My Novels

Monday, December 31, 2001

It's Sunday night, around 9:00 PM, and I'm using my laptop to make an entry. I haven't had enough time to write in my journal the past couple days, but did want to catch up on the latest happenings.

DH has been off all weekend through New Year's Day, so things have been somewhat hectic. Not that we have a lot of social activities, but we do enjoy rides in the country or doing stuff around the house. Saturday we went to the liquor store in a nearby city (our county is dry, believe it or not!) and bought some lite beer and wine. I like wine occasionally, particularly if I can't get to sleep or a lite beer while I watch TV. We then drove to another city, where we shopped at a very peculiar little store called "Good Stuff Cheap"....and it had a wide variety of odds and ins. I got a small computerized odometer for my bike, so I can figure out how many miles I'm biking. And several assorted bargains, including some gold lightswitch covers for 50 cents that would have cost a great deal more in regular stores. I love to browse in offbeat stores, even flea markets; I'm always in search of a bargain and believe in the old adage, "A penny saved is a penny earned!"

Anyhow, we didn't get home till dark and decided to eat out, but I DID NOT binge, kept it a very moderate meal. I'm still determined to lose down to 100 lbs, but it may take some time. DH is going away on business in mid-January for a week, and I may fast some of that time, which should greatly speed up the process.

(I'm halfway watching TV, and DH is flipping through the stations [never give a man the remote control!] and he stopped on MTV where a guy was getting his butt pierced. Seriously, the guy got his asscheeks pierced right in the crack, and a metal peice put in to hold the crack together. Not only did that look verrrrrrry painful, you have to wonder how he's going to take a crap? Then he decided he didn't want it done, so they took the metal piece out and left an open wound, OUCH! What will kids do NEXT? Glad I don't have any, because one thing I would NOT allow is piercing of any kind. The most disgusting thing I can think of is tongue piercing, totally gross!)

I've read several news articles lately, particularly a weird one from Wired Magazine about couples whose babies are stillborn and they put up photos of the dead babies online at websites. This sickened me so much I couldn't even go look at it, but needless to say, I have to wonder WHAT these people are thinking? It's supposed to be about bereavement and emotional healing, and a tribute...but WHY put these sick pictures online? I DO support their right to do this, but find it morbidly aberrant behavior. Who can explain human behavior when it comes to offspring? While some will beat and kill their LIVE children, others apparently can't even let go of dead stillborn babies. Is this not more of our mad, mad world?

I have also been working on the three stories for updating my webzine. I am doing a lot of the work at night on the laptop, and then will only have to upload it to the site. I have been getting exceptionally excellent submissions since my webzine was listed in a print writer's market book, and am excited about the three I'm posting this time. One is a satire and very funny; one is about turning a feral cat into a tame pet; and the other one is about a blind woman who can communicate with dolphins. All are very good.

I didn't go on the bike ride today, since I take Sundays off. I may go tomorrow, if I can find the time. I always miss it though, and feel guilty if I don't get that exercise or use the ski machine.

My five cats are inside, several romping through the house, and two on either side of me as I type on the laptop. I enjoy having them inside at night, but they usually prefer their sunporch during the day, lying in the sun, sleeping.

I may not make another entry in this journal till after New Year's...which DH and I will spend alone. But I will try to write about my reflections of the past year soon. I DO have one resolution, and that is to write in this journal almost daily. The modem on this laptop has never worked, so I use it only for writing and then save to a floppy disk, and later transfer to my computer or online, which I will do in the morning.

Yesterday as we drove home it was around sunset, and the region was very flat, so we got breath-taking views of the horizon. The sky was perfectly clear and there were beautiful shades of violet and lavender as darkness fell, with a very early full moon rising and being highlighted by the setting sun. It was an amazing sight, incredibly beautiful...and I couldn't help but think how stupendously glorious the earth is, how diversely beautiful and rich with grand and ever-changing vistas. And yet we humans are slowly destroying nature's glory...for even as I gazed at the skyline, it was dotted with billboards and snarled with power lines.

Saturday, December 29, 2001

First, let me say that I am truly enjoying keeping this daily journal. I've discovered it's a good way to vent, not only about MY own life, but about news/world events in general. I've discovered I'm not in need of feedback, or readers. IF a few people do read this, that is fine. And if any want to comment (via email) that is also welcome -- but I would take such comments as personal opinion only, and it would not influence what I write about here. If I can't be entirely HONEST and CANDID about my thoughts/feelings/opinions in this journal, there would be no reason to write it. Enough said about that.

Another great morning for biking, but probably the last for a few days. We're supposed to have verrrrry cold temps starting tonight through New Year's Day...possibly even some light snow flurries on Tuesday. I might still be able to ride the bike in mid-afternoon, just depending on the temperatures.

And speaking of New Year's...I always sort of liked New Year's Day, since it signifies new beginnings, fresh starts. I haven't got time right now to go into a long discussion of what my last year was like, or whether it was largely good or bad, but will before January 1st. For now, I'm still reflecting on that.

I want to make one brief comment about Sept. 11th...which was, of course, horrendous. But one aspect that amazes me in people's reaction is they act as if suddenly they discovered life is dangerous, that violence can touch them. Excuse me, but life IS and always has been, dangerous, uncertain, perilous business. WHAT have these naive, stupid people been thinking before? That they live charmed lives and NOTHING bad can happen to them? Give me a break! NO ONE IS PROMISED TOMORROW. And that goes for EVERYONE on earth, NO exceptions. Get used to it! I learned that lesson in childhood, growing up with a violent, alcoholic father who could have killed any one of us at any moment. Even at best though, life itself is wildy unpredictable, and anyone who thinks otherwise is simply delusional.

Now to a few news items: First off, I see that Bush has now declared that it's not terribly important whether we catch bin Laden or not. Sounds like Pappy Bush's take on the Gulf War: Leave the main culprit alive and thriving. And of course, when military strategy isn't working, it's always a good move to downplay a failure like not getting the culprit you'd previously vowed to take 'dead or alive.'

Here's an excerpt:

Bush shifts focus of war away from bin Laden

President George W. Bush on Friday stressed that capturing Osama bin Laden was only part of the US's objectives in Afghanistan, signalling a shift in the administration's approach to its campaign against terrorism.


On the homefront, I think that Americans are scared shitless. (Pardon my French) But why else would they be posting on bulletin boards and in newsgroups about strip-searching people at airports, taking such ridiculous measures to assure safety. People, I'll say it again: Life is a dangerous business. YOU CANNOT GUARANTEE SAFETY! EVER! Here's an excerpt from another slip-up at airport security, which just proves you can NEVER be sure that someone, somewhere won't get onboard a plane with explosives or guns.

FBI: Man boarded two flights with gun in luggage

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) -- Authorities said a Florida man who was arrested with a loaded pistol in his carry-on luggage had boarded flights in two other cities before the gun was found.

That's it for now. I am about to head to the library, then have a few errands in town. And sometimes between now and January 1st, I have several submitted stories to edit and post at my webzine, which will take up some of my time in the evenings. Updates to the webzine are done on the 1st of each month, and I've not even started on that work yet.

Friday, December 28, 2001

I went on my bike ride earlier today, since it was a bit warmer, in the 50s today. Then as I was doing some housework, my mother and step-dad stopped by. They brought Xmas gifts for us, though I had told them not to buy anything. As usual, I felt guilty about not getting them anything, so ended up giving them quite a bit of cash. They can always use it, so I suppose that is best. Mother got me a nightgown and cute nightlight fixture, and DH a shirt. I DO feel sorry for them, both now in their 70s and barely getting by on a very limited fixed income. But I spent MOST of my life trying to help them, and it finally came to an end when I realized that some people can't be helped.

Anyhow, I also solved the mystery of the funds in our banking account. DH's sister, who died back in the summer, had it set up in her Will for that money to be put in custodial savings accounts for her two grandkids, with DH as custodian. So at least that is a relief, in that I was worried there had been a security breach at the bank. The reason DH's sister did this, is because the grandkid's mother has become a drug addict and, if given access to the funds, would have spent it quickly -- and the grandkids would never have seen a cent of it.

I am still thinking of getting the new computer, since I could pay cash and not miss the money. We've built up quite a lot of savings/investments in the past fifteen years (ever since our house was paid off, and we've lived debt-free)...but I'm still undecided.

Now to news, only the bad news of course. Here's another of those 'abandoned baby' stories that makes you wonder if women have ever heard of birth control or abortion?

