Missouri: where to be this election

Sam Ruby pointed to the Electoral Vote Predictor making note that it may all come down to Missouri. Watch it closely.

Missouri is what’s known as the bellwether state, picking the winning President more than any other state in the Union – only missing once in the last 100+ years. This includes picking liberal presidents as well as conservative, surprising people who see Missouri as being ‘conservative’ – especially in light of the recent vote on the anti-gay marriage amendment.

Not surprising, though, when you consider that ‘gay’ marriage isn’t necessarily an issue split between liberal and conservative lines – a mistake the gay marriage proponents made when campaigning in this state.

At American Street and his own weblog, Chuck Currie wrote on the recent vote:

Bigotry and bad judgment won out in Missouri tonight.

If there’s anything we learn from the political processes in the United States this year, it’s that the choices we’re being asked to make are neither inherently good, nor inherently evil. Those in favor of gay marriage need to scratch beneath the surface of the vote here in Missouri in order to see what went wrong and what can be done in the future to bring about this significant social change.

I’ll have more to say on Missouri and US politics over the next few months. But note that, at this time, Missouri is split, equally, between Bush and Kerry.

Photography Weblogging


The issue of Missouri Life that featured my photo essay is out now, and the magazine did a wonderful job with the photo layout. I received two advance copies and it was difficult to part with these, but gave one to my Dad and one to my roommate. I have others on order for myself and a few friends and family members.

I haven’t been posting many photos lately because my digital camera has developed some interesting quirks. It’s not that it doesn’t work; it’s that it isn’t dependable, with lighting and focusing going in and out at the worst possible times. It’s a good camera, a great camera. But it’s been dropped on the ground at least twice, banged around in the car, and carried out into several major storms. I’m actually impressed it still works.

I took the following photograph of my Dad, after I visited in his new home last week. He finally agreed to move into assisted living, and now seems to love it. It’s a smaller place, with about 40-60 people, including several couples who have apartments together. It even allows cats, which surprised me. When I had a chance to glance at the menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I was even more impressed – this is not your typical cafeteria style food.


He has a one bedroom apartment, with a sitting room and kitchenette and nice bathroom. Strategically located throughout the apartment are intercom speakers and cords that Dad can pull if he needs help. He fell last week,and was able to pull the cord and get help immediately. I think this is reassuring to him, and he already looks much better than he has the last time I saw him – more alert, and involved in what’s going on around him. I’ll visit him again next Tuesday when the bookmobile visits the place and help him familiarize himself with how this works. He is a passionate reader, and since his hearing has been damaged by cancer treatments, reading is his main form of entertainment.

In addition to helping Dad get settled, I have resumed hiking. The following flower photo was from a recent walk, and I think, though I’m probably wrong that it might be a wild orchid. I don’t know enough horticulture to differentiate between flowers by characteristics.

The following photo was from another walk, and it demonstrates some of the lighting shift problems I’ve been having with the camera – going to the blue or to the yellow, rather than capturing the true colors. Even with a little help from Photoshop, I can’t quite correct it all the way.

As much as I like my Nikon 995, I need a new camera; one that can take images reliably (without interesting quirks) and at a resolution that publications prefer. Specifically, I’m aiming for the new Nikon D-70.

To raise money for my new camera, I’m starting a ‘port-a-bloggy’ business: helping people port to WordPress, move between tools, work with style settings, and even helping to customize people’s WordPress installation or other PHP/MySQL development work.

I recently helped Happy Tutor with some technical issues related to his site, and though he kept trying to get me to wear black leather and red lace, we managed quite nicely. I also helped American Street with stylesheet issues, as Kevin and the Street gang contemplate moving from MT to WordPress. This last weekend, I moved Doug’s site over from MT to WordPress, and added some customization to help him manage his comments.

If you’re interested in moving from MT to WordPress, want some customization of your WP weblog, or other PHP/MySQL or stylesheet help, let me know. And if you’ve been helped by my technical writings in the past and want to contribute a little to the camera fund, I would grateful. I’ve added links to both my Amazon and Paypal accounts in the sidebar.

Once I have the new camera in hand, I can resume filling my pages with bandwidth destroying images. Isn’t that something to look forward to?


New tech toys

I love technology that not only is free, it can satisfy even the most dedicated tweaker. I just upgraded to the recent release of Firefox, and have been exploring all the many extensions to the browser, including the rather amazing Web Developers toolbar.

At one point, I had so many toolbars open that the browser space was limited to a thin strip at the bottom. Thinking that this might defeat the original purpose of the tool – it being a browser – I turned off the visibility to all but the Navigation Toolbar, and that nifty web development toolbar.

I’ve also been creating search engine plugins for Firefox, including one for my own weblog. Heck, I just know that readers will want to know what I’ve said on any particular topic, so feel I am providing a real service with this addition. (Other WordPress sites can do this easily, by copying my plugin and replacing the relevant information).

Since not everyone will consider me the definitive expert on all subjects – and why is that? – I’ve also created a TechnoratiBloglines, and a Nationmaster search engine plugins. I’ve sent all three of these into the Search Engine site (though I imagine other versions have been created and sent it and just haven’t been posted yet).

That Nationmaster search engine is for a site I stumbled across that aggregates information and statistics about all the nations–providing comparison data, as well as an encyclopedia. Fascinating and useful resource. For instance, check out this comparison of the most militaristic nations.

Critters Just Shelley

Last Firefly

The weather has been unseasonably cool and dry this week, which has helped to keep the bug life down; every last biting, stinging, sucking, buzzing, feeding, crawling, creeping, icking, disease carrying bit of it.

However, last night while out walking I was surprised to spot what must be this year’s last firefly hovering in the trail ahead of me. As I drew near, it flashed once, briefly, but with no real enthusiasm. I stopped for a moment to appreciate the little creature, feeling a strange sense of kinship with it: it being the last firefly of the season; me being a 49 year old, non-Christian, liberal single woman living in Missouri.