Sunday, December 31, 2006

And Another Year Bites the Dust

Let's usher the New year in with a smile, your choice of bubbly whatever, delicious eats and tons of good wishes. Here is wishing you all a cheerful Happy New Year.

2007, C'mon Down!

Ok here's some fashion looks to leave in 2006 per and me.

Fingerless Gloves
Radar says they "..never made anyone look "biker-tough" or "rock-n-roll chic".
I say, they never made anyone look biker-tough or rock-n-roll chic. Well, Madonna did it wayy back in the Material Girl days and it worked with the rest of her mish-mosh, but not on you. Yes, I've seen you in Chicago, in the winter heading to the emergency room to donate a couple phalanges.

Giant HeadPhones
I agree with Radar, this pretentious look is over. You are not a DJ or directing traffic at Midway OK! And I've seen you on bikes wearing these HUGE things that not only make you unable to hear but now you have no peripheral vision. Please stop it.

Cardigans Worn Over Shoulders
Radar says some think it's still Ralph Louren country club classiness and I agree it was. WAS. Barbara Walters does this constantly. Nuff said.

Sunglasses Worn Inside
This, per Radar means "I'm dying for attention." So unless there's an army ofpaparazzi standing by to snap your photo, just let it go. Well, I say this is harmless, unless your shades have white rims shaped like a heart. Also, if you wear big, very dark ones, don't be surprised when some do-gooder tries to help you walk. I've seen this happen, it's not pretty.

Muffin Top Look
This one is my addition and I say, YUCK! I know I'm ancient, but I am certainly not prudish and I know fashion is fun for young folk and all that, but YUCK. In my ancientness I thought at first that these young women just really had to wear low-riders even though they created an unsightly abdominal eruption all the way around the hip hugger area. Then I noticed no matter how thin the body was the eruption was still there. Finally, I learned the Muffin Top look was the desired effect. (These are conservative pics, believe me. It's usually more like the picture below).
Look, I like low riders (on other people) and love boot cut (c'mon they're bell bottoms) and I love the name, muffin top, cute, I but hope it stays in 2006.

Crack Exposure
You know what I'm talkin' bout. Going to the grocery store is the worse, with women bending to get items from the shelves. Some of course don't have to bend, it's there all the time for us to see. Now, put Muffin Top, Crack Exposure and a crack tattoo together. Yep, painful. I suggest you leave the crack attack to plumbers with tool belts. It's expected and accepted there. So unless you join the union and come to fix the sink, STOP IT!

I hope you weren't offended by any of this, it's all in fun and please know that I am only serious. I can't wait to see what 2007 brings.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Movies

Christmas season is a great time to watch movies. So get some hot apple cider and cuddle up with a Christmas classic. These are my annual favorites but I just know I've missed a couple so please feel free to remind me of others. They usually run these right through New Years, so go enjoy.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)- The first Peanut TV feature and the longest running cartoon special in history. Charlie Brown finds himself depressed at Christmas time, searching for the true meaning of Christmas amidst the commercialism of the season. Snoopy is no help because he and Woodstock are busy stringing lights on his doghouse for a decoration contest. Things get worse when Charlie Brown is fired from directing the school pageant, then ridiculed because he chose a spindly evergreen twig instead of a shiny aluminum tree. It all gets out of hand until Linus realizes Charlie Brown is right. They see the beauty in the tree and the real meaning of Christmas as Linus recites the story of Jesus' birth. His voice sets a tone full of wonder. This is my favorite scene followed by the children singing Hark The Herald Angels Sing .
Can't you hear Linus' voice

"...And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid ... And the angel said unto them, "Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ, the Lord."
"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

A Christmas Carol (1938)- Charles Dickens classic starring Reginald Owen as Scrooge and Gene Lockhart as Cratchit. You know the drill on this great story but it doesn't hurt to be reminded at least once a year.

A Christmas Story (1983)- Story of Ralphie (Peter Billingsly) the year he did everything possible to convince his parents to buy him a Red Rhyder BB gun for Christmas despite admonitions that he could "put your eye out". Narrated by grown up Ralphie with such love and wit and fake heroics of Ralphies thoughts absolutely captures the emotions and logic of childhood. There are many adventures including Ralphie's friend's tongue stuck to the flag pole and the bunny suit. Darren McGavin as the irritable foul mouthed father is beyond funny.

