Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Be Happy!

Have a Wonderful Time with Friends and Loved Ones,

And Don't Get Toooo Messed Up!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The value of pie.

I ran across this people database while looking for a listing of famous people who died this year, and it is really loaded with information! It's not entirely "fair and balanced", as Karl Rove's summary is listed as "Turd Blossom" -- so it leans left just the way I like it! Plenty of snark to go around though, no worries there. Among the statistics listed is who dated who -- and I didn't know that Bill Maher had dated Ann Coulter! (Speaking of Bill Maher, check out his 2007 Dickheads of The Year feature here.)

Getting to the point of this post, finally, the site provides a listing of people who are known to have been pied. Interesting list (at the link) which includes William F. Buckley, Eldridge Cleaver, Chuck Colson, Bill Gates, Andy Warhol, Anita Bryant, William Shatner, Edward Teller, William Kristol, Ann Coulter and lots more. In some cases, it's easy to wonder why MORE pies aren't pitched at them. This picture shows our favorite neocon, William Kristol getting it, but good!!

Unfortunately, Ann Coulter's pie missed, but at least it ran her off the stage in mid-rant.
I leave you with this absolute gem! Anita Bryant's pieing (and her husband's revenge) as covered on the news, and if you enjoyed that you have to click here for the unedited audio that includes ALL the praying that ensued almost instantly after she announces that "at least it was a fruit pie". (you will have to endure a 15 sec. ad preceeding, but it's worth it) I like the fact that they prayed so hard for the perpetrators and professed all that love and forgiveness, then he goes and hits them with a pie in return!

Friday, December 28, 2007

It's not about Tony Blair

Seems like at the end of the year we go into movie-watching mode, both on the small screen and in theatres. Here is one to look out for on the rental shelves. It's easy to be fooled by the packaging and the title of this one: The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair. The cheesy title and the cover makes it look like a spy spoof or something. The movie itself also uses some comic-style graphics throughout, but it is still purely a documentary, and a fascinating one.

A freedom-loving Iraqi journalist who is mistakenly thought to be planning to assassinate Tony Blair is captured with his brothers, and imprisoned at Abu Ghraib in spite of a complete lack of evidence. He tells his story of all the things that he was put through in on-camera interviews and through his home videos. Also includes comments from an American soldier who was assigned to the facility at the time and knew him and his situation.

[Official site - with filmmakers' notes]

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Someone has a future making horror flicks

Weird siting this past week at the HEB grocery store. I think it was put together by school kids, and I'm sure it was fun to make. Poor Marilyn! She's looked better! The display was called Pop Cart. It was placed right by the front doors, so everybody who came in would get to see it. The body looks like it was created by wrapping clear tape around wadded up paper and plastic bags. Kind of scary-looking, and might inspire you for your upcoming halloween costume.

AAACK! There was no time to put a hand on that left arm! Below, this hand reminds me of something I just saw on an X-Files re-run.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Purrsday Night - Retirement

[LINK to story] It's always nice when someone gets to retire. Usually it isn't a cat, especially since cats are not known for bending to the will of a "boss", but this cat's job was Mascot. His name is Nin, and he has his own Mount Washington Observer Staff Page entry (bottom of this page). He's been a trooper in all manner of weather (and not even afraid of flames) serving as companion to meteorologists, scientists, and visitors. He's 17 or 18 years old now, so they've retired him. There's a job opening for a new mascot while Nin lives the life of a housecat. He looks like our Alex used to look before he got too skinny. And speaking of too skinny, Jax, below, is anything but. Here he is, enjoying his new catnip mouse toy sent by Uncle Mark and his cat Willie way up in Wyoming.
Here he is waiting for the mouse to pounce him and give him an excuse to pounce back.
And Henry is way too tired to be bothered with pouncing anything. He just works way too hard, as you can see.

Tags and links: Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Full Of Crap - - -

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Can't tolerate intolerance

[LINK to article]

Wow! I just ran across this story (although it's a couple of weeks old). Some Jews were attacked on a NY subway for responding to "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Hanukkah". After verbal assaults by the Christians turned physical, a Muslim on the subway stepped in to defend the Happy Hanukkah well-wisher and his companions from the 10 abusive Christians.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Late December Plantblogging

I don't really know what these are, saw them out in in front of Book People yesterday and had to take a picture! Looks like some kind of hosta maybe?

Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting the World's Smallest Tomato!! Just harvested in the backyard yesterday. Yes, it's supposed to be that small. It's a Red Currant Tomato. I blogged them last year without knowing the name of them or why they were so danged small. They grow wild back there, and the plants are still producing. They are delicious tomatoes, but it takes a whole bunch of them to make one bite.

It's been really nice weather here for the most part. Jacket for morning and night but bright sunny sweater weather (60s and 70s) for the short days. Did some heavy-duty yard work (I even helped), taking out some Spanish Bayonets... very appropriately named plants... and some Prickly Pear overgrowth. Only a few pokes and ouches.

Here's some Trailing Lantana that is providing most of the color in the backyard now. This patch is cozied up with a Prickly Pear.

Here's to sunny days and blue skies.

Eat, drink, and bray like a donkey

This was the floral decoration at the UU church this week. Davidson (a confessed hereric) has delivered a couple of really healing sermons this month on the topic of this holiday season. One was titled "The Real Reason For the Season" which you would expect to be a schmaltzy speech on how we should be helping those less fortunate (well, you should always do that whenever possible). Nope, that's not what it was about. First of all, it covered the history of the holiday back to pre-historic times, including Mithra and Constantine and Sol Invictus, and on through to the very secular or removed-from-religion trimmings that are so much a part of it today. The punch line (as I interpreted it) was that the day which provided the most darkness, in the cold of midwinter, happened to be the time when the wine was fermented and ready, certain cattle were slaughtered to eliminate the need to keep feeding them, and the depression of darkness all added up to it being high time for a party before hunkering down for the rest of the Winter ahead -- hence the title. Read it here, or listen to the audio here (Dec. 9). I also ran across an excellent Commentary in, of all things, the Wall Street Journal, called "A Brief History of Christmas" which also covers a lot of the Pagan stuff, but some of the early Church revelries were pretty interesting. I had never heard of the "Feast of the Ass" !! Read it here, and if the article comes up unavailable, I saved the text, so let me know.

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Movie year 2007

Just covering what we saw in 2007 that was widely-released this year, some on DVD, some in the theatre. I'm no critic, I'm no intellectual or film geek, and I've got no credentials. None at all. So this is just a list of a few of my worthless and shallow opinions. Movie links go to IMDB unless otherwise noted.

Animated favorites

Ratatouille!!! Cute overload plus a good story. Now I want a pet rat. I don't think Jax would understand.
The Simpsons is a movie length TV episode so if you like the Simpsons, you'll like it. I want more Spider-Pig in the future.
Shrek the Third is... well... Shrek. You know what to expect. It's all good.

Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror

Sweeney Todd. Two Johnny Depp movies in the same year! What's not to love about that? I have to confess that I was completely ignorant about Sweeney Todd except for the most obvious things, like the premise. My ignorance was bliss in that I got to be surprised by the plot twists and the ending. Wonderful. Great cast! Newcomers Jamie Campbell Bower (looks like a new heartbreaker) and Ed Sanders (the kid), what a wonderful voice.
Grindhouse. Link goes to my previous posting about it. I was really disappointed that you can't rent "Grindhouse", it's "Planet Terror" and "Death Proof". Same goes for the soundtracks on CD.
Bridge to Terabithia. I thought this would be something just for kids, but it wasn’t, AND it made me cry, which is hard to do.

Also recommended:
I Am Legend. Will Smith is not funny in it, but he is still good. Yes, the bad guys are pretty CG-looking, but still scary. We rented The Omega Man and watched it later the same night. I was ignorant and didn’t realize that they were both based on the same novel "I Am Legend", so this one is not a remake of The Omega Man (1971). The Omega Man is an absolute HOOT, and has unbelievably cheesy 60s/70s music throughout, plus a gun-totin’ Charlton Heston and plenty of afro hairstyles. Actually, the novel (novelette? short story?), I Am Legend, also inspired The Last Man on Earth from 1964 starring Vincent Price, another one to look for if you enjoy those post-apocalyptic themes, and I do. They remind me of my dreams. I don't always sleep well. Blame it on the cold war.
Children of Men. Let me just say that there's no way I would want to bring a child into that world.

