Julie with a B

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Saturday night naked guy... Posted by Picasa

Sat/Sunday pun?
When the girls stole the bottle of perfume it was clearly a fragrant violation.

Define fuel efficient
Solo in a Hybrid? Motorists who drive solo in fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles will gain access to carpool lanes in California under a massive transportation bill approved by Congress on Friday that includes billions of dollars for projects statewide.
The $286.5-billion bill, the first major transportation funding measure since 1998, cleared the House and Senate by large bipartisan votes. California will receive roughly $23 billion for highway projects — a return of about 92 cents for every dollar in gas taxes the state sends to Washington.
The California law, which expires in 2008, grants carpool access to hybrids that are the cleanest running in their class and get at least 45 miles to the gallon. Smaller hybrids such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight qualify, while larger SUV models might not.

So good so far.... But wait!
"You can have one person in a hybrid and two people in a regular car that gets 30 miles per gallon, and essentially they have the same fuel efficiency," Halcomb said. "In many cases, this kind of law is a knee-jerk reaction to give the appearance of greenness. But you're no better off than driving a regular economy car."

Ah, well, helps to do the numbers right? So lets follow the money. The state gives the Feds $1.00 and gets back $.92. Nope not there. So where is it?
At the Toyota dealership in Glendale, salesman Jesse Rivas was thrilled that the new law was passed, saying it would spur even more sales of the fast-selling Prius, which is officially rated at 60 miles per gallon on city streets, though actual fuel mileage is generally lower. The popular electric-gas cars range from $22,000 to $26,000.


"We've all been waiting for this," Rivas said. "With gas and the economy the way it is, people want a break."

I think I know where the money is.

For now, I'll stick with my Toyota "Crawla" - it gets 35 mpg and cost $6,000 used 6 years ago.

Friday, July 29, 2005
Friday pun
What does a fish say when he hits a wall?


Labor Union split
I commented a little while ago (see end of May/June 1 post) that I thought labor unions were still useful, but they had become too big and topheavy to be responsive to the labor groups that needed them. The current split in the AFL-CIO is an interesting thing. There have been discussions of a "power grab", but really it was about philosophy - one group thinks gaining new members is more relevant, the other feels that political clout is more relevent. I think the real answer is what are you doing for your members? Why should they belong to your union? Many smaller unions get rolled up into the bigger ones. This is the "we have more clout for you" idea. Yet what actually happens is that the issues for the smaller unions are not listened to. They are told to pay their dues and just go along, because whats good for labor is good for all of us. Yet when contracts are up for renewal and bargaining power is needed, where are the guys with the clout? Often no where to be seen and unavailable for help.
I hope that what we see is further breakdown in these mammoth groups. Unions can be incredible but only when they are listening to what their members need and not when the leadership has created a behemoth group with a mind all its own.

Thursday, July 28, 2005
Your Hidden Talent
You have the power to persuade and influence others.
You're the type of person who can turn a whole room around.
The potential for great leadership is there, as long as you don't abuse it.
Always remember, you have a lot more power over people than you might think!

Today's pun
Why was Noah the world's first financial advisor?

He floated his stock, while everyone else was being liquidated.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Local Art
Went cruising with the camera at lunch time today. . . there is a street with these scuptures in about every other yard. . . I only took pictures of a few.


Sebastopol Art . . sculpture ... or ? Posted by Picasa

Supreme Court nominees - not all are confirmed
As a matter of fact, almost one third of those nominated were not confirmed. Not the slam dunk the administration says is "traditional".

Since the Court was established in 1789, how many Supreme Court nominees submitted to the Senate were not confirmed?
You Are Correct

27 of the 150 people nominated to sit as a justice on the Supreme Court have failed to reach Senate confirmation. The first nominee to be rejected by the Senate was John Rutledge in 1795.

(Rutledge, Rutledge, name sounds familiar but I just can't place it.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005
The Supreme Court and Abortion
As the discussion about John Roberts roils about Washington, D.C. the question of abortion and Roe v Wade comes up over and over. While I have a bigger concern with Roberts' attitudes towards the environment, Roe seems to return to the top. Should abortion be turned over to the states? The problems are many and mostly involve hardship for poor women. As I tried to formulate my own opinions I ran across an article. I think it fairly states the case and is a good place to open a discussion. The article does not lend itself to excerpting . . . so take a minute and read:
Should Roe Go?

To be clear on this, I am in favor of limited abortion. I personally think that any woman should have the right for a no questions asked abortion before the beginning of the fifth month. After that there needs to be extenuating health issues for ending a pregnancy.


Basalisk lizard Posted by Picasa

Way cool reptile
At lunch today I visited my favorite pet store to buy cat and dog food. Big bag of cat food (4 cats) smaller bag of dog food, it just seems wrong. . . HOWEVER, I love this place because it is truly a mini-ark. There are many different kinds of birds, usually just a pair or two (today's favorite was the pair of "parrotlets" - very cute), there are rabbits, mice, rats, lots of snakes of all sizes and varieties, and lizards and geckos galore. They occasionally have snakes on loan from the Lawrence Hall of Science down in Berkeley - notably "Selma" a huge ball python who visited for a month or so.

