April 2008 Archives

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April 30, 2008

Some time early this morning, far earlier than I am accustomed to being awake, I was woken up by the cats yowling. A shudder ran down my spine, and I noted through the window that a dark cloud had settled over this normally placid little town.

The feline complaining eventually ceased, and I went back to sleep puzzled by what had happened. What could have transpired to upset our sleepy little hamlet?

Then this afternoon, I read this.

Former President Bill Clinton courted Wal-Mart Democrats today, telling them his wife was well prepared to lead the country.

"If you vote for her, you'll make her the next president," Clinton told about 400 people at an Apex community center.

Mystery solved.

Posted by Russ at 04:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Quote of the Day

John Hinderaker, at Powerline:

There's a sucker born every minute...

... but a sucker like Jimmy Carter comes along only once or twice in a century.

If he'd stuck to building houses for the poor, he might have been forgiven for being the worst President we've ever had. Until a few years ago, I was certainly prepared to let him off with a wrist-slapping. Now? Not only is he the worst President we've ever had, he's the worst ex-President, too. Quite an accomplishment.

Best ex-President ever? I'm undecided, but I'd consider Herbert Hoover, if for no other reason than his creation of the Hoover Institution.

Posted by Russ at 12:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
April 28, 2008

Yes, yes, I know — lots of cat stuff lately. So sue me. If I were having health problems (apart from the usual rounds of physical therapy and such) I'd be posting about that.

The lads had their first night of freedom last night. Naturally, they used it to best effect by playing the Thundering Herd of Elephants game while I was trying to get to sleep. They eventually settled down around dawn.

When I woke up, Kismet was sleeping at my feet. Very cute.

I'm not going to call them inseparable, but they do enjoy hanging out together.

Mycah still doesn't quite know what to make of these interlopers. When I have had human visitors in the past, she was always pretty skittish at first, and would be "off her feed" for a couple of days. Same thing now — I can't believe I actually have to work at it to get her to eat. She'll get back to normal pretty quickly, I expect.

Posted by Russ at 03:04 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
April 25, 2008

Say hello to Kismet and Packet.

Kismet earned his name. He's an exceptionally curious lad, running around like a dog off its leash, poking his nose everywhere and sniffing everything.

"Kismet," of course, is the name of a wireless network sniffer.

Packet is a big, soft fluffball. He's more laid back than Kismet... but when curiosity strikes, he goes places Kismet hasn't yet ventured.

His frame is thoroughly encapsulated in Layer 2.

Anyone doubt my geek bona fides now?

Don't forget to board the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

The The Carnival of the Cats this week is hosted at House Panthers.

And for your every day cat needs, a visit to the Cat Blogosphere is always recommended.

Posted by Russ at 05:34 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
April 24, 2008
Day Three

The lads are definitely relaxed in their new surroundings.

New Kitteh #1 has staked out the army cot as his turf.

New Kitteh #2 is a fan of the bed. When he stretches out, he really stretches out.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if he has a bit of Maine Coon in him.

I'm about 95% sure on their names... 100% on NK#1, 90% on NK#2.

Posted by Russ at 08:19 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Hot Air, Michelle Malkin, and Gateway Pundit (and undoubtedly scores of others) are all over the story of Nancy Pelosi's made-up Bible verses, which she trots out when she's trying to convince us clingy rubes that Earth Day is a biblical imperative. To wit:

The Bible tells us in the Old Testament, ‘To minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.’

This, from a woman whose main base of support consists of people who are extremely unlikely to read, much less obey, God's word.

Query: what other verses has she made up to support her stands on:

  • Abortion

  • Tax Increases

  • Gun Control

  • Tort Reform
or any other issue?

"Blessed are those who visualize world peace, for it is better to visualize peace than to actually go and make the peace."


Please make suggestions in the comments.

Update: This story got me thinking; I knew there was an appropriate real passage from the Bible that might address this topic. It took a while, but I found it, in Paul's letter to the Romans, chapter 1, verse 25:

They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised. Amen.

That sounds precisely like what Pelosi is doing.

Posted by Russ at 12:51 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
April 23, 2008
Day Two

The lads have been acclimating to the house, and to Mycah's presence... as much as they can, under the door.

