It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Christmas is a bridge.
We need bridges as the river of time flows past.
Today’s Christmas should mean creating happy hours for tomorrow and reliving those of yesterday.
~Gladys Tabor (Still Cove Journal)

Decorations are going up around town. The Victorian House tour is next week. Christmas movies are on the Hallmark channel 24 hrs. a day. Singing Christmas carols at church. Reading the Christmas story.

I love this time of year!

This year we won’t really be decorating for Christmas…at least not like we normally do. Since we are in the process of moving we really can’t pull out all the boxes of decorations. There is no room for the Christmas tree in a living room with our possessions stacked  everywhere. We are traveling back and forth from Tennessee to Ohio to work on our new house–not sure what days we’ll be where during the month of December. This year Christmas will be crazy and out of the ordinary for us. We are calling it our “family adventure”. Memories from Christmas ’08 will be packed in our family’s heart.

Black Friday Should Be Called “Crazies On The Loose”

Just the other day I blogged about the crazy holiday shoppers on the loose at Walmart. Well, I had no idea at the time just now certifiably insane people actually are! I saw on the news this morning that some poor Walmart worker got trampled by a frenzy of biserko shoppers. Now come on! Is there any sale that is so important that someone has to lose their life for it? How shocking, scary, awful!  Then as the day wore on I saw where two men had it out at the Toys R Us. Now those same two men are dead. Dead over toys????!!! Come on people no toy, gadget, gizmo is worth that. Wouldn’t you hate standing at the pearly gates only to have the Lord say, ” My son I love you, but bless your heart, you are an idiot. That thing-a-ma-jig was a stupid thing to lose your life over.”

My husband and I did go out to Home Depot today. We stayed away from the craziness at the death trap mall. You better believe we stayed far away from Walmart! If anyone tried to run me over I’d have to go Chuck Norris on them. It would not make me a contender for the Happy Walmart Shopper of the year a happy holiday shopper. Scott and I spent our time at Home Depot or what we like to call our home away from home, looking at paneled bifold doors and toilets. Who knew how exciting that could be? I think having a house in the process of being built has altered what I consider a good time. haha.

Terror In India

Over a dozen terrorists strike in Mumbai, India. Well planned urban terrorism.  Four suspects killed and 9 arrested so far. Some still holed up inside the hotel.  Setting fires, taking hostages. Westerners targeted.

Scary, huh? Does the world just seem like it has gone crazy? I think so. It seems like it is only getting worse all over the  world. Countries around the globe besieged by fanatics, that are bent on terror and destruction.

Now I’m going to stick my neck out here…..I know that there are a lot of people out there that don’t like President Bush….but I don’t care. I think history will show us that President Bush was a good president–he has kept this country safe during his watch. We haven’t had any more terrorists attacks on our own soil since 9/11 and for that I am grateful. Honestly, I am scared for what our future holds as far as terrorism goes. Obama already knows that he will be “tested”. He knows that the eyes of the world are on him right now. I think there is a segment of people in this world that want to know just what he will do if they attack. Will he stand strong? Or will he cave? Will our country remain the “the land of the free and the home of the brave”? Or will we sadly become the land of the controlled and the home of the scared?

Look at this news story that I just now read…… Scary, indeed.

Sources: Al Qaeda Targets Amtrak N’east Corridor

Heightened Security Presence In Place At Penn Station; Attack Could Cripple Transit Between Boston, Washington

Cops, Feds Armed With M16s On Patrol For Forseeable Future

CBS News Interactive: America On Guard

NEW YORK (CBS) ― The world’s economic fears were violently pushed aside on Wednesday by another global threat — terrorism.

A massive coordinated attack was launched in Mumbai, India just hours after the FBI warned that Al Qaeda may be targeting New York’s subways and railroads.

If Al Qaeda terrorists have their way there will be chaos and mayhem here this holiday season, a mass transit bomb plot that would probably affect all the subway and train lines at Penn and Grand Central stations.

“The threat is serious, the threat is significant, and it is plausible,” said Congressman Peter King, R-Long Island, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Uniformed officers, including this NYPD Counter Terrorism Squad members and Amtrak cops with M-16s, flooded Penn Station Wednesday after the FBI said it had received a “plausible but unsubstantiated” report that Al Qaeda operatives discussed a plan two months ago to bomb New York City’s mass transit system.

The report said: “These discussions reportedly involved the use of suicide bombers or explosives placed on subway/passenger rail systems.”

Sources told CBS 2 HD the plot involved the Long Island Rail Road. If the explosion went off in Penn Station, the source said, it would affect transportation of Amtrak’s northeast corridor between Boston and Washington, LIRR service and New York City subway service.

“This is definitely linked to Al Qaeda and they had very significant details about exactly how they would carry out the attack, where they would carry it out — that’s what makes it sound so plausible,” Rep. King said.

The NYPD and Metropolitan Transportation Authority said they were on high alert and adding extra manpower. Even before the threat became public Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said he was adding more cops.

“We always have to be concerned when we have large gatherings like on Thanksgiving,” Kelly said. “We always have to have sufficient deployment of police officers.”

New Yorkers had this reaction to the new threats.

“I’ve got to get on a train, but that’s horrible,” commuter Carolyn Tobin said. “I mean … the memory … but just like after 9/11, we just kept going on.”

Added Ryan Barreiro: “I’m not too worried about it. That’s exactly what they want. If they’re gonna get you, they’re gonna get you.”

“I’m not afraid,” Rick Hendrickson said. “I’ve lived here my whole life, in Manhattan, so has my wife and we just take life as it comes along.”

Riders can expect a heightened law enforcement presence — cops, federal agents, canine teams and inspectors.

Simple Life

FOR TODAY (11/25/08)…
Outside my window…..the trees are swaying back and forth as the wind blows.
I am thinking… that I have so much to do by Thursday!
I am thankful for… my health.
From the learning rooms…we are griping about our math today.
From the kitchen…I am getting all my ingredients ready to make an apple cake.
I am wearing…a turquoise colored sweater. It is very warm and cozy. I LOVE sweaters.
I am creating…a legacy.
I am going…to take my daughter to her well check up at the doctors office.
I am reading…a Christmas novel.
I am hoping…that we get into our new house by the end of January.
I am hearing…..the refrigerator hum.
Around the house…is chilly. I have the heat on, but it’s still chilly.
One of my favorite things…is eating chocolate peanut butter ice cream.
A few plans for the rest of the week: Christmas shopping,  Visiting with family for Thanksgiving.

From the Simple Woman’s Daybook—–

http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

Whew! It’s Crazy Out There

I know my blogging has been kind of hit or miss lately. I apologize. I’ve just been extremely busy. Really. Half the time I don’t even remember my own name. (Maybe I should start wearing a name tag…that might help.)

On Saturday we realized that we were out of cat litter, so you know what that means? Yes, another trip to Walmart. I had just gone on Thursday and had no desire to go back. It is crazy out there people! BUT when faced with the stinkiness possibilities of what would happen without the necessary cat litter I decided to venture back out into the foray.  I bribed um…suggested that the kids come with me. It would be our family outing for the day.

Now, normally Walmart is no big deal. Everybody “does” Walmart, right? RIGHT??!!! Stay focused people! Stick with the story. Walmart in November and December is my personal torture adventure. First of all I don’t want to have to lug a thousand pound container of cat litter around so I grab a cart. Well, I say grab a cart but we all know how the carts are at this beloved place. The cart guy has smashed them together so tight that I practically need the jaws of life to pry them apart. After working up a sweat and running over my foot I managed to get a cart. This would have been fine had it not shot out from my yanking and pulling at NASCAR speed. I would have felt really badly if I had given the little old lady standing near me, a concussion when the rouge cart ran her over. As it was she gave me “the look”. You know the evil eye mom look. Hey, she’s just lucky she doesn’t have tire tracks running down her front. Hmmpppffff!

So, now that I’ve got the cart we are off! My adrenaline has kicked in after the cart debacle. I look down the long main aisle. I see a mass of humanity before me. All of them running around like ants. My mission is to get to the pet section without any bodily harm accidents.  I am the queen of the obstacle course. I have been known to take the cart on two wheels if necessary. The Great Cart Crash of ’04 doesn’t count! At this point the kids pretend they don’t know me….you think I let this phase me? NO. I just yell their name louder until they are forced to admit that I am indeed the one that they are riding home with. They have threatened to look into witness protection and relocation. I don’t understand what their problem is.

When at Walmart one can never just buy the one thing she came for. Is that even possible? In the process of picking up a really snuggly blanket that is marked way down….what is wrong with it? a young child comes shootin’ out of the aisle behind me. He is going 100 m.p.h. with his hair on fire. Not really people…that is an expression. Good grief! He whizzed by me so fast that he was just a blur. Where are his zoo keepers parents? You know if you knock a child down (even if you’re just standing there and the little tazmanian devil runs into YOU) everyone will look at you like it’s your fault. I kept my eyes open for little Taz just incase he decided to whip around the corner and nail me.

At this point I’ve lost my own children. They are too old to sit in the cart with me. (Fine, 13 is a little old for that….but maybe an electronic tracking device is in order?) While I am not looking for my kids I get side tracked in the toy aisle. I have always been the one who likes to push all the buttons that say TRY ME. I can’t help it. Did you know that there is a baby doll now that brushes her teeth, pee pees in the potty among other things and then sings about it. I was listening to her for the fourth first time and was completely taken with her. I would have bought her for someone if she didn’t cost a million forty bucks. As I came around the corner (always dangerous) I heard a loud roar. It was a dinosaur. A dinosaur that young children can ride. It moves. There is also a pony. I don’t remember this kind of stuff when I was a kid. How unfair sweet!

I eventually find my children in the electronics department. Really, I knew that. They are always there. My son is being a rock star on Guitar Hero and my daughter is looking for a computer game. I tell them it is time to go. NOW. I can’t take the noise, clutter, insanity holiday cheer any longer.

After making it through the check out line and safely through the parking lot we all get in the car. I start the car and begin to slowly back out. Just about the time I’m half way into the aisle a bright red SUV comes barreling  through the parking lot. He  just about takes the back end off of my car. My daughter yells, ” that little boy in the SUV just flipped us off.”  What can I say?  I tell her he obviously wasn’t brought up very well and to just ignore his choice of communication.

I just love the torture holiday shopping frenzy.  Time to go home and stay there!!!!

Radical Rules or A Radical Rules?

Now, it is no secret that Obama read and implemented Saul Alinsky’s rules while he was a community organizer in Chicago. (Same city that Alinsky called home)  I never knew what Alinsky’s book Rules For Radicals, actually said. I’ve been doing some research and find his rules very interesting. I can see that Obama was an excellent student of Saul Alinsky’s methods….I can see these “rules” all over the 2008 election. ——THE BOLD FACE TYPE IN THIS ARTICLE IS FROM ME——– This is the man chosen as our president?

Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals

By Craig Miyamoto, APR, Fellow PRSA


(This is an expanded version of the 2000 Third Quarter issue of Public Relations Strategies, a quarterly publication of Miyamoto Strategic Counsel)

To paraphrase some sage advice, “keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer.” If your business or organization ever becomes a target of radical activists, it will be extremely helpful to know what strategies of attack will used against you. Short of having spies infiltrate their organization – a practice that is sure to be found out and exposed to your discredit – it would help to study their methods.

Known as the “father of modern American radicalism,” Saul D. Alinsky (1909-1972) developed strategies and tactics that take the enormous, unfocused emotional energy of grassroots groups and transform it into effective anti-government and anti-corporate activism. Activist organizations teach his ideas widely taught today as a set of model behaviors, and they use these principles to create an emotional commitment to victory – no matter what.

Grassroots pressure on large organizations is reality, and there is every indication that it will grow. Because the conflicts manifest in high-profile public debate and often-panicked decision-making, studying Alinsky’s rules will help organizations develop counteractive strategies that can level the playing field.

Governments and corporations have inherent weaknesses. And, time and again, they repeat mistakes that other large organizations have made, even repeating their OWN mistakes. Alinsky’s out-of-print book – “Rules for Radicals” – illustrates why opposition groups take on large organizations with utter glee, and why these governments and corporations fail to win.

Large organizations have learned to stonewall and not empower activists. In other words, they try to ignore radical activists and are never as committed to victory as their opposition is committed to defeating them. Result? They are unprepared for the hailstorm of brutal tactics that severely damage their reputation and send them running with their tails between their legs.

Some of these rules are ruthless, but they work. Here are the rules to be aware of:

RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.” Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood. (These are two things of which there is a plentiful supply. Government and corporations always have a difficult time appealing to people, and usually do so almost exclusively with economic arguments.)

RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.” It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone. (Organizations under attack wonder why radicals don’t address the “real” issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.)

RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)

RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules. (This is a serious rule. The besieged entity’s very credibility and reputation is at stake, because if activists catch it lying or not living up to its commitments, they can continue to chip away at the damage.)

RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)

RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones. (Radical activists, in this sense, are no different that any other human being. We all avoid “un-fun” activities, and but we revel at and enjoy the ones that work and bring results.)

RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.” Don’t become old news. (Even radical activists get bored. So to keep them excited and involved, organizers are constantly coming up with new tactics.)

RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)

RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.” Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist. (Perception is reality. Large organizations always prepare a worst-case scenario, something that may be furthest from the activists’ minds. The upshot is that the organization will expend enormous time and energy, creating in its own collective mind the direst of conclusions. The possibilities can easily poison the mind and result in demoralization.)

RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management’s wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)

RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem. (Old saw: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Activist organizations have an agenda, and their strategy is to hold a place at the table, to be given a forum to wield their power. So, they have to have a compromise solution.)

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

God Glitter

I know I’ve mentioned this before but I just can’t help myself. The other night Scott and I (and the kids) had just gotten back from visiting in N.Y. We stopped by the house site in Ohio before going to the apartment. (I will be SO glad when we finally move, I’m tired of that little apt. and the traveling back and forth from our home in TN. to OH. Six hour drives seem VERY long!)

So anyway, I was standing outside. It was very cold and very crisp outside. Like freezing your ears and nose off kind of cold….. but I didn’t care because I was completely mesmorized by the beautiful stars in the sky. I’m not kidding. I couldn’t look away. I told Scott that I’d have moved out here just for this view at night. We are going to live in the country….no street lights….not many other houses…..It is really, really dark at night. When I stood out in what will be our front yard, I stared up into the heavens and it seemed to me that God had flung silver glitter as far as I could see. It was the most brilliant sight. All I could think about was, “Wow. Father Your work really is magnificant. Thank you so very much for this incredible beauty.”

Living in the city for the past 16 years makes it difficult to really see the night sky. The lights interfere with truly being able to appreciate what is overhead. Ever since I was very young I’ve loved astronomy. I remember reading TIME magazine articles about scientist’s latest discoveries. I’d pour over books about the planets and the solar system…..amazed by our Milky Way galaxy. I think for my birthday in the spring, I’m asking for a telescope. I’ll spend many nights outside enjoying the night sky. That sounds good to me.