Friday, September 28, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Carmona Is Not A Flake

Arizona's Jr Senator, Kyle, is "retiring" to pursue his true passion, self enrichment as a Washington lobbyist.  Serving his country, or state, or the greater good...  baaah!  From senator to lamprey... but that's an insult to lampreys. 

His anointed replacement from the GOP is Mormon farmer Jeff Flake, who is also an unspectacular Congressman.  Flake's opponent, is Rich Carmona.  Former Surgeon general, appointed by Bush.  Former army medic in Vietnam.  Former nurse and surgeon.  A millionaire entrepreneur in Tucson.  Oh, and did I mention he speaks Spanish?  He's blanketing ads on Phoenix radio and TV, and appears to be beating Flake, at this point, and has a fighting chance of turning the Solid Red Arizona's Senate representation to Purple.

Flake was mailing fliers via US Postal Service to our residence at the beginning of the month, saying how Carmona is Obama's "hand picked" candidate, complete with unflatering "mug shot-esque" pics of Rich Carmona next to "guy smiley-esque" Jeff Flake prom pics.  But as President Obama's poll numbers have risen after the convention, and Romney continues his downward spiral, those fliers have mysteriously stopped.

(note also how it was 102F at 5:18pm, in mid September, 6 days ago when this poll was shown on Channel 3)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Holiday Declared To Trump The Opposition's Strike

Do you have colleagues in India?  Did you try to call a tech support center in India this week?  Chances are, if you answered "Yes" to either of these questions, you found something was amiss this week.  India has lots of government sanctioned holidays; some national, some religious, for all sorts of reasons (link here).  What you don't see on this calendar, is any holiday on FW39, September 17-22 in 2012 (many Indians work Saturday, regularly).  But if you look at the Karnataka state judiciary calendar (link here), you see a peculiar September 19th holiday, called out-of-the-blue.  Why?  Well, the answer surprised me, when my India colleagues and friends explained it to me.

You see, India has lots of parliamentary parties, so they form coalitions so that they can get things done, legislation passed, and are not in a continual state of stalemate.  Recently, a bill was proposed to let BIG BOX stores, like Walmart, to have unfettered access to all of India.  Right now, as I understand it, Walmart and other Western chains are in very few cities, in very limited quantities.  Western corporations are salivating at the multi-billion dollar Indian market, and can't wait to set up shop all across the very diverse nation of a billion+ people.  So the majority party says "we like this free market bill, let's let the BIG BOX stores in".  The minority opposition party, the National Democratic Alliance, which is led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) says "WTF, wait a minute! This is BAD for Indian farmers and small Indian retailers who will be crushed!"  The BJP doesn't want to see the Walmartization of India decimate small business across their great nation as it already has in America.  So the BJP called for a national strike (link here) on September 20th, to show how unified the country is in opposition to letting in big box stores.  Don't go to work. Don't go to school.  Don't buy anything. Protest peacefully.  Demonstrate that as a united India, we the citizens don't want any part of this, and Parliament should defeat this bill.

You see, 1000s of small Indian farmers have been committing suicide in the Indian countryside (one every 30 minutes, in the last 16 years, crushed by debt - link here), when genetically modified crops from Monsanto, which need more water than the crops they used to plant, fail and the farmers can no longer support themselves.  There's already severe supply chain, bribery, middle-men network, corruption problems across India, that hamper the free flow of goods, from the farmer's field to the grocery store shelf, with everyone taking a cut or pay-out.  Maybe refrigerated Walmart supply train super store trucks would help decrease spoilage and the supply chain, but it would also exert inexorable pressure upon the small farmers to lower their already abysmally low prices even lower, driving more of them out of business, and likely resulting in more suicides, farm failures, food shortages, and maybe even famine.  So I have mixed feelings on the issue... I don't want to see more small farms fail, as NAFTA caused some 3 million small Mexican farms to fail when dirt cheap maize flooded the Mexican market, and many of those out of work farmers headed north to illegally pick crops as migrant workers.  Of course, the xenophobic Alabama legislature passed "show me your crop picking papers" law, and so Alabama farmer's crops are rotting in their fields this fall, but that's what narrow minded Republican ideology provides for citizens.  I digress...  back to India.

