Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Pick for All Time Scariest Movie

When I was much younger, this was the scariest movie I ever saw. It literally frightened the wits out of me. Don't go see stuff like this anymore today, but back then it took me weeks to get over it.

I keep losing the YouTube video I put up, so instead, I'll just link to it. Kurt Russell was the best part. I liked him for decades, after seeing him prevail over The Thing in this movie.

Evidently, a new version comes out in 2008. No thanks, once was enough for me.

Leo With His Loyal and Faithful Subjects/Servants

Make that King Leo, the Shih-tzu, who keeps close tabs on one of my oldest, best girl friends, Anne, and husband/artist/teacher Bill. They're here from Saluda N.C. for the week painting in Leiper's Fork. We're having too much fun with catch up and a plein air paint-a-thon, they using oils, and I, watercolors.

Presidential Candidate Sex Shocka About to Break?

Evidently the LA Times and every media person in the know in D.C. is aware of a story that's about to break wide open on a scandalous liason involving one of the Presidential candidates.

The LA Times is being coy about rolling the presses on this one, but Ron Rosebaum has something about it here.

Why would the Times and the MSM tip toe around this story, unless it's one of their media darlings and a Democrat?

I have no informed guesses, but my mind automatically goes to Bill, as in Bill Clinton, who must be having to adjust his attitude over the prospects of being first consort to wife Hillary, should she win the 2008 election. Then maybe it's Rudy, Fred or Obama or Silky Pony.

But the person who has the most to lose, and the greatest distance to fall at this point would have to be Hillary. Anyone else is really smaller potatoes.

Only time and the Times will tell.

It's scandalous! Perfectly scandalous.

My Southern Biases, Again, Ya'll


In the scheme of things, it may never be considered earth-shaking by masses of people. And while a few might call it an egregious error, others would scoff it off as trifling, insignificant and much ado about nothing.

Me, I think the world may one day revolve around resolving the age-old dilemma: Is "you all" hyphenated into y'all or ya'll?

In other words, is the apostrophe to the right or the left of the letter a in the string of letters Y-A-L-L?

I was confronted yesterday by my glaring error of commission, or is it omission? by a commenter in my Pajamas piece on Ari Fleischer and was forced to face my indiscretion with eyes wide open and look at my biases, yet again.

I had spelled the aforementioned word ya'll as in "Shalom, ya'll," in quoting Fleischer in the article. But a commenter privately and nicely wondered in an e-mail to me if it wasn't really y'all?

Fair enough question, especially correctly spells it y'all. Oh yes they do.

After sleeping on it all night, I awoke fresh and unrepentant: Indeed, I think the correct spelling of this here word is y'all. And I know I spelled it, or misspelled it in the colloquial ya'll, in my piece. And I'll bet Ari---aka R.E. or Ari Bob---spells it y'all as well since he's from the north.

However and nonetheless, I've decided to remain steadfast in my error. I take my stand forever on the right side of the letter "a!" I take my stand for ya'll, ya'll.

Yes, I'm glad the Union won the Civil War. Glad we freed slaves and gave everyone, including women, the right to vote. Glad General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox. Glad for electricity, running water, flush toilets, cell phones and computers, and a lot of other things as well.

But I'm not glad that the correct spelling of ya'll is supposedly y'all.

It must have been sneaked into the dictionary by some left leaning, politically correct linguist from the North, is all I can say. And I don't care how Ari Fleischer, George Bush, Fred Thompson Dolly Parton or Condoleezza Rice spells it,

I'm sticking by my guns on this one! It's ya'll all the way.

And that's all I have to say for now from the right side of the letter a, ya'll.

Crazy Aunt Purl weighs in.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Writing Today At Pajamas Media

It's always fun to write for Pajamas Media, and doing this piece is no exception.

Meeting Ari Fleischer recently here in Nashville, along with this new and growing block of Jewish Republican voters moving from left to center and right of center, is truly heartening.

Without a doubt, this was the most fun and vibrant political event I've ever attended and I want to thank my friend and fellow conservative Mike Jones for getting me there. I was a doubter before I attended, but now all I can say is:

"Shalom, Ya'll.

Thanks also to all the terrific editors at Pajamas Media----from LA and Hollywood to Barcelona and Tel Aviv--- for the great job they're doing with writer/bloggers like me, and for the global conservative network they're providing at this most important time in our history.

Is it just me, or is the world axis starting to tilt right?

Thanks to founder, Senior Editor and CEO Roger L. Simon, and his astute editor/writers/bloggers Aaron Hanscom, Jose Guardia, and Allison Kaplan Sommer, just to name a few, literally all around the world. I'm honored to be a new member of your network.

And thanks also to Gerard for giving me my first chance at writing for Pajamas


Monday, October 29, 2007

Porter Wagoner, 1927-2007

Dolly takes it home for Porter. Details.

Reverse 911 and A Double Murder, Execution-Style in the Neighborhood

UPDATE: Late Monday afternoon prime murder suspect, Jason Bobo, was arrested, by U.S. Marshalls and members of the Metro S.W.A.T. team. Bobo was found hiding in an attic. One down, two to go. Details.


Murder, brutal murder, is not usually fodder for my blog, unless it happens within two blocks of where I live. Two tragic killings; I need to get it off my chest. Today has been sadder and busier than usual, but I hope to be back to the computer in a little while.

When I finish this post, I want to say more about the Second Amendment and self-defense. Oh yes I do.


My phone rang sometime after 11 pm last Friday night. I was fast asleep and awoke startled and pricked my ears to listen to the voice that began speaking to my answering machine. It was a message I had never heard before:

"This is the Metro Police Department calling with a message of vital interest to you and your family. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR HOME AT THIS TIME. We repeat, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR HOME AT THIS TIME. We will notifiy you as soon as it is safe for you to leave your home again. Goodbye....." Click.

