Independence Day

  

The 4th of July is a significant day to most Americans and is certainly to me. It reminds me of how much I love my country and what sacrifices were made that I might live in a place so wonderful as America. I love the picnics and parades and fireworks to be sure, but mostly I love my country. I wanted to share our national anthem with everyone in its entirety. For more info on the 4th of July go here. Happy 4th everyone – and especially to our troops who continue to stand the watch, ever vigilant.  Respectfully, WC

“The Star Spangled Banner”


The Defense of Fort McHenry

by Francis Scott Key

20 September 1814

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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Movies, All About

 

I love, love, love movies. And I love these dumb little tests. Feel free to throw up your own answers.

1. A movie that you have seen more than 10 times.
Rear Window – A Hitchcock Classic.

2. A movie that you’ve seen multiple times in the theater.
Annie Hall – for some reason I had to see the movie about 5 times before I felt satisfied. Also Harold and Maude.

3. What actor(s) make you more inclined to see a movie.
Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, Edward Norton, Christian Bale, Johnny Depp, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Helen Mirren, Meryl Streep, Sara Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, Matt Damon

4. What actor(s) make you less likely to see a movie.
Russel Crowe, Brad Pitt, Mark Ruffolo, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Madonna, Jennifer Aniston,

5. A movie that you can and do quote from.
Casablanca, All About Eve, Rainman, the Maltese Falcon, Life of Brian, Young Frankenstein.

6. A movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs.
My Fair Lady, Singing in the Rain, Westside Story -not much into musicals

7. A movie that you have been known to sing along with.
My Fair Lady

8. A movie that you would recommend everyone see.
Walk the Line, It’s a Wonderful Life, All About Eve, Conspiracy Theory, The Day the Earth Stood Still

9. A movie that you own.
Following. Now there is  a strange flick.

10. An actor who launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.
Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Cher

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? If so, what?
Sure. I don’t really remember, it was when I was a little kid.

12. Ever made out in a movie?
Of course.

13. A movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t yet gotten around to it.
Taxi Driver

14. Ever walked out of a movie?
Yeah – The Shining – terrible!

15. A movie that made you cry in the theater.
Terms of Endearment and you mean, sob, don’t you?

16. Popcorn?
Extra butter and salt with large diet coke on the side.

17. How often do you go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)?
Not much these days – most of the films seem more like rentals and go to dvd so quickly that it seems silly to pay the $10 or $12 bucks. A few times a year

18. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?
Premonition – with Sandra Bullock, which I really, really liked.

19. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie?
Murder mystery.

20. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?
Sinbad and the Seven Seas or something like that.

21. What movie do you wish you had never seen?
The Exorcist. I couldn’t turn the lights off for weeks. 2nd place goes to A Clockwork Orange, made me sick to my stomach.

22. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?
Memento – tres strange, but oh so cool.

23. What is the scariest movie you’ve seen?
Exorcist – can’t seem to think of any other that has freaked me as much.

24. What is the funniest movie you’ve seen?
Monty Python and the Holy Grail. 2nd place goes to Groundhog Day. 3rd place goes to The Fabulous Baker Boys.

25. If you could only watch one movie for the rest of eternity, what would it be?
Definitely would be either a Hitchcock movie or a Frank Capra. Rear Window, Vertigo or It’s a Wonderful Life. Not sure.

Tell me about your likes and dislikes.
WC

Don’t Ya Love Your Girlfrienz?

It’s official, I received an email informing me that it is National Sisterhood Week. So all we sistahs and girlfrenz are supposed to celebrate our girliness and comraderie and revel in being women.

Hell, I do that every day, don’t you?

And seriously, if it’s National Sisterhood Week, who the heck is acting in behalf of the nation to proclaim it so? Well g**gle provided this which is probably closer to the truth. And of course, sexism is alive and well so what is really supposed to be National Brotherhood and Sisterhood Week – becomes National Sisterhood week. Jeez Louise noboby will leave well enough alone will they?

But you have to laugh at the cute, cute picture. In fact, the one on the left really does look like me when I was that age and I had to do a quick memory search to see if I’d ever been in a place like that as a kid. It is possible….really cuz the other kid looks like my first best friend Sandy Evanouch. Wow, this really could be the most incredible of coincidences, couldn’t it? At any rate, it’s obvious I was adorable as a child and quite the inquisitive mind since clearly I have been experimenting with how to blow smoke up my own skirt for some time.

So that being said – I say celebrate people. Celebrate your brotherhood and your sisterhood, celebrate your friends and all those without whom life would be one dull parade. Call them on the phone, go shopping, see a movie,  have lunch or at least send them an email. Saying I care can never ever hurt.

Love ya! My sistahs and brothas! (doing my best n’orleans accents)

WC

American I-Dull

 

Boy does that say it or what? Now, I’ll admit I was an AI virgin last year and I suppose I got swept away with it all. But this year sucks so bad already I’m pretty sure I won’t be watching it anymore. It’s too painful to watch the slow slaughter of popular music that way. And frankly watching paint dry has more twists and turns.

Clearly, there are only 3-4 people who can actually sing. The best singer has absolutely no personality. In fact, when she isn’t singing it’s as if she doesn’t actually exist. Which is kind of spooky and makes me wonder if she is a virtual contestant or something. They can do everything else, why not that? And wouldn’t that, after all, be the epitome of the perfect contestant according to Simon Scowell?

I really am bummed though. When I watched last year I had so much fun being a fan. All of them had some talent and they were all interesting and had their own personalities to project. Even when the bad ones (like chicken little) were voted off I was a little teary-eyed. They were all so easy to love or ….hate. It was a thrill a minute and no one looked forward to Tuesday and Wednesday nights like I did. What’s happened?

Was last year a fluke? Pretty much all the losers from last year could beat the contestants of this year. Will anyone actually stay awake long enough to see who wins this snoozer? I can’t even remember any of their names. Or what they look like. Or even sound like. The guys are pretty much clones of one another. The most original one – the asian guy in bare feet (and sadly it was the bare feet that made him stand out) is gone. And I’m alarmed that it will take weeks and weeks to eliminate all the other bad ones, which by my calculations is about 20 of them.

Maybe the thrill is gone and Idol is now just more bad reality t.v. like all the others. There is a season for all things and a time for all things to come to an end. Could this be Idol’s time? Is that why they are starting that lame camp thing? To distract from the fact that out of hundreds of thousands of people who auditioned they came up with this crap as the best of the best? Are they fucking kidding me?

Dull, dull, dull, dull. I may give it another couple of weeks on the off chance someone with a pulse will actually end up on camera – but I’m pretty sure none of us will be jonesing for Idol this year.

What a waste!

WC

Wrong on Climate Change?

(Here is a compelling article published in the Times Online, that challenges, conventional wisdom on the issue. WC)

February 11, 2007

An experiment that hints we are wrong on climate change

Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist, says the orthodoxy must be challenged

When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months’ time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases.

The small print explains “very likely” as meaning that the experts who made the judgment felt 90% sure about it. Older readers may recall a press conference at Harwell in 1958 when Sir John Cockcroft, Britain’s top nuclear physicist, said he was 90% certain that his lads had achieved controlled nuclear fusion. It turned out that he was wrong. More positively, a 10% uncertainty in any theory is a wide open breach for any latterday Galileo or Einstein to storm through with a better idea. That is how science really works.

Twenty years ago, climate research became politicised in favour of one particular hypothesis, which redefined the subject as the study of the effect of greenhouse gases. As a result, the rebellious spirits essential for innovative and trustworthy science are greeted with impediments to their research careers. And while the media usually find mavericks at least entertaining, in this case they often imagine that anyone who doubts the hypothesis of man-made global warming must be in the pay of the oil companies. As a result, some key discoveries in climate research go almost unreported.

Enthusiasm for the global-warming scare also ensures that heatwaves make headlines, while contrary symptoms, such as this winter’s billion-dollar loss of Californian crops to unusual frost, are relegated to the business pages. The early arrival of migrant birds in spring provides colourful evidence for a recent warming of the northern lands. But did anyone tell you that in east Antarctica the Adélie penguins and Cape petrels are turning up at their spring nesting sites around nine days later than they did 50 years ago? While sea-ice has diminished in the Arctic since 1978, it has grown by 8% in the Southern Ocean.

So one awkward question you can ask, when you’re forking out those extra taxes for climate change, is “Why is east Antarctica getting colder?” It makes no sense at all if carbon dioxide is driving global warming. While you’re at it, you might inquire whether Gordon Brown will give you a refund if it’s confirmed that global warming has stopped. The best measurements of global air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show wobbles but no overall change since 1999.

That levelling off is just what is expected by the chief rival hypothesis, which says that the sun drives climate changes more emphatically than greenhouse gases do. After becoming much more active during the 20th century, the sun now stands at a high but roughly level state of activity. Solar physicists warn of possible global cooling, should the sun revert to the lazier mood it was in during the Little Ice Age 300 years ago.

Climate history and related archeology give solid support to the solar hypothesis. The 20th-century episode, or Modern Warming, was just the latest in a long string of similar events produced by a hyperactive sun, of which the last was the Medieval Warming.

The Chinese population doubled then, while in Europe the Vikings and cathedral-builders prospered. Fascinating relics of earlier episodes come from the Swiss Alps, with the rediscovery in 2003 of a long-forgotten pass used intermittently whenever the world was warm.

What does the Intergovernmental Panel do with such emphatic evidence for an alternation of warm and cold periods, linked to solar activity and going on long before human industry was a possible factor? Less than nothing. The 2007 Summary for Policymakers boasts of cutting in half a very small contribution by the sun to climate change conceded in a 2001 report.

Disdain for the sun goes with a failure by the self-appointed greenhouse experts to keep up with inconvenient discoveries about how the solar variations control the climate. The sun’s brightness may change too little to account for the big swings in the climate. But more than 10 years have passed since Henrik Svensmark in Copenhagen first pointed out a much more powerful mechanism.

He saw from compilations of weather satellite data that cloudiness varies according to how many atomic particles are coming in from exploded stars. More cosmic rays, more clouds. The sun’s magnetic field bats away many of the cosmic rays, and its intensification during the 20th century meant fewer cosmic rays, fewer clouds, and a warmer world. On the other hand the Little Ice Age was chilly because the lazy sun let in more cosmic rays, leaving the world cloudier and gloomier.

The only trouble with Svensmark’s idea — apart from its being politically incorrect — was that meteorologists denied that cosmic rays could be involved in cloud formation. After long delays in scraping together the funds for an experiment, Svensmark and his small team at the Danish National Space Center hit the jackpot in the summer of 2005.

In a box of air in the basement, they were able to show that electrons set free by cosmic rays coming through the ceiling stitched together droplets of sulphuric acid and water. These are the building blocks for cloud condensation. But journal after journal declined to publish their report; the discovery finally appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Society late last year.

Thanks to having written The Manic Sun, a book about Svensmark’s initial discovery published in 1997, I have been privileged to be on the inside track for reporting his struggles and successes since then. The outcome is a second book, The Chilling Stars, co-authored by the two of us and published next week by Icon books. We are not exaggerating, we believe, when we subtitle it “A new theory of climate change”.

Where does all that leave the impact of greenhouse gases? Their effects are likely to be a good deal less than advertised, but nobody can really say until the implications of the new theory of climate change are more fully worked out.

The reappraisal starts with Antarctica, where those contradictory temperature trends are directly predicted by Svensmark’s scenario, because the snow there is whiter than the cloud-tops. Meanwhile humility in face of Nature’s marvels seems more appropriate than arrogant assertions that we can forecast and even control a climate ruled by the sun and the stars.

Really Stupid Shit

 

Since the internet is filled with stupid shit, I thought I’d get in on the act. Hence my favorite stupid shit, and stupid shit that is just stupid:

Favorite stupid saying: You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose but you can’t pick your friend’s nose. (How come?)

Favorite stupid movie: Monty Python’s Holy Grail. I especially love the horses they use and their many special effects.

Favorite stupid food: Artichoke, steamed with mayo for dipping. This is a stupid food because 1) who the hell figured out you could eat it? 2) who the hell figured out how to cook it so you could eat it 3) and  how did anybody convince anybody that you should all sit around an artichoke, pulling off leaves, dunking it in mayo and the scrape the meat off the leaves?

Favorite stupid sign:

Favorite stupid car: The original VW Bug. First of all, who wants to drive something called a bug? It conjures visions of motorized cockroaches or something. Then there is the engine in the back. And of course, the ever popular heating system (has anyone ever felt warm on an icy day in a VW Bug?).

Favorite stupid song: Weird Al Yankovich’s “Eat It.” Nuff said.

Favorite stupid website: Stupid.com – yep there really is a website by this name and you can check it out here. In fact, I purchased many stupid Christmas gifts from them this year and they were a hit. Don’t believe me? Ask Michael at Smoke & Mirrors.

Favorite stupid dance: The pony. For those of you who have never heard of this dance or seen it performed, see if you can find some old American Bandstand reruns. It’s worth it and hysterically funny.

Favorite stupid children’s character: Barney the purple Dragon. Not only is he huge and purple but he is butt-ugly. If I were a kid I’d be afraid of that sucker. And also somebody needs to work on the lyrics for his songs.

Favorite stupid tv show: Friends. A bunch of 20-somethings (who are really a lot older than that) have adventures in the big city. They are all struggling, lost, have career and life issues but live in a really cool apartment in the village, dress in all the latest fashions, go to fancy restaurants for dinners and have problems like jellyfish bites, whether or not to kiss Rachel, getting rid of annoying girlfriends and sibling rivalry. Great fun.

Things that are just stupid:

1. Bicyclists can ride on the open road but cars can’t drive on bike paths.

2. Joggers jog to become more fit and healthy but jog along heavily traveled roads – can you say carbon monoxide?

3. People who don’t pay taxes are pissed that they don’t get refunds.

4. Indecivise customers at fast food restaraunts.

5. Diet coke & chocolate cake.

6. Frisking old ladies at airports in case they’re terrorists.

7. Road construction during rush hour.

8. Cheerleaders at pro basketball games – for that money, they don’t need encouragement to cheer – you bet your ass they’re going to.

9. Pocket protectors – you might as well just stick a post-it on your head that says “Geek & Loser.”

10. Stop signs in California (more like avoid the oncoming car, signs).

Okay – that’s about all the stupid shit I can come up with tonight. I’ll let you know if I think of anything else.

WC

Take Me Out To The Ballgame…

I’m not much of a sports fan. In fact, by and large sports are kind of boring to me. Except Baseball. I love baseball. It could be because when I was a child I spent a lot of time with my grandpap who was a semi invalid. I would often sit with him in the livingroom and watch the game on tv. As the game played out he would explain to me what was going on.

I quickly learned what a pop fly, a shut out, a bunt, the squeeze and countless other things meant. And what they looked like. And I quickly began to appreciate anyone who could seemingly fly up into the air and snag a homerun wannabe ball and dash all hopes.

I think maybe because of grandpap and my early tutelidge in the game I became a diehard Tigers fan. Even now, even though I’ve lived in California for most of my adult life – I still have a softspot for those motor city madmen. There is just something about them that speaks of the best of ‘home’ to me. They take me back to my childhood, when popcorn was heaven and watching the game was the biggest thing going on in the world. When things felt safe and happy. And even if they got the pants beat off of them I never stopped loving my Tigers. I guess that’s what they call a fan.

One of my fondest memories was the 1968 World Series. It was Tigers vs the Cardinals. And what a series! It was a nail biter from beginning to end. It looked like the Cards were going to sweep the series but somewhere around game 5 my Tigers busted outta the box and the fight was on. They were not going to go quietly. The Cards were going to have to use every trick in their bat bag to beat them.

Maybe because I’d watched my Tigers from the time I was a tiny girl and knew the team – Stormin’ Norman Cash, Al Kaline, Wille (the Wonder) Horton, Bill Freehan, Mickey Lolich, Gates Brown, Mickey McClaine and the rest…I just had a feeling. I believed. I knew my Tigers were going to rally and come back to take the series. It was going the full seven games and they were going to win.

I watched the whole series with my then best friend Dorothy – we were on a babysitting job with some neighbor kids and made them watch too. Our eyes never left the set. Especially on Game 7. It was the one. The game that would decide it all.

And that final moment when catcher Bill Freehan caught that last out sent us over the edge. We screamed until we were hoarse. We danced. We celebrated. Our guys had done good!

Imagine my delight when I learned that this year’s series was once again between my beloved Tigers and the awesome Cards. I’ve been watching the series – and ironically, I find myself going back to my memories of the ’68 series. This could be it tonight. The Cards could take it all. They have only to win one more game and they’re the champions. Yet…in my heart I’m hoping and believing that my Tigers will rally once again. They will get their blood boiling and their bats banging. And make this hometown girl proud as punch. Cuz though the players have changed, I think the spirit of the Tigers lives on – it transcends the players, the managers and coaches and is its own force to be reckoned with.

Wish them luck.

WC