This will be a shorter article than usual, and perhaps that is good
news to some. I do tend to be a bit wordy at times. But, I’ve gone and
caught the “cleaning flu” again, which, not being naturally domestically
oriented, is a rare occurrence. I fall short of being a hoarder but
I do have those tendencies, so I like to take full advantage when I
come down with it. Especially since the program “Hoarders” has been
added to my must-watch list.
This also allows me to reacquaint myself with my various “collections”
of elephants, eggs, books and tiny little decorated boxes among other
things. In fact, if I have 3 or more of any one thing it stands a strong
chance of turning into a new “collection.”
What this all means is that my energies were focused elsewhere when
I should have been preparing for this weeks article.
Happy Ramadan to
all my Muslim friends. Well, I don’t really have any Muslims friends
anymore, since I left college but just in case you’re reading this,
Ibtahal, Ramadan Mubarak. (I’m told that means Happy Ramadan, and I
hope I spelled your name right.) Thank you once again for the gift of
the Koran, which holds an honored place on my bookshelf next to my other
I’ve been seeing a lot about Ramadan in various publications and have
been collecting a lot of recipes for Ramadan. Not sure which fascinates
me the most, the spiritual aspect of Ramadan, or the prospect of a feast
at sundown for a whole month.
As most of us probably know by now, during Ramadan, Muslims abstain
from not only food but also water, during daylight hours. This goes
on for a whole month. That would be hard for me. My religion encourages
us to fast for a 24 hour period each month but we are allowed to drink
water. But fasting for a whole month? It’s a grueling task, even if
a person is a healthy individual. Especially since Ramadan falls during
the month of August this year. If one has a medical consideration, there
are provisions made. But I don’t think I could do it for a whole month,
even if it weren’t during the hottest part of the year. I have trouble
enough with 24 hours. Do you think you could?
FYI, children are normally not required to fast until puberty. Many
begin fasting during “middle-school” years.
Ramadan doesn’t begin officially this year until August 1. It begins
on a different date each year because it is based on a lunar calendar,
unlike our more commonly used solar calendar. The date advances 11 days
each year. Exactly when it begins depends on when and how the new moon
is recognized. This can be difficult considering what geographic area
is involved. Significant cloud cover can obscure the viewing of the
moon and so the start of the period may be delayed. Some people nowadays
prefer to go by astronomical calculations of when the new moon occurs,
rather than depending on eyesight.
During the time of Ramadan, Muslims are taught to focus more on spiritual
matters and forgo worldly pleasures. This includes resisting even the
thought of worldly pleasures. This is much like the Christian admonition
to be in this world but not of this world. It is also a time for increasing
charitable acts. Charity is important to Muslims, as it is one of the
five Pillars of Islam.
After not eating or drinking all day, the breaking of the fast or Iftar
is a time for gathering with family and friends and strengthening community
bonds. In some places community banquets are held and special banquet
tables are laid out for the poor. The meal traditionally is broken by
eating dates and followed by something light, perhaps soup, instead
of assaulting the digestive system with something too heavy right away.
There is a bit of a variation on how the fast is broken and how the
meal proceeds, depending on one’s culture. The month-end feast, called
Eid ul-Fitr, is a huge celebration, with a feast to rival almost any
Thanksgiving meal, so I am told. I wouldn’t mind experiencing that,
attending an Iftar or even better, Eid ul-Fitr. I enjoy experiencing
different cultures, especially if food is involved. In Muslim countries
there is a significant rise in food sales as well as medications to
treat digestive disorders during this period.
What about you, dear readers. Do you know any Muslims on a personal
level? Would you be interested in knowing any Muslims if you could?
How would you feel if a Muslim family moved in next door? Would you
go to their Ramadan celebration if invited? Is there a mosque close
to where you live? What do you know about the Koran, have you ever read
it, or even just parts of it? Have you ever researched Islam or do you
only know what you hear in the media?
Variety is the spice of life.
On This Article
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The older generation thought nothing of getting up at five every morning
- and the younger generation doesn’t think much of it either. - John
There is nothing more galling to angry people than the coolness of those
on whom they wish to vent their spleen. - Alexandre Dumas
worked for a while at a Wal-Mart store, selling sporting goods. As an
employee of Wal-Mart you are sometimes required to make store-wide announcements,
e.g., “I have a customer in hardware who needs assistance at the paint
One night a timid female voice came over the intercom system with the
“I have a customer by the balls in toys and need assistance.”
