Thursday, December 25, 2008

I'm Getting Older Too

Sunny - Hi 62 Lo 40 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny - Hi 68 Lo 37 for Qandahar, Afghanistan
Windy - Hi 43 Lo 29 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Landslide, Fleetwood Mac

I was never a big fan of Fleetwood Mac when Fleetwood Mac was all one heard on the radio. Keep in mind-- I was exploring the world of punk music, so Fleetwood Mac did not exactly fit into my limited repertoire of audio delights back in the late 1970's. Radio was different back then. A song would stay in the Top 40 for weeks... same with albums. Rumours... oh my gosh... was on the charts for months and months... imagine hearing a Britney Spears song for months and months... it's bad enough if it is played for a few weeks... Landslide wasn't on Rumours-- it was actually on their white album or self titled album, Fleetwood Mac.

I've never been a huge Stevie Nicks fan--- or at least her vocals. It has only been within this past decade that I have grown to enjoy the music of Fleetwood Mac-- the 70's version of Fleetwood Mac...(still exploring the older blues influenced Peter Green days) and what I have grown to like and understand are Stevie's abilities as an incredible songwriter. The words to Landslide are quite powerful... as a twenty something she was looking out over the years to come... choices she was making in the moment-- the apprehension of making the right choices-- the insecurities of the unknown. Now, as you hear the words sung in recent years, some 30 years later... with age comes wisdom at least I hope that is the case. The song takes on a more melancholy meaning... reflection and recollection of choices made, maybe some regret-- those bittersweet moments in life that cause that lump in the back of your throat...


After three and half years, I am moving. This will be my last Sunday post here at this location. Starting next year I will be posting here. Please make a note of it and bookmark the new address. It's time. So, 2009 marks the beginning of "change", so I thought I would just go with it. The photo is mine-- it is a covered bridge up in Holmes County, Ohio-- I took the shot this past fall. I still don't have everything moved over that I want-- mainly my blogroll... what a pain in the toosh that is... really what happened to Blogroll? Dude just disappeared??

I hope you had a nice Christmas--- I can't believe it is over already... and we are just days away from another year... time is flying by... My oldest niece will not be with us on New Year's Eve... how strange that will be... It is a new chapter in her life and she is off spreading her wings... her mom and pop and Michael and I are saddened... We told her not to grow up, but she ignored us. I feel I should be with Peter Pan in Neverland and I'm going to take the rest of my nieces and nephews there to reside... Tuesday we are having my brother's oldest daughter over for a sleepover-- I'm going to do my best to convince her to not get any older--- Michael and I are really going to work hard to convince her boys have cooties and to always be ten years old... I'm just not ready for another one of my loves to grow up...

I took my love and I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around

And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
'Til the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Mmm Mmm...

Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I'm getting older too

Yes, I'm getting older too

Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I'm getting older too

Yes, I'm getting older too

So, take this love, take it down
If you climb a mountain and you turn around

If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
The landslide will bring you me down

If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well maybe the landslide will bring it down

Sunday Morning Coffee Too

Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Song, Santa Claus Is Back In Town

Santa Boot Camp --- Gunny Santa

Classic Cheech & Chong

Creepy Santas

Cloudy - Hi 64 Lo 52 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny - Hi 62 Lo 33 for Qandahar, Afghanistan
Windy - Hi 24 Lo 9 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Santa Claus Is Back In Town, Elvis Presley


It was a strange week... so, no post today... besides, we have a ton of things to accomplish today so this needs to be short. Friday night Michael and I traveled up to Clifton Mill. We have wanted to go there for quite some time. The mill was built in 1802 by a Revolutionary War soldier--- it still stands and is still in operation. The buildings on the property are all original-- including this incredible log cabin. The 3,600,000 lights were spectacular. A computer synchronized light show was very cool. The miniature village was my favorite part... especially the Frisch's Big Boy and the Drive In Movie. One of the things we were looking forward to was seeing the Santa Claus Museum- The family collection of various antique Santa's... some dating back to the 1800's... All I can say... is although interesting... I was pretty creeped out... the volume of noise... all the creepy and dirty Kris Kringles.... and then... there was the "docent" that sat there silently... You'll see her in one of the quick videos I shot... So, to all those planning 2009 Halloween Haunted Houses... consider a Santa Room...

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday Song, You're Gonna Miss Me

I Freely Admit, I Am Part of the 25...24...23%

Partly Cloudy - Hi 64 Lo 44 for Baghdad, Iraq
Partly Cloudy - Hi 67 Lo 38 for Qandahar, Afghanistan
Cloudy - Hi 53 Lo 48 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: You're Gonna Miss Me, 13th Floor Elevators


"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God."

I have always likes George W. Bush and I am going to miss him when he leaves Washington in January. Older and with more gray hair than when he took the Office of President of the United States, he still holds the same convictions as the man I voted for 8 and 4 years ago.

He gave us tax cuts, he prevented federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, Justice Sam Alito, Chief Justice John Roberts.. He has stressed the importance of faith based and community initiatives. He has provided more relief to Africa than any other previous president. I have not always agreed with him, in fact, I have found myself frustrated at his liberal leanings. Yes.. liberal leanings... the compassionate conservative. But again, this is the same man I voted for twice and it is his compassion that has defined him as a man, as our President.

I'm going to miss Dubya... I'm going to miss the cowboy. I loved it when he dropped his "g's" you know-- Goin', Doin', etc...

