Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Falwell's Convenient Untruth


Jerry Falwell utters such gems as global warming is "Satan's attempt to redirect the church's primary focus" from evangelism to environmentalism, and "the jury is still out" on whether humans are causing -- or could stop -- global warming.

As for taking care of the earth, leave it to God. Now that's a scary thought... seems like "somebody up there" has been snoozing on the job. Oh! Wait a second! God's going to blast us all to cinders? OK, never mind. Things are proceeding as planned.

March madness begins

I've been just spinning away in my hamster wheel, have to stay caught up with work so I can clear my schedule for the annual insanity in Austin known as SXSW (South by Southwest, March 9-18) plus the events already on the schedule for this week and next. Tomorrow Doyle Bramhall II (one of Eric Clapton's guitarists, raised in Austin on Stevie Ray Vaughan's knee) will be at Waterloo Records. After that we might go over and see the Mother Truckers.

Friday it's the Infamous Stringdusters and the South Austin Jug Band at the Cactus so that will be a night of hot-pickin' bluegrass. Outstanding!!

Next week The Greencards return and their new CD gets released!! (and let me tell you... I've had it for a couple of months, and it is FANTASTIC! More on specifics later) There's a Waterloo show and a regular show at Threadgill's. Patty Griffin has a Waterloo in-store the day after The Greencards have theirs.

The week after is when we get really busy. There are thousands of bands coming to town from all over the world. Yes, that's right, thousands (plus quite a number of movie stars & directors for the film events). I spend a few weeks making my spreadsheet of events, and end up following about half of it. More often than not, it's like "let's go in here! this band sounds good".

We mainly do the day shows, parties and in-stores, mostly the free and almost free stuff. We still end up with 8-12 hours of music a day even without official showcases, and this year we will have to check in at the homestead more often to medicate and feed the fur-babies. And maybe even take naps. Sleep is a luxury item we are not going to have.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Johnny Cash was born on this day in 1932. Like a lot of you, I was raised on Johnny Cash. The music my parents liked was like that scene in The Blues Brothers where John Belushi's character asks the barmaid at Bob's Country Bunker what kind of music they play there, and she says "Both kinds. Country AND Western". My dad favored the more jukebox variety of country/honky tonk, like Patsy Cline, Ray Price, Hank Locklin, Don Gibson... and my mother preferred the western sound of Marty Robbins, Sons of the Pioneers, along with the folkier roots... the Carter Family, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Jimmie Rodgers (the singing brakeman) and Bill Monroe. But they both loved Johnny Cash. He just had it all, heart and soul, rhythm and blues, plus you could dance to him. I loved him too, and being the offspring I got exposed to everything and got to pick and choose what I liked. Cash was one-of-a-kind. A real genuine article. With mainstream country radio being the way it is (clear channel cardboard muzak) it's hard for a genuine article to even get played there these days. Hank didn't do it thataway*, and neither did Cash. We'll have to look elsewhere, but keep looking. Keep listening.
*We listen to the radio to hear whats cookin
But the music ain't got no soul
Now they sound tired but they don't sound haggard
They've got money but they don't have cash
They got junior but they don't have hank
--- Long Time Gone, by the Dixie Chicks

Sunday, February 25, 2007

From Boom to Bust and back to Boom

My first implosion!!! Ahhh! And who can ever forget their first time? I sure won't, especially since I captured it on video. One of the hollering voices on there is mine. Do we know how to party in Austin, Texas at 7:30 on Sunday morning? I'll tell you what...

People here are really happy to see this turkey finally being dealt with. It was constructed by Intel in the height of the high-tech boom, and abandoned in 2001 during the bust, where it has been sitting unfinished and butt-ugly in a prime downtown location ever since with its rebar stretching naked into the sky. It's a symbol of some of the recent history in this town that, to many local people, do not represent positive changes.

We got up and out the door really early (the demolition was originally scheduled for 7:00, and there were street closings), stood in place on a chilly morning (OK, that means 40s/50s) for at least an hour to experience 10 seconds of big fun. There was a group of people with 9/11 conspiracy signs who saw a perfect opportunity to make a statement. For me, they are preaching to the choir. I think WTC 7 is the smoking gun. That building wasn't even hit with anything and it went down into a pile of rubble in a matter of seconds. I joked with one of the sign-bearers that it looked like they should've gotten that group to demolish this one, which was expertly imploded -- but look how much of it is still standing!! (see the pic below) Everyone was wondering why it didn't look more destroyed but they are officially saying they meant to do it that way. But hey, what do I know? My opinion on the the demolition of buildings in general is pretty worthless... about as valuable as the next guy's.

