Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Friday, June 28, 2002

I don't really consider myself that political, but...

I do seem to be in politics mode lately. Here is a copy of a letter to the editor I sent to the Lexington Herald-Leader today:

Shouldn't the focus be one nation, indivisible?
I am the child of a Vietnam veteran and the grandchild of a Marine who fought at Iwo Jima and an Army nurse who lost a kidney in war. My family came to Kentucky to settle land granted for Revolutionary War service. I am acutely aware of the value of the free society in which we live and of honoring those whose blood preserved it. I am usually one of a few who reverences every flag that travels the July 4th parade. Yet I do not believe we should be "one nation, under God".

I am deeply religious, but I believe that the separation of church and state guaranteed in the Constitution was violated in 1954 when Congress, at the urging of a Christian organization, inserted "under God" into our pledge of allegiance. Need I remind anyone that this was also a time when those perceived as different were called “un-American”?

I am a loyal citizen, but my religion recognizes many Gods and Goddesses. My allegiance is to my country—not to someone else’s God. How would Christians feel if they were made to pledge to "one nation, under Zeus", or to swear in court upon the Koran? Zeus is simply an ancient word meaning “God”, after all.

My fear is that in these troubled times when our nation must unite against those who hate, we will barter away our freedoms and diversity for security and someone else's definition of “American”—then the enemies of our nation would truly win.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Passing this along...

For several years, I have kept up with an organisation called the Friends of Bosnia, who disseminate information re: the crises that have erupted in the Balkans and advocate ways of preventing genocide within the area. I received this, ironically, right after I photocopied some Bosnian recipes for a neighbour/co-worker who is a refugee from Sarajevo. I would hate to see a fragile situation worsen due to political manoeuvres. So, I'm passing this along to those of you who may feel likewise.

Please act immediately Thursday, June 27, 2002

The US is poised to end UN-authorized peacekeeping operations in Bosnia. Contact your members of Congress and the White House.

The Bush Administration will use their Security Council veto this Sunday to stop authorization of the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia unless US
soldiers and personnel are exempt from the International Criminal Court (ICC), which goes into effect July 1.

Call your members of Congress by Friday and ask that they contact the White House and demand that the US continue to support Balkan peacekeeping
operations regardless of the Administration¹s conflict with the ICC.
You can also contact the White House directly.

The first casualty if this goes into effect on Sunday would be an immediate end to the International Police Task Force (IPTF) in Bosnia. This is
an international body of police volunteers who observe and train the Bosnian police. More important though, this decision by the Administration
may cause the much larger and important force, SFOR, to fall apart. Some European nations, particularly Germany, only participate in SFOR because of
UN-authorization. The US is also threatening to pull all of its 8,000 troops out of the NATO-led missions in Kosovo and Bosnia.

As Bosnia and the Balkans are slowly but steadily recovering from a genocidal war, this decision by the US will only strengthen hard
liners who want to derail the peace process. It is important to separate politically the conflict over the ICC from this issue. While Friends of Bosnia
strongly supports the ICC, the important issue today is to communicate to the White House and Congress the importance of continuing our presence in the

The US has invested billions of dollars to forge a lasting peace in the region. If we were to scuttle the international forces there, it would put years of hard work and billions of dollars in immediate jeopardy.

To find your member of Congress:
To reach any member of Congress: (202) 224-3121
White House switchboard: 202-456-1414

For more information:
(These news links may only be active for 24 hours)

Friends of Bosnia
85 Worcester St., #1
Boston, MA 02118
Tel: 617-424-6906
Fax: 617-424-6752

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

It's R A I N I N G !!!! Yea!!!!!!

Okay, some people might not jump for joy over this, and certainly the Southwest is in much greater straits than we are when it comes to needing rain, but it has been very dry the last few weeks, hot, and muggy, and we've needed some. Lexington has been passed by lately--that happens a lot in our weather patterns. So, for now anyway, I'm celebrating (and hoping that some of those other places that need it get it, too).