However, the most important thing George W. Bush has done has kept us safe on our soil. We were not prepared for the events of September 11, 2001. At the time, I believe George Bush was on a trajectory to really follow his compassionate conservative values and he would have spent even more money (our tax dollars) developing more welfare systems. However, the events of that awful day changed everything. He knew what he had to do. He became our protector. He kept us safe and has done so every single solitary day since. As our President he has been given details that none of us need to know or could handle-- close calls and situations defused before anyone is hurt. Those days after 9/11, we all watched a man age by 10 years-- instantly.No longer did we live in a safe world and like any father, George Bush wanted to take the pain away and keep us safe--- He did not want to see us hurting--- he told us to go back to our lives, spend money, and get on with it. (It is only now, that he is second guessed by the President Elect). It was the best thing for us. Get back to normal... get over our fears of boarding a plane, spend money, get the economy going, however stay vigilant.. pay attention.

I Can Hear You MP3

"At times, Bush has turned unusually personal, bordering on melancholy. "I would like to be a person remembered as a person who, first and foremost, did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process," Bush told his sister, Doro Bush Koch, in a recent interview for StoryCorps, a national oral history project. "I came to Washington with a set of values, and I'm leaving with the same set of values, and I darn sure wasn't going to sacrifice those values; that I was a president that had to make tough choices and was willing to make them." More from US News and World Report

He has been our President and he has been ridiculed and mocked like no other (do a Google search for images and see what you find). He has put his country first, he follows his faith and convictions and he wants what is best for this nation. He is a man-- and I can't imagine what that kind of ridicule does to a person. Quite often and much to my dismay, he has turned the other cheek on those that have thrown him under the bus-- even those in his own party. He is a better person than me.

In just a few short weeks, President Bush will hand the keys of the White House to President Elect Obama. As we have done since the beginning of this Great Nation, there will be a PEACEFUL transition from the current president to the next. I have no doubt, President Bush has an expectation of his staff to be helpful and cooperative with the incoming team. I have no doubt the White House will be left orderly and in tact with nothing missing and nothing destroyed, unlike how the Bush's found the White House when they arrived in January 2001.

For me, there is one image of President Bush that is burned in my memory. The burden he has carried shows in every crease in his face. I am so grateful that it was George W. Bush that was our President on that horrific day. He made the right decisions, he made the right choices. He was in Lebanon, Ohio-- just a skip and a jump up the road from here... the year was 2004.

In a moment largely unnoticed by the throngs of people in Lebanon waiting for autographs from the president of the United States, George W. Bush stopped to hold a teenager's head close to his heart.

Lynn Faulkner, his daughter, Ashley, and their neighbor, Linda Prince, eagerly waited to shake the president's hand Tuesday at the Golden Lamb Inn. He worked the line at a steady campaign pace, smiling, nodding and signing autographs until Prince spoke:

"This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9-11."

Bush stopped and turned back.

"He changed from being the leader of the free world to being a father, a husband and a man," Faulkner said. "He looked right at her and said, 'How are you doing?' He reached out with his hand and pulled her into his chest."

Faulkner snapped one frame with his camera.

"I could hear her say, 'I'm OK,' " he said. "That's more emotion than she has shown in 2 1/2 years. Then he said, 'I can see you have a father who loves you very much.' "
"And I said, 'I do, Mr. President, but I miss her mother every day.' It was a special moment."

Special for Lynn Faulkner because the Golden Lamb was the place he and his wife, Wendy Faulkner, celebrated their anniversary every year until she died in the south tower of the World Trade Center, where she had traveled for business.
The rest can be read at The Cincinnati Enquirer

President Bush, I am going to miss you.

other resources:
DC Pages

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Extreme Joy

Rob sent this to me.... I just love it. When was the last time you were that happy?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday Song, Marshmallow World

It's a Marshmallow World

Partly Cloudy - Hi 69 Lo 48 for Baghdad, Iraq
Rain - Hi 65 Lo 37 for Qandahar, Afghanistan
Flurries - Hi 26 Lo 21 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Marshmallow World, Music by Peter DeRose, Lyrics by Carl Sigman and Performed by Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra


Saturday morning we woke up to see our first real snow of the season. It took us by surprise as snow wasn't in the forecast. And as usual... folks here in the tri-state area forget how to drive on the white stuff so needless to say there were countless accidents.

Seeing the snow made me think of the song, Marshmallow World--- which made me think of Mark Steyn. Mark Steyn was on Bill Bennett's Morning in America plugging his single (OK... talking politics)... it's too much fun. You can buy the CD here. It is currently sold out at Anyway, thinking of Mark Steyn singing Marshmallow World made me think of the Rat Pack version... There is no one more cool than Dean Martin--- except of course Frank Sinatra-- The Chairman of the Board. In the video you can see Dean is escorting Frank down the piano keyboard stairs. Then the two men get to there marks in front of the camera and you can see Frank pulling up his socks.... Dean glances down with a "do what you gotta do" look... cracks me up... they make even the mundane look cool.

Oh how the world has changed...

Paul Beston wrote a nice article on Frank Sinatra in the October 2008, American Spectator.

Sinatra sounds like an American man, or the way American men used to sound, anyway, back in the days when men wore suits and hats, before presidential candidates danced on ladies’ talk shows, before baseball players talked about psychotherapy and—well, you get the idea. In his famous 1966 Esquire piece, Gay Talese wrote that Sinatra was “the embodiment of the fully emancipated male, perhaps the only one in America.” Forty years on, that’s an enviable title indeed. Younger American men know that this older time existed, and though they mock it easily, their mockery is not always easy to distinguish from envy. Especially when they hear something like “Luck Be a Lady,” in which Sinatra sings, with joyfulness but also a hint of threat:

Let’s keep this party polite
Never get out of my sight
Stick with me baby, I’m the guy that you came in with

They might be reminded of how constricted they are in their dealings with the fairer sex, even as, it seems, all the barriers have come down. Part of Sinatra’s old-style manliness was also about sophistication and knowingness, of course; his up-tempo music (always played by the top hands in the business) exudes a class and refinement that rock, devoted to spirit over craft and rooted despite its best efforts in the adolescent, simply does not possess.

I also found this wonderful piece by Bobby Lamb at The Jazz Professional when trying to find out what brand of whiskey these men drank.

For the November 16 concert all the film stars were there: Frank’s friends: Gregory Peck, Roger Moore, Kirk Douglas, you name them, they were all sitting there, row after row. The most outstanding film stars in the world, all keen to partake in this exciting concert. The lights went down, and in walked her serene highness Grace Kelly, the Grace Kelly from High Society and all the great Hitchcock films. She was a very longtime friend of Frank Sinatra. She came on and began to tell the story of the time when Frank Sinatra visited the set of Mogambo, which was being made in West Africa with Clark Gable and Ava Gardner. She told the story of how, on Christmas Day, Frank came out of the jungle with a cake and a bottle of champagne, singing White Christmas to cheer the crew up. He had gone to West Africa to be near to Ava Gardner; they were having a big romance at the time.


To your health, may you live to be 400 years old, and may the last voice you ever hear be mine!
-Frank Sinatra

Remember Pearl Harbor

There was a time when we as a nation were not so divided. Remember Pearl Harbor for those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Pearl Harbor Memorial

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Song, So Much to Say

Young America's Foundation

Sunny - Hi 69 Lo 51 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny - Hi 72 Lo 38 for Qandahar, Afghanistan
Rain - Hi 44 Lo 34 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: So Much to Say, Dave Matthews Band


Just a quick note on a couple of things... Michael and I are strong supporters of Young America's Foundation. It is one thing to preach to the choir--our generation, but the reality is that the future of our country is in the hands of young people and that is where the focus should be. Children are indoctrinated into left leaning views at an early age in the most innocent ways. I love cartoons, but can not stomach most of them, the subtle yet constant drumbeat message is there for the taking. How things are taught in school , the constant drumbeat of television, radio, movies and the internet, the shift in philosophy of team sports, the arts, etc... and once a child has entered college, they are pummeled by left thinking professors and organizations.

Ronald Reagan described their mission, "Young America's Foundation programs offer invaluable assistance to young men and women searching for the encouragement and understanding necessary to reinforce the values of a free society and individual responsibility. As young conservatives, you have a very special task before you — that of developing the political awareness of your fellow students."

I urge you to do a couple of things:
1. Visit Young America's Foundation website.
2. Go to and go to the podcast links, there you will find recorded speeches by today's top conservatives. Go HERE now or if you are not sure or don't have time to go through the list, then listen to THIS ONE. It is story I had not heard and a recollection from someone who dearly loves this country. Listen to what he says.

You can either listen to these podcasts on your computer or you can download them to your iPod/MP3 player.

In the meantime, I have been working on a couple of posts however, the terrorist attacks in India are pretty disturbing and have distracted me. I hope and pray the new team coming into office is paying attention and realizes the world is not a safe place and people still want us dead simply because we are Americans or simply because we are Jewish...

Ah, I will let you in on a little secret, I am going to be moving my blog in the new year. You can take a sneak peak here... It is still under construction, but I think it is coming along nicely. Anyone know what is up with Blogrolling??

Now, a little video I took last week for my Scootertrash Hubby... His totem... the blue heron (and yes that is snow).

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Song, We'll Meet Along the Way

Lima Company Remembered This Thanksgiving

Scattered Showers - Hi 72 Lo 58 for Baghdad, Iraq
Mostly Sunny - Hi 74 Lo 40 for Qandahar, Afghanistan
Partly Cloudy - Hi 50 Lo 35 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: We'll Meet Along the Way, HEM


Go get some coffee first... I have a lot to ramble about this week so bare with me.

This past week I traveled to Pascagoula, Mississippi via Louisville, Atlanta, and Gulfport. (There isn't a direct flight from Cincinnati to Gulfport... and Cincinnati airfare was over $900.00... travel 1 1/2 hours south to Louisville airfare is a little over $300.00... go figure.) The sunny skies were a welcome change although it was a tad chilly for southerners. The flight from Atlanta to Gulfport was humorous in the sense that a handful of pigeons not interested in the chilly climate in Atlanta decided to board our little commuter seeing this would be a much more efficient means of flying south. Too funny... After shooing the pigeons out of the jet, our flight attendant as described by one of my travel mates was no doubt someone who won a law suit with the airlines and was most likely a girls physical education teacher in a previous career... definitely not your stereotypical flight attendant. Prior to take off she broke the cable on the door so we sat and waited for it to be repaired.

Now our trip home from Gulfport to Atlanta was smooth sailing until smoke filled the cabin of the commuter. The pilot's voice came over the intercom stating something to the effect that he had shut off the air conditioning unit... 2 seats ahead of me was a pilot catching a ride home and he and the flight attendant were chatting with a great deal of enthusiasm to the pilot in the cockpit... Once we landed and began to taxi it felt as if we were going to take off again... the pilot floored it and hauled @$$ to the terminal. We pulled up --sort of-- to a terminal... this time the pilot calmly stated, "please quickly gather your belongings and exit the plane quickly and calmly." Nice. I was in row 3 and was off the plane and on the tarmac where I saw one of the engines smoking... good times.

