Tuesday, March 31, 2009

RTT- or Being Sick Sucks

 So Keely at The UnMom has this great meme on her site.  Go. Check it out.

Well, I haven't been posting cause I've been sick.  I started getting a sore throat on Friday after I got back from donating blood (oh, yeah, I need to call the Blood Center) and by Saturday afternoon had a pretty good fever running and thought I had swallowed razors.  Gah.

Of course, I never get sick with something like this during the week.  No, I always wait for the weekend when my choices are hit the emergency room or the urgent clinic or wait until Monday to see the doctor. I had hopes that it was the same crap that hit Hubby and Youngest and they didn't seem to die from it and in fact bounced back pretty quick.  Me, not so much.  So I finally made it the doctor yesterday and he tells me my throat is one of the Top Ten Worst Throats he's ever seen. Thanks, Doc.  Glad you can laugh about it.  And tells me, lets hope its strep.  Which I was thinking it was since my boss was out a day with strep last week and I could then blame him for my misery and work a little guilt.

No such luck.

So, it's some viral thing that could be mono but they only way to know for sure is a bunch of blood work or we could just treat it.  I chose the only real option in that last sentence.  So I went home with antibiotics to make sure nothing else took advantage of the general lack of defense in my upper respiratory system, a steroid pack and hydrocodone.  Because indeed the pain was that bad.  And let me just say this.  I can completely understand how people get hooked on the codeine family of drugs.  That is one sweet buzz and the pain went away.  So, today. I can swallow again and may just be able to eat a real meal by the end of the day.  Yea 'roids!  Damn those things are great, too.

Any way, since either staying awake from lack of sleep or drug induced euphoria has been iffy the last few days, I have been out of pocket, as they say.   So let us catch up, shall we?

First off, those of you in the Austin area.  Don't buy a used car from Pavilion Lincoln Mercury.  Eldest bought her piece o' shit perfectly reasonable Monte Carlo there.  They told the only thing wrong with car was the AC wasn't working and they thought it was the compressor.  Turns out there was a bit more. Her car has a major oil leak and with the usual family luck with cars the engine in her Monte Carlo is the most complicated thing our regular mechanic had ever seen. So complicated he refused to do anything with it.  When she complains to Pavilion they tell her all cars that old have oil leaks, she shouldn't be surprised.  She responded with, but I asked your service manager three times is there was anything else wrong with the car besides the AC and he said no.  There response was to mumble something unintelligible, set down the phone and come back a few moments later with "we found an extra set of keys"  Que?   So I have been officially given permission to go pick up the keys and leave the general manager with a new orifice from which to shyte.  Whee!  So, the moral of this story is: Don't by a used car from Pavilion Lincoln Mercury located at 12126 Hunters Chase Dr in Austin, Texas. To be safe, you probably shouldn't buy anything from them.  After all, Lincoln and Mercurys are just overpriced Fords.

Speaking of automobile manufacturers, the latest news of Washington isn't so spectacular for Detroit, is it?  One CEO gone and two ultimatums given.  And I just turned off this dealer who was being interviewed by MSNBC before I came in here who blames the entire industry's problems on the American consumer.  If we were "real citizens" of America and not just "residents" we'd want to do what was best for our country and buy American.  Let me tell you about the last two American cars I owned.  One was a 1989 AMC Jeep Cherokee bought the year before Chrysler bought out AMC.  That car had the strangest mishmash of parts known to man.  It had repeated starter issues.  And this wasn't your run of the mill starter you could purchase at AutoZone or some such and replace for a $50 or so. No it was a German starter that cost $200.  We once drove from Austin to Omaha for Christmas and had the starter go out on us.  Once we got the car running again somewhere in Oklahoma, we couldn't stop the engine until we got to Omaha.  This included when we stopped for gas, food or potty breaks with an infant in tow.  Yea!  The next was a 1990-ish Ford Escort Wagon.  A great little car for about 2 years.  Then, as Ford's are wont to do, things started to fall apart.  The AC was first.  After repeated efforts to get it fixed with next to no success, we gave up.  The car became known as the EBO or Easy Bake Oven.  Then some idiot put power steering fluid in the brake lines (not me or Hubby) and fried the brakes.  We eventually got rid of that car when we bought a Hyundai.  It barely survived the drive to the dealership.  It had to go from Round Rock to South Austin, about 30 miles, at no more than 40 miles an hour.  I think it basically chugged into the parking lot and expired.  Since then, we have had two Hyundais. Our current Hyundai is a 2002 Santa Fe.  It's been a great car.  We have had no real inclination to buy American since our track record has been less than successful.  When the American automobile industry makes a car that matches the reliability and value of our Hyundai, we'll gladly look at buying it.  Until then, they can sod off.

Enough ranting about cars.  I could go on.  But I won't.  Did you hear that Glenn Beck called himself and his viewers idiots?  Think Progress has a lovely article.  Go read it.  First he says that he believes everything he says while almost in the same breath calling himself an entertainer and anyone who takes what he says as gospel is an idiot.  Good going, Glenn.  Keep up the good work.

Puppy Watch:  4 days ago she weighed 12.6 pounds.  Today she weighs 14.7. Oh. My. God.  If she keeps this up she will be enormous. I'm talking epic. What were we thinking.  Good thing, she's still adorable if in a largish way.

And what about the latest attacks on bloggers?  One is Think Progress' Amanda Terkel who wrote the article I linked above. She and Bill O'Reilly (a larger piece of shyte has not been known to man) have a little feud going on.  He used his usual ambush tactics to try to trip her up on camera after she commented negatively about comments he's made about rape victims.  (It's long and complicated and if haven't heard about it, move on down). Anyway, lots of nasty things have been said by Mr O'Reilly and his minions and Think Progress is fighting back.  And pretty damn effectively.  They've been organizing an email campaign to O'Reilly's sponsor and have succeeded in getting two to pull out.

The other is an anonymous blogger known as AKMuckracker who runs The Mudflats . This blog has been on my blog roll almost from the beginning for me.  I found it looking for information on Sarah Palin and discovered a treasure.  The author is an excellent writer who researches thoroughly.  And AKM has been outed by Alaskan State Representative Mike Doogan.  He used his influence and state funds to discover this blogger's identity and publish it through his state sponsored constituent newsletter.  All because he felt that she had no right to remain anonymous.  Truly a douche-bag of epic proportions.  Catherine over at A Time for Change  has written a thoughtful piece informed by her law degree that really puts to rest the idea that anonymity has no legal protection.  It not only does but has a long standing tradition in our political history.  And we only have to look so far as Amanda Terkel to see why some Bloggers choose to remain anonymous.  If someone in the public eye and with as little regard for ethics or privacy like Bill O can take a public Blogger like Ms Terkel to task, follow her on her vacation so that his minions can pounce and try to provoke a response and continue to use her name and the blog she writes for as examples of what is wrong with "far left zealots" and their evil designs on America then  we should all have good reason to remain anonymous.

