Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sipping my favorite java and spending quality time with Rocky, Monty and Edgar and his Black Cat... how nice

Thunderstorms - Hi 84 Lo 64 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny - Hi 59 Lo 44 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Time Warp, 1975-
Movie Cast of Rocky Horror Picture Show


OK... I was unable to publish my post this morning...Blogger issues.... then Michael and I left for the day... Hope your part of the world was as gorgeous as it was here.

Now to the ramble... Last night we went to see Monty Python's Spamalot at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati. If you have been living under a rock since 1969 and don't know what Monty Python is OR if you are a diehard Python fan... you will thoroughly enjoy this musical! HYSTERICAL!! It follows (somewhat) the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail... so if you liked King Arthur and his silly knights of the round table, the Black Knight, the French castle scene, the Knights Who Say Ne, Tim the Enchanter, and of course the killer rabbit you really ought to go see this show. Besides the message it sends is important... Find your grail folks, simply find your grail!

Sidebar-- To post every Sunday, I start by choosing a song. This week I had some difficulties---I wanted something a little creepy (because Halloween should never be cute)... I knew I also wanted to incorporate an Edgar Allan Poe tale or poem... because he should always be read every Halloween-- last year, I served up the crrreeepy maniacal beating of the Tell-Tale Heart-- I also knew the following... 1) we were going to see Spamalot- the musical, 2) I'd get an extra hour of sleep because daylight savings ends, 3) Tim Curry played King Arthur on Broadway, 4) Tim Curry played Dr. Frank-N-Furter in the movie Rocky Horror Picture Show. 5) Show tunes and discussion of movies, television or theater create an instant opinionated reaction, 6) I always wanted to dress up as Magenta, but never had the nerve-- so instead I would bring a newspaper and rice whenever we went to see Rocky Horror. So that's how I ended up with Time Warp as my musical selection this week...I think it covers everything I required....

For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not --and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburden my soul. My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. In their consequences, these events have terrified --have tortured --have destroyed me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them. To me, they have presented little but Horror --to many they will seem less terrible than baroques. Hereafter, perhaps, some intellect may be found which will reduce my phantasm to the common-place --some intellect more calm, more logical, and far less excitable than my own, which will perceive, in the circumstances I detail with awe, nothing more than an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects.

From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of my companions. I was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets. With these I spent most of my time, and never was so happy as when feeding and caressing them. This peculiar of character grew with my growth, and in my manhood, I derived from it one of my principal sources of pleasure. To those who have cherished an affection for a faithful and sagacious dog, I need hardly be at the trouble of explaining the nature or the intensity of the gratification thus derivable. There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.

I married early, and was happy to find in my wife a disposition not uncongenial with my own. Observing my partiality for domestic pets, she lost no opportunity of procuring those of the most agreeable kind. We had birds, gold fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat. This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree. In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise. Not that she was ever serious upon this point --and I mention the matter at all for no better reason than that it happens, just now, to be remembered.

Pluto --this was the cat's name --was my favorite pet and playmate. I alone fed him, and he attended me wherever I went about the house. It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him from following me through the streets.

Our friendship lasted, in this manner, for several years, during which my general temperament and character --through the instrumentality of the Fiend Intemperance --had (I blush to confess it) experienced a radical alteration for the worse. I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my At length, I even offered her personal violence. My pets, of course, were made to feel the change in my disposition. I not only neglected, but ill-used them. For Pluto, however, I still retained sufficient regard to restrain me from maltreating him, as I made no scruple of maltreating the rabbits, the monkey, or even the dog, when by accident, or through affection, they came in my way. But my disease grew upon me --for what disease is like Alcohol! --and at length even Pluto, who was now becoming old, and consequently somewhat peevish --even Pluto began to experience the effects of my ill temper.

One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. I seized him; when, in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fiber of my frame. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity.

When reason returned with the morning --when I had slept off the fumes of the night's debauch --I experienced a sentiment half of horror, half of remorse, for the crime of which I had been guilty; but it was, at best, a feeble and equivocal feeling, and the soul remained untouched. I again plunged into excess, and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed.

In the meantime the cat slowly recovered. The socket of the lost eye presented, it is true, a frightful appearance, but he no longer appeared to suffer any pain. He went about the house as usual, but, as might be expected, fled in extreme terror at my approach. I had so much of my old heart left, as to be at first grieved by this evident dislike on the part of a creature which had once so loved me. But this feeling soon gave place to irritation. And then came, as if to my final and irrevocable overthrow, the spirit of PERVERSENESS. Of this spirit philosophy takes no account. Yet I am not more sure that my soul lives, than I am that perverseness is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart --one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments, which give direction to the character of Man. Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or a silly action, for no other reason than because he knows he should not? Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law, merely because we understand it to be such? This spirit of perverseness, I say, came to my final overthrow. It was this unfathomable longing of the soul to vex itself --to offer violence to its own nature --to do wrong for the wrong's sake only --that urged me to continue and finally to consummate the injury I had inflicted upon the unoffending brute. One morning, in cool blood, I slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb of a tree; --hung it with the tears streaming from my eyes, and with the bitterest remorse at my heart; --hung it because I knew that it had loved me, and because I felt it had given me no reason of offense; --hung it because I knew that in so doing I was committing a sin --a deadly sin that would so jeopardize my immortal soul as to place it --if such a thing were possible --even beyond the reach of the infinite mercy of the Most Merciful and Most Terrible God.