My favorite lizard today was a "fringed basalisk lizard". Oh my. He was really something else. If the store hadn't been so busy I would have asked them if I could hold it. It was probably 18" long, but most of that was a long whippy tail. But he was beautiful!

A sheep in wolf's clothing
I often disagree with what the current administration does. However, the No Child Left Behind act, after much whinging and moaning from the states, has shown to be affective.
From Lexington in The Economist, this weeks issue:
The National Assessment of Educational Progress has bee periodically testing a representative sample of nine-, 13-, and 17-year olds since the early 1970’s. This year’s report contained two striking results. The first is that Americas nine year olds posted their best scores in reading and maths since the test were introduced. The second is that the gap between white students and minorities is narrowing.

While there are many reasons these scores could improve, the ideas that lie behind it
have been widely tried at the state level since at least the mid-1990s. Mr. Bush deserves credit for recognizing the winning ideas thrown up by American’s “laboratories of democracy” and then applying them at the federal level. . . . In his first year in office he teamed up with Ted Kennedy (he was then a “uniter, not a divider”) to push his education reforms through Congress.

However it is getting done, I applaud this improvement. For whatever reasons and whomever you wish to blame, my children did not come away with the depth of knowledge from elementary school that my generation did. Anything that focuses education on reading, math, and writing is good. Without those, there can be no continuation of the more complicated topics. Without math and the ability to read and communicate, there is no science or literature or second languages. And
The act not only requires states to measure the general progress of their children. It also requires them to disaggregate their data to reveal the performance of specific groups such as Latino children or poor children. The aim is to prevent states from boosting the overall performance of their children while leaving vulnerable groups behind.
This last is very important. Now to find a way to prevent something else. What has happened here is that high school students who would fall in the 17 year old testing group are encouraged to take their GED at the end of their sophomore year or early in their junior year and then leave school. The message was, gosh, you are just unmotivated, why not take the GED and go on to a vocational school? Oh and also get out of our testing pool while you are at it.

Businesses have long complained that the quality of employee they are getting is very low. One 6th grade teacher here in Santa Rosa put his money where his mouth is. Sold his international corporation and came here to teach.

Just how did this Act come about? Because a Republican president pushed national educational reforms through Congress. Reforms that required the states to step up to national standards. I am amused. As the article states, Prez Bush is a “new kind of conservative”. Sort of a conservative in liberal clothing.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Arrrrrrgghhh! Posted by Picasa

Monday pun

Who was the infamous pirate octopus?

Captain squid

Sunday, July 24, 2005
Conversations with Rhod
The beginning of this conversation can be found over at Daisy Cutter's site, under his Thursday, July 21st post. The conversation is not relevent to the post. I quoted Rhod directly from his comments.

Rhod said: Small "u" utilitarian is an adverb or adjective too. Bentham is associated with a particular set of ideas about government and society. Your definition of it is good enough. What I mean is something different. I'm referring to unconscious tendencies to produce utilitarian results, with dangerous consequences.
For instance, if unregulated capitalism is proven to empirically produces benefits for the greatest number, and pain for the fewest, people who endorse unregulated capitalism are utilitarian in their thinking...usually w/o knowing it. The consequence is near indifference to those who are subject to the pain.

Yet most liberal/leftist are not indifferent to those in pain, hence the reference to liberals’ wish that Federal government be the “nurturing parent”, helping those at the bottom of the socio-economic scale, those generally in need – welfare programs, health care, environmental issues that involve polluted or poisoned water/ground.

Rhod said:
Utilitarian thinking is a reflexive kind of logic that pays ideological tribute to the individual while ignoring them in reality. The Kelo decision in New London is utilitarian, unregulated abortion is utilitarian in the minds of many on the left, so is affirmative action and a huge portion of the leftist set of ideas. Leftist thinking is also deeply collectivist.

Actually, I believe that most left/liberals lean away from the good of the individual, looking to “common good” attitudes. The Kelo decision may be utilitarian but it completely supports capitalism (ruling class) and does not lean towards collectivism or communism (proletariat). If the Kelo decision had given the property to a collective, the profits of which went directly to the city for public endeavors, I could see that reasoning, but it was a strictly capitalist proposition, off of which the city hoped to gain taxes.
Abortion is not utilitarian, birth control is. Affirmative action? Well, because its intent was to affectively use ALL of the human resources available, it might be, but I think that’s a stretch. Affirmative action is clearly in the “Nurturing Parent” camp.

Most goals associated with leftist thinking require statist solutions, which is to say the application of coercive power to accomplish liberal goals. I regularly refer to Orwell on this matter, because as a socialist, he labored with the problem that all liberal thinking tends toward authoritarianism, and often to totalitarianism.

Have no idea what “statist” means here, unless you mean actions by the Federal government. “Application of coercive power to accomplish goals”. The left perhaps - coercing capitalists to pay taxes to help care for the lower socio-economic rabble? But in general I think both left & right do their own coercing.

