Monday, August 31, 2009

Doctor... who?

People I know have been telling me for many years that I would love Doctor Who, and that if only I watched a couple of episodes, I’d be hooked for life. I guessed they were probably right, based on other things I liked, but I just never gave it a chance until very recently. Now I am hopelessly hooked. Not the best timing, since there is now soooo much catching up to do. We’ve been checking out boxed sets from the library (aren’t libraries great?), but the downside is that their availability is not in sequential order so it’s been kind of upside-down and backwards.

Super-basic premise: The Doctor is human-looking alien (a Time Lord) who travels through time and space in the TARDIS, which looks like a blue police box. He travels with one or more companions, usually just one, usually female. He can regenerate a new body when he needs to, although a Time Lord can die in certain ways. He prefers wits to weapons.

Here’s a montage from the very first Doctor Who episodes from 1963! We’ve got this set right now, and have been having a good laugh at the cheesy stuff (imagine the budget for a 30 minute children’s science fiction serial TV show on the BBC 1963). This is great if you love old low-budget sci-fi. The cave men! The Daleks and their toilet plungers! (the Daleks look the same in the more recent episodes, just more scary but still with plungers. I’m glad they went for consistency.) This pre-dates Star Trek by 3 years.
The First Doctor:

Even The Beatles made an appearance on the show in 1965!

Everything featuring the Second to the Eighth Doctor is still missing for me, haven’t seen a one of them. The Tenth Doctor (played by David Tennant) is my Doctor. Companion Rose is pretty wonderful too. This David Tennant montage gives you a good feel for the current version of the series.

The way I ended up getting hooked on Doctor Who was because of Torchwood, a spin-off based on a recurring element in the show. It’s a bit more X-Files / Fringe – compared to Dr. Who it’s darker and more adult... and it has Captain Jack (gorgeous John Barrowman) as a centerpiece.

Clip from Torchwood's Season 2 opener:

...could be just your average bar fight scene mixed up good with James Bond and the spaghetti western, except these old "frenemies" are both time agents from the 51st century, one of whom can't be killed. And if it's a scene with Jack, it's likely to be hot... alright, more than just likely.

more Captain Jack Harkness

Got to run... there's an episode waiting.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Pity the poor poodle

What a fate is in store for a critter so cute, tame, and with a crop of curly hair the grooming artists can't get enough of. In case you didn't guess, this is Captain Jack Sparrow. (pretty cute, but the Depp version is still cuter)

The pony you always wanted but couldn't keep in the house.

Couch camel

The littlest bison

See all the rest here at MSNBC/TODAY slideshow, includes football player, panda, and many other fantasy pooch looks. Photos by Ren Netherland.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Not moral enough to be a New Jersey parent

Non-believers just might end up being the last minority group to overcome discrimination. It is still socially acceptable to hate us. Many people who have no problem when same-sex couples marry and/or adopt or raise children will recoil in horror and disgust at the thought of a child being raised by persons who do not believe specifically in One Supreme Being, the Guy in the Sky, the Correct, Preferred, and Only Deity.

[Time Mag LINK: Can Atheists Be Parents?]

Cliff's Notes version:
A married couple file to adopt a baby in New Jersey. They are young, solvent, without scandal, and have high moral and ethical standards. One of them is an atheist and the other is a pantheist, so they left the religious affiliation box blank. Their application was denied over the religion issue. After they took the agency to court, the rules were changed and they adopted the boy. 3 and a half years later, they adopted a baby girl through the same agency, but afterwards they were blocked by a Superior Court Judge for religious reasons, and will have to return the baby girl (that they have had for a year) to the agency if they lose their case in the state Supreme Court where they have appealed.

Stated reason:
Inestimable Privilege. In an extraordinary decision, Judge Camarata denied the Burkes' right to the child because of their lack of belief in a Supreme Being. Despite the Burkes' "high moral and ethical standards," he said, the New Jersey state constitution declares that "no person shall be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshiping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience." Despite Eleanor Katherine's tender years, he continued, "the child should have the freedom to worship as she sees fit, and not be influenced by prospective parents who do not believe in a Supreme Being."

This issue is so loaded. How many children really have the freedom to worship as they see fit? Were you allowed to go to any church you wanted, or to choose not going when you were a child? Hell no. A minor child, physically, and most likely mentally as well, follows their parents' religious instructions.

A person does not have freedom of religion until they reach a certain level of maturity and their parents reach a certain level of tolerance for differences, or until the kid moves out of the house. By that time the religion of their upbringing is so deeply ingrained that it is very difficult (nearly impossible) for the person to think clearly about their own beliefs, what they really are, and the reasons that they have those beliefs. I know. I have been through the process.

The rest of this question concerns which religions would be deemed proper for adoptive parents? One parent had no gods, and the other was a believer with an alternate concept of God. So if both parents were pantheists, would they be deemed as fit or unfit by the court to adopt children? Pantheism is a concept which finds God in nature, the Universe and in all things. It's a religious view which includes God, and its concepts can be incorporated into many other religions of the world, including Christianity.

The ACLU is providing legal support in this particular case.

RIP Ted Kennedy

Sen. Kennedy on the subject of health care insurance for everyone:

Ted Kennedy was a true liberal, and one of the causes he was most passionate about was reforming the American health care system so that every person would be covered, and that no family would have their lives destroyed by the devastating costs of medical care. The video above was from a little before he was diagnosed with the brain cancer that finally took his life last night.

Previous post: Our Elder Champion

...and again, posting his eulogy given for his brother Bobby.

[NPR story]

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Raining at Sunset

5 minutes of rain yesterday at sunset, and today at sunset there was more, just light rain but it's been so rare. Temperature went down into the 80s at twilight. The toad in the front yard came out to enjoy the moisture. We need so much more rain.

This is "Raining at Sunset" by the Punch Brothers with Chris Thile.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Luckenbach takes the Guinness World Record

[LINK] Sunday at Luckenbach, Texas - 1,859 pickers played “Luckenbach, Texas” and “This Land Is Your Land” to take the world record for largest recorded guitar ensemble. (and they did it in 105° heat)

The previous record was broken in 2007 when 1,802 Germans played “Smoke On the Water.”

The event was staged by the charity Voices of a Grateful Nation, which benefits their Welcome Home Project for soldiers and veterans.
1,859 guitar players in one spot- and it wasn’t an Eric Johnson concert!
-- Michael Corcoran, Austin 360, Austin American Statesman

Ain't no cure...

August 23rd was the birthday of the great drummer, Keith Moon. Today is my birthday, and I have to say that I'm feeling more than a little whiny. We had the hottest July on record, and are right on target to have the hottest August. Today's heat could easily break the record for the day.

Between these 2 cats we can't get more than about 4 hours of sleep a night (and not necessarily all in a row) so I have been running ragged from that. Can't get any rest. Can't get any down time. I get vacation days on my day job but MrB can't really take any. Some jobs just don't mix with that whole "time off" thing (plus it's a new job for him, only a couple of months - too soon for time off).

The last time I took a vacation and went somewhere for a few days was back in April of 2001. I went to Vegas for a long weekend to see the Moody Blues and roomed with a few other Moody-crazy friends. It was fun, and not that much of a strain because I was between jobs, had a little extra cash, and MrB stayed at the homestead and did the cat duties.

Now, even if we were able to take a few days off, there's no money for hotels, and these cats would not just need a sitter - Henry, in particular, would require a nurse. $$$$$. He needs a bunch of meds daily and is really fairly high maintenance right now. A lot of people would just put him down, but I refuse to do that simply because he's inconvenient and expensive. My conscience would never allow that, so we will keep him going until he is ready to go... and that's my final word.

I am really happy for all the folks who had summer off or had a great vacation or something of the kind (like my good friend who is a teacher, always spends the summer traveling: last summer Italy and Egypt, this summer Ireland, stays for 6 weeks). I'm glad to hear all about it and happy for her, but frankly it just cultivates the depression. I mean, I am OK, I'm alive and well enough (minor health probs, nothing serious that I know of), it's looking forward to things that is becoming difficult. It's amazing just how much needing a break and needing some rest can affect your whole outlook. Not sure if I need a wake-up call or just a good night's sleep. I believe I really DO have the moody blues complicated by the summertime blues. Ain't no cure...
funny pictures of cats with captions
more Lolcats and funny pictures

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Empire of the Sun

I saw this movie when it came out, really liked it then, but never saw the movie again until very recently. I had forgotten most of the details about it, but have always been haunted by the beautiful theme music. It's called Suo Gân, and turns out, it's a Welsh lullaby, and is performed in the movie by the Ambrosian Junior Choir. English Boys Choir music turns me into a quivering mass of jelly - completely at its mercy. Yes, a weakness. You can hear in the trailer posted here, or on the music playlist on my sidebar.

Empire of the Sun (1987) [IMDB] [wiki]
dir: Steven Spielberg
starring: Christian Bale

There are other stars in it, such as John Malkovich, but to me they are all supporting actors. 13 year old Christian Bale is the one with the leading role. It's a semi-autobiographical story about an English boy from an aristocratic family living in Shanghai who is taken as a prisoner of war by the Japanese, and spent several years in an internment camp. He is completely on his own in there, having gotten separated from his parents during the attack.

The movie has all of Steven Spielberg's magic, and his great skill at directing children. Christian Bale gives an absolutely incredible performance here, just amazing. If you haven't seen it, I recommend giving it a view.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Furbaby Friday - Henry the Cute

Just a reminder from Henry that even though catblogging has been less frequent around here, maybe every 2 weeks, that he is still the cutest cat on the block.

He gets pretty stressed and gets the panicky howls a lot these days, probably because his eyesight is failing and we think he gets confused, plus that "old Arthur" is no fun to live with. We celebrate his birthday in September, and he will be 18!

Tags and links: Friday Ark - -

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Water rights and wrongs

Here we are in the middle of one of the worst droughts in history. In Central Austin we are up to 59 days this year that were over 100°, and no relief in sight (this week: 100°-103° predicted for highs every day), none promised until El Niño hits this Fall. The average is about 12 days a year at 100° or higher. Some other counties have over 70 days over 100. Lake levels are also approaching or matching record lows. People who rely on wells for their water supply are finding themselves running very low, or going dry altogether. Crops have been hit hard and animals have nothing to eat. This drought started sometime last year, and you can see by this map that we are in a situation here.

Drought monitor

Effective on Monday, the 24th, we will be on Stage 2 water restrictions from the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), upgraded from Stage 1, with higher numbers meaning more restrictions.
* Outdoor irrigation is prohibited except on assigned days at designated times (see once-per-week schedule)
* Golf fairway irrigation is limited to assigned days before 10 a.m. and after 7 p.m.
* Golf tee and green irrigation is limited to every other day
* Vehicle washing is limited to designated days and times, with a hand-held bucket or a positive shut-off nozzle on a hose*
* A person may not conduct or participate in a charity car wash
* The use of outdoor ornamental fountains is prohibited except to provide aeration for aquatic life
* A person may not fill, refill, or add water to an indoor fountain
* No automatic fill valves are allowed for pools or ponds
* Washing of sidewalks, driveways, parking areas, patios or other paved surfaces is prohibited*
* A restaurant may not serve water to a customer unless requested by the customer

*Exceptions are made for washing necessary to protect public health, safety or welfare

This is why it’s so hard to understand how some people can be so oblivious to the situation, so above giving a shit about what they must obviously think is not their problem. The Statesman periodically publishes the residential properties and owners with the highest water usage. The latest winner/loser is Vignette founder Neil Webber, who used 1.74 million gallons in six months. He has been using more water in one month than most Austin households use in a whole year.

Another property in the top 10 is a house which has been empty for years, and for sale for a few months. For June and July it used a total of 347,500. The owner justifies it with the water needs of new landscaping. Others making the list include U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R) and UT professor and former CIA Deputy Director Bobby Ray Inman. The June & July top 10 lists are between ~130,000 and 316,000 gallons a month, with the average residential usage being 9,000-12,000 gals. They all have a laundry list of excuses and apologies, sometimes blaming a leak (which doesn’t wash, no pun intended, as a well-intentioned millionaire could probably get that repaired as soon as they became aware of it), but usually just blaming it on the demands of plants.

This kind of water usage is basically legal as long as you pay your bill. Stage 2 brings with it some fines for water-use violations, but I really doubt that people who pay water bills in the thousands of dollars will care much about being hit with a $500 fine.

Our drought in the news

Local newspaper



Why is it that right before bed, instead of being able to wind down with a few last minute check-ins to my favorite spots, that I end up image-googling some hideous frightening hairy beastie that just so happens to be parked right outside the front door? This guy is about 3 inches (click on the image if you really want to see it larger), and MrB thinks it's a wolf spider but I think is a nursery web spider.

So here we go again, with page after page of huge images of spiders to give me the willies, and I don't mean the good Willies.

This spider is big enough to trigger my phobia, so I won't be going out the front door for awhile (and we just got rid of the wasp terror!)

Scream image taken at Alamo Drafthouse.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Don't forget to stay healthy

Well, this is unfortunate.

The CEO of Whole Foods has written an editorial on health care reform, and although it’s not the language of a rightwing nut job, I would still call it rightwing in spirit, and more Libertarian than Republican.

He starts out with a list of recommendations. I disagree with them but rather than break them all down here, this post on Texas Kaos has tackled each one very well.

Then he lays out his philosophy and overall views on the subject. Some salient points that jabbed me:

(1) Health care, food and shelter are not “intrinsic rights,” not in America or in any other country.

Blueberry: You may be able to prove this by using a fine tooth comb on the Constitutions of various countries, but that does not justify this attitude, in my mind. Just because you are not legally “entitled” to these basic needs does not mean that they should EVER be withheld to the point of deprivation.

(2) Most of your illness is your own fault, and completely your fault if you are an adult. If people change their lifestyle habits, they should be able to live disease-free past 90 or even 100.

Blueberry: This is very similar to something one of the anti-healthcare reform people said to us at the rally last week, but phrased more politely and without the ugly tone of voice. Just don’t get sick. And the snappy retort I shoulda woulda coulda said is “Wow! If only all the sick people had just thought of that earlier - nobody would be needing all this health care! A genius plan.” Good grief.

OK, where to start… first, when you become an adult, you don’t just become a brand new creature, you are still carrying residual baggage from childhood, both mental and physical. Someone else has been responsible for your nutrition (even with “home cooking”, I was raised on lots of animal fat and sugar, how about you?) and the pollution in your air (not only from industry but the heavy clouds of cigarette smoke that people our age grew up in), water and food. People also have genetic predisposition toward diseases (heart disease, for example, took most of my dad’s very large family, so it will always be one of my risk factors), syndromes, disorders, addictions, etc. Add to this, contagious childhood diseases (that couldn’t be prevented) and injuries, both may have lingering effects. Also, things like asthma and allergies can create havoc from childhood on. To that list, add the poverty factor .

As an adult, you can make lifestyle choices such as what foods to eat, (as he says, plant-based is better and I have greatly reduced my heart attack risk that way, although it will never be zero) and you have choices on how to exercise. But what happens if you eat something “healthy” that is tainted with e-coli? Pregnancy and childbirth bring a whole range of issues with them. What happens if you are injured while exercising? Break your leg skiing? Shin splints anyone? Tennis elbow? Torn ligament? Yoga strain? Sunburn? Accidents? (exercise-FAIL!)

Jobs bring all kinds of stresses that can cause health problems: long hours, repetitive motions, exposure to chemicals and substances, deadlines, dealing with people, office politics, driving, worry about work, worry about layoffs or being fired, worry when you are not working, not having enough money for things (unless you are the CEO of Whole Foods).

As for what “healthy” food, of course there are foods that are generally not considered good for you. Many things are very controversial though. There is no universal agreement as to whether they are good or bad for you, things like wine, coffee, tofu, milk, fish, energy drinks, eggs, vitamin supplements, chocolate, sugar, fat, raw vs cooked, microwaved vs boiled, bottled water vs tap water… I have heard soooo many things pro and con about so many foods, it’s impossible to know which ones are GOOD and which are BAD, so I try to make the right choices but I don’t have the answer to that question any more than anyone else, and of course what’s good for one person may not be good for the next. He also claims that cancer is mostly preventable. {sigh} Hate to even get started on that rant… so I won’t.

I am not going to boycott Whole Foods over this. It is not simply an international corporation, it is a local business – born, grown and HQ’d in Austin, and they provide jobs too. They have a lot of admirable policies toward the things they sell (organic, free-range, etc.), and this World HQ store we have here is unbelievable! It’s a tourist attraction.

OK, I had my little rant, and then looked him up. None of his statements should be surprising, as he is a libertarian, anti-Union, and an admirer of Ayn Rand. I don’t agree with his philosophies to be sure, but he certainly is NOT as despicable as many other CEOs and business-wealthy people. This rant isn’t even about him at all, it’s about that attitude. I have libertarian friends, and I respect them, because I believe that they are like that because they thought it over and came to their opinions through reason and observation. I respect that process and use it myself, I just don’t agree with them on a lot of things, but they do love freedom and independence. Those concepts just mean something a little different to me…

…and I am wholeheartedly in favor of reforming our health care system so that everyone is covered… especially for the sake of those people who neglected to prevent cancer, or should have picked different genes... and for all the rest of us too.

Found via this post on Americablog.

Other bloggy bashes:
Texas Kaos

Cartoon snagged from here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

RIP Les Paul

Legendary guitarist Les Paul was still performing into his 90s. Here's a bit off the old TV show from 1953 (including commercials!)

Oh my, the crazee - it hurts! it burns!

31 Czars
I don't watch Glenn Beck et al., and wasn't sure what all the "czar" furor was about (I didn't even know about it). Presidents have been using what are called "czars" for a long time, people tasked with trying to manage very specific issues that require extra attention. FDR had 3 people who were called czars by the media (Prices, Production, Ships) but Nixon is the one who actually called that type of position a Czar. Ford, Reagan, George HW Bush, and Clinton all had a few Czars. George W Bush is the one who really kicked that system into gear. This wiki page lists 10 Czars for Dubya and 13 for Obama. Some are appointees and some had/will have Senate confirmation hearings in both cases. Just how many so-called or not-called czars each of them had seems to be hard to determine definitively.

FoxNews is whipping up frenzy using phrases like "army of czars", tactics that (obviously) work on weak-minded (see video) (really... check it out). Republicans like Cantor and McCain are whipping it up too. This must seem like proof that Obama is turning the USA into Russia - with sooooo many czars -- but, wait a minute! The Socialists in Russia didn't have czars (tsars), they got rid of them! So is Obama a socialist even though he has a bunch of Czars (just like Dubya had)? No matter. Facts have not made much difference in this, America's Crazy Time. Google it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Stephen Colbert, in his unique way of hitting the nail on the head, coined the word wikiality, defined as "reality that we all agree on." Ironically, this is explained further in the wiki article "Cultural impact of The Colbert Report."

J-Walk did a post on how many clicks on Random Article on Wikipedia it would take before finding something he was interested in. For him it took 15 clicks. I'm interested in a lot of stuff, especially trivia, so I just did 15 clicks to see what came up.

  1. Term limit
    (OK, not particularly interesting)
  2. Nowa Wieś Mała, Lower Silesian Voivodeship
    (a Polish village with a population of 30) "Nowa Wieś Mała is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Paszowice..."
  3. Gromadzice, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship
    (another hard-to-pronounce Polish village with unpronounceable directions? This is random?)
  4. William Andrews
    (there are a lot of them so this is a disambiguation)
  5. Pyramimonadales
    (it's algae)
  6. vmstat
    (virtual memory statistics)
  7. Nenko System
    (a Japanese system of employee promotion)
  8. Eddy Palchak
    (I would have known this guy if I were a sports enthusiast)
  9. Frank Guinta
    (Mayor of Manchester, New Hampshire)
  10. Beaulieu-en-Argonne
    (a French commune)
  11. Lalongue
    (another French commune! The randomness of this is now highly suspect!)
  12. Plew, Missouri
    (unincorporated community in SW MO, which I never heard of but learned from this article that a plew is a beaver pelt.)
  13. Mount Ronui
    (a volcano in Tahiti)
  14. Reachin'
    (first studio album from the jam band Family Groove Company)
  15. Manuel María Lombardini
    (a Mexican General who was President of Mexico for 3 months in 1953)

I love Wikipedia, and although I don't think it should be viewed as the ultimate authority, it comes as close to that as any of your old dusty encyclopedias did (outdated by the time they are printed, culturally biased, and with uncorrectable flaws).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Have you seen this man?

[LINK] Kidnapped from a gas station in Arnold, MO.

The suspect: a white male with a red goatee wearing a Cardinals baseball cap.
"He returned to the store by himself, grabbed the M&M Man, dumped out the candy and ran out the door," [Lt. Nick McBroom of the Arnold police] said.

The "victim" was last seen wearing white gloves, white shoes and a yellow-coated shell.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Health care rally - natural turf

Rep. Doggett got more famous last week, after the astroturfed ambushing he got at a town hall meeting, remember the one where he's depicted with devil horns? He has continued having them, there was one on Thursday that I couldn't attend, but it was reported that people turned out on both sides of the issue, there was more security, and it was more orderly. The same goes for the rally on Saturday that we did attend.

John Cornyn (one of our Republican Senators) was there also, so that he and Doggett could speak at the children's health fair they were having. We didn't see that part as it was a separate event. Cornyn came out and was greeted with loud booing while he got in his car and left.

This crowd was predominantly pro-reform but the some tea partiers showed up too, and we were mixed in together so there were quite a few lively debates going on. We found ourselves in the midst of one, which I hate when I am outnumbered (which was not the case). What it really comes down to, and what these conservatives will admit when cornered, is that they don't care. If you want health care you should get a job, quite smoking, quit drinking, quit being a good-for-nothing, because they don't want one penny of theirs going toward taking care of another person's health. I said, "so your solution is just to not get sick?" and they responded with a resounding YES, healthy people don't need health insurance. Some of them actually said that there aren't any people without health insurance. They are totally on the Fox Koolaid. These people are cold-hearted, and that's that.

Lloyd Doggett finally came out and addressed the rally, and he got thunderous applause. He said a few words and had people come up to the mic with questions. He asked alternately for people who for health care reform and people who were against it. (how many Republicans would conduct a rally or town hall in that manner?)

I should add that all these people came out and stood outside in the noon sun and 102° heat for a couple of hours.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Lamest. Excuse. EVER.

funny pictures

Duncan the cat actually bought a couple of extra movie tickets once (to see Blue Velvet), but it was because we already had the purchase page loaded when he messed with the keyboard.


Saturday - big rally - GO

After Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett's now famous, caught on Youtube, covered on every news service you can think of along with lots of similar happenings townhall mob scene, he held another one this past Thursday which turned out differently. I didn't go, as it was held at 2pm on a weekday, but news reports say that it had crowds of people on all sides of the issues there, was lively but orderly, and had security helping to keep things under control.

11:15 a.m. Saturday at CommUnity Care, 825 Rundberg Lane [map], there will be another event planned by Doggett. This one is supposed to also be attended by Republican Sen. John Cornyn. It should be extra lively.

We are really going to try and make it in the spirit of showing our faces in the place.

More information here.

Furbaby Friday - Maintenence

Every 6-7 weeks, Jax needs a depo medrol shot to make his belly stop itching. He is definitely a belly itcher and not a pitcher. he licks off all the hair and starts taking off the skin. that's when we know he needs the shot. If we could pill him, we could do prednisone, but he is one of those cats who is impossible to pill.

Unfortunately, we also discovered that he has gained a whole pound in the last 6 weeks! He was already too big, now he's over 18 lbs. This is his parents' fault. I guess we've been feeding him too many snacks. Now it's time to diet and he sure has been raising a fuss all night.

Isn't he pretty in pink?

Tags and links: Friday Ark - -

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Go back to your RED district... your own Representative.

We thought about going to the recent Meet/Greet (Town Hall) with Rep. Lloyd Doggett. We usually go if we can, maybe to offer support, sometimes with questions and always with comments on issues. They have always been very orderly. People stand in line to talk to him in person. Most people have issues and disagree with Doggett on something or another, but there are assistants there to takes notes on your comments and get your contact information so he can follow-through on them. We were shocked to see what happened at the latest one. Here is Rep. Doggett appeared on Rachel Maddow talking about the nature, composition and motivation of the unruly mobs that took over town hall meetings with Democrats all over the country.

Now I'm glad we didn't go. I sure wouldn't want to have been mistaken for part of that transplanted mob, and they apparently made sure that Doggett's real constituents didn't get to be heard. Rachel had another really excellent segment on these recent town hall planted mobs and the phony "grassroots" protest that shut down the vote recount in Miami in 2000.

I guess this was a big reason they wanted to delay health care reform. How can we combat these events in the future? I don't know if being part of an opposing mob accomplishes much. What do you think?

Here's the new ad from the DNC.

Note: it won't do any good to call the GOP as suggested, they are just referring people to the DNC, unless you just want to tie up the lines.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Steps

[If the video says it can't be displayed here, click it to watch on Vimeo]

Cold Floors from The Steps on Vimeo.

