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Socialism for Dummies - Lesson One

Political satirist Paul Shanklin explains "redistribution of wealth" on The Rush Limbaugh Show:


iTunes is currently playing: They Can't Take That Away From Me from the album Portrait: Past Perfect (Disc 3) by Billie Holiday.


I have the best family ever!!

Cemetery decorated for Halloween.

Thanks for putting up the Halloween decorations. [Aunt Ann? Nancy?] You guys rock.

iTunes is currently playing: Lost Child (String Quartet Remix) from the album Moto.Tronic by Ryuichi Sakamoto.


Fun-loving liberals celebrate Halloween in West Hollywood ...

... by hanging Sarah Palin in effigy.

Sarah Palin is hung in effigy.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) ― A Halloween decoration showing a mannequin dressed as vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin hanging by a noose from the roof of a West Hollywood home is drawing giggles from some passers-by and gasps of outrage from others. The mannequin is dressed in brunet wig, glasses and a red business suit. Another mannequin dressed as John McCain emerges from a flaming chimney.

Chad Michael Morisette, who lives in the house, told CBS 2 News that drivers and bus passengers have been stopping to snap pictures of the macabre scene. Morisette says the effigy would be out of bounds at any other time of year, but it's within the spirit of Halloween.

He says "it should be seen as art [emphasis mine], and as within the month of October. It's Halloween, it's time to be scary it's time to be spooky."

If I were to "celebrate" Halloween by hanging Obama in effigy in my front yard, I believe I would be arrested for a hate crime. I guess those laws don't apply when the hate is directed toward a white woman instead of a black man.

I'm waiting for Senator Obama to express his outrage ... and waiting ... and waiting ...

iTunes is currently playing: Gone Too Far from the album Windows and Walls by Dan Fogelberg.


I love our pet deer.

Okay, so they are not really pets. I know that. But they are so tame they are almost like pets.

Deer hanging out by Dan's car.

iTunes is currently playing: From My Window from the album A Drop Of Water by Keiko Matsui.


a few hundred billion here ... a few hundred billion there ...

Today's L.A.Times has a[nother] story about how the "downturn" in the economy is hurting average Americans. In this piece they focus on a few families who live on Candlewood Street in Lakewood, California. A week after Congress promises $700 billion to banks and mortgage companies in a misguided attempt at fixing the mess they created over the last 30 years, the Times tells me about Barbara Booth and how worried she is about her retirement.

Barbara Booth is right to be worried. She is 57 years old and she is deeply in debt. But what jumps out at me as I read this story is not simply the fact that she is struggling financially but that the situation is, to a great extent, of her own making.

Booth inherited her house from her parents, but she took out a loan to fix it up, put on a new roof and add a room. Every month, she pays about $2,000 on that loan, in addition to credit card bills and payments toward a $42,000 balance on the Minnie Winnie Winnebago the family bought in 2003. It's parked in the driveway now, with only 13,000 miles on it. A "For sale" sign is taped to the window.

It took me about two minutes of Internet searching to find her exact address and pull up the real estate records for her home. Her parents purchased the house when it was built in the 50's, when new homes in the area were going for $12,000 to $15,000. Ms. Booth apparently inherited the house free and clear.

It is currently assessed at $86,000 and her property taxes are less than $100 per month. Homeowners insurance is probably, at most, $50 a month. Had Ms. Booth not decided to mortgage her house to the hilt in order to "fix it up" and "add a room" (and, probably, to put money down on a motorhome), she would have a modest 3 bedroom, 2 bath home that she could live in for about $150 per month plus utilities. Instead, she is paying on a mortgage that consumes almost 50% of her current gross income and she is upside-down on a 5 year old Winnebago. And both of our presidential candidates want the taxpayers to save her financial ass so she doesn't lose her house.

What the hell are they thinking??

iTunes is currently playing: House Of Cards from the album Stones In The Road by Mary Chapin Carpenter.


One man's trash ...

Bobcats take advantage of foreclosed house.

iTunes is currently playing: Feels Like Home from the album Randy Newman's Faust by Bonnie Raitt.


