Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ghosts of New Years Past

This post is dedicated to all those New Years events I used to go to, where everybody gets as drunk as they can as fast as they can (Open bar!!! Wooooo!!), and there's a cover band who gets work mostly at weddings and New Years Eve. There are obligatory songs that must be played. I've tried to find some entertaining versions of them.

no, not Ike and Tina or Credence Clearwater. This is Leonard Nimoy, and if you haven't heard this, you must check it out. Really... try to make it through.

not bad, but a sprinkle of cheese. This one come early in the evening to break the ice and get you up on the floor.
SHOUT Animal House made this one required. This is one of those wedding reception videos destined to become a treasured memory. ;-) NEW YORK NEW YORK saved the best for last. This is pretty hilarious. I recommend it.
Happy New Year everybody!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Not too late to pelt Palin

Pelt her with virtual snowballs, that is (as she has already turned as many critters into pelts as she can). It's a game posted by the PETA people, and lets you take shots at some animal unfriendly favorites (also including Charlton Heston). Palin appears in the 4th level of the game (which is easy to reach. If I can do it, anyone can. I stink at games).

The funnest part of it is that Palin is super pissed about it and threatens to sue them if they don't take down the game. Anything that pisses her off that much is a big Bonus Point for me. She probably thinks it's a brutal and vicious attack on her, but it's really pretty tame (and I'm sure she wouldn't object if it were credit cards being thrown at her).

Hey Palin! If you can't take the heat...

...stay in Alaska.

Monday, December 29, 2008

RIP Delaney Bramlett

[OBIT] Of Delaney and Bonnie and Friends, one of my favorite bands in the 60s. They were one of the best live bands I ever saw, and I've yet to see justice done to them on film (or videotape) included these posted. You had to be there. The "Friends" part of it included Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, George Harrison, Leon Russell, Dave Mason, Rita Coolidge, King Curtis, Bobby Whitlock, Jim Keltner. This wiki entry clears up the timeline some, and I learned a few things out of it too.

Delaney and Leon Russell were in the the house band for the TV show Shindig!, called the Shindogs... good way to make connections. George Harrison liked D&B enough to try and get them on the Beatles' Apple label (which couldn't legally happen) and Delaney taught Harrison to play bottle slide guitar. Through Harrison they got hooked up with Clapton and toured with him as an opener for Blind Faith. D&B were Clapton's band on his first solo album, and later the band became Derek & the Dominos (sans the Bramletts), and there's a Mad Dogs and Englishmen Joe Cocker connection in there too. They burned very brightly.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Post Cards from Nowhere, pt. 2

Postmarked Aug 28, 1910. The writing on this one is hard to decipher into anything that makes sense.

As I've been looking through these old post cards, I've done searches on the people named on them. This postcard recipient (Miss Besse Vincent) was apparently a fine cook, with recipes in the "Grayville Cookbook - 1912-1913" Lobster a la Newburg, and Fondant For Chocolate Cream. I guess no matter how far back you go and how insignificant it seems, you can still end up with a permanent internet presence.

Obviously Besse was well-bred and not a hillbilly like my people. I remember when my aunt (the one who had moved from rural Illinois to the fancy burbs around Chicago, married a corporate lawyer and turned Republican - even befriending W. Clement Stone, a $10 million contributor to Nixon) said she was bringing hors d'oevres to the family gathering - everybody (behind her back, of course) raised pinkies, pushed their noses up and made fun of what a snoot she had become with her fancy-schmancy hors d'oevres.

Those city ways!

Smells like... a big hit to the credit card

We are getting a nice whiff of that wonderful new car smell. No. We didn't get a new car, can't afford that. MrB's 2000 Acura Integra went into the shop yesterday with some kind of major problem. I forgot what it was, but it's going to cost around $1400 to repair. {sigh} It's always something...

This 2009 Acura TSX is a loaner car, and is it both Beauty and Beast. First of all, it's a LOT bigger than the Integra, and that's a big disappointment for us since we really like our Integras (yes, plural. We both have a 2000 Acura Integra. We need bumper stickers that say "my other car is just like this one."), and would love to replace them when they die with another Acura - but that's out of the question now since this model is now the smallest one they sell and it's too damned big - not what we want. Their smallest car barely fits in the garage with another (smaller) car, and the same can be said for the average parking space. Boo hiss on Acura for supersizing. On the up side, it's got some very fancy stuff on the console. The feature shown upper right is a camera that shows what's behind you when you are backing up. It's a brilliant feature that all cars should have.