Abandoned newborn placed in foster care

A newborn baby girl has been placed in foster care after she was found abandoned and wrapped only in a mattress pad outside a Dallas hospital Tuesday evening.

The child was less than a day old when she was spotted on the hood of a parked car outside Medical City Dallas hospital about 7:30 p.m., police and hospital officials said.

On the astronomy front, some darkly fascinating articles below that make you realize our dimly perceived human lives are heading straight for oblivion -- sooner or later.

Hot galactic arms point to vicious cycle in Chanda image

NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has revealed the aftermath of a titanic explosion that wracked the elliptical galaxy known as NGC 4636. This eruption could be the latest episode in a cycle of violence that is triggered by gas falling into a central massive black hole.

If it can happen in that galaxy, why not OURS? After all, we already KNOW there's a vast black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

The hunt for source of gamma-ray bursts

Astronomers now think that gamma-ray bursts are very frequent, occurring about once a minute somewhere in the sky. They originate in the most powerful explosions in the Universe, and at least some are thought to occur when massive rapidly rotating stars collapse into black holes. When observed at great distances they become tools to study the Universe during its infancy.

Of course, everyone (except religious idiots) KNOWS that gamma ray bursts close enough to the earth could obliterate/incinerate us instantly...and they ARE out there.

Dark Days Ahead

According to at least one astrophysicist, we may never know the ultimate fate of the universe.

Loeb estimates that over the next 100 billion years our cosmic horizon will shrink so much that earthlings will only be able to glimpse about a thousand galaxies (out of the 2,500 or so we see today) in the Virgo Cluster and its immediate surrounds. And astronomers of the distant future, regardless of the technological prowess of their observing tools, will no longer be able probe the birth and death pangs of stars and other celestial curiosities in the far reaches of the universe. If Loeb is right, the information scientists can glean about the fate of the universe may be running on empty.

Yep, we are going to perish eventually too...due to this expansion that cannot be stopped.

And on the prayer front, this news:

A 1999 study claimed that coronary patients in a Kansas City hospital did better if volunteers prayed for them without their knowledge (WN 20 Oct 99). But a just-released study at the Mayo Clinic found no significant difference between heart patients who were the object of intercessory prayers and those who were not.

As I've stated before in this journal, penicillin without prayer works better than prayer without penicillin.

That's all for today kids. Remember, all we have is TODAY. Tomorrow is promised to no one, so be sure that you are doing what you'd be doing if this were THE LAST DAY OF YOUR LIFE.

Thursday, December 27, 2001

Another quick entry tonight before I call it quits. I was reading another article about the infamous would-be shoe bomber...and it seems his mother is "deeply shocked" by his behavior. Goodness, it's as though she had no idea he'd previously been a petty criminal as well as converted to Islam in prison. But I would guess it IS shocking to suddenly find your son at the top of the news reports worldwide for something this diabolical. The article says: "As any mother would be, she is deeply shocked and concerned about the allegations made against her son, but has no further comment to make," Reid's mother Lesley Hughes said in the statement released through lawyers in Bristol, western England. Read the entire article here

Note to self: Another reason I'm glad I chose NOT to breed. Who knows what an offspring will become or do? A great big crap-shoot I didn't want to enter.'s something extraordinary. Tonight I had to pay a bill from my online banking institution. I log in, and lo...I find that now I have TWO new savings accounts, with deposits of over $5,000.00 in each one! Apparently the money had been electronically transferred -- but I've NOT opened new accounts. Geez, this must be a banking mistake. Someone is going to be upset when they don't have this money in their accounts. OR some happy hacker has just presented me with a gift... Of course, I WILL call the bank the first thing in the morning and see what the heck is going on. Bizarre! Hey, and I was just looking at new computers, would love to have one that cost about two grand... Naughty, naughty thought! ó¿ò

Now to the news: I see that bin Laden presented Bush with a belated Christmas gift -- another video. Oh, I bet Bush and company were SO annoyed, upset to see this latest video. Osama looks really, really bad, I think the war is proving very bad for his health. I actually don't hate him, mainly because I am not sure he's entirely the culprit of all that happened on Sept. 11th. I DO think he had a hand in it, but I dislike the way the Bush administration has vilified the extent of making him inhuman. Osama IS human, just wildly egotistical and suffering from delusions of grandeur. (Could we not say the same of Bush though, so far as personality traits?) At any rate, if I had to make a guess, I'd say that bin Laden is in Saudia Arabia with some wealthy sheik that's always supported him -- and we'll NEVER find him, simply because we (the USA) are NOT going to mess with the Saudi's cause they supply most of our oil.

Well folks, here's another doomsday scenario...and a TRUE reality. I watched a program on the Discovery Channel last night entitled "SuperVolcanoes." And it was somewhat scary, concerning the buried volcano underneath Yellowstone National Park in the USA. Apparently, there's enough molten goo underneath that park to erupt and not only destroy north America's climate, but most of the earth's as well. And it's not an IF but WHEN! Some of the scientist speculate a similar eruption long, long ago destroyed all but about 10,000 humans worldwide. Fascinating stuff.

These natural disasters compete with human destructiveness...but I'm still betting on humans doing themselves in before natural disaster (such as the above one or an asteroid, etc) can wipe us out. Just a matter of time though, as the cosmos is expanding and gravity can't keep it all together, so we're doomed eventually anyway.

In the meantime, have fun kids! <(©¿©)> That's all for tonight folks!

Blogger has been down due to a security breach, hence my lack of entries the past couple of days. That, and the fact I had a "Christmas From Hell"...but I won't go into it all, only say that it revolves around my in-laws who have never liked me, and with whom I no longer have a relationship. DH still feels obligated to attend a brief Xmas morning get-together with them, and this adds to my awful depression on that day. I guess there's nothing that can be done about it, short of divorce and DH doesn't want one. I would agree to a divorce, because frankly I would be happier probably living totally alone (except for my five cats and parakeet.) Ho hum, so it goes. The only good thing I can say is that the dreaded commercialized, overly sentimental crap Holiday is OVER!!

I also didn't eat a bite all day Christmas; I decided on a 24-hour fast, just as a way to start losing weight. I've lost nearly five pounds, and had forgotten how much I LOVE dieting! Yesterday I ate very little, and felt light, free, almost happy. I also went on my bike ride yesterday and today, but in the mid-afternoon when it's warmer since the temps here have plunged into the teens at night, and only around high 30s in the day. I've enjoyed the riding though, and the brisk air is invigorating! I don't know how much weight I'll lose, because I have a tendency to overdo it. I used to be aneroxic, and still get in that mood when dieting. I am not overweight; I'm 5'2" and weigh about 110 lbs, but I'd love to weigh only 100 lbs. Besides, it's good to feel I can control ONE thing in this mad, mad world we are living in!

I've been browsing news items, and have several excerpts to comment on but will do that later tonight since I'll be online then. For now, I just wanted to make this entry. The oak flooring looks beautiful, and I bought several lovely throw rugs to compliment the room, so it's all done and something lasting from what is otherwise an awful time of year.

More later.

Monday, December 24, 2001

No entry yesterday, since there just never seemed to be time to spend at the computer/online. We finished the oak flooring, and it looks fabulous. It's going to take some getting used to, as the carpeting was dark and this floor is light. But all in all, it turned out perfect -- and we got it done in record time.

Since I'm not going to the family gathering, DH and I will go for a long ride in the country after while, then stop by the video store and rent some movies. We rented "All The Pretty Horses" for last night, and it was okay. Nothing spectacular, but DH loves horses (and has several at the horse farm where he's partners with another guy). Anyhow, I recorded "Beloved" and watched it later before going to sleep. I'd never read the book, because I found that it was written in such a disjointed style it lost my interest. But a friend recommended I see the movie, which he said was spooky. And indeed, it was -- but I kept thinking that it would be excellent justice if ALL murdered children could come back to haunt and torment their cruel parents the way the ghostly child did in that movie! Unfortunately, dead is dead and they don't return -- except within a person's memory.

I stayed up till nearly 1:30 AM watching that movie, and slept late. I thought about going on the bike ride, but it's a brisk 40 degrees, and though sunny/clear, I decided to wait till afternoon when it'll be just a bit warmer. I did use my ski machine last night, since that helps with exercising when I can't ride the bike. And I NEED a good workout, or I don't sleep well.

Here's a couple of interesting links for all you atheist out there:

Opportunists Hall of Shame Awards
--Religious nutcases who blame Sept. 11th on secular society!

