Tuesday, June 30, 2009

it needs more than bombs

A checklist for any future invasions of other countries.
(click to enlarge)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

good news from Iraq at last

US combat troops pull back from

Iraqi cities in first step toward

full withdrawal

soccer update

BRAZIL 3 - U.S. 2

Today, the U.S. ended the Confederation competition in second place behind Brazil.

The U.S. team played very well, though not as well as they can.

Next, the further challenge of qualifying for next year's World Cup.

BILLY MAYS will NEVER make another commercial.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

SCOT -- CLICK -- wonders if it was wrong for Governor Sanford to take a girlfriend in Argentina. There are plenty of women in the US who need the work.

more of the marriage conundrum

We simply note in passing that the foxy priest - with the girlfriend - has married her! In a courthouse! With a judge presiding! Is this match made in heaven?

It's Caturday!

Lizzy googles "enemy"

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bill sends this:

Intro: In our community, we are deeply affected by whatever G.M. does. BILL from WNNCO has often said that we should blame the G.M. management for its problems -- and therefore for many of ours -- and not to get lost focusing in on other excuses. Now comes this fascinating story from a fascinating source. Bill forwarded this letter from a G.M. dealer in Flint, MI. which supports Bill's contention.

(Click to enlarge)


beat it

Thursday, June 25, 2009

those pesky "Sanctity of Marriage" people

This is what they say:
1 Man + 1 Woman = Marriage

This is evidently what they mean
1 Man + 1 Woman + Lovers of any variety = Marriage


BIRCHES has no criticism of the idea of loyalty in marriage. Millions practice it, and is honorable to do so. The problem lies with those who think they can lecture the world about morality and "defend" marriage, and call marriage "sanctified" and deny marriage rights to others, etc. --- and then go forth and screw their brains out in Argentina or in the supporting crew of their campaign committees.

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker

Having it all together

NOTED: High School football coach shot multiple times in front of 30 students. CLICK

No modesty here

I was right, and I'm ready to seem conceited about it:

1. I said the U.S. team was playing terrible soccer and I was right. They lost to Costa Rica, Italy and Brazil and seemed not have their acts together at all. They were not ready for prime time!
Today, they turned around and defeated the #1 ranked team in the world -- Spain. Oh yes, they did it fair and square and with energy and a huge improvement in organization and cooperation. Where have they been?

2. I never did believe that the governor of South Carolina was out walking on the Appalachian Trail. I was right. The trail he was trodding was of a much different variety. Just as I thought.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Recommended by Irish MIke

I agree with NY Times Op-Ed on health care and centralist Democrats.
"Why is every one so concerned about the insurance companies?" > CLICK
They certainly do not seem to care about the public. If they were forced to compete with a government run insurance, I guarantee the medical industry would be forced to lower cost. Drug companies, insurance companies, medical practitioners, the whole system would have to come into line. The United States spends more money on health care than any one, yet we have this broken system where 40 million have no health coverage and 70% of the populace is unhappy with their health plan. *** Op-Ed Columnist: Health Care Showdow

Footnote: Thanks to Sparty and Gigi who also recommended this article. Good reading!

tribute to two friends

Jerry and Maggie.
They often stopped here on their evening walks. Some dogs are special, and she was one of those. Now she is gone.
Jerry said:"She was the brightest, most gentle, and loving dog I have had the privilege of being with during my life." From a person who has always had dogs, that's a powerful statement.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Friends Report on June 22, 2009

Summer has come to mid-Michigan and no one seems to be complaining. Ever hotter temps are predicted for the week.
Lots of folks are upset that the Red Wings lost the Stanley Cup playoffs. It's hard to believe we lost those games at home.
We had a Biergarten Party under the Birches for family and a few close friends. Everyone, we think, ate and drank "German" and had a good time.

JERRY - Maggie, Jerry's best friend of 11 years died recently, and he is deeply sorrowful. Under the Birches we knew Maggie very well and thought she was a "gem". We're sorry for the loss and will miss her.

