Posted by: Helen Philpot | November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Letter to the Family 2010

Dear Family,

In a year when we almost lost your Grandpa Harold, I would expect each and every one of you to make the effort to be here this year.  If only for a few minutes.  I’ll make an exception for anyone who lives more than three hours away.  Now that is what I expect, but clearly not what I will get.  So be warned.  At Christmas time what you expect to find under the tree is clearly not what you will get.  I love you.  Really I do.  I don’t expect you to visit often, but I do expect the holidays.  And I don’t think that is too much to expect.

For those of you who are coming – from this point forward known as my favorite family members – here are the house rules.  Your following them will make for an unforgettable meal filled with laughter and bacon.

  1. If it jiggles, slap a girdle on it or leave it at home.  I am not kidding Cloe.  One step inside my door with anything made from Jello and it will be your last step.  I have about 50 pounds on you so don’t test me.
  2. Rhonda.  My house.  Your pets.  Never the twain shall meet.
  3. Mary.  My sofa.  Your kid’s feet.  Never the twain shall meet.
  4. I have banned cans of soda.  Two liter bottles of soda only.  I am tired of throwing away half full cans of soda.  If you are two young to lift a 2 liter bottle of soda to fill a glass, you are too young to be drinking soda un-supervised.
  5. At age 84 and 11 months, I have had my picture taken more than enough times to fill any memory photo album.  The digital era has made it too easy to take way too many useless pictures.  Point one camera in my direction this year and I can promise you that your camera will be used to stuff something other than the turkey.  When I am gone, feel free to remember me with pictures from my best year – 1962.
  6.  Texting and driving is just plain stupid.  Texting and eating Thanksgiving dinner, however, is a crime punishable by no dessert.
  7. Vegetarians really should consider Thanksgiving as a holiday from vegetarianism.
  8. Any grandchild showing up dressed like a Palin girl, will leave the house dressed like a Philpot girl.  I don’t need to see all that and neither does the rest of the family.
  9. The Longhorns are having a difficult year.  Your grandfather is aware of that.  No need to remind him.  Trust me on this one.
  10. My Democrats are having a difficult year.  I am aware of that.  Feel free to remind me and I will, in turn, remind you of what I think of the current Republican Party.  Trust me on this one.
  11. Sarah Palin having a new book is proof positive that there is something wrong with the world.  I can’t fix that, but I promise that my stuffing made with bacon will make you not give a damn.  So if any of you get the urge to talk about that woman, stuff your mouth full of food until the urge passes.

This year, I am thankful for my family and for borrowed time.   Make the most of what life gives you.  I mean it.  Really.


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  50. You sound like a very witty, loving & intelligent Grandmother! It’s ashamed you somehow think that the woes of our country and economy are Sarah Palin’s or the republicans fault!!!!

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    You seem like you’d be smarter than that and your generation has never sat around on their buts waiting for handouts. Why would you start now?


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  53. Thanks for the condolences, Craig. My aunt lived a full and adventurous life and survived her share of heart ache. She just outlived herself.

    This is totally irrational, but I have a feeling you and your wife will be together for a while yet. I think attitude and emotions play an important role in survivability, so maybe my feeling isn’t so irrational after all.

    The Omaha World Herald printed the Krauthamer article, PFessor. I don’t know about Poolman, but I appreciated and agreed with it.

    Delurkergurl, rational Democratic leaders do fear the conservative movement and people like Sarah Palin, just as Republicans feared candidate Obama. They would be foolish not to. One way to fight back is to adopt the other side’s ideas if they are popular.

    From what I have been reading, Obama will try to preempt some Republican issues in his state of the Union Address. We shall see if he gives lip service to the “golden mean,” and moves toward the middle, at least verbally.

    PFessor, I have had a number of female friends throughout my life. On several occasions, I have been the only man in a group of women, and they have treated me as their equal because they have known and trusted me. It has been an education.


  54. Craig –

    I like your Dallas doc. Hard-nosed, no-nonsense, not willing to proceed until she knows exactly what kind of cancer she is dealing with, right down to chasing every tumor marker available. Clearly very, very good.

    On a lighter note, I had to laugh about her comment on the previous surgeon – it’s kind of fun to watch the women doctors interact. I don’t know what it is, but men work together and cooperate just fine in the workplace; men and women do pretty well too – except for the sexual tension, which can also be fun – but a nest of women working together always reminds me of when I was a kid and used to throw the dog in the chickenhouse and close the door. All you hear is unrelenting, frantic squawking.

    Not that they are not good doctors – my best friend at work is a female surgeon and is excellent – but her interaction with the hospital CEO – also a female – is one continuous drama. (You scratch my back and I’ll scratch your eyes out…LOL)

    Anyway, it sounds like your wife is in good hands. As always, I am available 24/7 if needs be.


  55. cryptoclearance and NOP..

    Well the one thing the Doc said was that metastatic cancer has no cure..just a remission meaning months..Years? ..and depending on how healthy you are?
    How soon did they catch you a better fighting chance.
    Right now that study or Genome trial has 6 patients with a fourteen Patient basis..thus hopefully we can get Val on it. Its not cheap $60K..but somehow its free if you qualify with all the triple negative markers. There is also a 3-4 month back log on getting the next patient in.
    So its wierd..Kinda like “do you really want to be triple negative”? to qualify for a new trial?
    Our New Oncology Doc in Dallas just shook her head in amazement that a surgeon like the one we had in Lubbock would make any comment about Val having a 11% positive in one of her estrogen markers..She basically said there is no way this woman surgeon could make such a blanket statement based on the existing cell biology and biopsies done so far..


  56. I have a friend who was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer 4 years ago. Left breast. She had a mastectomy in 07 followed by chemo. (don’t know which). Treatment was/is at UCLA. A year later (Sept 08) a PETscan revealed (“lit up like aChristmas tree”) cancer in the right breast and lymph nodes in the arm. Another mastectomy and removal of 28 lymph nodes. THIS time there was one DNA marker. she had chemo and 6 mos later radiation to the lymph nodes that were not able to removed via surgery. (Under clavicle ) That was 2 years ago. She was put on Avastin after the radiation of the nodes. She continues to receive her chemo (Avastin) every 2 weeks. She said she will have to take this for the rest of her life. Last PETscan was in Nov. and revealed nothing. Next is scheduled for the end of Feb. She turned 44 last November. The MOST positive person I have EVER met and I believe that her attitude is one of the things that is getting her through this. She is a joy to be around. she does, get frustrated with the “chemo brain” – she sasid she used to type rapidly and never looked at the keyboard (she does web sites) now she says she has to look at the keyboard. I told her looking is normal for many of us and she laughed. Again what a joy to have her as my friend and example of courage with style and grace. A beautiful survivor!


  57. Craig, I’m pleased to hear that Valerie is being considered for these studies, the DNA connection is very cutting edge and from what little I’ve read about it very promising.


  58. From my wife’s Caring Bridge Blog:

    This update will be dedicated to my “Angel” on earth Veta Welch. Jimmy Stewart had “Clarence”, but Veta has long ago won her wings.
    Craig and I spent Friday traveling to Dallas and met with Dr. O’Shaughnessey.

    Dr. O’Shaughnessy focuses on breast cancer prevention and treatment. She is Co-Chair of Breast Cancer Research and Chair of Breast Cancer Prevention Research at Baylor-Sammons Cancer Center and for US Oncology and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for US Oncology Research. network.

    I was her last patient of the day and spent from 4:30 to 6:00 being thoroughly questioned and examined about the onset of the cancer and current treatment in Lubbock.
    Dr. O’Shaughnessey, after the 20 minute initial examination said “let me put my thinking cap on and I’ll be right back.”

    When she returned she had questions as to whether my diagnosis was complete. Not that I don’t have breast cancer, but she wants to know exactly what kind of cell biology it is and is it really a fast mover?
    She also wants to make certain to determine if it is for certain a “triple negative” breast cancer.
    Her plan of attack now is to do further stains at Baylor’s lab in Dallas with what tissue was sent from Lubbock. Then she said she would call in about ten days to probably set up a day surgery in Dallas to harvest two or three lymph nodes and have them sent to several labs she utilizes in Pittsburgh, Phoenix and California. In essence she wants to know precisely the cell biology before moving on and devising an exact formula of chemicals to attack my cancer.

    She did mention that if it is “triple negative”, that there is a clinical study she would want me to participate in, that is taking place in California. This study is a genome project that would hit the cancer at its very core or inception and would be a DNA cracker of this form of breast cancer.

    All in all, I feel very lucky to have been referred to Dr. O’Shaughnessey
    And feel completely positive about this woman’s capabilities to open doors and to make things happen.


  59. HeatherP, so which of you figured out who the other one was first? And did Pfessor pay for lunch? 🙂


  60. Please notify me of new posts!


  61. I want to read more!


  62. Seriously, Margaret and Helen make me laugh every single time! What a gift!!!!


  63. Perfessor –

    Thanks for lunch. Nice to put a face with a name.

    I’m out of here. Its not that much fun. Everybody is too angry. Next time you fly over by Roanoke give me a shout.



  64. Helen,
    If you care to post them, we are definitely looking forward to your thoughts on Washington’s latest comedy acts.


  65. You may want to try meclizine for the nausea. It’s available over the counter but ask the pharmacist for it directly because the commercial versions (Bonine and Dramamine II) cost a lot more. Naturally, you should check with the doctor but most people experience no side-effects at all with it.


  66. Craig, I’m sorry it took so long for me to get this information to you, and I’m not sure it will be very helpful. My mother takes Femara (an estrogen suppressant that costs a fortune) and gets treatments of Zometa, which slows the rate of bone loss to the metastisized tumor in her spine. She literally lives with the breast cancer. It has been 30 months since they disovered the spinal tumor and it has not grown any larger. The docs think that is due to the treatments she receives.

    Good luck to you and your wife.


  67. I think Poolman will appreciate this –

    When we need our govt to talk straight to us and tell us where we actually stand, they continue to lie about our financial condition in the never-ending quest to buy our votes with our own money – the future of the country be damned.

    Krauthammer in today’s “Jewish World Review”:

    “…one of the Democrats’ major talking points has been that Obamacare reduces the deficit – and therefore repeal raises it – by $230 billion. Why, the Congressional Budget Office says exactly that.”

    …”CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2 (the Republican health-care repeal) would probably yield, for the 2012-2021 period, a reduction in revenues in the neighborhood of $770 billion and a reduction in outlays in the vicinity of $540 billion.”

    “…Of course, the very numbers that yield this $230 billion “deficit reduction” are phony to begin with. The CBO is required to accept every assumption, promise (of future spending cuts, for example) and chronological gimmick that Congress gives it. All the CBO then does is perform the calculation and spit out the result.

    In fact, the whole Obamacare bill was gamed to produce a favorable CBO number. Most glaringly, the entitlement it creates – government-subsidized health insurance for 32 million Americans – doesn’t kick in until 2014. That was deliberately designed so any projection for this decade would cover only six years of expenditures – while that same 10-year projection would capture 10 years of revenue. With 10 years of money inflow vs. six years of outflow, the result is a positive – i.e., deficit-reducing – number. Surprise.

    If you think that’s audacious, consider this: Obamacare does not create just one new entitlement (health insurance for everyone); it actually creates a second – long-term care insurance. With an aging population, and with long-term care becoming extraordinarily expensive, this promises to be the biggest budget buster in the history of the welfare state.

    And yet, in the CBO calculation, this new entitlement to long-term care reduces the deficit over the next 10 years. By $70 billion, no less. How is this possible? By collecting premiums now, and paying out no benefits for the first 10 years. Presto: a (temporary) surplus. As former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and scholars Joseph Antos and James Capretta note, “Only in Washington could the creation of a reckless entitlement program be used as ‘offset’ to grease the way for another entitlement.” I would note additionally that only in Washington could such a neat little swindle be titled the “CLASS Act” (for the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act). ”

    Out and out fraud. All the people who want to amend the Constitution could start with the following: “All government accounting shall be done by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.” That (GAAP) is the system accepted the world over as best reflecting true accounting for any business entity. It’s what I use for my three companies and failure to do so produces improper results that the GOVT ITSELF won’t accept when I do my accounting and taxes, yet that is how it does its own accounting.

    I really don’t see how so many of us are asleep at the switch and let these people who run the most important business in the country – to wit: the country itself – carry on in this fashion. Between our govt and our schools, it’s no wonder the Chinese are eating our lunches. Can we survive this twin onslaught? I think the issue is seriously in question – with the bias toward “No we cannot.”


  68. James, My condolences…
    She obviously had lived a good life and made the most of it I take…
    You have some good genes in your lineage.

    Tine and all,
    Thanks for the tips on eating and care for nausea.
    Val is going to try and get them to cut her anti-nausea drip way down as it gave her quite a headache. She thinks she can manage the nausea with green tea and several small meals. I’m just the “care giver” and support at home. You also can’t tell doctor/wife’s too much..they have their minds made up.

    Off early to Dallas Cancer Guru tomorrow am and will stop by porch perhaps Sunday.
    Peace and good thoughts to all.


  69. Hello porch gang, and especially Craig–

    I’m not able to stop by here often anymore, but something drew me today. I skimmed through the last month’s comments to see how people are doing.

    Craig, I’m so sorry for your troubles. I want you to know that I’ll be holding Valerie in my thoughts and prayers.

    I don’t know if this will help with Valerie’s appetite/weight loss, but it can’t hurt, so here goes….

    During both of my pregnancies, I had constant, debilitating nausea. I never barfed once, but I felt like I was about to every goddamn second. As you might guess, my appetite vanished into thin air, and I lost weight instead of gaining like I was supposed to.

    There were just a few things I could eat without wanting to hurl. Salty, buttery popcorn was one. Potato chips were another. Not the healthiest food, certainly, but it put some fat in me and kept me from shriveling up and blowing away. The crunchiness seemed to help, too. I couldn’t stand mushy stuff when I felt that bad. And oddly, spicy foods seemed to help too. They made me drink more water and sort of distracted me from the nasty sensation of nausea.


  70. My aunt just died. She was pushing 100, and doctors took away her feeding tube several days ago. She and my uncle had a happy life together, and a few years ago, they would have been spending their winters in Texas or Arizona. A group of neighbors from our town wintered with them and had a good time. They are all gone now. She was the last.

    I have one aunt left, and she is also nearly 100 and still lives alone.

    Checking out for a day or so.


  71. That was beautiful, Peas! Thanks for sharing it. I lifted it for the Kitchen, too. The first time I ever heard of Mika was when she refused to read another headline about Paris Hilton. I think I might like her, if she would talk more and pose less.

    Sarah Palin’s reaction to the media’s reaction to her reaction to the media’s criticism of her rhetoric in the wake of the Tuscon shootings = Palin’s re-re-re-re-action. 😀

    I think this is the part where trolls stop by to tell us we fear la Palin. Snort!


  72. While waiting for another installment of M&H…

    …some funny. Thanks to Sarah!

    Colbert encapsulates Palin

    Onion: Morbid Curiosity Leads Many to Support Palin

    Jon Stewart: Petty Woman

    PEACE ~ Δ


  73. Craig, I sincerely hope Valerie’s latest medical news is good news, certainly if she could receive her treatments locally it would be a blessing. No place like home, when you don’t feel your best! Continuing to think good thoughts and to hopefully radiate them your way.


  74. Latest on Valerie

    Interesting comment surgeon made. A common denominator for breast cancer has been that the women used hormone replacement therapies. They think that could be
    another factor in that type of cancer.

    Peace to all and thanks for recipes..Have already had Val read the blog this am.


  75. Here are a few random facts about the Vietnam War, PFessor.

    One of the greatest dangers to troops was snakes called three step charlies.

    The North Vietnamese became expert tunnel builders during their revolution against the French. They used that skill to great advantage during the later phase of the war. They even drove supply trucks through some tunnels, and the equivalent of Bob Hope entertained the troops, sometimes in the tunnels.

    Tunnel Rats were some of our bravest soldiers.

    Australians may have begun the practice of collecting ears. I saw a necklace of four dried ears.

    The North Vietnamese were afraid of the Koreans. If they had a choice, they would rather have been captured by Americans. Some North Koreans came to my brother’s base and made the equivalent of a high school annual which they sold. It looked very professional.

    An Omaha-based construction company was building a road both sides wanted. They left the construction workers alone. Americans used the road by day, and the Viet Cong had it at night.

    Some of the battle strategies used in our current wars were also used in Vietnam. The enemy left road side bombs. Sometimes they left boobie- trapped babies along the side of the road.

    The Tet Offensive was a military disaster for the North, but a public relations coup which helped force the allies to forfeit the war.

    On one small base, so many soldiers were being injured in fast draw contests, the base commander locked up most of the weapons. One night, insurgents attacked and the man with the key was in town.

    An Air Force base was attacked, and the Army helped rescue them. One Airman was fairly isolated and fought alone for a while. When soldiers rescued him, he was so scared he left his M-16 behind. He returned about a week later to search for it. The Air Force was billing him for the weapon.

    My cousin’s barber was a nice guy, he said. One night he was killed on the base perimeter.

    “Good Morning Vietnam!” staring Robin Williams was about Adrian Cronour from Hastings, Nebraska. After the screening, he told Robin “I didn’t know I was such a swell guy.”

    Robin Williams made our niece part of his act when he appeared in Afghanistan. He also kissed her on stage and wrote a nice note on her tea shirt. If you knew our niece, you would know why Robin picked her. She exudes…

    I never made the connection between the singer and the girl killed at Kent State until you told us.

    Best to you and your family, Craig. I am a gormand with a strong stomach, so I can’t help with culinary advice. My remedy for a sour stomach is 7-up or canned pineapple which isn’t much help in your situation. Thanks to the rest of you, I’m learning more about food.


  76. James –

    I didn’t know that about Ho Chi Minh. While I am a WWII buff, I have strangely avoided knowing much of anything about Vietnam – probably because of having known so many who died or were maimed during that time period, as well as having participated in the anti-war demonstrations at the time. But it points I believe once again to how we, by sticking our noses where they don’t belong, usually end up actually hurting our own interests. (Speaking of war protests – for you music fans – what was the name of the girl killed at Kent State? ….. Allison Krause…not spelled the same as the singer though…)

    Craig – as I am sure the oncologists have probably told you, maintaining weight and managing weight loss are a major part of cancer treatment. Contrary to advice about avoiding fats, fat contains 9 kcal/gm as opposed to 4 for carbohydrates and proteins – more than twice their caloric density – and fat-rich shakes are usually part of the oncologic nutritional prescription. We are all trying to help and mean well, but the professional nutritionists will give you the best current state-of-the-art advice – and it is IMPORTANT.

    Best to your family.


  77. @NOP: great advice, but a word of caution. Ginger helps with nausea, but it also has blood thinning properties. When a patient is on chemo, they also are given blood thinners. So Craig, *always ask the doctors about eating ginger. (Valerie is an MD, so she knows about this; ask her)


  78. Another thing you might do, Craig, to help Valerie with nausea is to cut and peel a slice of fresh ginger for her to chew like gum whenever she needs it. You can also crush a bit of the fresh ginger and then brew it in hot water, as you would tea for a hot drink.


  79. Whirled Peas…

    It’s a terrible day here with rain now over the snow and freezing rain from the early hours. So I’m not going anywhere. I finished reading Ambrose’s “Band of Brothers” last night which was a very powerful accounting of the 101st Airborne in WWII.

    So I decided to spend 1 and a half hours watching the film you linked here. It seems to have been made in the UK…? Anyway, if it’s true and just not more propaganda, it sure is an eyeopener! Words fail me right now. Thanks for sharing, or should the heads go back into the sand? Wow!


  80. Craig, ginger ale and vanilla ice cream floats, ginger snap cookies, warm ginger bread and ice cream, peppermint patties (made with real peppermint extract), candy canes, applesauce cake, apple crisp with ice cream, apple crumbles…. are a few of the things my family members found to be appetizing and soothing during their treatments. They are high in calories and can help nausea.


  81. a very simple & yet plain pasta dish *can be served hot or cold* –
    angel hair pasta cooked al dente
    1/4 c or less (depends on taste) of fresh basil, thinly sliced
    1 Tablespoon high quality XXVirgin olive oil
    Toss together.
    add salt & pepper to taste

    I usually make some up every couple of days because it’s good as a side or addition to soup, salads, and even as an alternative to potato chips and such.
    Sometimes I’ll add in fresh diced tomatoes or whatever veggies seem interesting.
    Also, I actually snap the pasta in half before cooking it. That way I can use less pasta but still have enough to feed the troops around here. It might work for your wife, Craig.


  82. PFessor, sometimes the enemy is real, though governments may let themselves be maneurvered into situations where there is little choice but to fight.

    The WW11 era featured a coordinated propaganda machine including even Bugs Bunny cartoons to maintain public moral during the hardest times. Even Bing Crosby sang about the need to buy war bonds.

    Abraham Lincoln argueably saved the Union, and yet he suspended habeus corpus, jailed political opponents, including office holders, and approved of a mass execution of Indian leaders of the plains Indian wars.

    Occasionally, we unwittingly create our enemies. For example, Ho Chi Ming asked the United States to help free Vietnam from the French in the 1920’s. France was our ally, so we refused. Ming turned to the Soviets for help.

    The post WW1 peace treaty helped create the conditions for its refighting as WW11. It also probably contributed to our later problems in the Middle East.


  83. Whirled Peas A, I didn’t refresh the page, so yours is the last comment I’ve read. I can’t read the links, of course. “Why We Fight” is the title of a Frank Capra movie from the WW11 era. I have a copy on tape.

    Is that the movie you refer to or another by the same name?


  84. Craig–fats would be tough to digest. Try plain noodles or pasta or mashed potatoes.


  85. 😉 Peas!


  86. OK Porch people…
    How do I get my wife to eat something other than Yogurt, salads and soups?
    She needs some fats I it the cancer and the queasy stomach..I’m afraid she is not telling me everything..
    Always eaten healthy..but I’m afraid she’s not eating enough calories.
    She has lost weight..perhaps another 5 lbs…so she told me.
    A week ago was 116.


  87. Whirled Peas –

    I didn’t have the chance to see much more than the first few minutes; not sure I will be able to see it all. I am a little disturbed by the “freedom” stuff at the beginning, though. These are the kinds of words the govt uses to stir folks up to fight, when really it is the fighting that lets the govt slip its bonds and become the master. When you see oppression the world over, it always starts the same: the govt conjures up a hated enemy and convinces its own people that they (govt) cannot protect them from these evildoers unless the people are willing to loosen the restrictions on govt power. Then, little by little they seize power, until they cannot be stopped.

    It is really instructive to see the WHOLE of Eisenhower’s farewell address, where he coins the term “military-industrial complex” and warns against it. Here is part:

    A second favorite of mine is Washington’s farewell address:


  88. That was or is a great series.
    It helped America pull together against Germany,Japan and Italy
    when we were at our lowest. It galvanized Americans.


  89. 50 years ago today:

    Were you listening? Are you listening now?

    Complete movie ‘Why We Fight’ 99mins

    PEACE ~ Δ


  90. delurkergurl ,
    You say HIPAA..I say Hypa ,Hipa lets call the whole thing off…as the song goes.

    I don’t think Jim was making fun but pointing out another fallacy of our health care system. An actual patient..I don’t know. OK..on the web..? I don’t think the lady is tuning into our porch discussion. Medical professionals have all sorts of anachronisms for patients and tell stories all the time..

    Jim consider yourself castigated.

    I don’t want to fight..I’ve got enough going on and picking one over so trivial a subject well…
    That’s yours and Jim’s discussion.

    Have a good evening delurkergurl….and I like your avatar.


  91. avotresante ireallymeanit,
    I think your first name moniker means “to your health”..?

    I like that and the words you left for us.


  92. Craig, the correct spelling is HIPAA in case you want to look it up and find out what it really is and is not.

    The point, though, is how would you feel if a medical “professional” hopped on a blog and started disparaging your wife or your children, or the care they sought? Patients are people who matter to the people who love them, and they should expect empathy and knowledgeable treatment. Bashing patients online is slimy. Jim (and coincidentally Heather)’s employer would not be impressed by using patient’s stories in the light he/they did.


  93. PFessor, that was a beautiful story of Quentin and Mr. Beavers. Thanks for sharing it.

    I got the point of the poem because when my father was in the hospital, two doctors told me he had lived a good long life and they thought he was too weak to tolerate surgery to correct his tendency to choke on food and get pneumonia.

    He suggested they would make him comfortable, withhold food and water and let him die. My father was in terrible shape, but he didn’t want to die. He wanted to see his grand son get his drivers license and he wanted to see one last harvest.

    Had I read that poem, I would have used a term like Dr. .22. I told the doctors my father wouldn’t let a horse or dog die that way. He would have ended it fast to stop their suffering. If they didn’t do something else, I would kill my father. I also told them if they revealed our conversation I would deny it.

    They installed a feeding tube, and my dad walked up and down the hospital halls every day to regain strength so he could go home. He flirted with the nurses, read and watched Public Television. When a nurse said “he’s a fine old gentleman,” I used the opportunity to tell her what all he had done with his life and how much he meant to us. It got to him because I was telling someone else, not him.

    My father adapted to a terrible situation, he improved enough to return to the small hospital near home, and was preparing to move back home. He laughed and said he was proud our son got his drivers license. He died a day after our son’s birthday.

    I don’t believe in ghosts, and it was probably all in my head. That fall, my wife and children were still at school. It was getting dark, and I was manuevering the combine to attach the bean head. A man stepped from the shadows of a brush row and began motioning which way for me to turn the combine to line up with the head. I attached the bean head and climbed out of the combine to thank and visit with who ever had stopped by.

    No one was there. I was probably the only living person within two miles of the farm. My first thought was Dad had found a way to see his last harvest after all, but I dismissed it as crazy thinking.

    Greytdog, thanks for letting us “meet” your mother in a small way. She sounds like quite a lady. I hope you have her around for a long time. Maybe you will with such good genes. Your ancestors have lived longer than ours. Most of our older generation have made it to their late nineties or one hundred.

    Good thoughts to you and your family, Craig.


  94. conservative Jewish publication –

    Many folks think all Jews support the ultraliberal POV, but in fact that is quite often not the case. My Jewish friends are about 50/50, with those on the right being for the most part slightly right of Atilla —-well, you know.

    Great publication from the other side of the aisle:


  95. James –

    re: Doctor Magnum….Tom Beavers was a very interesting fellow, I’m told. He was one of my best friends’ college roommates back in the ‘forties and taught high school literature for many years. Quentin told me he could quote Bill Shakespeare for hours on end.

    A lifelong atheist, he had considered life’s end for a long time, and about two years before his death sent Quentin the above poem, which Q. forwarded to me for examination. Always in a hurry, in typical fashion, I glanced at it and set it aside, thinking it a bit strange. Later I looked at it a second time, with a bit more understanding, but I just didn’t get the “Magnum” part.

    Then it hit me. I went through line by line and it all made sense.

    I’ve shared that poem with quite a few folks, always giving proper attribution of course, although I didn’t know the author at all. Quite a sentiment.


    Epilogue: About two years after he sent my friend Quentin this poem, Mr. Beavers discovered he had inoperable, incurable colon cancer. Mets to his liver were causing considerable pain, with little relief available – and true to his word, later that afternoon, he visited Dr. Magnum, so I am told, and was relieved. Quentin and I had a drink to Tom and wished him godspeed.

    About a year ago Quentin, who had somehow survived a life of drinking and smoking and was now near ninety, had become bound to a little apartment which he shared with his Alzheimer-ish wife. A lifelong farmer and all-round good guy, he chafed under those circumstances and when they carted his wife off the the nursing home not knowing anyone – even him – he sat and considered his future.

    He called his MD, a friend of mine, and told him that he planned to check into the local hospice and stop taking his medication and asked him how long he would last. “About a week” came the reply.

    On the appointed day, having put all his affairs in order, including his funeral arrangements (none) he sat in his apartment with some old friends and smoked his last cigarette and drank his last drink, since hospice wouldn’t allow either. Having made arrangements for enough medical treatment to keep him comfortable, he waited until the ambulance arrived. “My ride’s here, boys” was all he said. I drank to his health and wished him godspeed.


  96. Greytdog,
    PFesser just used ^#@* to describe patient. No age, hospital,clinic or City was devulged.
    Just saying… 🙂
    This is common place in medical teaching and grand rounds.
    So this is not a Hippa violation.

    Hippa violation is when the doctors offices have you sign in and then mark it out with just a ink line or marker that still allows you to read who came before and after you to see doc.


  97. Seriously? You’re sharing medical records online? even though you’ve disguised the patient’s name, it’s still a HIPAA violation. You should know better.

    As for old age – my mom just left after visiting here for a month (& yes, Fat Cat is very distraught without her) and she remains the spunky feisty woman she’s always been, but slower with more pain in each movement. We also noticed some memory loss occurring, her hearing has definitely diminished (to the point now that my hearing was endangered while she listened to the tv), and she spent a lot of time discussing death and her final wishes. We even put together a framework for her memorial service (Scripture readings, music – surprise! She wants the final song to be the Ohio State Buckeyes Fight Song – cracks me up- and a firm admonition that under no circumstances are there to be any lilies at her service). Her father lived to be 103, her aunts lived to be 104 & 107 respectively, and her mother’s mother lived to be 100. So longevity is definitely in the genes. I suspect she’ll have other instructions when we see her this spring.


  98. Craig, I’m sure your wife is a rock. The two of you will make each other even stronger. I have a good feeling about you two.

    That was hilarious PFessor.

    My mother was on Medicare when she spent her last night in the hospital. Her bill was $11,500.00. Medical miracles add up quickly don’t they?

    “So when I sense life’s near its end…” it doesn’t matter. I “should” have died forty three years ago, but I won the bonus round. It sounds morbid, but since 1968, I savor the end of each season because I don’t automatically assume I will be around for another. Its not that I am anxious to go. I’m having too much fun.

    I don’t know how yet, but I will do my best not to cost $3,000.00, $11,500.00 or more on the last day I live.


  99. I agreed to take a break from my training and cover the hospital this weekend, so I’m reading right now. Had to share this:


    EXAMINATION: Chest X-ray

    SYMPTOMS OR CHIEF COMPLAINT: head, chest, back and joint pain. cough, cold. Diarrhea. Vaginal bleeding. Patient fell out of bed Friday.


    And people wonder why medical care is so expensive. This is a $3,000 E.D. visit for this lady – not that she will pay any of it.


  100. Craig and James –

    My cousin is a mining engineer; he and I share the humor unique to those of that ilk. He sent me this today and I thought I’d share it. It’s probably not that funny to those not of a technical bent but I got a grin out of it.

    An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a frog called out to him and said, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess.” He bent over, picked up the frog, and put it in his pocket.

    The frog spoke up again and said, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn back into a beautiful princess and stay with you for one week.” The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket. The frog then cried out, “If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I’ll stay with you for one week and do anything you want.” Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket. Finally, the frog asked, “What is the matter? I’ve told you I’m a beautiful princess and that I’ll stay with you for one week and do anything you want. Why won’t you kiss me?” The engineer said, “Look, I’m an engineer. I don’t have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog – now that’s cool.”


  101. Pfesser
    I can relate and like the last four stanzas of your poem…

    …and James My, wife is like a rock.


  102. My aunt said getting old is not for sissies.

    We got a late Christmas letter from an Air Force friend. He and his wife are falling victim to the infirmaties of age, and she is battling cancer. Another from college was in a nursing home last year, and since he didn’t send a card this year, he may be dead.

    It seems many of my friends are physically deteriorating while I keep trucking on with little wrong except for a bad back and glaucoma in one eye. The bad part of it is they are all younger than I. I expected them to all outlive me. Now, I’m not so sure.

    “…My hands were steady
    My eyes were clear and bright
    My walk had purpose
    My steps were quick and light
    And I held firmly
    To what I felt was right…

    And I stood arrow straight
    Unencumbered by the weight
    Of all those hustlers and their schemes
    I stood proud and tall
    High above it all
    I still believed in my dreams…

    Twenty years now
    Where’d they go?
    I don’t know
    Sit and wonder sometimes
    Where they’ve gone

    And sometimes late at night
    When I’m bathed in the firelight
    The moon comes a callin’ a ghostly white
    And I recall…

    Like a rock. standing arrow straight
    Like a rock chargin’ from the gate
    Like a rock, carryin’ the weight
    Like a rock, the sun upon my skin
    Like a rock, hard against the wind
    Like a rock, I see myself again
    Like a rock.”

    Bob Seeger


  103. An old FOAF, Tom Beavers, musing on life and getting old:

    Doctor Magnum

    Doctor Magnum, genius wise,
    Can diagnose, I so surmise,
    Every mortal pain and ill,
    Cure everything with one blue pill.

    Every ailment known to man,
    Of body or mind since time began,
    Responds to Magnum’s simple cure;
    His healing art is swift and sure.

    When life has fruitful been, and long,
    The urge to strive and win been strong,
    There comes a time of failing strength
    And faltering will to do, at length.

    The strong man quails at thought that he
    At last with broken sword shall be
    All weaponless before his foes,
    As fragile as a sun dried rose.

    Life to me has been most kind;
    No burdens would I leave behind,
    For I would go as I have come,
    No fanfare, grief, or throb of drum.

    No sermon, song, or eulogy
    When I pass to eternity,
    For I my final leave would take,
    And not one tiny ripple make.

    Avaunt the thought that I would lie
    Averse to live, afraid to die,
    While others say what’s to be done,
    And how my last lap should be run.

    So when I sense life’s near its end,
    To Magnum’s clinic I shall wend,
    And cheerily say, “Doc, ease my pains;
    Release me from these irksome chains.”

    Tom Beavers


  104. The following web page will help you to follow Valerie and her progress to recovery.
    We wish you to visit and comment if you like. This will allow us to keep in touch and
    to do so in a most expeditious way.
    Thanks to all for your prayers and best wishes.
    This porch has been a good refuge.

    Craig & Valerie

    “We can’t change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust our sails to always reach our destination.”


  105. I like George Will too. Ken Burns used some of his comments on his PBS baseball Documentary.

    Our son made a liberal friend in the company where he works. Both are IT men, and work together to manage the data system. Their group of six is scattered across the country. They are political opposites and spend their spare time trying to score points, but they have become friends.

    When his friend was laid off and given the choice of moving to a site in Texas, he asked our son what to do because he trusted him. Our son asked our cousin in Austin to provide some information, and his liberal friend will stay with the company and move to Texas.

    Obama was right.


  106. I have always admired George Will’s remarkable ability to drill down to the real arguments underlying a controversy. His analysis of the Tucson shootings from the conservative point of view:

    I think the president is exactly right about our need to get the conversation back to civility. This has been my biggest criticism of the Left – this knee-jerk reaction that, “if you disagree with me, you are a (racist, sexist, age-ist, homophobe, greedy rich money-grubber – (fill in the blank)),” rather than simply a good friend – with whom I have a difference of opinion – but still respect.


  107. I agree.

    Spirit, will to live, and unknown factors contribute to our survival. One of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ doctors said the medical profession can only do so much, (even though their skills and technology are astounding today). Another said if she had been shot a hundred times, Giffords would have died ninety nine times.

    When my aunt was young, one of her friends was in a coma and the doctor said her death from pneumonia was only a matter of time. The family held a vigil near her bed on what they thought was her last night. They discussed funeral arrangements.

    My aunt’s friend was still in a coma, but she lived through the night. Eventually, she woke up and recovered after several months. She told my aunt she had “heard” her family’s conversation and it made her so mad she willed herself to recover just to spite them.


  108. So glad about the continued good news, Craig. All good thoughts continue to be headed your and your family’s way.


  109. Looks like things are looking up and moving in the right direction for your family Craig. Looks like stars are converging in the firmaments and conspiring to work in your favor. I am hopeful in no time, this period in your lives will only become a distant unpleasant memory. Holding my breath for your family.


  110. Greytdog
    A very comfortable shady porch.
    Thanks to all……..


  111. Craig, give that strong woman you married a HUGE hug from me! What an amazing person! and you are such a source of support and love for her. After the last few days, the community here has brought me to tears. It’s a nice porch.


  112. God’s answering some prayers….
    Here’s what we know.
    The study is At Baylor Hospital in Dallas. Which is one of the sites by Drug maker Sanova Adventis..that spelling may be wrong. Its now an Open Label Expanded Access Drug Study available to women with triple negative metastatic breast cancer. The patient has to be in good physical health other than the “cancer” and have received no more than three treatments of chemo.
    Its a combo of two typical meds, Gemcitabine/Carboplatin and a new drug called Iniparib.
    We were first contacted by our Oncologist about participating yesterday afternoon.
    Then,This am while my wife and I were at gym, we were contacted by Baylor directly after they had received my wife’s 2 inch thick file. They wanted personal info insurance,SS #, so on and so forth.
    Another meeting with Oncologist tomorrow afternoon and awaiting more info from Baylor about coming down for assessment by clinical investigator in Dallas.
    So this is moving fast and it seems everyday id spinning by…..
    This drug has also been given the Fast Track to be approved for women with this
    type of cancer.
    More later.
    Peace to all.


