Thursday, March 30, 2006

lucky bear!

Easter's a ways off, but somebody (seen here in a photo released by the Oregon Zoo) got an early treat.

Those nails might leave a mark on your hardwood floor...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A secular Easter?

You've got to be kidding.

Having seen a secular Christmas a couple of times in Japan, I can say that is no big deal, and not much different from the holiday here. But Easter seems like a different case. Something about the crucifixion and resurrection strikes me as enjoying a qualitative edge over the fake-o birthday-usurps-pagan-holiday bit in December.

Think again.

To all of this mumbo jumbo I say, whatever.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Onions? Sweet!

This is Walla Walla after all, so I'm thinking of planting a few rows of onions in the newly demo'd part of the yard. They'd be tasty if they made it, and the neighbors would wrinkle their brows at the nonstandard yard (I hope).

Of course, it is far too late to plant, and I don't want to lose too many to marauders, human or otherwise.

Maybe I should go for a green onion ground cover. I'm not chiving you: Green onions make a great substitute for fescue's friends!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Midday in the garden of weeds and stones

Where I was able to slay cane-like grasses...

Hand-turning the soil in our yard has been difficult and interesting: I've found old batteries, a marble, a toy soldier, other garbage, a vast tangle of ganglia-like grass roots, many river rocks (along with an old concrete anchor for what I presume was a city bus route sign that no longer occupies our yard) and two survivors among the crop of nine trees planted last spring. Incredible to find them a-thriving!

The only surprise has been in seeing the difference in volume between freshly turned soil and the severely compacted portions I haven't gotten to yet. I think the yard is about three inches taller now :)

I'm about 40 percent done and judge I'll need three more days (over three weeks because of garbage/weed disposal constraints and the need to demo a concrete slab) to kill off this part of the project.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

butterfly lady

she is my own true love...

I'm talking 'bout a moron, bro

Say hey, San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds plans to sue anyone and everyone who has so much as read "Game of Shadows."

What a brilliant idea! Now we can dine on the sort of discovery only deep pockets could provide. Grand jury cheese sandwich my ass; welcome to foie gras a la Chronicle.

Good luck, genius.


So, is it better to live in a town where such a move is afoot?

As a property owner and restaurant-goer, I say heck yes, but I can appreciate others' trepidation. If our town goes the way of Bend, Ore., a lot of the city will be priced out of range of regular folks.

This strikes me as a question similar to those of public health, which I've been harping on lately. Yeah, bird flu will kill people, but like the lottery, it won't be you or me.

Will a fancy new resort at the outskirts of town spell trouble for prospective home-buyers down the road? Yes, but...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

disaster drill

Such an animal visited our fair city Tuesday: The courthouse was bombed (and an unexploded IED was found at the site), as was an academic building at the alma mater and hostages were taken at the college's theater.

From scanner traffic, first responders seemed to be floating in a sea of crises, but they apparently did OK. I question whether drills such as these provide adequate preparation. It seems to me that more repetition is needed than can be provided.

But I guess if Osama rolls into town, we'll be somewhat ready :)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

hurray for swimming!

which, even though I was slow and ran out of steam early, is always a very good thing.

Monkey playing soldier (aka naked guy) replaced his translucent trunks, and better yet, he has moved off the lane marker a little so his backstroke doesn't run into me. What a deal.

Of course, now that I've ID'd him, he can go back to swiping at the rest of us :)

Monday, March 20, 2006

I have returned from traveling abroad

but I can't locate any archons, eminent or otherwise.

OK, so Seattle isn't really all that "abroad" but it is a far cry from this town.

I definitely need a swimming pool.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

breakfast for supper

I've eaten many a stack of flapjacks in the dinner (and midnight) hours, but not since the '90s.

Are pigs in a blanket only for the 25-and-under set? Or maybe just for people who need a break from late-night carousing?

ugh, maybe I just need a waffle.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

apple crisp!

Abby made better apple crisp, but Abby's not here.