And yet that anonymity should not be an excuse for poor manners, obscenities and calls for violence.  I'm sure we've all read comments on various websites and blogs that go far beyond the pale in the personal attacks on the author, other commentors and indeed entire groups.  The Mudflats, however,  is not that kind of blog.  In fact, this blog has generated a tremendous community that acts to help those in need.  This blog and this blogger are examples of the very best that the Internet and blogging has to offer.  For Rep. Doogan to try to silence this blogger because he thinks that anonymity has no place in political discourse or because he took offense at something written about him is morally, ethically and legally reprehensible.  I might send a donation to whomever runs against him in the next Democratic primary. Yep. That is truly the worst part of this entire fiasco.  Rep Doogan is a democrat who attacks the author of a liberal Democratic blog (his words).  It's a sad, sad world in which we live.

Hope this was random enough for you.  I'm pooped and need to eat, take my steroids and hopefully get some more sleep.  See ya!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Michele Bachmann, that Minnesota jewel

If this is the best the Republican party can do, then I think we're safe.  Though it's clear that she's batshit crazy.

The point were she talks about forcing us to use a "global currency" was particularly confusing.  Apparently, she misunderstood an idea proposed by China that we adopt a global exchange currency not based on the dollar.  It in no way implied that a national currency would be eliminated just that we create an exchange unit based on multiple currencies instead of the US Dollar as a reserve unit.  Something the Chinese no doubt favor because of the current relative weakness of the dollar.  Bachmann thought it meant that we'd all be changing to some global currency and we would abandon the dollar.  She's even gone so far as to propose legislation requiring the dollar to remain our currency.  So, not only is this lady a fruit loop, she's stupid to boot.  Way to go Minnesota!

And I don't even want to go into her rants about revolution. I'm going to have to agree with DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan, "Michele Bachmann's rants serve to discredit her more than anything I could say."

Want to keep up with Bachmann's rants? Talking Points Memo has an entire section devoted to chronologing her nuttery.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Puppy Watch

Ok, so the little porker has just about doubled her body weight since we got her.  She's a whopping 12.6 pounds, according to the Wii Fit. She is expected to top out at somewhere in the vicinity of 75 pounds.  For the record, that will be bigger than Rowan.  He's 62 pounds.  It's the Lab in her.  She will be a horse.  Right now, she's just a pony.  A growing pony.

She has discovered that she can hold her own against the boys and spends a great deal of her waking time to harassing them. Said harassment consists of lots of jumping, bouncing, snapping and chewing. The boys, for their part, are over their initial shyness about playing with her since she's grown and now routinely run her over in the yard.  After which she bounces back up and keeps chasing them.

She is big enough that we've taken to letting her sleep with the boys at night which has almost eliminated the 2 AM whining.  She still gets up way too damn early but at least she's sleeping through the night.

Rowan, especially, gets the focus of her attention as chew toy. Perhaps because Myrddin, when he deigns to play with her at all, tends to lay on her or hold her down with his paws.  She will only tolerate a few moments of that before she squirms out from underneath.

She has discovered  that she can get on our bed, that the front door opens onto a whole different yard and that soda cans make lovely noise makers.  She has not however, discovered that the yard is the only appropriate place to eliminate and we're fast running out of "wee wee" pads.  If she could just consistently hit the damn things it wouldn't be quite so bad but sometimes she thinks getting her feet on the pad is enough even though the business end is hanging off.

She is still maddeningly adorable. And starting to come to her name.  So in all, she's doing about as well as an almost 3 month old can be expected.

It's been startlingly like have a newborn in the house, complete with 2AM crying, lots of "diaper" changes and smelly food.  Perhaps not so bad of an experience for the 19-year-old but one that I could have done without.

She also shows quite a few traits in common with Rowan, due in part, we think, of their shared Rhodesian Ridgeback heritage.  She has answered one question that has plagued us since we got him.  We now know how he makes such an ungodly mess drinking water.  Apparently, water gets "caught" in the jowls and drips out.  We know this because we see it happen just about every time Aibhne gets a drink.  She sticks her snout in the water, laps it up and when she picks up her head, water can clearly be seen running out from under her jowls.  God help us when she gets bigger if its so obvious now.

So, clearly I could talk about the puppy all night but I will spare you the rest of the boring details.  Suffice it to say that even Hubby, who growled a bit when we got her, thinks she's pretty damn adorable.

Clearly, it's a survival mechanism.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wednesday Weirdness

It's Wednesday so it must be time again for the weekly follies. Not much going on this week. Seems like the real weirdness is all in the mainstream, what with AIG giving bonuses to the division that destroyed their company and Michelle Bachmann ranting like a lunatic about how the President is ruining the country. And lets not forget the Pope and his "condoms contribute to the spread of AIDS" bullshit. Man, I bet the Vatican is regretting installing this weasel as Supreme High Commander. He's like George W. Bush for Catholics. The whole world thinks he's an idiot except for the fervent minority who believes in the Pope's infallibility. Sheesh. To bad they can't impeach him.

Anyway, let us move on to the lighter side of the news. We need it. We'll start with my personal favorite, a Lakeland, FL 8th grader was suspended from the bus for passing gas. The bus driver claims Jonathan Locke, Jr was passing gas to make other students laugh and caused a stench so horrific that it made it difficult to breathe. So he gave him a 3 day suspension. Locke, of course, says it was another student. In all, it could have been worse. A 13-year-old Stuart student was arrested in November for "passing wind" in his class. Uh, people, I don't think a fart, no matter how stinky, is a criminal offense. Offensive, maybe. Crminial, no. Get a grip.

A Denver restuarant manager arrived at work to discover legs dangling from a vent. Seems a man got stuck in the vent above the oven. The police were called, the man rescued and then promptly arrested on suspicion of burglary. What a way to start your morning.

Here's another driving and marijuana story. A 63-year-old San Diego man suspected of driving while intoxicated crashed into a neighbors house revealing their pot farm. Authorities got a warrant and removed 20 pot plants from the house. The owners will get a rather nasty surprise when they get back from vacation. Not only do they have a lovely hole in the house, but I suspect they'll be visited by the police.

I know there are times when every woman just wants her man to listen but this lady took it a bit too far. Helen Sun handcuffed herself to her husband, Robert Drawbough, while he slept. Drawbough called police on his cell phone and when they arrived they heard him screaming. She got peeved, apparently, and bit him. She's been charged with third degree assault, disorderly conduct, reckless endangerment and unlawful restraint. Somehow, I doubt they had much of a conversation.

And lastly, NASA has some egg on its face. They held a contest to name the newest module of the Space Station. Their mistake was allowing write ins. Stephen Colbert told his viewers to write in his name. He got 230,539 votes to win. 40,000 more than the runner-up, Serenity. Serenity, the name of the ship in the short-lived series Firefly, had strong support from fans of Joss Whedon. I even received an email from a fellow Firefly fan telling me about the contest. But I guess going on live TV and promoting yourself trumps word of mouth. Anyway, NASA says they reserve the right to name the module but will give the top vote getters the most consideration. So, I suspect that the module will be named "Serenity". So there, Colbert!

That's all for today, folks. Time to actually do some work at work. Later.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Random Tuesday: Stuff


This has to be quick since I only have three minutes left of my lunch break. But the boss is out with strep so maybe no one will notice.

This AIG crap is pissing me off. Can anyone tell me why we can't just let these ass hats fail? Any one?

Just read a funny/sad post on The Wind in Your Vagina. Seems ass hat teachers are every where. Now, I have a great deal of respect for teachers. They are doing an incredibly important job and most of them do it well. I have however been priveledged to know a few that shouldn't be allowed any where near kids. My daughters had the joy of one Ms. E. for Government in high school. Only one other teacher taught Government at their high school and then only one or two periods so almost every senior ended up with this bitch. She told my eldest that we shouldn't waste our money sending her to college. Now, Eldest was no doubt annoying to her teachers throughout her public school career. She was one of those kids who was smart but well, lazy. She tended to not turn in homework but still do well on the tests which kept her from failing but not much else. This same teacher got fed up with a certain young couple who met outside her classroom between classes to do a little public display of affection. She told her class the girl was essentially a slut (can't remember her exact words, its been almost 4 years now) but that was the gist. The girl happened to be Youngest's best friend and one of my Girl Scouts. So when I told the Principal about this and her comments to my daughter he was all "I'm so surprised. She's one of our best teachers and her kids always do well on the AP tests." And that was it. Talk to any of her students and they would tell you she was a bitch who had no patience, no respect for her students and was grossly intolerant. Yet, because her kids did well on the AP exam she was beyond reproach. I told the principal that some people shouldn't be teachers and she was one of them.

Grr. It still makes me mad. Any way, back to the current day. I find it absolutely priceless that a volcano has essentially ended Bobby Jindal's presidential run before it was ever announced. Seems like that volcano monitoring might be important after all. And it works, too. Scientists were able to warn people living near Mt Redoubt to prepare for an upcoming eruption. Every time it erupts, its one more nail in Jindal's coffin. Here's hoping that no one in Alaska is injured by the eruptions.

I also find it hilarious that the Republican party is trying to get Cheney to go back under his rock. "We're doing just fine without your help, sir, please return to your undisclosed location". Giggle.

While you're here, check out the Kiva and Free Rice links to the right. Let's help those living in extreme poverty and show the world the power of the internet.

Later. Back to work for me. My three minutes was so up 17 minutes ago.

Monday, March 23, 2009

UN Millennium Development Goals

The UN Millennium Development Goals (henceforth known as UN MDG) consist of 8 goals whose intent is to get the developed nations to assist those in the developing nations.  The first goal is eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.

The UN MDG  were adopted in 2000 and have a target date of 2015.  The World Bank estimates that 1.4 billion people were living in extreme poverty in 2005. What does this mean? The definition of extreme poverty is defined as living below $1.25 a day or less, in 2005 dollars.  2005 estimates show that 26% of the world population lives at or below this level.  While this is down from 52% in 1981, certain areas of the world have shown little progress.  In Sub Saharan Africa this rate has remained a constant 50%.

What has worked to decrease the poverty rates?  Micro-finance has been a big boost.  Organizations like Kiva (see the banner in the sidebar) have allowed many people to increase their income through self-employment.  Kiva acts as a clearing house for various micro-lending organizations.   You find a person who needs help with a small loan to start or expand a business venture and you loan them all or a portion of what they need.  Multiple people can donate to a single person.  That money is in turn given to a local lender who handles the actual loan transaction and voila!  I can help a woman in Africa expand her business from my computer in Texas.

Despite these and other successes, the rising cost of food threatens a billion people with starvation and another 2 billion with malnutrition.

The vast numbers of people affected by extreme poverty makes the goal of helping them seem insurmountable.  That's why organizations like Kiva are so important.  They put a face on the problem and help you to focus your assistance on one person.  And this is not just money given away.  These are loans that must be repaid.  When your money is repaid, you have the option of getting a check, loaning it to someone else, or donating to assist with the administrative needs of the organization.

You can help decrease malnutrition and hunger by supporting the World Food Programme and increase your vocabulary by clicking on the Free Rice banner.  This organization has donated over 40 billion grains of rice since its inception last year. That's enough to feed 2 million people for a day.  They've added more games now and hope to keep generating rice to feed the hungry.  The WFP has several ways to help, check out their website now.

It doesn't cost much to feed a hungry child in Africa.  $50 will provide enough food for an entire school year.  A $25 donation to Kiva will help a parent provide an income to keep their family fed and clothed. Why not make a donation to Kiva instead of sending your mother a bouquet of flowers for Mother's Day? Or instead of buying lilies for Easter send that money to the WFP?  Either way, you'll have made a real difference in someone's life.

Why should we help those living in extreme poverty?  After all, we have enough problems of our own here at home.  True enough. But I believe that extreme poverty is an evil that must be eradicated.  People living without hope tend to do things out of desperation that they would never otherwise do.  As a Christian, it's part of my calling from Christ to help the poor. Indeed, every major religion has some directive to aid the poor. Whether you follow any one of them or not, I think we can all agree, it is the right thing, the moral thing to do. A world free from extreme poverty is a safer world for everyone. It is a better world and one worth striving for.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

We're Back!!

Well, we survived the trip despite the pups best efforts to annoy us on the way down.  The puppy spent the ride down in my lap, sleeping.  And I use the term lap loosely since she moved up as the day progressed and the sun got lower until she ended up somewhere near my neck.

The ride down was long and made longer by the dogs and children. We stopped almost every hour to water/walk the dogs and check on Youngest's temperature.  Speaking of which, she ran one until Thursday morning but finally recovered.  We were a snorting/sniffing bunch though.  Good thing I took my whole pharmacy with me since we needed just about all of it between our various allergies and incipient colds.

Snot aside, the trip was great.  Here's a picture of our cabin:

The weather was wonderful- clear and not too hot with cool evenings.  The area was really quite dry and the wildflowers that we expected to see were not evident.  There was a burn ban, a common occurence in the summer in the Hill Country but fairly unusual in the Spring.  Our winter has been very dry.

Here's the view from the porch:

The creek that ran through the property was a big hit with the dogs.  There were only two other cabins on the property and we were able to let the big dogs off the leash to run.  They loved running up and down the creek and playing in the water.  The puppy liked it too but she isn't what you'd call trustworthy off leash just yet.  She needs to learn to come when she's called.

Except for the general neuroses of the two boys, Rowan especially, they did really well.  Rowan has this problem with tile and the entire living and kitchen area of the cabin was tile.  He was pretty skittish until yesterday.  He of course finally starts to relax a little when its time to leave.

The area where we stayed is really isolated.  We were about 4 miles from the Lost Maples State Natural Area and the nearest town with a population over a few hundred was an hour away.  We had no cell phone service, no internet and no TV.  Miraculously, we didn't die.  In fact, no one really seemed to mind.

We played cards and took walks with the dogs and drove around and not much else.  We all liked it well enough that we're thinking of going back this Christmas.

The trip back was much better and as usual seemed much shorter.  We only stopped twice, that might have helped a little.

Now I'm off to catch up on current events!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wednesday Weirdness

This has apparently been a good week for the weird.  And even though I'm off the grid in Vanderpool, Texas, still I am able to bring you the news of the weird through the magic of scheduled posting.  Ain't it grand?  This is I can get.  Adding a link in a comment?  Not so much.

Without further ado, we begin with Octo-Mom.  She's selling a video of her birth for a miilion dollars.  Wow.  Just wow.  Who would want to buy that and at that price?  Way to go Nadya.  Keep up the good work.  We can see you're a serious student and mom.  You should read the article linked.  It's hilarious.

I can kind of sympathize with this next one.  An 89-year-old Ohio woman was arrested for refusing to return a football to a neighbor's kid.  She countered with a lawsuit claiming that the endless toys that kept ended up in her yard caused her mental distress. I can totally understand.  Having a corner house across the street from a high school means we end up with all sorts of detritus in our yard and the occasional kid asking to retrieve it.  Still, the kids parents had grandma here arrested and charged with petty theft.  Someone's being petty, alright. Both suit and charges have been dropped.

This one has made the news since the middle of last week. Just missed it for last week's installment.  Scott Allen Wittmer claims Pennsylvania can't charge him with DUI since he's his own country and they have no jursidiction over him.  I have a question. Why are the crazy ones always referred to by their full name?   The judge thinks he needs to stay in jail until he undergoes a mental exam.  Ya think?

A lady in Spokane, WA got more than she bargained for when she purchased a used sofa from a thrift store.  She got a cat.  Seems like 9-year-old Callie climbed into the couch jusr prior to its donation and got stuck.  Vickie Mendenhall retrieved the cat and when the store had no information on who donated the cuch, took it to an animal shelter.  But being a geniunely good person, she contacted media outlets who ran the story thus altering the cat's owner, Bob Killion.  The moral of this story is two fold: cat-leasers should check their furniture before they donate it and thrift store purchasers need to look for nifty surprises.

I'm not quite sure where to start with this one.  This guy is certainly stupid.  Marcel Fournier was arrested and charged with game violations, given a fine of $400 and jail time.  He shot a doe, attached antlers with lag bolts and epoxy and tried to claim she was a he.  In Vermont, it's illegal to kill an anterless deer and to illegal to hunt at night, which he also did.  The best part, if there can be said to have one in a case of animal mutilation, is the quote from the game warden:  "Something wasn't natural about them, in addition to the fact that they weren't natural." Um, all you really needed to say was you felt movement when you grabbed them that indicated they were only bolted on, apparently not very well.

Our next gem is one that I'm sure a few of you have thought about doing.  In Bellevue, WA a trooper pulled over a man driving in the HOV lane for a seat belt violation.  His "passenger" wasn't buckled in.  Except that his passenger was a rainjacket draped over plastic piping, wearing a Gandalf Halloween mask and a beard and baseball cap.  The driver was ticketed and the trooper confiscated the dummy.  Let that be a lesson to all of you who want to cheat and use the HOV lane: Buckle Up!

In Texas, Weatherford to be exact, someone found a bull dozer buried in a golf course.  It was reported stolen after the course construction was completed in 1996. And it wasn't buried in a sand trap but in, or is it on, a fairway. I'm not sure what to add to this except to say that we're really not all crazy here in Texas. Really.

And last but by no means least is the story of one Henrick Stenson. Mr. Stenson is a pro-golfer who found an unusual way to get a bogey.  He didn't want to get covered in mud and "for the love of the game and for the fans" he stripped down to his underwear. He ended the day four shots off the lead but first in the hearts of fans. Or at least the first thing they were talking about.

That's it for this week.  Comments are unmoderated while I'm away.  Play nice children.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Random Tuesday

It's Tuesday and time again for the randomness, which is about all I can do this morning.

So, Youngest is sick.  The last time we had a real family vacation, which was almost a decade ago, she got sick, too.  Raging ear in infection then, virus that her Dad had last week this time.  First time, we pumped her full of antibiotics the day before and went anyway.  This time, we're going to bundle her up and go.  She can sit at home with a fever and stuffy head or sit in the cabin with one.  Not much difference.  If she holds true to Hubby's pattern she should be over the worst of it today.

Call me a bad mother, if you will, but she's not stopping my vacation.  She can be miserable on the couch in the cabin just as easily as the couch here.

We finished her room yesterday while she was miserable on said couch.  We ended up taking 10 bags to Goodwill.  And got out two more bags of trash as we finished going through stuff we'd set aside.  But, I can see the floor.  Huzzah!

Hubby and friend managed to pull down our dilapidated porch.  I feel much less like white trash now. Or will once we get all the trash to the dump.

Oh my.  The puppy just climbed up on to a bag of socks that need sorting in Youngest's room and took a crap.  Yes, you read that right.  She climbed up the bag.  And pooped. Hubby is yelling at her all the while and I can only laugh.  It's quite funny looking.  White bag with little pile of poop on top like a decoration.

I have to pack and figure out how we're going to get everything we need into the cars and still get the trash to the dump, so I must go.  I plan on having a good time. sick child, crazy puppies and teenagers not withstanding.  If you don't hear from me by Saturday, I may have fallen off the face of the earth.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Floordrobe update!

I found another bag and a half of clothes hiding in the closet.

Good news is all 20 and 1/2 bags are clean.  Now to sort and put away.

Sigh. No rest for the weary.

Update to the update: We have successfully culled the room and generated 10 bags of clothing, shoes and miscellaneous items for Goodwill.

Go us.

When Life Hands you Lemons

According to Wild Child , I'm supposed to make grape juice.

So I need to link who sent me the award (Done)
Then give the award to ten other bloggers. (Hmm. More difficult)
Link to said nominees (done)
Comment on these blogs (Trying!)
And post the award (Done)

Oh, and by the way, this is my second attempt at this post. The first had irretrievable formatting errors.  Sorry, Mary, for the lost comment.  GRRR!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Floordrobe Update

We got out 19 bags of dirty laundry, 1 bag of dry cleaning, 7 bags of trash, 2 bags of shoes she can't wear anymore and 1/2 a bag of clean clothes that don't fit anymore that were hiding in the dresser she never uses.  Sounds almost like there should be a catchy tune to go with that list.

It took us 6 hours to sort and bag.  Now we're off to find a 24 hour laundromat to wash the first 8 bags since hubby thinks that it would be rude (and mostly unsuccessful) to wash all 19 in one go.


Spring Break!

Today is the first official day of Spring Break.  For the first time in a while, both daughters have the same week for the holiday.  (UNT was a maverick and had the holiday a week after virtually every other school in the state for the last two years).  

We begin our vacation, the first one we've had in several years, by doing some not so vacation-y things.  We are going to start with Youngest room.  With the exception of a 1 foot by 2 foot space that barely allows her door to open halfway, the entire floor is covered with clothes, books, bags and I don't know what else.  

We call it the floordrobe. 

It's about six inches deep.  We're going to clean it.  If you don't hear from me for a while its probably because I'm in jail for strangling her.

We've gotten $60 in quarters and intend to take every stitch of clothing we find in her room to the laundromat down the road and clean everything in one go.  Otherwise, it might take weeks. We're also bagging everything that isn't a book or some electronic device and tossing it under the not unreasonable assumption that if it's been buried for over a year then she isn't going to miss it.  Once this is done, I have high hopes that we will be able to move the puppy into her room and I can sleep through the night again.  She's young.  She can go without sleep far better than I.

Monday, after the ground dries out from the three days of rain, we're pulling down our patio cover.  It's pretty much ready to fall down and something we've been putting off taking care of for far too long.  Then we haul off all the trash, add some more caulking to leaky windows and hopefully we're done.

We're leaving for a cabin out in the Hill Country near Lost Maples State Park south of Kerrville on Wednesday.  Where we will have no cell service, no television, no interwebs and nothing to entertain ourselves but nature, the dogs and ourselves until Saturday.  I cannot wait.

So if you don't hear from me much this week, you'll know why.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Blogger woes

Can anyone explain to me why, when I come home and log into my Mac and use the same browser I use at work on my Dell POS (Firefox) that Blogger gets all wonky?

My Following gadget, which I'm not so sure I like, will randomly loose the colors I've assigned to it and revert to the default. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. (And why the hell doesn't the Blogger spell check recognize the word "doesn't"?)

No matter what I do, I can't get my Navigation bar to remember that I'm logged in, meaning I can't see my editing tools from my blog.  I finally got my dashboard to stay in Blogger in Draft mode.  I orginally started this blog with a Yahoo address and I had to log in with that account to get the damn check box to stay checked.

None of this crap happens at work (except the Blogger in Draft issue, which is fixed).  And Blogger help is non-existent.  The Help Forum sucks.  There is no email for help. 

And please spare me the response that I need to get a Windows machine.  You can pry my Mac out my cold dead hands.  It will NOT happen.  I have to use the Windows POS at work.  I will not use it at home. I won't let my husband partition our Mac and put Windows on it.

Anybody have any ideas why this is happening?  Anybody?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday Weirdness

Time for another fascinating installment of Wednesday weirdness. Let's hope I can get it finished before my boss gets in.

We start off in Osaka, Japan where police have rescued Colonel Sanders from the river. Since the good Colonel has been dead over 20 years perhaps this needs a little explaining. Seems baseball fans took the statue from a KFC restaurant in 1985 as part of a victory celebration. They thought the Colonel looked like an American player on the team. The statue was found in the river missing his legs, hands and glasses but otherwise in remarkable shape for being in a river for over 20 years. And its a good thing, too. The Hanshin Tigers haven't won a national championship since the Colonel went for a swim.

Here's the first of three stupid criminal stories today. A 66-year-old Chilean man was arrested for smuggling in Spain. He had on a cast made of compressed cocaine, as well as six beer cans and two stool legs filled with cocaine. His leg was actually broken but the Barcelona police didn't really care. They took him to the hospital after they removed the cast. He may have had his leg broken just so he could attempt to smuggle the cocaine in with the cast.

Next is a man in Jacksonville, FL and his buddy who were arrested for having 17 marijuana plants in a pick-up truck. They were moving the plants to protect them. The owner was burgled the night before and wanted to secure his plants. The driver was just helping out since our brilliant horticulturist had a suspended license. First of all, if you've been burglarized and no one took your weed, then why the heck do you think you need to move it after the fact. And second, doesn't it just suck to be the good Samaritan in this setting?

Last stupid criminal is more of a stupid drunk. In Dillsburg, PA, a man in a SUV sat through six changes of a light. Honking horns didn't faze him. The police arrived and found him asleep in his truck with a beer. When they yelled at him to wake him up his foot slipped off the brake and the SUV drifted into the intersection. He was, as you might suspect, charged with DUI.

Waking up to the sound of breaking glass in not high on the list of any homeowner. But when the culprit turns out to be a 5' 9" 90 pound kangaroo, things take a decidedly different turn. Beat Ettlin of Canberra faced that dilemma and wrestled the intruder in his tightie whities out the front door. His wife called him a "hero in Bonds undies" or at least what was left of them.

And last but not least is this jewel. I saved the best for last. A man in Key West, FL won a conch blowing contest for performing "Strangers in the Night" on a conch shell. The winning group entry was an 18 piece "conchresta" who played a parody of Jimmy Buffett's "Volcano".

I give you the NPR interview with Lloyd Mager and "Strangers in the Night" and a video.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Poster Child for Neuroses

I give you Myrddin:

Here is a list of things that have freaked him out in the last 96 hours:
Grackles- they make a really loud, strange and apparently scary cawing sound
Backfires/transformer popping-  some odd loud sound whose source is unclear but was most likely one of these two things
The puppy- she bit his tail
Leaf blowers- the neighbor next door had someone cleaning his gutters and making lots of scary noises
TV doorbells/knocking- who's there? anyone? anyone?
Glass pack muffler-constant backfires
When said noise sets him off, he darts around with his eyes wide, his tail tucked and refusing to come to his name, go outside or otherwise resemble a reasonable dog.
When he calms down, anywhere from a few mintues to several hours later, he's a sweet loveable dog.
Some days I wonder if he needs puppy Xanax.  Do they make Xanax for dogs?  I know they do Prozac and its ilk but he's not sad he's just anxious.  

Some day I'll get a picture of him running across the yard with his tongue flapping in the breeze.

Baby Steps versus Goose Stepping

On February 17, 2009, Texas State Rep. Mark Strama (D-Austin) filed a bill he co-authored with Rep. Paula Pierson (D-Arlington) designed to address bullying and harassment in public schools.  The bill specifically adds language that extends protection in regards to gender identity or expression and  sexual orientation from bullying, harassment, sexual harassment, and discrimination.  It also specifically provides protection from harassment via electronic means on or off school property.  The bill was referred to the public education committee on February 26.

This one of many small baby steps in the form of proposed legislation in Texas.  Equality Texas has a complete listing for anyone interested.  Current bills under consideration include insurance non-discrimination, hospital visitation and medical decision making, workplace discrimination, a hate crimes study, competitive insurance benefits for employees of the University of Texas and Texas A&M, and the Right to Decide Act for medical decisions.

Slowly but surely, in the form of small incremental steps, Texas is inching toward the new 21st century reality.  But, this doesn't mean that all is well.

Coming up next month is the 13th annual Day of Silence on April 17.  The group, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality are attempting to organize a walk-out in protest.  (H/T to Joe.My.God) Citing concerns that, among other things, the Day of Silence disrupts the learning environment and promotes the homosexual "lifestyle".  So, not talking disrupts the learning environment.  How does a walk out not do the same?  In Texas, at least, schools receive a certain dollar amount for every student present each day.  It's one of the reasons that our local school district discourages "Take Your Daughter to Work" day and designates a day in the summer as an alternative that won't interrupt their income.  This group sees the DOS as pasrt of a partisan political action group whose "implicit purpose is to undermine the belief that homosexuality is immoral." They also are dismissive of the idea that the DOS is about protesting discrimination since the idea that gays are victims is false.  Right.

The Day of Silence website addresses this head on: The Day of Silence's purpose is to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment and effective responses. It mus really chap the collective asses of AFTAH to see the legislation in Texas addressing this very issue.

So while the AFTAH goose steps along in the misguided belief that "teh gays" are out to get them, Texas takes baby steps forward.

There might be hope for Texas yet.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The World should excommunicate the Catholic church

This is a direct quote from my husband, a reformed Catholic, when I told him about the lovely fact that the Catholic church in Brazil has excommunicated the doctors and mother of a 9-year-old rape victim.  In case you haven't heard, this child was raped by her step-father and conceived twins.  Doctors believed that carrying twins to term would have likely resulted in the death of the girl.  Even though Brazilian law allows for abortions in cases of rape or when the mother's life would be endangered, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re excommunicated the doctors who determined this pregnancy would endanger the child and her mother for allowing the abortion because the "twins...were two innocent persons".

This pisses me off.  This child has had her innocence ripped away by a sexual sadist who allegedly raped her disabled sister as well.  Does the Cardinal Battista Re excommunicate this monster?  NO.  Rape is not equivalent to murder abortion, he says.  I say this pathetic excuse for a man has murdered this child's innocence. I suppose we should be grateful that Cardinal Re didn't excommunicate her.

The Brazilian church seems to feel they're being attacked for this decision.  Indeed, they are.  And rightly so.

She's nine.  She should be worried about learning to read and making friends at school not whether or not she has to defend herself against her step-monster or the Catholic church.  Raped once by a mad man.  Raped again by the Church.

The Vatican backs the Cardinal. 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Health Care Reform

This is a topic that I can only discuss from my own point of view.  My youngest daughter and I have a condition that's listed on the National Organization of Rare Disorders database. We have Primary Lymphedema and I've posted about it before.

I've fought with insurance companies for treatment over the years.  Treatment that is now, since Medicare covers it for breast cancer patients, finally recognized as the best option for patients.  Still, it's not a complete guarantee.  If you go the the National Lymphedema Network's page and click the the FAQ tab, one of the choices is insurance issues and there you will find an insurance appeal letter that you can copy, add your name, your doctor's name and the specifics of your case to send to your insurance company if you've been denied coverage for compresion bangages or garments. 

Despite the fact that researchers dealing with this disorder will describe it as a chronic condition that requires daily maintenance, part of which is the aforementioned compression garments, insurance companies routinely cover only one or two garments in a calendar year.  This is something that my daughter and I have to wear every single day.  How long do you think a pair of socks would last that you wore every day, washed, dried and wore again?  Think you could make the one pair last 6 months?  It's absolutely unrealistic.  But, it's something that insurance companies do all the time.  Put it this way.  If you or someone you know is diabetic, wouldn't you be raising all kinds of hell if they told you that they'd only cover enough diabetic supplies to see you through 3 months?  You'd have to pay for the other 9 months.

My daughter was just fitted for a new garment.  It cost us $254 and small change.  That's our annual deductible.  Actually, "our" is a misnomer.  Every person in our household has a $250 annual deductible.  So, even though I need a new garment as well, I'll be waiting until April.  Imagine if you had to pay that amount out of pocket at minimum 4 times a year.  In our house, it's actually 8 times a year. The manufacturer will tell you that to get the optimum use of your garment you should have two at a time. One worn, one hanging to dry.  I've never been able to do this.

We are extremely fortunate that our insurance will allow us, once we met our deductible, to get as many garments as we need.  This is the first time I've ever had this experience.  It's still so new that I can't bring myself to use it for fear of being denied.  Added to that is the fact that we have exactly one provider that will fit us for the custom garments we need.  All the others will no longer provide custom garments.

This brings me to the crux of what I think the real problem is with American medicine.  It's a business run by the insurance companies whose goal is to make the most money from your premiums they can while spending as little as possible on you the actual customer.  The companies that have decided to stop providing custom garments are doing so because insurance companies are not covering them at anything near to their actual cost.  They are in effect losing money every time they sell one.  This is ridiculous.  It's one of the reasons I believe that insurance companies were so reluctant to cover the therapy for lymphedema.  It's labor intensive, requires the use of expensive materials and just plain doesn't meet the bottom line for their shareholders.  Which is so completely wrong.

Chronic diseases are expensive.  Improper treatment of chronic diseases is even more expensive.  Take diabetes. A great deal of diabetes is completely preventable.  But prevention is not something that brings in the bucks, so insurance companies ignore it.  Once a person is diagnosed with diabetes, they have to learn an entirely new way of living. If it can be managed with diet and exercise, all well and good.  But if it can't or a patient either can't afford the supplies to control the disease or won't control it, they end up with some really serious complications.  Expensive complications.  Amputations, blindness, and renal failure to name a few. I worked as a dialysis tech at one time and medicare provided the coverage for most of our patients.  But Medicare had a set dollar amount they would cover.  And it really wasn't enough to cover the expense of treating the patient.  Where were those costs recouped?  From the private insurance patient who insurance was billed substantially more than Medicare.  It as also recouped by manipulating nurse and tech coverage so that we technically met the minimum state requirements but only just barely and often by counting the nurse as a tech to meet the proper ratios.

