Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.
It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn't been enough money to buy me the rifle that I'd wanted so bad that year for Christmas.
We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. So after supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn't in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn't get the Bible, instead he bundled up and went outside. I couldn't figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn't worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.
Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. "Come on, Matt," he said. "Bundle up good, it's cold out tonight."
I was really upset then. Not only wasn't I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We'd already done all the chores, and I couldn't think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one's feet when he'd told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn't know what.
Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn't going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up the big sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn't happy.
When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. "I think we'll put on the high sideboards," he said. "Here, help me."
The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high sideboards on.
When we had exchanged the sideboards Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood---the wood I'd spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. "Pa," I asked, "what are you doing?" "
You been by the Widow Jensen's lately?" he asked.
The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I'd been by, but so what? "Yeah," I said, "why?"
"I rode by just today," Pa said. "Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They're out of wood, Matt." That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him.
We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand. "What's in the little sack?" I asked.
"Shoes. They're out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn't be Christmas without a little candy."
We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen's pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn't have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn't have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us. It shouldn't have been our concern.
We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, "Who is it?"
"Lucas Miles, Ma'am, and my son, Matt. Could we come in for a bit?"
Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.
"We brought you a few things, Ma'am," Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children---sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn't come out.
"We brought a load of wood too, Ma'am," Pa said, then he turned to me and said, "Matt, go bring enough in to last for awhile. Let's get that fire up to size and heat this place up."
I wasn't the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and, much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks and so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn't speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy filled my soul that I'd never known before. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.
I soon had the fire blazing and everyone's spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn't crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. "God bless you," she said. "I know the Lord himself has sent you. The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us."
In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I'd never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it.
Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.
Tears were running down Widow Jensen's face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn't want us to go. I could see that they missed their pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.
At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, "The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We'll be by to get you about eleven. It'll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn't been little for quite a spell." I was the youngest. My two older brothers and two older sisters were all married and had moved away.
Widow Jensen nodded and said, "Thank you, Brother Miles. I don't have to say, "'May the Lord bless you,' I know for certain that He will."
Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn't even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, "Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn't have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that. But on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. So, Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand."
I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Just then the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen's face and the radiant smiles of her three children. For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
They are certainly acting in furtherance of the crime. Without their business, the porn dealers wouldn't be selling it.
Arrgh! String 'em all up by their balls.
Monday, December 22, 2008
MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. — All Jeanna Grcich wanted for Christmas was for her daddy to come home. On Wednesday, the 8-year-old got her wish when Sgt. Chris Grcich appeared in her classroom at Nelson-Wilks-Herron Elementary School after serving nine months in Iraq.
After standing in shock for a second, Jeanna dropped the Christmas card she and her sister, Caitlyn, 9, had been making for him and they both ran into his arms.
“Happy birthday, sweetheart,” Chris Grcich told Jeanna, whose birthday was on Tuesday and who wished for him to come home when she blew out the candles.
Merry Christmas, kids.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Hey Citi, when you screw everyone, while at the same time you are screwing your loyal customers harder, you create hard feelings. No pun intended. You screw me, I tell you to go to hell. Fair is fair. Hopefull, enough other people will do the same that you are forced to sell all of your holdings to a bank capable of customer servie, while also making sound financial decisions. You know, a bank run like a business instead of a mugger/freelance dom.
You lost me, a loyal, regular customer of 10 years. I have never so much as made a single late payment to you. Then, you double my interest while stealing my tax money.
Oh well. I am a staunch and unapologetic believer in personal rights, personal liberty and personal responsibility.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Women often can't tell the difference between being polite and being submissive. We believe we have to be accommodating to perfect strangers. We fear being thought of as anything other than "nice." We apologize too much and for no good reason. We are the first to offer up that fake smile, the one that says, "Please don't hurt me. See? I'm harmless."
Act like prey and that is exactly what you will become.
Found via Tam.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Brittany Zimmerman, a 21-year-old college student who wanted to be a doctor, called 911 as she was being attacked by a stranger, police say.
Brittany Zimmerman's screams and struggle for her life were captured by a 911 tape.But the police did not come for 48 minutes. By that time, Zimmerman was dead. Her fiance found her body.