On the night of the day on which this cruel deed was done, I was aroused from sleep by the cry of fire. The curtains of my bed were in flames. The whole house was blazing. It was with great difficulty that my wife, a servant, and myself, made our escape from the conflagration. The destruction was complete. My entire worldly wealth was swallowed up, and I resigned myself thenceforward to despair. I am above the weakness of seeking to establish a sequence of cause and effect, between the disaster and the atrocity. But I am detailing a chain of facts --and wish not to leave even a possible link imperfect. On the day succeeding the fire, I visited the ruins. The walls, with one exception, had fallen in. This exception was found in a compartment wall, not very thick, which stood about the middle of the house, and against which had rested the head of my bed. The plastering had here, in great measure, resisted the action of the fire --a fact which I attributed to its having been recently spread. About this wall a dense crowd were collected, and many persons seemed to be examining a particular portion of it with every minute and eager attention. The words "strange!" "singular!" and other similar expressions, excited my curiosity. I approached and saw, as if graven in bas relief upon the white surface, the figure of a gigantic cat. The impression was given with an accuracy truly marvelous. There was a rope about the animal's neck.

When I first beheld this apparition --for I could scarcely regard it as less --my wonder and my terror were extreme. But at length reflection came to my aid. The cat, I remembered, had been hung in a garden adjacent to the house. Upon the alarm of fire, this garden had been immediately filled by the crowd --by some one of whom the animal must have been cut from the tree and thrown, through an open window, into my chamber. This had probably been done with the view of arousing me from sleep. The falling of other walls had compressed the victim of my cruelty into the substance of the freshly-spread plaster; the lime of which, had then with the flames, and the ammonia from the carcass, accomplished the portraiture as I saw it.

Although I thus readily accounted to my reason, if not altogether to my conscience, for the startling fact 'just detailed, it did not the less fall to make a deep impression upon my fancy. For months I could not rid myself of the phantasm of the cat; and, during this period, there came back into my spirit a half-sentiment that seemed, but was not, remorse. I went so far as to regret the loss of the animal, and to look about me, among the vile haunts which I now habitually frequented, for another pet of the same species, and of somewhat similar appearance, with which to supply its place.

One night as I sat, half stupefied, in a den of more than infamy, my attention was suddenly drawn to some black object, reposing upon the head of one of the immense hogsheads of Gin, or of Rum, which constituted the chief furniture of the apartment. I had been looking steadily at the top of this hogshead for some minutes, and what now caused me surprise was the fact that I had not sooner perceived the object thereupon. I approached it, and touched it with my hand. It was a black cat --a very large one --fully as large as Pluto, and closely resembling him in every respect but one. Pluto had not a white hair upon any portion of his body; but this cat had a large, although indefinite splotch of white, covering nearly the whole region of the breast.

Upon my touching him, he immediately arose, purred loudly, rubbed against my hand, and appeared delighted with my notice. This, then, was the very creature of which I was in search. I at once offered to purchase it of the landlord; but this person made no claim to it --knew nothing of it --had never seen it before. I continued my caresses, and, when I prepared to go home, the animal evinced a disposition to accompany me. I permitted it to do so; occasionally stooping and patting it as I proceeded. When it reached the house it domesticated itself at once, and became immediately a great favorite with my wife.

For my own part, I soon found a dislike to it arising within me. This was just the reverse of what I had anticipated; but I know not how or why it was --its evident fondness for myself rather disgusted and annoyed. By slow degrees, these feelings of disgust and annoyance rose into the bitterness of hatred. I avoided the creature; a certain sense of shame, and the remembrance of my former deed of cruelty, preventing me from physically abusing it. I did not, for some weeks, strike, or otherwise violently ill use it; but gradually --very gradually --I came to look upon it with unutterable loathing, and to flee silently from its odious presence, as from the breath of a pestilence.

What added, no doubt, to my hatred of the beast, was the discovery, on the morning after I brought it home, that, like Pluto, it also had been deprived of one of its eyes. This circumstance, however, only endeared it to my wife, who, as I have already said, possessed, in a high degree, that humanity of feeling which had once been my distinguishing trait, and the source of many of my simplest and purest pleasures.

With my aversion to this cat, however, its partiality for myself seemed to increase. It followed my footsteps with a pertinacity which it would be difficult to make the reader comprehend. Whenever I sat, it would crouch beneath my chair, or spring upon my knees, covering me with its loathsome caresses. If I arose to walk it would get between my feet and thus nearly throw me down, or, fastening its long and sharp claws in my dress, clamber, in this manner, to my breast. At such times, although I longed to destroy it with a blow, I was yet withheld from so doing, partly it at by a memory of my former crime, but chiefly --let me confess it at once --by absolute dread of the beast.

