Sunday, April 30, 2006

History Lesson part II...

Because many people have forgotten that the fight for independence is a neverending battle...

Section 2385 of USC Title 18, Part I, Chapter 115:

Advocating overthrow of Government

Whoever knowingly or willfully advocates, abets, advises, or teaches the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying the government of the United States or the government of any State, Territory, District or Possession thereof, or the government of any political subdivision therein, by force or violence, or by the assassination of any officer of any such government; or

Whoever, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any such government, prints, publishes, edits, issues, circulates, sells, distributes, or publicly displays any written or printed
matter advocating, advising, or teaching the duty, necessity, desirability, or propriety of overthrowing or destroying any government in the United States by force or violence, or attempts to do so; or

Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof - Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.

As used in this section, the terms ''organizes'' and ''organize'', with respect to any society, group, or assembly of persons, include the recruiting of new members, the forming of new units, and the regrouping or expansion of existing clubs, classes, and other units of such society, group, or assembly of persons.

I read that a few times today and wonder about the future of America. I believe it's going to happen, it's no longer a matter of "if" but "when". It's scary isn't it? I hate war, I hate violence, I hate conflict, but it's going to happen.

I do believe that someday the good and decent freedom loving citizens of this country will finally have enough of the abuse, the limitation on freedom and liberty, and the taxation without representation. And the people will have no choice but to participate in blatant disobedience to authority and use force (yes, I said force) to regain the country, along with the freedom and liberty our forefathers fought and died to protect for us. And as much as I would hate to see it come to that, I would have to support it. Who wouldn't choose freedom and liberty over the alternative? I would have to say that choosing to fight and die for a great cause comes hard to many, after all who is not afraid to die? A few. But many would ask if the battle can be won, if it's worth the sacrifice.

It is worth the sacrifice.

To regain our country will take a tremendous amount of courage from all who believe in freedom. And it will take disobedience to authority.

Look at most incidents of disobedience to authority since America's colonial days. Had it not been for acts of disobedience and lawbreaking many "old ways" in this country never would have been changed. We might have remained a colony of England or we might have still supported slavery. Women may not have gained the right to vote or the Vietnam war might have gone on much longer. Acts of disobedience made positive changes in America.

The biggest act of disobedience at this point would be taking back our country. I highly advocate doing it peacefully, by voting, by taking action, by getting involved. But I can't help the feeling even that won't be enough and in another generation or two, Americans, those who are left who actually cherish freedom and liberty and that little thing called individual rights, will finally have enough and then God help those who are in office who have participated in the destruction of our great country. Nothing will be able to save them because Americans will be taking their country back by force.

There, I said it. Does it make me a traitor? No, but I suppose there are some folks somewhere in the hierarchy of this government who think that people like me are a threat to our national security, traitors to our country, a dangerous bunch. Hard to believe eh? Me? I'm hardly dangerous. That people who advocate freedom could be considered dangerous and a traitor to their country is absurd. Maybe I'm just blowing it all out of proportion but I don't know......sometimes I wonder which way the country is going and if my way of thinking is going by the wayside.

Underneath it all, I'm just another patriotic American who believes in freedom, liberty, free enterprise, capitalism, and individual rights, you know the stuff American dreams are made of. I'm just another one of those Americans who believes that America belongs to the people, not the politicians, and that they, the politicans, serve us, we do not serve them.

Yeah I guess you could say that my way of thinking is dangerous in these times, isn't it?

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Time for a history lesson...

Because many people in this country seem to have forgotten our first fight for independence...

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Friday, April 28, 2006

No work stoppage for me...

Been hearing about this big "work stoppage" thing for over a month now so I will really be glad when it's over so we can move on to other important news.

I am not taking off work Monday like millions of other people in order to protest because I do not believe that illegal aliens should be granted amnesty plain and simple. And I hear many thousands will be carrying Mexican flags (didn't they learn anything from that before?) I am really surprised at all these companies, big companies too like Tyson who are shutting down plants because they expect most of their workers to be out. I say "hey if you don't show up for work, you're fired" sounds pretty clear to me. And guess what? If they are fired, they have no recourse, the Constitution does not protect you or me from any entity but the government. We'll see how this whole mess affects our country. Frankly I don't give a damn. Why? Because I think that all this protesting for amnesty for illegals is ridiculous. America has laws, it's time to enforce them. Did you know if you were caught illegally residing in Mexico you'd be spending your time in a Mexican prison? Yep.

I'm tired of people who are here illegally (and those who support them) telling me that they have a right to anything in this country, that they have a right to citizenship, a right to vote, a right to work, a right to anything. They are here illegally, and it isn't just about crossing the border either. The laws being broken by these people apply to much more than that. It also applies to the use of fraudulent documents like social security cards and birth certificates. We have laws in this county that would prosecute me for falsifying legal documents. If I were to falsify a legal document my ass would be in jail and for good reason. Why does the law apply only to some and not to all?

I'm sick of Congress and the spineless bastards who gave in and rescinded the bill that made illegal immigration a felony. I'm sick of Bush and his inability to stand firm with the leaders of countries whose people are here illegally. I can't believe he can't come out against illegal immigration. It's a lot of double-speak, nobody knows what his stance is on the issue. And I'm sick of every organization in this country who promotes rights and citizenship for people who are here illegally. Does Bush even KNOW about "Reconquista?" that's right I bet he never even heard of it. It's the Mexican "underground" quest to

Right now the more I'm pushed on this issue, the more I'm pushing back. My sympathy for their plight is waning pretty quick. Sometimes a sacrifice has to be made for principle. Somebody out there PLEASE show me one damn Congressman/woman who is willing to sacrifice their position of power for principle. Yeah right!

So I say, let them have their work stoppage, big deal. Let the Latin American countries stop buying our goods for one whole day, let the illegals and their supporters here in the US boycott their jobs, schools, and US products for one day. All it's going to do is force the American people to see the truth which is that their The best I can hope for is that the whole damn thing backfires on them.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Dear Federal Government, stick to what you know...

...because implementing viable, effective, long-term solutions for problems in America just isn't it.

Ok so the Republicans believe a $100 rebate check (in exchange for drilling in ANWR) will relieve our pain and the Dems think repealing the 18 cent federal gas tax for sixty days is going to make a big difference.

Do they think we're stupid? Honestly I don't think it's going to make a bit of difference for the average American.

Let's see, DH and I fill our car up once every four days which averages about 7.5 tanks per month. At $31 per tank that's about $210 per month. Not paying federal gas tax will save us a whopping $1.80 per tank or $13.50 per month. Those who have larger tanks or commute more will save more and those who have smaller tanks and commute less will save less. And then there's the issue of the rebates. How do you know who gets it and who doesn't?

Sorry but this isn't a solution. It would be nice if an INDEPENDENT group could tell us all the truth behind the price of gas. I don't know that many people are that upset because they have to pay more, I think they're like me, upset at not knowing WHY. I hate to pay higher prices for things and not know why. I think the American people have a right to know why prices are skyrocketing overnight, sometimes in the same day.

We pay less for gas than they do in many European countries, this doesn't mean that we should be paying that much more for gas, but I'm wondering, are we Americans spoiled? For years now, it's become a "I want it now" attitude, even I am guilty of it at times. I can understand a rising price in gas over a longer period of time but overnight? A fourteen cent hike overnight deserves an explanation, the truth. It's time we start demanding the truth, time to start becoming amateur economists and reading, listening, asking questions. It's the only way we're going to learn and the only way we're going to really be able to do something about it.

I'm not ready to blame anyone yet until I know for sure why this is happening so quickly. And I damn sure am not listening to anyone in Congress and going along with their stupid short-term solutions which are doing nothing more than pandering for my vote in the next election.

A vote which by the way, they will not get.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Figuring out the rising cost of gas...

The rising price of gas has all of us concerned. This is one of those moments in life where I really wish I was an economist. Alas I am a History major working among economists. Now I will tell you I am not entirely comfortable with jumping on the anti-oil companies bandwagon just yet, that just seems too easy. I really want to know the truth and I’m willing to research it and listen to what others have to say. There are many stories circulating the web about the causes of the increase in fuel prices. If you have comments, please feel free to put them here. I’m just going to tell you what I found and see what you think.

The 4/22/06 Washington Post reported the average breakdown of the cost of fuel:
54.8% cost of crude oil
21.7% refining
18.9% taxes
4.5% marketing, distribution and storage

Florida’s average price of regular gas today is 2.97/pg (source: AAA)
Below is the today’s breakdown in $$, in my area, based on the Washington Post’s % chart

Cost of crude oil: 1.63
Refining: .64
marketing/storage: .13
All taxes: .519
Total: 2.919

Breakdown of taxes in Florida
Source: American Petroleum Institute (2006)
And: Alachua County Commission(2005)

State: 26.5 cpg
Federal: 18.4 cpg
County 7.0 cpg (Alachua)
Total = 51.9 cpg

According to ConocoPhillips in the late 1990’s the average profit per gallon was 7.3 cents, while Conoco Phillips reported 9 cents in third quarter 2005.