All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought
to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.
Grant me thirty years of equal division of inheritances and a free press,
and I will provide you with a republic.
In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is
the end. - all from Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian and political
scientist, born on this day in 1805
Wish It Was This Cold Again!
Most Embarrassing Moment
My Scariest Moment
Speak right up!
Insects are the largest population of living beings on this planet.
Since they are so small, and most of them stay in hiding for the most
part, their sheer population goes unnoticed except for entomologists.
Entomologists come in the paid and the unpaid varieties. I ahd
a friend that collected insects. He had quite the display of various
On one wall was dedicated to various species of beetles. In some
displays, brown bubble beetles were pinned to the display case.
In other ones, butterflies were in majestic display, wings spread to
show all their colors and patters. Not to be outdone, moths had
claimed another section. Although not as colorful, they had to
show their own beauty. The ants, not to be outdone, showed their
array of sizes and colors in a sheer overwhelming presence of numbers.
I was impressed with his collection, although in the back of my mind
I noted the whole of this collection were dead. No, he didn’t
have an "ant farm". He didn’t have a single living insect
in his whole collection.
I have not taken to studying the life cycles of any living thing, except
humans, and that mainly in watching the progress of my children, and
then my grandchildren as they grow and mature. I surely haven’t
stuffed, pinned, mounted, ok pinned or stuffed, or otherwise kept non-living
critters on display.
I have, however, collected quite an array of insects. For the
most part, in my process of collecting them, they have been very much
alive. To save you from a very boring history, I’ll only mention
the most recent of my collections.
A couple weeks ago, while out geocaching, I opened the cache container
only to find a very active nest of ants had taken up residence within.
Not only that, but they weren’t all that appreciative of exposing their
larvae to the bright sunshine. As I extraced the log to note our
success, the ants chose to sarm all over my arms, using them as bridges
to tender areas of my body. The term "ants in your pants"
denotes a sense of nervousness. Let me tell you, it is an aptly
coined term, if not descriptively accurate.
Another outing this season seems to have been timed well with weather
and climate conditions well suited to the benefit of ticks. Finding
a small creature amongst the vast openness of prairie grasses would
seem to be difficult. Not so. It seems my abilities in locating
these small critters has been honed well in my growth in geocache locating.
Many times, I can return home and note a new member of the family, or
two, or three. I know they have to be family because we
share the same blood.
My most recent memory of collecting insects was very recent, as a matter
of fact. I invited a friend to go geocaching and even let him
pick the area we were to go. One of the caches in the park he
selected was named "Chigger".
The cache description included, "Ahh, the chigger, trombicula
autumnalis. This is a creature known all too well to most geo-cachers.
we were walking through the park on a great sunny day I found the perfect
hiding place for the cache and as I was marking the coords TheQueen
said "hey look, a throne just for me". It happens that very
near the cache site was the stump of a sawed tree with a back that did
look like a throne, so she sat down for a couple minutes while I made
Long story short, when we got home she was covered with more chiggers
in places you don’t even want to know. So what else could we name this
to the wise, it’s time to get out the bug spray."
I hadn’t read the cache description and hadn’t used bug repellent.
Luckily, I hadn’t found the "throne" so I didn’t sit down.
However, I did manage to collect more than my share of chiggers.
Now my legs look like a relief map of the hills of Kentucky where we
were hiking. To my benefit, I was wearing only socks & shorts
below my waist, so they didn’t climb too far.
I think I shall take a hiatus from bug collecting for a while.
Instead, I’ll test the effectiveness of bug repellent, even if I am
Here’s your quiz:
What was the worst bug experience you had?
Have you been "eaten up" by vampire bugs?
What was the most effective bug repellent you’ve ever used?
Bugs - Not Just A Cartoon Bunny
Cliff (the High-Tech Redneck who doesn’t rate a fancy ’signature pic’)
on this article
Overcoming the Odds
A subject I feel quite strongly about as it personally affected my
life. Shyness. When I was growing up, I had my friends, but in a group
or when it came to activities, I hid in a corner. I truly believe
I was a good enough baseball player to have played or at least to
have a shot at minor league and definitely good enough to play small
college basketball, but I never went out for the team.
What causes a person to be shy?
