Reviews: Movie-"Despicable Me". Book-"Brayn Food"; Guest Post-The Aquarium Conversion; Kaitlyn Visit and We're In the Newspapers!


If you’re a Conservative, If you’re a Tea Partier, here’s a book that you have GOT to read.

FreeRepublic regular Gary Bray penned the book “Brayn Food”, subtitled “For the Tea Patriot Hungry for The Truth”.

It’s a little Coulter, a little Levin, a lot Gary Bray, who finally took to publishing his whimsical, thoughtful and very true thoughts in a book that the world, even liberals, can finally “get it”.

Guest Writer Michelle tells of aquarium conversion, the good, the bad, the ugly, the heartbreak and pain.

Here’s a review of the latest hit movie of the summer of 2010. It’s “Despicable Me” and it’s perfect for a 6 year old granddaughter. We’ve got stolen moons, cute orphans, nasty turning nice and, of course, a happy ending.

It’s stereotypical but it’s good for a rainy or extremely hot summer matinee.

There were political rallies, visits to the beach, a hot afternoon movie matinee and I’m not making this up, one very unusual but very much enjoyed magic show.

Kaitlyn visits Mom-Mom and we’ve got pics and videos of it all.


Pic of the Day

Senior Cell phone

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Summer Movies, the Delaware Seashore, a Magic Show and a Political Rally…Kaitlyn Visits Mom-Mom in July 2010

It was a very hot weekend beginning on Friday 7/16/10 when Kaitlyn came to visit Mom-Mom for four days in the middle of an exceptionally hot July.

We began the weekend by attending a political rally, a so-called “Conservative Coalition” organized on the fly here in the swamps of Delaware.

Christine O’Donnell, pictured below with Kaitlyn, is running for the seat being vacated by the vice-President America so adores, Joe Biden. She is running AGAINST the GOP nominee, Mike Castle, who is vacating his elected position as Delaware’s only Representative in the House.

Lots of other political folk there as one might imagine, including former Governor of Virginia, George Allen. Kaitlyn’s in pic with the lot of them. Some of these nobodies gets to be President some day, I figure the pics will be worth big bucks, insert smile here.

Below, a short video of Kaitlyn on the Moon Bounce at the Coalition.

The day following the Conservative Coalition Kaitlyn and I had quite a busy day. Part of which was immortalized forever by the local newspaper, link below.

From Delaware News Journal

I know of Abbotts Mill from my affiliation with the Delaware Nature Society. It was an operating grain mill owned by John Abbott and now maintained by the DNS as an educational resource for the public. There are a couple other such sites here in Delaware and by me, and as reported in the linked newspaper article, it’s the best deal in town.

On THIS visit we got to see the actual operation of the mill. It was fascinating in that the mill ran completely by the force of the water in the man-made pond.

A video of the mill as it was running, below.

Before going out to see the mill, Kaitlyn spent some time inside, playing with the turtles as she loves to do. Below a short video of Kaitlyn with the beloved turtles.

Later that night, Kaitlyn and I attended a live Magic show. It was touch and go for a while in that I couldn’t find the “theater”.

Said theater being located in the Magician’s actual house but hey, it was a good setup, actually.

The guy was once a magician who traveled on such as cruise ships and to Las Vegas. He and his wife decided they wanted to settle down in one place and have the audience come to them. Hey, this is all new but it was really a great show. Kaitlyn adored it.

The guy put on quite a show in a building in the back of his house that was outfitted with theater type seating, a stage with a real curtain. His magic act featured an overhead video and some pretty technological advanced stuff.

He was very talented in front of an audience which that night consisted of only about 8 people. Mr. Bloch combines comedy with magic and audience participation and he had Kaitlyn laughing so loudly and heartily that he and his wife fell completely in love with the child. There’s a pic of Kaitlyn with Mr. Bloch and his wife in the pic compilation at the beginning of this article.

On Sunday of this still very hot and desultory weekend, Kaitlyn and I went to church, then to the dollar store. Folks, you want to really, really entertain a kid, take her to a dollar store, give her three bucks to spend on anything she wants and they’ll be happy.

We then saw the movie “Despicable Me”, reviewed above, and, of course, had lunch at the local play McDonalds. I even bought the child Chicken McNuggets even though the liberals tell me they will kill her.

The following Monday Kaitlyn and I did something that made me very nervous.

Way I figure, what’s the use of living near the ocean if you can’t take your grandchildren to the beach when they visit?

Now I’ve taken Kaitlyn to the beach during a visit but always on the off-season, the one time I did was in October.

Cause the beaches in this resort area are packed during the heat of summer, not to mention parking being almost an impossibility. So I sweet-talked husband into dropping us off at the Lewes public beach and picking us up when I called him.

The Lewes public beach is…just that…public. There is no cost to get to it, there is a lifeguard on duty, it’s kept kind of secret from the maddening crowds of nearby Rehoboth, Bethany and Dewey beaches, just so locals like myself can enjoy the beach. This year there was a tongue-in-cheek rush to enjoy a beach visit before the BP tar balls starting floating ashore from the Gulf oil spill.