More Blatherings
--A collection of some of the things said by mindless theists in the aftermath of the World Trade Center & Pentagon disasters, on September 11th 2001, that are crass, insensitive, insulting, just plain idiotic, blame the victims, or use the tragedy to gain members of their church.

This morning I was thinking of how we Americans always want to punish those who harm us -- but then expect abused children to love and forgive their parents. Why? Isn't it entirely obvious that when one is mistreated/harmed, they seek revenge and/or retaliation? IF we were indeed a so-called "Christian" country we never would have bombed Afghanistan to hell and back. So please, don't expect mistreated/abused children to forgive and forget the atrocities their parents have perpetuated. No, expect them to inflict their pain upon society at large, or (the better course perhaps) never go near their abusers again.

Enough for this Christmas Eve. Ho, ho, ho...what a vile world we humans have made for ourselves.

Saturday, December 22, 2001

I have been having a cleaning orgy! I've scoured the whole house, and have the body aches to prove it. I don't necessarily like housework, but I can't endure untidy, unclean living conditions, so I try to keep our home in good shape. But yesterday and today I did some of those long-neglected tasks, like cleaning walls, woodwork, closets and ceiling fans, etc. Rough!

DH is putting down the last piece of oak flooring as I write this, and we'll be moving the furniture back into the den tonight. It looks great, and will be much easier to keep clean than carpeting (which was there before).

Nothing much else to write about. I didn't have time to do a news cruise today, and will leave it at that for now.

Friday, December 21, 2001

Been a wildly busy day, bought groceries and had to fight a crowd. Looks like the mad rush for last minute Christmas shopping is underway! But also, DH and I went to get some paint, so he could paint the ceiling in our den before putting down the new flooring. I am about to start cleaning the cedar paneled walls, which will be quite a task. So this entry has to be short.

Here's a few things in the news, the first a report about how we Americans see ourselves compared to how foreigners see us. An excerpt:

IHT INSIGHT How the World Sees the U.S. and Sept. 11
Brian Knowlton International Herald Tribune

Asked if many or most ordinary people consider U.S. policies to be "a major cause" of the Sept. 11 attacks, fewer than 1 in 5 respondents from America said they do. But in the rest of the world, nearly 3 out of 5 agreed that they would.

You can read the entire article HERE

Seems the Oklahoma City bombing victims are starting to whine about not getting any charity money after their ordeal now. Gee, I wonder if it's becoming the 'American Way' to pay off all victims of terrorist? If so, why not also pay off crime victims, abuse victims, on and on, ad nauseam? And hey, I'll sign up for some monetary compensation for all the trauma I went through as the victim of a terrorist alcoholic father in childhood! Americans are such whiners, no wonder the world sees us as spoiled! Just think what some of the people in the poorest countries go through on a daily basis, just to survive and have enough to eat. Makes you wonder about Americans, doesn't it?

Here's the excerpt:

Oklahoma City Victims Feel Slighted

By Jennifer L. Brown
Associated Press Writer
Friday, December 21, 2001; 2:37 PM

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Some of those who lost loved ones in the Oklahoma City bombing are feeling hurt and slighted by the federal government over its decision to dispense an average of $1.65 million apiece to the families of the Sept. 11 dead.

No such federal fund was ever set up for the Oklahoma City victims.

"I don't want to do a hierarchy on terrorism here, but that's kind of minimizing what happened to the people of Oklahoma City," said Marsha Kight, whose daughter Frankie Merrell was killed in the April 19, 1995, bombing that killed 168 people and wounded more than 500. "The individual loss was just as great for us."

That's it for today!

Thursday, December 20, 2001

Okay, been cruising the newsgroups...always a fascinating experience! ó¿ò, I can't take credit for this satire/humor but wanted to post it as a good chuckle. So here it is from the alt.true-crime newsgroup, posted by Steve Franklin (

Top Ten Reasons George Hasn't Caught Osama Yet

10. Osama has 20 IQ points on George.

9. Osama has 30 IQ points on Rumsfeld.

8. Osama was trained by the CIA prior to its George H. W. Bush period.

7. Osama doesn't have a constitution to ignore like George has.

6. Osama is a true believer, unlike George who just pretends to be a true believer for his own personal political gain.

5. Osama's rabbit hole is bigger than George's.

4. George has the same FBI helping out that helped out the Warren Commission.

3. George has Ronald Reagan's astrologer using a pendulum on a map of Afghanistan to try to find him.

2. "Declaration of war? We don't need no stinkin' declaration of war!"

1. Osama hasn't read George's script and has decided to let someone else play his part in George's play about ruling the world.

"As always, never vote for a short guy. They all want to conquer the world."

Jan 1, 2003: According to Katie Couric,"The death toll in the WTC disaster was revised down to 308 yesterday, WASN'T IT?"

Jan 1, 3001: "The long-awaited "Manchurian candidate" files on the CIA Project Big Boom have finally been released. Researchers' suspicions about the use of mind control in Osama bin Laden and his followers has been confirmed. Exhumation of Bin Laden's body from its grave in suburban Cleveland has also confirmed the existence of a microchip connected to his brain stem."

Jan 1, 4001: "The ambassador from Epsilon Indi 3 has agreed to release satellite surveillance images of the planning sessions for Project Big Boom chaired by Vice President Cheney. Descendants of George W. Bush continue to claim that he was in the men's room at the time."


Today was a busy day. My DH is taking the remainder of his vacation days and will be home until the day after Christmas. Since we'd not decided on a gift for Christmas, we went to Lowe's to look at oak flooring for our den. It's our tradition that each year we buy one large purchase that serves as a gift for both of us. Not extremely expensive, but today's total was around $900.00. Then I insisted we buy him a new tablesaw, since the old one is really outdated. So now we have a remodeling project to carry us through the holidays! This will work out great, in that we'll be busy installing the new flooring and I won't have time to be depressed! It should be all done by Christmas Day, and we'll spend that day watching some movie videos which we've not rented in the past year, ones we'd like to see.

I believe I've decided not to attend the family get-together as I'd orginally vowed last year after the Holiday.

When we got back home today, I went on a long bike ride. It was colder here today, and I postponed the ride from morning till afternoon.

And now I have this evening online, my rare once-a-week evening at the computer.

I'm really beginning to get burnt-out on hearing about the 'victims' of the Sept. 11th tragedy. Every time you turn on the TV news, there's a new sentimental, emotional, overwrought segment. Enough. They are going to get plenty of monetary compensation (as if money could make up for their losses -- the American idea of capitalist compensation, I suppose), more than MOST victims of any other crime and/or atrocity, such as domestic abuse victims. Don't people in this country realize that police officer's slain in the line of duty, their families get $140,000.00 from the federal government? There are literally new gifts given every day to this victims group and I think the saturation point has been reached. And because of the billions given to the Sept. 11th fund, other charities are having a shortfall in funds this year. I never give to human charities, only animal or environmental causes.

From the news, today the NY Times reported that Tyson Foods was indicted for transporting and hiring illegal aliens for employees in their processing plants. We have nearby Tyson poultry processing plants, and it is common knowledge that most of the illegals in this area work in the poultry processing plants. Not only does this take away from American citizens that need work here, but also Tyson apparently pays very low wages, and runs plants like sweatshops. I'm very glad about this indictment, and I hope that it will result in lessening the illegal alien population in our region.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

U.S. Accuses Meat Processor of Recruiting Illegal Workers
Tyson Foods Inc., the nation's largest meat producer and processor, was indicted yesterday with six employees on charges that it conspired to smuggle illegal immigrants across the Mexican border to work in its processing plants.

The 36-count indictment, which was unsealed at Federal District Court in Chattanooga, Tenn., accuses Tyson of arranging to transport illegal immigrants across the border and of helping them to get counterfeit work papers for jobs at more than a dozen Tyson poultry plants.

The government said it was the largest case brought against a major American company involving the smuggling of immigrants.
The indictment said that six Tyson employees, including two executives, participated in the actions and that the company engaged in the practices to cut costs, meet production goals and to maximize profits. The company could face sanctions and large fines if found guilty; the workers could face prison terms.

You can read the entire aritcle HERE

And on a humorous note, here's the URL for an article that is satire on the hunt for bin Laden which explores the problem of the news media reporting when there's essentially no news about his whereabouts:

The Real Scoop on bin Laden

That's it for today. I added a photo link for those who might wish to see this writer, and my pet cats in the link column to the right on this site.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

I had nightmares last night.

