01 October 2008


I wasn't really against it at first, but I didn't see much use for Twitter. If you use MySpace or Facebook, you can update what you are doing for your friends to see quite often.

Then I signed up. It was slow at first to show it's charm, then I downloaded the desktop Twitter ap Twirl and followed a couple of people and sites I know and enjoy. While working both online and off, I get tweets from all I follow instantly, alot of the time with a downsized url link for a picture or news story of interest.

It's like a personalized chat room with the world with the ability to control spam and trolls instantly. I'm quickly growing enamored to the on the go ability to keep in touch without having to have a 20 minute conversation or playing with stupid catchpa's everytime you want to buzz a friend.

I'm all A-Twitter, what can I say. Follow me.

09 September 2008

The Born-Again American

I want to run screaming for my life. There is a sense of urgency, and a palpable element of impending theocracy that makes me truly scared to be an American. Forget the Taliban or Al Qaeda. I'm starting to worry that America is going to be destroyed from the inside, by bible thumping christian extremists who systematically destroy the principles that America was founded on, call it patriotism, and wrap it up in yellow ribbons, packaged in China and sold at Wal-Mart daily. Our founding fathers would be ashamed.

After all the blood that had been shed to secure freedoms in this country and throughout the free world, after gaining ground for civil rights, women's rights, and veteran's rights, America is split half and half over whether or not they want to bring about an era ruled by people who would love nothing more than to indoctrinate the entire population of America's schoolchildren the the creation story as told in a book, as interpreted by ONE faction of religious faith in this country. I am flabbergasted at the gall. "Love it, or Leave it" they cry.

cartoon by Chris Ridell.

YOU are not fit to be an American if you don't want for Jewish children to have to be taught that their people are damned because they don't believe their Christ story.
YOU are not fit to be an American if you don't want to buy a new SUV and fill it up with newly drilled American oil raped straight out of our nations heart in the name of keeping Big Oil at the top of the food chain.
YOU are not fit to be an American if you are white and are voting to 'give the nation to the coloreds' . Don't tell me you haven't said it, I'm a white American sitting in your white living rooms and restaurants listening to you tell me " I know it sounds bad, but I just can't vote for a _____ " Add your own adjective here, could say muslim, black guy, guy who sounds like Osama. Ridiculous.

Yes, that last one bothers me the most. Race relations, as seen from sitting on the whitewashed side of the fence, in America is in terrible shape still. My parents wouldn't allow us to use such labels to describe our neighbors. My brother and I were raised in the military with people of all kinds of nationalities and faiths. We didn't see the disparity because we all lived in the same environment and in the same economic bracket.

Outside of the military's insular society, however, I noticed how deep the roots of race disparity go. I have sat in a trailer living room with a confederate flag as a curtain and heard it. I have been at swanky dinners and heard it. You know, white people in the presence of white companions feeling comfortable enough to still hang on to feelings of racial superiority and voice their complaints against the 'Uppity' members of our nation.

Still, in 2008, when it is proven that there is no biological basis for categorization by race, we draw lines as to which citizens are worthy citizens by the color of their skin. Shame on you.

The ideology of white, christian, males is falling out of favor in the rest of the world, and the last bastion of power, like Rome to the catholics, is America.

Rome fell, I would like you to remember, from the inside. A crumbling myth of a civilization that influenced much, but corrupted itself just the same.

Barack Obama is the symbol to show that at least half of this country has evolved enough in their thinking and realize that it doesn't matter if his father is African. He is American, and he loves this country. He is intelligent to the human struggle from living a life that has brought him into contact with many different ideologies. He knows the reality of humanity and the danger of theocracy.

I love my country, I have traveled the world behind my father and cried and worried over my only sibling, my brother, while he fought.  I don't want to see it go the horrible direction it has been going since Bush took office. McCain and Palin will continue the path taken by their ol pal Dub-ya whether they distance themselves from his figure or not.

Please, wake up, Please, wake up, Please, wake up.....

Vote for Barack Obama ~ Vote for HOPE!

12 August 2008

Zip-Up Dress with Leopard Print Cuff & Collar

I loved the weight of this dress immediately. It's slinky and heavy, so it hugs just right.
The olive green color and leopard print cuffs and collar will look really good this fall.
It's up for bids until next Tuesday, click here to bid.

