Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Carnival of Homeschooling

The Halloween edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling is up!! Go check it out!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Plus Side of Homeschool Socialization

This past week, I had a strong reminder of why I homeschool.

The socialization.

When I was considering homeschooling Chris, I went to the park with a friend of mine who homeschooled her kids. She had eight of them. I asked her why she did it. Lori pointed to her thirteen year old, who was busy scooting her toddler around on his skateboard.

“Look at Micah” she said. “How many thirteen year olds do you see playing with their baby brothers like that? And he’s not ashamed of it. He loves Ben so much. “

Then she went on. “He plays sports and goes to Scouts. The kids are pretty great, but they still do things that are wrong, and they cuss and such. “she said. “But Micah doesn’t feel like he has to go along with it, because he doesn’t spend eight hours each day with them. He spends most of his days with people who love him for who he is, so he doesn’t feel like his well being is dependent on making them happy.”

When I went to my first homeschool park day, I saw the same thing. Some parents were doing Scout activities, and other kids were running around. Some kids were playing strategy games at a picnic table…mostly older, but they didn’t disdain the younger kids, and they played fairly with them, pointing out better strategies…teaching them. Teenage boys casually scooted over so that 3 year olds could climb up on the bench to see what they were up to. It was beautiful to see.

I am blessed to be on a homeschool email list that I would say is truly unique. I’m on a few others, but they just aren’t like this. I have been on it for at least seven years now, and I count these women as my real friends, even the ones that I have never met. While we are truly diverse in our homeschooling approaches, we are all confessional Lutherans from all over the United States, and that has proven to be the stronger bond. We don’t just talk curriculum or field trips, we discuss a whole range of issues – from the best way to make vanilla to how to get that spot off the kitchen table….to how to teach the faith to our children and also to share requests for prayers in cases of pregnancy, a needed job, or family tragedy.

Occasionally, we manage to get together in real life. This past week, those of us in the Indiana/Ohio area (and one in Virginia) managed to get together here in Fort Wayne at a dorm (about ten or so moms, three husbands, and I’m guesstimating 20 kids). It is so amazing to see three days pass by with kids running, playing, worshiping, and enjoying games together like they do – with little regard to age or gender. Friday night, Barb, Sandy, and I watched as the kids (about twelve of them) spontaneously organized a game of charades…and the players ranged from as old as sixteen all the way down to age five (some of the other moms and older kids had gone to a Bach performance). No rolled eyes, no condescending attitudes from the older ones when the little ones tried to communicate their favorite animal or something of that nature. All had a great time. They hadn’t been socialized to believe that they needed to be with kids who were exactly the same age as they were. They just wanted to have fun.

In the mean time, Barb and Sandy handed their two-year-old granddaughter back and forth. A strong friendship between them had blossomed into their becoming family. Their kids were the first from this group to fall in love with and marry each other, and Barb mused with Sandy that they had already watched their own kids grow up playing like this. Now she was watching her own granddaughters playing in the midst of that crowd, the same way that her sons did ten years before…and Sandy’s youngest daughter was one of the oldest in this current group of kids.
And it strikes me that when you see the kids, you also see how it goes with the moms. This hasn’t been some closed off group of women who had families all the same ages and stages. They were always welcoming in new homeschoolers so that our group is constantly dynamic. It showed from the group. There are parents there whose kids are grown and they are watching their grandkids playing charades with my kids. Some can complain about missing an eldest in college while rubbing a slightly rounded belly, indicating the arrival of another to take that empty bedroom someday. Others who have kids are just starting the homeschool journey. While my oldest is twelve and youngest is six…some have their youngest as twelve or their oldest is six. Yet no one is looked down on for lack of experience or just being at a different stage in the whole process or life in general. The group hasn’t segregated into age groups or grades. All are welcomed in friendship and sisterhood in Christ. And, as long as there is chocolate (and maybe a glass of Baileys or a pumpkin latte)…life is good.

This is community—authentic community . Even though we don’t all live in the same neighborhood or town, there is real interaction, support, and love – and this applies regardless of age or life experience.