  113. Poolman, I finally found the site again and posted a reply.

    Delurkergurl, thanks again for making the site. I don’t know why we never got your e mail. You aren’t the first that has happened to. A new server has purchased our e mail service. I don’t know what effect that will have on our service.

    Thanks to those who posted their stories.

    I hope the news is good, Craig.

    Our Discover Magazine came yesterday with an article about spontaneous cancer disappearances. They are rare, of course and hard to verify. Some may be associated with the body’s coping with infection. Years ago, doctors infected cancer patents with various diseases to stimulate the body’s defenses. The diseases killed many of the experimental patients.

    We had a cancer patient at a base hospital. He should have been dead, but for some reason, he was thriving and the cancer seemed to be gone. Our squadron doctors couldn’t explain why the man was happily back on duty. He was still fine when I was transferred away.


  114. I hope the news is good, Craig.


  115. News late yesterday is that she might be a candidate for a trial drug study going on at Baylor..waiting for news.


  116. Hi All,
    Craig, I’m impressed that they got going so quickly on Val’s chemo treatment. She is being given a steroid with the chemo drugs (usually Decadron). On day one of my treatment I was loopy when I left the infusion center (they gave me Ativan and Compazine, which made me very sleepy, and Decadron, which is a steriod on steroids). Day two I was able to clean my house from top to bottom because of the Decadron, day three-five I was down, did lots of resting, reading, sleeping. After about a week, I was good to go, worked the whole time.

    I had treatments on Thursdays, recovered through Monday and had another two weeks to feel good before my next treatment. I had four A/C treatments in all, three weeks apart. I was pretty worn out by treatment #4, lost all my hair, but had no nausea or mouth sores.

    If the infusion nurses (who are Angels on earth) don’t give you a salt/baking soda mouth wash for Val to prevent mouth sores, post here or send me an email ( and I’ll send the recipe. It saved me lots of pain, and I didn’t have to buy expensive prescription mouth wash for mouth sores. I always tried to have a small meal or a banana before I went in for chemo so I didn’t get stomach sick from all the anti-nausea drugs they gave me during infusions.
    Good luck, you all are in my prayers, it sounds like she’s got a great medical team on her side. I just hope she doesn’t have to go through radiation. I’m on #20 of 30 treatments and it has been harder than all the chemos combined.

    Take care,


  117. Happy New Year fellow M&H fans (and non)

    I will make this a quick one because I know her minions hang around here so I’d like to pass this on to them/her.

    Dear Sarah, you cant expect to throw gasoline then hide your hands when someone lights a match. WO-man UP!



  118. Sounds likeVal is one of the lucky ones, my husband’s first wife had no side effects from chemo and she kept her hair. We’re all different. I really appreciate hearing about Val’s treatment, all women are afraid of breast cancer, some even ignore systoms because of that fear. I moved over to Hello World Jblogooo’s Blog, just too crowded here.


  119. Shash and all..
    Val completed first chemo treatment and they want her back in a week as opposed to three weeks as told earlier. Amazed at my wife’s stamina. She came home and ate home made chicken soup, while I was at drugstore. Then we all went for a walk with neighbor support person. Took son to airport and she says..”I want to go to gym.” This is after four hours of chemo plus two hours of indoctrination. So on to the gym and 40 min of cycling. I cut her off an said “home”. Found out later that she had received a dose of steroid thus the burst of energy.

    Have discovered that I have so many friends and their relatives that are fighting this disease. I’m ready for a pink ribbon. This was always somebody’s else fight. My former secretary,house keeper’s SIL, Val’s office manager..and on and on.
    The Indoc was the hardest for me..”a wimp” as they told her step by step about the mouth sores,loss of hair,type of toothbrush to get, nausea, coupon for wig,dates of beauty tips for women with cancer and on and on. Val, there with some thirty other strangers who, by sitting together find comfort discussing their individual stories.

    Me..I met a former miner from New Mexico who became a farmer. He fell and thought he broke his arm. Went for x-rays and discovered two years ago that his arm was cancerous and then cut off above elbow. He had pancreatic cancer that had spread to his arm. Told me he was ready to go fishin at Rockport Texas..and with his tobacco stained smile said he had, had enough and was ready for what ever his maker had in store for him.. as he walked away with his mobile medical juice machine in tow.

    Peace and love to all.


  120. Craig, my mother is living with her fourth occurence of breast cancer. It is inoperable metastasized breast cancer. She can’t have radiation because she’s had it too often before and she has refused chemo because of the quality of life issue at her age (76). It all sounds awful doesn’t it?

    But there’s good news too. She gets treatment for the cancer that involves controlling the tumor size through medication. The tumor was discovered 30 months ago and has not grown at all in the last 24 months, which is attributed to the treatment she is receiving. No more tumors have been found. I will get the name of the medication and treatment she is on and post it here for you.

    There are more and more breast cancer survivors and those, like my mother, who have been able to actually live fairly normal lives despite having cancer that I can’t help but have great hope and some confidence that you wife will be one of them. Bless you all.


  121. I’ve been following a link on FB Craig, of a young lady in treatment for breast cancer, she said, after chemo treatments, she was most comfortable lying on the cool floor. I don’t know if that will work for your wife, I’ll pass it along for what it is worth.
    Why am I not surprised James, I bet they are harassed a lot.


  122. Margaret & Helen, I miss you ladies!


  123. Thanks Poolman for providing the link to that site. Our computer had some problems and I lost the link.


  124. No One’s Puppet, Lincoln, Nebraska’s bishop and radio KFAB said a major fund raising scheme for the Westboro Baptist church is law suits. When someone assaults or hassles a member, the church sues, often successfully. They protested at the funeral of the shooter and now will be at the principal’s funeral.

    My wife and I are snowed in with 11 inches of snow blowing around and a -1 degree temperature. PFessor, our flat, open country averages pretty windy. ISU extension climatologist Elwyn Taylor used to have a weather call in show. I once said something about our wind’s being “only” twenty or thirty miles per hour, and he said “only in the plains or on the coast would that much wind be “only.”

    Thanks to the average wind speed, our area has quite a few wind farms.

    I read something about using sails on conestoga wagons too. You might be interested in “Giants in the Earth” by Per Hansa. It follows the progress of Scandinavian pioneers on the prairies of eastern South Dakota.

    I was hoping you would get some snow as the north side of Atlanta did. Some people were snow boarding on ironing boards.

    Yes, farming is one of the top ten dangerous occupations in the country. One time, a neighbor was hauling two gravity wagons filled with grain. He looked at the road and watched a wheel pass his tractor. Pulling those things terrified my wife.

    Our neighbor stopped by to ask if we needed to be dug out since my wife was shoveling snow. She told him she was just continuing the recreational shoveling I had started since it was still snowing hard. She also told him she had been serious about helping dig corn from the wrecked wagon into another. He said “oh, it was nothing.” My wife said “I know differently. I’ve done it enough times.”

    Noah, I was afraid you would say that. Some people from Darfur demonstrated in the snow on Sunday to support separating the Christian from the Muslim section. Those interviewed feel the world has abandoned them.

    My brother-in law is doing well. His major problem is poor circulation in his ankle which doctors think will correct when he is able to put weight on his legs near the end of the month. I jokingly suggested leaches.


  125. Depending on how far along it is Craig this is very survivable. My Grandmother is 87 years old. She has survived 4 different bouts of cancer. She has had both breasts removed and is today very healthy and active for an 87 year old.


  126. Update Tuesday am Jan 11
    The following is a narrative of our last meeting with Chief Oncologist. These notes were taken by my chief support person and neighbor who went with Valerie and I last Friday.
    Valerie had her infusion device implanted yesterday am. She came home around noon and rested well. It is a very sore spot under the skin above her right breast and below the clavicle.
    Today, Tuesday am we begin Infusion. Should last about 5 hours at least.

    Having read the meeting notes are not as comforting as much as in the way the Oncologist presented them to us. But the following is reality.

    reading this in cold print is pretty daunting for a lay person..I am unable to convey his kindness.
    Craig Robinson
    Meeting with Dr. Cabos, Dr. Diane Nguyn, oncologists 1/7/2011

    Reviewed July Breast mamogram, negative
    Compared with recent mamogram as well as sonogram, which showed 1 cm tumor next to muscle.
    Lymph biopsy showed evidence of cancer. Determined that the breast was the primary site.
    Pet scan of right hip showed trauma, inflamation. Area on spine is clearly positive.
    Expects that biopsy of breast tumor will be positive showing malignant cells.
    If there were no other involvement except the breast, then local treatment would be appropriate with lump removal or breast removal. Because of more extensive involvement in distant areas, local treatment is not an option. Decision is definitely for systemic chemo-therapy. This acts locally to shrink the tumor, and also in lymph nodes and spine or other sites where we may not see the involvement.
    Determination will come later, but currently Dahlbeck thinks the hip may not be involved. The Spine may or may not be malignant. Biopsy not called for at this time. Danger of sensitive area injuries.
    Irregardless of the results of the breast biopsy or the spine, we do not want to change what we do.
    Benign Hemangioma in one area, but another is not. (? I was unclear about what he was saying) On bone, some may be malignant and some benign. We initiate treatment to see if it changes and responds,. If the cancer has gone to bone, it is not bone cancer, it is metastatic breast cancer.
    After 2 weeks or 2 months, we will be able to feel the change. We will know if it is getter smaller or larger.
    The stages of cancer: 1 – small tumor, 2 larger tumor, 3 involves regional lymph nodes, 4 remote areas are involved.
    This doesn’t change the treatment, Prognosis may change, It is not a given that stage 4 means a 6 months outcome.
    This is a triple negative breast cancer, carcinoma, poorly differentiated, agressive, because of symptoms. There was no evidence 6 months ago, but it had probably already begun. Nothing more you could have done.
    There is a new drug, testing completed, but awaiting FDA approval. We have already contacted the pharmacuetical company to get approval for your use. DNA enzyme,
    We have a plan because we have adequate facts. The chemo therapy is a combination of 2 meds in an IV. It will be repeated 3 weeks later, After the third cycle is administered, we can do imaging. Local treatment for pain relief on spine if cancer involved,.

    Your team of onconlogists, clinic nurse, the consistent chemo nurse, radiologist Dahlbeck, and breast surgeon Candace Arentz, Dr. Quattromani is cancer radiologist. There will be a patient educator and pharmacuetical assistant, and counsellor, Dr. Susan Hendricks. Call Dr. Cabos between 8-5, but will give you a number for after hours, also. There is a rotation.

    Fatigue is common, loss of taste. We do not presently have a dietician.


  127. The feeling I got the from the people there is that no one intends to get involved. There is nothing really in it for anyone. China has some mineral rights claims that it is concerned about but that seems to be the extent of their concern. No one country seems to be willing to take point on this tragedy to do something about it. I think it would be such a massive undertaking that a coalition of countries would need to be convened to get lasting changes accomplished.


  128. James –

    As I mentioned to you previously, I am in the South for a 2-month MRI fellowship and we are right in the middle of the ice storm band. Not too bad this morning, so I think we have missed the bullet. Amazing what 5 degrees F can do.

    Wind force goes with the square of velocity, so 50 MPH winds are pretty powerful. Too bad for your neighbor. Good luck to you all.

    Which reminds me, did I read about a guy when I was a kid who planned to navigate the prairie via wagons with sails? “Windwagon somebody” or other…hmmm…maybe that was why they called conestogas “prairie schooners?”

    Noah – do you think our govt is planning to intervene in Darfur?


  129. Sorry James missed your post. I don’t think that solution would work well. Other than the government they are really not that well organized. I doubt you could find enough people able to represent each group of people. If you consider a 1000+ languages which in turn I suspect represents a 1000 tribes, that is a lot of states.


  130. People up here have a similar obsession because our weather is so changeable and potentially dangerous. So far, seven inches of snow has fallen here with up to five more predicted. My wife has a snow day.

    I feel sorry for the southerners who aren’t used to heavy snow and ice.

    We have some cousins in Florida. I remember seeing five water spouts in one afternoon off Key West.

    Our neighbor was hauling corn in a gravity wagon on Friday, and it was so cold with fifty mile per hour wind gusts he didn’t bother to attach the safety chain. The wagon went out of control detached from the pickup, and dived through the road ditch and onto our land. They had to get another wagon, move the corn into it and take the damaged wagon back for repairs. They were still working in the snow yesterday.


  131. James, I’d say the majority of FLoridians are weather-obsessed. Seriously. YOu can’t call a relative up in Florida & not have a conversation that is at least 20minutes weather related. So we’ve be watching the storm and listening to the forecasts, even though we won’t be receiving hardly any real weather changes here. Maybe the temps will drop a few degrees, but nothing life threatening. . .hoping all the folks in the path of this storm stay safe, stay warm, stay home.


  132. Nobody cares but me, so scroll on by. A massive storm is growing stronger as an upper level trough extending from Montana is sending smaller impulses around it. The surface low is in the Gulf south of La. and sending moisture north to the northern section of the storm.

    Right now, precipitation is falling from Manitoba to the Gulf. A town in La reported five inches of snow, and ice is becoming a problem south of the snow band. We may still get a foot of snow here before it ends.

    The coldest air of the season will pour down behind it. Valentine, Nebraska may reach a record-breaking -30 Wednesday night.

    You in the East and South have probably heard the warnings. You will remember this storm if everything develops as predicted.


  133. Hello UAW, long time no see! Hope life is treating you well. Delurker had set this other blog up for use by James, Pfesser, and Me along with others when we were getting too wordy and personal over here on Helen and Margaret’s porch. Since this is such a long thread and takes so long to load, it might be helpful to move the conversation over to there for awhile, at least until Helen posts something new.

    just a suggestion…


  134. I was among the anti -protesters in Omaha around November 12. It was a cold day with rain changing to snow. At least three hundred of us showed up. Radio station KFAB and probably others are advertising the next demonstration against the church protesters. I expect a big turn out.

    Maybe one of the local talk show hosts knows who funds Westboro. I’ll try to find out.

    Ken McElroy lived about a hundred miles down the interstate from us. Gossip held that he pushed someone too far and many of the town’s people decided it it was time for him to go. I think the case will stay cold.

    Coincidently McElroy was killed within fifty or sixty miles of the murder of Jesse James. He and his gang stayed in our county before they tried to rob the bank at Northfield, Minn.


  135. sorry peeps….
    jj just got to me….sounds like a broken record….
    Craig…I’m praying for both of you…..


  136. Hi Margaret,

    Happy New Year – hope you are doing well. Look forward to hearing from you soon on your blog!


  137. Printed it up Elenalb,
    Another passage of the good word added to our list.

    How can Westboro in any way shape of form consider themselves acting in a Christian much less even in a human way by their words and deeds?


  138. Does anybody remember this?

    Watching the Westboro Church people the other day, I was reminded of this old – still unsolved case, lo and behold, it is the thirtieth anniversary and a news article popped up about it a couple of days later.

    Sigh…one can only hope…


  139. Hi all –

    Pelosi passes the gavel to Boehner:

    I wonder if he can be fined for unsportsmanlike conduct?


  140. Good point James. Who is funding this group, traveling costs money and they can’t be holding down jobs? If I were in Omaha or Tucson I’d certainly volunteer to a part of a barrier of people between WC and the legitimate mourners. I have ever confidence the citizens of these cities will do exactly that.


  141. The Westboro church also plans to protest at the memorial service for the high school principal the student killed last week. How do they find the time for actual church services.

    I thought about being in another counter demonstration, but we should have up to a foot of blowing snow then. Two inches has fallen today so far.

    elenalb, simply beautiful.

    UAW, I’m glad to read you again. We hope you are all right.


  142. To everyone on the porch, this is the message from a little Unity daily devotional called the “Daily Word”. I hope this offends no one, but thought it might be of help to Craig & Valerie. I print these little readings out, and look at them during my day as my thoughts wander into those “bad” places. Blessings to you all! In times like this we ALL need to stay close.

    Sunday, January 09, 2011
    I am well-nourished, healthy and filled with energy.
    I am created in the image of wholeness, strength and vitality–in the image of God. This is the Truth of my being, the blueprint of perfection at the core of me. I consciously focus my thoughts, words and actions on this Truth and align myself with my true potential.

    Visualizing myself moving freely and easily, I praise my body and show it respect and appreciation. Living from a consciousness of well-being and wholeness, I am continually in the flow of divine, life-sustaining energy. I am forever grateful for abundant life, health and guidance in the care of my body. I thank God for creating me to thrive and to flourish.

    “The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places … and you shall be like a watered garden.–Isaiah 58:11”


  143. UAW–it’s been a long time since you’ve posted. Hope you are doing ok.

    If you read up a bit, Craig is dealing with a very difficult personal situation. Many of us are trying to focus on that and to really minimize any sparring or snark out of respect for him.


  144. whats next JJ
    Its Bush’s fault
    its Fox News fault
    your compulsive hatred for Sarah Palin has me wondering about you….are you just as “whacky” as the idiot in Arizona?????

    Yes Margret /or Helen…..lets hear what you have to say…..
    Tell us how it was Bush’s and Fox New’s fault….blame it strictly on Republicans….don’t even mention that Congresswoman Gifford was pro second amendment, was pro border control, and a DINO…..
    no possible way that a left wing radical listened to Keith O or Ed Schulz….


  145. Christine Taylor-Green. 9 years old. murdered in AZ. She was born 09/11/2001 and featured in a Tucson news article as “a Child of Hope”. . .

    …and parasitic Westboro Baptist Church has announced they plan to picket her funeral and that she deserved to die.


  146. I know our area has a large community of Iraqis and Afghans, but I didn’t know about the Sudanese. Over 3,200 near Omaha are voting in their election.


  147. Elenalb, your post and you are inspiring. I hope you write again. Earlier, I mentioned an e friend who is a bit farther down the road than you. I don’t know the form of breast cancer she had, but it had spread, and doctors gave her about six months to live. Like you will, she beat it and after two or three years was declared cancer free.

    A year or so ago, the cancer was in her thyroid, and the process began again. She beat it too.

    Just reading your post made me feel better after the Omaha and now Arizona shootings.

    You know how to twist the knife, No one’s puppet. Heh heh!

    Right now, we face up to a foot of snow from now until Tuesday morning. Happy day for me, for most others, a different opinion.


  148. Elenalb, you, my dear, are True Grit and Tenacity! Thank you for sharing with all of us – the porch is a better place with you here.


  149. Here is the Keith Olbermann link

    SARAH PALIN – do the right thing! Apologize for the hate speech which you have been spewing! Sarah Palin has blood on her hands!


  150. Helen, I hope you comment on the shootings in Arizona. I feel Sarah Palin is at fault with her crosshairs and ‘Don’t retreat – reload’ message. A crazy took her advice and has killed a nine year old girl and 5 others as well as many other injuries.

    Keith Olberman had a great special message to all to stop the hate speech and apologize for the hate speech they have been part of in the past. Keith O even apologized for comments he made.

    Sarah Palin needs to apologize for her hate speech and the crosshairs poster!


  151. Elenalb,
    Truly an inspiration to the family tonight.
    My DIL has printed off five copies of a specific paragraph to take and distribute around the house. The following you wrote.. my wife’s mantra now…

    “I’ve learned that you have to pretend you are a “running back” while dealing with cancer treatment. You have to keep pushing, struggling, twisting and turning and NEVER give up as you “proceed down the field” of treatment. Put your head down and keep moving forward. Sometimes it’s only inches, but forward motion is the key. If you have a day that you’re exhausted, take that day off, let yourself lay in bed, read and be waited on. The next day may be better or not, but you WILL get through this.” Elenalb

    Thank you..and after we get into this coming week you may receive a e-mail..
    This hideous disease always affects someone else…NO..It’s affecting us all.

    We spent today in the sunshine and hiking the Palo Duro Canyon 120 miles north of Lubbock..just enough exercise and fresh air to get us out of the house and walls surrounding us.

    May God shine his light upon you Elenalb..or rather continue…

    Peace to all.


  152. Elenalb, your story of hope is what Craig and Valerie need right now. Glad you posted your story. Good luck for continued recovery from your own illness. Cancer is such a bitch but we are on to her!


  153. Noah –

    I would be pleased if you would email me privately.

    pfesser53 nospam (replace nospam with @)


  154. Elenalb, I sure craig is grateful to hear from you! And from your avatar, I see you are a cat person, what could be better than that? Welcome and best wishes for your speedy recovery.


  155. elenalb: You are a very good person.


  156. Continued best wishes for your wife and your family through this ordeal Craig. Hope no stone is left unturned in your quest. You appear to be in good hands at this stage. Seek other opinions as necessary.

    Listening to the breaking news on CNN as we speak. Hoping for the best for the AZ Congresswoman and all those touched by this senseless tragedy. What a mess our universe has become!


  157. Hi Craig & M&H Family,
    I’ve been lurking awhile waiting for a new post, but wanted to respond to Craig & Valerie. I was diagnosed with Stage III BC last March, went through 12 weeks of A/C chemo (makes you loopy, sick and you lose your hair, but it kicks cancer’s ASS), had bilateral radical mastectomy in July, and 12 weeks of Taxol/Herceptin Sept-Nov. I’m now mid-way through 6 weeks of radiation, which I’ll finish at the end of Jan.
    It as been a scary, wild year, this blog has been an “island of sanity” for me during all this treatment.

    What I want Craig and Valerie to know is that there are incredible treatment protocols available now (changing every month), wonderful anti-nausea drugs, never had nausea (my mom went through BC treatment in mid-80’s and was violently ill – at MD Anderson) and I’ve been able to work throughout the entire process. I’m still healing from my mastectomy, but at 57 and in not such great shape before this started, I’ve been able to take up exercise, revise (sometimes) my eating habits and I intend to beat this BASTARD! Sure, I have times when I’m scared to death of what lies ahead when treatment is done, but I’ve learned that you have to pretend you are a “running back” while dealing with cancer treatment. You have to keep pushing, struggling, twisting and turning and NEVER give up as you “proceed down the field” of treatment. Put your head down and keep moving forward. Sometimes it’s only inches, but forward motion is the key. If you have a day that you’re exhausted, take that day off, let yourself lay in bed, read and be waited on. The next day may be better or not, but you WILL get through this.

    I have a 21 year old special-needs son, who is in college and still lives at home. My biggest worry has been, what will happen to him if mom dies….I decided that I just can’t “go there”. I’ve got to keep pushing, and having a wonderful husband who has given up a year of his life and spent many sleepless nights worrying about me, has been my Godsend.

    The best gift people gave us last spring and summer when things were really tough, was meals dropped off by friends and neighbors, emails, I got lots of cards, silly ones, sappy ones, “raunchy” ones, and prayers. I asked everyone I talked to to put me on their prayer list. I still meet people that tell me they and their church are praying for me. I’ve had prayers said for me in churches, synagogues (on both coasts) and Hindu temples. I’ll take them all.

    Craig, if you or Valerie would like to contact me my email is I’d be glad to tell you about my experiences. I’ll keep you all on my prayer list.

    Sorry that this is so long, but getting emails from other cancer survivors kept me sane through this process.

    God Bless,


  158. I basically don’t know all that much about it Craig, so I’ll watch what I say. I’m aware of it, because I met a woman on this drug, seems the FDA want to ban the drug for the treatment of breast cancer, but she said, the drug actually is working for her and with very few side effects. So I hope I didn’t get your hopes up, I asked more to be enlightened myself, as to rather Oncologists were still using the drug. Her explanation for why the drug works for her, but was a disappoint for some others was of course a matter of genetics. But it is also a known fact that some patients improve on placebos. So I doubt that Valerie doctor is unaware of this drug or the test. Like I said, I don’t want to lead you to false hope, let the doctors guide your course of treatment.

    They’ll probably to moving to Iowa any time now James, just like the Dodd family did. Oh lucky you!


  159. NOP,
    Don’t know about Avastin..But that will be on my lips come Monday and or Tuesday when I see Oncologist. He did not mention a name or location of study.


  160. “Miracles, miracles that’s what life’s about
    Most of you must agree if you thought it out
    …I found you and you found me
    and we are not without…”

    Don Williams “Miracles”

    Again, it helped me and later my wife. Just a suggestion.


  161. Craig, we are all unique of course and cope in our own ways.

    Besides my wife, music is my therapist. I still have borderline edetic memory and I play songs in my head. One that helped me when doctors thought my wife had melanoma was Chicago’s “Feeling Stronger.” It probably won’t work for you, but I suggested it, just in case.

    No one’s puppet, if the worst happens with those two formitable ladies, my song will be REM’s “Its the End of the World.”


  162. Helen,

    At your age maybe you should reconsider the material world and not worry about the spills, stains and smells.


  163. Oh my lord, No one’s puppet! I would hope they’d finish each other off in a blaze of glory. I would hope that my wife and I would get to meet them before they crashed.

    If the economy stays bad, and if reporters suddenly discover something like Obama and Romney’s sharing tolks with each other and with farm animals while sitting on a freezer which holds Grandma, President Palin and Vice President Bachman could be in our future.

    If so, I would drag my wife kicking and screaming to Brandon, Manitoba. She likes Brandon. She doesn’t like snow.

    More likely, we will enjoy the show and listen to phone messages from our two newest best friends imploring us to save the world by giving money and time to their campaigns.


  164. So bacon is good. Why doesn’t all the bacon in Washington help? It should be a perfect place with all the fat there. Maybe it is not bacon fat.

    Grateful I am of what I have in this messed up world.


  165. James, you’ve probably heard the noise coming from Michelle Bachman’s camp about her considering a Presidential run, how much fun is it going to be for you and the rest of Iowa if she and Sarah Palin go head-to-head?


  166. Craig, is the name of the unreleased drug Avastin?


  167. Thanks Greytdog we know has finished the trial stage waiting for
    FDA approval.


  168. Craig, just one caveat (altho you probably already know this) about experimental drugs – try NOT to get into a research study at this stage – you don’t want to be dealing with a double-blind study and end up with the placebo. But if initial studies (and it seems like this is probably true) seem to have efficacy markers that appear valid, then by all means, full steam ahead. Keeping you & Valerie in our thoughts & prayers. And Wundermom has called her prayer circle to have you & your family included.


  169. Craig, that’s the best news, yesterday I had convinced myself if they were started chemo that was good news, but thought it would be just horrible if I expressed that to you if I was wrong. All the best to you and Valerie, keep us informed.


  170. Chief of Oncology met with us this afternoon. Myself, Val and “neighbor support” person only went.
    DIL and Son decided to sit out this visit. Wish they had not.

    Oncologist very reassuring and positive in nature. Saying that we are at the start of the battle and that present health,attitude and fact that we know what we are treating is good. That we will know more about how the enlarged lymph glands and breast tissue look in three weeks after the first infusion. If they have reduced in size and are responding.

    He also told us that there was an experimental drug that has not been released by the FDA..that attacks the actual DNA of this particular metastatic breast cancer. I asked if we could get any of the drug and who do we contact. The oncologist said they have already initiated contact about obtaining or utilizing this new drug for Valerie’s treatment.

    So today was a fairly good roller coaster ride and more hopeful today than yesterday but realize every day is a gift and lots of new experiences ahead.

    To all my new found friends at M&H, my most heartfelt thanks for your prayers,thoughts and suggestions to help my wife through this journey we have ahead of us.


  171. Yes, thank you alaskapi.


  172. That’s SUCH a good idea, Pi. Thanks for thinking of it and setting it up.


  173. I have lit a candle for Valerie and Craig

    and since I can’t spell maybe some of you can head over and add a truly steadying arm …
    Thank you Helen and Margaret for having us all in.


  174. As I wrote, I’m not sure God listens to my prayers because our relationship is distant. I’m praying now as a lot of others are too.


  175. Omaha feels like a universe parallel to this site right now. Callers to local radio talk shows are trying to make sense of the shootings and offer theories based on what they don’t know. They need to understand in black and white so they can put order back into their lives. Sometimes, there is no reason. Stuff happens.

    Our daughter is a therapist mostly to people there under court order. She has had contact with so many violent criminals and some victims, my first thought when I heard the news was not for the victims, but that she would probably working late that night.

    I told her what I had been thinking, and her reply was “That is so sad.” “Why?” “Because I was thinking the same thing .”


  176. ..Thanks Roz…Back from MRI..nothing yet.. I undersdtand one part of divided country has mineral and or oil
    There is also a despot ruler that has refused to give up rule..I believe a vote was coming up. Plus for some reason the Chinese are adding to issues because of their interests in mineral rights.
    I could be wrong and read this somewhere and it mey relate toa neighboring country..

    On to Oncologists office..Pray


  177. Craig, as NOP said so well, words are so difficult in these instances but I send you and your wife my wishes for great courage and strength.


  178. Noah, do you know if that area is a real or artificial country created by other nations?
    The problem sounds unsolvable. Do you think a form of federalism would work? If putting various tribes and their allies into a semi -automous confederation of states would help lessen the problem, to you think there is any political will to do it? Would such enclaves be large enough to be economically viable on their own?


  179. Donna,
    You could probably google Valerie Robbinson MD in Texas.
    You can me on Facebook as well
    I’m not hiding behind any walls
    Greytdog..I was just venting..and I was an Ass for what I said
    ..Best one touch support group here at M&H. Thanks again and Again..

    as I said I only have one thing to be afraid of………and James I’m trying to be strong..then finding private moments to get away..


    Her mother was Italian so Val is half…her Father’s name “Misuilli” from Sicily
    Based originally out of Phillly.

    I met Val second week in High school. Dated for ten years then married in 75.

    I have really come to appreciate everyone of you on this blog but eventually you all will have to get back to your needs on the HILL.

    I can already see where some health care issues need to be dealt with.
    Doc’s office called wei..will meet the main oncologist as a family unit this 1:00pm cst…
    possibly more and better news than yesterday…..Going to MRI of head for now.


  180. Craig,
    Donna and Greytdog said it best. I can only repeat how sorry we are for the diagnosis. I add my warm thoughts, prayers and best wishes to your wife, you and your family. Please remember to take care of yourself as well, you cannot help your wife if you are not eating or sleeping.


  181. Greytdog wrote it better than any of us. It dovetails with what an announcer said about the Hendrix Motor Sports tragedy. “When people are down and when people are hurting, that’s when they become a family.” I wouldn’t have guessed it, but the site has become sort of a family.

    We are too clumsy to know the right words so we throw everything at you in hope that something will help. We all know Valerie is in a fight for her life and you will play an important role in her success.

    Do whatever it takes including venting on this site.

    You have to take care of yourself so you can be strong for her–and us when it is our turn.


  182. No commenter on this blog would ever ever see a cancer diagnosis (or any illness) as a “comeuppence” – in fact, we’d probably stand in line to bitchslap anyone who even hinted at such a thing. We can disagree about politics, religion, social commentary – but when it comes to families in need of community support, we will be there. We will use our networks to pool together resources, information, support, and we’ll keep the wagons circled. Why? Because at M&H, we’re a virtual family of strangers who are bound by one overriding agenda – do the right thing and pay it forward. So Craig, be assured that NO ONE on this blog is happy about your family situation – our hearts ache for you. Many of us have gone through this, many of us are going through it, many of us are facing our own ending. So no. there is no sense of comeuppence – only hands and hearts reaching out to help keep you safe, keep you grounded, to give YOU a safe place to vent, to yell, to punch some walls, so that your strength and love can be unstintingly given to the woman who brightens your soul. Now – go give her a hug and kiss.


  183. Craig: I’ll use her name. By the way, what were/are father’s and mother’s first names? She would traditionally be referred to as “Valerie, bet ___________.”


  184. Darfur. To be frank, I am still processing my time there, it is almost too much to take in. It is a terrible problem there, and it will take a smarter person than myself to come up with a solution. From what I understand there are more than 1000 different languages. Many know Arabic and almost without exception people know 2 or 3 or 4 languages. Typically they know their tribes language, and the languages of a couple of tribes that are geographically next to them that they have dealings with. This is in my opinion the root of their problem. They have hundreds and hundreds of separate tribes all with their own languages and customs and traditions, and they don’t mesh well together. Because of all this they often cannot communicate with well each other and often violence is seen as the only solution.

    Many of the disputes are between tribes. These are often generations long disputes. Some tribes have come to power in Sudan government and have control of significant size fighting forces. They use these military personal to end old rivalries by exterminating them, many times entire villages are wiped out.

    The rule of law is enforced often only enforced when it benefits those enforcing it. Patrols would enter the village from time to time to hear disputes, take supplies then move on. For the most part the people have to fend for themselves. It is the most chaotic environment I have ever been exposed too.

    Along the way I have met some great people I will be proud to call friends for years to come. On my trip my most precious items were the toilet paper I thankfully packed in abundance and my peanut butter. I tried many foods I had never considered eating before. Several kinds of bugs, most of which I did not enjoy. Many different kinds of wild and cultivated plants. I tried wildebeest(not to bad), Kuda( not to bad), couple types of snakes(very taste), and a small deer like critter with small spiral horns. I didn’t much care for boiling water for every meal, having to wait for it to cool. Were I a younger man I would enjoy spending many months in that environment minus the conflict. As it is I am thankful to be home.


  185. Donna,
    Valerie Ruth Robinson M.D., graduated 1975 Texas Tech Medical School

    “This is a nice group of good people who are not thinking about one thing other than getting you and your family through it.” Very spot on.

    I have nothing to hide.
    Nothing can touch me any worse than what has already happened.
    Delurker was right..I can’t debate. I can only cry in the wilderness.

    They scheduled an MRI of her brain since she is starting to feel some numbness in the side of her face and temple…tomorrow at 10:00am
    We are getting up early tomorrow and searching out the Oncologist specialist and getting him to sort out what the Surgeon said today vs. what “he” said 72 hours ago.
    With the Tumor board meeting tomorrow am to discuss my wife’s case he should be available.

    Peace and Good night to all.
    Xanax and wine starting to kick in.


  186. And you damn well better not say anything again about people wanting your comeuppance. This is a nice group of good people who are not thinking about one thing other than getting you and your family through it. I am even adding “Valerie Craig” (which I am positive is not her real name but God can sort it out) to our misheberach [you may wish to look that up].


  187. I have heard amazing stuff about water. This certainly can’t hurt.

    God made the elements and controls their properties.


  188. Craig- am with NOP but am here, like all the rest…
    You can holler, kick rocks, and spit here… if and when you need to.


  189. Really sorry Craig, personally I can’t pull out something to say, that I even vaguely think is the right thing to say to you right now. I sure wish I could.


  190. I’m sorry too. Once again others have given more advice than I could. When I was an Air Force medic I learned that many medical procedures are based on averages. For example, when a dentist sticks a needle in your mouth to make it numb, he/she is aiming at the average location. Outliers have to get a second shot or the needle strikes squarely on the nerve.

    Besides the food, I think music is another big help.

    I’ve mentioned it before, but I think the Hendrix Motor Sports story is inspiring whether or not one is a fan. Most of the company is so Christian they have had regular Bible studies. Maybe they got some of their strength from God or maybe from somewhere else. wrote that Rick Hendrick was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia in 1996. At the time medical people said it had a 95% death rate. Doctors prescribed two injections of cancer – fighting drugs every day for nearly 1,100 days and in 1999, the disease was declared in remission. Dr. Steven Limentani his attending physician said “Many people would have stopped their therapy had they had to go through what he did.” “Attitude is very important, and he has had a very positive attitude in spite of horribly toxic therapy.”

    The second part is different because your wife is very much alive and may be for a very long time, but the principal is the same. A plane crash killed ten family members, friends and employees. The company was devastated, of course, but they pulled themselves together and worked hard to win the race a week after the crash. “…the people within the organization seemed to reach deep down within themselves and find an indomitable spirit that has not only sustained but also allowed for them to continue to succeed.”

    Emotions emerged after the victory, of course. Many were in tears, and Jimmie Johnson was so emotional he was unable to leave his race car for several minutes.

    I think Always in our Hearts-A Tribute to the Ten is the title of a You tube video set to an INXS song “Afterglow.”

    I believe you and your wife have the same “indomitable spirit” the Hendrix Motor Sports company has.


  191. I’m sorry for that last statement..I’m angry.
    YOu all have bee the biggest “one touch” support group I have had.
    I thank you all for that and I’m blessed in so many ways.
    I just pray. I’ll do anything.
    I guess I’m going thru all those stages at once..
    shock, fear, bargaining… anger

    again thanks


  192. Donna,
    Someone is ending Kindle and is on way…
    WE are all going out tonight for dinner..that is if she feels like it.
    I’m angry at being tooled around by one doc and then another says the worst 72 hours later.
    Lori have heard many stories about great fights. I’m in shock.