So in India, the BJP tells everyone to stay home on the 20th Bharat Bandh.  Well, the Prime minister, who represents the majority party, the ones who love big corporations and globalization, and who are really well funded by international donors, they don't like this "show of unity" so very cleverly, they declare September 19th as a National Holiday!  No one needs to go to work on the 19th!   Stay home, it's a new impromptu National Holiday!   Hooray for everyone!!!

But wait.... no one had bus or train tickets home, to visit their extended families.  No one was prepared to take off the 19th... what the...?  And then, the 21st, which was a Friday.... so we're supposed to take off Wednesday (National Holiday) and 20th (general strike...?) but then the 21st... uhhh?  So many IT firms around Bangalore and other multi-national corporate branches declared the 21st to also be a "holiday" in support of the BJP (link here) .  So in Early September, it looked like there were no holidays coming until October arrives.  And then, all of a sudden, BJP declares a strike for the 20th, the Prime minister declares the 19th to be a holiday, and most big businesses also call off work for the 21st.  A "2 day" work week suddenly materializes, to confuse the European and American counterparts, delay schedules & business commitments, further disrupt everyone's Saturdays (notice the Karnataka court is sitting in session on the 22nd), and try and obfuscate the real issue at hand.  Congrats to the BJP for calling the general strike to prove their point.  Shame on you, Indian central government for calling the impromptu September 19th "holiday"and creating so much confusion. 

I hope it all comes out best for the small Indian farmers and the citizens of India.  You know, those billions of dollars for the Indian market that international corporations are salivating over?  Let them stay in India, for the betterment of Indians.  Please.

Airborn Swine

More Equity Is Better Than 10K More Salary

Over at I Love Charts they had this cool graphic this week (link here).
The blog from which they got it, was "The Upfront Blog" which is sort of cool, and useful, if you're looking to possibly change companies (link here).  It's fun to play around with and make the graph move.  =)  (and to note that engineers, in general [software engineers excluded], are under-appreciated)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mitty the Moocher

Mitt Romney plays about 1/2 as much in taxes as I do, and he thinks that's fine.  He doesn't pay tax on carried interest.  He writes off massive donations to his cult.  He thinks those struggling on government assistance are lazy, while he refuses to pay his fair share.   The richest 1% (who I am not part of, and none of whom will associate with me) have gotten immensely richer in the last 12 years, compared to the rest of America whose earnings and wealth - on average - have been flat or have decreased.

The blue states PAY MORE in taxes to the Federal government than the red states.  That's redistribution of wealth from the thinking, responsible, conscientious America, who would rather "help those here, rather than bomb those over seas"... to the moochers who take in more from the feds than they give to the feds. 

Villa Borghetti Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie

Picked up a $5 Pinot Grigio at Trader Joes that was delightfully light, tasty, and crisp.  Villa Borghetti Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie, Indicazione Geografica Typica.   Dr Desert Flower and I had it with some cheese and fruit earlier this month on a Saturday afternoon.  Good stuff.  You should get yourself a bottle.


C.Montgomery Burns had a video released this week... I mean... Mitt Romney, comfortably talking to $50,000 a plate donors at a private dinner in Boca Raton, trying to get them to write him checks for his campaign, let slip how he really feels about nearly 1/2 of all Americans.  All those silly Americans who work for a living, instead of investing, like Mitt and his plutocratic buddies. 

The Daily Show characterized the Mother Jones video perfectly, so I ma going to provide all the links here:

It was remarkable how "at ease" and comfortable Mitt was, amongst the plutocratic elite in Boca, compared to how rigid, stick-up-his-spine, inarticulate, forced-delivery his speaking was during town halls and diner meetings during the Republican primaries.  It's like..  he was an entirely different man.   Watch the clips yourself, to see with your own eyes and hear with your own ears.

2 million blurred views

moment of zen

Millionaire John Hodgeman's Eloquent delivery:

Minnie the moocher

You know, I pay a hefty sum in taxes - Federal, state, FICA, et al... and I voted for President Obama, and I DO NOT feel "Entitled!" as Mitt has emphatically stated all Obama supporters feel.  I DO feel entitled to an apology from both Mitt and his boy wonder Paul Ryan for being dismissive & condescending of 1/2 the electorate.

It's really sad how many poor, white, rural and suburban Americans will enthusiastically vote for Mitt, thinking his trickle down, redistribution of wealth from-poor-to-rich will somehow help them someday.  But that's how America rolls.

