Wednesday, July 30, 2008

*This*close to being so done with XM

I swear, if it weren't for Steve Czaban's morning show on XM 142, I'd probably have no need for the silly service.

XM just torqued me by taking off XM Music Lab (XMML, channel 51) from its online service. A couple years back, the combination progressive/art rock and jam band XMML was banished to the online world from their regular playlist. I didn't much care for all the Phish, Primus, and moe. music from the jam side, but I discovered many bands with sounds I liked, such as Keller Williams, Widespread Panic, Iluvatar, Happy The Man, and Ozric Tentacles. This is stuff that just doesn't get played anywhere, and I'd never heard any of it before. Plus, XMML played classic ELP, Yes, Rush, Pink Floyd, and Genesis masterpieces; who couldn't start their day off right with Pink Floyd's 23-minute "Echoes" before going into work?

But no. XM replaced a bold station like XMML with XM 49 Big Tracks, a nice "safe" classic rock station that in many ways dupes XM 46 Top Tracks. Eeesh. I can hear that stuff on the 32 classic rock stations in the four-state area. And now XM 51 is playing a whole month of Coldplay (why?!).

And to make matters worse, XM decided to pander to the homosexual lobby and put on the online service XM 134, dedicated to all things "GLBT." Why not? Its anchor show is "The Agenda," hosted by none other than Joe Solomonese, the president of the so-called Human Rights Campaign. This silly channel is sucking bandwidth that could just as easily be used for XMML. Eeesh. BTW, Sirius has two Catholic channels. XM has none.

I'm going to wait and see how the merger Sirius takeover washes out before I make a final decision. But it's looking to me more and more like satellite radio will be seen as What Might Have Been.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

And Then There Was One


We made the difficult decision to put down Patches today. She now joins Minnie and Mugger in the land where Sts. Francis and Genevieve will take care of them, leaving only Maya with us. We feared that Patches' health might not let her come to Nevada with us, but we didn't think she'd go downhill that fast or that soon.

In addition to cancer in her mammary glands, Patches had developed a huge kidney stone that simply would never be passed through her tiny bladder. The vet could have removed the kidney, but chances are her remaining kidney would have failed. Furthermore, her ability to walk and breathe were starting to be impaired, and there was a suspicious shadow around her heart that could well have been the spreading of the cancer. The vet was shocked to find so much at the same time.

We really had no choice.

The vet gave her a sedative and painkiller to calm her down, but Patches reacted in pain to the shot in her backside like she had seven different heads, like an old Looney Tunes cell. But then she calmed down and purred very quietly. After about 20 minutes, the vet sent Patches to what we trust is a far more peaceful place.

Her poor condition shocked me because this morning as I left for work, Patches gave me her "puppydog eyes" in which her pupils grew even larger than in the photo above. I thought she was feeling better. LC's call to me at work that she, and not Maya, was at the vet threw me for a loop. Maya has been having some urinary tract issues again.

Ah, memories of Patches abound. She originally belonged to LC's best friend and matron of honor, as did Mugger. We inherited both after her friend's husband up and left her and her kids (but that's another post). Patches was deeply attached to "the boy" (LC's friend's son and LC's godson, who is now in his final year at West Point), and her ears would perk up whenever we asked her, "Where's your boy?"

Patches not only was a cute longhair calico, but she knew she was cute. LC would have liked to have called her "Miss Prissy" for that reason, but we stuck with Patches as "the boy" had named her. Her eyes were so gorgeous.

Not long after we inherited Patches, her hair got to be so long that she developed clumps that just wouldn't be combed out, so we had her shaved. I wish I had taken some pictures; she looked like a Chihuahua.

She eventually beat out Maya for my affections, and we would often tussle with her laying on her back on the floor and me leaning over our ottoman, playfighting with my hands and her paws. She was also quick with a playbite, to which we'd usually say, "No bitey!"

If one of us were lying on the bed or sofa, chances were that Patches would find her way over to us and start licking our hair, as if to clean it.

But I remember best of all how she would just come over and start nudging my feet or legs. One night when she did so, I said, "I'm being Patched!"

Rest in peace, pretty girl.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Vindication

Remember when I told you how irked I was with the increasingly over-the-top reactions that sports players had to the least little achievement they had on the field?

Well, it seems that at least one sports writer feels the way I do, namely Phil Taylor of Sports Illustrated. His column, "The Day Cool Died," is a must read.

