May 30, 2005

Bands for Freedom

Let us remember the fallen. Let us support the living and the survivors.

I was watching Fox News this afternoon and saw Linda Vester interviewing three men affiliated with this site, BandsForFreedom. I was impressed. Over 200,000 bands ordered at a dollar apiece, and half of that money going to the Armed Forces Relief Trust. I can't think of a better way to help out if money is tight and you have very little left after taking care of your families.

I'm saving my pennies. I want to get 10 of the cammo "Freedom" bands to slip into care envelopes. How many will you be getting?

Posted by Mamamontezz at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

Darkness in the darkness...

This is Memorial Day, and I had planned to write a lengthy post in rememberance of those who had sacrificed their lives to you, to me, to this country and its ideals. But I met someone online the other day, someone who has been there, has done that, and after 23 years he is still doing it every day to protect each of us.

"Darkness" is the perfect name for a silent ghost with a Barret .50 and a heavy blade. It is the name by which I know him in our IM's and it is fitting. He does the dirty work of tracking, seeking, finding, and dispatching those who would by their deeds endanger not only the bulk of our forces in that rocky desert land, but also those there who value the freedom they so recently were able to attain. He goes where he is sent, does what is necessary, and brings his team back to play the game and do the job again another day.

We have a date for Boubon, poker, bad jokes, rowdy stories and range time when he gets home. I hope to act as witness for his wedding, as he and his little angel hope to do that soon.

So in addition to memorializing those who are the fallen, not in lieu of it, I ask you all to hold the name Darkness in your hearts and in your prayers this day as he sets out once again with his team in search of persons of interest to Intel. See him and his team in your mind's eye, see them successful, see them back in camp whole and well in a few days.

And while you're at it, see them celebrating their return home soon and sharing a round in honor of their fallen.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 03:10 PM | Comments (2)

May 26, 2005

Ignorance and Stupidity

Seems Ignorance has struck another blow in the war against Common Sense and Impariality in Indianapolis.

Judge Cale J. Bradford of the Marion County Superior Courts, in an judgement on a divorce appeal, has ruled that the parents of a nine year old boy cannot teach him or expose him to their religious beliefs. It might confuse the poor dear to be raised in a religion not considered to be in the Main Stream of beliefs.

Let's not even discuss the religion in question at this point, but look at the overall picture here. This judge, from the bench, has made several deteminations with his decision that potentially could have an affect that is much further reaching than this one case, has set himself up as the arbitor of what is a Legitimate Religious Expression, and has insinuated the courts into the person lives of not just one family but potentially of us.

Which religions does he consider Main Stream enough for children? We're not talking devil worship, chicken sacrifices, and sex with kids here, folks. We're talking about freedom to follow a recognized religion.

Will small denominations within Christianity, Islam, or Judiasm be next? What about the increasing populations of Hindus and B'ahai? What of them?

Judicial activism, regardless of one's politics is wrong, dead wrong, and with this intollerant and essentially ignorant decision Judge Bradford has commited an act of activism that has the potential of damaging the sanctity of the family for thousands, no, millions of people. This is now precedent. This can be used as case law for anyone looking to disrupt the religious instruction of children for no other reason than a conflict between belief systems.

The religion in question here? Wicca. Now don't go off all half-cocked about witchcraft and demons and cartoon charicateurs of pratictioners running naked in the woods and having random sex by moonlight from some stupid horror movie you saw as a kid. I was once a self-practicing Wiccan, and still hold many of the beliefs associated with that religion. I still practice some of the rituals which are shared by Main Stream Christianity. (Didn't know there were shared rituals? Go read a book, folks.)

I chose as my dieties in my practice the Christian Holy Trinity. My spells/prayers were always in celebration of Them, and my thanks were always given to Them. I believed, as I do now and did before, in Christian tenents, followed the teachings of the bible, and did not call myself a Witch. Others did, but I ascribed that to their own ignorance and tried by example to show them their error.

Now, I am not all Wiccans, nor could I ever claim to be an example of all Wiccans, for there is no one person who could ever be held up as such an example. Each person makes deep, personal, thoughtful decisions on how they practice, each takes these decisions very seriously, and each is very different from any other. But there remain commonalities, even in our differences.

