Sunday, August 31, 2008

Got Scandals?

We've already been reading about "Trooper-Gate," the investigation of Governor Sarah Barracuda's firing the State Public Safety Director because he wouldn't fire her estranged brother-in-law (a State Trooper) during his involvement in a nasty custody battle.

Well here's another scandal that deserves attention. Apparently, Sarah (being the Godly subservient type) lets her husband sit in on what are supposed to be private meetings with State lawmakers, meetings where he has no business being. [source: Andrew Halcro] Also, according that source, a trusted advisor to Gov. Palin was fired simply because he was dating the soon-to-be-ex-wife of a friend of Todd Palin's. Also, the source presents evidence that Gov. Palin shared confidential emails with her spouse, emails that have been kept from release to the public by executive privilege. This type of thing won't get media attention unless the injured party(ies) complain.

I think we are seeing a pattern here, a pattern of using her elected office to straighten out family and other personal affairs.
(Found via POAC.)

Her own mother-in-law is not even sure she will vote for the ticket.

If McCain just wanted a woman VP, one who had plenty of experience, pro-gun, pro-life, pro-war, anti-environment -- unquestionably a hard-core conservative in every respect -- he could have selected 65 year old Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) of Texas. I disagree with her on pretty much every issue, but I don't think she would be unqualified to be VP.

McCain seems to be thinking with his little head instead of the big one, and probably betting that a lot of voters will do the same thing.

It's always somethin'

Well, here it is, the big long weekend, and I actually got caught up with work (see previous post). I still have work in the InBox here but can put most of it off with a minimum of guilt. I did have a few fires to put out, but those are unavoidable and luckily didn't take much time. Friday afternoon we were both off, and made the annual pilgrimage to the incredibly dreary and uninteresting Mall to redeem the gift certificate from Sears that my mother-in-law sends for my birthday.

I liked the SEARS sign.

I decided to go for the white sale and get some new towels, and they had some great 50%-off stuff. There was an older woman cashier who was helping us, (and "older" just means "older than me," that's the new definition especially since I am of a "certain age" myself) and she had quite an attitude. I said I was looking for thick towels, and she said she couldn't understand why anyone would want thick towels, she didn't like them and couldn't use them, but she showed us where the "hotel-style" towels were. Ohhh-Kayyy... thanks. There were two choices of super-thick towels, one with diamond-shaped flocking and one with parallel stitching along the ends. I chose 2 flocked towels and another one, a different brand made from bamboo. When checking out she remarked that she liked the ones with the stitching better, and also seemed to be appalled that all 3 towels didn't match. THEY WERE ALL WHITE. I didn't snark back, even though it was tempting to say that they would match the hotel towels we already have, but without Adams Mark or Ritz Carlton written on them. Cashiers at the Mall have a shitty job so why make it more unpleasant if it's not really necessary?

So much for the beginning of the weekend. On Saturday I got pretty sick with a fever and sore throat, most likely another damned sinus infection following a week of dealing with Fall Elm allergy. Another annual event. The fever kept me down all day Saturday, and today (Sunday) the fever is reduced some but still nursing a sore throat and an earache. Maybe I should go back to the EARS store.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The race is on.

How about that little party in Denver on Thursday! WOW WOW WOW!

Some very brief and general comments:

It's funny how Democrats and Republicans have used some of the same music -- and it's been very appropriate and fitting for the Dems but clueless and lawsuit-worthy for Repugs. Anyway, good song choices. Surprise corker one-liner from Barney Smith, shoulda seen it coming but didn't. Good one. Nice to see Susan Eisenhower up there not sounding like she's actually a Republican. Speaking of Republicans, check out this little article on Cindy McCain's half-sister, (Cindy not *really* an only child as she previously claimed) who is not planning on voting for McCain. And speaking of McCain, how about Mr. "Experience is Everything" selecting a VP with less than 2 years experience as a governor, and before that the Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a town with less than 6,000 people as of the year 2000. She has never been to Iraq, but she WAS Miss Congeniality in the Wasilla pageant and a runner-up for Miss Alaska. Here's her 1984 picture. She's a distractingly good-looking woman, that's for sure. Ready to be President of the United States? This must be a joke. I don't even think McCain has what it takes. Go get her, Joe.

