Dianne from Good Mourning, Glory is taking a break, so hats off to Amanda for hosting this wonderful meme during her absence.

From the time I first heard him singing the train songs of Jimmie Rodgers, I have loved Merle Haggard. It was 1969, and I was just ten years old when my dad brought home Same Train, Different Time. So in tune with the American character is he, that I tell everyone to really know America, you must listen to Merle Haggard and pay attention to his lyrics. One of these days when the Brain is more cooperative, I plan to write a paper on the topic. Until then, I'll just have to content myself with a melodious voice and some of the most powerful lyrics ever written. Just in case you want more of the Hag, check out the tribute to him on the acclaimed PBS series, American Masters.


The warden led a prisoner down the hallway to his doom
I stood up to say good-bye like all the rest
And I heard him tell the warden just before he reached my cell
'Let my guitar playing friend do my request.' (Let him...)

Sing me back home with a song I used to hear
Make my old memories come alive
Take me away and turn back the years
Sing Me Back Home before I die

I recall last Sunday morning a choir from 'cross the street
Came to sing a few old gospel songs
And I heard him tell the singers 'There's a song my mama sang.
Can I hear once before we move along?'

Sing me back home, the song my mama sang
Make my old memories come alive
Take me away and turn back the years
Sing Me Back Home before I die

Sing Me Back Home before I die
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Random Thought #1

I've been itching to change my blog template for a very long time and even added myself to a professional designer's incredibly long queue last summer. Unfortunately for me, that designer made some significant life changes, before my place in the queue came up, and is no longer designing blog templates. Despite hours of scouring the web for just the right freebie template, I haven't had any luck. Maybe out of sheer desperation for a change, I will resort to using Blogger's new design your own template feature thingy. Has anybody used it yet?

Random Thought #2

All three rescue kittens are still with me. Wilbur, the runt of the litter, is quite attached to me and with each passing day, I get more attached to him. This is exactly what I (and the AED) was afraid would happen. With such an adorable creature shadowing my every move, how could I possibly give him up?!

A few days ago, I sat on the couch to fold some laundry. Before I even had a chance to get myself and the laundry basked situated comfortably, I was surrounded by fur monsters. In the photo at the left are Dolly (top left), Charlotte (top right), Templeton (bottom left), and Maggie (bottom right). Wilbur isn't in the photo because he had buried himself in the warm clothes in the basket. Even with four "assistants," I didn't get much laundry folded for a while.

Random Thought #3

For anyone looking for an awesome iPhone speaker dock, let me recommend the one that Altec Lansing makes. I am incredibly impressed with the company. Let me tell you why.

The AED bought me this speaker dock for my birthday last year. I love, love, love this speaker! But when I brought home my new iPhone and tried to put it in the dock to charge, the darn thing didn't fit. All I could think of was that I would have to shell out another couple of hundred bucks for a new speaker dock when the one I had worked just fine. Being cheap, I quickly trashed that idea and began surfing Google to see if others who had the dock experienced the same problem. What I discovered was that Altec Lansing had a fix -- and a free fix to boot!

The new part arrived yesterday, and now my new iPhone fits perfectly in the speaker dock. How's that for a company standing behind its products? Go, Altec Lansing!
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I liked Amanda's idea of choosing a general theme to describe what's moving her this Monday, so I jacked it -- but at least I am honest about my thievery!

In the wake of a miserable last week, I've decided to give in and surrender to the forces beyond my reach that wreak havoc in my life. I've come to the conclusion that sometimes it's better to actually lose the war because in doing so, one is forced to come to grips with one's weaknesses and limitations and to find a way to work with, through, or around them. Such is the case with my cluster headaches and seizures. And so, Brain, you win this time! With white flag in hand, I surrender to the power of your electrical impulses. For today, at least. . .

White Flag by Dido

Sweet Surrender by John Denver

Surrender by Elvis Presley


Today's random thoughts aren't completely random; they are things that have been stuck in my head for a few days and now need an escape. Lucky you!

Random Thought #1

After three years of flawless duty, I retired my iPhone 2G and bought a 32-gig iPhone 3GS last Friday. The decision to retire the 2G didn't come easy -- it works fine and does everything that I need it to do when I need it done. However, with the launch of iPhone 4, I learned that Apple would no longer support my trusty 2G, leaving it stuck with an outdated operating system. Considering all the nifty things that the iPhone OS4 is supposed to impress me with, it didn't make sense to hang onto what is now an outdated phone.

I know that patience is a virtue -- one that I need to work more seriously on improving in myself -- but waiting for an iPhone 4 was not on my agenda. Yes, it is the newest model and thus offers more time before becoming outdated like the 2G, but both Apple and AT&T have a backlog of orders for them. Besides, there's an issue with the antenna and reception and signal strength with the 4 that doesn't exist with the previous models. And seriously, what was Apple thinking in making both the front and the back of the phone out of the glass that is usually only on the front? I'd be terrified of cracking the darn thing because since it is so new, couture cases aren't readily available for it yet. And a lady has to have an awesome case for her iPhone!

So far, I'm thrilled with the new phone. Although I'm still in the process of adding wallpapers, music, and apps, what I have put on the phone so far works like a charm. But best of all, the newest Apple operating system, which I LOVE, is compatible with the 3GS! Now my gorgeous phone displays the wallpaper at all times, makes videos, and lets me organize apps into folders for a relatively clutter free screen. Oh, the joys of technology!

Random Thought #2

The rescue kittens are ready for new homes. Honestly, I have never given away kittens before and have no clue how to go about doing it. I posted on Facebook that they were ready for forever homes, but the only response I got was from dear friends who (1) live in different states and (2) already have enough pets. The AED says to put them on Craigslist, but I am concerned about the weirdos who thrive there. Any suggestions on how to get the word out that I've got three litter-trained, affectionate, purr machines in search of loving homes?

Random Thought #3

I think that a tribe of dirt-tracking ghosts lives in my house. Honestly, with only the AED and I at home these days, I am amazed to find that I can sweep and mop on Monday morning and find the ceramic tiled floors that the AED insisted we need looking like they haven't been touched for weeks by Tuesday afternoon! At least with the rugs (commonly called "Persian" carpets, but ours came from Egypt), I can attribute the need for daily vacuuming to the cats because they roll around and play on them and leave behind traces of their antics in the form of hair. But the ceramic tile? Where does all the dirt come from?! It's time for a seance to out the ghosts who seem to think that I need to go through life with a broom and mop attached to my hips!

Random Thought #4

I have the sweetest husband ever! For the past week, I have been in the throes of a cluster headache cycle with some of them being so intense that I now understand why this type is called the "suicide headache." With headaches coming several times throughout the day and lasting anywhere from 10-15 minutes to several hours, life hasn't been a lot of fun these past several days. Twice last week, I was completely down for the count and unable to go to the warehouse with the AED. Both times, he came home with a gift that he knew would make even a cluster headache seem inconsequential -- ice-cold Coca-Cola in a tall glass bottle. What a guy, and what a lucky woman I am to have him!

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Dianne from Good Mourning, Glory is taking a break, so hats off to Amanda for hosting this wonderful meme during her absence.

In honor of America's birthday, I chose one of my favorite Elvis Presley songs, "American Trilogy," from the Aloha from Hawaii satellite TV special that aired way back in the days when I was a teenager. You know, back in the days when only the government had satellite TV and were generous enough to share it with Elvis and his fans for a couple of hours. . .

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Thanks to Thom for sharing another meme; I love these things!

1. Do you feel that you need to keep repeating yourself when talking to a particular person?

Well, considering that the Amazing Egyptian Dude has lost a significant portion of his hearing and isn't exactly consistent about wearing his hearing aids, I spend an inordinate amount of time repeating myself when talking to him. One of these days he will wear his hearing aids on a regular basis, I just know it!

2. It's July. Do you have anything special planned?

Ummm . . . I consider living pretty doggone special. That's about all that I have planned for the month.

3. Who is your big celebrity crush?

I'm not really into celebrities, and certainly not enough to have a big crush on one.

4. Tell us about a local restaurant you are sure we'd love.

Mas' Islamic Chinese restaurant in Anaheim, California, is our favorite place for dining out. The best thing about this restaurant is that it is always packed with patrons that make up a mini United Nations. In addition to the Muslims who fill the place because the owner, a Muslim from China, follows our dietary laws and doesn't serve pork, you'll find Jews who keep Kosher dining beside California hippie types who are seated next to a group of college kids whose antics entertain the elderly couple sitting across the aisle. I have never ever been to the place when it wasn't, at the very least, nearly packed to the rafters.

5. Tell us about the shyest person that you deal with regularly.

None of the people whom I deal with regularly are shy -- at least not when they are around me!

6. What is your vision of heaven and hell?

One is good and the other ought to be avoided?

