Monday, November 30, 2009

A thought in passing

Nothing has made me happier than to see disappear, evidently without any trace - (although I'm sure he's hovering around haunting some milieu where decent people rarely go) - the last man who occupied the White House.

Where do you think he is? There should be some prize for the person who gives the best answer (at least a gold star!)


This is Steve practicing on someone else's kid for what will become a regular pre-occupation for him soon.

Next: changing diapers.
Do you get this hint?

Sunday, November 29, 2009


The cat is very relieved to be home. This 18 hour travel time is a true challenge to her patience. We, on the other hand, just love sitting in a car from Florida to Michigan.

The traffic was heavy. We expected Saturday to be a lighter travel day, but the highways were very busy. Once again, we have traveled to Florida and back and not seen a serious accident. The weather was clear all the way. People were in a hurry, as we were, but we confronted no serious construction zones, and no jams that brought us to a halt.

It's dark and cold here, but what can you expect of a Michigan winter? The main thing is we're home for Christmas.

More later!

(Cincinnati at dusk)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

forwarded by Alice

The Little Boy and the Old Man
(shel silverstein)

Said the little boy, "Sometimes I drop my spoon."
Said the old man, "I do that too."
The little boy whispered, "I wet my pants."
"I do that too," laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, "I often cry."
The old man nodded, "So do I."
"But worst of all," said the boy, "it seems
Grown-ups don't pay attention to me."
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
"I know what you mean," said the little old man.

New York trial

The Obama government has decided to try the 9/11 suspects in a civilian court in New York. What this means is that our government has finally started to make a distinction among the people who we've been holding (I believe, illegally) for many years at Guantanamo, and maybe elsewhere. The Bush government played games with the descriptions and definitions of these detentions, admitted to no rights or privileges for any of the people being held, and failed even to bring them to justice in the military tribunals they claimed to have established for the purpose.

Some of those people may be war prisoners, in which case they are entitled to the privileges and protections which war prisoners have under international law; when war no longer wages, they should be freed.

Some of these people may be international war criminals who should be tried in international courts, and who should be charged accordingly and handed over to international authorities.

Some of these may be people our government thinks cannot be proven guilty but who are not entitled to be treated as prisoners of war. These people should be set free where they were seized.

Some of these people such as the 9/11 bunch are accused of committing crimes that occurred on US soil, and who thus should be tried here. They should have the rights and privileges of defendants in American courts.


There are those who feel that these people will turn the trial into a chance to spout their ideological rantings. Who cares? A good judge will see that the process moves according to law and not according to the rules of show business. Some worry that the people will be found innocent. This is a risk that has to be taken in a process of justice. Sometimes, the wrong people are tried. But if the people who bombed New York can slip themselves past a New York jury, I will be amazed.

Some say that trying these people in a New York court will invite more violence against that city. This is a somewhat interesting argument, but this city is a target anyway, any time. It has been the object of many plots, and will continue to be no matter what becomes of these particular defendants.

Try them!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

holy hell!

Thousands of old white people went ga-ga. They crowded into Market Square here in The Villages. They cheered and cheered. Their very white baby boy, Glenn Beck was here. Half of their excitement was in anxious anticipation of his well-advertised promise to reveal "My Plan to Save the Republic!"

And he did! What a plan. In case you missed it, here it is. There will be seven meetings held in the United States in the coming six months where all you people can develop a plan to give to Congress. Is that pure genius or what? To save the Republic, he plans to hold meetings. What a brilliant stroke.

And here are two things he wants these meetings to demand: That Congress put an end to corruption, and that it return to honoring the Constitution.

The old white folks screamed and cheered, according to press reports here. Turns out they really agree with him that corruption is a bad thing, and democratic constitutionalism is a good one. This will distinguish the patriotic Beckwads from all those millions of Americans who, conversely, love corruption in government, and hate our freedoms and our Constitution.

