Odds and Ends

I got an email from work today that had some interesting statistics. As some of you may know, I work for a national, non-profit credit counseling agency. Our goal is to assist people in consolidating their debt, and working with the creditors to lower interest rates, etc. We also provide foreclosure counseling, bankruptcy counseling and other services.

Did you know?
We have received almost 1,161,882 calls for 2008, through the close of yesterday!  Again, that’s over 1 million consumers in need of our help.
Of those calls, we have been able to answer 1,108,827 of those calls.  That is over 95.4% of the total calls received.  Great job!
Did you know?
We received 7,714 calls yesterday alone.  That is the most calls received in a single day for the entire year of 2008.
This also makes an increase in business of 183% from this time last year. So you’ll forgive me when I roll my eyes when some commentator says we’re not in a recession or verging on a depression. Those statistics are just my agency, never mind any of the others out there as well.
I’ll be moderating a live chat on Thrusday Oct. 2nd, during the vice presidential debate over at http://www.themudflats.net. You can find me as raingods of course. And for those interested, I’m also now on skype, add me to your contact list under the name kharisi (my warcraft character name).

The Write Stuff

In the two and a half months I’ve had this blog, not once have I mentioned any of the projects I’m working on. As a general rule, I don’t like to talk about them, as I begin to lose the excitement I feel for the projects.

Right now I’m adding onto my zombie story, Killer Weed. It started out as an okay 2500 word story, but has now ballooned into almost 6000 words. I’ve added several scenes to give some background on Johnny boy, one of the main characters, and his relationship to Ed, the narrator. I’m quite happy with how it’s coming along and should have this done by Halloween time.

I’m also working on a trilogy of fantasy novels I’ve had in mind for close to 20 years. I made one attempt at the first book back in  ’89, but didn’t have the ability to do it justice. I was writing plays mostly at that point, and the odd short story, so a full length fiction piece was beyond me. I’ve made brief outlines for each book in the series, and doing research now on the London underground system, as well as some geography in Europe and around Washington DC. Part fantasy, part science fiction and part political thriller, the first book, Castle Blackburn: From the Ashes, intermingles faireies, gnomes, elves, modern politics, and aliens all converging into a cliffhanger ending. Book 2, is somewhat of a prequel, and book 3 picks up immediately after the first one ends. There was no reason behind my plotting it this way, other than it made the most sense to me. 

Once I finish Killer Weed, I’ll be recreating a lost story of mine, that has always been one of my favorites, Heart of Stone. It’s as close to mainstream fiction as I’ve ever gotten, and look forward to bringing it back to life. After Stone is completed I’ll be going into the trilogy and hope to have the first book done by early spring. I’m not a fast writer, by any stretch of the imagination; I believe in taking my time and doing things right. I take pride in my work, and even if nothing ever sees the light of publishing, I’ll know I did the best job I could. 

I’m also making sure I keep my Strunk and white handy.  As much as I’ve learned over the course of my life, there’s much I’ve forgotten, but the S&W always reminds me of those things that seem to fade over time. Nitwits take note of that.

Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

It’s been far too long since I’ve posted a recipe. I got this from a coworker, who actually made this and brought some in today. I’m as far from a vegan as you could imagine, but this is simply one of the best pumpkin pies I’ve ever had. I asked for the recipe and glad to share it here.


  • 1/2 pound firm or extra firm tofu, pressed
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tbsp soy milk
  • 1 pre-made pie crust


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Process all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy, adding more soy milk if needed.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until set. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream if desired.

The politics of ignorance

I should know by now NOT to read political threads on shocklines. Nothing good could ever come out of doing so, but I did. And I have to say, for all the criticism I’ve made regarding Hank, what he’s said is nothing compared to dlatham. While I’ve always thought Hank was inteliigent if misguided and overly paranoid, dlatham is simply ignorant. 

The thread was regarding last night’s debate. http://shocklinesforum.yuku.com/topic/7031?page=1. Even NjHorror, who I’ve never had any liking for, and who has posted a lot of hate regarding Obama, and democrats in general reluctantly said Obama won. Then dlatham pops up and posts this,

 Since I’m a combat veteran, I’m going with McCain because he’ll take care of veterans. I couldn’t vote for Obama if he floated down from Heaven because I believe inside he’s a radical Muslim and I can’t get past his name since we’re at war with radical Muslims and he suddenly came out of nowhere.

Let that sink in. In spite of the fact McCain has voted against funing the VA several times in the last 10 years, and was against the GI bill introduced this summer, dlatham STILL thinks McCain cares about veterans. He also believes that limbaugh/hannity diatribe about Obama being a muslim. And Obama has a funny name. Graveside Tales also thinks Obama is a muslim as well, in spite of links pointing to the contrary, but I digress. Dlatham then goes on to say,