Excerpt:

Cool was on a respirator as the end neared, its breathing more shallow with every poststrikeout fist pump by Joba Chamberlain, every dunk-and-sneer from Vince Carter and every one-act play performed by Chad Johnson after a touchdown catch. In its weakened state, it was hard to believe that Cool once walked with kings, that Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, Julius Erving, Bjorn Borg and Walt Frazier were never caught without Cool, in competition or away from it. Cool not only added to their mystique but also served a practical purpose. "I always felt that [Cool] gave me an advantage," Frazier says. "It's like in poker, if the other players can't read you, it puts that uncertainty in their minds and that puts you in control."
Ah, but it seems to be more important to be a camera hog than a winner. Add up the number of championships won by Messrs. Chamberlain, Carter, and Johnson. If the total is one or greater, you added wrong.

The piece concludes:
There will be no funeral service, which is how Cool would have wanted it. In lieu of flowers, mourners are asked simply to appreciate players who don't feel the need to punctuate every accomplishment with an over-the-top celebration, who understand the beauty in letting a performance speak for itself. That would be totally Cool.
Thanks, Mr. Taylor. I feel vindicated now. But I will respect the late Cool by withholding my fist pumps, chest bumps, and rump bumps from public view.

HT: The Czabe

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Lord's Day and some of where I come from

When I was in the Lamb of God (LOG) Community and its University Christian Outreach (UCO) offshoot, one thing that became a staple of our lives was the Saturday night "Lord's Day" celebrations. I was just telling Julia how the Lord's Day was a Christianized version of the Jewish shabbat.

(Note: My parents, sisters, and younger brothers were all part of LOG at one time or another. Bigbro never was.)

The Lord's Day ceremony as we knew it was drawn up by one Steve Clark, the brains behind the Catholic portion of the shepherding/discipleship movement that began in the late '60s. His authoritarian beliefs can be found in two of his many books, Man And Woman In Christ and Building Christian Communities.

Anyway, a glimpse at these two .pdf documents about celebrating the Lord's Day should give you a taste of what Clark had in mind:

Link 1

Link 2

A couple excerpts:

“Laborious work” is the regular work we do, and we are supposed to avoid that on the Lord’s Day and other feasts.
You shall do no laborious work. (Lev 23:7, etc.)
– To worship God is a kind of work (“service”): Num 4:3; Jn 6:29. The kind of work that is forbidden is “laborious” work, sometimes called “menial” or “servile” work, the regular work we do for economic gain.
– The purpose is to set the day aside as a day for the Lord. We can do necessary work, but this is not a day to catch up on chores, to do our shopping, etc. Nor is it especially a day for recreation, although most Christians think that is permitted.
Well, in my days in LOG, Sundays were anything BUT a day of rest! I was usually going from dawn to dusk with Mass, sound team setup, the Community Gathering (which was far more important than Mass), sound team takedown, singles activities at night, etc. I almost looked forward to Monday mornings!
c. The Regional Council is requesting the communities to:
1) Encourage all the members to review their approach to the Lord’s Day and to see if they are observing it well.
2) Encourage all the members to be regular in their practice of celebrating the opening of the Lord’s Day, but also encourage them to close the Lord’s Day as well.
– Members should open and close the Lord’s Day normally, not sporadically. We need to honor the Lord’s Day by God’s command. We need to celebrate the opening and closing of the Lord’s Day because of our commitment as community members. It should be an exception not to do it, and we should always have a good reason (tiredness is not one).
d. The Regional Council is also encouraging the communities to:
1) Build regular celebrations of the Lord’s Day into the community schedule as a way to encourage the observance of the Lord’s Day. Some examples: community or districtwide Lord’s Days, small group Lord’s Days (men’s and women’s groups, clusters), “mix and match” Lord’s Days.
2) Encourage families to protect Saturday evening as a family night (Note: This does not mean that the family needs to be alone. It means that the family should be together, often with other community members. It also means that we are interested in protecting the entire evening, not just the Lord’s Day prayers and meal.)
Despite what he says in the last paragraph, do you see how little the family unit means to Clark, who, BTW, has never been married? Notice how the Lord's Day and the members of the community trump EVERYthing. Celebrate Grandma's birthday on a Saturday night? Not without massive quantities of guilt.

In fact, my dad was planning a surprise 50th birthday party for my mom while I was in UCO and attending my weekly men's small group on Wednesday nights. When I mentioned my dad's plan and that my mom's birthday happened to fall on a Wednesday, the leader of my men's group actually asked, "Can he change it?" And I, like a dope (dupe?), asked him. My dad's response was "Not only no, but hell, no!"

