Pages

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Darwin

From Reuters --

Black Death did not kill indiscriminately: study

"The Black Death was highly virulent and undoubtedly killed many otherwise healthy people who would have been unlikely to die under normal-mortality conditions," they wrote. But people already in poor health were more likely to die,"

Survival of the fittest?

Just Go Away Part II


Okay.

I have kept my mouth shut long enough. I cannot hold it all in any longer. I may officially be an Independent, but I still have my opinions about the political parties.

Bill Clinton – Shut up!

Buh bye, Rudy! Don’t let the door hit your butt on the way back to profiting from 9/11.

McCain and Romney! Yes, let’s see you get down and dirty some more!

Bat fight!

I lost hope for John McCain after his defeat by the young Prince George in the 2000 Republican presidential primaries. When John McCain resumed his role as Senator and Republican Statesman with unflinching and unwavering support for the Boy King, he crossed over the line… I could never vote for him.

Romney is a genuine phony. Next to the political dictionary, entry for the word “pander” is a huge photo of Willard Romney. It ain’t a pretty picture.

I would like to see the so-called liberal media spend some time covering the current McCain / Romney disputes. The Republicans have more or less self-destructed but it may still be fun to watch a close and gritty Republican race. Fight, fight, fight…

The 2008 Presidential Election has become more interesting as neither party has a “winner,” yet. Political Junkies are all atwitter. TV Pundits have shit to spew anew. Even folks like Tom Delay and Newt Gingrich are getting on the TV to rehash old dirt and take gratuitous jabs at political enemies. Please, just shut them up!

Moreover, about Hillary’s latest grab for the Michigan and Florida delegates --- I guess the Clintons do not have to play by the rules.

Are Edwards and Obama running against Bill & Hillary?

One last thought for the night… if McCain should become the Republican nominee – according to former Presidential candidate and Republican spokesman Pat Buchanan, John McCain's message this fall will be:

“The jobs are never coming back, the illegals are never going home, but we're going to have a lot more wars…”

The Republicans will be creamed in November with that message.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Battery Backup


I am using the laptop on battery power now. Our power is off. You see, the “handyman” is here again, today. The chores for today: replace a faulty light switch, replace a broken wall socket and patch the wall, install a switch for the new outdoor lights, and repair the brickwork at the top of one of the brick and mortar columns at our front gate… The new set of outdoor lights has not arrived at the store, yet. They will need to be installed another day.

We have been on a minor fix-it binge. It all started with electrifying the mirador (That is our “room” on the roof.). We also paid for the reworking of the plumbing for the water pump used for the back lawn and front gardens (Dad would have had a few choice comments for the way it was cobbled.). The jobs have been odd and definitely inexpensive.

I am still amazed at the cost of labor. Our hot water boiler needed tubing replaced to increase the flow of gas to the pilot and burner -- cost for two men working for an hour -- $18 US. The plumber/electrician/mason or “handyman” only charges us about $35 for a day’s work (6-7 hours). We pay “gringo prices” for parts and supplies – but the labor costs are cheap.

Next? The guestroom fan/light replacement, install new kitchen light fixtures, patch and paint the backyard walls (walls, walls, walls, everywhere…), repaint the front of the house (more walls…), and on and on and on…

We may be living in our rental for a few years and it must be comfortable…. And, we are who we are and it must be nice… Whether we own or rent – home maintenance is a never-ending story…

Yikes! Butt crack! Oh, never mind, he’s so skinny……….

Risk

My favorite board game from my youth is Risk -- playing the French rules. My enjoyment of Age of Empires and other WarCraft-like games began with that game. I enjoy taking over the world.

Risking my health is another story. I read this article today on Reuters.com about the cancer risk from the use of mota. The conclusions are from just one small study.

Crap.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Italian Soap

Italian detergent commercial -- H/T Andrew Sullivan --

Monday, January 21, 2008

Just Go Away

We are all thrilled that Ralph Nader will soon decide on possible run for the presidency in the 2008 Presidential Election.

"What I'm deciding on right now is whether we can get enough volunteers, enough financial resources to overcome the huge ballot access obstacles, which you don't experience here in Canada, but which are the worst in the Western world in the United States," said Nader, who will turn 74 on February 27.

Not.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Same Shit, Different Day


There is a reason that George H. W. Bush did not allow the allied forces to push on to Baghdad after liberating the wealthy Kingdom of Kuwait. Chaos and murder.

