Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I've got a stack of Grandma's old cookbooks and cooking pamphlets here... she collected them but didn't really use them much. Runs in the family, I guess.

This one is put out by Proctor & Gambles' CRISCO, and all the recipes in it contain Crisco. It's from 1959, and instead of being full of hideous food photos with bad color, it's all done in very trendy, modern illustrations. Stereotypes galore. Here's the cover, where the cook, which is, of course, the wife and mother, serves up chicken, cake and Crisco to her suited-up husband, son, daughter, dog, and the cat is missing because it's off misbehaving somewhere.

See... cats are portrayed as thieves and predators in this booklet. Here's the family cat stealing a cookie. Nobody is very concerned that the cat might be ingesting chocolate.

Here is an evil cat ready to pounce this poor defenseless child and that delicious Crisco doughnut. Get in mah belly!!!

Your cat wants dogs. Here, the cat is ready to pounce these hot dogs, which have been battered and fried in Crisco.

This is a picture of "Groom's Cake" and it states it "will serve bachelor friends in style. Also an excellent standard fruitcake." In 1959, all bachelor parties served fruitcakes. I think they made them very large so that strippers could emerge from the center, all covered in waxed fruit.

And finally, here it is. A date with the family (see the video at the bottom). The wife has taken off the apron and put on her pearl necklace. I'm not sure what's for dinner there, some kind of mystery meat fritters arranged like Stonehenge and served with a bowl of Cheese Sauce (also made with Crisco, because cheese needs extra fats added for flavor). None of these families need to worry about dealing with yucky vegetables, because none are ever served. They are only cooked down and made into meat sauce.

Here is the hilarious 10 minute MST3K short, "A Date With Your Family." Enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wanna watch?

I've been noticing a real upsurge in one particular topic in my Spam folder, and that is watches. Now, I realize that most people want to lose weight, get rich and have 3 inches added to their penis, but what's with the watches? Do people really want those or are they harder to get rid of these days? Aren't most people just using their phones as a timepiece? The new pocketwatch.

For the love of Willie

Willie Nelson is turning 75 on the 30th! There's a lot of Willie on the local media now, since he's a local guy. He's certainly one of the most popular people on the planet. Author Joe Nick Patoski has just released a book called "Willie Nelson: An Epic Life," and he tells a few stories on this public radio piece. Willie has a few to tell himself. Listen to the streaming audio on this page. Good stuff.

If you love Willie and are interested in more good streams, local radio KGSR is throwing an on-air party on Wednesday night. More information at this link (and click here for Listen Live links). Program starts at 6pm, live music featuring some of the best local music starts at 8pm Central.

Featured live: Willie's daughter Paula Nelson, Patty Griffin, Bob Schneider, Alejandro Escovedo, Ray Benson, Ruthie Foster, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Fastball, Jimmy LaFave, The South Austin Jug Band, Future Clouds & Radar, Ian McLagan, The Resentments, The Band Of Heathens, Charlie Sexton, Bobby Whitlock & Coco Carmel, Carolyn Wonderland, Joe Ely, Kelly Willis and many more.

I work for his daughter Paula, which has a coolness factor in itself, of course. She's a sweet and pretty woman with a sultry honky-tonk voice and a great band. That doesn't mean I know Willie though. I haven't met him (can't count getting an autograph from the stage... that's not a meeting), would like to someday. I saw him play for the first time way back in the early 60s when he wore the standard suit and had a flat top haircut. Things sure have changed since then, a lot of it because of Willie.

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Damn you all to hell

Part 2 of our Saturday included attending Master Pancake's live riffing of Planet of the Apes. Pretty good stuff. This is a comedy group who used to call themselves Mister Sinus Theater, then got sued by Mystery Science Theater to stop using that very similar name, especially since they were doing something very similar. it went on for years (don't know who won) but Mister Sinus broke up and reformed as Master Pancake. I have no idea where they got that name.

Sinus (now Pancake) has a different approach to their choice of movies to roast. They tend to pick stuff that lots of people are already familiar with, and sometimes they riff movies I actually think are pretty good -- or were good when they were released and are suffering merely from being dated (and aren't we all from time to time?), rather than the REALLY BAD ones that were MSTed. I do miss that show.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Eeyore has a happy day

What a great Saturday! There was rain the night before, but beautiful (although a little bit muggy) weather for Eeyore's Birthday Party. We love this event. It's very non-corporate and homegrown. The beer and food is all local (good beer!!). There is some live music but the main focus of it is "bring your own". Wear a costume, or something really festive. Make it weird. Make it creative. Bring a drum, noisemaker, of just something to bang on. It can be a cowbell, tambourine, pots & pans, sticks, trash can, even a propane tank. The drum circle (and the party) goes from 11AM to sundown, and you can stay in the drum circle for hours without realizing it. There is something in our human DNA that makes community drumming and/or dancing seem like a good thing to do.

Really cute dogs, children, and even a cat, all in costumes, a really enthusiastic photographer going all out for the best shots, a few women in painted-on shirts, a photo of us (the Blueberrys), and lots of "get yer hippie-pagan-heathen-bacchanalian-faery-nymph on", but still remaining a great kid's event. A few samples below:

I also took some video of the drum circle:
...and here's a link to more of a Fairy Princess version of that. Link: Eeyore's Birthday Party website

Friday, April 25, 2008

Double Bible babble

What do these two have in common? They both frequently misquote a Bible passage.