Rhod said:
This is, to me, the central problem I have with most liberals/leftists. There is often a deep good heartedness, which is indignant to complaints, but more often, an abrasive authoritarinism disguised as social concern.

Offering welfare, job training, and health insurance is hardly authoritarian. Authoritarianism is generally the purview of the conservative. The “authoritarian father” deciding what is best.

Rhod said:
I have no patience with the masquerade, and as you know, can be vulgar and brutal in my attacks. I think it's deserved.

How very authoritarian of you. I, however, prefer discussion and an attempt to reach some kind of common ground.

In my opinion, vulgarity and brutality is never deserved in conversation with individuals one doesn’t even know. Civility is the least due, no matter what your politics. Try sarcasm and cynicism, they are civil and accomplish similar ends.

Baby horse pics
The barn where I ride is primarily a breeding facility. There are currently four stallions in residence and about 20 mares. The stallions, of course, stand stud for many mares outside of the farm as well.
The babies arrive mostly in late spring. These horses are warm bloods - mostly Oldenburgs, a Hanovarian, and several Dutch warmblood mares.
And this year's babies are as cute as ever. There is a little bay filly (the one with the blue fly mask on) and two little colts, a dark brown and a chestnut. They are so curious! The dark brown colt, Dominic, puts his tiny nose up on the fence rail in hope that you will pat him and talk to him.
All of the mares are protective, so that if you seem to be focusing your attention on their baby, they will very purposefully step between you and the little one. Makes it hard to take pictures!


The oldest of this year's babies, a little filly. Posted by Picasa


Close up of the dark bay mom. I almost had a close up picture of her little one, but she stuck her nose in the way. Posted by Picasa


Close up of mom's nose.... Posted by Picasa


Mom stepping in the way Posted by Picasa


Mother and son. About 4 weeks Posted by Picasa


Two weeks old and already has attitude Posted by Picasa

Answers for Rhod
Over on Daisy Cutter's site Rhod and I were discussing things in "comments". The discussion had devolved into one of general questions and answers. The comments are under DC's post from Thursday, July 21, but don't have any actual relevance to his post.

There were a couple questions before these, but the answers for each are pages long and I decided to respond to them another time. His questions are direct quotes from the comments.

Rhod said:
I find that liberals/leftists (whichever you are) are more significant for what they leave out than what they say. Asking for elaboration never seems to work, but I'd like to ask you at least three questions. Feel free not to answer.

1) Abortion. As an aside, "abortion on demand" is not a mysterious expression, it's just been traded in for other euphemisms. You can ask any friendly NARAL, Planned Parenthood, or maybe even a Girl Scout leader what it means.

What I said was, “I don’t know anyone in the pro-choice movement who believes in “abortion on demand”. Really, I don’t.” I still don’t.

Rhod says:
But, what is the problem with the states deciding the issue? You hint that there are some problems, as well as claiming that abortion should be legal because it happens anyway. I've never understood that...but the final question is: What is the problem with community standards, and their expression in Federalism? Some states might not accept abortion. So what?

I don’t have a problem with the states deciding the issue. My thoughts were about those across state line problems. Women will still go where abortions are available if they are desperate. Abstention and birth control are still the best preventatives of abortion.

I have no problem with community standards. What is OK in Texas may not be agreeable to Californians.

Rhod says:
2) Small "u" utilitarianism. I didn't have Jeremy Bentham and Utilitarianism in mind. I said, essentially, that leftist thinking was contaminated by utilitarianism, not, as you said, that governments already engage in it. Unregulated capitalism is also utilitarian, and that's not government.

The only “utilitarianism” I know of is that suggested by Bentham, Mill, and others. “the doctrine that the actions of governments should be judged simply by the extent to which they promoted the “greatest happiness of the greatest number.”

Rhod said:
Do you see any utilitarianism in, say, affirmative action, or ideas about multiculturalism, or deconstructionism, or gay marriage, or even abortion? According to Stephen Levitt, years of abortion have resulted in a reduced crime rate. That's a utilitarian argument for abortion, isn't it?

As defined, if I agreed with an exclusive policy of utilitarianism, then the items above would not occur. I am still unclear on the definition of the word with which you are trying to define this discussion. So I’ll just talk a moment about the items you list above.

Affirmative action: There are some parts of society who do not value the abilities of others who are different in some way, gender, skin color, age, etc. It reduces competition if only certain people are acceptable applicants. I don’t think that affirmative action creates social change. However, it does help some segments of society get training or experience where they might not have had an opportunity. Affirmative action was useful to open some doors, but then became less so from backlash. It was time to change it. We have women who are Police Chiefs because of affirmative action. However, in general, society’s biases will continue until it is unprofitable to do so. Nursing is an example. Originally nurses were always women. There was a bias against men – it was a “woman’s job”. Now that women have more opportunities themselves, there is more of an opportunity for men in nursing and it is much more acceptable for a man to be a nurse now. They got there because they were needed.

