Saturday, September 30, 2006

Small world


Nikon's Small World Gallery -- photo competition for microscopic images. Fascinating and beautiful stuff. This is the 9th place winner by Charles Krebs Photography, Issaquah, Washington.

It's the wing scales of a Sunset Moth.

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Slide-o-Rama

Saw an absolutely great show at the Cactus Cafe last night: Cindy Cashdollar's Slide-o-Rama, this time featuring the great Louisiana guitar player Sonny Landreth, with Redd Volkaert as a guest. Saw some good friends in the line that we hadn't seen for weeks, maybe months, and it was really nice to be able to do some catching up.

Mostly it was just Cindy and Sonny alone on the stage, just playing really beautiful guitar music, just awesome. It made me think about Eric Johnson, we haven't seen him play in several months and are really missing him, but Sonny Landreth sure did help to fill in that gap a little. The experience is enhanced by the Cactus being such a great listening room, it's a club, yes, but more than that it's like a music sanctuary. People are very attentive -- you don't have all that talking and glass clinking in spite of the fact that it has a full bar. Some performers are a little taken aback by that atmosphere. People usually don't dance in there (although a have seen it on one rare occasion - people stood up during an Alejandro Escovedo song and danced by their chairs), and I think Sonny is used to seeing more moving around.

Cindy Cashdollar is one of our local treasures. She's worked with Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Dixie Chicks and a boatload more. That's her real name! Redd Volkaert is most commonly known as previously being Merle Haggard's guitar player. He was voted "Best Electric Guitarist" last year in the Austin Music Awards, taking the prize normally taken by Eric Johnson.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Cat - Open that door!!

Knock, knock!!

Who's there?

I said who's there???

Candygram.



hmmmm... on closer inspection, I'm not so sure there's any candy. Are you sure??



Knock, knock!!

Who's there?


...um...

...uh...





LAND SHARK!!!!



- Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Pet's Garden Blog - - -

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Vice President Thingy

Someone mentioned that they are sometimes dealing with a censoring filter that displays certain words as *expletive deleted*. Sometimes these things can produce funny results. One of my forums that I visit does that, and one of the words it won't display is "dick"... even if it's someone's name!! So our Vice President is *expletive deleted* Cheney. Well, that's certainly appropriate. but what about nice Dicks like Dick Cavett, Dick Clark, or Dick and Jane (really scraping to come up with some nice Dicks... I know they're out there)

I was the admin for a board, and rather than putting in the same old boring *expletive deleted* you could customize what word or phrase would be substituted for what. So if the user typed "asshole" or "arsehole", their post would say "not a very nice person". "Kiss my ass" was "I disagree" (everyone was very well-behaved there though, and the occasion for such a label never came up). All the male organs (including our dear old VP) would come up as "thingy", and then there was "girl thingy" for the others. "Slut" translated to "very 'friendly' person". "Ass" translated to "butt", and it was pretty weird seeing the word "bluegrass" translated to "bluegrbutt". (There was a separate setting for only doing the stand alone word, so I needed to change it right away. These subs were all the default settings).

How did you do on your exam?

I pbutted.

Why you little pregnant dog!

You very 'friendly' person!

I disagree!

No!! I disagree!!


- - -

Eck a Leck Tick



Actual Bushism, interview with NBC's Brian Williams, New Orleans, La., Aug. 29, 2006
Watch video.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I'm callin' this as I see it.

Yes. This is one of my current pet peeves.

Burnt Orange Report has been the strongest source of all the dirt that's been dished on Kinky lately. It not made up stuff. They have posted (for now, so get it while it's still steamin') audio of the whole comedy routine from 1980 in Houston at the Rockefeller Club where Kinky tells all the racist jokes. They have also transcribed some of the most controversial stuff, in that post and in previous ones (look for them on BOR or click my previous post link at the bottom. It has links.)

a couple of the jokes:
"...the doctor told me, 'Kinky, we've had to give you a transfusion with the blood of a person of the Negro persuasion.' I said, 'well that's moderately unpleasant.' He said, 'well yes Kinky there's a good side to this, too. There's some good fringe benefits. Your welfare check will start coming in next month and your penis just grew 12 inches so these are some things you should think about...' "
"...then I come down to Houston, I went to a bowling alley. I couldn't go bowling, there were no bowling balls. The people here throw 'em all in the sea, thought they were ni**er eggs… thought they were ni**er eggs."

OK, those are offensive jokes, the exact same kind of humor on this Nazi page [brace yourself if you click, it's disgusting], and I'm not kidding -- it's raw white power hatred, and the "kinkster", as he's affectionately called, could have gone somewhere like that for this "funny" material, it fits right in.

Kinky's claims that he was satirizing racism with this, and that he is just being honest.
"I don't eat tamales in the barrio; I don't eat fried chicken in the ghetto; I don't eat bagels with the Jews for breakfast," Kinky said. "That, to me, is true racism."

