5 ounces, and measured 18.5 inches. He's breathing on his own, his heart rate and O2 sat are good. Mom is sore but happy. Oh, and he's a damn fine looking kid, thank you for asking.

My deepest thanks to everyone who has prayed for TFR and TWB over the past week. Your prayers were felt and, obviously, heard. Please continue to pray for his continued development and mom's recovery. No details for her privacy, but suffice it to say it was a long, difficult labor.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Say Hello To TFR

I just learned tonight that the hospital where The Feared Redhead is staying has a service where they'll print out emails sent to a patient. I would encourage anyone who wants to send one. For security reasons, I would prefer to have them posted to the comment section here, and I'll ask my good friend Vulture 6 to copy & paste them into the form.



At the U of O, That's Bull$#!*, Piled Higher and Deeper.

Thanks for the Memory to the Political Teen.

A few days ago I blogged over at Head West, Turn Right on the Yellow Ribbon Incident. This was the situation where the U of O ordered an employee to remove a yellow ribbon style "Support the Troops" magnet from the state vehicle he drives at work.

Apparently, the whole issue has blown up in the U of O's face, and it's not going away. According to a KEZI report, the school has been inundated with letters, emails, and phone calls. Their rationale is that "truth is, they're only against the ribbons (or anything for that matter) being displayed on state-owned vehicles (which is state policy)."

But as Kevin McCullough points out, that wasn't the original tune that was being sung by the President's office. In the original KEZI report, the rationale was, "Under state law... public employees can not use state resources to spread political messages." The U of O rationalized that the stickers were political. You can read my post at HWTR for my response to that.

Apparently, along with the public firestorm, a personal protest occurred. An anonymous U of O employee tied yellow ribbons up around Frohnmayer's offices. KEZI reported that the U of O would let them stand, but McCullough was contacted by the employee, who confirms that the ribbons have been removed.

This really saddens me. Since when was an appreciation for the sacrifices of those who defend our freedom a mere political statement? Furthermore, even if it WERE a political statement, McCullough mentions the UO employee pointing out the numerous bits of pro-Kerry paraphernalia allowed to be displayed on University property. Is it assumed that any yellow ribbon must be a sign of a certain unpopular political position? And if so, are they being selective in their enforcement of this policy? Or was the conservative UO student recently shown on thew school paper wrong when she holds a sign saying "Free Speech Isn't Just For Liberals"?

I've been a UO Ducks fan for a very long time, but I'm not sure I can be any more. I'm not sure I can proudly display my U of O beanie, or the shirt I bought when my late father and I watched them win the Holiday Bowl, if they cannot proudly display their support for our troops. If they decide a yellow ribbon and a yellow O can't coexist, I know which I must choose.

A Bit of Perspective

Over the last few days, I've been very preoccupied, understandably, with the complications surrounding The Feared Redhead's pregnancy. And while I've been overwhelmingly grateful for all the support and prayers that have been expressed by my readers, I've also become aware that I was in panic mode, and reacting perhaps far worse than the circumstances dictated. For that I am a bit chagrined.

What put it in perspective for me was following a link from Let's Try Freedom to a blog about a little boy born at 24 weeks. He died Sunday night after fighting for his life for three months. My heart breaks for his family.

It made me realize that as difficult as things are fro TFR and me and Baby B, they could be worse, and we are truly blessed to have good doctors, nurses, friends and family, and to know God is looking out for us.

So, to all of you who have been following the Baby posts on this blog, please, take a break from praying for us, and go extend your love and compassion and prayers to this hurting family. God Bless you all.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Will That Be Paper, Plastic, or W-2?

Thanks for the Memory to Darth Apathy.

I hadn't planned to blog much about non-baby issues for the next few days, but I have the time, it helps take my mind off of things, and my gosh, this was just too good to pass up:

San Francisco May Charge for Grocery Bags

Mon Jan 24, 8:23 AM ET Strange News - AP

SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco may become the first city in the nation to charge shoppers for grocery bags.

The city's Commission on the Environment is expected to ask the mayor and board of supervisors Tuesday to consider a 17-cent per bag charge on paper and plastic grocery bags. While the goal is reducing plastic bag pollution, paper was added so as not to discriminate.

"The whole point is to encourage the elimination of waste, not to make people pay more for groceries," said Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste.

Environmentalists argue that plastic bags jam machinery, pollute waterways and often end up in trees. In addition to large supermarkets, other outfits that regularly use plastic bags, including smaller grocery stores, dry cleaners and takeout restaurants, could eventually be targeted.

Officials calculate that the city spends 5.2 cents per bag annually for street litter pickup and 1.4 cents per bag for extra recycling costs.

Grocers and bag manufacturers argue that many people already reuse their plastic bags, and that the use of plastic won't go down because people will purchase plastic trash bags to use instead. Other opponents call the plan an unfair and regressive tax on shoppers.

Talk about stupid and ill-thought-out. Let's not even bother for the moment to do any more than observe in passing that the proposed tax (17 cents per bag) is over DOUBLE the estimated cost to the city of disposing of bags (6.6 cents per bag). Let's not even focus, as Vic does, on the idiocy of taxing paper bags just to prevent the users of plastic bags from feeling that we're discriminating against them (we ARE, but at least they wouldn't be alone) Let's assume for a moment that San Francisco is stupid enough to enact this tax (it's not really much of a stretch to assume so).

So now, how will they enforce it? How are they going to make sure that each shopper is taxed properly? Will shoppers in San Francisco have to scan each and every bag they plan to use? What if they miscalculate how many they need? Will the cashier have to ring them up for more bags? reimburse them for bags unused? Completely impractical. Or maybe the baggers will have to count bags as they go, report the total to the cashier, who THEN rings up the groceries? Again, impractical, and rife with potential problems. Will people stop double-bagging, increasing the risk of spilled groceries? Will they instruct baggers to cram the groceries in even tighter?

