Declaration of Independence (repost)

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It’s been awhile since I’ve read the Declaration of Independence, but I think it is an amazing document. As I read it last night on my iPhone, head propped up on several pillows from the comfort of my very comfortable bed in my very comfortable, air conditioned house while sipping on an iced cold Diet Coke that I was able to purchase by getting into my late model Jeep and driving 5 minutes to the grocery store, something occurred to me. Something that has been come to my attention more and more as of late. I take a lot of things for granted. Things that people left their homelands to seek; that men and women have fought and died for.

No, not my bed, or house, or Diet Coke, or car. Sure, I take those for granted, too. No, what I take for granted is the right to pursue the desire for all these creature comforts. Nothing on the aforementioned list is of great importance to me, but if I were to be denied the right to choose any of those things, or if I was told someone else with more authority would chose them for me, I wouldn’t like it. Not one bit.

I don’t talk politics on this blog. But as I read this document written and signed 235 years ago, it occurred to me that many have forgotten (if they ever knew) the reasons the founding fathers felt compelled to write it in the first place. If it’s been awhile since you’ve read it, I invite you to read it with a fresh perspective in light of the political climate of this country. Our United States of America. And remember that We the People are we, the people.

In Congress, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. — The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our People, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free system of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislature, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions we have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have we been wanting in attention to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

——————————————————————————–

John Hancock

Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
Geo. Walton

Wm. Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
Edward Rutledge
Thos. Heyward, Junr.
Thomas Lynch, Junr.
Arthur Middleton

Samuel Chase
Wm. Paca
Thos. Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Th. Jefferson
Benja. Harrison
Thos. Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Robt. Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benja. Franklin
John Morton
Geo. Clymer
Jas. Smith
Geo. Taylor
James Wilson
Geo. Ross
Caesar Rodney
Geo. Read
Tho. Mckean

Wm. Floyd
Phil. Livingston
Frans. Lewis
Lewis Morris
Richd. Stockton
Jno. Witherspoon
Fras. Hopkinson
John Hart
Abra. Clark

Josiah Bartlett
Wm. Whipple
Saml. Adams
John Adams
Robt. Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Step. Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
Wm. Williams
Oliver Wolcott
Matthew Thornton

And for those of you in need of a short history, here’s one courtesy of Schoolhouse Rock –for my money, still the best educational children’s programming available.

On patience and painting, Part 2

Last week I wrote about my daughter and I practicing patience while repainting her bedroom. One of the things I mentioned was that the furniture scheduled for mid-July would arrive on Monday, which it did:

Fortunately, we were able to get the painting finished as well as some much needed purging and reorganizing before the furniture was delivered. We’ve spent the remainder of the week putting things away and putting the finishing touches on the decorating. On Tuesday, while my son was at his weekly horn lesson, my daughter and I went on a quick but fruitful shopping excursion. I haven’t been to Pier One is ages, but I knew they had paper lanterns and was hoping they would have them in colors that matched the new room decor. We found those as well as three canvases, one of which coordinates with the room so well that I chocked it up to decorating serendipity:

As a matter of fact, the room was completely finished save for one thing. That big green rectangle on the wall in the first picture? This is what that rectangle used to look like:

If it were up to her, she probably wouldn’t mind painting over that rectangle and be done with it. But I really liked her name over her bed. I just needed to make some that would match her new room. I figured I would do what I did the first time: find some scrapbook paper that coordinated with the bedding. But after going to three craft stores, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I opted for my second choice: hand painting the letters.

Which is a whole other lesson in painting and patience. The letters come painted white. But I never leave anything white if I can help it. So the first step in the project was sanding followed by a very unattractive base coat:

Followed by more sanding and a slightly less unattractive second coat:

And (you guessed it) more sanding then a third coat:

I suppose I could have left the letters purple and called it a day, but I can’t very well call myself an artist and have boring purple letters hanging in my house, now can I?


Then of course you have to put a sealer on them…

Don't worry. It dries clear.

