Saturday, March 18, 2006

Making A Difference

"There was never a good war or a bad peace."

-Benjamin Franklin

Today (Saturday) marks a grim anniversary in American history, it will be marking the third year we will be fighting a war in Iraq. A war, that we now know was built on false pretenses, a war that we were promised would be fought quickly with, "shock and Awe," a war that was unnecessary, and immoral. A war that would make us safer from terrorism. Sadly, we are not safer, and our finest men and women are being killed every day in a country that is on the edge of full civil war.Three years have gone by, and where are we? Do we dare speak our minds? Some do.Whether you are for or against the war, it takes an enormous amount of courage to protest, to blog about your opinion,or to even where a t-shirt with your opinion spelled out.

Just as in the days leading up to this dreadful mistake,called "Operation Enduring Freedom," and "Operation Iraqi Freedom," there are folks still willing to stand up and let their voices be heard, and their messages today, are just as they were three years ago, their message is, "Stop the war now." Here in California there are many protests, and rallies, planned throughout the state this weekend, to send a clear message about how Americans feel about the conflict. According to a recent Gallop poll, over 60% of American's believe the war is not worth the cost. That is a sharp climb from a poll taken just after the war began, when only 29% were not in favor of invading Iraq. Has your opinion changed?

It was very popular, during the last presidential election, to label someone a "flip-flopper," should one dare change their mind based on new information presented to them. If you allow pride or fear to run your life, you will be running from the truth, and from yourself, forever. It will exhaust you trying to keep up. To ignore your own integrity because you fear ridicule, is the saddest way to live your life. It takes a lot of courage to fight for change. It takes energy, and sometimes, we have to face great odds in order to fight for what we believe in, but what is the alternative? Years and years of conflict, within ourselves and with each other? If you once supported the war, but have since changed your mind, do you let your voice be heard? Do you say, "I was human, I had an opinion, based of erroneous facts, and now I feel differently based on new information." Does it hurt so much to be wrong, that we sit in quiet, for fear of being wrong again?

I am not casting stones here, I am trying to encourage you to take a stand this weekend. Attend a rally near you. Send a letter to your senator or congressman and speak to them about how you feel, and your desire for change. If you have a blog, this a perfect weekend to write about your feelings about the war in Iraq. If you don't have a blog yet, consider starting one. It doesn't have to be limited to this subject, it can be anything you want to share. Be proactive for yourself and for others. You will be surprised how good that first tiny step will feel. If you have never left a comment here, when I have written an entry like this, please feel free to leave me your thoughts. You are safe here, no matter what your feelings are. Your opinions are welcome, and I will not let anyone mistreat you on my blog. The only guidelines I have are that everyone maintain a level of maturity and manners when dealing with others.

2,313 of our troops have been killed in Iraq, and 17,004 American troops have been injured. 19,317 families changed forever. Who do you think the future may have lost? A future researcher who may have discovered the cure for cancer? A teacher of the year? How about a Nobel Prize winner. An amazing artist or musician, or a poet laureate. That question can't be answered, but we already know some of what we have lost, such as the amazingly talented Pat Tillman. A young man with a promising career in the NFL, who gave up that career to defend his country, after the events of 9/11. After he was killed, his family was told it was by Afghan rebels. We now know that his family had been lied to about how he died in Afghanistan.There is currently a criminal investigation into Tillman's death, which was caused by, "friendly fire." This is the fourth investigation into the incident.

Take the opportunity to take a stand, and make a difference.

If you live in the San Francisco area, there will be a rally held at the Civic Center in downtown San Francisco. If you are in the L. A. area, you can join my good friend Dave, contributing author to The Blue Voice, at the corner of Hollywood &Vine, in Hollywood, for an anti-war protest. Make this weekend, the weekend you make a difference for peace.

"Got Peace" artist unknown

Friday, March 17, 2006


An Irish blessing or two...

May the Irish hills caress you
May her lakes and rivers bless you
May the luck of the Irish enfold you
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

May God grant you many years to live
For sure He must be knowing
The earth has angels all too few
And heaven is overflowing.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Dublin, California
March 15th, 2006

John Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #103: Music To Get The Party Started

"Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance."


Weekend Assignment #103: List the songs you'd play to kick a party into gear. You can choose up to five. And if you want to explain why those five, that's good too. It can of course, be any kind of music from any era... and it can be any kind of party , too. Hey, it's your party. You're in charge of the jukebox, my friend.

Extra Credit: Name the song to play to start winding down the party.