We stayed at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi- a very nice casino and resort on the gulf. You may remember Jim Cantore standing in front of the Beau Rivage reporting on Hurricane Katrina. The Hard Rock Cafe Casino and Resort was next door under construction. Needless to say, after Katrina... the Hard Rock was gone and the Beau Rivage was in bad shape. The last time I saw the Beau Rivage all the windows had been blown out, part of it was missing. It has been a while since I was last down here, still a lot of devastation, but the rebuilding continues. The picture to the left was taken with my cell phone, so it is pretty poor quality. You can see the top of the neck of the Hard Rock guitar in the lower left... But that sunrise was spectacular. The only thing that was missing was my better half.

Besides the meeting we had with our customer, (and returning home safely) the most important part of the trip for me was seeing all the men and women in uniform. Every flight we had included active duty servicemen. All were heading overseas. I can't tell you how humbling it is to see these young men and women preparing themselves. This time of year we are all busy with thoughts of the holidays... the hustle and bustle. Take a moment to remember them. They are off to be in harms way.

So with thoughts of the men and women I saw in the airports earlier in the week. On Thursday, after I was back home safe and sound and since I had the day off, I went to Union Terminal to see the Lima Company Memorial. Words can not express how moving this memorial is.

The faces of the young men were absolute perfection. Anita Miller, the inspired artist, captured the spirit of each of the young bright eyed men. I was captivated by each one. I can not express adequately what it was like to stand there. The portraits form a circle. To look at the portraits you must enter that circle and you are then surrounded by these men. Even though these are paintings of the men, there is a sense of safety in that perimeter, a sense of camaraderie between those men that we mere civilians will never comprehend. In front of each portrait are the actual combat boots of the young man that wore them. The families provided the boots and I must tell you that was probably the toughest part of this exhibit. On the outer perimeter of the circle are the names of each young man, their age, their rank, their hometown. There are flowers, letters and other memorabilia left by loved ones allowing those of us not lucky to have known them in life an opportunity to capture a glimpse of what they were, who they were.

Here are the photos... the lighting was not optimal, but I hope you gather a sense of what it was like to stand in the middle of these fallen heroes.

Anita Miller was able to capture the spark of each young man. They were alive and popped off the canvas, the personal items added to this. I was there pretty much by myself and spent about two hours looking at the paintings and reading the letters and cards and looking at the scrapbooks and photos. To the families and loved ones of these young men lost three years ago, my heart and prayers go out to you. The sacrifice you have endured is more than I can imagine. I thank you for raising sons that felt such a calling must be answered. I thank the wives and fiances and girlfriends for loving these young men. I thank the siblings and cousins and friends and all those that were touched by these fine men. My heart goes to the children of these men. Your father was a hero and I am so sorry you will only know him through the pictures and stories you are told.

Semper Gratus.

Click on each photo to enlarge.

Eric Bernholz, Dustin Derga, and Nick Erdy


Nick's Boots


Tim Bell, Justin Hoffman, and Nicholas Bloem

William Wightman, Augie Schroeder, and Grant Fraser
The following was read at Grant's eulogy. Grant was not from the state of Ohio, but from Alaska. It is quite moving and gives a you a glimpse of the man and how he was seen by those that loved him.
Chris Dixon, Travis Youngblood, and Wesley Davids

Recollections of Chris

Wesley was from California. Below is a photocopy of the letter he penned in the event he was killed. Although profoundly personal, his family thought it was important enough to share. To be so young and to be so brave, to understand what his calling was... to be able to share these thoughts so clearly with his loved ones...

Andre Williams, Michael Cifuentes, and David Kreuter

Andre's Mom took a shirt he wore and made this frame. The shirt was starting to wear out on the back. So personal. I wept when I touched it.

Kendall Ivy, David Wimberg, and Jonathan Grant
Jourdan Grez, Chris Dyer, and Aaron Reed

Chris was from Cincinnati. I was privileged to shake his father's hand
Anthony Goodwin and Chris Lyons

So this Thursday, as we sit down with our families, some more dysfunctional than others. Be kind to each other (unless it is your flaming lib Aunt who just won't shut up). Thank God for blessing us for being born in a country where we are free and can choose our own path in life. Take a moment as you are saying the blessing or toasting each other to say a prayer or raise a glass to these men from Lima Company. There are others there today that have also answered the calling. Say a prayer for them too.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Song, Ghost in this House

Amish Country And Remembering Nick Erdy

Sunny - Hi 73 Lo 54 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny - Hi 66 Lo 39 for Qandahar, Afghanistan
Flurries - Hi 39 Lo 34 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Ghost in this House, Allison Krauss and Union Station


Michael made our annual trek up to Amish country this past Friday. He and I were absolutely giddy about the trip--- definitely an "old people moment". Really, you would have thought we were on our way to Cancun... Holmes County, Ohio is about 3 1/2 hours northeast of us. We had perfect weather and it was simply a beautiful day. It was the first time we had ever visited on a Friday and this late in the year---We typically make the drive to see the fall colors. That wasn't in the cards this year, but seriously, it was so much more enjoyable... far less people.. We quickly realized Friday is wash day in Amish country--- We saw clothing out drying everywhere. It was pleasant to see-- reminded me of being a kid and my grandma hanging the laundry outside to dry. I remember the clothes line posts that she would secure under the clothes line to hike the line up high so the clothing wouldn't drag. I remember the sheets billowing in the breeze and running in between them, making believe it was a curtain to a stage where I would perform some brilliant song for all to hear. I still remember how wonderful the sheets would smell when she would pull them off the line...

