Thursday, November 30, 2006

Snow? In TEXAS?

Here I just got through saying that we don't usually get snow in Texas, and now it's snowing! What I'm about to say is the honest truth: Yesterday, the temp hit 80 degrees (Farenheit, of course), and I was in shorts and a t-shirt. Now it's snowing. That's Texas weather for ya! If enough snow accumulates, then I'll snap some pics and post them here.

Let's see if something else I say is proven wrong: I never win the lottery.


UPDATE: Well, it snowed, but because the ground is so warm (remember, it was 80 degrees yesterday!), it didn't stick other than sparingly in the shaded areas on the ground. So I didn't get any decent pics to post here. Sorry, folks. But you should know what snow looks like anyway. ;-)

Also, I'm reminded of something that I once told a Yankee who was surprised that we rarely had snow in Texas. I said that it was true, and until the Yankees came along, we didn't even have a word for "snow". Before the Yanks gave us the word snow, we just called it "white stuff on the ground that ain't dried-up cow (bleep)." :-D

Christmas questions

I received an e-mail with some questions related to Christmas, and they are attached below along with my responses. For your convenience, I've posted just the questions at the bottom so that you have them to cut-and-paste into your own e-mail. Answer them, then forward your responses to your hoodlum friends or families. It's a good way to learn about what others do for Christmas.

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
I used to have HC, but now I have EN because my cousin can whip up a mean batch of it.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
They're wrapped. Those elves can't always just make toys!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Colored lights. And flashing.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nope. If I wanna kiss someone, I'll just swoop her into my arms and plant one. :-)

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Traditionally, we did it on the last week of November, but now it's at the beginning of December.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
At our house, we have tamales. It's a Hispanic thing. :-)

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
Most of my favorite memories are of playing football with my brother and cousins in all kinds of weather. Rain, snow, etc. We were young - and we were dumb, apparently - but we always had a great time.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I honestly don't remember. I know that at one time I did believe, and then later I didn't. I must have been about 9 or 10 when I stopped. I never had the traumatic experience of finding out the truth, which is why I don't remember when I stopped believing.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
It used to be a tradition that we opened at 12:01 am on Christmas Day. Yeah, we'd stay up that late. Now we open on Christmas Eve.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Lights first, then garland, then ornaments, and finally tinsel - or icicles as we called them when I was a kid.

11. Snow? Love it or Dread it?
Snow? What's that? It doesn't snow in Texas! Seriously, I don't ever recall having a white Christmas. During the few times we've had snow, it's never very much - just enough to blanket everything for a day or two. It's very beautiful when we get it.

12. Can you ice skate?
Nope. We don't have ice, either.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
No. As a kid, I just liked getting toys. I don't recall a particular favorite, though.

14. What's the most exciting thing about the Holidays for you?
I like driving around at night and seeing the houses lit up with Christmas lights. I also like driving through downtown for the same reason. It's a very nice break from the usual routine.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Pumpkin pie.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Getting together with my family, which is getting harder to do since we're getting so big now.

17. What tops your tree?
A lighted star.

18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving?
I prefer giving, mainly because I love hunting for the perfect gift.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
O Holy Night

20. Candy Canes?
Only on the Christmas tree. And they're not real, but decorative.

Cut-and-paste and save!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
5. When do you put your decorations up?
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
11. Snow? Love it or Dread it?
12. Can you ice skate?
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
14. What's the most exciting thing about the Holidays for you?
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
17. What tops your tree?
18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving?
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
20. Candy Canes?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My definition of liberalism, Part 1

This is the first part of future discussions regarding my definition of liberalism. Today: tuition vouchers.

A discussion over the Thanksgiving weekend got me thinking about what it means to me to be a liberal. But first, here's my comments on this in my Weekend Wrap-up of 11-12-2006. I also want to note the response by JB. His whole reply is worth noting (and I encourage you to read it), but I am posting this passage in particular, because it's related to my response afterwards:

"Now that we are in such an affluent nation, the vast majority of people are content with the status quo, leaving the democratic party with only the most extreme forms of social change to glom onto.Think of it. The last major social issue for the democratic party was the environment. The republicans saw the environmentalists as radicals. Now that we have so much social change in that area, it has become the status quo, stripping the democratic party of that issue. What are they left with? What social change can they pursue?"

Thing is, I think that there's plenty for the Democrats to pursue in our current day and age that would still be in line with their tradition of "helping the little guy".

There's the injustices in the educational systems - specifically the public ones. Families that can't afford private schools or religiously based schools are pretty much stuck with what the public schools offer, and since all things religious have been driven away from public schools, the students are left with a questionable secular curriculum that more encourages "feelings" rather than education. In other words, the "little guys" in this scenario are the students, and the "oppressive establishment" are the school systems and the teachers unions that won't allow changes or challenges that threaten their hold on their power.

One way to help these "little guys" is to allow for tuition vouchers so that students can have "the right to choose" what schools they might attend. However, teachers' unions are vehemently opposed to them, this despite that it could actually help public schools in the long run. So basically, the "right to choose" applies only to legalized abortion.

I grew up in a poor, single-parent family. My mother scrimped, saved, and sacrificed so that my brother and I can go to a Catholic school. And as far as Catholic schools go, this was a pretty poor (as in: low funding) school, but it was all that my mother could afford. However, my brother and I benefited enormously. He went on to get a scholarship to a Catholic high school, and then another scholarship to go to college. I also went on to college, and even went on to get a Master's degree. So our experiences demonstrates that even if you start out poor, you can rise above it. I also know that my mother would have gladly taken a tuition voucher had they been available back then.

But none of us could have done it without a lot of help. All three of us had a support group that we relied on time and time again, and for which came through time and time again. My mother and her two sons were one family, but we also had the support of an extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. This same group still meets three times a year for family gatherings. Beyond the extended family were other, more distant relatives as well as neighbors and the surrounding local community.

We each knew each other, and we helped each other out in times of need. It was because of that support group that, during our whole youth, my brother and I never felt "poor", even though technically that's what we were. It was also during this time that I grew up around the "village" concept of everyone helping each other - which, back then, was basically the Democratic ideal in a nutshell.

Somewhere along the way, however, the Democrats' "village" ideal got lost and was replaced with the current "village idiots" concept of the extremism that JB mentioned in his reply. Instead of helping "the little guy", Democrats now serve the more extreme left wing special interest groups. Instead of supporting the tuition voucher concept to help students in poor families to get a decent education, they instead back teachers' unions because these unions donate to their party. In other words, it ain't just in the GOP that money buys politicians.

Instead of seeing that the voucher system can help public schools to keep to their church/state separatism, the Dems instead are insistent in making it much harder for the poor families to go to other schools if the local public schools are failing to educate their children. It appears that keeping on the good side of teachers' unions takes a much greater precedence than seeing that our nation's children get the best education possible. This is an injustice that the old Democratic party wouldn't have tolerated, much less facilitated. It would have sickened the old Democratic party to be an enabler to an oppressive power structure.

To me, being truly liberal would mean finding the best means possible to educate all children, regardless of the income of the families that they come from. Instead, being liberal today means that you support an intolerant and closed-minded establishment such as teachers' unions because they donate to party coffers. Maybe I'm old fashioned, but that's not what being liberal was supposed to mean.

Friday, November 24, 2006

New blog for my edtoons

I have now put up a separate blog for my editorial cartoons (edtoons for short). It is called Edtoon Alley. Right now, only old edtoons are on it, and for some reason, when you click on the thumbnail, you get an error message instead of a larger image. I'll try to find out why that is.

Now that I have it up, I'll try to post to it at least once a week. I hope to get back to my usual posting rate of two a week that I had back when I worked for my college newspaper.

I'll also post a link to the new blog from this blog. Coming soon is yet another blog that I'm making for my comic strip. You good folks will certainly be notified once that's up. :-)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Creative packaging

Attached below are some rather creative packaging. I think the one for the drunk driver is especially powerful in its message.

Monday, November 20, 2006

OJ's "If I did it" won't be done

Of all the awful books that I can think of, OJ Simpson's "If I did it" has to be among the top. If you haven't already heard of this book, in it OJ discusses how he would have killed his wife some years ago - that is, "if he did it". I don't know which is worse - OJ for writing that book, or ReganBooks for publishing it. There's only one reason that I can think of for providing enough of a motivation to publish that book, and it's not a good one: pure and unadulterated greed. Fortunately, the book is being cancelled – not because the publisher had a change of heart, but largely because most people found the book and its topic ghoulish and revolting. As for me, it restores a little faith in mankind again, that we still have a sense of being revolted by something like this. Power to the people!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Weekend Wrap-up 11-19-2006

"TomKat" wedding
I wish I could find the poll regarding how long the viewers or readers thought that "TomKat's" (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, in case you didn't already know) marriage would last but I found it very insteresting. I forgot what the other two options were (I think it was "Less than a year" and "More than a year"), but the one option that caught my eye was "Who cares?", which got 73%. I wholly agree with the majority: Who cares? I've lost all respect for the man, and I wouldn't have even brought up Tom here, but the poll's results were just too good to not have at least a brief mention, and now that mention has passed.

Democrats again
I've had at least a couple of people ask me just what it is that I expect the Democratic Party to do, seeing as how I complain so much about them on my blog. I gave that some thought, and perhaps the mistake here is having expectations at all. The Dems are a political party, and "the nature of the beast" for political parties is to get elected - and usually by whatever means works at the time. So is it wrong to expect the Dems to do only what political parties generally do? I don't know - maybe so.

The GOP certainly operates by the same principle as well. For instance, the GOP claims to the the "prolife party", and yet, more often than not, their efforts in the prolife cause fall short of expectations (there's that word again). What this means is that the GOP is the "prolife party" largely because the Dems are the "prochoice party", and not much else. Basically, each party strives to be what the other party is not - one is "pro-" this and the other is "anti-" that. This makes the Dems and the GOP essentially two sides of the same coin. This is not the stuff that inspires people to believe in their leaders.

However, this topic deserves a more thorough discuss of what I expect from the Dems and why I feel that they have fallen short. I'll give this more thought and post here probably later this week. If you have other thoughts on this, let me know.

I haven't discussed sports on my blog in a long time, so let's take care of that today, shall we? :-)

College football is starting to get down to its final weeks, and once again, the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) does everything to rob the postseason of its potential drama, especially when compared to the postseason structure of the college basketball postseason. In college basketball, a selection of 65 teams is picked into brackets, and they all play each other until there is a final two to compete for the championship. This format allows a team to see how far they can go riding soley on their heart and their guts.

In other words, the little team from Slackjaw, Mississippi has just as much of a chance of being the national champion as the big team from Georgetown (usually a basketball powerhouse) provided that they make it to the "Big Dance". Keeping up with little Slackjaw U. to see how high up the bracket it goes is part of the familiar American underdog story. We love the underdog story. When Slackjaw U. beats Georgetown, we just love it to death. We'll put the Slackjaw team on the Today Show, the Tonight Show, and perhaps even make a movie of the week of their story. They might even make a visit to the White House, and we'll follow their victory tour the whole way.

The football postseason set-up, however, favors the big schools with the power and money, and politics totally slants in favor of those schools. In other words, the football team from Slackjaw U. will never get the chance to be the national champion, because it doesn't belong to a "BCS conference", which is an arrangement guaranteed to favor the big schools against the little schools.

In fact, since some of you asked me about what I consider the difference between the Democrats and the GOP, then these two types of postseason formats does it pretty well: The March Madness format is a Democrat style, in which anyone can go the distance provided that they keep winning, and the BCS format is a GOP style, in which only those that are in the "in" (that is, the BCS) conferences have the chance to go the distance - everyone else has virtually no chance unless an extraordinary and highly unlikely set of circumstances somehow puts them there. And to date, no team other than a BCS conference team has been in the national championship in the entire time that the BCS format has been in place.

That's it for now, folks. Have a great week!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thanksgiving's coming early this year

I work at a university library, and this gives me a front row seat of the habits of today's college student. It used to be that the university had classes right up to the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (I had even been told that some universitys will count Wednesday absences as double). However, this year, the university is bowing to the reality regarding usual college student behavior, and there won't be any classes on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Of course, as I've said, knowing the usual behavior of the typical college student, this only means that most students will be skipping Tuesday instead of Wednesday. ;-)

In other words, next week is going to be basically a one-day week!

(and no doubt, a few students will probably be skipping Monday as well...)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Immigration column

Below is my column on immigration as it appeared on this website:

Column on immigration

Below is the text of my column. I just remembered that one of my New Year's resolutions was to get published again somewhere, somehow. It looks like I actually kept a New Year's resolution! Also, the editor of that website happened to see my blog entry on immigration, and he asked me to make a column out of it. It goes to show that you never know who might be reading your blog.

The Right Way To Control The Border

Illegal immigration has been a hot topic for most of this year, however, most debate and discussion on this issue are going about it in the wrong way. They are dealing largely with the illegal immigrants themselves – which is important, but it's not the best way to take care of the problem (and yes, illegal immigration is a problem – specifically, the "illegal" part). The way to look at this issue is to see why they are coming here in the first place.

Illegal immigrants know that there are companies here that will hire them, despite the fact that they know that they are here illegally. So why would a company hire illegal immigrants? It's because illegal immigrants work for much less than American workers. And illegal immigrants have no other expenses attached to them, like health insurance, overtime pay, and other benefits that the rest of us take for granted in this country. Illegal immigrants work much cheaper, and with no union to back them up, they can't complain about the working conditions, because their illegal status hangs over their head like the proverbial sword of Damocles.

So essentially, dealing with the illegal immigration problem by dealing only with the illegal immigrants themselves is seeing this issue from too small a perspective. All that these critics accomplish is to plug the holes in a leaky dam while ignoring the one making the holes in the dam in the first place. And that hole-maker is the companies that hire illegals. During most of this year, the Democratic Party and even unions have tried to court illegal immigrants, but this is a mistake in so many ways.

Democrats get political mileage by portraying illegal immigrants as “immigrants just trying to seek a better life”. Most Americans know of our country’s tradition of growth through immigration, and they don’t object to people moving here from other parts of the world – so long as they do it through the proper channels. However, trying to blur the line between legal and illegal immigrants ultimately does not serve either group, and the Democrats will succeed only in making Americans resent all immigrants – whether they are here legally or not.

In addition, when the Democrats resort to this kind of tactic, it gives regular working Americans the impression that the Democrats are more concerned about people who are here illegally than for the constituency that they allege to be serving: the American people – especially the American blue-collar worker. So any short term benefit that the Democrats may gain by trying to blur the distinction between legal and illegal immigrants will come back to haunt them in the long run.

For the unions, there's no better way for them to shoot themselves in the foot than to support illegal immigrant workers, because they are taking jobs that union workers could have. Also, if an illegal immigrant works in the place of a union worker, then this deprives the union of the dues that could be paid by a union worker as well as the clout that being in a union brings to the negotiating table.

For the GOP, they get political mileage by portraying illegal immigrants as invaders. But the majority of the illegal immigrants do not come here as an advance invading force, they are only coming to find jobs. This is not to imply that seeking jobs is a justification for coming here illegally, but it is wrong to portray illegal immigrants under a false light only for the sake of political gain.

Plus, it would be to the GOP’s benefit to be more outspoken about the companies that hire illegal immigrants and to seek punishment policies with “teeth” against such companies. In the long run, the GOP will succeed in reducing the number of illegal immigrants through such policies rather than through their favorite practice of portraying illegal immigrants as an evil invading force.

And last, for the illegal immigrants themselves, the hiring of illegals does very little to motivate them to eventually becoming U.S. citizens. Actually, the U.S. companies that hire illegal immigrants wouldn't want them to become legal citizens, because then they'd have to pay them more, for then they'd qualify for the rights that U.S. workers get -- which defeats their whole purpose of hiring illegals in the first place!

The best way to deal with the influx of illegal immigrants is to truly punish companies that hire illegal immigrants to the point that it will make it much less palatable for these companies to hire them. As a result, it will make the risk that an illegal immigrant goes through to get here not worth the trip.

The thing is, everything stated above is just plain common sense. Anyone with a lick of sense could have figured this out – including most of our politicians. However, it is also the nature of politics and politicians to go after issues that are “sexy” so that they will get voted into office. Right now, it is “sexy” for political campaigns to concentrate on the illegal immigrants themselves rather than the companies that hire them.

As voters, we must insist that the candidates stop using “sex appeal” to get into office, and to instead pursue solutions that will have real results instead of actions that have only short-term gains. Not an easy task, mind you, but living in a democratic society places such a responsibility on its citizens, and the power of the ballot box is our best means of keeping our public servants on their toes.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Memories of pecans

On my desk right now is a small package of pecan pieces. I saw them yesterday at my local supermarket, and I bought them not necessarily because I like pecans (which I do), but because they also remind me of someone I knew a long time ago: my grandfather.

Many years ago, my grandfather used to take me and my brother hunting for pecans. We'd go to some nearby woods where pecan trees grew, and we'd gather them and open them so that we can eat the pecan inside the shell. He died very young, when he was 58. I was 10 years old at the time of his death, so I don't have a whole lot of memories of him. But gathering pecans was one of those memories, so each time I see pecans, I think of him.

To this day, I don't like pecans any other way than by themselves; I don't like them in pies or brownies. For me, it's just not the same to have them any other way than by themselves. There's an important lesson in all this for those of you who are parents, and those of you who are grandparents.

The lesson is this: Make memories with your kids and grandkids. Do little things that they'll remember - like gathering pecans. While it may seem like nothing to you, for the kids, it may be something else entirely. Pecans may be just something to eat for you, but for me, pecans are a connection to my grandfather; and by eating them, I recall the few times that we had together.

So go out there and have fun with your kids and grandkids, folks. Years from now, those memories just may be how they remember you. Make those memories happy ones.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Weekend Wrap-up 11-12-2006

For this weekend wrap-up, I'm going to wrap up a couple of topics that I brought up earlier in the week - or at least attempt to. Onward!

Women's magazines
I had asked the ladies earlier in the week about the effectiveness of the advice in women's magazines in regards to love, dating, and romance. Their responses were pretty much as I expected: The advice was helpful only for women who had little to no self-esteem, and who lived largely a hedonistic lifestlye. In other words, to your average woman, their advice was worthy only as a measuring stick of where our society is nowadays - seeing as how such mags are still being published because enough women out there are still buying them. And judging by the nature of much of that advice, we're a pretty sick society.

For balance, I also decided to ask the men and whether the mags they read presented any advice on love, dating, and relationships. Pretty much to a man, practically all of them said that they knew of no such men's mags that gave tips and advice on love, dating, and romance - and even if such mags existed, they probably wouldn't read them. Their mags of choice tended to be of sports, news, or their hobbies - and those don't generally have dating advice in them. What the women said in response to this is that women's mags tend to prey on women's insecurities, which is a tactic that works well enough, apparently, to support several such women's mags. However, a men's mag that preyed on men's insecurities would just be ignored, probably because men generally don't admit to having any faults, much less stress themselves out over them.

After all this, it seems to me that there is a readership market here that is largely untapped - specifically, a women's magazine that is tailored to women who are not of the hedonistic lifestyle, but who still seek helpful information about love and relationships. Perhaps they have to seek mags of a religious nature for something like that, because a mag put out for the general public at large probably couldn't survive, because they'd be trying to be all things to all people. I don't know exactly what to suggest, because I'm not a magazine publisher, but after all this, I can see that clearly SOMETHING is needed that isn't being provided right now.

And last, here's a cartoon that pretty much sums up the difference between men and women. I literally laughed out loud when I first saw it. :-)

My advice for Democrats
Someone asked me about my advice for Democrats that I posted on my blog earlier in the week, and why I tended to be so harsh on them. Another asked me why I even care for the Dems OR the GOP, for that matter, for they only deal with politics anyway. I feel that it is only fair that I respond to these questions here.

First, I am harsh on the Dems because I feel that they have fallen far from what they have and should be: a party of the little people. In the past:

If you were a blue collar worker, you were a Democrat.
If you were Catholic, you were a Democrat.
If you were politically liberal, you were a Democrat.
If you were African American, you were a Democrat.
If you were Hispanic, you were a Democrat.
If you were of the lower or middle class, you were a Democrat.

And so on. Today, while the above groups may still be largely Democrat, the only interests being served by today's Democratic Party is the people of a liberal point of view - and even the definition of "liberal" has changed. In the past, being liberal meant being open-minded enough to realize that many people among the poor have the potential to be great people, and that we should aid such people so that they can contribute to society as a whole. That was accomplished by providing the opportunity for such people to show what they can do. That is the kind of liberal that I am, by the way.

Nowadays being liberal means having a secular and hedonistic outlook on life, and that "religion is the opium of the masses" (a quote attributed to Karl Marx). In fact, opposition to religion must be to the point that today's liberal is anti-religious; that is, they actively seek to remove all public displays of religion wherever it appears because they take the term "separation of church and state" to its broadest and most widespread extreme. Today's liberals also support government programs that actually lock the poor in their lower class status rather than giving them hope for the future.

And last, today's liberals support legalized abortion, which is the ultimate act of age discrimination as well as being an even worse throwback to the days of slavery, in which the life of a class of people is made wholly dependent upon the rule of law. Slavery was wrong in the past, and its conceptual descendent of legalized abortion is wrong today.

I am harsh on the Democrats, because many people still believe the Dems to be the party of the little people, when clearly, they are not. So many people pin their hopes and dreams on the Dems because they still think that the class distinctions between the parties still exist; that is, that the GOP is the party of the rich and that the Dems are the party for the rest of us.

But the leaders of the Dems are often just as rich as the leaders of the GOP, so this class distinction today between the parties is largely non-existent. And yet, Democratic leaders often exploit this old and no longer applicable belief about their party to get elected. What I am saying is that they are lying to the voters and to their supporters about who and what they are, and this is wrong in so many ways. That is what angers me about today's Democrats. If the Dems want to continue to be their current hedonistic, secular, and anti-religous selves, then they should have the decency be honest and up-front about it so that some other party can be the party that the Dems used to be.

As for why I even care about the Dems or the GOP, it's because both parties have such a large impact and influence on today's society. As such major influences on society, they have a responbility to live up to the faith and trust of the people that elected them. However, many politicians act as if they are our country's version of an aristocracy rather than the public servants that they really are. They often act as if we owe them the living that they have gotten themselves accustomed to. In short, they have largely forgotten who really is the boss here and why they are in their offices - which is to serve the public trust and interests rather than special interest groups that they largely serve today. I care about what both parties do, because we deserve better from both of them than what we've been getting from them in recent decades. I simply want them to do the job that we elected them to do.

Other stuff
There's other things that I could post here, but today's entry is long enough, so I'll save that other stuff for later.

Have a great week, folks!

Friday, November 10, 2006

A bad example for the kids?

Check out these toys.

Notice that when you squeeze the frog, the fish, or the smiley face, you make their eyes bug out. Now I ask you, is this a good example to be setting for the kids? Doesn't it seem likely that the kids will get the idea to go sqeezing real frogs and fish to make their eyes bug out?

Maybe it's just me.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election results: A note to the Democrats

The results are in, and the Democrats have taken control of both the House and the Senate. As a former Dem supporter (but not necessarily a current GOP supporter), I was actually hoping that the Dems would crash and burn again - not because I hate the party or anything, but because I strongly believe that they need to revamp how they do things, and they won't get to that point unless they crash and burn some more.

Until yesterday, the most recent elections had the Dems at least questioning how they are doing things and they were almost to the point of wondering whether there were better ways of doing things. However, the successes of yesterday will now push back that day of reckoning for at least another two years, for the Dems now feel that their party line is what Americans want from them. Now they are going to be reinforced in their erroneous views for two more years and possibly longer.

You know who represents the current Democratic party to me? Barbara Streisand, when she went ballistic over a heckler during one of her concerts. The concert-goers came to see the lady sing, not to hear her political ideology. Her arrogant and elitist behavior to me represents the Dems today - especially her lack of understanding as to why some people took offense at her attempt at political humor (she should have said that it was a "botched joke"!). Despite the fact that other fans have also showed their displeasure over her political hacking during her concerts, she had stated that she's going to continue to have the Bush impersonater at her concerts. This kind of cluelessly arrogant behavior is a microcosm of how the Dems are at large.

But now, the Dems will continue their clueless ways, because they will believe that Americans voted them in because they believe in them. However, Americans weren't so much pro-Dem as they were anti-Bush. The Dems were just the beneficiaries of that anti-Bush resentment because they happen to be the only other major political party. They were also the beneficiaries of the fact that the GOP is now getting cluelessly arrogant as well. Being in power too long must do that to a political party. It might have been for the GOP's own good for them to lose power - especially to the Dems.

No doubt the Dems are going to try to institute their ways and views onto the political arena. However, let me give them two bits of advice:

1.) Don't pull out of Iraq right away. That would be the stupidest thing that you can do right now. If you think you'd be hurting Bush, then you'd be horribly, horribly wrong. Discuss a pullout, even work on a timetable, but do NOT pull out of there right away.

2.) Although the temptation will be overpowering, don't put the country to the unnecessary process of impeaching Bush. That will accomplish nothing positive, and it will only to be disruptive in all the wrong ways. Yes, the nature of politics tends to encourage such petty and vindictive behavior, but if you really, truly want to make changes to how things are done in Washington, then not engaging in impeachment proceedings is one way to do it.

Perhaps I will be wrong, and the Dems will truly become the party of positive and ethically responsible change. But I don't believe that I'll be wrong. I hope I am, but I seriously doubt it. How the Dems behave in the next 3 months will tell us where they will be headed for the next two years.

Monday, November 06, 2006

On blogs and blogging

JB's Opinion Dump blog gives a lot of info and insight about the thoroughly new millennium concept of blogs and blogging (It's the November 6, 2006 entry, if it doesn't show up when you click on the link).

The thing is, I wish I had taken it up much sooner, because I have found it to be a very helpful exercise in writing - especially in that it keeps me in the practice of writing. Before I started blogging, it was difficult to stay motivated to keep writing, because I didn't have an audience to give me feedback on what I wrote. And in truth, when I first put up my website, writing a blog was an afterthought. Actually, someone who is familiar with my written and drawn works gave me the idea, because she felt that I could benefit from the practice of blogging. Boy, was she ever right!

The main challenge for me is not to have something to write about. That actually comes pretty easily for me. Just a few moments of staring at my monitor, and I can usually come up with something, and more often than not, I end up writing several paragraphs. I usually think of my ideas for topics when I'm away from my computer, and then it's just a matter of remembering what I had planned to write about once I've gotten access to a computer with Interet access.

No, the main challenge is to write something that will draw a response from my readers. I don't want to write in a slew of profanity, or to say something that's just so outrageous and/or offensive that readers are guaranteed to respond. To me, that's both a shortcut and a copout to actually writing something substantive. I don't want to be that way, and I don't want to get into the habit of writing that way. No, I want to write in such a way as to make my readers think.

While I don't generally get responses here on my blog that get posted, I do have readers that I know in person or by e-mail that will respond in person or by e-mail. I like getting responses and reactions to something I've drawn or written, and it was what I missed from my college days when I first took up opinion writing.

And many times, I write something that isn't a complete thought with a formed opinion. Sometimes my topics are "works in progress" in which I ask an open ended question which will encourage responses and answers from my readers. My entry about women's magazines posted just today is one such example. And I've gotten responses. I'll be posting them in the next day or so once I've talked it out some with the respondents. The responses so far have proven to be very educational.

So in summary, I very much recommend taking up blogging if you have an inkling to write. Your blog will be a big test on whether you can sink or swim with your writing abilities. You will also find out just how much you love writing. So far, I've enjoyed it very much. :-)

Question for the ladies: Women's magazines

I posted this in another website, but what the heck - let's post it here as well:


When I went to the supermarket yesterday, I took notice of the number of women's magazines that were in the racks.

A great number of them - probably all of them, actually - gave all kinds of advice related to love, romance, dating, relationships, and so forth. So my question to the ladies is: Have any of those articles in those women's magazines ever helped you in your relationships with the opposite gender?

Has a "Cosmo poll" ever helped you to gain an understanding of the gents that you lacked before? It'd be helpful for the gentlemen if we had an idea on what we're up against in regards to all those articles in women's magazines, and what "Cosmo polls" (and others like them) expect us to live up to in regards to what they say we should be doing for you ladies.

Okay, I'll go to the doghouse now...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Weekend Wrap-up 11-4-2006

What amazes me, folks, is that it's already November!!! Soon we will be celebrating Thanksgiving and eating turkey and so forth! And yes, I'll be eating turkey, because PETA hasn't called to say that they're making their prolife views official. I actually don't expect them to do it at all, much less in the next few weeks.


Crossword puzzles
For some reason, I had quite a few people ask me where I get my crossword puzzles lately. It's because they see me doing them all the time. I get them from the Internet and print them out in a standard 8 1/2 x 11 size, because I have trouble reading those dinky ones that are in newspapers. Anyway, here's some links to the ones I use:

CBS News
Washington Post


John Kerry
What a doofus! Maybe he should have been the one who got "stuck in Iraq!" He may not have thought so, but his initial "joke" did indeed sound like an insult to the troops. He could have read a text of his comments to see that. But he's not a doofus because he botched a joke, he's a doofus because he didn't come out and apologize for his comments right away. Instead, he let this fester for a couple of days as Bush and his buddies in conservative talk radio had a field day with it. It got so bad that even his fellow Dems were telling him to apologize, and he also dropped out of planned appearances with fellow Dems running for office. From what I hear, he still wants to run in '08. Don't think so. Not no more, not after this.

Other election news
The governor's race in Texas still looks like it's going to go Gov. Rick Perry's way. Chris Bell had made some progress, but it looks like it was too little, too late. He didn't start coming around until one guy gave him a whopping donation - and he was a lawyer, no less (which the GOP happily noted). This lack of fundraising capability should say something to the Texas Democrats and how much they're not reaching their fellow Texans. Think, Texas Dems, think! Why aren't you reaching your fellow Texans? Is it because Texas have gotten collectively stupid, or is it more likely that you have gotten collectively clueless and out of touch with your fellow Texans? If it weren't for that last minute whopping donation, Bell would have still been in 4th place like he was before the debates. That should be speaking volumes to you - if only you'd listen.

And speaking of debates, Bell, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, and Kinky Friedman should have had other debates anyway like I told them. They all could have benefitted from the extra exposure, and they could have made Perry look bad by him not showing up. I even e-mailed those other candidates to have other debates, but I didn't hear from any of them. Now those three should see that they should have listened to me! See, this is why you're not leading in the polls, and why you're probably not going to lead when it counts come election day!

Website news
The more observant of you have noticed that the link to my website,, isn't working. Well, I don't know why it's not connecting. I've asked my webspace provider and the guy who designed my webpage, but they can't bring it back up. I guess you might say that - I'm working on it. I'd like it to be back up, you know? After all, this blog's title is "The Blog @", and it'd make sense if there were an "" connected to this blog, eh?

And maybe it's just as well, because I've got other things in the works. Most immediately, I have my comic strip, Along Party Lines, set up as a blog on this very site. When I viewed other web comics, I saw that the set-up in my site isn't set up like it is in other webcomics, so I'm trying this format instead. When I have some strips on it, I'll let you know, and I'll have a link to it from this blog. This should be coming atcha in the coming week or two. I gotta dig out some old strips to put on there, first.

A little further into the future is my superhero story, The Shamrock. I've always wanted to do a superhero story, and I've already got several storyline ideas set up, but doing the art is very time consuming. That's why I now have some artists set up to do the art part of this. I'm also talking to another web designer about making a whole new web page for The Shamrock. I've also set up a MySpace page for her as well, on the advice of one of my artists. Right now, this is still in the planning stage, and my earliest ETA on that site and so forth is in January 2007. I shall be keeping you up on this as well.

The other parts of my website can still be where they're at, so long as I'm able to get the site back up. If my webgeeks are unable to find out why my site won't go back up, then I'll move it to another provider or something. As you can see, having a website is a never-ending work in progress!

Madonna, et al
I'm tired of hearing about celebrities and their self-absorbed lives, aren't you? I just wanted to say that.

Have a great week, folks!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Editorial statement for November 2006

I'm gonna come out and say it: I believe that human life is superior to animal life.

Don't get me wrong: I don't believe that animals should be abused or tortured, but when it comes to protecting their rights vs. protecting the rights of humans, I will go with humans EVERY SINGLE TIME.

I had decided upon this largely because of PETA's lack of an official stand on the issue of legalized abortion. You might be saying "Abortion?? What does legalized abortion have to do with this?" Here's the situation: PETA believes that basically, we are all animals - including humans. From this line of thinking, then, animals should have the same rights as humans. Some PETA folk go so far as to not only abstain from meat, but also eggs.

Okay, now keep up with me here. Eating eggs is a no-no because eggs are also our animal friends, just smaller and younger. So in other words, PETA would have a serious problem if I went around stomping on the eggs of various birds with golf shoes (which I wouldn't do, because I don't want egg stuff all over my shoes). Theoretically, then, if harming bird eggs is bad, then harming human eggs is also bad, right?

Because if we're all animals, and harming animal eggs is bad, them harming human eggs is also bad, because humans are animals (according to PETA), and harming animal eggs is bad. Yeah, I know that I just repeated myself, but that's because I want to emphasize PETA's view that we are all just animals and that harming animal eggs is bad.

So you see what I'm saying here? Because PETA is against the harming of animal life right down to their eggs, then they should be gung-ho members of the prolife movement! They should also be on our side in regards to the usage of embryos for stem cell research. So why isn't PETA officially a prolife movement? That's what I don't understand.

Understand this, folks, that some animal rights activists are indeed against legalized abortion for the reasons that I listed above. And I commend those folks for seeing that logic. However, I fail to understand why the entire PETA organization isn't also against legalized abortion. By not having an official position on the issue, they are trying to make it look like they are trying to see both sides of the issue, but based on the argument above, what other viewpoint would there be for them to see? If I have any prolife vegans reading this, I bet that you are nodding your head in agreement. :-)

If PETA would come out as prolife in an official capacity, then that would make their animal rights arguments and concern for life on earth that much stronger. However, their saying that all humans are animals, but that human eggs aren't worthy of the same level of protection of animal eggs is a logical contradiction that completely destroys their credibility.

Let me offer PETA a deal: If they will come out as prolife in an official capacity, then I will become a vegetarian. I know that I am in no danger of having to live up to this deal, because PETA won't change, but if they ever did, then I will honor it. Someone in the room who is reading my entry as I type this is laughing out loud at my saying that I'll become a vegetarian. In truth, it is funny. But I am serious - both that PETA won't do it, and that if they did, I'll then become a vegetarian.

But I won't respect the animal rights point of view so long as animal rights activists aren't out-and-out as against legalized abortion as they are against animal cruelty. And bottom line folks, from the PETA point of view, what is legalized abortion except animal cruelty to unborn human animals?