DASHMANN - has been busy running back and forth up north, but he doesn't have a cottage.; He just keeps busy running around.

MARSHA - reports that The University of South Carolina’s archaeological dig site, "Topper" – home to some of the most significant research on earliest man in America – will be the subject of an hour-long episode of
“Time Team America,” a new PBS television series airing at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 15.

BIG D - reports that OFFICER ED has broken his leg and is laid up for awhile. You can send get well wishes here:
P.O. box 176
Houghton Lake
Michigan, 48629

LIAM - was a charmer for all who held him and played with him this weekend. He really is an incredibly cheerful baby. Takes after his mother, for sure!

AMY meets LIAM -


ALICE - please contact your congress people and your senators in Washington to let them know that everyone in the U.S. needs good health care coverage, and that they should support the efforts for reform.

LORI H. - Thanks for the good time at your Greekfest gathering.
GIGI - recommends the poem "Farewell to Teaching" at this website:

She also recommends this site for helping get new tress in Michigan Parks:
SPARTY - recommends this article about suing the U.S. government because of being tortured. One judge has said it is Costitutionally permissible:

ANONYMOUS - suggests that this is the Saginaw Rowing Club, but we know for a fact that the club has had trouble finding even ONE Cocks'n.
JERRY - sent this joke:
Having already downed a few power drinks, she turned around, faced him, looked him straight in the eye and said, "Listen here, Good Looking, I screw anybody, anytime, anywhere, your place, my place, in the car, front door, back door, on the ground, standing up, sitting down, naked or with clothes on, dirty, clean ... it doesn't matter to me. I've been doing it ever since I got out of college and I just love it." Eyes now wide with interest, he responded, "No kidding! I'm a lawyer, too. What firm are you with?"
BILL J forwarded this:
JERRY forwarded this billboard smile:
JOE forwarded this T-shirt humor:

PATRICIA in the middle - PAT C AND BOB at coffee club - JIM THILL on the road - (his blog CLICK ) Friends, the HAUSBECKS - BIG D and GEORGE at retirees' lunch - 2 aunts


Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who pitched for the Great Lakes Loons in 2006, threw seven innings of shutout ball against the Angels on Sunday


Replacing skill: LUCK.

* Million-to-one shots do come true. Welcome to the craziest night in U.S. soccer since South Korea's late goal against Portugal gave the U.S. a berth in the second round of the 2002 World Cup. It seemed impossible: to survive, the Americans needed a 3-0 win over Egypt and a 3-0 Brazil win over Italy. And they got it. What can you say? The U.S. showed all the determination, confidence and discipline that it didn't show against Brazil on Thursday. It scored goals with hustle (Charlie Davies), skill (Michael Bradley) and grit (Clint Dempsey). Miraculously, the U.S. will meet Spain in the semifinals on Wednesday in Bloemfontein.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


I see that the Texas Rangers have named a private suite at the Rangers ballpark for George W. Bush. They should have named it the "Taxpayers Clubhouse" since it was the taxpayers who footed the bill for the stadium. But, if they had to remember him, they might have named it "Asshole's Attic."

Recommended Reading

Recommended reading, by Mark Morford, San Francisco Chronicle CLICK written with tongue-(way way)-in-cheek!


I suppose the good news is, despite Obama's hippie socialist insistence that we all try to ease up on the hateful divisiveness and start cultivating some empathy and shared responsibility, and despite how he's guiding us through one of the most dramatic and perspective-altering transitions/redefinitions in our short history, it turns out classic, black-hearted evil still abounds in our culture. It's just a little less easy to spot.

Witness, say, the long-forgotten R.J. Reynolds tobacco company ...

It's Caturday!

Bosco owns the Lafferty family
(royal cats just do not eat off the floor)

Friday, June 19, 2009

U.S. Men's Soccer Team Unfit for World Competition

The U.S. Men's Soccer Team is surprisingly unfit for serious international competition. They have lost their last two games against two of the world's best teams. Recently, they lost a match to Costa Rica that any American team should have been expected to win easily.

But that's the sort of teams they must expect to meet in world competition.

