Friday

Gossip: Errant Senate Aides, Tribute to JC, Blind Items Galore

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Well, Well, Well. What Have We Here, Harry?
Imagine this: A congress critter’s Aide, and no less a congress critter than the Senate Minority Leader (Tom Daschle’s replacement), Harry Reid, Nevada-Dem, gets arrested at the President’s inauguration for “making a scene”.

Said “scene” being nothing less than holding up a big sheet with the words “No War” on it, the sheet blocking attendees’ view. Attendees who had been sitting in the freezing cold all law-abiding like to watch the inauguration. When Harry Reid’s Aide decides to cause a raucous and be, well rude, at the least, eh?

The story gets better with Aide Nathan Ackerman declaring that he did not get his fancy inauguration tickets by virtue of his association with Harry Reid (sure you didn’t, Nate), that Reid’s office had nothing to do with his actions, that it was the participants that were cursing HIM out. Not that these participants wouldn’t be angry what with their view completely blocked at the last minute by two clowns that don’t know how to behave. Still I doubt Ackerman’s complaints and expect to see him fired by Reid as such behavior at the august occasion of our country’s presidential inauguration should not be condoned. Surely to keep this ill-mannered buffoon on staff would be to condone such action, eh?

By the way, what the hell is a “communications war room”? Ackerman doesn’t believe in war my goodness, witness his sign! Except war against our country and its institutions as The Wise I sees it.
From “TheHill”.
An aide to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was arrested on the West Front of the Capitol for disorderly conduct during President Bush’s inaugural address last week.

The aide, Nathan Ackerman, is a television producer on the Senate Democratic Communications Committee — an organization that was folded into Reid’s new communications “war room.”
About 20 minutes into Bush’s speech, Ackerman, 36, and another man held up a sheet that said “No War.” According to a Capitol Police report, Ackerman and another suspect “were blocking the view of the audience and they were engaged in a verbal dispute with members of the audience.”

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More Heartbreak as J-Lo’s Marriage Goes on the Rocks.
Time was beginning to heal my wounds over the Brad/Jennifer break up when I am hit by the following staggering news. More time and I suppose my new wounds will heal.
The couple, who married in a surprise ceremony last June, are said to bearguing over Marc's controlling behaviour, according to America's In Touch
magazine.

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Can’t Buy Me Love
Seems Ringo Starr thinks his home country, the country that brought him fame and fortune, doesn’t love him enough.

Not that this big-nosed has-been isn’t tres passé already, I’m thinking his ungrateful comments won’t help.

Also, I must ask, WHO in America loves Ringo Starr?

STARR: 'ENGLAND DOESN'T LOVE ME ENOUGH'
Former BEATLE RINGO STARR has slammed his fellow Britons - because he fears they don't love him enough.
The legendary drummer spends most of his time at his Los Angeles home,because he prefers the respect and admiration he receives in America, which hebelieves is missing in his homeland.
He complains, "Los Angeles is my favourite place. It's where my heart feels
settled. Plus the audience love me over there and I love them, and they know that. They're really supportive. America's like my town. I love Americans. "You know I have this thing about England. They don't really love me enough.
That's just how I feel. It's not a fact - it's just a feeling." (CM/WNSEX)

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The Golden Globes Are Serious Stuff Kathy Griffin!
Kathy Griffin, who I remember as Brook Shields’ co-star in “Suddenly Susan”, got into some trouble for making a hah-hah about a 10 year old star spending some time in rehab. Kind of sad that E! has to explain that a 10 year old is not YET in rehab.

E! should see my own handsome missive and mocking pics of the Golden Globe fashions and my excellent fashion critiques..HERE.
E! Bosses Apologize for Griffin's Callous Red Carpet Joke

Bosses at TV network E! Entertainment have been forced to apologize for callous remarks comedienne Kathy Griffin made about child star Dakota Fanning on the red carpet at last Sunday's Golden Globe Awards. Outrageous Griffin upset American TV viewers when she joked about the 10-year-old I Am Sam star checking into rehab "for drugs and alcohol" during the pre-ceremony program. E! chiefs decided it was best to apologize after they were flooded with complaints. In a statement, they said, "This insensitive comment was not true and it was spoken in jest."

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Johnny Carson Entertains the Angels
Always a consummate entertainer and born to do what he did, I find that Johnny received quite a few major honors in his lifetime.

He won a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in1992, with the first President Bush saying, "With decency and style he's madeAmerica laugh and think." In 1993, he was celebrated by the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors for career achievement.

We’ll miss you Johnny. Keep them laughing up there.
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Asked and Guessed. Blind Item Fun
ASKED…
WHICH daughter of a West Coast software gazillionaire moved to London and began a lesbian romance with a married woman who subsequently divorced her husband to shack up with the sapphic scion? . .

WHICH fey public relations man has a rent boy he likes to keep on call for his Miami visits? But the hunk-for-hire is costing him double right now - not only does he pay the boy, he pays a private eye to keep watch on him . . .

WHICH big-name Hollywood actor has fallen back into his druggie ways? The matinee idol, whose career has taken a nose dive, is consoling himself with controlled substances. His hot new gal pal shares his narcotic interests.

Guessed…(responses glommed from newsgroup Alt.Showbiz.Gossip)
One of the tabloids last weekend had an article of how Ben Affleck was partying and gambling while Jennifer Garner was appearing at the "Electra" premiere. He said he wanted it to be "her night"... so he sends her out alone, while he enjoys himself. Whatta guy.

Oh! But eyewitnesses said he was downing Jack Daniels mixed with Coke,which sounds a little nasty to me. So much for rehab! Compulsive gambling AND drinking! At the SAME TIME! NICE!
--Amy

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> WHICH fey public relations man has a rent boy he likes to keep on call for his Miami visits? But the hunk-for-hire is costing him double right now - not only does he pay the boy, he pays a private eye to keepwatch on him . . .

Donnie Deutsch
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WHICH big-name Hollywood actor has fallen back into his druggie ways? The matinee idol, whose career has taken a nose dive, is consoling himself with controlled substances. His hot new gal pal shares his narcotic interests.

Would Downey Jr. be a shock? He's working I suppose, but the Oscar calibre stuff doesn't seem to be coming.
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What about Jared Leto? He was rumored to have been a heroine addict a few years back and his new-ish gal pal, Scarlet J., could fit. He definitely hasn't been as high profile as the last few women he has dated (Cameron Diaz?), so by comparison to them his career seems weak... and Alexander might as well have been a "nosedive" for everyone involved.

AndyNYC

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DivineMsCG wrote:
WHICH daughter of a West Coast software gazillionaire moved to London and began a lesbian romance with a married woman who subsequently divorced her husband to shack up with the sapphic scion? . . .

Shari Redstone?
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Don't know to the west coaster was but the "married London woman who divorced her husband" could be the ex-wife of Charles Saatchi. There wasan article about her in Tatler several months ago (or was it Harpers?)that detailed the divorce and the comfort she was getting from her
"close female friend."

Miscellany:A PetsMart Rant; Caught at the Grocery; Cats, Birds and Snowy Days

A compendium of this and that worth a paragraph. The compiled paragraphs equal an entire column of wisdom.
PetsMart Has No Carts
Bearing in mind here that this is not the first time that this particular PetsMart store has had a cart problem.

With myself being owned by six cats and two dogs, such as shopping at pet stores is a darn big deal. So much so that the shopping encompasses two states and over one hundred miles. For the coastal area of Delaware caters more to the resort minded than pet owners. Sure there's pet stores in this neck of the woods but they're small and expensive.

Thus on my trips back to Merryland, the state of my birth and home of Kaitlyn Mae, I will return to the PetsMart on Route 2 in the Southgate shopping center.

It's happened before that there were NO carts in the front of the store but this time it was an especially heinous experience. In that there was ice and snow all over the ground and it was a tricky endeavor to go BACK to the parking lot to get a spare cart. Which I had to do because I didn't realize there were no carts in front of the store until I was at the front door.

It isn't as if purchasing pet supplies isn't, more often than not, a shopping cart type of activity. Myself often buys huge boxes/bags/buckets of cat litter, twenty pounds of cat and dog food, various dog and cat toys and froufrou, not to mention the purchase of sunflower seeds and such for the bird fellows.

I cannot carry this sort of stuff around the store is what I'm saying here.

A pet store should ALWAYS have carts available to customers and this particular store has not, on TWO different occasions, had carts readily available to happening customers like myself. Who they should cherish if you get my drift.

Also, may I point out that on the day of my visit I was there in the middle of a weekday. Not a weekend or evening when the store might be busier. And STILL, no carts.

Below I have a picture of the one and only cart available to me the day of my visit, a busted up affair with no back at all. Next to it is a picture of the store facade and may all know now that it is the PetsMart in Glen Burnie, Maryland in the Southgate Shopping center.

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They think I'm a bitch because I complained about this lack of carts. They did send someone out to retrieve the carts and honestly someone did come fairly quickly. If you define fairly quickly as about seven minutes, seven precious minutes when I had a bevy of appointments to attend to. I slipped and slid out to the cart corrale in the parking lot and got my own. Spent $85.00 by the time I got out of there too.

Well folks I cannot make these people understand about carts so I must fight back the only way I can. I am posting my complaint very publicly on my Blog, complete with the offending store's locale punctuated by a picture. The two or three people a day who read this Blog will now know NOT to shop at this PetsMart though who knows, maybe those big pet food people have the same policy at all the stores. Which is not to bother rounding up carts for the convenience of their customers until a bitchy customer complains. You'll never see a grocery store taking this position can you imagine?

I also intend to go to the PetsMart web site and give them a link to this Blog entry. If they care, they'll do something about it.

I only know they didn't care the first time I complained about it. I will also be scouting out new pet supply stores because who needs to spend their big bucks at a store with so little concern about their customers?
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While I'm On a Rant
Below is yet another picture taken by a wild Grandmother with a photo cell phone. The picture is self-explanatory but also a lesson caught in the act of life. Click to enlarge picture. And before you ask, BOTH misleading signs were for containers of the exact same size.
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Martha vs. Maxine
I have no idea who Maxine is though I imagine Martha would be Ms. Stewart of jail fame. I do know I thought it a real snort so Maxine, wherever you are, thanks for the laughs.
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*Martha's Way*
Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.

*Maxine's Way *
Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Pete's sake! You are probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it, anyway!
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*Martha's Way*
To keep potatoes from budding, place an apple in the bag with the potatoes.

*Maxine's Way *
Buy Hungry Jack mashed potato mix, keep it in the pantry for up to a year.
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*Martha's Way*
When a cake recipe calls for flouring the baking pan, use a bit of the dry cake mix instead and there won't be any white mess on the outside of the cake.

*Maxine's Way *
Go to the bakery! They'll even decorate it for you.
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*Martha's Way*
If you accidentally over salt a dish while it's still cooking, drop in a peeled potato and it will absorb the excess salt for an instant "fix-me-up."

*Maxine's Way *
If you over salt a dish while you are cooking, that's too bad. Please recite with me the real woman's motto: "I made it and you will eat it and I don't care how bad it tastes!"
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*Martha's Way*
Wrap celery in aluminum foil when putting in the refrigerator and it will keep for weeks.

*Maxine's Way *
Celery? Never heard of it!
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*Martha's Way*
Brush some beaten egg white over pie crust before baking to yield a beautiful glossy finish.

*Maxine's Way *
The Mrs. Smith frozen pie directions do not include brushing egg whites over the crust so I don't.
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*Martha's Way*
Cure for headaches: take a lime, cut it in half and rub it on your forehead. The throbbing will go away.

*Maxine's Way *
Take a lime, mix it with tequila, chill and drink!
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*Martha's Way*
If you have a problem opening jars, try using latex dishwashing gloves. They give a non-slip grip that makes opening jars easy.

*Maxine's Way *
Go ask that very cute neighbor if he can open it for you.
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*Martha's Way*
Don't throw out all that leftover wine. Freeze into ice cubes for future use in casseroles and sauces.

*Maxine's Way *
Leftover wine???????????
HELLO !!!!!!!
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The Bird Fellows and the Recent Snow Storm
Here in Serendipity Shore we do, as in Critter Cove, our former homestead, feed the bird fellows. And a snow storm is the best bird feeding time of all.

So when the meterologists were calling for blizzards I sprang into action. One such action being the placement of our spent Christmas tree on our deck that the bird fellows have a place to hide from the hawks who would prey on the feeding birds.

I then sprinkled sunflower and millet all throughout the tree.

Below is a picture of the tree. Not many birds are visible in the pic but there are plenty of juncos, white-troat sparrows, wrens and other avian types within the branches of that old Christmas tree, enjoying my seed not covered by snow. You can see one little junco hopping over to the bounty to the right.

I thought it was a most ecologically happening way to employ a used Christmas tree and thought I'd pass on the hint to bird lovers across the planet. Come spring we'll throw that tree in the compost pile where it will take a year or so to break down but it will and then the same Christmas tree will nourish my gardens.

Also in the pic below, because I couldn't help but take the picture it was so cute, is one of my cats. Who would have thought a cat would be such a bird lover? Heh-heh, not that I am fooled mind you. Check out that stalking cat's tail. Only the pane of the sliding glass door prevents all those birds hopping around so merrily from being the prey of this bird-watching cat.

And no, my cats do NOT go outside.



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Thursday

Reminisce: A Trip to New York, an Unclaimed Bag. Times Have Changed.

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A Trip to New York After 9/11 Reveals How Much That City Has Changed

The Bag

For need of a concrete example in the change in the city of New York’s environs, attitudes and appearance, nothing makes the case more handily than my experience with my sister and the bag.

Though make no mistake, I was wary about the day trip to New York to attend a play as part of her late-life matriculation requirements. All aspects of the trip, from the four hour bus ride to the theater tickets were handled by my sister’s college. It was, by all appearances, a most ordinary sort of day visit, the kind planned and executed by the thousands every day.

It’d been over twenty years since I’d last visited New York and my memory of the trip was not a pleasant one. Times Square, for example, at the time of my prior visit, was a seedy area, populated with sex stores and peopled by many prostitutes. And while New Yorkers have always been known for a churlishness, if not downright hostility, my prior experience in interacting with the locals was extreme even by churlish standards.

I was with my boyfriend of the era and during one brave foray into the streets we were exasperated by a panhandler who wouldn’t take “NO” for an answer and proceeded to follow us for several blocks. We approached a police officer for assistance, pointing to the human of our turmoil and explaining the un-nerving stalking by same.

“What do you want me to do about it?” was the response of this New York City Keeper of the Peace.

When we consulted a subway ticket taker for more detailed route instructions, he responded, churlishly, “Are you writing a book?”

A prostitute, loping along on impossibly high heels that caused us giggles, turned and confronted us menacingly. “What the hell are you looking at?”

Still, I figured, a school trip. It would likely be well-arranged and designed to shield us from these sorts of incidents.

“The theater is in Times Square,” my sister told me. Images of nasty prostitutes, peep show stores, unhelpful police officers and determined panhandlers popped into my head. She was so excited about the trip, however, that I kept my doubts to myself.

Adding to the dread of my twenty year old experiences in The Big Apple was my concern about security. It’d been a scant two years since some terrorists took control of American airplanes and rammed them into the World Trade Center. Since September 11 there had been countless terror warnings, all that included New York City.

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My sister and I chatted happily during the entire trip from Delaware to New York. Upon arrival I braced myself for the disappointment in my sister’s eyes as she witnessed the mess that was New York City.

We disembarked one block from the theater. My eyes grew big and round and my mouth grew speechless. For a magnificent city unfolded before me. Broadway, Times Square, 5th Avenue were all around. Times Square itself was the scene of huge, bustling crowds, street vendors, trendy boutiques, handsome theaters and tall buildings that defied the ozone layer. Unabashedly American, state-of-the-art billboards shouted product brand names, displayed stock market tickers and showed newscasts in progress.

We had a few hours before the beginning of the play thus sister and I decided to explore. Every street was bustling with people, visitors, natives, independent street entrepreneurs. All, to my complete surprise, orderly and well-behaved. Several times we lost our way and approached the nearest police officer for assistance. Which there were plenty, I noted. Every one was nothing but polite and helpful.

My sister and I gleefully explored the streets of New York City, all on foot and all mesmerizing. “What a grand city,” I told my sister.

It was in front of the CNN studio where I spotted the bag. It was a gift bag, one of those affairs meant to eliminate the bother of wrapping. I wasn’t sure of the decoration on the bag but by the red-corded handles and stature of the bag, I knew it was a gaily decorated container meant to hold gift treasures, ideally hidden by brightly colored tissue paper. I peered inside and saw some “stuff” but I couldn’t positively identify any individual item. The most obvious detail about the bag was how it sat alone and untended on the busy street of Broadway.

I sidled toward the bag. There was no larceny in my heart but after casual and guarded observation lasting a full five minutes I was sure the bag had been hastily forgotten, left, most likely, by a busy tourist.

“This bag,” I said to my sister in a conspiratorial whisper, tapping the bag surreptitiously with my toe, “seems to have been left here.” My sister followed the tapping of my shoe and saw the bag, alone, forlorn, obviously once owned by somebody.

“Don’t,” my sister said simply. For a minute I didn’t know what she “don’t” wanted me to do. In fact, I had no plan at all as concerned the bag and was looking for suggestions.

“Obviously someone left it here,” I said to my sister. We both scanned the surround. Hundreds of people bustled by, CNN was showing the nightly newscast on a wide-screened electronic billboard, police officers strolled the sidewalks and streets. No one showed any interest in the bag.

“Maybe whoever owns it will come back for it,” my sister offered. I cast my eyes again at the many people all about and pondered anyone so stupid to think that a return trip to retrieve the forgotten bag would yield any bag at all. Perhaps if they were close by, my eyes told my sister. We waited fifteen minutes. Not necessarily for the retrieval of the bag but for attending to our tourist duties. I remained close by the bag but my hands never touched it.

“If you give it to a police officer who’s to say that the owners will know where to go to retrieve it?” my sister said. My thought exactly. It wasn’t as if there was a Lost and Found kiosk on every New York City corner. With bus boarding time almost upon a decision on the bag had to be made soon. By then my inclination was to take the bag for myself.

“If I don’t take it somebody else will,” I told my sister’s furrowed brows. “Since I spotted it first it should rightfully be mine.” The furrows on my sister’s forehead deepened.

“Don’t,” the brows said.

“Okay, let’s go,” I finally said, exasperated by the scolding brows.

“You’re going to leave it?” my sister said, with her mouth.

“Yes I’m going to leave it. I’m tired of arguing with your eyebrows,” I said, then hefted my own packages in preparation for the hike back to the bus. I left the bag where it stood.

The incident has become a form of folk lore in our family. For we did, indeed, depart from New York City and left the bag behind. I chide my sister that there may have been untold treasures in the bag, treasures claimed by someone else and probably not the original owner.

Likely the bag held such as postcards and tourist notions. More important, the arguably joint decision of my sister and me to leave the bag speaks more to the change in tone of The Big Apple than any value associated with the unclaimed parcel. My sister’s eyebrows told a compelling story of harmony, offered a hope that we would not take that which was not ours, described an atmosphere of genial humanity, lamented the poor tourist schlup who left his souvenir bag behind. The New York City of my twenty year old memory would never have inspired such eyebrow morals.

It is truly a magnificent city, made more magnificent by the manner in which it plowed on despite a horrific terrorist attack.

