Wednesday, September 26

Friends visit and life

A friend and her kids came to visit on Monday, and we had a GREAT time. Really good conversation amongst us adults, her son mostly played video games with our son, until the end of the visit when 'the boys' went and jumped on the trampoline for a while. Her oldest daughter just kind of be-bopped around. At one point she went swimming and said the water was cold (probably because although the daytime temps were in the 80's and low 90's, the night time/morning temps had dipped into the 50 and 60), hence why I didn't go swimming too :-) And her littlest one just ran around and explored (she is only 2). They were going to come back today, but mom isn't feeling well, so we're hoping for Friday. *fingers crossed*

Other than that, not much happening. Yesterday is RAINED a LOT, which was nice. And today it has been cloudy all day and cool (70-ish) enough for me to wear a jacket when I go outside (yeah, I'm a cold wimp!). Not looking forward to winter, but I guess I'll just deal with it as best as I can. *smile*

There have been a couple of lifetime firsts for me this year. One is that I probably saw a UFO - that was cool. But I didn't get a good look at it, only saw the lights as it passed over - silently! My wife and daughter say it was a triangular shape. Then just a couple of days ago while my wife and I were sitting on the porch, we saw a METEOR. Really neat. It started out white, then turned kind of red with a tail, then orange as it went by. It was visible for I'd say close to 10 seconds (wasn't counting, just watching). I just know that I had time to stand up, step off the porch (one step) and turn to watch it as it went passed. Totally awesome.

And the latest on our DSL dilemma is that I'm in contact with the South-Western Missouri Centurytel supervisor who's looking into the possibility of getting it for us. He said in the beginning that they should be able to provide it if we're under 24,000 feet (which implies to me that they do in fact use 'repeaters'). Since then he's said we're "23,900 feet", but that's only in one direction. I think we're closer to the other connection point (19,000 feet?). But he says, "I may not get you the answer you want, but I’m going to make sure I have all the facts", so that's cool. Please cross your fingers for us - thanks. My current connection speed is only 28.8 Kbps, and almost every time we manage to get a speed of over 30, we almost immediately get disconnected. It's almost like our account has been flagged (can they do that?) because I brought up that they could, but aren't using the technology available. Like I pissed-off a technician or something.

As for my last post about war with Iran, sorry to go all political on you, but I think that if Bush and Cheney get their way and attack that it very well could be the start of WW III, which scares me a lot, hence why I posted about it.

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Tuesday, September 25

War with Iran anyone?


In case you thought it was just an aberrant moment of lunacy last week when Lieberman pressed General Petraeus for an attack on Iran, just before the weekend he introduced an amendment to the defense bill to authorize exactly that.

No, we are not kidding. He has drafted language that any impartial observer would interpret as a DECLARATION OF WAR against Iran, and he is pressing for a vote as fast as possible.

Here is the language from the amendment:

(3) that it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its
indigenous Iraqi proxies;

(4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in paragraph (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies.

The policy of the U.S should be to "combat" Iran with "all" "military instruments"?!? You can be absolutely certain that those are the ONLY words Dick Cheney and George Bush will see or care about.


We need every warm body we can muster to call and email their senators RIGHT NOW, before they pull another fast one and sneak this one through in the dead of the night. Call them toll free at 800 828-0498, 800 614 2803 or 866 340 9281, and the submit the action form below to make sure your message gets through.

Just yesterday, Newsweek reported that Cheney had recently made overtures to Israel to get them to launch an attack against Iran, to try to provoke an all out conflagration. It seems every day there is a new story leaked about their aggressive preparations for The Debacle, Part 2. And just as in the lead up to the Iraq invasion,
they will keep lying, lying and lie some more about their intentions until they've shot off every cruise missile in the military inventory.

We need your voice, and the voices of everyone else you know, and we them now. We need to absolutely flood the Capitol with phone calls and email. Please believe your voice counts. Please believe that when enough of us raise our voices together at one time they do have an impact.

Cheney and his minions are absolutely not going to stop pushing for an even bigger disaster unless we stop them by speaking out with a louder voice. So we cannot let up ourselves even for an instant.

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Monday, September 17

Comfy kitty, chicken delivery, and a birthday


This is one of our kitties we like to call Suicune (pron. swee-koone). I saw her laying there the other day and wondered, "How can that possibly be comfortable?" It just amazes me how positions that look so uncomfortable to us, can be relaxing to animals, especially cats.

