Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
Everyone is welcome here.
(Some links or topics may not be completely kid-appropriate.)

Sun, Aug 31 2003

Johnny Can Read--Read His Parents, That Is

Have you gone into a store lately and been nearly mowed down by children running through the aisles, and with no parent in sight? Have you been seeing the hype about having children on track for the "right school" by the time they reach the age of six (after they've learned plenty of bad habits from other kids at a succession of day-care providers)? Have you noticed that little Johnny's room is equipped with everything from DSL service for gaming to a membership card to the local spa? Have you noticed that most moms and dads can't wait for little Johnny to grow up and get a driver's license so that Johnny can drive little Mary to swimming lessons so they don't have to deal with it? And that Johnny has his own brand new car at age 16 so he can do all that driving?

Author Robert Shaw has something to say that will probably get career-track parents hot under their corporate white collars. But let's face it. What's happening now isn't working for most families, or for society in general. The Epidemic : The Rot of American Culture, Absentee and Permissive Parenting, and the Resultant Plague of Joyless, Selfish Children will be out later in September, but you can pre-order a copy.

posted at: 11:21 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Books In Bondage--The Censorship Game

What do Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Private Parts by Howard Stern, and A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle all have in common?

It would be an interesting challenge to write new literature combining elements from all the above books, partly as an exercise to see whether not not anyone would want to keep the rest of you from reading it.

posted at: 10:12 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Sat, Aug 30 2003

Day Of Other Activities

I've been busy getting the September issue of Deb's Monthly Review uploaded, plus helping Ron scan some slides for his page of photos of the Garret-Carden Cemetery in Cherokee County, Alabama, so I've had no chance to check stories on the web today.

posted at: 19:38 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Thu, Aug 28 2003

Card Slips Illegal Folks Into Most Services

Is anyone in Homeland Security working to eliminate the recognition of the matricula identification card? If not, why not?

posted at: 18:50 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Panda Mom Bai Yun And Her Baby

The San Diego Zoo has provided a Panda Cam for us.

posted at: 08:00 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Wed, Aug 27 2003

Some Guy Is Marrying Into This Family?

If this is what happens to the temporary hired help, I wonder what will happen to the daughter's future husband if he doesn't pay enough attention to the bride?

Hey--I wonder if this woman is related to that "other" family of McMahons?

posted at: 08:15 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Tue, Aug 26 2003


I haven't tasted a MOJO bar yet, but I'm glad someone is finally making energy bars that are formulated to taste more like a meal than a dessert.

posted at: 00:26 | category: /Food | link to this entry

Mon, Aug 25 2003

Great Minds Think Alike

Mark Twain got into trouble for using satire, humor and storytelling techniques in order to make political statements in his day. Twain may have had a kindred spirit in the person of George McDonald. McDonald may have been following the same track as Twain (in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) when he wrote Sir Gibbie. A lot of contemporary writers have realized that you can bundle a lot of truth in a story that seems, on the surface, to be pure fantasy. McDonald isn't nearly as well known as Twain, but you can get still get your own copy of Sir Gibbie.

posted at: 13:17 | category: /Arts and Entertainment | link to this entry

Who Will Survive Island Fever?

It had to happen. It's Recall Island.

posted at: 11:18 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Sun, Aug 24 2003

U. S. Attorney General Tour: Is It One Big Mosh Pit?

Mr. Ashcroft is going on a tour (with American taxpayer money, I suppose) to convince us that The Patriot Act is a good thing. And there is now a website to assist him in that aim.

I'm still concerned. I don't want the public library to have to report which books people check out (they could read in the library and leave without checking out books anyway--or has everyone forgotten that?). I do trememdous amounts of research on every topic imaginable. I don't want a list of those topics monitored by government employees because they think I "might" do something bad with the information. Nothing makes me angrier (except child and animal abuse) than someone assuming I have evil motives.

And what about all the research I do on the internet? Would they like to monitor that too? I write fiction. I could be researching anything from ant poison to firearm maintenance to the care and feeding of pygmy goats. This does not mean I'm going to run out and participate in subversive, terrorist attacks on my fellow citizens.

