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Friday, October 27, 2006
Site of the week: Mr. Winkle!

Have any of you not been introduced to Mr. Winkle? He's properly called The Cutest Dog in the Universe.

I had the great good fortune to meet Mr. Winkle when he came to the King of Prussia Borders on his 2004 Fall Tour. He really is the softest creature I've ever touched. And he is soooo adorable!


Spend some time wandering around Mr. Winkle's home on the web. There's a lot to see there. Be sure to read about how he came to live with Lara Jo Regan. She lives in southern California now, but she grew up in Chester County, PA! It is a small world, and now you are separated from Mr. Winkle by fewer than six degrees.

Enjoy!

Hugs,
Liddy

posted by Liddy Midnight @ 8:17 AM   2 comments
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Pet Peeve of the Week - Professional politicians
I try not to get involved in political debates. In general, they're like trying to teach a pig to sing - it wastes your time and annoys the pig. Very few discussions about politics remain discussions and very few result in anyone coming away with a different perspective. Mostly, the combatants consider their opponents' behavior further proof of the validity of their original opinions.

However, with the recent appalling shenanigans in Washington, I feel I have to say something. Even if it's here, where no one I know is likely to read it.

WHAT ARE THESE PEOPLE THINKING? They were sent to DC to act in the best interests of the public. They are NOT there to dally with pages or interns, nor to feather their own nests. It's public service. Or supposed to be. The dumbasses have forgotten that.

The worst thing is the excuses.

"Oh, it was a clerical error."

"I can't find those records."

"That was done by someone on my campaign committee. I didn't approve it."

Excuuuuuuuuuse me? That's right up there with, "The dog ate my homework," on the Ludicrous Scale. Out of sight, off the bottom reading on the PlausiMeter.

For once, I'd like to see an elected official stand up and say, "Yes, that's correct. It happened, here's how and why, and wow, was that a stupid thing for me to have done! No, I'm not going to mount a time-consuming waste of taxpayers' dollars fighting what I know is wrong."

They've been there too long. They've lost touch with what they are supposed to be doing. I don't care what political party they belong to (the perils of an entrenched two-party system are another rant, for another day). I don't care who their daddies were. I don't care who gave them the campaign money that got them the exposure to build name recognition. I don't care whose coattails - or face - they stood on to get in office.

There are very few, and by that I mean damned near nonexistent, elected officials who are serious about their jobs. As in, they know their constituency, serve their constituency, and do not have a personal agenda of ramming their pet solution (environmental, social, educational, take your pick) down everyone's throats.

Why? Probably because we've put the fox in charge of the henhouse. Who decides the election rules for fundraising? Most of the elected officials in Washington are attorneys. It's a big mistake to put lawyers in charge of writing the laws. Talk about a medieval guild model!

The vast majority of Americans are nowhere near wealthy (too many of us live like we are, leveraged to the hilt, but that's also a different Pet Peeve), yet our national representatives are people who don't and never have lived the way we do. Professional politicians are wealthy or they can't run an effective campaign. If they weren't before they started to run for office, they had an influential and wealthy backer who has guided and financed them. They've either never been in touch with the average American or else it's been so long that they've forgotten there's a world out there beyond the Beltway. Crikeys, what would the Founding Fathers think of a president who'd never held a salaried job? (Not only that, what would they think of the way we hassle travelers in the name of safety?)

A senator left Congress in the 70s to run a motel in Connecticut (sorry, I can't remember which one - I'd hate to mislead anyone). He was appalled by the maze of paperwork and regulations he had to navigate to stay in business. He told reporters that, had he known before he was elected what running a small business was like, he would have used his time in Washington very differently. That's a telling remark (and damn it, I wish I could remember who it was!).

One solution I see is to limit terms and eliminate perks like pensions. It's public service. It's not supposed to be a career. When their two terms are over, let's make them go get real jobs!

Hugs,
Liddy, who hasn't had her soapbox out in a while LOL
posted by Liddy Midnight @ 12:12 PM   3 comments
Friday, October 20, 2006
Site of the Week: Pumpkin inspiration!
How many of us make boring jack-o-lanterns for our porches in October? I have to raise my hand. We do, however, supplement that with our traditional SpiderWeb Barbie. The neighborhood kids just love seeing Barbie strung upside-down in a rope web. I'll have to dig out a picture and post it here for you to gawk at.