Saturday, June 22, 2002

Friday, June 21, 2002

Blogging away on my PDA...

So, it's been a couple of weeks since I lost my Internet connexion, and obviously I am not blogging regularly. I miss that a lot. I mean, I'm not sure how many of you actually read these ramblings, but I find it rather good to actually write things down. I was never particularly good at journalling (you would think that being obsessive-compulsive, I would, but no, not at all, quite the opposite, in fact. You see, I can't ever get it the way I want it. Besides, those with OCD usually have a few rather odd things that they are compulsive about to one degree or another. To get the strict approach to life that is all about anal retention, you get into the obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, which has its own problems, but a quite different kettle of fish, despite the similarity in names.

Anyway, I've decided to remedy my blogging withdrawal by using my the handheld computer that is my constant companion (oohh...I guess that sounds geekier than I meant it to be). It's mainly for work, but I also use it to keep track of things like my doctors' appointments, meal plans, bus schedules, etc.

Things have actually been going pretty well. I did get ssshhh!!ed (so funny, seeing as I'm the librarian) first thing when I came into work this morning by a rather stern-faced audiovisual tech. As I was making my way to the library from picking up the paper I strayed by a room with the World Cup game between Germany and the US playing with about 4 minutes to go. Since I don't have cable, I'd been keeping track of the game on Good Morni ng America. I whooped at a point where the US barely missed a goal, prompting the "hey, there's a meeting next door". So I quieted down, wondering why they didn't have the sense to close the doors, but since the doctors who were meeting had been the ones to put on the game, I guess they'd wanted to be able to slip in and out.

Unfortunately, the US team lost, although they made a very good showing overall. They obviously played their utmost--they seemed exhausted in the end. Hopefully they'll be taken more seriously in the future. Notice I don't think our national pride rests on the outcome of a football game. Football (or soccer, for those of you who insist on calling the American game of that name football, even though it's mostly played with the hands) is one of the two sports I watch (the other being figure skating). I'm not really a sports fanatic, I guess. But I love the speed and strategy in football, and it's one of the few games I was ever able to play decently. I haven't watched much in the way of pro ball in the American league (I'm ashamed to say that before the World Cup, I didn't know there was one) but when I had cable I watched a lot of the English Premiere League play. In truth, I've always cared more about how well a game was played (of any sport) than who did the winning. That may be a girl thing. I refuse to participate in the nearly religious adoration people here in Kentucky give to basketball, although I'll sometimes catch a game. Anyway, the US team gave a good showing. I'd have liked to see the team climb higher, but I'm glad they made it as far as they did. Good luck to them next year...

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

Yes, it's been awhile. I don't have much time to blog now that I can't from home. Nor do I have much time right now, but I wanted to pass this on to any of you who might be amused. I can't verify the source (it's one of those things that floats around the Internet), although the drapery did happen. Enjoy. :)

The following letter was read by the author at this year's In Celebration of the Muse, Cabrillo College. She was the highlight of the evening.
The author is a woman of 60+ years, conservatively dressed, and obviously quite


On January 28, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that he
spent $8,000 of taxpayer's money for drapes to cover up the exposed breast of
The Spirit of Justice, an 18 ft aluminum statue of a woman that stands in
the Department of Justice's Hall of Justice.

John, John, John, you've got your priorities all wrong. While men fly
airplanes into skyscrapers, dive bomb the pentagon, while they stick
explosives into their shoes, and then book a seat right next to us,
while they hide knives in their luggage, steal kids on school buses, take
little girls from their beds at night, drive trucks into our state capital
buildings, while our president calls dangerous men all over the world
evildoers and devils, while we live in the threat of biological
warfare, nuclear destruction, annihilation...you are out buying yardage to save
Americans from the appalling, alarming, abominable aluminum alloy of
evil...that terrible ten foot tin tittie.

You might not be able to find Bin Laden. But you sure as hell found the
hooter in the Hall of Justice.

It's not that we aren't grateful. But while we were begging the women
of Afghanistan to not cover up their faces you are begging your staff
members to just cover up that nipple to save the American people from that
monstrous metal mammary.

How can we ever thank you? So, in your office every morning in your
secret prayer meeting, while an American woman is sexually assaulted every 6
seconds, while anthrax floats around the post office and settles in the
chests of senior citizens... you've got another chest on your mind.

While American sons arrive home in body bags and heat seeking missiles fly
around a foreign country looking for any warm body..... you think of another

And you pray for the biggest bra in the world, John, because you see
that breast on the Spirit of Justice is in the spirit of your own inhibited

And when we women see our grandmothers, our mothers, our daughters, our
granddaughters, our sisters, ourselves....when we women see that
statue, the Spirit of Justice, we see the spirit of strength and the spirit of

While every day we view innocent bodies dragged out of rubble, and
women and children laid out like thin limp dolls and baptized into death as
collateral damage, and the hollow eyed Afghani mother's milk has dried up
underneath her burka in famine, in shame, and her children are dead at her breast.

While you look at that breast, John, that jug on the Spirit of Justice
and deal with your thoughts of lust and sex and nakedness, we see it as a
testimony to motherhood....and you see it as a tit.

It's not the money it cost. It's the message you send. We've got the
right to live in freedom. We've got the right to cheat Americans out of millions
of dollars and then just not want to tell congress about it. We've got the
right to drop bombs night and day on a small country that has no Army, no
Navy, no military at all, because we've got the right to bear arms, but we just
better not even think about the right to bare breasts.

So, now John, you can be photographed while you stand there and talk
about guns and bombs and poisons without the breast appearing over your right
shoulder, without that bodacious bosom bothering you, and we just
wanted to tell you in the spirit of justice, in the spirit of truth: John there
is still one very big boob left standing there in that picture.

Claire Braz-Valentine

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

So what is it about Arkansas???

Taking a lead from Zabet, I took a quiz at findyourspot.com to see where I should live. Here are the results:

1. Little Rock, Arkansas Where America Comes Together
2. Salisbury, Maryland Maryland’s Secluded Retreat
3. Fayetteville, Arkansas Light of the Ozarks
4. Charleston, West Virginia The Home of Hospitality
5. Frederick, Maryland Where The Past Comes Alive
6. Alexandria, Louisiana The Crossroads of Louisiana [Incidentally, I moved here when I was four days old, to live at England Air Force Base]
7. Hot Springs-Hot Springs Village, Arkansas America’s Natural Spa
8. Baltimore, Maryland The Sparkling Harbor City
9. Portland, Oregon City of Roses
10. Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana Cities of Three Flags [and I grew up here, from age 6-12, at Barksdale Air Force Base]
11. Eugene, Oregon The Emerald City
12. Eureka Springs, Arkansas Playground of the Ozarks [I dunno, my ex always wanted to take me there to the passion plays]
13. Corvallis, Oregon Heart of the Willamette Valley
14. Salem, Oregon The Heart of Oregon
15. Holiday Island, Arkansas Where Every Day is a Holiday [I despise planned communities (at least if they have all those rules, anyway)]
16. Las Cruces, New Mexico City of the Sun
17. Cherokee Village, Arkansas Vacation Living at its Best
18. Baton Rouge, Louisiana The Cajun Capital
19. Heber Springs-Greers Ferry Lake, Arkansas A Natural Paradise [Cardboard races? On the lake?]
20. New Orleans, Louisiana The Crescent City
21. Milwaukie, Oregon City of Dogwoods
22. Mountain Home/Bull Shoals, Arkansas Gateway to the Ozarks
23. Monroe, Louisiana Twin Cities of the South
24. Gaithersburg, Maryland The Park City

I will say that some of the finest people I ever met were in Arkansas. Our radiator went out near Hope and not only did the guy fix our car, he called his wife to take my mom and me out shopping while we were waiting. I suspect they would have put us up in their home if the repairs had taken longer.