What's more likely to happen is that they will impose a tax charged to the store for all the bags it purchases. You buy 20,000 bags, that's $3,400 please. So how do you recoup that expense? By spending even more money to implement the stupid measures mentioned above? No. You either eat it as a business expense, or you increase your prices to make up the loss. That means ALL your customers pay higher prices to cover this tax -- not just the people using plastic bags, but the people using paper bags, the guy who doesn't need a bag for his pop and candy bar, even the environmentally conscious shopper with the tye-died "Love your Mother" cloth grocery bag. So what happens? Prices for groceries go up in San Francisco, and suddenly for all those people living not too far from other municipalities, it seems unwise to buy your groceries in San Francisco. So the SF stores see a drop in sales, a drop in profits, and a drop in ALL the taxes they put into the coffers of the city (not just the bag tax). Not to SPEAK of the impact this would have on smaller stores if the city proceeds to tax them as well. In the end, this will prove to be nothing but a hassle to the people of San Francisco, and a boondoggle for the city. San Francisco needs to put this proposal back on the shelf.

Makes Brian Something Something

My phone beat my alarm clock by 45 minutes this morning. You can imagine how quickly I was awake. Sure enough, on the other end of the line was The Feared Redhead.

"Don't panic. I just need you to remind me how to deal solitaire to myself."


Apparently one of the complications to which a patient in her condition is succeptible is cabin fever. The Feared Redhead is also the Bored Redhead.

Me, not so much. Between her and the baby, I swear they're plotting to put me in the psychiatric ward.

Monday, January 24, 2005

You Say Potato, I Say Potosin

Just talked to TFR on the phone, and her doctor has decided to induce on Friday. Just to keep everyone up to date.

Little Cat Feet

As a teenager living in the foothills of the Coast Range, only one type of weather struck me as characteristic of Southern Oregon as rain, and that was fog. We don't get it as much here in Eugene/Springfield, but when we do, I love it. This morning, I awoke to discover we had fog. Not the wispy mist that lifts up off the ground in some places, but a true fog, the kind where you can't see past your own back yard. It was just what I needed after this weekend's trials.

Fog has always reminded me of a security blanket, or a privacy curtain, just like rain, but it fills that role more quietly, more unobtrusively than rain. I used to love to go walking in the fog, listening to the stillness, feeling wrapped up in its cloudy folds, separated from whatever might be happening just beyond visibility, shielded from prying eyes. Fog embodied solitude. Not loneliness, solitude. All of those good memories of fog came back this morning. It was like a gentle shoulder hug from God.

Gotta Love Texas

Brian is attending to the pending arrival of his Mutant Love Child (AKA Baby B) and has asked me to comment from time to time.

You have to love Texas. I know things irks those people who were not fortunate enough to be born here, but I have some proof to offer that this is a place you simply have to love.

First off, I was driving in to work this morning and I passed a local hardware store. On their letter board out front they have the usual specials but also listed was the following:

“Valentines Day Special: Dear Rifles $189”

Where else can you say I love you with a thirty ought six and not get arrested?

The second piece of evidence I offer is this story:

Off-Duty Officer Hits Horse Walking On Freeway
Accident Traps Officer In Car, Instantly Kills Horse

POSTED: 7:29 am CST January 24, 2005
UPDATED: 7:47 am CST January 24, 2005
HOUSTON -- Doctors are trying to save the life of a Houston police officer, who hit a horse while driving on the North Freeway Monday morning, Local 2 reported.

Investigators said the officer, who was on his way home from work at about 3:30 a.m., struck the horse as it was walked in the northbound lanes of the freeway near Little York Road.

The impact crushed the car's roof and trapped the officer inside.

Emergency crews transported the officer to Ben Taub Hospital in critical condition.

As officials cleared the scene, the northbound lanes of the North Freeway between Little York Road and Canino Road were shut down. All lanes had reopened by 5 a.m.

Officials said the horse was killed upon impact. They are not sure where the horse came from or why it was walking on the freeway.”

I’m deeply sorry the officer was hurt, please offer a prayer of support for him and his family. I’m sad the horse died. It is a sad occasion and a tragedy.

This does beg for the following comment

“A horse is a horse, of course, of course,
And no one can talk to a horse of course
That is, of course, unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse
He'll give you the answer that you'll endorse.
He's always on a steady course.
But you can’t talk to the other horse, of course
be cause now he’s known as Mr. Dead.”

Sunday, January 23, 2005

W Plus 44:30

I sm touched and overwhelmed by the volume and the quality of response I've received regarding the Baby Crisis. I pray that God blesses all of you the way you've blessed my. So I've decided to respond to all the comments on my previous post here instead of in the comments section.

Romeocat, that was the most beautiful prayer I've heard in a long time. Thank you. And thank you to all those who are speaking with our Father on behalf of my little family, as well as to those of other faiths who are making their own expressions of hope and encouragement.

To the fellow dads who chimed in, thanks for backing a buddy up. It makes me feel like a member of some secret fraternity. I'm convinced it's a girl, and my friend Brian (aka Lurch) has suggested a name for the 34" Louisville Slugger I plan to get myself for Father's Day: "Abner Doubledate".

And Vulture 6, my old friend, thank you so much for stepping in for me. I'll probably be able to blog for myself the next few days from work, but once labor starts, I'll be relying on you again.