It's A Wonderful Life (1946)- Frank Capra classic with Donna Reed, Jimmy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore, Beulah Bondi. George Bailey gets a glimpse of what the world would have been without him. Excellent and hopeful.

Miracle on 34th Street(1947)- An amazing testament to making room for imagination and fantasy and belief for belief's sake.
Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara, John Payne and Edmond Gwen star. I love the scene when the prosecutors son testifies for the defense of Kris Kringle.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)- Animated feature based on the book by Dr. Suess. I actually saw it for the first time this year, I don't know why. I am adding it to my favorites because I enjoyed the songs the rhyme and Boris Karloff as narrator and Grinch.

Home Alone (1990)- Eight year old (Macaulay Culkin) is accidentally left behind when his family flies to France for Christmas. Enter the goofy burglars. Joe Pesci and the great Catherine O'Hara. Holiday romp for sure.

Frosty The Snowman (1969)- Frosty Along with Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer and Santa Clause Is Coming To Town are the videos every child should have in their collection. Frosty is the best coming to life the help with a magical top hat. Jimmy Durante narrates, Jackie Vernon is Frosty.

Bells of St. Mary (1945) Bing Crosby plays Father O'Malley coming from a big city Catholic school, to the small parish of Sister Benedict played by Ingrid Bergman. They have different ways of handling everything from the children to how to save the school from closing. I love Bergman teaching a boy to defend himself and then secretly watching him fight. I also enjoy the title song sung by the nuns. The harmony is beautiful. Nominated for 8 Academy Awards, won for best sound. Heartwarming.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945) Elia Kazan's first film is about the poor turn of the century Nolan family. Dorothy Mcquire is Katie Nolan who tries to hold things together and does. Johnny Nolan (James Dunn) is an alcoholic charmer with big dreams but no job. He is a doting father always promising, seldom delivering, but he is full of dreams and faith in his children especially young Francie (Peggy Ann Garner). Joan Blondell is Aunt Sissy the often married sister of Katie. Get your hankies ready for the emotional impact of this script and performances. Excellent.

Three Godfathers (1948) John Ford directed this film about three outlaws on the run, John Wayne, Harry Carey Jr., and Pedro Armendáriz, who help a stranded woman (Mildred Natwick) deliver a baby. They promise the dying mother to take the child to safety across the desert to the town of New Jerusalem. Lots of angst and funny scenes. I mean, John Wayne and a baby in the desert. But your heart strings and sense of justice get a workout too. Beautifully photograhed.

Holiday (1935) Directed by George Cukor, this is not only my favorite Christmas film but one of my all time favorites. Johnny Case (Cary Grant) falls for a millionaire's daughter and finds himself loaded down with obligations and expectations from her father. Johnny soon finds that Linda Seaton (Katherine Hepburn) and her brother Ned (Lew Ayres) are the black sheep of the Seaton family because they do not worship money and are not frozen into a conceited shallow lifestyle. Edward Everett Horton is marvelous as Johnny's best friend who is so out of place in the Seaton mansion until he goes up to Linda's playroom. I love the scenes in the playroom with the snobby cousins who have no idea why they Linda and Ned like it. Heart, wit and drama is Holiday.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Holiday Spear It!

Chicago, December 2006
He roams the streets, searching, driving up one street and down another, stopping to admire the religious wintry displays. Icicle lights dripping from eves and wrought iron banisters, and fragrant evergreen, holly berries and velvet ribbon bid welcome on doors. Sometimes animated reindeer graze while the child in the manger sleeps near his mother and the wise kings. This is beautiful, he loves it but it's not what he's after. Then, he sees one, and smiling, he looks around and notates the address. He must find more before he makes his move.
O K. He's found three, that's enough this time.

He makes his wicked approach in the dark, making sure even the glint of the blade is out of sight until the fatal moment. His victims are unaware, sleeping, lights out. His targets however are bright ones, shining, swaying in the quiet night. Scarlet suit and mittens, eyes twinkling or wearing only a hat and scarf, they are huge, massive, yet defenseless and doomed.

Bathed in the light of his targets he grabs hold of a mitten or corn cob pipe and plunges the knife in. The blunt sound is sometimes accompanied with a high pitched whirrrrrr. Now he pulls it out and moves away to watch at a safe distance. Sometimes the end is swift and violent and noisy...Bubububububububu bluba blub bl bl bl bl. Sometimes the end is slow and hissssing with simply folding and twisting over in a weird slump. Whichever, the once happy and bright, is now unrecognizable and grotesque.
Satisfied, the Snowman Slasher moves on to the next target. Then goes in for the night.