The navigation system, CD disk changer and all that stuff require a little training, and it talks to you constantly. Annoying! Like telling you that you've unfastened your seat belt. I wish I could find a video of that old SNL routine where instead of a Navigator, the car has a NAGigator - something to not only tell you to fasten your seat belt but nags you about all your failings in general. If this video is any indication, it looks like the voice-activated nagitator can be very helpful - maybe a little too helpful depending on your perspective.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post Cards from Nowhere, pt. 1

For all you Staycationers (or Workationers) out there taking virtual trips, I am starting a series of Post Card scans. Hopefully, most of these will make the place you are now seem like a sweeter deal. This is from Stuttgart, Arkansas, and shows some heads sticking up out of a rice field.

postmarked Jan 21, 1911
addressed to:

Mrs. Ed Heidemann
Brighton IL
Macoupin Co.

Dear Sister: --
Well words never can tell the beautiful country down here. Everybody is putting in garden and plowing dont have to wear any coats the violets are in bloom wish you could really be with us.
Meal & Gus

ADDENDUM late Saturday:
Stuttgart, Arkansas, claims to be the "Rice and Duck Capital of the World."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Furbaby Friday - Henry's opinion

Henry is very polite, but wants you to know that adding additional meds for his bladder infection is pushing things too far.

And this is what he thinks of the taste of that chalky pink amoxicillan that gets poured down his throat.

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Austin 37th Street decorations

37th Street's holiday light glory has faded a little since the one person (with the most spectacular place where you'd walk the trail through the back) moved away, and this year it's also less politically edgy since the Bush regime is headed out soon. All the same, it's always a treat! It all starts at the Groovy Lube.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is honored (may you be touched by His Noodley Appendages)

Whiskey River included 2 garlands of gallon whiskey jugs. That is nearly a river of whiskey.

Here's one for Dr. Monkey - sock monkey manger. It included a monkey angel on top.

Obama manger, includes LBJ, Martin Luther King Jr., and I believe that's Barbara Jordan (?)

This lighted reindeer was driving a pickup truck with a lot of empty beer cans in the back. That's a penguin on the passenger seat (hard to see). Watch out, Grandma!!

Nothing says Christmas like Tin Foil Praying Mantis.

Obama and the biiig problem. This house had a theme. It had the pork belly trough, golden parachutes...

...and a modern-style Monopoly sidewalk.

It was a sad sight to see quite a few For Sale signs right there at the beginning of the street, esp. with COMMERCIAL also written on them (all from the same real estate company).

Plaid Blanket Santa

Here I am way back in the 50s when I still thought Santa Claus might be for real. I soon began to wonder how he could be in so may places at the same time. I was willing to let that go until, one year, I got my hands caught in his fiberglass beard. It was not fun for either of us and really increased my level of skepticism.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


This post needs a little background info: I have been a church-going atheist for several years. The church is the First Unitarian Universalist (UU) here in town. Let me say that I never thought I'd go back to church, and now (after recent events) I wonder if I ever will again. To clarify the church bit, here's a quote from the website:
Unitarian Universalists include people who identify as Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans, Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, and others.
Not wanting to confuse anyone on the church-going atheist part of this, but one of my main reasons for going was to hear Dr. Davidson Loehr. He's been the Senior Minister there, and had become a personal hero.

Davidson has never been one to fluff up your pillows, and his sermons are sometimes political in nature. "Political," in this case, can mean having to do with civil rights, human rights, the things done by governments and corporations, privacy, torture, injustice... all the way down to how we choose to treat the person next door. You were made to think, not told what to think.

What I don't mean by political is "partisan," although he has railed against the Bush administration, the Bush Doctrine, and the Neocon agenda he hasn't given the Democrats a free pass either. Although the church is so liberal it would be hard to imagine a Republican as a member (a liberal Republican? ... do they exist?), human nature being what it is, there's a good faction of people who want niceness out of a church service, they want comfort and reinforcement, candles and flowers, and do not want to be left with open-ended, thought-provoking, as he puts it, questions more profound than answers. My assumption is that a lot of these folks are $$$ people, big contributors. Also, the people turning the wheels (the church Board) wanted someone more of an administrator, an "i" dotter and "t" crosser. I would like to say that very often gifted writers, speakers, artists, and other creative right-brained types are not always the best at the left-brained stuff such as business management.

To try and shorten what is becoming a long story, Davidson has been ousted. It was done during the holiday season, with very short notice, and postponement of action on this matter was denied even though Davidson was recovering from prostate cancer surgery which happened just a few days earlier. This feels very much like being in a family that is going through a divorce. There's no fixing this loss. When there's a big dustup like this, nothing lands in the same place as it was. It's changed, done, and broken.

