Saturday, July 07, 2012

3567 Something's wrong

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Being good at taking tests won't get you very far in life.


(Snork.  There are a lot of Mensans who need to read the green quote above.  More than a few seem to think that high scores alone should somehow get them acclaim - even though they have accomplished little else in their lives.  In fact, too many are a burden.)

I'm feeling a little like April 2 of 2011, when I ended up in a White Plains hospital for four days, with a nasty kidney. 

I've still got the stone in the left kidney.  It can't be zapped because of my fragile capillaries.  But a plethora of tests over the past year has said it isn't moving and hasn't grown.  That doesn't mean I can't throw another stone, though, or that the right kidney is immune.

I've got that "something's off" feeling.
[But that could be the heat and oppressive humidity.]

I've got a pain in my lower back, in pretty much the same place as in April 2011.
[But I often have pain in my lower back, that's normal.  And it does seem to be sensitive to posture, which in theory the kidney wouldn't be.]

I keep feeling like I have to piddle and poop, just like in April 2011.
[But I ate a quinoa mix late Thursday that's given me all kinds of problems ever since.  Probably the dried onions in it.  It's been pretty obvious that my body wants to get rid of every trace of it.  The flatulence has been incredible, like an enormous blast every 15 minutes yesterday.]

I don't have any blatant nausea or fever, but my stomach does feel off.  For one thing, it's hanging out and I can't hold it in.  I don't want anything around my waist - not even panty elastic.  It feels like there's a rock inside, just above the navel.  And I'm not interested in food.  I feel like I've got a lump in my throat and a tiny touch of acid reflux.
[Well, ice cream sounds good.  Maybe it IS the heat and humidity, and the remaining effects of the quinoa.]

I feel blah, and I'm hoping it has nothing to do with the kidney. I'm hoping it all goes away pretty soon.

3566 Letter to Laura

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Don't try to fix anyone.  It never works and can break you.


In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, she knows that homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.  This letter to Laura has been floating around the internet.

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan,

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus,
Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia


3565 Flip of the lip

Saturday, July 7, 2012

When life gives you melons, you might be dyslexic.


Verizon "news" has an article today about the recent propensity of politicians to use previously objectionable words, even when they know the microphone is on.  They give two examples of elected officials using the word "ass----".

Then it was Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter's turn on Thursday at a news conference at which he discussed a shooting a few blocks from the center of the city's July Fourth celebration. He said he wasn't going to let the city's image be harmed by "some little ass---- 16-year-old."

I am confused by the placement of the "----".  When did "hole" become the naughty part, and and "ass" become acceptable?

I don't understand.

Friday, July 06, 2012

3564 Bits

Friday, July 6, 2012

If you don't know, it doesn't hurt to ask. It does hurt if you don't.


The Supreme Court recently ruled that life sentences (which some states mandate for certain crimes) for young offenders (below 18, I believe) is unconstitutional, being "cruel and unusual punishment", on the theory that someone that young is heavily externally influenced.  They may have had rotten upbringing, terrible adult models, a life of hopelessness, bad peer pressure which they are too young to resist, and so on, which must be taken into consideration.

Yeah, ok, I can see where they're going with it.  And yes, a lot of kids who did heinous things can still grow up into responsible adults with the right positive influence.

However, the ruling scares me because some of those kids are unredeemable.  They're already broken well past any chance of repair.  The thought of their being turned loose scares me.

I'm thinking of kids like those two in their early teens who kidnapped a toddler from a mall in England, and tortured him in multiple creative ways before finally killing him.

Who could torture a toddler?  There's something more wrong with those kids than just bad influences.

I do hope that all the Court shot down was state mandates, not judges' discretion. 


Similar topic, some guy (18 when he committed the crimes, so the above doesn't apply) has been sentenced to an aggregate 130 (or maybe 135?) years after being found guilty of a series (7, I think) of armed robberies.  His buddies in crime took the plea-bargain and testified against him.  They each got much shorter sentences.

The guy thinks it's very unfair, because, after all, "it's his first offense!" Even his idiot lawyer is saying that.

Uh, no, you committed at least seven armed robberies (who knows how many more), discharging the gun at least twice, and were found guilty of all of them.  I figure that's at least seven offenses.

It's just the first time you got caught.


 I don't know if everyone sees the same thing when they watch videos on YouTube.  On my screen, I see a column of videos on the right that seem to be related to the one I'm watching - same topic, same creator, same keywords, whatever.  The top video in that list is a "paid distribution" video.  Someone paid a bunch of money to get prime position on the recommended list.  It's not related in any way to the one I'm watching.

For the past very long time, it's been Mormon videos.

Someone is paying a truckload of money to get me (us?) comfortable with Mormons.

I wonder why.