This dread was not exactly a dread of physical evil-and yet I should be at a loss how otherwise to define it. I am almost ashamed to own --yes, even in this felon's cell, I am almost ashamed to own --that the terror and horror with which the animal inspired me, had been heightened by one of the merest chimeras it would be possible to conceive. My wife had called my attention, more than once, to the character of the mark of white hair, of which I have spoken, and which constituted the sole visible difference between the strange beast and the one I had destroyed. The reader will remember that this mark, although large, had been originally very indefinite; but, by slow degrees --degrees nearly imperceptible, and which for a long time my Reason struggled to reject as fanciful --it had, at length, assumed a rigorous distinctness of outline. It was now the representation of an object that I shudder to name --and for this, above all, I loathed, and dreaded, and would have rid myself of the monster had I dared --it was now, I say, the image of a hideous --of a ghastly thing --of the GALLOWS! --oh, mournful and terrible engine of Horror and of Crime --of Agony and of Death!

And now was I indeed wretched beyond the wretchedness of mere Humanity. And a brute beast --whose fellow I had contemptuously destroyed --a brute beast to work out for me --for me a man, fashioned in the image of the High God --so much of insufferable woe! Alas! neither by day nor by night knew I the blessing of Rest any more! During the former the creature left me no moment alone; and, in the latter, I started, hourly, from dreams of unutterable fear, to find the hot breath of the thing upon my face, and its vast weight --an incarnate Night-Mare that I had no power to shake off --incumbent eternally upon my heart!

Beneath the pressure of torments such as these, the feeble remnant of the good within me succumbed. Evil thoughts became my sole intimates --the darkest and most evil of thoughts. The moodiness of my usual temper increased to hatred of all things and of all mankind; while, from the sudden, frequent, and ungovernable outbursts of a fury to which I now blindly abandoned myself, my uncomplaining wife, alas! was the most usual and the most patient of sufferers.

One day she accompanied me, upon some household errand, into the cellar of the old building which our poverty compelled us to inhabit. The cat followed me down the steep stairs, and, nearly throwing me headlong, exasperated me to madness. Uplifting an axe, and forgetting, in my wrath, the childish dread which had hitherto stayed my hand, I aimed a blow at the animal which, of course, would have proved instantly fatal had it descended as I wished. But this blow was arrested by the hand of my wife. Goaded, by the interference, into a rage more than demonical, I withdrew my arm from her grasp and buried the axe in her brain. She fell dead upon the spot, without a groan.

This hideous murder accomplished, I set myself forthwith, and with entire deliberation, to the task of concealing the body. I knew that I could not remove it from the house, either by day or by night, without the risk of being observed by the neighbors. Many projects entered my mind. At one period I thought of cutting the corpse into minute fragments, and destroying them by fire. At another, I resolved to dig a grave for it in the floor of the cellar. Again, I deliberated about casting it in the well in the yard --about packing it in a box, as if merchandise, with the usual arrangements, and so getting a porter to take it from the house. Finally I hit upon what I considered a far better expedient than either of these. I determined to wall it up in the cellar --as the monks of the middle ages are recorded to have walled up their victims.

For a purpose such as this the cellar was well adapted. Its walls were loosely constructed, and had lately been plastered throughout with a rough plaster, which the dampness of the atmosphere had prevented from hardening. Moreover, in one of the walls was a projection, caused by a false chimney, or fireplace, that had been filled up, and made to resemble the rest of the cellar. I made no doubt that I could readily displace the at this point, insert the corpse, and wall the whole up as before, so that no eye could detect anything suspicious.

And in this calculation I was not deceived. By means of a crow-bar I easily dislodged the bricks, and, having carefully deposited the body against the inner wall, I propped it in that position, while, with little trouble, I re-laid the whole structure as it originally stood. Having procured mortar, sand, and hair, with every possible precaution, I prepared a plaster could not every poss be distinguished from the old, and with this I very carefully went over the new brick-work. When I had finished, I felt satisfied that all was right. The wall did not present the slightest appearance of having been disturbed. The rubbish on the floor was picked up with the minutest care. I looked around triumphantly, and said to myself --"Here at least, then, my labor has not been in vain."

My next step was to look for the beast which had been the cause of so much wretchedness; for I had, at length, firmly resolved to put it to death. Had I been able to meet with it, at the moment, there could have been no doubt of its fate; but it appeared that the crafty animal had been alarmed at the violence of my previous anger, and forbore to present itself in my present mood. It is impossible to describe, or to imagine, the deep, the blissful sense of relief which the absence of the detested creature occasioned in my bosom. It did not make its appearance during the night --and thus for one night at least, since its introduction into the house, I soundly and tranquilly slept; aye, slept even with the burden of murder upon my soul!

The second and the third day passed, and still my tormentor came not. Once again I breathed as a free-man. The monster, in terror, had fled the premises forever! I should behold it no more! My happiness was supreme! The guilt of my dark deed disturbed me but little. Some few inquiries had been made, but these had been readily answered. Even a search had been instituted --but of course nothing was to be discovered. I looked upon my future felicity as secured.

Upon the fourth day of the assassination, a party of the police came, very unexpectedly, into the house, and proceeded again to make rigorous investigation of the premises. Secure, however, in the inscrutability of my place of concealment, I felt no embarrassment whatever. The officers bade me accompany them in their search. They left no nook or corner unexplored. At length, for the third or fourth time, they descended into the cellar. I quivered not in a muscle. My heart beat calmly as that of one who slumbers in innocence. I walked the cellar from end to end. I folded my arms upon my bosom, and roamed easily to and fro. The police were thoroughly satisfied and prepared to depart. The glee at my heart was too strong to be restrained. I burned to say if but one word, by way of triumph, and to render doubly sure their assurance of my guiltlessness.

"Gentlemen," I said at last, as the party ascended the steps, "I delight to have allayed your suspicions. I wish you all health, and a little more courtesy. By the bye, gentlemen, this --this is a very well constructed house." (In the rabid desire to say something easily, I scarcely knew what I uttered at all.) --"I may say an excellently well constructed house. These walls --are you going, gentlemen? --these walls are solidly put together"; and here, through the mere frenzy of bravado, I rapped heavily, with a cane which I held in my hand, upon that very portion of the brick-work behind which stood the corpse of the wife of my bosom.

But may God shield and deliver me from the fangs of the Arch-Fiend! No sooner had the reverberation of my blows sunk into silence than I was answered by a voice from within the tomb! --by a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling into one long, loud, and continuous scream, utterly anomalous and inhuman --a howl --a wailing shriek, half of horror and half of triumph, such as might have arisen only out of hell, conjointly from the throats of the damned in their agony and of the demons that exult in the damnation. Of my own thoughts it is folly to speak. Swooning, I staggered to the opposite wall. For one instant the party upon the stairs remained motionless, through extremity of terror and of awe. In the next, a dozen stout arms were tolling at the wall. It fell bodily. The corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with gore, stood erect before the eyes of the spectators. Upon its head, with red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman. I had walled the monster up within the tomb!

The Black Cat, 1843
by Edgar Allan Poe

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

I haven't really had much opportunity to read any new blogs this week... although that gal Carol over at Alabama Improper turned me on to this sharp gal...SeeJaneMom. This chick is pretty freakin' awesome... She has a top 1o list on why she doesn't like Oprah! Love it!
4. She is a vicious, unpatriotic Liberal who hates Republicans more than she hates Islamic Terrorists. She refused President Bush's invitation to serve our country by touring an Afghani girl's school on his behalf, then claimed the Bush White House had tried to "use" her. To what? Show that America is NOT the Great Satan? That wouldn't square with her buddy Calypso Louie, now would it?

I received a couple of notes asking if I had dropped the idea of looking at terrorist organizations. The short answer is NO. I will be resuming in the next couple of weeks. Thanks!!

Have a great week everyone and Happy Halloween!!!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A Big Brother and Plankton

Partly Cloudy - Hi 87 Lo 66 for Baghdad, Iraq
Cloudy - Hi 50 Lo 34 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: My Hero,
Foo Fighters


On Friday, September 29, I received an email at work from an old grade school friend... Julie--- When Mom bought us our first home in Anderson, one of the first people I met was a girl named Julie. She was everything I wasn't... she was outgoing and athletic... She came from a closely knit family with both parental units under the same roof. She had an older sister and two older brothers... not to mention their German Shephard, Princess. Her family carried a celebrity status of sorts in our community. Her grandfather was a history teacher and football coach at the high school I eventually graduated from. The high school football stadium was named after him. A number of my aunts and uncles had Mr. B as a teacher and still speak fondly of him...
Anyway, Jul and I became fast friends... We played Pong, listened to music- she introduced me to Queen and knew all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody, and we made cakes in her basement using our Easy Bake Ovens...(I still have mine - that's the original light bulb too!) Her brother Mike would come downstairs and inevitably the three of us would end up eating most of the batter instead of baking those little mini cakes. Jul's mom would at some point make her way down to the basement and bake a real cake from the balance of batter... I remember her mom had a huge aloe vera plant on the sill that separated the kitchen from the family room. The neighborhood kids would often play a game of touch football on the street in front of their house... Then one day Julie told me her father took a promotion and before we entered the 7th grade, she and her family moved away... Julie and I stayed in touch over the years, but like most of my childhood friends, we slowly drifted apart. I think she and I have always longed for those days and silly times. Our friendship was very real and I miss it very much. A few years ago, she and her husband were in town and Michael and I took them out to dinner. It was an awkward and uncomfortable evening and I am sad to report that I was relieved when the night ended. We had nothing in common except for two very short years-1976 to 1978 when our lives consisted of summer vacations, making fun of our middle school teachers, homework, Happy Days and Battle of the Network Stars, (boys were not yet a focal point). Life went on and the awkward evening gave excuse to not stay in touch at all, except for the annual Christmas card and a birthday greeting via email. None the less, I love Julie and her family with all my heart for what they gave me - a place that was welcoming and normal and a vision of what that is... a family in tact that loved each other.