Because I couldn’t stand to have a room almost finished. Especially when the one thing left unfinished was the first thing you saw when you walked into the room:

So, that’s why I’ve been a bit scarce the past few days around the interwebs. I’ve been practicing painting and patience. And hey, just to throw in another “P” word, I’ll say perseverance, too.

And now I can truly say the project is finished:

Except for 2 pictures I still need to hang, but I’ll get to those tomorrow…

The truth about cats and dogs

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Do you remember the movie The Truth about Cats and Dogs? In case you missed it, here’s the plot summary courtesy of Wikipedia followed by a trailer from the movie courtesy of YouTube:

Abby Barnes (Janeane Garofalo) is a veterinarian, who hosts a Los Angeles radio show called “The Truth About Cats and Dogs.” The use of this as the title of the film also suggests the combative nature of male-female romantic relationships. Abby strikes up an unexpected friendship with her neighbor Noelle Sluslarsky (Uma Thurman), a traditionally attractive model who is sweet, but not very sharp. When Abby makes a blind date with a caller to her show (Ben Chaplin), her insecurity with her own appearance leads her to convince Noelle to pretend to be Abby when meeting the date. Unfortunately, both women develop feelings for the man, leading to a comedic series of misunderstandings, as the unintended consequences of their deception grow deeper.

When I saw that the topic for this week’s blog carnival was pets, I did what most people would probably do. I thought about my pets, past and present and attempted to write a story about what they meant to me. And while heartfelt stories about a favorite pet are almost always moving and/or inspirational, I wasn’t really feeling a personal pet story. I’ve got them, but I suppose just about anyone who has ever had a pet has at least one. Probably better than mine. (Although I will go on record here stating that my cat Rudy is 17 years old–119 in human years supposedly, and I also owned male and female litter mates that lived to be 20 and 21 respectively. Cats love my company so much they refuse to die. Which is sort of strange because the feeling is not necessarily mutual.) But I digress…

I agree with what the character Abby says at the beginning of that clip: “You can love your pets, just don’t love your pets.” And no, I’m not talking about a 3 hour tongue bath from your cat, even though I’m pretty sure that would be considered inappropriate under any circumstances.

What I mean is that most pets, and dogs in particular, are easy to love because for the most part they love us unconditionally and without judgement. They lavish us with affection and loyalty and ask very little in return. My dog Buddy Love is a great companion. I don’t recall a single blog post typed from my computer when he wasn’t either sitting in my lap or snuggled up next to me. I do love that dog, but that kind of love and companionship is not the same as loving people.

People are hard to love.

And there’s no such thing as unconditional love when it comes to human beings. We may come close on rare occasions, but our selfish natures prevent us from that kind of love.

Someone once said, “The more people I meet the more I like my dog.”

And while there are days I might wholeheartedly agree with that statement, I simply can’t give up on loving people.

Because the One who really does love me unconditionally commands me to love Him and love people.

And He never mentioned the dog.

This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Pets, hosted by my friend Peter Pollock. To read more about pets, please visit him at PeterPollock.com

An economy of words

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In my series of posts The proper care and feeding of elephants, I write about conversations which probably should take place but never do that can do some serious damage to relationships over time. Words are powerful, both the expressed and the implied.

Last Sunday at my church, our pastor Jeff challenged us to begin reading a chapter of the book of John a day. As with most Bible reading plans I’ve done, I started off strong and committed to my daily reading only to lose steam by the end of the week. Fortunately, the plan actually calls for reading five chapters in seven days, so as of this morning I’m caught up. Along with my typical array of excuses as to why I fell behind in my bible reading plan, I think I actually have a legitimate excuse.

I got stuck in the first chapter.

Shortly after I was baptized, it was suggested I begin reading the Bible beginning in the book of John. As is the case with most books in the Bible, every time I read John I come away with new insight, and every time this happens, I think to myself, how could I have missed something so incredibly obvious all this time? I suppose the short answer is that my heart and my mind were not open to a particular truth until that time.