If you don’t believe me, travel down to the front of the CNN building. That bag might still be there.

Pic of Week: Poor Prince Harry Gets No Respect

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Wednesday

Comments: A Wealth of New Info on the Lisa Montgomery Case

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Comments: Chances of Lisa Montgomery Getting the Death Sentence.
Once again I have mined the comments section and dug up a wealth of information about the Lisa Montgomery case.

At this point, all eyes and ears are tuned in to ascertain if the prosecutors are going to go for the death penalty for Montgomery.

I’ve compiled some statements made by Todd P. Graves, the prosecutor in charge of the Mongtomery case. Below is a quote from his statement on the Larry King Live show, which aired 12/20/04-not long after the murder.

Here are the statements made by Todd P. Graves, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri "Analysis of Murder of Bobbie Jo Stinnett", aired 12/20/04.
KING: Is it your decision whether to ask for the death Penalty?

GRAVES: No, that's not my decision alone. That's something -- we have elaborate procedures. It's not something that's taken lightlney (ph) -- lightly. And in the Department of Justice, that is something that we will be. There's a deliberative process and that descision will be made. But we have a history of cases like this in this area. And it's not anything really --the case cetainly is unusual. But the nature of the charge isn't really anything out of the ordinary for us.


Graves also said in the same transcript the following:

KING: The average person would say, don't you think, Todd, this person's got to be a little nuts? So, how do you deal with that as a prosecutor -- mean, obviously, this can't be a normal act.

GRAVES: I'm not sure that any act of violence that results in a death would be considered a normal act.

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Below, more from Graves on the death penalty issue.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of death or life in prison. On Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Todd Graves said the prosecutors have not made the decision whether to pursue the death penalty, but said the indictment makes execution a possibility.

"It'll take months to go through that process," Graves said. "That is a decision that will be made by the Department of Justice as a whole, and at the highest levels of the Department of Justice.... The nature of these charging documents is to protect our opportunity and our option to seek the death penalty."
By MATT KELSEY,newsroom@asde.net

From the same article:
On Thursday Graves would not say whether the rope or the kitchen knife would be used as evidence in the case against Montgomery. He also would not say whether Montgomery brought the rope and knife with her, or if they were items found at Stinnett's home. But he did point out the section of the indictment which said the crime was committed "after substantial planning and premeditation."

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And some more …
Lisa M. Montgomery, 36, of Melvern, Kan., didn't speak during the brief hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Maughmer, who asked U.S. Attorney Todd Graves if he planned to seek a death sentence.

"That is the direction we are going," Graves said.
By Matt Sedensky,The Associated Press

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Finally, Graves’ points to the manual
Below, a quote from the “Manual of Model Criminal Instructions”, which Todd Graves pointedly gave to the Grand Jury and told the media all about it.

The wording of that sentence in the indictment document is lifted directly from the "Manual of Model Criminal Instructions for the District Courts of the Eighth Circuit," which in section 12.07F says the death penalty can be used if the crime is committed in an "especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner."

The U.S. Attorney's office sent copies of the jury manual to media outlets on Thursday to point out the passage. The manual goes on to define heinous, cruel and depraved.

"Heinous," according to the manual, "means extremely wicked or shockingly evil, where the killing was accompanied by such additional acts of torture or serious physical abuse of the victim as to set it apart from other killings.

"'Cruel' means that the defendant intended to inflict a high degree of pain by torturing the victim in addition to killing the victim."

"'Depraved' means that the defendant relished the killing or showed indifference to the suffering to the victim, as evidenced by torture or serious physical abuse of the victim."

Among other things, the word "torture" could apply to the Montgomery case, since Stinnett may have still been alive when the baby was cut out of her. If Stinnett has already been killed, the murderer would have only had a few minutes to remove the baby before it died from a lack of oxygen, according to medical experts.

In describing "torture," the jury manual says "the victim must have been conscious of the abuse at the time it was inflicted, and the defendant must have specifically intended to inflict severe mental or physical pain or suffering upon the victim, in addition to the killing of the victim."

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U.S. Attorney Todd P. Graves, accompanied by Kevin Stafford, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI regional office, announced the indictment of Lisa Montgomery at a press conference Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2005
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PDF file of indictment.
Link to DOJ web Site
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Thus the above collection of quotes and actions by Todd Graves would seem to indicate that the man intends to go after the death penalty for Montgomery.

Can he do it?

I have some thoughts on the matter and I am not so sure.


For now, on to more information culled from the comments.
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Below I’ve pasted the entire text from the article in the Kansas City Star. There’s a wealth of insightful information on Lisa Montgomery. Apologies to many who may have already read this a million times. I thought it should part of the official record. Heh, such as it is on this humble Blog.

MOTHER AND SISTERS DESCRIBE TROUBLED LIFE OF MURDER SUSPECT

Montgomery's family saw peril approach
By KAREN DILLON and KEVIN MURPHY The Kansas City Star



The congratulations caught Judy Shaughnessy by surprise: She was a
grandmother again.

Her daughter, Lisa Montgomery, had left the courthouse in Lyndon, Kan., a
few minutes earlier after proudly showing off a day-old infant, an
acquaintance told Judy.

Judy knew better.

"I just said, 'Yeah, right, she either stole it or bought it,'#8194;" Judy
recalled Tuesday.

Lisa had been incapable of having children since a 1990 operation, but she
fooled her husband, his parents and the whole community, Judy said.

"I tried to tell them and tell them, but nobody listened," she recalled.

Even as Judy was hearing about the newborn, the FBI was waiting for Lisa to
arrive at home in Melvern, Kan., to arrest her on a charge of killing a
Missouri woman and cutting her 8-month fetus from the womb.

Montgomery's two sisters, Patty Hedberg and Jerri Kleiner, said they also
tried to warn the family about her history of five faked pregnancies.

"Nobody believed us; nobody wanted to believe us," Patty said.

In their first media interviews, Lisa's sisters and mother talked about the
woman who authorities say wanted a baby so badly she killed to get one.
They described her as a smart loner who even as a child spun a lot of tales
that often angered her family.

The family had much to overcome, including poverty and alcohol. But Lisa
had an additional hurdle: As a teenager, she was sexually abused, her
mother said.

Twenty years later, Lisa Montgomery, 36, stands accused of a crime that has
received worldwide notoriety.

The FBI said in an affidavit that she traveled to the home of Bobbie Jo
Stinnett in Skidmore, Mo., on Dec. 16, strangled her and kidnapped her
baby. After confessing, she was charged with kidnapping resulting in death
and faces life in prison or the death penalty. Lisa has not entered a plea
to the charge.

"There is a difference between evil and insane, and I think she's evil,"
said Jerri, who believed her sister had become "dangerous" in her quest to
have a newborn.

There has been recent acrimony between Lisa and her mother and Patty. Last
year, Lisa sought a restraining order to keep them from seeing her children
but later dropped that effort. They contend she filed the order to stop
them from telling people she was faking pregnancies.

Patty and Jerri, who are half sisters, agreed to exclusive interviews with
The Kansas City Star if only their maiden names were used, because they
want to respect the privacy of their children.

One of Lisa's public defenders, David Owen, said Friday that he had no
comment on her background or the charges and that she would be unavailable
for an interview.

Stinnett's mother, Becky Harper, tearfully said Friday that she wished
someone would have listened to warnings about Lisa.

"Let's just don't let her get off with being insane, OK, because the woman
is not," said Harper, who discovered her daughter's body.

Lisa's husband, Kevin Montgomery, declined to be interviewed about whether
he had been told about her fake pregnancies. Last month, he told The Star
that he was convinced that she was pregnant and had delivered their baby.

"I held that baby proudly," he said.

Lisa doesn't have many defenders, but the pastor of the church the
Montgomerys attended in Melvern said she obviously was burdened with a
troubled background and personality.

"I know enough to know I do sympathize with her to some degree," said the
Rev. Mike Wheatly of the First Church of God.

A different child

She was born Lisa Marie Hedberg in Washington state. Soon after, she and
her mother moved to Topeka, where her sister Patty was born. Lisa and Patty
were toddlers when their parents split up, and they have had no contact
with their father, Patty said.

But some of the first stories Lisa would make up were about her father,
that he died in Vietnam or that something else befell him, Patty said.

From the beginning, Lisa was different, Patty said. She never did the
things many girls do, such as playing with dolls, but she was obsessed with
learning.

"I always said the house could burn down, and she wouldn't even smell the
smoke, she was so engrossed in books," her mother said.

By the time Lisa was 6 her mother had married Jack Kleiner, who had five
children of his own, and the family was living in Oklahoma. Her mother had
three children with Kleiner.

Beginning in grade school, Lisa played the violin and then the French horn.
In high school she played the mellophone in the marching band.

She made first chair with ease and was "very intellectual," her sisters
said.

"Everything Lisa did she was good at," Patty said. "She didn't have to
try."

Life turns sour

Lisa's life might have been very different.

In the spring of 1984, her grades were good, and she had plans for college.
The 16-year-old sophomore had been accepted at a summer college preparatory
program at Rogers State University in Claremore, Okla.

But her life was about to unravel, according to family members.

Kleiner was sexually abusing Lisa, her mother said in court records when
she filed for divorce that summer.

She and the children left Kleiner, and she took Lisa to counseling. But
Lisa denied she'd had sex with her stepfather, the sisters said.

In a telephone interview from his home in Manhattan, Kan., Jack Kleiner
said that the story had been concocted to support his wife's divorce case
and that he was never found guilty of anything.

"I never molested her in any way, shape or form," Kleiner said, and he
denied ever being an alcoholic, as Judy contended in the divorce.

Kleiner said he was not to blame for problems Lisa had in her life. "She
screwed up her life after she left me, not while I was there, I guarantee."

Kleiner said he provided the family a good life, although after the divorce
he would be sentenced to jail at least twice for failing to pay child
support, according to court records.