Another example of the business model gone wrong is prescription drug coverage.  I have hypothyroidism.  It means I have to take synthetic thyroid hormone every day.  For the rest of my life.  I've been on daily medication for almost two decades.  In that time, I've been on several insurance plans.  When I first started taking Synthroid, I paid $7 a month.  That was my prescription co-pay for a non-generic drug.  Gradually over the years, that co-pay has risen.  Now, I pay $22 a month for a prescription that I could buy outright for $27.  All because the standard drug to treat hypothyroidism has gone from a non-generic class to non-preferred name brand.  Or as Blue Cross puts it, in the top tier of their three tier system. Yippee! This, my friends, is a crock.  And Synthroid is a relatively inexpensive drug. There are others much more expensive out there that  must be a real financial burden on their users.  I don't want to argue the validity or efficacy of generic versus name-brand drugs.  But it seems to me that drug companies are making an awful lot of money.  Yes, they need that to research new drug therapies.  But I find it hard to feel sorry for a pharmaceutical company that whines about generics undercutting their revenues when all they're using those monies for is to find a better pill for erectile dysfunction.  And don't even get me started on insurance companies that cover Viagra and its brothers but not birth control.  Do they not see the disconnect?

But seriously, how can we spend the most money on health care of any developed country and still have over 45 million Americans without health coverage?  This makes no sense to me.  Recently, I've heard Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) state that health care is a priveledge not a right. So says a man who has no health problems and a health plan provided by the government.  And indeed those that can afford the best coverage or to pay out of pocket, get the best care.  But it doesn't make it right. Doesn't the Declaration of Independence say something about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?   Or to quote Mr. Jefferson:

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

How can Rep. Wamp say that health care is a privilege when faced with these words?  Moreover, how can he tell a patient who's doing their best to take care of themselves and remain productive (i.e. paying taxes) that what they need to do so is a privilege that they're going to have to a pay out the nose to maintain?

I don't know the answer to our broken health care system.  You hear alot about how awful Canada and Great Britain's systems are and how anything that puts the government in charge of your health care will be just as bad.  Seems to me if those systems don't work, why not look to ones that do instead?  And is ours, as it stands now, really so superior that it doesn't need fixing?  Tell that to the 45 million plus Americans who have no insurance and are only one catastrophic illness or accident away from bankruptcy.  Better yet, tell that to the under-insured who are in the same position.

Frankly, anything that improves the current state of affairs is a win.  But it must not overlook those of us with chronic or rare disorders.  Every time I change insurance, I worry that some pencil pusher is going to label my lymphedema a preexisting condition. The whole idea of "preexisting" conditions being disallowable has got to be some sub-human's idea of cost saving.  And again, it goes to the idea of medicine as business and health care as privilege.

I look forward to learning more about President Obama's health care reform plans. This reform is over due.  Let's hope that the ideal of capitalism run amok goes the way to the dinosaur and we end up with a stable, fair and reasonable system that meets the needs of all Americans.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday Weirdness

It's Wednesday and time for another exciting installment of Wednesday Weirdness.

Remember a few weeks back when I wrote about the 14-year-old who impersonated a Chicago cop? Well, 7 officers are facing disciplinary charges in the incident. Apparently, he did drive the patrol car and helped in an arrest. Oops.

In New Zealand, an outdoor mall is trying something different to ward off bothersome teens. They're playing Barry Manilow. They seem to think that having to listen to Barry crooning "Mandy" will drive them away. The teens plan to counter with a boom box playing "their" music nice and loud. Dude, I went to a Manilow concert in college. (Sue me, okay? I'm 45. He was big in the 80s.) Since when did his music get deemed as so completely unworthy that it's considered punishment?

Here's a case of Dad gone wild. A man assaulted a Chuck E. Cheese mouse after his son told him "Chuck" picked him up and pinned him against a video game. The man ripped the head off the costume and stuck his finger in and started pointing and yelling. He was fined $500 for the assault after witnesses said the mouse only bumped into the boy while turning and attempting to flee a crowd. Now that will be a birthday that 11-year-old won't soon forget.

Speaking of overreacting, a woman called 911 not once, not twice, but three times after a McDonalds ran out of McNuggets and couldn't fill her order. She was refused a refund but offered a different meal in exchange. Not happy, Latreasa L. Goodman called 911 to complain. Just what did this woman think the police were going to be able to do is a mystery. And hopefully the idiot employee who refused to give the refund no longer works there.

File this one under, what the hell. A 20-year-old Omaha man has been charged with animal cruelty after putting his girlfriend's cat in a bong to calm it down. He says the cat acted like a stoned person after he smoked marijuana through the cat-filled bong. He also says that he's not the first one to do this, just the first one to get caught. Sure. Lots of people stuff their pets into makeshift bongs and share their high with them. Uh, hello? Just how much weed have you smoked?

A little closer to home, mine that is, we have a man jumping out of a taxiing airplane in Dallas. He opened a door, activiated the escape slide and slid down to the tarmac. He's being held for psychological evaluation. American Airlines reports that the flight ended on time. This is the part that gets me. American thinks that's the important part. The flight was on time! Hokay.

I've saved the best for last. There is someone out there in Medford, Oregon that has a hate on for green Ford Escorts. Police report that three of the vehicles has been torched recently. Now I have to admit that shade of green used by Ford in the 90s was pretty damned unfortunate.
But hardly worth incurring the wrath of this arsonist. Still, when all the cops can say is that "this person really doesn't like Ford Escorts", you have to laugh. Having driven an Escort from the aforementioned time period, I can tell you they are a typical piece of Ford shit. Great for the first 2 or so years and then rapidly downhill from there. We called ours the EBO aka the Easy Bake Oven. It was black and had a dead AC. Though I must admit I never thought of setting fire to every black Escort I saw as some sort of revenge.

That's all for this week. Now I have to get to work.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dirge for the Mainstream Media

I got to thinking after writing a long comment on Skyewriter's blog that maybe this was a topic I should tackle.  After all, I have a degree in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin.  Surely this makes me more than a little qualified.  Except the closest I got to the newspaper biz was when I tossed the Statesman for a few months.  Still, I will give you my take.

My degree was in Journalism with a minor in History and a teaching certificate to boot.  So, I tend to look at things with a historical perspective.  For instance, knowing that the broadsides popular in the 1700s were the equivalent of today's blogs helps us put our current time in perspective.  The broadsides allowed commoners to keep up to date on news, sell items and even included literature and songs. Though eventually replaced by newspapers as printing costs and taxation were reduced or ended, the broadsides were quite popular in their time.  Some even had a political leaning.

American journalism, like much in our history, can trace its roots back not only to these broadsides but the political literature of the day.  Benjamin Franklin really wrote a series of letters under the pseudonym Mrs Silence Dogood.  Maybe there was no hidden clue like in National Treasure but they were intended to create discussion. 

The news became big business in America around 1890 and the advent of yellow journalism where facts became subservient to sales reached its peak in 1898 with the battles between Hearst and Pulitzer for readership in New York City.  Citizen Kane is a thinly veiled critique of William Randolph Hearst and some of its events parallel Hearst's life, especially in regards to his newspaper business.  Sensationalized news was the hallmark of yellow journalism. 

