Tuesday, August 30, 2005

More Katrina

Katrina is here. Rain; solid, steady rain, but that's all. Possibly some localized flooding, but nothing more. Powerless now, after all the destruction. A short, fierce life and a slow death.


Katrina's Aftermath

Stunned. Shocked. Saddened. Tragedy, of both human and animal suffering, on a scale unimaginable. Lives, both literally and figuratively, have been eliminated. Scenes of heroism and depravity have occurred. Months, perhaps years, will be required to recover from the devastating effects of the hurricane. And there is so little that we can do to help. A truly humbling and heartrending demonstration that our civilization is, in the face of the power of nature, so remarkably fragile.


Monday, August 29, 2005


Not everyone is able to help those in need, but for those who can, we offer two websites where you can make donations:

www.redcross.org and www.noahswish.org.

The good people who belong to these organizations will be glad and happy to accept whatever help that you can offer. Thank you.


Sunday, August 28, 2005


Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to those whose lives will be irrevocably altered by this latest manifestation of the unstoppable fury of nature. May all be well with you.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Reality Bites

For me, it has become the moment that every senior (or incipient senior) dreads - that time when one's own teeth must give way to the modern marvels of dentistry. My paternal family has always had a genetic predisposition to bad teeth (my father used to claim that the condition is known as acidic saliva - as to that, I can't say), I have had more than my share of misery over the years, including abscesses and impactions, and I have had quite enough.

Through the years and visits, my dentition has come to resemble the inside of an amalgam mine (did you know that amalgam is composed partly of mercury, a substance known to be poisonous in large quantities? I should properly be dead) and I am certain that I have put a few dentists' children through college.

The latest folly involved the dislodgement of an amalgam insert and the snapping off of a goodly portion of tooth remnant, leaving a knife's edge and a spear point which lacerate and penetrate my tongue each time I attempt to chew or swallow. I am at present sipping soup and coffee through a straw (laugh if you must) and a 3-stick wad of gum lodges in the gaping cavity and covers the offending hypodermic of enamel, until I can prevail upon some kindly dentist to remove from my mouth every last one of these instruments of torture.

It will not be easy. Most have insisted that all I require is a partial bridge to make all as good as new. No. I want them all gone, so that I might never after be bedeviled by bouts of agony. If I am very lucky, I will locate the kindly and compassionate soul who will agree to release me from pain, and I will have, at long last, relief.

And eventually, when I can eat solid food again, my inaugural meal will be prime rib with a liberally buttered baked potato and freshly grilled vegetables.


Friday, August 26, 2005

Ask Me Anything!!

I have borrowed this from Marti, aka Sunnyside 46, proprietess of the journal Midlife Musings. Stop by and say hi.

The game:  ASK ME ANYTHING !!

Here's how we play:

- Ask me 3 questions. Any 3, no matter how personal, private or random.
- I have to answer them honestly. I have to answer them all.
- In turn, you post this message in your own blog or journal and you have to answer the questions that are asked of you.

i got this from my dear friend Kori at Single and Searching...Come play!

Sounds like fun.


Well, i already asked about your screen name, so I am going to cheat & use that as one
2.when were you & your wife married?
3. and how did you meet?
Comment from
sunnyside46 - 8/26/05 10:18 PM

Gosh, Marti, you made this too easy! You can find the answer to #2 here and the answer to #3 here. As for those who haven't heard the sn story, as I told Marti, I wanted something cute, with numbers and shorthand, and the b4i8 was pretty obvious, and the clover part came from I know not where.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mess O' Potamia (w/apologies to The Daily Show)

Wow! I have had a complete change of heart regarding the intelligence of the President. He now stands revealed as a genius. Consider this:

After the terrorist attacks of 2001, his first knee-jerk reaction was to send troops to Afghanistan to hunt down and destroy Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. What he did not count on was their ability to rapidly disperse and hide where we could not locate them. His advisers presumably alerted him to the fact that since we had made Afghanistan untenable for the terrorists, they might begin to come to the U.S. in even greater numbers and wreak more havoc.

