Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

They have no idea what they've done

Sandy Springs hoarder's home clean; woman still ill
Hoarders have been good for business, Powell said, expanding his company's niche beyond crime scene clean-ups and graffiti removal. "We handled seven hoarders last month," he said, noting that the increase in such jobs has coincided with the popularity of two reality shows, on A&E and TLC, dedicated to pack rats. "The more those shows are on, the more calls we get."
Well, isn't that nice, that someone's mental illness is so popular as to be a meal ticket for someone else? Okay, I know, I'm biased, but still...

I know that families think they are helping when they hire some group to come in and clean a hoarded home out, but especially if it's something dictated to or without the real involvement of the person, it's likely to do emotional distress (and I don't mean minor distress) to have had all their stuff gone. Hoarders place emotional value on things other people see as trash. By removing those articles without regard for those emotional ties, it could have a disastrous effect. I've heard of people in court-ordered cleanups throwing themselves into the dumpster as the stuff is carted away. Plus, her struggle with hoarding was exposed to the media, and I have to wonder if her consent to do so was given. It's one thing to hoard. It's another to have total strangers know. I have a real concern for this woman and I hope the family has also pursued mental health care for her. But in my mind, her right to privacy was violated in the pursuit of public fascination for hoarding.

PS I'm not saying they shouldn't have done anything, mind you. Her place was obviously across a line for safety and security. But it rather sounds like they whisked her away so they could get down to business. I may be wrong in that. If so, I apologise for jumping to a conclusion. But decluttering only works, in my opinion, if it's either by the hand of the hoarder or with the hoarder as a participant; otherwise in a few months it could be just the same again.

Wonder Woman! [You have to have watched the series to really get the voice modulation right on that one]

Makeover for Wonder Woman at 69
In the reimagining of her story, Wonder Woman, instead of growing up on Paradise Island with her mother, Queen Hippolyta, and her Amazon sisters, is smuggled out as a baby when unknown forces destroy her home and slaughter its inhabitants.

Mr. Straczynski, who created the television show “Babylon 5” and wrote the screenplay for “Changeling” in 2008, starring Angelina Jolie, said in an e-mail message that he wanted to address “the wardrobe issue” as soon as he took the job.

“She’s been locked into pretty much the exact same outfit since her debut in 1941,” Mr. Straczynski wrote. “If you’re going to make a statement about bringing Wonder Woman into the 21st century, you need to be bold and you need to make it visual. I wanted to toughen her up, and give her a modern sensibility.”

He added, “What woman only wears only one outfit for 60-plus years?”
[Image of Wonder Woman © by DC Comics]

Okay, let me just say, I kind of like the new outfit. I'm not so sure of the slaughter of the Amazons; it seems like everyone's got to have a horribly angsty backstory these days, and Diana actually represented the superhero (or in this case superheroine) with a relatively happy family life as opposed to being placed into a spaceship and shot to another world because your entire planet was being destroyed (Superman, who nevertheless, managed to be found and had a relatively normal upbringing) or having your parents killed in a horrible mugging gone bad (Batman, who always had enough angst for everyone else). But I've liked Michael Straczynski's other work, so I'm willing to give it a go.

Still, it really is hard to run and fight in a bustier (although the lovely Lynda Carter perfected that). And it looks like all the weapons/protections are still there.

I have to admit I'm intrigued. I am reasonably sure that YKWIA will be horrified, especially over the demise of the Amazons; he hates change. Together we ran a comic store for a friend back in the 90s, so we both have experience with the business. I've always been a DC girl rather than a Marvel one (although I've never collected Wonder Woman--I was more into Sandman and Legion of Superheroes). I may have to stop by my nearby comic shop and ask Tony to reserve this issue for me, if for no other reason than the history of it.)


Today was my last half-day of work, so I:
  1. Went to an appointment with my optometrist. Because of the data entry work, we are going with multifocal contact lenses and gradated bifocal glasses (I don't care about lines in terms of vanity, but the no-line ones are supposed to be better for dealing with the different distances of book, computer, and driving than simple bifocals). I'm using my insurance for the glasses, and paying for the contact lenses through my flexible spending account. I had to have new glasses--my last pair broke at the hinge and I'm using a very old backup pair that I can barely read through (thank goodness I'm not driving today; I left the old glasses on after they did the dilation and even with the little bendy shades they give you, could barely make my way around as a pedestrian.) I got Transitions again on my lenses, so with the insurance that came to $211 (it was $445, whew!) The lady took my old glasses and will try to repair them as a backup for around the house (the temples won't match). I have the trial pair of multifocal contacts now; the glasses should be in withing 7-10 business days. I have an appointment in the morning a week from now to check and make sure the contacts work for me, and if so, I'll order the new ones then.
  2. Got my hair cut, a bob right at the nape of the neck/chin length.
  3. Caught a bus downtown to the main public library, which had a book on hold for me. I asked the lady at the desk (they've totally changed the circulation area with the new self-checkouts) if there was any way to route the other hold to Eagle Creek (I'd forgotten to designate it as my home library, so it defaulted to Central). She was able to and also changed my default to Eagle Creek. Still, I'm glad I went down there. The sidewalks around downtown are being worked on all over so it's a bit of a pain, but the library looked nice and they had a version of Horse Mania, with foals decorated by schoolchildren. A full-sized encore of Horse Mania (the original was in 2000) is being produced for unveiling as of tomorrow in advance of the World Equestrian Games, which will be hosted by Lexington. Anyway, several of the foals were in the library and were well done. Plus there's the Foucault pendulum to enjoy. So it was fun.
Must admit I'm a bit tired. I've come home, eaten, and I'm tempted to take a nap, although it's a bit late for one.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Margaret (whose dad is a Presbyterian minister) told me about these

The great Presbyterian vs. Catholic Church Sign Debate

And no, the pictures aren't real. But they are really funny. And the Catholics really do get the last word in. :) Check them out if you haven't seen them already. And if you want to use your own skills to create church marquee signs, here's a Church Sign Maker for you.

Odd library news of the week

As you may guess, I'm going through my Google Reader, which had over 1000 items but is now down to 35. Here's the best so far, library-related...

Naked Man Arrested at Cincinnati Main Library
A man faces charges after an unusual incident at a local library. 52-year-old Darrell Bess was taken into custody yesterday, naked, armed with knives and several pounds of stolen cheese.
It was the cheese that did it. :)

I just signed a petition

How about you?

Sign the petition to support Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)'s efforts to demand that governments supplying humanitarian food aid ensure that the food meets nutritional standards for infants and young children. On World Food Day 2010, MSF will present the petition to the top food aid donor countries


Science historian cracks "the Plato code"
Plato was the Einstein of Greece’s Golden Age and his work founded Western culture and science. Dr Jay Kennedy’s findings are set to revolutionise the history of the origins of Western thought.

Dr Kennedy, whose findings are published in the leading US journal Apeiron, reveals that Plato used a regular pattern of symbols, inherited from the ancient followers of Pythagoras, to give his books a musical structure. A century earlier, Pythagoras had declared that the planets and stars made an inaudible music, a ‘harmony of the spheres’. Plato imitated this hidden music in his books.

The hidden codes show that Plato anticipated the Scientific Revolution 2,000 years before Isaac Newton, discovering its most important idea – the book of nature is written in the language of mathematics. The decoded messages also open up a surprising way to unite science and religion. The awe and beauty we feel in nature, Plato says, shows that it is divine; discovering the scientific order of nature is getting closer to God. This could transform today’s culture wars between science and religion....