This week's music roundup

I've been working under the gun on a gig poster design, which needed to be finished by the end of the month in time for September dates, and I got approval on it last night when I fully expected to be working on it all this holiday weekend! Somebody fist-bump me! Here's a web-sized version of it.

It's for MiLkDrive. They had been using an only-slightly modified version of the Scooby-Doo van for their logo (OOPS, can't do that!), so I redesigned that, and there are no publicity photos or even great shots of them as a band yet so I had to wing it. Believe me, it was harder to draw these cartoon guys than plunking in a photo. They (along with brother-group South Austin Jug Band) are back from their tour in Early September.

Tuesday night was our show night, and we went to see our beloved Band of Heathens at the Saxon Pub. Got a couple of videos, so here's one of them for your enjoyment. This is Bob Dylan's "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry"


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Furbaby Friday - Got cape, need boots




click to enlargeJax has traded in the shirts from last week for this new design. It's a soft e-collar, and so far it's working. It does depress him a little, making it harder to jump up and down, but the most depressing part is that he is prevented from licking his delicious belly. We have a winner.

He is one step closer to looking like the famous Puss 'n' Boots here, and if you want one of these costumes to wear on your own human bod, click here.

Tags and links: Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Crystals & Jewelry Adventure - -

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

City of Immigrants

This is wonderful. Steve Earle is someone that I've always liked, but never really listened to a lot. Then I picked up his Washington Square Serenade CD (it was a demo freebie being offered at a charity event) and I am really enjoying it. This song is really stuck in my head now, along with a couple more from the album. City of Immigrants.

It's about New York City, but the message applies to the whole world, as the chorus says, "all of us are immigrants." People have spread out all over the planet, it's what we do.

Just some food for thought.

I got my CD free, but it's definitely worth buying.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Listen up

Just a heads-up: Austin musician, Alejandro Escovedo will be performing tonight at the Democratic National Convention. According to his website, he will take the stage at 5:45 MST.

Grab it and growl*


Waiter!! There's a hair in my... um... looks like it's pretty much ALL hair.

*"Grab it and growl": something my mother used to say at the dinner table

Yes, I know it's a Furr's Cafeteria. A chain that used to be my extended family's favorite place to eat. I think I'll just continue to drive past it now - infinity.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Arizona years

Here's your soundtrack for this post, from 1953 - Frank Sinatra.

click to enlargeFor my birthday (on the 24th) I put together a small collection of scans from that place and time, Phoenix Arizona in the early 1950s. We lived there until 1955, when we went to Hawaii for a short time. Click any pics to enlarge. I was born on Luke AFB, which has an awful lot to do with my life in general. People ask where I'm from... I say "the Air Force." Here's a picture of the doctor who delivered me. It's from a hardback book that is exactly like a high school yearbook (published a year after I was born). We lived in a little red trailer off-base somewhere, then later moved to a duplex.


Here are my folks with their new little bundle of joy.

I suppose I needed a bath. My mother seems to have dressed up for the occasion. I did the opposite.


Here's my mother getting a similar kind of bath. Not really. It's one of those fairground photo booths, fun for the whole family. (I more than half expect photobucket to yank this one, along with another one of these I have posted there.)


A bunch of little cowpokes from the neighborhood.


Here's a bunch of other kids playing grownup. Those cigarettes are a nice touch, aren't they? Candy cigs, I'm sure. Well, maybe not so sure.


A hilarious picture of my mother Lola, a sausage, and a couple of my dad's sisters Ethel and Ruth. The "in-law" relations were always pretty bad, despite the smiles for the picture, but then they were smiling for their little brother.


For recreation, we would drive out into the desert somewhere and have a picnic. There's our car in the background by the saguaro. My folks drank coffee practically by the bucket, and what sounds better when you're out in the middle of the Arizona desert than a steaming hot cup of coffee? That's right. Nothing. My parents loved their coffee so much that once when on a camping trip, they boiled some hot dogs, then realized there wasn't enough water left for coffee, so they made it out of the weenie water.


For a side job to being in the Air Force, my dad was part of the pit crew at Manzanita Speedway for Tucson race car driver Bill Cheesbourg. He racked up some fairly impressive stats in his life. I don't think this is his car. The two sports I my parents liked were car racing and wrestling.


Another fun family event, visiting the carnival and watching the freaks sideshow.


Jesus, please don't leave me and let me go to Hell.


