August 31, 2003
Yeah, I spent some time on the site finally. I'm probably not done - think the angelweave graphic is just a bit too big, and perhaps the color scheme can be further enhanced. I'm not so good with graphics, so you see the extent of my ability there.
Any suggestions? Please drop me a line.
The Meatriarchy lives up to its name!
This is a lengthy post about Toronto-area (and other) Ribfests. I was hungry when I was done reading.
So Where's the Line?
So Where's the Line?
I think this is a common difficult concept to grasp for everyone on just about every issue. I also think that Eugene Volokh does a nice job of actually examining the spectrum in regard to the Najaf bombing.
The Lemon - August 20, 2003
I found this linked on One Little Victory, and though it took forever to load on my poor dial-up connection, it was well worth the wait.
The Lifecycle of a News Story
As seen on Little Miss Atilla - What herb are you?
YOU ARE MANDRAKE
What herb are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Hmmph. No wonder I'm so unloved ;)
August 29, 2003
Cheese is Addictive!
Scoff! Who knew?
Yeah, another food post. We Americans like our cheese. Even I sprinkle some on my salads so that I can claim I eat a bit o' dairy.
But, please. Cheese. Opiates? Uh, no. I've eaten cheese, and I've had morphine. Never the twain shall meet.
Someone smack this goon doctor, Dr. Neal Barnard. He's obviously a "people are sheep"er just like me. Where we diverage? I say, let 'em be sheep. Or deer in headlights. Their choice. Dr. Barnard's with Physicians (sic) Committee for Responsible Medicine. Read a couple of paragraphs, and whom does this organization remind you of?
Yeah, I had to jump on the bandwagon. Why on earth would I use boxing gloves instead of brass knuckles, though. Ponder!
Found...everywhere. I think I saw it on A Small Victory first, though (or possibly Absinthe and Cookies.
My favorite random generator? The Shakespearean insults generator!
And it's hosted by Pangloss, which will be the name of my next cat. I'll give him the proper "Dr. Pangloss" name, though.
This is just...great.
SULTAN, Wash. (AP) - Days after 10,000 mink were released from a farm in
southern Snohomish County, hundreds of the animals not yet captured have
converged on local farms in search of food.
The animals had killed at least 25 exotic birds and attacked other livestock in the area.
"Over half our livestock was shredded. Murdered. Eaten alive," said Jeff Weaver, who discovered the dead birds on his farm Thursday. "These are not like regular farm animals. They're our pets."
Weaver, who breeds Indian Runner ducks and Banny chickens, said his field was full of the animals Thursday morning.
"One of the mink had part of a chicken in its mouth and was headed for the creek," he said. "They're starving. They'll kill anything in their path."
The Animal Liberation Front claims responsibility. Expect more Animal Liberation Front posts. I should give some good air time to the Humane Society and the APA, while I'm at it.
So, let's ask those exotic birds if they feel "liberated." Bet they don't answer. The starving minks (mink?) will probably growl at you, too. And bite.
Updating the Blogroll
I'm adding four today.
August 28, 2003
The PETA Post!
Long have they lain dormant! But, again, today, PETA manages to make the news in the US.
PETA's back, and it's in your face. Well, it is if you're David Novak, CEO of KFC. What follows seems almost like a surreal bad dream, where your friend Tonya takes you to Denny's, but there's no non-smoking section, and they won't serve you pizza in a timely fashion, and you throw a frenzied tantrum rivalling that of a two-year-old child? Oh, that was Tuesday's dream. This is the PETA post, which goes a little something like this (line borrowed from my esteemed spouse.).
PETA Gets Personal in Campaign Against KFC.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is getting
personal in its campaign to
force fast-food chain KFC, a unit of Yum Brands Inc., to raise the living
conditions of the chickens it sells.
PETA, known for its relentless and celebrity-heavy campaigns, has begun sending volunteers to meet with Chief Executive David Novak's neighbors, pastor, country club, even the manager at his local Italian restaurant.
The group sent Steve Gross, a management consultant and conflict resolution expert, to Yum's hometown of Louisville, Kentucky about a week ago to canvas the neighborhoods where Novak and Cheryl Bachelder, KFC's president, live.
"While PETA continues to push for a vegetarian world, most people disagree," said Yum spokesman Jonathan Blum. "We have no comment on PETA's misinformation campaign."
Can you imagine? I mean, ding dong, doorbell. Who's there? Oh, a national obnoxious organization that just wants a few minutes of your time to blackball your neighbor. Lovely. What would I do? Invite them in and offer hamburger, I think.
PETA says it will target Novak, Bachelder and KFC until the fast food chain
from its chicken suppliers.
Former Beatle Paul McCartney (news) ran a full-page ad on behalf of PETA in the Louisville Courier-Journal in July, with an open letter asking Novak to improve conditions for the chickens used at KFC. Rap music producer and nascent political force Russell Simmons, called for a KFC boycott earlier this month, also on behalf of PETA.
Simmons? Hmm. Kinda like me looking for my Instalanche. Hey, world! Notice me! I'll ally myself with something that gets my name in the papers. Cough. [Clears throat].
I know. As a PETA post goes, this one's kinda lame. Just like the group.
August 27, 2003
Carnival of the Vanities #49
I have two posts on Carnival of the Vanities this week, hosted at Creative Slips.
I haven't quite had a chance to read everything yet, but the collection appears quite good. If you're not visiting me from there, please take a look.
But _I_ Wanted to be Poet Laureate of the Alliance
Undaunted, that mad puppy blender
Insisted that fried dogs be tender
"These dogs should be thinner -
fit for my dinner.
"Pathetic!" (he spat at the vendor.)
(a.) What spawned this post b.) What else spawned this post).
August 26, 2003
This post has been in the making for a while now.
First, I'd like to discuss fat, fat, and fat. We've seen different articles floating about the Internet news - this state, that country. Obesity is a visible, high-ranking developed-world problem. That being said, I read this article yesterday.
It has a nice breakdown of the viewponts of personal responsibility versus evil corporations who prey on mindless people. I, of course, agree with "You're fat. Your fault." At the end of this article, there's this quote.
