Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

Haute Charmin

I just gotta say ...

Obama looks like one of those unlucky souls who has to create a "wedding dress" out of toilet paper at a bachelorette party.

And I'm trying to be funny, not ethnically insensitive, so don't any of you go all PC-ballistic on me.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Great week for space fans

Wednesday: The Space Shuttle Atlantis makes a safe trip home.

Also Wednesday: A lunar eclipse graces us here in our tiny hamlet as well as across the world.

Thursday: Star Wars!!! The U.S. Navy shows that math and physics can come together to protect the world from dead spy satellites everywhere.

By the way, if you want to take a long, loving look at the Ringed One, now is your time. says that now is the best time to see Saturn shining in sunlight with its rings at the correct angle to be seen clearly.

NASA's photo, not mine, unfortunately.

In fact, I was stunned when I looked carefully at the photo I took Wednesday night of the eclipse. (Be my guest and save it to your hard drive if you wish.) If you enlarge the photo to where the moon seems about as large as a fingertip on your monitor, you can clearly see that Saturn is no star -- it is spherical and large, and the fuzzy halo circling it almost vertically are the ice rings.

(Not to say that stars aren't spheres, too, but at this distance they tend to look more like dots or points of light. The planets have a more visble disk shape -- one way you can spot them in the sky with the naked eye.)

I couldn't believe I could get even that level of detail from a regular ol' digital camera. I salivate to think what I could do with this. Hubby just had the great idea of viewing Saturn through the digital video camera we have, the signal of which can be output to my portable DVD player for a more comfortable viewing angle. Must try!

Live long and prosper, y'all. :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Moon shot

Hubby and I spent a fair while this evening on the back patio enjoying fine tobacco, crisp ale, luscious Jamaican rum, and a rare treat in the skies.

Got some photos of the big event. Not bad for an amateur astrophotographer! (Click directly on the photo below to open the full-size version.)

By the way, the "star" to the lower left is Saturn; the one directly above is Regulus.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Que sorpresa!

(AP) Fidel Castro resigns as Cuba's president

I figured this guy would hang onto power for at least two weeks past his death. Theory: Others have taken charge and he's too weak to fight back?

OTOH, he hasn't been seen in public since 2006. Muerto?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Smoking to the glory of God

That last post got me cranky. Then I found this from The Sacred Sandwich.

I checked. It's true. The great Calvinist C. H. Spurgeon was a cigar aficionado. Here's what he said in 1874:

"Well, dear friends, you know that some men can do to the glory of God what to other men would be sin. And notwithstanding what brother Pentecost has said, I intend to smoke a good cigar to the glory of God before I go to bed to-night.

    "If anybody can show me in the Bible the command, 'Thou shalt not smoke,' I am ready to keep it; but I haven't found it yet. I find ten commandments, and it's as much as I can do to keep them; and I've no desire to make them into eleven or twelve.

And yes, people still wig over this. And over the fact that Martin Luther drank beer.

God bless 'em, and thank God for the Reformation.

Read today's devotional from Spurgeon's classic work Morning and Evening here.

ADDENDUM: As dear hubby pointed out, it's not like Christendom had a problem with beer and cigars before the Reformation. Still, Spurgeon was a Baptist, and that just is too much for some people to bear.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Hi, bunkies! The GGB is tucked away in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, with her sweetie. Hubby and I have had a marvelous time, and a full report is forthcoming later this week.

Rich and I sampled some fine cigars this weekend, and I've been 'Net-searching tonight for recommended cigar-friendly hangouts. Let me just say, I am getting so tired of non-Alabamian reviewers being so friggin' surprised that anything quality exists in Birmingham, like this brilliant beginning of a review of the Blue Monkey Lounge from by one Jason Sheftell:

There's an old joke that goes something like, "What's the best thing coming out of Alabama?" The punchline, "Highway 20/59."

While Alabamians enjoy a good laugh, they know their state has heaps more to offer than rednecks and ugly documentary footage. The GulfCoast [sic], the Robert T. Jones Golf Trail, the Alabama-Auburn rivalry, barbecue and Southern hospitality are the least of it--especially for the hedonistic cigar aficionado.

Yeah ... we all think that joke is just HI-larious. By the way, nice of you to admit we aren't ALL mouth-breathers.

