Friday, July 29, 2016

July 29 Link Log

A whole afternoon with no politics to speak of? I almost made it...until a sudden rain blew up and trapped me here in the cafe! (Update: 7:30 p.m., rain has stopped, and I'd better run now in time to stop at the store and get home before it rains again. I will be missing most of the live concert outside the cafe, after hearing the band tune up. Apart from the bass and amps being overboosted, which seems obligatory these days, they're pretty good...for a free live show.) Categories: Amazon, Animal, Books, Family, Fashion, Green, Music, Nature, Pictures, Politics, Psychology, Sports, Technology, Washington, Women's Issues, Zazzle.


It's here...the book I bought from Amazon with the gift card in which I got paid, earlier this month, from another site.


Too many pictures for some browsers, but...tigers! Including a white tiger!


Have you read Penny Nance's Feisty and Feminine yet?

Ruth O'Neil's Real Food for Real Kids?

And this one...this site is supposed to use the word "Hell" only in promoting the tourist town in Michigan, so here's a shout to Michigan (which is not the topic of the book). Despite some vulgar language, I had to read all the comments, and now I want to read We Hillbillies.

One more non-Amazon new-book link: Fifth District e-friend Ken Rietz releases inspirational memoir--"Losing Sight, Gaining Insight."


I commented on this post, but long ago Marge Piercy wrote a better comment on this topic: "Let me...Live long enough to tell my love / To all the ones I love."

(Not a Christian book by any stretch, but I'll be forever grateful to the teacher who put it on the reading list at my church's a good book.)


Cat...print socks? Very, very cute. Btw, I can knit cat images right into hand-knitted cotton socks that are thick enough to wear as slippers, ideal for wearing with Birkenstocks. Two styles--ordinary "knee socks" or a diabetic-friendly style I call "flop-top socks." E-mail salolianigodagewi @ yahoo if you want some. They cost $15 a pair, $5 a package, online. If you send measurements--toe to heel, floor to top of sock, circumference of top of sock, circumference of widest part of leg below top (for knee socks), circumference of ankle (for knee socks), width at toe--you can order socks custom-fitted to the intended wearer.

About hair...mine is still sable; only at close range, in a good light, does my gray show. I'm not taking any vows never to experiment with dye. But I was born to parents in their thirties, and although Mother's hair grayed slowly, illness caused her to move "old"; any time my parents went anywhere with other relatives, people always guessed that one or another of the cousins would be my parents and my parents must be my grandparents. And guess what, parents of America? It didn't do me one bit of harm. It did give me time to notice that white hair is beautiful.

I was especially piqued by this article because of the people who reportedly complain about having a white streak...I remember that dyeing in a streak, if unable to grow one, was a fad once. After the fad passed I've known only one woman who had a streak of white hair amidst the black. It looked awesome. I couldn't imagine I'd ever look (or be) as glamorous as she was. But I've always cherished a faint, doomed hope that I might at least grow a white streak, some day. If blessed with one, I'd flaunt it!


Not exactly news, but I hadn't seen it before: tracks exactly how Monsanto got those scientists to say good things about their "Roundup-Ready" and otherwise genetically modified food/poison products.

Meanwhile, in breaking news, Monsanto violates the law again:

And some think Monsanto may even be able to sneak (poisonous to some) "Roundup-Ready" "foods" around a loophole in the new federal GMO labeling law. We need to be telling those who produce the food we eat to get those "GMO-Free" labels front and center. There's more than one way to hit Monsanto in the pockets.

Click...I've not had a problem with soy products lately, but I've not had a noticeable reaction to formaldehyde. Grandma Bonnie Peters...hasn't read this article. She should, because she is sensitive to formaldehyde. And if any of you Gentle Readers find yourself reacting strangely to "new" things--that shiny-new smell (as distinct from "new car smell") found in paper, fabric, furniture and sometimes food products is the smell of formaldehyde. Your allergist probably won't test you for formaldehyde allergies. That doesn't mean they can't be the primary allergy underlying your reactions to all kinds of surface irritants like dust, pollen, and "dander." Formaldehyde is hard to escape, and some people really need to escape it.


I hope it's digitally modified...this video suggests that the pianist has set up a good piano (and violin) in the lake.


Rare wildflowers:


"Good cop" pictures, shared by Kyle Foley:


Some of the houses where the people who build and advertise those "fairy gardens" live. (The previous post at this blog showed the gardens.)

I'm at the Family Bakery, an Internet Cafe. They sell T-shirts as well as food and drinks...and since someone at another site asked what I'd offer to a visitor to my town, here's a photo of the shirt that lists our Main Tourist Attractions. One shirt, front and back. (These are places where people in Gate City go; none of them is physically located inside Gate City. Worth the trip though.)


Can Candidate Clinton really offer free college education to everyone? Eric Boehm says it all:


And we should be very, very cautious about these "strong, resilient" people. I had one of those parents who tell five-year-old girls they're too big to cry, too. And "Why didn't you stand up and turn that runaway mule?" And other mean, insensitive things that do indeed help build a tough, brave daughter...who never thinks of the nicest, most empathetic things to say to other people, the way females are supposed to do.