I was able to reconcile my Catholic upbringing and practice with Wicca because I approached both with open mind, open heart, and open spirit. Most of the other Wiccans I have been privleged to meet and know have done the same, although if you peel back the label we remain very different on other levels. But overall, we still embrace each other as Believers. We also embrace others as believers, regardless of their system, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, (insert belief here).

The idea that a judge would look upon my beliefs as inferior sickens me to my core. If he could decide that my lighting of candles and celebration of the feminine face of God through the Holy Spirit was detrimental to my daughter, who is next? Will he next decide that the teachings of Pentecostal churches are inferior and out of the main stream because some of their churches do not allow women to wear slacks or wear make-up? Will Apostolics be subject to his whim because they eschew caffine, alcohol, and other substances which alter the mind? And what of Jehovah's Witnesses and their rejection of blood products for medical treatment?

Think about this, people. Think long and hard. Look beyond the religion in this specific case and look at the potential for this. Wrong is wrong, and ignorance has no place on the bench. Even more, Religious Bigotry has even less place in the judiciary.

The Spousal Unit, although he approaches it from a different direction, also makes some valid points on this insane decision.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 05:00 PM | Comments (10)

May 23, 2005

Yes, I'm Still Thanking You.

I wanted to again thank all of the people who came to the rescue of this underserving and appreciative woman and her family.

The truck runs a little better with each day as it works out the kinks acquired while parked in the Back Yard Automotive Rest Home. For a couple of days, the clutch was uncooperative, and Delfts was certain that it was going out. I assured him it wasn't, that it was just some spring in the linkage somewhere that was openly rebelling against having to work again after a prolonged vacation. And sure enough, yesterday the shifting smoothed out and all is well.

So, here's an accounting of the expenses so far:

$200.00 complete break assemblies
40.00 New tire
20.00 Fuel Pump
10.00 Various fluids
20.00 Gasoline
5.00 Topping of the oil
15.00 Coolant (because it came 2per box)
$310.00 Total to date

I have also ordered new bumper brackets for the front, as well as a new rear light lens from an ebay store. I hope to have a solid bumper on the front end soon.

Now, to the ever so kind TripleNeckSteel: I want you to know that we didn't exactly have the Spaghetti and Chianti dinner you so graciously provided for. What we did have was a wonderful sampling of the new appetizers at the Vietnamese restaurant in our neighborhood. We love going to eat at Saigon Restaurant on Lafayette Road in Indianapolis, but hadn't eaten there in months. I really believe the waiter/owner was as excited to see us back as we were to be there. It's one of those little, homey, family restaurants where they smile when you walk in, remember your names, and ask if you'd like your favorite or try this new item they just put on the menu.

Just so you all know, all of you kind souls, there is still a considerable amount left. I plan on leaving it right where it is, since with an old truck you just never know what might happen. It is good to have a cushion. I hope that Delfts finds the titles to the Tempo and the Chrysler so we can call and have them towed this week.

As they set, we might get a couple of hundred dollars out of them total. We have taken pretty detailed pictures of them in case the other driver or car is ever found and the claim can progress. I'm not counting on that ever happening, but you just never know. Anyway, when we do sell the heaps, my plan is to tuck that money away as well. It's hard to spend in Paypal, making it much safer there than in my wallet or bank account.

You do not know how hard it is to have access to what is left and not go batty fixing that old truck. But I have to be intelligent about this and not do anything stupid. I owe that to all of you.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 05:05 PM | Comments (3)

May 20, 2005

I hope it was a Liberal College, at least.

You knew this was going to happen, and that it was just a matter of time before a variety of moobats and malcontents would, in a huge moment of hate-filled and substance induced syncronicity, be inspired to new and greater lows in their pursuit of bolstering Anti-American sentiment in the Muslim community.

You really can't fault their logic in this. Consider that if one small item in a national magazine can cause the deaths of 17, many more injuries, and the economic losses that it did, how much damage could two items could cause? Or 4? Or 20?

Imagine the potential for inciting riots, for the bombing of convoys with Marines in them, for rocket attacks against civilians, for kidnappings and murders that someone could realize. By doing nothing more than walking into a library or bookstore for a copy of the Koran, and placing it in a toilet, any nutcase can affect US-Islamic relations for years.

Think I'm off the deep-end on this one? I don't think so. Just give this a little thought. Any time you have a crime or activity that attracts a lot of media attention, there are copycats. Serial killers, mailbox bombers, you name it. If it gets attention, there's some small cadre of simple minded and narcisistic wannabes ready to join right in for their 15 minutes of fame or infamy. That doesn't even take into consideration those who would do this to further one political agenda while smearing the followers of another and branding them zealots.

This is just the first one I've seen. I'll venture a guess we'll see more of them in the next few weeks, with far-reaching and destructive results.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 09:51 PM | Comments (5)

May 19, 2005


I have come to the conculsion that Denita is the most recent and rodent reincarnation of Harry Houdini with a little Einstein thrown in just to make it even tougher on us humans.

After her latest escape from the big cage, I re-did the latches, double checked the seams, and straightened out the place where it looked like the door didn't meet the cage wall tightly. Then, after days of playing, eating, and sleeping with Lovey the cat, Denita let her rattie guard down and I snagged her. She remained snagged and in the cage a total of maybe 10 minutes.

You know, if it werent the fact that she's not exactly litter trained and has a decided taste for phone cords, I wouldn't have a problem with her being lose for periods of time. But it gives the Spousal Unit the willies when he feels her climb up onto the bed and settle in between his feet or behind his knees with whichever cat is already there curled up and asleep.

Yes, she sleeps with the cats. And they with her. And they let her eat out of their dish. And they play tag. Lovey and Denita spent the better part of yesterday evening (pre-capture) laying on my feet under the computer desk while I built a blog for someone and constructed a banner for it.

Time to redesign those cage doors... I'll figure out something. In the meantime, it's time to hit the dollar store for phone cords.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:19 PM | Comments (4)


Air Force Officer Found Guilty of Sending Weapons Home From Iraq I think my favorite quote from that article is one by Major Gregory McMillion's attorney, that it was an "honest mistake" because he didn't understand the rules.

He's an officer for chrissakes, not some cherry teenager so new there's still sizing in his BDU's and homesick tearstains on his t-shirt neck. It was his responsibility to know it was against orders to remove "30 automatic rifles, six rocket-propelled grenade launchers and dozens of magazines, scopes and sights... several dummy land mines and grenades, 1,183 Iraqi army berets, more than 600 pairs of socks and eight full uniforms [and] other items [including] a statue looted from an Iraqi museum."

This man has dishonored his uniform, his fellow officers, the NCO's and enlisteds who served under him, and his entire country with his inability to understand and comply with a basic rule in a time of war, in a damned warzone. I, for one, hope this judges' panel throws the book at him.

My father served honorably for 20 years. My nephew/blogson serves honorably now and has for 10 years. I have friends all over this country and the world, both real life and online, who serve decently and honorably. But it isn't them who gets the attention of the media or the public. It's the fools, the thieves, the deserters, the murderers, and the malcontents who have their attention.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 09:30 PM | Comments (3)

May 15, 2005

Newsweeks' Moral Responsibility

We all know and acknowledge the concept of personal responsibility. Every day, each of us deals with the knowledge and the probability that some action we take, either responsibly or irresponsibly, can and will affect our own lives and the lives of others. Sometimes the effects of these actions are minute and inconsequential. Other times, they can be far-reaching and life altering, affecting many, many lives, positively, negatively, permanently.

When one of us makes a faulty decision that hurts another, we are responsible for the damage. As individuals, we make restitution, we do penance, we apologize, sometimes we even do jail time.

But what of those we trust? What of those large entities, the corportations, government agencies, mass media outlets of the main stream media?

This week, Newsweek magazine did the moral equivalent of yelling "Fire" in a packed and anxious theater. They yelled out, in black type on glossy paper, that interrogators at Gitmo had flushed a copy of the Koran down a toilet in an effort to break down a prisoner and gain information from him. They were oh so sure it was true, even though two other government officials denied all or part of the claims in the article. It must be true, you see, because other news organizations had already reported the incident or similar ones.

So with no proof, no corroboration, nothing but the word of a secret annonymous source, they ran with it. And when yelled this out, they set off a stampede in the Muslim population that resulted in death and destruction all over the world. Afganistan is at the point of calling jihad against all US citizens, even those who sacrifice daily to protect them in their own land, based on the Newsweek story.

When the riots began and people started to die, the US government stepped up. Investigations were conducted quickly into the allegations, and to no one's surprise no evidence of any such act was found at Guantanamo or any other encampment. No one had desecrated a Koran, no one had flushed its pages down a toilet, no such act had been committed. And with the results of the investigation firmly in hand, the government stepped forward and called foul.

In the face of mounting evidence that the story was a fabrication, the primary accuser backed down from his claims, and Newsweek was forced to recant their accusation.

But is that good enough? Is a 400 word statement by the editor enough? Will it help to set aside the anti-American tide now swelling and swirling throughout the Muslim community world-wide? Will it stop the flag burnings, the killings, the arson and looting, the fear? Of course it won't, and even Newsweek isn't foolish enough to think that it will.

Where is Newsweek's accountability for the impact of this story? The argument can be made that there should be no lasting or profound repercussions for such spurious reporting, as such legal accountability would serve to stifle the press and gag the MSN. So in Pakistan, Afgainistan, and other communities around the world, families are burying their dead and busnessmen are taking stock of their losses with no hope of any help from the party most responsible for their losses: Newsweek Magazine.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 09:51 PM | Comments (8)

May 12, 2005

Just to keep you updated

I wanted you to know how things are going since last I posted.

The Spousal Unit has ordered the parts for the brake repairs on the old Toyota pick-up that was snugged all safe in the backyard while Automotive Armagedon was happening in the driveway. Apparently the entire assembly comes as one unit, from the pads, to the calibers, the rotors, even beyond that into something called a "Tulip Joint," which I always thought was Dutch slang for some sort of cannibis.

He has also salvaged the battery from the Tempo's carcass and transplanted it into the little truck. A quick trip to the parts store for replacement cables, starter fluid, and line/carb cleaner, and that puppy will be ready for a fresh tank of fuel and a test ingnition. I'm thinking an oil change and round of fresh filters is in order, so I'm going to start that subliminal campaign tonight.

If he will remove the back wheel tonight (subliminal, subliminal), I'm sure we could get it to the shop before my shift at work Friday and back onto the truck sometime Saturday. The tire for sure will need replaced, and I'm of the opinion that the wheel may need it too.

Now, as to a timeline on this...

The brake assemblies should be here in a few days, just a matter of shipping if I understood things correctly. The transfer of funds from Paypal into my checking account should happen overnight tonight and as soon as it does we will have the Pilgrimage to NAPA for all our Under-the-Hood needs. Well, it might not be NAPA, but that was the only one that came to mind. I expect the initial ignition to occur as early as Friday Afternoon! How's that for quick?

With the replacement of the back tire/wheel by Saturday afternoon and a trip to the BMV on Monday, it looks really good for being back on the road behind the wheel in less than a week.

You, all of you, from those who have jingled the tipjar over there under my awful picture, to those who have emailed me their good wishes and cyber hugs, to those who have tracked back to this little House of Automotive Horrors with prayer or donation requests, there is no way you will ever know how grateful I am. It just can't be expressed on a blog or in an email. In some states that level of gratitude might even be illegal, I'm not sure.

I do have a question, though... About the old cars, because we now know the make, model, color, trim and year of the car that savaged ours (Thank you, FractalJ), would it be prudent to retain the mouldering heaps or get them removed? At such time as they might at least find the car owner, whether he was the driver or not, would his insurance company need access to the cars for the claim? I certainly want to make any claim as easy as possible, trust me. I want no obsticles in any adjuster's path.

Tow'em? Leave'em? I don't know... Any ideas?

Posted by Mamamontezz at 05:09 PM | Comments (5)

May 10, 2005

Thank You

Words cannot convey the deep and humble gratitude I feel at this time. What was initially a horrific experience has been turned into one of awesome belonging and, dare I say it, Family.