RE: Sarah Palin: YOU GO, GIRL!!!

Sarah Palin, VP candidate.

iTunes is currently playing: This One's for the Girls from the album Martina by Martina McBride.

Comments (1)

It must be boring as hell ...

... to be the person who sends out "Breaking News" emails on a slow news day. How else to explain this email from CNN:

-- Sen. Hillary Clinton tells convention delegates: "Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our president."

Never let it be said that CNN passed up an opportunity to shove Obama down our throats.

iTunes is currently playing: History Will Teach Us Nothing from the album Nothing Like The Sun by Sting.

Comments (1)

One of the places on my "to go" list ...

... is Alaska and I'm hoping that I can convince some of my relatives to join us for a cruise up that way in the next couple of years. Maybe this will help.

This 26-minute film from Princess Cruises called "The Heart of Alaska" won the "Best Cinematography" award at the NY Independent Film & Video Festival.

The Heart of Alaska" is a high-definition documentary that showcases the Princess cruise-tour experience by depicting the land, wildlife and people of Alaska. The 26-minute film, photographed and directed by Princess video producer Scott Martin, features interviews with some of the people who tell their stories of life in Alaska's interior.

Viewers meet rangers from both Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias national parks, Alaska natives, homesteaders and dog mushers who share an insider's perspective of life in the 49th state. Other voices include a bush pilot, a captain from Fairbanks' iconic riverboat and a mountain climber. The film also brings the audience up-close to the wildlife of Denali National Park, including bears, moose, Dall sheep, and caribou. Soaring photography takes viewers high above the world's tallest peaks, including Mount McKinley.

It is a beautiful (and interesting) film and makes me want to book that cruise. Anybody want to come along?

iTunes is currently playing: Leader Of The Band from the album The Collection by Dan Fogelberg, which always makes me think of Dad.


Sorry, Barry ...

Obama thinks we are dying to know who his sidekick will be.

... but most of us really don't care all that much who you pick. The mainstream media is dying to know, but the rest of us are like ... yeah, whatever. And so when you say stuff like this, you sound like a pompous ass. Or a five year old with a secret. ("I know something you don't know. Nah nah nah nah nah!")

Not terribly presidential, dude.

iTunes is currently playing: Secret Secrets from the album Secret Secrets by Joan Armatrading.


R.I.P. Acres of Books in Long Beach, CA

Oh, my, the hours I spent there! Happy trails, Jackie and Phil.

Acres of Books

Resident Cat at Acres of Books

[L.A.Times] After 74 years in business, the independent bookstore giant with an inventory that topped 1 million volumes is closing down to make way for a redevelopment project. The two-story brick building will be transformed into a mix of housing and art galleries as part of the city's plan to connect downtown with its East Village Arts District.

Acres of Books opened on Pacific Street in 1934 and moved into the current building in the 1940s, taking over from a country-western bar and dance hall. Back then, Long Beach Boulevard was a hot spot for the Navy, packed with bars, tattoo parlors and mom-and-pop shops.

Founder Bertrand Smith and his son, E.P. Smith, worked more than a year to move into the site, shuttling hundreds of thousands of books in the back of a pickup. Over time, the downtown strip, starting from the shoreline, has given way to an arts renaissance and a 21st century economy of condos and Starbucks shops.

"We knew eventually it would catch up with us," said Jackie Smith, 68. She and her husband, Phil, plan to retire and travel. They've had time to say goodbye to the store, after selling their building to the city for $2.8 million three months ago.

Smith said she and her husband searched for months for a new location but didn't find one that met their needs for a large space on a modest budget. Once they sell their inventory, which in less than two weeks has gone from 700,000 to 500,000, they will join the list of independent L.A. area bookstores that have been ousted by sluggish sales or redevelopment.

"I hate to see it go," said Smith, whose husband inherited the store from his grandfather. "If we would have been able to hold on, we would have probably been here until we turned to dirt. But that's not possible."

iTunes is currently playing: The Book I Read from the [bootleg] album Live at the Sun Palace (Tokyo) by Talking Heads.


