Monday, September 29, 2008

We're Gonna Have a Baby!!!

It's time to announce that we're pregnant -- we waited as best we could until the 2nd trimester. The Wife is 14 weeks along, and doing great. Our due date is March 31st - first week of April sometime.

The families are all very excited, because we hadn't told folks we were starting to second-guess our no-baby policy of the previous 10 years.

We aren't going to peek, so the sex of the baby is going to be a surprise. I do love hearing all the old wives' tales and superstitions about how folks can tell and whatnot. We shall see.

Don't know how I'll incorporate this into the blog, but I can't see as how I'd avoid doing so. Time will tell.

Enjoy the surprises you find in this life,


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Songs Stuck in my Head Series: Lou Reed -- Take a Walk on the Wild Side

No complaints having this song stuck in my head. I think it's one of the best American pop/rock songs of all time.

Enjoy timeless quality,


Saturday, September 27, 2008

I could kiss this woman, seriously, right on the lips

Ok the trick is, just skip to 1:17 to avoid the intro. I mean, if you want to see the intro that's fine but the meat is when Representative Mary Kaptur, D-Ohio makes her address to the house about the bailout.

It's amazing, she's amazing. I'm not going to crow about her being a Dem, because if she was a Repug or Independent or Green or Labor or any other party I'd still love what she said.

She was not featured in any MSM (Main Stream Media) of course.

Enjoy the truth spoken in the halls of power,


[via Yuri]

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Creation of the Second Great Depression -- by Ron Paul

Here is Ron Paul's take on The Great Bailout of '08.

And here is a teaser quote from the beginning of his statement:

Whenever a Great Bipartisan Consensus is announced, and a compliant media assures everyone that the wondrous actions of our wise leaders are being taken for our own good, you can know with absolute certainty that disaster is about to strike.

The events of the past week are no exception.

You know, I thought the last great neocon stroke for Bush was going to be an Iran bombing -- guess I was wrong.


You thought the Bailout sucked before, check out these 32 words

Here is the infamous "Section 8" of the bailout plan. I won't even comment yet, you see for yourself.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Here is the Huffington post article that talks about it -- The Dirty Secret of the Bailout: Thirty-Two Words that None Dare Utter.

Makes me so mad I can't even comment.

Enjoy your life, despite info like this


[image via Yuri, via The Wooster Collective]

Bullfrog vs. Sparrow -- and more info than you ever felt you needed about Bullfrogs in Oregon

Click here for good pictures of an amazing act -- a bullfrog successfully hunting a sparrow.

Bullfrogs are considered non-native invasives in this part of the country, eating out ponds of frogs, fish, possibly baby turtles, and -- sparrows apparently. They eat anything that can fit in their mouths, and reap havok on local ecosystems.

In fact, here is a video about bullfrogs in Oregon:

Enjoy tripping out on the physical capacities of some animals,


[via Blame it on the Voices]

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Download Michael Moore's next movie for free

Michael Moore's next movie Slacker Uprising is finished, and he's giving it away. Click here to get to the movie's website where you can sign up to download the movie.

It looks to be (all I've seen is the trailer below) a feel-good documentary about mobilizing the youth vote. Might be worth watching, might be tripe -- but hey it's free, so why not.

Here's the trailer:

Enjoy those who are trying to shake it up any way they can,


YGTLO: Evolutionists Flock To Darwin-shaped Wall Stain

I do so love the Onion -- click here for the Darwin Wall Stain article.

Enjoy perspective, no matter how hilariously it is presented,


[via Estu]

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

XKCD's take on the bailout -- beyond awesome

Federal Reserve Skateboard: A Short Story is the funniest thing I've read in... I don't know how long. Definitely fits the bill for a serious laugh in the face of recent news.

Here's the first paragraph and a bit more for a teaser:

Damn these subprime lenders, thought Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, barely keeping his balance on the wobbling skateboard. We can’t afford more debt. He snapped a grappling-hook-tipped quarrel into his crossbow as the skateboard slowed. When the country owes trillions and is asking for more, its shadowy creditors start calling in favors.

The crossbow twanged, carrying his climbing rope up the side of the Federal Reserve building.

Click either highlighted text for more.

Enjoy a belly laugh at the beginning of the big slide,


[Canukistani Kate, bless you for this]

The Jurassic Park of Beer -- Fossil Fuels Brewing Company

This Discovery News story is awesome -- a supreme geek extracted all sorts of microbes from the guts of a bug ensconced in 45 million year old Burmese amber. He then propagated the yeasts and began brewing beer with them.

Apparently, the beer tastes quite unique. The yeasts of yore didn't have as extensive metabolic machinery as those today, and leave behind lots of complex molecules in the beer that modern yeasts don't. This creates flavors distinct from all other modern beers. How awesome is that!

