12.25.2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

However you celebrate this time of year, we wish you peace and safe travels.


Pam, Maria, Zorro, Morry, Rya, Livi, and Gizmo
and the Kitties

11.26.2010

The Six Stages of Email

An essay excerpted from Nora Efron's book, I Remember Nothing:

Stage One: Infatuation


I just got email! I can't believe it! It's so great! Here's my handle. Write me. Who said letter-writing was dead? Were they ever wrong. I'm writing letters like crazy for the first time in years. I come home and ignore all my loved ones and go straight to the computer to make contact with total strangers. And how great is AOL? It's so easy. It's so friendly. It's a community. Wheeeee! I've got mail!

Stage Two: Clarification


Okay, I'm starting to understand—email isn't letter-writing at all, it's something else entirely. It was just invented, it was just born, and overnight it turns out to have a form and a set of rules and a language all its own. Not since the printing press. Not since television. It's revolutionary. It's life-altering. It's shorthand. Cut to the chase. Get to the point. It saves so much time. It takes five seconds to accomplish in an email something that takes five minutes on the telephone. The phone requires you to converse, to say things like hello and good-bye, to pretend to some semblance of interest in the person on the other end of the line. Worst of all, the phone occasionally forces you to make actual plans with the people you talk to—to suggest lunch or dinner—even if you have no desire whatsoever to see them. No danger of that with email. E-mail is a whole new way of being friends with people: intimate but not, chatty but not, communicative but not; in short, friends but not. What a breakthrough. How did we ever live without it? I have more to say on this subject, but I have to answer an instant message from someone I almost know.

Stage Three: Confusion


I have done nothing to deserve any of this: Viagra!!!!! Best Web source for Vioxx. Spend a week in Cancún. Have a rich beautiful lawn. Astrid would like to be added as one of your friends. XXXXXXXVideos. Add three inches to the length of your penis. The Democratic National Committee needs you. Virus Alert. FW: This will make you laugh. FW: This is funny. FW: This is hilarious. FW: Grapes and raisins toxic for dogs. FW: Gabriel García Márquez's Final Farewell. FW: Kurt Vonnegut's Commencement Address. FW: The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. AOL Member: We value your opinion. A message from Barack Obama. Find low mortgage payments, Nora. Nora, it's your time to shine. Need to fight off bills, Nora? Yvette would like to be added as one of your friends. You have failed to establish a full connection to AOL.

Stage Four: Disenchantment


Help! I'm drowning. I have 112 unanswered emails. I'm a writer—imagine how many unanswered emails I would have if I had a real job. Imagine how much writing I could do if I didn't have to answer all this email. My eyes are dim. My wrist hurts. I can't focus. Every time I start to write something, the email icon starts bobbing up and down and I'm compelled to check whether anything good or interesting has arrived. It hasn't. Still, it might, any second now. And yes, it's true—I can do in a few seconds with email what would take much longer on the phone, but most of my emails are from people who don't have my phone number and would never call me in the first place. In the brief time it took me to write this paragraph, three more emails arrived. Now I have 115 unanswered emails. Strike that: 116. Glub glub glub glub glub.

Stage Five: Accommodation


Yes. No. Can't. No way. Maybe. Doubtful. Sorry. So sorry. Thanks. No thanks. Out of town. OOT. Try me in a month. Try me in the fall. Try me in a year. NoraE@aol.com can now be reached at NoraE81082@gmail.com.

Stage Six: Death


Call me.

11.20.2010

DON'T VOTE REPUBLICAN

From the book How Not to Act Old, by Pamela Redmond Satran:

"Sure there are Young Republicans, just like there's jumbo shrimp and soft rock. It's an oxymoron; all Republicans are - in spirit, if not in years - old. They're conservatives, which by definition means that they're against change and for the status quo. They're pro-money - and why not, since as old white men, they have plenty. And against abortion - again, why not, since as old white men, they can't get pregnant.

"Even if, for some reason, your politics line up with the Republicans, I still implore you to resist voting with them. Think not of American, but of your image."

11.16.2010

HAPPY BARKDAY TO ME! HAPPY BARKDAY TO ME!

I am eleventeen years old today! Myownmammas are habbing a Barkday Party for me! We're gonna hab Fropsty Paws and turkey! And I knows for sure I'm getting a toy! I hope it's berry squeeky, so I can dribe my brudders and sisters cwazy! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!

PS  As you can sees, I am still "extraordinarily handsome!"

AUTUMN COLORS


I love Autumn, with its gorgeous colors and scents. Even some of the color changes in our perennial garden are more magnificent than the orginal hues. The foliage along the banks of the Mississippi is breathtaking, with nearly every color imaginable.

If you can, get out to enjoy this beauty while it lasts.

11.08.2010

HOW NOT TO ACT OLD

From the book: How Not to Act Old, by Pamela Redmond Satran

"Dont Have Black Friends, Gay Friends, Jewish Friends, or Young Friends

"Or white friend, straight friends, girl friends, Baptist friends, or old friends.
No, I am not racist, homophobic, sexist, anti-Semetic, ageist freak. What I'm saying is that calling your friends "my black friends" or "my gay friends" is evidence that you are conscience of your friends as belonging to som special group, which is an outmoded way of looking at things. Friends are friends, and the modern - dare I say young - way is to accept people as individuals and not identify them as anything other than "my friends."

11.07.2010

THANK YOU, BILL MAHER

OUR BANANA REPUBLIC

By Nicholas Kristoff, New York Times:

"In my reporting, I regularly travel to banana republics notorious for their inequality. In some of these plutocracies, the richest 1 percent of the population gobbles up 20 percent of the national pie.

"But guess what? You no longer need to travel to distant and dangerous countries to observe such rapacious inequality. We now have it right here at home — and in the aftermath of Tuesday’s election, it may get worse.


"The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. As Timothy Noah of Slate noted in an excellent series on inequality, the United States now arguably has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana.

"C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.

"That’s the backdrop for one of the first big postelection fights in Washington — how far to extend the Bush tax cuts to the most affluent 2 percent of Americans. Both parties agree on extending tax cuts on the first $250,000 of incomes, even for billionaires. Republicans would also cut taxes above that.

"The richest 0.1 percent of taxpayers would get a tax cut of $61,000 from President Obama. They would get $370,000 from Republicans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. And that provides only a modest economic stimulus, because the rich are less likely to spend their tax savings.

"At a time of 9.6 percent unemployment, wouldn’t it make more sense to finance a jobs program? For example, the money could be used to avoid laying off teachers and undermining American schools.

"Likewise, an obvious priority in the worst economic downturn in 70 years should be to extend unemployment insurance benefits, some of which will be curtailed soon unless Congress renews them. Or there’s the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which helps train and support workers who have lost their jobs because of foreign trade. It will no longer apply to service workers after Jan. 1, unless Congress intervenes.

"So we face a choice. Is our economic priority the jobless, or is it zillionaires?

"And if Republicans are worried about long-term budget deficits, a reasonable concern, why are they insistent on two steps that nonpartisan economists say would worsen the deficits by more than $800 billion over a decade — cutting taxes for the most opulent, and repealing health care reform? What other programs would they cut to make up the lost $800 billion in revenue?

"In weighing these issues, let’s remember that backdrop of America’s rising inequality.

"In the past, many of us acquiesced in discomfiting levels of inequality because we perceived a tradeoff between equity and economic growth. But there’s evidence that the levels of inequality we’ve now reached may actually suppress growth. A drop of inequality lubricates economic growth, but too much may gum it up.

"Robert H. Frank of Cornell University, Adam Seth Levine of Vanderbilt University, and Oege Dijk of the European University Institute recently wrote a fascinating paper suggesting that inequality leads to more financial distress. They looked at census data for the 50 states and the 100 most populous counties in America, and found that places where inequality increased the most also endured the greatest surges in bankruptcies.

