Monday, September 29, 2008

Delayed Embed
Suggested by the Enigmatic Misanthrope and seconded by me, PoW presents a blast from the past, Joe Cocker offering birthday greetings back in the (Woodstock) day.

And PoW wishes the Misanthrope family (Enigmatic and Enigmatic Missusanthrope, not sure about the Enigmatic Offspringanthropes) on their impending scuba trip. Keep the tank side up!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Coffee Blogging
Haven't done any coffee blogging in a while. And my mind lately has been all over the Technivorm Moccamaster KBT-741 out of Holland. It's not cheap at $265 (and seems to be getting progressively more expensive as I've tracked it over time). "Cook's Illustrated" had this to say about it:
In the end, only one coffee maker stood out in our tests as exceptional. The Technivorm Moccamaster (model KBT741), made in the Netherlands, consistently brewed smooth, full-flavored coffee that our tasters rated highest. Tellingly, it was the only model to get close to the ideal six-minute brewing time, averaging 7½ minutes to completely finish dripping, though the water was fully dispensed within six minutes. Unlike any of the other coffee makers, its internal heating element brought the brewing water to the correct temperature range within seconds and kept it there through the brewing cycle.
It turns out that in contrast to most coffee maker heating elements, which are made of aluminum, the Technivorm's heating element is made of far more expensive copper. In coffee makers, the heating element usually runs alongside a tube containing water. As the cool water drips down from the tank, it passes through the heated channel, then boils up to the top of the machine, and finally drips down onto the grounds. A copper heating element has higher thermal conductivity than aluminum, meaning it is more responsive and can reach a higher temperature more quickly. The Technivorm is also more powerful, operating at a higher electrical wattage than most coffee makers - with 1,400 watts compared to the average 900 watts of the rest of the lineup - making its brew time correspondingly more efficient.
Of course I wonder whether putting a 1400 watt appliance on the circuit shared by my microwave might be problematic (don't nuke while you brew I hear you say - one does not always remember these things!) And a friend of mine just repaid a small loan I made to him so I'm sitting on the cash to get one ... but no. Gotta hold onto them greenbacks until the economy starts improving. I am, however, going to get one of these firstest when I get my mitts on some real cash.
I'd love to hear if anyone else has some bitchin' brewing equipment that they'd recommend. Comments please.
Got To Give 'Em Credit
I sure as perdition don't watch TV for the ads but I've got to throw some major praise Glade's way. They seem to have found an actress that they're using in all their ads of late. I have no idea who she is. I don't recall ever having seen her in an ad before but what a babe! Lovely face, maybe a touch on the horsey side but I seem to have no problem with that. And the red hair that's knuckle-chewingly gorgeous. Amy Adams gorgeous.
Glade also doesn't make her the infallible mom but the goofy, willing to try to get over on her friends about the source of the lovely household scent yet gets caught out on it. It's nice to see some humanization of the "star."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Just trouble everywhere so it seems. and yet we'll emerge from this as we always do. Older not necessarily wiser.
Personally, as much as I like the early autumn rain, I'm running one of those "throbbing at the neck" headaches that makes me want nothing but cool (got it) and quiet (don't even have the radio on). If you're thinking of calling me - don't. Send me an e-mail. The mail alert sound is much calmer than the ringing of the phone.
In other news: Shopped Costco yesterday. They have a dim sum dish (gyoza, shumai and one other little bao which name I know not). I tried it for dinner last night. Meh. Not actively bad but not really particularly good either. I stick to just making my own dumplings and have a better expereince. But the Costco milk is still the best buy in bovine lactation.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I want to try a display trick. The MOA.

OK. A little over dramatic but it does work.

