Oh ... Really?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

It’s Baby Havin’ Day!

It's a boy! And a girl! And a really weird coincidence!

East Tennessee bloggers heard the news early this morning that Doug and Cathy McCaughan have a new niece!

imageAbout an hour ago, Rich called from Birmingham to announce the arrival of his second grandson, Joaquin! He said mom and baby are doing fine, daddy should recover eventually. Baby weighed 7lbs, 9 0z and came bounding into the world at about 1:25pm. Rich should be posting with better pictures and more detail later.

UPDATE: Post is up - go see pictures!

Now here's the weird coincidence part ... first, check out this post from Cathy, and then this one by Rich. Note the dates on the posts.

Freaky, man!

Posted by LissaKay on 01/24/08 at 05:42 PM in ~ Happy Crap
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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Global Warming Fails to Deliver

This whole Gerbil Worming, err ... Gargle Warning. umm ... Global Warming (yeah, that's the ticket!) thing that Al Gore invented would be a bit more convincing if they would get the story straight. And maybe use real scientific facts. Or, heaven forbid, leave politics entirely out of it ...

Even before Katrina and her pals roared ashore one after the other in the summer of 2005, we were getting dire warnings that the evil Global Warming would be causing more and stronger storms in coming years.

Hurricanes bring winds and slashing rains that flood streets, flatten homes, and leave survivors struggling to pick up the pieces. But has global warming given the storms an added punch, making the aftereffects more dreadful?

According to hurricane historian Jay Barnes of Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina, ocean heat is the key ingredient for hurricane formation. More heat could "generate more storms and more intense hurricanes," he said.

Most of the increase in ocean temperature that feeds more intense hurricanes is a result of human-induced global warming, says a study that one researcher says "closes the loop" between climate change and powerful storms like Katrina.

A series of studies over the past year or so have shown an increase in the power of hurricanes in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, a strengthening that storm experts say is tied to rising sea-surface temperatures.

Prior to the summer of 2006, we were given numerous dire warnings that the upcoming hurricane season would be the Worst. Hurricane. Season. EVER! The result of those warning was a sharp spike in gasoline prices, insurance premiums and housing materials. The season actually brought us 9 named storms, with Alberto and Ernesto hitting shore with 35 mph winds, bringing only minimal damages. Then again, for the 2007 hurricane season, we heard the same scary warnings, that THIS, by golly, would be the WORSTEST hurricane season ever! And it's all because of that Gargoyle Winning ... err, Global Warming.

Lo, behold:

As the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season officially came to a close on November 30, with some fanfare with Olga past the end of the season into December, NOAA scientists are now carefully reviewing a set of dynamic weather patterns that yielded lower-than-expected hurricane activity across the Atlantic Basin.

WTF? But you guys PROMISED!!!

"Hurricane season outlooks are useless" says Stu Ostro. (I like this guy, he gets all cynical and jaded too!)

NO!! You don't say! Really?

So, Al Gore and his Global Warming machine failed to deliver, the eastern seaboard of the US remains intact, Florida has not been blown off to the Land of Oz and New Orleans remains (mostly) dry. So, what now guys?

This is just priceless ...

Contrary to many previous reports, global warming could reduce the number of hurricanes that strike the United States, according to a new study.

The work is the latest in a contentious scientific debate over how human-induced global warming might affect the intensity and frequency of hurricanes.

In the study, researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Miami in Florida link warming oceans to increased vertical wind shear in the Atlantic Ocean near the United States.

Wind shear—a change in upper-level wind speed or direction—makes it hard for hurricanes to form, strengthen, and stay active.

With every degree Celsius that the oceans warm, the wind shear increases by up to 10 miles (16 kilometers) an hour, said lead study author Chunzai Wang, a physical oceanographer at NOAA.

So that means "global warming may decrease the likelihood of hurricanes making landfall in the United States," according to the study authors.

Emphasis added.

So the earth may be getting a little warmer these days (I am old enough, however, to recall the fearmongering of the 70s wherein an impending ice age was being forecast, so color me skeptical, for sure) ... I have not seen where it has been proven that this is 1. Out of the ordinary, in that the earth has cyclical variations in mean temperature, 2. That it is caused by humans, 3. That humans have the ability to reverse a warming trend, and 4. That warming is a *bad* thing.

Now, it's a cold night tonight. I am going to go turn up the thermostat, then take a long, hot shower, and then climb into a toasty warm heated waterbed. Bring on the warming!