Fossil Fuels Brewing Company had it's opening on July 26th in Northern California. Oh please, supply it to a bar in Ptown, please please I want to taste this stuff.

Here is a Washington Post article about the beer. And one from Beer Advocate too.

Enjoy the products of nerd inspiration,


[via Yuri, photo credit in linked article]

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's no accident that Dooce makes a living blogging

The Wife and I are both Dooce fans. She is a more thorough and consistent reader of the blog however. Recently, she mentioned that I really must read this post about Dooce taking her puppy to the herding class.

Now listen to that sentence... this isn't soccer mom's talking, this is us. We don't watch soap operas or speak about Oprah more than once or twice a year.

And yet, Heather B. Armstrong's writing is so good we can't resist reading about her kid, her husband, her dogs... whatever. She's just so damned funny, and heart felt, and irreverent, and psycho, and eloquent. She's not a slouch of a photographer either.

Anyway, read the post I mentioned above and see what I mean. She takes the mundane and shows so much through it. That's a hell of a skill, and I tip my hat.

Enjoy talent, especially if it gets you to do things you'd otherwise disavow [like reading a Mommy Blog],


Obama kicking some butt

Here is a nicely edited video highlight of Obama picking apart some of the absurdity of the McCain camp. Not hard to do, the tiniest bit of research exposes McCain's absolute lack of regard for the reality of working folks in America, and absolute iron-clad "business as usual" stance on nearly every issue. Obama doesn't have to make anything up to beat the crap out of his campaign statements.

I'm not saying there isn't absurdity and hypocrisy in the Obama camp. I'm not an "Obamaniac." I'm disappointed in the whole system here.

But McCain truly sucks, his people suck, his policies suck, and his choice of Veep sucks. I'll take Obama ANY DAY.

Enjoy the tiniest bit of sense in politics, even a little bit,


[via Idea Whiplash, thanks for this]

Monday, September 22, 2008

Vote Silly Party: Michael Palin for President

Oh how I love this. Michael Palin (of Monty Python) for president. I am needing solid reasons to laugh when I encounter anything political lately, and this really fits the subscription.

The video is worth your time, if you have a single Monty Python-loving bone in your body.

Enjoy talent, years later, inspiring dissent,


[via Babs, bless her soul]

Vote Sarah Palin down at OPB

Here is a link to an OPB poll about Sarah Palin's credentials to be Veep. The thing is, conservatives appear to be spamming about it to push the poll their way.

Lets spam back shall we? Consider sharing this link with every person you know.

I would guess the idea is that they would get a good number on the poll and then tout that around as proof that Amerika Loves Palin.


Enjoy being handed something you can actually affect in this big mess, even if small,


[image via Mudflats Alaskan politics blog, thanks for that]

In case you missed it, your money was used to buy controlling interest in a private company, or two

Those Neocons -- so against socialism, unless it works in their favor. So against helping people, unless it's their people.

I've always felt that the main Neocon push is to take as much taxpayer money as possible and put it into a few rich peoples' hands.

Hows that "pull yourself up by your bootstraps, welfare mom" strategy sounding in the light of this bailout news? How many billions? How many struggling working poor could that have helped?

And... how is this not socialist???? How is this "free market?" Isn't the market, in this case, saying this company just ate it in the Darwinian race for perfection? Isn't it officially a dinosaur watching the temperature plunge? Apparently not.

Here's a recent Daily Show to lay it out for you:

Now that you're done laughing, let my friend Chuck the gun toting democrat give you his take on the situation. It's a hell of a post.

Enjoy the paradoxes of political life -- without somehow going postal,


Sunday, September 21, 2008

My favorite actor in a new movie: Synecdoche, New York

I am a huge Philip Seymour Hoffman fan. I even watched Love Liza and enjoyed it because his acting enthralled me.

So, Charlie Kaufman's new movie immediately galvanized my attention. Kaufman has done some brilliant stuff -- namely Being John Malcovich. He's done some interesting stuff -- namely Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. And he's done some (to my mind, I know people who think otherwise) crappy stuff -- Human Nature and Adaptation.

I pray this movie is in the "Being John Malcovich" category.

Enjoy anticipation, even though it's considered unhealthy from a Buddhist perspective,


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Betting on intelligence or stupidity in the electorate?

I was cruising Overheard in PDX a few mornings ago (yes, this is posted by autobot) and ran across this overheard conversation. The truth stings, and there are days when I hang my head and have to agree with this man's sentiment.

Woman: I work with Sarah Palin's Uncle, and I can't say anything because people around me are like "Oh yeah, she is sooo great!"

Man: Obama totally got outplayed on that VP pick. He's betting on the intelligence of the American electorate. Karl Rove is betting on the stupidity of the American Electorate and that is why they're going to win.

- Wilf's

-- Overheard by Rich

Enjoy pondering whether you believe the devil on your shoulder or the angel,


So you say you want a smart dog...

Here is a smart dog using his noggin. Watch the video before you choose your next canine pet. It's kind of a public service message from me to you.

You sure you don't want a drooling, faithful "tongue-and-a-tail" dummy of a dog? You SURE? This little guy looks like he could hotwire your car and go get you speeding tickets... so I'm just sayin'.

Enjoy being forewarned,


[via Butternutjelly]

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pressing issues of the day: kitch lighting placement

So our happy household is getting together tonight to have a real, official house meeting. There are many items on the agenda, but the newest one I thought the most entertaining.

I scored this incredibly fabulous, nearly tasteless, shiny light fixture from some friends who were doing a remodel. It's made of bad fake brass, and there's one missing link in the crystal dome that I fixed with a twist of copper wire.

The pressing question is:

Is the best place for this light fixture? In the stairwell - semi hidden?

Or does it need a more central location, like the dining room, so it can truly shine.

Are we more embarrassed or entertained by it is, basically, the meat of the matter.

Enjoy the frivolous aspects of life,


Addendum: I've decided to make a poll and get your input -- click away. [I'm using a new poll generator, so probably isn't going to look too hot. I apologize to my graphic designer friends ahead of time]

McCain sucks: Ron Paul soundly refuses to support him

Mr. Paul is an extremist, I'll give you that. But he is the real straight-talk express, and I hold quite a bit of affection for the guy. His sound refusal to endorse McCain just solidifies my feelings.

Here is the video:

And here is a good Jed Report post on the subject.

Enjoy the real straight talk express,


[via Yuri, of course]

Musical Discovery: Yoshida Brothers

I totally dig the Yoshida Brothers. They are two young Samisen players out of Japan. They can play traditional music, but they also create new and fusion styles with their instruments, and in all cases they rock the effing house.

This first video is hands-down the best "gamer music" that I've ever encountered. It's used as the theme song for Nintendo's Wii game console. I am happy that these guys are getting exposure through the marketing campaign, the more people that know about them the better.

And here is a video of them playing a traditional Japanese folk song called "Tsugaru Jongara." I'm ignorant of the art form, so I immediately wondered if they "jazzed up" the song from its original style. After seeing this and this video, I realized they didn't. Japanese folk music just rocks, apparently.

Enjoy discovering not only new musicians, but new musical forms,


[original contact with Yoshida Brothers via Dani the Canukistani]

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Visiting Writers Series at Reed College

These are free events, where you get to listen to authors in a small auditorium, then hang out afterwards and chat with them. I've had the chance to meet some of my favorite authors through this (Chris Offutt), and actually share coffee and shoot the shit. It's a great service that the college provides, and many folks don't know about it.

Here is a copy of the latest email announcement, with contact information if you want to sign up for the email list yourself.



Thursday, October 2nd. Psychology Building Auditorium, Room 105, 6:30 p.m.
Elissa Schappell is the author of Use Me, a collection of ten related stories that explore the relationships between friends and family, betrayal and loyalty. A contributing editor to Vanity Fair, Schappell is a co-founder of the literary magazine, Tin House. She is a coeditor of the anthology The Friend Who Got Away. She received her MFA from the Creative Writing Program at New York University, has been a senior editor at The Paris Review, and has contributed to numerous magazines including GQ, Vogue, Bomb, Bookforum, and Spin.
Pauls Toutonghi was born in 1976 in Seattle, Washington. His fiction has appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, One Story Magazine, The Boston Review, Glimmer Train, Book Magazine, Terminus, and other small
periodicals. He received a Pushcart Prize for his short story,
Regeneration, which appeared in The Boston Review in 2000. His first
novel, Red Weather, was published by Random House in 2006. It has been
translated into Latvian and German. His other writing has appeared in
Sports Illustrated, The Crab Creek Review, and The Yemen Observer. He is
a mongrel — half-Latvian and half-Egyptian. His earliest memories are
steeped in linguistic confusion. He received his MFA in poetry and his
Ph.D. in English literature from Cornell University. He now teaches at
Lewis & Clark College.

Thursday, October 30th. Psychology Building Auditorium, Room 105, 6:30 p.m.
Marie Howe is the author of three volumes of poetry, The Good Thief, What the Living Do, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time, and is the coeditor of a book of essays, In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic. She is the recipient of a Lavan Younger Poets Prize from the American Academy of Poets, an NEA, a Guggenheim, and has been a fellow at the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, Agni,
Ploughshares, Harvard Review, and The Partisan Review, among others.
Currently, Howe teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College,
Columbia, and New York University.

Thursday, November 6th. Psychology Building Auditorium, Room 105, 6:30 p.m.
Stephen Elliott is the author of six books including the story
collection My Girlfriend Comes to the City and Beats Me Up and the novel
Happy Birthday Baby, a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young
Lion Award, as well as named a Best Book of 2004 in, Newsday,
Chicago New City, the Journal News, and the Village Voice. In addition
to writing fiction he frequently writes on politics. In 2004 he wrote a
book about the quest for the Democratic presidential nomination titled
Looking Forward To It. Elliott's writing has been featured in Esquire,
The New York Times, GQ, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2005 &
2007, The Best American Erotica, and Best Sex Writing 2006. He is also
the editor of three collections of politically inspired fiction and the
founder of the Progressive Reading Series, which helps authors raise
money for and participate on behalf of progressive candidates and causes.
Alice Fulton’s first fiction collection, The Nightingales of Troy: Connected Stories, was published by W.W. Norton in July 2008. Her most recent book of poems is Cascade Experiment. Her poetry collection, Felt, was awarded the 2002 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress and was named by the L.A. Times as one of the Best Books of 2001. Her other books include Sensual Math; Powers of Congress; Palladium, winner of the 1985 National Poetry Series and the 1987 Society of Midland Authors Award; and Dance Script with Electric Ballerina, winner of the 1982 Associated Writing Programs Award. She has received fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Michigan Society of Fellows, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among many
others. She is the Ann S. Bowers Professor of English at Cornell University.

Thursday, November 20th. Psychology Building Auditorium, Room 105, 6:30
C. S. Giscombe was born in Dayton, Ohio. His poetry books are
Postcards, Here, and Giscombe Road. His book of linked essays is Into
and Out of Dislocation. Reed students have written senior theses on his
books Here and Giscombe Road. His most recent book of poems, Prairie
Style, was just released. He is working on a prose book about trains and
train metaphors, Railroad Sense. His work appears in the anthologies
Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry, Lyric Postmodernisms, and
American Hybrid, among others. Gisombe has won a Carl Sandburg Award,
and has received grants from the NEA, the Illinois Arts Council, the
Fund for Poetry, and the Council for the International Exchange for
Scholars. Giscombe currently teaches at Berkeley and is a long distance

Thursday, March 12th. Psychology Building Auditorium, Room 105, 6:30 p.m.
Susan Straight's novels include I Have Been in Sorrow’s Kitchen and Licked Out All the Pots, Blacker Than a Thousand Midnights, The Gettin Place, and Highwire Moon, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her essays have appeared in Harper's,, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, The New York Times, and on NPR's All Things Considered, as well as in women's magazines such as Real Simple and Family Circle. Her short stories have appeared in McSweeney's and Zoetrope, among other publications. Her honors and awards include the California Book Prize, a Lannan Foundation Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and a Best American Short Story Award. Straight was born in Riverside and lives there with her three daughters.

Thursday, March 26th. Psychology Building Auditorium, Room 105, 6:30 p.m.
Katherine Dunn is interested in extremes. One Ring Circus, a collection of her essays on the sport of boxing, will appear early in 2009. With photographer Jim Lommasson on the book Shadow Boxers, Dunn won the 2004 Lange-Taylor Documentary Prize. Her third novel, Geek Love, was a finalist for the 1989 National Book Award. Dunn was a member of the Reed class of 1968, but dropped out before graduating to travel and live in Central America and Europe. She has lived and worked for many years in Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, April 9th. Psychology Building Auditorium, Room 105, 6:30 p.m.
Matthew Dickman’s first collection of poems, All American Poem, won the 2008 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize in Poetry, selected by Tony Hoagland. His chapbook, Amigos, was published in 2007 by Q Ave Press. Dickman’s poems appear in Tin House, Clackamas Literary Review, Agni Online, and The New Yorker, among others. A native of Portland, Oregon, he is the recipient of fellowships from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

Contact to be removed from the Visiting Writers at Reed
email list. Check out our webpage at

Karen M. Bondaruk
Faculty Assistant
Reed College
Vollum 320
3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Portland, OR 97202
503.777.7753 (voice)
503.777.7769 (fax - attn: KBondaruk)

Why so serious about Sarah?

The Chumslick is one of my favorite blogs. The guy is irreverent, and even crass, but for all the right reasons. When he's onto his pro-shark (even pro shark-bite) stance, he's both hilarious and heart-breaking. He often says the things that I was thinking but hadn't gotten the guts up to post myself.

Here is his post about Sarah Palin and her stance on wildlife and wildlife protections. He links to some great posts and articles and videos in the blog, but let me give you an excerpt of the author's own words that I especially appreciate:

She stands for the thing we might despise most: the hurbristic belief in mankind's divinely-sanctioned exploitative dominance over nature and wildlife--an extension of Manifest Destiny.

These people are quick to say that the Bible sanctions man's dominance over the world and all things in it, but then they forget that for every Bible passage that asserts man's dominance, there are 20 that condemn greed and waste.

I'll let his post stand on its own, it's worth your read.