So, as a homeschooler, one of the first questions I always get is “what about the socialization?” I am always tempted to say “it is the most beautiful part of it all.” But I am not sure that I did it justice here- how could I explain it when I am on the spot?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Christianity and Soldiering

White Rabbit made some interesting points regarding these...

"i think this is why for the first 300 years of the Christianity the Church did not allow Christians to remain in the military. This is why many Christians from the Anabaptist background still refuse to be involved in the military. "

Actually, there are a couple of Christian soldiers in the Bible. First of all is the Centurion who asked Christ to heal his servant. The centurion did not consider himself worthy for Christ to come to his home, but referred to the fact that since he commanded many men, he knew from the lowly amount of authority he had, that Christ could simply say that the servant would be healed, and He would. Christ's response was not the response that He had with the woman at the well (Go and sin no more). Christ knew what the centurion did. He did not call him to repentance, instead, He proclaimed His faith as being the greatest He had ever seen. Not one word about how what he did was evil and displeasing to God.

Then in Acts 10, there is Cornelius, described as a centurion "a devout man and one who feared God with all his household and gave many alms to the Jewish people and prayed to God continually."

Cornelius was used by God to show Peter that it is okay to eat all things and to reside with Gentiles without being unclean, because the faith is the same. A powerful lesson. And Cornelius was never rebuked for being a soldier. He was a devout man of great faith.

Christians who were soldiers.

Also, when soldiers asked John the Baptist what they should do, he only replied that they should not steal, should not accuse anyone falsely, and should be content with their wages. He did not tell them to abandon their posts because it is evil. (Luke 3:14)

Now as the caesars grew more powerful, they proclaimed themselves to be gods. It would be a problem for a Christian to swear allegiance to a different god. The very uniform would be a confession of faith in a false god. And then when it became the duty of the Roman army to persecute Christians, their duty to God would most definitely be opposed to their duty to their caesar.

The Anabaptists, in their purest form, were very opposed to any interaction with the secular world. It was sinful to be a politician, it was a sin to be a law officer, it was a sin to be a soldier. Any kind of agent of the secular world was unbecoming for a Christian. Because government ruled, and not God, government was opposed to God. They sought to reproduce the society described in Acts 4. But they sought to make that a law, rather than something that was done out of the goodness of their hearts. Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead (again, God killing for justice) not because they didn't share everything, but because they lied, and sought the admiration for sharing everything when they didn't. Peter affirms that their property was theirs to do with as they liked, and Acts and the Epistles give us pictures of other Christian groups that continued to have individual property rights. (Anabaptists are the ancestors of Mennonites and Amish and other such separatist groups. Nice people...strongly works-righteous theology)

Melancthon expounds on this in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession - Article XVI (The Augsburg Confession and The Apology (defense) of the Augsburg Confession were documents written and presented to the Holy Roman Emperor, defending Lutheran theological positions. "The adversaries" that Melancthon mentions are the Catholic theologians that responded to the original Augsburg Confession. The Apology responded to their response)

The adversaries accept Article XVI without exception. In it we have confessed that it is lawful for the Christian to hold public office, sit in judgment, determine matters by the imperial laws and other laws currently in force, set just punishments, engage in just wars, act as a soldier, make legal contracts, hold property, take an oath (when public officials require it), and contract marriage. Finally, we have confessed that legitimate public ordinances are good creations of God and divine ordinances, which a Christian can safely use.

He was elaborating on Article XVI of the Augsburg Confession, a document that was written in defense of Lutheran Doctrine. The Augsburg Confession was written just as much to show that Lutherans were not participating in the heresies and rebellion approved of by the Anabaptists as to show where we disapproved of the practices of the Papists.

1 Our churches teach that lawful civil regulations are good works of God. 2 They teach that it is right for Christians to hold political office, to serve as judges, to judge matters by imperial laws and other existing laws, to impose just punishments, to engage in just wars, to serve as soldiers, to make legal contracts, to hold property, to take oaths when required by the magistrates, for a man to marry a wife, or a woman to be given in marriage [Romans 13; 1 Corinthians 7:2].