Now for the latest details:
Almost 2 full days since TFR's water broke, and still not a sign of labor yet. No steroids, since 34 weeks is the cutoff for those. She is on antibiotics -- IV for the first 36 hours, oral since then. She's also still taking her Vistoril and Reglan for the nausea, and Pepcid AC to help with the indigestion (and, apparently, it helps hold off labor). Her doctor made the same call as Michael regarding how long to wait -- if she hasn't gone into labor by next weekend, they'll probably induce. I'm going to work until she starts labor, take sick days off for that, then work again until the baby comes home. Then I'll take a week off to spend with the two of them.

I was feeling better about the situation, thought I had my emotions in control, until we toured the NICU, and I saw the babies in there, including one that was born at 34 weeks. I know they'll be ok, but damn, he was fricking TINY!!!!!!! There was this rush of sadness, and a little fear, and... now here's the weird part.... some anger. It pisses me off that there's not a damn thing I can do about the situation my wife and baby are in. I can do my best to help with the external conditions, I gave TFR a pedicure today and have been making sure she gets everything she wants and needs from the hospital staff (who, by the by, kick ass. She's stayed in two wards now, and I've been there during a variety of shifts, and not once have I experienced anything but professionalism and a willingness to go the extra mile), but I can't put the amniotic sac back, I can't make the baby be developed fully, I can't do anything about the internal stuff expect wait. And it makes me want to either break something or break down and cry.

I'm doing my best to soldier on, and I think I've done well so far, but all of you who sent those words of encouragement, remember once you're done praying for TFR and Baby B, to ask God to grant me a little more courage. That's all I want for myself, just that he help me be a man for them.

Thanks again, everyone. God bless.

Baby B News

Brian and TFR are doing well, He asked me to let every one know that he will not be on as usual and that I keep you all updated on what is going on.

I ask that you say a prayer for TFR, Brian and the lil B if you you are of the praying kind. They are great people and need our help and support.

If you would like to send a gift, the baby registry is at Target. I don't think they have a lot of the stuf yet as the baby is 6 weeks from being due.

Brian Called me at 2 pm today and said that she is still not in labor but is doing ok.

I'll let you know more as I do.

Saturday, January 22, 2005


I won't be blogging much for the next few days, except to post updates to the following:

Last night, somewhere between 11:00 and 11:30 PM PDT, The Feared Redhead called me in to our bedroom to tell me, "My water just broke". This was expected EVENTUALLY, but not last night, as last night put TFR at 34 weeks into the pregnancy on the nose. I assure you, we wasted no time getting to the hospital.

As it stands, she is not in labor -- no contractions at all, not even Braxton Hicks. However, because of the increased risk of infection, she will remain hospitalized until she does go into labor. This could be up to two weeks. Unless she shows signs of an infection or the baby shows signs of stress, they will not induce.

TFR's sister drove down from Portland and arrived at 3:30 AM, so I managed to get three hours of something akin to sleep. All things considered, I am functioning well, and will return to the hospital to take my shift as TFR's company as soon as I've picked up some DVD's for her to watch. I'm quite proud of myself, I managed to avoid breaking down in tears until I was nowhere near here. I know 34 weeks is fairly far along and the morbidity rate is almost nnil, but it's still a shock to the system, and a little scary to realize your child has decided to enter the world even less prepared than most other infants. But I know that I need to project an air of confidence in my wife's presence, neither she nor the baby need the added stress.

What also concerns me is practical matters. We had not come even close to completing the preparations involved in having a baby -- our church is throwing us a shower for the baby in February, it might also double as a birthday party. We haven't purchased a stroller or a carseat yet, and had to ask TFR's sister to bring a camera down, since we planned on buying one in February. Furthermore, those six weeks premature include at least 4 in which TFR planned to work, four weeks of income lost at a time we can ill afford to do without them.

All in all this is not my best day, but I am resolved to do my duty as a husband and father-to-be and support my wife. I leave now coveting your prayers and well wishes.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Just Remember....

The Left may oppose the war, but they still support the troops.

Yeah, right.

CAPTION: Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Due, right, a U.S. Army recruiter, is surrounded by protesters at Seattle Central Community College, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005, in Seattle. After about a 10-minute standoff during which protesters tore up U.S Army literature, the protesters were successful in getting Due and another recruiter to leave their table under escort by campus security officers. Several hundred students walked out of classes at several Seattle colleges and universities to protest the inauguration of President Bush.

Thanks for the Memory to Ace of Spades.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Horror....

The horror....

What a difference...

A Day Few Years Make.

Thanks for the Memory to Newsmax via Ace of Spades.

Just a quick survey:

Which do you agree with:

the Iraq war "was based on what everyone now says, including your own administration, were falsehoods about WMDs, weapons of mass destruction."


"The president had no choice but to act... Anyone who questions the timing of his decision ignores the fact that we committed... to act if... Saddam was not cooperating."

Well, apparently, for Barbara Boxer, the answer is C: Both, since she said both. The first comment was made in Condoleeza Rice's confirmation hearings as SoS, regarding President BUSH'S decision to attack Iraq, the second was made regarding President CLINTON'S decision to attack Iraq. the full quote is:

"The president had no choice but to act today," she said in a statement issued by her office. "Anyone who questions the timing of his decision ignores the fact that we committed a month ago to act if [chief U.N. weapons inspector] Richard Butler reported that Saddam was not cooperating."

Going Postal

I received in the mail yesterday my commemorative invitation to thoday's Presidential Inauguration. It's very nice, printed in calligraphy on quality paper suitable for framing. It was sent in a stiff envelope marked "Do Not Bend", and was delivered in my mailbox... wait for it... bent in half.

Fortunately there were magazines and other mail that it was wrapped around, so it's not that sharp a crease. Hopefully I can bookpress it flat. I'd really like to frame it and hang it.