7. What is your neighborhood like?

Like most neighborhoods in Southern California -- filled with single family dwellings that have green lawns and cars in their driveways.

8. What's your favorite cook-out food?

Shish-kebab or steak -- I can't decide which I like better.

9. When was the last time that you saw fireworks?

Disneyland is just down the street from my home, so I see fireworks every night at 9:35 during the week, and a second display on Saturday and Sunday. God bless the Mouse House!

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Post about 5 favorite things from the past week. It can be anything that tickled your fancy: favorite quotes, posts, happenings, scriptures, recipes, pictures, great internet finds, etc., etc. Be as detailed as you like, the more detail the more fun for those of us visiting. Susanne, the hostess, just asks that it be kept family friendly. To see entries from other participants or to play along, click here.

1. Ant bait.

Yes, ant bait! Every summer for the past five or six years, our home has been invaded by gazillions of little black ants. It has gotten so bad that I no longer rely on the calendar to tell me when summer has "officially" arrived because the ants have already alerted me. Since our animals are used to eating when they please and not when we please, they have food in their dishes at all times. That is, they have food available to them at all times until the ants arrive. Thanks to Google, I discovered that we had been dealing with the situation in all the wrong ways -- indoor and outdoor sprays, boric acid, salt, chili powder, etc. Those methods kill only those ants with which they make contact, leaving the queen and the rest of her tribe to wreak havoc. Enter the ant bait. The AED went to Home Depot and bought 2 dozen of the little suckers to put throughout the house. We may see a stray ant or two now, but the cats and dog can have their feed dishes back without me screeching about the yards of ants invading them. Ah, the joys of ant bait!

2. The World Cup.

Thanks to the wonderful world of technology, ESPN, and my nifty new computer with its awesome monitor, I have missed only two of the World Cup games, and I missed those only because I couldn't wake up to watch them. As the series moves into the quarter finals, the excitement mounts worldwide. In just a few minutes, I will be watching Holland vs. Brazil and rooting for Holland because they are the underdogs of the match. This weekend will be filled with fireworks, literal and figurative, both on and off the soccer fields in South Africa and my home. Soccer rocks the world!

3. Whiskers on Kittens.

The three rescue kittens that I've been taking care of for the past three weeks have genuinely brightened our lives. It has been so long since we had a kitten around the house, and there is truly nothing like a kitten to keep a person on her toes! These little guys are discovering things in my house that I didn't know were there and have managed to locate, and play with, every single dust bunny that escaped the broom or vacuum. With kittens around, life is too short and way too much fun to worry about dust bunnies anyway!

4. June Gloom.

Here in Southern California we have a weather phenomenon called the June Gloom. In a nutshell, it's a cloudy and overcast condition that lasts well into the morning and sometimes throughout the day. The best thing about the June Gloom is that it keeps our summer temperatures under tight control and prevents it from getting too hot. Thankfully, the gloom has given us temperatures in the low 70s for the past two weeks. What could be better than a summertime temp that doesn't require the A/C?

5. Life, Liberty, Good Coffee, and the freedom to enjoy them.

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1. When it's quiet, the cats are either asleep or up to no good.

2. Probably because it's true, I haven't blogged in what seems like a month.

3. My heart is working as it should.

4. I don't have many family or friends with birthdays in July.

5. In the town where I was born lived a man who sailed the seas. And he told us of his life in the land of submarines.

6. The ability to make me laugh when I don't think I can is something I really love about my significant other / friend.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to catching up with my podcasts, tomorrow my plans include organizing the office and Sunday, I want to enjoy the shish kebab that the AED plans to BBQ!

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Header from samulli
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In honor of America's Independence Day celebrations coming up this weekend, I wanted to celebrate the American Character with a list of interesting things about America and Americans. Here goes nothing!

1. 27% of Americans believe that we never landed on the moon. So how did Michael Jackson come up with the Moon Walk, then, huh?

2. Louisiana has 2,482 islands. Although with the BP oil rig disaster, they are disappearing.

3. There are about 500,000 detectable earthquakes in California each year. No wonder mine is the Rock & Roll state!

4. Jimmy Carter was the first US president to have been born in a hospital.

5. Our Pledge of Allegiance was written by a Socialist. Put that in your tea bag and steep it!

6. In the middle of the Mojave Desert, fifty miles from anywhere, is a phone booth. Why? Nobody remembers!

7. There are 140 towns and cities in America that have the word CHRISTMAS in their names.

8. Taft, California is home to the largest oil producing field in the lower 48 states.

9. Iced tea was served for the first time in 1904 at the St. Louis World's Fair. Now, it's a staple across the South.

10. The oldest capital city in the US is Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was founded in 1610.

11. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, exactly 50 years to the day after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

12. Until 1796, there was a US state named Franklin. Today we call it Tennessee.

13. Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, was afraid of the dark.

