Wednesday, August 31, 2005


If cats are involved, it's bound to get weird. Makes me think they are making cat beds all wrong.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

You're either stressed or stoned.

OK, I can't vouch for the claims made in the text that was emailed to me with these pictures, but it is a really cool optical illusion. You will have to click the little picture to see full size to get the right effect, I believe. They are not animated images!

"The pictures shown below are used to test the level of stress a person can handle. One teacher said, "I felt like they were all moving but slowly like, they were breathing." The slower the pictures move, the better your ability of handling stress. Allegedly criminals that were tested see them spinning around madly; however, senior citizens and kids see them standing still."


I have developed a morbid fascination with watching the Weather Channel endanger the lives of weather correspondants by placing them outside in a hurricane, as close to harm's way as is technically possible for broadcast, then letting us watch while they wade through water swimming with human waste, bacteria, water moccasins, fire ants, alligators, submerged cars and metal awnings... watching their faces being stung with pelting sideways rain in hundred mile an hour winds while uprooted trees blow by in the background. Wheeeee!

Now is this really necessary? I doubt it. The rest of the storm footage gives us a pretty good idea what it would be like being there. It's just done for dramatic effect, and I think the technique works. It's hard to look away when you can see how dangerous it is for that poor schmuck taking the worst of it, and I also wonder how those starchy anchor-people would like their nice hair and suits messed up a little.

It's reality TV, and nothing but.

Please don't think I am being flippant in any way about the actual disastrous events. I have been through hurricanes, floods, etc. and feel terrible for the people suffering though this. I am only commenting on the media's approach to reporting on it. It seems that tragedy coverage is presented with entertainment elements that may not be strictly necessary, and only there for the "Gotcha!" effect. This goes for CNN and the rest of them too.

addendum Wed. 8-21: Man, this thing has turned out so much worse than it appeared when I posted this the first time Tuesday morning. That was before the levees broke and the rest of the aftermath began to be reported. Now I'm really glued to the TV newsfeeds unfortunately. (It still bugs me that they design special logos and music bumpers to go with each big news story, but I guess that's the way of the world. [sigh])
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Monday, August 29, 2005

...and still rising...

Hogg show

The Eric Johnson show at Hogg was fantastic! This experience was quite different for us as it was in an auditorium instead of a little club where we are always pressed against the stage. This time we had a reserved seat in Row V (as in “Venus”), not too far from the sound board where Richard Mullen was stationed. It was one of the finest “Cliff’s Intro”s I’ve ever heard (that freeform expression that he does usually before Cliffs of Dover, but sometimes before something else, and it's never played the same way twice), but then I seem to say that about most of them. After the show, I talked to Eric, and he said he’s been listening to the Greencards CD I’d given him a couple of days earlier! That was cool. I imagine he gets a lot of gift CDs so I was happy I’d made a lucky choice. I knew that he liked Nickel Creek, Alison Krauss, and generally good country and Americana stuff, so I thought he might enjoy it but it's still a bit of a nail-biter picking out music for someone else. Saw lots of friends and acquaintances at the show, and as much as I hated to miss the Del Castillo show I didn’t miss being out in the August heat.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

What's next? A yellow frowny face to go with the "God Hates You"?

These church members carried on a harrassing protest of hate at the funeral of two soldiers killed in Iraq. The soldiers had been in the Tennessee National Guard. Click on the title bar for the link.
--quote-- The church members carried signs and shouted things such as "God hates fags" and "God hates you." --unquote--
Whoa. This is freakin' me out! Scary stuff. Here is the website of the bunch doing this stuff. It is so outrageous I almost thought it was a parody, but sadly, it isn't. If there is an afterlife, I am thankful that I won't be spending it with these people.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

What team was that again?

My aunt sent me an email with a funny typo in it.
<< I have two grandsons on the police a
detective, the other on the Squat Team.....>>

Normally I do not poke fun at people, but this woman is a racist right-wing fundamentalist bigot. Click on the title bar of this post to read the spam she sent me called "You know you're a ghetto Christian if..."

