Thursday, February 28, 2008

Purrsday Night - Resting up for Leap Day

Henry needs some rest after this extra-long February.

Tags and links: Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Grace and Kittens on Sunday - -

The answer is...

The video at the link below (in black) is from the weekly cable access show put on by the Atheist Community of Austin. It's a call-in forum. Interesting discussion with a surprise ending... or at least a twist at the end.


Atheism: Raw and Uncut A phone-in discussion on knowledge and atheism. Great resolution by the caller at the end of the clip.

R.I.P. Buddy Miles

Down by the River. A Neil Young cover, but I always loved his version of it.

Click here for "Them Changes" performed live with Jimi and the Band of Gypsys.
[LINK] Band of Gypsys' cofounder, who also played with David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Carlos Santana, and George Clinton, passes away at 60. [...] Buddy Miles, who cofounded and played drums in Band of Gypsys with Jimi Hendrix, passed away yesterday at his home in Austin, Texas. He was 60, and a cause of death has yet to be announced.


Buddy Miles website

Tags: - - - - -

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

There's a buzz in the air!

Well, it's not as though these penguins ever looked at home there, but on Monday it got up past 90 degrees so it brought out the night chirpers (cicadas I guess, crickets maybe? it must be time for mosquitoes too, but haven't had my first bite yet). It has since cooled down rapidly (60s and 70s), so that makes it even more Springy. MrB is trying to grow some vegetables out in the backyard, and the little sprouts are about an inch high now. Part of the fun of it being garden-shopping time is getting to go to The Natural Gardener, where these birds are at home (that link provides an appropriate sound effect, so watch your volume controls). It's a great place to just wander around.

We are still in the political spotlight here, and will be for another week. We went to see Obama downtown last Friday (a gathering of 20,000 to 30,000 -- depending on who you ask), he was in San Marcos today, and he is back in Austin tomorrow morning. I couldn't go to those. Bill Clinton was at UT today. I will be happy to go and see him again when this whole boxing match is over. I also missed seeing Caroline Kennedy speaking at a small venue, just didn't find out about it in time. We have visited a couple of Obama HQ locations looking for merch, and it is scant!! On second try I got some freshly-printed bumper stickers, but yard signs are not to be found. I resorted to making my own (the campaign volunteer suggested that it might be less likely to be stolen, and I have to agree). MrB suggested that we buy one off the website, so even he is not wild about this funky sign. Hey, it could be a lot worse. Here's our view of the Friday rally:
If you are turned off by that or just sick of the whole business, I feel your pain, so as a consolation here are a couple of little sweeties we saw at DaVine. Their "mom" said that they are two different breeds but you couldn't prove it by me. What's not to love?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Stupid crime of the week

[LINK] A woman was trying to cross a barrier set up by the Secret Service in preparation for Barack Obama's Friday evening appearance. She was told that she could not enter the secured area, and replied to the agent "You're going to have to arrest me." During the arrest, she threw a plastic bowl of egg salad at his face.

She now faces 10 years in prison if convicted. Assault on a public servant is a felony. Watch the scuffle here.

Addendum afternoon: as if this story wasn't weird enough on its own, Fox News has retold it, calling the woman an "Obama fan." They made that part up.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscars

[Oscar Nominee list] I love watching the Oscars. Seriously. The other awards shows tend to bore me, even if they are movie-related. This year's ceremony itself could have been more interesting, and maybe this is because the writer's strike cut deeply into the creative time needed, but I think it would be better to maybe hand out a couple fewer ones during the televised part, and let the artists speak a little longer. I know that 3/4 of them might drone on and on but then others provide some real memorable highlights (the ones from past events that they kept showing).

Not to discount the other creative achievements, but acting is such a fascinating talent to have. It's hard to imagine how these people (method actors) become possessed by those extraordinary characters, and are then able to store away that "person" inside in order to become "themselves" again. It's especially hard to imagine when the character is so deeply disturbed.

