Thanksgiving is considered the perfect holiday at our house. On a very superficial level, it is because I live with 2 turkey hounds! (3 turkey hounds if you include the dog.) They never get sick of turkey. In fact, we ran out on Monday, but thanks to a good friend who donated her leftovers, my guys are happily back in turkey sandwiches. Thanksgiving is also a holiday that is rather casual and there are no gifts involved. Perfect.
Seriously though, Thanksgiving is a great time to stop and contemplate our many blessings. This year I had to give a special thank you to God for His provision of steady employment for my husband. It is humbling to realize you are blessed when some around you are struggling. I am also so grateful to have been born into a loving family and a Christian home in America.
"Jello Again", was the theme of the radio and tv favorite Jack Benny". His sponsor was jello and his humor was fun but dry. Speaking of dry my computer went dry and a new one is in the works. But times change and as I found out so does does technology.
Nearly 2 weeks ago, hackers broke into the computers at Britain's Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia. This was important because the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, IPCC, uses the CRU as their source for data.
The hackers then posted over 1,000 emails and 72 documents on the internet revealing how the CRU was suppressing data that showed there was no warming of the planet:
"Those e-mails involved communication among many scientific researchers and policy advocates with similar ideological positions all across the world. Those purported authorities were brazenly discussing the destruction and hiding of data that did not support global-warming claims."
The British press is up in arms over this. Brits are, after all, ahead of us on the Carbon Tax parade. In the U.S., there has not been much coverage.
In fact, as far as President Obama is concerned, it seems it is global warming business as usual.
Despite this huge nail in the global warming coffin hitting the press 2 weeks ago, President Obama still met with Indian and Chinese leaders last week, to coax them "one step closer" to climate deal:
"US President Barack Obama said Tuesday [Nov. 24, 2009] the world has moved 'one step closer' to a 'strong operational agreement' on climate change at next month's Copenhagen summit after his talks with Indian and Chinese leaders."
And Obama is still planning on attending the beginning of that U.N. climate meeting in Copenhagen on Dec. 9th.
Why? Global Warming is big business, can be used to implement new taxes and will control people's behaviors.
"Obama has made climate change a top priority of his administration..." The President still wants Cap and Trade to pass early next year.
In light of this new information, that the planet isn't warming, one would hope the push for taxing and controlling carbon emissions would be halted.
American scientist John Christy was was criticized in the hacked emails for asking that IPCC reports include dissenting points of view. He wrote, "It's disconcerting to realize that legislative actions [Cap and Trade] this nation is preparing to take, and which will cost trillions of dollars, are based upon a view of climate that has not been completely scientifically tested."
Disconcerting indeed. Granted, there hasn't been much about this from the mainstream media in the U.S. If only our President would check the Drudge Report once in a while!
More Reading: Climate Emails Stoke Debate, Scientists' Leaked Correspondence Illustrates Bitter Feud Over Global Warming
Hiding evidence of global cooling, Junk science exposed among climate-change believers
Global Warming with the Lid Off, The emails that reveal an effort to hide the truth about climate science
The Day Global Warming Stood Still
How the global warming industry is based on one MASSIVE lie (The Hockey Stick exposed)
You know an issue has traction when the the lib comics start jabbing their own on the left. This week, Comedian Jon Stewart threw this zinger at Global Warming Guru Al Gore. (I don't watch Jon, but Vicki McKenna mentioned it on her radio program. It is funny--raunch removed):
"Poor Al Gore, global warming completely debunked by the very Internet you invented. OH, OH the irony, the irony."
He also chided the CRU for throwing out raw data.
"But here's what's great about science, in disagreements we go back and look at the raw data (clip showing data destroyed) ... ...Why would you throw out raw data from the 80's?...", after all, he still has his girlie magazines from the 1970s!
This morning, I learned** that the Guru himself, Al Gore, CANCELED his special Copenhagen $1,209/ticket book promo, photo op, and snack with Al event!
The Danish ticket coordinator stated, "'great annoyance' was a factor in the cancellation, along with unforseen changes in Mr. Gore's program for the climate summit." Gore's cancellation affects 3,000 believers, um, make that ticket holders.
"Great annoyance"? "Unforseen changes in Mr. Gore's program"? Could it be Mr. Gore doesn't know how to incorporate eating crow into his slide presentation?