And here is a cartoon that slams the general idea home:

Enjoy folks who are on your side, and really put it out there,


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Crows can recognize a face

Crows, it seems, can recognize human individuals by their face. They also remember past treatment and connect it to certain faces.

A humorous twist on this article is that one of the masks used in the study was of Dick Cheney. Apparently, although recognizable, he remained in the "friend" category due to his actions. So... maybe they're not so smart after all.

(kidding, I kid)

Enjoy learning more about the juvenile delinquents of the bird set -- the Corvidae,


[Via VA Momma, photo credit in linked article]

What your global neighbors are buying

Here is a very cool graphical representation of global spending patterns from the New York Times. Sounds boring but it's not, honest. Click around a bit.

[important bit of information -- those numbers are PER CAPITA, so population size of the country doesn't skew the results. I.E. just because the U.S. has a large population doesn't explain the humungo spending patterns depicted in the chart]

Enjoy learning random bits of information from the intartubes,


[via Uncle Ted]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Warehouses full of defunct voting machines

Hows that for a visualization. There's World Peace, and then thousands upon thousands of defunct voting machines moldering in warehouses across the country.

Apparently, in many districts where new electronic voting machines were purchased, they were quickly deemed unsafe and junked. Or, in the case of a few counties, stored in the hopes they'd be able to be used again.

This reminds me of a joke:

"What do you call a thousand dead lawyers on the bottom of the ocean."

"A good start."


[AP image credit in linked article]

And now for something completely different: a Tumbleweed vortex

Or, to us plebians, a whirlwind full of tumbleweeds. Cool by any name. Apparently, in some parts of Queensland, the teens ride out into these and try to light them on fire. Genius.

Enjoy whalloping large acts of nature,


Monday, September 15, 2008

Clinton and Palin a-la Saturday Night Live

I love this video. Tina Fey is so hot talented, I tell you what. Amy Poehler as Clinton is absolutely hilarious as well. As for the subject matter -- well, this might as well be a real press conference.

Enjoy laughing instead of crying,


Finished American Gods, a quick review

If you are watching the "currently reading" widget at the side there, you can see I've finished the book American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. I enjoyed it, it was perfect light summer reading to ease me into that whole "reading for pleasure" thing I remember from my pre-college past.

I don't want to get too far into the story, as much of the enjoyment of the book is how you discover what is actually going on. What was as pleasurable as the story itself, was Gaiman's slick and readable delivery. The guy knows how to write, and it came across immediately as I read this.

Gaiman uses enough straight-forward imagery that I often found myself wanting to tell folks about this movie I was watching and realized that it was this book I was thinking of. The book reads like a graphic novel without graphics, or a screenplay. The action is direct, the images set the scene quickly and effectively, and the story progresses well.

There are many other reviews and fan sites out there for Gaiman and his work, so if you are interested I'd say head there for more information. For my part, I give this book a solid B, which translates into very readable. A good premise and well executed.

Later, I'll talk about the experience that was reading The Road, by Cormac McCarthy.

Enjoy reading for pleasure whenever you can,


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Total L.A. experience

So we went to the Arclight theatre to see the opening of Burn after Reading by the Cohen Brothers. The cool thing about the Arclight is that it is assigned seating. Yes it costs more, but you don't have to wait in cattle call and hope you are going to get your seat. The other thing about the Arclight is that the famous people like this feature of the theatre as well.

So who do we see on the way out of the theatre? Natalie Portman. She's teeeeeeny! Like this big (make a one-inch mark with two fingers to illustrate). I also spotted a character actor who has been in a meeeelion tv shows and films in the 70's and 80's -- who is neither Ernest Borgnine nor Paul Sorvino. I can't find his name for the life of me.

We are off to have a breakfast at Auntie Em's Kitchen. Supposedly really great food, despite being a hipster hangout. Ps: the hipsters in L.A. look almost identical to the hipsters in Portland. There is some media that they are both consuming to check their clothing (and facial hair) against.

I do think we're going to hit the La Brea Tar Pits as well, The Wife said she wanted to see "huge dead animals." That will fit the ticket.

Here's the trailer for the movie -- I'll probably review it later, but have to get to breakfast ATM.

Enjoy bumping around tinseltown virtually,


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lesser of two...

Too funny

Enjoy good puns when you can find them,


[via my Canukistani operative Yuri, image unattributed]

Test your color I.Q.

The FM 100 Hue test is fascinating, but harrowing (at least for me). Took me quite a while, and I kinda felt weird afterward. Not nauseous per se, but odd.

Enjoy finding out how well your eyeballs, and brain, react to the capacities of your computer screen,


Friday, September 12, 2008

Guess where I am

I'm in the cool old-L.A. style bungalow of Catherine the Great and her male concubine Jerry. Catherine is scrambling up some of the smoked salmon we brought with eggs for breakfast. Rocking. [there is supposed to be a cute photo of Catherine and Jerry right here, but the mac is arguing with me, so here is a link]

We are in a cool neighborhood within Highland Park. We flew into LAX last night chatting away with a big Santa-looking fellow who is a diesel and drag-car mechanic. He was headed in to L.A. to truck a dragster to a race somewhere in the middle of nowhere (Bakersfield).

