Taking a Brain Break

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Will return bright-eyed and bushy tailed on 8/1/05.

Meanwhile, immediately below a list of links to prior posts. Take some time to review those you may have missed. There’s some smashing fiction; gardens, birds, true crime. All linked below.

Below this, one of the most intriguing stories I’ve read of late. Not a true story, but one of the finest examples of a surprise tale around. Just something floating around the Internet. But very funny. And very surprising.

I’d posted my own sweet story of revenge HERE, but the one below is about as sweet as they come.

More Web Notables HERE
More Delaware Posts HERE
Prior Weeks Just Passed HERE
More Fish Giggles HERE
More Gardens and Bird posts HERE
More Gossip/Speculation HERE
More Kaitlyn Mae posts HERE
More pics of week HERE
More book reviews HERE
More TV Reviews HERE
More Notable/Quotables HERE
More Smashing Fiction HERE
More "Fly on the Wall" HERE
More Cooking Posts HERE
More Reminisce HERE
More True Crime Updates HERE
More Pampered Pets HERE
More Guest Writer HERE
More "Consult the Consultant" HERE
More Miscellany posts HERE


Revenge is sweet

She spent the first day packing her belongings into boxes, crates and suitcases. On the second day, she had the movers come and collect her things. On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining room table , put on some soft background music, and by candlelight feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar, and a bottle of Chardonnay.

When she had finished, she went into each and every room and deposited a few half-eaten shrimp shells, dipped in caviar, into the hollow of the curtain rods. She then cleaned up the kitchen and left.

When her husband returned with his new girlfriend, all was bliss for the first few days. Then slowly, the house began to smell. They tried everything; cleaning
and mopping and airing the place out. Vents were checked for dead rodents, and carpets were steam cleaned. Air fresheners were hung everywhere.

Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters, during which they had to move out for a few days, and in the end they even paid to replace the expensive wool carpeting. Nothing worked.

People stopped coming over to visit.. Repairmen refused to work in the house. The maid quit.

Finally, they could not take the stench any longer and decided to move. A month later, even though they had cut their price in half, they could not find a buyer
for their stinky house. Word got out, and eventually, even the local Realtors refused to return their calls.

Finally they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place.

The ex-wife called the man, and asked how things were going. He told her the saga of the rotting house. She listened politely, and said that she missed her old home terribly, and would be willing to reduce her divorce settlement in exchange for getting the house back.

Knowing his ex-wife had no idea how bad the smell was, he agreed on a price that was about 1/10th of what the house had been worth. But only if she were to sign the papers that very day. She agreed, and within the hour, his lawyers delivered the paperwork.

A week later, the man and his new girlfriend stood smirking as they watched the moving company pack everything to take to their new home...

including the curtain rods.

I love a happy ending, don't you?


Daily Update 7/22/05



Daily Update:
The Suicide Bomber Who Wouldn’t Die
Info and nominations for the 57th Emmy awards.

Some blind items.

And a celebrity "THEN and NOW" pic that will make you smile.
What's going on in Delaware?

Airplanes are crashing and motorists are hitting bicyclists and running.

Here's a hoary joke about a dog name SEX.

It's an oldie but a goodie.
Daily Update Below.

Click on the 7.05 archives on the sidebar to review the rest of July's Blog posts.


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”Bombing” in London
Scuttlebutt has it that these are idiots with bombs that failed to detonate.

The idiots are alleged to be part of the homicide bombing group that attacked London on 7/72005.

There will be much more on this as more investigation is completed.

TV Events of Note
60 Minutes II (New)

CBS 8:00 PM
Talk, Newsmagazine

Investigating charges that disabled children were used in medical experiments; the dangers of the increasingly popular sport of speed skiing; actress Candice Bergen visits a ventriloquists convention.

Gossip-The 57th Emmy Nominations;Delaware-Airplane Crashes,Hit and Runs; Fishgiggles.



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57TH Emmy Awards Nominations

Emmy Awards Nominations Are In, But Are They Desperately Lost?


ABC's Desperate Housewives is competing in a field that includes last year's winner, the quirky "Arrested Development," and "Will & Grace," which matched "Desperate Housewives" with its 15 nominations Thursday.

Also named in the category were "Scrubs" and "Everybody Loves Raymond," which wrapped after nine seasons and received a hearty farewell of 13 bids.


The drama category pits another freshman ABC hit, "Lost," against the sophomore Western drama "Deadwood," "Six Feet Under," "24" and "The West Wing,"


Television's most popular show, Fox's singing contest "American Idol," has a chance to finally win an Emmy. It was nominated again in the reality competition program category, facing "The Amazing Race," "Survivor," "Project Runway" and "The Apprentice."

Alan Alda Nominated for Everything

Alan Alda scored a hat trick this year, adding an Emmy bid for his supporting role in "The West Wing" to his nominations for an Academy Award ("The Aviator") and a Tony Award ("Glengarry Glen Ross").

Asked and Guessed. Blind Item Fun

**NY Daily News Blind Item 7/11**
Which tomcatting boy-bander has been quietly paying child support for a little bundle of joy that he had outside any of his highly publicized relationships


Brian McFadden
Justin Timberlake
Just for Fun
Came across some pics of celebrities many years ago and how they look today. This is the first of a regular feature in the weekly gossip posts.


More Gossip HERE

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Full Moon in Delaware?

The weirdest thing is the plane crash.

Only a few miles down the road from me. It took searchers quite a while to find that plane. Then one investigator reported, I kid you not, “We’re pretty sure it’s the plane we’re looking for.”

How many planes are down in those deep murky waters anyway.

The possible recovery of the second plane came as the search neared the end of its third day in deep, murky waters near Cape Henlopen. It may have helped conclude the investigation of an incident that began as a typical summer weekend treat for people in the Lewes area.

The accident

It was a familiar, but still thrilling sight: six small planes in tight formation, maneuvering over Delaware Bay around 11 a.m. Sunday.

Then, as hundreds of beachgoers and anglers watched from near Cape Henlopen, the exercise went awry. A wing of one aircraft touched a wing of another, and both planes crashed into the water.

One hit a shallow portion of the bay and was recovered soon afterward, its pilot dead. The other hit deeper water.

Motorists and Bicyclists in the First State.
Not only are motorists hitting bicyclists, but they are RUNNING FROM THE SCENE!

As it turns out, I have an opinion on this.

For Dewey and Rehoboth Beach are two areas to bicycle in if you want to die.

No way should bicycles be riding along the very dangerous Route 1.

It’s not that the bicyclists do not follow the laws. But aren’t there times when cars and bicycles just do not mix?

My husband was stopped dead and two hours late due to one of these accidents. Which means that bicyclist was tooling along during the afternoon rush hour.

Below an account of two hit-an-runs on Delaware bicyclists.

Police search for motorist in hit-and-run

By Roger Hillis
Coast Press Reporter


Delaware State Police are investigating a pair of hit-and-run incidents in which vehicles struck bicyclists on the busy Route 1 corridor.

Adrian Ciprian Matei, 21, of Romania, remained in serious condition at Christiana Hospital on Tuesday following a Thursday, July 7, collision near Lewes. A 35-year-old Millsboro woman surrendered to authorities July 8 but has still not been formally charged, Troop 7's Cpl. Jeff Oldham said Tuesday.

On Sunday, July 10, an unknown motorist fled after striking two bicyclists just north of Rehoboth Beach, Oldham said. One of the victims remained hospitalized at Christiana Hospital on Tuesday.

More Delaware Posts HERE

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An Oldie But a Goodie

A Dog Named SEX…

Everybody who has a dog calls him "Rover" or "Boy". I call my dog "Sex".

Now, Sex has been very embarrassing to me. When I went to get his license, I told the clerk I would like to have a license for Sex. He said, "I'd like to have one too." Then I said, "But this is a dog." He said I didn't care what she looked like. Then I said, "You don't understand, I've had Sex since I was 9 year old." He said I must have been quite a kid.

