Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

It's that time of year again, staying up late past my bedtime, watching people around me imbibe a little too much of the bubbly, reviewing the year, thinking about the good and the bad, planning for goals for the new year. *sigh*

What are your plans for New Year's Eve? M and I are going to a 1960s New Year's Eve Party. We've both finally settled on our costumes. M is going all in black, complete with beret, and little glasses going for that Beatnik look. I'm going for that casual 60s look just beginning to merge into Beatnik. I'll take pictures and post about the party tomorrow. Have a great night! Don't drink too much and don't drive if you've been drinking, and if you have to drive, drive very carefully and watch out for drunks on the road. Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

X-mas Decorations

So Christmas was very hectic for all of us this year. I was sick with a cold for the 3 weeks leading up to Christmas, plus had tons of end of the semester grading and exams to keep up with. So decorating wasn't my prime focus this year. I got up what little I could, M did all the lighting and we just had to call it good enough. This year I got the giant wreath up on the house that I picked up at the after Christmas clearance sale last year. It actually wasn't too difficult, tied a rope to it, raised it up to the roof from the ground, then put a heavy-duty hook in the side of the house to hang it on.

Also this year I decided to forego the tinsle and shimmery "boa" type garland and go for something a little more stylish. So we did beaded garland and bows on the tree out front. This little tree survived unbelievable winds and downpouring rains for a few days and not one bow fell off. Okay, so this decorating style is a keeper. I need to add more bulbs, garland and lights next year. The tree seems to get bigger, faster than I can stock up on additional decorations for it.

Inside I added two candle sconces on the mantle and this year we did a candelabra in the fireplace instead of a fire because we kept forgetting to call the chimney sweep. We'll get to it eventually.











Another room where I was somewhat inspired was the dining room. We were scheduled for another progressive dinner on the 19th (while I was sick) and knowing I wasn't going to be participating and getting everyone sick while they were in the house, I thought I'd decorate the room festively and then fade into the background.






I saw on HGTV the idea to attach a wreath to the bottom of a light fixture and then tie garland and ribbons to the rest of the fixture to make it look like a candelabra of sorts. M liked it, but I'm not so sure I do. I think it would have looked better if the light fixture hung longer down from the ceiling. It seemed too bunched up to me.



Last was this lovely little artificial tree. It was really the inspiration for the decorating this year. I tried to decorate the tree with a Victorian theme for a decorating contest at the university. I'll post those pictures later. So we did a Charles Dickens' _Scrooge_ theme for our door. When the competition was over, I brought the tree home and thought I might as well use it since I'd already gone to the trouble of decorating it. So here it is. I like the streaming ribbons best, and if you look closely, I put cinnamon scented pine cones throughout the branches in the tree. The cinnamon scent, combined with fresh pine boughs and wassail brewing (at the office) I thought for sure would win us the competition. The results to be posted later. Hope you liked my decorations. Any suggestions for next year?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Here's hoping you and yours have a very special day surrounded by people you love...who don't drive you crazy. :-)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Over the river and through the woods...














To my sister, Pat's house, we go. We'll leaving butt early for New York tomorrow morning. I should have time when I get back to post photos of the trip, all the Christmas decorating we've been doing but haven't had time to post because of all the grading I've been doing. That's all done now - woo-hoo!! They just had a big snow yesterday and another one coming tomorrow. Wish us luck driving in the snow. Oh, and count on me hitting Lupo's for spiedies the minute I hit Endwell. :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Are you kidding me?!

So I'm sitting at my computer screen, eating lunch, taking a break from grading and reading CNN when I happen upon this story.

Apparently, this picture was on the recent issue of the Mexico Playboy magazine. It offended a number of people for portraying the Virgin Mary in a seductive manner. So Playboy issues an apology: "the cover was not meant to portray the Virgin Mary, despite being printed just days before the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe -- both Catholic holidays centering on the Virgin Mary." I think they should have also added, "the virginal looking woman, drapped in a cloth reminicent of the Virgin Mary, holding a classical pose of Mary, in front of a stained-glass window, with the caption in front of her: Te Adoramos Maria (We adore you, Mary)" is just a coincidence.