Daniel Day-Lewis... good grief, he is unbelievable!! They say that when he plays a role, he pretty much stays in character all the time until it's finished. He has played a couple of the scariest characters I've ever seen: Daniel Plainview (that he just won the Oscar for) and The Butcher in Gangs of New York. That character and the most recent one seemed to be somewhat similar to me, at least in temperament. This one was possibly even more psychopathic. An even more frightening character than that one was the one Javier Bardem played (Anton Chigurh) and won the Best Supporting Actor for it. So many great performances, and I've been meaning to mention this one:

Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose. I remember Edith Piaf being on the Ed Sullivan show, and I really couldn't have cared less about seeing her then. I was too young for her and didn't care for that style of music. But don't miss this performance for those reasons. It is worth seeing. Marion was amazing, and Edith Piaf was a fascinating character who lived during my lifetime but I knew nothing about.

Obligatory snark: Original songs... I loved the winner from the movie "Once", but those 3 songs from the movie Enchanted were, in my opinion, dreadful! Luckily they were also forgettable. I think I am probably out of sync with the general public here. So what's new?

Haven't seen all the nominees yet. The thing that makes me hesitate to see Juno is the fact that it's been hailed as the "feel good movie of the year". Something about that phrase makes me want to see just about anything else. Besides, I've already been exposed to a spoiler on the ending. grrrr. We will rent it.

And bravo to the films we've seen lately that do not have neatly packaged Hollywood endings, that choose instead to make you think and discuss. Now that No Country for Old Men has won Best Picture, I'm hoping this becomes a trend.

Lost a... er... cat?



...a flyer that's been making the rounds.

;-)

[link]

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Begging for captions

I ran across a great gallery of campaign trail photos over at the Chicago Tribune. There are nearly a hundred pro shots including plenty of really funny ones. How about some captions?

1) I'm going to -HUCK- you up. (SNL ref)

2) Look! The candidates are getting along! At least their wax replicas are. (note: those really are wax dummies)

3) Here's why you don't really want homemade signs at your photo ops. This one could be called "Mac and Cheese"?

4) Got any change in your pocket?

5) Barack Attack!

OK, your turn.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Fine Points

I was undecided after Kucinich dropped out. I was for him because his views on almost every issue matched mine nearly perfectly. Would he make a good President? I don't know. Maybe not. He's pretty fringe-y and doesn't really resonate with the majority of Americans.

Two things nudged me toward Obama. First, I think he can win the Presidential election and I don't believe that Hillary can. That's the top reason.

If she thinks that words are empty and powerless, she has written off right-wing media and the likes of Limbaugh. His theory is that if she's the nominee it will get the Republicans out in much greater numbers, to vote AGAINST her even if they aren't wild about voting FOR McCain. I agree with him, I think that will happen. Mark McKinnon, one of McCain's top advisors, has stated that he will resign from the campaign if Obama is the nominee, saying "... I met Barack Obama, I read his book, I like him a great deal. I disagree with him on very fundamental issues. But I think, as I said, I think it would be a great race for the country and I would simply be uncomfortable being in a campaign that would be inevitably attacking Barack Obama. I think it would be uncomfortable for me, and I think it would be bad for the McCain campaign."

[Blueberry: are we in the Twilight Zone? ]

EDIT Feb 23: And here's some more evidence that Hillary's nomination will envigorate the right-wing.

The other thing that nudged me toward Obama was the way Clinton has conducted her campaign, hammering away on petty things. Yes, it's true... Kirk Watson froze in the headlights as his mind went blank concerning Obama's record and Chris Matthews flattened him like an 18-wheeler... but that "all hat no cattle" type rhetoric that Hillary keeps flinging is not necessarily the honest truth. A blogger over at DailyKos actually dredged through the Library of Congress records and posted a factual account of who has done what and when: "I Refuse to Buy into the Obama Hype (now a supporter)."

The latest pettiness is the plagiarism accusation that she will not drop. It's true that a part of the two speeches were just alike. But while she's hammering on that one, she adopts a rally mantra of "Yes We Will." Then, in the debate last night after she says "lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in, it's change you can Xerox.", she finishes off with this:
“You know, whatever happens, we’re going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that we’ll be able to say the same thing about the American people. And that’s what this election should be about.”
Although it's not a Xerox, it's a mere rearrangement of sentences and a word here and there from a couple of John Edwards' speeches. In essence, it's the very same:
Edwards: “What’s not at stake are any of us. All of us are going to be just fine no matter what happens in this election. But what’s at stake is whether America is going to be fine.” - Democratic Debate, 12/13/07

Edwards: “I want to say this to everyone: with Elizabeth, with my family, with my friends, with all of you and all of your support, this son of a millworker’s gonna be just fine. Our job now is to make certain that America will be fine.” - Edwards Speech, 1/30/08
Usually I am not this political here on the blog, but with the candidates in town and all the excitement from that, it's been very rousing. I will settle down in a couple of days, or at least after the Primary/Caucus on March 4. That day can't come soon enough. If you are a Hillary supporter, please bear with me. This is not personal. I still love ya'...