For hundreds of years, the Islamic world has been torn with division. There may be only one true God but, there are a few different branches/brands/bands of worshipers. And, they don't all get-along. Shia and Sunni Muslims have been fighting a religious civil war for a very long time. The other sects don't get much press because they aren't actively murdering one another.

Imagine if we had the early Mormon sects murdering their "competitors" (Avenging Angels in Over-Drive). All the prophets du jour would have probably been murdered. The Kirtland Temple in Kirtland, Ohio would be an important center of Mormon worship and church governance. The claim that Joseph Smith's son, Joseph Smith III, was the rightful successor to Joseph Smith would have been met with -- chaos. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now known as the Community of Christ) may never have made it back to Independence, Missouri to build The Temple.

Sunni and Shia Muslims have been fighting and murdering each other because they disagree about the successor to their prophet, Muhammad. Just in the news today, there were two bombings where Shia Muslims were the target. One was in Iraq and the other in Pakistan.

Same old shit....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'm Good Enough

One of my bipolar manic obsessions was listening to Air America over the Internet. Three years ago or so, Memo even bought me a satellite radio and subscription so I could enjoy Randi Rhodes and Al Franken. Well, I don't have to explain what happened to my interest in Air America after that...... Phucking "true to form" I dropped that obsession and moved on to the next....

It really does suck when I look back at all the games, gifts, and gotta-have-it grown-up toys that I have abandoned. Not that I have the attention span of a goldfish or anything like that but, after 6 months or even a year and a half of enjoying something or the other --- it just goes away. My freaking mood swings can be expensive. It can cost my relationships a great deal, too.

Memo once bought me a computer game called Silent Steel. It was one of the few things that I had on a Christmas Wish List that particular Christmas. He gave it for me, I installed it, and I maybe played with it for an hour. That was it. Somewhere in my brain some lame ass neuron shot its wad and the game no longer mattered to me. And, yes, I have felt guilty for wasting Billy's treasure and disappointing him.

Bipolar disorder sucks.

I am still a fan of Al Franken and Randi Rhodes. I have purchased and read a few of Al's books. And, if I had the money/time/attention span, I would support him in his bid to be the next Senator from Minnesota. Here's one of his political ads:

Se Renta

Our next door neighbor is a construction contractor. He and his wife often sell clothing from their front patio area on Wednesdays -- Tiangus Day. They also have a small Internet Cafe that they run out of a "store front" room at the front of their house. Fernando and Victoria are wonderful people.

Our neighbor, Victoria, is also the sister of the man from whom we rent our house. The laundry down the street is owned by our landlord's brother. Another brother lives just down the privada (private drive) that opens onto our street in front of our house. We have found ourselves in the midst of the Hinojosa family and we love it.

A few days ago, we saw Fernando and his crew removing a tree next to "our" laundry. A quick mention that we wanted two very overgrown and old bushes removed from the raised gardens in the front of our rental and the next day our neighbor had a four man crew removing them. I think the guys may have been at the house for about 4 hours. Total cost: $500 Pesos (that is less than $50 in US dollars).

Yesterday, a plumber came to fix an "ugly" pipe and shut-off set-up used with the pump that brings water up from a cistern which we use to water the gardens and back "lawn". Someone had "cobbled" the system and it just had to be fixed. It was a cosmetic and utilitarian fix. I heard my Dad's snide comments about the plumbing every time I looked at it (Of course, its all in my head).

The plumber also fixed the broken handle/guts in the guest bedroom's toilet and replaced a sprinkler head for the back lawn. We kept him busy all day. We don't have the bill for the parts, yet, but when I asked him how much I owed him for the day..... he asked for $300 Pesos (Yep, less than $30 US).

I had a very disconcerting moment last night when we decided to try out the local Domino's Pizza. The pizzas were great, but we paid what I consider "gringo" prices. We paid just over $200 Pesos for that meal. We blew nearly the equivalent of the plumber's wages for the day on stupid pizzas. That's our little bit of Mexico.....

We are continuing our little home improvement spree, today. The plumber/electrician is back today. We are having him run some power to the mirador on the roof. We also want him to put a switch on the sprinkler system's water pump and repair a short in the ceiling lights in the living room. We want some outdoor lights on the columns/gate but, we have to go out and buy a pair. That project may have to wait...