When I got married and went on my honeymoon, I took the dog with me. I told the hotel clerk that I wanted a room for my wife and me and a special room for Sex. He said that every room in the place was for sex. I said, "You don't understand, Sex keeps me awake at night." The Clerk said "Me too."

One day I entered Sex in a contest but before the competition began, the dog ran away. Another contestant asked me why I was just standing there looking around. I told him I had planned to have Sex entered in the contest. He told me that I should have sold tickets. "But you don't understand", I said, "I had hoped to have Sex on television." He called me a show-off.

When my wife and I separated, we went to court to file for custody of the dog. I said, "Your Honor, I had Sex before I got married." The judge said "Me too." Then I told him that after I was married, Sex had left me. He said, "Me too."

Last night Sex ran off again. I spent hours looking around town for him. A cop came over to me and asked "What are you doing in this alley at 4 in the morning?" I said, "I'm looking for Sex..."

My case comes up on Friday...

More Fish Giggles HERE


Daily Update 7/21/05


Daily Update:

Good Luck Judge Roberts.

Canada Legalizes Gay Marriage-America Next.
Here's a bird story about avian love.

Yes the male starling really does LOVE his family. Yes that chickadee was a hero. Yes that Mama Duck was very angry at her errant ducklings.

Quick catch up on cooking during the hot months.

How to store vegies and grilling tips.

Plus a tried and tested recipe, with forlorn picture, of something called "lemon truffle pie".
Recipe included
In keeping with the bird theme, here's some fiction.

It's "The Bird Fathers". Who work much harder at their job than human fathers.

Daily Update Below.

Click on the 7.05 archives on the sidebar to review the rest of July's Blog posts.


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Judge Roberts

Good luck to him, whatever the outcome. The most he could ask for is fairness and decency.

We shall see.

Canada Legalizes Gay Marriage

Coming to America Soon.

From KRON4:
Canada Legalizes Gay Marriage
KRON 4 TV ^ | July 20, 2005 | AP Staff Writer

Canada Legalizes Gay Marriage

TORONTO (AP) -- Canada legalized gay marriage Wednesday, becoming the world's fourth nation to grant full legal rights to same-sex couples.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin signed the legislation making it law, hours after it was approved by the Senate late Tuesday night despite strong opposition from Conservatives and religious leaders.

The bill grants same-sex couples legal rights equal to those in traditional unions between a man and a woman, something already legal in eight of Canada's 10 provinces and in two of its three territories.

The legislation drafted by Prime Minister Paul Martin's minority Liberal Party government easily passed the Senate, which essentially rubber stamps any bill already passed by the House of Commons, which passed it late last month.

The Netherlands, Belgium and Spain are the only other nations that allow gay marriage nationwide.


Info and nominations for the 57th Emmy awards.

Some blind items.

And a celebrity "THEN and NOW" pic that will make you smile.
What's going on in Delaware?

Airplanes are crashing and motorists are hitting bicyclists and running.

Here's a hoary joke about a dog name SEX.

It's an oldie but a goodie.

TV Events of Note
CBS-8pm-New Episode "Big Brother 6"

Love Is For The Birds-REAL Bird Love Stories; FICTION-"The Bird Fathers"; Cooking-Lemon Truffle Pie



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Love is for the Birds

It'd been a particularly grueling week and a pleasant long weekend awaited, void of hurry and social obligations.

. My teenage daughter got caught hooking school and it took several days to deal with the repercussions. My husband and I argued almost constantly, the disagreements mostly about our troublesome adolescent. It seemed that everyone in my life to whom I'd given my deepest love was bent on causing me heartache and pain. In this mid-June the gardens beckoned. The time had come for me take a vacation from emotions and relationships and concentrate on the pretty flowers and sweet-singing birds that brought great joy to my eco-system.

For a couple of mind-healing days I would weed and dig and observe the nesting birds of my gardens. Banished was all numbing emotion and disappointment from the very ones who claimed to love me. The denizens of the gardens wouldn't inflict their endless dramas and pain on me. There's plenty of happy love in the gardens, right?

Because love, as I saw it then, was nothing but a pain.

It began with the Mama Duck. Whose children, it would turn out, were very disobedient and this caused her great pain. She and her mate were walking up the sloped lot. My house was on a small cove and ducks were frequent visitors to the garden. This pair was followed by six cute ducklings and I leaned on my shovel to watch the happy family. Then the ducklings, every one of them, decided to head down to the pier for a spontaneous dip. Mama Duck called them with a stern quack but guess what? They paid her no mind and all jumped merrily into the waters. Hidden by the bulkhead, Mama Duck could no longer see them.

She quacked duck reprimands to young ones who wouldn't come when called then both parents waddled down to the pier to find their misbehaving young ones. At water's edge Mama Duck peered down into the water and evidently could not locate her offspring. From my vantage point I couldn't see whether the ducklings were there or not. But Mama knew they weren't there and she began to quack her dismay. Not that I was any expert on dismayed ducks but I knew her quack call got longer and more frantic with each passing second. For five full minutes she quacked and I could feel a mother's fear in the painful depth of her calls.

After a bit she began to walk the lot, her mate right behind. They walked around and peeked under the garden shed, she quacking her mother's call of distress. They walked through the vegetable garden, pulling up cucumber vines and calling, still calling. Finally they were at the top of the lot. For fifteen minutes they searched and called their children. Now they were faced with nothing but a chain link fence. The babies, it would seem, were gone.

Mama Duck's quacks were fewer and more forlorn. How could all six of her children disappear so suddenly, I wondered. Then six little ducklings jumped up from the water onto the bulkhead. Back, I assumed, from their adventure. Mama Duck's reaction to the return of her wayward children caused me to jump. For she took off down the lot as if a duck possessed. Her quacks were utterances of pure joy because if I didn't know one duck quack from another an hour before I surely did when those ducklings returned to their mother's complete joy.

Children, I mused after the incident, cause pain across the specie spectrum.

That night, well after midnight and when nesting birds should be safely ensconced in their nest, my husband quickly turned down the sound to the TV and bade me to listen.

"It's the starlings," he explained. The quiet night was filled with the sounds of frightened and startled birds.

"What's happening?" I asked.

"Probably an owl or snake getting to them," husband shrugged.

I didn't especially like the starlings that decided to build a nest in the eves of my house. These are considered "trash" birds. But the nest was too high on the house for us to get to safely and I don't think either my husband and I would have had the courage to destroy a bird's nest at any rate. Even so, I listened to the sounds of birds in the middle of the night and knew that something very terrible was happening to those baby starlings and their mother.

The next morning the father starling landed on the tree by the nest and as he did every morning, emitted a hoarse loud whistle that was the sound of his species. Just as soon as he sent the call the idea was that it was safe for the mother to come out of the nest. Nests, being small affairs, were occupied at night by only the mother and nestlings. The male roosted elsewhere and returned in the morning to summon his family, that all was safe.

I heard the male starling call his family and I knew that he would not be answered. Soon enough, I thought, gathering my garden tools and heading off to the flowers, he would realize that his family was gone.

Except the starling sent out that hoarse whistle all day, every five seconds of every minute of every hour. I wanted to throttle him, I wanted to cry with him, I wanted to be his grief counselor. His calls got louder and longer. He sent the calls out from every branch on the tree. Then he flew to the roof and called his family from there. Every time he whistled I wondered, does he think that THIS time they will come out from the nest?

For seven straight hours the male starling called his family. He never left the tree, he didn't eat, he didn't drink. He and his offspring might be considered the trash of the bird world but to him his family was everything. They might well have been a cherished endangered species to him and why not? Though the skies might be filled with the black speckled feathers of the starling, for this father starling, the bottom had dropped out of his world.
What happened to the garden of my dreams, I wondered? Heartbreak, it would seem, was everywhere.