OK, yeah. How about telling anti-black jokes to a bunch of rich white rednecks? By his own definition, does that qualify?

He is possibly getting a boost in the polls from all this, it's a lot of press and he's well-liked anyway. He's still very popular in Austin partly because of his weirdness. I like the weirdness too, but certain things just turn me waaayy off. All I want is for him to quit trying to paint this in some bizarre way. I'm calling bullshit.


Previous Kinky post

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Band name of the week

Austin's own:

SHIT HOWDY

Actually haven't seen them yet. They sound pretty good though. Check out their Myspace for some music, I don't think they have a "real" website yet. Acoustic soul, very living room laid back.

With a name like that though... I mean, it's fun! I want a T-shirt... but they are probably not going to be featured on Austin City Limits any time soon... but that's such a lofty goal you might as well go ahead and call yourself Shit Howdy.

Remember how people used to refuse to say "Butthole Surfers" (coincidentally, another Austin band), and they'd censor the name in the CD bins, blah blah blah. Now it's perfectly OK to say butthole. I'm not picturing the morning news crew saying, "Stay tuned for our special musical guests, Shit Howdy! Back after these messages."

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Monday, September 25, 2006

A mad tea party

Iowa woman finds drowned bat in tea cup.

Something is really not right with this story. She's been drinking from the cup all day. Finds the little bat at the bottom. Now, does the bat have no taste? Maybe she has no taste (buds)? How did the poor little guy get in there?

Must have been some funky tea.

Photoshop from this page.

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I wonder what kept me out of Delaware?

Such a tiny-looking little unvisited place, you'd think I could have just stuck a toe over the state line or something. If my father had lived, we would have been stationed in Grand Forks, North Dakota, but instead ND has remained unvisited.

And you thought you had a bad job...



I've had some pretty bad ones. The worst one was doing laundry in a nursing home. The laundry room was down in the basement, and all the stuff just constantly came down a big shute to us. If you have ever visited a nursing home, you can imagine what the laundry is like, it's rubber gloves stuff. Housekeeping in the nursing home was a step up from that, not quite as filthy and more job satisfaction. Those jobs paid little more than minimum wage.

From Engrish.com, new Engrish posted every weekday.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

The New American Way


By "Be Nice", we mean become hopelessly indebted, allow the USA, World Bank, and Corporations pillage your land and resources, and install a leader for your country who will cooperate fully with all these things.

From Carry a Big Sticker.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Beer head

You Are Guinness

You know beer well, and you'll only drink the best beers in the world.
Watered down beers disgust you, as do the people who drink them.
When you drink, you tend to become a bit of a know it all - especially about subjects you don't know well.
But your friends tolerate your drunken ways, because you introduce them to the best beers around.


I really do like beers with a lot of taste, stout or amber, drawing the line somewhere this side of triple-bock. I can't remember the last time I actually got drunk. I don't let that happen, I hate being out of control and disgusting (I spent quite a few of my younger days being out of control and disgusting, so I straightened up and just drink maybe one a day... or two... three is not recommended)

I'm not really a know-it-all, even when tipsy. I know a little about a lot of things, a lot about a few things, and am the first to admit it when I don't know something, or that I was wrong about something. I hate it when people pretend to know more than they do.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday Cat - Jax is a peaceful little jaguar


Here is Jax looking peaceful, and he is a very contented cat most of the time. Looks jaguar-like, except he's fat. Here he is below proudly showing off his lick-shaved elbow. Nothing stands out like a bald patch on a black cat.


EDIT 9/24: Congratulations to sweet little Heart, our baby neighbor, who is Catmodel of the Week at Carnival of the Cats this week!

- Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at House of Chaos - - -

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Kinky - on the offense

I think people are finally waking up to who Kinky Friedman really is. He's a colorful, sometimes funny, snarky, wisecracking musician/comedian/author who happens to be running for governor of Texas right now, but some of the people who have embraced him just for his weirdness factor are starting to reconsider actually voting for him.

Some recent quotes:
In a CNBC interview regarding what should be done with sexual predators:
"Throw them in prison and throw away the key and make them listen to a Negro talking to himself," Friedman said in the CNBC interview. He also called Negro a "charming word."

Whether or not “negro” is a charming word or not is irrelevant. There’s no way to say this isn’t a racist comment. You can substitute any word you like and he is still making a derogatory comment about a certain group of people that are generally perceived as a "race". Actually, he was quoting himself:
As a general rule of thumb, however, if you thought of New York as a Negro talking to himself and of California as a VCR with nothing to put in, you wouldn't be too far off the mark.
Friedman, Kinky (1993), A case of Lone Star. New York (Wings Books), 379

Then there was the recent “crackhead” comment about the Katrina refugees:
“The musicians and artists have mostly moved back to New Orleans now. The crackheads and the thugs have decided to stay. They want to stay here. I think they got their hustle on, and we need to get ours”

It prompted a catty but amusing response from the Democrat camp:
"A former cokehead should have more sympathy for crackheads," said Heather Guntert, a spokeswoman for Democrat Chris Bell. To respond to the long documented drug use, Kinky gave his usual response, "I quit doing cocaine when Bob Marley fell out of my left nostril."

