Friday, February 27, 2009

Across the Pond

Happy 2nd Anniversary to Marmite Toasty!  Her "blob" is on my daily reading list and it always puts a smile on my face.  M. Toasty lives in England and uses the vernacular of her region.  Sometimes it is a challenge to interpret her "English" but having lived on the US and Canadian border for most of my life I usually can figure it all out.

I highly recommend reading TWADDLE everyday rubbish!

The picture above comes from M's blog sidebar.  That's Janet, Mabel, and Cedric!

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Friday Cat Blogging

Craig Grant has 500 cats.

"What started as one cat quickly grew to 150. Grant would take in strays and pick up cats at construction sites. But, soon enough, five acres wasn't quite enough elbow room for all the residents, so in five-acre by five-acre patchwork plots, Grant expanded Caboodle Ranch into a 30-acre property."


"Starting with $100,000 out of his own pocket, Grant has designed and built a showcase property that conjures notions of a gingerbread village.

The feline city is complete with a city hall, police department, Caboodle chapel, an elementary school, and, of course, Walmart."

Our 9 Lives are enough.......

(H/T to Towleroad)

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I started my day reading blogs, online newspapers, and other sites that share the news.  As usual, I read the online version of my hometown newspaper, the Times Herald.  Good Grief!  I unfortunately read a Letter to the Editor.  The editorial staff really needs to do more research and to more closely consider the content of the letters they publish.

The Times Herald chose to publish a reader's letter that complained about the evils of the Freedom of Choice Act.  The problem:  the FOCA DOES NOT EXIST.  It is a bogus "threat" used by lying liars to scare devote Christianists into writing letters to politicians and newspapers AND to encourage them to send their hard earned dollars to support the alleged fight against a piece of legislation that DOES NOT EXIST.

Really?  WTF?

I have an irrational hate of liars.  I also have little regard for people that just go along with the lies they are told without any questions whatsoever.  And, it is incomprehensible that intelligent staffers at the Port Huron Times Herald would allow bullshit to be published in the guise of a Letter to the Editor.

Needless to say, I wrote a quick note to the good folks at the newspaper.  Regardless of my or your views about the rights of women to make thier own health care choices -- it was wrong to publish that particular letter.  Yes, the Opinion Page of the newspaper is the appropriate place to carry on a dialog about the legal right to an abortion.  Go for it.  But don't continue to spread a lie.

Oh, and, hey Lady, you've been used.  I hope you send your monies to a group that feeds the poor instead of the liars that starve your intellect.  A check sent to Our Lady of Guadalupe Hispanic Mission in Port Huron Township would go a long way to help those in need.  Jesus would approve.


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Bobby Jindal's (False) Tale of Katrina Heroism

....another lying politician.

Another Photo

I went to the roof of our house to snap this photograph of a branch of our Jacaranda tree.


Photo of the Day

This is a photograph of part of our front "yard". Note the flower petals that litter the pavement. For about the next month and a half we will have to sweep once or twice a day to keep up with the falling flowers. The Jacaranda tree is beautiful -- but messy.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Just for Fun

I used a recent photograph of Candice Miller (MI-10), Republican Hack, to create this Shepard Fairey-like poster.

Check it out here.

Carol Roberts: Hero

Heroes are rare and special.  Heroes see a need and work to meet the challenges that it places before them.  Carol Roberts and other kind folks are working to feed the hungry in western St. Clair County.  Good job, Carol!

Her story
from the Port Huron Times Herald:

The Capac resident said the bulk of the county's population is in Port Huron and surrounding areas, and that's where most of the resources are, too.

She said the west side of the county "is very neglected," though "these people out here are losing their jobs left and right."

Many of the major human services departments, including both state and county programs, are based in Port Huron. Roberts, who is also the community employment program supervisor for the Arc of St. Clair County, said many don't have the resources or gas money to get into the more populated areas of the county to get help.

In response, Roberts has joined a grass-roots effort at Capac Community Church -- dubbed the Connection -- to help provide food and clothing to the area.

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Candice Miller (MI-10): Republican and LIAR

I've been wondering what my congresswoman would say as some lame ass excuse for voting against the interests of her congressional district and the State of Michigan.  I found a reference to her bullshit this morning.

"Michigan is a state of about 10 million people, and we are the hardest hit, as I said, by this economy. And yet we are expected to get approximately $7 billion from this bill. And apparently the Senate majority leader has earmarked $8 billion for a rail system from Las Vegas to Los Angeles? You have got to be kidding. You have got to be kidding."

LIAR.  The stimulus bill did not contain funding for a high speed rail line from Disneyland to Vegas.  Liar. Liar. Liar.

