Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Witamy Pana Romney

Witamy Pana Romney  (welcome, Mr Romney)
Yeah, Mitt's not running for "President of Poland", that's true.  But compare his bumbling in the UK, his "culture matters" bigotry in Israel, nearly causing a war with Iran, and his cool reception in Poland.  My, he's proving himself to be quite presidential.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Alluring Dance - Expectations vs Reality

This reality check, made me laugh, heartily!  Harry back & chest, hula skirt, mustache, pot belly, and thrashing, LOL!   It's a very silly gif.

Lost Wormhole

If you find it, be careful.

Meanwhile, in Japan

When I was a kid (like 5 years old), my mother knitted "bear pillows" for my brother and I, that looked like the face of a smiling bear, with floppy ears.  She made it out of old towels that were soft, and I remember sleeping with it through elementary school, but grew out of it before High School.  I guess in other cultures, you don't grow out of hugging your pillow.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Take The A-Train

This tune has been in my head since I heard it on KJZZ earlier this evening.

Duke Ellington, Take The A-Train

Sunday, July 15, 2012

This Month's Big Number: 5.3

I had a battery of fasting labs done late last month, with blood drawn Just Prior to the liver exercises we did in Vegas, and got the results from my primary care physician this month after getting back from Vegas.  My hemoglobin A1C was down to 5.3, a tenth of a point down from the year before, and trending away from the 6+ it was years ago.  HDL Cholesterol was a we bit down to 58, but so was the LDL, to 99 which made my doctor very happy.

So when you use bacon fat to saute organic spinach, organic portabellos, and organic bell peppers, and then scramble up 2 or 3 pasture fed non-factory hen laid eggs and cover all of it with black pepper when you're done, for breakfast 6 or 7 days a week, eat mainly ham, bacon, steak, and some chicken here and there and a cell phone sized portion of dark chocolate everyday, avoid beer, drink Irish whiskey or cognac, and snack on Marcona almonds, organic celery and almond butter, or organic celery & double or triple cream brie, these are the kinds of healthy blood tests one can get?  hmmm.  

I think vigorously swimming (not lazily) nearly every day for 1/2 and hour, yoga 5 or 6 days a week, and an hour or two of stationary bike riding at maximum settings when it's too hot to go hike up a desert mountain and lose 5 pounds of water weight are probably helping the HDL number.  All the fancy flavored vodkas Dr Desert Flower is getting are (I am sure) loaded with sugar and artificial sweeteners that are working against my insulin... so I need to avoid those delicious libations.   I know several French octogenarians who have consumed cognac or red wine ever day (or nearly every day) of their adult lives, and are pretty healthy - so that's a best practice I need to continue to adopt. 

DirectTV Stops Carrying Viacom

Last Tuesday night, The Daily Show and Colbert Report started back up after the 4th of July break.  Dr Desert Flower and I thought that TDS and CR were on a two week hiatus, since there was no reruns or anything being DVR'ed from Comedy Central.

Well, DirectTV is blaming Viacom.  Viacom is blaming DirectTV. They're both being corporate money grubbing douche bags.   Viiacom also blocked ALL streaming of it's content on ColbertNation or The Daily Show website, so I really think that Viacom is being the greedier, more obstinate, evil corporation.  But, COX Cable still carries Comedy Central, so Monday morning, I will be giving DirectTV notice (putting them "On Notice", Colbert style) that they have until Friday to restore my Comedy Central, or, I will be dropping their service and moving COX.   I've heard lousy things about COX, but, they carry the shows I want to watch.

Dish Network carries Comedy Central, but no AMC, so Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Mad Men would be inaccessible (I don't care about Breaking Bad and Madmen, but DDF does).  And, Dish is still saddled with a damn Dish, that freaks out and stalls even during mild windy nights, like we had last Friday night, when my HD picture "pixelated".  grrrrr

I don't watch alot of TV, but dammit, when I do, I want it to be there, on a DVR, ready for me.  Daily Show. Colbert. Bill Maher. Game of Thrones. Walking Dead.  Dr.Who. PBS.  Sometimes Modern Family, Tosh.O, Office, or Parks & Rec.  That's really it.  When can I buy JUST THOSE and not all the other garbage the cable provider insists on bundling to me?

German Plumbers - Attraktiver als Du denkst

Who says the germans don't have a sense of humor?  Well... most of the world does, and they're often right.  But.. this German plumber company is pretty funny.  Attraktiver als Du denkst = More attractice than you think.
This is something you just can't "un-see"

We Are All Deaf & Blind

In the grand scheme of things
...we are all deaf & blind.  Having a hearing impaired life partner makes one keenly aware of these sorts of things.  A Predator can see into infrared, sure, but has those silly dread locks.  A dog can hear and smell better than humans, but most can't see too far ahead and will eat it's own feces.  A cat can see the ribs of a mouse moving and hear it's heart beating from across the room, and can see very well at night, but is nearly blind in direct sunlight. 

Eh...  what's that you say sonny?

Annie, Are You OK?

Annie, are you OK?
Are you OK, Annie?

Booby Yoga

What did you expect to see?  Hmmm?

