Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Babylon, via Deutschland

Imagine that all that stuff I did when I was young might actually have some use someday! Well, in school we are studying ancient history, and I have a map of Mesopotamia for class. I noticed the design at the top of the map and realized it was inspired by the Ishtar Gate in Babylon. Wait, I've seen the Ishtar Gate reconstructed at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin! Hey, I can show my pictures to the girls! Maybe they will be impressed that their mommy has seen it. Well, I can always dream, can't I? Hopefully these pics will at least help reinforce the lesson. I'd like to share some with you.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Somewhere Out There

Okay, don't get me wrong. I'm not really happy with the current political scene in this country. I look at the Democrats as being closet socialists, and the Republicans have become committed to spending more and more of our money, and don't have the gumption to push through important legislation, like overhauling Social Security. As I've said before, I don't really enjoy politics, but since I have to live by the government's laws, I try to pay as much attention as I can stomach.

While I'm not happy with either major party, I'm not sure I see third parties as an option either, and I happened to see that Michael Medved agrees, at least concerning the Libertarian party, in his Townhall article today. These people are seen as losers, who can't mobilize an adequate base. If so many people are so unhappy with current leadership (and it seems we are, from all the complaining I hear and read), then why can't third parties make more traction in the political realm? I don't know the overall answer, but I do know that no third party seems to represent me well enough either, especially when I know right now they don't have the votes to get elected.

The Constitution Party seems to have some good ideas, on paper. But reading things like this, this, and this, concern me. I don't want America to become a "Christian nation." I think freedom of religion is a good thing. I understood at the time that it was very, very unlikely that a draft would be re-instituted. What politician could survive voting for that? And lastly, I'm not very big on the whole agrarian society model. I'm sure some issues on these pages could have been mis-represented, but overall it is still enough to give me pause.

Lastly, I do think if an alternative political party really wants to make a difference, it needs to start on a local level. Get known in your community, talk to others around you about what you think is important and see what they say. If you can't make a difference on a local level, how can you on a national one?

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Title of This Article Seems to Ring a Bell

Here's the article. Although we'd deal slightly differently with would-be bad guys at my church, I imagine. Still, good to see people fighting back instead of meekly giving in. Article discovered at Lucianne.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Christmas in January

We were finally able to get together with my in-laws today for Christmas. The best part was watching the girls get the gifts that we, the parents, have known for ages they were getting, and have had to keep biting our tongues not to spoil the surprises. Here is Wildchild holding up one of her gifts. Unfortunately you can't really see in this picture the new pearl earrings she received from her grandmother. She also got some Cinderella earrings from her aunt. She likes Cinderella. Yes, she really does.

The best thing of all was watching the Scientist as she opened the envelope containing a gift certificate for four horseback riding lessons, from the stables where the girls rode horses during an open house last year. The Scientist was beside herself with joy, and couldn't stop giggling. That is, when she could breathe. And now her father and I don't have to worry about making ourselves bleed anymore. It's been so hard hearing "Whenever I get to take horseback riding lessons..." for the past couple of months.

Some great memories made today.

Rock Out!

One of my husband's co-workers is a member of a two-man band named 2nd Half. My husband and I were able to go out last night and hear them play, and we had a really good time. I'm posting a couple of pictures from last night; the drummer is Drew and the guitarist and singer is Ed, who works with my husband. I did take some video, which I am hoping to get uploaded soon. In the meantime, you can hear some of their music here and here.

Oh, and hey, I felt like we were partying like it was 1989! I'm sure some of the outfits I saw last night were ripped right out of the closets of kids I went to high school with. At least, the burn-outs. One last cultural point, 5 Evil Genius points to the person who can tell me what movie Cobra Kai comes from. Or meet up with us the next time we go to see 2nd Half, and I'll buy you a drink. I'll give more clues later on if nobody guesses.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Poverty Is Not Cute!!