Dr Kennedy spent five years studying Plato’s writing and found that in his best-known work the Republic he placed clusters of words related to music after each twelfth of the text – at one-twelfth, two-twelfths, etc. This regular pattern represented the twelve notes of a Greek musical scale. Some notes were harmonic, others dissonant. At the locations of the harmonic notes he described sounds associated with love or laughter, while the locations of dissonant notes were marked with screeching sounds or war or death. This musical code was key to cracking Plato’s entire symbolic system.
The proof for the final article may be found here. I think I'll read and digest that before I judge one way or another, but usually when people swear they crack some secret code, it's very fishy. I would also point out that science, philosophy, and religion were not separate entities for the majority of history, that this has been the case only in recent times. I find it odd that a scholar would make so much out of a supposed union of science, philosophy, and religion to be found in Plato's work.

Congratulations are in order

Terry Birdwhistell is the library professor who taught me both Archives and Oral History. Now I hear he's been made Dean of the University of Kentucky Libraries. Congratulations, Dr Birdwhistell!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ha! I was right!

So I went to a liquor store the other day to get a dry champagne/sparkling wine for a friend to cook with. Assuming that 'sec' meant dry in French (I was pretty sure--sweet is sucre; I can't pronounce French worth anything but did take a French for reading class in graduate school), I picked that up and took it to the counter, asking the person to be sure. (I do not know anything about wine, which is funny, because I keep getting sent to buy it and other forms of liquor for various recipes). He didn't know. He asked the woman there. She thought it was dry, then asked the other guy, who insisted it was sweet, so we put it back and got the one that said, in English, 'Extra Dry', 'Brut' being extra, extra dry.

Well, it's been nagging me. You may recall my post on Adele Blanc-Sec, the comic book character. Her name means White-Dry. I was 90% sure I had read that. Now why I should remember that correctly given all the useful bits I would like to remember, I don't know. And granted, I was putting it with wine, a whole new arena. Anyway, it's been bothering me, so I looked it up and 'sec' is, indeed dry in French. Now of those three designations, the sec champagne was the sweetest (for more on describing sweetness of wine, particularly champagne, see the Wikipedia listing),with 'doux' being sweet champagne, so the guy was right that of the three options given, 'sec' was sweetest. But it didn't mean 'sweet'.

Anyway, the 'Extra Dry' was probably the way to go, but it's nice to know I was right after all about the meaning of the word. The funny thing about that day is I went to swipe a debit card and swiped my flexible spending card instead (which can only be used for medical expenses). It declined the transaction, rightfully so, so we were able to switch out the bottles without a refund. :) Somewhere, I'm probably being flagged at United Healthcare for trying to buy wine with an FSA card. :) Sorry about that! They were both blue.

When I was a kid I loved entymology, but refused to capture and kill specimens

preferring to study them alive in the wild. I will therefore confess I never actually did my 4-H assignment to the letter. But I love what these folks do:

Raising Butterflies

The web page has a video on raising butterflies, practical concerns on catching, raising, and releasing them (the latter of which has some major legal concerns).

I found it through a link in the comments of a Wired story on See Them While You Can: Endangered Butterfly Gallery from last year, which in turn was a link under related stories from today's 6 Super Close-Ups of Crazy Bug Eyes.

What can I say? I like bugs and did even as a very small child. I'm the one that let mud daubers crawl all over me when the others would scatter (mud daubers, incidentally, are the main predators of black and brown widow spiders. I also love spiders, but considering the poison of those, people should like mud daubers more.) Granted, I'll kill a tick or mosquito, something actively feeding on me, but that's about it (although one of my jobs when we were gardening years ago was taking out potato bug larvae the old-fashioned way).

I'm not sure how to say congratulations in Icelandic

but I'd love to send them to Iceland's Prime Minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir, on her marriage to her long-time partner, with whom she'd had a civil union but was finally able to marry.

Iceland's gay prime minister weds partner: Wedding comes on day new same-sex marriage law took effect
Sigurdardottir, who has children from a previous heterosexual marriage, is the world's only openly gay prime minister but her sexuality has never been an issue in Iceland, which, like the other Nordic states, has a history of tolerance.
Would that such tolerance could be readily found throughout the world....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The weight of things

Two hold requests I just put in for the library, thanks to this weekend's 'Unshelved' book recommendation:

Stuff : compulsive hoarding and the meaning of things / Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee.

Buried in treasures : help for compulsive acquiring, saving, and hoarding / David F. Tolin, Randy O. Frost, Gail Steketee.
It's not idle curiosity. I have struggled with hoarding for years, going through periods of relative calm and cleanliness only after purges when things got so bad that I just had pathways. I hate having this. I know in my case it is 1) an expression of my obsessive compulsive disorder and 2) is my way of limiting contact with others and the emotional fallout of that in a controllable way, something I think I'm finally starting to outgrow a need for. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) I'd put my house at about a 4 right now, not good enough for company but not severe.

I don't mention my hoarding much. One, I'm embarrassed by it, although it's much better than it used to be; medication helps. Two, it makes it sound like my life is totally fallen apart; oddly enough, that isn't the case. I'm quite functional in my professional life and emotionally I'm probably at the healthiest I've ever been in my life. But this is still a struggle for me, because it is so overwhelming to deal with once things get to a certain stage. After a purge, I can usually keep things on track for about a year or so, unless I have something like a physical illness come up or a particularly difficult schedule where I'm just dropping things on the sofa and heading to bed at night.

I'm hoping with the new job hours, I can devote a few hours a week to excavating and either getting rid of non-usable stuff or putting things I'd really like to keep in order. I'll be getting home 2-3 hours earlier a day, so that should help.

The funny thing is I rather like cleaning. It puts me in a good mood to put things in order at work or at my friends' house. It's only my own things that have emotional weight to them, where I feel bad if I throw out recyclables even though I don't have the means to do so (no car to take them across town, no recycling bins at the apartment complex), so I let them build up. That's an example.

I have had a friend who has watched my struggles with this over the last couple of decades. I remember he was flabbergasted by the fact that I was hanging onto pottery shards of dishes that belonged to my great-grandmother, and he finally got me to throw them out. In my mind, I had to keep a hold onto stuff to keep a hold on to her. It's like I couldn't remember her without something tangible there. I know that makes no real sense, but that's how I felt. On the other hand, when I was evicted years ago, I suddenly decided to leave my record collection behind (I had no turntable), including hard-to-replace albums, although he urged me to keep them, and I regret that decision often. It's like I had to do what would punish me the most, because I was a failure for not being able to keep the apartment after being laid off. I wasn't in a good emotional place then at all, understandably. I lost something precious and sentimental by anyone's standards--my grandmother's wedding ring--because I couldn't afford to get it back out of pawn. It's something I can never replace and although I myself would probably have never used it, it was a legacy. Just the thought of its loss makes me cry, and it did so a bit ago when I finally talked about it with some people who didn't really know me all that well, people I eat lunch with. Even though it happened six years ago, the pain was still very much there; I'd never dealt with it, never told a counselor, never told a soul how I felt other than my best friend.

Funny that it came up at just the same time I found out I had a chance to become more financially secure with the potential new job. The thing is, though, no matter how stable or good my finances are, I can't undo what was lost. What I can do, however, is use the opportunity to evaluate what is important to hang onto and what isn't. So wish me luck in my attempt to put a little more order to my life.

Heh, heh

Wanting that perfect Lovecraftian snack for a Call of Cthulhu game? Look what I found (honest!) at the local grocery:
Yes, you read that right...'New England Supernatural Granola. :) For those of you not in the know, HP Lovecraft's well known fictional town of Arkham was located in Massachusetts (it was modelled off of Salem), firmly in New England, and was the setting of his Miskatonic University and the various adventures connected with the town and college.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Two interesting short films

by FC Rabbath

Thanks to YKWIA who showed me both at different times. I've gone ahead and subscribes, since that's two videos I've liked on that channel. I think they're well done. Scarlet's Witch is especially creepy.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Good lord

Okay, I'm not a huge tennis fan (all that rotating your head back and forth watching the ball gets tiring), but this is truly amazing:

Wimbledon match lasts record 10 hours and counting
On and on and on, and on some more, they played— longer than anyone ever had before. And still there was no winner.
John Isner of the US shows his frustration, during his men's singles match against Nicolas Mahut of France, at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, Wednesday, June 23, 2010.
AP Photo/Alastair Grant

John Isner of Tampa, Fla., and Nicolas Mahut of France were tied at 59-59 in the fifth set at Wimbledon after exactly 10 hours of action when play was suspended because of darkness Wednesday night. It is by far the longest match in terms of games or time in the century-plus history of tennis.

“Nothing like this will ever happen again. Ever,” Isner said.

This is what Bill Hart, who linked the story on Facebook, had to say:
So these blancmanges, blancmange-shaped creatures come from the planet Skyron in the Galaxy of Andromeda. They order 48,000,000 kilts from a Scottish menswear shop ... turn the population of England into Scotsmen (well known as the worst tennis-playing nation on Earth) thus leaving England empty during Wimbledon fortnight! Empty during Wimbledon fortnight ... what's more the papers are full of reports of blancmanges appearing on tennis courts up and down the country - practising. This can only mean one thing!

I dearly love that sketch, so here's the first bit...feel free to watch the others, too:

I want to see a world where these beautiful creatures are not hunted

Unfortunately, that will not happen today.

Nations fail to agree on curbing Japan whale hunt

Whaling 'peace deal' falls apart

Picture by: Terry Howard from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


God particle signal is simulated as sound
Scientists have simulated the sounds set to be made by sub-atomic particles such as the Higgs boson when they are produced at the Large Hadron Collider.

Their aim is to develop a means for physicists at Cern to "listen to the data" and pick out the Higgs particle if and when they finally detect it.
The article includes sounds of the Higgs boson as modelled by the scientists, one emerging and decaying, and that of the harmonic signatures as well. There is also a diagramme that helps explain where the Higgs boson fits among other particles such as electrons, neutrinos, protons, muons, and quarks. Be sure to check it out.

Not what I really wanted to hear, but hey, it's summer now

From the National Weather Service for Lexington and surrounding areas:

We've already had a child die here after being left in a car.

I remember when I was in Kansas there was a summer in the 80s where we had over 60 days of over 100 degree weather. But the humidity isn't as high there as in Kentucky. Of course, I'm sure it's more miserable down South. Thank goodness for air conditioning.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Some of the news I'm reading

Chimps kill chimps ... for their land: Rival gangs murder each other in turf wars, scientists say
Chimp-on-chimp attacks in the wild are very common, especially among small packs of males on patrol. Now research suggests the motive for these crimes is to gain territory.

Ancient Egyptian city located in Nile Delta by radar
An ancient Egyptian city believed to be Avaris, the capital of the Hyksos people who ruled 3,500 years ago, has been located by radar, Egypt's culture ministry says.

Lucy's 'great-grandfather' found
Anthropologists say they have discovered the 3.6 million-year-old partial skeleton of a creature that came from the same species as Lucy, but was 400,000 years older and at least as good at walking upright.

Cassini Skims Through Titan’s Upper Atmosphere
The flyby took Cassini within 547 miles of Titan’s surface, about two and a half times the altitude of the International Space Station. Although this distance shaved only 43 miles off the next nearest approach, the flyby was the first to take the spacecraft below Titan’s ionosphere, a layer of charged particles in the upper atmosphere. The ionosphere shielded the spacecraft from Saturn’s much larger magnetic field, allowing scientists the first hints of whether Titan has a magnetic field of its own.

Archaeologists find remains of Nevern Castle in Wales
Archaeological excavations on the site of Nevern Castle in Wales has revealed a large group of buildings thought to date from the 12th century. It is hoped that the discovery will provide new details on the history of the Norman fortress that was built in 1108.

7th-graders discover mysterious cave on Mars
The 16 students from teacher Dennis Mitchell's 7th-grade science class at Evergreen Middle School in Cottonwood, Calif., found what looks to be a Martian skylight — a hole in the roof of a cave on Mars.

The intrepid students were participating in the Mars Student Imaging Program at the Mars Space Flight Facility at Arizona State University. The program allows students to frame a research question and then commission a Mars-orbiting camera to take an image to answer their question.

E-Reader Prices Are Slashed

Barnes and Noble started a price war by slashing its 3G Nook to $199 and its Wi-Fi-only Nook to $149. Amazon has responded by reducing the Kindle from $259 to $189. I so want a Kindle, and this only increases the temptation. But for now, I'm concentrating on bills....

A bit of Scots

If you want a translation of the Scots words, the lyrics appear when you click the down arrow at the description on the video's page.

Every band I've ever heard do this song seems bent on pacing it as quickly as possible, sometimes to an insane degree. :)

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Tigers are such magnificent animals, and yet as strong and as fierce as they are, there's a little housecat (or is that the other way around?) in each. :)

Okay, nothing against Christians, but you know, God doesn't like idolatry (and tacky idolatry at that)

I have to admit the Pagan (me) and Jew (YKWIA) were quite amused by this bit of weird news:

6-story Jesus statue in Ohio struck by lightning: Sculpture nicknamed 'Touchdown Jesus' because of way arms were raised
A six-story statue of Jesus Christ was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, leaving only a blackened steel skeleton and pieces of foam that were scooped up by curious onlookers Tuesday.

Nor were we the only ones who found it amusing:

19 reasons why God torched Jesus
Never let it be said that God does not appreciate irony. Never let it be said that God does not have a sense of humor. Never let it be said that God loves tacky Styrofoam parade float lawn statue things that look like Charles Manson dipped in bleach and marshmallows and lost dreams.

I am sorry the church had such a high loss--$300,000 for the statue (!) plus another $400,000 for the amphitheatre. I am also sorry that there are people who are genuinely upset and fail to see the irony. But still...

'Touchdown Jesus' Burns to Ground As Porn Shop Goes Unscathed
The "Touchdown Jesus," a six-story tall statue (also known as "Big Butter Jesus") outside an Ohio church, was torched by a lightning bolt late Monday night and completely incinerated. In a demonstration of God's keen sense of irony, the "Hollywood Hustler" sign at a nearby porn shop was left unscathed.

More odd news

"Condiment Vandal" Busted Pouring Mayo into Book Drop
"Authorities say a 74-year-old Boise woman arrested after pouring mayonnaise in the Ada County library's book drop box is a person of interest in at least 10 other condiment-related crimes."

Friday, June 18, 2010

How...odd, but at least the puppy's in good care now

Puppy thrown at German biker gang
A German student "mooned" a group of Hell's Angels and hurled a puppy at them before escaping on a stolen bulldozer, police have said.
He'd gone off his meds, you see. Poor puppy. Hopefully it's alright.

A family of predators

Fermanagh village faced a 'tidal wave of abuse'
A village in County Fermanagh faced a "tidal wave" of sex abuse from four brothers, a judge has said.

He was sentencing John Michael McDermott, 60, of Moorlough Road, Donagh, for 35 charges of sexually abusing children over 30 years.

He was jailed for nine years and given three years probation. His most serious crime was the rape of a boy.

Two of his brothers - mentally unfit to stand trial - were given lifetime sexual offences prevention orders.

James, 61, and Owen Roe McDermott, 52, were banned from schools and playgrounds in the village and from having access to anyone aged under 16.

A fourth brother killed himself after the start of his trial last month.

Peter Paul McDermott, 62, was found hanged near his home.
How horrible. Their debased crimes spanned decades and destroyed the childhoods of both boys and girls in this Northern Irish village. They themselves apparently grew up in what was described as a family with 'a highly deviant culture of sexually abusing children'. Nothing can undo their horrific acts, but at least their offences have come to light and steps have been taken to protect the children of the village. Personally I think if the two brothers are mentally unfit to stand trial, they should be committed rather than just given prevention orders, though.

I'm all set

I talked with both my new boss (for the data entry position) and my boss from the store today. The first explained more about what the sheets I'm working from and the screens will look like, what sort of pay grade it is (about what I expected, between what I make at the gas station and as a librarian, and completely welcome), hours, etc. We're going to shoot for 10:30 am-7 pm for both jobs Monday-Friday to start, and adjust as necessary. Meanwhile, my boss at the store had no problem with putting me on a Saturday-only schedule. With trucks coming during the day now and a new part-time person coming in for nights, it works for her, too.

So here's what it looks like:

Sunday (Cleaning and game, with a grocery run every two weeks)
Monday-Friday (Catch the 10:10 bus, work at the library from 10:30 am-2:30 pm and the data entry position from 2:30 pm-7 pm with a break for lunch in there somewhere. Catch the 7:30 bus home, be home by 8 pm.)
Saturday (Walk to work at the gas station, usually will be 2 pm-10 pm, but could be anywhere in the 10 am-10 pm range)

That's 48 hours, same as I'm doing now. Doctor's appointments and such need to be early in the day. The only real cons to the new job: It's temporary, I won't be able to see my friends as a general rule except on Sunday, unless I take a cab home from their house, and there's no back up person; if I have to be out, I have to catch up, and we have a limited window to get the data input, so I can't take more than a day or so off at once, but that's how I tend to do it anyway. Pros: More money, more money going into my retirement, working full-time at one place, less strain on feet, not getting in as late at night, etc. All in all, as our nursing director put it, it's a win-win situation.

I also told the data entry boss about my plans for the Joan Baez concert July 20th and there was no problem. I'd just have to leave a little early to make it to a 7:30 showing. I'm still waiting on my ticket for that (it was printed on the 8th).

So anyway, there is much happiness in my world at the moment. I need to clarify whether I start July 1st or the Monday before so I can tell my store boss. Gee, I have three bosses now!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Okay, it's four years old

But it was so great to see Tracy and hear her voice as she explains her work with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

I miss Tracy. :) If she and her husband ever make it back this way, we need to go to an Indian restaurant with YKWIA and A.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What a mess

Sea creatures flee spill, gather near shore: Scientists say phenomena may signal polluted habitat, loss of fish

This is probably the single most devastating oecological disaster of my lifetime so far--maybe bigger and far reaching than Chernobyl--(and may there be none worse); unfortunately, so much of it is 'hidden' by being in the deep ocean that we may never truly understand its impact.

I feel for the people of the Gulf, but states such as Louisiana are reaping some of what they sowed by giving oil companies access to their mineral reserves. In the Shreveport area where I grew up, the petrochemical business was huge, and any dip in it meant recession in general for everyone.

They're not alone in this, of course. Here in Kentucky, people have given away their mineral rights for pittances for over a century, allowing strip mining and deep mining of resources. Not surprisingly, both Louisiana and Kentucky have a history of dirty politics.

And of course we all rely on oil, coal, and other non-renewable resources of energy to heat our homes, run our cars, etc. So we're all at fault, in a way, for what's happening to the creatures of the Gulf, the environment, and to those whose livelihoods depend upon them. This dependence on non-renewable energy must change; we need to put more resources into energy that will eventually be less costly (in so many ways) than petroleum and coal.


My boss asked me today if I'd heard anything further about the data entry job and suggested I talk to the director in charge. I did, briefly, asking him if he'd made a decision. He made a face and said, yes, yesterday (and I thought, oh, I didn't get it), but then asked me how it would work in my schedule. :) I guess he'd meant to get back to me by then, and that's what the face was about.

I'm willing to clear my weeknight schedule for the position, and told him I'd already worked out the details of getting home on the bus, etc. I thought it sounded like they'd need me form 5-9, but it actually sounds like it may be more late afternoon than night. I told him I planned to work at the store just on Saturdays, if they'd let me, but I committed to making this work. We're going to go over the details in the next couple of days. There will be some training necessary, but that I can do during normal hours if need be. I'm scheduled at the store through the 23rd. This gives me a chance to give her notice of the schedule change (or resignation, if they can't use me just one night a week), and I'd still have time for one more week at the store before starting at the hospital full-time between the two positions on July 1st. That is, incidentally, when they restore matching for our retirement, but they've doubled their matching amount to 50 cents on the dollar, so I may go ahead and increase the amount I'm saving.

There's no telling just how long this job will last; it should be at least 6 months. I'm hoping I can pay off some of my debt and save for a car. But I'm very excited, and I'm glad they kept me in mind for it.

A lovely night off

Because Brandon worked for me:
  1. I was able to come home and take a two-hour nap on a nice sunny afternoon.
  2. I talked at length with a friend.
  3. I connected with a high school friend on Facebook and exchanged phone numbers.
  4. I went to the library, returned some books, and got a couple, including the one on Dewey the Library Cat and a mystery called Sherlock in Love.
  5. Went to Animal House, the pet store, and got some dechlorinator solution and the anti-ammonia chips that go in the filter.
  6. Went to Kroger, granny cart in hand, and got some food for the house, much of it fruit, juice, organic and other types of dairy, free-range brown eggs, meatless entrees from Morningstar Farms, vegetarian beans in sauce, canned veggies, hummus, Indian entrees, and vegetarian chili. The only non-'healthy' food were a couple of packages of soft pretzels (hey, everyone has a weakness) and some Miracle Whip. I didn't even get ice cream. Oh, and I found some rosemary/mint bodywash (my shampoo is the same scent). I also splurged for the upcoming holiday and got a package of sparklers. :) Let me tell you, I cannot sing the virtues of a granny cart any higher--it's so much easier to lug home four canvas grocery bags of food in a cart than that one time I did so by hand. Oh, and I found a product, a Greek-style honey-flavoured yoghurt that looked intriguing, made by a company called 'The Greek Gods'. The honey one is called Hermes. :)
Can you tell I'm trying to eat healthier? Not to mention, have food in the house so I don't bring home lots of snacks from the store I work at. Mind you, not a lot of it is portable--I need to start bringing my lunch; the cafeteria is so expensive, although today I had my pick of anything on the hot bar to eat--we had tortilla-encrusted tilapia (excellent), teriyaki salmon, baked potato, squash--even the soup was broccoli cheddar. I don't think that's ever happened before. There were hot dogs on the roller grill for those who really wanted lots of meat. I passed on the soup and salmon this time, but I was sorely tempted by both. But as a result I had a large lunch, so since I've been home I've had just a little package of salmon earlier and now a little spinach-artichoke hummus on whole wheat pita, and I'm satisfied. :)

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WORKING FOR ME, BRANDON!!! I really needed a little 'me' time. :)

Now I'm home, everything's put away, and I'm considering doing some notes. And I have to clean out the fish tank and add some more water. I may concentrate on getting the notes started tonight and deal with anything else later...I did add some fresh water to the tank, it just needs a good vacuuming and then topping it off, and the ammonia chips changed.