Living in a free society means less government (not more), less intrusion into lives (not more), and less monitoring (not more). If this puts me at more risk from terrorism, I'm willing to take that risk. I'd rather die free than live in what threatens to become so much of a police state that our government becomes the very evil it's supposed to help prevent. I would invite everyone to look back at the early days of the American Revolution and the principles upon which the early government was formed. We don't need apologetics from our leaders. We need our leaders to return to the original vision that made this country a place of freedom. And living in freedom, like living in love, is a risky, and wonderful, way to live.

posted at: 11:22 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Sat, Aug 23 2003

Are They The Complete Ten Commandments?

There's been a lot of uproar about a certain display in Alabama. From what I understand, a monument depicting the Ten Commandments was placed in the rotunda of the State Judicial Building under the direction of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Reaction has ranged from outrage to full support, and many feel this issue is a pivotal one in matters regarding the separation of church and state.

I have a question (since I haven't seen the actual monument). Does the display depict the Ten Commandments in their entirety, as translated from the original documents (as far as possible)? Which churches version of the Commmandments is Alabama displaying? The Catholic version? The Protestant version? The original Ten Commandments, from what I understand, includes a phrase in the 4th commandment which roughly translates into something like "the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God..."

Instead of getting all wound up over the placement of the monument, I'm wondering why no one seems to be getting wound up over the fact that very few actually practice this 4th Commandment as it was originally handed down. The seventh day of the week is Saturday, folks. Ask any Seventh-day Adventist, or, better yet, ask any Jew. If you do some research, you'll find out that humans originally migrated to Sunday as a replacement day of rest to appease sun worshippers and to woo said sun worshippers into the fold. The first day of the week is not in the real Ten Commandments. If Moore doesn't have the seventh-day listed as Sabbath on the monument, his Ten Commandments are basically incomplete.

Where are all the people standing up on their hind legs about that?

posted at: 10:57 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Fri, Aug 22 2003

The Great State Of--Jefferson?

Even as California continues to stretch its political wings with a recall election coming up, some folks would still like to talk about turning the state into two, three, even four separate states. Come to think of it, there already is another state, but it's never been officially recognized by anyone else. So I'm wondering--if we ever really do split into more than one state, who gets "the" governor of the current single state? It could become a case of "We want him!" or maybe, "No, no you take him!"

And people think it's a circus now??

posted at: 18:31 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Thu, Aug 21 2003

Opportunity To Learn Here

Although this opinionated article (dated August 11) contains words that may be offensive, it also contains some facts which are disturbing. Equally opinionated, this article from Michelle Malkin continues to alert that one of the candidates running for the governor's position in California has some ties to a group that has racial and ethnic agendas that are not in the best interest of a diverse and socially integrated state. I don't know anything about MEChA personally, but I suggest that everyone educate themselves on this aspect of the candidate's political leanings. It's possible that what we've heard about this group is based on a few radicals in what is otherwise a fine organization for Latino college students. I would like to know more, wouldn't you?

posted at: 10:48 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Wed, Aug 20 2003

No nukes!

Forget about the hazards of preservatives in processed meats. Forget about the fat and calorie content. You don't have to eat them. Just microwaving a hot dog is downright dangerous.

posted at: 09:57 | category: /Food | link to this entry

Batter Up

I'm not a big baseball fan, but I've had to take at least a few minutes this week to tune into the Little League World Series. These kids are an inspiration to everyone.

posted at: 09:45 | category: /Playing | link to this entry

Tue, Aug 19 2003

Southwest Soul Food

I discovered The Fire Ant Gazette not long after I began my own blog. Eric's treatment of daily life, and issues large and small, walks right in and settles into the nearest easy chair in my mind when I read his comments.

posted at: 08:50 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

How To Belong To A Mob

It might be art, or it might be political, or it might be just plain silly. If you like crowds, you might want to get in on Flash Mobs.

posted at: 00:07 | category: /Playing | link to this entry

Mon, Aug 18 2003

The 1960s

I had a great time looking back here, but they forgot granny gowns, Twiggy, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, wide ties and Afro hairstyles.