Just to be clear, this:
Zimmerman managed to call 911 at 12:20 p.m. The call was taken by the Dane County 911 center and an internal investigation revealed the dispatcher did not hear any sounds that would signal an emergency.
Because of that, police were not sent to the apartment until 48 minutes after Zimmerman made the call. Her fiance was already there.
The call was taken by the Dane County 911 center and an internal investigation revealed the dispatcher did not hear any sounds that would signal an emergency.apparently does not conflict with this:
Brittany Zimmerman's screams and struggle for her life were captured by a 911 tape.48 minutes is a LOOOONG time.
As you know, the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2008 landmark District of Columbia v. Heller ruling finally affirmed that the Founders fully intended the Second Amendment to protect an individual right to own and bear arms. The renowned Second Amendment scholar and lawyer Dr. Stephen P. Halbrook, Research Fellow at The Independent Institute, was key to the Heller victory—as well as to three previous gun-rights victories in cases before the Supreme Court. And his definitive defense of the Second Amendment is now available in The Founders’ Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms the first in-depth, book-length account of the origins of the Second Amendment and the most readable, comprehensive, and compelling work ever assembled arguing that the right to own a gun is as fundamental under the U.S. Constitution as freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Yet, even before the ink was dry on the Heller decision, efforts were underway in Washington, D.C., to resume the assault against gun rights. Further, and despite the rhetoric, both President-elect Barack Obama and his choice for Attorney General, Eric Holder, have repeatedly opposed Second Amendment rights, and any new federal judge appointments will likely be similarly biased.
Thus, preserving our constitutional rights will hinge on our ability to educate the American people on the imperative of Second Amendment rights. The Supreme Court’s Heller decision has provided us with an unprecedented opportunity to do this.
And now we have the tool to do so. Fascinating, seminal, and inspiring, The Founders’ Second Amendment is the perfect way both to educate ourselves and to reach friends and family who don’t yet understand Second Amendment rights. Our goal is to reach one million Americans with Steve Halbrook’s book during the Holiday Season and throughout the New Year ahead. Will you help?
Let’s make the Second Amendment Book Bomb a publishing phenomenon so great that even the mainstream media will have to take notice. Let’s spread The Founders’ Second Amendment so far and wide that Americans across the political spectrum, and all walks of life, will be discussing the Second Amendment in every possible venue.
With your help, we can make Stephen Halbrook’s book #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. To make this happen, please pledge to buy at least one copy of the book before or on the December 15th Second Amendment Book Bomb date (or even afterward, if this is your only option), and then spread the word to others. Let’s make this the most amazing and explosive event ever on the right to bear arms, and declare in no uncertain terms that the Second Amendment will be around for a very long time to come.
The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act used the $700 billion economic rescue package to gain enough votes. Along with financial rescue came federally mandated insurance equality for people with mental illness.
"Finally it's being recognized," said Pat Schwartzhoff of Rochester, who has experienced depression and talks at school assemblies about mental illness. The bill passed in October and was signed into law by Pres. George W. Bush.
The mental-health equality portion of the bill is just as significant for many people as the Americans with Disabilities Act, which in 1990 banned discrimination against people with disabilities.
Mental illness insurance coverage must now equal coverage for physical illness.
So tell me, do you think this will make health insurance cheaper, or more expensive? This is government regulation raising costs for everybody, to benefit a small percentage of the population.
This is also inappropriate for an inclusion in a mortgage bailout.
I love it when politicians make economic policy by consulting a Ouija board instead of an economist or historian.
Speaking to ABC's "This Week," McCain was asked whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin could count on his support.
"I can't say something like that. We've got some great other young governors. I think you're going to see the governors assume a greater leadership role in our Republican Party," he said.
He then mentioned governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Jon Huntsman of Utah.
Monday, December 15, 2008
In the United States, the Bill of Rights is the name by which the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are known. They were introduced by James Madison to the First United States Congress in 1789 as a series of constitutional amendments, and came into effect on December 15, 1791, when they had been ratified by three-fourths of the States. The Bill of Rights limits the powers of the federal government of the United States, protecting the rights of all citizens, residents and visitors on United States territory. Thomas Jefferson was the main proponent of the Bill of Rights
Friday, December 12, 2008
Bipartisan talks on the auto rescue broke down over GOP demands that the United Auto Workers union agree to bring their pay into line with Japanese carmakers by 2009.