... and I hope that Clinton and Edwards are correct. I hope that we will be fine, because it really America that's at stake. I don't want McCain in charge of that.

A Primary AND a Caucus

Yes, that's right, both kinds. It's weird and baffling, but here in Texas they have both, and this time around you have to do a Texas Two-Step if you care about the result of the election.

[Reference link] It's called a Precinct Convention, and when you vote early, they should ask you if you want to attend it. The process is different for each Party, and if you want to know all the details, click the provided link.

They do it after the polls close, and you will have to go to your own precinct. Early-voting election workers can tell you where yours is. The meeting time for Democrats is 7:15 pm.
Democrats: The Process
On the Democratic side, Texas has a total of 228 delegates, which will be chosen this way: 126 delegates will be chosen proportionately according to the primary vote, 67 delegates will be chosen by the caucus process, and 35 delegates will be "Super Delegates" -- members of Congress, DNC representatives, and the top two state party officials. The caucus process begins at the precinct conventions and is completed at the Texas Democratic State Convention, with delegates chosen from each state senatorial district based on the district's number of Democratic votes tallied in the 2006 race for governor and the 2004 vote for president. Travis County will choose a total of eight delegates on the Democratic side.

The bottom line for everyone is, if you want to have an impact, vote for your preference for president in the primary. For Democrats, if you want to have an even further impact on the race, attend your precinct convention and caucus for your choice.
...and THEN... there are the County and State Conventions:
Democrats: County & State Conventions
Travis County Democrats will meet Saturday, Mar. 29 at the Travis County Expo Center Arena. The Texas Democratic Party will meet June 6-7 in Austin at the Austin Convention Center.

Hector Nieto with the Texas Democratic Party, said obviously the party is expecting record turnout, since Texas may well decide the presidential contest on their side.
This is all new to us, since the last time around when a President was being elected, Kerry already had it pretty much sewn up so there was really no point in getting involved in the rest of the hubbub. This time, we've got a close race so these events could make a huge difference!

Furbaby Friday - sniff lick sniff lick pet pet snuggle yawn

Here is Jax starring in a recent video, which I call the "toe-sniffing cat". He sends a shout-out to the (mostly) black cats hosting the Carnival this week.

Tags and links: Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at House of the (Mostly) Black Cats - -

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

This Week At Texas Oasis

T.W.A.T.O.

I'm feeling better, recovering from the sinus hell, and able to appear in public without scaring people away or having to excuse myself from the room with a cough. Not really doing up the town though, preferring the expense of home cooking and a six-pack to the alternatives.

The weather has been great for porch sitting besides a few cloudy or damp spells, so we are loving that. Sunday we went to our new outdoor eatery, DaVine Foods over at Enchanted Forest on Oltorf. They have expanded their menu so the sign needs some new artwork. Really good stuff.

On Sunday morning, MrB and I went to the UU church, where both the service and the Community Forum featured topics on society and men. The service featured psychotherapist Patti Henry, author of “The Emotionally Unavailable Man”. MrB went to that but I opted for the Community Forum (where we both ended up) which featured “The Paradox of Pornography: A Path for Men to Understanding the Problem of Patriarchy” with Dr. Robert Jensen, School of Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. The focus of the talk was this: In the past two decades, pornography has become increasingly normalized and mainstream in U.S. culture, while at the same time the content of the material has become more and more overtly cruel and degrading to women. How do we explain this apparent paradox?. I always enjoy hearing Bob Jensen, he's locally known for being an activist pro-feminist, anti-war, and joining a Presbyterian Church while remaining an atheist! Yes, a troublemaker! The kind I like!