    Guess you ladies and gentlemen..thought this ole boy was due for his come upence


  193. Thank you and keep writing, you give those of us outside of USA some hope in the blogosphere.


  194. Craig, I too am sorry you heard such bad news this afternoon. I know you and your family is devastated.
    I mentioned ^ about my SIL who has the same diagnoses as your wife. Only worse, my SIL has it in her liver as well bone and breast. She received that info over a year ago. He looks and feels FINE today after chemo and radiation. Hers too was a fast mover, but the good news is normally reacts well to chemo. She still has spots on her liver, and that of course will always be something she has to manage but for now she looks and feels fine.

    Perhaps your wife’s cells are similar?

    When Karen received this news my SIL went to work researching the brightest and the best and found a DR who has had very good results with her specific type of cancer at Mcgee Woman’s Health center in Pittsburgh. We were lucky because my SIL attended school at the University of Pittsburgh and did some medical training in the Pittsburgh hospitasl including Mcgee so they were familar and close to those facilities.

    If you want, I can get you the name of her doctors and perhaps hook you up with a network.


  195. OK, Craig–I believe in action as the healthiest thing. Obviously, I hope the best for her, and I know that everyone here does as well.

    Several of us have been through this, either ourselves or with a family member. Your wife is hugely lucky since many people go through this alone. But she’ll have you to take her to appointments, be there for her, and make sure that everything that can be done will be done.

    I’d ask DIL to do some reading on what sorts of things cancer patients can tolerate in terms of food. I can suggest that she stock up on white soda and ginger ale. And one thing that is likely to work more than anything else are mashed potatoes. Sounds odd but, in my experience, true. Real ones–not too rich (milk, not cream). You’re right–she doesn’t have a whole lot of margin there in terms of physical strength so planning for keeping her weight up is really important.

    Homemade soups. Noodles and rice and plain pasta. Stay away from anything acidic like citrus–it is likely to cause discomfort. There are articles and books that will set this all out.

    When she feels good (and there will be times when she’ll feel normal during treatment), I’d suggest you get her out for a really good dinner at a place she loves. It will be wonderful for her both emotionally and physically.

    I’d suggest some really good music for her–that’s very healing. Ever heard some of Chet Atkins quiet stuff? That sort of thing.

    Reading normal size print may make her nauseous. Why not see how she does with a Kindle? I’d borrow before buying but it’s sure worth a try.

    She may well feel “ugly” because of the physical responses to chemo and radiation. So you will need to make absolutely clear to her how beautiful she is–and I know you will do that. And I know she will be no less beautiful to you.

    Basically, you are in an area with excellent doctors and I know you will do everything possible. And she will know she is loved.

    It’s how you deal with these kicks in your gut that show the sort of person you are. And I am confident you will be a true hero. Hope for the best, work like crazy to make it happen.


  196. I’m so sorry, Craig. I will keep your family in my prayers. Hold on to hope!


  197. It’s 2:15pm CST Thursday.
    Met with surgeon this 10:00 am
    No good news today.
    Were told it’s a fast mover. No specific cell type mentioned.
    Shunt implanted above right breast Monday. Five hours there. Implanted on rt. side in case they have to radiate.
    5 plus hour Chemo infusion starts on Tuesday due to insurance restrictions.
    Small mass behind left breast has spread to lymph glands in neck and arm.
    Tumor Board reviews spots on spine Friday am to determine if necessary for biopsy.
    Were also told no need to go to MD Anderson.

    My son,DIL and I were in room with female oncology surgeon,social worker,med student and oncology nurse.
    I asked or told the Doc I did not want to lose my wife and Doc just stares up at me and with her mouth quivering…says..”I understand”. DIL sat silently in corner crying and wife just sitting stoically and silent on table. Son held it together pretty good.

    Looks like a HOPEFULLY long..not short battle with this beast..I pray.
    My glass has always been half full. My wife’s glass always half full.. is a fighter and in perfect health. But she’s only 119 lbs. with clothes on and I know this will impact her weight and food intake.

    Gutted feeling, yet have been told by son and DIL to be tough for my wife..I know that. It’s just so surreal.


  198. So true James, cancer is one scary word, but a former neighbor of ours was diagnosed with it fifteen years ago, at the same time as my husband’s first wife, the neighbor was given six months, then another six, and so on. Today she is still going strong. If my husband’s first wife were diagnosed today for the type of cancer she had, it would be treated as a chronic disease. All of us just have to take life as it comes, without any guarantees. All the same, thinking about you and yours Craig.


  199. I’ve been gone for awhile, and I don’t have much to add to the already good advice.

    The only advice I have is to “Enjoy Yourself” as the old song says. Maybe you can’t, but try, even if it is for thirty seconds. You never know what will happen. Your wife could outlive us all. Life is full of pleasant and unpleasant surprises, as we all know.

    Yesterday, a transfer high school senior snapped and killed an assistant principal and seriously wounded a principal in an Omaha school not far from where our daughter works. The assistant principal’s son teaches at the same school. None of them woke up yesterday thinking it would be different from any other day.

    By coincidence one of my wife’s students went berserk at our school about two hours later. My wife is good at this sort of thing, and it took her four hours to talk him down. The student could have just as easily brought in a gun instead of smashing things as he did. He told my wife he could feel it unravel when he got up yesterday morning. Given the pressure that kid was under, which no one knew about, its surprising he didn’t crash before now.

    If you have time, I’d like to read more about Darfur too.


  200. Craig,
    I’d like to add my best wishes and healing thoughts for your family.
    CaringBridge has been a great comfort for my family, I hope you consider them.


  201. Shout out to TROUTAY! Are you still following this blog? We were just thinking of you over at my place. It’d be so nice to hear from you again!


  202. Noah –

    Again, welcome back! I for one would like to hear anything you have to share about the Sudan and what’s going on there. I have to admit I haven’t followed it very closely – too wound up in my own personal business – but it sounds pretty horrible.

    Every time I fly commercially I have the same thought at least once as we wing over the country at 30,000 feet: As I watch those engines spin and push 250 people, riding in an aircraft weighing 50 tons, at 550 mph in -120 degree air, I am struck by the vast range of humanity’s capacity – the distance between the heights of accomplishment to which they can climb and the depths of the depravity to which they can sink.


  203. PFessor and Graig, you have my prayers and deepest sympathy. I had a very hard time dealing with my 15 yr old sister dieing of a brain tumor. All I can say is just be there and spend the time you have well, make it count.

    As for Darfur. It is like nothing I have ever experienced and anything I have read fails to capture what is really going on down there. In the 3 weeks I was there, 2 people I shared meals and time with died by the time I left. Rape isn’t one of those things that you hear happen on the news, its a every day fact for almost anyone of age. It isn’t a question if it will happen, they know it is almost unavoidable, they are more worried about getting infected with aids and the like.

    They are a very humble and kind people. These people have the least of anyone I have ever met but were unbelievably generous and welcoming. It truly amazes me how these people can live under these conditions and be a victim of these horrible events and still be able to be so hopeful for their future.

    I was there but a few weeks so I cannot say that I understand everything that is going on there, but I cannot begin to understand how the world can turn a blind eye to what occurring in this area. It is nothing short of an extermination, by anyone’s definition there are crimes against humanity occurring on an ongoing basis.

    Sorry I didn’t respond sooner. Getting back turned out to be a little more complicated than I had anticipated and it took me a couple of days to get settle back in.


  204. Great Website. What a nice idea! I have several ill family members and friends. I’ll pass that along to them. Thanks.


  205. Craig, you got some thoughtful comments from many on this site. I just would like to add the following website to others already suggested for friends and family to get updates on your wife’s condition and to let others express how much they care about her. As already suggested, you could delegate the updates to a family member to leave you free to care for your wife. Hope your latest news are hopeful.


  206. Hi Congenial Gang,

    Any time you are having a Pity-Party with yourself about getting old, check out this video. Amazing to say the least and well worth the viewing. A dear friend sent us this in an e mail.

    Canada really has it down. We could learn something here! She sounds like quite a Progressive Old Broad to me!

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean


  207. Hi Congenial Gang,

    During the journey, anyone who travels the path of life is inevitably going to encounter some crises along the way as well as the many joys.

    This may sound a little philosophical and esoteric, but think about it. Long, long ago, a well-known and beloved Chinese poet, Tu Fu, once wrote, “For the dusk’s path the fireflies must make their own light.”

    Aloha! Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean


  208. hillsmom –

    I’m working on my commercial rating in the evenings. After 7-5 every day studying MRI it’s pretty tiring; I have 7-1/2 out of 8 weeks to go (!) but I brought my simulator with me to my hotel room. (I wonder what the maids think? LOL). Your DH is absolutely right about dabbling in instrument flying as the way to auger in, but the new GPS units are marvelous. You just follow the pink line on the map. (It’s a little harder than that, but much better than trying to interpret the heiroglyphics of yesteryear…)

    re: JFK Jr. Pilots are a funny group; when one gets killed they sort of insulate themselves by criticizing the dead pilot’s skills – sort of a way to say, “That would never happen to ME.” The joke making the rounds after Kennedy was killed was, what do JFK Jr and a penguin have in common…both look great in a tux but neither one can fly for s…t.

    Having said that, Kennedy actually had a reputation as a very poor pilot, having crashed a powered parachute recently, and being very headstrong and not very skillful. His biggest problem was lack of judgment; night flight over water by a non-instrument rated pilot is a well-known formula for a crash because of the lack of ground reference lights.

    The other problem was that he could afford an airplane he couldn’t fly. The Piper Saratoga is a very capable airplane, but is slick and fast and can get out of control very quickly. Ironically, his was autopilot-equipped and all he had to do once he started getting disoriented was to push the ON button and select HEADING and not touch anything, no matter what. Oh well, too late now…


  209. Oops! I guess I did give you advice.


  210. I have no advice for you Craig, I’m sure a lot depends on how long your children will be able to stay and if your wife is admitted to the hospital. I’m pretty sure if she is, you’ll all be there for a large portion of the day. But do take care of yourself, eat well, get some exercise, and try to get plenty of rest.


  211. “There sure seems to be plenty to remark on lately, IMHO.”

    How about it!?! It boggles the mind.

    “It’s the little things that count – maybe setting up a schedule for folks to come in & clean the house/do the laundry/grocery shopping while Craig & his wife are dealing with the doctor appts and testings and such. . .even having someone come in and walk/feed the pets, or run little errands that seem so HUGE when faced with a life-changing situation.”

    Excellent advice.


  212. Craig, Let me second Donna’s advice above, and Raji’s too. Good luck.

    PFessor, Thanks for the Jeppesen…really a good one. It was really hard for DH to give up flying, but as he said you pretty much had to use IFR to get off the end of the runway here. He said that if you didn’t use it all the time, that’s when you go out and get yourself killed. (He thought that’s what happened to the Kennedy boy in the fog.)

    My DH had a trip to AU two years ago to visit our DS, DIL and 2 grand daughters in Melbourne. He never got that far during the war. But he has one of those reunion ball caps which he treasures. A many “old timers” would come up to him and say, “Thank you for saving Australia”. I still find that touching.

    I keep checking to see if H&M have posted anything. There sure seems to be plenty to remark on lately, IMHO.


  213. I have one other thought. People who are frightened often demonstrate that through anger. Be gentle with each other.


  214. Craig-
    Am hoping you get real information very soon.
    Echoing Greytdog’s suggestion of an information point person…
    And gentle reminders that folks find an avenue to discuss their own worries and fears away from and excluding your wife.
    There are family support groups which can be very helpful… my siblings and I used that method many years ago when my mother was fighting 2 unrelated cancers.
    The counselor/cancer survivor of the group we joined told us , after we got in a big argument and much name-calling of each other about what we thought was REALLY important about the situation , that we needed to understand that our mother was feeling and thinking each and every one of the things we were fighting about . She asked us if we thought those distractions about OUR well being were likely to be helpful in ma meeting her own challenges.
    It helped a lot to sort out the appropriate places to vest our energies and we developed a kind of network to be supportive of ma and each other.
    There were certainly rough patches… some verbal fisticuffs outside hospital room doors, settled and wiped off our faces before entering…
    Ma allowed me to call and discuss specifics with her oncologist so I could share info without taxing her strength and resolve to fight …
    I hope the very best for your wife and you and your family and friends.


  215. Donna, your suggestions are tremendous. I think when anyone is dealing with illness of a loved one, our attention gets so drawn into the “medical care” and we forget the human(s) at that vortex. It’s the little things that count – maybe setting up a schedule for folks to come in & clean the house/do the laundry/grocery shopping while Craig & his wife are dealing with the doctor appts and testings and such. . .even having someone come in and walk/feed the pets, or run little errands that seem so HUGE when faced with a life-changing situation. We may laugh about “it takes a village” but it really does. . . not because it’s socialist, but because we’re a society. And caring is the hallmark of a good society. I don’t know what our family would have done without “our village” during the time of my father’s illness.


  216. Craig, another suggestion for communication without having to deal with a deluge of calls. . . a friend can serve as site monitor – it’s a great way to keep everyone updated without having to make zillions of daily calls. . . we did this with my dad and several other folks I know have also had care pages. I actually found it comforting to post updates because it was a way to not only share, but de-stress from the daily schedule of docs, testings, etc. . . something to consider.


  217. That was me.


  218. I hope that the people who come here regularly to bash or insult people can see what most of us have known all along – there are wise, thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate people here who have been kicked around for sport for ages. Several who have given up on the place entirely because of these kickers, who should get lost or grow up. We shouldn’t have to keep heading somewhere else just to get a break from it.

    Craig, I am deeply sorry that it has taken this horrible situation for you to see how we really are here and stop your childish treatment of others here. But this comment doesn’t solely apply to you. We’ve been called stupid, cliquish, mindless, idiotic, fat, ugly, and any number of other things – either directly or through implication. The people here didn’t change just because Craig’s life situation did. We were good, smart people before and still are. When intentionally provoked, reactions happen, so I’m not claiming sainthood for myself or anyone else. But seriously there is no need for anyone to come here just to disrupt a group of remarkable people.

    PS – I hope you get some good news very soon. Even bad news with a plan would be better than helpless waiting.


  219. Greytdog: beautifully put and I agree 100% with you.


  220. Craig–a few other ideas, since your neighbor and I are on the same track (and this is what I used–successfully–when in a similar situation):

    1. Morning emails
    2. Music–make up a DVD of songs she would enjoy either when resting or getting chemo (obviously the latter will depend on the circumstances of treatment)
    3. Selection of books and magazines.
    4. Photo collage.
    5. Homemade soups for you (and make sure they are things that she can tolerate)–this is particularly good for the worried cooks in your life.

    You are correct in that it’s a diversion but I found that it works really well for everyone. The well-meaning friends/relatives can focus their energy on something concrete, you and your wife can experience their love and concern, yet your boundaries and need for some space will be respected. Best wishes.


  221. BTW Happy New Year all. Finally having a great 2011 – OHIO STATE WON THE SUGAR BOWL!!!!!


  222. Craig, it’s a natural reaction of any child who (at any age) must fully face the mortality of a parent. It’s wearing on you, but that’s because you and your wife are now juggling two roles again -partners facing a crisis together, and parents having to reassure their kids about the monsters in the dark closet. If your kids will listen, having a family friend who knows your situation become the “information point person” is a good idea – when my father was so sick, a close friend became the conduit for calls from my siblings and our extended family. I would call my sibs only if the medical treatments/news changed – and of course, they called my mom once a week. We actually set up schedule for calling – my brother would call mom on a certain night, my sister on another night. Any concerns they felt would be channeled to me for me to either explain, defuse, or relay to the docs. This allowed my mom to focus solely on my dad. And honestly, it was really at that time the “kids” understood completely that our parents were first and foremost, husband and wife, best friends before they were parents. And it was a real honor, a real joy, to be witnesses to such a loving relationship – too rare in this day & age. After all, the greatest gift a father can give his children – to deeply love and cherish their mother, his wife. Hugs to you and your wife.


  223. Sorry Craig, I just got in. Feel free to call my cell phone any time if you need some information in a hurry. It’s 11:00 here and I’m still up if you want to call.

    I would just be speculating about the bone scan, I don’t know why they would schedule it and then cancel without (my) having more information. Hopefully they will tell you what KIND of cancer it is tomorrow and that may answer the question. Cell type will be the most important thing to know in order to give a prognosis, which is of course THE question that dwarfs all others.

    It’s a really tough time. The only things we here on this blog can really offer are moral support and well-wishing – and that we certainly do – but this is a journey you and your wife must take together alone. I will try to not bug you and add to the background noise you must be getting at home but I AM available at any time; call me whenever you have the need – day or night.


  224. Perfessor..
    Any ideas as to why they would cancel the Nuclear Bone scan?


  225. Perfessor..Any ideas as to why they would cancel the Nuclear Bone scan?


  226. Thanks Raji


  227. Donna..My next door neighbor and 72 yo friend..mentioned the same wise diversions today. She’s going to take them both side tomorrow after they arrive and discuss the BIG PICTURE with them.
    Our plans have changed. Out of the blue the gave my wife a mamogram that was denied and also drew more blood.
    Late today they canceled the Thursday Nuclear Bone scan and have scheduled us to meet with the oncologist tomorrow am. Hope this is good news.


  228. Craig: How about giving Sonny and MIL a task? As in “I’d like you to send a cheery email to Mom every morning–maybe find things that she’d enjoy to forward to her.” That will give them something to focus on that’s constructive and she can open or ignore the emails depending on how she feels in a given day.


  229. Craig, there is nothing you can do about the son and MIL. As NOP said the patient becomes the caretaker. All mothers are caregivers and it is devastating to the children when the caregiver needs taking care of. It will take time and all you can do is support your wife. Feelings will be hurt and efforts will be misconstrued but you know what, the only important thing is your wife. Stand tall and do what is right for your situation. Yes, they want to help but first and foremost is their emotions and their needs. It is the nature of the beast much as we would like it to be otherwise.
    Utilize the help of your 72 year old friend as even you need a shoulder to lean on.


  230. Delurkergurl and NOP..You are all so right on.
    More later and hopefully some good news today.


  231. I’ve seen this happen before Craig, everyone wants to help and everyone just wants it to go away. The patient ends up being the caretaker of them at a time when they are coming to terms with it themselves. Since they already know about the diagnose, you can’t walk that back, but you need to protect your wife first and foremost, all the hard work, spiritual, mental as well as physical, is on her shoulders. Believe it or not, other people do understand that, but they have to be reminded. All my best to your wife, to you, and to the rest of your family.


  232. Make good use of caller ID, Craig.


  233. Received a call at 8:45 this am for wife to come in and draw blood and the mammogram she was denied has been granted and will also happen today. Some Doc pulled strings I guess? She ran out of here for work saying maybe we will have some answers today. If it is breast cancer carcinoma..? She had one in September. I hope it’s not that fast a mover of cell biology……

    Thanks for all the above answers for dealing with son,DIL,and now MIL.
    MIL wants to be a caboose on our jaunt to MDAnderson. I don’t need a train.
    I have a widow lady 72 years young who was married to a lawyer who has jumped in and is my extra pair of ears in meetings with docs and she’s taking notes.
    She said let me have Nick our son and your DIL for an hour and I will try and tell them in a way they might understand that too many people are not necessary and are a drag on you and Valerie.

    We certainly welcome the support. But the calls from friends and our son has just about worn my wife and me out by evening ..we just want to vegetate.
    Peace and Pray…


  234. Craig, some smart and terrific women have already answered you better than I could. Your wife’s needs come first, of course, but your whole family is experiencing this with her. In order to have their needs met, everyone needs to communicate. It’s OK to tell your son that your wife is tired and overwhelmed and that she needs to rest, breathe, or have a break from the all-cancer-all-the-time talk. Reassure him and tell him she’ll talk to him later.


  235. Craig: Your question is a heartbreaking one. I think that you need to look at this as something your dear wife’s son has to go through. If nothing else, it is making clear to your Valerie how much he loves her.

    If she is not being upset by his calls and can view them in that light, I’d let it go–and assume it will taper off. If she is being upset, then you need to have the talk that NOP suggests.

    But I also think you need to look at it from his point of view. This is such a shock and is so new to all of you. The last thing he wants is to be shut out and he’s trying to be included, although in an awkward way. I know you’ll be able to be kind in your dealings with him. Just as you are terrified, so is he.


  236. Craig, MY SIL had very much the same issue as your wife is experiencing last year. She told me the very worst part of getting that type of news was facing/telling her kids. Her oldest daughter is a pre-med student and certainly “knew” what my SIL’s diagnoses meant and naturally was very frightened. She did call her Mom several times a day at first, just for reassurance, but the phone calls tapered off as Katie (and everyone) began to digest all the information they were gathering. After they had a game plan in place everyone started to feel a little better and there was so much need for conversation about her Mom’s health.
    My SIL just celebrated her one year mark and although we all still have her on our mind daily, her health is no longer the main topic of conversation when we gather… for the time being…..
    My advice be patient with her son, answer his questions, it will get better.

    I will continue to keep you and your family in my thoughts…



  237. Craig, there probably is no reassuring him at this point, but tell him that he will be the first person you call when you know more. Explain that for the time being, your ears are peeled for phone calls from doctors, and you would appreciate it if he’d cool it. Say it in a nice tone of voice, but be firm.


  238. Delurker,Lori,Donna.JSRI,Raji,NOah
    and everyone……
    My wife is a Child and adolescent Psychiatrist ..MD.
    But how do you tell your son to stop calling and reassuring him.
    The calls are draining on Valerie’s health..It’s her son but after a while…


  239. One time on approach to Phoenix..I started seeing more of the runway than I thought the pilot was….needless to say…Power up.. and we made a go around when we were within 60-80″ altitude feet of landing…
    First and only time for me commercially.
    Then once when flying from Gunison to Denver we were loosely strapped in.over Rockies.. severe downdraft and stew ended up on floor and me with bump on head.

    Thanks again cell bilology news today..hopefullu good news tomorrow. No more shoes to drop God willing. and thanks to all for their thougts.


  240. James –

    I don’t know exactly what happened on your flight, but I can offer a couple of guesses:

    As hillsmom noted, you must maintain assigned altitudes within 100′ unless you declare an emergency, which may have been what happened (possibility one).

    The second possibility may be that ATC, knowing the plane had an engine out, may have assigned a Block Altitude, which means you can fly up or down between two assigned altitudes. If they had really blundered into a thunderstorm it would be unlikely they could maintain altitude perfectly without the power of jet engines, which they didn’t have. ATC gives a block to help you out.

    Beyond that, I don’t know. You can get updrafts and downdrafts exceeding 3000’/min in a storm, so I steer well clear. Nowadays you can get onboard weather, but they could not back then and they were dependent on ATC weather radar.


  241. hillsmom –

    I get my instrument approach plates from Jeppesen. In honor of Sully/Skiles they published the Sully/Skiles Hudson approach. Unless you fly, it is a bit arcane, but if you are an instrument pilot it is pretty funny. Quite a departure from Jeppesen’s no-nonsense usual methods.

    Your DH will get a real kick out of it.

    By the way: give him my thanks for what he did for us. Any time I am at a gathering of pilots that includes WWII aviators, I try to do that. It sounds like he surely pulled his weight in that Great Unpleasantness – and then some.

    Don’t be a lurker. If you are tired of aviatin’ pick a new topic. If anyone else wants to discuss something else I’m sure they will. Like I said, this is a versatile bunch and we enjoy all sorts of discussion while we idle, awaiting Helen’s next post.

    Craig – enjoyed talking with you today. I’m always available if you think I can help. As I mentioned before, nuclear medicine is my subspecialty, so I’d be particularly interested in bone scan results.


  242. Hillsmom, thanks for the information. Yes, I know planes are assigned altitudes etc. We were just lucky to be closer to the middle than the top of the thunderstorm that time. I would love to read that book when it is finished. I have a lot of respect for what commercial pilots and flight attendants do and put up with.

    Craig, like No one’s puppet, I’m glad you are doing research. I think mental attitude plays a role in our healing. Imagining a good outcome even in bad times can’t hurt. My wife and I have been thinking good thoughts about you two.

    Welcome back, Noah.


  243. Craig, glad to hear you and your wife are now gathering all the facts, I know if were me, I’d want to know. Better than flying by the seat of your pants, to put it metaphorically in the spirit of the current conversation. Best of luck to the two of you!


  244. Hey James, I’m sure you know that you have to pretty much fly at your designated altitude until given permission to change, IIRR. It sure sounds like you were getting the worst of the up and down drafts. My DH just walked by and I asked him about flying with engines out, etc. So even if 2 are out on the same side, you should be able to control the aircraft and land. I would suppose that the load/balance would be a factor, too. There shouldn’t be a problem at all with one out as long as you can keep altitude. Remember Capt. Sully’s heroic landing of that “brick” in the Hudson. Didn’t he lose all four? I figured he must have been a Navy pilot…;^) He was also a glider pilot which had to have helped make quick decisions, too.

    Your description of the ride is exactly what I was talking about in the galley of the B-377, but we did have all 4 engines…phew. These days I always keep my seat belt on when flying because you never know when you might be on the “ceiling”.

    Anyway, I was telling my DH why I wanted his opinion which reminded him of this incident in the Pacific. He flew Hellcats. and had gone with the Engineering Officer to pick up two brand new planes from (I think) a Jeep Transport. On the way back to their carrier Chuck’s engine quite suddenly quit and couldn’t be restarted. He radioed, “Chuck get out now!” which Chuck did just in time. Now Chuck always wore a prized pair of wellington boots which he kept highly polished. When he hit the silk, he lost the boots. DH thought he was more distressed about their loss than what could have been his. A destroyer picked him up and returned him to CVL 27. Unfortunately, Chuck was later shot down on a strafing run, belly landed, on the Jap airfield, and was captured as a POW. He was terribly abused during the internment, but did survive.

    My DH has finally written down many of his war experiences which I edit for him because I know most of them by heart anyway. This keeps him from embellishing them. Believe me, they don’t need any embellishment.

    So thanks for the trips down memory lane. You both might enjoy the book. So I’m going back to lurking. M&H: Where are you?


  245. NOah,
    Did you see the piece on ABC Sunday morning news where George Clooney and some other watchdog group are setting up a satellite to monitor Darfur and thus report any incursions taking place..?? They said the Obama administration is aware of whats going on..Its..I guess just not high enough on our self preservation list to do anything about. Hillary has her hands full with Pakistan and Korea.

    AS to my wife, trying to keep busy and awaiting report which will detail what type of cells we are fighting and then the Nuclear Bone scan on Thursday. Diagnosis..and then to MDAnderson for 2nd opinion.

    Professor, Good talking with you. Thanks for listening and your input. You are another added to my list of expert diagnosticians.


  246. I have been enjoying your conversation. Its very educational.


  247. Here is another trip back in time with a question. I was returning home from field training in June, 1966. The pilot announced an engine was non functioning, and we were headed into a line of thunderstorms. Not to worry. We’d be fine, but with a lot of turbulance.

    In later trips through thunderstorms, I’ve noticed airliners I’ve ridden in have tended to be near the tops. This time, we seemed to be flying lower. We bounced around a lot. Then, we entered a dive so sharp I almost felt myself floating from my seat. We plunged from the clouds and approached the ground. When we were a little over tree top level, we surged up again, but not into the clouds. Then, we went down again. This happened several times until we left the thunderstorm.

    None of the crew said anything, and the plane was as quiet as a tomb. We were supposed to get breakfast, but everyone sat with seat belts on until we landed, even though we had left the thunderstorm. Fight attendants kept their seat belts on too. I know the power of thunderstorm up drafts and down drafts, and I assume they were causing our exciting ride, but what role if any would our bad engine have played in our roller coaster adventure? It almost seemed as if the pilot was going down to build up speed to get back up again.

    Its probably my imagination, but when the flight attendant thanked us for riding with them, her eyes seemed a little larger than normal. I’ve ridden in two airliners which undershot the runway, and another who’s engine failed at take off, but the bumpy ride is the only time flight attendants seemed scared.

    We had flown through a squall line which did a lot of damage on the ground.


  248. hillsmom –

    Don’t worry – if we upset anyone, it’s not you – it’s me I’m sure. M&H don’t say what is “on-topic” or off, so we just all ramble, but occasionally you hear complaints about “nobody wants to hear about…” (fill in the blank)…I don’t pay much attention to it – if someone finds a topic tedious, it’s up to them to change it; several of us are pretty versatile and don’t really care what the topic is.

    Just like everywhere else, politics and religion have caused quite a bit of anger and dissention here, but several of us have decided – rather independently it would seem – to try to keep the conversation civil as long as possible. I hope for the best but expect the worst, as Franklin would say…LOL

    Back to our favorite topic – I like to fly, so I’m always delighted to hear stories by someone like you, who had flown in ways I can only dream of. Nowadays in flying if you step one inch out of line it’s a federal case; we can’t have fun like you used to. It feels to me sometimes like the Iron Curtain is still there – except we are on the wrong side this time. Oh well, who was it that said the police are always busy in a police state?

    I’m doing a two-month MRI fellowship right now, (no call!) so my evenings are mostly free and I should be able to post regularly until March. Just before Xmas I was working a lot of hours and barely got my Xmas shopping done, let alone enjoy M&H.

    Which reminds me – we could certainly enjoy another M&H post about now. (hint, hint)


  249. Dear PFesser, I hope our remarks won’t cause any upset on “The Porch” as I’m definitely a lurker. However, I most respectfully disagree with you about the Connie. IMHO the most beautiful planes had red tails! ;^) I was fortunate to be in what might be called the “Golden Age” of commercial flight. In through the B-377, 4s, DC6, Dc7s, Electra, just before the jets. With the jets, it started to be like working cattle cars.

    I’ll tell you another little tale. We used to serve champagne. The idea was to obtain an empty bottle to carry on board, so the count would be ok, then swap for a full bottle to imbibe at home…;^) I haven’t thought about these things in years.

    Anyway, I went in looking for a career, but soon realized there was a very long line of ladies ahead of me. So I did leave to finish college. When I graduated, I met my DH who (a generation ahead of me) had been a Navy pilot. You would really like to hear his stories. But he loved flying still. The last plane we had was an Aero Commander 500 B. Yes, I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is definitely better, and you can buy happiness regardless of what “they say”. Oh well, probably TMI.

    Oh sh*t! The Eagles once again managed to “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory”…Phooey!

    P.S. for Auntie Jean. We visited in Maui years ago where my DH had night fighter flight training. We went where the airfield was, but it was all back in cane. Probably now, it’s all in condos or something like that. Anyway, I thought he should feel like that great opening scene in “Twelve O’clock High” when Dean Jagger sees the prop wash on the grass.

    Dear H&M, Please tell us you are well. Happy 2011…


  250. Lord Plushbottom – I just caught that! I was a big Moon Mullins fan when I was a kid. We had an airport manager years ago named Frank Mullins, and he went by the name “Moon.” I never could talk to him or about him without thinking of the cartoon character. He was pretty dense; I suspect someone else hung that moniker on him and he never knew who it really was.

    Thanks for the little trip back in time…one of these days I am going to try to get some of those old comics and read them again. I suspect you and I may be close to the same age. Great seeing posts by someone from the golden age before TSA!


  251. hillsmom –

    Super story. I always wonder how the stewardesses (now “flight attendants”) manage to maintain their feet AND their cool when the ride is like a flatbed wagon over rocks.

    I’m showing my age now, but I have always thought the Connie, with that triple vertical tail, was the prettiest airplane ever made. Structurally, there wasn’t any advantage; it was just that there weren’t any hangars in those days that were tall enough to handle the plane if the vertical stabilizer were all one piece. I go to the EAA convention in Oshkosh fairly often and a couple years ago they had one there which had been converted to turboprops. Beautiful, graceful machine for sure.


  252. PFessor, yes I do have some. But, an old roommate of mine (now retired) just sent me a delightful little book by Anne Billingsley Kerr; “Fujiyama Trays & Oshibori Towels”. While she was before my time, I did remember a lot of the people mentioned. I also had flights with Danny Kay and Leo Durocher among others. That reminded me of the time Liz Taylor and Richard Burton boarded and shortly after takeoff retired to one of the bunks on the B-377. The story was told around and one fellow who did flight attendant training (I forget his name) remarked that those bunks weren’t stressed for two. LOL.

    Once you’ve “stood” in the galley of the Stratocruiser as it wound between T-cells over FL whipping up and down and from side to side, all the while trying to keep the trays stable…I used to sing “Oh baby please don’t be that way…” Well, storms and turbulence don’t bother me too much. Perhaps you can find the book at the library. It sure brought back a lot of memories from long ago. I knew the whole crew from the Tell City Electra fatality. We used to call Capt. La Parle “Lord Plushbottom” because he did enjoy his food. One of the stews lived in the other half of a duplex we rented in Richfield. Ok, I’m going to cry now. Happy 2011


  253. hillsmom –

    “PFesser53, that was some video! I’ve actually managed to forward it to some of my old friends. We carried trays in some very dicey weather a hundred years ago. Hard to believe that we’ll never see those beautiful red tails in the sunlight again. The pilot sounded like he might be from MN…? (IMHO, NWA pilots were real pros.) So it goes.”

    Yeah, there is nothing like night flying in bad weather to unnerve you. That is where training comes in, though. The average public flier has no concept how much training lies between the two pilots up front, and the millions of hours of flight time experience that are built into every airliner. When it’s too bad to go myself, I never have a second thought when I get on a commercial flight.

    So you “carried trays” huh? I’m sure you have some great stories to share! Would you mind?


  254. There aren’t many worse ways to die. I wonder how often people go that way.
    Eddie Sachs, the “clown prince of racing” died with others in a firey crash at the Indianapolis 500 around 1964. The accident resulted in improved safety practices.

    The bridge adjoins our farm, and I sometimes wonder what happened to the family as I drive on it.

    On a cheerier note, my wife and I have celebrated New Years Eve with just the two of us since before we were married. She makes a relish tray, and we toast the new year with Hawiian Punch and 7 UP.

    Last night, our son and his wife called from California at midnight our time to help us celebrate the way we all did when the children were still home. That was nice.


  255. My older brother told me a story like that about Lens Creek Mountain, outside of Charleston, WV. It’s nothing now in a modern car or truck, but back then it was treacherous – narrow, steep, no guard rails, and truck brakes were very poor compared to now. He said a gasoline truck had gone over the mountain and was about 100′ below the road and caught on fire with the driver trapped. He told me that story when I was 9 or 10 but I never forgot it.

    It seems I read a short story about that very thing in high school. The only thing I remember was the driver was Shackelton or Shackelford, something like that…I remembered it because it reminded me of my brother’s story.


  256. A man and his daughter were trapped in a wrecked truck on a partially collapsed bridge. The highway patrolman chatted with the girl to ease her mind and keep her calm until help arrived. The father drifted in and out of lucidity, and his daughter was worried. The girl had never seen snow, and she had begged her father to take her north on her Christmas vacation. Her two brothers also wanted to go but they had seen snow, so her father took her. The highway patrolman told the girl help was near and her father would be all right.

    Then, the fire started. Both twisted and yanked in a desperate attempt to free themselves from the wreckage. There was nothing we could do. The father and daughter begged us to shoot them, but I was only a nineteen year old college kid home for Christmas and out for a walk. The patrolman had to follow rules. He did what he could which wasn’t much. As I write this I see the patrolman holding the girl’s hand until it gets too hot.

    The patrolman blamed himself and went nuts.

    I promised myself to live my life to give meaning to their deaths. It sounds pretty dumb, but I was only 19. I kept my promise. I also thought this message board could be better than it was when I found it.

    “Every generation
    blames the one before
    and all of their frustrations
    come beating on your door

    … so we open up a a quarrel
    between the present and the past
    we only sacrifice the future
    Its the bitterness that lasts

    So don’t yield to the fortunes
    you sometimes see as fate
    It may have a new perspective
    on a different date
    and if you don’t give up and don’t give in
    You may just be O.K.

    I wasn’t there that morning
    when my father passed away
    I didn’t get to tell him
    all the things I had to say…
    …I just wish I could have told him in the living years

    Say it loud, say it clear
    You can listen as well as you hear
    Its too late when we die
    to admit we don’t see eye to eye”

    Mike Rutherford


  257. The video of the aftermath reminds me of something else. Three trucks had formed a convoy and were crossing the border into Nebraska. The lead driver was from Quebec but she said she had been on I 80 many times. She told the others she hated driving in Nebraska in billous weather at night. It held too many surprises.

    Frequent lightning was flashing, and the drivers expected to drive through some rain.

    The lead driver was first to cross under an overpass, but when the next driver entered, he was shocked. The first truck had vanished as if a force had plucked it off the earth. He applied the brakes, but as he left the overpass, his truck rose slightly and entered the median on two wheels. Through the dust, he saw the lead truck was in the same predicement. The wind and dust cleared and both drivers managed to regain control. The last driver didn’t feel the same wind.

