America in all its Glory

Mabry Mill, Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

What a gorgeous shot of Mabry Mill in the Blue Ridge Mountains (Virginia). Such a peaceful, serene setting.

Sitting on the edge of the water. Taking a worm and baiting it on the hook of a line that is attached to a long, thin tree branch. Gently "cast" the line into the water. Now to sit quietly, watching the dragonflies skip across the surface of the calm water. Listening to the frogs calling to one another. All the thoughts of your daily life are no longer with you - all you are thinking about at this moment is the beauty of the trees, where they simply meld into the banks of the water.

Who cares if you ever get a nibble on your line. Just to enjoy this moment that you will never live again. That is life!

Every crime committed by an illegal immigrant should never have happened!!!

Read my posting under Illegal Immigrants.

A quote from President Theodore Roosevelt addressed on immigration in 1907:

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American ... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag ... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language ... and we have room for but one sole loyalty, and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The chance to be a kid again!

Found this article in an Orange County (California) newspaper:
LAGUNA NIGUEL - WARNING: If you are eating, stop.

You are about to read about bottoms. Five thousand of 'em, all bared in the name of … well, that's hard to say.

No one at the 28th annual Mooning of Amtrak seems to know exactly why they pull down their pants every time a train goes by.

They just hear the cry of "Train," and respectable men and women – we're talking grandmothers and grandfathers, guys who stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day and women who run day-care centers, OK? – sprint to this chain-link fence like lemmings, cackling and cajoling each other to join in.

They become, in essence, 10-year-old boys for a day.

"On your mark," shouts one man in his 80s.

"Get set," shouts a woman in her 60s who he's never met.

"Drop 'em," he says.

But why? That is the question.

"I don't know," says Bill Lavender, the shouting 81-year-old who's driven in from Homeland in Riverside County for his sixth year of mooning trains. "Why do some people drink a certain kind of drink? Why does it give some people pleasure to go out with a blonde or a brunette? I don't know. It just gives me joy."

In other words, don't expect deep answers from this crowd.

Even the origins of this Orange County phenomenon (it's been featured on the Discovery Channel, the Travel Channel, and Ripley's Believe it or Not) are a bit fuzzy. It supposedly started 28 years ago in the Mugs Away Saloon when patron K.T. Smith vowed to buy a drink for anyone who'd cross the street and moon a train.

But ask If anyone remembers this guy and they say no. He moved to Idaho. Or Iowa. Or somewhere. Regardless, the legend lives on. And it's morphed into one of the most bizarro assemblages of humanity you'll meet anywhere: part Family Day, part "Girls Gone Wild," part street fair with mom; part Harley Rally on Spring Break.

Exhibit A: Gramma Charleen Sandoval of Chino says this about her 10-year-old grandson who's mooning with her:

"He was practicing last night in front of the house."

Exhibit B: A black stretch limo parts the crowd and the chauffeur lets out Tom Spry, 81, of Mission Viejo, here for his eighth year. He tugs on a cigar and announces: "I just come to see all the crazies," as his son sets up chairs.

For Exhibit C, we move inside Amtrak #775, rolling north from San Juan Capistrano. Inside are eight members of the Exhibit C family, spanning three generations. Let's put it this way: Gramma Claire Lema of Riverside will end up giving members of her brood a towel – which she brought for soda spills and such – to wipe the windows clean of any telltale smudges left from the goings-on. (Moonings on the train are strictly verboten, but some passengers get rambunctious in returning the favor to the crowds.)

A reporter's notebook records his shocked observations from this side of the chain-link fence:

"200? 300? shaking, waving, waddling, wagging, slapping, scratching, showing more, oh my God …"

Passengers are warned, of course, by the conductor. But no one seems to mind.

Not pharmacist Laura Boys, 47, of Huntington Beach, who immediately calls mom in Texas:

"Momma," she says, "I ain't never seen so many butts in my whole life!"

Not Carl Winefordner of Laguna Beach.

"We purposely booked it," says the husband and father of two, all along for a trip to the San Juan Capistrano petting zoo. "We even brought the video camera to show my family in Florida."

Not sure which is more innocent fun, mooning or toilet papering a house!

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