What in the world was going on?

Obviously a prank of some kind, or a computer glitch at the Police Department. Whatever, it couldn't be anything to get worked up about. I then turned over and promptly fell back asleep.

Until, that is, the phone rang and woke me up again, an hour or two later with yet another message:

"This is the Metro Police Department with a message of vital interest....... IT IS NOW SAFE for YOU TO LEAVE YOUR HOME.....We repeat, IT IS NOW SAFE FOR YOU TO LEAVE YOUR HOME. Goodbye....." Click.

What on earth was going on? Didn't the police have anything better to do with their time? I could image what other messages they had on that tape. Then without further ado, I turned over and fell asleep again, for the rest of the night.

In the morning, my next door neighbor, Martha, met me on the steps outside, "What did you think of those calls last night?"

"What in the world were they, Martha?"

"They're called reverse 911 calls. The Police Department now has the ability on its computers to call large numbers of people to warn them of some impending danger. We all got those calls. You, me, everyone in the complex. There were two awful murders---execution style---over at the pizza place on White Bridge Road next to Pier One and the murderers escaped. And I think they're still at large....... "

"After the calls I looked outside and in your door, but all your lights were out, so I figured you were asleep......"

"Yeah, I went back to sleep, both times. But why would they call us and say it was safe to leave our homes if the guys were still at large and loose in the neighborhood?"

We looked at each other and said in unison...."Beats me."



At approximately 10:30 pm Friday night, three armed gunmen walked into the front door Bellacinos's Pizza on White Bridge Road and ordered the two pizza employees on duty to get on the floor, face down, with their hands behind their backs.

Both men evidently immediately obliged the gunmen.

The bandits then proceeded to rake between $3,000 and $6,000 out of the cash register and the safe.

Then they went over to the two pizza employees on the floor----one an 18-year-old high school senior and the other the 30-year old manager, and shot them both in the back of the head, killing them instantly.

The killers fled out the back door. As they rushed out, they dropped almost all money they had stolen. Then they disappeared into the night. The police later identified the prime suspect as a former disgruntled employee. Evidently, the suspect had worked there for a while last summer, but then was let go after being caught stealing.

This was a crime of revenge by a disgruntled former employee. With a gun. With an attitude. And evidently with no conscience whatsoever. Police say the men intended to kill the pizza employees. In other words, it was premeditated murder.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Vignette

"Look here; isn't one going to be allowed to go on painting?"

"Looking comes first."

"But I've had my look! I've seen just what I want to do. God---I wish I'd thought of bringing my things with me.

The Spirit shook his head, scattering light from his hair as he did so. 'That sort of thing's no good here.' he said.

"What do you mean?" said the Ghost.

"When you painted on earth----at least in your earlier days----it was because you caught glimpses of Heaven in the earthly landscape. The success of your painting was that it enabled others to see the glimpses too. But here you are having the thing itself.....There is no good telling us about this country, for we see it already. In fact we see it better than you do."

"Then there's never going to be any point to painting here?"

"Why, if you're interested in the country only for the sake of painting it, you'll never learn to see, to experience the country....and it's not how you began. Light itself was your first love: you loved paint only as a means of telling about light."

"Oh that was ages ago," said the Ghost. "One grows out of that. Of course, you haven't seen my later works. One becomes more and more interested in paint for its own sake."

"One does indeed. I also had to recover from that. It was all a snare. Ink and catgut and paint were necessary down there, but they are also dangerous stimulants. Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells, to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him.....They sink lower---become interested in their own personalities and then in nothing but their own reputations."

"I don't think I'm much troubled in that way," said the Ghost stiffly.

"That's excellent," said the Spirit. "Not many of us had quite got over it when we first arrived. But if there is any of that inflammation left it will be cured when you come to the fountain."

"What fountain's that?"

"It's up there in the mountains," said the Spirit. "Very cold and clear, between two green hills. A little like Lethe. When you have drunk of it you forget forever all proprietorship in your own works. You enjoy them just as if they were someone else's: without pride and without modesty."

"That'll be grand," said the Ghost without enthusiasm.

"Well come," said the Spirit, "let us go to the fountain in the mountains, let us go........."

"But one must be content with one's reputation on earth among posterity.....," said the Ghost.

"My friend, don't you know?" said the Spirit.

"Know what?"

"That you and I are already completely forgotten on the Earth......"

"I must be off at once," said the Ghost. "Let me go, damn it all, one has one's duty to the future of Art. I must go back to my friends. I must write an article....We must start a periodical....have publicity......Let me go!"

And without listening to the Spirit's reply, the spectre vanished.

----C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tussy Mussy or Is It Mussy Tussy?

It's way too late and I'm far too sleepy to figure it out tonight, but tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow......

UPDATE: This is a photo of a fellow lady passenger with a lovely bouquet she called "Tussy Mussy," standing on the train platform with her husband and me before daylight in Rhinebeck, N.Y several weekends ago. We were waiting for the Amtrak to speed us down the Hudson River to Penn Station.

She had made this herself from herbs and flowers in her garden (including sage, thyme, parsley, marigolds, clover, bachelor buttons and white anemones) as a gift for her daughter in New York City. We were both going into the City to early church----they to St. John the Divine, where her daughter was to dance that morning, and I to Redeemer Presbyterian to hear Tim Keller, one of my favorite pastors in America, preach the Gospel. I was joined for church by Whit and Lauren.

The lady on the platform told me, though Tussy Mussy is mostly associated with weddings today, in early England before the 20th Century it was made and carried---long before air conditioning and air quality control---by ladies as an air freshner and deoderizer from offensive smells when they were in stuffy buildings, unsavory accommodations or travel mode.