And what about that Googie architecture that helped to usher in the 60s?

posted at: 08:01 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Sun, Aug 17 2003

Long, Beautiful Hair

There are some really great people involved with Locks of Love. If you know of someone with long hair who is planning to have it all cut off, please have them contact these folks first. A donation of hair could help some child's self-esteem and confidence.

posted at: 09:22 | category: | link to this entry

Sat, Aug 16 2003

Ezekiel And The Reverend

Did the Ezekiel Airship precede the Wright Brothers' flight? That's the story they tell in East Texas, when they remember a preacher who tried to build a flying machine after he read the book of Ezekiel.

posted at: 10:16 | category: | link to this entry

Real Refreshment

At first the ads For Coca-Cola wooed people to sip and relax. Now the drink is touted as a boost toward the next task or the next goal.

We've come a long way, but sometimes I think we focus on activity so much that we bury part of our human spirit. Too much activity can keep us so busy that we neglect to really grow and thrive. We "get a lot done", but we miss out on the strength and joy of quietness.

posted at: 08:26 | category: | link to this entry

Fri, Aug 15 2003

Study Proves Humans Most Dangerous Animal Of All

It seems that someone slaughtered all the grizzly bears. If the point of the study was to find out whether or not bears and humans could live peacefully together, sadly, they now have their answer. The real problem is not bears, but people.

posted at: 11:49 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Thu, Aug 14 2003

He's Worth It

I hear that actor Brad Garrett wants more money to continue to play the role of Robert on Everybody Loves Raymond. I hope he gets it. I don't have much time to watch TV, but I do watch this show. And Brad, Peter Boyle and Doris Roberts are the main reason I keep watching. The other players do all right, but these three are what keep the fun and momentum going (IMHO). If the bosses are calling Garrett a "supporting player" they need to pay him like the true supporting professional he is.

posted at: 09:15 | category: /Arts and Entertainment | link to this entry

Wed, Aug 13 2003

Bonfante And Paramount

Local attraction Bonfante Gardens features serene, kid-safe acres of flowers amidst gentle water rides. It's been struggling financially, and recently chose to partner with Paramount. Some wondered if the deal would change the atmosphere of the park, but so far, the news is good.

posted at: 17:27 | category: /Playing | link to this entry

Not A Worm

We've had no internet connectivity here for a day or two, and it had nothing to do with the recent virus or its variations. While there may be other weaknesses in the company that is SBC, one of its strengths is its employees in the DSL support department. At various times I spoke to Joshua, Toby, and Jeff (second tier support), and they were all calm and clear, and very patient with the non-technical person that I am. Thanks, guys!

posted at: 15:17 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Mon, Aug 11 2003

Passing The Stetson

Political campaign contributions are public business. So you might want to check out this blog.

posted at: 18:58 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Across And Down

Here's a great page if you love crossword puzzles.

posted at: 16:36 | category: /Playing | link to this entry

Sun, Aug 10 2003


When it comes to finding and destroying Weapons of Mass Destruction, the U.S. is proving to be, once again, at the head of the pack. A rocket containing nerve gas leftover from the Cold War was put into the incinerator in Anniston, Alabama this past weekend. Then there's the leftover mustard gas which is possibly beneath the airport in Brooksville, Florida.

We're really good at finding this stuff, ya know? Darned Good.

posted at: 10:10 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Sat, Aug 09 2003

Swipe This

Since this report came out last month, I've been happier than ever that I don't use those cards. And I want to take say thanks to Nob Hill food stores for not participating in this farce. I went into another local grocery store (not a Nob Hill) one night, and was practically held hostage at the checkout counter while this young man tried to get me to use a card there. I was obviously a few decades older than he, so I finally got him to hush by turning to the other people near us and telling them with a smile that I thought he was using this topic to flirt with the ladies. He took out his own "card on a chain" and used that to finish the transaction. He could have done that in the first place. The object of the game is not the discount. More and more people are realizing this, and I'm very glad.

posted at: 13:18 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

No Excuses

The next time you're tempted to say you can't do something because you've tired of being rejected, are part of a minority, are too old, didn't get enough education or don't have enough money, think about Ora Blue.

posted at: 11:04 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry

Say Amen With Your Hands--Applaud!

