Thursday, August 30, 2012

Who Doesn’t Name Daughters After The Everly Brothers?

Yes, I named a child after Don and Phil, the Everly Brothers. So? I’ve been a big fan for many years, ever since my mom used to play All I Have To Do Is Dream and Till I Kissed You on the little hi-fi in our little living room. I own most of their music, some videos, some books and souvenirs, and I’ve seen them perform live five times.

You don’t need me to tell you how talented they are, what beautiful singers they are, and what influence they’ve had on generations of musicians. And I think Aubrey Anne Everly is a great name. Don’t you?

Besides, precedent was set long ago. My parents gave me four names, too. I was Larry Dean at first, but my dad crossed out Larry and wrote John Henry on my birth certificate, naming me after his father. My mom insisted that they keep Dean because up-and-coming country singer Jimmy Dean was one of her favorites. Later, we were all so proud about that whole sausage thing, too.

Love you, Aubrey Anne Everly.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Weasels Loose In Our Neighborhood, Again

Our car was pilfered again. It wasn’t broken into, because the doors are never locked. There is nothing of value in it, other than a glove compartment filled with plastic-wrapped plastic spoons, and a Tony Bennett Duets CD that belonged to Kelly in another lifetime. I figure it is better that the thieves have easy access without having to break the windows or slash through the soft top, and if they want the Bennett CD they are welcome to it.


We have had waves of this crime for several years, these worthless punks who roam nighttime neighborhoods, opening car doors, taking what they find. This is the fourth or fifth time we’ve been hit. One time, Kelly lost a very nice but empty little purse, but usually they get nothing from us and we get a pile of spoons and old papers heaped on the floor and seats.

Of course, we also get that creepy feeling knowing that some slimy stranger was in our car, and we make doubly sure all the doors in the house are locked at night. Noises that usually don’t wake us become more significant for a week or so, but that feeling passes.

The police took our report, but it is unlikely anything will be done, or can be done. We know of one such hoodlum who was caught in the act of rifling through a car. During the arrest, the police discovered a handgun in his pocket, a gun he had stolen from a car a few nights before. He was found guilty and sentenced to jail, but he was incarcerated only a few weeks, despite a long and violent record as juvenile and an adult.
Doesn’t it seem to you that the weasels will stay loose if we keep letting them loose?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fight Type 2 Diabetes, Scrub Your Tub, And Soak Your Veggies: Just Two Things To Do With Vinegar (Oh Wait, That’s Three Things)

Kelly Darling has washed her hair with apple cider vinegar for a couple of months, and we really like the results. Her hair is cleaner, softer, more manageable, and it smells nice.

I use distilled vinegar mixed with water, salt and dish soap as weed killer each spring, keeping our sidewalks and driveway clear of weeds all summer. It is inexpensive compared to commercial products, it is less toxic to non-plant life, and it works better. The yard doesn’t smell too good for a day or two, but that’s a small price to pay.

Okay, needs a good sweeping, but there are no weeds.
These are just two of the many apparent uses for vinegar. There are lots of places online to gather information, but I like Dr.Joseph Mercola. This is the link where you can find this information.
Other household uses for vinegar include: 
  • Vinegar and water = window cleaner.
  • Vinegar and water = vegetable soak to remove pesticides and bacteria from fresh produce.
  • Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide = disinfectant and sanitizer.
  • Vinegar and baking soda = bathtub cleaner.
From the medicine cabinet:
  • Taking vinegar before meals, people with pre-diabetic symptoms reduced blood glucose concentrations by nearly half, and those with diabetes improved their blood glucose levels by 25 percent. They also lost a little weight.
  • “Vinegar apparently provides at least some cures for allergies (including pet, food and environmental), sinus infections, acne, high cholesterol, flu, chronic fatigue, Candida, acid reflux, sore throats, contact dermatitis, arthritis, gout and the list goes on….”
  • Cough suppressant: I had a miserable cough last week, and warmed 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 3 Tbsp. lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. honey, and 16 ounces of water. It tasted a lot like some things taste on the back up, but, boy, it knocked my cough out for about six hours.

For your pets:
  • Vinegar “helps with arthritic conditions, controls fleas, repels flies, and gives a beautiful shine to their coats.”
Then, of course, there’s that whole Easter egg thing…. What less traditional uses do you have for vinegar?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nothing Against John Moe Personally, But….


