Friday, March 28, 2008

Whoops, Forgot the Title

Found on I Can Has Cheezburger Dot Com, and reposted here without (as you'll notice) comment.

Unfortunately, I had to copy this blank picture to my own computer and upload it, so it's taking up space on the 2 gig allotment Blogger gives me for this free bleargh I've got here.

This is just for your squeeeeees on a dull Friday afternoon.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Peep with Pride

The Washington Post has a picture slide show up, detailing the top entries in a peep diorama contest they apparently sponsored.

I cannot post the pictures on my blog, but go here and enjoy. If you want to see my favorite one, it's all the way at the end.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Hail to the King, Baby

The United States of America has a king, and it ain't Elvis or Jesus.

The Reverend Sun Myung Moon was crowned King of Peace and king of the second and third Israel back in March, 2004. He was crowned in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in a ceremony which, in all honesty, was very much a bait-and-switch. The congress critters in attendance thought they were going to an awards ceremony. Indeed, some awards were given out as preliminaries; but then someone broke out the Crisco they keep for anointments and the ceremony went surreal.

Rev. Moon is a man who believes he is or ought to be in charge of the States. He wants to purge homosexuals in a manner that would make Stalin proud; Stalin, by the by, has long since been redeemed by Moon and gone on to Heaven, in the company of Hitler, or so Moon claims. He wants to tear crosses off of church walls and make Jewish folk sign apologies for handing Jesus over to the Romans.

Bah, I'm not saying anything that's not in the Salon article. You can read that for more details, if you want.

But I will say this: This is a man who has given all kinds of money to Republican election campaigns. He wields significant influence in Washington. I'm sure that some of the Villagers view him with the same indulgence they give to John Ashcroft, that Missouri Pentecostal, or Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist from Arkansas. But Moon thinks differently: He thinks he's in charge, and he calls the tunes.

That's scary.

And all the media can talk about is Rev. Wright, whose political influence pales against Moon's. Wright may have the ear of one Presidential candidate; Moon has consorted with Nixon, Ford, and H.W.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Odds and Ends

It's the Monday after Easter, and it's snowing.

So a few chestnuts for the fire, so to speak, as we break out the eider and put the mothballs back in the box, for they are like new:

Firstly, brushing up my nerd web cred, via Aaron Williams at I have discovered both the Seven Stages of Gary Gygax and the Top 13 D&D Video Games. Ah, video games based on Dungeons & Dragons: the ultimate distillation of nerd, nay, the purest form of that rarest of elements, Nerdonium.

Secondly, I see that Ben Stein's latest effort has produced the movie Expelled!, which was being screened for free at the Mall of America* when PZ Myers of Pharyngula dropped by to claim his seats what he had signed up for a while ago. What ensued is best explained firsthand. Click through for a nice laugh; no, I won't spoil it.

Finally, I give you the World's Hardest Game: I got up to the fifth board before I got decently stumped. Warning: Music and SFX!

*Seriously, that captures the modern American spirit right there. A gigantic shopping mall! Built on what was once farmland! Hurrah!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

This is a cat we took in for one night a couple of years ago, just after we'd moved into our second Knoxville apartment. Isabel found it wandering around outside, approaching people and mewling. So it came inside with her.

Spook staged a protest rather vociferously.

Isabel took several pictures of the cat, whom she dubbed Space Cadet as a placeholder, and made up some Found posters. Those posters helped her locate the cat's owners the next day. They lived in the same apartment complex, and the cat got out and wandered around.

We were both concerned about the cat, because our landlady had said several times that if Spook got out and was wandering around, she'd call the pound and have her hauled away.

So we were able to take this cat in and find her servants the next day. So that was all good.

I had Friday off yesterday, so Isabel and I went out to Watts Bar Lake with the specific aim of paddling out in the canoe and seeing if we could see any loons. We didn't see any loons on the canoeing trip, but we did startle several turtles. One of them, we managed to drift up this close to it before it noticed us and went plonk. I could have reached out and tapped it with my paddle. It was a flat-shelled lake turtle; I'm not sure of the species, but I know what it wasn't. It wasn't a box turtle or a snapper. And it wasn't alone. There were two or three more on the next deadfall over.

Then Isabel tried to teach me how to angle my oar so as to make a sharp turn; I must admit that I made a poor student. So we decided to go back and get Linda to show us. That required paddling against the wind, and that led to heated words, I'm afraid, and a worry that the osprey would defend its nest as we paddled past; but I don't think any eggs are laid quite yet, but they soon will be.

Linda saw the wood ducks courting, and there was a mallard pair that kept cruising past, in and out of the cove. All the Bradford Pears have blossomed at once, and there's a willow on my daily walk that's just come into pink flowers. I guess winter is over, maybe.

And then, when we left after supper, there was a deer on the gravel road down to the highway. We stopped the car, and we all looked at each other for a minute or two. The deer had big eyes and black rims on its ears. We humans decided that the deer would bolt if we got out of the car to go tell the others, and eventually we crept forward until the deer did turn and leap off, followed by two or three others we hadn't seen because they were down in the holler.

So we had a good Friday, indeed. I wish we had brought the camera.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Band Is Awful And So Are The Tunes

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics

Listen to the song.*

Read the lyrics.

*That's quite a rendition. It's a live performance that's nothing like the album version I have. I think you should listen if only for his performance of the Hokey-Pokey at the beginning.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Some Variety

I figure you're all bored with Spook by now, or at least that you wouldn't say no to some other cats.

This is Linda's tom cat Bing Bing. They say his full name is Abednigo, but I know they're lying. I never thought that the name was odd until I come to write it down. Perhaps I shall just call him Bing for now. No one ever laughed at Bing Crosby's name, you see, but if he'd been Bing Bing Crosby? So one Bing it is. Linda insists he's not a big tom cat, but he could give Peanut or Bertie a run for their money. Unlike either of them, though, I think most of his mass is flab.

He got badly cut several years ago, when Linda was having her windows replaced. The workmen left a piece of glass leaning up against a tree. Bing climbed that tree and when he came to jump down he cut his right forepaw pretty badly on the glass. He's all healed up now, but the tendons must have been injured because he tends to bend that paw at the wrist when he walks on it, and not at the digits.

He's a big old teddy bear. It's nice to be able to walk up to him when he's posing like that and reach your hand in to scratch his belly without being concerned about being Cuisinarted. Some cats don't like their bellies scratched, but Bing's just fine with it.

Hope you are all having a nice weekend. It rained all day down here, and thundered. What a lovely day to stay in under the covers. It's quarter to 5 in the a.m. now, and all quiet on the Ridge.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Politics, As Usual

Keith Olbermann is not happy with Hillary Clinton's refutation of Geraldine Ferraro's comments. This isn't unusual; many people were not happy with Barack Obama's responses when they pulled the gotcha! on his minister who had nice things to say about Louis Farrakhan. But this is different, we're told. This is tearing the Democratic Party apart.

So Keith wants Hillary to get down on her knees and grovel for his forgiveness? Like this is her fault. Ferraro has made such comments before. In 1984, she said Jesse Jackson was so successful only because he was a brutha.

I don't think the Clinton campaign actively decided to play the race card. I think Geraldine Ferraro opened her mouth and something stupid fell out. This mess is Ferraro's, and Clinton isn't much to blame. Perhaps they should have thought more about Ferraro's comments in 1984, but I think they were blinded by her status as a previous female candidate.

I thought we were past this. I thought we were to a point where someone could say, "Ima vote for Barack because he's got a thoughtful position on healthcare, his record on Iraq is good, and, oh yeah, he black" or "Ima vote for Hillary because she's got experience and I like her attitude about sticking it to the Republicans and, oh yeah, she woman."

But apparently we can't acknowledge, even though it's high time we ran a minority candidate, that one of the reasons we're voting for whoever is they ain't an old white man.

So someone said something stupid and regrettable. This happens all the time. But this time, it's tearing the Democrats apart and helping McCain's chances oh woe oh no, Hillary has to abase herself and then we'll vote for Obama anyway.

November's a long, long way away.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Happy Belated

Yesterday was Isabel's birthday. Since her last birthday, she's been nominated for a Rhysling award in science fiction poetry, and one of her short novels was routed to an acquiring editor at an online magazine.

We went out to dinner last night, and we're getting a joint birthday cake this weekend from her folks.

Her dad sent her flowers, a little basket of some awful mass-marketed pink. I'll try to get a photo of them this evening.

Little anecdote: The florist her dad called from North Carolina is just up the street from my office here in Clinton. Knight's Florist was advertising flower "bokays" for several years; Isabel noticed it when she was taking a summer internship at the school here in Clinton, and I noticed it just after I started working for David. About a year ago someone else must have noticed, because it got changed one day to "bouquet."

Some New Sins For Us

In the manga and anime series FullMetal Alchemist, there are seven deadly characters named after the classic sins: Lust, Gluttony, Envy, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, and Pride. Their nature and where they come from are central to the story's plot.

