Friday, April 27, 2007

The funniest bleg I've ever seen

Chrystal's angling for votes in some blog contest. Just for this, she deserves to win.

Watch cheese ripen! Live!

Some people will do anything to keep from working. Like me. Including watching a real-time webcam of a cheddar cheese in England's West Country as it matures. It's almost as entertaining as the pre-teen sitcoms my daughter watches on the Disney Channel, and probably less predictable.

A/T to Wicked Thoughts again. It's one of the first sites I check in the morning, along with Miss Cellania and Overheard in the Office. If you can start off with a guffaw, the rest of the day doesn't seem as hellish as it actually is.

Saudi tribe holds beauty pageant for camels

Really. Makes you wonder what their actual women must look like, doesn't it?

Now I'm going to spend the rest of the day trying to get the mental picture of the swimsuit competition out of my head. A tip of the Akubra to Wicked Thoughts.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Cops, turtles and booze don't mix

I occasionally make the rounds of cop blogs, because they have some cool stories to tell. The Enforcer has some of the most fun ones, as you can see:
One of the guys on my shift was having a birthday party for his kid the next day and on his way to work last night he picked up a TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) costume and secured it in the dispatch center for safe keeping till he picked it up at the end of the shift. So it was there all night (shell, headpiece, and stuff)

It was an unseasonably warm night and there is no airflow inside our decrepit old station, so we had doors and windows propped open so we could breathe.

Well, I decided to take a break and get some air outside as I walked out of the dispatch center I bump into a drunk guy with his bicycle in the "off limits" side of the station.

I look and the lobby doors are still securely locked, Hmmmmmm thats weird.

Then I realized that the rear entry of the station all the doors were left propped open and he decided to come in for a visit with the comrades in blue, he made it all the way inside (with his bicycle) unmolested, he was a nice enough happy drunk and I decided to have some fun...

I spoke with him briefly, excused myself and after I alerted the other guys and girls inside the station that he was there ,I snuck into dispatch, put on the shell and headpiece and walked back out and picked up the conversation where I left off. It took him a second but the look on his face when he realized I turned into a turtle was priceless.

I think he may have quit drinking on the spot. He finished his visit shortly thereafter and went home.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Children aren't weapons

Tomorrow, in case you hadn't noticed my sidebar, is Parental Alienation Awareness Day. Not that anybody who's ever been on the receiving end of parental alienation can really help being aware. It's real, and it's poison. It may not leave bruises or marks, but it's a pernicious form of abuse nonetheless.

People whose aren't divorced, or children of divorce, probably won't have come into contact with parental alienation. But as soon as a family splits up, the opportunity rears its horrible head, and all too often the temptation is too much to resist.

This isn't the place to go into my own experiences with parental alienation, but I've been on both sides of the parenting wall – custodial and non-custodial – and I know both how easy it could have been to slip into, and how much damage it can do when an ex does it. I raised my oldest daughter for ten years as a single dad, and I don't think I ever said a negative word about her mother where she could hear it. She's grown now, and getting to know her parents as people. Part of that is necessarily finding that we both have some warts, but I'm proud to say that anything negative she learns about her mother is coming as a surprise. (Mine, she mostly knew about.)

But there are parents who aren't so careful. I don't want to sound like a misogynist, but women are particularly susceptible to the temptation, both because they usually have more time with the kids, and also because when women are hurt or angry, they're more vindictive. There's also more of a tendency for women to think of the kids as extensions of themselves. Men are more detached than women are from most things, including children. (My Lovely and Brilliant Wife agrees with me on this, so I'm not just being gratuitously sexist.)

Fathers' Rights advocate Glenn Sacks has written a lot about this subject, and it's not for the sensitive. Here's an example he posted:
“After Jim L.’s wife divorced him and moved his daughters out of state, she sent the two girls fake or altered e-mails purporting to be Jim. Afterwards, Jim’s daughters refused to see him, explaining only ‘you know what you’ve done, you know what you said, you know what you wrote.’

“Once when Jim flew to see his girls for his scheduled weekend visit, his ex-wife decided at the last minute to block the visit. Jim flew home on Sunday without having seen his girls. When he arrived at the airport back home he checked his messages and found a message from his ex-wife. On the recording his girls could be heard crying in the background. His ex-wife said:

“’Jim, the girls are here at the restaurant waiting for you to come pick them up. You said you’d meet them here for breakfast and spend the day with them, and you didn’t show up. The girls are very upset. Jim, where are you?!?’”