Al Gore's credibility was already on thin ice. Remember Gore has photo-shopped some of his pictures for greater affect in his movie and on his book cover. He won't debate any naysayers--he says he will, but then he cancels. And he will not answer pointed questions. Most recent example, when Gore was in Madison, WI, he would not respond to a simple question about polar bears being considered threatened when their population is growing*.
Whatever you might believe about man-made global warming, this latest cancellation is HUGE. Certainly in a crowd of 3,000 believers, willing to pay $1,200 just for the privilege of being in his presence, Gore was on friendly turf.
The man made global warming believers will still believe because it is a religion, not science, but canceling was a major faux pas, in my opinion. As any religious leader knows, you don't disappoint the faithful.
More reading: ClimateGate Overview
Houston braces for about 2 inches of snow, earliest ever!
Take back Al Gore's Oscar, two Academy members demand in light of Climategate
*I know "threatened" is a matter of semantics and doesn't have so much to do with population as with thriving habitat. Still, increasing by 20,000 in 30 years shows polar bears are faring better.
**Thanks to Jay Weber's link page
Last Sunday's edition of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a lengthy article about a local bank's efforts to work through its woes. I found it an interesting read, and thought I would offer a perspective from the business community. My comments speak to the U.S. banking industry in general over the course of the last year, and it is only fair to note that there are certainly shining exceptions to this story.
What most banks did with the billions of Federally provided largesse was to immediately shore up their horrifically unbalanced balance sheets. Those statements became so unbalanced through the combination of years of an overly easy Fed and a Bachnalian orgy of lending; lending which forsook all of the time-honored principles of this once proud and conservative industry. You know - things like collateral and down payments and equity to debt ratios that had a toe-hold in reality. What the banks have NOT done is put the money "to work". In fact, many of them went out of the business of LOANING money and into the business of COLLECTING it, while at the same time increasing interest rates to long standing customers at a time those clients were fighting for their very existence. This continues to a large extent today.
Winter is Here. Today the ground was covered with a lite snow and my first taste of it was walking on my driveway to get the paper. The ice convinced me to take the long way around in the grass. There are reports of cars off the road and in a ditch. They must be from another state because WI drivers know how to drive in the winter . Then in the afternoon I drove to the Medical College to get my records and upon leaving the wind was blowing and the temp had dropped. The forecast looks rather normal for the coming week/s so the summer stuff goes into storage and the winter stuff comes out. If you are short of stuff to wear there are many sales and more to come. My computer is in need of costly repair so I will shop around and get a new one. In the meantime my blog will be curtailed . Safe driving to all .
Did you grow up celebrating St. Nicholas' Day? If so, you know to hang your stocking by the chimney on the eve of Dec. 5th!
St. Nicholas or St. Nick is relatively unknown in most of the United States. He was a Christian Bishop living in the Roman Empire in the early 300s AD. The holiday is a German custom and very much part of being a Milwaukeean.
When I was a little girl, we didn't celebrate Santa on Christmas morning, but we did enjoy hanging a clean sock up on the eve of Dec. 5th. Since we didn't have a fire place. we improvised by hanging our socks on the drawer handles of the mahogany knee hole desk. Hey, it kind of looked like a fire place!
It was always fun the next morning to see what mom and dad put into our stockings. Sometimes we would get a stuffed animal; sometimes golden foiled chocolate coins*--those were always intriguing. Once they forgot all about St. Nick until we hung up our socks. That year we got bags of home-popped popcorn, a pack of gum? and some quarters.
Why the chocolate coins? If you know the St. Nicholas story, you would know that he was said to have thrown money through an open window of a poor family's home, during the night. The family was poor and had no dowry money for their 3 daughters. Having no dowry back then meant they probably wouldn't marry, which also meant they would be sold as slaves or go into the oldest profession. The money was said to have landed on their socks and shoes drying by the hearth. It is interesting to me that he did this secretly--no pompous show of his generosity.
In remembering St. Nicholas' Day, oranges or apples often were given. They were to represent the gold St. Nick gave. That is why an orange frequently was put into the toe of a Christmas or St. Nick stocking. (Oranges used to be pricey fruit before the days of improved transportation and considered a real treat.)
I kept the St. Nick tradition alive with my son too. Unlike Santa's visit, which occurs on Christmas Eve, St. Nick occurs early in the month. There is no confusion for children as to where St. Nick fits into the nativity story. (It is rather like celebrating George Washington's birthday with cherry pie.) St. Nicholas Day is a just-for-fun holiday commemorating a real person, who was known for his kindness and good work. No need for all the tall tales, deceit, and subterfuge about how St. Nick is omniscient or makes it all around the world in one night delivering presents to good boys and girls.
