Friday, August 31, 2007

Things Must Really Be Getting Better in Iraq

I mean, if Katie is there and commenting, with young children at home and all, things must not be all that bad. Sure there's concrete everywhere, but still, she seems a bit more impressed and grateful than one might expect after all these years.

Personally, I haven't seen Katie since we spent a day together on a trout stream, a few years ago, so who am I to know what she's thinking right now. Could it be she's coming back from the far left, just a tad, towards the middle? Could it be that this surge thing is really showing tangible results over there and she knows it?

Sure hope so, but only time will tell. But I'm liking her drift.

Dragon Boat Racing on the Cumberland River Near Titan Stadium Last Weekend

Really, really fun. And my team which raced for the Cumberland River Compact did quite well. What else can you do in 100 degree heat? So glad I let myself get talked into it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Recent Pieces for Pajamas Media

As I go about the tedious job of setting up this new blogsite--same name as before but with a different URL---after losing all access to my first, I want to bring a few things over that I did in the past. While you may certainly still go to the old blogsite, Webutante, I can no longer get in there to publish anything, including comments. That means if you comment over there, it will never get published.

But you may certainly comment here at Webutante, the sequel. Thoughtful comments from all sides of the spectrum are always welcome. I know it will take a while for many of my old readers to find me at this new address, but I'm happy to be back up and running nonetheless.

FYI, here are two pieces I had the pleasure and privilege of writing this year for PajamasMedia:

First, the piece I did in June on Al Gore.

Then the piece I did last week on Fred Thompson.

I appreciate the chance that both Roger Simon, founder-in-chief of Pajamas/ blogger, and Gerard Van der Leun, erstwhile editor-in-chief/ blogger, gave me after I got off the river, out of the woods and onto the wilderness of the Web.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Leona Helmsley's "Shocking" Will

A great hubbub is being made in the news today about Leona Helmsley's $12,000,000 bequest to her dog, Trouble. It's further reported as "shocking" that two of her grandchildren were left money while two others were "stiffed" in her will, even as she left billions to charity.

How perfectly scandalous!

All this is somehow designed to prove her well-established reputation as the ever-evil "Queen of Mean." I mean when was a law made that people had to remember all children and grandchildren alike and leave out pets in their wills if we so choose? I would hope that I will never do such a thing, but who's to say the reasoning behind her decision. It might be a perfectly sensible thing she's done, for all anyone knows.

Leona may be one tough broad, but it's not because of the details of her last will and testament made public yesterday, in my opinion.

I just can't get too wigged out about this "horrifying" story, try as I may. Except for the scale of her wealth, I think it's more of a ho-hum sign of our postmodern times and societal affluence, than further proof positive of any particular demonic qualities on her part. Don't rich old ladies get to worship, idolize and adore their poodles in peace anymore?

And I mean, how many other people in the world do you know who've made their dogs and other pets the focal point---as in c-e-n-t-e-r of the universe---of their lives today? It's almost like they've given up on people and centered their lives, conversations and priorities around something easier.

Don't get me wrong, I love dogs, adore them! My first horseback ride was on the back of my father's old bird dog setter who patiently endured my nonstop abuse, complete with handmade bridle, day in and day out for several years. I grew up with these wonderful animals and my erstwhile husband and I had family pets for our children for decades.

But that was still in the days when dogs were dogs and people were, well, still people. And there were still delineations between the animal and people kingdoms. Children were seen and not heard, and one's dog was never the ongoing topic of polite conversation among adults.

But it's just not that way anymore. The boundaries of society are sadly breaking down and Leona's will is just one small, shining example of our changing subjective priorities.

The real story down the road, I predict, will be someone with lots of money deciding they want to make a legal issue of marrying their dog, instead of just living with and leaving it money I'm not kidding. Someone else will make a hullabaloo of getting government benefits for their significant other who just happens to be Fido.

We may laugh now, but mark my words, it's coming. And by the time it happens, it'll be a lot less shocking than we think it is now.

So while $12,000,000 is going to make Trouble one of the richest, if not the richest dogs in Manhattan, it's also a testament to Leona's priorities in a culture where priorities have gone mad.

If we're truthful, how many people do we know who might leave their pooches a lot more money when they died, if only they had the money to leave? Some might even choose their dogs over the children and grandchildren, like Leona.

Think what that's going to do to line the pockets of lawyers.

I can just see the headlines now: Human grandchildren of Omaha go to court contesting will of of their grandmother who left the bulk of her estate to the first cousin of her grand-dog once removed.

Now that's shocking.

These Small Hours

Recent Note from a Commenter

All bloggers love comments, and the more thoughtful the better. It's what make this blogging gig more fun. I note my commenter asks if I'm getting tired of blogging because I haven't done as much original posting lately. My answer's simple: I've been outside much of the summer, and on the road recently for almost two weeks. I hope to get my groove back as I get settled and the weather begins to crispen up. But for now, I'll use his e-mail as a guest post:


Amidst the gloom and doom domination of many commentators, I want to forward this as an opinion on the economic outlook.