I'm sure that if she knew more about me (we have never met), she'd have a few choice descriptions for me too. I guess that's fair!

Talkin To Ya - in two languages

First of all, open this page (if it doesn't open, your pop-up blocker may be messing with it, so right-click on it or hold-mouse-down for Mac), then scroll down to DEL CASTILLO, click that, and hit the CLICK HERE FOR MUSIC link. It's a RealPlayer download of the great new Del Castillo song, or I should say new recording of a song that we've been hearing live for a long time. Give it a listen!!

This has got to be a hit song! It showcases the best of this band, and it will have wider appeal than some of the rest of the band's recordings simply because it's in Spanglish.

Now, the fact that I don't know what a lot of their songs are about without getting out the lyric translation sheet has never mattered much to me. The music still speaks for itself and is deeply moving. I suspect, however, that if I were comfortable if not fluent in Spanish that they would hit me even harder (at least the non-instrumentals).

As for Spanglish, I am going on record here to say I believe that in a few generations it will replace English as the national language of the USA. Are you now thinking of telling me that Spanglish is not a language? It isn't an official language, no. It's not even a language that can generate a dictionary because it's just a matter of mixing up the two languages as the speaker wishes... and linguistics experts and etymologists correct me, but isn't this how new languages form? What we speak as English now will be called something like "Old American English", or "Anglo-English".

But back to Del Castillo and English (or Spanglish), for some people, the melody or instrumental part of the music is most important, and for others the lyrics come first. A song like this (and the other new one that they are promoting called "Brotherhood") is going to appeal to both of those groups. In a few more generations everyone will need to know Spanish in order to get by in the USA. Some places, like Austin for example, will get there first. Just a few of my humble opinions, folks!

Friday winds up and winds down

Took a half-day off sick Friday. I wasn't playing hookey, I've been having bad physical symptoms of stress there, including those old reliable tension headaches that go with the earache. breathing troubles and low-grade fever. A couple of hours asleep with my head on an ice pack, followed by half of a happy pill and a couple of drinks helped for awhile.

We went to the Hard Rock Cafe where one of my top favorite bands anywhere was doing a radio remote with KLBJ, Del Castillo. Unfortunately they didn't perform, but they played a couple of their new recordings on the radio and chatted on the air. I will be really surprised if "Talkin' To Ya" doesn't become a huge hit! This song has got it all.

A small handful of the faithful turned up for support, and I got to talk to everyone in the band so that was very cool. I also had to awkwardly tell them that I would be at the Saturday show because it was scheduled opposite Eric Johnson. This was bound to happen! My two biggest favorites are scheduled to play at the same time. grrrrr. Lots of love and best wishes to Del Castillo as they head out on another national tour.

From the Hard Rock, we went to the Alamo Drafthouse, where Mondotees was having a blowout sale! $5 per shirt, and it comes with a beer! I wish I had the guts to wear the "Pussy Wagon" shirt, but I don't... so I ended up with a blank shirt. I tend to prefer the thrifts for my funky tees anyway.

Then it was to Central Market for dinner (it is so frickin hot now we didn't even want to sit outside where the band was playing! this is getting bad).
click to enlarge
This is one of our favorite trees of all, the big live oak in Central Park, behind Central Market.

From there we walked over to the Hyde Park Theatre to see Buttercup, which was a much longer walk than we thought it would be. Also on the bill were Billy Harvey and live art by Robert Tatum.

Do go to that Billy Harvey website!!! I wouldn't try it without a broadband connection though. I've never seen anything like it!

Throughout both shows, it was hard to stop watching Robert Tatum flesh out his weird squirrel. I was really bonded with that squirrel by the time we left. Buttercup was really good, kind of an edgy melodic pop sound, not sure who to compare them to. The Hyde Park Theatre is definitely not designed for live music if it's going to produce a crowd. I see the band plays at Momo's, that would be better, and Ruta Maya would be ideal for them.

