I do not support this 2-month concession to demagoguery. This is probably the grossest bit of incompetent legislation I've seen since I've been up there this year.A man who recognizes a battle worthy of a tussle.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 8, 2011
“I feel like Obama’s an Illuminati puppet. He’s basically dragged this country down into the worst it’s ever been. Like I say about the White House, ‘You’ve built this house of shame.’ Everybody looked up at the White House and America and now I think it’s like a house of shame. I miss the old days when people were proud to be American.”
Korn frontman crushing on his country. Makes me want to rock out.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
All or nothing. And this is why they call themselves Patriotic Millionaires?
You can pay more taxes any day you want. You can pay every day you want. You can pay every hour of the day. The U.S. Treasury gladly takes donations to pay down on the debt. Also, there are things like "deductions" these guys are taking that are not necessary.
So why stand there pounding their Valentino suited chest and demanding taxes be raised? If you truly believe in your ideology, you live it even when you have to live it alone.
But maybe they can still stand around and hold hands.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Andrew Breitbart sat down with liberal headliner Paul Krassner (I hear he's famous; News to me) for a back and forth conversation at, rumors are, an Applebees. The article is the transcript, I'm assuming, unedited, since it made Paul look rather melodramatic, conspiratorial, and biting, while Andrew came off exactly like Andrew always does: armed for a fight but relaxed enough to throw swings at his leisure.
Am I prejudice?
Read it for yourself and find out. They cover every topic from Krassner's - quickly becoming obsessive - interest in Clarence Thomas to the Tea Party to ACORN and even a few notes on agnosticism and Judeo-Christian beliefs.
Best, and most telling, line of the entire conversation is the very last.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Take a look at Pelley's smugness when he - sadly, ignorantly - believes he has the upper hand about that "rule of law". Someone really needs to take a still of that face, incorporate it into college journalism curriculum, and teach it as the expression not to make after age four.
Also note his "no" when Gingrich answers the question Pelley asked.
I had no idea Pelley wanted to run for President as the GOP candidate. If he's going to debate the candidates, get the man a podium and make him the bull's eye of late night comediennes. I mean, if he wants the job, give the man the whole job.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
New conservative hero: the guy who took on Crowder's evil twin. Now, after witnessing insanity in full summer bloom, all I have left is one question: What brand of jeans have that kind of stretchy give?
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Just this morning, during my normal routine of over analyzing all the angst of the world, I had one very clear thought: I'm ready for the unafraid. That's right. The fearless. I'm ready for them to emerge. I would like to know them. To shake their hand. I'm ready to be one.
And what do you know, here's one on my computer screen. Misfit Politics.
Then, I would like to work for them. And charge them money. And take that money I make from the fearless, cash it, and spend it according to my own will - which I pray - will always be God's.
I wonder if he needs a writer....
Monday, October 31, 2011
Oh the uproar! Oh the outrage! How dare he bring religion into politics. The media went crazy, like they often do. Looking forward to seeing them spin like a Tazmanian devil over this.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
It's a ridiculous argument - the call for fairness. Who's qualified to determine fairness? Who shall be its arbitrator? Its enforcer? Its judge? King? Goodbye democracy. Hello servitude.
Richard Epstein, law professor at New York University School of Law, explains the unfairness, if we can use that term, of pushing for monetary equality. Sound like a yawner? Believe it or not, it isn't. This video is eight minutes of fabulous pointers fired off like common-sense bullets that silence every whining socially conscious question from his PBS interviewer. Notice the man's looks after Epstein answers. He's frustrated, flabbergasted, and flopping around like a fish on dry land.
His beliefs have no merit or standing in reality. And so he goes for "don't you feel" questions? Epstein handles those, too.
Amazing. An exciting video from PBS.
Do you truly want a better life for the low income? Then tell Occupy Wall Street to go home and promote capitalism. Freedom to make money makes our world better even when we're not the ones making it.
Equality is never justice. It's a rant for the greedy. The true greedy: The ones who want money they didn't earn for work they never performed that required time they never spent and suffering they refused to endure.
Now that's unfair.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
No mega-superstars. No low BMI female. Just us. Our life. Here. Now.
Then, the last half hit. And I couldn't help it, I cried. I did.
Now understand, I'm a bit weepy today. These things happen. Women cry. No further explanation is necessary, though there is one. But this video. My gosh. I actually felt hope. Yes. Hope. That sentiment we were promised from Obama and cruelly denied. (Though we didn't believe him. Well, many of us didn't.)
No, I felt the hope of America. That hereditary pioneerism. That hard work ethic and perseverance and American exceptionalism that looks at the worst of times and says, "Hell, no. This will not stand." And, instead, beats away the victimology and, when up against the mountain, digs a hole through it.
Does this mean I endorse Rick Perry? No. At least not yet. But I am wholly and most passionately endorsing an America where we are free to dream, to work for that dream, and to reap the rewards from that work.
Friday, September 9, 2011
They bored me in high school. They put me to sleep in college. When stuck enduring one in a business meeting, I mentally write my grocery list. In networking schmooze-fests when trapped by a walking/talking company brochure, I feign choking on an ice cube.
Yet politicians still think speeches have value. Shrug. Good thing no one expects results from a President or he'd never break 80.
Since I may only be on this planet for 90-plus years or so and, therefore, simply don't have any extra time to spare listening to another Obama speech, I found this. It's the gist of O's brand new, revolutionary, never-before-tried-except-consistently-for-the-last-three-years-not-to-mention-during-several-other-liberal-presidencies jobs plan with enough salty sarcasm to cure pork.
Here's an excerpt that goes great with two eggs sunny side up.
In the meantime, Americans should follow Obama's lead - take vacations, play golf, travel, talk, talk some more, and avoid responsibility.
Obama, whose Democratic spending priorities have pushed the national debt beyond $14,000,000,000,000, said it was important to curb spending and keep to the deficit reduction plan agreed to earlier this summer while also investing in, you know, many important things.
He then provided a joint session of Congress with a broadly ambitious list of goals that sounded to many people very much like a lot more spending, like, say, the $787 billion economic stimulus bill of 2009 that didn't stimulate much of anything except that national debt.
