Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas Sunrise

Merry Christmas to all the friends of the Murphies. Sadly, the sunrise had diminished some by the time I got the camera.
Notice the trail of jet spew. It's ok, though, because Al Gore's on the plane, busy fighting you-know-what.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sandy Berger

This guy was National Security Adviser to President Clinton.

What a great family I have!

I like it that my children are on the cusp of adulthood. I like their centses of humor, their rationality, and their warmth. This may turn out to be the best Christmas ever!


I am trying to see if this will make the blog come back.

OK, whew, that did it. The blog was broken -- neither Dad nor I could see the front page properly. But putting up a post brought it back.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Saying thanks

Here is a site where you can send a free postcard to say thank you to someone serving in Iraq. You cannot choose to whom the card will be sent, but it will be sent to a member of the armed services. The site is sponsored by Xerox and is for real. It allows you to choose a postcard design and offers some ready-made messages, but it will also allow you to write your own if you choose. It takes only a minute and might add some encouragement to the day of somebody who needs it. Send the link to your friends!

Lions and zebras and giraffes, oh my!

Caleb found this link, not me, but he is too busy being a studious vet student to post it, so I will. It's a live webcam pointed at a watering hole somewhere in Africa. It has night vision, so you can see whatever might visit the watering hole 24 hours a day. (If it's in spooky-looking black and white when you visit, that's why.) A person operates the camera, so if there's something particularly interesting, you might get a closeup - see above.

So far I have seen an elephant, giraffes, antelopes, wildebeests, hornbills, a hyena or jackal that entered the frame and left too quickly to be sure what it was, and I have lost count of what else. The sounds are beautiful and hypnotizing. And once I just watched the sun come quietly up in Africa, slowly turning the frame from black and white into full color, while it was dark and cold outside here. It is mesmerizing. Thank you, Caleb!

Friday, December 15, 2006


The best part of this picture is not the cat in the dog's mouth, but the kitten sitting next to them. He is so funny.

I can't take credit for this, I got it from Anna.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Look for the Northern Lights tonight.

If you are outside tonight around midnight or thereafter, especially if you can get away from lights, you may well see the Northern Lights. There's a solar storm underway. See a more detailed explanation here.

By the way, all of a sudden it seems to be possible to copy and paste images into Blogger posts. Now THAT'S an easy way to do it!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Poem from Grandpa Frey

Carnation milk is the best in the land.
Here I sit with a can in my hand-
No tits to pull; no hay to pitch.
You just punch a hole in the son of a bitch.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Helaine meets Obama!

The last time my Lexis friend Helaine made the blog, it was because she had her picture taken with Johnny Damon. This time, it's another brush with fame. Helaine lives in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where presidential candidates show up early and often to court the voters. Yesterday, Barack Obama hit the state, and she had tickets to his book signing. And today, she's in the New York Times. This video (click on the video link in the right-hand column) requires a little bit of patience because, first, you have to sit through a brief commercial (for a movie about Idi Amin?? I guess I haven't been paying attention), and then the Obama story itself is several minutes long. But at the very end . . . the woman in green who wants to wait and see is Helaine.

Of course, we all know what happened to Johnny Damon after she met HIM, so this may not augur well for Obama. But I guess, as Helaine says, we'll just have to watch and see.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Crime among snowmen

You will eat what we tell you to eat

I'm not sure what motivates people like this, but I think that it really makes them angry that people are getting more pleasure from eating donuts than they are from eating celery. Click here.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

It's a...

big ad.

An honor for Colleen Law-Tefft

This award given to Colleen is pretty impressive. Look at the company she's keeping with prior award winners -- "Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Sir Mort Clark, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Cornell University, and the Corning Glass Center." Those of you who've been taught and helped and supported by Colleen over the years will definitely want to send her a note acknowledging this recognition.

The Evening Sun won't leave this page up long, so here's the article:

Local thespian wins highest state community theatre award

Published on: Thursday, December 7, 2006

SHERBURNE – Colleen Law-Tefft received the Mary Eva Duthie Award at the 47th Annual Theatre Association of New York State Festival in Glens Falls on Nov. 19. The Mary Eva Duthie Award is given to an individual or organization who has provided outstanding service to community and academic theatre in New York State. Past recipients of this award include Governor Nelson Rockefeller, Sir Mort Clark, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Cornell University, and the Corning Glass Center.