They will get a chance to test themselves again on Sunday against Egypt, which has this year won the African Championship.

Although the U.S. Team was playing without some of its best defenders (Cherundolo, Heyduk, and Bocanegra are all injured) the poor play by the offense was disgraceful.

The U.S. has qualified for World Cup play in 2010, but they might as well stay home at this rate. CLICK TO READ MORE


In Chicago, the murder rate is down this year. Police attribute the decline to two things: a change in tactics for handling gangs, and the confiscation of over 3,400 guns. Still, the number of murders is approaching 200.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker

Good advice, maybe, but isn't it impossible? 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Our lastest Wacko

RUSTY DEPASS, South Carolina Republican activist, official in Giuliani's presidential campaign, etc. 

South Carolina GOP activist and former chairman of the state elections commission Rusty DePass has apologized for saying a gorilla that escaped from a zoo was an "ancestor" of Michelle Obama.

After an aide to state Attorney General Henry McMaster detailed the escape of the gorilla from Columbia's Riverbanks Zoo, DePass responded with a comment: "I'm sure it's just one of Michelle's ancestors - probably harmless."

DePass later admitted to WIS news that he was referring to Michelle Obama and said, "I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest."

Mr. Depass is entitled to think whatever he wants about Michelle Obama, I suppose, and he can say anything he wants,and I am the last person to want to limit anyone's freedom of speech. But if he wishes to remain in the limelight and go on doing the work of the Republican Party, then he would be wise to brush up on 21st Century standards. I hear they apply even in South Carolina.

"I wouldn't want to go over to Kabul. I'm perfectly happy with my DirectTV."
Click to enlarge. 
See more of Keefe's work:   CLICK  

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Church of the Holy Green, wherein Michigan State fans gather to pray for athletic victories.  Lately, their gods have been very generous! 

hypocrite report

It has been a long time since BIRCHES had a hypocrite update.  

Our position on other people's morals has always been that we don't care who a public official --  or almost anyone else for that matter -- rolls in the hay with.  What we are concerned about are the hypocrites.  If you are going to sponsor a "Defense of Marriage Act" that aims to conform other  people's marriages to a certain standard of acceptability, it would seem like a simple matter to govern your own. 

In this regard, one of the top Republican marriage experts, Sen. John Ensign of Nevada has been boinking an assistant.
An aide said that the consensual affair took place between December 2007 and August 2008, and that the woman worked for Mr. Ensign’s campaign operation, Ensign for Senate, as well as for a conservative political action committee, Battleborn PAC, from December 2006 to May 2008. Mr. Ensign is honorary chairman of the PAC. The woman’s husband was a member of Mr. Ensign’s official Senate staff. Neither has worked for the senator since May 2008, the aide said.
The good Senator, until recently, had been active in the Christian evangelical 'faithful marriage' organization called "Promise Keepers."  
Contemplate Kathleen Turner: 

"...and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

What you didn't learn in my class

I saw, magneted to a refrigerator in the home of a friend of ours, an invitation they received that appeared to have been done by a good computer student.  It had the graduate's picture and a printed date, time, and place. I thought that the artistic elements were very good.  Maybe the grad herself did the work.  The graduating girl on the invite was very beautiful and looked sweet enough to add to chocolate pudding.  The invitation  said in large letters, right across the top so God and everyone could see it: 


Real nice. Send her back to school. I really don't think this is any better than, oh let's say, this:  Cum to mi Par-TEE! which might reflect an acceptable contemporary texting model. 

How is "your" passable in any jargon? 

Monday, June 15, 2009

worth fighting about?

There's a lot 
of comfort 
for us 
in the riots 
in Iran over the stolen election.  In this country, we tend to ignore stolen elections for President. We save our rioting for winning big basketball games,  as in L.A. last night after some team there won something-or-other.  

Even in a theocratic dictatorship like Iran, the youth have the wit to know when they've been screwed. 

The Loyal Opposition

Graphic depictions of the President:  Another specimen from the clever minds of the loyal opposition.  