Well, we may as well surface a few more quotes where some more groups are more or less insulted. These aren't new any more than the "negro talking" quote:

Middle-aged WASPS, pimps
Golf is the only opportunity that middle-aged Wasps have to dress up like a pimp.
Friedman, Kinky (1993), When the cat's away. New York (Wings Books), 477

Women
Every time you see a beautiful woman, just remember, somebody got tired of her.
Friedman, Kinky (1993), When the cat's away. New York (Wings Books), 476

Women
I'd often felt that a man without a woman was like a neck without a pain.
Friedman, Kinky (1993), Greenwich Killing Time. New York (Wings Books), 24

Women
On the whole, I preferred cats to women because cats seldom if ever used the word "relationship".
Friedman, Kinky (1993), Greenwich Killing Time. New York (Wings Books), 135

Pretty much everybody, except cats
Cats are a fairly right-wing group politically. They are lovers of the status quo. They don't like anything that might represent change. They hate marriages, divorces, moving days, graduations, bar mitzvahs, bill collectors, rug shampooners, painters, plumbers, electricians, television repairmen, out-call masseuses, Jehovah's Witnesses, and just about everything else, most of which I agree with them about.
Friedman, Kinky (1993), When the cat's away. New York (Wings Books), 481

Lawyers
Cats, as a rule, don't like lawyers. They have great insight into human character.
Friedman, Kinky (1993), Greenwich Killing Time. New York (Wings Books), 48

Lawyers
There are no good lawyers. There may be lady wrestlers and Catholic universities. There may be military intelligence. But a good lawyer is a contradiction in terms.
Friedman, Kinky (1993), Greenwich Killing Time. New York (Wings Books), 12

The Irish
They say God created whiskey to keep the Irish from taking over the world.
Friedman, Kinky (1993), Greenwich Killing Time. New York (Wings Books), 216

Non-smokers who would like to keep living
You have to work at it if you want to be a good smoker. Especially today with all the nonsmoking world constantly harassing you.
Friedman, Kinky (1993), A case of Lone Star. New York (Wings Books), 245

Nice to see that cats are spared. Cats catch a lot of hell and disrespect, usually.

He wants non-denominational prayer back in the schools and the Ten Commandmants on the courthouse lawns because “you gotta believe in something”. Well… just because you think you gotta believe in something doesn’t mean you just toss something or other on public property and believe in it. Maybe we should stick a totem pole up there, or a swastika. Before you believe in something you need to know what it means and why you believe in it, and why you’ve erected this thing on public (government) property. If it’s not just artwork, I need more justification than that. It’s good government that is sacred and needs to be separated from mythology – both have various benefits but one is real, the other is fantasy. “If you don’t love Jesus, go to Hell” he has been recently quoted as saying, and if you’ve seen Texas legend Billy Joe Shaver (a close friend and tour buddy of Kinky’s, see photo) you know that he’s just repeating the exact phrase that Billy Joe says all the time. Billy Joe is a Christian and reformed hell-raiser and can say whatever the heck he wants. He’s a musician and not running for office. I don’t plan on going to hell, and I love Billy Joe Shaver.

Kinky has a no-kill animal shelter, and I think it's a great effort and great charity. In fact, if he really wasn't serious about being elected governor, he should have given all that money he spent on his campaign and the lawyers he hates, and given it to the dogs... and cats of course.

Kinky is fine with me -- not for governor though. I'm voting for the boring, uncharismatic Democrat, who won't be elected either (partly because of Kinky).

[LINK - Houston Chron] [LINK - Burnt Orange Report]

EDIT 9/22: A commentor has left evidence of a newly surfaced Kinkyism. This one is a joke about bowling balls looking like ni**er eggs. Unbelievable! good grief!!. The commentor viewed it as a positive. Here's the link, that includes audio.

Kinky's response to all the journalists and bloggers commenting on his remarks in a negative way is that they are "slimy cockroaches". Cockroaches are not slimy. Racists are slimy.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Santa Claus needs a life raft.

You can sail unhindered right across the North Pole in summer now. [LINK]. Do you think that's enough evidence to convince a few sheeple that global warming is, in fact, real... not just made up by the "liberal media"? What's it going to take? What??

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

True Blue, Nay an Ordinary Bloke.

Steve Irwin give away all his treasure fer land fer wildlife preservation an' gave his life tryin' t' educate us about th' wonders and th' dangers o' wild beasties. No gentleman o' fortune, him. Davy Jones' Locker didna get this one, tho, by Crikey! His memorial service from the Australia Zoo be video'd this even' at 8:00 CMT on Animal Planet and like as not later in the night too. (Here it still be "Talk Like a Pirate Day", but Down Under it be tomorrow, 20 September.)