I quite like that idea of ladies carrying or wearing little bouquets of sweet smelling herbs and flowers with them whence they go. Seeing her Tussy Mussy certainly brightened the early morning wait, while the rest of the world was fast asleep.

I was totally charmed by this homemade bouquet. And the scent was other worldly.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Did You Know? A Quick Look At Flummery in America

Did you know today's affluent American Diet finds the average person eating:

*****140-150 pounds of sugar and high fructose corn syrup (including "nice" sweets like honey, fruit juices and "fortified" sugar water) per year? It's so ubiquitious that I won't elaborate here, though we can start with our morning coffee mocha lattes?

*****200 pounds of flour and grain products (including bread, pretzels, pasta, English muffins and bagels, oat meal, enriched cereals, cakes, muffins and breakfast foods.)?

*****130 pounds of potatoes and potato products including potato chips?

*****27 pounds of corn?

*****the unknown but large amount of lactose sugar found in milk, ice cream and many other dairy products?

Each one of the foods above (and there are many more of them) screams to our bodies for lots and lots of insulin, manufactured in the pancreas, to appropriately deal with them: to turn it into useful, productive energy.

After our body screams long and loud enough, starting in childhood, for the higher and higher quantites of insulin it requires day in and day out, sometimes the pancreas gets exhausted and completely quits without prior notice. Or it starts to work only part-time.

It's here all the trouble begins---the symptons, the lump in the breast, the weight gain, the mood changes , sleep problems and depression---just for starters......From there it can go downhill fairly quickly as we enter the medical/pharmceutical world looking for relief of our symptons, rather than rock bottom root causes. We want a pill to do it all, and it never can and never will.

We are killing ourselves with sugary, floury, milky kindness. And we're doing it to ourselves and our children now at younger and younger ages, and even in vitro.

But hope is according to Taubes stunning new book, if only we are willing to listen and then slowly take our health back into our own hands.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What If?

What if almost everything we think we know about diet, the causes of disease and putting on those pesky extra pounds is just plain wrong?

What if it's not really about obsessing over too much saturated fat and high cholesterol, consuming too many calories and exercising too little, after all? (And I'm not saying we shouldn't exercise!)

What if there's a weapon of mass destruction inside each of our bodies, waiting like a time bomb to explode into any one of the following physical or emotional disorders: type II diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimers, cancer, depression, asthma, hyperactivity, ulcerative colitis, migraine headaches, crippling arthritis, weak bones, low immune function, sleep disorders, low energy and finally, obesity?

What if every single one of the above diseases is a different manifestation of the same thing and caused by the same root culprit?


Now Gary Taubes has come out with a book that seeks to answer these questions with a single, definitive answer. He documents that answer with over 250 years worth of scientific research that begs to differ with conventional wisdom of our post-modern world.

The answer to the question of what's the root cause of all the above diseases is: a sustained over abundance of high blood sugar in our bloodsteams. High blood sugar lingers in our bloodstreams instead of being used as energy by our bodies cells.

All this comes about because we consume high levels of simple sugars and carbohydrates, day in and day out for months, years, decades than our body's insulin supply can deal with. Our diets are using up all of our insulin and wearing out our pancreases. When our ability to make insulin decreases, or completely disappears, and we continue to eat the Standart American diet, our blood sugar stays perpetually high and we get chronically and acutely sick, over-weight or depressed. Or we get all of the above.

It's all about blood sugar and its relationship to insulin.

The book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, is a landmark study and research project taking over 7 years to meticulously research and complete, and goes back to the Middle Ages to document. It a book of major importance to anyone who's been searching for answers while their symptoms (or weight gain) or those of their loved ones have only gotten worse and harder to control.

Be aware, it goes against conventional wisdom, and the political correctness of eating and bonding with our brothers and sisters. It goes against our long-standing habits.

Most if not all manifestations of disease in our affluent society are caused by eating far, far too many sugary foods and drinks including fruit drinks, far too many wheat products and grains of all kinds, and far, far too many carbs, be they simple or complex. All these taken together are creating the perfect storm for crippling disease, lower and lower quality of life, financial decline and finally death.

And many, if most doctors don't have a clue.

There's much more to say about Taubes book, but for now, here's a little video on the place where the hormone/protein insulin is made: to handle all the high blood sugar we make.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Good Calories, Bad Calories

Why is it on the very day you want nothing more to do than sit at your computer and write, write, write madly, uninterrupted for hours, it's the very day that's filled to the brim with prior commitments in all directions leading away from where you most want to be? You feel fortunate to snatch even a few moments at the keyboard?

So it is for me today.

Never mind. Blog this I will, over the next few days, God willing. Whatever it takes to get the word out to my one or two readers about Gary Taubes' stunning new book Good Calories, Bad Calories, Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control and Disease.

Before I get started though, let me say I'm not wild about the title because to the casual observer, it looks like just another faddish diet book. And it's not. Not by a long, long shot.

This, in my opinion, is the most important, thoroughly researched, scientifically based book on the subject of food, the causes of weight gain, disease, mood disorders, depression, sleep disorders and energy that may have ever been written. It's a book for scientists, doctors, psychologists, criminologists, dietitians and anyone who is sick and tired of being sick and tired.

And that's an understatement.

My question is: Have we suffered enough living by conventional wisdom of eating?

The sad part is that though the truths in this book have been documented for generations and even centuries, there will be such resistance to them from the 'powers that be' who have vested interests in keeping things the way they are today. The medical/pharmaceutical/food industries just to name a few. But more about that later.