This Consumer Watchdog, report focuses on how the price spike affected California, shows clearly that at least in that state, the difference between the “spot” market price of crude oil which is the max price companies will pay for the crude oil, and the pump price (excluding taxes) between January and April rose 42 cents per gallon which is pure profit for the oil companies. I would say that is pretty substantial.

In that great chart printed by the Post, they’re missing an important component which is the profit breakdown. Based on the chart, the people really have no idea WHAT the industry’s profit is. And before we start laying blame I think we should have a concise breakdown of the cost of gas.

Gibson Consulting does a pretty good job of breaking down the numbers. In a 2003 report on its site it breaksdown the costs and profits for marketing, refining, production, transportation etc. Sure it’s 3 years ago but it gives us at least some idea. I think the breakdown is important.

Anyway if you have more to add, PLEASE feel free to comment.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What is the big deal?

Ok so your husband surprised you with a brand new car and you are bragging to your friends about it. Now please tell me WHAT is the big deal about your husband surprising you with a new car? Especially when after you unwrap the pretty red bow, he hands you the payment book, which will happen since there's no way in hell he paid for this in full.

Now a real surprise honey would have been your husband handing you the TITLE along with the keys.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Every year the Gator Nation does this big fundraising thing where they try and raise money for their foundation through a special faculty and staff campaign. And every year I toss it. Hell, they don't even have my correct name on it.

This year, it just got even more absurd.

The envelope I received today is stamped: "Beware, Gator inside"

So I get all excited thinking: "OMG there's a GATOR IN THERE!!!!"

I tore open that envelope anxiously expecting the appearance of a dehydrated gator to which I'm sure all I have to do is add water and he'll become life size. Imagine my disappointment when all that was in there was three lousy pieces of paper. The first one is a card folded in half with a drawing of a green alligator on it and underneat the pic it says"Show us your origami Gator" and I'm sitting there like "huh?" you got me all excited over a friggin' ORIGAMI GATOR? And OMG it actually comes with instructions. It says:

1. Carefully cut along outer black line
2. Cut seven diagonal slits along folded edge (indicated by black lines)
3. Un-fold and flatten gator.
4. Fold back each of the slits you cut, forming little triangles
5. Re-fold in half again
6. Fold feet where indicated
7. Make your gator stand up
8. Send a photo of you & your origami gator at home, or work, or on your travels to----

First fifty submissions receive a special gift.

Yeah ok, I'll run out right now and take a pic of me and my origami gator buddy at Target and send it in for a bonus gift.

I don't think so.

Of course if I do this people will come into my office in droves exclaiming "ooooh look at you and your ultra-cool origami gator at target!!"

Really now.

Along with the origami gator, is a form asking for a donation. And to give us a little push they wrote: "With a little effort, you can make something out of an ordinary piece of paper that stands up and stands out. With a few simple folds and a cutting edge, a piece of green paper can become an example of the extra effort you put into make this great institution an exceptional one....blah blah blah"

Yeah, whatever.

Every year they send this to me and every year I send them a note back to take me off the list. It isn't that I don't like this place, I do. I love my job, I have a tuition waiver and am getting my education free because of them. But I've been here for 12 years and I'm not even going into the long long list of why I just don't have the heart to pull my hard earned $$ out of my pocket and give it to them. I can hear it now, those in charge might say that overall the institution does a lot for the community and that's why I should give, because it benefits society as a whole. And it probably does! Sure think of the things that this place gives to the community. But what about me?

When it comes to higher education, staff are the red-headed stepchildren. We're wedged between the poor hungry students whose tuition dollars pay our salaries and who fill the classrooms and go forth into the world and do good things and the high-priced faculty members who buy homes in expensive neighborhoods, conduct research, teach, present papers, publish journal articles, make historical breakthroughs and new discoveries. Oh sure while many of us are loved by our departments, it's the upper eschelon ultra superior hierarchy that doesn't do enough for those who work their asses off and bends over backwards to those who don't. And there's usually some political correctness involved there.

Ultimately, it's about the "theory of justice" in that I think those who do should be rewarded and those who don't should not. For me it's that simple. I guess that's the problem though and why I'm not in charge. Nothing at these institutions is ever simple and all the supposedly simple problems have to be mulled over by special committees and subcommittees and task forces and so on. Sounds like our country eh?

And that's just another on the long list of reasons why DH and I are using our tuition waivers to get our educations, he in his chosen trade and me in my chosen area of academics. Then we won't be anyone's redheaded stepchildren anymore.

Anyway, I don't know what it cost these folks to print up this three- color origami stuff but I just hope they recycle, cause that's where mine is going.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Alleged Duke rapist not the only one with a record...

When Duke University students Colin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were named for the alleged rape of a woman a few weeks ago, it also came out that Finnerty had been arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault several months before in Washington DC for allegedly calling a guy "gay and derogatory names". To my knowledge Seligmann has never been arrested. But it seems Finnerty isn't the only one with a record.

According to Dilby who took the story straight from the Charlotte Observer and Crime Log of the Herald Sun from June 2002:

"Monday, Crystal Gail Mangum, 23, of 2111 Charles St. was charged with larceny of a motor vehicle, driving while impaired, assault with a deadly weapon, damage to real property and resisting an officer, among other offenses, the warrant states. Mangum allegedly drove the stolen blue Durham Taxi Associates cab toward a Durham County sheriff'sdeputy, forcing him to jump out of the way and causing $200 of damage to his 2002 Crown Victoria cruiser, the warrant states. The deputy hadstopped Mangum because he suspected her of driving while impaired, thereport states. Mangum was taken to Durham County Jail and held on a $75,000 secured bond.

And then there's her friend, Kim Roberts, the second stripper present on the night of the alleged rape. Ms. Roberts was arrested on March 22, 2006 for "probation violation stemming from a 2001 conviction for $25,000 embezzlement from a Durham phofinishing company where she worked in the payroll department."

Ms. Roberts sent an email to a well-known PR firm recently. From

Raw Data: Stripper's E-Mail to P.R. Firm
Friday, April 21, 2006

Below is the text of the e-mail sent by Kim Roberts to 5W Public Relations in New York. Roberts, an exotic dancer, accompanied the woman accusing members of the Duke University men's lacrosse team of raping her the night of March 13.

Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 2:21 PM

To: Ronn Torossian

Subject: duke lacrosse scandal


My name is Kim and I am involved in the Duke Lacrosse scandal. Although I am no celebrity and just an average citizen, I've found myself in the center of one of the biggest stories in the country. I'm worried about letting this opportunity pass me by without making the best of it and was wondering if you had any advice as to how to spin this to my advantage. I am determined not to let any negative publicity about my life overtake me. I'm so confused as to who to talk to for relevant advice and I hope that you can return my e-mail. If you cannot help, do you know of any names and numbers I can call?

Thanks for your time,

The 2nd Dancer...

Below is the text of a press release from 5W Public Relations in response to questions about Roberts' e-mail soliciting help in the Duke matter.

"We understand now that we were contacted because of our experience in crisis communications with high profile individuals, particularly our representation of Lil' Kim of whom this woman is a huge fan. We have been in discussions with her and are currently evaluating our position on this matter. I have been asked why she contacted us — My response: Anyone who is in the firing line of the media should contact a PR firm — The media swarms are very intimidating and scary and people should always contact media experts before speaking with the media," said Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5W Public Relations.

The firm has represented a number of high profile celebrities and

Well there you have it folks.

I'm not saying the alleged victim and her friend lied as it is too soon to know that although it is a possibility. I am not saying Seligmann and Finnerty are innocent either because their guilt is also a possibility. But since the issue of character and past offense was brought into the limelight in order to make the case that Finnerty is a racist, bigoted, rich privileged white boy, it's only fair that the record(s) of the accuser(s) be laid out on the table too.

The point here is that what someone does in their past may not be indicative of future acts, not always. Calling someone "gay and derogatory names" is stupid but it doesn't make someone a rapist. And on the flip side, being a stripper and getting drunk and stealing a cab, running from police and trying to run over a cop doesn't make you lie about being raped.

The truth will eventually come out, it always does. In the meantime I think we are all going to be very surprised when this is all over.

Or maybe not.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Just because my skin color is light...

My mother turned me on to doing these online surveys awhile back, it's a way of helping these companies gather rather basic information while at the same time making a few $$. For the first time in over a year I decided to participate in one of the surveys today. I signed in with my username and email addy and proceeded into the survey when I noticed the survey asks for your ethnicity. The choices were:

African American
Native American
Latin American/Hispanic

I think I got it right. Ok now, I had to think about which one I am.

I'm not African American, in fact I know plenty of dark-skinned Americans but none of them are actually from Africa.

I'm not Asian, now I know plenty of Americans whose ancestors came from Asia, but none of them were born there.

Now Native American---I'm 1/16 Cherokee Indian. Let's see my father's mother's father's mother or let's just say my great great grandmother Sara Della Blackstock Hogan was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian. But I hear that 1/16 isn't enough. So I guess I have to try something else.

I know for certain I am not an Eskimo, although I do love the pies they make :)

As for Caucasian/White, well I know my skin is light, especially since I don't tan anymore, but Latin Americans, Eskimos, Asians, all have "white" skin too, it doesn't seem fair that merely my skin color decides my ethnicity. So I didn't mark that either.

Ok well we're almost down the list and I can't remember having any hispanic ancestry, although my great great great great grandfather was a General in the Spanish Army in Catalonia Spain back in the 1700's. Now if he was from Spain and not Sicily that would certainly make me Spanish but not Latin-American.

So finally, well almost finally we come to "multi-ethnic". BINGO! Yes, my skin might be light colored but don't let that fool you. My mother and father were born in America, so were their parents. But that's where it ends. My mother's paternal grandparents were Orthodox Jews born in Romania, my mother's maternal grandparents were born in Sicily and New York (her maternal grandfather was born in NY but HIS parents were born in Italy). All four of my father's grandparents and a few of his great grandparents were born in America, but going back farther their ancestors, who eventually settled deep roots in the Carolinas and Georgia, were born in Ireland, Scotland, Prussia, Holland and Germany. That makes me Cherokee, Irish, Scotch, Dutch, German, Sicilian, Italian, and Romanian.

Yes my I might have light-colored skin, but that doesn't make "white" my ethnicity!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Retro Casual Friday's salute to GARANIMALS!

Ok who remembers these? OMG I loved Garanimals!!!

Yeah and so did our mothers!!!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

It's refreshing to see an organization maintain its integrity...

It's a shame that many people are so quick to condemn the Minutemen for their efforts along the southwestern border. The Minutemen are simply utilizing their freedom of speech, they are not physically or verbally assaulting anyone, just using peaceful methods to send their message. It makes me proud we still have organizations in America conducting themselves in such a manner.

Check out their statement: The Minutemen prohibit burning Mexican flags!

From their own site:

The Minuteman Project does not endorse or encourage violence; this includes aggressive demonstrations that create malicious behavior such as flag burning, rioting, or any physical contact of any kind. In this time of social turmoil many anti-American groups wish to cause harm to the name of the Minutemen, because they know that the Minutemen stand for peace and the Rule of Law. The Minutemen are a model of strength and personal control in a time of civil disobedience. The Minuteman Pledge declares our virtues while our Standard Operating Procedures (S.O.P.) declare our actions.

.......Stephen J. Eichler J.D. Exec Dir of the Minuteman Project, Inc.

Also, here are the Minutemen Rally Instructions. Do you know of many groups such as this who have explicit instructions not to engage in hatred or violence?

To Be Carried At All Times While At The Rally - 01Jan06

Upon arrival at the demonstration site, you must follow these simple rules until such time that you depart the area:

The purpose of our rallies is to show our opposition to illegal immigration. Bring appropriate signs and/or flags (US or CA) to carry and wave during the demonstration. Smile and wave to people passing by. Follow all instructions from the event organizer or other supervisors and security personnel. Any questions, ask!

Stay with our group. Use the buddy system at all times. Protect yourself from attacks from the opposition. Call for help if you are attacked. Several Minutemen will be designated as “Security” for the event and should be called upon if any problems with outsiders or anyone that is not with our group.

If confronted by employers, protestors or legal observers, ignore them. NEVER engage in conversation with them unless instructed by a supervisor. Protect yourself if they approach you in a hostile manner. Beware of sneak attacks with mace, bull horns, cameras, thrown objects, punches, etc. If attacked, press charges with the police immediately. Demand an arrest.

Do not speak to nor gesture to any suspected illegal aliens or day laborers.

Abide by all federal, state, and local laws.

Follow all instructions by law enforcement. Be courteous and professional at all times; you are Minutemen and are held to a higher standard. Respect the community, its residents, and all private businesses and property. Leave no trash. Make friends with the locals when possible.

Videotape all incidents and note times and places in case a report or legal action is taken.

Minutemen are not racist or violent. Any inappropriate behavior is grounds for dismissal and must be reported to a supervisor immediately.

No alcohol or drugs before or during protests.

Enjoy yourself! Stay positive and be proud. You are here taking action while your fellow Americans sit at home and complain! You are making a difference! You are Minutemen of honor act in accordance.

Any complaints or suggestions please see a supervisor. Thank you for serving.

Suggested Equipment:

Patriotic clothing and hat, cell phone, protest sign and/or flag, flyers to give to employers, digital camera or camcorder, FRS radio, binoculars (optional), small bullhorn.

© Minuteman Project, Inc.

Posted Thursday, March 30, 2006

You see, it is possible to demonstrate peacefully in this country while not treading upon the rights of others. It also possible that two or more groups of people can collide in ideology and still conduct a peaceful dialogue without physical or verbal assault.

Many people do not understand that opposing viewpoints can peacefully coexist. Maybe if they did, there would be more open and successful communication and less violence.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Second thoughts on the Duke rape case...

I've tried to reserve judgment in the Duke University rape case but with the most recent news, I'm beginning to wonder if there's a case at all, at least against two members of the LaCrosse team. The defense attorneys have been talking often since this case began and they are very insistent that their clients are innocent. In this CNN story, the defense attorneys claim they have some pretty credible evidence that the boys were elsewhere, and specifically that Seligmann could not have been at the scene of the alleged crime.

Ok, no Seligmann and also no DNA.

How is it possible there was no evidence of DNA on that woman or her clothing? She said she was gang raped by four men right? Yet there is no evidence of her DNA (or theirs) in the bathroom where it allegedly took place.

Sure she could have been assaulted, but the question is was it perpetrated by the people being accused? Some might say she may have been mistaken in her memory of the incident and inadvertently accused the wrong boys. The thing is, she was shown photos of the boys and she picked them out of the photos, not out of a random lineup. There's little chance this was just a simple error.

I know, I know, reserve judgment....but I am having some serious doubts here. I just don't believe the lawyers are blowing smoke because if there was real evidence one or both was there, any good attorney would be spending this time trying to come up with a valid defense like for instance "consensual sex". At least that defense could be feasible. Maybe not entirely believable, but feasible.

The thing is, since day one, the lawyers have insisted the boys did not do it. I'm now beginning to wonder myself.

There's something else that bothers me. Duke's own President stated the team had a "history of boorish behavior and underage drinking" and what I have to wonder is why the coaches and staff on up to the President knew about this behavior and did nothing to curb it. If the President of the University knows his athletes are breaking the law and wreaking havoc, why wasn't it stopped? Is the LaCrosse team's record that good it would exempt them from punishment?

I guess it's now obvious why the team's schedule was suspended so quickly and why their coach resigned shortly afterwards. Sounds to me like Duke is trying to cover its ass and I can't say I blame them. The President of the University is facing one hell of a lawsuit and my guess is that the rich and prestigious alumni who give generously each year, especially the rich old conservative widows, are not happy with the negative publicity surrounding this old and prestigious private university.

I suppose the truth will eventually come out and if those athletes really did commit the rape, they should be punished severely with a prison term. And if turns out the alleged victim lied, she should be face a prison term.....but that's not likely though as I am sure her defense will be that "society" forced her into becoming a stripper to make money to care for her child and go to school because there were no decent paying jobs for a young black woman in that area. And oh yes I am sure the white male persecution of young black women will come into play somewhere in that defense.

The thing about her lie is that it will reward her not with a prison term but with her college tuition and expenses paid in full by Jesse Jackson & the Rainbow Coalition.

One no longer has to think very hard to figure out what is wrong with America.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What you don't get to see in the big city...

This alligator left his home in Lake Alice on campus and crossed a very heavily traveled road and then found solace inside a vacant apartment being remodeled. The Gator is ok, no one was hurt and he's back in the wild!

Resident tuition for illegals

Florida residents should check out HB 119: Determination of Resident Status for Tuition Purposes which is partnered with SB 366 which gives the ok for non-immigrant aliens to receive Florida residency for tuition purposes as follows:

A student, other than a nonimmigrant alien within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. s. 1001(a)(15), who meets the following criteria:

1. Has resided in Florida with a parent for at least 3 consecutive years immediately preceding the date the student received a high school diploma or its equivalent.

