The Tempest

Not Exactly Shooting For \”Miss Congeniality\”

What’s Next…Locust??

Posted by Daniel on Sunday, May 6, 2007

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Okay…this has been a very weird week here at chez Anderson-Howard.

If I were a religious person (and I most certainly am not), I’d swear we’ve somehow incurred the ten plagues.  I think as of today, we’re working on either #3 or #4.

I’ll backtrack a little to explain.

Now that it’s finally warming up in this area, we thought it would be great to open the windows for some long-overdue fresh air.  I say long overdue because this past winter hung on a bit longer than normal, and quite frankly, I was getting a little itchy to get outside to start my annual planting/landscaping.  After one last gasp of below freezing weather that lasted a week, much was lost to the arctic blast.  Plants that were already budding and beautiful froze and now look pretty sad.  Even our brickwork aroud the gardens turned – somehow – into powder.

Anyway, now that it’s warm, we opened the windows.  For some reason, hundreds of horseflies (notice I didn’t say houseflies) has gathered inside one of the master bedroom windows.  We have NO idea where these pests came from or why they only seemed to gather in that particular window.  Especially considering it’s a double (side-by-side) window and the window next to it was completely void of the little pests.  Now, just as mysteriously, they are all gone.  Save for the few our mighty huntress Sheena was able to snatch out of the air.

Moving on to the second plague…MOLES.

I have had this yearly war to wage against the little burrowing varmints in hopes of staving off the considerable damage they inflict on the lawn.  Keep in mind, it’s a very huge challenge to keep a lawn growing here at all, considering the soil and erosion (rain) problems we have every year.  So what lawn and landscaping I do have, it tears me up to see every morning the new damage the moles have done every night.  After trying every holistic remedy known to man to rid us of these little diggers, we finally caved in and called the professionals.  $300 and some poisoned gummy earthworms later, the moles are back…and I think they invited friends.  That battle wages on.

Now we get into the latest of the plagues…FLOOD.

For the past 36 hours, it has been raining here and it appears not to be ending for another three days.  When I say “raining”, I don’t mean nice steady drizzle.  I’m talking non-stop gully-washers.  At last measuring, we have topped five inches and it just keeps coming.  And, thrown in for good measure, a heaping helping of hail. (would that count as the fourth plague?)

We are not on what would be considered a flood plain…it’s actually very hilly here.  But our newly remodeled family room (which is in the basement) has been flooding since early this morning.  We’ve spent all day rescuing everything down there and cleaning up the water and trying to keep it dry, but every time it starts pouring really hard (about every hour or so), the flooding returns.

I know I shouldn’t complain really, considering we’ve not been hit by tornadoes…but our neighbors to the west have, in the past 36 hours, had to endure over 300 twisters.  So yeah, I am counting my blessings on that note.

Is Steve right?  Is my karma so bad?  Have I really pissed off “Caravanis” (the Patron Saint of Minivans) to the point that she has decided to smite me?  

Fine.  I’ll light a candle and set some burnt offerings next to my neighbor’s minivan.  Maybe lay a wreath made of dandelions on the hood, just for good measure. 


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Is Hating President Bush A Hate Crime?

Posted by Daniel on Friday, May 4, 2007

The White House has threatened to veto a bill passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday that expands hate-crime laws to include attacks based on sexual orientation or gender.Under current law, hate crimes are subject to federal prosecution only if the acts of violence are motivated by race, religion, color or national origin. Federal prosecutors get involved only if the victim is engaged in a federally protected activity, such as voting or participating in interstate commerce.

The White House says there is no need for the expanded bill because state and local laws already cover the crimes it addresses, and there is no need for federal enforcement. This in direct conflict to it’s position on the Terri Schiavo case back in March of 2005.

In addition to allowing greater leeway for federal law enforcement authorities to investigate hate crimes, the House bill — which was passed on a 237-180 vote –provides $10 million over the next two years to aid local prosecutions.

A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate, but no date has been set for a vote.

Critics of the bill say it would have a chilling effect on clergy who preach against homosexual behavior.

“We believe that this legislation will criminalize our freedom of speech and our ability to preach the gospel,” said Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Lanham, Maryland.

Supporters disagree. The bill, they say, applies only to violent crime and, in fact, specifically addresses freedom-of-speech issues.

“Nothing in this Act, or the amendments made by this Act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution,” the bill says.

House representatives got into a heated exchange Thursday as they debated this bill.

“They [hate crimes] are more serious than a normal assault because they target not just an individual, but an entire group,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York.

Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Florida, said it is unfair to single out specific groups for protection under the law.