Enough about the jackals. I want to write about Davidson.

His most famous sermon is "Living Under Fascism" [read it here]. It has been widely reposted around the world, including on DailyKos, and became the cornerstone of a book called "America, Fascism and God, Sermons of a Heretical Preacher." He also was strongly anti-Corporate, and preached a sermon inspired by the movie/book The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power. The sermon is called "Corporations will eat your soul" [read it here]. He also delivered several sermons on the topic of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" written by former NSA operative John Perkins. More book-inspired sermons dealt with Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism". A series of sermons dealt with the societal (and you could say political) behaviors of human ancestors chimpanzees and bonobos, and how our own behavior is similar.

The sermon that really got him into the hottest water was the one where he suggested that 9/11 may have been an inside job. They made him promise never to bring that up in a sermon again, so he took it out of the posted sermon.

I don't mean to create the impression that the sermons were primarily rants against the Neocons - far from it. Here is one that I really enjoyed from a year ago at this time. It was very healing for me (I have big problems dealing with Christmas emotionally or any other way - I am damaged in that area). Don't be fooled by the title. It's probably not what you think.

note: blogging has been rather light partly because I've had this on my chest and really needed to get it out there. There's a Yahoo group for people set adrift by this rift here: ReFUUgees.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Don't catch a cold, buy one on eBay

Scarlett claims that she caught the cold from Samuel L. Jackson, and blew the virus along with some snot into this tissue - so Sam Jackson is pretty far removed from this particular item.

At least it's for charity, the proceeds go to USA Harvest. The bid is at $2,280 at this posting. [ADDENDUM] Final bid: $5,300.

From 1951: Disney public service style cartoon about colds (brought to you by Kleenex)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Look who's 65.

If you had your bets on Keith Richards not reaching another birthday, you just lost. Keef turns 65 today.

1988 - "What's the most important thing in your life?"
From 2006 - talking about falling out of his tree in Fiji.
Ronnie Wood said in his book that Keith just made up that stuff about having his blood replaced just to shock the press. I'll bet the story about snorting his father is the same deal. Craig Ferguson has a pretty funny take on it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Broke and broken

I have done some time as an auto assembler for GM, and have blogged it before: [rantage on working conditions, Union benefits, and the incredible value of a blue collar job.] I was completely unskilled when I went to work for GM, and living below the poverty level.

Because of making a decent wage on the assembly line, I was able to purchase the old house where I was living, fix it up a little, sell it for a profit and buy one in a better area, and start taking classes that would provide skills that would later help me get a job that was not so back-breaking. It provided a leg up that I never would have gotten otherwise.

I was laid off, along with the rest of my shift (followed by wave after wave of layoffs until the whole plant closed). When the layoff hit, the only job skills I had were for factory work (as I still had plenty of classes ahead of me), and the only jobs I could find were close to minimum wage with no benefits.

It was very tough, but I was young, resilient and energetic. It would not be the same if the layoff were about to hit me now. The focus of any Federal money going to the Big Three has got to be on the workers, since I don't believe for a minute that these corporations are going change their ways and turn into silk purses, start making good products. Some workers do have special skills ("skilled trades" we called them) where they can move into another industry, but most are not equipped to face the job market.

There's plenty of work that needs to be done in this country, and not all of it requires high skills. My biggest hope is that if there are unwillingly idle hands that they can be given something worthwhile to do, and a paycheck to boot.

Yeah, I know. It's complicated.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Castles in the sky - everything's going to be alright

Well, it's hard to know where to start. There's some major change in the air. Are you feeling it? I mean beyond getting a President Obama, I mean more on a personal level. We've been getting good news, bad news, and news that just means big changes for whatever they are worth. Some of it seems like big news until something really big comes along and makes it seem trivial.

We meet and make friends with so many people while waiting in line at the venues, and then, often, you spend the evening with those same folks - you get acquainted and look forward to seeing each other at the next show. One of our Del Castillo extended family has died. It was the husband of a woman who was also a fan of the band, and they always came together to the shows (much like MrB and me) and we would save each other a spot stageside if need be. The band played this song as a dedication to him on Friday. The intro with the dedication is not in the vid, but right at the end they say "For our friend, Mike." It's called Castles. Pretty song.

The same day I heard that news, I found out my friend is marrying the love of her life sometime in Spring. It's like a fairy-tale story, that one is. I am thrilled. It helps to calm the waters of what's beginning to feel like the vortex of a drain.

This is it, folks, we're doing it live.

