Wednesday, January 31, 2007

World loses another Austin treasure

I've been meaning to post about Molly Ivins lately. I've been thinking of her a lot and checking her column for news or entries. It had been reported that she had been losing her battle with breast cancer, and today she is gone. All I can do now is to recommend that you read what this lady has written, read about who she was and what she was like. There was nobody else quite like her.

This is the last paragraph from her last column on January 11:
We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!"

Links and tributes: [News 8 Austin article] [Texas Observer] [Texas Observer obit]

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

3 times a victim

Woman calls 911, reports to police that she's been raped. Not only is she arrested for an old paperwork snafu, a religious jail worker refuses her the required second dose of the morning-after pill that's already been prescribed.

Links: [MSNBC] [Tampa Bay]

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A purrfect match.

Which famous feline are you?

You're the Cheshire Cat. Your mysterious aura and your penchant for riddles keep your friends guessing. You dislike staying too long in any one place. Your advice is always sound, if somewhat enigmatic. The sum total of this is that people are always following you and you just WANT TO GET AWAY!
Take this quiz!

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I always wanted to be the Cheshire Cat. He could disappear everything but the grin, an admirable quality. I value my grin, (it's what I have instead of a smile), and when it disappears and I remain, it's a very bad omen for me, a dark time. People ask my advice, but I shake my head. I have no desire or inclination to screw up your life. You will have to do that on your own. I do always want to get away... here I go... *poof*

Cheshire cat dialogue:
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."
Alice didn't think that proved it at all: however she went on. "And how do you know that you're mad?"
"To begin with," said the Cat, "a dog's not mad. You grant that?"
"I suppose so," said Alice
"Well, then, " the Cat went on, "you see a dog growls when it's angry, and wags its tail when it's pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased, and wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore I'm mad."
"... thought Alice, and she went on. "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where –" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
"– so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

Found via Silly Humans.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

There really IS beer church!

And yes, the brew is served. Seems like kind of an "aught aught" version of Jesus freaks... without the freaks (and what ARE we calling this decade anyway? Does anyone know? It's more than half over!). It's attracting a lot of young people, they play Sufjan Stevens and discuss Cobain and Marley. It's a christian interdenominational church, appears to be fundamentalist, and is having a real problem with the Baptists, who provided a lot of their $$$, and don't approve of the boozing. Looks like they might have to either pay them off or dance with the one that brung them (at arm's length).

Actually, this beer church sounds like more fun and has a more tangible purpose (it's about the beer, let us not forget). Its motto is "Beer Church. We Drink" and that's their insignia. You can even get an official ordination certificate with this at the bottom: "God gave us 24 hours in a day. There's 24 bottles of beer in a case. You think that's just a coincidence?" They've also got some other merch items, including a sign like the one on the right.

Late January must be "beer church" time for me. Look at my post from last January 19!

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

All in the telling

Here's a pretty darned funny cartoon vid featuring a story from local treasure Ray Wylie Hubbard, who never fails to crack me up no matter how many times he tells the same story. When time I see him, I want to sit crossed-legged and ask him to please tell the one about the goats and the...

Anyway, check out this tale. All it does is provide the visuals you'd get anyway if your eyes were closed:

More cartoons at Collection Agency Films. The producer is local musician Troy Campbell [News 8 Austin link].

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Friday, January 26, 2007

La La wLAN

Danger! Death Ray!
Well, it's time again to start feeling a little paranoid about things you love that might kill you or just make you wish you were dead... something you can't even see. Nobody can be sure if there's a real danger here without extensive testing.

From the Non-Toxic Times Newsletter:
In the simplest terms, wireless networks,which are also known as wLANs (wireless Local Area Networks) use a central antenna to send and receive digital signals from anyone with compatible computer equipment located within a certain radius. These signals are generally carried on the portion of the radio spectrum at and just slightly above 2.4 gigahertz. (A separate standard known as 802.11a uses a frequency of 5 gigahertz). Exposure to this low-level radiation is being blamed for a variety of ills in otherwise healthy people.

Experts believe that up to 5% of the general population may be unusually sensitive to exposure to the radiation generated by wireless networks and may suffer symptoms that include disturbed sleep, vision problems, depression, cardio-pulmonary difficulties, nausea, and headaches as a result.