The last day of my weekend I approached the gardens with some new plants and a guarded hope. Let there not be any more drama in the garden, I wished, because a gardener with some new plants is a happy gardener.

Then the chipmunk got too close to the chickadee nest.

I was taking a porch break, a refreshing glass of iced tea and a beautiful day to entertain me. I didn't know it was a chipmunk causing the chickadee ruckus but I knew something had those little birds in an uproar.

Every year for the past ten these sweet little birds with the cute little black masks built their nest in a fence pole on my property. The pole held up the ubiquitous chain link fence. It was in one of the "diamonds" of the chain link that I saw the male chickadee "fighting" the chipmunk. He was flexing wings in the manner of a boxer before the coming fight. I couldn't help but smile.

His mate perched on a branch of a nearby tree. Females will sometimes join in a fight against a predator but this lady chickadee was content to let her hero mate duke it out with the chipmunk.

Which he did because after a barrage of pecking assaults from the male chickadee one chipmunk squealed and rant down the lot and away from the nasty bird. The chipmunk was likely only nosing around for acorns but he was a little too close to the chickadee nest for the birds' comfort.

As the chipmunk ran for cover, the female flew over to a branch by the chain link. The male flew by her side. She jumped and down in excitement, wiggling her wings just as she likely did during their courtship. He reached over and gently deposited a seed into her beak.

Only he didn't have a seed in his beak.

Well it certainly looked like a kiss to me.

It was a fine and upbeat ending to my vacation from life and love.

Make that a vacation from "human" life and love. For my eco-system was full of the same dramas, pains and joys as my human life. Same plots, same characters, same endings.

Only difference was the species of the actors.

More Gardens and Bird posts HERE

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The Bird Fathers

"Okay, Sport. You got your glove, right? Don't want to miss a fly ball."
My husband pushed our five-year old son's baseball cap down over his face in that affable way of fathers.

Scottie, for his part, had to pretend great irritation, for that was part of the game. With a display of mock annoyance, he pushed the hat back properly onto his head.

"Dad, I can't find my black socks. I thought you did laundry last week." My oldest son, Rick, called from his bedroom.

"I did the laundry Rick, but your mother hasn't put them away yet," Jerry yelled back, flipping both me and Scottie a conspiratorial wink.

With a loud sigh, I pulled myself up from my chair to head to the laundry room. It was true that Jerry had completed his part of the laundry chores over three days ago. And now Rick needed black socks and here they were, folded in the hamper and awaiting distribution.

"You got the tickets?" Jerry asked Rick, as the trio walked out the front door. It was Father's Day, and the boys had saved for over six months to buy the tickets to the Oriole's game now playing at the brand spanking new Oriole Park. I sprang for twenty bucks hot dog, coke and parking money. I would have paid twice that for the day of peace now offered me on this Father's Day that would be greatly enjoyed by the mother.

I listened with a keen ear for any further sounds of either young or old male voices. The guys around here rarely leave for any excursion that doesn't require a few return trips to obtain forgotten items.

All was quiet. Finally, I was able to relax.

The very first thing I did was run the bathtub to full with hot water laced generously with Avon bath oil. This activity would require almost an hour of time, what with the three magazines I had yet to read and that fresh pot of tea I intended to keep by the tub. That laundry was overdue by three days. It could wait another hour.

Jerry and I had, as most couples in this day of working parents, a very modern and equal marriage. It seemed humorously ironic that I was the one who fell behind in domestic duties, that would now include distribution of the freshly laundered clothes. The boys too were involved in the domestic chores that kept this household from running to chaos. Not that I ever expected to have any daughters and not that I was one bit surprised when my first two attempts at reproduction should result in the sons of my womb. Ours was a family with a serious shortage of X chromosomes.

I was the only daughter in a family that consisted of the requisite mother and father, and five children. The other four children, by mathematical elimination, were boys.

And it wasn't like I occupied any sort of special position in this male dominated household. Like the youngest, that would make me the baby. Or the oldest, that would make me the wisest. No. Stanley and Stephen were born to my parents in rapid succession. Then me, a real surprise and a female one at that. Then Stuart and Sidney came along a full ten years after me, and I don't know what my parents were thinking about with this.

My mother, as can be ascertained, was most definitely a female, although, when it comes to stereotypes, she fit no feminine ones other than the ability to give birth.

My mother was a bookie.

This is absolutely true and, while it would seem to be good fodder for the tabloids, it is not something of which I am especially proud.

Her "clients" were mostly professional men, the sort that would not, by external appearances, appear to be street corner gamblers. But there you have it. There were many bookies in mother's family, although she was the only female.

In fact, mother was the only female in her family for over three generations before her. As far back as her Italian roots can be reliably traced, all children born into each new generation were all male.

To hear Mom tell it, at first it was a great source of Pellicotti pride to be able to produce so many male heirs. To also hear Mom tell it, it got old after a while.

My mother, and now myself, were understandably confused over this female thing. She had no role models, and I, and this is the sad part, only had mother. We could both ably bear children, but beyond that, neither of us had any concept of any differences between males and females, mothers and fathers.

I laid back into my bath and knew this for certain: if it is female to desire to luxuriate in a quiet bath un-punctuated by little boy demands, than I was a woman extraordinaire.

It was then that the blackbird tapped on the bathroom window.

At first I thought the tapping to be a branch. While the day was warm and sunny, there was a breeze stirring. I read my magazines and ignored the noises. Until a large crow-shaped shadow blocked that much sunlight from streaming in. Then I jumped out of the tub, grabbed a towel and watched the bathroom window in horror.

The thing just tap-tap-tapped. Nothing evil or terrifying in its steady tap. Just a gentle tap-tap-tap that sounded as if a code. For myself, now standing beside my bathtub and wrapped in a bath sheet, I could think of nothing but Edgar Allen Poe, ravens and blackbird pies.

It just kept tap-tap-tapping in that gentle and friendly matter. Tentatively, I walked over to the crow shadow in my bathroom window and tap-tap-tapped right back. With no hesitation, the crow tap-tap-tapped in response.

"The bird is calling me," I thought, with no basis for this assumption other than...well, what else could it have been doing?

As the crow continued to tap-tap-tap on the window, I hurriedly shrugged on my clothes. I then ran into the bedroom to find my shoes. My mind continued its race for bird facts even as I searched for suitable attire.

My father always enjoyed the birds. He enjoyed all animals, in fact. They fascinated him. He was always pointing out the different animals and would often launch into spontaneous lectures on animal behavior and biology. I remembered the one time I had found a robin's egg on the ground. In the curiosity of childhood, I picked it up and brought it into the house. My father immediately took me and the robin's egg back outside.

"You need to remember Shelly, that there is a reason that this egg is on the ground. And most likely it's because it accidentally fell out of the nest. So, all we have to do is find the nest and put it back."

While he recited this, my father and I had found the tree under which I had found the egg. My father continued to lecture as he stood on his tip toes looking within the tree branches for something.

"Don't believe that crap about birds not minding their eggs if held by humans. In fact," Dad said, then stopped for just a moment. "Here it is." Since I was so much smaller, I couldn't see just here what is, but noticed my Dad was placing my egg in something.

After disentangling himself from the branches, he resumed his lecture. "In fact, the birds appreciate it when the humans help them along...just so long as we don't hurt anything. They couldn't pick up that egg, so, we're doing them a favor. There were two other eggs in that nest, bumpkin, so I bet we made some robin parents real happy tonight."

Dad was a Biology teacher, so there was some reason for him to know so much about animals. Mostly though, he was intrigued by the animals of the world. Perhaps it was the teacher in him that made him prone to the lectures, but my brothers and myself often found them mesmerizing.

"Listen," my father would call out to just anyone in the surround. "Geese. Hear them?"

One or all of us would strain to listen only to hear nothing. If Mom were around she would respond to the listen command by running to the all important telephone.

"They're migrating. They honk so that each member of the flock knows where every other member is. Listen," he commanded again.

