Monday, November 28, 2005

Commuting Stinks!

Commuting is getting to be a real bother. For reasons that are much too long to go into right now, I commute two hours one way (85 miles on state highways) to work five days a week. I work 7:00 am to 5:00 pm most days. My day goes something like this:
4:30 am - The alarm goes off and I'm in no mood to get out of bed.

4:45 am - I finally drag myself out of bed to start the day.

5:15 am - I hit the road on my long morning commute. This time of year, it's still quite dark out.

7:00 am - I arrive at work to start the day.

7:00 am to 5:00 pm - I deal with customer issues, employee issues, inventory issues, pricing issues, merchandising issues, theft issues, building issues, and any other issue that comes up throughout the day.

5:00 pm - I do my best to leave work on time.

5:15 pm - I finally make it to my car to start the long commute home.

7:00 pm - Home at last! If I'm lucky, my wife has dinner waiting on me.

7:30 pm - Dinner is over, and it's time to spend some time playing with my son.

8:00 pm - My son's bed time.

8:30 pm - We finally get my son to bed, after he and I both protest for half an hour. I spend the next ninety minutes or so reading email, maintaining my blogs, reading a book, etc.

10:00 pm - Tomorrow's an early day, so I like to get to bed at a reasonable time.

10:30 pm - I finally make it to bed.
As you can see, it can be a long, hectic day. There isn't much time for anything else. This morning I was talking with my wife on the phone at 8:30 when my son woke up calling, "Dada." When she told him I was at work, he started crying. It broke my heart!

I don't know how much longer I can keep making this commute.


Sunday, November 27, 2005

President Bush's Weekly Radio Address

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In his weekly radio address President Bush said, "This week, we gather with our loved ones to give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. Each family has its own traditions, yet we are united as a nation in setting aside a day of gratitude. We are thankful for our family and friends, who fill our lives with joy and love. We are thankful for the abundance of this prosperous land. We are thankful for the freedom that makes possible the enjoyment of all these gifts. And we acknowledge with humility that all these blessings and life itself come from Almighty God."

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Book Review: God's Debris by Scott Adams

If you've ever read the Dilbert comic strip, then you are at least somewhat familiar with the work of Scott Adams. Adams has written more than just a comic strip and several Dilbert-themed books: he also keeps a daily blog and has written at least one work of fiction not related to the Dilbert character.

God's Debris, described by Adams as "a 132-page thought experiment" explores religion, reincarnation, the omnipotence of God, and whether or not God really exists, and if so in what capacity.

Written as the fictional account of a deeply philosophical discussion between two men, God's Debris presents the big picture in an unusual way that is very creative, though quite unbelievable. Adams' characters use analogies as evidence to present their arguements to each other, and the work is very light on solid evidence of the type that might carry any significance.

In an unusual marketing gimmick, Adams is offering the book free for download in PDF format. He obviously hopes that by reading the free download, you'll be interested enough to purchase a print copy of the book, or the sequel, The Religion War.

Adams describes this book's target audience as "people who enjoy having their brains spun around inside their skulls." While I don't recommend this book, I did find it interesting that someone could dream up such a creative explanation of the meaning of life. This book is more fantasy than mere fiction. Though in the book's introduction the author says, "You won't discover my opinions by reading my fiction," I think it's quite clear where Scott Adams stands on the issues of religion and the meaning of life.

If you have a solid conviction of your beliefs, it may be worth a look. If you are easily conned or persuaded, I would recommend you pass this one by.


Thursday, November 24, 2005


On this day of Thanksgiving, for what are you thankful?

A beautiful, loving wife.
A healthy, active son.
The love of God.
A reason to get together for a delicious feast.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone everywhere. You don't have to be an American on this holiday to give thanks for the many blessings you enjoy.


Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Anniversary To My Wife...

...for making me the luckiest and happiest man alive three years ago today.

I love you!


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and it kind of has me wondering a few things. One of my employees is a self-described anarchist. Whether he considers himself an agnostic or atheist, I'm unsure, but he has said that he does not believe in God. He isn't belligerent or overbearing about it, just open about it. I also think that maybe he isn't too sure about it.