The system is complex and there are many layers of control," she said.
the gun, and the environment pulls the trigger."
I digress before I really get started. Today, I found this.
Faced with an epidemic of expanding waistlines as the Irish enjoy
unprecedented prosperity, Health Minister
Micheal Martin confirmed he was "very tentatively" examining slapping a levy
on high-fat comestibles.
Almonds, pecans, and cashews! Oh My!
Yep - one serving of pecans feeds your body 220 calories and 19.2 grams of fat. Now, granted 60% of the fat is monounsaturated and 30% is polyunsaturated. These little pups might carry some awesome tax, no? But I doubt anyone governmental would think of it, thankfully, being too focused on the Big Macs and little White Castles we humans CHOOSE to consume.
CI - CE
So, fat. Fat makes you fat, right? No. Calories In - Calories Expended. This is either a positive or a negative number. If you want to watch your weight, watch your calories. Monitor your activity. Learn the burn. Obviously, metabolism plays a factor in how many calories a human expends, but exercise and a healthy/balanced diet have a broader, more pronounced effect (on your metabolism, too). More muscle = more metabolism (to feed the muscle).
I'm done with fat now. I'm on to carbs.
With the low-carb diet fervor, I find it amusing that governments and political watchdog agencies are frothing at the mouth about fat. But the most famous of the low-carb diets, the Atkins diet, makes me roll my eyes as quickly as some of the political fat rhetoric.
First, the low-down on Atkins, complete with sources. I'll give the sources, first. These comprise a small collection of differing opinions.
- A personal account of an Atkins dieter
- Phil Kaplan's take - fitness guy
- A skeptical view, similar to my own, with comments by Atkins dieters.
- Another cautious approach
When you consume a healthful and supportive diet complete with proteins,
carbs, and fats, the carbohydrates
are broken down into glucose. Glucose is actually blood sugar. Some of that
glucose is transported
and stored in muscle tissue as "glycogen." This is sort of the fuel in your
fuel tank. That's important
to understand. Glycogen = Fuel.
Glycogen is used to produce energy that fuels muscle contraction. ALL muscle contraction! Don't think of muscle contraction only as exercise. Any movement requires the contraction of muscle, from blinking your eye to rising from bed in the morning. As long as you're consuming carbohydrates you access and burn up stored glycogen, but quickly replace it with new muscle fuel. An understanding of that simple fact -- that carbohydrates are the source of muscle fuel -- should raise an immediate red flag toward anything that suggests seriously limiting carbs for any extended period of time.
Once you understand the basic premise behind muscle glycogen, you should understand that the liver also plays a role in fuel storage. Some of the carbs that you eat ultimately wind up stored as liver glycogen. Think of the liver as sort of a "pump" for blood sugar. The brain burns more calories than any other organ in your body, and guess what it uses as its primary source of fuel. Glucose! Carbohydrates! As brain activity results in the "burning" of blood glucose, the liver accesses its glycogen stores to keep blood glucose in adequate supply. Again, as you expend glycogen, the carbs that you ingest replete your supply.
Atkins also insinuates that you can be "lazy" and still lose weight. But there's that little problem of what is "weight." That's another post for another day.
Oh, but I can eat nuts on the Atkins diet, right, because they're fat.
And now what brought us here today...
So I'm cooking dinner this evening, and I have this really funny thought. I've already alluded to it. Can you imagine the uproar of Atkins ("I'll eat the cheese off the pizza; you eat the crust") dieters if the fat tax goes into place? I mean, yow. Yow yow yow. While many of the targeted "sinful" foods are loaded with both carbs and fat, who knows where the fat tax is going to stop. That one has the potential of being a steep slippery slope. "What, you mean we taxed 'em and they still aren't losing weight? Tax 'em some more! And, this time, include..."
I think we've had enough here. Read your labels. Learn what you can. Exercise as often as possible, and, if you're really serious, keep a food diary. If you suspect that your metabolism is flawed, seek a doctor's advice.
Caution, prudence, sweat, and resistance training. There ain't no easy way.
My blog is unique. I'm being paid (or at least I'd like to be) to tell you this.
1) Who else has random pictures of me gracing a website?
2) My blog lift heavy weights. It doesn't grunt, though.
3) My blog feeds the cats whenever the bowl runs dry.
4) My blog uses words like Boggle. That rhymes with my last name. You don't do that - do you?
5) My blog would like to use this opportunity to act as a public service announcement for the 80's television spots TV Pow and Bowling for Dollars (but not Columbine).
Thank you. That is all.
August 24, 2003
I'm late in posting my Filthy Lie™, but, as it didn't occur until today, how could I have posted it sooner?
I was riding my bicycle along the Annie's Frozen Custard route, when, at about the 25 mile point, this scary, bespectacled man leapt out from behind a road sign, and frightened the group of seven or eight people about a block in front of me. A small boy, probably about ten years old, shrieked and fell off his bike. The offender cackled, seized the boy's small bike, mounted it, and rode furiously away from the scene, cackling loudly and producing noises akin to what one would expect from the Green Goblin. Several people who did not know the boy laughed, for the offender's knees nearly touched his face while he pedaled.
The poor boy, stunned, began to cry.
"How odd!" thought I. The boy's parents dialed their cell phones - searching for any authority who could restore peace and justice to this small Illinois community and the wronged parties riding through it.
At the Custard rest stop about 10 miles later, the fast-pedaling bicycle thief sat licking a small custard cone. I immediately recognized the perpetrator as the one, the only, the Man Formerly Known as the Puppy Blender. Shocked (and appalled), I yelled "Hey! You! Glenn Reynolds! You stole that boy's bike. Return it immediately."
White Glenn sneered and consumed the remainder of his cone with a noisy CHOMP. "I am Instapundit" said he. "I fear no mortal woman." He turned to his filched bike and made preparations to leave.
I shouted more protests (eloquent, of course, though those around us were so engrossed in their custard frenzy they failed to notice either the irate woman or the funny-pedalling rider). "Insignificant!" he shouted. (I believe in retrospect that he meant that as a noun of direct address). "No Boggle for you!"
