Tuesday, October 31, 2006

12 words


We're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.

Those are the 12 words that Natalie Maines said on stage that caused the big anti-Dixie-Chicks uproar that has caused there to be not only public trashing of their music but they have been banned by many radio stations across the land. If that wasn't bad enough, they've had their lives and the lives of their families threatened.

There has been a documentary created about this whole turn of events called "Shut Up and Sing" (from one of the milder bits of hate mail that they got, but shortly and sweetly sums up the whole dilemna) Now the NBC and CW networks are refusing to even run the ad/trailer for the film [LINK]:
NBC said it "cannot accept these spots as they are disparaging to President Bush."

CW said it "does not have appropriate programming in which to schedule this spot."


Harvey Weinstein (from Weinstein Co., the film's producers) comments:
In an Ironic Twist of Events, NBC and the CW Television Networks Refuse to Air Ads for Documentary Focusing on Freedom of Speech.

It's a sad commentary about the level of fear in our society that a movie about a group of courageous entertainers who were blacklisted for exercising their right of free speech is now itself being blacklisted by corporate America.


Austin tag, because the Dixie Chicks are a local band. Natalie lives just a few miles down the road, or at least she did a couple of years back. The others live further south, not technically in Austin anymore.

Links:
MySpace "Shut Up and Sing"
Dixie Chicks on MySpace
Dixie Chicks Website

Topic and some links found via PinkDome.

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Happy Birthday P.J.!

Happy birthday today to Peter Jackson, the mastermind behind the movie magic of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He's slimmed down a lot since that picture was taken, and gotten rid of the glasses -- but still a hobbit at heart -- just like we are.

I'm scared to smell your feet...

The scary day is finally here! Like I said, we won't see many scary or creative costumes in our 'burbs. Down on 6th Street, well that's another matter, but we will have to watch them on TV while the doorbell rings. The scariest part of it is that the doorbell sends the cats into panic, and sometimes Duncan is driven to relieve himself on the couch.

Not that many movies scare me anymore, I guess I stay away from the ones that are shock-factor only with no humor (or bad humor). I don't believe in the devil, so all those movies based on biblical inventions like the devil, angels, evil spirits, etc. bring a yawn (unless they star Johnny Depp). Here's one movie that really did scare me: eXistenZ (1999). The blurring of reality and interference in rational thinking was terrifying. I will generally pass on horror or slasher movies unless they are funny, vintage, or just done very well (or have Johnny Depp in them... heh heh...)

When my mother was young, there really was "trick or treat". If the person in the house didn't give you a goody of some kind, they would trick them. One trick that was common was catching the old farmer in the outhouse and turning it over. Whew!! Somebody got an extra bath when it wasn't even Saturday night!!

Everybody have fun, and if you're going to throw rotten eggs, take them up to Crawford.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Howl-o-ween

Oh my Dog, I am being bombarded with pictures of pets in costumes, and I love it! 'Tis the Season, after all. I was over on J-Walk and discovered that the source for one particular batch of circulating pics is the PetSmart costume contest for 2006. (the page has sound) I just got some more in email, and see that they are from the PetSmart 2005 contest (the link is on the same page as above). I only wish the kids in our neighborhood (...er... rather, their parents) were even half this creative. We see the same stuff over and over, and most of it probably came from Target or Wal-Mart.

Click to enlarge this snazzy rat. (I love rats but they are a poor choice of pet in this house, needless to say)

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Violent vegetables

Wow, there are some really creative things over at Extreme Pumpkins! Here are the winners of last year’s contest (and you’re seeing one of them here). Some of them are rather graphic and gross (...even though it’s not really brains, it’s cauliflower)

I gave up on that pumpkin carving business. Mainly because it’s HARD! Hell, it’s hard enough just cooking pumpkin from scratch. I tend to hurt myself when I’m around sharps these days. I was moving a garden block yesterday, brushed my hand against a prickly pear cactus and got it covered in little needles, including one that managed to go in a vein and break off, creating a big blue spot on the back of my hand. Well, it’s nearly Halloween and bruisey-looking stuff will fit right in. Good grief!

Anyway, back to the pumpkins. There’s a contest for next year too, so if you’ve got a great one at your house, submit the bugger! (Look for the link on the sidebar on the above link.)

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Congratulations, St. Louis

All in the same week, you won the World Series and were named "The Most Dangerous City in the U.S."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Buzz word

This is a discomforting site, even though buzzards (a.k.a. vultures, in this case it's "turkey buzzard") are very beneficial to our ecosystem as it's their job to get rid of the dead stuff that nobody else wants to touch. Discomforting because something is obviously dead back there.

This is a visitor that we had perching on our purple martin houses (click to enlarge, as always), and he was eyeballing something back there in the alley but we never found it. I guess he did his job right.