No, St. Nicks can be celebrated and enjoyed in the full light of the truth and used to illustrate an important biblical truth that it is more blessed to give than receive. In fact, you could incorporate a secret good deed for a needy family as part of your celebration with your children.
Giving, rather than receiving, after all, is a message we all need to remember every day of the year.
Have a happy St. Nicholas Day!
St. Nick's Day Can be a Nice Little Surprise Milwaukee Journal, 1999 - Lots of nostalgia about Winkies and Drews Variety stores. (I still love to visit Winkies in Whitefish Bay!)
My favorite cucumber and tomato, aka Larry and Bob at Veggietales, tell a St. Nicholas story of sorts in their latest DVD: Saint Nicholas, A story of joyful giving. I have not seen it, but I do enjoy those Veggies.
*I got my chocolate coins this year at Aldi. They also had them in silver. The coin design was the Kennedy half dollar. Some years I have found foreign coins in various sizes. I liked these the best and threaded a gold thread through them to hang on my Christmas tree--as pictured. Gold was after all one of the gifts the Magi brought to baby Jesus.
Gold chocolate coins are also used for Hanukkah celebrations as the "Gelt"?
In 2007 when Brett Favre unleashed an overtime bomb to beat Denver in week eight, I knew the Packers had won only because a tiny football disappeared from my computer screen and the score changed to show the Packers in the lead. Likewise, when Ryan Braun hit a go-ahead home run to launch the Brewers into the playoffs last year, I found out because the “current play” update on my screen went from “ball in play” to “home run.” And in the same way, I was amused to find that the Cavaliers had beaten the Orlando Magic in game 2 of their 2009 playoff series because the tiny animated basketball on my laptop display had floated calmly into a digitized picture of a net. I would later see replays of these spectacular plays thanks to various internet sources, but in the moment, they came to me as described above. To illustrate, this is how I watched last Wednesday’s Badger win over Duke:
To watch sports via internet gamecast is to bear the burden of the international fan. For the past three years I have sat calmly at my computer, sometimes at home and sometimes (thanks to an unfortunate time difference) at work, and cheered heartily for Wisconsin sports teams via the sports media equivalent to snail mail. Sometimes, as in the cases above, the results are thrilling. Other times, such as when the game cast mysteriously goes blank or I am called to class with my team holding a lead only to return to a lopsided loss, this medium yields more depressing returns. But always, I sit and watch regardless.
This year, in an attempt to follow my football teams more closely, I invested in satellite TV and have begun downloading game broadcasts from the website tenyardtorrents.com. The games broadcast on TV are almost always shown on a couple days delay but provide for a more authentic viewing experience. Downloading, while often more timely, is a bit like waiting for your favorite song to be played on the radio. That is, you know the song already exists somewhere and you know it’s going to be played, but you have no idea when it will be delivered to you. While I find this method to be slightly more convenient, Sundays and Mondays spent in media blackout waiting to watch a single game unspoiled can be trying on one’s patience.
Tomorrow, I will wake up to read a final injury report before calmly removing ESPN.com from computer’s home page. At night I will return from work, make dinner, and sit down to drum my fingers and wait for someone named WarTiger to upload the Packers-Ravens game to the internet. Hopefully sometime before midnight, I will finish downloading the broadcast and sit down with a coffee and baited breath to watch on my 13-inch computer screen. I will hope for a win, knowing all the while that the outcome has already been decided. This is the burden of the international sports fan.
If you are watching the Packer game tomorrow, please enjoy and think of me waiting in the dark on the other side of the world. Know that despite my frustrations, I am waiting patiently because that’s what a good Wisconsin sports fan does, and that eventually I too will share your joy and return to this blog and the rest of the world. And know that somehow, whether the Packers win or lose, it will all have been worth it.
The current loss in property value in our city is one of the biggest issues that citizens need to be aware. The Journal Sentinel reported that, in the 2008 financial year, Brookfield experienced its first decline in overall value since 1961. A falling tax levy is the death knell for a community. The fact that the Mayor of Brookfield recently delivered a speech on the state of the city without mentioning this elephant in the room is amazing to me. The Mayor either does not know the serious implications of falling revenue or he is hoping that citizens will not scrutinize his efforts to reverse this negative trend. A declining tax levy in a city whose leader appears to be asleep at the switch is cause for major concern. Brookfield cannot maintain its high level of service and prosperity unless it hires new leadership.
