Archive for April, 2006


I’m generally a nice person, open minded, politically liberal, and tolerant of all kinds of lifestyles. I really do believe that my rights end where someone else’s begin. I try not to make a fuss. But as laid back and easy going as I am, you can push too far and this week something made me mad enough to send letters to everyone I know as well as perfect strangers. Did you see this article in the news regarding our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner?

Latino Music Stars Craft New Version to Demonstrate Patriotism

I’ll post the whole article at the end of this rant. This is the gist: the brain child of British music executive Adam Kidron, some Latino musicians have concocted a version that Latin immigrants will find “less offensive”. In addition to the rewrite being in Spanish (isn’t this America? Don’t we speak ENGLISH here?) the most moving and historical passage of the song has been “toned down”.

Enough is enough. Prayer has been taken out of our schools, teachers are no longer permitted to have class projects surrounding any holiday for fear of “offending” someone, I heard recently that there’s a movement to stop our school children from starting their day by saying the Pledge of Allegiance. AND NOW the immigrants are upset by the fierceness of our National Anthem. Where is the spirit that founded our country? Where is our fierce pride, our desire to be ourselves and not just an outpost of England? Adam Kidron is upset by the number of Mexican flags at an immigrant demonstration so his answer is to change an AMERICAN tradition? This country was founded by immigrants, people so offended by their native country they left it and came here, to America, to start something new. Teddy Roosevelt said it best:

Theodore Roosevelt’s ideas on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907.
“In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”
(Thanks to my writing partner and library friend for sending me this)

If we don’t get mad, and get vocal, in very few years the Americans will be huddled in a corner surrounded by immigrants all trying to serve two masters. Get mad. Get vocal and don’t buy the records Adam Kidron produces, not even the ones not altering our National Anthem. He doesn’t understand the principles America was founded on, but he will understand a cut in his income.

The whole article by Jim Avila as promised:

Spanish ‘Star Spangled Banner’ — Touting the American Dream or Offensive Rewrite?
Latino Music Stars Craft New Version to Demonstrate Patriotism
April 27, 2006 – “The Star Spangled Banner” has provided the soundtrack to our national pastime since 1918, when the spirited tune debuted at a baseball game.
Now there is a new version with changes to the time-honored lyrics.
A group of Spanish music stars have presented their own take on the national anthem for Latino immigrants, in their native language, titled “Nuestro Himno” or “Our Anthem.”
The idea came from British music executive Adam Kidron, who sympathized with the recent immigrant demonstrations but was troubled by the number of Mexican flags in the crowd.
He hopes the new Spanish-language version of the national anthem will demonstrate Latino patriotism and encourage more American flags at the demonstrations.
“It has the passion, it has the respect, it has all of the things that you really want an anthem to have and it carries the melody,” said Kidron.
Altered Lyrics Tone Down Battle
“The Star Spangled Banner” has endured some extreme versions – from Jimmy Hendrix’s explosive guitar rendition to one from soul signer Marvin Gaye – since Francis Scott Key first wrote the poem while watching the British bombard an American fort during the War of 1812.
The current version will likely spark debate, because it is not an exact translation. Some of the classic lyrics have been changed for rhyming reasons while other phrases were altered to soften war references. For example:
English version: And the rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Spanish version: In the fierce combat, the sign of victory, the flame of battle in step with liberty through the night it was said it was being defended.
The original author’s great-great grandson, Charles Key, finds the Spanish version unpatriotic and is adamant that it should be sung only in English.
“I think its a despicable thing that someone is going into our society from another country and changing our national anthem,” Key said.
Those behind the new song say Key and others miss the point. The Spanish version is meant to show immigrant pride in a new country where they live and work.


April 29, 2006 at 9:37 am 2 comments

Bosses Behaving Badly

Just when I think people can’t get any more ridiculous, somebody comes along and proves me wrong. Alarm One, a home security company based in Fresno California, just got sued for spanking an employee.