So far no studies have been conducted to verify whether or not there’s a legitimate problem. Only anecdotal evidence exists to suggest that there might be. This evidence includes testimony from individuals who experience strange effects like a buzzing in the head, blurred vision, and an inability to stand up whenever wireless signals are encountered at work or home, and scattered reports of behavioral problems in children that ended as soon as nearby wireless transmitters were turned off. [read entire article]

Knowing my track record, I'm probably one of those 5%. I remember the scare on EMF a few years back (people were worried about the power lines and common household objects), and got the house tested (a free service from the electric company in that area). As expected, the microwave control panel was one of the worst offenders, but there were weird little "hotspots" all over the house where the readings were high. Mr. B won't let me use an electric blanket now. Not even sure if it was a bad offender, but all sorts of electrical devices make me wonder... oh, these cautious ways. One of the ways I show my age...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Catblogging - Firecat

Who needs a fire when you have a nice warm kitty cat? As much as Duncan enjoyed curling up with these logs, he'd rather we burned them so he could sit nearby, watch and get warm. If you and your cat don't don't have a fire to watch, you might try these cat "reality TV" videos with a nod to niCk for the link.

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


U.S. Soldiers in Iraq Throw Stones at Crippled Dog [LINK to complete article]
Urge Army to investigate incident of animal abuse captured on video

You may have already seen the video being circulated on the Internet in which U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq throw rocks and laugh at a dog suffering from a severe spinal deformity. One of the soldiers even says, "That's the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life!" as the dog yelps in pain and tries to escape on two legs.

[edit 5/31/11: the video is now unavailable. My apologies.]

It IS really disturbing to watch something like this, and you might be thinking that treating a dog in this way is different from treating a human in a similar way, but I don't happen to agree with that. I realize that training and circumstances are a factor in this, but I sure won't defend it, nonetheless. The ability to behave in this way should never be nurtured, or the behavior defended under any circumstance.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Are You Ready, Boots?

Well, dang!! I missed the big SOTU speech last night. How was it? No really, we can't stand to watch the man moving his lips and we already were clued in about what he would say, so no morning-after surprises. I hate those. Who doesn't?

I was thinking this little ditty might serve as a response. Although not thought of as politically savvy, some of these lyrics might have a catchy double meaning.
You keep saying you've got something for me.
something you call love, but confess.
You've been a messin' where you shouldn't have been a messin'
and now someone else is gettin' all your best.

These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do

one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.

You keep lying, when you oughta be truthin'
and you keep losin' when you oughta not bet.
You keep samin' when you oughta be a changin'.
Now what's right is right, but you ain't been right yet.


You keep playin' where you shouldn't be a playin
and you keep thinkin' that you´ll never get burnt.
I just found me a brand new box of matches yeah
and what he knows you ain't had time to learn.


Are you ready boots? Start walkin'!

Hoping the Congress and the People they represent are wearing their boots.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The changing of the gourds

The Martin Houses have been hung with care, hoping that soon the mosquito-eaters will be there. We got a beautiful day on Sunday (about 70 degrees and sunny) for the annual cleaning out of the bird houses. Lucky for us, it was after the freeze so there weren't any wasps to worry about. These things are perfect housing for wasps -- just what you want -- a wasp habitat. Martins are hard to establish. They say that you have to remove the nests that the other birds make in order to make room for the Martins, and we don't have the heart to do that. So if you've already moved in, you can stay. Hope you like mosquitos.

Monday, January 22, 2007

SOTU gag reel

This little parody piece has dragged out many of those little hidden meanings behind the Bushspeak. I hope that at least there will be less thunderous applause this year.

One Mama, No Papas

I just learned about this yesterday, but it happened Friday. Denny Doherty of the Mamas & Papas died at age 66. He was in Canada, where he lived.

They were truly a Sixties band, their vocal stylings are as ingrained on music from that decade as much as the Beach Boys. They didn't last into the Seventies, their music wasn't cutting edge anymore, and they had mucho personal problems in the band... not only substances but relationships... as he said, "The big woman was in love with me, but I was in love with the cute blonde, and she was married."

R.I.P. Papa Denny

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

This movie is in limited release, and might be hard to find in the theatre, but it would be my new pick to get the Best Picture Oscar if it's nominated -- not that I will have seen all the nominees. What it's about is going to be a matter for individual interpretation, and it's very complex. I think it's about the things that people do to survive the worst kinds of hardship, and by survive I don't necessarily mean just physically. How we treat each other on this planet will determine how we are remembered by people who knew us or possibly by written history (although both types of legacy tend to have their own legs).

I would go so far as to say that this movie is not a Fantasy as it is generally marketed. Just my opinion, and most people will not likely agree with me (they never do) (what's new?). It is cold, hard reality. Adults and children have different ways of escaping, redeeming themselves, and helping others. That's why I say it's not a Fantasy, although there is Fantasy there. I would classify it as a War movie instead. If you see this one, you may come out of it with something completely different. That's part of the brilliance of it. Oh yes, and it's rated R... and really not for kids.