This bloke, John Williamson, will sing a right fair dinkum chanty, True Blue, a favourite Aussie tune of Steve's while he was still the Wildlife Warrior.

Here's a bit o' the old Aussie slang that's used in True Blue:

True Blue
Steadfast loyal Australian who displays the Aussie ideals of a fair go for all, mateship, having a go, and solving problems.

Smoko
To 'knock off for a smoko' is to have a break for a coffee, tea or cigarette.

Fair Dinkum
Virtually the same as True Blue - honest, reliable, trustworthy, dinki-di; someone who has embraced the Aussie attitudes to everything, especially mateship. 'Are you fair dinkum?' means 'are you telling the truth?'



(If th' movin' picture didna work, click here and shiver me timbers!! Thar she blows!!

Hey True Blue, don't say you've gone
Say you've knocked off for a smoko
And you'll be back later on
Hey True Blue, Hey True Blue

Give it to me straight
Face to face
Are you really disappearing,
Just another dying race,
Hey True Blue.

True Blue, is it me and you?
Is it Mum and Dad, is it a cockatoo?
Is it standing by your mate
When he's in a fight?
Or will she be right?
True Blue, I'm asking you...

Hey True Blue, can you bear the load?
Will you tie it up with wire,
Just to keep the show on the road?
Hey True Blue, Hey True Blue, now be Fair Dinkum

Is your heart still there?
If they sell us out like sponge cake
Do you really care?
Hey True Blue.

True Blue, is it me and you?
Is it Mum and Dad, is it a cockatoo?
Is it standing by your mate
When she's in a fight?
Or will she be right?
True Blue, I'm asking you...

True Blue, is it me and you?
Is it Mum and Dad, is it a cockatoo?
Is it standing by your mate
When he's in a fight?
Or will she be right?
True Blue ... True Blue.


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Yarrrrr, Jim Lad! It's Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Ahoy, scabrous dogs and buxom wenches! Be it known that today is for celebratin' "Talk Like a Pirate Day". If ye be needin' some aid, this moving picture might be the booty you seek, me hearties.

Still be needin' the services of a good seafarin' gentleman o' fortune for a bit o' parley? Try the Pirate Speak Generator.



There be the wiki with a treasure chest of learnin', or head straight for the source, to talklikeapirate.com, and this thievin' Brit scallywag site.

Savage Chickens from Doug Savage.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

ACL festival 2006 - September Simmering Boil

Almost back to the land of the living this fine Monday after the big ACL bash. I have a real love/hate relationship to that festival. There is soooo much hype over it on all the local media outlets, and I always want to go so bad I just wouldn't want to miss it... but in reality the whole experience balances out as far as it being worth all the hell and aggravation. The media is not getting or giving a true picture of what it's like to trudge through this affair as a regular non-VIP grunt, so their coverage is not only spun but their experiences not typical.

Cons and rants:
  1. Too damned hot here in September for an outdoor 3-day event.
  2. Way too crowded.
  3. Really long lines for food.
  4. Too many stages, too close together, sound bleeds over to the wrong stage.
  5. Not "Austin Weird", as corporate as it gets around here.
  6. The Power$-That-Be seem to be inflexible toward changing any of this stuff.

Positive:
  1. There's always a couple of really good experiences that are memorable for each day.
  2. Get to hear some bands that you would not normally be exposed to.

Friday
A day of blasting hot sun (98 degrees) and high humidity with no relief. We were troopers and held out for hours at a big stage, saw Guster and Asleep at the Wheel before Nickel Creek came up, the band we were camped out for. Went through their autograph line, and had time to catch 2 songs by Del Castillo. The rest of the night was spent wandering through the crowd without a main focus as we could not really hear some of the bands we wanted to hear due to sound bleed. Listened to John Mayer from a half mile away for awhile (still plenty loud though) and called it a day. Exhausted from the heat and humidity.

Saturday
Same weather as Friday, 98 degrees and humid. Couldn't handle the full sun but enjoyed the music of Galactic from the shelter of a misting tent. Great live band, gotta see them at a club soon. I was really frustrated all day until I was able to get a rail-spot for Calexico along with some welcome cloud-cover. They were great, and we hurried over to another stage for a great set from The South Austin Jug Band, and were done in for the day. No headliners even attempted today. With the extra layer of sunburn we went to dinner, then home to a houseful of cranky cats.

Sunday
At last! Some rain and cloud cover. It still managed to get up to 98 - and sticky! Kathleen Edwards was a highlight. We camped out at a smaller stage for The Greencards, so we got to see local Austin's own MTV Rockstar Patrice Pike (pictured), and also Matt Costa. The Greencards were another big highlight for the day. We miss them!

After they played we intended to see Tom Petty, who was the big headliner for the day and one of our favorites. It was a solid mass of people, all headed somewhere in a hurry. One of the problems of the festival being too crowded and too many stages is that there is no "back" of the crowd... that nice mellow place where people are resting on blankets, playing frisbee and hacky-sack (sp?) and having room to dance like nobody's looking. I was hoping to find that place for Tom Petty because it was really not possible to get a front rail view without investing the time, and by that point was too hot and tired to stand up for 2 more hours. We tramped around looking for "that" place, and when Petty started playing we were surprised to hear that for some reason they had his volume turned down lower than any band of the weekend!! A major headliner and we couldn't hear him from a half mile away, not well enough. Disappointed, we decided to call it over and try to hear Petty from the sidewalk outside. Here was our view of Tom Petty below, and we could hear the show much better from this spot than we could inside. (sad.) It started to rain, and Tom Petty took a rain delay, so it really was over then. I got more sunburned on this cloudy day than I did the rest of the weekend. I guess the old wives tales about clouds and sunburn are really true.


Why do I do this festival? It's hard to resist, with all the hype and the lineup it really makes you want to go! Like a lot of things, it's not as much fun as it sounds like it's going to be, but I always end up with some nice memories.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday Cat - Last week I Clawed you, this week I Heart you

Here is the sister and litter-mate of last week's kitten who was named "Claw". This little girl is named "Heart", and she is such a sweetie. She always looks like she's about to say something. Probably "I love you". Below it looks like she might be arched up to look mean, but she's just getting up and about to stretch after a little siesta in the heat. Heart and Claw live next door, and everywhere up and down the block. They are outdoor cats. :-(
Here she is again with that lovey-dovey stuff.

And a very Happy Birthday to our very own Prince Henry, who is turning 15 today. As you can see, he is all tuckered out from all the partying, but never to tired for a snuggle. Henry is made out of love. Must be a Tabby thing.

- Last week's "Claw" post -

- Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Justin's Random Thoughts on Sunday - - -

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

And why the hell not?

Jesus has a MySpace profile.

- - -

Oops! Sorry about your pacemaker!

This is one of the weirdest, most upside concepts I can imagine. The Air Force Sec says that some of the new "non-lethal" weapons that have not been tested on the battlefield should be used first against American citizens. He thinks it would be good for public relations because that way, if there are some safety concerns in the technology that we are not aware of, the resulting injuries will demonstrate those.

[LINK] Nonlethal weapons such as high-power microwave devices should be used on American citizens in crowd-control situations before being used on the battlefield, the Air Force secretary said Tuesday.

The object is basically public relations. Domestic use would make it easier to avoid questions from others about possible safety considerations, said Secretary Michael Wynne.

"If we're not willing to use it here against our fellow citizens, then we should not be willing to use it in a wartime situation," said Wynne. "(Because) if I hit somebody with a nonlethal weapon and they claim that it injured them in a way that was not intended, I think that I would be vilified in the world press."


The Air Force has paid for research into nonlethal weapons, but he said the service is unlikely to spend more money on development until injury problems are reviewed by medical experts and resolved.

Nonlethal weapons generally can weaken people if they are hit with the beam. Some of the weapons can emit short, intense energy pulses that also can be effective in disabling some electronic devices.


Here's another link to an NPR story on the use of sound lasers (another high-tech nonlethal weapon), and another story in Wired. In this case they know some of the dangers, and although they are nonlethal, they are not harmless.

Fried guinea pig from the Museum of Awful Food

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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

AY CEE EL time again


Well, I was calling sour grapes back when I wasn't able to get the early bird cheap tickets for this, but it's all sweet now with these passes! Thank yoooou, nice person who got these for us! I like the lineup a lot, and it's looking like the temperatures will stay in the 90s (even 97 is better than the 108 degree record-breaker they had last year).

Would dearly love to go to the Austin City Limits TV taping tomorrow night starring Calexico. My friend called frantically to let me know that if I had super powers I could get over to the location where the tickets would be given out for the next 20 minutes. [sighh] One of these days I want to go to one of those. Oh well, I can see them on Saturday at the heatfest.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

Hate, it always looks the same

Ugly, no matter how sweet the face or voice, or whether there's a smile with it. This stuff just hits me like a punch in the stomach, makes me angry, that's for sure. Is there any hope for people at all?


found on J-Walk.

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Some options to the ABC crapumentary.

There are a couple of timely movie offerings being shown tonight (both free/for donations). This post contains details about Austin showings, but both of these are making the rounds, and probably showing in your town tonight too, or very soon. The first one is 9/11: Press For Truth. This link goes to the Austinist posting, and here is the website with info and trailer, etc., where you can find out where it's playing in your town.

The other one is The Ground Truth, a film about soldiers returning from the war in Iraq and the different kinds of hell that they've been experiencing. What does Iraq have to do with 9/11, you may ask. The answer is "nothing".

The Ground Truth is being shown at the First UU Church of Austin from 7:00-9:00 pm.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Survey says... whatever I want

Why even bother asking cats and dogs political questions when you are going to make up the answers anyway?

Bush and Lieberman pollster admits making stuff up
According to a federal indictment, Costin told employees to alter poll data, and managers at the company told employees to "talk to cats and dogs" when instructing them to fabricate the surveys.

