Book Ratings

Book ratings explained:

* I didn't like it | ** It was OK | *** I liked it | **** I really liked it | ***** I loved it

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

The History of Thanksgiving

Now playing: Ricky Nelson - Teenage Idol

baltimore.sun | Here come the thought police

By Ralph E. Shaffer and R. William Robinson
November 19, 2007

With overwhelming bipartisan support, Rep. Jane Harman's "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act" passed the House 404-6 late last month and now rests in Sen. Joe Lieberman's Homeland Security Committee. Swift Senate passage appears certain.

Not since the "Patriot Act" of 2001 has any bill so threatened our constitutionally guaranteed rights.

Now playing: Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out

Wounded soldiers asked to return signing bonuses

The U.S. Military is demanding that thousands of wounded service personnel give back signing bonuses because they are unable to serve out their commitments.

To get people to sign up, the military gives enlistment bonuses up to $30,000 in some cases.

Now men and women who have lost arms, legs, eyesight, hearing and can no longer serve are being ordered to pay some of that money back.

I don't need to comment about this, do I? It's way too early in the morning and I haven't even had a cup of coffee yet so I don't think I can work up enough appropriate vitriol to express what I truly feel about this.

What is the cost of an unfulfillable dream? What is the worth of an appendage or of sight or of a brain damaged?

Now playing: Filter - Take a Picture

Saturday, October 13, 2007 | Knights Templar secrets revealed

ROME, Italy (AP) -- The Vatican has published secret archive documents about the trial of the Knights Templar, including a long-lost parchment that shows that Pope Clement V initially absolved the medieval Christian order from accusations of heresy, officials said Friday.

The 300-page volume recently came out in a limited edition -- 799 copies -- each priced at $8,377, said Scrinium publishing house, which prints documents from the Vatican's secret archives.

BBC News | Entertainment | Author Lessing wins Nobel honour

Nobel Peace Prize 2007

White House denies leaking info that hurt Al-Qaeda spying

Need a mercenary?

Bush recommends Blackwater USA.

Scratch my back, I'll rob you blind

How to lose $9 Billion without even trying

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Zorba the Greek

I spent the afternoon at the Greek Festival with a friend from work. The humidity was bad but the rain waited until we left to think about starting. I enjoyed myself. It was a really good way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Now playing: Rod Stewart - Passion

Thursday, October 04, 2007

It's there

You Scored an A

You got 9/10 questions correct.

It's pretty obvious that you don't make basic grammatical errors. If anything, you're annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs. As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they're only human. And it's humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.

Now playing: C. Orff, Carl Orff - Carmina Burana, II, Fortune Plango Vulnera

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Been a while

Finger is status quo. I can knit, but I'm not in the mood at the moment. I'm reading two books and I can't seem to maintain interest in either. However, I did stumble across a link that falls into the "now I've seen everything!" category and I just had to share it . . .

Dog Star Wars Costumes - Pictures of Halloween Pet Costumes

Now playing: Loreena McKennitt - Kecharitomene

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The three amigos

The three orange kittens roaming about the floor

I tried to get pictures of the kittens, but they just wouldn't hold still for them. They are into exploring and sniffing and being brave. This was the only decent picture I got and it is of the three boys. That's Thor by the wall, still nameless next to him, and Esarhaddon walking into the shot.

Esar is the brave little kitty that could. Open the bedroom door and he is out of it and down the hall before you even realize it. It's that teleportation thing cats do. He doesn't seem to notice or care that everyone except his mother is hissing at him.

They are still so cute.

Now playing: Dido - Thank You

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Stash finally holding still long enough for me to snap him. I took this picture in the dining room with the light off which is why he is so out of center. I couldn't see anything through the viewfinder and I was just hoping I'd get him when I clicked.

Now playing: Blondie - Rapture


Rainbow sitting on the chair under the dining table.

Now playing: Russell Crowe - Raewyn

Woolly Bear

Woolly Bear is another of Izzy's kittens. He is the cat I had planned to keep.

Now playing: Corvus Corax - Qui Nous Demaine

Miss Bette

Miss Bette is another of Izzy's kittens. And, yes, the cats have clawed the wallpaper off the walls. I actually hate the wallpaper so I'm not terribly upset by it.

Now playing: Corvus Corax - Qui Nous Demaine

Streak and Mouse

Streak is one of Izzy's kittens. I still have six of the seven she had. They'll be nine months old this weekend.

Now playing: David Arkenstone - The Quest of Culhwch

Nu Bs 2 Bs

The kittens are two weeks old today. I made the Prodigal Son get them out of the closet so I could snap pictures of them. It seems Meli won't let them out to explore. She's an extremely protective mom.

Meli and the three orange kitten
Meli had to be in the middle of the kittens when the Prodigal put them on the bed. I snapped this as he was trying to pick up Meli to move her out of the way.

The four kittens exploring the bed
The four furry monsters sniffing around the bed. They were very curious about what this new place was. It's hard to tell in the picture, but the kitten on the far left is a much paler orange than the two in the middle.

Meli and the babies, nursing
When we wanted to snap Meli and the kittens together, she decided she wanted away from them. This is the Prodigal trying to keep her in place.

The Prodigal Son holding the grey and the pale orange kittens
The Prodigal Son holding the gray and the pale orange kittens.

The Prodigal Son holding the two darker orange kittens
The Prodigal Son holding the two darker orange kittens.

Eat your heart out folks! They are just the cutest things.

Now playing: Loreena McKennitt - Prologue

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I am The Tower

You are The Tower

Ambition, fighting, war, courage. Destruction, danger, fall, ruin.

The Tower represents war, destruction, but also spiritual renewal. Plans are disrupted. Your views and ideas will change as a result.

The Tower is a card about war, a war between the structures of lies and the lightning flash of truth. The Tower stands for "false concepts and institutions that we take for real." You have been shaken up; blinded by a shocking revelation. It sometimes takes that to see a truth that one refuses to see. Or to bring down beliefs that are so well constructed. What's most important to remember is that the tearing down of this structure, however painful, makes room for something new to be built.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Now playing: Nickelback - How You Remind Me

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The new arrivals are one

One week old, that is.

The Prodigal Son holding the little grey kitten
Here's the Prodigal Son holding what I think will be a grey tabby. We both also think she is a girl. Although you can't see it in the photo, she's got one eye half open.

All four kittens huddled in their nest in the closet
Here all four are snuggled in their nest in the closet. The Prodigal and I think the three orange kittens are all boys. Just what we need . . . three more god emperors of the universe. ~ grin ~

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dirty side of Erin means rain

Grey clouds on the drive home

Grey skies on the drive home

Now playing: Smash Mouth - All Star

We got a little rain today

Flooded road I had to drive thru to get home

This was the view out my car window on my way home from work. It looks much worse that it was because of the angle. Basically, right outside my window is the left turn lane filled with rushing water. Next to the lane is a little strip of grass which marks the where the pavement ends and the ditch begins. The ditch is maybe six or so feet deep here. The water wasn't quite deep enough to get into my car as long as I kept moving.

Now playing: Loreena McKennitt - All Souls Night

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Guess what these are

The new kittens shortly after birth. Three orange and one dark. The new kittens shortly after birth. Three orange and one dark. The new kittens shortly after birth. Three orange and one dark.

They were born this morning. There are four - three orange and one dark. These belong to Meli.

Now playing: The Traveling Wilburys - Tweeter and the Monkey Man

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pretty purple marker

My hand with butterfly strips over the surgical scar and purple marker delineating where to cut

My hand with butterfly strips over the surgical scar and purple marker delineating where to cut

No therapy scheduled at this time. I'm supposed to stretch, bend, and flex the finger myself three or four times a day for ten minutes at a time. I go back to the doctor for a follow up in two weeks to see how well I've done with the self therapy. At that time he'll decide whether or not I need to visit the torturer - as he put it.

The fluid they dug out of my finger during the surgery wasn't puss and nothing untoward has apparently grown in the cultures they made so nobody is any the wiser about why my finger filled up with fluid. I'm not sure how long they'll keep the cultures to see if anything grows.

We'll see.

Now playing: Mediaeval Baebes - Temptasyon

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It itches

My hand wrapped in a bandage with just the tips of my fingers showing

My hand wrapped in a bandage with just the tips of my fingers showing

The bandages come off tomorrow and the stitches come out. I have no idea what the doctor did. I still can't straighten the finger and the muscles are so tight I will most likely have to go through therapy to get the use of the finger back.

In all honesty, right now, it doesn't feel any different than it did before the surgery. Except for the swelling. It doesn't seem to be swollen at the moment.

Now playing: Loreena McKennitt - She Moved Through the Fair


Movie poster for Stardust

Run, don't walk, to see this film. It is a beautiful little fairytale full of princes and witches and pirates and romance and sword fights and all those wonderful other things that fairytales are full complete with happily ever after.

Now playing: Bif Naked - Lucky

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Don't be fooled by the name

Humane Society of the United States
Despite the words “humane society” on its letterhead, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not affiliated with your local animal shelter. Despite the omnipresent dogs and cats in its fundraising materials, it’s not an organization that runs spay/neuter programs or takes in stray, neglected, and abused pets. And despite the common image of animal protection agencies as cash-strapped organizations dedicated to animal welfare, HSUS has become the wealthiest animal rights organization on earth.

HSUS is big, rich, and powerful, a “humane society” in name only. And while most local animal shelters are under-funded and unsung, HSUS has accumulated $113 million in assets and built a recognizable brand by capitalizing on the confusion its very name provokes. This misdirection results in an irony of which most animal lovers are unaware: HSUS raises enough money to finance animal shelters in every single state, with money to spare, yet it doesn’t operate a single one anywhere.

Instead, HSUS spends millions on programs that seek to economically cripple meat and dairy producers; eliminate the use of animals in biomedical research labs; phase out pet breeding, zoos, and circus animal acts; and demonize hunters as crazed lunatics. HSUS spends $2 million each year on travel expenses alone, just keeping its multi-national agenda going.

Now playing: Loreena McKennitt - The Dark Night of the Soul

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Surgery's done!

I'm home and about to take a nap. The finger hurts like the dickens and my arm is in a sling. Got stabbed three times before a vein was found for the IV.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bad finger, part deux

Just another angle. This one kind of shows just how much I can straighten and bend the finger. Not a whole lot of range, there.

Injured index finger

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Guess what happens Tuesday?

I go in for a slice and dice on my finger. Outpatient surgery. The MRI showed no infection, no mass, no tendon tears, no bone lesions. It did show fluid buildup all up the finger. The doctor thinks there still might be infection since the tenosynovitis got worse instead of better and showed no response at all to any of the drugs I was on.

I have to be at the hospital at 6:00 a.m. The surgery is supposed to start at 7:30 a.m. and be done by 8:30 a.m. I get to sit around in recovery until 10:30 a.m. at which time I get to go home. The Prodigal Son gets to take me up and bring me back, and he gets to babysit me all day to make sure nothing happens.

I'm looking forward to getting some relief, but I'm not looking forward to surgery.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Movie Saturday

Spent the afternoon and evening at the movies. First up was the new Harry Potter film.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Next up was Transformers.


I have to admit that I much more enjoyed Transformers than I did the Harry Potter. I was just in the mood for a rousing good action flick.

Both are good. I enjoyed myself.

And now I'm going to make myself sick on ice cream. The perfect end to a perfect day.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why am I always the guy?

Your results:

You are Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)

Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)
Derrial Book (Shepherd)
Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)
Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
River (Stowaway)
Inara Serra (Companion)
Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)
Wash (Ship Pilot)
A Reaver (Cannibal)
Honest and a defender of the innocent.
You sometimes make mistakes in judgment
but you are generally good and
would protect your crew from harm.

Click here to take the Serenity Firefly Personality Test

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My finger is so special!

It gets to have an MRI done on it Friday to see why it's getting worse instead of better. Doesn't that sound like fun?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Keith Olbermann says it all and much better than I ever could

The text of the commentary can be found here:

To quote just a few of the statements directed at Mr. Bush:
I accuse you of subverting the Constitution, not in some misguided but sincerely-motivated struggle to combat terrorists, but to stifle dissent.

I accuse you of fomenting fear among your own people, of creating the very terror you claim to have fought.

I accuse you of exploiting that unreasoning fear, the natural fear of your own people who just want to live their lives in peace, as a political tool to slander your critics and libel your opponents.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

There's a point to this?

Still no significant improvement on the finger front. I'm calling the doctor next week to see what the next step is. I'm not sure if I'll let him do the steroid injections - didn't react well to taking steroids in pill form - or whether I'll just ask to have the surgery. It's been almost three months and I'm getting really bored with this problem.

Want it fixed! Now!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

I'm back!

Did you miss me? Did you even notice I was gone?

I spent the week visiting my folks. I needed a break. No work. No computers. Just reading and watching TV and relaxing.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Point, counterpoint

Still no significant improvement on the finger front. I'm on the fourth prescription and I'm honestly beginning to think that surgery will really be my only recourse. Either that or learning to knit left-handed.

Hmmm . . . that might actually be an interesting experiment.

Updated to add: The Celebrex I was on did zip for my finger but it did seem to clear up the problem that was developing with my knee.

Updated update: In case anyone is interested, in order, I've been on Diclofenac, Prednisone, Celebrex, and Etodolac.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Scooter go bye bye

The Bush Administration's Dilemma Regarding a Possible Libby Pardon - And How Outsiders Such as Fred Thompson Appear to Be Working on a Solution
by John W. Dean
On June 5, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton will sentence Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, who has been convicted of obstruction of justice, making false statements, and perjury, as the result of the Special Counsel investigation arising from the revelation of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent. I suspect that Judge Walton's actions will create a difficult and delicate problem for the White House.

Needless to say, I have no crystal ball. But it is plain that the White House must be bracing itself for Libby's being sent to prison. Moreover, it appears that high-powered friends of Libby and Cheney have figured out the White House's dilemma, so they are trying to help keep Scooter out of prison in a manner that will not have criminal consequences for anyone involved.

No one has been more active in this undertaking on Libby's behalf than former Tennessee Senator Fred D. Thompson, who has strong Presidential aspirations. Yet, to my surprise, Thompson is either being blatantly dishonest, or he is remarkably uninformed about his efforts. Unfortunately for Thompson, neither state of mind ought to commend itself to Republicans clamoring for a conservative with stature for the GOP nomination in 2008.

Just another brick in the wall

You know that completely silly wall the government wants to build along the US/Mexico border that will accomplish nothing but ruining economies in the areas where it's planned and will waste billions more in tax dollars? Well, there are other things it will ruin as well. Take a look at this . . .

Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge
Located within the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, Tijuana Slough is a beautiful 1,500-acre wetland, home to many endangered birds and one endangered plant. It is located in Imperial Beach where the Tijuana River meets the sea and is southern California’s only coastal estuary not bisected by roads and rail lines. More than 370 species of birds have been recorded on the refuge and in the adjacent river valley. Endangered birds include the light-footed clapper rail, California least tern, California brown pelican, Belding’s savannah sparrow, and an endangered plant—salt marsh bird’s beak.

Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve
The Estuary is an essential breeding, feeding, and nesting area for resident birds and for the thousands of migratory birds moving along the Pacific Flyway. Over 370 species of birds have been documented in the Reserve, some of which are endangered and threatened. The light-footed clapper rail, a resident bird that depends on marsh cordgrass and may be the most endangered bird in Southern California, is found here in numbers unlike any other wetland is San Diego County.

Folks, it's time to get political again. Tell your congresspeople you will vote them out of office if they agree to this travesty. The only thing walls are good for is building fear and suspicion and hatred. Enough is enough.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

It's already a circus and the fools outnumber us all

Yahoo! News | VFW backs vet in trouble over protest
"Trying to hush up and punish fellow Americans for exercising the same democratic right we're trying to instill in Iraq is not what we're all about," said Gary Kurpius, national commander of the 2.4 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars.

"Someone in the Marine Corps needs to exercise a little common sense and put an end to this matter before it turns into a circus," Kurpius said.

. . .

Col. Dave Lapan, a Marine Corps spokesman, said Kokesh is under administrative review because he wore his uniform at a political event, which is prohibited. And, Lapan said, when a senior officer told Kokesh that he violated military regulations, Kokesh used an obscenity and indicated he would not comply with the rules.

"It's the political activity that is prohibited, not the type of event that it was," Lapan said. "If it had been a pro-war rally, it would still have been a violation."

. . .

A second Marine who was at the same event was also called about the violation, but told the officer he was unaware he was breaking the rules and said he would not do it again, Lapan said. That Marine has not been called to an administrative hearing.

. . .

"We all know that people give up some individual rights when they join the military," Kurpius said. "But these Marines went to war, did their duty, and were honorably discharged from the active roles. I may disagree with their message, but I will always defend their right to say it."

May I ask one question? Have the military personnel Bush and other politicians have standing around them when they make their speeches been placed under "administrative review" for wearing their uniforms during a "political activity"?

Bye, bye BSG

Battlestar Ending Next Season
"This show was always meant to have a beginning, a middle and, finally, an end," Eick and Moore said in a statement on May 31. "Over the course of the last year, the story and the characters have been moving strongly toward that end, and we've decided to listen to those internal voices and conclude the show on our own terms. And while we know our fans will be saddened to know the end is coming, they should brace themselves for a wild ride getting there: We're going out with a bang."

I certainly hope the show goes out with a bang, and not the kind that blows everything up in a CGI fanboy boom-fest. It would be nice for the show go to out as it came in as the best genre show on television. I would really rather it didn't end as the yawn-fest the two middle seasons have been.