They are a pair of serious nose-poker-inners. Here are their first few moments of freedom:

They made a break for it today — when I went in to feed them, they bolted through the open door. Mycah was right behind me, though, and the boys were startled enough to dash across the hall into the bathroom rather than down the hall and to the rest of the house.

In my somewhat debilitated physical condition, I was unable to wrangle them into their bedroom. Fortunately, they are young and as yet not jaded by shiny things, so the laser spot was successfully employed to lure them back into their room.

I think I have names for them. A few have been floating through my head, some relating to my chosen profession, but they aren't all geeky... unless you count my having been a Korean linguist as geeky.

OK, bad example. Linguists are very nearly the biggest geeks in the Army.

A couple more days. In the meantime, they're being referred to as "buddy" and "fluffy boy." They really are quite a pair.

Posted by Russ at 09:33 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
April 22, 2008

Houston... Tranquility Base here. The kittehs have landed.

Naming has yet to occur.

Posted by Russ at 08:36 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack (0)
Earth Day facts

Number four:

80% of all life on earth is found under the ocean surface. Of that total, 63% can be made tasty with lemon and butter.

Go read the rest, at IMAO.

Posted by Russ at 12:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
April 21, 2008

I'm off from work Mondays and Tuesdays; they have become my "errand days."

Because of the night-shift work I do, I am usually comatose until about noon. [Due to a minor episode of insomnia, I was out until about 2 today. Ugh.] After I wake up, I have the three priorities that all right-thinking people have first thing in the morning: brew up a cuppa joe, feed the cat, and clean myself up such that I can go out in public without disgracing myself or bringing shame on the family name.

Mycah insists on being fed the moment I step out of my room. I almost have her trained to the point where she knows that nothing will happen until after I've had my coffee.

Once those three things have been done, I have the remainder of the afternoon to get done all those things that that can't be done from the comfort of my desk. Trips to the grocery store or to the Post Office, physical therapy sessions, occasional visits to the veterinarian... anything that requires I leave the house. And I only have a few hours to get everything done.

Still to do today: grocery store, Post Office (sorry Mom, I'm slow), gas station, pharmacy, and Petsmart... not necessarily in that order. And when I get home, I have a couple loads of laundry to do, and the weekly Running of the Vacuum.

It's good to be able to get out of the house again. By forcing myself to do a lot — go, go, go — I'm improving my physical condition and speeding my recovery.

But it sure makes for a busy day.

Posted by Russ at 03:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
April 20, 2008

We have a winnah!

Mycah and the lads will undoubtedly enjoy their new quilt.

Monday update: Here's how the winner was chosen. Nifty.

Posted by Russ at 03:13 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
April 19, 2008

Mycah has no idea her life is about to get more interesting.

Earlier this week I filled out an application, was interviewed by phone and had my veterinarian references checked, and was ultimately approved to adopt, so today I went to Cat Angels before work to be "interviewed" by the cats.

I had some in mind that I'd seen on the website, but the real question was, would any of them take kindly to me?

I need not have worried.

Cat #1 was amazingly friendly. As I sat down in the room with about ten cats, he walked right over, hopped up on my knee, from my knee onto my shoulder, and parked himself there. I think that means I passed the interview with him. He's a domestic short hair, just three weeks past his first birthday. I've rarely seen such an outgoing cat.

Cat #2, who was raised with the first, also seemed kindly disposed towards me, though he was a bit less outgoing; the staff said that was his usual manner. He's a big fluffy domestic long hair who's three weeks shy of his first birthday. According to the staff, he really enjoys lap time. I expect I'll be FURminating him and vacuuming quite a bit.

The two of them have been raised together at the adoption center; they'll only go out as a pair.

I did spend time in the other rooms full of cats. The younger kittens were adorable, but none showed much interest in me. So, I decided.

Mycah is about to have two younger brothers.

The adoption center has a rule that makes a lot of sense: once you make your decision, you have to have a "cooling off" period — an hour, I think — to consider your decision. Unfortunately, since I had to leave to get to work on time, this meant that the cats did not get to come home with me today. I will be picking them up on Tuesday.

In one way, it's good that I didn't bring them home with me today: I'd have been required to name them "Lexington" and "Concord." I think it's a Federal law of some sort.

I might still do so... but there are other options. The question is, how geeky do I want to get? Being, as I am, a network engineer, I've been thinking of "Ping" and "Trace," though I also think "Packet" would be an excellent name, especially since Ping is already in use.

I did say geek. I meant it.

Posted by Russ at 05:28 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack (0)
April 18, 2008
Are you Sarah Connor?

I wish I could remember who recommended it, but this week while at the Petsmart, I picked up a cat-sized FURminator. Mycah is a bit of a shedder, so....

This thing is great. The results after just one minute of combing her:

[Click for larger]

Hasta la vista, hairballs.

Now... what the heck do I do with all this hair? I suppose I could learn to knit.

It's Friday - board the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

The The Carnival of the Cats this week will be hosted by Aloyisius at Catymology.

And for your every day cat needs, a visit to the Cat Blogosphere is recommended.

Posted by Russ at 02:38 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)
April 17, 2008
Late Thursday Update

It's been a busy week here, and I find that the pace of my recovery, while slow, continues steadily. I'm walking a lot better with the cane, and haven't as much as touched my crutches in about two weeks. I'm not throwing them away quite yet... but I'm almost there. I can even walk very short distances without the cane.

Well, not so much walk as stagger. It's not the finest perambulation I've ever done, but it's better than I've managed in over a year.

Physical therapy continues twice weekly. Every time I get to be good at something, they go and add weights to my legs. I'm up to a whopping eight pounds around each ankle for the leg extension exercises.

Eight whole pounds. Inform the media.

I find that I'm using muscles that haven't been used in quite a while. They hurt, actually... but hey, at least I can feel them.

Part of what I've been doing this week has been preparation for the likely arrival of one or two — probably two — new young cats in the house. I've stocked up on all the essentials, food excepted. Since the shelter provides a bag of food with the cats, I can wait to see what it is they are used to.

On Saturday, before work, I'll be heading to the Cat Angels adoption facility to see if any of their available furballs will have anything to do with me. They have several pairs of young cats, about a year old. All the information I've seen points to the fact that when bringing new felines into a home with an older cat, it's best to get two, so they'll play with each other rather than pester the older cat incessantly. That works for me. I can give a good home to a couple of rescued cats.

How Mycah takes the news remains to be seen. I've been giving her lots of attention; I'm hoping she won't be too resentful of the time I commit to the newcomers over the course of the next couple of weeks as they get used to their new home and new Food Giver And Litter Scooper. I think she'll be very curious, perhaps a bit hostile, then annoyed, and finally indifferent.

And who knows? She might actually like the newbies. Young cats should not be threatening to her in any way. We'll see.

Posted by Russ at 11:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
April 15, 2008
This explains a lot

The find of the day: An Engineer's Guide to Cats.

"If you have one cat, you're just a guy who has a cat. If you have two cats, well, the cats are friends, so they can keep each other company. When you have three cats, you start to get to be that guy who has all those cats."

There's a good chance that, by this time next week, I'll be "that guy who has all those cats."

It's good to be an engineer.

Mycah's aspect ratio: 1.79.

(Found via Maggie.)

Posted by Russ at 05:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Tax Day

I hope everyone is enjoying their April 15th.

I talked to my Mom last night, and told her I'd mail some packages to her today. Then I remembered the date, and called her back. There's no way I'm going anywhere near a Post Office today. Except perhaps with a camera to record the annual day of carnage.

Having done my taxes early this year, I've noticed feeling a great sense of relief at not having to struggle with a deadline.

For those of you so inclined, those who are as un-thrilled as I of having to hand over large percentages of income to the most wasteful money-handling institution on the planet, I recommend "celebrating" Tax Day by also making it Buy a Gun Day. It's empowering.

Posted by Russ at 04:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
April 13, 2008
Don't bother bringing a rifle to a cannon fight

When the Taliban tried attacking a US base, they received the warm reception chronicled in the video below. It's soldiers... so there's some language....

Via Ace o' Spades HQ. From the comments:

"The length some guys will go to to work off their bitterness about economic insecurity and government neglect!"


Posted by Russ at 06:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
April 12, 2008

Barack, Barack, Barack... did you think no one would notice?

. . . they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment. . . .

The condescension is breathtaking.

Actually, I suspect that Snobama never gave it a thought at all. That, I suppose, is what comes of being a liberal elitist; it's second nature. It's not as if upper-class leftists could be expected to think any different:

They are things that I think in a liberal world sound totally normal, and outside of that world I don’t know that he appreciates how it sounds.

No kidding? And they think the South is insulated.