Picking Up the Pieces

My Vintage obsession had to wait until after graduation. Before, I didn't blog about the stuff I found. I had joined Blogger as something else to do, and have been doing well lately at it. Time to combine my two favorite things.

The 15th American Music Festival at Virginia Beach

These shots were taken in January, the sky was so blue. It was about 72º F that day. King Neptune reigns over the Virginia Beach boardwalk. If you have never been, Labor Day weekend is an excellent time to bring the family to the seashore for a final summer blast.

There is the Rock-N-Roll 1/2 Marathon, August 31 for runners, and the American Music Festival, August 29-31, which runs up and down the boardwalk with lots of stages and a crazy selection of bands and musicians. Some headlining acts require tickets to get to the stage area, but they are all open air shows right on the beach. Plenty of other great bands can be seen free of charge.

Headlining this year are the B-52's with the Motels, Billy Idol, and Morris Day and the Time with Bel Biv Devoe...I KNOW! It gets better, for free...Eddie Money, WAR, Los Lobos and Warrant, the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, just to mention a few. A regular throwdown on the beach with plenty of room.
It's a great time for anyone. The City of Virginia Beach takes pride in maintaining a family friendly atmosphere. Y'all come down.

11 August 2008

Love - It's What's For Dinner...Heart-shaped Meatloaf

Nothing brings my crew to the table faster than homestyle cooking. When G-Man asked what was for dinner and I replied, "meatloaf", I had a request I get from time to time. He wanted to know if I would make it into a heart shape like I did for Valentine's Day (or birthday or anniversary, sometimes). I didn't see why not, so that's what we did. This is comfort food, pure and simple with no frills or experimentation.

Moms Meatloaf
2 - 2 1/2 lbs of ground beef
1 small - medium onion, chopped fine
1 small - medium green bell pepper chopped fine
1 slightly beaten egg
2 Tbsp each of your favorite worchestershire sauce, steak sauce, and ketchup.
Salt and Pepper to taste - I use about 1 tsp each

Preheat oven to 350º F and spray a large casserole dish with a non-stick cooking spray. Now for the down and dirty - By hand, mix all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly blended. Gather the mass up into a ball and place in the middle of the casserole dish. Shape into a heart, or whatever your heart's desire.
Bake for about 45 minutes, and then take out to drizzle ketchup on the top right from the squeeze bottle. I made a crosshatch pattern this time. Put it back in the oven under a low broil for about 10 minutes or until the ketchup is thickening or carmelizing a bit. There's no shame in using ketchup in a recipe, and don't let anyone tell you there is.
Take out of oven and let rest for 2-3 minutes, and then cut into slices about an inch thick. Tonight I served ours with mashed potatoes and peas.
Look for my killer mashed potato recipe soon!

10 August 2008

Free Rice

To my sideboard I have added a link for FreeRice.com , a game that the Pirate introduced us to about a year ago. It is a vocabulary game which has you choose a word from four that best matches a given word. Every word you get right, the sponsors donate rice through the United Nations World Food Program. Spending a few minutes piddling around with this game is nothing but simple goodness.

I love words and language; one of my other blogs is dedicated to vocabulary and I had the link there. I thought I'd put it here too. I hope you do check it out, and bookmark it.

The one click entry gets you started playing immediately with your first word. You can change the options to let it set a cookie to remember how many grains you have donated or to remember your highest level, etc.

No memberships, no emails, no passwords.

Simple Goodness...now go play.

08 August 2008

Nansemond Indian Pow Wow

Every August for 16 years we have attended the Nansemond Indian Tribe Pow Wow in the Chuckatuck Village area of Suffolk. We look forward to it each year, and wouldn't think of missing it.

The Nansemond tribe, part of the mighty Powhatan Empire, were among the first indigenous tribes encountered by English colonizers from both the Roanoke colony at Virginia Beach and the Jamestown colony on the north side of the James River.

The Nansemond River runs off of the James southern banks. There were four tribal settlements along the river. An attack by a scouting party led by John Smith and his men began a relationship of warfare between the Anglos and the tribes of the Powhatan Empire.

Ironically, the survival of the seeds of our Nation depended on the knowledge and aid of the people of the Empire.