FBI Special Agent Jeff Rovelli said 50 percent of information compiled by DataUSA and transmitted to Bush's campaign was falsified, the Connecticut Post reported Thursday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Chang said on several occasions when the company was running up against a deadline to complete a job, results were falsified. Sometimes, the respondent's gender or political affiliation were changed to meet a quota, other times all survey answers were fabricated.

via POAC.

Sheep poo, sheep poo, ya da da da da da da!

It doesn't get any "greener" than this! Takes recycling to a new level.

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Friday Cat - Clawed

Here he is! The little boy next door who is trying to steal my heart! When the brother and sister duo first emerged from their mom's watchful eye, this little stinker ran up our tree and posed for this picture way back in June. That's when I nicknamed him "Cheeta" but now I know that his real name is "Claw"
Claw and his sister, who is named Heart, are a couple of real sweethearts. Look how he has taken over Mr. Blueberry (who is even more of a kitty-cat pushover than I am).
Next week I'll show off sister Heart. The camera loves them both, and so do we. purrrrrrrrrr.
Get your own customized official seal here. Link snagged from MichaelBains.

- Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Begin Each Day - - -

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Some Quotes

A nation is a society united by delusions about its ancestry and by common hatred of its neighbors.
William Ralph Inge (1860-1954)

Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Susan Ertz, (1894-1985) Anger in the Sky

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
Dr. Seuss (1904-1991)

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so.
Bertrand Russell (1872- 1970)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bonus Cat - Baby on Board

One of the things I like about the weekly Friday cat-blogging is that the Carnival of the Cats is politically neutral. The idea of it is for all us to put aside our political differences for just one post a week for the sake of the animals and our need to show them to the world. Most of the blogs that link to me on Technorati are conservative blogs who have hosted the Carnival and linked to my kitties. So... weird world, and surprise, surprise, conservatives need cat love too. I put this bonus one up because the bumper stickers are definitely not neutral, and it won't be in the Carnival. This is the baby boy who lives next door (and everywhere!!) with his sister. Isn't he a charmer? Also on Cute Overload there was a feature post on the Crocodile Hunter... and a cat. After that Bush mug I needed to post some cuteness for balance.

Bush whines "Geneva Schmeneva"!


Bush is trying to get the War Crimes Act of 1996 rewritten, eliminating the parts of it that prohibit certain violations of the Geneva Conventions*. Is he finally beginning to fear that he may actually have to abide by the Law of the Land, and needs to try and legalize these actions that are being taken around the world in Our Name? Lots of news on this topic today. He's speaking about it right this minute. Interesting to see what ultimately shakes out of all this.

*Here's what I'm talking about:

[full article] Bush Aims to Kill War Crimes Act, from The Nation, Jeremy Brecher & Brendan Smith

Points argued and discussed in the article:
1. Commitment to the Geneva Conventions protects US service people from future retaliation.
2. The War Crimes Act will prohibit "torture-lite" in the future.
3. The War Crimes Act will prohibit future Abu Ghraib-type outrages.
4. Gutting the War Crimes Act will promote the perception of the United States as an outlaw country.
5. The Bush legislation unfairly exempts high government officials from the very war crimes charges they are leveling against lowly "grunts."
6. Preserving the War Crimes Act is part of reasserting the rule of law in America.

Some quotes:
[...] In the wake of World War II, Justice Robert Jackson, chief American prosecutor at the Nuremberg Tribunal, observed that "the ultimate step in avoiding periodic wars, which are inevitable in a system of international lawlessness, is to make statesmen responsible to law." Making statesmen responsible to law is what the War Crimes Act is all about.

[...] Ed Markey, senior member of the House Committee for Homeland Security, told The Nation, "The Bush Administration and the GOP leadership in Congress is trying to quietly excuse and even codify cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners in US custody, at secret CIA prisons abroad and even the abhorrent practice of extraordinary rendition [the outsourcing of torture and other cruel treatment to other countries]."

[...] Markey adds, "Every American citizen should call the White House and their members of Congress because these changes being made in the dead of night could be the green light for other countries that capture American troops to treat them cruelly or torture them."

Curious to read what Bush said today. Can't stand to listen to him or watch him.

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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

My Mother was a Teenaged Hobo

September 6th would have been my mother Lola's 87th birthday. Smoking got her (emphysema, COPD) back in 1993. She really had one hell of a life, someone should have written a book about her. She loved to tell stories, and told them over and over, of course (don't all storytellers do that?). Now that she is gone I have to tell her stories for her, so here goes:

It was during the Great Depression that she decided to run away from home. Lola lived on a farm with her big family and abusive father. At 15 years old she just couldn't take it any more, so even though it was January in Illinois she headed down to the tracks and hopped a boxcar headed for St. Louis, hobo-style. There were lots of side stories about the other hobos and what they were like, it was a life she had been curious about largely because of the music of Jimmie Rodgers, all about hobos and brakemen and rounders. She'd listened to him on her aunt's crank phonograph and loved him (I was raised on his music too). Her own father had worked for the railroad (while his crew of kids worked the farm), and the train whistle was like the sound of freedom to her.

She described how huge, magnificent and beautiful the St. Louis Union Station looked when she arrived. I imagine that it did, after living on a farm in rural southern Illinois most all your life. (Even that was citified compared to the town where she was born, which is now nothing more than an old chimney or two at the bottom of a man-made lake in rural Oklahoma.)

Somewhere on the trip she met an adult couple and they let her tag along with them for awhile, posing as their daughter. She didn't want to be found, so she changed her name to Christine Sweet, same last name as theirs. They didn't stay in St. Louis, they kept going. My mother was innocent and churched, so she really got panicked when they were all camped down in bedrolls, and Mr. Sweet would reach over his wife trying to inappropriately handle the 15 year old. After that incident, she decided to get away from them, but there was a situation that had developed before that could happen. One of the men who had been riding the train had been either drunk or disoriented, and had leaned out of the boxcar at the wrong time and was killed... decapitated, in fact. The Sweets, "all 3" of them, were held in custody briefly while it was decided that this really had been an accident and not a murder.

After parting from the Sweets, she hitchhiked to Joplin, MO, and stayed with and worked for a lady, who wrote to her family. Lola's uncle Elvis came out and provided a ride back home on his motorcycle.

There were articles in the paper about her disappearance. One included a letter from her mother promising forgiveness (for running away) if she'd come back home.
Dead Daughter Lola (sic... a bad typo),
I know not where you are tonight. But if you get cold and hungry and want a place to stay remember your mothers house is open for you. [...] come home to your grieved mother, father and sisters and brothers your baby sister calls, the door is open. We will gladly greet you even if you did do wrong.

The article also mentioned how she was last seen walking down the hard road, and that she'd previously threatened to take poison or run away.

The story does not end "and she lived happily ever after", but nevertheless it does end... or rather trails off... right there.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Dark Side of the Rainbow - review

Went to the Alamo Drafthouse to see Dark Side of the Rainbow - they show The Wizard of Oz with the sound off, and play Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. OK, it really does seem to have to weird coincidental "sync" moments, mainly in the duration of the the album's first playing (yes... it needs to play on repeat to complete the whole experience.) During the second two playings, there are some things that seems to be in sync but not as many.

The site I linked above (for Dark Side of the Rainbow) called "Turn me on, dead man" is quite appropriately named. If you remember first-hand that "Paul is dead" frenzy when we started playing our vinyl backwards and frantically searching for more clues, this could be in that same category. There is some of it that I think HAD to have been engineered by John Lennon and his unique sense of humor (although he denied it), and some things that were products of our own paranoid frenzy (I didn't learn for many years that John was not saying "I buried Paul", he was saying "raspberry sauce" with a thick accent. Yes, really.)

The Alamo serves booze along with the rest of the full restaurant menu, but in this case I was wishing for a serving of very short duration, no lingering effects recreational hallucinogenic drugs to enhance and improve the whole experience. It would have made more of a "believer" out of me and there would be less of that "oh come on now, you don't really think...". Also, they had the volume up so loud that I needed earplugs. Very loud.

My recommendations:
Rent the movie, and set it all up to watch/listen at home. Set the music player up to "repeat" (it takes about 2.5 cycles). That way if by the third Pink Floyd spin you are a bit wearied by it, crank it down a little or a lot... or put on the real Wizard of Oz audio.

Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream... it's kind of trippy.

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RIP Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter

Oh man. I am really very sad about this. I really admired Steve Irwin because of the way he lived his life for the preservation of animals and the environment. Did you know he was also an atheist? Bet you didn't. Not surprising when you consider his level of passion for this life and this world.

His MySpace profile (yes, it's really his), has some little personal things that may not have appeared on his official website (which, at this moment, just has a media statement on it). If you have a MySpace profile, you can log in and look at his photos that he has posted there. In this picture is a Wombat named "Minibus". Crocodile Hunter is a misleading nickname. Wouldn't it be great if the intention of all hunters was "I'm going to hunt you down and help you, try to save your life and the lives of others, fix what's not working out the best way for everyone, and do it by risking my own life"? I will always wish that I could have lived my life more like this man, but I realize that own strengths, phobias, and general personality type made it impossible. I have to be the best person that I can be, and I believe that he did that.

-- Sydney Morning Herald -- Leave condolences -- Wikipedia/Steve Irwin -- AP news -- Reuters -- This song, True Blue [.ram] by John Williamson will be featured at the Memorial --

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bat Party

Took Mr. Blueberry to the airport Friday to send him off for a weekend visit to his folks in St. Louis, where the temperatures are enviable right now. I am having a spouse-free weekend, which means I have more chores to do, like litter pans, birdbaths and trash duty. I thought "Labor Day" was for working less. harrumphh!!