    They continued on, but the second driver said he had to stop because his engine was overheating. They drove to the next truck stop and looked under the hood much as the pilot had inspected his plane’s ice accumulation. Mud and grass coated the grill and the fan which had been bent flat. A crowd gathered as the drivers worked on the fan and cleared the mud.

    But then, they directed their attention to the third truck. A small tree was stuck from one side of the sleeper to the other. The shocked driver said his wife usually traveled with him and at that time of night, she would have been in the sleeper.


  258. Happy New Year…I hope. So disappointed that there’s no new posting from M&H since it would be a nice way to start 2011. I hope they’re both ok.

    PFesser53, that was some video! I’ve actually managed to forward it to some of my old friends. We carried trays in some very dicey weather a hundred years ago. Hard to believe that we’ll never see those beautiful red tails in the sunlight again. The pilot sounded like he might be from MN…? (IMHO, NWA pilots were real pros.) So it goes.


  259. Thanks for the video PFessor. It took a long time for our dial up service to let our computer load it. That is terrifying to watch let alone live through. It only makes me more determined not to ride in small planes.

    The only experience I had approximating it was when we were flying to Paris through heavy snow squalls and a strong head wind about 8PM one night. The cowling or whatever you call the front engine cover had come loose and was removed on the previous day. The little engine exposed to the elements was one thing I worried about. Another was the turbulence which bounced us around.

    Then, the pilot told us the plane was getting sluggish and asked me to check for ice on the wing. The clouds and snow were so thick, I could barely see the wing lights. I saw something that looked like a little rine ice on the wing near the window, but if I had seen what that pilot saw, I would have been a gibbering nut case.

    We later flew into clear air, and I think we sank to a lower altitude. I remember the pilot telling the air traffic controller we had ice. My hat’s off to those folks too.


  260. Noah I would like to hear more of what happened there. I felt sorry for myself because I had towork New years day.

    Good talking with you perfessor. Yes it isn’t that much fun working for the machine is it? Good luck on your fellowship.


  261. Happy New Year M&H and all my porch dwelling buds! I hope it’s a good one.

    We have much work to do this year in our nation’s capitol. Last year’s accomplishments were impressive but there is still much work to be done! On we go………..



  262. Welcome back, Noah –

    I don’t know if you have had the time to read the recent posts, but it would seem that several others have come to the same conclusion. When I first began posting here in the spring of last year, I was really struck by the level of intolerance and unwillingness to consider other points of view. After 8-9 months it is all very disappointing and tiresome, but doing battle, however, is really a dead end. Yes, if you handle the language well, you can always win – but win what?

    Craig and others on the blog have had some bad news, and my own two sons narrowly escaped killing themselves in an auto accident; perhaps these little planetary conjunctions at an introspective time of year point the way to a different way of doing business. Now your trip brings even more perspective to what is important and what is trivial.

    Nah, you’re right. It’s just embarrassing and it ain’t worth it. Your words remind me of something the administrator of my cancer center said thirty years ago, “The two most important words in the world begin with a ‘p” – priorities and perspective.” Arguing about dead-end topics with people you will never meet calls into question both. I, for one, am reassessing how I want to spend my precious – and ever-dwindling – time.


  263. Hello all. Back from a trip to Africa’s Darfur region in Sudan. My wife and I decided I would travel there with a group to help save a group of people in dire jeopardy. Our group helped save 16 families from a terrible situation in the area. What an eye opening experience. Culture shock for me to say the least.. Wish I had brushed up some more on Arabic and Dinka. Why the world seems to have turned a blind eye with what is going on there is beyond me. Some of the stories we were told is beyond my ability to understand how one human being could ever treat another this way.

    On the point of intolerance, my time in areas where people are in real conflict and turmoil has really opened my eyes. How petty so many of you are on here over such foolish nonsense. The level of animosity is disturbing. Just because a few people don’t post in a way that agrees with you. It is no wonder that places like Darfur exist when people are so consumed with petty bickering. Get some perspective. Just because we don’t all agree politically doesn’t make it moral or ethical to treat others with this level of hostility. I see no difference in the hate mongering on these boards to what we witnessed in Sudan, it is just a matter of intensity. If you don’t like what someone posts on a blog, just stop reading from their posts.

    It will still be a couple days before I get back to my home state of Michigan so I should be back on more often soon. Hope you all have a great New Year.


  264. Craig –

    “My “Republican” Doctor wife was denied a mamogram yesterday because the Insurance company said it has not been proven that the breasts are the primary source of the Carcinoma. Plus she had one less than six months ago.
    The Radiologist asked if we wanted it out of pocket..???”

    I’m really sorry about your wife’s and your situation. As I told you in private email, feel free to call any time.

    As for the mammogram, I believe they will want to get a better idea where the tumor came from and THEN do more directed exams such as mammography. This usually means a biopsy of any masses or abnormal nodes first. If the tissue then looks like breast under the microscope, they will do a mam to search for the primary; if colon, they would do a colonoscopy most likely. You don’t want to subject the patient to a lot of tests until you have a better idea what you are looking for, so it sounds like her docs are right on the beam.

    “WE obviously have bigger fish to fry with two spots on spine. Scheduled for Nuclear Bone scan next Thursday.”

    Nukes is my subspecialty. We can talk about it by phone or email any time you want.

    “Everyone stay safe out there tonight. We want ya’all to be there tomorrow.
    Happy New Year my friends. I’m scared of losing my wife.
    Hug those around you and tell them you love them.”

    Just did. And for that very reason.


  265. Here’s one all on this page can appreciate.

    My “Republican” Doctor wife was denied a mamogram yesterday because the Insurance company said it has not been proven that the breasts are the primary source of the Carcinoma. Plus she had one less than six months ago.
    The Radiologist asked if we wanted it out of pocket..???
    WE obviously have bigger fish to fry with two spots on spine.
    Scheduled for Nuclear Bone scan next Thursday.

    Thanks to all of you for your kindness shown and prayers offered.

    Everyone stay safe out there tonight. We want ya’all to be there tomorrow.
    Happy New Year my friends. I’m scared of losing my wife.
    Hug those around you and tell them you love them.

    I will be in touch later into next week.


  266. You, too!


  267. Hello porch dwellers! Just popping in to wish all a Happy New Year! Especially a Happy and prosperous 2011 to Helen and Margaret, their loved ones as well!

    We had some good news and some bad news recently, on the blog. I am sorry to hear about your wife Craig. Hopefully, Mageen’s good new about her husband’s surgery will be a beacon of hope for you and your wife.’s outcome.

    Mageen, so happy to hear about your news. Hope the chemo gets rid of the beast for good.

    Hope everybody has a safe 31st!


  268. I was just reading an article on icing; sleet on the ground is a guarantee of clear icing above – very scary to pilots, especially at night. If a warm front overruns a cold front, or if there is a stationary front, you can get a temp inversion aloft as the warm air rides above the cold. Precip falls from cold air to warm and turns into water, forming supercooled droplets as it then falls into cold air again. Once it touches anything cold, it freezes instantly.

    Really scary. I don’t fly much in the winter.

    James, I know you are a trained wx observer. Here is a video my cousin, a commercial pilot, sent to me. For orientation, the night cargo flight was from Beckley WV to Louisville KY but only made it 40 miles before having to land at Charleston WV. The aircraft is a Shorts, one of the most powerful and very best cargo planes ever made and in 40 miles (about 20 minutes) it accumulated so much ice that it nearly crashed. I have to tell ya – I would have you-know-what MY shorts if it had been me. My hat’s off to the freight dogs.


  269. Me too, No ones’ puppet and PFessor.

    Your story of the pretend firing squad is hilarious. Were any of those folks close enough to know what was happening?

    I live in the Missouri River valley where the land is flat. The Loess Hills border the valley. They are as much as five hundred feet high and steep enough for a ski resort north of Council Bluffs.

    We used to toboggan and snow board, and I learned to down hill ski. The children and I used to stand on a four person toboggan as we went down. My wife quit doing that after she hurt her back. Unfortunately, the after effects of a pickup throwing me about two hundred feet and years of heavy lifting made that too dangerous according to a neurosurgeon. He said cross country skiing was fine.

    All I have to do is step outside of our yard and ski a half to mile in one direction or a quarter to half mile in the other. Our dog sometimes runs around in circles when she watches me carry the skis. She digs up field mice to eat. Yes, it is good excercise, especially if I am skiing in a half inch of snow on grass.

    This has been an interesting storm. A tornado it spawned killed people in northwest Arkansas and maybe around St Louis. A blizzard is raging in Dakota and surrounding places. The leading warm air yesterday gave us a 58 degree high and Omaha golf courses were open. Four hours later, it was 17.

    Warm air surging ahead of the second wave gave us heavy convective sleet and then heavy snow showers. About two inches fell before a dry slot cut off the precipitation.


  270. James –

    I thought you lived in the flatlands? Are you x-c skiing? I have never done that, but it is listed as the highest calorie/hour exercise going and looks like a great deal of fun, especially if you can take your dog.

    I love downhill skiing and took a couple of ski instructor courses when I was younger. We were all so bad: The courses are always at the first part of the season, so there are always a lot of new skiers wandering about, and always a few end up by mistake on the expert slope. If we got bored, sometimes we would take a break and for fun we would line up at the bottom of the expert hill and form a firing squad with our ski poles. When someone who was clearly in over his/her head would wander onto the steep hill, we would shoulder our ski poles like rifles and the instructor would go, “Ready, Aim, FIRE!” just as they started to fall. Kind of unsportsmanlike I guess, but hell, that’s how it goes…

    OK, NOP and James – I’ll take the pledge: no grudges for the new year. Any NEW insults are fair game though, but last year is last year. Let’s see how far it goes. The idealist in my head says there is always hope, but the realist says no way. We’ll see.


  271. LOL “grudger”


  272. I am resolved not to take any grudges into the new year, period. Silly stuff, it never bothers anyone, but the grudgee anyway.


  273. I’m not giving up yet either No ones’puppet.

    I don’t mean Sarah Palin is potentially dangerous in the sense she would do something criminal. Unpredictable factors might let her win the nomination and even become president. Admittedly, it is unlikely but many seemingly impossible things happen.

    Speculation about what would have happened had Kennedy survived his first term leads into many different directions. Would he have pursued the Vietnam war as LBJ did for example? Kennedy was more conservative than Johnson. Would he have tried to implement all of the social welfare programs Johnson did?

    We have a sleet and snow storm, so I will be able to ski again. Who can think about grudges with that?


  274. James, I heard in passing many years ago about Al’s brother, but nothing about him on the History Channel. Unlike most of the criminal element Al Capote came from a decent family, as I was researching to better enjoy watching Boardwalk Empire, the comparison between his up bring and that of other mobsters was striking. But I know, Al also fed the hungry in Chicago and did other good works. It is always intriguing to try to figure out why two people with same background choose divergent paths.
    For once I agree with you about Sarah Palin, she can read a teleprompter as well as anyone. But it is hilarious when she is reading Obama out for using one from her own teleprompter, she was caught on camera doing it here in Nevada. Even so her T P crowd was enthralled by her. Human beings are a kick, sometimes they want to be fooled and they aren’t going to let their own eyes spoil it for them.


  275. NOP –

    Restraint can be difficult, but personal disasters such as we have heard about recently show one what is important and what is trivial – and can teach lessons, if one will but listen. Not to say that current restraint is easy, or it is easy to let the past go, but it can be done. Tomorrow is a new year. It can also be a new day.


  276. I agree with you JSRI… In front of and behind closed doors.



  277. Last evening I saw a local interview with Senator Reid, he said, the soon to be freshman class of Tea Partiers is about 5 or 6 members larger than his own freshman class when he first went to Congress and that the Senate will handle them the same way the Senate handled the ambitiousness of his own class. They will just slow it down when it gets to the Senate. Interesting.


  278. I don’t know what the History Channel said about Al’s white sheep brother, but here is what our legends say.

    Al Capone’s sherrif brother wanted to make amends for Al’s evil life and he decided law enforcement was the way to do it. He carried two pearl handled pistols and twirled them as wild west movie characters did.

    At first, he didn’t tell his family or any people around here that he was a Capone. His cover broke when Al showed up because their mother wanted the brothers to all get together for a family reunion.

    He told his family and soon everyone knew. No one seemed to think the less of him. Later, the two brothers and children spent part of a summer at Al’s summer cottage in Wisconsin.

    Some of my distant relatives made bootleg whiskey in their barn for the mob. The Capone organization treated and paid them well. Unfortunately for them, they flaunted their money when their neighbors were barely getting by. Their new car and farm machinery made people suspicious. People also wondered about the heavy truck and auto traffic to and from their farm late at night.

    Someone turned them in, and T men confiscated the goods. They also smashed barrels of liquor and malt outside of the barn. My father drove up to watch, and he said it was the first time he had seen chickens and pigs so drunk they could hardly walk.

    A small company in Templeton, Iowa has the recipe of some of Al’s favorite brew and they produce it in limited quantities. Templeton Rye was the drink of choice for 1920’s Chicago gangsters. I’ve toured the plant and sampled the whiskey. I’m not a drinker, but that is the best whiskey I’ve ever tasted.

    Hoot Gibson the old time cowboy star who was also a real cowboy was born across the river from us in the same country Mr. Capone served as sherrif.

    A survey after the Kennedy-Nixon debate yielded different results between radio listeners and television viewers. Those who heard the debate on the radio judged Nixon the winner. Television viewers said Kennedy won the debate. Nixon had a 101 fever and a five o clock shadow he didn’t cover with makeup. Compared to Kennedy, he looked seedy. JFK with his good looks and head of hair was a sex symbol and one of the first politicians who knew how to use television to his advantage.

    Sarah Palin does too.


  279. Well the pleasantness lasted a full 24 hours, that’s a start, so let’s not give up. Sometimes it is hard to forgive and forget, please people don’t pile on, it doesn’t help.

    Greytdog, has a point about good looks can be an advantage for a candidate, when we see someone attractive, we just naturally think they are healthy. That certainly was the case with JFK, I wonder if he had survived and served his second term if that would have determined the outcome of his Presidency? And we’ve before McCain selected Palin, one look at him and you just thought, will he serve a full term?


  280. H&M’s blog has hit a brick wall. It used to be a pleasant diversion with witty commentary and engaged followers but all that has unraveled. It appears to have been taken over by a low level med tech with opinions outside of his field of competence who has selected James, the whiniest of all bloggers, as a model to be emulated.

    A few days back Pfesser quote: “ James, OTOH, can hold forth on a variety of subjects, because he has lived a full, rich life and not only has seen things; he has actually DONE things. I personally like to share experiences with him and hear his stories.”

    What he is saying here is that the rest of the posters on H&M are inexperienced rubes and can be ignored. I guess, high academic achievers, successful educators, doctors, lawyers, Indian chiefs, business owners, managers, musicians, artists, world travelers, community volunteers, parents and grandparents, of varying ethnicities or states of residence, etc. etc, who make up most of the contributors on H&M are nothing more than chopped liver. Who would ever think that learning to run a combine trounces all that experience?

    But more on the mind set is shown by the following. “My advice is to lighten up and show a little tolerance. Sit back and enjoy the ride, since you can’t do a damned thing about it anyway. You might even learn something, though in this venue you would certainly be in select company.” (Whoa! The last is an example of tolerance???)

    Then comes the wrap-up. “Cordiality can return to M&H any time; as far as I’m concerned, the sooner the better. I’ll bend over backward to get along, but I will NOT bend over forward, and I’ve no plans to go elsewhere. Bullies and bigots are perfectly welcome to ply their trade elsewhere; I’m the wrong man to try, and from what I’ve seen, so is James.” (Cordiality PLUS flexibility???)

    But it also tells us something when a poster sees the world through the prism of the history of war. Certainly there are technical winners in wars but most human progress can be measured by the degree of comity and cooperation between tribes, nations and neighbors rather than by appropriating and squatting on someone else’s territory and driving out the remaining occupants.


  281. Heh. crypto – I was actually too young to vote for JFK. It was funny tho growing up and listening to “grown-ups” talk tho – some of the folks were worried about the influence of the Pope, some of the younger women were swooning over JFK, and I remember my uncle (Navy – WWII) saying he’d follow JFK to hell and back, and he’d follow Nixon to hell. . .to make sure he arrived. I think “looks” play a part in garnering initial attn, but the voters are also looking for substance, integrity, and a vision of the future. When those all mesh in one candidate that tends to be pretty damn unstoppable. We’ve become, over the years, used to having to “settle”, for voting against someone rather than for someone. That’s the phenomena I noticed during the Obama campaign – folks talking about how nice it was, how good it felt, to finally vote FOR a candidate rather than choosing the lesser of two evils.


  282. What many of us have been saying for 10 years now.. ;-( sad but true IMHO.


  283. greytdog: thank you for the compliment 🙂 but I well remember JFK and the election. I was not yet 21 then, but was from MA . No one I knew or still know voted for JFK because of his “good looks”.
    perhaps you and some did for that reason. I call what he had the cult of personality. many people buy it, many do not.
    Now the next time Nixon ran, I did not vote for him – certainly not because of his looks. Perhaps you do remember the bumper sticker “Don’t Blame Me, I’m from Massachusetts” when MA was the only state that did NOT go for Nixon.

    There are actually many of us who use critical thinking skills when making voting decisions. Those skill do not include eye candy or good looks.

    And it is incredible that anyone could even think that Palin has any qualities worth emulating.


  284. Re: Sarah Palin – Provocative. Vexing. Perhaps calling her a gutsy woman isn’t a demeaning enough judgment to satisfy many who don’t suffer fools gladly, but I do see something in her along those lines. She seems blissfully unaware of her own limitations.

    Of course I find her superficial as she continually tries to fabricate buzzwords into a message. I personally think that “dangerous” is a bit of a stretch, but I suppose there is evidence enough to support that she could be if she ever ascended to real power.

    PFesser – excellent article (the Sam Harris one). All familiar questions and concepts to me, but I found the insights – if not outright answers – genuinely brilliant. (PS – glad the kids are alright.)

    I recently heard, can’t remember where, that one cannot be fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Food for thought.

    NOP – no one’s puppet indeed! Your red quilt square brought some light into the room sho’ ‘nuff.

    Mageen – Good good.

    Craig – Cancer sucks. You don’t.


  285. Not comparing Al Capote to S. Palin, but I did hear just today on the History Channel, that Al was responsible for 400 deaths and 40 of those with his own hands. I do recall hearing there was a white sheep in his family and that brother was a pretty good sheriff. Never know do you? If any of you have been watching Boardwalk Empire on HBO, you are also aware Al Capone had some musical talent, he even wrote music.

    I honestly say, there is nothing about Sarah Palin, I would have wanted my daughters or my granddaughters to emulate about Mrs. Palin. And I really mean that. Judging from all the enemies she’s made, she is mean, vindictive, and hostile; add those characteristics to her aversion to scholarship, her own and her children’s, no way Jose.


  286. Sarah Palin is a nasty person and was a crummy governor.
    She can turn on surface charm and has a sixth sense about how to tap into emotions around her.
    She was worse than a crummy governor actually and I’m sick unto perdition of the lack of discussion of what she did as governor when people talk about her politics.

    When folks just talk about her I don’t really care…

    She won in a 3 way race with 48% of the vote when NO one could imagine a worse governor than the one before her. It is likely she would have lost to Tony Knowles if Andrew Halcro hadn’t pulled some of Tony’s votes running as an independent…

    I don’t care about her family nor any of the personal stuff but she really truly stunk as gov… and it got worse and worse… only time I can remember conservatives, independents, and progressives in some of the bizarre alliances which occurred her 2nd year…banded together against the gov…


  287. cyrpto – you’re probably too young to recall this, but JFK’s good looks did indeed play a major factor in his election. During the TV Debate, Nixon’s 5 o’clock shadow was so heavy that he seemed older, seedy, less trustworthy than the dashing, confident youthful Senator from Massachusetts. Men & women alike saw a dashing, heroic man of their generation . . . and identified with him, with his experience, – and were drawn by his photogenic glamour. So yes, looks do play a contributing role in our determination of a candidate. . .


  288. I think Sarah Palin rose to the top of her mileu, because of qualities worth emulating. I know something about another who was also an achiever. Al Capone. His brother was sherrif in the county across from ours, and some distant relatives did business with Capone. He paid them well, and was fair. I tend to admire the good and condemn the bad in the same person.

    Yes, both are complex people, and while I agree with Jsri that she has evolved into a celebraty and has become a distasteful part of our culture, Sarah Palin is no bit of fluff. I think she and her advisers are potentially dangerous. She is like a weed ready to take over the garden if conditions are right.

    I agree Palin’s elevation to vice presidential candidate was dumb luck, but she was opportunistic enough to use it to her advantage.

    I don’t base votes on looks and personality, but I’ll bet some people do.

    The Omaha World Herald printed a story about Lady Gaga, and said her boy friend is Luc Carl, a musician who now lives in New York. Her real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.

    Thanks everyone for the nice discussion. I didn’t realize so many would be interested in an off- hand comment to No ones’ puppet, and I didn’t plan to change any minds. It was an accidental, enjoyable diversion.

    Now its almost time for the Nebraska-Washington foot ball game.


  289. That’s good news Jean! Here is to continued good health into the New Year!


  290. Hi Congenial Gang,

    We are all set to start the New Year on a positive note about ‘boy toy’s health issues. They are manageable for another 82 years. After a number of consults, the diagnoses and prognoses are good! He’s not going to have to have unnecessary surgery, hospitalization or extensive treatments that would cost the taxpayers lots and lots of the Medicare money that is always much to the dismay of conservative thinking. The specialists will collect their fees of course, but that only seems fair considering their expertise. They were able to rule out any number of scary or grim scenarios. The added bonus for us is the peace of mind that we consider invaluable. We hope to continue to live independent productive lives for quite some time to come.

    For your New Year’s weekend entertainment, I was recently reminded of the wonderful, wacky story written by James Thurber, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. It is a classic that was made into a movie starring Danny Kaye, one of the most talented actor-comedians of his generation. Many of us Old Timers remember both the story and the movie fondly. I look forward to a possible updated re-make of it any day now. Adam Sandler in the title role maybe? For those of you with time on your hands, perhaps you could Google it and learn all about it.

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean


  291. In all honesty, Palin’s success, and I’m measuring in wealth not accomplishments, is due to dumb luck and John McCain in my opinion. Agreed Pfessor, men are hard wired and Sarah fits the criteria, that is probably why I’ve never heard any man knock her on her looks. But any man who thinks she’d make a good President needs his brain raised.


  292. crypto, I don’t mind she is making money. If people enjoy what she is selling more power to her. You can bet I’ll never buy it though.


  293. […] Dear Family, In a year when we almost lost your Grandpa Harold, I would expect each and every one of you to make the effort to be here this year.  If only for a few minutes.  I’ll make an exception for anyone who lives more than three hours away.  Now that is what I expect, but clearly not what I will get.  So be warned.  At Christmas time what you expect to find under the tree is clearly not what you will get.  I love you.  Really I do.  I don’t … Read More […]


  294. cryptoclearance –

    I think men’s visual attractions are hardwired, and women’s drive to BE attractive are also. I have always felt that while in most species the male displays for the female’s attraction, in humans it is the other way. I submit as evidence the relative expenditures on clothing and cosmetics of men vs. women.

    Who was it that said, “Women need a reason to have sex; men need a place.” ???


  295. lori wrote:>> LOL well NOP I couldn’t disagree with you more. As I’ve said many times, different strokes for different folks.. I can’t stomach SP. I see NOTHING even remotely attractive about her physical appearance or her personality.<<

    This idiot was nominated to run for the second highest office in the country! Who the hell is voting on her looks and 'personality'????? whether one likes her looks or pseudo intelligence; she is taking it all the way to the bank.
    do any of you use looks as ANY of your criteria when voting for a male?


  296. JSRI, Hear, hear!


  297. jsri: I cannot imagine Palin being a role model for anything but a rodeo queen. why the heck do males judge her and most women on their looks? How is that important?
    She is getting very wealthy on her ignorance and for all the white males out there; the eye candy factor.
    THese people also VOTE. scary.


  298. James –

    I think SP is complex, as are most people’s feelings about her.

    Personally, there are things about her I admire very much. I believe she has grit and will stand up for herself and her family. In that vein, I think that much of her considerable success can be traced to her good personal qualities, but unfortunately much is also the consequence of her unsavory qualities as well – opportunism, vindictiveness, disloyalty to friends and a willingness to throw anyone under the bus who gets in her way. Speak to those who live in Alaska and you will hear that as a recurrent theme.

    Surely there are some who dismiss her because she “didn’t go to the right schools,” but I think that is too easy – I think many view her the way I do – a pleasing-to-look-at – but empty – vessel. Someone in way over her head on the most rudimentary issues of politics and policy. I think her pleasing facade and empty interior is a truly lethal combination in this time when we desperately need some real leadership. It scares me to think that she could be in a position of authority someday.

    Just my .05. I could be wrong.


  299. Craig:

    That is devastating news. But consult, consult, consult. As one who has gone through this a number of time in recent years, you can never have enough information.

    And as like many others here on the H&M site, I share your pain.

    I am hoping for the very best outcome for your wife.


  300. Craig, So sorry, warm thoughts, prayers, and wishes for a successful outcome are coming your way. Mageen, so thankful for your outcome so far. Best wishes for a continued successful recovery.

    James regarding, $arah Paylin, she has marketed herself well. I do not for one minute believe she is on twitter or FB, but believe her team of people that do it for her do it well. If she really wanted to make a difference, she would talk about the issues facing single parents, raising children esp children with disabilites and the resources that are available. Have you heard squat about her trip to Haiti? Again, I congratulate her and admire her for the team that supports her, but shen her mouth is moving, nothing meaningful comes out.


  301. James. You wrote “She began in modest circumstances and mostly through the force of her personality, ambition and luck Sarah rose to the top.”

    To the top of what?

    The world is becoming overwhelmed by the number of people who have arrived at the “top” using the reality TV model. Sarah Palin is just another of the same ilk. Marginal talent, minimal accomplishments but an overabundance of gall. As governor of a state having fewer residents than cities in most major lower forty-eight states and walking away in mid term is not an achievement. It is dereliction of duty. Is this the pattern for young women to emulate? I think not.

    And about her “successful” book writing. She has about as much credibility as Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. To take credit for the production of fawning ghost writers is a total fabrication. To make millions of dollars doing it is obscene. Again, is this what you want young women to aspire to? Whenever I publish anything I can truthfully say it is my work, it is made up of my ideas and if anyone else is quoted, the references are clearly cited.

    And BTW, what exactly is your definition of an elitist? I happen to know a lot of people who came from rustic environments, went to colleges not in the top tier and have reached pinnacles of success in their respective professions and are not Sarah Palin supporters. Does that automatically classify them as non-elitists? Just wondering.


  302. So who is Lady Gaga dating, Larry the Cable Guy? Dick Cavett is too old for her and I can’t think of any other living celebrities from Nebraska.


  303. No one’s puppet, I like your “dirty rat comment.” My daughter and I argue for fun. When my wife got tired of the same scenery after two hours and told us to quit, she protested, “but Mom , nobody at college argues like Dad.” Sometimes, we switch sides.

    I agree with much of what you wrote, but I still think the fact that she rose to the top without marrying the position makes her special. Yes, luck, charisma, and her looks helped her, but she needed determination, and talent too.

    Mrs. Palin’s refusal to list what she reads was one of the dumbest things she could have done in a campaign. An Alaskan son of a friend said he could understand Palin’s answer because some Alaskans are defensive about their hick image. He said he might have answered the same way out of pique. Whatever. Palin was a bone head that day.

    I regard her as a role model as I do anyone who has made something of him/herself. For example, during the eighties, two brothers in their late teens organized a drug distribution operation. Their origions were stereotpyical inner city.

    They ran their business like a Fortune corporation and forbad employees from using the product. An FBI agent said the brothers seemed to know instinctively what college students learned in business school. Of course, I’m not equating Sarah with drug dealers, but I think self motivated, determined and creative people are worthy of emulation. Its just too bad some of them work on the dark side.

    Yes, I believe her father was a biology teacher, and I think the family moved from Idaho when Sarah Palin was a small child. I know the Norse accent well because we live just south of Dakota and Minnesota. It seems to me, some of her verbal mannerisms are anarchronistic as though the dielect in Alaska is a fossilized version of what evolved in the lower forty eight states.

    “I hope she does run…” is enough to give me cold chills. She has been in Iowa and Nebraska twice recently, and only Lady GaGa who was visiting her boy friend’s family last weekend attracted even a fraction of interest Mrs. Palin has.

    Like you, we raised our son and daughter with the same expectations. I asked both if they wanted to farm, and neither did.

    You must be proud of your children. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d love to read your bragging about them.

    No body cares but me. The first low pressure center of the latest California storm has sent a warm dry slot over us. It is 58, sunny and most of our snow is gone. Tomorrow it is supposed to be in the single digits with snow, sleet and blowing snow.


  304. Hi Congenial Gang,

    As with everyone on the porch, I am so pleased with the outcome of your husband’s surgery and the prognosis. What a wonderful, optomistic way to start the New Year! Medical skills along with love and support together can work miracles.

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean


  305. Craig–my sincere good thoughts and wishes go to you and your dear wife. I very much hope we will be hearing good news.


  306. LOL well NOP I couldn’t disagree with you more. As I’ve said many times, different strokes for different folks.. I can’t stomach SP. I see NOTHING even remotely attractive about her physical appearance or her personality. I think she and her daughter both have the personalities of toenails.

    That’s what makes the world go ’round I guess. 😉


  307. James, we are entering a dicey area. I definitely do not think Sarah Palin is a good role model for young women and it isn’t because of the schools she attended. I attended a land grant college and so did my three children and they have all done very well thank you very much. Had to submit their college transcripts to their future employers, now if Sarah was to be our VP, as one of her potential employers, I expected no less from her. I also expected her to be able to name what books or magazines she’d read, my kids can. Well with one of them the list would be short, but he’s the Engineer and was the first of my children to make a 6 figure salary, so I give him some leeway.

    Sarah has some advantages; there is no denying she is one good looking woman, better looking now than when she was younger, I think. And she has that indefinable quality, we call charisma, I could recommend all American girls acquire it, but that isn’t realistic. Mind you I’m not particularly a fan of beauty contestants, but I don’t hold it against them either. And I have no reason to doubt Mrs. Palin when she says she entered one for college money, but it isn’t an option for most girls. Even tots, who are groomed before they can even walk, cute and poised as they are mostly won’t have Sarah’s real gifts when they are grown, great body and beautiful face, I’ve seen the parents so I know. I think the best thing we can do for our daughters is to raise them with the same expectations we have for our sons. A good education, indicated by a high GPA; a strong work ethic; high self-esteem, honesty, a sense of humor, and the the belief they can be anything they want to be.

    Sarah’s father, I believe, was a high school Biology teacher and the parents went from Idaho. I certainly think the Palins live near a community of Norse descendants, Sarah sometimes uses their accent, very similar to North Dakota or Wisconsin, but that is neither near nor there. Alaska is a good place to be from as any other. I certainly agree with you Sarah isn’t Presidential material, but sometimes I hope she does run and win the Republican nomination, but that is because I have a wicked sense of humor.


  308. No one’s puppet and PFessor from the beginning, I have considered Sarah Palin to be a good role model for anyone, especially women whether or not she is a jerk. She began in modest circumstances and mostly through the force of her personality, ambition and luck Sarah rose to the top.

    I wouldn’t vote for her either, and I hope the Republicans don’t nominate her, but the fact remains, her accomplishments are worthy of respect. Sarah Palin is a product of a culture alien to most Americans. Here in the heartland, we share a touch of it.

    I know teenagers who would have as Bristol did, driven a pickup down the Alcan Highway for a job on Dancing with the Stars.

    I think many of the personal attacks on Sarah are based on elitists who cannot understand how someone from such a rustic environment who didn’t attend the right schools or know the right people could be anything but a nonentity. She uses the attacks to her advantage. I think she has reached her current peak of compentancy, that of commentator, king and queen maker.

    Stretching a point, FDR helped make Sarah. During the Depression, his administration threw stuff at the wall to see what would stick as they tried to find something which would end the depression.

    One scheme was “lets send farmers to Alaska.” They chose mostly northern US families of Scandinavian descent and encouraged them to homestead in Alaska. Sarah’s family moved to the homesteaders’ area. One book, “Homesteaders in the Headlights” by George Harbeson Jr. describes “our family’s journey from a Depression era New Jersey farm to a new life in Wasilla, Alaska.”


  309. Craig, I’m sorry for the diagnosis. You guys are in for a rough time. 😦


  310. Mageen, I’m so happy to hear your good news! We all are grateful for modern medicine and I sincerely hope it comes through for some others in our midst. And James, I promise to tell you are wrong and why, but just not call you a “dirty rat” in 2011.

    Happy New Year everyone!


  311. Craig, I’m sorry about the about the bad news, but you and your wife are fighters. You won’t give up. Do as much research as you can.

    Good things happen. An e friend had six months to live with breast cancer, but she and the doctors beat it. It returned to grow in her thyroid, and they beat it too.

    In 1992, our doctor told me to wind up my affairs, but here I am.

    Mageen, I’m also glad the surgery went well. Of course, the immediate future will be a challenge, but you probably have many years together yet.

    Like No one’s puppet, I’m not an overly religious person, so I don’t know if anyone is listening to my prayers. I have prayed for both of you and others posting here with challenges they have not shared.

    PFessor, I’m also thinking positive thoughts about the young woman. I think you are right about your sons.

    I like your modest proposal. I’ve mentioned the Hendrick Motor Sports reaction to the deaths of ten family members and employees in an air plane crash. Tom Cruse narrated a company made documentary describing its history, including family and employees’ reactions to the tragedy. You tube also has shorts showing how people reacted.

    They all worked together and Johnson won the race a week after the crash. He was so emotional, he was unable to get out of his car for awhile. One man said it was important, because it showed to them they could carry on. He said they emotionally came together like a family.

    We could do something like that on this site. We could still go after each others’ throats, but separate the opinion from the personality.


  312. Thoughtful article in Huffpo on the state of the State, by Sam Harris:

    (warning – long)


  313. Craig,
    I’m very sorry to hear the diagnosis, but it sounds like you have a good medical team and an excellent place to go for further care. I will add you and your wife to my prayers. best of luck to you both.
    Mageen, How wonderful! Looks like your hubby is on his way to good health. What a blessing. Be sure to take care of yourself as well, during this healing process.
    PFesser- I am very happy your son’s survived the accident. Best Christmas gift, Ever! A lesson learned is just an added bonus.
    Happy New year to you all.


  314. Mageen, I’m so glad the surgery went so well! Best wishes for the treatment to come. I hope it’s abundantly successful and that he tolerates it OK.


  315. Mageen-
    Congratulations and hoping all goes well for your husband !

    Dear Helen and Margaret-
    missing hearing from you.
    Thank you for having us all in


  316. Craig –

    Two of the radiologists at M.D. Anderson trained with me. Husband and wife team, the Holberts. I don’t know if they are doing oncology or not; I’ve lost touch with them, but I am pretty sure they are still there. That’s the only contact I have, but if you think it is useful let me know and I’ll try to track them down.

    My buddy’s daughter with the brain aneurysm has had a slight reversal and increased weakness on one side – they think it’s due to blood vessel spasm in the brain, but unfortunately that can also lead to stroke. Most common in young females, which is, of course, she. Her family is hanging by a very thin thread.


    On another front, my sons are still mortified about destroying my Volvo, but I told them two things: Firstly, we all loved that car, but it’s an OBJECT – not a person. Because they are safe, I don’t give that damned car a second thought – my God; it could have been so very, very much worse. Secondly, there is always something good in everything bad that happens, even if it is very modest – in their case, the loss of an automobile may change their driving habits and save their lives one day, and I absolutely believe that. A very, very cheap lesson, really.

    Shifting gears again slightly – along those lines, with all the heartaches among our members, perhaps we should not waste just such a moment here on M&H. A modest proposal:

    It’s a new year. Let’s start over. Takers?


  317. Your news made my day Mageen! I just have the feeling your hubby is going to be OK and this nightmare will be over real soon. xo


  318. Greytdog, Delurkergurl, one and all on the front porch at Margaret and Helen: seems as if with all that was going on here that things turned into a support network on really BIG health issues — and frankly, that is good. There is now truly a healing tone to things and the universe and I greatly appreciate it. Husband had the cancer surgery on Wednesday the 29th and it went really, really well. For the first time in my life I heard a surgeon purr!!! What they were after turned out to be all located very conveniently which meant a smaller incision and a quicker recovery from the surgery. I have been assured that they do this particular operation literally every day at this particular center. Its a regional one so they draw from all over. Prognosis right now is good. Chemo will start anywhere from 4 to 7 weeks after surgery depending on the progress of the patient. Have been told that he will be working hard on learning how to do the morphine button and will be able to tolerate family but only one or two at a time for short periods. My eternal gratitude to everyone out there in the cosmos for the support and prayers! Tecum pax!