Back to the email Julie wrote me... "Mike was just diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Think of him and give him some good energy."

Mike, Julie's older brother is one of those folks you meet and never forget-- Happy, friendly, strong, a natural coach and leader, and a protector of the underdog. Back to the touch football games. I have never been into sports except for those two year's that Julie's family was in my life... Being an athlete or at minimum a sports fan/enthusiast was a mandatory requirement in their household... it didn't matter... basketball, football, hockey, tennis or baseball... the edges of all my memories of Julie and her family are intertwined with one sporting event or another- the roar of the family after an awesome play or the strategizing and ongoing coaching from parent to child or sibling to sibling that always seemed to take place. Anyway, the first time I was coerced into playing touch football, the ball was passed to me... I had no idea what to do... no idea... one of the kids yelled run... so I ran..... the wrong way. I was mortified when I realized what I had done. But Mike through huge belly laughs told me that it was no big deal-- he looked me in the eyes and told me it didn't matter, we were just having fun. Had it not been for Mike I probably would have sneaked away and hid for the next 5 years... He towered over me then... Funny the things you remember. Mike never shied away from hanging out with us younger kids... and it was back then when I realized I had always longed for an older brother. He was always looking out for his kid sister, Julie. He was always ready with a joke and advice. I remember there was a poster of Farrah Fawcett up on the wall in the room he and his brother Doug shared...

Mike was diagnosed with a brain tumor called Glioblastoma Multiforme(gbm) on Friday Sept. 29, 2006. It is a stage four tumor and it is inoperable because of it's size and location. It is in the middle of his head and is branching off into both hemispheres of his brain. In the next couple of days Mike will start radiation and chemotherapy. He will have his radiation here in Alex and his chemo will be in the form of a pill called Temodar. The hope is that these treatments will slow down this aggressive cancer. We are thankful for all the thoughts and prayers we have been receiving. Mike has been overwhelmed by all the love being sent his way, that is the best treatment of all. Some of the physical effects the tumor has had on Mike.....He has lost strength in his upper body and his legs are weak. He has some short term memory loss and processes things slowly. His mind is sharp but he can't get the words out as quickly as he would like, just be patient, he'll get them out eventually.. Mike has periodic painful headaches, but they have gotten a little better since the Doctor put him on a steroid. Mike's stuborn spirit is still intact and he is ready for the challenge. Mike's social spirit is still very much in tact and he welcomes calls and visits, just give us a call and come on out.

Thirty years have passed since I have seen Mike. He is happily married and has two beautiful girls. He is a beacon of light in his Minnesotan community- He is a husband, father, leader and coach. Keep Mike and his family in your prayers. He is one of the good guys... The family has a website and all the comments left by family and friends are overwhelming, inspirational and encouraging, even funny- and because no one can pronounce the type of cancer Mike has, they have named the tumor Plankton, arch enemy of Eugene H. Krabs from the cartoon Spongebob Squarepants.

I, like so many others are praying for a miracle. I ask you to add Mike, his wife Liz, and his 2 daughters to your prayer list and ask for a miracle.

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

I have mentioned Genuine and how much I enjoy his blog. His voice is that of a loving husband and father. I tuned in earlier this week and found myself riveted by what appears to be an intense look at his dark side... biographical or fiction? I'm not sure... it appears to be his story-- some of the comments made appear to be of those that know him in his real life... His blog is currently a very personal journal of confusion, anger, fear, frustration, and addiction. It is told in his voice as it happens- typos and foul language are used... something I have never ever seen on his site.

"Let us go ahead and take you to the hospital so we can have you checked out." was the officer's plan to get me out of the house. I asked, "Who called you guys?" I asked wondering what I had done in my sleep that could have had the entire Firestone police force parked in from of my house with light blaring and radios squawking, all the while each neighbor ready to pop popcorn to watch the show. "It was your wife sir." This was the first time my wife had been involved the entire day so it seemed odd that she would have called the police. Normally, we have a good open discussion whenever we have a problem. I guess from here forward we need to have the other spouse jailed or hospitalized, that way we can better communicate."

Start at the beginning... then read the rest of the entries...

I've said it here before... I love heroes... but heroes are also mortal... they all have some sort of kryptonite they must overcome...and overcome they must...

