April 29, 2006

If You Don't Hear From Me.....

....Send someone in!!! Mike's installing a TV antenna and needed some pictures from inside the attic. Easier said than done. You see, I have about 20 years of collecting shoved up there. Model horses, Barbies and die cast cars and a ton of other stuff. Some day..... I want to put it all up on Ebay and get rid of it. I just don't have the time now. Anyway, to get to where he wanted the pictures, I had to move a bunch of stuff around. And then, at some points, I had to crawl. This was because of some of the roof supports. Anyway, I managed to get the pictures. The area, where I was trying to photograph, was pitch dark. So, I tried to ignore the shuffles and creaks I heard as I was getting ready to take the shots. Visions of an arm coming up and grabbing me kept appearing in my thoughts. I made it back safely, obviously. Vowing to go through the stuff and sell it. But, as I closed the door to the attic, I know that it will be ignored until I need to find something again.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2006

I Love it When I Lose Things

Seriously! I love it when I lose something. Because, when I go to look for it, I end up going through piles of crap and getting rid of things. My Lotus Office Suite disk wasn't in it's usual location. So, I tore apart the computer desk to look for it. This wasn't my desk, but the main computer that everyone has access to. By the time I finally found my disk, I had a full garbage bag of junk. And, I found other disks and instruction manuals, that my daughters had been looking for. I just love going through and getting rid of a lot of junk.

Posted by Valkyre at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)

R.I.P. Winston

I wake up this morning to a somewhat unpleasant smell. Managed to trace it down and find that our rather elderly Eastern King Snake has died. My sister gave him to us several years back and he was old then. Ironically, last time I saw her, I was telling her a story about Winston. She interrupted me with, "You mean Winston is still alive!? He was old when we gave him to you. He's lived way longer than the average lifetime for an Eastern King Snake!" So, I think she cursed him.

Posted by Valkyre at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2006

100 Years Ago Today

San Francisco was almost completely leveled by a massive earthquake.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-quake19apr19,0,4740437.story?coll=la-home-headlines

City Marks Anniversary of Darkest Hour

By John M. Glionna and Lee Romney, Times Staff Writer

6:15 PM PDT, April 18, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO -- This city awoke before sunrise Tuesday to mark the 100th anniversary of its darkest hour -- a deadly early-morning earthquake that killed more than 3,000 and left half the city homeless.

As the first strains of dawn colored the sky, thousands gathered at Lotta's Fountain on Market Street to observe a moment of silence for those who perished and to honor the survivors of the April 18, 1906, temblor, one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history.

Men sported black bowlers and carried finely crafted walking canes. Women wore corseted dresses and platter hats. One man turned up in a stocking cap and nightshirt, illustrating how residents at the time were driven from their beds to wander the streets.

Ann Barbee, an office manager in Marin County, made it for the 50th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge in 1997 and rode the cable cars on the last day before they were closed for repairs.

"This is historic," she said. "How could you not come?"

Her son, Todd, stepped forward to take her picture. "Smile, Mom," he deadpanned. "You've been waiting 100 years for this."

Tuesday's activities -- which also included 6 a.m. beers and Bloody Marys served up at nearby watering holes and a 10 a.m. parade -- started in solemn remembrance as Mayor Gavin Newsom and other dignitaries laid a wreath at the fountain and recognized a dozen survivors in attendance.

The survivors were treated as celebrities. They signed autographs and were ushered to a breakfast in a 1931 Lincoln with whitewalls.

As one elderly survivor in a red sweater and pink scarf ambled onto the stage, she raised her arms in victory, like a boxer after a knockout.

The crowd erupted in cheers.

"Go get 'em granny!" one man yelled.

Roving about like a game-show host, Newsom interviewed the survivors on a brisk morning where temperatures dipped into the low 50s.

How did white-haired Norma Norwood feel?

"Cold," she responded.

Then, without missing a beat, she added, "But I've got Gavin Newsom to warm me up," bringing a blush from the mayor, who's young enough to be her great-grandson.