Incoming Theatre Association of New York State (TANYS) President David Grayson presented the award to Law-Tefft, citing her long time involvement in community theatre, academic theatre, and service to the TANY organization. Colleen has been active with Sherburne Music Theater Society for seventeen years. She has served on the Board of Directors of Sherburne Music Theater Society for sixteen years and has served in nearly every official capacity on the Board. She is currently Secretary and Chairperson of the Artistic Committee. She has appeared in many Sherburne Music Theater Society productions including “On Tidy Endings,” “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “Crimes of The Heart” and “A Comedy of Errors,” for which she received TANYS Roving Adjudicators’ Merit Awards for acting. In addition, Law-Tefft directed the SMTS production of “I Hate Hamlet.”

“I am overwhelmed,” said Colleen. “I do theatre because I love it and want to share it with others, but it is nice when someone notices.” In addition to her commitment to community theatre, Law-Tefft has served as the Drama Club Advisor for the past eight years at the Sherburne-Earlville High School. Under her guidance, she has developed the Drama Club into an award winning organization. Colleen’s students have received TANYS Roving Adjudicator’s Merit Awards for their performances in “The Crucible,” “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” “Great Expectations,” “Acting Up,” and “Chicken Wings,” which was selected for performance at the 2005 TANYS Festival in Auburn,. The performance of “Chicken Wings” at the TANYS Festival marked the first time in many years that a high school production was selected to perform. In addition, Colleen is a member of the New York State Theatre Educators Association (NYSTEA). Through NYSTEA, she has taken many students to the NYSTEA Student Conference which allows the students to attend many workshops in all facets of theatre.

TANYS President Grayson also cited Law-Tefft’s involvement with the TANYS organization. She served for six years as the organization’s first administrative secretary. These duties included running the TANYS office, designing and compiling the organization’s newsletter, and acting as the central point of contact for TANYS. Since stepping down as administrative secretary, Law-Tefft continues to serve TANYS as the Central Southern Tier Regional Representative for Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, and Tioga counties.

South Park, out in front.

Jay Nordlinger reports this conversation sent to him by a reader. Note the location, Caleb:

Finally, a reader from Philadelphia wanted to report a conversation he overheard on the Penn campus — Locust Walk:

Student 1: “Because if Israel and Iran go to war . . . the United States is in a war too, you know?”

Student 2: “Yeah.”

Student 1: “And then Iraq and Syria get involved . . .”

Student 2: “Yeah.”

Student 1: “And we’re not paying attention to North Korea, you know?”

Student 2: “Yeah, dude. South Park was talking about this stuff years ago.”

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Happy birthday to you,

happy birthday to you,
happy birthday, dear Luke,
Happy birthday to you!

Monday, December 04, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . .

. . . finally!

Some news: Mom has a new job. As of January 1, I will no longer be a home-based employee. I am going to go to work for Elizabeth Garry, the newly-elected Supreme Court Justice for the Sixth Judicial District of New York, as her law clerk. I don't know too much yet about the details of the job, but I do know that I will be working mostly in Norwich, with some travel occasionally to other parts of the Sixth Judicial District. My work will be mostly legal research and writing, so you know I'll like it. For now, there is some information here about Justice Garry, but it's a campaign website from before her election, and I wouldn't be surprised if the website disappears soon. More info as I get it!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Oh yeah

I forgot. Here we are with our animated deer, Bucky.

Howard Cont.

Us with Howard. A nice man offered to help us tie him down but we said NO!

Topping the Tree!

Howard is so pretty!


Yesterday we went to get our Christmas tree. He is a lovely Douglas Fir, about 8 feet tall. His name is Howard.

We sawed it down ourselves.


Oh No Courtney!


Who needs men? Seriously, we just cut down our own tree.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A couple Jokes

A little boy asked his mother, "Mommy, where did my intelligence come from, you or Dad?" She replied, "Well you must have got it from your father because I still have mine."

Two buddies were hiking when a Grizzly bear crossed their path and started toward them. One of the hikers threw off his backpack, grabbed his sneakers from it and started to put them on. His buddy said, "What are you doing? You can't outrun a Grizzly!" The reply: "I don't have to outrun the Grizzly. I just have to outrun you!"

Friday, December 01, 2006

Got Malaria?

Thank an environmentalist. This is so disturbing. Chasing the global warming bugaboo, denying life-saving DDT to third-world countries, demonizing scientists who express doubts about global warming, all the while living the high life.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Today I...

...learned how to draw blood and neutered three cats. It was remarkably easy.