A commenter from my post yesterday named Mark guessed the name of the book I was referring to yesterday with this:

"Prediction: The book is "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes, and it is the single best volume on the subject I've ever read, bar none. Taubes started the popular inquiry into refined carbs in the American diet six years ago with a groundbreaking article in the New York Times Magazine. His new effort is exhaustively researched, free of ideology, and draws conclusions that seem obvious, when you think about them."

Thanks, Mark. Couldn't agree more. Back to the computer as soon as I can.

Get ready for politically incorrect wisdom on the subject of eating our way back to better health.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rain, Rain, Stay A While

I'm about to turn in for the night, but not without feeling and sharing a deep gratitude for the steady rain we've gotten here all day. The forecast is for more rain tonight and on and off for the next few days. Atlanta and lots of the Mid-South is getting it too. Not a minute too soon. No amount is too much at this point.

The sound of rain on a tin roof used to be one of my favorite sounds. Tonight I'm happy with the sounds on my open window sill. Soothing, cooling, neutralizing. Best sleeping weather ever.

Just hope Southern California and the Southwest gets some relief soon. I've lived through several mega fires in the West over the years---including the great Yellowstone fires of 1988 that came within four miles of my evacuated cabin with hundreds of firefighters, helicopters and napalm bombs swarming and going off all over the place---and can only say there are few things as horrific as going through such a hellish event.



Food, Weight and Disease

Every so often a book comes along that seems so important to me that I drop what I'm doing and pour over it in a state of magnificent obsession. Everything else gets put on the back burner.

And so it was last week, after accidentally hearing an interview on CNN---which I rarely watch--- with an author who has written a ground breaking book on diet, weight and disease. I found what he was saying to be so right-on from my own experience, that I was overjoyed to finally be hearing it on the tellie, or anywhere for that matter. I then promptly went out and found this newly published book and have since waded though it. It's highly scientific and laborious to read, but I managed to finish it late yesterday afternoon.

A couple of my readers have e-mailed me from time to time to say I appear to be in pretty good shape for my age (39, next question) and would I talk about my fitness and diet program in a blog post or two? I've always chosen to forgo such self-serving chatter even though I have opinions on the subject and have never written anything on it until now. One thing's for sure, although I exercise, hike and live an active lifestyle, I am anything but a body-Nazi. If anything, I'm the way I am because I live the findings that this book recommends and have for years now.

I'll name the book tomorrow and begin the job of sharing the salient points and how in my opinion they relate to weight, mood, disease and obesity.

If we think the science of global warming is controversial and political, we have no idea of the history of the politics and science of food and its relation to obesity and disease.

Come to think of it, maybe even Al Gore could benefit from the information in this new book. However it's not politically correct eating, so maybe he won't.

A Political Moment, Then Changing the Subject This Week

There are only a few things I can blog about with some small authority (and I will get to one of those this week). Other things I blog because I'm interested in researching or find them fascinating to write about and give my attention to.

When I blog about politics, I'm doing it from a sense more than anything else.

Take, for instance, the gut feeling I've had for months that Hillary will be elected the next President of the United States. Rudy, Fred, John and Mitt---however fine they come across as candidates---will never be elected, no matter how much they spend, how good they look, how smart they come across or how much I wish it to be otherwise.

I believe the country is ready to experiment with a woman in the White House, and why not a woman who's already spent eight years there? To be sure, Hillary was there only as First Lady. Nevertheless she knows her way around to some extent and this is and will be reassuring to the American people.

In the end, I believe no matter what the facts, what the scandal, Hillary's election will be primarily an irrational decision by the American public and will be based on familiarity more than style or substance. Even though it may get embarrassing, we know what to expect from Bill. And will undoubtedly keep talk show hosts in the money for years.

I woke up this morning to see that my sense is shared by others, far better informed than I.

I quail to think how much time, effort and money will be spent to change what I see as inevitable. Of course, there could always be unexpected acts of God that may drastically change the political landscape, for instance, Bill Clinton getting sick, or dying. A mega-nuclear event, or some other catastrophic happening that in a moment would change the course of our lives and history as we know it. It's certainly not out of the realm of possibility, just ask Mr. "I'm-A-Dinner-Jacket."

But short of that happening, I believe it's Hillary all the way, and there's nothing we, or even Al Gore, can do about it. So hold onto your wallets, swallow hard and get your house in order for whatever comes from Hillary in the White House, starting in January of 2009.

We might as well go on and get it over with.


On the other hand, I must say this gives me great hope for America. To think, Jindal was elected in Louisiana. Maybe it takes intense suffering to elect someone like this.

Read this recent New Yok Times article on Jindal.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday: Gator Quarterback Tim Tebow, An Athlete and Role Model for Our Time

"Then I got up there and preached. They’re all interested in seeing me and hearing me after hearing I’m from Florida and the national championship. They’re all wanting to hear what we had to say. It was awesome. You’re talking to guys who don’t have much to look forward to in life there. They made some bad decisions and they’re in there. A lot don’t have much hope or anything to look at as positive. I said, ‘Everyone looks at you all like you’re nothing. I’m here to share with you all that you’re no different than I am. You just made a few bad choices, and that doesn’t make you any worse of a person or God doesn’t love you any less now. You just have to have to some of the consequences for your actions. That still doesn’t mean that God loves you any less. He still wants to have a personal relationship with you."
--Tim Tebow, on speaking to a group of men in prison

HG, my football /baseball/all things sports correspondent, knows everything there is to know about things of which I know next to nothing. When he starts filling me in on the GREATS of footballdom, I best be listening. (Do I really have a choice when we're in the car together? Of course not!)

He picked me up last night to go to dinner---since there was no home game of interest within a hundred mile radius---with the Florida-Kentucky game blaring on the radio. When we arrived at the restaurant, we sat in his truck in the parking lot, listening to the last few minutes of the game which saw Florida take it away from Kentucky 45-37. Even I found it exciting.