Via Lucianne, I found this article by Mary Katherine Ham that makes me want to scream, makes me want to spit at every enviro-whacko in sight, makes me so angry that my hands can hardly stop shaking enough to type properly. How dare they? How dare those pretentious, snobbish glassbowls talk about great it must be to live in poverty? How dare they talk about how charming it is to use a horse and cart, how they are proud to have a horse? Well, in the area of Eastern Europe my grandmother and her family fled, they were happy to have a cow. Because they had a better chance to put food on the table, not because of some environmentalist's wet dream!!

Maybe it's wrong that I feel this more personally, because as I mentioned not that long ago, some of my ancestors came to America from an area very close to that discussed in the article. My great-grandparents' descendants could still be living in a hellhole, instead of enjoying the gifts of freedom to create wealth and make their own choices. Still, there's an ongoing tradition of the wealthy and powerful "bleeding hearts" working so hard on making themselves feel good, while hurting at worst and ignoring at best those whom they claim to care about so much. (h/t Ace.) So perhaps sometimes a problem so pervasive needs to hit you personally.

What also disturbs me here, is that these idiots are not just rhapsodizing about how wonderful it must be to live in filth and use outdoor toilets in freezing cold weather. No, they're getting their noses out of the air long enough to butt them in and do their best to prevent something that would actually help the people in the area. Even one of the Chaplain's reads, the Daily Reckoning, thinks the mining project could be a great investment if it was ever actually allowed to get off the ground. But no, the people there should live by selling woven baskets and wood carvings to tourists. Yeah.

Ironically, do you know when mining did the worst damage to the area? During the Soviet era. Yep, during the socialist paradise that all these nutjobs want to bring back. Considering my trip to West and East Berlin right after the Berlin Wall fell, I can easily believe this. West Berlin was a thriving, modern city. East Berlin was burning brown coal for fuel and still hadn't gotten around to rebuilding a lot of the damaged areas left over from WWII. Not very environmentally friendly to have brown coal dust coating the streets and the buildings. There were areas in East Berlin where nothing would grow anymore due to the pollution. Not the way I want to live. And the more I learn about the evil out there, and the stupid who mindlessly assist the evil, the more I want to fight back to keep them from destroying my dreams, or the dreams of my children. If only the poor around the world could get this chance as well.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Change of Pace

So, I was surfing around YouTube while looking for something in particular, and I found this television clip. If you don't want to watch, basically it's a discussion of the current trend of college women's basketball teams having members of the men's team scrimmage with the women's team during practices, and the pros and cons thereof.

I don't talk about sports too much, although I enjoy rooting for Cleveland professional sports teams, as much as one can enjoy watching your team find ways to lose. My body is definitely not made for serious athletic pursuits, and my daughters have other aptitudes as well. But as far as basketball goes, I've always had a fondness for girls' high school basketball. This is probably partially because my mother played basketball herself for Lutheran High, back when girls were only allowed to play half court ball, so as not to strain their delicate constitutions.(!) Also, I attended Lutheran West High School, where the girls' basketball coach, Karen Wittrock, is the winningest girls' basketball coach in the state of Ohio, with over 600 wins and less than 200 losses.

This video, however, offers some interesting things to think about beyond the realm of females playing basketball. For starters, the coaches talk about how it is great for the women to be playing basketball against the men, because the men are "bigger, stronger and faster." Okay, hold on. Aren't women and men supposed to be absolutely equal in every single way already? No?

It also brings up issues related to Title IX, wherein legislators attempted to create desired results by mandate, in this case, making sure women had absolutely the exact same opportunities to play absolutely the exact same sports as men, whether the women want to or not. Of course the result, as so often happens when legislators try to force their own visions to come to pass via a law, seems in my not so humble opinion to have hurt more than it helped. For updates on the follies of Title IX, the International Women's Forum seems to be the best go-to site I have found. In the case of the issue we're currently discussing, the argument is that benefits to women athletes from Title IX are being erased, as second-string women's players get less playing time while the first-string women are playing against the guys. As is to be expected from a brief television blurb, this issue is not resolved adequately. One coach says, actually, all the women get more playing time under this new practice. This makes no sense to me, since who would the first-string women be scrimmaging against, if not the second-string women, if the men were not there?

