Tuesday, February 28, 2006

No Groundhog Here

This is the warmest it's been in the condo since, oh... October? I'm actually barefoot!

Supposed to be even warmer, tomorrow. Maybe spring has sprung in the mid-South.


Licking them. Looking evil. Thinking of more moments that end like this:

I have the balcony door open about 8", and the atomic clock says it's 69.7F in the condo. Glorious day, glorious day.

A Merkin For My Cat

Fortunately at this time, there's not enough sun hitting the balcony each day for me to have to worry about Curly getting "belly burn," but...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Start The Workweek Right

... with a faux-charcoal "sketch" of the coolest generic brown tabby in Gnashvegas, Curly! Photoshop is a wonderful, terrible thang.


Sunday is over. Done. In the books.

I didn't do a lot of surfin' today, mainly 'cause my favorite online hangout was two-themed:

• Suicide, and
• Otherwise wonderful, intelligent people trying to communicate with people who never had any intention of communicating, period.

Curly-Eye View

I often mention how ridiculous I think it is that Curly chooses this as one of his favorite perches... presumably so he can be close to me as I play on the 'puter. Picture, if you can, 15lbs. of brown tabby overflowing both sides of this thin edge of upholstered furniture (to give you an idea of scale, the squares in the fabric on the chair are 1").

Sunday Morning Sunshine Corner

While the rest of the planet goes to hell in a hairnet, a large brown tabby, somewhere, takes great comfort in a tiny slice of sunshine on a cold but quiet Sunday morning.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Standin' Tall

Post-bird incident. Does he look proud of himself, or what?

I don't know why he likes this spot on top of the back of the impossibly-narrow edge of the crazy green checkerboard chair, unless it's just to be close to me. I mean, you got Curly overflowin' both sides of the edge of this chairback. It can't be comfy.

And given that it's behind the lawn chair I'm using to sit at the 'puter, it's not even a good spot to beg for pettin'... although I admit, I frequently spin the lawn chair around for a few minutes every so often, if he insists.

Additional Hoodbloggin'

A river runs through it. Well, behind it.

This is another condo building across the parking lot from mine. The Cumberland River isn't much to see, but it's there. I could throw a rock in it from my front landing.

Since this wasn't all that interesting a photo, I tarted it up in Photoshop, using my favorite -- the cutout filter -- and then lowering the opacity on it to 70%, with the original photo underneath.

Poor, denuded trees. I can't wait for spring to arrive.

Mouth Full Of Feathers

It's hard to tell what that is on the end of Curly's paw (and in the foreground, in front of the pine tree trunk), but rest assured, those are feathers. Curly's would-be lunch escaped, apparently... and how he came this close to snagging a bird, I have no idea. I just heard a commotion on the balcony, and in the split-second it took for me to look over to see what was going on, all I saw was Curly leaning over the rail, and a small cloud of feathers floating around him.

Friday, February 24, 2006

I'm Not As Thunk as You Drink I Am!

... but you're gettin' awfully blurry, so maybe I should go to bed!

Video PeckerBlogging

Get your minds out of the gutter, you scamps.

One of the neat things about warm, mid-60F days in West GnashVegas is getting to leave the balcony door open -- which causes Curly no end of consternation. Whenever I do this, regardless of whether he's inside or on the balcony, he stays within a foot of the open door.

Today, I heard a sound that made me grab the GL-1, and as unwilling as my subject seemed to be, I managed to get a 30-second clip out of him, anyway.

Click the photo to see the video.

Friday Fresh Curly

No, it's not a high-five -- he wanted full editorial control of this post! :)

I have some other good ones that I've taken in the last ten minutes, but I'll dole them out as the day wears on. One, I have to have a few beers before I can make my joke about it, and I'm just on my second cup o' coffee. So, stay up late tonight for that one, sure.

Mo' Hoodbloggin'

It is sunny and warm today, so I thought I should get out with the camera and take a few pix. Unfortunately, this is the only one that I liked. These little bastids are solar-powered lamps, and they're just outside the west breezeway of my building. They're useless as a light source, but one of my neighbors thought they looked nice, so, here they are. I'm a nice enough neighbor that I retrieve them from wherever the wind blows them -- an event that happens about once a week.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

It's A String Thang

A happier cat, you will not find. He got a good, whole-cat massage, and then... he caught the string! Repeatedly!