I don't remember this place, but everywhere we lived I got to spend a lot of time in the various dives, honkytonks, taverns, etc. On the back of this was handwritten to my dad, "To Bill, Just to remind you alway about the 3 Sister, July Betty & Jessie" (sic)



Hope you enjoyed the pics, there are a few more on photobucket.
View all the pics in this set.
View as slideshow.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Purrsday Night - Jax on the Catwalk

click to enlargeJax, as you may know if you read here, has a problem with excessive grooming -- he's down to just one problem spot now, a nipple. By excessive, I mean he has licked off the skin, and almost the nipple too. A month ago, we finally resorted to Prozac, which, so far, has NOT worked. Several days ago we doubled the dose, got some "calming" medication for his boo-boo, but it isn't supposed to be licked off so we tried an e-collar on him. FAILURE. He had so much trouble walking in it that it was dangerous with the stairs and all, so I returned it. Yesterday I was got desperate, and not finding a soft e-collar at the pet stores (I went to two) I brought him home a dog shirt. No clue what size to get as I had only measured his neck and not his waistline. This thing fit him like an old band uniform. Poor guy! I cut it up the middle back to give him some more belly room but it was still a squeeze. It didn't even cover his hurty spot, but it seemed to get his mind off it for awhile. Here he is, wearing (probably) his first-ever shirt:

click to enlargeToday, I went to the Goodwill and shopped for him in the Infant section. Now, I am kidfree and have never shopped for baby clothes before, but it was really kind of fun. They have the cutest shirts! I always wish I could find them in my size! Look at this cutester. More bananas, please! He's wearing this one pretty well, and even though it makes him pout him when the shirt goes on, he has demonstrated that he can run in it if there's food involved, and he even wore it to the litter pan. (good boy). I won't put it on him if he's unsupervised. Too much trouble waiting to happen.

The jury is still out on whether putting a shirt on this cat will encourage him to let his belly heal.


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

McCain will bring back the draft

How else will there be enough soldiers to fight in all these wars that we are going to get involved in start? Here's a quote from the horse's mouth at a recent Town Hall:
QUESTIONER: If we don’t reenact the draft, I don’t think we’ll have anyone to chase Bin Laden to the gates of hell.

MCCAIN: Ma’am, let me say that I don’t disagree with anything you said.

The questioner first has a long rant the poor care that veterans get, combines it with a rant about illegal aliens getting top medical care, and ends with the comment on the draft. Listen below:


via J-Walk, source Progressive Accountability

...and I liked J-Walk's comment that if he's at the Gates of Hell, why follow him?

McCain thinks that war is the answer to everything. If McCain gets elected, it's just going to be one war after another, until he gets us nuked. The Gates of Hell are not that far away.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And of course, Gov Goodhair likes the idea

What could possibly go wrong if teachers in public schools are armed on the job? Well, all kinds of hellishness. It's unimaginable, really.

My friend is a teacher, and her rationalization for teachers deserving and needing to have summers off is that teachers get soooo stressed, pressured and nerve-wracked that they really have to have that long break or they will just lose their minds. My counter-argument was that the police, firefighters, paramedics, and 911 phone bank operators should also get summers off - but that did not sway her opinion of her situation.

Back to the topic... I really hate to think of the stressed and nerve-wracked teachers thinking that a gun might be a handy thing to have. They might even shoot each other if school politics are anything like office politics in general - and thankfully people are not allowed to be armed in the office unless their job involves it. There's a reason for laws like that. More likely is that a student will get hold of the teacher's gun, and there you go, back to all kinds of hellishness.


Search Teh Google on this topic

Monday, August 18, 2008

Disturbing company-wide memo of the day

To: allstaff

The refrigerator on the first floor is a FOOD ONLY fridge. DO NOT place samples to be sent out for chemical analysis in a “food only” fridge.

The box has been removed and placed on the top of the file cabinet directly across from the fridge. Since the samples are being sent out to be tested for Arsenic, it is unimaginable that someone would place bottles that have the potential of arsenic content in a fridge with FOOD!

Please retrieve them.


Happy Monday!!

[actual memo sent out in my office today]

Disturbing household item of the day

click to enlarge

Get yours here. Comes in dog version. Don't get your finger caught in it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

...and so it begins...