"Here’s their explanation: When inequality rises, the richest rake in their winnings and buy even bigger mansions and fancier cars. Those a notch below then try to catch up, and end up depleting their savings or taking on more debt, making a financial crisis more likely.

"Another consequence the scholars found: Rising inequality also led to more divorces, presumably a byproduct of the strains of financial distress. Maybe I’m overly sentimental or romantic, but that pierces me. It’s a reminder that inequality isn’t just an economic issue but also a question of human dignity and happiness.

"Mounting evidence suggests that losing a job or a home can rock our identity and savage our self-esteem. Forced moves wrench families from their schools and support networks.

"In short, inequality leaves people on the lower rungs feeling like hamsters on a wheel spinning ever faster, without hope or escape.

"Economic polarization also shatters our sense of national union and common purpose, fostering political polarization as well.

"So in this postelection landscape, let’s not aggravate income gaps that already would make a Latin American caudillo proud. To me, we’ve reached a banana republic point where our inequality has become both economically unhealthy and morally repugnant."


Zztopdog notes: Please also visit Nicholas Kristof's blog, On the Ground.

11.03.2010

GOP WINS, AND AMERICA LOSES

Via: First Door on the Left

All indications are that the Republicans have won control of the House of Representatives. I do not understand. The pundits are saying that people voted for the Republicans mainly because they are unhappy with the state that the economy is in. It was the Republicans that got us in this mess in the first place. It will now be the Republicans that will delay any economic recovery for at least two years. If voters wanted to send a message to President Obama and the Democrats tonight, message received. You love misery and want to prolong it for as long as possible.


Congratulations. Mission accomplished. Our government will now be in deadlock and no further progress will be possible for at least the next two years.

Really, people, I am so disappointed. Have you learned nothing?

My congratulations condolences to Speaker Boehner.

The fun begins.

10.20.2010

WEAR PURPLE ON WEDNESDAY IN MEMORY OF GAY TEEN SUICIDES

Via: Pink News - UK

After a spate of suicides among LGBT US teenagers, people across the world will wear purple tomorrow to honour their memory. More than 1.3 million people have pledged on Facebook to mark ‘Spirit Day’, which was created by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan.


Ms McMillan wrote on the Facebook page: “It’s been decided. On October 20th, 2010, we will wear purple in memory of the recent gay suicides. “Many of them suffered from homophobic abuse in their schools or in their homes. We want to take a stand to say that we will not tolerate this.


“Purple represents spirit on the LGBTQ flag and that’s exactly what we’d like all of you to have with you: spirit. Please know that times will get better and that you will meet people who will love you and respect you for who you are, no matter your sexuality.


“Please wear purple on October 20th to remember all the lives of LGBTQ youth that have been lost due to homophobia. Tell your friends, family, co-workers, neighbours and schools.”


Her initiative has also been championed by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which urged people to Tweet about the day and turn their Facebook profiles purple. GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios said: “I will be wearing purple on Spirit Day. The tragic suicides of our youth have started an important dialogue among Americans about the dangers of bullying, and now is the time to show our children that millions of Americans accept and value them regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”


 The day follows a YouTube campaign aimed at bullied gay teenagers, which encourages them to stay positive about the future. It Gets Better was created by journalist Dan Savage and now has a host of celebrity supporters, as well as thousands of home videos uploaded by members of the public.


There have now been at least ten reported suicides of young men and women who were LGBT or were thought to be LGBT in the last month. Most were said to have suffered homophobic bullying. They are:


Aiyisha Hassan, 19, of Marin County, California. She killed herself after struggling to come to terms with her sexual orientation.


Chloe Anne Lacey, 18, of Clovis, California. The trans teenager suffered depression and pressure to fit in with society.


Asher Brown, 13, of Texas, who shot himself on the day he came out to his parents


Seth Walsh, 13, of Minnesota, who died nine days after attempting to hang himself. He is said to have been bullied for being gay.


Billy Lucas, 15, of Indiana, who hanged himself. Classmates said he had suffered bullying.


Raymond Chase, 19, a student Johnson and Wales University, Rhode Island. He hanged himself in his dormitory. It is not yet known whether he had suffered bullying.


Tyler Clementi, 18, a student at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He jumped from a bridge after his roommate allegedly broadcast footage of him having sex.


Caleb Nolt, 14, of Indiana, who is said to have suffered anti-gay bullying.


Felix Sacco, 17, of Massachusetts, jumped from an overpass. Friends said he had been bullied.


Cody Barker, 17, of Wisconsin killed himself. He attended a support group for LGBT youngsters.

10.05.2010

DIGGING DEEP FOR SMARTER HEAT

Excerpted from TIME:

"Great big stores cost a fortune to heat and leave a huge carbon footprint, so both economic and environmental self-interest argues for innovations.

"Walmart has put windmills in a few of its parking lots; Target has plants on some of its roofs, to harvest rainwater and cool the stores in summer.

"Now IKEA, the world's favorite Swedish home furnisher, is trying to give America a gentle shove into using renewable resources. It is working with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory to use underground heat to manage temperatures inside its new 415,000-sq.ft. retail store near Denver, scheduled to open next year.

"Geothermal heat pumps take advantage of the fact that while the earth's surface temperature can sizzle in summer and plunge in winter, underground things stay nice and moderate - generally 45 degrees F to 75 degrees F. In Colorado, IKEA will drill 130 holes to a depth of 500 ft, beneath the building's parking garage, and install pipes that send liquid down to capture that perfect temperature and run it back up to a heat pump. The pump can then cool in-store air or heat it, depending on the season. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, systems using geothermal heat pumps... can reduce energy consumption and emissions by up to 72% compared with electric resistance heating and standard air conditioning....

The company takes its environmental responsibility seriously.... IKEA already used geothermal heat pump systems in other contries, and it's considering making the system's plans pulic to encourage other retailers in the U.S. and elsewhere to think about doing the same...."

9.21.2010

THE BEST WEEK OF HIS LIFE

From Stray Rescue of St. Louis:

"We thought he was on the mend, he seemed to be improving, and then we find out he is in the final stages of cancer. Andrea, Panda Program Foster, took him home and gave him the best week of his life. He passed away on his own after an amazing week. Schweiger you will be missed by all, you touched us all!


"Read Schweiger's rescue story.
"Enjoy Schweiger's pictures of his best week of his life. Thank you Andrea!"




9.20.2010

THE MARCH TO KEEP FEAR ALIVE


Via: Cynical-C

Mark your calendars. The Rally to Restore Sanity and the March to Keep Fear Alive will be held on Oct. 30 on the National Mall in


And we’re pretty sure Glenn Beck has not been invited.

Last night, Comedy Central faux journalists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert each made a “big announcement.”

First up to the plate was Jon Stewart.



In response to “the loud folks,” such as the Hitler-sign making folks, Stewart asks, “Why don’t we hear from the 70-80 percenters?” – the majority of Americans who don’t have extreme political views.

Enter the Rally to Restore Sanity.

“A million moderate march…a clarion call for rationality!” Stewart exclaimed.

With the motto of “Take it down a notch for America,” Stewart is offering to provide signs with the “appropriate” level of political emotion, such as “I disagree with you, but I’m pretty sure you’re not Hitler.”

You could also go with “I am not afraid of Muslims/Tea Partiers/Socialists/Immigrants/Gun Owners/Gay…but I am scared of Spiders.”

To counter Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity and to restore “truthiness,” Stephen Colbert announced his own rally: The March the Keep Fear Alive.