Monday evening we had an 8 minute window to run outside and catch a glimpse of the failing spy satellite as it soared overhead. Just a fast moving light in the sky, then it was out of view.

Today when I got home from the day job, there was a dead squirrel in the street in front of the house, so I buried him behind the back fence in the sunflower garden. That makes me sad. I love squirrels.

Today, I also took advantage of early voting. Such a great convenience, I love that. Tomorrow is the big CNN Debate!! We entered our names in the lottery drawing for the 100 seats they made available to the public -- along with 43,000 other people -- so of course we didn't get drawn for that, so we are going to the Obama Debate Screening at Scholz Bier Garten. Should be a hoot and of course, they serve tasty beverages.

Monday, February 18, 2008

How about Banana Cream Pies at 50 paces?

I really would like to see the Democrats start concentrating on their real opponent, the GOP, instead of wasting time throwing rocks at each other. Hillary's campaign people have made a big deal about an Obama speech that was very similar to a speech given by one of his supporters a couple of years ago.

But then look what she has taken as her new mantra! Hear it on the video. Yes We Will. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Actually it sounds a lot like neener neener neener to me. This is getting like some petty schoolyard hair-pulling scrap, and you know what? I don't even care who started it... it should stop. It's more important to keep McCain out of the White House than which one of these two good people get the top spot on the ticket. Keeping him out of there is the only chance there is that We Can or Will be able to do any of these things that we are hoping for.

Smells like victory

I just saw this stuff in the store yesterday. Yes, it's true... I don't get out shopping in the retail world that much. I had to wonder what it's supposed to smell like. I've seen claims such as sandalwood, leather, cardamom, amber, thyme, fir, and of course such mystical things as adrenaline and testosterone. Is that the same thing as carbon dioxide, oil, gasoline, war, lies, corporate greed, and complete disregard for the earth?

I'd rather smell like nuthin'.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Blue collar buyout

[News references] I was really sad to hear about the Automaker buyouts that are set to take place soon. The car companies have long been suffering under the weight of providing benefits, especially with rising health care costs, to current workers and retirees. They want to "buy out" as many workers as they can, offer early retirement or other incentives to voluntary termination/severence -- then replace the workers with a new generation who receive much lower pay and weaker benefits. This has been coming for many years.

I was hired on the GM assembly line back in 1976. It was a huge factory complex that was composed of Corvette, the truck line, and the passenger line which produced Impala and Caprice coupes, sedans and station wagons. That's the one I worked on (although I worked on the truck line for a couple weeks as a fill-in). Prior to being hired there, I had 2 years of studying Fine Art at the Community College under my belt, and discovered that I did not really have any job skills. Part of the Fine Art training was to avoid demeaning yourself by acquiring Commercial Art skills, and to never create Art that is not for Art's Sake... we were above that, thought we were on a higher plane... so after asking a couple of prospective employers "what's paste-up?" (and they were really uninterested in seeing my nude figure drawings in charcoal), I got a job bartending in a real low-class dive paying $15 cash for 9 hours of work daily. The place was not far from the GM plant, so I got acquainted with a couple of foremen, and one of them gave my job application the short-cut.

They were adding a night shift, so there were a couple thousand of us that started at the same time. We were getting our orientation, and after observing how slowly the workers moved and that it looked like they did their jobs with ease, I remarked to the Foreman "that doesn't look too hard." "HHGMFF", He snorted, "Oh yeah?" Well before I knew it, I was assigned to attaching windshield post mouldings... that piece of plastic that runs from the dash up to the roof. Once a minute I had to see look at the upcoming car and pull the right color stock, open the door, sit on the seat with my legs braced against the bottom edge of it for balance, snap the part in place (which by itself took all my strength, and required a couple of good hard whacks with my palm), then drive the screws in place with a heavy drill positioned over my head and at an angle.

I had to spend some time in the company clinic each day after my shift, sitting there with my swollen hands in ice. Other new workers were in there going through the same sort of thing. It wasn't just the hands... it was every inch of my body. Where it wasn't bruised or swelled up it was just plain sore. After about a week or so, the Foreman moved me to something that was slightly easier for me. I did quite a lot of different jobs in there, and they were mostly all really hard, although there is "light duty". Driving screws, throwing heavy things, swinging a mallet, shoving, crimping, squeezing, whacking, high noise levels, fumes from machines and forklifts, HOT (my work area got up to 125 deg. in summer) plus lots and lots and walking on the job and on your breaks. We worked our first 90 days without UAW protection, and during that time we got to see what it would be like to work in a place like that with no Union. Management used the time to weed out people they didn't like. They'd assign a 100 lb. woman the job of lifting something that weighed as much as she did, short people assigned to reach high, tall people made to work in cramped spaces, a minute late clocking in? you're gone. Too sick to work? same thing.

Most of us were unskilled workers who were finally fortunate enough to be given an opportunity to make a decent wage and have good benefits, so we were willing to work ourselves nearly to death if necessary to get through the 90 days, and then we were IN. We had certain rights then, such as requesting to be reassigned to a task within our capabilities. Under the Union umbrella it was all negotiation. They had the right to work us 9 hours a day and 3 out of 4 Saturdays. It was mandatory. In return we were paid for the overtime and they weren't allowed to work us more than that. We got used to the hard work, and before long we were pacing ourselves. We had rhythm. We could do the jobs in our sleep.

This job was life-changing. It enabled me to be able to purchase the tumbledown building I lived in, buy a new economy car, pay my bills, start taking classes again... classes that would help me start a career. I had been on my own for several years, but the job enabled me to become independant and able to take care of myself, and my mother as well. She needed all kinds of help which I could now help provide. It provided a bootstrap where I had none.

Lots of issues hit the auto industry and/or its workers: plants would be moved to right-to-work states (Union not required), then came the trend for moving plants out of the USA, automation increasingly replaced human jobs, the quality of the products was poor, health care and benefit costs kept rising.

We were laid-off during a company slump and eventually our plant closed. I was thrown back into the pit of minimum wage jobs with no benefits until I managed to get enough schooling to be hired for my skills, which took several more years.

I am sad because the prospect of being able to make a good honest living with steady wages and good benefits -- without having a college education, being an entrepreneur or entering the military -- seems to be gone. The Middle Class is shrinking and these workers were a big part of it. We've come to the end of an era in this country. I'm not a fan of trying to go backwards, I just want "progress" to mean good things for human beings who are trying to get by.

Here's a video that's part of a short film about a Plymouth assembly line in 1955. Things were actually still very much like this when I hired on. In 1976 our plant, which was not really state-of-the-art, had some robots but they had only a few functions, mainly in welding. They had just changed the policies regarding women as well, to respond to demands for equal rights. Previously, women were given easier jobs, got longer breaks, and there may have been pay discrepancies (not 100% sure about that one), but when they brought us in, all those things were done away with -- which was a good thing. This is part 6 of a series:

The rest of it:
[1]
[2]
[3]
[4]
[5]
[6]
[7]
[8]

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Purrsday Night - Wishing


Henry has crossed his paws and is making a wish. Wonder what he's wishing for? Whatever it is, his wish is granted.

Tags and links: Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Mind of Mog - -

Don't You Know Obama

Here's a little gem for you! You might need to turn up the speakers a little, but check out Matt the Electrician's Obama song.

As reported by Michael Corcoran in the Austin360 Music Blog, it's an installment of "the song game", where an audience member throws out a title, and a song must be written and performed the following week. Matt is a wonderful singer/songwriter who makes a living both as a musician and an electrician. I love his voice, he reminds me of an early Paul Simon on this song. He based the song on ‘Hey There Delilah,’ by Plain White T’s.

Matt the Electrician website
Listen to him on MySpace

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Texas gettin' the love

The Puss 'n Boots Fortune Teller correctly predicted that The Democrats will coming to Austin... and a couple of extra pennies correctly revealed that they will be debating in at the University of Texas. So Blueberry is kickin' butt in the prediction department. They just announced this morning that 100 tickets will be available to the public, with admission determined by lottery.