All in all, I know that we won't be paying a whole lot of money for the labor on any of our projects. It is a fact of life here. We know lots of hard working folks that work for wages that Americans won't accept. At least, for now....they don't. Free Trade and the threat of China seems to be a big factor in the stagnant wages and loss of benefits that is happening back home. And, it seems to be all down hill......

Anyway, we benefit from the economic conditions here in central Mexico. We may live in a pricier area of Mexico because of all the North American retirees but, as an economic refugee from Michigan, my meager teachers' pension helps us both live comfortably.

I gotta get back to "work".
.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Be Afraid, Very Afraid Part II

The video from Morning Joe......

Be Afraid, Very Afraid


The last thing that America needs to do is to mimic the Other Religious Extremists in the world.......

Mike Huckabee would support an American Taliban movement to change our government......

He is quoted as telling a Michigan audience last night that:

"...I believe it's a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the Word of the Living God. And that's what we need to do -- to amend the Constitution so it's in God's standards rather than try to change God's standards so it lines up with some contemporary view."


No way, Mike!

Lions and Tigers and Bears

For other Friends of Dorothy and folks that like a good giggle:



And Part II

Monday, January 14, 2008

Uncommon Courage

Scott Kleeb's Truman Dinner Speech in Douglas County, Nebraska.



and Part II

Mania

Okay.

I admit it. I enjoy YouTube. Yes, they may be aggravating to play directly from my blog. You can click through and watch them directly from the YouTube website.

I posted a Michigan political video today that I thought was quite well done and funny. I went directly to YouTube to view it and discovered more videos from AndyCobbonUTube. You may have heard of and / or viewed this one:

lonelydem07




You may enjoy viewing some of the other UTube videos from AndyCobbonUTube.

Governor William Miliken

Governor William Milliken is a moderate Republican and served as Michigan's governor from 1969 - 1983. I will always remember him as probably the best Michigan leader in my lifetime. You may remember that Gov. Milliken endorsed John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential Election. His 2004 statement may be found here.

It is worth noting that Bill Milliken served as Governor George Romney's Lieutenant Governor. Which brings us to the subject of Mitt Romney and his run for the Republican nomination for President in the 2008 Election...

In a Chicago Tribune article, Governor Milliken said this about Mitt:

Mitt "brings to mind a line from Groucho Marx: 'These are my principles, and if you don't agree with me, then here, I have some others..."


According to TMP"s Election Central, Governor Milliken is endorsing Senator John McCain in Tuesday's Michigan Republican Presidential Primary.

"I was a great admirer of his father," Milliken told the Detroit News. "But Mitt Romney has been a disappointment to me because he has changed his socially responsible positions he took as governor of Massachusetts. I don't have the respect for him that I had for his father."

This Is FUNNY!

H/T to Daily Kos


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Vindication


Don't you just hate it when someone you love tells you that "it is all in your head" and "it won't hurt you"? For years, I have been avoided anything with artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup. Right at the top of my list of reasons why I prefer natural sugar and honey (as God intended, Amen) is the FACT that Sorbitol causes me extreme gastrointestinal discomfort. Keep that Diet Pop and other fake shit away from me!

I found this article about Sorbitol rather interesting. So, I am not the only person that is sensitive to fake sugar.
.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

We Are 2 of the 30,500 People

Finally.

We have some national attention on the economic woes in Michigan. That is, at the very least through the Michigan Presidential Primary next week. The New York Times chatted with some real Michiganders from Standish. Are you listening Mitt, Mike, John, and the Dem-Stars?

Does our great nation care that:

In Michigan, where the unemployment rate, 7.4 percent in November, is the highest in the nation, people say the troubled economy is, by far, the most important issue any leader must address right now.

As they looked to Tuesday’s primary, nearly all of about two dozen people interviewed here in recent days said they were relieved to see the presidential candidates finally speaking of the financial issues that worried them every day.

But many said they were also deeply skeptical of all the new economic promises: the sudden release of candidates’ revitalization packages, talk of retraining programs, television commercials pledging help. While the economy seems now to have emerged as an issue among voters nationally, as job growth has stalled and oil prices hit $100 a barrel, Michigan, where the unemployment rate has been higher than the national average since September 2000, has been pondering the situation far longer.

People here have heard promises before.


And, by the way, Willard, it is personal for us, too. This is a fairly nice political ad. It is a shame that Mitt is such a phony.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Uptight

This is funny.



Personally, I prefer Jumex Apple Nectar and oatmeal......

Dirty Tricks


Oh, Michigan.