[website] [IMDB] [Rotten Tomatoes] [Watch trailer] [Austin Chronicle interview with Guillermo del Toro (former Austinite)]

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Sled Texas!!

Don't try this at home. Well, here's our local version of winter sports. It got below freezing (~28-30 degrees, depending on your geography) for about 3 days, plus there was precipitation, so that equals ice everywhere. It even snowed a light dusting, and it hasn't officially snowed since 2004. The town was shut down in a state of emergency, as it always is when there's ice. Businesses, schools, grocery stores, banks, you name it except for hospitals and it was probably closed! Actually, it was warranted. What they put down on the streets is not really salt, it's either sand or some kind of chemical that needs the friction of cars driving on it in order to melt... and ta-da... no cars (and whatever they were using on the roads, they ran out of it). Most of the fly-overs on the highways were just plain closed, they were too slick for navigation of any kind. Plus people are not equipped. We don't have ice-scrapers in the car, no de-icers for locks, no snow shovels (those are not ever needed), and as you can see, no sleds.

Fine with me. I'd rather not have my whole environment salted down like that, and I got a couple of extra days off from the day job (which I unfortunately spent working at home on freelance projects, so no rest for me). Pics snagged from the Daily Texan and Austin-American Statesman. If you want to get a laugh from watching the warm-climaters sledding down a green hill, the Statesman link has videos posted on their right sidebar for awhile.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Catblogging - Alex is Sweet 16!

Just turned 16 this week, still looking good for the camera, and he knows it! Alex could eat a whole birthday cake and not gain an ounce... but he can't eat cake, in fact, can't eat very many things without getting sick since he has IBD. He does have plenty of time to go through his various birthday cards and fan letters. Mostly he doesn't read them, he'd rather tear them up.

I think Duncan sent him one of those cards! He really loves his adopted brother. All the other cats are concentrating on the sound of little cans being opened (you can see Henry's tail there. He's got the jump on everybody when it comes to little cans). Now that's true brotherly love.

Health notes on the sick boys: Alex had some bloodwork and it looks like B-12 shots are going to be beneficial to him (cobalamin deficient), and he's about ready for another depo (steroid) shot to help with his belly. Duncan is getting a little checkup late Friday afternoon. He's been feeling a little poorly, not eating very well and breathing hard. I will keep you posted! EDIT Friday evening: Duncan had about 3 ounces of fluid drained from his lung. It wasn't collapsed yet like it did the previous time. He is feeling better tonight after the procedure.

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

Brat Pack

PACK was not so much a roving band of critters as it was something you had to do a lot. Sometimes you'd pack, sometimes they'd do it for you, but in either case you were moving... a hell of a lot! Only another military kid can imagine what it's like to grow up with that lifestyle. When people ask where I'm from, I just say "The Air Force". It's a perfectly good answer, and the only true one. And by the way, I never heard that term "military brat" until I was well into civilian life, and I think maybe it was because I was the kid of a non-com. The word "brat", to me, goes with the word "spoiled" and believe me, I was not spoiled. Not even for a minute.

There is a new documentary out called BRATS: Our Journey Home, and at the link you can watch trailers, see the screening schedule, and a lot more. The film is narrated by Kris Kristofferson, who is one of us too.

Having this background is just one more thing that puts me in with a small percentage of the population. I live in the valleys of the bell curve in so many ways. It's a good definition of "eccentric" in my book.

Being raised non-com also added a layer of weirdness likely not experienced by officer's kids: that of being on the wrong side of a class structure - one that had nothing to do with color or creed. Maybe officer's kids had their own brand of weirdness.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

On the wheel

That little workaholic devil is cracking the whip, and there's a concert Thursday night which means I will get a work break only then. I will be lucky to be able to put together a cat blog by Friday! How do I get myself into these things? And when will it start bringing in more $$$? Maybe Pat Robertson or Criswell has the answer.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Delete this post

We prefer using ice to make margaritas

There it is! Our usually once-a-winter city-disabling ice event! The conditions vary wildly even in the same area, for instance, the Hill Country always catches this stuff worse than Austin itself. Usually Austin is more insulated than either the Hill Country, Houston or Dallas even though it's in the middle of them.

The thermometer on the wall says 28 (that's Fahrenheit) and it's not supposed to start thawing until tomorrow afternoon, so that's unusually long to keep ice on stuff. The Eric Johnson show that was supposed to be tonight has been rescheduled to Thursday. I scraped my pennies together for that one, and looking forward to it. It's been too long since we've heard Eric play -- esp. a whole show -- it's been nearly a year in fact.

I know it's hard for you folks who have to live through real winter to get all sympathetic toward us down here in the sub-tropics. But there's nothing like a winter day to bring out the weenie in a hot-blooded population of folks.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Global Warming is just Armagedden getting closer.

How is it that one parent with no grasp on reality is allowed to direct and control what all the other children are taught? [LINK]
After a parent who supports the teaching of creationism and opposes sex education complained about the film, the Federal Way School Board on Tuesday placed what it labeled a moratorium on showing the film. The movie consists largely of a computer presentation by former Vice President Al Gore recounting scientists' findings. Al Gore's documentary about global warming may not be shown unless the teacher also presents an "opposing view."

"Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He's not a schoolteacher," said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who also said that he believes the Earth is 14,000 years old. "The information that's being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is. ... The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."
At least the School Board President is against banning it or presenting an opposing view, but his view is not unanimous on the Board.

This is similar to another case last year where (of all books) Fahrenheit 451 was restricted based on one religious parent.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Bauering Inferno

Behold the Power of Bauer! 24 Church begins tonight with a 2 hour episode followed by another 2 hours Monday night.

24 = one of my guiltiest pleasures.

The list of Jack Bauer facts at the end of the post is a concept based on Chuck Norris facts. To these I would add a few of my own 24 facts:

  • There are never any traffic problems in L.A.
  • Cell phone batteries stay charged forever.
  • Cell phones work, even in tunnels, during explosions, and after explosions.
  • People routinely go 24 hours without eating, sleeping, or going to the bathroom.
  • The President of the United States is never in the White House. He's always out in California in what looks like an ordinary office complex. *
  • You do not want to be Jack Bauer's friend, esp. girlfriend.
  • It is not un-manly to carry a purse.

Top 24 Jack Bauer Facts... [LINK]
  1. Jack and Jill went up the hill. Only Jack came down. Jill was a fucking terrorist.
  2. Jack Bauer could get off the Lost island in 24 hours.
  3. If Jack Bauer was in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Nina Meyers, and he had a gun with 2 bullets, he'd shoot Nina twice.
  4. Jack Bauer once forgot where he put his keys. He then spent the next half-hour torturing himself until he gave up the location of the keys.
  5. 1.6 billion Chinese are angry with Jack Bauer. Sounds like a fair fight.
  6. The only reason you're conscious right now is because Jack Bauer doesn't want to carry you.
  7. Killing Jack Bauer doesn't make him dead. It just makes him angry.
  8. There were originally five horsemen of the apocalypse. Jack Bauer said he would travel by foot.
  9. They say you can't go a day without water, Jack Bauer has gone five seasons.
  10. Jack Bauer sleeps with a gun under the pillow. But he could kill you with the pillow.
  11. When Kim Bauer lost her virginity, Jack found it and put it back.
  12. When Kim Bauer lost her virginity, Jack found it and put it back.
  13. When life hands Jack Bauer Lemons, he kills Terrorists. Jack Bauer fuckin' hates lemonade.
  14. As a boy, Jack Bauer interrogated his parents on Easter until they revealed the location and contents of each hidden egg.
  15. Jack Bauer doesn't miss. If he didn't hit you it's because he was shooting at another terrorist twelve miles away.
  16. After running out of ammo, Jack stood in the line of fire, took 3 shots to the chest, and used them to reload.
  17. Nostradamus once predicted in his journal: "In the century 21st, the one known as Jacques will be the savior of the world... five seasons in a row." Moments later, Jack Bauer knocked down the door, shot Nostradamus in the kneecaps, and yelled "WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?!"
  18. A Priest, a Rabbi, and a Minister walked into a bar... and Jack Bauer is going to find out why...
  19. Superman has Jack Bauer pajamas.
  20. Jack Bauer has no friends, because as a child when he would play cops and robbers, the robbers would all be interogated and killed.
  21. Jack Bauer is the reason Waldo is hiding.
  22. Jack Bauer has been to Mars. Thats why there's no life on Mars.
  23. Upon hearing that he was played by Kiefer Sutherland, Jack Bauer killed Sutherland. Jack Bauer gets played by no man.
  24. On Jack Bauer's Tax Returns, he has to claim the entire world as his dependants.
* right off the bat, they violate this fact and show the Oval Office. Gah!
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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Coffee Talk - Uncommon Grounds

We just watched Coffee and Cigarettes, a film by Jim Jarmusch described in a one-liner at IMDB as "A series of vignettes that all have coffee and cigarettes in common." It's kind of like a whole bunch of different versions of "My Dinner With Andre", and I think everyone who's ever had an awkward one-on-one meeting for coffee with someone -- might be a relative or friend you are alienated from, or someone you've just met, or a co-worker of your spouse.

