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

Mon, Mar 31 2008

Can't afford it? Then tear it up?

I was surprised by the notion that some folks who are losing their homes to foreclosure, often as a direct result of their own bad decisions, are taking out their anger on the house itself. It sounds like your basic tantrum. I certainly wouldn't enjoy doing business with people who took this approach to anything in life.

posted at: 19:37 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Fri, Mar 28 2008

April 2008 Deb's Monthly Review online

The April issue of Deb's Monthly Review is now up for viewing. Have fun digging for festivals and other U.S. events to attend next month!

posted at: 05:51 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Wed, Mar 26 2008

To sleep, perchance to dream of flying

The day got away from this writer with tasks that kept me from doing a blog entry until now. Sleep calls, but I hate to give up without saying something. So I'll say for you to go and enjoy the great helicopter videos at Rotorwingflight.com. And dream your own dreams of flight, until tomorrow.

posted at: 21:34 | category: /Playing | link to this entry

Tue, Mar 25 2008

I still don't get it

I didn't understand what Vice-President Cheney was trying to say in his interview with Martha Raddatz. I admit feeling frustration and anger at the idea that President Bush suffers a greater burden than those who serve on front lines. It could be that he (Vice-President Cheney) was trying to make us feel better, but for some reason I was upset at his words and at his apparent attitude. Someone else wrote a piece that included thoughts close to my own.

It just seems to me that maybe none of us, including President Bush, has really suffered here at home in the way that war often makes people suffer. Most of us are so far away from the guns and the bombed-out buildings that we can't understand the urgency that our country's leaders apparently feel over all this. And if they feel such urgency, we tend to wonder why we are still doing the same things in Iraq after 5 years?

It's becoming very difficult to sustain both support for our troops and support for our administration, particularly when our administration negates our misgivings and our fears as some statistic to be pushed aside. Our feelings are real and we ask for more than verbal pats on the head.

I've never been able to associate the events of 9-11-2001 directly with the conflict in Iraq. I've never felt as though our country's safety was directly related to the conflict in Iraq. I've never wanted to feel that some young person put his or her self in harm's way in Iraq so that I could feel safe here. I want Mr. Cheney to talk to us about that and to explain exactly what it is we are trying to accomplish there. Ethereal remarks about a war on terror make no more sense to me now than they did 5 years ago. Terror is in more places than Iraq. What are we doing there, specifically? If Mr. Cheney wants me to understand exactly what our goal is for fighting in Iraq, then he needs to answer these things instead of telling me (and others) how I should or shouldn't feel.

Patriotism is not blind faith in a few politicians who will be out of office in a few years or a few months. Patriotism runs much deeper than that. If we ask for specific answers and we don't get those answers and then we're upset, it doesn't mean we're unpatriotic. It simply means we're earnest in our wish to understand. The current administration needs to find a way to talk to us in terms that address our very real emotions and our willingness to understand exactly what is going on. We have to find ways to work together or we'll fail at any major task our country undertakes. It's imperative that our administration accept this and then explain their actions so that we can get behind them in their decisions.

posted at: 08:06 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Mon, Mar 24 2008

Lakotahs invite the U.S. to listen up

Some of the Lakota folks in the vicinity of South Dakota (and portions of surrounding states) have had it with colonial rule. They've declared independence. They wish to be known as Republic of Lakota.

I don't pretend to know the first thing about the Lakota way of life, but I know that we have plenty of silly, outdated laws in localities that seem to get left on the books. There are still rules on where to tie up horses at a trough, where one may and may not chew tobacco and spit, what one may and may not sell between certain hours on Sundays. These silly laws, if nothing else, show that it's time for new dialogue on old rules. The world is a very different place from the one it was when newer immigrants made treaties with indigenous peoples. What would be the harm in at least sitting down together and taking a second look at something that obviously isn't working for the good of all citizens? It seems sad that we have to come to a place where people feel a need to secede from their own country in order to be recognized as worthy of notice and negotiation.