I hate it when I have these recurring nightmares with the same theme: my father is on a drunken rampage and I'm scared to death that someone is going to get killed. In this particular dream, me and my three sisters were in the house on the old block, a small four-room rental house where we grew up. And daddy was drunk, had beaten mother to within an inch of her life, and she'd fled the house (as she often did, leaving us girls there alone with daddy). He was standing at a window, looking out and asking, "I wonder where your mother went..." And I was trying to calm him down, sooth his anger (as I always did)...and though I knew he would not hit any of us girls (he never did), I was still scared. I also knew there was no escape, as we had no alternatives back in those days for such a horrible situation (like the abuse shelters today)...but I tried to be strong. Still, I awoke and was drenched in sweat, still shaking with fear.

I must say that since I don't believe in heaven/hell, I do think that for a person to have created such fear and hate in their children as my father did in us, his hell is that his memory is a nightmare to us.

When I went back to sleep, I had another jumbled nightmare, but cannot recall the details...more of the same about being unable to escape our hellish childhood. At any rate, this is typical stuff that comes up for me around the holidays, and one of the reasons I hate the season so much. I'm 50 years old, and STILL have these issues, so you can see that the damage is lasting.

I went on a long bike ride again this morning, and it was refreshing. Still very mild temps here in the Southeast, and looks like it will remain this way through Christmas.

Now to the news, I clipped this snippet about Bush pullling out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia. {As an aside, I must say that I didn't approve of the Supreme Court appointing Bush as our Prez. I wasn't a fan of Gore either, but when the Supreme Court took the election away from the voters, I became skeptical of the High Court in general. I still consider Bush an 'appointed' Prez, simply because the Court didn't allow the votes to be counted.}

Here's the excerpt:

Cheney strongly supports Mr. Bush's decision to pull out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia. "It was exactly the right step to take," the vice president said.

The fact that there has been only a mild international reaction to the treaty withdrawal is a sign Mr. Bush "did a masterful job" in dealing with a sensitive arms-control issue. "I think it's a major achievement for his administration and the fact that there has not been a loud reaction to it demonstrates the skill with which the whole enterprise was undertake.

"You know, nine or 10 months ago the cry was 'unilaterialism,' that somehow we were moving here in a way that went against the grain, or was going to be opposed by the civilized world. And of course what we've seen is that it was really all about leadership and the president stepped out, he had a good solid strategy. He's executed [that strategy] I think very well."

Nah, I just think that perhaps this move is more like a Dictator would make. Also, maybe Russia and all other countries are afraid we'll bomb their countries to hell and back if they dare disagree with us. And people here wonder why some foreigners think of the USA as a 'bully?'

Here's a semi-funny snip from an article about a protest in Canada concerning the new anti-terrorism laws there:

Santa Falls Foul of Anti-Terrorism Laws
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police, taking advantage of sweeping new anti-terrorism legislation, arrested Santa Claus on the grounds that he had a beard, was behaving suspiciously and, in all likelihood, belonged to a underground cell. Or so demonstrators would have you believe.

The ``arrest'' Monday was stage-managed by local pro-democracy activists who say that the legislation -- which the Senate, or upper house of Parliament, was due to start debating later Monday -- will destroy many civil liberties.

Enough rambling for today.

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Busy, busy day and it's now afternoon. Great morning for the long bike ride, and then back to get dressed for a trip to town. I had some shopping to do at Wal-Mart, ugh! Tis the season for those folks to shop who look as if they've crawled out from under a rock, where they stay most of the year, and only emerge for the jolly holiday buying! =^.^= But I swam through the crowd, got my supplies, and made it fine. I had a couple of other errands to run, but I still didn't buy any gifts. If I decide to go to the family get-together, I'll just give money. I find that my nephews had rather have cold hard cash anyway, and my mother and step-father are always in need of money. But I haven't made up my mind yet about whether to go or not.

Okay, about the poor in America...I've read a couple of interesting articles in the NY Times lately which really detail the plight of those in need -- not just now, but all year. One bad aspect of the Sept. 11th charity fund-raisers is that it seems to have caused people to give less to OTHER charities, and therefore, a crisis is brewing. Many of those who are about to lose their welfare checks had been training for jobs, but now those jobs don't exist, due to our economic recession.

I was not poor growing up; my father made a good income, but unfortunately, he was an alcoholic, and spent a lot of money on liquor, which left us in the low, low income stratus. I can tell you that I NEVER liked any kind of hand-out or charity; it is humiliating in this country to accept that kind of help, simply due to the fact we're a capitalist country and there's a bias here that makes people think everyone who needs help MUST be too lazy to work. So we never accepted any kind of charity, though I'm sure we could have used it at various times. That particular attitude, the bias against the working poor, made me determined never to ask for any help -- and I haven't. I've worked, and I've saved all my that, now, I'm in a position where savings and living debt-free I have a fairly financially stable life. I'm NOT wealthy, but due to pinching pennies, I don't think I'll ever be homeless. But I do feel great compassion for the working poor, because I KNOW what kind of attitude they face from others who are in better financial shape.

Here's some excerpts from the articles:

New Wave of the Homeless Floods Cities' Shelters

An unusual confluence of factors seems to be responsible for the surge. Housing prices, which soared in the expansion of the 1990's, have not gone down, even though the economy has tumbled. A stream of layoffs has newly unemployed people taking low-wage jobs that might have otherwise gone to the poor. Benefits for welfare recipients are expiring under government-imposed deadlines. And charitable donations to programs that help the disadvantaged are down considerably, officials around the country said, because of the economy and the outpouring of donations for people affected by Sept. 11.

"This is an unprecedented convergence of calamities," said Xavier De Souza Briggs, an assistant professor of public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. "It's really a crisis."

An increasing proportion of the homeless are families with children, compared with the chronically homeless who often have serious mental illness or substance abuse problems. Requests for shelter from families with children increased in three-quarters of the cities surveyed. In more than half, families had to be broken up to be accommodated in shelters.

Some newly homeless people have jobs but do not earn enough to allow use of a home. Low-cost housing is so tight that one-third of the vouchers for the Section 8 subsidized-housing program are being returned unused, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In a school district in Sacramento, Liane Ramirez, who works with homeless families, said she had already seen twice as many families living in their cars as she had seen in the previous few years combined.

"We feel like we're seeing a lot more first-time scared-to-death homeless," Ms. Ramirez said. "And we're looking at working homeless, not just welfare homeless."

Here's some excerpts from another great article about the working poor:

As Welfare Comes to an End, So Do the Jobs


Daisy Torres, a 34-year-old mother of three who was raised on welfare, gets a subway car's floor so clean that her supervisor swears you could eat off it. James Howard, 42, a 10th grade dropout who did odd jobs off the books to supplement his family's public assistance grant in years past, had almost perfect attendance.

They were striving to join the 122 subway car cleaners who had gone on to permanent jobs with the authority, out of hundreds who began the program. But after many assurances that they were on a list to be hired, Ms. Torres and Mr. Howard were among dozens who got a double dose of bad news last month. Because of the deepening recession, the authority had imposed a hiring freeze. And, under federal law, the city's Human Resources Administration informed them, their welfare benefits were at an end.

You can read this entire article HERE but you may have to register.

And one last disgusting item in the news:

A prison guard was convicted Tuesday of aggravated cruelty to animals for crushing five kittens to death in a trash compactor at Sing Sing.

He can get up to two years, and I hope he does. Apparently he had taken the mother cat and five kittens from an inmate's cell, and then put them all in the trash compactor. The mother cat got loose though. I hope he has to do time in that prison, because I'm sure the inmates will take care of his 'punishment.' If there is one thing that makes me feel murderous, it is cruelty to animals!

Ah...what a jolly season it is! (sarcasm)

Monday, December 17, 2001

Rainy Mondays always get me down...isn't that the line from a popular song? Well it's certainly rainy here, but I've managed to avoid the Holiday Blues this year. One thing that has helped is finding a radio station that DOES NOT play Christmas songs! I found a great station that plays only hits of the 1980s, and love it.

I am a fan of almost all the popular culture of the 1980s. Those were some of my happiest years: I was working as a journalist, I traveled a good deal, I felt very independent and carefree. It was, in some ways, the childhood I never had. I also had a burning love affair with an unconventional man during most of that era, and that made it all seem so...much more romantic and beautiful.

At any rate, I'm finding that simply ignoring a large part of the "Christmas Hype/Mania" has allowed me to feel much better this year. Of course, most of my melancholia stems from the awful childhood I had, and the atrocious behavior of my alcoholic father during this time of year. It's always amazed me that most people who have a great childhood simply are incapable of realizing that living a hellish childhood will affect you for the rest of your life. And MOST OF US do not ever get over it. What's the old quote: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." That applies to society trying to stop people who are incapable of parenting from breeding. But that will NEVER happen, so the cycle goes on and on...