Many Christians can recite the first few lines of John:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Which is not to say any of these words should become rote. There’s a lot to digest in those first five verses. In subsequent verses, John makes some pretty audacious claims about who Jesus is and who he (John) is not. In verse 29, John sees Jesus and says, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” It is not until verse 38 that we see the words of Jesus. Two of John’s disciples see Jesus and begin following him. Jesus turns around, sees them following him and what does he say?

Does he say, “I am the Lamb of God” or “I am God walking among you, fully God yet fully human?”, or “I am the only true hope of salvation and the only pathway to God?”

No.

The first recorded words of Jesus in the book of John are:

“What do you want?”

And since we know he’s Jesus, we can infer that he knows what they want. But he knows his days are numbered. Everything he says, every action he takes must mean something; must be a teachable moment. So what is Jesus really saying to them? I think he’s saying:

Tell me what you want.

Oftentimes the direct approach is best, especially when motivated by love.

Anything you need to say to someone? Maybe today’s the day.

On patience and painting

Last month I wrote a post called Holding on to the past. If you missed it, I talked about how we had ordered new furniture and bedding for my daughter’s room. Because she suffers from what many of us suffer from: too much stuff and not enough space to put it all, she finally agreed to part with a sizable collection of My Little Ponies, Littlest Pet Shop Pets, Barbies and all the various and sundry paraphernalia that accompanies said collections. Save for that one special item we retrieved from the giveaway box, all the others toys she agreed to part with are gone in order to make room for the new furniture. Her old desk and chair and a very large storage unit/entertainment center from IKEA are also gone. Her bed is still here, but it’s disassembled and will most likely be picked up this weekend.

The redecorating process is going as planned, just not as scheduled.

I received a call on Tuesday informing me that the furniture tentatively scheduled to be delivered July 15 will instead be delivered on Monday. Yeah, this coming Monday.

Fabulous.

I had planned to take my sweet time getting my daughter’s room painted. That’s all changed. It has now become a bit of a rush job. Having said that, a rush painting job does not equate to sloppy or bad painting job. I’m fairly laid back about certain jobs I do around the house, but I’m a little particular when it comes to painting.

Soup Nazi photo courtesy of photobucket.com

Which would be fine if my daughter wasn’t so helpful. She REALLY wanted to help me paint. She’s asked me roughly 74 times when that would happen. She wasn’t really interested in the patching and cleaning of the walls and baseboards, the removal of the outlet covers, the retexturing of the mysterious hole in the wall and whatnot.

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t exactly excited about the prospect of her helping me paint. Like I said, I’m a little particular about how a room should be painted. But we both shared some valuable lessons today. She practiced patience while I performed all those mundane but necessary tasks before the actual painting began

She learned how to roll paint on the wall

I learned that I actually didn’t freak out when things weren’t done exactly the way I would do it

(Okay, I freaked out a little. I also rolled over that spot.)

She rolled, I cut in. We’ve got a day’s worth of painting yet to do. But I’m confident we can work as a team and have her room ready before the Monday furniture delivery without any major incidents.

Maybe just some minor ones…

Update: That previous picture looked kinda weird. Here's the wall after I cut it in with a brush.

PCB: The man, the myth, the legend

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March 31, 2009 began as an ordinary day. Little did I know that a trip to the grocery store would forever change my life. This was the day I introduced the world (and by “the world”, I mean the few people who actually read my silly little blog) to the Pornographic Cheese Butler. Many references, lo, many follow-up stories have been written about PCB, but since It’s almost 11:00 pm CST, I just got home from praise team practice, and I don’t trust myself to write anything remotely coherent, I thought I would repost the story that started it all. Ladies and gentlemen I give you:

I Do Not Heart Grocery Shopping:

Here’s something kind of space/time continuum-ey. When I went shopping Friday afternoon, I had no idea Beth was going to do a post about grocery shopping, nor did I know I would be doing a post about grocery shopping. That is, until I happened to come across a cheese display at the local grocery store. People, it’s not like I’m out looking for blog fodder everywhere I go (Okay, maybe I am just a little.), but tell me, is it’s just me?:


Seemingly gracious wine and cheese steward from this angle, right? Not so fast!