I wrote the above scenario while waitng in the car for Monica to come out of school. The Slasher is real, the scenario is mine. The whole thing struck me so damn funny. What can I say.

Then this next story came on the radio and again with my laughter. Is that wrong?
This is the real story from the Chicago Suntimes.

Dateline Chicago December 21, 2006
Wave of Jesus Thefts Hit Chicago
At this time of year little baby Jesus should be on everyone's minds but waking up to find 32 life-sized baby Jesus on your front lawn is probably more than anyone could bare.

Yet that's exactly what happened to a resident on Chicago's South side who woke to find dozens of plastic babies lined up along the fence in her garden.

The woman made the discovery following a traumatic week for South Side residents who were subjected to crime spree in which teenage pranksters stole Jesus dolls from nativity scenes in people's front gardens.

People looking to reclaim their own personal Jesus were directed by the Chicago police to a local church.

A spokesman said: 'Baby Jesus belongs in a nativity, not in evidence and recovered property, which is where they'll wind up if they're not claimed.'

OMG! What's wrong with people! It sort of reminds me of a scene in my favorite movie "Steel Magnolias" when Annelle made a wreath covered with little Jesuses explaining that the Christmas store had a closeout sale on Baby Jesuses so she just bought them all. Amazing.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Devine Intervention

I got an e-mail from Rev. Ann Marie Coleman (University Church) letting me know about a recent analysis of our President's so called AIDS Program. So called is right, Ann Marie!
The new report released December 1 st, by the Center for Public Integrity finds that President Bush's $15 billion dollar initiative to combat HIV abroad is failing.
The report is titled "Divine Intervention" because the Center found that the initiative's faith-based ideology - including promotion of abstinence - often trumps science.

The report is the finding of a year long investigation by reporters in eight countries, that examined the policies and goals of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The report states that the programs did not take into consideration realities of life in these nations such as; marriage at very young ages for females, the high rate of sexual violence against women, the severely limited educational and economic opportunities for women, and the fact that sex work is the only option for many women. Emphasis on abstinence as prevention, rather than condoms as protection, is not realistic. The programs even desparaged the use of condoms vs abstinence to the point of pointing out condom failure rate and NOT including the importance of condoms in educational materials.
Well folks, it looks like another "Just say No program". Yeah, that works.

The report states,
"PEPFAR is failing to stop the global spread of AIDS and failing to help lead the world to stop this deadly disease. Instead of empowering people we are restricting them. We have a flawed framework with flawed policies."

The U.S. agency implementing and managing PEPFAR is USAID.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency that provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States.

USAIDS HIV Prevention Program
"USAID seeks to work with communities to support a balanced and evidence-based “ABC” –Abstinence, Be faithful, and correct and consistent Condom use – approach to prevention. This involves the culturally and age-appropriate promotion of each of these elements in a manner that will prevent the most new HIV infections in a given setting and that will fundamentally ensure and protect the ability of girls and women to adopt such HIV prevention behaviors."

The A B C approach emphasized in that order, may work for some places on earth and are important goals but, what PEPFAR and USAIDS somehow miss is that these young girls and women often have no power over A and B. Before they can even think about A or B they need protection against rape, forced prostitution, and economical opportunities other than sex work. None of these are addressed in any realistic way by PEPFAR. The report shows that in many of the countries, the HIV infection rate has actually increased under PEPFAR.

We are paying for this ridiculous program being offered as our emergency plan for AIDS relief. And we will pay with more than money.

Oh, by the way, USAID is located 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.
in the Ronald Reagan Building. Figures.

Friday, December 01, 2006


WE NEED A NEW ATTITUDE. More aggressive. More passionate and urgent. More personal. People understand personal.

People living with AIDS? Absolutely. But, aren't we ALL living with AIDS? This is the way I feel. It's personal. I remember people I have lost to this disease and I've had to live with that. There are people I love that have AIDS, so I am living with AIDS.
If you are out there dating, you are living with AIDS; if you have children out there in the world, you are living with AIDS. If you are a senior citizen who is after many years back out there seeking a mate, this time you are living with AIDS. Single women, teenagers, prisoners, athletes, sex workers and their clients, health workers, soldiers etc. etc. We are all living with AIDS in our lives.