Duca Di Camastra Nero d'Avola

I remain a large fan of Nero d'Avola.  More restaurants are starting to carry it, and more retailers selling it.  I got a nice bottle of Duca Di Camastra Nero d'Avola from Trader Joe's for less than $6 last month, and enjoyed it with a rare red Double Check Ranch ribeye this month.  Excellent quality.  Deliicous.  Highly recommended.  I only wish I would have bought more than one bottle.

Sweet Soft Drinks Alter Genes In Women

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study today (link here) that shows (with tiny tiny P values) that there is undeniably a link to consuming sugary beverages and obesity, and in the women studied (a tiny population of just n=21,740 over multiple years... don't they know really awesome science takes n=2 without a good control, and No Collaboration with any of your colleagues??) it has a correlation to genetic association with adiposity (being fat).

Many will say "Duh!" to this, but it is real, detailed, disciplined, peer reviewed science that published this, not some industry funded obfuscation or pseudo-science. 

For my part, I will continue to avoid sugar laden drinks, and their evil twins full of nutrasweet, sucralose, acesulfame K, phenylketonurics, and other synthetic poisons that are deliciously sweet.

Shieldaig Nasty Ashtray

Dr Desert Flower and I were at Total Wine over the summer, and they were offering a free tasting of Shieldaig "The Classic" Blended Scotch Whisky, aged 12 years. 

In Tasting at the store, it was fine.  12 year? that's pretty good.  $12 a bottle...  Why not?  So I bought a bottle, and brought it home. 

Sometime in July, I opened it up, and ew!  It tasted like an ashtray.  Very smokey, very unpleasant, it reminded me of a dive bar like Casablanca used to be in Greenville SC next to the Reedy River - but not a happy memory of many beers consumed and music listened to. No, it was a more primal memory triggered by scent, and taste, of thick smoke, permeating the bar's very existence.  DDF encouraged me to pour it down the drain, but I found that with LARGE quantities of ice and lemonade and a splash of Cruzan flavored rum (banana or vanilla) that it was drinkable.

If you LOVE the taste of smoke, then Total Wine's got a cheap bottle of Scottish smoke for you. I won't be buying the stuff again, and cannot recommend it.  I'll stick with my High West instead.  =)

Gary Taubes NuSI

 Thanks to my buddy Matt for the head's up on this:
Gary Taubes and Peyer Attia have founded a non-profit to fund real research into nutrition:

Goes along with the new finding from the University of Illinois study (link here) that poorer and less educated white Americans are living shorter lives than their parents.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bon Midi Pays d'Herault

Fresh and Easy has a cheap red wine from France, Bon Midi, Pays d'Herault. indication geographique protegee.  It sells for $4 a bottle, and it is not bad.  I found it very drinkable.  It's a screw top.  Not too fruity.  A lighter Southern French red.  50% Merlot, 50% Grenache.  I'll be getting it again the next time I am at F&E.

And Another Ones Gone...

Another one bites the dust, hey hey!
Our lemon tree is dieing.  Another main branch wilted this month.  I cut off the first branch in July,and a 2nd one immediately began to wilt.   That one took August to die, and I cut it off last weekend.  Now, a third main branch is quickly wilting.  Leaves shrivel, bark splits, humming birds take keen interest in hovering around it, apparently looking for mites or something too small for DDF and I to see, that is high protein and irresistable to hummingbirds.

It will take the rest of September and the beginning of October for the 3rd branch to die.  Once it is gone, the tree will have less than 40% of its original growth.   Very disheartening, as the lemon tree had produced 4 years of bumper crops of juicy, organic lemons.  We are baffled by what is killing it.  Not too wet.  Not too dry.  It's likely a virus, or mites, or something over which we have no control.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ryan Loves Charts

Blue eyed right wing ideologue darling, and Vice Presidential hopeful Paul Ryan love charts.  So here's a few telling charts, he'll never show.
I'd really love to wipe the perpetual smirk off his face, with a resounding election loss for the Republicans, or, by other means.. but I don't want the Secret Service to come interview me, so my views will remain silent on this point.  "Grew up in a middle class family" - yeah, if by "Middle Class" your father is a millionaire who owns a very profitable construction business, and he dies when you're a teenager, leaving a large life insurance settlement to your mom.  If only everyone in America was so "middle class" as poor old Paul Ryan.