“What it does is to say that the dignity, the property, the life of one person gets more protection than another American. That’s just wrong,” he said.

Both sides cited the case of Matthew Shepard of Wyoming, whose brutal 1998 murder was linked to his sexual orientation.

“Matthew’s death generated international outrage by exposing the violent nature of hate crimes,” said Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, the only openly lesbian member of the House of Representatives.

But Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, argued that Shepard’s killers got harsh sentences without hate-crimes provisions.

“Those perpetrators that did that horrible act — both got life sentences under regular murder laws,” he said.

If President Bush vetoes the bill, it would mark the third veto of his presidency. His second came Tuesday, when he vetoed a $124 billion war spending bill that included a deadline for U.S. troops to pull out of Iraq.

Posted in GLBT, Media Matters, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Bush vs Dems…Why Neither Can Back Down Now

Posted by Daniel on Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Amid all the media spin and armchair political quarterbacking, I believe there will be no winners in the current game of ‘chicken’ being played between Bush and the Democratic-led Congress.  There can only be losers, and I think both sides know this.  So the question for them as each day passes is, “How can I make the other guy lose first?”

I make no claim as being a political genius, but it really doesn’t take one to see where all of this budget/Iraq push and shove is leading.

First, there is every indication (even to this immoral, unpatriotic, anti-American, liberal, elite, commie pinko) that Bush and his administration know they can’t win in Iraq.  They can try to cover it in the guise of a “surge” or “progress” or whatever they want.  The truth of the matter is that they are, at this point, simply doing their level best to prolong the inevitable.  Iraq will collapse into utter chaos and everyone know this.  Civil war is what they have now…but it will all spiral into a country-wide bloodbath.  Period.

Bush and his team simply want to keep America in the fray long enough for them to be out of office before the “batḵẖā” hits the proverbial bābīzān.  Simply stated, Bush doesn’t give a shit which party runs congress or the White House after 2008…either way, Iraq will be their problem and their mess to clean up.  The current administration knows that regardless of who is President after 2008, that person – due to the overwhelmingly unanimous outcry from Americans – will end our occupation in Iraq, pull our troops out and the blood of that action will be on the hands of that President and that Congress.  Meanwhile, Bush will be writing his memoirs inside a padded cell in the Hague…if there’s really is the God he so firmly believes in.

As for the Democrats…I am once again hanging my head in shame over their lack of intestinal, not to mention Political, fortitude. 

They can’t win because (again, in my humble opinion) if they actually did utilize their power of the proverbial purse strings, the blood would be on their hands.  Meaning, they could (and should) keep sending the same bill complete with pull-out timelines to the Presidents’ desk.  Eventually, we could no longer afford to keep the troops in Iraq.  We’d have to bring the troops home.  This, in turn, would put the onus of standing up for themselves squarely on the shoulders of the Iraqi government.  Naturally, that governing body will, in all likelihood, collapse under the weight of such a burden.  Again, it would become a bloodbath for power.

Either way, though, the end result is going to be the same.  And there is nothing anyone can do – at least presently – to stop the juggernaut that is the rising insurgency.  

Bush, like a geographical rapist, will never pull out.  He couldn’t now even if he wanted to.  He prays daily for something good to happen so that his presidential library has at least one wing – or drawer – with “SUCCESS” written on it.  At the rate things are going, though, he should just hang that “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” banner over the barn in Crawford, Texas.  Let the birds of his paradise bomb the shit out of that as John Ashcroft’s voice sings out “Let the eagles fly…”

The Democrats are so afraid that they will be known for not supporting the troops, they are willing to cave into making concessions because they can’t overturn a veto.  I say, again, keep sending the same bill to the White House.  Otherwise, you’re going to be vetoed into giving Bush exactly what he’s been so used to getting…a blank check.  All for the sake of the troops.  And you know that’s bullshit.  How many lives is your re-election truly worth??  Bring the troops home by not paying Bush to keep them there!!  

There will be war in Iraq.  It was bound to happen sooner or later.  Eventually, either Saddam Hussein would have died, which would have then led to a war created by the vacuum…OR…there could have been a coup.  Either way, war would have been the end result.  For better or worse.

But how many American and civilian lives could we have spared by letting that scenario take it’s natural course?

It doesn’t matter now because Bush has made that issue a red herring.

So why are the two parties really making this war a game of chicken?

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Now On An “Internets” Near You…

Posted by Daniel on Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The day is now upon us. All of the hard work is (we hope) about to pay off.

The new site…

…has come online…and we can’t be more excited.

The Tempest Online has teamed up with WordPress, Vanilla Forum, Coppermine and WPDesigner to create a more streamlined and user-friendly place for us to call home.

