Saturday, September 30, 2006

Silly Saturday

Some molecules have silly names, like crapinon, dickite, and arsole.

Go here for a whole list of them!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Big Brother?

One thing London is famous for is its thousands of security cameras.

Next week, The City of Dallas will install 40 surveillance cameras to monitor activities in its downtown area.

Here's what I don't understand: Why does this upset (some) people? Why are they screaming "Big Brother?"

How is this an infringement on our privacy if the cameras are located in public places? I say if it's legal for a flesh-and-blood cop to stand in the same place as the camera, then what's the difference? If a cop can stand at the intersection of Main and First Streets of Anytown, USA, and legally watch everything that's going on there, why is having a camera positioned in the same area considered an intrusion?

Aren't we just taking advantage of modern tech to make it easier and cheaper to keep an eye out for crime? We stopped using horse-drawn fire wagons loaded with water barrels when better tech became available, didn't we? So why all the fuss over surveillance cameras in public places?

I don't get it.

Yeah, That's About It

Here's a neat thing.

And another.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Face on Mars

Over thirty years ago, NASA took this surface picture of Mars' Cydonia region. Ever since, people have speculated that this was an indication of intelligent life on the planet. Some even said it was Elvis (proving, once again, that whether Earth has intelligent life is still in question.)

Fast forward to present day, and the ESA (European Space Agency) recently sends back this image of the same area.

Conclusion: For crying out loud, people. Obvy, it isn't Elvis!
It's Michael Jackson after all those face lifts!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Even the Weather Embarrasses This Administration

White House said to bar hurricane report

Apparently, global warming, like evolution, is:

. something one has to "believe" in, and

. politically damaging to the government

What does this remind you of, this suppression of science because its findings contradict the king pope politboro president?

This Old Thing?

How long does a new outfit have to hang in the closet before you can wear it?

According to my mother, that time was always vague, indeterminate. The only certainty was that you couldn't wear the outfit because it was new.

I mean, at what point, exactly, would this new outfit transform itself into a wearable garment? A week? A month? And would that be a 30-day or a 31-day month? Sixty days? What?

Lookit, you go shopping for new clothes because ... you need new clothes, right? But then you can't wear them because they're ... new.

To this day, I feel guilty about wearing something new the day after I buy it. It's like everyone will know that I'm wearing something new - no, not just new, but too new. Un-aged. Brought forth from the closet before its time. Undecanted.

Was your mom the same way, or was it just mine?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Who Knew?

Your Hidden Talent
You have the natural talent of rocking the boat, thwarting the system.And while this may not seem big, it can be.It's people like you who serve as the catalysts to major cultural changes.You're just a bit behind the scenes, so no one really notices.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Getting Kinky

Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman is making news lately. That is, he's making news NOW, suddenly and mysteriously, about a certain word he used 26 years ago: the "N" word. No, not that "N" word, the "Negro" "N" word. The fact that he used this word in a COMEDY ROUTINE MAKING FUN OF RACISTS is apparently being "overlooked" by the press.

Conclusion: The Kinkster must be getting waaaaay too close in the polls for the comfort of the Republican incumbent and Democratic opponent.

Idiotically, the NAACP has apparently bought into this nonsense and is demanding an apology.

Here's one of my favorite Kinky Friedman bumper stickers:

Yeah, what a "racist."


Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Tomcat thought when we moved that there would be enough room for all the books.

But room enough to unpack all the books and put them up on shelves? Eh, not so much.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Somewhere in here is an iron ...

and I'm looking real hard for it. Ahem.

I found a sink,

and the ironing board, and a Scruffybutt, tho.

Someday, this is going to be my laundry/sewing/crafts room.

But for now, I'll call it "Before" and let it go at that.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Survivor 13

I don't know about you, but after watching the first episode of Survivor 13: Cook Islands, my money's on the Puka tribe. Yes, I know they came in second in the immunity challenge, but I think in the long term they're going to pull this thing off. They work very well together, and they have something the other three tribes do not have: Cowboy.