If remnants of segregation still linger in certain parts of the South, the Blue Monkey isn't one of them. A diverse crowd lounged around as if they had nowhere to go and nothing to do but sit and be lively, sip their drinks, relax, and revel in a nice smoke and cordial conversation with a passerby or an old friend.

I just love it. He might as well say: "Even though some Southerners still think George Wallace was just a super cool dude, the Blue Monkey is decidedly not one of those places where you'll accidentally walk in on a Klan meeting."

I am so relieved that Wine Spectator has declared one of the 'Ham's most popular bars a Bubba-free Zone (TM), aren't you?

Can't help wondering if this is by the same Jason Sheftell. If so, he seems to have a preoccupation with ethnic stereotypes:

Orthodox Jews race around in black hats carrying heavy books and bags of bialys. Chinese people worship in Buddhist temples next to electronics shops and restaurant supply stores.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy heart day!!

First off, love and smooches to my dear husband, Rich. This is our third Valentine's Day to celebrate together -- I still have the red Mardi Gras-type beads from our first one. :)

Some time ago, Rich and I were discussing the deciding factor in the last few decades' worth of presidential elections, and we decided it was not policy or ideals. Nope, for the majority of the electorate, it's simply who you'd rather have a beer with. Or, more crudely, who you'd pick on a deserted island for the perpetuation of the species.

And this truth does not bode well for either Hillary Clinton or John McCain.

I mean, Obama is as much a raging Marxist as Hillary is and I can't vote for him, but he's the only one of the three I can stand to look at or listen to for any length of time. I'd have a beer with him.

Other people are thinking along these same lines, including the inimitable Mark Steyn. An appetizer for you:

2004 -- Bush v. Kerry -- Bush easily would be the one to send a Valentine to. That stiff, arrogant, gold-digging twit Kerry is not good relationship material. Say what you will about Bush, he is loyal, friendly and approachable. Unfortunately, time would prove there wasn't a real "love connection" between Bush and the Conservative base.

Read the rest here. (Hat tip to IMAO.)

Make your own candy hearts here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hillary for president

Hey ... Ann Coulter said she'd campaign for Hillary if John McCain got the GOP nomination, which he all but has.

Can't be that bad, can it? Let's give it a try:

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

You want money for WHAT???

In all fairness, Hillary Clinton is not the only pol who enjoys playing fast and loose with other people's cash.

You know those protests going on in Berkeley, Calif.? You know those federal earmarks for Berkeley that Sen. Jim DeMint wants to get rid of? Wondered what they were for? Here ya go: (emphasis mine)

Over $2 million was secretly tucked away for Berkeley earmarks in the 2008 Omnibus Appropriations bill, projects that were never voted on or debated... Included in the $2 million worth of pork are some particularly wasteful projects. One earmark provides gourmet organic lunches to schools in the Berkeley School District. While our Marines are making due with MREs of Sloppy Joe and Chili with Beans, the organization Chez Panisse is getting federal tax dollars to design meals that promote "environmental harmony." Chez Panisse's menu features Comté cheese soufflé with mâche salad," "Meyer lemon éclairs with huckleberry coulis" and "Chicory salad with creamy anchovy vinaigrette and olive toast."

I'm now re-imagining the fictional conversation from my previous post:

"Give me $2 million."


"For my kid's Meyer lemon eclairs and chicory salad."

Hey, Berkeley: Go feed your kids Meyer lemon eclairs and chicory salad on your own friggin' dime.

'Scuse me while I go have some ramen.

(Hat tip: Michelle Malkin)

UPDATE: I just love how the SF Chronicle characterizes the federal earmarks in question: "Washington money bound for Berkeley schools, food programs and ferries." If you didn't know any better, wouldn't you imagine pencils and peanut butter sandwiches? Yeah, I would, too.

The tyranny of Hillary-style "sharing"

Hillary Clinton says she wants to give every newborn in America a $5,000 bond. Sounds good in principle, but I ask you, dear reader, to imagine the following exchange between you and Random Person on the Street:

"Give me $5,000."

"Well, I don't have $5,000."

"Then give me $50. And the names of 99 of your friends."

"What for? Why should I be giving you money?"

"It's for my baby."

"Is something wrong with your baby?"

"No, I just want money for my kid's future."

"Well, that's nice, but don't you have a job? Any friends or family who could help you out?"

"Yes, but that's not the point. I want you to cough up $50."


"Because it's the right thing to do! It's sharing the wealth. You ought to share. Didn't they teach you that in kindergarten? Besides, I see that you have a house and a car and two dogs. Surely you could give up $50."