Am I the only person who thinks this guy isn’t wearing any pants? I have passed by this particular display countless times! Since I don’t drink wine and I think those particular type of crackers are fairly nasty, I never really paid much attention. But please, Kroger! There are CHILDREN at this grocery store!

That is just wrong on so many levels. After be ocularly accosted in the rear of the store (pun intended), I figured I had everything I wanted and some things I didn’t. I composed myself and went to the check out line, paid for my groceries and headed out to the parking lot. As I was pulling out of the parking lot, my phone rings. It is my husband calling. “Are you still at the grocery store?” This means one of two things: 1) “How much longer are you going to be?” or 2) “I forgot to ask you to get me some jelly beans.” On this day, it was the latter. I really didn’t feel like going back to the store, as I was still visibly shaken by the pornographic cheese buttler. But since Katdish = obedient wife, I turned the car around and went back to get 3 bags of Jolly Rancher jelly beans. (They are the best.) Obviously, I didn’t get a cart or a basket. I can manage 3 bags of jelly beans all by myself, thank you very much.

So guess what? They’re on sale. They are ordinarily $2.99 per bag, but the sale price was 3 for $5.00. I call dh to ask him how many bags I was supposed to buy. Yep — six. “Oh, and by the way, we also need Cheetos, saltine crackers and tortilla chips.” Great! As if I don’t already look like a big enough tool walking around with 6 large bags of jelly beans. Might as well go for broke.

No, I do not heart grocery shopping — not even a little bit. But the candy aisle was somewhat educational. Have you heard about the new m&m special dark chocolate candies?

I always thought that because they were shiny looking, they were INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED in foil. And seriously…who has that kind of time? But no! You EAT the shiny part:

Yeah. Still not so sure about that. But to end on a positive note, guess what they were selling in the bakery? (Cue the angelic, cherub choir.) Chocolate chip pumpkin muffin tops! Yum-O!

Now, that there is a muffin top I can give truly get behind.

***

And the heartbreaking follow-up story:

Say it ain’t so Kro! Say it ain’t so!

In my last compelling and riveting shopping post, I DO NOT heart grocery shopping, I introduced you all to the pornographic cheese buttler:


With a heavy heart, this blogger is sad to share with you the news that our beloved friend PCB has been forcibly removed from the local Kroger. What makes this news even more difficult for me to accept is this: I can’t help but feel that I may have had a role in his removal.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to any of you that this blog is ready by literally TENS of people every single day, and the PCB buzz that post must have created on the Internet forced the hands of Kroger executives. For this, I am deeply sorry. Also, I may need to start shopping exclusively at HEB, because I get the stink eye from the Kroger store manager every time I pull out my blackberry.

I attempted to interview several store employees as to the whereabouts of PCB. Alert meat department employee “Skeeter” (not his real name) made the following comment: “Yeah…(guffaw)…They made us take him down.” When asked the whereabouts of PCB, store management would only give me vague references to wine vendors and store rotations. I smell a cover-up!

Jeeves, a long time friend and confidant of PCB was still too visibly shaken to give an interview, choosing instead to drown his sorrows in a delightfully fruity yet cheap Merlot:



There are unconfirmed reports that Jeeves was later reprimanded for making lewd and suggestive remarks to the night stocker in the feminine hygiene aisle. It’s been a rough couple of weeks for him…

PCB’s replacement, Woodrow Brimley (rumored to be the younger brother of Wilford Brimley of “Cocoon” and “Di-a-bee-tus!” fame) had only this to say: “Cry me a river lady! I’m 3 feet tall, bald, wearing white panty hose, and I’ve got a bolt stuck through my hand! Now leave me alone, I’m trying to pimp some Yellowtail (that’s what she said).”