Yes it's personal. Now feel the POWER!
See, here's the thing. We have the POWER! Complacency gives HIV the power. We, who are all living with AIDS, can take the power away from the virus. Together, we have the power to stop the spread of this disease and end the stigma attached to it. We must hold our governments and policy makers accountable for doing what needs to be done to end HIV/AIDS. Let them know it is a priority to deliver on their promises, fund the research, and provide medical care and medicine regardless of who or where you are. We need to take the responsibility to use this power as individuals, a nation and a world.

So today provides an opportunity to start a new attitude. Get re-informed, wear your red ribbons, go to memorials, join a group, talk to your kids, make a commitment to protect yourself, get tested, call a congressman, do something. It's personal. Do something powerful.

Think you know it all? Take these HIV/AIDS quizzes.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


The Big Voice: God or Merman?" written by Steve Schalchlin and his life partner and playwright Jim Brochu opens TODAY off Broadway NYC!

This Award Winning Musical and Jim and Steve's Most Excellent Adventures in NYC can be followed by clicking that link over there.
All I can say is WOW! and WONDERFUL!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


November 27, 1942 is the day Electric Lady Land was born.
Talking 'bout Jimi Hendricks.
Here he is in all his accoustic and electric genius.

Jimi playing 12 string accoustic blues.

He's also the Master of wah-wah, fuzz and feedback and unbelievable lead licks.
Are you Experienced?

Happy Birthday to Jimi, and me.
Also my cousins Lavern, Suzan, and Kenneth and my church friends Karen and Kathy.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

First Thanksgiving

The historical event we know today as the "First Thanksgiving" was a harvest festival held in 1621 by the Pilgrims and their Native American neighbors and allies. It has acquired significance beyond the bare historical facts. Thanksgiving has become a much broader symbol of the entirety of the American experience. Many find this a cause for rejoicing. The dissenting view of Native Americans, who have suffered the theft of their lands and the destruction of their traditional way of life at the hands of the American nation, is equally valid.

To some, the "First Thanksgiving" presents a distorted picture of the history of relations between the European colonists and their descendants and the Native People. The total emphasis is placed on the respect that existed between the Wampanoags led by the sachem Massasoit and the first generation of Pilgrims in Plymouth, while the long history of subsequent violence and discrimination suffered by Native People across America is nowhere represented.

To others, the event shines forth as an example of the respect that was possible once, if only for the brief span of a single generation in a single place, between two different cultures and as a vision of what may again be possible someday among people of goodwill.

History is not a set of "truths" to be memorized, history is an ongoing process of interpretation and learning. The true richness and depth of history come from multiplicity and complexity, from debate and disagreement and dialogue. There is room for more than one history; there is room for many voices.
Being of Native American, European and African heritage, I believe this, and I believe inclusion of all voices would enrich America.

The History Channel has an informative and interesting site on the First Thanksgiving. Check out the food, table manners and traditions.


I always use Thanksgiving Day to remind myself not only to be thankful, but to be gracious.
Gratitude is my favorite word. Learning to practice it and making it a part of you, will change your life.
Here's some of my favorite gratitude and thankfulness reminders.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others."
~ Cicero ~

"Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude.
Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness.
Thankfulness may consist merely of words.
Gratitude is shown in acts."
~ David O. McKay ~

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
~ Melody Beattie ~

"Thank God--every morning when you get up--that you have something to do which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you a hundred virtues which the idle never know."
~ Charles Kingsley ~

"No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks."
~ Unknown ~

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
~ Marcel Proust ~

This is my personal favorite. We do affect each other's lives and the ripple effect could change society.
"Gratitude is something of which none of us can give too much. For on the smiles, the thanks we give, our little gestures of appreciation, our neighbors build their philosophy of life."
~ A. J. Cronin ~

And.... Now
Here's to turkey roasting,
Family toasting,
Count each blessing,
Pass the dressing,
Jokes and laughter,
Napping after,
Wishbone wishes,
Wash the damn dishes
Hugs and kisses and,
What a goofy poem this is,
Happy Thanksgiving Day!!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Alexandra has two recent posts up you should check out.

It's tense enough going to the doctor, especially a new doc for the first time. Filling out all the paperwork, trying to remember if you had measles twice and when your last tetanus shot was. But, can you imagine this?