Multiculturalism: The United States is a melting pot of people from many different countries and cultures. My own ancestors (one of whom, Thomas Bloom, arrived on the second voyage of the Mayflower) came from England, France, Scotland, and Germany. I enjoy this and look for the family traditions that have come from all of those places, we seem to have picked up a little of everything. But when they first arrived they carried on the traditions of the countries from which they came. Gradually they borrowed recipes from each other, they inter-married and in the process married those of other religions. It is a process that only needs time and the friendliness of others.
My caveat: I think there is danger in allowing large masses of immigration from troubled countries. The trick is to allow time and space for assimilation and acculturation.

Deconstructionism – I don’t think in the analytical terms of deconstructionism beyond the occasional dinner table discussion. So for myself, I can’t really comment.

Rhod said:
3) Christianity. Why is Christianity pacifist?

That’s a reply that is pages in itself. I can write it up, but not now.

Rhod said:
Other questions, but if you have the time, I'd like to know more about what you believe.

These answers are what I believe. I am not saying they are the answers for “the Left” or answers for anyone else except myself. They are not immutable, they can change. Twenty years ago I thought that affirmative action would really change society. It didn’t. It did however change the opinions of some people. And those people helped change the opinions of others. I don’t think the law changed society, I think hard working and dedicated people changed society.

All are welcome to comment, please do so respectfully.

Saturday, July 23, 2005
Lipizzans from the Spanish Riding School
For those of you who don't come by often, I'll mention that I own a Lipizzan horse. So I often post on "Things Lipizzan". This is a really wonderful chance. The "real" Lipizzans from the Spanish Riding School (the source of all Lipizzan breeding stock) in Vienna, Austria, are touring the United States. Well, partly. They are going to in the Eastern half only. Sigh.

This year is the 60th anniversary of General Patton and the 2nd Cavalry's rescue of the Lipizzan breed. The last tour was 15 years ago, so if you have the opportunity to see them, it is truly spectacular. The poster below lists dates and where you can get tickets.

The only other way you can see them is at home in Vienna. However, the waiting list for tickets to see them there is about 18 months! So seeing them here is an incredible opportunity.

For those of you curious about the rescue by Patton there is a movie, The Miracle of the White Stallions, that tells the story. It was made in 1963 and has its corny moments, however, it also does a good job of showcasing what the horses can do. Colonel Alois Podhajsky, who was the Director of the Spanish Riding School during the 2nd World War, rides in the film.


Tour Poster Posted by Picasa


S'Hot out here.... Posted by Picasa

OK, I don't usually whine about the weather (she's lying) but at the moment....4:15 pm my time it is 100 degrees outside. Now weather.com tells me that the "real feel" is 96 degrees. Couldn't prove it by me.

For those of you in Texas, NW Houston in particular, the humidity here is 16%.

It was odd though. Yesterday afternoon was quite lovely - cool, in the 60's by 5 last night, with the fog bank hovering just the other side of the hills. Came home and opened all the windows, it was cool and nice. Then last night about 11:00 it got warmer. Warmer? Hey! Yes, like kick off the blankets and go find the fan, warmer. The temperature this morning was 82. Hmph. Something is backwards in the upper atmosphere and all that hot central valley air came rushing at us. EUWW.

OK, I'm better now. Thanks for listening.


Lance wins the individual time trial stage Posted by Picasa


King of the Tour Posted by Picasa

Lance wins the individual time trial stage
A Beautiful Conclusion To A Dominant Career
There’s nothing left for Lance Armstrong to do at the Tour de France. He’s done it all but this year’s race would have seemed a little incomplete had he not won a stage on his own. Tomorrow will be the American’s last day as a professional cyclist and he’ll stand on the podium at the Champs Elysees as the only man to have won the race seven times. But today he had some business to attend to. In the race of truth he had to prove exactly why he’s The Boss of the Bunch. That’s exactly what he did.

Plame Affair still in the news
From the LA Times
CIA Leak Investigation Turns to Possible Perjury, Obstruction WASHINGTON — The special prosecutor in the CIA leak investigation has shifted his focus from determining whether White House officials violated a law against exposing undercover agents to determining whether evidence exists to bring perjury or obstruction of justice charges, according to people briefed in recent days on the inquiry's status.

From the Sacramento Bee
Ex-CIA officers rip Bush over Rove leak
By DONNA DE LA CRUZ, Associated Press Writer
Last Updated 7:38 am PDT Saturday, July 23, 2005WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush is jeopardizing national security by not disciplining Karl Rove for his role in leaking the name of a CIA officer, and has hampered efforts to recruit informants in the war on terror, former U.S. intelligence officers say.
Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson used the Democratic Party's weekly radio address Saturday to reiterate comments he made Friday to a panel of House and Senate Democrats.
At that event, Johnson and others expressed great frustration that CIA operative Valerie Plame's name was made public. Plame is married to former ambassador Joseph Wilson, a critic of Bush's Iraq policy.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Levi Leipheimer and his wife, Odessa Gunn, cuddle their pet dogs at the Dauphine Libere cycling race in France on June 10. Gunn, a former pro cyclist, lives in Santa Rosa with Leipheimer and is accompanying him through the Tour de France. Gunn says the time they spend in Santa Rosa is like a vacation.

