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852-william-f-buckley.jpg

A great American and founding father of the modern conservative movement died today, William F. Buckley, Jr., He founded National Review magazine in 1955, wrote a newspaper column syndicated nationally in over 300 newspapers, hosted Firing Line from 1966 to 1999, authored over fifty books and frequently lectured publicly. Buckley was also an accomplished pianist and harpsichord player. He was married to his wife Patricia, who died just last year, for 57 years.

853-let-us-talk-of-many-things.jpgI had the tremendous opportunity to meet William F. Buckley, Jr., in 2001. He autographed his then recent Let Us Talk of Many Things, a collection of 95 speeches organized by decade covering issues and controversies which shaped the politics and culture of our nation. If you haven't read any of Buckley's work and/or don't want to wade through a lengthy tome, this book is a terrific read as the speeches average only about five pages and vary so much in topic that there is plenty to interest anyone.

I remember occasionally watching Firing Line on PBS while still in grade school in the 70s (yes, I was that weird). I certainly won't pretend I understood everything, either the topics or his legendary vocabulary, but I could tell that William Buckley was someone from whom I could learn a great deal. Over the years, there is probably no other conservative thinker that I have read and listened to as much or as closely, although George Will comes close.

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Here are a few of my favorite quotes of William F. Buckley, Jr.:

"I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University."
"Though liberals do a great deal of talking about hearing other points of view, it sometimes shocks them to learn that there are other points of view."
"I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said."
1965, When asked what he would do if he won the race, Buckley issued his classic response: "I'd demand a recount."
When asked if he had "referred to Jesse Jackson as an ignoramus," Buckley said, "If I didn't, I should have."
Leonard Bernstein complained about the smearing of the word "liberal," Buckley said: "Lenny does not realize that one of the reasons the 'L' word is discredited is that it was handled by such as Leonard Bernstein."
When challenged on President Reagan's intellect, Buckley said: "Of course, he will always tend to reach first for an anecdote. But then, so does the New Testament."
Posted by Don | Comments (3) | TrackBacks (0) |
Feb 25 2008

Will at 18 Months

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Will's 18 month photograph. Our littlest one is growing up.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Feb 22 2008

Dash and Joey

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Our cat Joseph, Joey for short, is the best tempered cat in the world. He used to be a wild outdoor cat in the country before he adopted us. He was quite the brave kitty never hesitating to take on all kinds of wild beasts. In the evenings, I'd dig out engorged ticks hidden underneath his long fur. Despite jabbing and poking with tweezers and a knife, Joey would just lay on my lap purring. Joey used to follow us on walks and would come running when our car drove into the neighborhood.

When we moved to the city, we brought Joey with us and he became an indoor cat. Now he follows me around the house like a dog and always wants to be a part of the action. There's never been a better cat for children. He has never once hissed or struck out against anyone and doesn't even mind being used as a pillow.

A couple of months ago, Drew was wearing his Incredibles pajamas and demonstrating his best impression of Dashiell "Dash" Parr. Drew was running up and down the hall so fast we could hardly see him. Joey just sat in the middle of it all, taking it all in, in his typical fashion. A better cat there has never been. (YouTube version after the jump.)


Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |

My web host, TotalChoice Hosting, just doubled the bandwidth and storage space of all their plans. This is a good thing since space was starting to get a little cramped on my server. Now, I'm good to go for a few more years with 3GB of storage space and 140GB of monthly bandwidth.

299webhost.jpgI can't recommend TotalChoice Hosting enough. Just a little research and you'll come across hosting providers such as...picking just one example out of the ether...BlueHost which promises 1,500GB of storage space and 15,000GB of monthly transfer for just $6.95/month...*cough* *cough* bull droppings *cough* *cough*. So what's the catch...speed and/or CPU throttling. I've tried several hosts over the years and either their speeds are so ridiculously slow that you and the rest of the world together could never transfer your allotment or anytime your site gets a mildly busy period your visitors are greeted with a splash page stating, "This Account Has Exceeded Its CPU Quota." These sites might as well offer unlimited space and bandwidth because you aren't going to get to use either.

totalchoice.pngAnyway, I've never had any issues with TotalChoice Hosting. As you can tell, this site is very graphics intensive but always loads very quickly. Any delays are due to some third-party scripts I run (usually one of my stats providers). Just as, or perhaps more importantly, TotalChoice Hosting has the best customer support in the business. They have the most helpful forums run by many incredibly knowledgeable and helpful individuals who go out of their way to help members. Formal tech support is nothing less than amazing. The last support ticket I submitted was fixed in just three minutes. They didn't just respond in three minutes...they fixed it in three minutes! They also have a number of options for live tech support, which I haven't tried...since I haven't had that many problems.