Jules Winnfield, a character in Pulp Fiction played by Samuel L. Jackson, before delivering his doom upon your ass, recites a form of the following passage, which says is from Ezekiel 25:17:
The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of charity and goodwill shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

Actually, Ezekiel 25:17 resembles part of the last sentence or two of that bit, but the rest is fabrication. Sounds convincing, though.

Nancy Pelosi seems to be fond of reciting this passage, which she says is in the Bible (in the Old Testament):
To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.' On this Earth Day, and every day, let us pledge to our children, and our children's children, that they will have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and the opportunity to experience the wonders of nature.

Trouble is, nobody so far has found that in the Bible. Not in any version.

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Arbor Day

Have you hugged a tree today?

Arbor Day was established in 1872, and is all about the planting and preserving of trees. The date for Arbor Day varies by state, and you can look up your state at the Arbor Day links below. Texans love their trees. They are precious. SHADE is a precious commodity in this hot, sunny place. True enough, plenty of trees are lost for development, but in some cases if there is a really large and beloved tree, they will attempt to move it rather than cut it down. The pics below represent a common site. Your tree is more important than your fence, so people regularly make adjustments like this for their trees.

Furbaby Friday - Jax's apartment

"A Natural Obsession" - cats and boxes.

You can't see me... you see nothing... there is nobody in here.

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

Thursday, April 24, 2008


Who Would Jenna Endorse? All she said is that she may not support McCain and is open to the Democrats. She didn't pick one. If the buzz and chatter is to be believed, most of the Republicans who crossed over and voted for Hillary were doing it to help defeat Obama so McCain could run against her (and the GOP's preference to face Hillary in the election is documented).
From Larry King:
KING: Do you have a favorite between the two, the two Democrats?

LAURA BUSH: My favorite is the Republican.

KING (pointing to Jenna): Yours too, I would imagine.

JENNA BUSH: I don't know.

KING: A-ha! Are you open to...

JENNA BUSH: Yeah, of course. I mean, who isn't open to learning about the candidates and I'm sure that everybody's like that.

Actually, Jenna honey, everybody is not like that, but it would be nice if it were true. We don't know who Jenna would endorse, but there have been several Obama endorsements from prominent Republicans. Do check out this editorial piece from Susan Eisenhower (Ike's granddaughter): Why I'm backing Obama

More recently, Susan's sister-in-law and the daughter of Richard Nixon, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, not only endorsed Obama but has donated the maximum amount allowed to him (serving to cancel out Tricia's donation to McCain). I wonder if David Eisenhower is feeling like he's part of a bad sandwich?

Douglas Kmiec. Prominent legal scholar, former Catholic University dean, advisor to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, legal counsel to 2 Republican presidents. His formal Obama endorsement.

Lincoln Chafee. His Obama endorsement maybe not as big a surprise as the others. He was a liberal (moderate) Republican, and has left the Republican party to be an Independent. His record doesn't look very Republican to me (with a few exceptions).

More on Obamacans:
USA Today
NY Sun

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Senseless and Senselesser

Couple of head-shaking items related to religion.

Jonesville, SC: [LINK] Here's why Americans have a reputation for being stupid. Listen to this ignorant ass preacher who put on his church sign:


Yeah, it's maddening. Even after the huge flap over his (Christian) pastor, this guy is not convinced that Obama is not a muslim (and therefore a terrorist) because of what his name happens to be. He fails to see how the sign is bigoted or even political. Also, his whole scrapple-for-brains congregation voted to keep the sign as it was. After the story got international coverage, including Fark, he has since changed the sign. These are the people who think Bush is a good President. Another video link.

This video shows another example of people who have lost the ability to think clearly. There was a comment that it was like the Manson Girls meet Little House on the Prairie. Boy, is that spot on.

Earth Day - The Unforeseen

EDIT April 23: I am bumping this post up and adding some comments post-viewing.

It’s an excellent film, and I think in somewhat limited theatrical release right now, expanding gradually, but should be out on DVD in September.

This screening was sponsored by Save Our Springs Alliance, which is featured prominently in the film. There was a Q&A afterward with the filmmaker, Laura Dunn, the cinematographer, and some others who appeared in it. A few weeks ago at the premiere, Robert Redford also put in an appearance. He is an executive producer, appears in the film, and… I just learned from this viewing… learned to swim in Austin as a kid!

The film is focused on Austin, but the elements at work are the same ones that show up in all situations like this: the greedy developers, the lobbyists, the citizens who buy into these things, people who value property rights over the environment (typified by people sporting signs that say things like “Birds Don’t Pay Taxes”), the politicians who get their votes, and ugly growth that destroys the very reasons that people wanted to live in an area in the first place.

The Unforeseen

Website for The Unforeseen
Tomatometer 84%

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Big stuff

I don't think these are photoshopped.

Well, last week it was the giant fly swimming in my cup. This week no real-life close encounters with freaky big critters, but did see these guys on the web. Look at this Italian cat!! 35 lbs. of sugar in a 30 lb. bag. What a cute tubster. Not sure we'd be able to afford the lasagna it takes to feed this guy. [LINK] And if you still think it's Photoshopped, here's another news link on the kitty with a different picture. More fat cats on Neatorama.