This is the Office Depot home page. This is the middle of August. Labor Day is a couple of weeks away, but it's not too soon to start Christmas.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

HI Obamas


Huffington Post has a couple of pages featuring The Obamas' Hawaiian vacation photos. They include beaches, picnic, golf, and Obama body-surfing. One quick comment I'd like to make is that I've watched candidates age rapidly, get gray hair, bags under the eyes, lose their voices, and nearly wear out during a Presidential campaign, but Sen. Obama doesn't even look tired. He looks great. Look at the 2 sets of pics here and here.

Well, it may be fluff and irrelevant*, but the pictures really reminded me of the 1960s Kennedys. The reason is because, like the 1960s Kennedys, they are just such a beautiful family, the kind you might want to project yourself into, especially if you wanted to somehow switch your own family with a nicer one. I don't know how many surrogate families I "adopted" during my life just to bring myself a sense of normalcy and stability (and I would now add that normalcy is way overrated - I see that through adult eyes when I couldn't before). When I was about 9 I saved clipping scrapbooks of my personal heroes, which at the time were the Kennedy family and the Mercury astronauts. (This was before The Beatles came along gave me something new to collect.) I think that if I was 9 right now, I'd have an Obama family scrapbook, only it would be digital.

I lived in Hawaii a little while when I was little. I dug out some slides that were really a hoot - Hawaii in the 50s, and now I realize that this printer/scanner I got free with the new computer does not scan slides. grrr. I wanted to include those in this post, but will have to promise them for later.

*McCain's camp would say that a President's image with the public is not important, such as these images of vitality, but then tell you that the recession is all in your head. So is image and perception and confidence important... or not?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Austin music Friday

Went to see Paula Nelson (whose other name seems to be "Willie's daughter") at Central Market. It is such a hoot to go there. The kids always dance and they are absolutely adorable and hilarious, watch the video below. There's a kid that I see there a lot, and he has one speed - fast. The kids are also fascinated with the tip jar, that bucket of money that's sitting there. Paula is such a sweet lady, and her band is great. Central Market is like a picnic. You get your food in the market and bring out on the patio. We usually plow through a bottle of red wine, a baguette, and some various snacks and dips. We told her we hadn't met her dad yet (getting an autograph from the stage at SXSW a few years back doesn't count as meeting), and I hope we get to do that someday. Who doesn't love Willie?



Bobby Whitlock and his wife and bandmate, Coco Carmel were there to see Paula before their show at the Saxon (Lone Star State of Mind, which is broadcast live on KGSR radio and streams online). Coco remembered me from the fan drive this summer (I am always surprised and amazed when someone remembers me, especially when they see so many faces), so they were sitting near us and chatting. It's very surreal to be sitting there chatting with the Whitlocks on a grocery store patio, especially since I was (and still am) a HUGE fan of Bobby's bands, Delaney & Bonnie and Derek & The Dominos with Eric Clapton. That's just Austin. You will bump into folks.

Here's a video of Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, with Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and I see Bobby Keys on the sax there. This is 1970, late in the band's timeline. EC liked their band so much, he took it with him! Whitlock is on keyboards. Man, I loved that band!


We have decided to pass on Grupo Fantasma tonight and stay in. It's cheaper, cooler, and more restful. Spin that cocoon.

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Furbaby Friday - on the shelf


Henry wants you know that he will there if you need him, just like these DVDs and magazines. Here's a closeup of what he's offering.

click to enlargeHenry stays on the shelf when it comes to world events, his world is limited to the house and screened porch, but he does want to stay informed on the issues. Magnet available for purchase from The Onion.


Tags and links: Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at The Whole Kitten Kaboodle on Sunday - -

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Drive-by posting

Still working my danged fool head off, but taking a small break here to check in. So what's coming up that you are excited about?

The Punch Brothers (featuring Chris Thile, previously of Nickel Creek) finally decided to grace Austin with a gig... technically two, one right after the other on the same night at the Cactus Cafe, so I had to scrape all my pennies together for the finest mandolin player on earth (in my very humble opinion) and a great band as well. That show is in mid-September. Here they are playing "Wolfcreek Pass"


As for movies, my cousin has one out now, but I haven't seen it and have to say it doesn't look that good to me. Swing Vote. Kevin Costner is my 2nd cousin once removed (more about that here) but I must admit I haven't seen much of his stuff since Waterworld. {sigh} Has anyone seen Swing Vote? Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this brings another deep sigh. I was very disappointed in the latest Star Wars Trilogy (eps 1-3), and this one looks will be seen by us on DVD while pretending to be 10 years old. Tropic Thunder looks much better, but Burn After Reading (out in September) is the next one I'm psyched about.