News 8 Austin has some good coverage available on this page, including great videos (link on the page). Our particular viewpoint was represented by Implosion Camera 3.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Stop Iran War

You know it's coming, Smirky and Snarly have had these plans in place for some time. Wes Clark and VoteVets have a site called Stop Iran War, and there is a petition you can sign (not that "the Decider" knows how to read an email), they are collecting your video/audio clips, and you can get a banner like this one below for your blog. As I post, they only have about a little over 15,000 signers, but hopefully it will grow into something that will make a statement... to somebody who might be listening.
NOTE: I took off the blogad because it got all stretched out of whack on their end. If they resize it to fit in the intended space, I post it again. Just visit the website.

EDIT FEB 24: I signed this petition and got an automated response from the White House. Here it is:
"On behalf of President Bush, thank you for your correspondence. We appreciate hearing your views and welcome your suggestions. The President is committed to continuing our economic progress, defending our freedom, and upholding our Nation's deepest values.

Due to the large volume of e-mail received, the White House cannot respond to every message. Please visit the White House website for the most up-to-date information on Presidential initiatives, current events, and topics of interest to you. In order to better receive comments from the public, a new system has been implemented. In the future please send your comments to

Thank you again for taking the time to write."

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Catblogging - Black Beauties

Duncan is watching you out there in blogworld. Helllloooooo!!!

Jax won't let you forget that he has the biggest teeth on the block. He nibbled on his human mom's head this week, just being affectionate. Another reminder about the big teeth.

Jax wonders if there's more to life than sleeping, stretching, sunning, and playing with toys. Then he goes back to sleep.

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


Steve Irwin was born this day in 1962. I ran across this video recently. It's Jay Leno's intern, Ross, meeting with the Crocodile Hunter... and it looks like it was probably an unforgettable meeting for both of them. They are both so over-the-top with their personalities. I had a laugh watching it. Enjoy.

Note: I would not have even made it to "pineapple" with that tarantula! I don't do spiders.

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Jesus has come back, and he's the Anti-Christ

Pastor with 666 tattoo claims to be divine

He's Jesus, he's God, he's the Anti-Christ. The angels told him so in a dream. Well, that does it! It must be the truth!

The church calls itself the "Government of God on Earth" and uses a seal similar to the United States.
He says he has a church-paid salary of $136,000 but lives more lavishly than that. During an interview, he showed off a diamond-encrusted Rolex to a CNN crew and said he has three just like them. He travels in armored Lexuses and BMWs, he says, for his safety. All are gifts from his devoted followers.

Yes, he has followers... thousands of them. The pastor has a "666" tattoo, and many of his followers have their own "666" tattoos too.

See, that's the really wacko part of it. If you want to call yourself God and Jesus and whatever... fine. But having ALL those worshippers willing to tattoo themselves with "666"... isn't that the wierdest part of all?

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Peace trees

This was in the paper today. The people are trying to write the name and hometown of each dead soldier on a CD and hang it from their trees. I have put the article here in full along with the link because it may require registration or it might go away.
Trees of CD teardrops
Outside a South Austin house, discs represent soldiers killed in Iraq

By Denise Gamino
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Photos Jay Janner & Nick Simonite

Shimmering wafers of heartache spill from trees in a South Austin yard.

There's a whimsical feel to the dangling medallions, but each sliver of silver is a public eulogy for a fallen American soldier.

About 1,800 discs, each with a deceased soldier's name, rank and hometown, hang from the trees in Michael and Tina Heffernan's yard.

Recycled cds and dvds hang from trees. Each disc represents a soldier killed in the war in Iraq.

Five red buds and crape myrtles are called "Peace Trees" by owners Tina and Michael Heffernan. For six months, the couple have recycled used CDs, DVDs, video game discs and audio book discs into a striking memorial to the American military men and women killed in Iraq. Each disc is adorned with the name, rank and hometown of a dead soldier.

As of Sunday, the U.S. death toll stood at 3,137.

