31 July 2008

Neighborly Neighbor Update

It appears that he is fine... but that his Saab has gone to that Great Car Park In The Sky.

For those who don't know, he was in a collision yesterday. The car in front of him was slowing down to turn, he slowed down, but the car behind him ... didn't. The driver of the car behind admitted to not paying attention, and there was no doubt as to the fault in the accident.

Neighbor went to the hospital and was checked out fully, and sent home. He's pretty much okay, just some soreness (as is normal after any accident), especially in his right leg, which was tensed on the brake pedal and therefore absorbed a good deal of the shock. His insurance is providing a rental car.

So, except for the loss of the Saab (which was a very nice car, btw)... all is good.

Thanks to everyone for your expressed concern!!

Thursday Pythonica... With Bonus Infernal Bagpipes!

Please to be noting the name of the first victim.

(also, I'm saving parts II and III for later)

30 July 2008

Pheaux Phyre Phorum: The My Neighbor Was In A Car Wreck, So I've Been Busy Edition



Breaking News: Republican Operatives Are Made of Fail

The RNC attempted to set up a FaceBook parody site, called BarackBook, with predictable results. From the NYTimes article:

Republicans were forced to strip the comment wall and discussion board from the page attached to its new Facebook parody, BarackBook.com, which just went online early this morning, because of comment posts that were racist and anti-Muslim … and some that were anti-Republican too.

What. A. Shock. Racist and anti-Muslim comments on a Republican website!?!? Next thing you know, we'll find out that water is wet and fire is hot!!!

Typical comments on the NYT article - from both sides of the aisle - but then I saw this one:
July 29th,
8:31 pm

As a non-US citizen I see this stuff and question the right of America to claim moral leadership in the world. My American friends ask “why are foreigners so interested in Obama and the election… they don’t get to vote and it’s none of their business!” The answer is simple, the greed and consumption of America is a global problem. It is American greed that has caused many global recessions whether its S&L, junk bonds, dot-com, or the recent sub-prime event. It is obvious that unregulated greed hurts not only Americans, but people in other countries. Jefferson was always decrying the greed of the “stockjobbers” in NY. Think America! It’s not all about you - your actions and Presidential choices have global consequences beyond your parochial national view. Choose well.

— Posted by Citizen of the World

Spot. Fuckin'. On.

(h/t to Petulant, via Shakesville)

29 July 2008

Revenge of the Nerds, Part ie

NerdTests.com says I'm a Slightly Dorky Nerd God.  What are you?  Click here!

(h/t to BlueGal)

Image of the Day

(Thanks Jen, for forwarding it)

28 July 2008

Creative Writing - the Request Post, Part IX


It's Monday, so you must - must, I say* - leave me a snippet to weave into a story that I shall write on Sunday. Previous installments are linked in the sidebar. Give me something like...

The virus had appeared out of nowhere, and so they found themselves cut off.

*participation is totally voluntary, offer void in Puerto Rico and The Cayman Islands, not affiliated with the McCain2008 campaign.

27 July 2008

The Wayback Machine

It's not often that I can remember what I was doing at an exact moment in time in the past, but some moments? Yep.

F'r instance, a year ago tonight, I was doing this.

Hard to believe that just one year ago, Jen was "only" a name and a gravatar. I'm glad that's not the case any more. Very glad.

Sunday Fiction - Part VIII

Previous chapters in the sidebar ---->

It was anything but a quiet week in the city in the mountains, what with the 30th Annual Bele Chere Festival going on, so I had taken myself out of town, and up into the hills in search of a quiet campsite where I could pitch my tent and just relax.

I had sent the package to Arianne's sister, hoping that - even if she wouldn't talk to me, and tell me where Arianne was - she would still forward it. But I had no way of knowing. And no way of knowing what Arianne's reaction would be. So I hoped that spending a few days away from everything, and communing with Nature, would help me get my mind settled so I could get back to working on some cases and making some money.

I got a friend to drop me off at my favorite trailhead, agreed on a time to meet him to take me back to town, shouldered my pack and headed into the woods. I had a spot in mind along the creek where an old rail line had once been laid for logging, so it was flat and well above the water - in case of a sudden storm - and I knew it would take me about two hours of hiking to get there.

As I moved along the trail, I could feel the concerns of my life slipping away. The sounds and scents of Nature gently pushed away thoughts of bills, and rent ... and Arianne. About 3/4 of a mile in, the trail began to parallel Lynne's Creek, and the sound of the water rushing over the rocks as it headed down the mountain caused the last vestiges of concern to drop away.

"I should do this more often," I said to myself as I followed upstream, toward the first of three waterfalls I knew lay between here and my destination. As I got closer to the waterfall, I could hear the crash of the water as it cascaded down the face of the falls. But there was another, clashing sound that was beginning to tug at me. I slowed my stride as I tried to figure out this dissonance, but was totally unprepared for the realization that was about to come.

As I made my way around the last bend of the trail below the falls, I realized that I was hearing music... a marching band. What The Poop?, I thought as I walked into the small glade around the pool at the bottom of the falls. There, spread out all around the pool, was the Saint Francis School for Girls Marching Band, playing John Philip Sousa music and having a picnic.

The music ground to a halt as the girls noticed that I had entered the glade. I stood there with a dumbstruck look on my face, wondering how - and why - an entire marching band had come all the way out here into the forest to have lunch and rehearse. It certainly wasn't because they weren't good. They sounded quite good, not to mention looking very fetching in their blue and white uniforms.

It was then that I noticed that not all the girls had been busy playing music. There were several of them in the pool, staring at me with only their heads above the water, and I noticed piles of clothes on the bank nearby.