Thanksgiving is upon us, and we all know the story of the first Thanksgiving. We've heard of the pilgrims giving thanks to God for the bountiful harvest. I spoke with this employee recently, and he told me that he and his wife would be spending the holiday with his wife's family. "Holiday?" Wait a minute. Yes, it's a holiday, of course. The banks are closed, and all government offices, and even every self-respecting retail store is closed. But how can someone who doesn't believe in God consider the national observance of thanking God for the many blessings he has bestowed upon us a holiday? Isn't that a little hypocritical?

Let's say I don't believe in soft drinks (Coca-Cola, Pepsi, etc.), and I insist that nothing but pure water pass through my lips. Now, let's say I invite you over to my home for dinner one evening and offer you a Mountain Dew to drink with your meal. Excuse me, but I think that's a little hypocritical. If I don't believe in soft drinks, how could I possibly recognize their existence by serving them to guest in my own home. A little simplistic example, maybe, but I think it gets my point across.

And then there's Christmas. I understand that almost everyone has some kind of holiday to observe in December, regardless of their religious beliefs. But come on, what is Christmas? The celebration of the birth of Christ (it's in the name, people, how can it possible mean anything else?). Now, this same employee one day was also talking to me about buying his wife what he called a "boomerang gift" for Christmas. A boomerang gift is basically when you buy something you want for someone else because you know you'll have free access to it. But that's not really the point here. He specifically said that he was buying it for her for Christmas! How can someone who doesn't believe in God celebrate Christmas? If he doesn't believe in God, then he can't believe that Christ is the Son of God, and therefore there's nothing to celebrate at "Christmas." Shouldn't he call it something besides Christmas if he doesn't believe in God?

I guess my point to this whole rant is that it just doesn't make sense how these people who claim that God doesn't exist are okay with things based on a faith in God when it benefits them, such as getting a paid day off from work when everyone gets together for a huge feast, or to exchange gifts, or whatever else the case may be. I'd just like to know how they justify such hypocrisy.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year, coming in just barely above Christmas. I think it's got something to do with the fact that there's none of the stress of finding just the right gift, but you still get to eat lots of turkey.

Three years ago, just five days before Thanksgiving, I became the luckiest man in the world when the woman I love said "I Do" in front of God, friends, and family. This year, our anniversary is the day before Thanksgiving.

At this time of year that we gather together to give thanks to God for the many blessings he has bestowed upon us, I'm reminded of some of the greatest reasons of all by celebrating my anniversary just one day prior. I'm thankful for my wonderful wife, great son, and baby on the way. I'm thankful for family, friends, and the freedom that comes with being an American living in the greatest nation on Earth. I'm thankful for those who answered the call to defend and protect that freedom. (All of these, by the way, are things that we might not have the right to enjoy if we lived in a state of anarchy.)

As I told this confused employee of mine, when you sit down to dinner on Thursday, if you don't feel compelled to give thanks to God for what lies before you, just think of me giving thanks. To God, I'm sure, he'll understand your appreciation.

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 21, 2005

Book Review: The Illuminati by Larry Burkett

Book ReviewConspiracy theorists (including one that works for me) are constantly telling the tale of a secret society that actually runs the world governments. Whether they call it the Rothschild Society, the Illuminati, or the Council on Foreign Relations, it's all just the same old story, and it's all one big conspiracy theory.

The late author Larry Burkett turns this conspiracy theory into a compelling fictional tale of intrigue in The Illuminati.

Spinning a familiar yarn of a corrupt leader rising to power and manipulating the system to exterminate a select group of people, The Illuminati is very realistic, very timely, and very thought-provoking.

This is a must-read for all!


Sunday, November 20, 2005

Target Getting the Message - Stock Drops 7%

AFA Online - America's Largest Pro-Family Online Action Site!

Target Getting the Message - Stock Drops 7%

"There is an anti-Christian bias in this country, and it is more on display at Christmas season than any other time." – Bill O'Reilly, The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News Channel – (Speaking about the decision of Target and other stores to ban the use of "Merry Christmas" in their stores and advertising.)