With the national debt already increasing $3 million every minute of every day, Obama wants to repair and modernize 35,000 schools. Obama wants $35 billion to go toward salaries for teachers, firefighters and police.
Obama wants $140 billion largely to update roads and bridges. Obama wants another $245 billion in business and individual tax relief. Obama also wants to extend unemployment benefits.
And Obama wants it all right now. Seriously. Now that his Martha's Vineyard vacation is over, this situation is urgent.
If it's good enough for the President, it's good enough for me.
So he sends jobs overseas. He shuts down American plants. He lays off American workers. He leaves Americans desperate for work and employes thousands in China. Fine. Got it. But Bill, he sits on a council. A council, Bill. A. Council. Where he sits. In a chair.
I'm so freakin' impressed.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Is in response to this video:
And this emoticon:
Is in response to unshaven B-list actors pimping their politics.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Oh she of bouncy blond curls
And the laughing eyes
And the dimples so deep
You think you could put your whole fist in them
And you'd kind of like to
Because she'll probably hit you first
When you're not looking
She's mean like that
Nobody really knows her
They think she's sweet
Those curls are deceptive
They lend her an air of innocence
All the better to deceive you
With her country girl charm
Hick-like, one might even say
She even drives a jeep
As any cool country girl should
A deep throaty laugh
This covers over the malevolence
That occasionally bursts forth
Despite her rigid control
Gaze deeply into those lovely blue eyes
Or green. I don't recall
Because I see only
The pools of molten fire
Reflecting the tortured souls
Of those she has left in her wake,
She has her act down well
"I'm a sweet country girl"
"I love my family"
"My dad is the best man I know"
It's all a facade
In some bureau
Where she's a high ranking member
LIke Kevin Costner
In "No Way Out"
Surely she's not that evil
Just for kicks.
At some point she'll drop her cover
Or be activated
Maybe she's actually in charge
Like Dr. Evil
Or the guy who releases the McRib
I've never had one
But I've heard they're really good.
Be warned, dear reader
Be wary of her charm
The Bible says it's deceptive
I'm reluctant to warn you
With specific examples
That could reveal my identity
I have a family
And she's just mean as hell.
Monday, July 25, 2011
"Closing the skills gap doesn't just benefit future tradesmen and the companies desperate to hire them. It benefits me and anyone who shares my addiction to paved roads, reliable bridges, heating, air-conditioning, and, of course, indoor plumbing. Something for everyone to consider, perhaps, during their next bathroom break."
Creator of Dirty Jobs
The oil kept coming up.
I'd pour it in. It'd pour back out. I'd pore in more. It'd spill out more. Finally, knowing this was probably a stupid move but out of options, I stuck my hands into the gas tank to keep the flap open and dumped in the rest of the bottle.
Maybe that would fix it. Maybe it wouldn't. At the time I had no idea. Now I know better.
Friday night, at the most inconvenient time possible, my Jeep started to cut out. Power there. Power not there. Power there. Power not...you get the picture.
This, of course, happened a few minutes prior to 1 am while I'm on that particularly spooky stretch of highway that remains abandoned because monsters live there. And mosquitoes.
Perfect. Now I'll just get stuck on the side of the road and never be heard from again. Just perfect.
It was late. I was tired. And it just wasn't a particularly good time to get abducted. So, I got on my cell and called in the National Guard.
The next day, parked at pump 12 of a nearby QuikTrip, I was pouring a bottle of greasy gunk called fuel injector cleaner into my gas tank and giving my vehicle what felt uncomfortably like a rectal examination. And all I could think was, it sucks when a man's not around.
Don't get me wrong. Men are great human beings. Well...some are. Some not. Just like women. So this isn't to stereotype. Except, well, yes it is.
Men are valuable as human beings. But they're also just this incredible tool that's really handy to have around.
BECAUSE THEY FIX THINGS.
Men are like a life-sized Swiss Army knife. Except they're self-propelled.
Today, a friend of mine sent me a message on Facebook saying how thankful she was for men who are willing to do work. Hard work. Serious labor. To do the job no matter how difficult or dirty or beyond my realm of understanding.
Thus the reason I posted the brief Congressional testimony of Mike Rowe, creator and host of Dirty Jobs, who - with his usual style and wit - expounded upon the great need and value of skilled labor.
I listened and just shook my head.
Yes! Skilled labor! I need some of that. I have a light fixture that's hanging and a porch roof that's sagging and guttering that's fallen and that's just today.
We're only hours away from tomorrow.
My dad is a handy guy. He can fix pretty much anything. I love it when he comes over because in an hour's time everything from my couch cushions to my door stop perks up.
Maybe that's why I love men who can fix things. Or maybe it's because it is something I can't do. I'm pretty decent with tools, not bad with wood, and painting is like child's play. But anything requiring true skill, anything with electricity or plumbing or even a coil or tube or wiry something, well...I'm out.
This is how I ended up with my hand down my gas tank. Or how I found myself last week messing with my garage door and finding out I could have killed myself.
Or, and this is always part of it, maybe a man who can fix things is just exhibiting pure, undiluted masculinity. Maybe it's part of that ruggedness we rarely ever see. Maybe it's because, despite what popular culture says, society still craves a manly man with tools and rough hands and the tenacity to fix whatever is wrong in the world.
Even if that means one spark plug at a time.
Wait. What am I saying? No one likes Bill Maher. Silly Tara Lynn.
Watch and enjoy.
Friday, July 22, 2011
John says we're soft.
He didn't mention anyone by name. It seemed like a general statement, i.e. everyone. This he told me under the direct summer sun while shining each watermelon in the back of his truck.
He might have a point. At this moment, I'm sitting in my 76-degree home and eating apple sauce, which is the equivalent of apples post-chew. Before I even sat down to write this, I changed from a dress to shorts, so I could get cooler. Then I poured a glass of cold water, so I could be more refreshed. And turned on my ceiling fan, so I could labor under a perpetual breeze.
Too soft? Yeah, okay. You've got me there.
I've driven past John nearly every day for weeks. Through the excessive heat warnings, the temperature map plastered on Drudge, the dire predictions of death's imminence if you step outside, there's John. Sitting off SH 97. Waiting to grab customers leaving Sand Springs and heading toward Sapulpa. And hoping they might fancy a fresh watermelon.