Our new address is:

The Tempest Online

As tome goes on, you will see many changes to this site, as we are currently migrating much of the data over to the new site.

Many thanks to Kathy (KatB) for her many hours of dedication and hard work on this massive project.

There will be many new and exciting tweaks and additions made as time goes on, but I think you’ll get the gist of it so far. As always, your feedback is always welcome.

Posted in Technical Issues | Leave a Comment »

I’ll Give You A Quarter For The Little Fuzzy Guy

Posted by Daniel on Monday, April 30, 2007

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Garage Sales are madness. And the only other time (outside of the Wal-Mart parking lot) that I see such a large concentration of my old arch enemy, the MINIVAN CARAVAN!!

But so long as they are actually buying our crap, I can deal with it.

This year’s sale was pretty good, I must say.  We managed to make twice as much money as we did last year thanks, in no small part, to the bounty that was the assloads of Spongebob merchandise.  One guy who was walking, managed to buy 3/4 of that and left here with about 8 large bags.  Thank you, Geeky Man, whoever you are.

Once again, Steve did all the selling while I did all the shopping.  I did, however, manage to keep my purchases down to $65…and managed to find some of the most beautiful Italian crap that fits perfectly with the motif of the newly-finished first floor of the house.  One particular heavy-assed wall hanging should prove to be quite the conversation piece.  😉

Business was up quite a bit this year everywhere.  Last year, only about 20 homes participated in the sale…this year there were over 30.  Thanks to the increased participation and subsequent extra traffic, we were able to unload almost every item that we had outside.  I believe we even got several offers on a pallet of paving stones which was just delivered so that I can re-do the landscaping.  I tell you, if the shit ain’t nailed down, someone is gonna ask “how much?”

Next week is the Neighborhood Spring Clean-Up.  A chance to get rid of all the crap that wasn’t bought by the frenzied masses this week.  Since I’m President of the Homeowners Association, I get to be in charge of that little event, too.  Going from shopping home-to-home to manning extremely large trash and yard waste dumpsters is quite a humbling thing.

And the Clean-Up lasts all weekend.

Think I’ll have to do some shopping after that…and eat Lemon Cake.  😀

Posted in Just For Fun, Our Writings | Leave a Comment »

I Just Made a Lemon Cake, and I’m Tired

Posted by revelkc on Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hi! Remember me? Yeah, that’s right, I’m Revel, stalwart (?) other half to the Tempest. I haven’t been able to post for quite awhile, and I have missed it. Not that ideas haven’t floated in and out of my cerebrum on a regular basis–they have. The Great Idiot still pisses me off on a daily basis. His houseboy turned fall guy, AG the AG–I’ve seen better liars at closing time at the old Cabaret. Karl the Snarl, after he got out of my girl Sheryl Crow’s face (Sheryl, if you’re reading–I am a HUGE fan, even more so now), could possibly face his political Waterloo over something as completely boneheaded as violating The Hatch Act. (As Bugs Bunny says, “What a Maroon!”). And excuse me, who the hell is Mike Gravel? Before the Democratic debate (the feel-good debate of April 2007!!!) I had no idea he was running. I still am not sure he’s really running, but I hope so…he was on FI-YAH. I hope this, of course, for the entertainment value, but also out of curiosity that he might be able to wring just a few more bemused looks out of Dennis Kucinich. And last but not least, George T–or as the ever lovely Maureen Dowd calls him, Slam Dunk shows us all that it’s never too late to make your self look like a the whiniest of whiny lackeys to a misbegotten hell-hole of an administration.

All of these things have been on my own personal radar, like they have been for many of you. And I want to write about them, truly I do. But you see, I just made a lemon cake, and I’m tired. REALLY REALLY tired.

Ok, the simple making of the cake didn’t make for my exhausted condition. Hell, the cake was SUPPOSED to be chocolate chip cookies.

Buckle your seat belts, this is the chain of events that have kept me from slicing and dicing, George, Gonzo, Karl, and the rest (and Ann, she may be quiet right now, but that smell in the air HAS to be her….).

Lemon CakeWe were out of brown sugar, that’s why no chocolate chip cookies. So I compromised and made the lemon cake with white chocolate chips and homemade lemon butter cream frosting. Why did I have to have this? I WANTED A REWARD. You see, I have had home made chocolate chip cookies (and if I do say so myself I make excellent home made chocolate chip cookies) on the brain since a week or so before our Annual Neighborhood Garage Sale (at which we made a tidy $200.00, thank you very much…of which Daniel held himself to spending only $65.00…which is very good for him. He can tell you what he bought later, I think he’ll do it more justice). The reason? Because Pam complimented me to Daniel, saying I always had nice treats for sale during the annual event.