Sure enough, the faint honk of Canadian Geese could be heard. As I or several of my brothers listened, the sound grew louder. All present would then look up to see the geese flying in perfect V-formation, each bird honking its presence and location to all members of the flock.

As the geese flew by, we all remained silent. Dad never gave lectures while the geese flew over.

Now I don't know if many of the animal tales Dad told us were even close to the truth. I wondered that much of what he stated as fact was mostly conjecture and a small part folklore. He seemed to combine just the right amount of fact to make his explanations plausible.

"When the robin is cocking his head towards the ground, he is 'listening' for the sounds of the worms. Worms make sounds as they travel through the soil and the robins can hear them."

"Owls aren't really smart. People just think they look smart, because their eyes are so big. Actually owls are the stupidest of birds."

"Cats can cause a baby to suffocate. They like the milky smell of an infant and sometimes will sleep to close to the baby to share its warmth. The baby is smothered while the cat sleeps on totally unaware."

It was only item one of the three examples above that I had ever been able to thoroughly disprove. I was reading one of Rick's library books when I came across an article on backyard birds. Robins, explained the text, cannot 'hear' the worms. They cock their head because their eyes, as most avian eyes, are on either side of their head. By tilting their head towards the ground, they can 'see' the worm wriggling beneath the soil.

After I had read this tidbit, I had mentally dismissed much of my father lecture's re the animals' behavior, although, for all I knew, only the robin and worm story was myth.

"Crows are the smartest birds of them all. The crows are the leaders of the bird world. Watch sometime. Whenever the crows are around, the birds will always follow their lead. The crows warn when the hawks are buzzing about. They send out caws warning of bad weather. All the birds listen to the crows."

I had just put my remaining shoe on my remaining foot when I remembered this lecture by my father regarding the crows.

And now I had a what appeared to be a crow tap-tap-tapping on my bathroom window and calling me outside. If I was to dismiss my father's lecture on crow behavior, the crow outside my window was probably a stupid bird ignored by all the other birds.

Mentally prepared to greet a stupid bird that would tap on bathroom windows, I rushed out into the yard and around to the side of the house with that bathroom window.

It wasn't a crow.

It was a grackle.

Not that, even with all the bird lectures of my father, I had paid birds too much mind in my busy adulthood that included two rambunctious sons and undistributed laundry. But I remembered enough of my father's bird stories to recall the black bird with the weird yellow eyes.

Which was a grackle.

Then there one was, tap-tap-tapping on my bathroom window for some time and confronted by me. He didn't fly away in fright. Not at all.

Instead, he merely regarded me with weird yellow eyes and ceased his tappings.

"Okay, you tapped for me? So here I am. Mind telling me just what you want?"
The grackle flew off. I didn't see him again that day.

I was then quite annoyed, because I had interrupted my bath because of some imagined summons by a yellow-eyed bird. And when I granted the bird my full attention, it flew off.

If I wasn't beyond annoyed with this, I was downright angry with my discovery that I had locked myself out of my house. All because of a black bird that tap-tap-tapped on my window and lured me without and with no keys.

I didn't know whether to cry, laugh or both. A whole day. A whole wonderful day with the house all to myself, with no kids and no husband and no guilty glances to sock-less drawers. And I was locked out.

I sat down on my porch rocker. With a little thought and ingenuity, I pondered, I could certainly figure out a way to get back in.

I leaned back in the rocking chair and considered my options.

Most likely it was the grackle that started my study in bird fathers. Then again, it was Father's Day. Yet again, my father had told me about the grackle his own self, only I didn't know it at the time.

My father had died two years prior. On Father's Day as a matter of fact. His death was preceded by a lengthily illness, that caused my brothers and I to alternately wish him final peace or a full recovery. The lingering illness left us drained and broken-hearted. He died on a bright sunny June day, much like this day of the grackle. My mother died six months after my father. I grieved, as did my brothers, for them both. Had I been asked which parent I missed most, I could not have answered.

For their roles in my male-dominated childhood world, were indistinguishable. Which is not to mean they were undistinguished parents. Not at all. Both of them loved, and nurtured and supported their large and unruly brood. It's more that I loved neither my bookmaker mother or tale-telling father more than the other. As a lone daughter in a long line of sons, one would expect me to be closer to my mother. In fact, I considered both my parents as equals in the child-rearing project. Which is why the Mothers and Fathers days confused me. For one such as I, "Parents' Day" would be more appropriate.

Until I met the bird fathers.

It was the cardinal who first introduced both himself and his brood. He brought his family along while I sat in that rocking chair and considered my choices for house re-entry. The only notification I received of his family's presence was a loud "click".

When I first heard this bird noise, I was in no mood for anything with wings. And if this noise came from anything with yellow eyes, I would stone the thing to death. I opened one eye from the bowels of the porch rocker and saw the flash of red streaking through the bushes.

"One of the Catholic Church's most important personages is the cardinal. And it isn't because of the red color like they would have you believe. It's because the cardinal travels in perfect Catholic family units. Anytime you see a cardinal, just look around. Soon you will see his mate and all the little cardinals. Cardinals rarely form flocks, even in the Winter."

This remembered lecture of my father went through my mind lucidly as I peeked over my porch rail to see the red guy, his beige-orange wife, and three of the ugliest bird adolescents I've ever seen. True to my father's speech, these cardinals traveled as a family unit.

I watched the birds with some fascination. Not that I could get into my house or anything. It was so appropriate this Father's Day that I should spend it in memory of my father and his folklore nature lectures.

Those cardinals were amazing. The female scrounged around for some seed, and took off, leaving Dad with the three ugly teenagers. Goodness, they were some combination of orange, beige and red...sort of paisley. Only the daughter bird resembled anything close to an adult cardinal. The two sons were going through a serious puberty.

Now here in front of me was a Dad not getting one bit of a break no mind the human holiday. For those cardinal children ran him ragged. He would snatch a seed from my neighbor's feeder, peel and hull it, then fly to one begging youngster and hastily stuff it into his lazy teenaged beak. Then the red Dad had to repeat this sequence all over again. I estimated he peeled and stuffed one seed every ten seconds. Get a load. Wait until I tell Jerry the next time he tells me the boys run him ragged.

I hadn't even begun to conclude my enjoyment of this busy sight, when a little yellow goldfinch landed on the telephone wire. He sat for a short time, then flew to my neighbor's tube feeder. I had noticed this feeder always had a bunch of finches on it. Now this pretty yellow guy was about to enjoy lunch.

The yellow bird had eaten no more than three seeds when I heard the eeriest noise. It sounded as if five fingernails were simultaneously being run down a chalkboard. As goose bumps popped out on my arm, the yellow bird hastened from the feeder and flew to a nearby branch. There was something on that branch but I was a little too far away to see. Whatever it was, it made an awful noise, jumped around a lot, and caused that yellow bird to make multiple round trips to the tube feeder. I was betting that the jumping thing was a young goldfinch. And this handsome yellow bird was its father, who too was not getting respite in spite of the human holiday. Get real again, just wait until the complaining Jerry hears about this.

"They call goldfinches wild canaries. Only the males are bright yellow. These birds love to eat upside down."

The impromptu goldfinch lecture of my father leapt into my mind. These goldfinches appeared to be eating like all the other birds in my sight.

After forty five minutes of watching the bird fathers, I began to again curse my fate. I spent the next half hour searching all the cubbyholes, rocks and crevices around my house, seeking a spare key. I knew I would find none. Jerry was stringent about locking the house. He often told the boys that it is their responsibility to carry their keys, and should they not have one when required, they will just have to wait until someone returns. Jerry had flipped that front door lock the minute he left the house. He may have assumed I would do some silly thing like take a long bath without checking and locking the doors. Only I did a sillier thing like getting out of my long bath to find a crow-come-grackle and failed to bring along a key that would unlock what I thought was an already unlocked door.
I was really in the pits with these musings, when my neighbor Helen called across to me. Of course, I immediately begged to come over, that I was locked out.

