Dec 31, 2007

Stolen from Beth!

You Are Romanticism

You are likely to see the world as it should be, not as it is.
You prefer to celebrate the great things people do... not the horrors they're capable of.
For you, there is nothing more inspiring than a great hero.
You believe that great art reflects the artist's imagination and true ideals.

Dec 30, 2007

Another New Years Eve Tip

I'm just full of advice, among other things.

If you are hosting a party, be prepared:

Dec 29, 2007

Just in time for January 1st

From Snopes comes this handy-dandy list of New Years Superstitions! I wasn't aware of most of these, how about all of you?

Because January 1 is the first day of the new year, we have drawn a connection between what we do on that day and our fate throughout the rest of the year. Here are some of the ways we attempt to guarantee a good outcome through our acts on that portentous first day:


• Kissing at midnight: We kiss those dearest to us at midnight not only to share a moment of celebration with our favorite people, but also to ensure those affections and ties will continue throughout the next twelve months. To fail to smooch our significant others at the stroke of twelve would be to set the stage for a year of coldness.

• Stocking Up: The new year must not be seen in with bare cupboards, lest that be the way of things for the year. Larders must be topped up and plenty of money must be placed in every wallet in the home to guarantee prosperity.

• Paying Off Bills: The new year should not be begun with the household in debt, so checks should be written and mailed off prior to January 1st. Likewise, personal debts should be settled before the New Year arrives.

• First Footing: The first person to enter your home after the stroke of midnight will influence the year you're about to have. Ideally, he should be dark-haired, tall, and good-looking, and it would be even better if he came bearing certain small gifts such as a lump of coal, a silver coin, a bit of bread, a sprig of evergreen, and some salt. Blonde and redhead first footers bring bad luck, and female first footers should be shooed away before they bring disaster down on the household. Aim a gun at them if you have to, but don't let them near your door before a man crosses the threshold.

The first footer (sometimes called the "Lucky Bird") should knock and be let in rather than unceremoniously use a key, even if he is one of the householders. After greeting those in the house and dropping off whatever small tokens of luck he has brought with him, he should make his way through the house and leave by a different door than the one through which he entered. No one should leave the premises before the first footer arrives — the first traffic across the threshold must be headed in rather than striking out.

First footers must not be cross-eyed or have flat feet or eyebrows that meet in the middle.

Nothing prevents the cagey householder from stationing a dark-haired man outside the home just before midnight to ensure the speedy arrival of a suitable first footer as soon as the chimes sound. If one of the partygoers is recruited for this purpose, impress upon him the need to slip out quietly just prior to the witching hour.

• Nothing Goes Out: Nothing — absolutely nothing, not even garbage — is to leave the house on the first day of the year. If you've presents to deliver on New Year's Day, leave them in the car overnight. Don't so much as shake out a rug or take the empties to the recycle bin. Some people soften this rule by saying it's okay to remove things from the home on New Year's Day provided something else has been brought in first. This is similar to the caution regarding first footers; the year must begin with somethings being added to the home before anything subtracts from it. One who lives alone might place a lucky item or two in a basket that has a string tied to it, then place the basket just outside the front door before midnight. After midnight, the lone celebrant hauls in his catch, being careful to bring the item across the door jamb by pulling the string rather than by reaching out to retrieve it and thus breaking the plane of the threshold.

• Black-Eyed Peas: A tradition common to the southern states of the USA dictates that the eating of black-eyed peas on New Year's Day will attract both general good luck and money in particular to the one doing the dining. Some choose to add other Southern fare (such as ham hocks, collard greens, or cabbage) to this tradition, but the black-eyed peas are key.

• Work: Make sure to do — and be successful at — something related to your work on the first day of the year, even if you don't go near your place of employment that day. Limit your activity to a token amount, though, because to engage in a serious work project on that day is very unlucky.
Also, do not do the laundry on New Year's Day, lest a member of the family be 'washed away' (die) in the upcoming months. The more cautious eschew even washing dishes.

• New Clothes: Wear something new on January 1 to increase the likelihood of your receiving more new garments during the year to follow.

• Money: Do not pay back loans or lend money or other precious items on New Year's Day. To do so is to guarantee you'll be paying out all year.

• Breakage: Avoid breaking things on that first day lest wreckage be part of your year. Also, avoid crying on the first day of the year lest that activity set the tone for the next twelve months.
Other superstitions attaching to the beginning of the new year are:

• Letting the Old Year Out: At midnight, all the doors of a house must be opened to let the old year escape unimpeded. He must leave before the New Year can come in, says popular wisdom, so doors are flung open to assist him in finding his way out.
• Loud Noise: Make as much noise as possible at midnight. You're not just celebrating; you're scaring away evil spirits, so do a darned good job of it!

According to widespread superstition, evil spirits and the Devil himself hate loud noise. We celebrate by making as much of a din as possible not just as an expression of joy at having a new year at our disposal, but also to make sure Old Scratch and his minions don't stick around. (Church bells are rung on a couple's wedding day for the same reason.)

• The Weather: Examine the weather in the early hours of New Year's Day. If the wind blows from the south, there will be fine weather and prosperous times in the year ahead. If it comes from the north, it will be a year of bad weather. The wind blowing from the east brings famine and calamities. Strangest of all, if the wind blows from the west, the year will witness plentiful supplies of milk and fish but will also see the death of a very important person. If there's no wind at all, a joyful and prosperous year may be expected by all.

• Born on January 1: Babies born on this day will always have luck on their side.

