July 2008 Archives

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July 31, 2008
Keep talking, Nancy

I've said it before and I'll say it again: every time Nancy Pelosi opens her yap, potential voters have more reason to question the rationale for voting Democrat.

Finally, as Ace points out, the RNC is acting on that puzzlement.

Keep talking, Nancy. Don't bother looking at the polls that show you to be far less popular than President Bush. You know in your heart that you're right, and in tune with Americans — your own staff of fellow San Franciscans tell you so, right?

Keep talking, Nancy. When Jeanne Kirkpatrick coined the phrase "San Francisco Democrats," she was talking about you. Not just representatives from S.F. (though I'm sure that really boosts your image among working class Democrat voters in the heartland) but a party wrapped up in the most loopy left-wing values, blaming America (and, by extension, Americans) first for all the ills of the world.

Keep talking, Nancy.

And while you're at it, can we have a nice photo of you with Obama?

Posted by Russ at 03:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
July 30, 2008
Quote of the Day

Steve H., at Hog on Ice:

It's funny; the hippies call the earth--an inanimate object--"Gaia," and they claim it's our mother, and that it wants to take care of us. The truth is that the earth has been working hard to kill us since the dawn of time, and it succeeds in numbers that would make Hitler and Stalin and Mao weep with admiration.
He then goes on to ask, "Does your mother want you dead?"

Maybe once or twice, sure. I wasn't always an angelic son. But she had her chance to do me in while she was here tending me, and didn't take it, so I presume I'm now safe.

Posted by Russ at 04:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
July 29, 2008
Mighty Hunter, redux

Yesterday I went to do my grocery shopping. As usual, when leaving the house, I had to go out the front door and open the garage from the outside, because when I go directly out to the garage through the door that opens off the kitchen, Kismet and Packet race each other to go out to the garage, and I'm just not quick enough to get out and close the door before they get out.

When they get out into the garage, it then takes me ten minutes to wrangle them back into the house, before I can then open the garage door, start the truck, and leave. I don't often have that much time to burn.

I ultimately got home and opened the door into the kitchen. As usual, the lads had heard the garage door opener, and were waiting in the kitchen for me to open the door. I did, and they zipped out into the garage, as usual. And as usual, I wondered what the attraction was.

Just a couple of minutes later, while I was putting away the groceries, Kismet came in and showed me what was so interesting in the garage: he'd caught and dispatched a lizard. Fortunately, I'd left my camera downstairs.

At the beginning, you can see he's "on point" — I couldn't see what he was looking at, but I think it was either Mycah or Packet checking out his acquisition.

The ex-lizard had already bought the farm — kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, rung down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible — but Kismet wanted to play more with his new toy.

It seems like he doesn't quite know what to do with it.

Me, I just wanted to get the little corpse away from him before he could take it upstairs and deposit it in my bed.

Eventually I distracted him (thank you, keychain laser) and was able to give the late lamented lizard a quick watery funeral.

Posted by Russ at 11:00 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
July 27, 2008

Another Sunday, another lunatic shooting up a church.

OK, it's not that common an occurrence... but nevertheless awful for those affected, particularly the family of the man who died.

I can't help but think that the derogation of religion by influential people in the realms of media and entertainment has contributed to this. You never used to see this sort of thing happening, but given the disdain and disparagement shown towards those of a religious bent (Christians, specifically — mysticism and Eastern religions are "cool," and few dare to speak ill of Islam) it is unsurprising to me that a few folks with loose screws might be convinced that a church is the appropriate target for their hatred.

7/28 update: it looks like his motives were either that he hated Christians or that he hated liberals. There's stronger evidence — a letter he wrote — for the latter.

However, I am not at all sure, contra Professor Reynolds, how that "makes more sense."

Not to knock those in the midst of their tragedy, but I have a question: in what meaningful sense is this place a church?

If, when I was a kid, our church youth had put on a production of "Annie" on a Sunday morning, my parents would both have had strokes on the spot — and we would have been looking for a new church before the paramedics arrived.

I guess Bible stories in Sunday School are pretty passé these days, at least among Universalist Unitarians, when Broadway show tunes are available to study.

Posted by Russ at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
July 25, 2008
Mighty Hunter

Mycah is the queen huntress around these parts, but she clearly has some competition.

Kismet excels at catching flying bugs; the ground-dwelling variety, as well, have good reason to fear his attentions.

I don't know that he ate the cricket. I heard no crunching, and I haven't found any remains — but I haven't heard any chirping, either.

Well, whattya know... we've received an award from our dear friend Moki. Be sure to read all the latest news on Moki's medical matters, which are very similar to what I've had to deal with.

And I'd consider it a personal favor if you'd hit the orange "donate" button there and do a little something to help with the vet bills.