Went to see this band yesterday at Waterloo Records. They are a good rockin' band. I always enjoy seeing them.
The Steps on MySpace

Obama Birthday Birther Bash

Good stuff!! Here is the lowdown on the Obama birth certificate forgeries that crazy Orly Taitz and others are pushing.

It's clear that the Kenyan fake was whipped up from an Australian original. See all the images and comparisons at the link. Different folds in the paper, I know, but folds are easy to (re-)create, and the forgers were not very original in their content at all.

Also good stuff: The Orliad on Rumproast. There are more Orliads if you look around for them. Absolutely great cartoons! (don't open that bottle of Absolut Crazee!)

Monday, August 03, 2009


I've always had bug phobias. I try to coexist with the bugs these days, living in closer quarters helps with the fear... sometimes. I not want to kill critters just because I don't like them (should that be a death sentence?), it has to be because they present an immediate danger. Scorpions, fire ants, and mosquitoes (mosquitoes not painful but carry viruses) are killed. I'm an arachnaphobe, but spiders get to stay unless they are dangerous and too close. If they are small and harmless I'm OK with them... pretty much... and if large and harmless I cringe and ignore.

Wasps are another one that I'm phobic about, but I just avoid them if possible. We had a nest of wasps [EDIT: We have identified these as European Paper Wasps, Polistes dominulus, an invasive species which is more aggressive than native Paper Wasps) right by the front door on the porch light fixture. MrB took down the nest and sprayed them, but instead of the problem being solved, the rest of the colony waited there, and then later when he went out the front door, they ambushed, stinging him twice in the ear and once on the eyebrow. This was on Sunday afternoon.

We started reading up on them right away: a wasp can sting repeatedly without dying, and they do become aggressive after they've been attacked. They will chase you. If you are stung, they inject a pheremone that marks you as an enemy of the nest. One report warned "don't think that you can immerse yourself in water to escape, they WILL wait for you to surface." OK, I am 100% freaked out now, but I am charged with handling the spray now because MrB is "marked."

Monday when we got home, we see that a bunch of them have congregated on the peephole of the front double door, just a few inches from where the other door opens. Those bastards! What are they trying to do? Look inside at us? Here are some shots I took through the hole from the inside.

I had to go out there and spray them (through the garage, the front door is not to be used, and I have a warning sign on the sidewalk for visitors, solicitors, Girl Scouts and Jehovah's Witnesses). GAAAAAAHH! I am terrified! I did get the ones trying to live on the peephole, but the remainder are congregating way up high where it will require a ladder, and yes, they are right above where someone would be coming out the door. Chem-free will come out if there's a nest, so we have to live with them until a nest is constructed.

Man, I hate killing stuff. But these are too close, just too close, and there's too much hatin' on both sides of this war.

Spheksophobia: the fear of wasps

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Party in 3-D!

Rented Coraline, and was offered the option of buying some cardboard glasses for viewing in 3-D for 15¢. I said "no, thanks" because I have in my possession as many as 800 pairs of cardboard 3-D glasses (see pic above).

After I got home, I found out that Coraline is one of a few 3-D movies (along with My Bloody Valentine, and Journey to the Center of the Earth) that require Magenta/Green lenses! Of all the...!!! Yes, a bit of a pet peeve when there are soooo many standards that you have to have a whole collection of things. Why??? I had to make a trip back to the video store for the alternate-color glasses.

Why do I have all these glasses?

I've had them for 10 years. When I discovered how to make 3-D anaglyph images using Photoshop, my corporate management decided it would be cool to do a Powerpoint presentation in 3-D. I agreed, of course. Powerpoint can be gawd-awful boring. The cardboard glasses were ordered in a large quantity to receive a price point benefit, then the company decided not to proceed with the 3-D event. I'm sure it would have been entirely too much fun. Then the company closed our facility (as part of a never-ending series of mergers, ugly mergers, power struggles and redundancies) and we were sent home along with some of our toys.

I finally put this box of 3-D glasses on eBay, all 750-800 pair for the low, low starting price of $7.99. I'm hoping they will sell, and maybe the buyer will turn around and make a profit selling them in smaller quantities. Good for them. My auction is here.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

August 4 - Hawaiian Shirt Day

Come on! It can happen if we want it. Let's make August 4 Hawaiian Shirt Day in honor of Obama's birthday, and birthPLACE, Hawaii.