That came from an article Glenn wrote refuting a PBS program that echoed the uterofascist line that parental alienation is bunk, just a ploy used by abusive men to harm their families. (I wish they could have swapped places with me a few years ago, and we'd see if they still thought so.) The rest of the Sacks article is well worth reading, for anybody inclined to agree with PBS. But beware; the anecdotes will break your heart.

Lots of men's stories (mine included) aren't as hair-raising as the ones Glenn lists, but then, they don't have to be. Each child has only one psyche. A child's security is mostly tied up in his parents, and when parents split up, that security is shattered. He'll never be as certain of his parents' love as he was before, but it's their job to rebuild his foundation as solidly as they can. When Mommy says (or acts out) that Daddy doesn't love him anymore, it has the twofold effect of making him cling harder to Mom (which is what she was shooting for) and convincing him that he can't be certain of anybody. If Daddy really isn't an abusive bastard or a callous clod, if he really does love his kids, that just confuses the child more. Since Mommy wouldn't lie, Daddy must be faking being nice. If Daddy does that, other people must, too. Except Mommy. Mommy never lies. She told me so. And the cycle continues, and the child spends the rest of his life wondering why Daddy doesn't really love him. It's a lot of damage to do, but for some mothers, it's worth it just to get back at "that man."

Don't let tomorrow go by without doing something about this vicious, spiteful form of child abuse. If you're a non-custodial parent, call your kids and remind them that you love them. If you're a custodial parent, encourage your kids to call the other parent and tell them the same. And if you're not divorced at all, if your family is intact, thank God that your kids have been spared the emotional back-stabbing. Lots of others aren't.

Children have enough to do just being children. They shouldn't have to be weapons.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Kind of a cool story to round out the week

This comes from the small town I grew up in.
Dennis Goodrich grew up in Goldendale with the rumor that there was a Model A Ford hidden under the floor of a Main Street business, but he didn’t think it was true until he saw the rusted cab of a car sitting in the alley last week.

“Well I’ll be,” Goodrich exclaimed.

A worker clearing debris from the burned buildings on the north side of the 100 block of West Main Street said he found the cab of the car in a subfloor room that once housed a sawdust furnace that heated several buildings at the end of the block. It obviously had been stripped long ago of all its essential parts.

Like Goodrich, and others who have lived a long time in town, the worker relayed this story told over and over in Goldendale’s pool halls and coffee shops for many years:

Back in the 1920s, someone owed money to the owner of the building that once stood at 105 West Main Street. The guy never paid, and when the building’s owner dug a hole behind the building to put in the furnace, he took the guy’s Model A, pushed it in next to the furnace, and sealed the hole shut.

Jim Farrer, who now owns all three lots where his work crew is clearing the debris from the Oct. 2, 2006, fire that razed the three stores that once stood there, said he didn’t have anything much to say about the car, other than “there it is,” as he pointed toward the rusted hulk.

I vaguely remember hearing something about a car buried downtown, but I never knew what it was all about. Now we know.

More about vigils and public grief

Here's a column that illustrates what I meant in the earlier post about vicarious grieving:
n modern America, there's always plenty of trauma to go around. Even if you knew no one involved in the shootings, have never been to Virginia and can't tell the difference between a Hokie and a Wahoo, there's no need for you to feel left out.

Did you feel sad when you heard the news? Did you ponder, however fleetingly, the mystery of mortality? If so, don't just go on with your ordinary life as if nothing has happened to disrupt it (even though nothing has happened to disrupt it). Honor your grief! Attend a candlelight vigil, post a poignant message on one of MySpace's Virginia Tech memorial pages and please, seek trauma counseling as soon as possible.

Convincing ourselves that we've been vicariously traumatized by the pain of strangers has become a cherished national pastime. Thus, the Washington Post this week accompanied online stories about the shooting with a clickable sidebar, "Where to Find Support" — apparently on the assumption that the mere experience of glancing at articles about the tragedy would be so emotionally devastating that readers would require trained therapists.

In which Joel uses language he otherwise shuns

But not here. The Friday [Fornicate]-Off thread is up at It Comes in Pints? and I let loose my inner potty-mouth on Fred "Jesus loathes you, this I know" Phelps. If you can stand the language, you're welcome to read it. You'll have to scroll down past a lot of ranting.

But honest, I don't usually talk like that. The guy just boils my potatoes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

You go!

At the celebration for the 101st anniversary of the San Francisco earthquake, one survivor showed up. That's not surprising, I guess. He's 104, and some people do live that long, but not too many.

But you want to know what's really cool? He took a day off from work to attend. My hat is off.

Smoking saves a woman's life

How often do you get to say that?

Finally, a victory

It's a small one, but it's a step in the right direction. The Supreme Court upheld the Partial Birth Abortion ban. God grant this trend snowballs.

A couple of things I ran across

Apparently our shooter at VT fancied himself a playwright. The Smoking Gun has his fairly sophomoric attempt at a modern-day interpretation of Hamlet. This kid had some anger issues, all right. As too many people have found out since.

I'm not going to get into the whole "if they'd had guns on campus this wouldn't have happened" thing. That's just disrespectful, rushing to point up the political implications of something like this. (I also have no use for the human toothaches who are trying to point fingers at what the school's administration or campus security did wrong. These people did the best they could in an unprecedented situation. Any success they had deserves a medal; any failure can't be imputed to them.)

However, in reading other people's commentary, I discovered Jim Treacher's thoughts about home defense, and how lucky we are not to be in, say, England:
I live in the United States of America, where if somebody breaks into your home and threatens you and your loved ones, you're allowed to use any amount of force necessary to defend yourself, up to and including nuclear weaponry. In England, it's different. As if it's not bad enough just to have to live there, the victim of a burglary can't do a thing to stand up for himself. If some "bloke" breaks into your "flat" and you give him so much as a "dry slap," you get life in "gaol" and he's allowed to stop by once a week to make you his "luv."

But there's still hope for you poor sunless bastards. Here's some advice for the burgled, from a Dr. Ian Stephen (not to be confused with Dr. Stephen Ian, if such a person exists, which is likely because they all have names like that):

"In most cases the best form of defence [This is how they spell it. -- ed.] is always avoidance. If this isn't possible, act passively, be careful what you say or do, and give up valuables without a struggle. This allows the victim to take charge of the situation, without the intruder's awareness, through subtle and non-confrontational means."

Makes sense to me. Here's some other good advice to remember, "mates," the next time you want to take control of a housejacking:

* Hit the intruder's fists, knees, elbows, and feet with your face, ribcage, and genitals. This will subtly wear him down and require him to stop for a glass of water.

* On a related note, robbery is thirsty work, and a parched burglar is an angry burglar. If all you've got is tap water, you're just asking for trouble. Try to keep a wide selection of beverages on hand at all times, just in case. This will subtly lull your new friend into a false sense of comfort and good cheer, giving you the chance to crawl out of the room for a change of underwear before the smell requires him to punish you further.

* Refer to the home-invader as "massuh." This will impose a subtle feeling of guilt on the misguided victim of society, causing him to pause briefly for self-reflection in the course of upending your laundry room for hidden jewelry or drugs. In another 30-60 years, he will die of natural causes and cease all criminal activity.

* Many wealth-redistributors are atheist or agnostic, as is their right. Try to avoid offending your guest with thoughtless phrases such as "Please, God, help me," "Oh Christ, I can't feel my legs," or "Jesus, Jesus, there's so much blood."

* If at all possible, prevent the problem entirely by not living indoors. No home = No possibility of home invasion! Divest yourself of all personal possessions and take up a crimefree outdoor urban lifestyle.

See? It's "easy-peasy." So chin up, Clive! Er, well, you know what I mean.

Oh, and I'm humbled by this man. Just humbled. We'd all like to think we'd have what it takes to do as he did, but I'm not sure I would have had the presence of mind. I'm just proud to have shared a species with him.

How nice of them to come

Westboro Baptist Church is planning to offer their (loud, histrionic, venomous, mouthfoaming) condolences at the funerals of the slain at Virginia Tech. Really, it wasn't necessary. Just sending a casserole would have been plenty.