I don't see Hillary Rodham Clinton "harsh" or "cold" or "non-nurturing" at all, but then some people (who don't know me well) claim to see me in those ways too. (In real life, I mean. I'm aware that writing is more of a "thinking/judging" than a "sensing/feeling" activity in any case; in real life, although there's no question about my being an introvert, I seem to be pretty well balanced between INTJ and ISFP.) Most readers of this site probably oppose HRC's politics based on her record and stated intentions, but this web site cautions people against judging the woman unfairly based on her "strong, resilient" personality and myopic blue eyes.


Linked to this bit of bad news...

...Charles Barkley:


Elizabeth Barrette posted this as a comment on a link; I'm sharing it because of the number of people who weighed in in favor of devices that may not do as much, but can be understood and repaired indefinitely, rather than forcing users to buy new ones. I wouldn't have a car, washing machine, etc., that's controlled by a lot of elaborate "sensors" that are programmed to self-destruct in X number of days. I'm using a laptop computer because somebody gave me one, but I wouldn't buy one; my computer, the one on which I write, is fully repairable, with parts the local wizard can snap out and replace as needed--and, for reasons of security, no access to the Internet whatsoever. And, as this web site noted earlier this summer...the list of people who use older, less fancy, less flah stuff for reasons of security (and functionality) includes the Pentagon.

Got Windows 10, with everything automatically backed up into the cloud, on a phone that's programmed to die within a year if you don't drop it before that? Fine for you...I'll skip the rant about what "recycling" throwaway cell phones really does for the Earth, for now. Just make sure you don't do anything except post fully public comments on fully public sites. Personal letters should be written by hand, on paper, anyway.

(If you scroll down through the comments, you'll see some comments on yesterday's Modoluggage link, too. I still think it's dang cute for those who like its style, and every possible development in this field adds a few voices to the chorus demanding slow-traffic lanes...but yes, it's already subject to what many potential users would call improvement.)

More on the same theme:

On a different technological theme, Dan Lewis links to a requiem for the original Yahoo:

Washington, D.C. 

If there's one thing I miss about Washington, it's Metrorail...the way it used to be. Which makes a point that I suppose might be called political...Metrorail was a beautiful, splendid, shining idea. People believed in it; people backed it; people loved it with a passion. For several years the little electric-powered trains ran every three minutes, smoothly, quietly, cleanly, without a hitch. The train you see derailed at the link below was meant to whir past traffic jams along Route 66, nonverbally telling the world, "If you'd had the sense to park your car and board the train, you'd be downtown in fifteen minutes." Washingtonians got the message. People rode Metrorail for fun on the weekends, memorized the stations in order, bought T-shirts with route maps on them. But it just wasn't sustainable. The transition off public funding was never made; the cost of operation grew and grew, and the income failed to keep up, and inevitably the quality of service declined. Some things that sound too good to be true, are.

Women's Issues 

Some words used in this article will never be quoted at this web site, but...

It is easy to dismiss the inherent interest of raising children because such a profoundly meaningful period in life comes to us cloaked in so many boring and pedestrian details: breast pumps and counting wet diapers, homework and vaccination schedules. But any soldier will tell you that much of the Army is similarly boring and routine. Yet we do not ask a war poet, Do you ever worry your work will become clouded with bureaucratic detail?

(Women's history link: if you click back, the article before that one at Velamag was a beautiful tribute to the late Whitney Houston.)


Cat T-shirts, anyone?

Adopt More Black Cats T-shirt
Adopt More Black Cats T-shirt by SamandOmar
Browse more Black T-Shirts at Zazzle

Cat Heart Tee Shirt
Cat Heart Tee Shirt by RhenArt
Look at Cat T-Shirts online at

Book Review: Keep Out Claudia

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Keep Out Claudia (Baby-Sitters Club #56)

Author: Ann M. Martin

Date: 1992

Publisher: Apple / Scholastic

ISBN: 0-590-45657-1

Length: 135 pages

Quote: “I might as well tell you straight out. When Mrs. Lowell called, she said she needed a sitter, but she asked for someone besides Claudia.”

I think it was Mad magazine that printed the classic:

“See the nice young man…
He does not know that he is talking to 
a bigot. 
Bigots are hard to spot. 
They do not walk around carrying signs that say 
‘I am a bigot.’ 
If they did, 
it would be easier to avoid them.”

Maybe it was Cracked. Anyway, Mrs. Lowell needs a sign. She likes Mary Anne, as a baby-sitter, until she realized that Mary Anne's parents have divorced and remarried. She doesn’t like Claudia, who is Japanese-American; the Lowell children call her “the funny-looking one,” which the Baby-Sitters think, at first, must refer to Claudia’s very arty sense of fashion.) She won’t even let Jessi in the house. (Jessi is Black.) Could the Baby-Sitters Club please send her the blonde baby-sitter she’s heard about? (As if Dawn or Stacey would want anything to do with such a bigot.)

In this volume we learn, for the first and last time, that Mary Anne Spier thinks, “maybe, some of my ancestors were Russian.” And Mrs. Lowell is none too pleased, either, to learn that brown-haired Kristy has an adoptive sister from Vietnam, or that the Baby-Sitters Club includes a boy. And, “Hey, Dawn, Stacey, you blonde-haired, blue-eyed people—I bet you guys wouldn’t have been good enough for Mrs. Lowell,either…because your parents are…”—Kristy dropped her voice to a whisper—“…divorced.” (Mrs. Lowell also disapproves of Mallory because “Your family is just too darn big. Caitlin [Lowell] thinks you’re Catholic.”)

Too bad for the Lowell children. The BSC are organizing a neighborhood band. All the other kids they baby-sit are performing their favorite songs from frequently re-broadcast TV movies, including “Anatevka” from Fiddler on the Roof, of which Mrs. Lowell does not approve. The Lowell kids walk past the concert, looking wistful, because they’re not allowed to be in the band.

Maybe, the BSC hope, they’ll grow up nicer than their mother.

To buy this and other BSC books here, send $5 per book + $5 per package to either address at the very bottom of the screen. If you buy several books, we can fit six to ten of them into one package for $5; we'll send Ann M. Martin or a charity of her choice $1 per book. If you order Storybook Dolls dressed to match the cover pictures, only one book-and-doll fits into one package for $20, but Martin or her charity will still receive $1 per book.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

July 28 Link Log

Categories: Amazon, Animal, Books, Cool, Food, Funny, Health, Movie, Nice, Pictures, Politics, Psychology, Travel, Zazzle


Here's another way you can sponsor this web site, which may be more profitable for some people out there in cyberspace. I've not actually bought a lot of stuff from Amazon, apart from using online gift cards, because I've had more urgent uses for the money...but I could, if someone sponsored it, buy your stuff and review it (honestly) at Amazon. Amazon takes reviews only from accounts that have been used to buy a product from them. Anybody can set up an Associate blog and write about stuff we've acquired from some other source that happens to be on Amazon, like my books, but those reviews won't appear on your product's Amazon page or be counted into its overall star rating. E-mail salolianigodagewi @ yahoo if you want my review of your new book, or gadget or other product, to show on Amazon. (I see no reason why the same thing wouldn't work at E-Bay or, either.)


Cat models artificial tree, built just for indoor cats to scratch, climb, and hide on/in.

Cats don't sweat through their skins the way humans and horses do, but this super-fluffy cat learned to enjoy a breeze through her dense fur:

It's been quite a year for scarabaeid beetles, a.k.a. dungbeetles. The one photographed here is about four times the size of the ones I've seen:

Why we should never throw things at zoo animals: Once in a while, an elephant decides to throw something back.


Neil Gaiman introduces book jacket illustrator Robert McGinnis:

+Cynthia Sylvestermouse reviews Lyle Lyle Crocodile:


Wheeled cases are cool, but they've been around for so long, even I have a few. Here's the next wave: a wheeled case with GPS and a motor. When you get tired of pulling it, you can ride it! (Turn the seat/suitcase around like a bench instead of making the user straddle it, add power-generating pedals, a solar-panel roof, and zip-down rainproof walls, and you have the "Wheels" from the science fiction story I just wrote.) Warning: this page contains far too many videos and may jam some browsers.

Food (Yum) 

Banana pudding...definitely not for those trying to lose weight.


This prankster videotaped himself panhandling for money he didn't need, then giving out "rewards" to people who were "kind" enough to give him money. (It would've been even funnier if I'd met him outside a D.C. Metro station, recognized him as one of the better preserved panhandlers, and offered him a handful of money to carry my luggage...I used to do that regularly, and this guy would have had some explaining to do!)


John McDougall is sponsoring a "webinar," this week hosted by a younger doctor friend, that will be over by the time the Link Log goes live. (I put the link to the webinar on Google +.) Dr. McDougall also shared this magazine link:

Dan Lewis shares an example of selling, not telling, people a way to eat healthier.

What sort of unholy alliance would Bayer and Monsanto be? What about Dow and Dupont?


Dinesh D'Souza has struck it rich! Btw, just in case a certain old meme, which this web site debunked a few years ago, is still circulating out there...Jon Street's write-up includes a good clear picture of D'Souza. (Indian and Portuguese culture mingled at the southern tip of the peninsula, especially on Goa island.) The first person I ever heard say a good word for D'Souza was: Rush Limbaugh.


Has +Andria Perry got a cycle of niceness going?


Road-tripping Wendy and Jack Welch come to a sculpture garden:

Miniature sculpture gardens, "fairy" (I'd say "doll") gardens, are becoming quite a fad in this part of Ohio. Great summer fun for kids, and a way to get all those little doll accessories nobody actually plays with any more stored in an attractive, even tourist-attractive, installation off the living room floor!

Who said a normal-sized house can't look like a medieval castle?

Politics (Election 2016) 

The pro-Trump movement acquires a martyr:

And a king...well, a prince, anyway. (The name "Obama" means "king." The President's brother's Kenyan name, Malik, also means "king"...and in the U.S. he translates his given name, literally, as "Roy." But he's not actually been crowned yet.)

Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign gets mixed reviews for exploiting Tim Kaine's language skills:

Politics (Philosophy) 

You don't coerce other people, so why would you want your government to?