Then our conversation turned to Tim Tebow:

"You know Tebow's history, don't you? And that he was home schooled by his mom, all the way through high school? But he was allowed to play football on a Florida high school team anyway?" he queried me.

While I had heard of Tim Tebow, all relavant facts had gone in one ear and out the other. So my ears pricked up.

"Home schooled, really? There's got to be evangelical parents there somehow," I said.

"You're probably right, but I don't know anything about that," HG replied. Of course, he didn't know anything about that, but he did tell me a lot about this outstanding young man and quarterback for Florida that I found fascinating.

When I got home later last night, I googled Tim and was not disappointed in what I discovered. He was born in 1987 in the Phillipines and is the sixth son of missionary parents who among other things run an orphanage there. His mother, an evangelical Christian, did indeed homeschool him through the 12th grade.

So without further ado, for my Sunday post, I give you an interview Q&A with Tim done by Pete Thamel and published in the NYT's The Quad several weeks ago.

It's men like Tim Tebow that keep me interested in college sports. Thanks HG, for bringing him to my attention.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Saturday, Still Turner After All These Years

Joseph Mallord William Turner's The Battle of Trafalgar is currently on exhibit in the West Wing of the National Gallery, Washington, D.C.

The battle depicts one of Britain's finest hours against the French and Spanish fleets in 1805. It could remind me of this.

Back to Turner: though his historical and commissioned magnus opuses, like the one above which took him several years to complete, don't thrill me nearly as much as his little watercolor studies, and landscapes, I still like them for what they are. But it's his tiny watercolor gems---often studies he did quickly to prepare for the big stuff---that really takes my breath away.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yesterday, A Robbery and A Pot of Soup

Yesterday started out like a welcome humdrum day back home, after a two week drive-a-thon on the East Coast. I looked forward an ordinary routine once the car was unloaded, bags unpacked and my condo was back in reasonble order. I relished getting back to humdrum.

Slept a little later than my usual 5 am wake-up, then fell into my favorite time-of-day with a great cup of coffee, devotional, quick perusal of the print edition of Investors Business Daily and then an unoriginal blog post. With my mind still decelerating from the trip, two YouTube videos seemed adequate enough for the day.

Since I was was ready for a home cooked meal, I set my sights and to do list on the kitchen. It was time to make a big pot of soup---the best way I know to ground myself after a long journey and too much eating out. My daughter was coming by later and so I prepared to brew a favorite concoction, chicken-vegetable soup with everything-but-the-kitchen-sink thrown in.

With only a few onions and carrots, olive oil and a box of baking soda rolling around in my empty frig, I made a list and ran for the car and the Kroger nearby. I love getting in and out of a newly stocked grocery store, early in the morning.

There's also something wickedly, deliciously appealing about having a open, empty parking lot, with only a handful of vehicles in the wee hours of the morning to yourself. It thrills me no end and gives a (false) sense of triumph over the ravages of our post modern world, something akin to outwitting the grim reaper a little while longer.

Woman enters almost empty parking lot.

Here as I closed my car door with my sights set on the okra/roma tomato departments that the excitement began:

Suddenly a man running as fast as he could with a BIG plastic bag burst out of the front doors of Kroger.

Next, three other men---all Kroger employees I recognized----ran out in hot pursuit. The quiet, empty parking lots had suddenly become a playing field.

I stood paralyzed watching to see what would happen next.

Just as the Kroger men nearly caught up with the robber, the bad guy tossed his bag in the bed of a BIG black pickup truck, jumped in the cab, power-locked the doors, revved his big engine and lifted off, going from zero to 30 in a split second.

NASA's space program had suddenly come to my Kroger parking lot. I was speechless, motionless.

The Kroger men continued to chase the truck until it turned out on the four-lane road and was last seen disappearing into the.... sunrise.
I'd just witnessed a robbery complete with NASCAR-type escape in huge black pick-up which looked and sounded like it was driven by Darth Vader. The good guys finally gave up their chase and turned to go back towards the store. They were pumped.

But, what was in the bag? Had the man escaped with thousands of dollars of small unmarked bills? And who was speeding away from my Kroger, down Harding Road, at this time of the morning?
What had happened inside, before I'd arrived?


Now, the rest of the story.

The robber sped off with a big bag of what? It wasn't money, thank goodness. And as far as anyone at Kroger knows, it was not an armed robbery. However, it was a still robbery, complete with cat and mouse antics all the way.

So let's see, what would a fairly big man, mid-thirties, in a big, shiny new black pick-up truck with Georgia license plates most want to eat or have someone fix, early in the morning?

If you guessed steak, roast and fillet, you'd be right. No eggs in the bounty evidently, but there was a large haul of red meat.

It was a high protein felony where the robber got away, I got and paid for the ingredients of the soup, and the fellows at Kroger got some morning exercise. They told me Saturday that though they reported the steak caper to the police, he's not been caught and is still on the loose. So be forwarned, a steak thief is still on the prowl and may be coming to a grocery /parking lot near you.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Emergency Landing: Ever Wonder What You'd Do In A Car, In This Situation?

Think I'd yield the right-of-way as soon as possible if I were meandering down this dirt road in a car. The bigger the plane, the faster the approach, the quicker I'd hop-to-it if I were on the ground! Suppose he ran out of gas, or what?

And what if you saw THIS coming towards you in a car?

Because it's raining here in Middle Tennessee early this morning, I was looking for a rain video, but instead happened upon these videos and was transfixed!

All I can say, is all's well that ends well.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Putin and 'I'm-A-Dinner-Jacket' in Iran

UPDATE: Bush warns on Wednesday of World War III if Iran goes nuclear. He doesn't mince words.