Reservations are little more than the concentration camps we deemed so disgusting a couple of generations ago. They're no longer, if they ever were, a reasonable answer to living and working in a free U.S.

posted at: 08:13 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Fri, Mar 21 2008

Reining in pork with technology

I listen closely when someone decides they can do more for their country by opting out of running for political office. It's great that Lawrence Lessig wants to help battle special interests in Washington by using an Internet-based approach. What he might also do is think further ahead to the way cell phones and portable electronic organizers are becoming prevalent, particularly among younger people. We might have to change the old guard's habits by thinking several steps ahead in terms of technology and communication methods.

posted at: 07:19 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Thu, Mar 20 2008

Ten Million dollars for 100 miles per gallon

It seems that the folks at the X Prize Foundation have set their sights a little closer to home with their latest challenge. While space travel sends shivers up the spine in the very nicest kind of way, it's traveling here on the planet that has most of us anxious lately. Encouraging builders to make more fuel-efficient cars has a practical appeal that could finally push mainstream auto manufacturers to take real steps of their own toward a car that is good for the planet and good for the consumer's pocketbook. The only other main hurdle may be the red tape that often makes it tough for manufacturer's to offer a product that does all these things and meets stringent governmental safety rules. Well, that plus the general public's resistance to drive something that doesn't make them feel like they're breaking the speed of light on tight curves. I'm thinking there has to be something between a high-speed sports car and an SUV that will appeal to at least most drivers. Is it just a dream?

posted at: 09:08 | category: /Science | link to this entry

Wed, Mar 19 2008

Our romantic coastline

I've been away today and unable to spend time blogging, but I do invite you to take a look at Monterey John's lovely sunset/sunrise photos of the Central California Coast. Once again, I'm reminded that I have the privilege of living in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

posted at: 18:44 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Tue, Mar 18 2008

Even better Progresso soup

If you are a fan of Progresso soups, here's a tip for you. Combine one can of Progresso Hearty Tomato and one can of Tomato Basil. They're tasty eaten separately, but when combined they're even better.

posted at: 12:27 | category: /Food | link to this entry

Mon, Mar 17 2008

Online media has new challenges

The recent report on how internet publishing has affected journalism had some great points, but the mention of the fact that blogs allow less reader commentary may be due to something that would have not been a factor in old-school newspaper publishing. You had to pay to advertise in the newspaper. The commentary spam that floods many blogs is what's keeping a lot of us from opening up comments to readers. One thing is certain. There are always freeloaders ready to elbow their way into a line and ruin things for the well-meaning majority of readers.

posted at: 05:20 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Fri, Mar 14 2008

Thank goodness divine wisdom trumps human justice

The story of the teen who helped a bus driver during an emergency really touched me, particularly when I read that she was being given detention for doing the right thing while being in the wrong place at the right time. I've done some silly things when I didn't feel well and not all of those times were as a child. I was considered an adult at the time some of them happened. We have teens doing things a lot more serious than this that are actually considered acceptable by much of society.

It reminded me, during this pre-Easter season, of the way Christ stepped in and took our place while we were still under condemnation...

posted at: 13:48 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry

Thu, Mar 13 2008

A whole world of Peeps

With all that Easter candy to gracing the store shelves I enjoyed the Washington Post's Peep Show. The Peeps contest was repeated this spring, so some new dioramas should be available for viewing soon.

posted at: 11:56 | category: /Food | link to this entry

Wed, Mar 12 2008

Mrs. Spitzer

I've been listening to and reading quite a bit about New York Governor Spitzer's decision to leave office after being accused of hiring call girls, including at least one alleged hiring the night before Valentine's Day. There seem to be a lot of people who are taking sides about whether the governor's wife should be standing by him at this time. What she does isn't for me to say. I only know that I have watched the video footage of her while the married couple stood at the microphones and that I ached at how terribly sad her facial expression was. She looked like a woman wearing a lifetime of fatigue. I suppose no matter what she chooses to do now that Eliot Spitzer can never really erase that awful pain she expressed before the public as he faced away from her and toward the cameras. I wonder if he'll ever view the footage later and see how she really looked to the rest of us.

posted at: 13:50 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Tue, Mar 11 2008

The butcher, the baker, the doctor and the IRS

One little drawing on one little index card says a lot about the way things are for U.S. workers. When it comes to taxes, it's not who you know, but who checks on you when it's time to report your income.

