Saturday, December 18, 2010

D.A.D.T.? R.I.P.! :-)

As Jarrell pointed out to us in his post, following similar action earlier this week in the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate today cleared the way for a final up-or-down vote on the repeal of the military policy of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) by voting 63 to 33 in favor of cloture (that's political-speak for stopping the debate on a specific subject, in this case DADT).

All Democratic senators voted for cloture except for one, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia (who now holds the seat of Senator Robert Byrd who died earlier this year), who did not vote. Voting "YEA" with the 55 Democratic senators, were 6 Republican senators (Susan Collins & Olympia Snowe both of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois--who holds President Obama's former seat, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, George Voinovich of Ohio, and Scott Brown of Massachusetts--this is Senator Ted Kennedy's former seat. A fact that is particularly satisfying for me--being a longtime Kennedy fan), and the 2 independent senators, Bernie Sanders of Vermont & Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

I found a few quotes from some of the senators who voted today:

As Barry Goldwater [former conservative Arizona Republican Senator and 1964 US Presidential candidate] said, 'You don't have to be straight to shoot straight.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada

I don't care who you love, if you love this country enough to risk your life for it, you shouldn't have to hide who you are. You ought to be able to serve.
Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.

I can't think of something more egregious to our fabric, to our military... If you care about national security, if you care about military readiness, you will vote against this corrosive policy.
Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's former Senate seat)

And from President Obama (who will hopefully be signing the repeal very soon):

By ending 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay, [a]nd no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.

Compare these statements with comments from two of the opponents of ending the 17-year-old injustice of DADT:

I was shocked at how well this [DADT] has worked for a long period of time. We have a saying in Oklahoma, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' Well, this isn't broke, it's working very well.
Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma

And Arizona Senator John McCain, DADT's one-man cheer-leading squad????

He made it very short-but-not-so-sweet:

Today's a very sad day.

Yeah, a sad day for homophobia, and fear, and ignorance and official government sanctioning of lies & deception (at least for the military personnel charged with keeping our country safe).

While he wasn't a Senator or citizen of the U.S., and while he lived in the 18th century as an Irish author, Oliver Goldsmith, I think, had some good advice for Senator McCain and his political blood brothers:

Don't let us make imaginary evils, when you know we have so many real ones to encounter.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ten Most Fattening Foods Of Summer

1. High-Fat Meats on the Barbecue

The bad news: barbecue can sabotage your waistline. A 20 ounce T-bone can weigh in at 1,540 calories and 124 g fat; an average cheeseburger has about 750 calories and 45 grams of fat; and pork or beef ribs? They come from the fattiest part of the animal. The good news: You can go lean with cuts like pork tenderloin, skinless chicken breast, and lean ground beef.

2. Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Hot dogs and sausages are favorite summer treats for many of us, but you might want to save them for baseball games. It’s not just about fat or calories (after all, you can choose lower fat varieties) but hot dogs, bratwursts, sausages and most dogs are high in sodium. A typical hot dog has 280 calories, 15 grams of fat, and 1,250 mg of sodium, while a 6-ounce kielbasa has 330 calories, 24 grams of fat, and 1,590 mg sodium.

3. Mayonnaise-Based Salads

A small half-cup portion of typical potato salad has 180 calories and 12 grams of fat; the same amount of coleslaw has about 150 calories and 8 grams of fat. To cut calories, try making your salads with light mayonnaise; or mix mayo with low-fat yogurt, light sour cream, or chicken stock. Or why not try a German-style potato salad, using more vinegar than oil? Then toss lots of veggies into any salad to increase the fiber and nutrients.

4. Frozen Concoctions

Sweet, fruity alcoholic drinks (the kind often served with an umbrella) may go down easy, but the calories add up in a hurry. A piña colada can range from 245-490 calories, a daiquiri from 300-800 calories, and a Long Island iced tea can set you back 520 calories or more -- with much of it from sugar. Instead of high calorie drinks, try wine, a wine spritzer, or a mixed drink with seltzer and a splash of 100% fruit juice.

5. Satisfying Thirst Quenchers

Staying hydrated is essential in summer, but those cold drinks can wreak havoc with your waistline. Be careful what you choose -- if you're drinking 12-ounce containers of sweet tea, sweetened soda, energy drinks, juice drinks, or beer, you're probably taking in about 150 calories a pop. Smoothies, milkshakes and cold coffee concoctions can go much higher. Keep liquids in check and drink water or light versions of your favorite quenchers.