Calling Stewart’s announcement “disturbing,” Colbert says he will “not take it down a notch,” saying that “Now is the time for all good men to freak out for freedom!”

And, “Need I point out that ‘reason’ is one letter away from ‘treason?’” Colbert asks.

9.19.2010

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

"America succeeds when the playing field is level and open, and people don't fall behind; when government is not an obstacle, but a catalyst for shared prosperity; when we come together to find new ways to expand the horizon of opportunity for each and every American."

~Barack Obama, June 26, 2008

9.18.2010

TEMPORARY TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH? NO!

By Paul Krugman, on his blog, Conscience of a Liberal:

"Greg Sargent notes the growing number of Republicans suggesting a 'compromise' in the form of temporary extension of high-end tax breaks, and urges Democrats not to take the bait. His argument is essentially political: Republicans are obviously aware that they’re in a fix, and Democrats shouldn’t help them out.


"But there are reasons beyond partisan maneuvering to reject any deal here.

"First, temporary tax breaks for the rich are stunningly bad economic policy. As I tried to explain, basic economic theory — Milton Friedman’s theory! — tells us that affluent taxpayers are likely to save the great bulk of a transitory tax break. And bear in mind that while a 2-year extension wouldn’t increase debt as much as a permanent extension, it would still be much more expensive than measures like aid to the unemployed and to small businesses that would do far more for the economy, yet spent months held up in Congress because of alleged concerns about the deficit.

"Second, this is obviously — obviously — a setup. The whole point is to avoid a vote on the middle-class tax cuts while Democrats control the House; when and if Republicans regain control, they can refuse to let anything but a full extension reach the floor. So the goal is actually permanent extension; what they’re offering isn’t a compromise, it’s a trap.
"So just say no."


Zztopdog notes: Paul Krugman is my hero!

9.16.2010

HOW NOT TO ACT OLD

From the book of that name by Pamela Redmond Satran:

Seven Ways to Read Younger:

Old Reading Material               Young Reading Material
 Newspapers                                 Blogs
 Historical Romances                     Vampire Romances
 Mysteries                                     Graphic Novels
 GQ                                              Game Informer
 Stephen King                               Harry Potter                             
 The Grapes of Wrath                    Wicked
 O, The Oprah Magazine                Cosmopolitan


Zztopdog notes: We shall offer additional tips at least one per week.

9.15.2010

PROFILES IN COWARDICE

By Jerome Dolittle, Bad Attitudes Blog:

"The immediate impact is that the GOP became that much less likely to take over the Senate in November. A clear Republican win in Delaware became a likely Republican loss. But though that’s getting all the headlines, it slightly misses the point: The long-term impact of these primaries is not going to be on the incumbents who have been defeated. It’ll be on the incumbents who survived.


It was hard for incumbent Republicans to see Sens. Bob Bennett and Lisa Murkowski unexpectedly toppled in their primaries. But Alaska and Utah are conservative, quirky states. They were likely targets for an angry conservative electorate. The same cannot be said for Delaware, a moderate state that often goes blue. Rep. Mike Castle’s defeat was proof that no heterodox Republican is safe from a primary defeat — it doesn’t matter how popular you’ve been, or how clearly purple your electorate was. You’re not safe. You’re never safe.

Politicians are, by nature, a fearful species. But their nightmares became a lot more specific last night. The Tea Party, for all its unexpected successes, cannot topple every incumbent Republican in the country. But by toppling the right ones, it can make every incumbent Republican vote and speak and act with the Tea Party in mind. So though the Tea Party isn’t likely to send all that many of its own Republicans to Washington, the likely outcome of last night’s primaries is that the Tea Party takes over the Republicans who are already in Washington, and don’t want to be sent home.

9.14.2010

THE REPUBLICAN THREAT TO SHUT DOWN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

By Robert Reich:

"Newt Gingrich is saying if Republicans win back control of Congress and reach a budget impasse with the president, they should shut down the government again. GOP pollster Dick Morris is echoing those sentiments, as is Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R. Ga), and Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller.

"I am continuously amazed at the GOP's ability to snatch defeat out of the jaws of potential victory. It is the gift that keeps giving.

"I was there November 14, 1995 when Newt Gingrich pulled the plug on the federal government the first time. It proved to be the stupidest political move in recent history. Not only did it help Bill Clinton win reelection but it was a boon to almost all other Democrats in 1996 (Gingrich's photo was widely used in negative ads), and the move damaged Republicans for years.

"Gingrich hurt his cause by complaining that Bill Clinton had put him in the back of Air Force One on a trip that occurred about the same time. Republican lore has it that it was this babyish behavior rather than the shutdown itself that caused the public to side with Clinton in the game of chicken Gingrich launched over the budget. Undoubtedly Gingrich's whining didn't help, but it was his cavalier attitude toward government itself that was the defining issue. Gingrich was the one who first bragged he'd shut down the government if Clinton didn't agree to what the Republicans wanted.

"Now, remarkably, Gingrich is back at it.

"Dick Armey says it's 'premature' to talk about doing any such thing. What Armey means is if the public sees Republicans already plotting a shutdown, they'll react even more angrily than they did fifteen years ago.

"Americans may be cynical about government but we're proud of our system of governance. And we don't want it to be used as a political pawn in partisan power games. That's what Republicans forget time and again. They dislike government so much they don't see the difference between government as a bureaucracy and democratic governance as a cherished system.

"The framers of the Constitution developed checks and balances to assure one branch didn't accumulate too much power. But they never contemplated that one party could shut down the entire governmental system if it didn't get what it wanted."



This post originally appeared at RobertReich.org.

9.10.2010

THE FALLEN STATUS OF BOOKS - HARD TIMES FOR HARDCOVERS

By Jack Schafer, for Slate:

No greater pride befalls a scholar, a thinker, a journalist, a business executive, or other writer than to have a party thrown in honor of the publication of his book. A book party is like a wedding, a birthday party, a baptism, a prom, a class reunion, and a bar mitzvah all rolled up into one. For authorial self-esteem, the only things that can possibly top a book party is a book reading that's videotaped and broadcast by C-SPAN or a Charlie Rose interview.

Although publishing a book still brings bliss to authors, the glow derived from books has dimmed for former bibliophiles like me. Once I loved books. I worshipped books. I built defensive perimeters around my desk and bed and stereo and hallways with huge stacks of them. When my friends published their books, I steeped in jealousy while congratulating them on their accomplishment. When acquaintances asked when I was going to write a book, I told them I had once pitched a book proposal about the rise of clandestinely manufactured illicit drugs based on this 1985 magazine piece but that publishers had wisely rejected it.

To sublimate the envy I had for my book-writing friends, I took to throwing book parties for them. I still throw the occasional book party, but my envy has subsided because my adoration of books has faded. It's not that books are any better or any worse than they once were. It's just that they've lost their primacy in my world.

And not just my world. Not that long ago, a free-standing Sunday book-review section was essential to the status of a daily newspaper. But in the past decade, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle have all said to hell with books and shed their standalone sections. The surviving newspaper book section, the New York Times Book Review, has seen better days. It could hit 80 pages in the 1970s. Last Sunday it clocked in at only 28 pages. Today brings a report from the New York Observer that Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal plans to start a free-standing book review in coming weeks. But that doesn't subtract from my thesis. Murdoch's decision to add a book section to the Journal isn't really about pleasing readers, it's about rumbling with the New York Times, which he's vowed to destroy by mirroring its coverage of politics, culture, sports, spot news, books, and New York City. The section isn't good news for books. It's bad news for Murdoch.

Journalists especially have lusted to write books because publishing one validated their careers by announcing to one and all—especially to their easy-to-impress bosses—that they were no dime-a-word hack. This contribution to arts and letters didn't start rotting the minute it rolled of the press. This contribution was timeless!