I looked around nervously, trying to figure the quickest way through the group and on up the trail, as one of the girls in the water moved towards me. "Hey, mister, would you care to join us? We've got lots of food, and the water is fine!" she said as she reached the bank and pulled herself out of the water. Her shoulders were scorched, and no one seemed to care.

I turned away quickly and busied myself looking at the trees up on the hillside as the girl laughed and put on her uniform. More laughter rippled through the group as they noticed that my face was red. I heard a sigh behind me, as the girl said "Sometimes the only way to get these things started is to grease them up a bit. My name is Mary Catherine, and I'm the drum major. Won't you please join us? Dean Michaels would never forgive us if we weren't hospitable."

As several of the girls around me offered food, Mary Catherine jumped up on a rock and motioned for the band to begin playing again - a jaunty tune that sounded somewhat familiar. I accepted some fruit and cheeses as I listened and enjoyed. Although the cheese was moldy, the glockenspiel stayed in tune, and I began to really enjoy myself. One of the girls helped me off with my pack, and I sat down to eat.

The band members were taking turns swimming, never enough at one time to detract from the music, although there were moments of discord in the brass section. The trumpets and trombones were doing all right, but the Sousaphone, again, was uncooperative. Despite this minor fracas, I was feeling extremely giddy, and even began to dance around a bit.

I continued eating the moldy cheese until suddenly a moose came crashing out of the woods, while the band was playing a rousing version of Amazing Grace. By this point I was acting as a music stand for Mary Catherine, and as the gangly animal careened through the panicked band - bellowing the whole time - its antlers snagged on a picnic basket and hurled the contents through the air. The condiments in the basket spewed everywhere, including on the me and the sheet music I was holding. Amazing Grace was doused in ketchup, but the moose was loud and clear.

It was then that I slipped on some mayonnaise and hit my head on a rock.

When I came to, the paramedics were loading me onto a stretcher. I had laid in the woods for two days, unconscious, before my friend found me, and the head wound had become infected. The antibiotics cost half again as much as the doctor's appointment. So much for socialized medicine. And there was no sign of a Girl's School Marching Band anywhere.
This is merely a test post.

Trying to figure out how to use Google Docs to publish a post... but it doesn't seem to bring the title with it when it publishes.....

26 July 2008

Friday Saturday Cat Blogging

Puff says, "Ooh! Pick me! Pick meeee!!!!"

Yes, she's asleep... and, since she does this often, I assume she's comfy. Kittehs, ya know.

This post brought to you by the letter K and this post at Shakesville.

I Got A Coupon In The Mail

For one FREE GALLON* of gasoline!!!

*Okay, it's actually 1.296 gallons worth - the price actually dropped this week. It's that immediate result of Dumbya voiding the Executive Order banning offshore drilling. Imagine, if we clearcut ANWR and plant wells every 10', the gas companies might pay us to take their product!!!

25 July 2008

Just What It Says It Is


I was told that a Bold Bob sounded good!!

24 July 2008

Thursday Python Randomity

There was light at the end of the tunnel... then this!

24 July Is a Good Day

I'm feelin' it, are you?

Beethoven's Ode to Joy, as interpreted by....

(h/t to Brian)

23 July 2008

Pheaux Phyre Phorum: TheEdition Edition

Hey all!

I'm prolly not gonna be around much this evening, but y'all go right ahead and hang out!

22 July 2008

Straight Talk Express

Corrected McCain ad:

The original McCain campaign ad is here.

(h/t Crooks & Liars)

Awesomely Awesome!!!

(h/t to Manila Ryce)

On Being Connected...

To Teh InterWebs Tubes, that is.

Those of you who are in contact with me offblog on any kind of a regular basis know that my connection fails quite often, and has been doing so for months. Most of you also know that I am on my neighbor's wifi net. I've mentioned this problem to the neighbors several times, and they have noticed it, but not nearly so often, as they use the internet pretty much only to check email and download a recipe now and then.

Over the last couple of weeks the problem had gotten worse. Before, it mainly happened only when it was raining, but it got to the point where it was happening all the time. But the latest "escalation" meant that the neighbors could no longer receive calls on their phones.

So, Neighbor Prime (the owner of the house) called BellSouth AT&T last Tuesday to come fix. "We'll have someone there Friday," he was told. On Friday, I was asked to keep an eye out, and let the repair dude into the house. "No prob," I said... and waited... and waited.

Anyway, no show on Friday, but they came yesterday evening and found the problem!!! One of the phone jacks was highly corroded, and was causing a short.

Ahhh, Teh InterWebs Tubes are channeling information fast as bunnies now! I'm so happy! So, who wants to chat?

21 July 2008

Creative Writing - the Request Post, Part VIII

It's Monday, pholks, and that means it's time to gimme some snippets to weave into a story come Sunday!

Something like:

Although the cheese was moldy, the glockenspiel stayed in tune.

20 July 2008

Sunday Fiction - Part VII

Previous installments available in sidebar --->

It had been a rough month for Bill.

The fight with Teresa that led to him agreeing to go to Vegas with Jerry, the disastrous experiment with peyote in the desert, getting kicked out of the casino at the Bellagio for card counting, the escape from the Luxor, and finally being snatched by the two goons and staked out naked in the desert.

But, just in the nick of time, Teresa had shown up and saved him - and Jerry - from boiling and/or desiccating to death in the hot desert sun. They put Jerry on a bus headed back home, and Teresa set out to make it up to Bill, spending lavishly from the earnings of her book tour.

She seemed willing to do whatever he asked of her, and even offered things he'd never felt comfortable asking for. Their days were full of travel from city to city and book signings - as her novel had made it to the top ten on the New York Times bestseller list - and their nights were filled with an animal passion unlike anything either had experienced before. They simply couldn't get enough of each other... and neither one was complaining in the least.

Another benefit of their new situation was that Teresa's creative juices were flowing at above flood stage, sweeping Bill along as well. They began collaborating on a new book and the pages flew by. Even with her 100+ words per minute typing she could hardly keep up with the story they were weaving together.

As the hectic pace of the book tour began to slow, Teresa decided that they should be seeing more of the country than what passed by outside the airliner windows as they flew from city to city, so she suggested they lease an RV and spend some time traveling. Bill had fond memories of camping as a child, so he had no objections.

They planned their itinerary around Teresa's speaking engagements, visiting national parks and historic sites in and around the cities where Teresa's agent sent them. From the Great Smokies to Denali, they drove and wrote and ... played ... across the continent until, one evening at a campground in the Grant Tetons, punch drunk on fumes and horny as all get out, Bill looked at Teresa playfully and said, "Where did I put that spatula?" as they returned to the camper from a presentation on animal wildlife in the park at the small amphitheater.

"Spatula?" Teresa giggled as she climbed the steps into the RV. "Is that what's protruding from your elephant's poopchute?" She pointed at the giant stuffed GOP icon that they had stolen from the Republican Convention a week earlier - and had since been using as the butt of a series of visual jokes that they would email to all their friends - that was strapped to the ceiling above the foldout couch.

"No, that's a ... personal item, as you well know," Bill growled at her as he reached out to tickle her, but she sidestepped him and ran for the bedroom at the back of the RV, dropping articles of clothing as she went.

Arianne paused in her writing and thought of Guy, who was probably sitting in his office... and most likely, if the information she had gotten was correct, thinking about her. She sighed and, not for the first time, regretted her hasty decision to sell the bakery and leave the city in the mountains. But what was done was done, and couldn't be undone.

"Ellen, honey, you've got a package down here," Geneva called up the stairs. Arianne had given the false name back when she didn't want to be found, and now couldn't bear the thought of confessing her deception to the sweet lady who had become more like a mother than a landlady to her.

"I'll be right down," she called out as she clicked on save and then reached for her silk robe. The favored gift from Guy was the only concession to decency that she could muster, as the heat of the non air-conditioned apartment was nearly unbearable - but she couldn't very well go downstairs in only her skivvies.

"Here, sweetie, have a glass of iced tea," Geneva said as Arianne walked into the kitchen. "The package is on the table."

Arianne took the offered glass gratefully and sat at the table. She sipped at the refreshing drink for a moment and then set it down and picked up the medium sized box. It was forwarded from her sister (who knew about the false name - and why she was using it), but the original return address was still visible:

G. Noir
1242-A Acme Building

A thrill passed through her body as she set the box back down. She forced herself to engage in some small talk with Geneva, who was always interested in her writing.

"Are you having any luck getting the story back on track?" Geneva finally asked, after talking about the flower garden they had been working on the evening before.

"No, not really. My organizational skills are such right now that I can't seem to find my ass with both hands!" Arianne replied as she finished her glass of tea.

Geneva smiled and said, "Well, maybe whatever's in that box will help you out."

"I hope so," Arianne said, then excused herself and took the box back upstairs which, no doubt, disappointed Geneva, but not knowing what was in the box, Arianne didn't dare open it in front of the older woman.

As soon as she shut the door to her room, she ripped the wrapping off the box and opened it. Her excitement mounting, she flung scraps of newspaper out of the box as if her very life depended on it.

Finally, she got through all the packing material and saw what lay in bottom of the box. And then the emotional damn burst. First it was a spork. Then the knife ran off with the spoon. When would the abandonment end? What did she do to deserve this kind of cutlery treatment?

As she sat there on the bed, crying and cradling the calfskin wrapped, long handled spatula, she couldn't quite put her finger on it, but she knew he was trying to tell her something. She did know, without a doubt, that she had to get in touch with Guy. Some things were just too incredible for coincidence.

19 July 2008

Uh. Muh. Guh.

I come across The Really QUICK Reassuringly EASY Test, right? Go ahead and click to take the test if you want, but there's really no reason to. It has questions like:

so it's like ... the Stupid Answers category on Jeopardy!, only even easier.

I go through the ten questions and get my result (I'm a "Freakin' Genius!" - duh), and then I notice, over to the right....

27% of people who took a test that asked questions like "What shape is the penny? Round or Square?" missed at least one question.


But It Would Be Good For Me, I'm Sure

Found over at SAP's place, A walkability score for any address. Not surprisingly, it tells me I need transportation.

So, any of you who wish to stop by, there I am. Being car-dependent.

Also? I was asked to "Hold this.", so I did:

18 July 2008

The "It's 10:15PM and I just realized I haven't posted" Post

So, ummm... oh!

Have you seen/read yesterday's Al Gore speech on energy independence?

If not, go watch and/or read it now.

The man makes a lot of sense.

See ya tomorrow!

17 July 2008

Thursday! Python! Random!

It's a man's life in the British Dental Association!

16 July 2008

Pheaux Phyre Phorum: The Chocolatey Goodness Edition

S'mores, anyone? It's supposed to be a relatively cool night here in Teh Mountainz, NC, so the heat of the Phyre will feel good.

What's on everybody's mind this fine summer night?

This is NOT What I Want to See

Temporary Error (502)

We’re sorry, but your Gmail account is currently experiencing errors. You won’t be able to use your account while these errors last, but don’t worry, your account data and messages are safe. Our engineers are working to resolve this issue.

Please try accessing your account again in a few minutes.

C'mon, Gmail, get your shite together, kay?

15 July 2008

Video For Tuesday

Excellent cover of an excellent song...

Jamie Cullum.

14 July 2008

Creative Writing - the Request Post

It's Monday, pholks, and that means it's time to gimme some snippets to weave into a story come Sunday!

Something like:

Where did I put that spatula?

13 July 2008

Saturday Sunday Fiction

"Why don't those birds ever stop circling!?", Bill said to Jerry. "Jerry? You still with me, man?" Bill craned his neck around as far as the bindings that had him staked to the desert floor allowed, trying to see his friend, who was staked out a couple dozen yards away. "Jerry!"

"Where the hell else would I be," Jerry croaked. "I'm staked to the ground just like you are! Besides, it's better for them to be circling than for them to land - cause then it's lunchtime!!" he finished with a hoarse laugh.

Bill sighed and went back to watching the buzzards circling. The hot sun had long since drawn all the sweat of him, and he could feel the dried, salty remains of the rivulets that hours before had run down the side of his face. And he thought he could feel his skin blistering in ... well, places that didn't normally get much exposure to the sun. He closed his eyes against the brightness of the sun as his mind drifted.

Suddenly, he found himself standing in a grocery store, looking at the peanut butter displays. He reached for a jar and thought, Smooth or creamy? The other shoppers would never comprehend just how much was riding on the decision. Wait. Smooth or creamy? He looked down and realized he was holding a bottle of sunscreen. He looked around as he felt a tap on his shoulder and saw his old college flame, Linda, the redhead that had started his fascination with that hair color.

I hadn't talked to her in so long that I wasn't sure any communication from me would be well received, he thought out loud in a film-noir non sequitur. "Oh, my God, Linda! I haven't seen you in forever!" She was wearing purple lizard shorts and a sequined leotard, and had a marmoset on her shoulder.

He reached out to hug her and she looked at him quizzically, "But Grandpa", she said, "I don't want hair on my chest. I want BOOBS."

Bill shook his head to try and make sense of her statement and found himself back in the desert, naked and staked to the ground, with Linda kneeling beside him, bottle of sunscreen in her hand.

"Step right up, step right up!! Try your skill!!" A voice drew Bill's attention, and he looked over to see Danny DeVito in a Ringmaster outfit, like in the movie Big Fish.

"Hey, Linda," DeVito whispered, "his winkie looks a bit burned. Maybe you should put somea that sunscreen on it."

Linda looked over at the Ringmaster and she couldn't help but be envious of the idea. She opened the bottle and began applying the lotion eagerly and liberally.

"Who will be the first to try their luck," the Ringmaster cried. "Three shots, and you only have to hit once to win!!"

Jerry stood up, his bonds shredding, handed the Ringmaster a dollar, and took the rifle from his hands.

First? How could he be first? And if he was first was it fair to take the first shot at the drunken birds? Bill thought as Linda's ministrations began to both soothe and excite him. While he tried to make sense of these conflicting sensations, Jerry fired the rifle at the circling birds.

Suddenly, a shadow fell on Bill's face, and cool, refreshing water hit him. He blinked the water out of his eyes, looked up, and saw Teresa standing over him.

"Oh, Bill. I'm so sorry. Thank God I found you before it was too late!" She knelt down and began untying the ropes that held Bill spread-eagle on the ground, and then handed him the canteen and moved over to Jerry.....

Links to previous chapters can be found in the sidebar. ---->

12 July 2008

Important News

The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle
That chalice from the palace has the brew that is true.

Don't forget that.

(I think the Saturday Fiction post is going to move permanently to Sunday, btw)

11 July 2008

Happy Me!!!

Guess what happened at 2:08pm on 11 July, 1963 in the small mountain hamlet of Burnsville, NC?

I was born.

Feel free to shower me with gifts.

10 July 2008

You Klingon Bastard, You Killed My Son! Khhhaaaaaaaannnnnnn!!!!!!

Your results:
You are James T. Kirk (Captain)

James T. Kirk (Captain)
Mr. Scott
Geordi LaForge
Will Riker
Deanna Troi
Jean-Luc Picard
Beverly Crusher
Mr. Sulu
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)
Leonard McCoy (Bones)
You are often exaggerated and over-the-top
in your speech and expressions.
You are a romantic at heart and a natural leader.

Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Quiz

(h/t to MathMan)

Breaking News: Congresscritters Are Spineless Toadies Who Kowtow To Their Corporate Masters

Okay, we all knew that, but yesterday's vote on the FISA bill.... /sigh/ I guess that whole Democracy and Freedom thing was a cool idea while it lasted.

And now it's time for....

Pydeo Ranthon (Viday) Thursty Mondom

Say no more.

09 July 2008

Pheaux Phyre Phorum: The What A Beautiful Evening Edition

Howdy, Campers!

Today has been a beautiful day - if you're like me and like being in the clouds. We've had low clouds, which, up here on the mountain means fog most of the afternoon, with periods of rain and thunder off in the distance. Call me weird (please), but I love weather like that. And, I just got back from a walk, and ... well, it's beautiful. I didn't have me camera to hand, and couldn't have matched these pics that my Siamese Cousin The Cunning Runt posted, but the look was similar. As the man says:

Thank You, Mother Earth,
Thank You, Father Sky.

Now. What'ch'all got on yer minds this bee-yoo-ti-ful evening?

Speak up, don't be shy!