Dear Joe,

On October 7 we brought to your attention that Target was banning the Salvation Army's kettles from the front of their stores. Now we've learned Target is also banning the use of "Merry Christmas" from their in-store promotions and from their advertising in papers, TV, etc.

Your efforts are having an impact. USA Today (11/16/05) announced that "Target alarmed investors by saying projected sales at stores open a year in November would miss the estimated 4% to 6% growth. Shares of Target fell $4.13 to $54.30." (A 7% drop.)

Target's ban of the Salvation Army and "Merry Christmas" expresses the same attitude toward Christianity as that held by Michael Newdow, who wants to ban "In God We Trust" from our currency and "under God" from our Pledge of Allegiance.

AFA is asking individuals to boycott Target during the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend—the busiest shopping weekend of the year. Please share this request to boycott Target on that weekend with friends, family and members of your church and Sunday school class. Please sign the petition to Target. This petition will also be sent to other major chains banning the use of "Merry Christmas" including Costco, BJ's, Wal-Mart, Sears/K-Mart and Kohl's. It is basically too late to change their policies this year, but we can change it for next year. Last year we called for a boycott of Federated Stores because they banned "Merry Christmas." This year they are using "Merry Christmas!"

A successful boycott of Target will send a message to every company!

This is your opportunity to make your voice heard. Please act today and then forward this to friends and family.Click

Click Here to Sign the Petition To Target and Other Stores Now!



DonalWildmonldmon, Founder and Chairman
American Family Association

Questions or comments about AFA? Contact us via email, phone, fax, or postal mail.
Copyright 2005

American Family Association
P O Drawer 2440
Tupelo, MS 38803
All Rights Reserved

Saturday, November 19, 2005

President Bush's Weekly Radio Address

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In his weekly radio address, President Bush said, "One important issue for American workers, entrepreneurs, businesses, and farmers is to access foreign markets for our goods, services, and farm products. At the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in South Korea, we have advanced America's case for free and fair trade."

Look, Up In The Sky!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Newdow Files Suit To Take National Motto Off Currency

AFA Online - America's Largest Pro-Family Online Action Site!

Newdow Files Suit To Take National Motto Off Currency

Tells ACLU meeting "In God We Trust" must go

Dear Joe,

Michael Newdow, who has already filed a suit to take "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance, is now suing to remove our national motto from our currency.

Newdow told the ACLU of Oklahoma that the national motto on U.S. currency is a violation of the separation of church and state. He is offended because he is an atheist. He wants to use the Federal courts to make his atheism the official religion of America.

Newdow filed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which recently ruled that judges, not parents, have the final say in what will be taught school children concerning sex education. These same liberal judges supported Newdow and ruled that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional. That suit was dismissed due to a technicality so Newdow sued again.

The 9th U.S. Circuit is expected to agree with Newdow. The case will then go to the U.S. Supreme Court for final action.

Help us secure one million signatures on the petition below to stop Newdow. Remember that only one person— (Madelyn Murray O'Hare) —was able to get prayer in schools banned. We must not allow one person (—Newdow) —to get our national motto removed from our currency by our silence.

During the last session of Congress, Representative Chip Pickering introduced a constitutional amendment to guarantee the right to use and recite the motto and the Pledge of Allegiance. Your petition will encourage Rep. Pickering to re-introduce his constitutional amendment in the present session of Congress and send a message to the liberal judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit.

Please act quickly.

Click here to sign the petition now!



Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman
American Family Association

If you are a Federal Civilian, Postal or Military Employee, please consider AFA (#2058) for your annual CFC participation. Questions or comments about AFA? Contact us via email, phone, fax, or postal mail.
Copyright 2005

American Family Association
P O Drawer 2440
Tupelo, MS 38803
All Rights Reserved

Believe It Or Not

I saw this on the way home from work tonight. That's right, no strings attached gasoline for less than $2.00 per gallon. I couldn't believe it when I saw it.


