Notable Quotable:

Notable Quotable:

Remember, folks: whenever a woman says "die for me because you are a man," just look her in the eye and say "my body, my choice."

Friday, December 31, 2010

Fried Brains

I still have to work on Monday then we head out for boot camp graduation The Crucible ended yesterday and Recruit is now officially a Marine His week will be easy mine will be chaotic I can't think straight I've started a detailed chore list for the next few days because my mind is TOAST I haven't flown in over a decade so I'm in for quite an adventure at the airport I'm so glad Monday isn't a bookmobile day Maxine and I would be in grave danger with me behind the wheel Somebody please scrape me off the ceiling I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE MY BOY!!!!!

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thank You posted a video of Recruit's platoon, posed on risers, wearing their "warrior faces."  The video scanned back and forth, row by row.  It took Better Half and me quite a while to find our boy, as his beautiful eyes were nearly hidden by his cap.  Now I know why cops look at ears.  After two and a half months, thats how I identified my beautiful baby boy.  Naturally, we snipped a still, and it's now my wallpaper.  Two more weeks!  Merry Christmas everyone.  Kiss your kids!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Phone Call...


They let the boys call home to verify travel arrangements.  He left a message on the home phone then called Better Half's cell (he forgot my number!)  BH was surprised at how giddy he felt afterward!  Silly man!  Duh!   I'd have been blubbering like a baby; I almost cried listening to the stupid answering machine!

He's doing great!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

The NEA Would Lynch Me

          I was reading Bayou Renaissance Man’s post on education in America, and it brought to mind a change I’d like to see in our schools.  Here’s what he said:

“The takeaway is this: Prioritize equity in education. Our students deserve it. Our nation needs it. Our future depends on it.”

            This statement is true.  What I question is the assumption that taking money from rich school districts and giving it to poor districts will provide that equity.   It’s naive and unrealistic to believe that all schools would automatically use more money to improve anything; we live in the land of the free, not in Utopia.  Here in the real world, people are free to make really bad decisions, and plenty of school boards would do just that, with other people’s money.  I am all for better school funding, but money doesn’t necessarily equate with high academic standards.  There’s usually a correlation, but it’s not necessarily cause and effect.  My niece attended an excellent prep school and is now kicking ass at an extremely challenging college, working much harder then her Ivy League friends.  My son, on the other hand, went to a public school in a small, rural district.  He took several “honors” courses, and although his GPA suffered a bit, he graduated with a lot more knowledge.  He’d probably be at Purdue right now if he hadn’t chosen the Marines.  Our school district is what the state calls a “best buy,” with high graduation and college-bound rates and a small budget.  Money isn’t always the answer.  My definition of “equity in education” is to give every student the education he’s willing to earn, and it can be done on ANY budget.

            Remember back in the 80’s when the Japanese told us Americans that we’re lazy and entitled?  They weren’t entirely wrong.  I’m not advocating the kind of conformism that rules their society; it wouldn’t work very well here, as most of us are recently descended from boatloads of “rugged individualists” (Gram’s family was closely associated with the Wild Bunch, and who doesn’t have a similar story?)  I do think, however, that we have a huge sense of entitlement.  We tend to put our individual desires pretty high on our priorities list, and we take too much for granted.   We’ve learned that we can goof off at work and still get paid, because some schmuck is willing to get the job done.  Our children have learned that they can goof off in school and still pass their classes.  The curriculum has been dumbed down to accommodate the lazy and entitled.  Any student can tell you that most of them spend their days listening to the teacher keep order, rather than learning much.  The smart kids are bored and stifled (and often end up becoming goof-offs) and the kids who struggle can’t get the help they need.  Every classroom is dominated by a handful of kids whose selfish demand for social attention overrides everyone’s need for an education.  And the teachers are afraid of those students’ parents.  Heaven forbid anybody threaten to sue!

            Here’s the shocking politically incorrect school I want my grandchildren to attend.  The goof-offs would be isolated from the responsible students.  For starters, it would loosely combine grade levels, because they are about to become rather fluid anyway.  It would divide each “age cluster” according to ability an *gasp* behavior.  Three classes or “tracks” per age cluster, plus special ed.  The tracks would be Academic, Practical, and Undecided.  That last one is a euphemism for unmotivated, disruptive, and mouthy; it would provide an education typical of current public school standards.  Any student would be allowed to choose his track, and even to change it.  The politically incorrect part is that any student who can’t or won’t keep up in the Practical and Academic tracks, would be put into the Undecided track.  Any student in the Undecided track could apply to either of the other tracks at the beginning of the next school year, provided he qualifies.   He’d be tested, and he may have to spend his summer studying independently to catch up to his peers in another track.  It can be done, if he’s willing to work for it.