I was going to leave this one alone but, I just can't. The primary in Michigan is a joke. It is meaningless for the Democratic Party and can only be a source of mischief for both disaffected Republicans, Independents, and goofy Democrats. If I were back home, I would be tempted to join the mischief makers.

History (from Daily Kos):

In 1972, Republican voters in Michigan decided to make a little mischief, crossing over to vote in the open Democratic primary and voting for segregationist Democrat George Wallace, seriously embarrassing the state's Democrats. In fact, a third of the voters (PDF) in the Democratic primary were Republican crossover votes. In 1988, Republican voters again crossed over, helping Jesse Jackson win the Democratic primary, helping rack up big margins for Jackson in Republican precincts. (Michigan Republicans can clearly be counted on to practice the worst of racial politics.) In 1998, Republicans helped Jack Kevorkian's lawyer -- quack Geoffrey Feiger -- win his Democratic primary, thus guaranteeing their hold on the governor's mansion that year.


AND:

Michigan Democrats helped deliver their state to McCain in 2000 to spite their hated governor, John Engler, who had "guaranteed" his state to Bush.


So, Daily Kos is supporting a Michigan Democrats for Mitt primary election ploy.

And, I must admit, I LIKE IT!!!

Romney is a phony. He is pandering to whomever will listen to him. His liberal and centrist past have been ignored as he CHANGES his political positions just to get support from the Republican base and other Christianists. Screw his Michigan roots. Mitt is no George Romney and does not deserve anyone's support in Michigan.
.

Mother Knew Best


I miss Vernor's Ginger Ale.

When I was attending university in Iowa, I was lucky enough to find a local Lamoni grocer that had Vernor's shipped from Michigan. Graceland University had a large population of Michiganders and it only made sense to bring us a bit of home. THE ginger ale is more than a soft drink, it is also a home remedy for what ailed you. My parents always stocked the fridge with Vernor's whenever anyone was ill.

I know that some folks swear by the recuperative powers of warm Coca-Cola or even the once available Coke syrup. We preferred Vernor's. The bubbles and the comforting taste was all we ever needed to have to know that the folks cared for us and did all they could to help us feel better.

I really missed having that barrel aged beverage available over the New Year's celebration. Yes, it makes a good drink mixer, but I didn't drink alcohol on New Year's Eve. I needed some Vernor's Ginger Ale after my short, but frequent, trips to worship the Porcelain Princess. I caught the Flu.

I'm fully recovered now. I lost some weight that I can no longer afford to lose. Thankfully, I am hungry and eating well, again. And, I still wish I had some Vernor's.
.

Trigger

Back in the News: Horse Meat

It seems that the animal rights activists have created more problems for the poor end-of-their-lives horses. Last September, The Do Nothing Congress passed a law forbidding the slaughter of horses for consumption of their meat. Idiots.

Is there any real difference in the slaughter of horses than pigs, goats, cattle, and sheep?

Now, it seems it may be more cruel to ship those horses to Canada or Mexico. Unintended Consequences ...

Until we have Star Trek food replicators ---- I'll have my meat "tres cuatros"..... and no mystery meat, please.
.

Parity

I am an advocate for Insurance Parity. For some crazy reason some folks with brain disorders and mental illnesses have to pay more for the treatment of their diseases than for other organic illnesses. Of course, I am referring to the insured and the under-insured. The 40 million or so Americans without health insurance are just plain screwed.

I admit that though we have recently seen a push in the Congress and in Michigan for Insurance Parity, I haven't read that anything has been done. I haven't been informed that the 50% co-pay for psychiatric services has changed. At least, I do have prescription coverage for all of the medications that the "pdoc" wants me to use to live a more stable life..... in the U.S.

Staying on my meds while living in Mexico has been difficult. There doesn't seem to be a way for me to retrieve my U.S. medications without traveling to the States. My medications, if available, are expensive here. I can not obtain one of my blood pressure medications and have had to create a substitute heart cocktail. That really sucks.

Accepting the fact that I have an organic brain disease that has been with me for my entire life has been relatively easy. Accepting the fact that my heart doesn't quite work the way it should is taking me a bit longer to accept. I have had at least 3 cardiac stress tests, numerous EKG tests, and 3 sonar studies. Not one doctor has ever given me an explanation for my supraventricular tachycardia or high blood pressure.