Cliff Kincaid really, really disagrees with gazillionnaire philanthropist George Soros, for reasons this web site deems good and sufficient. (This web site hates nobody, and has commented favorably on Soros' longevity and vitality. This web site has not, however, pursued any of the grants or funds that have been set up to suck people into one or another of Soros' politically motivated schemes...and that's why I've not even applied for "all those writing grants out there.")

Here, a disappointed (disappointed?) Bernie Sanders fan comes completely unglued and illustrates your Spanish word for the day, which is rabia. Rabia can be used to translate "rabies" or "rage"; it specifically identifies insane behavior with anger, as distinct from locura, which would be more associated with mental problems, or tonteria, more associated with stupidity. In a sentence: En su rabia el loco casi se incendio.


Arthur C. Brooks' Conservative Heart mentions the phenomenon of social media, especially the photo-oriented ones, becoming a trigger for envy and resentment. Here's the latest discussion of this phenomenon from Google +, which is fairly photo-oriented itself...

Let's are some things posted on this topic at Blogjob last winter...

(which linked back to

and )

And here's the book:


At least their hearts are in the right place. "Outdoors in Virginia" sounds like more of an attraction for September rather than August...well, actually the last week of August usually isn't bad.


Did you know you could buy "thank you" stamps for mailing "thank you" cards?

Or cat stamps?

Solid Black Cat Stamp
Solid Black Cat Stamp by 1SheliaV
View Animal Stamps online at zazzle

I like the idea of a series of outdoor cat stamps, for people who see through the hatefulness of the "all cats should be permanently confined indoors" hysteria...

Book Review: The Life and Times of Heidi Abromowitz

Title: The Life and Times of Heidi Abromowitz

Author: Joan Rivers

Date: 1984

Publisher: Delacorte

ISBN: 0-385-29359-3

Length: 99 pages

Illustrations: black-and-white cartoons by James Sherman

Quote: “When someone mentions the name of Heidi Abromowitz, words such as ‘virtuous,’ ‘chaste,’ ‘honorable,’ ‘moral,’ and ‘upright’ never come to mind.”

Although it's raunchier than the books I usually review, I've read this one and, actually, liked it. There's a fine line between dirty jokes, which are funny, and dirty remarks, which are merely embarrassing. In my opinion this book lies precisely on the funny side of the line.

There is not, of course, a real Heidi Abromowitz (who used to be Joan Rivers’ confidential friend, until she gave Rivers’ dog a sexually transmitted disease). That's just a name for the target in this collection of not-technically-explicit dirty jokes and suggestive cartoons. As such, it’s as close as I’ve seen to being exhaustive. There probably are some double entendres and innuendos about women or couples that aren’t included in this book, but if you even try reading Heidi Abromowitz as a book, you won’t want to bother about them.

Let us face it. You might read Heidi Abromowitz in order to laugh at smutty-tinged jokes, in order to find printable but dirty jokes to recycle at a “roast,” or in order to fantasize about shameless heterosexual promiscuity. Either way, 99 pages is more than you really need.

“Like men in later years, Heidi’s toys said a lot about her; all of it unprintable. Her dollhouse had a red light on it! Her coloring books had dirty pictures!”

“She used to hang out in their locker room and play checkers just so she could say, ‘Jump me’!”

“Heidi was reluctant to leave Paris for a number of reasons—most of them male. (As she’d say later, ‘Why they call that place Gay Paree I’ll never know.’)”

“Heidi’s Opinions On…Arms Control: ‘Why bother, unless you’re being squeezed too tightly?’”

“Not surprisingly, the moment that tramp hit the streets she got lots of offers. Some were even for jobs. Consumer Reports asked her to rate Vaseline.”

Personally, if I’m going to be mean, I prefer to be clean and mean. Who cares about the sins, known or suspected, of someone's sexual past when people need to know that s/he is dishonest, unreliable, or incompetent now. However, I’ve known people who couldn’t tell a dirty joke without using Formerly Unprintable Words. It is for the edification of those people that this book is recommended. If you really need wittier, more upscale ways (that won’t get you thrown into the drunk tank if you happen to be in a public place in my town) to suggest that Jane Doe does something of a non-family-filtered nature with dogs, without using those words, here are almost a hundred pages. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

July 27 Link Log

Whew...did I really just post all the book reviews for the entire month of August? How time flies when we're having fun! And I found time for a few quick links, too. Categories: Animals, Food, Politics, Sports, Writing, and can I throw in an Amazon and Zazzle link? Yes, one of each...


Why would anyone return an animal to a shelter? Unfortunately, some animals have been traumatized by the shelter experience. When we adopt shelter pets, we need to plan on time for readjustment.

