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Oct 31 2008

Halloween 2008


Drew and Will at our annual Pumpkin Town visit earlier this week.


Will (Buzz Lightyear) and Drew (Obi-Wan Kenobi) before they went trick or treating at Ma and Pa's.


Drew (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Will (Buzz Lightyear) and Daddy (Darth Vader) before we all went out trick or treating for the evening.

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Oct 30 2008

Pumpkin Carving


Mary took on the task of carving this year's pumpkin picked up on our annual trek to Pumpkin Town. Will and Drew are excited about the project.


Drew did a great job of digging out the innards while Will offered encouragement.


The pattern the boys picked out all poked and transferred to the pumpkin.


The final product...a spooky Mickey Mouse. They all did a great job!

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

048-susan-shaughnessy.jpgSusan Shaughnessy, a very close family friend, like a cousin to us, has suddenly taken very ill and is in a coma. Everyone's thoughts and prayers for her and her family are very much appreciated. Susan is just 30 years old and has an amazing spirit about her which is exemplified in her strong Catholic faith.

We were told we should pray for a miracle. More information can be found on Matt & Michelle's blog.

[UPDATE #1:] Susan Shaughnessy passed away Monday afternoon, November 17, 2008. Her family was with her when she died. The wake will be on Friday, November 21 and the funeral on Saturday, November 22, both in St. Louis. More details when they become available.

[UPDATE #2:] I see by my server logs that many many people are searching for information about Susan's wake, funeral and memorial, including individuals from overseas. It is really a tribute to her amazing spirit that she is loved by so many. When I get information regarding the St. Louis wake and funeral and December memorial mass in Washington D.C., I will immediately post it here. If anyone has additional details you don't see here, please post them in a comment or send me an email and I will update this post.

[UPDATE #3:]


Close friends of Susan, Bea and Javier, were kind enough to pass along this photo of Susan Shaughnessy.

[UPDATE #4:] The Washington Times has a good article about Susan Shaughnessy entitled Requiem for Susan which explains more about her final days. The article even touches upon the impossible, trying to make sense of such a loss. See also, May her memory be eternal, also asking the qustion, "Why?"

Around the Web:

Radical Catholic Mom: With Sadness

Vox Nova: With Sadness

Julia Duin: Susan Shaughnessy, RIP
(Author of Washington Times article)

A day in the life: Susan Shaughnessy 1978-2008

Whispers in the Loggia: Between Heaven and Earth

Liberal Pastor in Burnsville: Grappling with The Death of a Friend

[UPDATE #5:]

Friday, November 21, 2008, from 3:00 to 9:00 pm
Kutis Funeral Home
10151 Gravois Road
Affton, MO 63123
(314) 842-4458

Funeral Mass
Saturday, November 22, 2008, at 10:00 am
Saint Bernadette-Lemay
68 Sherman Road
Lemay, MO 63125
(314) 892-6882

Saturday, November 22, 2008, immediately after mass
Calvary Cemetery
5239 West Florissant Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63115
(314) 381-1313

[UPDATE #6:]

Susan Shaughnessy's obituary from STLtoday.com where there is also an online guest book people can sign and leave messages:

Susan M. Shaughnessy

Shaughnessy, Susan M. baptized into the hope of Christ's resurrection, Mon., Nov. 17, 2008. Beloved daughter of Patrick and Victoria (nee Kurczynski) Shaughnessy; loving sister of Patrick and Tom Shaughnessy; dear friend of Eduardo Granados Garcia; dearest Godmother of Dani Carreno and Anthony DuVinage; our dear niece, great-niece, cousin and friend to many.Services:Funeral from KUTIS AFFTON Chapel, 10151 Gravois, Sat., Nov. 22, 9:15 a.m. to St. Bernadette Catholic Church for 10 a.m. Mass. Interment Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions appreciated to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Visitation Fri., 3-9 p.m.

[UPDATE #7:]

A paper written by Susan Shaughnessy in 2006 is available online entitled, "Community: Context and Fruit of Chastity."

It begins with a quote from Karol Wojtyla's "Love and Responsibility": "Love should be seen as something which in a sense never 'is' but is always 'becoming,' and what it becomes depends upon the contributions of both persons and the depth of their commitment."

The paper concludes with Susan's own words: "Here we see again concretely how community and chastity circumincesse to lead one fuller into the life of true love."