Forced perspective, to make a bad thing look even worse.

These are called Camel Spiders. They are not as big as they look here, I think this is a forced perspective kind of shot. The critters actually DO get to be 6 inches long... which is still a damned big spider!!! Yikes!!! [More about Camel Spiders, which they say are not really spiders. I say close enough with legs out the wazoo.]

Then, take a look at this post. It's from Australia and shows a 14 inch stick bug... not doin' anything... just hangin' around on the porch mindin' his own bidness. Cool bug.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

More about the Keep Austin Weird house

I mentioned in yesterday's post about the "Keep Austin Weird" house and how it tamed down to be sold. Then MrB sent me a link to the owner's site. She's a real estate agent and artist, and she's got lots of fun stuff on there - her art gallery and art car, videos and more.

Here's the segement that played on HGTV's "What's With That House?"

(I want a pig)

Here's a selection from her gallery of paintings that I picked out for Dr. Monkey.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Just another April Austin day

A beautiful Saturday, perfect weather. Started out at a great garage sale in Tarrytown, a few houses down from this creative piece of carport art, and the old "Keep Austin Weird" house that was once featured on the show HGTV's "What's With That House?" (they call it "the pig house")

but has since been tamed down and is now for sale. {sigh} Click photos to enlarge.

From there we went to the Earth Day festivities down at Republic Square Park. Austin is really a very green city, but I've always been pretty unimpressed by the Earth Day efforts. This was combined with an art event that was mostly about letting kids make stuff, and making the adults wish they were kids. Here are some pics:

One of the entrances


Live music, of course

Wonderful live oak tree at the other entrance...

...big enough for climbing

Someone's pet giant turtle

Even though this event is about being "green," a lot of the participants are selling products and some of them are linked to large corporations that might not be so green... and that's hard to avoid. I was disappointed to see that The Domain was one of the big sponsors. It's a huuuuge shopping complex of very high end stores (mostly chains) such as Tiffany and Neiman Marcus, one of those sprawling artificial paradises that will eventually include condos. It's also infamous for bleeding the Austin taxpayer for something that will drive out local businesses. I see no reason to go there.

We left the Park in search of light exercise and tasty beverages. Here is a mural that I didn't remember seeing before. There used to be a microbrewery on the adjoining lot, which the mural was part of, and that was taken over by the Fox & Hound (another chain!!), now that's been torn down to make room for more condos. This mural will not be there long.

The Austin Duck Adventures is an amphibious open-air tourist vehicle that takes people on Lady Bird Lake as well as through some popular places in town. They give everyone on board a "quacker", a duck call, so they can quack at everything. I busted out laughing when the tour guide spotted a woman carrying a guitar down the street and yelled through his bullhorn, "THERE'S A MUSICIAN!!" and they all went "QUAAAAAACK QUAAAAAACK!!!!!" I guess strolling musicians are on the tour checklist.

We walked quite a bit. Saw this beautiful flower on prickly pears at Mother Egan's,

but waited until Woodrow's to have a beer. How can you resist this sign?

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Our friend Sarah Jarosz played on local TV, click on the pic to watch in a new window. We first saw her in 2004, at the Old Settler's Music Festival, and she was about 13 playing traditional bluegrass music with her family band. She'd also cover a lot of Chris Thile tunes from his first 2 solo albums he made when he was 13 and 16 (if you are a mandolin lover, get those!! he's not just good for a kid. He was great, even back then, and he wrote most of the songs he recorded on those) (sorry... Chris Thile = {gush}... my #1 mandolin hero). Anyway we got acquainted with her and her parents in waiting lines for Nickel Creek shows and others. Hardcore fans tend to get acquainted. Anyway, she has grown musically so much over the years, she's got an amazing voice and is writing beautiful songs. She's shared the stage with a very long list of the finest acoustic musicians including every mandolin god you can think of.

We haven't been to The Old Settler's Music Festival (our little mostly-bluegrass event) for a few years now. It's a little pricey for us these days. But I am headed out the door in a few minutes for Waterloo Records where there will be a free in-store performance by the Waybacks. Then we will get to see Sarah when she opens for some more friends, The Greencards, on May 9th at Threadgill's. Looking forward to that show. Two days after that, there will be the Second Annual Mandolin Mayhem (I think also at Threadgill's... last year it was at Mother Egan's), featuring three great players: Kym Warner of the 'Cards, Dennis Ludiker (of South Austin Jug Band), Sarah, and maybe some guests.

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The Dark Side, Hot Blood and White Power

A lot has been said about the children and the forced marriages, rape, the "alter bed" and those are extremely important, but I wanted to stress a couple more things about this sect -- more reasons that children should not ever be allowed in the care of those people -- especially in isolation. Religious Doctrines get weird if they are fundamentalist in nature, when people take mythology and metaphor literally, combined with extreme intolerance.

Blood Atonement

Their version of this is not just the regular blood atonement of Jesus dying for our sins and replacing the the old law which made use of animal blood sacrifice (as well as offerings of first fruits of crops)... in both cases to allow the Big Guy upstairs to be able to look upon us lowly filthy unworthy scum. Their Blood Atonement also calls for the occasional killing of other people -- to save them.