I don't want to sound flippant, but if I thought these people were God's favorites, I think I'd become a Satanist. Christ is better represented by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence than by these dirty-eared inbreds.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No vigils, no shrines, no swaying with cigarette lighters waving

The Virginia Tech shooting spree was a horrible thing; I suspect we're just beginning to find out how horrible. But I think Kathy Shaidle is spot-on in this:
Please don't indulge in godless modern paganism and set up homely, self-indulgent makeshift memorials with cheap flowers and teddy bears. Don't hold hands and sing bad pop songs.

Go to church. That's what it's for. For centuries, people smarter than you and with more finely honed aesthetics worked on rituals that actually do what they're supposed to do.

Those people who hung around outside the Palace after Princess Diana's death looked like fools and you will too if you cave to the lure of cheap grace and post-modern superficiality. Those British mourners displayed as much cringe-inducing, pan-generational learned helplessness as Katrina survivors, but their laziness and ignorance was spiritual.

Worse, you will still feel as empty as you did before, maybe more so, and wonder why.

Don't make America look stupid and shallow to the whole world by Disneyfying your grief. [Emphasis Kathy's.]

Nobody I knew was at Virginia Tech, and certainly not among the victims. That's true of most of America. Whatever grieving most of us do will have to be in the abstract, that such things happen in a fallen, sinful world and that we are part of that fallenness. Church is a good place to mourn that; sidewalk vigils and TV cameras are not.

For those who did lose a loved one at the school, church is an even better place to be. There's an immense comfort in coming into contact with the eternal. Far be it from me to dictate how somebody whose child, or sibling, or friend was killed should behave about it, but I suspect that those people are exactly the ones who won't be putting their sorrow on display for CNN. Churches are for mourners; sidewalk shrines are for attention hounds.

Monday, April 16, 2007

For shame, Father!

I had such a high opinion of Father Joe, too. Now I find he's been going out picking up chicks, peeling them down and posting their pictures on the internet. So much for my faith in the priesthood.

A Pete kind of thing

My Lovely and Brilliant Wife's stepfather passed away shortly after we got married, so I didn't get to spend a lot of time with him. But with Pete, a little time was all it took. If he liked you at first acquiaintance, you were his best friend for life.

Pete was a California Mexican, which he pronounced "Metz-can". Didn't speak a word of Spanish except for a profanity whose meaning he didn't know, so he used it whenever he wanted to sound like Ricky Ricardo tearing his hair out. He looked kind of like a Hispanic Edward G Robinson in a loud shirt, if the mental picture doesn't frighten you too badly. He was so generous that after he died people would approach his wife to thank her for huge favors she never knew they'd done. He had his flaws, like anybody else, but overall, Pete was just plumb good people.

We thought of him first this weekend when it turned out that Don Ho had died. Pete was fanatical about all things Hawaiian, and was a wedding DJ by trade. I'll bet Don had all of ten minutes in heaven before Pete shook his hand and invited him in to play.

And now I run across this, courtesy of Wicked Thoughts. Pete would have laughed his butt off:
A Mexican family was considering putting their grandfather in a nursing home. All the Catholic facilities were completely full so they had to put him in a Baptist home.

After a few weeks in the Baptist facility, they came to visit grandpa.

"How do you like it here?" asks the grandson.

"It's wonderful! Everyone here is so courteous and respectful," says grandpa.

"We're so happy for you. We were worried that this was the wrong place for you. You know, since you are a little different from everyone."

"Oh, no! Let me tell you about how wonderfully they treat the residents here," grandpa says with a big smile.

"There's a musician here -- he's 85 years old. He hasn't played the violin in 20 years and everyone still calls him 'Maestro'!"

"There is a judge in here -- he's 95 years old. He hasn't been on the bench in 30 years and everyone still calls him 'Your Honor'!"

"And there's a physician here -- 90 years old. He hasn't been practicing medicine for 25 years and everyone still calls him 'Doctor'!"

"And me......, I haven't had sex for 35 years and they still call me 'The F*cking Mexican' "

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pro-abortion Brownshirts on the march!

Don't think you can get away with practicing your religion. We will find you, we will root you out, and we will bend you to obedience.
As of August 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the sales of over-the-counter EC. Under this new regulation, pharmacies are now required to carry EC and distribute it without any judgment or delay.