And some sequels, all pretty good:
Spiderman 3. The tarantulas in the lobby of the Alamo Drafthouse were a nice touch.
Harry Potter 5. (seen on IMAX 3-D) (and needed more Tonks)
28 Weeks Later
Pirates of the Caribbean 3

On the disappointing side:
Golden Compass. First, I thought the casting was perfect! I almost never totally approve of casting when a book is turned into a movie. The look of things is great too. I thought it needed to be longer, and to spend more time letting you get familiar with people and things. Also I am not meaning to spoil anything, but I like the book ending better -- much better.
Transformers. Mainly disappointing because the machines were not that convincing as being anything but CG. To be really frightening, they need to look "real". Where it was done better was War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise in 2005. Scary (the movie, not Tom Cruise).
300. Most people seem to love this one, but even though I thought every frame of it was a work of art – just beautiful visually, the characters (even the story) did not move me at all. And this is a fantastic story – one of the best ever. It's not because of the graphic novel aspect. Sin City from a couple of years ago (Frank Miller/Robert Rodriguez) has great, memorable characters which 300 didn't have for me.

Drama and/or Action, human interest, more or less reality-based

Recommended, listed in order of how much action or violence there is, ascending:
****Little or no violence, not gory****

SiCKO: This one is in a class by itself. Definitely one of the most worthwhile viewings of the year.
Once. Very non-Hollywood movie about a couple of musicians.
Away From Her. Excellent and very moving. Julie Christie plays an Alzheimer’s patient. I just love Julie Christie and always have.
Waitress. Kind of in the light romantic category. Good story, has Nathan Fillion in it, and I was really shocked and saddened afterward to learn about the murder of the director (who also had an acting role). It happened (apparently) right after the movie was wrapped so it’s not fresh news but it was for me.

****Some violence, guns, explosions, etc.****

Rescue Dawn
Michael Clayton

Wow! These all have really incredible performances in them and great stories. All of them award-worthy.

****Intense violence****

No Country For Old Men
3:10 to Yuma
Eastern Promises

Some of the best movies seen all year. Great acting, great stories. Eastern Promises would win Best Fight Scene (that will have to wait for the MTV Movie Awards). I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Also recommended:
Bourne Ultimatum

****Just pure action, go for the ride****
Live Free or Die Hard. Bruce Willis and the Mac Guy savin ur ass
Shoot ‘Em Up. Bang Bang Bang

A bit disappointing:
A Mighty Heart.

These were a couple that I liked less than the critics seemed to. In both cases, not that bad but I would not bestow any awards on either of them. Just my opinion, folks. No poo flinging allowed. Your opinion may differ.


Best:Hot Fuzz. Loved it! Bought it! View teaser on right.

Best Cheesy Horror Comedy:
Black Sheep!!! (link goes to my post) Mutated sheep turn into deadly zombie killers in New Zealand, the absolute WORST place you want the sheep to go bad, since New Zealand has about 10-20 sheep per person or something like that.

All recommended:
Superbad. McLovin. Future cat name.
Blades of Glory. Will Farrell and Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite)
Music and Lyrics. OK, I like some Hugh Grant movies, this one included, even though it falls squarely in my least favorite category of light romantic comedy it gets a thumbs up.
Knocked Up

Scared of Santa Gallery

[LINK to Gallery -- and you can add your own!]
Photo gallery of kids who may as well have sat on the lap of Osama Bin Laden for all the fun they are having. Some of those Santas really are scary though! Look at the one below. The Santa is not as terrifying as the decor. What the hell is that thing about to pounce with talons out? A griffin? OUCH! (nice forked tail too) And that baby doll!!! have a very Chucky Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Rolling with my own punches

