Monday, July 25, 2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I have been receiving suspicious emails, apparently from family members, that seem to be coming from Google+. If you are sending me messages to try to lure me onto Google+, I remind you that I no longer use such social networks after two friends had disastrous experiences of being hacked on them. If, on the other hand, you are NOT sending me things related to Google+, then you may want to check to see if someone has hacked you -- or if Google+ is using your contact list to push their product.

Just saying!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Identify the source of this quote

"Forget the cats! Who's going to train the spider monkey?"

Hint: It's not from The Wizard of Oz.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


affiliative: the urge to form friendships and attachments, typically prompting a person to attend social gatherings and join organizations as a way of preventing loneliness and gaining emotional security.
Kathie, my Bookmobile co-worker, is on the Board of the Sauk County Humane Society, and she refers to affiliative animals as those that quickly bond with owners and sometimes act needy for attention and affection, even to the point of becoming a nuisance.

Although Cassidy is the more typical cat, quite happy to take what we hand out and ignore us the rest of the time, Sundance is most affiliative.

This morning, in particular, she is all over the place, following me around, whining and staring. She has been given her morning snack, her food dish and water supply are full, she has been picked up and stroked and had her belly rubbed and canoodled and fussed over.

All to no avail.

Do you think she wants some tuna with that whine?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Brought to you by the same fine folks who bring you the evening news on That channel ...

A former News of the World deputy features editor, Paul McMullan, said in an interview that the paper routinely paid cops for tips, with cash dished out from a safe “in the managing editor’s office.”

“That was true especially with Diana,” McMullan said, referring to the late Princess of Wales. “We would get calls from our police contacts telling us what airport she was landing in, and who was with her. That kind of information was worth several thousand pounds.”

He recalled one story he worked on when $5,000 worth of British pounds was paid to a beat officer who had found the daughter of award-winning actor Denholm Elliott — known for roles in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “A Room With a View” — impoverished and living on the streets. “He called us up and told us about it, and we covered the story,” he said. “He got the money, we got the story. She killed herself a few years later. I felt particularly guilty about that one.”

Do you now?


Well, we said goodbye to the Vibe and got a new vehicle: a 2011 Equinox. (Thanks, Vince, for your glowing report on the Escape, but we were able to get a better deal on the Equinox.) It seems huge by comparison with the Vibe, but I think that is mainly because it sits higher, one of the things we wanted. Tom and I are getting to that age where it is not so easy to climb up out of a car that is sitting low. We expect to have this one for a number of years and realize we won't be getting any younger or more flexible as time goes by. So we wanted to get a bit more comfort without going all Cadillac on our budget.

It doesn't seem to take up that much more room in the garage, although Tom is out moving things around so that there he can put the snow blower where he wants it come winter.

The Equinox is reported to get 32 mpg highway, but just about everyone says you will probably get less. Still, 28 mpg is probably about right and within the ballpark on what we wanted.

We paid cash and I wrote the largest check I have ever written, or expect to ever write.

Anyway, now Mama won't have to avert her eyes if I pull into her driveway. She thought the Vibe was the ugliest car she had ever seen. There was a lime green Vibe on the lot, and Tom wanted to get it so I could take it home and show it to her as the REALLY ugliest car she would ever see.

Anyway, I am getting used to all the bells and whistles on the Equinox, even though it is the base model. I guess the Vibe, which I liked, was sub-basement. And the higher perch is funny. Now I have to step down to get out of the thing instead of climbing up. Just hope I don't fall!

PS -- That is not our actual Equinox in the photo. I will try to post a picture later.

Perhaps not the way to make fiscal policy ...

Meanwhile the mice are rolling on the floor laughing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Weather wimps

First, a disclaimer. I acknowledge that when it comes to Wisconsin winters, I am a wimp. Several consecutive days of sub-freezing weather is no fun for me, and I tire quickly of ice and snow-covered roads. All you have to do is look back at some winter postings on this blog and you will see.

On the other hand, in the summer this old East Texas boy has to listen to the Wisconsin weather wimps whine about how hot it is. Today and tomorrow -- in the middle of July, mind you -- the highs will be in the mid 70s (23.8 C), and then it will climb to 85 (29.4 C) on the weekend. Typical comment: "It's okay today, but it is going to be unbearably hot again this weekend."

85 (29.4), unbearably hot?

Man up, people!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

You're kiddin', right?

About three this morning we had a severe thunderstorm roll through. For about 45 minutes there was constant bright lightning and ferocious thunder. When I got up at one point to go to the bathroom, Sundance jumped off the bed and followed me and when I returned to bed, she trotted behind me and hid under the bed.

A bit later we lost power, and I got up to call in the outage. The phone that does not require electricity is in the basement, so I took a flashlight and found my way down there and over to the corner where the phone is on the wall behind boxes of Christmas stuff and exercise equipment. Just as I picked up the phone, the flashlight went dead. So in the dark but with the help of the lightning flashes through the small basement windows, I made my way back through the obstacle course and upstairs to get another flashlight. There is an ample supply of these fortunately, and I was able to get back to the basement and complete the report by phone.

As I came back up the stairs, I discovered Cassidy huddled in the corner by the basement door with her head hidden behind the door. Like an ostrich with her head in the sand, she apparently had decided she would be okay if she couldn't see the lightning.

After all the excitement, I had trouble getting back to sleep and got about a half hour right before having to get up at 6:45. Because of a mysterious leak in the Vibe, we had to be at a local dealer's service department at 8:00. We took a bit longer there than anticipated because we looked at a possible replacement vehicle. I was anxious to get home to catch a little sleep before heading to work. Today I am at the library from 11:45 to 8:15. It is only an 8-hour work day, but it is a late one and I was short on sleep. We left the car there and came back home.

I set my alarm clock and tried to doze. Tom had planned to go and help Debbie with something and he had joked that he would be at the library before I was. As this thought wandered around in my head, I realized that Tom was my ride to work. So he could not be there before me and I had to get up and make sure he didn't drive off and leave me stranded.

About the time I got dressed -- still sluggish -- a guy banged on the door to see if we had any scrap metal for him to haul away. Tom got the old grille out and down the driveway, but the dude wanted to just back in and load it. In doing so, he managed to back into one of our trees. Once they got that undone, he discovered that he had damaged the trailer and the connector to the truck was near breaking. He tried to fix this and eventually called his son to come take all the stuff off the trailer for him. Meanwhile our driveway is blocked and Tom had to call Debbie to cancel out on that.

Everything did get cleared up enough for me to make it to work.

What a day! And it's just Monday morning!

News, good and sad

Steve Payne was recently back in the States for a few weeks from Nairobi. While he was here, Liturgical Press released his most recent book, The Carmelite Tradition. This is taken from the press release:
Eight hundred years ago Albert of Jerusalem gave the hermit-penitents of Mount Carmel a way of life to follow. Since then, this rule has inspired and formed mystics and scholars, men and women, lay and ordained to seek the living God. In The Carmelite Tradition Steven Payne, OCD, brings together representative voices to demonstrate the richness and depth of Carmelite spirituality. As he writes, Carmelite spirituality seeks nothing more nor less than to stand before the face of the living God and prophesy with Elijah, to hear the word of God and keep it with Mary, to grow in friendship with God through unceasing prayer with Teresa, to become by participation what Christ is by nature as John of the Cross puts it, and thereby to be made, like Therese of Lisieux, into instruments of God s transforming merciful love in the church and society. The lives and writings in The Carmelite Tradition invite readers to stand with these holy men and women and seek God in the hermitage of the heart.

About the Author

Steven Payne, OCD, of the Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, is a member of the Carmelite Friars formation team at the Monastery of St. John of the Cross near Nairobi, Kenya, and director of the Institute of Spirituality and Religious Formation (ISRF) at Tangaza College, a constituent college of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) in Nairobi. He is the past editor of ICS Publications and of Spiritual Life magazine and the author of several works in philosophy of religion, theology, and Carmelite spirituality. He is a member of the Carmelite Forum and of the Carmelite Institute in Washington DC, of which he is a past president.
Steve, as some of you know, was my closest friend among my brothers in the Carmelites, as well as one of the most brilliant men I have ever known. I congratulate him on the book. I also thank him for including an excerpt from my translation of Gratian's Treatise on Melancholy, a translation project I had undertaken with his encouragement.

On a sadder note, right before he left to return to his duties in Kenya, Steve told me about some health problems his 87-year-old father is having. Larry is a retired mathematics professor who taught for many years at Cornell and has received international recognition for his work. He and his late wife Ruth were often my gracious hosts at their home in Ithaca and generously providing many a restful week of relaxation at their cabin on a small lake in the Adirondacks. After getting back to Africa, Steve learned that his father may have lymphoma. The doctors are still running tests, but that is a grim possibility. So I commend Steve, his father Larry and the rest of the family to your prayers at this time.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Chelsea and John Scharbach with friend

John is Tom's youngest and a recent law school graduate from the University of Texas. Chelsea is an architect and they got married in Oklahoma last week. This is a cute picture, but they both look so young they could be going to their prom.

Anyway, congrats to the happy couple! (Nice doggie, nice doggie!)