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Friday, March 30, 2012

The Truth Just Is

However you see it, interpret it, think it....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4p8qxGbpOk

All we need is to know that simplicity.

It Only Hurts When I Think

It's Friday. Coffee break time for me. The Beest dozes on the desk leaf, hitching out a cat sneeze here and there. It's bright and breezy, a bit chilly as Spring should be. Gal Friday brought me 2 tomato plants that I'll put in planters next month or whenever the weather permits. Someone gave her too many for her to handle. Vermonters are good.

News today that the Ryan Bill was passed in the Repo-led House
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/29/budget-paul-ryan-congress-house-of-representatives

And here's what the candidates say, pandering to the rich, as usual
http://salsa.afge.org/c/407/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=9871

Your taxes at work
http://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/military/the-world-according-to-darpa

I'm not sure what the need for these would be
http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/28/2910102/lg-mass-produce-flexible-e-ink-screen

"No-Hour" really means "All-Hours"
http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679563/the-no-hour-work-week-reinventing-employee-expectations-for-the-modern-economy

Roddenberry would be proud
http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2012/03/researcher-publishes-specs-for-real-linux-powered-star-trek-tricorder.ars

I'm keeping thinking to a minimum today. Some days are just better that way.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Another Shot at Disillusionment

This is a national election year. Seats of government go up in the air and after all the money's spent and the shouting's over some people will walk into offices and hold power. That power will, without exception, taint. It always does.
Let's state the obvious.

Money is the lube of the Washington machine. Candidates will make promises to those who fund their run. They better make good on those promises.

Nobody who rises very far can get there without lots of money in this country. Nor, in my opinion, without lies and manipulation.

There are plenty of people in huge power who never run for office. They call a lot of shots but We never put them there. And We can't remove them.

The Electoral College makes voting for President a token gesture.

There are few people who can handle a life in politics. It takes a particular psyche. It attracts dilletantes, manipulators and ego-driven nuts.

It's a bleak prospect for We The People. I don't like the push towards theocracy that's being foisted upon us. I don't like the backwards slide into the McCarthy era that I'm watching happen. I don't like the rich getting everything they want. I don't like "the media". I don't like opinions being called news and I don't like "journalists" who repeat party catchphrases as truth. I expect better. I just do.

One of the only reasons I won't leave Vermont is because we have Bernie Sanders in Congress. Vermont is not like many other states. We're old-fashioned Liberal for the most part. We're also a small state where you can know your Governor, and your Congresspeople. We're very conscious about doing the Right Thing by others. Maybe because we know who the others are; they aren't nameless, they're neighbors and family and friends. Everything you do here, everything you get involved with, is tentacled to others. The responsibility that comes with that knowledge makes for considered actions. It's not so in many other places in this country.

While we still live under that old Lincoln rule about fooling the people, people will be fooled when they stop thinking, stop paying attention, stop listening to their sense of right and wrong. You can fool all of The People some of the time, and that some of the time is now. That needs to end. I don't want to look back in nostalgia. I want to look forward with opportunities and ideas. But I have little hope left. With the line-up of candidates we have, no matter who wins the White House, I'll be somewhere on the disillusionment scale. All that remains is the degree.

Until I Can Clone Myself

It's just impossible to do everything I want to do. This blog has been suffering because of things I have to spend time and attention doing and there aren't enough hours in the day to do it all. It's Spring. People are out and about again, there are causes to address and things that need me. Which, believe it or not, is not my preferred way to live. I'd really love more days like yesterday! And I intend to steal them here and there, when ever I can. For the foreseeable future, I'll blog as I can, but the 3-a-day deal is just too much to keep up with for now.

Here now, some news. The horrible and the funny, just like real life.

Don't fear the reaper
http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/engineers-develop-lasers-to-deflect-asteroids?

Some people aren't human
http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20120328/NEWS07/120328004/melissa-jenkins-suspects-charged-vermont-lured-strangled?odyssey=tabtopnewstextFRONTPAGE

And some humans have little humanity
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2012/mar/29/supreme-court-arguments-obama-health-reforms

Even stone gets pimped
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/28/greek-statue-found-goat-pen

We've lost Earl Scruggs
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/mar/29/earl-scruggs-bluegrass-banjo-dies

Our brothers and sisters in the Ukraine have had enough of it, too
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/18-year-old-victim-grisly-rape-dies-ukraine-article-1.1052656

God wasn't his co-pilot
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/jetblue-pilot-ranting-sins-flipped-35-000-feet-fbi-article-1.1052310

Okay. Back to the juggling.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Woden's Day in Hiding

There's been a steady stream of stuff and people for days now. I'm tired, my hand is bad, things hurt, it's rainy and I'm generally needing to regroup. So I'm going into hiding. There's a happy good reason to as well; my Niece and Nephew sent me the entire first season of Game of Thrones on dvd (!!!) and I'm chomping at the bit to see it!

Yes, nerddom rocks my world. Our family is into the GoT series. We even took a silly online quiz and found we are Starks.
www.gotoquiz.com/in_which_game_of_thrones_house_do_you_belong_1
And I'm the only one who hasn't seen the series, until now.

This is a rare treat. A day all to myself and a wonderful production to watch. I may even make popcorn (what a wild life I lead) and I'm going to pull the shades, get comfy and ignore incoming everything. It's all about Winterfell and Sean Bean, a world that doesn't exist, characters that don't have any bearing on my life, a feast for my eyes and a rest for my brain and body.

Life is good. Take time to enjoy what makes you happy.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Short Note on the Greg Tour

UK dates are up for the Fall tour:

http://greglake.com/tour_tour.html

Whether this means he won't be back in the US in the next year I dunno. It does mean I can relax for the summer. :) There's work on the LotL website I need to get done so I'll ask Eileen. Which doesn't mean she'll have an answer.

Spring Backs Up and Tries Again

After that mucky excursion into Summer, today we are back in Spring. There is wind; chimes jangle and the flagpole lead lines bang against the pole while the flag flaps furiously. There is cold. Not so cold as to kill off the greenery, but cold enough to make the heat come up, which is turned down to 50'. So yeah, chilly.

HildeBeest is cone-less. She's happy to be free and she's back to her ballerina walk. She hasn't been obsessively grooming so far but we'll see how it goes. She slinks off into the bedroom where I can't see what she's up to. Little sneak. I'll be closing the bedroom door if she starts biting herself like she did. She knows better than to do it in front of me. Over the weekend I read a bunch of forums about cats overgrooming and consensus was that after changing things to make sure it's not allergies, the only thing that lasts is to let them work it out on their own. They say that when the cat goes to town not to yell or spray them. And give them lots of affection. It could take months, but it's a phase, especially after uproars in their lives. Hildie's been through many changes in the last year. It's not allergies. She'll have to work it out. Hasn't depleted her appetite any!

It was a busy weekend, but a constructive one. And here we are, Monday morning. On to the news, though I'm avoiding all horrible and mind-numbingly insipid stuff so here's what's left:

Not unusual, regretfully
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/cameron-engulfed-by-cash-for-access-row.17135826

Praying for a living wage and a school
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/bronx/bronx-activists-clergy-pray-living-wage-jobs-school-kingsbridge-armory-eve-deadline-article-1.1047769

Once in a lifetime:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/mar/25/venus-transit-sun

It's another busy day so off I go.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

He's Done It Again!

There's little need for me to post a rant about what's going on. Stevil has covered nearly everything in an exemplary post at
http://auto-de-fey.blogspot.com/2012/03/have-you-heard-news-theres-good-rockin.html

Aside from saying I'm totally disgusted with my country, I have bupkus more to add. Besides which I have a busy day ahead and I slept late (hooray!) so there's no time til tonight to address anything. And company will be here in an hour. Go read Stevil's post, he has it well covered.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Brace Yourself, Bridget

The news is - wow.

That's near TEN DOLLARS a gallon in US$
http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/political-news/outcry-over-fuel-tax-rise-as-petrol-hits-record-high.17120461

Tell it to the Marines
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/army-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-treated-diagnosed-return-war-article-1.1049956

I'd enjoy these more than a typing test:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/mar/23/google-interviews-job-search-giant

Oh great
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/22/water-wars-countries-davey-warns

I always liked George Clooney
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/24/george-clooney-spies-secrets-sudan

"Diabesity" and Frankenfoods
http://bigthink.com/think-tank/mark-hyman-skinny-fat

28 Days to Greg!

Four short weeks now. Doesn't seem possible that almost three months have gone by already since Strider bought the tickets. It doesn't seem possible it's been 82 days since I started changing my eating habits, either! I think I've slowed down in losing weight. Trying to gird myself in case I don't make goal by Greg day. It won't throw me, but it would be disappointing. And it's two weeks that the Beest has been in the cone. She's changed her moves. Now she walks like a raccoon. Her coat has come in dense and glossy but she's still chewing her tail. She hates the spray and won't come near me for hours after I finally pin her down to get some on. When I was combing her yesterday she clawed my head. C'est le guerre.

And the world goes 'round.
Heartwarming kindness
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/ian-mckellan-stephen-fry-pay-hobbit-pub-licensing-fees-settle-infringement-suit-article-1.1050031

Better a hundred years than never
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/titanic-survivors-told-investigators-truth-city-tech-professor-a-century-ship-sinking-article-1.1049058

Innovations for a better tomorrow
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120316145755.htm

This is despicable in my government
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/23/healthcare-us-supreme-court

They, at last, have no shame
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/20/fbi-informant

And "Christianity" is doing better?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/23/pope-benedict-communism-cuba

Faster than a speeding light particle
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120322113604.htm

Black holes becoming obese
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120323134800.htm

I'm psyched to see this
http://www.thehungergamesmovie.com/

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How to Get Rid of the Jibbities

After a rough day, and when things like chocolate and whiskey aren't an option, ya gotta find another way to get over yourself. I can twist myself into a bag of pretzels with frustration.

Music is always good for winding down a bit, and I start with loud hard drums and wild vocals. That takes the edge off, and could take a couple of hours to get past. I wound down from Zep to the Four Tops in the end.

Laughing with someone who understands works. Of course, you start out grousing before getting to the laughter. If you're lucky enough to have somebody who gets it and can bitch at your pitch, everything lightens. (Thanks, Stevil!)

Take on a small project that involves nobody else, has no further strings attached and that you can finish in one go. It helps to have something accomplished, even if it's a little thing, on a day of bass-ackwardness. I straightened out part of the bookcases and hung the photo of Julia Child laughing like a loon.

And watch a movie that has charms to soothe the savage breast. Something familiar that you haven't seen in ages so things will strike and delight you. A 60's Rosalind Russell movie called "Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows" was on tonight. Silly, sweet, nostalgic and perfect for getting outta my own tense moodiness.


By gods I can get worked up. All these years in the sticks and I still have that Brooklyn temperament. All these years of dealing with disability and I still have that rage right under the surface. Do we ever stop learning who we are? Can we ever change? Or do we just have to find our own ways to deal with it when we lose it?

Rrrrrrrring a ding ding ding!

It's been a day of details that trip everything up, of news items that make you want to give up, of general pissyness and low boiling outrage that turns to cold resentment. A day when achieving the smallest of tasks is frustratingly beyond getting done. A day that continuously leans on the doorbell of your mind and won't knock it off.

There are days like this in life. Years ago I would've worked it off physically with hard labor or the gym or just punching some asshole in the nose. Can't do those now so I spit hostility at inanimate objects. I finally know why my parents yelled at the appliances so much. It blows off steam, that's all. They weren't nuts, they were frustrated at life and how it turned out. It's better to spew verbal venom on things without feelings than on those you may upset with stupid comments.

It seems to me the trick is to ride the anger out and hang onto the reason behind the anger, because that's where the fixing lies. The solution is always in the problem, they say. If only everything were as easy and simplistic as maths.

Well. So nothing gets done today. I still don't even know how Brian made out because everyone is incommunicado. Just typical.

It doesn't help that it's uncomfortably warm. I absolutely hate Summer, heat, bright sunshine and bugs. It's all that today. What, we don't even get a friggin Spring anymore? 82'F in March? Are you kidding me? Plants are already up and dying.

Ach, there's only one thing to do.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBmueYJ0VhA

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Greetings from Mars

In 30-40 years, you will be able to buy a ticket to Mars. Yes, Mars, the Red Planet, home to the fabled little green men and setting of "Total Recall". Well, maybe not you, unless you're in very good shape both physically and financially. The fare estimate is around $500 grand. Which in 30-40 years will equate to maybe $100 grand now. Start saving.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17439490

There's already a society dedicated to populating the place
http://www.marssociety.org/home/about/purpose

I think this calls for Bowie
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1fcpCrRJ34
(I wish they still made Yardley Pot o'Gloss)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Moondog Coronation Ball

In rock 'n' roll history there are moments that define when everything went to the stars and when everything went to hell. Woodstock, stars. Altamont, hell. Isle of Wight, stars. Cincinnati, hell. But before any of those happened, there was the first rock concert, in Cleveland, Ohio, 60 years ago. The Moondog Coronation Ball was its name.

The scathingly notorious musicians that night:

Paul Williams and his Hucklebuckers
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voa4JXFJi3Q

Tiny Grimes and his Rockin' Highlanders
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5umkCvZ8Sms

The Dominoes
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UZhPKydKcY

Varetta Dillard
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWPqeV_d2PQ

Danny Cobb
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfYoFPBs3fI

Pretty scary stuff, eh?
Every rock 'n' roller has heard of the event, but not everyone has heard the whole story.

Here is the story, better than I could ever tell it.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17440514

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that it's Carl Palmer's birthday. May your skin always be tight, Carl. Happy 62~

Well Put

More than well put, actually. My friend Stevil at auto de fey has posted a concise and chilling account of what's happening in the US lately.

http://auto-de-fey.blogspot.com/2012/03/when-good-people-do-nothing.html

This is the kind of post Stevil excels at writing. Don't miss it.

While I'm Waiting

Our Brian is having polyps removed from his small intestine this morning. These aren't cancerous, they said, unlike the ones they removed from his lower intestine a month ago. Still, any time you're waiting on such things is a long time. This morning is dragging.

And so, distractions. My niece sent me a link to a site of nerdfestia, this particular being a series of cartoons about T. Rex
http://badassdigest.com/2012/01/30/t-rex-trying-things/

From that site I also found my Hunger Games name and how I died (if you haven't heard about Hunger Games, look it up)
http://badassdigest.com/2012/03/09/whats-your-hunger-name/

Back to dinosaurs (with narrations by Stephen Fry)
http://insidetheworldofdinosaurs.com/

Then a look at the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in photos from around the world:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/gallery/2012/mar/16/venus-jupiter-pictures

Okay, that killed an hour...

Monday, March 19, 2012

BOHICA Everyone, Boner's Got It In for SS, Medicare

Just when you thought this was settled.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obamas-evolution-behind-the-failed-grand-bargain-on-the-debt/2012/03/15/gIQAHyyfJS_print.html

Brains, the Theme of the Day

How habits wear paths in the brain
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/books/review/the-power-of-habit-by-charles-duhigg.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1

Are the rich more psychopathic?
http://healthland.time.com/2012/03/15/greg-smiths-resignation-are-wall-street-traders-psychopathic/

Will AI outsmart human brains?
http://techland.time.com/2012/03/14/kurzweil-south-by-southwest-keynote-speech-grossman/?iid=tl-main-lede

The new Google thinks:
http://www.bigthink.com/ideafeed/googles-new-search-one-step-closer-to-ai?

Once again, what you think is what you are
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-oops-response

Let your mind go where it will, it's good for you
http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/a-wandering-mind-is-an-intelligent-mind?

La BĂȘte n'a pas de Cerveau

It's been over a week in the cone for the Beest (except for those few trial run hours when I thought she'd gotten over herself). Anyhow, 9 days in the cone and she hasn't figured out how to function. Points in case:

- She keeps eating from the far side of the dish instead of what is piled directly in front of her. She uses the cone as a shovel, pushing the food to the far edge and up between the overlapping flap of the cone. Mess on the floor, mess in the cone, mess when she shakes her head, sending the food in the cone flap flying everywhere.

- She believes that the cone determines all. If she's going through a doorway and the cone edge hits the jamb, she'll be stopped dead in her tracks until I come move the cone the quarter-inch that sets her free. This applies to furniture, too. The thought of turning her head has not entered the Beestmind.

Credit where due, she's finally mastered using the catbox without dumping it over on top of herself. The hydrocortisone spray makes the cedar litter stick to her. I've combed more cedar out of her fur than what remained in the box.

The cone has kept her from biting her body fur off and her coat is growing in thick and healthy. However, she can still reach her tail, and by the look of it seems to spend every moment out of my sight chewing it. More spraying is needed. At least the bi-weekly gakking has stopped. Not enough fur on her tail to make a furball, I guess.

The Beest isn't the brightest star in the sky. And she's stubborn and obsessive. Habits aren't broken that quickly or easily. She may be in the cone for a long time to come, and I'll be gimping along after, cleaning up messes and moving her head for her, doing the thinking for her, until it's over. If she only had a brain...

What Fresh Hell is This?

Knocks on my door in the morning often lead to one of 2 things. It's our Housing Authority with some issue or other, or it's a friend with an issue that leads to a coffee klatch that can last for hours, include phone calls and calls for another larger meeting. Neither are my favorite way to start the week.

And so it's noon and I've just gotten round to reading the news.

Smile pretty, officer: Occupy marks 6 months
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/occupy-wall-street-marks-six-month-anniversary-a-half-dozen-arrests-article-1.1041412

The US Justice Dept. paid $3 million to 2 Lockerbie witnesses:
http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/crime-courts/lockerbie-revealed-the-secret-report-that-damns-scottish-justice.17003552

The Leveson Inquiry grows wilder tentacles all the time
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/mar/19/news-of-the-workd-ipswich-murders

Gunman kills 4 at a French school, 3 of them children
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/19/toulouse-shooting-three-killed-jewish-school

A local company that wasn't really local has been sold to Proctor & Gamble
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20120319095440504

5 most-prescribed drugs and their natural, cheaper counterparts
http://health.yahoo.net/articles/healthcare/photos/natural-alternatives-top-5-most-prescribed-drugs#0

Okay, on with the day- it's a lovely one out there.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Hymns

I'm lately put in mind of our religious upbringing. Lots of reasons for that. But since most of my time served in church was spent in the maroon robes and white surplices, church meant hymns. And hymns are sacred songs that people hold close to their hearts. Hymns inspire, hold sentiment, uplift, resolve. What I learned by rote in church choir didn't really do that for me. But here are some songs that did and still do.

Trilogy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfQ3pmbklWY

Kashmir
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfR_HWMzgyc

Wondrous Stories
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPdONfPts-4

As we used to say in choir, "Three hymns, you're out."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

"Paranormal" Research

Oy, this is going to be painful.
As I've said before, I was raised around the supernatural. My family actively pursued and recorded experiences in the extra-normal going back to my Scottish Great-Grandmother. My parents, in particular my Mom, followed this with a religious zeal. Many of her cohorts were in earnest pursuit of something beyond our senses, and some got there. But I can't count the number of frauds and nuts involved in the field, some of whom my family would take to their bosom. We're talking the 60s here, when I became an unwilling witness. There was a big taboo on the supernatural back then, when having family who went to seances was cause for ostracising, when there was little in the way of scientific investigation techniques and anyone with an interest in such things was to be ridiculed.

By my view, I'd say there still is little in the way of scientific investigation. It seems to me that the vast amount of those who call themselves researchers aren't. These days the popular common methods used are little more than a few handheld gewgaws and a lot of "feelings", not much different than the days of mediums and batteries. You'd think by now, almost 50 years later, there'd be instruments developed for the particular phenomena, but no. The whole field is still in infancy. It's been decades since I set foot in the ASPR and I hope they've continued to develop and research the good work of Dr. Karlis Osis but you'd never know it by what's used in practice now.

So why is there no development of good instruments to measure and record observed phenomena? Why is there nothing beyond crude and unreliable EMF meters and such? Why is nobody locking down and seriously working in notably haunted places to develop equipment that would prove these things exist? The whole field has been bass-ackwards for over a century now. Sorry, but human feelings are unreliable and mediums aren't always honest- or sane.
There needs to be real research, in situ, so that instruments can develop and be tested.

And until that happens, and reliable verifiable equipment and results can be used and measured, there will be those who have no experience of the supernatural who can continue to poopoo the whole deal, like flatearthers. They haven't seen it so it doesn't exist. Kind of disfunctional all the way round. I know these things exist. But I have no instruments to prove it and no brains nor education enough to discover the means. It's quite frustrating.

My hope is that somewhere, someone is working on this...

Happy St. Patrick's Day

In days of old, right about now I'd be in party panic mode. It had been weeks in planning. Homemade corned beefs would be cooking, food rolling out of my kitchen to fill the groaning dining room table, and I'd start happy hour while putting the final touches on another huge St. Patty blowout. A quiet moment in the pantry by the bar, then the guests would arrive, Camster always the first in the door.

We haven't done big parties in a while, my crew and me. Oh, yes, get-togethers of a dozen or more, but not the 40-50 people coming and going with dancing and antics and embarrassing stories to tell afterward. It's 7 years since I threw the every St. Pat's and every Halloween fests of hilarious insanity.

I miss that. So next year, I'm commandeering Brian's house and we're doing it. Enough of this sanity. If we can't pull off one big blast a year we might as well curl up and die.

Raise your glass:
"Here's to you and here's to me,
And may we never disagree.
But if we do,
Ta Hell with you,
And here's to me."
Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Week That Ate My Brain

A few days ago I had an analogous news story to the old deal of looking at what you don't have and moping instead of looking at what you do have, getting your head out your ass and creating. Tonight I don't care that half my brain fell away over the week. I just don't care. I'm lucky I recall half the story of the post that wasn't to be written. And the important part and the moral of the story is what I remembered anyway.

So that made me think that perhaps this is my brain getting more efficient. I don't recall details that are immaterial these days but I can recall things said very well. Because nearly everything makes me stop and think these days. When you think a lot, and this week has been full of lots to think about, your brain does this defragmenting kinda thing. Or at least mine does. There's an internal widget filtering the important from the unimportant. Consequently, scenes of the past that were recorded are brought to the fore for an instant in a kind of mental "Concentration", sans Art James or Hugh Downs.

This is just part of the never-ending-figuring-out-your-life that everyone does. It usually happens here and there. This week it was downloading faster than my brain could grasp. A series of "Aha!" moments accompanied by, "Holy shit!" realizations, one after another.

Which is terrific; I'm not complaining. It's good to live long enough to figure some shit out. But it eats your brain. I'm tired and had a hard time communicating today. My saintly Girl Friday was as fried as me so there was a lot of laughing. Also great, and made us both more tired.

So I'm going to bed early. Generally bedtime is midnight, sleep at 1 a.m. but no way tonight. I think I'll sleep in late as I can. Wonder what kinds of dreams may come... 'night.

What a World, What a World

No time to chat much today, busy busy busy. It would've been my Mom's 88th birthday today, so that's on the family's mindscape. Aside from that, it's the details of life that consume the hours. Without further doodoo, here's some news items:

The Nude Revolutionaries Calendar
http://bigthink.com/daylight-atheism/the-nude-photo-revolutionaries-calendar

China's air pollution
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/16/air-pollution-biggest-threat-china

Greg Lake's tour keeps growing:
http://greglake.com/tour_tour.html

Lone gunman in Afghanistan killings?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/16/karzai-doubts-us-village-massacre

The verdict is in: Santorum's a nut
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/election-2012/rick-santorum-declares-war-pornography-i-ban-hardcore-porn-elected-president-article-1.1040728

Schmear for all
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/03/15/1074874/-Defender-of-Marriage-caught-in-affair-threatens-to-sue-state-and-exposeothers

It's an evocative product name, anyway...
http://lockerz.com/s/192785300

The unnecessariness of it all...
http://www.npr.org/2012/03/16/148737642/pope-benedict-has-his-own-custom-cologne?ft=1&f=3

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yuk It Up (Adults Only)

Senility must be setting in. One hairy eyeball is always on what's going on in the world, but lately I want comedy. A lot of comedy. Everyone's nuts and the world's....well, you know. So, yeah. Anyway. Relax, get someone to laugh with or not, and say the hell with everything and just watch.

Low Brow- Jo Brand- Like it or Lump it (25 min)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ibny0TDChuA

High Brow- Bill Bailey's Guide to the Orchestra (59 minutes)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdO3u6ORlGM

Unibrow- Billy Connolly- Erect for 30 Years (in parts)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hF_bFPMZy6Q

A Matter of Ethics

Here's a story I've seen on and off for a couple of years. I feel like I should put up a warning or something because it's not something you come across every day and I'm sure it'll be disturbing to some.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/mar/15/ashley-treatment-rise-amid-concerns

Having no dog in this race and not being in those families' situations I don't know how I feel. It seems ethically wrong. Yet I understand why they're doing it. But it just seems wrong. But it does make managing this severe kind of disability practical. But it seems wrong. I don't know. What do you guys think?

By Any Other Name

Having spent some time with the new walker now, it's obvious this is not a male. And it's more a burgundy than a red. This one's colors are black, burgundy and gray. Very Macy's circa 1980. The seat is a little high at 26" but that's fine by me. I have legs that are suddenly long to me again (as are my arms). But this isn't for anyone shorter.

So she can't be called Johnnie Walker Red. I've renamed her Helen Wheels.
Helen is much lighter than the late Mr. Walker. Smaller, more aerodynamic. The backrest is curved- brill!- and the basket can be hooked onto the front. I guess things have improved a bit in 5 years. It sure makes doing anything easier.

Seems the last year has been about valuing what I have. Sometimes by just realizing how much they mean to me. Sometimes by losing them. Good lesson.

A little more coffee and it's back to work. Sometimes unpacking is like opening treasure chests. But still no drums, no ladles!

What to Bring to a Food Bank

Aside from the obvious- food- there are items people need that get in short supply when they have a hard row to hoe. And sometimes peep don't know exactly what foods a pantry needs to keep in stock. There are, believe it or not, people who've never set foot inside a food bank. Twisted Scottish Bastard just reminded me of those needs. Our Drop-In Center posts a "general needs" list, so here's a list for handy reference.

Tuna
Pasta, sauce
Peanut butter
Soups, crackers
Rice
Canned meals
Canned fruits & vegetables
Canned protein items
Baby food
Juices
Cereals and other nonperishable foods
Personal care items (toothpastes, toothbrushes, soaps, shampoo, floss, denture cleaners, bandaids, combs)
Feminine hygiene supplies
Diapers & formula; baby wipes, paper towels, toilet tissue
Laundry detergent

Check with your local food bank to make sure they carry items beside food in their location; some have a separate locale for nonfood items.

Thor's Day- Off

Up before the birds. "La la la la la... I don't have to do anything today and nobody's coming byyyyyyy."

Seriously, I have a day off, I think. Unless I'm in a big CRAFT state and have no clue. Always a possibility.

So I'm not thinking about anything current or eventful. I'm gonna call around and find a tattooist. Then I'll finish 11/22/63 so it can go back to the library. And I'll watch some history vids on YT I've been saving to see. Do the sewing I put aside. Maybe find some of the things I still haven't come across in unpacking. Where are my tabletop drums? And the damn ladles? Start straightening out the bookcases... Hang those pictures in my bedroom...

I gotta say I'm thrilled with my incredibly shrinking body. Good timing to stop eating a lot, too. Can't afford cheese anymore! Groceries are sky-high. Thank gods for the scratch-n-dent store or there'd be much less in the house. I put on my seersucker robe and it's huge. I can't believe I used to fill it. 75 days of watching it and eating better and holy cow. I can't wait to get back into those black Levis again, and wiggle me butt. And another 37 days before Greg! 2/3s through the wait already! Hope I keep melting, melting.

Okay, not gonna sit here. Things to do. Guess it's not such a day off. ;)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sugarbush Benefit for VT Foodbanks

Calling all skiers!
From an email Stevil sent me:

On this Sunday, March 18th, the Vermont Foodbank will be the beneficiary of Sugarbush Resort’s Be Better Days. When you purchase an adult All Mountain lift ticket through the link on the Vermont Foodbank’s homepage (http://www.vtfoodbank.org/), you will receive a discounted $60 lift ticket and the Vermont Foodbank will receive a $30 donation. Each ticket sold translates into 180 meals for Vermonters in need of food assistance.

This year has been particularly difficult for Vermonters, and the Vermont Foodbank has seen serious increases in demand for charitable food. “During the past year, Vermonters have suffered great losses due to a number of factors—natural disasters, a weak economy, layoffs and high unemployment,” said John Sayles, Vermont Foodbank CEO. “Demand for emergency food remains high, with thousands of families, children and seniors struggling with hunger. Support from businesses like Sugarbush has never been more important. We are so grateful for their continued partnership in the fight against hunger.”

There is a 48-hour booking window, so make sure to purchase your ticket by Friday, March 16th. Please consider joining Sugarbush in supporting our local community. We hope to see you on the hill!

And We're Rollin'

Pies have been eaten over the radio, Fire Inspectors through here and done, door-to-door evangelists sent away, and Johnnie Walker Red is here- and it's not even noon! Woohoo for productive days!
OK- let's look around at what's up in the world.

I love this idea
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/pizza-good-hurts-article-1.1038251

Today in weirdness
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/emails-men-received-electronic-communication-dead-friend-article-1.1038230

The homeless as unwitting guinea pigs?
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/marketing-firm-behind-homeless-hotspots-program-launching-york-article-1.1038411

Bye-bye, Britannica
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/mar/13/encyclopedia-britannica-halts-print-publication

From the lunatic outpost- no, really
http://lunaticoutpost.com/Topic-Police-take-on-rising-wave-of-Tide-detergent-theft?page=1

The story that just goes on and on
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/mar/13/rebekah-brooks-and-husband-arrested-phone-hacking

38 Days to Greg!

After all they've helped me in the last year, I didn't want to bug friends to put my new walker together for me. So I asked Gal Friday's hubby to do it for a fee and he said yes! (He assembles solar equipment for a living, a walker is a very simple job to him. Besides they're putting a new roof on and need every buck they can get.) So I'll be back to zooming around this afternoon! Yay! That was a long 3 weeks.

Today is Heat Fund Recipe Day, too. I made Lawless' blender pies last night (they looked and smelled wonderful- thanks, Lawless!) and Daryl will be here shortly to take them in to the station and chat up people to donate in exchange for the recipes. This may be the last Heat Fund show of the season, I'm not sure. If not, I'll have to come up with something for next month...hmmm.

This is also Fire Inspection Day. The Fire Dept. will be around to every apartment, checking for extinguishers, that our emergency cords are hanging to the floor, and that we don't have rags and oil piled up against the baseboard heaters. Never a dull moment.The Beest woke me up scratching herself. While awake, I got the cone and cortisone spray and she is once again beconed and indignant.

We had thunderstorms last night. Big rolling Springtime booms. A bit early, but there you are.

I'll be back with world news and other hoohah later. Just wanted to start the day off with goodness.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Touchy Tortie

(with apologies to Hans Christian Anderson)

There once was a touchy tortie
With fur that was patchy and chewed.
The other cats in surrounding flats said,
"Tsk! Just eat your food!
"Tsk! Just eat, tsk-tsk!
"Just eat, tsk-tsk!
"Just eat your food!"

This poor little touchy tortie,
Had her head in a plastic cone,
The other cats in surrounding flats said,
"Leave your fur alone."
"Leave your fur,
"Just leave your fur,
"Just leave your fur alone!"
And she crept with a slink and a waddle and a stink,
From the hydrocortisone.

All through the daytimes, she hid herself away,
Ashamed of her neurosis,
Afraid of what kitties would say...
All through the nighttimes, she worried for her fate,
Til she forgot to chew herself
And only food she ate.
Then the one she owned took off the cone,
And with it went the weight,
And she held her head up straight!

"I'm not such a touchy tortie,
"With my fur all patchy and chewed!"
For in fact, those cats in surrounding flats said,
"We've been a little rude.
"We've been a bit,
"We've been a bit,
"We've been a little rude."
Not a creep with a slink and a waddle and a stink,
But a beautiful tortie with a lovely coat of fur,
And her head held peaceful and high.
"Say, who's a touchy tortie, not I!"

Look that up in your Funk'n'Wagnalls

There is a recent trend (isn't there always?) to name actions and things for authors and characters. As reported in the NY Daily News and the Guardian UK
http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/pageviews/2012/03/going-on-a-hemingway-the-urban-dictionary-history-of-western-literature

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2012/mar/13/urban-dictionary-redefines-literature-names

and cited from
http://www.urbandictionary.com/
This is not new (what the Dickens is?), but noticing it is. I'm partial to language and new references amuse me. The Urban Dictionary is one of those sites you can lose a day in. Go ahead, Joyce yourself.

Tiw's Day

Well, it's all a bit more bearable today. We're supposed to have thunderstorms after the temp rises to near 70' today. Maybe this will be a long Spring, since it's started so early. I hope it won't be sweltering in May, like it was last year.

So let's take a look at today's ponderings.

Another superhero, courtesy of Baffles:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/world-news/6566910/Batman-brings-order-to-Slovak-town

Our hero Bernie's dentalcare town meeting
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FFxPM7PTAE

Redistricting & why you should pay attention to this
http://www.fairvote.org/redistricting

Training your Brain to Change
http://bigthink.com/think-tank/lifes-messy-train-your-brain-to-adapt

That's quite enough to ponder, methinks.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Riding the Paincycle

Once a month (and no coincidence there) my pain level goes through the roof. Today is that day. So yeah, I'm not up for much. Special K has brought me a bit of whisky and taken away a quart of pickled herring for herself and our Brian. It's my turn to get pickled.

BTW if anyone wants to know how to pickle fish let me know. I'll post the recipe I developed a few years back.

As for me, I'm outta here.

Doonesbury Still Rocks

Garry Trudeau has never gone away. In the past few months he's tackled a number of social issues, as he always has. Today he's started tackling the new legislated ultrasound "10 inch wand" laws being imposed in women seeking an abortion.

http://www.gocomics.com/doonesbury/

And papers have backed off printing his strip. Some have moved it to the editorial page. Some have sought replacement strips until this issue is no longer in Doonesbury.

Sorry- did we go through a time warp and blast back to 1971 and nobody told me? This Puritan bullshit has to go.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Coming of Pottermore

Among the geekitudes in my life runs a deep and abiding affection for the Potterverse. This is all my family's fault, as we all read the books and went to the movies and bought the merchandise. My nephew in PA screamed when I sent him Potter stuff. We are geeks, every one of us. It's in the blood.

I have friends who are Potterheads, too. For a few Christmases I even made Potterish things for our branch of the Order of the Phoenix. So yes, my friends are nerds too.

To my knowledge, none of us became Pottermore Betas, the select million who got to try out the site created by Jo Rowling that continues the Potterverse. The site finally goes live to the public, after months of tweaking, in early April.
http://www.pottermore.com/

If you know about Hogwarts, you know that to be part of it you must be sorted into a school house. As Professor McGonagall said,
"The Sorting is a very important ceremony because, while you are here, your house will be something like your family within Hogwarts. You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory and spend free time in your house common room. The four houses are called Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Each house has its own noble history and each has produced outstanding witches and wizards. While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points, while any rule-breaking will lose house points. At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the House Cup, a great honour. I hope each of you will be a credit to whichever house becomes yours."

Generally, families belong to one house as a tradition. Though I've maintained that we're Ravenclaw, we've never as a family concurred on which house we're in. And soon it'll all be academic as Pottermore goes live and we'll each be sorted individually. There are a series of questions with multiple choice answers and from that you are sorted accordingly. I'm pretty certain that some of my peep will aim for Slytherin. But I've watched quite a few sorting ceremony vids (on YT, yes, painfully nerdy) of people purposely aiming for a house and not getting it. The Sorting Hat is inscrutable.

If I had a choice, it would go Ravenclaw first, then Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin. There are some who got a choice between two houses, but not many, and they weren't always given an option for the house they were hoping to be in. So there seems a randomness to it. And people have freaked out at the results.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBMikR-Ya-I
Really, I'm a Potterhead, but I don't think it warrants a freaking. It's The Sorting Hat, you don't have control. And just perhaps, you don't know yourself as well as you thought you did.

Silly, yes. This whole thing is silly. But it's fun and it's a long-standing family reference point now. April will be a full month of anticipations. I'm psyched. And please, please, let it be Ravenclaw or Gryffindor!

Sunday News and Reviews

I hope you're spending Sunday in bed with brunch, the papers and mimosas. That's my personal fave way to do it. Lounging around, quiet, comfortable. It's also a good place from which to view a very screwy screwy world of cray-crays

Chris Christie's an idiot
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/jersey-governor-chris-christie-calls-navy-veteran-idiot-article-1.1036558

I hate flying, too, these days
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/american-airlines-flight-delayed-attendant-rants-crashing-sept-11-terrorist-attacks-article-1.1036726

Cautious optimism
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120308132812.htm

Reckless pessimism
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/technology/cost-of-gene-sequencing-falls-raising-hopes-for-medical-advances.html?_r=2&src=me&ref=technology

A Wile E. Coyote conference
http://techcrunch.com/2012/03/07/the-future-is-now-and-now-and-now/

The Big Think short fiction winners
http://www.bigthink.com/think-tank/big-think-short-fiction-1-nil-sci-fi-the-winners?

Maybe this will help on Monday
http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/03/vmware-on-the-iphone/

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hospital Chart Funnies

I was sent this years ago and sent it to a friend who used it on his site. It bears repeating. We all can use a laugh these days.

ACTUAL ENTRIES FROM HOSPITAL CHARTS!

· The patient refused autopsy.
· The patient has no previous history of suicide.
· Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.
· She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.
· Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side or over a year.
· On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it disappeared.
· The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.
· The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.
· Discharge Status: Alive but without permission.
· Healthy appearing decrepit 69 year old male, mentally alert but forgetful.
· Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.
· She is numb from her toes down.
· While in ER she was examined, x-rated and sent home.
· The skin was moist and dry.
· Occasional, constant, infrequent headaches.
· Patient was alert and unresponsive.
· Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.
· She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce.
· I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.
· Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.
· The lab test indicated abnormal lover function.
· Examination of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.
· Skin: somewhat pale but present.
· The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor.
· Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.

And along the health lines, my southern neighbor Sarcastic Test Guy has found sugar to be nasty, too!
http://sarcastictestguy.blogspot.com/2012/03/just-too-damn-tired-and-by-way-most.html

Losing Sleep

Just a reminder that it's Clock Hassle Time again. So set your clock an hour ahead, lose an hour of sleep, wake up in the dark and turn on the lights. And for what? Why oh why do we persist in this nonsense that makes no damn difference?

Look, we're not an agricultural society anymore. Even then, it makes no sense as the cows get all off schedule and it's a process of changing their milking times. Which is a huge pain in the ass. And again, unnecessary.

"Daylight Savings Time" is a load. Pick a time and stay with it, I say.

Meanwhile, set your clocks an hour ahead. We're going to DSFT at 2 a.m. tonight.

Oh Yeah!

Great delivery day. I wasn't expecting it til sometime during the week, but Johnnie Walker Red is here! A big box, not opened yet. I'm gonna wait til someone's here who can help me put it together. It's silly to open it when I can't assemble it. I just don't have the handstrength to tighten nuts and such anymore. All I care about is that it's here! The end of tottering on a cane is nigh! Hooray! Hooray!

And I got a surprise package from my niece Lisa, who's the family historian and genealogist. She traced one line of the family back to 1530 in Cambridgeshire, England. That's amazing, but even more amazing is that she traced a family line that's so elusive that nobody even knew who the family was beyond 3 gens back. She's gotten them back to 1751 in upstate NY! Outstanding work!

In that package were also the HS graduation pix of my greatniece, who's beautiful. I can't believe she's this old, and grown. Seems like last week she was in grade school, a little blonde girl who loved sharks. Now she's a young woman wearing a Cthulhu bracelet and planning her career. Boy do I feel old. Thanks Lisa!

So, today turned into an Oh Yeah! day. Things are looking up. Except the Beest, who won't look up and continues her impression of a creature from another planet who's never encountered Earth's gravity before. She managed to turn the catbox over and all the bits of cedar stuck to her hydrocortisoned fur. After a thorough combing that evoked much purring, she fell asleep on my bed. She's doing all the necessary things but is clearly unhappy with a cone on her head. I feel bad for putting her through it but we tried everything else. "It's not forever, just a week or so," I've told her, but she doesn't want to hear it. Ach, just let her sleep...

Not bad for the last day of Eastern Standard Time.

Confessions of a Bookaholic

When we were little, my Mom would get us out of her hair by annoyedly saying, "Go read something." It worked. Too well. We grew to be absorbed in books, so absorbed that she'd eventually yell, "Get your nose outta that book and (whatever she wanted us to do)!"

Reading has remained my favorite activity. Books have a sort of migration pattern in my home. New and unread books pile up on my nightstand, where they are eventually read in order of urgency (library books first, natch). The ones I'm very attached to stay there until I have a clearing fit. The really beloved may never leave the nightstand (there's a pile of Game of Thrones and Led Zep books there now). From there they go to the sitting room to join a stack on my desk or a tabletop or be shelved in a bookcase. Years down the line, I may get rid of a few, but only the extraneous. Books, like music, mark times in my life. I'd sooner lose a kidney than some of my books.

The Guardian has reformatted its webpages, which means little. What matters is what you find in them. And this weekend, the "Books" page has lots of goodies. This is what originally drew me to the Guardian, its excellent books section. Much better than the NY Times.

500 new fairytales were found in Germany, compiled by a compadre of the Grimm Brothers
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/mar/05/five-hundred-fairytales-discovered-germany

An interesting podcast about factual fiction and fictionized facts:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/audio/2012/mar/09/john-lanchester-paul-mason-podcast

Characters sometimes reincarnate in surprising ways
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/mar/09/prequels-sequels-books

Have a weird ebook you want promoted?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/mar/09/weird-fiction-electronic-universe-ebooks

The story of a bookstore and a ubiquitous poster
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2012/mar/09/keep-calm-and-carry-on-secret-history

The poem of the week
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/mar/05/poem-of-the-week-philip-sidney

Ladies, take note
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2012/mar/08/neglected-women-writers-class-issue

We're in Hiding

Hildebeest is hiding, for obvious reasons. She's embarassed to be seen. I'm also hiding. Because my friend The Princess was here last evening and she told me that the recorded statement I'd made for Bernie was played on the hourly news on our talk radio station. Now the whole area knows my age and that my teeth are in rough shape. Beautiful.

It's probably hard to believe but notoriety scares me. The times I've been in a media spotlight weren't always good experiences. But if you have a need to shoot your mouth off about things, as I do, these things happen. It comes in the package. You never know where an action will take you. Anyway, I don't like media moments, even when they're very good ones. It's better to do everything in a group so you don't get singled out for attention. I've learned to keep a good game face and will shake my hair and smile pretty for the camera. But my guts are jitterbugging while a pounding heart echoes in my throat until everyone forgets it. In this day and age that's mercifully quickly. I don't know how famous people do it, living their lives with the whole world watching. It must be a calling. Or a need of some kind. It'd put me right into the cracker barrel.

So Hildebeest and I are keeping very low profiles for a while. She'll give me the silent treatment and I'll just rant here, where few people read what I say. And no pictures, please. ;)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hildebeest, Conehead at Large

Between Gal Friday and me, we got the cone on the Beest. She has reacted the way I thought, walking backwards for a half-hour, going thru small spaces trying to wedge it off, hiding under furniture, trying to jump forward through it. It isn't so big that her muzzle is behind it, and she ate as soon as I put the dish down without incident. But she's not a happy camper. It'll definitely put a crimp in her drinking from the bathroom faucet. It's not heavy, but she's got her nose to the floor and is acting like it's ten pounds hanging around her neck.

The Beest usually walks like a ballerina, one foot delicately in front of the other. At the moment she's walking like a Lipizanner, high-stepping in a disgusted prance.

Ah, she's laid down on the couch in a disconsolate hang off the edge. Well, this will take her mind off biting and scratching. I gave her tail and back a spritzing of the hydrocortisone spray, which should help stop the itch, if it exists. And she's off to the bedroom, belly dragging on the floor, slinking and high-stepping at once.

I'd laugh, but that'd be cruel. So I'll just smile.

Semper Fi, Baby

As the daughter of a Marine Sergeant I'm kvelling from my guts over this former US Marine who's not taking it anymore:
http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/07/10600682-yesterday-in-trying-to-vote

My mother would be bursting. This one's for you, Marge the Sarge.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy Women's Day

Today was International Women's Day. Not that there was any notice. I didn't know about it until earlier this week and promptly ignored it. Actually, the thought that 50% of the population has to have a Day for noticing them makes me want to go punch someone in the nose. But then what Virginia allowed to happen today makes me want to punch all of them in the nose. Are you frigging kidding me?

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/virginia-governor-signs-bill-mandating-abdominal-ultrasounds-women-seeking-abortion-article-1.1035571

And I've been uncommonly mellow lately. I can imagine how my old pals in NY are taking this. The bars will be full tonight in my old neighborhood. Cops may be called.

This is the same issue that Jon Stewart did this excellent bit about:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-news-blog/2012/feb/22/jon-stewart-virginia-punanny-state

How many slaps in the face will it take before this right wing "Christian" crap is stomped out? I hope Jesus does come back, and kicks all their asses. I had 3 women missionaries at my door today. I had to push the woman's hand (trying to foist their pamphlet into my house) out the door and shut it in her face. These people don't even realize how insanely programmed they are. I'm so ashamed of my country and where it's gone in the last dozen years I don't know what to do. But it's my country too, and I'm not giving it up to these assholes.

So much for Women's Day.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

45 Days to Greg!

45 days to Greg! All systems are go, prep is as prepped as it can get. It's hold the program til April 21st. And pray there are no last-minute cancellations.

Today, if the PO does well, the Beest becomes a conehead. I'm hoping she takes it in stride but pretty certain she won't. In fact I expect hissing, running backwards and hiding under the bed.

Yesterday, Bernie's office had me record a statement I'd made about the lack of dental services in Vermont. I don't know what it'll be used for, probably a compilation of statements from Vermonters about how our teeth are rotting because we can't go to a dentist. I'd like to tie the whole Congress to their chairs and make them listen to what people are having to live with in this country. Congress seems far removed from the reality of The People in their insulated world of handouts from the currying rich- and us.

Armandodo told me that New York City hasn't had snow since October. That's just bizarre. Our snow is receding now, though the temp is hovering around freezing, the sun is working on it. It's been a non-existant Winter here; four snows is the norm for a month, not a season.

Time to get my butt in gear. Things to see, people to do.

Eating Disorders

I've been working on this post for a while now. In my life I've had every eating disorder listed. Treating them is another issue. With all the fad diets, products and medical/surgical treatments done, nobody has found a successful way to "cure" eating disorders. Ask anyone in the psych profession. Eating disorders are the trickiest problem they deal with. There's little that works, even in residential programs. And nearly everyone treated goes back to their old behaviours. Of course, in order to make the changes necessary to be free of eating issues, the person has to be committed to doing it. Somehow, that commitment can wane and then in a fit of defeat, the entire program goes out the window.

Certainly there's an addiction element to abnormal eating. Whether it's eating too much or too little, it's an addiction to behaviour. Other types of addicts can abstain from the substance, but food is necessary to live so overeaters must confront their substance 24/7. Anorexics are the flip side; self-controlled to the max, denying themselves even the minimum needed to support life. Body dysmorphism plays a role, too. The too-fat and the too-thin don't perceive themselves as others see them. Food becomes tangled in emotions. We all know those who eat or don't eat when emotional.

When I started gearing up for the Greg diet I came across this article
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/dec/09/obesity-hopi-sen-losing-weight
and was thrilled with the brutal honesty and courage of this guy to tell it like it is. Too often there are all sorts of excuses around overeating, but the reality remains, stop eating all that food.

In the area of anorexia I can relate only my experiences. During my college years I could barely afford to eat and that became a habit. Living on coffee and cigarettes and recreational drugs, I shrunk. While the obese are ridiculed, the thin are encouraged. And so the "positive reenforcement" of becoming a stack of bones was addictive, too. When I would eat, I'd rush to the bathroom and get rid of it. Then I started making money cooking professionally and could eat whenever I wanted and gained weight until I blew up to 280 pounds. In my thirties I went thru a second bout of rarely eating. Didn't go down to bones that time. That was accompanied and followed by a few years of heavy drinking, when I gained a lot of weight and developed the joint and bone issues I have now. I'm sure my lifelong eating irregularities contributed to the condition I'm in today.

Though I have no special insight on the baffling problems of eating disorders I know what's worked for me. Eliminate the things I can live without- flour and sugar. Don't eat until my stomach growls, independent of what time it is or what everyone else is doing. Eat until I'm 80% full. Don't buy foods that are triggers- if they aren't at hand I can't eat them. If I cook a lot of food at once, freeze all but a portion and give some away. Don't even think of food as "a treat". Eat all I want of veggies but nothing in big portions. Schedule any off-program breaks and go right back on-program after. I have to be my own police.

And somewhere along the way of my determination to be in better shape to meet Greg, a change of attitude about food happened. I don't worry about eating too much or too little, I just stay on my program. It's self-control, sure, but it's not obsessive. I eat with my head screwed on now. I'm mindful of nutrition. I buy much less food, but good things. I don't starve nor overeat. This is all new to me, because I lived in extremes through so much of my life. But it's a sort of peace that I've never known. And I don't worry about blowing it, because I know it's in my control. Every choice I make matters. And it is, at heart, all about choice.

I wish I could pass it on to others but the hard truth is that everyone has to do what works for themselves. Which is probably why eating disorders are so hard to fix. There's no one system that will work for anyone, we must each find our own way. All I can say is keep trying. Get to know yourself and be rigourously honest with yourself. And never give up.