3 Our churches condemn the Anabaptists who forbid these political offices to Christians. 4 They also condemn those who do not locate evangelical perfection in the fear of God and in faith, but place it in forsaking political offices. 5 For the Gospel teaches an eternal righteousness of the heart (Romans 10:10). At the same time, it does not require the destruction of the civil state or the family. The Gospel very much requires that they be preserved as God’s ordinances and that love be practiced in such ordinances. 6 Therefore, it is necessary for Christians to be obedient to their rulers and laws. 7 The only exception is when they are commanded to sin. Then they ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 39

Luther also expounded Scripture on the matter of soldiering in a pamphlet called "Whether Soldiers, Too Can be Saved." Unfortunately, I can't seem to find it on the Internet.

In the end, God places governments as authorities over us, and we are bound to obey them, even if they are not necessarily a Christian government (which ours is not)...unless they place us in direct disobedience to God's laws. And God does give the right to nations to defend their interests and to wage just wars. Soldiers are citizens whose vocation is to do so. And God also gives the rights to governments to protect the lives of the innocent even through war, as happened in World War II, and in Iraq. We dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because the only other option to achieve surrender was to form a blockade, and that would take many years, and many more deaths. The solution ther White Rabbit suggests would've placed all of Europe in jeopardy and at risk to the Russians even more than they already were, if the Nazis eventually fell through nonviolent protest. We needed the good Christians to be alive once their society needed to be rebuilt. Allowing the Nazis to kill all of them as well as the Jews would've resulted in many more deaths than had already happened, and who knows what else at the hands of the Russians. We needed to be there. We needed to be fighting. Nonviolent resistance has its place. But God uses war to bring about the destruction of evil empires as happened with the Nazis.

I have no problem with the interpretation of the word "Enemy" as a state enemy, either. I can turn my cheek and submit to a government that is my enemy if God has placed me as that government's subject. The Christians experienced that under the Romans. Unlike the Jews, they did not rebel. They sought to preserve their lives and the faith that they loved, but if they were called to punishment and martyrdom, they went to their deaths honorably. Paul is a good example of that. He submitted to Caesar to bring him justice, since he was a citizen of Rome. Yet Caesar brought him to his death, and Paul submitted to it. However, MY enemy is not another country. My country's enemy may be another country, and my nation has a right to protect me and to a great extent...its own interests, and to go to the defense of those who are being oppressed, because that is not in the good interest of the rest of the world.

With Saddam Hussein, it was not in our best interest that he torture his people with randomness and cruelty. It was not in our best interest that he continually refused to work with the United Nations until he was threatened with war, and very possibly would've continued. He didn't have WMDs, but he certainly acted like he did. Hussein gave money to the families of Palestinians who served as suicide bombers. He proclaimed the honor of their role. He destroyed tens of thousands of Kurds. He was an evil man, and as long as he was in power, his people would suffer terribly, and the rest of the Middle East would remain unstable. And we do need more stability in that area.

You may not agree with me. Certainly in this country at this time, there are many opposing views on the war, and we do have a hard time seeing, as basic citizens, how having our brothers, husbands, children in Iraq helps us directly. It was easy to understand why Hitler and the Japanese needed to be stopped. They were atacking us. But I personally believe we will see the good from this if we hold fast.

I honestly don't want this all to turn into a debate about Christian pacifism. Concern and searching about these issues is one thing, but propogating it as "the only way Christians can act" is false theology and I will not have my blog be used to damage consciences on matters that the Bible does not condemn, especially when our Lord had clear opportunities to do so and did not. This was the only reason that I even felt a responsibility to respond to White Rabbit's statements -- not because I really wanted to debate the issue with this person.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Make Love Not War

Okay, for some reason Blogger is giving me problems when I try to post a comment, so I am posting here. After 30 comments, it is about time anyway

Like I said before, this is the busiest week of my year, probably, and I should be somewhere else right how, but I am going to try to do this in ten minutes, which means that I am not going to dig out my Bible and cite verses but only reference teachings and situations in it.

A commenter named la maintains that she is concerned about voting for McCain because he seems much more eager for war, and as a Christian, she leans more toward Obama because he puts forward a platform that emphasizes diplomacy over might, and is willing to sit down with our enemies and try to bring forth peaceful resolutions.

She also maintains that war is also murder, and cites some very good verses in the comments section regarding Jesus's commands to love our enemies.