And neither does Mr. "I'm-A-Dinner-Jacket."

To wit, let us remember on September 17, Mr. Ahmadinejad prophesied once again: "The world is now at an historic turning point." The history of the West, he said, has reached its end, and the appearance of the Hidden Imam, heralding the era of Islamic Shi'ite rule, was nigh. He therefore called on the nations of the world to rise up against the hegemony of the West, headed by the U.S., and predicted the imminent collapse of Israel, which he called "Satan's standard-bearer."

Mr. A's words send a chill through my bones, because I know he really believes these thoughts and wants to facilitate the great end times conflagration his Muslim Shi'ite belief system portends.

He's sounding more and more like Mr. "I'm-A-Straight-Jacket" who's ready to go nuts as soon as he can get his hands on some nuclear play dough. Very scary stuff for the free world and for Israel.

Things are definitely chumming up in the Middle East. Add to this winsome twosome the ever-charming Hugo Chavez---rumored to be flirting with a conversion to Islam---and the the course of our Presidential election next year may forever change

Ask yourself: Who would these world-class oppressive thug/dictators most want us to elect as President next year? Least want us to elect? And why?

They couldn't possibly want who I will want next year. Not possible.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tuesday: Conservation Verses Environmentalism

Since I posted this butterfly yesterday, I've been cogitating on my life as a conservationist over the past 27, or so, years, and how different I feel today about the meanings of the words "conservationist" as opposed "environmentalist." I also want to comment on how Al Gore is the inevitable outgrowth of the environmental movement. Like him or not, he's doing his job: He's a hell, fire and brimstone preacher/prophet of a new (false) post-modern religion.

I still much prefer being called a conservationist, though today I'm even cooling to that movement somewhat as it too moves more to the left.


Rare butterfly sighted in Falcon State Park in southern Texas after 70 years. It's a rare telea hairstreak. Good news for the environmental doomsdayers?

Meanwhile, one naysayer takes on Al and his theory of man-made global warming.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Short Sunday Message: Having a Longer View

2 Corinthians 8, from Walk Thru the Bible this week:

We should follow Christ's example and be generous toward others.

INSIGHT: One of the marks of maturity is the ability to put off immediate reward for the sake of a future goal. Likewise, the willingness to put off temporal reward for the sake of eternal reward is a good mark of Christian maturity. The Scriptures teach that someday we must all appear before the bema seat of Christ. In ancient Greece, the bema was the grandstand where judges gave out honors to the winners of athletic competitions. Thus, it is before the divine "bema" that we will all appear. If we compete according to the eternal rules, we will gain the honor of reward from the eternal Judge. As Paul wrote, we must set our minds "on things above, not on things on the earth" (Colossians 3:2)
Am on my way to McLean Bible Church this morning. Here is Lon Solomon's, the Senior Pastor, amazing testimony of his conversion to Christ back in the 70s when he was a student at the University of North Carolina and living the wild life. Don't miss it, if you haven't heard it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Swooning Over J.M.W. Turner at the National Gallery

This has been a wonderful week for viewing art in both New York and Washington, D.C. for a country girl.

I'm neither a deep intellectual thinker nor a highly sophisticated/cultured artsy type. (Fly fishing and roasting vegetables are another story however.)

But I know what I like and dislike in the way of art, and this week I saw that distinction in sharp contrast and vividly glowing colors.

To wit, I attended the Rembrandt show at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC on Wednesday and left--I'm embarrassed to admit it---before I had finished the entire exhibit.

In all fairness to the Met and Rembrandt, I had walked some 20-30 blocks and was warm before entering the hot, crowded building. And was hungrier than I realized. But the grandeur of this great Dutch master, just didn't connect with me, in spite of my best efforts. I hope to try again one day.

Two days later, I could barely pry myself away from the J. M. W. Turner exhibit in the West Wing of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. I left the building swooning, totally intoxicated with viewing his work, especially his watercolor landscapes on paper. Turner was first and foremost a watercolor artist who took up oil painting only to be taken more seriously and enhance his earning capacity as an artist. He was never a starving artist as he was both creative and financially resourceful with some entrepreneurial spirit thrown in.

But I digress: Turner's watercolor landscapes take my breath away.

So much so that as we left the exhibit, I couldn't bear to go with my good friend, Kay, on to the Edward Hopper exhibit in the East Wing. With all due respect to Hopper, it would have been like eating a pop-tart after a gourmet meal for me.

Indeed at the National Gallery in D.C., I found my one true love, one of the greatest watercolor (and oil) landscape artists and colorists of all time. And that was enough of an art meal to last me for quite some time.

It was as good, if not better, than flying to London and rushing to the Tate to see his work in his home country. If you have a chance, don't miss this exhibit if you have any inclinations towards Turner.

Weekend: Rambling Around Rhinebeck, N.Y. Last Week

Last weekend, 2e and I took a wonderful tour of old Dutch barns in the Hudson Valley around Rhinebeck. Above is the old Astor barn, now owned by photographer Annie Liebowitz. It was last on the tour, where a late afternoon reception ended our touring. Truly a lovely spot.

Of all the things I did, seeing the old Rhinebeck Aerodome with its antique planes, which flew! was a highlight. So much fun and a beautiful day.

Seeing these chickens and that fabulous rooster caused me to stop the car on the barn tour and get out my little Kodak EasyShare.

Love this barn art near the Rhinebeck Aerodome.

Stopped to ask directions from this farmer on the way to find the trailhead. Asked him who he was voting for for President next year. His answer: "Anybody but Hillary."

This year, hiking; next year, baking pies, 2e? I, er, won't hold my breath......Thanks again!

Friday, October 12, 2007

The New Drug Tryphorgettin

Let's not forget Tryphorgettin for Sandy Berger's pant's stuffing stunt at the National Archives. There's much more, but I'm tryphorgettin...