 Posted by Picasa

And now on our local guy, Levi Leipheimer . . .
Along for the ride
Levi Leipheimer's wife, Odessa, has seen the Tour's fanfare, challenges
Friday, July 22, 2005

By Bob Padecky
The Press Democrat
Odessa Gunn thinks nothing of it now, she has seen it so much. When she and her husband, Levi Leipheimer, hang with their pals Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow, they are just off center of this very public vortex that swallows the crowd around them. It's like traveling with the Stones. Gawking. Screaming. Pushing. Pointing.

This is running in the local paper, The Press Democrat, because Levi and Odessa own a home in Santa Rosa. Yup. Right here.

Thursday, July 21, 2005
Tour de France
These are the standings in the General Classification (ie over all the race)
1. Lance Armstrong (USA) DSC - 3,254.5km in 77h44’44" (41.664km/h)
2. Ivan Basso (Italy) CSC - at 2’46"
3. Mickael Rasmussen (Denmark) RAB - at 3’46"
4. Jan Ullrich (Germany) TMO - at 5’58"
5. Francisco Mancebo (Spain) IBA - at 7’08"
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA) GST - at 8’12"
7. Cadel Evans (Australia) DVL - at 9’49"
8. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kazakstahn) TMO at 10’11"
9. Floyd Landis (USA) PHO - at 10’42"
10. Christophe Moreau (France) C.A - at 13’15"

A couple things to notice here.... first take a look at the average speed that Lance has ridden the race at just under 30 mph. Think about that a moment. That's the average along the flats, up the grades, over the Alps, down across the flats, over the Pyrenees, back across the flats.
Ouch. (When I was bike racing, and my goal was to just finish the race, winning wasn't even on the horizon, I could sprint UP TO 27 mph on the flat.) Hmmm. Now there has been a bit of discussion about the speed of the this race. Apparently one of the tactics early on was to keep the speed up across the flat stages, so that by the time Lance got to the "hills" he would be over tired. And there WERE alot of over tired riders. The first day in the hills didn't go smoothly for team Discovery Channel. But Lance simply rode to the front and answered every challenge the other riders offered. The next day the yellow jersey was on someone else's shoulders . . . the following day Lance had it back and has kept it ever since.

The other thing to notice? See those riders with "USA" after their names? Yes there are 3 riders in the top ten from the U.S. This is a new thing. The first American rode in the Tour in 1981. Only 31 American riders have ridden in the Tour during the years since then. Greg LeMond was the first American to win the Tour in 1986, and he went on to win again in 1989 and 1990.

I heard someone say today that it was Lance Armstrong that has made road bike racing popular in America. Actually, no, it was Greg LeMond. But Lance Armstrong has brought it into everyone's living rooms. Absolutely incredible.

I've watched him ride all of his Tours. He is always focused, almost austere looking. This time? The cameras catch him smiling and chatting with his competitors as he peddles into history.

If you're going to cheat . . .
don't be so obvious about it. Politics is sleight of hand, spin, the right words to lean the votes your way, the finer points of coersion. However, someone was pushing the envelope a bit here.
From the LA Times: Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Gail Ohanesian ruled that the initiative should not have been placed on the Nov. 8 ballot because the wording circulated on voter petitions had not been approved according to law.

The decision was a victory for Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who had sued to block Proposition 77 upon learning that backers had submitted one version to his office -- the first stop in California's initiative process -- but circulated a different one to the more than 950,000 voters who signed petitions to put it on the ballot.

The ruling, which Proposition 77 proponents vowed to appeal, seriously weakens the ambitious plan that Schwarzenegger spelled out in his January State of the State speech. Already the governor has dropped a public pension overhaul initiative because of errors in the way it was written.

Maybe he should have had some of his Hollywood friends do the writing?

And this is a bit over the top -

Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson said the governor was "disappointed that the ruling has silenced the voices of 950,000 Californians. He hopes the proponents will appeal."

Sounds like a lot of people? Well, there are 13 million in Los Angeles alone. Silence Californians? Hello! What part of California does she live in? Silence is not part of the California culture.

While I'm not sure that the single party system California seems to have is a good thing, I don't think this is the way to get the job done.

In search of a good pun

"Jalapeno, Jalapeno, Jalapeno, Jalapeno."
I've discovered a wonderful new philosophy that has raised my consciousness as well as my cholesterol. It's called Tex-Mexistentialism. It all started with the philosopher Juan-Paul Salsa, who wrote, "To Bean, or Nacho to Bean, that is the Queso." He was followed by his great disciple, Descarta Blanca, who said, "I Pinto, therefore, Cayenne." Some trace it to ancient Grease, where the great thinker Aristortilla wrote the book Plata's RePulpo. Meanwhile, over in ancient India, they believed in Chili con Karma - that what Casa round, Carne's around. And back in the Holy Land, The prophet Masa brought The Ten Comidas:

"Thou Salt not Tequila."
"Honor Tamale and thy Papaya."
"Blessed are the Migas, for they shall Ranchero the Burps."
"Give a man an Enchilada, he'll Taco Mole."
"Arroz is Arroz by Flameada name."
"In the Picante, Guisada Cerveza'd the Hongas and the Verde. And he saw that it was Food."