Planned Parenthood said the refusal to sell EC over the counter is unacceptable and that this form of discrimination puts the health of women at risk.

"That's why we've asked you for help. Working together, we'll make sure pharmacies change their policies so women are guaranteed access to EC," according to Planned Parenthood's Web site.

"We are shining a national spotlight on pharmacies that are not pro-woman," Kessler said...

The group also offers a list of questions on its Web site that volunteers, also known as "secret shoppers," can ask when they contact the pharmacy. The questions range from the name of the person who answered the phone; is EC available (why or why not); how much does it cost; and, if it is not available or in stock, would the pharmacy order it for the woman.

However, the most important part of this entire process is making sure volunteers report their findings because these reports allow Pill Patrol to verify if the pharmacy refused to sell EC and why.

If the pharmacy did refuse to sell EC over the counter, the group would demand meetings with the pharmacy and pressure the pharmacy to sell EC through rallies, letter-writing campaigns and advertisements in local newspapers.

Because it's all about choice. Provided you choose as we tell you to.

Friday, April 13, 2007

This seems like a good way to head into the weekend

With a painful A/T to Miss Cellania.
A Dog Named Mace

A mechanic who worked out of his home had a dog named Mace. Mace had a bad habit of eating all the grass on the mechanic's lawn, so the mechanic had to keep Mace inside.

The grass eventually became overgrown. One day the mechanic was working on a car in the backyard and dropped his wrench, losing it in the tall grass.

He couldn't find it for the life of him, so he decided to call it a day.

That night, Mace escaped from the house and ate all the grass in the backyard. The next morning the mechanic went outside and saw his wrench glinting in the sunlight.

Realizing what had happened he looked toward the heavens and proclaimed,

"A grazing Mace, how sweet the hound, that saved a wrench for me!"

This justifies my belief in the 90% rule

That's the principle I firmly believe in, that ninety percent of people, in general, are good, decent folks who would rather do you a good turn than a bad one. It's the other ten percent that make us instinctively wary of them all. I would have to put this guy squarely in the ninety, despite the circumstances.
The masked man entered the Kangaroo Express store early Saturday in this Orlando suburb and pointed what appeared to be a semiautomatic handgun at 60-year-old clerk Mary Parker, according to surveillance audio/video released Thursday. He demanded access to the safe, but she said she didn't have the keys.

He told her to empty the cash register into a bag. He then pulled up a stool for her to sit down and told her he was doing this because no one would hire him and he had bills to pay.

She started hyperventilating and pleaded with the gunman for help.

"I have heart trouble. Help me," Parker said...

The gunman let Parker call 911, and when the store phone didn't work, he let her get her cell phone. She told the operator she was having a heart attack, but didn't mention the robber. She then sat back down on the stool.

A customer came in and, without seeing the gunman, tried to calm Parker. She handed him the phone, and he spoke to the 911 operator.

The gunman then reappeared and told the man to get into the beverage cooler.

He then grabbed his loot and apologized again.

"You have a good day. I'm sorry this had to happen. I'm sorry. God!" he moaned. He then went out the door.

Police said Parker is OK.

I hope if he's caught, the prosecutor goes really, really easy on him.

How very insulting

Just another reminder of the ultimate irrelevance of fathers.
The federal government made a splash recently with its newest study of American children who attend day care at an early age. The research showed that day-care kids are more argumentative in grade school but have better vocabularies than most of their classmates.

Just as important was what didn't make the headlines. In the fine print of the study -- funded by the U.S. government's National Institutes of Health -- was the definition of "child care" that the study adopted. Lumped together with care provided by preschools and day-care centers was care provided by the child's father.

That's right. If your mother stayed home with you, you were cared for by your parent. However, if your father stayed home with you, according to the NIH study, you are the product of "child care."

Ironically, this represents an improvement in our societal picture of fathers. A dad who's relegated to the status of daycare provider is at least getting time with his kids. Many fathers would love to exchange the title for the actual opportunity.

Another A/T to Glenn Sacks.

Doug's bragging about his daughter again

All daddies think of their little girls as princesses, but Doug's got some reason behind his boasting. I've heard her sing, and she's very good. And my dad would be the first to attest that preachers' daughters tend to be prettier than average, which doesn't hurt in a Junior Miss pageant.