On a happier note, I was able to purchase a box of the new shiny m&m candies. My opinion? Meh…They taste much like the original peanut m&m’s. The only difference being that there are almonds instead of peanuts and I got the strange sensation that a couple of Polly Pocket shoes were dropped into the vat during the candy coating phase. Weird. Also, we’re out of crackers again.

Goodnight Pornographic Cheese Buttler, where ever you are!

For readers old and new: Sorry/you’re welcome.

Pardon me while I rant incessantly: Lame apologies

I’m cranky. I blame the heat.

And I’m sick and tired of people lying.

Last week it was Anthony Weiner. While I certainly don’t condone his irresponsible and icky behavior, everybody does stupid stuff they later regret. What I took great issue with was not only his denial, but his vehement denial; calling representatives from all the major networks into his office and claiming he was a victim of a Twitter hacker. That lasted until the other pictures surfaced. Only then did he call a press conference with his tearful apology. I’m pretty sure Representative Weiner is sorry. Sorry he got caught. Lame apology.

Then Sunday afternoon, NBC ran a patriotic opening at the beginning of the U.S. Open which they later apologized for during the broadcast. The following is a clip from Fox News. There were other clips on YouTube, but this was the only one I found where both the audio and video were clear. If you don’t want to listen to the commentary that follows, simply stop the video:

Shortly after the piece aired, NBC Sports host Dan Hicks apologized for the cut:

“We began our coverage of this final round just about three hours ago and when we did it was our intent to begin the coverage of this U.S. Open Championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being held in our nation’s capital for the third time,” Hicks said. “Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone and we’d like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it.”

Whatever…

Am I upset that they intentionally took “Under God” out of the piece? Yeah, it upsets me. But it certainly doesn’t surprise me. It’s pretty much par for the course these days. It matters not that those words are actually part of the official pledge.

Someone on staff at NBC took it upon themselves to intentionally omit those words and the powers that be at NBC thought they could slide it by viewers without taking much heat for it. It was a bad miscalculation on their part. They apologized because the outrage was such that they had to cover their asses, but I don’t think anyone mistook the apology as sincere. I actually think it was worded so as to come across as insincere. It sounded like something Bart Simpson would write on the blackboard at the beginning of The Simpsons.

image courtesy of photobucket.com

Spare me and everyone else the lame apologies NBC. If you don’t believe in God or do believe in Him and hate him, or encourage free speech but only when it fits your political leanings, then fine. Do that. Knock yourself out. But don’t try to play both sides of the fence. Nobody’s buying it, and I for one am tired of being treated like I don’t know any better.

And I’ll let you in on a little secret: People aren’t as stupid and ignorant as you think they are.

End of katrant.

Parched

Here’s the bad news via The Houston Chronicle:

…the Houston region’s drought continues to worsen.

After another generally dry week, the Houston area has now received just 1.57 inches of rain since Feb. 1, said Charles Roeseler, with the National Weather Service. This has made for the driest such period on record since 1916.

Accordingly, the latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor, released Thursday, shows nearly all of Harris County in at least a severe drought. And 98 percent of Texas remains in at least a moderate drought.

For the upper Texas coast, the drought began around the beginning of October, scientists say.

In the last 6½ months, Southeast Texas has experienced the driest weather on record since 1956, which is not a flattering comparison, said Victor Murphy, the climate service program manager with the weather service in Fort Worth.

“Any kind of comparison to the mid-1950s is not good,” he said.

That’s because, during the decade of the 1950s, the upper Texas coast had two of the three driest individual years on record as well as the driest five-year period on record.

And here’s the worse news. That article was published on April 15, 2011. I think it has rained once since then, but only briefly and certainly not enough to put a dent in the worst drought I can remember.