The family tried to cling to shreds of normalcy even as it went on welfare.
That tumultuous summer of 1984 also had a tranquil side - picnics, trips to
the lake, to a wedding, to go fishing, to get ice cream.

At Sperry High School, Lisa was in band, a class play, the pep club and
student council. The family moved to nearby Cleveland, Okla., where she
graduated in 1986 with mostly A's and B's, a school official said.

By 1986, Lisa's mother had married Richard Boman, a former mayor and police
chief of Sperry and retired Navy sailor. Richard Boman's son, Carl Boman,
had returned from the Navy and was dating Lisa.

Lisa was ready to join the Air Force as a way to pay for college when she
learned she was pregnant, her mother said. She and Carl married in August
1986, and her dreams of college died.

Her first marriage

As an adult, Lisa fabricated five pregnancies and other yarns about her
children, about boyfriends and about sleeping with people, causing
continuing rifts in her extended family, her relatives said.

"She made up stories to upset people and to get crap stirred up so there
was controversy," Patty said. "She was always seeking attention." Her
mother said Lisa became more cunning and manipulative after she started
having children.

Lisa had four children in a little more than three years. After her fourth
child in 1990, Lisa got a tubal ligation, rendering her sterile, said Carl
Boman and her sisters. Her mother was at the hospital when the procedure
was done.

Carl Boman worked many hours to make ends meet, and his wife stayed home to
take care of the children and the house.

But the house was filthy and roach-infested, her sisters said.

One time, her mother said, she visited the house while Lisa was making
lunch for the children. She pulled a dish of scalloped potatoes from the
oven, stuck in a fork, plunked it on the floor and said, "Here, kids,
here's your lunch," her mother recalled.

Often Lisa could be found lying on the couch reading. She favored fiction,
such as Stephen King novels, Carl Boman said.

Carl could not make Lisa happy, his father said.

"They fought all the time," Richard Boman said.

Lisa also was having affairs, Carl Boman said. Sometimes she would leave
the family for days or weeks, and she once showed up at her husband's
family reunion with another man, her mother said.

Carl Boman filed for divorce in October 1993 and moved to a new job in
Springdale, Ark. But Lisa followed him, and eight months later they
remarried in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,
which they had attended as part of an effort to rebuild their relationship.

In Arkansas, she told her family she was pregnant with twins, but it was
untrue, her sisters said.

The couple and their four children moved to Deming, N.M., where Richard
Boman had bought a double-wide trailer, said Bill Boomhower. Boomhower
owned a restaurant and gave Carl Boman a job.

Lisa had difficulty keeping the children clean, Judy and Boomhower said. At
their elementary school, the teachers would wash the children's hair, bathe
them and put clean clothes on them, Boomhower said.

Richard Boman said Lisa and her mother shared an affection for rural life.

"They both liked animals, especially goats and dogs and chickens," Boman
said.

But Boomhower said Lisa clearly seemed unhappy with her life.

"You look back and it's not really a bad, bad family," Boomhower said.
"There were a lot of underlying things going on that nobody knew about."

Divorce, remarriage

In 1998 the marriage ended for good. Carl Boman went to Bartlesville,
Okla., and Lisa returned to Kansas with her mother. Judy and Richard Boman
had divorced.

After meeting Kevin Montgomery in 1999, Lisa fabricated two pregnancies,
relatives said.

First, she told Montgomery she was pregnant, and he gave her $200 or $300
for an abortion, her sisters said.

Her sisters also said that Lisa told Montgomery she had gotten pregnant as
a teenager. She claimed she initially had been told the baby died during
delivery. But later she learned that the baby was put up for adoption, and
she had found the adoptive parents. Her daughter's name was Sarah.

"It was all made up," Patty said.

In March 2000, Lisa married Montgomery, who had three children from a
previous marriage.

Over the past six years, Lisa worked as a ticket agent at Greyhound Bus
Lines in Topeka; at a Wendy's restaurant in Lebo, Kan.; at a Casey's store
in Lyndon, Kan.; and in security in Pauline, Kan., all small towns south of
Topeka.

Meanwhile, Lisa became involved in the Melvern community.

She was involved in 4-H and Little League with the children. She sewed
pioneer-style clothing for her daughters and nieces and took them to an
annual apple festival. She made goat cheese. She attended school plays.

Baby obsession

By 2002 and 2003, Lisa's desire for a newborn was becoming uncontrollable,
her mother and sisters said.

Carl Boman was behind on child support payments, and she told him that if
he didn't pay up, he would not be allowed to see the children.

She told him she needed the money because she wanted to buy a baby, said
James Campbell, Carl Boman's attorney. Lisa estimated the cost to buy a
baby would be about $45,000.

But the Bomans did not have that kind of money, Campbell said.

A custody battle in fall 2003 over Lisa's newborn nephew revealed a fourth
phantom pregnancy.

The state had taken custody of her brother Teddy Kleiner's newborn son
after he was jailed on drug charges.

Lisa's mother was trying to get custody of the boy, who had been placed
with foster parents, but Lisa wanted the child, too, her sisters said. At
the hearings, Lisa testified she was pregnant, several people said.

But later, she testified she had miscarried and donated the fetus to
science, according to family members who attended the hearing.

In December 2003, Patty went to her sister's home, confronted Kevin
Montgomery and told him his wife could not be pregnant because she had had
a tubal ligation in 1990. Lisa told her to leave and never come back, Patty
said.

About a week later, Jerri and their mother went to the home of Kevin
Montgomery's parents, Roger and Joy Montgomery.

"My mom told them everything," Jerri said. She warned that Lisa "was
fooling you guys."

They also strongly urged Lisa to tell her husband the truth, they said.

"You cannot keep lying to the man; he doesn't deserve it," Judy recalled
telling Lisa. "She ignored everything I said."

While Roger Montgomery said he was advised by his lawyer not to comment on
whether he and his wife had been warned about Lisa, he voiced doubt about
the credibility of Lisa's sisters and mother. His lawyer did not return
calls.

To stop her family from spreading the accusations, Lisa sought restraining
orders against her mother and Patty, Judy and Patty said. Those orders were
later dismissed by a judge at Lisa's request, according to court records.

Judy said she spoke to some attorneys about having Lisa committed to a
psychiatric institution but was told that would be unlikely unless Lisa
harmed herself or someone else.

Lisa began negotiating with a pregnant acquaintance to buy her baby once it
was born, but the woman eventually refused, Lisa's sisters said.

Pressure mounts

Last summer, Lisa announced to her family and friends she was pregnant
again.

In November, the sisters and their mother learned that Lisa had bought a
home birth kit, used by midwives to deliver babies.

Jerri feared that her sister would finally do something drastic to get a
baby.

On Dec. 10, Carl Boman filed for custody of the four children he had with
Lisa. Boman said in an interview he had planned to use Lisa's phantom
pregnancy as a way to show she was mentally unfit to keep the children.

While it is unclear whether that was the last straw for Lisa, her mother
said her daughter was determined to prove her truthfulness.

"All her lies were catching up with her," Judy said. "I think the
desperation got to her."

On Dec. 17 about 4 p.m., after returning home, Judy got a call from a niece
in Texas who asked if it was true that Lisa had a baby. The mother said
yes. The niece then asked if the baby was a girl. Yes.

Then the niece told her about an Amber Alert involving the stolen baby from
Skidmore.

Judy called Jerri and asked her to check out the kidnapping and homicide
story on the Internet. As Jerri read over the news stories, the horrible
thought that it might be Lisa washed over her.

She turned on the TV and saw that Lisa had just been arrested.

The family gathered to watch the news.

"We just sat here shocked and astonished," Patty said.

While Lisa's family believes she was sane when she allegedly stole the
baby, Judy said she feels for her daughter.

"I love her with all my heart," Judy said. But, she added, "Justice has to
be served. I have to leave it up to God."

To reach Karen Dillon,

call (816) 234-4430 or send e-mail to kdillon@kcstar.com.

To reach Kevin Murphy,

call (816) 234-4464 or send e-mail to kmurphy@kcstar.com.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Below, a quote from the baby’s father, Jeb Stinnett. It’s an innocuous quote more notable by the fact that he said anything at all. Bets are on that this guy has a book contract already signed. With orders to lay low with interviews. Remember how little we saw of Amber Frey until her book came out?
"The most important thing right now is my daughter," Stinnett told the Post. "A lot of people set too high expectations these days. I just want her to be normal."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Finally, a few tidbits.
URL for the Rat Terrier Newsgroup where it all began.


Jason Dawson-the man who introduced "Darlene Fischer" to Bobbie Jo Stinnett

Fish Giggles: Muslim Humor and Laughter in the Court

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Muslim Jokes Thanks To A Muslim
Rush Limbaugh says that humor always have to have a little bit of truth in the mirth in order to be truly funny. Compiled below we have a list of Muslim jokes (thanks to Doc) that make you smile but it's the truth buried in the humor that's almost sad.

Forthwith:
On my flight to New York there must have been a Jew in the bathroom
the entire time. There was a sign on the door that said "occupied."

What do you say to a Muslim woman with two black eyes? Nothing! You
told her twice already!

How many Palestinians does it take to change a light bulb? None!
They sit in the dark forever and blame the Jews for it!

Did you hear about the Broadway play, The Palestinians? It bombed!

What do you call a first-time offender in Saudi Arabia? Lefty!

Did you hear about the Muslim strip club? It features full facial nudity!

Why do Palestinians find it convenient to live on the West Bank?
Because just a stone's throw from Israel!

Why are Palestinian boys luckier than American boys? Because every
Palestinian boy will get to join a rock group!

A small plane carrying Yassir Arafat and all his top lieutenants
crashes and all aboard are killed. Who is saved? The Palestinian
people!