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, October 16, 2006

44% Cynical

You Are 44% Cynical

Yes, you are cynical, but more than anything, you're a realist.
You see what's screwed up in the world, but you also take time to remember what's right.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Mostly cloudy - Hi 90 Lo 72 for Baghdad, Iraq
Partly sunny - Hi 60 Lo 43 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Drinkin' In My Sunday Dress,
Susan Haynes


I got nothin'...maybe later. In the meantime, here are a couple of photos from our drive up to Millersburg, Ohio... The fall color is not quite there... I didn't take that many photos... but it was a gorgeous day just the same...

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Girl Singer

I was visiting Laura and she mentioned that Holiday Inn was being released as a Special Edition. WAHOO!! I love that movie-- Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire!! Holiday Inn is a wonderful wonderful movie and if you have never seen it... you really should...Holiday Inn also introduced the world to Irving Berlin's song, White Christmas... which is one of my favorite Christmas songs... Most folks associate the song White Christmas with the movie... White Christmas -starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Vera Ellen and
The Girl Singer--- Rosemary Clooney.

So full circle, Laura's post reminded me I promised her a while ago I would put up some photos from Rosemary Clooney's home in Augusta, KY. So, finally... here they are.

click on image for larger view

Rosemary's home in Augusta, KY

The dress from White Christmas

Another dress from White Christmas

The Girl Singer and Vera Ellen rehearsing "Sisters"

This is the worn faded fan today...

Rosemary Clooney House

Sunday, October 08, 2006

144 Years Ago...

Sunny - Hi 98 Lo 71 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny - Hi 74 Lo 54 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Protect My Child,
Susan Tedeschi


Like so many others, I am still shocked and saddened by the cruel, vicious, and calculated murders of the young innocent Amish girls from Pennsylvania. There are no words that can remove the horrible images; There are no words that can offer comfort; Nor are there words to remove the awful hole it has left in our hearts. To think that someone is so consumed with that much anger and hatred is beyond my comprehension.

The Amish community has always fascinated me. I think I became cognizant of them years ago at the Dayton Airshow. Folks that have none of the modern conveniences at an airshow--- looking at modern technology. I suppose they find modern technology just as interesting as I find their lifestyle interesting. I even envy them- their tenacity, the simple, yet hard lives they choose to lead. It is uncomplicated by things that you and I can now not live without...

My prayers go to the Amish Community in Pennsylvania.


Saturday, Michael and I drove down to Perryville, Kentucky... about 3 hours south of us. We went to our very first Civil War Re-enactment- The Battle of Perryville took place on October 8, 1862.

The Battle of Perryville, also known as Battle at Perryville and Battle of Chaplin Hills, was an important but largely neglected encounter in the American Civil War. It was fought on October 8, 1862, in the Chaplin Hills west of Perryville, Kentucky. The battle began with a middle-of-the-night skirmish over a source of precious drinking water, and ended more or less by default with the onset of darkness and the retreat of the tactical victor, the Confederates. It marked the end of the Kentucky Campaign of Confederate Generals Braxton Bragg and Edmund Kirby Smith and, like the campaign, was marked not only by fierce fighting and heroic achievement, but also by indecision, confusion, and futility on both sides:

It involved one general (Bragg) whose charges would not initially carry out his orders to attack, and another (Union Major General Don Carlos Buell) who did not intend to fight until the following day. Unaware that the battle had begun until it was nearly over, Buell kept more than half his troops aside while the rest fought for their lives.
It pitted a force of superior numbers (the Union Army of the Ohio), which included troops so green they did not know how to properly aim their artillery, against veteran soldiers (the Confederate Army of Mississippi) whose commander had badly misjudged the size of their opposition.

With little direction from their commanders, the soldiers engaged in what some insisted was the most ferocious fighting of the entire war. Following the battle, and for the rest of their lives, both generals were condemned for their poor leadership and mismanagement of their forces.
The Confederates won a tactical victory by pushing most of the Union forces back from the strategic high ground and sources of water over which they fought, but they immediately abandoned the land they had gained at such a high price when they realized they had been opposed by less than half of the Union troops in the area.
The Confederate "victory" marked the end of their last offensive campaign in the West, and their retreat left the border state of Kentucky under the control of the Union Army for the rest of the war.

information taken directly from Wikipedia.

Both sides suffered heavily. The Union had 845 dead, 2851 wounded and 515 missing (total of 4,211) out of perhaps 22,000 men engaged in the fighting. The Confederates had 510 dead, 2635 wounded and 251 missing (total of 3,396) out of a total of 16,000 men.

Below are the photos I took yesterday of the re-enactment. Click on each photo to enlarge.

Union Account of the Battle of Perryville
On the Battle-Field, October 9, 1862.