One after the other during the 90-minute event, officials boasted of how magnificently the city rebuilt itself. In the background hung the centennial commemoration's official banner: "San Francisco Rising."

"In the days after the quake, the writer Jack London wrote for eastern readers that 'San Francisco is gone. Nothing remains of it but memories,' " Annemarie Conroy, executive director of the city's Office of Emergency Services, told the crowd. "But we say today, 'How wrong he was!' "

As the 5:13 a.m. memorial moment neared, the crowd began an impromptu countdown. At the end, someone shouted, "Happy anniversary, San Francisco!"

The moment of silence that followed ended with the wail of fire engines. Several horse-drawn fire wagons, the type used to fight the fires that erupted after the 1906 quake, were wheeled past, prompting one woman to observe: "No wonder the whole city burned."

But the survivors stole the show. Wrapped in fleece blankets provided by the event's longtime organizer -- Taren Sapienza -- they pondered questions from Newsom. Norwood told the mayor she was "the result of the earthquake" -- conceived and born in a tent in Golden Gate Park.

An hour later, brothers Matt and Kevin Murphy, San Francisco natives, toasted the earthquake with Budweiser at a downtown bar.

"Here's to San Francisco," Matt said, clinking his brother's bottle. "We're proud of this place."

With that, a bleary-eyed, proud, reflective city stumbled into morning.

To join the commemorations, Michael Dehlinger donned a woolen waistcoat, felt bowler hat and black leather gloves, and showed up before dawn to pay respects to his great-great-grandfather.

Dehlinger's ancestor had perished, a night watchman who never returned home from his shift. After camping with her four children in Dolores Park, Dehlinger's great-great-grandmother found lodging over a blacksmith shop -- and became a blacksmith.

"This is sentimental for me," Dehlinger said.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

The table has been cleaned, the ham is cooking, Mike is making his famouse mashed potatoes.... Dinner should be ready around 5pm.

Happy Easter!

Posted by Valkyre at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2006

Don't Feed the Elephant

Poor guy! I hope he gets to feeling better.

Elephant Eats Scores of Cookies, Gets Sick

By DILIP GANGULY
Associated Press Writer

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) -- Sri Lanka's most celebrated elephant, "Raja," has fallen ill after eating scores of cookies, chocolates and other rich food offered to him as part of Buddhist new year celebrations.

Thousands of worshippers have visited Raja at Colombo's 150-year-old Gangaramaya Temple in recent days ahead of the new year celebrations starting Thursday.

Many have offered Raja, named for the word meaning king in both Sinhalese and Tamil, homemade cookies deep fried in coconut oil, chocolates, rice cooked in thick milk and fermented slices of sweet pineapple, monks who care for him said Tuesday.

At dawn Tuesday, monks found Raja writhing in pain with tears in his eyes.

Monks, a veterinarian and the chief of zoology at Colombo University attended to Raja, 45, who retched and thrashed about in discomfort in his sandy enclosure.

"He likes eating and yesterday many people came and offered him all sorts of things," said Kirinde Assaji, the 37-year-old monk who led efforts to help Raja.

Elephant's mostly eat vegetation, and their digestive system can not easily cope with rich or processed foods, veterinarians said.

"We presume he has got a severe infection through bad food and is unable to purge normally," said Tissa Ratnasuriya of Colombo University's Zoology Department. "The cookies ... literally are soaked in oil and those were given to Raja. He is under severe pain."

For centuries, aristocratic families in Sri Lanka kept elephants captured from the wild. The presence of an elephant, preferably a bull elephant like Raja, is common at big Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, where Buddhism is the majority religion.

A century ago, 10,000 to 15,000 elephants roamed wild in Sri Lanka, but today only about 3,000 remain, largely because of poaching and loss of habitat.

The monks on Tuesday hung a handwritten notice by Raja's enclosure that read: "Do not feed the elephant."

Posted by Valkyre at 06:43 AM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2006

You Have to See This

This is a video of a two legged dog named Faith. It's a 5 minute video from when the dog was on Montel Williams show. It's something to see.

Posted by Valkyre at 08:19 PM | Comments (1)

April 02, 2006

Well Said

This was in today's Los Angeles Times Editorials:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-hicks1apr01,0,5758338.story

Civil rights? How about lawlessness?

The protesters seem intent on ending border restraints, not improving immigrants' lives.

By Joe R. Hicks, JOE R. HICKS is vice president of the L.A.-based human relations organization Community Advocates, Inc.

April 1, 2006

THE DEBATE over illegal immigration has reached a vigorous boil, with contrasting bills in the House and Senate and hundreds of thousands of protesters demonstrating nationwide. The complexities of this debate seem lost on many of the protesters. Many claim that what lies beneath reform efforts is raw racism, leading to the view that the recent protests signal a new civil rights movement.

It's simply not true. This nation's civil rights movement of the 1960s broke the back of white supremacy that prevented black Americans (who were citizens) from enjoying the rights guaranteed to them under the Constitution. Undeniably, the freedoms codified by civil rights-era legislation have made life better for all Americans regardless of skin color, gender or national origin.

Now, many Latino immigrant-rights organizers and their sympathizers seem to be saying that there is some inherent right being expressed when people sneak into the country, thumb their noses at the law and make fools out of those who wait patiently in foreign lands for visas to come to the United States.

It is quite clear that many of those participating in the demonstrations have adopted the stance of the beleaguered victim, perceiving frustration about illegal immigration as racism. Some comments have been painfully ignorant. One protester said: "I'm here to make sure that Mexicans get their freedom, their rights."

During the student protests, the American flag was only occasionally on display, while the Mexican flag was omnipresent. A student said he was waving the latter in support of La Raza (the race), while another asked why illegal immigrants were "treated like criminals." Perhaps he wasn't aware that crossing the U.S. border without the required visa is now, and always has been, against the law.

The participation of students, some as young as 13 and 14, is especially troubling given that all too many seemed clueless about the issues. Perhaps more puzzling is that some of the student walkouts took place on a day honoring the memory of Cesar Chavez. The great Chicano labor organizer held a march in 1969 from the Coachella and Imperial valleys to the Mexican border. Chavez and the United Farm Workers were protesting the use of illegal immigrants as strikebreakers. Further, Chavez believed that illegal immigration was antithetical to the wage interests of the migrant workers he represented.

What immigrant-rights groups refuse to acknowledge is that an unchecked flow of unskilled labor drives down wages for entry-level jobs, rendering all poor Americans, including millions of teenage workers, less than competitive.

Are illegal workers doing jobs that Americans won't do? This often-heard argument is specious. The reality is that most Americans won't do entry-level labor for the meager wages often offered to undocumented workers.

Activists seem focused on a political agenda that is fiercely anti-capitalist and intent on removing all border constraints. Nevertheless, protesters in Los Angeles were welcomed uncritically by the city's leaders. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told the crowd of 500,000 last Saturday, "There are no illegal people here today." He added: "America was built on the backs of immigrants."

This is an obvious truism, but it obliterates the distinction between legal and illegal and mocks the rule of law. The immigration process continues to bring people from all parts of the world to these shores, but it has to be an orderly and lawful one.

Lawful or not, the United States cannot absorb all of the people who aspire to come here. A 2005 Pew Hispanic Center survey on attitudes toward immigration, conducted in part in Mexico, found that an estimated 70 million adults in Mexico would come to the U.S. if they had the means and the opportunity. About half of those said they would be willing to move to and work in this country illegally. The study also found that 35% of Mexican college graduates want to come to the U.S., even if that means they would have to work at a job below their qualifications and many also said they'd be willing to come illegally.

What we are witnessing is not the birth of a new civil rights movement but the attempt to render meaningless the concept of border controls. Any march that can mobilize 500,000 people will get the attention of Washington's politicians, but this nation must not be deterred from securing its borders, enforcing the law and finding a way to humanely deal with the more than 11 million illegal residents already here.

Posted by Valkyre at 07:39 PM | Comments (0)