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Jack Bauer interrogates Santa

I am SO looking forward to January 17th, when Jack and Chloe return for Season 8.

iTunes is currently playing: Feliz Navidad from the album Feliz Navidad by José Feliciano.

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The Brits get it.

They understand we've been sold a bill of goods by the global warming folks. When are we going to wise up?







iTunes is currently playing: Prelude To The End Of The Game from the album Brand New Day by Sting.

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Disturbing Hoosier News

According to NWI.COM (online version of The [Hammond] Times), Indiana has the second highest smoking rate in the country. It is difficult to believe that in this day and age, more than a quarter of adults in Hoosierville smoke. Even worse, the percentage has gone up in the last couple of years (unlike most other states, where fewer people are smoking).

What's up, Hoosiers? Do you all not get that smoking is bad for your health??

iTunes is currently playing: Save Yourself from the album Aces by Suzy Bogguss.

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The number of women who will buy this item:

ZERO!!

eat eat tweet tweet Withings, the French company behind the  Wi-Fi Body Scale, the first bathroom scale equipped with a wireless connection to send your weight and body fat information directly to your Web page and iPhone, announced it has added Twitter capability to the scale, enabling the user to automatically tweet the weight/fat info to followers.

In a news release, Withings declared the Twitter function would be a great help to users, "further motivating them by sharing their progress with followers."

iTunes is currently playing: We Have No Secrets from the album "The Best of Carly Simon" by Carly Simon.
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I remember very clearly ...

... the terror we felt as those news reports broke.  Random shootings at a gas station and a Home Depot.  A bus driver ready to start his route.  A crazy person, we said.  Who else would do something like this.  And then relief when the two men were in custody and the shootings stopped.  Sympathy of sorts for the teen.  Rage toward the other, the ringleader.  So much rage.  Maybe that is why it only took 7 years to execute him, instead of the 20+ it often takes for death penalty cases to wind their way through the justice system.  Relatives of the victims say they feel better now.  Really?  When the government does its eye-for-an-eye thing, does it bring back the dead?  Did it heal your broken heart?

iTunes is currently playing:  nothing.

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Makes us ex-pats wanna cry.

From the [Gary] Post-Tribune:

The fiancee of Gary's latest homicide victim said she asked him not to visit the Brunswick neighborhood where he was shot and killed Wednesday. Terry Flournoy Jr., 36, became the fifth person in six days to be killed in Gary when he failed to heed that warning. Witnesses said they heard several gunshots before Flournoy was found dead in a purple Pontiac Sunfire in the 700 block of Hovey Street. "People have been getting killed left and right over here," Mya Gauldin, ... said.

From GoogleMaps:

iTunes is currently playing: Lonesome For A Place I Know from the album "Idlewild" by Everything But The Girl.

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A Day in the Country

Yesterday was a beautiful day so we took a drive out to Lancaster (PA). We saw quite a few horse-drawn buggies, as the area is home to some Amish folks. I'm surprised there aren't more accidents, as the buggies travel right alongside the cars on Rt. 30.
Amish buggy.
Does this cow need to be milked or do they always look like that?
Lancaster cow.
As we approached our house at the end of the day, we saw a couple of our local deer watching the cars go by. I never get tired of watching these guys.
Local wildlife.
Local wildlife.
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The drive to LAX just won't be the same.

Nude club near LAX to be torn down.

iTunes is currently playing: Don't Stop The Dance from the album Boys And Girls by Bryan Ferry.

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Bokeh

Playing with a new lens for my Olympus E-520: a Rokinon 85mm 1.4.

Test image from Rokinon 85mm 1.4.

iTunes is currently playing: Someone's In The Background from the album Hearts And Flowers by Joan Armatrading.

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Now where did I put those Rollerblades?



iTunes is currently playing: Keep On Movin' from the album Angels In The Crowd by Wendy Woo.

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American Life in Poetry #226 (Travel-themed!)

Occasionally I post an issue of Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry column, when its featured poem particularly hits home with me. The following poem reminds me of the afternoon we spent whale watching with a group of folks who cruised Alaska with us on the Diamond Princess last May. We saw so many whales that afternoon! It was one of the highlights of our cruise, and it was wonderful to share the experience with so many others. If you have ever traveled in a group, the poem may touch a chord with you, too.

American Life in Poetry: Column 226

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

Elizabeth Bishop, one of our greatest American poets, once wrote a long poem in which the sudden appearance of a moose on a highway creates a community among a group of strangers on a bus. Here Ronald Wallace, a Wisconsin poet, gives us a sighting with similar results.


Sustenance

Australia. Phillip Island. The Tasman Sea.
Dusk. The craggy coastline at low tide in fog.
Two thousand tourists milling in the stands
as one by one, and then in groups, the fairy penguins
mass up on the sand like so much sea wrack and
debris. And then, as on command, the improbable
parade begins: all day they've been out fishing
for their chicks, and now, somehow, they find them
squawking in their burrows in the dunes, one by one,
two by two, such comical solemnity, as wobbling by
they catch our eager eyes until we're squawking, too,
in English, French, and Japanese, Yiddish and Swahili,
like some happy wedding party brought to tears
by whatever in the ceremony repairs the rifts
between us. The rain stops. The fog lifts. Stars.
And we go home, less hungry, satisfied, to friends
and family, regurgitating all we've heard and seen.