2. Has attended a Florida high school for at least 3 consecutive school years during such time.

3. Has filed an affidavit with the institution of higher education stating that the student has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status or will file such application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.

In a nutshell, should this bill pass, if a person is here illegally or is the child of illegal immigrants, they are entitled to in-state tuition. There is legislation that allows this in several states already and it's pending in several more.

It is my opinion that if a person is here illegally they should not be entitled to resident tuition and if a person is born in the US and the child of illegal aliens, since that person's residency is based on the parents (at least it is when applying to college as a "dependent") then they are still not legal residents of Florida.

You know it hurts to have to say that. Why? I don't dislike illegal aliens, I feel for those who had to flee their own country because of such terrible conditions, both economic and social. And I do believe that a better education is a key to becoming a better person and creating a better world. Bbut at the same time, the US cannot handle the overwhelming influx of illegal aliens. Our borders go unchecked, diseases are entering this country, as well as people who tax our system and give little back, not to mention the terrorists who are crossing our borders daily.

Neal Boortz had it right. No, you can't deport eleven million illegal aliens but you can encourage them to go back home by discontinuing the services and perks that keep them here.

I'm not going to tell you what stance to take on this issue but if you are a responsible citizen of Florida, of the US, you'll take a stance on it one way or the other and you'll let your voice be heard. Click here to find your Florida Senator or here to find your Florida Representative and at least make an effort to get involved.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Comedy Central's new low...

You know I've never been much of a fan of anything on Comedy Central except of course the delightfully and disgustingly hilarious "South Park" .

I am appalled that Comedy Central dared to enforce censorship and prohibited showing the character of the prophet Mohammad in the recent South Park episode. The episode in question wasn't about Muslims at all, it was a episode making fun of the idiocy surrounding CC's refusal to allow a cartoon character depiction of Mohammad. And because radical Muslims around the world have chanted death to whomever depicts a picture of Mohammad, in any form, CC caved and decided to censor it. Interestingly enough, Mohammad has actually been portrayed on South Park but since the riots a few weeks ago, CC has changed it's tune. The excuse was their fear for the public's safety.

Comedy Central is just getting way too PC. Weeks ago they wouldn't allow a satire of Scientology, and now this?

It's funny though because while CC execs were busy tripping each other trying to force censorship of the Mohammad episode, they must have forgotten this:

The recent South Park episode where Jesus poops on President Bush and the American flag and where Bush turns around and poops on Jesus.

MTV's advertisement of their plans to air a cartoon in Germany which bashes the Pope and depicts him as a lunatic on a pogo stick. Oh yeah MTV is owned by CC's parent company VIACOM.

CC's own reply to an episode of South Park which mocked the Virgin Mary, in which executives stated: "As satirists, we believe that it is our First Amendment right to poke fun at any and all people, groups, organizations and religions and we will continue to defend that right."

So convenient is their memory eh?

Since when does comedy, especially satire become PC? Comedy Central has been known for airing some pretty risky stuff and if they suddenly sprouted a conscience and are concerned about the public's reaction to their shows, perhaps they should begin censoring shows like SNL and the Daily Show, and also their live comedians who mock Republicans, the Bush Administration, Christians, and Jesus. You know all the things in America that it's ok to make fun of.

Since the days of the ancient Greek playwrights, satire has provided people with an outlet to express their frustrations and anger while being quite entertaining. It is harmless because in satire, laughter is the weapon. It is a form of social commentary, a way of exposing the human vice through the clever use of wit and irony. Matt Stone and Trey Parker do that quite well. The sad thing is that when even satire becomes subject to censorship and political correctness, then it's all over.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Revolt against Rumsfeld...

Generals For Rumsfeld: Franks, Myers, DeLong, Pace, McMaster, Crosby, McInerney, Moore, Vallely,

Generals Against Rumsfeld: Clark, Odom, Hughes, Swannack, Batiste, Newbold, Zinni, Riggs, Eaton

I have a hard time believing that the Generals who are bitching about Rumsfeld who served directly for him, didn't have an opportunity to voice their opposition to Rumsfeld while they worked for him. And certainly honrable men of their caliber who say they opposed the plan would have made their concerns known to Rumsfeld, would have stood their ground regardless of what he might to do them, right? I mean isn't that what honorable men do?

We're hearing about the Generals who are opposed to Rumsfeld but what about those who side with him? They may not agree with him all the time but they respect his judgment. According to CNN, General Pace says that the Joint Chiefs signed off on the war plan givn them by General Tommy Franks and at that time top officers had an opportunity to speak out. Some, including Newbold, never said a word.

So now they are, some of them are pushing books they've recently written. Makes you wonder doesn't it?

Of the 5,000 retired Generals and Admirals we have just a handful coming out against him. And that's what's getting the coverage. Because of course there's no story in the handfuls of Generals who do support him.

Rumsfeld might or might not be a son of a bitch. And he might or might not be dismissive and stubborn. That's not the issue.

Getting the job done is.

I am not a war expert so I will not comment on whether or not Rumsfeld is doing a good job. The the Secretary of Defense relies heavily on his Generals to give him solid advice, he is not required to take action on that advice. All we can do is hope that he's looked at all sides, contemplated his plan of action well, and gone with the best course of action that lay before him.

To be honest, in times of turmoil, it's the son of a bitch I want in charge deciding that course of action.

Victims of their own ignorance...

I don't know why I never knew this. But yesterday when we were sitting around the dining room table chatting, talking about Iran wanting to nuke Israel, anti-semitism, and such, my mother and grandmother brought up an event that happened back in the early 1960's. Mom and her folks had moved from Brooklyn to Miami in the late fifties, and in 1960 bought their first home. One night sometime after they were living in that home, someone burned a swastika on their front lawn.

Mom told us that in high school people made fun of her because she was Jewish. She said that she took a stance against racism when she sat with four black students in the back of the bus. She felt the racism was wrong and wanted to show her solidarity. Mom has always been a very compassionate understanding person and she knew what it was like to be hated and she took a stance to show that she understood how it felt. Her skin wasn't black but the mere fact that her last name was Jewish was enough to turn people against her.

Can you imagine the level of ignorance in a person who, in an attempt to scare a Jewish family, burns a swastika on their front lawn?

I don't hate those kind of people, I pity them. It is they who are the victims of their own ignorance.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Toilet paper for kids?

What have we come to in America when we now have toilet paper with pawprints and a picture of a golden retriever (Cottonelle) on it so kids know to tear off the toilet paper when the pawprints stop?

This is done so kids know how much to use. this just isn't an area I really want to delve into and frankly how much toilet paper one uses really is no interest to me but...what has happened in America today where we are suddenly inept in the area of teaching kids how much toilet paper is enough?

Ok ok I know there's a market for it, people who don't want to bother teaching their kids how much is or isn't enough. I suppose this is really just one more way parents can rely on someone else to teach their kids instead of doing it themselves.

(editing in...of course now my pal Susan has just thrown a wrench in THAT! LOL)

Happy Passover!

Today is Passover and like we have done every year since I can remember, we celebrated at grams house. It wasn't the traditional dinner, but we have our own way of doing things. We had a special boiled chicken dish, matzoball soup, stewed fruit, gefilte fish, and the works. And oh yeah a bottle of kosher Mogen David concord grape wine. Last time I had that stuff it was kind of bitter, this time it was nice and sweet. I hung out with sis, mom, dad and grams, it was nice although DH was missed, he didn't want to go. So I had fun anyway. It's nice that mom and dad and grams are only ten minutes away now, I'd be over there more often if I didn't have so much work to do with my class and of course if we had a second car. It was fun though, I enjoyed it. I've always had fun with my family. As grams brought me home today I reminded her of the times I lived with her and we'd stay up on Saturday night watching our favorite programs, like the Golden Girls. We LOVED watching that show, it was our show. Maybe that's why when it's on Lifetime in the evenings, I have to watch it. It makes me laugh and makes me remember good times long ago :) Today dad looked good too, he didn't look tired and he enjoyed us all spending time together.

I've got two weeks of class left and need to spend some quality time on this paper. I feel like I will pull an "A" that isn't the problem, it's that I am a perfectionist when it comes to my classes and I really want to live up to my potential. My writing is important to me, and doing well in it means I will continue to write better papers and do better research in other courses. Once I am done with this class, I can move on to summer and I am registered for an Algebra course in summer. I am no fan of Algebra by any means. In fact it downright frightens me. I just hate all those equations. My math is consumer math, it's the stuff I do every day, but algebra, how often do I use it? Ok I know I've used it a few times. And it's challenging every time I take an algebra course and pass it (last two with "B's" but really I just want to be done with it. I checked and History majors at UF don't need a lot of higher level math, I do plan to take two other math courses and probably stats, but I don't see myself taking college algebra. I don't know, we'll see. I am sure that standard deviations will come in handy in my graduate research somewhere!