First of all:

1. No one, including McCain is saying that diplomacy is not a first priority. He is saying that the State Department is the one that sits down and works out a satisfactory situation for world leaders to meet. Some common level of agreement needs to be made before this happens.

This is a good idea for many reasons:
a. Those trained in diplomacy in the State Department are the first wave of trying to get to a solution. That is their job, it is what they studied, are trained in, etc. They understand cultural situations and differences that a President just can't get at, and can undermine in his ignorance.

b. If a common ground can't be found, diplomacy can merely be broken off without offending the leaders of either country irreparably....an issue that has led to war throughout history. Preliminary negotiations are not the leader's job, and haven't been since ancient times. Even chieftains of tribes send emissaries to get agreements worked out, and then they meet to finalize the process.

c. If the President agrees to meet with the Irani president, for instance, in such a circumstance, but decides that he doesn't have the time or desire to go to Ethiopia when they have a crisis, should a situation arise...he has just insulted Ethiopia, terribly by treating whatever crisis they may have as not as important as Iran . So now our President is doing the job that the State Department was set up to do in the first place -- in order to fulfill the role of serving the President. A leader of a country always is the one to complete a deal, not the one to start it or hammer out the details. And once Obama is in office, I really and truly believe that is the way he will do things as well, despite what he says now, because that is what his advisors will recommend. You don't break with a tradition that all countries have abided by really since ancient times.

Now theologically:

Jesus's command to love our enemies was not a new command. It is shown throughout all of the Old Testament. It was shown when Joseph did not kill his brothers, it was shown when God sent Jonah to Nineveh, it was shown when Amos married the prostitute who continued to shame him and didn't have him stoned, it was shown so many other times, and most of all, it was shown when God had mercy on the Israelites time and time and time again. And it was shown in the Garden of Eden when God promised a Savior. It was shown in how Joseph was going to put Mary away rather than bring her and her pregnancy before the elders of the community. All examples of how God loves us and forgives us, His enemies.

Yet God was also pretty harsh when it came to justice. He often has used war to administer this justice, both in favor of the Israelites and against the Israelites when they were disobedient. His laws have death as a punishment for so many crimes, for the sake of the well-being of the Children of Israel, yet there are so many times when we are shown examples of mercy rather than strict accordance to the Law.

When God gave the Promised Land to the Children of Israel, he told them to kill everyone living there, or they would struggle with the evils that were in the land for the rest of all time. There were wars against the Philistines, the Midianites, and many others and God showed His favor to the Hebrews time and time again, unless they were in rebellion. God said David was the Apple of His eye, even though David was a king of war. He was not the man to build God's temple because of it, but God blessed David through a period of war in Israel. God used the Assyrians and Babylonians to punish Israel, the prophets say it, again through war.

We don't have much of an example of that in the New Testament because The Judeans were already in subjection to the Romans -- it was in the midst of the Pax Romana (Roman Peace) . They were between wars when Christ lived. But Revelation certainly has images of wars that Christians fight.

Christ also said that He did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Like I said, I don't have a lot of time to go into it. I don't know your background, la, but I am Lutheran, so I am going to explain it in Lutheran theological terms, and if any pastor or layman out there wishes to do a better job than I , I would appreciate it.

Most often, the fifth commandment is translated "Thou shalt not kill." But Greek is a very accurate language, and "murder" is actually a better word. Murder is when someone takes the life of another when they do not have a right to take that life. Abortion is a good example of that. God has bestowed life through the act of sex, and has promised that there would be blessings through that life. No one has a right to take that life. Nothing has been done to earn death (aside from being sinful from conception).

Lutherans describe the world in terms of Kingdom of the Right and Kingdom of the Left. The Kingdom of the Right is The Church - eternal, and under God's authority. The Kingdom of the Left is Government, put in place by God to act in the interest of His people. God uses the Government to do His will. There are good governments and bad governments though, just like there are good and bad in everything in this sinful world...to varying degrees.

