Thursday, March 29, 2007
Fiction anyone?
I've been craving Silk's old exercise. You know, the one where you draw the plot of a 1000 word story from one (or all) of a series of three pictures. It is the ol' "a picture's worth one thousand words" thing.

Anybody interested in participating?

Anyone? Anyone?



posted by Phoenix | 10:01 AM | 3 comments

I'm feeling a bit claustrophobic in this space these days. My anonymity has been compromised (some on my own doing, but largely by other people) to the point that I am aware that I am now self-censoring. This really bothers me. On the one hand, I'm cozy in this space and really enjoy blogging. On the other hand, many days I can't vent on one subject or another because of who might read it. That sucks.

Sure, I could start another blog somewhere else and abandon this one, but that sounds like a lot of effort. Moreover, the people that I don't tell where to find me will be hurt, possibly.

posted by Phoenix | 9:56 AM | 0 comments

The good news is there was no puking last night and I didn't have to wake to the realization that I am the worst Mommy in the world for having a child sleep in vomit. Bunny Boop seems to be on the mend, at least I think she is.

When we got home yesterday afternoon she fell asleep and wasn't interested in waking for her supper or a bath. As such, she went to bed and didn't wake until 5 am this morning - nearly 12 hours later. Apparently she needed some rest. This didn't overly disrupt my morning schedule, though. I dressed her and let her lounge on the floor on a blanket watching Noggin and drinking milk. She was fine. Eventually we went downstairs and had breakfast.

Also, I was finally able to give away the old washer and dryer last night. The first people I was going to give it to, through Freecycle, never showed up and didn't respond to multiple messages. The also didn't call me to reschedule (they had my number but I didn't have theirs). Yesterday I re-offered them to the 18 people who hadn't gotten it the last time telling them the first response would get them. They were gone by 8 pm last night. So that's done.

I also got my hair cut yesterday. I'm getting things done left and right!


posted by Phoenix | 9:34 AM | 0 comments

Catch-22 or You Can't Please Dictators Any of the Time
You don't want to miss this story.

Fidel Castro has Weekend-at-Bernie-d an article in the newspaper, once again condemning the United States of America.

Why this time, you ask? Well, thank you for asking.

Mr. Castro takes exception to the United States seeking alternative fuels - in this case biofuels (like ethanol from corn and soy diesel) - and claims that "more than 3 billion people in the world were condemned to die prematurely of hunger or thirst from plans by his ideological foe, the United States, to convert foodstuffs like corn into fuel for cars."

Things are so much rosier, you see, in that piss-pot of a third-world hell-hole, Cuba.

He goes on:
"This is not an exaggerated figure, it's more likely cautious," Castro wrote in the ruling Communist Party's daily newspaper. "I've been meditating quite a bit since President Bush's meeting with North American automobile makers."

Meditating? More likely feeding the worms, Bernie. Methinks you've rejoined the carbon cycle of life and your successor is too afraid to let the truth be known. Whatever.

The point is, we are damned either way. If we continue to use foreign energy sources, we are depleting the world's resources to feed our lust of the open road at the expense of the third world. If we turn crops - like corn and soybeans - into renewable energy sources (we can grow another crop every year), then we are depriving those developing nations of the excess foodstuffs that we would ordinarily donate or offer on the cheap to these people. By finding an alternate use for these crops, we create demand and therefore cause the price to increase, making it harder for the poor people of the world to eat, hence the starvation.

Fuck me twice on Tuesdays, I guess. There apparently is no solution. The whole world is going to hell in a handbasket and The United States of America is to blame, according to the loony left, Fidel and Friends, an assorted grab-bag of the world's dictators, and those 9/11 "Truthers".

What a stupid SOB. You try to be more ecologically minded and they accuse you of planning to starve the poor. No win.

You just can't please dictators any of the time.
posted by Phoenix | 9:18 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 28, 2007
In the News
Russian Intelligence is convinced that the US is about to light up the night in Iran.

Jim Webb, Senator of VA, had a staffer get into a bit of a pickle yesterday when he tried to take a pistol into the Russell Senate Office Building. Webb denies that he gave the pistol to carry and insists that it was an inadvertent mistake. Webb was quoted as saying:
“Everyone here knows that I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, that I have had a permit to carry a weapon in Virginia for a long time, and I believe that it’s important — it’s important for me, personally, and for a lot of people in the situation that I’m in, to be able to defend myself and my family.”

It isn't clear to me if that situation he's in that he refers to is different from all the other regular non-politician gunowners who want to be able to defend themselves and their families. I'm going to give him a pass on this, because I suspect that it was sloppy speaking/quoting, but the statement comes off a bit as "I'm better than everybody else and, you know, entitled..."

Still, I'm going to give him a pass on that. The sloppy care he gives his handgun? Not so much.
posted by Phoenix | 9:51 AM | 0 comments

Cheddar-Fed Rabbit
Just thought I'd share this little tidbit that I uncovered in my morning google:

The RSPCA is stirring up fluff over a 35 pound rabbit named Amy. She is the pet/spokesbunny for Wookey Hole Cave-Aged Cheddar Cheese. Each morning, her breakfast is sprinkled with cheddar cheese and she's been going through what is politely termed "a growth spurt."

The RSPCA is quoted as having said, "It's irresponsible. Overfeeding is as cruel as starvation. They may enjoy eating cheese but it does not mean it's good for them."

Irresponsible? Maybe.

But "as cruel as starvation"? I doubt it. She sounds kid of happy munching on cheese each morning with her regular breakfast.