Posted by LissaKay on 01/23/08 at 11:05 PM in ~ Our World
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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weekend Roundup - Blogfest, Movies and More!

My previous post got disappeared when Firefox locked up. I was almost done too! So, now I will recap Friday night's Blogfest, post some pics and also mention part 2 of our weekend activities, which may or may not have included a certain highly anticipated monster movie.

Blogfest was great. Mostly. However, we were unaware that Bailey's had decided to keep their place smoke-enabled and thus had to make a rule that all customers had to be at least 21 years old. This caused a bit of grief for some that wanted to bring the family along, as had been the practice many times before. Making things even worse, Bailey's apparently has no air handlers in place to help clear the air of the smoke, so for us non-smokers, it was quite uncomfortable. So, the next Blogfest will be at another location, one that is family-friendly and with clearer air. We are open to suggestions, but are thinking next time at Calhoun's on Bearden Hill ... Yes? No? Other ideas?

Anyway ...

Everyone had a great time. We had both some familiar faces as well as a couple of new ones. In addition to Rich and myself were Cathy and Doug. Tamara K and her feller were there, and they talked up the guns with Les Jones. I think they were cooking up another shooting bloggers meet up. Making their Blogfest debuts were Craig Thomas, Johnny-Oh and Eric. Barry came in for a few minutes, but as he had the wife and kids waiting in the car outside, he couldn't stay long. However, in keeping with his reputation as the suave and debonair ladies man of the East Tennessee blogosphere, he planted himself as close to the ladies as he could, and then just waved across the table at the men-folk. He was too cute. But for his efforts, he walked away with Doug's choice giveaway of a wireless router.

Barry would also like to let everyone know that the mighty and infamous Atomic Horns will be playing at a Valentines Party at the Elks Club in Oak Ridge on February 8, and he wants even more groupies to come out and see his most-awesome Elvis impression.

I posted some pics I took with the crappy camera on my phone at Flickr. I also took a few pics with my trusty, but old and not-quite-as-crappy digital camera. Hover for details, and click to embiggen:



Saturday night found us at a mini-Blogfest of sorts. We met up with Cathy and Doug first for ice cream at Marble Slab in Turkey Creek ... Mmm! Ice cream in frigid cold weather! Then we took in a showing of Cloverfield. I liked it. Rich, not so much. He says he will post a short review on it later. I don't want to give away any spoilers ... not that there are many - big monster stomps around in New York, people run away, military shoots at it. All told from the vantage point of a hand-hand video camera. One with a kick-as battery pack that last over 12 hours.

Half the fun of going to the movies is seeing the trailers for upcoming movies. We saw a few that looked promising. Rich, ever the comic book geek, is looking forward to Iron Man. Doug nearly pee'd himself seeing the barebones, under construction, tell nothing trailer for the next Star Trek. Yes, folks, that is Number 11. Another preview was for 10,000 BC. In just the trailer alone, I counted several anachronisms. I can't see this as being too terribly accurate, and if it was, not very interesting since the language of the days was pretty limited. There was another, very forgettable looking, insipid something with Will Ferrell in it (has Will Ferrell ever been in anything that was not insipid?) There will also soon be a sequel to Hell Boy ... Hell Boy II: The Golden Army, which is surprising given that the first one was pretty much a dud.

And that has been, so far, our weekend. Still no baby yet, but stay tuned!

Posted by LissaKay on 01/20/08 at 03:15 AM in ~ Blogging ~ Entertainment ~ Friends
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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Blogfest ‘08!

Well, I had a nice, long post-Blogfest roundup all ready to go, complete with links to the sites of all attendees, pictures and invites to two more events ... but then Firefox locked up and crashed and I lost it all. I will try to recreate it tomorrow.

We are planning to see Cloverfield tomorrow night ... if any one else would like to join us (Cathy, Doug, Rich and me), drop me a comment here or an email for the time and theater we are going to.

Time for sleep now though ...

Posted by LissaKay on 01/19/08 at 02:54 AM in ~ Blogging
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Thursday, January 10, 2008

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Since even before Fred Thompson officially declared his candidacy for president, I have been receiving email updates. At first they were targeted at firing up the people, getting them behind Fred and his pending campaign. Once he declared, the focus changed to fund raising. His entire campaign became all about fund raising. And somewhere along the line, the Fred! campaign lost it's focus, drive and energy. What happened?

