Thursday, September 30, 2004

How Girls Can Help Their Country

How to Secure a Burglar with Eight Inches of Cord

Make a slip-knot at each end of your cord. Tie the burglar's hands behind him by passing each loop over his little fingers. Place him face downwards, and bend his knees. Pass both feet under the string, and he will be unable to get away.

Handbook for Girl Scouts, 1913 edition

Update: This is from the very first Girl Scout Handbook. I don't know, but I very much doubt that it's in the handbook used today. Sorry to rain on anyone's parade. : (

This is why I'm an old book fiend. The long-ago attitudes were different and worth examining. We've tossed out a lot that was bad, but also much that was good, and I'm all for grabbing the baby back out of the discarded bathwater. 'Chronological snobbery' is a thing to avoid.

Look at the title: 'How Girls Can Help Their Country.' First off, there's an automatic assumption that helping your country is a good thing. Why, one can almost see Michael Moore sneering at the thought.

Second, the assumption that securing a burglar is a good thing for the country. Yes! Making it impossible for a bad guy to continue doing bad things is good.

Finally, the assumption that even a 12-year old girl, properly trained and prepared, can help herself, her neighbors and her country. You need not be weak. You need not be helpless. You need not surrender your self-sovereignty without a fight. With brains, pluck and luck, you can win.

This from a book written before women could even vote, and which also contains many instructions on being a good housekeeper and mother, and being womanly. Now there's a lost concept! Frankly, some it chaps my hide but let's listen to it:

"An imitation diamond is not as good as a real diamond. An imitation fur coat is not as good as real fur. Girls will do no good trying to imitate boys. You will only be a poor imitiation. It is better to be a real girl such as no boy can be."

Now that paragraph, taken by itself from the 1913 book and flavored by general 2004 attitudes, is bound to raise some hackles. Yet combined with the concepts of self-defense, health, and careers as expressed in this 1913 book, it doesn't sound so bad. We've thrown out a lot of bad things - I'm glad I can vote! but

But we've also thrown out, or at least diminished, the basic American ideal: the Rugged Individual; self-sovereignty; self-reliance. Call no man master. One of my clearest recollections of Sept. 11 was the blank looks of the faces of newscasters when they talked about "What American Means." Self-doubt was plastered on their faces as they uttered those words. Our anchormen and women, for the most part, had no idea what America meant. And for good reason. Somehow, during the civil rights liberation of groups like blacks and women, an insidious enslavement began. Not wearing a seatbelt? busted. Smoking in the wrong place? busted. Cutting down the wrong tree? busted. Hanging on to property wanted by the government? busted. and on and on and on and on and on.

A society in which groups are enslaved or oppressed is bad; a society in which all are oppressed is no better. Where did we go wrong and how do we get back on track? In 91 years, we've gone from expecting 12 year girls to be able to subdue a burglar, to expecting an adult to be incapable of deciding when to wear a seat-belt. What the hell happened to our respect for each others' intelligence and freedom?

They got him.

Remember the story of a soldier getting beat up at a Toby Keith concert in Ohio? Kudos to the Columbus Ohio police, who've arrested the 2-bit thug.

Hat tip to James at Hell in a Handbasket. Thanks, James!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

. . . You just might be a Floridian

If you feel sorry for Jeb Bush and wouldn't wish his job on your worst enemy . . .

If you store your lawn furniture in your pool . .

If you bring your solar yard lights inside at night, and set them outside again in the morning to recharge . . .

If you keep your lawn ornaments in your living room . . .

If your art discussions compare the impressionism of one neighbor's plywood paintings versus the cubism of another's . .

If you know the ratio of 6 drops of chlorine to 1 gallon of water . . .

If you make coffee and omelettes over a sterno as a matter of course . . .

If utility repairmen fill you with lust and desire, regardless of age, sex or buttcrack, . . .

If you've ever prayed for a westerly shear . . .

If you have FEMA on speed-dial . . .

you just might be a Floridian!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

To Err is Human
to refrain from sniggering at somebody's error is devine.

See, it was like this . . . I mean, it happened to a friend . .yeah, yeah that's the ticket! It happened to a friend of my neighbor's uncle by marriage. Nobody I know would do something like!

So there was this person, see? and she - uh, I mean he - yeah, he - well, he had to evacuate and he couldn't take his guns and didn't have a gun safe, right? So he put his guns and stuff in the washing machine because, like, what looter is going to stop and do laundry? So he thought he got everything out, but well . . .