I haven't found the place to sign up for the lottery, but if you don't mind shelling out a few bucks, the Texas Democrats are having a Debate Watch party where the candidates will both show up. Here's the link for that info. We don't really have that much cash laying around, so we plan on going to the Obama Debate Watch party at Sholz Garten. It's a beer garden that has a lot of politically-oriented gatherings. It's the same place where we attended Molly Ivins' memorial just one year ago.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wahhabi Valentine's Day

The Vice and Virtue Squad is banning all things red in Saudi Arabia, just for Valentine's Day though. Flowers, teddy bears and heart-shaped candy boxes will be confiscated. The confiscated candy will be consumed by the V&V Squad to make sure it doesn't fall into the wrong hands. OK, I made that last sentence up... but not the rest.

Monday, February 11, 2008

ENT-ertainment

I've been sick since February 1st, just now starting to make some progress. I've been through the mill with the doctor, and not sure how much good it's done. All the congestion and coughing I've had has been making me dizzy (as it tends to do), so I went to an ENT (ear nose throat) specialist. I originally had an appointment with my allergist but he got sick! Turns out the "dizzy" symptom was the only one they were very interested in, so that was addressed, but the head/chest congestion, wracking cough, sore throat, and even the all day long nosebleed (I was close to going to the ER!) that I had on Friday were of very little interest so I had to keep bringing them up. He did tell me to start taking an OTC drug, Mucinex-DM for the cough/congestion (which has helped the cough but not the congestion). He told me that a nosebleed is caused by a ruptured blood vessel. Well, duh. I knew that. I am an old nosebleed veteran but haven't had one that bad since I was a kid (I once bled a whole pint, used to have those damned things almost every day in Albuquerque). He told me to ease up on the ibuprophen, and I will, but I have seriously needed that stuff for the HEADACHES that have gone with this sinus distress!!

Last Thursday I had a cat scan of my head (which nearly got messed up by the aforementioned unstoppable cough!!), and today, Monday, I had the ear tests. I've had these before (9 years ago), and the water test in particular is not much fun. They stick electrodes all over your face, lie you down, then stream cold water into your right ear with a water-pik-like device, which makes you dizzy! Your eyes are closed while they ask you for a girl's name that begins with A, then B, and so on while everything spins. I guess that it supposed to make you concentrate while your dizziness is measured. Then they do the left ear followed by listing boy's names, then repeat right and left with warm water and naming places and animals. I was so befuddled and dizzy and sick and tired, I had to laugh at myself because I couldn't think of an animal beginning with F. I must have developed a mental suppression and different connotation of the word FOX! heh heh. Those bastards at FOX "news".

Anyway, I was sent home with some head/eye exercises for the dizziness (thankfully no surgery suggested), I think the congestion is from allergies so I'll deal with them as such, and I've now got the cleanest ears on the block!

Cough graphic from sangrea.net.

Count the votes and make them count



Not sure if many people would disagree that our electoral system is wacky. Even if you can excuse the baffling system of primaries and caucuses, it's very hard to continue to justify the Electoral College's system that can allow a person to be elected without receiving the most number of votes. It should not be POSSIBLE for that to happen. Another drawback to this system is that "sure thing" (win or loss) states do not get the attention of the candidates like the battleground states. From the website: "In 2004, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their money and campaign visits to win votes in just five states; over 80% in nine states; and over 99% of their money in just 16 states."

There is a "movement" working its way through State Legislatures to change their all-or-nothing systems to one that gives the electoral votes of a state to the candidate who has received the largest number of votes nationwide. Read more about it at the banner/link at the top of the post.

Found via Raw Story

Saturday, February 09, 2008

New Layla


My friend sent me a link to this video, and it features some of our favorite musicians, all local treasures. It's Bobby Whitlock and CoCo Carmel doing "Layla". Bobby Whitlock had quite a bit to do with the original Layla, as he was a member of Derek and the Dominoes (keyboards, vocals), and was one of 2 people who played piano on the original (Jim Gordon, a co-writer of the song, was the other).

This track has Eric Johnson and David Grissom as a powerhouse guitar section, Stephen Bruton on rhythm and Brannen Temple on drums. It also features Bobby's wife Coco on sax. Gotta love it!! Also guesting on the CD coming out on Feb. 14 is Willie Nelson.

Layla is a true classic rock song, it even has a wiki. Here's another page on it which is pretty informative but has some things misspelled, and at the bottom of the page is a comment section that illustrates the things that go wrong with music-oriented forums. Anyway, it's safe to say that Layla is a love song written by Clapton for George Harrison's wife, Pattie, who Clapton later married. I enjoyed this bit and learned something from the wiki entry on the inspiration for using the name Layla:
The title, "Layla", was inspired by the Iranian love story, The Story of Layla / Layla and Majnun, by the Persian classical poet Nezami. When he wrote "Layla", Clapton had been told the story by his friend Ian Dallas who was in the process of converting to Islam. Nezami's tale, about a moon-princess who was married off by her father to someone other than the man who was desperately in love with her, resulting in his madness (in Arabic and Persian, Majnun, means "madman"), struck a deep chord with Clapton.


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Thursday, February 07, 2008

I {Heart} Despair

Don't you love Despair.com? Those folks that do the spoofs if those damned motivational posters that companies post in the office to make you work harder? For Valentine's Day they come out with Bittersweets, little hearts that say what you might actually be thinking. There are sets of the snarky candies available:
"Dejected" sayings include:

I MISS MY EX | PEAKED AT 17 | MAIL ORDER | TABLE FOR 1
I CRY ON Q | U C MY BLOG? | LOSS LEADER | A FINE WHINE
MOMMY ISSUES | DIGNITY FREE | DORK MAGNET | PURE NAUSEA
WE HAD PLANS | MAIL ORDER | SETTLE 4LESS | I'M HOT INSIDE

"Dysfunctional" sayings include:

ANNULMENT | I BEEN CREEPIN | HE CAN LISTEN | GAME ON TV
CALL A 900# | P.S. I LUV ME | DO MY DISHES | BOOTY INFL8N
PAROLE IS UP! | AWFUL INLAWS | SUB PRIME | I WANT HALF
RETURN 2 PIT | NO FIX 4 DUMB | RATHER DRINK | MUTUAL DISGUST

"Dumped" sayings include:

I GOT SOBER | HE FIT U FAT | U LEFT SEATUP | USED U 4 FUN
JUST A FRIEND | BACK 2 KENNEL | DORKA PHOBIC
U HAVE A BLOG | RUSSIAN BRIDE | CELEB8 THX2U
DOG IS CUTER | TRADIN YOU IN | FORGET WE MET
KISS A FROG | SHE IS 22! | HE HAS A JOB

Purrsday Night - Laptop

Jax insists on having some lap time every day, and part of it has to be when I'm on the computer. I've got him propped up on a pillow to help distribute his weight on my legs. He is showing off his lick-shaved belly. He is proud of it, but we all agree that it's not the best look for a belly that size, especially on a black cat where it really shows up!

Well, if he wasn't eccentric, he wouldn't be a cat.

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

Eenie Meenie Chili Beanie

It's fun to try and make predictions. I have had mixed success making forecasts on this political race. A couple of successes (and nooo, I didn't blog them, just stuff I said to MrB) are (1) when McCain was busted broke and it looked like he was out the door, I predicted that he was going to make a big comeback, and (2) when Guiliani said he was going to skip Iowa / NH and go for Florida it looked to me like he was wanting to drop out of the race for some hidden reason (personal change of heart, scandals, health, who knows?) but wanted to go with dignity and drop out because he was lagging behind -- a plausible logical reason. These things are just my iNtuition (the N in INTP) talking.

Some future wild-ass predictions: McCain will pick a running mate who is unmistakably perceived as conservative and not anyone else who is running now. Maybe Condi? {shudder... hope not}

The Democratic side has been tougher to call. I was really surprised that Clinton took California. Texas and Ohio are coming up, and I have no feelings about what will happen in Ohio, but for a penny, Puss in Boots over there in the Fortune Telling Booth has predicted that Obama will get the Texas Dems in March. Out there in the wide open spaces of This Big Red State, I think Huckabee will do very well. I see Huckabee and McCain with high numbers, followed by Ron Paul with Romney trailing [edit: looks like Romney might be dropping out, so he will even closer to the bottom of the heap than I thought]. Here in this little blue oasis of Austin, the motherlode of Texas Liberals, I think that our pretty blue face is going to be bruised purple in March from Democrats registering Republican so they can vote for Ron Paul. I believe most of the other Democrats will go Obama, but in the more "normal" cities like Houston and Dallas they just might go for Hillary. My feeling is that she's not popular in these parts, but then I don't get out of the city limits all that much.