When I moved here with my family as a child, I envisioned dry, dirt roads traveled by horses and the occasional tumbleweed. But Houston’s climate is typically nothing like that. It’s ridiculously hot, but it also rains here often. Long, soaking rains courtesy of some wicked thunderstorms and tropical storms and hurricanes formed in the Gulf of Mexico. Usually by this time of year I would be complaining about the mosquito and fire ant population. But those horrid creatures need rainwater to breed and thrive. If there’s a silver lining to any of this, it would be the lack of those pests. I can’t say I miss them, but we desperately need some rain.

The grass is always greener under the septic sprinklers.

I don’t have any deep, philosophical thoughts about any of this, except maybe this: So much we take for granted. So many things we even consider a nuisance, but it’s not until we are forced to do without that we begin to understand how vital they are. “Even sunshine burns if we get too much.” – Veronica Shoffstall, and I’d love to see a rainbow again to go with all this sunshine.

This has been such a crazy year for weather. What kind of weather have you been dealing with in your neck of the woods?

Puddy in his hands

The release of Rob Bell’s controversial book Love Wins and the public discourse among Christians before and after its release hasn’t exactly been the greatest public relations coup in the history of the church. And let’s face it, we can say we love God and love people until we’re blue in the face, but if we don’t back up our words with the way we live and the way we treat each other, let alone those who aren’t Christians, we probably deserve much of the bad press we’ve received. I’m not suggesting we simply agree to disagree and not speak out against what we believe to be bad theology or legalism, we just need to do a better job with how we present our beliefs. The world is watching us.

I’ve often said that you can relate just about any life circumstance to an episode of Seinfeld, and I was only partly kidding. Funny how a show about nothing seemed to have covered just about everything. In the following montage, Puddy reminds us how NOT to be salt and light:


(Sorry, you’ll have to watch the clip on youtube because of copyright stuff.)

What important life lessons have you learned from Seinfeld?

Words with friends: An idiot’s guide, Part 3 – Strategery

If you read the first two installments of this series, Words with friends, An idiot’s guide, and Words with friends, An idiot’s guide, Part 2, you know by now that one can still enjoy this friendly word game even if you’re pretty much horrible at it. It’s all about attitude! And hey, I’ve even managed to win a few games lately.

I attribute these few victories to learning from my defeats (of which there are many), and a little something I call Strategery.

In my first WWF post, I introduced 1357bob, who goes by the name of Arthur on the Twitter and Ricky on his blog. I’m not sure if he’s one of those fancy people who have several names followed by a Roman numeral or if he’s in the Federal Witness Protection Program, so for purposes of this discussion, I will simply refer to him as Ricky Bobby.

image courtesy of photobucket.com

Ricky Bobby has been extremely helpful in educating me about the game. If you recall from the first post, he tried to teach me about strategery. He even left double and triple word scores open for me, to no avail.

Still, Ricky Bobby and others have continued to play against me, even though I’m not exactly fierce competition, and like I said, I am getting better. When I first started playing, I played with random opponents. I’ve since rethought this because people who don’t know anything about me don’t seem to get the fact that I really do play this game for fun. One person thought he would begin with some small talk and then try to intimidate me:



Funny, he didn’t challenge me to another game…oh, well.

When playing WWF, it has been my experience that most of us tend to use words we are familiar with. CandySteele uses horrible and disgusting medical terms, KelyBreez uses big lawyer words, PPBottle and 77Eric…well, quite honestly, I have no idea where they get the words they use except maybe their Giant Book of Scrabble Words. I have a 9 and 13 year old living with me. This may or may not have something to do with many of my word choices.

And speaking of common nouns, I still take issue with the WWF powers that be that decide some nouns which should be proper (LAURA, for example), are accepted while others are not:

Yeah, that’s right. I just insulted the entire State of Iowa. But I was totally kidding. In related news, you should probably not insult the state where your opponent lives.

In conclusion, I would like to thank all of you who have played and continue to play WWF with me. You’ve all made me a better player, a better person, and more importantly, a better procrastinator of tackling giant piles of laundry. It is my sincere hope that while I may not teach you anything about WWF, perhaps you can glean some inspiration from me in other ways: