Archive for February, 2009


Nancy Witcher Astor (May 19, 1879 – May 2, 1964) was the first woman to serve as a Member of Parliament in the British House of Commons and is reported to have told Winston Churchill – 

“If you were my husband, I’d poison your tea,” to which he responded, “Madam, if you were my wife, I’d drink it!”

This exchange with Churchill isn’t well documented and may be falsely attributed to her. But there are other examples of her wit.

  • I married beneath me. All women do.
  • I refuse to admit that I am more than fifty-two, even if that does make my sons illegitimate.
  • In passing, also, I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance he laid the blame on a woman.
  • One reason why I don’t drink is because I wish to know when I am having a good time..
  • The only thing I like about rich people is their money.
  • The penalty for success is to be bored by the people who used to snub you.
  • We women talk too much, but even then we don’t tell half what we know.

What isn’t well known about Nancy Astor is that she was an American, born in Danville, Virginia. That she was a hypocritical racist and Christian Scientist may only be coincidental.


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fine-wines1The weather turned a little nicer yesterday, so we went to Abingdon for cappuccini. That I drove 150 miles round trip for coffee may sound strange, but there isn’t anywhere else around here where you can get a real cappuccino. Period.

We hiked for a while on the Creeper Trail before going to Fine Wines of Distinction, which houses Katbird’s Cafe. We always go there after being out on the trail. Besides the fine wines and cappuccino, they have a selection of good beers, cheeses and gifts.

Just across the street is the purported location where famed frontiersman Daniel Boone’s hunting dogs were attacked by a pack of wolves in 1760. There are no longer any wolves in the area, but I did read in the paper last week of a pack of stray dogs that were attacking people in St. Charles.

So things do change, some.

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Originally uploaded by gumby*

Another Flickr Favorite – this makes two days in a row.








Not added, but deserving of mention as an example of what catches my eye. Portraits are usually boring, but this has an element of fun to it.

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Too too . . .

Originally uploaded by maneeacc

. . . cool a photo.

The more I look at photographs in Flickr, the more I see the same old thing over and over again. A picture may be worth ten thousand words, but must they all say the same thing? Here is a different approach.

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Black Pulse Smartpen Pro Pack

The Pulse Smart Pen is one of those geeky little gadgets I wish I could afford. The pen “records everything you hear and links it to what you write” on special paper you buy or print yourself. This paper has a faint dot pattern, which is recognized by an infrared receiver in the tip of the pen; this allows the pen to “jump” to specific moments in your note-taking history and play back audio or any voice notes recorded at that time. This is ideal for me, because I often can’t read or understand my own notes after only a short time. 

Of course, you can read your written notes on the paper in real time, and even play back audio through the built-in speakers or earphones connected to a jack in the end of the pen. But to organize, share or store notes, connect the Smart Pen to a computer via a USB dock and download everything. 

A 1GB Smart Pen lists for $149.95, and the 2GB version is $199.95. Different notebooks are available, and you can even get fancy looking bound journals. 

The Smart Pen is a cool combination of old and new technologies. It looks like a great way for students to add meaning to the notes taken during a lecture, or for reporters to more accurately quote people. It also looks like a great way to surreptitiously record conversations.

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A Rose


A Rose

Originally uploaded by kilgorebrian13

A rose by any other name would still be grown in South America using pesticides banned in most of the world by people working for starvation wages, then flown to the U. S., leaving behind a carbon footprint bigger than Sasquatch’s. I am down to one per year and have to make it last . . .

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The Fall Girl

The Fall Girl

Linda Chatman Thomsen recently resigned as the Director of the Division of Enforcement for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a kind of “Sheriff of Wall Street.”  She worked her way up in the division, carving notches in her gun for her part in the Enron and Martha Stewart cases. Wall Street complained Thomsen was too hard on business, which to me means she must have been doing her job. When she first took the job as director, then SEC Chairman Donaldson said – 

I am pleased that Linda has agreed to take on this new role at the Commission. Linda is a highly accomplished attorney with a proven record of effective advocacy on behalf of the nation’s investors. The skills Linda has exhibited during her tenure at the Commission instill great confidence in her ability to lead this important division.”

Thomsen is out now, largely because she didn’t pay attention to a private citizen named Harry Markopolos when he said Bernie Madoff was running the world’s largest unregistered hedge fund. I think this is another way of saying “Ponzi scheme.” Of course, no one else at the SEC (or Congress) paid any attention to Markopolos either. That is until the the defecation came in contact with the rotating oscillator, which is another way of say the sh** hit the fan. When greedy rich people lost money invested in Madoffian madness, it made headlines. These headline set off a round of Congressional salutes, This is an  index finger, pointed anywhere but back at its owner. Heads have rolled, and I am sure more are on the block. But will the right ones be there?

Did Thomsen cozy up to Madoff and others? No, I don’t believe she did. I believe Linda Chatman Thomsen took the fall. In Washington and on Wall Street, the call girls don’t have anything to worry about – they will always have a job.

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All this, and $300 off!

Gaggia Titanium Super-Auto Espresso Machine

Gaggia Titanium Super-Auto Espresso Machine

 I think this would look great on my kitchen counter…

  • dual stainless steel lined boilers (Rapid Steam)
  • powerful 15 bar pump
  • conical burr coffee grinder
  • stunning stainless steel housing
  • 60-oz. removable water reservoir
  • stainless steel turbo frother steam wand adapter
  • actively heated cup warming surface
  • adjustable coffee dosing, grind settings and brew temperature settings
  • bypass doser for pre-ground coffee
  • dimensions: 11″W x 16.5″D x 14.5″H
  • Gaggia 1-year warranty
  • includes coffee scoop & grinder cleaning brush
  • imported from Italy

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Weather Rock

My weather rock

I have a weather rock. It is a 100% accurate indicator of current weather conditions. Here’s how the weather rock works.

Go outside and feel the side of the rock – 

  • If it feels warm, the weather is SUNNY.
  • If it is wet, it is RAINING.
  • And if the rock is gone, it is WINDY.

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Contrite Miscreant

Alex Rodriguez pauses during a question-and-answer session at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.


“I knew we weren’t taking Tic Tacs. I knew it could be potentially something that was wrong. I wouldn’t imagine taking something like that today, obviously. It’s a different world. A different culture.”

Alex Rodriguez

I read the transcript of  Alex Rodriguez’s opening statement at a press conference. From this, it seems pretty clear Rodriguez would not have admitted anything had he not been on a list of players who might have tested positive for banned substances. He spent the rest of the time minimizing his actions and pointing fingers at people and circumstances responsible for his drug use.

Yeah, it’s a different world. You got caught, chump.

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