He is Anh-Tuan "Cao Boi" Bui, nicknamed Cowboy, a Vietnamese refugee, who is one of the most interesting and entertaining personalities that's ever been on Survivor, second only (IMO) to Rupert on Survivor 7. Cowboy is not what you'd expect to see on the Asian-American tribe. He's like a flower child from the 60s. He's all peace and love, man. When one of his teammates had a headache, Cowboy used accupressure and the guy's headache went away.

My only worry is that he'll be voted off before he wins over the rest of his tribe. They are much younger people and they're not too sure how to take this hippie throwback. If Puka can keep from having to go to Tribal Council for a few weeks, I think Cowboy has a great chance of making it to the final four. If he doesn't, it won't be for lack of trying. As he himself said, "I survived the Vietnam War. I can survive this."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Texas Rose

I saw her in person way back when she was State Treasurer and campaigning for Geraldine Ferraro. I remember her so clearly; she electrified the room, just as she did years later at the Democratic Convention.

She was a no-nonsense Governor, and not only took her seat at the head of the good-ole-boys' table, but kept the door open for other women, and minorities, to join them. You can read about all the things she accomplished here and elsewhere.

One thing I know she tried to do, unsuccessfully, was get it through the good ole boys' heads that what we needed most instead of more prisons was drug rehab centers. That was Ann. Logical and un-PC. So now we have tons of drug addicts in the prison system learning how to become serious criminals.

We'll miss you, Lady.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dancing With the Stars

He did us proud, our Emmitt.

Keith Olbermann, Hero

I'm so angry about ABC and the producers of "Path to 9/11" trying to "spin" the events of 9/11 to favor this Administration, and by the continued lies being told on the airwaves by the President and Vice President.

Keith Olbermann has put my outrage into words so eloquently that I hope you will go to
this website and read the full transcript.

Then, if you would like to ask your local media to read these words, go
here and tell them.

A few highlights from the transcript:

Half a lifetime ago, I worked in this now-empty space [ground zero]. And for 40 days after the attacks, I worked here again, trying to make sense of what happened, and was yet to happen, as a reporter.And all the time, I knew that the very air I breathed contained the remains of thousands of people, including four of my friends, two in the planes and — as I discovered from those "missing posters" seared still into my soul — two more in the Towers. And I knew too, that this was the pyre for hundreds of New York policemen and firemen, of whom my family can claim half a dozen or more, as our ancestors. I belabor this to emphasize that, for me… this was, and is, and always shall be, personal.

And anyone who claims that I and others like me are "soft", or have "forgotten" the lessons of what happened here — is at best a grasping, opportunistic, dilettante — and at worst, an idiot — whether he is a commentator, or a Vice President, or a President.

They [the administration] promised bi-partisanship, and then showed that to them, "bi-partisanship" meant that their party would rule and the rest would have to follow, or be branded, with ever-escalating hysteria, as morally or intellectually confused [actual Cheney quote]; as appeasers; as those who, in the Vice President’s words yesterday, "validate the strategy of the terrorists."

They promised protection, and then showed that to them "protection" meant going to war against a despot whose hand they had once shaken… a despot who we now learn from our own Senate Intelligence Committee, hated Al-Qaeda as much as we did.

The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war, on the false premise that it had ’something to do’ with 9/11, is "lying by implication." The impolite phrase, is "impeachable offense."

[and referring to the movie last night on ABC]

Yet what is happening this very night? A mini-series, created, influenced — possibly financed by — the most radical and cold of domestic political Machiavellis, continues to be televised into our homes. The documented truths of the last fifteen years are replaced by bald-faced lies; the talking points of the current regime parroted; the whole sorry story blurred, by spin, to make the party out of office seem vacillating and impotent, and the party in office, seem like the only option.

How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love, and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death… after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections… how dare you or those around you… ever "spin" 9/11.

Last night, on the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Bush again tried to spin 9/11 by attempting to connect those events with his invasion of Iraq by declaring, "The safety of America depends on the outcome in the streets of Bahgdad."

No, Mr. Bush, the safety of America depends on getting your fundamentalist regime out of office, starting in November.

Monday, September 11, 2006

In Memoriam

Moving Back Here to Blogger

I just discovered that Vox requires people to sign in before they can comment, so I'm moving back here to Blogger. I thought all you had to do was click "Leave a Comment," but I didn't realize that if you were not a member of Vox, there was nothing to click! Sorry!

Oh well. I did love the ease-of-use that Vox had, but it had major flaws:

People can't comment without being members;
You can't have a blogroll unless the blogs are also Vox blogs; and
You can't transfer the content of your old blog to Vox.


Thank you, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Who's Behind the ABC Propoganda Movie?

[Previously posted on my Vox blog]

Yep, you guessed it: right-wing evangelicals. See Max Blumenthal's excellent (and frightening) article HERE.

Instead of Watching the ABC Propaganda Movie...

[Previously posted on my Vox blog]

Have you seen HGTV's new show, Design Star?

It's a competition, sort of based on Survivor (which I also love), but instead of a million dollars, the prize is your very own design program on HGTV. This is an incredible opportunity for a young designer.

Ten contestants have competed, and tonight is the finale - two design competitors are left, David from Flordia, and Alice from Texas. IMO, David is by far the better designer and will win the competition tonight. Alice is much better on camera, though, than David. I wouldn't mind seeing them both win, frankly, and being awarded a show together. They are both likeable people and they get along well.

Unlike the previous episodes, the judges for the finale are the viewers only. Online voting was closed at noon last Wednesday, but the results won't be revealed until tonight. Voters could cast one vote per day per computer or mobile phone.

The show itself could use some improvement. You know how at the end of each Survivor episode Jeff Probst snuffs out the torch of the loser? Well, on Design Star, instead of torches they have little TVs on poles, each with a contestant's picture on them, with the words "Design Star" superimposed. When the loser is announced, Clive intones, "Your show has been cancelled," and their screen goes blank. Hokey.

The final challenge for David and Alice was to design something within a glass enclosure in the middle of New York City.

David did an awesome Asian-inspired bedroom, and Alice did a children's room that was ... eh, really not her best work. You can see pictures here. These pics don't do the rooms justice, tho. I think they're going to rerun this episode tonight before the finale, so you could catch it then.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Well Duh

[Previously posted on my Vox blog Sep 9, 2006 at 10:50 AM]

This story has been overshadowed by the ongoing ABC "docu"drama debacle:

Senate Finds No al-Qaida-Saddam Link

Well duh. We knew that before the war even started. As I've said several times before, Tomcat and I were standing with a group of anti-war protestors outside Parliament in London a few days before the war began discussing this very issue. We could not believe that our own government didn't know that Saddam and Osama were enemies! Another thing we discussed back then was the fact that an invasion of Iraq would spark civil war. Were Tomcat and I, as well as the other protestors out there that night, prophets? Of course not. We were just liberals - you know, well-informed critical thinking types, the very types of people that Iran's president wants to silence.

Iran's hard-line president urged students Tuesday to push for a purge of
liberal and secular university teachers
, another sign of his determination to
strengthen Islamic fundamentalism in the country.
Iran still has strong moderate factions but Ahmadinejad's
administration also has launched crackdowns on independent journalists, Web
sites and bloggers
. [emphasis mine]

But back to the Senate's report.

Democrats singled out CIA Director [Democrat] George Tenet, saying that during a private meeting in July Tenet told the panel that the White House pressured him and that he agreed to back up the administration's case for war despite his own agents' doubts about the intelligence it was based on.

"Tenet admitted to the Intelligence Committee that the policymakers wanted him to 'say something about not being inconsistent with what the president had said,'" Intelligence Committee member Carl Levin, D-Mich., told reporters Friday.

Tenet also told the committee that complying had been "the wrong thing to do," according to Levin. [emphasis mine]

Gee, ya think?

And get this:

As recently as an Aug. 21 news conference, President Bush said people should
"imagine a world in which you had Saddam Hussein" with the capacity to make
weapons of mass destruction and "who had relations with Zarqawi." [Bush and his
handlers know this is a lie; see next paragraph]

The report said that al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida leader killed by a U.S. airstrike last June, was in Baghdad from May 2002 until late November 2002. But "postwar information indicates that Saddam Hussein attempted, unsuccessfully, to locate and capture al-Zarqawi and that the regime did not have a relationship with, harbor or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi."