Still, a 35-lb bunny? Even Bunny Boop doesn't weigh that much.


posted by Phoenix | 9:43 AM | 0 comments

Deathly Hallows - the cover
News has come out this morning of what the new Harry Potter book's cover art looks like. Feast your eyes on this:


posted by Phoenix | 9:14 AM | 2 comments

The Ugly Side of Motherhood
Nobody can claim to enjoy the teething process. Nobody.

Bunny Boop has been cutting teeth left and right these days. The first year molars still haven't popped through, but she now has another tooth on the top, in front.

Because of all of this, she has not been eating a whole lot and I've been worrying. Last night, in her sleep, she must have puked because when I checked on her before getting in the shower, her entire room smelled of vomit.

Her sheet and blanket were covered in white vomit with raisin chunks. It is enough to make a mother swoon. In addition, the poor little thing had rolled around in it and was covered, head to toe. Needless to say, she got an unscheduled bath this morning. Her bedding may be washed twice.

I just wanted to hug her. Sleeping in vomit...clearly I'm a horrible mother. I swear she didn't cry or anything. I don't know how she could stand it.


posted by Phoenix | 8:58 AM | 0 comments

Friday, March 23, 2007
A Candidate?
Fred Thompson, former Senator of Tennessee, is considering running for President in 2008. He has said he will make a decision sometime this summer, but many are hoping that they can get him to run.

There is a Draft Fred Thompson movement growing. And I'll admit that I am intrigued.

For one thing, all his words would suggest a strong commitment to both Iraq and the bigger war on terror. For another thing, he is a strong ally to the individual rights of gun owners. He's a free-market guy, Reaganesque in many ways, and is not a wimp. He doesn't even play one on television!

Seriously, I'm a bit intrigued.

Here's a nice article on his bona fides and why the Dems don't want him to get into the race: he appeals to the conservative base and is a likable guy. The article reports that he has a meeting scheduled in April with 40 members of Congress who will try to get him into the ring. His entry into the race would at the very least point out the gaps in the other candidates' conservative ideals. Guiliani is likable and has GWOT cred, but he's lousy on gun ownership. McCain? I can't trust him. Romney? Has the potential to be a Republican Bill Clinton, flip-flopping and waffling, not to mention the Romney-who? factor.

Newt is too polarizing a figure. Schwarzeneggar is ineligible (and too far to the left to appeal to conservatives).

Thompson may be the right man for the job.

Other articles and information: here, here


posted by Phoenix | 12:46 PM | 1 comments

As you may or may not be aware, Iran has captured 15 British Servicemen (Navy and Marines) who were out doing their jobs in the Persian Gulf.

In an interesting bit of serendipity, the Iranian Wack-job-in-Chief, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is en route to the US of A to bully/lobby the UN Security Council from voting on expanding sanctions on his country for their nuclear shenanigans.

I propose that we hold Ahmadinejad, for his own safety of course, in the same way that those soldiers are being held until such time as they are freed unharmed.

Whaddaya say?

I say we send a note to Khameini that says something like, "You can have your stinking Members Only Jacket-wearing, holocaust-denying, wackjob back when you stop supporting the insurgency in Iraq and deliver those 15 British Sailors unharmed. Until then...we have some nice bunker busters for you..."


posted by Phoenix | 12:10 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Running out of time. I guess we'll have to save the third topic for tomorrow.
posted by Phoenix | 12:28 PM | 0 comments

Just Say No
I am a child of the Just Say No generation. I heard those words, learned them, lived by them. I've never been tempted by drugs. I've never come in contact with them directly. I have no patience for them.

And I'm not going to apologize for it either.

I went to college. I am aware that other people made different choices. I have seen people and how they behave when they are "high." In highschool, I watched as a student climbed a wall and shoved his head through one of those super-thick windows they use in highschools and put very high up. Literally, the guy ran up the wall and banged his head through the glass. Then he kept on running down the walls. When I say walls, I mean tennis shoes where tennis shoes don't ordinarily go. He was bleeding profusely, but this didn't even slow him down. That would be lesson numero uno.

In the summer between high school and college it became clear to me that someone close to me had discovered marijuana. He was a lunatic on it. Freakish even. Dangerous. And not in an attractive way, even for a girl who liked the bad boys.

Between these two casual introductions my opinions were starched. I'm a Just Say No kid. I don't need drugs. I don't want drugs in my life. I don't even want them on the periphery. Drugs ruin lives. And families. And GPAs.

I understand that some college students make the choice and experiment with drugs. I never did and I'm neither ashamed of this nor do I feel like I missed out on something. But I don't really understand why some adults continue to use drugs clear on past the college age and into what should be termed middle-age and advanced middle-age.

These people are too old to still be using recreationally, I feel, and therefore would seem to fall into the addiction category. But, again, having no personal hands-on experience, I am surmising here. I don't pretend to understand addiction, but I reckon it is something you don't just grow out of or get over. To me, you have to go cold turkey and detox or you haven't got a prayer.

Here's the reason for this post. I am aware of someone who is definitely old enough to know better than to be doing coke and marijuana. This person claims to have quit - for the bazillionenth time. I don't believe it. It wasn't true before so many times, so I don't trust it to be true this time. What makes this time different? Not a damn thing. He's not in a program. He's not taking a daily piss test. He's not in counseling. But he is going to church once per week.

His presence at church is appeasing those closest to him and they are currently satisfied. Me? Not so much. I don't think church attendance has anything to do with addiction, or hiding your drug use for that matter. In fact, I suspect that church on drugs might be a bit like watching The Wizard of Oz and listening to Pink Floyd's The Wall. But, again, I have no personal frame of reference.