I'm going through a major life transition here, and the holidaze hitting just fogs up my vision, so it's hard to say where it's going. I have jumped off the hamster wheel, and not sure yet how much damage has been done. The day job (which is part-time) has shut down until Jan 3, and I nearly didn't make it through the last day of it today. The top boss had our little group slated to be taken out for lunch, and I find those luncheons to be very uncomfortable. We were supposed to eat at some posh place over at The Domain where the only thing on the menu I can eat is iceberg lettuce while everyone discusses their big holiday plans and I am expected to tell mine. As a strong introvert, this is like a nightmare incarnate for me.  I like some of the people I work with, but really have no chemistry whatsoever with most of them. In the past I have tried to just say No. They don't take No for an answer. Nobody can understand why on earth I would turn down a free lunch at a posh chain. I have tried saying I have other commitments, only to have them reschedule to accommodate me. So this time I said Yes but the dreading of it stressed me out so that I woke up dizzy, hostile and with one of my famous tension headaches. I went in, but after a couple of hours the anxiety started building into near-panic, so I filled out my time sheet, shut down and left in a hurry. Even a nice afternoon on the porch in this beautiful weather has not chilled me out.

Anyway, my freelance biz is going to be a whole lot less busy after today so I am hoping to get my footing for a new rhythm, learn to tread the uncertain waters, and maybe even learn to relax again. It's been so long... I can make this work if I don't crash and burn.

Delete this post

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Purrsday Night - Hot enough for ya?

Like a lot of senior citizens, Henry like to stay as warm as possible. This radiator is like a pacifier - he just curls up in the Hot Zone. (I wish I had that radiator in my office) (but Henry is worth it, of course). Even better is a real fire. Love is a hunka hunka burnin' firelog.

Tags and links: Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - This week's carnival is at Missy, KC and Bear on Sunday - - -

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Keef - kicking ass for 64 years

If you've still got Keith Richards in your Dead Pool, you are likely to be a loser again. Today Keith turns 64 years old. Last year, he had a brush with the bad boy when he fell out of a coconut tree, but it was a mild concussion and before we knew it he was back out there on the road. He's been so resilient that almost seems invincible. Here's a pic I took last year when the band came through Austin.
And here's one taken by Ross Hamilton, who was standing next to me at the West Palm Beach Festival 1969. Ain't it a beauty? My first Stones show, and with the Austin one last year, one where I had a front rail.

Here's a pretty cool video where an artist does a sketch of Keith to the tune of "You Got The Silver"

Keith's guitar is still on top, but his talking has gone a bit slurry over the years, to say the least. Here's a hilarious bit from YouTube that you will have to click to view because they won't let it be embedded. Rock on Keith, and hope you've got satisfaction at last.

Keith Richards website
Keith wiki

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Finish The Thought Meme

I've been tagged BACK by kona, and like he did, I'm leaving my matching thoughts in italics.

I Never... let myself get drunk anymore, unlike young drunk women, old drunk women are not tolerated by anyone - intentionally kill anything - show up late for entertainment events, I'd rather not go than be late - go out for New Year's Eve anymore - leave the theater before the credits are finished

I Rarely... trust a weather forecast - trust a TV news report - leave town - go out without MrB - have Republican friends (Libertarian friends, those I have, I just don't agree with them, but that's OK)

I Cry... when a cat dies - during certain films - listening to certain music

I Am Not Always... able to deal with thick crowds that have no central focus, the random milling around makes me feel like I'm in an ant hill - able to put up with other people's channel surfing

I Lose... my nerve when trying to meet new people - sticky notes that I've made to remind me of things - people's phone numbers and snail addys - my due bills

I'm Confused... by people who enjoy killing other creatures - about why we still have the Electoral College - about why we still use Daylight Savings time - by tax forms

I Miss... having few responsibilities - having spare time and wondering how to spend it - having enough money to feel reasonably secure - cats Alex and Duncan - my friend ev (Jeen Lilly) - being able to eat whatever I like - being active in Mensa - my big dreams.