I received some good news yesterday. The president of the student body emailed me back and told me he would really like me to talk with him further about becoming a member of the Student Senate and I think it's something I would really enjoy. Hey who knows? First student senator and next Student Body President. We'll see.

For now, I just have to get through the next two weeks. :)

Friday, April 14, 2006

"Schoolhouse Rock"

What kid of my generation didn't watch this? Every Saturday morning wedged somewhere between the Bugs Bunny Road Runner hour and the ABC weekend special, my brother, sis and me would be sitting on the floor watching these. I miss them, I think kids learned a lot from them. No violence, cursing, or anything else but pure fun!

Click here for the History of Schoolhouse Rock

Every Saturday morning between 1973 and 1985, a classroom of imagination defying enormity was assembled on ABC, run by a small cadre of renegade Madison Avenue ad men. Class sessions were short but intense-squeezed between episodes of Scooby Doo and LaffOlympics and Underoos met the dress code. No one assigned homework, no one slapped your knuckles with a yardstick, no one beat you up for your milk money. The institution of learning was called Schoolhouse Rock, and if you can recite the Preamble of the Constitution by rote and know the function of a conjunction, you probably attended faithfully.

You can listen to some of the favorites here:

Lolly Lolly Lolly get your adverbs here


Conjunction Junction

This is one of my favorites! After all its how every red blooded American kid of my generation learned about how a bill becomes a law!!!

Boy: Whew! You sure gotta climb a lot of steps to get to this Capitol Building here in Washington. But I wonder who that sad little scrap of paper is?

I'm just a bill.
Yes, I'm only a bill.
And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it's a long, long journey
To the capital city.
It's a long, long wait
While I'm sitting in committee,
But I know I'll be a law some day
At least I hope and pray that I will
But today I am still just a bill.

Boy: Gee, Bill, you certainly have a lot of patience and courage.

Bill: Well, I got this far. When I started I wasn't even a bill, I was just an idea. Some folks back home decided they wanted a law passed, so they called their local Congressman, and said, "You're right, there oughta be a law." Then he sat down and wrote me out and introduced me to Congress. And I became a bill, and I'll remain a bill until they decide to make me a law.

I'm just a bill
Yes I'm only a bill,
And I got as far as Capitol Hill.
Well, now I'm stuck in committee
And I'll sit here and wait
While a few key Congressmen discuss and debate
Whether they should let me be a law.
How I hope and pray that they will,
But today I am still just a bill.

Boy: Listen to those Congressmen arguing! Is all that discussion and debate about you?

Bill: Yeah, I'm one of the lucky ones. Most bills never even get this far. I hope they decide
to report on me favorably, otherwise I may die.

Boy: Die?
Bill: Yeah, die in committee. Ooh, but it looks like I'm gonna live! Now I go to the House of Representatives, and they vote on me.

Boy: If they vote yes, what happens?

Bill: Then I go to the Senate and the whole thing starts all over again.

Boy: Oh no!

Bill: Oh yes!

I'm just a bill
Yes, I'm only a bill
And if they vote for me on Capitol Hill
Well, then I'm off to the White House
Where I'll wait in a line
With a lot of other bills
For the president to sign
And if he signs me, then I'll be a law.
How I hope and pray that he will,
But today I am still just a bill.

Boy: You mean even if the Whole Congress says you should be a law, the president can still say no?

Bill: Yes, that's called a veto. If the president vetoes me, I have to go back to Congress and they vote on me again, and by that time you're so old...

Boy: By that time it's very unlikely that you'll become a law. It's not easy to become a law, is it?

Bill: No! But how I hope and pray that I will, But today I am still just a bill.

Congressman: He signed you, Bill! Now you're a law!

Bill: Oh yes!!!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Woah this is a strange one!

In this story from Uniontown, Pennsylvania a 58-year old man thre his girlfriend on the ground, then threw a microwave on top of her chest, stomped on her and banged her head against the floor till she went unconscious. All for refusing to nuke his sandwiches. He said he didn’t mean to kill her. He says he ran to a neighbor's house for help but nobody was home so he went home, drank a beer before getting another neighbor to call 911.

I felt a chill run up my spine reading that story. What on EARTH could have been going through HIS mind? Even if he were drunk, man you have to be out of your mind to brutally kill someone like that. People don't normally kill people out of the blue like that unless they are just evil or on something. Neither is an excuse but was this guy a seemingly normal average guy before all this?

Time will tell, I'm going to follow this one. We've got kids committing murders and people killing each other for no reason. It's just too damn weird.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I think too much...

Wow aren't I just getting involved?

I contacted my college's student body president and told him I wanted to get involved. When I saw student newspaper I thought "Hmm" I might just get involved with that. They also have a position for an Academic Senator which might be interesting, representing the students who are political science and history majors like me. I'd have to see what the time requirements are, after all we live twenty miles farther now and we have only one car. We'll see. It was the President's idea recommending the Senate position. Will keep you posted. I'm not going to overdo it, that's for sure.

I recommended to my professor/mentor that we need a student organization on campus for students whose political affiliation is "Independent". I mean HELLO? The Republican or Democrat is getting old. People don't think like that anymore, it's not just TWO parties, there are more than that. For me, Independent is the way to go, no affiliation with the crap on either side.

Ok this Harvard thing? I say Harvard because US Colonial History is the main area of my studies, although I want to study ancient Greece and Rome and European History. I emailed the Graduate Coordinator of Harvard's History department. Damn there's a lot to know. First off, Harvard doesn't have a MS in History, you enter the Doctoral program with a BS and after two years receive the MS as part of the Doctoral work.

First, I would need an above average GRE of between 650 and 800, three strong letters of recommendation, and a really kickass personal statement about my academic background and history related research interests, a 20 page writing sample from either an undergraduate thesis or research paper. I was told the personal statement and writing sample are critical components of the application and are the strongest factors in consideration for admission. The committee and faculty in my field review the application and make a decision. Also, the PhD at Harvard requires two years of languages in the field and this must be done during the first two years. It is helpful to have solid foreign language before entering, but language can be taken there. I would have to take an exam in which Ihave two hours and one dictionary to aid me in translating two passages which are 3/4 page in length.

In order to take the General Exam which is a two hour oral exam which allows the student to move on to teaching and dissertation work, the language requirements have to be met. I was advised to get my foreign languages under my belt now. I have a background in spanish and still need to take the language, but I could also take two others at the undergraduate level too.

Eventually in the third year and once the General Exam is passed, it's time to present the dissertation research where reviewers of my choosing would attend and provide feedback. Fourth and fifth year students teach or travel to do research.

There is also five years of funding awarded to admitted students who need financial aid. The funding includes a yearly stipend of $19,000, full tuition (which is about $32,000 per year), health insurance. The final year of study includes a completion grant. The first two summers include a $3,800 stipend.There are also grants available.

Holy shit, that's a lot. I'll be old by the time I finish. I am 36 now, it'll take me 6 more years to finish my undergrad, I'll be 42, then 47 by the time I got a PhD?

I need to rethink this. I wanted to retire at 59 1/2, I wanted kids. None of that is going to happen if I do this.

I could just get a BS and be done with it.

Oy vey.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Am I Ivy League material?

Well I've been doing some thinking. I can get a quality History degree (with courses in Jewish Studies and also Law) from many schools, but the top schools get the best jobs. Now for me it isn't about money, it's about respectability and getting the best education. Sure there are great schools where I can get an EXCELLENT education.

But for once in my life I'd like to shoot for something that most people would think is downright impossible.

US News & World Report listed the top ranked History programs in America.

History PhD
3-UC Berkeley

US Colonial History
3-Univ Pennsylvania

European History
3-UC Berkeley

I don't want to go to Berkeley, that isn't even up for debate. UPenn would be great, not just for me but DH because he could be near home, but with the other schools he could also find work in NJ, Massachusetts or Connecticut. Of course the cost of living is high. Actually it's high in all those places.

I just wonder if it's possible. My professor and mentor seems to think so, my parents would probably say yes, and my husband definitely thinks so. I would need the 4.0 GPA, the GRE scores and certainly letters of recommendation, and what about extracurriculars? I guess I need to get involved don't I?

Yes I have to get my BS first, but I'm turning 37 this year, not getting any younger, I have a lot at stake. I just really want to "settle down" in a place we can call our own in a permanent town. For someone like me who craves stability and routine, this probably isn't a good idea.

Of course I could stay here and do it, and could probably get a great job. But really this isn't about just getting that high paying job, it's seeing if I have what it takes. Honest, that's ALL this is about. At this age in life you stop worrying about how much money you will make and focus on what makes you happy and fulfilled.

More to come on this...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Does America really need them?

Something is bothering me.