"She always kind of mopes around on Father's Day. Not that it's such a big deal, half the kids in her class don't live with their real father, but most of them do get to see their father. Lisa's father ain't been around since she was six months old."

It was after 6:00 pm when I finally got myself ensconced in neighbor Helen's kitchen chair and outfitted with a tall glass of iced tea. I nonchalantly munched some pretzels. I was seriously hungry by now, and if pretzels were dinner, then so be it.

"She seems happy to me. But then, I guess almost everyone else is doing some sort of celebrating and she can't. Although, she seems to thrive without her father."

Helen and I had been discussing Father's Day. I told her about my guys who probably would not be home until after dark and I had to tell her about the bird fathers. Then Helen informed me that Father's Day wasn't such a happy day for everyone. Like her young Lisa .

"Oh she gets along just fine. It's just me that gets burnt out. I have to be both parents. It's not easy."

"It takes two bird parents to raise a baby bird. One parent can't do it. There's been cases where a mother robin died and the father tried to raise the nestlings on his own. He managed to keep them fed all day, but at night he didn't know how to let the babies snuggle to his breast. The nestlings died of exposure. Same thing if the father dies. The female can't gather food fast enough for the baby robins and is unable to fight off predators. Within hours, all the nestlings were killed by a territorial blue jay."

I sat in Helen's kitchen, mute with the shock that even here in a human house, my father lecture's insinuated into my mind. This was odd. Just an odd Father's Day indeed.

Helen was waving her hand in front of my face when I realized I had drifted off somewhere with my father's words . I apologized and remarked that I must be heading home. Husband and children should be home soon.

Helen grabbed my elbow and led me to her back deck. There was something she wanted me to see.

"I thought of this when you were telling me about the cardinal and goldfinches. I was kind of hoping you would stick around to twilight so I could share it with you."

She led me out the back door to her deck. Her yard, like mine, butted against a forest. The sun was now a parenthesis arcing across the sky. I looked around and saw nothing.

Helen placed her finger to her lip to mime silence. She took the same finger and then pointed somewhere across her yard.

She leaned in closer to my ear and whispered. "This is the time of day when the bird fathers put their fledglings to sleep. See over there. That flash of white? That's a mockingbird. Watch how he goes to several different places, sings a song, then leaves."

I did see a flash of white across Helen's small yard. While I temporarily lost sight of the white flash that was supposed to be a mockingbird, I was able to sight him again easily when he began his song.

Helen and I listened for almost a minute, in silence and appreciation of the fine avian singer.

The flash of white stopped his song and flew across the yard. Helen leaned into my ear again.

"I love this time of day. Lisa usually has finished her dinner...bath...homework...and watching her daily allotment of television. I slip out here and watch the mockingbird. In case you don't know it, he has youngsters down below where he sings, that just fledged oh...about two days ago. The young ones roost right where they fledged, and their father sings them to sleep. I watch this every night."

Helen was silent just as the mockingbird began his song, in another more remote section of the yard. I was simply amazed.

"Only the male birds sing. They sing to attract a mate, and they sing to the youngsters. First they sing to lull them to a peaceful sleep. Then they sing to teach their sons the songs of their species. A male bird is everything by his song. The best singers live and reproduce."

My father's lecture sprung to my mind both at Helen's prompt and during the mockingbird's lullaby. If I could ever figure out what all this meant and why, just why, today? Why am I here, in Helen's house on Father's day, occupied by a child who has no father and a tired mother who envies the mockingbird children sung to sleep by their father? Why was I watching cardinals and goldfinches and vowing revenge on my human husband? Why is my mind filled with my father's words, however untrue they may be?

I bade Helen good night and thanked her for her hospitality.

I shivered in the cool June night air as I walked the distance from Helen's to my home. I saw the Jeep pull into the driveway right before I came upon our mailbox. I didn't see any of the occupants, but I heard the sounds of little boy laughter and an adult male remonstrating immediate bedtime.

A first lady of my recent past said it took a village. Now I had just spent my day with some bird fathers, not to mention my own father, deceased but very much alive in my mind. Just before I reached the Jeep being disembarked by some very rambunctious boys, I decided I would write Mrs. Clinton a letter and tell her it might take a village sometime, but when the young ones are growing and learning the rites of their species, it very much takes two dedicated parents. Without them, the village is useless.

I was about to announce my presence to unsuspecting husband and children when I also considered this strange Father's Day. I pondered the grackle that started it all.

My father's words filled my head again.

"The grackle is a handsome bird. If you look at him at just the right angle, you will see that his feathers are really purple. And not only that, the grackle is the only bird that can accept a human soul. It's their yellow eyes...something about the yellow eyes. Grackles often bring the spirit of a human being back to life, usually to deliver some sort of message to a living relative."

More Smashing Fiction HERE

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Some Summertime Food Tips

Thanks to Busyrecipes at for the following:


* Do not store onions and potatoes together as onions give off a gas that makes potatoes spoil faster.

* When storing beets and carrots, cut off the leafy tops to prevent spoilage.

* A dampened paper towel or terry cloth brushed downward on a cob of corn will remove every strand of corn silk.

* Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator. The starch in the potatoes will change to sugar.

* Do not wash vegies before storing, they spoil faster

* I've seen cut celery and carrots sold lately in plastic deli containers with water and I have found them to be more crisp. This is something you might want to try out next time you pack the cooler to go.

General Grill Safety Reminders: One can never be too safe.

What may be common sense to some is news to others, especially when you're breaking open your first grill.

* Position the grill on level ground. An unstable grill could fall or tip; make sure the legs and frame are not rusted or bent.

* The grills should not be under a balcony or deck; smoke or heat build-up is hazardous. If the balcony or deck is wood, a spark or grill flare-up of fumes can ignite.

* When cooking on a grill or hearth, keep fire extinguishers handy. Water from a bucket or garden hose will stamp charcoal, commercial fire extinguishers or a bucket of sand will extinguish most gas grills fires, and baking soda controls grease fires.

* An extinguished grill remains hot for several hours. Keep children away from the grill and don't attempt to move it until the grill is no longer warm.


A Tried and True Recipe

The great pie-lover husband, I must state honestly, did NOT like this pie.

I, however, liked it.

Make at your own peril.

Lemon Truffle Pie

1 9 inch pie crust, baked and cooled
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup water
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

Combine sugar, cornstarch and flour. Stir in water until smooth. Cook
over medium heat until boiling, stirring constantly. Cook 2 minutes.
Stir about 1/4 cup of cooked mixture into egg yolks and blend. Return
egg yolk mixture to saucepan and cook 2 more minutes, stirring
constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter and lemon juice.
Transfer 1/2 cup of the cooked lemon filling to small bowl with the
vanilla milk chips. Set rest of lemon filling aside. Microwave the
chip mixture on low 1-2 minutes or until chips are melted. Beat cream
cheese and add vanilla chip-lemon filling mixture and beat well.
Spread over cooled crust. Spoon lemon mixture over the cream cheese
layer. Refrigerate 4 hours to set.

Serves 8.

More Cooking Posts HERE


Daily Update 7/20/05




Daily Update:

John Roberts nominated for Supreme Court. Already the Liberals are marching.
Chef Ramsey is still cussing and yelling as told in this second review on "Hell's Kitchen".
Here's a second review for "The Average Joe".

And it might well be the last.

For this reality series is nowhere near "real".

Folks, you gotta see this pic of the week.

Never has such a truth been encapsulated in a funny picture.

Daily Update Below.

Click on the 7.05 archives on the sidebar to review the rest of July's Blog posts.


 Posted by Hello

John Roberts Nominated for Supreme Court


— on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since June 2003.

— one of President Bush's least contentious picks for the bench.