I saw this the other day at YKWIA's, but it's in my subscription list, too

It's quite excellent (well, it is the BBC, what do you expect?) Particularly riveting are the gazelle protecting her fawn and the wrath of the buffalo. The cinematography is just wonderful; it's well worth a look:

My favourite wildflower

is considered a weed by most. It's common chicory, a very useful plant that is used in coffee in the deep South and also as a coffee substitute. It is also sometimes added to beer. Its root and leaves may be eaten, although the leaves are usually cooked to remove some of the bitterness. It is related to Belgian endive and radicchio. The plant isn't much to see but the flowers are a beautiful purple-blue--and they are aethereal, as they close when brought indoors or on cloudy days. Indeed, in Linnaeus' flower clock, chicory was used due to the regularity of its blooming time.

The picture to the right was snapped by me this morning on the way to the bus stop. The one below (a close-up that is much better), is by Alvesgaspar (Joaquim Alves Gaspar), who placed it on the Wikimedia Commons and licensed it under the Creative Commons 2.5 Generic Licence.

Okay, I think I'd better go. A storm has blown up with lots of thunder and lightning. Hope the electricity stays on.

That's not a pot o' gold, that's a shopping centre

We had a rainstorm this afternoon while I was at work and then the sun came out beautifully, although the rain continued. I remember thinking there must be a rainbow--the conditions were perfect. Then a lady came in and said there was a double rainbow outside. By the time I got out there, the upper bow had disappeared. But this was rather nice, I thought.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My theme song

'Accident Prone' Lady Gaga parody by Venetian Princess

This woman is incredibly talented. Her celebrity parodies are great, and this one could have been written for me. Thanks to YKWIA for showing it to me.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I didn't get the notes finished this morning

so I'm about to work on them now. It shouldn't take more than an hour, but I have to be up at 5 am and I'm not looking forward to it, as it's almost 11 pm now.


My blood sugar is a little elevated this morning (248), probably due to the mead last night. I feel a little bleary (but not hung over--it was a very small glass of mead), and I overslept (I meant to get up at 7 am, but got up at 10:30).

So there probably won't be any extra time for anything but notes this morning. So I'm off to do that.

So I rarely drink

but I had some Camelot mead on hand and decided it would make a good libation tonight, as it is honey wine and honey is one of the things I sacrifice regularly. Burgundy is my normal libation of choice, but I don't have any and haven't managed to get any the last couple of days. So, I put some of the mead in the offering cup with some lavender petals and poured that out on the ground. Before I put the mead in the refrigerator--always do that: mead attracts insects because it is so sweet, I poured a very small amount in a cup and sampled it myself. It's very good--not horribly sweet, but you can tell it's made from honey. The small amount was 1) because I don't want to affect my blood sugar much, 2) I usually don't care for alcohol and was just trying this and 3) it doesn't take much to affect me. I once got fairly drunk on a half glass of white wine with dinner. So, it's best for me to drink in moderation.

Why you shouldn't let voicemails pile up

I finally got around to listening to my voicemail at my home phone tonight. I'd had several calls, and checked each day to see who had called. Invariably it was Walgreens with a note telling me my prescriptions were ready. I had asked for them to be filled last Thursday but had not been able to make it to pick them up until yesterday. Hence all the many reminders.

Turns out, I missed one, which made my experience at the pharmacy make ever so much sense. See, when I went in, there was a prescription for Cipro, an antibiotic. I thought this was a mistake and asked them to put it back. Apparently what I missed was a phone call from my doctor's office telling me my white blood cell count was up and they'd called in a prescription for Cipro for me to take.

So I called the pharmacy just now and they're going to get it ready for me. He asked when I could come get it. Realistically, that would be Monday--the bus only runs every hour tomorrow and I wasn't sure I could get there in time to get notes finished and get to work. He pointed out that Monday was too late to wait for a medicine for an infection, which I must say, he had a point. Still, on the other hand, I've apparently had one since June 4th with no symptoms beyond the blood test results. Even so, I'll slog over to the pharmacy tomorrow anyway. I wouldn't want to die just to get the game notes finished. :)

Still, I do wonder why the count is elevated. Nothing else was out of place, apparently.

Oh, and of course they'll ask me if I've ever taken Cipro. They always do. I've taken it in the past, but there's always concern because I'm allergic to penicillin. Mind you, just because I've taken it safely before doesn't mean I wouldn't develop an allergy, but they always seem relieved that I've taken it and not anaphylaxed and died. Now just so you don't think otherwise, I really appreciate the concern about my health. I'll be seeing my doctor in a relatively short time since we're trying to go up on Actos. So far it seems to be helping; my blood sugars have been about 180-190 in the morning and 120-140 in the afternoon, which is loads better than the 300s I was having as a fasting glucose level.

Friday, June 11, 2010


There's a chance I could get a part-time, temporary data entry position at the hospital that at least for awhile would put me full time between the two. It would be working in the late afternoons/evenings for four hours a day. Our director of nursing sent me an e-mail about it, wondering if I would be interested. She and my boss thought it would be a good fit for me. I went ahead and talked to the director of that department today. There are other applicants, of course, so there's no guarantee that I'll get it. But it would fit in with my schedule and I already have a work station; they wouldn't have to find room somewhere. I could get back on the evening combined Woodhill-Richmond Road bus, because it goes behind the hospital. They're thinking it will last at least for six months, maybe a year. It could actually turn into a permanent position, but it's meant to be a stop-gap measure until a computer module can collect and send the data where it needs to go.

If I get it, I could probably continue to work at the store on Saturdays, if that's alright with them, and then increase my hours back after this job ends. I'd be working about the same number of hours per week that I am now, but I suspect I'd be paid more at the data entry job than I am at the store, so it would mean a little more money coming in. The only con is that I wouldn't be able to see my friends except on Sundays. I might be able to go four days a week with the library position so I have some time for doctor's appointments, laundry, that sort of thing. We'll see.

Please wish me luck.

A gadget, but a useful one

I found something at Walgreens yesterday when I was getting my prescriptions, and decided to get it. It's called the Smart Health Wellness Monitor Watch.

  1. Tells time.
  2. Tells date.
  3. Acts as an alarm.
  4. Has a dual time feature.
  5. Has a stopwatch.
  6. Has a count-down timer.
  7. Has a pedometer that measures steps towards a goal.
  8. Calculates the calories burnt during exercise.
  9. Tests resting heart rate.
  10. Monitors current heart rate and determines whether it is in the desirable zone for aerobic exercise.

Not bad. It was $15.00 off, came with a $5 coupon for merchandise at the store, and was a flexible spending item. I needed a watch anyway, and I wanted to get a pedometer now that my feet are doing better and I can walk more. Of course, I realise that I really got it because it was, indeed, a gadget. But still, it is a useful one, so there you go.

It's amazing how quickly fear grips you

when you encounter something of which you have a phobia, even if it is unlikely you will get hurt. Case in point:

My baby book states that even at a few months old, I screamed whenever storms came through. I have had a fear of thunder and lightning as long as I can remember, to the point where I have actually wonder if I experienced bombing in a past life. That's what it feels like, like death is raining from the sky, bursting in flashes of light and crashing noise. I even dove under a table once, as a teenager, while company was over when a bolt hit nearby.