Sunday, June 14, 2009


There is a certain sporting event that has recently concluded, but it will NOT be discussed here. 


headline this morning :
Obama wants tighter checks on banks, Wall Street

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It's Caturday!

Marsha's Baboo claims the most comfortable spot.

A request for my friends.

I went to a graduation party last week with Pat, and I had just the grandest time as I always do when I'm plunked down in the middle of a bunch of people I don't know.  I was greatly enjoying my meatballs, which came in two varieties, although they're always trying to escape the fork on those slippery paper plates, and she was happily chewing on her taco salad, when an elderly man walked up and sat down by us. 

Before we escaped -- about 20 minutes later -- I had found out his life's story.  Occasionally, he got bogged down in detail, but happily, his life's partner, Mrs. Old Man, came along to help him remember.  

Now, I don't want to imply that I don't care about his children, his grandchildren, his pets, his past jobs, the reasons why he moved to the suburbs, what his relationship has been to the family holding the party, and who his neighbors are.  But, all of this requires a longer friendship than 20 minutes.  You know, a listener needs time to savor the minutiae of someone else's life, to appreciate the trials and tribulations of escaping from black people,  to learn to associate different kids with different geographic locales.  That sort of thing. 

Here is my main point.  I have a request of my better  friends. If I  turn into a garrulous old man that people want to run from,  you know the sort who imagines since he is old he knows everything and has advice on everything, then I want one of you to hack me death with a machete and put us all out of my misery.  

Friday, June 12, 2009

I met a guy in the Meijers checkout line carrying a very long pole, and I asked him, "Are you a pole vaulter?" He said, "No, I'm German."


The Gun/Murder syndrome spreads southward. A gift from us to the world.

SAN ANTONIO — In 2008, a year during which more than 7,000 Mexicans were killed in drug violence, a record number of weapons confiscated in Mexico were traced to U.S. retailers, according to the latest available government data obtained by GlobalPost.
The number of traced firearms that originated in the U.S. — 12,073 — is by far the most ever recorded in one year since the U.S. Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, Firearms and Explosives began tracing Mexico's seized guns in 2005.
The 2008 figure is more than the last three years combined, and it brings the total number of guns confiscated in Mexico and traced to American sources to 22,848. CLICK
Good way to have a sensible conversation.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

tribute to a killer

Well, what could be more pathetic than the image of you, old man, getting shot down on the threshold of the Holocaust Museum? 

You went to all that trouble to ambush a bunch of people only to be able to claim one single victim you managed to shoot in the back. You caused a lot of sorrow in some hearts, but none of it was for you. You created an outpouring of sympathy, but none of it was for your juvenile ideas. 

It took a lot of planning, I suppose, to decide exactly where to abandon your car right in the middle of things, to grab your shootin' iron and rush into the building unannounced, by total surprise, like a slimy creature that rises out of a swamp at night  -- how clever --  and get yourself shot down by some guy less well armed than you are.  

What courage!  What a statement of principles! 

Maybe you and Stephen Johns will appear at the mighty doors of Valhalla together, you and a true hero, to be judged by the Lords of Valor, and you'll look down, ashamed, at how pathetic your meager efforts appear against the courage of your victim. 

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Goodbye Stephen T. Johns, Park Policeman

Murdered this afternoon in Washington

It's so exciting being an American.  Every day we can look at the news and see who has been sacrificed to the Second Amendment.  This time,  just a security guard or two. 

Friends Report on June 10

We have finally gotten a good rain in mid Michigan, but the weather continues chilly. Daytime temps are about 10 degrees lower than normal and nighttime temps are usually in the 40's. No one's tomatoes are growing. Here under the Birches, we have about had it with the flock of grackles that have taken up cavorting in our yard. They drive off other birds, they make a terrible racket, and they throw all the seeds off the feeder where the rabbits and squirrels get it.

BRENDA and STEVE - who moved into a new home in the woods in November, are now heavily into planting flowers and native plants and bushes for their gardens, and are planting many veggies in two new plots.