Dec 27, 2007

Dec 25, 2007

The best of all the holiday emails I got!

Christmas Eve 1921

Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving. It was Christmas Eve 1921. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible; instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though; I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight.." I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what.

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load.. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn't happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said. "Here, help me." The high sideboards It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high sideboards on.

After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood---the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?" You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight.
Sure, I'd been by, but so what? "Yeah," I said, "Why?" "I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips.
They're out of wood, Matt."

That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.
"What's in the little sack?" I asked. Shoes. They're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunnysacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little candy." We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn't have been our concern. We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, and then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?" "Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt. Could we come in for a bit?"

Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp. "We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children---sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out.

"We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said.. He turned to me and said, "Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up." I wasn't the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy that I'd never known before filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were liter ally saving the lives of these people. I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us." In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it. Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes. Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine. At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell." I was the youngest, my two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away. Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, "'May the Lord bless you,' I know for certain that He will." Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there allyear so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that. But on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunnysacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand." I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children. For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensen's, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night; he had given me the best Christmas of my life.

Don't be too busy today...

Dec 23, 2007

In Excelsis Deo

From episode 10 of Season 1 of the West Wing, this requires just a bit of background. Earlier in the episode, Mrs. Landingham tells of her twin sons being killed in Vietnam on Christmas Eve, and how she always thinks of them during Christmas. She thinks of how scared they must have been and how she couldn't have been there for them.

The clip is a bit long, but gives the background on how Toby became aware of the homeless vet who passed away, and the strings he pulled to get him an honor guard burial.

The final sequence of the honor guard burial intermixed with the boys choir in the White House makes me cry every time I watch it. To me, this was television at it's finest.

Merry Christmas all:

Dec 21, 2007

How The Staples Stole Xmas

This is the adult version of the night before Christmas. Damn funny!

Dec 20, 2007

Have a very geeky holiday!

My most favorite Christmas tree decoration! Bonus points to those who can name the Shuttlecraft...

You share common views with this candidate

This is interesting, and a little bit scary at the same time. Answer a few questions then click the "find your candidate button" and the program selects the candidate who's position on the issues is most like your own.

Probably not enough questions to really flesh out the right candidate...

Try it!

Dec 18, 2007

Hard to find Christmas toys













Be sure to keep your eye out for these toys, they aren't available just anywhere!
Thanks to my buddy Mike for passing these along to me.

Dec 17, 2007

I'm Speechless

Lot's of language in this one, keep the kids out of the room, better yet, just don't even open it up.

But I laughed and laughed...

Dec 15, 2007

Dec 14, 2007

Final Countdown

I haven't been this entertained by Cello music since Electric Light Orchestra in 1977...

Christmas Carols for the Psychologically Challenged

1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear?

2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Queens Disoriented Are

3. Amnesia --- I Don't Know if I'll be Home for Christmas

4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

5. Manic --- Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and Fire Hydrants and ...

6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Get Me

7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire

8 . Full Personality Disorder-- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll tell You Why

9. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ---Jingle Bells,Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells! , Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells ...

10. Agoraphobia --- I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day But Wouldn't Leave My House

11. Senile Dementia --- Walking in a Winter Wonderland Miles From My House in My Slippers and Robe

12. Oppositional Defiant Disorder --- I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus So I Burned Down the House

13. Social Anxiety Disorder --- Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas while I Sit Here and Hyperventilate.

Dec 11, 2007

The man is always trying to keep the Beavers down

I wrote about the field beside our house awhile back. A couple of day ago on our dog walk we found that someone had come through with a backhoe and ripped apart the Beaver dam, and wrecked their house. I suppose that some Government entity decided that they were chewing up too many valuable sticks and Cottonwood trees and decided to step in.

Probably didn't even give the poor Beavers a chance to get out of the den before they ripped things apart. It's pretty sad...



Why were these commercial banned?

This is good stuff!


Banned Commercials - The best video clips are right here

Dec 10, 2007

Todays silly joke; Saying goodbye to Mother

We were dressed and ready to go out for the New Years Eve Party. We turned on a night light, turned the answering machine on, covered our pet parakeet and put the cat in the backyard.

We phoned the local cab company and requested a taxi. The taxi arrived and we opened the front door to leave the house.

The cat we put out in the yard, scoots back into the house. We didn't want the cat shut in the house because she always tries to eat the bird.

My wife goes out to the taxi, while I went inside to get the cat. The cat runs upstairs, with me in hot pursuit. Waiting in the cab, my wife doesn't want the driver to know that the house will be empty for the night. So, she explains! to the taxi driver that I will be out soon,

"He's just going upstairs to say Goodbye to my mother."

A few minutes later, I get into the cab. "Sorry I took so long," I said, as we drove away. That stupid bitch was hiding under the bed. I had to poke her with a coat hanger to get her to come out! She tried to take off, so I grabbed her by the neck. Then, I had to wrap her in a blanket to keep her from scratching me. But it worked! I hauled her fat ass Downstairs and threw her out into the back yard!"

The cab driver hit a parked car.

Dec 5, 2007

Carl lays it out on he state of BCS

Yeah Carl, truth baby! Tell it like it is...

Dec 4, 2007

We are home

For those of you who have been keeping track of our progress we are all now home from the hospital. Thanks to all who kept up with us and left such great wishes, I will try and get time to post every now and then. But I gotta tell you, this is full time work around here keeping Skyler entertained and trying to get some work done!!