I merely find it absurdly asinine to assume that "being a church-going Christian" means you aren't using drugs. They just don't connect for me. It is like saying, "I'm a Cowboy's fan, so naturally I dislike the smell of cloves." It is complete nonsense. Going to church doesn't mean that all of the men and women in the pews are faithful to their spouses. Being a member of the clergy doesn't mean you don't sexually abuse children. The logic, she is flawed.

More worrisome, to me at least, is the appeasing. I don't particularly care about the person using, but I do care about the people he is appeasing. I am afraid that they are being led down the primrose path once again. I fear that he is putting on a good show and that soon enough he will slip up and get caught. My fear is that when he gets caught it will be because somebody got hurt.

But, my protestations fall on deaf ears. The appeased want to believe that the world is just a bowl of cherries. Nothing I can say or do will make a damn bit of difference; I am completely powerless.

And because of my love for the appeased, that sits with me not well at all. At. All.

It is a lot like waiting for a bomb to explode: certain that you are running out of fuse, but unable to clear the scene for the inevitable.


posted by Phoenix | 11:20 AM | 3 comments

Coming Out - Hallmark should make a card...
Today, on a very special episode of Villains Vanquished, we are tackling three very important issues. Okay, "tackling" may be pushing it a bit. Ranting, Raving, maybe even a bit of sincere questioning, but "tackling" - eh...

I am a heterosexual, married mother of one. No surprise to regular readers, but I didn't want the title of this post to confuse anybody. I also have no problem whatsoever with homosexuals. I don't want to sleep with any - or really anybody other than my husband - but I don't hate them or find them creepy or anything. To me, they are just another person.

But, it is this business of "coming out" that bothers me. Let me explain...

At the very end of my freshman year of college, right as I was studying for finals feverishly, a distant friend called me and "came out." I was more than a bit distracted, studying as I was for my very important finals at the moment the phone rang, and didn't quite get what he was saying at first. Mostly because he used the phrase "coming out", as in "I'm coming out...", which at first I took to mean he was going to be joining the weekend celebratory festivities.

But, after a few moments, I began to understand what he was talking about. But, the conversation made me uncomfortable. I didn't know how to reply. This, to my knowledge, is not a topic covered by Emily Post. Hallmark doesn't make a card. What do you say when someone "comes out."

Congratulations? This doesn't seem to fit and seems sort of...sarcastic. I mean, it isn't exactly an accomplishment, is it? You don't have to take some sort of written exam to be gay, or even go to school for it. Right? I'm told that it is something inherent in you - something you are born with - so congratulations seem not to be right. That would be like congratulating someone for being a blonde. Or able to roll their tongue. Doesn't work.

And, the information was delivered in a matter-of-fact way, not with a celebratory air. He might have said, "it is raining on Green St" instead of "I'm coming out." Same tone. So again, celebration and congratulations don't fit.

Maybe I should have said "I'm sorry." But this would seem to be just as offensive for a completely different reason. While you wouldn't congratulate someone for something they have no control over, apologizing for it implies that there is something wrong with it. Argue that point if you want, but if they were born that way, it doesn't work. You wouldn't apologize for someone being hampered with the ability to wiggle their nose, would you?

I am not being purposely obtuse, I swear. I'm just looking for some sincere direction in these situations. I realize that "coming out" can be traumatic (if you are telling close friends, your heterosexual fiancee, or your homophobic family), but what if you aren't close? I had to be pretty low on the list of people to inform. But then, I take issue with the need to inform me in the first place. (In particular, I was kind of offended at his timing, coming as it did when I was pretty damn busy proving to my parents that I was worth the investment, but that's another post entirely.)

I don't go around identifying my sexual preferences for my acquaintances, after all. And I'm not particularly interested in what flips their switch either. If my neighbors are into bondage, I don't care. If my parents or siblings are into key parties or toys, I don't want to know. And they are people that are very close to me. I just don't understand why people feel the need to be defined by their sexuality. Can't they just be Tom or Jerry or Susan? What's the deal? I am more than a heterosexual female. Aren't they more than gay?

I choose to assume so (because the other avenue is pretty bleak). And, if that is the case, why this pressing need to tell me? Do you think I will learn from it? Like somehow I will be instantaneously blessed with an admiration of abstract art or Streisand? Not likely. The only thing I'm going to learn from it is to stop particularly introducing you to my single female friends. It isn't like I keep a secret list for planning dinner parties that has a checkmark for gay, straight, bi-, or confused. I don't plan seating charts following a gay-straight-gay-straight format. And I don't think you should get special treatment for identifying yourself as homosexual either. I'm not going to treat you any differently than my other friends. I don't care about their sexual preferences either.

I sincerely wish you'd just keep it to yourself. Sure, if I keep telling you to ask out my single female manicurist, by all means - throw it in my face. Tell me she's not your type. That's fine. I mean, I would never take match-making any further than making introductions like a polite hostess should, but I'll take that hypothetical leap.

I'm not a prude, either, just so you know. I just don't feel like it is necessary. I don't talk about my bedroom activities, so I don't feel like I'm inviting conversation on the matter.

Seriously. What is the appropriate response when someone feels the need to tell you how they like it? Changing the topic seems rude. Congratulations seem bizarre. Apolgies are offensive. Should I say, "Okay. I'm making a note"? This too seems denigrating, but I'm at a complete loss as to what to say. Nothing seems to fit.

Maybe I'm just socially stunted.


posted by Phoenix | 10:09 AM | 4 comments

Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Everybody Walk the Dinosaur
When you have a toddler there are lots of momentous days. Today, as it turns out, is one of those.

You see, for some considerable time Bunny Boop has been wearing soft-soled shoes like moccasins. In particular, she has been wearing the Robeez line of shoes ever since I discovered what wonderful - machine washable - products they have. Bunny has the Mary Janes and a pair of booties. I love them.

