Monday, July 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Beatrix Potter!

With so much political aggravation of late, what could be better than taking a little time with Beatrix Potter? While Beatrix Potter wanted her stories to be published only in small sizes for children's hands, this internet version is perfect for children and aggravated adults, too!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Reflection on Barack Obama's Speech in Germany

No, this is not a picture of Barack Obama in Berlin, it's from the primary. When I found this picture, I thought it was a little odd, so I saved it. Little did I know then, that Sen. Obama would make a campaign speech in Germany. At his Tiergarten event, Obama referred to the USA and Germany as "historic allies." I was a little creeped out by that. From what he said you would have thought we had stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our German cousins during the perils of two world wars.

I am glad that Germany has rejoined the family of nations in giving its citizens human rights, but there are many older Americans (and Britons for that matter) who remain very suspicious of Germany. While it is nice to move beyond the prejudices of the last century, I personally found Sen. Obama's Berlin campaign event in quite poor taste.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Works of Saint Barack Obama

"When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: 'Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?'"


"And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child's journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over. "

Thou canst readeth more of the mighty works of Saint Barack Obama--"with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow"-- at the Times Online.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thoughts on Barack Obama's Berlin Beer Bash

It's been a beautiful day in Berlin. Temperatures are in the high 70's and the sun won't set until a quarter after nine. Plenty of beer has been brought to the Tiergarten in advance of Barack Obama's speech, which will also feature the usual colorful American political campaign trappings. With banners and posters banished from the site, Barack Obama will undoubtedly look like the American candidate for president of the EU.

Against this idyllic backdrop, David Warren speaks of Barack Obama:

He's a candle in the wind, a leaf on the breeze. He has no "vision" whatever, of his own or of America's place in the world. He is good at writing "charisma" speeches, and even better at delivering them.

Read what Ronald Reagan wrote, in his own hand, and often only to himself, over many years (there is the collection aptly entitled: Reagan, In His Own Hand) -- and you find a man who is consistently thinking about his people and his nation, about what is right and what will work. Then read Obama's Dreams From My Father. It is all about finding himself. It is a well-written book, an interesting piece of literature, but it is strictly narcissistic.

And therein lies the problem. Or, as one blogger puts it, "Obama at the Tiergarten! Next Week Elton John!!" It's 7:00 pm in Berlin, and the police are estimating the crowd at 3,000 in the speech area.

Having read some indications that a few American soldiers believed that Barack Obama snubbed them on his visit to Iraq, I was sorry to see that he changed his mind about visiting the injured in Germany.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Did Dan Seals Think His House was in Mark Kirk's District?

Is it bad to gossip? I suppose on some days we all indulge.

Sometimes there is amazing information that appears in blog comments. Team America, who has been posting fairly regularly on Dan Seals, the Illinois 10th Congressional District candidate who lives and runs from the 9th Congressional District, and his blog attracts a large number of comments. I simply have to share the following, which is the seventh comment to this post:

"Seals came into our office to register to vote after buying and moving into his house. We filled out the form, including his residency in the 9th Congressional District. Seals told us that we filled out the voter registration wrong, obviously intending to run against Kirk.We apologized and said no, you are in the 9th. Realizing his huge mistake, closing on his house and already moving in, Seals realized he had not done his own homework. The lines for the district had been finalized by Springfield a year before."What have I done?" he said."

That house purchase was several years ago, obviously, Dan Seals has been running for Congressman pretty well non stop for the past 3 years, and Congressional redistricting takes place only every ten years. Because I am unable to verify the information, this remains as gossip, but I thought it was pretty funny story.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Puppets and People

Just when we were beginning to think that the Internet was no longer fun, TMZ came up with a charming puppet/celebrity picture gallery with 18 photo matches that will waste a few minutes of your time in a most enjoyable fashion. Hats off to the clever photo editor who saw the resemblances, and to reader CA who found it and sent the link.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Is Dan Seals' Campaign Behind a Hateful Push Poll?

This morning, Wilmette calls upon Congressional candidate Dan Seals to address a hateful, anti-military push poll that is being conducted in Illinois' 10th Congressional District, home of the Navy's Great Lakes training station. Details are provided by Lone Wolf on the Experimentum Crucis Blog. Voters deserve an answer from Dan Seals as to who is conducting this poll and why they are conducting it.

Seals, a 9th district resident who has no historic or current ties to the 10th Congressional District which he seeks to represent, reports that he has assembled 70 interns--"some of which are from the East Coast"--so his campaign should have no problem addressing this troubling issue.

Well over a week ago we pointed out the fact that Seals is attempting to mislead casual visitors to his campaign website with an old primary endorsement by the Chicago Tribune. With obviously ample manpower, it would appear that Seals has little regard for the intelligence of district residents.

"Omnia Vanitas": New Motto for Obama?

A little Sunday morning blogging . . .

In a post-religious age, it isn't surprising that the people's new messiah is a politician. Joan Vennochi hits the nail on the head on her op-ed piece on Barack Obama's ego.

Those of you still stubbornly clinging to your religion are probably thinking of this.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Kenilworth Union Church Rummage Sale
Saturday, July 19, 2008, 7am to 3pm

UPDATE: The 2010 Kenilworth Union Church Rummage Sale is on Saturday, July 24, 2010 from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm. See you there!

UPDATE: It's 2009 and time again for Rummage at Kenilworth Union Church! This year's sale is Saturday July 25, 2009 and the time is from 7 am to 3 PM. More info at the KUC website, just click here.

Looking for a cheap family outing this weekend? On Saturday, July 19, 2008, Kenilworth Union Church, in Chicago's north shore suburb of Kenilworth, will hold its annual rummage sale from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm. This is a great rummage sale, so do stop by. Driving directions are here, and you also can take the Union Pacific Metra North Line to Kenilworth and walk 3 blocks east to the church. Another alternative is to take the CTA purple line "el" to the end of the line in Wilmette, which is the Linden stop, where a free shuttle will take buyers to and from the el station during the hours of sale. Further information about the sale is available by phone at (847) 251-4272.

Don't worry about eating, because there will be plenty of tasty treats for an outdoor lunch, all at a very reasonable cost. Since there are plenty of nice things for the whole family at very cheap prices, this could be a fun Saturday outing for the whole family that won't stress a budget that now has to cover the increases in gas prices and food. On the Metra, kids ride free with parents and a ticket for the whole weekend costs $5.00/person.

As usual, there are very strong offering in women's, children's and infant's clothing, treasures (2 rooms), books, linens, decorative accessories, and items for Christmas and Hallowe'en. Other departments include jewelry; toys; sporting goods; housewares (including hardware); electronics; furniture; china and glass; shoes, purses and accessories; menswear; and baskets.

Tip: If you are looking for luxury goods and items that are still in their original packages or with original price tags, do come very early. These items go fast. But if you choose to sleep in, go anyway, as there are usually plenty of very good things to last all day. Around noon or 1:00, many departments will offer an entire bag of items for a dollar or two. This is particularly a deal in the book department and in clothing.

We have seen some items priced as little as 5 cents and quite a selection for a dime. How good is that? Do come and enjoy yourself, take home some new things very cheaply, and enjoy all the benefits of recycling perfectly good items.

Note: Proceeds from Kenilworth Union Church are used for Chicago area charities.

Barack Obama's Summer Vacation to Europe

Today I would like to be more like Barack Obama. I want to be on record that a nice summer trip to Europe would be an important opportunity for me to assess the situation in countries that are critical to American national security, and to consult with some of our closest friends and allies about the common challenges we face. It would be better if you, as a taxpayer would pay for it, as you will for Barack. Unlike Barack Obama, I could go on a commercial plane, and I could even go in the tiny seats in back, although in that event I would like an aisle seat. I wouldn't have to take a posse along with me, saving you money, and I could even be happy in a nice enough three star hotel. I would prefer a first class rail pass, however.

Obama probably doesn't care that due to current economic conditions I will be going to New England instead of Europe. Does he feel my pain? I don't think so. That's a shame, because I really like to go to one of those delicious bakeries in Bavaria, where you can pluck a "berliner," the type of jelly donut pictured above, out of a bin and eat it up, remembering the day when President (note: already elected) John F. Kennedy spoke to the German people in Berlin.

Obama, of course, wants to take his campaign for messiah over to Europe, and try to paint himself as the new John F. Kennedy, having failed in earlier attemps to fit into the mantle of Abraham Lincoln. Perhaps they haven't yet heard in Europe that Obama has jettisoned his old left-wing friends and thoughts in favor of something more moderate. There is a real issue here whether Obama can keep the pals who gave him his primary victories and regain his momentum. Obama's campaign wants you to believe that he is the inevitable candidate for President. Personally, given the personality cult that surrounds Barack Obama, I think going to Germany to draw large crowds based on his popularity will result in some very unfavorable parallels. I think Obama should have chosen France, as they are more his style.

Obama and Iraq

Update: The referenced video is now available for blogs. In my enthusiam to post the video, I managed to wipe out the entire blogpost, which read something like this:

John McCain has a new video featuring a number of positions that Barack Obama has taken on Iraq which is worth a few minutes of your time. Of particular interest is the old footage where the Somewhere-South-of-Atlanta accent that Obama has been sporting since the Primaries is totally missing. I am not sure whether Barack Obama is spending a lot of time listening to old speeches of famous Civil Rights leaders or whether this is a sign of a deeper identitiy crisis.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

JibJab's Latest: "Time for Some Campaignin'"

Four months in the making, more Disney than Disney, Jib Jab is done with its latest political satire, "Time for Some Campaignin'!"