Pessimism in D.C. on the Subject of Iraq over Sushi

Why am I not surprised that after arriving in Washington late Thursday for a few days, just in time to meet friends for dinner, I hear the direst doom and gloom about Iraq over the dinner table?

I've decided if you want to socially bond quickly in D.C. with people you don't know well (although all these people are good friends), then mention Iraq and start talking in hushed, desperate tones, Everyone quickly joins in and begins to moan and groan over the sushi. The tuna is outstanding, the war a desperate failure. It's called trauma bonding.

I can only say over and over again, as I did last night: If you're informed daily by only the Washington Post and New York Times, by ABC, NBC and CBS, then that's all you could ever think. These commercial news outlets are bent on our defeat. Period. They're attempting to re-live the glory days of the Viet Nam era.

And I said there were far more sanguine reports coming out of Iraq on the Internet and various blogs.

Things are indeed tough in Iraq, but far from hopeless. I'm sure I sounded like an idiot from outer space to my friends all of whom are more intellectual and scholarly by a long shot. And of course I could be wrong. I've never been to Iraq.

But I say it again: if you're being informed day in, day out by the Washington Post and the New York Times crowds, you cannot help but think things are beyond hopeless. Pessimism and defeat are de rigeur there, so if you feed daily on these dying behemoths then know you are eating pessimism and defeat.

I said I had some good links at my blog on the War in Iraq.

"I can no longer access you blog," I am told by one dinner partner. He is correct that I lost access to my old blog, but here it is again with a little different URL. I urge him to try to find me again and tell him I will send him the new link, one more time.

So here are four links on my sidebar that may give them and us a second opinion up close and personal on how things are going in Iraq from some of the best and the brightest in Iraq. Well worth reading often and thoroughly:

1)Michael Totten is doing some truly outstanding journalism in Iraq. He's just made a video On Patrol in Ramadi which is well worth watching.

Again, Michael Totten is writing, photoblogging and starting to use video in ways you will never see from Washington or New York. It is first-rate for anyone who will take the time to open their minds to another perspective.

2) Victor Hanson at his blog VDH's Private Papers is just back in the United States after visiting and reporting from Iraq, his second trip since the war. Take time to read "Winning Ugly" on his blog.

In addition, Victor is writing about his impressions in Iraq at Pajamas Media. He has had extraordinary access to generals and ordinary soldiers there and always has good insights in his clear writing and reporting.

3) Teflon Don has just returned from tour of duty in Iraq but is still writing about what he saw and did there. Don't miss his perspective from a soldier's point of view at Acute Politics.

His most recent post refers to the Washington Post's series on neutralizing IEDs in Iraq and well worth reading.


UPDATE: Friday morning I met one of my friends for breakfast and as I was leaving the table he handed me the front page of this morning's New York Times and said, "you know, I think the Times is actually beginning to agree with what you said last night."

I was rather amazed at his admission. It's a fairly optimistic piece.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Table In Heaven with Sirio, Mauro and the Family At Le Cirque

Anyone who knows me knows that celebrity of any kind leaves me lukewarm at best and cold at worst. If you mention the word "celebrity" in the same breath as "restaurant," you can bet I'll be running for the door. Give me a small, intimate restaurant, a table a deux or al fresco or a simple home cooked meal around the dining room table with good friends and real conversation, over some big celebrity restaurant any day.

But Tuesday night I attended with family the New York screening of a new documentary film by Andrew Rossi and Charlie Marquart called A Table in Heaven about Sirio Maccioni and his family---including his wife Egi and three sons Mauro, above right, Mario, and Marco---who run the famed restaurant in New York known as Le Cirque.

Le Cirque is, was and probably always will be a celebrity restaurant run by celebrity restaurateurs. There's no other way to put it. The next night on Wednesday, after attending the screening, we had the pleasure of dining at the new Le Cirque located on the Bloomberg Building on 54th. I had a wonderful dinner and even better time. But I would never have gone there were it not for seeing A Table in Heaven the night before.

The film will only add to the celebrity mystique of the Maccionis, especially of papa Sirio. I was crazy about it because it was an honest portrayal of people being themselves in the best and worst of times. There was never an attempt to squelch the squabbling or their inter-generational struggles, and occasional Italian style commotions. This is a family who is what it is and in the truest sense, long on hard work and even longer on personality.

I didn't expect to like any of them, but I came away wishing I'd been born Italian.

This film is not so much about the evolution of a well-known celebrity restaurant in New York, as the evolution of an Italian family started by the patriarch when he literally got off the boat--a Italian cruise ship he was working on as a waiter--- in New York City.

The restaurant business is only the backdrop to the real story of family, food, feuding and fun. And because of this, it has universal appeal that transcends time and place.

It's Americana at its best. Legal immigration and assimilation at its best. Italian Americana at its most real. And Sirio is the closest thing I'll probably ever come to a real life godfather, Italian patriarch of the first order. And he is a real character---ready, willing and able to tell you what he thinks whether you want to hear it or not. He doesn't mince words.

I liked these people. Liked Sirio, his (adorable) sons and of course the glue that holds the whole family together, Egi. Behind every good Italian family business and household, you can bet there's a good woman. And Egi is it.

If you ever have the chance to see this film, don't miss it--and learn why it's called "a table in heaven"---whether you ever go to Le Cirque or not. Sure glad I did.

Great job on the film, the filming, the editing and the final work are terrific, Charlie and Andrew!