849-bill-kish.jpgFinally, TotalChoice Hosting is owned/run by Bill Kish known as the Head Guru who is always on the forums and available by email, AOL/Yahoo Messenger, ICQ and probably a bunch of other ways I've never bothered to explore. He's a normal guy who gets ticked at idiots and appears to really care about providing good quality, reliable hosting services at very competitive prices. TotalChoice Hosting has sponsored real life food and drink parties, given away computers and tech toys in contests and, otherwise, really makes the extra effort to provide a little more than other hosting providers.

The only caveat about TotalChoice Hosting is that they only allow one domain per hosting plan unless you get one of their more expensive "reseller" accounts. The industry standard seems to allow multiple add-on domains per plan. TotalChoice Hosting's restriction has required me to host a number of additional sites I have on a micro-account with A Small Orange where I can host unlimited sites which get very little traffic for just $25 a year. Even taking into consideration this minor annoyance, TotalChoice Hosting gets my highest recommendation for the best web host.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

846-valentines-day-cake.jpg

After a fine dinner of beef tenderloin lovingly prepared by Mama, we all enjoyed some chocolate cake. Will is letting Mama know she is his number one valentine.

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Aunt Donelda sent some fun-with-foam materials for the boys to make Valentine themed picture frames. They loved picking out, arranging and sticking the foam on the frames.

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Drew and Will were very proud of their completed picture frames, although Drew insisted his wasn't done until there was a picture in it.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |

845-reading-before-bed.jpg

Mama reads to the boys several times a day, but every night, before bedtime, it's my turn to read to the boys. We just started reading the original Noddy books by Enid Blyton with pictures by Beek. Drew loves the modern Noddy cartoon "Make Way for Noddy," so he was excited when we found these Noddy books at Grandma Danz's. These are the original twenty-four Noddy books published between 1949 and 1963 some of which are original editions. They were originally Aunt Donelda's but despite their age, probably aren't worth too much since they have been so "well loved." Tonight we'll read the final chapter of the first book and find out if Noddy is a toy. If he's not, he won't be able to stay in Toy Land.

Will is reading "Good Night, Gorilla" written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann. It is one of, if not his most, favorite. If you haven't seen it already, check out Drew reading "Good Night, Gorilla" to Will from this past December.

Posted by Don | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) |
Feb 9 2008

Sleeping Cat

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Joey is not a fan of the sun (or flash) interrupting his napping. The poor thing only gets twenty-two hours of sleep a day, no wonder he's always exhausted.

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |

843-mother-and-son-sleeping.jpg

You wished you looked this good in the morning! I snapped this picture before I left for work one morning. I thought it was too cute how Will had snuggled up against mama.

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |
Feb 7 2008

Funeral Travel

First and foremost, thank you to everyone for your kindness during the last two weeks. From simple phone calls and emails, to the cards, to those who were able to attend one of the wakes or service, your kind words and actions have been very much appreciated by our family.

We found out Grandma Danz died Sunday morning, January 27th, and despite knowing the end was near it, of course, was still difficult news. Despite that, funeral arrangements in two different states had to be planned, people notified and many other details taken care of, so most of that Sunday was spent on the phone and the internet getting the word out and making arrangements. It was just a little weird doing all that the same day we got word, but it had to be done. I can't imagine how people manage who have an unexpected loss. I guess a friend or more distant relative has to step in and take care of things.

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Monday we drove straight through to Palatine. Will got the most improved traveler award for, literally, not making a single sound until just about a mile and a half from Grandma Danz's house. We were concerned because the last time we drove a long way, Will let it be known that he was not fully appreciative of the safety offered by his modern-day child seat. In other words, he was nearly inconsolable screaming and crying every 20 minutes. But, not this time, thankfully!