It’s not racist to say you won’t vote for someone because they are a Muslim. A Muslim wouldn’t likely vote for me because I’m not a Muslim. In fact, they would probably like to kill me. That’s my choice, but it’s not on race. Political correctness has done a lot to destroy this country and keep everyone at each other. To my thinking, we are at war with Muslims. They want to kill us. The entire damn world is a con, especially politics, and there is a sucker born every minute who believes the crap politicians say, because they never come through, ever. Nothing will change for the better no matter who wins. I believe most of you believe the extreme liberal news media too much. Obama doesn’t have a chance when the silent majority speaks.
It never ceases to amaze me how some people love to berate others for believing the “liberal” news media, yet believe everything they here on Fox news, and talk radio. That somehow these two outlets are the only ones capable of reporting truth and have no agenda.  The sad part is, he’s not alone. There are plenty of other ignorant lunatics out there who believe the same lies, because they can’t grasp the fact that an African American is more intelligent and capable of being President than a 72 year old Washington Insider who never met a banker he didn’t like until he was running for President. 
My mother told me a story once, about when her brother, my Uncle Al, married his wife Rose. My grandmother was born in Ireland and moved to the US with her two sisters when they became orphaned. She was very proud to be Irish, and when Al married Rose, a full blooded Italian, she didn’t speak to him for almost 3 years. Until the day my grandmother died, she and Rose never got along. I find it pretty damn sad that, that type of thinking could exist in 2008. Yet it does, and they support McCain/Palin and every other white christian, conservative whether they have the experience or the qualifications.
With so much wrong in our country, do we have to keep adding racism and ignorance into the mix?

Debating the debate

Now that the first debate has taken place, get ready for a weekend of talking heads analizing and making pronouncements over the winner or loser. Whoever said McCain won is wrong. Whoever said Obama won is wrong, also. 

Let me explain my view on this. This was the first time in many years that I saw a real debate. I saw stark contrasts in the positions (despite Obama continuously saying John is right), saw the different type of leaders both men would be, and saw how serious they both were and how deep their convictions were. I’ll break this down by giving my own take on each candidate.

Barack Obama

you can’t get around his issue of inexperience in elected office. 6 years vs 24 in the Senate is an uphill battle for any candidate, let alone the first African American up for President. If all Obama did was hold his own, that would be seen as a success for him, yet I think he did manage to do that and a bit more. He was a bit too deferential, and if I heard him say he agreed with John, I’d have pulled what little hair I have left, out. He remained calm, precise in his answers and stayed on point. He displayed knowledge of economics and foreign affairs that surprised even me. He was able to refute every grenade McCain lobbed at him with a grace under pressure, which I find comforting. He also was forceful in how he would deal with Iraq, Pakistan and Russia. This was not going to be the easiest debate for him, and the fact he did as well as he did, speaks volumes about his intelligence and capacity for learning. After some prodding from Jim Lehrer, he spoke directly to McCain and looked at him, but Johnny Mac never looked at him once. Not once.

John McCain

The veteran in every sense of the word, has a long history to draw on, and he did. Many times. That was his strength and drawback. He repeated oft told stories, but never delivered a fatal blow, which was crucial for him. There was a point about an hour and 10 minutes in, when Obama pointed out the Kissinger said he thought a meeting with Iran’s President without conditions would be a good idea. Mccain kept hammering home that Kissinger had never said that, even though he had. When you poll the best based on a lie, you’re in trouble. McCain came off cranky, condescending and at times near the end snarky. He refused to back down on remaining focused only in Iraq, despite the resurgence of the taliban and al queda in Afghanistan. Did not want to discuss any military options regarding Pakistan, in spite of the fact bin Laden keeps crossing the border there. Yes, I’m sure he was too busy grandstanding to practice, but come on-he crows about being a POW, boasts of his experience, and he can’t land a knock out? 

I’m not trying to make it sound like Obama had an edge, but I view these brief critiques as a reflection of their personalities. Barack performed as he always does, calm cool and on message. MCCain takes a scattershot approach and gets irritated quite easy. I think that more than anything will decide this election.

In his dreams

Mccain’s that is. Seems his campaign committee has already decided he won tonight’s debate with an ad placed in the Wall Street Journal online edition. Thanks to mudflats for this screenshot.

Seems to me that seeing into the future like that would be considered witchcraft to some; maybe Rev Muthee prayed over the wrong person. 

This also goes to prove how desperate the McCain campaign is right now. He tries to worm his way out of the debate, in order to play the savior of wall street, and instead makes things worse. with a sharp drop in the polls, and Palin proving to be a rock around his chicken neck, McCain then decides to proclaim himself a winner in a debate he didn’t want in the first place.

It’s been one misstep after another for this campaign, and I applaud Obama for sticking to the important things, staying on message and being an intelligent, thoughtful candidate in the midst of a crisis. I was not an Obama supporter during the primaries, I liked Hillary. however when it became clear she would not get the nomination, I kind of lost interest in the race. 

When Palin was picked for the VP slot, I got interested again. I started reading about Obama and watching his speeches on youtube. I’m impressed with him, and admit I may have been wrong in giving him short shrift in the primaries.

We’re past needing a Rambo mentality in charge. We need intelligence, and grace under pressure. Obama has shown this week, he has both, and Mccain has shown nothing but the receipt he got for selling his soul to the devil.

The further adventures of Captain butthurt

Nikita has awakened from his slumber after giving us all a break from his ramblings with a brand new piece on Associated Content. http://therustynail.wordpress.com/2008/09/26/nicky-on-ac-regarding-cybertrolls/. Rusty has posted screenshots of his latest piece, and quite frankly, it’s simply more of the same. WHAAAAA! People are picking on me!!! Whaaaaaa! They’re stealing my work and being poopie heads! Rusty did a superlative job of deconstructing the troll, and I couldn’t add much more than this: I’d like some cheese to go along with that whine, please.