A few years ago, I attended the Pumpkin Festival in Keene, NH. Now that's a huge deal! Every year, there's a rivalry between Keene and a few other towns for the most carved pumpkins on display. I can't recall how many signs I saw urging people to bring their contributions to the communial effort to "Squash the Record!"

There were towering stands erected (by the fire department, it had to have been involved, because no one else would be able to get up there and light those carved wonders on the upper tiers, which were thirty or forty feet high) at each end of the town center, and lower stands all around. Everyone was crammed with carved pumpkins, most of them lit. After dark, it was an incredible sight - flickering grins and menacing glowers all over the place. There were sophisticated carvings, some of which only penetrated the skin, leaving patterns in the thinned-out meat to glow from within. There were crude faces as well as masterful interpretations of Elvis, Dale Earnhardt -- and some that could have been either Albert Einstein or Tweety!

Few of those compare with the examples on display at
Extreme Pumpkin carving. This is a fabulously entertaining site! Browse, get inspired for your pumpkin carving, or share this with friends.

These are my two favorites from the Extreme Pumpkins site. The one on the right reminds me of the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, where Calvin built snowmen and placed them as though his father's car had hit one of them, knocking it all over.

Many thanks to Jan Springer, who found the site first.

Hugs,
Liddy
posted by Liddy Midnight @ 10:57 AM   2 comments
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sort-of seasonal, sort-of humor
An extremely modest man was in the hospital for a series of tests, the last of which had left his bodily systems extremely upset.

Upon making several false alarm trips to the bathroom, he decided the latest episode was another and stayed put. He suddenly filled his bed with diarrhea and was embarrassed beyond his ability to remain rational. In a complete loss of composure he jumped out of bed, gathered up the bed sheets, and threw them out the hospital window.

A drunk was walking by the hospital when the sheets landed on him. He started yelling, cursing, and swinging his arms violently trying to get the unknown things off, and ended up with the soiled sheets in a tangled pile at his feet. The drunk stood there, swaying unsteadily, staring down at the sheets.

A hospital security guard (barely containing his laughter) who had watched the whole incident, walked up and asked, "What the heck is going on here?"

The drunk, still staring at the soiled mess, replied in a tone of wonder, "I think I just beat the shit out of a ghost."
posted by Liddy Midnight @ 12:59 PM   3 comments
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Site of the week: FSM
I'm getting this out there a day early, because I'm goofing off for the moment. Tomorrow I have to knuckle down and get edits wrapped up for FINDING THE LIGHT, my Wild Winter Quickie coming from EC in December.

Starting this week, I'm going to recommend an interesting or funny or thought-provoking site to you on Fridays. I have a number of live-cam sites that I check out regularly; those will fall into this category. (No, get your mind out of the gutter. None of them feature young studs in their dorm rooms. They're more likely to be shots of a hawk's nest on a high-rise or a kangaroo mouse den.)

This week's site is the
Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. An enterprising young physicist decided to lampoon the court cases and legislation promoting the teaching of Intelligent Design in schools, and has put together a site that is pure genius. I quote from one of the pages on his site:

Open Letter To Kansas School Board

I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.


Please take the time to explore the site. There are hysterical and very appropriate endorsements from the scientific community as well as some compelling evidence to support the theory of FSM. You may even find yourself becoming a Pastafarian! There is wonderful artwork and a wide selection of merchandise to proclaim your support for this farce.

May you be touched by His Noodly Appendage!

Ramen!
posted by Liddy Midnight @ 2:51 PM   0 comments
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Pet peeve of the week
This week is my Catching Up Week. One thing I've been remiss in doing is bringing you my weekly gripe. I got caught up in the wonder of the butterflies and lost track of what I was supposed to be doing! (Oops, wrong usage of 'caught up' in that sentence. :blush:) A few deadlines intervened, too.

So my Pet Peeve this week is, Why do many people dehumanize those of whom they speak?

When mentioning someone, either by name, or by description (a woman, a man, a cashier, a tenant, etc.), too many people refer to them as "that" rather than "who". I'm talking about the news anchor, your neighbor, your brother -- ye gods, even authors are guilty of this!

Proper phrasing is, "Nineteen students who came to the capitol spoke with their representatives." NOT "Nineteen students that..." They're people, which makes them a "who", not a "that" or a "what". Apologies to all of you colloquial speakers -- "Them what has, gets," is universally acknowledged as incorrect. Perhaps folksy and pithy, but seriously flawed from a grammatical standpoint. You should use "that" when talking about kangaroos or limosines, not folks like you and me!