(Y'know, my spring kitten Violet, the only one still at the Cat Sanctuary, hardly acts like a Pet--although she is a Listening Pet. I have to remind her from time to time that she's getting "paid" to act like a cat not a possum. Why? Because she's a smart, social cat, and because her foster sister/mother Inky and brother-or-foster-dad Tickle are still at the Cat Sanctuary...and they tell her that they want to go on being the cute kittens who get petted and played with! Adolescence is tough. Inky and Tickle are good-sized as kittens go (bigger than some adult cats), will probably be large adult cats next year, and don't go up to just every old body right away, but they still need a lap of their very own to curl up on. Just because Tickle takes after his big polydactyl grandfather, and Inky takes after her broad-beamed Manx ancestors...they're actually younger than kittenish-looking, Siamese-shaped Elmo and Sisawat, and every bit as kittenish. My point here is that there can be all kinds of reasons why pets need to learn gradually to play and snuggle with humans.)

Food (Yum)'s about time someone shared a good recipe. People have been posting them, just not at sites I've visited...

Dog treats good enough for humans to gnaw on...actually humans might enjoy these more than the dog!

Politics (Election 2016) 

Ted Nugent says his list of reasons to vote for Trump is too special not to share:

While Scott Adams just tells it like it is: some for...a man.

Photo of Trump making V. Putin look (comparatively) charming and, yes, gentlemanly.

Politics (Global) 

The Washington Post polled ordinary residents of five Arab countries about ISIS. Whether the respondents knew the poll was sponsored by a U.S. newspaper or not is unclear. Anyway, most of them expressed a resounding lack of sympathy for the terrorist group. Support for ISIS reaches a peak of one favorable response out of twenty among uneducated young men in Tunisia.

Politics (Philosophy) 

Power-grabbers in the Catholic Church vow to make Senator Kaine's life as Vice-President difficult:

Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. Alicia Keys has just demonstrated:

Speaking of insanity...the man who injured Jim Brady and, arguably, Sarah Brady, is being released...


Richard Sherman agrees with Michael Jordan:


Why self-publishing is not the best route for most serious writers to take...although it's ideal for souvenir books like school/company yearbooks, family/company histories, etc.


Testing the System (Amazon)

This link is supposed to show you Amazon's best-selling product, updated every hour. I can't resist finding out whether it works...

Shop Amazon - Best Selling Products - Updated Every Hour

Book Review: Loose Tails

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Loose Tails (Berke Breathed’s Bloom County)

Author: Berke Breathed

Date: 1983

Publisher: Washington Post

ISBN: 0-216-10710-7

Length: 148 pages

Illustrations: cartoons by Berke Breathed on every page

Quote: “‘And as your Senator…I’m tickled to be here today, chatting with all of you…um…future voters…Yessir…Now…can any of you little nits tell me which great principle our political system is based upon?’ ‘“Money talks”.’

At this early stage in the history of Bloom County, the kids are still in grade four and their teacher, Miss Bobbi Harlow, is the woman Steve Dallas is pursuing.

“Lemmee see you tonight, Bobbi. C’mon, I’m groveling,” Steve says, placing an apple on her desk while Bobbi prepares to go home.

“On three conditions,” says Bobbi. “First: cook me a meal. Second: dedicate your life to charity. Third: get a partial lobotomy.”

What?” Steve hollers. “Cook a meal?”

Bobbi is one of several young women who prefer John to Steve…if only John weren’t paraplegic. Miss Harlow’s fourth grade students, Milo, Binkley, a girl called Blondie (because she's anything but blonde), and others, also see John as “husband material.” Alas, it’s not to be. In later volumes Blondie will fade out and other kid characters will get more attention. In this volume we see more of Senator Bedfellow, Quiche Lorraine, and caricatures of real celebrities (including Mick Jagger as well as Charles and Diana).

Opus, Portnoy, and Hodgepodge are already acting out “Star Trek” scenes in John’s “Star Chair.” In these early cartoons, Opus identifies as a penguin and looks more like one than he will in later books (his beak will grow, puffinlike, until he’s identified as neither penguin nor puffin but just some sort of “flightless waterfowl”).

Although the original “Bloom County” cartoon books have been rendered semi-obsolete by the release of the complete history of the strip, and all sold well enough to be reasonably easy to find, Loose Tails was released when the cartoon was new and thus less widely distributed than later volumes in the sequence. If it's the one your collection needs, send $5 per copy + $5 per package to either address at the very bottom of the screen, and we'll send $1 to Breathed or a charity of his choice. (The copy I have in real life is in very bad condition--all the pages are there, but they're no longer bound--so local lurkers who are willing to read a loose-leaf book can get a better deal.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

July 26 Link Log

Long one today, with links from the blog feed as well as the e-mail; tomorrow I may even get to Google + (hello, +Sandy KS and +Andria Perry and all). Categories: Animals, Art, Disaster, Education, Faith, Gardening, Nature, Obit, Poetry, Politics, Psychology, Sports, Writing, Zazzle.


It's Tortie Tuesday and the human of Mudpie, an especially cute "tortoise-shell" cat, reviews some cat treats that are overpriced because they're being marketed to support a wild animal sanctuary.

Penguins...the real-life inspirations for Opus, even though he wasn't drawn to look like a real penguin:


Nice drawings by a teen artist...also some words of wisdom about asexuality. (Many people my age have grandchildren Emily's age, and if I had grandchildren I'd pray for them to be asexual up to age 25.)

For those of us whose talent runs to inking in other people's drawings...


Sorry, Petomane, despite the resemblance to a funny movie in the pictures, the actual news story is not funny.