But I gotta tell you, the past 4 months of Gay Construction (which I subtitle the G.A.R.P. for Great Anderson Remodeling Project) have worn me out, and likely led to the shortage of brown sugar, which lead to chocolate chip cookies turning into lemon-white chocolate chip cake, which I insisted on making because I have been so worn out I wanted a reward.

See, it makes sense. Ok, rearrange your entire house, come back, sit down and reread it, and it will make sense.

The G.A.R.P. is our combined brainchild, a nearly superhuman effort that is sure to be remembered in a Beowulf style epic poem. At least on 18th Street if not all of Willowbrook. And Manchester, England…are we still big in Manchester? I hope so, I was hoping for some kind of band at the airport when we finally get to visit on our European-Australian tour.

I would say I just digressed, but lets call a babble a babble. Where was I? Oh, yeah…

The G.A.R.P. is what Gay Construction has been all about since the dawn of 2007. The Anderson family, or at least four of them, are coming to visit, as you no doubt already know. This required, of course, more than a light dusting. We have been in full tilt boogie mode revamping the Great Room, Dining Room, and Foyer, and it has been well worth it. And the Annual Sale is something we have been a part of every year since we moved here. I want us to make a good showing, we are after all the First Couple of Willowbrook. (That little reminder was for our neighbor, former first lady Nancy. She KNOWS why.)

So G.A.R.P. plus sale plus Pam and Daniel plus my undying love for a crazy Italian man led me to a quest for chocolate chip cookies that morphed into a lemon cake consolation prize.

Did I tell you, I just made a lemon cake, and I’m really tired? I’ve missed you guys, and I want to tell you all about it sometime.

Posted in Just For Fun, Our Writings, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Look Mom…I’m On Stage!!

Posted by Daniel on Friday, April 27, 2007

Losers all…Last night’s Democratic Presidential Primary Debate was anything but.

It was one of those times when you feel there is just no good candidate out there in the Democratic field.  And this is one of the reasons so many people are disillusioned with our party.

Disclaimer:  I understand that this is just the first of what will probably be many Democratic debates before the Primaries, however this would have been the golden opportunity for the field to whittle out the kooks and the weak.  Unfortunately, they all appeared kooky and weak.  I also understand that each candidate had but only one minute to answer each question, but this format leaves only more questions unanswered.

Pandering.  Panic.  Talking points.  That’s all we got last night.  More bumper sticker slogans.

I think the only real stand-out last night was former senator Gravel (AK), who reminded me of a more feisty – and alive – version of Ross Perot’s running-mate in the 1992 debates…Retired Vice Admiral James Stockdale.  While Stockdale occasionally forgot where he was, literally, Gravel most certainly knew where he was…I just think he forgot when he was.  

Back to the seriousness…

In the interest of brevity, I’ll give you the one shining moment…one golden opportunity where I think the Democrats, as a whole, have once again lost their nerve and decided to play it safe:

There was one point where I thought that Sen. Clinton was too cautious when she was asked about Rudy Giuliani’s comments that the country wouldn’t be safe under Democrats.  That would have been a great opportunity for her to show outrage and anger over the use of the tactics that were used by the Republicans in 2004, and she didn’t do that. I think that would have been a good moment.  Right then and there, Hillary should have chewed Giuliani – and by extension, the GOP as a hole (not a typo) – a new ass.  She should then have shown the utter outrage over the scare tactics used by Giuliani as his failed attempt to bark with the big dogs.  Instead, as is so many times the case when pandering and not wanting to speak truth, she peed like a puppy.

Moreover, where was any of the candidates on that Giuliani gaff???  You’re f—ing Democrats and none of you spoke up about it…not even after the debate when you had the mics all to yourselves!!

Again, I realize it is still early in the campaign, but if this is the road the Democratic contenders are going to continue to take, especially through 2008, count me out of voting Democrat.

Unless Hillary decides to grow a pair and actually speak up and speak out.

Now if I could only find my magic lamp…

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One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

Posted by Daniel on Thursday, April 26, 2007

Everything MUST go!!!Sure, but what if it’s not one, but two men…and they’re gay…and they have great taste…and

Okay, so this Saturday is the annual Spring Subdivision-wide Garage Sale.  A chance for people to come and buy all the shit I bought at their garage sales last year.  