6. Refreshing Frozen Treats

A cup of soft-serve ice cream can have 380 calories and 22 grams of fat. Make it a Dairy Queen chocolate chip cookie dough blizzard and the calories soar to 720, with 28 grams of fat! You don’t need to give up frozen treats, just pass on the giant portions or high fat toppings. Look for frozen desserts like sherbet, fudge bars, fruit bars, or other treats under 150 calories per serving or fruit desserts like strawberry shortcake.

7. Frighteningly Fattening Fair Food

Fairs, carnivals, and boardwalks serve up some of the most fattening deep-fried diet disasters. From fried cheesecake (around 500 calories), fried macaroni and cheese (610 calories) to gigantic turkey legs (1,136 calories and 54 g fat), most eat-while-you-walk foods will give you calorie overload. Skip the fried foods and choose cotton candy, caramel apples, or a simple grilled meat or share your treat with a friend.

8. Salad Toppers

Salads can be the perfect summer dinner: light, refreshing, and a perfect way to get your produce and lean protein. If you top your salad with high-calorie items, it can go from lean to fattening in a hurry. High-calorie dressings, fried chicken strips, bacon, cheese, and croutons are among the biggest offenders. Instead, top your greens with grilled chicken, strips of lean meat, or eggs, then pile on the veggies and top with a light dressing.

9. Mindless Munching on Snacks

A handful of any kind of snack won't do much harm, but eat too much and it can sabotage your diet. Each ounce of potato chips or cheese puffs is roughly 160 calories and 10 grams of fat. Cheese nachos will set you back 692 calories (plus 38 g fat and 1,632 mg sodium); and a 10-cup box of movie theater popcorn has 550 calories, 31 g fat, and 972 mg sodium. Try snacking on fruits, veggies with light dip, or small portions of fat-free popcorn.

10. Finger-Licking Fried Chicken

A bucket of fried chicken is an easy way to feed a crowd, but it can wreak havoc on your waistline (and arteries), especially when you eat more than one. So forgo fried and toss boneless, skinless chicken breasts on the grill. A 3.5 oz. skinned chicken breast has only 167 calories and 7 grams of fat, compared to a KFC fried chicken breast with 360 calories and 21 g fat. Add flavor with marinades, spice rubs, or top it with fresh salsa.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

There's A New World Coming

New World Coming
Sung by "Mama" Cass Elliott

There's a New World Coming
And it's just around the bend
There's a new world coming
This one's coming to an end

There's a new voice calling
You can hear it if you try
And it's growing stronger
With each day that passes by

There's a brand new morning
Rising clear and sweet and free
There's a new day dawning
That belongs to you and me

Yes a new world's coming
The one we've had visions of
Coming in peace, coming in joy, coming in love.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yes We Can Redux

So, on the floor of the US House of Representatives in debating the health care bill (which, as you know was just passed by Congress & signed by the President), Minority-Leader-In-Perpetuity, John Boehner took to the floor of the people's House & seemed to simply delight in reminding the American public that the GOP is still the Party of No.

Now, that reminder has been set to music. The video below may seem familiar to a lot of people, but--with a little inventive editing--someone created a new version of Will-I-Am's awesome musical tribute to our President, and I hope it gets played on every computer in every household in the Land of the Free:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Below is a beautiful time-lapse video of the night sky from somewhere in Hawaii, accompanied by an equally-as-beautiful sound track. The video is about a minute long, but you get to see so much in that one minute!

The creator of the video is a person named "Charles" from a website called Vimeo, which describes itself as a respectful community of creative people who are passionate about sharing the videos they make.

If you watch the video, you should really do so in the full-screen mode (and in HD, if your computer is capable), which allows you to see so many details. I, for one, was surprised to see SO MANY STARS in the night sky! Living in suburbia with so much man-made illumination at night, it's easy to miss the sublime beauty of a clear night sky.

It also helped to remind me of the beauty God has placed all around us, if we only take the time to see it...REALLY see it.


The White Mountain (extended) from charles on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Show Me What I'm Looking For

Show Me What I'm Looking For
by Carolina Liar

Wait, I’m wrong.
Should have done better than this.
Please, I’ll be strong.
I’m finding it hard to resist.
So show me what I’m looking for.

Save me, I’m lost
Oh Lord, I’ve been waiting for you.
I’ll pay any cost.
Save me from being confused.
Show me what I’m looking for,
Show me what I’m looking for…oh, Lord.

Don’t let go.
I’ve wanted this far too long.
Mistakes become regrets.
I’ve learned to love abuse.
Please show me what I’m looking for.

Save me, I’m lost.
Oh Lord, I’ve been waiting for you.
I’ll pay any cost.
Save me from being confused.
Show me what I’m looking for.
Show me what I’m looking for…oh, Lord.