I still haven't decided definitely if I'll go to my mother's house for the family gathering at Christmas. I don't want to, but wonder if I'll feel guilty if I don't? See my Live Journal Entries for last Christmas, if you're curious about why I feel this way. Click HERE to read about that. the news. It looks as if bin Laden is still missing in action. Here's some interesting excerpts:

Mujahideen commanders declared victory in the battle against al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan on Sunday, as Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary, made a surprise visit to the US Bagram Airbase in the country.

But after coming down from the Tora Bora mountains at the end of the battle to drive al-Qaeda from its final stronghold, the Mujahideen said they had not found Mr bin Laden.

"He is not here," said Haji Zaman, one of the commanders of the three Mujahideen forces fighting with the US. "Osama is not in my pocket. I cannot show him to you."

Mr Zaman said he had seen the cave where Mr bin Laden was thought to be hiding, and that his body was not among the many left there after Sunday's fighting.


Senior U.S. officials admitted that they were not certain of bin Laden's whereabouts.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Sunday that bin Laden was most likely in Afghanistan, but acknowledged he "can't ignore the possibility that he might not be -- that he might have gotten out."

Makes you wonder if he'll ever turn up? Or will he manage to just vanish, disappear...with no proof of whether he's alive or dead? IF no body is ever found, his legend is going to be greater than Elvis! Can you imagine the 'sightings' all over the world?

I also found this interesting tidbit of opinion about that tape the US government released of bin Laden:

Tape doesn't prove bin Laden's guilt

National Post

Contrast this tape with tapes that are sometimes introduced in organized-crime or drug cases that are self-proving. Such tapes contain information that is not in the public domain and could be known only by the criminal. Such information might include the calibre of bullets used, the location of transit points for drugs, the names of undisclosed associates, etc. The bin Laden tape, in contrast, includes only information known to everybody. For example, bin Laden's assertion that Mohammed Atta was the leader of the hijackers has been widely reported and cannot be independently confirmed.

It could be argued bin Laden's statement that several of the hijackers were unaware of their mission until just before they boarded the plane is precisely the kind of information that would be known only to the planner. But there is no independent evidence that this claim is true. It is exactly the sort of statement that would be made by someone falsely seeking to claim credit for something he did not plan, since it suggests unique knowledge that can never be disproved. It, too, had been widely reported in the press before bin Laden made his statements. In other words, it is entirely possible bin Laden is boasting and claiming credit for a "success" for which he had little personal responsibility and no advance knowledge.

-- Alan M. Dershowitz, a professor of law at Harvard University and an appellate lawyer, has represented such clients as Claus von Bulow, Mike Tyson and O.J. Simpson. In an exclusive to the National Post, he analyzes the legal merits of the Osama bin Laden videotape, released on Thursday

And concerning our allies in Afghanistan this dismal news:

Unpaid Alliance soldiers spark crime wave in Kabul
Gangs of Northern Alliance soldiers have unleashed a crime wave of looting and killing in Kabul which is awakening nostalgia for the Taliban.

Lawlessness is creeping into daily life, after six years of Taliban order, in the form of robberies, extortion and murder aimed at the few Kabul residents with visible wealth.

Parts of the city have become no-go areas for taxi drivers after a spate of abductions and roadside executions of their colleagues by soldiers loyal to the new Afghan government.

Many of the fighters have not been paid since July and admit they are hungry for spoils after last month's sweep into the capital.

And on the anthrax front, I found an article that is thought-provoking about the source of the anthrax. Could it have come from our own military facilities? Perhaps a military person who is the culprit? I've always maintained that some of our own military (not all, just a few) will be our terrorist of tomorrow. Such as McVeigh.

Here's some food for thought:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Anthrax spores that contaminated U.S. mail in October were apparently produced in the United States, the White House said Monday.

Press secretary Ari Fleischer said the evidence is not conclusive but it is increasingly "looking like it was a domestic source."

He said officials still did not know who delivered the anthrax.

Army officials are doubtful that potentially deadly anthrax in letters mailed to Congress originated at a military medical research center, even though spores in both places were a genetic match.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease obtained its supply from the Agriculture Department and shared it with five labs in the United States, Canada and Britain, spokesman Chuck Dasey said Sunday.

He was reacting to a report in The Washington Post that the genetic makeup of the anthrax used in the letters mailed to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., matched the anthrax in the Army's stockpile.

And that's enough for today!

Sunday, December 16, 2001

I really shouldn't be here making another entry on Sunday, but we got back from our usual ride early. We had a gift certificate for a free ham, but had to drive to a nearby large city to get it. Unfortunately, the place was closed today -- weird, as most places are open on Sunday afternoons. We'll get it later though. Cloudy out now, a chill in the air. Rain on the way, probably flooding after all we've had lately.

Anyhow, I had a few minutes online and wanted to mention that any of you who are atheist/agnostics, might enjoy this link for Celebrity Atheists It has direct quotes from each celeb listed, such as this one by Woody Allen: In his autobiographical movie, Stardust Memories, Allen's character is called an atheist. He responds, "To you, I'm an atheist. To God, I'm the loyal opposition." Drop by, you'll enjoy it!

And here's a couple more quotes by an atheist, Bill Hicks:

You ever noticed how people who believe in creationism look really unevolved? Ya ever noticed that? Eyes real close together, eyebrow ridges, big furry hands and feet. "I believe God created me in one day." Yeah, looks liked He rushed it.

I love the Pope, I love seeing him in his Pope-Mobile, his three feet of bullet proof plexi-glass. That's faith in action folks! You know he's got God on his side."

There's your chuckles for the day -- all you atheist/agnostics, I mean!
Ah, Sunday again...and I only have a short time at the computer. Today is the one day of the week I DO get out and away from my house/desk. Retirement is GREAT though, and I wouldn't change anything about this, being able to sleep late, bike when the weather is nice, write or surf the net during the day... Home and possessions paid for, a modest income, a modest lifestyle..but debt-free. Yes, I like my life now.

In the news I found an article about our current recession. I sold some of my stocks after Sept.11th, so just call me cautious, not unpatriotic. {As an aside, one thing that bugs me is the Prez saying our patriotic duty is to, "spend, spend, spend and go about our lives, have a good time..." No wonder so many other people in the world think we're arrogant and selfish, when the best advice our Prez can give us in a time of war is to "spend and have a good time."} Anyhow, here's an excerpt from more bad news about the economy:

Equal Opportunity Recession: Almost Everyone Is Feeling It

The breadth of the current downturn is not solely the result of the shock caused by the terrorist attacks. In recent years, as many cities and towns have lured companies from elsewhere with tax breaks and cash grants, regional economies have diversified and begun to look more alike.

Between March, when the recession officially began, and November, 37 states lost more jobs than they gained. Many of those states, now grappling with revenue shortfalls, are considering budget cuts that themselves are likely to aggravate the downturn. Although the 1990-91 recession was more severe than this downturn, employment fell in only 31 states through its first eight months.

And now some more insight into bad human nature/behavior for the naive and uninitiated:

According to a history book on the Ohio Penitentiary, a man named James Clark Ridpath swung around the entire circle of truth and gave this kaleidoscopic view on the causes of crime.

He said: "I asked a man what was the cause of crime. He was a preacher, and he said it was original sin -- and nothing more. I asked a doctor and he said it was bad health -- that crime is only a form of disease. I asked a lawyer and he said -- defining a circle -- that it was the violation of the law and he would attend to it. He gave me his card. I asked a banker and he said it was the silver agitation. The silverites had destroyed public confidence. I asked a teacher and he said it was the lack of education -- the ignorance of the masses. I asked an astronomer and he said it was the spots on the sun. I asked a biologist and he said crime is zymotic in its origin with bacillus. I asked a politician and he said it was the essential badness of the law. He was a candidate for the lower house. I asked a busy man and he said it was indolence -- that idleness is the mother of all vice. I asked a nurseryman and he said it was the lack of fruit. I asked a man who had a phonetic alphabet and he said it was the abomination of the English orthography."