We've been doing okay. Really haven't done much in terms of excitement. Been to the store in Buffalo a few times, to stores in Lebanon a few times, too the feed store for chicken food (chopped corn). Saturday we took 3 chicks who had been weened from their mother to the guy that hayed our fields a couple of months ago. Then on Sunday we took one more to him because we had promised to give him 4. We stayed and looked at his chickens and talked. Then he told us all about his hair-sheep. They're pretty cool. Plus we held a couple of the baby kittens that he had that were born not long ago (there were at least 20 running around). They we so tiny. You forget how small they are when you haven't seen anything except adults cats for a while. They were so cute. *grin*

Other than that, today is our son's twelfth birthday. He got a couple of necklaces, a shirt, and a pair of jeans. Plus of course a cake, which he wanted to be chocolate with vanilla frosting. It is delicious!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot that our broody chicken hatched at least 2 chicks as of last night. Haven't looked myself, but was told that by my better half. There might be more chicks today (she was sitting on 7 eggs).

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Wednesday, September 12

Last few days

A couple of days ago I braved the post-rain pool water to do a final vacuuming of the bottom, and then added some bleach and vinegar. It had been a few days since we had turned the pump on to filter the water, so there was quite a bit of algae beginning to grow on the bottom, turning it greenish. It was slick too, I found out once I was in pushing the vacuum around (Ew!) But I did get it done and now we're going to be shutting the pool down for the year because it's now cooling-off at night and the water will steadily get much colder. Although while I was in there, the water was still pretty comfortable. It had only been dipping down to the 60's (F) at night, but the days were pretty sunny and in the low 80's (F). Lately it's been dropping to the  50's, so it's time to close the pool for the year. I did notice today though that there's a pile of dead algae (I hope it is anyway) in the middle again, but that'll wait till next year to be vacuumed out. Besides, I broke the part of the vacuum that connect to the pole used to push it around the bottom.

Today we went to the park and visited with a couple of parents and their kids. Our DS played, but our DD sat on the picnic tables and talked with we adults because she a few years older than the other kids. Besides, our son is the one who plays with the other/younger kids anyway. But it was a fun time at the park. Not too hot, not too cool, just right when sitting in the sun.

After that we went to pick-up a couple of my prescriptions that I had called in this morning, but only one was ready. The other one needed the doctor to authorize more refills and he hadn't gotten a hold of the pharmacy by then. Which is okay, because I won't be completely out until next Monday. While at the store we got a couple medium bags of dark chocolate peanut M&Ms, a quart of milk, some pop-tarts that my wife had a craving for, a newspaper, and a couple of hope tickets. Then swung by McD's for an inexpensive lunch. And now we're home! :)

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Tuesday, September 11

Saturday and The Celtic Festival

We had a REALLY fun day on Saturday! It all started when some friends of our from out of town stopped by on the way to the festival. We hung-out and talked for a while. Meanwhile we got an email from another friend of ours saying that they would meet us at McDonalds in the town that was hosting the Celtic Festival, so we and the friends that were here loaded-up the van and the trooper and headed for Buffalo. Our family just got some drinks because we planned on eating at the festival, while the other two families got some food to tide them over until they got hungry where we were all headed. Then we all headed over to the park and started wondering around. It had started raining shortly after we got there and raining pretty lightly for about an hour or so, not too bad if you had an umbrella or a hat, which most of us did :) The adults missed the caber toss, but some of the kids who were wondering around got to see some of it. My daughter and our friend's daughter wandered around together, mostly barefoot because it was just too muddy for their shoes, they said. My daughter who is nearly 15 said it was "liberating" wondering around without the parents, but that next time she wants to have some money to spend. The adults of all three families pretty much hung out together, while a few of the younger kids played in the part on the slide and jungle gym. After that we all came back to our place. A few of the kids were brave and went into the swimming pool and played. After they did that for a while, we all had cake for a little 8 year old girl, that my wife had made the night before. It was delicious.

Here are a few of the pictures I took while we were there. Just click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Clyde_Boy_07.jpgThis is the male Clydesdale that was there.

Clyde_Fem_07.jpgAnd this is the female Clydesdale.

Sheep_07.jpgThese are a couple of the sheep. They are Shetlands.