Happy Thursday,

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Random Thought #1

Considering that soccer, or football as the game is known throughout the rest of the world, is the most popular game around the globe, it is inconceivable to me that FIFA continues to reject the use of technology to determine the validity of goals! If it weren't for the numerous flubbed calls that have been made thus far in the World Cup, the FIFA officials would continue to turn a blind eye to the need for video replays where questionable calls are concerned. Unfortunately, FIFA's decision to "consider" technology for the next World Cup in 2014 won't help the US, Mexico, Argentina, Germany, or England -- all teams that played games having questionable goals.

FIFA may have issues with technology, but the AED and I have been enjoying ESPN's live streaming of all the World Cup games! I've missed only two games since the World Cup began thanks to technology!

Random Thought #2

This is going to be one heck of a lonely summer around my house. With the teenage niece in Egypt until September and the daughter and son-in-law leaving in a few weeks for a month's vacation in the land of the pharaohs, the AED and I will have lots of time on our hands. I think it's time for a road trip, but there's nobody to mind the store and we can't afford to close down the business long enough to take one.

Random Thought #3

The rescue kitties are growing so fast! I promised to post some pictures of them and although I didn't have time to do it last week, I've got some now. Here you go:

Charlotte, the only girl of the bunch, likes the AED's "throne."

Some of the adult cats like to share the kittens' food. They are Marlowe (lower right) and his daughter, Dolly (top center) -- the cat that has seizures like me. Do you see the eye on Templeton's back? He is the red and white kitten at the top.

Charlotte and Templeton decided that the son-in-law's lap was a really good place to park for a nap. It's a good thing that he loves cats because they sure do love him!

Getting a photo of the trio was no easy task, and this shot is the best one from a series of about a dozen attempts to get them all in one spot and looking at the camera at the same time.

Who couldn't love this face?

Final Random Thought

Please bear with me as I try to get back into the habit of regular blogging. One of these days I will blog about all the chaos that has been going on . . . one of these days, LOL!

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This post ought to be one of the easiest I have ever written considering the random nature of the events that drive my life these days. Let's see what happens . . .

Random Thought #1

I love watching the FIFA World Cup games, but my addiction to them has caused an already sleep deprived person to become even more tired. It's my fault, I know. After all, I don't really need to wake up at hours when "normal" people are still sleeping just so that I can watch a soccer game. Technically, I could watch a replay of the game on the ESPN website since they have so graciously made them available on a daily basis. But truth be told, it's just not the same to watch a replay of an exciting game when I could just wake up and see it live! And so, until July 11th when the final match is played, I am destined to look, think, and act like the zombie I have become thanks to soccer.

Random Thought #2

Three Sunday mornings ago, I found began fostering a litter of kittens that a feral cat delivered and hid in our backyard. Three days before, we found the mother cat lying dead in the street, the apparent victim of a careless driver. The kittens were approximately three weeks old when I found them, and I have been fostering them for three weeks now. They have become quite attached to me -- probably because my presence means food and cuddles -- and I to them. Although I promised the AED that I wouldn't keep any of them, I have to admit to becoming seriously attached to the runt of the litter. It's an orange and white boy that we jokingly call Wilbur after the pig, also the runt, in Charlotte's Web. The babies will be ready for new homes in another 3 or 4 weeks, but I'm thinking that Wilbur needs to stay with me. Obviously, I believe in living dangerously, LOL!

Random Thought #3

It's time to watch Mexico v. Uruguay, so it's also time to finish blogging for today!

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This week's movie topic is all about Time Travel.

When I first saw this week's movie topic, I have to confess that the theme song from one of my favorite childhood TV shows immediately popped into my head...

Must be time travel has been a topic of interest to me for a very long time! That said, it's about time to make a list of my favorite movies dealing with time travel. . .

Back to the Future (1985)

13 Going on 30 (2004)

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1949)

Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Field of Dreams (1989)

Planet of the Apes (1968)

"The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is." -- C.S. Lewis

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Sunday Stealing: The Oh My! Meme, Part One

1. The phone rings; who don't you want it to be?

A telemarketer of any kind. Despite being on the No Call List, a few of them still manage to call our unlisted phone number!