It reminded me of something that several years ago. We drove from St. Louis to Columbia MO to see the Rolling Stones. It was a great show even though we never laid eyes on the band other than on the vid screens, and afterward we met up with Mr. B's co-worker, Mike, to have coffee at a little greasy spoon style diner near the campus. I'm always really uncomfortable with my spouse's co-workers, I'm not that mainstream in my interests or background and find it hard to find common ground with people generally, and I always seem to be older so that doesn't help.

Mr. B started bragging on the coffee that they served there. I was "unleaded" at the time so I didn't even try the stuff.
him: This is THE best cup of coffee I have EVER had in my ENTIRE life!
me: oh, really?
him: yes. I can't remember when I've ever had a better cup of coffee.
me: how about your Mom's coffee?
him: Nope. This is better. [...insert more dead serious endless raving on the merits of the coffee...]
me: hmmmm. I'm skeptical. I think the coffee that MY mother used to make would have been better.
him: Nope. Not possible. This is... hands down... THE best coffee I've ever had.
me: will you please drop it now?
him: [...sipping the coffee...] MMMMMMM, that is SOOO good.
me: [...beginning to steam...]

Then the conversation going nowhere turned to movies, and we got to talking with Mike about the movie "Natural Born Killers" (IMDB plot outline: Two victims of traumatized childhoods become lovers and psychopathic serial murderers irresponsibly glorified by the mass media.). It's a very creepy movie, that was not necessarily bad but creeped me out so that I never wanted to see it again. Mike started going on about how cool it was what the kids were doing -- just going from place to place -- killing at will -- wherever and whenever they felt like it -- and he seemed to think of it as a positive thing! Like he would like to do that too! Yeah!!! This is comparable to the times that "Easy Rider", when it first came out, was perceived by a lot of southern redneck viewers as having a happy ending! They stood up and cheered. Well, Mike had always managed to creep me out but this was the ultimate get me out of here before I piss this guy off or something.

It was a long drive back to St. Louis, where the discussion of the coffee in the diner returned in an infinite loop... as it still does to this day whenever we bring up the topic of coffee as every good cup still manages to get compared to that Columbia MO diner cup. It's funny now though, and I'm glad we are now far away from that particular co-worker. Unfortunately we are also many many miles away from the best cup of coffee on the planet.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Rich Man's War

This is one hell of a great song and video! "Rich Man's War"

Just saw this band tonight at Central Market, which is essentially a grocery store, although it's a really nice one. Yes, welcome to Austin Texas, where you'll see great bands even at the grocery store. They are called Hundred Year Flood (link goes to their MySpace), and they say voting on this video took it up to #7 on on his collection of protest videos.

They were opening for The Texas Sapphires, who won the Austin Music Award last year for Best New Band. They are a really cool rockabilly "real" country band with a punk background, and you can forget that Nashvegas crap. This is good stuff. Give a listen here.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Catblogging - A few of his favorites things

Jax is oblivious to the fact that there's a HUGE cat on that Meowy Christmas poster behind him. It's like... a 50 foot cat! But who cares when you are surrounded by a few catnip-scented toys? Looks like he's getting very friendly with that little mouse.

On closer examination, it looks like Jax has the longest pinkest tongue you ever saw on a cat, except maybe the one on that poster. His claws are ready should anyone try to escape!
Hmmmm. A little further investigation reveals that the pink stuff belongs completely to that poor mouse... which has since suffered the embarrassing demise of being knocked under the dresser, where it became engulfed by a dust bunny, and since it was half-torn-up already it was put into the trash. Don't worry Jax. You will never lack for toys.

Update on the sick boys: Duncan is holding steady, nothing to report on him this week. Alex is going to the vet on Friday to get tested to see if B-12 might be beneficial for his IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). I've heard some tales that it's been helpful for some of the poor little guys who just keep losing weight. He may be lining up with Duncan here for shots pretty soon. Would anyone out there like a shot? Go to the back of the line.

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

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mr. Green Goes to Hollywood

There's a fairly new show on the Home and Garden Channel called "Living With Ed", and it's a reality-type show about Ed Begley Jr., a.k.a. Mr. Eco, and his fussy non-green bitch wife who fights his environmentally-friendly lifestyle tooth and freshly-painted nail. Click this link to watch the "trailer" on the show's MySpace.

Ed is truly walking the walk, putting his money where his mouth is, and doing everything possible not to be an ecologist-hypocrite. There he is, up on the roof, cleaning the solar panels so they will work better, cooking in his solar stove (that would definitely work here!)... and when he installs his rain barrel, for example, his wife throws an absolute fit! It's unattractive, you see (well, I must admit that the orange color of it is ugly. Ours is green. But who cares how it looks?). So she "uninstalls" it, forcing him to reinstall it every time they are expecting rain. It's really hard to believe that this couple ever got together, I guess opposites attract, at least sometimes... but I don't believe she could be THAT bad and still married to this guy.

There were actually a couple of cases where I empathized with her. For one thing, he times her minutes in the shower and calculates how many gallons of water she is using and keep yelling the reminders through the door. (Her water wastage is one his reasons for getting the rain barrel... and they DO live in a desert climate!) That kind of nagging would really drive me crazy, I must admit. If I were in her place, I'd use less water just to shut him up. Also, I can appreciate that eco-friendly light bulbs are just ugly when used in certain places. I have given Mr. B trouble occasionally when he has replaced my bulbs that use dimmer switches with fluorescent bulbs that are too bright, can't be dimmed with the switch, and are ugly. I do admire his efforts and appreciate that he does that though. What a great guy!! Keep it up Mr. B. (Mr. Blueberry and Mr. Begley!)

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Coming out of the woodwork

Dubya is definitely losing his teflon coating. An economic who was Reagan's Asst. Secretary of the Treasury has compared Bush to Hitler in many ways:
"Bush is like Hitler," Paul Craig Roberts writes in a column entitled The Surge: Political Cover or Escalation?. "He blames defeats on his military commanders, not on his own insane policy."
[Link to full text]

Then, of all people, Oliver North goes on record saying that he thinks the surge is a bad idea, and that he has not found that the troops he has spoken to over there want this thing either. He says they want more Iraqi troops and more trainers for the Iraqi troops, not more American troops.

All found via Raw Story

Monday, January 08, 2007

Page in history

Tuesday, January 9th is the birthday of Jimmy Page, one of the finest rock guitarists who ever lived and still lives. Stairway to Heaven, one of the most well-known guitar songs ever (arguably the most well-known... so much so that in the guitar store in the movie Wayne's World there hangs a sign that says "No 'Stairway to Heaven' ") and will cement him into music history forever. Check out this radio station blog that has posted 101 Versions of Stairway to Heaven. Actually it's more, because it's a blog and there are more of them in the comments.

Like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, his own style and virtuosity was established back in the early Sixties with The Yardbirds.

Last year I wrote up a personal memory post on Led Zeppelin (that time on Plant's birthday) and you can read it here if you'd like:

A Page for Plant

Jimmy Page Wiki

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Ever been plutoed?

Word of the Year 2006: plutoed
To "pluto" is "to demote or devalue someone or something"

climate canary (an organism or species whose poor health or declining numbers hint at a larger environmental catastrophe on the horizon)

Also considered:
murse (man's purse)
flog (a fake blog that promotes products)
macaca (an American citizen treated as an alien)

Has anyone used any of these words in conversation? Will you now?

Bush and the Kings of Persia

We were watching the episode of Engineering an Empire with Peter Weller on the History Channel that dealt with Xerxes I, and were floored by the similarities between the actions of Xerxes and our own Misleader. I was going to do a post on this (and technically I just did it), but Steve Horowitz did a much better job than I could. Here are some excerpts from his post, and links to the whole article on Smirking Chimp or LoveAmericaHateBush (they are the same article, the latter is Steve's blog):
The ancient failings of George W. Bush
by Steve Horowitz

It was early in the 5th Century B.C., and King Xerxes, leader of the most powerful nation in the world, held a grudge. Ten years earlier, the city-state of Athens had actively aided rebellions against Persian rule by communities on Aegean islands and the west coast of present-day Turkey. The rebels were thwarted by Darius, Xerxes' father, who then attacked Greece. But Dad hadn't quite finished the job. Now the time had come to settle scores. "You ought to march against Greece," one of Xerxes' advisers urged. "It will enhance your reputation, and also make people think twice in the future before attacking your territory."
King Xerxes, as it happens, feared he might not be the leader his father was. So proving himself the equal of Darius and previous Persian conquerers was always on his mind. "When I became the king of Persia," he told the men he'd gathered to announce his invasion plans, "I began to wonder how to avoid being left behind by those who preceded me in this position of honor."
The neocons in Xerxes' administration very much liked the idea of a Greek invasion. "Who is going to oppose you?" asked Mardonius, Xerxes' Rumsfeld. "When it comes to military matters there is no one in the world to match us."

Xerxes was warned by his uncle Artabanus not to be hasty, but he didn't listen, not wanting to "talk about bad things" and refused to fully evaluate the situation before acting. Steve also points out the irony of Dubya majoring in history.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Ah, men! Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a weener.