Readers, beware. We are not talking about 1787 here. We are not talking about the Constitutional Convention here. We are not talking about Jefferson and Washington. We're talking more like community militia, and persons of far, far less significant goodwill than, let's say, John Adams. We're talking about the Palinesque dimension of brilliance here, not that of the intellectual calibre of Gouverneur Morris or James Madison.

Watch this operation with amusement, all ye well-meaning and intelligent Americans, for you are going to see a circus!

Friday, November 20, 2009

to Nadia

I have recently heard from a school mate from our high school years. You have written some comments on my blog. I am so glad you thought to do this.

I remember you as being a happy and friendly high school kid, and I hope you are even more happy now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So, answer me this question.

The great debate revolving around the government's decision to try the World Trade Center bombers in New York is completely understandable to me.

First there is that group of mindless fools who will oppose anything the Obama government does. This bunch has several motives for its enduring negativity, as nearly as I can see, and none of those motives is laudable. Some of them are racists, some of them are stupid captives of far right propaganda, some of them real evil people who won't be happy until the government is overthrown and we're living in some sort of semi-fascist hell that pretends to be "American" and "Christian." Some of them seem to be cowards and we cannot follow them. These are people who say the trial will invite violence or will cost us money, etc. I simply cannot comprehend that sort of ostrich-like head hiding.

But, some people are asking perfectly legitimate questions. To me the greatest one is this: Should terrorists who were captured in Pakistan receive the rights and privileges --- and the protections --- of American citizens in an American court of law?

I 'd be very very happy if some of you would take a stab at that question before I DO.


Thursday Morning Smile-Maker

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kids and old people have this in common: They talk too loud and often shout.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Forwarded by Powerteach.
Many thanks!

random notes

I have been gone a couple of days, so I'm running a little behind on my duties and my emails.

Marsha has gone, and with her the wisp of sadness that accompanied the loss of her team to Florida. S. Carolina put up a valiant fight and might actually have pulled off an upset, but "what-ifs" always accompany the song of the victims.

We golfed today and decided to walk the nine-holes. It was the noon hour when we teed off, and the sun was hot, and I admit by the end of the walk, I was thoroughly bushed. But, on the last green, I made a great putt, which just goes to show you that God favors a fool. We had Dashmann as our third, and we were assigned a fourth who turned out to be a very nice guy from Canton-Plymouth MI area.

As I write just now, Mike Huckaby is in The Villages making his mark on a bunch of books bearing his name as author. I don't like him, just as I don't like any of the far right wing delusion-ados. (Whatever happened to the reasonable and intelligent Republicans?) What a pack of weenies. I have gone past any sense of ordinary rebuttal and am reduced to ad hominem renderings , like "weenie." This I can do knowing full well that most of them can't do any better. On the other hand, I could give a reasonably thoughtful set of commentaries about whats-'er-name from Wasilla. I'll work on that.

I saw my old European History professor on the History Channel last night discussing the attempts on Hitler's life. It was a like a refresher course to me. And I know what HARD! exams he writes. I almost felt like I should be taking notes. I see he is now at North Carolina. Hmmm

Saturday, November 14, 2009

whilin' away some time

Dashmann and Skuzza are staying in The Villages just now, and Marsha has come to visit. Last night we went out to eat at a very good Italian Restaurant and then went to the movies to see The Fourth Kind. It was a fun movie, scary, and very involving. Afterwards, we went to a local joint and heard some good and bad Karaoke, and had a few sips. All-in-all, it was a great evening.

Today is a football Saturday, but really there aren't many games that interest me. The Wolverines won't be on here. No one could ask for a more beautiful day. The day is bright and warm, and the "girls" - as they refer to themselves - have gone "shopping," so I decided to update my blog. Later we will watch South Carolina try to defeat Florida. (As you know, everyone who ain't a Gator hates 'em.) Then we'll probably go swimming --- at least I will.

We are trying very,very hard to enjoy our stay. Does it seem to be working?