Music this week: We will try to see Paula Nelson at Central Market on Friday (that's a free one), and Grupo Fantasma at the Nutty Brown on Saturday. Probably maybe on those.

Back to running in the wheel. Too bad I can't use the motion of the mouse to send power to the house.

Finishing this drive-by with a completely off-topic left-field comment, and I have previously given my opinion about his campaign in light of the recent revelations, and now think that this is not news anymore: anyone in the media who claims to care about the feelings of a woman with cancer (and also claims to somehow embody family values, talking to you, right-wing nutjobs) should stop harping on endlessly (over the airwaves and on the newsstands) about the sordid details of her husband's extramarital affairs. The woman already hurts bad enough.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Celebrity sour grapes

Spinning in the hamster wheel this week, so just taking a few minutes to post this segment in 2 parts from Dan Abrams. Your flesh will crawl watching a bearded McCain making romantic advances in the shower on SNL. Watch this and you will want to take your own shower -- alone! Then there's "24", and "The Wedding Crashers":




Image from MythFolklore.net

This is a classic case of sour grapes. McCain dearly wishes he could draw a big crowd on his own, so he's trying to make out that "celebrity" is somehow a bad word. But guess what? All popular politicians are celebrities. Some are just more popular than others. McCain is and was a celebrity because of being a returned POW who became a Senator and now the Repub nom, just as John Glenn is a celebrity for his astronaut feats, and Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger converted their non-political celebrity status into political office. Let's just hope that Obama's celebrity edge, which is based on his charisma, ideas, and many other things that have everything to do with politics, translates into actual votes where it really counts.
This Fox has a longing for grapes:
He jumps, but the bunch still escapes.
So he goes away sour;
And, 'tis said, to this hour
Declares that he's no taste for grapes.

THE GRAPES OF DISAPPOINTMENT ARE ALWAYS SOUR

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Getting out and staying in.

Sonny Landreth with guest Cindy Cashdollar at Zilker Park, Blues on the Green, Wed. night.

Sonny Landreth is one the greatest guitar players out there, and he put on a fantastic (free) show this week. Austin's own steel and dobro master, Cindy Cashdollar, sat in for a few, and it was an extra treat... not to mention the three encores that he did! He's also got a great new record out.

On Friday we went to Waterloo Records to see The Dedringers, they are a very young roots rocks band, up-and-coming, as they say. Also, while at Waterloo Records, we learned that Waterloo Video around the corner from there is closing this month. Everything in there is for sale right now. We ended up buying three DVDs. (1) Performance (1970, Mick Jagger, Edward Fox). I've been wanting that one for awhile. The Alamo Drafthouse is having a special screening of it, and I decided to spend less than we would by seeing it there and just buy it. (2) the special Director's cut of Troy (2004, Brad Pitt, Eric Bana) (pipe down, we liked that movie!), and (3) got a used copy of Black Sheep (2006) for $6 that played perfectly. It's a fantastic B-movie, very funny, very realistic special effects (by Weta), and what's not to like about evil baaaad sheep? That's right, nothing. ;-)

I didn't ask the clerk why they were closing. I hated the idea of being the bazillionth person to ask that and further rub it in by making her explain it yet another time. Video stores are struggling anyway, and rents in that area are going up. I hate to see the independants going away. I really do.

Tomorrow (Sunday) there is an afternoon benefit for cancer, and it being put on by our friend John Grubbs, a.k.a. Rockslide Photography. Entertainment will be The Belleville Outfit and the Greyhounds. More details here.

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Edwards should not have run

[LINK] This whole John Edwards business is really unfortunate. First, I want to say that things like this should only have to do with your personal life should not matter in politics, but the fact is that they do matter, especially when it comes to elections. Don't EVER think that you are going to be able to keep it a secret, that is delusional and naive on your part. If you are lying to the media about it (even the tabloids -- and don't lie to the tabloids, for crap's sake -- lying is their job and they are going to twist your revealed lies into something you never even imagined!), it is going to eventually make you look like a dirty rotten liar, even if you have fixed the problem with your family and all involved.