So here is how it goes at this house:

  • We start rounding up all the stuff that can – and should – be gleaned from the household inventory.  This usually begins after Christmas.
  • Steve takes off the two days prior to the sale to begin pricing and arranging everything.
  • Displays are mapped out, categorized and organized.  After all, presentation is everything!!
  • Signs strategically placed.
  • Steve sets up his desk, cash box, beverages for sale, stereo on, and takes care of customers.
  • Daniel, as President of the Homeowners Association, goes from house to house helping where he can.
  • Steve sells the shit out of our crap treasures.
  • Daniel buys more crap treasures at the other sales.

Generally speaking, Steve is very adept at selling stuff in a garage sale (which is perfect, because I am so not a people-person and selling to the public just isn’t in me), while I meander through the subdivision making sure all is going well and traffic keeps flowing evenly.  Occasionally I will see something I can probably do without, but simply must have.

One important thing we’ve learned over the years about garage sales, especially having one of your own…We now know what will and won’t move.

Clothes and books – You might as well donate them to some charity organization before your sale.  These items just sit there, occasionally being picked through but ultimately being passed up for a spatula or one roller skate.

The big movers are electronics.  This year, we have ass-loads, as we’ve been upgrading everything from computers to TV’s.  

I can hear Steve’s cash register now…cha-ching…cha-ching!!

This year, I’ve also decided to unload all of the Spongebob Squarepants merchandise.  I’d almost forgotten just how much of that shit I collected…and most of it’s still in it’s original packaging!!  Everyone I know had been giving me items over the years because they knew I was so into it.  I can’t believe I fell for the hype.  What am I, twelve???

Besides, now I’m really into Transformers…I hear they’re more than meet the eye.

Anyway, you’re all invited over this weekend to gawk at our goodies and buy something.   I’m sure you’ll find just what you’re looking for here…but if you can’t, I’ll be buying it right around the corner.

Posted in Our Writings | 2 Comments »

She MUST be talking about straight men…

Posted by Daniel on Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Some things I’ve been told by my jealous hag…

Men Are Just Happier People …

What do you expect from such simple creatures?

Your last name stays put.

The garage is all yours.

Wedding plans take care of themselves.

Chocolate is just another snack.

You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.

Hell, you can wear NO shirt to a water park.

Car mechanics tell you the truth.

The world is your urinal.

You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.

You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.

Same work, more pay.

Wrinkles add character.

Wedding dress: $5000.00. Tux rental: $100.00.

People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them.

Belches and farts are not only acceptable, but practically expected.

New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet.

One mood all the time.

Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.

You know stuff about tanks.

A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.

You can open all your own jars.

You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.

If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.

Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.

Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.

You almost never have strap problems in public.

You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.

Everything on your face stays its original color.

The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.

You only have to shave your face and neck.

You can play with toys all your life.

Your belly usually hides your hips.

One wallet and one pair of shoes one color for all seasons.

You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.

You can “do” your nails with a pocket knife.

You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.

You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24th in 25 minutes.

Posted in Just For Fun | Leave a Comment »

It’s About Time

Posted by Daniel on Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Wiccan pentacle has been added to the list of emblems allowed in national cemeteries and on government-issued headstones of fallen soldiers, according to a settlement announced Monday.A settlement between the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Wiccans adds the five-pointed star to the list of “emblems of belief” allowed on VA grave markers.

Eleven families nationwide are waiting for grave markers with the pentacle, said Selena Fox, a Wiccan high priestess with Circle Sanctuary in Barneveld, Wisconsin, a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The settlement calls for the pentacle, whose five points represent earth, air, fire, water and spirit, to be placed on grave markers within 14 days for those who have pending requests with the VA.

“I am glad this has ended in success in time to get markers for Memorial Day,” Fox said.

The VA sought the settlement in the interest of the families involved and to save taxpayers the expense of further litigation, VA spokesman Matt Burns said. The agency also agreed to pay $225,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

The pentacle has been added to 38 symbols the VA already permits on gravestones. They include commonly recognized symbols for Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, as well as those for smaller religions such as Sufism Reoriented, Eckiankar and the Japanese faith Seicho-No-Ie.

“This settlement has forced the Bush Administration into acknowledging that there are no second class religions in America, including among our nation’s veterans,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which represented the Wiccans in the lawsuit.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the agreement also settles a similar lawsuit it filed last year against the VA. In that case, the ACLU represented two other Wiccan churches and three individuals.

VA-issued headstones, markers and plaques can be used in any cemetery, whether it is a national one such as Arlington or a private burial ground like that on Circle Sanctuary’s property.

Wicca is a nature-based religion based on respect for the earth, nature and the cycle of the seasons. Variations of the pentacle (NOT ACCEPTED BY WICCANS) have been used in horror movies as a sign of the devil.

Posted in Religion | 1 Comment »