"I'm not going to give you $50. Sorry."

"Then I'll take it out of your next paycheck."

"That's stealing!"

"No, it isn't. You make more money than I do."


"So?! So?! Lady, don't you realize that there's only so much money to go around? C'mon, you won't miss it."

"That's not true, and it doesn't matter if I'll 'miss it,' it belongs to me and you can't just demand that I give it to you."

"But I need it for my kid's future. Don't you want my kids to have a good future?"

"Of course I do."

"Then give me money."


"Heartless bitch."

"Do you have ANY money of your own to save up?"


"Nothing? Nothing you couldn't give up?"


"How about your cable subscription?"

"That's none of your business!"

"Damn straight it's my business, you want my money!"

"Heartless bitch.'"

"You voted for Hillary, didn't you."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

More from Mama Hill

From a Hillary-bylined article in The Wall Street Journal titled "My Plan for Shared Prosperity," with comments as if yours truly, the GGB, were running for prez.

Throughout my campaign, I have been listening to the voices of people across America. I met one man who told me, "I don't know what I did wrong. I got my education and I worked hard. I've been at the same company for 12 years now, but I've just been asked to train my successor because my job is moving to another

Sweetheart, it sucks, but that's life. Sometimes you do everything right and get a bad result. I'm trying to get government out of the way so that it's more attractive to do business here in the U.S. than elsewhere, but in the meanwhile, you ain't the first guy to lose his job. Wipe your nose and try again.

Another woman said to me, "I just can't make ends meet. My health care premiums have doubled, college tuition is up. How am I supposed to make it as a single mom?"

Since I don't know why your kid's daddy ain't around, I won't ding you on that one. But sugar, you gotta make a choice. You obviously cannot afford health insurance + college + kid, so something has to go. I'd suggest it not be the kid. Sock some money away and go to college later. All I can do is try to keep government from making your life more expensive than it has to be, but I cannot make it cheaper for you. Sorry.

I am running for president to bring those voices to the White House and give people a chance to achieve the American Dream: having a good job, owning their own home and living with financial security. That means tackling our toughest challenges -- rising inequality, stagnating wages and a growing sense that too many middle class families are just one pink slip away from financial devastation.

And I would be running for president to defend the Constitution, which -- as best I recall -- is the president's job description.

More comments on the Hill's New Deal later. Read the whole thing here.

Ding ding ding ding ding!

Bryan at Hot Air neatly captures my main complaint with The Hill. First, Hillary's comments on Letterman last night:

CLINTON: You want to feel like the person you’re voting for actually cares about you. You know, actually wants to help you, you know. You know, they might actually get up in the morning and think, “Gosh, you know, what am I gonna do to get somebody a job or health care for somebody. And that’s the kind of heartfelt
connection that I see in people as I go around.”

Now Bryan: (emphasis mine)

I don’t want any of that. I don’t give a rip if the POTUS “cares for me.” That’s what my family, friends and church is for. I certainly don’t want a president who thinks part of his or her job is getting me a job. I’ll do that myself, thankyouverymuch. I just want the government to get in the way of the bad guys and out of the way of everybody else.

Hillary Clinton is cloaking her vision in touchy-feely language, but she basically wants to run your life.

What he said.

Happy Mardi Super Gras Tuesday!

Big day today!

Happy Mardi Gras! It's a low-key Fat Tuesday for hubby and me. I've got a dance class tonight, but I'm listening to XM Radio's live channel (they're broadcasting New Orleans jazz and Zydeco all day) and bought a king cake at the supermarket last night. It won't be as good as this, but it looks darn pretty on the counter anyway.

Super Tuesday Musings: In '06, I barbecued John McCain on immigration and had this to say about a potential McCain-Hillary matchup:

McCain versus Hillary. It's like having to choose between having hot coals shoved into your eye sockets and a hydrochloric acid enema.

The GOP is offering me hot coals in eye sockets as an alternative to a Marxist. Hillary Clinton cannot open her yap without threatening to confiscate people's money in the name of yet another bloated, inefficient, dunderheaded government sop. She honestly believes that the government can do the best job of taking care of your kids. I'm looking at her Web site now, and she's promising "nurse home visitation programs to help new parents develop parenting skills."