However, here the ground here in the great frozen north has begun to thaw and it is time for her to rediscover the out of doors. Unfortunately, mud is not my idea of a good medium for the Robeez shoes, no matter how washable they are. And, in my mind, it was time for some hard-soled shoes.

As such, I stopped at Babies R'Us on my way home from work yesterday and picked up a pair of tennis shoes. I also couldn't resist a pair of pink aquasocks and a cute hat for our trip to the island.

Interestingly, I tried them on Bunny when I got home. I should say that I tried to try them on. She wanted nothing to do with them. She didn't even want to touch them - which is very unusual.

But this did not stop me. This morning when I got her dressed I didn't put her shoes on. We went downstairs and had breakfast. As she was finishing her milk I slipped the tennis shoes on her little feet. She didn't like this much, but she couldn't stop me, positioned as she was in her highchair.

When she got down, she didn't want to walk. She cried, standing there in her new shoes. Then, she got down on her knees and crawled on the floor. This scared me. It was like taking 16 giant steps backward!

When she eventually tried to walk, she did so like a dinosaur, lumbering oddly like a miniature, cuter version of Frankenstein. And, she did this weird thing with her feet - a little shake - much like a dog who is walking in snow for the first time. Kind of funny.

She's still learning. Hopefully by the end of the day she will have mastered her big girl shoes.


posted by Phoenix | 12:27 PM | 0 comments

Monday, March 19, 2007
Interesting Concept
As I have posted before, Prince Charming and I recently purchased a new washer and dryer and a new riding lawnmower. We weren't desperate for these items, to be certain. The old washer and dryer still work - I used them yesterday - and the old lawnmower still functions. Yes, we are those evil material Americans. I wanted more efficient equipment in the laundry room that would use less water and my prince wanted a new lawnmower. He deserves it. That's good enough for me.

But, this left the old stuff to get rid of somewhere. The items still work, so the curb is not a good choice in my mind. I thought maybe Habitat for Humanity, The Salvation Army, St. Vincent DePaul, or Goodwill would be interested. I called all of these organizations and none of them wanted them. NONE.

Which really depressed me. I did not want to pay to have them hauled off. But then, someone told me about This organization matches people with stuff to give for free to people who need stuff. You can join a group near your community and post offers for stuff.

I had some difficulty with the website, but eventually was able to join a number of groups. I posted an offer for the washer and dryer and I kid you not, had a response in an hour. An hour! And, over the course of 2 days, I have received emails from multiple parties interested in the things. Of course, you would expect the demand for free operable washer and dryers to be good, but I had no idea. I'd never even heard of this service before. In the end, I chose my recipient (that is your right as the giver) on my own parameters, bizarre as they are.

First, I weighed their response time. The first lady emailed me within 30 minutes of my posting the offer, for example. Then, I weighed their proximity to our own home (better to help your neighbors and get the stuff picked up faster). And then, I judged their communication skills.

It is a pet peeve of mine, people who communicate poorly. I think people should use proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar. I think people should be polite. I think people should make it easy for me to figure out what they are saying, instead of having to hunt through their email for meaning - or even words. I shouldn't have to read my own words, for example, to find where they've replied. It irks me. Put your response at the top of your reply. I know what I said, for heaven's sake!

So, that's it. You are forced to judge people based on some parameters of your own choosing and award the gift to someone. This, for me, was the weirdest part. It is amazing what some of these people will say in an email to a perfect stranger in order to tug on the heartstrings.

It was an eye-opening, let's just leave it at that.
posted by Phoenix | 12:50 PM | 0 comments

Iraq Quiz
Test your knowledge of Iraq. I got a 90%!

h/t: SpySistah
posted by Phoenix | 11:43 AM | 0 comments

Blow Up or Get Sued: The New Catch 22
Cox and Forkum posted a cartoon on Friday that tells an important story. I didn't get it posted on Friday because of that thing that pays the bills (I'm not one of those paid bloggers, I do this shit for fun).

Here it is:

If you are not aware, you can read the back story at these two links.

Or, I'll just catch you up here. Once upon a time, six imams flew to Minnesota for a religious conference. They got there without incident. However, when they were trying to fly back, they apparently scared the bejeebus out of some other flying patrons.

Among the issues was the fact that they prayed as a group in the terminal, were vocally discussing Osama bin Laden, etc., and then played musical chairs onboard, claiming first class seats they weren't ticketed for, congregating in the aisle, and generally making a nuisance of themselves.

The passengers overheard some things that made them uncomfortable and they reported it to the flight attendants who reported it to the pilot, who made the decision to boot the Flying Imams off the plain as a possible security risk. And then CAIR got involved. This would be the CAIR that is the equivalent of the NAACP - great ideals, bad follow-through. CAIR seems to be bent on aiding and abetting the enemy, playing the equivalent race card, and saying poo' poo' pitiful us, see how we suffer?

So now, these six Flying Imams are suing US Airways. Sonsabitches. And, if their lawsuit finds any traction at all, the consequences will be heinous. You will no longer be able to refuse service to anyone at will. You'll only be able to refuse service to wasps, lest you offend someone and be sued to kingdom come.

The message is clear. We've been told over and over and over again that security is everybody's job. It is your duty to report anything suspicious. And yet, now you should know that if you do, and you act on that perceived threat, you will be sued. Isn't that just peachy?