I Could Become A Chargers Fan

After watching da Bears blow it, year after year since 1985, and watching the San Diego Chargers beat the Oakland Thugs, er, I mean Oakland Raiders last week, I really think I could become a San Diego Chargers fan.   Yes, it is true, that the Chargers began as a Los Angeles team, but LA can't support a football team.  They've lost the Chargers, the Rams, and the Raiders.  Somehow, they support two baseball and two basketball teams, but every city has its quirks I guess.

I am going to try and watch more Chargers games this season, and perhaps... just maybe..  I can become a Chargers fan.   Being a Bears fan is just consistently, too damn depressing.  I spent my childhood watching da Bears lose, year after year, in Soldier Field, Lambeau, the domes of Detroit (on Thanksgiving) and Minnesota, and the occasional other stadiums.  Qualcomm stadium is an extremely LAME name... but I could get over that, maybe, if the team did OK year to year.  I'll always have a love for the da Bears, no matter how much they keep losing.  But it would be nice to root for a winning team, for a change.

And I hear there's lots of bio-tech jobs all over Southern California... so becoming a Chargers fan might not be so theoretical.  Il faut voir.   They DO have the nicest weather in all the US. 

A True Friend

A true friend, is one that will hold your hair while you get sick in the bath room.
I bet these two adorable little girls will be college roommates someday.  this won't be the last time they're in this situation.

Walk The Shark

I've heard of "jumping the shark", but this is the first time I have ever seen anyone "walking the shark".
I think DDF would like her shoes..  They're sorta sparkly.

I Love You Lamp!

da Bears are completely blowing the first 1/2 of their Thursday night game with da Packers.  I need something to lift my spirits.   This feline humor made me crack up.
Awwww kitty, your bud was just trying to give you some lovin!   LOL!

Be Like Han

Maybe it's because I live in Arizona.. and it is an open carry state, that I can relate.  Maybe it's because I don't tolerate overt evil when I encounter it.  I don't know,...  but I really liked this Demotivational poster.

The Heavy. Crescent Ballroom, Sept 11th

The Heavy played at the Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix (just off of 2nd Ave & Van Buren) Tuesday night.  Dr Desert Flower and I were there, and wow, was it an incredible show.  The Silent Comedy opened for The Heavy, and they were fine, but we were not there to see the opening act, complete with their handle-bar mustached banjo player.  We were there to see The Heavy.

We'd never been to the Crescent Ballroom before.  It is reminiscent of The Handlebar in Greenville, or The Pour House in Charleston SC.  A more relaxed crowd.  No metal detectors at the door.  No frisking, no "take off your shoes" requirement like the unpleasant Marquee in Tempe has.  There's a eating area / restaurant in the front, and a band venue / bar in the back.  Friendly bouncers, security, door, and wait staff.  Not grungy and sticky / nasty / diver-like as many band venues can be.  We patiently listened to The Silent Comedy, while sitting near the merchandise booth.  The had The Heavy Pizza Boxes!!!  For just $45 - which is a bargain, when converted from the online price of $35 British Pounds + shipping!

So after my 1nd Jameson neat, and my 2 mini bottles of Hennesy that I stashed in my pockets, I shelled out two Jacksons and a Lincoln to the nice hispter couple running the merchandise booth, and gave them my last 2 Washingtons to "watch" the pizza box.during the concert, assuring them I would be back later to get it after the concert.  They humored the old gray haired man with more money than sense.

After buying the pizza box (complete with double vinyl album, CD, T-shirt (size medium, as I am no longer an XL, and tour poster), Swaby came out of the back room and mingled with the crowd.  Everyone wanted pictures with him, and autographs.  Dr Desert Flower was looking lovely, demur, and amazing as my trophy wife (with a PhD even!). while I looked old, gray, fat, and drunk (hence the small thumbnail size, to mask these non-flattering properties).   I hurriedly grabbed the pizza box and borrowed a marker, and got Swaby's signature!   Very cool.   Not a collector's item.. not yet anyways..  but it meant alot to me. 

I bought the band a round of PBRs, since 'the only thing we get from the House is Miller Lite" - ew!  I don't like PBR, but I KNOW the band does, from my previous Vegas experience at the Cosmopolitan.  6 PBRs for $18 - these aint Chicago, Atlanta, or NYC drink prices my friends!  =)  I had a chance to talk to Chris Ellul before The Heavy went on, and we discussed drumming, the US tours, the ninja skills video filmed i Austin TX, and how I still believe The Heavy is Way Better than The Black Keys.  He admitted that he hoped The Heavy would be as popular someday as The Black Keys are today.

When The Silent Comedy finished, Dr Desert Flower and I took the 4 feet between stage center and the crowd, to park ourselves.  It is the vantage point from where she took the picture of Ellul's 4 piece set above.  It was also the vantage point where we were close enough to have Swaby's sweat fall upon us during the concert - he really gets into the music, as much as the fans do.  The Heavy played a solid hour+. and then came back on for a 3 song encore.  I lost track of how many songs they played.. but they rocked the Crescent Ballroom.  It was one of the best, if not the best, shows I've ever seen in my life - and I have seen many shows.  It was even better than Vegas, and Vegas set a pretty high bar.

After the show I remembered to gather up my autographed pizza box, and we headed the three block walk back to the car.  We got home at 12:30, which is pretty late for a school night, so I went into work very late on Wednesday, and kept working until sunset (hence, not much blog posting yesterday!). 

Well.. it's time to go back and watch da Bears give up more yards (and points) the da Packers in Lambeau, with I am DVRing now...  oh well.

Ionic Bond, Taken not Shared

This cracked me up  =)

Sam Becile, Meet Nakoula Basseley Nakoula

So a Southern Californian Coptic Christian, of Egyptian heritage, named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula creates a low budget film with American actors, called "Desert Warrior" that tries to mock Islam, under the pseudonym "Sam Becile".  He then redubs it in Arabic, calls it "Innocence of Muslims", changes the verbal content to be more inflammatory, posts a trailer for it on Youtube, shows it once in a lonesome Hollywood theater with no one attending.  He then calls his friends in Washington (Steve Klein) and Florida (the traitor, Terry Jones), to get the ideologue propaganda machine ramped up to Push the links out to the Arabic speaking world. (link here)

Crowded Theater + an American Shouting Fire, that results in American deaths = Felony (not misdemeanor)

Congratulations to Eric Holder's Justice Department for finding this Nakoula guy.  I hope he enjoys his up-coming stay in federal prison for multiple charges, including implication in the death of Christopher Stevens, former US Ambassador to Libya.  Stevens joins the previosuly killed-in-the-line-of-duty Ambassadors Cleo A Noel Jr and Arnold Raphel, who were killed in Sudan and in Afghanistan respectively, in 1973

It's truly sad that such despicably motivated people can cause such global death and destruction, with a reactionary religious group, by feeding them snippets of poorly produced, incorrectly attributed, intentionally derogatory crap.

I don't recall how many people died when Last Temptation of Christ came out, or how many theaters burned after Jesus Christ Superstar or Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat premiered...  but I'd say it was an integer value close to zero.  Those works were actually somewhat entertaining, and though inflammatory (to some people in the world) had value, and resulted in no human deaths.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Don't Judge A Game By The First 3 Minutes

If you only watched the Indianapolis Colts vs da Bears game today for the first 3 minutes, you would have thought it was a Friday night blooper reel from a High School league.  As I cleaned up the kitchen, sliced organic celery, and got ready to do yoga, I was scoffing at the TV.  4th and 26, from your own 2 yard line?  Throwing an interception straight to a Indianapolis secondary for a touch down?  It was pathetic.  And I figured sports writers were already writing da Bear's season epitaph.  But then they got their act together, and blew away the Colts by 20 points, resting Peppers and Urlacher for most of the 2nd half. 

Just 4 more days until da Bears go to Greenbay, where the Packers will likely wipe up Lambeau Field with their visiting opponents on Thursday night.  I hope it won't be a wipe out, but ...  we shall see.

I love my DVR.

Pool time.. with rum..  is now on order for the rest of Sunday afternoon!  =)

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Over at I Love Charts, they published this gem recently (link here).  The Chicago EL, rotated and superimposed to scale, over NYC.  The Loop is roughly centered over Central Park.  The white lines show the exiting subway lines of NYC.  I love the EL.  I've taken it to visit friends in recent years, and I used to take the Shore Shore Line in to the city during the summer to go to work when I was in High School.

Johnny B. Goode Crosses The Heliosphere

Voyager is crossing the Heliosphere this week, at a meager 10 miles per second (yikes!) as it exists the unknown solar system. No other object made by humans has gone this far away from Earth, ever before.  On board, chosen by Carl Sagan (RIP), is a gold disk, with 27 songs from Earth.  Among them, is the Chuck Berry classic, Johnny B Goode.