— former Rehnquist clerk, Roberts was associate counsel to President Reagan from 1982-86 and then served in the first Bush administration, arguing cases before the Supreme Court from 1989-93.

— during the Clinton administration, became a highly sought-after private lawyer in Supreme Court cases, representing clients such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association in a discrimination case, and carmaker Toyota in winning limits on a disabled workers claims.

— had been in line to join the appeals court in 1992, but nomination during the first Bush administration died in a Democratic-controlled Senate.

— 146 members of the D.C. Bar signed a letter urging his confirmation, including officials from the Clinton administration.


— received his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard.


— 50 years old

— native of Buffalo, N.Y.

Already The Protests Begin

JOIN the National Organization for Women (NOW), Wednesday, July 20th at 10:00 am for a demonstration against the nomination of anti abortion rights John Roberts to the United States Supreme Court!

Dirksen Senate Office Building - Senate Swamp Constitution and First St SE 10:00 am

The United States Senate must NOT confirm John Roberts. Let's show our support for women's rights.


Here's a bird story about avian love.

Yes the male starling really does LOVE his family. Yes that chickadee was a hero. Yes that Mama Duck was very angry at her errant ducklings.

Quick catch up on cooking during the hot months.

How to store vegies and grilling tips.

Plus a tried and tested recipe, with forlorn picture, of something called "lemon truffle pie".
Recipe included
In keeping with the bird theme, here's some fiction.

It's "The Bird Fathers". Who work much harder at their job than human fathers.


TV Events of Note
Fox-8pm-"So You Think You Can Dance?
New) Reality, Dance, Dancers in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles audition for a chance to compete in Hollywood.

Reviews-Hell's Kitchen/Average Joe; Pic of Week-What Men See-What Women See


 Posted by Hello

Review-“Average Joe”

Myself tuned in for another episode of the average joe. A confusing reality show for me in that I don’t understand just what is the prize, except a date with beloved Anna I suppose.

I also don’t understand that if the show is about an average joe and his chance to connect with a dashing and beautiful woman how come all these gorgeous hunks were bought in to compete with the average joe.

Kind of defeats the purpose of the show’s theme as I see it.

This episode was the usual combination of weird competitions, strange convoluted relationships and unusual dramas.

There was the dodge ball game. Before this game, there was actually an eating contest! Something I would think an average joe would never compete in with the handsome hunks all muscled and standing there. Eating contests are the ultimate in bad taste as The Wise I sees it. For folks stuffing their mouths full of food is about as ugly a sight there is.

Instead, it was the handsome hunks who didn’t participate in the eating contest and allowed the average joes to win by default.

Perhaps the handsome hunks are really as smart as The Wise I though I doubt it. But some of the average joes complained about the food consumed right before the rigorous game of dodge ball. Which might have been the plan of the handsome hunks if you get my drift.

There were the required snippets of the contender’s thoughts as required by reality shows. At some point one of the handsome hunks played a head game with an average joe, alleging that Anna was a fake and not worth the effort.

I don’t think I will watch this show again. Perhaps the finale if they have such a thing. Because the premise is too confusing and the addition of those handsome hunks seems to only discombobulate things even more. I was glad I tuned in for this episode because the big and boorish average joe Dante was eliminated.

If I was a young lady such as beloved Anna I would have kicked this loud mouth to the curb first episode.

However, in another show surprise that confuses me, Dante was given the chance at a makeover. Eliminated contenders are sometimes chosen for a makeover and according to the hype, are given another chance at Anna. Although I don’t know when or how.

Anna gets rid of the carpenter and keeps Dante?

This reality show isn’t even close to “real”.

"Hell's Kitchen"-Chef Ramsey Still Cussing and Yelling
It's been a few week's since I've checked in on the very nasty Chef Ramsey to see how he and his protégées are making out on Fox's "Hell's Kitchen".

And so I checked in on Tuesday evening, 7/11/05, to find out that I would be treated to TWO Hell's Kitchen shows.

On the first episode, it was as normal, in that there were two teams. Each team was given their own menu and whatever menus customers chose most frequently from would be the winning team.

This episode piqued my interest only because it is the first time I watched the show and became hungry.

My benchmark for successful cooking shows.

Which means only that as I'd lamented the absence of before, this cooking show has finally got around to featuring real cooking. Before this night of my view most of "Hell's Kitchen" as I remembered consisted of the vaunted Chef Ramsey cussing and yelling at his chargelings.

The second episode on this same evening was much more interesting. Because this episode was the first of the final five. Who were by then Ralph, Elsie, Jessica, Jimmy and Michael.
 Posted by Hello

By the time these reality shows get down to a final five they get more interesting. At least to this Grandmother Blogger. By the time the viewer is watching the final five who've survived the many gimmicky and dramatic eliminations, these final contenders' have a personality that has become clearer over the prior weeks.

Jessica, who was eliminated on this second episode, might well have been sabotaged by another finalist, Michael. For Jessica, a hip and happening young woman who knew how to cook, seemed to have lost her filets. With 47 orders waiting, she only could find two. Ah. But Michael, it would seem, knew right where the filets were. He retrieved them. Chef Ramsey praised Michael endlessly and berated Jessica mercilessly.

Now why would Michael, who had nothing to do with cooking those filets, know where they had disappeared to?

Elsie, also a happening young woman, was charged with performing cooking at tableside. She had to make Caeser salad and a dessert concoction designed by Ramsey and taught how to flambé by Ramsey earlier in the episode.

I was quite impressed with how Elsie handled her duties, being totally new to the prep of the salad and the flambé fruit affair as instructed by Ramsey. She wasn't very good at it but in due course she mastered the efforts. And provided entertainment to the waiting restaurant customers as well. At one point a churlish customer demanded that Elsie come back and chop up his lettuce to a finer texture. While she grumbled to the maitre d', Else handled the customer with a smile and a graciousness. "It's about what you want," Elsie told the customer who couldn't cut his own lettuce, a smile lighting up her bemused face.

Earlier, Jimmy, a nice young man who Chef Ramsey cruelly calls "Fattie" in homage to his pudginess, had prepared the flambé affair so well that Jimmy and another finalist chosen by Jimmy were treated to a great helicopter ride across the skies of Los Angeles.

Jimmy is a quiet fellow, quite adept at his craft. After Jimmy's basking in the light of Ramsey's approval for his great performance in the flambé and the joy of the helicopter ride, Jimmy suffered some horrific treatment after the restaurant opened by Ramsey due to a lost lobster.

Also, Jimmy put fish stock in the risotto, something that really made Chef Ramsey mad. I don't understand the crime of fish-stock-laden risotto but the way Ramsey carried on Jimmy did at least as much damage as the London terrorists.

And it's now known how Jimmy lost a lobster but again, food items were disappearing quite often during this second episode. Jimmy had suffered many taunts by Ramsey in the past over the cleanliness of his work station. Jimmy fears he may have discarded the lobster in a desperate effort to keep his work area clean enough for the nasty Chef.
The finalists now consist of Ralph-Ramsey's favorite Chef, Jimmy, Elsie and Michael.

I'm kind of rooting for Jimmy.

Editor Note-I have been informed by a commenter that it was not JESSICA who was eliminate. Jimmy was eliminated. I don't know how I got that wrong but I checked the Fox web site for the show and this is true.

So I won't root for Jimmy. Now I'm going with Elsie.

More TV Reviews HERE

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More pics of week HERE


Daily Update 7/19/05



Daily Update:
Here’s an Aruba update. Something about duct tape and blond hair.

With some speculation about the congruent release of the Kalpo brothers Deepshit and Sixpack and the receipt of this “anonymous” tip. That led investigators right to a piece of duct tape.

For those who care, here’s an interesting twist on what that Wilson/Plame prosecutor might REALLY be snooping out.

It's a Miscellany post but the anecdotes are anything but miscellaneous.

You gotta read the story about the snake in the potting soil.