I swear that I have not done this on purpose, but the last several movies I have picked out at Hollywood Video in the last 2 weeks have contained full frontal male nudity. Full frontal, backal and sidal female nudity is fairly common (can I just make up words? Thanks. Might as well add "uppal" and "downal"), but it's much more rare to see the male equivalent. This might seem incredible, but I neither of us had ever seen "The Man Who Fell to Earth" (1976), and I was not expecting to see David Bowie completely naked (in one of the weirdest love scenes. Ever. It had to do with a gun, that's all I will say). I must admit that I prefer him in clothes. I mean, David Bowie IS clothing.

Another one was "The Quiet Earth" (1985) where Bruno Lawrence is naked in one scene, but it's arguably gratuitous. It's almost a prop, like a cup of coffee or a vase of flowers.

Then I come home with "Velvet Goldmine" (1998). This is a movie about fictitious characters that are VERY similar to David Bowie, Iggy Pop and others. Ewan McGregor plays Iggy... I mean... not Iggy... and gives an incredible stage performance singing an Iggy Pop song, "TV Eye" -- he is completely unleashed, and loving it. I've posted the video of it below, but be prepared, and don't look, Ethel. With no offence intended for Mr. Blueberry, People Magazine with its annual tribute to male beauty has missed the mark by not getting this guy on the cover. It's not the nude body, it's the darned smile. It reminds me of John Lennon's smile with the same look on his face. It's also his personality and the accent is nice too. I love a great smile, humor, and brains. I've since learned that Ewan is naked in a dozen or so movies... and another one is sitting here waiting to be watched tomorrow. This time I won't be surprised if someone's penis turns into a painting... or so I've heard (as opposed to creating paintings with a penis as in a recent post here).

I've got my TV Eye on you. There's some truth in that I suppose.

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Asman messing with the wrong guy

This video is from 2003 when Clark was running for Prez. Asman tries to distort one of Clark's statements on the war in Iraq and I think it becomes clear that this guy isn't going to take that from the likes of Fox News, or probably anybody else. Watch him not only answer the question intelligently and articulately, but delivers it with a big dose of STFU.

[sorry, but video is now unavailable]

I know it's too early in the race and Clark isn't even running, but I really like what I've heard from him so far. I think he will run. He might screw up royally later on and lose favor with me, but for now he is one of my favorites. One thing is for sure about him; he will never put troops into harm's way without a complete appreciation of exactly what that means for the human beings who will be on the front lines.

Links: YouTube search - WesPAC:Securing America - Wiki
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Friday, January 05, 2007

My New Congressman

Lloyd Doggett: Pro-peace, Treehugger, down to the core I've now got someone in Congress who represents my views. Well whaddya know?

He's not a new Congressman, Tom Delay tried getting rid of him through "Delaymandering", and for a while he was not our representative on this particular city street, but he's still there and Delay is... a victim of his own corruption. I love how Doggett mentions him without using his name [listen for "tobacco"]

Go get 'em Lloyd!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Catblogging - Hot News and Toasty Weather

You would think it's been bitter cold here they way these cats have been seeking warmth. Jax above spent his first 7 years as an outdoor alley cat, so he very much appreciates being indoors and under the covers even when it's 60 out like today (tomorrow it will be 70)

But the cool evenings have been a good excuse for using the fireplaces, and Henry, senior citizen of 15 that he is, loves to see how close he can get to the fire without getting curly whiskers. And speaking of geriatric cats, check out this article on cats getting Alzheimer's:
(HealthDay News) -- Cats can develop a feline form of Alzheimer's disease, say U.K. and U.S. researchers who identified a protein that can build up in brain nerve cells and cause mental deterioration.
"Recent studies suggest that 28 percent of pet cats aged 11-14 years develop at least one old-age related behavior problem, and this increases to more than 50 percent for cats over the age of 15," Gunn-Moore said.

Good diet, mental stimulation and companionship can reduce the risk of dementia in cats, the researchers said.
Our four are ages 10, 11, 15 and 16. Duncan below thinks that people shouldn't worry so much about cats acting nutty. He and all the boys had a nice bit o' the 'nip today, followed by some really nutty behavior.

And in further cat and catnip-related news, check out this story:

Police Apologize to Man Suspected of Carrying 5 Pounds of Marijuana in His Car After Determining It to Be 100% Catnip
Jan 3, 2007 -- Two Los Angeles police officers, coming out of a convenience store, observed a suspicious looking bag in the back seat of a car. When the owner of the car returned, the man was asked to open the car and "step aside." The two officers then searched the car and analyzed the content of the bag. After realizing it was catnip, the officers chuckled, apologized and let the man go.

It turns out that the owner of the car is none other than Adrian Martinez, founder of, a radio station that caters to pet lovers. He had just received the catnip earlier that day to be featured on an upcoming broadcast.