Here in Central Florida, there is a report this morning of a gentleman who at the age of 76 keeps a gun. Two fellas burst into his home, beat him into a mess, and then stole his gun. There you go: see, at least no one got shot, huh?

letter from Alice: Afghanistan scandal

"Jeremy Scahill, investigative journalist and author of Blackwater, was on Dylan Ratigan this morning(Friday). The topic was financing of the operations in Afganistan. According to his discoveries, not only is the brother of Karzi the head of the drug cartel in that country and on the CIA payroll, their 2 cousins are intricately involved with our country. The cousins own the trucking coumpany which the U.S. hires to help transport troops from Kabul along the road to the fighting front. The Taliban was blowing up our troops shortly after leaving the base at Kabul, so we pay the trucking company millions of dollars to protect the troops. They in turn pay(bribe) the Taliban millions of dollars not to attack our troops on the road. The Taliban then uses the money to buy war supplies to attack us after we get to the end of the road. In effect, we are finanacing both sides of the war in that country. Google Ratigan's site and Scahill's to check the details. No wonder Obama has rejected the proposed alternatives so far. I think he is doing the right thing to be so deliberative and I strongly hope that he decides to get us out of there as soon as he possibly can. Ratigan said it sounds like mob protection in NY."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Happy Birthday

... our favorite barista.

a devil in Paradise

We are so excited here.

There has been a shooting


This is the center of the earth for peaceful elderly folks who just wouldn't dream of violence, for goodness sake! And now poor Dennis has been shot by his wife. Shot down like a dog in the street -- oops, I mean like a dog in his bathroom. He escaped out through the bathroom window and was helicoptered out to an emergency room. Now he's in surgery.

Well, Sarah Palin would be proud. And Glenn Beck. And that preacher guy, umm-m, oh ya! Mike Huckleby. You see they're all strong advocates of guns lying around in the homes where people (in this case, a pissed off frau) can grab them and shoot their loved ones. And they will all three be here in the next couple of weeks to sign autographs for people who buy their latest books.

A virtual circle-jerk of right wing gun huggers. They should all go visit Dennis in the hospital and Denise in jail. (Yes, her name is Denise and isn't that cute? Dennis and Denise.)

Did I mention that Dennis is (or was?) a retired cop? He knows all about how to protect himself against gunshots. And of course, he has own shootin' irons.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker

Get Ready --- Get Set - for that workout.

Irene recommends

Thanks to Irene in Australia.
This is what a writer in another country has to say about guns and violence in America.Read the whole article here: ("America's Gun Outrage, 276 people killed or wounded each day")

"Another week of guns and blood across America and before a public and polity so astonishingly impervious to the carnage that it is treated almost as if it were measles."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

sent by Jerry

Headline of the Day

Catholics can believe in alien life
My imagination runs wild!

Good riddance!

Many of my friends and I will disagree about this news: Muhammad is dead! Some of you will say that capital punishment is murder, and I won't really argue that it's not, although I can't help feeling that when a democratic society decides to rid itself of a hellhound that is a different case.

So, let me just say I'm glad this bastard is gone from us! And good riddance! It's reported that he had no last words. I don't now about you, but I didn't want to hear any anyway.

some notes on life right now

1. Steve and Brenda have so much great news today that they're just simply blessed. This includes news abut jobs and advancements, but there's more. There is news that's very, very personal to them, and if you want to know, better ask Brenda.

2. We are very happy just now!

3. We and Dashmann have been golfing nine-hole courses and having a very good time doing it. Not nearly as stressful as 18.

4, At "half time" in a polo match, people from the crowd go out on the pitch and stomp down the spots that the hoofs have torn up. This is so that there is less chance of the ball being affected by rough turf. There is a rule on this, however: "If it's steaming, don't stomp it."

5. There is such excitement around here! Uh-h, I point out that this does not excite me, but a lot of people are all ga-ga. Both Sara Palin and Glenn Beck are coming to the Villages for book signings. Yep, this place is just loaded with self-absorbed right wingers.

Monday, November 9, 2009

There are so many ugly stories on the news today, some of them left over from last week. It seems that murder, mayhem, and violence are in good form in America these days. Makes you proud to be a good red-necked, gun-owning patriot doesn't it?