It is so ridiculous! I really feel for US Airways. They did the right thing. What other option did they have? They could have made an announcement over the PA system, I suppose. Something along the lines of:

"Ladies and Gentlemen: some of you have perceived a possible threat to the safety of this flight. We can not afford to do anything to examine or remove this possible threat due to the litigious nature of some. As such, we would invite you to deplane at this time, should you feel that your life is in jeopardy. We will do our absolute best to find you a flight that meets with less personal risk to you and your families. If this flight doesn't end up being our last, we will look forward to flying with you again."

I assure you, the race up the aisle would be fast and hard.


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posted by Phoenix | 11:02 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, March 15, 2007
I have been trying to learn a new, very complicated, software package. This is why I've been running silent. It appears that time will be freeing up soon, however.

So, I will be back.
posted by Phoenix | 2:52 PM | 0 comments

Monday, March 12, 2007
How to Spend Money Quickly
Prince Charming and I loaded up Bunny Boop and drove to the mall on Saturday. He was still all swollen from his oral surgery (and still is now). We had a few errands to run and then wanted to check out Sears. We've been thinking about getting a new washer and dryer, maybe a lawn mower, and a new computer for me.

We also need to finish furnishing our living room and master bedroom. We didn't buy the end tables and entertainment center when we bought the couches because I couldn't find anything I really liked. You see, I have two big antique trunks that we place back-to-back to make a coffee table. The couches, chair, and ottoman are a brown leather Natuzzi - very comfortable. I have an antique piano stool that I'm using as a coffee table by the chair, and we do have a sofa table that I love, but we still need that entertainment center and at least one more end table. I really love the piano stool - the rich worn patina of the seat makes a lovely table top, but matching it might be tricky. Not that it needs to match, necessarily. Anything with the right feel would work. But we've got this antique eclectic thing going, so not just any entertainment center will do. It is problematic.

Upstairs, in the master bedroom, we have a Queen Anne Cherry four poster bed. Currently, my hope chest sits under the big window and we have two dressers. But we really need to get a chaise and a comfy wing chair, a nice table, and an armoire. The problem is that I can't seem to find an armoire that I think will go with the bed. For some reason, they just don't feel right with the Queen Anne style (which is a Queen Anne but a Caribbean Queen Anne - tobacco and pineapple leaves abound).

So, that is an on-going process.

This weekend, then, we bought a new high efficiency washer and dryer...AND a new riding lawn mower.

Really bad sign: the sales people seemed genuinely upset that the manager was on the phone, else he would have come to thank us personally for our business. Very. Bad. Sign.

But hurray! for the new washer and dryer, huh?
posted by Phoenix | 10:13 AM | 1 comments

Friday, March 09, 2007
Gun Owners Rejoice
In a stunning and sensible ruling, the D.C. Circuit has ruled that - what d'ya know - it is an individual right that is guaranteed in the Second Amendment.

Check this out:
To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the citizen militia. The civic purpose was also a political expedient for the Federalists in the First Congress as it served, in part, to placate their Antifederalist opponents. The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty. Despite the importance of the Second
Amendment's civic purpose, however, the activities it protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.
It's enough to make a girl feel all warm and fuzzy about her right to protect herself.

h/t: Ace


posted by Phoenix | 3:07 PM | 2 comments

Teeth Cracking...shiver...
I was conspicuously silent in this space yesterday for good reason. Prince Charming had to have oral surgery - 3 teeth extracted - and this made for a busy and hectic day. I went to work to get things started, then drove back home to pick him up and take him to his appointment. I sat in the private waiting room for 1.5 hours, then they allowed me into his recovery room to help wake him up. Then we went home and fed him pudding and painkillers - I'm not sure which he enjoyed more - and then I went back to work again.

My poor prince was packed with gauze, bleeding, swollen, and in considerable pain. He is still in pain this morning but the swelling has diminished a bit. They had quite a bit of trouble getting one tooth out. It was very deep. In fact, they told me not to be surprised if he has some bruising. Yowza. He told me he could hear his teeth cracking during the surgery. That gives me the willies. I remember that sound from when I had my own wisdom teeth removed. I'll never get over that sound.

It was odd to see him so...vulnerable. Very unsettling. The roles are usually reversed. When we were having the baby, he was the one who had to watch me be vulnerable and face the pain, the huge honking needles, the shaking and quivering, and then eventually, the open guts hanging out. He got to hold the baby immediately while they stapled me closed, warmed me up, and stabilized me - something that would have been more easily accomplished had someone actually shown me my child and assured me she was fine.

As it was, though, Prince Charming did as I had asked and never let the baby out of his sight.

But yesterday, he was the one that needed to be taken care of and treated gently. It will be a while before he's chewing steak, but he has ice cream, pudding, and soup to get him through.

Not to mention those pain pills.


posted by Phoenix | 9:34 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 07, 2007
What's wrong with the world?
The world is so screwed up.

You may have missed the Drudge siren yesterday, but a jury found Scooter Libby guilty on four charges yesterday, among them perjury and obstruction of justice.

But, let's be clear: these charges came about not because of the Valerie Plame "Leak", but because of the investigation of a supposed "leak". Because, as we all now know, Plame was not undercover, or even an undercover agent at the time. Therefore, it wasn't really a big state secret that she was driving a desk at Langley. Furthermore, the guy who did "leak" (even though it still wasn't illegal and by doing so no crime was committed), a State Department employee - one Richard Armitage - will not see prosecution of any sort. At all. None. CAUSE IT WASN'T A FREAKIN' CRIME!

Even so, Libby was found guilty of lying in the course of the investigation into this non-crime - the non-crime part of which has been known since the very beginning because Plame was not undercover. Which in my opinion, and please excuse my language here, if fucking stupid.

Sandy Berger sneaks classified documents out of the National Archives in his freakin' socks and pants, destroys some of those same documents, and he barely gets a slap on the hand. And that, friends, is a damn travesty of justice. And yet, Scooter Libby is going to jail for not remembering all of the details around something that WASN'T A FREAKIN' CRIME and in no way had any national security ramifications.