The quiz seemed to ignore my whole 'heat okay without humidity' answer. I remember Louisiana well. Funny how a lot of the suggestions seemed to come from a desire for history, culture, and small town feel in a decent-sized community. I think that's what I got here, at least if you add in Louisville and Cincinnati....Hmmm...

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Things you do as part of your job that they never taught you in library school...

I learned how to make cotton candy today. It was actually quite fun. We're running an employee appreciation week with a carnival theme. Yesterday we all got really great fleece blankets with a carry strap that are great for picnics, Shakespeare in the Park, etc. Today we had snowcones and cotton candy. Tomorrow's volleyball, popcorn, and sodas. Thursday there's a cookout and carnival. I'm running the ping pong ball into the fish bowl game. Friday we're doing a drawing for ice cream cakes, and Saturday we're going as a group to a Lexington Legends (minor league baseball--they were champions in their league last season, their first!) game, with a catered picnic. Summer's a great time to be at our workplace. It's been so hot and muggy, they're going to let us wear suitable shorts on Wednesday and Thursday and jeans on Friday. I'm on the committee, and we've really tried to make it fun.

I don't have a normal workplace, I suppose. :) Later in the month there's a beach party aimed at the kids where the staff joins in, too. No super soakers this year. :( We would always start with little water guns and someone would bring out the super soaker, and then someone would bring out the hose. Last year I was in the dunking booth and got a kid with a great arm; he'll probably be a major league pitcher someday. My fondest memories are usually from the employee appreciation/beach party moments. My absolute favourite was of a little girl riding on a very large chair with a super soaker maniacally chasing us. I mean, really, that's what it's all about--helping kids have as full a life as possible, even if we do wind up soaked in the process. :)

Well, I'd better go. I am at friend's house and need to catch the bus back and backup as much on my computer as possible in preparation for the reformat/reinstall tomorrow. Take care.

Monday, June 03, 2002


Well, the Internet connexion at work was down on Friday, so I didn't get to post my lunchtime musings then. I feel like I'm way behind. Fortuately, the Friday Five site was taking a break, so I didn't miss anything by not posting.

Odd news of the week: A house was attacked by radioactive tumbleweeds recently. You may laugh, but this isn't that unusual. In fact, while I was looking for the news link, I found an episode guide for the 1970s show Emergency! [from which I derived most of my medical knowledge prior to becoming a medical librarian] with a similar theme. I would certainly be concerned by the possible radiation. Also, for those of you who have not been blessed to live in the Western United States at some point and may not realise this, tumbleweeds hurt if you come into contact with them, because they have stickers. I discovered this walking through a vacant lot out in Edwards AFB in junior high school. We'd gotten snow and school was out and there were steps down into this lot. I couldn't tell that it was full of tumbleweeds, because they were covered in snow, until I stepped down into about stickers up to my rear end. Not fun.

Saturday I went home and had a very good visit. I got there fairly late because my ride got stuck in traffic for an hour due to a bad motorcycle accident, but everyone was doing well. My mom, grandmother, and I spent a lot of time out on the porch where there was a nice breeze, just talking.

Yesterday I washed my dog, brushed her teeth, clipped her nails, and let her run and roll in the grass to her heart's content. Then we went over to D's and I played the game. I got to assassinate a murderous werewolf in a swank club with my shapechanger by injecting silver dioxide from glands in her mouth during CPR after our telepath had gotten the werewolf to pass out by forgetting to breathe. It was a creative use of skills, I think. Then Zabet's hubby and I tinkered with my computer for many hours trying to get a game to work. Still no luck, but we'll try again Wednsday when we're not brain dead.

It's muggy here in Lexington and definitely feels like high summer rather than late spring. I overslept this morning and it was a little harder to walk to work than normal. My asthma kicks in when it gets muggy. One nice surprise, though, was that our IS department showed up with a 17-inch monitor this morning. I've had a 13- or 14-inch, and everything looks SO much better now.

Well, I'm going to try to get up and move around for a bit so I don't become part of the computer. I'll try to write again tomorrow.