Saturday, December 26, 2009

2719 newly married man onions

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Competent leaders have always understood the crucial difference
between public proclamations and private bargains.
-- Stephen Jay Gould --

Understanding is one thing; justifying is another.
-- Silk --


Someone somewhere arrived on this blog today by searching for newly married man onions. I am dying of curiosity. What were they really looking for?

Friday, December 25, 2009

2718 Switched Links 1

Friday, December 25, 2009

What part of “Thou shalt not kill” don’t you understand?


Still cleaning out saved feeds. These are all from "", stuff I want to get back to, or keep for future reference.

Backupify Backs Up your Online Data... Online
I have stuff stored all over online - photos on Flickr, videos on YouTube, mail on Gmail, Documents on Box, and yeah, what if something happens to those services? I'll wait a while and see what others have to say about Backupify.

What's the Best Super Portable Laptop Under $500?
Switched says Toshiba's T-115, packed with two gigabytes of memory and 250 gigabytes of storage.

A Very Special Holiday E-Reader Roundup
A comparison of the various digital book readers, and of places to get digital books.

How to Really, Truly Uninstall Old Programs
I'm never sure when I uninstall something, that I got it all. Switched recommends Revo Uninstaller -- a free, easy-to-use utility that lets you fully delete whatever apps you want, as well as search out the fragments of old apps you thought you'd already deleted.

Fix That Burned-In Image on Your Plasma TV
Make snow for 15 minutes.

'Glowing' Stickers Illuminate Your Keyboard For Cheap
The original white letters gradually disappear from my keyboard, probably because I type with my fingernails. This is a place to get glowing keytop stickers, so I can find the "E", "S", and "O" again.

Man Builds Biological Virus Sculptures From Salvaged PCs

Kill Gmail Ads With a Few Choice Words
There is a trick that will banish the keyword ads from your e-mails forever. The advertisements are generated by looking for certain keywords in a message, but there are certain phrases that Google doesn't allow. Obscenities and violent words, if used in a certain ratio, will stop paid content from showing up in Gmail. So you sign off with, oh, say, this sentence: "I enjoy the massacre of ads. This sentence will slaughter ads without a messy bloodbath", Google/Gmail will back off, whimpering. I wonder if it would work for Yahoo mail, too?

Bill Gates Providing Classic Physics Lectures Online
Bill Gates has secured the rights to a collection of Richard Feynman's Cornell University lectures from 1964 and will make them available over the Web, for free. Feynman's lectures are interesting and accessible.

Why Female Astronauts Never Made It to Space in the 1960s
Back when women were just tall children.

France May Regulate Photoshopped Photos
Sounds like a good idea to me. In the photo on the right, can you guess which one is the real natural person, and which is the idealized public image young people think is real? And what does it lead them to think of their own natural bodies?

If God Texted the Ten Commandments...
...what would they look like? I confess that if I didn't already know what they were supposed to say, I might not be able to figure it out.

2717 Christmas Kitties

Friday, December 25, 2009

The mystery of love and life and death is really grander and more
glorious than human beings can grasp, much less legislate.
-- Fenton Johnson, 1996 --


May the lights of the season warm your cockles
and leave a song in your heart.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

2716 The Scrubs Christmas Eve

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Please stop blaming your narrow-minded prejudices on God.


The "Scrubs" Christmas Eve show is on TV right now. I had forgotten about the song. I found this - Christmas Eve in the emergency room:


2715 More links

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

You’re pro-life AND pro-war? I’m anti-hypocrite, thanks.


More links I've been saving. Clearing out my Bloglines saves:

The shadow of your smile.... (Not safe for the office, depending on your office.)

Eggshell Art
With a Dremel and an egg, you, too, can create beauty.

What the airlines are actually selling.

Clearing up some issues when it comes to evolution
A short list laying down some definitions, clearing up some misconceptions.

Observing The Outside World
One of my favorite photos from "The Daily Coyote". Those eyes!

Most Beautiful Letter
A letter written by a young man, from jail. It's why we should care.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2714 Bored much?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Caring for the health of others - isn’t that a moral value?


Lesson for the day: If you are waiting anxiously, you are waiting with bated breath, not baited breath. "Bated", as in "abated", means "held". You are holding your breath.

Although if you had eaten cheese and breathed into a mouse hole, you might then be waiting with baited breath.


I forget where I found the card at left, and even after checking several Bloglines feeds I can't find it now. Forgive me if it's copyrighted, but I'm not making money on it, so it's ok, I think.