7 Granny Smiths, peeled, cored and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinammon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (OK, I'm guessing I went a little over)
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar (bullshit recipe: It wouldn't matter a damn what you used here, and brown would probably have been better)
1/3 cup oats
lemon juice (I used a small lemon's worth because I'm kinda slow with the peel-and-core)
A half-stick of butter (yeah, yeah, 4 tablespoons), chopped

Slice the apples and toss in lemon juice as you go to prevent browning (Only the good lord our savior knows why, because you bake this dish)

Homogenize the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix with the apples.

Homogenize the flour, white sugar and oats then cut in the butter, supposedly until the mix is grainy. Bullshit, just until reasonable.

Spread the apples in a 9-by-13 pan and sprinkle with the flour part. Bake at 375 until done, about 35 minutes...

super yummy

Friday, March 10, 2006

Indian food!

If you want Indian food (from India, not the Northwest) around here, you have to make it yourself unless it is Friday and you are at the Exxon station on Main Street (if you're actually around here, that would be on Main, across from the college's new fitness center and College House, in the 500 or 600 block, I believe).

Chicken "curry" for lack of knowing what it really was, naan and samosas.

A bit spendy considering I could have cooked an Indian feast at home for roughly the same cost (unless you have to buy all the spices anew, I suppose), but tasty, fun and a good choice for lunch with my sweetheart.

What flavor is that syrup?

Corn, of course. And what's yet another place you can find it?

Rice Krispies, for Christ's sake.

r u a str8 g?

If you are, you MUST go here.

After you're done browsing for pimpadelic blue glass pimp cups, Western-style two-tone red LED buckles and iced-out spinning-rim watches, be sure to check out the choice, the selection, the item for the ladies. Where's the love?

Also, find out how you'll look once you're iced out.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


gotta love them. again, name the place and win a zillion bucks!

You call that competition?

The ol' alma mater hosted a debate competition over the weekend at which its teams administered a whuppin' announced today in a smug press release. But check this out:

"Whitman 'closed out' the competition when two of its two-person teams won both semifinal debates. When that happens in a college debate tournament, the two semifinal winners are declared co-champions without a final debate taking place."

(Maybe we should do that with presidential debates, too.)

As it happens, one of the "winning" teams is ranked No. 12 in the country (now, I'm not sure if that's the ESPN poll or the coaches' poll or if that's the BCS ranking) and the other "winning" team is No. 17. How are you supposed to move up if you can't even play the higher-ranked team?

What a stupid fucking rule.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hall of Fame junkies

I guess the only real question here is:

What makes Barry Bonds different from Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa?

I'd say not much. Plus, they all have the first-and-last-name-starts-with-the-same-letter thing going.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Not exactly a bake sale, but it'll do

There you are, sitting in your comfortable chair at the Woodland Park Zoo, trying to figure out how to raise some cash.

Then it hits you: "Holy crap, maybe we should sell some shit."

And so you send a photo (the one you're looking at) and a press release, which includes this:

"It's time for Woodland Park Zoo's annual Spring Fecal Fest! The pungent piles of poop have cooked away hot as ever through the cold winter, producing beautiful mounds of the richest, highly aromatic, most exotic compost in the Pacific Northwest.

"As usual, due to the ever-increasing poopularity, a drawing is held for this spring's sale. Dr. Doo is accepting entry cards from March 25 until April 8 only. Remember, you may submit one request only. Phone orders will not be taken. However, if you just need more information, be sure to call the poop line at 206.625.POOP."


"Pick-up dates begin April 21 and continue through April 30. Dr. Doo will randomly select as many cards as supplies of Zoo Doo allow and will contact you only if your lucky card was selected. The Fecal Fests traditionally sell out. And remember, you load the Zoo Doo yourself, using shovels the zoo provides.

"Prices for pick-up trucks are 8x4 bed $60; 6x4 bed $45; 6x3 bed $35. Garbage cans are$8 to $10, and bags are $4 to $6 depending on size. Limit one full truck per person. Two-gallon and pint-sized buckets also are available in the ZooStore for $14.95 and $4.95, respectively."

Monday, March 06, 2006

best picture?

I haven't seen "Brokeback Mountain," so I can't judge whether it was more deserving than "Crash," but I've seen the latter and found it inferior to "Cinderella Man" and "Jarhead," just to name a pair.