"My first thought was to run," says Martinez, jokingly. "We get a lot of products from companies and I carry anything from pet food to catnip in my car, however, I don't think I will be traveling with catnip anytime soon."

And on that nightcap for a slow cat-news day, Jax begins to zone out.

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

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pat Predicts!!

"The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."

Robertson said God told him during a recent prayer retreat that major cities and possibly millions of people will be affected by the attack, which should take place sometime after September.

First of all, I have a very important question. If the Lord HAD said "nuclear", would he have pronounced it "nuke-u-ler" (rhymes with "Bueller") or "nu-clee-ar"?

Remember that tsunami that just hit the West Coast late last year? Up around the Pacific Northwest? No? [LINK] I guess Pat Robertson needs to learn how to ask the Lord, "Huh? "

When I was young my mother and I enjoyed reading this Criswell book, and seeing him in his spooky B-movie shorts with the most outlandish predictions for the future (read some of them at the "Criswell" link). We liked all kinds of crazy crap, anything remotely of the occult. She took it all a lot more seriously than I did.* The first time one of his predictions went laughably wrong, he became just pure fun for me. Nostradamas from the sixties with extra cheese. You can see him portrayed in the movie Ed Wood, and the real Criswell in at least a couple of Ed Wood's movies.

*my mother's side of the family tended to believe the stuff in the Weekly World News.

Links: [Criswell Predicts] [Criswell article] [wiki Criswell]

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Piccadilly Clowns

This is an article on some of the dumb things that tourists have asked tour guides and other officials and tour staff over in the U.K. Many more at the LINK.

Is Wales closed during the winter?

Which bus do I get from the Orkney Islands to the Shetland Islands?

Why on earth did they build Windsor Castle on the flight path of Heathrow?

Can you tell me who performs at the circus in Piccadilly?

What time of night does the Loch Ness monster surface and who feeds it?

asked of London staff: In what city is your Tokyo office?

What time does the midnight train leave?

I can poke fun at these people because I will never be able to afford to visit there. Also, I try to keep my mouth shut rather than ask dumb questions, so I end up being lost and exasperated in strange places.

Isaac Asimov had writer's block once. It was the worst ten minutes of his life.*

This is the anniversary of the birth of Isaac Asimov, legendary science-fiction author, Vice-President of Mensa International and President of the American Humanist Association.

I recommend this wikiquote page for him, there are some real gems there.
* What I will be remembered for are the Foundation Trilogy and the Three Laws of Robotics. What I want to be remembered for is no one book, or no dozen books. Any single thing I have written can be paralleled or even surpassed by something someone else has done. However, my total corpus for quantity, quality and variety can be duplicated by no one else. That is what I want to be remembered for. -- Yours, Isaac Asimov (1973-09-20)

* Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centures since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly. -- Canadian Atheists Newsletter (1994)

*quote in title attributed to Harlan Ellison.
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Monday, January 01, 2007

Dear God, am I more appealing to You now?

RANT alert: Calling this barbaric would be too kind. It's a 4-day Muslim feast called Eid al-Adha, and over 1,400 people were injured slaughtering animals to commemorate Abraham slaughtering a ram instead of his son. I am sorry, but killing for religion is despicable. The whole idea of killing for sacrifice to a god or gods is absolutely uncivilized and unenlightened.

If your god requires you to offer up some murdered creature, whether human or animal, before he or she can stand to look upon your hideous and unworthy face, I'd say your god is the one who's unworthy... hell, you're both hideous and unworthy. That's what I think about being "washed in the blood".

Sick bastards.

Wooo Hooo 2007 Pow Pow Pow

New Year's Eve is not something we go out for. We can pay a lot less for the same bands on practically any other night of the year... and skip the hype, the buffet we can't eat, and the champagne at midnight that you have to wait an hour in a line for. Besides there are probably 10 times the drunks out there on the road, and the normal drunks are likely to be even drunker. Yeehaw!

For several years we just get a stack of videos, some good snacky food that is sure to leave you with a tummy-ache (this year it was falafel and veggie chips), some bargain sparkling wine and some orange juice in case we want Mimosas. The fireworks in the neighborhood started around 5:00 PM, and they weren't that disturbing at 5:00 PM, but they are constant until around 1:00 AM which puts most of the cats in a state of freakout. They are pretty good fireworks too, and I can't swear that some of isn't gunfire. (good grief!) So... everybody stays up past midnight whether they want to or not. It's not a choice. We watched "Slither" again, this time with all the extras from the DVD. I love that one, pretty funny, pretty gross, Nathan Fillion, Gregg Henry, Elizabeth Banks.

What did you do for New Year's Eve?