For me, I was an only child, my mother worked at nights and my father
was a drunk. I had little self-esteem. When I graduated from high
school at 17, I joined the USAF and started to come out of my shell.
A friend in the USAF encouraged me to play basketball for the base
team, to play baseball for the base team(with Ernie Banks’s brother),
to play volleyball.
However, I was probably about 38 before I really started to come out.
I hated myself. To know you can do something, but you do not attempt
it because of your shyness is a huge problem and a vicious cycle.
I have meet many shy people and have since tried to talk them into
a small change. The good news, is I wound up being President of a
local JC group, have worked as a counselor, done some preaching, have
had poetry published in two books, stories in several other books,
even had my own computer consulting company for seven years. I have
given speeches before hundreds of people. I still fight the urge not
to speak in front of groups, not to mix socially, but I do it because
not doing so would make me a prisoner. I hope this helps some of the
readers who may see themselves in this light. Take a step out and
step up. To try and fail is not failure, but to never try is failure.
On This Article
Kirsten is having dental work done and couldn’t write today. Here’s
an archive article from last year.
greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse."
~ Edmund Burke ~
my blog, Running for Autism
I got home from work on Tuesday, my younger son James greeted me at
the front door with a blue face. It wasn’t that he had used his face
as a Magic Marker canvas. It wasn’t that he’d eaten a cupcake with blue
icing, resulting in blue smudges around the mouth. It was that he’d
been on a field trip to the park and had his face painted as Blue, of
Blues Clues fame. It looked really cute, but it can be disconcerting
to get home and find your second-born looking like a goofy psychadelic
half an hour later, James got tired of having a blue face, and he asked
to wipe it clean for him. I checked on George, who was running around
in the back yard, and then, armed with a wet cloth and a four-year-old,
I sat on the couch. I’d gotten about halfway through the clean-up job
- meaning that James now looked even weirder than he had to begin with
- when I heard a shrill scream coming from outside.
later, George came tearing into the house and launched himself onto
the couch, still screaming. I was suitably alarmed. My husband flew
out into the back yard to make sure there were no psychopaths lurking
there, and I started checking my son for blood and broken bones. Initially
I didn’t see anything wrong, and the only indication of a problem was
George’s ear-splitting screaming and frantic hand-flapping. I tried
to ask him what was wrong, but I didn’t really expect an answer out
of him. Child with autism, limited verbal skills at the best of times,
and in an absolute state - talking was not going to happen.
he started scratching his legs frantically, almost manically. He scratched
so hard that he actually drew blood. That’s when I saw the bee stings
- two of them, one on each leg. His first bee stings - no wonder the
poor child was so upset. I’ve tried to teach him basic safety, of course,
but I’ve focused on things that posed an immediate threat. Crossing
the road without looking. Touching a hot stove. Stranger danger. Internet
safety. Somehow, the subject of bee stings has never really been a priority.
And so, in his understanding, he was playing outside and suddenly experienced
unexplained pain in both legs. Add to that the physical hypersensitivity
that is part and parcel of his autism, and we have a picture that is
not at all pretty.
the same thing I always do when George is freaked out about something.
I opened my arms and wrapped George in the biggest hug I could. My heart
twists when either of my kids is in pain, and sometimes a hug is the
only thing that will help them. In the case of George, the deep pressure
of a hug is physically soothing. It makes him feel grounded and secure;
it helps the panic abate.
by little, the screams got softer and then petered out. The crying was
gradually replaced with quietness punctuated by an occasional sniffle.
George was still trying to scratch his legs, so I didn’t release my
hold on him. A bottle of anti-itch lotion appeared from somewhere. I
applied it, which involved a whole new struggle. In the meantime, James,
who had initially been a bit put out by the abrupt shift in attention,
declared that he was the doctor and he would take care of George. He’s
very sweet that way, James is. When George is upset, he always wants
an active part in caring for his brother.
in the evening, when relative calm had returned to the household, I
was moving around the kitchen in a bit of a trance, preparing dinner
and lunches for the following day. I was startled out of my reverie
by a loud clatter-bang-bash-shriek coming from the direction of the
stairs. Initially I thought one of the kids had accidentally dropped
something down the stairs. It wouldn’t be the first time: on many occasions,
we have discovered that Lego or Thomas the Train characters make a very
loud noise when dropped down a set of hardwood stairs. This time, however,
the howls of outrage were my first clue that something was wrong.
was James. He had tried to bring down the stairs, in one go, Lightning
McQueen, Doc Hudson, Mack, Sally, Mater, the Sheriff, Fillmore, and
the Dinoco helicopter (anyone with a son under the age of ten will know
who these are and what James’ current obsession is). Because he was
carrying so much stuff, he was not able to hold the handrail, and because
he was wearing socks, he slipped on the hardwood.
the end of the day, both of my boys were fine. George wasn’t allergic
to bees and James didn’t have any broken bones. The only real casualties
- apart from the bees that died while stinging George - were my nerves
and my blood pressure.
