Monday, April 30, 2007

"Respect Camp"

Do your neighbors drive you nuts? They don't keep up their property, let their children run wild or those all day BBQ's where alcohol is served and you weren't invited? Do you feel like you're being "dis-ed" by the family next door? If they're not breaking the law and you just can't talk to them, what's a good citizen to do? Don't throw your hands up in defeat, you've been empowered and the government is there to help.

All you have to do is call the "The Respect Task Force." Yes the respect task force is there to help you, to help them, and to "reintroduce" your anti-social compatriot and his kin to the ways of public reverence. It's rehab for the anti-social.

I bet you're thinking this is happening in the Saudi kingdom or Iran. It's not, it's taking place in the UK. A quick peruse of the website gives you tips on how to spot those who just aren't up to snuff and how to "fix" them. There's a nifty little handbook to help you identify the disrespectful and how to go about turning them in assisting to foster a respectful member of society. Yes, you too can be a snitch facilitate respectful behavior on your street, block and development. Just send those undesirables off to "respect camp" so they can be taught the rules of a civil community.

I really thought this was a joke when I heard it this morning. Once I discovered the website and found out it was true, I wondered how close are we to 1939?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

We all struggle with it, it's everywhere, it's "porn"

I read one of my favorite blogs this morning, "It's a Porn World After All" posted at Mallot's Blog. Chris shares with us a story about his brother who's a preacher in Florida. Mallot writes

" He said he was home alone one day watching a movie which wasn't porn, but that he still shouldn't have been watching. His wife arrived home and as he heard the door open he jumped up, grabbed the remote, and turned off the TV. He suddenly realized that he had been watching something in God's presence that he was ashamed for his wife to see him watching. So, he cancelled the premium channels."

The post points out the struggle we all have with porn. After reading the post and commenting, I thought I would impart a story I read a few days ago. It seems the Saudi Kingdom is experiencing their own problems with porn. Centuries of concealing and segregating women, as religiously mandated by the kingdom, has not eliminated the natural urges of men. Technology is aiding the rampant immorality among teens. The BBC reported the phones of teenagers, detained by religious police, contain pornographic files. Bluetooth technology is allowing the religious apartheid kingdom to circumvent the vice laws and download porn.

America has slowly let our moral guard down. Sitcoms, magazine ads and billboards put sex right in our face. It's hard to avoid. As we advance technically, the envelope is pushed even further. But culture that sets itself apart, and criticises the west, is itself fast becoming morally corrupt. This wahhabi sect of islam that's stuck in a 7th century, nomadic posture is using modern ingenuity to feed inherent desires. The very technology that enables their existence allows the corruption of their youth, and I believe others as well, in the kingdom.

The pinnacle of hypocrisy? I'm not sure. America (and the west) is openly struggling with this issue. I think the difference is the appearance of piety. While Christians and Jews in the America struggle within and do change the channel. We boycott companies that don't reflect Judeo Christian values without disrupting society or calling for government to install vice laws to protect us from ourselves. The Saudi kingdom, for example, has religious police who comb the streets looking for an ankle or strand of hair creeping out from under the burka. Hand holding in public is banned and women aren't allowed to shop alone. Segregating the sexes in schools, the workplace and during worship in an attempt to quell impulses and purify the soul, as mandated by the islam. Taking away personal responsibility on the matter. I would rather struggle internally with all the evils around me. Seeking guidance and forgiveness from our Lord when I fall, not the government.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Twenty-one years ago, Chernobyl

The 21st anniversary was yesterday, April 26th 1986. The USSR tried to keep this accident from the world. Most of us probably heard the news a day later. I've read UN casualty reports indicating 58 deaths. The reactor explosion itself killed 30 people, including 28 from radiation exposure. Due to Cold War isolation and paranoia the real numbers may never be known.

The effects of that day will be felt for many more decades, the land and surrounding area will be "hot" and uninhabitable well into the next century.
I came across this site some time ago. The author traveled through Chernobyl on her motorcycle and has captured time on film. The photos are amazing. Homes and shops hastily left to never be occupied again. Wild animals roam the Ukraine breadbasket and take shelter in abandoned farmhouses. A few people still live there, refusing to leave their home and loved ones who are buried there. We still know so little about the melt down, but the lasting effects can be seen everywhere in the ghost town that was Chernobyl.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The week that was my life!

This is the new dinning room curtain rod I installed. The picture doesn't do my handy work any justice. It compliments the ceiling fan and dinning set. And it's level, yeah!