Anyway, I came across a report on Reuters with these conclusions:

Major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, as well as elevated scores on the depression and anxiety tests all increased the risk of a major coronary event. Of these, major depressive disorder was the strongest factor, increasing the risk by 2.85-fold. No additive effect was seen; patients with both major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder had roughly the same risk of suffering a major coronary event as patients with just one of the disorders.

"Now that we know that both generalized anxiety disorder and major depression are markers of increased cardiac risk, it is imperative that these patients receive the best evidence-based treatment for both their cardiac and psychiatric conditions," Frasure-Smith emphasized.

"Extra efforts are justified in helping them change their cardiac risk factors, assure treatment compliance, and improve their emotional and social functioning," she added.

The doctors' maxim that you must "treat the whole person" comes to mind. And what will those idiots in Lansing and Washington, D.C. do? I won't be holding my breath, at least not at this altitude....

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Family


I have a particular family member that seems to have always delighted in getting a rise out of me. 30 years ago, the subjects of his barbs was teacher tenure and the fact that teachers worked according to a 19th century calendar that provided for long summer vacations. I think that he eventually understood not to confuse university professional tenure with the simple probation period that all new hires are required to complete before having some basic employee rights such as choosing to join a union. He was relentless, nevertheless.

Hey, I am all for year-round school calendars. Of course, school must be held in state-of-the art buildings with air conditioning. Not working during the summers was great. The pay sucked. Teachers are not paid for the time they do not work on the clock. I worked in a hardware store a few summers and some weekends during the school year to make ends meet. I also grabbed whatever after-school paid position that was available, tutored, and chaperoned after-school events. My apartment/house, Fucking student loans, and the costs of required graduate school course work kept me poor and busy.

Therefore, fucking riding me about my so-called vacations was maddening.

Being subject to losing a job on the whim of some superior for two long years was a hell-uv-a long probation period compared to the typical 60 – 90 days in a factory job. Now the State of Michigan puts its new hires through 4 years of probation without due process rights and other of its legislated job rights. This shit that it is nearly impossible to fire a “bad” teacher is utter bullshit. Every school district has its procedures and they do use them and the State Laws to get rid of the bad ones. The Republicans seem to delight in repeating untruths, unfortunately.

I think he gets that one now, also.

Maybe, he was a true bullshitting Harris and I did not understand….

Now, he needles me about politics. You know, the Democrats are blah, blah, blah, beneath contempt, blah, blah, blah… And, Hillary! Did you know?……… Tsk tsk tsk.

News Flash!

I am no longer a card-carrying member of the Democratic Party and I no longer support the Friends of Hillary. I am an Independent and I fucking agree with a whole lot of what is said about the Democrats and Senator Hillary Clinton.

So, quit busting my balls and move on!

(I hate to guess what will be the next target. Oh, my aching nut sack!)

.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Just For Fun

H/T to Weird Cake

Your Love is Based on Commitment

You believe that love is something that develops and grows.
You don't believe in love at first site, and you never mistake lust for love.
For you, love is about mutual devotion, respect, and understanding.
You don't feel comfortable in a relationship, unless you're both in it for the long run.

Why your love can last: You don't take commitment lightly - or leave relationships easily

Why your love can fail: You're so committed, you often can't see the most obvious problems in your relationship

Friday, January 4, 2008

It Is Time



written transcript from NewsDay

.

Taking Down the Walls


I cried.

I never thought that in my lifetime I would see the reunification of Germany. When the East German border guards did not shoot the kids climbing on the Berlin Wall, the world changed. The face of Europe changed. Germany evolved.

I have hoped that I would live long enough to see the United States live up to the Pledge that I recited each morning with my classroom for 25 years. "Liberty and justice for all" is obtainable. Last night, the Democrats, Independents, and cross-over Republicans in the Iowa Democratic Caucuses showed us that there is hope for a better country and world.

I cried.

Two amazing things happened. An African-American won the Democratic Caucus vote. A woman won third place in the same voting.

Every year that I taught, I managed to find "teachable moments" when I could tell the girls and boys that in our country skin color and gender were not supposed to be barriers. The era of separate drinking fountains, waiting rooms, and restaurant seating had ended. "Wasn't it silly?" The kids always agreed.

The walls are still coming down and our nation is still moving on...

Unfortunately, the rule of thirds seems to hold true. One-third of folks are usually ready for change, one-third can be coaxed along, and one-third just won't budge. 1/3 of the Iowa Republican Caucus voters supported Mike Huckabee. Think about it.

January will be an interesting month in politics. I am certain there will be more cheers and tears.
.

Hope