The President quickly realized that to prevent that from happening, he needed to provide the terrorists a place in which they could congregate, a place where we could keep a close eye on them. He began to cast about for a small, poorly defended country which we could overpower and pretend to liberate, knowing that unrest and turmoil would draw the terrorists like flies, keeping them from coming here by fighting them "over there". Of course he realized that the American people would be wary of starting a war in support of such a brilliant plan, so he and his advisers cobbled together their masterful "WMD" strategy to convince the Congress that we were in imminent danger of attack.

It worked! The terrorists are now enmeshed in a web of the Administration's devising, and in 4, 6, or maybe 10 years, we will have wiped them out! Is this not genius?


Tuesday, August 23, 2005


It is curious that, while overly concerned about the actions of other individuals, the one area in which so-called control freaks seldom manage to exercise adequate or any control is over their own behavior.


... you know I need someone ...

We like to patronize local establishments when their prices are reasonable, partly because of the convenience and more intimate surroundings. We do enjoy shopping at the local grocery, the previously mentioned Village Fair.

The quality of the meat (the familiar cuts, anyway) is quite good, and the service is outstanding, along with the friendliness of the personnel.

However ... they need help in the proofreading of their ads. Herewith selections from their most recent ad:

Bonless sirlion steaks

Dunkin Hines cake mix

Shurfine faical tissue

(Bonless steaks? Bon is quite relieved about that.)

Anyone wishing for a proofreading position should apply to:

East Rochester Village Fair
(585) 586-1637
119 West Commercial Street
East Rochester, NY 14445


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Tip of the Day #7

Employing a jagged fingernail to attempt to extract annoying matter from the inner regions of the nostrils is exceedingly unwise.



Notions sometimes occur to me long after they likely have become obvious to everyone else. Nevertheless, I have finally realized that Diatoms, down at the cellular level, are nothing but patterns, models of symmetry and regularity. Unlike art, which generally appears to consist of seeking and yearning, a reaching outward, Diatoms represent a culmination, an attainment, a drawing inward. I have never cared much for chaos, as much as I have had to contend with it on occasion, and Bonnie and I have attempted, as far as practicable, to exert control over our tiny nook of the Universe. It is not always possible, but we try very hard. That we are compatible in this respect is one of the lucky chances of our marriage, and quite gratifying to us both.

There's no real point here; there is no possible way to generalize on the subject of how one wishes to live one's life; this is simply a small explication of our desire to seek patterns among the chaotic and complex movements of existence, and how Diatoms appear to be a manifestation of that quest.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Tip of the Day #6

As I grow older, I find that things that used to come easily are less so now, such as the ability to mentally multi-track. I need to concentrate on a single task rather than attempting to do 2 or 3 things simultaneously. Case in point:

Monday I was leisurely reading email at the kitchen table. The coffeepot is within reach of my right hand, for ease of refueling. I began pouring a cup of coffee, became engrossed in an email, and somehow forgot to stop pouring until both my lap and the laptop were covered in hot coffee. The situation might have been considered patriotic - red skin, blue language, white face. The lap is recovering, the laptop ... not so much. The keyboard on the old laptop is shot, although it can be used for functions other than typing characters.

One phone call later, we now possess a new laptop. It shipped the same day I ordered it, astonishingly enough. I had forgotten how much setup goes into readying a new computer for use; it took all evening yesterday to input programs and such, but at least we are online again.

I have also discovered that there is such a thing, at least in my case, as online withdrawal. Fortunately, my fix came quickly.




Saturday, August 13, 2005

Outwit ... outplay ... outlast

(You know we adore mice; we share our lives with a number of them, and we find them to be adorable and personable, and endlessly entertaining. But ours are tame mice, of course. In the wild, things are different.

I wrote a rather whimsical verse awhile ago. I never expected to discover that there might be actual truth to it:

The mice run swift beneath the moon and none of us is safe.

Observe them now as they converge upon a hapless waif.

Their glaring eyes, their fearsome teeth; she doesn't stand a chance -

The fevered orb shines brightly down upon their vict'ry dance.

No longer do they crouch and hide within the shadows deep

but boldly fare they forth in hordes to hunt us as we sleep.

No longer timid, shy, and meek, they've overcome their fear

and we've become their chosen prey. Beware! for they lurk near.


All content copyright Malcolm Mott 2005)


That said, here is a spoiler alert:

After Survivor:Guatemala, the next season will send the contestants to this little-known island.