“Employees were paddled with rival companies’ yard signs as part of a contest that pitted sales teams against each other, according to court documents. The winners poked fun at the losers, throwing pies at them, feeding them baby food, making them wear diapers and swatting their buttocks.”

Did someone forget to tell these guys that hazing went out with the eighties? Jeesh, what kind of morons still believe they can motivate employees through ridicule and humiliation?

“Lawyers for Alarm One, an Anaheim-based, 300-employee company, said the spankings were part of a voluntary program to build camaraderie and were not discriminatory because they were given to both male and female workers.”

Well, I certainly feel better now that I know they brutalize both their male and female employees! Which group of employees were getting those warm, fuzzy feelings of camaraderie, the taunters or the tauntees? Ignorant bunch of sadists.

Most alarming, who is so desperate for employment that they would put up with this kind of treatment? I don’t know which group to be more horrified of: the people willing to spank, taunt and ridicule another person, or the ones who stood and took it.

White supremacists, people who run puppy mills, people that make chickens fight, most politicians and now the owners and “winning” team of Alarm One… shame on you.

April 27, 2006 at 8:29 am 3 comments

Visits and Visitors and Guests… Oh MY!

Well May is just my lucky month, in addition to the Chief’s visit, yesterday my sister- mom called to say she and the California/Oregon crowd were coming through on their way to the Indy 500. Whenever I see her or hear from her, I stop being a middle aged mother of five and become, once again, the girl she raised. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I’m glad I had the kind of role model I see as the same intelligent, organized and efficient woman now as I saw then.

I have several girlfriends who are still walking around in their middle age railing against their mothers, or blaming their mothers for whatever insecurities or character flaws they have. There are enough ways to have your joy stollen in this day and time, why would someone choose to continue chewing on their childhood? On paper, mine wasn’t the greatest childhood. Sister-mom wasn’t so good at hugs and kisses, or understanding teenagers. She was just a might controlling and a clean freak (my polar opposite). The very fact that I was raised by a sister instead of my natural mother (who was alive and relatively well but going through some kind of mid-life crises, for all eighteen years of my childhood). But those are not the things I took away from my youth. Both of them, my mother and my sister, did the best they could with what they knew then. In my sister’s case, she stepped above and beyond the bounds of duty, she was too young to have a sister to raise. From my earliest memories, with her, was the only place I wanted to be. She was there for me, with rules and advice and structure. There is no more you can ask of a parent but that they try their best, and she did.

April 25, 2006 at 1:20 pm 1 comment

The Green Eyed Monster

Here in midwestern suburbia, on the fringes of Appalachia,( far from the city… you get it, I live in the sticks, BFE as my kids used to say,) I write stories, some long, some short, all fiction. When I’m not writing, I’m researching. Looking for information on everything from publishers seeking authors to ways to market a book. In that process I’ve stumbled onto writers forums, writers blogs, writers websites- and in some cases been thunderstruck by the meaness and sheer venom some writers are expressing about other writers. The internet has changed the way every business works, and the arts; music, literature, and movies, are no exception. From my viewpoint, there is never a reason to publicly slam another person. When actors do it to actors, or writers do it to writers, it can be fueled by nothing more than jealousy. When anyone publicly ridicules another in their same industry, its shameful and makes the instigator look small in my opinion. Call it naive if you must, but think how much more powerful an industry can be if it’s members are each others cheerleaders.

My mother used to say “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” She also said “pretty is as pretty does”, but that’s a story for another day.

April 22, 2006 at 9:44 am 3 comments

World Domination

I grew up Baptist, a religion famous for scaring its parishioners into good behavior through tales of fire and brimstone. Sometime in my formative years I was told at church that there was no mention at all of North America in Revelations or the Bible as a whole. The point being, that since there is no mention of my country, it will probably be blown off the face of the planet before the events in the book of Revelations ever come to pass. As my dear friend and writing parnter says “a thinking person” knows this means nothing, the Bible doesn’t mention dinosaurs either, but they still existed. But I can still hear that declaration echoing in my head. I look around at the mess that America is in and it makes me think of the fall of Rome, the super power Russia USED to be. The battle cry of the British army was once “make the world English”. Nothing and nobody ever gets to the top of the heap and stays there. There is a cycle, you climb, and struggle, and get there… then you creep, crawl or tumble back down to start again. My friend e-mailed me the following today, the author is unknown, the sentiment is that of most of my friends and neighbors, but fantasy none the less because when one looks at the world, America isn’t big enough to be autonomous.

WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT TO TURN ON THE TV AND HEAR ANY U.S. PRESIDENT, DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN GIVE THE FOLLOWING SPEECH? My Fellow Americans: As you all know, the defeat of Iraq regime has been completed.
Since congress does not want to spend any more money on this war, our mission in Iraq is complete. This morning I gave the order for a complete removal of all American forces from Iraq. This action will be complete within 30 days. It is now to begin the reckoning.
Before me, I have two lists. One list contains the names of countries which have stood by our side during the Iraq conflict. This list is short. The United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Australia, and Poland are some of the countries listed there. The other list contains everyone not on the first list. Most of the world’s nations are on that list. My press secretary will be distributing copies of both lists later this evening.
Let me start by saying that effective immediately, foreign aid to those nations on List 2 ceases immediately and indefinitely. The money saved during the first year alone will pretty much pay for the costs of the Iraqi war.
The American people are no longer going to pour money into third world Hellholes and watch those government leaders grow fat on corruption. Need help with a famine? Wrestling with an epidemic? Call France. In the future, together with Congress, I will work to redirect this money toward solving the vexing social problems we still have at home. On that note, a word to terrorist organizations. Screw with us and we will hunt you down and eliminate you and all your friends from the face of the earth, with the help of our European allies. Thirsting for a gutsy country to terrorize? Try France, or maybe China.

I am ordering the immediate severing of diplomatic relations with France, Germany, and Russia. Thanks for all your help, comrades. We are retiring from NATO as well. Bon chance, mes amis.
I have instructed the Mayor of New York City to begin towing the many UN diplomatic vehicles located in Manhattan with more than two unpaid parking tickets to sites where those vehicles will be stripped, shredded and crushed. Yes, they do have diplomatic immunity, but we don’t care because we are mighty. You creeps have tens of thousands of unpaid tickets. Pay those tickets tomorrow or watch your precious Benzes, Beamers and limos be turned over to some of the finest chop shops in the world. I love New York. I’m big.
Mexico is on List 2. President Fox and his entire corrupt government really need an attitude adjustment. I will have a couple extra tanks and infantry divisions sitting around. Guess where I am going to put em? Yep, border security.
Oh, by the way, the United States is abrogating the NAFTA treaty – starting now.
We are tired of the one-way highway. Immediately, we’ll be drilling for oil in Alaska – which, hopefully, will take care of this country’s oil needs for decades to come. If you’re an environmentalist who opposes this decision, I refer you to List 2 above: pick a country and move there. They care.

It is time for America to focus on its own welfare and its own citizens. Some will accuse us of isolationism. I answer them by saying, “darn tootin, we are big!”
Nearly a century of trying to help folks live a decent life around the world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet. It is time to eliminate hunger in America. It is time to eliminate homelessness in America. To the nations on List 1, a final thought. Thank you guys. We owe you and we won’t forget.
To the nations on List 2, a final thought: You might want to learn to speak Arabic. God bless America. Thank you and good night.

If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English, thank a soldier.

April 20, 2006 at 5:55 pm 2 comments

This Writer’s Life April

This past weekend, I begged off from my editing duties with every intention of doing some spring cleaning so the house of perpetual remodeling will be presentable for a guest. In eighteen days my boss will fly in from California for a 4 day business meeting. Papa Bear has managed to complicate this visit further by allowing his leg surgery to be scheduled into that period also. Can we all say passive-aggressive? Anyway… With one book out to potential publishers, one in edit with my partner and a new one in the note and research stage, I don’t notice much around the house. Between my accounting job, my editing job, Princess and the dogs, I notice even less. It will be the first time the Chief has seen my house, so I would like it to look like something other than the place where hillbillies go to die. I would prefer that he didn’t lay awake all four nights staring at the ceiling and wondering what diseases he may be contracting from the polluted air of our humble abode.

