Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday Music Mambo -- Happy IPOD, Baby!

Rfduck popped an earbud from his ear and said, "Greetings everyone! Welcome to another hump. (WTF? It's only Monday – this is a Mambo!) Today, I'm picking up my brand new iPod! In celebration, here are some questions about music on the go."

1. Do you have an iPod or similar device? Tell us about it.
I've got a SanDisk Sansa e-series 2GB. It has more features than an Ipod Nano and it cost less. It does what I want it to, I can (usually) see the information on the screen and I liked the sound quality. On screens that small, the ability to display images is a joke. I do like it's recording capability. At the moment, I don't know where I put it, though. It's so small...
2. If the answer to question #1 is no, what do you use to listen to music?
I mostly listen to music on my computer these days. I've got some pretty decent Bose speakers and a nice subwoofer hooked up, so it goes most of what I need.
3. How many songs do you have on your mp3 player?
Right now there's only fifty or so.
4. What situations make you want to bring your mp3 player with you? Driving any significant distance with anyone less than 40 years old. Doctor and dentist appointments and any other situation where I know I will have to be sitting idle for a length of time, yet can not get up and walk around to stave off snoozing.

Want to play? Click here.

Monday Madness - Reruns

Mistress Otto has had a busy week. First, there was the visit from the “Postmasters of America” attending their annual convention in Las Vegas and all seeming to be in need of “attitude adjustment.” So Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are a mental blur of whips, lashes, welts and agonal screams. Thursday saw a visit to the chiropractor, where an adjustment of a different sort was administered ... he's been such a bad boy lately. Finally, the annual Lake Tahoe and Las Vegas BDSM and Leather Boys held their annual convention (Kinkfest '07) at the Bellagio. Otto was co-chair of the convention planning committee and the job had her running her tuchus off!

So have a smidgen of pity when she says,I know some of you aren't particularly fond of naming your most favorite and least favorite of things, but that's all I got this week, my friends! Thanks for playing and have a great week. (Also, I really have been sending notifications to you all; for some reason you're not receiving them?) Just check in every Monday, won't you?” =)

1. Currently, what television commercial is your
least favorite? “Head On” Headache remedy. It is so loud it gives me a headache.
2. And which commercial is your
most favorite? There's a Home Despot spot with NASCAR driver Tony Stewart as an instructor/inspector during a floor laying class in which one of the students creates a parquet seal (similar to the USA Presidential Seal) commemorating Tony and his #20 Home Depot car. Tickles me, for unknown reasons.
3. Of the sitcoms that are on during "prime time" how many do you watch on a regular basis? Please share. After careful consideration I am forced to conclude there isn't a single “sitcom” on TV today that I watch. Ever. Not just infrequently. Never, ever watch them.
4. Is there a television series that you enjoy watching that is ending this season? Sopranos.
5. Is there any type of program you'd like to see
more of on television? Dramas. Particularly half hour dramatic series. They seem to have gone the way of the Dodo Bird.
6. Is there any type of program you'd like to see
less of on television? Less of so-called “Reality TV” please. The Amazing Race, American Idol, Dancing With The Stars crapola has got to go before I return to watching mainstream television.
7. Is there a series that is no longer aired that you wish would come back? The original BBC series from the late 70's I, Claudius is one. Also, the 10-part Flame Trees of Thika is another.
8. Do you watch re-runs of anything on television?
Yes, I watch reruns of House, The Deadliest Catch, CSI and Crossing Jordan.

Webcam eagles rekindle hopes

"They’ve weathered unusually cold weather in early March and then a harsh Patriot’s Day storm that killed their two chicks, but two eagles whose nest can be seen on the Internet via a Web camera apparently haven’t given up on being parents this year."

Webcam eagles rekindle hopes: "Webcam eagles rekindle hopes"

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sunday Seven - Episode 87

There are lots of photoblogs out there. Some of the most talented photographers find inspiration for their photo excursions from the Round Robin Photo Challenges blog run by Carly, Karen and Steven. The blog is celebrating its second anniversary, and if you’ve never seen it, you should drop by and have a look around.

The way it works is simple: they post a topic, like “Friendship,” (the most recent one), or “Red” or “Spring.” Then people try to take a shot with their cameras that somehow applies to that general topic. With that information, you are ready for this week’s question!

But first, Otowi of "Otowi" was first to play last week. Congratulations!

On to this week's question!

Name seven photo topics you would suggest for future editions of the Round Robin (or any other) photo challenge! (It doesn’t matter if it’s a topic that has been used before: just pick seven you’d like to see.)

OK, I'll nibble. I've never participated in the Round Robin, so I don't know what they've covered in the past. Here's seven triggers off the top of my head. Even I haven't a clue where they came from.

  1. Depth

  2. Orange

  3. Silence

  4. Shattered

  5. Warmth

  6. Babies

  7. Cars

Unconscious Mutterings -- Week 221

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Order :: Standing

  2. Mortician :: undertaker

  3. Determine :: guesstimate

  4. Ignore :: dismiss

  5. Guy :: Gal

  6. Train :: locomotive

  7. Garlic :: bread

  8. Wacky :: Tobacky

  9. Parent :: child

  10. Burning :: Bush

If you'd like to play along, visit La Luna Niña for particulars. That dyspeptic nature simply dissolves when you do.