And Voyager runs on a 1977 vintage computer processor and memory chip that has 1/100,000 of the memory and capability that an 8 Gig iPhone has.  NASA site link here.

Congressional Republicans On Science

It's a good thing that these elected representatives aren't on anything like the Science & Technology House committee.
Oh wait...  they are.  =( 
Isn't that sort of like Libya or Syria being on the Human Right's Commission at the UN?  Or Mike Tyson lecturing on string theory?  Or the Saudi's chairing a symposium on women's rights?  They each cause equal amounts of cognitive dissonance. 

The Heavy - Can't Play Dead

Honestly, I am looking forward to The Heavy concert next Tuesday night.  "Cant' Play Dead" is one of the most fun tracks off the new album, The Glorious Dead.

Walmart Contagion After 50 Years

While some corporate leaders would see this map as a "great success", I see it as a 50 year progression of a slide towards lower quality, mediocrity, idiocracy, a "throw away society".  Think about the coffee makers, the blenders, the consumer goods that you used to have when you were much younger, in your parents' home, and the significantly lower quality junk that Walmart sells today, if you disagree with my point.
Dumbing down to the lowest common denominator.  It's also very sad that Walmart hands out Medicaid & Food Stamp (WIC) applications to new hires, as they know that they don't pay a living wage.  And like most large corporations (CVS, Target, Walgreens, etc) they keep the majority of their hourly employees below 39.5 hours a week, so that they don't have to book keep them as "full time" employees.

It's been 4 years since I walked into a Walmart, and that was only because they were the only place open in the middle of the night.  It's been almost 15 years sine I intentionally shopped at a Walmart.  I use my wallet and my personal spending discretion to fight this contagion.

Kudos to all those communities around the world who are fighting the opening of Walmart stores in their neighborhood.  "Brought to you by Carl's Jr.  Brought to you by Carl's Jr".

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Heavy, Sept 11th, Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix

Dr Desert Flower saw on her "bandmate" iPhone app yesterday, that The Heavy will be playing September 11th at the Crescent Ballroom in Downtown Phoenix.  (link here)  Tickets are a whole $12 a piece.  We'll be going (and I'll be taking Wednesday off =P )

If you want to hear their new album, The Glorious Dead, Billboard has a nice story on them with ALL the tracks to play online (link here).  2 recycled earlier solid singles "What Makes a Good Man" and "Big Bad Wolf" along with 8 new tracks:
1. Can't Play Dead(4:22)
2. Curse Me Good(4:57)
3. What Makes a Good Man?(3:46)
4. The Big Bad Wolf(3:22)
5. Be Mine(4:14)
6. Same Ol'(4:01)
7. Just My Luck(3:02)
8. The Lonesome Road(3:59)
9. Don't Say Nothing(3:38)
10. Blood Dirt Love Stop(3:56)

The album came out while we were in Mexico on August 21st - somehow I thought it was September 21st, duh.  DDF downloaded it from iTunes and we enjoyed listening to it poolside while drinking ice cold adult beverages in the 104F dry heat, with 84F pool water, wearing SPF50 sunblock.  It was a good afternoon, with good tunes, good company, and good weather.  =) 

I'd like to get the "pizza box deluxe bundle" - if supplies still last ("pizza box" deluxe bundle, which includes a gatefold LP, CD, t-shirt, sticker, and 7" vinyl packed inside a cardboard pizza box bearing the album artwork.) but 35 British Pounds, plus shipping, is pretty steep.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Show Me Your AZ Voting Papers

When I got my new voter ID in the mail, back in June, I thought "Oh... OK... looks like they re-districted us" (since Dr Desert Flower and I have not moved, and our home does not have wheels).  I saved my card in the safe, and proudly took it out to take with me to the polls last Tuesday to exercise my civic duty and vote in the AZ primary election.  I had my driver's license with me as well, but figured I would not need it, since
1) I had my voter ID card
2) A Federal judge appellant panel had just struck down the racially and socioeconomically discriminatory Texas voter registration law where a "government issued photo ID" would no longer be necessary in Texas, and I figured it would have a ripple effect to other states. 

So I head to a Baptist church (my designated polling place) about 5 blocks away. I could have walked, but it was 104F, and I didn't want to be all sweaty when I got home, so I lazily drove.  There were 3 cars and a pickup truck in the church's parking lot in a primarily Hispanic neighborhood.  When I entered the poll, I was the Only voter in the whole place. 