This whole thought is a sobering reminder that all government-based regulations, departments and funding should have built-in time limits that come with periodic reevaluation and maybe even a vote by the people in order for them to continue. A vote of "no confidence" in the current tax system of the IRS would go a long way toward pushing politicians to concentrate on government matters, rather than encouraging them to make speeches about matters that would be better left up to church pulpits and individual consciences. Following the money is a wise practice. Following our money, which is collected through taxes and then spent by politicians, is essential to maintaining a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

posted at: 07:16 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Mon, Mar 10 2008

Streets that scream food

Slashfood carried a piece noting the tendency for some cities to have roads that are practically lined with restaurants. Along that same line, why have city planners and developers so often named roads after trees and flowers, but rarely after foods? When is the last time you took a drive on Macaroni Avenue or Eggplant Boulevard? Where is Broccoli Court? How about a stroll along Banana Bread Lane or a visit to Waffle Road? And who could resist looking for a place to have dessert on Chocolate Decadence Drive?

posted at: 20:53 | category: /Food | link to this entry

Fri, Mar 07 2008

No more home school for non-credentialed parent teachers? Get ready for a lively debate

I predict that the controversy over home schooling children in California will be an emotional battle that will force the issue to the forefront of political agendas in this state. A lot of parents feel passionate about teaching their children at home and are not going to go along quietly with a sudden crackdown after one family was accused of behaving badly. If the parents in that one family did do something to hurt their kids it should not be assumed that every other home schooling parent is a danger to his or her children. And if a parent mistreats a child he or she should be held accountable no matter what the status of the child's educational environment. There are also certainly parents who have mistreated their children while the children were enrolled in public or private schools that had full credentials.

posted at: 08:56 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

Thu, Mar 06 2008

Jumbo loan amounts raised

I don't know if the change in jumbo loan amounts will help the rest of the country, but for buyers in 14 California counties the move will help a lot. It may also give some folks a chance to refinance into a more affordable loan without those horrific sub-prime statistics sending whole neighborhoods into a downward slide. Very few heavily-populated California real estate markets are going to work with anything other than a jumbo loan situation.

posted at: 09:11 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry

Tue, Mar 04 2008

To sort, to press, to launder, to give away and to write about

Today has been a day to shun a few other tasks in favor of cleaning out a section of the clothes closet. In California we often have what many of the rest of you would consider four seasons' worth of clothing, since we can have cold fog in June as easily as we can experience seventy degrees and sun in late November. I took a realistic view of how often several garments are worn, laundered some that needed freshening and recycled or set aside for charity the ones that are useful but that no longer suit my personal needs.

These sorts of jobs take most of a day to accomplish, but this one will hopefully make it easier for me to relax on one of the upcoming weekend days I might otherwise be needed to spend on cleaning out the closet.

While I was staring at a pile of slacks that were stacked on the bed I realized that some of those pants had been to a lot of different places. Manybe someday a great writing exercise would be to pull a couple of random pieces of clothing out of the closet and talk about some of the places I've worn them.

posted at: 14:33 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

Mon, Mar 03 2008

How workers work, how bosses work and how workers and bosses don't see each other working

It's not all that surprising to find that U.S. workers feel they work much harder than their company leaders do. The truth is that the idea of work still means physical work to most folks. People who hold managerial positions often spend a lot of time in meetings and a lot of time talking, while entry-level workers often do a lot more manual labor. What people don't always understand is that there is a lot of pressure on upper managerial workers that workers in positions of manual labor might not be aware of on a daily basis. It may look as though your bosses spend all day jetting around and chatting on conference calls, but the truth is that what they're doing can make the difference between the rest of us having a job and not having a job.

Some of this is absolutely the fault of management attitude. Soneone close to me worked at one company some years ago in which the CEO rarely spoke to anyone who was not in upper or middle management. The CEO would routinely pass lower-level workers in the hall and not give them so much as a glance. Most wrkers felt as though their achievements were not valued. Their time was monitored closely by their direct supervisor whose time was, in turn, monitored closely by the CEO, who remained voiceless and ludicrous to the lower-level workers. He became a buffoon to make fun of behind his back, yet he was feared as the one who could have them dismissed at any moment with a word to their direct supervisor.

By contrast, this person now works for a company where the CEO is often on site with handshakes and casual chats about everyday life. Morale is upbeat and the group works together with actual enjoyment and pride in what they accomplish.

I think we should spend less time having "take your kids to work day" and spend more time "taking the boss to the workers" day. It might not show immediately on the bottom line, but the rise in morale would eventually make a real powerhouse out of a company that would otherwise be average in today's market.

posted at: 08:12 | 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!