It should be noted that I am lacking the cleaning gene. I grew up with a woman who was so gifted in this respect that I never saw anything out of place or dirty, nor did I see her actually cleaning. Somewhere in the back of my mind I’m sure I just assumed fairies came in the night and tidied up. I learned to clean from TV. It’s embarrassing, but that’s just the way it is. Thank you Martha Stewart, Clean Sweep and those two British ladies that insist on sniffing the stains to prove the house is really dirty. From these professors of cleanliness I learned: 1) to assemble my supplies in a bucket, 2) Carry with me an empty basket for orphans that belong in another room and 3) clean the room from ceiling to floor in a clockwise fashion. There are lots of little things, but these are the BIG rules.

The first problem arose when I went to gather my supplies to put them in the bucket I’d retrieved from the toy box (the grand girls were using it as a Brat Doll condominium), I couldn’t reach the cabinet that stores the supplies because of the mountain of dirty laundry. My laundry area being approximately the size of a phone booth, it was necessary to actually sort the clothes by color into piles in the dining room. That messed up the last two of my three rules, I couldn’t remove the orphaned laundry or get around the piles in a clockwise manner. Everything broke down after that.

I wouldn’t say I’m anal, but I have always had this aversion to half doing anything. I can’t put a coat in the closet without first straightening the other coats, boots, hats, gloves, camera’s and shoes already in there. I can’t just water the plants, I have to pick out all the dead leaves and repot them if necessary. I can’t just wash a wall that needs painted, I must paint it. Here is where problem number three reared it’s ugly head.

Our old house has two stairways. The back stairs lead to my dressing room and, for all intents and purposes, might as well have yellow caution tape in a big X over them. Treads are loose or broken on three steps and the ceiling has a huge hole in it (when Girl Prof was in High School she and a friend decided to climb into the unfinished attic and walk around. They may have gone up through the attic hatch, but they came down through the drywall). The other stairway is the one we use. It is paneled in ugly 1970’s dark wood paneling. Too narrow for a handrail, going up them was like ascending a tunnel in a coal mine. I made every attempt to just dust them off and go on about my business. It just wasn’t possible, they had to be painted. Lucky for us, Princess works at Home Depot and we have tons of paint. To make a long story shorter, the stairway, upstairs hallway and all the bedroom doors are now a lovely shade of icy blue with darker blue woodwork. It looks cool and clean. The rest of the house is still a disaster, but the hall and stairs are impressive!

Clean houses are over rated in my opinion anyway. How is a person supposed to develop immunities in a sterile environment?

April 19, 2006 at 1:51 pm 2 comments

Breakdowns and Breaking It Down

I caught just a few minutes of a radio talk show recently. They were reviewing a book called Overbooked, Overworked and Ready to Break. From what I was able to hear, it was written by a psychiatrist from what he’d been seeing of his patients. People falling to pieces from their crazy, overscheduled lives. I’ve always been overscheduled, and there are days I hit the wall and just can’t do one more thing. I usually spend those days curled up in a chair, reading a book. By the next day, I’m fine. Thank goodness for genetics, eh?