"That really doesn't have a lot of impact for most people," said Tina Heffernan, a professional event coordinator for nonprofit fundraisers. "Numbers are so random. This is a real visual impact of what a number means.

"It's part war protest, part memorial, part art project. People can read what they want into it."

So far, only about 1,800 of the fallen U.S. soldiers have a designated disc in the "Peace Trees." The Heffernans started with a donation of 1,500 discs but now they need more.

"We're (eventually) going to run out of tree space," Tina Heffernan said. "We hope by then they'll be coming home and it will be a non-issue."

The Heffernans live in the 1800 block of Treadwell Street in the Zilker neighborhood off South Lamar Boulevard. Their one-story house has a front door painted a deep shade of magenta with purple, yellow and sage-green trim on the porch. The shutters are cobalt blue, and disc golf baskets dot the front yard (as well as the front yards of several neighbors).

The trees drip silver tendrils of colorful discs like some kind of artificial Spanish moss. When the wind blows, the digital doughnuts brush against each other with a soothing sound that could be mistaken for a waterfall.

When the couple decided to start the memorial project, Tina Heffernan sent an e-mail to her circle of friends to ask for their discarded compact discs. People began dropping them off in piles and bags.

Many of the soldiers are honored on free trial discs for various Internet service providers. Others are memorialized on unwanted discs filled with music as diverse as Christmas tunes to classic oldies.

The name of Marine Lance Cpl. Trevor Aston, 32, of Austin, who was killed on Feb. 22, 2005, is written on the silver side of a red-and-orange AOL disc. Navy Petty Officer Christopher G. Walsh, 30, of St. Louis, who died on Sept. 4, 2006, is honored on a television series DVD.

The names and hometowns of the dead are as varied as the original data on the digital discs. Some people have written personal messages next to a soldier's name: We miss you. Watch over us. You are remembered. One name is punctuated with little hearts.

At the curb is a plastic pouch filled with a dozen or so discs, a black Sharpie pen and a paper list with the names of fallen soldiers who have yet to be added to the tree memorial.

The Heffernans' entreaty is posted there: "Come visit our Peace Trees. Each CD represents an American soldier's life that has been lost in the Iraq war. Feel free to fill out a CD and hang it in the tree. (Please check off the name on the list.) Think about peace!"

The project began last summer with the family's own rejected discs but quickly ballooned.

"We found a guy on the Internet who has a CD recycling business," Tina Heffernan said. "He sent us 1,500 CDs. I asked, 'Can I pay you?' And he said, 'No, just send me pictures.' We went through the 1,500 and we needed more, but I couldn't find his Web site."

The response to the "Peace Trees" memorial has been mostly positive.

"People drive by and say, 'Thank you for keeping people alive to the notion that this is happening. These are kids who are dying over there,' " said Michael Heffernan, an architect. "We have people who come and sit quietly. We have some who laugh and look at the trees. We have some who come by and scowl."

Every response is valid, he said. The project's goal is to affect people who "just kind of go about their daily lives and forget what's going on in the broader world."

Michael Heffernan always has the same reaction when he walks among the trees budding with lost lives.

"They look like tears coming down out of the trees," he said.

This week in political events

We've got a new monthly event to attend after going to our first one on Sunday evening. It's called "last Sunday" and is held on the last Sunday of the month unless there's a scheduling problem (which happens a lot, but you can stay informed here). It's not a rally, it's a combination of talks, readings and music on certain topics. This week it was "War and Empire examine not only the current war in Iraq and the ambitions of this administration, but the larger project of dominance that U.S. policymakers have pursued in the last half-century -- and the consequences of that for the world.". The regulars are musician Eliza Gilkyson, Rev. Jim Rigby, and UT prof. Robert Jensen. This week's guests were columnist/author Jim Hightower, author Ana-Maurine Lara and musician Butch Hancock (Flatlanders). There he is in the pic with Eliza and guitarist Robbie Gjersoe.