"This award was created to be given to bloggers who inspire others with their creativity and their talents, also for contributing to the blogging world in whatever medium." *

They say that when you receive this award it is considered a special honor. It sure feels like it.

There are, of course, rules for passing this honor on, which are as follows:

  1. Pick five blogs that you would like to award this honor to. [I generally suck at this, so I'll skip this step for the moment. When I make up my mind, I'll pass it along.]
  2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone. [See previous note.]
  3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
  4. Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link to "Arte y Pico" blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

I'll work on my list.

If it's Friday (and you know it is!) it's time to board The Modulator's Friday Ark.

Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos is at Pet’s Garden Blog.

The Carnival of the Cats is at CatSynth with Amar and Luna on Sunday.

Posted by Russ at 02:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
July 23, 2008

I seem to be doing better and better at the walking-without-a-cane business. Today at physical therapy I made it 360 feet non-stop. Sure, it was on a smooth and level surface with no obstacles, but I'll take what I can get.

There were a couple of moments when I almost lost my balance, but I was able to recover with a wee bit of fancy footwork — one of the first skills to escape me when my condition was becoming apparent almost two years ago. This is unexpected, but extremely encouraging.

Walking without a cane is very strenuous, much more so than walking with the cane. Moving forward isn't the problem; avoiding falling over to the left or the right is. With the cane, I can actually move pretty quickly for short periods. Without the cane, though, I have to rely solely on muscles that just don't work very well for the lateral support usually provided by the cane; I have to walk like a not particularly spry 90 year old — very slowly and cautiously, every step taken with deliberate forethought. No jokes, please, about walking and chewing gum.

I'm physically exhausted when I'm done walking, but it seems to be paying off.

Like pretty much everyone, I used to talk the simple act of walking for granted. Now that I'm out of a wheelchair and off crutches, even though it can be very difficult, I'm thankful for what little I can do, and hopeful that I might be able to do more in the future.

Posted by Russ at 05:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
July 22, 2008
Please, let there be no more '70s nostalgia

I made it through my teen years in the 1970s with only minor leisure suit contamination. If anyone — my Mom, for instance — claims to have photographic proof, there will be harsh consequences... unless the photos and negatives are destroyed forthwith. Seriously. I don't need to re-live that particular powder blue nightmare.

Pretty much says it all. The "subsidiary of Homoco" is a nice touch.

Posted by Russ at 02:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
July 20, 2008
In case you were wondering

Yeah, that was me.

Maybe one of these days I'll get another bit of linkage from the Prof, for something other than a crappy Photoshop job. Of course, that would entail me being creative or insightful, so don't hold your breath.

Posted by Russ at 01:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
July 19, 2008
Limited time offer

What do you do if you're Hollywood creative genius Joss Whedon — the man behind Firefly — and there's a writers strike on?

You take your skills to the web, naturally.

Of course, the WGA strike is over... but it may have been worth it, since as a byproduct we now have (drumroll, please...)

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is... well, it's different. And entertaining, with actual recognizeable actors in it, and far, far better production values than any high school doofus with a webcam publishing to YouTube. It stars Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible, Nathan Filion as Captain Hammer, and Felicia Day as Penny the love interest.

It's available to view — free! — in three 15-minute installments... but only through midnight Sunday. (Later, it will be available on iTunes.)

It's a bit of mostly-light-hearted fun, and highly recommended. Catch it while you can.

Posted by Russ at 01:22 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
July 18, 2008
Bug eyed monster

I'm convinced Kismet would be an amazingly effective hunter, were he allowed out of the house. His feather-on-a-string chasing skills are the stuff of legend.

Here we see him keeping his eye on one of the few (so far) winged bugs that has made it into the house this summer:

He later caught it mid-air in a flying leap off my recliner. Quite amazing — I wish I'd captured the moment. Then he ate it. Thoroughly disgusting.

At least he didn't leave a mess for me to clean up.

Board the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos is hosted by Samantha & Mr. Tigger.

On Sunday the Carnival of the Cats will be at Artsy-Catsy.

Posted by Russ at 12:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
July 15, 2008
Call it what you will

An oldie-but-goody:

Bill Clinton goes into a local diner for lunch. As he reads the menu the waitress comes over and asks, "Are you ready to order?"

Bill pipes up, "Yes, I'd like a quickie."

"A quickie?!?" the waitress replies, shocked, and slaps him across the face before storming away.

Bill is puzzled, until the patron in the next booth turns to him and says, "Sir, it's pronounced quiche."

With that out of the way, I'd like to make an observation: contrary to the thesis and title of the book Real Men Don't Eat Quiche, real men can eat whatever the heck they want.

So today I did a bit of cooking.

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used Sargento cheddar)
  • 1/2 pound breakfast sausage, browned, drained and crumbled
  • 1/2 pound bacon (pre-cooked weight), cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 12 to 20 small or medium black olives

Set your oven to 350° with the rack in the center of the oven.