What next? What damn next? Idiots!

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posted by Phoenix | 9:17 AM | 0 comments

Monday, March 05, 2007
Dude! Another "Accidental" or "Suicidal" Russian Death
Sometimes, sometimes, you have to close your eyes to smell the shit.

That is certainly not the case here.

Another Kremlin critic, this time a journalist, has died. Ivan Safronov, writer for Kommersant, died from a fall from a fifth story window from his apartment building. Those Russian journalists are dropping like flies!

From the article:
“For some reason, it is those journalists who are disliked by the authorities who die in this country,” the daily Moskovsky Komsomolets said Monday. “Ivan Safronov was one of those. He knew a lot about the real situation in the army and the defense industries and he reported it.”

Russia is among the most dangerous countries for journalists, plagued by attacks on reporters who seek to expose official corruption and other abuses. The problem was highlighted by the October killing of Anna Politkovskaya, an investigative reporter and a harsh critic of human rights abuses in Chechnya.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in January that 13 Russian journalists have been murdered in contract-style killings since 2006, making Russia the third-deadliest country for journalists after Iraq and Algeria in the past 15 years.

If they aren't careful, those Russian Security Services are going to run out of creative "accidental" ways to kill people. I'm just sayin'...

Here's another thought, why, if it was suicide, didn't he kill himself in his home or from a window of his home? Seems weird to me he'd choose the window in the hallway...

But then, I'm not among the "authorities" "investigating" the "suicide." Paint me skeptical, but the accidents, street crimes, and bizarre deaths by fancy rare substances are just too much for me to swallow.


posted by Phoenix | 11:14 AM | 0 comments

Nights Five, Six, Seven
So, the past week has taught me one very important lesson. And that is: I'm a putz.

Bunny has been sleeping through the night now and not fighting bedtime since Night Two, I think. It seems clear that I was the problem, not her. That is both reassuring and confounding, let me tell you. On the one hand, my baby is a good girl and a very fast learner. On the other hand, cripes! I am my own child's worst enemy.

Sure, forewarned is forearmed, but it just makes me very ill at ease to know that I am in control. Of course you are in control, I hear you think. Who else? Yes, I am in control and now I am aware as to the full extent of those words. I'm beginning to hope that potty training won't be such a big deal.


posted by Phoenix | 10:52 AM | 1 comments

The Whiff of Conspiracy
I have followed the story of Alexander Litvinenko pretty closely, as you all know. Well, here comes another little tidbit on the story.

Dateline was putting together a story and talking to some people about the story. One fellow that they spoke with died of a heart attack shortly after meeting with them. Another fellow, this one by the name of Paul Joyal, who is critical of the Kremlin, was shot four days after his meeting with the Dateline people.

In his interview, he said:

that a "message has been communicated to anyone who wants to speak out against the Kremlin: 'If you do, no matter who you are, where you are, we will find you and we will silence you in the most horrible way possible.' " Joyal was speaking about the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, a KGB defector, who was poisoned last fall in London.

Four days later, he met with a former KGB General in a restaurant near the Spy Museum (if you haven't been, GO! It is amazing and one of my favorite places...), and was shot on his way home. Now, the authorities and media are poo-poohing this as local home-grown crime and not some Kremlin Conspiracy, but I have my doubts.

Most troubling, I find, is the way two non-descript black males have been fingered. Isn't it always two non-descript black males? This is so fake it is from central casting... Even more disturbing is although the crime is described as a "street crime", no mention is made of his wallet or his briefcase or his watch being taken. And, let's face it, getting mugged in your own driveway is a bit bizarre. And last but not least is the injury: he was shot in the groin. See, that seems personal to me, not random.

But what do I know?

If it isn't a conspiracy, this is one very unlucky SOB: shot in the groin in his own driveway by two black males. Super Unlucky. Almost Unlucky like a Superhero, if Unluckiness were an admirable trait.


posted by Phoenix | 10:18 AM | 0 comments

More pictures
Aren't I cute? And isn't my dress pretty? And, aren't I cute?

MMMmmm. Chocolate Chip Cookie! The mess is half the fun...

Me? No. Couldn't be. Can't you tell from my perfected innocent look. I couldn't have done it.


posted by Phoenix | 9:27 AM | 1 comments

Picture Time
Sometimes the toy box is more fun than the toys...

I am soooo pleased with myself...

Bath time is fun time, can't you tell?


posted by Phoenix | 9:24 AM | 0 comments

Prominent Global Warming Scientist Recants
This is amazing!

A Scientist Willing to Admit His Theory May Not Be Correct!

Claude Allegre, one of France's leading socialists and among her most celebrated scientists, was among the first to sound the alarm about the dangers of global warming.

"By burning fossil fuels, man increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which, for example, has raised the global mean temperature by half a degree in the last century," Dr. Allegre, a renowned geochemist, wrote 20 years ago in Cles pour la geologie.." Fifteen years ago, Dr. Allegre was among the 1500 prominent scientists who signed "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity," a highly publicized letter stressing that global warming's "potential risks are very great" and demanding a new caring ethic that recognizes the globe's fragility in order to stave off "spirals of environmental decline, poverty, and unrest, leading to social, economic and environmental collapse."

In the 1980s and early 1990s, when concern about global warming was in its infancy, little was known about the mechanics of how it could occur, or the consequences that could befall us. Since then, governments throughout the western world and bodies such as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have commissioned billions of dollars worth of research by thousands of scientists. With a wealth of data now in, Dr. Allegre has recanted his views. To his surprise, the many climate models and studies failed dismally in establishing a man-made cause of catastrophic global warming. Meanwhile, increasing evidence indicates that most of the warming comes of natural phenomena. Dr. Allegre now sees global warming as over-hyped and an environmental concern of second rank.