            The Academic track would be geared toward college, and frankly, there’s no reason why an intelligent child can’t finish twelve years of school with nearly the equivalent of a modern bachelor’s degree.  My niece was writing sonnets in third grade.  (Imagine the college professors’ reactions!)  The Practical track would focus on core academic curriculum combined with vocational training, based on aptitude.  These kids could leave high school fully prepared to earn a living or go on to highly specialized technical training.  Without disruptive peers underfoot, students in these two tracks would get plenty of individual assistance from teachers, and would be able to accomplish a lot in small cooperative student groups. Students in these two tracks who disrupt or slow down the teaching process would get ONE warning, before being demoted to Undecided.       

            Sorry, Suzie Soccer-mom.  That smug little shit you worship like a god, is going to have to learn to shut his damn mouth if you want him to get a good education.    If Suzie’s social status can’t get her kid into the Academic or Practical track, she’s going to have to bite the bullet, and teach Junior a thing or two about personal accountability.  This system would give every child an education, but it wouldn’t waste precious resources on kids who don’t want to learn.  And it would give every smart, disciplined child a truly competitive education.  Imagine a school board having the guts to stand up to all those excuses for mediocrity and irresponsible behavior.

            One more can of worms: Tenure and seniority would have nothing to do with teaching assignments.  Teachers, like the students, would have to prove themselves.  The good teachers would get the good students.  Yup.  I said that out loud.

            Welcome to Planet Suzy.  

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cranky Mom

4 weeks to boot camp graduation.  Reservations are made and we can't wait!  I know it's "all good," but Damn  I'm frustrated.  I'm happy that Recruit is growing up and pursuing his goals, I'm happy (if a bit guilty) that he's financially independent from us.  I'm happy that he's now really enjoying boot camp, and reveling in  his accomplishments.  I'm not happy about communicating by snail mail!  A phone call!  An e-mail!  A text message!  Please, that's all I want!  I know I'm never again going to be a big part of his everyday life, and I'm cool with that, but Geez!  I'd really like to hear his voice.   Whine, whine, whine, boo f-ing hoo!  Hmph!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Tax Cuts

OK, everyone. (all six of you)  I don't care if she's over-paid, smug, hypocritical, out in left field, or Satan.  Is she correct, is she dead wrong, or is she ignoring relevant facts?  Please suspend all ideology and tell me the facts.
Sorry for the stupid commercial; I'll be digging around to find transcripts for this stuff.  A third grader could read it faster than most computers can download it.
Comments, please?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lapsed (Recovering) Catholic Part 1

I like the saying,"I don't have a problem with God; it's His fan club I can't stand."  But the truth is, some of his fans are pretty  #^&!*  cool.
Ben and I go waaaaay back ....

The world needs more Ben's

See ya, Stinky!