American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. "Sustenance" from "For A Limited Time Only," by Ronald Wallace, (c) 2008. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press. The poem first appeared in "Poetry Northwest," Vol. 41, no. 4, 2001. Introduction copyright (c)2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

iTunes is currently playing: Universal Traveler from the album Talkie Walkie by Air.

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A big improvement? You be the judge.

I love my new door!

BEFORE:

Kathy and Dan's old door.
Our original door was much larger than a standard-sized door and had a big round doorknob the size of a grapefruit on the outside.

AFTER:

Kathy and Dan's NEW door.
Target checks out the new door. The installer had to build a frame around the door because the old one was so big.

Close-up of the window on our new door.
Here is a close-up view of the stained glass window in the door.

iTunes is currently playing: This House (Album Version) from the album Hoodoo by Alison Moyet.

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Evian Roller Babies

I feel as if I am always the last person on earth to learn about a cool commercial or video or performer or whatever. Has everyone else known about Evian Babies for a while??



iTunes is currently playing: Have You Seen My Baby from the album Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman by Randy Newman.

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Were they naughty instead of nice?

A group of Santas take a group cruise on the Diamond Princess.

[Photo posted on TwitPic.com by PrincessCruises.]


Dan and I sailed on this ship a couple of weeks earlier and we were very lucky. The weather was beautiful throughout our trip with the exception of an hour or so in Ketchikan. So many people told us that Alaska is a must-see cruise destination and it is true!

iTunes is currently playing: Heavy Cloud No Rain from the album Ten Summoner's Tales by Sting.

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American Life in Poetry: Column 220

Another interesting poetry column from Ted Kooser:

American Life in Poetry: Column 220

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

One of the privileges of being U.S. Poet Laureate was to choose two poets each year to receive a $10,000 fellowship, funded by the Witter Bynner Foundation. Joseph Stroud, who lives in California, was one of my choices. This poem is representative of his clear-eyed, imaginative poetry.


Night in Day

The night never wants to end, to give itself over
to light. So it traps itself in things: obsidian, crows.
Even on summer solstice, the day of light's great
triumph, where fields of sunflowers guzzle in the sun--
we break open the watermelon and spit out
black seeds, bits of night glistening on the grass.


American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c)2009 by Joseph Stroud, and reprinted from his recent book of poems, "Of This World: New and Selected Poems 1966-2006," Copper Canyon Press, 2009, by permission of the author and publisher. Introduction copyright (c)2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

iTunes is currently playing: Black Diamond from the album Winter Solstice On Ice by The Rippingtons Featuring Russ Freeman.

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American Life in Poetry: Column 214

It's been a while since I posted one of former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser's poetry columns, but this one struck a chord with me so I decided to share it.

American Life in Poetry: Column 214

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

Sometimes I wonder at my wife's forbearance. She's heard me tell the same stories dozens of times, and she still politely laughs when she should. Here's a poem by Susan Browne, of California, that treats an oft-told story with great tenderness.

On Our Eleventh Anniversary

You're telling that story again about your childhood,
when you were five years old and rode your blue bicycle

from Copenhagen to Espergaerde, and it was night
and snowing by the time you arrived,

and your grandparents were so relieved to see you,
because all day no one knew where you were,

you had vanished. We sit at our patio table under a faded green
umbrella, drinking wine in California's blue autumn,

red stars of roses along the fence, trellising over the roof
of our ramshackle garage. Too soon the wine glasses will be empty,

our stories told, the house covered with pine needles the wind
has shaken from the trees. Other people will live here.

We will vanish like children who traveled far in the dark,
stars of snow in their hair, riding to enchanted Espergaerde.


American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c)2007 by Susan Browne, whose most recent book of poems is "Buddha's Dogs," Four Way Books, 2004. Poem reprinted from "Mississippi Review" Vol. 35, nos. 1-2, Spring 2007, and reprinted by permission of the author and publisher. Introduction copyright (c)2009 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction's author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006


iTunes is currently playing: The Dreams Of Children from the album The Dreams of Children by Shadowfax.

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San Filippo baby in the news.

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Read the article here.
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In our Pennsylvania backyard ...

... we have deer and at least one fox. Folks who live (or winter) in Naples, Florida are entertained by the most interesting birds!

Fun feathered fellow near Naples Pier in Naples, Florida.

iTunes is currently playing: Little Birdie from the album Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown! by Joy Williams.

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Why I Want To Go To St. Maarten



iTunes is currently playing: We Could Be Flying from the album Sundown Lady by Lani Hall.

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Since when do politicians ...

... have to know what they are voting for ...



iTunes is currently playing: Things We've Handed Down from the album The Rainy Season by Marc Cohn.

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