Today, many of Virginia's Native American tribes still battle for federal recognition by the United States government. This would give them the (very meager) benefits allowed to federally recognized tribes and their people (such as the Sioux, or the Cherokee).

The Nansemonds, in particular, have been petitioning the local government requesting the deed to their ancestral tribal lands at Lone Star Lakes. They would like to build a recreation of a tribal town documented by John Smith. Mattanock Town would serve the community need for understanding and preservation of the remnants of a once great society.

I go to support them every year, and I hope you will too. The date for this year is August 16-17. For more information visit the official site of the Nansemond Tribe.
Here are some photos from previous years.


07 August 2008

Psst...It's Officially Olympics Time! 08-08-08

WARNING: I am an Olympic Games junkie.

It started when I was a teen in Germany in the early 80's. We went to both the infamous 1972 Munich OlympicStadt and the 1964 & 1976 Innsbruck, Austria Olympic sites. Looking off of the top of a ski jump is fairly freaky. Oh, to be back in the Alps with the clear, fresh, cold air...maybe one day.

Anyway, I know these are the summer Olympics. I love them both for the same reasons. Tradition, passion, pride, strength, and mostly, the top of human form which is a love of mine. Did I mention I tutor Human Anatomy & Physiology for nursing students? The subject never ceases to amaze me.

I'll have to scan the old film photos to my computer so I can share those memories. I just wanted to make sure we are clear as to where my head will be for the next two weeks (plus the 3 week withdrawl).

Up The Irons

How could today go by without recognizing a serious metal birthday to the Air Raid Siren himself. Bruce Dickinson is 50 today. I can hardly believe it, he certainly doesn't look 50.

I had (still do) a hot and heavy infatuation with ol' Bruce throughout the 80's. Forget the skinny, pale punk rock dudes (I'll retract that statement if anyone mentions Joey Ramone) I wanted a hairy-chested-and-not-afraid-to-bare-it, football playing, fencing, tight leather and stud wearing MAN who sings like no one else.

Seriously, Bruce's voice is incomparable and the music that Iron Maiden creates is a true gift to metal.

Happy Birthday, Bruce.

Ginger on the Beach

06 August 2008

Jonesing for Busch Gardens

Going through some photos, I found some from Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. We usually have season passes, but we decided to take a break this year because we really don't want to take it for granted.

Looking at the pictures, I understand just how taking a break helps with 'keeping the spark' in my long relationship with Virginia's totally awesome theme park. I understand, because I really really, really want to go. I know it's only going to get worse when the Howl-O-Scream ads start streaming from the local television channels.

Everything from wildlife preservation to the wildest rides (Griffon, anyone?), wonderful food and world class landscaping, and friendly employees from all over the world.

Ahh, I can smell the waffle cones cooking now. Or the barbeque pit at the Trappers Village in New France (juicy grilled chicken while we watch the Griffon, anyone?). Ooo, or the brats and brews at Oktoberfest's Festhaus. Oh, and the stew at Groghan's in Ireland...now I HAVE to go so I can get pictures of all that. Where to go first?!

Until then, I hope some of these pictures help bring the place to life a bit.

I'll add more later. I will be spending the day with PurpleNonna tomorrow for our once a week meet and clean-a-house which has been going on for about 15 years.
PurpleNonna always has some roundabout wisdom, and a kookiness I just adore. We have been friends for 17 years, with some missing ones in between. I always look forward to Thursdays with PN.
See you tomorrow! I'm trying for a 365 day streak. Wish me luck.

The Wall

Today in 1982, the film The Wall opened in New York. Starring Bob Geldolf and directed by Alan Parker, the movie is centered around the Pink Floyd album of the same name, and chronicles the life of a musician haunted by madness, drugs, fame and his past. It's trippy in the way that only a screenplay written by Roger Waters himself can deliver. I have plenty of memories of watching this flick as a teenager in the 80's with and without mind-altering help. Fabbo, and worth raising a glass in honor.

Simple Goodness: Oatmeal

G-man went playing with the Queen's son yesterday and as they were running through the tall grass, they got ate up by some type of insect or another. Be it chiggers or skeeters, G's poor legs are covered with bites this morning, so I ordered up a dose of antihistamine and an oatmeal bath.