I'd like to close by reciting The Lard's Prayer:
"Our Fajita, who art in Huevos, Pollo'd be Muy Bueno. Thy Corona come, thy Chili be Con, on Cuervo it is El Jefe. Forgive us our Tres Amigos, as we forgive those who Seis Salsas against us. Lettuce not into Tomatillo, but Nuevo us from Fritos. For thine is the Gringo, the Agua and the Chorizo. In the name of the Flauta, and of the Flan, and of the Frijole ghost. A-Menudo."

Champion Pun of the 17th Annual O. Henry Punoff
May 1, 1994, Austin
© 1994 Steve Brooks
Frog Records

(It was so funny.... I couldn't resist)

Still waiting for the discussion on Roberts...
There isn't anything real yet. He's conservative, Catholic, not much experience as a judge, well, so? Seems meticulous, nice guy, quiet record, so?
I don't think he's a given. He shouldn't be. He should be questioned carefully. Then let's see. No pre-judging? OK.

Rumor has it that Bush announced his nominee a little more quickly than he planned in order to distract from the Plame affair. Might be an idea, not much going on inside the Beltway during the recess, therefore, not alot to gossip about except the Plame affair. I don't think it's working though, since it was back in the news this evening. As well it might be. While outing Plame walks a fine line on legality, the main point is that it was a slap to Wilson who spoke out against the weapons of mass destruction hysteria. That's it. If you speak out against the administration, bad things happen to your family.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Today's pun
Did you hear about the dejected bug?
It committed insecticide . . .


Brown stink bug... eeuuw Posted by Picasa

The Judicial thing...
Well, so far most of what I hear is that, although John Roberts looks fairly good, they have no intention of "pre-judging" him. He will be questioned just like any other nominee.
From the NY Times: But significantly, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader of the body that will determine Judge Roberts's fate, was much more subdued, hewing to the Democrats' stated strategy of demanding a thorough vetting of any nominee by describing Judge Roberts as "someone with suitable legal credentials," whose record must now be examined "to determine if he has a demonstrated commitment to the core American values of freedom, equality and fairness."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005
And the answer is . . .

Bush Chooses Appeals Judge John Roberts Jr. for Supreme Court
President Bush said tonight he will nominate U.S. Appeals Court Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to fill the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a choice expected to bolster the court's conservative majority if accepted by the Senate.

Article has good info on the whole process. From what I heard on the local PBS this guy is fairly well liked and not a bad choice . . . well for a conservative. But expectations even from the lefty interviewers (!) was that he would be fair. So we'll wait and see what rabbits hop out of the hat, but hopefully this won't be long, drawn out, messy, and disgusting.


Bird houses Posted by Picasa


Summer and the irrigation sprinklers are going Posted by Picasa


And summer swimming out on the river. Posted by Picasa

We have slipped into warm summer days; the sound of a lawn mower whirring someplace down the block. On my drive back and forth from work I pass thru the rural stretch of hay farms and dairy cows. The hay has been cut and is lying drying in the sun. There are snowy egrets strolling elegantly amongst the cows and perched atop their backs. I’m not sure what they are doing there. I think they are wading birds normally focused in the consumption of small fish in the shallows of the lagoon and marsh. Heat shimmers over the asphalt road. The cars in front of my on the highway carry kayaks and fishing boats. My mind is outside, myself is inside an office without a window attempting to focus on payroll reports and financial statements. Unsuccessfully

Tuesday pun

Why did the Swiss rescue team fire their St. Bernard?
Because he figured out how to get the cork out of the keg.

Monday, July 18, 2005
Now they are going to tattoo . . . fruit?
Tired of Prying off stickers? Tattooed Fruit Is On the Way
A pear is just a pear, except when it is also a laser-coded information delivery system with advanced security clearance.

And that is what pears - not to mention organic apples, waxy cucumbers and delicate peaches - are becoming in some supermarkets around the country. A new technology being used by produce distributors employs lasers to tattoo fruits and vegetables with their names, identifying numbers, countries of origin and other information that helps speed distribution. The marks are burned onto the outer layer of the skin and are visible to discerning consumers and befuddled cashiers alike.

OK. Someone has gone over the edge here. Is it only imported fruit that needs the security clearance?


Pears fearfully huddled in box before being laser coded.... Posted by Picasa

Newspaperman Mark Twain discusses bloggers . . .
Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.
- Following the Equator

Monday pun
Why did the dog hire a lawyer?
To flea bargain.