Plus grocery "sales" and Chinese revenge.
It's Notable/Quotables including one from the much maligned Judge Bork, on Jacques Chirac, a real truth about African Aid right from the source.
Only one comment this week but it's a doozy.

Rove is now responsible for causing 9/11 and get this, John Bolton's part of the plot!

From a liberal, natch.
Daily Update Below.

Click on the 7.05 archives on the sidebar to review the rest of July's Blog posts.


 Posted by Hello

Natalee’s Hair?

Allegedly a piece of duct tape with blond hair has been found in some Aruban spot or another. Could it be Natalee Holloway’s, the missing teen from Alabama, hair?

What’s even odder is the timing of this strange find. And how it came about.

Recall last week that Joran’s buddies the Kalpo fellows, were released. The tip about the duct tape came from “an anonymous source”.

I must wonder if the Aruban authorities are so desperate that they made a deal with Sixpack and Deepshit to let them go so long as they give the authorities a clue about the missing Natalee.

The way that island’s law enforcement group hides everything defies human nature. So far as I’ve been able to ascertain, it’s only the FBI that’s been leaking anything.

That’s America for you.

For it defies human nature this secrecy. Everybody likes to leak. Everybody likes to be the one in the know. Okay, maybe not everybody. But you know what I mean.

You mean there isn’t a rube Barney Fife down there that someone could cultivate with a beer and some fine dope?

Which makes me think that serious government authorities are involved in this case. And they want it over with. But Joran’s Dad doesn’t want his son sent to jail for the good of Aruban tourism.

Since the three boys were either telling so many different stories I’m thinking the only stalemate ending solution was to give some freedom in exchange for some serious physical evidence.

This case has also led me to consider our own American laws regarding police activity. There is the “Freedom of Information Act” but as I understand it the information provided is often after the fact and subject to redaction. Still, the American media, God Bless Their Evil Souls, would be camped out at that police station all day and night until they got on investigator’s nerves so bad they’d talk and schedule press conferences toot de sweet.

All Aruba has is that “Aruba Today” magazine that I’ve heard of. Which is probably owned by an American company at any rate.

Then I got to thinking, what would I do if this were my daughter? Because I know that Natalee’s mother even with that sweet southern accent, can be annoying what with her mug constantly on the TV.

But if that were my daughter I’ll be damned if I’d get on any airplane and just throw my arms up in despair. What, just tuck tail between my legs and leave my likely murdered daughter on some godforsaken island never to have knowledge of where she was or that her killer was still out gambling and partying?

I simply don’t blame the woman. For it is her presence and firm assertion that she’s not leaving without her daughter that’s lighting up fires down there.

The hair has been sent to Holland.

So the government can take care of it.

More Wilson/Plame Information

What are you going to do? The mighty Old Media keeps talking about a man who said “I heard that” during a phone conversation somehow equals revealing covert identities. So the rebuttals by Bloggers across the land must constantly be made.

For the four or five people reading this Blog down to maybe two who care about the very honest Joe Wilson, I’ve some more documentation.

From the Special Senate Intelligence Committee-bipartisan, on Joe Wilson’s report from Niger which allegedly cleared Saddam of allegations of attempts to purchase yellowcake uranium:

Wilson's] intelligence report indicated that former Nigerien Prime Minister Ibrahim Mayaki was unaware of any contracts that had been signed between Niger and any rogue states for the sale of yellowcake while he was Prime Minister (1997-1999) or Foreign Minister (1996-1997). Mayaki said that if there had been any such contract during his tenure, he would have been aware of it. Mayaki said, however, that in June 1999,(REDACTED) businessman, approached him and insisted that Mayaki meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations" between Niger and Iraq. The intelligence report said that Mayaki interpreted "expanding commercial relations" to mean that the delegation wanted to discuss uranium yellowcake sales. The intelligence report also said that "although the meeting took place, Mayaki let the matter drop due to the UN sanctions on Iraq."

So Joe lied in his 2004 NY Times OpEd.

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But there’s more…

So it seems that France is behind that forged document about Saddam and Niger. France? I am appalled and surprised. Not that Jacques Chirac isn’t neck deep in oil-for-food money and desirous of keeping his power and his moola.

And Joe Wilson speaks fluent French.

From the UK Telegraph:
September 18, 2004
France Behind Forged Niger Documentation
The Italian spy who passed on forged documents to American and British intelligence services has confirmed that he did so on orders and under the pay of France, the London Telegraph reports in tomorrow's edition:

The Italian businessman at the centre of a furious row between France and Italy over whose intelligence service was to blame for bogus documents suggesting Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy material for nuclear bombs has admitted that he was in the pay of France. ...

Now you don’t suppose that the special prosecutor is going after Joe Wilson for treason?

Because at this point folks, surely all this hysteria about Karl Rove is so over the top can anybody believe it?

You don’t suppose that ole Joe Wilson could have taken documents with the forged signatures of old Niger regime honchos which was how the documents were “discovered” as forgeries? Could Joe have been helping the French along is what I’m saying here?

Hey, who knows? I do know that Joe Wilson lied about everything and damn there isn’t enough money in the world for me to stand up in front of the world like those desperate Democrats and defend such a liar.

Who else are they protecting?

Now on to France, once again and more recently, giving up false information. On purpose.

Hmmm. Why does France want the explosives used in the London bombings to be “military”? As in ‘something swiped from the American army’. Instead of standard terrorist bug spray used to make those things?

Seems France likes a disinformation campaign.

Folks, all the world’s a stage. You and The Wise I are the audience.

Now it seems the actors are peeing upon our feet and telling us it’s raining.
From the NY Times:
French antiterrorism coordinator Christophe] Chaboud announced to the world that he knew "the nature of the explosives" used in the London bombings.
It "appears to be military, which is very worrisome," he said, adding: "We're more used to cells making homemade explosives from chemical substances. How did they get them? Either by trafficking, for example, in the Balkans, or they had someone on the inside who enabled them to get them out of a military base."

But Mr. Chaboud did not stop with his assessments of the explosives and their origins, which, it turned out, were completely wrong. He plunged into politics, railing at the British with an I-told-you-so air that Europe was a more dangerous place because of the war in Iraq.


Chef Ramsey is still cussing and yelling as told in this second review on "Hell's Kitchen".
Here's a second review for "The Average Joe".

And it might well be the last.

For this reality series is nowhere near "real".

Folks, you gotta see this pic of the week.

Never has such a truth been encapsulated in a funny picture.


TV Events of Note
NBC-8 pm-"The Average Joe"
Reality, Romance, The Joes and Jocks compete in a roller-derby race; Anna chooses two hopefuls to go on private dates with.


NBC-9 pm-"I Want to Be a Hilton"

Reality, Former World Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis gives the contestants lessons in speed croquet, dog grooming and rowing.

Miscellany-Snakes in Potting Soil,Revenge of the Chinese; Quotables-the Truth About Live 8; Comments



 Posted by Hello

The Snake in the Bag of Potting Soil
Indeed the scream could be heard across the fruited plains.

Because who wouldn’t scream as a three foot long snake wends its way out of a bag of freshly purchased potted soil? This as I was busily dumping soil from the bag onto the root ball of a freshly planted bush.

My husband didn’t believe it for a minute.

“I bet that snake was on one of the branches of the bush you just transplanted,” was his calm remark when I claimed, with breathless fear, that the damn snake came out of the bag of potting soil.

Memories in times of hysteria tend to become muddled and confused. I allowed that the snake might have been on a branch of the bush as I carried it and its root ball across the lawn for relocation. I shivered at the thought of porting the bush all the hell around as if on a lark with a snake wrapped around its branches. Snakes do love to bathe in the warmth of the afternoon sun and a bushy branch is often one of their favored spots.

The movie made in my mind wouldn’t give up the image.

I’d pre-dug the hole for the bush’s new home. That big bush had roots as big as small trees. The new hole wouldn’t accommodate the bush’s long roots so into the garage I went for a fresh bag of potting soil awaiting for just such a purpose.