Now, the food in Amish country is... Oh my gosh... incredible... homemade pies and bread. We had dinner at a place called Boyd & Wurthmann Restaurant. It was cozy--- home cooked food. Served by lovely young Mennonite and Amish girls, the service was impeccable, the portions- huge... It was at this point we decided that someone should invent a gravy that could also be used as a dip. OMG...
We went to some of the shops but only found a couple of places that interested us--a bulk food store... which was pretty cool for Michael and an incredible antique store. In fact, I have never seen it's equal anywhere. Run by another member of the Amish community- I could not believe how many pieces I found that I instantly fell in love with. I have quite literally been looking for a china closet for 10 years. I found at least a dozen there I could have taken home at that moment. The rest of the shops we visited were of the "cute variety". The choxkie--- the overly cute painted signs that say things like, "friendship" and "love" with teddy bears and cute snowmen painted on wood or tin all of which is made in China or India... you know, the stuff you find in the Tenderhearts mail order catalog. The trip was rejuvenating for the mind and soul. Next time, hopefully we will leave with a beautiful piece of furniture hand crafted by someone over a century ago- or possibly a beautifully handmade quilt... or one of those way cool Amish made wicker baskets. Our focus was on the scenery and those areas not inundated by tourism, but rather the freshly plowed fields and the laundry and the big skies, rolling hills and gorgeous valleys, and the young Amish children selling their wares and tending their chores... very nice...very nice indeed.

On Saturday, November 22, the Fourth Annual Dinner and Auction benefiting the Nick Erdy Foundation will take place. I never knew Nick, but like so many in this community, I felt I did. I have written about him and others we lost from Lima Company. He is still remembered. He is not forgotten. A memorial for those lost from the 3/25 in 2005 has arrived in Cincinnati it has been on display in Ohio's State Capital since Memorial Day. In the coming days, I will make the trip to Union Terminal to remember those fine young men. I expect it to be highly emotional.
Nick Erdy and Dustin Derga were best friends. Dustin was killed on May 8. Nick was killed on May 11. They had plans together... to become firemen... or to open a bar in Florida... to live their lives... to get married to their girls back home, who also had become close friends. May 2005 changed everything for those in Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Regiment. Remember them. Keep them in your hearts, pray for their families and loved ones. Pray for those still in harms way. Thank them when given the opportunity.

Watch this:

I found this heartbreaking note from Kristen, Dustin's girlfriend.

for all of you from the 3/25 who gave the ultimate sacrafice, we salute you. There are not enough men out there who would pick up a gun and go fight for their country. It is a shame that more people could not be like you... You served and lived for a purpose and that is more than most can say... you fought for freedom, your families, friends and the future of America...You had an honorable job and you held up your end of the bargin... It is like that Toby Keith song.. "American Soldier." "And I dont want to die for you but if dyings asked of me, I'll bare that cross with honor cause freedom don't come free!" You all are the true definition of HERO and that will never be taken from you. I regret not being able to meet all of you.... but the ones I did know... CPL Dustin Derga and LCPL Nick Erdy, were among the greatest people I have ever met. Fun loving, carefree, and full of commitment to the United States Marine Corps and their fellow Americans. You boys will forever be in our hearts! And the only thing we ask of you now is to watch over you fellow soldiers and bring them home to us! To the rest of the 3/25... You are in our thoughts and prayers! Just remember those men who lost their lives will now be fighting next to you for the rest of their lives... and in return just live your life with them in mind... never forget!! Fight hard... Come home safe!!! We will all be waiting for your return....
SEMPER FI... Kristin (Derga's girlfriend)

For more information on the dinner and auction for The Nick Erdy Foundation click here

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday Song, Trouble Me

Saturdays with Yoshiko

Partly Cloudy - Hi 77 Lo 57 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny - Hi 80 Lo for 46 Qandahar, Afghanistan
Cloudy - Hi 46 Lo 28 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Trouble Me, 10,000 Maniacs

Whenever I am a little blue, Natalie Merchant's soothing voice always brings me comfort.


The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself. - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

For the past couple of months, I have spent my Saturday afternoons with my mom. Initially, I thought it was going to be a nightmare… you see she purchased her very first computer… my role was to teach her how to use it. Try explaining how to use a mouse to a person who has never used a mouse… "Why do you right click sometimes and left click other times?" "I dunno… you just do…" How do you teach home keys? "Why are the letters not in order?" "I dunno…that’s just the way it is…" I found some great online tutorials and my mom has been steadfast in her eagerness and determination to master this contraption. I have to be honest… I was dreading this… my mom is stubborn and impatient and does not listen… but I must tell you, it has been surprisingly quite wonderful. We have spent more time together these past couple of months than we have in the past ten years. She has had a chance to get to know me… I have gotten to know her. The best part… we actually enjoy each other’s company. I have shared in this forum in the past my mom’s trials and tribulations. She is a woman that is inspiring… just in her being. She is self taught, self disciplined, self determined, self made. She had nothing as a child, she had nothing when she came to this country…She had even less when my father was around. She put my brother and me ahead of everything… she has endured more pain and suffering and yet sacrificed more than anyone I have ever known in my life. She is a savvy businesswoman and has been quite successful. She lives modestly, however, she can afford much more than what she has. Her story is the American Dream personified and one that should be held up for others to see and be inspired.