Oatmeal bath: put a cup of uncooked whole oats in a nylon sack (like the footies you use in the shoe store) and tie a knot at the top to close it. Run a tub of warm water and get in with the oatmeal. Relax. As the oatmeal gets wet it will leach out a milky starch into the water. It will help with itchy skin. Good for insect bites, poison ivy/oak/sumac, and other skin conditions such as chicken pox. Bonus, your skin will be so soft.

As I was making G-man's bath sachet, I had a hankering for some real oatmeal, not the instant stuff. So this was breakfast.

Maple Cinnamon Oatmeal for Two

1 3/4 cups of water or milk (or a combo of both)
1 cup of whole 'old fashioned' oats
optional dash or two of salt
Brown sugar
Maple syrup


Bring water/milk to a boil, add oats, cook five minutes. Remove from heat and let stand a minute.

Add cinnamon and brown sugar to taste with a tablespoon or two of maple syrup and stir it together in the pot.

Put into two bowls and, for easy clean up, immediately run water into the pot and let set.

Sprinkle on a touch more cinnamon and sugar, add a small dollop of fresh butter and a drizzle of maple syrup. Share with a beloved.

Trying to keep up with a fast paced life makes it easy to forget the simple things. Taking five minutes to whip up whole oats is better for your health and keeps packaging waste down when you stop yourself from reaching for the instant individually packaged stuff. I'll bet whoever gets the second bowl will sure appreciate it!

Keep Virginia Green, slow down, and get some sweet simple goodness.

05 August 2008

Michelle Obama at ODU

I'm quite excited that the city of Norfolk and Old Dominion University are hosting a round table meeting giving Army wives an audience with Michelle Obama. USA Today reported that she is being given Virginia hospitality by our Governor, Tim Kaine, as he is 'at her elbow'.

Both my Pirate and I raised an eyebrow, as the possibility of an upcoming announcement of Vice Presidential candidate dare I say Timothy M. Kaine has been brought up, much to my delight.

I speak for myself when I say I truly hope that Kaine will be on the Democratic ticket. This is the first election where I will be voting Democrat, and this is a very big deal to me. I have been raised and have voted all of my life as a Republican.

Then I went to college (at ODU, by the way).

I learned about a wide range of issues both domestic and global, and most importantly learned how I felt about these issues. I hate to say it, but I voted without really knowing the depth of my part. I realize this now, and I really believe that Barack and Michelle Obama, (and hoping the Kaine family, also) will really be the balm that America needs to heal up and move forward.

Virginia's sons and daughters have shaped history for centuries; I know Virginia has more to give the world. There is no better time than now.

Fresh Spinach and Tomato Omelet

Very easy, full of summer flavor, and oh so good for you.

One of my 'things' is to have a summer garden. Not a big one, mind you, for I am a bit lazy in the Tidewater heat. Spinach and tomatoes are as prevalent as cucumber and peppers, and they are coming out of our ears right about now. Using our fresh produce up needs a dash of daily inspiration. Here's breakfast this morning.

Enough eggs for 2 apiece
1-2 ripe red tomatoes
1-2 green onions chopped (use the green part, too)
a handful of fresh spinach leaves, no stems
a bit of shredded cheddar cheese (I get a bit less than a handful)
sprinkling of dried basil, salt and pepper to taste
a couple of spoons of fresh ricotta cheese
for Dad, a few dashes of Texas Pete hot sauce on the finished plate.

Blanche and peel a couple of tomatoes, then dice. Add some olive oil (or around here, a spoon of bacon grease) to a skillet and bring it up to a medium-high heat.
Add the chopped green onions and fresh spinach to the skillet and sweat them down for about 2-3 minutes. Space them out with a spatula so there is spinach all through the omelet.
Add 2 slightly beaten eggs and rotate the skillet a little so that the egg goes all around the bottom. Sprinkle basil , salt and pepper to taste.
I like my eggs done, so I flip the whole thing like a pancake when the bottom is set (after about 1-2 minutes) and allow the other side to cook. If you like yours unflipped, just don't flip it and continue...

Put some diced tomatoes and cheddar cheese down the center and fold over. Take the skillet off of the heat.
Let it continue to melt the cheese for another minute, and slide it on a plate.
Add a dollop of cool ricotta cheese on the side with some toast and coffee.
Make a fresh one for everyone, or maybe share one with a beloved.