Sunday's Sounds -- Michael McGoldrick

Perhaps the world's most talented Celtic Flautist, here with Sharon Shannon, Jim Murray and Frankie Gavin playing "Jewels Of The Ocean" and "Lizzie In The Lowground." Typical YouTube acoustic quality, which means poor. Despite that, well worth the few minutes to listen. Watch out if you tend to tap your toes -- you'll be dancing in the aisle during collection!

Saturday Six - Episode 159

Sorry to be so late posting this week’s edition. I’m still on the diet, so maybe you’ll forgive me if I have food on the brain!

But first, it was Jude of "My Way" who was first to play last week's edition. Congratulations, Jude!

Here are this week's "Saturday Six" questions. Either answer the questions in a comment here, or put the answers in an entry on your journal...but either way, leave a link to your journal so that everyone else can visit! To be counted as "first to play," you must be the first player to either answer the questions in a comment or to provide a complete link to the specific entry in your journal in which you answer the questions. A link to your journal in general cannot count. Enjoy!

1. What’s your favorite kind of bread?
My personal favorite is pumpernickel bread, but what I eat most often is multi-grain.
2. As a kid, did you eat more warm sandwiches or cold ones?
Cold sandwiches – getting hot foods into a one room school house was next to impossible.
3. Which of the following side items do you most prefer with a sandwich: french fries, potato chips, or cole slaw?
Of the three listed, I prefer the chips. In reality, though, what I like is a dill pickle and a side of potato salad.
4. Take the quiz: What kind of sandwich are you?

You Are a Tuna Fish Sandwich

Some people just don't have a taste for you. You are highly unusual. And admit it, you've developed some pretty weird habits over the years. You may seem a bit unsavory from a distance, but anyone who gives you a chance is hooked!
Your best friend: The Club Sandwich

Your mortal enemy: The Turkey Sandwich

What Kind of Sandwich Are You?

5. If you could only use one of the following condiments, are you more likely to use mayonnaise, ketchup or mustard on a sandwich?
I use a light mayonnaise or a homemade mayonnaise if I can. Mustard I reserve for ham sandwiches.
6. A question of deli etiquette: do you eat the dill pickle spear before, with or after your sandwich?
I eat my pickle with my sandwich, thank you very much.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Fill-in, #18


1. OMG I just saw a _hearse making a delivery to a nursing home (of flowers left over from a funeral which they make into bouquets for the dining room)_!
2. _2008 just might be_ ... the end.
3. When I want lobster I generally _have to stifle the desire_.
4. If I can _touch my eyebrows with my tongue_ can you _understand why women find this ugly troll interesting_?

5. What a _Bushie_ sees a _Bushie wants to_ owns.

6. It's been _a hounds age_ since you _had a drink_
7. This weekend, I'm most looking forward to _reading a book_

If you'd like to play along and get clean copies of this week's questions, just click on this entry's title and you'll be whisked away, almost as if you'd taken a bubble bath in Calgon.


Not quite.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

John M. Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #162: Karmic Chameleon

A Bottlenose Dolphin at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, USA
From Wickipedia, A Bottlenose Dolphin at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, USA

John Scalzi took a moment from perusing the net for new references about "The Last Colony" to exclaim, "Hey! Welcome to the first of the reader-submitted Weekend Assignments, in which I've chosen topics suggested by you, the lovely and talented By The Way readers."

This week's question is a head-scratcher of a poser, from Astaryth:

Weekend Assignment #162: Reincarnation is a fact and you are going to come back as some type of animal. What kind would you prefer and why?

Extra Credit: Do you think you have good Karma or bad? Do you believe in Karma?

Dear John,

By the terms of the parameters of the question coupled with Hindu beliefsconcerning reincarnation and the return on the Wheel of Life, first I have to wonder that we are all coming back as animals. Surely one amongst us is sufficiently holy and enlightened enough to progress further along the wheel...

Besides, I don't WANT to be an animal.

Animals get eaten, run over, hunted, used and abused by humans, experimented upon, and often live short, brutish lives with no redeeming features whatsoever. The basic credo of animal life is do unto others because something bigger will be doing unto you. This
is not a fun way to spend your next trip through creation.

However, assuming I just had to come back as an animal, it would be my distinct pleasure to return as a Tursiops truncatus, the common Bottle-nosed Dolphin. I think I'd like to be one of the top predators in the ocean, roaming the seven seas in a pack, yet highly social with a
well-developed sense of joy, fun and wonder. Good thing I like raw fish, huh?

Before I end this, I must confess that I don't believe in karma as a motivating principle in this universe. However, if I did, I'd be screwed in terms of the Turn to come. Way too many negative events in and about my passage around the wheel this time to be good for karmic advancement. Hell, I'm an atheist – that'd be a sinker in the well of karmic beliefs, for sure.

As always, thinking good thoughts about you and your family. Those stanky feet running unfetterd in your hotel room are a whole 'nother matter entirely.


Wednesday Mind Hump – Word Association

Mememeister Rfduck reveals, “Hello everyone! Welcome to another hump. Today's topic isn't very usable, so we'll just do some word association:”

Blue -- Bayou
Gritty -- Punk
Star -- Sally
Girl -- Interrupted
My -- lollipop
Let's -- Boogie
Hey – Baby

Well, there you have ze hump for this week. See who else is humping and show the word that you have humped too by leaving a link to your lily pad right here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Boing Boing: Wiccan pentacle approved for US soldier tombstones

Boing Boing: Wiccan pentacle approved for US soldier tombstones: "The US Department of Veterans Affiars have added the Wiccan pentacle to its list of 'emblems of belief' allowed on the government-issued headstones of veterans. The new policy apparently settles two lawsuits against the VA".