I have to admit, some Lord's Day meals could be enjoyable; the challah bread that the girls of UCO baked was to die for. One summer evening on the farm in Timonuim where 23 of us UCO guys were spending the summer between two houses, each of our houses had Lord's Day ceremonies and dinners. Ours ran about 90 minutes, and afterward we went outside to play an improvised game of Frisbee golf. Meanwhile, the guys in the other house were being subjected to a reading/talk given by the head of UCO -- a member of the same celibate men's order as Clark known as the "Servants of the Word" -- for three hours after dinner! Two of my friends were fighting each other with a broken paper clip to stay awake.

Like many other aspects of life in covenant community, activities like the Lord's Day were of good intention, and as recently as last year my parents still celebrated a Lord's Day opening ceremony. I don't criticize them for that, and I willingly participated. But I do not celebrate it with LC, and have no intention of doing so anytime soon. This is not to say that I don't like to keep Sunday holy; I prefer not to have to work on Sundays, although I've done plenty of it. I'm just tired of all the control that megalomaniacs like Steve Clark want to wield over unsuspecting people in the name of living in "Christian community."

Oh, one more quote from Clark to make you shudder (emphasis added):
Having our lives in common also means sharing other personal aspects of our lives. In our culture, if we sin, if we are plagued by sexual temptations, if we are anxious or depressed, we keep these problems to ourselves. Victories over difficulties are similarly private. We might share our personal lives with our spouse or a very close friend. But most of us grow up with the firm conviction, perhaps arising from bitter experience, that our personal lives are strictly private.

However, as brothers and sisters in Christian community nothing in our lives is entirely our own. My life belongs to my brother. I cannot construct elaborate strategies to keep him from finding out what I am really like. In fact, opening up our lives to our brothers and sisters in the Lord is usually necessary to begin overcoming our problems and experiencing the freedom that the Lord wants us to have.

Most people who belong to Christian communities where personal sharing is encouraged find quickly that they can be more free about their personal lives than they ever imagined. Personal sharing must be done with discretion and in the appropriate circumstances. But it should be done, for it is part of sharing our lives in Christian community.
I know more people in Lamb of God whose lives were seriously damaged because information that was never intended for anyone else's ears made its way to the "coordinators." Whatever happened to, say, the confessional?

I'll have much more to write about my growing up in covenant community in the future. It'll explain a lot about who I am today, for better and for worse.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Mystic

The husband of MysticWolf, who was my partner in moderation of the wild and wacky Starting Over forums on RealityTVWorld.com, has passed away.

While I never met him or even talked to him, I did talk to Mystic quite often. I found out through Mystic that he shared many of my same musical tastes.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

(I didn't post on RTVW because I simply don't and won't post there anymore for a number of reasons.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

On the Market

The sign is out front and everything.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

Uncle Sam (my late uncle who was a real estate agent), pray for us.

So, what are you waiting for? Buy it!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Let's Spin Into A Hole

Ever stop to think how many people's jobs depend on convincing others that things are Not Going Well?

I was so amused when, as a news reporter, I would hear the litanies of how bad the schools and the teachers had it. Not that I want teachers to be downtrodden (after all, SmallestBro is one), but if things were going just fine for teachers, the union leaders would be out of a job. And if you still watch your broadcast networks' Evening News, you'd want to take a Glock and end the misery right now, the way they paint the world. Again, if everything were hunky-dory, what would they put on for 30 minutes, minus commercials? (Makes me wonder what it's like working for NPR.)

Granted, it works both ways: I'm glad Bill Donohue of the Catholic League is always on the warpath, but he'd be just another Catholic pulling down a different paycheck if there weren't things to get up in arms about. Who knows, maybe he'd like to put himself out of business, but as Dymphna points out, I think he'll be employed for some time to come.

Still, I find it interesting that so much of this economy depends on spin. And I haven't even mentioned talk radio . . . and I'm not gonna, because I'm too tired.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the pool . . .

(Warning: possible EEEEWWWW alert!)

I remember seeing signs like this on my old neighborhood's prefab, above-ground, backyard swimming pools (yet another item lost to the sameness of exurbia and HOAs):


Well, after seeing the following article in Ladycub's Nursing Spectrum magazine, I might hesitate a bit for a similar, but worse reason:

The Germy Truth About Public Swimming Pools

Seems that the big problem with pools isn't #1, as the signs imply, but #2:

Many people assume that a well-maintained swimming pool is germ-free, that chlorinated water is just as clean as drinking water, and that chlorine kills all germs instantly. But this is not true. Even the best-maintained pools with adequate chlorine levels (1 ppm to 3 ppm free available chlorine) can transmit waterborne diseases.

Cryptosporidium and Giardia are fecally transmitted protozoan parasites that have been linked to outbreaks of GI illnesses from swimming pools and water parks. These common intestinal parasites can withstand chlorine disinfection for a considerable period of time. For example, Cryptosporidium excreted in the feces of infected humans can survive and remain infective for nearly 11 days, and Giardia can survive at least 30 to 60 minutes.

Now here's the REALLY shocking part from the article, which I had no idea was the case. Emphasis mine:
With Cryptosporidium, a single fecal accident can contaminate an entire pool, and swallowing a few mouthfuls of water can result in an infection. With Giardia, swallowing as few as 10 cysts of Giardia (the infectious form) can cause an infection. Fecal accidents are not uncommon in pools. Each day, up to 2 to 3 pounds of feces [!] can be found in the water of an average-sized public pool from fecal accidents and from swimmers’ bodies from improper cleansing after bowel movements.
How would you have liked to be the one collecting the, um, evidence to support that research? Either that, or now we know the real reason why kids don't want to be lifeguards anymore. Two to three pounds!

No need to thank me for this public service. Now, anyone for some Sharks and Minnows?

UPDATE: The lovely and gracious Ladycub reminded me that I had quite a few problems with diarrhea a few years back. It's a bit of a longshot, but could the fact that I was swimming regularly at an overcrowded YMCA pool have had something to do with it? I think I've been in a swimming pool twice in the last two years.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tantum Ergo Sacramentum

The U.S. Catholic Church needs to return to receiving the Eucharist on the tongue.

Only.

Now.

Otherwise, receiving on the hand allows things like this to happen:

Webster Cook, a University of Central Florida student, took the consecrated Blessed Sacrament out of an Orlando Mass. His motivation is unclear; other sources say he was protesting the use of UCF student fees for religious purposes, while the above article notes Cook's claim to want to show the host to a friend. I'm not convinced of the latter explanation; there are many other ways to enlighten people who are interested in the Eucharist without resorting to sacrilege. Also, I'm not convinced he got death threats; all we have is his word without corroboration. If, of course, he DID get death threats, that ought to be condemned.

But just as wrong is for us Catholics to just sit there and take Cook's action without comment, which implies consent. Cook decides to blunt any criticism by saying that pacifism = Catholicism = consent:

"I was kind of confused because I always thought that Jesus was a pacifist, and they're using violence in order to get back the body of a pacifist," [Cook] told WOFL-TV.
Um, remember that part about driving the moneychangers and merchants out of the Temple? Not to mention the ultimate act of violence in the Crucifixion? Let's stop this "pacifist" canard once and for all.

And now, some publicity-seeking professor in Minnesota is openly soliciting -- and sadly, receiving -- consecrated hosts with the intent of sacrilege. Those who are getting the hosts for him are guilty of the greater sin. The receiving of the Eucharist in the hand makes this all too easy. It's not impossible for there to be abuse with receiving on the tongue, but I'm sure it would be much more rare. (I hope too that we can go back to receiving the Eucharist kneeling, as is now done at Papal Masses.)

I am so not surprised that incidents like this are going on, especially when not even 1/3 of practicing Catholics even believe that they consume the Real Presence of Jesus once the bread and wine are transsubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Christ. Why should they? Catechesis in the post-Vatican II Catholic Church is almost non-existent, and priests rarely speak about it from the pulpit.

As an example, check out this bit of "We Are Church" drivel from U.S. Catholic, dismissing the Real Presence:
We need to be as passionately convinced of the presence of Christ in those “around the altar” as we are certain of Christ’s presence in the eucharistic elements. Without making this connection, we risk overly objectifying Christ’s presence and overlooking his presence elsewhere—in our neighbors and especially in those who are poor and suffering.
This is exactly the kind of small-minded thinking that has made the Eucharist irrelevant since Vatican II. No wonder why Catholics and non-Catholics alike think the Eucharist is about "sharing a meal" at best, or "getting a cookie" at worst. What is there to keep non-Catholics from receiving the Eucharist, especially when there's just about no difference between what they and Catholics believe the Eucharist is?

O Lord, we're even more unworthy to receive You than I thought.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Oh My Golf

(a nod to my work client Angie Goff)

I've gone back and forth about whether to sell my golf clubs in preparation for our move to Reno. I didn't pay much for them, and it turns out my 7-wood is the only club I can hit with any semblance of regularity. At least I do like my golf bag.