Excellent. If we're going to socialize the Big 3(again), this needs to be addressed. "We'll help you stay afloat, but only if you let go of the anchor."
Of course, this is just a stalling technique. The GOP holdouts will ignore their principles and their principals in exchange for enough pork, which will inflate this communist bailout from $14 billion to at least $30 billion. JAFP.
As I said here, "I've never owned anything but American cars, but, if the bailout passes, I'll never own another."
Try to imagine poker game.
You and four of your friends decide on a friendly game one evening. Sitting down at the table, you decide on nickel stakes, but nobody has any nickels. Everyone has dollars.
So, upon finding a box of paper-clips, it is agreed that they will serve as tokens in the game. Each paper-clip will represent a nickel.
Everyone buys in for a dollar. Each person receives twenty paper-clips.
The game starts. Round & round it goes. Everyone has had a good time, and it's time to cash out. The paper-clips are gathered, whereupon it is now discovered that someone has sneaked ten paper-clips onto the table during the game. There are now 110 paper-clips representing five dollars.
Question: what has happened to the value of each paper-clip?
That is inflation, ladies and gentlemen.
Very clearly explained.
Man, 50, accused of using squirt gun to spray fox urine on teen pranksters
WILLMAR, Minn. — A 50-year-old rural Willmar man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor charges stemming from a homecoming week incident that allegedly included spraying toilet-papering teens with a squirt gun filled with fox urine.
Such a shame. And the lesson learned by the kids is...if you get caught, blame the victim? If the brats wouldn't have been vandalizing the man's house, they wouldn't have been sprayed. Quite frankly, they are lucky he assumed they were pranksters and had a squirt gun instead of a shotgun.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
During World War II, four Jewish brothers escape their Nazi-occupied homeland of West Belarus in Poland and join the Soviet partisans to combat the Nazis. The brothers begin the rescue of roughly 1,200 Jews still trapped in the ghettos of Poland. The film tracks their struggle to evade invading German forces while still maintaining their mission to save Jewish lives.
During the current recount, I'd like you to remember one thing.
By voting for the $700 billion communist bailout, you have abandoned your conservative base. Barkley was a protest vote for many, many conservatives. If you could have maintained conservative standards during the bailout, the protest voting would not have happened and you would have won by a landslide.
If you lose the election during the recount, it will have been because of your actions. Communist policy does not win conservative votes.
Sent this morning.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
If they can't manage bankruptcy, Toyota and Honda will buy up the piece, I'm sure. They'll move it all to a state that allows businesses to succeed and give us better cars cheaper.
Deficit leads to questions about newly approved amendment
Now that Minnesota is facing a $5.2 billion budget deficit, many are questioning a sales tax increase approved last month to fund the arts and outdoors.
No way. Idiots vote for a tax increase in the middle of a recession, then question their own wisdom one month later, when they realize recessions hurt.
Some lovely politicians are already looking for a way to subvert the amendment for their own pet projects.
Some at the State Capitol said with major budget cuts looming taxpayers should be paying for more important things like education or healthcare.
"We're saying that these things have a priority now than basic healthcare for human beings and school teachers and the like," said House Minority Leader Marty Seifert.
Who didn't see that coming? Oh, sorry. The majority of voters didn't see that coming.
Here's an idea: Don't give the government more power! It never works as promised!
It looks decent.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Air Defense Radar: "Unknown aircraft at (location undisclosed), you are in Iranian airspace. Identify yourself."
Aircraft: "This is a United States aircraft. I am in Iraqi airspace."
Air Defense Radar: "You are in Iranian airspace. If you do not depart our airspace we will launch interceptor aircraft!"
Aircraft: "Roger that. This is a United States Navy F-18 fighter jet. Send 'em up!"
Air Defense Radar: ............... (no response ... total silence)
Friday, December 5, 2008
Parents, don't trust the most valuable thing in your life to strangers on Craigslist. Don't.
Who actually thinks it's a good idea to leave a 2 year old baby girl with a strange man in his twenties? Decision making skill sometimes need to be taken out and polished.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
And you find that you wouldn’t have it any other way."