However, here's MY personal insights into human behavior because I'm a creative writer:

This discovery of the complexity of human nature was accompanied by another -- the discovery of the complexity and irrationality of human motive, the discovery that one could love and hate simultaneously, be honest and cheap, be arrogant and humble, be any pair of opposites that one had supposed to be mutually exclusive. This, I believe, is not common knowledge and would be incomprehensible to many. It has always been known, of course, by the dramatists and the novelist. It is, in fact, a knowledge far more disturbing to other people than to writers, for to writers it is the grist to their mills. -- Alan Paton "The Challenge of Fear" Saturday Review, '67

That's all folks for today!

Saturday, December 15, 2001

Another PERFECT morning for biking, and I went on a longer ride than usual because it's supposed to rain tomorrow and Monday. Temps in the 50s, which makes cycling ideal...not too warm, not too cold. Often while riding, I think of dozens of topics I want to discuss here in my journal, but later don't follow up. This kind of mental exercise, while engaged in physical exercise, reminds me of my fiction-writing technique; some of my best ideas, solving problems in a story, came about while doing some kind of physical exertion.

Anyhow, I got an email from one of my online friends today -- a European astronomer who is working under contract at one of the USA observatories. He and I seem to only argue -- but not about astronomy. No, mostly about his views of America. He is very liberal, and has some serious criticisms of America, particularly now that he's living amongst us! Sometimes his comments are right, but other times I have to take him to task for something he has all wrong about Americans. At any rate, he was ranting about one of his Russian friends, a doctor, who can't get a Visa to visit him in this country. I'm not sure why, but he claims it's because our government is afraid she will not return to Russia, where she makes only $70.00 a month as a doctor. And yet, he still complains about America -- cost of living too high, too conservative, etc. I have many criticisms of my country too, particularly the lack of a public health plan for those who can't afford medical insurance, and much, much more on the social front. But I do believe we are a great country in many ways, and in time, will hopefully correct the social flaws. So I try to defend it as best I can.

Okay...for the ladies, here's a tip. If you want to be noticed less by men, just cut your hair very short. I have always had very long blond hair, sometimes almost to my waist, never above my shoulders. And I'm relatively attractive, normal weight, etc., so men would turn to get a second look at all that blond hair. Recently I cut it off very short, just an impulsive move. And I was amazed at how little attention I get now! Of course, I'm older too...but until I cut off my hair, I STILL got plenty of looks from men. So ladies, if you want to go unnoticed, just cut off those long tresses! ó¿ò

There's a good article at Salon, a book review of Eric Linenthal's "The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City in American Memory." Here's an excerpt about how Americans deal with terrorist acts:

The heart of "The Unfinished Bombing" is a chapter called "Telling the Story: Three Narratives" in which Linenthal identifies three types of stories the survivors have told themselves while attempting to assimilate the event. The "progressive" narrative focuses on the sense of caring and kinship forged in the shared disaster. It shows a determination to build something positive from the tragedy. The "redemptive" narrative is the response of religious communities as they try to find meaning in an event that threatens to undermine the bedrock beliefs of their faith. The third narrative, the "toxic" narrative, finds neither progress nor redemption. "It is," Linenthal writes, "a story of an unfinished bombing, one that still reaches out to claim people through suicide, to shatter families through divorce, substance abuse, and the corrosive effects of profound and seemingly endless grief."

While I guess the redemptive and progressive paths help those people deal with tragedy, I would opt to accept reality. And that reality is that the human condition hasn't changed much since we started walking upright. Violence, killing, war...these negative traits will always be part of our existence. And sometimes it touches our lives, no matter how 'safe' the government tries to make us feel.

Soon I will write an entry about family terrorism -- how domestic violence in a home, and the life of a child unable to escape it, is much worse than such a terrorist act against any society.

I had an awful recurring dream last night: I was living back out in the rural area where we lived the first seven years of our marriage (purgatory!). I was walking through the house (which was new when we moved there) and wondering why I would have left my house in the city to live there again. {I HATED living in the rural area, the people gossip and are noisy...if you sneeze, someone knows it. While living in town is much better for privacy, people mind their own business.} Anyhow, in the dream I was suddenly visiting my grandmother and realized I'd been there two days, and no one was back at my house to feed my cat, Punkin. Now, Punkin died in 1989, and was 20 then, but I must obviously still miss her very much. The whole dream was disturbing, and when I woke, I was glad it was ONLY a dream. But I DO have this same kind of dream occasionally, about living in the rural area again, although we've lived here in the city now for over 20 years.

Friday, December 14, 2001

Beautiful, beautiful day here in the South! The air is rain-washed fresh, and it's in the 50s, just perfect for a long bike ride early this morning. Then I scrubbed the cats' huge sunporch, mopping the floors, washing the many windows. I have a perfect cat-house for my five cats, and they also can come inside via a petdoor, but usually prefer staying out there during the day. Anyhow, I had a busy morning, but finally made it to the computer.

I did some reading first, browsing various news stories. First of all, if you aren't familiar with Nanotechnology, you may not find what I'm about to write about very interesting. If you'd like to learn more about Nanotechnology, go here. Briefly, here's a definition: "Molecular nanotechnology: Thorough, inexpensive control of the structure of matter based on molecule-by-molecule control of products and byproducts of molecular manufacturing."

This is either going to be the BEST thing that ever happened for humans, or the WORST. According to scientist, the bad news is that if abused, this nanotech can create literally a glob of goo that will consume the entire earth! But as they say, the genie is out of the bottle so mainly the scientist are trying to figure ways to prevent this occurring...or from terrrorist getting into the act. This article Nanotechnology: Six Lessons from Sept. 11 --K. Eric Drexler will inform you about how the Foresight Institute is trying to prevent nanotech disasters.

What I often wonder though, is how you can ever prevent such an incident by, not a foreign terrorist, but simply a brilliant American scientist who...for whatever reason, goes off the beam, becomes destructive and then turns against humanity? THAT is the ultimate threat, and please, don't even dare think this couldn't happen. OF COURSE IT COULD. I mean, how do we know that the anthrax sent via the mail wasn't done by some mad genius scientist? I personally don't think some stupid redneck militia type did that, and there's a high possibility that some individual with great lab expertise was the culprit. It's almost a cliche about the 'mad scientist' destroying the world...but a very REAL possibility. And one which, so far as I can determine, there's no way to prevent.

As for redneck terrorist, here's an excerpt from the captured nutcase who sent powder to the abortion clinics:

Clayton Lee Waagner, 45, told the newspaper that he had threatened to kill abortion doctors, but he called the threats lies meant to throw the abortion industry into panic. He said he would not apologize "for making them scared to go to their cars at night."

Waagner said he also thought about actually killing abortion doctors, but changed his mind after the Sept. 11 attacks, which he learned about while hiding out on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania.

"I love America as much as anyone else," he said. "I just sat there in the woods. I couldn't move. I was in shock. That morning it hit me; I couldn't do it."

Rather than kill abortion doctors, he said, he decided to continue frightening them.

Nothing like a true, blue IDIOT who loves America, huh?


Here's something that has been a long time coming, but which I believe is absolutely necessary:

From Drudge Report:
The Senate Intelligence Committee has been quietly gearing up for a major hearing, bipartisan -- Democrat Bob Graham, Republican Richard Shelby -- in February, starting in February, a Pearl Harbor-type investigation of the intelligence failure: open hearings, closed hearings, going back to CIA intelligence failures with the Khobar Towers, Supercolumnist Bob Novak reported Wednesday.

"It is going to be a bombshell of an investigation of historic proportions -- a lot of embarrassing red faces resulting from it," Novak added during a CNN session.


And last but not least, the Pope had to get into the act with a request for fasting. Hey, I used to fast all the time, still do occasionally...but not as a means of 'saving the world.' IF this works (and of course I DO NOT believe prayer is anything but wishful, hopeful thinking), then we're right on the verge of world peace. Yeah, right!

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope John Paul on Friday led the world's Roman Catholics in a day of fasting for global peace in solidarity with Muslims in the wake of attacks against the United States and spiraling violence in the Middle East.

The Pope, convinced that prayer can move minds and mountains, asked Catholics to skip at least one meal if their health permitted it and to give to charity the money they would have spent.


I've done not one bit of Christmas shopping this year. Other than hanging a wreath on the door, and putting up a few electric candles in the windows, that's been the extent of my decorations. I will buy DH something, but I don't think we're going to family gatherings this year. I just want a day of peace and quiet, and after last year's Christmas fiasco (see Live Journal entries for that) I will not miss it at all.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

It's night, one of the rare times a week I get to be online in the evenings. So just a few random thoughts...