Monday, November 14, 2005


We're entering the homestretch to my favorite holiday of the year: Thanksgiving. Most people seem to have one holiday they prefer over all others, and they each have their own special reasons for their preference.

There are a number of reasons I call Thanksgiving my favorite, and not the least of those is the food! I love the turkey and potatoes, the corn and the rolls, all smothered in gravy -- the whole Thanksgiving feast. Most people don't eat turkey the rest of the year like the year like they do one Thursday in November. I don't think it would be the same even if they did.

Another reason I'm so fond of Thanksgiving is the memories growing up with my mom preparing the huge annual feast. Not only was it a great time for the family to get together, but also the start of the Christmas season.

Mom's gone now, and the whole family doesn't get together much anymore. We won't all be together in one place this Thanksgiving. I have my own family now, and among the many blessings we'll be thankful for are the many memories Mom helped to create over the years.

Thanks, Mom, and Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Falling Gas Prices

I just passed a gas station selling gas for $2.019 per gallon! $2.01 -- no catches, no gimmicks. I think that says a great deal about the record oil profits we've heard so much about recently. I'd say the lower gas prices are a result of the outcry.

Whatever it takes, I'm glad to see the price dropping. Will it make it below $2.00 again?


Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

President Bush's Weekly Radio Address

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In his weekly radio address, President Bush said, "With this new prescription drug benefit, Medicare will now help pay for the prescription drugs that can prevent serious illness. Seniors will get more choices and better treatment, and America will get a Medicare system to fit the needs of the 21st century."

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Focus On The Family Salutes Veterans

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Focus on the Family presented a touching salute to our veterans in it's Veterans Day broadcast. I strongly encourage you to listen to it.


Friday, November 11, 2005

The $2.00 Gasoline Threshold?

After the insanely high gas prices we've seen over the past several months, I had resigned myself to the possibility that I might never pay less than $2.00 for a gallon of gasoline again. I honestly thought that $2.00 was the new threshold.

Today at Kroger, I filled up for just $1.989 per gallon. WOW! Of course, that's because I had a ten cent per gallon discount from buying groceries inside the Kroger store, but hey, if you have to buy the groceries anyway, why not buy them some place where they'll save you money on gas, too?

WCPO-TV, the ABC affiliate in Cincinnati on channel 9, recently reported on a survey conducted in Ohio comparing the grocery prices at Walmart with those at Kroger. They purchased 150 items at each store and found that, based on regular store prices, the total grocery bill at Walmart was almost 20% less than Kroger. However, when they calculate the same 150 items at sale prices (Kroger sale prices versus Walmart regular prices, as Walmart does not have sales), Kroger was almost 20% less than Walmart.

The grocery savings on top of an extra ten cents per gallon in gasoline savings makes Kroger my grocery store/gas station combo of choice.

How much are you paying for gas today?


ABC News - Gas Prices Explained

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With all the hype lately over the record profits posted by the oil companies, ABC News presents an explanation of where your money goes for each gallon of gasoline. This is a good piece of information. According to ABC News, fully 77% of the cost of a gallon of gasoline goes to the oil companies and refineries, 15% to taxes, and only 8% to the company that you are actually purchasing the gasoline from.


Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day, if you haven't already read that somewhere or heard it on the radio. In honor and memory of those who serve or have served to defend the cause of Liberty throughout the history of our great nation: Thank You!

Regardless of your feelings about the war in Iraq or the current Administration, if you're an American, an immigrant to the U.S., or living a better life elsewhere because of Americans, please tell a Veteran "Thank You" today.


Thursday, November 10, 2005

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

ABC News: Texas Voters Approve Ban on Gay Marriage

ABC News: Texas Voters Approve Ban on Gay Marriage:
"Texas voters Tuesday overwhelming approved a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, making their state the 19th to take that step."

Petition To The U.S. Supreme Court Concerning The Rights Of Parents

As shocking as it may seem, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that courts--not parents--have the final authority on when and what to teach children about sex education.

In their ruling, the Court determined that parents DO NOT have a fundamental right to control when, where and how their children are taught about sex. Rather, the Court ruled, that right belongs to activist judges.