I'm an infrequent golf player, probably so much so that I'll never become even slightly good at it. I doubt I'm even good enough to have a handicap. And I'm the kind of golfer others don't want on the course (hi, Steve Czaban): constantly searching for lost balls, chunking over the green numerous times, three- or four-putting, etc. I enjoy being out on the links (especially with my dad), but it's rare that I don't wind up letting some other group play through. And once when playing in Pennsylvania with fellow golfers from the old Lamb of God Community, I was paired with a group of hackers who were even worse than I was; we nearly got thrown off the course.

I once heard a statistic that three million people give up golf every year (I don't have sourcing for that other than milquetoast radio host Clark Howard, and he cited no sources). Whether that stat is correct, it appears that indeed there are fewer golfers these days, according to this Golf Digest article. Money has been tight, and I can't get away to play golf as much as I'd like. And out in Nevada, I won't have the benefit of my dad treating me to a round, whereas my FIL despises golf.

Oh well, at least I'll still be able to drive balls into the pond outside the Grand Sierra, formerly the Reno Hilton. And while there, I could take up bowling again, if I don't injure my elbow that was operated on last year. After all, my bowling scores often resemble golf scores, and vice versa.

Finally, I'm one of those weirdos who likes watching golf on TV, even if it does put me to sleep. I remember watching golf while on my parents' screened-in side porch on a sunny afternoon while propped up on the Naugahyde cushions of their old sofa.

Letter To Applebee's Management

Sent to Applebee's regarding our meal of Thursday evening, July 10:

My wife and I are longtime patrons of Applebee's and have regularly visited the restaurant in Frederick. We will not be doing so ever again, a decision that was foisted upon us by the deplorable actions of the manager that evening. His server didn't help matters much by constantly screwing up the order from start to finish; he couldn't even get our drink orders right, and apparently screwed up the table next to ours so badly that the family left because they were tired of waiting for their change.

When the server brought out my supposed "Caesar salad" after more than 20 minutes of our being seated (an unreasonable delay considering that the place was not busy), it consisted of just a few lettuce leaves with the smallest dollop of Caesar dressing. I asked the server to add more dressing; he responded with a side cup of more dressing. Then I saw there was no cheese.

At that point I asked for the manager and said to him that what I had was not a Caesar salad. His curt reply: "The amounts are predetermined." Perhaps true, but hardly useful to me. I asked him repeatedly if there were problems in the kitchen, which it seemed obvious to me there had to be. He said no every time, and the only other thing he offered was to "speak to the kitchen staff."

After another wait of 20 minutes, we still didn't have our entrees. The server had already assured me that they would be "right out"; they weren't. I called over the manager again to register my displeasure over the lack of service we were getting.

And now here's the point of why we are so upset. As I expressed our dismay over how we were being treated, the manager said I "was being very rude." Wrong answer. First, I was not rude, just unhappy. Second, no manager will ever keep a customer coming back to his establishment by calling him "rude," especially when he wasn't.

The manager did comp our meals, which we took to go because we didn't want to hang around there any longer; I had to get up early the next morning. We did not seek to get our meals comped. But I cannot get over his desire to fight with me and, in essence, tell me to my face that I am not welcome in his restaurant. So guess what? I'll give him what he asked for; I won't be back. I don't patronize places that make it obvious that they don't want me there. I have far too many choices in my area, including Cracker Barrel, TGI Fridays, Ruby Tuesdays, Houlihan's, Uno, and Chipotle, to name a few.

It seems that the management recently turned over in the Frederick restaurant. You may wish to turn it over again unless you want more letters like this one.

A disappointed former regular patron,
Cygnus

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Baby Bump

I'm not sure what I think of the new "baby bump" chic. While I have nothing against women having babies (it sure beats aborting them), and I'm one of those guys who thinks women get prettier when they're expecting, I have a hard time thinking of babies as a fashion accessory. And I'm hoping these babies have daddies when they're born.

Still, you get a lot more hits with a Google image search on "baby bump" than you do "fetus bump." :-D

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Shameful Things

The more I read about St. Dominic Savio, the more I admire him. I wish I had his courage in a situation such as this (emphasis mine):

Everyone in the school saw from the way he prayed that this boy was different. He greatly loved all the boys, and even though he was younger, he used to worry about them. He was afraid that they would lose the grace of God by sinning.