Try counting the occurrences of this that you hear or see every day. The number will grow far beyond what you expect. Sort of like the number of manhole covers on the stretch of North Valley Road between Lancaster Pike and Swedesford Road in Paoli, but that's a story for another day. (I think there's a secret underground alien installation. Or else the government maintains some sort of nefarious research facility beneath the road. There's a story there somewhere...)

I've ranted before about the perils of Big Houses, and this makes me wonder if this particular bit of imprecision in our language is contributing to the general increase in rudeness our culture exhibits. If you don't think we're becoming a rude nation, try driving on a highway at rush hour.

And if you're talking about me, I'm definitely a "who"!

Hugs,
Liddy
posted by Liddy Midnight @ 10:02 PM   3 comments
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Rules to live by at Halloween
It's getting closer to Halloween, and it's never too early to start practicing your survival skills! Here are a few tips to help you get through this potentially dangerous season.

When it appears that you have killed the monster, NEVER check to see if it's really dead.

If you find that your house is built upon or near a cemetery, was once a church used for black masses, had previous inhabitants who went mad or committed suicide or died in some horrible fashion, or had inhabitants who performed satanic practices in your house, move away immediately. Don't even go inside to pack. Hire moving professionals for that. Let them take the risks.

Never read a book of demon summoning aloud, even as a joke.

Do not search the basement, especially if the power has just gone out.

If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they should not know, or if they speak to you using a voice that is other than their own, shoot them immediately. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run.NOTE: It will probably take several rounds to kill them, so be prepared and stay the course. Reload immediately.

When you have the benefit of numbers, NEVER pair off and go it alone.

As a general rule, don’t solve puzzles that open portals to Hell.

Never stand in, on, above, below, beside, or anywhere near a grave, tomb, crypt, mausoleum, or other house of the dead.

If you're searching for something that caused a noise and find out that it's only the cat, leave the room immediately if you value your life. Leave the cat behind, just in case.

If any appliances start operating by themselves, move out. Preferably several states away.

Do not take *anything* from the dead. No matter what they promise. No exceptions!

If you find a town that looks deserted, it's probably for a reason. Take the hint and stay away.

Don't fool with recombinant DNA technology unless you're sure you know what you are doing.

If you're running from the monster, expect to trip or fall down at least twice, more if you are of the female persuasion. Also note that, despite the fact that you are running and the monster is merely shambling along, it's still moving fast enough to catch up with you.

If your companions suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behavior such as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on, get away from them as fast as possible.

Stay away from certain geographical locations, including those listed here: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Nilbog (you're in trouble if you recognize this one), the Bermuda Triangle, or any small town in Indiana.

If your car runs out of gas at night, do not go to the nearby deserted-looking house to phone for help. (Cell phones have made life safer. Make sure yours is charged. Do not drive into areas without adequate coverage.)

Beware of strangers bearing tools such as chainsaws, staple guns, hedge trimmers, electric carving knives, combines, lawnmowers, butane torches, soldering irons, band saws, or any device made from deceased companions.

I hope this helps!

Hugs,
Liddy

posted by Liddy Midnight @ 2:34 PM   3 comments
Thursday, October 05, 2006
New Reviews!
While I was busy watching butterflies - hmm, is that anything like stopping to smell the roses? - and pounding my keyboard, finishing two stories, several new reviews piled up in my Inbox.

REVIEWS for ROGUES (a collaboration by Liddy Midnight and Cricket Starr)

"ROGUES is a superbly crafted erotic tale. I wasn't sure initially that I'd be able to get into the story when the opening scene is such an eye opener with Thomas and Rick having sex. However, within a few chapters I realized that while ROGUES definitely has its share of outstanding and extreme heat inducing sex scenes, there is a lot more going on in this little gem. The characters are well developed, and the twists and surprises in the plot make for an excellent mystery and adventure. Thomas is more than one hundred years old, and yet Rick is often the calm, rational mature partner in the relationship. Thomas is sometimes like a young boy, and his exuberance often makes Rick act the heavy. Rick is a solid, dependable and ultra sexy man. He is intelligent as well as kind and thoughtful. Harriet is a tough woman on the outside, but inside she churns with uncertainty. She loves Rick and Thomas but is sure when they learn the truth about her they will walk away. Elvie, the AI on the ship, is a fun addition to this crew and adds a lot of humor to the tale.

