People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I Could Have Bet Money On It

I woke up this morning, staggered into the kitchen to fix some coffee, and looked out the window at the thermometer. Weather.com had advised the evening before that I could expect the temperature to get down to 8 degrees.

We should have been so fortunate.

The temperature was 5 degrees below zero. I immediately got chilled. We have two heat pumps keeping the house nice and toasty in the wintertime and they were running full blast just to keep up. My thought was, after half a cup of coffee got my brain to actually functioning, "Man, am I glad we didn't lose power."

And then the electricity went off.

Five degrees below and we have no heat.

Paula and I learned a valuable lesson a number of years ago when we lived in Hartland, Michigan (This was the first time we lived in Michigan. We didn't learn anything about the great frozen north that time so we moved there again several years later.). On Christmas Day, 1984 the temperature hit a bone-numbing 20 below zero. Our house was heated with fuel oil. It got so cold, the fuel oil turned to jello and clogged the line going to the furnace. On Christmas Day. Imagine our ... consternation trying to find a repairman. On Christmas Day.

Well, from that day forward, Paula and I have always had plenty of alternate sources of heat. Today we gave both the fireplace and the kerosene heater a good workout.

And we survived. Finally, after eight hours of living like pioneers (we heated water for coffee on top of the kerosene heater), the power came back on.

I write this in part to tell the fine workers at the power company to please disregard the threatening voice message I left on your machine. I was only kidding. I realize you are not the people I want to have mad at me right now. What with Christmas Day coming.

Arnold Tells Us We're Too Conservative

After the Republican National Committee celebrated perhaps its greatest triumph in election history, reelecting a Republican president and increasing its majorities in both houses of Congress, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't happy. He thinks Republicans should think more like Democrats.

Report: Schwarzenegger suggests U.S. Republicans move leftward

BERLIN (AP) — California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested in a German newspaper interview published Saturday that the Republican Party should move "a little to the left," a shift that he said would allow it to pick up new voters.

Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has taken an unorthodox approach since winning office last year — standing by a promise to toe a conservative line of fiscal matters while veering left on social issues such as gay rights and the environment.

In an interview with Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily, Schwarzenegger said that "the Republican Party currently covers only the spectrum from the right wing to the middle, and the Democratic Party covers the spectrum from the left to the middle."

"I would like the Republican Party to cross this line, move a little further left and place more weight on the center," he was quoted as saying. "This would immediately give the party 5% more votes without it losing anything elsewhere." (link)

Yeah. More accepting of abortions on demand. More tolerant of those who are removing, by court order, God from our society. More accepting of gay marriage. More charitable toward the confiscation of our tax dollars.

That'll get the Republican base out there to vote in 2006. Keep thinking, big guy.

Not Too Bright

There are certain things you learn not to say when you are in an airport terminal or on a plane these days. One topic that is to be avoided involves the word "bomb." Another one has to do with joking around like this:

Joke Text Message Triggers Terror Alert

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - An Italian tourist aboard a flight from Sydney to Vienna caused an international security alert after he sent a joke text message from his cell phone to his wife claiming his plane had been hijacked by terrorists, the Australian government confirmed Sunday. The man, Antonio Casale, 35, sent the message to his wife from Kuala Lumpur during a refueling stop on a Lauda Air flight from Sydney last Sunday night, Sydney's Sunday Telegraph newspaper reported. Transport Minister John Anderson's spokesman confirmed the newspaper report. Casale claimed terrorists were in control of the plane and were taking the passengers to an unknown destination.

His distressed wife contacted Italian police, who immediately contacted the Italian embassy in Canberra, who in turn contacted Australian Federal Police. (link)

Antonio would have felt funny if the military had shot his plane out of the sky.

Put this in the "Not too bright" category.


It is 5 degrees below zero outside. And I'm going out to feed the birds. The cardinals, gold finches, doves, bluejays, house finches, hairy woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, red bellied woodpeckers, sparrows, nuthatches, chickadees, and junkos had better appreciate this.

And if I score a few points with God, well, that would be a good thing too.

Where is the ACLU?

Two days ago, I made mention of the fact that the ACLU was in trouble for using a database to pry into the personal lives of potential donors to their organization. That might explain why they are not going to the rescue of Stephen Williams, an evangelical Christian who teaches a high school history class in Cupertino, California. Mr. Williams has been singled out as being a potential "problem" by the principal of the school because she fears he will proselytize to his students. He is forced to submit his lesson plans to the principal before he discusses any subject or passes out any literature. He has even been prevented from speaking of the Declaration of Independence because there is a reference to God in it.

Since May 19, 2004, Ms. [Principal Patricia] Vidmar has rejected all of Mr. Williams' proposed lesson plans and original founding documents where God or Christianity are mentioned in them.

Before this edict from the principal, Mr. Williams taught his students lessons in the origins of such religious holidays in America as Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan and the Chinese New Year. But in April, the principal ordered him not to teach a lesson about the origins of Easter because it is a Christian holiday. (link)

This whole separation of church and state thing has gotten to be insane. As have too many high school principals.

But where is the ACLU? Nat Hentoff, a longstanding member himself, wants to know.
... where is the American Civil Liberties Union? Mr. Williams' constitutional rights to equal protection of the laws and freedom of speech are being violated. Moreover, as for his students' rights, a school district official says "no teacher has been stopped from passing out the Declaration of Independence." Well, no teacher except for Stephen Williams.
They're all out fundraising, Nat. While Rome burns ...