One day, a fellow brought a magazine full of bad pictures to school. In a minute, a group of boys had gathered around him to see it.

"What's up?" wondered Dominic, and he, too, went to look. Just one peek was enough for him. He grabbed the magazine and tore it to pieces! "Poor us!" he cried in the meantime, "Did God give us eyes to look at such things as this? Aren't you ashamed?"

"Oh, we were just looking at these pictures for the fun of it," said one boy.

"Sure, for fun," answered Dominic, "and in the meantime you're preparing yourselves to go to hell!"

"Oh, what's so wrong about looking at these pictures anyway?" another fellow demanded.

Dominic had a ready answer. "If you don't see anything wrong," he said sadly, "this is even worse. It means you're used to looking at shameful things!"

No one said anything after that. They all realized that Dominic was right.

I have gotten too used to "looking at shameful things." Not that the beauty of a woman is shameful, but when I take that beauty and pervert it so that it becomes all about me and my lust, it becomes most shameful. I can't speak for the women in the pictures.

I've written before about my lust, and I am ashamed of it. I willingly participate in things that I often deplore ("methinks he doth protest too much," anyone?). It's been my method of coping with stress, just zoning out and letting nothing else matter.

Really, it's just another form of spirituality, albeit a false one. I trust that the image of This Woman will make me feel better. If not her, then maybe the Next Woman. It's like alcohol; one is too many, and a million aren't enough.

AquinaSavio (get it?), a modern-day youth in the mold of St. Dominic, mentioned recently what I need in order to be victorious over lust: Prayer. As he cites St. John Vianney (emphasis again mine):

We can see too how much the Devil fears those who pray, since there is no moment of the day when he tempts us more than at prayer. He does everything he possibly can to prevent us from praying. When the Devil wants to make someone lose his soul, he starts out by inspiring in him a profound distaste for prayer. However good a Christian he may be, if the Devil succeeds in making him either say his prayers badly or neglect them altogether, he is certain to have him for himself. If you wish to understand this even better, consider since when you have been unable to resist whatever temptations the Devil put in your way and since when you have left the door of your hearts open to the four winds--is it not since you began to get careless with your prayers, or have been saying them from habit, by routine only, or just to get rid of them, and not to please God? Yes, my dear brethren, from the moment that we neglect them, we move with big steps towards Hell: we shall never return to God if we do not have recourse to prayer. Yes, my dear children, with a prayer well said, we can command Heaven and earth, and all will obey us.

Guilty as charged. May I find God now!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Moving Update

The light is appearing at the end of the tunnel, or the hole in the yard is about to be dug for the FOR SALE sign.

Most of what we can do without for the next few months has been packed, given away, or sold, except for our stuff on craigslist. A few small areas in the kitchen remain to be sorted through.

Our storage bin is getting nice and full.

We should be getting our carpet redone within th next week or two, after which the house should go to market. Speaking of which, I was tempted to call the local media and show them how much the cats had soaked through the carpet and padding at the bottom of the steps. Of course, we own the place, and they're our cats, so there wouldn't be much of a story there. Spraying some Kilz on the wood seems to have done the trick.

If you're harried as we are, we recommend paying a cleaning service to pack for you. The one we had did a fantastic job in just a little time.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

So, Which Is It?

On successive days in the WaPo:

June 23
Fuel Costs May Force Some Kids To Walk

June 24
Obesity Battle Continues: Advocates Push To Keep Kids Moving

(HT: The Weekly Standard.)

FTR, after coming back from the UK, I never rode a "school bus." I used the Baltimore MTA buses for high school. (Insert obligatory comments about walking uphill, both ways, barefoot, in eight feet of snow, etc.)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Okay, one reason to like Jessica Simpson

You know I'm not much for Hollywood, but I thought this deserved mention.

Thanks to the Czabe for this photo of Jessica in this most excellent shirt, a slam of People for the Eating of Tasty Animals in general, and militant vegan (sorry for the redundancy) Carrie Underwood in particular. See, Underwood used to hang off Dallas QB Tony Romo's arm as Jess does now.

With this shirt, Jess has proven that PETA can dish it out, but it sure can't take it. You go, Jess! Now excuse me while I buy a Dukes of Hazzard movie DVD.

In the meantime, you who are leading the PC crusade to prosyletize the rest of us molar- and incisor-using consumers of animals whom God gave us for food may read this smackdown (albeit a little bit crude) from one Toshiba Reynolds.

And here . . . have a heaping helping of Shut The Tofu Up.