Friday, March 30, 2007

Say it with me boys and girls...

NO! See, that wasn't so hard. It's a word people are afraid to use. Watching city hall I have never seen any of them use the word. If an issue comes up on their docket,they pass it. Occasionally people will step out of the room and refuse to vote 'in protest'. That's the same as saying YES folks. I spent far too many years on the PTA board. The only person who ever voted no for anything was me. People would vote yes and grumble about it.

That's the same problem with panhandlers. People say yes by giving them money and then grumble about how they are forced into it. Say NO. I do it all the time. Panhandling goes away when the money goes away. Say no unless you really want to say yes.

No is a magic word. It frees the soul. The world would be a better place if more people used it more often. How many 11 year old kids NEED a cell phone? Just say no. How many 16 year old kids need a fast death mobile of a sports car? Just say no. You don't want to listen to a hard luck story from a guy on the street, look him in the eye and say no.

Instead of doing these things we rely on the government to say no for us. We don't have to grow up and take responsibility for anything when we can have the power mongers make a law, so that even though we want to say yes, we can't. See, it's not our fault. We would if we could, but the lawmakers said no to that activity. Blah, blah, blah

Grow up people. It's a short word, probably one you said a lot at ages 2 and 3, learn to use it again.

Red Bridge Road

The more people look at this den of snakes masquerading as a city council the more corruption there is to see. It's a horrific sight. The Red Bridge project being a prime example of this.

I love the Red Bridge area. I go hiking there during the warmer months. There are few really cool paths over behind minor park and down Blue River Rd. If Eddy and his slithering friends on the council have their way, this will go away. Visit for exact details and how you can help.

A particularly disgusting bit of information on this project is how they attempted to ram it through the council and bypassing the committee process. The goal was clearly to make sure that the public didn't get a chance to be heard any more than necessary. Of course at the last min. they made it an open meeting and wonder of wonders supporters of the project new in time to show up and testify. Now the snakes can rest easy in their black little hearts. After all, if the opposition wanted to testify, they had a chance, right?

Go to their website and send the council a letter. Write the incoming council and tell them you disapprove of this project. Write the Star, the Pitch, the Call, any and all papers. The current council will slither off to private lives soon, let's do what we can to keep this proposal from going through before then.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

When you ignore the Media you learn all sorts of useful stuff.

I don't pay much attention to local news on the tv. One channel here has local news on for something like 2 hours, broken into half hour shows all pretty much reporting on the same thing. Over and Over. I think the idea is for people who miss one to be able to catch the next. Whatever the thought behind it, their show, just like most stations, consists of more "no news" than news. The KC Star is a little too establishment and sometimes the Pitch is too far out there to be a serious news source. (I do read it faithfully though) I don't find the national news stations to be much better - though I do read the Wall Street Journal and like the reporting in it.

So the media fails to report on stuff that you need to know, what's left? For me it's the internet. Don't roll your eyes. I know there's a lot of bad information floating around the net as truth - but that's true of mainstream media too. I have found that if you want to know what's going on you should read a variety of bloggers. They all write from their own bias, but you know that before you read. Most people are pretty straight forward about what they support or don't support and you know their bias up front. The same can NOT be said of mainstream media, which often presents itself as fair and honest.

I bring this up because of something I read on The Flogging of America. Btyfrd has many interesting links in this post, but one hit home for me. The fact that police officers are not able to exercise all their rights politically. My father is a police officer in Georgia. I did some checking and Georgia seems to be more progressive than Missouri on this issue.

Anywho - time for rant- How on earth can they expect a police officer to give up so much for his or her job? This job entails long hours, traditionally low pay, and you spend a LOT of time dealing with people society wishes didn't exist. It's on the news when cops shoot people (as it should be) but when they get shot in the line of duty it's not always a major story. This is one of those jobs that can kill you way before your time. Taking this job should be something that is rewarded, not punished. Police officers should do their best not to bring their own biases to the job (it happens, they are just people) but they shouldn't be forced into not having views. If they want to join a committee for their political party they should be allowed to. If they want to solicit donations for their candidate, as long as they don't do it in uniform or as part of the dept., they should be allowed to. When they take off their uniform they are regular people and should be accorded the rights and responsibilities of regular people. Part of what is supposed to make our nation great is the freedom to choose what we think, say and believe. Other employees of the city and state are allowed to participate fully in their political party, why not police officers? Write your representatives and tell them to put this issue back on the table. - rant over-

Now this issue is not the only one mentioned in that post, just the first one I chose to talk about. She details a lot of stuff you may not be aware of. I know that I wasn't aware of most of it. I didn't know that Missouri chose not to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. I probably wouldn't have known except for a blogger who did some research and put it on the web. The Flogging of America is not the only blog I read, there are quite a few I check out daily, it was just the first one I read this morning. And see, I've already learned more valuable information than I would have if I had watched any of the insipid morning news shows.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

KC chooses Funkhouser

Stage for Funkhouser Party

Last night Mark Funkhouser won the election by a slim margin - just over 1000 votes. We donated a few balloons to his 'nail biter' party and were there until about 10:30. I would have stayed later, but Dan needed to get home. Shame because only 20 min or so later they announced Mark as the winner. It was a very exciting night thanks to Mark's early lead. Even though Brooks narrowed the margin, Mark stayed consistently in front. That gave his supporters reason to have a party attitude.

