Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Best Venn Diagram Ever

Tip of the Hat to Rationally Speaking for this gem:

Apricots? We Don't Need No Stinkin Apricots!

I thought I liked dried Apricots - Turkish, Californian, all sorts. They're yummy, and available at the local Fresh & Easy grocery as well as Trader Joe's, so I'd munch on 1/2 a dozen a day, and enjoy them as a snack or a dessert.

Then I found the Medjool dates at COSTCO, and thought - man, these are good! But yesterday, I encountered these:

WOW! 32 oz package of Organic Black Mission Figs, for all of $8. A small 8 oz fig container at Trader Joe's runs almost $3 Doing the math is not necessary, since these are so succulent, so juicy, walnut-sized figs... it's hard to eat just 2, or 3, or 4.

When I was a little kid, my maternal grandmother used to keep a stash of Fig Newtons in her pantry, that was enroute to the back stairs to the attic, where I used to often hang out and play. They were a treat, each time we'd go visit (which was nearly every weekend). Now, on a 'no grain / paleo dietary regimen' I can enjoy a juicy, delicious, succulent, organic date without the annoying coating of bread that Newtons provide. All those micro-nutrients, wrapped up in a beautifully designed natural, evolutionarily designed package.

Thanks Madeinnature for making these and thanks COSTCO for selling them locally, less than a mile from my home. Sulfur Oxide laced Apricot purchases will be sharply curtailed, supplanted by organic black mission figs. MMMMM

The Scorching of the Sago

Our poolside planted Sago palm began it's annual +110F scorching reaction to the intense AZ desert sun last week while I was out of town. Last year, we tried some spray-on shade "instant cloud" product I picked up at Star Nursery in Tolleson, before they closed their helpful doors and moved elsewhere in the valley. The massive, relentless, baking UV and heat was no match for liberal sprayings of the artificial cloud product. So Dr Desert Flower recommended burlap.

I picked up burlap at the local home improvement store, and secured it to the Phoenix-City-code-required-pool-fence with butterfly clips, that weathered without any corrosion in the low humidity desert environment - in SC they would have rotted out, completely disintegrated. When September arrived, I removed the worn burlap, and the Sago enjoyed the direct sunlight without the intense summer burning.

We'll see how well the plant thrives / survives this summer.

"The Palin Model" as Andrew Sullivan Points Out

Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish has a wonderful piece on "The Palin Model". In his succinct summary (I can't put it better): "Sharron Angle is only doing what Sarah Palin did - ducking the media, channeling her message entirely to the base, avoiding what she called the "filter" whereby her statements and record could actually be challenged by reporters. Angle has not quite gotten away with it because the Nevada press is much, much more professional than the national press corps. But she's trying. And she heralds a possible era in which candidates do not even pretend to be accountable, but exist in a bubble of machine politics, with its own media apparatus, designed for p.r. not scrutiny.

And then there are the clones, as above. If the pretty, big-boobed, gun-toting hottie paradigm was enough to get an unbalanced know-nothing this [sic] close to the presidency, then you can rest assured others took notice." (link here)

Nearly 3 to 1, Greenville & Spartanburg SC Republican Primary Voters Are Nuts

Congressman Bob Inglis lost his primary last week in the South Carolina Upstate, where Dr. Desert Flower and I lived for 16 years, by a landslide margin, nearly 3 to 1. I never voted for Inglis while I was there since he ran in the GENERAL Elections (not the primaries) UNOPPOSED. Seriously, the last Federal election I voted in while a resident there in 2006, he did not even have a "Constitutional Party" candidate running against him. He was so popular among Conservative, Fundamentalist, SC Baptists, and his seat so secure, that no one tried to run against him. He won 3 elections, then retired for 6 years from Congress, then ran again 3 times, and won handily.

But in 2009, during town hall meetings in Boiling Springs (or colloquially pronounced with diphthongs "Bahhhhw-lin SprAY-ngs") SC, just north of the Michelin Truck Tire manufacturing plant where I worked as an engineer right out of college, Inglis told his ANGRY constituents not to listen to Glenn Beck, that President Obama was born in the United States, and they should not listen to Fox News. "Turn Glenn Beck off" he told a jeering, angry mob at a town hall. He committed the sin of moderation. There's really no more room left in the Southern Republican party, for moderates.

Will the Democrats capitalize on running a viable candidate in November against extreme right wing Gowdy? Gowdy will face Democrat Paul Corden (and Green Party candidate Faye Walters, Libertarian Rick Mahler and Constitution Party candidate Dave Edwards). Corden's old enough to be Gowdy's father, been married for 40 years, a former Navy veteran, but he went to Xavier (a Catholic University!) so he'll be painted as a papist, liberal, tree hugger who believes in the 'myth of global warming.' ...remember, I lived there for 16 years, in 3 different mailing addresses, all within the 4th Congressional District. Gowdy will probably win by a land slide.

Moderates are now un-electable in the South. Greenville and Spartanburg have educated populations (one of the highest 'engineers per capita' percentages in the US), substantial international communities (40 global corporations have HQs, research, or manufacturing facilities there), and over a million people in the combined metro areas. It's not a back-woods, hickville, rebel-flag-in-every-yard district in the SC 4th.

Is Inglis's over-whelming defeat just the tip of the iceberg for incumbent moderates, nationally? I think so, but... come November, we shall see - il faut voir, ya veramos, wir werden sehen.

Republican Obstructionism vs. Homeless Veterans

Why do Republican Senators Tom Coburn and Mitch McConnell hate US Military Veterans who have served honorably?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Retarding Water

Now now, this post on the heels of the last Palin observation has nothing to do with how dumb a certain beauty-queen-turned-Facebooker is - git yer political minds outta that rut. =)

As part of my job that pays the bills, I am often asked really unusual questions, and consulted for my opinion as to "what would you do, Joe?" or "how should we handle this?". Sorta like the joke about the old guy who sent in a bill for $50,000 as to 'where to put the X' - I wish I got $50K a question, THAT would be Sweet! But I digress...

Today, I was asked "how do we check parts from this large machine that fell into a river, and stayed submerged in the center of the river (in Southern Asia) for several months, before a salvage crew could get a barge with a large enough crane up-river?" This machine was a really heavy, really expensive machine, full of investment castings and precision machined components. In my description of "what would Joe do?" I explained how the depth of the river's water and muddy bottom dampened the impact slightly, since there was no dock, or river bank, for the multi-million dollar machine to "THUD" against as it fell. The water's depth, which appeared from photos to cover the semi-truck (read as "lorrie" to the British), would have cushioned and then slowed the descent of machine as it settled into the river's bottom.

One of my less senior colleagues thought this was laughable, and scoffed at my suggestion. How could this large machine, that weighs more than several western battlefield armoured vehicles possibly be slowed by water? Simple, mass and viscosity of the media. The machine had fallen only about 40 feet (about 12 meters) into the water. At an Earthly 32.2 ft/sec^2 (or 9.81 m/sec^2) it had not picked up too much vertical velocity on it's way down. Now, compare that to the +1000 fps muzzle velocities that gun fired rounds have (50 cal, 9mm, etc) when they are test fired into water, and how the BIGGER they are, the faster they are stopped by the water - as tested by the Navy's Bureau of Ordnance. Mythbusters did this too, but I question their methods and sensationalism, as well as the silly mustache.

So yes, water can and does slow things down when something is dropped into it. Will it softly cushion and guide a multi-million dollar machine to a comfortable, damage free resting place at the bottom of a river? No, but it's better than dropping it 40 feet from a crane onto a harder surface, like a cement dock, etc. If you're gonna question my logic in a professional setting, please have your facts irrefutably straight, or be prepared to meet the stubborn Pollack genetically programmed, deep inside my psyche as your argument is dissected, completely. =)

Stupid Is As Palin Does

Queen of Republican Victims, former local TV sports caster & 1/2 term Alaskan governor who abandoned her elected post to become a part time blogger, Sarah Palin recently spoke at California State University in Stanislaus CA at a conservative fund raiser. She proudly told her adoring fans: "This is Reagan country, and perhaps it was destiny that the man who went to California's Eureka College would become so woven within and interlinked to the Golden State."

Well... problem is, Eureka College is in Illinois, and Reagan moved to CA after he graduated from Eureka. Dee-da-dee! Eureka's motto 'Vox Veritas Vita' (Cry Truthfulness Life) which appears behind Palin would probably be better to say "Venustas puella es puto per bardus populus, haud res quis aiunt." (Pretty girls are believed by stupid people, regardless what they might say)

"Immediately after her speech, a live microphone caught voices in the press area trashing the former Alaska governor, Mediate reported. "The dumbness doesn’t just come from soundbites"". LOL! I'm sure she'll spin this as just another "gotcha liberal media" episode. To her devoted believers, she can do no wrong.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Netflix Cancelled

I just finished canceling my Netflix membership. We've had Netflix for about 5 years, and after moving to AZ, reduced it down to "one movie at a time, 2 movies a month" cheapest option. I found I wasn't even watching those, and the queue selection had dwindled to various foreign films, most of which were 2 star rated. Netflix's business model blew Blockbuster's (Lackluster Video) away. I tried to sign up for Blockbuster at a local brick & mortar store, and quickly found out that the online queue could not be interchanged with the brick & mortar movies. Sure you could return them at the brick & mortar store, but you could not go home with one and have it 'charged to' your online queue. FAIL.

Dr Desert Flower's Mac Book downloads movies very quickly online from the 20 Meg/sec Qwest fiber we have running into the house, and it has a fairly large screen. When we are home, she bought a fancy Belkin cable to plug into the HD TV so the Mac can play directly on screen, in HD. Should be more than adequate for the infrequent occasions we are home, on a non-school-night, watching a movie together - which has been about once / quarter.

And now I can begin to plow through the stored up Dr. Who episodes in earnest that I've DVR'ed over the last 2 months. =)

Crisis on Planet Glox!

Tom Tomorrow brought us this awesome cartoon, while I was traveling last week. (link here) Very poignant. I wonder how many Faux News fanatics don't and won't get it. =P

Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You, Tonight

Excerpted from the classic This is Spinal Tap Rock-u-mentary. These guys are genius. Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You, Tonight! If you want to see it done with legos, check out this link (link here).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Decidely Anti Sock, Anti Shoes

I recently returned from a 2 week trip business trip to Atlanta & Greenville. I visited Charleston SC in-between to spend Father's Day with our son who lives there - that was GREAT! People asked me, frequently, "how do you like living in Arizona?" while I was in Georgia and South Carolina, and I found I often replied "it's great, I don't have to wear socks or shoes all day, like I do here". In fact, since returning home Friday night, I've not yet put on a sock, and have no plans to do so. This last two weeks, were the first time I wore socks and shoes for 2 weeks since last February, when I last made a quarterly visit back to "the mother ship" of my business's HQ.

Socks are great, when you have to wear shoes - but in Arizona, I go bare footed or wear sandals, everywhere. It was 110F today (with 10% humidity). In such weather, shoes are just a 'bad idea'.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Colbert's latest word that he hurdles in his opening, is "SCILF". Is the SC
- Stephen Colbert
- South Carolinian
- Social Conservative
- Stupid Conservative
- Super Comedy
- Simplified Cranium?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Brown Trout - Sustainable & Delicious

Earlier this month, while visiting our friends Steve and Ame in Chicago, we had the pleasure of taking a meal at Brown Trout on Lincoln. The service was good and personable. The wine list extensive. They seated us at 930pm, and we were the last table as they were cleaning up with mid night approaching. Pork Chops, Walleye, scrumptious deserts were devoured. Reasonably priced local, sustainable cuisine served. We were able to carry on a normal decibel level conversation that did not require shouting. It was a pleasure to dine there, and highly recommended. Thanks Steve and Ame for taking us to such a yummy restaurant!

Clocks Are Big

Clocks Are Big, Machines Are Heavy. Where's Captain Kirk? I am not sure Spizz Energi (not to be confused with Spetz Energy) has aged very well, but I give them credit for the effort, 30 years later.