Yesterday we did something new --- well, for us it's new. We drove our golf cart over to the polo grounds and saw a match. We rode our cart up to the side line along with a hundred other people and were immediately told we had to move, that this section of the grass was reserved. I have gotten so old now that I'm not interested in preserving my life against unreasonable people, so I defied the instructions. Besides, they were from a little old lady who had to be ten years older than I am and I felt confident that I could knock her down in a hard fight. Sitting there smugly, feeling bold and valiant, I figured we would eventually be evicted by the minions of the law. But, we weren't. So we watched chukker after chukker from the comfort of our golf cart seats. In the process we made the acquaintanceship of some very nice people from Minnesota.

Sometime, we will go back. One guy fell off his horse and that made the event wholly worthwhile. It was almost as thrilling as watching a figure skater hit the wall.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

random notes

I have noticed quite a lot of elderly joggers around here. Nice that they're keeping it up, but I have yet to see one who seems to be enjoying the enterprise.

There is a large group of senior citizen bicyclists. They travel in a pack -- a fairly large pack. Now this I might do if I lived here regularly, but I don't think I would want to wear all that tight shiny and gaudy clothing.

I have been doing well golfing. For me, "well" is probably "not well" to you. But it's unusual for me to be happy with my golfing.

We miss people --- particularly we miss our children and grandkid, and the activities like Guinness club and coffee club. And the Hanleys .....

It's Caturday

Copy Cat

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker

Pumpkin Eater

The Maine Vote- a couple of thoughts

1. I don't care who marries whom. Truth is, a lot of the marriages seen as life-long contracts are doomed, because people are really not willing to make such a contract, especially after they've done it. I think the same will continue to be true forever.

A marriage has little to do with sex -- especially in an age where sex is not seen as an exclusive domain for those who are pledged. More and more people are not even getting married. I expect this trend to continue and deepen. I believe more and more children will be born to unmarried couples.

2. I don't think most people know what the purpose of marriage is, particularly people who think it ought to be reserved for some folks and not others. What is the purpose?

3. I believe the issue should be "rights" not ceremonies. Some people would like to claim equal rights under the marriage laws. So why are we so reluctant to grant them?

4. I believe that churches should continue to oppose marriages between same sex couples, or anyone else for that matter. Churches have a point of view to represent and I think they should stick with them without reference to logic, or rationality, or magnanimity. They are not friendly to large groups of people, and they should be allowed to separate themselves from whatever portions of society they want. So, if they wish, I think any church should be allowed to deny a religious ceremony to folks of different races.

5. Society should represent the interest of all people, not just the particular viewpoints of those who are sanctimonious. It's the duty of society to make opportunities happen, not make them impossible. That job is performed better by churches some of which even arrogate unto themselves the power to determine who can go home to God.

6. No body else's marriage threatens mine. I can do that all by myself.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

fall at Brenda 'n' Steve's house.

Isn't it gorgeous?

why I haven't sent email

I jumped on the golf cart and drove over to the Miona Rec Center to read my email and answer some too, but unfortunately, while this connection lets me read the email, it doesn't let me send any. This is a problem that any of my kids would solve in a twinkle of an eye, I have no doubt, but none of them is here right now. So I'll have to call the computer center and find out what's happening.

When I'm done here, Pat will come over and we're going swimming. It's about 82 and sun, so that's a breeze.

Went golfing with Dashmann yesterday and had a very good time.

The TV in out rental unit leaves something to be desired. It gets only basic set of channels which includes 2 Spanish language networks, four religious channels, two Villages information channels, home shopping, and then the three commercial channels and one PBS. Not CNN or CNBC or anything like a news channel, not even False Net.

But right now, we feel we are in paradise because it's warm and we're in shorts, etc. So who cares abut the TV?

Monday, November 2, 2009

it's warm here!

We are in Florida for awhile, and maybe there will not be as many updates to BIRCHES, but there will be some unless my computer blows up. We don't expect that to happen. Or maybe I will be grabbed and held captive a a sex slave by some frustrated old lady armed with golf cubs and a swimming noodle.