The Osama video was broadcast on the news tonight...and I found the translation (if correct) to certainly condemn him. And of course, all civilized people everywhere have a right to be outraged. But I can't understand Arabic, so I have to take the word of whoever translates it...and these days, I'm not as trusting of media and government as I used to be. The video/audio was rather poor, so it was difficult to understand what was being said. Still, it was upsetting.

It is still pouring buckets of rain tonight. We're in for some flooding, I think. I hope it goes away by tomorrow, as I'd love to go on a long bike ride!

I heard a news report that Bible sales are up all over the nation, but particularly here in the South. I would have thought that almost EVERY household in the South already had a Bible! But hey, there's this NEW version, white and blue. No joke! What will those darn marketers think of next? <(©¿©)>

And with that, I'm signing off for tonight!

Rain, rain and more rain. It is a bleak, rain-soaked day no biking today. A day to stay cozy indoors, and perhaps write/think and read.

For my reflections on the news today, here are a couple of recent articles that are thought-provoking.

An excerpt from a N.Y. Times article:
Drastic Shifts in Climate Are Likely, Experts Warn


The vast reshaping of the environment by modern civilization raises the chances of sudden and drastic upheavals in the climate, a panel of experts warns.

Now, that is possibly common knowledge by now, but another passage further along is more interesting:

Most of the report focuses on abrupt changes that occurred naturally, long before humans dominated the landscape. One prominent example is a period 12,800 years ago known as the Younger Dryas cold interval. The climate had almost completely recovered from the last ice age, but then average temperatures dropped 10 degrees or more and remained cold for more than 1,000 years. Then the Earth abruptly warmed again, perhaps 15 degrees in a decade. By contrast, the warming of the Earth in the last century was 1 degree.

And here's some more dark news from a Wired Article, Where Did That Galaxy Go?:

Even as distant galaxies fade from view, the local scene will remain recognizable. The Virgo Cluster of galaxies, of which the Milky Way is a part, will hold together, as will our orbital pirouette with the Andromeda Galaxy.

Well, that is, until the age of stars has passed and the universe is filled with black holes.

Just some dreary prospects for our planet and our existence to match this dreary day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

First of all, I HATE cooking. Always have, always will. Perhaps it's because I was once a confirmed aneroxic, and with great discipline, I was able to convince myself that I actually didn't like food. Whatever, I don't like to cook.

So it's really amazing that I spent most of this morning making four pecan pies. All turned out beautifully. I didn't say I couldn't cook, only that I didn't like to. We have a huge pecan tree in our yard, and this year it had plentiful pecans. Had to do something with them all. I'm also simmering some chicken, to make chicken-and-dumplings for supper. One of DH's favorites. I'm still a light eater, though, and don't indulge in sweets hardly ever. But I'll make an exception for the pecan pie!

I also went on a long bike ride, and it was GREAT this morning. The sun was out a little, but mostly cloudy...and the temperature was right at 50, which is nice weather for biking. I whipped out my usual long course in the park with no problem; it was one of those days when the bike actually feels like part of your body. Very invigorating, and a great way to exercise as well as work out all the tension I usually have on a daily basis. I've learned over the years that I suffer from PTS, post-traumatic stress syndrome, but that it is a lifelong condition -- due to my stressful childhood. I will ALWAYS have major tension, anger and physical exertion/exercise is a good way to deal with that, instead of drug therapy. the news today, something positive. It seems that we score one good point here for the separation of church and state in this article excerpt:

ATLANTA, Dec. 11 — A federal appeals court today struck down a Louisiana law allowing vocal classroom prayer, believed to be the only such law remaining in the nation.

The law required every school in the state to permit an opportunity, at the beginning of classes, "for those students and teachers desiring to do so to observe a brief time in prayer or meditation." Although many school boards in Louisiana ignored the law, one district, in West Monroe, conducted prayers over school intercoms for years, until June 2000.

The practice was stopped when a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional. The ruling came at the request of a parent in West Monroe, who said her son was called a devil worshiper for refusing to take part in the prayer. A unanimous three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld the judge's ruling today.

And on the terrorism front, not ALL terrorist are radical Muslims. Nope, looks like almost every 'religion' has its extremists in this news article excerpt:

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Federal authorities arrested two leaders of the Jewish Defense League on Wednesday in what law enforcement sources alleged was an aborted plot to blow up Arab-American institutions in the Los Angeles area, including a prominent mosque.

Irv Rubin and Earl Krugel were taken into federal custody following early morning raids by members of an anti-terrorism task force, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney John S. Gordon. More details are expected to be released at a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

"We are working on a complaint charging Rubin and Krugel to blow [up] some type of target based on an inside informant," Mrozek said. "The plot was not carried out."

Ah religion, lots of evil-doers in those devout believers, huh?

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

I went to the grocery store on this dreary, cold day...and had one of those emotional moments at the checkout. A young perky girl was checking my items, and another was putting the stuff in sacks, when she looked out the window and said, "Here comes your gran-gran with some food for you."

The checkout girl smiled, and said, "Great."

When the elderly grandmother came up to her, she had a covered dish and told her that if she liked it, the dish was very easy to cook. As I watched this loving exchange, sudden tears sprang to my eyes, and I was embarrassed to realize I was on the verge of crying.


Because, you see, the only person I ever felt loved me was my paternal grandmother. She's been dead since 1987, but this little scene reminded me of how much I MISS my own grandmother! What I would give just to have a long loving conversation with her. She was my best friend, my mentor, more of a mother than my real mother ever could be; I will miss her till the day I die. If not for her, I'm sure my awful childhood would have turned me into a monster who had NO feelings for humans whatsoever. She and my grandfather were always there for us, and I always KNEW she loved me unconditionally. Because of her, I was able to least one other person, my DH. Without her and my grandfather, I fear that I would have hated the human race enough to have caused some sort of violence to people.

Sometimes it's enough in a deprived child's life to have just ONE person who loves them unconditionally. But for those who don't, well, should we be surprised they turn into serial killers and violent monsters?

I've also been researching and reading about journaling, and hope to make this online journal a very interesting project. Since I can't seem to write fiction anymore, perhaps this is the next phase of my writing. I was just burnt-out on fiction, and don't even read it much anymore; I lost interest in the 'unrealistic' portrayal of most characters in mainstream fiction.

I also went for a long bike ride in the park, though the wind was brisk. But it was invigorating, and brought me out of the vague feelings of depression I always suffer at holiday times.

Alas, enough for today.
In the N.Y. Times today there's an article about a bus company transporting illegal Mexican aliens throughout America. Apparently, Ashcroft has shut it down. Here's an excerpt:

The 39-count indictment was made public in Tucson, where much of the illegal operation was said to be focused, and people were arrested in several Western states.

But the actions were announced by Attorney General John Ashcroft in Washington, underscoring the government's efforts to demonstrate that it was cracking down on illegal immigration.

"The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 remind Americans in the most painful way of the need to defend our borders while keeping them open to peaceful, freedom-loving people," Mr. Ashcroft said. "Today's charges prove that we can achieve this balance in our immigration policy."

Personally, I don't like Ashcroft. But I DO applaud this action. Why? I live in a small town in the southeastern USA, and we're literally over-run with illegal Mexican immigrants. They take the lowest paying jobs, but still this amounts to less paying jobs for the legal citizens here who need work too.

I live in a very nice neighborhood, but there's some apartment buildings not far away, and those have become Mexican illegals' living quarters. You can't go to the park (which I do almost every day for a bike ride) without running into some of them, and NONE speak English. I DO think if you come to this country, you should at least learn the language. Regardless, these are illegals, and they are a huge drain on our citywide schooling system. Recently, the public schools have been in a crisis, and the illegal Mexican population is a big part of the problem.

I'm not against immigration; I simply believe anyone here should go through the LEGAL route to immigrate.

In other news, here's a quote from our Prez regarding the video supposedly incrimminating Osama of the WTC disaster:

President George Bush said: "Those who see the tape will realise that not only is he guilty of murder, he has no conscience and no soul."

And just when you thought he was getting smart! "No soul," he says. Either he's setting himself up as god on the soul issue, OR he's come to realize like all of us agnostic/atheists that NO HUMAN has a soul, eh? =^.^=

Monday, December 10, 2001


I have no children by choice...a choice that I thought about for a loooooong time, deliberated and tested myself about. I knew my weaknesses early on, and coming from a dysfunctional family (a violent, alcoholic father, enabling mother) I was very aware of potential problems I might have as a parent. Plus, I was a caregiver to my three younger sisters AND parents, and had way too much responsibility as a child. I didn't want all that parental obligation as an adult, and at 50 now, I can truthfully say I have NO regrets.