It's a minor irritation, but I really wish my postman had paid attention.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Heart of Redness

I've long viewed a good Fisking as the opposite of a Rant. While both express issues taken on a given topic, one is a visceral, reactionary monologue, the other is a rational, reactionary dialogue. And so it seems there would be a symmetry, a Yin-Yang appropriateness to presenting you with a Fisking after yesterday's rant.

I'd love to oblige, but I haven't encountered anyhting recently that presents itself for Fisking, so I will instead direct you to read this excellent fisking by Superhawk over at Right Wingnuthouse. it's even in keeping with yesterday's theme of disdain for Old Media types who just can't seem to grasp reality with both hands.

Do yourselves a favor and give it a read.

A Poem Lovely as a Blog

Thanks for the Memory to the Llama Butchers.

OK, kids, here's a little Blogging fun for you. If you have a Blog, try this little Meme:

Copy the following list of first lines to poems. If you are familiar with the poem, leave it there. If not, replace it with one you DO know. Put your changes in Bold, put the rest in normal text. Then link back to me. Here are my results:

1. From my mother’s womb I fell into the State
2. There are strange things done in the Midnight Sun
3. The day you won your town the race
4. Traveling through the dark on Wilson River Road

5. Do not go gentle into that good night,
6. In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree
7. How do I love thee, let me count the ways
8. Half a league, half a league,
9. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
10. ’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

I changed my mind about which poems to quote, number 9 has been changed.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Barbara Walters AmBushes the First Lady

Warning: The following post is a rant in which I lost my temper. If you are easily offended by coarse language, or would be hurt specifically by my use of it, please skip this post. Consider yourself warned.

On Friday, The Feared Redhead and I caught an early movie (Elektra. Let me advise you, gentlemen. If your wife insists that you take her to a movie in which Jennifer Garner runs around in a red leather bustier kicking arse, DO NO QUESTION HER), then came home well before bedtime, so we decided to turn on the idiot box for a while. What a prophetic nickname for the TV. I caught part of Barbara Walters' interview with President and Mrs. Bush. I managed to tolerate her attitude until she directed a question to Mrs. Bush regarding the War in Iraq. She had just discussed the war with the President, then turned to Laura. I'll paraphrase the question, because I don't recall it word for word, but this is essentially what she said:

Mrs. Bush, you visit the wounded at military hospitals, many of whom have lost limbs, and you also meet with the families of the dead and wounded. I have to ask this. A lot of Americans don't care about Iraq. When you talk to those men and their families, is it enough consolation to tell them, "There will be Democracy in Iraq?"

WHAT THE FUCK? No, I mean really, WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK??????!!!!!!! How the hell DARE you ask that? Barbara, you idiot!!!!!

I was completely blown away by the self-centered, isolationist, asinine GALL needed to ask such a question! I mean, really! Do you really mean that, Barbara? Do you really mean to say "Many Americans don't give a rat's ass about a bunch of brownskinned people over on the other side of the world, and couldn't care less as to whether or not they are now free from the predations of a tinhorn megalomaniac"? Because that's EXACTLY how ethnocentric and isolationist you sounded.

Let's be perfectly clear here. In asking that question, Walters wasn't questioning the likelihood of success in bringing Democracy to Iraq. That, while I might disagree with her, is open to debate. No, she skipped right past that issue to asking if it was a worthy end at ALL?

Well hell, Babs, that's an interesting question. What do you think? Was it enough consolation to the dead and maimed of the Civil War that all those slaves were free? I mean, in 1860, many Americans didn't care about "the negroes". Was it worth it, President Lincoln? Or what about all those Jews in Europe? Antisemitism was quite common in America and in Europe in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Would you have asked Eleanor Roosevelt if it was "enough consolation" to the families of World War II dead that the death camps were no longer running?

First of all, it's not the job of the First Lady to TELL ANYONE what constitutes "Enough consolation". The woman was performing a gracious act by meeting with and consoling these people. She was expression compassion and gratitude on behalf of all of us. She WASN'T there to justify her husband's policies. She was showing class, something you seem to have forgotten how to do, since you obviously had to politicize something very personal.

But furthermore, it galls me that you would belittle the importance of Democracy, regardless of where it occurs. Because it's only IRAQI freedom, it's not as important as AMERICAN freedom, is that it? Let's set aside for a moment the argument that Iraqi freedom is strategically beneficial to the United States. Let's just address this assumption that the only freedom worth fighting for is your own. Gee, Babs, aren't you glad that our history is full of men and women who DIDN'T feel that way? Every soldier who died in the Revolution, in the Civil War, in World War Two, in every conflict of liberation that the United States has ever fought, understood that freedom was so precious, so good, so RIGHT, that it was worth it to fight not only for your own freedom, but for that of your children, and your neighbors. That is why the signers of the declaration pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. And it's a good thing we've had such folk in our history. Not everyone is capable of fighting for their own freedom, but we can enjoy freedom because someone else could and would and did. We are made and kept free, as John Stuart Mill said, by the exertion of better men than ourselves.

It was a dirty trick, Barbara, mean-spiritedness couched so ardently and faux-compassionately. And it was a stupid question to ask. You should be ashamed of yourself. Sheri O'Teri nailed it when she portrayed you on SNL, and ended the skit with the words, "I'm Barbara Walters, and I was once a respected journalist."

No more.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Ah, the Bad Old Days....

Back before the elections, when political blogging was my main theme, I spent a lot of time linking to and commenting on news of ugly incidents where leftist activists used violence and vandalism to intimidate conservatives. Once the elections were over, I pretty much left that behind.