Tuesday morning came quick. Pre-wake preparations were highlighted by Mary's scream of "Will what have you done!!!" It was a tone and level of voice I had never heard from Mary and can only describe it as possibly being in the category of loss-of-limb urgency. I ran up stairs to see what was wrong and found that, after giving the boys a bath, while dressing Drew, Will threw his funeral cloths in the bathtub full of water. We still had over an hour before we had to leave the house so I grabbed the clothes, wrung them out, put them in the washer for a spin cycle and popped them in the dryer. Needless to say, Mary was a little stressed since I hadn't been much of a help with the kids on the trip.

837-boys-at-funeral.jpg

Tuesday evening was the wake in Palatine. While I had ordered the casket and vault and was getting the Oklahoma arrangements taken care of, Donelda had been meeting with the funeral home in Palatine, ordering flowers and making poster boards with pictures of Grandma Danz. Somehow, Donelda also found time to put together a PowerPoint presentation of pictures which played at each wake.

Wednesday, Donelda and I spent a good five hours going over paperwork before Mary, Drew, Will and I drove to Rolla, Missouri, to stay the night. I must say the new Holiday Inn Express hotels are really nice and we enjoyed a good nights sleep.

838-doughnut-tire.jpg

Thursday was supposed to be an uneventful drive to Goltry, Oklahoma. However, while the drive started out pleasantly, there was an ice storm developing that we were heading into. About half-way down the Will Rogers turnpike between Joplin and Tulsa, we heard a thump...followed shortly by the oh-so-fun thump, thump, thumping. A flat tire. Now remember, we were in our trusty über-safe Volvo S80, packed for a week long cross-country trip with clothes ranging from casual to funeral and plenty of supplies for the munchkin who uses his pants for a potty and lots of stuff for everyone else, pillows, sleeping bag, computer, toys, work stuff...everything short of the kitchen sink. The image I'm trying to convey, is that the trunk and most spaces in the car were packed! Every nook and cranny of the trunk was neatly and totally stuffed to the precise contours of the available space. The trunk lid closed, but not without a little extra effort. Additionally, it was packed under ideal circumstances, where everything was laid out and I had all the time in the world to fit everything in just right.

The temperature was in the single digits and while it, fortunately, wasn't rainy, it was misty which was nice when the 18-wheelers came by and the car rocked back and forth. Road side assistance was not available for many hours because everyone was busy helping get cars out of ditches and a "mere" flat-tire just wasn't a priority. So, I began the process of emptying the trunk so I could get to the spare tire, passing everything through the window to Mary. Who knows where she put it all?! The change itself was relatively uneventful except for my anxiety over the time during which the fully loaded car was jacked up on the frail looking jack while the 18-wheelers did the best they could to blow the whole thing over. Once, the doughnut tire was in place, it was time to "pack" the trunk again as Mary passed everything back through her window. What I lost in neatness, I more then made up for with brute-force the second time around. The whole thing only took 30 minutes, but it seemed longer. From there, since we were just an hour away from our home in Tulsa, we detoured to change vehicles. I also took an unplanned rest on the couch while my physical and emotional batteries recharged before the final drive to Goltry. Did I mention the ice storm earlier? Yep, we made the final leg to Goltry traveling just 30 miles an hour on freshly iced, un-salted/un-sanded road. Grandma Danz always talked about the bad luck she had traveling, so I think this was her final goodbye to us.

839-family-at-funeral.jpg

Friday we ran some errands in Goltry and Helena and had the wake that evening. The photo is all of us with a long-time friend of my parents, Mrs. Long. She and her husband traveled the world with my parents. They are the most active "retired" people I've ever met. He still writes for the Oklahoman and they both take yearly trips around the world, this year's being a Russian river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg!

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Finally, Saturday after services at Lanman funeral home in Helena, we laid Grandma Danz to rest next to Grandpa Danz in the Karoma Cemetery in Goltry, Oklahoma. Pictures of the headstone and Great-Grandma and Grandpa Buller's headstone after the jump.

841-danz-headstone.jpg

Nelda and Donald Danz's headstone.

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Ola Mae and Alvin "Spiv" Buller's headstone. Donelda had the presence of mind to take two roses from one of the displays to lay on Grandma Danz's parents' headstone.

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |