January 31, 2004

New Blog Showcase: DGCI

My vote is for the post, "Why Special Forces Weren't Used Prior to 9/11."

Go read entire. DGCI's points are dead-on.

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posted by Linda at 12:12 AM : Comments (0)
January 30, 2004

Summarizing my opinion on the matter of fences:

Follow this link.

It speaks for itself.

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posted by Linda at 09:36 PM : Comments (4)
Knowledge Is Power: SondraK.com links with: People with Glass Fences...

Enough.

Turns out that the terrorist who murdered 10 Israelis, and injured more than fifty others on a packed Jerusalem bus yesterday, was a PA policeman.

Let's put aside the fact that this is a clear indicator of the fact that Arafat is still a long way from rooting out terrorism in his organization. Let's reserve our damnation of Reuters for reporting that, "The army has destroyed dozens of Palestinian police stations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, accusing security forces of either turning a blind eye to militant groups attacking Israelis or taking part themselves in the three-year-old uprising."*

What concerns me now is the offhanded way people--specifically the media and my elected representatives--are reacting to this new terrorist attack upon the Israeli people. Where is the human rights' outcry? Where is the damnation and denunciation by the people-loving Left? Why does it seem that only so-called "heartless" conservatives like myself seem to feel Israel's pain, and wish to do something to alleviate it?

Since I cannot get any reply--let alone a satisfactory one--from my own elected representation; since I cannot find fair, balanced, and honest reporting from the mainstream media; since this nation cannot seem to stand up and be a strong friend at Israel's shoulder, and since it bothers me so terribly, it then falls to me to do something about it.

I shall soon have a PayPal button on this blog. Donations will be made to One Family in the names of those of us who care, and want to help.

Watch this space for updates.

I am so sorry, Israel. Oh Gods, I am so sorry.

---------------------------------------------------
*(Emphasis mine--L.)

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posted by Linda at 07:57 PM : Comments (0)
January 29, 2004

"Dah-doo!"

Since my husband has been home with the baby, we've seen a small explosion in her development.

In the last week and a half, her vocabulary has expanded. She calls him "Dah-doo," and watches everything he does. I'm still just "Ma-mom."

She's becoming talkative. "Do," is her way of letting you know she wants something. She'll point to whatever it is. When she wants a story, she demands, "Book. Do." She usually takes your hand and puts the book in it, then stands there expectantly. As soon as you start reading, she'll either try to turn the pages at her own rate, or climb over the book, and into your lap.

"Uh-oh," indicates that she just dropped something. She'll points to it, or tries to climb over the furniture to get it. "Duck," refers to her bathtime pals. "Duck. Do." This tells me that she wants me to play the "Duck Overboard" game, wherein I make the two rubber duckies dance on the edge of the tub before tossing them into the air. She thinks it's pretty funny when they splash down. We'll repeat this game until we're both soaked. "Jooce," means that she's thirsty. "Cup," refers to the sippy cup. We're debating whether "Ba-ba" refers to her bottle, or is a general all-purpose descriptor. After all, she's pointed to me and said, "Ba-ba."

She whispers to pretty things, reaching out delicately with the tip of her finger to explore them.

She knows "Hello," and "Hi!" She waves, plays peek-a-boo, and kinda/sorta blows kisses. She mixes that up with peek-a-boo.

Her confidence with walking is growing. She'd rather hold on to someone, but lacking that, she'll motor straight across the floor to get something she really wants. Most times, if she's eager, she'll just crawl, but we're watching her grow impatient with that.

She likes going places. In the morning, she and her Daddy will hang out for a while, and watch Noggin. Then, after her mid-morning snack, they'll go out for a while. They go to Target, or the mall; yesterday, she got to see Grandma at work. Last Friday afternoon, they came to see me. Monday, the two of them went to the grocery store. (She likes to play "masthead" in the shopping cart. In other words, it takes her about thirty seconds to turn around (despite the seatbelt) to kneel, facing the direction the cart is going. It doesn't matter how often you turn her around; she'll do it again. What a nutty little kid.)

After errands, they come home, and the afternoon involves eating lunch, getting her to nap, and playing together.

I've been watching their bond grow over the least several days. My husband tells me that he's at peace with the idea of being wrapped around her little finger, and it doesn't bother him to be scolded, "Dah-doo!" I've seen her pause in play to look around for him. She'll run to him and plant butterfly kisses on his face. Her face lights when he seizes her, kisses her back, and tosses her in the air. I've seen his serenity when he snuggles her close, and she presses her little face against his neck.

She also does things like yank his shirttail up, to stick a saliva-slick finger in his belly button. That really isn't his favorite game, but she scolds him if he tries to pull his shirt back down.

She's good at entertaining herself. We have no idea what's going on in her head, but sometimes she bursts into laughter for no apparent reason. She's told herself a couple of knee slappers recently, judging from the gales of giggles.

We have to distract her from using the furniture as a jungle gym. Have you ever seen a cat play "Alligator"? It's when a cat will walk on the edges of all the furniture to get around a room, never once touching the floor. It's as if they think alligators are down there. Yeah. Well, she'd play that game too, if we let her.

We thought we had the house child-proofed. Ha! Silly us. I just didn't think that she'd start walking and climbing at the same time. Objects are placed on ever higher shelves. Her father came around the corner the other morning, while I was drying my hair, to find her with one foot planted on the top of the baby gate. She was bound and determined to get to me, going so far as to throw a fit when he lifted her away.

Tantrums have a new intensity. She gets frustrated with her abilities. My husband told me that on more than one occasion in the last several days, he told her no, and she slapped him. His discipline involves seating her in the middle of the floor, away from the toys, with the object of the tantrum being taken away for a period of time.

Believe it or not, it takes her very little time to pull herself together. Usually, within ten or fifteen minutes, she's playing and snuggling again. (Disciplining her is harder on us, I think. It's difficult to resist the urge to kiss fat tears away.)

Also, the time they spend together settles their boundaries. The fact is that she's more apt to listen to him, now. When he scolds, she listens. When I scold, she tries to wheedle me. This has resulted in a new solidarity between us. "No," is final, and we back each other up.

Also, it's built new empathy between us. We each understand where the other has been coming from. For the last year, he's let me lead the way in terms of her care. Now that he's the primary caregiver, I let him lead the way, and I try to do things to make it easier on him, like dressing and feeding her in the mornings, so he has time to wake up with a shower, get dressed, and eat something. We've been sharing tips and tricks in dealing with her. In fact, he's getting a lot of insight into the way she thinks. At this crucial stage, his clear-eyed perception is invaluable to me, because I'm often blinded by my love for her.

I'm not jealous of their relationship. To the contrary, this is exactly what I've been waiting for. My close relationship with my father made me eager to see theirs develop.

Nor am I left out of the mix. As far as she's concerned, there are still things only Ma-mom can do, such as the bedtime ritual. She likes the way I read aloud. She runs to me, and snuggles, and plays. Our play is different, more passive, but it still fills a need for her.

I just can't believe how much she's changed and grown over the last two weeks. Karen was an excellent caregiver, and we can't wait until we're back in a place where we can afford her again. Yet, the time B. has spent with Daddy lately has yielded some of the most profound, amazing changes to date.

I truly believe that we may have a gifted child on our hands. The thought is exciting, but means that S. and I have some decisions to make in terms of her education. The thought of her light being choked in the public school system dismays us. Private schools around here are mostly religious. As Pagans, we aren't really interested in watching her receive Catholic or Baptist-flavored instruction. We both need to work full-time to survive, so homeschooling while she's young is out of the question. Besides, we feel that she would benefit from interaction with other children. In passing, we've mentioned hiring private tutors, but the expense is a concern.

What we'll probably do is send her to public school, but spend hours in the evenings deprogramming her, and taking responsibility for teaching to think for herself. We'll be the ones to foster her natural curiosity. I see pitched battles on the horizon with our school district. We're in an area infamous for its arrogance and unresponsiveness.

Really, in the end, it doesn't matter what price we pay to make sure that she is challenged to reach her full potential. The point is that this sweet, affectionate, playful, and brilliant little girl deserves every advantage we can give her. She can't see it right now, but we're devoted to her, and will do whatever it takes to see that our child has a good life in which she can excel according to her lights.

At home, right now, her Da-doo is helping her discover what those might be.

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posted by Linda at 06:34 PM : Comments (0)

21 States

Susie led me to this one:


create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide

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posted by Linda at 05:10 PM : Comments (2)
Spacecraft links with: Visited States
January 28, 2004

9/11 Audio

Tears are drying on my face.

Most of the readers of this blog need no reminder of the reasons why we went to war with fascism in the Middle East. So, there's little need to rehash it all. That soapbox has been thoroughly polished.

But, you must click on this link and listen to both clips.

It has regalvanized me. You will never be forgotten, Ms. Ong. None of you will ever be forgotten.

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posted by Linda at 06:08 PM : Comments (3)
January 27, 2004

Is it just me?

Or are both LGF and Misha down?

I can hit just about everyone but them.

UPDATE: Never mind. Must've been me. Toodling off to get my fix, now...

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posted by Linda at 09:07 PM : Comments (0)

New PC Virus Targets SCO's Web Server

From CNet.

"Once the virus infects a Windows-running PC, it installs a program that allows the computer to be controlled remotely. The program primes the PC to send data to the SCO Group's Web server, starting Feb. 1, a virus researcher said on the condition of anonymity."

In other words, your computer is highjacked and used to participate in a Denial of Service attack on SCO's website.

According to Network Associates, Inc., this bug is a variant of the Mimail virus, arriving as an email with an attachment that looks like a text file to an unwary observer. Its payload is 22,528 bytes. It affects multiple Windows platforms: 95, 98, ME, NT, 2K, and XP. When the infected file attachment is opened, it installs a program that the attacker can use to open a sort of "back door" on the system. They exploit the opening by installing addtional programs onto the compromised hardware; this also allows the intruder to hide the source of his attack by routing his connection through the infected computer.

Nasty, huh?

If you use Kazaa, the virus also copies itself into the program's download directory. According to the CNet article, the virus camoflauges itself, "using one of seven file names". Among these are Winamp5, RootkitXP, Officecrack, and Nuke2004. The body text of these files often has a variation of this message: "The message cannot be represented in 7-bit ASCII encoding and has been sent as a binary attachment."

Obviously, mail systems that remove executable email attachments can be used to halt the advance of this malicious code.

The article touts this as a backlash against SCO. An informal poll I conducted among co-workers this morning yields derisive laughter, which at least supports the reports of general ill-will toward the struggling company. Their server has already been brought down two or three times with Denial of Service attacks. Don't misunderstand me; as little as I respect Darl McBride and his predatory demeanor toward the LINUX community, I don't believe that any company should have its business disrupted this way.

Still, I'd be surprised to learn that Mr. McBride hadn't expected this sort of reaction, which makes me wonder at the implied vulnerability of SCO's web server/s. Multiple DoS attacks would make me take a look at my network, and provide multiple pipes into my domain so that I couldn't be easly taken down by an outside attack. I'd over-provision with redundant servers and multiple routes.

But that's just me. Maybe SCO has done this. Maybe they haven't. I don't know. I don't (wouldn't want to) work for their IT team.

The February 1st date is interesting. On the surface, it seems arbitrary, but I wonder if it corresponds to some piece of LINUX or UNIX history? For example, the UNIX Time-Sharing System (v8) was introduced in February of 1985, and the version that immediately preceded FreeBSD's inclusion in Mac OS X was also a February 1999 release. (I'm talking about v 3.1. FreeBSD v 3.2 was used in Mac OS X, and did not come out until May of that year. I'm stretching, I know. /tinfoil hat)

What this all says to me is that there are some people out there who are seeing themselves as cyber Robin Hoods. They're going to take on SCO, which they must perceive as some sort of emblem of corporate corruption. These e-wolves' heads think they can effect change and deliver a message through their hacking.

Romantic thought. Wrong way to go about it. The joke is on the script kiddies. See, SCO isn't doing anything illegal with their lawsuits. Yes, the ethics can be debated, but that's another horse for another day's ride. By distributing this code and highjacking people's computers, the hackers are committing cyber crime. Once the FBI gets hold of them, they'll be up on some hefty charges.

Frankly, I won't feel so much as a drop of sympathy. The cyber bandits aren't doing anything noble; they're just being stupid. SCO has already doomed itself with its actions. If the company survives the coming days, it'll take them years to recover. Don't give them any legal ammunition--even if they could use at least one supportable legal assertation.

So, be wary. Don't open any attachments you didn't solicit. Scan the ones you did. Protect your property.

Be careful out there.

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posted by Linda at 06:04 PM : Comments (2)
January 26, 2004

Tongue-in-cheek

I'm sitting here looking at the draft form of my performance review.

I am the technical writer for a team that does customer-facing technical support. That means that my manager, while a wonderful leader; and warm, supportive presence, is technical but loudly admits to being no writer.

So, she's asked me to edit my own evaluation. But I'm not sure if I should use my red pen. :)

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posted by Linda at 06:16 PM : Comments (1)
January 24, 2004

Text of the "Preiddeu Annwn"

I've been seeking this for a while.

Honestly, I need to get my hands on a new copy of Graves' The White Goddess.

This was the bit I needed to see again:

The Cauldron of Annwn

is warmed gently by the breaths of nine damsels;

for is it not the Cauldron of the Chief of Annwn?

On the rim it is fashioned with a ridge that is pearls.

It boils not the food of the coward

nor of those who swear hastily.*

I have my own reasons why.


(*Emphasis mine.)

Bendydd.

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posted by Linda at 12:19 AM : Comments (0)
January 23, 2004

Captain Kangaroo

Via Lord Spatula.

Bob Keeshan, our beloved Captain Kangaroo, has passed on. He was 76.

I watched his show for years when I was small. I loved that coat, his warm smile, and the whole host of characters he introduced us to.

My condolences go out to his family and friends. An era has passed. We will not see his like again.

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posted by Linda at 11:17 PM : Comments (0)

Reminder: Proposed IRS Revenue Ruling 2004-6

A few days ago, I exhorted everyone to take some action, and get hold of their congresscritters to get the IRS to retract their proposed Revenue Ruling 2004-6. Leveraging in the worst possible way off McCain-Feingold, the ruling is broad-based and targeted at silencing many types of special interest groups; including educational services provided by groups like the NRA and GOA. (I name those, because they interest me.)

This is a friendly reminder to do so, if you haven't already. Even if you have, it doesn't hurt to send them a follow-up. I did.

So, write and call them. They only have until January 26th to write the IRS and demand a retraction.

Thank you.
--Linda

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posted by Linda at 05:23 PM : Comments (0)

Galstaff's back

My handsome half is blogging again, and writing all about the fun he's having with our B.

I want to go home and play with them.

Soon, my pretties. Soon.

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posted by Linda at 12:18 AM : Comments (2)
January 22, 2004

For the record

I know that my husband is going to make all kinds of fun of me for writing this, even though he knows I don't mean anything by it. Everyone should know by now that my husband is the very love of my soul, and I don't want anyone but him.

I'll even preface a little: I was born in Texas, and spent most of my formative years in the South. When fatigued or stressed, or on the phone with my (North Carolinian) Daddy for more than five minutes, my accent bleeds back out, causing my Colorado-born husband to tell me to come back North of the Mason-Dixon line.

But sometimes, for some mysterious reason, a Virginian man's lilt can make me sorta shivery inside.

That's all. :)

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posted by Linda at 09:44 PM : Comments (0)
January 21, 2004

So much fuss!

Now SCO is after Novell.

SCO is claiming that they purchased all rights to UNIX when the predecessor of their particular flavor of UNIX made a deal with Novell in 1995. Novell is arguing that this isn't the case; they retain some rights, and indeed, they hold 11 copyright registrations for System V UNIX, granted by the U.S. Copyright Office.

I've been watching all this "SCO vs. The Whole-Big-Ole-Meanie-World" litigation with interest. It seems to me that Darl McBride is desperately trying to hang onto some semblance of market share in the face of the rising popularity of LINUX flavors Red Hat, SUSE, and FreeBSD. This stop-at-nothing scramble really only hurts SCO UNIX in the long run, as the general technical population will come to associate the company and its product with embarrassing displays of petulance.

Here's a mere suggestion from someone who's played around with SUSE, and loves it: Instead of suing everyone who has anything to do with UNIX or LINUX, how about revamping SCO so that its interface is more intuitive, and easier to use? Offer approachable technical support options as well, and then customers may actually want to buy it.

Just sayin's all.

UPDATE: At TechRepublic, Jim Zimmermann offers a sweet overview of SCO's nasty little game, overviewing the merits of the claims of intellectual property infringement.*

Also, an open letter from Novells's CEO, Jack L. Messman, to SCO's Darl McBride is published here.

I will be watching these events with interest, because I think SCO's defense of its position will be creative, to say the least.

In closing, I really don't think that the LINUX community will be measurably impacted by this battle. People who deploy LINUX are a notoriously maverick lot, after all. Devotees of LINUX are nigh as ardent as proponents of Macintosh. We will not see a marked slowdown in LINUX platform deployments. If anything, IT teams will merely leave themselves a fallback in the form of other robust distributions like BSD.

Besides, as many people have noted, if SCO just provides examples of the alleged offending code, it can be changed in a matter of days, which just underscores the efficiency and expertise of the LINUX community.

*(Note: You may be asked to register with TechRepublic in order to view the content. It's free, and you can opt-out of anything you don't want to receive, if you choose to do so.)

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posted by Linda at 05:36 PM : Comments (2)

SOTU: the best bits, and accompanying thoughts.

What a great speech! These were the best bits (as usual, all emphasis will be mine):

"Some critics have said our duties in Iraq must be internationalized. This particular criticism is hard to explain to our partners in Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Italy, Spain, Poland, Denmark, Hungary, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, the Netherlands, Norway, El Salvador, and the 17 other countries that have committed troops to Iraq. As we debate at home, we must never ignore the vital contributions of our international partners, or dismiss their sacrifices. From the beginning, America has sought international support for our operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and we have gained much support. There is a difference, however, between leading a coalition of many nations, and submitting to the objections of a few. America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country."

Hmmm. Maybe I don't understand the New Math and all, but by my count, that's 34 nations involved in a "unilateral" action.

The last sentence, "America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country," was particularly sweet, and exactly what I expect from the man I hired with my vote.

Another great bit was this:

"Nine months of intense negotiations involving the United States and Great Britain succeeded with Libya, while 12 years of diplomacy with Iraq did not. And one reason is clear: For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible -- and no one can now doubt the word of America."

Allow me to reiterate: "For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible -- and no one can now doubt the word of America."

Let that sink in for a minute.

Got it? No? We'll give it another minute.

Let's move on:

"For all Americans, the last three years have brought tests we did not ask for, and achievements shared by all. By our actions, we have shown what kind of Nation we are. In grief, we found the grace to go on. In challenge, we rediscovered the courage and daring of a free people. In victory, we have shown the noble aims and good heart of America. And having come this far, we sense that we live in a time set apart."

Each generation faces a new incarnation of evil. History measures each generation by how well we stood the test, and the fortitude and determination we evinced in beating it back down. Make no mistake, the theocratic authoritarinism breeding terrorist activities from the Middle East is the new evil. It seeks to wipe out everything that does not mesh with its ideals and standards. It seeks to blanket the globe with an ideology that would repress the masses in the name of religious idealism.

I don't choose to live that way. I believe that we are living in a time set apart. I know what I would have history say of me. I have pledged my life and sacred honor to it. How about you?

How will you choose to be measured by the annals of the ages?

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posted by Linda at 04:51 PM : Comments (1)
January 16, 2004

New Blog Showcase: American Amnesia

My vote for New Blog Showcase is "Insurgency in Iraq -- a simple enough topic" by American Amnesia.

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posted by Linda at 08:59 PM : Comments (0)

Extra! Extra!

Gaseous Emission from Frontal Lobes Blows Al Gore's Pie Hole Open

Again.

"Moral coward"? Hmmm. That's funny. A moral coward is someone without the force of personal conviction. A moral coward is someone who never makes a firm stand and backs it up. A moral coward is one without shame, or a sense of responsibility, nor accountability.

In other words, "moral coward" describes the Looney Liberal Left, and the dregs
of the Clinton Cronies to a "T".

Pot, meet kettle.

The thing is that Al Gore just doesn't know when to shut the hell up. He accuses Bush of feeding "Global Warming" during one of the coldest winters on record. This morning, on news radio, my husband heard that some parts of New England were suffering from wind chill factors of 100 degrees (F) below zero.

Never mind that the scientific evidence is still out on whether global warming is a.) real
and if real, attributable to:
i.) natural geological cycles
or
ii.)mankind

Fact is, people, that Mother Earth is in no danger whatsoever. Nature will always prevail. It's mankind that will one day go the way of the dodos.

Some days, after hearing one too many Idiotarian pronouncements, I wish some of us would go sooner, rather than later.

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posted by Linda at 08:46 PM : Comments (2)

Pagans in the Pentagon

I received the following link from a Conservative Pagan discussion group I belong to:
"The Pentagon and the Pentacle"

I especially loved this quote,

"Will the Earth spirituality of the 21st century be shaped by aging hippies, or by a younger brand of Pagan who takes pride in being a warrior and who sees no contradiction between reverence for the land and service to one's country?"

I believe that the latter will hold true. As the new Paganism matures, I predict that we will see an influx of people who have no problem balancing civic and military service with the Goddess faith. Indeed, She has many warrior faces, Herself, as does Her Consort and Lover, the All-Father.

Part of Paganism is the acknowledgement of the need for balance, and for taking action appropriate to the situation, as well as taking personal responsibility for those actions. There's much more, of course, but it seems natural to me that a multi-layered religion like mine will attract many, many different types of people. Some will be warriors, and some will be pacifists. Those of us who follow a warrior path will protect and care for those who do not. More than any other belief system, however, I foresee that those who actively pursue peace will nevertheless support and love their warrior brothers and sisters, as they are loved in return. We will pity those who cannot come to acceptance on their own, and as a group, return the energy paid us--even if it means with violence.

I've discussed all this before. Click here to see that older post.

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posted by Linda at 08:15 PM : Comments (0)

Belatedly

A very Happy Birthday goes out to my Anti-Idiotarian Lord and Liege.

May there be many more, Misha! This glass is lifted to you.

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posted by Linda at 06:28 PM : Comments (0)

They're only now figuring this out???

"Nearly Half of Crib Deaths Tied to Sleep Position"
Via Reuters:

Findings from a European study suggest that about 48 percent of crib deaths are attributable to the baby sleeping on its front or side. Sleeping in a room other than the parent's room was linked to 36 percent of cases, and 16 percent were linked to bed sharing.

They're only just figuring this out in Europe? Or maybe Reuters, as usual, is behind the times? Gods, I was told thirteen months ago to position my baby on her back when she slept, at least until she could reposition herself in the night.

We also knew to avoid putting fluffy things in her crib; my husband was encouraged to quit smoking because it could increase the risk of SIDS; and we were sternly warned against drinking and co-sleeping. (Not that it ever happened, anyway.)

B. was in a bassinet for the first two weeks. After that, we moved her into her crib in her own room, and used a baby monitor when she was sleeping. I just could not sleep with her in the same room as us. I was tensed; poised to respond to every little noise. To this day, my sleep is lighter than it was before she was born. Part of me stands watch, as it were, just in case she calls out for me.

This bit in the article got to me:

Maternal alcohol use was identified as a significant SIDS risk factor, but only when the infant shared the bed all night, the researchers report.

What kind of irresposible, trashy bitch does that? Drinks and then sleeps with her baby? I know it happens, but still, the whole thought of rolling over onto my baby, while sober, even is what turned me off to the idea of co-sleeping. I think I've had four drinks since B. was born. Each time, she was spending the night at Grandma's, because the thought of sleeping so heavily that I can't hear her tears at my heart. It's the image of her standing there with a real need, tear-streaked and miserable, all alone and uncomforted in the wee hours, that gets to me. I could never do that to her.

Never mind getting drunk, and smothering my very reason for being.

My mind just ran through a whole gamut of responses to the very image of a mother who could get drunk and endanger her tiny, helpless baby. Phrasing it carefully, the impulses are less than pacifistic.

Life with a baby becomes a titch less worrisome when your little one learns how to roll over in the night. I remember being really worried about it, the first time I came in to check her, and saw that she was on her tummy. I was so concerned that I called the pediatrician. His response was delightfully sensible: "If she got herself over, she can get herself back, or holler for you if she gets in a bind."

Today, she sleeps with 'Raffe and Winston. 'Raffe is a plush giraffe with a rattle in his butt. I picked him up when I was 13 weeks pregnant. Winston is the bear her father and I made for her at the "Build-a-Bear Workshop". (Did you know that they give you tiny little plush hearts to bless, and make a wish on, before they insert it in the toy? I digress.) She sleeps on her tummy, with her butt in the air, and turns somersaults all night long. When she gets up in the morning, her hair resembles the head feathers of a fledgling grackle. She usually wakes up with some sort of statement, or a giggle.

I sleep a little better, now. I only check her a couple of times during the night. I keep the monitor next to my head, just in case.

I'm so blessed; so rewarded in my little girl. It just tears at me to think that there are people out there who could have such casual attitudes toward their own children.

Life changes when you become a parent. Selfish behaviors have to die. It's all right to do adult things, but before you do something, stop to consider whether or not your adult fun might endanger that tiny little person who depends on you for protection.

If it endangers them, and you do it anyway, then you're a selfish piece of shit who doesn't deserve the blessing of a child.

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posted by Linda at 06:05 PM : Comments (0)
January 15, 2004

Blog Maintenance

I'd received some feedback regarding the tables in my blog template. Some browsers weren't displaying them correctly, and there was a severe overlap issue with browsers at lower resolutions.

I'm happy to report that those problems are all fixed, now.

So, to my HTML hero, the man of the hour, the Man with the Cyber-Saloon, founder of the Corner of the Bar Gang, and proud supporter of the Corner of the Bar Babes:

You are a god!
You are a god!
You are a god!
You are a god!
You are a god!
You are a god!
You are a god!
You are a god!
You are a god!
You are a god!

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posted by Linda at 11:53 PM : Comments (3)

On a lighter note: The Letter Game

I love to write. It's probably my favorite hobby, followed closely by quilting and sewing, and then role-playing games. (Yes, those RPGs. Yes, I play D&D (3rd Ed.). I also play Cyberpunk, Shadowrun, the very odd game of V: TM, and the occasional one/two-off of D20 Modern.) No, I don't go to conventions in costume. In fact, I don't go to conventions. No, I don't believe that I'm an elf/halfling/dwarf/magic-user/cleric/paladin/insert-fantasy-race-and-job-description-here.

You knew I was a geek, so why are you looking so shocked, and shuffling your feet that way? At least the stuff I do is creative. At least I'm not plunking my butt down in front of the tube. So what if I'm not part of the demographic you usually "see" playing those games? Get over it, already. WOTC (a division Hasbro--they bought out TSR) realized that their core audience is now in their twenties and thirties. RPGs have grown up with the gamers who seriously follow them. Besides, you need a real job to afford just the rulebooks. There. 'Nuff said.

As I wrote earlier, I love writing more than any of my other hobbies. So, I was delighted when my Best Friend suggested a new installment of The Letter Game.

Basically, each player makes up a fictional character. You communicate with each other in letter format. (If you've ever read Freedom and Necessity by Steven Brust and Emma Bull, then you know what I'm talking about. That book exemplifies The Letter Game.) There is a reason why the two of you cannot get together, which is why you're communicating through your letters. Each missive spins another piece of the plot, which means that the game is a collaborative fiction project. And it's rollicking good fun!

Our previous letter game was pure fantasy. It started out as a light hearted romp, but some darker elements got introduced, which we ran with. It got very messy, very quickly, and we had a blast!

This time, the story isn't quite so blatantly fantastical. (But it'll be fun to see where it goes.) Each character so far has jobs in the "modern day". But there are hints--ripples, if you will--under the surface of the first letters, which are basically comprised of, "Wow! How strange to hear from you. You'd been on my mind a lot, lately. I'm not just saying this, but I was about to contact you, too. No, really. About that stuff that happened a few years ago? It still haunts me...")

Between T. (my best friend), S. (my husband), and me, I think things can get very wierd, very quickly.

I can't wait.

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posted by Linda at 09:03 PM : Comments (0)

Get off your ass and help strike down proposed IRS Revenue Ruling 2004-6

I got an email from Gun Owners of America today. Did you know that in the face of McConnel vs. FEC, the IRS is now trying to get Revenue Ruling 2004-6 passed?

In a nutshell, it would do the following (quoted from the email text, and also found here):

* Unlike McCain-Feingold, the proposed Revenue Ruling would not be restricted to broadcast ads. Rather, it would apply to newspaper ads, e-mail alerts, newsletters, and other communications by organizations such as GOA.

* Unlike McCain-Feingold, the proposed Revenue Ruling would not automatically exempt communications which occurred more than 60 days prior to an election -- or which fell below a certain monetary threshold.

* Unlike McCain-Feingold, the proposed Revenue Ruling would contain no fixed standards for compliance. Rather every GOA newsletter or alert would have to be published with the realization that the government, after the fact, could apply its vague criteria to determine that is was "impermissible."


In other words, this is a blatant attempt to muzzle organizations like the GOA and NRA. It would become so difficult to send communications to subscribers, that it may well end in silencing these sorts of organizations. With voters being denied a resource that helps then understand the 2nd Amendment issues of the day, they might miss crucial opportunities to make a stand against ridiculous, and even dangerous, controls like the one proposed by the IRS.

Thus will our rights to not only keep and bear arms, but to watchdog our own government, and speak freely--whether face-to-face, or in a written media-- be undermined.

Our representatives have until January 26th to comment on this proposal, and strike it down.

I urge all my regular readers to get out there and get active on this matter. Write and call your representatives today. Have them write the IRS and demand that they withdraw proposed Revenue Ruling 2004-6. You can contact your Representative and Senators by visiting the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center to send them a pre-written e-mail message.

Feel free, even, to use this form letter provided by the GOA:

Dear

The proposed IRS Revenue Ruling 2004-6 is an abomination.

It would put the government in charge of determining whether a broad range of newsletters, alerts, and other communications would be "allowed" by organizations such as Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association.

Unlike McCain-Feingold -- which was bad enough -- the proposed Revenue ruling would not be limited to broadcast ads. It would have no monetary threshold. And it would not be automatically inapplicable to communications which occur over 60 days before a general election.

Please write the Internal Revenue Service by January 26, 2004 and ask it to withdraw this ill-consider ruling. When submitting your comments to the IRS, please address your letter to the attention of Judy Kindell, T:EO:RA:G, 1111 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20224.

Sincerely,

Please note that activities like this have had success in the past. GOA offers up the following example:

"For example, when GOA learned that an anti-gun rider had been placed on a Defense authorization bill in September 2000, GOA alerted its members to this provision which would have allowed the Dept. of Defense to confiscate and destroy any military surplus item that had ever been sold by the government.

M1 Carbines, 1903 Springfields, Colt SAAs, uniforms, ammo, scopes -- and much more. All these privately-owned items could have been confiscated and destroyed by the feds.

GOA generated a groundswell of nationwide opposition against the confiscation attempt. But we especially targeted our focus on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The message evidently got through, as the Committee Chairman's office called GOA to discuss this problem after he received hoards of calls, postcards and e-mails from our members. The provision was removed, and Second Amendment rights were preserved.

But had this IRS regulation been in effect in 2000, the agency (which then was under Clinton's control) could have RETROACTIVELY punished GOA, stating that our activity would have been impermissible if just one of the targeted Senators had been facing reelection!"

I mean it. Get out of here, and go do something about this. NOW.

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posted by Linda at 04:36 PM : Comments (1)
January 12, 2004

Training hell

At roughly 4:30 Friday afternoon, I learned that I get to be in training for the next three days. (Way to plan ahead, team. Woo-frickin'-hoo.) The upside is that I really will have a new skill when this is done: working in Corel's XMetal, so's I can publish my technical documentation in the company's new repository, but the downside is that I won't get to be around here as much. (Yes, *sigh*, I'm also a tech writer. Yes, *sigh*, I'm sure someone out there, somewhere, has read one of my FAQ's. No, I won't point it out, because you're already entertained, as it is. Aren't you? Anyone? And the crickets go wild. Oooo-kay, then.)

So, I'll see you later. Take care. I have a couple of articles and rants that are spinning through my head.

Maybe I can draft them in...nah.

Later.
--Linda

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posted by Linda at 06:25 PM : Comments (1)
January 09, 2004

Captain Rivrdog and Crew: Alive, Dry, and Heroes.

Several of us have been keeping a close eye on the battle Captain Rivrdog has waged with the Mother over the last several days. We've prayed for him, written words of encouragement, and kept our fingers crossed.

Two posts from Smoke on the Water give us the final report: Two boats lost, all dock sheds lost, but all hands safe and well.

As Captain Jim says: and heroes all.

Captain Rivrdog and his hands stood in the face of the most ferocious winter storm the Pacific Coast has seen in decades. While Nature threw everything she could think of at them, they nevertheless stood to protect and secure their property, and the property of their friends. They did it without major human injury.

I am in awe. This is what heroes do. It isn't always about military action. This account is the exemplification of the sort of hearty souls who comprise Civilization. Heroes are people who do what must be done, simply because it is the right thing to do. They do it with fortitude, without complaint, and without fanfare. You need to read the accounts from Captain Jim's first post, Shipmates to get the full story, and the face-slapping, unending determination, hope, grit, and strength in each one of Rivrdog's updates. He never once gave up. He only abandoned ship temporarily, when she was in danger from sinking moorage and the threat of gasoline leaking from wrecks surrounding her. She could not be taken out to sea; too much detritus stood in her way.

Oh gods--enough from me. Go read for yourselves, and keep those prayers, vibes, and thoughts coming for brave Captain Rivrdog and his men.

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posted by Linda at 06:29 PM : Comments (4)

New Blog Showcase: Recovery Starts Today

My vote for New Blog Showcase is the entry, "December 17, 2003" from "December 17th".

This well-written, articulate blog is a sobering look into one man's wake-up call. On December 17th, 2003, he suffered a heart attack attributed to a blocked artery. An angioplasty was performed on the spot, and happily, he's on the mend. The blog is about his quest to take back his health. It's definitely worth regular visits.

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posted by Linda at 06:00 PM : Comments (1)

Security Advisory: Yellow

The Office of Homeland Security lowered the threat level to Yellow today. Our security measures are working so far; there has not been a single successful attack on US soil since 9/11.

For those, like me, who like to stay alert and keep their ducks in a row, the "Are You Ready? Guide to Citizen Preparedness" is found at Fema.gov, or by clicking the link I just provided.

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posted by Linda at 05:21 PM : Comments (0)
January 08, 2004

Get out of the way, Ethiopia

Roughly 18,000 Ethiopian Jews want to emigrate to Israel. Israel has said that they're willing to take them in, starting as early as next week.

The Ethiopian government is balking, saying that there's no need for massive airlifts, like occurred in 1984 and 1991.

The Jews who wish to depart are living in extreme poverty; but in Israel, they have a place to go. They can't afford to depart on their own, obviously, and I very much doubt that Israel is asking Ethiopia to defray the costs of the people's departure.

These people, called the Falasha Mura, have been persecuted and abused for centuries. They dream of returning to Zion, or Israel. In the 1980's and 1990's, in an effort to see the people peacefully brought into Israel, free from abuse they might receive from Islamic factions if they traveled on foot across the Sudan, Operations Moses and Solomon were organized, which brought all but roughly 18,000 of the Falashas to Israel.

Families were separated at that time. Children were orphaned by circumstance. These people can be reunited with their loved ones when the remaining emigres come to Israel. They'll face arduous process of integrating into an industrial society, but I perceive that they're strong. They can do it, and thrive among their Israeli brethren.

Given the region's history, and the fact that there is a thriving population of Muslims in that country, I intuit that Ethiopia's reticence may be based upon neither humanitarian or patriotic concerns.

Let Israel help the Falasha Mura go.

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posted by Linda at 07:16 PM : Comments (0)
January 07, 2004

Huh.

This comes as a surprise to me:

ISTP - "Engineer". Values freedom of action and following interests and impulses. Independent, concise in speech, master of tools. 5.4% of total population.
Take Free Myers-Briggs Personality Test


I never guessed.

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posted by Linda at 11:13 PM : Comments (1)

Welcome home.

(Via Blackfive.)


The 101st Airborne is coming home. The first planeload arrived today.


This is a moment of unadulterated joy as I pause to consider just how good it must feel for these soldiers to be home, and how good it must feel for their families to see them safe and sound.

I didn't start bawling until I read the part about the little boy hugging his Daddy's knee.

Thank you all SO MUCH. Welcome home.

3dflagsdotcom_usa_2fawm.gif

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posted by Linda at 10:15 PM : Comments (0)

By the way,

Halliburton is in the clear.

I thought I'd just point that out since the major news outlets seem to have glossed over the fact.

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posted by Linda at 09:08 PM : Comments (0)

Only "stones", eh?

This is a picture
of the "stone-throwing protestors". It was taken by an AP photojournalist in Nablus.

You might remember the incident. It was the one in which 15-year-old Amjad al-Masri died in his (implied innocent) "protest" from a rooftop. The IDF has been criticized for "over-reacting" to mere "protestors".

Let's understand one thing. Depicted are cement building bricks. Dropped from a height, they can be deadly. There is a difference between petulantly throwing ground pepples at soldiers, and trying to crush their skulls with bricks lobbed from a height.

For me, the picture says everything that needs to be said.

I cordially invite the editors of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The Associated Press, and Reuters to adequately explain their inaccurate portrayal of the events of January 2nd.

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posted by Linda at 08:40 PM : Comments (0)
January 06, 2004

For those who go upon the water

Captain Jim from Smoke on the Water tells us about his friend, Rivrdog, who is currently weathering the winter storm raging along the Oregon coast.

Rivrdog is Port Captain for his yacht club, and mans the watch to keep the weight of the accumulating ice and snow from sinking the floating sheds, and so the boats moored within them. It's cold, brutal work.

Say a prayer for this man and for his wife. May they come through unscathed, with fair winds and following seas thereafter.

UPDATE:
Captain Rivrdog is having a rough time of it.

Prayers. Lots of them. Please.

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posted by Linda at 11:16 PM : Comments (2)

Food for Thought

Steven Den Beste and Pixy Misa have provided quite a feast for thought.

They explore the roots of political differences as based in differing philosophical schools, and helped me underscore in my own mind why political structures erected by elitist idealists will generally fail.

I've always thought of myself as a material realist; a pragmatist, if you will.

Enough about me. Go and read both articles in their entirety.

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posted by Linda at 08:33 PM : Comments (0)

Writer's Block

I'm having writer's block. Working on it, of course, but still...

At the heart of it is last week's visit by dear friends. It was indescribably good. I'm still digesting a lot of what happened; everything we talked about. It was intense, in a really good way. That's part of the problem with having a friend who lives across the country. When you get together, every moment is packed full of connection and just plain fun. As the highlight, T. and I had Friday to just go out together, and be girly. But that afternoon held conversation and confidences that are balm and inspiration to any free-thinking woman's soul. I'm being abstruse on purpose right now, but I will be putting up a post about the visit later.

I miss them both so much. I wish it were feasible for them to move here.

More later.

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posted by Linda at 07:10 PM : Comments (0)

How Greenpeace Engages in Criminal Activity

Via Trey Givens:

Their mistake was that here, Greenpeace actually paid for this very illegal protest. Call it peaceful all you want, but I'll wager this isn't the first time they've funded criminal activities.

And keep in mind this is very illegal. You're allowed to say what you want and protest all you want on your own property. You are certainly NOT allowed to clamber upon someone else's boat, house, car, building, whatever, to speak your mind. If you are not welcome on private property, we call that trespassing and it is a criminal activity.

(Emphasis mine. --L.)

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posted by Linda at 06:10 PM : Comments (0)

Oh my Gawd! We're actually making them check in at the border?

How dare we! We're so evil, so bad, so damn presumptuous, asking visitors to our country to check in!

My Anti-Idiotarian liege, Emperor Misha I, gives us the details in prose perfect for the occasion.

F.E.T.E

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posted by Linda at 05:18 PM : Comments (0)