-John Scalzi

It's been several years since we have thrown a party, but we had a lot of fun when we did. The last party we gave was a "House Cooling" party when we moved from our apartment into our first house. We had a BBQ, and we had grab bags with goodies from around the house that we didn't want to take with us. Good stuff, such as, 4 large cans of Comet and 2 sponges. LOL. When it came to the music, that was my department. Music is so important to me, so I put together a little bit from many different eras and genres. Big Band, Disco, Pop. Everyone seemed to enjoy the music I chose, and that felt nice. :) Here are five songs, with an excerpt from each one, that I would probably put together if I were to have a party again sometime.

1. Shiny Happy People

"Everyone around, love them, love them
There's no time to cry, happy, happy
Put it in your heart, where tomorrow shines
Gold and silver shines..."

2. This Is The Time To Remember
By Billy Joel

"This is the time to remember
Cause it will no last forever
These are the days to hold onto
Cause we won't, although we want to
This is the time, but time is gonna change
You've given me the best of you
Now I need the rest of you."

3. Don't Get me Wrong
By The Pretenders

"Once in a while, two people meet
Seemingly for no reason, they just pass on the street
Suddenly thunder showers everywhere
But who can explain the thunder and rain
When there's something in the air."

4. I Go Blind
By Hootie & The Blowfish

"Little child did you know that there's a light
And it's gonna shine right through your eyes
What do you think that life is like?
Every time I look at you I go blind.

5. Smooth
By Santana Featuring Rob Thomas

"And if you say this life ain't good enough
I'd give my world just to lift you up
I could change my life to better suit your mood
Cause you're so smooth."

Extra Credit: One of may favorite songs, for when I am in a winding down mode, is the oldie from Chad & Jeremy, "A Summer Song"

"They say that all good things must end, someday
Autumn leaves must fall
But don't you know that it hurts me so, to say goodbye to you
Wish you didn't have to go
Oh no, no, no
But when the rain, beats against my window pane
I'll think of summer days again...and dream of you."

"Cocktail Party"
By Dupre

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Curious Carly Gets An Ultrasound :)

"A good laugh, and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book."

-Irish Proverb

Ok, so I went for the ultrasound test, provided by the machine in the above photo, and it went well. :) I was able to take a look at my Mammography results, and see the lumps they found. Yep, it wasn't one lump, it was two, and a strange looking Lymph node. The doctor was able to tell that the two lumps were consistent with benign tumors. No worries. The Lymph nodes looked odd, because of my allergy to aluminum. So, I got a clean bill of health, but my doctor made me promise to come in each year from now on for the Mammogram. I smiled at her and said..."Oh yes, I don't need to be warned twice!" So, same time next year for my date with Mr. Squishy. :) Hey, he isn't the worst date I ever had, and come to think of it, I have had bad boyfriends who squeezed harder. ROFL. Now, who wants to go next?

"The Ultrasound"
Hayward, California
March 15th, 2006

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Round Robin Challenge: Signs

"For business reasons, I must preserve the outward signs of sanity."

-Mark Twain

As I mentioned in the promo I wrote for this challenge, I have photographed a lot of unusual signs in my travels. I love them as a subject, and the day I photographed this particular sign, I found the experience to be so much fun, that I found myself smiling the rest of the day. Just think for a moment...wouldn't it be cool to have two extra days in your week? The other element that made this such a fun photograph to take, was the reaction of a lady walking behind me into the store. She had 4 children, all under the age of five, and was trying really hard to keep her composure as one of the children picked their nose, then wiped it on the backside of their, apparently, least favorite sibling! LOL. As I began to take the picture, the frazzled women said to me in a very serious tone, "9 days a week? Where do you suppose they got the two extra days from?" God, George Bush is changing everything!" LOL. Between being completely amused by both the sign on the door of the 99 Cent Store, and the reaction of the woman, I didn't have an answer for her. I just smiled and said, "Isn't that the truth!" LOL. Thank you Kimberleigh, for choosing a great subject for this outing of the Round Robin Challenges.

Please be sure to visit the other participating Robins, to see their interpretations. Just follow the links below, they will be posting throughout today. Be sure to visit the official Round Robin Journall tomorrow (Thursday) to find out what they subject of our next challenge will be.

Linking List

Kimberleigh: I Shaved My Legs For This

Karen: Outpost Mavarin POSTED!

Carly: Ellipsis...Suddenly Carly POSTED!

Sara: Animated Seasons

Sassy: Sassy's EYE POSTED!