Couple of Tidbits: Terhan, Ann and Jules

I'm still on the road for a little while. But though I am away from the computer right now, a few small things have caught my eye over the last few days which I will briefly post:

First, from The Economist: Did you know Tehran, Iran is in a major earthquake zone such that some have advocated the entire city of 12 million people be moved? If a massive earthquake ever hits the city, it could wreck the national economy. About 40% of the country's GDP is produced in Tehran. And we thought Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the only thing that could bring down the Iranian economy in short order.

Other cities with high GDP in similar precarious positions for natural disasters are: Mexico City with 40% GDP, Seoul, Korea with 50%, and Cairo, Egypt with 50%.

We tend to think politics and war change the course of human events in large cities more than anything else, but a major natural disaster--an act of God--can do more in a short period of time than any of the above. Just ask the citizens of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans.

Second, from the New York Post a rather appalling report: Conservative writer Ann Coulter ---latest book, If Democrats Had Any Brains They'd Be Republicans--has been seen out with former New York City Democratic politico and liberal Andrew Stein, first at the black-tie Lincoln Center Film Festival several weeks ago where they turned heads, and most recently at Soho House where they appeared "in passionate lip-lock." Stein's only comment is that she's attacked lots of his friends but in the end, opposites do attract. All I can say is that Ann succeeds in getting attention in every outrageous she puts her mind to doing. And people continue getting hooked by her outrageousness.

Finally a quote I like from Jules Crittenden, a man I respect: "Well, the libs are slowly starting to figure out that Bush is right about Iraq and Iran, as reluctant as they are to admit it."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tonight: Screwball Questions from the Far Left

UPDATE: Video on Tuesday's debates here. Some footage on Thompson who answers the question: did he wait too long? Mitt makes a cute zinger about Fred on Law and Order. And Giuliani gets a great comment in on what will happen to Canadians with Hillarycare. More tomorrow, after a full day away from the computer.

Tonight GOP hopefuls will be subjected to grilling from the far left's favorite, a man who has made his political biases quite clear for the past 30 years: who thinks Bush is a criminal, Scooter Libby should be imprisoned for something that was never ruled a crime but was fined anyway, and Dick Cheney is Darth Vader.

On the other hand, his heros are the Clintons, Sandy "stuff it in his pants" Burger and that grand ole peacenik, Jimmy Carter. It should be interesting evening.....stay tuned.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Rhinebeck: Blogging Homemade Pies, Hiking Trails, Barns and Antique Aeroplanes

I've rarely meet a hiking trail I didn't like. Here we're hiking---2E and me---in the Berkshires, on the New York/ Massachusetts state line, a little east of Rhinebeck Wonderful day, wonderful hiking! We also did a terrific hike in the Catskills, on the west side of the Hudson Valley.
For someone who's never hiked until the past couple of years, after bailing out of the rat race in NYC, 2E is becoming a world class walker. A new chapter has started for we've just got to teach her how to boil water.....

Fresh warm homemade pumpkin pies, right out of the oven at a roadside stand outside Rhinebeck, NY. This is one of the only desserts I ever eat and only one, and only in the fall. It it's a great autumn treat, with plain yogurt, ice cream or whipping cream.

Thanks, Carrie, for the terrific visit, hiking and barn tour, among many other things. You're a fine hostess, and turning into a real hiker. It's fun watching you re-invent yourself from media mogul to outdoor woman.

Hot apple pies fresh out of the oven. Be still my beating heart. I can always justify it if I've been on the trail all day.

The Week Ahead: Keeping the Peace, Will Al Get the Nobel?

Just in case we've forgotten, this is the week the Nobel Peace Prize is announced in Oslo, Norway. It has been widely rumored that Al Gore will win this year's prize, along with Canadian Sheila Watt-Cloutier who has dedicated herself to calling attention to climate change's effects on Arctic communities in recent years.

Another prize for Al? His office round the corner must be getting so filled with trophies, prizes and memorabilia that it's getting harder and harder to find an ordinary pencil or paper clip on his desk anymore.

But the real news is that winning the Nobel ( for what? is anybody's guess) will surely ignite his loyal follows to draft Gore to run again for President. I doubt that the Clintons will like that very much. I don't think the Gores care a wit for the Clintons anymore, and vice versa.

And frankly, I don't see how Gore would ever put himself through an electoral process again. My money is still on Hillary winning the nomination and the general too. Gore will remain Man of the
World Energy Czar for the next few years, until the bud is off the bloom for man made global warming.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Sunday: That Long Black Train

Christ didn't come to save the righteous or the good, but rather to save those of us who are sinners. To save us from that long, black train..

Song by Josh Turner.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Ahhh, Fall

Of the several things I still want to do in my life after my writing/blogging, house renovation/investor and fly fishing gigs are done, owning and running a little vegetable/pumpkin stand alongside some country road is at the top of my list. Happy are the women (and men too) who make such an honest living.....I could have wandered here among the pumpkins, chrysanthemums and buckets of apples all day dinner the other night, we had pumpkin polenta---wickedly, wickedly wonderful.

Love, love, love the colors of fall, the rusts, purples and oranges, and the production of making pumpkin pie and apple crisps in the oven. Only time of year that I make or eat desserts.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Bill, Has It Really Come To This?

Above: My room in Carrie's Cottage.


When my liberal MSM friend visited me in Wyoming this summer, I did tape a photo of Donald Rumsfeld in the guest room, as a little joke and reminder that she was visiting a conservative.

Here's what awaited me on the wall of my room when I arrived today to visit her: this image of Bill Clinton---the current cover of New York magazine----beside my bed, framed for heavens sake, lest I forget I'm now visiting in the home of a liberal.

I'm going to have to fall asleep with Bill on the wall in the room with me? It's enough to give me permanent insomnia.

I wonder, is the country really ready for Bill as first husband for four years? Know the talk show hosts and cartoonists will have field day, but are we really ready?

I'm not so sure. We need to think through this carefully........