How long does it take ammo to dry out? Will it still be good? What does one do with bad ammo?

It was the good ammunition, too, the hydroshocks.

Not, mind you, that I would ever do a thing like that.

Stop sniggering!

What does one do whilst sitting around waiting for the world to end, again.

Why, one takes online quizzes as posted by Eric, of course!

If this gentleman:

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

A focused advisor whose actions are dictated by almost pure logic, you believe in exploring the fascinating possibilities around you.

"Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

Spock is a character in the Star Trek universe. His biography is available at

had lived in these times:

Which British Literary Period are you?


1837-1900--Tennyson, Dickens, Hopkins. You are a product of those that came before you. You aren't afraid to question those in authority, but all in all, you're happy with the Empire

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

what would he be?

Sherlock Holmes!! I'm Sherlock Holmes!!

I always wanted to be Sherlock Holmes!

It's a pity they selected the dumbest quote of Spock's, ever. If ya gotta quote Spock, I like this better (said as he's firing a phaser at a disintegration chamber in The Armageddon Factor: "I am practicing a peculiar form of diplomacy."

Much as I like the original Star Trek, I never really thought about the music until reading what Lileks had to say about it. James Lileks shines spotlights on the ordinary, and calls attention to everyday charms that would otherwise go unnoticed. It's a gift and a blessing.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Gloating and Trembling over Rather's fallout

I don't remember where I read things, and so my linkage to the deserving blogs is dreadful. I'm sorry about that . . .

Anyway, this post is about the tremblings of Big, Old, hardened-artery Media and the gloating of New, Fresh, little zippy Bloggers. Zippy Bloggers have been singing thusly:

Rather, Burkett and Mape
had a story taking shape!
They'd stab their prez right in the back and Bush would not escape!
AAAAnnnd their ratings would be greeeaat AASSSS all their viewers gaped!

So Rather jumped through hoops
to push ahead his scoop
But bloggers saw right through his poop and now Dan RAAAAther's head's in a loop!

Ding Dong Old Media's Dead
Which Old Media?
The Big Old Media!
Ding Dong the Big Old Media's dead!
It's goooonnne where the goblins go
below . .


and Big Old Media responded with numerous snarky comments and articles about pajamas and [snort, chuckle] blogger's lack of checks and balances.

But, if not for big old media, the best of bloggers wouldn't have much to talk about. And, if not for new, zippy bloggers, big old media would continue to suck.

Imagine if the forged media story had been shorter and more honest. What if Rather & co. had posted the documents without the trumped up story? What if they'd included all the expert opinions, as well as all the interviews? Then sat back and watched the blogosphere examine it?

Well, there's always the possiblity that it wouldn't have been examined if it had been reported properly. But assuming it was examined? Rather & co could have sat back, let the blogosphere done the legwork, verified the conclusions, then come back with a real story: "Somebody out there is so willing to drag this president through the mud that they were willing to forge documents and risk prison." They could have served up a warning to us all - to be careful and cynical. They coulda come up smelling like a rose.

Well, maybe next time. For now, old media could remember this little axion:

1) Say what you mean.
2) Mean what you say.
3) Shut up.

Old media also has to remember that the meaning of news reporting is to report, dammit! I don't need their opinions; I have plenty of my own. So we'll revise that axiom:

1) Report what you know.
2) Know what you report.
3) Shut up.

BTW, you can't 'know' an opinion. You can have one, believe one, and feel one, but you can't know one. You can reach conclusions based on facts, but you can't know a conclusion either. You can only know facts.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Thursday, September 16, 2004

What sort of doggie treats does McAullife feed Dan Rather, anyway?

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Electricity is a beautiful thing

I am fine and have nothing to complain about.

I do strongly urge all persons who make a habit of protesting electric plants to try going without it for a few days. It can be done by the average bear, but it's pretty annoying. It's a little rough on people with respirators and the like.

Traffic was the most fun. No traffic lights, no street lights, just a bunch of stressed out people whose nerves were jangling with cabin fever. But no gasoline either, hell with it, I just stayed home.

George Steinbrenner and the New York Yankees are cordially invited to go to and stay put. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays postponed the double header with the Yankees, because dammit we're having a hurricane down here and we are going to stay with our families and we can't get a plane anyway. And Steinbrenner tries to say the Devil Rays are forfeiting the game? No, sir. In the words of some radio sportscaster: "And Steinbrenner has a home in south Tampa. Maybe he did leave his family there to face it out alone. If he did, he's not a man."

Any team that beats the Yankees is okay by me. Thank you, Cleveland Indians.

You didn't see that kind of pettiness over the Cubs/Marlins game. Thank you, Chicago Cubs.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Hurricane Frances - Pets

This is from an email I received. Can't vouch for any of it, so phone first!

Hello, all.

I've been very concerned about the issue of where
people can take their pets during hurricanes, besides
motels or hotels that quickly fill up, so I've been
compiling some info. Please note I am in the
Jacksonville area and therefore, do not have intimate
knowledge of all these locations; for now, I can only
provide the general info and for those of you in those
areas, you will need to check out the specifics and

Here is the list I have so far of a few more places
where you and your pets will be allowed during the
hurricane. Since these places will probably fill up
quickly, please double check their status if possible,
before heading out, animal in tow:

Seminole County
Sanlando United Methodist Church Ministries
Emergency Shelter in Longwood

Brevard County
* The Melbourne Greyhound Park (pets and people)
* Brevard County's Animal Services and Enforcement
division - both north and south county animal shelters
(pets only, not people)

Animal Rescue League of the Palm Beaches
Pets can ride out the storm here, free, on a
first-come, first-serve basis, if you live in a
mandagory evacuation zone. This Humane Society
operation is located at 3200 N. Military Trail in West
Palm Beach, about a mile north of Okeechobee Boulevard
(686-3663). You'll need to take food and a carrier for
your own pet. (This is in case you can't find any
other place for you AND your's for pets only;
you'll need to find a separate facility for yourself.)

Volusia county
Pet shelter: Volusia County Fairgrounds, 3150 E. State
Road 44 DeLand (1/4 mile east of Interstate 4 on State
Road 44). Transportation also is provided at regular
bus stops if animals are in crates.

Lake and Sumter counties

Three shelters in Lake County — Astatula Elementary
School, Lost Lake Elementary School in Clermont and
Villages Elementary School — will accept pets with
their people.

Charlotte County
North Port High School (6400 W. Price Blvd.) in North
Port accepts people and their pets.

Manatee County
Emergency leaders opened people and pet-friendly
shelters at:
Lee Middle, 4000 53rd Ave. W.,
Lincoln Middle, 305 17th St. E., Palmetto; and Manatee
High, 1000 32nd St. W.

As far as motels and hotels, there may be some room
left at some locations. My Web site,,
has an excellent listing of pet-friendly facilities.
Earlier this year, we personally called and verified
policies, but you'll still want to call for room
availablity and to verify pets are still allowed. I
always say, "A location's pet policy is only as
friendly as their last bad pet-related experience."
Check out our list here:

In addition, in case you have to go outside Florida to
find accomodations, the following motel/hotel chains
are, IN GENERAL, pet-friendly, but when you call to
check on room availablity, also verify their pet

Best Western Inns 1-800-528-1234
Comfort Inns 1-800-228-5150
Days Inn 1-800-329-7466
Econo Lodge 1-800-553-2666
Holiday Inn 1-800-465-4329
Howard Johnson 1-800-465-4329
La Quinta Inn 1-800-531-5900
Motel 6 1-800-466-8356
Quality Inn 1-800-228-5151
Ramada Inn 1-800-228-2828
Red Roof Inn 1-800-843-7663
Residence Inn 1-800-331-3131
Super 8 Motels 1-800-800-8000

Hope this list helps some folks. Everyone be smart and

Kind Regards,

"Pets are part of the family, so take them along! has pet-friendly resources and information for Florida residents and visitors.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

How Girls Can Help Their Country


Humility, or being humble, was one of the things practiced by the knights; that is to say, that, although they were generally superior to other people in fighting or campaigning, they never allowed themselves to swagger about it. So don't swagger.

And don't imagine that you have got rights in this world except those that you earn for yourself. You've got the right to be believed if you earn it by always telling the truth, and you've got the right to go to prison if you earn it by thieving; but there are lots of men who go about howling about their rights who have never done anything to earn any rights. Do your duty first, and then you will earn your rights afterward.

From 'How Girls Can Help Their Country - Handbook for Girl Scouts.' 1913