Highland_07.jpgAnd these are a couple of Highland cattle who got soaked by the rain.

Cel_Fair_07.jpgThe park from the picnic tables we were at.

Cel_Fair_07-2.jpgA place to taste some cooked Highland beef. My wife had some and said it was delicious. Actually, I had some too and liked it a lot.

Cel_Fair_07-3.jpgJust a sign with some tables behind it, maybe for a meeting?

Cel_Fair_07-5.jpgSome of the Clan information booths.

Cel_Fair_07-6.JPGAnd this was a place selling kilts, knives, swords and other stuff.

That's pretty much it. I took some pictures of our kids playing, but for privacy reasons I'm not going to post those.

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Friday, September 7

Bush's police suppress Sept. 15 press conference

Bush's police suppress Sept. 15 press conference
Plus, read an AFP wire story and see the video

Police supress press conference 1
Above, a NPS policeman on horse disrupts today's Sept. 15 press conference. Below, Adam Kokesh, Iraq war veteran while legally putting up a poster for September 15th.
Kokesh arrested 2

While the momentum for the Sept. 15 Peace/Impeachment demonstration grows, the Bush Administration is going to extraordinary lengths to suppress the mobilizing for this mass demonstration.

Less than 18 hours ago, National Park Service Police turned a September 15 Press Conference, held in front of the White House, into a chaotic scene. On the pretext that there was no permit for a three foot long folding table that the media placed their microphones on, the police intervened in the middle of the press conference to announce that it was an unpermitted activity. Three people were arrested and are still being held in jail. They include Adam Kokesh, an Iraq war veteran; Tina Richards of Grassroots America; and Ian Thompson an ANSWER Coalition organizer.

The Parks Police even rode a horse directly into the crowd of reporters and shocked onlookers. The National Parks Police is an agency in the Interior Department whose Secretary is a member of George W. Bush's cabinet. In recent weeks September 15 organizers have been fined more than $30,000 for putting up posters promoting the September 15 March on Washington.

We encourage members to circulate this email and the important story from the AFP wire story that documents this outrageous assault against Free Speech rights by the Bush Administration. At the end of this email we are also enclosing a link to a video on YouTube that shows some part of the suppression of the September 15 press conference yesterday.

Bush and company want to prevent people from coming out for a mass action led by Iraq war veterans and their families that will expose his war propaganda as a lie. The Administration wants to suppress the growing movement for impeachment. This is a showdown of great magnitude.

Please make every effort to come to Washington DC on September 15. We will not be intimidated. Join the tens of thousands who are coming to Washington, DC on September 15. Buses, car caravans and vans are coming from more than 100 cities.

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Thursday, September 6

Another Dishonorable Chicken-hawk supported Cindy Sheehan's March for Humanity that helped mobilize support for impeachment around the country this July. The impeachment movement and the antiwar movement are joining together for a massive protest on September 15th in Washington, DC led by Iraq war veterans and their families.

Below is a response from Cindy Sheehan to an attack article by William Kristol, in which he calls to "Kill the Die-In" on September 15th. The Die-In is a symbolic funeral organized by members of Iraq Veterans Against the War at the conclusion of the September 15th Mass March. We hope to see everyone at the demonstration. People are coming from over 100 cities. If you want to make a donation to help others come, you can do so by clicking this link..

Another Dishonorable Chicken-hawk
by Cindy Sheehan

I know just a little bit about Mr. William Kristol:

He is the son of one of the founders of the "neo-conservative" movement, Irving Kristol.

He is a commentator on Fox News.

He was Chief of Staff for one of the political "geniuses" of our time: VP Dan Quayle.

He is editor of another Rupert Murdoch war-propaganda rag, "The Weekly Standard."

He is a member, and signer, of the

One thing Mr. William Kristol is not, is a combat vet.

Although he was born in 1952, he never served during Vietnam. I am sure while at Harvard he was a staunch supporter of the American effort to enrich the war profiteers while ostensibly stopping that war's "enemy" communism from spreading across Asia. Secure in his studies during that quagmire, Kristol joins a long line of neo-con chicken-hawks who are drenched in other people's blood and love to send other people's children to die for their lies.