Gator Beats Croc?

In a game of Rocks-Paper-Scissors-Gator-Croc, Gator beats Croc.
Though, in the wild, I think I'd always bet on the croc.  There's usually more crocodiles hunting together, than there are lone alligators (except in Florida freakish gator farms).

When Star Wars Geeks Picnic

Death Star Watermelon

Hydrofracking & Politics Explained, Simply

Mark Wilson at empirewire.com does excellent work.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bastille Day

Today is Bastille Day in France.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Stereotype Threat

Excellent NPR story today, on "Stereotype Threats" by Shankar Vedantam  
link here: transcript
link here: audio

Every scientist and engineer and human resources professional should listen to it.

The sample size was only 45 Canadian (B.C.) scientists, but I truly think you could go to any scientific, research, engineering, STEM company or organization in North America or Western Europe, and duplicate the study with very similar results.

"Girls talk more than boys"
"Boys are better at math and science than girls"
'White men can't jump'
'Engineers are socially inept'
'Germans are bad dancers'
'Latins are emotional'
etc etc etc

Miss You - Rolling Stones

This song's been bouncing around my head all day

Rolling Stones.  Miss You.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The BBW I admire

As a Public Service reminder, this week is the American Library Association's "Banned Book Week" (BBW). Did you think that "BBW" was referring to something else? =) lol

It's truly ironic that the home schooler fundamentalists are some of the most frequent users of public libraries - where they ask my librarian friend Jill questions like "where's the REAL books about Dinosaurs, that show them alongside people?"

It's truly wonderful that my friend Matt makes it a point to take his kids to book stores frequently, and tells them they can get one book each, every visit.

It's sad that when we moved our household from IN to SC, and then from SC to AZ, that the movers said things like "you sure do have lots of books!" and "are you some kind of professor or somethin?" and labeled the boxes containing the printed materials as "buchs". In reality, we don't have THAT Many books, just enough to fill several shelving units, but not a whole library's worth.

The ALA's BBW brings to the forefront the underlying issue of religious beliefs and political affiliations attempting to dictate access to knowledge. I don't think it's possible to encourage awareness of the BBW enough.

(this was written several years ago..  but got stuck in my "Drafts")

Please, use a spotter you can trust

For the sake of your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors, and your family, please, if you enjoy "breath play" as a form of erotic stimulus, use a spotter you can trust. Don't do such things alone like Michael Hutchence did in 1997, or with an irresponsible spotter like David Carradine apparently did (hands tied behind back? Very hard to do unless you are Houdini) who left him in a closet for the maid to discover. Not a wise decision, Grasshopper.

I don't personally enjoy such things, or even considering such things - perhaps since I had severe asthma as a kid, and frequent respiratory congestion even as an adult makes holding my breath for extended periods of time less than pleasant. But if I did, I'd insist on having someone I could completely trust there to make sure I didn't die, who could revive me, or who could & would call 911. It's not for my own safety and sanity I say this, as it is for the consideration of the people you know, and your loved ones, who have to learn from tabloids and coroner reports about what the deceased was indulging in prior to their unfortunate demise- or even worse, to be the one to find you! Please, if you do this sort of thing, always use a spotter you can trust.

Thomas Dolby - Dissidents

NPR keeps running lots of stories about Dissidents (Syrian, North Korean, Chinese) this week...  and Dolby is stuck in my head.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Infected DNS?

have you checked out your computer yet, to see if it is infected?

link: http://dns-ok.gov.au/

If you have not, you should, before Monday.  My computers here in Arizona are clean.

You should see this, if you're ok:

Of course, I've been running Norton on my desktop for 5 years, and my work laptop has Sophos resident on it, so I did not expect to be infected by the malware that's supposed to bring down millions of computers tomorrow.  But it never hurts to check.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Free Drinks In Vegas 101

Last weekend was not the first time I've ever been to Vegas, and it won't be the last.  But it was the first time I was there that I intended on sitting in front of a video gambling machine for an extended period of time, since I knew we would be getting to the bar more than an hour before The Heavy's show began, and that there would probably be a video poker machine there as well.  It was also the first time we'd be gambling without our friends Tim & Jill there along with us, both of whom are much more experienced gamblers.

So the first night, we each plunked in $50s into the machines, in a bar that had maybe 20 other customers, and selcted the 25 cent Jacks-or-Better poker, and DDF selected $1 blackjack.  The bartenders attentively served us martinis and glasses of Hennesy, and we tipped them with Abraham Lincolns.  We played slowly, but steadily, winning occassionally but not spectacularly.After the concert, as the Book & Stage bar was emptying out, we headed over to Bond Bar, where they had girls dancing in cages next to the windows that faced the strip.  The Bond Bar was jammed packed, and had a DJ, that was playing BOOM-phish-BOOM-pish music, so loud that we could not hear ourselves think, so we left without getting a drink.The NEXT night (Sunday night), we headed down to Bond bar after a delicious dinner, and sat at the video gambling machines at the bar.  Our first drinks arrived promptly and with a smile from a well tipped young male bartender.   When refills were in order, a young female bartender brought our drinks, and then lectured us on protocol of what level of video gaming play and frequency we need to demonstrate to drink in her bar, very rudely, and unprompted.  We were taken aback.  We cashed out our gambling tabs, and headed back to more friendly drinking establishments.