500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art

Brownback vs. Darwin

What I Think About Evolution
Published: May 31, 2007
The New York Times
While no stone should be left unturned in seeking to discover the nature of man’s origins, we can say with conviction that we know with certainty at least part of the outcome. Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order. Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.

A Thinking Reed | Brownback vs. Darwin
Each individual human being comes into existence by way of natural processes, but that in no way justifies treating their individual worth as somehow diminished. So why should the fact that the species came into being by natural processes diminish the worth of human beings as such? If we can say that God intends my particular existence, even though I came into being through natural processes, then why can’t we say that God intended to bring human beings as a species into existence by means of natural processes?

When money is god

BBC NEWS | Americas | US warns over Chinese toothpaste
US officials have warned consumers to avoid using toothpaste made in China after a shipment was found to contain a poisonous chemical used in anti-freeze.

The Food and Drug Administration said it could contain diethylene glycol, which has been blamed for the deaths of at least 50 people in Panama last year.

The brands affected are usually sold at "bargain" retail outlets, the FDA said.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Panama 'to blame for fatal syrup'
China has blamed Panamanian firms for passing off a Chinese industrial solvent for use in medicines, so causing dozens of deaths in Panama.

A Chinese official said Panamanian firms doctored paperwork to mislabel the chemical's use and shelf life.

These comments come amid a series of health scares about Chinese products.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China probes 'tainted' toothpaste
China says is investigating reports that toothpaste contaminated with a potentially lethal chemical had been exported to Central America.

Thousands of tubes of Chinese-made toothpaste have been confiscated in Panama and the Dominican Republic.

The toothpaste contains diethylene glycol, a toxic chemical used in engine coolants, authorities there say.

BBC NEWS | Business | China cracks down on food safety
China has pledged to clean up its tainted food and drug industry after a series of safety scares that have aroused global concern.

The announcement comes as two company managers were detained, accused of adding melamine to food additives.

The contaminated ingredient used in pet food led to the death of a number of cats and dogs, US inspectors allege.

Unregulated drugs have also been a concern. China's top drugs regulator is to go on trial charged with corruption.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China tightens net on fake drugs
China is to review tens of thousands of drug licences as part of an investigation into a graft scandal.

The inquiry has already led to the sacking of the head of the State Food and Drug Administration.

According to Chinese media, corruption at the drug agency runs so deep that Beijing is considering closing it down entirely.

Dozens of people across the country have died from illegally produced or fake drugs in recent years.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Nine killed by fake Chinese drug
Nine people have died in China after being injected with a drug containing a fake ingredient, authorities say.

They died after being given the drug, which treats gall bladder, liver and gastric disorders, at a hospital in southern Guangdong province.

The Chinese company that made the drug has blamed a supplier for delivering a toxic chemical in place of the genuine ingredients.

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China blames 97 over milk scandal
China is to punish 97 government officials over the sale of fake milk powder that caused the deaths of at least 13 babies, state media says.

. . .

Investigators uncovered more than 100 factories making bogus formula, consisting mostly of starch and water.

Friday, June 01, 2007

DRM free . . . yes, but . . .

BBC NEWS | Technology | Anger over DRM-free iTunes tracks

News site Ars Technica was among the first to discover that downloaded tracks free of Fairplay have embedded within them the full name and account information, including e-mail address, of who bought them.

It suggested that this information could be an anti-piracy measure as it could help work out who was putting downloads on file-sharing sites.

But it also added that the user information was found on all the tracks that people buy on iTunes whether free of DRM or not.

Nessie's back! | Fabled monster caught on video

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Windows Vista Plain and Simple

by Jerry Joyce and Marianne Moon.

This book is not for Dummies or for Idiots. This book is for people who've never seen a computer and are probably hard pressed to even spell the word. If this book were any plainer and simpler, it would be in baby-speak. For an absolute newbie to the Windows environment, this book would probably be heaven sent. For those of us who've been using Windows since the Devil was in diapers, this is baby-speak.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Interestingly enough . . .

Your Eyes Should Be Brown

Your eyes reflect: Depth and wisdom

What's hidden behind your eyes: A tender heart

Thumbs up!

You Are the Thumb

You're unique and flexible. And you defy any category.
Mentally strong and agile, you do things your own way. And you do them well.
You are a natural leader... but also truly a loner. You inspire many but connect with few.

You get along well with: The Middle Finger

Stay away from: The Pinky

(I find it funny, what I should stay away from. How about you, Best Friend? Do you think it funny?)