Monday, April 23, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Blue Skies

I'm going to be flying in a whole lot of airplanes over the next three weeks, and this week's photo shoot is about what I hope to be seeing a lot of:Your Monday Shoot: Picture some blue, blue skies. Wide stretches of blue are the goal here. Fluffy clouds are great, too -- but try to get the skies mostly blue. Interesting stuff in the foreground is groovy, too.

From my vacation archives of 2005 comes these:

Ontario, Canada across from Buffalo, NY

Buffalo across the Niagara River

My backyard at sunset...

Coast of Maine with Cruise Ship near Bar Harbor

WLBZ-AM The Sports Zone --
Steven King's Radio Tower

Monday Madness -- Musical Chairs

Otto rolled out of bed to the dulcet tones of the clock radio wafting the strains of that classic show tune Summertime from “Porgy and Bess,” poked an eyestalk past the curtain and found the temerity to say, “Good Monday morning, everyone! Here are this week's questions. Have a great week, and thank you for playing.” =)

1. Name a song you know most (or all) of the words to. The aforementioned Summertime is one. I sing it often when cruising down the Interstate if I find myself getting drowsy with some miles to go before an exit (up here they can be 15 – 20 miles apart). I do this only when alone or accompanied by the dog.
2. Name a movie that you have watched more than once and would watch again. All of the Harry Potter movies, The Crying Game, Gone With The Wind, Harvey, Arsenic and Old Lace, Dune, and the LOTR trilogy all come to mind. At Christmas I try to see as many versions of The Christmas Carol as I can find.

3. Have you ever read a book more than once? Please share. Many books. Some I try to read every year, such as Robert Heinlein's Time Enough For Love and Friday. Anne McCaffrey's “Pern” series and her “Pegasus” series I try to get through every couple of years. Bill Geagan's Nature I Loved. There are others, of course.
4. Share an inspirational quote with us. Well, I posted this one over on my writing blog, Snoozelets, not too long ago:

The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history
may be the hijacking of
morality by religion.”
-- Sir Arthur C Clarke, science fiction writer (1917- )

5. What day of the week does (or did) your birthday fall on this year? It will fall on a Wednesday this year, according to the calendar.
6. Have you ever bought a book or cd or movie more than once because you forgot you bought it already? Yes, I have. It's happening more often now that my CRS1 is worsening with age.

¹CRS = “Can't Remember Shit”

Click the banner to get a clean copy of the questions. You know you want to. No West Nile Virus and MRSA-free!

Monday Music Mambo -- Happy Birthday, Baby!

Rfduck announces to the world his natal day thusly: “Greetings, mamboers. Today is a special day - it's my birthday! It's also the birthday of velvet-voiced Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Roy Orbison.”

1. Name a few of your favorite Roy Orbison songs.
Mean Woman Blues, It's Over, Cry, Blue Bayou, Oh Pretty Woman.
2. Tell us one of your favorite Roy Orbison lyrics.
From Mean Woman Blues comes this verse:

She gotta ruby lips, she got shapely hips, yeah

Boy she makes ole roy-oy flip.

I got a woman mean as she can be,

Some-a-times I think she's almost mean as me”

3. How cool did Roy look in those dark glasses?
Way cool, particularly as he started getting to be more popular and played bigger venues, resulting in the lighting crews going to carbon-arc lamps. His light-sensitive eyes went bonkers with the brightness, so he graduated to some of the darkest sunglasses seen in the West.
4. If you aren't a fan of Roy Orbison, you can still participate - give me a music-related virtual birthday gift!

Happy (Virtual) Birthday, Russ!

Vintage Gibson 52-57 Conversion Les Paul Goldtop

"Converted from an original vintage Gibson 1952 LP Goldtop (by Dan Shinn owner of Lays Guitar Shop). This guitar is now virtually a '57 Goldtop as all the electronics are from 1957. The neck has a perfect reset to accommodate the tune-o-matic bridge. The P-90 pickup routes were plugged and then routed out for the PAF pickups. The guitar was refinished with the correct gold color and a '57 serial number added. The pickup cavities now look correct for a late 50's LP and also have new gold paint as well (check out the smile in the neck pickup cavity)."

A Plethora of Words for Free...

Today, April 23, is the very first International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day and it is being celebrated the world over with an outpouring of free words by (primarily) science fiction authors in reaction to a viciously stupid rant by current Science Fiction Writers of America Vice-President Professor Howard V. Hendrix.

It's a tempest in a teacup and I applaud this constructive method of poking fun at Herr Doktor Hendrix. Check out the link to John Scalzi's blog entry -- there's a pleasant surprise awaiting you.

Sunday Seven - Episode 86

I have a colorful question for this week, so start thinking of some popular pigments and you'll be ready to answer!

But first, Jude of "My Way" was first to play last week. Congratulations, Jude!

On to this week's question!

Name your seven favorite shades of your favorite color.

  1. Sky Blue

  2. Aqua

  3. Cobalt

  4. Turquoise

  5. Midnight Blue

  6. Royal Blue

  7. Robin's-Egg Blue

Click the banner if you'd like to post your answers so others can find them.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

moxie: It's earth day!!

I was all set to write a scathing riposte to all the bleeding heart liberals with their "Earth Day" crap, but moxie: It's earth day!! is better than what I had, so into the Crap-o-matic with my draft. Just read his.


- As every good conservative knows, Earth Day begins at sundown the day before. But because I have so much to do (capitalism takes work, liberals), four days ago my gay houseboy turned on every incandescent light bulb in the house. Anyone that turns them off before the bulbs burn out gets one less Halliburton stock certificate in their Christmas stocking.

- Also, put brand new batteries in my Dick Cheney “Shock and awe” vibrator. Threw the old ones in the street even though they’re still good."

Unconscious Mutterings

Week 220

11 hours, 2 minutes ago

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Found :: art

  2. Male :: testosterone

  3. Spoken :: word

  4. Life :: teeming with

  5. Tonight :: Johnny Carson

  6. Fingernail :: file

  7. True :: false

  8. Give up :: surrender

  9. Shining :: luminous

  10. Everywhere :: ubiquitous

If you'd like to play along and don't feel like stripping out my answers to copy them to your blog, visit the mother ship, La Luna Niña, for your weekly words. While you're there, be sure to leave a link to your answers so the rest of us can find them.

2 eagle chicks on webcam fail to survive nor'easter

2 eagle chicks on webcam fail to survive nor'easter

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Pure Magic

This is what happens when a horse and rider not only train superbly, but both truly love what they're doing...

The WEG2006 Freestyle Dressage Final performance of
Pure Magic!

Saturday Six - Episode 158

Here we are, up and running with another edition of the Saturday Six. I'm having a dose of caffeine as I write these, which will figure into the theme of this week's questions.

But first, it was Nichole of "My Two Cents" who was first to play last week's edition. Congratulations, Nichole!

Here are this week's "Saturday Six" questions. Either answer the questions in a comment here, or put the answers in an entry on your journal...but either way, leave a link to your journal so that everyone else can visit! To be counted as "first to play," you must be the first player to either answer the questions in a comment or to provide a complete link to the specific entry in your journal in which you answer the questions. A link to your journal in general cannot count. Enjoy!

1. What's your favorite cold beverage and when did you last have it?
These days it's iced tea (unsweetened decaf and I had some day before yesterday).
2. What's your favorite hot beverage and when did you last have it?
Coffee, black decaf that I grind from whole beans immediately before brewing – I'm drinking some now (although it has gotten tepid).
3. How addicted to caffeine do you consider yourself to be?
Only mildly addicted since the total ban the cardiologists imposed immediately after my bypass. These days I'm lucky if I have even one caffeinated beverage every other day or so.
4. Take the quiz: What is your coffee personality?

What's Your Coffee Personality?

Black Coffee
You are Black Coffee, low maintenance and dependable. Pretty down to earth, you don't put much stock in trends and fashion, prefering to stick with what is comfortable. You have your angsty moments, and sometimes your economical spending habits can be extreme. (Really, does your entire wardrobe have to be Salvation Army?) And you're probably addicted to caffeine. Might want to watch that.

Take The Quiz Now!

Quizzes by

READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #96 from De: How do you feel about the candidates who have declared themselves so far for the 2008 election?
There's not a one of them I'd vote for. I'm embarrassed by the utter mediocrity of the field.
6. If you could sit down for a cup of coffee with any single candidate for president, ask any questions you wanted, and really get a clear picture of what that candidate supports, doesn't support, and is most likely to push for, who would you choose and why?

Nary a one interests me to that extent. They truly hold no allure.

Armed Miss America 1944 Stops Intruder, Armed With Snub-Nosed .38, Miss America 1944 Stops Intruder On Her Kentucky Farm - CBS News

Armed Miss America 1944 Stops Intruder, Armed With Snub-Nosed .38, Miss America 1944 Stops Intruder On Her Kentucky Farm - CBS News

"I'm trying to live a quiet, peaceful life and stay out of trouble, and all it is, is one thing after another," she said.

Ain't THAT the truth?

Friday, April 20, 2007

John M. Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #161: The Longest Trip

Weekend Assignment #161: What's the longest amount of time you've been away from home on a trip? By "trip" I mean things like a journey taken for pleasure (a vacation, cruise) or for business (business training, conventions, workshops, facilities tours) and things of that nature. Things that I would not classify as a "trip" for this assignment would be something like a military assignment or a long-term work posting, or going away for college. All of those will certainly keep you from home for a while, but they're of a different nature than when you're living out of a suitcase (or backpack, or whatever).

Extra Credit: What's the furthest you've been away from home?

Dear John,

I hope this finds you hale, hearty and healthy – you're going to need to be, if the life of a “road warrior” is to be yours for the next month or so. It can take an awful lot out of you. Particularly something like a book tour, with new cities almost every day with multiple venues in each – there lies madness. And while you have posted a nice picture of your suitcase, I don't see an accompanying garment bag. Surely you will have more than one suit coat or blazer with you for a month?

Anyway, I had to think long and hard about this one. The specific caveats regarding work, military and similar endeavors eliminates most of the things that came to mind. I was never one for vacations, once I was involved in raising children, simply because we just didn't have the money to spare.