What a difference a day makes! Yesterday morning we were into hour 12 of being without electricity. The previous night, the power flicked 3 times and then went off around 9pm, right in the middle of cookie baking. At least I had just finished baking one batch and hadn't started another.
We did the usual scramble for flashlights and candles and then decided we might as well turn in for the night.
I did pick up our corded phone to call in to WE Energies. Oops, we have VOIP, no phone! Got out the cell phone and made the call, only to hear a long explanation how 16,000 homes were out of power and they would be repairing as quickly as safely possible. I did not listen to the entire message because it seemed to just drone on about the crisis and didn't have an option to report an outage.
We slept OK because we keep our bedroom rather chilly anyway. The next morning I had to attend to the number one concern: COFFEE. Fortunately I had some ground already so I made a makeshift cup atop of our propane single burner rig. Ahhh, now I felt ready to face the day.
Called WE Energies again. This time I got a new message of 25,000 people out of power...they were calling in private contractors to help restore power... etc. etc. Again, I did not wait until the end, because cell phone battery life was a concern.
Second item of business was to make friends with the snow-blower. I got out my detailed instructions and prayed it would start easily for me on a slow pull start. It did! (It has electric start, but that was not an option.)
Called WE Energies after doing most of the driveway. This time they were down to 9,000 people out of power and estimates were restoration by noon for Milwaukee County and, gasp, midnight for Waukesha. Argh.
While I was searching for something to eat without opening the refrigerator, I noticed the dog was shivering in the house. Put his sweater on. Had an interesting lunch of walnuts, rye bread, and an apple.
Went back outside for shovel clean-up and hauled some wood in for a fire. The temperature was supposed to drop later; I figured I better be prepared.
Finished the snow clean up and came in. I happily found some ground decaf coffee for a second cup! Got the fire going and threw in 2 foil wrapped potatoes for supper.
After that, I called my sister, who volunteered to try to call WE Energies again for me. She actually listened to the entire message, this one included information about Kenosha County, and found there was an opportunity to report an outage at the very end of the message. She reported ours and then called me back to report they were now saying power might no be restored until noon Thursday!
Oh-oh, I better get more wood in, I thought, if we had another day to go without heat.
My other half came home around 6pm. He called WE Energies and on the first ring, got a live body!!! After relaying the events of our outage, which indicated a re-closer trip (like circuit breaker on the transformer) was the likely culprit. He told the worker that it probably only needed resetting. (Our neighborhood has had trouble with it before.)
Ate a dinner of canned beef stew and our fireplace baked potatoes amid a table full of lit candles. Not bad. (I am still in my coat, boots, and headband from shoveling. It was bulky but warm.)
Somewhere around 7:30pm, the lights came back on! Yippee!!! The furnace and refrigerator kicked in; we were back to business as usual. I promptly turned the oven on; the cookie marathon must go on!
There is nothing like a power outage to make one appreciate the conveniences we all take for granted. We live with more conveniences than Henry the 8th ever had!
I often think of Laura Ingalls in her book, The Long Winter (inspired by her life), when I start feeling sorry for myself when dealing with the cold and snow. In her book, Laura and her sister Mary had to twist up sticks of hay non-stop to keep the fire going, because they ran out of firewood. Food was also very short. They nearly died during that winter.
I also think of Abraham Lincoln, who read by firelight. You really have to want to read to do that. I couldn't manage it even with a table full of candles.
How about the wonders of hot, running water? A hot shower is a blessing I have appreciated ever since the specter of Y2K threatened that basic part of every day life in America.
Our 22 hours without power reminded me that I could be better prepared to deal with power outages. Keeping food that is ready to eat, or with minimal cooking, water, candles, lamp oil, fire wood or duraflame logs, and propane lanterns (they throw a fair amount of heat), stoves and heaters are things we all should have on hand.
We managed pretty well for our 22 hour ordeal, if you don't count all the times I flicked on the light switches to no avail. Can't say I want to repeat it though!
Well, the plot IS thickening!
Long time alderman Steve Ponto stopped by city hall and registered as a candidate for mayor. He will be circulating his petition papers soon.
Looking for something to get you into the Christmas spirit tonight or tomorrow? How about Brookside Baptist Church's CHRISTMAS MUSICAL?
If you've ever wondered if Christ's birth or becoming a Christian really makes any difference, this year's Christmas Musical might help answer those questions. The musical includes "real people telling the real meaning of Christmas" interwoven throughout the program.
One of the many things I enjoy at Brookside is the music. Their choir programs, accompanied by their orchestra, have always been excellent. If last Sunday's preview is any indication, this weekend's presentation will not disappoint.
Brookside Baptist Church is easy to find on Pilgrim Road, just south of Lisbon, in Brookfied. Directions
The program begins at 5pm on Saturday night and 6pm on Sunday. There is a reception after the performance. (Brookside is also known for it's good food!)
I plan to be there Sunday night. See you there?
Americans for Prosperity is hosting a Code Red Rally today, at our nation's Capitol at 1:30pm. Patients First is also organizing buses for the day. Both groups are helping people organize for one reason: to tell the Senate to "keep their hands off our health care".
All I can say is more power to them.
As AFP stated, "The number 1 reason Congress has taken this long on this issue is YOU," the protester. I have to agree. It is only the growing outcry of average Americans who attended Tea Parties and Town Halls and now Capitol steps rallies that have delayed what President Obama hoped would pass last summer.
What a time to be taking time off work or from the scurry of Christmas preparations to go to a rally! The weather certainly isn't conducive to spending time outdoors either. But people are concerned about the government federalizing 1/6th of our economy by taking over the health care industry, so they will show up. I will be watching Drudge and sites like Michelle Malkin for updates today.
Harry Reid's ObamaCare bill changes moment by moment. Yesterday, the pundits were declaring it in critical condition, because Lieberman wouldn't vote for something that included the public option of expanded Medicare. Well, that no longer seems to be a problem. The goal is, after all, to just get anything passed.
Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska earlier said he wouldn't vote for something that included taxpayer funded abortion... well, maybe now he would... for a price. The compensation arm-twisting is in full force. Malkin wrote, "A Hill source says to pay attention to Sen. Ben Nelson. He is reportedly being threatened with closure of an air force base if he doesn’t fall in line and will be offered a “blank check” bribe bigger than Sen. Landrieu’s."
The CBO was to give their score of Reid's bill, but which one? The one that includes expanding Medicare? The one that covers abortion? The one that allows importing prescription drugs? This bill changes faster than a runway model!
Senate Republicans are balking. WSJ: "Republicans decried the Democratic deal making, and urged the majority party to slow action on legislation they contended will undermine the U.S. economy."
Senator John McCain summed it up well, "'Whether expansion of Medicare is in or out...doesn't affect the core problem with this legislation, which is that it does not reduce costs' and increases the size of government."
Those of us who stay home can at least call our senators along with the key players:
Sen. Russ Feingold, up for reelection! 202-224-5323 Feingold said last weekend that he was "opposed to dropping the public option completely and that he was not yet committed to supporting the bill."
Sen. Herb Kohl: 202-224-5653
Find your Senator here
Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska: 202-224-6551 Nelson didn't want taxpayer money to fund abortion but now is threatened with an air force base closure in his state.
Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota: 202-224-2551 Dorgan is pushing for re-importation of prescription drugs from Canada and other countries, which would go against the drug companies deal made earlier.
Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut: 202-224-4041 Very early on, Lieberman said that because of the economy, he didn't think this was the time for a government insurance company or opt out provision. He is being threatened with loss of position if he doesn't vote for it. Even his wife's breast cancer cause is catching flack.
Sen. Olympia Snowe: 202-224-5344 Who can figure out where she really stands, but she and Collins the weak links among the Republicans.
Sen. Susan Collins: 202-224-2523 Collins is the other wishy-washy Republican.
You might want to remind them that in the latest CNN poll, 61% of Americans oppose this Senate health care bill, 79% say it would INCREASE the deficit, and 85% believe it will increase their taxes. These numbers are growing all the time.
I'm hoping Reid can't get the votes to pass his version of ObamaCare, but the president is calling senators to the White House for the royal arm-twisting today.
I also hope and pray thousands show up today to protest. All I can say is, God bless 'em, everyone.
The Elmbrook Education Foundation kicked off the 2009-2010 school year with it's first community-wide event, Ladies Night sponsored by Pasternak & Zirgibel, S.C., on December 1st at the Westmoor Country Club.
Ladies Night was oversold at 310 guests making this the largest Ladies Night event yet! "Participation in this year's event is a testament to the value our guests place on the Foundation's role in sustaining the quality of the Elmbrook School District" said Dorothy Smaglick, Foundation President.