The Lewes beach is not located directly on the ocean but is, instead, on the Delaware Bay. It’s immediately adjacent to the Lewes Ferry, in fact. Kaitlyn thought watching the big ferry boats arrive and take off to be a big treat in fact.

The beach’s waters are calm, without the roaring waves of the ocean. As a young woman I would miss the big ocean waves but as a grandmother with a young child I appreciated the quiet Lewes beach more than ever. Kaitlyn adored it, check out the videos below.

In the video below there is an introduction to the beach, spans of the water…that sort of thing.

Below is the best video of all. Kaitlyn was sitting and playing in the sand, singing to herself and oblivious to the world around her, happy as a child should be.

The video below would be the stuff of America’s Funniest videos except I couldn’t see a thing as I was filming. Kaitlyn had purchased a play snorkel set during her visit to the dollar store the day before. She was so excited at the prospect of trying out her snorkel which would really let her breath underwater.

Except she had to learn how to use the thing.

When I saw her sitting in the waters and dipping her head under the waves I had to smile. She was determined to learn how to use that snorkel.

Only problem I couldn’t see, because of the bright sun, what was being recorded. So the camera kind of bounces around a bit.

It was truly a wonderful visit but I was, as is always the case, exhausted by the end of the four days. I arranged to meet Kaitlyn’s other grandmother to pass her off for the remainder of what was her parents’ childless vacation.

Kaitlyn lives almost three hours from me but me and her paternal grandmother live a half an hour apart. So when the child comes down this way we figure out a way to share without long trips to Baltimore.

She’s a doll, this grandchild, just as well-behaved as any grandmother could wish for.

I’ll always love you Kaitlyn…the apple of my eye.

Movie review header

”Despicable Me” Movie Review

As is the drill with such films, granddaughter and critic-in-chief joined me as I viewed this popular animated film of the summer of 2010. There is a 3-D and a regular version of the film. Granddaughter and I always see such things in 3-D because a 6-year-old thinks this is really cool.

The main character of the film, a really bad fellow who fell upon his evil ways because of a mother who utterly failed to instill in him any sense of self-esteem, is deeply involved in a life of bad deeds. His latest and greatest goal is to steal the moon right out of the sky and hey, this is cool.

IMDB site for this movie.

However Gru has a competitor for despicable greatness. A fellow named Vector is closing in on the cartoon curmudgeon and Gru despairs.

This is when we have three cute orphan girls come on the scene.

Using this trio, Gru manages to sabotage his nemesis and get inside his home. Said act helps him gain access to an invention that one would necessarily need if one wants to swipe the moon outta the sky.

Much of the movie is taken up by two story lines, both of them happening simultaneously. Gru plots, plans and steals the moon while falling in love with his three unwitting orphan cohorts in crime.

Hey, it’s a good movie, good characters, has action where action is needed, has sweetness as required. The viewer is left thinking there really is no hope for despicable Gru when the human spirit, as it always does, awakes to a brand new morn and life’s priorities are once again set straight.

The movie has, as expected, a happy and heart-warming ending.

I’m not convinced this movie will do for the 10-12 year old little boy hellions out there in movie land. I’m not convinced that children much beyond age 8 will demand to see the thing although once in DVD I think it will nicely occupy a few hours time.

Parents will like it as there’s enough adult wink-winks and nod-nods in the film and we get it.

It’s a stereotypical film but then again, what’s wrong with that?


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”Brayn Food” by Gary Bray

The book is subtitled “For the Tea Patriot Hungry for The Truth” and it is, indeed, almost required reading for the Tea Partiers across the fruited plain.

Disclaimer: I know this author by my association with the web site FreeRepublic. He is a poster to that online politically Conservative forum and for about four years now I looked forward to his essays on that forum.

Not that this fact matters in that this is a book I would read and enjoy had I ever met the author in any form or fashion.

The book is formatted in a most intriguing manner. Each chapter begins with an appropriate biblical quote that aligns with the chapter’s content. Also, Bray writes in an online manner. I have no problem with this at all, being very familiar with online shortcuts and quotations but if an alien from Mars that had never read anything on a computer screen were to read this book, well it could be confusing.

One more caveat…Bray not only editorializes with his words, but also with how he spells and uses these words. Thus the name George Soros will be typed as George $oro$ and “government” will be referred to as “gubmint”. None of this is confusing and it all does, indeed, add to the book’s pleasurable read.

Bray begins the book by detailing the story of his conversion to the political ideology of Conservatism. His is a compelling but very American story. Throughout the book he will add interesting personal details of his life, such as an idealogical debate with his son’s college professor.

The subjects dealt with in this book are many, varied and mesmerizing. Bray throws his unique and literally picturesque words at the reader, as well as thoughts that roil from the pages into the reader’s brain to agitate that organ to compelling thought.