I don't know anything, or care to know anything about Mr. Kristol's private life. I don't care if he is another closeted gay Republican or is a happily married hetero with children. I do suspect, however, that if Mr. Kristol is married, his children are not serving in Iraq, being misused by the very same incompetent and cowardly Commander in Chief (who also did not serve in Vietnam) that Mr. Kristol shamelessly supports while the entire administration and Republican hypocrites are crumbling from corruption and scandal.

I do know one thing for sure about Mr. Kristol, he does not like to be bothered with those pesky little things called facts. On February 20, 2003, Mr. Kristol incredibly gushed: "If we free the people of Iraq, we will be respected in the Arab world." This statement shows an amazing lack of knowledge of the Arab world or any kind of foreign policy sophistication (but does show a great use of Rovian-Foxian exploitation of emotion). No one in the Arab world (except maybe, Israel, which is geographically located in the "Arab world") was calling for the US to "free" Iraqis. No one from Iraq except "Curveball" or the slimy and profit-motivated, Ahmad Chalabi, both Iraqis who weren't even living in the country at the time of the invasion were calling on the USA to liberate them. In fact, after many years of murderous sanctions against Iraq, a fierce nationalism arose in opposition to the US-UN led sanctions. According to National Intelligence Estimates, since the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq, Islamic Jihadism has increased. Mr. Kristol is also incredibly ignorant of human nature and human history. No peoples like to be occupied. No child, brother or sister, or mother or father, who sees a loved one blown away by American or insurgent's bombs will love the oppressor. In fact, violence only creates more violence and more life-long enemies.

Now Mr. Kristol is safe behind his desk and computer calling for another attack against Iran. I think he hears the non-existent cries of the Iranian people to be liberated from their regime. The Iranian people are directly next-door to Iraq and they see what US "liberation" brings. It comes with the awful price of high civilian casualties; hospitals bombed, Doctors killed; no electricity or clean water; and eternal occupation.

In a recent op-ed for The Weekly Standard, Mr. Kristol makes many more tactical and fundamental errors. The ANSWER coalition is calling for mass mobilizations beginning the week (Sept. 15) that the White House authored Petraeus report on the surge is due. Members of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), who are leading the September 15th march, are calling for a "die-in" to end the march and begin the rally. The vets, unlike the chicken-hawk neocons, have actually served in war, particularly the one that Mr. Kristol imagines is such a success. IVAW is asking activists to represent a killed service-member and at an appropriate time lie down. Taps will be played and also a simulated 21-gun salute. It sounds respectful to me, being the mom of one of the soldiers, and I will proudly, yet sorrowfully, be lying down for my son that day. Many of the march/rally participants will be "dying" to represent the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed for Mr. Kristol's deceptions.

Mr. Kristol calls on the "honorable" members of the anti-war movement to denounce the die-in and lumps with other organizers of the die-in. MoveOn is not associated with the die-in as they do not support non-violent, direct civil disobedience. What  I find so amusing is that Mr. PNAC-Fox News-Chicken-hawk has made himself the judge of what is honorable.

Mr. Kristol has a problem with the anti-war movement using the names of the fallen without the permission of the families. No one got my permission when my sons portrait was used in the pro-war memorial at Arlington Cemetery. Casey's name and likeness has been used by pro-war people all over the nation without my permission. Why is that okay, Mr. Kristol? I know for a fact such memorials as Arlington West, Eyes Wide Open and our memorial at Camp Casey would remove names of soldiers at the next of kin's request. If any family member so requests, I am sure IVAW will do the same thing---but a word of caution:

Even though the members of IVAW (all my adopted sons and daughters) have a big problem with the occupation of Iraq and with the Bush crime family, they served their country honorably (unlike Mr. Kristol) and they all fought side-by-side with the fallen. They love their brothers and sisters and they would themselves have died to take the place of any one of them. Do not, never, ever, claim that we families, or the Iraq Vets are dishonoring our sons and daughters killed by the lies of The Weekly Standard, Fox News, BushCo., et al. That is the biggest lie of all, or maybe it's this one that Mr. Kristol told on March 1, 2003:

"Very few wars in American history were prepared better or more thoroughly than this one by this president."

I would laugh if I weren't crying so hard.

If Mr. Kristol gets his PNAC way, by this time next year, we will need a lot more people at a die-in.