I supported Funkhouser for several reasons, but one of the big ones for me is that he isn't a career politician. Mr. Brooks seems like a nice guy, but he's been in the political scene for far too long. After my experiences with local politics I have come to the conclusion that politics can make all but the strongest of souls evil. Let's hope that Mark has a very strong soul. If not, at least we're starting out with a fresh one.

And of course I have a special place in my heart for geeky, logical, chess playing guys. (been married to one for 20 years now)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

1000 Reasons To Smile

I have a new Flickr! group called 1000 Reasons To Smile. Basically, it's pictures of things that make me smile. Check it out and if you have a picture of something that makes you smile - add it to the group. The hyacinth mentioned in my last post is one of those things that makes me smile.

6. Hyacinth in my garden

Monday, March 26, 2007

My Garden , survival of the fittest

Spring is here and my garden is coming to life. Someone flipped a switch somewhere and the plants all said 'It's time to grow'. I love my garden and spend a lot of time out there, but probably not in the way many gardeners do. I don't actually consider myself a gardener, I'm just the person who sticks the plants in the ground. After that, it's pretty much up to the plants themselves. I'll water them, and pull any weeds over 6 inches (city will write me up if they get longer than that), but I'm a hands off garden manager for the most part.

My attitude gives certain plants a real advantage over their needier cousins. For example, Mint does well in my herb bed. I have LOTS of mint, several varieties and they are all thriving. Mint doesn't ask you to prune, mulch or in any way baby it. You stick it in the ground and it grows. Same with the lemon balm, oregano and vinca. The chives are holding their own, but have never spread out as much as the mints, as have the lavenders. I did notice that one of the lavender plants has spread out and now I will have two of that variety this year.

My biggest, most aggressively happy plant? The blackberry bush. It's a thornless blackberry that I picked up for 2 bucks at some hardware store a couple of years ago. I planted it by the pond and that first year it was just a stick. The second year it game a few berries. Last year I got a lot of berries and this year looks to be a bumper crop. It has gone from stick to large bush with several small outcroppings in the wildflower bed. The birds love it and so do I. I can't wait to see how big it gets this year.

On the other end of the spectrum are the roses. Why I was possessed to plant roses I will never know. Something so tempting about them at the garden center. Over the years I have randomly purchased lots of small cheap roses and stuck them in various places around the yard. Mostly I put them in places I don't want the kids and pets to walk - works pretty well. Some have turned out to be climbing roses, despite their labels, so this year I will be forced to add trellises to my yard. I don't prune them, I don't add special vitamins and so forth. They do ok. Some of the pickier varieties gave it up and went to that great compost heap in the sky, but 6 of the plants have hung in there, even through this year's crazy hot/cold/warm/freezing weather. My neglect has turned them into hardy plants and it looks to be a bumper year for roses this year too.

For a long time honeysuckle was among the plants I could never get to grow. It's wild EVERYWHERE, but wouldn't grow in my yard. I bought plant after plant and they just didn't go anywhere. Then I got smart and went to the woods, dug up a plant and brought it home. First year was touch and go, but it took root and this year has already grown quite a bit. Last year it didn't flower, but I think it will this year.

Bulbs are another of those picky plants that doesn't always do too well in my yard. I plant them, the squirrels dig them up and eat half of them, and a few grow. Last fall I gave my youngest a little shovel and a bag of Hyacinth bulbs. I'm just now discovering all the places she planted them. None of those places appear to be anywhere near an established flower bed. We have hyacinth in the middle of the yard, by the tree, with the mint, by the honeysuckle there are even a few near the driveway. My husband wants me to dig them up and move them to an organized flower bed. Sweet man, but he really married the wrong woman for organized. I'm content to discover the surprises as they bloom. Besides, they only probably lived because they were hidden from the squirrels.

The blackberry bush starts its springtime return.The Blackberry Returns

Friday, March 23, 2007

Disturbing Story

A little boy in California tried to kill himself while at school. He had been bullied to the point where he didn't think he wanted to live anymore, so he tried to hang himself. Actually he tried 3 times. What did the school do about this? Not much, they sent him home by himself and then notified the mother the NEXT DAY.

I'm usually annoyed when the school people feel like they have to be in every part of your children's lives, but come on folks, if there was ever a time to call the parents this was it. What if the boy had tried to kill himself on the way home, just stepped out into traffic?