In June 2004, Bush also defended Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion that Saddam had "long-established ties" with al-Qaida. "Zarqawi is the best evidence of connection to al-Qaida affiliates and al-Qaida," the president said. [another absolute lie] [emphasis mine]

Remember I said that three years ago, before the war started, "We could not believe that our own government didn't know that Saddam and Osama were enemies!" That's what we (naively) thought then. What we KNOW now is that the administration had the facts before them but chose to ignore them. Furthermore, this administration continues to repeat the lies to this day, and that has been quite successful for them. Incredibly, about half of the American population STILL BELIEVES that there was a link between Saddam and Osama.

I suppose we should rejoice now that at least the United States Senate - half of one branch of this government - has recently "discovered" what the rest of us out here already knew.

Friday, September 08, 2006

ABC=Another Bush Campaign

[Previously posted on my Vox blog Sep 8, 2006 at 11:20 PM]

Doubtless the "Path to 9/11" movie will be a ratings bonanza for ABC, but I wonder if it might backfire. I don't think people will forget that ABC allowed its airspace to be used to politicize the tragedy of 9/11. I know I won't.

Fortunately, this is an election year and people will remember at the polls how ABC helped the current administration use this national tragedy for some imagined political gain.

It is difficult to take seriously ABC's pronouncements about this movie being "prejudged" when it gave advance copies of it to Rush Limbaugh and his ilk, but not to Sandy Berger, Madeline Albright, or Bill Clinton. The astonishing thing is that it was said with a straight face.

The events surrounding that day should be held sacred in the light of truth, not lied about, not politicized, and certainly not exploited for the sake of ratings.

This is shameful and they know it.

ABC=Another Bush Campaign.

New Digs, Maybe

I'm experimenting with moving my blog over to Vox, so if you want to see my most recent posts, click HERE. The "Leave a Comment" section is at the top of the posts, not the bottom, btw. It's hard to see.

It's not that I don't like my current layout, it's just that I am so tired of Blogger glitches, plus Vox is so easy to use that even I can navigate around in it without pulling out my orangey strawberry blonde hair!

I may come back to Blogger, but for now I'll see you on Vox!

Flower Power

[Previously Posted on my Vox Blog Sep 8, 2006 at 5:07 PM]
[There were pictures with this post, but Blogger is being difficult today and won't upload them.]

Grace, the artist, and I went to Home Depot today so we could get some mums. Honestly, after losing so many plants over this brutal Texas summer, we were desperate to find something to plant now that it's cooled all the way down to the lower 90s! Maybe we were jumping the gun just a wee bit, but mums we hunted and mums we brought home. I'll put mine in pots on the front porch over the weekend and take pictures.

When I tried to walk by the bulbs, I started feeling lightheaded. The thing is, if bulbs are already on display in the garden department, then fall is officially on the way, which means cooler weather, and being able to go out-of-doors of an afternoon to the ... (and here I got so giddy I almost swooned) ... to the cutting garden! Visions of having a cutting garden, and arranging flowers for my new dining table made me weak in the knees.

100_0636.jpg (BTW, that's Grace, the artist, in the background.) I've never been much into gardening (a long story, that), but now my fantasy was showing me in gorgeous, riotous color that I could have all the bulbs I wanted along the side of the house. All I'd have to do was dig out and prepare a bed for bulbs, plant them, and in the spring there would be tons of flowers. Of course, when I say "dig out" I mean Tomcat will do that part for me (ahem - I wuv u, Schmoopie.)