Went down to the Congress St. Bridge Bat Fest. They closed off the whole bridge for the sake of arts & crafts, pony rides, and live music... and bat-watching too. I am too big and old to climb on a pony, but couldn't resist this photo-op. I am thinking of dressing up like this to attract a bat to our lonely, empty bat house in South Austin. Maybe a sign that reads "All the mosquitoes you can eat, FREE" would help. They don't know what they're missing.

The bands I saw were Big Blue Hearts (a nice twangy, Elvisy, Chris Isaaky, Orbisony pop band), and the Tyrone Vaughan band. Tyrone's foot in the door will always be that he is the son of Jimmie Vaughan, and the nephew of Stevie Ray Vaughan (you are not ever going to get out of that shadow in this town, maybe not in any other town either. You might not even want to). I have to admit, I do think he is starting to look like Uncle Stevie. His band was really good, it's a very soulful guitar rock sound. That's Bruce Castleberry with him there. You might recognize him from Vallejo. My concert-buddy is a friend of Tyrone's, so we got to go backstage and chat. Nice guy. Look for a new CD in a few months.

It was hot and sweaty (still 100+ degrees) on Saturday. Didn't even watch the bats at the batfest! I can do that any time though. Mr. B visited the bats today in St. Louis, which are mainly the wooden kind at the ballpark.

Today (Sunday) we've experienced a "cold front" which has brought the temps down into the mid-90s. Whew! Where's that jacket?

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Friday, September 01, 2006

Happy Birthday Lily Tomlin

Lily Tomlin quotes:

No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.

Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard-working, honest Americans. It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then--we elected them.

Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain.

Reality is a crutch for people who can't cope with drugs.

Sometimes I worry about being a success in a mediocre world.

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.

We're all in this alone.

I've been book tagged!!

Oh dear! I've never been tagged before! Well, I love a challenge and thanks to MB at Silly Humans. I used to be an omnivorous reader before the internets came along, and it seems like now I have to "make time" for books. Isn't that the way of the world these days? I hope it's not cheating if I sometimes include alternate choices, but I am indecisive to a fault.

A book that changed my life
An oversized coffee table book of Salvador Dali's paintings (and limited bio and quotations) that I've had since the 60s. It was a great source of inspiration.

A book I've read more than once
Not really "a" book, but these are inseparable: "The Lord of the Rings Trilogy", also "The Hobbit" by Tolkien. I read these periodically, once a year, something like that. I've read The Silmarillion and several other ancillary Middle Earth books that have been partially or will someday be re-read.

A book I would take with me if I were stuck on a desert island
Actually, what I would need is a book called "How to Survive Until You Can Escape a Desert Island". That book probably doesn't exist, so It would have to be something funny, a cartoon book -- probably one of Gary Larson's Far Side series. Wouldn't that be ironic? It would need to be one of the large-format versions so I could tie it to my head for shade.

A book that made me laugh
"776 Stupidest Things Ever Said"

A book that made me cry
I can't really remember crying over a book, it has been many years since that happened and I was probably a child, maybe a young adult. I am not a cryer except for when watching a few certain movies, but that's another topic. Otherwise -- stiff upper lip.

A book that I wish had been written
"The Memoirs of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, My Life in Retrospect".

A book I wish had never been written
I should say "re-written" -- The current version of the Bible (in all its translations) because it has been so twisted, distorted and changed by the Church and Powers-that-be to suit their own megalomaniacal goals of world control and domination. It would have been a worthy bit of historical reading had it not been changed into propaganda. The original versions have been suppressed or destroyed. It's right up there with all the great conspiracies on the world.

A book I've been meaning to read
"The Odyssey" by Homer. Also "Defying Hitler" by Sebastian Haffner. I don't have that one or I would be reading it now. I bought one through eBay but it arrived with so much writing in ink on the inside that it was practically two books in one. I would prefer to think up my own commentary and would never write it down in the book. I got a refund for it.

A book I'm currently reading
I am not avidly reading a book right now, I am sort of between books, but tiding me over is a very nice coffee table book published by Barnes & Noble called "Celtic Myth, Heroes of the Dawn". I have a LOT to learn about Celtic Mythology. I am anxiously awaiting the final installment of Harry Potter. Mr. B and I will have to toss a coin to see who gets it first.

OK, now it's time to tag someone else, so how about Ptelea and Pissed Off Patricia?

IMPEACH


Being a little apprehensive about replacing this blog template, this is my compromise. It is not enough for this President to be impeached. The whole administration must go, and by "go", I mean "go to prison".

Here are some links on war crimes and the case for impeachment:

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Friday Cats - The Most Favored Seat

I rule the stool.

Jax still rules the stool, but Henry is the heir of the chair. Duncan just waits his turn.

Duncan gets his turn on the most favored camping stool, but only when everyone else is bored with it.


Last two weeks previous camping stool series posts:
Alex doesn't get it.
Staying Warm (Henry).


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