Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturation Saturday: Silver

a silver tabby 
a simply gorgeous creature if you go for looks

Flash Gordon was there in silver underwear
okay different movie, different reference, but still

a silverback
the apex of alpha males

I couldn't decide between this eye

and this one

I was torn between an Olympic silver medal
the penultimate sports award
and a silver bullet
the vampire werewolf stopper

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Blog is Not a Life

Guilty! I offer no excuse, I have heard myself say it in various forms.

"I mentioned this in my blog."

"I have a post about that in my blog queue."

"I told this story awhile back on my blog."

I do sincerely apologize for any truncated or abandoned conversations that have sprung from my egomaniacal references to one tiny cul de sac on this infrequently traveled cyber street. Blogging like nearly every other endeavor in life has some positives and some of those other things. One of those negative qualities is the author's belief that everyone they know in the real world reads their blog and retains the essential and life altering insights the blogger believes were conveyed therein.

We really are all brilliant in our own minds. Sometimes that attitude leaks out through the keyboard.

Sorry, it will probably happen again.
cartoon from

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Favorite Bands/Favorite Songs

While listening to a rock&talk radio show on one of my drives around northern california, I heard a question that seemed too simple to have an easy answer:

"What is your favorite song by your favorite band?"

My thought, of course, was - can you actually have one favorite band? or one favorite song by that band? But lists can be fun, entertaining or revealing so I pose this question to you:

"Name your favorite song by your three favorite bands."

The comment section is open below, let's hear your choices. Here are mine in no particular order.

Yes, that's the Uncle John's Band up there at the top. My favorite Grateful Dead song is China Doll. Links are all to youtube versions of the songs.

I think it's fair in all musical comparison lists to put the Beatles into some sort of emeritus category and make other selections. But I left them in as one of my three and the song: A Day in the Life

My third band is Talking Heads and the song is Heaven.

heaven is a place, 
a place where nothing, 
nothing ever happens

Your picks?

Monday, April 25, 2011

The State of Bananas

Regular readers will notice that besides my frequent post mentions of cats, poker & politics; bananas show up a bit more often than the mean or mode of civil conversation might suggest. I like bananas, especially a perfectly ripened one. But did you know...

-the Cavendish variety, which accounts for 95%+ of all imports to the U.S. only became the banana of choice around 1950 after a fungus (Panama disease) killed the majority of the stock of the previous market favorite the Gros Michel. What we mostly eat now is the Dwarf or Nain Cavendish and unfortunately not because it is the most flavorful but because it is the right size, easily transported and until very recently disease resistant.

-bananas are either the 4th, 5th or 6th most cultivated crop in the world, but easily the number one fruit. The debate about the "most cultivated" has to do with interpretations about acreage versus output versus 'units of feed'. For instance rice produces a lot of edible tonnage per acre but crops that grow on large plants or trees may actually produce more edible material in the same ground space. The list is basically: wheat, rice, barley, corn, banana, potato.

-bananas, as we all know, are a very good source of dietary potassium; but did you know that the potassium is radioactive? When you hear a white coated talking head mentioning a "banana dose" they are referring to the amount of radioactive isotope potassium-40 found in a single banana.

-India produces the most bananas in the world, around 22 million metric tons but since most of those are consumed in country; we tend to think more bananas are growth in the big exporting nations like Columbia, Honduras and Venezuela. Worldwide 70% of all imported bananas go to the European Union and the U.S.

-I spent a long weekend in Gulfport, Mississippi one winter pre-Katrina. We had a 20th floor balcony view of the gulf and the Chiquita Banana pier. No other product was off-loaded on that pier, which took up to four container ships at a time; day and night the trucks pulled away from the docks with containers full of bananas headed all across the country.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


The egg is the pagan symbol of rebirth and often used in Spring rituals to signify the renewal of the seasons and of the earth.

OK this one is a Faberge Egg.
Symbol of elegant greed.

and this one is a chocolate egg
a sugar delivery vehicle

but the rest of these are actually dyed chicken eggs

These, of course, being tie dyed.

Intricacy sometimes make me cross-eyed.

You know this took hours and hours to look that simple

use a laser on an eggshell 
to get a very mixed holiday message

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturation Saturday: Purple

Did you know that purple cauliflower (and all the other colors as well) are naturally occurring and higher in some vitamins and minerals than the off white variety.

Purple Kush
that's purple marijuana for those not up on pot lingo

a super purple fish
I do not know why he is super

a purple urchin
not super just purple

a variable purple USA
instead of red states and blue states
this map goes by percentage of votes
instead of winner take all

and this would be a
one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people-eater
who needs her roots touched up

Friday, April 22, 2011


In some ways I am very much a boy. One of my y-chromosomal deficiencies is shopping, as has been recently chronicled thru my IKEA experience. Last month, while I was up in Weed, I took the co-pilot seat on the monthly "big shopping" trip to Yreka. Many of you city folk may not realize that when you live out in the country you really can't be running to the supermarket every other day, not when that means a 30, 40 or 50 mile drive each way. So you plan ahead. Since I was basically crashing at my friends house while the Berkeley apartment was being remodeled, I felt it only fair to make at least one shopping run, despite my aversion to commerce and over consumption, I do believe in eating.