First is it a myth that illegal aliens take the jobs nobody else wants? And is it a good idea to bring in such a large influx of no-skilled to low-skilled workers? Is that really good for America?

No. Here's why:

1) Most of them will never receive an education, their children might, but the immigrant adults probably won't.

2) Most of them will never invest in the stock market

3) Most of them will never make more than minimum wage

4) Most of them will never buy more than the necessities of life

5)Most of them will not learn the language, customs, and assimilate

6) With little or no education, no savings, little ability to speak English if at all (which just segregates them from society ever more), and with minimum wages they will not be able to afford health care, insurance, higher education, or retirement and as such, will become a burden to society.

Granted, we have Americans who meet that criteria, which is why I have to ask how stupid could the government of a country be to allow millions MORE people like this into the country?

Most countries around the world have strict immigration policies. In at least the Western Civilized countries, you can't just move there, you have to have skills, be employable at more than minimum wage work, and you have to be sponsored. It can't possibly be good for a country's economy to bring in millions of low-wage, unskilled workers.

So why are we doing it?

We're being indoctrinated by Bush, Congress and immigrant groups with "immigrants do the jobs nobody else will do" and "they are good for America".

However that's not necessarily true. First off, a lack of of immigration and border enforcement perpetrated this problem into the crisis it is today. Our government created the need by allowing these people to come in illegally and work with little or no enforcement. When the illegals came in and took these low wage unskilled jobs with no benefits, no unionization, and no complaints, companies begin to produce more, consumers bought more, and the companies profited more. To take the illegal workers away now would definitely affect companies and consumers. Companies would have to adjust by either hiring legal workers at most likely a slightly higher rate and include benefits or cut production which would result in higher prices for consumers. Either way, we'd live, trust me.

Second, no matter what anyone says, don't buy into the argument that having illegal workers of good for the economy because they spend their money here and pay taxes. You can't pay taxes if your employer doesn't document you. And by the way, have you seen how many illegal aliens and even many legal immigrants live? Sometimes almost a dozen to an apartment, little or no electricity, no phone, and one very old very large vehicle for transportation. They buy their ethnic foods, cigarettes, beer, and the bare necessities in regards to clothing, the rest of the money goes back to Mexico. You know it's true, if you've ever been at a grocery store on Fridays when these folks get paid, they wait in long lines to turn their paychecks into money orders to send back home. I know this, I've seen it, you probably have too.

No it's not a crime to want to make a better life for one's self and family. And I actually DO sympathize with these people (my ancestors were European immigrants). Imagine being forced to leave your homeland because your own government is so corrupt you can't make a living or get a decent education!!! The thing is that we can't be the savior for the world's poor. Ideally our best solution is to work for reform in these countries. Surely these millions of illegals would LOVE to be back home in a free Mexico with a strong, booming economy and good schools. Ultimately while I feel for the people who seek refuge from such a corrupt system as the one that exists south of the border, this country, like every other, must put limits on migration. All countries must protect their borders and ensure their sovereignty. Crossing America's border illegally is a crime. And what makes it that much worse is that a large majority of the governing body of this great nation defends it with the excuse that these people are vital to our econmy.

To our lawmakers, listen to what you are saying you fools. You are the ELECTED representatives of the American people, you hold the keys to the security and stability of the richest, most free nation on the face of the earth and the best you can do is defend the invasion of illegal aliens by saying they are good for the economy?

Good grief!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Angry is understatement...

I am just sick over this whole immigration issue. I think about my ancestors who migrated here legally, who were required to go through checks before they could enter this country. And I am angry that people can cross our borders illegally now and expect automatic entitlement.

I'm also angry at Clinton, Bush, Congress (past and present), Vicente Fox and the Mexican government, and the Spanish media, just to name a few. I'm so angry I don't even know what to do about it.

Bush and Congress (and past administrations) have sat on immigration reform to the point that we have a serious crisis on our hands. It is so far gone nobody has any idea how to fix it. Clinton failed us, Bush failed us, Congress failed us. And Vicente Fox and the Mexican government are not only behind this, they are benefitting from this. As long as Vicente can send his problems to the United States, he does not have to deal with him. He does however get their money, because Mexican immigrants, both illegal and legal send BILLIONS back to Mexico each year, yet the United States foots the bill for education, health care, welfare, and God knows what else.

America is being invaded by millions of people who want to work hard, but refuse to learn our language or assimilate to our culture. And a big fat THANK YOU to former President Clinton for Executive Order 13166 which states:

The Federal Government provides and funds an array of services that can be made accessible to otherwise eligible persons who are not proficient in the English language. The Federal Government is committed to improving the accessibility of these services to eligible LEP persons, a goal that reinforces its equally important commitment to promoting programs and activities designed to help individuals learn English. To this end, each Federal agency shall examine the services it provides and develop and implement a system by which LEP persons can meaningfully access those services consistent with, and without unduly burdening, the fundamental mission of the agency. Each Federal agency shall also work to ensure that recipients of Federal financial assistance (recipients) provide meaningful access to their LEP applicants and beneficiaries. To assist the agencies with this endeavor, the Department of
Justice has today issued a generalguidance document (LEP Guidance), which sets forth the compliance standards that recipients must follow to ensure that the programs and activities they normally provide in English are accessible to LEP persons and thus do not discriminate on the basis of national origin in violation of title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and its implementing regulations. As described in the LEP Guidance, recipients must take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access totheir programs and activities by LEP persons.

That's just part of it, read the link I posted, that was just the beginning. Our President said "hey come on in, we'll accomodate you, you don't have to do a thing"

I am pissed off at the people waving foreign flags and signs that say "you stole our land". I am pissed off at the signs that boldly state "Brown is beautiful" and "Chicano power". I am sick of the whining about "please don't send my parents home" and "I have the right to live in freedom". The invasion of illegals in this country and insistence on civil rights which are granted to citizens and those becoming citizens, is a travesty.

The Spanish media is giving immigrants the idea that immigration reform is about anti-immigration period. It's not, it's about illegal immigration, but nobody protesting seems to understand it. Why would legal immigrants send the message that immigration reform hurts them? Those who migrate to America legally have nothing to fear. This seems so simple to me but how can any person in their right mind expect a country---any country to give up its sovereignty and allow open borders? No country in the world would be so stupid they would open their borders with no regulation.

Use of the word "immigrants" is shading this issue and confusing people. There is a clear difference between legal and illegal. Every country on this planet has the right to decide who enters its country and who becomes citizens. What right does any person have to citizenship by illegally crossing borders.

I hate to say this because I voted for him twice, and I admit it, but Bush sold us out. He has backed this guest worker aka "amnesty" program since day one. Out of one side of his mouth he pushed the "guest worker program" and out of the other side he claimed he was firmly for immigration reform. And in his spare time he called the Minutemen vigilantes. These unarmed men and women are risking their lives, leaving their families, and volunteering to protect our borders, and their President has the nerve to degrade them and belittle their patriotic cause. Yep, Bush sold us out. Our country is already being sold to the highest bidders overseas, why should this be any different?

And what's worse is the ignorance that abounds, my God there is so much ignorance surrounding this issue. The fact that this has been twisted into an "anti-immigrant" issue is absurd. America has always welcomed immigrants and will continue to do so as long as they follow the law. That is so simple but the spanish media is pushing the anti-immigrant (instead of anti-illegal immigrant) thing because pushing the lie gets more response than pushing the truth. Whatever happened to media seeking the truth? The Spanish media must be exempt from the truth.

The truth is that the US has a problem with illegal immigration and although it's gone on way too long, something has to be done. We have to have more control over our borders and do something about the millions of illegals already here. That's it folks, that's the story. Anyone who makes it any more of an issue than that is ignorant.

I am so ready to protest. But let's see, I'd be called "hateful" "whitey" "racist" and hordes of other nasty names. All I want is to protect my culture, my heritage, my language, and my country. I want the borders secured, I want the immigration to be legal. I also wouldn't mind a Constitutional amendment stating that in order to be a citizen, one of your parents needs to be a citizen. That ought to prevent thousands of illegal women from giving birth here so their kids can stay as citizens.

Do I have any easy solutions to the problem of those illegals already here? No. But there are solutions, some unpopular. These people BROKE THE LAW! Are we going to sanction it? The problem is that it's near impossible to deport millions of illegals. If we give them amnesty, what happens in twenty years when there are another eleven million illegals?

Honestly I just don't have a solution. But then again I already have a full-time job and in all likelihood, so do you, that's why we hire other people full-time to represent our best interests.

Unfortunately they're on vacation and attending to obviously more pressing matters.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Stolen land? Yeah ok whatever...

You know this disgusts me. These people actually think that we stole the land from them. I suppose it's easier to just go along with what you're told rather than actually read history. Did you know that radical immigration groups (like La Raza for example) are pushing for the return of the seven southwestern states? States whose territory was allegedly "stolen" from Mexico?