I will probably throw up a post or a photo or two while we're down here.

Enjoy your day,


By the way, KT Tunstall is still smoking hot

Ok I know I posted this video before, but just in case you missed it, check out KT Tunstall doing a solo (looped, sampling herself as she goes) performance of "Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree."

Totally hot.

Enjoy flashbacks whenever you can dig them up,


Thursday, September 11, 2008

A short course in Bovine methane production, an unintended guest post by Estu

Stud Farmhand posted this in the comments below, and it was awesome enough I figured I'd better make it a post of its own.

A short course in bovine methane production:

Cow flatus is commonly cited as a significant contributor to global warming; as much as 18% of all methane produced worldwide comes from animals, with 90% of that coming from cud chewers (sheep, goats, camels, water buffalo, but mostly cattle)

There's a genetically engineered grass which, if fed to cattle, is claimed to reduce their methane emissions:

(note that at least one country, Great Britain, includes plans to reduce bovine flatulence as part of its comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse emissions.)

Here's another proposed solution to the problem: a methane trap developed in Argentina:

Finally, here's a project underway in California to use the methane released by cows to generate electricity:

And Stu's continued commentary, now on Horse manure:

Another related topic: horse manure and stall bedding are a significant problem. If simply piled up and left to rot, they add significant nitrogen to the soil and groundwater of surrounding areas. ANother option, hauling to landfills, simply relocates the problem to our already overflowing solid waste disposal systems.

Composting is effective but can be time- and labor-intensive.

There's a company in Snohomish, WA that makes fast-composting systems for stall bedding and horse manure:

I have been using one of their micro-bin systems for the last year and am very pleased with the result: I can cure 16 cubic feet -- 1.75 cubic yards -- of used bedding and manure in 30 days. The company also claims that the system is effective for other forms of animal waster (sheep, poultry), household garbage (food waste, not trash) and for yard waste such as grass clippings.

Enjoy your friends geeking out eloquently on your blog,


[cow picture via burpless grass article, horse manure composter picture via]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chicken poo into electricity and fertilizer -- that's what I'm talking about!

The Netherlands is going to use 1/3 of it's chicken manure annually to run a power plant producing enough power for 90,000 homes.

This cuts greenhouse gases (comes out approximately carbon neutral) and produces not only power but high-nutrient ash for use in fertilizers. How rocking is that?

Now is that so hard people? Lets work on cow and pig next please.

Enjoy closing production loops and returning the byproducts back into the soil,


[photo credits in linked article]

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Biden -- encouragingly level-headed about upcoming V.P. debates

Looks to me like Biden is going to work out just fine. Here's a quick video where he talks about the upcoming Veep debates, the sound ain't so hot, but the content is encouraging.

Enjoy calming down a bit about the upcoming election,


[via Portland Mercury blog]

Humungo Garage Sale, this weekend!

The Redwind community is having a ginormous fundraiser sale this weekend, (Sept. 13th and 14th) at 5730 SE Boise [click address for map]. As per yard sale tradition, the sale will start officially at 9:00 A.M. on Saturday -- but we know darned well folks will start showing up an hour or more ahead of time.

It is more than a garage sale, it is a flea market, jumble sale, a car boot sale, a used-goods bazaar, a death-free multi-family estate sale. There will be large items and furniture as well as knick-knacks and clothes and everything in between. It's like a 10-family block sale in one location.

You know you want to go. Tell your friends!


Monday, September 8, 2008

100 Places to remember before they disappear

Before I launch (or let them launch) into a description of the "why" of this project, I want to say that I picked it because the visuals are just stunning. Absolutely gripping. When you get to the website, just click around -- look for slider bars on the text, and video prompts below. There is a lot to see here and it's all quite amazing.

100 Places to Remember before they Disappear -- in their own words:
is a multi-channel communication platform using the fascination of photography to showcase the beauty and susceptibility of certain habitats impacted by climate change.

Through books, exhibitions, websites... we communicate solutions and explications on the earth’s climatic problems.

100 Places to Remember Before they Disappear” is an outstanding visual experience.

Based on the IPCC reports, the project aims to raise awareness throughout the world - reaching it’s peak during the UN Climate Conference, COP 15 in Copenhagen 2009.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Here's what some of your taxpayer money is doing, shuttling drugs in the same planes that shuttle terror suspects for "extraordinary rendition"

When does it end? Here's an update on the story of the CIA plane that went down in the Yucatan last year with 3.7 tons of cocaine on board. "Donna Blue Aircraft, Inc." which owns the plane, appears to be a front. GO FIGURE.

