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I Just got a kick out of this chalk drawing by Vincent van Gogh called “The Carrot Puller.” I wonder if the poor lady was amused by the position or by the appellation. It was done in 1885 and is located at the Institute of Art in Chicago.

On the homefront. We got the Bronco. The Contrarian was very impressed by how nice it was both inside and out. Some rust around the wheel wells and that is about all. It’s a super big engine, with plenty of power. We pulled the truck out slick as a wink when we got home. I’m about 3/5 done cleaning the living room. Got the windows all done today. It’s a big bay with six big panes and got my biggest plant put out for the summer. A bit early, but I really would be surprised if we get any more frost. Let’s get to it, Monday is always a super busy day.

In the news today:

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Today, May 5 is the anniversary of America’s first person in space. Alan Shepard Jr. went on a 15 minute flight. This was back in 1961, and I do remember it. America was a bit shaken because the Russians had beat us, and the Cold War was then in full swing. We really did expect a nuclear war back then. Thanks to American History Blog for the information.

Sally’s Crochet Blog has some ideas about making a small bag or enlarging it to a purse. See her ideas about yarn and get the free pattern. It’s really quite cute I thought, and I think an enlarged one would be perfect as a delicate summer bag. Not the kind you haul everything under the sun in, but for an evening out.

If you would like a look inside the world of John Hagee and fundamentalism, read this excerpt from Matt Taibbi’s new book, “The Great Derangement.” He went to Church “school” in Texas and I promise you, what he discovered is well worth the read. I of course believe that we all need to be aware of what is going on in these bizarre sects. And i can assure you that what you see in public is but the tip of the iceberg as they say.

I don’t know if you caught this, but we are sending more troops into Afghanistan again, mostly due to “shortfalls” from NATO. That is code for, our allies are not supporting the effort like they should and so we have to shore up the forces. Of course, all of this is necessary because we have more or less ignored that war as we got bogged down in the never-ending quagmire that is Iraq. Where these troops are coming from is anyone’s guess, perhaps from the minor draw downs expected in Iraq, which of course is already beginning to heat up again. Sigh….this is like finding the pea in the shell game isn’t it? Read all the sad facts at Blue Girl, Red State.

Britannica Blog has a great look at religious freedom in America. Looking back to our earliest colonial times this post explores what it was like to be a religious minority in America. I’ve learned a lot about this recently, and I must say, it’s a far cry from the pablum that I learned in public school education. It makes it crystal clear just why our founders determined to set up a clear distinction between our political and religious life.

Okay it is Cinco de Mayo after all, so perhaps a Latin inspired dish should be on your radar today, or sometime soon. I thought this recipe was a real winner and perfect for the summer to boot. TryCinco de Mango: Chicken Mango Burritos from Coconut & Lime.

CopyCat Restaurant Recipes has a couple of winners today. One is a delightful pasta recipe, the other a pie which is Derby inspired. Try Chicken Tequila Fettuccine, and while you are at it, try Derby Pie. Both look excellent to me.

Free Sample Forager has a slew of new offers, from magazines to new mom stuff, to fabric softener, to feminine hygiene. Enjoy.

Given that I just spoke of a relationship between Adlai Stevenson and Barack Obama this weekend in my Sunday Editorial, I thought this post at History News Networkmost apropos. We are, as I have argued, a nation that has a strange and antagonistic relationship with the intellectual. Does this pose a problem for Senator Obama? Read the post and see what you think.

If you want to get started on a quilt and haven’t yet, it is best I find to take a trip to Inspired by antique quilts. This lady is both talented and prolific in her production of absolutely stunning quilts. I think I’ve shown this before, but it was at the beginning. Look how far she’s progressed. This is truly inspirational, at least to me.

Live Science has an essay on the great dust bowl of the 30’s. There are not a lot of us alive who remember it still. I was born a good well after it, and I lived in Michigan, so it was not a topic around our table. I’m sure some here in Iowa have family who lived through it. New science has helped to uncover exactly why it was so bad.

Oh Dave Barry has another of his so-funny little posts that just tickle the bejesus out of me. Read it now or you will be sorry! “Bad Driving: It’s just not for Old People.”

The Republicans are at it again. Tax credits on new energy technology are about to expire, and Democrats have had no luck in getting them through, since Big Oil is screaming and Bush is threatening to veto if Big Oil doesn’t get its way. Politics Plus picks up the NYTimes editorial and adds his two cents which are always worth a read. And where was McCain, Mr. Environment? Oh he missed the vote.

Now this may seem silly to you, but it raises some interesting questions I think. None of us can go back in time, at least at this point, but we assume that antiques made of marble and such were the natural colors that we find them in today. Yet there is evidence, which some now use in historical docudramas, that many of our ancient  monuments were painted and quite gaudily painted at that. Yet Hollywood always portrays them in their greenish, whitish hues. Are we getting an accurate picture? Read Rogueclassicism‘s post and see what you think about the new idea of painting up the antiques.

Those of us in the country always suspected it: dozens of beady little eyes following us the minute we stepped from the porch. Gazes that noted every step, every pulling of every weed. Yep, those birds are not always doing “bird” things it seems. They are watching us.

It seems that whenever I think of John McCain these days, I cannot get that picture out of my head. You know the one I mean, the one  featured in the latest Moveon.orgad, the huggy bear photo which can only be described as McCain’s hug of utter adoration of Dubya. I predict that photo will haunt Mav all through the coming months, and he will never divorce himself from that sweaty embrace. But in case you are even a tiny bit unsure of where the Truthless one is coming from, read American Prospect’s article entitled: Does John McCain stand for anything?”

The Artful Crafter has a roundup of crafting sites withdifferent crafts, many with how-to’s. I saw a couple that looked a bit interesting. How to recycle a ketchup bottle for one. Hmmm, perhaps into a bird feeder? I think it has to do with cats though. Take a look around and see if you find anything you might like to make.

If you want to know what my “recipe box” looks like, take a gander at Baking Beauties post today. That is about what mine is like, and I don’t like it one little bit. She has some wonderful ideas for making a nice box one that you can use easily and looks great as well. She’s really collected a lot of links for you as well, so there are tons of ideas. Surely one will grab you and you can create something great, or–use as a gift to a new daughter-in-law perhaps.

I believe that last week I mentioned the NYTimes report that generals were sent off to the networks as “experts” to basically tout the Pentagon’s line. I know that I have seen like zilch on the networks about this, well at least none on ABC,and the Contrarian checksCNN, MSNBC, and Fox fairly frequently. Only PBS has bothered to talk about it. Urantian Sojournhas the story for you, and links so that you can learn more. Seems we have to dig out some of our own news these days. Somebody’s ox is gored you see.

I think I might have mentioned that I don’t care much for baseball. Too slow for me. I’m a football, hockey person. But I thought Russell might appreciate this link so if you would like to learn about Lou Gehrig who ended his “streak” of something on May 2, 1939, just follow the bouncing ball as they say. My thanks to the US History Blog!

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“In politics, absurdity is not a handicap.” Napoleon Bonaparte

“People are, if anything, more touchy about being thought silly than they are about being thought unjust.” E.B.White

“When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.” Mark Twain

“What if nothing exists and we’re all in somebody’s dream? Or what’s worse, what if only that fat guy in the third row exists?” Woody Allen

“If it weren’t for Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of television, we’d still be eating frozen radio dinners.”  Johnny Carson

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Oxymorons:

Same Difference

Taped Live

Peace Force

Pretty Ugly

Butt Head

Microsoft works

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According to the latest CNN poll, President Bush’s disapproval rating — 71 percent That’s unbelievable, isn’t it, that 29 percent still approve? Jay Leno

So it’s the 30thbirthday of email spam. Guests at the birthday party will include an Irish sweepstakes winner, a hugely endowed man and a Nigerian prince. Paul Seaburn

Yesterday was the five-year anniversary of President Bush’s speech in front of the “Mission Accomplished” banner. Yeah, to celebrate, today, President Bush gave a speech in front of a banner that said “Economic Recession Over.” NBC latenight