T. J. Photo Inclusions: Every Picture Tells A Story

Kat: prima luce

Derek: Derek's Picture Of The Day

Ann Marie: Poetic Justice

Nancy: Nancy Luvs Pix

Julie: Julie's Web Journal

Dorn: Through the Eyes of the Beholder POSTED!

Betty: My Day My Interests POSTED!

"9 Days A Week"
San Leandro, California

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

When A Chocolate Moose Loves Strawberry Pie

"Sometimes, late at night, I lie awake and ask, "Where have I gone wrong?"
Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."

-Charles Schulz

It's cold outside, I am sore, but my brain still works, and I am in a good, if not goofy mood! Weird combination. Sigh. :) I slept 17 hours today, I swear I am becoming a bear. I wonder, are there are any horror stories about someone becoming a bear, instead of a werewolf? LOL. Hmmm, I wonder if I just created a new monster for the literary world. On a positive note, I am finally making some progress on my book. REAL progress. Maybe sometime soon I will share a excerpt, so you can give me a little feedback. :) <<< That's called a teaser. :)

"Yielding To Temptation"
Berkeley, California
March 12th, 2005

Monday, March 13, 2006

My Spring Movie Picks

"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Spring Begins March 20th at 1:26 PM EST :)'s cold outside! LOL. I think most of the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live, will be very happy to usher in spring this year. Spring is still a few days away, but, we are still setting records all over the place for rain, snowfall and hail. The Bay Area is used to dealing with microclimates, it's not unusual for there to be as much as 40 degree difference throughout the Bay counties. There are some things however, that one can always count on. The fog will roll through the Golden Gate at about 2:00 PM each day, if you go to San Francisco, always bring at least a sweater, and be prepared for the unexpected in both the weather...and what you might see! LOL.

Personally, I have been loving being able to see snow right out my window, even if it only lasts a little while, but I have to admit it hasn't been doing much for my swollen joints. It also hasn't been doing much for the traffic, in that we aren't used to driving in this type of weather. There was a 20 car pile-up in Sausalito, just off the Marin side of the Golden Gate bridge, a seven car pile-up in Richmond and various other traffic snarls all weekend. Staying home has been a very good idea. That's ok, staying off the roads, gave me a wonderful chance to view some of my favorite movies, and what better time to do so, then on a snowy weekend? So, here is my spring movie picks, I hope you enjoy them. Please share your thoughts on my picks, and tell me about some of your favorites. Do you have a movie you like to watch especially during a certain season?

Comedy: How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days
Comedy Romance: Must Love Dogs

Horror: White Noise
Scf-Fi: Close Encounters Of The Third Kind

Drama: Good Night & Good Luck
independent: Four Weddings & A Funeral

Romantic Fantasy: Always
Movie With A Lesson: In Her Shoes

Family Film: Herbie: Fully Loaded
Family Film-Animated: Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild

Coming Of Age Film: Riding In Cars With Boys
Movie Musical: Dirty Dancing

Documentary: Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room
Action: Legend Of Zorro

Stephen King Spring: Creepshow
Alfred Hitchcock Spring: Dial "M" For Murder

Period Drama: The Majestic
Courtroom Drama: The People vs. Larry Flint

Movie For A Saturday Afternoon: Apollo 13
Movie For A Sunday Afternoon: Amelie

"Waiting For Spring"
Berkeley Hills
March, 2005

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Road To Hell, And All That

"Government is the toll of the moneyed powers. That concentration of power is happening because Congress is bought off. The system is rigged. And anyone who thinks we have some sort of a democratically elected government is reading the signs of the times."

-Jerry Brown

Do you think there is a misunderstanding about Freedom Of Speech in America? Do you think there is a distinct difference between "Freedom of Speech," and "Freedom of Expression." Are both meant to be protected under the constitution? I have my own thoughts about both terms, but I am interested in what you think. See, it has seemed to me, that since 9/11 we American's have embraced our civil liberties closer then ever before in recent history. Of course we do...we got quite a taste on 9/11 of what we could lose. Since then, it seems like some expressions of one's opinion hasn't always been met with equal embrace. Just ask anyone who opposed the war in Iraq, especially, but not limited to, the first few months after it began. Celebrities were booed off stage for exercising their rights as U.S. citizens and even now...nearly three years later, some students at Kent State University, indicated in a recent interview with ABC News, that they don't support the war, but feel uncomfortable with openly expressing that opinion for fear of being thought of as unpatriotic.