On This Article
I had to take TJ, the golden retreiver to the vet yesterday. He has
an ear infection, which is common for floppy eared mutts like him. When
I think of how much I love TJ, I am amazed at the way other people treat
these precious beasts. Yes, I am so angry about this that I can’t even
snark at the gov’ment, so you know I’m serious.
As we were waiting our turn, a guy walked in carrying a large dog. The
beast was a 4 month old puppy. The guy who brought him in said he belonged
to his brother. He got it for $100.00 because its siblings kept beating
up on it, and that’s why it had scars.
The next phone call I overheard was the man telling his brother that
the dog’s brain was "fried" because of heat stroke. He told
the woman behind the counter that he had "only been in the sun
for 25 minutes. Here’s my take. If one of you has a less melignant explanation,
I’d love to hear it. It would make me feel much better.
I think the dog was left in a car with the windows closed. I also think
he was used for dog fighting. Puppies may snap and snarl at each other,
but I’ve never seen one that was scarred because of it. It also puzzled
me that he felt obliged to explain the scars.
G-d help us humans if we don’t learn to respect other life forms. I’m
not a vegetarian, but I do get angry when food animals are treated cruelly.
I can’t understand why people kill wild life for sport, but if they
do it quickly, it would be hypocritical of me to complain, as long as
they eat what they kill.
However, we are so careless of the suffering of our children, animals,
and anyone or thing else that can’t defend itself that I almost hope
for a judgment day. I’m not so much interested in punishing the wrongdoers
as making them understand that the human race isn’t the only life form
capable of suffering.
I promise, I’ll get back off my soap box by Monday, but I am so heart
broken right now that I had to vent. And, yes, I am going to call TJ’s
vet and see if he came to the same conclusion I did. It needs to be
reported to the police if I’m right.
On This Article
Well, LDO and I are at the "Bash", so enjoy these offerings
as we enjoy your "suggestions". *grin*
I promise not to tell which of us did which. What goes on at the
Bash, stays at the Bash!
The chickens chased after the bug…
Here’s a great new rhyming/composition tool. http://www.writerhymes.com/
There’s also a great rhyming dictionary at http://www.rhymezone.com/
Limerick rules. http://freespace.virgin.net/merrick.sheldon/limerickrules.htm
Cliff and others went to the Bash
First problem was the bar, it was cash.
In their pockets they dug deep
But money, it seems they could not keep
So they ordered, three waters and one sour mash.
- Bonnie >^..^<
Cliff, and others went to the Bash…
The main entree was corned beef hash…..
The ate and ate ’til they got their fill…..
Ate so much that it turned into swill…..
And they had to throw up in the trash.
and others went to the Bash…
They got a wild idea and decided to "flash"…..
All the folks at the party…..
And they laughed really hearty…..
As they did their twenty yard dash.
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think you’re on the right track. We’re supposed to eat fast foods,
and go to our doctors for the latest pharmacueticals. That’s what
keeps our for profit medical industry, insurance companies, and pharmacuetical
companies in business. That, and McDonald’s and Walmart wil be the
only jobs left in America. Me, I eat what I want. Mostly healthy,
a few indulgences, and I take my supplements. I can’t remember the
last time I saw a doctor, but it’s been a while. They’d lock me up
as a heretic if they could catch me. - L&K, herm
can see the FDA coming down on claims of medicinal benefit of foods.
Look at all the acai berry claims of almost supernatural benefit that
went wild a while back. I think it is a good thing to limit the advertising
claims. It was very misleading.