Students and parents, here's another chance to tell the Department of Education you don't want them shoving the "Common Core" boondoggle through your state's "back door." (First-time readers, Common Core is a scheme for enforcing minimal educational standards on states that may have had higher standards by using more complicated math materials and more expensive computer gadgets. If your state has said no to it, your state had good reasons.)


Thanks to The Vagabond Tabby for sharing this link, which picks up on a bit of history mentioned here yesterday: Anne Boleyn, poster girl for easy divorce, was one of Britain's most hated royal figures of all time, mostly just because she was a homewrecker, but also because she "looked like a witch." There are at least three ways to look like a witch:

1. In countries with high levels of inbreeding and ignorance, look like an outsider, a different physical type. Anne Boleyn was considered pretty, but suspiciously "sallow and swarthy," by the British. She was also a polydactyl--a genetic quirk that was never common even in Africa, and extremely rare in the rest of the world. Other physical quirks, like scars, birthmarks, and warts, were also sometimes pointed out as "witch marks" when people wanted to kill or banish unpopular property owners in medieval Europe. While her extra finger was what Anne's enemies identified as her "witch mark," her long black hair, which she had in common with a distrusted minority of Welsh Pagans and Gypsies in Britain, became a standard feature for caricatures of witches ever afterward. In Africa, pale coloring or whitened skin were identified with the kind of "witches" who were blamed when bad things happened...and Reuters has reported that occasionally, in Tanzania, they still are. (I should have a bonus link for the Reuters story I have in mind; I've misplaced it.)

2. In fantasy fiction (Xanth probably being the best known example), belong to a truly alien species that may or may not be able to pass as human or crossbreed with humans. Since it's fantasy fiction, the author sets the limits for how improbable witches can look or their powers can be.

3. In our world, be one of a community of people who are expressing rebellion against mainstream religious teachings by trying to reclaim/reconstruct a lost Pagan religious tradition. The English word "witch" derives from a lost goddess name, Wicca; some living people have chosen that specific name for their concept of God, or "that which is sacred" as they understand It, to express how different their understanding is from what they were taught about God. They can be any type of human whatsoever.

Wasn't that enough of an interfaith message for one day? Apparently not. Avaaz just sent this link around. If we have any Muslim readers, and I'm sure some of our hundreds of readers in Russia and Turkey are Muslims, youall need to sign this petition. I signed it, but I'm a Christian, so some might want to discard my opinion. Muslims have a better right to say that the "honour killings" are evidently ineffectual and are a disgrace to Islam worldwide.


Video gamers and their relatives need to see this:

And here's one for memoirists:


Bottle gardening for the tiny house...David's Garden is not Dave's Garden:


Lovely wildflower picture:


Sad news: e-friend Tim LaHaye has left us behind. He always looked so "young" and wrote so "old"...I knew he was a lot older than the photos he chose to share, but I had no idea he was all that close to the age of Billy Graham!


Here's an interview with a poet:

...and here's where to click if you'd like to participate in her next live phone interview:

Politics (General) 

Cliff Kincaid's review of Dinesh D'Souza's movie is at least equally hard on both sides. Is it fair to label the Democrats as having "racist roots" because some well-known racists used to be Democrats? It's exactly as fair as labelling the Tea Party movement as "racist" because supposedly some racists tried to get in on the movement, early on. Such a big, odd lot of Americans agreed that we're Taxed Enough Already that I don't doubt that there were racist Tea Parties, but I personally haven't found one...and I have connected with Tea Parties that were organized by members of ethnic minority groups. Anyway, this link is worth checking out if anybody tries to dredge up the stupid old "Tea Party = racist" meme...

...or if you hear much more of the word "dark" being used as a smear during an election contest among a bunch of, er um, natural blue-eyed blonds. I expect their campaign staffs look more like America, as will the winner's cabinet...but yes, this is a rotten election that does happen to be characterized by an unusually high level of pallor.

Speaking of minority/multiracial Tea Parties...I will admit that the concept of mutual submissiveness, discussed here in Lloyd Marcus's anniversary post, brings back fond memories. (My husband was the coffee maker. I was the masseuse who set up the foot bath beside the front door. One person's "I would never do that even for someone I love" is another person's "I would do that as a job, much less for someone I love," but if you can't work out a trade-off for these things, why even think about getting married?!)

There's a meme with a little more of a toehold on reality--"fiscal conservative = stingy, ungenerous, etc." See how easily Jim Babka debunks that one!

Breitbart's Joel Pollak has written a whole book debunking the "lefties = nice guys" meme, and their link goes directly to Amazon, so here's our Amazon photo link du jour:

Politics (Election 2016) 

We knew this had to happen...some clueless student aide, or mindless computer program, just sent the penniless widow known as Priscilla King an e-mail appeal for money for deep-pocketed Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hah. Hah. Hah. At least they included a link some may consider historic:

Whereas at least this election song promises, for those who choose to listen to it, to be short:

Dave Barry volunteers to endure another convention. Better him than me.


Thanks to Elizabeth Barrette for sharing this list of "universal human needs." My comment at is that the authors probably included solitude under "space," but I'd include it right at the top, under "Health."