I carefully arranged the roots hither and yon, then hefted up the bag of potting soil to cover those roots that wouldn’t fit into the pre-dug hole.

My mind’s eye could still see that snake slithering, as if annoyed, out of the bag of potting soil.

The bag of potting soil DID have a hole in it but it was a very small one. It’s not unusual for a newly purchased bag of potting soil to have a small hole, especially after removal from vehicle onto gardening bench.

“I truly believe that snake came out of that bag of potting soil, Billy,” I said with firm resolve. The movie in my mind kept playing the scene over and over again.

“The snake probably fell off of the branch when you set it down and you didn’t see it. Then you inadvertently set the bag on top of the snake without knowing it. When you picked up the bag you saw the snake slither away. It might have been HIDING under the bag,” husband said with the same firm resolve.

For if the snake had really slithered out of that bag of potting soil then where had it come from? Was the snake in the bag when I bought the potting soil? A horrible thought.

Or the snake was living in our garage and was hiding in the bag of potting soil.

A snake living in the garage was also a horrible, frightening thought.

Although we did have a mouse problem in that garage. Yes, even with six cats the mice come into the garage for access to the bird seed then stored in an old army locker we’d had for ages. The former homeowners had installed a cat door in the garage door leading to the back yard. A little mouse, heck many little mice, had figured out not only how to get through the cat door but also how to get into the food storage box we’d used for many years without bother.

The mouse problem was so bad that all over my workbench was mouse poop, some of it oddly in very large piles. I could hardly go into the garage without a mouse darting across my path scaring me bejeesus.

The following day husband and I re-aligned our bird and pet food storage configuration. We cleaned out the old army locker and stored all food supplies in airtight containers inaccessible by mouse.

I had to scream once again.

For there upon my workbench was a shed snake skin!

The snake HAD been living in the garage, had evidently been eating the mice, had pooped long tubule snake turds on my workbench and even changed his clothes on my workbench!

That snake, ladies and gems, WAS in that bag of potting soil. Likely he didn’t come packaged in the potting soil. Likely he chewed that hole in the bag his own fine, sleek black self.

Let’s see. First the mice. Then the snake came after the mice. Next we would likely have mongooses in the garage going after the snake.

Darwin’s law in a little garage here on Serendipity Shore.
When Does a Sale Price Not Equal a Sale Price?
Although The Wise I likes to consider herself a scribe, not for anything could I convince the Superfresh people that their practice of using the same sales circular for many different stores was bringing about unintended results.

Such as the total confusion of at least this customer. Judging by my email, other consumers felt confused as well.

Here’s how it went down.

The weekly sales circular advertised Glade refills at $2.99, sales price. Now it’s important here to know that I did not know the actual price of Glade refills so I mistakenly thought this was a sales price.

Duh. Silly me. Thinking a price advertised in a sales circular was a SALE price.

When I got to the grocery, I saw no sale flyer indicating that Glade was on sale. I also noted that the Glade price was $2.69. Now how was the advertised price a sale price I wondered?

“Superfresh uses the same sales flyer for the entire state,” the store manager explained by my query. “In Wilmington $2.99 is probably a sales price for the Glade refills.”

What the manager didn’t say but the customer service rep stated later when I complained, was that so long as the price in the store was CHEAPER than advertised it was okay.

There’s something wrong with this picture.

Had I not checked the real price of those Glade refills I would have stocked up on an item that I didn’t need.

I will assumed responsibility of checking the actual price but folks there’s lots of items on my grocery list and silly me, I do not know the price of every one of them. Although you can be sure I’ll not trust the Superfresh flyer ever again.

Even worse, I’ve stocked up on an item, cans of dog food as I recall, under that false premise. THAT time I was delighted to discover the price of the dog food was even less than advertised. I didn’t ask about the discrepancy at the time. I did get bent out of shape that a week later the dog food DID go on sale, at the Georgetown Delaware sale price evidently, and here I’d bought all those cans at what I THOUGHT was a sales price.

It took a while but the customer rep did finally agree that she understood my lament. At first she thought I was complaining about a sales item being cheaper than advertised.

I don’t think the Superfresh chain was deliberately trying to deceive me. I do think they were using economies of scale with that sales flyer and my experience was an unintended consequence.

I’ve been grocery shopping all my life. At many different groceries. I have never had this happen before.

Here’s hoping that Superfresh will change this practice. But if not, folks, be sure to always check the REAL price of an item as opposed to the advertised sales price. Because that sale might not be a sale at all. And unless you want to be stocked up on an item you can buy anytime, check it out.

The Chinese
We end this week’s Miscellany with my experience with the Chinese. Which was far worse than my experience with the snake in that with the Chinese I spent the better part of my day shaking in my bed, covers over my head, visions of Chinese armies descending upon me, swords at the ready.

Don’t ever do what I did.

For the little map on the Chinese menu indicated the carryout was located in a little shopping center near me. With the Jeep packed and ready to go, I phoned the carryout from my cell phone and placed my order.

It was a large order.

The carryout was located in the same shopping center as the pet store. Which was perfect as boom, pickup cat litter and such, walk over to the Chinese carryout and pick up my order. All ready for me as hey, I’d just phoned it in.

Something about the Chinese carryout bothered me. I checked the carryout menu again and noticed the restaurant which I’d placed the order with was in another town completely!

The Chinese carryout located in the pet store shopping center never heard of me much less had my order waiting. And somewhere in Delaware a Chinese carryout had a big order of mine while I had no idea where it was.

I place a new order at the carryout in the pet store shopping center. I shrugged my shoulders over my errant order at the other Chinese carryout. They didn’t know me. They didn’t know where I live. They’d get over it.

I wasn’t about to phone them and admit the error, understand, in that they’d likely demand I make payment, go to jail, sell my firstborn.

But ah, I did give these folks my home phone number when I placed the order. And they had my cell phone number I’m supposing on caller ID or some such.

All day yon ladies and gems, these people called me. They called my cell phone. They called my home phone. They left incomprehensible messages.

Finally I had to take my home phone off the hook and stuff the cell phone under my underwear deep in a quiet drawer.

Advice from The Wise I-don’t EVER do this.

More Miscellany posts HERE

 Posted by Hello

Remember Judge Bork ?

Poor fella. The Democrats beat the hell out of this honest man so bad that his very name became a verb. “To Bork-to say completely untrue and nasty things about someone so frequently and so often that the person is perceived to actually BE everything falsely said about them.

"The leaders of the Democratic Party in the Senate are making it the party of moral anarchy, and they will fight to keep the court activist and liberal."

- Former Judge Robert Bork

Food Fight at G8

Covered earlier in this Blog, let’s put Chirac’s nasty words about British cooking here for posterity.

"(T)he only thing [the British] have given European agriculture is the mad cow. You can't trust people who cook as badly as that. After Finland, it's the country with the worst food."

- French President Jacques Chirac at the G-8 summit


The Quote This Week That Says It All
As James Madison once noted, "Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

From Senator Norm Coleman

During that Senate circus to “impeach” Karl Rove by the Democrats.
My Democratic friends would be doing the nation a great service if they spent half as much time getting legislation passed that will benefit the country as they do in attacking Karl Rove," Coleman said.

More Notable/Quotables HERE

 Posted by Hello

Only One
But it’s a doozy.

I assume that yon readers agree with everything I write when there are no comments. Insert wink here.

In response to my Fly on Wall re the Rove/Wilson/Plame Affair a commenter comes up with an “explanation” for Wilson’s lies.

And even manages to bring badly dressed John Bolton into the fray!

Iraq, like most of the middle east, can mine its own uranium, obviating the need to purchase it from the foreign, IAEA-regulated mines in Niger.

Interestingly, it just may be that the current grand jury Valerie Plame inquiry may very well also unearth the author of the forgeries. Look for an information conduit leading from Bolton to Rove.