And that, my friends, is your Filthy Lie™. How rude!
Mileage and Other Weekend Feats
Sorry, no 132 for me like the venerable Phobia. I logged 93 this weekend, but the first 43 (Saturday) were hillier than normal.
On Saturday, I left my home and rode into University City (about 12.5 miles), stopped, snacked, and continued on east to Skinker (the dividing line between St. Louis County and St. Louis City), followed it south for about two miles, and turned to the right (west) onto Clayton Road, which I took for many, many miles into west St. Louis County. Back up north to catch Clarkson/Olive, and then to Olive and Fee Fee, and finally on home (about another 2.5 miles from there). Phew.
Not a bad route - about a mile and a half to two miles on Clarkson is a bit hairy - traffic wanting to merge onto the interstate, but it's otherwise a very pleasant ride. I'm going to try it the opposite direction next week to see if I can avoid most of that ugly traffic.
Sunday - today. Edwardsville ride. Pleasant, not too hot - about 50 miles. Then, because for some insane reason, since that was not enough, my friend Susan and I decided to hit the gym for an hour and a half (yes, really) of heavy upper body weight lifting. I'll be lucky if I can type tomorrow. Yow.
Two weeks. And, remember, if you have $3 spare dollars I'm SERIOUSLY BEGGING for sponsorship for the MS 150. Begging. Pleading. Offering to arm wrestle strangers on dirty street corners. Begging.
August 22, 2003
#)(%&*@#)%()(@% Namespaces So, here's a
So, here's a geek post. I don't do this very often.
I thought I knew XML. I'm a datahead, yeah. With a capital D. But I got thrown for a loop.
I read about namespaces...in many places, no less. I read the W3C stuff. I consulted a Wrox book. I was ready to go. So I constructed my schema, the thought being that I would have a master schema that would define the highest level elements simply and precisely, and secondary files would hold the scullery data elements - those in supporting roles. Okay - simple enough.
The namespaces had other evil ideas.
But, with help of the noble Hans, I have conquered the foe and feel the need to document the correlation between schema documents aligned to do the same thing and how the instance document makes the validation phone call to the proper schema. As far as I can tell, I found NOTHING on the web with the correlation of all of these things in one place. I aim to change that.
Okay - here's the papa schema (papaDog.xsd) - the one that contains the master elements. Copy it into a file of any name to test it. Honor me by keeping the name the same.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<include schemaLocation="http://angelweaving.blogspot.com/schema/babyBearSchema.xsd" />
<element name="topDog" type="example:bigDogExample" />
<element name="blah1" type="example:bigDogElement1" />
<element name="blah2" type="example:bigDogElement2" />
Fairly simple, no? Okay, the secondary schemas should follow this pattern (this one is named babyBearSchema.xsd). Feel free to copy it into a file with that name to test it.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<element name="blech1" type="string" />
<element name="blech2" type="boolean" />
<maxLength value="27" />
Okay - so here are the two schemas. I find this SO non-intuitive as a developer. My simple mind kept trying to put the lower-level schema INTO the upper-level (Papa) schema. You know, like include files. But, no, of course, that's not how it goes. A namespace is like a room. All of my smaller schemas can use the same namespace since, as Hans pointed out, I control them all - so I can stop there from being a naming collision. As you can see, both schema "documents" refer to http://angelweaving.blogspot.com/schema as the reference for the "example" namespace.
Okay, realizing that, you're most of the way there. The next thing to take note of is the xmlns that stands alone. That points to the W3C's schema; this must be in your schema. This is consistent across both documents. The targetNamespace is also http://angelweaving.blogsot.com/schema in my example - both documents.
Last thing to notice: the reference to babyBearSchema.xsd should point to EXACTLY where this schema sits. This is papaDog.xsd that's pointing to it. Without this, no validation for you.
Now, these guys validate. Here's the validator I'm using to validate papaDog.xsd. I have babyBearSchema.xsd sitting in the proper place on my site.
And now, the instance document. Stop, get some popcorn and something to drink.
<?xml version="1.0" ?>
Yeah, they work together quite nicely. Note that the instance document points to the same namespace. The xsi namespace points to the W3C's Schema place. The schemaLocation, though, is the kicker. This, again, is completely non-intuitive to a developer. Note that there are two "parameters" within the opening and closing quotes. WITH A SPACE BETWEEN. Aargh!
The first is our friendly namespace, and the section is the actual location of the schema.
I hope this helps. If you see any errors with this post, please e-mail me at email@example.com.
And forgive my indentation. Forcing it with HTML workarounds is, well, tiring. Perhaps I'll correct it when I have more time.
Updating the Blogroll
Updating the Blogroll
This is long, long overdue (like many of my library books, likely). Please welcome these fine folks to a parked spot on the left-hand side of my humble blog.
- Ryan Stephenson, to whom I alluded yesterday.
- Blackfive - been meaning to do this since the wonderful Music to Blog to post.
- Wince and Nod - again, been in the Blogs to Review favorites pile for a while.
- The Blogger Alliance (of which I am part). Perhaps not the best timing to seek the Instanlanche, but, hey, all's fair in politics.
In Search of the Instalanche
Okay, strangely enough, calling Instapundit "the Puppy Blender" actually seems to work for Frank J.
I think I'll have to resort to something with a different tack.
I challenge Glenn Reynolds to a game of Boggle, Master Boggle (which sometimes masquerades as Big Boggle). No, silly, not that little grid that's four by four. That's so...lame. I mean the five by five - four letter words and higher.
I'm nearly unbeatable. Get the word out, people.
Only One Problem...
Go West Virginia, go. Good idea. Walking a mile a day? About fifteen minutes - a good start.
Gov. Bob Wise and health officials unveiled the West Virginia on the Move
The goal is to encourage people to walk about one more mile every day and eat fewer calories. The campaign is similar to an effort in Colorado.
West Virginia's campaign will include a Web site, billboards and workplace and school programs.
In 2001, 25.1 percent of West Virginia adults were obese and 37.9 percent were overweight. The national obesity rate was about 21 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control's 2001 Behavioral Risk Survey.