Michael Jordan steps out of retirement to share the wisdom of his years. (Warning to European readers: The Blaze is a very U.S.-specific site with high political content and masses of ad cookies. It may not even open in some countries. It's an annoying site in the U.S. too; those of us who read it put up with the annoyance for the news coverage. The Huffington Post is similar.)


If you use Twitter to promote your business, do you use Twitter Analytics?


In honor of the cafe, here's a Zazzle coffee mug:

Funny Prescription Coffee Mug
Funny Prescription Coffee Mug by reflections06
Check out more Funny Mugs at Zazzle

In the spirit of which, I suppose: "Fix facts first. Feelings follow. Coffee may help."

Fix Facts First Travel Mug
Fix Facts First Travel Mug by PriscillaKnits
Look for more mugs at Zazzle

The Big Black Man Who Scared Us Out of Southern California

In view of this summer's news stories...this scrap of a memory is hardly even a story, but it seems to need to be shared. Maybe more non-Black children need to grow up hearing stories in which "a big Black man" doesn't mean "something to fear." Here's mine, for what it's worth, told as true:

Mother’s relatives, most of whom were Methodists, used to “testify” by telling stories of things they believed to be miraculous interventions in their lives. Dad’s relatives, most of whom were Baptists, were more modest about these things. Nevertheless, Dad used to say that this story was as close as he’d come to a “miracle.”

They had found a fabulous deal on a house in Waterman Canyon. (Near the scene of last winter's murders, yes.) And why was the lease price for such a big house in such splendid condition so low? Because the road, at least in the early 1960s, was a death trap. There was a real canyon and, when Mother drove out to work in the morning, she had to make a turn around a big rock that cut off vision from either sides. A driver on the main road couldn’t see her car—her all-time favorite car, a Plymouth Fury—nor could she see the other driver. More than one driver ran off the main road into the yard, at night, because it was hard to see the road.

One morning, as Mother set off to work, Dad and I heard the dreaded sound of another car approaching that blind turn, moving fast. Dad yelled to warn Mother, but she didn’t hear him; the Plymouth was not one of your new-style, quiet-running cars.

Before it roared around that rock Dad could see the other car, an early 1960s Cadillac. The Fury was not a small car but, to Dad, the Cadillac looked twice its size. It was coasting down a long hill in high gear. It looked to Dad as if nothing could stop a head-on collision.

The driver of the Cadillac saw Mother about the time Dad saw him. Dad thought he might have been the biggest, blackest man in California. He apparently saw or heard something coming around the rock. He stood up in his seat, stomping the brake pedal into the floor as he threw the hand brake. Dad was 6’2” and he reckoned, by the way the driver’s head bumped the ceiling in the Cadillac, that the driver must have been at least 6’6”. Dad always wondered whether the driver's size had anything to do with his "miraculous" ability even to slow down his car.

Mother might have heard the Cadillac’s brakes screech first, before she leaned on her brakes too. The brakes screamed; the cars slowed down and finally stopped, about a yard apart.

In those days all cars had “wait time”; after the cars stopped we could see them sitting still for several seconds before they started again.

“We’re going to find another house,” Dad told me. I suppose I was whining, the way little children do before they’ve learned how to pray or even how to swear. “Nobody’s driving out around that rock any more.”

And that was how a big Black man scared us out of southern California…for good. My parents never went back there, and for that I was always thankful. 

Morgan Griffith's Good News for Conservatives

Two bits of good news from U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith, R-VA-9:

Landmark Anti-Opioid Abuse Bill Now Law

In my most recent column, I wrote that legislation to combat the devastating opioid epidemic plaguing our communities – the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524) – had cleared both chambers of Congress and was heading to the President’s desk for consideration. The Energy and Commerce Committee, of which I am a member, has tallied it up and reported that this bill includes more than a dozen bills passed by our committee.

I am pleased to report that this legislation has been signed into law. Democrats and Republicans alike came together and, while we will continue our efforts to help save lives and fight this epidemic, help is on the way.

McAuliffe Order Ruled Unconstitutional

The April executive order of Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) to restore voting and other rights to felons was followed by revelation after revelation of errors or oversights made by the Governor’s office, as well as numerous questions about its constitutionality. As I have said before, while I believe in redemption for all, I also have agreed that the Virginia Constitution is clear: the facts and circumstances of each individual must be reviewed by the Governor’s office.

On July 22, however, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued its opinion regarding constitutionality, and ruled that the Governor’s decision violates the Commonwealth’s constitution.

“Never before have any of the prior 71 Virginia Governors issued a clemency order of any kind — including pardons, reprieves, commutations, and restoration orders — to a class of unnamed felons without regard for the nature of the crimes or any other individual circumstances relevant to the request,” Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons wrote in his majority opinion. “To be sure, no Governor of this Commonwealth, until now, has even suggested that such a power exists. And the only governors who have seriously considered the question concluded that no such power exists.”

In a statement issued soon after the Supreme Court released its ruling, Governor McAuliffe indicated he would work to restore the rights of those felons on an individual basis, as is proper under the commonwealth’s Constitution. He, then, is clearly responsible for knowing exactly who these felons are, what they’ve done, and whether they’ve reformed themselves.