The news media in America, especially print, has always seen itself as a vital part of our democracy.  In many ways, this is completely accurate. Without a free press, there are no checks by the people on the government.  Of course, the American press has been known to cooperate with the government. From a local paper helping the police by witholding key facts in a criminal investigation to allowing government managment of the news during wartime.  Still, all in all, the US has a free press.  We are free to criticize our political leaders and with that brings a certain level of responsibility.

We've exchanged responsible journalism for celebrity sound bites.  In many ways I think the world of investigative journalism and the main stream media were doomed with the advent of television.  As a nation, we get more of our news from TV than from either print or radio.  TV news is packaged and visual and generally less substantive than print.  Its the nature of the beast.  But when we get the majority of our news from TV this means we get a more superficial take on reality.    Certainly, there are exceptions to this.  There are journalists working today who investigate and report in-depth news.  But they are a dying breed.  They've been replaced by pundits.

Once upon a time, when I was studying Journalism in the 80s, we were taught that the press should be objective.  Reporters gathered the facts and presented them without bias or slant.  When's the last time you found this to be true? Today, we take it for granted that our print outlets are going to endorse local, state and federal candidates for office.  Once a newspaper took that step, it was easy to rationalize the elimination of coverage favorable to the opposing candidate.  I was always taught that it was my newspaper's job to present all the candidates and let me inform myself so that I could make my own choice.  Now, our news is slanted.  We hear it all the time.  Conventional wisdom says the MSM, with the exception of Fox News, is liberal.  Reality is a little more complicated.  A single network can have anchors, reporters and producers from both sides.  The same is true for print.

So we are left with the question, should the Main Stream Media live or die?  I think it needs to evolve.  More and more people are looking to the Internet for their news.  Currently, its a free for all.  Anyone with an email account can set up shop on Blogger or Word Press or any other blogging format.  Want to write your own code and set up your own website?  Go right ahead.  Want to interact with your media sources?  Behold, instant letters to the editor in the form of comments on news sites.  What does this mean?  Well, it means that it takes more effort to find unbiased news.  Or, if that's not your game, you can find instant gratification and validation for your beliefs, no matter their relation to reality.

Once upon a time, folks read the news.  They took the time to read a newspaper cover to cover to learn what was going on in their town, their country and around the world.  Then television came along and we got lazy.  Why read and research when you can watch and absorb the news?  After all a picture is worth a thousand words, right?  Except that a picture only tells part of the story.  The part that's right in front of you but not how the parties in the little drama came to be where they are.  What happened to them to create the person they are in that moment captured forever on videotape for your viewing pleasure.  That part of the story is the more interesting part and the part often left behind.

The Internet can be used to restore that story.  It can be the print media of the future combined with the immediacy of television news.  There is so much potential in the blogosphere its hard to fathom.  There's also much to be cautious about.  The fringe will have a voice just as loud as the mainstream.  Louder in many ways since the moderate majority is the true silent majority in America.  Until and unless they find their voice, those on the fringe will be loud.

I believe that there is a place for all on the Internet.  And anything that forces Americans to learn about their fellow citizens, their history and their government is a good thing.  It's what the media is all about.

Random Tuesday: Puppy Watch

It's Random Tuesday and in case you didn't notice, there's a new pup in the house. Her name in Aibhne (Pronounced Ev-ni) and she's pretty freaking adorable. Technically, she's Youngest's dog. She paid for her, bought her food and essentials and we're trying to make her clean up all the messes. And convince her that 1) the older dogs, namely Rowan, are not going to hurt the pup and 2) she's not a freaking baby who needs to be held all the time.

I predict that she and Myrddin are going to be fast buddies. He's a bit timid, around everything, but he's warming to her. Until she started nipping at his legs this morning. Then he started dancing. Almost as funny as what Rowan did. First to really understand the mental image, you have to realize that Rowan is 62 pounds of Rhodesian Ridgeback/Boxer mix and Aibhne is maybe 7 pounds of Lab/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. She's about the size of his head and when he sniffs her, his nose is only a few inches from the ground. Anyway, he opened his rather large and impressive looking mouth and held it over and around her head, which fit completely inside. He did something similar to Myrddin when he was a pup but only Myrddin's nose fit inside. He didn't close his mouth but basically she was his Lion Tamer to his Lion. At once playful and demonstrating his dominance.

Like most babies, she gets up way too freaking early. Today it was 4:45 AM. Gak! Up and ready to play. I entertained her until 5:30 at which time I woke "Mama" up and said here you go and crawled back into bed. I found them curled up asleep on the counch when it was finally time to get up.

It's been a really damn long time since I've had a puppy this young to take care of. I completely forgot how adorable they are while they pee on everything in sight. She is not water tight yet but for a 7 week old she does pretty well. She always goes outside when we take her out and she mostly hits the "wee-wee" pads inside. As long as one is close by and she's not distracted by, oh, lint or something. Yea!

She isn't too noisy at night. Though we are unashamedly weak and tend to get up to check on her. She's sleeping in an old carrier that's missing its door inside the utility room. It's tile and small and relatively danger-free. Unfortunately, it's right next door to our bedroom. Last night, when she woke up at that ungodly hour, Hubby tried to give her a pet and then put her back in the room. She cried until she found the doorstop. It's one of those that's essentially a giant spring. She entertained herself for a while making it thwack. It was amazingly loud. But since she has the attention span of a gnat, it didn't last long.

I promise to get back to something more meaningful than puppies and layout changes soon. I'm thinking Flush Limberger is a worthy topic. I tend to stay away from him and his ilk but the news lately has been, frankly, hilarious. I cannot believe that Flush is the best that the Republican party can do. Since when did he become a "leader" in the party?

More to come on that point. Though others have said it well. Check out Driftglass and Margaret and Helen.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Petco is the Devil!

Especially in January and February. 

We got Myrddin at a pet adoption group set up outside of Petco during, of all things, a cookie booth.  This year, we got Aibhne.  Our rather, Youngest bought the dog.  It's her puppy.

We almost escaped until I heard the words "Lab and Rhodesian Ridgeback mix".  That stopped me in my tracks and I had to look.  Rowan is a Ridgeback/Boxer mix and frankly he's the best damn dog ever so this one has some high expectations to meet.

See, he's good looking and knows it.  He likes to stop and pose for pictures when the camera's out.  Aibhne may have the same trait.  Could be a Ridgeback thing.

She's awfully damn adorable.  Must be a survival mechanism.  By the way, the name is pronounced "Ev-ni".

Now, my sister did the same thing when she was in college.  She bought a dog and had us keep it while she looked for an apartment that would let her have it.  She failed to do so right away and by the time she did, the dog was officially my mother's.  Hmmm.  Could history repeat itself?  If it does, Youngest has already said I will forfeit all future birthday gifts.