People who are obese are more likely to have other health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
West Virginia on the Move will help keep our citizens healthy," Wise said.
August 21, 2003
Wrath of the Dog Napkin
And so Big Arm Woman, whom I've been reading since I discovered blogs, posts this witty little thing about fake poetry, essentially. And I think to myself, reading her poem (which I'll post in its entirety here...)
The day is done,
And no one knows
Just why the dog
Ate my mother's toes.
We sit at night,
encased in woes,
My mom thinks life
She cannot run,
her walking slows,
-Freemont E Hall
About eight years ago, I was submitting a lot of poetry here and there. There was this literary magazine (this may be a stretch) called Evil Dog. My friend Jason Reasoner was visiting, and we decided (under influence of only silliness) to pander to the publication in hopes of having something ludicrously silly published.
Alas, we never heard from Evil Dog. But I have this lovely piece of obnoxious poetry to show for the effort. I'll share. Eight years later, I still crack up.
the anytime everybody is always
an odd being. but i feel like
tomorrow today, outside
of now. into this frayed
stale silence (which doesn't
make blended friends; it keeps
them in cupboards) to fetch
poor bones for an evildog napkin
this night. smooch. it ain't
gonna rain no more.
sidereal scorpions (in waiting)
wait for my fingered dog barks
before it bites and steal my
cereal alibi in a six year
old clown suit selling sex
to my earlobes' shampooed
carpet. heidi, do you see
the tornado without my tomato
slaves? the vacuum calls,
anon. suckled nectar from
the cupboard womb named.
in the hourglass the tides mash lentils --
friends of little faith. damned by cub
board handles -- wrath of the dog napkin;
remember waco and repent.
jr/hli - October, 1995.
Heather Begs (Gently)
Heather Begs (Gently)
In two short weeks (yes, indeed), I will ride my first MS 150. I have probably mentioned that "ride" is a strange word for pedal-powering a bicycle for long distances, but ride I shall.
The MS in MS 150 stands for multiple sclerosis. This is one terrible disease. When I was growing up in small Sandusky, Michigan, I lived across the street from the middle school principal. His wife suffered from multiple sclerosis. I believe at that time she was the same age as I am now. She was often too exhausted to transport herself, opting instead to use a yellow motorized wheechair of sorts to move her instead. The couple had a very young son, too.
The MS 150 raises lots of money each year to combat the disease; still, it remains among us uncured.
If you have a few spare dollars ($3.00 is 2 cents a mile; $6.00 is 4), please consider sponsoring me for my efforts for this ride. It's simple to do. Here's how.
Option 1: Go to http://https://www.nationalmssociety.org/pledge/index.asp. Type Heather into the first name box and the lovely surname "Noggle" into the last name box. Choose Missouri as the state. Submit the web form. Click on the link that bears my name when it appears. Sponsor.
Option 2: Click the "Sponsor me" link on this weblog. Click through the certificate info, and then enter your pledge.
I thank you in advance.
Senioritis - Takin' It To Court
Yes, really. Our friends at Overlawyered have a doozy this evening.
Almost full text:
"Senioritis" victim sues for college admission
Hillsborough, N.C.: "A Guilford County high school graduate who recorded a perfect SAT score is suing UNC Chapel Hill, alleging the school refused to admit him after his grade point average dropped. Mark Edmonson, a National Merit Scholarship finalist, scored a perfect 1,600 on his SAT last year, but his grade point average fell from 3.8 to 3.5 in his senior year at Northwest Guilford High School. ... 'His senior year grades are C's, D's and F's,' Ziko said [Thomas Ziko, a lawyer for the state]." ("Student who aced SAT sues UNC for denying entry", Charlotte Observer, Aug. 20). An earlier acceptance letter from UNC had said, "We expect you to continue to achieve at the same level that enabled us to provide this offer of admission". Edmonson's family is beginning to talk about how the university didn't sufficiently take into account the consequences of his having a disability, attention-deficit disorder (Eric Ferreri, "UNC admission rescission sparks suit", Durham Herald-Sun, Aug. 19) (via "Begging to Differ", Aug. 21; Kimberly Swygert at No. 2 Pencil also comments (Aug. 21)).
Edmonson said in an affidavit filed in Orange County that university
officials backed out of an April letter promising that as long as Edmonson
graduated from Northwest, he would be admitted.
A Fitness Contract
If your kids are parked more than moving, Health - HeathDay recommends that you draw up a fitness contract to unpark them.
This article is barely more than that. One good thing:
Make two sets of lists: One should detail what each of you plans to do in
this program, the other outlines what you expect to gain.
My coworker Ryan is updating his weblog regularly. You should check him out.
Now, if only Bryce would do the same? I just might link to him ;)
August 20, 2003
I'm usually not one of the Bill Whittle raving mad fans; often I won't read a published essay for a few weeks, but this one was a must-read on the day it came out.
It's called Responsibility.
It's also my favorite topic. Bill does it justice.
August 19, 2003
Because He Says it Better Than I Could
I shall defer to Michael Williams of Master of None who talks about the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Iraq.
This was, of course, not the only bombing today.
This saddens me. I cannot explain it, and I cannot talk rationally about it, so I will simply shake my head, mutter innate depravity, and fail to understand.
August 18, 2003
I posted about this before. Quentin is the dog who escaped his date with death by defying the dog pound's gas chamber. He was placed with Stray Rescue of St. Louis, and the director of this organization eventually adopted the dog.
This has raised the ire (probably because he has nothing else to write about) of Kevin Horrigan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist. The article is here.
Now, sampling Kevin's obra.
I really hate to bring this up, what with the general jubilation over the
happy non-ending for Quentin, the Miracle Dog, but is it really right that
Quentin will spend the rest of his life as a public relations dog?
This is where Quentin's role as a PR-dog comes in. An organization called In
Defense of Animals has hired him, for the cost of a $5,000 donation to the
city pound, as a national spokesdog for the plight of stray animals. The
money will be used to help hire a full-time veterinarian who can administer
lethal injections at the pound.