The election upset my mother. Having her beloved adopted country much less her home Ohio --- Hamilton County--- Cincinnati go Democrat was more than she could take. She has never depended on anyone but herself to make things happen. She never depended on government or the welfare system to provide for her. My father was absent and never paid child support. She did it on her own… I can tell you that she is pissed… She is hurt… the people in the country she loves so much have become so dependent and so willing to hold out their collective hands to take something never earned is just beyond her comprehension. Her heart is broken, but not her spirit and definitely not her intestinal fortitude.

I share my mother’s sentiments.

Barack Obama is to be congratulated on running an excellent campaign. His election is historical and should be noted and commended. He will join a small fraternity of Americans -43 soon to be 44. President-elect Obama has my respect – he will be the President of the United States and I will always have respect for the office.

I must confess--- I was so depressed Tuesday night. Although President-elect Obama ran a centrist campaign, all roads for him lead to a very left leaning, dare I say it, Socialist mindset. All one has to do is listen to the NPR interview, look at those he associates with and see what his philosophy is. He is all about bigger government… he wants government to be the answer to all our woes.

Wednesday I woke up still depressed. I heard John McCain’s concession speech… I turned off the radio and listened to my iPod the rest of the day. As Wednesday rolled along, I became angry. I realized that had Senator McCain won, I would have been extremely disheartened and disgusted by his presidency. Senator McCain is a gentleman. He is exactly what he has always been. His life story is one we should all revere. It can be argued, he has sacrificed and put himself on the line for our country more than anyone in modern American history. There is no doubt Senator McCain as president would have been strong on the war against terror. However, he would have reached across party lines and compromised on things I as a conservative would never stand for. I still am not clear on how he was going to secure our borders... or not. He would have presented good candidates for the Supreme Court. However, Senator McCain as president would not have been about smaller government. I was not keen on voting for him until he brought Sarah on board. As a conservative, I was left without a candidate. Voting for Barr was not an option and as far as I was concerned a wasted vote. I voted for McCain, but more so and more importantly… I voted for Sarah Palin.

The latest trashing of Sarah has me infuriated. The fact that Senator McCain even after his campaign chose not to come to her defense adds to my reasons for why he is not our next president. McCain's staff trashing this woman makes me believe even more that he would have been left of center on many many issues. The election was not a landslide… we are very much a divided country. It is a cultural battle. Senator McCain was not the conservative we on the right crave and believe is needed for this great land. We wanted to believe... we needed to believe. We want smaller government. We want to live our lives and stay out of the way. We want the government to defend our borders. We want the opportunity to strive towards our American Dream-- whatever it might be. That’s it.

My grandmother, a staunch conservative, active politically throughout her adult life, a member of the greatest generation asked the rhetorical question… How did we get here? I guess it started just a little bit at a time… no one notices that way… little things… it starts in the schools… subtle changes to how kids are taught... what they are taught… kids playing sports… everyone gets trophies… there are no losers…everyone wins… we are politically correct... we have changed the culture by changing how we speak... smoking is bad for you… became the big tobacco devil… now the 2 smokers left in the country are lepers and considered subhuman…traffic cameras to catch speeders under the guise of keeping us safe but we know it is more about the ability for our local communities to collect extra money... motorcycle helmet and seat belt and child seat laws... of course all good ideas... but mandated by the government? Law abiding gun owners are required to register their guns. Certain guns are banned. Guns kill... Trans fats are now banned… There are mandates on fast food in some cities. Before too long the obese person or maybe the slightly overweight person in line at MacDonald's will be sent off to be with the smoking lepers. Fat people are too ignorant to make a decision on what to put in their body. Kids are not being taught American history--- . Celebrity worship...panems and circuses... We in this country have lost our moral compass and have muddied the waters on what is right and what is wrong. It is more important for men and women to be equal, subsequently, we have a bunch of girl like men while women call each other dude... and we are more promiscuous all because once upon a time we had to figure out what the definition of the word "is" is... Along the way we forgot that we are very different creatures. Women now instead of raising and nurturing children are substituting dogs to obtain that love. With Obama as president no one (except those making over $250,000--- $200,000--- $150,000) will have the burden of paying for everything… I guess I should be happy—Michael and I can sit back and let someone else pay our mortgage… pay for our gas… no more worries. I must ask though, what else is on that slippery slope? The slope has become much more steep... What is next? I suppose it is just a matter of time before we are required to purchase carbon offsets, experience rolling black outs on a regular basis, in some areas of our country water rationing, and taxation on the amount of garbage we generate.

We have entered the age of self entitlement and subsequently developed an insatiable dependency on the government tit to think for us and provide for us.

Senator Mitch McConnell will receive lots and lots of notes from me—more now than ever before. He isn’t the conservative I would like him to be… however, I’m watching him. I will make sure he knows what I think… He is the Republican Minority Leader in the Senate and has a lot of work ahead of him. Those of us in Kentucky, those of us across the country need to pay attention and make him understand.

So, I look to the horizon. I think of Ronald Reagan and his shining city on the hill and the beacon we are supposed to be… I think of morning in America… I will pray for President-elect Obama, as I have prayed for President Bush. I INTEND TO BE THE LOYAL OPPOSITION. Meaning, I will be loyal to the country, I will be loyal to the office of the President. However, I am here… I am watching… I will not be nice for the sake of being nice. I love this country and that will not change. I will stand by my conservative values and will do everything I can to keep her the land of the free and home of the brave.

The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself. - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

God Bless America

Have a great week everyone!

Update 11/10/2008 7:30 PM: It's a rare day when my Scootertrash Hubby writes a blog post-- Despite the date of 11/5--- he finished it today so go check it out. It's worth the read--- Go check him out here.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sunday Song, Price to Pay

Before playing this song--- please pause the streaming video I linked below from the McCain Campaign.