This is my corner curio cabinet. Lots of glass and mirrors. Monday I'll place my Seraphim Angel collection inside this beautiful piece of furniture. The guest/Christopher's bed and the chest of drawers. We purchased an armoire (on the other side of the room) instead of a dresser with a mirror. The Cat in the Hat will be replaced by some proper pillows once I find shams that will compliment the curtains.


Here's my new evening wear. I think it speaks for itself.

Thursday, again
Here we have the master bathroom curtain I re-made. Again, the picture doesn't do my handy work justice. The seems and hem work I did is barely noticeable. And yes I love lighthouses, mainly the Cape Hatteras lighthouse.

The new living room rod and drapes. The pattern almost matches the furniture. I think they look really nice and compliments the whole room.

I'm being over dramatic here, but it was busy with emotional highs and lows. We bought furniture for one of the spare bedrooms a few weeks ago. We were informed the store was one of "Columbus' finest." The sales people didn't act like piranhas once you walked in the door and were very knowledgeable about the products. When all was said and done we dropped $4500.00 at "Kittles" in spite of the attempt to convince us to buy a way over priced mattress and box springs. Once we knew our delivery date we then purchased an "inexpensive" mattress set at one of those mattress places, and they could deliver the same day as the bedroom set.

At 9:30am, Kittles arrived on time, so to speak. We've all heard it, "we'll be there anywhere between 8 and 12." (I was very grateful the mattress wasn't here yet) While the deliverymen were in the house I put Hershey in the downstairs bathroom with a bone, to which he ignored and barked anyway. After they left I let him out and he ran around trying to sniff out who'd been in his house.

A few days ago I sent some documents to the Bank of NY letting them know I moved and I needed my address changed. On Monday they mailed them (to my new address) back to me telling me I needed to have them notarized. Around 11am I thought I would call and straighten this out. As I'm walking and talking to this "customer service" rep, the door bell rang. I asked the rep to "please hold" and I muted the phone. I grabbed my barking dog and stuffed him out on the patio with his bone. As I walked through the kitchen to the living room I notice a pile of previously eaten dog food mixed with the Chew Ezzz I gave him earlier. Great, I thought, this is all I need right now. As I entered the living room, heading for the door, I noticed another pile. With a barking dog, a door bell ringing, piles of dog puke and an uncooperative customer service rep on hold, I attended to the mattress men before they decided to leave me mattress-less. I opened the door and without salutation I simply pointed and said "up the stairs and to the left." Un-muting the phone I continued the conversation with BoNY and preceded to clean the mess my beloved Hershey left for me. As I'm on my hands and knees (cleaning the mess), pleading with this woman to simply go into the system and change my address I looked up to see a burly gentleman holding a receipt and a pen. Without breaking my "beseeching" stride, I stood up, took the items, signed it and handed it back to him. Having pity on me he mouthed "thank you" and let himself out. As I continued to clean, my appeal to change my address fell on deaf ears so I conceded defeat and hung up. That was my Tuesday.

The alarm went off a little earlier than normal Wednesday. I had to shower, check my email, scan my favorite blogs, get dressed and head north to Cleveland. I was scheduled for a nerve test at 11:40 and I didn't want to be on the road during much of the 270 north rush hour traffic.
A few months back when Christina showed off her new evening wear, I too was having numbness in my hand and pain in my right arm. I figured I had another herniated disc, a pinched nerve or carpal tunnel.
I made excellent time despite leaving later than I wanted, arriving at my moms house at 9:45am (1 hour and 50 minutes). Driving a Camaro and traveling with the "herd" going about 78 MPH helped me shave 20 minutes from my excursion.

I've had nerve tests before on my back. They're not painful, the only real discomfort comes from the BIG needle that's inserted in the spine. Besides the spine, the rest of the test is like having acupuncture on your leg and foot. Dr. "Sami" performed the test on both arms, even though I complained of pain on the right side. The results really surprised me. At one point during the test he asked when the carpal tunnel surgery for my left wrist was performed. I told him I never had surgery on either of my hands. Needless to say, he was shocked and announced that both wrists have carpal tunnel with the left needing it yesterday. I know that sounds like bad news, but it's really not. For an entire month I agonized over the prospect of another surgery on my spine. So having my wrist operated on, to me, is no big deal. Dr. Sami referred a couple of specialist to perform the operation and instructed me to wear those "alluring" braces on my arms as well. I am blessed. That was my Wednesday.