What has me thinking about this issue, is an article I read on AOL news, "Woman Faces Fine For Supporting Troops." Personally, I don't think that is a very accurate title for that article. If you read the story all the way through, you will find the woman, Stacy Kelley, of Westchase, Florida, is facing a fine for displaying a sign in her front yard, period. An action which goes against the contract she signed with her Homeowner's Association, which forbid the displaying of signs of any kind. When she signed that contract, she agreed to live up to it's rules and regulations, there was no provision for any exceptions. So, why should she be given special treatment because her sign is in support of the troops? What about that particular dynamic makes it ok for her to post a sign? Is it the patriot factor? Is it because contract be damned, she has a right to Freedom of Speech, even if she contractually waived that right?

In a poll conducted on AOL, 83% of responders said that the Homeowner's Association were not right to fine her for the infraction, even though she was aware that a fine was a possibility under her contract. In recent polls conducted by several news agencies, general support for the war in Iraq has dropped sharply for both republicans and democrats, but Stacy Kelley's sign doesn't say, Support The War," it says, "Support Our Troops." When you see a sign like that, do you think of the military as a separate entity from the war? And what does that phrase mean to you? "Support The Troops." Does it mean pray for them? Does it mean send them some much needed body armor? Does it mean speak out against the injustice of the war, if that is how you feel? Does it mean blindly following Donald Rumsfeld, when he says that the media has exaggerated the casualty statistics? Does it mean encourage our finest to pursue a career in the military? Does it mean sending a letter to the president, urging him to look into pardoning the men of Port Chicago, an instance of extreme injustice that took place during WWII, and was considered the worst homeland disaster of the era?

Perspective, being an individual thing, is a freedom that we are allowed to as Americans, but it seems like more so now, then at any point in the past that I can remember, it is being given as tool for those who can yell the loudest and with more intimidation. It's disturbing to me, that patriotism has been put into a box, and refined to the opinion that if you dare question what it means to be patriotic, then you are already wrong. Freedom of speech is not meant to be a tool to bully, it is not meant to be used as a weapon in a war of words. It is not meant solely for the majority. Freedom of Speech is a gift from men who fought and died so that we can support many different opinions and ideals. So, do I think this lady had the right to display that sign? No, contractually speaking she does not. Do I think, morally speaking, that she had the right to display that sign?

Yes & No. I fully support Freedom of Speech, I think displaying a sign in one's own yard is a wonderful way to demonstrate to the world your opinion. Bottom lining things in this case, she went against the rules of her Homeowners Association and therefore needs to either take down the sign, or agree to pay the fines or move. I guess what shocked me the most about her attitude was the following statement. "If I have to pay, I'll pay the fines. My husband says the same thing. If we have to pay them, we'll pay them. If they're gonna try to give us more than a thousand-dollar fine, there's enough people out there that are willing to help me out." Are you comfortable with that thought? The idea that it is ok to break the rules, if you can find the right group of people to say it's ok, and pay the way?

Here is an honest question. Knowing that there was a rule prohibiting the displaying of signs of any kind in one's yard, couldn't she have asked permission in advance? Couldn't she have gone to her neighbors and said something like, "let's petition the Homeowners Association, with a request to be allowed to place a sign our yards supporting our troops." They could have even asked that the Homeowner's Association designate the acceptable dimensions. Of course had they agreed, it would have opened the rights of those who oppose the war to display their opinions as well. Wouldn't that be the fair thing to do? And then other groups might want to be able to speak out, some of which we may not want to know live in our backyard. I will let your mind fill in the blanks with that thought. So tell me, is Stacy Kelley exercising her right to Freedom of Speech? Or is she exercising her right of "Freedom of Expression?" And are both to be equally protected under the constitution?

On a lighter note, there is still time to sign up for our next Round Robin Challenge, which is incidentally, "Signs." We will be playing the challenge this coming Wednesday, March 15th. You can post your entry anytime between the midnights of that day...and for up to one week later. If you would like to play, we would be happy to have you join us. Just pay a visit to the official Round Robin Journal and leave your name, the name of your journal, and the full URL of where you will be posting your entry. See you on the 15th!

NOTE: As Patrick pointed out the article title reads, "Woman Fined for Sign Supporting Troops." I believe the one I quoted in the text of my entry was correct, but I could have made a mistake. If so, I apologize for that. Also, I said I read this story on AOL News, but the article comes from ABC News and was featured on AOL news, it was not written by AOL News specifically.

"Road To Hell"
October 25th, 1992