It was excellent!! Good quote from Hightower on going with the flow: "a dead fish can do that".
Jensen and Rigby are known for their activism for civil rights and human rights. Rigby is a Presbyterian minister who has put his neck on the block not only for officiating over illegal same-sex unions but for allowing an atheist (Jensen) to join his church. I've heard him speak before, and whether as a guest in the UU church or at this, the guy can and does deliver a powerful secular message. [my previous posts on Rigby: Press-biter | Not all wackos]

Butch Hancock's music was just stunning, as Eliza put it very well, his latest CD is the one Bob Dylan should have done. It's very much in the spirit of the old 60s Bob Dylan... the Dylan I like. [catty remark... sorry]. We are planning on seeing him on Wednesday night at another free show at the Mercury Hall.

Coming up this week, a couple of events we can't attend but you might want to. On Wednesday there's a CodePink event: Mark Wilkerson, the GI facing court martial sentencing for going AWOL based on moral opposition to the Iraq war, will speak at Cafe Caffeine, 7:00 pm.

On Friday, Barack Obama will be at Town Lake on Auditorium Shores. It's free but you will need a ticket to get in. Info here. I'm glad that Obama is coming to Texas. Kerry wrote us off during the campaign as a "why waste money?" state. I know... those are hard decisions, and he, unfortunately but unsurprisingly was right.

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Party On! Party Off!

Happy Mardi Gras to ya'll!! And if you wake up tomorrow, sad, sorry, deprived, and with dirty fingerprints on your head... Happy... er, maybe "happy" is inappropriate... it must be Ash Wednesday! Either that, or you're hungover and woke up by the curb.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Pen Tangle of Quotes

I've been tagged by Beep Beep It's Me (and that name reminds me... we actually saw a roadrunner crossing the road today) for a five-quote meme. Here they are, five quotes, both wacky and wise:

1. The history of our race, and each individual's experience, are sown thick with evidence that a truth is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal. -- Mark Twain, Advice to Youth

2. This, however, is a passing nightmare; in time the earth will become again incapable of supporting life, and peace will return. -- Bertrand Russell

3. Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. --Abraham Lincoln

4. Mars is essentially in the same orbit... somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe. -- National Space Council Chairman and Vice-President of the United States Dan Quayle

5. For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much--the wheel, New York, wars and so on--while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man--for precisely the same reasons. --Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I am tagging niCk and Nava. You're it!!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Stephen Bruton

I recently read in the Austin Chronicle that Stephen Bruton is being treated for throat cancer. I sure am hoping that this is something that he can fight and have been thinking about him a lot lately. I really don't know how many times we've seen this guy play. We are fans of his. He's an outstanding songwriter, the guy just has a way with words, and his dry jokes will never fail to crack you up. A lot of them are right there in his lyrics. He's got quite a music history of being in other people's bands, like Kris Kristofferson and Bonnie Raitt -- and both in their heyday. His resume is a mile long.

EDIT FEB. 20: I have heard from a friend of a friend (of Stephen's) that the cancer was caught early, so it looks hopeful. He performed with the Resentments at the Saxon Pub on Sunday eve. That's the best place to see him.

Here's a video I found on his website. It's a song that was recorded by Bonnie Raitt, but I usually prefer hearing the songwriter do their own songs, no matter what. This is not the usual Stephen Bruton show because it includes Tosca Strings, but it sounds good.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Catblogging - Duncan and Alex back to the vet

Another afternoon at the vet for the two sick boys. I haven't put up a progress report for awhile, mainly because there hasn't been any progress to speak of. Duncan below (our heart patient), for the 3rd time in 3 months, needed fluid drained from his lung with a syringe of some kind. Thankfully they do that procedure out of my sight. It's been done on alternating sides each time, so he has some good-sized shaved patches on both of his sides (and now I know that there's no chance that the hair will ever get to grow back). The arrow is pointing to his bare patch that was newly re-shaved today. We call it his "expensive haircut". Duncan is hanging in there, getting 2 shots of lasix, 2 swabbings with ear gel, and a pill to perk up his appetite, every day. He's a sweet kitty getting the shots, but hates the rest of it!

Alex, also, is hanging in there -- but not really doing very well. He has IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and his main ailment is what they call malabsorption. Basically it means that he's losing weight in spite of eating plenty, it just doesn't stick to his bones. So he is starting to remind us of bones. Poor baby. He's becoming a frail little old man-cat (of 16). He's getting some meds daily and weekly: pred, pepcid and B-12, but they aren't helping him as much as I would like. Both of these guys have ailments that aren't curable, so we are just trying to make them as comfortable as possible.

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

Monday, February 12, 2007

I Heart You

They talk about those "Hallmark" holidays, the ones made up not only to sell cards but to sell MUCH more stuff... and so there it is. Another day where you can't measure up and can't do anything right. Both sexes (and/or parties) are victims of the retail pressure -- you'd better not show your face unless it's behind a dozen roses or a rock that costs a month's pay. I gave up on this "holiday" about 15 years ago when I discovered that my sweetie was even less sentimental about this stuff than I was.

It was before we were married. We went down to Cancun for a 4-day stay that included Valentine's Day. Our hotel was just gorgeous and there was a perfect beach view, great weather, great food, fresh-squeezed orange juice and breakfast every day by the water with our feet in the sand, brushing our teeth with beer (you can't be too careful!). When the day arrived, we exchanged cards, as we always do, by placing them where the other one will find it first thing in the morning like it magically appeared. The trouble we had on this particular occasion happened because he found my card, read it, and placed it prominently in the trash can. After the yelling subsided, mostly mine, it was determined by him that the card had served its purpose and did not need to be kept. Following that declaration, I went over some of the finer points about how the minimum level of politeness would require that you at least pretend that you are going to keep it long enough to dispose of it out of the person's sight... assuming you like the person, that is. [sigh] Well, we endured that and a whole lot more, much bigger challenges to a relationship, and seems to me that we are getting to the important stuff now. Whatever love may be, I am convinced in my heart that it's not the same as romance. It's dusty and gritty and frayed. All that candy and jewelry is meaningless. Don't take my word for it though. I'm as confused as everyone else.

I will leave you with one of my favorite players, Chris Thile, playing his composition "Song For a Young Queen"* with his new post-Nickel Creek band. It's a thing of unashamed beauty, written by an unbroken heart. Enjoy.

*recorded in 2001 on his solo album "Not All Who Wander Are Lost"

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Chicks Rule

Take that Toby Keith you war-mongering flag-draped bigotted ass, Dubya (same description), right-wing conservative country radio and all you idiots who smashed up Dixie Chicks CDs after Natalie expressed her disapproval with this Prez. A song inspired by that very backlash, "Not Ready to Make Nice" has just won the Grammy for Song of the Year (and the album took home five Grammys total).

Natalie: To quote The Simpsons, "Ha Ha!"

Not saying that the Grammys are relevant to what's good music or not, but they are pretty important to have on one's resume as a musician, and it's always nice to see the locals up there on that stage too. So, big congrats.


As a follow-up to the last post on Evolution Sunday, here's the "floral display" they had in the UU church today. Actually, it's unrelated to Evolution Sunday. That whole topic is irrelevant to this church, since it (the topic) has to do with reconciling the teachings of science with religious beliefs on how everything got here -- and UU is creedless -- therefore explanations on how all this stuff got here are not given, and definitely not part of a doctrine. Below, after the link, is a listing of what is generally believed there, taken from their website.

First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin
  • We believe that we’re a part of Life, and owe something back to the world for the gift of life.
  • We believe that almost all religions are saying that we are precious people who need to treat everybody else as though they are precious, too.
  • We believe that we are supposed to live in such a way that, when we look back on our lives, we can be proud, and can make those we care about proud.
  • We believe that truth, justice and compassion are requirements for living.
  • We believe that love is better than hatred, understanding is better than prejudice, and that if there is ever to be a better world, people of widely differing beliefs will have to help each other build it.
  • We believe that, down deep, all people of goodwill hold these same beliefs and that every individual should feel encouraged to develop a fulfilling philosophy of life.
So, OK, it's a nice little bulleted mix, pick and choose the parts you like. Also, there are other atheists going there, along with Muslim, Jew, Pagan, Buddhist, on and on, you name it... you can believe in as many or as few gods as you like -- your choice -- and it's a liberal haven when it come to social issues and civil/human rights. So, back to the floral display with monkeys -- Dr. Loehr has been speaking on on the topic of animals for a few weeks, with a few to go. All about how their emotions, customs, empathy, even politics relate to our species (they don't call Dubya "the Chimp" for nothing! actually, he could use a few lessons in wisdom and civility from some chimps)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Some churches are evolving

February 11 is the 2nd anniversary of Evolution Sunday. Hundreds of churches have stood up against creationism and will hold special services for the purpose of opening up this topic. Over 10,000 clergy have signed The Clergy Letter (linked in text below) stating that religion and science do not cancel each other out (to oversimplify in my own words)

Evolution Sunday:
On 11 February 2007 hundreds of congregations from all portions of the country and a host of denominations will come together to discuss the compatibility of religion and science. For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science. More than 10,000 Christian clergy have already signed The Clergy Letter demonstrating that this is a false dichotomy. Now, on the 198th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, many of these leaders will bring this message to their congregations through sermons and/or discussion groups. Together, participating religious leaders will be making the statement that religion and science are not adversaries. And, together, they will be elevating the quality of the national debate on this topic.