We left during the break only because we were both feeling the effects of drowsy prescriptions and OTC remedies mixed with a couple of drinks, a really hot day, and a rough week so we made the hike back to the car and called it a night.
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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Small talk and free cake

I am still in Hell at work on "the-project-that-must-not-be-named", so I hope that settles down to normal craziness from white-knuckled frenzy in the next week or so.

For my birthday we went to Waterloo Records at 5 for Eric Johnson's CD signing. Eric and Chris (Maresh) were really very friendly to me. Eric gave me a compliment on my haircut (that was really nice of him to notice!), we talked about my birthday, his new beard, Gunsmoke's Matt Dillon, The Greencards (I gave him their CD for his belated birthday) and my friend's pics of him that I hope she has ready to show him by this Saturday's show. Completely forgot to tell him how much I like Bloom or that I heard him on NPR and KUT. Oh well... my train of thought jumps the tracks again. I'm sure that one of the other couple hundred people in line mentioned Bloom to him... the reason we were there. Duh.

Later we went to Macaroni Grill and got almost too stuffed to walk on pasta, bread, wine, and chocolate cake. Saying I felt like a pig would be insulting to the pig. I did NOT get on the scale this morning and am still wearing the fat clothes. The dinner menu tonight will be boiled cabbage with water to drink.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Another one for me

Another birthday! Mine.

According to Wikipedia (click the title bar for more) here are some significant events that happened on August 24:
good things
1456 - Printing of Gutenberg Bible is completed, marking the beginning of mass-production of books
1853 - Potato chips first prepared.
1891 - Thomas Edison patents the movie camera

not so good things
79 - Mt Vesuvius erupts
1672 - St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre
1960 - World record cold temperature is set in Vostok, Antarctica, of -88 C (-127 F)
1968 - France explodes its first hydrogen bomb
1992 - Hurricane Andrew hits Florida
1995 - Windows 95 becomes available

share a birthday with
1817 - Tolstoy
1960 - Cal Ripken Jr.
1965 - Marlee Matlin
1973 - David Chappelle
1988 - Rupert Grint (better known as the movie Ron Weasley)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Mundi on Saturday

Austin in August! Hot as blazes and no relief in sight. I love it when the weather people try to make you feel better by saying "a little cooler today, ONLY 97, at least it's not in the triple digits". Well, this week all the digits are out. The five-day forecast barely has room to squeeze in all those numbers. We have been staying in more than usual.

Did go to Central Market to see Mundi, a really good band who play very olde style music, some from many centuries ago, some new pieces with old flavor. They have a harmonium player! They are also the only band I've seen using hedge clippers and a flowerpot for instruments. The fiddler (or maybe he's a violinist? When is it one or the other?) said he was playing a Baroque violin, which prompts all the old jokes from us, like "well why doesn't he get it fixed?".

The juvenile level humor fits right in at Central market, and at this show more than I've seen at others. There must have been hundreds of children there!! And everyone dancing! That's pretty great. When children still want to dance a jig, there's hope for mankind.My favorite quote of the night: "Most of our songs are about trees or flowers. This one's about flowers." I love it.
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Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bon Voyage HST

Hunter S. Thompson's ashes were fired from a cannon yesterday, Aug. 20, 6 months after his suicide. In addition to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Lyle Lovett played at the ceremony. I didn't know he had an HST connection! hmm. Well, good music choices anyway, and Warren Zevon would have played if that were possible.

Salutions to a man for whom "Rest in Peace" does not seem to be the appropriate farewell.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Unlikely Sunday sign

Here's one for Godless Mom, Jeen Lilly, Jazz, and all the other folks out there who have found that their paths are not necessarily down the main highway, or maybe not even down a paved road.

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, August 19, 2005

A Page for Plant

August 20th is Robert Plant's birthday. (August is such a big month for birthdays!!) I have to reminisce on Led Zeppelin for a few minutes here. Every year I get more like Old Blevins (Lounge Lizards character), and this blog post is my version of boring you from a barstool with stories of the great things that happened in the 60s and 70s. They say if you remember the 60s you weren't there, but just because you were high doesn't mean you don't remember something like it was yesterday. The memories just happened to form with a few special effects attached, that's all.