The little Eldorado weekly paper has been reporting on this group that moved into their area from the onset (not much else going on...), and here are excerpts from their article on Blood Atonement in 2004:
Many conservative Mormons broke with the LDS church in the 1890s when the church renounced the practice of polygamy, or plural marriage. Eventually, the disaffected Mormons began to gather in small groups, finally coalescing into a handful of fundamentalist sects. Chief among these were the early settlers of a tiny town on the Utah/Arizona border called Short Creek.

Few realized then that Short Creek, later renamed Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah, would become the center of the fundamentalist Mormon universe. Today, the sprawling town, and its outlying neighborhoods, is home to nearly 10,000 people who look, not to the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, but to FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs, for spiritual guidance.

Jeffs' followers differ with the mainline Mormon Church over a number of core beliefs, one of them being Plural Marriage. But another area of strong disagreement involves the Doctrine of Blood Atonement, the belief that there are some sins so egregious that the sinner's own blood must be spilled in order to atone for them.

[...] There is little debate, however, that by 1856, the doctrine was widely accepted by the Mormon faithful.

That same year, Brigham Young delivered a sermon, that was later published in the Journal of Discourses, saying, "There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins...

"And further more, I know that there are transgressors, who, if they knew themselves, and the only condition upon which they can obtain forgiveness, would beg of their brethren to shed their blood, that the smoke thereof might ascend to God as an offering to appease the wrath that is kindled against them, and that the law might have its course. I will say further; I have had men come to me and offer their lives to atone for their sins.

"It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through the fall and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it can never remit.... There are sins that can be atoned for by an offering upon an altar, as in ancient days; and there are sins that the blood of a lamb, or a calf, or of turtle dove, cannot remit, but they must be atoned for by the blood of the man."

In 1978 the LDS Church repudiated the Doctrine of Blood Atonement, just as it denounced the practice of Plural Marriage some 90 years earlier, bringing it in line with the teachings of most mainline Christian churches that only the blood of Jesus, shed some 20 centuries ago on the cross at Calvary, can atone for sin. Most fundamentalist Mormon groups, and in particular the group that occupied Colorado City/Hildale, viewed the LDS action in 1978 as another in a long line of heresies.

In 1988 Rulon Jeffs succeeded Leroy Johnson as the Prophet of the fundamentalist Mormons of Short Creek. In 1991, he formally incorporated the church under the name Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, with himself listed as president, agent and sole trustee. It was he, perhaps more than any other man, except for the possible exception of his son and successor, Warren Jeffs, who advanced the Doctrine of Blood Atonement among the FLDS faithful.

In a series of sermons published in 1997, Rulon Jeffs told his followers, "I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins. I have seen scores and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a chance if their lives had been taken and their blood spilled on the ground as a smoking incense to the Almighty, but who are now angels to the devil...

"This is loving our neighbor as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it.

A combination of events, beginning in the year 2000 have led some FLDS observers to worry that the group could choose to put the teaching of Blood Atonement into practice. First, the aged Prophet Rulon Jeffs, speaking through his son, Warren, predicted the world would end that year and that the FLDS faithful would be "lifted up" and rescued from the destruction. Jeffs' followers prepared for the day by withdrawing their children from the public school system. Then, gathering outside of town in a large field, the group massed and waited, but nothing happened.

Prior to the promised lifting up, many of Rulon Jeffs followers had maxed out their credit cards and stopped making payments to banks and other lenders. When the day of deliverance failed to materialize, they found themselves fending off creditors and some began openly questioning the Prophet.

But, Warren Jeffs had answers. The problem had not been with the prophesy, but with the believers who were told that their own lack of faith had prevented their ascension to heaven.

Then, in 2001, the prophet who had told his followers he was immortal, died and Warren Jeffs ascended to leadership of the FLDS. A series of excommunications, which continued even as recently as last month, were announced as the younger Jeffs solidified his grip on the FLDS church and the United Effort Plan trust, the financial arm of the church that owned most of the property in Colorado City/Hildale.

As word spread that Prophet Warren Jeffs was preparing to move his most faithful followers away from Colorado City/Hildale, FLDS historian Ben Bistline, received an anonymous letter threatening his life. Bistline, who was excommunicated from the church several years earlier, wrote The Polygamists, a History of Colorado City, Arizona. The book apparently drew the ire of the letter writer who told him, "I have a job to do. My job is to protect the prophet Warren Jeffs from you cockroaches and scum...

"There won't be yellow dog here to greet us or stand in our way when it comes time for the prophet to rule this world...

"He's working very hard to get us to a point where God will clean up the world. Then God will be able to order the destroying angels to go forth and they will kill off all the wicked...The prophet has promised us that the destructions are here and we will get to witness them."

For his part, Ben Bistline says that he isn't really worried for his own safety. "I'm more concerned with the mentality of a person who would write something like that," Bistline told the Success.

Ross Chatwin, who was excommunicated from the FLDS Church last year by Warren Jeffs, and who recently won a court order allowing him to stay in his home despite an eviction order from the prophet, says that Warren Jeffs fully believes in the Doctrine of Blood Atonement and teaches it to his followers. "Warren says that the reason we don't live the doctrine is that the United States government won't allow it," Chatwin said. "But, when God returns then his followers can carry it out."