We stopped by a bar called "The Queue" but most of their video gambling machines were "out of order" so we walked across the casino and watched others losing their money at roulette, poker, war, craps.   I few people were winning, sure, but the vast majority were not.  Eventually, we wound up back the the Book & Stage, and their friendly bartenders.  Our drinks were promptly refreshed, no questions asked, as we entered out vouchers into the video gambling machines and played at our "normal pace"..After losing a few hands of video poker, I noticed the bar had few customers (it was close to midnight on a Sunday), and the three congenial bartenders did not have much to do.   So I called the oldest one over, and asked him:  "is it true that in Vegas, you have to play MAX CREDITS on video gambling in order to have your drinks comped?"  this question got the other 2 bar tenders' attention as well, and everyone gathered around to hear the elder bar tender's answer. He said, no, you don't have to play max credits, but at the same time, a customer who puts in $20 and plays two or three 25 cent games while talking to their friend for 3 hours, is not going to get comped drinks.   The casino (and the bar & bar tenders) need to make the cost of the drinks back, more or less, from the video gambling revenue.  The elder bartender went on to say "you can normally spot the people who come in just wanting to have a free drink, who are not interested in gambling at all.  You two don't look like those kind of people.  You were here last night, you gamble alot, so we're going to serve you/"  We related the incident with the indignant Bond Bar bartender to him, and he shook his head "you know, that's not how we're supposed to treat our guests".

So there you have it.  You don't HAVE TO be on MAX CREDITS, betting the max value every hand, but it helps.  You don't have to bet large amounts of money, but putting in a $5 bill will probably not get you prompt or sustained service.   You don't have to play NON-STOP, and can stop and pause to talk to your friends, or watch a concert, or a football game, just don't be playing 25 cent games at a glacial pace over many hours.  And always, always tip the bar tenders.  Make it worth their while.  They're pouring you "free" drinks after all.  =)

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Heavy, Cosmopolitian Vegas Last Weekend

Dr Desert Flower and I drove 4 and a 1/2 hours to Vegas last Saturday, to go see The Heavy at the Board & Card bar in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.  It was indeed, and awesome show, a fun trip, and a learning experience all rolled into one.

First, the Cosmopolitan is by far, the nicest hotel in America in which I have stayed, and the most customer service oriented of the Vegas casinos.  Superbly trained, professional staff, ready to bend over backwards to help their guests.  A fine establishment indeed.  From front desk, to valet, to bellmen, to housekeeping, to bar staff, to cocktail waitresses, to poker dealers, to security guards, to restaurant staff.  Impressive all around.

Secondly, the Book & Stage bar is an "open" bar, meaning it is adjacent to the casino gambling floor, and would be impossible to be "too full" as people would just spill out onto the gambling floor in 2 directions.  The stage is literally behind the bar, so DDF and I got front row bar seats, in front of video gambling machines (DDF prefers blackjack, while my vice is Jacks-or-Better video poker).  The wait staff poured liberally as we pumped Presidents Grant & Jackson into our voracious video gambling machines.  This front row seating also afforded us the best seats in the house for The Heavy's 10:30 to Midnight performance.  After the show, we had several drinks with Swaby and the band, and got a chance to chat with the UK chaps.  Very cool indeed.

We did not see any kitten emerge from the elevators there.
Our room was on the North Side, AKA "fountain side" (adjacent to the Bellagio fountain - more on that later) with a lovely view of the north end of the Vegas strip, across the street from Paris.  The room was spacious, with a giant shower, a bubble tub, a living room area, and a queen sized comfortable bed, adjacent to a balcony large enough to do yoga on (which I did, Sunday morning, just to make sure I was not hungover). 

It was tremendous fun.  We took too much alcohol with us in Celeste - enough for about 9 or 10 people from the hard liquor bottle count, but we had no shortage of options to mix drinks in the room.  Sadly, the pools (3 of them) did not allow "outside drinks" so we wound up not going to any of the pools, but that's fine.  We have a pool here in Phoenix, so there was not-so-much aquatic allure.  And besides, we're no longer sculpted 20-somethings, so it's better to just float in our own back yard =)

Jane's Addiction is going to play at the Cosmopolitan in September... and we're thinking about going back.  Anyone want to join us?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lincoln's Prescience

Just a little over a century and a 1/2 ago, the FIRST REPUBLICAN President made this prescient statement.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Just When Did Romney Leave Bain?

It was right after Bain signed that Stericycle deal at the end of 1999. The one where the company hauled medical waste that included aborted fetuses (link here).  Wonderful conservative family values waste hauling, but hey, there's a ton of profit in it.  And Mitt's always been about putting profits before personal values.

Thanks to David Corn for this excellent reporting.  Ahhh, and efficient government bureaucracy, the Signed Documents filed within them, and a savvy reporter who knows the right places top go digging for them!