Try to imagine this: when I first saw Led Zeppelin, I was at the 1969 Atlanta Pop Festival, July 5. The band Spirit had just played, and Spirit were one of my top favorite bands. Oddly enough, Mark Andes of Spirit lives here in Austin and when I mentioned it to him, he remembered the show too... anyway, Led Zeppelin played right after Spirit (right at twilight/sundown), and I had NEVER HEARD OF THIS BAND! (I think their first album had just been released) It's hard to describe the stunning effect the amazing awesome power of this band had over me. It was a transforming experience, nearly as bad as hearing the Beatles and Stones for the first time in 1964 when all you'd been listening to was stuff like the Louvin Brothers and Tennessee Ernie Ford.

The following year, April 9, 1970 at Curtis Hixon in Tampa I saw them again. This is my best instamatic pic from the show. Yessss.... I was that close. Security was looser in those days, at least sometimes, maybe when they weren't expecting trouble. Anyway, as soon as the show started everyone left their seats and rushed to the stage. Immediately between the band and the audience was a row of police holding up a makeshift barrier made of nightsticks, which were shoved into our guts but we didn't care! I was 17 years old, and I dearly hope that there is even just the smallest glint of lust there in Plant's eyes. Page also provided fodder for the perfect fantasies of fairly innocent young girls and boys. Page was really more my type anyway... scrawny and mysterious with pretty eyes.

Our whole crowd loved Led Zeppelin (including my very hip 50 year old mother), especially one young friend named WG who was being treated for leukemia. He got so sick from the chemo that he'd say that it was as bad as the disease. He lived every day like it was his last. Then he started giving away his things, very personalized hand-picked endowments to friends. He was going to go to Woodstock for a big bash of a time, but it fell through for some reason and went to the West Palm Beach 1969 Festival instead. That was a huge bash capped off by the Rolling Stones (one month before Altamont). Then he ended his life voluntarily at the age of 19. In his will he requested that his friends celebrate his life by dancing to Led Zeppelin at his gravesite. And it was so.
Tags:- - - -

Still hope for Peanut Butter

My employer has got me working like poor Jelly, the hamster in Garden State who ran himself to death on his wheel. I hope to make it through the next week without some kind of ugly collapse.

Breeeeaaathe deep........ (the gathering gloom).....

Cat office supplies for Friday

Doesn't everyone have one of these special Office Depot cat-pads to go beside the mouse-pad? Henry is just being innovative, and you are sure to get a nudge with that wink.
- Carnival of the Cats -

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Another one for Eric Johnson

Happy 51st Birthday to another local legend, Eric Johnson! A native Austinite and a phenomenal musician! Check him out on a recent NPR Weekend Edition, audio and video goodness.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Music Legends to Honor and Celebrate

Happy 66th Birthday to local legend Billy Joe Shaver

So sorry to hear that we lost Vassar Clements, the Father of Hillbilly Jazz at the age of 77.

Relatively Recently Read Books

I moved my list of recent books over from my nutshell page. This blog is a better spot for it:

"The DaVinci Code" by Dan Brown
—I really enjoyed reading this book although I think the reading level is somewhere on the child level. Seemingly written with the big screen in mind, the reader can figure out the puzzles waaaay before the characters, leaving you wanting to yell at them, "HEY!! I figured it out!! Why can't you?". A real page turner though, and it stirred some interest in the subject matter. I am wondering how the upcoming movie will provide surprises for all the people who've read it? Will they change the ending?

"Holy Blood, Holy Grail" by Lincoln, Baigent, Leigh
—This is a fascinating book! There are three authors, and some of them jump to conclusions more than I want them to do, but I loved reading about the Knights Templar and the Grail romances. I've read somewhere that Pierre Plantard created the Priory of Sion as a hoax, and that makes all this much more fascinating. I want MORE!!!

"Meeting the Other Crowd, the Fairy Stories of Hidden Ireland" by Lenihan & Green
—I loved this book. It's real fairy stories told by real people who more or less believe them. I look at the stories with the skepticism I try to apply to everything. I mean, who really knows what's going on?