I once made a five hundred mile journey from a suburb of Philadelphia to Bangor, Maine. This was accomplished in several stages. First, I was sent off with my maternal grandmother to Swarthmore, Pennsylvania from the tiny hamlet of Gardenville in the same Commonwealth. Seems my poor mother had had enough of me and my two siblings, so we were farmed out to Grandma, via our very special Uncle Howard, who drove us all down. Then I, and only moi, in the company of the aforementioned uncle took a local commuter train into town to be met my father's old college buddy and “little brother” (in the fraternal sense of Sigma Alpha Epsilon) in downtown Philadelphia at Penn Station, whereupon we boarded a north-bound steam clipper for “New York, Hartford, Providence and Boston.” This would have been accomplished in a couple of stages, the first being the trip to New York's Penn Station via the Pennsylvania RR. We then had to disembark and make our way to Grand Central Station, where we then boarded a New York Central – New Haven consist north to Boston. On that leg of the trip, I was so wound up on this hot, hot July day with no air conditioning that I very quickly puked the chocolate milkshake and bologna sandwich I'd eaten at Grand Central all over the lap of my father's friend. We were a mess, the pair of us. We only had day loungers in the smoking car, so we were both miserable and odiferous. Finally, late that afternoon, we pulled into South Station in Boston and had to make the mad dash to North Station in the “early weekend get out of town rush hour.” There we met up with my father, whereupon “Uncle Stan” gladly relinquished my sorry little ass to my pater and Stan went on his merry way (no doubt to a cold Martini in a hotel bar with air conditioning and beautiful gals for the picking. He was that sort. Why he'd ever volunteered to escort me northward, I never learned).

Meanwhile, Dad and I had embarked on a Boston & Maine train pulled by a streamlined diesel engine at North Station and claimed our berths in a sleeper car. I was starving once again, but in the whole rush hour dash across town my empty belly had been sorely ignored, so I was a cranky, pissy kid by the time we'd gotten settled aboard. Father thoughtfully ordered some snacks via our car steward while he put me through a bath. This had the salutary effect of cleaning me up, cooling me off and calming me down at the same time. I was soon back to my old, adventurous self, so it was off to the dining car and a steak dinner fit for a King! After, I was soon tucked into bed and watching the North Shore of New Hampshire whizzing by outside my window. The next thing I knew I was being awakened as we slowed to come into Union Station in Bangor, Maine. A short taxi ride to Grandmother's house later and I'd reached my destination for the summer. Over five hundred miles traveled in twenty-four hours by a five year old boy. Whew!

Two months later, I reversed the route. This time, it was Uncle Stan who accompanied me out of Bangor down to Boston and then we met my father at North Station. Dad took me the rest of the way, but this time we took the train from New York to Lambertville, New Jersey, where my mother picked us up. She seemed awfully relaxed... Then again, she'd been without kids for the better part of two months as she recovered from surgery that I didn't know she had undergone until years later...

There you have the tale of my earliest journey in memory (fading fast). As these things go, it wasn't all that far. But for a little boy of five, it was far enough and long enough to make an impression on this mind that would rather remember my first dog, my first brush with death in a personal way, or the time I gave my brother Richard a cake tin “helmet.” Funny how memory works.

I hope Krissy and Athena have a wonderful time together, just mother and daughter, as you wend your way across the USA and Canada hawking your wares. And I hope the reunion upon your return is so bittersweet the tears that flow from your eyes unstoppable. Then you will truly know you have arrived home, my friend.


P.S. My furthest trip from home would have to be the South China Sea. My longest trip was a sojourn around the United States and Canada for seven months in 1973. That trip was also my highest trip, in more ways than one...

Plastic clogs disrupt machinery in Swedish hospital | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited

It seems that every nurses favorite plastic footwear, perhaps the most comfortable in the world for lengthy daily wear, are coming under fire:

Plastic clogs disrupt machinery in Swedish hospital | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited: "A Swedish hospital wants to ban its staff from wearing Crocs plastic clogs, saying they generate static electricity that can knock out medical equipment.

Blekinge hospital in southern Sweden suspects the slip-on shoes, made by US firm Crocs Inc, are to blame for at least three incidents in which respirators and other machines malfunctioned. The mishaps caused no injuries.

Hospital spokesman Bjorn Lofqvist said staff wearing the clogs could turn into 'a cloud of lighting' because of the static electricity."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Lifehacker Code: Better Gmail (Firefox extension) - Lifehacker

Are you a GMail user (Google's free online email product. If not, why not)? Here's a bunch of tools that get you immediate results, without having to get your fingers dirtied up by wading through instructions and code options. I use it myself and all I can add to the glowing reports is that it works. Well.

Lifehacker Code: Better Gmail (Firefox extension) - Lifehacker

Via Elton

Season of Discontent

Whew! It's finally stopped. The rain, that is.

After six inches or so, plus six inches of snow and sleet, horrendous winds that downed trees across power lines and blocking roads, it is momentarily quiet. There's even a hint of blue in the early dawn sky and the seemingly incessant drip drip drip of water in the computer room from a limb through the roof has stopped, too.