Another bird visitor that we've had, either a merlin or peregrine falcon, has managed to scare away (or kill) most of our regular birds! Here it is, Central Texas in Fall, this area is like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds', and we don't even have our grackles anymore.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

James Hunter at Waterloo


This is James Hunter at Waterloo Records yesterday. If you're not familiar with James Hunter, you can have a listen on his website or his MySpace. His sound is very retro, he's very much in the vein of Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Van Morrison (who is apparently a fan of his now), really in that soul groove of the sixties. He's very up-and-coming, destined to be really popular I think. He definitely connects with his audience -- looks right at you and talks to you, also he's a laugh-riot, and the fact that he's British just puts the topper on it. Practically irresistable. I felt bad for not buying his CD, especially with the autograph opportunity, but we are still trying to not spend money after the recent home improvements nearly wiped us out (not to mention the Stones tickets, ACL, yada yada yada). Anyway it was a great little acoustic set. For some reason he wanted to perform down on the floor instead on on the stage behind him there, so front row nuts like me were the only ones who could actually see him, but he sounded great, and there is free beer available during the shows there (microbrew!!).

Since we were in the record store, we had to price Exile on Main Street, since our copy has apparently been lost in the seat cushions or something (who knows where that thing is?). Located the one copy of it in the bin, and decided maybe we would put that on our list to buy soon, stating "I doubt it will be gone THAT quickly". About a minute later, a guy all in a rush walks up to us, and since we are perusing his desired bin, says "Is Exile on Main Street in there?" Yes it is, we reply, and hand it to him. Gone, just like that.

Weird.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Drinking Songs

Part of watching the baseball games is being subjected to some very "interesting" renditions of the Star Spangled Banner, and ever since 9/11 it's always God Bless America during the 7th inning stretch. Both songs are hard to sing, even God Bless America, which is easier, has that big finish opportunity that most people just don't handle well. And the daughter of Red Schoendienst singing? How about if I do it? Nothing against her, but had she had any singing experience beyond some loud karaoke?

Before 9/11, I think most of the games featured a version of Take Me Out to the Ball Game, although in St. Louis they would add the "Budweiser" song (that polka beat ditty that you are hearing when the Clydesdales are prancing around in the park). Those are both catchy ditties, fun to sing or dance to (respectively) and appropriate for the occasion. I would also strongly recommend both of these original ditties by a band called 7 Seconds of Love (that's a GREAT band name). The first one (and these are links for watching the videos) is called "I love your pants", and how perfect for a sports event, as Seinfeld pointed out in a routine, we are really just rooting for the clothes. The next one is called "First drink of the day", and although the 7th inning of a baseball game is generally not the time when most people are having their first drink of the day, for many it merely represents last call before the game is over and they move on to the next drinking establishment. Oh come on!! Look at the sponsors! Especially in St. Louis -- it's the home of Anheuser-Busch, and although that corporation doesn't own the team anymore, the experience is still (to a great degree) all about the beer... and not even very good beer in my very humble and unimportant opinion.
EDIT: I just found out the the station in STL that now carries the games, KTRS, has a show called Busch Beer Chat from 10-11 a.m. Sunday mornings. I rest my case. (not saying I've never had a beer that early on Sunday morning... nope, not sayin' that... heh heh.)

I say let's lighten up and bring back the fun songs, abolish that God Bless America tradition. Check out more of these hilarious and fun videos on Rathergood.
...and don't drink and drive... please.

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Friday Cat - Advice from Jax


Jax would like to remind everyone to keep your kitties inside for Halloween, especially black kitties. Looking at Jax also serves as a reminder that if you eat too much candy, you will get too big to fit in your favorite lounge chair.

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Straight ticket peril

Just a reminder for local Austin folks now that early voting has begun. A straight party ticket vote will not give your candidate a vote, you have to specifically vote for Lloyd Doggett or whoever you've chosen in district 21 and 25. No conspiracy or foul play here, just a typical SNAFU (Tom Delay's mess is not quite cleaned up).

From the Statesman [LINK to full story]: Candidates in Austin's 21st and 25th congressional districts are working overtime to educate constituents about a twist on the Nov. 7 special election ballot that could cost them votes.

In those districts, even if a voter selects straight-party ticket for the rest of the statewide races, he or she still has to check a box specifically to select a candidate for the U.S. congressional race. If no box is checked in that race, the ballot won't register a vote for any congressional candidate.

Austin Chronicle [LINK to full story]: Straight-ticket voting may be a convenient way to declare your party loyalty in the voting booth, but beware: In the Nov. 7 election, pressing the straight-ticket button could damage your favorite party.

As with so much more that is screwed up with democracy in Texas, you can thank Tom DeLay. In August, portions of the congressional redistricting that he forced upon Lone Star voters was found unconstitutional, necessitating that five districts be redrawn yet again, including two in Travis, districts 25 and 21. That in turn invalidated the spring primaries in those races, forcing special elections in which multiple candidates of a political party may run. As District 25 incumbent Lloyd Doggett points out in a letter in today's "Postmarks" section, that means straight-party votes don't apply in those particular races – i.e., if you live in District 25 and press the "Straight Democrat" button, no vote will be recorded for Doggett, or anyone else in that race. Voters must go directly to that race on the ballot and select a specific candidate. Other races on the ballot are unaffected by this situation.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Aftermath

The doors were supposed to be at 3:00 (ended up being at 4:00) for the show at Zilker Park, and mostly general admission, so people showed up earlier for line sitting than they normally would have (being as it was a Rolling Stones show, the biggest rock and roll production in the world, and not just one of our local bands). Normally people here just show up when the gig starts, so early birds like me can invest an extra hour and get a stageside spot, front and center.

I was the 4th person there on Sunday, the first one being an over-nighter who came over from Japan for the 2 Texas shows and had spend the night in the park. Really nice fellow (you get acquainted with people while line-sitting). My friend arrived soon after I did, and Mr. Blueberry in a few hours. It was cold if you're used to Central Texas - in the 50s in the morning with a strong wind blowing.

Didn't know how they would have the line set up and turns out, there was no "line". For some reason, instead of lining us up in turnstiles (which were already assembled) they chose to allow a huge throng to assemble pressed against a barricade some 20 yards from the entry turnstiles. (Who brought the brain?)

At 4:00 pm the guy with the bullhorn told us that when they took the barricade sections apart, that we were not to go anywhere until one of the yellow jacketed security turned it sideways They also laid out some BS about not running and proceeding to the frisking lanes in an orderly fashion. Not gonna happen, dude. It was a combination of the starting gates at the Kentucky Derby and the bucking bronco pens at the rodeo. When the sections were turned we on the front line all went like bats out of hell!!

Here's where it all turned into the great land grab where only the fittest survive. We put Mr. B in front since he was the fittest of the 3 of us and nobody was to stop and wait for anyone! The run was about a quarter of a mile from the gates to the stage, and I was totally huffing and puffing after a few sprints. I don't run. I've never run, even in high school I could barely make it around the track. I can stand or walk for hours, but running doesn't happen.

Luckily Mr. B got a great spot on the front row on the right side middle and I joined him there. My friend decided to stay a bit back since she was next to the passage of conveyor-driven b-stage that goes down the center. Here's a pic from the paper (links for more at bottom) of the luckies who grabbed my first choice of spots. Notice that they are not in their 50s. Not complaining though - we got a front row for the Rolling Stones! (It's my second time for that, the first time was in 1969)

The on-stage seating (for ~$650) is in the towers, see the little people sitting in there?

The show was absolutely fantastic. There is no show on earth like the Stones. I would nominate them to be a candidate for Replacement Wonders of the World. (I know... they won't be around forever... but neither were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Colossus of Rhodes!). I actually got some pictures, and Mick's brother Chris Jagger was in town for a film festival and will be producing a DVD of the show. We will be in it, I'm pretty sure.

Quite a few people had to be hauled out of the crowd over the front fence by security - some for behavior problems, some for medical, some a little of both I imagine! It was so sad - several of them were older ladies in their Rolling Stones t-shirts - looking very ill, and sad too I'm sure - that they went through the whole ordeal of the line (not to mention the $100 ticket) and stampeding like a herd of buffalo to the stage only to have to miss the show!

I like this backlit picture I took of Keef.

While they were playing, some group of VIPs came down and stood right in front of us in the photo pit - generally partying and looking permanent. The guy on my left finally asked them how they were able to be standing there, and after a couple of wisecracks like "we paid $75,000 for this special package yada yada" he said that they were the people who put on the ACL Festival (and he could have added "Lollapalooza, and the Stones show you're watching now"). It was the Charlies (Attal, Jones et al, Capital Sports, etc.)

Oh... okaaay.

Then the woman who was on our right (not knowing who they were or caring) got the attention of one of them and said "I'm in a wheelchair and you're blocking my view. Are you going to stand there for the whole show?" heh heh... Actually that worked out very well, because they not only moved out of our way but they made sure she was doing fine for the rest of the night - even brought her a handful of Stones guitar picks!

My friend did not have a very good time. The guy next to her, after boring her with drunken tales of family problems, peed on her shoes-- not once, but twice! Also the b-stage was too high to able to see very well as it went by, so it was all disappointing for her.


Awesome Texan sax player Bobby Keys there on the far right. He's been with the band for about 38 years, give or take...

Not disappointing for us though... an awesome night... no more serious consequences than a rowdy rude woman spilling beer on us, and a helluva sunburn/windburn left as a reminder. Waiting for that DVD.

LINK: Austin American Stateman newspaper coverage and gallery

EDIT: Here's the setlist:
Rolling Stones Austin Setlist 10/22

You Got Me Rocking
Let's Spend The Night Together
She's So Cold
Oh No Not You Again
Sway
Bob Wills Is Still The King
Streets Of Love
Ain't Too Proud To Beg
Bitch
Tumblin' Dice
Learning The Game
Little T&A
Under My Thumb (to b-stage)
Get Off My Cloud
Start Me Up
Honky Tonk Woman (from b-stage)
Sympathy For The Devil
Jumpin' Jack Flash
Satisfaction
You Can't Always Get What You Want
Brown Sugar

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Exile in Zilker Park

Tomorrow is the big day for the Rolling Stones' Bigger Bang tour stop in Austin! I am pretty excited, really. Yesterday we went over to Zilker Park to see the progress they were making on the stage construction. Above is the rather boring picture of it taken from the back. Tomorrow it will be transformed into the monster you see below, taken somewhere last year. (click to enlarge)

Wow! Set the park on fire!!
I will be away from the computer all day tomorrow, sitting in line like a nut. Oh well. It IS the Rolling Stones... AND it's general admission. There will be a couple of after-shows (at Antone's and the Continental Club) that are likely to have one or more of the visiting royalty in attendance, but for me those will not happen - they will be overcrowded, too $$$ or both. Ian McLagan will be opening, which I am tickled about. Los Lonely Boys are also opening. I wish it was just Mac and not Los Boys, actually.

My jobs are going to be hitting me pretty hard for a couple of weeks, so I will post as often as I can, but probably not as much as I'd like.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

I vant to drink your blah!


A birthday coincidence today: Bela Lugosi (1882), the horror actor who ended up doing Ed Wood movies during a career spiral (and died during the filming of a movie considered by many to be the worst movie ever made: Plan 9 From Outer Space), and Martin Landau (1934), the actor who portrayed him wonderfully doing that very thing (and won an Oscar) in the movie Ed Wood. (1994).

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Friday Cat - All About Duncan

I'm Duncan and I just had my 11th birthday!* I am a lucky cat who was never an alley cat. My real mom and family got rescued from the pound in the Missouri Ozarks and I went straight into a no-kill shelter where my new adopted mom used to feed me and pet me. I was the last one in the litter still without a new mom, and I found out that Henry, my fake brother, needed some company -- and keeping somebody company is what I'm good at. I talk loud and play a lot, I don't sleep much, and I purrrrr LOUD. I hate being alone, but I always have Henry or the human pets.

My name means "a dark one" or something like that. I'm named after Duncan Gibbons, the British director who died in a California apartment fire while saving his cat's life. Some people think that was a silly thing to do, but I don't. The ASPCA gives out a Duncan Gibbons Award for Heroism.

My nicknames are Dunkin Donut, Ralph Wiggum, and Poopinator. I don't know what those mean. hee hee hee. Gibbons is my middle name, I think it means monkeys. Monkeys are funny.

*Mom is so dumb. She thought it was my 10th birthday but I already had that one last year. Sheesh!

Can't get enough cats? Our local newspaper is collecting pictures of local cats into a slideshow which you can enjoy here. It keeps growing, and of course it's a total cutefest. Of course I'm in it but you've already seen ME!

:::: ---> Alex nudging Duncan out of the way... not easy to do! But Alex is the only one of the boys here who was actually born in St. Louis, and he is all ready for the World Series. TIGERS? He ain't scared of no Tigers, but he oughta be.

EDIT: Alex fixed up his chin hair in honor of this guy.

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

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Is beta betta?

Well, I'm converted... or at least this blog is now converted to Blogger Beta. Normally I avoid anything that has the word "beta" in the name except for beta-carotene, but in this case I was just tired of this blog disappearing. I don't know what's more discomforting: the "page not found" screen or just the plain blank white window. Haven't browsed all the features yet, but it's nice to be able to assign labels (such a basic feature!). It's something I really wanted to do right from the start. Now if I really want it to be functional I need to go back and label... oh... close to 600 posts.... yawn.

Oh yeah, and logging in now can be pretty flaky. Sometimes it wants my blogger name and sometimes my email address, and I've been told I couldn't leave comments on a non-blogger-beta blog. The nerve! Then it let me do it after re-logging in.

Well, as they say, "don't let the beta bugs bite", or something like that.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

...and in the darkness bind them.

Well, the wingnuts just keeping coming up with new justifications for keeping the war(s) going on. Rick Santorum likens the war in Iraq to Aragorn's attack on Mordor which detracted the Eye of Sauron from Frodo and Sam heading to Mount Doom to destroy the Ring.

His analogy and link to complete article:
Embattled U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said America has avoided a second terrorist attack for five years because the “Eye of Mordor” has been drawn to Iraq instead. Santorum used the analogy from one of his favorite books, J.R.R. Tolkien's 1950s fantasy classic “Lord of the Rings,” to put an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq into terms any school kid could easily understand.

“As the hobbits are going up Mount Doom, the Eye of Mordor is being drawn somewhere else,” Santorum said, describing the tool the evil Lord Sauron used in search of the magical ring that would consolidate his power over Middle-earth.

“It's being drawn to Iraq and it's not being drawn to the U.S.,” Santorum continued. “You know what? I want to keep it on Iraq. I don't want the Eye to come back here to the United States.”

Soooo... as long as we keep a war going somewhere it won't come here? That's what he gets out of The Lord of the Rings? That's just another way of saying "WAR IS PEACE". Try Orwell, not Tolkien.

A) The battle he refers to was an absolute lost cause had Sauron's power not been taken away by the just-in-time action of the hobbits. It was not something that could just be dragged out indefinitely.

B) Think about Sauron and his great centralized power, armies, intelligence, greed, world-domination aspirations, lack of concern for the environment... if I'm looking for an analogy it's more like Bush/Cheney and the PNACs.

C) A better analogy to Frodo and Sam are the handful of men with boxcutters causing great destruction within this land, starting a chain-reaction that has been crumbling our society and chipping away at our freedoms. The big difference is that Frodo and Sam, along with Aragorn, etc. were good guys, and it's pretty hard to pinpoint the good guys these days. It's not them (whoever they are) and it sure the hell ain't us.

Story found via This Modern World.
Bush Sauron image found at Professor Pan.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The pony with wings


Men, you may not want to go any further than looking at this hilarious picture of poor Ben Kweller when he got a bad nosebleed at the recent ACL Festival (a festival that I attended, but did not see this now famous performance), and plugged it up with a tampon that he got from an audience member.

The LINK goes to a site which is collecting euphemisms and even essay entries on that taboo feminine topic, "riding the cotton pony" (that was my grandma's favorite). The site is Seventh Generation, who would like to sell you some earth-friendly products, but have opened up this little area for user input. ("User input" is not one of the phrases.)

People will go to great lengths in order to say something without actually saying it.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

Just an old sap.

MichaelBains woke up on National Feral Cat Day to find out that feral is not just for cats anymore.

This is the "What Kind of Hippie Are You?" Test, and my first answer off the bat I would give to that would be "Old".

Treehugger

You are 36% experimental, 68% feral, 45% spiritual, and 20% square!

Good for you! You're a Treehugger! Passionate about the forests, and your primitive self, you are at home in the wild, and dislike the city. You are passionate about the protection of our wild places, and are willing to make a lot of noise to protect them.

The hippie world needs you because you are the first line of defense against the ecological destruction caused by humanity.

If you believe that opposites attract, you probably find yourself around Mystics. If you are more inclined to enjoy the company of those with similar attitudes, then other Treehuggers, as well as the Alternate, Feral, and Neopagan are for you.

The other categories are Faerie-child, Raver, Full-blown Hippie and of course, the Non-hippie


Link: The what kind of hippie are you Test written by pragmaticdreams on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Word for the Day

We were headed into the grocery store today. The sky was filled with very dark rain clouds, we'd seen sprinkles, and the humidity must have been 100%. Rain. Coming our way. Soon.

I asked my husband, "Shouldn't we take the umbrella?"

His reply was "My man-sense tells me not to."

Man-sense

OK, wanting definitions of this, and wondering if it can be used interchangeably with "nonsense".

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I dog... I mean... I do...

They say this is recommended for Bachelorette parties. This would illustrate some basic gender differences in males and females, and what their pre-marital parties are generally like. Can you imagine this gal at a Bachelor party? (assuming it is a gal, could be a dog in drag).

My advice to this bride is "Use the veil, honey. That's what it's there for."

[Buy one]

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October 14th, a post in two parts

It will always be hard to forget that October 14th (1946) is the birthday of Justin Hayward, blond lead singer, songwriter and guitarist for the Moody Blues. I rather flipped out over this band back in the 90s after I watched that PBS concert, A Night at Red Rocks, and realized that this old treasure-trove from the 60s was not only still around but making the same music and actively touring! I had just gotten through some really tough times - my mother's long terminal illness was over and I had gotten my bachelor's degree finally after years of doing night classes while working full time (and overtime) (nothing like a getting your degree at 40!) - I had extra cash and was entering full-fledged middle-age crazy so I hooked up with other Moody Maniacs and hit the road a bit. I couldn't quite afford overseas travel but I did visit many exotic places like Santa Barbara, Las Vegas, Cape Cod, Milwaukee, Nashville, Greenville (SC), Moline, Chicago, Chattanooga, Louisville, Merrillville (IN), and Kalamazoo. There is nothing like Kalamazoo Michigan in February, let me tell you! And what they say about Chicago in winter is absolutely true. I have never been that cold in the blasting wind.

The new millenium brought some big changes to my life, I moved to Austin, have no more travelling money, got over the Moodymania and Justin, and am enjoying the rich diversity of music that I can experience here, played live, as well as the opportunity to get involved in supporting it. The Moodies still get an occasional spin in the player, but I knew I had moved on last year when we were visiting Houston for the Lord of the Rings Museum Exhibition, the band was playing in town that night, I didn't know about it in advance, and didn't really care to stay over for it.

October 14th also marks the anniversary of Chuck Yeager's legendary flight that first broke the "sound barrier" in 1947. When I was a kid, a was a real nut about the Mercury space program, the astronauts -- absolutely enamored with anything to do with going into space. I didn't really know much about Chuck Yeager until much later when I read the book "The Right Stuff" (as good as the movie is, I still like the book better). Yeager just may have been the best test pilot who ever lived. Hope you can pardon the ramblings of this Air Force kid who grew up with the sonic boom being a regular and common event. Yeager is still out there -- an accomplishment in itself for all that he went through not only testing airplanes but WWII, being shot down, and escaping on foot, nearly getting his face burned off ejecting from a Lockheed Starfighter -- a real larger-than-life guy. It's not about America, or war, or politics or world-domination. It's just about pure balls of steel.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

I love this Country

I heard Austin musician Jesse Dayton live on the radio today. First time I'd heard him -- pretty good if you like country music -- and I do (and I have to add that I'm not talking about that Nashvegas crap, I mean the real thing). I liked his politics too, he made a plug for Chris Bell for guv over Kinky.

Weirdly enough, one of his songs was picked for the soundtrack for Rob Zombie's B-grade horror movie, "The Devil's Rejects". For some reason, hard-core country music frightens people, but so does the lighthearted harmless stuff. Juxtaposition of brain-eating maniacs with Three Dog Night. Go figure.

The song they picked for the movie was this one, and is this a great country song title, or what?

I'm At Home Getting Hammered (While She's Out Getting Nailed)

Some more great titles from the Bango & Sullivan album:

Dick Soup
I Don't Give A Truck
I'm Trying To Quit, But I Just Quit Trying
Lord, Don't Let Me Die In A Cheap Motel


That last one reminds me of something Billy Joe Shaver said in an interview on NPR's Fresh Air (he has a heart condition but keeps on playing gigs):
"Oh Lord, I don't want to die in Pflugerville"

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Friday Cat - Alex gets mellow


Here's Alex posing on the new quilt set, as long as he's close to mom or mom's pillow he's fine. Alex just went for a checkup and shots today so we will find out soon if he has any new developing health problems. He was diagnosed about a year ago with Inflammatory Bowel Disease so he's on a constant regimen of pills, prednisone and such. He's lost a half-pound in the last few months, so he's down to 7.5 lbs. (a year ago he was down to 7 lbs. when he got his IBD sorted out, then gained up to 8, but it's going to be a roller coaster on the scales I guess) -- just a little old skinny man, he is, and having a rough time but getting lots of love. Our little Super(cat)model.

Here is Duncan, wanting to take a peek at the "House of the (mostly) black cats" since he lives in the House of half black cats and half cats of other colors. He's always the one to give a big HOWDY!

- Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at House of the (Mostly) Black Cats on Sunday - - -

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Longest Fiscal Year - Ever.

[Linkage to the presidentially approved page, including video]
This morning my administration released the budget numbers for fiscal 2006. These budget numbers are not just estimates; these are the actual results for the fiscal year that ended February the 30th. [sic]

His dad, GHW Bush made a slipup nearly that bad when speaking before the American Legion, he referred to September 7th as "a day that will live in infamy" instead of December 7th, and pokes fun at himself for it here. I remember thinking how hilarious that one was, but then today I found this article on GHW saying that September 7, 1944 was the day his torpedo bomber took a solid hit and he had to be fished out of the water a couple of hours later. I can see why that date might have been infamously significant to him.

Like father, like son? Maybe not so much.

Found via Brad DeLong

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Well, the resemblance is uncanny!


BizarroWorld
[LINK] The nerve of those Apple people! Making their store look just like this boxy mosque in Mecca! Now there's another bunch of offended Muslims who will be trying to destroy Apple Computer. They can have my Mac when they pry it out of my cold, dead hands... and it looks like that could happen.

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Time to vote!

Time to vote in the 2006 Annual Dilbert Weasel Awards Poll!

weasel n: any person or group that operates in that vast gray area between good ethical behavior and the sort of activities that might send you to jail.
--Scott Adams


Some new options on the list of choices this year, but it still must be hard to narrow them down. Poor weasels (of the following variety)!
weasel n: a long-tailed carnivorous mammal.
--Webster’s


Having to endure being compared to the likes of Ann Coulter!

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bug blog


Really cool-looking praying mantis walking downwards on the gate. His triangular head was swiveling around to look at me and the scary camera. Nothing to worry about, little dude.

James McMurtry's got a new Bush-buster


And man... is it a goodern! He's offering the song as a free download (links at end of this post), and has posted the lyrics on his MySpace blog. Here they are:

"God Bless America"
By James McMurtry

Look yonder comin', mercy me
Three wise men in a SUV
Corporate logo on the side
Air-conditioned quiet ride

That thing don't run on french fry grease
That thing don't run on love and peace
Takes gasoline make that thing go
Now bring your hands up nice and slow

Take us to the land of milk and honey
Sing and dance all night long
Whatcha gonna do with all that money
Whatcha gonna do when that money's all gone

Negotiation's just no fun
And it don't serve our interests none
Gonna turn up the heat till it comes to a boil
So we can go get that Arab oil

And we'll suck it all up through the barrel of a gun
Everyday's the end of days for some
Republicans don't cut and run
Tell me ain't you proud of what we've done

Take us to the land of milk and honey
Sing and dance all night long
Whatcha gonna do with all that money
Whatcha gonna do when that money's all gone

You keep talking that shit like I never heard
Hush, little President, don't say a word
When the rapture comes and the angels sing
God's gonna buy you a diamond ring

Take us to the land of milk and honey
Sing and dance all night long
Whatcha gonna do with all that money
Whatcha gonna do when that money's all gone


James is an Austin treasure (he's the son of Larry McMurtry, who wrote Lonesome Dove and the screenplay for Brokeback Mtn. if the last name sounds familiar) who just took home 2006 Americana Music Awards for best album and song (We Can't Make it Here, another intense political song). Go get 'em, James!!

LINKS
Download page for God Bless America
James McMurtry website
James on MySpace

TAGS
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Monday, October 09, 2006

Banning the book about book burning

[LINK] You know, they should just put this kid in a religious school instead of depriving everyone else of the opportunity to read something enlightening and thought-provoking. (duh. It's school. It's what is supposed to happen there.)
"It's just all kinds of filth," said Alton Verm, adding that he had not read "Fahrenheit 451." "The words don't need to be brought out in class. I want to get the book taken out of the class."

He looked through the book and found the following things wrong with the book: discussion of being drunk, smoking cigarettes, violence, "dirty talk," references to the Bible and using God's name in vain. He said the book's material goes against their religions beliefs. The Verms go to Grand Parkway Church in Porter.
"We went them to go after God," said Glen Jalowy Jr., Grand Parkway Church youth minister. "We encourage them that what you put in your mind and heart is what comes out."

Right now Fahrenheit 451 stands as being a book being considered for banning, and in the meantime, children with objections are given an alternate choice.

When I was about that age, we were Jehovah's Witnesses. That meant that I had to be excused from saluting the flag, from holiday or birthday celebrations, and from (should the need arise) being given blood or made to eat anything containing blood. It didn't mean that my mother could have the flag taken away, and the Christmas decorations taken down!