  319. Good evening Congenial Gang,

    Dear Craig, I am so sorry to hear of your wife’s health problem. This is a very big one. I am also encouraged to know that you feel comfortable enough to confide in your friends here on M&H’s porch, with the full knowledge that each and every one of us will support you and see you and your wife through this difficult time.

    We are sending you hope, prayers and warm heartfelt thoughts. poolman is the very, very best one of all to turn too.

    Aloha! Namaste. Shalom and Peace.

    Auntie Jean


  320. Craig, I completely understand that it is easier to express how you really feel here online than it is in real life. I’ve seen all to many times, when friends can’t truly hurt the way they need to hurt, because they need to be strong for their friends and family. Don’t know why it is that way, but human reaction is weird. Absolutely go for the second opinion.

    I’m not a religious person, so I am attempting to visualize a good outcome for your wife.


  321. Craig-
    standing at your shoulder, thinking of you and your wife.
    nothing helpful to say really… just want you to know there’s one more person here standing with you…


  322. Craig, my heartfelt sympathies go out to you and your wife during this crisis in your life. I do recommend MD Anderson as they are the best.
    I find it interesting that the internet world has provided us with a support group of friends in cyberspace where we can express our deepest emotions. Yes, we have our real family and friends who are there for us but we tend to hide those emotions and deal with the facts. The old “stiff upper lip” syndrome.
    As we type to our friends on the porch, no one is looking us in the eye and seeing the pain or the tear that flows down our cheek. The pain comes through our fingers not our eyes. Yes, there is a reason for all our relationships, be they real or virtual. I feel your pain and my tears.



  323. Craig, I join with all in wishing for the best outcome for your wife. My prayers and thoughts go out to her and you and the family.


  324. To MY porch family.

    The news is Carcinoma..metastatic.
    I knew it was not going to be good when the head of Internal Medicine,The Cancer Researcher, A Psychologist and a PA all came in for the news.
    The Cancer Doc says there are two spaces that are lighting up on my wife’s spine.
    Thus possible reason for the sciatic pain.
    Tomorrow already scheduled for a discussion with Radiologist.

    Our Doctor says he wants his pathologists to do some more work on the tissue they have to determine what kind of cells we are dealing with.
    He also suggested a visit with MD Anderson in Houston if we wanted a second opinion and no sweat with him,since he says sometimes they have research and programs “he” may not be aware about.

    Thus the gutted empty feeling of possibly losing my best friend for 45 years and wife of 35. She’s a fighter and her Psych boss siad for her to take a trip do whatever..not to worry. Only issue is my wife is only Child Psych Doc at university.

    Blood work was good…No organs involved at this time and she is physically OK ..even working out at gym..just not today with news we got this afternoon.
    That’s it for this five minutes.

    I guess we have bought a ticket for a roller coaster ride.
    Thanks to all for listening and I genuinely mean that.
    I know at some times I have worn my welcome out..but I don’t think at this point that I could have a better group of on line friends that you all..and that goes for both side3s of the aisle.


  325. Hi poolman, nice to see you without going over to Ruthford’s (?). That is an interesting site, I enjoy the sparring! As far as waiting for the thread to load, I’ll just say what my husband says when I am antsy, we’re retired what else do we have to do, but be patient. He is beginning to rub off on me.

    I too hope Craig’s wife received good news today, she is just one of several spouses on my mind, I guess we’ve all reached the age where things can go wrong and a good outcome is relative.


  326. When people are in the public eye, they seem very one dimensional to us onlookers. I agree with your assessment of her potential as a national leader, I just don’t think she has any of personal qualities necessary to grow into the office, but I have to admit, she has charisma.


  327. We love celebrity in America. Sarah’s celebrity has to be preserved at all costs. Too much has been invested in her to do otherwise. Look to whose money is behind her to see what her political agenda is. She can always turn on the charm. She performs well despite her numerous deficiencies. I’m waiting for the SP action figure and animated series, a part of the normal branding and marketing we all are subject to.

    This thread is soooooooo slow to load, I almost hate leaving a comment to add to its length. Almost.

    Craig, I hope you are getting good news regarding your wife’s health. I know you are in one of the best areas for medical needs. Keep us posted. You are both on my prayerlist.

    I wish everyone good health and blessing as we kick this year behind us. May prosperity and goodness fill our new year, I pray. Peace.


  328. NOP –

    Hope you don’t mind the abbreviation; it’s quick and I’m lazy…

    FWIW, my stepdaughter lived in NYC for a while (just moved to HI!), but when SP was there for an appearance last year, her roomie’s mom did SP’s hair for a TV show. (I know, that’s kind of fourth hand) Anyway, she interacted with her for a long time and described her as very genuine, friendly and universally nice to everyone. She also opined that she was by far not the sharpest knife in the drawer, which of course we all know.

    Those who know her on a more professional level describe her as kind of a spoiled cheerleader, used to getting her way and, as John McCain once said of the French, “used to dining out on her looks.” Also described as vindictive and grasping, all of which I believe have been confirmed on many fronts. Also “truth challenged” – which I think has been borne out. She lives in an area where you really have to do for yourself, and I believe she really can run heavy equipment to some degree, probably is not a serious shooter, and really can handle a small boat and fish a little. That kind of image goes a very long way in the “heartland,” I’m afraid.

    A somewhat complex woman, cute and friendly, but out of her depth in a car puddle. I hope to God the Republicans do not in any way consider her for a serious office.


  329. This is going to make me few friends and mostly likely embolden my enemies, that said, here goes, oh and I should state my credentials up front. I am a experienced reality show watcher and nothing pleases me more than to rip right into the “Stars.” Sunday night I watched “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” for the first time ever, I swear. It was fortuitous that I watched this particular episode, no animals were killed in the making of the show. Well make no mistake about it, Sarah is the Star and there are no co-stars in this production, oddly enough, with the exception of a couple of her comments, I found Sarah likable. For starters it was her voice, I didn’t recognize it. Dubbed? Too low budget for that? Okay, the fingernails on the chalkboard voice, we know all too well, isn’t Mrs. Palin’s inside voice.

    Another revelation, she can be, not to say she always is when the camera isn’t there, nice to her children. She does what every good parent does, she complements her children to build their self esteem. I personally thought, ‘you’re like a f***in genius,’ to Willow for splitting a head of lettuce in half, and followed by ‘never in the history of…done by,’ you, Willow, for chopping the lettuce into bite sized bits, was hysterical. Keep in mind the root word of hysterical. But I raised children, so I didn’t deduct any points. Somedays you have to search hard to say something nice to a teenager.

    Other than than the obviously “real” moments, it is safe to conclude, part of the show had been rehearsed,when the half-term Gov. ran heavy equipment and the clear use of a stunt double for Willow when she Drag Raced, I felt like I seen the private side of Sarah Palin. Same with Todd. Not a lot to say about Todd, he breathes through his nose, not his mouth.

    Give the show a 3 out of a possible 5.


  330. What’s good for American companies isn’t necessarily good for the American economy:

    Uninsured soars to 50 million (more evidence health insurance reforms are essential):


  331. PFessor, the whole thing is scary. You could have lost your sons or they might have been critically injured couldn’t they? Its a good object lesson on enjoying what we have while we still can.

    Craig, I can’t do a thing for you except think good thoughts and pray. I’m doing that.

    Thanks Greytdog. It was fun last evening as the setting sun turned cirris to orange and then red. Our dog loves when I ski. She enjoys the run.

    Now, were leaving for Omaha to help celebrate our son- in law’s birthday.

    With everything that’s going on, I think fondly of when I was so sick I was hallucinating late last August. I never expected to meet my future wife for the first time… twice. It was neat because the memory is still so vivid. Maybe if there is a next time, I can send my mind to HI.


  332. Pfesser, I LOVE my Volvo. After the 4 hurricanes in a row swept through Florida in 2004 & my Honda got totaled on that Christmas Eve,I knew I had to a slightly bigger and safer car – especially a car that could carry the animals, their gear, our stuff, etc. in case of evacuation. I actually took the dogs car shopping. . .hehehe. All I could think of was “Volvo: Boxy but safe”. I really researched too and went for a well kept, well loved 1992 Volvo 960 wagon – it could carry everything , it’s almost ALL metal (I know, I took out a BWM’s bumper shortly afterwards with just sustained a scratch to my car) and the turning radius is phenomenal. My mechanic always reminds me that if I ever sell the car, he has dibs. . . my concern now is that present-day Volvo won’t be able to match the safety of the past Volvos and so I’m really really taking care of my “baby”. Car has over 250K miles and still going very very strong. I’m glad your kids are okay – thank god for Volvo.


  333. Jean –

    Wow. Great video. And I thought I had it tough here in the South. My first wife and I were on the Big Island in 1988; my current wife has never been to HI and wants to go in the worst way, but won’t consider it until she loses about 40#. (That’s not my idea – it’s hers. Fine by me. Won’t bother me a bit to have the hottest granny on the beach.) grin.


  334. Hi Congenial Gang,

    No time to read comments tonight. I’m just popping in quick like in to share this with you. I’m soooooo proud I was able to put up the YouTube link all by myself without poolman’s and jsri’s help.

    A dear friend sent us this as a New Year’s Greeting showing Another Long Hard Day in Hanalei. Most of them are professional musicians and so are the technical crew for video and recording.

    It lifted my spirits and I hope it does yours too! Happy New Year to everyone!!!!!

    Be sure to turn on the sound.

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean


  335. Bozly84 –
    “You might even learn something, though in this venue you would certainly be in select company…….was THAT last portion of the line REALLY neccesary???”

    Agreed. I was trying to be a little funny but it didn’t come off right. My apologies.

    NOP –
    “But the bitching about length, level of interesting, etc is just plain bullshit. If that were the case, we’d all have be banned”

    Also agreed. You express better in two sentences what I cannot say in two paragraphs. That nails it very succinctly.

    What do people want? They all want the same thing: consideration. Denied that, some respond well, some hit the fan, but inside we’re all the same.

    Craig – You have my email. If you want, I’ll send you my phone #. Seems like everybody is having troubles all of a sudden. I just got off the phone with an old friend whose perfectly healthy 26 year-old daughter collapsed with a sudden headache and four hours later was in surgery for a brain aneurysm. She’ll make it, but is weak on one side. Hope that does not progress.

    On a personal front, I just saw my Volvo this morning and got pictures of it and the road where the boys wrecked. Bastard state trooper gave the boy a ticket for reckless driving – that’s the standard in VA now – even if you hit a deer and go off the road – where the budget is so far down they are reaching for $ anywhere they can. Interestingly, the tree next to my “son’s” was skinned too. Apparently somebody else was recklessly driving on a road the state failed to plow. Anyway, Volvo just sold itself another (used of course) car to a very happy father.


  336. Juggling paperwork, family, and freelance gigs right now, but wanted to stop in and wish everyone a healthy, happy, and hopeful New Year. Craig, thinking of you and your wife & hoping the news you receive is good. Take care everyone! James, be careful skiing. 🙂

    Happy New Year to one & all!


  337. Craig, like the others, I hope it turns out all right. Such suspense is about as bad as it can be isn’t it. I don’t know if it will do any good coming from me, but I prayed for you and your family. Your problems certainly put our petty arguments in prospective.

    No one’s puppet gives good advice. Try to stay as calm as possible.

    No one’s puppet, time will tell won’t it? You and I can’t change anything, but a friendly argument is fun.

    Its time to ski before it gets dark.


  338. …..just an “ahem” ,Pfesser,”My advice is to lighten up and show a little tolerance. Sit back and enjoy the ride, since you can’t do a damned thing about it anyway. You might even learn something, though in this venue you would certainly be in select company…….was THAT last portion of the line REALLY neccesary???? Rather laid waste to what you seemed to be attempting to “sell”….or perhaps just a form of attempted humor or ? Well, whatever and will say, takes FOREVER to load this blog and supposedly am using fast access,lol (ah, would it NOT be “nice” if we truly HAD access to such…will say, overseas have had greater ease at accessing and speed and EVEN FREE access,lol whichc does get hampered here due to need of profits and etc’s.

    Hopefullu all rolling towards the years wind up/wind down, CAN hope for better for 2011, just a always NO guarantee’s so we WILL get whatever we do get and try to make the best of IT !!

    Good idea , that “lighten up” advice…may get us thru the tuffer times of it all or at the very least we can hope !! Have a good wrap folks, here’s to the New Year,best wishes to all.


  339. Craig, I hope you and your wife can stay calm until you get the news and I hope the result is favorable.


  340. Pfessor-I looked up the story about the shoplifter and it all seems to be true with the exception of the injuries sustained when he fell. Apparently the Marine was the only injured person, but it sure is funnier with the story you posted! Thanks for the laugh!


  341. Craig,
    I am sorry to hear of the possible diagnosis. I too, hope it is a mis-read. You and your wife will be in my prayers. Good luck.


  342. Wife just called ..she was able to see Doc this am as a walk in.
    They will be doing a needle biopsy in an hour and should have those results in 24 hours. He told her lymphoma good and treatable…Carcinoma bad. So we should know something tomorrow more definitive as to what we’re dealing with.
    And thanks to all.


  343. Oh my Craig, I too hope it is a misread. But never the less we have your back if you need to vent.

    James, I’m still pretty impressed with President Obama, but I do strongly disagree with him and yourself on the tax cut on the wealthy, I hope I’m proven wrong, but…. No time now, I’m off to do some shopping.


  344. Craig, that’s tough news for anyone. Keeping you and your wife in our thoughts & prayers. Please let us know how the tests go. Give your wife a hug from all of us. And keep one for yourself. Take care.


  345. I’m sorry for your worry Craig. I will keep you and your wife in my thoughts. May the White light of the holy spirit surround and comfort you in this time of uncertainity.


  346. Craig–I am sorry to hear this and I very much hope things will be alright.


  347. I could use some prayers.
    I’ve been off line for a while.
    Found out four days before Christmas that my wife Valerie
    has some images that came up on an MRI and then further PET scan
    that co not look good to her Doctors. She has been in pain in lower left hip, similar to a sciatic issue for six months and have been treating it with massage and physical therapy. The pain continued, Thus the MRI. She has a “glowing”mass in her hip and a lymph nodule under left arm that have appeared.
    I took a call from last Tuesday from a Cancer institute here in Lubbock to inform my wife of an upcoming appointment. That was the first I had heard. I called her and she driving home said would you prefer to hear from me now or wait till I get home. She knew. Needless to say it’s been an emotional roller coaster for past week. Now we are just waiting for Thursday appointment unless there is a cancellation sooner.
    The only strange thing is that her blood work is normal. We don’t know if her Family Practice Doc is just being overly cautious or not. God wiling it’s nothing but a misread of the scans.


  348. According to radio station KFAB, Lady Ga Ga’s boyfriend lives in Springfield, Nebraska, and she is visiting the family. She was sighted in Omaha yesterday wearing fish net tights with a large hole in the thigh and high heel boots. This was when the temperature was far below freezing. Local businesses like her because she is nice and is a heavy tipper.


  349. I agree delurkergurl.

    No ones’ puppet, yes you are passionate about your beliefs, but you know what you mean and you can support what you think. You also can understand another view point. Soon after I first posted on this site, you went for my throat, and I responded by telling you you had the wrong handle. “Obama’s puppet fit you better.

    I feel badly about that. I’m sorry, because I was wrong. You are truly no one’s puppet. I should have applogized sooner.

    I vicariously lived through the “not our kind of people” mode when I saw how black friends were treated, and personally when I returned home from the service. It’s wrong. People need to stand up to that sort of behavior.


  350. The “they are” refers to the two of you of course. Well what other kind of people are there?


  351. Wow, I am glad your sons are okay Pfessor, I’d rather drive on a sheet of ice than come on a patch of unexpected black ice myself. At least then you keep your speed down.

    I don’t think of myself as a calm or even a reasonable person, in fact I am rather passionate about what I believe in, and I will go for the throat. But the bitching about length, level of interesting, etc is just plain bullshit. If that were the case, we’d all have be banned. And yes, I do see some elements of Fascism, they are just not our kind of people.


  352. Margaret? Helen? Some of your satire is just the antidote that’s needed around here.


  353. Thank goodness your sons are all right PFessor. You are probably making a wise decision. Our son rode a bicycle for two years in college. Then, we sold him a Festiva. Our daughter inherited it for her last college and grad school years.

    I respect you no one’s puppet and some others as PFessor does. My favorite times are when people get along. As I told delurkergurl, the combative mood here takes me back to when bad guys were trying to kill me. The bullies and bigots here are surrogates for the real thing. By fighting them, I am refighting an old battle with living, breathing men. Some of whom I assume aren’t breathing any more. After what I’ve seen, no one here can intimidate me.

    As the PFessor writes, we are the wrong men “to try”. They have given us their worst, and look who is still here while many lurk in the shadows.

    I would also prefer the site be a friendly place with holiday stories and exchanged recipies.

    By the way, Cryptoclearance, you seem to be preoccupied with urnination. Does that mean you have a bladder problem? Try cranberry juice.


  354. “No one here is going to win the Nobel Peace Prize that’s for darn sure.”

    NOP, of everyone here you seem to me the most reasonable.

    Fighting is such a waste of time. I’m a WWII buff and when I read about it, I am always left with the feeling of “such waste.” It’s the same here. What a sad waste of smart people’s energy!

    But there is another lesson to be learned by studying the Great War – the appeasers get eaten. So when one is attacked, he is obliged to respond and return fire. That’s how it is. No soldier loves war, but none is also foolish enough to turn the other cheek.

    Cordiality can return to M&H any time; as far as I’m concerned, the sooner the better. I’ll bend over backward to get along, but I will NOT bend over forward, and I’ve no plans to go elsewhere. Bullies and bigots are perfectly welcome to ply their trade elsewhere; I’m the wrong man to try, and from what I’ve seen, so is James.


  355. To be thankful for this holiday season:

    My two sons – eighteen and twenty – about six hours ago struck a patch of ice and put my Volvo into a tree at full speed. All airbags deployed. Car totaled. The older boy said that, as he watched the tree approach, all he could think of was, “Are we going to survive this?”

    Well, apparently so. There were no injuries of any kind. My younger boy – Leadfoot – was driving. He wants a hot sexy sports car when he starts college next fall. This accident helped me make up my mind. He is getting an old, used, slow, ugly……………Volvo. Or maybe a bicycle.


  356. No one here is going to win the Nobel Peace Prize that’s for darn sure.


  357. JHChrist, look at the comments section you jackasses – it’s mostly your posts blathering at one another or sniping at anyone else who comments.

    Guess again. The sniping starts elsewhere. We just end it. Be nice to me and I’ll be nice to you. Be snippy with me and I’ll knock you on your ass. Heard that before?

    Either get your own damn blog or at the very least, give us all a break until New Years and shut up.

    I just love the “It’s my blog and you have to do what I say.” LOL. In point of fact – no it isn’t and no I don’t. Piss off.

    Cordially, PFesser.


  358. A Gallup poll shows President Obama is America’s most admired man, and Hillary Clinton is the most admired woman. George Bush and Sarah Palin hold second place.


  359. Who is forcing you not to post? It is your own fault if we write more numerous comments. I was merely making a snarkey, amused observation about your selective outrage. ‘Jackasses” was not asking nicely. Was Cryptococlearance “anyone who comments?”

    Cryptoclearance, the archives show realty has supported most of my opinions, so I don’t have to impress anyone. Some others have as good a record. You not so much. Its nice you laugh at your own attempts at humor. Somebody should. You opened yourself up for the gear comment.

    We heard the same shoplifting account on KFAB, Omaha. Several years ago, three shoplifters ran by us at full speed, with security guards in hot pursuit. I considered grabbing one but decided to let the security guards handle them. They caught them about ten feet from us. They struggled so hard, one nearly got away. These weren’t armed, but some are.


  360. Greytdog et al: hopefully M &H will be adding some new years cheer, and the boyz can go have a pissing contest on their own blog.


  361. NOP: in the town I live in a shoplifter shot and killed a young man who was also moonlighting as a security guard. The guard chased the shoplifter out of the store, and there he was fatally shot. Some patrons bulldogged the perp and then the police arrived. The young Navy man left a wife and baby.


  362. Grandma Katie is feisty – and, particularly in this case, speaks the truth. Good grief, would you guys give it a rest – or go impress yourselves somewhere else or on somebody else? It’s nothing but writing your names over and over again in the snow. And then you get all sanctimonious if someone like Grandma Katie or even myself asks you nicely to shut the hell up periodically and let someone else speak. So we all try to get along because we’re all guests on this blog. . .but James & PFesser have turned this into their own blah blah blog & frankly I’m sick of it. And both of you. JHChrist, look at the comments section you jackasses – it’s mostly your posts blathering at one another or sniping at anyone else who comments. Either get your own damn blog or at the very least, give us all a break until New Years and shut up.


  363. Greytdog: ya ya ya, and one moron is worried about the size of his gear! TOLD ME his WAS bigger THAN mIne! Some of the doggies need to be fixed or get a life! lol 🙂


  364. I’ve personally never heard of a shop lifter being so aggressive.


  365. This may be completely bogus – I haven’t “snoped” it – but had to share:

    Marine Stabbed by Suspected Shoplifter

    November 27, 2010

    Associated Press

    AUGUSTA, Ga. – A U.S. Marine reservist collecting toys for children was stabbed when he helped stop a suspected shoplifter in eastern Georgia .

    Best Buy sales manager Orvin Smith told The Augusta Chronicle that the suspect was seen on surveillance cameras Friday putting a laptop under his jacket at the Augusta store.

    When confronted, the man became irate, knocked down an employee, pulled a knife and ran toward the door. Outside were four Marines collecting toys for the Marine’s “Toys For Tots” program.

    Smith said the four Marines stopped the man, but he stabbed one of them, Cpl. Phillip Duggan, in the back. The cut did not appear to be severe.

    The suspect was transported to the local hospital with two broken arms, a broken leg, possible broken ribs, assorted lacerations and bruises he obtained after he fell trying to run away after stabbing the Marine.

    The suspect, whose name was not released, was held until police arrived. The Richmond County Sheriff’s office said it is investigating. </BLOCKQUOTE.


  366. So, Greytdog, you’re “saying” grandma Katie is a boy? Odd name for a boy.


  367. I see that the boys are back to spraying the bushes again. How utterly charming.


  368. Good gawd! Jsri, you’re better than that or at least I thought so.


  369. Pfesser on December 26, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    Brief and concise enough for you?

    Silence would be briefer.

    I’m curious. Why do you think you must always have the last word?
    It just leads to endless harangues.


  370. Jsri, since you have stopped insulting me, I will respond in kind. I will try to be briefer. I would like to know what articles you have written. What is your field of study? That is more interesting to me than our bashing each other.

    Cryptoclearance, my truck IS bigger than yours.

    Grandma Katie, I’m not leaving any time soon.

    I agree with no one’s puppet and delurkergurl.

    Thanks PFessor.


  371. Grandma Katie opined:

    James an d P’fessor -It takes a long time to get your rantings posted and it is cluttering up my computer. Why don’t you and P’fessor get your own blog and you can talk airplanes alll you want. And give the rest of us M&H fans some peace.

    Couple of things: Firstly, there are no set topics on M&H, and nobody except M&H themselves CAN set topics and *they don’t*. You don’t own the blog; I don’t own the blog. THEY own the blog, just for reference. Secondly, how about showing a little tolerance? Different folks have different interests. There are those who rarely post anything here except “My Boy Obama is great! and Democrats are Great! and Liberals are Great!” There are others who rarely post except to regale everyone with stories of personal travel. I personally find those subjects tedious and one-dimensional, but intolerance is the mark of a bigot, so I live and let live.

    James, OTOH, can hold forth on a variety of subjects, because he has lived a full, rich life and not only has seen things; he has actually DONE things. I personally like to share experiences with him and hear his stories.

    My advice is to lighten up and show a little tolerance. Sit back and enjoy the ride, since you can’t do a damned thing about it anyway. You might even learn something, though in this venue you would certainly be in select company.


  372. James:

    My purpose here is not to insult you. You do a better job at that than I can. I’d prefer, that when people want to say something, they make it as streamlined and informative as possible. Your sometimes incoherent ramblings fail to meet that standard. And I generally proofread what I write. It goes as long way toward resolving possible misunderstandings.

    Applying the same standards to everyone will go a long way toward maintaining credibility.

    Brief and concise enough for you?


  373. May God’s blessings be upon each of you this Christmas. PTL!

    Azgrandma, it’s always a joy to hear from you – and all the other grandmas here. 🙂


  374. crytoclearance – you just came up with the perfect answer DELETE. It is taking so long to load all the superficial ramblings of Jamesand P’fessor. Because of their lengthy rantings it is taking a lengthy time to download and my computer is grumbling. My Christmas wish is for Mathhewto not accept these persons. Notice I said persons instead of the original names I had thought of.
    Merry Christmas to all of you! and especially M&H>


  375. A Christmas prayer……
    Our Father, who lives in Heaven, kept Holy be Your Name! Your Kingdom come. Your Will be done …here on Earth, just as it is in Heaven! Gives us our nourishment for this day…and please forgive and pardon us for our wrong doing…exactly the same as we forgive and pardon those who do wrong to us. Lead us not into hard testing, but deliver us from the evil one! For to YOU belongs The Kingdom! ALL the Power! ALL the Glory! Forever and Ever…amen. Blessed Christmas Season to you ALL! May The Prince of Peace grant you the favor of His face! From this old Jesus Freak hippy to You!!


  376. Aloha Auntie Jean! you are right;

    Haoli means “with out breath”. and the “hiccup” people might recognize that term as a glottal stop.

    Mele Kalikimaka from an old kama’aina from Honokowai Maui.


  377. JAMES. *Please take your “my truck is bigger than your truck” elsewhere. Many are sick of our mailboxes filled with your egomanical rantings. We are sick of it and you are really free to gt your own blog to show how smart, intelligent and what size your ego or whatever is. This is a great blog owned by M&H and thats why many of us have been members for a long time. Lousy weather in east BUFU must have you bored to death.

    To the rest of the blog members: use your deleete key. maybe he’ll go where he has his own appreciative audience.


  378. A blessed holiday season to all, especially Margaret and Helen, and Matthew, and your families.
    The porch looks great with all the lights.


  379. James:

    My purpose here is not to insult you. You do a better job at that than I can. I’d prefer, that when people want to say something, they make it as streamlined and informative as possible. Your sometimes incoherent ramblings fail to meet that standard. And I generally proofread what I write. It goes as long way toward resolving possible misunderstandings.


  380. MERRY CHRISTMAS all! Perhaps when we return, we can once again discuss ideas, instead of sharpening our claws here at H&Ms, at least I hope that is the case. I mean it, I really do MERRY CHRISTMAS!


  381. Dear Helen,
    I copied this, changed a few manes and vegtables and sent it out to all who wanted to come for Christmas this year. Bought a small turkey, thought after this message that was all I’d need.
    Love you, you are amazing!


  382. Jsri, I doubt you have written more articles than I have read. Once again, you show you are off your game. You failed to understand I wrote you seemed to need help at throwing insults, not at writing. I don’t proof read what I write here, so you are not telling me something I don’t already know. Once again, you failed to insult me properly. Pay attention to what you are reading.

    Grandma Katie, you forgot to mention Jsri who also shared his vast store of areronautical information. I don’t care what you think.


  383. Hi Congenial Gang,

    Like the rest of the people of Hawaii, I would like to say to President, Mrs. Obama and his beautiful daughters:

    “E komo mai! Mele Kalikimaka! Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!”

    Translation from the Hawaiian: “Welcome! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!”

    For those of you interested, here’s the pronunciation:

    “Eh ko mo my!” “Meh’ lee Ka lee’ kee ma’ ka!” “How’olee Ma ka hee’ kee How!” (Where there is no accent mark, each syllable gets the same emphasis. “oli” is sort of like a diphthong. You slide from “o” into “lee” as if it were one syllable. Got that?)

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean

    P.S. I don’t know how to put diacritical marks in a blog. FYI, I have used an upside-down apostrophe for an accent mark here. Also in the word, “Hau’ oli” there is a diacritical mark (a glottal mark) after the first syllable. The nearest I can come to the pronunciation of it is a ‘hiccup’ between the syllables.

    The word for white person or those of Western European descent is “Haoli”.
    (“How’ lee.”) Different spelling, different pronunciation, whole different meaning.


  384. Merry Christmas all! Helen and Margaret, I hope you have a warm and blessed holiday season.

    May all who pass through here be blessed with His provision and wonderfully overwhelming peace, I pray. Spread love and joy in anyway you are able. It is contagious.


  385. LOL Lori!

    Almost dropped my keyboard from the laughter. Wishing the porch a very happy holiday season. May you all enjoy this time with family and friends. Peace on earth and goodwill toward men! Thanks Margaret and Helen for openings your hearts to us and giving us this porch to visit. Appreciate your hospitality.


  386. James:

    I don’t think I need a lecture from you about writing. I have probably had more articles published than you have read in your lifetime so I don’t need style pointers from you. But if you insist, I will be glad to dissect your rambling and pointless down-home country-farmer style because I’ve noticed that you seem incapable of making a point in a single paragraph. That is the essence of good writing. Introduce your subject, make your point, then hit the road.


  387. And there are those of us who had no idea airplane wings moved in the air as we are not aeronautical engineers. So stop being so very uppity with all your knowledge. The rest of us are pretty knowledgeable about our own fields of expertise. So stop crowing like some over testosterized rooster.


  388. James an d P’fessor -It takes a long time to get your rantings posted and it is cluttering up my computer. Why don’t you and P’fessor get your own blog and you can talk airplanes alll you want. And give the rest of us M&H fans some peace.


  389. “You got the message without even knowing you got it.” You have no idea how often that happens. Things usually work out to my advantage, even when I don’t know why. It’s fun being me. Heh heh.


  390. Helen and Margaret, I too want to wish you and your families as well as Matthew’s, a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. You have given us something to think about, to laugh about, and that is a great gift . Thank you and I pray you will continue to entertain us for many many years. Lots of love going your way.


  391. Did You Know?
    Fantastic video on the progression of information technology, researched by Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod, and Jeff Brenman, remixed ! Search on the names above if you want more info – they are responsible.


  392. Lori, great observation!


  393. James: You said “It made me think of ballet with peacocks.”

    WOW! You got the message without knowing you got it. Amazing!


  394. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!


  395. Jsri, you should have written “preening peacocks.” It has a semblance to reality “prancing” doesn’t and rolls easily from the tongue.


  396. Jsri, I understood your attempt at alliteration, but for an insult to work, you need to base it on a little reality. Peacocks strut. I strut and stomp. Like peacocks, I never prance. Your attempted alliterative insult fell flat with ridiculous imagry. It made me think of ballet with peacocks.

    We raised chickens when I was a boy, and they were my brother and my responsibility. We let them run free range, and they ate most of the grasshoppers which plagued our garden. They ate mice too. We cleaned and delivered eggs to a distribution center each week, and we sold chickens for meat.

    Through cross breeding, I developed young roosters which weighed about 18 to 20 pounds. We let our customers choose their birds in the evening when they were resting. One man asked, “What are these things, turkeys?”

    I tamed and trained some to sit on my head. Unfortunately, they flew onto visitors heads and scared them.

    One of our hens had a sex change. She quit laying eggs and acted like a rooster, even with squawky crowing.

    I agree with Lori about Obama’s relationship to the left. He probably is not looking for a “Sister Soljah” moment, but if he needs one, he will take it.

    Lori is also right that causes for the population shift from blue to red is more complex than taxation, though it plays a role. If the figures merely reflect population growth as opposed to movement, another reason for gains and losses is the birth rate and number of new immigrants. Cost of living, health of businesses and the employment rate also influence migration.

    As I wrote to Boz84, migration doesn’t necessarily mean people change their voting behavior.


  397. Happy Holidays to the folks at M&H. May your celebrations be rich with love, generous in laughter, and filled with Light. And to our dear Margaret & Helen: may Christmas find you surrounded with family, embraced in good health, and graced with joy. Thank you both *and Matthew* for inviting us into your virtual home and giving us all a porch upon which we can rock and roll. . . Merry Christmas to you and yours.


  398. Oh and before I sign off for the holiday, let us shoot down the most recent GOP talking point their (uninformed) faithful are repeating at nauseam.

    Let us start with a list if States Ranked by Total State Taxes and Per Capita Amount (note this is a 2005 list that was revised in 2009… bottom of the page)

    Just a side note……You will notice some of the states that GAINED house seats this time around rank pretty high on the taxation scale.

    Now, in terms of population loss, Michigan was the only state in 2010 to lose population. I think it’s a safe bet to say that is due to the auto industry, not taxes.

    New York and Ohio lost 2 house seats each, and Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania lost one.

    Soooooo 3 out of the 9 states that lost seats could be considered a “liberal” state. It would be more accurate to assume people are moving out of the gawd awful conservative states in droves. ;-).


  399. I wonder why the rooster would have bothered to masquerade as a hen to gain entry to the coop if he was experiencing a better outcome as a testosterone filled rooster?

    Jean didn’t include that part in the story. Maybe he was gay? That might be why all the hens left. There’s nothing sadder than a rooster with no aggressiveness or hens with too much, don’t you think?

    I love allegory! Let’s do more!


  400. Merry Christmas H&M,

    Thank you for being such a gracious host and entertaining us with your wit for these years. Also for giving me the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with such lovely people.

    Peace be with you…..



  401. I wonder why the rooster would have bothered to masquerade as a hen to gain entry to the coop if he was experiencing a better outcome as a testosterone filled rooster?


  402. I stretched out to adjust the prop when the engine started running rough. So the first rule when something goes wrong is to undo what you have just done.

    Good rule. I’ll put that one at the top of my emergency checklist!

    Jean – maybe your chickens didn’t drift away. Maybe predators got ’em and the roosters, having a little birdie testosterone on board, decided to fight, with a better outcome.

    When I was growing up, we didn’t have the chicken manure problem. We clipped one wing (asymmetrical lift makes flying impossible) and built a chicken house with an enclosed yard. One of my best memories is walking with my Dad to get the eggs. I only remember a tiny vignette, staring at the fold in his pants at the knee and watching it come and go as he walked. I must have been pretty young to have his knee at eye level…long, long ago…

    They say chickens are hell on ticks, though. We could certainly use that here in the spring/summer! I may enclose my property some day and get a few chicks.


  403. You can find the entire article @

    …..But while I don’t always agree with his approach, I don’t think he’s on the prowl for a Sistah Souljah moment. it would be a different story if he’d told his critics on the left that they were “sanctimonious” because they were too mean to rich people. But that’s not what he said — he said his critics on the left were sanctimonious because they weren’t happy with him even though he felt he had gotten the best deal he could. Basically, he was pleading with them to get off his back.

    Of course, that’s not going to happen. The Democratic Party isn’t for people who like to quietly fall in line. We believe that pressure from below leads leads to better results from the top. And even though it might be frustrating, a vocal, demanding left ultimately will strengthen President Obama’s hand when he’s dealing with Republicans. Given that John Boehner is about to become Speaker, that’s something we should all be happy about. Jed Lewison


  404. Hi Congenial Gang,

    The Nuclear Treaty that’s been awaiting ratification since April for ‘more time to debate’ and the 9/11 Responders’ Health Issues that have been hanging fire for nine years are now DONE!!! These are two of the very best holiday gifts that humanity and our country could give and receive.

    While the little boys have been busy playing on the computer, ‘boy toy’ and I together have finished the shopping, sent the packages and cards, decorating the house, the gifts are wrapped and under the tree and most of the cooking is done!!! We are ready for the holiday.

    This Old Grannie is gonna take her corncob pipe out onto the porch, and set a spell in the rocking chair. She is also taking her broom to shoo away the roosters. A couple of years ago I had a little of my Famous Cornbread left over from the holidays, believe it or not! (It is usually all eaten.) I threw it out into the yard for the chickens. They gobbled it up!

    Over time, the hens and chicks moved on. Most of the chicks grew up. But several of the old roosters still hung around, crowing away as usual. They keep coming up on the steps and pooping on the porch. When it rains they are pretty forlorn, all wet with their tail feathers drooping. Poor things.

    Anyway, I want to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of my dear friends at M&H’s a lovely holiday with family and friends. And, mahalo, Margaret and Helen for your kind hospitality all this time. My very best wishes to you and your families always.

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean


  405. 3.9 million hits – wow. If only clicks were dollars, right? We’d love to hear from you, M&H, if you can spare the time!


  406. James

    Peacocks strut. I know this may surprise you but I already knew that. But a prancing peacock is an attempt at a little alliteration but I guess that’s not something you might understand.


    I once had a lot of hours in a BE-18 that had spar strap mod that made me a little nervous. But it held together thank goodness. But I once had an experience identical to yours in a Cessna 182. The one I usually flew was in the shop for its annual and I rented one from a FBO,same year and same model. But the owner had modified the engine knobs and to complicate matters I couldn’t get the seat to adjust. And since so much of flying after a while is done by touch, I stretched out to adjust the prop when the engine started running rough. So the first rule when something goes wrong is to undo what you have just done. I had been looking away because the tower had given me a heads up for possible conflicting traffic but as soon as the engine slowed I started looking for an open spot on the ground because I knew that under some circumstances a turn back to the airport at a low altitude often gets your name in the newspaper. But it also taught me the lesson to make sure you have your hand where it is supposed to be when making any engine control adjustments.


  407. PFessor, I ran a picture of your wing spar reinforced and not through my head. You’re right, the reinforcement does make the wing fail, and not at such a fast speed. Its not a true test, because I had to make up what I thought it looked like. The wing doesn’t just fail, it snaps off doesn’t it, at least in my head.


  408. I like your stories. Here’s another. My brother in law, the one with the broken hip etc. is a pilot too. About ten years ago, he learned of a plane for sale in Idaho, so he and our nephew drove out to look at it. The plane was dismantled and ready for a quick sale. He bought the plane and hauled it back to Iowa.

    A few days later, the FBI saw my sister- in law at work. The plane had been stolen and they impounded it for about a year until they sorted out the situation. Our brother- in law finally got the plane back, assembled and flew it. He invited us to fly with him, and other family members did, but my wife and I never would.

    Drink and flying don’t mix do they? The neighbor who offered to take our family up for a ride when I was a kid enjoyed drinking and flying. He likely crashed because he’d taken one drink too many. His plane was aimed at the ground when he hit it, so there wasn’t much left of him.

    I told my wife about the need for flexible wings as I showed her the video I’d taken, but she took little comfort in it. She was glad she had slept through it.


  409. Sorry for the follow-on, but I had to share this.

    In the late ‘eighties a local bar owner in WV owned a Bell 47 helicopter – the classic MASH helicopter. Local legend had it that he had taught himself to fly it, but he actually had a valid license.

    One rainy February night, after drinking heavily, he and his buddy closed the bar and decided to go on a night flight. It was rain-over-snow, and there was a fog nearly down to the ground in mountainous terrain – not a place to be flying at night sober, let alone drunk.

    He and his buddy made it about two miles and went down in the woods, getting quite injured, but not killed.

    The FAA instituted proceedings to take his certificate, but he maintained that when they had drawn his blood at my hospital they had wiped the skin with alcohol, making the reading unreliable. That’s where I came in: the FAA man who had inspected my Kitfox asked me to do some research, which of course showed the whole argument to be bogus.

    So, failing at that argument, the pilot changed his story: At the crash site a hunter had appeared out of the thick fog and mist, and had given him and his buddy a drink of liquor to brace them up, and had disappeared back into the mist, and that was why his blood registered 0.27gm/dl. LOL

    Needless to say, he lost his certificate. They said the admin judge had to leave the room to hide his mirth.


  410. James and Jsri –

    I built a Kitfox several years ago (Wow what work and what fun!). 1628 hours to build. I learned a lot about not modifying designs. In one of their online forums they talked about folks “reinforcing” the wing spars to eliminate flexing and noted it caused the stress to move to the end of the reinforcement and caused the wing to fail. A reinforcement caused a failure. Strange, huh? Sure sobered me up about any modifications to the structure. On an experimental you can modify anything you want, but you don’t want to stiffen the wing. Think about taking a fishing pole and taping a solid pipe to it about half way. A pole that would never break now breaks at the end of the pipe.

    Along that line, when I got it inspected by the FAA, the inspector prefaced the meeting by saying, “Mr. _____, let’s get something straight. I am not here to keep you from killing yourself. I am here to keep the pieces from falling on the population below.” Good stuff. We later became good friends and I helped him on an investigation of a drunken helicopter crash.


  411. One more thing Jsri since you got my attention, I don’t remember personally attacking you or calling you names. Yet, a while back you called several others and me “prancing peacocks.” That is one of the dumbest things you could have written. Peacocks don’t prance. They strut.

    If you are nice to me, I will be nice to you. Otherwise, I will match you attack for attack. If your last two posts are any indication, I may have to give you lessons in how to attack me to make it even.


  412. delurkergurl, at 11:04AM I wrote passage of the first responders bill was a forgone conclusion with only the details in doubt. It was a shock to see it happen so fast.

    Obama’s improved approval rating is not a surprise either. He has had some successes, and he looked presidential when he made a deal with the Republicans.

    I noticed the population shift too. All it tells us is that people are tired of living in the high tax liberal states. It doesn’t translate into an actual change of political belief when people move to red states. Cars used to have bumper stickers reading “Don’t Californicate, Arizona, Colorado, Washington, etc with the implication Californians would vote the same in their new homes. Time will tell.

    The country is center right on average, though as Boz84 writes people are double dipper on various issues. Center right by my definition is on the moderate part of the continum as center left is. “Not just the few or the loudest.” In other words what could be called the “silent majority” in this context.

    Best wishes to you also Box84.


  413. Jsri, I know why the wings were flapping. Why do you think I wasn’t scared? I enjoy watching the wings go through their antics as time passes. I wrote the flapping wing was “barely noticeable but entertaining.”

    Even a ten year old child should have understood what I was writing. Why were you so clueless about such an obvious statement? I suggest your dislike of me clouded your ability to understand simple English.

    “You’d do the world a favor” if you thought before you wrote something “which serves no purpose other than to embarrass you.” That post was just plain dumb. Since you seem to have trouble understanding what I write, I am spelling it out. The post, not you was dumb.

    My stories were for the PFessor who described some of his adventures. He not you is the judge of what purpose my stories served.


  414. The senate has passed START and the first responders bills!


  415. Obama is gaining approval even though a chunk of his base is somewhat disappointed or frustrated. Impressive!
    Poll: Lame duck boosts Obama; GOP slips


  416. James

    You’d do the world a great favor if you learned something about flying before you start telling stories that serve no purpose other than to scare the crap out of people. The flapping wing of a jetliner is deliberately built into the structure for a purpose, to keep the wing from fracturing in turbulence or in hard landings. If it was rigid, it could snap the spar and the result would be a disaster. Next time you sit be the window, watch the wing when the airplane is taking off and you will see a gradual flexing of the wing as the lift off point is reached. Such flexing is to be appreciated not feared.


  417. ….a ‘semi” LOL regarding the “onsternation” over the census and redistricting…folks moving in and out of areas…perhaps IS a gathering of like minded folks “gathering” or ,perhaps , just perhaps further indication that DIVERSITY is SPREQADING around and about and perhaps a DIVERSIFIED rationality too….Just a thought but is true too that as the GOPS took many state seatings/etc , they now in charge of RE-DISTRICT modes , so many maps to be redrawn for partisan reasonings …(ala Texas/Delay style, ahem…) Think GOPs OFFBASE when they declare COUNTRY IS CENTER RIGHT…think vast majority are double dippers ,taking a bit from either side depending on ISSUE and for most part, the majority far more MODERATE, reasonable and WILLING to work things for the TRUE greater common good of ALL for “pendulums” do swing back and forth. The TRUE majority are far more CENTERED , seeking a reasoned,reasonable BALANCE that allows each their OWN perspectivites and first,foremost does NOT infringe on anothers “way’ as long as does NOT incur unjust “harm” to others who choose elsewise. Live and let live with civility and respect and acknowledgement that first order is truly the GREATER COMMON GOOD OF ALL (NOT just the few nor the loudest,etc…)
    Do hope end of year holidays are providing good tidings and some joy for the porch dwellers around and about. Sure has been one heckava year for ALL ,for sure…Peace to all, some joyfuls too as we head for AuldLangSane…Cheers and thensome and best wishes,etc.


  418. With all the bad news for the Democrats these days, it’s good to have something to cheer about. Anyone see the latest census figures? NJ and PA to lose Congressmen and TX to gain. It looks like the population is moving from the liberal rust belt to the more conservative South. Ask anyone who pays business taxes – or even personal taxes – in Ohio or California how long they plan to stay there.

    As for DADT: Well done. Let’s hope the Republicans don’t – in their bid to deprive President Obama of ANY victories – deep-six the START treaty.


  419. Greytdog, I don’t think Congress as a whole has been seriously discussing the treaty until recently. Otherwise, it would have been in the news. Democrats have controlled the agenda, and they could have brought it up any time before the election. However, they waited until the lame duck session.

    Earlier on, the Russians said if the Congress modified the treaty, their parliament would respond in kind to maintain the agreement. Thus, while I don’t see anything wrong with the treaty, I would like to hear more from those who do. That debate could have happened last summer, and the treaty could have been ratified before the election.

    I was friends with a several men of suspicious orientation including a distant Kennedy cousin who was five steps away from flaming when I was in the service. Repeal of DADT won’t change much except let gay people stay in the service, and that is a good thing.

    A bigger concern to me is a survey showing 23% of recent high school graduates who tried to join the military failed the entrance exam.

    According to the main impediment to passing the 911 aid is its expense. A pared down version would knock the cost from $7.4 billion to $6.2 billion. The AP writer the site quoted thinks that will be enough to get the bill passed. I think its passage is a foregone conclusion. Only the details of cost and coverage are in doubt.

    PFessor, Your story sent chills up my back. 400 feet didn’t give you much margin did it? Several years ago, I sat by an Army captain on his way home from Iraq. I told him one of my airliner adventures, and he said “You’re scaring me.” I hope he was joking.

    I like to sit near the wing of an air liner. We were near the top of a thunderstorm and bouncing around pretty well. I looked out and saw the coolest thing. The wing was slowly “flapping”. It was barely noticeable, but entertaining. I didn’t tell my wife until after we landed. It scared her even then.


  420. Thanks for the great video links, girls!

    Woohoo, Greytdog & Lori! It’s a good day.


  421. LOVe love love it HRH and Alaskapi. thanks for posting..

    DADT … check
    Arms treaty ….. check
    Unemployment/middle class, small business, tax cuts…… check
    9/11 responders ….. check????????

    yes we can…..


  422. James, Russia & US signed START in April. The Congress has been “discussing” this treaty ever since. It’s time to STOP discussing and get START signed.


    I just watched President Obama sign the repeal of DADT and I concur with the sentiment YES WE DID!!!! WOOOOOOOT!!!!!


  423. James –

    Wow. I think somebody is trying to tell you something. If we ever meet, remind me to not offer you a ride.

    Last winter I was doing some night practice, and right after takeoff I reduced the prop RPM, but failed to verify the shape of the knob in my hand. Being dark I couldn’t see it, but you don’t need to if you follow your training. As I reduced the speed the engine quit. Bang. Just like that. 400′ high. That’s about ten seconds to the ground.

    It was weird. I didn’t panic at all. All I could think of was that I was going to get my airplane dirty landing in one of the snowy cowpastures below and then have to wait ’til spring for the ground to dry up. Strange the thoughts that go through your head when the poo strikes the ventilator.

    I thought, “Well, maybe there is carb ice.” When I pulled carburetor heat on, the engine immediately started. Hmmm…..shouldn’t do that, but at least the engine is running somewhat….I began a slow turn toward the airport in case it quit again and started winding my watch so to speak, not touching anything as I looked at the controls. There it was: I turned the wrong knob and thinned the mixture out until it quit. Supplying heated air (less dense) had enrichened the mix a little allowed it to start running again. Right result for the wrong reason.

    After that, I tossed the very thin Cessna operating manual (not much in 1964!) and rewrote everything myself, including all emergency checklists – all of which I keep with me at all times in the air. You have to know your checklists cold and do the right thing immediately without thinking. I not prepared for an emergency and was lucky that time.

    Didn’t even get my old airplane dirty.

    Merry Christmas


  424. oh cool, HRH sophia!
    I saw the video yesterday but don’t/didn’t know how to put the video itself here .

    These kids’ story is almost as delightful as their video.


  425. Like

  426. Alaskapi, Thank you for posting this video. I just watched it on another Alaska blog and hurried over here, to find you had already posted it. I think it needs as much coverage as possible. In the true spirit of Christmas.
    Happy Holidays to all, whichever ones you celebrate. I try to celebrate them all!!!


  427. The Start Treaty should be ratified, but I’d like to have seen a little more discussion first.

    Corker of Tenn. said “There is no question in my mind, if it weren’t for the discussion of this treaty, we would not have had the commitments that we have today on modernization.” The Obama administration’s updated defense plan will spend $86 billion to upgrade seven nuclear arsenal facilities including one in Oak Ridge.

    That’s probably a good thing too.

    KFAB Omaha has two economic development men as guests. They said Nebraska with 4.5% unemployment has the third lowest in the nation after North Dakota and South Dakota.

    Part of the California storm will give us some snow tomorrow through Friday. The Omaha weather service says it will “bomb” as it reaches the east coast.


  428. PFessor, I think from the news footage the plane did land upwind and in the proper lane. Since it was a county road, there was little traffic, only the one pickup.

    A neighbor had a private plane, and he took others up for fun. My mother opposed our going for a long time. My father scheduled us to fly one Saturday morning, and we looked forward to it. That morning my mother told us he had died in a crash the evening before.

    Another neighbor landed too low and flipped over because his plane caught power lines. His main injury was embarassment.

    My father-in law’s friend was a crop duster, and we went out to watch him work on one of my father-in law’s customer’s fields. It was fun to watch as the pilot flew back and forth. He flew behind a hill and one time, he didn’t return. We drove to the location and found where he had crashed. He was all right.

    We returned to England after fifteen days exploring Europe in a single engined plane. The pilot kissed the ground and said “I never thought we’d make it back alive.”

    I take these things as signs I shouldn’t be riding in small planes.

    Merry Christmas to you in Alaska too.



    Merry Christmas to all from Alaska!


  430. The Twelve Days of Winter. Conservatives once again prove themselves the masters of snark:

    That’s pretty hard to beat.


  431. Hey hey my guy’s on a roll! Yes we can!


  432. Which pilot?


  433. PFesser, be sure to contact that pilot and let him know what he did wrong. I’m sure he’ll appreciate being the recipient of your vast knowledge base.


  434. John Lennon – Merry Christmas

    War is over, if you want it.


  435. I adore you.


  436. A deer hunting survalence plane made an emergency landing on an Iowa highway this weekend after the deputy sherrif pilot heard a clattering noise. He almost hit a pickup truck.

    When landing on a runway it is important to land upwind.

    When landing on a highway it is important to land “up tail-light” since your landing speed is about that of traffic and an astute pilot can drop it in between cars. Makes for good conversation later for the car’s occupants. That is after they clean out their pants…

    Works poorly either direction for jets.


  437. Interesting PFessor. You have given me another reason to keep my promise never to ride in a small air plane again.

    A deer hunting survalence plane made an emergency landing on an Iowa highway this weekend after the deputy sherrif pilot heard a clattering noise. He almost hit a pickup truck.


  438. Love it!


  439. The new and improved digital age of the nativity


  440. I’ve been following a timely, new version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” over on The Mudflats, a fabulously progressive Alaskan website, which is one of many sites that Sarah Palin absolutely hates.

    THIS version of the old classic is “The 12 Days of Palin”. A new line is added on a daily basis, so now, it’s up to the eighth day of Christmas. The new adapted version will continue right up to Christmas Eve, adding a new line each day. So, if you’d like something a bit “different”, Alaskan-style, check it out at

    If you want to start at the beginning, the explanation and background on this treat can be found at



  441. I love all the flash mob stuff. So cool! It must take a fair amount of planning to pull off such good ones. Have a good day, everyone. The treaty, food safety, 9/11 responders, hmmmm…. what might get done this week? Could be interesting. Certainly it will be frustrating.


  442. Merry Christmas from Tiger Valley.

    “I hope I didn’t break a nail.”

    James – re: fuel starvation. I just talked to a friend at the FAA FSDO (flight standards district office) in Charleston WV. They had a crash recently where the plane had been in for repairs and the fuel valve linkage had been installed backward. Selecting “Left Tank” actually turned the left tank off. So they burned their fuel in the other tank, selected Left Tank and crashed from fuel starvation with a full tank of gas.

    I have had so many problems with A&P mechanics that I never let them touch anything. I do it myself (illegal) and have it inspected and checked off by the A&P to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I had the compass replaced two years ago at annual inspection – at the insistence of the inspector. (The compass was just fine). Anyway, they forgot to “swing” the compass to neutralize errors; had I not had a functioning GPS I calculated I would have ended up somewhere near Norfolk (Turn left at the ocean). At the same time, they had failed to cover the airspeed pickup tube (pitot) and dirt daubers (insects) had partially filled the tube with mud, causing my airspeed to read about 30 mph low. I waited too long to take off and broke the wheel pant on the pilot’s side as I tried to hold an airplane on the ground that Wanted To Fly.

    They say the most dangerous time to fly is right after an annual inspection. That has been my experience. Sometimes they hook the controls backwards; only an astute pilot can fly something like that – very, very rarely survivable. You have to keep your eyes open when anyone touches your airplane.


  443. Our dial up service won’t let me hear Carol of the Bells, but I can imagine it. We heard a flash mob in Omaha. Awesome.

    I also like “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”

    Two air liners I rode on had failed engines, and one nearly crashed. Another plane undershot the runway. Everything was very quiet. You could have heard a nail drop.

    My wife and I rode in a private, four passenger air plane and we all also were very quiet when we nearly flipped in a cross wind in a failed attempt to land. The only screaming came from the air traffic controller. “PULL UP!! PULL UP!!”

    Someone muttered “oh God” when we accidently landed on an Italian air base, and armed airmen who couldn’t speak English took us into custody for questioning.

    The real noise came when the pilot’s wife paid so much attention to taking pictures over Venice, she forgot to use the switch to let fuel from another tank into the engine. The plane stalled, and the pilot yelled “FLIP THE SWITCH, YOU TWIT!!” As the motor kicked in and our descent halted, there was a long quiet apology. I don’t know which scared the pilot more, the stalled engine or his wife’s wrath.


  444. Ok, now I’m getting brave. One more (ONE, I promise).
    It’s blatant commercialization, but it’s so awesome. Also, one of my favorite Christmas songs. If you can go away from this one without a smile on your face, you truly are a Scrooge.


  445. Greytdog how about this one? It’s the Opera Company of Philadelphia with over 600 other choirists at the Macy’s in Philadelphia. I believe it has the largest pipe organ in the world. This event is part of Knight Arts org’s Random Acts of Culture.

    Not sure I did that right; if not


  446. The video isn’t all that great, but this is kinda of fun.
    Flash mob performs ‘Hallelujah’ at Orlando International Airport

    My mother, despite some issues and fragility, still packs a powerful soprano. We went to an afternoon concert of holiday music at a local church, and during the “sing-along” part, her voice still managed to soar and carry both the congregation and choir with her. I was, I admit, both amazed and proud. She may forget some things, but she hasn’t forgotten her music.


  447. Hi Kitchen Crowd,

    Today was the annual Holiday concert for our island wide community Chorale group, 80-90 strong, that gives two concerts a year spring and winter. There are several performances with always-packed audiences. The holiday concert is of classical masterpieces such as Handel’s Messiah and the works of major composers – Bach, Telemann, Mendelssohn, Mozart, etc.

    Then there is a grouping of traditional carols with soloists.

    Our mayor is quite a singer and does some lighter numbers. There is also a school children’s group that sings and dances with red and white Elf Christmasy caps.

    The Grand Finale is always a sing-along of carols culminating with “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. The fine director turns and divides the audience into twelve sections, each assigned one of the Twelve Days: you know “A Partridge in A Pear Tree”, “Six Maids a Milking” and on to “Five Golden Rings”. Each section stands when their “Day” comes up. So the audience is popping up and down like jacks-in-the-boxes.

    A great time is had by all and the Holiday Spirit is alive and well out here once again!

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean


  448. Geez PFessor, who asked you “to believe” in our hosts? What are you like six?


  449. Oh Dear! What kind of doo doo have we stepped into? It is feeling like the twilight zone here or maybe James Bond is visiting?


  450. Helen, WE MISS YOU!!! I hope you are doing well. God bless you and Margaret and your families on this short countdown to Christmas, I pray.



  451. Ditto on the old standards.
    And one reason we stopped going to one church that had the same verse
    5 times in a row..with rock music tempo.
    Nope..Like the standard Methodist or Anglican music from yore.


  452. Check your blog now delurker. You will find the following, all from different IPs.

    10:55 What is my IP?
    10.56 What is it now?
    10:56 Now?
    10:57 And now?

    Obscuring my IP is a matter of one click, as you have seen. I just have no reason to do so. Had I a reason, I would have done it since I started posting. Count on it from now on though.

    Of course you were able to find the IP. And a lot of other IPs I’m sure – perhaps for everyone posting to this blog??? hmmm??? The availability of my company proxy server IP to you suggests that what has been hinted at by many, many people could just be true: M&H don’t exist. It is, as has been felt by many, just a clever little ruse to promote the radical left agenda, hiding behind, and taking advantage of, everyone’s love for their granny, and is in fact run by several tech-savvy folks who direct the conversation leftward. I can see now how those of us without that bigoted perspective really throw a wrench in the gears.

    Yes, you seem to be quite the little network technician…unfortunately, you would appear to be just a little too smart for your own pants.


  453. Thankyou delurkergurl. I wish a wonderful evening for you also. Your church service sounds pretty good too. Thought provoking is nice, but like you, I especially enjoy the traditional songs you will sing at Christmas Eve service. My wife is our church organist, but I don’t know what she is going to play yet.

    The Drudge Report has a link to a Daily Mail on line story about the coldest December in British recorded history. It has some good photos of places which normally don’t get much snow. You probably don’t care as much as I do. I like storms, and my wife and I used to live there.


  454. Bill Cosby concurs, Jean.


  455. Hi Congenial Gang,

    As my ‘boy toy’ from his AF experiences in the early 50’s during the Korean ‘Conflict’ in B26’s and B47’s says, (and probably jsri would concur), in the event of a minor mishap or a major disaster, the very last things any crew member would even think of saying is, “Let’s rewind our watches.”

    With one hand on the ‘joy stick’ and their eyes on the array of both visual and instrument cues, the first and often tragically last words they usually said were, “Oh shit!”

    Aloha! Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean


  456. You win, James! Sounds like a wonderful evening and I’m glad you get to savor it. 🙂

    All that overplayed Christmas music is sooooo grating on the nerves.

    This morning we had non-traditional Christmas music at Church. It was very good, thought provoking stuff (the point!). Refreshing, but I was hungry for my favorites. O Come Emmanuel or O Holy Night. There is still the candlelight Christmas Eve service.


  457. I have blue eyes. Blue eyed people are mutants from eight to ten thousand years ago.

    “Frosty the snow man was a kindly gentle soul. With two eyes made out of coal…”

    I’m with you Greytdog. Why did you have to remind me?

    My wealth is unparalleled this evening. Cross country skiing, phone calls from our son, daughter, and my brother, being with my wife, and raspberry cobbler. Who could be richer?


  458. Honestly, if I hear “Frosty the Snowman” one more time, there will be a major meltdown.

    humbug. . . . 🙂


  459. Oh honey, if you think I don’t already know that you are not terribly perceptive. You can also hide your location to some degree by using your cell phone. No need to test that for my benefit. 😉

    Just for the record, I haven’t declared that you and HeatherP are the same person. I’m very careful about jumping to conclusions. However, there is just a heavy sleigh full of evidence that all is not as it seems.


  460. Obscuring one’s IP is breathtakingly easy for someone with minimal network skills, if one has the need or desire. The military does it as a matter of course, generally using the open-source TOR app, which is better than anything they have.

    I’ll give you a little demo, delurker, when I get some time. Can’t do it from this network because everything comes from the corporate proxy server and the firewall autodetects proxy avoidance. This is a *very* secure medical network, over which whizz gigabits of confidential patient data and images – which is of course why you cannot ever see my real IP, or that of anyone else using the same proxy server. LOL.

    I’ll post to your “kitchen” blog from different IP’s, most of which are not in-country, and identify myself to you. Maybe if I get a little time after christmas…


  461. Hi Congenial Gang,

    Easier, I’m sure you know the name “Hermaphrodite”. Also genetically, people with blue eyes are cousins dont’cha know.

    Aloha! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean


  462. Pfessor,
    Your really not expecting a civil answer from Donna are you?


  463. well, it’s a lot more than needing to skulk around pretending I’m someone else.


  464. Princess Donna opined:

    “Easier: can you IMAGINE such a thing? The same IP address–who knew?”

    Sorry my little bigot princess, but it doesn’t mean what you think. What it DOES mean is that we almost certainly work for the same, very large corporation. The servers use IP translation in order to hide the real IP from the Internet.

    Nice try.

    Actually, not that nice.

    Stick to what you know, Princess. Whatever that is.


  465. Easier: can you IMAGINE such a thing? The same IP address–who knew?


  466. What are you talking about NOP? Certainly not. HeatherP is a woman and Pfessor is a man.


  467. There’s not much point to my story, Greytdog except that agencies who pay the bills do put a price tag on our lives. Sarah Palin’s death panels do and will exist with or without the government insurance law. Do you have any ideas on how to keep health costs from running out of control while still respecting human life?

    I don’t.

    The suggestion in Atlantic Magazine that we pay for our medical care the way we pay for our car repairs is about the best suggestion I’ve seen, but I don’t know if it would work in real life.


  468. “Heather the pee” is PFessor?


  469. James, not really sure what the point of your story is BUT having been through similar health/medical issues, I’d say most people would do anything they could – and cost be damned – if it involved their own family. If it involves someone else’s family, then most people will say stop the treatment. Cynical, yes. Realistic yes again. Whenever we put a price tag on anyone’s life, it diminishes us all. Unfortunately, in this society, we truly believe some lives are worth more than others – It’s practically a Constitutional Amendment – certainly a SCOTUS decision.


  470. and Greytdog–YOUR example would be a true miracle, as opposed to the equivalent of seeing, say, St. Peter in a bowl of Chex Mix.


  471. Oh, miracles bring a tear of joy to my eye. It’s Our Lady of the IP Address!


  472. Mageen, Senator Gillebrand has stated the votes are there for the DREAM Act. the question now is – does the Senate have the moral fortitude to do the right thing? With Kyl of Arizona complaining about having to work on Sunday (hello Kyl, Jesus HEALED on the Sabbath) and apparently a lot of the Senators in their offices watching football, it will be a Christmas Miracle


  473. You are right delurkergurl. When our son moved to California, he knew a cousin was living in the state. One day, he saw her name on a company roster, and checked. Now, he and his cousin “talk shop” etc. It is a small world.


  474. […] rules for holiday dinners are courtesy of MargaretandHelen. It is too late for this Thanksgiving, but not for Christmas, and all the holidays in the future. […]


  475. Wouldn’t it be just the most incredible coincidence in the world if you found out you & Jim work for the same company, in the same location, Heather? Or that you already know each other? And if you found that out just one day after I pointed out to you that you have the same IP address, and only a few days after you made your entrance here and at my place? Crazy, right? You also have the same computer equipment so I bet you could talk shop and computers in the coffee shop if it’s quiet at work this week. The world is a tiny place and it is the season of miracles! It could happen just like that!


  476. Heatherp, some times dear, your comments are quite, I don’t know, cryptic or abbreviated, anyway I’m lost as to what you’re trying say.


  477. Here is another of my experiences to illustrate our problems with health care. My parents were living with us, and we expected my father to die at any time. From before Christmas to February, he had been rushed to the emergency room and hospitalized four times. Each time, doctors told us he probably wouldn’t make it, but he did.

    Two days after he got home, my wife and mother went to church as usual, and someone took pictures of several people, including my mother at a breakfast between church and Sunday school.

    She got sick after church, and we thought it was the flu. My wife and kids went to school the next morning, and when I came in from measuring snow cover to report to the weather service, my mother was yelling because she couldn’t get her breath.

    The rescue unit took her to the hospital, and I talked to her when a nurse called me away. My aunt hadn’t been to church the previous day, and knocks on the door brought silence. I was also responsible for my aunt’s care, so they asked for permission to break into her house. I drove 18 miles to her home and arrived as the first responders carried her out of her home. She had developed the flu and passed out. When she fell, she broke her shoulder and couldn’t get up. I helped check her into the hospital.

    Both of my parents had said they wanted to be revived, and I had to decide. The shock of everything happening so fast put my emotions in overdrive. Several times that night, doctors asked if they should keep trying or stop. I told them to keep trying as the minister sat with us.

    My mother died about midnight, and her final day cost over $12,000.00. I don’t remember what my aunt cost. They were all on Medicare, and my father lived another two years. He died at 95 and my aunt two weeks from 100. Our family alone cost you the tax payers a heap of money.


    These little dramas repeat every hour, and we all pay. What happens when the money runs out? I can’t imagine doing anything differently because they were my parents and my aunt. Even if we had spent more than the few thousand dollars of our own money, we’d have done it. But who pays the bills?


  478. I want to add my Yay! to the DADT vote. Maybe we are starting to get somewhere.

    Pfessor you mentioned some time back about JF being taken care of by a gay doctor when he died. I don’t think you and me live too far apart.


  479. Greytdog, it would be the nth power of wonderful if the pols on the Hill did revisit the First Responder legislation. It was so cowardly of them to do what they did. None of them would have had the moxie to do the continuing work the First Responders did. And not fund them? Heck, the army, navy, marines and air force are also first responders and they get funded. There is simply no justification for layin’ a hurtin’ on the people who kept working at Ground Zero. As for layin’ all sorts of different kinds of hurtin’, I am freaked over the DREAM Act rejection. What these pols are doing is beating up on kids!!!! Yup. Its the same as if they cornered the kids and stomped on them. These kids had no control over the fact that there parents illegally imigrated here. But, hey, if you can’t stomp on the parents at all or can’t stomp on them hard enough, the kids are always available. Thus speaketh my father’s anchor baby!


  480. Chatter from folks working on the Hill is that the Senate may revisit the 9/11 First Responder healthcare bill before convening for the holidays. We shall see.


  481. My brother keeps Fox news on at least 3/4 of the time, and the last time I visited I had a chance to watch the Huckabee show for the first time. He’s quite an entertainer and comes across as a very smart, but pretty much a regular guy. He will be tough to beat. I really don’t want to return to the evangelical Bush years, but who are the Republicans going to pick as their candidate? I don’t think Palin or Gingrich have much of a chance, so it comes down to Huckabee or Romney I think. Anybody think of darker horses?

    re: Medicare cuts. That affects me directly, so in one way I am glad, but somebody has to eventually step up to the plate and figure out how to reduce medical costs. A few years ago people just died, and that is very cheap. Now we have the abilities to perform unlimited procedures to prolong “life” – at tremendous cost. case in point: Yesterday at the airport I spoke at length to an older fellow who had hit a deer with his motorcycle last spring. He had come to my hospital initially; I examined his X-rays and, recognizing a “flail chest,” immediately had him flown via helicopter to a trauma center. $12,000 for a 30-minute flight. Nearly three months in the hospital – cost probably $2m. Looking at it in a very mercenary way, he is retired and doesn’t contribute to the economy. Was it worth it? If he were in my family, I’d say yes. A few years ago there wouldn’t have been a discussion; he would have died within hours.

    I don’t know, delurker. There is just so much money available; how do we best spend it?


  482. You’ve got that right, Auntie Jean! We also got a year delay in the 25% reimbursement cut for medicare reimbursements. If we could slide the 9/11 responders to our stockings that would be good, too. Even Mike Huckabee knows it’s the right thing to do.


  483. Hi Congenial Gang,

    OK!!!!! The country now has a brand new tax bill! DADT is over! Now if the nuclear ban treaty can go through, it will be the best gift we could possibly ask for this holiday season for Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists – – all of humanity.

    We have got to save this planet. It’s the only one we know of with chocolate.

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean


  484. ^^^^^^ like


  485. 65-31 & DADT is done. It may not always seem like it, but we are bending the arc of history closer towards justice. . .


  486. OK then! Yes we can!


  487. Done!


  488. Senate has the votes!


  489. Word has come down from The Hill that the Senate will vote on #DADT at 3PM today.


  490. Senate chose to deny the American DREAM to thousands of kids whose only “offense” was to have been brought here as babies & toddlers illegally. It’s perfectly okay for these kids to die for the US, but the Senate thinks they’re not “good enough” to be eligible for college (&grants), medical care, employment, housing. A shameful moment among many for the American belief in justice.

    On a better note, the Senate voted for cloture today on DADT. The vote to repeal will take place on Sunday. According to DailyKos, Steve Benen, and Josh at TPM, this looks like a done deal. Cynicism, however, notes that when certain GOPers have voted for cloture, they’ve often turned around and voted AGAINST the bill before them. So not celebrating yet.

    But as Ezra Klein points out, the 111th Congress, under the leadership of Madame Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid, has accomplished a lot and helped move this country forward in a time of extreme division, national psyche meltdown, and polarization. (think health care reform, student loan reform, financial regulations, the saving of our auto industry, the Lily Ledbetter Act, etc) Take a bow, 111th Congress – you did good.


  491. Mmageen I have not added my wishes and prayers for your husbands health. I wasn’t really sure what his illness was, but anyway good luck to you. Doctors are really good now days and I hope he does well.


  492. Lori’s “just the numbers” link needs context. As she knows, a principle of logic is because A happened, B didn’t necessarily cause A. Causation is hard to prove.

    The Clinton administration benefited from the economic upsurge after a recession starting during Bush the elder’s term. J.D. Foster of the conservative Heritage Foundation argued that the Clinton tax increases probably slowed economic growth compared to what it would have achieved. He believes the 1997 tax cuts kept the economy growing when people were claiming we were becoming recession proof.

    Gary Burtless, a senior fellow at the liberal Brookings Institution credits not the bill as such, but a sense Clinton’s administration would focus less on borrowing than his Republican predecessors. This said Burtless spurred business investment because it gave investors confidence that long term interested rates would be low. Low interest rates also helped the housing market, consumers, and businesses.

    Danial Mitchel of the Libertarian Cato Institute also cited other policies including less spending as a percentage of gross national product as stimulating the economy in spite of the earlier tax increase.

    Republicans and their Contract with America took control of Congress and forced Clinton to the middle. So, Republicans deserve credit for the Clinton success too. Democrats controlled Congress during most of the other administrations the writer compared. Politifact judges the claim Clinton tax increases improved the economy to be half right.

    I’m not opposed to raising taxes, just not during a bad economy.

    Human nature is another risk of repeatedly giving to the same needy people. They can become emotionally dependent on the benefactor.

    My wife and I are about to leave for an outing, PFessor. I will check your link when you have time. I see a down side. What if something goes wrong with the computers which verify what we have and what we spend? I don’t know if the link addresses theft and burglary. That could be a down side too.


  493. I see one right now. If the government is mad at somebody they can just cancel all their money and they will starve since they have no way to get food.


  494. An associate professor at the Defense Resource Management Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School has a suggestion to make us safer: get rid of all cash money.

    hmmm…..any thoughts? see any downside?


  495. Craig, I’ve had a similar issue here, my next door neighbor. As many people as there are here, who are down and out, there are also con artists. At first I took this neighbor at face value and assumed, what she was telling was true, then I friended her on FB, where I found she was telling people she was living in a “room.” Actually she is renting a 4 bedroom, 3 bath house and she refused to acknowledge the fact that she has a live-in boyfriend. I googled her and found out she had several alias and several websites, primarily begging for money.


  496. I’ll let you know what happens.
    I fished around today at the gym..and everyone seemed sorta like..
    It’s her problem. That was her co-workers…I’m gonna fish the members.


  497. Just a few stats to have at the ready when your favorite repub tries to snow you about “trickle down econ”.


  498. I hope they made it PFessor.

    Round heeled is a new term for me. I like it.

    Our son’s class suffered so much financial hardship before 1990, they decided the only way out was to graduate and go to college. They started their own “No Child Left Behind” project and became an extended family. Over half of the class made the National Honor Society, and they earned more scholarship money than any class before or for years after. Our daughter’s class copied them.

    Most like our children were driven to succeed, and they have. Maybe those kids did too.


  499. James –

    Boy does that bring back memories…

    The Johnsons moved into my little holler community when I was about eighth grade. They had come from California, and the mother (divorced) had taken up with one Lloyd L. You might say she was a bit of a round-heeled girl (easy to tip over) as they said in those days; she had four kids by her husband and another five or so by Lloyd. He only stayed around long enough each time to get her pregnant and then disappeared – I found out later that if he was there they couldn’t get any assistance.

    My mother always said to me, “Mrs. Johnson will ask you to eat with them; I don’t care if you are starving to death, you tell her you are not hungry and you come home to eat; they don’t have enough for themselves.”

    They got in a bad way one winter and didn’t have any coal to heat with. The still had electricity and hung quilts over the doorway to the kitchen, living there all winter and sleeping on mattresses on the floor, heating with the electric cook stove. They were a pretty sorry-looking bunch of kids. I would give anything to know what ever became of them.