I know you probably aren't believing this, so I have provided a link to an article on the recent ruling written by Kathleen Parker, a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel. Click here to read the column.

This is simply another encroachment by activist federal judges to take away the rights of parents and turn those rights over to the judges. These liberal activist judges feel they know better how to raise your children and grandchildren than you do!

It is time for parents and grandparents to tell activist judges to back off! Sign the petition. Forward the petition to your friends and family. We will forward the petitions to the U.S. Supreme Court where this case will eventually be decided. Hopefully, by then, Supreme Court nominee Justice Samuel Alito will have been confirmed and this crazy ruling by the Ninth Circuit can be overturned.

AFA - American Family Association - Petition To The U.S. Supreme Court Concerning The Rights Of Parents

Morning Sickness Stinks!

Tomorrow, my wife and I go to see her Doctor for her first check-up since becoming pregnant. I say that we both go because I have always gone to every one of my wife's appointments during pregnancy, and every one of my son's appointments since he was born. It's just one of the things I like to do to be involved in the pregnancy.

My wife has had horrible morning sickness for the past twelve years. Okay, it's really only been two months, but it sure feels like twelve years. When she was pregnant with our son, she had about a week of morning sickness with projectile vomiting and it was all over. This time, she has been non-stop sick since we found out she is expecting, but has only been sick enough to vomit one day.

Morning sickness has got to be God's revenge to women for Eve and the whole apple fiasco. I mean, it's terrible! My wife has been (understandably) unmotivated to do much of anything throughout this entire pregnancy to date. I'm not complaining (really), because I can understand that she wouldn't be up to doing much if she feels as badly as she says she feels.

It's put a huge damper on everything. We don't go anywhere, or do anything. My wife feels like throwing up every time she stands up. She only feels good when she's lying down, and even then I don't think you could describe it as "good."

It has also put a huge extra workload on me. Now hear me out on this one. I drive two hours to get to work five days a week. I work ten hours a day, then drive two hours back home. I sleep approximately six hours a night. That leaves me four hours a day. One hour is spent each morning getting ready for work, and one hour is spent each evening playing with my son after work. Add another thirty minutes for dinner, and I now have only ninety minutes left for everything else.

I love to read, but haven't been able to read much lately. In fact, that's usually how I fall asleep: lying in bed trying to do a little reading. I have two weblogs or my own to maintain, as well as a 40,000 visitor per day technology website I write for. I get a slew of email to go through on a daily basis, and I like to download some news in mp3 format to listen to during my daily commute.

With a sick, pregnant wife, I try to help out by washing dishes, doing laundry, picking up my son's toys, either buying or making dinner, and whatever else I can do. In addition, we're looking to buy our first home, which I still don't devote enough time to.

In all, I think I pack about 28-1/2 hours of activity into every day. It's hectic, and impossible, but I still think it's better than what my wife is dealing with!


Sunday, November 6, 2005

West Wing Live

I'm watching the closing statements of the Presidential candidates on NBC's popular West Wing live broadcast. The entire sixty minute episode, with only one interruption for commercials at the the thirty minute mark, was devoted to a mock debate between the Democratic candidate (Jimmy Smits) and the Republican candidate (Alan Alda).

On the suggestion of Senator Vinick (Alda), the candidates agreed to discard typical debate format and engaged in a lively teté à teté that was reminiscent of the Bush/Kerry debates of 2004, with the Democratic Congressman Santos (Smits) even using the line "I voted for it before I voted against it."

Both Alda and Smits brought believeability to their characters, with a few very minor slips. Alan Alda gave an especially realistic performance as a Republican candidate arguing for tax cuts, for increasing border patrol, for reducing the size of the federal government, and for oil drilling in the Arctic Natural Wildlife Refuge.

Jimmy Smits presented us with a Democratic candidate who stands strong on education, healthcare and job creation ("I'd delete two words from the current Medicare plan: Over 65"), while openly admitting that he would raise taxes on Americans earning more than one million dollars per year.

Alda was a confident politician, while Smits (in my opinion) did a respectable job of portraying one. My vote: Arnold Vinick for President.