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

Local Blogging News

Oh dear! No sooner Some extremely local news. You know how they say you aren't anyone in politics until you have enemies? Looks as if our pal and fellow Wilmette citizen Anne, the Backyard Conservative, is quite the rising star. I'd suggest that you rise to her defense, but don't waste your breath; not only are those people mean, they are an unbalanced lot.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The New Yorker on Chicago's Obama

The cover of the latest New Yorker magazine is a sensation, picturing Michelle Obama as a gun-toting radical, and Backack Obama as an Indonesian. The two are shown fist-bumping in theOval Office, which features a portrait of Osama Bin Laden and an American flag burning in the fireplace. Both campaigns have condemned the satirical cover, which departs from the adoring and unquestioning attention from that the mainstream media has lavished upon the Obamas.

Featured in the magazine is a long article about Obama's time in Chicago. About half way through the article (pages 10-11 for those of you in a hurry) is a great discussion of the district carved for Obama's state senate seat in 2000. It's an interesting read, and presents Obama in a far more positive light than the cover of the magazine.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Enseñe Los Niños Bien - Barack Obama's Spanish Mandate

I snapped this picture at the Feria in Seville, Spain, a couple of years ago. We had a very lovely time there, and also discovered a delicious drink which is made by taking a bottle of Domecq La Ina Sherry in one hand and a bottle of 7-Up in the other, and pouring equal portions in a tall glass. Pleasant memories help when faced with annoying realities such Barack as Obama's Spanish mandate.

Obama's latest is that your children must learn Spanish. I beg to differ. I spent a fair amount of time in my youth learning Spanish, and based on my experiences I can't recommend it as an activity that is worthy of your children's time. Personally, I can't think of a more defining moment for the uselessness of Spanish than what happened the year that Elian Gonzalez, the young Cuban whose mother died trying to achieve freedom off the shores of Miami, was the big story.

Just around the time that a wacked out Janet Reno sent a SWAT team to save young Gonzalez from the perils of Capitalism by returning the child to his uncle in Cuba, I turned to Univision for news of Elian. For whatever reason, Don Francisco from Sabado Gigante was reporting, and he had dug up one of Elian's other uncles, living in Los Angeles, for an interview. The interview started, conducted in Spanish of course. Unfortunately, after a number of "excuses me's?" and "pardon's?" it became obvious that Don Francisco, speaking in Spanish that was Cuban via Miami, and Elian's Uncle, Cuban via Los Angeles, were absolutely unable to understand the other. Frustrated, but rational, the two switched to English for the rest of the interview, which completely solved their problem.

I also remember the time that I went to visit a friend in Bolivia with two small kids in tow, and when it was time to leave, all aviation had been shut down in the country. I ended up taking a bus all night through the Andes to catch my flight back to the US, and was happy when we had a rest stop in the wee hours of the morning. It was pretty rustic at that stop, the facilities being squatting behind the bus, and native enough that a number of the bus riders were ordering plastic baskets of coca leaves for a midnight munch. Spanish? Useless. All the people at the rest stop spoke only Quechua, the ancient pre-Incan language of the Andes. As businessmen, however, they did understand money and pointing, and I managed to get three bottles of the local version of Coca-Cola without much problem. By dawn I was in La Paz at a nice Sheraton, where Spanish worked just fine, but I imagine I could have spoken English and they would have understood me.

Also instructive was my first day at a college internship at a company in Spain. Having had my Spanish tested and approved before I left, and confident of my Spanish skills after many trips to Mexico, I felt a deep sinking feeling when--after successful introductions to my boss and his boss--I could barely understand a word that the two of them spoke. Eventually--likely after they noticed my look of dismay--they turned to me, and explained (in perfect Castilian) that I should not be concerned, they were just speaking Catalan. In fact, most of Barcelona preferred to speak Catalan, Spanish being the language of people from outside the region. By the end of the summer, I was understanding Catalan, too, but I couldn't learn how to pronounce it right. My friends (none of whom spoke English) were endlessly amused.

My latest venture with Spanish was with the yardmen a couple of weeks ago. They were busy digging up the flower beds, and I wanted to point out the good plants from the bad. Unfortunately, I realized that I never learned the words for "hedge," "evergreen," "weed," "impatiens" or "hosta," so several very nice plants disappeared at their hands. Of course, Spanish words for specific objects vary wildly from country to country, so even if I had learned the words somewhere along the line, I might have ended up like Don Francisco, being unable to communicate at all.