And it sort of was. If a curious individual wanted to learn more about Subject A or Subject B, an encyclopedia, a library, or a book store were the best places to acquire that knowledge. But today, if I decide I want to know more about, say, gossip columnist Walter Winchell, do I really need to track down a copy of Neal Gabler's excellent Winchell: Gossip, Power, and the Culture of Celebrity? Or can I sate my hunger with the Wikipedia entry, a quick Google search of his name, by using Amazon's "click to look inside!" feature, or searching Google Books to glean enough information? My guess is that in most cases, readers can. They don't need to buy the entire menu when they can shop a la carte.

If I'm right about the status of books being in decline, book publishers have yet to feel the real pain. In 2009, sales dropped only 1.8 percent. But there are other measures, most of them anecdotal. Just a decade ago, I hoarded all of my books, refusing to sell them or give them away, because I didn't want to gamble that I wouldn't need them on short notice again. Finding a used, out-of-print, or rare book before AbeBooks, Alibris, and Amazon arrived was an expensive pain. You either had to prowl used bookstores, find it a library with the title, or pay a stiff book-finders' fee. Now, thanks to resellers, I gladly purge my library now and again to make space. If I ever need a copy of Drudge Manifesto again, I'll be able to get it on the Web for a penny, plus shipping. A back of the envelope calculation reveals to me that the replacement price of the average volume in my personal library has dropped 20 percent to40 percent in the Web era. So even if the status of books isn't falling, the value of them is.


By making books commodities, the modern market has stripped them of much of their romantic charm. I like the smell of a moldy book as much as the next bibliophile, but not as much as I once did. And while I've yet to purchase a Kindle or iPad, which make buying books in a store or online seem like hard work, I keep some titles on my netbook and iPod and can see myself making a fuller transition to e-books. And as I do, I'll become even less romantic about books—just as I became progressively less romantic about music as my collection has shifted from vinyl to CDs to mp3s. Holding an LP cover or even a CD jacket used to anchor the listener to a something corporeal. But not anymore. The same is happening to books. The ancient ceremony of reading by turning its pages is being disrupted by the e-books clicks and swipes. In the process it distances us from the old magic conjured by books. Books are being replaced by reading.

Newspapers experienced a similar reckoning in the past decade when they stopped assigning the old status upon their readers. Personal data point: When I edited the alternative weekly Washington City Paper from 1985 to 1995, one of the paper's owners loved to point out how everybody who picked it up usually carried it so that the nameplate was visible. They wanted others to see that they were a City Paper person! But those days have passed. Beyond serving as a marker to your boss that you're a serious person, your subscription to the Wall Street Journal doesn't say much about you these days. Well, it does say that you're old. Barnes & Noble and Borders have gotten the message the message that books are becoming passe, moving them out to make room for toys, stationery, and other merchandise. At Barnes & Noble, a kiosk pushing Nook e-book readers greets you as you enter the store.


There are still reasons to write books, for course. It's still an achievement to write one—even a bad one. Also, a book can still give an author control over what's said and how it's received in a way that rivals other mediums. If written expertly, a book can signal to the reader a seriousness and erudition that doesn't apply to every Web page or every newspaper. And sometimes an author's labors can generate returns beyond the minimum wage.

But those reasons apply equally to e-books and hardcovers. Which brings me to my ultimate observation about the fallen status of books: Can you imagine throwing a book party for a friend who wrote an e-book? As attendees bought the e-book, what would the author do to personalize and commemorate the event? Sign their Kindles?

THE 5 PERCENT DOCTRINE

By Gail Collins, Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times:

"A minister in Gainesville, Fla., has created an international uproar by vowing to burn the Koran on Sept. 11. This is under the theory that the best way to honor Americans who died at the hands of religious extremists is to do something that is both religious and extreme.

"I am not going to mention his name, since he’s already been rewarded with way too many TV interviews for a person whose seminal career achievement has been building a thriving congregation of about 50 people.

"The Koran-burning has been equated, in some circles, with the fabled ground zero mosque. This is under the theory that both are constitutionally protected bad ideas. In fact, they’re very different. Muslims building a community center in their neighborhood on one hand. Deliberate attempt to insult a religion that is dear to about 1.5 billion souls around the globe on the other.

"This week, New York City was visited by another minister, with the depressing title of 'Internet evangelist' who announced plans to build a '9/11 Christian center at ground zero' in response to 'the lies of Islam.' This guy, who is from Tampa, drew an estimated crowd of 60 people. Does that make him more popular than the minister from Gainesville? Plus, is there something in the water in Florida?

"When this sort of thing happens, it is important to remember that about 5 percent of our population is and always will be totally crazy. I don’t mean mentally ill. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 26 percent of American adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. So, basically, that’s just normal life. I mean crazy in the sense of 'Thinks it is a good plan to joke with the flight attendant about seeing a bomb in the restroom.' ”

"There is nothing you can do about the crazy 5 percent except ask the police to keep an eye on them during large public events, where they sometimes appear carrying machine guns just to make a political point about the Second Amendment. And, in situations like a Koran-burning, make it clear that the rest of us disagree.

"So far, the people lining up to denounce the burning of the Koran include the pope, Gen. David Petraeus and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. On the Republican side, Haley Barbour, theMississippi governor and would-be presidential contender, stepped up to the plate. “I don’t think there is any excuse for it,” said Barbour at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.

"Unfortunately, Barbour followed up his bow to tolerance by suggesting that the public’s confusion over Barack Obama’s religion is because of the fact that 'this is a president that we know less about than any other president in history.' The governor claimed that Americans had been particularly deprived of information on Obama’s youth, while they knew a great deal about the formative years of the other chief executives all the way back to the way the youthful George Washington 'chopped down a cherry tree.'

"Let us reconsider the above paragraph in light of the fact that while Obama wrote an entire book about his childhood, Washington never chopped down the cherry tree.

"But I digress. While a pope, a general and a cabinet member are speaking out, the candidates running in this year’s elections seem to be superquiet about the Koran-burning. However, quite a few have been racing to bash the Muslim community center for Lower Manhattan. In Florida, the gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott has an ad railing against a mosque 'just yards away' from ground zero, which is semiaccurate only if you believe 'city blocks' and 'yards' are the same thing. And in New York, the Republican candidates for governor appear to be running for the Mosque Removal slot on the ballot.

“ 'Just before the primary, we had candidates who thought they might gain more votes by bashing Islam,' said Saleh Sbenaty, a leader of the Muslim families in Murfreesboro, Tenn., whose community center construction site has been vandalized twice in recent weeks. 'We had a rough, rough time during the primary.'

"My memories of Sept. 11, 2001, are still intense, and they are mainly about the outpouring of concern from the rest of the country. The piles of donated clothes and food piled up, unused but not necessarily unwanted since each bit was a token of someone’s good will toward the city. Helping us achieve that state of public grace is the highest possible duty of every elected official.

"But, lately, they’ve abdicated or worse. And the fight for public sanity has fallen to average citizens, like Professor Sbenaty, who is still trying to explain to the rest of the world what happened in his community. 'Let me say first,' he told an interviewer on NPR, 'there are crazy people in every society.' ”

9.07.2010

URINARY TRACT INFECTION

Dis bees Zorro. I didn't feew good all night; so myownmama stayed up wiff me. So, I wented to da vet today, 'cause I beez peeing lots and lots. Welp, it turns outs that I hab a UTI, wiff some bwood. Now, I gots some big pills to take 2 times a day. Dey tasted icky, but myownmama puts dem in peanutbutter, so I WUV to take dem.