The governments are given the right to keep order in society. We would not have a safe society if everyone who commited a crime was forgiven without repentance, without penalty. And some are just not safe to have in society, so they are kept in prison or put to death. This is an authority that God clearly gives to government. The government also has a right to take taxes (give unto Caesar) and wage just war -- which means recruit its citizens to serve the government in facing another government or situation that is threat to its well-being. There are just wars and unjust wars. I don't have the time right now to discuss whether or not Iraq is a just war, but despite the debaucle of the WMD intelligence, etc., I still believe that it is. This is not murder. The soldiers do not commit murder, the government does not commit murder in the act of war....it is terrible all the same, and I will not say that it is good. But just like God saw fit to kill animals to put clothes on Adam and Eve, in a sinful world, death has become a way to solve problems. Some things cannot be settled without war. Does it mean we leap to it with callous disregard for the lives we are sending to the battlefront and those left behind on either side? No, not at all. May it never be. That's what dictators do. That's what Hussein would do with his troops and with his people...torturing and killing them for his amusement, treating them and his neighboring countries like his pawns.

When a shepherd knows that there is a wolf about, they hunt down the wolf and kill it before it comes into the pen and kills the sheep. Christ does that for us, sometimes through governments...sometimes through wars. He has given a government the right to do that.

I don't believe that the Republican candidate is EAGER to go to war with anyone, he seems to understand the seriousness and evils of war from personal experience...but if it is necessary, he is willing. He also knows that you don't send troops into a war that can be won and pull out before it is. That dishonors their sacrifice even more.

However, one caution. I did not "hear" the tone that you attributed to Barb. I know Barb somewhat over the last few years, and I know her writing style, and she is a straightforward one, but not rude. Sometimes we all hear the tone that we think is there -- when I am nervous about an argument I make, those who respond in writing sound more critical than they often are to my ear. Remember, this is a written media, and you may be placing your own impression of her tone. I did not "hear" her being anything but respectful. I was also respectful but straightforward when I wrote of my own concerns and fears that I truly believe to be worthy of concern. Yet you cautioned me against causing offense. At times, offense cannot be prevented when one worldview goes against another. We just have to work within that.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hypocrites of Epic Proportions

I haven't been blogging lately because I have been a bit overwhelmed by life. My parents have begun their snowbird migration; we've started actually doing lessons again -- well, some days; I began a new project with work;- which means I am on a computer often enough; and we can't forget that it is election season. And in election season, I jump right in. I've actually tried to resist blogging about some of this, because if I get started, I might just drive you completely nuts....but I can't help it.

Growing up, in my housethe news was on almost all the time. It was just slightly pre-CNN, but Good Morning America started us off, then at night, national news, then the three local news, and then at least one more at 11 p.m. Throw in the "Nightly Business Report," 60 Minutes, and 20/20; plus two newspapers. Yep. I came from an informed family.

We're much more laid back now....except during election time. I revert back to my pre-marital state...only with cable.

The hypocrisy has been astounding this year.

I can respect questioning whether a woman who has been governor for two years is qualified for the position of Vice President -- as voters, we should be doing that. But since when did the feminist movement decide that it only existed to protect the rights and dignity of women who agreed with them? When it becomes okay to take one woman and slam her so completely with some of the strongest sexist behavior and rhetoric that I have seen in my lifetime....simply because her intelligent female mind disagrees with their agenda, they have lost. Lost terribly.

She's not their type of feminist. She goes out of her way to make her job work with her children; she attends meetings with her baby in a sling and has a crib in her office. She hunts. She loves and respects her husband. She believes that being a successful woman is not tied to being able to the right to kill the life created in your womb. And also, that being a woman with a successful career doesn't mean that you stop being a woman -- biologically, emotionally, vocationally, or in any other -ally. I do not know if she is truly qualified YET to be President, should something happen to McCain, but she has fostered excitement from women who have been longing for someone like her for a LONG time. And those that have given their lives over to denying that connection between our physiology and who we are intrinsically -- they detest her. They detest her so badly that they are willing to embrace behavior that they have abhorred and fought against since the struggles for suffrage.

They are willing to objectify her; make her look small, weak, and dumb. It is disturbing to see. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are rolling over in their graves, I am sure.