The only thing I was hearing about Fred is the latest $1000 a plate dinner or $500 photo opportunity. My reaction was probably not unique. Feh! A thousand bucks ... are you nuts? Five hundred dollars for a picture? WTF? Now I understand that part of the campaign process is fund raising ... but Fred's became ALL fund raising, ALL the time! I was no longer hearing much of anything about what Fred wanted to do as president, his plans and goals, what his views on important subjects are. Then the emails became a beg for me to make phone calls to strangers in other states on Fred's behalf. Heh ... like THAT is ever gonna happen!

I just kept asking, "But where is FRED?"

There has been none of the getting out and meeting the people I would have expected. Fred promoted himself as being just a regular guy, one of us, outside the beltway. That's great and even believable. But how about showing us some of that good ole boy, regular folk friendliness? Just a little ... get out there and meet and greet. Press flesh. Kiss babies. Hand out buttons and bumper stickers ... and sure, pass the hat. But there has been none of that, and I feel like Fred is now more of a stranger than someone that I want in the White House.

And the polls and caucuses are showing that I am not the only one that is saying, "Fred who?"

So today, after he barely registered numbers in New Hampshire, I get this email that says, in part:

Yesterday marked the beginning of Fred's Clear Conservative Choice--Hands Down! bus tour through South Carolina.

We had fantastic events in Greenville, Lexington, Camden and Sumter. Fred was greeted by enthusiastic crowds at each stop and took his message directly to hundreds of voters. Today he will be in Florence, Conway, and Myrtle Beach.

He's out there working hard and doing what he does best; talking directly to the people who will determine the outcome of the primary in just 10 days.

Sorry, Fred. I don't know who has been making the decisions that have kept you from "talking directly to the people who will determine the outcome" of your campaign ever since you formally declared your candidacy, but they are dead wrong. I believe in you, and mostly agree with all your views. I really hoped that we would one day have a President Thompson to lead our country through these coming difficult times. But I fear that you have been led down the wrong path in your campaign, and it will cost you ... and America ... dearly for that.

Posted by LissaKay on 01/10/08 at 02:49 AM in ~ Politics
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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Kids ask the darnedest questions

So ... my 17 year old daughter came home the other day and asked me, "Mom, are you pregnant?" It took me a few moments to recover from this and reply, "Why do you ask?"

She pleaded with me, "Please say no, Mom .... please!" At first, I wondered if she had read this post or had some other reason to think so. But she then explained, "Well, first it was Britney Spears' little sister getting pregnant, and then I found out that Amy* is 4 months pregnant ... and last week Denise had a miscarriage ... and Lori thinks she might be pregnant again! Is there something in the water or what? Please tell me you're not pregnant, Mom!"

(*Names of daughter's friends have been changed)

Pregnancy is an overwhelming concern of many teenagers these days, and with good cause ... the current teen pregnancy rate is about 43 per 1000. Kids go to school and see it every day, their friends have their lives turned upside down and futures forever changed by the presence of a baby. However, the rate is decreasing. In the last 15 years, it has been reduced by about 35%. I would say that this reduction is as much the result of teens seeing others dealing with the consequences of having babies as any sex ed programs the schools have come up with. Certainly, in my daughter's case, being friends with a girl that has a baby has convinced her that she wants no part of being a mother at the tender age of 17. Her reaction to the news that another of her friends is now 4 months along is causing her a great deal of dismay and concern. As a mother, I do not object in the least to her exposure to this bit of reality. I can see that it is serving a powerful lesson, one that she cannot forget or ignore.

However, the hoopla, hype and hysteria over Jamie Lynn Spears girl being pregnant at age 16 is totally uncalled for. Seriously, teen pregnancy happens far too often for this to be headline news or even more than a brief note of its occurrence . In this situation, her celebrity and following will serve to glamorize teen motherhood far more than serve as a warning. It's not a big deal and making it so does no one any good.

As a parent, I can only talk to my kids and hope that they make wise decisions about their lives, including their sexuality. My kids know they can come to me for assistance in getting birth control if they need to, and they are also well aware of my concerns about becoming sexually active too early in their lives. That's all I can do. The rest is up to them.

When I hear about parents like my daughter's friend's mother, who beat her when she became pregnant, I want to go beat the mother myself. That is no way to deal with that kind of situation under any circumstances. Not only is it abuse of the teen parent, it is abuse to the innocent child, who had no say in whether they came into the world or not.