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart?

Yes, I do. I always put the cart in the nearest holding pen or whatever the cart storage place is called.

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener?

It depends on the situation, setting, and company.

4. What was the last compliment that someone gave you?

I honestly don't remember.

5. Do you play the lottery?

Nope. I played on the first day that California's lottery opened and when I didn't win anything, I never bought another ticket. I can think of better things to blow my money on than the lottery.

6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, who would you want with you?

Grizzly Adams or Macgyver since either one of them would know, or could figure out, how to survive.

7. Do you like to ride horses?

Yes, but it has been a very long time since I rode one.

8. Did you ever go to camp as a kid?

CampING with family and the Girl Scouts, but never to a summer type camp.

9. What is your favorite party game?

Any type of guessing game is fine with me.

10. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was married, would you go for it?

Not in a million years!

11. When was the last time that you lied?

Lie? Me? Pshaw!

12. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you?

I married someone whose religious beliefs were different from mine for the first three years of our marriage.

13. If you have a S/O, who pursued who? If not, do you like to pursue or be pursued?

Pursue is such an aggressive word that it calls to mind a hunter and an antelope. Neither of us pursued the other; we were interested in getting to know one another better and a relationship developed from there.

14. Use six words to describe yourself.

(1) assertive; (2) friendly; (3) bibliophile; (4) lifelong learner; (5) trustworthy; (6) compassionate

15. Name a song that could make you cry?

Just one? There are so many that it is hard to choose! This one requires a full box of Kleenex:

16. Are you pleased with your education?

I have plenty of it; however, the more I learn, the less I know. I will seek knowledge and desire to learn until the day I die.

17. How do you feel about gun control?

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed," states the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. Since I don't belong to a militia, I neither keep nor bear arms.

18. If your house was on fire, what thing would be the first thing you grabbed?

My husband if he hadn't already grabbed me.

19. How often do you have a romantic weekend?

If you mean of the getaway type, rarely; however, romance isn't just for the weekends!

20. Do you think more about the past, present or future?

These days, I think equally about the past and the future because without understanding the past, the future stands a good chance of holding the same mistakes.

21. What was the last adult magazine that you have read?

"Adult" magazine as in Playboy or the like? I haven't read any of them.

22. What are you told about your eyes?

That they are beautiful, but that's probably because they are big.

23. How tall is just right?

Whatever height is suitable for the pants an individual is wearing.

24. Where is your dream house located?

In a library filled with great books and fabulous documentaries.

25. Do you have a secret fetish?

If I told you it wouldn't be a secret, now would it?

26. Have you tried bourbon? If yes, what type?

Never tried it.

27. Have you ever seen a male or female stripper?

Does the Demi Moore movie count?

28. When was the last time you were at TGI Fridays?

When I turned 21 many years ago.

29. When was the last time you were at Church?

Also many years ago. I was at a mosque this month, though.

30. Where was the furthest place you traveled today?

From the bedroom to the kitchen.

31. What was your favorite job?

The one that someone else is doing.

32. What condiments do you like at your BBQ?

It depends on the meat being cooked. If it's burgers, I need only mustard and pickles; if it's steak, I don't need anything; if it's lamb, I need tahini or babaghanoug; if it's chicken, I need a good BBQ sauce.

33. Bud is hosting Thursday Thunks this week. Will you play?

I've been quite bad about blogging for several months and since I do my best not to make promises that I can't keep, I will say probably not.

34. Do you look like your mom or dad?

People tell me that I look more like my mom the older I get, but I don't see it...

35. Who was the last person that you showered with (it's okay to leave out the name)?

I don't answer questions like this one.

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Visit Diane, the gracious hostess of this meme, to see other entries or to play along.

First, let me say Happy Anniversary to Diane and Jory and to thank them for hosting Musical Monday for one year now. It's been a blast, and I look forward to many more weeks of music with you.

I really like American Idol, but I love The X-Factor! Through the magic of satellite (the show airs in the UK), I've been lucky enough to have seen three seasons of Simon Cowell's "other" show. Although similar in that they both provide an opportunity for fledgling singers to showcase their talent in the hope that they will win a recording contract, American Idol and The X-Factor differ in one crucial way: the judges act as mentors to the contestants and choose their songs. After the auditions have concluded and the group of wannabes narrowed to 24 contestants, the judges learn which of the four categories -- girls, boys, groups, and over 25 -- they will mentor. By the time the contestants go to live performances, each judge has 4 proteges under his or her wing. Leona Lewis, the protegee of Simon himself, won The X-Factor in 2007; Alexandra Burke, under the careful mentoring of Cheryl Cole, won in 2008; and my entry for this week, Joe McElderry, also a protegee of Cheryl Cole, won in 2009.