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The proper role of our government is clearly defined by the Constitution. The people in charge of interpreting the Constitution should be able to pass a seventh grade English test, and should NOT be allowed to possess a law degree. The Constitution is clear and unambiguous, in all cases. Any debate about the meaning is, quite simply, a willful misinterpretation.
Laws exist to protect property. What else could laws possibly be for? My life and my body are my property.
Government exists to enforce laws.
Therefore, government exists to protect property.
The first sign of a government in decline is when it fails its primary function, which, for those not following along, is to protect property.
A government that exists to protect the government is a government on the road to failure.
Socialism denies property, therefore, socialist governments are governments in decline.
Above all else, what I want out of my government is the same thing the founding father's worked hard to ensure. Leave me the hell alone to sink or swim on my own merits, or lack thereof. I don't need your intervention. I don't need your bailout. The coddling the government provides does nothing but breed dependence. Make people stand on their own two feet and you will find that (surprise, surprise) they can.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Our next layer is lighting. Lighting is our best “deterrent from a distance”. If a house looks well-lit, with an inconvenient lack of shadows and motion sensor lights by each of the entrances, it is more likely to be considered a poor target for intruders. Lighting comes in three essential stages, two of which do not come into play until the burglar is actually in your house, but we will address all the stages here.
Install motion activated floodlights by every entrance. If possible install the light above easy reach, to prevent an intruder from simply unscrewing the light bulb. If that’s not possible, try to find a light with a locking grate over the bulb opening. This will force an intruder to be visible while he tries to enter your home. It also makes it easier for you to get your keys into the lock when you come home at night. Be sure your exterior lights illuminate the "hidden" entry and/or ambush points, like rear doors and windows, walkways, shrubs and garage entries. Keep your bushes trimmed away from your house, to avoid giving an intruder a place to hide while he works. Don't make his job easy for him!
In addition, put a nightlight in the living room area, away from the safe room. This will effectively disable a burglar’s night vision. It will also silhouette the intruder if you come into the room. It has the added benefit of allowing you to see where you are going if you need to get up in the middle of the night. Emergency nightlights with light sensor and "no power" detection are the best choice. Consider putting some of your lights on timers, or installing a FakeTV, to simulate activity when you are not home. If it looks like you are home, burglars are less likely to attempt entry.
Finally, have a flashlight with batteries available at the bedside of everyone in the house to see in the dark. This will allow everyone the ability to see if there is a problem at night, whether it is an emergency or a simple power outage. A stout flashlight can also double as a self defense tool, if necessary. Check the batteries when you check your smoke alarms. LED or crank-powered flashlights last a long time, with very little maintenance.
Michelle Obama is to receive this £20,000 thank you from her husband for her support during the election.
The Harmony ring is made of rhodium - the world's most expensive metal --and encrusted with diamonds. It is being hastily made by Italian designer Giovanni Bosco in time for January's inauguration ceremony.
Only about 25 tons of rhodium are mined each year, mostly in South Africa, and as a result its price is typically around £5,000 an ounce.
This is the metal used when gold and platinum are considered too "common". Somebody thinks he's been elected king, I think.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Event #2 - The Surge. The first full contact event. The moment the doors to the playing field are opened, the competitors must race to enter the store, as the
Event #3 - The Dynamic Obstacle Course/Treasure Hunt. An event with no time limit. Competitors must race around the store collecting tacky under-built prizes before any other entrant. This is also a full contact event. Elbows are the traditional weapon of choice, but not the only one, by any means. Points will be deducted for the use of courtesy or manners.
Event #4 - Math Challenge. Contestants must bring their accumulated prizes to the front of the playing field and submit them for examination. The referee will announce a total prize value, which the contestant must attempt to meet or beat with peeling plastic status tokens. Full contact in this event is grounds for dismissal.
Event #5 -The Great Escape. Contestants must rush their prizes through the parking lot, load their cars, pile the children on top of the prizes and hurry to the next stage, a playing field with identical rules, and a different logo by the entrance. Event #1 is almost always skipped for extended stages. Later in the day, event #2 is also generally bypassed.
What a freaking waste. There is no deal so good that I am willing to subject myself to the Competitive Shopping Pentathalon. I went out for lunch and a haircut on Friday. Spent the rest of the day playing with the Wally-Spawn.