You will recall I have been a cheerleader for the Bush economy, which for whatever reason is largely ignored in the MSM. It is not farfetched to see a world boom, with more of the world being boosted into particpation in the capitalist system. In fact it's bound to happen. We are leaders of the economic world and if pro-growth policies are promoted here the entire world ratches up a notch or two. The danger is always political, and if the left in this country can keep getting acceptance of their idea that only the wealthy have prospered under Bush there's a risk that they can wreck our growth.

We are in transitory times that are hardly understood by many commentators. With shifts in the economic landscape it easy to dwell on the people, industries, areas that are losing ground.

The point is we should be focused on the real upward trend of worldwide prosperity. Think about it, there are Chinese who have scrapped their bikes and bought cars. Only stupid political decisions can derail this movement.

I check your blog fairly regularly and note you are presenting things from other bloggers more often. Are you getting tired? I hope not, I have enjoyed your columns on personal experiences, don't let that go.

It just occurred to me that last year I told you the Republicans would keep the Senate, bear that in mind while mulling my opinions!


Thanks. I shall remember, Paul. But the point is well taken and I definitely agree with most of what you've said. And I'll try to do more original posting as I get this sequel back up and running.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Background: Being on the Wrong End of a Phish Hook: It's a Long Story

As some know and others don't want to know, I've been a fly fisher woman and professional fly fishing guide in the West for a number of years. It is a passion that I've been fortunate to participate in for over two decades.

Among other things, I believe God speaks to us through our passions, as well as our brokenness. Fly fishing is one of the great passions of my life. (It's something I would have never, ever expected or even heard of in my younger days as a housewife, mother, newspaper reporter, and citizen of my little corner of my world.) Life has a way of bringing us curve balls and surprises when we least expect it.

Whether I catch fish on any given day or not, I love, adore, being outside on a trout stream, standing in wild water, listening to the sounds of the currents, feeling the wind in my face, watching for wildlife, alone or with a friends almost more than anything else on earth.

Being with other people face-to-face in the great outdoors--- whether hiking, fishing, golfing, playing tennis---outside of drugs, sex, alcohol and rock and roll---is one of the healthiest, fun ways, I know to build strong relationships. We take far too many short-cuts on the road to building lasting relationships in our culture today. Short-cuts and quick and false intimacy on the front end causes all kinds of suffering, guilt and heartache on the back end. I say this from experience. But I digress.

In addition to personal and profession growth through fly fishing, I came to learn about the environment in which I chose to live and work. For all the pluses, there were also dangers that had to be taken constantly into account: injury and even blindness from fish hooks, strong currents, quicksand, grizzly bears and dangerous lightning strikes in high altitudes that could come from nowhere. I made my share of mistakes along the way and learned from them. But, I always prayed for safety, and believe I survived and prospered by the Grace of God.
The point is that I learned the lay of the land in the land and profession that I chose after leaving the city far behind. I learned the hazards and the strengths slowly over time and came to be at home with both.

I thought fly fishing was the great surprise passion of my life and nothing would ever come close again to what I found so unexpectedly, when friends literally dragged me out West on a horse pack trip oh so many years ago, I like to say against my will.

That is, until last year in the spring of 2006 on Interstate 81 while driving from Washington, D.C. where I had been in school for two semesters back to Nashville, Tennessee.

I stopped for the night at a little mom-and-pop motel where I took my laptop and plugged it into a land line to check my e-mails, the news and go to one of my favorite bookmarks, Instapundit. The computer moved slowly to Glenn's site. When I got there, one of his little one-liners caught my eye---something about the National Geographic and their celebration of the newly published "Gospel of Judas." It came with a link, so I clicked on it. In a slow flash, I was transported to a new site, one that I had never seen before called American Digest. I read the post and then read it again. The writer could clearly write. I read the piece still again. I had never been exposed to such good writing on the Internet. Who was this writer and what was his website about?
Webutante, on the left, and my oldest fly fishing girlfriend, Edie, after a glorious day on the river this summer. We're evenly matched with dry flies, but sometimes, just sometimes, she can whoop me on a streamer when the sun, the temperature, the moon, the barometric pressure, the stock market and interests rates all line up juuuuuust right..... ..

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunday, It's Good To Be Back

This past week has been challenging to say the least. At the moment I'm not inclined to talk a lot about it, except to say last Wednesday morning, I lost access to my blog, Webutante, and any and all ability to write, edit and publish posts and comments there, maybe forever. I thank God for some good help from computer geniuses here in getting this new site up and running so quickly.

One day I hope I can look back and laugh at myself and the stupid hook I took last week from a phisherman. But right now I'm still irked with myself and the kinds of people who have nothing better to do in life than to make trouble for others, just for the fun of it.

Below, Tim Keller, senior pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and a man I admire greatly, talks briefly about three ways to living life in a postmodern culture: