Thursday, November 30, 2006

Out With the Old

minivan2, originally uploaded by CraftyGuy.

R.I.P.: Our 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport Minivan

The minivan died last night while I was on my way to pick up MJ and Bethanie from youth group. I'm not sure which I find more annoying - that the van stopped running only about 1/2 mile from my destination, or that the foolish thing couldn't wait two more days before conking out so that we could at least drive it to the dealership for the trade-in (we already had a replacement vehicle picked out, and the paperwork was in progress!)

But on the upside, it did its job relatively well for the 5 years we had it (and it did rack up over 175,000 miles!) And we will be getting the van towed to the dealership tomorrow and picking up our new vehicle - a 2000 Chevy Blazer with 4-wheel drive. Boo-yah!!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Theodore Roosevelt's ideas on Immigrants and being an AMERICAN in 1907

For today blog, I give you a quote from Theodore Roosevelt.

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American...There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Still very appropriate for this day and age.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Creative Flow

Ya just gotta love the holidays. I mean, besides all the food, getting together with family and friends, the food, creating fond memories, and the food, there's all the beautiful and often handmade crafts and decorations (did I mention the food?)

Something about making crafts, whether for display or gifting, really resonates with me. I can even find myself admiring Martha Stewart. I mean this lady is really talented - a domestic MacGyver of sorts. Who else can create a festive holiday centerpiece will little more than toenail clippings and used tampons?

Speaking of which, here's one for the "you have got to be kidding and I wish you were" files. I stumbled across (rather, someone wishing to remain anonymous showed me) this one website, celebrating the many varied and creative uses for - of all things - tampons.

Yes, you read that correctly: tampons. Apparently they're no longer just teabags for vampires (that is what that string is for, right? And I thought Lipton was famous for the "flow-through" bag!) Celestial Seasonings? Ahhh, no - I don't think so...

Anyhow, the URL for this veritable treasure trove of "Ewww"-ness is There, you will find the instructions for creating a myriad of crafts for any occasion. There is even instructions for making your very own tampon shooter. The description for which reads as follows:

The Menstrual Militia is now recruiting! Arm yourself with a Tampon Shooter and report for target practice and tactical tampon maneuvers. Safe for indoor or outdoor use, this air-powered gun fires tampons "bullets" up to 20 feet. Our Tampon Bandolier insures that you've always got a supply of ammo at the ready, plus you'll never have to hunt around for a spare tampon in case you really need one.

Now there's something I wouldn't even touch with a 10-foot applicator!

I'm sure there will be new projects added, so you will need to check back there periodically.

Well, I'm at a loss...

Until next month (if not sooner)...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

cranberries, originally uploaded by CraftyGuy.

The turkey is stuffed, as will be the rest of us this afternoon. I even brought the cranberries.

Hope you have an enjoyable Turkey Day!

Gobble Gobble.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Road Ahead

Evening Commute, originally uploaded by CraftyGuy.

To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven:

A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted,

A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to break down and a time to build up,

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

A time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away,

A time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak,

A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiates 3:1-8 (AMP)

The time for grieving has passed for me, and it's now time to start living life again. Life is indeed short, but what matters is how we can make the most of the time we have. Life is too short for worrying about everything (though is often much we feel we have to worry about - as if that could even change anything!), and certainly far too short to spend it looking for the negatives: the bad side of things, the "angles" we think people have.

I don't know what the road ahead holds for me - only God know that (and I'm quite happy to leave those details in His more-than-capable hands!), but there is only one way to find out - live it out, moment by moment, day by day.

And that's just what I intend to do.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tribute to a good friend and fellow barbershopper

Tony Tribute 1, originally uploaded by CraftyGuy.

Anthony J (Tony) Iacobone Sr. (second from the right, standing to my right, in the quartet photo) passed away on November 10, 2006. I had the pleasure, privelege, and honor of singing with him in the quartet "Z Street" and the "Sounds of Concord" chorus. A good bass, an even better friend, not soon to be forgotten.

This was the last photo taken of the quartet (and our best one).

Quartet photo (c) 2004 by Mark Lawrence.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Day After

The elections have come and gone. As I expected, things did not work out ideally. Massachusetts has it's first Democrat Governor since Dukakis (or is that Do-Tax-Us) back in the early 90s, so of course taxes will be on their way back up. Plus Deval Patrick is in favor of giving driver's licenses to illegal residents (I won't use the term "immigrants" here because it would be insulting to legitimate immigrants who played by the rules and worked hard to come here). These same illegal residents would be given reduced tuition to state colleges - yes, this would be the very same reduced tuition that should only be going to legitimate (and legal) residents of this state. This guy will make the Clintons look like Republicans!

On the upside, Massachusetts has elected it's first African-American Governor - most historic indeed, and all well and good in-and-of itself; I just wish it had been someone else (couldn't we have found someone a bit more conservative - sheesh!)

And good 'ol Teddy (cough) is still our Senator - why should I be surprised? He is a Kennedy after all...

At least I can take solace in the fact that we didn't have a hand in re-electing Hillary to the Senate.

But somehow life will go on.

I suspect I'll be in a proper frame of mind tomorrow to start doing normal blogging again. Until then, I will continue banging my head on the nearest wall.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Election Day

Well, at least as happy as it gets. I did my civic duty this morning and voted, however unthrilled I was over the selection of candidates. Ok - I was very much in favor of one of our gubenatorial candidates - I won't name names here of course, but our choice is between:
  1. Someone who is in favor of giving driver licenses and reduced college tuitions - which are best reserved for legal residents of this state - to illegal immigrants. (Sorry Jack - I shouldn't have to pay for someone else's gravy train, thank you.)
  2. An independent candidate who's only running out of spite against one of the other candidates.
  3. A Green party candidate who isn't even a faint blip on the political radar (The "what" party? Let me know when we have a candidate from the Plaid party).
  4. Our current Lieutenant Governor.

None are the perfect choice of course, but IMHO one clearly rises to the top.

I am not terribly optimistic that the person I voted for will be elected - our lovely commonwealth is far too liberal to see straight, but so be it.

Beyond the race for Governor, the pickings were mightly slim for all other offices with elections. For example, our useless, no-op, loudmouth senator will still be in office, all because of his being a member of a certain family (and our state's penchant for voting out of 'tradition' without any real consideration of the person being voted for).

Ah well, at least I voiced myself in the form of my vote. If you didn't vote in whatever elections are being held in your particular locale, then SHAME ON YOU. We (at least for the time being) still live in a free society, and voting is a right (for citizens only, thank you) and a privilege. If you are going to reap any of the benefits of our society, then you should at least do your duty and vote.

That's it for now. Happy voting!