He's only 9, so little to have so much pain. It's easy to say "what's wrong with him?" but that 's not really fair. I have 4 kids, have been on the PTA and a Scout leader for more years than I wish to count, and I have seen what happens on the playground. I actually pulled my older son out of school in favor of homeschooling after observing him on the playground and what was going on. Today he's a self confident, intelligent high school freshman. At the time he was a small for his age, quiet 3rd grader. On my daily walk I would often pass by the school during the time he had recess. On several occasions I noticed a bigger boy picking on him. More than once he had my son in a head lock. All of this went unnoticed by the teachers who were out there, but talking to each other, not watching the kids. Problems of this type happened less when there were recess aides, but the school budget cuts eliminated them. I spoke to the school, but the problem didn't go away, so I took my kid home. Not every parent has the ability, time or desire to homeschool, so it's not an option for everyone.

What's the solution? Well, for one the elementary schools need to bring back recess aides. Most of the problems happen during recess and the teachers are not always observant. They have lessons to plan, meetings to discuss and a lot on their plates. Designate a person who's job it is to keep track of the kids during their outside time. Actually our school had 2 people for ever recess. They stood on opposite sides of the playground and kept an eye on things. Schools do need to take a lead in stopping bully behavior. Middle schoolers might be a different story, but at the elementary school age school authorities can have a lot of influence.

More importantly the parents should be notified when a problem arises. Sometimes kids are too embarrassed to talk to their parents, but if there is a problem at school someone should call home and talk to mom and dad about it. Parents need to spend more time talking to their kids too. Find out what's going on at school, even if it's hard to get information at first. Keep at it. The kids want to talk, but it's hard for them sometimes. Other adults, like PTA parents and scout leaders should keep an ear out too - and not be afraid to mention a potential problem to the parents.

This little boy tried to kill himself. How could the school just turn a blind eye and let it go for the rest of the day? They should have called home and talked to his parents immediately. They should be held accountable for their delay and given some sort of reprimand.

Scooby-Doo I secretly love you

I was nearly 3 when Scooby first aired. I don't know how old I was when I first watched the show, but it was sometime in the 70s during it's first incarnation. The writing was awful, the plots were predictable and the animation quality was pretty low. Still, I loved it. For some odd reason I still do. Except the the Period where they focused on Scooby as a puppy, never cared for that series.

Today my youngest turned on some newer version of the show and I managed to get sucked back in just like in decades past. It's like being in front of a box of hot Krispy Kreme donuts. You know it's bad, but you want it anyway. Someone should analyze this show frame by frame to see if there is anything subliminal going on. Cop Rock was awful, I never felt the urge to watch why this show? How on earth did it become a cultural phenomenon?

Maybe it's just me. I still like Count Chocula cereal as well as Captain Crunch with crunchberries, and I do make balloon animals for a living. I also have it on good authority from my teenagers that I am 'not normal'. Whatever the reason, if you play the Scooby theme song, you can bet I'll sing along.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Who is Dan Beyer

And why does he hate Mike Hendricks so much? As I was reading Mike's columns about the IHOP incident I noticed that several had been made by Dan Beyer. Nothing of any substance, but the same complaint over and over.

I get it, you hate Mike's type of journalism. One post would suffice. And I thought I had too much time on my hands.

Lesbians Sharing Lipstick

Recently two women were kicked out of a Grandview IHOP because one of them kissed the person she was in love with. Unfortunately for them, the person she is in love with is the 2nd woman. I live in Grandview and you couldn't have paid me to eat in that IHOP BEFORE this incident because of the management. Small minded, prickheads - but that's a personal thing with me. We've dealt with them in the past.

As the mother of 4 kids I can tell you that there are so many worse things for kids to witness than people in love, even if those people are of the same gender. How about two people making out who have no emotions towards each other at all. Yeah, that sends a so much better message. Have the people who complained ever really looked around at our society and said "WTF????" Women or Men kissing other women and men is not a huge issue when you think of everything else going on in today's world. Hell, even if you think it's wrong (and you have to ask yourself why you even care) surely you can find other, more important things to focus your energies on. Let the kisser and the kissee take their behavior up with whatever God they do or don't believe in.

The messages I have been seeing on the internet are most shocking to me. Accusations that the women were flaunting their sexuality and trying to get a reaction. Damnation of all things kissable. Suggestions that bans be placed on people expressing all sexualilty and affection....the list goes on and on.

Get over it people. If you saw it and didn't go blind, accept the fact that witnessing such an event won't actually hurt you. Same goes for reading about it and hearing about it. If you are overly upset maybe it's because nobody has tried to kiss you lately. Try being nicer.

More school?

A friend of mine told me about this program that is being tested in Boston. I can't imagine sending my kids to school for that long every day? The American educational system seems to think that if it's not working, let's just add more. 20 years ago they managed to teach more in shorter days, why do they need longer ones now? I don't think it's because kids are stupider. I think it's because
1. Society and parents expect school to teach the kids everything - including stuff they should be learning at home.

2. Sometimes the old fashioned way of doing things works and we've invested far too much time and energy in quick fix ways to teach kids. Instead of giving them challenges we want learning to be super easy for them. Kids respond to challenges and super easy leads to laziness, not learning.

Blogging for myself

For a change I'll be blogging for myself. Currently I spend far too much time on that damned ordinance, and it really is time to take back my life.