His break with what he now sees as environmental cant on climate change came in September, in an article entitled "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" in l'Express, the French weekly. His article cited evidence that Antarctica is gaining ice and that Kilimanjaro's retreating snow caps, among other global-warming concerns, come from natural causes. "The cause of this climate change is unknown," he states matter of factly. There is no basis for saying, as most do, that the "science is settled."

Dr. Allegre's skepticism is noteworthy in several respects. For one, he is an exalted member of France's political establishment, a friend of former Socialist president Lionel Jospin, and, from 1997 to 2000, his minister of education, research and technology, charged with improving the quality of government research through closer co-operation with France's educational institutions. For another, Dr. Allegre has the highest environmental credentials. The author of early environmental books, he fought successful battles to protect the ozone layer from CFCs and public health from lead pollution. His break with scientific dogma over global warming came at a
personal cost: Colleagues in both the governmental and environmental spheres were aghast that he could publicly question the science behind climate change.

But Dr. Allegre had allegiances to more than his socialist and environmental colleagues. He is, above all, a scientist of the first order, the architect of isotope geodynamics, which showed that the atmosphere was primarily formed early in the history of the Earth, and the geochemical modeller of the early solar system. Because of his path-breaking cosmochemical research, NASA asked Dr. Allegre to participate in the Apollo lunar program, where he helped determine the age of the Moon. Matching his scientific accomplishments in the cosmos are his accomplishments at home: Dr. Allegre is perhaps best known for his research on the structural and geochemical evolution of the Earth's crust and the creation of its mountains, explaining both the title of his article in l' Express and his revulsion at the nihilistic nature of the climate research debate.

Calling the arguments of those who see catastrophe in climate change "simplistic and obscuring the true dangers," Dr. Allegre especially despairs at "the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man's role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters." The world would be better off, Dr. Allegre believes, if these "denouncers" became less political and more practical, by proposing practical solutions to head off the dangers they see, such as developing technologies to sequester C02. His dream, he says, is to see "ecology become the engine of economic development and not an artificial obstacle that creates fear."

The emphasis is mine, and I reprinted the entire thing here so you wouldn't have to click over.

The thing that I found astonishing about this is the purity and the honesty. Here is a guy with an obvious agenda and a track record of being on one side of the debate. Like a real scientist should, he goes forth and tests that theory scientifically. When those results do not match his hypothesis, whaddayaknow? he comes up with a new theory: or in this case, a complete refutation of the original theory. This is what the scientific method is all about. It is what keeps scientists honest and their integrity intact.

Suppose I have a theory that plants would grow better if fed sugar water instead of plain tap water. There is an easy way for me to scientifically test this theory. I can design an experiment, with a control, to see if my theory is correct. However, once the results are in, I must account for them. I must either admit that the theory was wrong, or tweak the theory and the experiment and test it again. This is what scientists do. Real scientists, that is. And anybody who has ever competed in a science fair knows that I speak true.

But today there are too many scientists that are beholden to their theories, like a girl they brought to the dance and they can neither see nor dance with anyone else. A scientist should be free from bias, free from agenda, and seek the truth. If he or she is looking to cash in on some corporate bonus schedule, his or her integrity and the integrity of the results are called in to question. Why? Because any dumbass can cheat or fake results.

I find it incredibly refreshing that this guy has the courage to admit that his theory was wrong. More than that, I am encouraged. Look, I'm not the enemy of conservation. On the contrary, I am a huge proponent of sound stewardship. However, I don't think that man is the cause of global warming, nor am I convinced that such a phenomenon is actually taking place.

Let me clarify. There are indeed years that are warmer than others. There are also years that are cooler than others. In point of fact, it is possible to have both situations in the same year in different locations. You can, for example, have a colder than usual year in Amarillo, TX and a warmer than usual year in Ann Arbor, MI and both results be absolutely true and irrefutable. Does this mean that all the global warming is taking place in Michigan? No. Nor does it mean anything at all.

You have to look at the earth as a giant self-regulating system. The earth (and the solar system for that matter) are billions of years old. Man, and man with fossil fuels, is significantly younger. To suggest that one or ten or twenty or even fifty or one hundred years of warmer or cooler temperatures is meaningful is stupid. Those time durations, while they might seem exceptional to you or I with a lifespan of 90-some odd years, are not particularly meaningful in the history of the earth. Frankly, I'm not even sure they are blips on the screen.

And, while I appreciate people who are conservationally-minded, I don't appreciate those greenhouse doomsdayers who suggest that the polar ice caps are going to melt and we're all going to drown. Frankly, I'd believe in another ice age before I'd believe that. To me, all of this emotional "the sky is falling" stuff is exceptionally problematic and defeats the purpose of real conservation.

If you want to do something for the planet, plant a tree. Don't go jetting off to NYC in your personal jet with nobody but your pug for company in order to go shopping. Carpool if you can. But, don't go to the extreme. You don't help anybody by not turning on the AC or the heat and then dieing of heat or cold. Be realistic. Be pragmatic. Don't buy into the hype.

And especially, don't be a hypocrite. You probably don't need a 7-SUV entourage to accompany you anywhere. And, don't go calling someone a denier just because he has the courage to follow the scientific method responsibly.

h/t: Drudge


posted by Phoenix | 9:08 AM | 0 comments

Friday, March 02, 2007
Barbie Girl Test
The Barbie Girl test, courtesy of Stepstool.