"Rosslyn: Guardian of the Secrets of the Holy Grail" by Wallace-Murphy & Hopkins
—Not really much on the Holy Grail as the title suggests, but some interesting things about cathedrals and ancient religion. Still interested in this topic, but putting it on hold for some Pottermania!!

re-read "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire".
re-read "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix".
"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"
—Very interesting ending... no spoilers from me.

Attempted to read "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis
Got as far as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Half-Price Books is getting this nice brand-new book because I've had no luck selling it on craigslist. It's a well-loved book, just not by me. I will go and see the movie just for the Weta stuff.

Currently reading:
"The Day of the Triffids" by John Wyndham

Monday, August 15, 2005

Animal family values

March of the Penguins started showing at the Alamo Drafthouse, so that was a good excuse to go and see it, even if we can't usually eat their special themed feasts they offer. Vegetarians just don't eat penguin food, or fried catfish, or whatever meaty delights were offered. It's still the best place to see a movie. This is a good one to see, what these birds go through to remain alive and keep their species going is almost unimaginable for us modern humans with our nice warm houses and supermarkets. Plus, is there anything cuter than this little penguin? The movie reminded me of this Demotivational poster, one of my favorites:

Another National Geographic documentary that I highly recommend is The Story of the Weeping Camel. I knew I loved camels, but really didn't know the depth of their capacity for emotion. This one is not only about the animals but also the humans who share their lives.

The last one I want to recommend in the animal category is called Antarctica (Nankyoku monogatari), this is a Japanese film made in 1983 and I don't even know if you can find it on DVD. It's very obscure, but worth looking for. I found my VHS copy on eBay. It's not a documentary exactly, but has the feeling of one because the main "actors" are dogs. The human parts are small and relatively unimportant except for setting up the premise and rounding out the ending. The rest is just an incredible survival story of dogs trying to endure conditions that even penguins might not make it through. It's visually beautiful and has got a fantastic musical score by Vangelis too.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Duck and Cover: Warm fuzzies from your old Uncle is the website used by the Department of Homeland Security to help people prepare for terrorist attack. I was really just interested in finding out why they even bother having a Threat Advisory of "green", when we will never ever ever be at green until all the weapons of mass destruction are GONE from the earth... or spent.

Well anyway, I poked around on the site and find that they have some rather hilarious advice on protecting yourself from nuclear annihilation that is hardly more helpful than the old films we saw in school in the 60s.

The NUCLEAR BLAST page, tells you to avoid radioactive material. Going inside a building will help. Also, get far away from the blast. They have an illustration showing "You" trying to put a couple of blocks of distance between yourself and blast -- which just happened a half-block away!!!

Friday Cat Attack

After managing to kill this animal-print fleece, Alex is ready for his close-up. His crooked smile comes from a lack of one upper fang and one lower, on opposite sides... Bucky Katt attitude to match! He's 14 years old, and 8 lbs. of nuthin' but whuppass. He purrs and snuggles occasionally, but don't tell anyone, that's too embarrassing for him.

- Carnival of the Cats -

Thursday, August 11, 2005


From "He's every employee's worst nightmare. He wasn't born mean and unscrupulous, he worked hard at it. And succeeded. As for stupidity, well, some things are inborn.

His top priorities are the bottom line and looking good in front of his subordinates and superiors (not necessarily in that order). Of absolutely no concern to him is the professional or personal well-being of his employees. The Boss is technologically challenged but he stays current on all the latest business trends, even though he rarely understands them."
--Pointy Haired Boss

Actual email exchange with names changed to protect my ass:
From: The Editor
To: Me
Subject: edited text

Who wrote these? I did a little tightening, and one of the docs has a query on it. The author ought to have another look at them….

From: Me
To: Management and other team members
Subject: FW: [edited text]

Here are the documents which have been through editing. As she says, there is a query on one of them.

From: Management
To: All team members
Subject: FW: [edited text]

What’s a query?

The really funny thing is that "What's a query?" is a query.