You can cast your vote online at, but good luck getting there. It's my guess that half of America is logging on right now, which would explain the download lag.

Kudos to Alda and Smits for a fine performance! And good luck to both as they do the whole thing live again for viewers on the west coast.

One thing's for sure: this has me looking forward to the real thing in 2008.


Sent from my Palm Zire 72

Saturday, November 5, 2005

mp3 Killed The Radio Star

If you aren't a regular listener of Jim Mahon's This Week in Palm podcast, you should check out this week's episode.

Jim does a good job of providing a rundown of all the Palm-related news of the past week, as well as special savings on select titles at the Palm OS Central software store.

Most notably in this week's episode is the song that the episode closes with: "I Heard It On A Podcast." This song is good enough to get radio airtime.

You can download the podcast directly here. The song starts at the 13:41 mark.

Give it a listen.


President Bush's Weekly Radio Address

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In his weekly radio address President Bush said, "This week I was proud to nominate Judge Sam Alito to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. Judge Alito is one of America's most accomplished and respected judges. During his long career in public service, he has demonstrated all the qualities that the American people expect in a Supreme Court Justice: mastery of the law, a deep commitment to justice, and great personal character. He is scholarly, fair-minded, and principled, and these traits will serve our nation well on our highest court."

Reader Comments

Anonymous said...

my comment is about bayh's email address. He keeps changing it so we can't easily contact him! We need to contact him now about defeating Kennedy and McCain bill to give amnesty to illegal aliens and 400,000 guest workers. They are trying hard to bring us socialism. Fight Back!!!!!

12:04 PM


Average Joe replied...

Evan Bayh has a Senate email address, but if you email him at this address you will receive an auto-response telling you to contact him using the webform at his website, located here:

You can also contact him by mail at:
Senator Evan Bayh
463 Russell Building
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Also, by phone at one of his many district offices:
DC Office, Washington, DC
(202) 224-5623
(317) 554-0750
(812) 465-6500
Fort Wayne
(260) 426-3151
(219) 852-2763
(812) 218-2317
South Bend
(574) 236-8302.

REMEMBER, there are TWO Indiana Senators. I encourage you to contact them both. You can reach Senator Richard Lugar, Republican, in a much simpler manner. Just email him at:

10:00 PM


If you would like a personal reply when posting comments, or notification that a reply to your comments has been posted on the site, you can email me at


Reagan - Silver Anniversary


Best of the Web Today - November 4, 2005
Silver Anniversary

The assassination of John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, marked the end of an American political era: the age of confident liberalism. Lyndon B. Johnson carried forward JFK's legislative legacy, cutting taxes and pushing through landmark civil rights laws. But LBJ's overambitious wars in Vietnam and on poverty were damaging to America and shattering for liberalism. The late 1960s and the 1970s saw skyrocketing crime and illegitimacy, American humiliation in Vietnam, and the tragedy of Watergate.

Finally, with the presidency of Jimmy Carter, the country hit rock bottom: malaise, gas lines, the Soviets in Afghanistan, the invasion of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Blessedly, 25 years ago today, it came to an end with the election of Ronald Reagan and the dawn of the age of confident conservatism. The ensuing two decades saw unprecedented economic growth, victory in the Cold War, and a gradual diminution of the timidity about employing U.S. military force overseas that is known as the "Vietnam syndrome." By the mid-1990s, a Democratic president was even undoing the worst excesses of LBJ's Great Society.

We're inclined to view the presidency of George W. Bush, and especially his muscular foreign policy, as a continuation of the Reagan era. There is an argument to be made on the other side: that conservatism is now in its LBJ phase, having produced swollen government at home and overextended America's capabilities abroad. The left, meanwhile, is as weak, angry and paranoid as the right was in the heyday of the John Birch society--but perhaps one day it will reconnect with reality and resurge politically.

History will reveal itself in due course, but for today let us remember how, on Nov. 4, 1980, America began to reverse its decline by electing a man who shared the country's faith in itself.

Friday, November 4, 2005

CBS News - Finito To 'Scalito'?