Yes, my girls are princesses as well. Then again, so were Catherine de Medici and Lucrezia Borgia.

Congratulations, Sarah!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

NARAL whore sells out her religion

One more step in the ongoing battle to render the health professions Katolischenfrei.
Druggists who think "morning-after" birth control pills are tantamount to abortion can't stand in the way of a patient's right to get a prescription, state regulators said Thursday.

In a unanimous vote, the state Board of Pharmacy ruled that drug stores have a duty to fill lawful prescriptions, regardless of an individual pharmacist's personal objections to any particular medication. [Emphasis mine.]

The rule is a compromise worked out last year by Gov. Chris Gregoire, women's advocates and the Washington State Pharmacy Association.

Note that it's not even limited to individual pharmacists who refuse to sell something their employers offer. Now the state is going to force store owners to violate their consciences in their own businesses, as they've been trying to do for a couple of years. There is no other drug that an individual store is forced to stock (except ipecac, which is pretty uncontroversial). If I were a manufacturer of abortifacients, I'd be measuring myself for a yacht right about now.

There's no "compromise" involved here; it's NARAL's way or the highway. And for Catholic pharmacists, this means they either have to abandon the profession they've worked all their lives at, or abandon their faith. There is no third option. Because here in Washington, "choice" means doing as you're damn well told.

Time for Archbishop Brunett to grow a pair and excommunicate this woman before she sells us out even more to please her Planned Parenthood Pimps. No man can serve two masters, and it's pretty obvious which one Ms. Gregoire has chosen.

So it goes

God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut. Thanks for all the books.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Daddy's home!

I haven't actually watched this yet, as I ran across it at work and had to at least look productive. But the story is a real tug at the heartstrings, and I don't doubt the video is better. I'll see it when I get home.

Akubra tip to my guru Glenn Sacks.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Holy Thursday tears

I feel bad that I'm not keeping up with posting lately, especially during the Triduum. (In my defense, I've been on vacation this week and spending most of my time on family and church.) But Ricki, who's an elder in her church, has a wonderful story about her church's service:
Last night was our Maundy Thursday service. The pastor gave a fairly moving sermon (I was fighting tears, I suppose that is what started it) about Jesus washing the Disciples' feet. About how God came down and took the form of a man, and one of the last things He did was wash His followers' feet - and the minister reminded us that it wasn't just dust on those feet; there'd be animal dung and other types of ordure. He spoke about the great contradiction of it all - that the One who could have had anything, even to turn away and say, "I will not do this thing" when He was called to die - would do such a mundane and humble action. (And - it struck me - the minister pointed out that the towel and basin were there in view - and no one else stepped up to the plate, apparently - it was Christ who volunteered to do it, even though any of the Disciples COULD have.)

And then, we had to get up and have the blessing over the communion. And I had my prayer all planned out, as I always do beforehand - comment on how we commemorate the founding of this sacrament, and that we also at this time remembered the cross and...

His arrest (oh damn)
His betrayal (I'm starting to cry, this is hitting me hard, oh crap)

And then I had to stop. I couldn't go on. It was like, what happened, what we were commemorating yesterday and today hit me all of a sudden, and I just lost my stuff.

This is exactly the right approach to the Triduum. All the drama, all the weight, all the power of the Christian Gospel comes to a head this weekend. The rest of the year, it's easy enough to do your hour or so on Sunday morning, fulfill your church callings, and appreciate intellectually what we believe. But when Holy Thursday rolls around, the reality sinks in of Christ saying His goodbyes, going willingly to torture and death, and rising triumphant. It's not a matter of intellectual knowledge or mere history (though it's those things, too). It's reenacted and re-experienced for these three days. When the Eucharist is carried from the church to a stylized mini-tomb, the reality sinks in that Jesus has left the building. For three days (or however it's measured), God is not with us, at least physically. And His triumphant return, although we know the first one was more powerful, should still strike a chord in the most blase believer. This is not just talk. This is the real thing, damn it. We should cry.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What are we going to do about the other generation?

Well, probably link them. I've always said my daughter had some writing talent, but now everyone else can see why.

I'd probably embarrass her terribly if I mentioned I love her and I'm jolly proud of her, so I won't. But I will recommend that she keep writing. She's going to go places, this girl.