Get Alex's take on What's in a Name regarding Michael Richards and more, including youtube of his tirade.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Michael Richards Makes Me Sick

Kramer goes berserk! Richards who is only known for playing the eccentric neighbor Cosmo Kramer on the sitcom Seinfeld was performing at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood on Friday night when he was heckled by an audience group that included two black men. Richards' went into a verbal rampage, unleashing a string of racial slurs and profanities.

Patron "That was uncalled for!"
Richards "Well that's what you get for interrupting a white man!

Richards apologized and said it was anger not hatred that was behind his tirade.
Nope, not buying that one for a second.

But, for more than the obvious reasons, he makes me sick. I enjoyed watching Seinfeld. Now there is a taint to it that I don't think I can get over.
You know, like seeing the chef in your favorite restaraunt poking around in his nose or leaving the restroom without washing his hands. UGH! Just ruins it forever.

No matter what, now whenever Richards comes sliiiding in Jerry's door I won't laugh, I'll wince.
Bad timing too, since another Seinfeld DVD installment was set to be released. It is unfortunate for Jerry and Larry David and Julia Louis Dryfus and Jason Alexander and the rest, that the legacy that was Seinfeld the sitcom, will be tarnished because Richards has a screw loose. And assuming they aren't all closet racist, they should all sue him.

*Michael Richards, Appearing Soon In A Fast Food Drive Through Window Near You!*

Monday, November 20, 2006


Things can get so serious sometimes and you need something like this. Dustin posted this RPS International Tournament and I couldn't believe it. Check out the refs in real ref striped shirts and one of the contestants is competing while holding a 40 in one hand. Gotta love that.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

School of the Americas

Each November thousands of people gather in Columbus GA, on the anniversary of the 1989 slaughter of six El Salvadoran priests, their housekeeper and her 14 year old daughter, and to urge the closing of the School of the Americas (SOA), the USA run and USA taxpayer funded school that trained the El Salvadoran military responsible for their murders.

The School of the Americas was first established as the U.S. Army Caribbean Training Center in Panama in 1946 to help professionalize Latin American and Caribbean militaries. In 1984, under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaties, the school was renamed and forced to move from Panama to Fort Benning, near Columbus, Georgia where it continues to train Latin American security personnel.

The school is frequently cited as an example of United States' support for regimes in Latin America that have a history of employing death squads and SOA graduates are responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses in Latin America.

Among the SOA's nearly 60,000 graduates are notorious dictators Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador, and Hugo Suarez of Bolivia.
Lower-level SOA graduates have participated in the assassination of religious leaders and the massacre of civilians.

In 2000, as SOA opponents were poised to win a congressional vote to dismantle the school and conduct an investigation, the Department of Defense came up with a proposal to solve these pesty human rights and public relations problems.

To deflect public criticism and disassociate the school from its dubious reputation, the SOA was "closed" in December of 2000 and "reopened" on January 17, 2001 with a new name, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC).

To rectify the human rights issues the school introduced courses that cover democracy and human rights topics. Clever, huh? However, in reality these classes are only taken by a few students and the minimum of eight hours of ethical instruction mandated by recent law is not high enough to be effective. So, the courses and name change engineered by the Pentagon is simply a "cosmetic" change that would ensure that the SOA could continue. And continue it does.

It is cetainly a victory that in 2004, Venezuela and in 2006, Argentina joined Uraguay in not sending their country's soldiers to train at the School of the Americas.

This weekend once again thousands gather in Georgia, including civil rights activist, torture survivors and survivors of murdered civilians and human rights workers, along with concerned citizens. They will participate in workshops, concerts, meetings, marches, and be possibly arrested for civil disobedience by stepping inside the Ft. Benning military base gate.

This weekend simultaneous demonstrations will take place in our hemisphere, in Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Paraguay; Fort Huachuca, Arizona; and in Davis, California! Thousands of people will be raising their voices, demanding the closure of the SOA/WHISC.

It bothers me that the USA is presently involved and dedicated with our money and U.S. lives in securing freedom and human rights, yet as evidenced by U.S. crisis response to Rwanda, Darfur, and Katrina, these USA gifts are very selective.

It bothers me that we presently have a dedicated priorty to fight terroists
yet, a U.S. Army facility that trains terroist is knowingly allowed to exist.
Hypocrisy reigns.

It bothers me most that this school is run on US taxpayers money and the message it sends is in our name.

Closing the School of the Americas would send a strong human rights message to Latin America and the world.

This weekend about a dozen members of University Church, including Rev. Donald Coleman, are at the memorial/SOA protest in Georgia working toward a peaceful future in the Americas. I am very proud of them.

Last year the memorial/demonstration drew 19,000 people. This year's gathering at the gates is shaping up to become the biggest demonstration at a U.S. military base since the Vietnam war. Last count was 22,000 strong and 14 arrested, so far.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Xena Warrior Dwarf?

Perhaps you've heard that Pluto has been demoted.

No, I don't mean Mickey's dog or Donald Duck's pet or Goofy's pooch. (Although I have always wondered why a mouse or a duck or another dog would have a dog as a pet).
I mean Pluto, the ninth planet in our solar system has been downgraded to dwarf planet status.
I don't like that particularly. I grew up with Pluto. In my science projects I've made little clay or styrofoam Pluto dangling out there farthest from the sun, and now they want to change these basic facts. Nope don't like it. I don't like the change in the pronounciation of Uranus either but, I wont go there.
But, I love astronomy and know that the more technology enhances observation of the heavens the more things will change.

Back a couple years ago a new planetary sphere was discovered by Professor Michael
Brown of the California Institute of Technology, and this new rock was at that time thought to possibly be our tenth planet or replace Pluto as our ninth planet.

This new sphere was catalogued by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) as 2003 UB313, but Mike Brown unofficially named it Xena, after the popular TV Heroine, Xena Warrior Princess.

Is it a planet? Does it have a moon? Mike brown said.
"Having a moon is just inherently cool. And it is something that most self-respecting planets have, so it's good to see that this one does too".

Being the cool guy he is, Mike named (again unofficially) the little moon Gabrielle, after Xena's TV sidekick. There was fierce campaigning to the IAU by astronomy fans, Xena fans, and Mike Brown and his science pals, to officially keep those names.

Xena and Gabrielle facts:

Xena and Gabrielle live beyond Pluto in a band known as the Kupier Belt, a region that is home to asteriods, comets and other space rocks.

Xena is about 2100 miles in diamter.

Xena's orbit is highly eccentric, 45 degrees above the other planets.

Her orbit is also elliptical, zooming in as close as 5.6 billion kilometers and out as far as 14.5 billion kilometers away.
FYI - Earth orbits rather consistantly at 150 million kilometers from the sun.
It takes Xena 560 years to make one orbit around the sun. It takes Pluto 250 years.

Gabrielle is about 250 kilometers in diameter.
Gabrielle cirles close to Xena, completing one trip around, every 14 days.

The discovery of large spheres like Xena have caused the IAU to redefine the definition of planet. Their redefinition determined that only the rocky worlds of the inner solar system and the gas giants of the outer system will hereafter be designated as planets.
Therefore, both Xena and Pluto were both demoted to dwarf planets, leaving our solar system with 8 planets. How odd that sounds.

The Name
Well this August, the IAU officially named celestial body #2003 UB313, Eris.
In Greek mythology, Eris is the goddess of warfare and strife.
Gabrielle is now officially Dysnomia. She is Eris' daughter and the demon spirit of lawlessness. (No pun intended, Lucy).

So in a world, where you can pay to name a star after cousin Fred, these old fogies (in attitude) chose that violent pair rather than two contemporary fictional ancient Greek heroines.
Well, It's too bad, Xena and Gabrielle were meant to be together. It was fun for a while to see them get this honor.

Check out, Mike Brown's charming non-scientific personal account of all of this, Requiem for Xena, it's worth a read.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Saturn Storm

No, not the car. C'mon guys.

The planet Saturn has a new storm. In 1994 a Hubble Space telescopic image showed a rare storm near the planet's equator. Now the Cassini Space Craft recently observed a new hurricane like storm on Saturn's south pole.
This storm is particularly interesting because it is the first time a clearly defined eye has been seen in any storm in our solar system other than on Earth. The storm is the white glowing arrow near the ring. The storm is 5000 miles across, which is about 2/3 the diameter of Earth.
Below is the well developed eye, ringed by towering clouds.

Some Saturn facts I had forgotten.
Saturn is the 6th planet from the sun, 2nd largest in the solar system, and 74,130 miles in diameter. Saturn is a fast rotating planet with days 10 hours 39 minutes long and it takes 29 1/2 years to revolve around the sun.
See below, Saturn in proportion to Earth. Amazing!