As far as the content, the Bible has a few "discussions of being drunk" in it too, and it contains as much violence as any book I can think of.

[snarky note: that's his daughter in the picture, not his wife]

Found via J-Walk

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Does Peace Have a Chance?

Tonight (Monday) at 8:00 pm there's a free screening of this movie, "Iraq For Sale". It's from director Robert Greenwald, who brought you Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, Outfoxed, and Uncovered. I have seen Outfoxed, which I HIGHLY recommend, and the Wal-Mart movie has been on my must-see list. Austin screening details for tonight's showing are here. It's at Cafe Mundi (and we will probably have to wait for another one if it rains, the screening will be outside and the inside of that place is small). Check the movie's website to find a screening near you.

Today is also the birthday of John Lennon, who was born in 1940. There is a film making the rounds now, The U.S. vs John Lennon. I have not seen it, and a couple of the reviews suggest that it is more recommended for the younger crowd, who will possibly learn a lot about John and some of the things he went through... whereas us older folks already know all about that stuff. Anyway, here it is, 2006, and there's still war to protest, still trying to Imagine what it would be like if humans could just get along.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Kitten sadness

It was a sad evening here. Mr. Blueberry discovered that there was a dead kitten in the backyard. It was smaller than the one pictured, with short hair this color (solid gray). I didn't know this kitten, I know several of them within a half-block by name. I don't know what happened to it, it didn't look injured. It may have been bitten by something (spider, scorpion, snake... who knows?), or maybe it had a disease or was poisoned.

We've been visited by a tortie from across the street and her new kitten, and I suspect that she had more than one. Cats really love our yard, it's dog-free, kid-free, and is chock full of birdies, butterflies and geckos (who never seem to get to grow very big). There are soooo many cats in a block radius or so - just count them taking a walk or a drive - one, two, three, four, five, six... all outdoors. At night coming home, we drive really slowly and count the "high-beams", the shining cat's eyes. So many people around here just seem to let their cats go completely untended, no spay/neuter, no vaccinations, no flea remedies, walking around with injuries, hanging out down in the storm sewer with snakes, garbage and broken beer bottles.

The tortie was a replacement cat for a kitten that went missing about 2 years ago, and now they've probably lost another kitten. Outdoor cats have a life expectancy of only 2-3 years, so I think that people must just not expect any more out of them. It goes missing, it's easy to replace. The people right next door have an unspayed female who has given birth to 8 kittens this year -- 2 of which I have featured here at Texas Oasis, Heart and Claw. There was a cat carrier sitting in their driveway today and I suspect they are going to give the mom and her new litter to someone - for all I know it's the kill shelter.

Anyway, I hope that this precious little sweetie will be missed by someone. It deserves at least that.

Who's your buddy?

Bring me the head of Kevin Smith!!

[LINK] Excerpt:
BAGHDAD: Iraqi Shiite residents of Baghdad's Sadr City expressed anger yesterday over a picture of a grinning Jesus they mistook for a Shiite holy figure that appeared in the area after a joint US-Iraqi operation. Residents found a picture of "Buddy Jesus" from the 1999 film "Dogma" posted in the streets, accompanied by a badly photocopied pamphlet bearing a crude approximation of a US military crest and outlining a US "plan" to subjugate the neighbourhood. "That picture abuses our Imam Mahdi and his holy character, and mocks our sacred figures," said resident Abu Riyam, apparently mistaking the satirical movie still of Jesus for one of Shiite Islam's historical imams, whose images adopt a Jesus-like iconography.

Found via Raw Story

EDIT 10/8: Jesus' General is on the job!!

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Friday, October 06, 2006

Willie - strong to the finish

Here's a funny received in a mass mailing from a favorite band of mine:
thank goodness willie nelson was caught with a bag of marijuana, if it was spinach, he'd be dead by now.

...not meaning that spinach itself is any laughing matter these days... or Willie getting busted either.

In Dog We Trust


I saw this posted on several blogs, so here's a mine-too.

Friday Cats - Office Space


Henry just likes to be close, and the keyboard tray is just perfect, especially with that soft body pillow also known as the wrist rest. This is where he sits - every day.

Here he is with his accomplice - Duncan - who is MISTER copy cat!

- Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Curiouser & Curiouser - - -

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Lost at the Alamo

The Alamo Drafthouse did a showing of the Season Premiere of Lost last night. The show is broadcast in HDTV so it works on the big screen, quality-wise. It was also fun to watch it with a theatre full of Losties.

The not-fun part of it is that some aspects of putting a TV show on the big screen don't work so well - like the commercials. Huge, obnoxious, and too loud, and of course there are lots of them. I know, I am spoiled. Most standard theatres play commercials as part of the "previews" so it's no more obnoxious than that except that they come every few minutes.

Also, before Lost they had Dancing With The Stars on. What a load of total crap! It's even worse than it looks like it will be on Entertainment Tonight, which is an off-the-scale load of crap itself. It's kind of like the old 60s variety shows but with less talent. Los Lonely Boys were playing on it, with a horn section and bank of cheezy dancing girls behind them. So Hullabaloo! Very weird for a band that used to play at Antone's and the Saxon Pub. Anyway, thumbs for the new season of Lost.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What a way to waste your life.