But it's happening again, and it makes me sick. Michelle Malkin, one of my favorite conservative pundits, has been getting harassed for being a conservative. The big issue, however, is that she's a minority and she's conservative. But the comments haven't been just political or personal in nature, they've been downright racist. I won't dirty this Blog with the comments, but check out Michelle's Blog for details.

Ugly. Just ugly. And what's sad is, I highly suspect that if a conservative were to make those kinds of comments about a liberal minority member, the very same people who sent those nasty comments to Michelle would be among those decrying that conservative as a racist.

Pun Fun II

After Russ' (TacJammer) smarmy comment about my Pun Fun last week, I threatened to make it a weekly feature.

I got nothing.

I intended to come up with something witty this week, but I had some dental problems and the toothaches I've had have made it hard to concentrate. I finally got to the doctor's yesterday. Apparently, I'd lost a filling and the fleshy tissue in the middle of the tooth was exposed, causing the pain.

Believe me, I'm no fan of Pulp Friction.

Go Zell it on the Mountain

Thanks for the Memory to Russ at TacJammer and Ed at Revealed Truth.

Russ links to an excellent article by Rich Lowry over at the National Review Online:

Zell Was Right.

It's an excellent article, and I recommend you read it. I heartily approve of Russ' choice of the following comment in the article as his Quote of the Day:

All the Democrats who now say that the party has foolishly given up on the South, that it is unable to connect with religious voters, that it is too beholden to liberal orthodoxy on social issues, that Americans don't trust it on national defense, and that it doesn't speak the language of most Americans should take a deep breath and repeat after me: "Zell Miller was right."

That sums up the entire article well. The main theme is that Zell Miller, for all the derision that was directed at him from the left, was not only right, he was downright prophetic in predicting that by embracing and normalizing the far left fringe of the party, the Democrats have alienatied many moderate Democrats and centrist independents. This "marginalization of the center" is, many believe, the reason the Democratic Party's power in the national arena has slipped. I believe it, most Republicans have seen it for a long time. Ed over at Revealed Truth makes a good point in quoting a statistic gleaned from a Suzanne Fields article: Surveys taken at the national conventions of both parties "revealed that 14 percent of the Democrats had once been Republicans - and 28 percent of the Republicans had once been Democrats." Ed quips,

If I were a Democrat power broker ("there but for the grace of God...."), I'd be awfully worried about that. That sort of descrepancy in conversion levels bespeaks a dramatic contrast in the relative vitality of the two parties.

Indeed. Furthermore, I'd be asking myself what was drawing my former faithful to the "enemy", or, more importantly, what was driving them from me. For all my support for the GOP, I tend to think that a good portion of those former Democrats left because they were disillusioned with their old party, not because the GOP suddenly exerted some irresistable allure. And according to Rich's article, maybe the Democrats are finally getting it -- a day late and a dollar short:

"What I was telling them was right and correct, if only they had listened to it," says Miller, who recently retired from the Senate. Democrats are essentially saying these days that they want a party in which someone like Zell Miller can feel comfortable. Alas, they used to have one. But, as someone once put it, today's Democrats are a national party no more.

Someone indeed said that. You have to wonder who, if anyone, was listening.


I received an email regarding the following C-Span debate which sounds very interesting:

The American University Washington College of Law discussion between Justice Scalia and Justice Breyer will be re-aired this evening on C-Span at 8pm (est)

C-Span’s home page currently links to the Internet broadcast

The discussion is highly recommended for anyone interested in the topic.

A Conversation on the Relevance of Foreign Law for American Constitutional Adjudication with Hon. Scalia and Hon. Stephen Breyer, Justices, U.S Supreme Court

American University, Washington College of Law Office of Special Events and Continuing Legal Ed.

Jan. 13, 2005 (Streamed Live on C-Span)

Unfortunately, with ther time zone change, I'll still be at work. Does anyone polan to watch this? Could they viteotape it for me?

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Blegging for Info

So I'm this close to being able to Blog. I got a free computer from work, and as soon as I can, I'll have it online. The NIC in it doesn't work, so I'll have to decide whether or not to spring for cable or DSL, or settle for dial-up for now. Usually it'd be a no-brainer, but with Baby B on the way....

It's very bare-bones, only has 98 on it, and no Office. If anyone can suggest a good freeware Word Processor, a cheap but effective AV and firewall software, I'd be eternally grateful. Also, any suggestions on changes to the Blog itself are welcome.

Thanks in advance to all my loyal and, hopefully, geeky readers.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Papa Might Have Been a Rolling Stone...

... But his feet were on the Solid Rock.

It all started yesterday when I read this meme at the Llama Butchers (Thanks for the Memories for real this time, guys). The idea is, on your blog, to let people know a little bit about you. In order to do this, go to Mapquest, click on directions, and plug in your current address and the address of your childhood home. Then, post to your blog the estimated driving time between the two.

I thought that sounded neat. But I had a bit of a dilemma. What do I list as my childhood home? Do I list the home to which I was brought home, but in which I only lived for two weeks (Camas Valley, Oregon, Total Est. Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes Total Est. Distance: 93.34 miles)? Or the home where I spent the fnext three months
(Right here in Springfield, Total Est. Time: 2 minutes Total Est. Distance: 0.44 miles)? Or the first home in which I spent a full year (Santa Clara, Oregon, Total Est. Time: 13 minutes Total Est. Distance: 8.68 miles)? Or Two years (Lorane, OR, Total Est. Time: 46 minutes Total Est. Distance: 26.82 miles)? Or the first house I *REMEMBER* Living in (Norman Avenue, Eugene, OR, Total Est. Time: 14 minutes Total Est. Distance: 8.88 miles)? Or the home I lived in when I went off to Grade School (Vista, CA, Total Est. Time: 14 hours, 12 minutes Total Est. Distance: 946.66 miles)? Or where my childhood diseases finally led to the discovery of congenital birth defects that required corrective surgery (Weott, CA, 3 years, Total Est. Time: 6 hours, 24 minutes Total Est. Distance: 349.83 miles)? Or the home (actually two different houses in the same town) where I spent the majority of my grade school years (Filer, ID, 7 years, Total Est. Time: 10 hours, 11 minutes Total Est. Distance: 674.49 miles)? Or the town not far from where I was born, where I spent my high school years (Tenmile, OR 4 years Total Est. Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes Total Est. Distance: 85.26 miles)?

