Archive for July, 2006

Creative Sentencing

I recently read a news article about a handful of judges throughout the country who have dragged out some common sense and are handing out punishments that fit the crime. For instance: a woman who pretended to be a Hurricane Katrina victim in order to get free rent, sentenced to clean houses. The article went on to say that Judges are skittish about doing this because of criticism from the public. The general population is most comfortable with seeing criminals, so matter how minor their crime, warehoused in prison. No matter how much it costs them.

I find this public attitude very frustrating. We have staggering numbers of repeat offenders, proving that prison doesn’t work. Anyone that has raised kids knows that grounding doesn’t work. Incarceration at any level is nothing more than a temporary fix. Murderers, rapists, the extremely violent – they belong in prison. But so many other criminals would actually be rehabilitated with a different kind of punishment.

When my kids were young, there was a pack of teenagers who cut all the Christmas lights on our street as a prank. My kids were little and this scared and upset them. The boys were caught and punished, I think they had to write an essay to the judge or something. The following Halloween the same group broke every jack-o-lantern on the street. Hmmm… I guess they didn’t learn much from that essay. For cutting Christmas lights I think the punishment should have been to replace and hang every string plus some hours volunteering at a soup kitchen. At the time I wanted them assigned to community service- at my house. I had this really nasty garage that could have used the attention of such ambitious young men.

The judicial system isn’t the only thing broken around here. When the illegals were picketing, and all of Washington was worrying about who would do those menial jobs the illegal aliens do if they should all go home, I wanted to scream at the TV. When did we become such a mamby-pamby, woosy, prima donna society? And if we have so many jobs that no American will do, why do we still have welfare? I have a simple plan for fixing just this type of thing:

Step 1: Deport all illegal aliens. This will free up a bunch of jobs.
Step 2: Institute a country wide flat tax in lieu of the federal income tax in place now. This will result in the loss of many IRS jobs, those people can go fill the spots once filled by the illegal aliens.

The added bonus to this plan is that a flat tax would generate enough money to pay off the national debt in very short order. Seems simple enough to me.


July 31, 2006 at 7:18 am 1 comment

July Updates

This is Miss O’Hara, the Terra Cotta Vineyard cat. She checks things out on the dining pavilion before the people arrive. Must have recognized a kindred spirit to have made an appearance while we were there.

July has raced by like a hurricane, my body has made it to the end of the month, but I think my mind is still back there somewhere around the 4th.

Tico: Final editing requests have been sent to Sandra for suspicious Circumstances and Theresa’s book, Last, is off being formatted. The cover is done. The submissions list is still closed, several reviewers are having a little summer break. One full edit and review sitting on my desk, with one review to mail back.
Newspapers: Three articles published, three in the can for the next issue, leads for this week in hand and with the changing season, I’m not worried about having leads for the coming months. Vase articles, two sent, one ready to be written and pictures of five to be written.
Books: Willow needs a synopsis and mailed out, Pitch needs rewrites, Million and Ambassador are languishing about in my overstuffed head. Miserable failure this month in regard to them.
Day Job: Hopelessly behind, somebody drug me from 8-4 and put me out of my misery.

The family is in a muddle as usual. Pap still in a cast from a blister… jeez. Princess is still having trouble with her back from the car accident, she has an appointment with the doctor next week.
Grandgirls Mom has returned to the East for the weekend, but seems to be doing well with Bean. Soup and the Prof Squared are busy as usual. The garden is a mess, the house is a mess and I will fail weigh-in today. Beans curtains are done, her bedspread and throw pillows are not. I was too busy to even post on Friday, which means I missed the Friday Fantasy… Unacceptable, this week I will be the Sunday Somnambulist: too easy, a fleet of personal assistants.

July 30, 2006 at 9:49 am Leave a comment

A Vase and A Ramble

This vase lives on the bridge in my small town. It’s a painting of the old train station. That old train was the difference between a town eeking out it’s own survival and a town that was able to thrive through the income derived from shipping out the pottery and coal produced here. We need the contemporary equivalent of a “means to sell our ware”. Most of the potteries have closed down, the one or two left are struggling.

The first of my articles came out in Our Town this week, two of them made the front page. The vase articles are on the front page of the other paper, and Thursday I had an offer from another paper. This should make me happy, it’s paid writing work despite the fact that my background isn’t in journalism. It’s not that I’m unhappy, any kind of validation regarding whether my writing is marketable or not is always welcome. The tear sheets are invaluable, the people that read the articles and start recognizing my name – very important. But, I’m mourning the loss of time I usually use on one of the novels. One of them languishing in a drawer, waiting to get sent out, one that needs editing, two with a fledling start, the characters bound and gagged so they won’t harrass me while I write for money for awhile. I’m reminded again, to be careful what I wish for….