The Earth is not a Greenhouse, there’s no roof so why do the Global Scammers refer to it as one? The reason they use the term Greenhouse gasses, is the same reason they call killing babies, “choice” or “women’s rights” to create a false visual. They want everybody to imagine walking through a Greenhouse so you can feel the heat and humidity you feel inside a greenhouse. If they can label gasses greenhouse then you fear these gasses will somehow make a roof to hold in the heat to make the oceans boil or freeze, whatever. This is as phony as the claim babies Choose to die.

The book is filled with such explanations as above and he’s right on.

Other subjects dealt with by either derision, sarcasm or mockery to an eventual truth include Iraq, Rush Limbaugh and the NFL, Joe the Plumber and Hurricane Katrina.

Bray writes with a touch of wit and has a whimsical touch of Coulter. He presents his argument to the reader then moves on to that final truth that leaves the reader mentally saying “ahhhh…so that’s what it’s all about.”

It’s a new era, the era of the Tea Party. No matter how they mock and deride us, it’s folks like Gary Bray who will keep presenting their lies with a bit of mockery his own self.

This is a book that belongs in the library of every Conservative and should be especially cherished by Tea Partiers.

The writing is terrific, the thoughts challenging, the truths indisputable.

Get this book today.

Even if you’re a liberal might not hurt to know that someone’s got your number.

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Drivel: Conversion

The tank is converted. Our lovely 125 gallon reef has become a freshwater tangle of dying greenery. I have hopes that the plants will sort themselves out and recover, but we gave them a nasty shock so I don't know. Eventually, though, the aquarium will be a wonderful freshwater community tank.

Just not yet. Our timing on just about everything for this conversion was crappy.

Friday was D-Day for the aquarium. We went to see our tax accountant that morning, and I got sidetracked by a nice pet shop in a neighboring city. They had some of the substrate I wanted (black planting gravel for freshwater aquariums; who'd have thought it would

be so hard to find locally?) so we swung by to pick it up. That place is *nice*! They have a lot of plants, fish, and some really cool setups. We got the five bags of substrate (all they had, and not enough by half), and ten shrimp. They're cherry shrimp, itty bitty red

ones and they're so cute!

When we left the shop, a storm had hit and we didn't get back to the house until almost 5pm. (Well, okay, we stopped to eat, too.)

From 5pm to after 7pm, we tore the tank apart. Harry, Win, Greg, and I tried to get all the living things out of the reef and to the local saltwater pet shop. They close at 7pm, but stayed open longer so we could bring them all the corals, urchins, hermit crabs, shrimp, fish, rocks, and even the sand.

From just before 8pm til almost 10pm, we put it back together in freshwater.

It sounds easy on paper, but once we started pulling rocks out, the water grew more and more cloudy. Soon we couldn't see at all. I had a list of the fish I'd seen in the previous few days, and we checked them all off . . . save three. Of the four blue damselfish I'd got

when I flooded my tank with damsels, only three were in the bucket. And of the sunrise dottybacks (I had two, by accident), there was no sign at all.

The pet shop found one of the dottybacks among the waterless, bucketed rocks and got the poor thing to water quickly enough, but I don't know if they ever found the other. I keep meaning to ask them and forget.

The damsel was a certified casualty, as it didn't appear until long after the switch was made. All the animals were gone, the pet shop was closed, the tank was drained and rinsed (but not taken down) and drained and rinsed and drained and rinsed and drained, the substrate added and then it was filled. It wasn't until the tank was filling with water that we saw the lone blue damselfish, struggling to survive in a cold, freshwater aquarium.

With no saltwater left, I put the fish out of its misery rather than watch it die of suffocation. I don't understand how it stayed in the tank throughout all that work, but it did. I mourn its passing; an innocent life tragically shortened.

And the new plants aren't doing so well, either.

They shipped on Thursday afternoon from the online supplier, FedEx-delivered on Friday.

While we were gone.

The boxes stayed on the porch, in the rain, for at least some of the day. We brought them in when we got home, and since I figured water plants would be transported in water, I left the boxes sealed until we were closer to ready for plants.

How was I to know the box was wet on the outside but not on the inside? There was more water in the raindrops than on those plants, which were packed in wet-when-the-boxes-were-sealed newspaper. By the time we opened them, most of the newspaper was no longer wet.

Then we put the now-almost-dry water plants into the cold aquarium. All but a few are showing signs of the strain, and a couple look beyond help.

The driftwood arrived on Friday, too, and it's soaking in our bathtub. Each day I drain the brown water and replace it. When the water is not brown for three days, I can put the driftwood in the tank. At least the driftwood can't die.

We have not yet gotten any fish, and will not for awhile. The shrimp I bought are happily hanging out in the little tetra tank, the 14 gallon that sits on one end of the big aquarium's stand. That little tank will be dismantled when we're done, and all its occupants moved to the larger quarters.

After the plants there stop trying to die.

And the driftwood is out of the bathtub.

And the aquarium is once again the living room centerpiece it's meant to be.


The Desk Drawer writer's exercise


A Brain Infection? A Medical Journey Surpassed by Few

A Medical Odyssey to a Quadruple Heart Bypass

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