Alright, if the child rape and murder policy isn't enough then there's the white supremacy that is taught. Again the Eldorado Success has obtained audio of Warren Jeffs himself, speaking to his people about African-Americans [full article and several audio clips here]:
He claimed it was necessary for the black race to be preserved "because it was necessary that the Devil should have a representation upon the Earth as well as God." He continues by saying, "So, the day of the Negro is continued and today is the day of the Negro, as far as the world is concerned."
A lot more than that is said, some even worse. And those things are officially sanctioned by this group as they are from the mouth of the Prophet Jeffs himself.

If you want to read some really crazy crap spewed by an FLDS evangelist, someone who was apparently tossed out of one of the facilities but still carries the message to every forum on the topic. Several of them give him his own area for his threads and ramblings. I don't know if he's spouting their version of things, but he seems to go unchallenged by anyone else claiming to be FLDS. He's a one-man version of "Fundies say the darndest things". I was going to repost some of this bad craziness, but instead will let you read it for yourself. His explanations of scripture and etymology of words will make your head spin with its sad funniness. His moniker is "onthestreet"

Polygamist outcast happy as punch

Texas polygamy blog - thread 1 (April: post-raid)

Texas polygamy blog - thread 2 (March: pre-raid)

Texas polygamy blog - thread 3 (Feb 08) -- this HAS to be drunk blogging.

My previous post on this sect.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A debate topic for Philly: "Screw 'em"

That's a quote from Hillary Clinton in 1995 about working class white southerners, "lunch-bucket Democrats," who were both leaning and voting conservative in the 1994 congressional elections. Her advice:
"Screw 'em," she told her husband. "You don't owe them a thing, Bill. They're doing nothing for you; you don't have to do anything for them."
Author Benjamin Barber witnessed and wrote about in his book, "The Truth of Power: Intellectual Affairs in the Clinton White House"

Read the whole article on HuffPo.

So, if the majority of the Democrats vote and have voted for someone else, and are therefore doing nothing for her, I'm thinking the same attitude is there. Screw 'em, they don't matter... and won't stand in her way of getting this thing by hook and crook, schmooze and booze, god and the devil, lies and more lies, lawyers, guns and money.

And just so as to not end this on a "bitter" note, Bruce Springsteen has just endorsed Obama on his website, so listen to Bruce below singing a song that Woody Guthrie wrote. It reminds me of why I care about this stuff.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Archie Bunker mentality

This is one reason I'm not a Libertarian. The philosophy that we just give everybody a gun, and the good guys will automatically police the bad guys, and it will all sort itself out. [LINK] Some Ohio lawmakers want to allow students to carry concealed weapons at public universities to protect themselves against another gunman. The reason Archie Bunker was funny was because his ideas were so ridiculous, and also, unfortunately, fairly common.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Elitism -- something I hate. Maybe it's a part of my upbringing that stuck, I was taught to hate snobbery, and I do. People throw the term "elitism" around without even understanding what they are saying, but it sounds bad so they do it anyway.
MW- elitism
1: leadership or rule by an elite
2: the selectivity of the elite; especially : snobbery
3: consciousness of being or belonging to an elite

MW- elite
a: the choice part : cream
b: the best of a class
c: the socially superior part of society
d: a group of persons who by virtue of position or education exercise much power or influence

Modern Republicans are almost by definition Elitist. They are proud of it. Neocons are the worst elitists of all. The rich and powerful have the right to plunder and control the assets of those who have not been selected or do not possess the merits to be rich and powerful, so those elements must move over and make way... or else.

I am not sure where that label is coming from now that it's been directed toward Obama. Makes no sense to me.

McCain = Elitist. Who's arguing against it?
Clinton... trying to win the nomination purely on the votes of the Superdelegates (is there anything about their stature and power that sound "elite" to anyone? see "elite d" above.) regardless of the way the American people vote.

As for Obama's remarks on bitterness, I agree with them. What's more, I think the Clintons agree with them too, at least in part. (and does anything feel that they are not both running?)
"If [Republicans] could cut funding for Medicare, Medicaid, education, and the environment, middle-class Americans would see fewer benefits from their tax dollars, feel more resentful paying taxes, and become even more receptive to their appeals for tax cuts and their strategy of waging campaigns on divisive social and cultural issues like abortion, gay rights, and guns."

-- Bill Clinton, in his 2004 memoirs, My Life, making the same argument as Sen. Barack Obama. [Political Wire with H/T to AmericaBlog

"The reason (George H. W. Bush's tactic) works so well now is that you have all these economically insecure white people who are scared to death," -- (Bill) Clinton was quoted saying by the Los Angeles Times in September 1991. [via HuffPo]

She talks about how we've got to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, gang members, and people with mental problems, and I agree with her in what she says here. Trouble is, now she has done a turnaround. Does she think that (particularly) criminals and gang members aren't dealing with a certain amount of resentment... and yes... bitterness? Then she had to go and spout this line of bullshit hypocrisy:
"You know, my dad took me out behind the cottage that my grandfather built on a little lake called Lake Winola outside of Scranton and taught be how to shoot when I was a little girl," she said. [Blueberry: my military dad taught me to shoot when I was about 7. It doesn't make me pro-gun. I hate guns.]