CBS News | Finito To 'Scalito'? | November 3, 2005 13:00:06:
"There is no question that Alito is qualified, in that he has been an assistant solicitor general, a deputy assistant U.S. attorney general, a U.S. attorney and an appeals court judge. He is reputedly intelligent and scholarly. There will be no major disagreement over document releases; there are fifteen years of appeals court decisions for his friends and foes to scrutinize. That leaves the Democrats one avenue of attack: Alito would be bad for America. "

Gas Prices Decline

From a high of almost $3.00 per gallon this summer, I've seen a dramatic decline in the price I'm paying for gasoline: as low as $2.199 this morning. During my lengthy morning commute I saw prices as low as $2.169.

Are we seeing a decline related to record prices recently reported by the big oil companies? Will prices dip below the $2.00 mark again? And will natural gas prices rise enough to make it a moot point? Don't get too comfortable yet.


Karl Rove's Future Role in White House Under Discussion - Top White House aides are privately discussing the future of Karl Rove, with some expressing doubt that President Bush can move beyond the damaging CIA leak case as long as his closest political strategist remains in the administration.

Read more.

Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Judge Alito Confirmation Hearings Scheduled to Begin Jan. 9 - Senate Judiciary Committee chairman gives time for senators to read extensive records of U.S. Supreme Court nominee before going for confirmation debate.

Read more.

Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Thursday, November 3, 2005


I'll be on sabbatical for the next week. I may make an occassional post of important news, but I probably won't be writing much else.

I will return, however, in full force on November 10. Check back then for all the latest.


Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Real Life Ghost Stories

With the recent spooky season, I've been doing some thinking about a little spookiness of my own. I don't know if I actually believe that ghosts really exist. My wife does, but I'm not completely sold one way or the other. Maybe I should be.

The Grandfather Clock

My maternal grandfather passed away when I was a very young child after losing his fight with cancer. I was too young then to have any real memory of it, but my family has always told me that I was my grandfather's favorite. In fact, I was so young when he passed away that I only have a vivid memory of what he looked like from a portrait of him that my father had painted that used to hang on the living room wall over the television in the house I grew up in.

My dad once told me that the only time he ever saw my grandfather cry was when I had an accident on one of my toys and had to be taken to the hospital. Maybe I was his favorite.

One of the last things my grandfather asked of my parents was for them to get the family going to church regularly again. Most Sundays my brother and sisters and I would hop on the church bus while my parents stayed home, and it was very important to my grandfather that we attend church as a family.

One Sunday after church, shortly after my grandfather's funeral, we were sitting in the living room after lunch watching television, probably Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, when a loud crash from across the room snapped everyone back to reality. The small grandfather-style clock that sat on top of the television had somehow ended up on the floor. No one could explain how it got there. My father moved closer to investigate. The clock was sitting neatly on the floor as if it had been placed there intentionally, with not a sign of damage.

A week or so later, I believe it was in the evening, again the family was gathered around the television after dinner. My father has always been a big Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy fan, so it's a good bet that's what we were watching. There had been no repeat incidents with the grandfather clock, and we had all written it off as just the wind, or whatever sounded good at the time. We were gathered around the TV when the show was interrupted with a loud bang and the screen went dark.

No one moved as we all stared at the television wondering what had happened, when my father stood up and walked slowly across the room. "The picture," he said as he approached the TV. Reaching behind the set, he pulled the portrait of my grandfather from behind the television, carefully examined it, then placed it back on the wall where it had been hanging moments earlier. He then reached behind the set and replaced the electrical cord in the wall outlet. As the sounds of commercials filled the room, he returned to his seat. No one spoke of it the rest of the evening.

I don't know how many times over the following weeks we found either the clock or the painting come crashing to the floor for no apparent reason. It continued for several weeks, though, and we never spoke about it with anyone outside the family.

Early one Sunday morning as I and my siblings headed out the door to meet the church bus, my father stopped us. "We'll be going to church as a family today," he said. Sundays in church became a regular family event, giving my grandfather one of his final wishes, and ending the inexplicable happenings surrounding the grandfather clock and the portrait.