Cartoon stereotypes are fun, aren't they? Here's a Dilbert character I can relate to:
"Dilbert's 'sanitation engineer' is a mysterious character who has inexplicable knowledge of all subjects from science to philosophy. He shows up occasionally to solve impossibly complex problems for Dilbert or Dogbert." --Smartest Garbage Man in the World

If I'm not careful here, I could end up with a job much closer to his. grin. It's not as though I've never been in that line of work.

On my current career path, I used to be Alice, but am gradually changing into Wally.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Remembering Dad: Wild Blue and Yonder

38 years ago on August 10th, 2 weeks before my 14th birthday, my Dad died at age 44. Several months earlier, we all were living in Greece which was where my folks laid on the last straws and separated. It was a really unhappy time for everyone. My Mother's last words in person to him: "I hope if you ever lay eyes on me again, I'm laying in my coffin!!" Melodramatic, yes, but their marriage was breaking up.

I never got any great opportunities to bond with my Dad. Out of the nearly 14 years of my life, he had been gone probably for 5-6 years -- I'm talking about him being stationed somewhere without his family, and in some cases it was time preceding or following our time there. One of the places he did about 18 months to 2 years was up at the North Pole, a Cold War radar station built to watch for incoming Soviet missiles, a site now famous for the toxic waste it left behind.
Balance that out with Honolulu, Johnston Island, Germany, Athens, etc. and it's not so horrible. Well, alright, maybe it is...

Anyway, we were separated and I was with my Mother in Albuquerque again. I think they were planning to be reunited again when he got back, at least I never heard anything to the contrary. We were going to be stationed in Grand Forks, ND. Gah!!! Nobody was looking forward to that one!!

Our Greek friends had been sending letters full of worry over his health, especially his heavy drinking and generally letting himself go. He was always a heavy smoker and drinker of both booze and mass quantities of coffee. He always seemed to be in buff condition to me - never fat, always strong, but he had been through and survived plenty of things in his life. There had been a horrible car accident that had left him in a coma for nearly a month, and lots of cool scars on his face (I thought he was handsome, I never thought those scars made him look bad). Besides the scars, he seemed to be plagued with some incidents of narcolepsy after the accident -- falling asleep crossing the street, keeling over in his mashed potatoes -- stuff like that, but those had eventually stopped. Then there that little skirmish called WWII (the main reason he went in the service in 1941, it also gave him a break from his rural life with 8 siblings and gave him a career). The last big thing he survived was the Greek coup of 1967 where he was actually almost executed at the side of the road with a gun to the head until they decided not to do that to an American serviceman.

August 10th was a weird day. My mother was very emotional and neurotic (always), and that morning she was worked up into an agitated nervous state where she was weak and having heart palpitations so she had gotten checked into the base medical hospital. Her EKG was irregular. I was in the waiting room with my Aunt and Uncle. Pretty soon, a chaplain went in and visited her, and we were called in. She said to me "Honey, do you know why this man's here?" I said, "It's Daddy isn't it?". I knew it instantly, never even thought it was going to be her. I have scary flashes of intuition sometimes. He was dead of heart attack.

Ironically, he himself had an EKG that same morning, which turned out fine. The EKG was routine, part of the business of going through transfer. He was in the airport in Athens, waiting for the plane that would have brought him back when it happened. It must have been excessive stress, the anxiety of reuniting with a family where there was sure to be more conflict than anything else, they were still a long way from working out the problems. That's all I can figure, other than the poor diet, drinking and (I found out later) early signs of emphysema. His own father and an uncle had also died at age 44 (and one of his brothers died 5 years after he did, also way too young), the hearts in the family seem to be the main downfall.

I wish that I'd been able to get to know him better, I've wondered what it would be like to talk to him as one adult to another. Sometimes I do that in my dreams. It's no substitute for the real thing.

I grew up without any more "Dads" because my Mother never really formed any more relationships beyond an occasional disastrous date or longer-term cases of con-men trying to get our insurance money.