In the, aghast, triple digit temperatures.
When I asked him how he handled the heat, he simply said, in this very country boy voice, "I'm use to it. I didn't have an air-conditioner until 2009."
And there you have it. John's tough.
He is, by the way. Quite so. I don't know if he's a man of integrity or honor, of intelligence or information, he could be all of those things. Or none of them. I only spoke to him for a quarter of an hour, and that included getting interrupted by customers and losing my pen twice.
He is, however, a worker. When I asked him why he does it, he simply said, "You've got to do something."
That you do.
John use to lay cement. He still does to fill in the payroll gaps. It's work few people want because, and we come back to this, they're soft. And he isn't. Not a point he makes for vainglory sake. Just a reason why he can always find work.
He sells watermelon in the summer, hay in the winter and spring and fall, and works a few cows in between time. That all came after a short duration of hauling. It didn't, however, pay the bills and so he had to move on.
No nest egg. No unemployment benefits. He just moved on to whatever work was before him.
"Are you making money selling these?" I asked this after one of John's customers asked me if I like watermelons and I accidentally answered honestly. No, not really. I should have used more creativity to get out of that one.
Yes. He's making money. He's sold 1,025 watermelons in five weeks. Or, another way to look at it, he and his business partner have sold 38,700 pounds of watery fruit. To put that in other terms, John has sold the weight equivalent of 500 books, four SUVs, and two killer whales.
That's a lot of fruit.
He drives 350 miles one way to Texas to pick them up, and then all the way back to sit in the brutal heat. Within weeks, or even one, John says there won't be any more watermelon. So he's got only days to turn his last load around.
"If you'd wear a green-stripped t-shirt, we could sell these in an hour," he told me.
Aww, shucks. Thanks. But today I wore red.
John is one of those rare breads in American culture. He works without complaint and does whatever needs to be done. And doesn't believe life is unfair, he's been short-changed, and someone owes him recompense.
Though, if you wanted to buy him a cold beer, he'd drink it.
"I have to do something."
He didn't take my compliments easily. I admire that kind of tenacity, that kind of work ethic, that kind of pioneer spirit. When I told him I saw that in him, he just did more hemming and hawing and a little grin here or there.
"So, what do you do with your down time out here?"
"I just sit," he said, back to polishing those money makers. "I figure out when I'm going to go bankrupt and how long before I'm living out here in my truck." Then he laughs. "Nah, I'm just kidding. I'm going to be just fine."
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Is this helpful or insulting? You tell me.
There's helping customers understand your product. And then there's treating your customers like four-year-olds, no offense to four-year-olds. I think they even know a green banana is yucky.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
It's icky. It's horrific. And, surprising, it doesn't seem to phase the Medicare personnel in Ohio.
You drive a million dollar car? We'll just not mention that on the paperwork.
You're pushing child prostitution? We'll call it babysitting.
You hide your drug stash in the floorboards of your home? No worries. We won't be doing any inspections.
Watch the first ten minutes. The rest is O'Keefe adding the uncut video to the end so he can't be accused of tricky editing.
But then, he'll still get accused, now won't he.
Love him or hate him, he's doing the job the media refuse to do. Investigative journalists everywhere should be mortified that a kid, his friends, an inventive story, and a video camera can outdo their best efforts.
Good golly, spunk makes for good video.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
It’s on Aug. 4. The president is turning 50. He’s decided to have a quiet celebration with family and a few close friends.
Instead, the president is planning an extravagant fundraising bash Aug. 3 at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, including a birthday concert teeming with celebrities and – for couples contributing $35,800 – a private dinner with the president. All this just one day after the government is scheduled to run out of cash!
How dire does Obama say it is?
He can't guarantee checks on August 3. But for $10,000, he can guarantee a picture of himself and a piece of cake. Maybe even some of those pasty, pastel peppermints.
Reality about Social Security here.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The United States is viewed less favorably in much of the Arab world today than it was during the final year of the Bush administration, and President Obama is less popular in the region than Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to a poll released today by the Arab American Institute, a nonpartisan research and advocacy group.
Have they not looked at the color of his skin lately? Have they not listened to him read a teleprompter?
Hello. What more do they want? We elected the first black President. He gives good speeches. If that doesn't bring peace to the Arab world, I give up.
The German government wants to encourage the construction of new coal and gas power plants with millions of euros from a fund for promoting clean energy and combating climate change.
And in other parts of the same world...
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Also, and I think this one is important since she's a comedienne, it wasn't funny.
For bitterness, I have to admit Whoopi has some real talent. Way to go girl! Get your gripe on!
Here's Dana's money quote
Also, as the product of a single parent household, I think Whoopi needs to stop universally speaking for all children of single parents. You know what? It sucked. Many of us are lucky to have turned out well in spite of it — and children from single parent households sure as hell don’t need enablers like Goldberg ranting and raving about how it’s okay when it isn’t.Read the full story here.
And, in case you were wondering, no. I don't watch The View. I do catch video clips from time to time, each one giving me a rash. I think the show is funded by a group of men angry with their wives who thought the perfect revenge would be highlighting the worst of female stereotypes Monday through Friday on daytime TV.
Do you really think women would be behind a one-hour show of preachy, biting, motormouth nags?
I also think these men are behind the faked Apollo Moon landing. And they're hiding Elvis.
"We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money."
Energy Secretary Steven Chu,
defended the incandescent light bulb ban
Right after slapping your wrist for spending your money without government approval, Chu is sending everyone to bed without dessert.
Friday, July 8, 2011
"Men think everyone notices them until someone tells him otherwise. Women, on the other hand, think no one notices them. "
My male friend,
who explained this phenomenon last night over dinner
PS Any thoughts? I assume he's accurate from the male perspective. Not being a male, I can only surmise. As for females, he's got it about right. Most women believed it takes partial nudity to get noticed. And the culture confirms it. But the culture is rarely right.
I say keep on the clothes, lift your chin, walk through life and prove the lie wrong.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
What a success! They did it. A flesh and blood record player with lifelike mouth movement and stereo sound. It looked exactly like Ed Miliband, leader of Britain’s Labour party. To provide a demonstration, the record player was interviewed by BBC's Damon Green.
Too bad it started skipping.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
I took it one step too far. I know that. He's just so cool he inspires hyperbole.
This documentary wasn't Sinise's idea. According to Christian Toto's Big Hollywood article today, Sinise decided to do it for one reason only: the troops.
Actor Gary Sinise didn’t jump at the chance to be the subject of a documentary feature.The movie launches via live streaming this weekend, on July 4th, with $1 of the $3.99 viewing fee going toward The Gary Sinise Foundation.
The “Forrest Gump” star works relentlessly on behalf of the troops via his rock outfit the Lt. Dan Band, but he’s much less willing to toot his own horn.
Director Jonathan Flora convinced the stubborn star that a documentary could help spread the word to people and places Sinise would otherwise never get the chance to visit.
The most active, relevant, and sincere actor formed foundation out there? Maybe. Hyperbole again? Watch the movie to learn what Sinise does for the troops and decide for yourself.
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Nine minutes. I never watch a video that long. I started this thinking I'd get a taste. Two minutes in I couldn't stop watching. Four minutes in I was addicted. Seven minutes in I was just wildly captive. Nine minutes done I wanted to watch it all over again and take notes.
And, just fyi, I don't want anyone to stop breathing or eating. Some people I wish would stop driving but that's a different topic.
What I hope is that we take a second look at a theory that, with each passing day, continues to look more and more porous. And is, in fact, total bunk.
God never said He'd speak to me through a beer ad. But then, He never said he wouldn't either. God doesn't limit Himself because - and this is self-explanatory - He's God.
So there it was. An 18-wheeler with two guys in the cab being dogged by a stretched trailer reminding everyone that beer exists. Brought to you by your buzzed friends at "Miller Lite". They were stopped at a busy intersection on a cross street with their message and their grins in full view.
Men in the beer business must be the happiest men on the planet.
It said, "Tastes Great. Less Filling." Not exactly a "thou shalt not" moment and the driver certainly didn't bring to mind Charleton Heston. But it struck me, even though beer tastes like liquid shredded wheat and I'd prefer a divine message in an ad about Syrah.
The night before I'd been reading John MacArthur's book, Hard to Believe. Just started it. And guess what the first chapter is entitled. You got it: Tastes Great. Less Filling.
It's basically - and this is where I surmise the pants off of it - about liking Jesus only when He's likable, i.e. when He's all love and blessings and promises and fuzzy slippers and such. But the Jesus who asks us to take up our cross, to love Him more than our parents or children, to follow Him even into death...well...He's not as much fun.
That's what I'd been thinking about during my drive to a client yesterday morning. In fact, that's exactly what I was thinking about when the grinning guys stopped at the intersection in front of me.
"Tastes Great. Less filling"? What the smack? God, you trying to tell me something?
I wrestled and warred and tangled with this thought all day. Was that just a truck carrying beer to the next fraternity party or was that aimed directly at me? Am I God's fair-weather friend? Do I only call God "good" when I get "good" things? Could that have simply been a coincidence? Do beer ads usually affect me?
No, not usually.
I want things. Lots of things. Things for myself. Things for others. Things that aren't shallow. Things that are. Things that would greatly enhance my life and happiness. Things that would greatly enhance my greed. Things that I would share. Things I would not.
And here is what I realized. I could get them all. Every last one. I could write a notebook full of my wants and requests and make God a deal: Do these things for me and I'll call you "good" and "trustworthy" and "loving". But tomorrow, sadly, I could fill another notebook. And the deal would still not be fulfilled because I can never be fulfilled.
I'll always want. I'll always need. These aren't little things. They deal with health and family and life and necessities. They mean life for me, life for others. These aren't small requests or easy to brush off and let go. They mean EVERYTHING to me. Absolutely everything.
What they can't mean is how I define God. They simply can't. Jesus is bigger than that. He's bigger than me and my wants and my wishes and my needs and even my life and the lives of others. He's more than that. He can't be placed inside a lamp waiting for me to rub it.
I don't always feel this way. Sometimes my requests are so dire, they are so precious, I wonder how I would react if Jesus told me "no". Sadly, I truly wonder. And though it makes me disappointed in myself, it doesn't in the least take me by surprise.
I'm nothing, you see. Not anything of anything. I'm not glorious in my own right, or giving or great or even good. I'm evil and corrupt and, trust me, you wouldn't like me. Not as me. Not when that's all I am.
If I showed up at your door, you'd use a stun gun. That's me, curly-hair cruelty and all. I'm not the least likable or honorable or strong. I'm flawed, and not even in the charming "oh, she's adorably flawed" flawed.
I'm quite unimpressive.
A friend asked me once, "Why do I make such stupid decisions? You don't make those kinds of decisions. I want to be more like you."
Uh, no you don't. You don't want to be anything like me. Not the real me. I'd run from her, too, if I could. But she follows me everywhere so instead of running from her, I'm learning to overcome her. You should see our arm wrestling matches. No matter who wins, I'm always left with a sore shoulder.
God IS good. Not because He did anything good for me today. Not because He's got something good up His sleeve for me tomorrow. He's good because that's who He is. That's all He is. That's all He does.
If I see it differently, then I'm wrong. My view is skewed or finite or hasty. And what I really need is to humbly examine what I define as "good" and then invite God to a beer summit.
Then I'd ask him to change the beer into wine.
(One of my favorite musicals. Met the cast. Seen it multiple times. Just glittery with goodness. Best part comes at the last three minutes. I give you, 'The Rock & The Rabbi')
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Done. I think.
What say you?
The new look: Love it? Hate it? Have better things to do than form an opinion one way or another? Feel pressured to now create an opinion you previously didn't have? Wish I'd stop reading your mail? Now freaked out thinking I'm literally outside at your mailbox reading your mail?
You should go check. I might be out there.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Nothing. I had nothing. The cursor kept blinking, as cursors always do, and still I had nothing to say. Not a word.
For a writer, that's a problem. For a writer, that's THE problem. Words feed you. Words give you purpose and destiny and a reason to take the next breath and open your eyes to the next sunrise and put down that glass before you open the next bottle. Words put meat on your bones and burn fat off them.
Words sustain and enliven you.
Until there are none.
That's the way it went for weeks. No words. I'd sit down to write and find myself wishing I'd just shut up. All the many words out there, spoken and written and gestured indiscreetly with a finger or two. The world was simply too congested with words for me to add another.
So I didn't. I shut up.
And glorious silence wrapped around my shoulders and snuggled in.
When you're not talking or typing or blogging or fidgeting with words like an origami-molded foul, time slows to the rhythm of your brain.
In short, you think.
You think a lot. I do this anyway, to no real substantive benefit. Nonetheless, I do. But when it's accompanied by silence, when words are simply no longer alive, the thinking turns a corner and you find an undiscovered path of spotted park benches and shade trees and the occasional poison ivy vine.
You think until the thought flatlines. And what I discovered is my great and boundless desire to simply shut up.
Not always. Obviously not today. But frequently. Often. And I found a great desire for others to follow suit.
In our un-Rockwellian neighborhoods of social media and mass communication, we literally construct our walls and ceilings with words. Then we wallpaper those walls with words. We clothe ourselves with words. We lace our shoes with them. When we sit down to dinner, we take out our steak knife and cut them open until bloody juices flow out.
We inhale and exhale words. We make them oxygen and carbon dioxide. Then we roll them into a cigarette and smoke a pack of them. We use them and use them and use them until no one is listening. Not even ourselves.
So I wonder, just a little wondering not a big one, if we don't all harbor a secret desire to shut up. Every now and then. To not find our world within the conversations of Facebook updates and Twitter feeds, to turn off the talking heads and the Oprah reruns, to simply sit on that park bench next to that poison ivy vine and feel the silence caress our face.
To find the time to think and mull and ponder, like we haven't done in ages. To find ourselves using fewer words with greater gusto.
Instead of twelve, we use six.
Instead of six, we use three.
Instead of three.
And that one, that singular rocket-propelled word, is enough to charm people back into listening.
I'm going to stop talking now.
I want my MTV!
Actually, what I really want is some new towels. And lower property taxes. One would make the other possible.
Until then, I'll sadly do without towels manufactured after 1980 and thankfully do without MTV that wasn't good even in 1980. For everything else I'm able to do despite my high property taxes, like powering my house and filling my refrigerator, I'm grateful.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Here's another of my brother's illustration creations. Yes, that's him. Sort of. At least I recognize his right eye. The rest is bursting from his imagination - a dewy place with cushy corners and clown music.
With every road blocked, every turn straightened, every orange cone mocking my every attempt, I quit my attempts at driving to my destination and hiked instead. In sandals. Up hill. At noon. In a construction zone.
There I met with a rude, obstructing port-a-potty - a gaudy sunburst color and an equally gaudy smell - that chose that moment to swing it's door open in a lascivious invite.
I didn't enter. Neither did I make eye contact. I simply turned away and hiked my way uphill with a noticeably increased speed.
Friday, June 24, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
He liked to watch them burn. The crinkle and recoil and inflamed edge of paper when fire grasped it around the mouth.
He seared the ideas.
Scorched the information.
He lit the books and smiled into the ravenous flames with their fingers reflecting in his black pupils. Then Fire Chief Beatty returned to his station in Ray Bradbury’s classic, Fahrenheit 451, for a robust laugh and a round of cards with the other fire-lickin' boys.
I'm guessing here but he probably won every hand. Somehow.
In the classic, though starkly believable, world of Bradbury's control-heavy culture, information wasn’t power. Except, of course, to those who silenced it.
“You can’t build a house without nails and wood. If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, top-heavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those than that people worry over it.”
That's Beatty at his finest.
Chief Beatty believed in the bliss of it. The utter joy of knowledge nothingness. Too much information made people think. And thinking brought about empowered individuals who warred and struggled and took life on the chin.
Those kind of people decide for themselves. They contemplate. Deduce. Mull over and meditate on. Dare I say it, they might even study both sides of an issue. And then form an opinion, discover a truth, find a solution, create a cure, fill a gap, and open a previously closed door. They might create running water and racing wheels, garage doors and paper plates, shoe inserts and air-conditioning, railroads and raisin cereal and rain guards for your Mazda.
They might turn out to be revolutionaries. Without bloodshed. And healers. Without egos.
They might, eek!, turn out to be capitalists.
Friday, June 10, 2011
The government doesn't have a revenue problem.
Working Americans do.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
The a/eye - for no explainable reason - reminds me of the Mel Brook's Get Smart, starring Don Adams. It was the 60s. Everyone had bigger eyebrows then.
And the Monkey, that just seems fitting since I saw it this morning while eating a banana for breakfast and thinking about the opening to Buck Rogers.
At age three, Brendon could draw anything. Not that I was there to notice. When I arrived on scene a year later, he had already wowed our parents with his artistic talent and all I could do was gurgle saliva bubbles.
But that's what older siblings do. They steal your thunder so you spend a lifetime trying to catch up.
Thankfully, I've always loved a good chase. And, besides, his artistic talent was just as much fun for me. Ask me one day to tell you about the backyard maze he created with the lawnmower in the field behind our house.
This is a shameless and brazen plug for his illustration work. If you need a logo designer, illustrator, or all around creative genius, he's a one-stop-shop of madcap brilliance.
He can also mow you a labyrinth in your overgrown yard.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
He "strode defiantly" past the protesters.
Did Dominique Strauss-Kahn walk? No, he strode. Did he curve his neck downward with contriteness until his forehead greeted the pavement ahead? Not unless he's double jointed. Or remorseful. I doubt both.
No, he strode defiantly.
What Strauss-Kahn did was walk with defiance and whatever physical attributes that entails - a level head, a sweatless brow, eyes that connect and linger with others. That's what we can guess by the reporter's description of his shame stride into court this week. It's not a poor choice of words. Most likely, not even inaccurate.
That's how I would describe most news writing - safe. Or dull. (Po'tae'ta, Po'tata)
In 1996, when I entered the reporting business, the time spent avoiding the words you COULDN'T use took more time than using the words you COULD. Anything frivolous or lacy, anything with a curve or a color, a word that bent a little on the ends and flared in the middle, a description not summed up in two words, was simply not done.
I know this because I tried it. And was clearly instructed never to do it again.
When you wrote news, you wrote according to a format. Even according to a rhythm. We were punching out the equivalent of the monotone broadcast anchor, the timber of their voice raising and lowering on cue.
We couldn't speak with boredom. So we wrote it.
That was my second experience of having my writing and creativity boxed in. English class was my first.
Dry reporting is probably assumed to be classic. Old school. Born of generations of newspaper men. This is the way men did it back in the day. (Hitch up belt. Spit something out side of mouth.)
That's a bit of a misnomer. In my pre-Internet days as a reporter, I toiled and fidgeted in the badly lit back room of my local library, while going through reams of microfiche from 1901 and on. Take it from me, reporting in the beginning came in technicolor narration.
No wonder newspapers use to make a profit.
Reading the news then was an experience of the senses, even the ones you want to forget. You heard the heated words, dabbed at the perspiration, smelled the gun powder, and eyed the library trash can after discovering a decomposing corpse.
Old school journalism was storytelling at it's most intricate and alive. You breathed the surroundings in, even if - had you really been there - you would have been holding your nose.
Too often our stories don't reek or rile, don't whirl and spin, don't cling like fog to our pores or metal to our mouths. They don't engage our senses. We can peruse them so quickly they barely engage our minds.
Now, international politicians accused of sexual assault are reported to have "strode defiantly",
- not with an obstinate push to their feet as if warring against a crushing gale of negative opinion
- not with the stoic expression of a bloodthirsty matador snapping his cape in provocation
- not with the silent roar of a salivating carnal creature refusing capture
- not void of perspiration over the brow, on the lip, or under the arm
- not as determined as death.
Whatever description fits. Whatever takes the reader along. Whatever has us rushing to find library trash cans. Whatever.
Just not safe.
I'm not saying boxes are always bad. They're great to store old trophies and move things. In writing, a short duration can even teach a writer how to follow rules, how to focus, how to streamline, how to summarize, and how to beat against a table with your left hand while typing with your right.
All boxes, however, need exit doors with ergonomic knobs. If you are trapped inside one, break down the door. Throw in a description that draws the reader in, teases them in the ribs, tickles their ears, and throws them off their scanning stride. Don't be afraid to create a scene that tilts their head or bites their tongue.
Reading was never meant to be safe.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
If I didn't know better, it looks as if - outside of that one brief statement concerning the military's brave action during the actual raid - Obama lead the investigation, gathered the intelligence, and tapped Osama twice in the head all by himself while sitting inside an air-conditioned, heavily-guarded fortress in DC.
Why does the man not wear a cape?
Even I thought this was adorable. And I flee from public displays of emotion as if being hunted by vampires with poor flossing habits.
Cameron Diaz thinks marriage is so...like...lame. Commitment? Love? Paleeze. People should just hang out and do stuff and...you know...whatever.
She's had so many successful relationships herself (except when the word relationship is used in a plural sense, it doesn't lend to the credence of any success) that she wants to share some wise, cerebral advice.
(Italics are mine)
“I love men more than anything. But not enough to marry one. I want all men to be happy and have rad women in their lives,” Diaz says. Right on, right on. Rad. Got it. “But guys need women who challenge them and don’t let them get away with their s-." Or women should just not date men with s- behavior. "Women, conversely, need to not be crazy b-– I'm sure she's not referring to herself who blow up when their guys tell them something that scares them.”What could possible scare them? Diaz has already placed the bar so low on male behavior, i.e. no actual commitment needed, s- behavior accepted, what else could they possibly do? Make a lifetime commitment to anyone but her?
Ah...maybe that's the problem.
Monday, May 2, 2011
It isn't about one political candidate or one election. It's about fighting evil and bringing justice. It's so much bigger than a politician.
It's about this act.
It's about these words.
American men and women have been fighting since the beginning, for ten long years, to bring victory in this one battle. Last night our military celebrated. Today they went back to work, back to war, back to being the only impediment between us and those who seek our destruction.
That's what this is about.
Friday, April 29, 2011
So much talent. So much fluffy hair.
Monday, April 25, 2011
When these students approached the top 10 percent of their university and asked them to share their "excessive GPA" like the federal government expects individuals earning over $200,000 to share their "excessive wealth", the students supported the "tax the wealthy" mentality while adamantly refusing to share their GPA.
What reason did they give for the double-standard? Uh...it's different.
How is it different? Because they were being asked to give, not receive. And they are right. From that angle, it really does look different.
Also, I need a second opinion. Does Rachel Maddow usually resemble a 12-year-old boy?
So here you go. MSNBC's new Lean Forward ads.
Food is also a human necessity. What this country really needs is GroceryCare, a government-run grocery store where companies must purchase their employees milk and eggs. And Fritos. They're made from corn. And corn is a vegetable.
The Republicans would call Obama an "American" if he didn't view it as an insult.
A company IS all about the people. They call those people "customers". And when that company spends the money they earn, that company becomes another company's customer.
Uh, Rachel. Obama's the one who keeps lauding China. Who said America doesn't have greatness in it's future? Again. Obama. He's the one who tells us 10+ percent unemployment is the new norm, while brandishing pom poms about everyone living with less and sacrificing.
So on that instance we can agree. You really are wrong. And you really do look like a 12-year-old boy.
Thank you for watching. These Leaning Forward ads have been brought to you by your antagonists in the mainstream media and by director Spike Lee.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Then Job answered the LORD:
“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
I spoke once, but I have no answer—
twice, but I will say no more.”
Friday, April 22, 2011
I remember thinking this as a toddler. No one told me that. My parents aren't even dancers. But this I simply knew in my heart. When there's music, it's time to celebrate.
My parents tell a story of a time when we were in a restaurant. I was about 18-months old. Who knew I had such notions in my head until someone put a quarter in the jukebox. That's when I stood in the seat and did what I thought everyone was suppose to be doing - a hip-swaying, arms pumping jig.
"You even did it to the beat," Mom says.
A woman came up to my parents, after seeing my impromptu talent show, and asked them, "How did you teach her to do that?" My mom responded, "We didn't."
And so the entertainment ensued. When we'd have company over, my parents would tell everyone to "watch this" before flipping on the radio. That's when I'd put down my toys, stand up, do my thing, and return to my dolls when the music ended.
Yeah. Hilarious. I guess. At least the adults thought so.
Life has a way of sucking the dance right out of you, it seems. When music is playing, I don't always feel a need to get my groove on anymore. Not that I don't. Just not always.
Anyone who grins 24/7 is doing it as a facial-muscle workout. Not from sheer bliss. Besides, smiling that much kind of hurts. And sometimes smiling just isn't going to happen. Not a real one, anyway.
That's life, I suppose. One part beautiful. Another part devastating. Instead of laughing one minute and crying the next, we tend to find an indifferent middle ground and live there.
Whether we always "feel" it or not, however, there really is always something to dance about. When music is playing. Every time. No matter where you are. No matter what you are doing.
That something is a Savior who gave us His life. Defeated death. And reclaimed His life again. All for us, all so that we can conquer death, as well.
A church in Houston, Texas thought this news was worth a jig.
The church was inspired by last year's Resurrection Sunday dance in Budapest, Hungry. Another dance is scheduled to happen worldwide this Sunday. To learn more, you can visit uptofaith.com.
Here's their debut.
Now if you'll excuse me, the music is playing and a Jewish man has claimed this next dance.
When did having differing political views mean the innocent and defenseless can be targeted? God help our loss of humanity.
Crowder takes these comediennes to task for their rude, bully, and evil ideas of humor. I use the word "comedienne" as a joke.
UPDATE: Greg Gutfield at Fox adds his worthy two-cents.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
He reminded me of a Cheeto. Not by leaving layers of FDC Yellow No. 6 on your fingers. It was his fur. His golden fleece. And his charisma. Cheetos have incredible charisma.
Mostly, however, it was his resemblance to the Cheetos mascot. If Chester could have found a pair of shades that flattered his face, he would have worn them.
That's why I gave him that name. A name no one else liked. But Chester liked it so it stuck.
What Chester did well was be a cat. An excessively cool cat. He lived in the country with my parents and owned every rodent in a two-mile radius. If you wanted to survive as a rat in his neighborhood, first you made good with Chester.
He came from a humble beginning. Very humble. In actuality, he came from a pothole. That's where my brother found him during his formative kitten years. He had fallen into a pothole in a parking lot and clawed his way out. Or would have if he'd been taller than the pothole.
Because of his spunk and tenacity, and because my brother loves all creatures great and small, Chester was rescued and taken to animal heaven, which equates to living with my mother and her bountiful love, hot milk, soft quilts, and table scraps.
Mom bottle fed Chester four times a day until he finally put up his paw and said, "You're too gracious. I love ya babe. You're adorable. Now how about that bowl you promised."
Once he entered the solid food stage, Chester had hit the big time. He went from soft chewables eaten in the garage to live rodents captured in the barn. He had plans. Big plans. Everyone feared and adored him. Eventually, he hoped to open a gaming casino for infestation. He told me once, "Kid, do you have any idea how lonely these crickets get out here every night? Not to mention the beetles, bees, and Box Elder Bugs. I'm tellin' ya. Untapped money train. Untapped."
Although he didn't live to see his 24th-birthday in cat years, Chester called everyone "Kid". You got use to it.
In the summers, he was a man about the acreage. If anyone was in the garden planting vegetables, he'd help out with a little light digging. If you were relaxing in the shade, he'd jump in your lap because he knew, deep down, even though you hadn't asked, you wanted him there.
He could read people like that.
And, when things became humdrum, he'd stand up, smack his paws together to rid them of dust, and put on a one-cat show.
"Okay, okay. Stop beggin'," he'd say. "I'll chase a bug. Okay? Geez. The things I do to entertain you people."
Chester never left you wanting for affection, attention, or money. His loans had very competitive interest rates.
"You keep the cash, Kid. But next time I have an itch behind my ear, you're there. You got me?" All you could do was nod in acceptance. "Good. Real good. Now, see that fur I rubbed on your pant leg? That's a bonus. That's for you." Then he'd wink and saunter off on one clandestine mission or another.
No one knew what Chester was always doing, though rumors were often wild. One feline said he was in the woods training a stray cat cabal. Another refused to go on record but hinted at "an organized litter".
The cows, however, said he was a true statesmen and had been working feverishly on funding for a border fence. If denied, he'd promised to declare war on the coyotes. But then, other than complaining about wanting more alfalfa grass, the cows were always mooing about the fence.
Mostly, however, Chester loved Mom. Her's was the leg he'd rub against most. Or, if she was out in the garden, he'd surprise her by jumping on her shoulder and patting the top of her head.
"She likes it," he'd say, when one of us would ask why. "Who doesn't like to be petted?"
It's hard to define a guy like that. Few leave such an indelible mark. Especially with fur. But Chester achieved it. He loved to be around the action, to listen in, to add his two cents, and then to head into the horizon for another day of claiming his territory.
He loved to love and be loved. And his downy fur and bunny soft belly meant no one could deny him a scratch and a rub. You could try. But then he'd cock his eyebrow and with a jaunty, "Really? Resistance? I think not," you'd give in. And the rest of the evening would be spent dabbing masking tape all over your clothes to remove the hair.
I'm not much of a cat person, really. I'm a dog person. A German Shepherd dog person, to be exact. But I've never met a cat, or rarely an animal, with as much fearless sass and personality as Chester. His untimely death yesterday has been a great tragedy for us.
So this is for you, buddy. As silly as it may be, it'll be awhile before your absence isn't heart-wrenching. The farm isn't the same without you. Even the insects seem sad not to be chased and eaten.
You were a truly benevolent creature, a spirit that warmed everyone around him, an animal with a huge heart that was so often a balm to my own. You didn't live long. But you lived big.
Here's looking at you Kid.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
“There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires."
commenting on Rep. Paul Ryan's Plan for Prosperity during his speech today
How can you spend money on tax cuts when the money the taxes are taking doesn't belong to you? Anyone else wonder if Obama spends a lot of time hanging upside down?
Here is Ryan's succinct and blunt response.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
No thank you.
I don't want the man as President. I don't want the man in any position where his authority can affect my life, the lives of the people I care about, the lives of people I don't care about, the lives of people I dislike, the lives of people I haven't met yet so I don't know if I like them or not.
No thank you.
I don't want the man as President. I would't even want the man as a department store manager where I only worked part-time.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Now I don't let anyone intimidate me.
See how that works?
Monday, March 21, 2011
Pro-military. Pro-Christian. Post-racial. And by that, I mean race isn't an issue and isn't highlighted or discussed. People are accepted according to their character, not their color.
This movie, from what I hear, is about true heroism and the bond between soldiers, who sacrifice themselves for each other and for the greater good. It's a love poem to the individual.
And now, I must Go. See. This. Movie.
Bill Whittle at Declaration Entertainment does an out-of-this-world (this is me trying to stay thematic but it isn't really working, is it) review of the movie and why it's a must see. Despite my poor hype, check out Bill's galactical (that is too a word) video.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
It's an article neither my father, nor anyone else, has ever seen because I've never published it. I wrote it a few years ago as a piece for a compilation book about fathers. Though it didn't get selected, it took a few years before I found out and could publish it on my own.
So I've been waiting for his birthday to publish it here.
All the following details are true. It was December 1979. A few weeks before Christmas. A month before my third birthday. Yes I remember it all. God saved us that night. And my father, in that moment, became my eternal hero. Two-years-old or not, you simply don't forget things like that.
Our two-story country home - the one my father built with his own hands - burned to nothing but ash. We had the clothes on our back and a jar full of twisted, molten pennies when the sun rose again. And we had our lives.
That was enough to start over again.
Here's the story of his heroism.
He had to be freezing.
I watched him through the windshield of our 1976 green Chrysler, a vehicle that neither had character nor charm. Sitting inside, safe from the wind and debris and ash, I sat on the icy vinyl seats repeating over and over, “I’m cold. I’m cold. Mommy, I’m cold.”
Outside, Dad wore only his boxer shorts. Barefoot and bone-tired, he was working feverishly to put out the flames devouring our home. As the glass exploded and the fire waltzed through the second floor window, we knew it was over.
The house was gone. But we had escaped.
As I shivered in the vehicle with my mother, brother and aunt, watching Dad bathed in darkness and fierce firelight, I knew he - somehow, someway - would make everything better.
Even then, just shy of my third birthday, I recognized the fighter in him, the man who never gave up and never let me down.
The fire had breathed and huffed and snorted until swallowing the house whole. The only thing left when the sun crescendoed to end the night had been a pile of ash, a smattering of deformed coins, and our lives. One man had saved us all.
I had gone to sleep that night without fear. It was simply another Saturday night, an evening in the country, one more day gone with Christmas not far behind.
Bedtimes had been followed. Dishes had been cleaned. Nothing had been abnormal.
Mom and Dad had tucked me into bed with kisses, like always. And sleep had come.
In the middle of the night, perhaps sensing danger, perhaps unconsciously aware of smoke, perhaps for a reason I’ll never know, Dad awoke.
He had always been strong – working with his hands and back and heart. It seemed no matter the challenge, no matter the obstacle, Dad conquered it with humility. This night, still a young man with a young family, the challenge would be merciless if he failed.
Dad had no second to think, no moment to waste. Life and death were under the same roof. One would win. One would not.
Through the chalky air in the upstairs hall, Dad stealthy guided Mom to my bedroom, not knowing the girth of the fire. It was underneath his feet, dancing against the walls below, hissing at each step of the stairs.
The first floor was gone, a playground only Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego could walk out of, and Dad knew it. The stairs were a deathtrap.
I huddled in my pajamas in the hall, confused and dazed, blinded and groggy, not knowing my conscious mind could fade any moment and be lost to the smoke. My hope was him.
Dad had built the house with his hands – calloused from hammering in every nail, strong from securing every board. Those hands would be the last thing he would consider as he placed them on glass window panes and shoved with every sinew in his body.
The window above the front porch popped out, gushing in oxygen like a tidal wave in a sinking ship. Collectively, I gasped with my family, unaware how long I’d stopped breathing.
One by one he herded us onto the roof, desperate to get me, my brother, mother and aunt, out of the house, yet not knowing how long the structure would stand.
He jumped down first, springing immediately to his feet and opening his arms to catch us one at a time. Though I was small, I cannot erase that site. Standing before the Oak tree, half clothed by darkness and concentration, Dad held out his arms.
Cold, scared, so young, yet so fiercely immovable, there he stood waiting for me to jump to him and away from danger.
I think we established our lifelong relationship in those seconds, if it even took that long. There he has been, when I’ve been faced with pain, with disappointment, with loss, with fear, when my entire world has been consumed by fire. He has been the protector. Those arms I’ve jumped into, ran into, crawled into and, each time, they have wrapped me in and pushed the world out.
I made it out alive. We all did.
There aren’t even physical scars as reminders, an uncontested miracle. Instead, I have a photograph in time burned into my brain by the flames of that night, a look from my father that said, “Tara Lynn, jump now. Daddy will catch you.”
After a test like that, everything afterward in our relationship has transitioned just a little bit easier. When it came time to learn to swim, I paddled toward him into the deep. When I had a splinter, I faithfully spread my palm before him and the awaiting needle. When it was time to drive, I trusted his “the coast is clear.” When it came time to date, I respected his warning, “I don’t like him.”
Even through the years of teenage rebellion when my make-up was too much, my clothes weren’t enough, and my smart mouth was just like him, I listened to his advice because Daddy was protecting me.
It’s been over 30 years since the fire that took everything from my family but each other. Since then, I’ve watched my father prove repetitively how you greet every challenge with a handshake and then go back to your corner and come out fighting fair.
That’s what he’s done. Through the tragic loss of family, the stress of physical labor, the emergency brain surgery, the war of life, he fights the good fight.
Yet still, no matter the calls from the battlefield, no matter the spoils, he stands as the one whom I can always trust – his heart, his love, his guidance. He not only taught me to trust him, he taught me to trust the woman he raised.
To me, my dad looks no different than he did that night. He’s the same man, same Irish blue eyes, same ornery laugh, same calloused hands, same welcoming arms that open when I need to jump.
Happy Birthday Daddy!