Ah, no, Hillary. I don't care if this is mandated or optional, it is not the federal gubmint's job to make sure I am diapering properly. And the spectre of something like universal pre-K makes me nervous. Hubby and I are anticipating starting our family within the next presidential administration. Hillary's nanny statism does not leave me with a cozy and warm feeling about how her policies might affect my children.

And then, we have McCain. Stronger on defense than Hillary ... sort of. He was a driving force in shamnesty and wants to give Gitmo prisoners the same status as regular prison inmates. Hard to raise kids properly when you have to worry about all that contamination from the dirty bomb some goblin smuggled across the border.

So, I'm left with a lovely choice: I refuse to actually cast a vote for Hillary, so if enough conservatives like me sit this one out in November, Hillary will be our next president, and God only knows what boneheaded policies she will be able to put into place with the aid of a Democratically-controlled Congress, not to mention who might wind up on the Supreme Court. If she tanks at Carter-esque levels, there might be enough backlash to prompt another GOP revolution and make things saner for decades to come, as Rush Limbaugh has speculated.

If John McCain wins against Hillary, we have averted a few disasters in exchange for different ones, plus we are sending a message to the GOP that, yes, they can keep sending up godawful candidates as long as the Dem offerings are just one or two notches worse. We tried sending a message in '06, and that didn't go over too well. I'm not sure that sending a message in '08 will work, either.

Bottom line is, you cannot trust either party to do what is right by principle. They are only interested in perpetuating their own power. Real people-power will come from what we did with shamnesty: screaming our heads off when necessary to beat them back into submission.

That does get awfully tiring, but on the other hand, who said that living in a free land would ever be easy or convenient? We had to shed blood for what we have today. Whether it's President McCain or President Clinton in '08, either way, I'm not shutting up.

Contemplating the big "M"


The GGB is not -- I repeat -- not pregnant ... yet.

Hubbykins and I will probably start trying later this year, and I'm on prenatal vitamins to get my folic acid stores high and my iron levels perky. I turned 38 several days ago, and by cracky, I'd like to have kid #1 before I'm too far into my 40s.

My "mommy radar" is starting to come online. I'm mentally designing the nursery. I'm browsing Web sites of baby names. I'm smiling secretly at funny stuff like this. And this is just cool.

But I'm also terrified.

I'm terrified of becoming one of those mothers: the "super moms" who are just so damn fascinated with spawning and their spawn that they make everyone else nauseated. The narcississtic ones who romanticize their "precious angels" ... right into anger and rebellion.

Orthodox Christian writer Frederica Matthewes-Green said it a whole lot better than I can:

There must have been something wrong with the Fifties: they led to the Sixties. The kids that grew up in those tidy two-parent homes weren’t out of their teens before they began doing all they could to overthrow that wholesome security...

Though there are many factors, one short response might be: children received *too* much pampering attention. This sounds impossible in an age when millions of children are aborted, abandoned, and institutionalized in faceless day care. But there are two different traditional approaches to childrearing, and they have widely differing results.

In the Fifties an attitude toward childhood bloomed which had first sprouted in the Victorian era. In this view, childhood is seen as a carefully delineated, circumscribed experience; it’s almost a physical place, a playroom stocked with toys, where precious children linger all a long golden afternoon. Adults look on with wistful, vicarious pleasure, fawning over the tots and shielding them from the harsh winds of the cruel adult world. Adults place a high value on preserving children’s "innocence."

Sounds like the numerous unflattering definitions of "soccer mom" at Urban

Okay, so how does white, Christian, middle-class, suburban me avoid the "soccer mom" mentality? I like what Matthewes-Green had to say about Proverbs 31:

... responsibility mothering includes setting an example of full-fledged adult womanhood... While time spent cuddling and playing on the child’s level is an indispensable source of fun and security in a child’s life, a mother must also prepare her children for adulthood, not life-long childhood... [She] sets her kids an example of the "virtuous woman" of Proverbs 31, busy with home management, hobbies, and church ministries; she may even find it feasible to keep her hand in a career while caring for small children, by working from home or keeping on top of continuing education opportunities.

Preach on, sistah. And thank you for putting your finger on something that's been bugging me a LONG time.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Like I said: 25 percent

Not. Making. This. Up.

Fox News: Report: 1 in 4 Britons Think Winston Churchill Never Existed

This dovetails nicely with GGB Rule #1, which is that fully 25 percent of the population is functionally retarded. Goes a long way toward explaining a lot.