Myownmama is also making me wear a dipey, wike a baby. But she said that we don't want no more dirts to get in my peepee! I will twy to sneaks it off when she not bees lookin. Hehehehehe!

9.04.2010

HATRED AND STUPIDITY - BUT I REPEAT MYSELF

By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout OpEd:

"2010 is shaping up to be the Year of the Hate Crime in America, thanks in large part to right-bent Republicans and their Tea Party allies who have nothing to run on in the upcoming midterms. Think about it; would you want to run for office as a Republican these days? Their dearest economic ideas gave us the current recession, their foreign policies resulted in a war we lost in Iraq and a war we're losing in Afghanistan, their environmental designs have resulted in yet another oil rig detonation in the Gulf of Mexico, a great many of their supporters don't believe in dinosaurs because the Bible doesn't mention them, and their biggest national superstar is Sarah Palin, who by all appearances is so drastically stupid that she couldn't figure out how to pour piss out of a boot if there were directions on the heel.

"So, yeah, not much to hang your hat on there. In the absence of anything substantive to give the American people, the right has gone home to their mothership: sowing discord, fear and hatred to distract people from the fact that, while Republicans are good at campaigning, they are walking cancer cells to the body politic if and when they actually win.

"This time around, the right's weapon of choice against this republic is spreading hatred and fear of Muslims and Islam. September 11 happened nine years ago, so it may seem an odd topic to harp on after so much time has passed, but the Cordoba House controversy gave them an opening and they ran right through it. Of course, it started before that, pretty much as soon as President Obama first threw his hat into the ring for the 2008 election. Once the right figured out his middle name was Hussein, it was hats over the windmill, and their incessant blather about his background and religion has finally begun to bear bloody fruit.

"Wrap your mind around this: at this point, a majority of Republicans not only believe Mr. Obama to be a practicing Muslim, but believe his intention as president is to impose Sharia Law on America and the rest of the world. I'd like Gallup or Pew to do a special poll so as to determine exactly how many of those who believe these things were dropped on their heads when they were babies. I'd wager the number would pop close to 95%. Of course, the media's love for spectacle - no matter how deranged or dangerous it is - has motivated them to run these cretins and their theories across the sky with klieg lights, and just as the right hoped, it is all having the desired effect.

"There have been other effects, however, and deadly dangerous ones at that. Mosques have been firebombed. A Muslim cabdriver in New York City was savagely slashed by a man screaming anti-Islam epithets. A Sikh man was punched in a store for wearing a turban, even though he was as Muslim as a church steeple. The controversy over the Cordoba House project has inspired a rash of threats against the Imam in charge, the Muslims involved, and the building itself. In short, the right has basically stated that if the place gets built, they will shoot it up and/or burn it down.

"There is nothing whatsoever funny or pleasurable about this phenomenon. The people pushing this vile tactic are someday going to find themselves burning in a deep ring of Hell, and rightly so. Sometimes, though...oh yeah, sometimes the tables get turned, and the hatred and stupidity being peddled by the right is transmogrified into a special kind of justice. Street justice, to be sure, but justice nonetheless.

"There's a joint in West Haven, Connecticut, called the Fire and Ice Hookah Lounge. By all reports, it's a nifty little place; the theme is Middle Eastern, the hookah smoke is tasty, and the belly dancers are something to see indeed. Last Thursday, a fellow named Kevin Morris, also of West Haven, came ditty-bopping into Fire and Ice and staked his claim to first-ballot entry into the Dumbass Hall of Fame.


"Mr. Morris, it seems, decided that any place with hookahs and belly dancers must be a festering nest of Muslims, and decided to give the patrons what-for. According to news reports, he barged through the door and started screaming racist and anti-Muslim epithets at everyone there. The crowd didn't really react until Morris tried to throttle the bartender...at which point, the patrons rose up righteous and basically beat the ever-loving Jesus out of him. Morris' mug shot looks like his face went through a wheat thresher, and as of now, he remains in police custody.

"Hatred and stupidity, folks. When they ride in the same applecart, things can get truly dangerous. But sometimes, and only rarely, things can also get truly funny.


"Thank you, Mr. Morris."

9.02.2010

WISE WORDS

I just came across Colin Powell's words in endorsing Barach Obama for President, over John McCain:

"... I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to [say] such things as, 'Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.' Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, 'He's a Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists.' This is not the way we should be doing it in America."

A VISIT TO THE VET

Welp, this be Zorro. My new brudder, Gizmo, and I had to go to da vet yesterday. I been having an infecshun in my eyes. An Giz needed to start on da flea and heartwormy fingys.

Dr. Joe said dat my eyes wooked good; so he just gave me some ointment dat my momma has to put on my eyeballs free times a day. Ick! But (cute!), it doesn't hurt or anyfing, so it's Okey dokey.

My brudder got checked, and he waded 22.5 pounds. Dr. Joe said now dat he is fixed (?), he will gain some wate. I's hoping he won't gain so much to look fat like my brudder Mo. Hahahahaha!

When we gots home, we all had to get our flea stuff and heartworm fingys. Dr. Joe said dis bees da worst time of the year for fleas!!!

WHAT'S WORSE THAN A MUSLIM?

Via: Badtux, the Snarky Penguin:

"Ann Coulter today opened his (her?) gaping maw and ejaculated that Obama was not, in fact, a Muslim. Rather, he was something worse, something so horrifying that ordinary Americans should run screaming in horror at the very sight of the man. Yes, Obama may be... maybe... AN ATHEIST! The horror! Oh the horror!
"Why, everybody knows that atheists are so horrible and evil that, like, they burn people at the stake or cut off their heads or other stuff like that! And everybody knows that atheists are such despicable people that they regularly bomb abortion clinics, blow up truck bombs outside of federal buildings, and crash planes into buildings. Surely atheist clergy have been regularly arrested for fucking little kids up every orifice, stealing money from their congregations, and shouting "God damn America!" at the top of their lungs from the pulpit, right? Right?!"

8.30.2010

WHY A CIVIL SOCIETY EXTENDS UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

By Robert Reich:

"I have the questionable distinction of appearing on Larry Kudlow’s CNBC program several times a week, arguing with people whose positions under normal circumstances would get no serious attention, and defending policies I would have thought so clearly and obviously defensible they should need no justification. But we are living through strange times. The economy is so bad that the social fabric is coming undone, and what used to be merely weird economic theories have become debatable public policies.

"Tonight it was Harvard Professor Robert Barro, who opined in today’s Wall Street Journal that America’s high rate of long-term unemployment is the consequence rather than the cause of today’s extended unemployment insurance benefits.

"In theory, Barro is correct. If people who lose their jobs receive generous unemployment benefits they might stay unemployed longer than if they got nothing. But that’s hardly a reason to jettison unemployment benefits or turn our backs on millions of Americans who through no fault of their own remain jobless in the worst economy since the Great Depression.

"Yet moral hazard lurks in every conservative brain. It’s also true that if we got rid of lifeguards and let more swimmers drown, fewer people would venture into the water. And if we got rid of fire departments and more houses burnt to the ground, fewer people would use stoves. A civil society is not based on the principle of tough love.

"In point of fact, most states provide unemployment benefits that are only a fraction of the wages and benefits people lost when their jobs disappeared. Indeed, fewer than 40 percent of the unemployed in most states are even eligible for benefits, because states require applicants have been in full-time jobs for at least three to five years. This often rules out a majority of those who are jobless – because they’ve moved from job to job, or have held a number of part-time jobs.

"So it’s hard to make the case that many of the unemployed have chosen to remain jobless and collect unemployment benefits rather than work.