A Palestinian suspect was being grilled by Israeli police. "Honest,
I'm not a suicide bomber," he said. "I didn't say I wanted to blow
myself up so I could sleep with 72 virgins. All I said was I'm dying
to get laid!"

What does the sign say above the nursery in a Palestinian maternity
ward? "Live ammunition."

A Palestinian girl says to her mommy, "After Abdul blows up, can I
have his room?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
How Can You Go Wrong With a Little Court Humor?

Disorder in the American Courts

These are from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and are
statements people actually made in court, word for word, taken down and
now published by disciplined court reporters who had the torment of
staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.

Q: Are you sexually active?
A: No, I just lie there.
__________________________________
Q: What is your date of birth?
A: July 15th.
Q: What year?
A: Every year.
______________________________________
Q: What gear were you in at the moment of impact?
A: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
______________________________________
Q: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
A: Yes.
Q: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
A: I forget.
Q: You forget? Can you give us an example of something that you've
forgotten?
_____________________________________
Q: How old is your son, the one living with you?
A: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which.
Q: How long has he lived with you?
A: Forty-five years.
_____________________________________
Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke up
that morning?
A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
Q: And why did that upset you?
A: My name is Susan.
______________________________________
Q: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo or the
occult?
A: We both do.
Q: Voodoo?
A: We do.
Q: You do?
A: Yes, voodoo.
_____________________________________
Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he
doesn't know about it until the next morning?
A: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
___________________________________
Q: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
_____________________________________
Q: Were you present when your picture was taken?
______________________________________
Q: So the date of conception of the baby was August 8th?
A: Yes.
Q: And what were you doing at that time?
______________________________________
Q: She had three children, right?
A: Yes.
Q: How many were boys?
A: None.
Q: Were there any girls?
______________________________________
Q: How was your first marriage terminated?
A: By death.
Q: And by whose death was it terminated?
______________________________________
Q: Can you describe the individual?
A: He was about medium height and had a beard. Q: Was this a male or a
female?
______________________________________
Q: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice
that I sent to your attorney?
A: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
______________________________________
Q: Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?
A: All my autopsies are performed on dead people.
______________________________________
Q: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
A: Oral.
______________________________________
Q: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
A: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
Q: Was the patient dead?
A: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy.
______________________________________
Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No.
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the
autopsy?
A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
________________________________________

Q. Doctor, if a patient wouldn't want you to operate, would you?
A. All of the patients I have operated on wanted me to.

Comments:Recipes, Plants and a Rant Response

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Various Comments
Either I liked the comment so much I wanted to pull it out of the comment pit or I have a response.

Below, a comment in response to my post about my cherished indoor plants:
The Flowering Chinese Evergreen.
I to am a plant lover. This time of year I take comfort that spring is comming. By my violet plants that are blooming their bright floresent purple flowers.
The real trick to growing violets is truly love them. Always water from the bottom and place in a window without direct sunlight. Late afternoon sun is ok.

Darlene Jones :D

I used to love growing African violets. Frankly I don’t know why I don’t have any now but I plan on getting a few and I have the perfect spot…Fish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Follows a neat recipe mined from a comment I know not where. But the recipe seems worth a repeat.
Make your own Gourmet sandwich and use a little of this "Vinaigrette" on it! It makes a great as salad dressing. I also use it in "Italian Pasta Salad".

VINAIGRETTE FOR SANDWICHES AND SALADS *****

1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
3 Tablespoons olive oil

Procedure:

Whisk together until ingredients emulsify.

This is good as Italian salad dressing substitute.
You can add other ingredients to taste if desired:
minced or chopped :

green peppers
red onions
olives (black or calamita)
tomatoes
lightly sauteed garlic
nuts
scallions

by Darlene Jones :D

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Any Winners to the Web Site of the Week Challenge? At least I think that is what the commenter is asking. Refer to this Blog missive to get the link as well as the challenge.

No, no one could explain it and I know this, PLENTY of folks visited that Blog page. Which makes me think plenty of folks HAD to try out the web site and couldn’t figure it out.

Snort, Snort.

Do, we have a "Winner"?

Darlene Jones :D

~~~~~~~~~~
The response below is from my excellent photo essay on the Golden Globes as regards all things fashionable.
If Barbie were a real person, she would be 6' 0", weigh 100 lbs., and wear a size 4. Her measurements would be 39"/19"/33". :D

~~~~~~~~~
I’m quoting the comment below because I see it as one of the most indecipherable comments I’ve seen on this Blog. Though I kind of thought the words were amusing. Below the original comment, another commenter aptly responds.

“An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure” - Benjamin Franklin

Wal Mart, if you don’t want, American Products ,we don’t Want You!

Mr. Bush, the Dalai Lama doesn’t want to be a Republican.

In my personal belief and opinion,


To Mr. President,

1. Stop Clear Cutting “OUR” National Forest!

2. Clean up our Waterways and Stop Water Pollution.

3. Stop Air Pollution.


Now, you and your brother Jeb, dive into that, like Geronimo.


Darlene explains:

THE FLOOR IS NOW, OPEN.

ELVIS, HAS LEFT THE BUILDING.


DARLENE JONES
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Below a comment from the inauguration post.

Gifts ranged from 25,000 to 250,000 dollars.


Among the private donors was Marna Schnabel, who contributed 100,000 dollars. Schnabel is the wife of Rockwell Schnabel, the US ambassador to the European Union (news - web sites) since 2001.


Also feeling generous was Richard Farmer, chief of Cintas, a US work-uniform giant. Farmer, who gave 250,000 dollars to Bush's re-election campaign, chipped in with another 100,000 dollars for the inaugural committee. The Washington Post reported that he is a main beneficiary of a recent law easing industrial laundry pollution regulations.


Among businesses delivering 250,000 dollars to the committee were banks such as Wachovia and Bank of America; oil concerns such as ChevronTexaco and ExxonMobil; pharmaceutical firms such as Pfizer; carmaker Ford; communications groups AT and T and Time Warner; and hotel chains such as Marriott and Ritz-Carlton.


To whomever posted the above: trust that I believe your comment. I too could post a list of contributors to the Clinton Library, the Toricelli defense fund, various candidates across the spectrum.

What’s your point?

Or did you just want to point out contributors to the REPUBLICAN inauguration and think we are all stupid enough to take umbrage without noting what readers intelligent enough to read this Blog already know? Which is: POLITICS IS ALL ABOUT MONEY!!

Heh, we get it.

Tuesday

The Reagan Inauguration: Five Gallon Buckets and the Wearing of the Green

A Very True Reminisce of Grandmother's Life Told in Snippets and Smiles
Ronald Reagan’s Inauguration
Kaitlyn in this year of our Lord 2005, Grandmother watched George W. Bush’s inauguration and heard his magnificent speech.

The Liberals don’t get it, Kaitlyn, but Grandmother shall explain.

For once upon a time, when Grandmother was a Liberal and typified by the picture below, I went to another President’s Inauguration. That President was Ronald Reagan but Grandmother didn’t attend his inauguration out of some sort of respect for this newly elected President.

Grandmother went to Reagan’s inauguration wearing all green. And sweet Granddaughter, there was a reason I wore green.

There was a grand call made across the land for all women to march to Washington on the day of Reagan’s inauguration and be sure to wear all green. “That way we feminists will demonstrate a solidarity that will be readily visible to President Reagan that we are a force to be reckoned with.”

Or so went the media hype.

Me and a friend who went along were the only visible woman in DC that day wearing green. No one paid us any mind that cold day in the nation’s capitol in January of 1980.

Grandmother didn’t like Ronald Reagan and didn’t vote for him. Though I have come to appreciate this man like I never did when I had proper chance.

I was a feminist, Kaitlyn, of the highest order. They were the worst years of my life and I lost so much because of it. Betty Frieden told me I was persecuted and I believed it.

At any rate, since me and my friend couldn’t see a thing behind the throng of people lining the sidewalks we managed to find two big 5 gallon buckets. We hauled those things all over the capitol, stopping here and there to place them down, stand upon, see what’s going on, then lump then all over again to a closer spot.

Eventually we got close enough to where the swearing in would take place that we placed our 5 gallon buckets down with proper claim of spot ownership.

That’s when Grandmother got bored and decided to have a bit of fun.

Your mother was only three years old at this time, Kaitlyn, taken care of by her daycare provider as I was just too cool to do something so silly as to actually stay home with my child. Sure, I told myself I couldn’t afford it but Kaitlyn, with a determined mind and a little ingenuity one can do anything. MOI was a happening career woman and I damn near killed myself during those years.



So my friend and I had to be back home at normal quitting time to pick up our children and so far it appeared it would be no problem.

Except Grandmother almost got herself thrown into jail and were it not for the expert way I handled the crisis who knows, your mother might have been given up for adoption due to abandonment by her mother.

For when that DC police sergeant told me to shut up or he would be taking my ass downtown to the precinct Grandmother did the wisest thing any smart alec Reagan protester could do under the circumstances: I shut the hell up.

All I was doing was gearing the crowd up a bit, telling them how Reagan was anti-female and us women of America weren’t going to suffer his presidency lightly. Yeah I was loud and causing a ruckus. Who would have thunk that there were so many Reagan supporters all about the capitol that day?

Last year Ronald Reagan died and as Grandmother watched the emotion of the American people I realized what a great and inspiring President he had been. In this Blog entry Grandmother expresses her regret about her young a liberal misgivings.

At any rate Kaitlyn, I am glad I did get a chance to attend at least one presidential inauguration in my lifetime. I hope that you too will get the chance.

But skip the green clothing, Kaitlyn. It’s not a winter color anyway.

Quotable/Notables: The Post Office "Can't", GWB and FDR, and a Republican Who's Just Plain Scary

 Posted by Hello


WHY?
Below is a quote from a Utah paper. Seems a local resident couldn't get mail delivery though all other sorts of vehicles could get through to his neighborhood.