I IMMEDIATELY presented my never-been-used-before Voter ID card, and the poll worker with the long computerized list, looked at it as if I was handing her a dead rat. 
"We need to see your normal ID" she flatly told me. 
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot??  "Normal ID?"  I incredulously replied. 
"Yes, your government issued photo ID, your driver's license" and she looked up at me impatiently, and somewhat indignantly. 
I am a terrible poker player.  The rolling of my eyes and look of combined shock and disgust must have shown very clearly on my face, as I took out my wallet and driver's license. 
"That's what we needed!" she smiled up at me happily, mispronounced my last name in a severely butchered fashion, and had me sign - upside down - on the page next to my name, which coincidentally, had ALL the same information that my Voter ID card had on it, along with a bar code!   I was also the ONLY person on the "P" page, to have signed that morning, at 1130am (polls opened at 7am).  Voter turn out was a paltry 30% in Phoenix last Tuesday.

So OK, it's nice, that the Maricopa County election board can get my Voter ID card to me prior to the election (thanks Helen Purcell!), and the information is correct, and that information matches the laser printed voter list the poll worker has, but it is distressing that the poll worker really did NOT want to see or use or leverage the Voter ID card whatsoever.  Over dinner, with Dr Desert Flower last Tuesday, I expressed my consternation about the Voter Photo ID hassle I'd had earlier (white people problems, yes), and she said "No, I read the signs all over the doors, and outside the poll that said you needed EITHER 1 government issued photo ID, or 2 other means, like a power bill, or rent receipt, that shows your name and address."  So the government issued Voter ID serves no more use than a water bill.  Awesome.  Back into the safe the ID goes, until someday we move and then I'll shred it.

Speak English! It's Umerika!

You're in America, and here, we ALL speak English! 
Well...  after small pox, plague, tuberculosis, cholera, alcohol, and genocide were introduced... now "you speak English!" in Umerika.

Interestingly, in the bottom of this picture, you can see the Mayan peninsula in SE Mexico.  Our chauffeur who drove us in a big black Suburban from the Cancun airport to the Excellence Playa Mujeres resort (2 weeks ago yesterday) said to us: "The name of the city, is actually Bonita Waurez, not 'Cancun'. 'Cancun' is a Mayan name, meaning 'snake nest'.  The Mayans used to warn people, to look out for snake nests, and the name stuck, but in Spanish, the name of the city is actually 'Bonito Juarez' " (link here) [“olla de serpientes” (kaan kun)]. 

Chateau de Camarsac Bordeaux Clairet - Rosé

In the same vein as the white Bordeaux below by Thierry Lurton, Dr Desert Flower and I enjoyed a delicious 2009 Rosé this week, also purchased from Total Wine for about $10.  Chateau de Camarsac Bordeaux Clairet 2009 - Rosé, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot,  AVIN code: AVIN0724981807068  /  Screw cap  /  12.5% alcohol.  It actually had nice tannins for a Rosé, and left a few residuals in the bottom of the bottle and the last glass.  Delightful, light, crisp, not overly fruity.  Chilled on a hot August evening in Arizona.  Links here, and here


It's the NFL pre-season, and I am trying to get into Bear references, but I am having difficulties ramping up into the spirit this year.  This little marsupial play-on-words made me laugh. 

Château Tour de Bonnet, Entre-Deux-Mers

Andre Lurton makes great wine, and it's wonderful that Total Wine carries it.  For less than $10 a bottle, you can get a delicious white Bordeaux: Château Tour de Bonnet. Appellation Entre-Deux-Mers. Bordeaux 2009. Alcohol content : 12%. Varietals include Sauvignon Blanc 50% Sémillon 40% Muscadelle 10%.  Mis en bouteille au Chateau - as most of the best wines in the world are (and ideally should be).  

Yes, it's a screw top, but that does not diminish it's quality whatsoever.  Dr Desert Flower opened up a bottle last week after a hard day at work.  I asked her "you didn't need me to cork it?" - as I typically use our awesome cork screw to remove each bottle's cork.  She replied, "It's a screw top" - aha!  Between the two of us, it didn't last through dinner. 

When it is 107F outside, and you're eating chicken or salad or fresh guacamole, a chilled Bordeaux white is a wonderful accompaniment.