"Anyone who bothered to step into the real world would see the absurdity of Barro’s position. Right now, there are roughly five applicants for every job opening in America. If the job requires relatively few skills, hundreds of applicants line up for it. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 15 percent of people without college degrees are jobless today; that’s not counting large numbers too discouraged even to look for work.

"Barro argues the rate of unemployment in this Great Jobs Recession is comparable to what it was in the 1981-82 recession, but the rate of long-term unemployed is nowhere as high. He concludes this is because unemployment benefits didn’t last nearly as long in 1981 and 82 as it they do now.

"He fails to see – or disclose – that the 81-82 recession was far more benign than this one, and over far sooner. It was caused by Paul Volcker and the Fed yanking up interest rates to break the back of inflation – and overshooting. When they pulled interest rates down again, the economy shot back to life.

"The Great Jobs Recession is far more severe. It’s continuing far longer. It was caused by the bursting of a giant housing bubble, abetted by the excesses of Wall Street. Home values are still 20 to 30 percent below where they were in 1997. The Fed is powerless because consumers cannot and will not buy enough to bring the economy back to life.

"A record number of Americans is unemployed for a record length of time. This is a national tragedy. It is to the nation’s credit that many are receiving unemployment benefits. This is good not only for them and their families but also for the economy as a whole, because it allows them to spend and thereby keep others in jobs. That a noted professor would argue against this is obscene."

8.28.2010

WELCOME GIZMO!

Introducing Gizmo!

Gizmo appears to be a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. He is approximately 2 years old, but is petite for that age. He came from Stray Rescue of St. Louis (see previous post).

Stray Rescue found him standing alone in the middle of a street. They took him in and found that he had a terrible rash under his soft red coat; and the veterinarian exam found that he had heart worms too.

They shaved his fur and treated the rash with antibiotics; and then he underwent a six-week treatment for heart worms.

Through all this trauma, Giz has retained a zest for life! He loves to play with his tennis balls and stuffed toys - especially those that squeak alot!

Because he is such a charmer, the other dogs have welcomed Giz with open paws. Zorro and Livvy have even tried to play ball with him.

8.25.2010

STRAY RESCUE OF ST. LOUIS

Stray Rescue's sole purpose is to rescue stray animals in need of medical attention, restore them to health, and place them in loving adoptive homes. Virtually all of the pets we save have been abused and neglected. They've been dumped on highways, or remote country roads. Abandoned in public parks, empty houses and dark alleys. We've even saved dogs left chained behind buildings after their owners had moved away.

ZZtopdog notes: The photo at left shows Daddog, before and after.


The founder of Stray Rescue, Randy Grim, tells the amazing story of starting this humane effort:
In 1990 I learned the fine art of cutting dog hair. It's not something I really wanted to do, but I thought it would at least point me in the direction of my dream of working with animals. I'd see stray dogs - some in packs - pass by the Lafayette Square grooming shop where I worked. In an effort to get them off the streets, I'd make the normal calls to the local shelters and government agencies, only to find out that these dogs simply are out of luck. I started to think of ways to catch them, and before long I invented some wacky capture methods. I also enlisted friends to help save these poor guys. Each year, this makeshift organization grew as I overloaded everyone I knew with a stray dog.
Stray Rescue officially was born in 1998 as a full-fledged non-profit organization and shelter. I still have no idea how I did it, except that I had no choice. Stray Rescue has received numerous accolades from the American Red Cross and also has received national media attention from Animal Planet, National Geographic, the Weather Channel and Forbes Magazine. Now with Quentin on board, his story has been featured in People Magazine and on It's a Miracle television show. In the National Geographic feature, Mary Ann Mott wrote: "In St. Louis, Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue, is out on the streets every day feeding 50 or more mutts. If these wild dogs don't die of sheer starvation, he said, diseases such as parvovirus, heartworm, or intestinal parasites usually kill them. Their average life span is one to two years. Many of the animals he sees were once "bait dogs" - smaller, passive animals used to train fighting dogs. Great Dane puppies are commonly used, he said, and wire is twisted around their legs to hold them down, so they can't run while being mauled during training sessions. "If they live, they are just discarded onto the streets," said Grim. The animals are recognizable by their missing limbs, and scars from the brutal attacks. Since starting in 1991, I am credited with saving 5,000 feral dogs, all of which - through months of gentle, loving care - have been turned into house pets and adopted by new families. Some have even gone on to become therapy animals, bringing joy to people in hospitals and nursing homes." Animal Planet's "Wild Rescues" television show featured Stray Rescue in action, saving dogs and cats from abuse and neglect from a dilapidated abandoned puppy mill in Cuba, Mo. More than 17 lives were saved, but the woman responsible never was prosecuted. Since 1998, more than 45 households have participated in the Stray Rescue foster family network. These generous people take in sickly, traumatized animals and, with time and the support of professional animal trainers and behaviorists, give back healthy, loving companions ready for adoption. Stray Rescue's foster network is the largest and most effective program of its kind in the St. Louis area. Stray Rescue has made a significant impact and become a voice for stray animals everywhere. With fabulous volunteers, veterinarians, trainers, behaviorists, shelters and programs, I continue to be amazed at how this organization has evolved. But there is so much more work to do because these poor animals continue to suffer. Some days it feels as if I'm fighting a never-ending battle, but it's a battle that I must wage - for their sake.

8.23.2010

EMMY STARTS KINDERGARTEN TODAY

Emily begins kindergarten today.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO OUR SON!

Today is Greg's birthday. He is now 34, with a wonderful wife and two kids of his own, one of whom is starting kindergarten today.

How did this happen? Greg was just starting kindergarten himself, and now his daughter is? Where did all the time go?

8.22.2010

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

"Isn't it a violation of the Georgia sodomy law for the Supreme Court to have its head up its ass?"

~Letter to Playboy magazine, February 1987

THE SECOND "I DON'T WANT TO COUNSEL GAYS" LAWSUIT STRUCK DOWN

Via: Pam's House Blend:

Augusta State University's requirement that a graduate student read material about counseling gays and increase her exposure to that community after she objected to counseling homosexual clients was "academically legitimate," a federal court judge ruled Friday.

U.S. District Judge Randal Hall's decision enables university officials to expel Jennifer Keeton if she does not follow the remediation plan, which professors designed to "address issues of multicultural competence and develop understanding and empathy."

Hall said the case is not about "pitting Christianity against homosexuality," but rather the constitutionality of the school's requirement.

This denunciation comes at the heels of another case in which a student claimed that she was "forced" to choose between her religious beliefs and her vocation. Last month, the courts ruled against Julea Ward, a student at Eastern Michigan University who claimed that she was removed from the school's counseling program because of her strong religious views against homosexuality.

8.20.2010

THE GREAT RIVER TRAIL

Residents of an area often take for granted local wonders that outsiders treasure. One of our local wonders is The Great River Trail, a 60-mile trail that is always within the site and sound of the Mississippi River.

The paved bike/walk path runs along the east bank of the Mississippi River. The south end of the 60-mile trail is located in George Skafidas Parkway, near Sunset Marina, in Rock Island, IL. The path runs through the park and along the river, through downtown Rock Island, and in to Moline, where the trail is part of the Ben Butterworth Parkway. The path continues north through Rock Island, Whiteside , and Carroll Counties.

Each community along the trail offers an invitation to pause for a moment on the route, to explore the diversity that each community respresents.

The Great River Trail is part of a larger regional trail network, including the 500-mile Grand Illinois Trail and proposed 10-state Mississippi River Trail. There are plans to connect the Great River Trail to the nearby Hennepin Canal Parkway.