In brief, for those who will not wish to read the entire article, herewith a short and sanitized version:

There exists in the South Atlantic, 1000 miles SW of Capetown, South Africa, a small, little-known island called Gough Island. It is home to a population of approximately 10,000,000 seabirds, some species of which are bordering on extinction.

It is also home to 700,000 mice - but these are not common mus musculus - far from it. Evolution has been at work on this remote island, producing mice that are 3x the size of normal mice, and individuals weigh roughly 35 grams.

The trouble is, there is not much in the way of food on Gough Island - except for those seabirds. The "monster mice" have become carnivorous. The rest you can imagine.

That was the serious bit. Now - wouldn't it be fun to watch the contestants fighting off giant carnivorous mice?






Fun Foods

mmmmmm .......... donuuuuuuuut ..........

I think I'll have one right now! (To be honest, before I changed my answer to the last quiz question, I registered as bread - no surprise there.)

Food for thought:

Elevolution For Bread

Posted on 08.12.05 @ 9:56 pm

Brand new world for sandwich!By Michelle Cheung

This is huge news in bread talk. The British food company Hovis has invented the world’s first invisible crust! They have “discovered a way to bake a loaf without the bits you don’t like -the crusts!” Of course the company didn’t reveal how it is made, it just said they are baked with special tins. The word “invisible” makes it sound so magical, compared with “no crust”.

Just so you know, 67% of English kids dislike crust and 35% of parents cut it out. This bread will cost 25% more than regular bread.

Check out Hovis’ Invisible Crust.
Story Via Asahi.com.

What will they think of next? This seems to be another example of "less is more."

Pizza Cones

Posted on 08.10.05 @ 11:32 pm

By David Ponce

I keep telling people that there’s more to food than the way it tastes. I just can’t enjoy a burger (no matter how delicious) that falls apart in my hands. I guess maybe I’m funny that way. Am I alone? Anyway, that’s why I think the pizza cone is the best thing since sliced bread.

As I’m sure you can tell from the picture, a pizza cone, is, well, pizza dough shaped into a cone and filled with your usual arterial cloggers. Two companies are working on this: “Konopizza” and “Crispy Cones”.

The latter is not yet operational, but will open a store in LA this fall, while the former is already peddling this stuff in places such as Indonesia, Kuwait, Spain, Greece, and New Zealand.

Story VIA Strange New Products

I would think a "taco cone" would be a lot more practical (don't even consider it; I'm going to get a patent on this idea.)


The Octodog

Posted on 06.30.05 @ 2:13 am

Did you know it’s next to impossible to get a translation from Swedish on the internet? At least, it is when you were dropped on the head at birth. If anyone out there speaks the language and can enlighten all of us, please drop a note.

I know what I know from the picture. It looks to be a great little kitchen thing from Swedish company Barndesign that turns regular hot dog sausages into little octopuses (I know it’s octopodes, and not octopi as some of you might think, but, well octopuses sounds better). It costs 199kronos, which is about $25. You can get it here. Story VIA Designboom.

This was obviously designed by someone who played with their food one too many times.


French(Freedom?)-Fry Holder

Posted on 06.30.05 @ 1:51 am

How many times have you dropped ketchup covered fries on your lap while driving? Better yet, how many accidents have you been in because you were holding your fries with one hand, eating them with the other and driving with your knee? Well cheer up, you don’t have to endanger other motorists to indulge in your fat sticks any longer.

It’s a simple holder that fits into most car’s cupholders. It has a rubber base to keep it from slipping. And the best thing? It comes with a special clip-on ketchup cup.

Goes for $10, here. Story VIA Bookofjoe.

Now this is a practical idea!


Ben & Jerry’s Euphori-Lock, for Your Precious Ice Cream

Posted on 05.30.05 @ 10:40 pm

euphorilockYou sure love your ice cream. So much so that the simple thought of someone stealing some from you throws you in a dangerous kitten killing frenzy.

That’s sad, man.

Think of the kittens, and just buy this 6$ bauble from Ben & Jerry’s. It’s a combination lock you put on your ice cream.

Here. Story VIA PopGadget.

Huh? Whatthehell?


Bacon Strips Bandaids

Posted on 04.26.05 @ 11:23 pm

baconIt’s late and I should be elsewhere. But this is irresistible.

There isn’t much to say about this. They’re bandages from Archie McPhee made to look like bacon. You get 15 per 5$ box. You figure out just how you can use them.

Check it out.

This isn't food, or remotely connected to it, but it sure looks tasty, and there is a legend that grease applied to a burn will help it to heal faster, so why not just place a strip of bacon on that wound?

All of these oddities, plus many, many, many more, can be found here.

Happy eating and good day.




Thursday, August 11, 2005

... 'scuse me while I kiss the sky ...

Gosh, folks, we already have a winner for the nascent 'Name the Diatom' contest. First prize goes to (fanfare and drum roll, please) Queen Big O of the sunny state of Fla. The winner receives a Diatom designed with her choice of color and shape, and delivered to her via email (when it is finished, of course.) Congratulations!

(Damn! I forgot! (sigh) The winning name is Purple Fusion!


Tip of the Day #5 (and a menage a trois)

A truly useful tip for those who are bedeviled by the cruddy appearance of their monitor display (laptop screens in particular seem to attract every stray bit of fug in the air.) My screen has been coated for months by the waxy yellow buildup of nicotine fumes, fingerprints and the random spot of grease (yes, I eat with this laptop) and I despaired of ever removing the streaks of redistributed matter that a damp cloth left behind. Finally, in the last extremity of my disgust, I stupidly (but courageously) resorted to a product that I have had much success with on tv screens. Without regard for the fact that I might irreparably damage the display, I moistened a facial tissue and swiped at a corner of the screen.

The product is named 'XEROX Film Remover' (8R27). It was an unqualified success; the display now looks factory-fresh. I highly recommend and endorse this product (I can do this, I think; this is not an official publication, and I do not accept advertising [yet].) If you do a search for Xerox film remover, you will find many online sources of supply.

Menage a trois -

     1. There is a truly hilarious entry over at the journal of louie 0768. I urge you to drop by, say hi, and enjoy a good laugh.

     2. I had something for this, but my mind has gone inexplicably blank. If I ever remember what it was, you'll see it.

     3. Oh, yeah, you had to know that this was coming -

Due to the apparent inability of my proxy cache to render a clean image, this is not quite how this Diatom actually appears, but you get the idea (I haven't yet settled on a moniker; maybe I should institute a 'Name the Diatom' contest.)

May your days flow like a summer stream.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

... I can't remember, I can't recall ...

This is a companion piece to the story over at Queen Big O's journal. Stop by and say hello.

MEN are twice as likely as women to forget a partner's birthday, according to research.

Millions also end up in the doghouse for not remembering their own anniversary.

About one in five men (19 per cent) forget at least one special occasion a year - be it a birthday, anniversary or Valentine's Day - compared to just 10 per cent of women.

And although men blame pressures of time or stress at work, the study suggests women may simply be better at reminding themselves of dates, whether by calendar or diary.

The survey of 1125 adults by the online greetings card service moonpig.com found women spent hours finding the right card for the man in their life.

But men hate trawling through card racks and pick the first suitable one they find.

Male absent-mindedness is not easily forgotten by women.

The survey found 14.5 per cent of men said they were "made to suffer" for not remembering a special date while only 4 per cent of women got the cold shoulder from their partners.

Men are mistaken if they think they can get around not buying a card by making a phone call or sending a text. Three in four women (75 per cent) said they preferred a card to any other form of greeting and they wanted a nice one, not the first that came to hand.

Two-thirds of men (66 per cent) said they did not have time to look through card racks, even when they remembered the occasion in the first place.

Only one in 10 males said they felt it was important to get a card that was unique or personal.

But 20 per cent who forgot to buy a card ended up taking their partners out for dinner to make up for it.

Male memory loss is worse, it seems, because men do not "multi-task" in the same way as women.

As they juggle families, careers and the home, women tend to be automatically more organised.

But they also have systems to remind them of vital dates, from something as simple as a calendar to an email reminder.

We men are dismally deficient in the genetic department, it seems. Maybe when the good genes were passed out, men were standing behind the door taking a leak.


... tramps and thieves ...