Tired of paying $4.00 per gallon for gas?

Watch this video and then visit

Richie Havens ... is currently playing: Drivin' from the album Simple Things by Richie Havens.


In some families she would be considered a black sheep.

The L.A.Times ran a story the other day about a 77 year old woman named Doris Payne who spent 50+ years stealing jewelry from retail stores.
Her formula was simple: Pick a nice store and look like you belong there. Make sure your well-cut outfit has deep pockets.

She was good, but not good enough to never get caught. In fact, she has been convicted of grand theft several times and has spent most of the last decade in prison. She should be free by the time she is 81, if she lives that long.

Her story is interesting and would probably make a good movie. But the most interesting paragraph in the lengthy article (IMO) is this:
"It took me a while to become proud of her," said Ronald, of Louisiana. Now 61, he was born when his mother was a teenager. He was raised partly by his grandparents. "I realized she was very good at what she does and had fun doing it."

So Ronald is proud of his convicted felon mother who was so busy stealing what probably amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stuff that she couldn't be bothered to raise him because, after all, SHE WAS A GOOD THIEF and she ENJOYED HERSELF while she was stealing.

Loving her in spite of her flaws would be one thing. But being proud of her?

What a world.

Alison Moyet - Alf ... is currently playing: Steal Me Blind from the album Alf by Alison Moyet.

Why would you change the name of your company ...

... from NORWEGIAN COASTAL VOYAGE (which conjures up such lovely, relaxing images) to HURTIGRUTEN???

is currently playing: Ain't That Peculiar from the album Every Great Motown Hit of Marvin Gaye by Marvin Gaye.


I ***LOVE*** Hello Kitty ...

... I really do ... but I must admit that they is something really creepy/scary about a six foot tall person in a Hello Kitty costume.

Hello Kitty Ambassador


what the ... ???

Sex and The City Movie Premiere

#1 - There are no words to describe the thing sitting on SJP's head.

#2 - Kim Cattrall's hairdo makes her face look big and round.

#3 - Cynthia Nixon looks like a mannequin.

#4 - Kristin Davis needs a new stylist. What an awful dress.

I didn't watch the show. Did they dress like this on tv, too?

We are family ... I got all my sisters with me ...

Well, not ALL of my sisters ... but I'm working on the ones who haven't said "yes" yet.


Someone should point out to Obama ...

... that you do not get to pick your family, but you DO GET TO PICK YOUR FRIENDS (and your PASTOR/MENTOR).

And nothing like tossing your grandmother under the bus if you think it will help you become leader of the free world.

"I can no more disown him [referring to the "Reverend" Wright] than I can disown my white grandmother -- a woman who helped raise me . . . but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."

And then there is this, from the same L.A.Times piece published Wed. March 19th:

Writing on the Huffington Post website last week and in interviews with Chicago newspapers, Obama had said that when he sat in the pews at Trinity United Church of Christ, he had not heard Wright make some of his more controversial statements.

On Tuesday, saying "nagging questions" remain for some voters, Obama offered a different account.

"Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes," Obama said.

Maybe he thinks that the Huffington statement was not dishonest because he qualified it by saying he had not heard Wright's "more controversial statements". And maybe he thinks he comes across as an honest guy when he admits, in the latest speech, that he had, in fact, sat in that church and heard "remarks that could be considered controversial."

If so, he is wrong on both counts.

No, make that three things. Sorry, Senator, but there really are no "nagging questions" about this issue.

Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin - The End of a Love Affair ... is currently playing: The End Of A Love Affair from the album Lady in Satin by Billie Holiday.

Racing up the charts ...

... is that catchy new tune "Housing Bubble, What's The Trouble" by the group PERSONAL ATM.

Mary Chapin Carpenter - Stones In The Road - House of Cards* ... is currently playing: House Of Cards from the album Stones in the Road by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Cool new chess set

Cool new chess set.

Carole King - Tapestry - I Feel the Earth Move ... is currently playing: I Feel The Earth Move from the album Tapestry by Carole King.