Just more Republican talking points that have already been debunked.  How dare she?  Does she really think that we are all stupid?

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AMERICAblog: Chris in Paris

Chris in Paris asks, "What miserable bastards treat kids like this?"  And, I want to know, too.

When I taught in the public school system most of the schools where I had been assigned had policies enacted that took measures to insure that the kids who needed free or reduced-price lunches were not singled out in any way.  Everyone got in the same lines and received the same meals.  When I was a kid we bought lunch tokens for hot lunches at the office and nobody knew when you went through the lunch line that your token was free, reduced, or fully paid.

Why the hell any school district would single out and punish kids for their parents sudden poverty is beyond me.....

Shame on the Albuquerque Public Schools.

"Faced with mounting unpaid lunch charges in the economic downturn, Albuquerque Public Schools last month instituted a "cheese sandwich policy," serving the alternative meals to children whose parents fail to pick up their lunch tab.

Such policies have become a necessity for schools seeking to keep budgets in the black while ensuring children don't go hungry. School districts including those in Chula Vista, Calif., Hillsborough County, Fla., and Lynnwood, Wash., have also taken to serving cheese sandwiches to lunch debtors.

Critics argue the cold meals are a form of punishment for children whose parents can't afford to pay.

"We've heard stories from moms coming in saying their child was pulled out of the lunch line and given a cheese sandwich," said Nancy Pope, director of the New Mexico Collaborative to End Hunger. "One woman said her daughter never wants to go back to school."

Some Albuquerque parents have tearfully pleaded with school board members to stop singling out their children because they're poor, while others have flooded talk radio shows thanking the district for imposing a policy that commands parental responsibility."

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Knuckle Dragger Award: Mayor Dean Grose


I do not believe that any adult in the United States can claim that they did not know that this postcard picture was racist.  The cartoon the other day was bad.  This has no other meaning than a racist jab at our President.

Los Alamitos, California Mayor Dean Grose sent this picture out in emails the other day -- WTF?

"Grose confirmed to the AP that he sent the e-mail to Price and said he didn't mean to offend her. He said he was unaware of the racial stereotype that black people like watermelons.

He said he and Price are friends and serve together on a community youth board.

"Bottom line is, we laugh at things and I didn't see this in the same light that she did," Grose told the AP. "I'm sorry. It wasn't sent to offend her personally - or anyone - from the standpoint of the African-American race."

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Another Day in Paradise

Today was another one of those days that reconfirms that our move to Mexico was the best thing to do for our mental and physical health. We had breakfast at David's Cafe (90 pesos) and hung around Ajijic's Plaza (gratis/free) to watch the Carnival Parade. It was really great to see the children and teenagers marching and riding on floats in the parade (priceless).

A good time was had by all.

Another Photo

Like parades back home in the United States, the final parade group were horses and their riders. Many of the horses danced for us as a band played. I could not miss the opportunity to photograph these young boys on their horse.

Photo of the Day

Today is Carnival in Ajijic. This is just one photograph that shows the confetti being thrown from one of the many floats in the parade. Confetti, flour, and foam were flying through the air and landing on participants and spectators.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Knuckle Draggers


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Harmless Food Substance

Okay.  It's a steak sauce.  And, it all happened in the United Kingdom (north London).

Okay.  This was just a silly "human interest" story but, HP Sauce is my all-time favorite food substance to use when grilling steaks.  It is available in Canada where I first tried it.  I haven't checked to see if it's made its way to our local market that imports a lot of "foreign" foods.

Oh, and a dash of HP Sauce in a Bloody Caesar is pretty good.

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Rest In Peace

Socks -- The Clinton's "First Cat"

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Monday, February 16, 2009

You Can't Make This Up

While living in Mexico I have discovered the great taste of Coke made with real sugar and not some lame sweetener like high fructose corn syrup.  Sorry, Iowa, but HFCS sucks.  I have also tried several of the half-dozen plus flavors of Tang that are available here.  Yep, it's not your granddaddy's astronaut drink anymore.  I find the mango Tang too sweet, the tangerine flavor is better than the traditional orange, and the strawberry is simply surprising.

The Mexicans also have a drink called Horchata.  It is a rice based drink that I am not at all fond of drinking.  The first time that I tried Horchata, it didn't sit well in my stomach.  I threw it up within 15 minutes.  I'm all for trying new things, but my experience with Horchata made me leery about other local beverages and their mixes.

And, go figure, the folks around here like to put lemon juice and salt in their beer.  (The German in me cringes.)  The pop company that make Squirt (one of my all time favorite soft drinks) also makes a version of Squirt with lemon juice and salt.  I guess tequila tastes great with that combination.  Personally, tequila doesn't need to be doctored to phuck you up.....

