Friday, October 31, 2008

Why... So... Serious?

My son as The Joker!

Happy Halloween

A Halloween gift by Edgar Allen Poe...

The Raven
First Published in 1845

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
`Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
`Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
`Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.'

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
`Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
Of "Never-nevermore."'

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

`Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
`Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Come on, Fashion Industry. Make up your minds.

Way back in July 2007 I posted a little rant, Size Does Not Make a Difference about women's clothing.

Now I'm seeing with my 11-year-old daughter's clothes.

At the beginning of the summer, I bought SportyGirl a couple of pairs of blue jeans at the Big Red Concentric Circles store. They were the store brand, size 10.

Fast forward to last week. The same size 10 jeans still fit SportyGirl, but they were getting worn out. Not wanting to send my child to school in hole-covered jeans (no matter how much she begs me to let her) we ran to the same store for the same size of the same store brand. Easy-peasy purchase, right?

I took them home, took off the tags, washed them and put them away for the school week. Yesterday she tried to put them on. Couldn't even get them buttoned. They were skin tight. Wuh?

SportyGirl, although she has a great attitude about weight, healthy eating and exercise, still falls prey to the media-hyped fat/skinny thing occasionally. Her eyes started to tear-up. "Am I getting fat?" she said.

I checked the label between the pair she'd been wearing and the pair we'd just purchased just a few months apart. Identical. I held them up together to match the seams. The new "size 10" pants... same brand... same size... same style... were now 2 inches smaller in the waist and legs. TWO INCHES! Her "old" size 10 pants still fit her to perfection. SportyGirl had to move up to a size 12, even though her body had not changed.

Our size-conscious society, keeps telling us to be healthy on one hand, while telling us to be size 2 on the other. There are girls SportyGirl's age (11), who are starving themselves and hurting their bodies to fit into these impossible and unhealthy sterotypes. Most of them aren't going to do a physical comparison of the clothing and think, "The clothing manufacturer changed the sizing." They'll think, "I'm fat. I've got to lose weight."

Yes, I know that one size isn't what matters. I know that the number doesn't matter, but it's a mind game. I've had some clothes for 15 years that fit me nearly the same now as they did then. Yes, I've put on a few pounds over the years, but when a Large from 10 years ago is a roomier fit than an XXL today? There's something wrong.

Monday, October 06, 2008


You know, the word "maverick" gets thrown around a lot these days, but what does it really mean? The American Heritage Dictionary has two definitions:

1. An unbranded range animal, especially a calf that has become separated from its mother, traditionally considered the property of the first person who brands it.

2. One that refuses to abide by the dictates of or resists adherence to a group; a dissenter

Since McCain and Palin seem to agree with the Bush administration and the Republican party most of the time, I'm guessing that the second definition is wrong.

The first definition seems much more appropriate.

November 4 can't come soon enough. I'll never be able to watch "Top Gun" again.


No, not me. Someone else. Someone I thought was reasonably sane... until politics came up.

I actually blocked someone on my Facebook account.

I expressed my opinions about a certain candidate, as is my right to do, to have her reply, "Puh-leeese." Yes. "Puh-leeese." Much like an eye-rolling 14-year-old. A less than valid argument, I'd hazard to say. So I replied by providing validation for my beliefs. Another reply was given that hit yet another level of rude, sporting opinions that sounded as if they were gleaned from 1 minute of Bill O'Reilly sound bites.

Wanting to demonstrate that I actually make up my own mind based on multiple reputable sources, I refuted her unfounded claims and made a few valid arguments of my own, citing said reputable sources... and even quoting them.

Today, her reply had all the depth and weight of... of... well, the same uninformed rhetoric of the candidate she supports. My sources? Can't cite the New York Times! Can't cite CBS! Thery're left-leaning liberals patsys! Her sources? Guess she doesn't need them. Dirty political ads, frightenenly false email spam, and Rush Limbaugh seem to be proof enough.

So, I had two choices - keep up this ridiculous waste of time where I'd spend precious minutes of my life reading, researching and evaluating before sending back a measured and well thought out response...

... or I could lob one last volley and block this angry, intolerant, uninformed, and most of all rude former co-worker.

I chose the latter.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

After the Smoke has Cleared

The one and only vice presidential debate for 2008 is over. I didn't need time to parse any of it. Biden was clearly superior in his grasp of policy and articulate in outlining the Obama / Biden ticket.

Palin on the other hand... well... it was the aural and visual equivalent of cotton candy. Much too sweet and no substance.

And that's all I have to say about that.

In Palin's Name

(Many apologies to my Babylon 5-savvy readers out there for the title...)

Just a little progress report on the Palin Planned Parenthood phenomena from The Democratic Daily:

"As of Friday, Planned Parenthood had taken in $802,678 in donations from 31,313 people, said a spokesman for the organization, Tait Sye."

Freakin' sweet.


The perfect political ad reply to the crap that Norm Coleman's campaign has been shoveling out to the airwaves:

I Pledge to Not be a Dumb-ass

My friend Teresa over at Anomalous Data posted this email she received from the AFA (American Family Association). If you'd like to see it for yourself, you can find it online. Here's the text:

Are you tired of the extremely bias reporting by ABC, NBC and CBS? Do something about it! Tell the networks you are fed up with their attack on conservatives. Join other Americans who are tired of these networks promoting Barack Obama and attacking Sarah Palin. Take the pledge to not watch ABC, NBC or CBS until after the November elections! When the networks lose viewers, they also lose money. If viewers aren’t watching their promotion of Barack Obama and their trashing of Sarah Palin, they are losing money!

Send a message! We are sick and tired of your bias reporting, and we are not going to watch it anymore!
We will keep you informed on the progress of The Viewers’ Pledge.
Results will be given to ABC, NBC, and CBS.
The Viewers Pledge’ simply states, "I pledge not to watch any news programs on ABC, NBC and CBS until after the November elections."


Brilliant. Let's encourage the voting populace to be sheltered and uninformed. While we're at it, let's tell them to put gum in their ears and stick their heads in the sand. They might as well keep them there after election day.

I made up my own pledge, anyone care to join me?

"I pledge to not blindly believe any more blatant lies or rampant speculation without performing due diligence by fact checking with multiple reputable sources to make up my own mind."

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Best VP Candidate the Republican Party can Offer?

Can anyone in good conscience vote for Sarah Palin? Check out this quote from an Associated Press article in the Star Tribune.


Asked what other Supreme Court decisions she disagrees with, Alaska's governor couldn't name any.

"Well, let's see. There's, of course, in the great history of America rulings there have been rulings, that's never going to be absolute consensus by every American," Palin said. "And there are, those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but ...."

Asked again to name a decision she disagreed with, Palin replied: "Well, I could think of, of any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a vice president, if I'm so privileged to serve, wouldn't be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today."


Wow. That many words to actually say, "I don't know squat about the judicial history of the United States."

Excuse me, Governor, is there any valid question to a possible future vice president for which you can offer an intelligent, articulate, straight-forward answer? She's one wrestling pose away from "Idiocracy".