Yeah, we moved a lot. For most of my pre-adult life, my father was a pastor. He pastored a series of small congregations in Oregon and Idaho, making a huge impact on each community where he pastored. In between pastorates, he would work whatever job God sent his way. He was a very talented man, and whatever he set out to do, he did well. He was a business machine repairman, a city water employee, a volunteer firefighter, a grocery stock clerk, whatever it took to put food on the table, he did it. But his real passion was serving his God and his congregations. He was a self-sacrificing, giving, compassionate pastor, and, if he'll pardon my language, I agree with the atheist friend of his who fought fires with him in Idaho: He was one hell of a man.

The last ten years of his life were not spent in the pulpit, and I think it was the saddest time of his entire life. It's hard for me to be without him, but I honestly believe God was easing my father of a trememndous burden when he took him. I miss him, but not as badly, I think, as he missed himself. My father's childhood was so transient as to make mine seem sedentary, but now, finally, he has a home he'll never have to leave again.

Monday, January 10, 2005

A Question for the Seahawks

How much better of a quarterback do you think Hasselback would be if you GAVE HIM SOME HALFWAY DECENT RECEIVERS TO THROW TO????????!!!!!!!!

grumble grumble grumble....

Readers Merc and Venom make a good point -- Saturday's game was a distaster for severasl reasons, the most important of which was the lack of a solid defense by the Seahawks. I was not trying to lay the loss at the feet of the Seahawks receiving corp -- just the dismal number of incompletions.

The Real Northwest

My affinity for the television show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition has been well documented. Last night, I had extra cause to enjoy the show: The episode was filmed here in the Northwest, when the cast helped a family on Washington's Kitsap Peninsula, across the Sound from Seattle. It was especially heartwarming to see my fellow Nor'Westers helping their neighbors. And it mitigated a frustration of mine.

For better or for worse, the view that most people outside the Northwest have of us is almost entirely shaped by the image present by the larger cities, especially Seattle, Portland, and, to a lesser extent, Eugene. That image is one of NFL teams that choke, Starbucks (two on every corner), Grunge bands, WTC Riots, Anarchist cells, SUV-torching Earth First!'ers, and rain, rain, rain.

Well, ok, the rain part is fair. But the rest of it... well, it's a limited view, at best, and misrepresents the reality anywhere outside the big cities. The Northwest that was shown on last night's EM:HE was the Northwest I grew up in -- Rural, beautiful (albeit soggy), full of good-hearted people who would give you the shirt off their backs. Sure, we have good and bad, just like anywhere else, but the average rural Oregonian or Washingtonian is honest, hard-working, and is almost indistinguishable from the kind of people you'd find in any rural region (except for the webs between the toes and the layer of moss). And they are, almost unanimously, aware of the exquisite beauty of their surroundings. They are as proud, hardy, and hospitable as any Texan, Kansan, or Southerner you'll meet, and in most cases, probably descended from whichever state you're in as you read this.

So the next time you read a headline from Portland or Seattle, take a moment and remember just how small a spot on our map each of those places is. And try not to paint the rest of our states with their brush.

Cross-Posted at Head West, Turn Right.

Saturday, January 08, 2005



This Visit Map I've added to my blog is cool and interesting, but it's challenging my map reading skills. I'm looking at the visitors from Europe and trying to figure out where they were. Most of them were poor unsuspecting sould from Blog Explosion, I'll wager. So far I've deducted the following dots: Trondheim, Oslo, Helsinki, Munich, Paris, and Lisbon. The other dot in Germany could be leipzig, but I'm not sure, and I'm stumped by the southern French one. Orleans? Bourges? Limoges? Can't exactly say. And is that Casablanca or Rabat Showing up in Morocco?

As for England, wow. LOTS of people from there visiting. London is obvious in its dominance, but I think I can make out Ipswich, Cambridge, Luton or Oxford, and Reading. Birmingham or Coventry? Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds are there, and so, I think, is Sheffield. I think that northeasternmost dot is Kingston upon Hull.

Also hello to Seoul, Canberra, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Singapore, Riyadh, Porto Alegre Brazil, Charlottetown PEI, Ottawa (or is that Montreal?), Winnipeg, Dryden ON (I think?), Vancouver BC, Whomever that is on the Kenai Peninsula (Homer AK, I'll wager), Fairbanks AK, and goodness, is that Whitehorse, Yukon Territory checking in?

Also a big hello to all my fellow lower 48'ers, too numerous to even try.

This is very very cool (YOu can see how easily entertained I am). It really brings home just how far-reaching the blogosphere has become.

What a Difference...

...only a few hundred feet in elevation make.