Not only did Governor McAuliffe bend or break the rules in order to achieve a goal – this is happening in Washington’s executive branch as well.

While Republicans have occasionally done this, often to their detriment, the current cast of Washington’s Democratic officials seems to be running rampant.

Examples of this that come to mind include the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and reported delays in basic medical screenings at VA hospitals or clinics, the Department of Energy (DOE) regarding Solyndra, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal in which the agency targeted conservative organizations for their political views, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its regulations already adjudicated by the courts to be improper such as the Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding Obamacare, parts of which have been ruled improper by the courts, etc.

This behavior seems to be not only limited to the Democrats’ policies, but seems to be a part of their politics as well, with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) apologizing to Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VA) for “inexcusable remarks made over email” regarding his campaign for president. In one instance, DNC staff discussed using Senator Sanders’ religious beliefs to undermine or discredit him.

In the wake of those email remarks, the head of the DNC is resigning her post. But other officials in Washington – including bureaucrats of the VA, the DOE, the IRS, the EPA, HHS, etc. – also ought to be held accountable for their agencies’ misconduct which was clearly done negligently or intentionally in violation of the law.

In Congress, I have been fighting to hold agencies accountable when they break the rules, do something harmful, or are way off base. Administration bureaucrats must be held responsible, and this fight will continue.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.

July 25 Link Log

These are the last few links that came in on Friday, that I had time to open before going offline, and read from the cache on Monday.


Bears! Yes, this species are also found in eastern Tennessee, occasionally in the southwestern point of Virginia. They don’t usually try to kill more than they want to eat, so (unless you happen to get between a female and her young) they seldom attack adult humans. Babies are a different story. However, bears can go into feeding frenzies when they smell sugary things (most definitely including “natural” non-cane products like fruit and honey) and/or fresh blood. 


The part of this story I find hard to believe is that an adult comedian made fun of a child, in public, 230 times…I mean, he had that many chances to use that routine? People listened? And…I don’t know…none of them had a rotten tomato? Forty-two thousand dollars, even Canadian dollars, may be a bit steep…but obviously people on this guy’s circuit are starving for entertainment, and somebody had to do something. Some humanitarian organization should rush more tasteful comedians to this guy’s audience, fast.


Bit of cognitive dissonance here…aren’t cat people carnivores partly because of the cats? I’ve not seen or heard as much horrible stuff about ASPCA as I have about HSUS and PETA, but animal haters, whose real goal is to deprive people of any opportunity to own land or bond with animals, have sneaked into all of these organizations. Be wary. Nevertheless, here’s this summer’s pitch for common decency toward cows and chickens:


From Australia, the land of wonderful exotic creatures and wonderful exotic slang…I’ve heard most of these, because some of The Nephews have friends from Australia. My cat Bisquit liked “bic-bic” or “bicky” (she recognized those as pet forms of her name) but I think my favorite is just “Oz.”

Politics (Election 2016)

Melania Trump…Last week I thought of my official line about her: If our votes are based on First Consorts, then we should vote for Trump, because it’s easier for Melania to pass for a lady (at least among those who don’t know that she married a man who’s old enough to be her father and ugly enough to stop a clock, and who has two living ex-wives) than for Bill Clinton to pass for a gentleman. But Scott Adams really went too far with this blog post. Jackie Kennedy? Jackie Kennedy? I think I could have watched young Melania on TV for another five years without being reminded of Mrs. Kennedy. (For one thing, Jackie Kennedy didn’t make speeches.) Melania doesn’t really remind me of anybody, strongly, but if I had to choose, it’d be a toss-up between Natalie Portman playing Anne Boleyn, and my college friend who flamed out on LSD, also an actress, playing Mary Magdalene.

Meh. Bad as it was in Gate City, I’m sure the hot air was even worse in Cleveland.

Hmm. I mentioned The Other Boleyn Girl. I don't physically have a copy for sale, but a friend does. If you like the bawdy bits of history, you'll love the novel version of how Anne Boleyn, poster girl for easy divorce, stole her sister's lover...and her sister lived happily ever after. (In real life Mary Boleyn didn't write a memoir but she did live longer than Anne. Another fun fact: we know that's Natalie Portman, not Anne, in the picture because in real life Anne Boleyn started a fad for extra-long sleeves to hide her six-fingered hands, which some people considered creepy.) Click the title for the hardback, Kindle, or first paperback editions; click the image used in the movie trailer for the paperback that came out with the movie. 

Thank a Veteran

Teaching an old man a computer game, and treating him to dinner… “selfless”? Bosh. This young lady is bragging because she found a rare opportunity to do something that is fun, that a lot of young people might spend a lot of time at urban missions before they’ll get to do. In terms of emotional rewards for mission work (or just being bold enough to talk to strangers in safe places in cities) she’s won the jackpot. Shared because other readers should be so lucky. (But beware of hugging veterans. Many of them are still sexy, and some have jealous mates. For example, much as college chicks might want to hug my Significant Other, they do not want me to catch them looking as if that thought had crossed their minds.)