Overall, I found this issue intriguing because the thing I like about women's basketball, particularly at the high school level, is that it is different from men's basketball. Women are different from men, and while I think women can excel in athletic pursuits, women are different physically and this may result in different things. Women's softball has its differences from men's baseball. Women figure skaters have cut back on the relentless pursuit for more rotations in jumps, opting for difficulty in combination jumps instead. Jumps require a certain level of upper body strength to muscle the body through the jump, and men do have the advantage in this area. I saw all the serious knee and ankle injuries to the girls who played basketball while I was in high school, and I wonder if the goal of playing more like men will only make this worse, or if better conditioning and new conditioning techniques will offset this. While I don't think girls should be limited to half-court ball, and I like the idea of girls and women in basketball being more aggressive for the rebound or on defense, I don't think changing their style of play to be exactly like men is something that should be striven for. Anyone else out there have an opinion?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Looking Up

Well, I've been sick the past couple days, but I'm feeling better and ready to start attacking life again. The girls and I have become addicted to hot chocolate, and now that there is snow on the ground, I think we can put the croquet set in the front hallway away. Ya think?

Since the Quipper has already alerted people to this, I'll just add that Euphoric Reality has been busily following up on the case, and has had their website hacked to boot. Bloggers. Doing the jobs MSM journalists won't do.

Monday, January 22, 2007


Ahh, peace, sweet peace. The kind of peace you get when you're really, really exhausted, so that your body kind of shuts down and you don't care about anything except the feel of the blanket around you and your head on the soft pillow. There is a slight nagging worry about why you've been feeling constantly tired lately, but you can push that away, for now. Restful for the mind, bad for blogging.

I'm glad the Bears made it into the Super Bowl, because my sister-in-law is thrilled about that. She's been a Bears fan for ages. Now if only this mojo thing I have going (the Cards, the Bears) would work for one of my teams! Or maybe I need to find someone else with mojo to root for my teams.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Is This Winter?

These white things, flying through the air, what are they? I vaguely remember seeing them about a year ago.

My daughters remembered what to do with snow!

They also found some other ways to beat the winter blues. Thanks a lot, Die-Hard Equestrian! Only, not! :)

Well, next week is a fresh week. I *will* get more accomplished!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I Hate Germs

I want to post pictures of my beautiful life, like Kate. Unfortunately, a cold bug seems to have found my family. Right now, my beautiful life involves wanting lots of sleep. Ugh. I hate being sick. When I'm trying so hard to improve things around here, it feels like a major setback, not a minor illness. Could you all post really, really interesting things to read while I'm recovering? I'll try to get back to the "beautiful life" thing tomorrow.

We Miss You, Ronnie

This video is so applicable to where we are, today, that it is scary. I'm putting the video here where you can see it, but I watched it first posted at CUANAS, via The Anchoress. It doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy; rather it makes me feel this fight called life is worth something.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Wouldn't this get you some looks at the range? Isn't it a purty, purty Bersa? And I have some acrylic paint right here at home.... Okay, I know Jack Bauer wouldn't carry this. I know the Chaplain wouldn't carry this. I wonder if the Pistol Packin' Presbytera would carry this, if it were more of a purple pistol?? (Say "Pistol Packin' Presbytera's purple pistol" three times fast. Ha!) Anybody else think they could survive a day at the range using this? And although the bullets are no longer functional (the paint means they will no longer chamber), yes, the gun itself is still operational. However, since the proud owner does not want to go to the trouble necessary to carefully clean this work of art after using it, the Bersa and bullets are mounted in a glass case. You can see more pictures if you scroll down through the discussion here.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Oh My Nerves

I don't think I can stand this 24 thing. Between yelling over and over at the TV screen, "Don't cooperate with the terrorists!!" and wanting to reach through the TV screen and bitchslap Sandra "My boyfriend is more important than the fact that they're going to nuke L.A." Palmer, I want to go beat something up now. I'm stressed! I want to watch TV for relaxation, mindless entertainment! Help!

Bird Is the Word

I know a lot of you watch 24, so I'm sure you'll find this story teh coolness. It's about a giant owl that could devour a fox or a small deer, has a five foot wingspan, and has gone after people. My husband especially loves birds of prey: owls, falcons, hawks, eagles. He found it really funny when, at an aviary in Germany, an owl flew at him and got a claw far enough out of his enclosure to make my husband's forehead bleed. So I agree with Andrea. I want one.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Now that one needs to have had a child to have a legitimate argument, where can we take it from here? Let's see, I suppose having a son of military age gives you the most moral authority. Unless, you know, your son is actively serving in the military and you support him. Or your son died in service for his country, and you don't hate the president, and are proud of your son's service.

So where can we go from there? Number of children? Difficulty/length of deliveries? Difficulty during pregnancy? Mastitis? Spent lots of nights sitting up with sick children? Maybe we should come up with some kind of point system. A Caesarian gets you so many points, morning sickness all nine months gets you so many points. I'm feeling full of moral authority already.

I Am a Great-Aunt

Tyler Lloyd, born at 1:22 PM, 8 pounds, 2 ounces. Born to my husband's niece. Hopefully I'll be getting pictures soon. Ack. I'm old.

Update: I apologize for the size, but here you go.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Going to the Dark Side?

Even though I've never seen an episode of 24, I've had so much fun with the Jack Bauer hype that I'm actually considering watching Season 6. Like I need another thing to be addicted to! I think everybody should participate in Talk Like Jack Bauer Day, however. Just 'cause it sounds like fun. And Jack Bauer will hurt you if you don't.

Just remember, when bad things happen to good people, it's probably fate. When bad things happen to bad people, it's probably Jack Bauer.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Turning Back Time

Anybody want to go in with me on buying this beautiful property? I know my husband has always wanted to live in a home with a secret passage, or even passages! I think it would be absolutely fascinating to live there. On top of the fact that it is a gorgeous old castle with lots of history, although its ties to Vlad are questionable, it is very near to where my ancestors lived for what was probably hundreds of years. Of course, I read on this site that Brasov, the city nearest Bran Castle, had its inhabitants of Germanic (like mine) and Jewish ancestry largely driven out. But the city of Mediasch would be fairly near by, and I know that this is where my grandfather's people came from.

I know that my ancestors did the right thing in fleeing the Old World. Since I am only a third-, or in some cases second-generation American, I know very well that the conditions my great-grandparents and grandparents left behind were harsh, with little room for improvement. Still, I feel a little ache of what could almost be described as loneliness, looking at pictures of a city where people of my flesh and blood once lived. Where did they live when they were there? What exactly were their lives like? Strange to think that if all those people had not come from places as far apart as Eastern Europe and Ireland, that I would not exist today!

Monday, January 08, 2007

I Think I'm in Love

I just hope I don't have to travel to Japan to ride a roller coaster like this. For those of you who can't or don't want to view the YouTube video at the bottom of the page, each set of seats on the train swings independently of the others. I've seen computer-generated video of a roller coaster like this, but this is the first one I've seen IRL.

For "live" fun a little bit closer to home (at least for me! ;) ), check out these POV videos of Millennium Force, Top Thrill Dragster, Magnum XL200 and Raptor. Ah, Cedar Point dreams... May 12 isn't that far away!!

Just a Tip

I know many of us who have school-age children may be giving at least a little thought as to colleges for them. Well, this list might give you a few ideas where not to send them. I got enough "Should Marx Be Given Another Chance" crap in E. Germany. Their civilization was falling into ruins around them (literally) and still it was, "But we could do it right this time!" Bleah.

Via the Independent Women's Forum.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Slow Sunday

So here I am, feeling tired and hung-over. And I have so not had any alcohol since the hot-chocolate-with-caramel-liqueur that my husband made for me New Year's Eve. I hope I can work things out for me from a physical standpoint.

If Cleveland is the poorest major city in the nation, why are we the first city in America where the top three news stations broadcast in HD? I assume there must be a market, as in enough people in the Cleveland viewing area have HD, wouldn't you think? I guess we're really poor, because we don't have HDTV. To be honest, I could think of a lot of other things to spend my money on first.

Looking forward to starting a new week and getting out of this weekend rut.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Musical Interlude

I'm sorry, Chaplain, but if these guys are in heaven, I think there will at least be hard rock in heaven. :) Anyway, I've liked this band, Stavesacre, for a long time, and I wanted to share some of their stuff with you. Any complaints about the theological content of their songs should be mitigated by the fact that most of ya'll are too old to make out the lyrics. :P

I Can Take a Hint

At least, I hope I was one of the people Kathy was referring to as someone else she'd like to see fill this out! :)

True Or False
I’m short: True
I have many scars: True
I tan easily: True
I burn easily: True
I wish my hair was a different color: Sometimes
I have friends who have never seen my natural hair color: False
I wear glasses or contacts: True
I have 5 or more piercings: False
I have/had piercings in places besides my ears: False
I have freckles: True

I’m in one right now: True
I miss someone right now: False
I love/like someone right now: True
I’ve gotten divorced: False
I’ve had a crush on a teacher: False
I’ve hugged a stranger: True

I’ve laughed so hard I’ve cried: True
I’ve glued my hand to something: False
I’ve laughed till some beverage came out of my nose: not out, but up, yes
I’ve had my pants rip/drop in public: False
I was born with a disease/impairment: True, if a deviated septum is an impairment
I’ve sat in a doctor’s office with a friend: True, if a vet's office counts
I’ve had my wisdom teeth removed: False, but I have had 4 others removed
I’ve had a serious surgery: True
I’ve had chicken pox: True

I’ve gotten lost in a city: Don't think so(?)
I’ve seen a shooting star: True
I’ve wished on a shooting star: False
I’ve gone out in public in my pajamas: False
I’ve pushed all the buttons on an elevator: False
I’ve been to a casino: False
I’ve been skydiving: False
I’ve played spin the bottle: False
I’ve drank a whole gallon of milk in one hour: False
I’ve been in a car crash: True
I’ve caught a snowflake on my tongue: True
I’ve sat on a roof top at night: True (well, stood on one)
I’ve played chicken: False
I’ve played a prank on someone: True
I’ve ridden in a taxi: True
I’ve seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show: False
I’ve eaten Sushi: Yuck, false

More Random:
I watch the news: Absolutely false
I curse regularly: Um, not regularly
I sing in the shower: Sometimes
I’m a morning person: Unequivocally false!
I am a sports fanatic: True, depending on the sport/team
I know how to shoot a gun: True
I am really ticklish: False, and my husband hates that!

This is the end of this post: True

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Back to Normal...Sort Of

Well, the DH went back to work today after being off since Dec. 21, and the girls and I went "back to school." We didn't have a really intensive school day, but we made a start. For some reason, I was really worn down which did not help with the school stuff. I had a nasty allergic reaction to something, so for the last couple of days my face has been itchy, and I've been taking Benadryl at nights. Usually this knocks me out cold, but I haven't been sleeping so well, so I don't know. I hate having sensitive skin.

I am glad to be getting back to a normal schedule, but I enjoyed the holidays a lot more this year than I have in the past. And of course Christmas is not entirely over, is it, Presbytera?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I Exercised Today

My Second Amendment rights, that is. A very nice gun range just re-opened near our house, and my husband has been eager to go check it out. We went with a friend of my husband's. He recently became a U.S. citizen and is interested in exercising his rights as such. His wife also came along, and shot a gun for the first time today. She and I used my Bersa .380. My husband and his friend mostly used his Bersa 9 mm, and also shot my husband's .30-30 rifle, since rifles can be used at this range. My husband has not been able to shoot this rifle for quite some time.

We all had a good time, and my aim improved, so I was happy about that. I'm glad I know I can defend myself if I have to do so.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Couldn't let the day go by without wishing all of you a very happy and joyous new year. I haven't exactly made any resolutions, but I have thought a lot about what I want to do this year, and I especially want to have more fun. When I let myself get down, I'm no good to anyone. This is not exactly an earth-shattering or innovative discovery, but sometimes I get so caught up in what I *have* to do, that it overwhelms me and keeps me from doing anything I like to do, or getting any happiness out of the things that have to be done. Hopefully having more fun will keep my blog interesting to read as well. :)