So why can't EVERY human (at least those in the U.S. and other civilized, educated societies) at least THINK about their fitness to be parents? Don't you think there would be less child abuse and less murderers like Andrea Yates? {For the uninformed, Andrea Yates cold-bloodedly murdered her five children by drowning them all in the bathtub. She also had her fifth child after being in a mental facility from a breakdown after the birth of the fourth child, and against the advice of a therapist that told her she shouldn't have any more children.}

Here's an excerpt from a news article about the Yates case:

On the CBS show "60 Minutes" Sunday night, Russell Yates said he stands by his wife, and contended that if she had received competent psychiatric care, their children would be alive today.

"She's a terrific mother, loved the children. They're always climbing up in her lap and she'd read books to them. And just all kinds of stuff. She loved them. I mean there's just no way that she, she, she would ever do anything like what happened," he said.

It's hard to determine which of these folks is the craziest, isn't it? Sure shouldn't have been breeding.
On my good days, I think there's a chance humanity will survive -- move into the cosmos, and continue to thrive. That is, until the universe-in-expansion factor eliminates everything. So at most, we'd only be buying time.

On my worst days, I think that humanity (and possibly all lifeforms) is an aberration, an abomination on the cosmos. That lifeforms are something akin to fungus or disease, a negative impact upon the cosmos and there's some sort of unknown factor at work which always eliminates such lifeforms before they get too far out of control (i.e. trying to control the cosmos).

And then, of course, the greater threat is that we'll simply destroy ourselves and the earth in the process.

In any of these scenarios, it seems to me that life itself is rendered meaningless. Only humans would try to 'give' it meaning. At my age, I've come to the conclusion that the only 'meaning' is in existence itself: to find something that makes living tolearable, such as learning and/or small pleasures/joy. IF my life ever becomes unbearable (due to physical/emotional suffering) I'd simply commit suicide.

All this is very simplistic; but really, isn't simplicity highly under-rated in today's world? I think the real problem is that humans try to create 'gods & myths' to help 'explain' or find 'meaning' in an otherwise pointless existence. Science has proven much of this to be folly, and if their experimentation doesn't destroy us, it will eventually discover some way for humans to conquer physical death. Or create robotic creatures that can exist indefinitely.

But one thing I believe will never happen: We can't control the cosmos itself, which brings us back to square one...just a matter of time till it all perishes.

{No, these conclusions aren't warm and fuzzy...but alas, I want to write about my own thoughts/ideas, regardless of how anyone reading it might react.}

Sunday, December 09, 2001

Here's my HORROR-scope for today: Sagittarius
The Sun is in Sagittarius, the Moon is in Libra. You're probably feeling better, showing interest in being with friends. Get together with your favorite conversationalists and solve all the world's problems. Then, tell somebody who can put your ideas into action. - Linda Black

Puuuuuleeese! Give me a break. I don't believe in astrology anyway, but hey, I can't help taking a peek at it anyhow. This rates as one of the most outrageous though, because in the first place, I don't have many local, personal friends. And in the second place, I hardly think I could 'solve all the world's problems.'

Today is Sunday, religious fervor abounds in the South. No, I don't attend church; instead, my DH (dear husband) and I always go on long drives in the afternoon, just enjoying the scenery, nature, good weather (which we've had a lot of lately). I think that suffices as our 'worship services' least insofar as appreciation of LIFE and our luck in being born in a country that affords us this luxury. In the meantime, ga-zillions are in church pews, praying for those luckless Afghans, when...perhaps, they should be doing something for them, actively volunteering. I know that some church people DO give of their time and money...but a great many are simply hypocrites.

Let me just sum all this up with this quote: "Penicillin without prayer works better than prayer without penicillin."

Saturday, December 08, 2001

Oh my goodness, if I needed an example of how the people in Afghanistan feel about Westerners, I couldn't have found a better example that an article just out. It appears that a British journalist, Robert Fisk, had broken down in his car on a road in Pakistan near the bordertown of Quetta. Apparently a group of refugees saw him and another man pushing the car, and set upon them. Here's an excerpt:

The colleague told Reuters: "He was passing through a village full of refugees who'd just escaped from Kandahar. Robert told me he discovered later that they'd been bombed.

"He said that the sight of two westerners pushing a broken down car attracted a crowd. They were friendly at first but then a child threw a stone which hit him on the head and then the others joined in."

Fisk suffered injuries to his head, face and hands after being pelted by stones. A spokeswoman for the Independent said Fisk was recovering at his hotel in Quetta.

"Robert says he completely understands why this happened," she told Reuters. "These people were refugees. They've lost everything. Robert says he understands why they're angry. He doesn't hold it against them at all."

These people ARE NOT going to take kindly to Westerners...and to make them our friends, not enemies...well, I fear that is a task that will take centuries!
I don't seems we don't find much in the news about the suicidal hijackers who piloted the planes into the WTC. We got brief background bios, and that was it. Call me morbidly curious, but I DO wonder about them, particularly as, for the most part, they seemed educated, intelligent and (before the WTC attack) somewhat ordinary humans. One theory I never see explored is that perhaps this was a way for them to gain notoriety. Was it more than just fanatical, crazy religious belief and terrorism brainwashing that led them to so carefully, so cleverly pull off the worst terrorism attack in America? Of Osama, we've heard plenty...but somehow, I still think these hijackers were the ones who conceived of their plan -- and we KNOW they carried it out.

{As an aside, of course we KNOW they perished; the culprits were dead, gone...yet we Americans wanted JUSTICE. It struck me at the time that the evil-doers were already dead, so how could we find someone to blame? Not to worry, the government came up with an answer. I DO KNOW we have to try and eliminate terrorism; but something about the approach leaves me puzzled....}

I found this article some time back, and thought it might be interesting to ponder on just exactly who Atta really was....

Helsinki Woman Says She Befriended Hijacker Online

Updated: Mon, Nov 12 7:20 AM EST

HELSINKI (Reuters) - A woman who published a death notice in a Finnish newspaper for one of the suspected suicide hijackers in the September 11 attacks on U.S. landmarks claimed she had a warm relationship with him over the Internet.

Finland's largest and respected daily Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday published a death notice that the woman had submitted for "Dearly beloved Mohamed El-Amir."

That name was an alias used by Mohammed Atta, a 33-year-old Egyptian who is believed to have flown one of two planes into the World Trade Center in New York, killing thousands.

"We had a lovable correspondence. He was very enchanting and a charming person," the woman was quoted as telling tabloid Ilta-Sanomat Monday. It said she was a 58-year-old Muslim and a citizen of Australia who had lived in Finland since 1971.

The woman, who was not named, said she had known nothing about the attacks, but as a student of classical archaeology shared an interest in architecture with Atta, who she met in an Internet chat room.

Their online friendship had lasted about a year, Helsingin Sanomat said Monday. The newspaper said it published the memorial after its own inquiries found no links to terrorism.

The death notice caused a stir in Finland, with many readers telephoning the newspaper to complain about or question its publication, the tabloid newspaper said.

Finnish security police said they had looked into the case, but saw no need for further investigations.

Friday, December 07, 2001

Here's an excellent quote that people should think about: "Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd
have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion." --Steven Weinberg, Nobel Laureate

Believe what you want, the quote is correct. Beliefs are strange, and even if you want to believe in aliens, UFOs and ghosts, that IS your right in America.

But at the same time, I also have the right NOT to believe in any religion.

Please respect my right, as I will yours. Oh...and please don't try to SELL me your religion. I'm not buying.
First the most apparent facts about me: I'm an American, and I'm a 50 year old female.

Ever since September 11th, it's seemed we're increasingly living in a mad, mad world -- hence, the title of my blog.

I sometimes have a skewed vision about the world, and I will not always come down on the side of acceptance for what our country is doing in the world. I am a citizen of the world, and a citizen of my country. I hate killing -- of people, of animals, and general destruction. Perhaps it is necessary sometimes, but I still don't have to like it. Not when anyone, anywhere does it. War is hell, to use a familiar quote -- but sometimes it may be necessary.

Still, when I see the destitute, homeless, weary, sick, starving Afghans...I don't feel good about what is going on over there. How can I feel good about such utter devastation? I can only hope our American government will stay the course and rebuild, help make sure that PEACE will prevail -- as well as a better way of life for those people. Hate breeds hate, and it's going to take more than a lot of bombing and killing to change the course of terrorism, which has deep roots in hatred.

Just my thoughts on this December Day....