            I guess I was born optimistic.  I sure didn’t learn optimism in this world, but I have learned to refine it, capitalize on it.  You see, I was also born depressed.  In the days before Prozac I suffered a lot of anxiety, for no reason whatsoever.  When I was younger, I managed it by going off by myself and hanging out with my imagination.  As I grew older, I was forced to deal with people more and more.  I had to learn to shelter myself, and I think my innate optimism is how I survived.  No matter how much the present sucked, the future would always be better.  Didn’t know how, didn’t know why, but I was sure of it.  And it is better.
            My life is far from perfect, but I am content.  I’m not deluded, certainly not naive, and it’s just not feasible to hide out in a cave.  So I cope.  My secret?  Positive Mental Attitude.  Yep, good ol’ PMA.  (Excuse me, the seventies just called – they want their cheesy slogan back; the pet rock must be lonely.)  It turns out though, that remaining positive in a world full of negative is not so hard.  You don’t have to lie to yourself, or even chant positive affirmations in the mirror.  A positive outlook is simply a matter of looking around you, and choosing what to pick up and and take with you in your life.  And knowing what to leave outside.  I call it Dealing With the Skunk.
            Don’t ignore the skunk; he lives in your neighborhood and he can make you miserable.  He is the crime and politics and hopelessness in the news.  He’s your nitwit boss and you idiot coworker.  He’s the dumb-ass who nearly creamed you while texting behind the wheel. He’s the litter in the gutter and the hypocrites in church.  Sometimes he’s a member of your family.  Are you getting the picture? You are the only one who can decide how to live near the skunk without getting stink-bombed. 
            So, what do you do?  Booby-trap the yard and tell the kids to play indoors?  Do you nail your windows shut to keep out the smell?  Do you wear hazmat gear to walk the dog?  Maybe you stalk him with an M-16?  You can spend your whole life trying, but you will not eliminate the skunk.  Yet you don’t have to live like a prisoner in your own home.  If you’re smart, you remain aware of him, and you take sensible precautions to avoid him.  Keep your "yard" fairly neat; don’t give him junk piles and overgrown weeds for a habitat.  Don’t leave garbage out for him to eat.  When you do get a whiff of him, you’d be wise to head the other direction.  Stay alert, and know what he’s up to, but you’d best not engage him unless you must. 
            Here’s what you don't do.  You do not invite him into your home to dominate the dinner-table conversation.  You do not let him shed on the sofa and crap on the carpet.  You do not feed him the food you bought for your children.  In short, you don’t waste your precious resources nurturing something that can destroy your peace of mind.  The skunk is a part of life, but he shouldn’t be a part of the family.  Who would want that?  When you encounter the skunk, acknowledge him, deal with him, then leave him outside where he belongs.
            Oh, and cops, ministers, social workers, soldiers, and others among you who devote yourselves to wrestling the skunk on behalf of the rest of us:  Thank you, and I sincerely wish you peace in your personal lives – you need it more than anybody.
            I’m going to watch “Pollyanna” now.  Popcorn, anyone?
            And by the way, Recruit had a good Thanksgiving and is really loving boot camp.  Semper Fi.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Feeling sentimental today.  I don't have much time for poetry, but I have a few favorites.  Mostly by Edna St. Vincent Millay.  This is my all-time favorite:

                                          Dirge Without Music

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.

The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

My first favorite poem was The Ballad of the Harp Weaver; it was in my 6th grade reading textbook, and I rediscovered it as an adult.  And wow! It was by my favorite poet!  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hollow Nest

No letter from Recruit this week, so the nest feels extra empty.  His friends have been writing, so I suspect he spent his free time answering them.  Not that I resent it, I've just been thinking about Thanksgiving for two.  We were never big on turkey, so Better Half usually makes a Big Southern Feast.  He's a better cook than I am, but this year he asked me to make my World Class Cardiac Lasagna.  Sounds good to me!  I guess I feel kind of guilty about Recruit eating plastic turkey and potato flakes.  I'm hoping they let the boys call home for the holiday, and assuming they'll at least get a little extra free time.  Family is important to the Marines, right? Although the boys have been there long enough to start seeing the Corps as family, I hope they give Thanksgiving and Christmas more than a cursory nod.  I also hope they'll allow parents to sent special treats.  When they do, they require enough for the whole platoon, but I don't have a problem with that - I'll be more than happy to make fudge and caramels for all (I AM good at deserts!)  It's a shame my cookies have such a short shelf life and don't ship well.  Last year I got the "Martha Stewart  Cookies" cookbook, and now everyone at work thinks I'm a great cook!  Not a big fan of Martha's perfect little world, but I do recommend that book.  It doesn't require too many obscure kitchen gadgets or hard-to-find ingredients.  If you buy it, DO NOT skimp on the Dutch process cocoa.  Twice the price and not sold everywhere, but worth it!

BwaaaHaHaHa!  You have NO IDEA how ironic it is that I'm giving out cooking advice!  Is it a sign that the world really has turned upside down?  Guess I'd better re-learn how to hang from my heels!  Wonder if I could still climb a tree...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What Life is REALLY All About

Aaaaahh...Could a dog ask for more?  A window with a view.  A soft bed, blankets to dig around in.  A few tasty snacks.  Good company.
Come to think of it, could a person ask for more?

Check him out; the work these men do is AMAZING!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Female logic...