I'd like to send kudos to The Rock Baptist Church. Too many talented, artistic people stay away from church because of well-meaning, but confused, people who have never really figured out that when the Bible says, "in our own image" it includes the fun of creativity and artistic expression.

posted at: 08:54 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry

Wed, Aug 06 2003

Free Market Research

Although millions of Americans have signed up for the new Do Not Call list, some telemarketing agencies are unhappy. It seems to me that this sort of registry could provide free research for the telemarketers, because it weeds out the people who absolutely do not want to do any business of this sort over the phone. I never buy anything this way, and everyone who has told me they've registered with the service has also told me they absolutely do not do business with telemarketers, ever. Period. So the telemarketing agencies are really not losing any customers this way. The government is doing their marketing research for them, so that now callers can concentrate on the other people who don't mind getting their cold calls. Doesn't everybody win? Where's all that positive thinking that's usually the backbone of any sales force?

posted at: 13:54 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Thirty Five Years Later

After all this time, Nelson Markham is getting back his lost dog tags from Vietnam, thanks to Bob McMahon of Hancock, New Hampshire.

posted at: 11:45 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Mon, Aug 04 2003

Democratic Lunatics

I disagree with David Broder when he says, "California is giving American democracy a black eye." A look back in history at this country's colorful mix of political characters would make present-day California politics look like a church picnic. U. S. citizens used to be ready to push the envelope in testing the waters of democracy, and some still do. Nowhere is this more evident than in the state of California, where the economy is now the 5th largest in the world. We continue to exercise our voting rights according to our state's constitution, and have, on occasion, spoken out as a state population against Federal laws we felt were not in the best interests of the residents of this state.

One should not have to be wealthy to run for, or campaign for, a public office. One should not have to have a background in law, big business, education or military service. If actors, plumbers, church custodians or lap dancers want to run for office, they should be able to campaign alongside career politicians. It should be up to the voting people to decide who they want to hold an office. If we learn nothing else from our efforts to follow this state's constitution, let's at least learn that government is only as good or bad as its citizens allow it to be.

If others want to point fingers and call Californians lunatics, they have a right to do that. But we'll listen to them much sooner if they stand up and make their own contribution to democracy. Some states don't even have provisions for recalling a governor. That's likely to change when people realize they don't have to put up with politics as usual. Once again, this state is paving the way for others to enjoy American democracy. Are we lunatics in California? Maybe. But blazing the way in new territory reminds critics that they could be making a difference in their own back yard. Don't laugh at us, folks. Laugh with us--joyfully, loudly, and with pride as you watch American democracy at full throttle!

posted at: 19:24 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Sun, Aug 03 2003

Your Money Or Your Life--Drug Companies And Politicians Want Both

Pharmaceutical companies in the United States manufacture drugs, ship some of them overseas (where people pay less), and keep some of them in the U.S. (where you and I pay more). At least one drug company, Eli Lilly, defends its actions this way.

Some Americans are fighting back in any way they can. Some head to Canada by the busload.

There's a lot of talk about how allowing people to buy drugs from other countries would not be safe, and that particularly our seniors would suffer. I'm tired of government employees (who work for U.S. citizens and are paid with tax dollars) assuming that all old people are stupid and cannot make informed, educated excuses. Some of the smartest, wisest people I know are over the age of 60.

Why should seniors (or anyone else) be forced to beg for help via programs such as Medicare because our Food and Drug Administration and our elected officials cater to the drug companies? I keep hearing that some seniors have been forced to choose between buying their prescription drugs and buying their food. Maybe we should call the FDA the Food OR Drug Administration.

I get ads everyday from companies such as this one. Remember--the government works for us and belongs to us--not the other way around. They can't put everybody in jail. Stay informed, and make your own choices about your life and your health.

posted at: 22:38 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Sat, Aug 02 2003

Bolted Down And Still Stolen

I've heard of people who will steal anything that's not bolted down, but in the case of the thieves in this story, even that hasn't stopped them. And isn't it odd that they drive right on and off military bases?

posted at: 21:23 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!