The Democrat primary campaigns are coming here to North Carolina. I can't wait to hear what Obama thinks about us.

If he wants to get in touch with the people, maybe after a night working on the backbone of the Internet, I could offer to fry him up a mess o' possum or squirrel, and we could sit around on the porch picking our remaining teeth, playing banjos, whittling and spitting, while making passes at our cousins and firing shotguns at any small animals or foreigners that happen to wander by.

'Cause, y'know, that's just how we roll in the small-town South.

Posted by Russ at 02:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
April 11, 2008
Naming conventions

My brother's wife's brother's son is a Marine, newly stationed only an hour or so away from where I am. I'll be seeing him tomorrow as he comes up to relieve me of the burden of having one vehicle too many. He's getting the Blazer.

What does one call one's brother's wife's brother's son?

I'm opting for "nephew in law, once removed."

Either that, or "Lance Corporal."

Posted by Russ at 04:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Charging lasers....

[Click for larger]

One would be well advised to stay away from Mycah's mousie and catnip pillow.

The new cat (I might theoretically have one in the coming week) will undoubtedly learn this lesson quickly.

Be sure to see the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

This week's Carnival of the Cats is hosted at the M-Cats Club.

And for your recommended daily allowance of Cat, there's the Cat Blogosphere.

Posted by Russ at 05:04 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
April 10, 2008
Paying it forward

While I was in the midst of my medical problems, I received a lot of support from quite a few people. Mom, of course, came and stayed here in NC — bored out of her skull most of the time, I don't doubt, between rounds of driving me to the doctors and doing those things around the house which I was incapable of doing for myself. My sister, too, made a few stops here to help. The two of them were invaluable; without their help, I'd have had to sell my house and move to some sort of single-story assisted-living facility.

No kidding. I was unable to fend for myself.

Many others provided moral support. I can't count how many emails I received, all full of encouragement. And there was at least one church congregation praying for me regularly.

The medical care I received was top-notch. My regular doc was and is as good a GP as I've ever dealt with. The neurologist I went to is one of the best in the country, and the neurosurgeon who drilled me is arguably the best neurosurgeon in the world. Plus, there were really cute nurses all along the way. Hey, I'm a man... you didn't expect me not to notice, did you?

Further, when I had a fundraiser going here to help offset my massive medical bills (which so far have added up to over a year's pay... egads) more than just a few people made donations to help out. It made a difference.

Now I'm in a situation where my past medical bills are all paid up, where the minor ongoing treatment (physical therapy, mostly) is relatively simple for me to handle... and I have my tax refunds in the bank.

I've always tried to be a charitable guy; I could do a lot better. I want to do better. So, I've recently seen a couple of situations where maybe I could directly make a difference, where I could give someone with insanely high vet bills some of the same sort of support that I was blessed to receive when I was down.

Moki is a tough little fighter with an undiagnosed neurological condition. If you think this reminds me of my own situation, you'd be exactly right.

LillyLu is another cat with enormous vet bills... particularly since her human is getting ready to have twins of her own.

Both those linked sites have orange "Donate" buttons in the sidebars. Go on, hit them. Every little bit helps. Big bits help, too.

For those of you who are charitably inclined, but feel the need to have tax deductability, there is the newly-founded Cat Friends Helping Friends. There are plenty of people-oriented charities, but as far as I know, there's just this one that helps people with big veterinarian bills. Go help them out.

Posted by Russ at 07:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Having filed my taxes and received my refunds two months ago, I had completely forgotten that April 15th is Buy A Gun Day.

This year, it's one of these for me, via Classic Arms.

(Though I'd give up my first-born for one of these.)

(If I had a first-born, that is.)

Posted by Russ at 05:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
April 09, 2008
History Lesson

Next time someone here in the U.S. says an election was "stolen" (and you know there are people who will never give up on that belief) you can point them to this example of what a stolen election really looks like.

Posted by Russ at 03:36 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
April 08, 2008
That time of the year

Spring has sprung... the trees are leafy again... and apart from rain nearly every day for the last week and a half, the weather has turned nice.

One problem: I have a serious pork deficiency.

I sense the need for a barbecue sesson. My stomach demands it, my smoker demands it. As will my neighbors, when they get a whiff. And now that I'm more mobile, I think it's doable.

The 2008 Barbecue Season is going to be great.

Posted by Russ at 01:46 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
April 06, 2008
“It's been quite a ride. I loved every minute of it.”

Film legend and past NRA president Charlton Heston has died.

Though he was best known for his iconic roles in such films as Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments and Planet of the Apes, the lesser-known El Cid, in which he plays the part of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar during the Reconquista, has always vied for the honor of being my favorite Heston film.

I can't imagine Hollywood these days making an epic-scale movie about a hero fighting the Muslims. Pity. If you haven't seen El Cid, rent it. Heston is great, and Sophia Loren provides some tasty eye-candy.

One day back in the early '80s, while I was home on a break from college, our family got dressed up "spiffy casual" and drove down to L.A. to see a show. We'd done so many times previously, and this particular time we were off to see "Nicholas Nickleby."

I remember nothing about the play itself... but I remember that the Hestons were sitting in front of us, and I remember that Mr. Heston was very gracious to those few people who dared to approach him.

He was a legend, while pretty much all we have these days are over-hyped "stars." They don't make many like Heston any more.

Posted by Russ at 03:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
April 04, 2008

Every day, I bring a beverage and a ziploc baggie full of ice cubes upstairs from the kitchen to my office so that I'll not have to try to climb the stairs with a mug full of ice. (Walking up the stairs is still rather difficult for me to do; trying to carry a full mug up the stairs would be very a bad idea.) I top off my mug with ice, pour a tasty beverage, and set the baggie on the floor. It holds enough ice to last me several hours.

I caught Mycah doing something odd with the baggie this week.

She's done it both before and since her dental adventure earlier this week, so I don't think the state of her teeth had anything to do with it. And she isn't doing it for the condensed moisture on the bag — I'm pretty sure she's drinking regularly from the water bowls I have around the house, since I top them off daily.

I suppose it could be an odd manifestation of her bag fixation.

Speaking of feline dentistry: Mycah had to have two teeth extracted this week; they were the left side upper and lower pre-molars — the ones right behind the canine teeth. She handled it pretty well, and was only a little bit feisty when painkiller dosing times came around. She has been exceptionally friendly since the V-E-T visit... which makes me wonder if she was having any discomfort before the extractions.

Makes me wish I could read her mind... but I suspect that if I could, I'd find her planning my demise.

Board the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

On Sunday the Carnival of the Cats will be hosted by Amar and Luna of CatSynth.

And for your recommended daily allowance of Cat, there's the Cat Blogosphere.

Posted by Russ at 03:25 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)
April 02, 2008
Stick a fork in her

She's done.

The now-retired general counsel and chief of staff of the House Judiciary Committee, who supervised Hillary when she worked on the Watergate investigation, says Hillary's history of lies and unethical behavior goes back farther — and goes much deeper — than anyone realizes.

Jerry Zeifman, a lifelong Democrat, supervised the work of 27-year-old Hillary Rodham on the committee. Hillary got a job working on the investigation at the behest of her former law professor, Burke Marshall, who was also Sen. Ted Kennedy's chief counsel in the Chappaquiddick affair. When the investigation was over, Zeifman fired Hillary from the committee staff and refused to give her a letter of recommendation — one of only three people who earned that dubious distinction in Zeifman's 17-year career.

Done? Well, no, not really. Were she a Republican she would be finished, and she certainly ought to be through, but the Clintons have the most remarkable ability to brush past scandal, to have their flaws overlooked. I can't think of anyone (with the exception of Ted Kennedy) who has more personal baggage and yet retains political viability.

If the story ever breaks into the mainstream media in a big way (and there's certainly no guarantee of that happening; Google News has five, count them, five listings for "Zeifman Clinton" at this writing — though the Obama Fan Club mainstream media might break it open, I suppose) some small number of people will be convinced to not support her, and many more will have their notions of her character confirmed... but the Democrat race to the convention will go on. She may be a liar, but she's not a quitter.

It's probable that Hillary!'s defenders will either declare this story to be old news and not relevant, or will call her former boss Zeifman a liar. Both tactics have been successfully employed before, having been swallowed — hook, line and sinker — by the Clinton partisans.

If, by some miracle, she gains the nomination, we can expect the story to be buried, or the Democrats' allies in the media will go on the attack on Clinton's behalf.

But then, I'm not telling anyone anything they don't already know.

Posted by Russ at 04:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)