  500. I’ve seen it from both sides.

    My wife manages money well. It helped us survive hard times. When our son and daughter were four and two they were shopping in a thrift toy store. My wife had probably paid $20.00 for what they all were wearing. A man came up to them and gave them some money and said “buy the kids a nice Christmas gift.” We had enough money for Christmas, but it was a nice thought. Now, we hand out money once in a while too.

    I was the primary care giver to our children during winter before they entered school. I took them to the doctor for shots, and when it came time to pay, they handed me forms to fill out and asked questions about things I didn’t know about. My coat was so ratty looking, they thought we were on welfare. They fell over themselves apologizing.


  501. Craig, buy the child an inexpensive gift and sign the card, Santa or sign the child up at Tots for Tots.


  502. Craig –

    I’m like you – when there are kids involved, my objectivity goes right out the door.

    Consider the following: You don’t have the slightest idea what is really going on. All might be true, might not. Tendency is to believe people you know, but even if they are basically telling the truth there might be two sides to it. Every time I have taken the “damn that rascal!” approach, once I knew a little more, the rascal’s side did not seem all that unreasonable.

    Secondly, this guy might find out. Two possibilities: He might try to tap you for $ via threat, intimidation, sympathy, or he might get a little jealous. Both bad things.

    My dad always said never feed a stray dog. There’s wisdom in that.


  503. Re: Senator McCain – he’s like a guy who has no rhythm and 80% hearing loss trying to dance. It’s just awkward for everybody. And so this week he heard that the band was going to play “No More Earmarks” and he thinks he knows the words but what he’s coming up with is more akin to “See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queeeeeen.”

    Re: My political Christmas wish list – an overhaul of the tax code in 2011 that is limited to, oh, 10 pages. Also, I’m not positive on how the agenda gets set for congress, but that system needs an overhaul too.

    Re: This week in Washington / the outcomes of the tax rate deal and the omnibus bull (not a typo) – well that was an uncomfortable ride, but I can live with where it got us. It’s not exactly a sudden drop in effective legislation anyway.

    Re: The Amish, and the ensuing discussion – just taking it all in. I’d be interesting in hearing more too.


  504. On another note.
    I asked A young lady who works at my gym what her son was going to get for Christmas.

    She informed me nothing. She was behind on her mortgage and her husband had dipped into their checking for his drug and booze habit to the tune of $1,600.00.
    She said her child would receive nothing unless her parents or grandparents gave the child something. I just sat their in stunned disbelief..

    What do I do?
    Give her a hundred dollars?
    I don’t know why she stays with the’s confusing. This creep has had some problems for some time..but to snort Christmas up his nose?
    Would I be an enabler? to mom or Dad?


  505. Craig you’re a hoot… “They made it, didn’t they?” LOL LOL


  506. The Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) was founded in 1973 to carry out an experiment that would help answer some questions: how did the Polynesians settle the far-flung islands of the mid-Pacific – by accident or by design? Did their canoes and their knowledge of navigation enable them to sail purposefully over the vast sea distances between Pacific islands?

    Wow Greytdog that is one heavy responsibility lets give em another 300 million to roast pigs and give out leis. Who gives a rat? They made it didn’t they? who cares if they could do it again?


  507. Greytdog –

    My understanding of rumspringa is that it runs approx. from age 16 to 18 and the decision to join the church is made at eighteen or so. I also understand that if a young person then decides (at eighteen) to leave the community before joining the church, there are no hard feelings. The only circumstances where shunning is practiced is 1)they are eighteen or over, not sixteen 2)they join the church and THEN quit. Is that your understanding?

    I’m no Amish scholar; if you have better information I appreciate the info. My only experience was dealing with the Holmes Co. Ohio Amish a few times about ten years ago.

    Others who survive do so with extensive psychic wounds – but they manage to go on & lead productive lives in the general community. While I applaud the Amish for their emphasis on forgiveness, on maintaining their way of life – we have to acknowledge that all of it comes at a high price.

    A I mentioned above, my experience with the Amish is pretty limited, but I certainly did not get any sense of that. There is a group that lives about thirty miles from me here in Virginia now; they built a barn for my MRI tech and he thinks they are awesome – men and boys alike descended on his farm at daylight and put up his barn in ONE day. He said they all seemed happy and hard-working and looked like little ants crawling all over the framework. He had nothing but good to say about them.


  508. And how do you survive with a eighth grade education?


  509. crpytoclearance, I have the credentials to dispute what was discussed on the link. Common sense shows a difference between billions and lower millions. I have already demonstrated how a million dollar cut off for estate taxes hurts small businesspeople. An Iowa official said yesterday that it would hurt the agricultural community.

    As for the CBO, “misestimates of revenues have generally been larger than the misestimates of outlays, reflecting the greater sensitivity of revenues to economic developments. In absolute terms, revenue projections differed from actual outcomes by an average of about 2.1 for the current year, 4.9 percent for the budget year, and 10.9 percent for the fourth year beyond the budget year.” This is from or The Budget and Economic Outlook: fiscal years 2005 to 2014. The Uncertainty of Budget Projection.

    The CBO does a pretty good job, but it like other economic forecasters it often miscalculates, especially for the long term. The Congressional Budget office acknowledges this.

    From Kevin Trenberth’s purloined climategate e mail. “The fact is we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travestyl that we can’t.”

    From Mick Kelly:”Yeah, it wasn’t so much 1998 and all that that I was concerned about, used to dealing with that, but the possibility that we might be going through a longer-ten year period of relative stable temperature beyond what you might expect from La Nina etc. Speculation, but if I see this as a possibility then others might also. Anyway, I’ll maybe cut the last few points off the filtered curve before I give the talk again as that’s trending down as a result of the end effects and recent cold-ish years.”

    I read that McCain wanted his friend Joe Lieberman to run with him. His advisers told him it couldn’t happen, so they quickly hunted for an alternative. Sarah Palin was an attractive woman, a successful governor with one of the highest approval ratings in the country. My guess is they didn’t investigate her too throughly because they were like a drowning man grabbing a life preserver.

    Palin was the best thing to happen to McCain’s campaign. She energized it and sent him up in the polls to rival Obama until the crash. Without Palin, McCain’s defeat might have approached McGovern territory. If McCain wanted to win, Palin, the woman they thought she was was his only hope.

    That’s not to say I would have voted for Sarah Palin any more than I would have Obama. Both were the shining lights of the campaign, but empty suits because of their inexperience.

    One was too far left and the other too far right, in my opinion.


  510. cyrpto, thanks for the note regarding the Amish community. One of the reasons that many of the teens return to the community after their year out in the world is that to NOT return means the loss of their family. It’s called shunning, and it’s devastating. At 16, you’re cut off from family, friends, home, etc. Seriously, what teenager, a teenager who’s effectively been sheltered all their life, what teenager would willingly face that kind of loss? Many of those who have sought a life outside the community are often lost to us as well – we lose them to the streets, to despair, to suicide. Some who survive will return fully cowed. Others who survive do so with extensive psychic wounds – but they manage to go on & lead productive lives in the general community. While I applaud the Amish for their emphasis on forgiveness, on maintaining their way of life – we have to acknowledge that all of it comes at a high price.


  511. McCain has outlived his usefulness. He does nothing good for the state or the nation. In actuality he has done more harm than good. His personal life has also shown him to be self-centered and less than compassionate. The best thing about him is his daughter. She has a clear head on her shoulders. I credit her mom for that. Before I knew better, I thought he was a decent man. Thank God we didn’t elect him to the highest office of the land.


  512. Everything I have seen on McCain suggests that while he spent his life trying to live up to the legacies of his father and grandfather, he was in no way on either of their levels. He was academically weak (something like 6th from the bottom in a Naval Academy class of about 900 – I don’t know the exact numbers), and like the old joke about John Kennedy Jr and the penguin, he looked great in a tux but couldn’t fly for shit, crashing (how many? four? five?) aircraft while not in combat.

    He didn’t crash the plane over N. Vietnam, though; he was shot down. And from everything I have read, he handled himself very, very well in captivity, so I don’t take any of that away from him.

    But to my eye, his selection of Sarah Palin told me that – whether from age or just general ignorance – his judgment was very much in question, and in no way could he be president. Now I am beginning to wonder if he should be Senator.


  513. re: Amish et al:
    years ago when I was in college, PENN was giving free medical care to the Amish, in return for permission to do genetic research on them. This group is not genetically diverse and there are some conditions and diseases pretty much common only to them.
    Inbreeding and incest is not uncommon with this group. That fact is not a secret. neither is rape.


  514. Greytdog: who gives a shit about what Craig and his ilk post. The ‘my truck is bigger than your truck’ ad nauseum is getting so old. apparently they feel they are the vortex of the country.
    on to some intelligent messages, and delete the ignorant hate and fear mongering racists. YES racists.


  515. delurker: thanks for posting the 2 links. As you expected, some will always dispute what is there, not having the credentials to disprove what they disagree about. Many people also do not think in the MACRO sense; just their own surrounding situations.


  516. The estate tax link confirmed my impression that without the Bush tax cut bill, our estate taxes would have begun at a million dollars at 55%. I would have mentioned the 55% earlier, but I wasn’t sure if I remembered it right. Five million is kinder to small business people.

    My wife and I have no cable, so we don’t watch Fox, MSNBC or the others. As far as the “facts” the site thought people got wrong, I disagree. I don’t believe the CBO figures will stand a time test, and another question about global warming, especially humans’ share in it remains unsettled. The world has gotten warmer, but the trend has stabilized lately, though we pore ever more green house gasses into the air. Other factors as well as humans influence our climate. It has become a political, not scientific issue.


  517. Fact Checking the Estate Tax


  518. Interesting study: Fox news watchers uninformed


  519. Of course, we have do define what we mean by “hero.” I think it is used too freely now. McCain and his fellow prisoners endured more than anything, though they did try sabotage.

    I agree their actions were not on a level of Sgt York or our recent Iowa Medal of Honor recipients.


  520. I was not there, Greytdog, but I know how it felt to be mildly tortured for less than an hour by the bad guys when I was used as bait. It made me appreciate what it must have been like for the prisoners in Vietnam.

    MCCain and others spilled their guts because their interagators broke them. His jailers gave him special attention because of his father’s rank and fame. McCain still doesn’t have full use of his arms because what he endured. I don’t know if McCain has actually called himself a hero, but he has used his story to his advantage.

    “Spavined old war horse?” I love the imagery. I am less charitable to McCain than you. I think he is a jerk who is unable to manage his anger. When he says “maverick,” I want to vomit. But I still think he and his fellow prisoners were heroes back when they were young.


  521. Sorry James, but I’m still trying to figure out how crashing a jet, being taken prisoner, spilling your guts, then coming back stateside makes McCain a hero. I’ve known several folks who were POWs in Vietnam (as well as many folks from WWII) who endured the same torture, the same deprivations, the same terrors but never touted themselves as heroes. I realize that this attitude is against the norm any more, but seriously. McCain’s worn out both his “hero” & “Maverick” credentials and is simply nothing more than a spavined old war horse who’s trying to avoid the knackers.


  522. Mageen, as Lori wrote “it will get better.”

    I don’t think John McCain served in WW11, but he was certainly a hero of the Vietnam war.

    Senator Inouye once expressed gratitude for a nurse who treated him. He was angry and bitter, and he only had the full use of one hand. Nurses helped him manage, but one day his nurse refused to help him. He raged at her, but she told him he was on his own. She and others wouldn’t always be there to help him. Inouye said it was one of the best favors anyone did for him.

    The PVS reminds me of what the Chinese contributed to navigation and geography before 1450. They were probably the first to sail around the world, and later explorers borrowed from them. After 1450, the Chinese turned inward and their disengagement probably helped create the world we have today.


  523. Yes, it is interesting, Lori. However, the author missed a few things when he referred to estate taxes for the billionaires.Its true we have a tremendous disparity between rich and poor. However, the proposed estate tax increase defined rich down to the upper middle class. My understanding was that the estate tax would begin at a million dollars. That affects small business people and farmers like me as I noted earlier. Many are asset rich and cash poor, and they have to sell out to pay the tax.

    Raising the level to five million dollars is more realistic. We want to save money for a scholarship fund, not save it so our kids can pay the inheritance tax. There are also state inheritance taxes to consider. When my father died, we paid $18,000 to Iowa and nothing to the federal government.

    The author failed to note the extra government spending which coincided with tax breaks for the rich. I don’t have time to check, but my guess is spending contributed as much or more to the deficits as lower taxes for the rich. Besides, I think the super rich are virtually immune to many of the taxes since they can shelter their assets. Maybe our lawmakers should look at that. I doubt if they will since so many of them are or wish to join the ubber rich.

    I don’t think this tax bill will change a lot though it does have stimulus features in it. There is no tax cut for most of us. We just won’t be paying higher taxes.

    I looked up the PVS and agree it is a worthy cause. I don’t believe we can afford any of these things right now. Democrats and Republicans are both guilty of finding goodies for the home folks, and look where it has gotten us. Let the people directly involved fund the programs, and that includes items which benefit me and my part of the country. Our government is so bloated ending ear marks bears little more than symbolic importance, but it is a start.


  524. I have always liked what this guy has to say. If the link has been posted before I apologize. I haven’t been able to keep up with my friends here @ M&H’s as much as I normally do.

    If you guys have a chance check out his book. The Uprising. I found it interesting as well. ( I think you would especially like it Poolman)


  525. Craig wants to know what the PVS will accomplish. Other than simply googling the PVS (which really isn’t hard to do, you simply go to google, type in Polynesian Voyaging Society, and all sorts of goodies come up. Try it Craig, it’s really not difficult), Craig seeks to engage in sideways snark against Jean. Wow, Craig, it really does speak to your penis size, not to mention your total lack of interest in the world beyond your ego and dwindling manhood. But you’re such an upwhite guy I’m sure you just really really care about whether or not Congress members who are concerned about the deficit had any earmarks listed in the omnibus spending bill. . . like Sen. Kyl of Arizona.


  526. Mageen, I want to add my own set of good wishes for your husband and you. I will look for your updates whenever you can get back here with them.


  527. And what will the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) accomplish?


  528. Hope all goes well for your husband Mageen. Our thoughts and prayers will be with you.


  529. Hi Congenial Gang,

    This morning I took note watching Sen. McCain on TV reading into the Congressional Record, for the benefit of his constituents back home in land-locked Arizona, and for all posterity. He was in his familiar and favorite campaign mode about earmarks in the lengthy tax bill. He reported TWICE regarding a rather modest earmark for the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS). That of course was a swipe at the Democratic Sen. Inouye from Hawaii. Inouye and McCain are both a couple of WWII war heroes and rival old war horses in the Senate forever.

    McCain conveniently (for him) did not mention, for one, Sen. Kyl’s whopping earmark that by comparison, pale with the PVS earmark request.

    Perhaps the Old Fart is blithely unaware of the history of the Polynesians paddling all across the vast Pacific Ocean with pin point precision in celestial navigation and ocean wave current patterns used by those remarkable people to find where they were going with absolute accuracy. Some of them even made it into the Indian Ocean and across to the Eastern Coast of Africa. PVS, other groups and navigators are still trying to figure out how they did it! That information could be useful to the U. S. Navy, if and or when their GPS systems conk out. The Navy just might have jettisoned their old-fashioned hand-held sextants long since.

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean

    P. S. Oh, McCain also slammed an earmark for peanut research in Georgia I think. Like, who doesn’t like peanut butter? That couldn’t have been an oblique reference to a former peanut farmer cum Democratic U.S. President, could it?

    Ah, politics as usual…………….


  530. Hi congenial Gang and Sistah Mageen,

    Along with so many others, I’m sending my warm and loving thooughts your way.

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. shalom.

    Auntie Jean


  531. Mageen,
    I am adding my prayers to those of the rest of the gang here. It will get better.


  532. Mageen… I have no words only thoughts… it will get better. xo


  533. Mageen in Old Virginnny, I hope our resident doctor has given you some reassurance. We all wish your husband well and that you have him home for Christmas.


  534. In my admittedly minimal exposure to the Amish I have come to respect them tremendously. They have preserved their way of life while living in a world that beckons their young from every direction. They live what they profess to believe and do not evangelize. They control their own lives – unlike the “English” – us – who are largely like mice on a cork, floating down the Mississippi – controlled for the most part by forces outside our selves.

    Are you familiar with the “rumspringa?” I confess to be largely ignorant of its inner workings, but at a certain age, young Amish boys and girls are given free reign to experience all the forbidden things that the English have to offer: cars, electricity, radios, TV, apparently even sex I am told. (not sure about that one) After a period of several years, they are then asked if they want to join the church. If not, that is fine; they will of course leave the community but will be always welcome to visit and be part of their family. If, on the other hand, they decide to join the church they are expected to take up the Amish ways again and that is their life from then on.

    If, however, they join the church and renege later, they are shunned by everyone, including their old family and are no longer part of any Amish family and are not welcome by anyone thereafter.

    Know what percentage of Amish teens choose to join the church, having tasted every sweet thing the outside world has to offer? These are teenagers now, mind you……………………I am told it is more than 90 percent.

    That is very, very powerful stuff IMHO.


  535. Washington is making me shake my head vigorously this week. Will this same-old-BS ever end?

    Re: Love, Amish Style – I laughed at first too at the thought of Amish romance novels. Then I started to really need to know what an Amish romance novel is like. So in reading the article at least, I’m thinking the joke is on the non-Amish. Texting isn’t romantic but “Lip-kissing” is!

    Re: The Amish don’t sue? Huh. That makes me think of the different reactions I get whenever I fall on my ass, which I have a habit of doing. I’m rather clumsy and have twisted my ruined ankles too many times too count. Twice in the last few years I hurt myself medium-badly (avulsion fracture one time), and it’s always interesting to me who advises me to “sue.”

    Re: Rutherford website – I actually couldn’t stop reading once I started, although I did skip most of the religious “debate” stuff.

    Re: Once back around to Parker/Spitzer – I was a bit distracted making dinner during, but I do find this show very watchable (listen-able). Spitzer surprised me. Smart and a pretty good TV guy.

    I really enjoy reading the stories and personal experiences. Thanks for sharing them one and all.


  536. James & Mageen –

    I regularly have to run interference for my family with the medicos. It used to be embarrassing (embarrassing for my profession) but now I just do it; the consequences of not knowing what is going on are too great. It also helps get the medical people a little nervous (I call it “jacking them up”) and causes them to re-think their dx and treatment strategies. That’s always a good thing – you cannot un-operate on someone or un-chemo them.

    Here’s why some delay in treatment is not critical: Unfortunately almost all tumors are found very late in the course of the disease. Let me give you a concrete example: Typically a breast cancer is palpable (can be detected on physical exam) when it reaches 1cm. Because cancer is generally thought to begin as a single cell, its growth follows a roughly exponential pattern (One cell becomes two, two become four, four become eight…); the growth rate is generally expressed in terms of “doubling time.” A short doubling time denotes an aggressive tumor.

    By the time breast cancer becomes detectable (1cm), it has doubled about 26 times. It takes only six more divisions to kill the patient, so despite our very best effort at early diagnosis, we are still coming in very late in the course of the disease.

    So I know it is maddening to feel the clock is ticking, but in point of fact a reasonable delay rarely makes a difference, and the caution these doctors are exercising is actually very reassuring.


  537. Do the doctors explain why they think new tests are needed? Does the hospital have a medical ombudsman who intervenes on the patient’s behalf?

    My sister-in law is a social worker, and even she had problems getting a straight answer when her husband was in the hospital with a broken hip etc.

    Good luck.


  538. Its cold comfort, but many of us are thinking and hoping for you. delurkergurl wrote how we feel.


  539. Delurkergurl, no news yet. Had been promised he would get the word by 5 PM tomorrow but they threw yet another test at him scheduled for 1 PM tomorrow. The test is not medically necessary. He had one just like it a week ago with good results. Medically unnecessary means that Medicare will not pay for it and it will be punted to the secondary insurance who can also reject it. And that window of opportunity for a successful outcome keeps eroding.


  540. Mageen, any news on your husband’s surgery? The waiting has to be agony. My prayers are with you both, and the physicians and nurses who will tend to him.


  541. I don’t remember who it was, maybe Greytdog who mentioned snow ice cream. My grandmother used to make it for us, and so did my mother. It reminded me of an old story in my fourth grade reading book. A pioneer family was in a hail storm which covered the ground with ice. The parents put ice and ingredients in an ice cream maker and they enjoyed the rare treat of ice cream with peaches on a summer day.

    Bob Feller from Van Meter, Iowa died at the age of 92. He was one of the greatest major league baseball players of all time, and his stats would have been even better had he not enlisted in the Navy for three years in his prime. Another great from that era was Ted Williams.

    My wife has a two hour late school start this morning, thanks to a disturbance associated with PFessor’s snow and ice. We had freezing rain, sleet, and two inches of snow. The weather service said it wouldn’t happen almost until it started.

    I remember the story about the Amish forgiving their childrens’ murderers. Awesome.

    Billy Gibbens of ZZ Top is 61 today.


  542. Greytdog –

    Have you seen this article?

    Kraybill talks about how the Amish, having buried their own children who their non-Amish neighbor had killed execution-style the day before – within hours were visiting his wife and offering her comfort for what her husband had done.

    You cannot but be moved by that kind of faith and discipline.


  543. Greytdog –

    In my former farming life I had a few dealings with the Amish in Holmes Co, Ohio. My wife and I also stopped by a family quilt business (Swartzentruber – a very strict Amish line) and, having been reared somewhat that way, I was almost overcome with nostalgia and a desire to join the community. (Of course I couldn’t join as a church member, but since there is very little medical care available to the Amish, I could move there and set up an office)

    My wife and I have visited that area quite a bit and have fantasized many times about setting up an office there after I officially retire. The Amish don’t pay much, but they also don’t sue, figuring mistakes are God’s will, etc. I could work without malpractice insurance ($30k/year in Virginia, much much higher in Ohio) so I could keep my fees very low, do some good, enjoy wonderful neighbors and participate in that kind of life to the extent I wished. I have to tell you it is very, very tempting.

    And the children – the wonderful Amish children. If you haven’t met them, there are no words.


  544. Thanks poolman, those were great links.


  545. PFesser, saw the same news blurb about the Amish romance novels, and I admit I started laughing – immediately had Harlequinesque titles popping up in my head. . . but whatever floats your boat. . .buggy. Of course, most folks idea of “Amish Romance” is based on that Harrison Ford movie, “The Witness”.

    I went to that Rutherford site. Not sure what “anonymous” is talking about but I didn’t see anyone working to get anyone banned from this site or any other site. Paranoid much, Anonymous? Frankly speaking, that site seems to be a bit overwrought, IMO. Emotional angst among many of the comments seems to be a rather dominant trait on the Rutherford blog.


  546. Well, I guess the South is finally getting its due today. 4-5 inches of snow, sleet, freezing rain. Those damned Sunsetter awings, which were so inexpensive and covered so much area, won’t take the weight so they have to come down before the snow hits. All before work today. Grr…..

    And I still haven’t had time to do a single minute’s Christmas shopping. Ah, how I miss the good old days of being a kid and just enjoying the holidays. I think my kids don’t enjoy it at all and would just as soon not be bothered.

    Free associating a bit – I saw an article in Time or Newsweek I think about how the “Amish romance” novels are flying off the shelf as people try to escape to a “simpler place and time” as Gladys Knight might say…

    Here it is online:


  547. Mageen, best of luck to your husband.
    If I had it to do over again, I would have had second thoughts about surgery and chemo. The side efects of chemo especially.
    Hope your holiday season turns out to be lovely.


  548. well, that’s silly, Anonymous. He’s just kind of a dopey guy who spends all of his time on the internet. Harmless.




  550. And some have recently showed up here, trying to get Tex banned.


  551. Thanks, Heatherp. 😉

    AFA where the rest of the girls are,
    some are here:

    As we await another post from Helen and Margaret…


  552. Where did the rest of the girls go?


  553. Say it ain’t so! I was counting on Fox to keep me informed!

    Dang. There goes my fairness and balance right out the door.

    You have some awesome links, Poolman.


  554. The more you watch, the less you know!


  555. Madon –

    A good business deal is where everybody makes a profit; I think we made an excellent trade on the Parker/Spitzer – Matalin/Huffington front.

    Hot tub. I love it. You sound like my wife. I finally talked her into going to the Experimental Aviation Association convention in Oshkosh with me a couple of years ago and camping there. She wouldn’t go until I agreed to put a futon in the Suburban with all our camping gear, and that’s what we slept on in our tent, LOL.


  556. It’s being reported that Richard Holbrooke’s final words before going into surgery were, “You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.”

    Re: Weather/crops – I heard this morning that it was bad but not as lethal as had been feared – and that we’re not out of the woods yet. Interesting article on the choppers attempting to push down the warmer air, Greytdog.

    Re: Camping – The only thing less appealing to me than camping is winter camping. My nephew does this and it frightens me. Although camping at Lake Powell sounds magical. Really, I do like the idea of camping and have done it a few times (once in the splendid White Mountains of New Hampshire) and I did have a good time. But the desire to do it some more does not overtake me too often. If I’m going to be in the woods I’d like it to be in a cabin. With a bathroom. And a hot tub.

    Re: The Joy of Stats – Excellent video, thanks!

    Re: Parker/Spitzer – I’ve heard nothing but good things about this show. I intend to tune in this evening.


  557. re: camping. My cousin and I used to winter camp – he was fanatical about it after having spent a month in winter survival school courtesy of the USAF and WV Air National Guard.

    WV has a Scenic Highway, rte 150 I believe, outside of Richwood. It is part of the WV Highlands and is closed during the winter. Jim decided that, since it was beautiful in the summer, he should go and winter-camp there right after a big snow.

    So he headed out for Rte 150, drove his 4WD Subaru as far as it would go and when it got hung up in deep snow, he donned his backpack and showshoes and hiked another two miles to a nice camping spot – still on the road – in about three feet of snow. He was a young man then – in his twenties, strong and full of confidence, and after selecting a nice spot, made camp. He had settled in for about two days, enjoying the magnificent winter scenery and toking a little to make it fun, when he heard a voice down the roadway.

    It was a park ranger, huffing and puffing his way through the deep show without any snowshoes, yelling to him was he OK?

    Jim watched in amusement as the ranger struggled the last hundred yards, finally hove-to and proceeded to dress him down about being irresponsible. The Forest Service had noticed the tire tracks going in, but not coming out, and had been trying to reach him for two days. The ranger had swamped his snowmobile in deep snow and had walked the last mile.

    Noting that it appeared it was the ranger – not he – who needed help, Jim proceeded to treat him to some coffee and grub, lay plans to retrieve the snow machine, as well as figure out how to protect the ranger from the cold until they could walk out the next day. Jim called out on his 2-meter amateur rig to tell the ranger’s family he was OK, and the next day, with some makeshift snowshoes for the park ranger they walked back to Jim’s Subaru and got out. They left the snowmobile, which had gone completely off-road and down the mountain several feet, until the spring thaw.

    Great times.


  558. I’m sorry cold weather is threatening your area’s crops. Maybe their efforts to mitigate the cold have worked.

    Thanks for mentioning Both Sides Now. We should have more shows like that. Imagine Rush Limbaugh and Rachal Maddow with their own show.

    My wife said Popular Mechanics has an article about a new experimental treatment for cancer which uses light in part. She put the magazine away, so I will have to wait to read it. Popular Science which we also get had an article about the risk our machines will operate independently beyond our control. Its already becoming a reality with some of our drones etc.

    My wife and I used to camp with a small tent. The only amenities were a transistor radio and food we bought for sandwiches. Touching the side of the tent was bad in a rain.

    We also camped in a larger tent with my wife’s family. One year, they took their cat, and it got loose at a site in Manitoba. Most of the campers and staff helped search for the cat. His leash got caught on a fence, so we found him after four hours. I hated that cat.

    My father in law bought a cheap pickup and camper. We were enjoying our selves at a camp ground northwest of St. Joseph until a storm approached. The lightning was continuous and vivid. Everyone agreed we would wait until my verdict about the storm before doing anything. When I returned to the camper and said we should leave, but there was plenty of time, my mother in law had paniced and loaded everything, helter skelter into the camper.

    It was good that we left because the wind blew trees down and killed several campers, but my father-in law refused to stop driving until we reached our destination. Heavy rain poured down, and all of the women were crammed into the camper which unbeknowest to us in the pickup cab was leaking.

    At ten the next morning, my father in law asked me to tell my wife, her two sisters, grandmother, and my mother in law where we were. They were all soaking wet in their pajamas and they didn’t appreciate being jostled in the leaky camper for hours. Opening that camper door was like opening a portal to Hell. Mad as a wet hen was an understatement. My father in law stayed hidden in the cab. Smart man.


  559. re: great visual depiction of statistics. The worldwide rise of health and wealth vs. time.

    I don’t forward this kind of stuff very often, but I think this guy did a great job of handling complex stats. Not political.


  560. James & others interested in weather/farmers: This is from this morning’s MSNBC – ‘Helicopters used to save Fla. crop from chill”


  561. That is pretty good, Greytdog. Some folks need to learn the hard way, unfortunately. I used to camp as often as I could get away from the house. My goal was always to get to a place to fish and sit around a campfire. It used to bother me when folks appeared out in the wilderness with all the comforts of home. That’s not camping, I always complained. Why bother coming out into the boonies if you are going to bring all of civilization with you? I never quite got that. Teevees and radios, videos and CD’s, all of which bothered me in the wilderness. I prefered the crackling fire and the natural noises of the woods. The stars at night and the wonderful smells and sights of nature.

    Of course, after a week I was always ready to get to a real shower and sleep in my own bed.

    With the folks I used to camp with, it was always about the latest “camping gadget”, ie: new chair, new tent, camp stove, etc. My stuff was pretty old and worn. Camp cooking stuff was usually the stuff the wife gave me when she bought something new. We would use a tent until it was totally worn out. Sleeping bags, the same way. I was always in charge of the fire and the first thing I did was hunt for and haul in plenty for a full night of fire. By saw, axe, and hatchet, it became fire-sized fuel. No chainsaws allowed. Good times.

    One time we had camped at Lake Powell with some other friends, We put our tent up in the shelter of some huge sandstone rocks. I always make sure if it does rain, we would not be in a wash or low area. What we did not plan for was the extreme wind that actually snapped our tent’s poles and blew the whole thing toward the lake. The wind howled all night and it was quite exciting trying to keep the tent from blowing away, even with all the boulders we put on all the edges and my wife and I inside it while the top was flapping down on us.

    Fun times. One day I’ll get back out and enjoy it again. I haven’t been for over five years now. Camping was one of the main reasons we came to Arizona. Two hours from home, we could be under pines and beside a trout stream. Too cold right now, but it is sure a welcome change in July. 😀


  562. PS We did try to help that family set their tent up correctly and find a good dry area. But they insisted they knew what they were doing – and after being rebuffed a bit rudely, folks backed off. Really. we always tried to help the less experienced campers, but some folks just have to learn the hard way.


  563. Laughing about the post re: winter camping. When stepson was in Cub Scouts, the pack went camping – about this time of year. Now most of the boys were newbies to Scouting, and so were their parents. The place chosen for the 1st camping trip? Where else? Fort Wilderness at Walt Disney World. oy. We got all set up, I’d prepped most of the food at home, we had our heaters, etc. . . then we settled in to watch. First was one lost family – put their tent down in a gully (the forecast was for rain and cold), upside down (because dad insisted the orange was so helicopters could find you), and then mom showed up with a beautiful cream tone on tone patterned down comforter for their aerobed. For dinner, they took the monorail to one of the hotels. . . Then we watched two other families park really close to the restroom/vending machine/ice machine pavilion – so they could plug in their portable TVs in order to watch football. They fired up a grill and then realized no one had brought food.

    Of course it rained that night and as I was making coffee the next morning, I watched poor bedraggled Down Comforter lady come crawling out of the upside tent (now half submerged in the gully), check her hair, and then put on full-war makeup. Her husband and Cub Scout son had fled to the warmth of their SUV during the night & emerged ready to hit the breakfast buffet at Fort Wilderness’ restaurant.

    I hated Cub Scout camping.


  564. Madon –

    Thanks for the link! Great stuff. Real exchanges without insult. I like these two a great deal. I have been following Kathleen Parker for a long time too and really enjoy Parker/Spitzer on TV.

    Greytdog – much sympathy for the farmers in Florida. What a tough way to make a living. Just too many things that can go wrong – and all of them business-ending.


  565. Well it seems that Central Florida is facing between 8-12 hours of hard freeze tonight. The Orange groves have been prepping for almost 24 hours straight. But even if all the heaters work, if the sprayers work, & all that prep is working, as long as we have these winds, we could lose our orange crop for the year. Strawberry farmers are also facing some nerve-wracking hours tonight as are the fern growers, tomato farmers, etc. . . sigh.


  566. Re: Former President Clinton at the podium – Awkward! Good job on his part though.

    Re: The weather – Every year I freeze for a few weeks while I try and find the time to dig around for my winter silkies. I seem to put them away after the season in a different place each year. I drove a fair distance in the weather yesterday without any trouble, though the blowing snow at the far end of my trip was dicey. Eh, life in the Midwest.

    Re: The radio – My new favorite show is “Both Sides Now” with Arianna Huffington and Mary Matalin. They actually let each other finish their sentences. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and get all the past shows for free. It’s been running for about 6 months now. I hope it stays around for a while.


  567. I agree. Winding one’s watch sounds like good advice.

    When we were tearing down a garage, my father and uncle told about dismantaling a house. A side of the house collapsed and moved toward a worker down below. Others yelled at him to run, but he stood in place, moved a bit and let the side crash down . He had positioned himself to where a window was, and he stood with the wall of the house around him.

    Those aviators could have related to that.


  568. A lot of people are talking, but no one knows what to do.

    They used to tell the aviators that unless the damned wings were falling off, the first procedure in an emergency is to wind your watch. Why? Because it takes a lot to bring a bomber down, and before you start running emergency checklists, shutting things off and bring it down yourself, take the time to *think about* what you are doing. Almost nothing has to be handled *right now*. So don’t do anything and wind your watch to keep you busy. THEN only run the checklist far enough to handle the emergency and then STOP.

    Until we are really sure of what we are doing, I think we should sit tight on the global warming front and not blunder into a lot of draconian laws that will wreck many of the world’s economies. Let’s wind our watches.


  569. Cryptoclearance, you should stream KFAB on your computer. It is far more than Rush etc. KFAB features local talk show hosts too. They interview people from Washington DC and Hollywood. Tom Becka, for instance has been waging a virtual one man media battle with the Omaha city government.

    He and Mayor Suttle among others repelled down the Woodman of the World building. Becka wore a microphone and it was high drama for a bit when he got stuck. I’d like to see Glenn Beck do that. They do humorous skits from time to time such as when they sent out an intern with a sack of meat to see if he could attract a mountain lion seen near UNL. He attracted a bunch of dogs. They dropped a pretend cat off the roof of the Woodman tower to see if it would land on its feet.

    They gave the most in depth coverage of head foot ball coach Bo Pelini’s visit to the University of Miami and whether it was a sign he wanted to leave.

    I used to listen to Ann Richards and a Texas former secretary of agriculture who’s name I have forgotten. They may be there, but I don’t know where liberal hosts are hiding now.

    KFAB even has Psycic Susanna.

    They are much more entertaining than Rush or Glen Beck

    Otherwise, I listen to an FM popular music station.

    You’re welcome Pfessor. Those folks are tough. A man from North Dakota joked that cold winters are good. They keep the riff raff out.

    As someone wrote earlier the cold is worse in areas where people are unprepared for it. 1983 sounds like a miserable winter for you. It reminds me of when my wife and I lived in a 450 year old thatched roofed cottage in Essex, England. We heated the house with a fire place and parafin heaters. On really cold nights we took all of the house plants to the bed room because it was the only place that stayed above freezing.

    The locals looked down on people with central heating. Their kids were pasty faced, not the ruddy cheeked little darlings theirs were. Near frost bite will do that.

    I agree our climate is more complex than some portray it. Mars seems to be warming too. Why? The sun is slowly getting hotter with time as its energy use cycles up and down. Our atmosphere compensates for everything to keep itself in equilibrium. I worry that sometime it will give and we will have a new equilibrium. If it happens something besides us will be at fault unless our influence has reached the point where it is great enough to push us over the edge. A lot of people are talking, but no one knows what to do.


  570. Federal judge declares key part of Obamacare unconstitutional:

    The Commerce clause has been stretched in a hundred different directions in the govt’s attempt to control more and more. (“Everything has to do with interstate commerce, don’cha know? Ergo we have all authority over everything.) hmmm….maybe that is a *little* unfair… anyway, the judge said:

    “Neither the Supreme Court nor any federal circuit court of appeals has extended Commerce Clause powers to compel an individual to involuntarily enter the stream of commerce by purchasing a commodity [insurance] in the private market,” he wrote. “In doing so, enactment of the [individual mandate] exceeds the Commerce Clause powers vested in Congress under Article I [of the Constitution.]