PAT W and  BUD - Their new deck: 

MIKE THE ADMINISTRATOR - has taken a new job giving away money for a charity. Up to now, he's been a school district Superintendent.  Same skills? 

PAT C - has reported that BOB T has come through the operation very well. (Maybe they will be back at coffee  club real soon.)  

GIGI - is almost overwhelmed by the intricacy of plans for getting the family together this summer.  A camping trip is in the works, but that isn't easy to coordinate.  

FELIX: His hand after he "had an accident" and got a clip imbedded in it.  Cost for the uninsured?  $1,500

IRISH MIKE - was out with a rowing crew on the river and they were stopped by the "Fish and Wildlife" officer who demanded to see their life jackets, which if you stop to think about it for just a minute, is hysterically funny.  Anyway, it turns out that racing skulls are exempt from that law. 

TRASE - is done with school for the summer finally, and she  gets to become 'mother' full time now.  

MARI - has been seen in the company of a new friend, but that's all I can safely tell you.  

SANDY - will be heading for California in July to help take care of the new baby, right after her hair appointment.  

DASHMANN - says that if others are like him - (ed: Doubtful) - then more people will be watching Letterman at nights.  Conan O'brien is just too weird.  Do you agree?  

IRENE and family - are heading North to get warm.  You have to remember they live in Australia and it's winter there.  

Some recent snapshots of friends

Pilot and Felix in the Wilderness.

Old Friends at the Beach House 

Marilyn on the loose. 

Liam at 5 months 

Forwarded by MIKE C - 
At any given time, 79,000,000 people on earth are engaged in sex.  Some poor folks, like you, are just reading about it

MIKE C. - forwarded this: 

Forwarded  by JOE: 
After being married for 24 years, I took a careful look at my wife one day and said, "Honey, 24 years ago we had a cheap apartment, a cheap   car, slept on a sofa bed and watched a 10-inch black and white TV, but I got to sleep every night with a hot 30-year-old gal.  
Now I have a $500,000 house, $45,000 car, nice big bed and plasma screen TV, but I'm sleeping with a 54-year-old woman. It seems to me that you're not holding up your side of things."
My wife is a very reasonable woman. She told me to go out and find a hot 30-year-old gal, and she would make sure that I would once again be living in a cheap apartment, driving a cheap car, sleeping on a sofa bed and watching a 10-inch black and white TV.

Forwarded by JERRY:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Go see how that word was used at Arboretum CLICK
Believe it or not, this happened in the U.S. 
Stories like this help brighten my life. 

Steve Berketis, 23, of   Copiague and his brother W. Berketis, 37, of Patchogue were arrested by Suffolk County police. Each was charged with one count of grand larceny, fourth degree, in the theft of braided copper wire at the LIPA right-of-way in Yaphank. 

Monday, June 8, 2009

What private health care did for me

a letter from ALICE: 

"I've been listening to a lot of commentary on a new health care bill. . . and I'm getting angry.  It doesn't matter who the pundits are.  They talk about 2 choices --- government run care or choice of patient & doctor.  My experience is there is a big, big elephant in the room that RARELY, I mean RARELY gets mentions.  If it does it is in passing.   The beaurcrats in the Insurance industry are deciding what care we get and when. 

I had 3 Saginaw doctors tell me last year that I could not go back to work. However, an "insurance doctor" in NEBRASKA decided I could take on a 35 student class and I was denied my banked sick days plus any disability.   A month after I was told that by the insurance company, my [private charter school] company in Lansing wrote to tell me I was not going to be hired back because they weren't sure of my ability to work in a class because of my health.  I received none of my health benefits and I'm still recovering!.  I truly believe that the insurance companies have done to health care what speculators did to wall street."

Saturday, June 6, 2009

U.S. Men's Soccer

After an embarrassing, almost disgraceful loss last Tuesday to Costa Rica, a game in which the American defense was awful and the ball handling was amateurish, the U.S. Men's Team won today against Honduras, 2-1. This team is NOT ready for serious international competition, as yet, and the World Cup is next year.