Now, John McCain... he also cheated on his wife after he returned from the war, and they divorced, allowing him to marry Cindy. Republicans don't seem to be bothered by that sort of thing as much, unless your cheating partner is the same sex that you are. It hardly even gets brought up.

If you are running for President, and you are a Democrat, they are gonna getcha for that one. Don't think for a minute that it will be OK. And don't ever think that saying you didn't love the other person or that the child isn't yours will help. It just makes you sound worse because you are just trying to smoothe down and neutralize something that is not neutral. It's the equivalent of getting caught red-handed and responding with "this is not what it looks like." No one is ever going to believe you again.

If Edwards had gotten the nomination, we would now be looking at the coming election as a train wreck about to happen, and that's not fair to all of us riding on a shred of hope that maybe, just MAYBE, this election will bring change.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Furbaby Friday - these are not my cats




The birdbaths is the front yard have become a favorite hangout for these two, but not at the same time. They've been spotted there in the early morning and sometimes night, but during the day in the record-breaking hot summer we are having, they are probably down in the storm sewer or sometimes laying under a car or truck. They are free-roaming alley cats, not only looking for a cool drink of fresh water in one of two birdbaths, but for the birds themselves, plus toads, lizards, or any other free snacks they can find. I have blogged the black cat before, and wondered if he might be related to the former alley cat that we took in, Jax.


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

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Good band name?


After the steaming pile from the last post, looks like this blog is developing a theme. It's not. This post has nothing in particular to do with McCain's campaign.

Found at Treehugger, where you can read more about the construction and function of the box, including the location of the Willy Flap.

Buy yours at the Brown Corporation.

Yes, really. They even have a Shit Box blog.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Steaming Pile

McCain (the candidate who says he represents traditional family values) suggested that his wife should enter this contest for Buffalo Chip queen. Some footage of the 2007 contest below. (Not sure if it's safe for work. Depends on where you work)

OK, on the one hand, I am not opposed to beauty contests, but I really wish they would be more honest like this. Does anyone really care about their singing/dancing/juggling abilities, or having them lie and say that their greatest desire is for world peace?

I think that banana-sucking would be a more popular and relevant contest, as demonstrated here, in a pageant that is reported (by ESPN) to be often topless and/or bottomless. And please give us a male version too!

On the other hand, I am trying to imagine the media and public fury that would result from Obama making a similar suggestion that his wife participate in that pageant? Barack Obama would never do that, even in jest, and Michelle Obama would not put up with it either. That's what I think.

From TPM, and do go there for more details on the Sturgis event, via AmericaBLOG.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

MiLkDrive

MiLkDrive is starting to create some buzz in the acoustic scene here. If you are local, you probably already know them, sort of. They are a spinoff of the South Austin Jug Band, which are still very much together. Switch out one guy for another one (and the other one records with SAJB and often tours with them) so it's an extended family but with a very different sound. Enough yacking, just listen below.



The band is Dennis Ludiker, Brian Beken, and Matt Mefford from the Jug Band, and Noah Jeffries (who is with Jason Boland). I am doing some logo art and getting a simple website together for them, and no CD until next year but in the meantime go here, here, and here for more tunes.

I got to expose Ellie to them on Sunday (and Ellie, if you're reading, I wish I'd known you were here earlier in the week, you could have come down and caught Jake Andrews playing his blues at Momo's with us on Wednesday).

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Church based on hate is hated. Duh.

Well, they seem to think hate is such a great thing, then they complain that other people hate their religion. Funny part is that they've complained to the Attorney General that they are the victim of a Hate Crime. Is your head spinning like mine?

God Hates You and Pretty Much Everybody Else - Westboro Baptist Church catches fire
"There is evidence that hatred of our religion was the motivation, in part at least," states a "Civil Rights Hate Crime Complaint" written by pastor Fred Phelps Sr. to Attorney General Michael Mukasey. In a recently released YouTube presentation, Phelps also blames law enforcement, judges, and the "filthy, fag-riddled military" for what he considers an assault on his First Amendment rights.

Meanwhile, a neighbor is suspicious that the fire is a hoax meant to intimidate her into giving up her property. "They keep claiming that this property is theirs, and it is not theirs," said 91-year-old Leona McQueen. "They keep wanting to buy me, but I don't want to sell it. I don't know if whether they are trying to push me out."

[...] No picketing signs were harmed.

hmmmmm...