Nineteen years ago, during my honeymoon, I was attending a Pagan gathering outside of Atlanta when a huge front of storms came through. To give you an idea, it was midsummer, the temperature prior to the storm was in the 90s--the next day it was in the 50s. Several of us were camped together with a tarpaulin over the common area, put up with wooden poles. There was one extra pole, a metal one, on the ground. When the rain came down in sheets we each manned a pole and dipped the tarp to keep it from collapsing. At one point lightning hit down in the valley below us, knocking people off their feet. A bit of the bolt hit our camp--the others felt the shock through the wooden poles. But I didn't feel anything, because at that point I was in the foetal position in a puddle of rainwater. I'd held up really well up to then, but that thunderclap and flash, simultaneous with one another, sent me down to the ground. Afterwards, when the others were checking out other campers (tents had been rolling down the hill, etc.), I stood there with my pole, clutching it for dear life, and every now and then one of my companions would come over and check on me.

But over the years, I thought the phobia had ebbed. I'd forced myself to be calm during storms, and I even learnt to enjoy them (so long as the thunder was fairly far away). As it got closer, my heart beat a little faster, but I was still okay.

But that was inside.

Today a storm came up just as I was leaving the hospital. I had to go out to catch the bus; it was the only way to get to work on time at the store. The rain was coming down in sheets, and thunder came from every direction. All the fear came back in a moment, and I started crying, wondering if I should have called work to see if someone could have gotten me or if they could wait for me to get there. But I persevered. I got to the bus stop (incidentally, under a tall metal light pole) and waited. A lightning bolt hit somewhere across the road at the golf course; the thunderclap was instantaneous, and it took every bit of courage I had to not run back up that hill to the hospital and to hell with the bus.

After that, things calmed down a bit, and so did I. By the time the bus arrived, it actually was just a gentle rain. By the time I got off the bus again, it was only sprinkling, as it had passed the store as well. My clothes were soaked, especially my sandals, and my feet were brown where the material touched them. My work shirt was wet inside the canvas bag I'd carried as well. But I was safe, and that was all that mattered.

I'm still embarrassed that I cried because it was storming. I think the woman across from me on the bus could tell I had been; she looked at me very oddly. And I hate that I still have that fear that comes crashing back all at once after all these years. True, I weathered it. And it's not entirely irrational; I could have been struck by lightning, even though it is so very rare. But I still feel like I failed somewhere and wonder at those who can listen to thunderstorms and find them relaxing.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Barbaric if the allegations prove true

Official: Taliban execute boy, 7, as spy: Afghan president condemns alleged act as 'crime against humanity'
Suspected Taliban militants publicly hanged a 7-year-old boy for spying in the militant stronghold of Helmand province, an Afghan official told the Associated Press.

The child was placed on trial by the Islamic extremist group and later found guilty of working for Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government, the local official said.

Karzai on Thursday condemned the alleged act, calling it a "crime against humanity".
Seven years old???

Go find a kid to hug. Children are precious; they are our future. They should not be pawns of adults.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010


5 Reasons Pigs are More Awesome Than You comic by The Oatmeal.

Thanks to Bill for sharing.

Something to watch for

Comet turns into a surprise treat: Look for Comet McNaught to brighten in morning skies
A recently discovered comet is surprising skywatchers by becoming brighter than predictions had first suggested and can now be seen with the unaided eye during the next few weeks.
Check out the story for where to look in the wee hours of the morning for this gem.

Last night

I had two vivid dreams I kept coming back to, both of which involved complex plots within plots. One was science fiction, where a man uncovered (with guidance from a young girl) of a conspiracy to eradicate Jews on a ship that in itself was alive. In that timeline, there had never been a Hitler or Holocaust. But this was being done more Mafia-style, and there were mysterious disappearances. The dream was from the perspective of the man, therefore I experienced things from his point of view.

The other involved a mediaeval institution where Christians, Jews, and Muslims had different statuses but that was changing. The elite were opposed to a change in the status quo, except for the king, who was carefully managing small changes to bring about equality. In fact, a Jewish teenager (who looked like YKWIA) was knighted there in front of the elite, to their consternation. That was experience more like watching the tableau. Indeed, at times the dream shifted and a young woman was watching this like some sort of art film. She was being sought by other people for her magical gifts, which she'd carefully concealed but the others had uncovered. They wanted to help her, but she was running away from them, for magic was not accepted outside a few small groups. I did experience the dream from her perspective.

I don't know where these came from. There's a lot of sense of persecution. I would say it's been spurred by some of the events recently in the Middle East, but although I am very pro-Jewish, I believe the actions of Israel are wrong in dealing with the Palestinians, so I'm not quite pro-Israel.

Now I'm awake and we're having a storm. I feel groggy and want to sleep some more, but its time to get ready for work.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Proving that 'extinction' is not always final

Mystery gray whale sighted again off Spain coast
A mysterious gray whale sighted off the coast of Israel in the Mediterranean Sea has been seen again off the north east coast of Spain.

The second sighting, made 23 days and 3000km after the first, has continued to perplex whale experts.

Gray whales were thought to be extinct across the Atlantic Ocean, so the appearance of an individual within the Mediterranean Sea was a major surprise.

Now it is not clear where the whale is heading or why.

Once, three major populations of gray (also spelt grey) whale existed: in the western and eastern North Pacific Ocean, and in the North Atlantic.

However, the North Atlantic population of gray whale became extinct sometime in the 17th or 18th Century, for reasons that are not clear.

No sightings of the species had been made in the Atlantic Ocean since.

That was until a single individual gray whale was sighted off the coast of Herzliya Marina, Israel on 9 May this year.
Hurrah; may this be a sign of a resurgence of the species. Either there were unknown Atlantic grey whales all the time, or one has migrated thousands of miles from the Pacific. But for now, the sightings mean hope.

Monday, June 07, 2010

I'm usually just getting home by now

Instead, I have:
  1. Done four loads of laundry (I had enough quarters for and meant to do the bedding, but then didn't think of it again until the others were already far in the washing process, and I didn't want to add much more time to what I was doing.)
  2. Did one large load of dishes.
  3. Filled seven garbage bags with stuff I don't need that needs to go away.
  4. Talked to a friend from work who has had a very bad night at work twice on the phone.
  5. Went through over five hundred news feeds in Google Reader.
  6. Napped for about an hour and a quarter.
All in all, it was a productive night. There's still more to do, of course. There are a few dishes that can't go into the dishwasher to do. I need to take out the garbage. I should probably do a little maintenance on the bathroom. The aquarium needs more water. But a lot of detritus has been removed, and it looks tons better. I'm going to go relax for a bit and then come back to the computer and start game notes if I don't get too relaxed.

Listening to:

'St Louis Blues' by Billie Holiday

Along with the singing goat (which was a smashing success--my friend was thrilled with the gift), I got The Blues Collection, a 6 CD set from Musicbank (it was only $16, so I thought that was a pretty good deal). It features Muddy Waters, Dinah Washington, BB King, Mississippi John Hurt, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, Big Joe Williams, T-Bone Walker, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Kimmy Reed, Memphis Slim, Robert Johnson, Big Joe Turner, Lightning Hopkins, Jimmy Witherspoon, Lonnie Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Sonny Terry. Each CD has 20 songs on it.

One reason I'm listening to it is that I'm cleaning house and wanted something to keep me working. I just spent an hour picking up stuff in the living room and kitchen. Next I'm going to start a load of dishes. Laundry is also on the agenda. This is the first night I've had to do this sort of stuff in awhile, which is why the house is a wreck (I am obviously not a neat person). Normally I'd go over to a friend's house, but I haven't had an extra day off in weeks and so I just had to stay home. It's amazing how much paper accumulates in my house. I feel like I'm excavating. The couch is particularly bad, as I tend to use it as a landing point for mail, etc.--and I get a lot of coupons and other kinds of junk mail that I just haven't had time to go through. I'm basically home for about an hour and half each night except for when I'm sleeping, and I'm usually on the computer then. I live by myself (and so can only blame myself), so I tend to not things back where I got them immediately. Funny how I can organise other people's stuff very well, but I have trouble with my own. I wonder if other librarians have that problem, or if I'm an exception.

Anyway, I opened the windows (it's in the 70s), put on the music, and I've gotten quite a bit picked up. Now to continue.

Good--that's one menace off the roads

Woman Receives Sentence for Deaths of McLelland & Krasniewicz

Last year Sandra Jacobson caused an accident that killed two librarians on their way to the airport after leaving the ALA's mid-winter meeting in Denver. She'd been going about 85 mph and was so inebriated that hours later she was still drunk. She was found guilty in April of two counts of vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, and leaving the scene of the accident, and today she was sentenced to 36 years in prison. Bravo for those who prosecuted this case.

Thanks, Birdie of LISNews for the story.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Most bizarre news story of the week

Porn actor suspected of murder jumps off cliff, dies after daylong standoff with police

Only in Los Angeles would a porn actor kill a colleague at a social gathering for the studio with a prop Samurai sword, wound another, hold off police (with sword still in his possession) most of the day, then jump off a cliff when a 'less lethal weapon' was used to subdue him, whatever that means. He apparently started the whole thing because he'd been fired and was asked to leave his lodgings, which were being provided by the studio. This is definitely the case of someone who snapped big time, although he'd had previous weapons violations, so perhaps not unpredictably. I am sorry that he's dead (and that his colleague is as well, of course), but it just underscores how odd things can be in both the film industry and the Hollywood area. I think making money off of fantasy can sometimes draw you away from the real world, or at least the world the rest of us live in.

Alzheimer's is a horrible disease, so much so when it strikes your CHILDREN

Alzheimer’s Stalks a Colombian Family
Tucked away on a steep street in this rough-hewn mountain town, an old woman found herself diapering her middle-age children.

At frighteningly young ages, in their 40s, four of Laura Cuartas’s children began forgetting and falling apart, assaulted by what people here have long called La Bobera, the foolishness. It is a condition attributed, in hushed rumors, to everything from touching a mysterious tree to the revenge of a wronged priest.

It is Alzheimer’s disease, and at 82, Mrs. Cuartas, her gray raisin of a face grave, takes care of three of her afflicted children.
A fourth lives in Medellín and is cared for there. He married a distant cousin whose also has three siblings with Alzheimer's. The outlook is bleak for their children, who have genes from both sides.

The one bright thing about this isolated Andean pocket of a population where early-onset Alzheimer's is so rampant is that scientists can study them and perhaps find drugs or vaccines that could save those not yet in the throes of the disorder, not only there, but around the world.

I have to admit, Alzheimer's is something I dread. My great-grandmother lived with it for at least fifteen years, going from a vibrant, sassy woman to a shell of a person, rarely communicating or interacting with those around her. My own memory is abysmal, who used to never have to take notes in high school because I just remembered it all. I live in the South, which seems to have higher rates than average. It's a real fear of mine.

For more information on Alzheimer's, there is an excellent booklet by the Alzheimer's Association called 2010 Alzheimer's Facts and Figures (a PDF), plus the association itself is a great resource.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Post # 6,000!

You read that right. In the eight years, seven months, and eleven days since I started this blog, I've ranted, expressed joy and sadness, culled interesting news stories, wrote about being a librarian, wrote about being me--you name it--6,000 times. That averages out to about almost 2 posts per day. Not bad, hmmm???

PS Thanks to Blogger for giving me a forum in which to write and voice my opinions. I really appreciate it.

I wonder what sort of word count I have? :) I'm beginning to think of it as an epic.

Putting the current oeconomic stresses on libraries in historical context

If you've never read the Library History Buff Blog, you should. Larry Nix does an excellent job of commenting on and preserving snippets of library history. He is particularly fond of historical postcards.

Today he wrote about a library--facing cuts currently--and its experiences during the Great Depression and how it eventually overcame closure and cuts. It's definitely food for thought. Hopefully those facing cuts these days will thrive once more in better times, but for now, it's a very difficult time for libraries.

Oh, how utterly sad and crass

Coleman’s funeral canceled as parents, ex fight: Service was planned for weekend; family, Price at war over custody of body
Gary Coleman will not be laid to rest this weekend as originally planned.

With the late actor's ex-wife and estranged parents now warring over custody of his body, Coleman's Utah funeral has been canceled, the Salt Lake Tribune confirms.

Sue and Willie Coleman — estranged from the "Diff'rent Strokes" star at the time of his death at age 42 — plan to file an action for legal control over their son's remains. The grieving parents reportedly want Coleman's body delivered to his birthplace of Zion, Ill., where they currently reside.
It's bad enough the man's dead--why war over his body and its deposition, when his wishes were known? It sounds to me that a battle is being fought over control of Gary Coleman in death much like it was in life. Let the poor man rest in peace, for pity's sake.

Dear Gods, what stupidity (not to mention anti-Semitic and just plain wrong)

US high school ends 'Beat the Jew' game
Seven seniors at a Southern California high school were facing disciplinary action for participating in a game called "Beat the Jew" in which losers were subjected to "incineration" or "enslavement," a school administrator said Friday.

The game involved some students playing the role of Nazis who blindfolded and dropped off other students playing Jews who must find their way back to the campus, said Sherry Johnstone, assistant superintendent of personnel for Desert Sands Unified School District.

It was not immediately clear exactly if or how losing players were punished, she said.

Got some time, soda, and Mentos on your hands?

How to Build a Rocket Car Powered by Mentos and Coke

Here's the result:

Here's more from these guys, including a great fountain:


How strange

Drunken parrots falling from sky: Parrots intoxicated by a mystery substance are dropping out of the sky near Darwin
Seemingly drunken and hungover parrots are dropping out of the sky in the Northern Territory and experts are at a loss to explain why.

The red-collared lorikeets lose coordination and pass out after eating a mystery food, Lisa Hansen, of the Ark Animal Hospital at Palmerston, near Darwin said on Thursday. Red-collared lorikeets are an NT subspecies of the rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus rubritorquis).

"It happens every year around this season, they lose all balance and we find them fallen out of trees and the sky," she says. "Unless someone intervenes, they can't fly and will get picked up by predators."

(Photo by: Duncan Rawlinson, modified by Snowmanradio)

By the way, I had some good fortune

It turns out that I won $12 on a Powerball ticket I purchased (I just had the Powerball, but I played the Powerplay, so my winnings were quadrupled). Needless to say, I took the money and ran, rather than playing anything else. That means I've recouped all the money I've every laid out for lottery since I started work at the store 4 1/2 years ago (what can I say, sometimes I catch the fever). I may not have won $260 million like someone did, but I made enough to pay for the ticket and the goat puppet. Yay!

I have the goat!

You may remember, if you've been reading for awhile, that last time the 'Books Are Fun' book fair came to the hospital where I work, there was a singing goat puppet that sang the goatherd song from Sound of Music.

Now, I have a friend who dearly loves goats, having grown up on a farm where they raised them. So over the years we've given him stuffed goats, goat puzzles, etc. So the goat was a natural present, but I didn't get it when I first saw it and when I went back the next day, they were gone.

The book fair came back to work yesterday and today and the first thing I did was ask about the goat puppets. They didn't have any, but the lady took down my name and number and said she would check the warehouse.

This morning I was getting dressed when I got a phone call from her. She'd located one in a bin, but she thought the batteries were run down and only had AAAs (it requires two AAs). I told her I had some and would bring them in with me. So when I got to work, I went by and we put in the new batteries and they worked like a charm. Here's another person's video of the same model of puppet singing:

I wonder what my friend's cats and dogs will think about this?