I shared mine with a beloved. Meet Ginger.
Of course, I didn't let her get any of the onions, since they are bad for dogs to eat.
I'm off to Courtland to visit with the Queen of Greenthumbria, my Master Gardner friend and dear to my heart.
See you later!

04 August 2008

The Witch Tree

I think the photo bug has been fixed. This is a tree in the Shenandoah valley, it is on my Pirate's parent's property. It has become one of my favorite trees and subject for pictures. I'm certain to post more, place a bet on it.

30 July 2008

The Song Remains The Same...Still

Thirty-five years ago...

Today in 1973 (I was just three!), a little concert in Madison Square Garden was given by Led Zeppelin. It was filmed to make the movie The Song Remains The Same which was released in '76.

When I was a teenager in the '80's, I was a quasi-new-age hippie headbanger, and I could not get enough Zeppelin, Sabbath, or Purple in my mainly metal diet.

Just reliving those [pun] Good Times, Bad Times [/pun] today and giving a two fingered salute to Led Zep and all the funky-fabulous fans who were there that night 35 years ago.

06 June 2008

Holding Back The Years: Mick Hucknall

One of the most recognizable voices of the last two and a half decades, Mick Hucknall, singer for Simply Red is having a birthday this weekend (June 8th).

Known for his soulful voice and his locks of wild red curls, Hucknall has also been highly visible as a political supporter of the UK Labour Party.

In recent years, Mick has calmed his admitted womanizing, carousing, and partying to finally find the happiness he had been seeking with a wonderful woman and their beautiful daughter, which, glory be, has his lovely ginger locks.

Continuing his excellent contribution to the world of music, he recorded a solo venture Tribute to Bobby which pays homage to Bobby 'Blue' Bland by recording his own renditions of some of BB's classics. The album was released on May 19th 2008.

On Monday, Simply Red will release collectors editions of their albums Picture Book and A New Flame. They will do some concert dates together this summer, interspersed with Mick's solo shows supporting Tribute to Bobby. Visit the band's official website for more information and plenty of multimedia links for your enjoyment at simplyred.com .

27 May 2008

Quickie 'Bout the Sixties...Musical Revolutions

The following is an exerpt from a collaboration paper for Dr. Elva Smith's Social Change and Movement class. This was my contribution to the melange:

Like the cliché catch-22, experimentation with sex and drugs both became a result of and a genesis of popular music of the 1960’s. Free love and open minds mixed and mingled unreservedly with the musical expressions of coming-of-age baby boomers. The result is a quite mythical counterculture with a unique soundtrack of songs that, when played, instantly transports the listener to a time of great social change in America and the world.

However, sex and drugs were not the primary driving force of popular music of the counterculture movement; in actuality the social climate of the sixties fueled the artistic grandeur that makes up the music of that time, much as it does in today’s world.
The war in Vietnam, the civil rights movement, and the feminist movement, all had an immeasurable influence in the music of the sixties as evidenced by the lyrics of some of the most enduring songs of that era. Songs like “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield, “The Times They Are a Changing” by Bob Dylan and “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival still evoke images in the minds of the listener of war, civil strife and an unrepentant shrugging off of traditionalist values.

The question inevitably is whether or not the music of the sixties had an enduring social effect. Whether one’s opinion is that the effect was good or bad, one can not deny that there was a definitive change in the social fabric which was in part motivated by the music.
The change encompassed more than social norms. The actual business of music was changed by the musicians and songwriters of the time. The aforementioned artists and their peers demanded artistic control over their music, and effectively took the reins from the hands of record company businessmen for the first time in music history. The spirit of autonomy borne of the rebellious nature of these artists paved the way for today’s “indie” bands which still have a powerful influence with the youth of today’s world.

Popular music is the voice of social collectivities when their voices can not find a true audience with world leaders. The voice of the music urges the listener to think, feel, and act. Above that, popular music is a truly entertaining historical record reflecting the social landscape of the time in which it was created.

Works Referenced

Echols, Alice. Shaky Ground: The Sixties and It’s Aftershocks. New York: Columbia University Press. 2002.
Cavallo, Dominick. A Fiction of the Past: The Sixties in American History. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 2001
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