While I'm on a media kick, here's one more entry, brought thoughtfully to you by Bonnie, distinguished guest introducer of journal topics. This passage is culled from a book titled Gangsters, Swindlers, Killers, & Thieves, an anthology edited by Lawrence Block. The author of the passage is Edward L. Lach Jr. The article is nominally about an outlaw and pirate named Samuel Mason, but it is the introduction that renders it worthy of being included here (did I mention that Bonnie enjoys material of a macabre bent? I am also guilty of same.)

'Because most of what I know about the early years of the American Republic I learned in elementary and high school, I had no idea what a hazardous place the frontier was. Wild animals were the least of it; predatory humans, of the sort to be found hiding out in Cave-in-Rock, were a far greater danger.

'Micajah and Wiley Harpe (Big Harpe and Little Harpe respectively) were brothers, North Carolina Tories who headed west after the Revolution, preying on settlers and travelers in the Mississippi Valley. They were bearded giants dressed in buckskin, wearing scalps on their belts and much given to swooping down on passersby, screaming, "We are the Harpes!" and butchering all within reach. When a posse trapped them in 1799, Wiley escaped; Micajah was shot down and his head sawn off while he was still alive. The posse members carried off his head, perhaps in hope of a reward, but wound up boiling it for soup one night when rations ran low. They nailed his skull to a tree and it stayed there for years.

'According to some sources, the "John Setton" who brought in the head of Samuel Mason was actually Wiley Harpe. Others identify him as a bounty hunter named Bill Setton, and maintain that hanging him as Harpe was yet another miscarriage of frontier justice, as Little Harpe continued preying on the local populace for several years, until he disappeared and was presumably eaten by wolves.

'They didn't teach me any of this in Mr. Green's eighth grade history class ....'

A couple of observations - neither of us were ever taught this in history class either.

It was apparently very easy for people to lose their heads back then.

And, for some reason, we are now singing "Mmm, mmm, good. Mmm, mmm, good. That's what Campbell's Soup is, ..."


... black magic woman ...

And those of us who are Agatha Christie and J.K. Rowling fans have to be at least slightly disturbed by this nugget of information, also from My Way News:

Harry Potter bewitches Guantanamo Bay prisoners

Aug 10, 11:16 AM (ET)

By Caroline Drees, Security Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Harry Potter has bewitched detainees at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, where tales of the young wizard and mysteries by Agatha Christie top the list of most popular books, a prison librarian said on Tuesday.

"Harry Potter is a popular title among some of the detainee population," said the librarian, a civilian contractor identified only as "Lorie" who works at the prison camp for foreign terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

Lorie said the popularity of the best-selling Harry Potter books, which recount the adventures of a boy wizard as he triumphs over the powers of evil, was matched only by the prisoners' passion for Agatha Christie, some of whose murder mysteries are set in the Middle East.

The Guantanamo Bay prison -- which has come under fierce attack by human rights groups for its treatment and indefinite detention of prisoners -- holds about 510 suspects from 40 countries. Most are from Afghanistan and Arab states.

But even this remote prison has not escaped the world-wide frenzy over the escapades of Harry Potter and his friends at the Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. The sixth book in the series by author J.K. Rowling, which went on sale last month, is the fastest-selling book of all time.

"We have Harry Potter in four languages, English, French, Farsi and Russian. We have it on order in Arabic. We do not have books 5 and 6 in the series, at this time. We have had several detainees read the series," Lorie said in a written response to questions from Reuters.

"One prisoner has requested the movies," she said.

News of the series' popularity was first reported by The Washington Times on Monday.

Asked what other books were among the prisoners' favorites, Lorie said, "We have 12 different Agatha Christie titles in Arabic that are very popular. Also 1001 Arabian Nights."

Overall, the library contains 1,200 books, 164 magazines and 40 videos.

The prisoners do not need library privileges to read the Islamic holy book, the Koran, which is a "basic issue item" that each prisoner keeps in his cell, she said.

The United States opened the Guantanamo prison in January 2002. A total of 242 detainees have been transferred out of the prison to other countries either to be freed or for continued detention, while approximately 510 remain at Guantanamo, according to the Pentagon. Many have been held for more than three years and only four have been charged.

Human rights groups have assailed the United States for the indefinite detentions, and former Guantanamo prisoners have complained they were tortured, a charge the military denies.

Some critics have urged the Bush administration to shut the camp down, saying its treatment of prisoners encourages hatred toward the West and bolsters support for militant violence.

If the detainees are fans of the same literature that I enjoy so much, what does that say about me?


... baby, you can drive my car ...

Despite the fact that Bonnie & I are growing older, and that we would like to be able to drive for as long as we are able, we do realize that at some point, it may be necessary to relinquish the privilege, as demonstrated by this story from the My Way News website:

Man accidentally runs over wife twice

Aug 10, 11:17 AM (ET)

BERLIN (Reuters) - A 75-year-old German was so shocked he had accidentally run down his wife he started forward and drove over her again, authorities said Wednesday.

Police in the western town of Bad Nauheim said the man compounded his 73-year-old wife's misery after an onlooker told him he had just run her over while backing out of a parking space. The woman was rushed to hospital and survived.

Please, older people. Watch where you are going, and look around before you put the car in drive.


Tuesday, August 9, 2005

... we all want to change the world ...


DENVER - Critics demanded an apology Thursday from the founder of the Christian ministry Focus on the Family after he compared the ethics of embryonic stem cell research to Nazi experiments on Holocaust victims.

James Dobson made the comments Wednesday during his radio show, which reaches an estimated 220 million people worldwide.

Dobson was criticizing Sen. Bill Frist (news, bio, voting record) and others who support expanded stem cell research in hopes that stem cells one day could be used to replace cells damaged from such conditions as diabetes, spinal cord injury or Parkinson's disease.

Dobson and other opponents object to the research because embryos are destroyed to harvest the cells.

"We condemn what the Nazis did because there are some things that we always could do but we haven't done, because science always has to be guided by ethics and by morality," Dobson said. "And you remove ethics and morality, and you get what happened in Nazi Germany."

Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said Dobson should apologize.

"There is no legitimate comparison between stem-cell research, which seeks to find a cure for disease and to counter human suffering, and the perversion of science and morality represented by the actions of Nazi doctors who deliberately tortured their victims in medical 'experiments,'" Foxman said.

Dobson was not available for comment Thursday. Carrie Gordon Earll, senior analyst for bioethics for Focus on the Family, said Dobson would not apologize.

"The Nazi experiment analogy is accurate and appropriate," she said. "If any apologies are due, it is advocates of destroying embryonic humans who should be apologizing."

Rep. Diana DeGette (news, bio, voting record), D-Colo., called Dobson's remarks "extremely ignorant and insulting," saying they "diminish the enormity of the Nazis' atrocities and are an appalling distortion of the debate."

Organized, evangelical and fundamental religion is on the march, and they're gunning for the tolerant. Beware.


... you tell me that it's evolution ...


(and Nazi references galore)

Shaping politics from the pulpits

By Susan Page, USA TODAY CANTON, Ohio — Pastor Russell Johnson paces across the broad stage as he decries the "secular jihadists" who have "hijacked" America, accuses the public schools of neglecting to teach that Hitler was "an avid evolutionist" and links abortion to children who murder their parents. Russell Johnson leads the Ohio Restoration Project, a network of nearly 1,000 "Patriot Pastors" from conservative churches across the state. Kiichiro Sato, AP

"It's time for the church to get a spinal column" and push the "seculars and the jihadists ... into the dust bin of history," the guest preacher tells a congregation that fills the sanctuary at First Christian Church of Canton.

That is his mission. Johnson leads the Ohio Restoration Project, an emergent network of nearly 1,000 "Patriot Pastors" from conservative churches across the state. Each has pledged to register 300 "values voters," adding hundreds of thousands of like-minded citizens to the electorate who "would be salt and light for America."

And, perhaps, help elect a fellow Christian conservative, Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, as governor next year. That has alarmed some establishment Republicans who back rival contenders and warn that an assertive Christian right campaign could repel moderate voters the party needs.

Evangelical Christian leaders nationwide have been emboldened by their role in re-electing President Bush and galvanized by their success in campaigning for constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage, passed in 18 states so far.

Now some are organizing to buildon last year's successes. They want to solidify their role in setting the political agenda and electing sympathetic public officials.

The Ohio effort isn't unique. Johnson's project — which he says has signed up more than 900 pastors in Ohio during its first 10 weeks in operation — has helped spawn the Texas Restoration Project in Bush's home state. The fledging Pennsylvania Pastors' Network has signed up 81 conservative clergy so far. Similar efforts are beginning to percolate elsewhere.