8.19.2010

THE GIVING PLEDGE

Via Investopedia:

"The Giving Pledge is the brainchild of billionaire businessmen Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. The two of them have teamed up to ask the world's wealthiest people to donate at least 50% of their fortunes to charities. They believe that the richest people in the world can eradicate many of the world's problems through philanthropy. The pledge is not a binding contract but more of a "moral commitment". Individuals are free to donate money to whatever cause they would like. So, far about 40 billionaires have accepted the giving pledge challenge. That's not a large number when you consider that there are nearly 1,000 billionaires in the world, according to Forbes....

"Bill Gates and Warren Buffett should be commended for coming up with the giving pledge idea. They have convinced 40 of the world's wealthiest individuals and families to give back to society. If they want to convince the other 900 or so billionaires however, they have a whole lot more schmoozing to do."

ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS THINKS OBAMA IS A MUSLIM

Via: Alam Colmes Presesnts Liberalland

"Believe it or not, this is not a joke.

"The Washington Post reports on a new Pew Research Center survey.

"The number of Americans who believe — wrongly — that President Obama is a Muslim has increased significantly since his inauguration and now account for nearly 20 percent of the nation’s population… The number of people who now correctly identify Obama as a Christian has dropped to 34 percent, down from nearly half when he took office.

"Perhaps not surprisingly, right-wingers are the most likely to believe false information about the president’s faith.

"More than a third of conservative Republicans now say Obama is a Muslim, nearly double the percentage saying so early last year."


Zztopdog notes:  This is a sad commentary on the intelligence level of the US population.

8.14.2010

LIBERAL GROUPS PUSH TO EXPLOIT TARGET BACKLASH

From the AP:

"Protesters have been rallying outside Target Corp. or its stores almost daily since the retailer angered gay rights supporters and progressives by giving money to help a conservative Republican gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota. Liberal groups are pushing to make an example of the company, hoping its woes will deter other businesses from putting their corporate funds into elections.

"A national gay rights group is negotiating with Target officials, demanding that the firm balance the scale by making comparable donations to benefit candidates it favors. Meanwhile, the controversy is threatening to complicate Target's business plans in other urban markets. Several city officials in San Francisco, one of the cities where Target hopes to expand, have begun criticizing the company.
 
" 'Target is receiving criticism and frustration from their customers because they are doing something wrong, and that should serve absolutely as an example for other companies,' said Ilyse Hogue, director of political advocacy for the liberal group MoveOn.org, which is pressing Target to formally renounce involvement in election campaigns.

"The Minneapolis-based chain has gone from defending the donation as a business decision to apologizing and saying it would carefully review its future giving. But the protests have continued."


Zztopdog notes: Target has consistantly stated that it is a diversity-friendly employer, a gay-friendly employer. This contribution flies in the face of that stated corporate policy. That's the problem.

8.11.2010

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

"Healing rain is a real touch from God. It could be physical healing or emotional or whatever."

~~MICAHEL

8.04.2010

INCONTINENCE IS REARING ITS UGLY HEAD

Zorro has been having little leaks occaisionally. These often occur when he is barking about something -- wanting breakfast, wanting to go outside, etc. Today, he has had four accidents already, and it is only 10:00 am.

Incontinence is part of the pattern for what we suspect is Degenerative Myelopathy (or DM), a non-treatable, non-reversable disease that attacks the sheath surrounding the spinal cord in long-backed dogs. It is a sign that the disease is progressing upward, although Zorro still has some use of his rear right leg.

The first sign was the turning under of his rear left paw, which eventually became totally useless. His right rear paw is still able to help him scoot around as he drags his left.

I have added "doggie diapers" to my shopping list....

8.02.2010

THE CART IS READY, BUT IS ZORRO?

The cart was nearly completely put together when it arrived. When I finally sat down with the instructions, and laid out the remaining parts, it all made sense.

The cart is really an amazing little feat of engineering and design. The length and height can be adjusted to a certain extent. The piece that fits over the shoulders, to contain the corgi, lifts up to allow easy access.

Zorro needs to be in the cart in order to determine the necessary adjustments. So far, though, he isn't having any part of it.

Tomorrow, we'll see what food and treats will do to change his stuborn Corgi mind!

7.29.2010

THE CART HAS ARRIVED!

Zorro's cart arrived today, via FedEx. The body of the cart is assembled, but the wheels and some other part (not sure yet what it is) need to be attached. The nuts/bolts are included; but there are no instructions. Not even a good picture or diagram. Just a small picture of a corgi in a cart on the CorgiAid brochure.

From reading the posts on the WheelCorgis Yahoo Group, all carts are not the same.

This should be interesting!

7.21.2010

ZORRO HAS BEEN APPROVED FOR A CART

We recently sent an application to CorgiAid, requesting a cart for Zorro, We have heard that he has been approved for a loaner cart, and that they have one that should fit him quite well. We sent a check and the contract, and have now received a copy of the completed contract - which means we should be receiving the cart soon. He is very excited! He is so looking forward to walking up the street with the other kids.

Below is a photo of corgis using cart for mobility....

7.20.2010

JAZZ ALWAYS PUTS ME TO SLEEP

Via: Stuff on My Cat:


IT'S TIME FOR WHITE PEOPLE TO TAKE A STAND

Via: Alan Colmes' Liberaland:

Ryan Murdough, a Republican candidate for State House in New Hampshire, says he “stands for the interest of white Americans.”
For far too long white Americans have been told that diversity is something beneficial to their existence. Statistics prove that the opposite is true. New Hampshire residents must seek to preserve their racial identity if we want future generations to have to possibility to live in such a great state. Affirmative action, illegal and legal non-white immigration, anti-white public school systems, and an anti-white media have done much damage to the United States of America and especially New Hampshire. It is time for white people in New Hampshire and across the country to take a stand. We are only 8 percent of the world’s population and we need our own homeland, just like any other non-white group of people deserve their own homeland.
Murdough is running as a Republican, only because it’s easier to get on the ballot that way, but has been disowned by the Republican Party. However, he says “the tea party movement is doing great things.”

7.15.2010

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

"I think it's time we started putting the health of our families before the profits of our insurance companies."

~~Barack Obama, October 5, 2008

7.13.2010

BEET SALAD

From Martha Rose Schulman, for The New York Times:

People who swear they hate beets love this salad. It’s a North African-inspired mixture of grated, uncooked beets dressed with orange and lemon juices and a small amount of olive oil. It makes a great starter when you’re serving something robust as a main course, like a couscous.

1/2 pound beets
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon minced chives, mint or parsley (or a combination)
Salt to taste
Leaves of 1 romaine heart

1. Peel the beets with a vegetable peeler, and grate in a food processor fitted with the shredding blade.

2. Combine the orange juice, lemon juice and olive oil. Toss with the beets and herbs. Season to taste with salt. Line a salad bowl or platter with romaine lettuce leaves, top with the grated beets and serve.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: The grated beets can be dressed and kept in the refrigerator, covered well, for a couple of days. They become more tender but don’t lose their texture, and the mixture becomes even sweeter as the beet juices mingle with the citrus. Toss again before serving.

Nutritional information per serving: 58 calories; 3 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 6 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 32 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 1 gram protein

THE FECKLESS FED

By Paul Krugman (my hero!):

"Back in 2002, a professor turned Federal Reserve official by the name of Ben Bernanke gave a widely quoted speech titled “Deflation: Making Sure ‘It’ Doesn’t Happen Here.” Like other economists, myself included, Mr. Bernanke was deeply disturbed by Japan’s stubborn, seemingly incurable deflation, which in turn was “associated with years of painfully slow growth, rising joblessness, and apparently intractable financial problems.” This sort of thing wasn’t supposed to happen to an advanced nation with sophisticated policy makers. Could something similar happen to the United States?

"Not to worry, said Mr. Bernanke: the Fed had the tools required to head off an American version of the Japan syndrome, and it would use them if necessary.