It's hard to find the words... It truly is. All the words that come to mind sound trite and cliche, but sometimes they are the only ones that say what needs to be said.

Thank you so very, very much. Your kind words, your offers of assistance, and the selfless sharing of the fruits of your own hard labor and sacrifice have been overwhelming. Bloggers, readers, friends from the Loyal Citizens chatroom, Texans, Cheeseheads, Jersey guys, Hoosier girls, all of you have my thanks and the thanks of my little family.

I knew how good you all were when you made Anna's birthday so special last November, and you all went way above and beyond then. But nothing compares to this. Nothing even comes close. I just don't know how I'll ever be able to repay you all for your kindness and generosity. I am forever in your debt.

Posted by Delftsman3 at 05:43 PM | Comments (1)

May 09, 2005

The Drama Just Gets MORE Intense

I have asked Delfts to post this for me, as I am at work and do not have access to my site.

The situation on the cars gets even murkier after talking to Allstate. Delfts called the claims number this morning to see why we had not heard from an adjuster yet. The woman on the line informed him that because a) we did not know the identity of the driver, and b) there was no way to verify his insurance coverage or lack thereof, Allstate was "Not Allowed" to pay our claim under state law.

Now, to begin with, the only reason we maintained the Uninsured Motorist portion of our policy was to protect us from uninsured motorists. It has been our experience in the past, with acquaintances and co-workers, that if the identity of a driver in a hit and run could not be established, this portion of the policy would repair or replace the damaged autos, pay medical bills, etc, until the other driver could be identified and either his insurance tapped for the bill, or the driver sued for the damages by the insurance company.

It seems that is not the case at all. No longer do they consider the probability that a hit and run driver IS a hit and run driver primarily because he DOESN'T have insurance.

Had only the ancient Tempo been affected by the automotive carnage in my driveway, I would never have even made a claim against my policy. The car was old, it had served us well, and we had more than gotten our initial investment out of the little thing. But when all of them were not only damaged, but damaged to the point that they were, we had no choice but to fall back on the coverage we thought we had and had paid for monthly.

There is something decidedly wrong with this. If in fact it is a part of state law, then this is a bad law. If on the other hand it is not based in actual law, Allstate needs to make good on a policy that was purchased in good faith.

I hate the prospect of calling a law office to run this by them. The very thought of having to litigate this sickens me. But it seems I have been left with no alternative in this matter.

I do know one thing. I will be seeking new coverage for whatever vehicle I am able to find, and it will not be with Allstate unless this is either proven to me to be true or settled to my satisfaction.


Posted by Delftsman3 at 04:12 PM | Comments (23)

May 07, 2005

Lucky Us.

You know the old maxim, "Just when you think things can't get any worse, they will"? Silly me, I thought things couldn't get any worse, and of course, they did.

I had just gone to bed last night when there was a horrible noise outside the bedroom on the street-side of the room. At first, I thought it was the trash guys who empty the dumpster across the street at our Bob's woodshop. It sounded for all the world like they had dropped his dumpster while dumping it. Then I realized, I didn't hear a trash truck. Then I heard a car speeding off. Then I realized, there had been an accident.

The Spousal Unit got up and looked out the window and began to hollar.

A driver, speeding and probably drunk, had come off the road into our driveway, smashed the '84 Tempo so hard, it T-boned into the Chrysler and shoved it into the Pontiac. From the looks of things, none of them will ever be driveable and are totaled.

The entire back end of the Tempo is smashed, and the bumper is pulled way out. The frame looks sprung badly, and the trunk is destroyed.

Almost the entire driver's side of the Chrysler is smashed in, and it too is sprung. The trunk is popped and will not close, and the doors are popped as well. The rear on the passenger side is also smashed where it was slammed into the Pontiac.

The entire rear quarter of the Pontiac is smashed in, into the wheel well so it is not driveable either. The hood is popped up an inch, and cannot be lifted or pushed back into place.