Here in the valley floor, it's raining and warm enough that only a jacket is necessary. But up in the Coburg Hills and other low mountains surrounding Springfield, it's snowing. They're veiled lightly by the lowest of the clouds, but what I see as fog is probably the snow itself up there. It's still just a powdered sugar sprinkling of snow, and you can still see the dark green of the trees (almost black in this light( underneath. The last few days, the weather's been teasing us -- dropping below freezing only when there's not a cloud in the sky, and warming up to the 40's as soon as we get any precipitation. Hopefully by weekend's end we'll get some of the white stuff here at the lower elevations.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Blog Call

Do you Blog? Do you consider yourself politically conservative? Do you live in the Pacific Northwest?

If you can answer yes to all three questions, please email me or drop a note in the comments. I'm looking to start a Blog alliance for northwest conservatives. I'm also open to Blogs form a small-l libertarian POV. My perspective and the one I'm most interested in is that of someone who loves this region, wouldn't want to live aywhere else, but hates being in the minority. For that reason, I'm most interested in Oregon, BC, and Washington Blogs, but Bloggers from Alaska, Idaho, and even Montana or Wyoming are welcome (sorry Northern Californians, but you already have plenty of options). Again, drop me a line and see what we can get started.

Pun Fun

Yesterday's post about carpentry got me to thinking last night. And I think that even more than woodworking, I'd like to learn metalworking. I'd love to be able to shape and weld metal into useful shapes. I believe that architecture and the crafts reflect the culture they come from, and I'd love to develop something distinctively American, but functional as well -- maybe grillwork for sidewalk grates that's also esthetically pleasing.

Yes, that's it, I want to wright the novel American grate.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Baby Steps

All my life I've wanted to get into woodworking, but have never had the money or space for a workshop and tools. But I've managed to pick up a couple of rudimentary items (mainly a sander and a drill), and while I cannot yet build much, I was able to strip and refinish a wine rack. It was purchased for $4 at a local flea market, and was in bad shape. But after I stripped it, it was pretty nice -- blonde wood (ash or birch, I suspect) except for the tray top, which is a thin sheet of real teak. I used twak oil on the whole thing, instead of stain, I like the color contrast.

So now I need to fill it. It holds 16 bottles, and so far I only have four:
A bottle of Ars Vitis Moselle Riesling from Germany
A 2001 Cabernet Franc from Abacella Vineyards (Oregon -- Umpqua appellation)
A 2002 Chateau Bianca Gewurtztraminer (Oregon -- Northern Willamette Valley Appellation)
A 2001 Saginaw Vineyards Pinot Noir Blanc (Oregon -- Southern Willamette Valley Appellation)

(Oh, yes. I also managed to rebuild the legs and reinforce the bottom of the 63-year-old heirloom basinette that TFR's family has loaned us for Baby B, using my BIL's tools.)

An Iraqi Perspective

Thanks for the Memory to a comment from Reader Carin (who happens to have an excellent Blog of her own).

Surprisingly, my recent post on Pablo Paredes ha generated more discussion than I'm used to getting. And I welcome that. In fact, I ESPECIALLY welcome the dissenting view being expressed. As much as I appreciate the encouragement I get for my blog, after a while, hearing "You're right" all the time can get old, unless it's followed by the words "I hadn't thought of that before". That's why I had been focusing more on personal entries and less on political commentary.

But this duscussion has my juices flowing again, and now one comment in particular inspires me -- not to write, but to recommend you read -- specifically, read this excellent article by an Iraqi regarding the war:

How the Left Betrayed My Country - Iraq
By Naseer Flayih Hasan

I'm sure there are other points of view as well, but this is the best case for the war from an Iraqi perspective that I've read.

You Don't Talk About Foodfight Club

The Feared Redhead and I have, to some extent, different tastes in television viewing. Most of these differences are stereotypically gender-specific. I like the History Channel and Discovery, she likes Discovery Health, Oprah, and the "Reality" shows. There are, of course, a few exceptions -- Extreme Makeover Home Edition and the Food Network to be precise. But even here there are disagreements. Two fo my favorite shows on TFN tend to annoy her -- God Eats and Iron Chef. And yes, I must admit, I prefer Iron Chef USA. I love the format of the competition.

Which inspired in me last night a great idea for a group of friends/fellow gourmands to try: Foodfight Club. You get together at least 6 friends who love to cook AND eat. Two volunteer to be the competitors. One is the referree, who chooses the secret ingredients. The rest serve as judges. Get together at the home of one who has a big enough kitchen, and... ALLEZ CUISINE!

I think WAY too much.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Delicious Torture

I just returned from a quick visit to the Deli here at work, where my senses were assaulted and taunted by what I must say is one of my top five favorite smells in the whole world: bread baking in the oven.

There's something about that yeasty, doughy, rich, warm, fresh aroma that makes me smile, brings back memories (my mother is a kick-ass cook), and makes me want to tear off a chunk, slather it in butter, and devour it.

I'm a sucky baker, but I think I shall have to break out the bread maker tonight.

Fight On

If my grandad had still been alive yesterday, it would have been an interesting time in my grandparents' home. My Grandfather was a native Californian (of the Old School), and a lifelong, diehard USC fan. My grandmother is a dustbowl okie, born in Arkansas, raised in Oklahoma, moved to California during the depression. She is just as fervent an OU Sooners fan (My childhood nickname was "Boomer"). She also has a soft spot for teams from the southwestern US, and a mild contempt for teams from the west Coast. Over the 50-some years of their marriage, one fight was never resolved, and it was fought off and on the whole marriage: Who was a better football player, Doak Walker or Ambrose Schindler? So yesterday's game would have been a source of pride for my grandfather, who would now be quietly gloating but keeping a low profile. You'd think that I'd have mixed feelings about the outcome of the game, given that family background, and given that USC is a rival of mmy favorite team (The UO Ducks). But my mother is also a California native and a lifelong USC fan, my father had a soft spot for them, and so do I. So congratulations to the men of Troy on a mighty victory. It's about time the Pac-10 once again lived up to the title "Conference of Champions". And maybe the west will once again gain a little respect.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A Dubious Honor

While scanning my Sitemeter stats, and following referral links, I made this discovery:

I'm result # 18 if you Google the word "Moron".