This reminds me of an idea I had some years back to treat the awards like halls of fame and sainthood and make the voters pick what was best five years ago... But I can barely remember what came out five years ago, so maybe there's a small flaw :)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Tyngsborough Bridge

So many bolts, so little time to count them all...

Still waiting for Joe Purdy to completely release his new album, which can be heard, apparently in its entirety, at his strangely designed site.

Friday, March 03, 2006

fast swim to nowhere

Thursday was not a keeper - definitely a day I should have taken off without dipping my toes in the water. At least the short distance I swam I did quickly, easily staying ahead of Gary (I don't know why I named him that), who usually gets to a mile at the same time I hit 1,200 meters.

Spent the evening working on a version of Jefferson's Wheel Cipher, which is very cool, and also trying out an AppleScript version of the cipher written by my father. Also very cool!

Here, by the way, is a mildly amusing problem set that includes inquiries about how to attack Jefferson's gizmo.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Keep it up, Smiling Bob!

If you think "male enhancement" commercials are no more than a cock-and-bull story, you've got a friend in Bellevue, Wash.

Washington state Attorney General Rob McKenna (pictured at left), who lives in the Seattle suburb, on Thursday announced a multistate settlement with the maker of Enzyte, a "male enhancement" pill known for its "Smiling Bob" commercials.

McKenna was among attorneys general to reach a deal with Steve Warshak of Cincinnati, Ohio, and his dietary supplement firms Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, Lifekey Inc., Boland Naturals Inc., Warner Health Care, and Wagner Nutraceuticals, according to a prepared statement.

The states claimed Berkeley failed to inform consumers taking advantage of Enzyte's 30-day free trial that they would be automatically opted in to subsequent monthly shipments costing $39, and that the company made cancellation and refunds difficult.

Also alleged: Enzyte's maker made unsubstantiated claims about the efficacy of its product.

According to McKenna's office, Berkeley and Warshak deny the allegations but agreed to:
Stop using the word "free" in advertising unless all the terms and conditions related to the free offer are disclosed to the consumer and comply with state and federal laws.
Not make any health claims about products that they cannot support with scientific evidence.
Disclose information about any automatic shipments, memberships, refunds and guarantee procedures prior to a sale.
Record all telemarketing calls and retain them for one year.
Provide consumer restitution for all consumers who file complaints with the Attorney General’s office, the Better Business Bureau, or Berkeley within 90 days of the date of the settlement.

In its prepared statement Thursday, McKenna's office touted the settlement as a $5 million deal, but the statement laid out the actual terms as that Berkeley will pay $2.5 million to the states for investigation and litigation costs, and the penalty could be doubled through a civil fine if the company refuses to pay.

The Evergreen State's share of the settlement? $25,000.

Ursus maritimus

Last month brought a small piece of good news for people like me who are sick of reading permit requests from fuckups who want to import sport-hunted polar bears after their brave and glorious forays in the North.

Whether a listing as threatened would mean jack shit for polar bears shot by U.S. residents on foreign soil, I have no idea. Because it isn't my beat anymore, I decline, fair reader(s??), to find out :)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

salvage logging and other idiots

OK, I get that all these decades of fire suppression have changed the forests, but why not just let nature take its course after a big fire?

Forest fires and regeneration were going on a long time before 4004 B.C. Who crowned us king monkeys?

Just leave the damn forest the hell alone.

Speaking of idiots, how's this for an agency's mission statement:

"Curtailing the intemperate use of alcohol and controlling the sale of beverages exceeding 16% alcohol."

Yet another reason to stay the hell away from Idaho. I do like those candy bars, however.

What's the difference between physics and psychology?

When you drop rocks, they always falls at the same rate.
When you drop people, they always fall at the same rate, but they always say different shit when they hit the ground.

OK, that joke was funnier in my head. Maybe I should take all the words out...

up, up goes the yardage

"In the next couple weeks" - my previous plan - turned out to be three, but I added 200 meters to the main part of the workout yesterday to bring it to 1,800 meters and the whole banana to 2,400 meters. I'm not sure how soon I'll get to my goal of 2 miles overall in the hour, but I hope to make that happen this year.