Who knew Boing Boing did pieces like this eh? It was a great site before this, but now is sterling in mine eyes. The Boing Boing post has a slew of good links to follow to get background information on this story.

Enjoy pulling the wool off your eyes,


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Some serious McCain ugliness -- his actions against POW/MIA disclosure

Alright folks, time to put the rubber on the road.

Here is a video laying out some seriously ugly assertions about McCain and his need to keep POW/MIA files out of public hands. He opposed the declassification of military records that would make it easier for the families of POWs and MIAs to research their family member's status. This we do know. The bill which passed the house without a single dissenting vote -- this bill he opposed.

As for why he opposed the bill, this video put out by the Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain proposes some motivations that are not in any way pretty.

Is this Swiftboating? I don't know. I know that Bob Dornan is not exactly a Democratic Mole, and he is making some of the most serious accusations of a fellow Republican.

Something to contemplate and investigate:

Enjoy firming up the very reasonable arguments against McCain for President,


Gathering rainwater illegal in some states!!??!!

Oh how to post this without expletives every other word, HOW. So here is a video of a newscast talking about a forward-thinking businessman who ran into a shitpile (oops there I go) of trouble and red tape, because (close your eyes kids) the fucking government wasn't going to let him use rainwater to decrease his ecological impact on the planet.


I know, I know -- water rights are complicated, and you can't just set aside a law because one instance makes sense, because it opens a loophole/opportunity that others will exploit, blah blah blah. It's still ASININE.

Enjoy the fact that eventually the government worked with this guy and we don't have to do something foolish in that state to correct the FUCKING IDIOCY,

Shutting up now, *grumble*


[Yuri sent this one just to make me insane, I know it]

Friday, September 5, 2008 is closing, what a drag!

As I finished my last post, I went to my habitual spot at to post that my blog was updated. I got the 'we are closed' screen. What a freaking drag!

I've met many excellent local folks by cruising Orblogs. I've also garnered a decent amount of steady readership from it as well.

Now I'm going to be forced to network outside that one convenient site. Bah, another learning curve.


Adrenaline, teenage boys and some body-surfing prehistory

Yuri just sent me this great link about 10 Terrifying Activities for the Cheap Adrenaline Junkie.

I had a couple thoughts as I went through the videos. First off, I noticed that it's all boys doing this stuff. Are girls doing all this stuff too and not filming it? Or do they lack the idiot deathwish bravado that many teen boys possess, as well as the (seemingly hard-wired) need to show off said bravado. Then I thought, did I do stupid shit like this? Of course I did.

Watching the free runners and cliff jumpers, I flashed back to my bullet-proof and invisible days. It took me a minute to find the correlate, but then it came to me -- The Wedge [see the distinct wave formation that gives this spot its name here]. It is one of the world's most famous body surfing spots, in Newport Beach California, and a Mecca for a particular clutch of adrenaline junkies.

When I was a teenager, I'd throw fins on (overly tight Churchills at the time, I didn't have the money for Vipers unfortunately), and swim out into that pounding surf over and over again for the rush of falling down the face of a wave and avoiding being beaten directly into the sand by the shore break. It was fantastic.

For some serious journalistic extravagance about bodysurfing at The Wedge, check out this Outside Online article, "The Lip Comes Down." He describes the scene much, much better than I will be able to this early in the morning. He pumps it up, of course, to make it "extreme" and exciting, but it's all true, just overly dramatized for effect.

The video below is of Matt Larson taking an enormous wave at The Wedge. Bodysurfing is hard to capture on film, and can be boring to watch if you aren't an afficionado -- the ride is slow enough that the rider is often eaten up in the whitewash most of the wave. So, it gets little attention on sports channels, etc. From the experience of the rider, however, it's a whole different animal than board surfing (hard or soft) exactly because of this immersion in the wave.

I don't know that I can express how intense the experience would be if you took this same ride -- it is somewhere between falling off the side of a cliff, flying, being tied to the back of a rampaging buffalo, and going through a spin cycle in a washing machine. And make no mistake, when the break got this big, I was on the beach and part of the crowd of admirers. I wasn't even close to this good.

For lots more footage, check out this video, which shows not only body surfers (some really excellent ones) but body boarders (much easier to see and appreciate on film).

Last but not least of the video links, here is a great compilation of Wedge Wipeouts. Awesome.

There were a small band of legends that bodysurfed at The Wedge still when I was there in High School. Here is some blatant name-dropping: I've actually met the King of the wedge-heads, Fred Simpson. I was so star-struck that although he was often at the beach when I was, I think I only talked to him and shook his hand once. What a nerd.

Enjoy flashbacks incited by the youngins in your life,


[photo credit in Fred Simpson article]

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The most amazing geek tool/gadget ever! Swiss army flashdrive knife.