Friday, November 24, 2006

30 Seconds . . .

. . . is not as much fun as it used to be, now that anybody can post comments from the Web instead of phoning them into an answering machine. Most of the comments are now so illiterate, negative, and depressing that the feature's entertainment value is almost gone.

However, every now and then there's a glimmer of the column's former glory. For sheer illogical delight, I submit that this one is right up there with the best.

"Children are smarter than most, especially having been born at a young age. Besides how many children do you know with a full time job?"
Woman from Earlville

Monday, November 20, 2006

Purpose, camaraderie, and self-respect

Click Here.

The American Friends Service Committee is the Quakers. I cringe when I remember that I was married in a Quaker meeting house.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Drill competition at Cornell

On Saturday, Dad and I drove over to Ithaca for Rudy's memorial service and to see Luke, whose ROTC drill team was competing at Cornell. They were in Barton Hall, an enormous former airplane hangar (we think) which is the ROTC facility for Cornell-based units. (Luke's group spent the night Friday night on the gym floor in sleeping bags.)

None of the pictures I took of the competing drill teams came out, but here are a few that I found online that give a feel for what the place is like -- it's a cavernous structure -- and what the competition looks like.

After Rudy's service at Sage Chapel, we stopped back in at the drill competition and watched a few minutes of "trick" competition, which is precision work with guns that is more like baton twirling than anything else. Absolutely fascinating. (Come to think of it, that's probably where baton twirling got started.) Luke was catching up on his sleep, so we didn't disturb him. He would not, however, have been easy to disturb. See below -- can you spot Luke?

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Anudder one!

You are given four cards. Each has a symbol on it. The symbols are A,D,3, and 7. You are told that each card has a number on one side and a letter on the other. Which cards must you turn over to establish the following rule: If a card has an A on one side, then it has a 3 on the other.


Does this make sense?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Really, really simple math

You have a sack of potatos which weighs 100 lbs. The potatos are 99% water. (Ignore the sack.) You leave the potatos out for a couple of days. The potatos are now 98% water. What does the sack of potatos weigh?

Or is it potatoes? As Dan Quayle said, "The future will be better tomorrow."

Not quite so simple math

Each letter represents a different digit:

A+B=C and C+D=EA

What is the value of B+D? Numerically, I mean.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A cautionary tale for Election Day

While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the man.

"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven," says the senator.

"I'm sorry, but we have our rules."

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.

Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.

Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.

Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises...

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.

"Now it's time to visit heaven."

So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

"Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven.

Now choose your eternity."

The senator reflects for a minute, then he answers: "Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I
would be better off in hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.

He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.

The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

"I don't understand," stammers the senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable.

What happened?"

The devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were

Today you voted."

How many t-shirts can one man wear?

Find out here.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

More on Soldiers

From Hitchens, who just makes me howl sometimes. Click here.

An excerpt:

"He had intended (pause for thigh-slapping and guffawing) to make a truly original joke about the IQ and educational level of the chief executive. His crack team of gag-writers had toiled on the joke and combed all the bugs out of it. It was there, poised on the pad and ready for launch. And it fizzled. (Funny--that punchline usually activates the easy-laugh track, as Messrs. Leno, Stewart, Maher and Colbert demonstrate with airy ease practically every night of the week.) And out of the syntactic chaos came the impression that Mr. Kerry thought only a dumb jerk could end up in uniform in Iraq.
No wonder Mr. Kerry feels hard done-by: He can't recount a joke that practically tells itself and has been road-tested to work with almost Pavlovian certainty, especially on campuses. Surely everybody--any fool, in fact--knows that it's Mr. Bush who is supposed to have the difficulties with timing and articulation? Ah, the unfairness of it all."

Monday, October 30, 2006

Carve a jack-o-lantern . . .


The Evening Sun Sucks Up

Headlines from the Norwich Evening Sun for 10/24:

Libous encourages municipal cooperation with DOT gift and

Sen. Libous helps fund sidewalk replacement

From the first paragraph of that story:

"...Libous came to Norwich last week to announce he would be giving the city $50,000 to aid in the sidewalk replacement program."

I really couldn't believe what I was reading. Obviously, no one really thinks that Libous is giving his personal funds to the City of Norwich. But if that's the case, then why write the stories that way?

