Monthly Archives: September 2008

Government bail-out a horrible idea!

Am I one of the only ones who can’t seem to understand why there is so much discussion about a government bail-out of these failed banks and mortgage lenders and mortgage owners? I truly thought this would be over and done with pretty quickly, and that the politicians would slam it out as a nice thought, but stupid idea.

As I’ve said here before, without cable or satellite, we miss a lot of the “hot” news. Of course, most of it we’re not interested in anyway. When I first caught wind that the debates (which took place right here in Oxford) might be cancelled last Wednesday, I had to ask why? Then, when I learned Pres. Bush had proposed some bail-out bill, I got online to do some searching. Now I’ll admit to you right here and now that I didn’t read everything I found top to bottom. I did a lot of skimming…but read enough to know I didn’t like it.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why politicians continue to want to turn our government/country into one big nanny-state. The Founding Fathers would be calling for revolution were they still alive. Why oh why should taxpayers be required to pay for the failures of others?

I bought a house (we’re currently in our 3rd), I knew what I was getting into. I lost a job while paying the mortgage on our second (plus, it took us a YEAR to sell it). But I worked with my bank and I didn’t get behind in payments. However, my family does without a lot of “things” that many others get. No, I’m not complaining about that…but I am complaining that the government wants to give money to people who weren’t smart enough to manage their money—14 different cell phones, cable and satellite, four-wheelers, but can’t pay their mortgage. I’m sorry for them, but MY tax money shouldn’t be used to make up for their bad mistakes. And don’t get me going on bankruptcies—I’m one of the ones glad to see them become harder to get. People (and businesses!) should be responsible for their actions.

Further, why oh why does the government want to use MY tax money to bail out a company whose CEOs make in excess of millions of dollars a year? If the companies are stupid enough to pay someone that much money, then let them go out of business. Better yet, make all the CEOs return 2 ½ million dollars they received last year—heck, let them keep 200k, which is still probably five times the rate of the average employee for their company and then give the rest back to help bail out the company. When the small mom and pop company overextends, the government doesn’t come bail them out. They either figure out how to make it work, or they go out of business. It should be the same for these big mortgage companies and banks. Don’t ask the overwhelming majority of Americans who DO responsibly manage their money to pay for the terrible mismanagement of others.

It’s just crazy.

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Talent abounds!

A few weeks ago Brittany won 2nd place in the Clay County, Arkansas Talent Contest in the 13-18 year old division. She won first place last year, but she was 12 and thus competed in the younger division. As a result of that win, she was allowed to compete at both the Little Rock State Fair and at the Mid-South Fair. Since she’s now 13, she had to move up into the older division…still, her family is proud that she won 2nd place!

So today should be an exciting day as we’re going to Memphis so that she can once again compete in the Mid-South Talent Contest. She’ll be performing Sky Full Of Angels, a song that she’s been singing for a few months and actually has down very well. In fact, here is the performance that won her 2nd place.

Going to both Little Rock and Memphis was very good for her last year. We were able to see some very talented kids. It showed Brittany was she was up against competition-wise, and gave her many ideas on how she could enhance her own performance and showmanship. She revealed some goals to me yesterday and—aside from being proud—was very impressed that she’d set some pretty realistic goals for herself and the competitions over the next couple of years. We continue to tell her that it’s like anything else she does: she’s going to have to work at it if she wants to improve.

IF she places out of her group, she’ll return to compete with the semi-finalists on Saturday. All who place on Saturday return for the final competition Sunday.

The timing is just perfect, too. Oxford is slated to be the site of the first Presidential debate—that is, if John McCain decides to show. The town is all exciterated about it…but I’m having trouble getting excited. Instead, I’m glad to be getting out of town while it’s going on. My first gripe comes in that they’re having the debate in an arena that holds 4,000, yet only about 200-300 folks from Oxford are even allowed to attend. So why even have it here? Okay…I understand that “tourists” in the form of blood-thirsty media hounds will bring in many dollars. But that is for the businesses. And I hope that do well and squeeze all the money they possibly can from the media and the politicians.

But again, why should “I” get excited? I can’t attend, and the only real effect I’m seeing is that the city/security has closed a main road I use nearly every day. So now I have to go clear around town to get where I need to go. Frankly, I’m just ready for it to be over.

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Filed under family, Kids

The Novelist by Angela Hunt

I’ve just finished reading The Novelist by Angela Hunt and I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised. Why surprised? Probably because I was expecting something quite different.

I first heard of Hunt a few months ago just before attending the Southern Christian Writer’s Conference in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Not why I attended, she was the keynote speaker—and was very entertaining. When I realized she would also be the keynote speaker for the ACFW Conference, I decided to look up a little more about her. Someone on the ACFW forums recommended The Novelist and I liked the title, so I picked it up even though I was a leeetle afraid it might be a romance book. I’d picked up other books by ACFW members and haven’t enjoyed one yet. No, I didn’t write about them here and no, I won’t. It’s not necessarily that they were bad books, but they’ve been heavily romance and the romance genre—and all its many offshoots—just doesn’t interest me. Obviously there is a market for it, but “I” am not part of it.

So I wanted to have read Hunt’s book before the conference just so that I could say that I’ve read something by her. The Novelist sat on my desk—in my way, actually—while I’ve worked my way through Liberal Fascism. LF is one heavy read and I’m not finished with it yet—I have to think too much while I read it. But as it grew obvious that I wasn’t going to finish LF before the conference, I set it aside a few days before and started on The Novelist.

I was immediately captured.

The Novelist is about…well, a novelist. This female novelist takes a job as a part-time instructor teaching a single fiction class at a community college. What Hunt didn’t say is that these “part-time” teachers are called Adjuncts and aren’t less qualified, they just get fewer classes and far less money. I know—I’ve been one. This teacher/novelist writes action/adventure bestsellers and most fans assume she is a male because her name is one of those non-gender specific names. Immediately many in the class are surprised but she sets about converting them and then teaching them “how” to write a novel.

One of the very cool things about it, is that one of the students challenges her to write something more personal that her action/adventure hero (which she often refers to as a “superhero”—something which slightly irritates me as a “real” superhero writer/editor/reader and fan. From what I can fathom, there is nothing “super” about her hero—he’s more like James Bond) and we actually witness the composition process throughout the work. By that I mean we get to read what the novelist has written and get sucked right into it as well. A very cool concept, I think, and Hunt pulls it off very well.

Add on top of this that the novelist has a still-lives-at-home 21 year old son who is no end of problems for the novelist and her husband, and it makes for a pretty interesting read.

The only other thing that shook me out of the “world” was Hunt suggested the class began with 40 students. While I’m not saying it couldn’t happen—she probably did research and found it somewhere—I think it is highly unlikely for a class of this sort. Granted it has been several years since I had my fiction classes, but never did they contain that many students, and USM is known for its Creative Writing program. Freshman level had 20-25, and all other classes had 15 or less. Even when I taught Composition at a Community College, 25 was the maximum number of students allowed in the classroom…and I found that was plenty!

Those minor annoyances and issues aside, The Novelist was a very pleasant read and I easily and readily recommend it to all.

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