Polite Chicagoans

Last week, while walking around the Chicago Art Institute, Millennium Park, the red, blue, and brown lines of the subway & "L" and the Loop, on the South Shore, up on Lincoln, or along Grand & Michigan & Washington & Dearborn & Chicago Avenues, at the Shedd Aquarium, and even at the Hancock Tower, I repeatedly and consistently encountered Polite Chicagoans. I think I heard "Excuse me", "Pardon Me", "Oh, sorry", and "'scuse me" more in the 6 days I was there than in the previous 16 years of my life. Maybe it was the fact I was wearing a suit coat most of the time - and on the trains I was pretty much the only one in a suit coat. But I think Chicagoans are by nature, a polite bunch of people. I cannot recall any such courtesies by pedestrians and rapid transit commuters in San Francisco, NYC, Paris, London, Frankfurt, or Amsterdam - all cities whose train systems I have used. In NYC I often got quite the opposite reactions from people. It is not that I was trying to get in anyone's way, I was just casually walking through the city as most individuals were on their way to work or class or wherever and they were in slightly more of a hurry than I was.

Sure, the UK drivers see your "Hertz" rental car with a rear window sticker and "give this American a wide berth" very politely on the rural highways while driving. And in Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Tokyo, and Osaka airports I've had Japanese travelers politely & silently queue up behind me even when I was not intending to form a line - in contrast to "any city" in mainland China where pushing and shoving were the norm. But the politeness of everyday Chicagoans was very noticeable, and refreshing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Afghan Lithium

read about the US Geological Survey's recent trillion dollar Lithium findings in Afghanistan. Made me think of the early 90s.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blume's The Rock At The Chicago Art Institute

Last Monday, while walking around Chicago's Art Institute with my buddy Joe W (who happens to be a member of the Art Institute), I ran right into "The Rock" by Peter Blume. I'd first seen this work of art on a post card, on my buddy Todd's wall, almost 30 years ago. I'd forgotten that it was in the fantastic Chicago Art Institute, which I had not been to for almost 2 dozen years.

Blume's work has always fascinated me, with it's sharp contrasts and other-worldly images. Not having seen "The Rock" in so many years, in my mind I had multiplied the number of "worshipers" kneeling before it and had subconsciously altered the "craftsmen" to be quite macabre - forming a mental image of them sacrificing infants, and using bone tools to hew the stones in the foreground. Seeing this painting again after such a long period was both a THRILL and a Let Down. Thrilled to finally reconnect the memory's original seed, but slightly let down that it was not as dark and sinister as my mind had internally evolved it to me.

It's amusing to Google "The Rock" and "Peter Blume" and read all sorts of BS about how it "represents the Atomic Bombs dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki" (links here and here for example) - really? Commissioned in 1939, and finished in 1944... Blume must have been quite a prescient oracle to foresee that not one, but two atomic fissile weapons would be used against the Japanese (though the Coca-Cola sign in the painting is in obviously in English)!! A nice Time article here, from 1949 interviewing Blume himself, is a nice touch.

Cold Tap Water's Gone Again In Phoenix

Each year, as the ambient temperature climbs above 100,the ground gets so warm that "cold tap water" comes out warmer than human body temperature. This year, it took until June - last year it was early May. It makes for a much quicker warm-up time for showers, dishwashers, etc. I miss the cold water during the Summer, but I know that around November, when the rest of the country goes back to Daylight Savings Time, it'll be back again.

Keep your Machete Sharp

Our Mexican Fence Post Cactus is relentlessly trying to sprout more children, genetically programmed to thrive in the Arizona sun. This is the same arm that I truncated earlier this Spring after the sister arm crashed into the garage. So I've found, that with a pair of large, high quality, Craftsman Channel Locks, I can GRIP the new budding arms, and twist them off, with minimal distress to the larger parent arm. It works pretty well, as seen in this video:

But when smaller arms start to droop, they don't come back up - there is no Cactus Viagra available on the market. Eventually, they droop more and more, and sometimes the arm will get infected, or other times it'll break off with a jagged interface, so it is much better to amputate. Having a high quality, sharp inconel machete made in Columbia (thanks Claudia!) makes amputations quick and clean, as seen here:

and here: (Dr Desert Flower was the skilled videographer)