I think that Clinton and Obama will both visit us in Austin (MrB thinks they will be busier elsewhere in the state, or concentrating more on Ohio). Obama already paid us a visit back in Feb 07 and drew a crowd of over 20,000 people (and that was in the rain, folks). He has used footage from the rally in his Super Bowl ad. Here are a couple of the obviously Austin screen captures from the vid: our beautiful skyline and a shot of one of our favorite bands, The Band of Heathens, who played at the rally.

Personally, I'm going for Obama. If Clinton gets the nomination I will vote for her in Nov. We have GOT to get the White House back, folks. You may not be in love with Hillary, but I think we've got to get the right-wing-nuts out of power. I'm not one to be taken in by the speeches, but we've got to try and start attempting to fix the economy and health care and bring the troops home and try and save the earth. I'm not saying a Democratic president can do that, but a glimmer of hope is better than no hope at all.

Puss 'n Boots Fortune Teller snagged from this page, where you can buy it if you want.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Whaddya think?

I had a poll posted on here, but it seems to have hijacked my blog (redirecting traffic to some junk page), so bye-bye blogpoll.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The superman from China


This looks like a better movie than the one I saw.
Found on a bootleg Superman action figure from China, not Photoshopped.
[Engrish]

Monday, February 04, 2008

Idiocracy is spreading

[Link to UKTV Gold article] [Link from Raw Story] Well, Americans are known for being dreadfully ignorant of history, geography, politics, math, science, pretty much you name it... unless the question has something to do with the Simpsons or American Idol or the Dukes of Hazzard. Now, 3,000 Brits surveyed by UKTV Gold television has produced some amazing results:

Most thought Sherlock Holmes was real, while 23% thought Winston Churchill and Florence Nightingale were fictional. 47% thought King Richard the Lionheart was a myth. Others popularly thought to be fictional were Mahatma Gandhi and the Duke of Wellington. Even Charles Dickens was thought to be made up by 3% of those surveyed.

What could be causing this dumbing down in a place where we thought they were above it? Too much watching of shows like "Ow, My Balls"? If you haven't seen Idiocracy, I recommend it... and not just because it was filmed in Austin by local creative Mike Judge (Office Space, Beavis & Butthead, King of the Hill). I just think it's pretty darned funny, partly because all this dumbing-down is so unfunny.

Brain bog

I have been down with yet another sinus infection for several days. I am starting to get them more frequently lately. I used to get them all the time, years ago in St. Louis, and my ENT didn't even suggest that I get checked for allergies before recommending sinus surgery. Do you think that surgeons see dollar signs sitting there instead of you? I wonder sometimes. Sinus surgery is very unpleasant, painful, and takes awhile to heal. It also didn't help me!

After moving here, I started getting my allergies treated with shots, and after 6 years of regular shots I have a lot fewer allergies... so I do recommend those, and I like my doctor, but barometric pressure change and who knows what else still puts me through the mill. I don't think the shots can fix that. It's not Cedar Fever. I'm not allergic to cedar... yet.

My last sinus infection (late last year) brought on an earache and an inner ear problem that made me very dizzy. I went to my G.P. who sent me to my allergist who said that if the dizziness continues I should see an ENT. {sigh} In the meantime, I will muddle through with a low fever, the headache that goes with it, and try to remain upright. So far, so good... onward through the fog. Tomorrow will be better.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

In February spirit


Now that the Super Bowl comes in February, we've got two "holidays" this month that tend to have the sexes on different pages... not there aren't exceptions to that!! Not saying there aren't raving female football fans and males who love hearts, flowers, and candies! Viva diversity!! I would personally prefer a good beer to makeup (will pass on anything with "Miller" on the label, thank you very much), but would rather watch the Super Bowl ads than the game itself.

I hope that your team wins.

Friday, February 01, 2008

My Representative! :-)

Austin Chronicle's Quote of the Week:
"Three hundred fifty-seven days and counting ..."
– U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, reacting Monday after President Bush's State of the Union

Furkid Friday - Energize!

Hopefully this burlap scratching bag will not work as a Star Trek transporter, because we sure wouldn't want Henry to go anywhere.


Tags and links: Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at When Cats Attack - -