The weekend went like this - 3 hours of Tour de France on Friday evening (recorded earlier in the day), most of Saturday spent riding the horse under blue skies, balmy breezes, the temperature in the high 80's, low humidity (for those of you living in Texas), and 3 more hours of Tour de France, (the Americans are knockin' 'em dead!), the arrival of my copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (stop laughing, it is a terrific story and this latest is worth every cent), Sunday spent riding, reading, and then watching George Hincapie win his first stage in the Tour de France after being Lance Armstrong's main support for 10 years (!) and Lance still in the yellow jersey(!!) . . . . well, no computers were turned on at JulieB's house this weekend!

Friday, July 15, 2005
Say G'night Gracie
And on that note... JulieB will say have a . . . wonderful Friday night. No do not call me early tomorrow morning. Thanks.

Got this from Teach at Pirate's Cove
You are Marijuana (aka: weed, dope, skunk,
chronic...). You are the most commonly used
drug in the world. You are powerful, stubborn,
moody, have a strong attitude. You are
classified as class (A and B) illegal drugs.

H/T Pirate's Cove

What kind of Drugs are you? and how that reflect your personality?
brought to you by Quizilla

Those Google searches...
I find the Google searches that bring people to my site entertaining. Well, sort of. Those looking for another "Juli" land on my site. There are ALOT of them. I'm sure they are disappointed. But tonight I was cruising the "referrals" on the sitemeter and ran across this search "hoarse penus". OK. So this is really sad, guys, I am laughing hysterically alone in front of my computer. The dog is looking worried; she has that serious, "Timmy is in the well" look on her face. And what brought that person to my site? A long ago post on the plural of the word "penus". Don't ask me. Ask JR over at the Texican Tattlers. He'll remember that discussion.

Once again the Grove is in session
For the last couple days helicopters and small jets and airplanes have been flocking to Sonoma County Airport, ferrying the latest and greates leaders for the Bohemian Grove weekend. Lest you think you can actually spot some famous names. . . . guess again. They exit quickly to limos that glide directly out River Road to the Grove. As always, there are protestors of various stripes. Some of them with reality based gripes and some. . . . just come to protest.
For the fun of it here is a quote from the Sonoma County Free Press:
The Cremation of Care ritual is over one hundred years old and is always the first order of business when these men of industry, government, and military gather each July. At sundown on the first Saturday of their encampment they enact a bizarre short scripted play (always the same) in which they burn an effigy of "Dull Care" at the bottom of a forty-foot stone owl. Their rationale is that they carry the cares of the world around on their shoulders and they need a symbolic ritual in order to put it down and enjoy their holiday. Since 1980, activists in Sonoma County have brought this to the attention of anyone who will listen and we began a new tradition with a Resurrection of Care event on the same day.

The link will take you to pages with history about the Grove and who haunts there, as well as the current planned protest marches, speeches, and what not.


Burning Care... Posted by Picasa

Fun Friday stuff . . .
43rd Annual Cable Car Bell-Ringing Contest in San Francisco.
Byron Cobb defeated six other cble car gripmen and conductors Thursday to win the 43rd annual contest. The amaeur division was won by the Chinatown Development Center. In both divisions, first-place winners received $1,000.

I had no idea...


Bryan Cobb, 2005 Champion Cable Car Bell-Ringer Posted by Picasa

Conflict? Ya think??
Schwarzenegger earns millions on supplements
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has no plans to end his $5 million consulting job with two muscle magazines, an aide said Thursday, despite lawmaker demands that he sever the ties because it appears to be a conflict of interest.
The arrangement appears legal because lawmakers are allowed to hold outside jobs, experts say, but it looks bad. That's because Schwarzenegger's pay is based on the magazines' advertising sales, much of which come from supplement makers.
Last year, Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have barred students from participating in high school sports unless they agreed not to use performance-enhancing dietary supplements.
A similar measure is again pending in the Legislature.

Hmmm, what about this "appears" legal?

He makes money from advertisers of supplements. If the advertisers lose money because he signs this bill, will he make less money? Well yeah. Is there a conflict of interest? Sure. All he has to do is consign the profits to his favorite charity while he is governor, and there would be no conflict. I suspect he can afford it.

C'mon Arnie do the right thing.

Friday pun
The doctor fell in the well and broke his collarbone. Doctors should tend the sick and leave the well alone.

Thursday, July 14, 2005
Productivity enhancer
From Dave Berry's Blog.... a great place to find things like . . . a productivity enhancer. However, if you are at work I would open this with caution. Really. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Go on, get some work done.
No, really, go ahead.