"It's maturing as a movement within the evangelical Christian community," says Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, a Pennsylvania-based group that teaches pastors how to be involved in politics.

John Green, a political scientist at the University of Akron, calls the networks a new chapter in an effort to organize conservative clergy that began with the Moral Majority a quarter-century ago, then faltered.

"This generation of evangelical pastors is much more open to this type of activity," says Green, who studies Ohio politics and religious conservatives. "There isn't the kind of hostility to involvement in public affairs you would have found among evangelicals 25 years ago."

Interviews with a dozen worshipers after the service here find only enthusiasm for Johnson's message. No one raises concerns that the church is moving into terrain where it doesn't belong. "There's a plumb line that our nation needs to stand for," with Christian principles guiding public policy, says Vicki Cantrell, 50, a homemaker. Her words echo Johnson's sermon.

Her husband, Jim, 52, a chemical engineer, applauds the church's efforts to "get Christians reconnected to the political process" by registering and educating voters. "They've been absent a lot in the past," he says.

Let's hope that we don't someday see this:


More to come.


Monday, August 8, 2005

... the luckiest people in the world ...

Author and columnist Mitch Albom, back in 2003, wrote a book titled "The Five People You Meet in Heaven". Here is an example of a person you would not want to meet in heaven:

The last place that Bonnie and I earned an honest living was a bindery named Corporate Document Solutions (that word 'solutions' is sooooooo overused in company names), a subsidiary of Kinko's Inc. As you may imagine, turnover among the temps was quite high (must remember to do an entry on temps one of these days. It's an intriguing subculture.) Among the horde of people who filtered through our little factory was a woman of indeterminate age - probably mid-20s, but with her it was hard to tell. She was stocky and about 5'9", a fairly massive bit of flesh. She didn't work in our department, so we didn't encounter her often. On breaks, however, she would sometimes be directly behind us on the flight of steps leading down to the loading bay. We were talking to the head of the department in which she worked one day, and the topic of our conversation happened to be this woman. Matt, her department head, informed us that she used to work at a retirement home, but she had been dismissed from that job. We asked Matt why she had been let go, and he said "She had a bad habit of pushing older people down stairs."

We avoided her after that.


... gotta keep searchin' searchin' ...

Associated with our local superstore, Wegmans, is a home improvement center named Chase-Pitkin. We have always wondered - what exactly is a Pitkin, why should we chase one, and where do you find one to chase? I mean, we don't even know what a Pitkin looks like. Is it like a leprechaun? Are they somehow valuable? Or are they like woodchucks, frolicking among the tomatoes, ruining the crops? This is a very perplexing subject.

It was, when we were younger, a question one asked of a frisky date if one wanted to make time ("Ya wanna chase Pitkins?") The other favorite was "Ya wanna go watch the submarine races at Lake Ontario?" (A cousin of mine, when I was about 14 years old, actually asked me this question; being completely clueless at the time, I skeptically answered "There are no submarines at the lake!" Boy, did I miss out!)

It was also fun to send newcomers to our area out on the equivalent of a snipe hunt - we built up a whole mythology about Pitkins and then sent the luckless foil out to hunt them down. No one ever caught a Pitkin, though many tried.

Here's an apocryphal matchbook cover for your consideration:

 We hope your day is a satisfying one.


Sunday, August 7, 2005

... your hands build me up ...

It's been a while (5 months?) but Bonnie deserved a Diatom of her own, so ...

Just for Bonnie, here's the 'Green Goddess'.

The shuttle's coming down and we're waiting up.

Peter Jennings died last night. He was a superb newsman and he will be sorely missed.


More Words to Live By

If you want to see a concise and to-the-point bit of philosophy, please visit Queen Big O's blog. It doesn't get better than this.


Saturday, August 6, 2005

... born in the U.S.A. ...

Will logic ever prevail?

There are two sides to the debate over stem cell research. One side states that the experimentation on embryos is tantamount to murder, that human life is being needlessly destroyed.

The other side states that experimentation will lead to cures for a number of diseases that yield to no other treatment.