The driver of the other car was kind enough to leave his grill as a calling card to let us know he was driving an Oldsmobile. I believe there is also some paint left on the rear of the Tempo, so we may know what color the car was. I'm not holding my breath on them ever finding this piece of shit, but I hope they do.

We are actually quite lucky the cars were parked the way they were, because without them there as an Anti-Vehicle barrier, that moron may have ended up in our bedroom unannounced and decidedly uninvited. At least they sacrificed themselves to keep us from the hospital, or worse.

So, at 4am I am on the phone with the insurance company, filing my claim, and I want to say that the woman at Allstate's call center was extremely nice, very courteous, and very sympathetic. I wish I could remember her name, as she was wonderful.

Anyone in the Indianapolis area know how to fix brakes on a truck? Luckily, my old Toyota pickup was in the back yard and missed the carnage in the driveway, but it isn't driveable until the brakes are fixed and a tire and the battery replaced. Oh, and it needs plated and insured. Anyone think I can do that on $60? I thought not.

At least Social Security is acting quickly to get the Spousal Unit on disability... No, wait, that isn't true either. He has another appointment for lab work for them, so we're looking at another 6 months of that dragging on, too. And then they'll say no and we start that entire process over again.

Is there a lesson in this? Yes. Never, ever say "Things just can't get any worse." They will, in spades.

Happy Mother's Day to me. We have our health, and I have a job. It could be worse.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 03:02 PM | Comments (24)

May 06, 2005

Zero Tolerance Horror

In Columbus, GA a teenaged boy named Kevin Francois answered his cellphone during his lunch period at Spencer High School. On answering it, he discovers it is his mother, Sgt 1st Class Monique Bates, a member of the 203rd Forward Support Battalion, currently deployed in Iraq. Sgt. Bates has been deployed to Iraq since January.

Sounds like the beginning of a wonderful story, doesn't it? Well, it isn't.

Spencer High School has a cellphone policy which prohibits all calls during school hours, even though students are permitted to carry one anywhere on campus. When Kevin received this call from his mother 8 time zones away and in a war zone, he was told to disconnect the call. He told the teacher doing lunchroom duty at the time "This is my mom in Iraq. I'm not about to hang up on my mom."

Does this teacher show some compassion to a kid with a mother in harm's way? Did the teacher take into account that this kid's mother may have been using the only opportunity to place a call that she will have for days? Did this teacher allow him to complete his call, perhaps taking him into the hallway to finish it with a little more privacy than lunch room provided?

No. This teacher insisted he end the call, pushed him to the point of profanity, pronounced him "defiant and disorderly" then had him removed to the office for all due punishment.

Punishment meted? A 10 day suspension. It could have been worse. Spencer High School assistant principal Alfred Parham stated it this way:

"Kevin got defiant and disorderly. When a kid becomes out of control like that they can either be arrested or suspended for 10 days. Now being that his mother is in Iraq, we're not trying to cause her any undue hardship; he was suspended for 10 days."

I'm going to be really honest with you on this. I'm a big fan of discipline in the schools. My own daughter went through the third grade at a Catholic school, and I made it abundantly clear to her that corporal punishment was an option if she acted out. But I also believe that there is no such thing as "One Size Fits All" when it comes to dealing with kids.

Zero Tolerance on a phone call? And a 10 day suspension for letting the Cellphone Gestapo Enforcer Anal Retentive Patrol push his buttons and set him off?

Posted by Mamamontezz at 05:02 PM | Comments (4)

May 04, 2005

Operation Gratitude

May 1st to June 15th are the dates for the semi-annual Patriotic Drive by Operation Gratitude. It's a great website with lots of opportunities to give back and give thanks to our Warriors.

If you have a few dollars to spare, either as a donation towards postage or to purchase some items from the wish list, please try to do so.

And don't forget our friends at Keystone Military and their ongoing efforts for the troops. The good folks there have been ever so kind to me and mine, and I hope you can be the same for them. It's an awesome burden they have taken on themselves, and every little bit helps.

Also, it's starting to feel like time for a letter drive. What do you think? You feel like it too? Let me know, and if we can arrive at a consensus, I'll draft Blogson Slaglerock and get this thing rolling.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 05:31 PM | Comments (3)