I Need... a steady adequate income, a large lump sum would do - to be trusted - some time off, a vacation or even a sabbatical - a doctor I trust

I Should... become fluent in Spanish - exercise - lose the 15 pounds I gained this last year - pick up a dust rag and mop, and use them - get all this junk (I mean vintage collectibles) on eBay ASAP

I Love... MrB - my cats - this town, Austin - music - watching a band that I know - blogging - pickles - olives - the beach and the waves - sunny dry days with the perfect temperature when you can wear anything you want - simple things that are highly practical and/or functional - going to the movies - feeling that I can speak freely

Tagging: nava, Jazz, enigma

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Crazy crap you can buy online

Well, shopping season is here, and I've run across some truly weird items that you can buy online this week. First is a UFO detector, checks for magnetic and electromagnetic disturbances. There's a basic-looking one, but for the same price you can get one with the fancy case and the crop circle on top, an embellishment that's the equivalent of adding Cheez-Whiz. $65, build it yourself, $95 assembled, and there's another version that's elegant and stylish-looking, suitable for festive occasions or doubling as a sculpture for $250. I would hope that it would fit in your purse as well. I should add that although I take a skeptical view of all UFO reports as well as all other things, but I do, in fact, think there's something out there in the way of extra-terrestrial life... and I've had a sighting myself (a close encounter of the first kind). Another post, another day. Maybe.

Next product is a "Ghost Meter" as it says right there on the case. It's an EMF (electromagnetic frequency) detector, apparently essential for ghost detection, and it detects UFOs as well. There are some other products available, such as a little bag of dirt from the Roswell crash site. I have been to Roswell. My mother used to live there and I still have several relatives there. Also, MrB ended up stranded in Roswell for several hours at none other than the old Army/AF base where they supposedly took the alien bodies (there's a story there that's worth dredging up someday). There's nothing in that town that I want a bag of, unless it's chile peppers. However, I am looking for a bumper sticker that says "I crashed in Roswell". They exist!!! I've seen pictures of them. I may have to make my own. I love Cafepress. You can get yourself a UFO detector or a Ghost Meter at this link.

You can buy these little containers of radioactive stuff, in case you want to test your Geiger Counter or whip up a science project. This one, the Uranium Ore, looks like an old fashioned container of cold cream that grandma used to use. She would have rubbed this on her face in a heartbeat. I guarantee it.

Funny thing, all of the above products are available through (who I am still boycotting because they refuse to stop selling cockfighting and dogfighting mags and videos) BUT I simply have to provide a link to the user comments on this product, which are hilarious!!

Lastly, here's a wallet that looks like a gun holster, and there are lots of options for ways to wear it, whether as shoulder holster, on the hip, etc., and they ALL look like a gun. Let me say this, wearing on your person something that looks like a gun, but isn't, is major league stupid. Don't you always want to cry when someone gets shot because someone else thought they had a gun, but they didn't? Picture this: you are pulled over for speeding. The officer asked to see your license. Even if you try and explain 'officer, I'm reaching into my wallet, which looks like a gun, but it isn't, I promise'... you are going to get fucking shot when you reach for it and it will be considered justifiable circumstances by the powers-that-be. Tragic and stupid... BUT, although I think it's stupid to use that wallet, this company has a lot of VERY COOL STUFF that you should check out. I love those cognac glasses.

Tags: - -

Friday, December 14, 2007

A corncob pipe and a bloody nose

It's that time of year... when you are hearing the same songs everywhere you go, on every radio station, in every store of any kind, sometimes piped outdoors... Christmas music.

If you aren't familiar with the term "mondegreen", it means a misheard song lyric. The most famous mondegreen is from the Jimi Hendrix song, Purple Haze, where it sounds like he says "'scuse me while I kiss this guy". That's also the title of a book by Gavin Edwards, who has a few mondegreen books out, including a Christmas version.

The Snopes page on Christmas songs with misheard lyrics has some fun examples and also explains the origin of the term mondegreen -- and intentionally changed lyrics like Jingle Bells, Batman Smells don't count.

Some personal favorites:
Jeff's nuts roasting on an open fire,
Check for snipping at your nose;
You'll tide carols being sung by the fire,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.

Everybody knows a turkey, handsome Mr. Soul
Help to make the season bright;

Deck the halls with Buddy Holly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.
'Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Don we now our day of peril,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la.
Troll the ancient Yule tide carol,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

See the blazing Yulbie Forest,
Fa la la la la la, la la la.
Strike the heart, enjoy the florist,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Barney's the King of Israel.