...completely absorbed and obsessed with hating people, because you think it's sanctioned in some old book. Westboro Baptist Church has been persuaded to call off their protest that they had scheduled at the funeral of the little Amish school girls. Yes, that's right. Apparently, the Governor of PA somehow sinned against their church (WBC) by no doubt saying something bad about it, and these murders were God's revenge for it. What persuaded them to call it off is a promise of an hour on the Mike Gallagher Show in exchange for not picketing their funeral(s) with their hate signs.

Here's the statement from their press release, available on their website or on Mike's:
NEWS RELEASE (OCT. 3)
WBC to picket funerals of Pennsylvania school girls killed by a mad man in punishment for Gov. Ed Rendell's blasphemous sins against WBC - in religious protest and warning: "He suffered no man to do them wrong; yea, he reproved kings for their sakes; Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." Psa. 105:14-15. &'For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge (avenge) his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Heb. 10:30-31.

Gov. Ed Rendell - speaking and acting in his official capacity to bind the State of Pennsylvania - slandered and mocked and ridiculed and condemned Westboro Baptist Church on national Fox TV. Rendell also revealed a conspiracy to employ the State's police powers to destroy WBC in order to silence WJ3C's Gospel message. Co-conspirators identified by Rendell included state officials, citizens, lawyers, legislators and media.

Above Picket Cancelled, In consideration for having WBC's representative on the Mike Gallagher Show from 10 to 11 a.m., Thursday, October 5, WBC has cancelled the above picket.

I spent some time just wading through the garbage on their various websites, god hates fags, god hates america, god hates sweden, god hates canada (for cripes sake!), god want to blow you up, looking at the kind of crap they are teaching their own kids, little kids about the same age as those girls.

I wonder if Homeland Security is as concerned about these people as it is about people who demonstrate for animal causes? Actually, I doubt it, because these hate demonstrations do not diminish anyone's corporate profits.

Also, I guess God will be gunning for me now in all His Vengefulness. I'm not afraid of him though. Got over that one real good.

- - - - - - Carnival of the Godless is at The Greenbelt -

Monday, October 02, 2006

Why do they hate our freedom?

I didn't even realize that this thing was about to go down until it already done went on Friday night. The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) just passed unanimously in the Senate. It's an expansion of the existing Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992. Here are some talking points and general info taken from the Stop AETA website:
AETA labels the tactics of Martin Luther King and Gandhi as “terrorism.” It spells out penalties for “an offense involving exclusively a nonviolent physical obstruction of an animal enterprise or a business having a connection to, or relationship with, an animal enterprise, that may result in loss of profits but does not result in bodily injury….” In other words any act that causes a loss of profits to animal-exploiting industries (like a reduction in meat consumption) can be treated as terrorism.

AETA risks the prosecution of undercover investigators, whistle-blowers and other activists as “terrorists.” It defines economic damage” as including “the loss of profits.” The extremely vague and broad sweeping language puts all animal advocates at risk. Causing the loss of profits is NOT terrorism. It’s effective activism. And even activists that are not prosecuted under the law will be affected by the extreme rhetoric.

AETA is unnecessary. There are already laws to protect industries against illegal actions, regardless of who commits the acts.

All Americans should be concerned about this gross infringement on the first amendment. The term terrorism should not be used against peaceful social justice advocacy. Who will be next?


People like those pictured would not be considered terrorists unless their protests had the effect of diminishing the profits of the Animal Enterprise... and isn't that the whole idea of a protest or formal boycott of something?

You might not even care about animal rights, factory farming, the fur industry, lab animals, or any of that stuff... might think those animal rights people are a bunch of wackos... but I have to ask... what's next? Are they going to label you a terrorist for exercising your right of free speech against ANY corporation? And whistleblowing? That will be a thing of the past. This is an example of Corporatism at its worst, Corporatism that is closely related to Fascism. This is a major step in that direction.

What an ugly trend we've got going here - not only taking away the rights of people who are suspected of being terrorists, but expanding the definition of "terrorist" to include people who have spoken out against or boycotted some some Corporate product with a certain amount of success.

Ugly, and getting uglier by the minute.

Links on this topic:
ACLU - Fur Commission - Lots of coverage on Green is the New Red -
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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Money Pit


Here's the view we have out the back door right now, and we're lucky to have that! We've been having the house painted, so the painter has had the windows masked off with plastic coverings. We've been going stir-crazy, because now that the weather has been a bit cooler (temps in the 90s or even 80s with really pleasant nights) we can't even look out the windows, much less open them.

The painter has told us that our anti-war sign in the window draws a lot of attention from passers-by, and I pointed out that, sadly, we've had it up there for quite a long time. Our neighborhood is pretty mixed, about half-and-half liberal/conservative. One way to guage it is by looking at the relatively recent vote on the gay marraige amendment, and our area voted AGAINST banning gay marraige. I think that's a good barometer, considering how the rest of Texas went.

He also assured us that with our new colors we are soon to have the hippest, most modern-looking house on the block, hands down. Well, that's important, isn't it? ;-) Certainly high on my list of priorities (uhh...not really). Actually, I just wanted to get the rotten wood replaced and get rid of the "country blue".

Look at this really cool assassin bug! He's walking upside-down on the masking paper covering the gutter. Such a cool-looking bug!