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Wednesday, September 5

Van repair. Cats and chickens eating together

Today was a pretty good day. It starting sprinkling rain as we were driving down the road on our way to our usual homeschool playday. Before we went to the park, we stopped at a tire place to see about getting our tires rotated. We knew the passenger side front tire was really worn, so we figured when we got the tires rotated we'd just have them use the spare to replace the front tire. The tire guy said we couldn't use the spare because it was a different size then the other tires, plus it was a different rim as well. *sigh* I guess the used car lot we got the van from just put on a tire that was close and called it good. Before the rotation was started the guy noticed that both front tires had spots where the steel band was showing. He said they're really bad and showed us. Sure enough, they were bad. Luckily, my wife had put some money aside in the fantasy jar as savings. But just like always, we needed the fantasy money to get new tires. Good thing she had a little money put back! But we now have two brand new tires on the front of the van. YAY! While the tires were off I looked at the brake hoses. A mechanic friend told us that the kind of van we have is notorious for having the brake hose get crimped and that there was a recall of the front brake hoses a long time back. Anyway, the hoses didn't looked crimped or kinked at all. Our friend said he would replace the hoses and brake pads once when bought some. We decided not to get new hoses (after paying for the tires we became short on 'extra' funds), but we did some new pads. I figure said friend can double-check the hoses when he comes to change the pads for us, and if he thinks we need new ones, then we'll buy some. Speaking of  van problems, we had an oil change done last week. However we didn't look at the receipt until today. Apparently we have a "major oil leak around oil cooler adapter by oil filter". That certainly explains why we have to add at least a quart of oil every time we put gas in it (usually when we're down to half a tank of gas). And it also says on the receipt "Engine has lifter noise. PTS [points]." Unfortunately, we don't have the money to get it fixed right now. I assume we probably just need a new gasket on the oil cooler adapter, so wouldn't be too hard for me to do it. I'm going to ask our friend what he thinks, when he comes to do the brakes. As for the lifter noise, I think that you can just put some automatic transmission fluid in where you oil the engine oil, to reduce the lifter noise (solution I heard from my parent's mechanic about 20 years ago).

Speaking of cats, the other day while we (parents) were outside having a smoke, we saw a cat with a frog (we think) and a couple of chickens saw him and went to investigate. Our cats won't eat frogs, they just play with them until they stop jumping/trying to get away. Well, once he was done with it, he just left and let the chickens have it. Wasn't that nice of Mr. Cat to catch food for a couple of chickens? And who says that cats and chickens can't get along? *grin* Then yesterday afternoon while we were outside, another cat had caught a bird and was just starting to eat it when the chickens spotted him. It was interesting that they were so un afraid of the cat that they kept inching closer and closer hoping to steal pieces of the bird. The cat wouldn't give up that meal though! Was pretty funny seeing a cat eating with about four chickens just waiting to pounce as soon as he looked away, and one even managed to snag a small piece when Mr. Cat looked behind him checking to see how close the other chickens were. *grin*

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Sunday, September 2

Being sick. Moon picture


I took this picture because it just proves that cats will lay anywhere they want, even if something is already where they want to be. This is the Queen Lady of the house - Moon.

The last several days (since Tues) I haven't felt well because I came down with a summer cold. It all started when I woke-up one morning with a scratchy throat, which of course I had hoped was just because I didn't drink enough water the day before. But when it happened again, and then the third morning it was obvious it was a cold because my head was totally stuffed-up and my lips were really dry because I apparently slept most of the night with breathing only through my mouth. Starting that day (Thurs.) I started mega-dosing on vitamin C and garlic capsules. Don't know if that really helped, because I knew it was one of those short-lived ones since my daughter had it the week before and it only lasted a few days (for the most part). Anyway, yesterday while a friend and her kids were here I was only at about 75% - not bad enough to cancel the visit, but not good enough to be a heck of a lot of sociable - but I tried. *smile* Had a good time visiting though, and the kids had a really good time. They jumped on the trampoline with the sprinkler underneath it, and they swam for over an hour after that. Today I awoke actually feeling about 95% - not bad at all. Wish it would've happened a day earlier, but what can you do? :-)

Didn't do a lot today. It was my first day of the week getting up at 7 a.m. I managed to get up by 7:20. *grin* Was going to lay back down after feeding the chickens, but I made the mistake of coming to the computer for "just a minute" and got trapped for a few hours. LOL. I did manage to get a nap taken between 12:40 and 2 p.m. though. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit more productive.

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