I am looking forward to some of Barack's speeches in Spanish, which I suppose will be next. I hope his Spanish is somewhat better than Jimmy Carter's. When Jimmy Carter was President, he loved to speak in Spanish, really bad Spanish, and listening to it was a painful, painful experience, and undoubtably a chance for the Spanish-speaking world to practice its diplomatic skills by refraining from comment. I am also waiting to hear Barack's kids give an interview to Telemundo's equivalent of Access Hollywood, to see whether Obama has put his money where his mouth is. Whatever the case, after the interview receives wide play he will toss the segment under the bus, pronouncing it as "a mistake."

Even Jesse Jackson Sr. is getting a little annoyed with Barack Obama telling Americans how to live our lives. The plantation days are long over, and Barack Obama--who's already flirted with the concept of involuntary servitude in his call for mandatory public service for teens--should realize that here in the Land of the Free, law abiding Americans can choose capably a life that best suits them, and entirely without his help.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Ethical Problems for Candidate Dan Seals

We would note that the Chicago Tribune has not yet endorsed Congressional Candidates for the general election in Illinois 10th Congressional District. That fact apparently doesn't bother Dan Seals, candidate in the 10th Congressional District one bit. Seals, a newcomer to Chicago's North Shore and a citizen of the neighboring 9th Congressional District, is featuring a large picture from the Trib on the front page of his campaign website, implying that the Trib has bestowed its blessings upon him for November. That picture is, in fact, a left-over from the primary, and has nothing to do with the upcoming election. With Seals' website featuring pictures from the Fourth of July, Seals can't use the lame excuse that his website simply hasn't been updated.

Seals, who boasts a string of ill-advised campaign stunts, has long been seen as a devotee of resume padding. His latest insult on the intelligence of the voters whom he asks to support him, while predictable, is not only ill-advised, it is unethical. While his attempt to pull a quick one on casual Internet visitors is bold, the growing issue of Seals' honesty and integrity remains troubling.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

New Trier Township's Food Pantry Needs Restocking

While we have been grumbling about the price of gas and food at our house, we are pretty ok, as I suppose are most of the area residents. Nevertheless, the tough economy is taking its toll, and the number of citizens who need to use the New Trier food pantry has recently increased.

New Trier Township is asking for food donations for its food pantry located at 739 Elm St. in Winnetka. Office hours are 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Particularly needed are tuna, cereal, canned fruit, cake mixes, rice, salt and pepper. You can take your contributions directly to the office, where they will be gratefully received.

UPDATE, October 24, 2008: Times have gotten tough for some people, and if you live in New Trier Township (Wilmette, Winnetka, Kenilworth, Glencoe, and parts of Northfield and Glenview) and need assistance, emergency aid, or items from the food pantry--or know someone who does--DO call the New Trier Township Social Services Administrator at (847) 466-8201. More information is available on the New Trier Township website. The pantry is located at the township office on Elm Street in downtown Winnetka, just east of Lincoln Avenue on the east side of the tracks.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

In Memoriam: Jesse Helms

In Memoriam
Jesse Alexander Helms, Jr.
October 18, 1921 – July 4, 2008

"I came up between the two world wars during the Depression. All the people around me emphasized working and savings and personal responsibility. They spelled out in one way or another the uniqueness of America. This has largely been lost. Nobody would have thought of turning to the government to solve all our problems." — 1984 interview.
Update: In the July 7, 2008 Washington Post: The Jesse Helms You Should Remember.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July from Wilmette!

Happy Fourth of July! To prepare for the holiday, we have been watching patriotic videos at our house, including 1776 and the recent series on John Adams. Tomorrow we are thinking that we will have a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence, with everyone taking a turn. If we can get enough people to take turns reading, that could be fun. Here at the Padena house we are great fans of the founding fathers.

Last night we had chicken and deli salads, except they weren't from the deli, we made them ourselves. They were so popular we might have to make some more varieties this morning. We don't have much in the way of leftovers. If it stays cold, we might also bake some brownies. We might go see a parade, and we plan to go to fireworks tonight.

Pictured above is the Declaration of Independence as written in Thomas Jefferson's own hand. You can see it much larger by clicking on the picture, or if you visit the Thomas Jefferson electronic archives at the Massachusetts Historical Society, you can see this image as well as find a great deal more information about Thomas Jefferson. Also available at the historical society are the Adams family papers, including correspondence of John and Abagail Adams. If you have a few extra minutes, do go take a look.

Have a wonderful fourth of July. I hope you have some fun activities planned with family and friends.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Travesty at the Fourth and Linden

Wilmette blogger JB Powers, who spends much of his online time on the religion beat at the Society of St. Barbara Blog, sends disturbing news. The Wilmette Trustees have unanimously appproved a new zoning district for the 4th and Linden neighborhood, allowing 1200 new condo units to begin construction. According to JB, the decision was reached despite "vocal disapproval of an overwhelming majority of the incumbent residents and businessmen in the neighborhood." Read his post to learn more.

As we reported earlier this year, one Trustee's viewpoint is that "you have to play the developer's game."