Dear Friends:

Two days more heavy marching, almost without water, and with very short rations, brought us within seven miles of the fight. Yesterday morning we marched on. Such roads, -- so hilly and stony, and so tired we could hardly wag! At the edge of the field we halted for orders. Water, water, water! was the cry. Thoroughly exhausted, and famishing for food, as well as water, had we been well drilled we were in no state to do ourselves or our cause justice in the battle now ranging. I lay down, resolving to rest a little if possible. Some were detailed for water, but soon returned with empty canteens. "It must be reserved for the wounded." The lieutenant rose and said "We must have some, who will go?" I thought a moment, then with mess-pans and canteens three of us started after him. On and on we went, for two miles; the road became terrific, we must hurry for our regiment may be getting in. At length we found water, and hurried back. Such hills I never saw. I felt no excitement, but so tired. From the top of a hill we saw the fight at this moment. These few words no one can realize except they behold the reality. We hurried on, and shortly met the poor wounded ones coming out. I gave each a few drops, and hastened on to find my own regiment. On a steep, high hill I say troops, and thought I heard "21st Wisconsin." I scrambled up the hill; I was right. Our poor boys had been in. They lay in a cornfield, and the rebels came on within twenty feet, when the orders were given to "Fire and charge." But no order was heard. They saw the rebels were on them, and fired as well as they could. The bullets flew in showers. The battle raged during the afternoon, but the field was so hilly we could not know the result. At sunset the flashes sent a glare over the scene. Soon we were ordered to go to the regiment. What was my surprise to find only twenty out of at least sixty of our company who went in. The rebels held the ground where our dead and wounded lay. We lay down again on a hill at the foot of which the rebels were, and dropped asleep. Soon we were moved, and again we went silently, and drew off a batter, and lay down. The captain said, "Who will volunteer to carry off the dead?" Four or five of us started, laying off our arms, and carrying a handkerchief tied to a stick, for flag of truce.

We found our poor major dead and stripped. Oh, I loved him! What a loss to us! Others were dead, and many wounded; I helped carry off four, and then gave out from exhaustion. This is a strange word for me, but no other express it. The moon shone full upon the scene; it is utterly useless to describe the sight, --men and horses dead and wounded, wagon-wheels, army caissons scattered, and the moans and shrieks of the wounded. Oh, may you never see such a sight! I helped carry off one poor fellow with his mouth and lower jaw shot off-stop, stop! I can't say more. We slept till sunrise; I expected to see it rise for the last time, for I supposed at daylight we should pitch in till death or victory were ours; but no, the rebels had fled. We moved on two or three miles, and rest yet. Thank God, we have water! Of our squad only two remain well; Company C, on our left, has no officers left. This morning the loss averaged thirty-five, --quite a reduction. Our colonel has an arm broken, and a wound in the neck. Many were the hairbreadth escapes. The poor horses have had nothing all day except a little water.

Thirty-three of our regiment were trenched; no coffin or mark, except a rail or stone. Our major, noble man! Was among the number, --no sheet nor shroud, not even a coat, for he was striped. If I had the dearest friend killed in battle, I could only bury him. You can not realize our situation. The people flee because their houses are used for hospitals.

. . . It seems hard to throw men all in together and heap earth upon them, but it is far better than to have them lie moldering in the sun. Oh! To see the dead rebels in the woods! From one point I counted thirty-one, in a fence corner twenty-four; every where the eye rests on one, and this is not on the field proper. In our short march we passed at least two hundred, and of horses I made no count. It is a fearful sight; and to think of all these soldiers friends who would give any thing for their bloated, decaying bodies, now torn by swine and crows, --oh, it is sad!

Sgt. Mead Holmes, Jr.
Co. K, 21st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

[From: A Soldier of the Cumberland: Memoir of Mead Holmes, Jr. (Boston: American Tract Society), 1864, pp. 92-96.]

One final note that had Michael and I chuckling. When you arrive in Perryville, you slowly make your way through town and are directed to park in a huge open field. From there, you walk a bit and then catch a school bus that takes you to the battlefield. Now, on the bus... and I am not making this up, a woman was telling her children how cool this was going to be... how the pilgrims fought here... silence then followed on the bus.... yep... the pilgrims fought in the Civil War.... you heard it here first...

For more interesting and comprehensive information please go to:

Perryville Re-enactment
Battle of Perryville
Danville, Kentucky

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

Dakotaranger - I just started recently visiting this guy- he is a regular at Kimosabe's. Good stuff, interesting insight.
Dragon Lady's World - I first saw this chick hanging out over at Diane's. I finally went to visit her... there I found out what I am known as in the blogosphere... you know... average of 30 visitors a day, but considered a Large Mammal in theTLLB...
Anna Venger - The name alone should get your attention.
NYC Taxi Shots & NYC Taxi Shots Camera Phone Photos - This is a taxi cab driver in New York City and takes some wonderful and artistic photos. I love his perspective.

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Chill in the Air, a Snuggle, One Large Pizza and the Remote Control

It's getting blustery, cold, and damp outside- I think the temperature reads 43 degrees...

This doesn't quite qualify for the fireplace to have a fire, but it does require a snuggle on the couch with my honey, a large pizza, and my 2 favorite television shows...

My Name is Earl

The Office

Stay warm!! Laugh lots!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Genius of Infomercials... (kill me now)

Mostly sunny - Hi 106 Lo 78 for Baghdad, Iraq
Mostly sunny - Hi 73 Lo 53 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: American Music,
Violent Femmes


I have a confession. It's one I'm not very proud of. [taking deep breath...]