Killer weed

Celebrity chef Anthony Worrall Thompson recommended in a magazine article that henbane weed (a.k.a. stinking nightshade), made an excellent addition to summertime meals.
[source] Henbane, or Hyoscyamus niger, is toxic and can cause hallucinations, convulsions, vomiting and in extreme cases death.

[...] Henbane, a close relative of deadly nightshade, was used by Dr. Crippen to kill his wife in 1910, and is thought to have been the main ingredient in the poison Romeo took in Shakespeare's play “Romeo and Juliet.”

The chef had intended to refer to fat hen, a weed rich in vitamin C, that is edible, media reports said.

It too can be harmful because of its high level of nitrates, but cases of poisoning are rare, Garden Organic said on its Web site.

When it comes to food, I generally avoid anything containing the words "stinking" or "nightshade." The chef has apologized for any confusion he may have caused.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Alarmed!

One day last week when I got home in the middle of the day, there was that awful telltale beeping of a smoke alarm with a dying battery. About once a minute there's a shrill BEEEEEEEEP that is intended to hasten you to fix the situation pronto.

BEEEEEEP

Jax, who is usually catching some ZZZs is scurrying around and giving me a look that says, "Pleeease make it stop!" I run for the earplugs first, then get the ladder from the garage and carry it upstairs as it is apparent it's one of those.

BEEEEEEP

Call MrB at his office, since he's the smoke alarm installer guy and I don't really know how to take this thing down without breaking it. I am getting frantic. I am pulling and twisting on it.

BEEEEEEP

Now I see a hole in the ceiling and the wiring. Plaster is falling in my face. I'm trying to follow the instructions I'm talking on the phone, but NOT calmly. If this doesn't work, I am trying to imagine putting up with a shrill beep going off once a minute for the next 4 hours.

BEEEEEEP

I am yelling now. HOW MUCH WILL THIS COST TO REPLACE IF I BREAK IT? I'M GETTING THE HAMMER IN ABOUT 2 MORE SECONDS!

BEEEEEEP

OK. I got it down. Now where's the danged battery? I can't find it!! He says just twist it open. It's not working!! He's says just put it outside for now. [sigh] Now why didn't I think of that? I stick it out on the front porch. I won't hear it out there, and it may discourage Jehovah's Witnesses. Relieved, I come back inside.

BEEEEEEP

Wha? Something up there is still beeping? I run back upstairs. Have to wait until the minute rolls around. Must be the one in the bedroom.

BEEEEEEP

It's not! It's coming from upstairs... in the bathroom... just a few feet from the smoke alarm on the landing that I just yanked down there's a CO detector in the bathroom. It says "Err" on the front panel. I unplug it from the wall socket. No more beep.

MrB says that the whole scene would have hilarious to watch. I say it would have been a lot funnier if I had smashed the smoke alarm with a hammer.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

August 4, Obama turns 47


Your soundtrack is above. It's Wynton Marsalis doing a really nice improvisation on the birthday song. There's some talking at the beginning and a little in the middle, not too much. I picked it because it was recorded on August 4, 2007.

Barack Obama is my "friend" on MySpace, and when they notified me that one of my friends was having a birthday, and it was him, I stopped by and left a Happy Birthday comment (something I would do for darned near anybody). So then I see the above in my Inbox. It's a donation promotion asking for $47 contributions. Click the graphic on the right to go there. I was thinking how much more it would cost supporters of McCain to do that on his birthday.

Does Obama really represent HOPE? He may not be the candidate who represents my views exactly. He is, and always was, more centrist than I am. That candidate was Kucinich, a man who never had a chance of being the nominee from Day One -- he's too liberal to get broad support. But Barack Obama is going to be the Democratic nominee, and considering the other option, he not only represents hope, he's our ONLY hope. He's a fragile thread of a lifeline and the only chance we have to bring change to the Executive Branch of these United States... even if it fails to happen.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Ministry of Pie Plates

(Anyone know Latin? heh, heh...)

I've been offered the position of Minister of UFOs in DivaJood's administration, and I intend to do a heckuva job. I was born in the Air Force, the organization which was in charge of keeping UFO files for many years (known as Project Blue Book). Here's an actual UFO Detector which you can purchase here. If you are traveling with it, just tell the nice Homeland Security folks it's a UFO Detector, and you should be all clear for boarding.

