Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thank you, President Obama

Already critics accuse the US president of blinking in a game of chicken with the Middle East's latest tyrant in Syria. Nevertheless, Obama's announcement today, August 31, 2013, demonstrates that he has chosen an unexpected card to slap down in the political arena: the Congress card!

Who knew he kept this card up the always-too-short sleeves of a tall basketball player? Historical scholars will be taking close notes because suddenly this question emerges: What if previous presidents since Franklin Delano Roosevelt had played the Congress card instead of the Zap card?

Military commanders may jump into the fray over timing, of course, but what if President Obama's predecessors in office had played the Congress card before—not after—rushing to attack? Then, the only card left in their hands was the Go-First-and-Get-Approval-If-You-Can-Later from Congress.

Analysts may also talk strategy as much as they please—and God knows they will—but the US president's strategy in this encounter must account for moves by not only Syria, but also China, Russia, the US Congress, and the American people. Obama didn't miss his Napoleon lesson, did he?

Obama has also proven that he understands the business world this time around. Participants in any deal must "buy into" a bargain, or they can and will complain bitterly if results do not meet expectations. This time, who can complain that they went anywhere without full disclosure?

There will be no warranties, of course, the Middle East being the closest thing that Americans know to a scorpions' nest. Still, the American people have heard those magic words at last: We go together, or we don't go! You get your say, and so do I. Don't complain--ever--that I didn't warn you.

Those words are worth pure gold because partisanship has been killing this democracy. At last, Congress must speak as one. Americans must also remember they are one people, too. The Constitution planned this battle on the home front: The Constitutional lawyer did his homework.  

Pecan Pie Pleasures: 10 Reasons to Serve Pecan Pie

  1. It's the sweetest dish that comes with its own excuse to forget about sugar because it's too sweet to believe, but 
    photo by Margaret Curtis

  2. It contains nuts, a valuable source of protein and recommended source of energy, and

  3. It may contain brown sugar, which creates the most delicious pudding from molasses;

  4. It's a Southern delicacy, so consumption counts for cultural diversity for Northern diners;

  5. It also comes in bourbon and chocolate, preventing arguments over discrimination, but

  6. It also comes in so many rich varieties that chefs may remember pralines and caramels,

  7. Those delights perfect for decorating the surface of that scrumptious nut-crazy dessert, but

  8. Pecan pie may be so tempting that guests at Labor Day parties will want to take slices home as favors

  9. To savor at breakfast, brunch, or leftover parties of their own, so make extra always because

  10. There can never be enough pecan pie to keep the holiday nuts everyone knows 100% happy.

Be sure to consult the Food Network at for 72 recipes of delicious, delightful, dementing perfect pecan pie pleasures. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Time for Country Mice to Get Happy

Time for Country Mice to Get Happy

by Meg Curtis, PhD

As perfume drifts in from the fields, the trees clump with red fruit, and the vines swirl with purple drapes. Dionysus prepares the urns for wine. Harvest will soon be upon us with its heady offerings.

Farmers continue to be the lucky ones among laborers who may never see the fruit of their dedication. Agricultural workers see that fruit, smell it, touch it with reverant hands.

Cherry and berry pickers return from their climbs and forays covered with red juice, not human blood. They wrestle with branches and wind tossing gaunt arms, not bullets. They radiate sun.

They live with water as refreshment for plants and animals alike. They pour it, whisper it, at just the moment of need, knowing thirst is a universal challenge. They feed animals first, themselves last.

Animals understand farmers' compassion. Their eyes turn to those who work with them every day. This is team work of the first order, preserving the earth so it may rise again, watching it sleep.

Do not ask a farmer if bumblebees matter. Do not ask him or her if land is a commodity or home. Just ask: How did you do this? And s/he will answer: God knows. The rain came in time.

If the rain does not come on a reliable schedule, then farmers will have risked their all for nothing. Just look at the sky as they do: It rumbles with power. It breathes with freedom to make a living.

All marvels do not come from machines. Yes, the combines will be busy, and the pitchforks will send bales flying. But in the great schemes of Nature, who are we but mice who nibble gratefully?

Brad Thor's Athena Project: Jane Bonds Aplenty!

Brad Thor's Athena Project: Jane Bonds Aplenty!

By Meg Curtis, PhD

With The Athena Project, Brad Thor tears open a new niche in the thriller business: He scoffs at every cliche that males may assume about females. Sensitive? No! Weak? No again! Thor stakes this novel on his faith that readers enjoy seeing females behave exactly like James Bond.

Along the way, he considers nazi technological ambitions, American competition for nazi scientists, and international competition for human fax machines. Formally known as quantum teleportation, this phenomenon repeatedly hits the media with sudden announcements of progress. To keep up with experiments, just search for "quantum teleportation latest," to find unnerving surprises.

Thor's genius lies in combining remarkable characters with science so mysterious that readers will find themselves requiring their friends to dive into physics. According to scientists' expectations, quantum teleportation promises to offer new prospects for encryption, as well as transportation of information so fast that the next internet will make the present version look like the Gutenburg bible.

Thor's plot takes his characters deep into Paraguay. His exploration of human motivation wrestles with the CIA and security questions so frightening that readers may have trouble napping. Just turn the page, though, and those space age women may save the Republic yet. His faith in human intelligence conducts a space race all of its own, to discover if the urge to survive triumphs.

Throughout international conflicts, Thor's writing style remains deceptively straightforward and direct. He never leaves the reader behind, no matter his choice of topic. His wit unleashes laughter, even as his females launch parachutes from buildings, and make readers gasp how chic chicks will land without finding the enemies' hands fast on them. No spoilers here. Go with the girls for thrillers every time!