31 October 2008

Why I'm Voting for Obama

Well, not exactly...this morning on one of my message boards there was a discussion brewing about who was voting for whom, something that NEVER ends well. I think that for once I was able to make my point clearly and without too much stupidity, so I wanted to share. Also, I'm concerned that some of my readers aren't getting enough sleep, so I wanted to provide you with something other than Tylenol PM to try if that doesn't work for you.
I'm a liberal. I'm probably a socialist.

But part of the reason I am, I think, is because of the way I was raised and the field in which I work. My father is a United Methodist minister. I can remember more times than I can count that he went out in the middle of the night to the police station (in the town where we lived when I was a teenager) to give money and food to "transients" that turned up there for whatever reason. That came from a church program, not from our pockets, but it was a church program that he and several other area ministers were instrumental in heading up.

It came to be, though, that he was going out more and more. When I asked why he was always "on call" to help, he usually answered that the other ministers couldn't be reached or that we lived (literally) across the street from the PD so he just went. Was it because he was the only one that went? To that, my father said something that has shaped the person I've become: He reminded me that we can't change anyone but ourselves, and we have to lead by example and not by refusing to help. As long as he did what needed to be done to help those who had less than we did (without asking questions, just helping) then he had done all he could do. At the time I thought that people were taking advantage of my father, but now I understand that for me, he's right.

I work in a field where I see people everyday try to make their way in our country. They try to get jobs. They try to make a living for their families or just themselves. And they can't, because they don't speak English or don't speak clearly enough to be understood or are just too sick with mental illness to be able to maintain. I don't make a lot of money...thought I did because in my profession I'm one of the higher paid interpreters in my area...but compared to others I don't. But I stay doing what I do because of what I learned from my father. To me, it doesn't really matter what other people do or don't do for themselves. Some can help themselves and some can't. All I can do is keep doing what I feel is right and let them sort themselves out. I feel that because I was born able to hear and speak English, because I don't have voices telling me to kill myself or am so afraid of the world that I lock myself in my house and hide under my bed that I have a responsibility to be of whatever help I can be to those that ARE in those positions. I've stayed in a civil service job (state department of mental health) for 10 years because of that. I did have some things handed to me, so to speak...my parents paid for my education which to me is even more reason why I have to use what I have to help as many people as I can, regardless. They paid ME forward, I guess.

Anyway, that's why I'm a socialist leaning liberal, and why I'm voting the way I am. There are other reasons, like Roe v. Wade and such that I don't want to get into here because I don't find those kinds of arguments to be productive.

30 October 2008

Why I love John Stewart...

From tonight's episode, probably available on the above website tomorrow...

John Stewart (on McCain): "He will come out and say 'Barack Obama is a socialist,' and then on Larry King say 'he's not a socialist.' I mean, he's literally arguing with himself. He'll say...I mean Sarah Palin is from Alaska, they give a stipend from corporations to their citizens, that is...Marxism, is it not? Redistribution of wealth?"

29 October 2008

Anybody outside of Greenville got TIVO?

One of my favorites, The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, is being made into a television series called Legend of the Seeker. Guess which market it hasn't picked it up? Yep, Greenville. Charlotte has it, Myrtle Beach has it, Columbia has it...but not Greenville. Figures, huh? From what I've seen on the internet and iTunes I'm not sure that I'm going to like it, but I'd like to at least have the chance to see it.

Ah well, how many days till Twilight comes out?

28 October 2008

To Those Who CLEARLY Know Better Than I...


I said this is MY bed!
Originally uploaded by Nancy Allen
Okay, I know that I'm just biased or cranky or cold or something, but I think we have an exceptional crowd of Know-It-All's and Animal-Rights-Gone-Wrongers this year at the festival. I've been told that my dogs are too thin. I've been told that they were hit and abused while racing. I've been told that they don't live well with cats. I've been told that I need to cut their toenails.

Only one of those statements is true, and Mills will tell you it isn't the cat one! Jeany's nails are a bit long. So to all those people who leave the "Dog House" or "Hound Barn," as it has been nicknamed, thinking that the lady in the gray/blue/orange dress is starving her hounds and probably is in league with Satan because she is...gasp...a FAN of greyhound racing...

Ummm...

Errr...

Yeah, can't even come up with anything. All I can think of is how I wouldn't go up to another adoption group for a different breed, one with whom I've never lived, and start quoting propaganda and scare-tactic-speech that I've gotten from an internet site containing 20 year old statistics. I'm also not sure about those people who need to tell me about all the umpteenthirty animals they have rescued over the years. Does it truly make you feel better or warm your heart to have "saved" an animal (which, by the way, in case you're keeping score, does NOT make you the same as me because the only one of my animals that was "saved" was Mills, who was adopted from the shelter...) OR do you do it so people will tut-tut What A Wonderful Human Being You Are and praise you as a martyr? I was discussing this with S on the phone and I think they remind me of the Pharisees. Shouldn't we be doing our work to make the world better and just keeping quiet about it? Actions speak louder than words, etc etc?