Posted by Don | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0) |
Oct 17 2008

Journalism is Dead


Journalism in America has gone from merely biased to so completely in the bag for a candidate it collectively refuses to look at honestly or hold to any recognizable standard that the once honored profession of journalism can only be described as dead. It started decades ago when people went into journalism "to make a difference." Whoa...that's the last place one should go to make a difference. A great journalist's only desire should be investigating and reporting the truth regardless of the consequences. Whether the truth serves to "make a difference" or preserve the status quo shouldn't make a difference. But, once a journalist adopts a goal, then the story gets filtered to promote that goal...and journalism dies.

(Now a bunch of semi-related thoughts that would be separate blog posts if I had time. I just need to put then down so I can stop thinking about them.)

Punish the Rich
In April, Charlie Gibson pointed out to Sen. Obama that when President Clinton and President Bush each lowered the capital gains tax, the federal government took in more money and asked, so why raise the capital gains rate? Sen. Obama responded: "I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness." In other words, even if it lowered revenue, Obama would look at using the tax system to punish the wealthy out of fairness.

This makes the same amount of sense as treating your cold by breaking someone else's arm. You really have something wrong with you, if you somehow feel better about your situation in life because the government steals more moneys from the wealthy. Where does such sick screwed up thinking end? If your kids aren't all that bright because you never read to them when they were young, never worked to engaged their minds growing up and never monitored their school work, would you feel better by feeding stupid pills to hard working, successful, smart kids? I hope not, but it's the same thing.

Spread the Wealth
In response to the recent Joe the Plumber's concern over being subject to higher taxes when he starts to earn more money, Sen. Obama responded: "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."

Why are we the economic power house of the world? Is it because of our strong history of taking money away from people "for purposes of fairness" and because we used our government to "spread the wealth around"? When did flat out socialism become acceptable?

Welfare for Everyone Not Paying Taxes
Sen. Obama repeatedly says that he will give a tax cut to 95% of Americans. But, only 62% of Americans pay income tax. Accordingly, Obama is just flat out lying or, worse, he's redefining terms...which I really hate. What Sen. Obama calls a "tax cut" for the 38% of Americans who don't pay any income tax is really just plain old every day welfare. It's taking money by gunpoint from taxpayers and giving it to non-taxpayers. And, this is done without even looking to see if the recipients are hard working deserving individuals or crack addicted dope dealers...who cares...free money for everyone! As such a major focal point of Obama's economic plan, you've heard this explained by the mainstream media...right?

(Does any of this sound like a familiar Democratic lie like we heard from President Clinton before he told us this memorable line: "I've worked harder on this than anything I've ever done in my life, and while I said I'd like to lower your taxes, I can't." Worked harder...yeah, worked harder prancing around the Oval Office with his pants around his ankles.)

Double Standards - Get Used to Them
Would the media give a pass to a white candidate who admitted to attending for 20 years a racist, hate mongering, anti-American church which taught a radical race-based theology centered around white values? What about a Republican candidate with ties to a Timothy McVeigh type character? You think the media might be all over that? Heck, I still can't figure out how an ex-KKK member can be a member of the United States Senate...other than he's a Democrat and so that's OK.

When Sen. McCain announced Sarah Palin as his running mate, hundreds of journalist descended on Alaska to investigate her past. Where was the media's same fervor to investigate Sen. Obama's past? A few right-wing journalist have uncovered more information about Sen. Obama's past, in direct contradiction to his own statements, than all of the national media combined.

Which is easier spelling potato or counting the number of letters in the word "jobs." I got a four year old that can do the latter but not the former. Logic dictates you would therefore mock a vice-president or vice-president candidate more for not being able to count to four. But that would required an unbiased media which didn't have a visceral hatred for then Vice-President Dan Quayle, to properly ridicule Sen. Joe Biden for his numerological wisdom: "Look, John's last-minute economic plan does nothing to tackle the number one job facing the middle class, and it happens to be, as Barack says, a three-letter word, jobs, J-O-B-S, jobs."

[UPDATE: Just a day after writing this, Saturday Night Live made another Dan Quayle potato joke,,,more than 16 years after Vice-President Quayle added an "e" to the end of "potato." The attempt at humor was trite, tired, insipid, didn't provide any new insight and didn't flow or relate to anything other than the fact that Sarah Palin was on the show. The jokes about Sen. Biden and his many gaffes...zero.]