Remind me, should I ever visit India, that I don't really want to try their newest soft drink that is on its way to markets soon.  Reuters has an article about it --- "They call it Mellow Yellow?"

A hardline Hindu organization, known for its opposition to "corrupting" Western food imports, is planning to launch a new soft drink made from cow's urine, often seen as sacred in parts of India.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), or National Volunteer Corps, said the bovine beverage is undergoing laboratory tests for the next 2 to 3 months but did not give a specific date for its commercial release.

The flavor is not yet known, but the RSS said the liquid produced by Hinduism's revered holy cows is being mixed with products such as aloe vera and gooseberry to fight diseases such as diabetes and cancer.


No thanks.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Country First?

Quick Hit --

When Senator John McCain was the Republican candidate for president he adopted the slogan of "Country First."  Unfortunately, he also grew fond of saying that then Candidate Obama put the Democratic Party ahead of our country.  Not so...  The voters didn't buy McCains crap.

Well, it is evident by her votes that Republican Representative Candice Miller (MI-10) puts her party loyalties first, above the needs of her congressional district in Michigan.  How else do we explain her votes on the stimulus bill and the fair wage act?

Does she want Michigan to fail?  Does she want the United States thrust into a deep and lingering economic depression?  She's rich and out of touch.......

Yep, she doesn't worry about re-election in a gerrymandered district without a strong Democratic opposition.  Miller has a ton of money on hand for herself and her very own PAC to enrich the campaign coffers of her Republican cronies.  She no doubt will end up with some cushy lobbyist job or made head of some Republican support group after this gig in Congress.

It is too bad for the folks in Michigan.  She doesn't seem to give a rat's ass about the poor, unemployed, and struggling folks back home.

Yep, what a crying shame.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Call your Republican Representative --- Oh, Candy!...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Republican Party Demands

So, let's review.

We will feed less poor folks and give tax breaks/bonuses to very rich folk.

And, we will not create 600,000 more jobs for the growing number of unemployed people during the worst recession ever?

Ok.  Calling Rick Warren?  Do you wanna knock some heads together or stand by and say nothing?

The Republican Party.  Really?

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Thank You Nebraska Senator Nelson

Let me get this straight.  You had to have an increase in the number of people receiving food stamps cut from the Stimulus Bill?  WTF?  The food stamp program helps feed the poor.  Economists all agree that for every dollar spent on food stamps the economy receives a greater stimulus than tax cuts for the wealthy.

So, what the do you mean?  We can't feed more of this nation's poor is a bipartisan compromise reached so that the United States of America can give more tax breaks to the wealthy?

The Republican Party has reached a true low.  We must not feed the poor during the worst recession ever seen because the Republicans can't/won't/aren't fracking willing to do the Lord's Work.  They don't want to feed any more poor people.

Where are the Christianists?  Do we hear any outrage?


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Saturday, February 7, 2009

It Breaks My Heart, Too

I cried.......

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

You Can't Make This Shit Up

Nearly ten years ago, Bill and I went to a lawyer and had three legal documents drawn up so that we could attempt to enjoy some piece of mind should something terrible ever happen. We have identical wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives that include medical powers of attorney. We were fearful of what might happen given the fact that we are unmarried and were unable to benefit from the rights given to those couples that have a penis and a vagina.

We were, in part, reacting to the horror story we listened to at an National Education Association Gay and Lesbian Caucus Dinner at one of the many NEA Representative Assemblies that I attended as a delegate. A lesbian couple's wishes to to remain together "through sickness and through health" were thwarted by an anti-gay family that dragged their daughter's companion through years of court battles. We wanted to avoid having any of our family members trying to exercise some perceived "right" to determine what happens should one of us die or become incapacitated.

When Michigan passed its own version of the "can't get married or have anything like a marriage" law, we asked our State Senator to find out if all of the documents that we paid for and signed were still legal and valid. After all, we were trying to create a legal relationship akin to marriage. Michigan Attorney General Cox responded to our request and confirmed the validity of our documents.

Now this horror story has come to my attention. Note to self --- Fuck Florida...... we might not want to visit Bill's family there or even pass through one of its airports while going somewhere else....... it may be too risky.

As her partner of 17 years slipped into a coma, Janice Langbehn
pleaded with doctors and anyone who would listen to let her into the woman's hospital room.

Eight anguishing hours passed before Langbehn would be allowed into Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center. By then, she could only say her final farewell as a priest performed the last rites on 39-year-old Lisa Marie Pond.

Jackson staffers advised Langbehn that she could not see Pond earlier because the hospital's visitation policy in cases of emergency was limited to immediate family and spouses -- not
partners. In Florida, same-sex marriages or partnerships are not
recognized. On Friday, two years after her partner's death, Langbehn and her attorneys were in federal court, claiming emotional distress and negligence in a suit they filed last June.