Calling Out In The Night

My mother, too, lost her fight with cancer just a few years ago. She knew she had cancer, but as long as the doctors were unable to find anything, the family held out hope. While mom wasted away, we hoped for a diagnosis of something curable.

After a year of suffering, my mom spent her final week in the hospital. She passed away with all her children around her only after we each had told her that it was okay for her to let go.

Several weeks later I found myself sitting bolt upright in bed, awakened from a deep sleep by the sound of my mother calling my name. I listened and looked at my wife, wondering how she had slept through the noise, as the fog cleared from my mind and I remembered attending my mom's recent funeral. I lied down and drifted back to sleep, excusing the entire event as a dream.

Days later, while speaking on the phone with my father, he told me the story I just relayed, with one minor difference. In his version, he was the one awakened when my mother called out his name. He, too, went back to sleep assuming it had been just a dream.

Until we spoke, and we realized that we had both been awakened by my mother at exactly the same time on the same night, we both had explained it as a dream. A little too coincidental, maybe?

Both are true stories. And yet, I'm not sure I believe in ghosts. Maybe that's because my mother and grandfather, though they may have been communicating with us from beyond, were definitely not ghosts.

Or were they?


Sent from my Palm Zire 72.

Take Action: A Petition in Support of Judge Samuel Alito

Take Action: A Petition in Support of Judge Samuel Alito:
"President Bush has nominated Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Just as Justice Scalia was approved by the Senate 98-0, and just as Justice John Roberts was overwhelmingly confirmed as Chief Justice, Judge Alito deserves real consideration and should be confirmed.

Please sign your name to PFA's petition in support of Judge Alito, signaling that you stand with the President's nominee and urge his confirmation for the Court.

We will deliver this petition to the Senate and demand that Samuel Alito be given the same respect and consideration that earlier Supreme Court nominees received."

Thank President Bush For His Supreme Court Selection

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"Send you letter to President Bush thanking him for making a solid choice in selecting Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to the Supreme Court, and encouraging him to go to the mat to get him confirmed."

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

The First Halloween

Not the actual first Halloween, but the first Hallowe'en Trick-or-Treating experience for my two-year-old son. It was quite an experience.

This was actually my son's third Hallowe'en, but he was only two months old the first year, so this is the first year he's actually gone Trick-or-Treating.

The first year, he wore a ladybug costume (I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you've ever watched the movie Antz, then you know ladybugs aren't always female, obviously) and sat on the front porch waiting for the neighborhood ghouls, goblins, and superheroes to come round for their candy hand-outs. None came.

When he was one year old, he wore a purple dragon (dragon, not dinosaur) costume and went to the park for a train ride after handing out candy to a slightly better turn out than the year before.

This year, at the age of two, he wore a chicken costume from Old Navy. It wasn't intended to be Chicken Little from the recent Disney film, though that's what everyone called him, and for some reason everyone that saw him thought he was a girl. It must have had something to do with the chicken costume (should have dressed him as a rooster, maybe), but it really drove my wife crazy!

For his first round of Trick-or-Treating this year, we took him to a neighborhood in town that is well known for having a safe and happy Hallowe'en. We taught him to say, "Trick or treat," which he picked up rather quickly. He was a bit shy at the first house, but warmed up rather quickly to people giving him things for free. We don't let him have much candy, so I doubt that he realized what he was being given, but I don't think it really mattered to him what it was.

By the time we reached the second house he had the lingo down pat, though it came out more like "Tick-a-Tree," but everyone seemed to know what he was saying. Before long, he was greeting everyone he passed on the sidewalk with "Tick-a-Tree" as if it was as common as saying, "Hello," to everyone you meet.

This may sound like I'm a biased father, but I have to tell you -- he was the cutest little person you could ever hope to see! Not only was he cute in his little chicken outfit, but his whole attitude about Hallowe'en was cute. Say what you will, but I don't think there's ever been a cuter chicken going door to door asking for candy.

We had a great Hallowe'en, and made some cherished memories of the kind that can never be erased.

Hope your Hallowe'en was enjoyable, too.


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