PS The Rottweiler thought it was great fun. The other dogs were dubious. The cats freaked. I've never heard the one ever hiss, and he did, bristling up.

Only one remains

First it was Estelle Getty. Then Bea Arthur. Now I'm very sad to learn of Rue McClanahan's passing.

That leaves Betty White as the only survivor of the wonderful series 'The Golden Girls' (ironically, she is the eldest of the four actresses). The world has lost three talented women in a relatively short time.

'The Golden Girls' was a show that really transcended generations. I loved it and I was 18-25 years old during its original airing.

While I really admired Dorothy's (Bea Arthur's character's) intellect, it was Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan's character) that I was so unlike and secretly wanted to be--a Southern lady who was very comfortable with herself sexually and truly enjoyed life to the fullest. McClanahan played that role to the hilt, and although she originally read for the part of Rose (Betty White's character), she truly breathed life into Blanche.

May she rest in peace.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Guess what I encountered this morning on the way to the bus stop?

This little guy (gal?) was right up next to the sidewalk as I reached the edge of my apartment complex.  The size is deceiving--it was a full foot long and about 10 inches across. I'm not sure what type of turtle/tortoise it is. A co-worker said it looked like a snapping turtle. Needless to say, I thought it might be as well, so I went slowly around it so as not to startle it too much.  Anyone have any ideas as to what type it is? I must confess I never really learned to tell the difference between turtles and tortoises by sight.  The animal was within a stone's throw of a creek, though, so it could easily have been a turtle sunning itself up on the bank.

Anyway, I thought it was worth snapping a photo. :)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

This is absolutely adorable

I shared it on Facebook yesterday, but I decided to it would be fun to post it here as well. Otter pups have to be taught to swim, and this video from the Columbus Zoo shows the process. I particularly like the baby otter trying to escape after mom carries it to the water and dumps it in, and she grabs it by the back leg and pulls it back despite its best efforts to escape. :)


Tomorrow's to-do

  1. Go to work no matter how I feel. (Felt much better, actually.)
  2. Pay rent. (Got the money out of the bank and a money order. Need to drop it by tomorrow morning on the way to work so I can get a proper receipt.)
  3. Go to the doctor. Explain the blood sugar levels I've been having. Ask about going to a dietitian. (He's increasing my Actos to 30 mg. Didn't bring up the dietitian, but I think the books I've been reading are sufficient for now.)
  4. Refill a couple of meds. (Called them in, but didn't get a chance to pick them up. Actually one is the lower dose of Actos, so I'll have to get them to put that back. Will try to get the other tomorrow before work.)
I don't know if I'll go over to a friend's house or not. A lot depends on when I get out of Dr Nesbitt's. Things don't take so long now that he has a nurse practitioner on staff. When it was just him by himself it could take three hours with the waiting, but I never really minded; you're more than some medical record there and he always takes time to explain things. The only thing I'd like to see more of is actually getting the results of my tests. His staff tends to forget to tell me, and I usually forget to ask. I have no idea how my A1c levels have been over the last year or so, for example.

Speaking of doctors, I should make an appointment with my optometrist (time for new contacts) and a hand specialist (regarding the return of my carpal tunnel and getting into hand therapy).

Gods I'm a medical mess.

So sad

There was a young woman--a very sweet and bouncy girl--I worked with for a few weeks who is now six months pregnant. I found out today that her baby apparently has no nerves. The doctor is recommending she either abort the foetus now or deliver it stillborn next month. How heartbreaking, and to find out so late in the pregnancy. I had heard of anencephaly, when the brain is largely missing, but had not heard of this before. I'm sure it's a simplified explanation, but regardless, it's so horrible for her. She and her family are in my thoughts and prayers.

As a solo librarian I can appreciate what she works with, and what she's done

‘Small-town library with a big heart'
A passionate, small-town librarian is getting a big-city honor for helping show how even a part-time library can help immigrants learn English.

Karla Shafer, director of the Hooper Public Library, is getting an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., next month to tell a national gathering of librarians how even a “one-girl show” in a town of 827 can make a difference.

She was awarded a second $5,000 grant to continue a literacy program she began two years ago to help Hispanic immigrants.

And her program helped persuade backers to extend funding for the national grant program, offered through the American Library Association and the Dollar General Foundation.

The Hooper library is the smallest in the nation to receive the grants. It's open 23 hours a week, and Shafer, 58, is the only regular employee.


I am at home. You know the phrase 'can't drag myself out of bed'? That happened this morning. I wasn't just oversleeping, though. My blood sugar was nearly 400 this morning, I was extremely tired and out of it, and my nose has been going, too, although I think that is incidental related to allergies. I felt awful. So I called in and went back to bed. Now--three hours later--the glucose levels have fallen by over 150 points and I feel...well, slightly hung over. In retrospect I don't remember taking my meds yesterday and I ate badly before going to bed (I had some Oreos). Tomorrow I see my doctor about my diabetes. This is the first time I've ever actually missed work over my blood sugar, but I have to admit, I'd have been absolutely useless. Next step, go take my medicine for today and find something that won't bludgeon my sugar into oblivion to eat.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Before the Muppet Show, before Sesame Street, there were the Jim Henson IBM films

An early Cookie Monster and a state-of-the-art coffee machine. Things go as you'd expect.

These were done in the sixties, mostly in 1967, prior to the premiere of Sesame Street. For more videos, check out The IBM Muppet Show.
IBM. The Muppets. Two venerable institutions-but not ones we tend to associate with each other. Yet in the late 1960s, before most people had ever seen a computer in person or could identify a Muppet on sight, the two teamed up when IBM contracted with Jim Henson for a series of short films designed to help its sales staff. Little known today, these remain fresh, funny, and surprisingly irreverent. Henson would return to their gags and situations in his famous later works–and he plucked the Cookie Monster from one of them when assembling the Muppet cast for Sesame Street in 1969.

Ancient artwork may be oldest in world, depicting a long-extinct flightless bird

Australian Aboriginal Rock Art May Depict Giant Bird Extinct for 40,000 Years
An Australian Aboriginal rock art may depict a giant bird that is thought to have become extinct some 40,000 years ago, thereby making it the oldest rock painting on the island continent. The red ochre drawing was first discovered two years ago, but archaeologists were only able to confirm the finding two weeks ago, when they first visited the remote site on the Arnhem Land plateau in north Australia.
That would be older than the cave paintings in Europe, for example, making this the oldest ever discovered, if radiocarbon dating supports the indicated age.

An unlikely return of a sentimental artefact

66 years later, missing WWII vet's dogtag returned to son
A merchant marine whose hobby is researching World War II sites spots a necklace of dogtags on a resident of one of the Solomon Islands and tracks down the family of the fallen pilot to which it belonged.

In my jewelry box, I have a cousin's dogtag from World War I. His name was Cantrell Duncan. My grandmother had cared for him when he was older and I guess he didn't have children to leave it to. I knew him, but certainly not as closely as the rest of the family. Perhaps I should try to find someone to whom it would have greater meaning. Of course, he was a veteran from the first World War, and that tag has been in my possession since 1993. It might be a little difficult to find someone. But you never know, it might be worth it.

PS Cantrell must have been a veteran of WWII. I found his name in the social security death index and his birthday was 7/20/1914. He died in April 1983, aged 69. (I was just turned sixteen.) In the original post I listed Cantrell's name as 'Catlett', which was wrong. Catlett Duncan was my great-grandfather's brother. Cantrell was a cousin in some way.