I paid $1 for an abridged CD version of John Moe’s Conservatize Me, an account of his attempt to “become a righty with the help of Richard Nixon, Sean Hannity, Toby Keith, and beef jerky.”

The insights weren’t worth half of what I paid.
To be fair, my copy was abridged, so perhaps any intelligent or interesting points he made were edited out in this shorter version. As it is, he spent five hours and 55 minutes bashing Conservatives – not Conservatism, mind you, but Conservatives, with hard core, mean spirited, relentless mocking and insulting attacks – and devoted five minutes to glorying in the wisdom of his so-called profound conclusion.

I am conservative, in many ways, but the conservative culture he describes is foreign to me, implausible, ridiculous. The book was nothing but sweeping, unkind generalizations and vicious stereotypes, condemning anyone who shops at Walmart, eats meat, drives a truck, listens to country music, lives in Rexburg, Idaho, wears anything red, white or blue, or actually believes in the Constitution and appreciates our country and our past. It’s just more hate speech disguised as (attempted) humor, flat, mean humor, again illustrating why some think that the liberal view of freedom of speech applies only to people who think like liberals do.
The weighty, insightful conclusion that Moe seems so proud of – that none of us is 100 percent conservative nor 100 percent liberal, and that we should all get along – is something most people already know, you know, but to John Moe and people of his ilk, it is a hard-earned epiphany.

Of course, he had this epiphany before writing the book, so judging from the condemning, critical nature of his words, his ah-ha moment didn’t take.


Photo from this site.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Give Me A President Who Makes A Difference Where I Live: Part 1

Apparently there is going to be yet another presidential election this year. I started voting when  Carter beat Ford for the Oval Office, and while there have been men I have and desperately have not wanted as president, generally speaking POTUS makes little difference in what I do day-to-day. Real power for change or influence in America is in the Congress, so whether we have a Republican or a Democrat president is largely irrelevant.
Rather than all this yap yap yap about things presidents can’t control – jobs, the economy, Chick-Fil-A – I’d vote for a candidate who will make a stand on real issues that we all face every day, things that really matter, things that would make our daily lives much easier, much more satisfying.

Issue 1: Men Without Shirts

Image from
Even if we all looked more like this guy than John Candy, it's still gross.

There are no public situations where we should see a man without a shirt. The same laws that discourage women from walking around without shirts should apply to men. Why men think they can and should mow the lawn or play tennis  or drive around or sit around outside bare chested is beyond me. I won’t play shirts and skins basketball, because not only do you see sweaty men without shirts, they brush their hairy backs and greasy bellies against you, and it is sickening. There ought to be a law against it, with a president willing to enforce it.

Issue 2: Cheerleaders At Sporting Events

Down by 40 with two minutes to play, the girls with the too-short-skirts start chanting something about “we’re number one and we can’t be beat.” Or waiting for the first free throw of a two-shot foul, they go into their rebound, rebound routine. Learn the game, girls, pay attention. Those chants? What could be more ridiculous. Oh, yeah, spirit fingers. Cheerleaders are just in the way, a distraction, but not a good kind of distraction. Let them compete against other cheer teams all they want, or let them pole dance, which is the next logical step, just keep them away from the field, off the court and out of the stands. The games are good enough on their own.

Issue 3: Cell Phones In Movie Theaters

Order this sign here:

It was bad enough being dragged to the midnight premier of that vampire movie where people turn into big dogs, but having dozens of phone lights swirling around like 30-pound lightning bugs throughout the show was enough to make me wish I had a paint ball gun handy.  Phones in the theater ought to be like jumping onto the baseball diamond during a game – a large fine and a guaranteed night in jail. It would be easy to enforce. The offenders are the ones with the front half of their faces lit up.


While waiting for Part 2, drop me a note. What real-life changes would like to see?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Van Gogh Has Nothing On Us

Aubrey and Libby are the Self Portrait Queens, as is clear from their Facebook pages. However, looking for photos to support and illustrate this theory, I found plenty of evidence that they are not alone. It appears the skill or the need is in their genes….