[X] You own over 10 bottles of nail polish
[X] You own a designer purse (several, actually)
[X] You own perfume that cost over $60
[X] You had/have fake nails
[X] You have more body/hair products than you can use
[] Your pet is a chihuahua/Pomeranian/Yorkshire Terrier/Siamese
[] You have clothes/shoes/accessories for your pet
[] You have enough clothes to cover an entire refugee camp.
[X] You have enough pictures to create your own wallpaper. (I have a baby and a digital camera - you do the math)
[] A pink comforter, carpeting, walls or sheets.
Total: 6
Do you:
[] Spend more time at the mall than you do at home/work
[X] Have a hair color that is not your natural color
[] Have "blonde moments" at least once a day
[] Buy stuff because it's awesome and then never wear it
[] Constantly keep your phone at your side
[] Dance around in your room when nobody else is home
[]Have a name for your car
[] Know what celebrity is dating who and who broke up this week
[] Refuse to go out in public without makeup
[] Prefer to be called "princess"
Total So Far: 7
[X] Makeup
[] Glitter
[X] The Color Pink
[] Shopping
[X] Jewelry
[] Mirrors
[X] Chick flicks
[] Shoes
[] Rainbows
[] Unicorns
[] Disney Movies
[X] Candles
[X] Flowers
[] Stuffed Animals
[X] Purses
Total So Far: 14
[] Coach
[] Forever 21
[X] Victoria's Secret
[] Guess?
[] Claire's
[] Express
[] Delias
[] MAC
[] Sephora
Total So Far: 15
[X] Bitch
[X] Oh my gosh/god/goodness
[] Hun
[] Fugly
[] That's hot
[] Darling
[] Psh
[] Cutie
[] Hottie
[] Skank
[] Totally
[] For Sure
[X] Fabulous
Total So Far: 19
Do You Read:
[] Cosmopolitan
[] Glamour
[] Marie Claire
[] Elle Girl
[] Teen Vogue
[] People
[] Us Weekly
[] Star
[] Self
[] Pink Is The New
Total So Far: 19
Do You Love These:
[X] Legally Blonde
[] Elizabethtown
[] Mean Girls
[] Now & Then
[] The Notebook
[] A Walk to Remember
[X] Sweet Home Alabama
[]Where the Heart is
[] Just my luck
[] John Tucker Must Die
[] Centerstage
[X] Bring it On
[X] How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
[] Mona Lisa Smile
[] My Girl
Total So Far: 23
Are you Addicted to...
[] America's Next Top Model
[] Project Runway
[X] Desperate Housewives
[] The Simple Life
[] 8th & Ocean
[] Sex & the City
[X] Grey's Anatomy
[] The O.C.
[] Laguna Beach/The Hills
[] Nip/Tuck
[] Gilmore Girls
TOTAL So Far: 25


You are 50% barbie girl.


posted by Phoenix | 11:51 AM | 0 comments

Night Four: Is it too early to claim victory?
Last night was night four in the grand experiment. And the results are pretty amazing.

Not only was there no fuss at bedtime and she went right to sleep, but also she slept through the night. There was no 2 a.m. wake up and turning on the cd player. I woke up at 3 am and smiled to myself. How marvelous!

Even better? I had to wake her up at 6 am to get her up and dressed.


posted by Phoenix | 11:12 AM | 1 comments

Is She Doesn't Scare You, No Evil Thing Will
Is a Real Life Cruella DeVille behind this dog-napping?
LOS ANGELES - Two men forced their way into a family's home at gunpoint and stole five dogs, including four purebred Yorkshire terrier puppies advertised for sale in a newspaper, police said Thursday.

What next? Giraffes?


posted by Phoenix | 8:25 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, March 01, 2007
NIght Three: Continued Results
I am so freaking lucky.

Bunny Boop went to bed last night right on time, without a fuss or fight. Almost like she expected it. She did not go right to sleep, but that didn't seem to matter to her. There was some issue with the cd player (batteries dead on the crib-rail unit), so I had to get out my old bookshelf unit that I used to have in my office when I had an office. It is lovely. That fixed Bunny right up and she went off to dreamy land.

Around 2 am, she woke up again. I let her cry a bit, then restarted her cd via the handy remote. This satisfied her and she went back to sleep.

All told, a fabulous success. I honestly think it possible that she might sleep through the night uninterrupted given a few more days.

Seriously? Why did I wait so long to implement this plan?


posted by Phoenix | 10:00 AM | 0 comments

Idiotic Ad Campaign
The boys should skip right over this post. That's all the warning you are going to get.

For some months now I have been irked with the ad campaign for a certain feminine hygiene product. Most specifically, I am frustrated by their entreaties of us to "Have a happy period."

I have to be honest. At that time of the month, this saccharine sentiment makes me want to hurt somebody. And no, that's not the pms talking. I feel that it is the same thing as smiling and saying, "Enjoy your rectal exam" or "Have a lovely colonscopy" or "A nice enema improves every day."

The statement is stupid. Almost as though it was written by someone who has never experienced a period. Am I wrong here?

I know what they were going for, I do. They were looking for a friendly and comforting message. Unfortunately, they've come up with something that is at best sarcastic and at worst, a bit creepy. Far better, I feel, would have been a simple message like "This too shall pass." At least that is an understanding statement. It implies that "yeah, this sucks, we know" without somehow rejoicing in the discomfort. We aren't having a baby here. It isn't beautiful.

Maybe I'm just being nuts, but I can tell you that every time I see this ad campaign it makes me want to vivisect something. I can't be the only one, either. Frankly, no message would be better than this.


posted by Phoenix | 9:10 AM | 2 comments


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