"You know, some people now continue to teach their children and their grandchildren. It's part of culture. It's part of a way of life. People enjoy hunting and shooting because it's an important part of who they are. Not because they are bitter."

Is she trying to suggest that Obama was talking about bitter people resorting to going hunting or doing target practice? Is anyone buying that? And she also reports that she shot a duck. Well whoop-de-frickin-do. More like she shot a fellow Democrat in the face. Cheney must be proud.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bug blogging

There was a strange bug invasion last week. Giant flies invaded the office building where I work part time. I don't know if these are horse-flies (although they are 3/4" to 1" long), and have not seen horse-flies at all for many years. The last time I remember seeing them was back in Missouri on a chilly Spring day when we were floating down one of the rivers. They are after your blood, aggressive, and bite HARD. OUCH! Through googling (don't you love googling flies?) I find that they do live around here, and I probably have not seen any because I don't get out in rural areas that much... same for floating down the rivers. I guess if they hung around downtown near Lady Bird (Town) Lake they'd be eaten by bats, but it's still early for bats.

Certain parts of this building became filled with these giant flies. We were told that most of them were coming from a certain stairwell, so that one should be avoided if we didn't want to let more in. But the flies were just flying around, mostly parked on the walls, not trying to bite anyone, just minding their own business which seemed to be nothing at all (typical office slackers).

I had my cup and spoon filled with sudsy water in the kitchen sink, and when I went to finish washing it, there was a fly floating in the water... no longer alive. Not sure if he was after the water or the remnants of oatmeal, but there he was. I didn't think to take a picture, but here is a mock-up showing how big this guy was compared to the spoon.

Why are all these humongous flies in this office building? Most of the people who work there travel a lot, and all over the world, a lot of it in rural areas. I'm wondering if somebody didn't cart them in with some soil or who knows what. I'm also wondering why they haven't been trying to bite people. Maybe this variety prefers do-nuts. If so, they have come to the right place.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Everybody look what's goin' down*

This is a book that I have not read yet - "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein. I've decided to get it from the library next time it's available. Dr. Davidson Loehr is going to be finishing up a 5-part sermon (more like a lecture, really) on this book tomorrow at UU, with the final part to be focused on Iraq and 9/11. (I love it when he gets political!! These controversial topics do get him into hot water, but he does them anyway.) He has titled the sermons "The Most Dangerous Fundamentalism on Earth"

Some other books I've read because he discussed them were "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins, and "Defying Hitler" by Sebastian Haffner.

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is a first-hand account of how the international banking community and corporatocracy manages to take over the world, one country at a time. He was part of it, then published this memoir about his experiences -- the kind of personal history that someone usually takes to the grave. Very interesting stuff, no matter how you look at it.

Defying Hitler is a memoir written by a German man who was classified as "Aryan" but not a Nazi in mind or heart. The memoir was kept in secret, and found by the man's son after his death. It describes his personal resistance and survival from a unique perspective. It could be a rather important book to read as it relates to these modern times in America, unless we can manage to get some of these war-mongering neo-conservative and religious fundamentalist elements "checked and balanced." There is so much at stake, so much that can be lost, and all before you know what hit you.

*lyrics from "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield
There's somethin' happenin' here.
What it is ain't exactly clear.
There's a man with a gun over there
A-tellin' me I've got to beware.

I think it's time we stop.
Children, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's goin' down.

There's battle lines bein' drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speakin' their minds
A-gettin' so much resistance from behind.

I think it's time we stop.
Hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's goin' down.

What a field day for the heat.
A thousand people in the street
Singin' songs and a-carryin' signs
Mostly sayin' hooray for our side.

It's time we stop.
Hey, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's goin' down.

Paranoia strikes deep.
Into your life it will creep.
It starts when you're always afraid.
Step out of line, the MAN come and take you away.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Purrsday Night - Black Cats are Coool

There’s some background music for this week’s cat post. It’s “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat”

OK, the song is about jazz-playing “cats” and not actual feline cats, but it’s fun and catchy. Jazz cats can be swingin’, but of course, real feline cats should never EVER be swingin’, not literally anyway. Jax (above) is all about being a cool cat, and he’s pretty sure that everybody wants to be like him. yes, he DOES have the biggest teeth on the block, possibly even the neighborhood. He's not mean, though... he's just cooool.

I found this really cute pic of a baby panther (born in in the Miskolc Zoo, Hungary) over on Seattle P.I. (AP Photo/MTI, Janos Vajda), and I wouldn’t doubt that Jax looked like that as a kitten. We don’t know, because he adopted us when he was already 7 years old.

I also want to remember our black cat, Duncan, who died one year ago (April 12) from heart disease at age 11. We think about him and miss him every day. He was extremely loving when it came to both people and other cats, and very silly and funny too. His eyes were big and round, and his purr would fill the room. We loved that little sweetie pie of a kitty.

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

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Thank you, Keith Olbermann

Thank you for bringing this to the attention of so many people. I'm talking about the "Worst Person" on Tuesday, April 8. It's Illinois Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago), berating a man (to put it mildly) for his lack of religious beliefs.

There is audio and a transcription of the exchange over at Friendly Atheist, so go on over and check it out. We, as a group, are the most hated people in society. This is a result of prejudice, ignorance, lack of understanding, and lies that people have been told for generations. Many people equate a person who lacks belief in a God to a terrorist, murderer, or child molester. There needs to be a lot of discussion in public forums so that the public can be made aware of the truth.

I am a peaceful, forgiving, rational, tolerant person who respects the rights of others to seek life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I think it is fine to believe in something if you have given it plenty of thought, and know WHY you believe it. Think freely, and be open to the possibility that you DON"T have all the answers, or that someone else is on a different path, and it's OK. You think that atheists hate Christians? What we hate is Christians trying to turn convert us, or else eliminate us. I used to be a Christian myself. I now choose something else... something that years of deep thinking has brought me to, and as an American, that is my right. My philosophy can change, and it will if it needs to. Again... this is America.

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Leader of the pack, the BigDog

This is a very weird-looking critter. Is critter a proper term for a robot? I think it might be, especially for this one. It almost looks like a 2-person horse costume where the 2 ends are facing each other and the one in the "front" runs backwards. This creature is the creation of Boston Dynamics. What do you think of it? Cool? Scary? When they make a BigDog that "bites", then I'd have to say scary for sure.

Found via Plausible Futures.

His name is Higgs, not God

[LINK] When the particle collider at CERN begins operating next year, Peter Higgs is hoping that it will find a particle (the "Higgs boson") that originates from a force (the "Higgs field") that gives mass to the universe and makes life possible. Many scientists believe that it exists, and that it came into being milliseconds after the Big Bang.

Higgs is an atheist, and it bugs him that they like calling it "the God particle". He is 78 years old and has been hoping to be able to prove the existence of this particle for over 40 years, so I hope that if it does exist that he will live to see the evidence, and know that they did name it after him, not Him (not to mention being able to collect his Nobel Prize).

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Circus never ends

We went to see the new Scorsese Stones film, Shine a Light, which we saw in IMAX format. That's the best way to see it, I think. My $0.25 review is that the Stones put on one hell of a show. Scorsese tries to keep you up on the stage as though the viewer is part of the band, and there are pros and cons to that -- you don't get the audience view that much, and since it was IMAX you see HUUUGE people in extreme closeups. That part bothered MrB more than it did me. My nitpick is that Scorsese chose a Bill Clinton fundraiser event for the filming, so the audience seemed almost "planted" -- maybe not the diehards that would normally be in the house -- front rows full of pretty young women, the Clintons plus all the VIPs and high-rollers, I thought they were less enthusiastic than regular fans would have been -- just my impression. Do it with a real audience. Anyway, that part bothered me more than it did MrB. Scorsese himself is in this, and he is an absolute hoot!

The guest appearances were great! Buddy Guy and Christina Aguilera!! Wow!! Jack White too. I liked all of them with this band much better than a few of the other guest stars I've seen with the Stones, people who will not be named here (I hate being torched for naming names).

We hadn't had enough, so we went over to Waterloo Records for their sale, and picked up the Rock and Roll Circus DVD. Now, if you are a fan of music circa 1968, don't miss this one. You can see a lot of it on YouTube if you look for it. It was not released until 1996, and part of it was reportedly rescued from a trash can. Arguably, it shows many of the bands during their prime, but for some reason the Stones blocked the release. Either Mick didn't like his performance or thought the Who was better than they were... who knows... (no pun intended). It was a TV show with an invited audience and incredible lineup -- it was a party. There was Jethro Tull, Taj Mahal and a stunning Marianne Faithfull. The Who were just pre-Tommy and put on an amazing performance. Just classic. The DVD extras include a modern interview with Townshend.

There was a super-group (called "Dirty Mac" made up of John Lennon, Eric Clapton (wearing a nice sweater that looks that his grandma knitted it for him), Keith Richards (on bass) and Mitch Mitchell (of Jimi Hendrix Experience) playing Yer Blues (from the brand-new White Album)! [Bootleg linkage: The Dirty Mac Sessions]

The Stones were promoting their new release, Beggar's Banquet (jeez, I am feeling old), and I loved their performances. Mick seemed a little more stoned than usual, but absolutely electrifying -- and he does writhe on the floor of the catwalk and pulls off his shirt during "Sympathy". mmmm. It was also the last appearance of Brian Jones before his death. In fact, there are so many folks in this that are no longer with us, it makes me sad.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Cult cull

EDIT: Eldorado news | San Angelo news

You've probably been reading about this cult bust up over at Eldorado... the polygamist Fundamental Church of latter Day Saints (FLDS) and followers of Warren Jeffs. It's not, by Texas standards, that far from here so I was curious about the exact location. Found this page from Google 3D Warehouse which pinpoints it if you are curious too. The local newspub called the Eldorado Success has quite a few archived stories on the complex, but it seems to be simply because there's not much other news coming from tiny Eldorado.

The count of the number of people who have been brought out of this complex has gone from 50 yesterday to over 500 today, and although it is so far without bloodshed, there is plenty of damage that's already been done to these people by this cult of fear.

It will not be easy for the people taken out of there to adjust to a new life. worth it, of course, but not easy. There is great fear to overcome -- fear of going to Hell for even being tempted to believe anything but the given doctrine, fear of punishment (even torture), fear of God and Prophet, fear of betraying , disappointing or leaving family, love and fear being to intermingled as to be the same emotion. It's the ultimate abusive situation: children forced into marriages with close relatives -- 14 year old girls unwillingly paired with 50 year old men, plus the polygamy.

I have nothing against polygamy as a concept. If all parties are adults and all are of sound mind and wanting to marry more than one person, and all those persons want to be married to all parties concerned, then let it be arranged. To me, polygamy is not really the issue.

There should be freedom of religion. The problem comes in when your religion takes away the freedom of others, and in this case involves imprisonment and torture -- both physical and psychological.

Here are some more links for this story (maybe off the mainstream news):

Aerial photos (medium-high resolution, including the one above), various links, non-affiliated with the church.

Help the Child Brides (lots of stories there)

Eldorado-based Texas Polygamy blog (just FYI, not endorsing it)

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Charlton Heston

Nooo. I didn't care for his views on the subject of guns, and he wasn't "my president" (neither is that clown who has the job now), but he will always be unforgettable for his performances in Ben-Hur, The Omega Man, Soylent Green, The Ten Commandments, and, of course, Planet of the Apes and many others. So here's to "Soylent Green is peeeeeeople!!!", "damned, dirty ape" and (::: Anne Baxter voice :::) "Oh Moses... Moses..."

Friday, April 04, 2008


Well, we need something pleasant now. Politics is such a poison these days. Click on the image or here for a delightful video found on Cute Overload. It's Island in the Sun by Weezer, (dir. Spike Jonze) and it's got kittens, puppies, a chimp, bears, big cats, baby big cats, and the music is good too.

Gone Gone Gone, Done Me Wrong

I have met Hillary Rodham Clinton. It was in 1996 during her book tour for "It Takes a Village". I must admit that I didn't read the book. Actually, that makes it more valuable now because it's a pristine copy, only cracked open by the First Lady to sign it and a couple of times since then by me, to look at it, and recently to photograph the signature for eBay. Yes, it will be sold on eBay.You know how Bill Clinton is known for pointing with his thumb, and now Hillary is known for pointing with her index finger? I was wearing my "Clinton/Gore" button, and she pointed at it in that manner, and said, "thank you for wearing that," and I responded with something typical of a fangirl, I'm sure. That was the extent of our 10 second meeting.

When I think back to that, it makes me sad. I loved the Clintons. I am sad because they have now ruined my positive perception of them during this nasty campaign. They could both have gone on to other pursuits involving public service or continued in politics, retaining their dignity and class. The legacy would have been a positive body of work (but not without some rough patches and controversy, but many of those only increased my respect for the way they dealt with the difficulties). Now, in my mind, they are both power-mad, desperate, willing to openly lie, cheat, wallowing in the slime with the worst of the worst, schmoozing and sleazing up to Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, not denouncing Ann Coulter's support, and The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy of Richard Mellon Scaife -- effectively becoming no better in my mind and on no higher ground than any of those. It's Tonya Harding and Jeff Gillooly kneecapping the only chance this country has of escaping from the muck of permanent right wing rule -- whether by helping the Republicans win, or purposefully hurting their own party. They hit the ceiling at being compared to her? This situation is even worse. I think it's a shame.

Randi Rhodes was suspended from Air America for referring to Hillary and Ferraro as "whores" during a public appearance. OK, I think Ferraro is better described as a racist and out of touch with reality than a whore, but the non-sexual definition of "whore" in Merriam-Webster is "a venal or unscrupulous person". I looked up "venal" too:
  1. capable of being bought or obtained for money or other valuable consideration : purchasable; especially : open to corrupt influence and especially bribery : mercenary venal legislator
  2. originating in, characterized by, or associated with corrupt bribery
If you are steaming with rage at Randi's tirade, think about the meaning of the word. Tacky to say it? Probably. Would she have been suspended for saying the same thing about a right-winger? Unsure. Is the word a fair one to use in this case? Given some of the meanings of it, possibly so. Shameful and sad.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008

Purrsday Night - Cattle and Doggles

Henry went to the eye doctor this week, a veterinary ophthalmologist. His regular doc thought he needed to be checked out for cataracts, and I was sweating that one. Henry is 16.5 years old, and we really really didn't want to subject him to eye surgery.

The doctor pronounced him to be totally cute, and fluffy as a bunny. Well, we knew that much... and I added that he was also as snuggly as a teddy bear. She said that he is having some age-related issues with his eyes, but nothing out of the ordinary for his age, nothing that gets surgery, and best of all, it isn't painful for him. He doesn't see that well in the dark anymore, so we need to leave some lights on for him. We suspected that -- he gets a little stressed if he's alone in the dark. Eventually, he will get to where he can't see that well in the light either. Poor Henry -- but he is a little old man and we must all go through these things if we live long enough.

While Henry and I were waiting in the exam room, I was looking at their bulletin board full of cards, photos, and kudos for the doctors. I got a little freaked out when I saw that several of the animals were missing an eye {gaaaaa!!}. I know... it does happen and this is an ophthalmologist after all... I am just squeamish. One thing I noticed was a dog wearing glasses. Turns out they are called Doggles, and have many protective qualities in addition to being stylish. They even have some in a matching human version so you two can dress alike.

I don't think they make cat glasses (would they be called "Cattles"? Maybe Felenses?), and can you imagine a cat willingly wearing something on its face? Our boys would not do it, anyway.

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