So I took the passenger seat with my hostess one Tuesday afternoon and we hit the road with an empty trunk and a bin of tote bags. I discovered only after we were on the road north that the modus operandi for a "Big Shop" allowed for side trips, which in this case meant we would be stopping at The Spawn of the Devil Store (Wal-Mart) and the Dollar Store. I had clearly not taken enough medication to get me through this forced march of consumerism, but I felt obligated since the Wal-Mart stop included chemicals for the spa, which I used every single day. And yes, I cannot tell a lie - I bought an item that was not on the shopping list and was not edible, it truly is a vortex of evil and impulse spending.

But this post is not about any of what I have meandered on about thus far. Nah, tis about our checkout experience from the Arkansas-China outlet store. We had finished in the garden section (spa products) and since there was an open register with only one other customer, we decided to checkout there. Did I mention we had bough a month's supply of individual serving meals for both the cat and the dog, on sale don't you know. Let's just say we had a full basket in excess of eighty individual items. But only one person in the queue in front of us and she had exactly six items. We were good.

I now change professional garb and step in my psychologist demeanor. The lady in front of us wanted to divided her purchases into two groups, not unreasonable she could have been picking up a few things for a friend. However, I heard her say:

"I only buy food on this card." and she produced a Visa debit card, which was then followed by having to guess several times at her passcode and then not having enough in her account to cover the four food items. I made the assumption that she was poor and considered paying for her food items.

She and the slow burn clerk then switched to a second card, which was a $25 gift Wal-Mart debit card someone had given her for Christmas (our story takes place in March). That had enough remaining balance to cover the food items, but having to put food on anything but her food debit card as very disconcerting to our slowly becoming bizarre shopper.

By this time two more shoppers had pulled up behind us, but when another register was opened they bum rushed it and did not allow the next in line (me!) to take my rightful place. So we stayed behind our single shopper, who had now moved on to her non-food items and another card, this time a credit card. This card went through but there was an issue with one of the items, which apparently had been listed as on sale for $2.59 but was showing up on the register as $2.89. A call could have gone out for a price check but the register clerk decided not to go there and keyed in the 30 cent savings. Methinks the large male in line may have influenced her decision, but I was only standing that close to hear the next bit of disturbed dialog.

All items are now purchased, but wait. There is the matter of cashback, which I (because now I am paying very close attention) understand goes only on the credit card, but this was the credit card that had to be used in place of the first debit card that did not have enough credit to debit the four food items; so the concern is whether one can cope with using the credit card twice in the same day. I am not sure if this is because the credit card gets frightened if removed from the wallet more than once a day or if perhaps two transactions dated the same day on the monthly statement resembles the sign of satan. I'm just speculating here.

Our shopper is not poor; I inferred this from the Lexus key she pulled out when searching her cavernous purse. Not poor but definitely certifiable. Wait, you say, too harsh an assessment. OK then, she finally decides she can indeed use the card twice and runs it through the card reader again in order to get three dollars cash back. Three dollars!

Hold on, you say again, maybe she is poor. She finally gets her three bucks and tucks them into her wallet with what I can see is a stack of bills totaling at least several hundred dollars.

I would say more but I was busy stacking thirty individual cat dinners in succulent gravy on the checkout counter. Eventually our queued up shopper drifts away into whatever universe she alone inhabits and the checkout lady turns her attention to me, I say:

"There are thirty of these cat dinners if you want to scan just one."

"They make us run them through one at a time," she sighs.

"I'll want to put these on separate credit cards."

I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Are You Getting Enough?

This is how the conversation went:

"So how are you; you getting enough?"

"Could you be more specific?"

"Any noun that could possibly end that question will do."

"For instance . . . "

"Are you getting enough sleep, sex, peace, calm, tranquility, bacon . . . "

She laughed and answered - no.

I took her for breakfast at The Pork Store, it would be hubris to suggest I could conjure peace.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Late April in The Netherlands

Today a visual extravaganza. I received these pictures a couple of months ago, makes one want to visit in the season of the bloom.

 Yes those are all tulips.

and more tulips

with the obligatory windmill

 My favorite, I like the sea of orange.

too much?

Did you know that after the spring bloom, all of the bulbs are taken out of the ground and vegetables are planted.

Thanks to Jan Marks for the forwarded photos

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturation Saturday: Orange

I found the offerings in orange to be more esoteric 
than the other colors so far.

Everyone's favorite glass artist, Dale Chihuly likes to work in orange. This is a painted piece to suggest a glass creation to his associates.

an orange bird

an orange box

an orange Warhol by Warhol

an orange alligator

and finally, you know how much I like kittens. . .
and an orange one at that!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fractals of the Past

Fractals of My Past: Serial Cerebral Eruptions in Both Hypnagogic 
and Hypnopompic States of Consciousness.