"Today, Mr. Bernanke is the Fed’s chairman — and his 2002 speech reads like famous last words. We aren’t literally suffering deflation (yet). But inflation is far below the Fed’s preferred rate of 1.7 to 2 percent, and trending steadily lower; it’s a good bet that by some measures we’ll be seeing deflation by sometime next year. Meanwhile, we already have painfully slow growth, very high joblessness, and intractable financial problems. And what is the Fed’s response? It’s debating — with ponderous slowness — whether maybe, possibly, it should consider trying to do something about the situation, one of these days.

"The Fed’s fecklessness is, to be sure, not unique. It has been astonishing and infuriating, as the economic crisis has unfolded, to watch America’s political class defining normalcy down. As recently as two years ago, anyone predicting the current state of affairs (not only is unemployment disastrously high, but most forecasts say that it will stay very high for years) would have been dismissed as a crazy alarmist. Now that the nightmare has become reality, however — and yes, it is a nightmare for millions of Americans — Washington seems to feel absolutely no sense of urgency. Are hopes being destroyed, small businesses being driven into bankruptcy, lives being blighted? Never mind, let’s talk about the evils of budget deficits.


"Still, one might have hoped that the Fed would be different. For one thing, the Fed, unlike the Obama administration, retains considerable freedom of action. It doesn’t need 60 votes in the Senate; the outer limits of its policies aren’t determined by the views of senators from Nebraska and Maine. Beyond that, the Fed was supposed to be intellectually prepared for this situation. Mr. Bernanke has thought long and hard about how to avoid a Japanese-style economic trap, and the Fed’s researchers have been obsessed for years with the same question.

"But here we are, visibly sliding toward deflation — and the Fed is standing pat.

"What should it be doing? Conventional monetary policy, in which the Fed drives down short-term interest rates by buying short-term U.S. government debt, has reached its limit: those short-term rates are already near zero, and can’t go significantly lower. (Investors won’t buy bonds that yield negative interest, since they can always hoard cash instead.) But the message of Mr. Bernanke’s 2002 speech was that there are other things the Fed can do. It can buy longer-term government debt. It can buy private-sector debt. It can try to move expectations by announcing that it will keep short-term rates low for a long time. It can raise its long-run inflation target, to help convince the private sector that borrowing is a good idea and hoarding cash a mistake.


"Nobody knows how well any one of these actions would work. The point, however, is that there are things the Fed could and should be doing, but isn’t. Why not?

"After all, Fed officials, like most observers, have a fairly grim view of the economy’s prospects. Not grim enough, in my view: Fed presidents, who make forecasts every time the committee that sets interest rates meets, aren’t taking the trend toward deflation sufficiently seriously. Nonetheless, even their projections show high unemployment and below-target inflation persisting at least through late 2012.

"So why not try to do something about it? The closest thing I’ve seen to an explanation is a recent speech by Kevin Warsh of the Fed’s Board of Governors, in which he declared that doing what Mr. Bernanke recommended back in 2002 risked undermining the Fed’s “institutional credibility.” But how, exactly, does it serve the Fed’s credibility when it fails to confront high unemployment, while consistently missing its own inflation targets? How credible is the Bank of Japan after presiding over 15 years of deflation?

"Whatever is going on, the Fed needs to rethink its priorities, fast. Mr. Bernanke’s “it” isn’t a hypothetical possibility, it’s on the verge of happening. And the Fed should be doing all it can to stop it."



 

7.12.2010

LIBERALS

Via: Simply Left Behind: The Non-rapturists Guide to the Galaxy

"Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things...every one! So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, 'Liberal,' as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won't work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor." -- Matt Santos, The West Wing

CAT CAUGHT ON TAPE

Via: Bad Attitudes

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN














This is where I wish I were today....

7.10.2010

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

"The most important lesson of American history is the promise of the unexpected. None of our ancestors would have imagined settling way over here on this unknown continent. So we must continue to have a society that is hospitable to the unexpected, which allows possibilities to develope beyond our imaginings."

~~Daniel J. Boorstin


Zztopdog notes: Take that, Teabag scum!

7.08.2010

ECONOMIC MELTDOWN CAUSED BY OVERPAID WAITRESSES AND BARTENDERS

Via: Who Hijacked Our Country

Tom Emmer, Republican candidate for governor of Minnesota, wants to reduce the minimum wage for service workers who receive tips. He says some of these overpaid pampered bartenders and waiters make over $100,000 a year when their tips are included.

First Michele Bachmann, and now this dickwad. I thought Minnesota was a blue state. Where the fuck are all these inbreds coming from?

Meanwhile in California, tens of thousands of state employees are “temporarily” reduced to the minimum wage. I might be in favor of austerity measures like this, IF the higher-ups were willing to make a sacrifice themselves. I’ve gone over this linked article closely, but I can seem to find the part where Schwarzenegger and the California legislature are taking a pay cut. I’ll look again…

What do you call a highly paid elected official who thinks somebody else is making too much money? We all have plenty of names for people who are champing at the bit for America to go to war, as long as they themselves don't have to go — chicken hawks, keyboard warriors, the chairborne division, and a few less printable names.

So what do you call an elected official who gets a huge salary — courtesy of YOUR tax dollars — and wants somebody else to get a pay cut?

And speaking of overpaid legislators: Keep Congress in session this August. Yes I know, August is their chance to go home, put their ear to the ground, get back in touch with their constituents lobbyists, corporate donors; and go on those crucial fact-finding missions to Ibiza and Monte Carlo.

In this article, Robert Shrum says working through August would be a good campaign plan for the Democrats. They can highlight their differences with Republicans on, well, you name it.



As Robert Shrum says: “Keep Congress there in a drama that plays out on center stage — in front of the cameras — with the president calling a special session of Congress to deal with too-long delayed issues of urgent national necessity.”



Labels: bartenders waiters $100K a year, Michele Bachman, Robert Shrum, Tom Emmer

WHO KNEW???

Maria asked me to pick up a new crossword puzzle book. I didn't really want to spend $15-20; so I found a cool, less-expensive book from TCM - "Classic Movie Crossword Puzzles."
Hmmm! Turns out that she doesn't know (or care) squat about Classic Movies.

I guess I'll have to get her a new crossword puzzle book today....

7.07.2010

CANINE DEGENERATIVE MYELOPATHY

From: Wikipedia:

Canine degenerative myelopathy (also known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy) is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. The disease has an insidious onset typically between 7 and 14 years of age. It begins with a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. As of July 15, 2008 the mutated gene responsible for DM has been found present in 43 breeds including German Shepherds, Boxers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and both breeds of Welsh Corgis. The disease is chronic and progressive, and resulting in paralysis.


The myelin is an insulating sheath around neurons in the spinal cord. One proposed cause of degenerative myelopathy is that the immune system attacks this sheath, breaking it down. This results in a loss of communication between nerves in lower body of the animal and the brain.

Degenerative myelopathy initially affects the back legs and causes muscle weakness and loss, and lack of coordination. These cause a staggering effect that may appear to be arthritis. The dog may drag one or both rear paws when it walks. This dragging can cause the nails of one foot to be worn down. The condition may lead to extensive paralysis of the back legs. As the disease progresses, the animal may display symptoms such as incontinence and has considerable difficulties with both balance and walking. If allowed to progress, the animal will show front limb involvement and extensive muscle atrophy. Eventually cranial nerve or respiratory muscle involvement necessitates euthanasia.


Progression of the disease is generally slow but highly variable. The animal could be crippled within a few months, or may survive up to three years.

Degenerative myelopathy is a non-reversible, progressive disease that cannot be cured. There are no treatments that have been clearly shown to stop or slow progression of DM.