Well, it's summer, and we're getting news stories about kids and hikers lost in the woods/desert/mountains.   Some kids have been lost for days, with hundreds of searchers looking for them.

(An interesting aside - a little girl had wandered away from her family's campsite.  Hordes of searchers, all male.  Two women wanted to join the search, but were told no, that they wanted only trained search parties familiar with the terrain, so the women simply set out on their own.  The child was found by the women.

Why?  Because the child had heard the men calling her name, but hid when she heard them because she had been taught to be afraid of strange men.  She was afraid of being abducted.  She responded to the women.

Story from the "Free Range Kids" website.)

Here's what I don't understand.  Howcome they don't use tracking dogs?  Tracking dogs are used to locate criminals all the time.  Seems like finding a kid in the woods should be a snap.  Just start from the kid's bed or wherever they were last seen, and go.  But you almost never hear of that.

Yeah, ok, there aren't a lot of dogs trained for it (although almost any dog can do it once they know what you want so I don't know why there aren't a lot), so one would have to be flown/helicoptered in.  But hey, a lost kid! 

Here's a story of how a dog can follow a trail for miles in intense heat, picking out the one trail from hundreds of overlapping trails, with the least sniff of the target scent.  Amazing.

If my Nugget ever gets lost, I want a dog on the case!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

3563 Water and Fire

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Men are much more willing to compromise their health and sanity to make more money, women are more willing to compromise their financial status in order to have a more fulfilled, balanced life.
-- Kandralla --


Today's dose of politics.  I had noticed that the conservatives seem to do a much better job of swaying opinion, destroying the credibility of ideas they don't like, appealing to the lowest denominator, and mobilizing people.  This explains how they do it, and the reason the liberals can't seem to get organized:


Hercules' mother (let's call her HM) has been visiting Daughter and Hercules.  She arrived  Saturday and left yesterday morning.  Daughter was very uptight about her visit.  I pretty much didn't cross the street while she was here.  The woman flat-out drives me crazy.

Daughter is one of those people who needs alone time often.  We all know that when she's "in a mood" you don't prod her and absolutely don't touch her.  She came over here at one point and said, "Mom, I keep telling her I need some quiet time, and she keeps touching me!  She keeps putting her arm around me and asking what's wrong!  How do I make her leave me alone!?"

On Sunday, Hercules crossed the street to say hello, with the Nugget in the wagon.  He said as soon as HM changed her clothes, they were going to the beach at the end of the block.  I noticed that the Nugget was wearing a swimming diaper.  Daughter's car was gone.  I got an ominous feeling.

Ok, you need to know about "the beach".  It's not like the Jersey shore beaches.  Those are on the ocean.  This is a stretch of mixed sand and broken glass on a curve of Raritan Bay.  The Raritan River, the Hudson River, and The East River dump into Raritan Bay.  (Ever watch Sienfeld?  Remember Kramer swimming in the East River?  Raritan Bay is where that water goes.)  The bay water is murky.  About the only thing that lives in it is horseshoe crabs, and they have the constitution of cockroaches.  The crabs are the only reason the "beach" hasn't been paved over - it's where they lay their eggs every spring.

The last time we had the Nugget on that beach, she splashed water in her face, and Daughter got upset.

I got a little worried and asked if I could go along.

This was from when we first arrived:
Yup.  HM fully intended to take the Nugget into the water, to "get her comfortable" in water.   She carried her out into the waves, up to HM's chest.  Waves hit the Nugget in the face.  She got water in her ears, eyes, mouth, and I stood there wondering what pathogens and parasites might be in that water.  Hercules long ago gave up his cocoanuts to HM.  I was freaking out, but I kept my mouth shut.

It was a good thing I was there.  The two of them frequently got distracted, they'd be standing there looking at something with their backs to the Nugget (and the Nugget never stands still), and she'd be running off up the beach or into the water and they didn't notice until I'd yell "Grab her!"

There were horseshoe crabs in the water.  At one point Hercules was trying to herd a mating pair into shallower water and HM was trying to get a picture, and neither of them had any idea where the Nugget was.

I was glad when I looked up the seawall and saw Daughter arriving.


Hercules gets cluster headaches.  He'll go weeks or even a few months without, and then he'll get slammed.  The weekend HM was visiting, he had several.  When Daughter arrived at the beach, a bad one hit, so he left.  By the time we got back to the house, he had gone to bed.

I wonder if there was a connection.


Fireworks out there.  It's 10 pm and there's no point in going to bed.  Somebody on the next street behind me sounds like they're dynamiting their house.  I didn't go to the seawall to watch any.  You can see a lot of NYC, Staten Island, and up and down the NJ shoreline from there.  Don't know why, but I'm just not interested.

Someplace to the north just over the water had a huge show last night, maybe somewhere on Staten Island.  It went on for almost an hour, and there were never fewer than five huge double chrysanthemums in the air at any instant.  I could just see it from my dining room window.  It was amazing, but all I could think about was the expense.  What municipality around here has that kind of excess in their budget?  What could all that money have been used for instead?  Oh, maybe like repairing bridges, or water mains?  Soup kitchens and shelters?  I think it left me a little disgusted.

"Hey, we've got an extra $800,000 here!  Lets BURN it!!!"


Oh, almost forgot.  Nugget was slapping at her right ear yesterday.   Thanks for the gifts, HM.

3562 A HOTW Confession

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

All you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be.


If you stop at a traffic light, and people in the cars ahead of you, to the side of you, and behind you are all bopping their heads and singing as loudly as they can, quickly tune your radio to the local music station.  They're playing American Pie.


"Back in the day", most females my age thought Paul was the handsome Beatle.  A few thought John was good-looking.  Nobody ever mentioned a crush on George or Ringo.

Well, I'm finally coming clean.

I thought Paul was cute, but not at all sexy.  John was mysterious, but I didn't find him sexy.  In fact, just the opposite.  He sorta turned me off.  Ringo, let's face it, although he's turned out to be the most level-headed and possibly nicest, was just plain funny looking.   Looks have not always been my first criteria (look at some of my picks for HOTW (Honey of the Week)), but Ringo had been something of a clown, too, and didn't come across as all that smart.

I liked George.  He was quiet and had the strongest, most masculine, face of the four.  If you watched his eyes when the group was doing an interview, he was absorbing, reacting, and separating himself from the others.  I really liked him, without "knowing" him at all.

I was never able to say that in public back then without getting strange looks, snorts, and an argument.

I'm saying it now.




I wasn't a big Beatles fan anyway.  They had some good stuff (mostly in the "Rubber Soul" era), but it wasn't like I would seek them out.  When I wasn't listening to folk singers, I was a Stoner.  "Paint It Black", "Goin' Home", "Satisfaction", "Angie".....  Yeah.  Of course, the Rolling Stones weren't much to look at.  None of them.

The music of the late '50s to the late'70s was pretty incredible.  People wrote real songs then.  People sang (well, except for Dylan, but we forgave him).  People played real instruments with real skill.

Video killed popular music.  Now it's all flash and appearance.  You have to have "the look".  Innovation and talent are secondary.


Monday, July 02, 2012

3561 Cammo

Monday, July 2, 2012

To touch a rock is to touch the past.
To touch a flower is to touch the present.
To touch a child is to touch the future get fired.


I seem to have suddenly gained 10 pounds, distributed from my collar bones to my knees.  I don't know how.  But for the past two months, nothing fits.  Even my bras are choking me.

I was worried that maybe it had something to do with the kidney, but it doesn't seem to be edema.  My extremities are not affected.  It's flat-out fat.

Back to counting calories I guess.  I bet it was ice cream that did it.

Given that nothing fits, I'm almost lucky that there's heat.   I prefer loose clothing when it's hot anyway.  Easier to put on, allows air flow, blah blah.  There's a reason they wear mu'u mu'us in Hawaii.

I've been wearing some mu'u mu'us I bought in Hawaii, and caftans from the Smithsonian catalog and from African importers.  I really like them.  I'd wear them all year, except that it's hard to wear a coat over a caftan.

One day I slipped a caftan on to go downstairs to answer the door when the bell rang as I was getting out of the shower.  I didn't have any underwear on, and, surprise, I discovered I don't need panties with caftans or mu'u mu'us.  Nobody's going to see anything.  Nothing "touches" anything.  Air flow is very much increased.

Being me, I wondered if I ought to put something on.  A bra is sort of necessary to prevent movement, and embarrassment in a cool draft, but panties?  That got me thinking about thongs (not the shoes... thongs used to be shoes, you know).  I've never understood thongs.  They are definitely not comfortable.  That thin part up the back is incredibly annoying.  It rubs sensitive spots.  They don't protect outer clothing.  All they "cover" is a triangle of fur in the front (and mine is blond), so why bother?

Anybody want to explain why anyone voluntarily wears thongs to me?  I mean as a regular thing, during the day.  I can see their value in intimate encounters....

Sunday, July 01, 2012

3560 Necrophelia?**

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Communication is the key to getting along.

 (**Title misspelled just enough to push the post further down in search results, but still convey the idea.)

Memory foam mattresses are popular.  We are supposed to believe that you sleep well on them because there are no pressure points.  I don't know why people believe that.  I guess because ads tell you to believe that.

I bought one last year because it was a Woot-off of a "name" brand, at a very good price, and I thought that because it is flexible, it would be easier to get the mattress into and out of an enclosed Chinese bed.

I hate it.  It's very hard on my back, because I need those pressure points to keep me changing position while I sleep, so without them I don't move enough, and when I wake up my spine is frozen in whatever position I slept in all night.  Which means that if I fell asleep with my face in a book, which often happens, I could be in real trouble in the morning.

You know, the first time I saw the commercial for the things, saw the hand sinking in, I knew that there was one particular use of a mattress for which these mattresses would be extremely badly suited.

For "playing", you need firmness and a certain degree of REBOUND.  The folks at the store when I bought the mattress for the sleigh bed were laughing at me, because I was bouncing on all the mattresses.  

Memory foam has zero rebound.  It's dead.  You have to work twice as hard.  Worse, the more weight in a spot, the deeper you sink.  So when you have double the weight in a spot, the sinkage on the bottom is extreme, and it becomes difficult to move at all.  Certainly any quick side-to-side movement is impossible.  Also, body heat softens the foam, so the more interesting things get, the deeper you sink.

What amazes me is that although they've been around for years, we are only now hearing those complaints, and only verbally, on TV talk shows, or in conversation, or at group dinners.  You read reviews online or in ratings magazines, and no one ever mentions that little problem.

Why?  Have people forgotten how springs feel?

("Sleep like the dead", eh?  Who wants to make love like the dead?)


3559 Get off my lawn! #3

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"There's no sense beating a dead horse.  But if you've reached the point where you even seriously consider that abusing a dead animal might improve your lot in life, I say go ahead and give it a shot."
-- Anthony Myers --


Thursday, at the country house, I was debating staying another night, and then visiting someplace nice on Friday morning.  Like maybe go to Poet's Walk, or to the Rhinecliff Hotel to have breakfast on the patio and watch the ships on the Hudson, or to the Ulster Town Park to dabble in the water and feed the fish, or to North and South Lakes and check out the view over the escarpment, or to Rhinebeck to do some window shopping, or to visit any of a dozen waterfalls, or to climb the tower at Mohonk (there's a picture here, for more search for "Mohonk Fire Tower"), or I could even wander around Woodstock, get a tarot reading, buy some special incense.

I ultimately decided not to stay another night, but thinking about all the places I missed made me realize that here, at the city house, there's no place around here that I want to go.  There are a few quaint places, but they're crowded and difficult to get to.  There's the shore, and beaches, but they are crowded and too developed.  There are wooded parks, but they are too tamed and manicured and lifeless.  Nothing I've found around here so far is soothing to the soul.

At the country house, even the simple drive to interesting places is beautiful and relaxing. Not so, here.  Even if you find a wonderful spot, by the time you've fought traffic to get there and find a safe place to leave the car, you're ready to bite the head off any (obviously lost) rabbit that crosses your path.

3558 Get off my lawn! #2

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Given that on the internet you can be anything you want,
it's strange that so many people choose to be stupid.


I don't understand English.  Lie, lies, lied.  So far, so good.  But one who lies is a liar.  Why not lier?  Where'd that "a" come from?


The city of Kingston, NY, looks pretty sad.  (Well, to be technical, it's not Kingston, it's Ulster.)  Piper had told me that a lot of businesses were failing, and the number of jumpers off the bridges and other suicides had skyrocketed.  I don't know that for a fact, that's just what he said. 

Anyway, I went to the big local shopping strip, you know, Talbots, Coldwater Creek, Pier 1, a bunch of big box and chain craft, furniture, food, book, hardware, etc. stores along the highway, where everyone for a 30-mile radius shops, on Wednesday about 3 pm, looking for fans.

The parking lots everywhere were practically empty.  The few people I saw in the lots and stores were ancient.  Ancient enough that they were all bent over and moving very slowly.  Where was everyone else?  Not shopping, that's for sure.


Remember when I said back during the Egyptian uprising that I was suspicious of the "help" of the Egyptian army?

Uh huh.  I told you so.


The Republican party will have their convention in Florida.  They have banned water pistols, paintball guns, anything that will shoot liquids regardless of their degree of similarity to real guns, on the streets anywhere within x distance of the hall.

Um, they have not banned REAL guns, concealed or otherwise.  Details here:

Duh?  I guess it makes as much sense as anything else these days.


The Chinese seem to be mostly very sensible people.  But they screwed up royally with the "one child per couple" policy.  Yeah, it did what it was supposed to do to slow explosive population growth.  But now the chickens are coming home to roost.  The parents under that policy are getting older.  It is traditional that the children support the parents in their old age.  With five children, each adult child shouldered 1/5 of the burden.  But now each young couple has four elderly people to support, all by themselves, and they're having difficulty doing it.

Somebody didn't think ahead.


I rarely watch team sports on TV.  Baseball was on in the background the other day.  I walked past, noticed, stopped, and watched for a while.  Huh?  I thought about that for a minute.  Why am I watching this?

The behinds.  Baseball players have pretty behinds.  I was watching their behinds, not the game.