"The plot is crafted and executed well, and even with the scorching sex scenes between all of them and each of them as a pair, the tension of the mystery the three need to solve never abates. Suspense, action, adventure and high octane sex guarantee that ROGUES will be a hit with readers. I highly recommend ROGUES for its excellent writing, fully fleshed characters, fascinating plot -- and oh yeah, some very well crafted love scenes."
Terrie Figueroa, for Romance Reviews Today

"I loved each moment of this book because it had everything, adventure, danger, excitement and mostly love, love for each other and the lengths they would go to ensure their own happiness. These two authors certainly know how to tell a tale and their characters reflect that. If you want to read about a space adventure with a whole lot of hot, sexy interludes then get this book and experience it for yourself, you'll kick yourself if you don't."
Sherryl, for eCataromance

"These rogues mix fun, intrigue, heroics, and, oh yes, sex.

"Drama is interspersed with a constant naughty sensibility so that sex is never far from the heroes' (or reader's) mind. I enjoyed this ride through a future universe with these three and the humorous computer character, Elvie. The story unfolded smoothly with always a wink toward fun. Even the evil villain has an impressive collection of sex toys. In addition to the fun, I felt a genuine affection for the characters and the way they cared for each other. Take a ride on their ship, The Sleepwalker; sleep is something you won't mind missing with this crew."
Kirra Pierce, for JERR

"I'd like a ride on the Sleepwalker please. Where do I sign up? Rogues is a sexy romp through space that's sure to leave you panting for breath from the action in and out of the bedroom. The chemistry between Thomas and Rick is scorching hot and with the addition of Harriet I wasn't sure if I'd survive to the end of the book. While Thomas is physically stronger of the trio Rick is the definitive alpha of their relationship and his ability to be both strong and tender makes the reader sigh with pleasure. The story is quick to zoom you into space with Thomas and Rick and threatens to keep you there indefinitely wishing for more. The Sleepwalker itself is an extremely amusing secondary character in the story and you find yourself caring for it just as much as the main characters, not to mention she's funny as heck! This is the first book that I've ready by this amazing duo though I'll be keeping my eye out for any of their other works from here on out. "
Larissa Hayes, for The Romance Studio

And a very nice review for DREAMS OF THE OASIS 1, also at The Romance Studio.

It's been a good month for reviews!

Now I'm off to Home Depot (again) for things we need to complete the Kitchen Renovation, Part 2: Electrical wiring!

Hugs,
Liddy
posted by Liddy Midnight @ 6:40 AM   7 comments
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Another Top Ten: Asleep at your desk
Ten Best Things to Say if You're Caught Sleeping at Your Desk

10. "They told me at the blood bank this might happen."

9. "This is just a 15 minute power-nap like they raved about in that time management course you sent me to."

8. "Whew! Guess I left the top off the White-Out. You probably got here just in time!"

7. "I wasn't sleeping! I was meditating on the mission statement and envisioning a new paradigm."

6. "I was testing my keyboard for drool resistance."

5. "I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve work-related stress. Are you discriminatory toward people who practice Yoga?"

4. "Darn! Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a solution to our biggest problem."

3. "The coffee machine is broken..."

2. "Someone must've put decaf in the wrong pot...."

And the #l best thing to say if you get caught sleeping at your desk....
1. ".... "Amen."

Hugs,
Liddy
posted by Liddy Midnight @ 4:45 PM   3 comments
Monday, October 02, 2006
Butterfly Finale
I have watched each chrysalis carefully, from its creation. The final tally was that eight of the thirteen hatched as butterflies. That's about 60% of the cohort, for you statisticians out there. I don't think that's a bad number. It's a dangerous world out there! Three of the pupae disappeared, either weedwhacked into oblivion or blown away by storms. Two of what used to be caterpillars inside have liquified, into a stinky goo.

Here are the last photos, of one on the left with its wings still slightly furled - a different perspective than I got before - and one above of a completely open butterfly. I like this one, because you can see how the abdomen became elongated and slender as the butterfly relaxed, no longer compressed inside the tiny chrysalis.

I hope you enjoyed these, and I'll be roaming about with my camera next summer, looking for more pictures of the continuing beauty pageant that nature provides.

Hugs,
Liddy
posted by Liddy Midnight @ 4:23 PM   6 comments

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Name: Liddy Midnight
Home: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States
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