Get dressed ye married gentlemen,

Good King Wences' car backed out
On the feet of heathens

Hark! the herald angels sing,
Glory to the New York King.
Peace on earth and then he smiles;
Goddamn sinners reckon so.

Joyful oily nations, rise;
Join the triumph of disguise.
With the jelly toast proclaim,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Bells on Bob's tail ring,
Making spareribs bright;
What fun it is to write and sing
A slaying song to knives.

Joy to the world!
The Lord has gum.

Olive, the other reindeer
Used to laugh and call him names.

Silent night, holy night;
All is calm, all is bright.
Round John Virgin, margarine child;

We free Kings of Oregon are

Here's a song for Harry Potter World:
I'm dreaming of a white Christmas,
Just like the wands I used to know.
Where the treetops glisten,
And children listen,
To hear slave elves in the snow.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Purrsday Night - Cute Overlord

No, it's not a typo. Henry has gotten himself crowned King of Cute and the Wizard of Ahhhhhhs.

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

Torture is A-OK

Quote: "[...] good men have to know how to do bad things to do good." - Col. David Hunt (Ret).

Col. Hunt affirms that waterboarding IS torture, but that torture is an acceptable method of gathering intelligence. America is not "too good" to do it because the other guys are not. Also, quit taping it so there won't be video records in existence. Fox "News" video of the interview at the link, which starts out with a "merry Christmas" from the Col. and ends with an "always a pleasure to have you here" from the Faux News crew.

Aren't you just swelling with pride to be an American right now?

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

5 little known things tag, and I made 2 haikus too!

Dredging up that Blueberry header again. How can I resist?

Are these the right rules?
Nava composed a haiku
and so here is mine.

I am not an artist anymore. All my artsy stuff is done to promote other people's ideas, so it doesn't even count as art, but it does count as design, graphic design, web design, or illustration. Let's see... 5 little known things. When I was barely even two, I was drawing and painting at a pretty advanced level, and kept it up passionately until I was in my 20s when reality and mortgages kicked in, so I sold out to the J-O-B. As a person with art schooling, I will bring up some of the jobs I've had.

1. Retouching Sears portraits. Some of these portraits were just butt-ugly crap, and on top of that the negatives were dusty and scratched, so we all sat in a big open warehouse room and if you looked up from the roll, the supervisor goon yelled out "you outta work?". The photos were on a motorized roll which we operated with one hand while holding a tiny brush in the other. We made minimum wage (which was $1.75), and after paying my rent I didn't have enough money left for food, or even enough to park my car at work and had to park several blocks away in an even scarier part of downtown St. Louis. The place also had stupid rules about fraternization, in that males and females were not permitted to sit together during lunch or be seen speaking to each other socially.

2. Bartending in a redneck dive. I was paid $15 cash for ~9 hours of work with no actual breaks, plus all the booze I could drink and a frozen pizza. This job has a few colorful stories that go with it, so I will leave them for a later post. I quit it to take job #3.

3. Automobile assembler. Hard work. Noxious fumes. Hands exposed to naphtha all shift, booze, drugs, 125 degF at my spot on the line in summer. This was the job that convinced me that I need more schoolin', and this time with a desk job in mind. Decent pay and benefits for the unskilled, but we were laid off. Then the plant closed.

4. Housekeeping in Nursing Homes. This job was a promotion I sought after doing job #5.

5. Laundry worker in a Nursing Home. Practically the definition of the bottom of the barrel. We worked in the basement and it flowed down the big chute at us.

Five little known things.
I've been tagged as an artist
and must tag five more.

(I think the haiku is highly optional, ya'll. Just 5 little known things and tag 5)
tagging: konagod, a creative from my neck of the woods.
Dr. Monkey, Lord of the Crunky, who manages to keep the fez on.
mando mama, you are tagged as a string enthusiast.
undeniable liberal, who shows artistry with the turn of the phrase, and in coming up with NEW words where they are needed!
Michael, you are an artist, so consider yourself tagged if you happen to read this. No pressure!!

Cartoon from Toothpaste for Dinner.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

7 years in ATX

Sorry for you folks out there enduring those horrible winter storms. Very treacherous -- dangerous. The day we left St. Louis for Austin was back around December 18, 2000. They had just had a bitter cold front come through following snow and ice, and it was about 2 degF when we were packing up the moving van. We just had our "efficiency" stuff, enough to live in a one bedroom apartment, and our 3 cats, Alex, Henry and Duncan. I drove a car with Henry and Duncan in it, and MrB drove the Penske truck with Alex.

Alex was hyperactive and loud. We got valium from the vet to help him make the trip, but even after a human-level dose he was wide awake and meowing himself sick. He was obsessive. He did not sleep -- at all. My cats were pretty scared and quiet, petrified with fear I guess, and as soon as Henry's carrier was opened for his litter pan break, he peed on the car floor instead.

There was another big winter storm expected to impact the trip, and we were super-lucky to have made it to a motel in Oklahoma before the highways became impassable. Otherwise we would have had to spend the night in the car/truck... each of us with VERY unhappy cats... not to mention freezing in a snow/ice storm. For an auditory impression of how he sounded, imagine Granny Clampett yelling "JED!!! JED!!!" at the top of her lungs.

Even in the motel, Alex continued to cry. He did doze off a little, but meowed in his sleep. I am not making that up. I didn't think it was possible. And he had been tranquilized.

The next day was thankfully fit for travel, hard to imagine repeating that evening, and I don't think Alex would have survived it. He meowed for the whole rest of the journey into Austin, and by that time we had almost completely lost his voice. I think the trip added a year or two onto him. He wasn't one to go with the flow, he was always as obsessive as a Terminator, didn't give up. He eventually got his voice back, but a little of the piss and vinegar was gone (only a little).

Our temporary apartment (until we could get a house in Austin) was in Georgetown, a good commute north of town. It was the only place I could find that would let us live there with 3 cats. There was sunshine and it was very pleasant, in the 70s in the daytime so a denim jacket was plenty for day or night. Back in the midwest, you don't get much intense sunshine in the winter, it's pretty gray and overcast, day after stinkin' day. The other thing we noticed is that it stayed light for about 45 minutes later in the evening. All in all, an excellent way to spend the solstice by having some sunshine (not to mention nice temperatures) to celebrate.

Feels like home to me, and we see friends every where we go. However, I fully understand and accept that it will take at least 7 more years before we are considered "local", and as far as some folks are concerned, it will NEVER happen. (I can't help those folks, and will never see eye to eye with them on that point) But -- if you bring something good to the table, something creative that nurtures and supports the local culture and the good things about it, you can get your Austinite credentials a little sooner.

Big Damn Spider Attacks Space Shuttle!!!

[News link]

Monday, December 10, 2007

Joey Burns Calexico

No. Not saying someone has committed arson in a California border town.

Happy birthday today to Joey Burns, lead singer, songwriter, guitar player and major driving force for the band Calexico. The band is based in Tuscon Arizona, and their quintessential sound is captured in this offering, The Crystal Frontier. The sound blends the American West with Mexico, and a lot of the songs, this one included, deal with the heartaches of The Border.

This one is more recent, the sound is a little less hot and dusty, the lyrics maybe a bit more political. It's called "Cruel"

The band has done a lot of support collaboration, including Neko Case, and more prominently Iron & Wine, a.k.a. Sam Beam -- who lives not too awfully far down the road in Dripping Springs. You will also hear them all over the soundtrack of that new Dylan movie, "I'm Not There". I'm going to post one more video here, even though it's as much Iron & Wine as it is Calexico... I am just really in love with this song right now. So there you have it. Recorded at KUT radio, Austin, Texas. "He Lays In The Reins"

Band website

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Good on ya, Greencards!

The Greencards have had another stellar year of doing nothing but touring, burning out the van, working their asses off, and always coming up smiling. They have just gotten their first-ever Grammy nomination, so it's a big cause for celebration. We always believed in them. Always. Now I hope they win (it's for Best Country Instrumental for the song Mucky the Duck, and it's a fiery acoustic number that's unbelievably good. Listen to it on their MySpace. They're offering a free download Christmas song on there now. It's a handmade gift.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Cat Hair

If you're going to be giving gifts that are unwanted and unneeded by the recipients anyway, consider these Kitty Wigs. For $50 you can really annoy your cat, get some laughs, and hopefully they will leave the wigs on long enough to snap an enduring photo. Four styles/colors available.