Sometimes the olde academic creeps out and we must have long titles with a strategically placed colon. What that jumble of mumble title refers to is a series of events I encountered not long ago, in which I experienced for several days a recurring pattern of thought. These thoughts occurred just as I was falling asleep, that transitional phase between wakefulness and sleep is called the hypnagogic state. They also happened in the early morning as I transitioned back from sleep to wakefulness or what is labeled the hypnopompic state.

Now we all experience some fairly jumbled mind-space imagery at times in the spaces between sleep and not-sleep. This is not unusual at all. But for two days, both morning and night I had a series of remembrances that were all of a very similar content. I vividly recalled incidents from my life in which I was either guilty of a social faux pas or some form of minor embarrassment. All of these events I regret but only in the incrementally smallest manner possible; anything less and I would not even be able to recall them. They were what are known clinically in the psychological profession as minor oopsies.

Yet time after time I would wake or drift towards sleep and find myself reliving yet another such memory. After several such incidents, I shook myself and began to consciously imprint a mental suggestion to avoid such cerebral cobwebs; a little shrink trick you can use when you start thinking about snakes or spiders or old girlfriends. But I stopped myself and decided to let the silly string play out on this one.

There was that too flippant comeback to the nice married lady at the Manhattan Beach party.

The rude slip of the tongue to the nun on the playground in third grade.

The unintentional sexual innuendo to that redhead and instead of politely withdrawing I followed-up, I wonder if she ever forgave me.

That tiny white lie that exploded in West Hollywood, how was I to know she had been to that motel?

I estimate that over two days there were at least ten or twelve of these mental machinations that welled up from the depths of my subconscious. The last was so vivid it awoke me at 3 a.m. but it was the last. The parade of mortification was gone as suddenly as it had begun and I was left with run of the mill prurient fantasies to lull me to sleep.

Strange what goes bump in the near night and dark mornings.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are?

An unlikely source led to this recommendation. I just do not keep up with contemporary music, haven't in many years. Yes, I am stuck in the 60's & 70's. Then I get a musical suggestion from a friend who I never would have expected to be so current - except that his job has him hanging out with high school kids, so I guess the music would seep into him by proximity osmosis.

Anyway, for those who like me are not in synch with modern music, that's Christina Perri in the photograph. I have been sampling a wide range of her work and I strongly recommend the her video Jar of Hearts, not only do I like her voice but the lyrics are evocative and the imagery is wonderful. Watch carefully for the incremental theft of her soul and the final recovery.

Who do you think you are
Running round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
and tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
from the ice inside your soul
Don't come back for me
Don't come back at all

Monday, April 11, 2011


Consider this a double sided review, sort of like going to see a good movie at the drive-in. A twofer so to speak. First, the eReader I am reviewing is not the Kindle. I had my first experience with a Nook, the Barnes & Noble eReader. 

I must say I am not tempted to buy an eReader at this time but only because every tech prognosticator says they will be obsolete in a few short years, which in tech talk could mean next month. My personal experience with the Nook was very positive. The weight was more than a typical paperback but less than a hardcover book of any decent length. Holding it was no more or less cumbersome than holding the equivalent book. Being able to adjust the font size is a huge plus, I mean HUGE.

I did use an added clip-on light for late night reading but it's the same one I use to read a book, so no big disadvantage there. The charge lasted a good long time even if I forgot to give it morning nursing time from the electronic nipple. Truly an all around positive experience, if I wasn't sure every laptop, tablet and device to be named later will not have the same capacity by the next holiday cycle, I would buy one.

Now to the books I read on the Nook. I know you know that Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001; you probably also know he wrote a sequel 2010 made into the Roy Scheider and John Lithgow movie, which Clarke was not associated with. Sir Arthur also wrote 2061 and I have recently learned 3001. I read as far as 2061. However, he along with Stephen Baxter wrote another three novels that "will do for time what 2001 did for space." Well sort of, that's a big boot to fill, but I will concede that the three "time books" are worth the read for SF fans of Clarke. Titles: Time's Eye, Sunstorm, First Born. I do strongly suggest that you not read any reviews; they all want to give away the big turn in the first book, which really needs to be experienced in the context of the story.

I must add one caveat: if you are a reader who is disappointed when a well written book fails to deliver an ending that gives you complete story closure then this series may not be your cup of tea. But for sheer SF entertainment, I would put them on my Nook or Kindle or beach blanket.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hang In There

If you know anything about cats, you know this was not his first attempt to get into that hanging nest. You also know the first try did not end well. 

After the loud crash coming from the closet, there was a cat sitting on the floor next to a pile of pants and hangers saying - "I meant to do that, no really I just wanted to show you how unstable those hangers can be."

But not only are cats curious, they also can be persistent, that's his permanent bed now or at least until you notice and get a picture to put on the web. And just think all those slacks now have a nice even vertical fur crease on one leg.

I know the "Hang In There" slogan has prompted a lot of dangling photos, so rather than have you labor at finding them. I have given you what I think are some prime examples.

you knew there would be at least one more cat

betcha weren't expecting pandas

sometimes hangin' in there is not your best option

it would seem that frogs might dominate this category

see what I mean . . .