Lydia and Sadie

Jessica and Sadie

Me and Uncle Dan

That's baby Lucy, long, long ago....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

From Idaho To The Wide, Wide World (Or Sometimes The Tough Decisions Must Be Made Knowing That What Is Right Is Not What Is Best For You)

I wrote this about Grace six years ago today:
I just gave permission for my daughter to stay with relatives in another state for a school semester. That will make her visit a six-month trip. Man, I miss her. I will miss her more tomorrow, but the truth is that it will be a terrific experience for her, something I cannot duplicate here. She will have opportunities to see and do amazing things, visit wonderful new places, and meet a variety of interesting people. And putting up with my brother will likely make her appreciate me more.
The arrangement isn’t permanent, which is the only thing that makes it bearable, but the changes she will make will last all her life. I admit that it hurts a little that I can’t provide those things for her, that to gain that experience she has to be absent from our lives here. But that so often is the way it works: that’s just how it is. The selfish part of me wants her on the plane tomorrow, but the rest of me is excited about what will happen. I’m interested to meet the person she will become in the next five months.

Now she is packing for college, leaving more or less for good in just a few days.

We could not be happier or more excited for her, but we will miss, miss, miss her. She knows this will always be home, but she may not understand it will no longer be her home. Like us when we moved out the first time, she will be a beloved and welcomed guest, for sure, but a guest.

She’s been preparing for this her whole life, and she is eager for the adventure. She spends summers away every year, but this is her first time away from family. She knows no one where she’s going. She is understandably nervous, but excitement will win out, and she will excel.

Although I’ve known this was coming, and I know it is my job to help prepare her to leave home, now that it is here I’m still not ready. But let’s not tell Grace that.
Go Grace, go.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Is It Sexist To Not Buy A Book About Mickey Mantle Just Because It Was Written By A Woman?

Audible is having one of their frequent sales, a BOGO from selected books. There were half a dozen I wanted, including a biography about Mickey Mantle – until I saw that The Last Boy was written by a woman.

As I continued my search, Kelly – a woman and sometimes baseball fan – walked in, so I asked her: am I being sexist? Somehow, I thought she would laugh it off, pass it off as just some other fleeting, nonsensical notion that I seem to have. You know, another joke.

Instead, she glared at me, gave me the one raised eyebrow look, and said “of course it is sexist” with much more passion than seemed necessary. She said more, but the details are fuzzy now, something about men writing about women and women’s issues and women’s points of view for centuries blah blah blah….

So I selected the one book I really wanted – written by two men – and deliberated over the others, and finally downloaded the Mantle book. I could say that my interest in baseball generally and Number 7 specifically won out, but I suspect I bought Jane Leavy’s book so Kelly would have a bit more respect for me. Either that, or just so I’d have something to blog about today.
The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood is 3rd or 4th on my reading queue, so I’ll let you know how it turns out. And I’ll let you know when Kelly starts speaking to me again.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

John Moe May Never Understand But The Star -Spangled Banner Moves Me

Like you, I like my country. I actually do pledge allegiance to the flag, because those words mean something to me. So does the national anthem.

I’ve volunteered at our local minor league baseball stadium this summer, working the concessions stands. We are swamped when the gates open at 6, but everything stops when that song starts at 7:05. I love to watch the crowd standing so still, many with hands across their hearts, mouthing the words, heads turned toward center field. Even the kids pay attention.

The volunteer singers always do an excellent job with the difficult tune, and I love how the power of the words and the emotion of the voices always wash over me. “… oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave….”

Self-proclaimed liberals like John Moe may mock, deride, but the event always moves me. Perhaps we seem less indivisible these days, polarized by the press into red states and blue states, but I say we are united still. Our real differences are more minor than major. One trip to the ball park proves it.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Daughters And Otters And A Little Thai Food On The Side

Two of the girls were here today, one soon off to high school, one soon off to college. Another is off to Gulf Shores, then high school. Missing them made me nostalgic.
Riding bikes with the youngest when she was 8, she asked how often I eat at a local Thai restaurant. I had shoes older than this girl, and there she was, somehow, asking about favorite foods at exotic eateries. She proceeded to tell me all her favorites. It was strange to watch her enthusiasm, and how easily she pronounced the unusual names.

She is our eighth child, but it still amazes me how much they change as they grow, how much they improve as they develop, how smart they get.

They're not like, say, an otter. Otters seem to have a pretty cushy life – frolicking in and out of the water, roughhousing with their otter buddies, watching out for angry elephants. But otters never change, mature, improve. They pretty much never accomplish anything, leaving nothing behind to mark their time on the planet. Even auditors do that.

I wanted to say “even politicians do that,” but I like the alliteration, and I’m not sure it is true of most legislators.
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