The disputed frozen embryos are at present in the possession of fertility clinics, leftovers from in-vitro fertilization. Should the embryos be preserved? By whom? Will organizations such as the Family Research Council accept guardianship of these embryos? If the embryos are destroyed by the clinics, what then? What of the sufferers of disease who might have benefitted from medical research? 

In what direction does the greater good (a phrase resurrected most recently in regard to the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima) lie? Does it lie with the embryos, the future of which seems, at this moment, highly uncertain, or does it lie with those whose illnesses could be alleviated or cured?

This is an excellent site to visit to gain some understanding.

There are two sides in the debate over the war in Iraq. One side states that, in order for America to be safe, we must send our sons and daughters overseas to fight and die in the struggle to defeat the radical Islamic terrorists on their own turf.

The other side states that we are killing a generation of our young people in a war that was begun, not to combat terror, but to remove Saddam Hussein from power.

That Iraq has now become a major battleground in the war against terror is indisputable, due to America's destabilization of the Iraqi nation.

Where does the greater good lie, in this case? Would our troops be better deployed at home, out of harm's way, where they could be quickly mobilized, if necessary, to counteract a threat to our citizens, or are they better off being slaughtered piecemeal by insurgents in a foreign land?

Those who fight the hardest to protect frozen embryos are also those most willing to send our young adults off to be injured or killed in a nebulous war. Is this logical?


Thursday, August 4, 2005


A quick observation directed to Procter & Gamble, manufacturers of "Charmin' Ultra":

Your new bath tissue campaign, "Less is More", is, I think, somewhat off the mark. Leaving aside the cutesy cartoon bears, you demonstrate that four squares of Charmin' Ultra will absorb more liquid than six squares of an unnamed competitor's bath tissue. This is all well and good, but when I wish to mop up spilled liquids, I normally use either a sponge or paper toweling. I use bath tissue for a completely different purpose, and let me assure you that four squares of tissue is not enough to provide an adequate buffer between hand and waste product. Therefore, your demonstration is rendered useless to me, and does not entice me to buy your product. Perhaps it would be wise to try another approach.



Tuesday, August 2, 2005

... (it's) like a rainbow ...

I would've liked to have loaded these without the box, but when I do that, they look murky and blotchy. At least this way they appear as they were intended to. The first is the basic solid color pattern, in the second, the colors are shaded, and in the third the black lines have been colored. If the first one is 'viewed larger', you will see the blotches begin to appear. The second and third show the shading better if they are viewed larger.

(Hey, you know I have to return to my craft roots occasionally.)

Oh, yeah, they're called 'chromatomorphs.'

(If anyone can please tell me how to get graphics to appear without those damn blotches, let me know.)


Selections from MCGURK

I have no idea what inspired this; consider it as mumblings from 'ye olde philosopher':

"Those who insist upon living in the past can never fully experience the future."



TV Notes

I've rather enjoyed a few days away from journaling; I've been working on a graphic design and I haven't found anything crucial or interesting to write about; this stuff will have to do for now.

It's too late now for anyone who may have wanted to watch, but Bonnie, with her keen eye for life's little ironies and absurdities, has pointed out to me an interesting lineup that the History Channel ran Sunday night (why this crap is on the History Channel is beyond us, but here it is:)

5:00 pm - American Eats

6:00 pm - More American Eats

7:00 pm - Cannibals Part 1

8:00 pm - Cannibals Part 2

9:00 pm - Snackfood Tech

10:00 pm - Cereal: History in a Bowl (finally!! the word 'history' appears!!)

Can't they rerun some of their archive shows that some of us may have never seen? Except for the poorly placed 'Cannibals' segments, most of this would be better viewed on The Food Network.

(Segue) Speaking of The Food Network, last year they ran a series called A Cook's Tour featuring a chef named Anthony Bourdain. Former head chef at Les Halles in NYC and author of a few books (his first, Kitchen Confidential, is an excellent read), he traveled the world seeking unique dining experiences. He is cynical, sarcastic, and profane, and he now has a new series on The Travel Channel called No Reservations. Here is a sample of his wisdom: "If you're slower than me, stupider than me, and you taste good, tough s#!t." We urge you to watch it just once. It is decidedly different. (Around these parts, it's on The Travel Channel on Monday night at 10:00 pm & 1:00 am.)