Thursday passed absent the drama I experience earlier in the week. I had to make up the new bed and have Nick arrange the dressers and curio cabinet to my liking. The smell of oranges filled the house from the Orange Glo I used to clean the various new furnishings. I also mounted a new curtain rod in my dinning room and hung a new shower curtain in the spare bathroom. On Monday I bought a fabric shower curtain for the master bath, not for our walk-in shower, for the window itself. My plan was to cut it in half, use "Stitch Witchery" (if you need to hem a pair of slacks this stuff is awesome and easy to use) on the cut ends so the fabric won't unravel. I also used it on the top so I could thread it through the curtain rod. I must admit, after all the polishing, twisting of screws and ironing, my wrists were throbbing. That was my Thursday.

Christopher's Godfather and my friend of 26 years, Eddy, was coming to visit and try out the new bed and shower curtain. He arrived around 8:30 and we planned to just hang out for the evening and maybe watch a movie. After the pizza and everyone had their "nammies" (or PJ's) on we settled down to watch a movie. Eddy always has the most horrifyingly scary movies I've ever seen. But, like the last few times we've tried to view a flick, the DVD player refused to cooperate. So we tried to purchase a "movie on demand" through Time Warner Cable. When we finally agreed on a film and pressed the "buy" button on the remote the TV screen told us "this option is unavailable" and to call customer service. Thirty minutes later with no progress with the customer service rep, we decided to watch something on the discovery channel. Around 1:30 we went to bed, knowing we had furniture to move in the morning. The carpet cleaners were going to be there "between 8 and 12." That was my Friday.

The guys let me sleep until 8:30. The carpet cleaners called to say they may be a little late. One of the "technicians" called off and the team consisted of one guy. Eddy planned to leave at 2:00, so any furniture that we moved could only be small enough so Nick could put it back by himself. As it was, the "technician" arrived at noon. While Nick instructed the tech, Eddy and I went to Walmart to make a long over due DVD player purchase. Upon our return the job was finished and the tech was gone. With windows open, fans blowing and Hershey whining to get in the house, Nick had already moved a few items back in their place. The balance of the furniture could be moved later when it was completely dry since most of our furniture is wood. After Eddy left, Nick installed the curtain rod for the new living room drapes and I started moving small pieces of furniture out of the kitchen. After the rod was in place we put the drapes up. With that task complete, we could finish moving the rest of the furnishings. A hot shower, left over pizza and the first Saturday night (NASCAR) race of the NASCAR season brought our day to a quiet and uneventful end. That was my Saturday.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Don't Google, GoodSearch

I came across this great new (to me) search engine called GoodSearch. I used it this morning, searching for random sites and compared them to Google. It works just as well, but the great thing about the search engine is every time you use it, GoodSearch will donate 1 cent to your favorite charity. It allows you to track funds for your favorite cause and has a charity of the day. If your church or organization qualifies, you could benefit also. St. Monica Catholic Elementary School and Trinity High School (Christopher's an alumni of both) are listed as verified charities.
It takes a little getting used to if you're a "Googler", but the benefits far outweigh the angst to changing your habits. Give it a try, it's for a bunch of good causes.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Opinion editorial missing important facts

The destruction of Joseph's Tomb At Shechem (Nablus) by the PLO. Is this gross insensitivity?

Yesterday's whine-o-gram included a link to a San Francisco Chronicle oped written by CAIR chairman, Omar Ahmad. The editorial accuses Israel of gross insensitivity. The Simon Wiesenthal Center is building a Museum of Tolerance in the center of West Jerusalem. Ahmad and the muslim community are outraged, whining to all who will listen, claiming the site lies over what was once the ancient and sacred muslim Mamilla Cemetery. Ahmad writes "the museum site encompasses a Muslim cemetery seized by Israel in 1948 and long-since paved over. What does a shrine to tolerance mean when it is constructed -- literally -- over the dead bodies of a Palestinian population that was expelled from its homeland". I won't get into the history regarding the arab expulsion after the creation of the state of Israel or his claim the land was seized. Ahmad is speaking to group of uninformed citizens trying to gain sympathy for this cause. (Michael Medved explains the entire history of Israels creation and the truth about the expulsion of arabs from the newly created state. You can get them here. ) Omar Ahmad recounts his family's tale of expulsion to a refugee camp in Jordan (after the creation of Israel) where he was born. At this point I always ask why the host country never accepted these refugees. Perhaps to perpetuate palestinian victim-hood on the world stage? I'm getting of topic. Ahmad continues to explain that Israeli archaeological excavations threaten the foundation of the compound that houses the Al-Aqsa mosque. Reminding us that Jewish "terrorist" have planted bombs, fired on muslim worshipers and set the mosque on fire all in an effort to rid the Israeli landscape of the dome of the rock.