When Sen. Obama is confronted with the poor choice in people he has chosen to associate with over the years, his response is to point out all the nice normal people he associates with and has as advisors now (ignoring his advisors who have been ex-Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac executives). The obvious response to this is that character is doing what's right when nobody's looking, or prior to deciding to run for president. My personal disgust for Sen. Obama peaked in March when it was revealed that--prior to thinking he might run for president and having to release his tax returns--in 2000, 2001 and 2002, despite earning near or more than a quarter million dollars each year, he and his wife only gave less than 1% to charity each year. Is this pattern of charitable giving indicative of an unselfish man and woman who at the core of their being have the welfare of others in their heart? Or, is it more indicative of a couple who are selfish, greedy, and who are only out for themselves?

No doubt, someone reading this will call me racist. It's a lot easier than refuting arguments or explaining double-standards. For the same reason merely calling Obama skinny had been labeled racist or just wearing white clothes, let alone, God forbid, you use the candidate's middle name. It wasn't that long ago that the media used George "Herbert Walker" Bush as much as they could to try to show him as a rich elitist since only rich elitists have two middle names (this was before there was any need to differentiate President Bush from his son). But, now using middle names might work against the media's selected candidate, so it's forbidden...and racist.

How quickly would a Republican's candidacy for president be brought to a close for uttering the phrase, "typical black person"? But, when Obama talks about how the "typical white person" reacts...well, that's OK.

Call me a proud American, who the arrogant, elitist Sen. Obama criticizes for clinging to my guns and religion. (Barack Obama: "And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.")

Oh, and lets not forget the massive voter fraud that is going on across the nation. As an example, as many as 200,000 "mis-matched" voter registrations in Ohio, with ACORN at the heart of it all. Imagine just for a moment, how quickly an organization fraudulently, illegally, repeatedly, registering hundreds of thousands of predominately Republican voters would be shut down and investigate by every media outlet and organization imaginable. Do you know the one fact the media and its fine investigative journalists will never let you know? What percentage of the fraudulent registrations are for people registering as Democrats?

Journalism is dead.

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


Drew's pre-K class and his first ever field trip! All eleven classmates are in the picture...and one little extra tyke, Will.

I think they are learning here that the tree is sad because it's never gotten the opportunity to become someone's home, or furniture for people to sit on or eat off of, or a fence to keep trespassers away, or a big strong utility pole so people can have lights and air conditioning, or...for a lucky few...a chance to hit one out of the park from home plate. Perhaps someday Mr. Tree will get to be something really wonderful and no longer be just an unharvested renewable crop.

Posted by Don | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0) |


Today, Drew, Will, Mama, Ma and Pa went to the Tulsa State Fair. Drew and Will are feeding a baby bison.


This photo begs for a caption contest. I'm not sure who's behind the bars, the sheep or Will.


Drew is a long-time pony rider and had no trouble keeping his steed under control.


Will absolutely loved riding the ponies and Pa was always nearby to keep things safe.


Will was quite the flying saucer driver. All was well until he put his foot to the floor...


When things sped up, Drew did all he could to keep from crushing his little brother. Knowing that the smallest rider will likely get the most enjoyment out "steering," wouldn't you design the ride so that the steering wheel was on the left to avoid big rider squishing little rider?

Rest easy though, this year the State of Oklahoma tested all ride operators on the proper operation of the rides they were operating and, under these stringent safety examinations, the operators had to score...I'm not making this up...70 percent. So, of course, it was a huge shock when a car on the kids' ride The Rio Grande Train went off the tracks injuring three children.

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

On our last trip to Goltry to clean out my Grandmother's house, we finally found the last of my grandfather's firearms, his 1966 Remington 1100, 12 gauge semi-auto shotgun.


First introduced in 1963, the Remington 1100 shotgun is still in production today and is the best selling semi-automatic shotgun in American history. The Remington Society of America has a great history of Remington Model 1100 Autoloading Shotguns.

I took the shotgun to a trusted gunsmith who detail stripped it, replaced the o-rings and the trigger spring, lubed everything and reassembled it. It's in great shape. No rust or excessive wear, but the gunsmith said it was no safe-queen. Grandpa had used it a good amount.

I put 100+ rounds through it without incident. The recoil isn't bad, but the 1966 stock has no recoil pad. By the end of the day, I'm not too proud to admit, my virgin shoulder was sore!

The most prominent story I remember involving the shotgun was when my Grandfather's rooster attacked my father. Grandpa thought that was the funniest thing, the city boy being attacked by a little old rooster. It wasn't too long after, the rooster attacked my Grandfather. That wasn't funny. Grandpa walked to the back porch, got his shotgun, took aim, and put an end to the rooster.

Posted by Don | Comments (2) | TrackBacks (0) |