Sure, there are healthy benefits in everything we ingest. If nothing
else, we get important calories to burn. To claim medicinal benefit
is usually a gross exaggeration. I did a personal survey and calculated,
if I were to eat or drink those foods and/or supplements that advertised
health benefit, I would live to about 812 years old. I know this isn’t
going to happen. And they shouldn’t be able to advertise that it will.
definitely know some foods are aids to being healthy! I grow Red Lake
Currants in my back yard and make currant jelly. This extremely old
European fruit has been used as a digestive aid for centuries, and
I know it works! It’s also a little known fruit. It contains enough
pectin to jell without using commercial pectin, too. In fact, I have
a small batch of Blueberry & Currant jelly. Blueberies don’t have
pectin. Combined, the two berries produced a really tasty treat! Currant
jelly was a mainstay item in my grandmother’s pantry, and the fruit
used to teach me how to make jams and jellies. The berries can also
be dried or frozen and used in place of cranberries (another healthy
fruit whose juice is often recommended by doctors because it reduces
development of kidney stones) in all sorts of recipes. - Nancy L in
drug companies are behind the move to get vitamins and other foods
that claim to make you healthier off the market. Activia just had
to pay a huge settlement for saying their yogurt was good for the
digestive system. The government is trying to control fatty foods
because they don’t want to pay for all the health related problems
that stem from obesity. Now they are talking about taxing junk food!
With Obama care in our future, it is only going to get worse unless
we get a president with some ________(fill in the blank. Have you
seen how they are trying to control the internet and even the radio
now? - Mare in Mare-land
would be nice to find some middle ground between not advertising the
health benefits of good food, and the wild claims that often accompany
medicine, to make it more effective. If you read the ads in a health
food magazine, you’d wonder why anyone stays ill for more than a week
with anything. However, all the legislative action around good food,
organics, supplements, and so on has been about improving market share
for the biggest companies by stamping out the competition, which is
healthier overall. The USDA Organic label is almost a joke now.
Canada has a similar body of laws around food and advertising, and
Europe is having a major skirmish on the legality of vitamin supplements
now. There’s more profit in curing a vitamin deficiency disease than
in preventing it.
I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life, and eat mostly whole foods,
with organic supplies where they are available and not too expensive.
I avoid artificial food, high-fructose corn syrup, etc. - almost any
non-organic corn is Genetically Modified to include poison, so I avoid
it almost entirely. As for fast food, most of my recipes take 20 min
max, using one burner, and still taste OK cold for instant snacks.
I use no microwave, go easy on the plastics and aluminum, use a few
high-nutrition additives like wheat germ, brewer’s yeast, and vitamin
D, and sometimes other vitamins, and use butter, olive oil, honey,
herbs and spices. I use a bread machine to make nice heavy bread,
and make my own granola, humus, sprouts, carrots, etc. But I need
more exercise to stay fit and healthy at 62. A bigger community gave
more excuses to ride a bike. BTW, if you think you can’t commute by
bike, there’s one basic reason - you didn’t use a bike to shop for
the job and home you have. Usually, you can change either one and
eliminate a car, which does wonders for your budget. - Bob of the
Re: Mr. Kobobel
I will try to keep readers informed if I run into more stories about
Mr. Kobobel, but I never said how I personally feel. Frankly, I’m
not sure how I feel about it. Part of me applauds the demise of the
creep that caused the whole thing. I’m sure most of you feel the same
I’m not so sure that most see the down side of what he did. He took
matters into his own hands, and attacked his robber with a deadly
weapon of his own, his car, and ultimately he killed him. Where are
the lines supposed to be drawn?
I don’t know, but I’ve heard it said (not so) jokingly that "he
needed killin’" is a legal defense in Texas. I’m doubtful that
any charges will be filed, but you never know.
I’m ultimately torn between sympathy for the victim and understanding
what drove him to chase the other man down, and an understanding that
even people who don’t consider what they’re doing to be wrong can
I’m honestly on the fence on this one, but if I hear more about how
this story ends I’ll pass it on. - Bruce
glad that I’ve always lived with frogs around, despite their problems
elsewhere, but it is the re-appearance of earthworms after the frost
that amazes me most. Seeds are pretty amazing, too.
This year I’ve only had a couple of days that I’d call close to hot,
and maybe a week of using a house fan at night to keep the refuge
comfortable, so no, it hasn’t been hot enough for me yet. - Bob of
Disclaimer- All quotes printed in this publication are believed to be
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attributed, or even outright false quotes won’t get in here from time
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quotes, and will print a retraction as soon as I become aware of any errors.
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