I'm watching "They Came From Beyond Space" as I write this. Part of the research. I have also seen a UFO. More on that later. There are a couple of topics that I got very interested in when I was a lot younger, read a stack of books on the topic, just trying to find some truth, and came away with some background on the subjects but no answers - only a few loosely-formed opinions and lots of speculation. One subject is the JFK assassination and the other is UFOs. They are deep dark mysteries that will never be solved.

The X-Files was a great show partly because Chris Carter and the other writers were so versed in both the popular and obscure UFO mythology that they were able able to weave their own conglomerate out of it... which is just what happens in non-TV-land. I can see a lot of myself in Mulder, Scully, and the Lone Gunmen too. It's good to be able to laugh at yourself, isn't it? Unlike Mulder, I don't want to believe (or disbelieve either), and unlike Scully I no longer have beliefs I cannot leave behind.

I can hardly begin to scratch the surface of all the different UFO topics, but here's some great old historical stuff from my collection.

coverIt starts with Roswell:

Maj. Donald Keyhoe was an Annapolis grad who became an aviator in the Marine Corp. After retirement he became a writer of articles for "True" magazine, and was appointed Chief of Information for the organization that became the FAA. He was one of the first UFO investigators. The first so-called flying saucers were reported in June of 1947 (with the fabled UFO crashes at Roswell NM), and he wrote an article called "Flying Saucers are Real", which was so popular it was expanded into this very book you see here, published in 1950. I believe it's the first book ever written about flying saucers. In 1957, Keyhoe became the first director of NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena), and ultimately became convinced that the CIA was covering up information. [Keyhoe bio]

click to enlargeThe Harvest Has Begun:

This book, "The Interrupted Journey," (1966) as far as I know, was the first book that dealt with alien abduction. It's about Betty and Barney Hill, who experienced missing time and other phenomena while traveling on an isolated road in 1961. Eventually they went through hypnosis, and they recorded those sessions. I listened to them on cassette. It's fascinating. There was evidence, including eyewitnesses and a police report. There was even speculation that the aliens selected the Hills because they were a bi-racial couple, very rare in the year this happened, and that the aliens were wanting to examine 2 races and genders at the same time. I'll bet that the human population was a lot more concerned about what used to be called a "mixed marriage" than the space people would have been. It all still remains a mystery. Of course, after this there were more abduction stories than you can shake a stick at. Another author, Whitley Strieber, wrote about his own perceived abduction experiences in the book "Communion" (1987), and that's the book that really caught the public eye because of the popularity of UFO topics in the 1980s.

coverWas God an astronaut? Did space aliens help build the pyramids? What's up with Easter Island anyway?

Another popular UFO mythology has to do with "ancient astronauts" and feeding the flames of that was this work of Erich von Daniken, "The Chariots of the Gods." (1968) Lots of questions and no answers. Even the book's title is a question. I gotta respect that. This series of books will really give you a lot of stuff to think about. Did man become so advanced in the future that he could go back in time and help early man? Were there really an Atlantis? Did man spring from Martian seed? Some stuff to discuss over the campfire. Far out. No... really!

Space aliens can't exist so they must be demons or angels (bad ones):

This article in the Conservative Voice, UFOs, Aliens, and Christianity, written by someone whose name is Babu, (cool name) is a commentary on former Apollo 14 astronaut, Dr. Edgar Mitchell, who claims that aliens exist and that NASA officials have had contact with them. It goes on to debunk the idea of alien species existing because because the evolution needed to be able to live "out there" would have been too lengthy and drastic to have happened. (The writer accepts evolution as only possible on the scale that makes one dog breed different from another). It goes on to say that even though God could have created these beings, it's much more likely that they are fallen angels or demons of Satan. It's a much more logical and believable explanation because it's in the Bible, which doesn't mention space aliens. [graphic is a t-shirt of mine]

Well we didn't even get going on the alien bodies from Roswell, Magestic 12, the Bermuda Triangle, cattle mutilations, Area 51, black helicopters, crop circles, the UFO in the Mona Lisa, all the admitted hoaxes created with pie plates and such, and my own UFO sighting which will have to wait for another post.

That's it for this installment of The Ministry of UFOs fireside chat. Here's my favorite alien hybrid, David Bowie, with Starman to play us out.


As for the Latin on the patch, it says "tastes like chicken." More about those patches here. Always remember and don't be fooled, "To Serve Man" is a cookbook.

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