Literally Speaking

I swear, you teach them kids to think, and then they go and do it!

The sign on Lot 38 near the University Center reads “This Lot Will Become Faculty/Staff Only On July 7, 2008,” so microbiology senior Parinati Kharel parked there July 8 instead.

She returned from class to find a $20 ticket underneath her windshield wiper.

“It said ‘only on July 7’,” she said.

Bless her literal-minded heart. Read the rest here.

Flip-Flopping Away, Flip-Flopping Away, You Know the Nearer His Destination, The More McCain Flip-flops Away

Steve Benen at The Carpetbagger Report has categorized Teh MaverickTM's multiple positions (eeew, I need brain bleach for thinking of McCain in any positions.... ick).

National Security Policy

1. McCain thought Bush’s warrantless-wiretap program circumvented the law; now he believes the opposite.

2. McCain insisted that everyone, even “terrible killers,” “the worst kind of scum of humanity,” and detainees at Guantanamo Bay, “deserve to have some adjudication of their cases,” even if that means “releasing some of them.” McCain now believes the opposite.

3. He opposed indefinite detention of terrorist suspects. When the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion, he called it “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”

4. In February 2008, McCain reversed course on prohibiting waterboarding.

5. McCain was for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay before he was against it.

6. When Barack Obama talked about going after terrorists in Pakistani mountains with predators, McCain criticized him for it. He’s since come to the opposite conclusion.

Foreign Policy

7. McCain was for kicking Russia out of the G8 before he was against it.

8. McCain supported moving “towards normalization of relations” with Cuba. Now he believes the opposite.

9. McCain believed the U.S. should engage in diplomacy with Hamas. Now he believes the opposite.

10. McCain believed the U.S. should engage in diplomacy with Syria. Now he believes the opposite.

11. McCain is both for and against a “rogue state rollback” as a focus of his foreign policy vision.

12. McCain used to champion the Law of the Sea convention, even volunteering to testify on the treaty’s behalf before a Senate committee. Now he opposes it.

13. McCain was against divestment from South Africa before he was for it.

Military Policy

14. McCain recently claimed that he was the “greatest critic” of Rumsfeld’s failed Iraq policy. In December 2003, McCain praised the same strategy as “a mission accomplished.” In March 2004, he said, “I’m confident we’re on the right course.” In December 2005, he said, “Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course.”

15. McCain has changed his mind about a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq on multiple occasions, concluding, on multiple occasions, that a Korea-like presence is both a good and a bad idea.

16. McCain said before the war in Iraq, “We will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” Four years later, McCain said he knew all along that the war in Iraq war was “probably going to be long and hard and tough.”

17. McCain has repeatedly said it’s a dangerous mistake to tell the “enemy” when U.S. troops would be out of Iraq. In May, McCain announced that most American troops would be home from Iraq by 2013.

18. McCain was against expanding the GI Bill before he was for it.

Domestic Policy

19. McCain defended “privatizing” Social Security. Now he says he’s against privatization (though he actually still supports it.)

20. McCain wanted to change the Republican Party platform to protect abortion rights in cases of rape and incest. Now he doesn’t.

21. McCain supported storing spent nuclear fuel at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Now he believes the opposite.

22. He argued the NRA should not have a role in the Republican Party’s policy making. Now he believes the opposite.

23. In 1998, he championed raising cigarette taxes to fund programs to cut underage smoking, insisting that it would prevent illnesses and provide resources for public health programs. Now, McCain opposes a $0.61-per-pack tax increase, won’t commit to supporting a regulation bill he’s co-sponsoring, and has hired Philip Morris’ former lobbyist as his senior campaign adviser.

24. McCain is both for and against earmarks for Arizona.

25. McCain’s first mortgage plan was premised on the notion that homeowners facing foreclosure shouldn’t be “rewarded” for acting “irresponsibly.” His second mortgage plan took largely the opposite position.

26. McCain went from saying gay marriage should be allowed, to saying gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed.

27. McCain opposed a holiday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., before he supported it.

28. McCain was anti-ethanol. Now he’s pro-ethanol.

29. McCain was both for and against state promotion of the Confederate flag.

30. In 2005, McCain endorsed intelligent design creationism, a year later he said the opposite, and a few months after that, he was both for and against creationism at the same time.

Economic Policy

31. McCain was against Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy before he was for them.

32. John McCain initially argued that economics is not an area of expertise for him, saying, “I’m going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues; I still need to be educated,” and “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.” He now falsely denies ever having made these remarks and insists that he has a “very strong” understanding of economics.

33. McCain vowed, if elected, to balance the federal budget by the end of his first term. Soon after, he decided he would no longer even try to reach that goal. And soon after that, McCain abandoned his second position and went back to his first.

34. McCain said in 2005 that he opposed the tax cuts because they were “too tilted to the wealthy.” By 2007, he denied ever having said this, and falsely argued that he opposed the cuts because of increased government spending.

35. McCain thought the estate tax was perfectly fair. Now he believes the opposite.

36. McCain pledged in February 2008 that he would not, under any circumstances, raise taxes. Specifically, McCain was asked if he is a “‘read my lips’ candidate, no new taxes, no matter what?” referring to George H.W. Bush’s 1988 pledge. “No new taxes,” McCain responded. Two weeks later, McCain said, “I’m not making a ‘read my lips’ statement, in that I will not raise taxes.”

37. McCain has changed his entire economic worldview on multiple occasions.

38. McCain believes Americans are both better and worse off economically than they were before Bush took office.

Energy Policy

39. McCain supported the moratorium on coastal drilling ; now he’s against it.

40. McCain recently announced his strong opposition to a windfall-tax on oil company profits. Three weeks earlier, he was perfectly comfortable with the idea.

41. McCain endorsed a cap-and-trade policy with a mandatory emissions cap. In mid-June, McCain announced he wants the caps to voluntary.

42. McCain explained his belief that a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax would provide an immediate economic stimulus. Shortly thereafter, he argued the exact opposite.

43. McCain supported the Lieberman/Warner legislation to combat global warming. Now he doesn’t.

Immigration Policy

44. McCain was a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to illegal immigrants’ kids who graduate from high school. Now he’s against it.

45. On immigration policy in general, McCain announced in February 2008 that he would vote against his own bill.

46. In April, McCain promised voters that he would secure the borders “before proceeding to other reform measures.” Two months later, he abandoned his public pledge, pretended that he’d never made the promise in the first place, and vowed that a comprehensive immigration reform policy has always been, and would always be, his “top priority.”

Judicial Policy and the Rule of Law

47. McCain said he would “not impose a litmus test on any nominee.” He used to promise the opposite.

48. McCain believes the telecoms should be forced to explain their role in the administration’s warrantless surveillance program as a condition for retroactive immunity. He used to believe the opposite.

49. McCain went from saying he would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade to saying the exact opposite.

Campaign, Ethics, and Lobbying Reform

50. McCain supported his own lobbying-reform legislation from 1997. Now he doesn’t.

51. In 2006, McCain sponsored legislation to require grassroots lobbying coalitions to reveal their financial donors. In 2007, after receiving “feedback” on the proposal, McCain told far-right activist groups that he opposes his own measure.

52. McCain supported a campaign-finance bill, which bore his name, on strengthening the public-financing system. In June 2007, he abandoned his own legislation.

Politics and Associations

53. McCain wanted political support from radical televangelist John Hagee. Now he doesn’t. (He also believes his endorsement from Hagee was both a good and bad idea.)

54. McCain wanted political support from radical televangelist Rod Parsley. Now he doesn’t.

55. McCain says he considered and did not consider joining John Kerry’s Democratic ticket in 2004.

56. McCain is both for and against attacking Barack Obama over his former pastor at his former church.

57. McCain criticized TV preacher Jerry Falwell as “an agent of intolerance” in 2002, but then decided to cozy up to the man who said Americans “deserved” the 9/11 attacks.

58. In 2000, McCain accused Texas businessmen Sam and Charles Wyly of being corrupt, spending “dirty money” to help finance Bush’s presidential campaign. McCain not only filed a complaint against the Wylys for allegedly violating campaign finance law, he also lashed out at them publicly. In April, McCain reached out to the Wylys for support.

59. McCain was against presidential candidates campaigning at Bob Jones University before he was for it.

60. McCain decided in 2000 that he didn’t want anything to do with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, believing he “would taint the image of the ‘Straight Talk Express.’” Kissinger is now the Honorary Co-Chair for his presidential campaign in New York.

61. McCain believed powerful right-wing activist/lobbyist Grover Norquist was “corrupt, a shill for dictators, and (with just a dose of sarcasm) Jack Abramoff’s gay lover.” McCain now considers Norquist a key political ally.

With the above interminable list, McCain and his spokespersons still have the gall to say that Barack Obama is willing to say and do anything to be elected. And the MSM nods and wipes their chins after servicing them.

Wasn't there something in the ....ummm, what was that old paper called? Wait, I think I can remember..... oh, right the Constitution! Something about a free press?

(h/t to Mustang Bobby)

08 July 2008

Kitteh Oddity

(not a new photo)

That's Callie, the younger of muh two kittehs.

She's weird.

I feed teh kittehs in a large dish (actually the lid of a store-bought pie), that holds about four and a half days worth o' food. I generally keep it about half full, at least. This has worked just fine for years. Recently, though, Callie discovered that the big bag next to the dish has lots and lots and lots of food in it.

She now uses her paws and teeth to unroll the top of the bag, and climbs in to get her food.

I guess that she feels like a hunter, catching her own food, rather than a mooch who is totally dependent on me for sustenance.

As I said, weird.

07 July 2008

Creative Writing - the Request Post

It's Monday, pholks, and that means it's time to gimme some snippets to weave into a story come Saturday (or so)!!!

Something like:

Why don't those birds ever stop circling!?

One request, please. When you leave a comment, do so before reading the previous comments.

06 July 2008

Saturday Fiction: Special Sunday Edition

Previous "Chapters" can be found in the sidebar ---->

It was a humid night in the city in the mountains, but the afternoon thunderstorms dropped the temperature enough to make the humidity bearable. The waxing moon was just visible above the ridge on the east side of town as I walked over to the Five Spot for a drink.

"Hey, Guy," Jimmy said as I entered the bar and took my usual seat. "What can I get you this evening?"

"I think I'd like something different, Jimmy. How 'bout something chocolate? Maybe with a little Bailey's?"

"I got a new bottle of Godiva's just today. One Irish Lady coming right up, Guy," he answered and turned to his work.

"Excuse me, are you Guy Noir?" a soft voice behind me asked. I turned and saw her. The bar lights showed the highlights in her dark brown hair to perfection. She was wearing a short sleeve shirt so tight that it could stop traffic, and jeans that fit like a glove.

"Why, yes. Yes I am," I stammered. "May I help you with something? Buy you a drink?"

Another voice drew my attention "Ah, I see you found him." It was Dirk Easley, one of my fellow private eyes. We had worked together on a couple of cases, but his style was very different from mine. While I was a details man, Dirk tended to look at the whole picture.

He stepped up beside the woman and said, "Noir, this is Black. Black, Noir. You know what to do."

"Oh, forgive me for not introducing myself, Mr. Noir. I'm Emma Black." She paused as Jimmy set my drink in front of me, then said, "That looks good. May I have the same?"

"Put it on my tab, Jimmy," I said to the bartender. "And, please, call me Guy."

"I always call you Guy, Guy," Jimmy replied.

"I was talking to the lady, Jimmy."

"Oh. Right," he said, then went to fix another drink.

I looked into the brilliant green eyes of the woman and asked, "So, how may I help you, Miss Black?"

She flashed a brilliant smile and replied, "Call me Emma. My cousin, Eloise, told me that you might be able to help me. You helped her out a while back, remember?"

"Oh, yes. How is her research going, now that the simulacrum has been dealt with?"

"She says it's going well, and asked me to express her thanks to you." She took a deep breath and continued, "I have a similarly ... odd problem. I'm an Antarctic Ornithologist - I study petrels, skua and penguins in particular. Mmm, this drink is fantastic," she said to Jimmy, who blushed at the compliment - but then, Jimmy was famous for blushing when a pretty woman so much as walked by. Jimmy was ... inexperienced.

"Guy? ... Mr. Noir?" Emma's voice brought me out of my reverie.

"Yes, yes. Antarctic ornithology. Sounds fascinating. So what's... what's the problem?"

"I'd, ummm, rather not talk about it here. Could you come by my place tomorrow?" she asked, handing me her card.

"Sure thing. Around 10 okay?"

"Yes. Thank you, Guy. I'll see you in the morning." She finished her drink, smiled at Jimmy - which set him to blushing all over again - and left.

The next morning, I caught a cab to her address, and knocked on her door promptly at 10. She invited me in, and led me to her home office. As I looked around the office - typically, for a scientist, it was cluttered floor to ceiling - I noticed that Emma looked harried. She was dressed in sweatpants and a black ribbed tank top and, after gesturing me to a chair, sat slumped behind her desk.

As she sat there staring at nothing, I couldn't help but believe that she was thinking that, surrounded by piles of files and papers at work, surrounded by piles of dishes, laundry and bills at home, she began to wonder if she exerted some strange gravitational pull on paper and filth. It was just that kind of look she had on her face.

I waited patiently, since I had nothing else to do anyway, and she finally sighed and looked over at me. She smiled briefly and said, "I'm sorry, Guy. I was trying to figure the best way to explain what's going on.

"As I told you last night, I'm an Antarctic ornithologist. As such, I spend a lot of time in the field down at the bottom of the world. And, as you might imagine, there aren't a lot of people who specialize in my field. So, I spend most of my field time either alone, or with one or two graduate research assistants.

"On my most recent trip down there, I set up camp near a colony of Macaroni Penguins, to study mating habits. I was there alone for the first five weeks - my one assistant for the season would arrive then." She stood, and began moving around the room while she talked, straightening piles of books and papers, and moving things from one place to another, seemingly at random.

"The first few days, I was busy setting up camp and acclimating the colony to my presence. Then it was time to get down to serious business. I easily determined the leader of the colony, and concentrated on him.

"And... he seemed to be taking as much interest in me as I was in him. That was when..." she paused for a long time, then took a deep breath and said "that was when he started talking to me - and asking questions."

My only outward expression was to raise an eyebrow, but she obviously (and reasonably) knew that I was quite surprised - and a bit unnerved - by this statement, and she continued quickly. "Before you get up and walk out, please watch this." She pressed play on the DVD player sitting on a TV in the corner, and, for the next ten minutes I stared raptly at the screen as she and a penguin had a long conversation.

When the DVD stopped, she continued with her story. "As you can see, he was quite interested in human civilization, and what we're doing to the planet. I wondered if maybe I was going crazy, and waited anxiously for my assistant to arrive. In the meantime, though, I began - at his request - teaching him to read. There was a rock outcropping nearby, and I used the natural slate as a chalk board for our lessons."

She sat back down at her desk and said, "By the time Sherri arrived, Clarence - I couldn't pronounce his real name, but that's a close approximation - was reading on a high school level. I couldn't believe how smart he was and couldn't wait to see the look on Sherri's face when I showed her."

I leaned forward and said softly, "Let me guess. When your assistant arrived, he stopped talking?"

Emma hung her head and replied, "Yes. He continued to hang around the camp, and when Sherri was otherwise engaged he would whisper questions to me, but if she was in earshot... silence."

"Well, I'm not sure how I can help you."

She turned the gaze of those green eyes on me and said, "I want you to go down there with me. I ... don't know what good it will do, but you were so helpful to Eloise - not to mention not saying anything to anyone else about ... what happened in her lab - that I'm just sure you'll be able to help me!"

As I stared into the verdant depths of her eyes, I realized It was time. Time to escape the boredom, the mundane, the beloved and redundant familiar. I could use some time away from everything, and you can't really do that better than being in Antarctica.

"Okay, I'll do it."

A week later, the military helicopter landed gently near the large outcropping that Emma had told me about. The loadmaster helped us with our equipment and supplies, and then the chopper lifted off, leaving us on our own.

As soon as the aircraft disappeared in the distance, Clarence came over and started following Emma around as we set up camp - glancing often at me, and making no noise whatsoever. And so it went for the next five days. I was reassured to find out that she hadn't faked the video, because, just like the previous time, when it was just Emma and Clarence, he would talk to her, and she would record the conversations. It was only when I was around that he was silent.

Until, as I said, the sixth day.

I woke to the sounds of an argument. I couldn't make out all the words, but it was evident that Clarence wanted Emma to do something she didn't want to do. I lay in my tent, listening quietly, and when the voices stopped, I raised up to look out the flap.

Clarence was waddling back toward the colony, and Emma was stamping toward her tent.
I pulled on my boots, and clambered out of the tent, as she got to hers.

"Did you hear?"

"Sort of. I couldn't understand most of it, but I certainly got the ... intent."

"He... wants me to... join him. Join with him, I mean. I think... I don't know what to think." She pulled her pack out of her tent and got the bottles of Bailey's and Godiva Chocolate Liqueur that we had brought with us, along with some powdered milk.

I thought better of mentioning that it was a bit early in the day to be drinking, as Emma was clearly upset by this new turn of events.

I sat next to Emma as she downed several stiff drinks and talked herself into humoring Clarence, knowing that it wouldn't really mean anything if she did go through with the ritual. But she would have one requirement of her own - that I be allowed to attend and film the encounter.

She went off to tell him her decision and requirements, and returned with several fish. "Clarence says that it's part of the ritual. I'm to eat all of these before he comes to take me to the actual ceremony."

She lit the cookstove while I cleaned the fish, and then gave them to her to cook. She sat down to eat them, and was almost done when she turned pale. The chocolate and halibut suddenly disagreed in her stomach and she ran for the outhouse.

After several trips to the outhouse, she seemed better, and just in time, too, as Clarence and several other penguins were approaching across the snowfield. The attendant penguins each had a large fish grasped tightly in its beak and, when the entourage reached us, laid the fish at Emma's feet.

"Since you are not comfortable with eating the sacramental fish raw, your attendant will be allowed to cook it," Clarence said.

I scooped up the fish, quickly cleaned it, and put it in the skillet with the leftover halibut. When it was done, I dumped all the food onto a plate and returned to the waiting group. The attendant penguins began a muffled, braying chant as they led the party over to the edge of the open water.

Waiting there was the rest of the colony, including an ancient one that I immediately identified as a priest or shaman penguin. I set up the digital recorder on a tripod, as I was now part of the 'wedding party', and the ceremony began. When the shaman gestured to me, I held out the plate for Emma to take some of the cooked fish. I could tell that she was having a hard time not giggling, as she was still a bit drunk from the Irish Ladies, but she was able to maintain her composure as the ceremony reached what I assumed was its conclusion.

What happened next, neither of us expected.

A shimmering began, and quickly enveloped Emma's body. It grew in intensity until I was nearly blinded, but I realized that her body was changing shape. Emma looked over at me, horror in her eyes, because suddenly she realized that she had ingested the wrong fish. It was the sacrament of the herring, not the sacrament of the halibut, and obviously the Great Penguin was having His revenge upon her. She resolved to do double penance at the local Ice Cathedral at the next Celebration of the March of the Penguins.

When the light faded, Emma was no longer human, but a Macaroni Penguin. Clarence waddled over to me and said, "We shall be stronger and more complete with her joining to our society. Do not worry, as she is happy now." And with that, they all - including penguin-Emma - slipped into the water and swam away.

I walked over to the camera, popped out the memory card, and threw it into the ocean. Then I walked back to the camp, sent out an emergency call to McMurdo base, and waited for the rescue helicopter to come.....

When I arrived at the temporary camp, I attempted to question Mr. Noir to find out what had happened. Subject was completely unresponsive. As he started at the blank slate he realized he had nothing to say.

Special thanks to my editor. I couldn't have done it without her.

05 July 2008

Writer's Strike

No, I'm not talking about the SAG strike that may or may not have happened (I really pay no attention to these things).

I'm on strike today, so the Saturday Fiction will be posted tomorrow.

Nothing's wrong, just not feeling the writing groove today.

So, come back tomorrow, I'll do me best to make the wait worthwhile.

04 July 2008

Are You Wearing A Flag Pin Today?

I was gonna repost last year's 4th of July post, with the clips from 1776, but they've been yanked from Teh YouTube... cause Murrika is all about protecting those corporate profits, doncha know.

So, here's some Simon & Garfunkle - "America"

May we find it again!

UPDATE: Please read this post over at Bark Bark Woof Woof. Well said, Mustang Bobby, well said. Also, this post at The Quaker Agitator.

03 July 2008

Pythy Monton Thursdom Randay - Art Edition

Today Is Somebody's Birthday

Hmmm. Who could it be?

Oh, right!

It's Jen's birthday!

Happy birthday, Jen!! I hope it's a great day!!!

Stop by her place and add your wishes. Now! ;)

02 July 2008

Pheaux Phyre Phorum: The Birth Month Edition

Yes, folks, that's right! My birthday is coming up soon. But it's not just me who's having a birthday this month, oh, no! Two of my four siblings are also July babies. Plus, quite a few of my friends were also born in the month of July... one in particular - well, I'll leave that up to the friend to say.

So, what have ye to say to all us wonderful Cancerians (and Leonine ones for the last weekish of the month)?

Also, if you haven't yet, scroll down to this weeks Creative Writing Request Post and leave me a line!

01 July 2008

*Sigh* Apparently I'm All About The Protocol

Which Star Wars Character Are You?

You are C-3PO. You are dedicated to others and will do anything for them- even if you don't think they have the best plan. You contain a wealth of information and have a very serious nature. You would jump in front of a speeding truck if it meant protecting someone you cared about from harm. You can take the world a bit too literally, and should probably loosen up just a little! You are a great friend and people know that they can always trust you.

Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com

(h/t to SamuraiFrog)