I love Joe's voice and had a really hard time choosing just one of his performances. Since I love the meaning behind the words, I chose the song that became Joe's first single. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do -- Joe sings it much better than Miley Cyrus, LOL!


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This week's movie topic is all about Highs & Lows.

When I first saw the Bumbles' entry for this week, I groaned. Literally. And aloud. This week's post is titled "ON MOVIES ~ The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly." Considering that I detest this particular film with a passion the likes of which I am not nearly as passionate about anything else in my life and that the Amazing Egyptian Dude thinks it is the best movie ever made and watches it every single time it's on television, including last night, I couldn't help myself. Once the initial shock of the title wore off, I read the post and discovered that the film itself was not this week's theme, I breathed a sigh of relief. Literally. And aloud.

Here goes nothing. . .

Clint Eastwood is an actor whose body of work literally encompasses the good, bad, and ugly, so I've chosen him to begin with. Although I enjoyed all of the movies on the good list, it wasn't until The Bridges of Madison County that I truly appreciated the actor. The AED, on the other hand, thinks that Clint Eastwood never made a bad movie and subjects me to Eastwood "festivals" frequently. At least there are a few movies that I don't mind watching over and over and over again.

The Good: Play Misty for Me, Paint Your Wagon, The Bridges of Madison County, and Million Dollar Baby

The Bad: Any Which Way You Can and Bronco Billy

The Ugly: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Meryl Streep never ceases to amaze me; her talent is the stuff of legend. Whenever I want to watch a movie that will catch my attention within the first ten to fifteen minutes and hold it firmly in its grasp until the credits begin to roll, I search through the DVDs for something starring Meryl Streep. I love the variety of characters that she has portrayed, the way that she masters foreign accents with such perfection, and how she has the power to inspire me to willingly suspend my disbelief just long enough to lead me through a fantastic story. Although we remember the actress mostly for the good, because it's really g-o-o-d, she has made a couple of real duds.

The Good: Silkwood, Out of Africa, Sophie's Choice, The Bridges of Madison County, and Julie & Julia

The Bad: Death Becomes Her and A Cry in the Dark (Evil Angels)

The Ugly: She-Devil

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Here goes nothing!

It has been a very long time since I blogged, so this meme is the perfect re-entry into the blogosphere!

1. How long have you been blogging?

On and off for at least three years.

2. What made you start?

I first began blogging as a way to encourage my students to write. The first blog I set up was for an upper-division composition class that I was teaching.

3. Who inspired you?

If The Brain worked properly, I would remember this. Alas, The Brain's several short circuits makes the memory foggy. However, I do remember that I was inspired by an article I read in a professional journal.

4. About how many hours a week would you estimate you spend on your blog?

When I'm actively blogging, I spend about 10-12 hours a week on my blog. That is, unless I start playing around with widgets, codes, links, etc.

5. What kind of experience or background do you have with writing?

I have a graduate degree in English and taught composition to college students for several years. I've also had professional papers published in literary journals. Blogging is a completely different style of writing than I am used to and although I do enjoy it, I still prefer to do research and develop an argument on a topic of interest.

6. Talk about how you come up with blog topics. Where do you get your ideas?

Life is a blog post just waiting to be written, so I just live and let whatever strikes my fancy at the moment become the topic du jour.

7. What or who inspires you and your blog?

See #6.

8. Where and/or how do your brainstorming for your blog?

Brainstorming is not my thing; it's a pre-writing strategy that just never worked for me. Instead of brainstorming, I keep notes on my iPhone of things that I found interesting, insightful, intriguing, or irritating and use them as the jumping off points for posts.

9. Do you have any blogging rules or guidelines you follow?

I love reading blogs with images, so I always try to find a picture of some kind to accompany a post. Other than that, I don't follow any hard and fast rules.

10. Is there anything you will not blog about?

If it irks, irritates, or intrigues me, I'll blog about it.

11. Do you have any sort of a publishing schedule in terms of day of week or topic?

Not really. Sometimes I'll write a post or two and keep them on the shelf for just the "right" time to publish, but that doesn't happen very often.

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