At least three readers will get the reference, for different reasons. Even if you go changing the date on him, eventually Santa will find you. And no matter what you build in the back yard, Santa knows the difference. Merry Christmas to you all.


The Roman Catholic church objected to the Mexico City proposition to allow same-sex marriage, labeling the proposal immoral, saying that "marriage must hold the promise of procreation."

I've heard that before, and it has always struck me as hypocritical, because the Church doesn't require fertility testing before marriage, and will happily perform a marriage involving a 60-year-old bride. Where's the "promise" there? And if you're thinking those might have a miracle, well, then it's not hypocritical to deny same-sex marriage, it's arrogant! Don't go limiting or challenging God.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2713 Western Ave., three days before...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ask Jesus about torture.


... or ask anyone who was on Western Avenue near Crossgates this evening....

I went to dinner in the Albany area. The guy who set it up said, "Come before or after your shopping. Located conveniently near Crossgates Mall."

Ack! A restaurant on a major 7-lane street, just down from the largest mall within an 80-mile circumference, a quarter mile off the Northway, three days before Christmas, is anything but "convenient"! Especially when we're meeting near the end of rush hour.

It was downright scary.

2712 Law Blog Links

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Those who can make you believe absurdities
can make you commit atrocities.
-- Voltaire --


I get feeds from the Wall Street Journal law blog. I click "keep" on some, when the post has a lot of links I want to read, or when I need to think about the topic a bit more, or when I want to be reminded to follow up on what happens next.

I've got an overload of kept posts out there now. Needs clearing out. I'm going to put them here, so I can find them when I want them. Perhaps others might find something interesting here. (Note: Scotus is the Supreme Court of the United States. Shouldn't that be Scotusoa?)

"Did Netflix Violate Subscribers’ Privacy? Lawsuit Says Yes."
I had to giggle at what these folks did, comparing comments across sites to identify the subjects. It's exactly what I would have done.

"Defendants’ Ability to Suppress Evidence Taking a Hit"
I don't much care for illegal searches. On the other hand, when police find strong evidence of a serious crime in an illegal search, I hate to see it thrown out. On the third hand, if illegal searches are winked at, there's an opening for abuse. It's sticky. The one thing I'm sure I don't agree with is that the law should be loosened simply because as is, it puts pressure on police to lie in court about the conditions of the search. It's a snake pit. And the thinking in unraveling the snakes is the same thinking that justifies torture.

"On Congress, the Estate Tax and the Constitution"
In 2001, Congress passed a bill that called for a gradual reduction of the federal estate tax over the next decade. However, the bill did not provide for continuation of the reduction. In 2010, the federal estate tax will disappear entirely, and in 2011, the tax would return to the pre-legislation rate of 55% after the first million. (When the bill was first passed, my comment was that we could expect a lot of wealthy relatives to "suddenly drop dead" in 2010.) So, now what? Which way is it likely to go? Back up or stay down? Is Granny going to get her medicine or not? Is anybody listening?

"Does N.C. City Councilman’s Avowed Atheism Bar Him From Office?"
This one really bugs me. A particular religious affiliation should not be a requirement for a job, let alone an elected government office. How did it go on so long? In so many states? On the one hand it's clearly unconstitutional. On the other hand, it's a political hot potato.

"The Death Penalty for Being Gay and HIV Positive? Uganda Mulls It"
Scary. Your church tithes at work? The missionaries are backing off from responsibility, I suspect more because of the death sentence than because of any tendency toward tolerance.

"California: Where the Death Penalty is Better Than a Life Sentence"
Death sentences across the country are not being carried out for a variety of reasons. In California, there are 680+ inmates on death row, but there have been only 13 executions since 1977, and none in the past four years. This has led defendants convicted of capital cases to request the death penalty rather than life sentences - because the living conditions are better. They get private cells, their own TV, meals delivered to the cell, better access to telephones, and private touch-allowed visiting arrangements.

"The Proposed Tax Break for the Trial Bar"
There's a bill in Congress that could/would make it more profitable (or at least less of a gamble) for law firms to pursue frivolous lawsuits.

"Scotus to Cops: You Have 6 Hours to Get that Confession"
We often hear of people confessing to a crime they didn't commit because the authorities browbeat them into it by questioning them for umpty hours without a break. The Supreme Court says no, that's not allowed.

"Philadelphia Freedom? Not For Us, Say Tour Guides"
Philadelphia says that anyone talking about history in the city center, for money, must pass a history test and be licensed. (Does this makes it illegal for your teacher to tell you about the Liberty Bell on your school field trip?) Some tour guides are objecting. I can see both sides of the lawsuit. The city wants to protect you from the tour guide who makes things up as he goes along. On the other hand, I am tired of the push to "certify" everything. Seems to me a good compromise would be to offer certification/licensing, and let the visitor hire a certified guide, or any other guide he wants.

"Chicago Trib: Use Caution While Driving Through Tenaha, Texas"
This is something that REALLY jerks my chain. Police in small towns near state lines all over the south are using the "asset-forfeiture law" -- a law which permits local police agencies to keep money and other property used in or acquired through the commission of a crime and add the proceeds to their budgets -- to rip off people without ever charging them with a crime. They just stop people, threaten them, and take their money, property, car, everything they can get, with no arrest or charge. Most of the people they select for this extortion don't have the means to attempt to sue the government. It really pisses me off. It pisses me off even more that "everybody knows" it's happening, but no one does anything about it.

"Walter Mondale: ‘Gideon v. Wainwright is at Risk’"
You know how on TV when somebody is arrested, they are told that "if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you"? That came from G v. W, and the devil is in that "cannot afford". About the only people likely to get a court-appointed attorney are the homeless. A lot of innocent poor people end up in jail because they can't put up a defense.
"Under Florida law, he could be disqualified for counsel if he has assets exceeding $2,500 (excluding a house), a car valued above $5,000, or had posted bail of more than $5,000. [Silk: Note the "or". That means that using a bondsman, he'd have to have put up only $500 of his own, so total assets of only $500 loses you a lawyer. ]

Elsewhere, writes Mondale, things are worse. In New Hampshire, [he] could be found ineligible for counsel if he had a home valued at more than $20,000. Courts in Virginia could deny him counsel because of the amount of money possessed by family members, even if [he] had no power over that money.

...As a result, people are forced to defend themselves and can be wrongly convicted."
"In Tribune Bankruptcy, Judge Caps Sidley’s Fees at $925/hr"
Confirmation that lawyers are grossly overpaid. Honest pay for honest work is ok, but $925 just doesn't seem honest, let alone the $1,100/hr. initially requested. Yes, there's specialized knowledge involved, but no more specialized, and no more difficult, than many other jobs - and in much nicer surroundings than most.

"Do Federal Judges Discriminate Against Discrimination Claims?"
Very few employment discrimination (pay/promotion) claims are won, and one possible explanation is a bias on the part of the jurists - that if the employer didn't acknowledge any discrimination and settle the case before court, then obviously there's nothing to the claim. This makes lawyers reluctant to press the case. It's a snowball, and if it continues to grow, why would any employer ever admit error and settle?

Monday, December 21, 2009

2711 My blog has a virus?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.
-- Maori proverb --



In Post #2709, I expressed shock at the pants worn by a certain actor in a certain WWII-themed TV show.

Well, it's gone viral. I'm getting hits on that post referred by email servers, so I guess somebody had found it and emailed it around, and this morning the URL was posted in a forum for fans of the show, and I'm getting hits from there. No comments - just hits. (I bookmarked the forum, so if anyone leaves an interesting comment, I'll pass it along.)

Gee, I didn't think it was THAT amusing....

2710 Branching Out

Monday, December 21, 2009

When fascism comes to America, it will be
wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.
-- Sinclair Lewis --


For one fee, you can open up to three Meetup groups. I just opened another one, in addition to my art house film group. The new one is for 50+ singles (and anyone else who appreciates a mature mind). Most of the existing singles' groups are in the southern end of the counties, and they seem to concentrate on booze, dance bands, and strenuous hikes. Mine will be northern-based, up here where I live, and we'll do dinners, movies, strolls, blueberry-picking, museums, festivals, auctions, and anything else that looks interesting, with an emphasis on conversation.

It'll be promoted on the Meetup site in about 70 hours, and we'll see what happens.


Jasper and I are having a battle of wills. Being a boy cat, he is prone to urinary tract infections, so he's supposed to get food that keeps his ph low. I had been buying some prescription food from the vet, but he refused to eat it. He'd been stealing Miss Thunderfoot's special kidney diet instead. Now that she's gone, that's not an option for him any more.

I've bought bags and boxes and cans of every commercial and specialty cat food I can find that says "for urinary tract health", and he refuses to eat any of it. The only thing he will eat is cheap grocery store food, which won't help his ph. And the occasional mouse, when he finds them.

So he hasn't eaten much in the past three weeks. He's a bit chubby, so it won't kill him to diet a bit. If I pick him up, put him at the dish, and then crouch there and stroke him, he'll eat, but only as long as I stroke him.

I refuse to be trained to do that.

I put food out. He ignores it. I feel guilty. He comes into the den and pats my leg and leads me to the dish. I ignore him. He cries, little bitty kitty "Eeee? Eeee? Eeee?", I crouch and stroke him and he eats a few bites.

I will not cook for him. Hell, I don't cook for ME! Besides, he'd probably refuse it anyway. He has had no interest in any people food I've offered to share with him. Not even tuna fish. I don't know what he wants. (Actually, yeah. He wants "Alley Cat" and "Friskies".)

It all reminds me of when I tried to move Daughter from the breast to the bottle. Her stubbornness then should have been a warning of the teen years.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

2709 '70s Beefcake Yikes!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Illegal immigration began in 1492.


When TV went digital, I gained a bunch of secondary stations. One of them is "Retro TV", which shows old programs all day. On Sundays, when all that's on the regular over-the-air networks is sports and sales pitches, I usually just have the radio on. Today, I went retro.

Eek! "Black Sheep Squadron" was on from 1976 to 1978. I never watched it then, didn't watch much TV at all in the '70s. I'm watching it now, and I can't believe what I'm seeing.

Robert Conrad plays Pappy Boyington. His pants are so tight they cut into his crack, have stretch pulls on the sides, and, uh, they're so thin it's obvious he's not wearing underwear. It's also obvious he "dresses to the right and down". And he's proud of it. I'd think it was a sand-stuffed sock, except that the pants are so revealing you can almost see the veins.

Then I noticed the other actors. The light-haired guy dresses to the right and up. His major bulgeage falls below, to either side of the seam.

The crotch seam on those guys cuts in so high and tight it HAS to be uncomfortable. It looks painful. The only actors who look comfortable are the older guys. I wonder how many pairs of pants wardrobe went through every week, not to mention all the retakes, from all those split seams in action shots.

Was that normal in the late '70s? Were the producers trying to attract the female audience?

It looks ridiculous.


I did a little reading on Robert Conrad. Apparently he was famous for tight pants, wore them in "Wild Wild West", too, when he wasn't wearing leather pants. The camera loved his rear end - he often stood with his legs slightly apart to emphasize the dimples on the sides. (My mind is drifting - I love the dimples on The Man's backside. He has narrow hips, and high, tight, round, firm, perfect globes that slide smoothly into his thighs, with side dimples even when he's just standing straight, all in smooth shiny melted bittersweet chocolate - but at least he hides them in looser pants.)


Conrad says he wore tight pants "because I found out they work".


Later - Hey, all you folks arriving from - my regular readers (all silent 20 or so of them) are women, and I'll bet half of them have searched for Robert Conrad photos and clips as a result of reading this. So what's got YOUR panties in a twist, uh, ruffle?

2708 I hate winter (in case that wasn't clear enough already).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The last time Republicans cared about my rights, I was a fetus.


I couldn't get a consensus anywhere yesterday as to how much snow we were supposed to get overnight. Estimates from the TV weathermen, acquaintances, three different online weather sites, and the weather radio (nat'l weather service) ranged from 2 to 20 inches. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome#1 at the gas station assured me we'd get 4 inches. The grocery stores were packed yesterday with people stocking up.

So I prepared.

I bought cat food and a few other things that I didn't want to run out of, filled some bottles with water (if the electricity goes out I have no heat or water), boosted the thermostat and took it off program so that the house wouldn't get cold overnight, in case there was no heat in the morning, called my plow guy and said if we got three inches or more he should plow for me, set aside the cash to pay him, and at 2 am I moved my car to the bottom of the driveway.

I kept putting off moving the car, because it was cold and windy, and dark, and the long walk back up the drive is scary in the dark, but I knew if I didn't move it, we'd get at least a foot. The plow man would have to call me when he arrived, to move the car out onto the road so he could get through, and I just knew that would be at like 6 am or something. Walking back up the drive, there were glints of falling snow in the beam of the flashlight.

This morning, nothing. No snow.

For all you local folks, you're welcome. If I had made no preparations, you KNOW we'd have got 2 or 3 feet, so I know I am responsible.