Saturday, June 06, 2009

Gullywasher and More Errands

Out running errand (will it ever stop???) to pick up two pictures I had framed....and that took about 10 minutes, tops.

Just long enough for the sky to open up with a Texas style gullywasher to cut loose as I was about to leave the store.

These shot were taken about five minutes after the storm started. I was waiting with a few other customers for a break in the storm. No sense heading out into a rain storm with newly framed water colors!

When it started hailing, I got pretty jumpy. A brief hail storm can ruin a car's exterior. The biggest hailstone was about the size of a dime, definitely big enough to whack a paint job.

Thankfully, somehow my car was unblemished. I was planning on running a few more errands that night, but seeing as how the sky was turning black in every direction I headed home instead, 'cuz my Mama didn't raise no fool!

Besides, watching a storm is much more interesting activity from the deck.

To make up for missing that bit of errand running, I took a long lunch break the next day.

I was prowling around, out on another area rug hunt.

I already own several great area rugs, the problem is that they are all the highly traditional oriental/persian murky-muddy colored rugs.

I loved them in Houston where the walls and the flooring were all cream.

But here in the lap of the Wasatch a 50's style ranch house...something different is needed.

Way different.

As I mentioned in a prior post, we had fallen in love with a rug that turned out to be unavailable.

Ever noticed that trying to find a second choice that you liked as much as your first choice is almost impossible?

I liked the rug above, but it only came in 5'x8', and I need a 8'x10' rug.

I liked this one's design, but not the brown in it.

Liked this one, but don't want that much red in the room....

I like this one, and it is the right size. Trouble is I feel like it should be in a pre-school classroom.

Love this one...but want more orange in the rug and a brighter shade of green.
Great design though.

Convinced that once again I was either crazy or ahead of my time, I returned to searching the Internet in hope that maybe the rug I wanted could be found somewhere on line, some obscure online shop that I had missed before.
I think I have found the rug we originally wanted. We talked to the shop in Oregon (GO BEAVERS!) and they said they had it in stock.

I have heard that line before, but they assured us that it was true, and the rug pictured below should arrive in a week to ten days. That would be in time for the party.

Can you believe THIS is the rug we are crazy about?
Believe it!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

What they said, what I say

Re: Abortion rights rhetoric concerning killing unborn children:

I wouldn't have an abortion myself, but I wouldn't want to impose my moral values on others.
If you don't believe in abortions, then don't have one.

An interesting spin on those lofty thoughts: Pro-life rhetoric concerning those who butcher full term infants:

I wouldn't kill an abortionist myself, but I wouldn't want to impose my moral values on others.

If you don't believe in shooting abortionists, then don't shoot one.

(The last two phrases above are by Ann Coulter...who is regularly spoken of a being "mean." )

As I have mentioned before, I do not agree that is a "right" for anyone to kill babies, born or unborn.

Killing bratty teenagers and child molesters...I am willing to consider the option case by case.

As I have also mentioned in another post, the Old Testament does direct the stoning of disrespectful children. My personal belief is that God allowed this so parents could think about doing it without sinning, knowing full well that most parents are too tired to round up enough stones to get the job done.

Gathering stones would give everyone time to cool off and re-thing what was happening.

But I would never agree to killing bratty teens or child molesters by burning their skin off with saline solution, hacking them apart (without anesthesia!) or slicing open their heads and sucking out their brains like the abortion rights folk routinely sanction.

I guess I am just a wuss. I could never imagine doing that to another human being.

Born or unborn.

Unlike those who think it is a perfectly fine freedom of choice option.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Look to the sky and observe which way the wind blows.

While I was running errands this past weekend, I spied what I believe was a tornado in the distance. The sky was black, and you could just barely see streaks of light streaming from left to right, while the twisting area slanted from right to left. There was no pinhole of light above it either. You can see both of those features when you enlarge the picture!

Secretly I have always wanted to see a tornado. Maybe it was, or maybe it wasn't...only a weatherman would know for sure. But based on what I know about tornadoes, I'm pretty sure that was what I was seeing.

Yesterday's post was about the errands I was running when the clouds formed over head. I saw the lightening and heard the thunder, and dodged a few raindrops too. Even though I was very busy that day, I still could see what was going on around me in terms of weather and the world.

At the end of that post I concluded with an article about Islam and why Islam is more interested in war than in peace. If you are a busy person (and who isn't nowadays?) the article will quickly explain why peace negotiations in the Middle East seemingly go nowhere.

Understanding that article...then add the following information to your awareness. I think you will find it quite interesting.

Thursday Mr. Obama is to address the world concerning the American view of Islam.

The choice of the date for Obama's address indicates his attention to detail. It coincides with the anniversary of the start of the first battle between Islam, under Prophet Muhammad, and Christendom in the shape of a Byzantine expeditionary force in AD629.

The “address to Islam” also marks the 30th anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini's demise and the appointment of Ali Khamenei as the new “Supreme Guide of the Islamic ummah”.

More importantly, it also coincides with the rebuilding of the Ka'abah, the stone at the heart of Mecca, which had been destroyed in a Muslim civil war.

Interesting, no?

Interesting as well that Mr. Obama now is quite open about his family ties to Islam, and the years he spent in Muslim countries, including Islamic countries that America had banned. How Mr. Obama entered those countries with a US passport is quite puzzling.

I do think Mr. Obama should address the Islamic world. After all...our soldiers have died defending the rights of Muslims to live as they choose, so I believe America is entitled to have an opinion about this topic.

The address that Obama should (but assuredly won't) deliver in Egypt is the following text, as penned by Dennis Prager. See if you agree with my opinion!

The Speech President Obama Won't Dare Give in Egypt
By Dennis Prager

This week, President Barack Obama is scheduled to give a major address in Cairo to the Muslim world. He is likely to reiterate what he has stated previously to Muslim audiences, that America has no battle with Islam, deeply respects Islam and the Muslim world, and apologizes for any anti-Muslim sentiment that any Americans may express.

Here is what an honest address would sound like:

"Thank you for the honor of addressing the Egyptian people and the wider Muslim world.
I am here primarily to dispel some of the erroneous beliefs many Muslims have about America and to thereby reassure you that America has no desire to be at war with the Muslim world.

To my great disappointment, many Muslims have come to believe that my country has declared war on Muslims and Islam. Because of this widespread belief, I said in an interview with al-Arabiya a few months ago, that we need to restore "the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago."

"Let's look a little deeper at that relationship. For the truth is, as noted by the Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist for the American newspaper the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer, in the last 20-30 years America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for Muslims. We Americans engaged in five military campaigns on behalf of Muslims, each one resulting in the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Bosnia and Kosovo, as well as the failed 1992-93 Somalia intervention to feed starving African Muslims — in which 43 Americans were killed — were all humanitarian exercises. In none of them was there a significant U.S. strategic interest at stake. So, in fact, in these 20 years, my country, the United States of America has done more for suffering and oppressed Muslims than any other nation, Muslim or non-Muslim.

While I recognize that gratitude is the rarest positive human quality, I need to say — because candor is the highest form respect — that America has not only not received little gratitude from the Muslim world, it has been the object of hatred, mass murder, and economic attack from Muslim individuals, groups, and countries.

Just to cite a few of many examples from the last 40 years:
In 1973, Muslim terrorists attacked the American embassy in Sudan and murdered our country's ambassador, Cleo Noel, and the chief deputy of the mission, George C. Moore.

Later in 1973, the Arab oil embargo against America sent my country into a long and painful recession.

In 1977, Muslim militants murdered the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, Frances E. Meloy, and Robert O.Waring, the U.S. economic counselor.

In 1979 radical Muslims violently attacked my country's embassy in Teheran, and for 14 months held American diplomats hostage, often in appalling conditions.

In 1998, Muslim militants bombed the American embassy in Nairobi, killing 12 Americans and 280 Kenyans, and bombed our embassy in Tanzania, killing another 11 Americans.

Then, on Sept. 11, 2001, 19 Muslims who had been living in America slit the throats of American pilots and flight attendants and then flew airplanes into civilian buildings in New York City, burning 3,000 innocent Americans to death.

So, my friends here in Egypt, between America and the Muslim world, who exactly has been making war on whom?

I have enormous differences with my predecessor, President George W. Bush. But please remember that less than a week after thousands of Americans were slaughtered in the name of your religion, President Bush went to the Islamic Center in Washington, D.C., and announced that Islam was a religion of peace.

Moreover, in a country of 300 million people, of whom only a few million are Muslim, there is virtually no recorded incident of anti-mosque or other anti-Muslim violence despite the butchery of 9/11 and the popular support for Osama Bin Laden that we saw in the Muslim world after 9/11.

I ask you to please ask yourselves what Egypt's reaction would have been had 19 Christians, in the name of Christianity, slaughtered 3,000 Egyptians. How would the Christians of Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East have fared?

As it is, because of persecution by Muslim majorities, Christians have been leaving the Middle East in such great numbers that for the first time since Christ, there are large parts of the Middle East that have become empty of both Jews and Christians.

Yet, at the same time, millions of Muslims have moved to Western countries and to America. It is fair to say that the freest, and often the safest, place in the world for a practicing Muslim is the United States of America.

Muslim-Americans are treated exactly as other Americans are treated. It is exceedingly rare to hear any anti-Muslim bigotry in my country. And while there is some criticism of the Muslim world, but there is far more criticism of Christianity in America than of Islam.

Unfortunately, in much of the Muslim world today anti-Jewish speeches and writing are frequently identical to the genocidal anti-Semitism one heard and read in Nazi Germany. This is a blight on your civilization. How can you seriously charge that America is at war with Islam when in fact it is much of the Islamic world that is at war with Jews and Christians?

I know that you would like me to announce that America is abandoning its support for Israel. But every president since Harry Truman, Democrat and Republican, has been passionate about enabling Israel to defend itself from those who wish to destroy it. And that, dear Muslims, is the issue. America will continue to support a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli dispute, but the issue has never really been about two states. It has always been about Palestinians and other Arabs and Muslims recognizing Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.

As a friend of Egypt and of the Muslim world, I want to say something from the bottom of my heart: The day the Arab world ceases obsessing over the existence of a Jewish state the size of Belize will be a great day for the Arab and Muslim worlds. Your obsession with Israel has cost you dearly in every area of social development. This is easily demonstrated. If Israel were destroyed — and the so-called "right of return" of millions of third-generation Palestinian refugees would ensure that outcome as effectively as would a nuclear device from Iran — what difference would that make to the Egyptian economy, to Egyptian lack of freedoms, or anything else that matters to Egyptians? In my opinion, none whatsoever. Preoccupation with Israel has simply enabled the Arab world to not look within for 60 years.

Finally, my fellow Americans would feel more confident in American-Muslim relations if they had ever seen a large demonstration of Muslims anywhere against all the terror committed by Muslims in the name of Islam — whether in London, Madrid, New York, Bali, Cairo, or Mumbai. The mark of a great civilization — and Arab civilization was indeed once great — is a willingness to criticize itself.

Thank you again for this opportunity to address you. I could have patronized you by exaggerating American misdeeds and ignoring yours. But I have too much respect for you.

Shukran jiddan.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Mad I say...screaming mad.

So here's what's been going on:

Friday my stager (who is also named Jill, isn't that fun?) came over to give me some help with arranging pictures, furniture, drapery, accessories etc. We had a lovely time...and I have renewed vision for pulling the house together. She saw the area rug we were thinking of buying on line and LOVED it too.

The rug was ordered, and scheduled to arrive in 7 to 10 days...just perfect timing to arrive before the June 13th when we will host a party to celebrate Jeff and Rachel's wedding with their SLC friends.

Saturday I headed out to run errands. That would be SEVEN hours worth of errands, with fourteen stops. When I say I RAN errands, I meant as in sprinting as I returned items, shopped for candles, glassware, throw pillows, rugs, picture frames, drapery, cleaning supplies, etc etc.

I am running with a smashed middle toe. It hurts, but I'm not stopping. I'm tough.

I also had to stop and have a terse little talk with the folks that have made my glasses prescription wrong. Again. Seriously wrong. For the THIRD time.

No wonder my eyes have been feeling so odd. I will be getting new lenses in a week. (Squinting as I type this.)

Unbelievably, as I attempted to match (more or less) our tea green wall paint color, I found five different drapery styles in that color at four different stores.It is pretty amazing to find so many "off the shelf" draperies in that color don't you think?

Exhausted, I returned home, put the up all the different drapes on the current single rod currently installed above the picture window. We were thrilled that they all looked great!

Then the sun went down and the drapery in artificial light all suddenly became split pea soup colored.
A horrible clashing color with the wall.
I tried true color light bulbs...nope, still soup.

Back to the drawing board.

The contractor came by for awhile while I was out running errands. Our contractor is flaking out. He knocked over my African violets and just left them spilt on the floor. He left his power tools on my kitchen table. He measures things, but nothing is done.

I still have no floor or door moulding. I have done without knobs on my bathroom drawers and cabinets for over a month. The air conditioner is installed but not up and running, and it has been HOT the last few days.

Bernie is becoming increasingly irritated with the man. The job was to be completed in March...and here were are in June, and still we wait for work to be done.

(Aside: If you have ever wondered how well you would survive remodeling...try this free at home test:
Remove all the knobs in your house for two months, designate only one bathroom as "working" and make sure it is the most inconvenient one in the house too, and sprinkle sawdust and drywall chalk all over. Allow people you have never seen to come into your house at will...with no forewarning. Let those same folks re-arrange things randomly so you will have to guess where things you need are to be found.

If you can still be civil to your contractor, spouse and pets at this point, then also move your refrigerator outside, your dishwasher outside, and have no washing machine for another month. Remove all switch plate and outlet covers. Add cardboard boxes to the floor. Have your spouse invite business associates stay over. (Thanks V. for that one.)

If you are able to still be congenial and stay out of the cookies/liquor cabinet/drug cabinet, then I say go for are a perfect candidate for remodeling your home. You are also probably a perfect freak.)

But enough about that.

Sunday I headed out at 11 am for MORE errands. Painting supplies, (two trips for that) plus this time I'm looking for white drapery. Seven hours later I'm back home and again...exhausted.

Monday: Off to work. Get an email confirming that our rug has been ordered. Then another email stating that they no longer have any of that rug in stock and won't be getting any more either.

Drat. Start searching for other sources...seems everyone has sold out of it. And if we did find it, it probably wouldn't arrive before the party.

After work I vacuum, mop, and do other basic housework. A big storm outside is brewing. B. and I take a break on the deck to watch the lightening. We decide all the aggravation has been worth it as we enjoy the amazing view.

Later I cajole B. into putting up the curtains on the new double rod, so we will have both sheer and regular drapery over our HUGE front window.

We've been without drapes in this room the whole time we've been in the house. Our neighbors must think we are into performance can see all the way through the house and watch every move we make in the dining and living room at night.

B. is tired and trying not to be negative and grouchy as he sighs and grunts as he puts up the drapery.

Thank heaven the white drapery looks fine. We can cross that miserable detail from our ever growing list of things to do 0n the house.

Tuesday: I don't have to be to work until 11:30 am. I plan on a leisurely cup of coffee with my breakfast but instead get a call a little before 9 : the contractor is ON HIS WAY and will be working in the bathroom installing knobs.

I race to get showered and dressed and make-up put on so the bathroom is clear and available for his presence.

At a little after 10 I leave the one has arrived to work.

I still need to get picture frames. Find frames on sale! Whoo HOO! Something good!

Except, of course, the store only has THREE of the frames I want. I'll need to drive to another store to get one more, and of course actually I need a total of seven. Looks like more driving errands around town is in my future.

No more time to do that this morning; I still need to get to work.

Once at work a student hands me a hundred+ sheets of printed paper. Seems he needed to print some of his homework and since the printer didn't seem willing to do the job, he just kept hitting print...over and over and over again.

Eventually the printer came back from its lunch break (?) and it began to do as it had been asked. As many times as it had been asked.

At ten cents a page...not good. He turned off the printer after it printed most of that, not finding any other way to cancel the print job.

The next student went to print and guess what? The printer is apparently determined to continue the first print job. After it finally finishes another couple hundred pages, it goes on break. This second student needs her print job RIGHT NOW. Thankfully the printer returns from break and does her print job.

Meanwhile I am to supply a list of all the books owned by three campuses to an accreditation agency. These lists are 80 page documents, with each book title having 7 pieces of information associated with it: Dewey number, Library of Congress number, subject, ISBN #, Publication Date, Author, Price.

One campus has the list saved electronically. The other two lists are only on paper.

The list must be provided in electronic format.

I am NOT going to type these lists into electronic format.

Maybe they can be scanned as picture and saved as a picture, but the information will never be able to be updated.

So what is the point of that?

I have no idea.

Meanwhile, while I am frazzled over such mundane things as green drapes that turn pea colored at night and printers that don't care about save saving trees, all around me the big world is continuing on in its usual alarming fashion.

Is it just me, or does it strike you as being really odd that Mr B. Obama is heading to the Middle East to tell the Muslims that we are not and never will be at war with Islam?

Or with Mormons, Catholics, Buddhist, Jews, Druids, Mennonites and Wiccans either I suppose.
We always want to be let's hope these groups get equal assurance of our passivity.

The assurance that Mr. Obama offering the Islamic faithful is comparable to two sports teams meeting to play for the Super Bowl, but one team has walked on the field announcing that they are not going on the offense, but instead will hope that both sides can just agree to get along.

Imagine how that would play out.

I'm guessing the other team would say "Best news EVER!" and run up the score to win.


Am I out in left field with this use another sporting metaphor?

Well, consider this article, and then you decide.
Maybe things will have change for the better by Thursday's address to all of Islam.
At least knowing what is really going on makes finding all those little household items seem a whole lot less important!

May 28, 2009, 0:00 a.m.

The War Against Modernity And Why Islamists Are Not Tempted By “Peace.”

By Clifford D. May

The war being waged against the West also is a war against modernity. For nearly a thousand years, Islam reigned supreme in much of the world. But with the coming of the modern era — generally seen as beginning in the 18th century — Christendom outpaced the Muslim world by almost every measure.

Islamists believe the destruction of modernity is necessary if Islam is to regain the power to which it is entitled.

“Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war,” the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeni wrote back in 1942. “Those [who say this] are witless. Those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world.”

More than three decades later, Khomeini would put theory into practice, leading a revolution not just against the Shah of Iran, but also against America and other modern liberal democracies.

Modernity went hand-in-and with the Industrial Revolution — the development of a vast array of mechanical, technological, and scientific inventions. Islamic societies did not demonstrate great aptitude in this area. That was among the reasons they were left behind economically, with the notable exception of those regimes that had oil underfoot. It was the Industrial Revolution that made oil valuable. Westerners found it, pumped it, refined it, and have used it to fuel Western-produced machines ever since.

An important component of the Industrial Revolution was mechanized weaponry: guns, cannons, tanks, and missiles. Initially, this also advantaged the West. Early in his career, Winston Churchill battled a variety of radical Islam in the Sudan. In 1899, he wrote that this “militant and proselytizing faith” should be seen as a grave threat, and “were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science . . . the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”

Recent acts of terrorism — a passenger plane manufactured in America becomes an Islamist missile, a cell phone made in Europe detonates an explosive device in Afghanistan — have turned the technological tables; to what extent, it’s too soon to predict.

Throughout most of history, war was seen as glorious — at least by kings, generals, and others who wielded power. No one expressed this view more eloquently than Genghis Khan, who conquered many Islamic lands in the 13th century, and who rhapsodized:

“Man’s highest joy is victory: to conquer his enemies; to pursue them; to deprive them of their possessions; to make their beloved weep; to ride on their horses; and to embrace their wives and daughters.”

To modern people, such sentiments sound absurd. The terrible conflicts of the 19th and 20th centuries caused most Westerners to treasure peace, and to regard war as hellish, a last resort. But it is mirror-imaging to assume that all cultures have come to see war the same way.

Khomeini explained what he interpreted to be the proper Muslim perspective: “Islam says: Kill [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. . . . People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors! . . . There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight.”

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are committed Khomeinists. If you understand this, you understand that it is senseless to attempt to engage them by holding out the prospect of “peace.” As the scholar Fouad Ajami recently wrote, for militant Islamists truces and negotiated agreements are “at best a breathing spell before the fight for their utopia is taken up again.”

It is unserious to say — as former National Security Council staff members Flynt and Hillary Leverett did in a recent New York Times op-ed — that America’s problems with Iran derive from Tehran’s “legitimate concerns about American intentions,” and that what appears to us as hostility is actually a “fundamentally defensive reaction” on the part of the regime.

Only self-delusion can explain their insistence that President Obama be “willing to work with Tehran to integrate [Hamas and Hezbollah] into lasting settlements of the Middle East’s core political conflicts.” Settlements based on compromises, rather than conquest and victory, are not what militant jihadists want. And these “core political conflicts” are not that — they are symptoms, not the disease.

There is no reason — other than wishful thinking — to believe that Iran’s rulers and other Islamists seek cordial relations with what they view as the decadent and Satanic West. Nevertheless, one American administration after another has acted as though the truth were otherwise. On his final European tour as president a year ago, George W. Bush said Tehran’s rulers must end their drive for nuclear weapons if they want closer ties with the U.S. and Europe.

“They can either face isolation, or they can have better relations with all of us,” he said.

One can imagine Iran’s rulers shaking their heads in bewildered amusement. What they seek is not our friendship. It is our submission. We confuse the two at our peril.

Similarly, this week, the White House responded to the test of a nuclear device by North Korea — a regime that has supplied missile and other technology to both Iran and its client, Syria — by saying “such provocations will only serve to deepen North Korea’s isolation.”

Were North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il a modern man, he would weep salty tears over that prospect. But like Iran’s rulers, he’s not, so he won’t. He will go on his merry way until and unless someone stops him.

— Clifford D. May, a former New York Times foreign correspondent, is the president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.