I can't really do him justice with these few paragraphs here, but I will say that I still miss him after all these years, and am sorry that there are not more people who will remember him. His brothers and sisters are all gone now, save one, and even if I'd had children they would never have met him. Young Jack Nicholson and Robert Duvall remind me of his looks and personality. The older versions will never be him. His final rank was Tech Sergeant, USAF, a.k.a "Sarge". That's a good enough way to remember him. I've put a few more details in the comments.

Monday, August 08, 2005

That's a lovely sweater you're wearing, Mrs. Cleaver

Gotta love these sweaters! VERY creative! Unfortunately it's a little late in the season for the Kerry stuff, but the Rove is in style right now.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

My compass went south

I noticed a link to the Political Compass on Seabrook's site, but his link didn't work for me so I found one that did work. I remember taking this quiz several times in the past, years ago in fact, and now my score seems to have changed.
Your political compass
Economic Left/Right: -6.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.92

That's real close to where they have placed the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela, but directly opposite to the placement of most of the world's leaders (like I would be close to Duh-bya on anything!!)

I've always scored over there on the left, but my Libertarian/Authoritarian value has moved way way down. It used to be just a hair on the positive side. I really don't think I'm that Libertarian. The only explanation I can think of is that all the post-9/11 strengthening of Fascism has driven me in the other direction. It's also possible that the quiz doesn't measure things very correctly. hmmmmm.....

Friday, August 05, 2005

Love that rooster song

Shady Grove - August 4
I'd heard of Tom Russell and Andrew Hardin before, but am ashamed to admit that I couldn't tell you anything about their music. Hardin is a pretty decent guitarist from Wimberley, Texas. He looks fairly young. Russell goes back to the sixties, I think, based on his stories and his sound. The big surprise of the night was finding out that he was the writer of Gallo del Cielo, the song that Joe Ely recorded and nearly brings me to tears when I hear it, and it's not even because I abhor the idea of cockfighting. It's all in the telling, I suppose. Coincidentally, I had worn my Joe shirt to the show. :::sync:::

Thank Cats It's Friday


Nineteen pounds of big, black and beautiful. Jax is a whole lot less frazzled than I am this week, less frazzled than I am EVER.
- Carnival of the Cats -

Thursday, August 04, 2005

You know you're from Austin when...

Got this from Blogthings
You Know You're From Austin When...

You never bother looking at the Capital Metro schedule because you know the drivers have never seen it.

You've been to more than one baby shower that has two mothers and a sperm donor.

You have a very strong opinion where your coffee beans are grown and can taste the difference between Sumatran and Ethiopian.

You know that anyone wearing pants in November is just visiting from Ohio.

You are thinking of taking an adult class but you can't decide between yoga, aromatherapy, conversational Mandarin or one on building your own web site.

You haven't been to Hippie Hollow since the first month you moved to Austin.

A man walks on The Drag in full leather regalia and crotchless chaps ...You don't notice.

A woman walks on The Drag with live poultry ...You don't notice.

You think any guy with a George Clooney haircut must be visiting from the midwest.

You know that any woman with a George Clooney haircut is not a tourist.

You keep a list of companies to boycott.

Your hairdresser is straight, your plumber is gay, the woman who delivers your mail is straight and your Mary Kay Lady is a guy in drag.

You occasionally see a guy on a unicycle whiz by you in your car and you say to yourself, "Oh yeah, it's that guy again..."

You start to worry when you don't see the cross-dressing, bearded guy in-a-tutu- and- bikini-top-who-has-made- a-statement-with-his-grocery-cart-and- cardboard-box-art/shelter on your way to work in the morning. Scarier yet, you know his name is name is actually Leslie.

You'll make dinner or bar plans around who's got the best margaritas.

You have a tough time deciding on one of Austin's eight 24-hour restaurants (Katz', Kerbey Lane, Star Seeds, Magnolia Cafe, IHOP, Denny's, the Kettle, or Jim's).

You complain about their prices but still shop at Central Market for the scene.

You don't even think about getting good seats to the Longhorns football games.

You know the exact locations of three towing yards.

Your summer shoes are your Birks and your winter shoes are your Birks w/ socks.