And one other thing I've been meaning to mention, though it doesn't fit the "site" tag. I browse with Firefox, as I'm sure I've said a number of times. One feature that I use constantly is the built-in search function. At the upper right hand corner of the browser window is a search bar. In the search bar you can select from a number of different search locations. There's Google for everything, IMDB if you're getting all Hollywood on something. Wikipedia if you want teh questionable info. But an even more useful aspect of the function is that if you highlight a text string right on any page you're reading and right click on that string a menu pops up that offer a search on that text using whichever search engine is currently selected in the search box. For me, that's usually Google. And the results open in another tab. Saves much text entry or even cutting and pasting. Firefox - great browser. Despite the occasional disappearing flash content.
Keeping Up
I owe you all who've looked in on me a debt of gratitude but I'm looking a government bailout on that so expect your thanks to come directly from the US Treasury. Kidding aside, we here in NoVa have the onset of delightfully cool weather which is just so to my taste that I'm soothed thereby. Rain is forecast but rain is not a bad thing. Autumn is officially on us (which may require the reposting of one of my favorite poems, Rilke's "Herbsttag") and I'm taking care of some business.
Life is not perfect but I'm most definitely on the enthusiastic side of the scale. Later today, planting hosta, shopping at Costco (which has some killer chicken wraps made from their rotisserie chicken) and advancing on all fronts for the benefit of family and mankind! Huzzah!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Brief Thought on Racism And The Campaign
I have no doubt that there will be a quantifiable number (or percentage) of people who will not vote for Barack Obama purely on the basis of race. But given the number of those who are planning to vote for him purely on the basis of race, I think it'll probably pretty much even out.
So, despite the persistence of racism in the human heart, those trying to ascribe Obama's coming loss to racism are unutterably full of it. I say "in the human heart" in the previous sentence because those who tell you that the United States is particularly racist (in a world full of nations peopled by other humans) are simply lying. Whether they believe it or not makes it no less the lie.

"Yeah, jackpot: There's no weed, but there's monkeys"
We break headline format to extract the best line from this story. Further comment would be superfluous.
And a tip of the hat to Dr. Hardcrab.

Don't Misunderstand
I've heard from some friends about my post yesterday and I want to make it public: That was an explanation of how I see things. I wanted to lay out (with a bit of literary flair I hoped) my view of what the entire spectrum of what I deal with is. I'm not at the low end any more. I'm working on building enthusiasm, part of which is starting to get done things that have hung fire for far too long.
It's bad enough to have had a hard slog but then I'm faced with all the things that I wasn't able to get done while I was in such bad stead. Reminds me of that old fairy tale about the cobbler's elves. But I need daytime elves who can do paperwork. And drive. And getting paying jobs wouldn't hurt either. Wait - aren't those called "children?" Drat. I knew I'd forgotten something.
UPDATE: Thanks for your phone call, you-know-who-you-are. I appreciate your taking the time. I hope you understand where I am and where I'm trying to go. And I think you do.
I also have to give thanks to friends I have. I have this tendency to think of myself as separate from the flow of life. When I'm not with someone, I don't expect that person to even think of me. I dissolve when I'm not physically present. I know this is a non-rational idea but I've removed myself from a lot of life and that attitude is part of it. Bad! Bad attitude! No soup for you!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I don't see the world in black and white. I'm not talking race, I'm talking the bipolar view of the world where there is one right and one wrong answer to every question. For example, I have long held the belief about homosexuality that some people truly are born gay. They emerge from the womb beings who will be attracted only to their same sex. But the number that are thus intrinsically gay is a serious subset of all those who calim that they are homosexual. There are many whose upbringing or experience has led them to love for their own sex but who, given a different upbringing or not having had some forming event, would be heterosexual. Then there are those who are bisexual, preferring homosexuality, those who are bisexual and just don't care about the sex of whoever is providing their pleasure and then some bisexuals who prefer the opposite sex but will engage with their genitalian compatriots. Beyond that are the exclusively heterosexual and I won't even bother to go into all the variations there.
My point is not the sex, it is that human beings range from those who only want sex with those whose genitals match theirs, and those who only want sex with those whose genitals don't. There is a continuum of desire that defines human sexuality (even a continuum from those who want no sex to those who would spend all their waking hours engaged in it) just as there is a continuum in all that makes us up. I want to talk of one of my continua.

Not too long ago I posted about my problems of the last few months. I continue to push myself along but having posted about troubles, I wanted to go into a bit of exploration of the continuum that bears down on me.
My very good friend the Enigmatic Misanthrope called me, and properly so, a "moody bastard" as far back as high school. Mood, then will serve to define a continuum.
At the low end is despair. Also called hopelessness. Despair is the state wherein nothing can be done. There is no action that can conceivably be taken that will make the situation any better. Despair is where suicides happen. Despair, for the one who believes in God, is the state wherein God is denied. Mark 3:22-30 and Matthew 12:22-32 talk of the "unpardonable sin / unforgivable sin" of "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit." While this is often characterized as "defiant irreverence," the examples of man cursing God really don't, in my non-theological mind, don't rise to this. A man can curse God in the full expectancy that he will be damned for his curses. That man still believes. But in despair, the acting on despair, a man who believes shows that he no longer believes in the power of God to change his life. In this, the denial, the murder of self, the former believer denies his belief in such a way that mercy can not be allowed. All of which I mean to define one end of the continuum.
The other end is, and this may sound trivial, enthusiasm. The root of the word is
entheos: "from God." The one who is filled with enthusiasm sees all things as possible. Problems in life may not get better but the very real possibility is most decidedly there. A man who is enthusiastic is productive, happy, eager for each next day to seize the possibilities that day brings. He brims full of God and good. Of course one can be enthused about certain things (PRS guitars, well-prepared foods) without being more generally enthusiastic and it's that general feeling to which I refer here.
So, those are the twin lodestones between which I move. I've never had a lower swing toward despair that I recall. And I keep pushing myself toward enthusiasm though it's a bloody hard slog. I can't promise anything but I retain my belief which makes taking some (I quote myself) "irrevocable action" unlikely. I'll see if I can't make it impossible. But unlikely is a good step.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Question Is
If I join the church that the Dallas Cowboys' quarterback attends, does that make me a Romo-sectual?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Return Of The Weekend Music Embed
With, very possibly, a song and a band of which you haven't heard. The Josh Joplin Group with "Camera One." The song was used on an episode of "Scrubs" (which often uses unexpected and wonderful music - I just watched a re-run which used The Barenaked Ladies's "Pinch Me") but otherwise didn't seem to make much of a splash. More's the pity as the band's third disc "Useful Music" is not much short of superb. Intelligent lyrics, a well-produced and styled viddy, crunchy guitar riffing and though I'm usually not one for the tats, that chick guitarist/backup vocalist is way cute. I even like the "sideburns" tats. But that's a bit sidelight. The group broke-up in 2003. Here's the main event:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Times They Are Achangin
The flat-screen revolution is now complete. You can get an Acer 17 inch CRT monitor for $15 (that is not a typo) in-store at Circuit City where you can find them. I remember when a 14" monitor seemed to be the standard and moving up to a 17" screen was a major investment. Now, not so much. Incredible.
I browse with Firefox but the current version seems to be plagued with disappearing flash content. uToob viddies disappear from the page even after displaying when the page loads. This is sucky behavior of the first water and unless it's fixed, I may move to Safari.
UPDATE: Hmmm. Seems to be an AdBlock Plus problem. I've now unchecked the suggested option and will keep my shell pink fingers crossed that I can access Flash content from here to eternity.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My New Word
OK, not mine mine, but one that I thunk of and found already was being used: avatard.
Blogging Lite
After yesterday's bloggasm, I'm not planning on posting today (save this) though I am working on a longer-form piece that is tentatively titled "The Church of Perpetual Crisis."
Have a great day one and all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Post Stolen (With Permisson) From Billy Beck
I don't usually lift whole cloth from other bloggers but the uncompromising Billy Beck has just posted something that I feel needs to be widely seen. I envy his clarity and directness of expression. The post is entitled "Some Are In, Others Aren't" and is reproduced here for the edification of those who drop by. I would include myself when I say that his Two--Four blog is quite often "caviare to the general."
On CNBC just now, Charlie Gasparino is reporting that the New York Fed meeting in progress right now is considering some form of federal bailout for American International Group. This, of course, is the thing that they were saying would not happen only yesterday.

Through all this, bear in mind that they let Lehman Brothers sink without a trace. The point here is about arbitrary power. These are people who produce nothing, but who are able to dictate survival or doom to those with authentic responsibility for their own actions in markets.

There is nothing reasonable about this, and none of it should be mistaken for "capitalism."

Muslim cleric says Mickey Mouse is "one of Satan's soldiers" and must be killed
Sheikh Muhammad Munajid claimed the mouse is "one of Satan's soldiers" and makes everything it touches impure.But he warned that depictions of the creature in cartoons such as Tom and Jerry, and Disney's Mickey Mouse, had taught children that it was in fact loveable.The cleric, a former diplomat at the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, said that under Sharia, both household mice and their cartoon counterparts must be killed.

EM is in love again…
Amy Winehouse- sure… she’s a croaky voiced skank who sounds like a goose being forced ass first into a trombone, but man-o-man… is she ”beat me to death” heroin chic smoking hot or WHAT !!!
So in the spirit of Bullwinkle J. Moose…lifted right from “Bullwinkle’s Corner:”
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning- Sonnet XLIII...
Well that actually hurt..maybe I can send one of those I Love U Teddy Bear..s...huh..oh..what?..gotta go..the dopes here..
Another Quick One
Some days ... grrr ... some days.
Background: I have three battery powered atomic clocks in my abode: office, bedroom and kitchen. I run them on rechargeable batteries. Which calls for an occasional round of recharging. And by round I mean round: one clock's worth at a time.
Today the round reached the clock in the kitchen. I have to stretch a bit to get the clock off the kitchen wall and, naturally, as I'm taking it down, it slips and decides to bite the corner of the table on its way to the floor. (insert various naughty words involving excretory and reproductive actions) Yep - one dead LCD clock. It's replacement time.
I bought these at Costco so my first resort was to said BigBox website. There were atomic clocks but not the one I wanted. Before the profanity bandwagon started up again, I looked at one of the other offerings. OK. Actually better looking and it connects to a wireless weather sensor. I like that. But, one of the lessons of the intarwebz is that you don't buy at the first site you find something. (With the exception of things at Archie McPhee since the weirdness manifest on McPhee's place is rarely found anywhere else.) My first resort to check on products is goodol' Amazon.
And once again, Amazon comes through for me. I find this LaCrosse model which differs from the two versions offered at Costco by having a brushed aluminum case rather than cherry or oak. I like the look and it's about a sawbuck less. I can live with that. That and the free shipping option. Did I mention I love Amazon? Free shipping is a big part of that.
So I start the day by killing a clock and end up not spending as much as I feared and actually getting a device with a bit more functionality. It tones down the grrr-factor I must say.

OK, I Can Use Bad Language Too
In light of Barack "The Human Gaffe Machine" Obama's transparent use of the tired "lipstick on a pig" cliché, I offer the following: You can put lipstick on an ass but it's still full of s**t.
Hmm. Looks like I can't use bad language after all.

On My Mind This AM
Why doesn't the Jolly Green Giant sell Ho-Hos? Except he should make them about twice as big and call them Ho-Ho-Hos.
And, for that matter, George Foreman should sell black-eyed peas.
I should be in marketing.
UPDATE: George Foreman should sell black-eyed peas because he used to make a living by punching people in the face. And he already shills for just about anything. Just seemed a propitious combination of circumstances to me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Cool Stuff
I'm now in development with the Children's Television Workshop for a new plush toy. It's sort of half Elmo, half octopus. It's called "Tentacle Me Elmo."
Music In The Mail
I got a CD with booklet (ooohhh! bookLET - it's like a book and a pamphlet had a baby!) of "Mozart - Musical Masterpieces" (see what it has at the link - I'm waaayyy too lazy to bother with all the typing) in the mail from some outfit that wants me to subscribe to something. I think. Yeah, well, not gonna happen. But in the meantime, I get to listen to some of the greatest music the world has ever heard. The Overture to "Le nozze di Figaro" is, in a word, sublime.
I don't listen to enough classical music. And my taste in said music is decidedly pedestrian. Beethoven, Bach (the Brandenburgs are beyond amazing), Mozart of course, Grieg's Piano Concerto. I suppose the one place I break out of the rut is Wagner. The Ring Cycle is glorious: darkness and light, soaring and occult with a story that is both epic and deeply personal. But then, you know all this. Why am I writing about this?
Because I got a free CD in the mail. Which is nice. Let me ask you: have you gotten any unsolicited thing in the mail lately? A nice thing. We always unsolicited junk.

We all have had a moment in our lives when our childhood innocence ended.When one thinks of “scary,” usually Superman comics don’t come to mind. Bright, cheery, sometimes even whimsical, sure…but scary? Not usually, but there are rare, very rare occasions when a moment in a Superman story will get under your skin, sticking with you long after the comic is put away. Here is an example of one of those instances, when the world of Superman was not as bright and friendly: Superman’s Action Comics March Issue No. 457 (Don't even think of getting me started on Matter Eater Lad!! I still have nightmares about that superhero)
Nothing from me today. I'm working on a piece which I hope to have up tomorrow. If the EM would like to find something shiny to dangle in front of everyone's eyes, I'd be happy to see it.
Also, having a bit of a hiccup in my e-mail. If you've e-mailed me over the weekend, I'll probably be back at you tomorrow as well.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stole This One From Denny
The Grouchy Old Cripple posted this 'un and I couldn't love it any more. If it had a ring finger I'd marry it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11 Anno Domini
There are words in the millions spilling over the internet today on the seventh anniversary of the most successful attack on America ever made by a foreign enemy. I have no great wish to add to the flood of verbiage that will wash over you like storm water in New Orleans. But, as the saying goes: "Attention must be paid."
It's difficult for me right now since I am still fighting my fires within. Just to torture the analogy, I can't help but think of the collapse of the twin towers as the fires ate away the steel bones until there was not enough inside to keep them standing. But my situation is small beer compared to what so many lost and how many lives were changed at the points of impact.
I wish God's blessings on all of you who have to face up to the losses, to the losses our country has had to stomach in the years since. Too many carefree days, too many good men and women, too much rancor and too little willingness of the citizenry to admit to a state of war. My wishes for you on this day: May your losses be small, your pain bearable. May you always hold onto your strength within, even when the burdens come down. May you never be alone in the dark even if it's in a shaking stairway choked with smoke and heat from the fires above. May there be some place of joy and laughter even as tears pool in your eyes. May you live. May you love. May you be happy.
Our country will survive and be greater still. Our enemies will come to rue the day they underestimated us. Our fair-weather friends will find us remade in our understanding of who they really are. The world will come to understand, again, that from its servicemen to its street sweepers there is no greater friend and no greater enemy than an America called to defend herself.
I live in the greatest country the world has ever seen and wish for myself no more than that I can live up to its ideals.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Apocalyptic Speculation…End of the World..NOT!!
Scientists fired the first beam of protons around a 17-mile (27.36-kilometer) tunnel on Wednesday in science's next great step to understand the makeup of the universe.

It appears the world is still intact...

The Large Hadron Collider - built since 2003 at a cost of $3.8 billion - provides scientists with much greater power than ever before to smash the components of atoms in a bid to see how they are made.The skeptics theorize that a byproduct of the collisions could be micro black holes, subatomic versions of collapsed stars whose gravity is so strong they can suck in planets and other stars, disruption of the earths magnetic field and genetic mutations in humans.

“This is the biggest scary thing in history to protest about. These scientist freaks are threatening every single man, woman and child on the planet with death. They are threatening extinction to every life form and creature on earth. Can someone save us from these madmen please. We only have days left!The scientists should be arrested , they are terrorists threatening oblivion and mass destruction on all the worlds citizens. They are worse than Al Qaeda!” -Al Gore

"It's nonsense," said James Gillies, chief spokesman for CERN, the host European Organization for Nuclear Research, before Wednesday's start. CERN is backed by leading scientists like Britain's Stephen Hawking in dismissing the fears and declaring the experiments to be absolutely safe.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Count me there!!

Finally.... bet you think that the Lingerie Football League is only about attractive women in skimpy clothing. But you're wrong. It's about athletes. It's about speed. It's about top-notch training facilities.
Horizon Productions has now expanded the concept into a ten team league called the Lingerie Football League (LFL) that will begin play in September 2009 with franchises including Los Angeles Temptation, Phoenix Scorch, Seattle Mist, San Diego Seduction, Dallas Desire, New England Euphoria, Chicago Bliss, Atlanta Steam, Miami Caliente and Tampa Breeze. LFL games are set to air on cable television in Fall 2009.

Dallas Desire…new favorite team...Someone is going to make a fortune..why can’t I ever think this stuff up?? ...Alright, I'll go first.."Penalty!!..Illegal motion in the backfield!..!!"

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I watched Fred avidly on "Law & Order" and, in point of fact, really have watched the whole L&O franchise pretty avidly. So, after wathcing Fred tonight, I start to watch a re-run of a "L&O: Criminal Intent" episode with Chris Noth and Julianne Nicholson. Got to say: best freckles in Hollywood. The red hair hair doesn't exactly hurt either.
Wow - Fred Thompson
Of course the first speech of either of the conventions that I had any interest in seeing was Fred's. And once again, I I could vote for him. His speech for McCain seems more passionate than his own run for the office. What a great speaker. As good as the Obamessiah is with a teleprompter (and as gawd-awful as he is without one), Fred is the best man on the hustings when he gets wound up. Smart, honest, sincere and just that damn good.
And I heart Sarah Palin so hard.