Thursday, October 28, 2004

Last Night's Lunar Eclipse

Somehow we almost missed the total lunar eclipse last night! Alert neighbor Jeff came and pounded on our door around 8:00 to give us a heads up. I haven't seen a TLE since I was a keed living in Vancouver, WA. It was a warmish night, I remember, and the moon looked exactly like it did last night: red, dim, and yet crystal clear...not like a passing cloud obscuring it. I remember using dad's binoculars to look at it, and how strange it was to see the geological features all dim and red, yet still sharp. I'm looking forward to living somewhere with less light pollution, because I love looking at the night sky!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Halloween: the Straight Poop

Does Halloween give you a headache, or is it your favorite time of the year? What's it all about, really? Find out here... It's important to know the straight scoop, especiallly if you have kids.

Update: Before anybody assumes I'm some Puritanical killjoy; I am NOT crying for folks to keep the kids home piously watching "Veggie Tale" (gag) while their friends go trick-or-treating. I am not saying going to a costume party is tantamount to selling your soul to the Horned One. I'm just saying we need to be educated, know our history, and be prepared to discuss what a real witch or ghost really is. I think we need to take care of the message we send to our unsaved friends and neighbors, that's all.

Fixin' Torts

As if to bolster the note below on the state of medicine in the Western world, Medpundit offers this report ("Takin' it to the People": tort reform) on attempt by The People of the USA to slap down the silliness of malpractice lawsuits. Wyoming, Nevada, Oregon, and Florida folks have had it with astronomical awards for malpractice suits. I guess it's beginning to dawn on people that, if you penalize doctors beyond all sense of proportion just to feed the ravenous trial lawyers, there may be a lot fewer practicing doctors down the road. Let's set a good precedent: go People!

Monday, October 25, 2004

Kids Have the Darndest Theology!

This little anecdote from the Jollyblogger almost reads like one of those annoying "cute" joke emails your Aunt Betty sends you twelve times until you want to permanently block her email address as DefCon Level 4 (does it go that high?) virulent spam...only this IS cute and funny. Of course I must warn you that, if you forward it to ANYBODY in the known universe as a joke email, I promise you it will wipe out your hard drive the next time you boot up. I'm not kidding. Please don't make me pull this blog over. :-P

"Election Ennui" and the Joys of Socialized Medicine

Mark Steyn over at the Washington Times pontificates eloquently about his "Election Ennui" and offers some frightening facts about socialized medicine. I'm suffering ennui regarding the upcoming presidential elections, but it's mostly because I feel like I'm being forced to choose between two versions of the same goods creatively packaged to look different. *sigh*

Friday, October 22, 2004

What the "bleep" do we Know?!

Not much, apparently, if you go by the recently released film of that name (actually titled "What the #$*! do We Know?"). Brian Godawa, on his "movieblog", gives a detailed review of this "hybrid documentary/drama" that is making the rounds of the college campuses spouting half-truths about quantum mechanics and other disciplines. Scroll down about a quarter of the way to reach the review. Says Godawa, "This movie is riddled with more holes of hypocrisy and contradiction than Bonnie and Clyde were with bullets."

Meanwhile, over at Blog and Mablog, Douglas Wilson takes a healthy look at what the reality of human knowledge is and how it works in "Backs to the Future". I particularly like his comments on the nature of scientific knowledge, a concept which the makers of the above film seem to have forgotten, that being "...some of the things that we think are slam-dunk certainties will almost certainly turn out not to be. E.G. Stanley once commented (with some acid in it) that the history of scholarship is the history of error. And was it Max Planck who said that science advances funeral by funeral?"

Update: I was peeking in over at Defective Yeti (my second favorite blog title...the #1 is here) and saw his "Bad Reviews" section, which, not surprisingly, included an excerpt of a bad review for "What the...?", saying "Like being stuck at a science fair, with a 5-year-old on one side asking questions and his hippie parents on the other fumbling to answer them." -- Jon Niccum, LAWRENCE JOURNAL-WORLD

Monday, October 18, 2004

Jon Stewart Socks it to "Crossfire"!

Jon Stewart wasn't really on my radar...until today. An alert blogger over at the Boar's Head Tavern just posted this amazing clip of his reality slam of the Crossfire gang and the news media in general. Silly man, he's convinced the news shows are just entertainment. Where would he get that idea?

Fellowship 9/11

Michael Moore (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) takes on the War of the Ring...

St. Helens Puffiness Update

Hey, all you Hawaii Big Island snooty people (you know who you are), we got us some red hot lava here on the mainland! Of course, this is not necessarily a good thing, but it's exciting nonetheless. For the latest images and updates, and especially the movie clip the above still is from, the place to be is the USGS site.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Horse Tradin' II

About an hour ago we returned from Sylmar in the San Fernando Valley with the new horse! His full name is (are you ready?) "Wilderness Woodsman". Is that perfect for Gordon or what? He trailered so well it brings tears to my eyes. For a guy who hasn't been ridden in a year and has never neck reined he is totally cooperative, as well. I think he's going to be a great horse for Mr. Frye. The pic is from a little trail ride they took this AM down in Sylmar with some SCA folks. Looking forward to turning this .5 Quarter horse/.25 Belgian/.25 Percheron into a cavalry/tilting/war horse!