Princess and I firmly believe that all work and no play makes for a couple of dull, boring people. So we take every opportunity to run off and do something fun. Last week, we went to the movies. Take The Lead with Antonio Bendaras. It was a Tuesday night, so the theatre was empty when we walked in. Princess delivered the obvious joke as we looked at the empty rows: “Gee, I hope we can find a seat!” The pair of men that came in after us, topped her: “Wow, I hope we can find a seat, don’t step on those people’s feet son!”. Some older ladies came in after that: “I hope we can find seats together!” Princess was cracking up and that makes me laugh. The movie, about a ballroom dancing program in New York’s public schools, had us all wanting to race out and take dance lessons. We came out of the movie to a beautiful, mild night which prompted Princess into forcing me to put the top down on the car. At first, it was okay, the airs blowing, the stars above our heads, and the radio blasting. By the time we hit the highway, I was freezing. By half way home, I couldn’t stand it anymore so I told her I was freezing, and she admitted she was too. There isn’t anywhere on the stretch of road we were on to stop, and you can’t put the top up when you’re moving. So we turned on the heater. Then we rolled up the windows. We raced into town looking totally ridiculous with the radio blasting, the top down and the windows up. Of course when you’re in that moment, everything is funny.

April 15, 2006 at 7:18 am Leave a comment

Life Sorta

I’m sure the Prof. squared had no idea they were unleashing a mid-life crisis when they thoughtfully arranged the purchase of a convertible for me. I’m positive their intention was only to make my life a little easier and less dependant on the availability (and operability!) of our other two vehicles. Maybe its spring fever, maybe it’s truly that last rush of youthful wildness marking the onset of a permanent slowing down. I don’t know, for today, I don’t care. I want only to roll down the windows, put the top down and speed along the road (seat belt and cruise control firmly engaged) with the wind in my hair and the radio blasting away (strictly top 40, none of that rap or hip hop nonsense). In rereading this, definitely spring fever, mid-life would surely let me be a little less law abiding and buttoned up.

I caught just part of the Bill and Melinda Gate’s interview regarding the sad state of our current public school system. Twenty years ago American students were among the best in the world, today we are in 24th place in Math, behind countries like Poland, Canada, Germany, France, and Slovakia. Schools that are falling down around the ears of the students, schools that don’t have books, schools with curriculum behind the times. Having raised five kids, I agree with Mr. Gates, there are serious problems with our public school system. The campus in my little town is beautiful, inside and outside. Schools in the whole county look alright, but our kids are failing. Despite finishing high school in the top of their class, our county’s kids are struggling to cut it in College. They lack the blocks necessary for the base upon which their college studies will build. I know many of our teachers, and I have the Prof. squared. I know it isn’t a matter of unmotivated or uncaring teachers. It’s the ridiculousness of proficiency testing. Teachers teaching a test, and what happens to all the material between the test questions?

April 12, 2006 at 2:56 pm 1 comment

Why People Should be More Like Pomeranians

We have frequently accused our Pom, Feather, of being brain damaged. She’s terrified of squeaky toys, but will chase down and attack giant dogs that could use her as a snack. Feather frequently challenges the cat to battles for supremacy in the house of perpetual remodeling. Ophelia the cat is taller than her, fatter than her and fully clawed. Brain damaged. But then I spent some time really watching our little fur ball.
If people were more like Pomeranians, we’d have much better lives. We’d greet the people in our lives with much joy and dancing, whether they’d been on a long trip or just to the bathroom. What could be better for the self-esteem than that? We’d spend more time hugging, kissing and cuddling. We’d avoid the winy people always trying to bring us down, and take on the bullies trying to beat us down. We’d never settle for being second best. We’d take advantage of every opportunity to shoot out the door and run with our hair flying in the wind toward no particular destination. Pomeranians are geniuses.

April 5, 2006 at 11:05 am 1 comment

The free-lance writer is the person who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps. (Robert Benchley)

Welcome to My Neighborhood!

Shortly after I learned to use a spoon, I learned to use a pencil. Crippled by shyness as a child, I found that the things I couldn't say out loud, I could say with a pen, and then a typewriter. The shyness was overcome with education and age...but the need to write has never left me.

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You’re Not The Only One

Compiled and edited by Peach, this book includes a story by Kat Campbell, as well as 105 other great writers from across the internet. Proceeds from the sale of this book benefit the War Child Fund. Great reading for you, help for some deserving kids. Order by clicking on LuLu in my links.

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April 2006