Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Person of the Year

Time Magazine chose Pres. Barack Obama, which is fitting for a news magazine. Toward the end of the magazine, they had a cute little item about how you could decide for yourself who should be Person of the Year. And guess what: None of those persons could come close to my own. And that is: (drum roll) my husband. Thank you for being such a wonderful person! xoxoxoxo

Friday, December 28, 2012

King Tut

UPDATE: Looks like NBC has done its usual thing of removing the clip from You might try it here: If you're lucky, it will be up at least for a few minutes. 

ORIGINAL: If the boy king came back, after giving his life for tourism, is this how he would appear?

I'm still looking for Steve Martin's original SNL appearance singing this song, and I'll post it when I can.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Celebrating Christ's birth today and in recent and coming days, my heart is filled with love and joy, even though I know this isn't the "real" anniversary of his birth. Having family around, especially sweet little children (and sweet little and big grand-dogs) has made me so happy. I can't say it better than the great prophets and apostles.

Isaiah 9:6: And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Luke 2:11: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:14: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: This Christmas season and always, I pray that we will see the marvelous gift of the birth of the Son of God through the blessed eyes of a child. I pray that in addition to giving good gifts, we will strive to become good and grateful receivers. As we do so, the spirit of this season will enlarge our hearts and expand our joy beyond measure.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Chocolate Waffles for Breakfast

"If you were going to eat chocolate waffles only once in your whole life, it should be on your second birthday," said the mother of a certain little boy the day before his second birthday. 

So we're going to try them today, for the little guy who's turning two. I'll post photos later.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Bargain?

An elephant for a nickel is only a good deal if you have a nickel and you need an elephant.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Our Hearts Are Broken

Here's Pres. Obama's speech from the inter-faith vigil today.

I also loved hearing the scriptures quoted, from the Bible and the Koran, reminding us that those children are back with our Heavenly Father, who sees beyond what we can see; and that we can find comfort and peace in Him.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Landfill Harmonic

"...teaching that the things in life don't always happen immediately, that things don't just happen overnight."

"...people shouldn't strive for material things, they should strive for knowledge...We believe we are conveying a dream..."

For more information, check out Creative Visions Foundation.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight

If you have clear skies tonight wherever you live, you should go outside and see how many "shooting stars" you can see (maybe as many as 100 per hour!).

Even where I live, we might have a chance for once, as the clouds seem to be clearing away temporarily, so I'll be looking!

(Photo removed, 05/09/2013)

The meteors we hope we'll be seeing tonight come from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, which "... has a highly-inclined orbit, tipped by 22 degrees from the Earth’s orbit. Its orbit is also very elongated: Phaethon goes away from the Sun farther than Mars does, but it plunges so deeply into the inner solar system that it actually gets half the distance of Mercury to the Sun! Over the course of its year its temperature swings by hundreds of degrees Celsius." (Phil Plait, "Bad Astronomy" blog on

Here's Mr. Plait's guide for watching meteor showers.  (Quick summary: Dark skies, view to the east, hot chocolate, warm clothes, and blankets. And wonder!)

Worst Job Offering Ever

I've spent my share of time looking for jobs, so I've seen jobs that looked great at first glance but laughable when I looked more closely at the expectations and requirements.

But this one beats all, an "Open Position" at the Dallkey Archive Press: 

   "The pool of candidates for positions will be primarily derived from unpaid interns in the first phase of this process, although one or two people may be appointed with short-term paid contracts.

    "The Press is looking for promising candidates with an appropriate background who: have already demonstrated a strong interest in literary publishing; are very well read in literature in general and Dalkey Archive books in particular; are highly motivated and ambitious; are determined to have a career in publishing and will sacrifice to make that career happen; are willing to start off at a low-level salary and work their way upwards; possess multi-dimensional skills that will be applied to work at the Press; look forward to undergoing a rigorous and challenging probationary period either as an intern or employee; want to work at Dalkey Archive Press doing whatever is required of them to make the Press succeed; do not have any other commitments (personal or professional) that will interfere with their work at the Press (family obligations, writing, involvement with other organizations, degrees to be finished, holidays to be taken, weddings to attend in Rio, etc.); know how to act and behave in a professional office environment with high standards of performance; and who have a commitment to excellence that can be demonstrated on a day-to-day basis. DO NOT APPLY IF ALL OF THE ABOVE DOES NOT DESCRIBE YOU.

   "Any of the following will be grounds for immediate dismissal during the probationary period: coming in late or leaving early without prior permission; being unavailable at night or on the weekends; failing to meet any goals; giving unsolicited advice about how to run things; taking personal phone calls during work hours; gossiping; misusing company property, including surfing the internet while at work; submission of poorly written materials; creating an atmosphere of complaint or argument; failing to respond to emails in a timely way; not showing an interest in other aspects of publishing beyond editorial; making repeated mistakes; violating company policies. DO NOT APPLY if you have a work history containing any of the above."

No, thanks.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What Child Is This?

From the First Presidency Christmas Devotional:

Let's spread this love and peace with everyone we know as we pray for peace throughout the world and in our own hearts.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy Hanukkah!

This evening Jews all around the world will light the first candle for the first day of Hanukkah, the festival of lights, the celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

The Associated Press explains that this holiday "commemorates the Jewish uprising in the second century B.C. against the Greek-Syrian kingdom, which had tried to impose its culture on Jews and adorn the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem with statues of Greek gods.

"The holiday lasts eight days because according to tradition, when the Jews rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem, a single vial of oil, enough for one day, burned miraculously for eight."

Hanukkah means "dedication."

I think this is a good time to re-dedicate myself to my goals and convictions, to celebrate the good in my life and to acknowledge that God and goodness always triumph.

Getting Political: On Taxes

I usually leave this stuff to Madame L, but today I'm hoping people who read Aunt Louise will want to get political on this issue.

I received an email message about a petition by Rep. Nancy Pelosi asking for support from all members of Congress for the Middle Class Tax Cut Act.

This would help the American middle class (people making above the poverty level and below $250,000 per year, in other words, me and most everyone I know) by keeping our taxes low.

Not surprisingly, the Republican and Tea Party and pseudo-Libertarians who currently hold control of the House of Representatives are not interested in helping us. In fact, they're pushing AGAINST tax relief for us, and FOR tax relief for those who are wealthy and don't need our help, which is why Rep. Pelosi has had to circulate a petition to other Members of Congress asking them to support this measure.

I tried to call my representative's office but got an answering machine and when I tried to leave a message the answering machine voice said sorry the mailbox is full. So I sent an email message.

(Remember that on Madame L's blog you can get contact information for your representatives and senator, which I'm pasting here just in case you don't want to go to a different page:
I tried to use the tips from those links on how to write an effective letter, etc., because of course it will never help to be rude or offensive.

If you're interested in helping, please call, too, and if you don't get through, send an e-mail message.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fiction Friday: December 7, 2012: A Brother's Blood

Madame L found this book in the super-discount-used-book-bin of a little bookstore in a little town in western Oregon. She started reading it before the other books she'd assigned herself to read and the others she found that day and, once started, could barely put it down until she was finished.

The author, Michael C. White, teaches writing and has had some short stories published and so on, but this is his first novel. (He has since written others, listed on Amazon.)

Dear Readers of Madame L and Aunt Louise, if you're interested in reading a gripping story about life, love, war, murder, and, well, pretty much everything, you will like this book.

You don't have to go to a little town and hope they have a bookstore, either. You can buy it from Amazon new for $5.99 or used for as little as one red cent. Or you can borrow it from your local library. (Madame L would offer to send you her copy except she has already promised it to someone else.)

Like the book Madame L mentioned earlier this week (The Lighthouse, by P.D. James), this book is full of details that make you feel you're really there, in the backwater country of rural Maine, back when there was a POW camp for German soldiers there while American soldiers were dying in Germany, and also right now, while the heroine of this story tries to figure out what happened to one of the German POW's so long ago and what happened to her brother the other day.

You sympathize with the characters just as you did as a child with the characters in the Grimm Brothers' fairy tales. These characters, like Jack and and Cinderella and all the fairy-tale characters, are fighting for their lives against evil people who look like ordinary or even brave people. The heroic characters, the "good guys," are so real you feel you might have met them or maybe you are them. And the "bad guys" are just like your horrible boss or co-worker, bad for a lot of real-life (if inexcusable!) reasons. All of them are unforgettable and the ways they approach the problems of life, love, war, murder, and all that stuff are exactly the way you and I approach those problems.

So, Madame L recommends this book. And she recommends it even though it first came out in 1996 and is not particularly well known (even though it got lots of awards and favorable reviews). 

Why, one reader has asked Madame L, do you write about books that aren't new, books that you just found by accident, books that aren't going to go down in history as classics or whatever?Here are a few reasons why:

---Madame L writes reviews about books she has read, and she can't afford to go buy the latest best-sellers, nor does she know anyone in the publishing business who will send her free or advance copies.

---Madame L writes reviews about books she has enjoyed, no matter how recent or old or popular they are; these are also books thinks her friends and family and other readers might like. By the way, Madame L reads a LOT of books she doesn't write about here, because mostly she doesn't want to be writing negative reviews, nor does she see any point in giving attention to bad or interesting or waste-of-paper books.

---Madame L hopes her reviews will stick with some of her readers so when they're in some little bookstore or the library's sale bin or wherever, and they see one of these books, they'll be willing to pay a couple of dollars because they can trust what Madame L wrote about it.

---Finally (for now, because who knows when she'll think of something else!), Madame L hopes readers will talk back to her about books she has recommended which they have since read; and that they will continue to mention to her (and loan to her, thanks, LPJ) books they've enjoyed.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Most Useless Book Review Ever?

This sentence from a review of a book of poems by Billy Collins:

"Collins's poems are generally conveyed by a speaker whose genial, highly literate analogue of earnestness perfectly produces inchoate quotidian restlessness matched by fear-based appreciation of the mundane."


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

O Come, Emanuel

Getting into the Christmas spirit:

And It's Raining Spam

Apparently I wrote something that some people didn't like, sometime in 2011. (I won't mention the title of the post or the names of the commenters here so as not to attract more attention from them.)

I mean, I'm just guessing they don't like it because they keep posting comments made of random letters and numbers and other gobbledygook, which fortunately my spam filter usually catches.

And I want to ask these questions of those people: What good do you think you're doing? What do you think are you accomplishing?

If you have any reasonable answers to my questions, please feel free to comment. Otherwise, if you think it's funny or cute or vengeful to fill up my comments with your stupidity, you're wrong. In fact, you're damaging whatever cause you think you may be helping.

It's Raining

Yeah, yeah, I know, I live in a place where that's not news. But it was clear and sunny this morning. So it seems like news that it's raining now.  It looks something like this (since my Blogspot photo storage place is full):

'   '   '   '   '   '   '   '   '   '  '  '  '    '     '   '    '   '   '   '   '   '
                 '   '   '   '   '   '   '  '  '  '    '     '   '    '   '   '   '   '   '
    '   '   '   '   '   '   '  '  '  '    '     '   '    '   '   '   '   '   '
       '   '   '   '   '   '   '  '  '  '    '     '   '    '   '   '   '   '   '
                  '   '   '   '   '   '   '  '  '  '    '     '   '    '   '   '   '   '   '
         '   '   '   '   '   '   '  '  '  '    '     '   '    '   '   '   '   '   '
'   '   '   '   '   '   '  '  '  '    '     '   '    '   '   '   '   '   '
                  '   '   '   '   '   '   '  '  '  '    '     '   '    '   '   '   '   '   '
  '   '   '   '   '   '   '  '  '  '    '     '   '    '   '   '   '   '   '
       '   '   '   '   '   '   '  '  '  '    '     '   '    '   '   '   '   '   '
  '   '   '   '   '   '   '  '  '  '    '     '   '    '   '   '   '   '   '
                               '   '   '   '   '   '   '  '  '  '    '     '   '    '   '   '   '  
'   '   '   '   '   '   '  '  '  '    '     '   '    '   '   '   '   '   '
and so get the picture.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Favorite Driving Song

Thanks to Jared for introducing this song to us. I loved how a certain young boy asked, shortly after his first listen, "Hey, Dad, what does compromise mean?"

Monday, December 3, 2012

An Oboe for Christmas

Yes, my sweet husband found one at a pawn shop after looking in every pawn shop he came across in every little town across the U.S. for the past 40+ Christmas present ever! Thank you!