In this euphoric state, I started choosing bulbs for my cutting garden - no, make that My Cutting Garden - that would go with the dining room decor. I got these:

100_0660.jpg That's 40 bulbs each of tulips, daffodils, and ranunculous, plus 12 of fresia. I hope that will be enough.
Do you remember a book called Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach? Somewhere in there, probably in one of her fall month entries, Sarah described her first experience with planting tulips, which was the same as mine, many years ago: she followed the instructions that came with the bulbs and planted them four inches apart (another method is to take a handful of bulbs and scatter them on the ground, planting them where they land). She waited all during autumn and winter, expecting to be rewarded with dramatic masses of gorgeous blooms. That didn't happen. What she got were a few spindly tulips here and there, sans drama.
Like me, Sarah thought the problem must be due to something she had done/not done correctly. I knew her pain. One fall day years later, she said, she came across a man planting bulbs in an area where she had seen tulips blooming their little heads off, so she stopped and asked him how he managed that. He told her to ignore the instructions that come with the bulbs and do this instead: dig a hole and plant five bulbs - one in the middle, the others surrounding it. Sarah said when she planted her tulips that way, she was never again disappointed!
That's how I'm going to do it this time, and if that doesn't work I'll probably give up (and Tomcat will be very annoyed about digging that flower bed.)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

As I Commenced to Begin to Start Thinking About Wondering if I Should Write Today Or Not...

...I decided it was imperative to color my hair first.

Okay, this is Strawberry Blonde, right? Not orange. Right?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Another Product I Will Never Buy

Every time this commercial comes on, I swear I want to

Shoot her directly in the forehead.
Shoot her directly in the forehead.
Shoot her directly in the forehead.

Another one on my Never-Buy-Not-Even-In-A-Fit List is Wisk ("Ring Around the Collar").


This Would Be a Really Good Time to Grow Up

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Murder or Earthquake?

Hmmm ... should I continue with the murder mystery, Gino's Law, or go back to the first book, The Earthquake Doll?

The murder mystery isn't finished. I'm daunted by the infamous third act where everything has to come together, preferably in a way that thunders to the climax. I'm worried that I won't be able to pull it off, never having written a mystery before. Leaving clues pointing to several suspects, sustaining old or launching new red herrings, making everything plausible, entertaining, suspensful, and above all unpredictable - oh sure, I can do that. Not. I stopped writing.

I thought, rather than waste time worrying about this, why not turn to the other book, the YA novel that I've already finished. I was in the process of editing it - oh, about two-thirds of the way through - when I had my bervous nakedown last fall. Why not just return to that, finish off the edit, and start the query-go-round in search of an agent? Then, I could return to the mystery while waiting for the phone to start ringing. :)

But ... shouldn't I really get back to the mystery and stop looking for ways to get out of doing the work, and prove to myself that I can pull it off? If I switch to the other book now, aren't I just admitting defeat? Shouldn't I just march right up to the keyboard and pound that third act into the hard drive like the woman I know I am? Or, not ...

Then Grace, the artist, came over the other day to take a look at her old portfolio up in the studio (in the garage apt. out back) because she's joined a group of writers and illustrators of children's books. She decided that she needed more stuff in her portfolio, so I showed her some of my old children's stories to see if there was enough imagery in any of them for her to illustrate. She chose one called The Kirin, which is a story about loss (of friends, loved ones, etc.) for six to nine-year-olds. A kirin is a Japanese mythological beast (for which their beer is named.) I can hardly wait to see all the images she comes up with for the story!

Since the story was based on something Japanese, I was inspired to make a decision: go back to the first novel, which is set in Japan, and get that sucker edited and sent out into the world.

You'd think that would be all there was to it. I sure did, anyway.

But no. When I got out all my notes that went with the MS, it finally (finally, after two years, mind you) sunk in that I should do what Pooks and everyone else who's read the story recommended: rewrite the MS from Isoko's POV alone, instead of from hers and Susan's. I don't know why I didn't see this clearly before. Okay, maybe I do know why; I'm stubborn. It is obvious to me (now) that the story will be much stronger. Of course, this requires a lot of work to pull off because so many scenes occur without Isoko. Once again, I'm daunted.

So ... I'm going back to the murder mystery.

I think.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Why Can't We See the Receipt for the Emperor's New Clothes?

Both Pooks and Shalanna (and many others, I'm sure) have already blogged about this. But in case you missed it, take a look at this video.

It's from Countdown with Keith Olbermann (MSNBC), and is Olbermann's scathing response to Rumsfeld's outrageous assertion that those who criticize the administration suffer from "moral or intellectual confusion."

It's about six minutes long.