Your entire wardrobe consists of: a black tank top, a GAP white T-shirt, second-hand Levi's, second-hand cut-off Levi's, overalls, Longhorns sweats, anything polyester from the 70's, a bikini, Tevas, Birkenstocks, and running shoes.

You often find yourself wondering why magazine editors insist that swimsuit season starts on Memorial Day when it's really the end of February or at the latest, the beginning of March.

You consider chips, salsa, Kerby Queso, and Shiner Bock beer a well balanced meal.

You find yourself making beaded necklaces to give away as Christmas gifts.

100 degrees for three straight months isn't unreasonable, 110 degrees is. And 90 degrees anywhere between May and September seems a little chilly.

You figure skin cancer is inevitable b/c it's so DAMN HOT even your sunscreen won't stay on.

When you go out, you make sure you've grabbed your water bottle before checking to see if you've got your wallet and keys.

You don't mind parking a mile away as long as it's in the shade.

Nobody's aware that Southwestern went out of style.

You ask yourself constantly if that's a cute guy or a butch girl. And you really don't care either way cuz it's fun to wonder.

You'd rather ride your bike than get in a car without air conditioning. At least on your bike, you're guaranteed a breeze regardless of traffic.

You see more Texas flags flying than American flags.

You spend so much time at MoJo's Coffee House, you finally start bringing in your own CD's for the staff to play.

Your professor decides in the middle of the Government lecture that now's as good of a time as ever to tell his class of 500 he's gay. Like you didn't know. Like you even care.

Cubicles are no longer referred to as "work spaces" but "way out funky left brain meditation depositories."

The food at the company holiday party is all vegan, organic, soy free, wheat free, dairy free...

That noontime odor in the breakroom reminds you of your trip to Caracas, but its only somebody's lunch.

You're in a band - several of them, in fact

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Austin.

I would add this one:
Your favorite band releases their new CD, and you've already been listening to their live versions of most of the songs for years.

I think the list is pretty decent. I'm not in a band, but I've done work for bands, both for hire and volunteer. Also (fingers crossed/knock on wood) I have not yet been towed. I'm super careful about that stuff, but I figure it will probably happen eventually in spite of that. And... it's not scary that someone knows Leslie by name! EVERYBODY knows Leslie by name, don't they?
- -

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Love 101?

A quote from this article,
Gov. Rick Perry praised the church's new look and told the crowd, "As lawmakers we do a lot of things, but only the church can teach people to love."

How very interesting. I wonder if non-Christian churches are included in that philosophy?

I'm undecided between Bell and the Kinkster, but I think I would vote for the candidate who had a chance of beating Mr. Adios Mofo.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Imagine there's no heaven

No hell below us, above us only sky.

The loss of someone in my department to accidental death at only 43 has got me thinking about mortality in general. I am very saddened by death, partly because I don’t believe in an afterlife… at least not in the way it’s most commonly conceived. I do think that such things as memories or impressions might be passed along genetically, and maybe it’s also possible that one has some kind of a consciousness beyond the life of the flesh. There are too many unexplained events and stories related to near-death experiences, out-of-body phenomena, and the incredible coincidences in the lives of twins raised apart for me to be able to dismiss it all away, but I reject the concept of the “supernatural”. If something occurs, then it occurs within the realm of nature -- things which happen (in nature, in the world, in the world) are not "supernatural" any more than dreams or the sense of smell. I generally reject the concept of the "spiritual" as being a different realm than the "physical" or "natural".

I don't know the answers and don't think it's possible to know. Well... that's the definition of an agnostic, right?

Mythology is cool, it's fascinating because there are a thousand fairy tales that have been created to explain natural occurences... and people believe them... literally... with all their heart and mind (speaking figuratively, of course) [grin]

I try to remain skeptical about everything that will never have a definitive answer, and to question all my beliefs. It's fine to commit to a belief, as long as you know why it is that you believe it. Believing in a heavenly afterlife to maintain a delusion that maybe life doesn't end in death does not have a good enough reason for the belief.

I guess it depends on whether you prefer the blue pill or the red.