It's called "reconquista" and it is alive and well in America. Michelle Malkin details it in a March 27th column. Beware, some of the images are downright repulsive:

And while we're at it, the southwestern states were given to the US as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed on February 2, 1848 in which the US was given undisputed control of Texas, Nevada, Utah, California and parts of Coloradaio, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming. In return, Mexico received over $18 million which by the way is equivalent to nearly $630 million dollars today.

From the Library of Congress:

Mexican officials and Nicholas Trist, President Polk's representative, began discussions for a peace treaty that August. On February 2, 1848 the Treaty was signed in Guadalupe Hidalgo, a city north of the capital where the Mexican government had fled as U.S. troops advanced. Its provisions called for Mexico to cede 55% of its territory (present-day Arizona, California, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado, Nevada and Utah) in exchange for fifteen million dollars in compensation for war-related damage to Mexican property.

Other provisions stipulated the Texas border at the Rio Grande (Article V), protection for the property and civil rights of Mexican nationals living within the new border (Articles VIII and IX), U.S. promise to police its side of the border (Article XI), and compulsory arbitration of future disputes between the two countries (Article XXI). When the U.S. Senate ratified the treaty in March, it deleted Article X guaranteeing the protection of Mexican land grants. Following the Senate's ratification of the treaty, U.S. troops left Mexico City.

There you have it, the territories were obtained legally through a treaty.

You have to wonder how many Americans are aware of that? Hell how many Mexicans are aware of that? I guess they were out protesting the day that subject came up in history class.

Friday, April 07, 2006

2 weeks of work/16 day vacation

How many of you were allowed to take a two week vacation if your task at hand wasn't completed?

That's right, very few of you.

While nothing our lawmakers do should surprise me anymore, why am I still surprised? I mean why did I think they would forgo their two week Easter vacation in the midst of a major crisis in this country?

Congress is on a sixteen day vacation after only two weeks of work. With serious business at hand, especially a crisis regarding illegal immigration, an issue on which they couldn't come to an agreement, they just take off.

Senate Democrat Whip Richard Durbin was quoted as saying: "Most families do spend a little time together over Easter, so I don't think that it's an unusual time to do it."

When questioned about why Congress is taking the vacation when so much work is left to do, John McCain said "They've got a point"

A lot of good that did, he's on vacation too.

Our lawmakers have become such a higher eschelon and are so used to special treatment and perks that they have lost touch with the American people. They are no longer subject to the same ethics and values as the rest of us. Sure their job is hard but so are the jobs of millions of Americans in this country, and few of them could take vacations after having accomplished nothing at work. It is time our lawmakers are subject to real life like the rest of us. They hold in their hands the power over millions of Americans. They seem to take it so lightly. We should not. It's time they learn a lesson, that they work for us. And they don't get to take a vacation until the job is done.

Come on people, the only way to send the message is to vote them out of office. I have no choice anymore, it seems that my voice isn't being heard so now it's up to my vote.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sit back for a really long post...

I have been so bad about not reading some of the blogs I normally read. If you read this, my apologies guys and gals, you know I love reading your stuff, I have been so busy, especially with this move. I finally have a laptop to use thanks to a friend and now DH and I can work separately in our own spaces. I haven't been online much at all because I have been busy.

I cannot believe how great this place is we moved into! You know I described the old place to you once and even posted photos but this place beats it. We're on five acres (again!) and it's nothing but trees, oak trees as far as the eye can see, and it's not in the boonies either. I mean we're on a grated road off the main highway (what's that Foxworthy says about "when your address is..turn off the paved road" LOL) and our place is set back in the trees, far enough where people can't see us, but close enough ya know? This place is so quiet although we can hear the traffic of the highway at times, it doesn't bother us. The breeze here is awesome, and I love sitting on one of the two porches just taking it all in.

We moved from less than 500SF to over 1500. We went from a small one bedroom, one bath cottage to a 3BR/2BA 1510 square foot 1999 Fleetwood home. It's got two decks, the front is very large and uncovered and the one on the side is a completely covered deck, it's gorgeous. I have a huge kitchen and that's a big deal coming from where I was before where I had absolutely NO counter space to prepare meals. This place has fourteen windows, big windows too. There are windows in every room, sometimes two. The crossbreeze is magnificent.

I have been working diligently on my research paper, I am up to thirteen pages. The subject needed to be related to our major or career. Well many of you know I'm a history major and would love to work in research someday, or teaching, making documentaries. Oh hell face it, I would love to be a talk radio host or own my own cafe...and that has nothing to do with history. But anyway I love history andI love to learn so this is my thing. Well my paper is on Holocaust Revisionism. At first I was going to talk about how it affects Western Civ but then as I am writing I am beginning to focus more on how it affects the American free society. If you read up on the Holocaust you will find that post WWII most folks did not tolerate Jew bashing. But in recent years, with many organizations like the ACLU pushing free speech, you find more and more people participating in Jew bashing. Why? Because they can.

The Constitution protects free speech, unfortunately you can't mandate common sense and responsibility. You know how many people in the South get tired of hearing about slavery and reparations? They are so tired of having it thrown down their throats that they begin thinking and saying things that could be taken as racist? I don't think they mean it but they get tired of being blamed for something they didn't have a part in. Well many people feel the same way about the Holocaust, they get tired of hearing how those poor Jews had it so rough. I'm serious...after awhile they too begin to get tired of Jews and they have less and less sympathy and more and more apathy. After a while they don't give a damn anymore.

And this is exactly how something like mass genocide of one particular group of people happens. Apathy. People get tired of hearing about it, they don't care anymore and those who want to commit genocide can begin doing it slowly under the eyes and ears of everyone else because well, who is paying any attention?

People have hated Jews from the beginning of time. They have been persecuted because their culture, beliefs and customs seem strange. People fear what they don't understand. It's easy to blame the Jews. Hell in America Jews are blamed for controlling the banking industry, the media, and just about everything else. If people in America become apathetic enough, you'll have another Holocaust on your hands. And when "they" are done with the Jews, it'll be some other group.

Ok on to something a bit more my crazy dreams... last night I had weird dreams, but I didn't eat anything out of the ordinary, watch any scary movies, they just happened this way...

Apparently I was in Vietnam and serving with a group of other folks. And somehow one of our buddies died and the group didn't do enough to save him so one after the other, they all died. I was running and Tom Selleck was with me, and there was this other guy there and we were trying to escape. And this person who died kept coming after us but for some reason not me. It turns out I did something to help him before he died. And in the dream months had passed and I wasn't afraid anymore. It was weird, it was like at every turn I feard for my life. Because that person could come back and kill me at any time. I don't remember if this next dream was a part of the firs tdream or separate but I remember that there were land mines and I had to go across this field and not step on a mine and I was worried that if I did, I wouldn't die, that I would have to suffer for the rest of my life. That meant more than dying. I tread that ground very carefully and was scard to death I step on a mine.

BTW I have NO idea why Tom Selleck was hanging out with me in that other dream, but you know I AM cool so maybe that was it.

Another dream I had last night was I was out late and staying at Susan and Robert's house, it's not the house they live in nor or that little house they used to live in, it was a house I'd never seen and I know they never lived in. Anyway, Robert's brother Ronald was there at the house too, I have no idea why, but he was sleeping. I guess it must have been the night all of us parked it at Susan and Robert's LOL. I slept on the couch and the next morning Susan and I were going somewhere and I told her I needed a teapot. OMG a TEAPOT? She and I were looking at these shelves and I don't know where we were, still in her house maybe? And she showed me the ugliest teapot on sale and wanted me to buy that.

Susan what were you thinking girl? That thing was BUTT-UGLY! LOL

Anyway, I really enjoyed hanging out with you and Robert and Ronald in the dream, we all had a good time and for ONCE I wasn't arguing with Robert and Ronald about something political.

That dream made me miss you guys, Ronald and Richard and Brian too, you're all good guys, wouldn't it be great to just sit around and talk and have fun? We have so much more in common as we got older than when we were younger. We're all so smart and so opinionated LOL. Maybe I've been thinking about you guys and that's why I had the dream.

Ok so in that same dream I was in a grocery store and I ran into this guy I used to work with, actually he was third in charge. In the dream his leg is broke and we're standing there talking and his wife, who I also know, drove up in a car, and she looked different. I gave him a hug, he got in the car and drove away. He was one of the bosses, always nice to me, if you ever had anyone you wanted to work for, it was him. He went to another University to work and then came back here a few years ago. In the dream my thoughts were "it was really nice to see him"

Ok so what's this three or four dreams last night? It's so weird. I just jumped from one to another. Anyone want to venture to guess what it was all about? I can't explain the dream where I was fighting in Vietnam or the dream about the land mines or running from that person who was coming back from the dead to kill us all.