November 4- Country First

Sunny - Hi 73 Lo 58 for Baghdad, Iraq
Mostly Sunny - Hi 75 Lo 48 for Qandahar, Afghanistan
Cloudy - Hi 73 Lo 47 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Price to Pay, Blues Traveler


Don't buy into what the media is reporting --- don't buy the polls... vote on Tuesday. Our duty-- Our responsibility.

Re-elect Representative Geoff Davis from Kentucky's 4th District
Re-elect Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky

Allen West for Congress- Florida's 22nd District. I love this man... read this archived article from the American Spectator.
Bill Russell for Congress- Pennsylvania's 12th District. Another veteran--- but unlike the guy he is running against... Ex-Marine (not former Marine) accused Marines of murdering innocent Iraqi civilians.... accusations that have been found to be completely false... that son of a bitch has yet to apologize. Oh and the latest about Murtha--- calling his constituents racists and rednecks... nice.... Go Bill Go!!

John McCain for President.

Revisit Fred Thompson's speech at the RNC

"Now being a POW doesn't qualify anyone to be President, but it does reveal character. Strength, courage, humility, widsom, duty, honor. It's pretty clear there are two questions we'll never have to ask ourselves, Who is this man? And can we trust this man with the Presidency?

The same two questions should be asked of Barack Obama.
Who is this man? Can we trust him with the Presidency?

Anyone reading this that believes the money Senator Obama is referring to is money spent on the military...being redistributed to other more worthy programs... nah baby nah... that will just be the start... if you are a hard working American citizen... he will raise our taxes... will will lose more than just our money... I can not even begin to think about that...

God Bless America and may her people do the right thing on Tuesday.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Song, I Need a Lover

Remembering Mr. Kraus

Rain - Hi 71 Lo 63 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny - Hi 85 Lo 50 for Qandahar, Afghanistan
Sunny - Hi 65 Lo 36 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: I Need a Lover, Johnny Cougar
Before John Mellencamp was John Mellencamp, he was Johnny Cougar and then later John Cougar. This name was a record company decision and not his... Eventually he was able to be John Mellencamp. I like John Cougar and even some of the John Cougar Mellencamp stuff. . His breakout album of course was 1982's American Fool album-- the one that had Jack and Diane, Hurt So Good and my favorite from that album Have a Hand to Hold On To. The year I graduated was the year of "little pink houses"... Oh Gawd... yuck. But it also had the song Play Guitar which is simply fun. I like his older stuff... the Sunday Song is funny... there is a sense of humor to the lyrics and the composition of the song pulls you in and builds to a crescendo- an exclamation of needing someone that won't make him crazy! Along the way and over the years John became angry. He takes himself way too seriously. He also picked up the paint brush and has done some interesting art work. Like his present day persona, it is dark, thick, unattractive and angry. I'm not sure why the small town boy became so angry... maybe he has forgotten... something... I hope he can find his happiness. Life is too short.

As a kid, I was incredibly fortunate to have a great deal of stand out teachers. My Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Reed held my hand and introduced me to other kids in the class... being painfully shy... she took a great deal of time to make sure I was OK.

Mrs. Sleichter was about 102 years old when I had her as my 2nd grade teacher... Gawd she was mean. But for whatever reason, I really liked her. I remember there was this kid that was always throwing up in class, so the janitor would always have to come in and throw that kitty litter stuff down... I remember she was forever sending him to the corner because the kid got sick all the time. She insisted we were all old enough to realize when we weren't feeling well and should ask to be excused. She was a strict disciplinarian... and did not tolerate fidgety 7 and 8 year olds. Mrs. Sleichter was the only teacher to impose corporal punishment upon my behind...why? Because she had issued a dictate... "The next person to drop their pencil will go out in the hallway for a swat." Ya... you guessed it... I dropped my pencil...

My 4th grade teacher was Mrs. Carroll and I loved her... all the kids did... She was beautiful and smart and kind and generous and young. She read Ramona to us... This particular grade school was in a town that was supported by GM and the plant had closed... it was predominantly blue collar, unemployed, and single parent homes. My neighborhood was gross... I digress. Anyway the two 4th grade teachers took a great deal of time with the kids... We were pushed in reading and math and history. We were studying Japan and Mrs. Carroll asked if I would teach the rest of the students how to use chop sticks... That was disastrous... buttons and chopsticks everywhere... Because so many kids came from broken homes, Mrs. Carroll took time with each of her students. She was engaged and an active participant in our formative years. She called home and spoke to my mom on a regular basis. She knew our situation and how late my mom worked. Mrs. Carroll would often stay late at school with me to help ease some of the monetary woes my mom had and this helped a great deal with the cost of a sitter. Anyway, toward the end of the school year Mrs. Carroll indicated to the class that she was moving away and wouldn't be back. She was 24 and was moving with her husband to support him while he finished obtaining his Master's degree. We all cried. It was horrible. She promised to write all of us, but in turn we would have to write her. I kept in contact with Mrs. Carroll up through high school. She was a source of advice and friendship. She was a wonderful and kind person and I wish I had stayed in touch. I had heard that after she put her husband through several years of school and a number of affairs, he divorced her. Terrible.