The ladder was both for the pruning, and later, to protect the small stand of infant cacti growing nearby from falling arms as they were pruned. I really do not need to plant any more arms, or I would have wrapped the sagging arm in a blanket or towel, to "cushion it" before it fell to the ground. I've got more pruned arms than I have pots to put them in, so the prickly pruning will go into the dumpster sadly. Applying the standard 10:1 diluted water & bleach solution to the newly opened wounds is a good idea, to help keep things sanitary and avoid secondary infections. I also use a Chlorox Bleach wipe (Target generic equivalent) to wipe down the inconel blade, removing residual organic matter and sanitizing it. I let it air dry (which in Arizona takes about 2 minutes at 10 minutes at 10% humidity) before re-sheathing the tool / weapon. And have alot of cardboard around, to lay tools upon and to "catch" arms as they fall, it you want to reduce injuries / damage to the cacti and to the tools.

If you have any questions on how to prune your Mexican Fence Post Cactus, or other Desert gardening inquiries, do not hesitate to comment here, or email me (on the email stated on my JustJoeP profile). Happy gardening everybody!

It's A Boy!

Dr Desert Flower informs me that our yucca plant in the front yard is indeed "a boy", not "a girl" plant. The girl yuccas send up a central stalk, and then branch out flowers in little tiered arms that look like a cross between a barren Christmas tree and a Dr. Seuss plant. The male yucca's central stalk goes 18 feet in the air, and then sprouts little pollen pods all along the shaft, that bees, humming birds, and other flying creatures enjoy.

The tip of the stalk is being lit by Saturday night's setting sun, so yes, it is taller than the house. Amazing to me that a 4 foot tall yucca can send out such a HUGE reproductive organ. For the first 2 Springs that we lived here, it is did not send up a stalk. Each year, Almost doing it, but then before the stalk emerged, it blackened and rotted within the plant. Then this year, BAM, from memorial Day and 2 weeks thereafter, it put up about a foot a day.

Once all the pollen pods fall off, I'll have to take a hack saw to it, and cut it down before it dries out completely and topples over. I think it may be too fibrous for my machete to cut through in a single swipe. Video of the machete in action, to come shortly, in the next post! =)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fletcher Crossman's Creepy & Beautiful Art

The band our son plays in recently performed at the Eye Level Art Studio on Spring Street in Charleston, which is a former automotive body shop. In the studio, were featured the works of Fletcher Crossman (link here to his works whose subjects include Limbaugh, Coulter, Lieberman, et al). Each work is 8 to 10 feet tall.

I find Crossman's works to be both creepy & beautiful, serene & disturbing, at the same time. Just seeing 3" by 5" thumbnails is one thing - experiencing 10 foot tall versions would be quite another.

Thriving Transplants

On my way out this morning to meet my pest control guy (we had an ant invasion, that took over while we were in Chicago) I found my Mexican Fence Post potted cacti thriving, blooming in the morning sunshine.

That white blossom is about 5 inches across. Bees & hummingbirds both love the pollen therein.

It's a nice way to start the day. =)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Marriott vs Hilton

After spending 5 unpleasant nights in the Chicago Marriott on Michigan Avenue, and one night in the Hilton Garden Inn on Grand Ave, I can honestly say, the Hilton Garden Inn won me over, hands down. Why these 2 hotels? Well, the Marriott was selected by Dr Desert Flower's corporate office HQ out of Dallas - they seem to love Marriott, and don't appear to mind that the WiFi is not free, the pool & hot tub are being repaired and are unusable, the rooms are tiny, the beds are uncomfortably squishy, the superfluous bed pillows are strangely shaped and unusable for anything, the rates are exorbitantly expensive ($300 a night), and local calls are not free. Even as Marriott Rewards member, my membership card has no "toll free" number on it for customer service. Seriously, no toll free number? Lame, on all accounts.

The Hilton Garden Inn, we stumbled upon after emerging from the Red Line Grand Ave station, 2 blocks away from the Marriott. As I am a Silver HHonors member, we called them Monday night, and secured a reservation for a $100 less a night than the Marriott where we were staying for our 'extra night' that both DDF and I were taking as vacation. For a $100 less, what did we get? A room that was nearly double in size. A bathroom that was larger than a broom closet - nearly ADA compliant in its spaciousness. Beds that had dual "firmness" controls, for His and Her sides - which helped my lumbar enormously. A bell man who held our bags while we toured the Shedd Aquarium and Millennium Park. A pool that was not under construction. A fitness center that had a doctor's office scale where I could weigh in our checked luggage to make sure it was Just Under 50 lbs. And a location that was adjacent to the Red Line subway station. Excellent on all accounts. Oh, and they provided free cookies at the reception desk, which I abstained from indulging, but it was a nice touch never the less.

I see no reason to ever stay at another Marriott, willingly, again. In my personal perspective, Hilton provides better rooms at lower prices, in Chicago, Hartford Connecticut, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Charleston SC, Greenville SC, Detroit, and Hong Kong (each of which, I have stayed in a Hilton, or Hilton partner AND a Marriott, at one time or another). That's a pretty substantial sample size. I'll go with my gut, and avoid Marriott going forward.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Awesome Chicago Pizza

Dr Desert Flower and I visited Chicago last weekend, for a conference she had for work - I was just along as "arm candy" LOL! But I did visit with friends and family, some of whom I had not seen in many many years while I was there.

Also, what I'd not seen for 24 years, was Gino's East Pizza, on Superior, just off Michigan Avenue. In college in Terre Haute, one brave (and hungry) soul would take up a collection, and drive 2 hours to Chicago to pick up pizza, drive back, and feed the hungry engineers. I'd not had it warm and fresh, in 2 dozen years. So DDF and I walked there last Monday night from our hotel on Grand & Rush streets.

Jimmy was our waiter on the terrace outside, it was a pleasant upper 60s Chicago night. Our small (4 piece) DEEP DISH pizza arrived a 1/2 an hour later, and was superb. Others who like thin crust pizzas, I am happy for you, but I am a son of the Chicago region, and love my deep Dish. We got the supreme. I was in heaven. It was so good in fact, that in my euphoria I left the camera on the table, and forgot my credit card after I signed the receipt. I realized this, about a 1/2 hour later, when we were on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building, looking South over the city (a 44 second elevator ride, a 1/4 mile into the sky). The credit card and camera loss pretty much ruined my night, but when we returned to Gino's, they had my credit card, and said they'd look for my camera. I figured it was lost, forever.

Tuesday, after working a 1/2 day, DDF and I headed up to the north side to visit friends we'd not seen since the early Bush years. Wednesday we went to the Shedd Aquarium at DDF's request, and on the walk back to the hotel, I phoned Gino's on the off chance they might've found the camera. They had!! the bus boy had cleaned the table so quickly, he'd actually thrown out the small digital camera in it's black case. Ronnie, the manager, had told his people to look everywhere including going through Monday night's garbage... and it was unearthed.

My camera now has the aroma of corn meal and garlic, so I can always remember Gino's - I tried to apply some Fabreeze but it was ineffective, so I'll go with the garlic instead. =) I gave Ronnie an Andrew Jackson - which he tried to refuse to take - and told him to give it to the person who fished out the camera from the garbage. He agreed, as he extracted it from the safe and handed it to me, smiling as the manager of a customer centric, successful, local pizza provider.

I know some people say that Gino's is not their favorite, and they think there's better pizza... their entitled to their own opinion. I'll stick with Gino's! And yes... it is not low carb... but after 24 years, it was well worth it. And I only gained 2 pounds all of last week, after eating pizza and Hoosier Mama Pie... not too bad.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Inexpensive Cat Grass

Our very old indoor cats like to chomp down on grass to help digestion, satisfy some kind of primal urge for fiber, re-mediate hair balls, etc. In South Carolina, the oldest cat would try to run outside and munch the grass next to our deck behind the house. In Arizona, our yard is rock - and very dusty, so we don't let her out.

I was tired of paying $4 for a tiny packet of kitty grass that takes a week to grow, and then turned brown a week later. And the tiny plastic cup it comes in is so light that when a cat goes to chomp it and pull out a blade, the whole mini-planter over-turns and spills about the floor. There had to be a better way.

So I got a packet of Pennington "patch grass seed" at Home Depot for all of $3. Three different Home Depot personnel tried to warm me "that's Winter grass" and "you don't want that", "it'll die if you plant it" (we hit 100F this week in AZ). They each looked at me as if I was insane when I told them I was planting it inside. Well, a week later after planting, it's thriving now. And the cats are enjoying it. And I have 95% of the bag of seed remaining - enough to last the next 10 years (or the seed goes bad, but in 10% relative humidity, that's unlikely). It's not "organic" seed, but neither was the grass that grew behind our house in South Carolina, and the cat has lived to be 16 years old, so it has not caused her to develop any kind of gastro-intestinal malady or cancer.

Another successful experiment in optimization & cost reduction. And so far, I've not seen a single instance of grass-blade-containing-cat-puke, since going to the normal grass seed. Hopefully, this pristine record will continue.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hypocritical Anti Semite Indignation

Hypocritical Indignation. Yes, the Israeli's acted with a overpowering hand in stopping the humanitarian aid flotilla from Turkey to Gaza, and it was stupid of them to shoot and kill people on the flotilla ships. Non lethal force should have been used. And it was very stupid of the people on the ships to attack the Israeli Defense force soldiers.

But this Outrageous International Indignation, Against Israel, pouncing on them for immediate action and sanctions, is complete and utter BS. Where is this outrage when Iran calls for the destruction of Israel? Where is the outrage when Hamas and Hezbollah launch rockets into civilian areas with the intent of killing civilians, causing fear, and propagating terror? Where is the outrage when the Saudis broadcast telethons to raise funds for Iraqi suicide bombers?

I don't care if you're an Israel lover, or an Anti-Semite. If you're gonna condemn Israel for doing something stupid and draconian, you need to condemn their enemies who target Israeli civilians, and Israel's existence as well. I am disappointed that Israel Defense forces killed civilians who were attacking Israel commandos who had rappelled from Blackhawk helicopters onto Turkish ships headed for Gaza, making diplomacy much more difficult, putting America in a more difficult spot, and eventually costing more American lives in Iran & Iraq.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Jersey Gored, Psychologically

Dr. Desert Flower and I never really understood the reoccurring SNL skit where Bobby Moynihan parodies "Snookie" from "Jersey Shore", as we'd never seen this 'reality show' before. So this weekend, I DVR'ed "Jersey Shore" and over lunch on Memorial Day, we watched about 15 minutes of the 'first episode' of Season I. We are both now, psychologically gored, skewered, by the complete inane, moronic, lowest-common-denominator epitomized in this rush-to-the-bottom of society's most useless, self-absorbed, myopic, vacuous, narcissistic, douche-baggery. Around the 2nd commercial, I declared "this is enough of our lives being wasted, and consciousness being damaged" and deleted it from the DVR. How can anyone watch this show, and "enjoy" it, or feel ANY empathy / be able to relate to any of the characters showcased here? Yet 4.8 million citizens of Idiocracy LOVE this show. Ugh! I think I just tasted some vomit.
There is a positive aspect of the show - it does make any sentient being feel better watching such sophomoric dumb*sses who each think their offal has no odor make complete fools of themselves while each is blissfully unaware of the wider world around them.

The douches (not "Guidoes", no, douches, except HCwDB leaves the viewer to wonder"why is she with him?" while with JS it's very clear why the dumb shrews are with the douches) here make parents like DDF and I feel much better about how we raised our son, and how he and the young adults he hangs out with are not like these miscreants.

If anyone has any redeeming reason, why this show is worth watching - something we missed in the lost 15 minutes of our lives - please leave a comment here as to what that positive aspect might be. I'd love to hear it. I think I'm gonna start using JS as a "screening device" like the bar in "Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby" used Jazz, Pet Shop Boys, and Seal in their jute box. I have never enjoyed any reality TV actually, but JS marks a new low water-line, considering it's wide-spread popularity. Yikes.