That was a bitch of a gale, let me tell you. And I'm 45 miles inland and sheltered to the Northeast! Down on the coast it was far, far worse. Out to sea in the Gulf of Maine there were steep, choppy waves averaging 35 feet with occasional rogues to 50 feet -- that's as tall as this house is long! Winds along the coast blew a steady 50 knots, with gusts to 83 knots.

So don't mind me -- there's so fixing and picking up to do, on top of the normal Spring Hustle. I expect the "daily" in this blog's title to become a figment of our collective imaginations. At least for a while. But do know we survived and we're thinking of you and yours.

Wednesday Mind Hump – Time Out!

By rfduck the music-loving mememeister, or is he the absent-minded McMemer? In any case, he awoke from a dream of Afro Celt Sound Systems filling a huge auditorium to the sound of Sinaed O'Connor to discover his mind had flown the coop in deja vu fashion all over again:

“Sorry! Once again, I forgot to put up a Mind Hump on Tuesday night. I'll put it up today, and you can do it whenever you like,” Wednesday or Thursday. The topic is Time Out Day.

1. What do you do when you need a time out from all of your daily worries and activities?
In warm weather, I go paddling. Nothing finer than messing about in a boat. In winter (9 months of the year here in Maine), I retreat to my office, put headphones on and listen to music while reading.
2. What celebrity needs to take a time out in the corner for naughty behavior?

Tom Cruise needs incarderation, so he doesn't count. Define naughty – most activities of celebrities don't seem to be news-worthy these days unless it rises to the level of the ridiculous or felonious behavior!

3. What do you wish you could spend more time doing?
Fishing. Soon, real soon now.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

MEME: Monday Madness -- Tricia Turns A Trick

MEME: Monday Madness -- Tricia Turns A Trick

Otto has finally come off her chocolate bunny high long enough to explain, “This week's questions come from tricia.... Thanks, Tricia! Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead. Thank you all for playing.” =)

1. Who do you think is cuter, the host of Survivor, or the host of Amazing Race? Never having seen the host of TAR, it's got to be Jeff Probst of “Survivor”, of course!
2. Have you seen any movies in a theater recently? No. It's been years.
3. Do you read manga? Why would I read my graprefruit?
4. For people living in the US: Have you ever traveled outside of the state you were born in? No. I wasn't born in a state – I believe it was a hospital and I was quite calm, actually, even if I did have to squeeze through a hole the size of a... For people living outside of the US: Have you ever traveled outside of your country?
5. Do you have a Yahoo! 360 page? No. I don't know my way around Yahoo very well, so it's only a Yahoo 120° page...
6. How many blogs/online diaries do you have total?
Actually in use? There are three including this one. All the rest tripped while drunk and fell down, failing to rise from the ashes ever again.

Go visit Otto at the Monday Madness web site, sign up for the mailing list and leave a link to your answers in the comments there.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday Music Mambo -- Stress Relief

Mememeister Rfduck took a moment from preening his feathers to exclaim, “Hi everyone! I'm back, as promised. Today is National Stress Awareness Day.”

1. Name two artists who give you stress.
There are so many punk, hip hop, rap, and similar artists that fill the bill. Eminem and Bonnie “Prince” Billy come to mind. So does Kanye West. Really, though, there are so many whose names I've not even bothered to learn...
2. Name two artists who relieve your stress.
Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell do it for me. So do Dire Straits and Jethro Tull, in their own ways. And there's always Nora Jones...
3. Name two songs that relieve your stress.
Tacoma Trailer on Leonard Cohen's “The Future” album is one. Waltz #1 (Nunley's Carousel), written by Billy Joel and performed by Richard Joo, which appears as a bonus track on “The Essential Billy Joel, Disc 2”. Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah (from his 1994 album “Grace”) does a nice job, too, but it has become a musical cliché, sad to say.
4. Name two albums that relieve your stress.
The ones I turn to most often lately are Johnny Cash's “American IV: The Man Comes Around” and George Martin's reimagining of a dozen Beatle's classics on his 1998 album “In My Life”.
5. When you're stressed, do you ever want to grab a guitar and smash it into an amp like Pete Townshend?
That thought has occurred to me once or twice but I hate the waste of a good (or even cheap) guitar. Then again, I hate to bet, too. Must be my Scottish heritage showing through.

MEME: Sunday Seven - Episode 85

Yesterday, there were some thought-provoking questions on the special edition of the Saturday Six to celebrate the first episode of the fourth year. I figured I'd go a little easier on you for Sunday.

But first, Cat of " Sweet Memes" was first to play last week. Congratulations, Cat!

On to this week's question!

Name the last seven movies you watched on DVD (or VHS) at home.

  1. Stranger Than Fiction

  2. Batman Begins

  3. Walk The Line

  4. RV

  5. Just Like Heaven

  6. Firewall

  7. March of the Penguins

    Either answer the question in a comment at Patrick's Weekender or answer it in your journal and include the link in a comment.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Unconscious Mutterings -- Week 219

Week 219

7 hours, 21 minutes ago

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Freeze :: thaw

  2. Naturally :: enough

  3. Painting :: murals

  4. Merits :: Own

  5. Ironic :: Wry

  6. Survival :: Guaranteed

  7. Cow :: calf

  8. Anchor :: bolt

  9. Sisters :: brothers

  10. 70 :: MPH

Visit La Luna Niña to play along...

Saturday Six - Episode 157

I'll start this week's edition with a bit of math: if you figure that there are 52 weeks in a year, three years would be equal to 156. Since this is the 157th edition of the Saturday Six, this happens also to be the first episode of the fourth year of this modest little meme. So this week, I'll bring back the ever popular Reader's Choice Question: all of the questions asked this week come from players of a March edition of the Sunday Seven.

But first, it was Otowi of "Otowi" who was first to play last week's edition. Congratulations, Otowi!

Here are this week's "Saturday Six" questions. Either answer the questions in a comment here, or put the answers in an entry on your journal...but either way, leave a link to your journal so that everyone else can visit! To be counted as "first to play," you must be the first player to either answer the questions in a comment or to provide a complete link to the specific entry in your journal in which you answer the questions. A link to your journal in general cannot count. Enjoy!

1. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #90 from Remo: In the event of a disaster or act of disorder, are you currently prepared to remain self-sufficient for a day, a week, or a month until measures could be taken to restore order and services?
Not really, anymore, although at one time it would have been quite possible... Now I am dependent on foreign oil for heat and transportation, I no longer garden or raise food animals either. So, I have on hand food sufficient to last for several weeks, but the absence of heat would become an issue fairly soon (it's 28° F. outside right now, so yes, heat is still an issue). Water is available in the stream, but I am no longer physically able to haul it. Loss of power translates to no water. We'd be able to get by awhile on the water in the hot water tank, but probably not a week. My, how the mighty have fallen...
2. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #91 from Frida: Feng shui: Totally serious, totally crapola, or just another cool way to get redecorating ideas?
Total crapola as far as I am concerned. However, there's nothing wrong with decorating to reduce stress and increase the sense of well being. But really now, this whole thing has become something of a religion for some and that is too extreme. I haven't any room for extremists in my life – I have Remo for that.
3. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #92 from Call Me Betty: Do you feel comfortable being yourself in public or do you feel you have to hide certain aspects of your personality?
Unless I have gotten to know you, you don't see the real me – I am very vigilant in public. In private I am comatose.
4. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #93 from Wil: Name your favorite flower to appear in the Spring around you?
Jonquils and daffodils are mine. I even named a dog after Jonquils, once upon a time.
5. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #94 from Cat.: From this list, are there any places you would never travel.
I doubt that I'd ever bring myself to travel to Saudi Arabia anytime in the near future. Too risky for Yanks at this point, no matter what assurances the Sheiks may offer; that country is ready to explode and Yanks are a major target throughout the Middle East at this point. I'd risk Egypt as they have internalized the notion that Western tourist dollars are what keeps the economy flowing. Some of the venues aren't high on my list of places I want to visit, but that still wouldn't keep me from visiting them if given the chance.
6. READER'S CHOICE QUESTION #95 from Kathy: Who is your favorite [motion picture] director?
Martin Scorsese is my favorite right now. Although, I really hate to admit it, but I really liked Quentin Tarrantino's work with the Kill Bill movies.
If you asked a question and didn't see your name on the list, it doesn't mean I didn't like your question! It will be asked in a future edition. And if you have a Reader's Choice question you'd like to see asked (and answered), send me an email! I'd love to be able to include it in a future edition of the Saturday Six.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday's Song

Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians - 1989 Live

Friday, April 13, 2007

Croc attack vet's arm saved |

Friday the 13th kind of bad luck ... a day early!

Croc attack vet's arm saved |

Baby eagle spotted in Maine nest after all

After the roasting they've given Don Imus, who can blame the little fella for being a bit leery of media attention?

Baby eagle spotted in Maine nest after all

John M. Scalzi's Weekend Assignment #160: Suggest Your Own Weekend Assignment!

John's going to be a very busy boy in the near future, as he explains below (which also explains why he's got us doing his job):

Why does Mrs. Scalzi look so pensive here? Perhaps because she's pondering this week's Weekend Assignment:

Weekend Assignment #160: Suggest a Weekend Assignment for one of the next few upcoming weeks. Why? Well, because very shortly now, I'll be doing a three week book tour, in which I'll be traveling all over the country like a madman in support of my latest novel, The Last Colony. While I'm doing that I'll still be checking here and doing things like the photo shoot and the Weekend Assignment, but it would be helpful for me if I had the Weekend Assignment topics all lined up and ready to go. Not only that, but we do this "suggest a topic" thing about once a year, and it generally ends up with some really interesting topics that I myself wouldn't have thought up. So in all, this seems like a great time to pick your brains for great topics.

For this particular weekend assignment, you don't have to write up your suggestion in your blog or journal, just drop it into the comment thread. You can suggest more than one topic if you like -- but try to limit yourself to no more than three or four. Make your suggestions, and on Monday I'll let you know which topics I've selected and from whom. Then over the next few weeks, I'll run those topics and play along as well.

So get to it! I'm looking forward to seeing what Weekend Assignments you'd like to see.

Dear John,

I've been without an internet connection since the first flakes flew yesterday afternoon. Another six inches of the white stuff, heavy with so much moisture such that the usual aluminum feed scoop that serves me as a snow shovel has been relegated to the sidelines. My back isn't up to lifting 75 pound scoops of snow and my heart isn't, either. Consequently, it's a little tough to get all wound up with the thought of spring travels and other flights of fancy. Still, I'm a little envious that you get to do it and I don't. On the other hand, for much of the rest of the country it is spring, even if the weather hasn't always appeared that way. And spring means the start of open water fishing. So how about this for a Weekend Assignment: Tell Us About The One That Got Away. For extra credit, why, pictures, of course. Better yet, video of you landing the whopper!