Show me what I’m looking for.
Show me what I’m looking for.
Show me what I’m looking for.

Save me, I’m lost.
Oh lord, I’ve been waiting for you.
I’ll pay any cost.
Just save me from being confused.
Wait, I’m wrong.
I can’t do better than this.
I’ll pay any cost.
Save me from being confused.
Show me what I’m looking for.
Show me what I’m looking for.
Show me what I’m looking for.
Show me what I’m looking for…oh, Lord.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010...Every Single Day Of It!

"I think in terms of the day's resolutions, not the year's."
Henry Moore, British sculptor

When I was a little kid, I remembered being simply terrified of the thought of death and dying. I can remember fearing what came after this earthly life; not necessarily because--at that time--my life on terra firma was all that wonderful or full of things & people I'd really miss. No, I feared death for the same reason most humans fear anything or anyone: because I didn't know anything about it. As a matter of fact, the first time I became intimately familiar with death was when my father died two weeks after his 69th birthday, on July 20, 1995, when I was 32 years old. He had died of complications of untreated hypertension (well, untreated until it was too late & his heart & kidneys had basically been destroyed). I will always remember seeing him lying in his coffin, with an artificial peace painted onto his face. The last years of my father's life were anything but peaceful, and anything but golden for him, or for his family.

Up 'til then, somehow God had spared me of such an intimate knowledge of that thing that seemed to have always frightened me. Looking back at my early childhood, for a good long while, I think I became obsessed with the thought of death, and wondering what sort of horrible fate awaited me "on the other side"...if there WAS an "other side". I guess my life experiences at that point were not the happiest, so I automatically assumed that whatever came after life would be at least as unappealing.

As I grew older, and as I learned about God and faith, and those famous streets of Heaven paved with gold, I (very slowly) came to understand that--trite as it may sound--death is simply part of the famous "Circle of Life", and that all who are born must--one way or another--face the end the of the world. To this primordial rule, there are no exceptions or exemptions, and no higher authority from whom we can seek a reprieve. We are all born to die, whether we are prince (or princess) or pauper; whether we are greatly loved or thoroughly despised. In the end, there is always an end. Always.

If you've read this far, you could not be faulted for thinking that the subject about which I am writing is such a downer, especially for a post meant to welcome in the Baby New Year, but I hope you will be able to see the method to my madness.

With the death of my father, came a realization for me that in pondering & fearing whatever awaits us all on the other side of the thin veil of this life, I was allowing my own life here to slip past me. I was concentrating on that one leaf on that one tree & missing the big, beautiful forest that surrounds us all. In devoting so much of my own time & energy trying to find a way to somehow prepare myself for the end of all things, I was leaving so much undone & unseen in the here-and-now. In that way, my father & I were exactly alike: in not seeking treatment for his illness until it was just too late, he didn't take care of his life; and I didn't take the time to enjoy & appreciate the time I have in each moment of life that was gifted to me--giving away time I can never again retrieve to fear instead.

Like most people, I am quite familiar with that old saw, "Take life one day at a time". Until recently, though, when my world was shaken so ferociously by the end of my 13-year relationship, I don't think I really understood the true meaning behind those words.

Now, as I learn to live my life alone (for a while anyway), I am almost forced to "get it". While I have noticed some marked improvements, the truth is that my new reality is still difficult for me to adjust to. I don't have the luxury any longer of planning my life years, months, or even weeks in advance. I HAVE to take my life "one day at a time"--sometimes an hour at a time.

Even in this new uncertainty in my life, and even in the midst of a heartache that still feels too sadly fresh sometimes, I am beginning to see the glimmer of a redemptive purpose to all I have thus far survived. I've begun to notice the quiet miracle of each sunrise. I've quite literally stopped to smell the roses. I've begun looking up again toward the heavens at night & trying to count a sky full of stars. These, and and all the other "small things"--commonplace to so many of us--are the REAL stuff of life, yet most of us--admittedly by necessity sometimes--are just too busy not taking it "one day at a time" to really take note of all that quietly comprises our lives...and we do so at our own peril.

In none of it, are we given a promise or a guarantee that what we have & whom we love will be ours tomorrow...we're not even promised a tomorrow. If I never understood that before, I do now.

So, though I loathe all those yearly resolutions I have never before been quite able to honor past the the initial week or two, as we begin the first day of the second decade of the 21st century, I hope to learn to have my eyes opened even more to the blessings--great & small--that abound in my not-so-unique life.

In being intentionally & even stubbornly cognizant of all the gifts in my life, I am now aware that the path I must tread to emotional & spiritual wellness is not one that I can even face one day at a time, but one small step at a time.