Thursday pun. . . sort of
In Rome laundry: "Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time. "

Parents are ALSO responsible
Santa Rosa has had a series of serious car crashes involving teens, high speed, and death. They often include drinking and powerful cars speeding along local highways. Certainly the teens are culpable for their behavior. But how about the parents who have purchased brand new high powered cars for 17 and 18 year olds? What are you people thinking? This is a status symbol that can kill them. Of course teens need a way to get to after school jobs and sports, but chose a vehicle that does not tempt them to prove how "hot" they are. Also? How about this teen, who had her driver's license suspended and her mother allowed her to drive the mother's Mustang anyway?
From Press Democrat:
Mother Charged in Fatal Teen Crash
The mother of a 17-year-old Santa Rosa girl who crashed a car Nov. 4, killing two teens, is facing criminal charges for allowing her daughter to drive that night on a suspended driver's license.Prosecutors charged Debbie Rodgers, 53, with three misdemeanor counts of disobeying a court order, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and letting an unlicensed driver operate her car.Kelly O'Connor was driving her mother's Mustang the night of Nov. 4 when the car careened out of control on Sonoma Avenue and crashed, killing Montgomery High School student Lorelei Leonhardt, 17, and recent graduate Scott O'Neal, 19.Rodgers was present at an Oct. 26 hearing when Court Commissioner Cynthia Denenholz ruled that O'Connor could not drive until Jan. 3 as punishment for being cited last summer for going 95 mph on Highway 101.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005
A slow day . . .
over at the Llama Butchers' as well. And of course, the devil makes work for idle hands...

Well, and check out their new site design. Interesting . . . very interesting, although it reminds me somewhat of another site. One that belongs to the infamous Nickie Goomba.

Wednesday pun, this one for my Scottish grandmother
And also in recognition of the current hot spell here. Really. Hot is good. We've had very wierd weather this year and this is a return to normal. What's normal? How would I know? I haven't had a normal day in my life, so go bother someone else....

Oh yeah. The pun:

Four Scotsmen were playing golf on an extremely hot day. On the 14th hole, the heat got to old Angus and he suffered sun stroke. The other three made him count it.

See lookit that!
Complain and it gives over and works.... so . . . now where did I put that ever so valuable daily pun?
Its not that valuable to YOU?
Who says I was posting it for YOU anyway?
It's for me.

OK, Blogger get over it!
OK, so I really hate to whine about a free webblogs. But Blogger has eaten my last two posts and they were brilliant, dammit, ab-so-lute-ly brilliant.

um, yes, this is sort of like the one that got away... but heck!

No pun today, however....
Need your computer screen cleaned? This guy does a great job . . .

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Don't go out there, the giant snake will get you!
I'm an older sister. I have said similar things, so when Melody Martinez said this to her 13 yr old sister, the sister scoffed a bit. As it turns out:
"I did a double take, and then I started screaming and ran," Martinez said.

She made a beeline back to the office, slamming the door behind her. Her 13-year-old sister had accompanied her and refused to believe a giant snake was in the next room.

Together, they peered into the warehouse through an office window and sure enough, the slumbering python was just waking.

A panicked phone call to grandfather Arnold Morarty followed, and the county's Animal Care and Regulation department soon arrived.

Morarty, who owns a business crafting pillars and window surroundings, said the snake made its way into the warehouse sometime over the weekend.

As for the reptile's owner, Morarty is looking into whether the snake may have lived nearby. It took two people to finagle the giant snake into a garbage can and tape the lid shut, said Pat Claerbout, director of animal care for the county of Sacramento.

The 120-pound python's girth is equal to that of a human thigh, she estimated.

The snake is being quarantined at the Sacramento Zoo. County officials are hoping the owner will step forward and claim the reptile. If not, they will attempt to find an adoptive home, which is no easy feat for a pet this size.


Diana Fabretti, left, handles an 11-foot-long, 120-pound Burmese python found Sunday night.
Sacramento County Municipal Services Agency Posted by Picasa

Tuesday pun
Our local fortune teller, Madame Zelma, is a tiny, fiery lady. Last weekend she had a few extra drinks and went on a rant. Drunk as a skunk, she ended up in jail. When she came to herself, she wiggled out of a window. Later heard over the police radio - "Small Medium at Large."

Monday, July 11, 2005
Monday pun
Considering my weekend's occupation . . .
I did some D.I.Y. the other day. I used my step ladder. I don't get on with my real ladder.

Sunday, July 10, 2005
Saturday was nice. . . Sunday...
So JulieB has this on-going battle with her back garden. For some time the back garden has been winning.

When the house was remodeled a few years ago, part of the concrete patio was removed to add on a room. Unfortunately, I wish that more of the patio had been left in place. Lacking funds to have someone build a deck and steps (estimates averaged around $7 - 8,000), I . . . . waited. Or, perhaps, procrastinated. To be honest the choice was a lovely deck and landscaped yard (about $20,00) or a horse! As much as I whine about the back garden, the horse was the much better choice, in my mind.

Therefore . . . the cheap alternative . . .I decided, awhile ago, to put down concrete squares and plant . . . green stuff ... in between them. I ended up with 1' squares, since that is what I can easily lift. Don't laugh. I moved roughly 4 dozen of them around several times last weekend trying to figure out how I wanted them to look. Then I moved 24 of them gradually into place, setting the woolly thyme plants in between them. I have . . . many more to go. I was going to try to work on it in the evenings, but I got home, turned on the Tour de France, ate dinner, and . . .

So this is today's project - go to the nursery to by another flat of woolly thyme and put at least 2 dozen more of these suckers in place. Today. I'll get right to it. Any moment now.


A beginning at least. . . Posted by Picasa

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