Melinda Remembered

Funeral services for Melinda Bussino will be held on Saturday, March 10th, at 1 p.m. at the First Baptist Church on Main St. Visiting hours at Ker Westerlund Funeral Home on High St. will be Friday, from 4-7.

Tributes have been everywhere all week, on radio, TV, newspapers and online.
http://www.commonsnews.org/site/site05/story.php?articleno=5037&page=1

http://www.reformer.com/ci_20109605/bussino-described-lsquo-an-army-one-rsquo?

http://www.firstbaptistchurchofbrattleborovt.com/

http://www.greenmountaindaily.com/diary/8510/melinda-bussino-will-be-remembered

To keep Melinda's life's work going, may I suggest that everyone give what they can to the Drop-In Center, in either food or money. Project Feed the Thousands' website takes online donations for the Drop-In Center. You'll also see a list of things that are always needed on this page.
http://feedthethousands.org/locations/brattleboro-area-drop-center

It won't be easy to keep Melinda's projects going without her, but if we all pitch in what we can, it'll be that much easier on those who are carrying on. I'll be tithing my food budget each month, for my part. We can do this. We owe it to Melinda.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Today's View From Midgard

Another sunny morning in The Shire. It's cold, but Spring is in the air...



There's a lot of hubbub around the intertubes, privacy and hacking these days. The Man has supposedly infiltrated Lulzsec. Meanwhile, it's all good and legal for info mining by capitalists to go on unchecked.



All about the new age of nonprivacy and what's really going on online
http://www.chillingeffects.org/

The source for info:
http://wikileaks.org/



Who can you believe anymore?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/mar/06/lulzsec-mastermind-sabu-hacker-fbi-informant?intcmp=239



The actual indictments of Lulzsec folks
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/interactive/2012/mar/06/lulzsec-indictment-documents-prosecution-complaints

If you want some background on privacy issues, I recommend Caroline Kennedy and Ellen Alderman's book, The Right to Privacy.


Is privacy dead?


http://bigthink.com/ideafeed/has-the-internet-killed-the-concept-of-privacy?utm_source=Daily+Ideafeed+Newsletter&utm_campaign=b9a5b11717-Daily_Ideafeed_March_6_2012&utm_medium=email


And now for something completely different. Rachel Flowers (for those who don't know her, she is a blind, teenaged musical genius), got to try out the new modulated Moog for Keith Emerson. First is Keith's intro, with some parts of Trilogy (by ELP) and Hoedown (by Copeland, of course) played by Rachel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7qujZpMHbA

Then Rachel plays the full Trilogy; she really is incredible. I can't say that too many times.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ib31-TDH05I

Full Moon, Good News

A few really good things can make up for some of the massive general suckage that keeps us on this Earth (I've come to believe that old saying).

Most importantly, I've just heard from my niece that the 7 month-old baby who'd been missing since the tornadoes, Gage, was found alive and well today. I have no details. But the fact that he's fine is enough.

And after a notice from Amazon saying my new walker will be here between March 21st & April 5th (!), today an email shows up saying it'll be here next week. Just another week on a cane? That's very good news to me and my right shoulder.

So today was a turn-around day. It's been pretty much bad news lately. Let's hope this trend stays for a while. Nothing lasts forever, even the crappy stuff has to end sometime. Today looks a lot like that sometime. Sleep well.

Bright Light!

It's another sunny day, and the weatherbees have missed the mark again. They predicted temps in the 40s-50s F for the week. My front porch thermometer says 20'F, which means it's 8'F out there. So far they've been averaging about 10 degrees off every day. They're still claiming 62' for Thursday. Ha! Maybe they oughta call someone who lives here.

In the news... Oreo cookies are 100 years old today. Not all of them, just the brand. And-

My friend William took first hand footage of the protest in St. Petersburg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahGjTanuK08

Here's some background on that
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/05/putin-protesters-moscow

This is just typical.
http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/political-news/anger-as-rbs-transfers-scottish-jobs-to-india.1331003045

The Memory Test results
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/blog/2012/mar/02/psychology-neuroscience

Are you middle-aged?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/mar/04/open-thread-middle-age

Sauce for the goose....
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/missouri-lawmaker-proposes-bill-restrict-vasectomies-dem-stacey-newman-frustrated-debates-birth-control-female-reproductive-health-article-1.1033646

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Eleventh of Never

Over at http://mybabyjohn.blogspot.com/ , Lawless had a blog challenge. The challenge is to answer 11 questions and then make up 11 questions to pass on. She didn't pick honorees this time but left it open for anyone. Her questions are good'uns so I'm taking it up.

1. If you had a choice between a healthy dinner and fast food what would you choose? Right now, healthy. After April 21st, fast food.
2. What was the last book you read? A Feast of Crows, but I have 2 going at the moment.
3. If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be? Scotland
4. Are you old enough to remember wearing seamed nylons? yes, dammit (I wonder what the boys will answer)
5. Do you believe in tipping and if so..how much? 20%. I worked in food.
6. Are you country or city at heart? Country. Not in music, though.
7. You are a contender on The Voice. What are you going to sing? Someone Like You. I'm a belter.
8. What do you say when someone sneezes? Gesundheit.
9. If you had free rein to decorate....what colours would you choose? Earth tones, like I have.
10. How many generations back can you trace your family tree? 13.
11. What is your favourite knock knock joke? Who's there? Sam and Janet. Sam and Janet who? Sam and Janet Evening.

And now for my invented questions...
1. Red or white?
2. If you could meet one living person, who would you choose?
3. Who gave you your first kiss?
4. What are you most proud of?
5. You can be ruler of one country, which one?
6. What's the best clothing outfit you ever had?
7. You must pick having 6 children or 6 large dogs. Which do you take?
8. Pie or cake?
9. What corny/sappy/uncool thing do you secretly love?
10. At what age did you start reading?
11. Who influenced you most in life?

And I'm going to do just what Lawless did. If you want to take up this challenge, go right ahead. Please let me know you are, if you aren't on my blogroll but putting them on your blog. I want to read the answers! And thanks Lawless!

oooh, The Glare!

My eyes, my eyes! When the sun hits that snow! Cripes! We don't have winter eyes. It's been gray and dark for months, so this glare goes through your head like a nail. Today is a good day for sunglasses and avoiding harsh things. I'm staying in for the rest of the day.

Proving opinions really are like buttholes: Rush Limbaugh
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/rush-limbaugh-loses-7th-advertiser-sandra-fluke-slut-flap-article-1.1033208

The Good Gym
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/mar/04/good-gym-exercise-community-work

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better. It's not.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog/2012/mar/05/lorax-universal-biggest-animated-opening-weekend

One minute of Maggie:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/watch/downtonabbey2_maggiemoments.html

Automat cupcakes?
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/sugar-withdrawal-manhattan-bakery-sweet-tooth-fix-24-hour-cupcake-atms-article-1.1031786

The Reformer did a nice front page bit for Melinda
http://www.reformer.com/localnews/ci_20102305

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Keeping the Knees Bent

Ya know, a death is always a shock. No matter how well prepared you are, when it happens it's still a shock. When it's unexpected it's a body blow. And no matter how many deaths you've been through, there are some that gut punch. When it's someone close it's close to Hell to live through. It's not easy to get to a peaceful acceptance.

There have been a lot of deaths in my life. Each one taught me a bit more about grief. It took years to hone my grieving skills, and they are skills. They can be learned if they aren't natural to you. People have a tough time processing it all. Death isn't like anything else in life. There's no reference point. There's only one death after another. They're all different and all the same. Those steps of grief put together years ago are a framework but don't cover everything. Not everyone goes through them all or in order. But at the end of the process there need to be peace and acceptance.

What works for me is to immediately fall apart. The times I've had to conduct the funerals and had no time to fall apart were the worst deaths. Bucking up and carrying on while you're still in shock may be necessary but it's not a good way to take care of yourself. Deaths can bring ridiculous amounts of pressure and if you're already fighting for self- containment it'll leave a mark. I've learned that when I can immediately go to pieces, for however long it takes to get it out, recovery is faster.

The worst is the series of deaths. You barely get settled with one when another happens. Or when several people die at once. That's the closest to unbearable as I ever want to get.

We are grieving all together in my town tonight. Separately, but all together. Melinda Bussino knew people in every walk of life, from the homeless and destitute to the landed and rich. And everyone thought well of her. She was that rare thing, an altruist. She was "our age" and we thought she'd recover from this heart attack. She was so tough. It seems impossible and so unfair. But her mission was done.

Instead of flowers, I'm sending ten meals of food to the Drop-In Center. That'd be more to her liking.