Spray a 9" round pie pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle half the shredded cheese into the pan; make sure that cheese covers the sides as well as the bottom of the pan.

Now, you can add the sausage, bacon, onion, shallot and olives to the pan as separate layers, or you can jumble them together in a mixing bowl and add them all at once. Spread the ingredients evenly, and do not compact them in the pan.

Beat together the eggs and half-and-half, add seasoning (I used a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper — not too much, since the bacon and sausage are already salty and spicy) and slowly pour the mix into the pie pan. It should fill in between the non-compacted ingredients and come close to covering the contents of the pan.

Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the concoction.

Bake uncovered (I put the pan on a cookie sheet, just in case of spillage, which didn't end up happening) for 40-45 minutes or until knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand five minutes before serving.

Serves six... if those six are women or children. Three or four is more likely if you're like me. Or serves one, three or four times. I made two of these today (yes, this is what I had in mind here), and they'll go into the fridge to be used as microwaveable quick meals — very handy on work nights when time is at a premium.

You can, of course, use whatever ingredients you like. Scallions and spinach are good. Mushrooms are OK, I guess, if you're into fungi. I'm not. Sliced up sun-dried tomatoes (if you can get the kind that aren't packed in oil) are awesome.

It's pretty much the same as quiche... but (per Alton Brown) I usually refer to it as "refrigerator pie." Note, however, the lack of a crust. If carb avoidance is your thing, this has a lot of potential.

So, would it qualify as manly grub? Given the sausage, bacon and cheese quotient, I think Steve might approve. (And if you haven't already bought Steve's book, Eat What You Want and Die Like a Man, go do so now.)

Update: now with photo goodness!

That's a blob of sour cream on top. It goes rather well.

Posted by Russ at 06:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
July 14, 2008
No Speed Racer, no

At PT today I walked 210 feet before I had to touch my cane to the floor to keep from falling over.

And then I did another 150 feet.

It pretty nearly wiped me out. By the time I finished the walking, I was utterly soaked in sweat.

The hardest part of walking sans cane is keeping my feet fairly close together, rather than shoulder-width apart. A narrow stance is inherently less stable, but I don't want to be accused of having a wide stance, ifyouknowwhatImean.

I won't be setting any land speed records any time soon. On the straightaway I'm slow, and when I have to turn around, I'm even slower.

Nevertheless, this is much better than I ever expected.

Posted by Russ at 05:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
July 12, 2008
Quote of the Day

On discourse and debate:

I’ll never understand how anyone can regard being disgusted as no better than being disgusting.
McGehee, comment at Protein Wisdom.

Posted by Russ at 04:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Tony Snow dies

Damn. Just damn.

Among his other accomplishments, he was a terrific writer, one of the best. My favorite Snow-ism, from a commencement address he gave:

Wherever you are and whatever you do, never forget at this moment, and every moment forward, you have a precious blessing. You've got the breath of life. No matter how lousy things may seem, you've got the breath of life. And while God doesn't promise tomorrow, he does promise eternity.

Posted by Russ at 12:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
July 11, 2008
Are you easily impressed?

I had an excellent day at physical therapy today. I walked 120 feet without using my cane, and without falling down.

Ta daaaaaah.

It'll be really impressive, though, if and/or when I can do it over uneven ground. Pebbles remain a significant obstacle.

Posted by Russ at 04:50 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
July 09, 2008

You can keep your 12-gauge shotguns. (I'm certainly keeping mine.)

They don't rate with the Tank Cartridge, 120mm, Canister, XM1028.

Posted by Russ at 10:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
July 08, 2008
Quote of the Day

About our saviour Barack Obama's plane troubles yesterday:

If it were a boat, he could get out and walk to safety.
Steve Graham

Posted by Russ at 12:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
July 07, 2008
Joke of the day

Q: What's black and brown and looks good on a hippie?

A: A rottweiler.

(Brought to mind by this: 5 "Rainbows" arrested in clash with officers.)

Posted by Russ at 01:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
There goes my "nice guy" image

I try to keep this blog to a "PG" rating. I really do.

Today, I'm close to failing.

“Illegal immigrants face threat of no college.”

Some states are making it harder for illegal immigrants to attend college by denying in-state tuition benefits or banning undocumented students.

In the past two years, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and Oklahoma have refused in-state tuition benefits to students who entered the USA illegally with their parents but grew up and went to school in the state. That represents a reversal from earlier this decade, when 10 states passed laws allowing in-state rates for such students.

This summer, South Carolina became the first state to bar undocumented students from all public colleges and universities.

North Carolina's community colleges in May ordered its 58 campuses to stop enrolling undocumented students after the state attorney general said admitting them may violate federal law.

All I can say is "tough sh*t."

(via Malkin)

Posted by Russ at 12:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
July 04, 2008
Naughty boys

Someone has been a bad kitty cat. The fireplace was invaded and ash tracked all over the family room carpet.

Was it Packet? He's looking awfully smug about something.

No, I have no evidence that he did anything wrong.

Could it have been Kismet? I detect a bit of a guilty look to him.

His guilt is written all over his face.

In ash.

Board the Friday Ark at The Modulator.

Bad Kitty Cats Festival of Chaos is at Kashim & Othello’s.

The Carnival of the Cats is going to House Panthers on Sunday.

Posted by Russ at 01:09 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)
Lucky 13

Happy birthday, Mycah. I know a furry little girl who will be having some tuna on her plate tonight.

I hope she has many more good years.

Posted by Russ at 01:08 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)
July 03, 2008
A wee bit late

As a geek, it would be remiss of me not to point this out: World's First Computer Is Finally Built. It's stunning, a real mechanical work of art.

(You have to sit through a 30-second ad, but it is so worth the wait.)

(Via Hot Air headlines.)

Posted by Russ at 03:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
And so it goes

I've not written much about health matters lately, mainly because while there is improvement, it's no longer as rapid or as startling as it was early on. I've surpassed all expectations, so any further improvement is pure gravy.

Physical therapy continues twice weekly... or maybe I should say weakly. The focus remains on building strength in my legs, accomplished by adding more weighs or more reps to the exercises I do, and the addition of new exercises to work new muscles.

On top of that, I spend time walking. I can do 15 to 20 minutes now, using the cane. Monday, I did 4/10 of a mile, at an average speed of 1.5 miles/hour. That's the fastest and farthest I've managed since this whole thing began. I started out slow as usual, but halfway through the walk I made an effort to stretch out my stride, and I think for a while I was walking almost as fast as a normal human, maybe 3mph for a while there.

Best of all, at one point I picked the cane up off the floor and was able to walk maybe 30 feet without it. I was slow and shaky that way, but I did it.

By the end of the walk, though, I was completely blown. I was relying on the cane for support, whereas I usually use it mainly for balance.

I've discovered that my cane really sucks for support. It's strong enough, no doubt, but the handle is the shepherd's crook style, as opposed to the more wrist-friendly "fritz" T-top style. After ten minutes afoot, my wrist really starts to get sore.

I have no idea who Fritz is or was.

I only paid $10 for this current cane, so I really ought not to have expected perfection. And, hey, it's the first time I ever had to buy a cane. It's not something one spends one's life anticipating and researching.

It's done yeoman's service with nary a complaint, but since I anticipate needing a cane, well, forever, I think it's time for a new one — one that will be better on my wrist, will be tall enough for me, and will be sturdy enough for me.

Fortunately, there is a place I know where I can find what I need: Canes Galore. No fooling.

I like the Hercules. It's more than long enough, it can support me with one or two of my siblings' teenage kids on my back, and it looks like it could last a lifetime.

Posted by Russ at 02:41 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
July 02, 2008
Eat, drink, and be very very merry

On Monday I received a package from Amazon which contained pure gold... smothered in beef fat:

Eat What You Want And Die Like A Man

Written by Steve Graham of Hog on Ice (one of my all-time and ongoing favorite blogs) this hilarious paean to food that's bad for you but so very, very good deserves a place in any man's library.

Any man who's not a wuss, that is. If tofu is your favorite protein and if the price of arugula concerns you, you should probably put the book down and see your doctor about getting testosterone shots before reading, lest your head explode.

This is a hugely expanded, revised and refined version of Steve's same-titled self-published book from a few years ago. If you happen to have that older version, get this one; you won't regret it.

I had palpitations just reading it, before I even set foot in the kitchen.

I had a bit of a dilemma. After screaming through the first 100 pages in a day and a half — it's hard to put down — I was inspired to spend some time in the kitchen. So yesterday I cooked up four pounds of breakfast sausage to use in recipes. When it was all cooked, even after the cup-and-a-half of delicious, wonderful, marvelous sausage grease was rendered out, I still had about half a pound more sausage than could fit into the storage container for refrigeration.

Which raised the question, should I have kept the grease mixed with the remaining sausage, or should I just have had a mug of it on the side as a chaser?

As a followup, I later cooked up three pounds of bacon, also to use in other recipes. Mmmm... bacon grease. I'm sure I'll find a use for it all.

It's a very good thing that the nurse I'm dating has Emergency Room experience.

Buy the book. You'll laugh at the terrific writing, and you might learn a thing or two about real food.

Posted by Russ at 01:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
July 01, 2008
 We  They are the champions

Congratulations to the winners of this past weekend's 2008 Firecracker Couples Golf Tournament in Santa Barbara.

Left to right: Eric and Jen Lovette, Holly and Brad Emerson.

I'm pretty sure that's the biggest trophy my brother has ever had his hands on.

Posted by Russ at 11:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)