I know, harsh words, but seriously...it is on my mind. I don't tell people automatically that I adopted my dogs after they retired from racing. I just say they are greyhounds. I don't tell people that I serve as a selfless mediator between people of two cultures and languages that can't understand each other in the interest of bringing our big world a bit closer together, either. I just say I am an interpreter.

If you're hung up on the saving bit though...my animals are the heroes, not me. They've saved my life more times than I can count.

24 October 2008

Dropkick Murphys - Amazing Grace (LIVE)

As I'm getting myself psyched up to do my favorite weekend at the Carolina Renaissance Festival (Halloween Weekend), I'm listening to all my "celtic" music in my iTunes...and wanted to share one with you. All my Glisson buddies take note...can you imagine getting the chapel to look like the audience?

PS-if you're at work, you might turn your speakers down. If you're at home, turn them up and sing along!!

08 October 2008

A Straight Answer, Sorta...

I've been wondering how McCain is going to fund this $5k health care credit that he and Palin keep bringing up. I've been listening too, and not once have they said where the money is going to come from that will be given out as a "credit." Atlanta's NBC affiliate seems to have found the answer...(bold text is my addition)
In fact, McCain's plan would tax health care benefits people receive from employers in order to finance the $5,000 tax credit. Obama's ads argue the new tax would raise the cost of insurance for employers, forcing millions off the rolls.
Socialized medicine, anyone?

Thanks to Liz for the article listed in her "What I'm Reading At This Very Minute" feed. Click on the link in the title of this post for more.

07 October 2008

Schooled, Biden Style!!

Thanks again, Ben..."From an early age two of my greatest loves were Jews and Cuban Food."

06 October 2008

FESTIVAL! Weekend One


gorgeous.
Originally uploaded by Nancy Allen
Every year I work the Carolina Renaissance Festival with the Hounds of East Fairhaven, and this past weekend was the opening of the season. I took all three dogs, but only Daisy went both days. H and J stayed at a friend's house Saturday.

H and J did very well. We have an xpen this year in a room off the back of our building, and several times I put the Diva back there to rest while H snoozed on the beds out front. Seems his proin is now in the right dose because we had (knock on wood) ZERO accidents yesterday!

Daisy, on the other hand, had a bit of a rough weekend, and she may have secured a permanent place in the xpen. We have two dog beds that are really those one person futon cushion things...you know, that fold up into a chair looking thing without a frame? Anyway, they are the Beds Of Choice and Much Coveted. Daisy finally got her shot at one Saturday afternoon, and was lounging there when an ITTY BITTY kid came up to see her. Kid pats her head and touches her nose...no problem. Kid grabs her nose and kisses it...still no problem. Kid grabs nose a second time to kiss her again and Daisy showed her teeth at the same time that I felt a growl come up the leash. I pulled her up and took her out back for a Time Out.

Now, Daisy has NEVER shown that kind of reaction to anyone, big or little. I took her back in and she got back on that same bed. Another kid came to visit, looked her in the eye, and she did the exact same thing again. At the time I chalked it up to her being tired and feeling threatened by the kid looking her in the eye (and the first one grabbing her nose) and she stayed on her feet and close to me for the rest of the day.

On Sunday, she immediately ran to the big bed again and at the time I didn't think anything of it. I was sitting on a bench next to her when a little boy came over to pet her. He kept moving his head around to look her in the eye and about the time I said "Don't get right in her face sweetie" Daisy's teeth came out again with the same grumble that I could feel vibrating up the leash. This time Miss Thing got the xpen with Jeany for about an hour while I walked around with my Big Man and tried to figure out what had happened.

The conclusion I came to is this: it's the dog bed. That bed is more like a couch than a bed and I think that being on it elevated her status, in her own mind. She reacted as any dog who felt him/herself to be of higher status would to a perceived threat, IE the children looking her in the eye. I could beat myself up and say that I should have been more vigilant, but the truth is that Daisy is the low dog on the totem pole in our pack and I would never have thought to watch for that kind of behavior from her. After her time out, I got her back out but didn't let her on that dog bed again until the very end of the day when most of the patrons were gone.

No more growlies. I'm not anthropomorphizing that fact to say that she "learned her lesson" from sitting in the xpen. We all know that the truth is she'd forgotten the growl by the time she got to the xpen. However, I think that keeping her off the Big Bed was key.

01 October 2008

This time it wasn't insomnia...

Last night I was up reading. Reading. For four hours straight.

I haven't had a book touch me enough or inspire me in that way since I finished the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind, and even the last two books of that series didn't hold me rapt like what I was reading last night.

I'm sure those in the know (and I KNOW that Julie over at Seven Impossible Things has) have already read this series when it first came out. I avoided it because it was Young Adult Literature...I never could get into the Harry Potter books and thought that was the cause.

I now think it's because HP wasn't dark enough for me...but I digress. Last night I was up reading New Moon...almost 500 pages in one sitting. I can't say enough good things about it...and I'm going to get the next one in the series, Eclipse, today. (If you're interested in the first book, Twilight, click on this post title for the link.)

Dia duit ó GARF.

Almost TOO Irish, that. Go raibh míle maith agat  to Chris Heffron (of the Southern Travel Guide ) for this great shot from last Sund...