Two observations about that: One, unless the city can find a vet who works a lot cheaper than mine does, $5,000 isn't going to go very far. And two, what an awful job: "How'd your day go today, honey?" "Great, I killed 38 dogs." Quentin's new companion-human is Randy Grim, the founder of the Stray Rescue of St. Louis shelter, a man who pops Xanax for anxiety disorders but who has become a kind of Mother Teresa for stray animals. Quentin's new role will be as a celebrity, making public appearances around the country to raise money and awareness - a canine version of Fergie, the ex-Duchess of York.
And then there's that little matter of the ad hominem. SMEAR Randy Grim! Why? Because I can, says Horrigan. That man's job would make ME pop Xanax, too - so much heartbreak with unwanted animals.
And then comes the self-actualization part.
Under the theory of dog fulfillment, tracking dogs like beagles or hounds
should go to tracking classes, Labrador retrievers should be furnished with
water and ducks, and French poodles should be furnished with a nice
Bordeaux. Quentin is a Basenji mix, descended from African hunting dogs, so
he should be taken out in the woods to hunt warthogs.
Maslow (and Pavlov) are turning over in their graves.
Mr. Horrigan - I'm certain, though I can't properly anthropomorphize a dog (doubtful you can either), that Quentin would choose life and petting over death and another gassing? You wanna try again with a new column?
Is There a Circle of Hell for Stupidity?
No words. Sorry. Story says it all.
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) -- A Marine received 14 months in a military
brig for using a military credit card for an unauthorized six-figure
shopping spree that included a car, a motorcycle and breast enhancement
The Berkshire Grill, Bridgeton, MO
Yes, this is a restaurant review. The Berkshire Grill was one of my favorite restaurants for a long time. It's located close to my home, sports a wide variety of food, employs an actual chef who features different specials for a time frame (perhaps a month - not certain), and, at one time, its service was overwhelmingly better than other restaurants of its type and price range (Applebee's, Ruby Tuesday, Red Lobster, Olive Garden - you get the idea). This was a "celebrate birthday and other occasions" restaurant.
And then the ownership changed.
This was less than a year ago, but I'm not certain of the exact date. The only reason I know of the ownership change was that Brian and I visited before the new owners had received their liquor license. Servers were warning all patrons of the lack of alcohol that evening.
I have three incidents, and, well, you know the rule of strike three. Here they are. I figure this is more effective than a simple letter to the management. I don't plan to go back for a few months.
Incident 1: I actually have the date. It was May 22, 2003 - Brian's and my 4th anniversary. I usually order the same dull, boring, but VERY tasty salad, and when the server brought me the dressing, it was woefully unmixed - about 2/3 oil and 1/3 of the good stuff. I asked for a spoon and gave the exact reason - to try to remove the oil from the dressing. Apparently spoons are not normal dining fare at the Berkshire Grill under new ownership; none sat atop my place setting.
The server brought one. I tried for a few minutes, but could not remove a significant enough amount of the oil to make the dressing palatable, and so I asked for more dressing. Usually it's superb, and even my uneducated palate can distinguish crap from superb. He brings me more dressing and has the audacity to say, "Oh, I just had to stir it."
Uh....this is not the mark of a restaurant that distinguishes itself from others because of fantastic service.
Incident #2 - approximately 2 weeks later. My friend Tonya, with whom I try to dine about once a month, and I met at Berkshire on a weekday evening, probably a Wednesday. Same said server dolt decided to feign sweeping other parts of the restaurant during our meal. Everytime he'd find something more interesting to do, he'd prop his broom and dustpan (quite dirty) against some table, and then flee to his other task. This occurred at least three times. Ambiance! Baby!
Incident #3 was last night. I ordered BBQ ribs and specifically stated no cole slaw. I asked for a little bit of extra lettuce on my starter salad instead. (This restaurant has actually done that for me - added more salad in place of a side). Oh, but not this server. Not a big deal that she forgot the lettuce; no big thing. I wasn't going to starve. But, plopped on my plate, with a big old nasty pile of mayonnaise-laden sloppy goo, is this wad of cole slaw. Mom, you're cringing, aren't you. I mean, your head must hurt.
I despise mayonnaise. It's one of the three most disgusting edible/drinkable substances (with mashed potatoes and carbonated beverages rounding out the list). I got no offer of "we'll bring you another plate." Instead, I picked up the blob and put it in my dirty salad bowl, and our server, Shannon, walked away with it.
Now, again, minor irritation. But it's the third time. And, to me, it's more of an irritation than to most. I don't personally ascribe to the "but it all ends up in the same place anyway" theory. BS. I was willing to let it slide in my mind until I noticed that the aforementioned cole slaw had a very runny mayonnaise sauce. Yes, you bet. It was all over my french fries (probably good - those go to my hips), and all over one end of my ribs. I pointed this out. I got a "I'm going to ignore that" look from the server.
So, Berkshire Grill, you've lost a customer (two, actually - Brian) for a while. Perhaps you should hire back those excellent servers whom you've chased off, and read the service manual one more time.
Empty parking lot last night. Give it a month - it'll be emptier.
Those of you from stlbloggers.com - I'd love to know if you feel the same.
Weekend = Blur (in many ways)
Saturday: Near 70 miles in 95+ degree heat in the middle of Illinois. I can't remember much of Saturday after that. Did I do anything? All I remember is intense heat, being slower than every other person, and having to stop to put my poor head between my knees a few minutes before being able to resume the ride. Ewww.
Sunday: Brian returns! Oh, and 24 miles at the Grafton Ferry Ride, where Heather got disgusted while waiting too long for the ferry and made it the Grafton Back-And-Forth-From-The-Beginning-To-The-Ferry-And-Again Ride. Never hurts to improvise.
August 17, 2003
I've seen references to this test on so many blogs that I've forgotten where I most recently saw it. At any rate, I'm 23.4714% - Geek. Just enough to allow me to carry on geek conversations. Phew.
August 15, 2003
Just when you thought you've heard of everything, along comes Friendster.
Thanks, Hans. I always wanted to see a 28-point Arial revelation stating "Hans Is Your Friend"
All doubts erased.
Now there's this little problem of the fact that Hans is my ONLY friend. Hook me up, people.
I'm Back (and Where I Went)
I'm Back (and Where I Went)
I've been gone. You may have noticed. I am back.
I returned last night. I'll replay the dramatic part for you in reverse order. The interesting part began shortly after my plane touched down last evening at Lambert Airport in St. Louis. I got my bags, got to my car, and my cell phone rang while I was driving to my house.
The caller was my mother. She said something to the effect of "Hi, are you all right" or "Hi, where are you?" I said, St. Louis, just leaving the airport. And then she gave me news of the blackout.
I was returning from a business trip in Detroit. I escaped the blackout by, we suspect, about 30 minutes. Phew.
Not so lucky for a European colleague I met at the conference, who was slated to not leave Detroit until today. I hope he made it home to his family.
I was in Detroit for the OAGi's quarterly meeting. It was decided that I would attend on Thursday of last week, so I spent the bulk of the time between then and Monday when I left for Detroit preparing for said conference.
Oh, yeah, and I did that Atari party, drinking, and bike riding thing over last weekend, too. Just not all at once.
So, I have been and gone. I will probably be and go some other times in the future.
Now I just have to get caught up on my reading; the writing part's easy.
August 10, 2003
Brian in Pure Form
I won't say much - just point you to the link.
Note: if "the link" isn't working, it's probably blogger having issues with its permalinks. You can still reach the article of note by hitting Brian directly - probably near the top - named Experiment Success: The Magazine Rack at APIV.
DDT vs DEET
This is one of the funnier things I've read in weeks. John Cole from Balloon Juice hands this woman her entrails in a small, brown paper bag and says "EAT!" due to her ill-informed letter to the editor about mosquito control - known here in St. Louis as vector control (encompasses the rats, too).
Here's a sample. Go read the whole thing. It's funny enough to read twice.
One of the main reasons the government is as inefficient and ineffetive as
it is might be because they have to deal with morons and cretins all day
long- in other words, taxpayers are stupid. I offer Ms. Desmond as exhibit
A. This letter to the editor is so stupid on so many levels that it made my
1.) DDT was banned in the United States on June 14, 1972. No one sprayed DDT on your tomatoes, your cat, or you. What happened to you was part of a Mosquito abatement program, and you probably (I don't know for sure, but you might ask your local authorities- just a thought) got fogged with a synthetic pyrethroid, perhaps Peremethrin, Sumithrin, or Resmethrin. If you click the link, the EPA has deemed these to be safe (and this was done under the Clinton EPA, so even Democrats can feel safe).
I'm afraid the cycling was limited to one day this week, mostly due to last night's party and the alcohol consumed before/during it. At 11:00 p.m. or so, the thought of a 7:30 a.m. ride was, well, banished. So, 45 miles yesterday.
Somewhere mid ride, there was a bit of excitement I would learn about at the Yellow Dog Saloon where all ride paths met with only 4 miles remaining. Had I digital camera, you would see this little excitement, but, alas, no. Supposedly (and this is third hand), a dog was chasing a kitten out in the middle of nowhere, and one of the cyclists actually wiped out to avoid hitting the kitten, who is so small she fit in my hand. A couple of good-hearted folk transported the kitten to the YD Saloon, and said kitten was scampering about the parking lot, enthralling cyclists of both genders.
Since I'm cat qualified, I held the little ball of fur above my head and pronounced her a girl. I promptly named her Shimano, which stuck, I believe.
I believe someone adopted her - no way to figure out where she belonged, and there was no identification on the kitten. What can you do?
Last night's Atari party was sparsely populated, compared to last year's. Still, we had a good time. I think more people will appear next year as again I shave the Atari logo into the back of Brian's head. We did not do that this year. As usual, Warlords was the most popular game. If our pictures turn out, I'll post one or two. UPDATE -> no need. Brian handled it for me.
Okay, that's personal enough for a while. I have a few things planned to blog, and I actually have an essay running through my mind that might make it to electronic format in the next week.
One more thing: I'm a loser, and I like it!
From the Readers
I've had three reader e-mails this week; yay! One asked my why I have no comments section. I answered that I'm too busy to code one or find one to incorporate. I've seen some blogger blogs with comments - anybody have recommendations? I'll look into this in September, likely.
Two, Mike Courtney wrote to inform me that blogger was hogging my permalinks. Bad blogger. Blog hog, blogger. My permalinks are STILL not properly rendering, which, given that this is a weekend, is not shocking. Perhaps all will be well tomorrow.
Three, Hans "Is the Party" Gerwitz, whirling dervish bicycle and software geek, wrote thus:
Thought for the day: how is ifeminism, well, feminism? Isn't is oxymoronic
to use a gender-loaded term to describe a position that dismisses gender as
the basis for rights?
1) Belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.
2) The movement organized around this belief.
If you take definition one, it doesn't say anything about the collective female voice rallying for acceptance of women as equal to men; rather, this is a blanket statement that, once accepted, hopefully leads one to view people as individuals rather than collectives of men and women (and never the twain shall meet).
But, of course, the word "feminism" elicits a much different view - often with the encouragement of the feminists. If you know me personally, you've probably heard the story of the female realtor at the party who adamantly insisted that ALL women are oppressed. I said, really, I don't FEEL oppressed. I don't see any evidence of oppression; how can I be oppressed? THESE women (those whom I have labelled with the negative connotation of feminism) probably give the movement a bad name, even in my eyes. I don't see any need to band together with other members of my gender to assert the need for something that I believe, in this day and age, at least as far as my life goes, ALREADY EXISTS.
But I digress. Hans, I stand firm on the "social, political, and economic equality of the sexes" (en masse). What's unstated, of course, is that this is typically from a female perspective (as are my thoughts - no escaping that). I'll state the text from the ifeminism post again, just for ease of reading. From the site ifeminism.com:
What is ifeminism?
Individualist feminism, or ifeminism, advocates the equal treatment of men and women as individuals under just law. The core principle of individualist feminism is that all human beings have a moral and legal claim to their own persons and property. It is sometimes called libertarian feminism.
August 08, 2003
Yo Quiero Tac...I'm HIT!
Rat dogs unite! Stave off the airborne oppressors.
August 07, 2003
Every Dog Has His Day?
One certainly wouldn't think gas day at the animal shelter would be Quentin's day. The previously unnamed dog was locked in with 50 other animals, gassed, and survived.
How odd is this? It unnerves me - not that the dog survived, but to think of the horrors of this job. As an everyday American who takes responsibility for her pets (you know, neuters/spays, feeds, waters, lavishes affection, keeps them in her home and doesn't let them roam, doesn't return them to the animal shelter on the same whim as many who spontaneously decide it's time to "own" a pet). I can't stand to think of euthanasia of healthy animals. I've been exposed to the horrid choice of putting an animal to sleep twice now - both were too ill to survive on their own. It is the only experience nearly as gut wrenching as the death of a human loved one.
While Brian may scoff at the "animal lover whack jobs" (I believe he puts it that way) who strive for no-kill shelters, I really think that's ALL you can strive for, hope for, if you aim to effect change. It seems impossible because the American public is an irresponsible society. Still, any steps toward this goal are only positive.
Animals don't have inherent "rights," nor should they. But, to me, animals are more than mere property. They are living beings. A CD strewn carelessly across my floor is property. Any of my five cats is a family member. Perhaps certain laws may deal with both as something as narrow as "property," but I can promise you that there is a discrete distinction in my mind between the two. My cats are priceless. I'm not sure how to codify the distinction, and I am hopeful it will never matter to me. A year and a half when my home was broken into and the lower-level glass door was shattered, the first thing, once our safety was ensured, was to search for each of the cats. All remained. A true blessing.
This story strikes an emotional chord - cats and dogs often do with me. This dog now known as Quentin is in the spotlight, and I hope his second chance will raise some awareness of what happens, ultimately, to the "unwanted" animals in today's animal shelters. It's amazing what societal lore can do for a single "unwanted,", no?
Reminds me of this. I'm sure Michael McNeilley and his estate won't mind me reprinting it and giving it due credit.
It's like Frank said when
he worked in the pound,
killed all those dogs
in the evacuator, sucked the life
out of them in the oxygen
he took a lot of them home,
the cute ones, the ones he
couldn't bear to kill -
the ones he wanted to save,
and they ran out in the
broke their chains and disappeared;
one got killed in a fight,
another ate rat poison.
One way or another they died,
every last damned
one of them.
One day someone came in with
5 perfect poodle puppies
and Frank was told
to kill 4 and save one. The choice of
who lived and who died was left
up to Frank,
so he took the runt of the litter,
the one who seemed he could
and he killed the 4 best ones,
reduced their air pressure
to that at 30,000 feet,
where they puked their hearts out
like all the others he
"put to sleep,"
and took the little one and put him
up front in a tiny cage,
where he would appear
pathetic to the general public,
some of whom selected him and
took him home that very day,
but who returned the next week
for another puppy, saying
the one they got
had "just died. He was fine and then
he died. The kids are all
broken up" they said.
And they wanted to know if there was
You can't save anybody, Frank decided,
the system takes over
and that's that.
After a while Frank stopped
taking any of them home.
his objectives, but you can't say
he ever really gave up on them.
Like Frank said,
"I don't want to save them, not really,
I just want to rub their
And he rubbed their ears, the furry discards,
the smart ones, the dumb ones,
the old and the young,
the rejects, the crippled and lame, the ones
with bad markings, the wrong coloration,
With problems beyond
their understanding. And each time before
he put them in the chamber, he looked
into their eyes.
And if there was no salvation, if there was
no redemption, at least there was
someone to say goodbye.
Found again on rec.arts.poems but easier to read here.
mcn is Michael McNeilley, who died 7/16/2000.
August 06, 2003
Stay Out of My Cone, by Tresa McBee and ifeminists.com
I read the article entitled "Stay Out of My Cone" today - can't remember where I found it. But I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it pointed back to this little website called ifeminists.com. This is really a .net, not a .com, and so I am thoroughly confused about that point, but no matter.
I read these words. I decided to read more.
What is ifeminism?
Individualist feminism, or ifeminism, advocates the equal treatment of men and women as individuals under just law. The core principle of individualist feminism is that all human beings have a moral and legal claim to their own persons and property. It is sometimes called libertarian feminism.
Sometimes the inequality works to women's advantage, as in affirmative
action laws. Do you oppose them as well?
Absolutely. Equality means neither privilege nor oppression. Besides which, it hardly benefits women to have a paternalistic state treat them as children or "lesser" human beings who need state assistance to become equal.
Opposing affirmative action and defending property rights is generally associated with conservatives. Isn't ifeminism just conservative feminism?
Many conservatives are uncomfortable with the way ifeminism embraces radical civil liberties. For example, ifeminism calls for the decriminalization of prostitution and pornography. To an ifeminist, there is no schism between economic and civil liberties. They are both expressions of an individual's right to use her own body and property in any peaceful manner she chooses.
Don't Not Sleep and Drive?
Everyone loves a good double negative. How's this for you: Down with the drowsy driver menace to society
Now, there is a point, I'd suppose, to making note of the dangers of driving while sleepy. But a LAW? Furthermore, this is a LAW that will be quite difficult to test - no breathalyzer here.
Might I refer you lawmakers to a more relevant sanction against drowsy drivers - careless and imprudent driving charge, mayhap?
Coming soon - driving while appearing intoxicated.
August 05, 2003
Thanks, Mom, for the Dark Room
I meant to get this up here yesterday, but I tried to balance my reading and my writing, so I had to read more (this is usually the opposite scenario).
CNN reported thus:
HUNTINGDON, Pennsylvania (AP) -- A woman who locked her 3-year-old daughter
in the trunk of a car while she visited her husband in prison has been
charged with endangerment.
Tammy Denise Swittenburg-Edwards, 31, was arrested Saturday at a state prison about 95 miles east of Pittsburgh after prison guards heard crying and yelling from the vehicle and found the girl in the trunk, state police said.
Swittenburg-Edwards apparently locked her in after prison officials refused the child's entry because she wasn't on a visitor's list, state police said.
The girl was in the trunk for about 40 minutes while Swittenburg-Edwards visited her husband, state police said. The child wasn't injured.
August 04, 2003
Robert Prather from The Mind of Man found it before I did. And this time it's serious instead of merely ludicrous.
Earth Liberation Front Bankrolled by PETA
I've never been a fan of PETA (see here, here, here and here) and their support for ELF, a group of domestic terrorists, won't improve my opinion of them.
The Earth Liberation Front is already considered the foremost domestic terrorist group (see here also) and a quick glance at their website will show why.
If PETA's support is verified and holds up in court, they should lose their tax-exempt status, at a minimum. If their support can be shown to contribute to acts of terror, they should be prosecuted.
The Password is "Sedentary" >From
>From iWon's Health section: Mirrors Don't Reflect Kindly on Women Working Out.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fittest woman of all?
You may not get the answer you desire if you exercise in a gym where the walls are actually adorned with mirrors.
That surprising finding comes from a Canadian study in the journal Health Psychology. The research found sedentary women who exercised in front of a mirror for 20 minutes felt less energized, less relaxed and less upbeat and positive than women who exercised without a mirror.
The McMaster University study also found women who didn't exercise with a mirror felt less physically exhausted after a workout, while those who did their workout in front of a mirror reported no change in their levels of exhaustion.
Further research in "real-world" exercise settings are needed to determine
if this mirror-related negative effect is widespread, the researchers say.
And then he (or she) would know.
Stop the World! Kids Wear Bike Helmets Incorrectly!
Stop the World! Kids Wear Bike Helmets Incorrectly!
Now. If you're my age or a bit younger or older, you probably grew up riding your single, three, or ten speed, without, SHOCKER, a helmet! We're still here!
But, MSN feels the need to write a snippetly article about helmet usage by children and publish it today.
First, "children" aged 18? Um, I'd be remiss not to tell you, but those "children" can vote. I think that's a strange age for a study about children.
At any rate, here's the "state the obvious" quote of the day.
Wearing a helmet while cycling has been found to sharply cut the risk of
head injuries, but wearing it improperly reduces the protective benefit, the
Parkinson urged pediatricians make a helmet fitting part of a child’s
(Brian, I am sure, is cackling right now. I often gripe at people (usually while driving by - doing no one any good) cycling at speeds at which I believe require a helmet. He's used the word "fascist" in correlation with my ranting. Indeed.)
I'd say news is slow today at CNN, but I'll disprove that here with numerous postings (as time allows).
I frequent the CNN Health section; probably doesn't surprise anyone. Today, there's an article proclaiming the effort of da Boomers to stave off the outward appearance of getting older.
Me, I'm an Xer. So I can poke fun at the Boomers.
Doctors say boomers, who range from 38 to 56 years of age, increasingly ask
for procedures to reduce other telltale signs of aging such as spider and
varicose veins on the legs, brown spots on the hands and chest and wrinkled
necks. As boomers stay in the work force longer, and many find themselves
dating again, they want every part of their body to project an image of
"I think boomers have a basic dread of aging. They just want to be young forever," said Dr. Robert Weiss, an assistant professor of dermatology at Johns Hopkins University's School of Medicine.
"These procedures can really help how people feel about themselves," Weiss
Beverly Ross, another patient, agrees that the procedures are worth the cost
although she might have to skimp on other areas such as vacations. The
50-year-old, who works for the city of San Diego, has two incentives for
looking her best -- her job requires her to be in and out of meetings, and
she's single and dating. She has augmented work done on her face with
procedures such as liposuction and spider vein removal on other parts of her
Ross says in a perfect world, looks wouldn't matter, but "the real world doesn't work that way." She adds, "You have to be happy in your own skin so it is worth the money I spend."
Still, thank you for stimulating the economy. You may have to troll a while, though, Beverly, for the proper 24 year-old boyfriend.
August 03, 2003
What I Learned/Did This Weekend
1) I did NOT blog. Sorry.
2) I learned the lychees are to be feared. I had never heard of lychees, but, after dinner at Adam's House of Grillin' last evening, my friend Paul made it his personal mission for me to try his canned lychees (in heavy syrup!). Uh, no thanks. They were white and looked like pear entrails.
3) I need a new computer. It's sad to finally recognize this because this computer has served me very well for a very long time. Perhaps around Christmas I can get the parts together and make it happen. (It's so bad my clock is losing time).
4) Columbia, MO is hilly. I should have noticed that when I lived there, but, no. I am certain I will notice it when I am riding around it for the MS 150.
5) Frank J. of IMAO has updated his Peace Gallery. Brian and I are both modeling the famous Nuke the Moon t-shirt.
6) I spent 91.75 miles on the bike this weekend - 25.5 yesterday and 66.25 today - so that's where I've been. The new sleeveless jersey (of which I now own two) should help even out the crazy "tan."
7) Michael Williams of Master of None has a good post about language.
8) So much time on the bike leaves one tired enough to be in bed by 9 p.m. on a Sunday.
9) News and commentary will wait until tomorrow because of said tiredness.
August 01, 2003
Okay, I'll Do the Friday Five
These seem easy enough (from http://www.fridayfive.org)
1. What time do you wake up weekday mornings
On disciplined days, 5. Other, not-so-disciplined days, 6.
2. Do you sleep in on the weekends? How late?
Everything's relative. Yes, I do. I'm usually up between 6 and 8 on weekends, depending on planned morning activities (the bike).
3. Aside from waking up, what is the first thing you do in the morning.
4. How long does it take to get ready for your day?
Counting personal hygiene, about 45 minutes. Adding in food preparation for the day, an hour total.
5. When possible, what is your favorite place to go for breakfast?
I don't like to "go" anywhere for breakfast. I eat the same thing 29 out of 30 days in a month - 1 cup of Kashi, .38 - .5 oz dates, about 10 almonds, and a cup or so of fresh fruit on top of the concoction. Mmmm.
See, I'm dull.
Overlawyered mentions today a woman and her husband who are SUING the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp for failing to exclude her from casinos.
There we go again "social responsibility" versus "personal responsibility." Someone cue the music.