Friday, December 31, 2010

Things I Discovered in 2010

I realize that some of my favorite discoveries of 2010 will be old to many of you. But, don’t destroy my joy, these things are new to me so they are still shiny. These are in no particular order, however I know which ones I enjoy the most.

1. The Droid - I told myself I wouldn’t buy a smart phone, but… alas… there’s a sucker born every minute. The woman at the store told me that I could change the settings so the phone wouldn’t say “Droid!!” every time a text, email, or facebook notice came in. Silly lady, that’s the best part.

2. The IT Crowd - My friend introduced me to this television show. I watched only a couple of episodes and ordered the entire series. I believe in American Exceptionalism… except… maybe… just maybe… when it comes to British comedy shows the British take the cake, tea, and crumpets.

3. Despicable Me - I loved this movie. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a villain with a heart of gold… and… kittens… and… fluffy unicorns. Weird but true, in the past I’ve enjoyed the adult movie comedies such as Office Space more than children‘s movies. But, in my opinion Hollywood has done a crappy job with the adult comedies lately and has definitely stepped up their game with the kid’s cartoons.

4. iPad - This was a gift and I know there were lots of funny jokes about Apple choosing the name “iPad” on Twitter. But, man… oh… man… is it fun. Also, I was introduced to the vast World of Apps.

5. Pawn Stars - Part lessons in history, part lessons in negotiating prices, part freaky Las Vegas culture and part awesome. I’m not a fan of reality television shows (although I *could* possibly be familiar with TLC’s Baby Story and the first seasons of ABC’s The Bachelor) but this one is fun to watch.

6. Bully Beatdown - Who doesn’t love a bully getting his or her comeuppance? The rule of thumb is, the bigger they talk… the bigger they fall. The host Jason “Mayhem” Miller does a great job of being a commentator *and* he’s nice to look at. ;)

7. Better Than Sex Cake - I was at a restaurant drooling over their Italian Chocolate Cake that had toffee in its icing and the waitress told me she ate a better cake. My first thought is that it wasn’t possible. She wrote down the recipe and the rest is history.
1 German chocolate or other chocolate cake, baked, 13x9x2-inch
3/4 cup fudge topping
3/4 cup caramel or butterscotch topping
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
6 chocolate covered toffee bars
1 tub of whipped topping or 1 envelope Dream Whip, prepared with milk
Do not remove cake from pan. After the cake has cooled, make holes in the entire top of the cake using a large fork or the handle of a wooden spoon. Pour (one at a time) fudge, butterscotch, and condensed milk over the top of the cake and let each flavor soak in before adding the next. Crush 3 of the candy bars and sprinkle on the top. Frost the cake with the whipped topping and crush the 3 remaining toffee bars to decorate the top. Try to keep your hands off of this great cake before serving!

8. Wasabi in tubes - Yes, like toothpaste. I was only accustomed to wasabi at Asian restaurants and had no idea I could have it for my own devious enjoyment at home. I am a *huge* fan of spicy food. So this discovery made it much easier to add spice to random food items. I can’t disclose everything I’ve tried it on.

9. Hazel - Trust me. She’s worth watching.

10. Fondue - Sure, fondue was popular in the 1970’s with all other freaky deaky stuff. But, I like that it’s making a comeback… or… at least in my household. One of my favorite books on it is called Dip Into Something Different. Just because the title makes me laugh.

These are my discoveries for 2010 and I would love to hear about yours. Happy New Years to you!!

Cross Posted at Pundit League.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

O Holy Night by Nat King Cole

Joseph's Lullaby by MercyMe

Winter Snow by Audrey Assad and Chris Tomlin

O Come O Come Emmanuel by Selah

What Child Is This by The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

Carol of the Bells by John Williams (Home Alone Soundtrack)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Above the European Union's Pay Grade