Pablo Misses The Boat

Thanks for the Memory to Powerline and Darth Apathy.

Remember Pablo Paredes? He's the US Navy Petty Officer who refused to report for duty to his ship when it was due to sail from San Diego. At the time his ship, the aircraft carrier Bonhomme Richard, was bound for the gulf to support poerations in Iraq. Pablo opposes the war, and so he refused to help support that mission. He gave up his career, will probably spend time in prison, and be saddled with a criminal record for the rest of his life. He made hist statement.

And so the Bonhomme Richard sailed without him. It's currently fulfilling its mission. But the mission has changed.

The Bonhomme Richard is currently in the Indian Ocean.

Helping with tsunami relief efforts.

Congratulations, Pablo, you managed to do your little part to thwart this ignoble, imperialistic mission. I hope you feel good about that.


The Bonhomme Richard is not a carrier. Thanks for the correction, Vic.

A Boy's Life

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
by the men who moil for gold,
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
that would make your blood run cold.
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
but the queerest they ever did see
was the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.

Few words can hearken me back to memories of my boyhood faster than those. It was one of my father's favorite poems, and it became one of mine as he would read it to me frequently (at my request).

Last night I read it again, along with others by service, as I took my bath. I had just returned home from a birthing class with The Feared Redhead, and so was in a mood to reflect on matters related to progeny, childhood, and heritage. With that in mind, I have decided to compile a list here of stories and authors that remind me of boyhood. And I do mean boyhood, not just childhood. I grew up a boy, and engaged in activities most usually associated with the male child. That's not to say girls CAN'T do them, but that they usually aren't INTERESTED in those activities. And, for the sake of safety and parental sanity, that's probably a good thing.

Some of these stories ARE universal, and any girl who takes an interest in ANY of them is welcome to them, but for me, when I remember being a boy, these are ther things I remember reading:

Rudyard Kipling
(Riki Tiki Tavi)
The Ransom of Red Chief
Louis L'Amour
Robert Service
(The Cremation of Sam McGee)
(The Quitter)
(The Odyssey -- I didn't read the Illiad till later in life)
C.S. Lewis
(The Chronicles of Narnia)
JRR Tolkien
(The Hobbit)
Jason and the Argonauts


I very much welcome comments by others as to their choices for such a list. Carin actually mentioned one that I agree with, and should have added:
Jules Verne

Others that spring to mind as the day goes by are:
Ray Bradbury
Robert Heinlein
Isaac Asimov

Monday, January 03, 2005


I have 10 Gmail invitations to pass out. If anyone would like one, let me know in the comments.

Pack Mentality

Thanks for the Memory Inspiration to this post at the Llama Butchers.

Robert the Llama Butcher has an interesting solution to the problem of unwanted behavior by his daughters, and I think it's an excellent one. OK, so I admit it, I'm a dog person and therefore biased. I've had four dogs in my life.

The first was Brutus, a Norwegian Elkhound. My family owned it before I was old enough to remember, but I'm told that one of the reasons we got rid of Brutus is because he was too friendly and powerful for me, and kept bowling my toddlerness over.

The second was Midget, a cockapoo, which we owned while living in Idaho. My sister and I neglected her, and my parents didn't have tome to care for her properly, so we put her up for adoption. She was scooped up immediately.

The third was Dandy, a purebred Cocker Spaniel, purchased my freshman year in high school. We didn't neglect him as badly, although we were forced to kennel him outside (because we could never train him to behave), where he got loose and was shot by a neighbor while I was away in college.

So my and my family's track record with the first three dogs was spotty at best. I don't think I'd be enthusiastic to recommend someone like that as a pet owner. My only defense is that my role in their care was limited, and I was a far less mature person as a child. After Dandy's death, I couldn't bear the thought of another dog for years, not because I didn't like them anymore (I love dogs), but because I didn't feel emotionally capable of risking losing another dog, or behaviorally capable of properly caring for one.

That changed after I met The Feared Redhead. She grew up with one dog her whole life, a family mutt named Brandy that died in its teens when TFR was in High School. From the beginning of the marriage she began telling me she wanted a dog, and didn't let up. I agreed, in theory, but there always seemed to be a good reason not to. Finally, after our Quantum Leap of Faith in moving back to Oregon, and the struggle to find jobs, when we finally moved in to an apartment, we set out from the beginning to find one that allowed dogs. After a few months living there, and when our finances allowed, The Feared Redhead began combing the paper and online ads for the perfect dog. Ironically, when she found it, I was the one who insisted we discuss the matter in depth before deciding, yet I was also the one to pull out the checkbook after one look. And ever since, the dog who is of a breed selected bt TFR, who was found by TFR, makes it clear she considers herself my dog. To borrow from Hank Hill, "Go with it, Bobby. We got the long end of the stick on this one." So now we have had Miko, a Lhasa Apso, for almost 3 years. And I'm not just a better master than I ever was with the other dogs, I'm a pushover. I must admit to spoiling this dog rotten -- I think I'm making atonement for all those years of breaking the other dogs' hearts.

One other thing. I know people who will tell you their dog thinks it's a human. Others will say their dog considers them fellow dogs. I disagree with both. My dog knows it's a dog. She also knows I'm a human. But a long time ago dogs figured out that this interspecies pack worked well, and they're perfectly fine with the arrangement. I just have to keep reminding her who's the alpha.

The Feared Redhead, of course.