Then in 8th grade I had Mr. Benton... my uncles and father had this man as a teacher... This man walked to the beat of his own drum and did not apologize for it. He was a large robust man with a large booming voice with a Kentucky accent. He had the same buzz haircut in the 70's as he did in the 50's. He wore black horn rimmed glasses, navy blue work pants and suspenders every day. He was the first history teacher I had that expected us to pay attention and to pay attention to what was happening in the world today. He loved our country and what it stood for. It was the first time I remember recognizing that sort of pride in someone outside my own family. He would make proclamations about organized religion and that if he wanted to go out in the front of the school yard and worship under the tree, he could do that. Why? Because this was America! A staunch conservative and a little crazy? Perhaps.

Mrs. Zando was our English Lit teacher and she introduced me to Shakespeare and the Greek and Roman gods and goddesses and all the wonderful mythological stories. She loved Shakespeare and it is because of her, that I have such an appreciation. At that time, my grandmother had given me a charm bracelet and each birthday and holiday she would add to it. Mrs. Zando asked if she could contribute to my bracelet. She gave me a delightful little silver Dutch shoe from when she had visited Holland... It is still on my charm bracelet. To this day, I love reading mythology.

High school brought a handful of teachers that made a difference in my life... Mrs. Brough, Mr. Wolfe, Mr. Enders--- he loved Dolly Parton, and Mr. Kraus.

Mr. Kraus is the reason for this week's post. Jimi, an old friend brought to my attention that Mr. Kraus had tragically died this past May. The news hit me like a ton of bricks. NO. This was not possible. Mr. Kraus was the only teacher I had all four years of high school. So, he literally watched me grow up.

He was one of my art teachers- being art class-- there was considerably less structure, the radio was usually playing in the background, kids talked and joked during class-- creativity was not inspired by a module of time but by life, so if one wasn't creative during the class... well, one had to be creative at home or before or after school. I never do well without structure. It is my nature to become lazy. Mr. Kraus was a good teacher. He encouraged me in my first couple of years of high school. He obviously realized my shy nature and worked to help me express through art. He pushed me to enter a couple of competitions and I did OK receiving recognition for my work. As a junior I was coming into my own, but at the same time I was more interested in being social and was not disciplined in maintaining my school work and it was easy to keep things from my mom. Besides, my creativity was in my head... actually putting brush to canvas or pencil to paper did not come naturally for me. I had to really focus... and practice... There were so many other kids that had this incredible gift... Jimi and Rodney. In any event the classroom was always loose and free spirited. I remember always laughing and having fun in his class. Mr. Kraus loved music. He was a huge fan of John Cougar. Jimi reminded me that Mr. Kraus had seen the Stray Cats and Jimi, Gary and I were so jealous. He also saw Men at Work and brought back a pin for me... I still have it. We talked about music and art and stuff...

The other thing... Mr. Kraus could not spell... he was horrible... another friend, Scott would mercilessly make fun of him. It was always in good spirit and fun.

Mr. Kraus was around for every single boy I dated during high school. He teased me about some of my selections...from a competing school. One day late in my junior year Mr. Kraus pulled me aside and asked me what I was going to do- what my plans were- he was disappointed because I had not really worked on pulling together a portfolio to get into art school. In fact, I had not even applied. He expressed his concern that although I had an eye for composition and perspective and story, I had not applied myself to learn fundamentals. He expressed his concern for my lack of discipline and he did not want to see me waste any of my talent. At the time I had picked up photography and was into that, but it was more of a means of documenting my teenage life and not an artistic outlet. His message was loud and clear and a pill I chose not to swallow. My senior year was filled with more of the same- fun and frolicking. Mr. Kraus was part of our lives and we enjoyed our time in his class. He pulled me aside one more time and asked me what I was going to do about college.

I told him I needed to work for at least a year before heading off to college. Grants and scholarships were not going to cover it and I wasn't about to ask my mom for assistance. He made me promise that I would never give up on art and asked that I keep in touch. I graduated and my life went on... it took a different direction than I expected, but one that I am quite happy with.

Over the years I have often thought of Mr. Kraus. I had promised Mr. Kraus I would come by and visit him but never did. He was good to me- he wasn't just a teacher, he was a friend and he wanted the best for us. He was honest with me and thought I was wasting my talent. When Jimi's sister died, I wanted to contact him. When Rodney committed suicide, I wanted to contact him. I never did. I wanted to invite him to my wedding but for whatever goofy reason, I changed my mind. So, this past week, Jimi told me about Mr. Kraus. He had Parkinson's Disease, was confined to a wheelchair, living in a nursing home... divorced with 2 kids... 20 and 16 years old. He had gone to see a band--- still passionate about live music. On his way home, he was hit by a car. Those on the scene performed CPR in an attempt to save his life, but it was too late. He was only 56 years old.

How cruel life can be... a man who used his hands and fingers to create- stricken with a disease that steals that gift from him.
I never had the chance to thank him. He was the first person in my life to offer me real constructive criticism... he was right... I did lack self discipline. I need structure, I know that about myself now... and I move through life accordingly.
Upon reading the news about Mr. Kraus, I wrote Jimi, "...despite his life situation, I hope and pray he was happy--proud of his kids-- still listening to music, appreciating art and finding that talented young soul-- that diamond in the rough. There were so many talented kids that went through his class. I pray even though he was alone that night, he wasn't alone in spirit and that he was loved. "

Teachers are amazing and wonderful creatures. You don't realize the lives you touch and to what extent. Mr. Kraus was only in my life for four short years, but the mark he left will remain with me always.

Although I never went back to visit Mr. Kraus, I did keep my other promise. I never gave up on art. It is still just as important to me today as it was 25 years ago. It is a rare day that I pick up my sketch pad, but I always stop and see the art. Thank you, Mr. Kraus.