I know so many people who are going to buy one of these within minutes of knowing it exists it's not even funny. Yes, there is a Swiss Army knife that also sports a flash drive. It's called the Swiss Memory, Holy Geekarific Batman!!

You can even get one with a laser pointer -- how amazing is that.

Just cracks me up.

Enjoy stumbling upon things that will make your friends freak out,


[via Piglipstick]

And now for something completely different: dog jumping on trampoline

Inside Organic Winemaking

I figured, what the hell, the picture is pretty and there are some green freaks that read the blog. Check out this article on about organic wine making. They also talk a bit about Biodynamic viniculture. Pretty cool.

Enjoy learning a bit about how the stuff you imbibe comes about,


[via Yuri, my faithful Canukistani operative, photo credit in linked article]

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hot Pockets Recall -- warning, warning

Jim Gaffingan's Hot Pockets skit was a huge hit last year with me and mine, so this little piece of news couldn't avoid our notice. Imagine that, hot pockets may contain pieces of plastic and other foreign material. What's this world coming to.


[via The Wife]

Does this look like a steakhouse to you?

Yeah, me either. CAThouse maybe, but not steakhouse.

It is the steakhouse at the Madonna Inn, in San Luis Obispo. World's greatest steaks apparently -- who knew?

The Madonna Inn is the place with all the theme rooms, 100 of them. Like the Fox & Hound room, and The Love Nest (are those thrones?), and of course the caveman room.

You hear about these places, but to see the pictures -- wow.

Enjoy the extravagance of money pandering to an utter lack of taste -- creating, magically, awesomeness,


[praying Canukistani Kate isn't planning a trip here with her squeeze]

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

YGTLO: Cheney waits until Last minute again to buy 9/11 Presents

This may be my favorite Onion article all year. A teaser quote:

While Cheney is known by many to be cold and taciturn for the other 11 months of the year, those close to the vice president say there is something about the 9/11 season that puts a smile on his face and a spring in his step. Each Sept. 11 morning since 2001, Cheney has come to work donning a fireman costume and handed out small, thoughtful gifts to all White House staffers.

So awesome,


[via Piglipstick]

Good chance to taste Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants' teas!

In their own words:

Join us!
The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants
for an Open House at our new Tea Tasting Room!
We will be sampling teas and unique tea snacks for your enjoyment.

Thursday Sept. 4th (First Thursday!)
5:00pm - 9:00pm
Saturday Sept. 6th
11:00am - 2:00pm
1722 NW Raleigh St., #108
(Activ Space Raleigh)

Portland, OR 97209

Monday, September 1, 2008

I can't explain it, but I loathe movie musicals

So T. and The Wife are watching Sweeney Todd right now. Whenever people are talking, and NOT SINGING, I wander into the room and it looks really great. I mean Burton knows what he's doing, the makeup and cinematography are intriguing, the sets, etc. And then, the singing starts. I just have to walk away, I literally can't stomach it.

I don't understand where this reaction comes from. It applies especially to good old American musicals, with the modern orchestration (especially the lilting flutes -- my GOD that drives me nuts). The crescendos, the singing... the whole thing makes me want to earp.

My earliest memory of this allergy is when I was in elementary school, home sick from school to be exact. I had the tube on, was flipping channels, and I saw these 4 cool gangsters walking down the street, with their collars flipped up, their hair done up -- and I sat back to watch. Suddenly, they all hit some pose, full on jazz hands, and began to sing. It was West Side Story. I ran up to the tube and turned the dial. I was appalled.

So this has been with me for somewhere around 3 decades.

I'd love to know the root of it. If I figure it out some day I'll share with ya'll.

Enjoy being a hater,


ps/addendum: This sentiment doesn't seem to apply to live musicals. Again, a mystery.

Google Earth exposes swastika at Naval Base

What can you say to a big swastika on a Naval Base built in the '60's in San Diego? Here's what the Navy said:

The Navy has long known it looked like a swastika but thought people would not see it. “In the ’60s we did not have the Internet,” a spokeswoman said.

Ham-fisted, at the least.

The San Diego Anti Defamation League went after the Navy for using the symbol, and the Navy is spending $600k to fix the look of the buildings. Check out this New York Times article for a few more details.

Enjoy conspiracy bait that keeps the hornets buzzing,


The Virile Vampire strikes again: Putin saves film crew from Tiger

Remember the Virile Vampire article? That was the hyperbolic praise Russian press gave regarding Vladimir Putin. This new article, about him saving a film crew from a tiger with the deft use of a tranquilizer gun, is coming from Reuters and Yahoo News. What the hell!

You got to love the cult of personality, it just cracks me up.

I mean, who knows -- the guy is former KGB and maybe he just has the skills. I love watching the show though I must say.

Enjoy the Russian press, makes ours look "fair and balanced" at times,


[via Yuri of course, photo credit in linked article]