    Was I supposed to be a guy? I look just like a girly-girl, but I don't think I am. I don't get how women think. I can understand it, but my next question is always "Why bother?" Female logic tends to be ambiguous and convoluted, and conducive to manipulation. When I listen to women talk, I'm always a few steps behind; it takes me a while to figure out what they're really saying. I used to think it was just good manners, talking around the point instead of making the point, and I always felt like I was lacking some social graces. Well, Of course I am, but I don't think that's what this is. I think it's tact gone horribly awry. At best. At worst it's dishonest. Have you ever responded to a man's statement, only to have him say, "I'm sorry you took it that way, that's really not what I meant."? Men almost always say what they mean. If it's bad and they don't want to hurt your feelings, they stammer and change the subject. Right? Male logic is much simpler. Yeah, I get the irony, but I say that with respect, not smug pity. I like simplicity. It gets things done. I'd rather speak my mind and be dead wrong, than wade through a pool of murky ambiguity. And how are we supposed to predict a response, or do other women just play along, because they're pretty sure of where this is going? Is this something women instinctively know? Am I missing the gene? Seems to me like a waste of time and words. I've always been more comfortable around guys; I think we speak the same language.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Radical Theology

Ever read the Bible?  Specifically the New Testament?  More specifically, the teachings of Jesus Christ, who is the only known divine human in the history of the world? (that is, assuming you believe...)  I've heard a few sermons about what would happen if Jesus came to this world today, as a human being.  They were pretty vague, intended to make us consider the differences between the true Jesus and our modern idea of him.  He was, after all, quite the radical in His time, and He would be today as well.  Here's what I think would happen if Jesus appeared in human form, today in America:

He would teach about love and forgiveness, saying that these principles are more important than the old rules of the church.  He would tell us that we should give our worldly possessions to the poor, and trade high social status for humility.  Notably absent, I suspect, would be any angry tirades against non-Christians, gays, public aid parasites, or whoever else we love to hate. He would tell us that he loves them, and so should we.  (He may actually have a bone to pick with the moneylenders.)  He might perform a few miracles, convincing those around him that he is indeed our divine Father.  Then Word would get out, so to speak.

Skeptics who see His "miracles" on TV, would assume special effects were involved, and would ridicule believers for their gullibility.  The mainstream "liberal" news media would have psychiatrists and sociologists explain that He is a well-intentioned, idealistic man who's clearly delusional, and may be planning to start a potentially dangerous cult.  Keep a close eye on your loved ones, especially those with mental illness and low self esteem; they could be vulnerable.

TLC would try to sign Him for a reality-TV show.

The leaders of the Christian church would immediately recognize him as a threat to their authority and income, and would promptly denounce him as the Anti-Christ, here to deceive us and lead us all to Hell.  Given the opportunity, they would cheerfully (and righteously, of course) crucify him all over again.

Congress would run around in circles with its collective head up its collective ass, occasionally bleating out inane sound-bites.  As usual.

Fox news would scream, "Socialist!!"  "Anti-American!!"  "Bleeding heart liberal!!"  Bill O'Reilly would verbally annihilate Him in an interview, and Jesus would not protest.  Glenn Beck would stand in front of a chalkboard, and tell us that Jesus is clearly the most dangerous man in America.  He would illustrate, in terms a moron could grasp, how this "so-called Savior" uses his charisma to prey upon the uninformed, and to indoctrinate our innocent children, turning their pure little hearts away from all that we-as-Americans hold dear.  "Just like Hitler."

Jesus himself would be squashed like a cockroach in modern America.  His words, however,  live on quietly in the hearts of many, hopefully overriding the teachings of society and religion.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Woof," says the Black Hound.

I'm just an old mom, really, and a mutt.  Alpha bitch in my pack (Please don't tell the dog!)  I'm descended from the Cunniffs of County Meath, Ireland (hence the Black Hound,) several people involved in the Salem witch trials, A POW during the Revolutionary War, an Italian witch doctor, and  a convicted cattle rustler.  That I know of.

I have a husband that I'll keep, thank-you-very-much, and a son in the Marine Corps.  Cats, dogs, and a dumpy little house in the country, with several acres and a pond.  I drive a bookmobile for a living, but I've had several  varied mom-jobs throughout the last 18 years.  I think I'll stick with the library until I retire.  My politics are moderate, with libertarian leanings.  I'm a cop supporter (Dad, sister) and although I support the military, I have no use for the current war.  I own guns and support gun rights.  I also support  sensible animal advocacy; I'm a volunteer transporter for rescued dogs.  I despise what passes for news on television, especially Fox.  (It reminds me of my little brother when he was young - he thought the best way to win an argument was to say any dumb thing that popped into his head, and to keep saying it, as loudly as possible.)

I try to make a habit of researching (and of course validating) my opinions before I put them up for public scrutiny/ridicule, since I hate to be wrong.  My favorite question is, "Why?"  My BS detector works pretty well, and I think red herrings smell pretty rank.  Nothing puts me to sleep faster than smug plodding prose.

There.  My first blog post.  It'll do.