On an even lighter but somehow related note:
According to the "Which Big Lebowski character are you?" quiz:

Why don't you check it out? Or we cut of your Johnson!

I guess it makes sense that I came out "The Stranger" in the Big Lebowski questionnaire...!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Today's Engrish: happi inconvenience!

This just in from alert brother-in-law Todd at our Kailua-Kona office. OK, my sister sent it several days ago, but I was busy dancing my hinder off and now I hab a code (sniff). This just goes to show how copious politeness can backfire with ESL. Hey, at least they're honest about why they're closed.

The Adventures of Nabila

The continuing saga of my dancing alter-ego...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Gimli by Zapruder

Yes, I have a cheap old digital camera...but I wanted to share the evidence of the fact that my youngest cat, Gimli, is really a monkey in cat's clothing. He climbs trees just for the heck of it-up and down all day. Big ones and skinny ones. I'll be washing dishes and he'll go darting up the tree outside the window over the sink, blink at me, lay his ears back, and continue upward. I should have named him "Tarzan"...or "Cheetah".

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Quiz o rama

Kiki stumbled on to a fun quiz site, so I tried a few of the little time-wasters. It's kind of a kick:

Oooh! White hair is pretty cool...Storm is cool, too, so I'm happy with my "score". I've always been interested in Super Heroes and have occasionally fantasized about being a sidekick to one or the other. Sometimes I dream I'm Batman's other little buddy, etc....lots of fun!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

St. Helens Getting Puffy

Mt. St. Helens is at it again! The site of one of the most spectacular volcanic events in recorded history is heating up again. I remember the "big blow" of May 1980 very well: I was a wee Sea Scout, we were at the Regional Regatta at Sand Point Naval Air Station (on Lake Washington), marching back to the boat from breakfast. We all heard a loud "sonic boom" (bam-bam!!!) and looked for the offending aircraft. Shortly after that, at the church service, it was announced that all units hailing from the Portland area were going to have to find an alternate road home as the volcano had erupted and I-5 was closed where it crossed the Toutle River! Then, a year and a month later, we were having a little swim party in Liberty Bay (Poulsbo, WA), Sea Scouts again, when we notice a "mushroom cloud" going up to the south: it was the second, though not as explosive, eruption. We motored back to the dock and covered all of the air intakes on the boat in case the ash drifted our way (that stuff played hell with machinery). Luckily it only got as far north as Olympia.

Anyway...the P.I. has a good article on the current situation here. For the straight dope, go to the UW Geology Dept's page here.

Left-Wing Indoctrination Schools

Alert blogger Russell Mann posted a little gem on the plight of a public school teacher in Monmouth Junction, NJ. Seems she had a little bulletin board going with the theme of "government" including an American flag, a copy of the Declaration of Independence, and pictures of past presidents...and our current president. That last item, when she refused to add a picture of John Kerry as well, got her removed from the school! Do these sacks of hammers masquerading as human beings have a time-machine in the janitor's closet? Last time I checked Kerry wasn't a president (yet). In an even more shining example of the duplicity and malice aforethought of the extreme Left, the school officials are denying that she has been fired, to which Ms. Pillai-Diaz replied "...what does it mean then when your boss asks you to hand over the keys and kicks you out of the building?" Hm?

Michelle Malkin (who has links to the latest updates on this fiasco) says, "Will the Democratic political appendage known as the teachers' union defend this rank-and-file teacher or put its fatcat union leaders' partisan interests first? And would there be any question about where the union would have stood if this had been 1992 or 1996 and the teacher in question had been reprimanded for displaying a photo of President Clinton during the campaign season?" I don't think it takes a certified genius to answer that one, which is appalling in itself.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Evocative Autumn

Had to run to Trader Joe's tonight for some enticing fishy catfood for Gimli: he was sick yesterday and still didn't want to eat today. I just love this time of the year. The start of school was always exciting for me as a kid (yes, I was a total nerd). New clothes, cooler weather, BOOKS, the approach of the holidays...a world of anticipation. One happy holiday time memory for me is shopping with my mom in the dark evenings of Fall/Winter. When I run to the store after dark, with all of the colored street lights and the bright shop windows lighting the sidewalks, I get a little jab of childhood sense-memory. There's just something exciting about shopping in the dark (also less prone to get a headache from the glaring heat/sunshine down here in Kalifornia).

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Horsing Around

Yesterday, Oct 2, 2004, Gordon taught a short cavalry class for the West Kingdom, SCA Equestrian event. It was lots of fun. I went along as squire "Bob" to help out and be another experienced (more or less) horse soldier. Taxi was a trooper as always, and even Twister pulled his weight and managed to run the "saber course" without being spooked by the "saracen heads"! He's going to be a fine cav horse for his new owner! I managed to do the "slalom" course with Taxi at the canter, which is a huge improvement in my riding "skills" from last Spring, when a trot was all I could manage. Dancing more, doing Pilates, and riding more have really helped my physical condition.