Outraged? Oh, wait:

Pond's medical problems began in February 2007 when she, Langbehn
and their three adopted children were aboard a cruise ship docked in
Miami. The Washington state couple and their children were on vacation.

Pond suddenly collapsed from a heart attack and was rushed to the trauma center.

Though Langbehn had documents declaring her Pond's legal guardian and giving
her the medical ''power of attorney,'' Jackson officials refused to recognize her or the kids as family.

Langbehn, who still lives in Washington, was not available for comment Friday, but in a 2007
interview with The Miami Herald she said, ``Any family should have the
right to hold their loved one's hand in the last moments of life, and
we were denied that.''

Damn the knuckle draggers at Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center!

Bill and I have traveled with our wills and powers of attorney documents ever since we "bought" them (married folk just have to have a ceremony). We should probable get our lawyer here in Ajijic to draw up something similar that the Mexican courts and hospitals will agree to follow.

And, some straight people just don't get it ..... after nearly 20 years --- we should have some rights that are recognized without having to jump through hoops that cause delay and all sorts of emotional stress.

I am still pissed at Port Huron Hospital for denying Billy access to my pre-op bedside....... they gave a damnible excuse that Billy wants to accept and give them the benefit of a doubt.....but I know better.... as I waited, plenty of other pre-op patients had family member beside them. I waited alone behind curtains in a bed that had a nice comfortable chair next to it.......... "no room at the inn" my ass.


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Torchwood: Children of Earth Official Trailer

Torchwood, a Doctor Who spin-off, is one of my favorite sci fi shows. I can't wait for the series to resume.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Quick Hit

I have many and not so frequent pet peeves. One of them is the use of native languages in country names. For example, in the English speaking world we refer to and write about the country of Italia as Italy, Deutschland as Germany, and Polska as Poland. Why can't we just use the proper spellings and learn to pronounce the place names correctly?

And, it is perfectly okay for the Chinese to insist we call Peking by the name they chose and for the nation of India to call Bombay by its pre-colonial name..... geography geeks know what I mean.....

The map above does it right. (My browser, Firefox, magnified the picture when I clicked on it.)

Photo of the Day

Our backyard garden area is in disarray. Dead banana leaves, tall weeds, empty cat litter buckets, and the garden hose are among the offensive truck in the garden. Someday, we will get around to cleaning up........ we have nothing but time here in Paradise.

This beauty (the photo) has three companions and they are growing in the wrong part of the garden. It is called Cardosanto --- a.k.a. Mexican Poppy. Yes, I know it's a weed, but I do rather like the leaves and flowers. These puppies are starting to produce multiple blooms and, perhaps, I'll save the seed pods.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Are You Paying Attention, Candice?

Are You Paying Attention, Candice?

Yes, you, United States Representative Candice Miller (MI-10), do you know that in your 10th Congressional District the "Area's Need Deepens"?

You voted against the Economic Stimulus package while St. Clair County reports a jobless rate of 13 1/2 % in December --- and folks continue to go hungry and without adequate medical care. The Times Herald reports:

The growing numbers are reflecting on local organizations that are trying to keep Blue Water Area residents fed and housed.

Rieves said they served 2,000 more meals last year than in 2006-2007.

Many of the new faces utilizing the soup kitchen's services never have had to ask for help before, she said.

"It's very difficult... These are people who have been productive their whole lives," Rieves said. "It breaks your heart... These new people who are coming have no idea where to go, they've never had to ask for help.
They're just overwhelmed and frustrated."

Melinda Johnson, executive director of the Community Action Agency, said more and more
people also are looking for assistance for everything from paying their
mortgages or rent to utility bills.

While numbers are increasing, she said the amount of money that is necessary to assist the families is also rising.

Many of the new faces are also brand new to the system, which can add
difficulties since they aren't familiar with what's available, she said.

"Unfortunately, what we're seeing is people are trying their very best to pay their
bills, they go through their retirement monies, they're going through
their savings, and by the time they get to us, there's not much we can
do for them... People are trying so hard, and they've never had to ask
for help. It is so hard to ask for help," Johnson said.

Since starting with the agency in 1992, she said they've never dealt with such a high demand.

"It's sad. People are crying. They don't know what to do. They have that
deer-in-the-headlights look," Johnson said. "It's so sad. We just feel
helpless. We do what we can, but it's like putting a Band-Aid on a
massive gash."

So, tell me, Candy, who do you serve? The Grand Old Party of religious bigots and tax cuts for the rich or THE PEOPLE of the 10th Congressional District?

Do I really have to ask?


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