The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that Ireland’s constitutional ban on abortion violates a pregnant woman’s rights. “Under Irish law dating back to 1861, a doctor and patient both could be prosecuted for murder if an abortion was later deemed not to be medically necessary.” One of the women, a Lithuanian woman living in Ireland, claimed her rights were violated because she was in remission from a rare form of cancer. Ireland’s defense claimed, “…that the woman should have petitioned the Irish High Court for the right to have an abortion in Ireland.” Health Minister Mary Harney said that, “…pregnant women suffering from cervical cancer, exceptionally high blood pressure or ectopic pregnancies already were receiving abortions in Irish hospitals.” Pregnancies that are at risk to the mother are already taking place in Ireland, but because of this rare case, abortion rights are pushed just a little bit more. Dr. Mary Favier, director of Doctors for Choice said, “Doctors can feel vindicated today. For the first time we can feel confident about discussing abortion as an option for women in medical need without fearing prosecution.” Abortion as an option for women in medical need, but how many abortion doctors will talk about the ramifications to a woman who wants an abortion that is not medically necessary?

The side effects of a legal abortion can cause life long mental and physical health problems and in rare cases death. Women face a number of possible physical complications as a result of legal abortion, including hemorrhaging that requires a transfusion, perforation of the uterus, cardiac arrest, endotoxic shock, major unintended surgery, infection resulting in hospitalization, convulsions, undiagnosed ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, cervical laceration, uterine rupture and death (Source: Warren Hern, "Abortion Practices," J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 1990, p. 173 ff.)

Research published in the British Medical Journal concluded that women who abort a first pregnancy are at significantly greater risk of depression. An average of 8 years after their abortions, married women were 138 percent more likely to be at risk of long term clinical depression than similar women who carried their unintended first pregnancies to term. (Source: Reardon D.C., Cougle J.R., "Depression and Unintended Pregnancy In the National Longitundinal Survey of Youth," British Medical Journal, January 2002, 324:151-152.) After an abortion, women can experience psychological reactions such as guilt, regret, nervousness and difficulty sleeping. (Source: J.R. Ashton, "The psychosocial outcome of induced abortion," British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, December 1980, 87:1120-1121.)

The article finishes with this, “But William Binchy, a Trinity College Dublin law professor who advises Ireland's Pro Life Campaign, said… ‘What's at stake in this debate is the value of life. The sad experience is that once laws permitting abortion are introduced, they diminish the society's respect for the inherent value of every human life, born or unborn,’ Cardinal Sean Brady suggested that Irish people would never vote to permit abortion even for exceptional cases. ‘The direct destruction of an innocent human life can never be justified, however difficult the circumstances," he said. ‘We are always obliged to act with respect for the inherent right to life of both the mother and the unborn child in the mother's womb. No law which subordinates the rights of any human being to those of other human beings can be regarded as a just law.’

Cross posted at Pundit League.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Party of No

Beginning in summer 2011, the FDNY may begin charging a “crash tax.” The article states, “Starting next summer, the city plans to bill drivers in accidents that require an emergency response. The so-called “crash tax” works like this: A car fire or accident with injury would cost you $490. A car fire without injury, $415. And any vehicle accident without injury will run you $365... But under the plan, you’ll get charged even if the accident isn’t your fault.” (Emphasis mine)

I’m disturbed by this tax and it’s not because my state of California will most likely follow suit. One of the reasons is that once a tax is in place, it becomes easier to tax… just… a… little… bit… more. We have all seen the ridiculousness of the airlines and their fees. Want to board your flight early? Charge. Want to take your iPad? Charge. Want to have a seat assignment? Charge. Want to go to the restroom? Coin operated charge. Yes, really. Want to talk to an airport employee? Spirit Airlines considered having a fee for talking to an employee. It’s a slippery slope of fees to generate money.

Another issue I have is that this tax is generated from unfortunate circumstances rather than the logical privilege fees we have such as at the DMV, United States Postal Service and the horrible self-inflicted local Library fees. President George Washington knows what I’m talking about in library late fees. Where the privilege of driving and of mailing items to family and loved ones are reasonably charged fees, emergency services are paid for through taxes that fund fire and police departments. Our taxes already pay for these services and this “crash tax” is an unnecessary burden upon the citizens of New York. The Democrats have lovingly called Republicans the “Party of No.” In a way, we are the “Party of No.” No, we don’t want to be screwed over with ridiculous taxes that charge the innocent along with the guilty just to generate revenue for the Democrats’ out of control spending.

Cross Posted at Pundit League.