Maybe the dream about Susan, Robert and Ronald was me trying to reconnect. At 36, I have to say I have few real friends. It's not that I'm not nice, friendly or likeable, it's just that I find that around most people I can't be "me" because I find myself greatly flawed and afraid for people to see it. I'm always worried someone's judging my physical self and my personality. Maybe I'm not pretty enough, maybe I'm not smart enough, maybe I'm just not as great as everyone thinks I am. My mom brags about me a lot and I am always afraid I won't live up to it if the people who she knows meet me. I am working so hard to just be me but I spent so much time not being me that it's hard ya know? When I walk up to you and we greet and hug I don't want to feel like you are judging me. Why do you think that as much as I love to be around people, I can't? I can't handle large groups of people because I always fear they are looking at me and judging me. I tried to present my paper in class the other night and thank God we were sitting at our desks doing it but when I tried to do it, i stammered and couldn't get my thoughts out. For someone so intelligent, I sure screwed that one up.

Maybe that's why I'd be a perfect radio talk show host, because all the eyes are in the form of ears and I don't have to worry about anyone judging me.

But what are they judging? That I gained weight from a few years ago? That I haven't finished my education and I am almost forty? That I have no kids? WHAT IS IT? Why do I feel people will judge me? And what is it they are judging?

Let me tell you about the friends I have, they are wonderful people.

Susan and I (and SUsan's husband Robert) went to high school together. She was smart and made excellent grades, I was smart but was average student because I couldn't handle the peer pressure well, had problems at home getting along with my mother, and overall I hated the people I went to school with save a few folks I liked. I wasn't popular, had a hard time overcoming some trouble I'd gotten myself into. Those people have probably forgotten it, but I haven't. Susan and I reconnected a few years after high school, she and Robert were living in that little bitty house saving up for a big one and they had their kids and life for them was good. I always enjoyed spending time with them. We'd always gotten along but I can't say we were friends. Now we are. We always remembered each other at Christmas and when I invited Susan to my blog, it was because she has become a dear friend to me, I love her so. She and Robert are good people, smart, hardworking, dedicated parents, and overall good people. The kind of people I want in my corner.

Gina and I met when her husband and I were stationed together in the Coast Guard many moons ago. He and I got along great and Gina and I became instant friends. We shopped together, layed out in the sun together, talked about our lives, our hopes and dreams, she was a great friend.She was there for me when things were rough and I lived with she and her husband a short time when I got out. He was an awesome guy and he really doted on her and why not? She was a pretty, smart and determined woman. They weren't married that long back then and today they are still married and have a son! Gina and I used to write letters back and forth, it's been awhile but I bet you thinks of me too. We had so much in common and in many ways she was insecure about the same things I was. Weird though because back then neither of us had anything to be insecure about. I think it was our age, we were in our twenties, everything is different at that age.

Debbie and I have known each other since 1996. Actually I worked for her, she was my boss, and we worked well together. As it turns out, our abilities in the workplace were somewhat opposite and it meshed quite well. She is a "big picture" and "idea" person and I was the detail person. We worked this summer camp program each year for what--three years? In the first year we worked together, I had NO clue how to approach this but with a few ideas from her, I was able to run with it. After that I think I planned the last two almost entirely by myself. I know how to put together a program, how to find information, logistics are my game. We worked toegether perfectly. She needed organization because she had so much going on and I was able to provide that. Because we worked for a real bitch, we both left that place, she moved on to somethign better and me too. But we're still friends to this day and meet for lunch once a week, she loves my family, they love her, she is an awesome person and has seen me through some of the lowest points of my life. I cannot tell you how much I adore her, without her I wouldn't be where I am right now, she encouraged me, made me see the light many times, and was always there for me no matter what. She's a few years older than me but you wouldn't know it, it's like we're sisters. We even got married a week apart LOL. I have an immense amount of respect for her, she is one of the nicest, smartest, most determined women I have ever known.

Connie is awesome. I met her when she worked in a hair salon back in 1994. It was next door to my gym and I needed a haircut, walked in and saw her nameplate and asked her if she was related to this guy I knew at work. Turns out she was married (then) to his brother. Her brother and I were good friends and now I became friends with her. Used to go to her house on Tuesdays after work to hang out. She took me to antique shops, we talked a lot, she really was there for me when I needed a shoulder to cry on. LIke Deb, Connie is a few years older but again you wouldn't know it becuase she's more like my sister. She is trustworthy, honest, sweet, and so smart. She now owns her own salon and I am so proud of her. She has been through a lot in her life and she has become just an awesome friend to me, we've been out of touch a few years even though we live in the same town, I miss her so. She is the kind of person who keeps her word and you can count on her any time of the day or night to be there for you.

Val is my age and also like a sister. You can see I don't take friendship lightly eh? Val and I used to work together, and she had awonderful husband and they moved away when he got his degree. They have lived all over since he's in the military again and I have watched their two children grow in pictures over the years. I haven't seen her sinec they left here, but my goodness her children are growing. They are in Virginia now and I miss them. Val is like me with details. You could give her just a few notes and say "hey plan this" and she could make it into magic for you. She is the kind of woman who should own her own business. She is creative, idealistic and determined. She's a beautiful nice, remarkable person who has also been through share of crap in life and yet you wouldn't know it because it doesn't affect how she treats others or her family. She is genuine, I mean genuine and what you see is what you get.

I met Diana at work. Ok LOL you know how we met? We were eating lunch together with a group of others in the breakroom and they were talking about sexual harassment and I blurted out in my usual funny tone "I wish someone would sexually harass me" and well we became fast friends. Diana is just two or three years older than me. She's married with TWO kids now! I can't believe her oldest is what -- ten now? I remember we used to walk almost every day after work, I remember when she was pregnant, I remember going to her house and watching that crazy cat of hers named "Peter the cat", no it wasn't just "Peter" or "Kitty" it was "Peter the cat" crazy black cat was something. Diana and I went to the Billy Joel concert together and had a BLAST. Yeah two old women like us singing to that old seventies stuff. It was awesome. I talk to her via email occasionally and yeah like Deb and Connie, Diana lives in the same town. Why don't I see her? Well being married with two kids makes her very busy. She's a smart lady too, if you ever wanted someone to run your business it would be her! And without a doubt she has a crazy sense of humr, which is obvious, it brought us together.

Mike and I have known each other some 15 years now. We used to work together, he was a good looking, clean cut, athletic frat boy who was a year older than me. I had a crush on him, we became friends and then he told me he was gay. Didn't matter, he was an awesome friend. He saw me through some of the worst parts of my life. We were roommates in Tampa, he helped me find my own place, saw to my care after my car wreck, and we went everywhere together. Honestly we spent more time together going out to eat, on vacations, and to nightclubs dancing the night away, more than either of us spent with any other guy. You could say we were soul mates in a sense. People thought we were a perfect couple, used to think we were dating and would say "you guys look great together" and I remember he used to enjoy that, he liked being around me, and I around him. We really had fun too. We spent I don't know HOW MANY NIGHTS dancing at nightclubs in Ybor City and then going out to eat afterwards. We spent his birthday partying in Key West, we attended a high school friend's wedding together, we traveled to New Orleans together, left Tampa one Friday after work and drove straight there, drank and partied and drove home Saturday night! Also we spent two weeks in Utah over Christmas and New Year's. We drove all over Utah, it was so memorable, it was just us, lots of snow, wild animals and God's country. It remains one of the most memorable times of my life. I haven't seen Mike in eyars, he lives in DC and has really done well. He's very educated, very intelligent, an awesome personality, and so honest. His life wasn't easy but you know what? You'd never know. He has come through it all with such perserverance and determination. I have an immense amount of respect for him, and for how he carries himself. I judge Mike on what kind of PERSON he is, his being gay doesn't even play into it. Why would it? He will remain one of the best friends I will ever have in this life. And he's another one, if you wanted someone to manage your Fortune 500 company you would want him. Need brains? He's got it. Need common sense? He's got it. Need a problem solver, a thinker, a doer? He's it. God I miss him. You know we both used to love watching the Golden Girls and we swore that if we got old and gray and nobody was around to care for us, we'd move in together with a bunch of our other old and gray friends and live just like Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia. And you know what? IT would be a blast!

Anyway, like I said I don't have too many friends. I guess the reason is I take friendship seriously and even though I haven't seen some of my close friends here in awhile, they are still dear to me because they have a little piece of me, each one of them does. It's a piece I'm just unwilling to give up to the average person, only to those who are really special and unique in my life. I've had friends, casual friends who came in and out of my life but no matter what has ever happened to me, these close friends of mine were always there.

And so to Susan, Deb, Connie, Gina, Mike, Diana and Val, I love you guys, you all have a special place in my heart!