And then there is the Joe the Plumber thing. If anything shows that they are not the party of the people, it is this. Joe asks a question of Obama, when Obama is standing in his yard, and Obama's answer shows how he truly is wanting to use taxes to redistribute wealth and penalize success. McCain uses Joe as an example...so now Joe is villified. Oh, how horrendous it is that he portrayed himself as a plumber when he doesn't have a plumber's license....does the man work with friggin' pipes???? Yep. He has a tax lien against him. That shows what a burden taxes can be for the working man. They disdain him. Yet the blue-collar worker is supposed to be the one that they are fighting for. The Democratic Party will fight for them...as long as they don't actually form an opinion...especially one that smacks of ingratitude for them and their great brains being benevolent for us.

I heard a list of the "dirty" political statements that have been stated by either campaign. Obama's were recited first, in list form, and then McCain's. I noticed a huge difference between the two campaigns. While McCain's ads call Obama's qualifications, characer, and positions into question (and yes, going so far as to say that "he (Obama) lied"), the Obama campaign launched far more personal insults, often not dwelling on issues, but upon McCain's mental faculties. Cruelties, t-shirts calling Palin a c**t, hate speech, is all tolerated. McCain is criticized for the smallest statements of some attendees to his rally...and then even that comment (the yelling of the phrase "kill him" is found to not have even occurred, according to many, many witnesses.

Their political campaign sicks the police after any organization or television station that airs ads that call into questions Obama's religion or his stance on guns, his tax plan, etc. When this becomes their tactic, what will happen to conservative radio and freedom of speech if we get a liberal democratic president (and he is VERY liberal) in the White House, and a Democratic Congress with Pelosi and Reid at the head?

I don't think anything was more alarming to me than to hear an educated black man express his support for abortion rights using the very same arguments--the very same words-- that were used 150 years ago by white men who were arguing that blacks were not quite human beings.

And I am still amazed at how I can get letters from my senators and congressmen explaining why they felt the need to vote for this bailout -- all the concerns that guided their decision -- without apparently one thought of whether or not the Constitution gives them the right or responsibility to take such actions....and thus take rights away from us, interfere in the economy, and increase the motivation for banks to be crooked and careless....because they cannot fail. They won't be allowed to fail. Their failing was our final protection against their greed and incompetence. A tough price to pay, yes. But in the end, a good one. We were deprived of that justice, and instead, one unelected official in the executive branch was just given an inordinate amount of power over our economy and to judge what is in the best interest of all of us.

God help us. It is possible we are about to see a very different United States of America emerge.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Friday, October 03, 2008

Big Changes...

The Fort Wayne Wizards, to go along with their move to the new stadium, has decided to change their name....

They are now the Fort Wayne Tin Caps.
Yep, that's right. The Tin Caps.

Now don't go rolling your eyes now. It is no more lame than naming your team after the color of your socks...and minor league teams should have kind of lame names...

Besides, it's historical....It is a reference to Johnny Appleseed, who traveled around the northern Midwest planting apple trees, only taking with him what he could carry, wearing his cooking pot on his head...

Besides, the Fort Wayne Potheads would be a completely different mascot.

Joys and Tribulations


My beautiful, wonderful L A Dodgers are playing beautifully. I LOVE this team, especially the young guys -- Ethier, Kemp, Loney, and Martin. And while I do believe that Manny has contributed even more than his bat to this team (it is amazing the level of patience our younger players have developed), I really don't think we'd be here without Casey Blake and his amazing consistency (I hope we get to keep him!), and Greg Maddux. Maddux's pitching hasn't been as phenomenal as in ages past, but he's taken our younger pitchers like Chad Billingsley under his wing and has truly been a mentor to them -- especiallly thus far in the playoffs.

I live in the middle of Cubs territory, so 100 year anniversary or not -- a fact that would normallly have me "almost" rooting for them (at least I might give a nod and a smile in their direction), there is no way that I want our Dodgers to be the doormat on their way to the pennant. So, my boys are making me proud. Don't get me wrong...I adore Sweet Lou. But now that he's a Dodger, I love Torre more. And as a Dodger, he smiles. I never saw that when he managed the Hated Ones.