I'm a sucker for infomercials. There... I said it... er uh... wrote it..

Several years ago, I was in a car accident that left me bedridden for 8 weeks. When that happened, I discovered the wonderful world of QVC... I bought Michael a KitchenAid mixer... when I called, QVC put me on air... I was a freakin' celebrity just for being a "first timer"! As for other purchases I made from my medical bed in the family room... that's between me, Visa and Federal Express...Thankfully, I eventually went back to work and never looked back... but the seed was planted........ [deep sigh]

A few years later, I developed insomnia... Now, dear readers, this is the genius of infomercials. Insomnia for me, is a goofy thing. I wake up and flip on the television... since I really don't want to be awake, I don't raid the fridge, definitely no caffeine... just a bit of a stupor... complete faculties are not there... The producers of infomercials depend on this to hock their stuff...

But then... a song... a song I hadn't heard in ages catches my attention. I pause on the channel... wow... another great song... I LOVE that one.... and another one!... and another... OH-MY-GAWD! Awwww... and the hostess is such a cute girl and she likes this older music... OH-MY-GOSH-- Greg Brady is the host of this show! I had forgotten how cool the song by Rupert Holmes was. ...if you like pina coladas and gettin' caught in the rain... YEAH!!
Greg then reminds me, "... and who can forget this classic?" the jungle... the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight...
"Oh yes!", the pretty young hostess belches... "but don't forget this classic by Maureen McGovern..."
...torn between two lovers... feelin' like a fool...
But wait!! OH CRUD!! I only have 30 minutes after the broadcast to get free shipping!! I race for my purse, I dial the 800 number and get a surly operator...
"Yes, I'd like to order the 70's Music Explosion CD's!!"
The surly operator then responds with a monotone, "blah blah blah, blah blah blah. For an additional $9.95 you can receive Love Songs of the 70's, a retail value of $19.95."
", thanks I just want the 37 CD's."
"Very well, Ms. S, let me put you on hold while we process your order."
.:: hold music, with an infomercial for Love Songs of the Frenchy French ::.
"Ma'am, thank you for holding. Your order is being processed. Is there anything else I can help you with? We currently have Love Songs of the Frenchy French on sale for the low price of 4 easy payments of $29.95."

"No thank you."
"Thank you, let me put you on hold while we finalize your order.
.:: on hold, listening to more audio infomercials ::.
"Ma'am, thank you for holding. May I interest you in Best of the Boy Bands?"
" you......."
"Very well, then, is there anything else I can assist you with?"
"Yes... do you have a confirmation number for me?"
"Why, of course... blah blah blah."
"Is there anything else?"
"No. I think I have everything."
"Very well, then Ma'am. Please expect your order to arrive in 5-7 weeks. Your account will be billed $149.97 upon shipment. Thank you for shopping with us."

Still in a bit of a sleep stupor... I'm really too tired to protest or react quickly to the transaction... I finally decide to try and go to sleep...

The next morning, not sure if it was a dream... I don't give the purchase a second thought... In fact, in a matter of a day... the whole incident has been forgotten... 5-7 weeks delivery, my friends is no stinkin' accident...

So, Michael and I were up late a few weekends ago... and I believe we actually did order 70's Music Explosion... Again... at 4 o'clock in the morning... the song list looks fantastic... take a gander and let me know what you think... In any event, I'll let you know what I think of the collection in what I guess will be 3-5 weeks...

Last night I watched three infomercials back to back--- Classic Soft Rock hosted by yes... you guessed it Air Supply... and the other one was Lifetime of Romance and for the life of me... I can not remember who hosted this one... but of course the best one was hosted by Peter Noone (of Herman's Hermits) and another cute 20 something hostess... The Classic 60's Collection. Now... I don't believe I purchased anything.. but I guess we'll find out in 5-7 weeks.
So... the moral to the story? I dunno... I'm sure I'll get insomnia again and no doubt I will be suckered into another mass purchase...

Besides... the Hee Haw Collection looks fantastic!

h/t to That1Guy from Drunken Wisdom for the inspiration for today's post.

As Seen on TV

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

Neddy's Palaver - She has some wonderful stuff on her blog... I equate her blog to a Norman Rockwell painting - Total Americana - Feel good stuff about being an American. I need to visit her more often. I've been away for too long.

Blogging the Revolution - While visiting Neddy, this link caught my attention. I suspect this blog also belongs to Neddy. Either way... To understand the present, we must understand the past.

Point Five - I like this guy. He has one of the best looking blogs around. He also started Victory Wing..(below). He did an expose on Michelle Malkin... check him out...

I have also joined a couple of blogrolls that can be found on the sidebar.
Reject the UN
Victory Wing


In trying to keep up with all the blogs I enjoy reading, I have removed some from "Places I Go" that have been inactive. If I removed you inadvertantly, let me know and I'll put you back on my blogroll.

Have a great week everyone!