So if we lived on Saturn we'd have 3hrs 33min each to sleep, work and do other stuff. And we'd be a lot older, or is it younger??

Friday, November 10, 2006

Grey's A

BRAVA! To Alexandra Billings for her wonderful portrayal of a
Transgendered woman who faces some very difficult choices.
If you didn't catch it on Thursday it airs again tonight at 8/7 pm cst. You can also see the 11/9 episode "Where The Boy Are" at anytime.
Alex not only played this role with integrity and authenticity but as she always does, she brings a likability to her character, she makes you care.
Alex, you are awesome and you make us proud!!

Donald Rumsfeld

I know it's not nice to be thumping a guy that just got canned, but this is just funny to me. It's nice to know he has other skills.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Morning After

Ok, I went to bed early about 9:30 pm and got up this morning to find the capital of my country is no longer a one party town. How 'bout that! And that's not all. In brief here's the scoop.

Democrats Take Control of House
Pelosi to Be First Woman Speaker of the House?
Oh I'll bet that makes W's day.

Republicans Struggle to Hold on to Senate
Democrats take 3 of the 6 seats needed with 2 states, Virginia and Montana still counting in close races with Dems slightly ahead in both.
Also 2 independents Joseph Lieberman (CT) and Bernie Sanders (VT) - both said they will align themselves with Democrats.
So if they get the close races, that'll be like 7. Ummm YAYYYY!

In Tennessee, Bob Corker beat Harold Ford Jr. proving that race bating still works. Although with these two candidates IMO it was a lose-lose situation. Yuck, either way.

In Florida, good ole Katherine Harris, (remember her) lost. Harris came to national attention in 2000 when, as Florida secretary of state, she certified Bush as the Florida winner in his nearly deadlocked presidential race with Al Gore.

Cruised in easy, Hillary Clinton and Edward Kennedy, of course.

Still around - Trent Lott of Mississippi. Why?

Women - 8 Senators, 6 (D) and 2 (R)

Democrats Take Majority of Governorships
My choice Illinois (R) Judy Barr Topinka lost to incumbent Rod Blagojevich
Still around - ARNOLD of California. Why?

South Dakota Pro-Lifer's take a big hit.
Abortion opponents hoped to pass a sweeping law banning the procedure and be the first step in a march to overturn Roe v. Wade. But it was not to be. The proposal failed, 55 to 45 percent.

Arizona Rejects Gay Marriage Ban
Arizona broke a strong national trend by refusing to change its constitution to define marriage as a one-man, one-woman institution. The measure also would have forbid civil unions and domestic partnerships.

Also in Arizona
Voters defeated a proposal that would have awarded $1 million to a randomly selected voter in each general election. Sorry Eric.

So now things should be more equitable in Washington DC. So get to work. No back biting and retaliation silliness, please.

We need a new war strategy, pronto. We need thoughtful action on energy, ecology, immigration, election reform, living wage, health care, and full marriage rights for all citizens.

We need to quit the hypocrisy and stop supporting tyrannical regimes when it suits our purpose.
We need to unite as Americans and stop using our differences as weapons. This can begin with Republicans and Democrats.
Oh I forgot to say, Good Morning.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

FLASH! New Link!

It's Dustin. She is beautiful, talented and has a zest for life that I truly admire. I mean this woman is a runner, photographer, author and yep even a candlestick maker. Her blog is a virtual buffet of topics, tips, lessons and fun. Get recipes or photo taking tips, travel to places near and far and learn of things unusual and interesting.

Dustin has lived in many parts of the world but now she and her husband Stephen and son Taylor live in California.

A few years ago Dustin was on a reality show called No Boundaries. That show followed 15 participants who challenged the wilds of the Yukon on a dangerous
trek between Vancouver Island and the Arctic Circle. Believe me this show made Survivor look like a trip to Kiddieland.

Dustin braves the rapids and much, much more. We loved getting snacks and gathering every Sunday for the show. She did not win it all, but she did well making it through several episodes. We were all so proud of her! And we still are. She just got her book published.
Lessons From A Recovering Worker Bee is for professionals who are starting their careers in the corporate environment as well as veterans of the corporate environment.

Dustin is my cousin. Her mom is my cousin Lavern, who shares my November 27 birthdate and was my hero when I was growing up. I would follow her anywhere and often did. So, now this little cousin who I babysat for is the new tie in my linkage.