July 29, 2006 at 5:48 pm 2 comments

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

Isn’t that just a stunning view? It’s from the upper dining pavilion at the Terra Cotta Vinyard. We’ve been taking advantage of their steak bake nights for a couple of years and now our favorite winery just won a gold medal for one of their red wines. Well deserved, I’ve certainly ingested enough of it to vouch for its excellence!

It always makes me laugh when I tell people I’m originally from California and they look at me like I’m some kind of nut for leaving. “But it’s so beautiful there!” they gasp. I want to say “have you looked in your back yard lately? It’s beautiful in Ohio too!” The drive to the vinyard is just breathtaking, four miles from the highway through rolling green hills and lush trees. I can’t imagine there’s any other place on earth more beautiful.

A little rant is necessary today. My printer just died, as always at the most inconvenient time. I toddled down to the local Staples store to replace it and found the newest way the technology industry has found to fleece the people. The last time I bought a printer, they were expensive. But they ran like mules for several years. Now you can get a printer that copies, prints, scans, e-mails and remembers your birthday for under $100. They get you with the ink, $64 a set. Jeez.

July 27, 2006 at 7:59 am 2 comments

Hump Day Hooray!

The artist calls this vase “redwinged black birds”. It’s on the loading dock at the Appalachian Potters Guild. In person, that yellow part is shiny gold, beautiful.

The schedule says dinner at the Terra Cotta vinyard tonight. Always a good day when someone else is cooking for me!

July 26, 2006 at 7:44 am Leave a comment

Someone to Watch Over Me

Today is one of those days when I need a babysitter more than my grandgirls. It started by waking up two hours earlier than I usually do. Thrilled at first with the extra hours added to my day, I turned off the alarm so it wouldn’t wake the dog when it went off at its usual time, and trotted downstairs to attempt to get some things done.

Attempt is the operative word here. The clothes I wanted to fold from the dryer were still wet. Pap was asleep in the library so I couldn’t dust or vacuum. The cats were asleep on the newspapers I needed to take out for recycling and my computer was not booting up in any way that could be considered even remotely acceptable. Frustrated I decided to go take a bath. Big mistake, the combination of quiet and warm reminded me that I was up two hours before I needed to be. One minute I was reading a book, the next my neck was breaking and the book was floating cover up in the vicinity of my feet. I crawled back upstairs and went to bed, forgetting all about the alarm.

Totally disoriented from waking up late, it took me three trips back to the house before I could get on the road to my day job. First I forgot my keys. When I went into the house to get the keys I left my purse laying on a chair and had to go back and get it. I finally started the car, looked in the mirror to back up and saw my hair sticking out in every possible wild snarly direction. Once I got to work I had to circle the building twice to find a parking space, court today. There was a stack of “reminder” notes on my desk from my assistant, a list of e-mails from the editor of one of the papers I write for with “suggested changes” and the MAN that hired our current webmasters informed me that it was MY job to fire them. I refuse to even attempt to guess at how he came to this conclusion, I’m sure it is a result of his lack of a backbone.

Lunch was no better. The invalids are so sick of each others company the animosity is running off them like sweat. Pap made sloppy joes for lunch (nothing even resembling my list of favorite things to eat), so I choked one down in between sympathetic clucking to whichever invalid was crying the blues in the same room I was in. Princess got that wild eyed, frantic look in her eyes when I got ready to go back to work and begged me to stay. So sad, she hasn’t done that since she was four and used to cling to my leg to keep me from going to work… it worked back then.

It’s not yet mid afternoon but I’m considering going back home and straight to bed. The final straw to this crazy day was catching sight of my feet. One in a white flip flop and one in a black flip flop.

July 25, 2006 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

Mucky Mondays

You talkin’ to me?

Photo by Waldo of this crazy duck that decided to pose for his camera. Which has no relevance to the following post, but the duck is just so darn cute!

One of the front page stories in the paper today was about the loss of funding our local ceramic museum is preparing to face. I hate to be a know-it-all (big lie, I love being right) but I remember saying to a board member back when the college took over the museum from the historical society “What would a college want with a museum? What they want is the land, but they’ll play nice and be such a subtle roadblock it will look as if the museum failed on it’s own.” Well… here we are and the most telling line in that article was that funds were available, but the college was not going to apply for them. Sad, any time you lose art and culture it weakens your community and emotionally bankrupts your people. What will be next? The library?

Princess has still not recovered from the mac truck hitting her little car. She’s having trouble with her back and has been to the doctor three times in a week. She can’t lift anything, Pap’s in a cast for his blister…. and still not out of the dog house. I’m in invalid hell. I think the Prof. squared will have to do without my assistance this week, I have literally run out of time to do one more thing. Grandgirls mom is behaving over at Bean’s. Maybe I’m wrong this time, maybe she’s seen the light and will actually straighten up her life. We can only hope.

July 24, 2006 at 1:33 pm Leave a comment

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