Most norte americanos have tried their hand at fishing or else know someone who has. So, let's celebrate the spring ritual of dipping a line with a weekend assignment devoted to piscatory pursuits.

As always, give my best to your lovely wife and progeny. And if you've never taken them fishing, now is your chance to do it and to write off the expense of a trip out with a guide on Lake Erie – it's a legitimate work expense for a blog entry, isn't it?


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut, RIP

We have lost a great mind. The world is a sadder place this morning.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Christian Kids Want to Know: Why Does God Hate Trailer Trash?

Here's one pastor who's a fucking nutcake:

Christian Kids Want to Know: Why Does God Hate Trailer Trash?

Via the J-Walk Blog

Update: Seems I have been taken in by a parody site. As Emily LAtillah was so fond of saying, "Never mind."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thousands of pets probably sickened by food - Pet Health -

Veterinary chain’s data estimates 39,000 animals were affected

Thousands of pets probably sickened by food - Pet Health - "Updated: 8:53 p.m. ET April 9, 2007

WASHINGTON - Pet food contaminated with an industrial chemical may have sickened or killed 39,000 cats and dogs nationwide, based on an extrapolation from data released Monday by one of the nation’s largest chains of veterinary hospitals."

I've been wondering about the extent of the morbidity from the food contamination issue. Read the whole MSNBC article, it explains that the effect was worse in cats than dogs, even though it appears the TV news shows I watch have focused on the consequences to dogs. Then again, the greater liklihood of fatality only offers a visual of grieving owners of cats vs. actual shots of recovering animals for the dog owners. All in all, a shame, no two ways about it.

Via Chris Pirillo and MSNBC

Monday, April 09, 2007

Sad Kermit :: HURT

Via An Aquarium Drunkard. I can only echo his thought: Genius. Pure genius.

Monday Music Mambo

Rfduck, intrepid explorer of garage sales and jumble shops, took a moment from his never ending search for a left-handed smoke shifter to explain, “Hi again, everyone! Today is Former POW Day. A very important and serious subject, yes, but nothing that I can really connect to music. I suppose we'll talk about Spring instead.”

Not everybody has had the same difficulty – check out the play list of this Prisoners of War compilation CD. Still and all, I don't blame our mememeister for avoiding a very sticky subject. An acquaintance of mine was a Gulf of Tonkin incident POW on the USS Pueblo. The experience rocked his world to its very core; it destroyed all of the spirit and joy in that young man's soul and aged him in less than a year to the point where, if you didn't know, you'd have guessed he was a man at least three decades older. I salute you, sir, and your comrades in arms. It was a terrible ordeal for anyone to experience and should serve as a warning to our current administration in their dealings with North Korea. But no, the Karl Roves and others of the inner circle haven't a clue of what I am writing about. Stupid Bastards. But I digress...

Make a mini-playlist for Spring. Five songs about Spring, that sound like Spring to you, make you think of Spring, or are good to listen to in Spring.

  1. Spring of '65 by The Holy Modal Rounders off their “Good Taste Is Timeless” album (1971) is truly my favorite “spring” song – but I'm just weird that way. You can hear a short sample here that really doesn't do justice to the song but I don't have the full track on CD.

  2. So Early In The Spring – The Pentangle “Sweet Child” album – 1968.

  3. Speaking of Dreams – Joan Baez on the 1989 album of the same name.

  4. Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell clearly evokes the sense of a northern spring and its variable weather on the “Clouds” album – 1970. Her later versions evoke an entirely different feeling. This is the light, airy version.

  5. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy) – Simon and Garfunkle from their 1966 album “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme”

There you have my choices. I look forward to seeing yours. You can grab a clean copy of the question over on the Monday Music Mambo's website, BDINSANITY, as well as post a link in the comments there to your selections detailed on your blog, too.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

MEME - Unconcious Mutterings - Week 218

Week 218

20 hours, 2 minutes ago

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Freak :: out

  2. Open :: door

  3. Important :: question

  4. Magnetism :: force

  5. Lap :: dance

  6. Anything :: goes

  7. Match :: Game

  8. Father :: Time

  9. Idea :: Store

  10. Mirror :: Image

    Want to play along? Just visit La Luna Niña to grab a clean copy of the word list and to leave a link there to your answers in your own blog.

MEME: Sunday Seven -- Episode 84 -- Faces

I hope you're having a great Easter Sunday. This week's question should be fairly simple, so that you can get back to your family or friends or do whatever kinds of things you do, if any, to celebrate or reflect upon the day.

Then again, it might be more complicated than it seems. Maybe you'll want to think about it and come back later. As always, it's up to you!

But first, Erika of " Projects of the Mind and Soul" was first to play last week. Congratulations, Erika!

On to this week's question!

Name seven of the very first things you notice about a person -- male or female -- when you meet them fir (sic) the first time.

  1. Primary sexual characteristics (gender, boobage, package)

  2. Age

  3. Height

  4. Weight

  5. Eyes: color, shape, set.

  6. Hair

  7. Hand grip & skin texture