The phrase "take a picture. It lasts longer" could not be more appropriate.

Yes, it's for real, apparently.

Yes, your small dog will wear them if you don't show him/her the label.

Yes, they will fit your sock monkey.

Found via J-Walk.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Survival of the Baddest

I know all the political junkies along the whole spectrum from left to right really thrive on this part of the campaign season. It’s truly up in the air now in both parties, it’s like a big free-for-all catfight: a hair-pulling, eye-scratching, crotch-kicking, mud-slinging fracas. I really don’t enjoy this part. It’s a game called “How Low Can You Go”. The public groveling is very tiresome. One by one they have to demonstrate that they have the correct religion and that they like blowing the hell out of animals with guns, and eat what what's killed in the food factories. Vegetarianism, treehugging, getting health care for everyone... that won’t play. It’s anti-corporate. You can’t be anti-corporate and be The President. Not for letting God run the government, being anti-theocracy? Relying on reason instead? Forget it. The USA is not ready for it. We, as a people, are subordinate to the corporations and the church -- meaning that even if we want to, we can't escape their influence and power over so many things in daily life.

Kucinich on the issues
I really like Kucinich for his views. I don’t even care about the rumors that he would pick Ron Paul for a running mate. He will not have a running mate, IMO, so it doesn’t matter. The ones who manage to emerge from the Big Scrap are the only ones who matter. I will go for Kucinich in the “playoffs” based on issues and his views, and support the bloodied victorious Democrat next November... and hope that person survives the chariot race, the "faulty" voting machines and all the stuff that keeps most people from exercising their right to vote.

And no matter how it turns out, it will mean the end of the Bush administration.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Jolly Saint Hick

A Christmas display showing Santa taking aim at Rudolph with his rifle.

Found via Fark.

Purrsday Night - Legs: He knows how to use them, Part Two

Jax plants his 20 lb. frame firmly in the leg zone. You weren't planning on going anywhere, were you? Gotta brush on ya? Maybe some cheese?

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

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Actual Snake Oil would work better

Ever see this ad? Not that you or I would fall for it, but it makes you curious, no?

At the top it says "PICTURE YOURSELF WITHOUT WRINKLES" with this graphic:

Which soon changes to this:

Then underneath it says the Dermitage Dual-Action Wrinkle Reducer does several things, including 57% less visible wrinkles (giving you 43% "invisible wrinkles"? -- now there's a concept), and it prevents future wrinkles!!!

Underneath THAT it offers a 14-day free trial supply. Seems all win-win and stuff, doesn't it? I was curious about just how well it might work, and found this feedback forum topic. It appears that FREE is not really FREE after all.

Friday, November 30, 2007

My daemon(s)

I just started the second book in the His Dark Materials trilogy (The Subtle Knife). With the Church all riled up over it, how could I resist? MrB just started The Golden Compass, and I want him to finish it before we see it on the big screen (hope it's still playing in the theaters by then... HINT HINT MrB... not rushing you... much.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Purrsday Night - Legs: He knows how to use them, Part One

Jax is a leg man. This is Week 1 of Jax's Leg Gallery. (and I'm sure Henry will interject here and there, if only to put his foot down)

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

Well, there's a URL I'll bet none of us thought we'd ever see! I've really been enjoying this best-selling album, and that's another rarity. I love them both separately, but when they go together it really leaps out of the box -- and when it doesn't leap, it just purrs.

I'm pretty fussy about celebrity duets. Sometimes I think they are painful to hear, even if I really like both people (I won't mention any names, that always riles people up and makes them want to fling me a lighted poop bomb) but it's more like their voices are battling each other for dominance -- and that's not harmony. Like fighting cats, it makes me want to separate them. This pairing is sooo not like that. If you haven't already heard it playing in all the stores you visit, have more of a listen at these Raising Sand links:
Official website

Tags: - -

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Working like a fiend this week, got some stuff I want to post but will have to wait until I get a break. In the meantime, enjoy this pic from the backyard. It's a late Autumn bloomer called Copper Canyon Daisy, and there's a pretty good patch of it back there now.