Well, now the Holy See has declared seven new sins which will send us straight to hell:

1. Birth Control, abortions, and other bioethical violations
2. "Morally dubious" experiments like stem cell research
3. Drug Abuse
4. Pollution (Isn't this a Horseman already?)
5. Widening the gap between rich and poor (I thought "Greed" covered this already)
6. Excessive wealth (again, Greed)
7. Creating poverty (Are there no workhouses?)

I guess FullMetal Alchemist is in for a sequel. It's not going to be as good as the original, of course.

On a related note, one of the churches along my commute has put up a marquee stating "God loves you so much He died for you."

That's some sacrifice. He stayed dead, what, three days? At most? And now he's up in heaven and he gets to separate the wheat from the tares and all his followers sit on his right hand. And if God knows everything, why did he make rules for us if Jesus was just going to come along behind him in a couple thousand years and throw them all away?

Sigh. I promise I'll find a cat picture to make up for all of this ranting.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Results Unclear: Pray Again Later

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present for your consideration:

Answer Me Jesus

"Like a magic 8 ball, but infinitely more wise."

So you can finally get an answer to that burning question of life, "Does the red-haired girl like me?"

Next up: Holy Cootie Catchers! God's Ouija Board! You name it, we'll slap Savior Stickers (R) all over it and market it as wholesome family fun!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday Sunday Blogging

So I was just settled in for a long winter's read when my telephone rang Sunday morning.

It was Linda. She had been on her way out to the lake to see her mother and she'd taken Skipper the Bouncy along. First she stopped at Kroger's to get her prescription filled and rolled the windows down so Skipper could get some air. But she rolled them down too far and he hopped out and tried to follow her inside.

So she got back in the car and tried to start it. Her brand-new 2007 Camry refused to even turn over.

Could I come get her dog while she waited at AAA? Well, certainly.

So I put my shoes on and I get in my car and I turn the key.


Oh, come on now! So I turn the key again.

Hail Eris, the engine turns over. From this point on, my car's running reliably. So I drive down to Kroger's and I park next to Linda's car. She's standing near it, holding Skipper on a leash. I take custody of the canine and she goes inside to get her prescription. She takes about ten minutes. In the meantime, I'm standing near the cars, sometimes between our two cars to stay out of traffic, and I find in the next space over a Lego motorcycle and two Lego men, both of whom are painted red with decals that suggest motorcycle jumpsuits, but their heads are white and painted up like skulls.


So finally Linda comes out and Skipper recognizes her from thirty feet away, and starts wagging his four-inch tail stub against my leg. I think I'm still bruised.

So Linda tries to start the car again -- nothing -- and she asks me please to take the dog home while she waits for the AAA man.

So I coax Skipper into my back seat and take him to Linda's house. While I'm trying to make sure he's got food and water, the phone rings. It's Linda. I took Skipper back to her place? She meant me to take him home with me for the nonce. Anyway, the AAA man says it's a dead battery, and she's not to turn her car off again because it won't ever start until they get a new battery.

So it being a Sunday, nothing's open, but Linda decides she needs me to escort her into Clinton so she can drop it off at Fox Toyota. So, fine. We drive into Clinton, minding the speed limit because the MIL is watching, and find that our favorite Toyota dealership has an awful lot of Chevy pickups parked in its lot. Then we notice the great big blue CHEVROLET sign hung over where it still says TOYOTA in illuminated letters. So our Toyota place isn't there anymore.

There's a man checking out the Chevy pickups, and we ask him where the Toyota place is. It's over across the Interstate, he says, about ten minutes from the Chevy dealership.

So Linda decides that we've already driven into Clinton, we might as well get to the Toyota place, so off we set again. It's not long before we cross the Interstate and I spot the Toyota place off to the left.

I think I can get there from this turning. Okay, I'm in a Shoney's parking lot, fine. I just need to go left and between the Shoney's and whatever is next to it. Crap, there's a chain-link fence and a gate and now I see that the road back to Fox Toyota is on the other side of the Shoney's. So I turn around, minding that RV that's parked there, and I drive through the Shoney's lot and find myself at a turn onto one of those divided drives where it's one way on either side of a small median, and I'm on the side running away from Fox.

So I look left, towards Fox. And I look right, towards the road. And I turn the wrong way on this drive, just long enough to cut across to the proper lane. This road is still under construction. It runs past Fox, but then there's a bunch of heavy equipment and yellow construction vehicles and things. That's all right, I can turn into Fox's parking lot. We drive around the front of Fox and find space to park, and that's when we notice that there's an awful lot of plywood on the front of this building.

Are they even open?