Melinda Bussino

Melinda Bussino died this morning. That's simple to write. But hard to believe. Melinda was a champion for anyone in need. A scrapper when necessary, a tender hearted giver. She was the person this whole town turned to when life went to Hell. She fixed things somehow.

It was that amazing stalwart heart she had that finally gave out.

On January 27th, Melinda appeared on our very local news to talk about the homelessness situation and what the Governor was planning.
http://www.brattleborotv.org/?q=content/watch

Our town and everyone who ever knew her grieves her loss. This is the worst thing to happen here yet. We will always miss you, Melinda. Godspeed.

Sunday, Soft and Slow

I'm kind of quiet and introspective today. It's a good day to read and think and that's what I'll spend it doing. Meanwhile, here's some books submitted for your approval.

We all need a few laughs.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/mar/04/swedish-bestseller-has-last-laugh

This summary made me grin bandana to sidetowel.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/mar/02/truth-behind-food-revolution-glaser

Top 10 Sibling Stories
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/feb/15/will-eaves-top-10-siblings-stories

A trashy summer beach book
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/mar/04/full-service-my-adventures-bowers-review

Cool shelving
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/gallery/2012/mar/01/beautiful-bookshelves-library-pictures#/?picture=386544146&index=0

The Kreative Blogger Award


Awards are the cherry on the top of blogging. They're a lovely custom among bloggers. A way to show appreciation and give a fellow blogger a boost. Last week, Delores (whom I choose to call Lawless) of http://mybabyjohn.blogspot.com/
bestowed upon me the Kreative Blogger Award. Lawless is one of the biggest-hearted people in the blogosphere. 2 weeks ago she organized and hosted a huge virtual party to celebrate Gary's 5th Anniversary ( he's at http://klahanie.blogspot.com/) in blogging. That's the kind of gal she is.
Thank you, Lawless.

It seems the graphic for this award won't copy and paste, but I'm passing it on anyway, unfortunately sans pretty picture, to Carrie of http://carrieoncarryingon.blogspot.com/
Carrie is one of the most creative folks around. She has a children's book in the works and posts about life with her family, her daughter and husband and pets (Stinky Dog is my favorite). She's an artist as well as a writer. And she has a wicked sense of humor. So Carrie, you Kreative Blogger, this one's for you.

There are few rules to this award; simply thank the person who passed it to you and pass it on. Nice and simple. It's gotten tough to dig up 7 more facts nobody knows! So run and play with it, Carrie. You very well deserve it, and much much more.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Oh What Now?

My email is broken. Comcast strikes again. I checked for new mail and nothing moved. I tried sending a new email because I wanted to send this to Stevil and Armandodo
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/mar/02/archie-gay-marriage-issue-sells-out
But can't. I tried going thru my address book. No addresses in the address book, just the time out circle, endlessly running. So I shut down and rebooted and tried again. No dice. I'm getting sick of these problems. We pay thru the nose for these services in this area.

A few weeks ago I posted here about not having a working email and got a comment from a Comcast CSR telling me to- wait for it- email him! Genius!

So for those I owe emails to or was going to email, here are short answers/notes.
Carrie- Tomorrow, then. Yay!
Lisa- I hope you got my email about yr bd present. There have been missing emails, too. One I sent to myself (the March Heat Fund Recipe from Lawless) yesterday never made it. Glad I have a 'sent' box.
Paul- haggis waiting.
Boomer- yes, I found it. Come get it.
Gary- this may take a while. Tonight was going to be catch up night.
Ruthie- answer the phone.
Michael- I never got the cc if you sent it.
Okay, that'll do for now.

I blew the Greg diet yesterday by having late night donuts with a friend. And I feel like kaka today... hungoverish. Holy pants, a couple of donuts and I feel like total crap; sluggish, deflated, energyless, dragging my ass?! That really is it for sugar. What a nasty drug. In all these years I never knew what it did to me.

We didn't get the threatened thunderstorms. Nor the 50 degree weather. The snow lays on the ground, deep and crisp and even. It's windy tonight, my chimes are frantic out there.

Above all I'm sending love and hopeful words to my niece's family who are missing a 7 month-old baby and his babysitter in the tornadoes and storms that hit the midwest and south. I'm sorry my email's down.

Tomorrow is another day. Let's keep a good thought that it'll bring good things.

The Aftermath

Though my family in Indiana was left untouched by the latest round of tornadoes, there are many today who have lost so much. As in any disaster, some will rebuild and return, some will move elsewhere and start anew. The midwest and south are grieving heavy losses today. In Indiana they say the entire town of Marysville is lost and Henryville is all but gone. You can't look at these pictures and not realize the devastation.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2012/mar/02/tornados-natural-disasters

At least 29 people have died and many more are still missing. The destruction of these storms has left a permanent mark on our country and people. Today survivors and rescue workers are searching the rubble. Here and there they come across a miracle, but more often not.

There are many vids here from a local station in Kentucky, where the twisters caused havoc.
http://www.wdrb.com/category/123963/news

Today there are more warnings in the deep south as storms cross Alabama and head into Georgia, the Carolinas and northern Florida. I'll be thinking of my family in Myrtle Beach and Jacksonville.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Things Rarely Talked About

Some time ago I mused on creating a second blog that would only be about metaphysical and "paranormal" things. That term annoys me. Nothing can be paranormal because if it exists it's normal. Meeting zombies and Klingons on your way home from work would be paranormal. Don't get contrary, I can hear you. Just go with me here. "Supernatural" I like. It's a part of nature we don't have a grip on yet. At this time it's stuff still beyond our ken. Anyway, I'm too busy and lazy to handle a second blog so from here on I'll be ranting and recounting things supernatural, time to time.

One supernatural thing I'm sure of happening is time slips. Just recently I had a conversation with a friend where we both knew we'd just had this same conversation. It wasn't deja vu. It was like being on echo or a seven-second delay. It was a time slip. The first time slip I recall was on a subway ride in Brookyn when I lost 20 minutes. I can't even explain it. It shortcircuits my brain. I throw in those moments when you hear someone died and you're sure they'd already died; you remember where and how you heard the news and even how they died. And I think those "ghosts" that appear at regular times and are called "residual" are time slips. Some kind of loop that gets stuck like a vinyl and repeats the same instant over and over.

Most people who've followed this blog know I was raised with several religions, one of which is Spiritualism. So I began going to seances and billet-reading services from the age of 6. Through the 60s I was at my Episcopal church on Sundays and the Spiritualist church on Thursday nights. That doesn't count the circles done in people's homes and going to psychic fairs and camps. Ghosts are the Spiritualists' stock in trade. They spend several hours a week calling up the dead in a ritual manner using Christian orders of service. I'd put the number of how many seances I went to in those days at around 300. I've seen all the tricks of the medium trade. But even the lousiest medium sometimes gets lucky or manages to open that portal, and it's glaringly obvious when that happens. It's what the congregants hope for and why they all come back, like gambling. That one time when odds turn by sheer number of attempts. Of that 300 mentioned, the real thing, I'd estimate, happened about a dozen times. It's mindblowing and it changes you. It's something you can't really get unless you've been through it. I'm glad to have gotten those experiences but I don't recommend it. I think it leaves the portal open to your life forever in some ways. You can't turn it off. You can't unlearn things.

So yes, I know there are what we call ghosts, and many other things besides. There are time slips, which makes me think there are dimensions. We have 5 little senses and they aren't the sharpest on Earth. There's a lot we can't be aware of with these limited senses because we can't see/hear/smell/touch or taste them. Which doesn't mean they aren't there. Because someone is colorblind doesn't mean colors don't exist.

Well, I've rambled enough for one post. I hope these subjects don't freak anyone out, because they've been a part of my whole life and I'd like to talk about them.

On Edge Friday

Without personal details, this has been one of those days. Not so much for me, but for many people in my heart. Right now I'm worried about my family in Indiana. The storms in the midwest continue and they're near them. Things won't die down for several more hours. Oy.

I'm having a hard time with the cane today. It looks like my body isn't cane-happy, and though I did the right thing with my shoulder, trying to walk with a stick isn't making life good for any body part. Gal Friday did get me a chair so at least I can sit and do things in the kitchen. A big improvement there. I need a walker! Which is ordered (a red one this time, I'm naming it "Johnnie", of course). Amazon hasn't shipped anything yet, and I'm not paying 70 bucks for fast shipping. Come on, Amazon!

I could go on bitching and whining but even I don't want to hear it.

But here- an exercise in matrixing:
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/holy-moley-religious-sightings-gallery-1.48798