    Mageen – I will be glad to help clear up any questions you might have, if you so wish. If not now, the offer remains open indefinitely.


  571. sticky keys – food probably under them. sorry for the missing letters 🙂


  572. Lori, one of our neighbors called yesterday and said he had spent much of the day putting his snow blower on his tractor. He would have come if I had asked, but I didn’t want to because he would have had to drive his tractor on a twelve mile round trip to get here. He also plows snow for people who need it worse than we, and he might have driven as much as 20 miles as he did for us last year.

    Another neighbor also cleared our driveway several times last winter when it was really brutal. He even brought a forced air heater when our lights were out on Christmas night. The problem is neither of them will take anything for it. The drifts were harder packed and larger than expected. My wife pointedly told me “You should have called Dave,’ halfway into the job.

    Besides, I secretly enjoy shoveling snow, though a neurosurgeon told me five years ago never to do it again. I use my arms and shoulders instead of my back.

    No one’s puppet, I should have mentioned that. Cattle often lose weight during extended cold spells, too.

    elsie09, thanks for the link. I will read it when I have time. The Heritage Foundation didn’t give any climate opinions. The representative on KFAB was commenting on Clinton’s taking over Obama’s press conference and was amused by Bill’s inability to resist the opportunity to talk. He thought Clinton was very helpful to Obama.

    I know the Northland has serious problems with climate change. I read there is a river in Alaska where people bet on the date of ice breakup. The record goes back a lot of years, and the earlier modern break up dates are documented. Another problem is potential feedback systems which could enhance warming. Perma frost has dead stuff which as it decays with thawing will release methane gas. It is more potent than carbon dioxide.

    Discover or Weatherwise Magazine, I don’t remember which had an article about the role of sulfuric oxide in global cooling. It may be masking the effects of gases like carbon dioxide. One solution would be to let more of them into the atmosphere. Of course it would lead to more acid rain. Soot, not gases may also be accelerating the melting as it settles on ice and snow fields.

    I think our climate is changing in concert with human and natural forces. People offer solutions, but so far, no one has a clue about how to fix it. If I ruled the world, we would have a lot more wind power in spite of how many birds the windmills kill, nuclear power, bio based fuels and anything else which recycles what we already have in the atmosphere. Roads and roofs would be white to reflect sunlight. Maybe if the world offered a huge reward for entrepreneurs to work on the problem, they might find a solution.

    Its tough, Mageen, but I know you will be strong. I can’t give you any words of cheer, except to say my brother in law who the PFessor said would be dead if his accident had occurred ten years ago has a long way to go, but he is home now.

    In 1992, our doctor told me to settle my affairs. In 2005, a doctor told me I might not be walking in four years, but here I am still alive and walking.

    An e friend had breast cancer and it looked bad.

    She recovered and was fine. Two years ago, it had spread to her thyroid but they beat that too. All I can do is give you a little hope. Is there anyone you can talk to to speed the process with the doctors?

    I agree with your comments about the tax deal.


  573. So you listen to the right wing AM station KFAB. Line up of Limbaugh, Beck, Savage. These people are sick, fear and hate mongerers and racists.
    just more ignorant BS from the haters about Clinton and Obama.
    Othr than the naysayers on this list the rest of us seem to all be n agreement about all the right wind BS.
    maybe try to listen to another station in addition to that one you like so much. Or are there any up in Republican and TP land. maybe then you can quote some other sources also. it is called critical thinking.



  574. James –

    Wow. Thanks for all the good info. Sometimes I forget you are a trained weather observer.

    re: acclimatization. If I am in good physical shape, I can get used to the cold pretty quickly, but every fall I need to get really cold a couple of times; it seems to kick my thyroid up a notch and I’m OK thereafter. I’m such a wuss lately I haven’t done that this year. Years ago, we had a med student at my school who had worked on the Alaska pipeline and saved enough money to fund all his med schooling. He rode a beat-up BSA motorcycle (remember those?) all winter long with just a quilted shirt on. It froze my ass off just to watch him. No gloves. No coat. Just hiking boots and that shirt.

    He said he was trucking along in a dense fog up there and kept hearing a noise over his mc engine. He looked up and watched a biplane slowly pass overhead, the pilot looking over the side, following the same road in the fog. Cojones. You can’t accuse Alaskans of being soft.

    re: -32 and -35. The coldest I have ever seen was in Beckley, WV in the winter of ’83. It was -28. My wife and I had just bought an old house with very marginal heat and insulation. She was gone for a couple of days to her parents and a cold snap moved in. All we had for heat was some basically unseasoned firewood I had bought for the fireplace. I grew up in an old farmhouse with fireplaces and they provide hardly any heat under the best of circumstances. I moved the sofa in front of the fireplace about three feet away and the cat and I slept facing the fire. The wood was so wet each piece had just enough heat to dry the next one out so it would burn. Froze our tails off that winter. The coldest I had heard of before that was when my dad said it was minus 18 in the nineteen-twenties.

    re: Gore. I just think about the weight of the planet, the heat properties of water in the oceans and a myriad other things, including how thin this little atmosphere is that is supposed to be heating it all. Because its density decreases with altitude, half the atmosphere is below 10,000′ altitude, which is to say 2 miles thick on a planet with about an 8000 mile diameter. I just don’t see how it is possible. Also, heat radiated goes with the 4th power of temperature, so a little temperature increase causes a lot of heat to be radiated to space, restoring the equilibrium. Global warming may be true, but it seems a real stretch to me. (I just learned the other day that much of the heat of the planet is thought to come from radionuclide decay. !!)

    Any problem becomes unsolvable very quickly as the numbers of variables mount up, and I am unconvinced of man’s role in any warming of the planet.


  575. My thanks for all of the congenial gang who sent good wishes for the cancer surgery on my husband which still does not have a firm date and is still being held up by one more exam by one more doctor all the while the opportunity for successful outcome is eroding. Bless you all! Yes, I will hold it together. Honestly! Given that perspective, I finally had a chance to take a look at what a lot of politocs on The Hill are whining about in the so-called tax package. It seems there is way too much emphasis on what was not gained and hardly any knowledge of what was. Here is a kind of condensation: 1.) the $360 billion tax cut for the middle class he wanted, 2.) plus $450 billion on extended unemployment benefits, 3.) the pay-roll tax cut and 4.) EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) and 5.) college tuition funding. That much I know. What I hope to gain in all the mishagasa with all the doctors is 1.) a husband in better health 2.) without an expiration date stamped on him. See what I mean? Just sayin’ . . .


  576. James, I’ve never known cattle to feed during the height of a storm, but they are good weather predictors, as they will really hit the feed bunks just before a storm.


  577. James, I don’t pretend to be an expert on climate change, but other people, such as well-trained scientists, for example, are. An interesting web site is
    If you click on the link to Alaska, you can delve more deeply into actual data and find real information about some of the problems now facing the people of the north as climate changes disrupt their lives and communities.

    What I know about some of the problems in Alaska is that seaside villages are washing away and need to be moved inland, as their shorelines erode, if they are not to be lost to the seas. Houses built on wooden beams are sinking into the thawing permafrost, even as the few roads up there and the all-important airstrips are torn up from earth sinking beneath them.

    Much more is written at that site. I believe it to be far more trustworthy as to accurate and current data than much of anything you’d get from the Heritage Foundation.


  578. Hey James, maybe with some of the money you saved with your tax cut you can splash out $35.00 and have your driveway plowed so your wife doesn’t have to be exposed to the elements. Just sayin…


  579. Omaha radio KFAB just interviewed a man from the Heritage Foundation. He said woe to the person who stands between a television camera and a Senator. The same applies to Bill Clinton. He thought it was arrogant of Clinton to take over because he suspected Obama wanted to end the press conference and Bill didn’t want to. Bill was being a camera hog, and he is good at it. He made the case better than Obama could, and he was congenial. It was weird, but I don’t see anything wrong with it.

    Michael Savage said Bill Clinton is the last one who in his opinion gave a confident presidential image when he spoke. He said it was good to see Clinton back.


  580. Thanks alaskapi, I will try the link when I have time. I have been in forty states and most of the Canadian provences. One place I have wanted to visit since childhood is Alaska. My aunt and some friends drove to Alaska in the 1950’s. I was just a kid, but her home movies made me want to go.

    I have heard of truckers who ferry supplies in northwest Canada, the Yukon? Much of their driving is on frozen lakes isn’t it?

    As for Al Gore, I think his version of global warming is too simplistic and harmful. Natural forces over ride anything we do to alter the climate. I think we are altering the climate in a small way and need to do what we can to reduce the amount of stuff we spew into the atmosphere.

    A few years ago, ISU extension climatologist Dr. Elynn Taylor estimated humans are causing about 10% of climate change per year. It doesn’t sound like much, but like compound interest, it adds up over time. This means that the sun, ocean currents or something else can over ride what we are doing and make the world colder. If people hear global warming is all our fault, and the climate gets colder, they will discount the scare stories about what we are doing to the atmosphere. Eventually the cycle will change to warmer, and it will be in phase with our already warming influence on the climate. Then, we will have a real problem.

    Supporters of the human caused of global warming are also proposing solutions which will not work, but which will redistribute the world’s income and resources. Though luck or design, global warming has made some people like Al Gore rich. There was even a program for farmers who would be paid for carbon credits they saved. Given the changing climate and political land scape, the program will probably be phased out. One thing I don’t like about Al Gore and other climate change proponents is they don’t practice what they preach.

    My wife and I are greener than most of them. We don’t use air conditioning, for example. We use trees and a well insulated house. We open the windows at night and close them in the morning. We also have fans. Last summer, the temperature reached 98 outside while it was 77 in the house.


  581. PFessor, layers are important. When I was measuring snow in the blizzard and when my wife and I shoveled snow yesterday, we wore three coats and jackets and scarves over our faces. Your fingers and face begins to tingle and then burn. Then, you don’t feel them any more. It is time to stop and get warm. One also is careful about taking deep breaths. If you wait too long, you gradually warm your fingers or toes with cool, not warm water. Otherwise, it is pretty painful with warm water as your fingers turn red and swell.

    We stayed out only about a half hour at a time, and even then after we finished, my wife who mostly works inside as a teacher, shivered uncontrollably after we quit. She ate some warm soup and bundled up in blankets. Hypothermia can sneak up on you.

    Animals like cattle aclimatise to the cold. They are built to stand harsh weather. As it gets really cold, they tend to bunch together and seek shelter from the wind. Most farmers have barns or some other type of shelter, and the cattle come inside as the weather cools. Their body heat helps keep the enclosed place a little warmer. Otherwise, one just braves the cold to feed and water the livestock.

    Some people have heaters to keep water from freezing.

    During a March blizzard in 1987, I had to climb up a bin to shut a door which had blown open. The temperature was not so bad, around 20, but the visibility was low. I couldn’t see the ground with the higher gusts.

    Two winters ago, a blizzard struck before school let out. Several of the teachers drove toward home in a convoy until they went their separate ways. My wife had no idea where to make her last turn to our house because there was nothing to see. Then, a brief lull let her see twenty or thirty feet ahead, and she knew where to turn. When I was little, my father had me look out the passenger window to tell him if he was straying too close to the edge of the road.

    Yes, people have used ropes to keep them in contact with shelter. Knowing your directions and the direction of the wind is a big help.

    The blizzard of ’88 was called the children’s blizzard because so many died. My great great grand mother was teaching in a sod school house near Imperial, Nebraska. The day was mild, but when the wind shifted and dark clouds moved over, she had a bad feeling. She didn’t let her students go home. The blizzard struck, and she decided her horse needed to be inside. She and her students held hands with someone holding onto the school building door. They swept the school yard until they found the horse. They led it inside the building where they all stayed until the next morning.

    We live in a valley and on calm still nights, cold air flows down like water. Last winter was unusually cold, and our low temperature reached -32 and -35. In 1983, we were a record nearly fourteen days below zero day and night. One night, the temperature reached -30 at 9PM, before a cold front hit with strong wind. The temperature rose to -15 and stayed near -18 with blizzard conditions the next day. No one went anywhere, though it was Christmas Eve.

    When I was stationed at Ellsworth AFB, an airman froze to death.

    People in Minnesota, Dakota, Canada and parts of Alaska would say we are being wimps. The cold is more severe and unrelenting than it is here. After a few days below zero, the temperature can rise to 15 or 20, and people run around in jackets because it feels so warm.

    I don’t know how cold it has to be before soap bubbles will freeze, Greytdog. I have mixed feelings about that. It would be nice for you to watch soap bubbles freeze but the crops might not like it.


  582. PFesser you really are a master at snark that employs a nasty undertone in such a way that you don’t have to claim ownership to it:

    “Whether he is ultimately proven right or wrong, serious or cynical, you have to say that from a standpoint of building personal wealth, Mr. Gore’s timing on the global warming issue could not have been more spot-on.” (PFesser Dec13 2010 4:20AM)

    That’s a talent worthy of Rush Limbaugh. Really. I mean it.


  583. poolman –

    It is no wonder “global cooling” was a topic on the agenda for last Bilderberg meeting. I’m glad I am in Arizona. We are beginning to see the signs that…

    Whether he is ultimately proven right or wrong, serious or cynical, you have to say that from a standpoint of building personal wealth, Mr. Gore’s timing on the global warming issue could not have been more spot-on.


    for you James- while you wait out your storm…
    hope it will load on your dial-up… is the REAL Alaska 🙂
    -many worries and prayers from here for Gulf Coast fishing families and hoping BP is pushed to make good well before the 20 years it took Exxon to “make (folks) whole” again here… at pennies on the dollar.
    -hoping all are warm and safe… rivers are starting to freeze here in the north- have friends further north who await it with happiness… they can travel on the ice much more easily than overland, with no roads, and better than on water where tidal bore affects plans heavily…
    best wishes all…


  585. Back to the weather…

    It is no wonder “global cooling” was a topic on the agenda for last Bilderberg meeting. I’m glad I am in Arizona. We are beginning to see the signs that…

    The ice age cometh…


  586. Good to see Clinton again; I think he and the President are right about compromising in order to get some of what you want.

    It was the Republicans’ shabby treatment of Clinton – particularly in view of the skeletons in their own closets – that tore it for me. I had had hopes for prosperity with those folks in charge, but they couldn’t handle the power and completely lost focus. My Republican votes have been rare since then, and nowadays I see few indications that they learned *anything*. We’ll see…


  587. agreed, Poolman. The people who are desperately looking for anything to criticize the President will latch onto anything.


  588. Just curious that no one has mentioned the big hullabaloo about Obama handing over the podium to Clinton while he attended a Christmas party hosted at the White House.

    Yes Raji, you would think it would have come up.

    Conservatives are claiming it is a sign of weakness. I just watched it and I think it was no big deal. Delegating is a sign of strength in a leader. Before watching it I was convinced by other’s opinions that it was a faux pas by Obama. Now I don’t think so. I mean, how many times does Obama have to answer the same questions? It is kind of nice to get Clinton’s perspective anyway. And he did say the “bullets” were not aimed toward him. Stepping up to speak in place of the POTUS as a former one helps to reinforce the administration’s message, giving it broader credibility.


  589. Just curious that no one has mentioned the big hullabaloo about Obama handing over the podium to Clinton while he attended a Christmas party hosted at the White House. It certainly hit the blogs and news.


  590. PFessor, you might want to hunker down tomorrow when the winds hit 45 miles an hour in your area. We didn’t get the snow or ice but the wind chills will be brutal tomorrow but nothing like what James is expecting.

    Greytdog, it has been my experience that a cold snap in Florida is brutal for the residents. You just aren’t acclimated for that kind of weather. It’s all in what you are used to.


  591. James –

    I am a lifelong skier and cold-weather enthusiast; my cousin and I used to run the wintertime mountain backbones in WV with our 4-wheelers in another life, and he did a month-long winter survival course in the USAF before that. Winter camping was what we did for fun.

    But I have to tell you, your type of weather is beyond my experience and expertise. The only thing useful I could glean from past experience would be to stay the hell indoors and make sure I had handled the contingencies MONTHS ago.

    What are the principles of dealing with that kind of cold, wind and snow? How do you handle rescues? What do you do with your livestock, since they *have* to be fed? I had read that people in the past would tie ropes from their porch post to the barn to use as guides in whiteouts.


    Thanks for the updated info. We in medicine have been gritting our teeth for years concerning the high cost of medicine, and of course litigation is high on the list. The cost goes up, the doctors get the blame, and our income goes down. My best year was around 1990 – not even accounting for inflation. And of course, nobody asks *us*; we just provide the service and deal with the system ’round the clock; we don’t actually know what needs to be done. The corporate types who run our hospitals refer to us as “resources.”

    Here is a letter to the editor by an MD in Pittsburgh in Oct. last year. I worked as an ED physician for a couple of years, and while he goes a little over the top, most of what he says is exactly true. 90% of what we do is unnecessary.


  592. I was very proud of the good folks of Raleigh NC and those who drove for hundreds of miles to ensure that the dignity and grace with which Elizabeth lived her life would also be present at her farewell. Westboro’s miscreants only managed to muster up 5 haters, 2 of which were minors. That’s the saddest thing – teaching hate as a family/religious value. And folks wonder at the scriptural passage, “. . .and Jesus wept.”

    The cold snap has lifted from Florida – for now. There are gusty winds ahead of the incoming rain – but right now that cold edge to the wind is not there. We’ve flung open the windows to let the breeze chase out the doldrums, and soon I’ll be outside wrapping up what’s left of my frangipangi, checking on the tree fern, and moving some more container gardens into protected areas. They are expecting temps in the hi-20s tonight. brrr. All the bird and squirrel feeders have been replenished and the yard is full of chittering chattering clattering and chiding animals. I LOVE it!

    James, if it gets cold enough, I may stay up just to try that soap bubble thing. It does sound like fun! One of our big treats as kids (whenever we were some place with snow) was the first snowfall and Wundermom would go out and get some to make snow ice cream. Honestly, I have no idea what magic she used, but I remember it was always yummy. My favorite was her peach/mango snow ice cream.

    But for now Wundermom and I are off to wander through the farmers market, get some lunch at cozy little vegan cafe, and then later today, we’re going over to the college for Christmas Vespers – music by the Madrigal singers, Bach Festival Choir, and the College Orchestra. Y’all have a great Sunday – and Stay Warm!!


  593. Yes, WD 40 is a good idea too. I don’t know what we’d do without it.

    Judith, that cook book sounds like something to be passed down to new generations. Have you ever wondered where some of those recipes come from? How much trial and error made them what they are? Its nice that some of those people live on through their recipes.

    My wife made us soup from left over beef stew and vegetables plus whatever else she could think of adding. I heard parts of Minnesota got up to 20 inches of snow. It is the same part of the storm which hit us but we were getting the wrap around snow.

    It is clear and -2 this morning with a 25 MPH northwest wind. We have some four to five foot drifts near the farm stead with three foot drifts to shovel by the house. Most of our long driveway was swept bare.

    In one class, we had to get our professor’s approval of topics before we started a project. I told my professor I was planning to do a report on “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” He said “WHAT!!? You can’t do that in twenty pages.”

    PFessor, your weather is probably being influenced by “our” storm as it moves east. It is certainly windy here much of the time. The old saying there is nothing but a barbed wire fence to stop the wind from Canada applies to us. If I look out our attic window, I can see a grain elevator ten miles north and hills 25 miles northeast. Our area has a number of wind farms because of the breezes.

    The yankees and cherry pie must fit our family. They lived around Braintree and Salem, Massachusetts for about 200 years. Then an ancestor named James went to California via a ship from New York City to find gold. He didn’t find any, but I still have his steamer trunk. After that, the family scattered looking for greener pastures because of his stories.

    Poolman, you might enjoy this as you “suffer” through the chill. A Manitoba televison station surveyed viewers during a mild winter to ask what they thought of it. One man said “If I wanted mild winters, I would have moved to Duluth.”

    We had two record breaking blizzards last December. The Christmas blizzard dropped over twenty inches of snow and blocked roads for days. When I was stationed at Ellsworth AFB near Rapid City a May Day blizzard stopped everything. Nine months later, there was a population explosion as Lori alludes to. Both times made the news.

    When the children were small, and sometimes later, we blew soap bubbles in sheltered spots when it was zero or below. Water in the soap mixture freezes and turns the bubbles into little balloons which float about until they crash.

    I saw some of the coverage of Elizabeth Edward’s funeral too. I agree it was done with grace. Her daughter’s saying they had a contest to say who loved the others most was moving too.


  594. Pfesser: United Kingdom, New Zealand, Japan, Ireland, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, France, Greece, Belgium, and Lithuania, South Africa.

    What is interesting is that the countries that have a legal system that is comparable to ours (i.e., the English-based one) permit contingency fees. I don’t think it’s a valid comparison to say “but look how many countries don’t have it” when the system in its entirety is different–for example, China or Saudi Arabia. And I do think you need to consider the legal system consistent with both economic status (poor African countries as opposed to Japan) and cultural norms. We also don’t have the religious-based court systems of a number of other countries.

    The fact that there are so many lawyers in the U.S. is, in part, related to the nature of our legal system. It’s also related in part to the changing economy here, in terms of the loss of manufacturing jobs and decline of farms. It’s definitely a complex issue and not one that lends itself to simple answers.

    I could bore you solid with a spritely discussion of barratry and champerty. But it IS Sunday morning and I think that there might be a whopping two people here who’d find that of any interest.

    In my opinion, the system is largely very good. Certainly there have been abuses (I oppose the way in which many class actions have been handled). But, like anything else, when the abuses are recognized, they may be handled legislatively (CAFA) or in terms of judicial decisions (the evolving law relating to appropriate fees for class action lawyers). Verdicts against doctors too high? Many states have now limited the size of possible verdicts by statute.

    The law does evolve. You previously cited to the Edwards cerebral palsy verdict as an example of an abuse. But keep in mind that the verdict came at a time when the “science” Edwards offered was in dispute and there were experts on both sides of the issue. That is precisely the situation in which a trier of fact (there, a jury) would decide which party presented the stronger case for his position. Were that same “science” to be presented now, many courts would reject it on pre-trial motion as inadequate.

    Lastly, while your point about the relative number of lawyers is numerically correct, it assumes that all of those lawyers are engaged in litigation. And that’s not a valid assumption since it really is a minority of the practice.


  595. James –

    Our interstate is shut down, snow plows have been called in, and civil defense authorities say anyone who ventures on to the highways is risking his/ her life with no hope of rescue.

    It has been 10 degrees most of the day with wind gusts to almost 60 MPH.

    We are showing 34 degrees F, with moderate fog. No wind. Man, I really like having those mountains to the west and the trees locally. A 30 mph wind would be a real rarity here. My hat’s off to you folks in the open plain; it really sounds like a good place to get your killin’ done in the winter.


  596. Raji, I’m with you there. I’ve had enough snow to last me a life time! I heard from a friend, that the town we lived for the first 10 years of our marriage and our children were born, has already received 70 inches with 12-24 more to go this season. (that was last week)
    I did have to smile though.. she reported this is the worst blizzard in 18 years. That storm knocked the power out for 3 days. I remember that spring storm well … it is no coincidence my daughter is turning 17 next week. 😉

    Stay warm all…. namaste!


  597. correction: Israel has 130/10000, not 13


  598. I stand corrected on the “contingency fee” question. Quick and dirty research suggests the following:

    As best as I can tell there are four countries that allow lawyers to be paid out of proceeds from the winning side:

    Canada – limited to certain provinces
    South Africa – only since the mid ‘nineties – forbidden before that
    U.K – somewhat complex, but basically forbidden for its thousand-year history until about fifteen years ago. Forbidden on grounds of “champerty and maintenance.” Champerty is basically the intermingling of a professional’s personal goals with that of his client, for example, if Pete Rose bets on his own games, he is assumed to be contaminated and to have unclear loyalties as to whom he is playing for – his team or his bank account. Any doctor who tried that would be immediately stripped of his medical license. Maintenance basically means promoting dispute, which many argue is the case. Donna, you can explain this much better than I can.
    United States – very few restraints at all, except in divorce/family law cases.

    Best research suggests about 195 countries extant in the world – most are admittedly not major players – but the math suggests 2.05% allow contingency fees and 3/4 of those that do restrict them considerably. No, it’s not zero as I had said. It seems to be somewhere around two percent. I could be wrong on the numbers and would appreciate any better estimates or analysis.

    Walter K. Olsen did the best analysis I have seen in a ‘nineties-era book called The Litigation Explosion, where he explains how we got where we are. Perhaps one of the most serious problems is simply that of overpopulation, with hungry attorneys doing what hungry people do: look for a way to earn a living.

    “For every 320 Americans there is a lawyer — indeed, with 799,960 lawyers among a population of 255,600,000, America may have the highest proportion of lawyers per capita in the world. In England, there are 694 Englishmen per lawyer, in France 2,461 Frenchmen per lawyer and in Japan 8,195 Japanese per lawyer. Lest you think the Japanese are exceptionally poorly served, you may wish to reflect that there are 15,748 Koreans per lawyer, with a mere 2,813 lawyers for Korea’s population of 44,300,000.”

    Both Japan and the United States generate about 100 engineers/10,000 population (Israel leads the world with about 13) The United States has about 31 lawyers/10,000; Japan approximately one; none of my Japanese friends tell me they feel “under-sued.” The Japanese simply focus their energy on building; we focus ours on tearing down.


  599. WD 40 works great on those car locks and back gates but you have to do it before the freeze or after the hair dryer.

    Blizzard conditions are not my cup of tea, thank you!


  600. Hi Congenial Gang,

    For some time now, I’ve been plowing my way through Edward Gibbon’s classic tome, “the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire“. Right now I’m up to the section on early Christianity. My, my, how the human species LOVES its ‘isms’. It did then and still does. We do so proudly enjoy categorizing people that we feel are inferior to US!!!

    When we lived in suburban Boston and froze, there was an old saying: Worldwide, a Yankee is known as an American. In the U.S. it is anyone who lives north of the Mason/Dixon Line. From there, a Yankee is a New Englander. In New England, a Yankee lives in Massachusetts. The rest of the state considers a Yankee to be someone who lives in Boston. Bostonians believe that a Yankee is someone who lives on Beacon Street and eats cherry pie for breakfast.

    My e mail inbox is way up to 96 even though the ads and spam have been deleted. So I’m gonna take a break and try to get caught up. I’ll only be here for brief visits to read some of the comments from the Congenial Gang of my dear friends. Perhaps it is time to pass the political torch to the younger generation anyway.

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean


  601. Good evening, all. Anyone see the coverage of the Elizabeth Edwards funeral? A great deal of grace there, in my opinion.

    The dreadful folks from Westboro Baptist fortunately were hugely outnumbered by the good people who came to act as a shield against their ugliness. It made me think of the few truly ugly folks who occasionally show up here, spewing their nastiness. There is little difference between them and a Fred Phelps–although I suppose that, in a pathetic sort of way, Phelps has more integrity since he actually discloses who he is.

    I’m awfully glad that the decent people who by and large visit here so greatly outnumber the indecent ones.


  602. Yep, hair dryers in winter are a necessity. Everything from car doors to the lock on the back gate. (It’s about the only reason we have one, really).

    Pie for breakfast – yeah. That’s a pioneer tradition that should never have gone away. After Thanksgiving, we had slivers of mince and pumpkin for several mornings in a row. I could do that every day.

    Here, it’s 16″ or thereabouts of snow and somewhat windy, with the real winds to arrive tomorrow. Windchill 40 below is predicted. I did most of the shoveling this evening (DH has a bad back, so I try to beat him to it) and I was at the point of the sidewalk where I’m thinking “I know there’s a driveway in here somewhere”, when DH made me come in. Oh, well, guess I’ll just dress really warmly tomorrow. No place to go, anyway. Everything’s closed.

    Weather like this calls for long-cooking things, as far as I’m concerned. I made a big pot of Moroccan (sort of) braised chicken with preserved lemon today, and a steamed pudding for dessert. I like steamed puddings, and nobody makes them anymore. Tasty, cheap and they keep the kitchen warm. This one was one I haven’t tried before, from an old cookbook from a secondhand store. Whole wheat flour, raisins, nuts and cinnamon, and not a lot in the way of instructions.

    The book is a self-published fundraiser for the Women’s Exchange of Minneapolis, with ads in the back that have the phone numbers that are 4 digits and an word (Cherry 1234) – so, around the 1920s. I like cookbooks where the recipes are a list of ingredients, sometimes without amounts, and directions something like “Mix like biscuit and bake in a fast oven til done”. They’re even better if they have the original owner’s handwritten comments in them. This one does.

    Anyway, I’m in for the night. Raising a home brew to everyone – stay safe and warm. I have to go work the laundry for a while.


  603. I think it was upper 70’s here today and it’s supposed to be 80 tomorrow. Snow, ice, and wind with 10 degrees, eh? No thanks. You can keep your blizzard. I went out this evening in my short sleeves. Though many still are wearing shorts, it’s a little chilly for me. Sending warm thoughts to all of you in cold climes.

    Peace. Shalom. Salaam.


  604. That hair dryer and extension cord is a good idea. Our interstate is shut down, snow plows have been called in, and civil defense authorities say anyone who ventures on to the highways is risking his/ her life with no hope of rescue.

    It has been 10 degrees most of the day with wind gusts to almost 60 MPH. I have been out periodically measuring snow to report to the weather service. My wife took one look at me and my snow covered coat and said “You are an idiot in training to be a moron.” That called for another piece of cherry pie.

    I don’t like mince meat pie, but my wife does.

    My sympathies to the fishing industry. Its an economic and emotional tragedy isn’t it?

    No ones’ puppet, my wife would agree with you, but as for me, cross country skiing is worth the cold.


  605. Wow! Just tuned in after finally recapturing my internet connection. Congenial gang, your good wishes for my husband and me are leaving me light headed and light hearted! Many, many thanks! The docs have thrown yet one more test in the way but we do expect surgery this coming week as the pre-op physical was done on friday.

    Now, about that birthday girl! Once upon a time many decades ago I was asked to give a toast at a birthday party. I’m not the toast-giving kind so I was stumped. All I could think of was an old Irish one that went like this: “May your donkey always be fertile!”

    They took my drink away.


  606. Hi Congenial Gang,

    For those of you still trapped in frigid climes, a hair dryer attached to a l-o-n-g eztension cord from the garage will unfreeze a car lock in a jiffy.

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. Shalom.

    Auntie Jean


  607. James, thanks for reminding me, I don’t need four seasons.


  608. HAPPY BELATED THANKSGIVING. Hope everybody behaved themselves. Your house. Your rules. AMEN.

    Damn, woman – U KICK ASS!!!!!

    Can’t wait to see your Christmas message!!! ❤


  609. alaskapi, the talk around here is still the oil spill. I suspect that will be the reference point for at least a generation of Gulf Coast fishermen & their families. Three of our local grocery stores have already posted notices concerning Gulf shrimp and of course, the oysters. As more and more oil is found on the bottom and in the Gulf Stream, I suspect that the FL seafood industry will continue to suffer economically. It’s horrible – and of course, our governor-elect sees no danger whatsoever in drilling offshore. Just as with the Exxon-Valdez spill, the BP oil spill will not be a turning point in our dependency on fossil fuels, nor will the lessons that need to be learned be learned.

    James, cherry is definitely a fruit – and in fruit pie, it’s almost a sacrament! 🙂

    Wundermom wants homemade mincemeat pies for Christmas. But that’s one wish that won’t be fulfilled. I simply don’t have the time *nor the energy* to devote to it. But oh my. . . I wish I did.


  610. Happy Birthday Helen!!!
    Very best wishes Mageen- for you and your husband.
    Cookies? I smell cookies!?

    best wishes all-
    Too many fishy things going on here which need attention to tarry…
    Each and everyone who lives on the coast is affected by NMFS. This is a long overdue action here but will affect the livlihoods of many.

    Rationalization (privatization ) of our common fisheries has had drastic effects on fish stocks especially in the form of factory trawling .

    Many, many things to be done… off all our coasts…


  611. Yum! I deserve it because I just got my wife’s car open after ice froze the door shut as it had done to my car. It is now 10 with a 50 MPH wind at times.

    Cherries are fruit, and fruit is good for you, right?


  612. *perk* Cherry pie?!? yum.


  613. I wish we were in your house Greytdog. The pastries sound good. How hard is it to make a Black Forest cake?

    I’ve been up checking the weather because I report it every day. We are in a blizzard warning with snow just beginning. The temperature fell from 45 at 3AM to 13 now with wind to 45 MPH.

    I tried to open the car door, but the previous rain froze the doors stuck, and the safety alarms made the car honk. I locked and unlocked the door to stop it and finally got the car open. I like this sort of weather, but no one else seems to. This will make the national news.

    Breakfast for me is cherry pie.


  614. Greytdog, stop it you are making me hungry 🙂 Thanks for the link to the pillow cookies. That is definitely going to be made for Christmas.


  615. Last night I went on a baking binge. Pillow cookies, mince cookies, raspberry tartlets, chocolate puffs, and a six layer Black Forest cake. . . .yeah, we’re pigging.


  616. Friday night movie anyone? Popcorn?

    Kill the Messenger

    The Bush crowd plays rougher than any of them.


  617. Dear, dear Helen,

    Happy Birthday! We love you.

    Aloha! 🙂 Namaste. Shalom.



  618. Happy Birthday Helen!
    I raise a glass to your health, for many years to come.


  619. Happy Birthday Helen! Hope your day went well. Thanks for living to this ripe old age so that you may dispense your wisdom to this blog. May you continue for a long time! God has a purpose for all of us and yours as a steerer for this online community has exerted great influence on a lot of us and we thank you.


  620. How on earth did a woman the size of a small elephant reach the age of 85??
    You go Old Girl! Happy Birthday and here’s to your next 85 years!


  621. Happy Birthday, Helen and thank you for sharing your words of wisdom.


  622. Happy Birthday and many more!


  623. Happy Birthday Helen….I mean it….really!


  624. Happy Birthday you wise and wonderful Lady!!!


  625. Helen, have a wonderful Birthday! We love you!

    Tristan, your parents want you to take your ritalin for a reason, darlin’…


  626. Happy Birthday, Helen–I hope you continue to enjoy life and to contribute to ours. You’re certainly a far more worthwhile person than a knob like Tristan.


  627. Good Lord, 85 years is long enough. Drive that scooter off the side of the ship and let’s all move on already.


  628. Happy Birthday, Helen!
    Hope you have a HUGE Birthday Pie!


  629. delurkergurl and James, “a ray of sunshine”? I kinda like that. Smiling….


  630. Happy Birthday, Helen. May you have many many more. We love you and need you.


  631. Helen, Best wishes for a wonderful birthday and year filled with love and courage!


  632. Happy Birthday, Helen! “May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.” Irish Blessing


  633. Happy Birthday, Helen!


  634. Yes, Lori, it did.


  635. The recession began in 2007


  636. Job trends over the last years.


  637. Happy birthday, Helen!

    No one’s puppet, “The pros and cons of the Bush tax cuts. Do they really favor the wealthy or is that a myth?…” on Pro- and cons etc… explains how taxes influence our economy.

    Posters, some who disagree are also instructive. One quoted a Wall Street Journal article which listed created jobs. Reagan 16.1 million
    Carter 10.3 million
    Clinton 18.9
    HW Bush 2.6
    W Bush 6.1
    Obama 3 million lost

    The figures by themselves mean little. You have to put them in context of the times. For example, the recession which began during the Clinton administration took many jobs and 9/11 still more. Thus, W’s policies helped dig us out of a hole, and the housing etc collapse near the end of his term put us into a bigger pit.

    Thomas Sewell quoted the New York Times from 2006. “An unexpectedly steep rise in tax revenues from corporations and the wealth is driving down the projected budget deficit this year.”

    “The Laffer Curve was important information to include. More people need to grasp the concept that there are limits to the effectiveness of the government’s efforts to raise revenue levels by just simply raising the income rates. Also, most fail to realize that decreasing tax rates can actually be a better way for government to increase revenue because of the potential for decreasing tax rates to spur economic growth.

    With that in mind, I would still criticize the Bush tax cuts on two points.

    They weren’t aggressive or broad enough. Rates should have been lowered even more than they were and they should not have been weighted so heavily towards the very, very ultra wealthy.

    The tax cuts should have been accompanied by spending cuts in order to maximize the impact on growth in the private economy. Less government=less crowding out of the private sector economy. ”

    I also defended keeping the tax rates the same for our non-rich small business and farmer neighbors who occasionally stray over the $250,000.00 line. My argument hasn’t changed since our last discussion.

    Politicians get what they can as street vendors and customers do. This compromise is not a tax cut. It represents a tax status quo. This agreement, for all of its shortcomings looks better than the alternative which is higher taxes for us all and no unemployment money for those who’s benefits have expired. I still support Obama on this.