The editor's response to my inquiry:

"If you've read my blog, you know I feel slimy this time of year when the politicians roll out the pork just before elections. I don't think there's anyone dumb enough to believe it's coming out of Libous' (or Crouch, Seward, Finch, et al) pocket. Nevertheless, those getting the money want it, and want the public to know about it, so they can get more of it. It's a vicious Catch-22, but I trust my readers are astute enough to see the motivation behind the many, many faces of politicians at every single event (even the St. Bart's spaghetti supper!) this time of year."

It's a vicious catch-22? Please. Perhaps he'd feel less slimy if he didn't publish such slimy stories.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Do you know who this is?

Hint: your father does. Posted by Picasa

Don't look, Laura!

Here are just a couple of pictures from our visit to the veterinary school. I wish I had taken more but frankly, I was so interested that I forgot all about the camera. We had a completely fascinating tour of the small-animal hospital in Philadelphia, led by Caleb, a third-year student, and a third person, as well as a bus tour of the
New Bolton Center where Barbaro is (though we didn't get anywhere near Barbaro himself.) It was a great day and Caleb has found himself one heck of a fascinating career.

The only pictures I took, however, were during a quickie tour of the anatomy lab given by Caleb and his housemates and friends on the night before. If you don't want to see animal innards, don't look!

This is on the wall of the anatomy lab:

Caleb and his housemate Ashley contemplate a horse:

That great big organ is the spleen. Why is it so big??

He's enjoying himself!

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My, how Laura has grown!

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Rudy Nunez, 1956-2006

When Mom went to Cornell Law School, I answered an ad for farm help. Even though I had a grandfather who was a cattle dealer, I didn't know anything about cows. In the second grade I had seen a movie about a farm family trying to get the hay in before it rained, and I'd always been fascinated, but fearful, of Boyden's farm in Conway. I was, quite literally, afraid of cows. But here was this man, a year younger than I, an immigrant from Cuba, milking cows in a rented barn. I thought I wanted to learn about tractors and field work, but he bought all his feed from the owners of the farm, and so it was cows or nothing. I remember well walking in the barn and having him ask me to dip a cow after he milked her. Petrified, I was. But I did it and he hired me, and I got the bug.

I remember many of the cows he had. He had Vicki, the only truly vicious, unrehabilitatable cow I've ever come across. It took me a very long time before i could milk her. I had a lot of fun working for Rudy. Eating breakfast in this little camper he had, reading Hoard's Dairyman. Better yet, going out to breakfast at a nice diner in Ithaca, smelling like cowshit and not caring whom we offended.

Rudy lived life with gusto. The constraints of cows and families chafed at him, and he moved in different directions. But he was charming, lively, talented, witty, and quick. He died of pancreatic cancer on October 10th. A lot of people, me among them, were touched by his life, and will miss him.

Cousin Nicky

Nicky's house, in the Northeast kingdom of Vermont, burned to the ground, apparently, and her family lost virtually everything. Joshua was able to get Hannah and the dog out and called 911. The Red Cross, and Ethan Allen, Nicky's employer, have helped out, and they have a small trailer to live in until better accomodations can be had.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Why you shouldn't cut your hair at home:

This morning I trimmed my hair to the usual 1/2," then got ready to take a shower. When I glanced in the mirror I saw a spot I'd missed, so I grabbed my trimmer off the counter and ran it down the middle of my head - whoops. That was my beard trimmer. Now there's a big bald landing strip down the middle of my head. I could have gone with a reverse mohawk look, but decided to just shave it all off. Which is not such a great thing to do when you suffer from familial big head syndrome (FBHS). Don't try this at home.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Vet School Update

Well, I made it through my first round of midterms. Not all grades are in yet, but I know that my anatomy score was above average, and that I did OK on the Histology practical. Histology written and Developmental might not be such a pretty picture. But speaking of pretty pictures:
Here's our cat tree and our two foster kittens, and Sheba of course.

A couple shots of our anatomy lab on the last day of dog dissection. Parents may want to send their dogs out of the room for the next few pictures.

This is Betty.This is Betty's open thorax and abdomen.
This is me pretending to work on Betty.

This is me hiding behind Betty's rectus abdominis, internal and external obliques, and her linea alba. I should be wearing a labcoat and not having my elbows on the table. Maybe that's why I constantly smell like formaldehyde.

So now that exams are over, I'm heading out for a day long wine-tasting trip at a vineyard outside Philly. It's being led by one of the Doctors who taught us anatomy, and most of my class is going. Tomorrow I'm studying again and watching football, and then next week I have a full complement of classes before parents weekend and a Biochem exam the week after. Also, we start dissecting horses and goats next week. So it never really stops, huh.