The fact that the mosque was built on the spot where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. Later still, upon the same platform, Solomon erected his temple. But don't let the facts get in the way of muslim propaganda. Because the land was once occupied by muslims, islamic edicts declare a return to islam.

Ahmad also fails to inform you that in the early 1920s the grand mufti of Jerusalem issued a fatwa declaring that the Mamilla Cemetery was no longer sacred ground, and was therefore available for building. The islamic ruling means the cemetery had been officially abandoned and was therefore no longer sacred. In 1929 arabs removed graves and built the Palace Hotel atop the cemetery's southern part. There were also plans for an islamic university on the site but were scraped due to lack of funding.

The history of Arab desecration of Jewish and Christian holy sites in the Middle East is long and grotesque. In 1948, after the State of Israel was re-established, the Jordanian army pillaged the 2,500 year old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. The uprooting of 38,000 gravestones by the Jordanians to build houses, roads and latrines.

This editorial serves only to advance the appearance of Israeli malevolence to an uninformed populace. Obscuring their own destructive acts and advocating the palestinian suffering for global sympathy.

Monday, April 09, 2007

CAIR banquet divides fund raising

A sold out CAIR fund raising dinner in Philadelphia was divided, literally. Outside Jewish protesters held signs objecting their representative attending, what this Jewish group dubs CAIR, an apologist for terrorism at best and a front for terrorism at worst. Inside, US Representative Joe Sestak (D-PA) gave a 20 minute speech where he blasted the groups silence and refusal to condemn the islamic resistance movement (hamas) and the party of god (hezbollah). Sestak said it was not sufficient for any group just to condemn terrorist acts and it was CAIR's duty to condemn individuals or groups that commit terrorism and specifically mentioned hamas and hezbollah. The remark drew no reaction from the audience. Big surprise there.

But there's another twist to the story. It seems the congressman was in attendance due to miscommunication or lack there of. Staff member, Adeeba Al-Zaman (the former communications director for the CAIR chapter in Philadelphia), accepted the invitation without consulting with the congressman. Sestak was unaware the dinner was a fund raising banquet and he wouldn't have accepted the invitation if he had known that the $50-per-person banquet was partly to raise money for CAIR. Sestak claimed he agreed to attend because he had been told that 250 of his constituents would be at the event and told CAIR they needed to separate the fund-raising portion of the program from the portion at which he would speak. And CAIR complied. Midway through the banquet, after Sestak's speech, CAIR officials abruptly announced that the fund-raising portion of the evening would begin.

How absurd, does anyone really believe there wasn't any "fund raising" going on prior to or during Joe's speech? Why didn't CAIR announce their condemnation of hamas and hizbollah when they made the "banquet division" broadcast? CAIR can't continue to use semantics in their condemnation of terror. Denouncing acts of violence perpetrated against "innocent people" isn't cutting it anymore. Israelis and infidels aren't defined as innocent. People are beginning to wake up and look a little closer at this muslim civil rights group.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Our Good Friday tradition

As you can see, Hershey Bar loves hard boiled eggs. I don't think he cares for the dye or the vinegar.
The only colors I use to dye my Easter eggs.

Not the best picture, but the only one of me coloring eggs as an adult.

Nick checking to see if they're dark enough. One has to soak them for a long time in order to produce dark, brilliant colors.

It's been a tradition to color our Easter eggs on Good Friday. My mother would prepare at least 3 dozen eggs for me and my brother to decorate. We used the original Paas Egg Coloring kit, 6 egg dye tablets, 1 crayon, 2 dippers, stickers and Easter egg holders. This was when I developed my "egg coloring anal-ness." Let me explain. I like my eggs to have dark, rich colors. I soak them for a long, long time using only 4 colors. Red, blue, yellow and green. I don't put stickers on or wraps around them or use the wax crayon to write on them. This slow practice would allow me to color only 8 or 10 of the 36 eggs, giving my brother the opportunity to totally "ugly-up" his eggs.

Well, I continued this tradition with my own family, Good Friday egg coloring. I would always take the day off and color eggs with my son. The last few years though I colored them by myself. Christopher refused to join me in the fun, telling me he was to old. But this year he was going to come and help me dye eggs. He works 7pm to 7am 6 of 14 days as a nurse and the plan was for him to drive down this morning with his cousin after work. I was so excited to have him here for just a little while. I miss him so, so much and was really looking forward to seeing him. In anticipation of the egg coloring occasion, I boiled 2 dozen eggs last night and had everything ready this morning because I knew he would want to go to sleep soon after his arrival.
Well, mother nature intervened and dumped 6 inches of snow in the Cleveland area with more predicted through Sunday. Needless to say, I wasn't surprised when he called at 7:45 this morning saying he was to tired to drive 2 hours (in the storm) alone because my niece had canceled on him last night. I was disappointed, but I didn't want him driving tired in a blizzard. After we said good-bye, Nick called to see if Christopher had arrived, when I told him the story he sensed the sadness in my voice and offered to help color eggs. So, I put my "happy" face on and readied the dye and commenced to coloring. The eggs came out in brilliant shades of red, blue, yellow and green (I tossed the orange and purple tablets in the trash). Nick (and Hershey) think they taste great.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter. He is risen!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Liberace has left Obetz!

If you remember, one of the first things I wanted to do when we moved into our new house was replace those hideous, Liberace-esque "chandeliers" hanging in the living and dinning rooms. We purchased 3 new ceiling fans and Nick installed them last weekend. We still need to replace the ceiling fixtures with fans in the other two bedrooms and family room.

Look closely, and you'll see that Rodrick and Billy purchased the exact same sofa Nick and I did. We didn't notice until we came back the next day to sign the papers, making them an offer on the house.

The light (pictured below, because blogger hates me and the text isn't being published below the picture) wasn't really that ugly. I would have kept it if there was a fan somewhere in the kitchen.

Watching Nick install this fan was quite nerve racking at times. We had to buy a 10 foot ladder so he could reach the light, standing on the second to the top step.Once, I jokingly walked by and, ever so lightly, shook it as he was going up. Needless to say, he was not amused and ordered me to the kitchen until he came down.
Last week when we had temperatures in the high 70's, this fan completely cooled the entire family room loft and circulated the air throughout the living and dinning room. It looks much better than the previous "thing" they had hanging here.

As you can see, I've taken much better care of our couch than the boys did. I think theirs became shaded from the stain glass they had inserted in the window.

My china cabinet and table look very nice together after being separate shortly after being purchased so many years ago. The china cabinet was in my living room in our Cleveland home, my dinning room wasn't large enough for both the table and cabinet.

Here's the new dinette set we bought last week. The table top is one big piece of granite (and very, very heavy) and I hope to get counter-tops to match. That will obviously come many years from now once I start a "counter-top" fund, along with my carpet fund, kitchen floor fund and the french doors for the dinning room fund.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The new face of American leadership

Pelosi dons a hijab during her terror tour. When I first saw this, she reminded me of a picture of my grandmothers, mother as she got off the ship from Poland. What a "stara baba" (I pronounced it studabubba) or "babushka" if you're Russian.

My favorite part of her trip, here's San Fran Nan as she makes the sign of the cross while admiring the tomb that holds the severed head of Saint John the Baptist in the Ommayad Mosque, Damascus.
If you take a closer look, one gets the feeling this scarf could have been a last minute ornament. Maybe mandated by her hosts? Surely a woman of her stature would have picked a hijab more in line with the season. Perhaps some spring colors. This is clearly a fall accessory.

Monday, April 02, 2007

CAIR Target: Steven Emerson

Instead of addressing the issues that seem to be afflicting the image of muslims, CAIR resorts to discrediting one of it's critics. The CAIR backed "non-flying imam" lawsuit, filed against US Airways and unnamed "John Doe" passengers, lead to some negative attention. Every detractor is labeled an intolerant islamophobe thereby ending all debate. The latest sufferer (and no stranger to CAIR's incitement watch) is Steven Emerson and his scrutiny of a NYT puff piece by Neil MacFarquhar.

The whine-o-gram refers to an article in Media Monitors Network, by claiming Emerson has a "disturbing track record" on evaluating islam. It must be noted, MMN is according to them, "a non-profit, non-bias and non-political platform which mainly helps to prevail the whole truth and generally facilitate answers to any disputed, controversial topic being broadcast, web cast, published, distributed or telecast in the world media"

A quick look at the site reveals the true agenda of this "non-bias" platform. From kudos for San Fran Nan and her terror tour and boycotting Israeli products to the recommended reading list, this site is moonbat central. If you're interested in learning why islam is getting a bad rap in the western media, you need to read this, "Madrassa - Israel's Weapon of Muslim-Slavery" it clearly outlines how Israel is secretly funding these institutions of hate.

Let me get back on topic. CAIR included this linked article in their whine-o-gram as a rebuttal to Emerson's critique. None of the issues raised in the commentary are addressed. The questions surrounding funds or "contributions" from Saudi Arabia, high ranking officials connection to terror organizations and explaining their controversial statements continue to be ignored. Character assassination enables CAIR to conceal their activities by shifting the focus and damaging the credibility of their opponents, eluding the many unanswered questions.