Gosh, we never thought anyone would mistake our Playboy model for the Virgin Mary. "The image is not and never was intended to portray the Virgin of Guadalupe," -- which is the Virgin Mary -- "The intent was to portray a renaissance-like mood on the cover." Okay, I believe you. Do you have a bridge in Brooklyn you want to sell me too?
This is an example of one of my students worrying about final exams.


This is me grading hundreds of papers and exams while my students are off celebrating the end of final exams.

This is me trying to juggle my lawyering gig, my teaching gig, and get ready for Christmas. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Blogger

Hey, just wanted to let you know Maeves Madness is a new blog and up and running. She's a friend of my sister, Pat, and lives and works with her in NY. She loves photography, genealogy, all things Irish, and tombstones, if I remember correctly. Check out her spot and give her a shout out of encouragement.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Feel Good Friday

Okay, thank Debambam for getting me to post something lighthearted after my angry rant of yesterday. Also thanks to Tweetie who has some great humor on her page today.

Here are some things to make you happy today:


This got my foot tapping.


I'm currently jealous of Vice-President elect Joe Biden. He just got a new German Shepherd puppy before the Obama girls got their puppy. Now take a deep breath and everyone squeal with me "PUPPIES!!!"




Okay, here's the video posted again if you needed a little help:



And finally, just a good old fashioned joke:

Generous lawyer


A local United Way office realized that the organization had never received a donation from the town's most successful lawyer. The person in charge of contributions called him to persuade him to contribute.

"Our research shows that out of a yearly income of at least $500,000, you give not a penny to charity. Wouldn't you like to give back to the community in some way?"

The lawyer mulled this over for a moment and replied, "First, did your research also show that my mother is dying after a long illness, and has medical bills that are several times her annual income?"

Embarrassed, the United Way rep mumbled, "Um ... no."

The lawyer interrupts, "or that my brother, a disabled veteran, is blind and confined to a wheelchair?"

The stricken United Way rep began to stammer out an apology, but was interrupted again.

"or that my sister's husband died in a traffic accident," the lawyer's voice rising in indignation, "leaving her penniless with three children?!"

The humiliated United Way rep, completely beaten, said simply, "I had no idea..."

On a roll, the lawyer cut him off once again, "So if I don't give any money to them, why should I give any to you?"


HAPPY FRIDAY!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

EXCUSE ME?!

WARNING: This is a major rant. I am PISSED!!

I am stunned, appalled, and shocked. Here's a quote from Mr. Pat Boone equating me and other people (opposed to the church funded Proposition 8 in California that was hateful and took away the right to marry for gay people) to murderous jihadists.

"...there is a real, unbroken line between the jihadist savagery in Mumbai and the hedonistic, irresponsible, blindly selfish goals and tactics of our homegrown sexual jihadists."
- Pat Boone, December 6, 2008

Here's his article in its entirety: Hate is Hate, in India or America

I take serious offense to this ignorance. Here are the points I dispute from Mr. Boone's article:

1. First, I'm not a Jihadist because I'm not a Muslim and don't subscribe to Jihads.

2. I don't feel directed by my religion to subjugate or exterminate those who don't agree with me or live how I do.

3. I'm not trying to enforce my beliefs on all mankind. I'm not the one cornering the market on marriage and telling people who can and cannot have those government benefits attached to it, that would be you Mr. Boone and all the churches who flooded the State of California with millions of dollars to spread hateful,distorted messages to convince voters to vote how you wanted in accordance with your religion.

4. I am not advocating violence to get my way. I am advocating exposure of the people who funneled money into a state not their own and influenced an election not their own. If the light of truth is frightening to you and seems violent, you should ask yourself why exposure of your covert actions is so frightening to you. Did you do something underhanded that you don't want other people to know about?

5. You are upset at the money the people are putting forth to uncover what you and the churches did. Well, at least our people are public about their contributions. We're only asking the same of you. Why is it okay for you and your minions to act in secret spending millions of dollars, yet it's wrong of us to spend a lesser amount of money finding out who you are? Sounds like a double-standard to me.

6. You are inciting fear and unecessary violence by telling your followers, "[h]ave you not seen the awful similarity between what happened in Mumbai and what's happening right now in our cities?" Mr. Boone, I'm not sure if you really understand what happened in Mumbai. People were brutally tortured and murdered in Mumbai (even children) by religious extremists who gathered followers and resources in secret until they were strong enough to attack the people who were not of their religion and didn't agree with them. Gee Mr. Boone, isn't that what you and your churches are doing, spreading hate, gathering followers in secret, secretly funding legislation that discriminates against people who don't follow your religious beliefs? I would say we have more reason to fear violence from you and the churches.

7. You are correct on one thing Mr. Boone, "hate is hate no matter where it erupts." When people spend millions of dollars spreading hateful messages full of lies and distortions to convince people to vote a certain way, that's still hate. It doesn't matter if it's coming from a supposedly Christian church. There has been plenty of evil, violence and hatred at the hands of churches and people who call themselves Christians. Please tell me about all the mob violence incited and carried out by gay people against your church. Civil marches, protests, carrying banners exposing your actions and calling for boycotts to hurt you in your wallets is not hate, it's not violence. It's a civil action taken in response to a covert, hostile action on the parts of you and people like you.

8. Mr. Boone, I agree with you that marriage should not be a governmental institution. So I would like you and all married people to give up the 1,400+ state, federal and employment benefits you enjoy from being married. Also, you might want to check what the Bible says about marriage. I wouldn't want you to miss out on having multiple wives, being able to beat them, sell them into slavery, or sleep with your wives servants and get them pregnant if you'd like. Oh, and no picking and choosing which Bible verses you're going to believe in and follow. If that book is holy and the word of God, I would think you would listen to God and follow _everything_ the Bible says. Also, if you're going to follow what "people" not God have said and done down through the ages, I think you might want to check out what they've done before you subscribe to it. Oh, and one last thing, it's kinda touchy, but, Um, before you do any of those things, please give your black friends forewarning that they'll soon be your slaves. (Oops, my bad, you might not have any black friends if stories about you are to be believed. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.)

9. As for these marital benefits originating with the people and given by our duly elected officials. If you truly believe the people should decide this, why are you spending millions of dollars to make sure the people don't decide in any way that you don't like. Don't you trust the people to make a fair decision for all people, not just you?

10. Mr. Boone, you state: "There never were any "rights" granted or designated to those who dissented with the will of the majority." I'm not sure if you're aware of this but, there have been anti-slavery movements, suffrage movements, civil rights movements, etc. Living in a democracy that follows the will of the majority, you should know that there have been many times in our nation's history where the impartial government had to step in and protect the rights of the minority because the majority thought it was fair and right to own the minority, beat the minority, not let the minority vote, not let the minority go to school, and the list goes on. So yes, I do believe, there have been times in our nation's history where "rights" were granted to those who dissented against the will of the majority. (May I add, "You friggin' moron!" for good measure, or would that be too crass?)

Here's Keith Olbermann's take on it.

The Daily Kos said it much better than I did: Frameshop: Boone

Friday, December 5, 2008

Prop 8 The Musical

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die
Thanks to Kris at Devine Diaries for sharing this great video. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

No Time for Slackers

So I've been too busy to blog again. The two jobs are keeping me busy, especially the teaching job. I currently have 190 research papers to grade, with a final in 2 weeks and those grades to get in as well. Everything is essay, no multiple-choice so it takes a lot longer to read through everything. The other job is going along as well. I just finished a very long and detailed breach of contract complaint. I'm in the midst of a complicated divorce and another amended complaint. So I'm busy and that's good for business, but I will be thankful for Christmas break on the teaching job. I've got my books to get in order before tax time and it's going to be good to be in the same office 5 days a week for a little bit to get caught up on everything.

I did manage to get some Christmas shopping done last weekend. I got up a little early for the Black Friday sales. It's going to be a very modest Christmas. The Christmas shopping did get me more in the mood for the holiday and I also made time to put up a few outside decorations with M's and B's able assistance. I'll get pictures of those up soon. I managed to snag a giant outdoor wreath for the outside of our house at an end of the season sale last year so I am very proud we got that up on the roof and mounted to the front of our house. Gotta get back to work. Christmas pictures coming soon.