Okay, putting all this aside, note that the Post Office sniffed when asked why residents couldn't received notification of lack of mail delivery. The Post Office can't possibly notify its customers when mail cannot be delivered. They can't "afford" it.

The United Parcel Service, Federal Express and my Internet cigarette dealer can, by the mere click of a key, keep me apprized of the locale and status of any package I ordered or mailed. But a little U.S. Post Office can't get email addresses of the customers they service and send out a blanket email when service is due to be interrupted? I'm serious. This is not a difficult thing to do.

Alas, it's what happens when government bureaucrats are compared to the private sector-those folks that have to make a profit in order to exist. Never expect government bureaucrats to think outside their narrow little box.

"Since Jan. 8, Jerry Jorgenson of Logan, Utah has seen UPS delivery drivers, garbage trucks and snowplows make the rounds through his neighborhood. He hasn't, however, seen any letters, bills or advertisements make their way into to his white mailbox, nor has he heard from the Postal Service about why nothing has arrived. Jorgenson is not alone, as mailboxes at hundreds of Cache Valley residences were blocked by snow this week. Matthew Adams, carrier supervisor at the Logan post office, said the Postal Service can't afford to alert every customer who may have mail service postponed after a snowstorm." - Herald-Journal, 1/17/05

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Click to Enlarge
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
We Have No Source for the Following, But We Like It

COWS, CONSTITUTION & THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

COWS:
Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that the United States government can track a cow born nearly three years ago in Canada, right to the stall where she sleeps in the state of Washington. And then track her calves right to their current stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 Million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each one a cow.

THE CONSTITUTION:

They keep talking about drafting a Constitution for Iraq. Why don't we just give them ours? It was written by a lot of really smart guys, it's worked for over 200 years and we're not using it anymore.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS:
The real reason that we can't have the Ten Commandments in a Courthouse! You cannot post "Thou Shalt Not Steal," "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" and "Thou Shall Not Lie" in a building full of lawyers, judges and politicians!

It creates a hostile work environment
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
THIS IS A REPUBLICAN?

Check out this list of items on Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine. "Ensuring that school teachers and other public employees receive the retirement benefits they earned"? And how about that bit about "expanding research into the threat of abrupt climate change"? This "Republican" scares the hell out of me.

"In the 109th Congress, which officially convened earlier this month, we will have a great opportunity to make progress on issues that are important to Mainers. Following are just a few of the issues that I will address through legislation in 2005: securing more funding for education, helping children receive mental health care, ensuring that school teachers and other public employees receive the retirement benefits they earned, and expanding research into the threat of abrupt climate change."- Sen. Susan Collins (Republican In Name Only-Maine), Magic City Morning Star

Monday

Week Just Passed: Inaugurations, Hearings, Voter Fraud, Murder

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For the Week Just Passed 1/16/05 through 1/22/05


 Posted by Hello


 Posted by Hello

TEXT OF PRESIDENT BUSH’S 2005 INAUGURAL SPEECH.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Most Under-Reported Story of the Week
St. Louis Democrats Try to Murder Federal Witness in Voter Scam
Indeed, nothing less than murder and there’s barely a whisper in the mainstream media.

Kelvin Ellis is director of Regulatory Affairs in East St. Louis. He, East St. Louis Police Chief Ronald Matthews, his secretary Janerra Carson-Slaughter and a former police auxiliary officer, Ayoub Qattoum (note that nice American name) were all indicted last week for conspiracy to obstruct justice this past week.

The story is a bit convoluted at this point but check out the quotes from St. Louis papers below. Pay attention to that bit about one of the candidates, Kern, donating a bunch of money to the Democratic party. Of which $80,000 was spent on the evening of October 31 at a Veteran of Foreign War Post. How much you want to bet this 80K was given to a hit man to kill a federal witness that was scheduled to testify on the issues of voter fraud in St. Louis? And said hit man was a federal agent in a sting operation?

Caught, dead to wrong, attempting to murder those who would stop their constant theft of elections.
Ellis is charged with seeking to have a federal witness discredited, and later killed, in a case involving alleged vote fraud. He is also charged with attempting to evade paying income tax.

All four defendants made court appearances today.

In announcing the indictments, U.S. Attorney Ronald J. Tenpas said:

"Public office is a public trust. The citizens of East St. Louis are entitled to public officials who respect and uphold the rule of law."

Jose A. Gonzalez of the criminal investigation division of the Internal Revenue Service added that "today's enforcement actions and indictments send a strong message that public corruption will not be tolerated and that no one is above the law." From St. Louis Today

And this:
The subpoena also stated "this investigation of possible violations of federal criminal laws includes your conduct during the Nov. 2, 2004, election in East St. Louis." It was dated last Wednesday and was signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Massey said Tuesday that his office does not comment about grand jury matters.

East St. Louis played a crucial role on Nov. 2 in the contest for County Board chairman between the Democrat, Belleville Mayor Mark Kern, and his Republican challenger, Steve Reeb, a County Board member.

Reeb won 52 percent to 48 percent in the county outside of East St. Louis, which has its own election board. But Kern's 82 percent winning majority in the city where more than 13,000 ballots were cast decided the race in his favor by more than 4,000 votes.

County election department records show Kern donated, loaned or made in-kind contributions totaling $177,730 to the county Democratic Central Committee between Oct. 17 and Nov. 1. Kern could not be reached at his home or office.

"Where there's smoke there's probably fire," Reeb said of the probe. "I have my suspicions, but I'm going to leave it to the government."

The federal subpoena specified that any records showing the "disbursement and spending of those moneys" must be presented, including "budgets, receipts, checks, precinct sheets, poll lists, deposit slips, bank statements and notes."

According to several political sources who asked not to be named, about $80,000 in money from the St. Clair County Democratic Committee to get out the vote on Nov. 2 was handed out on Oct. 31. The sources said the money distribution was at the East St. Louis Veterans of Foreign Wars post. From the Belleville News

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The Condaleeza Rice Hearings.
Below, the photo montage says it all with pictures. Click to enlarge.



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Wal-Mart Cashier Abducted, Later Found Dead
And her alleged abductor shows up at hospital with a gunshot wound.

Megan Holden and Sketch of her Abductor

Video of abduction of Megan Holden, 19, HERE.
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Could Holden Murderer Be Released Criminal Like Larry Singleton?
This little factoid crossed mine eyes from a comment under one of the Lisa Montgomery posts. That Larry Singleton died is not a bad thing but I was shocked at the turn of events that leave Larry Singleton dead before the government had a chance to do the deed.
Singleton was convicted of raping and trying to kill 15-year-old Mary Vincent in 1978 after he picked her up hitch-hiking near Modesto. He cut off her arms and left her to die. She survived. Singleton was sent to prison, but he was paroled in 1987 after serving just eight years in prison.

So he spent eight years in prison when California paroled this honorable man. Read on:
After he was paroled, no city in California would accept him, so Singleton moved to his childhood home in Tampa, Florida. In 1997, he murdered 31-year-old Roxanne Hayes. He was convicted and sentenced to die.

So the state of California, who let him free but didn’t want him around, sends him to Florida which is a REAL state rather than a liberal la-la land, put him on death row. But not until a Florida woman died by Singleton’s hand thanks to Kalifornia.

He’s dead now, thank goodness. No thanks to the liberals in California.

Web Site of Week: News Across the Planet Just a Click Away

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Remarkable Tool for News Junkees
The site features “buttons” representing 327 pages from 37 countries. Hover the mouse of the newspaper sought and a larger picture of that newspaper’s front page, FOR THE CURRENT DAY, pops up. Click again and another browser window pops up with links to that paper’s web site AND a link to a PDF to download the paper in question directly to your computer.

Someone did a lot of work to do this and voila, news across the planet at the click of a button.
Today’s Front Pages

TV This Week: Latest on Apprentice; First Thoughts American Idol, Pet Show of note

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American Idol/Apprentice Premieres
From Washington D.C. the contestants came in droves in their search for the big time and their belief they have the talent to win it.

Surely some of those entrants went with hopes of perhaps getting a spot as one of the quirky ones, sort of a William Huong kind of thing.

There were so many featured this past week on the two nights the show was on that it was hard to hone in on contenders or sad story lines.

I found a few of note. A Regina Brooks had a big feature spot. Her story is that it was a choice between selling her Karoake machine or her wedding rings to get the money to attend the audition. She couldn’t bear to part with the machine so the wedding rings were pawned.

Frankly it sounds a bit far fetched to me, in that, come on, sell your wedding rings instead of a Karoake machine? And Regina had quite a bit of family in attendance at the audition so where did they get the money and why couldn’t they lend their beloved family singer a few bucks?

Regina is quite a singer and has the “feel” of an American Idol. Also, Simon voted “NO”, straightaway, usually a sign the auditioner will make it to the finals.

Didn’t get her name, but there’s a young British kid to look out for. More details next week.

Now for a few interesting TV offerings in the coming week.
Sounds Quirky Enough to be Worth a Look
On Monday, 1/24@ 9pm, tune in to the Pet Channel. It’s a premiere of a new series called “Who gets the Dog?”. The premise being that a specific dog, of its certain breed, age, sex and such, is up for adoption. Potential pet adopting couples will be “interviewed” and their lifestyle, dog breed requirements, children and type of house will all be factors in considering the appropriate home for the dog then up for adoption.

Not only is Grandmother an expert of the highest caliber of all things dog, their personalities, breeds and weirdnesses, I’m also pretty good at judging people. Check in not only to the show, but on next week’s missive on how I did.