But Linda's spotted some people inside. We go up and try the door (it's locked) and then we bang on the glass to get their attention. One of the men comes out, a small boy in tow, and talks to Linda. Meanwhile, I'm distracted by this awesome sword the boy has. He's no more than six, but his sword has a yellow plastic blade that springs from the chromed jaws of some sort of plastic skull. I think the hilt is red. Anyway, that's an awesome sword, and the kid can barely fit his hands around it.

The man is assuring Linda that they'll be open Monday morning, that technicians will be here, and there is a key drop. So Linda fills out the information on the key drop and we discuss what we're going to do. She still wants to go out to the lake, and then on Monday she's going to drive her spare car to work. She doesn't know how we're going to get her Camry back. I suggest that either Isabel or I could come out here when the work is done, pay the people and get the spare key back. Then she or I could drive Linda out here after she's back from work so Linda could pick up her car. That way we've got everyone and everyone has her car.

So that's agreed on. We're done for now, and I drive Linda back to her house. She's worried that Hillary is being awfully negative towards Obama. I point out that the Clintons are playing the game. The Republicans aren't going to treat our candidate with kid gloves. I try to remember how Obama has been negative toward Clinton, but for the life of me I can't, so I can't make a very good case. Anyway, the conversation turns towards other things and soon enough I've dropped her off at home. By now it's after 1, and I need to go home and get lunch so Isabel and I can drive out to Bill's place and return the electronics she borrowed so she could earn a buck or two.

It's been a long morning, and if you're still reading this, thanks for sticking with me.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Still Life with Homicidal Maniac and Window

Here's a pretty clear picture of Spook, posing for the camera. Just after we moved into our last place (December '04) we decided to put up some plastic on the windows because the back bedroom-cum-computer room was cold. So that's what's behind Spook, here, my crappy plastic job. You're supposed to shrink the plastic with a hair dryer, but I sat there with the dryer for ten minutes and I couldn't get that sag out of the plastic.

So it stayed up for about two weeks until Spook learned that it makes a nice noise and she brought it down trying to sharpen her claws on it. She also tore up the shower curtain at least once. We got her a cat tree, but she's content to ignore it. I guess the loud and exasperated noises we make when we catch her clawing up our furniture is part of the charm....

Still, she is a pretty little devil, isn't she?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Recursive Troll

PZ Myers has a very long and quite insane comment in one of his posts.

A small snippet:

Yes, this is god's positioning, but as I say you need to understand the reality, that the gods run the show, but also understand their positioning, for it can help you remain safe:::
1. The Boot
2. The Scandanavian [redacted for vulgarity] on Europe
3. Redwhite&blue IS BAD FOR YOU!!!

He also goes on at length about some "Preditory [sic] Italian Company" and Ned Flanders.

Isabel thinks this is a guy arguing with himself, nay, trolling himself. The repeated mention of "You suck.wav" certainly seems insulting enough.

For the record, PZ's commenters think this was a bot. It seems to have shown up on literally thousands of blogs since the fall of '07 and is growing each day.

Is it a bot written by a schizophrenic programmer? Or a schizophrenic bot written by a sane and very clever programmer? Does it scan the Intertoobz for examples of trolling, looking to create a post so massive that it collapses into a singularity of hate and pot-stirring? Can we perhaps harness the potentialities of troll-point energy to flick starships between star systems? Is this the breakthrough that will finally relegate the Bad News Drive to the dust heaps of history? Only time will tell!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

What Are Those Veggies For, Anyway?

An' why are you chopping them up?

This is Spook, just after Halloween in 05 I would guess, judging by both the location (just inside the front door of our last apartment) and that big glass bowl that used to hold the chockies nobody came by and tricked, er, begged for. So Isabel and I were condemned to eat them before they went stale. Oh cruel fate. She's wearing a flea collar, which we've found to be less effective than that goop you're supposed to put between her shoulderblades but which always ends up slicking down the hair along one side of the cat.

In other news, this morning I was reminded of that sequence in Sabrina, wherein Humphrey Bogart's dissolute and womanizing brother sits down on the two champagne flutes in his back pocket and thus spends the rest of the movie (or a good chunk of it) with a bandaged ass. So Bogey, the ant in this particular fable, gets his plastics factory to make his grasshopper bro a plastic hammock with a circle cut out of it for the guy's sore and bandaged jacksie. (I wondered, then, how the actor managed not to fall through.)

I am also reminded of an old National Lampoon comic in which a famous football star promotes, not an athlete's foot cure, but a brand X hemorrhoid cream. When he gets fed up with it, he chucks it across the locker room, ejaculating "Fast relief my a--foot!"

I have no possible explanation for why these two memories are now associated in my noggin.

Hope everyone's weekend is shaping up better than mine.