Hug the one you're with.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Purrsday Night - Cats and broccoli

A collection of videos of cats lovin' the broccoli.

Alex used to love lettuce. He could smell it... in a plastic bag... inside another plastic bag... from across the room. He'd zero in on the bag o' lettuce among the groceries in about 30 seconds. He really only loved the red leaf lettuce. Who knew that lettuce was so smelly?

Another cat I had years ago loved cantaloupe.

Tags and links: Friday Ark - -

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Obama Art Report

I've just discovered this blog devoted to Obama (and left-wing issues) art. All kinds of great stuff. The one snagged above is an unfinished piece that is being done on an Etch-a-Sketch! Yes, that's correct. Definitely go over there and browse.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Just because...

Thanks for the link, Ghost Dansing. I'm posting this video just because I want to listen to this Billy Bragg song some more.

Santa brought you a pink slip.

I went to Linens 'n' Things over the weekend to pick over the bones, and that's pretty much where it was. They still had stuff in some departments and others are almost down to the last item - and you can buy the fixtures, shelves and display walls.

I am not heartbroken about having one less retail chain, that's for sure, but I am really sad about all the people who work there. They have to go in day after day and make this thing happen - and all to the tune of relentless Holiday music. There's nothing happy merry holly jolly about it. Layoffs tend to come more often at this time of year anyway, and this year the number of them is extraordinary.

And speaking of laid-off workers, what a refreshing difference there is in the attitude of Obama about the rights of workers versus... say... some Republican Presidents.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Happening rental

MrB was in St. Louis all weekend visiting his family, so I was left in charge, and being home alone I decided to rent movies that he didn't want to see. The Happening is one that got really stinky reviews (19% - a rotten tomatoes splat) - and some of the "good, a.k.a. fresh" reviews on the site are very generously given, such as the good one that says "Undoubtedly M. Night Shyamalan's weakest thriller to date..." OK, so I did not have my hopes up high, but, unlike some of M. Night's other recent movies, the trailer for this one looked pretty good - and Mark Wahlberg was in it. I was intrigued. I thought he was absolutely great in The Departed, and liked him in Shooter too. He's intense, and I think the premise of this movie needs intensity, but instead the script is too silly. It's a waste of actors. {sigh} (Does anyone recommend Max Payne? Haven't seen it.) The basic plot/premise for The Happening is actually pretty good, I mean there is a lot of potential with this scenario to just scare the bejeebers out of you. The romantic subplot is really NOT happening, there's no chemistry, it's juvenile and it really bugs me when a movie plot suggests that a child will patch up your love life. Hope that's not too much of a spoiler.

The title of the movie injects this old Supremes song into my head. Maybe it would have been a good one to put in the movie somewhere. It would have left the viewer with something very memorable - a damned catchy tune!
ADDENDUM: MrB is back from his trip, and informs me that this song has already been used as the theme for a movie called "The Happening" from 1967. Somehow I missed that one. I'll bet it's worth seeing. Can't__get__song__out__of__head__grrrrrr

Your Heebee Jeebees for the Day

The L.A. Daily News reported on its website that police found Robert Hunt living at the trash-filled home with 26 cats, three opossums and a raccoon.

OK, that is NOT the weirdest part of that story. It certainly isn't. Among other (obvious) things, it's really advisable to latch that pet door, especially considering that other issue.

This is going to be one foreclosed property that will be hard to sell.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Keep on thinking free

Sometimes the internets provide a little pop culture charge, like when I saw the above in my InBox. I knew it was from the Official Barack Obama MySpace, but I knew that it wasn't he himself who dropped by my profile to leave a comment. Back in August he was kinda busy. ;-)

A few years back, I got an email from Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert. I had sent him a link to a funny website, and he shot me back a response that it was funny stuff. The one below was also from the real guy (and yes I am sure). Mike Pinder is a founding member of The Moody Blues, and is best know for playing the mellotron and being the voice of the poetry on the records. The recited poems were written by the drummer, Graeme Edge (there ARE poetic drummers), who now recites them in the live shows.

I'm sure that "Keep on thinking free" is a standard comment he will leave those those who have "friended" him, but it was cool to see it. If you are part of my generation, you probably know this one by heart. The First Man parts are spoken by Justin Hayward, and Pinder is the rest of it (although I'm not sure who voices the part of Establishment - it might even be Graeme). Here is In The Beginning with Lovely to See You following, because otherwise it would have been a cruel case of moodies-interruptus.

In The Beginning (Graeme Edge)

[First Man:] I think, I think I am, therefore I am, I think.

[Establishment:] Of course you are my bright little star,
I've miles
And miles
Of files
Pretty files of your forefather's fruit
and now to suit our
great computer,
You're magnetic ink.

[First Man:] I'm more than that, I know I am, at least, I think I must be.

[Inner Man:] There you go man, keep as cool as you can.
Face piles
And piles
Of trials
With smiles.
It riles them to believe
that you perceive
the web they weave
And keep on thinking free.

I plan on doing just that.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Bible and Jesus, pick your faves and ignore the rest

Here's that Jack Black Jesus video you've probably seen a few times already. Good stuff. You know, banning gay marriage is really unconstitutional even though there's a lot of support for it (for banning it, I mean), and it's only a matter of time before the Federal government stops allowing states to keep those laws on the books. OK, it will be a looong time, a very slow process, I give you that, but eventually it will not be possible to deny that the laws banning same-sex marriage were made on the basis of religion only - since there are no practical or logical reasons to ban it. PLUS -- the Conservatives' consolation prize (the spoonful of sugar on that icky medicine they hate) is that it really is good for business. And when it comes down to it, it's the bottom line will matter most.

Alright, I can't watch John C. Reilly and Jesus (whether bearded or baby) without thinking of this Ricky-Bobby saying Grace at dinner scene. Love. It.

Furbaby Friday - Warm heart, warm body

Here is Henry in his daytime habitat. Behind him in the corner (unseen) is his fleecy bed, the big pillow there is a scratching post (The BEST scratching post -- ever. Take a burlap coffee bean bag and stuff it full with old pillows, sew it up snugly at the end, and present it to the cat. No training required.) and the most important item of all - his heater.

Henry is quite elderly, he's 17 now, and he is a bit frail. The heat helps keep him calm and makes his old bones feel better. His meds do a lot of that too. He gets pain med (for arthritis) and Flovent (for his asthma) daily, prednisone (for asthsma, arthritis, and eosinophils) and prozac (for anxiety, restlessness and howling behaviors that might be from pain, his oncoming blindness and possible senility) twice a day. Poor Henry. He is old, but still the best cat -- ever.

Tags and links: Friday Ark - Carnival of the Cats - -

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

He came from an industrious family...

...and they gave him a REALLY funny name - and look what line of work he's in!!


Found via Dave Barry.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Histamine fit

I have just gone through another round of allergy testing. Ugh! They use your naked back (the entire thing), write numbers all over it, then take about 130 or so little barbed "prickers" and stick the same number of little holes in your back, each containing something - like pollens, cat dander, cockroach, mold, all your favorite things. Then they measure the swelling and redness. After that, they did another test on each arm - this time with needles/syringes - 29 shots is what I got on the arms. The nurse said they weren't really "shots" because she doesn't actually inject anything, just sticks the needle under the skin. Looked like shots to me though, and my arms still have those holey stripes on them.

I had been on a maintenence level of the previous shots begun 6 years ago, and had really seen improvement. In fact, there was a time I envisioned not having to go back to the allergy doctor anymore. WRONG. For the past year I've had lots of flareups and sinus infections, and as suspected I've developed a whole bunch of new Central Texas allergies. The shot regimen now has to start over. A shot in each arm twice a week for 6 months, a year, something like that. Then down to once a week for a year or two, then every two weeks... forever I guess. {sigh}

First time testing for food allergies. My biggest culprits are strawberries and hops. grrr. Please! Not beer!! Also a slight allergy to white grapes, which means white wine too... but that leaves red wine. There is no beer without hops... is there? Of course, I've been allergic to cats forever, and that hasn't kept me away from them.

Painting from Thrift Store Art.

My allergy doctor is the only doctor I've seen in this town that I still like and respect. I recommend Dr. T. Ray Vaughan. Yes, he has a cool name, esp. for an Austin doctor.

Terminator Salvation Flash poster

This is cool.

Also kinda funny - because in a way, it makes Los Angeles look like the state's governor. ;-)


Monday, December 01, 2008

God's traffic cop

[source] This happened not too far from here! A man rear-ended a sedan in his pickup truck, on purpose, while he was going 100 miles per hour. He said it was Jesus' will for him to punish the car because the woman was not driving like a Christian.
“He just said God said she wasn't driving right, and she needed to be taken off the road,” said Lt. Kyle Coleman of the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.

The impact caused both cars to spin across the median, but no one was killed.

The driver of the pickup has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (motor vehicle), his bond was set at $50,000. Investigators determined the female driver had done nothing wrong.

Now I'm wondering if the nutjob was maybe trying to scrape off her bumper sticker or something. I'll bet he succeeded.