(picture courtesy of The Cubs Suck Club. I discovered them in my image search...its not like I'm a member or anything...but I had a lot of fun there. Looney for Loney Puffs...roflmbo)

And the more I see the Cubs play in the postseason, the more I believe in curses. The ONLY explanation for that cacophony of errors in the 2nd inning is that an invisible goat was running about the infield, playing soccer with the baseball.


The U.S. Senate. Need I say more? Naah. I've already said it.


My icemaker is working!!! I don't know why it started working...but it started working when I decided that its machinery was already taking up valuable space enough, so I wedged that frozen salmon package that wouldn't seem to fit into the narrow cranny above it...it probably got whacked a couple of times in the process, and the bar was accidentally knocked back into the "on" position...and an hour later, I heard ice drop!!!

And there was much rejoicing!

I love ice. No really, I LOVE ice.


There is no way that it can keep up with my iced tea pot...but at least the bags can be devoted solely to filling the daily tea pitcher before the button is pushed, and the dispenser ice can be used to fill my glasses.


Sarah Palin was not the shameful atrocity that everyone kept saying she was going to be . In fact, many were very impressed with her, in spite of themselves.


I couldn't rejoice in the debate, because after the week of the Bailout Bill from Hell, I just wasn't in the mood to get excited about having more meaningless slogans and promises jammed down my throats from either party, not to mention jabs, half-truths, and schmarmy lies. I'd already reached my weekly quota.

I've been saying for the last twelve hours that someone in the McCain campaign really ought to look up the word "maverick" in a thesaurus and try a few. Well, I did, and I guess I can understand why they are not going with "bohemian, dissenter, loner, nonconformist, stray," or "unbranded." Not quite the same connotations. But it really IS time to move on from the convention victory speech and on to something else.

What I really want is someone daring enough and smart enough to really disssect these issues and make them clear...and to do it in a way that just makes Obama and Biden look like the fools and shallow flip-floppers that they are....with a smile. I want Reagan. I know, I know. I can't have Reagan. But I at least want something real...not plastic. Palin did a fair job, but she didn't escape plastic. Biden won, in my opinion...in a sophistic, Snidely Whiplash sort of way.

And the moderator was obviously biased in her mannerisms, the way she phrased the questions to Governor Palin, and in her favorable treatment of Senator Biden in the rebuttals (he got all six that he requested, and Sarah Palin only got two, and was cut off without any sense of manners. The level of courtesy was very different in deference to Senator Biden). To her credit, Palin countered that somewhat successfully by deciding that she was going to talk about what she was going to talk about...but there were too many polished lines that meant almost nothing.

NOTE: it is NOT simply a big deal that Gwen Ifell is an Obama supporter, and has demonstrated it in writing a book. She has a marked interest in the success of Obama's campaign. Her book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama is being released on Inauguration Day, and it will hardly sell as much or win her nearly as much acclaim if it is McCain getting sworn in.

And I just have to say, if you haven't gathered it already.....I'm sick of the word "maverick." (I'm sick of "change" too...when we don't know what kind of change they are talking about...I have a feeling its more of what happened this week). After seeing that McCain's version of rushing to our rescue was to round up support for this bill that made absolutely no sense, "maverick" seems a bit hollow.
I know I am supposed to think of the studly Tom Cruise (before he seemed like a raving lunatic) zooming around to the rescue, flying on his own intuition--taking his own risks rather than blindly obeying orders.
Maybe unfortunately for me, it conjures up a different image. My first car was a twelve year old, baby blue, four-door Ford Maverick with a white vinyl top. It had some power, but it was hardly a risk taker (unless you count the way I took left-hand turns), and it also left me generally desiring something better (in the discontented way a spoiled sixteen year old with a passion for cars but left to drive a '74 Maverick would have -- actually, I'd be thrilled to have a car like that now -- straight six, comfy bench seats, no airbags).

Unfortunately, on a beautiful Spring day, I totalled that baby. And eventually, there was a hollow financial crisis with that as well (hmm, never thought of that before), when I found out my insurance company had seen fit not to do what it was supposed to do and pay the lady whose car I hit, so my family and hers had to undergo the lawsuit process to make sure she got paid.

No, the word Maverick does not in and of itself, inspire me with good feelings.


It's Friday.