This intriguing show also has great potential in illustrating the differences in dog breeds, the special requirement each brings to pet ownership and the importance of a proper match of owner and dog.
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On Tuesday, 1/25 @ 10 pm, ETV is featuring a show yon readers will thank me for reminding. It’s, I’m not making this up, “The Best of Anna Nicole”.
Save your applause for the show.
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On Thursday, 1/27 @ 8 pm, ABC is featuring “In Style Celebrity Weddings”. Well sure it’s stupid. I like to watch this sort of thing just to see what lengths people will go to make themselves feel important and better. How much money or what special foods or the flowers that will stun-the things people will do when in the end, they aren’t doing anything much different than any of us if we had the money and resources.

Though The Wise I would argue myself and perhaps yon readers would be much more level-headed about it, having suffered car payments and mortgages.

But that’s just me.
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Let’s Talk About the Apprentice
Gotta love it. Gotta love The Donald, who got married this past week, precisely at a prime time during this third in The Apprentice Series.

The Donald, hell, he’s an expert at Bullshit. And the man got rich being a bullshitter. Those not insanely jealous gotta stand on the sidelines and love it. None of us make a living bullshitting, except maybe me, but I work hard at it.

So in this third series it’s the ‘brains’ against the ‘brawns’. The notion being that the brains have fancy college degrees while my-name ‘brawns’ are those with only a high school diploma. It’s a story straight out of the fiction books and already the signs are there.

In the Great Burger King episode, the street smart kids beat out the brainy ones handily. Were I scripting the series I’d follow that very same pattern exactly.

In fact, if I’m honing in on the concept correctly, I’m betting the format will be that street smart gang win consistently until, tada, that one assignment that would have a weird problem that only education can solve.

Danny is the weirdie of the series and Trump and producer play him well. He almost played out as the “mascot” of his team standing in front of Burger King with some strange shiny objects bouncing over his head. The man does dress, ahem, unconventional. Which means conventional wisdom would be that Trump fires him right away.

I don’t believe this for a minute. Danny is being set up to be the drama throughout the third series though in the end I predict he will not win.

Unconventional Danny

One interesting story I heard this week was that Trump wasn’t quite telling the whole truth when he told one potential apprentice that the story of how he purchased a house for a driver who helped his chauffer with a flat, was TRUE. Well, there’s a lot of skepticism about this claim. One thing, if this is a true story, and let me tell you the would-be apprentice smiled and was appropriately wowed in a suck-up kind of way, then The Donald would be parading this vehicle Good Samaritan all over every commercial and in every ad he runs.

Yet nobody knows the guy’s name.

Here’s a link to the Snopes story on this urban legend. Donald, Where’s the Good Samaritan?”

For another review on this third series, Check Out MSNBC’s writer.

Here’s a site called RealityTVFever
and there’s lots on The Apprentice.
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On Friday, 1/28 @ 10 pm, Twenty/Twenty is featuring, well here’s the blurb:
Talk, Newsmagazine, Lies, Myths and Nasty Behavior With John Stossel Journalist/author John Stossel examines popular beliefs and bothersome behavior.

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On Sunday, 1/30, @ 8 pm, TVGOS is featuring what looks like a fun Super Bowl preview.

On that same night, @ 9 pm The Food Network is featuring new American Iron Chef. Bobby Flay vs Ming Tsai. I prefer the American version of this fun show as I hated watching the Japanese always do horrific things to fish. The more normal American fare is more palatable.

Saturday

Fiction: The Fattest Prom Queen

It's Fiction, Winner of Contests, With a surprising ending that will leave you in thought.

Presenting "The Fattest Prom Queen"


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The Fattest Prom Queen

My daughter stood before me, as pretty in pink as a teenage girl could be. I added a little spit on an errant curl, then stood back to admire my creation.

"You're so beautiful, Cindy. You take my breath away."

Cindy wave a disdainful hand to my praise then turned to survey herself in the full-length mirror.

"So......," she said, almost off-handedly. "When are you going to tell me about your prom night?"

I'd been picking up discarded clothes from around Cindy's room when I heard her words. They caused me to stop still. At first, I wondered to whom she was speaking.

"I didn't go to my senior prom, Cindy. I've told you this many times," I replied, realizing there was no one else about and my daughter had to be addressing me.

"Mom," she said, turning from the mirror and throwing her lovely arms in the air in exasperation. "I don't know why you tell me and Kelly that you didn't go to your senior prom. I don't know why you lie about this. We've both known for over ten years that you DID go to your prom. We found a picture of you and your date over at Grandmom's house. On the back, Grandmom had written,'Shelly's Prom Picture-1968'. And you looked wonderful, Mom. Now tell me why you keep denying this."

Cindy plopped down on the bed directly in front of my shocked self, crossed her arms in defiance and gazed directly into my lying eyes in search of the truth.

Only I couldn't tell her the truth. In over thirty years I still can barely tell myself the truth. How does a mother ever tell such a terrible thing? How could I ever tell my daughters, even though they probably knew, that I was elected prom queen but for the worst of motives? My classmates elected me queen of the prom so I could take a bullet directly in my head.

My crime?

I was too fat.

I've always been fat. My birth weight exceeded ten pounds and it went uphill from there. By the time I was a teenager, I carried almost 200 lbs around on my smallish frame. And though life as a fat child had never been a pleasant one, it wasn't until my senior prom that I realized just how much my school chums, indeed everyone in my world, really hated me for being so fat.

Cindy regarded me calmly as these thoughts raced through my head. In fifteen minutes, her boyfriend Calvin would come to claim her. And he would be getting a treat, indeed.

Her honey-brown hair was upswept in an elegant chignon. It was caught in the back by a simple gold clasp. The bangs flirted with her eyebrows in a soft manner that was both fetchingly childish and sexually alluring. It required only a modicum of makeup to enhance her wide-set emerald eyes and high cheekbones.

The pink gown that I'd originally thought to be a bit garish caressed her curves perfectly. I considered that I'd eschewed pink the day Cindy tried on the gown because my life was spent in the endless search for a slimming black. On Cindy, the bright pink shone soft but with statement against her creamy, lightly tanned skin. Those emerald eyes glowed even brighter above the pink satin frame.

"I was elected queen of my prom," I said, slowly, with no happy emotion that such a statement would suggest. Cindy's emerald eyes didn't change as she continued her steady gaze. She knew my statement also not to be a happy one.

"I guess you know this wasn't a good thing?" I asked rhetorically, sitting on the dressing chair to better muse.

"Because whoever got elected prom queen was going to be executed," I said with no emotion shown that these words would indicate. To Cindy's credit, she didn't flinch. She'd been expecting this, I pondered. Someone's told her something. Now I'd tell her straight because, since she was so beautiful, I knew she had nothing to fear.

"I'm fat, Cindy," I said in a firm voice then jumped from my seated position for emphasis. At this Cindy's emerald eyes did react and it was kind of sad. For the merest fraction of a second she cast her eyes to the floor in that manner of people hearing a truth that made them uncomfortable. Though she quickly regained her bearing, I saw the movement. It didn't make me angry. Hell, a surreptitious casting down of the eyes at my obesity was the least of crimes committed upon me. It did sting a bit coming from my own daughter.

"And I've always been fat. I'm smart, mind you, and was always able to earn a good living. But no amount of money could make me be thin."

"I can't believe that's important, Mom. I don't even think of you as heavy. Neither does Kelly. We love....."

"Yeah. I know you love me. Everybody loves me. Except those kids in my high school class who voted for me to be murdered."

"Aunt Lil told us something....."

"I'm sure she did, Cindy. I'm sure she did. But I don't think she told you everything."

Cindy remained silent. Calvin would be arriving in a few minutes. She wanted to hear ‘everything'.

"I graduated high school back in the sixties," I began. "The Vietnam war was in full swing. Young people all over the country were protesting this war, and civil rights and women's liberation. It was a tumultuous time, Cindy. Even a fat girl like me got caught up in the spirit."

And this was true. In this late 1990's year of Cindy's senior prom the media exploded with the onslaught of anorexic models and ultra-thin actresses. There was also an epidemic of eating disorders in this era that either hadn't been so prevalent in my teenage years, or nobody talked about it. My own daughters were naturally thin and at the sight of my beautiful prom girl I knew I'd made the right decision.

During the sixties, it was cool to dress in fringed vests, long granny dresses and smoke dope until no one cared. The "in thing" was to be involved in any radical group, whether environment, anti-war or feminism. For myself, I belonged to an informal group of students that actively sought to end that ridiculous Vietnam war.

"We bombarded the newspapers with letters against the war, marched in front of the draft board, held sit ins on the White House lawn," I continued for Cindy, who'd heard all this before but was nonetheless polite.

"It was a wonderful time. There was nothing more important than making our country better. Everyone loved everyone else. We had pot parties and discussed communism. We all crammed into a volkswagen to head down to the nearest nuclear power plant. We made love and not war. Ours was a society that cared only for the greater good. At least that's what I thought."

I glanced at Cindy's bedside clock and considered the wisdom of continuing. Though Cindy noticed my action, she made no effort to move.

"I really didn't want to go to my senior prom. In those years, silly things like proms and school dances were almost politically incorrect. We were a generation out to change the way the world sees things. Such as gowns and tuxedos were for the vapid. Only Chuck Wilkerson asked me if I wanted to go to the prom with him and I immediately agreed."

I knew Cindy didn't know Chuck Wilkerson. No reason she should. He was only one of the guys in our crowd, a tall long-haired freak that considered the prom thing a joke. This is the lack of seriousness on which his request to be my date was premised so it isn't as if Chuck Wilkerson were anyone important in my life.

"I even went out and bought a halfway decent looking dress. Black of course, but pretty."

"You looked really nice in it, Mom."

"Actually, my whole crowd decided to go to the prom. It was a hoot kind of thing. So we all formed boy-girl teams and decided to shock the school and turn up as if perfectly normal students wanting to enjoy the festivities. Only we had some interesting plans for our senior prom, though it turned out more horrible than our original intent."

"Aunt Lil said you all planned to burn the flag."