Article in New Scientist (partial, will require reg. for whole article)
Flocks of the Christian faithful in the US will this Sunday hold special services celebrating Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. The idea is to stand up to creationism, which claims the biblical account of creation is literally true, and which is increasingly being promoted under the guise of "intelligent design". Proponents of ID say the universe is so complex it must have been created by some unnamed designer.

Support for "Evolution Sunday" has grown 13 per cent to 530 congregations this year, from the 467 that celebrated the inaugural event last year. Organisers see it as increasing proof that Christians are comfortable with evolution.

"For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science," says Michael Zimmerman, founder of Evolution Sunday and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University in Indianapolis.

Oh yes, and happy Charles Darwin's birthday on February 12. Are there e-cards for that? I'd like to say that I will spend the day evolving, but in reality I will be planted in front of the TV in the evening watching 24.

Graphic snagged from San Francisco Atheists.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Catblogging - Henry and the big screen

We've had some great weather lately. No ice box here, it was nearly 80 this week. Henry doesn't get to go all the way outside, but he does get to press his nose up against the screen for maximum fresh air -- and this is how he looks to the world outside.

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

Just as inconvenient in 1958

This is from the 1958 educational documentary "Unchained Goddess" produced by Frank Capra for Bell Labs for their television program "The Bell Telephone Hour."

Mother Earth may not have had a good year, but at least the issue of global warming is beginning to get some attention partly because of An Inconvenient Truth. Not only did the film get two Oscar nominations, but Al Gore has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Having that on your resume should make a difference just in case he decided to run for Prez again. It should.

Hat tip to Mr. B for the video link.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Price is Right

Look what I found! Guaranteed to give your butt a splinter, but it will look cool doing it.

Bulk trash pickup week can be kind of fun. Everybody puts out a real grab bag of sometimes interesting items. Stoves, washers, bicycles, who knows what. Usually we aren't fast enough to get hold of the stuff that may not deserve the landfill, but this time it on the next door neighbor's curb that I got this really rustic garden bench. It weighed a TON. I was trying to be discreet. I mean, it's hard not to feel funny about it... first, it feels like stealing when it really isn't... second, you're afraid you'll be caught dumpster diving... and third, it belonged to the next door neighbor so they will no doubt see it in the yard sooner or later. Anxiety. I tried to be careful, but now we have scrape marks on the sidewalk leading into our driveway. Oh well. Later that day, they saw it sitting there, so there's no mystery. We are exposed as the Sanford & Son of the block.

Matching the bench were two "bar stools", although it looks like they've been the victims of either teeth, tools or termites. I don't think they're fixable for sitting, so we will have to get creative about their ultimate destiny.

It must be the week for broken things because I turned on the kitchen faucet to fill up a saucepan this evening, and the side spray hose device flew apart, sending a geyser of water pounding against the ceiling. It can't be fixed. Another item for the trash pile... or another lawn ornament maybe? The last broken faucet is already out there. [snort]

Delete this post

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Some things can't be cured.

Haggard now "completely heterosexual"

Cured of homosexuality, huh? Oh really? Fascinating. Trouble is, there's no cure for being a damned liar and charlatan. And no cure for the sheeple who will believe whatever he says.

By the way, I've found a cure for being left-handed.


Move over Nick Nolte and Glen Campbell! Nice mug shot! How do you like this scandal? I hope someone is writing this stuff down for the plot of an upcoming made-for-TV movie. A married, mother of 3 hops in the car in Houston headed for Orlando -- wearing a diaper so that she won't have to stop for a potty break on the 900 mile drive -- (so, OK, I know now that astronauts wear diapers while on their missions, how's that for TMI?) then stalks this woman while wearing a wig and trenchcoat, chases her down and pepper-sprays her through her car window! She was also equipped with a BB gun, steel mallet, knife, rubber tubing, and large plastic garbage bags. (What? No duct tape and velcro? I thought those were astronaut staples.) She claimed that she just wanted to talk to the woman.

Amazing how "love" can turn a perfectly intelligent person into a raving lunatic. What a long fall...

Links: [Yahoo!] [CNN]

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Good golly, we'll miss Molly.

It was a beautiful day in Austin, about 68 degrees and sunny. A week ago the weatherpeople were all doomy and gloomy, predicting temps for this day could possibly be as low as the teens... but as usual, it was warmer than you thought it would be.

We didn't go to the church memorial for Molly Ivins, opting for the post-church celebration at Scholz Garten. We got to the Garten early and caught some rays before the crowd showed up from the church. Here's one group arriving banging pots and pans against the war. Very fitting. Usually I don't post this many pictures in a post, but I thought you might like to see them, all those who couldn't attend. The duct tape armbands say "W.W.M.D?" for What Would Molly Do?... or What Weapons of Mass Destruction? Click pics to enlarge, as always.

Right above is a picture of Jim Hightower being interviewed for TV. He has shared the stage with Molly countless times. There was live music at the Garten (of course! It's Austin! and I hear Marcia Ball played "Great Balls of Fire" at the church service!) but it was not a celebrity focus, just a few old gospel and honky-tonk style numbers. I have to point out that this celebration of Molly Ivins took place on Super Bowl Sunday... in Texas... conflicted with the game... and you had to go all the way inside the restaurant to see a TV with the game on. The others were running a Molly slide show. And the place was packed with both men and women. It says a lot.

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Austin entertainment ramble

We've been staying in more these days or keeping it low-key for several reasons. Between having no money for tickets, taking care of sick kitty-cats and my sick belly, and being bogged down with too-much-work, we tend to limit it to once or twice a week. KGSR has a new music series at the Mercury Hall on Thursday nights, it's free, and over by 10:00. Eliza Gilkyson played this week. She's a great singer/songwriter known for an anti-Bush theme or two (plus playing at Cindy Sheehan's Camp Casey in Crawford), and she has the great Mike Hardwick playing guitar in the band. Two Austin treasures.

We couldn't afford ($20 for) Robben Ford with Roscoe Beck on bass at the Cactus Cafe on Saturday (and I have it on good authority that David Grissom and Eric Johnson took the stage, plus the audience was filled with some of the greatest players in town (speaking of Austin treasures), but we did go over Flipnotics and saw Infinite Partials and Friends of Dean Martinez for a cover of $7.

Infinite Partials is a string band with their own sound, they were a really nice surprise, and they packed the house (they were the opener!). They rallied their peeps to come on out I guess. Listen to them at the link.

Friends of Dean Martinez were almost unadvertised. Their booking agent, website, and MySpace page had exactly no mention of this gig. I saw it listed in the Chronicle, so it was decided. It's tonight! Let's go. I believe the band has 3 official members on last count (living in either Austin or Tucson), but last night it was just one guy and a very powerful keyboard/lap steel setup. The sound is very southwest, like Calexico but more ambient/trance/psych (in fact this band has some connections to Calexico but I have trouble figuring out their twisted history with Friends of DM, Giant Sand and others). They have performed at the Alamo Drafthouse a few times, providing a live score for silent movies -- which is what the show was last night. The movie was The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), which looks like one of the primary influences on Tim Burton. The sets were entirely make of painted paper and made for a very bizarre dark fantasy world. Friends of Dean Martinez' latest project was to provide music for Richard Linklater's Fast Food Nation. I still haven't seen that one, and I even have a friend in it! She plays a nurse in a packing plant or something. So we really have no excuse not to rent it as soon as it comes out on DVD next month. Besides, I think the DVD extras will be worth the post-theatre viewing.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Teaching babies about beheading

Just when you thought that religious customs couldn't get any more shocking...

They slice the heads of their children with razors and daggers, and make sure that there is blood. They even do it to babies and toddlers. they do it because in the 7th century, Imam Hussein (a saint) was decapitated, and this is the way they teach the children about his suffering. In the picture, the mother is tapping the baby's head to make it bleed more.
Children's foreheads slashed in Muslim saint's name
"We're used to it," said Mahmoud Jaber, 43, who brought his five boys and two girls for the ritual. "We've been doing this since we were kids. I started when I was 3. It doesn't hurt because the cry of pain goes away with the faith."