Teen pregnancy happens. Deal with it. The baby is not a tragedy, or a mistake and it certainly did not try to ruin anyone's life. It is not something to be ashamed of or scorned. It was simply born, and deserves to be loved and cared for just like any other baby. The parents of the child, too, deserve love and care and support. Sure, they may have made a mistake, but it really is not the end of the world. It just a change in circumstance that is to be dealt with in the best way possible. Making teen parenthood into a tragedy of epic proportion serves no good purpose and will ultimately only harm the innocent baby.

So, on this whole Spears teen pregnancy thing, let's just STFU and let the Spears family deal with it ... they really don't need our input on the matter.

Posted by LissaKay on 12/23/07 at 03:29 AM in ~ Family
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Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Christmas Meme

OK, I have now been tagged twice on this ... by Barry and Craig. Heck, all the cool kids are doing it! I have been working on it for the past two days, so I might as well get it posted ...

Then, I absolutely HAVE to get crackin' on the present wrappin', house cleanin', laundry doin' and maybe sneak in a trip to Wally world in the wee hours ...

1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share Christmas facts about yourself.
3. Tag seven random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Welcome to the Christmas edition of "Getting to Know Your Friends."

1. Wrapping or gift bags?
I like to do a little of both. Bags are great for odd sized or shaped gifts, but I like wrapping gifts too.

2. Real or artificial tree?
Artificial. Real is nice, but can be a pain. Also, my allergies are calmer with the artificial tree. However, 20 years ago, we bought a real, live, living tree, still with its root ball in a burlap sack. That year, my younger son was born on Christmas day. We planted that tree in the yard. It is now about 30 feet tall.

3. When do you put up the tree?
It varies. This year, I'm not putting one up at all. But in "normal" years, usually about two weeks before Christmas.

4. When do you take the tree down?
Whenever ... sometimes on New Years Day

5. Do you like egg nog?
Blech! Yuck! NO!

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
I don't really remember. That was a long, long time ago. Probably books, or my first stereo or TV.

7. Do you have a nativity scene?

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Just about anything my ex gave me ... he was really crappy at gift giving. Household cleaning tools were not unheard of and it was nearly always utilitarian. Geez man ... a piece of jewelry or nice sweater or a soft robe would have been nice!

9. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Neither. I don't have a large enough circle of friends to justify buying cards, addressing them, buying stamps, etc. If anyone is feeling put out by my failure to do so, here:
"Life is tough
Times are hard
So here's your
Friggin' Christmas Card"

10. Favorite Christmas Movie?
I have always loved all those Rankin/Bass shows - Frosty, Rudolph, Little Drummer Boy. This year I am lovin' on "A Charlie Brown Christmas".

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
This year? Yesterday. The 19th. Usually sometime after Thanksgiving, but again, it varies with my schedule and workload from year to year. This year is kinda weird.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Ham. Mom's Overnight Fruit Salad. Pillsbury crescent rolls. My Christmas morning breakfast casserole. This year, I get none of that. It sucks.

13. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Colored. I have steady glow lights in a variety of colors, with a string of all blue that flash.

14. Favorite Christmas song(s)?
Anything by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The music from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

15. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Stay home. Everyone in my family is right here. There's only 5 of us now.

16. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

17. Angel on the tree top or a star?
I have an angel bear that I put on the top of the tree, when I do put one up.

18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
It depends. When I was married, we did Christmas with my parents on Christmas Eve and then his family Christmas Day. Since the Big D we kept to that while we shared custody, kids one place one day, the other place the other day, usually Eve with my family. Last year was the first year the kids were with me exclusively.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Where do I start? This list could go on forever ... starting with stores putting out Christmas stuff and playing Christmas music before Halloween, the crass over-commercialization, the materialism, stress over getting everything done, the way the ugly comes out in people everywhere. About now I start wishing it was January 3 and it was all over and done with.

20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color?
I use lots of handcrafted ornaments, bead garland and lights. No real theme, but you will not find a single round glass ornament on my tree ... ever.

21. What do you leave for Santa?
When the kids were little, milk and cookies. Nothing now though ... Santa can find the fridge if he's that hungry. I just hope he cleans up after himself.

22. Least favorite holiday song?
Jingle Bells by the Singing Dogs
Most any parody of Christmas songs, although there have been one or two that made me giggle at least at first, like Grandpa got run over by a John Deere, which is a parody of a parody

23. Favorite ornament?
Don't have one, I like them all, otherwise I wouldn't have them!

24. Family tradition?
When I was a kid, my dad would give my brother and I at least one gift that started out as a note in a box directing us to a location somewhere in the house, where we would find another note leading to another one, and so on ... eventually we would find the present. Usually it would be something large, like a bike or TV.

With my kids, the only thing that is repeated year after year, and is just a bit of silliness ... my younger son, when he was 3 or 4, got a gift that was in a plain cardboard box. After he got the wrapping paper off, he held the still taped box up and exclaimed, very excitedly, "A box!" So every year since then, we have made sure he gets something in a plain box so that he can repeat the act. It's kinda amusing now that he is 20, and completely UNlike that adorable 3 year old.

25. Ever been to Midnight Mass or late-night Christmas Even services?
Long ago, we went to midnight services a few times.

Now I get to pass this along to some other bloggers, if there are any that haven't already been tagged ... Atomictumor, Netmom, Bos and Eaves, Lynne, Diva, and Mushy ... and anyone else that would like to participate! Leave your URL in comments if you do!

Posted by LissaKay on 12/20/07 at 07:44 PM in ~ Holidays
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Won’t you take me to ... Hobbit Town!

Oh, glad tidings and great joy! The Hobbit will soon be on the big screen!

While the IMDB page for The Hobbit still says that Peter Jackson and New Line are still in talks, Yahoo! Movies has this:

Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have reached agreement to make J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit," a planned prequel to the blockbuster trilogy "The Lord of the Rings."

Jackson, who directed "Rings," will serve as executive producer for "The Hobbit." A director for the prequel films has yet to be named.

I so so hope that Jackson decides to also direct the film; his work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy was absolutely brilliant. I read the books many, many years ago, before they were widely popular. I even did my major author paper in high school senior English on J. R. R. Tolkien, once I was able to convince the teacher that Tolkien should qualify as a major author. (My theme was "Tolkien: A 20th Century Epic Writer" and I earned a very rare A from that teacher for it!) When the LOTR movies came out, I was reluctant to see them, thinking that they could not do justice to the majesty and beauty that the books held. I did encourage my kids to see them though, and my son was even inspired to read the books after seeing the first movie. It was not until the winter of 2006 that I finally watched the movies. To say that I was enchanted and obsessed is only scratching the surface. I watched the movies over and over, buying the regular versions on DVD for every day watching, and the 12-disc Extended Version box set for special. I'm now thinking that a LOTR marathon is now in order!

Now we shall have Hobbit-y goodness! Unfortunately, the wait to see The Hobbit will be measured in years. Wonderful things as this are worth the wait though! Come on, Mr. Jackson ... work your magic!

The Dominion Post has more on the details of the deal and the conflict that was behind the delay.

Posted by LissaKay on 12/18/07 at 01:40 PM in ~ Entertainment ~ Geeky Chick
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Monday, December 17, 2007

The Depths of My Soul

A great man of music has passed today. My heart is heavy with grief and my soul cries in the silence.

And the morning will blow away
As the waves crash and fall
And the Reach like a siren sings
as she beckons and calls
As the coastline recedes from view
And the seas swell and roll
I will take from the Reach
all that she has to teach
To the depths of my soul --

I was introduced to the musical world of Dan Fogelberg on my 15th birthday when my father gave me a copy of "The Innocent Age" and from that moment on, I was entranced. His music has the ability to reach in and touch the soul, lift the spirit and make the heart soar. Beyond simply enjoying his music, it became part of the soundtrack of my life. Because of the association with a profoundly tragic episode in my life, I could not listen to Fogelberg for several years. Eventually, I let his music back into my heart, the healing began and I have moved forward.

But through the years, Dan was a part of my musical life. I played his music on the guitar and piano, and sang along while playing his albums on the stereo. His words spoke to a special place in my heart. I only got to see him in concert the one time, and a magical evening that was. The news of his battle with prostate cancer came as a heavy blow and I prayed that he would be victorious in his against that devastating illness, but this morning, he was overcome. His last wish, his legacy, is to encourage all men "to get a DRE (Digital Rectal Exam) and a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test EVERY YEAR." Please see his Living Legacy web site for more information.

Condolences can be left here. Light a candle and let it shine ...

There's a light in the depths
Of your darkness
There's a calm at the eye
Of every storm.
There's a light in the depths
Of your darkness.

Let is shine
Oh, let it shine

Rest in Peace, Dan. God Speed.

Posted by LissaKay on 12/17/07 at 01:08 AM in ~ Matters of the Heart
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Friday, December 14, 2007

What is this “Cloverfield” thing about?

This looks, so far, like it will be a most interesting movie ... it's on my "Must See" list ...

Check it out ...

Posted by LissaKay on 12/14/07 at 03:46 PM in ~ Entertainment
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