My sister would tell Cindy this. In fact, we made no plans to burn the flag at our prom. Our only plan was to change into bell-bottoms and fringe vests in the middle of the prom and ruin everyone's nice pictures by insinuating our hippie selves into all photographs. It was supposed to be our method of crapping on their stupid party while young men died in that dirty little war. I clarified this misunderstanding for Cindy.

"Word got all around school about our intended plans. The thing ballooned into something no one activist faction controlled so the things that happened the night of my prom did apparently just sort of happen with no preconceived plan. It was brutal though."

I blew a breath wind up my face and rested my voice. My mind wandered back to my prom night. Chuck Wilkerson showed up at my house on time and even bought a corsage. I'd spent hours fixing my hair and makeup and adjusting my size 22 prom dress. Lil fussed over me and my mother was excited. I was miserable the whole day. The prom meant nothing to me and having to try to make myself look pretty while I was also fat seemed a futile task. Long granny dresses, torn bell-bottoms and large men's shirts were my outfits of choice and I realized on my prom day just why. Besides making a political statement, my hippy clothes kept me from any attempt to be pretty. The generation and my self-image blended homogeneously.

"It was almost a normal prom, too. Everyone showed up, properly dressed. The principal was popping his buttons that his students looked so all American, even the hippies and radicals in his school. About two hours into the prom and at some unknown signal, things began to change. For me and Chuck, we just slipped out to his old Mustang and changed into our hippie clothes. Our whole gang wanted to wipe that smug smile off of the principal's face."

"When did the police get called?"

I sighed. Aunt Lil again. No police were ever called. What happened next was confusing and chaotic. But there were no police. At least not that night.

"When Chuck and I got back to the hall, only half the students remained prom clothed. The rest were dressed in any variety of t-shirts, bell-bottoms and colorful headbands. Chuck and I hardly got through the door when Sam Epstein jumped onto the stage and grabbed the microphone. Now Sam Epstein didn't go to our school but most of us knew him. He was head of the local college's SDA ..."Students for Democratic Action" and was always into some mischief. In fact, Chuck and I laughed that somehow this guy got into this rather innocuous high school prom but then there had been so many rumors . What he did next was shocking."

Again I glanced at the clock on Cindy's night stand. Again she ignored my action. I heard no knock at the door so Calvin hadn't arrived. To imitate Sam Epstein, I stood up in front of Cindy and assumed an oratorical posture.

" ‘Don't nobody panic,' " I said as if I were Sam Epstein to my daughter's audience of one. " ‘This is a takeover. And all of you are hostages', " then relaxing from Sam Epstein to just Mom I added some background for Cindy.

"At first everyone was laughing. It looked as if it were a big joke. Even Chuck Wilkerson asked me if I was behind any of this. I laughed too and told him I wished I was. This was great. But then Sam Epstein took out a machine gun and everyone stopped laughing. "

Then back to a Sam Epstein persona, I continued. " ‘Don't anyone leave the room. Don't anyone move. On behalf of the SDA, I am holding you all hostage. Just as soon as everyone settles down, we're going to call the police ourselves. And if they don't release Tom Combs from jail immediately, your prom queen's going to take a bullet in the head.' "

"Jesus," Cindy said quietly.

" ‘Okay, who's your prom queen?' Sam Epstein asked. By this time we all were scared out of our minds. This looked to be real. Sam's gun looked to be real. The whole room, teachers, kids, hippies...everyone...didn't utter a word. No one knew what to say and besides, we didn't yet have a prom queen. At our school, there was a special ceremony in the middle of the prom. Everyone got handed a special ballot and voted that same night for the queen of the prom."

Cindy nodded at this. Indeed, her own classmates would be voting for the king and queen of their own prom in the same manner. I thought Cindy would be a shoo-in for the title and knew that she hoped so too.

"Finally Sam starts screaming and waving that gun around. ‘I SAID.....WHO is your damn prom queen,' he yelled. Excuse my language, but that's what he said. Finally Mr. Bannister, our formerly smug principal, said that the prom queen had not yet been elected. Then Sam waved that gun some more and asked him just how we could elect a prom queen. Mr. Barrister mumbled something about ballots and how it worked and to everyone's surprise, Sam's gang went around the room and handed out the ballots. ‘Well vote for your fucking prom queen now,' Sam yelled and we all took the papers handed to us and didn't move."

At this point, I assumed Cindy knew who got elected prom queen. If it weren't for Sam Epstein, it was widely believed that Sharon Hofstetter would get the nod. Sharon was the prettiest and most popular girl in our senior class. And on this prom night, she was especially stunning in a long ice-blue gown embellished with diamond crusted straps.

"So Sam starts to scream and tell us he would put a bullet right through Mr. Barrister's head and then proceed to shoot us all, one-by-one, until we turned in our ballots. Then he waved the machine gun around as if seeking a suitable first victim and with this action we all took our pencil stubs and got serious about voting."

I paused in the narration and looked to the air to form my next thought.

" It was weird. Everyone in the room was holding onto their pencils tightly, poised a half inch above their ballot. It's as if a collective thought formed in the atmosphere which, given these unusual circumstances, begged for protocol as to the appropriate way to pick such a queen."

Cindy's eyes shone with a sparkling layer of tears. She knew I won the vote and surely she knew the horrible burden I've carried these many years. This is precisely why I'd never went into this brutal story of my senior prom, though my sister apparently was not reluctant. I sat down sensibly in front of my beautiful daughter. Our dog Lucky went into a paroxysm of barks just then followed by several tentative knocks on our front door. Calvin was arriving.

We both listened as Mason shushed Lucky and opened the door. I took Cindy's hands in mine.

"Don't be upset," I smiled and told her. "I didn't win the election outright. Marsha Miller and I tied, actually. Sam made a real dramatic show of counting the ballots and I got to tell you, it was if I were physically slapped each and every time he called out my name. " ‘Shelly Langston,' he would call, laying the ballots with my name on it in its own pile. Sometimes he would call out my name ten times in a row and if it'd been only my name on the ballots it might have been better. But at least every third ballot had Marsha Miller's name on it, and after five minutes of Sam's ostentatious counting of prom queen ballots, it became obvious to everyone in the room what was going on. Sharon Hofstetter got five votes. One of them was mine, and probably the other was Marsha Miller's. Three other kids probably thought like I did...go with the original vote. What else? But the logic of the pressured votes became all too clear. And funny, as Sam called Marsha's name then my name, everyone in the room looked to the floor. In fact, all thoughts of Sam's machine gun were forgot as Sam mercilessly read either Marsha's or my names."

Again Cindy and I listened to the murmurs of Calvin and Mason's voice down the stairs. There seemed no urgency in their voices.

"Dad was in your class," Cindy said solemnly.

Yes, her father was in my senior class. Mason Howard was, in fact, the valedictorian of my class; an extemely handsome youth now matured into a distinguished man. And I did love Mason though I will never be sure of his love for me.

"This all came later," I waved off the distraction. "For then, Sam continued to read the names and it ended up that Marsha and I tied. So Sam decides he's going to take a tie-breaker vote and let me tell you there was no way I was going through that again. I ran right onto the stage and told Sam that I would be the prom queen, to go ahead and call the police."

I stopped and looked at my daughter pointedly, wondering if she could handle my next revelation.

"Frankly, I was ready to die. Sam could have put a bullet through me right then and I'd have died happy. "

Cindy didn't flinch.

"Right after I volunteered, some guy ran through the room...completely naked and screaming that the cops were coming. Sam Epstein started laughing and ran out behind the streaker. Turns out the whole thing was a joke."

"Well I didn't think it was funny," Cindy, my loyal daughter, said. "I hope they put him in jail."

I smiled. "Oh they arrested him all right. Waving around a machine gun, even as a joke, isn't funny. I think he had to pay a fine or something. But Sam Epstein's situation wasn't important to me those days after the prom. What was important to me was knowing that my classmates, my comrades in protest, these people I thought liked and respected me.....these same people chose me to take a bullet in the head."

I slapped my hands on my knees to indicate finality to the story. Of course there was much more to it and Cindy wouldn't let me go that easily.

"But you married Dad," she barked before I could turn and head back down the stairs.

I turned once again to face her. Before speaking, I admired her emerald eyes, perfect figure, creamy skin. Yes I did marry Mason Howard though he was one of dozens I could have had. For those days after the prom I found myself suddenly quite popular. So many guys asked me for dates or flirted with me, I didn't know what to think. Given time and a three-digit IQ, I soon figured it out. These were the guys that voted for me to be prom queen! They felt guilty!

I did the only logical thing. I considered all my newfound beaus and made my choice. Mason Howard was not only intelligent, he was of sturdy but lithe build and had the clearest emerald eyes that sparkled with beauty and wit. It was no matter my political passions, intelligence, wisdom, sparkling personality. None of these would get me a guy like Mason Howard but for the guilt. I made the most intelligent choice that my daughters would not suffer as I had. It proved to be a wise one, given that both of my daughters are beautiful just as I planned. Cindy wanted to know why I married one Mason Howard, a man who most likely, though he claims to have voted for Sharon Hofstetter to this day, voted for me to take a bullet through the head. But I could think of no way to explain this to the daughter I loved and planned her life even before birth. That I married her father for his perfect genes?

"I fell in love with your father, Cindy," was all I said.

We both, mother and daughter, looked into each other's eyes, the unspoken acknowledged on the television of the pupil. Mason called up to Cindy that Calvin had arrived. Still we did not drop our steady gazes.

"They had to put somebody's name down, Mom," Cindy said after the eye thought but maintaining the stare. "There's no telling what the criteria was." She then dropped her eyes at this statement in the manner of the untruthful.

I called down to Mason that Cindy would be down shortly. I pulled my daughter close to me and held her tight. Over her shoulder and loud enough for her to hear, I said, "Cindy, Marsha Miller was also fat."