Hussein Shihab, 13, wrapped in a white sheet symbolizing Hussein's burial shroud, said he felt a burning sting -- "from the alcohol" -- as the blade hit.

His father, Jaber Shihab, told Hussein not to be "a wimp," and to "be brave" as a reporter photographed him after the cut.

It was "for the sake of Hussein" that he had his head cut, the boy said. "Because blood came from Hussein's head. They cut his head off and blood flowed."

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Found via J-Walk.

I love it!

You're Gore-Kucinich!
As Al Gore, you are really tired of letting history decide. Known for having great potential in all sorts of fields, you are mostly remembered as falling just shy of that potential. Even when you've been exceptionally popular, you've managed to find ways of getting nothing done. Lately, you've become completely obsessed with making things cooler. Many have long suspected that your deep affinity for trees is inspired by the fact that you relate to them and their inability to move.

You select Dennis Kucinich as your running mate to counterbalance Diebold's influence in Ohio.

Take the 2008 Presidential Ticket Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

I like this ticket. They can tease these guys all they want. I'd go for this ticket in less than a heartbeat. If you take the quiz, try it with wrong/different answers. Amusing results!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Catblogging Snooze News

Naps are hard to get around the Oasis here. for the humans anyway. Everytime you think you'll grab some quick zzzs on the couch, before you know it you are covered in cats. Mr. B has no trouble snoozing even with Duncan's tail wrapped around his head, but I usually spend my potential nap-time petting everybody while they nap. Here is a close-up of that really cute yawn that Henry was caught right in the middle of.

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

Counter surge

Well, it's that time of year again. Time for the annual release of the Super Bowl ads!!! Here's one that you can watch now (especially in case you are like me and prefer the ads to the game), and this one is dead serious. It's the VoteVets spot against the troop surge [website], with Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, is leading the charge against the President’s escalation of the war in Iraq with a new television advertisement today. We’re targeting a number of Senators who still have not come out in favor of the strongest Senate resolution, sponsored by Senators Joe Biden and Chuck Hagel. We are backing up the ad with a two-day, seven-city tour, that will take this battle right into the Senators’ back yards.

Right is right but left is wrong

...or is wrong left?

BeepBeep posted about right and left, and their place in mythology and history. Clearly, there's a societal preference for right over left, as well as predominant physical handedness.

Then I saw a bumper sticker, one of those stupid it says so in the bible so it must be the truth things that said:

A wise man's heart directs him toward the right,
but the foolish man's heart directs him toward the left.

I guess they're trying to prove that the GOP is god's own party. Turns out, that particular version of Ecclesiastes 10:2 is from the New American Standard Bible. The Online Parallel Bible. They show the same verse as published in the following versions of the "infallible truth".

(NASB) New American Standard Bible
(WEB) World English Bible
(ASV) American Standard Version of 1901
(BBE) Bible in Basic English
(DBY) Darby Translation of 1884 / 1890
(WBS) Webster Bible of 1833
(KJV) King James Bible, Authorized Version of 1611
(YLT) Young's Literal Translation of 1898
(JPS) 1917 Jewish Publication Society Tanakh
(WEY) Weymouth New Testament of 1913

Here's how the same verse reads in all these versions (these are not in order):
  • A wise person's heart leads the right way. The heart of a fool leads the wrong way.
  • A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.
  • The heart of the wise man goes in the right direction; but the heart of a foolish man in the wrong.
  • The heart of a wise man is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left.
  • A wise man's understanding is at his right hand; but a fool's understanding at his left.
  • A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart is at his left.
  • A wise man's heart is at his right hand, but a fool's heart at his left.
  • The heart of the wise is at his right hand, And the heart of a fool at his left.

There is one thing I will say right here and stand by it:
If there was a Jesus, his teachings and the sayings attributed to him would place him, by modern political definitions, SQUARELY in the left wing, and liberal as all get-out.

I am also hoping to be "left behind" when it comes to rapturing. Maybe there will be some peace around here for a change.

EDIT Thursday evening: We passed a church sign tonight that said:

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