Happy Catbloggin' Friday, to ya.

Through A Window, Dirty

We mustn't defenestrate our kitty.

Another warming day in the greater Gnashvegan area. Curly's out there, soakin' up the pre-spring fever.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cat or Roly-Poly?

YOU... make the call!

Happy Tails To YOU -- Yes, You!

Or, more appropriately, "You (go) to Happy Tails!"

I updated the post from yesterday to plug them, but seriously -- if you live in the Nashville area, and have room in your life for a pet (and a very few bucks), please go visit them. Their website is here, and they never have a shortage of dogs and cats who need good, responsible and loving homes.

I've been through a lot of crap the last 3+ years, and I really don't know what would have kept me as (relatively) sane as I am, had it not been for Curly -- my too-cool-for-school off-the-rack brown tabby (whose photos are plastered all over this blog), who was rescued by Happy Tails back in late 2002.

For those who haven't heard the story, it goes like this: My wingnut friend, J.J., and his awesome wife Erica (pictured at right, with former Tennessee Titans WR Derrick Mason), convinced me -- after seeing how well their cat and I got along (and both of them knowing that I'd recently had to euthanize another cat who was briefly in my care, B.B. -- another story) -- that I should consider getting another cat. Since they'd adopted their kitty from Happy Tails, they talked me into driving down with them to Franklin one day to check into it all. Erica really just wanted an excuse to go back to see and interact with all the kitties, I am sure. :)

Anyway, we arrive, and it's an unseasonably cool, rainy early June day. We go directly into the cat room, which has about 40 cats in it... about a dozen are wandering about the room, or lounging on the many elaborate cat perches therein. The rest are in cages (or "condos," as the Happy Tails folx are wont to call them), along the walls. I start in one corner, visiting each caged kitty. About a third of the way through the room, I happen upon Curly's cage. He's crying pitiably, and when I put my hand up to the cage to pet him through the wire, he starts immediately licking my fingers. That was just too unusual. So, we ask if he can be let out into the room, and, after a quick "compatibility check" of the room, the staff lets him out. I get a good look at him, and pet him some more, and then, I continue visiting with the rest of the kitties.

I was in the room for at least another 20-30 minutes, visiting with all the cats. During the entire time, Curly literally never strayed more than a few feet from me. I couldn't help but notice that he was following me around the room, and I finally had to admit that he had chosen me. I couldn't ignore that, so I filled out the paperwork, wrote a check, and he went home with me in a cardboard cat carrier that day.

Just a few weeks later, I'd be resigning the best job of my life, due to ethical incompatibility... and a year or so later, losing my home. Curly was with me through all that, and beyond. On my worst day, he never fails to make me smile -- or, more often, laugh out loud, due to his antics, which only other cats can fully understand.

Honestly -- don't you need a Curly in your life?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Dubai Brothers

Heh. Y'know, it's pretty entertaining, watching the right side of the blogosphere going ballistic on this ports issue. One almost gets the sense that there are national security concerns going unaddressed. Oh well, I'm sure Article II gives Bush all the authority he needs to implement this at his discretion.

Cutout Curly Close-Up

For the simple reason that I was holding the camera, backwards, at arm's length, and the photo was blurry. When life hands you lemons, make apple butter, y'know. You go to blog with the photos you have, not the photos you wish you had, etc., etc., etc.

UPDATE: I don't plug the place enough, and since a fair number of folx visiting my bloggie are coming from the Nashville area, please take time to visit the Happy Tails site (and if you live in the area, go see 'em -- they're really nice folx). That's where Curly and I met!

Monday, February 20, 2006

More After Dark Balconyblogging

At least the balcony has dried off, but Curly still doesn't want to linger outdoors too long... still below freezing here in Gnashvegas, but we're heading into the 50F ranges, Wednesday. Whoo-hoo!

Her Highness

Curly's girlfriend, Princess, was out on the front patio as I was coming back with a load of laundry. He's been madly pawing and crying at the front window for the last fifteen minutes.

P-Day Curly

Here, Curly strikes the pose of Washington, in the famous Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze painting.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Nighttime Curly

It's too cold but I wanna go out but it's too cold but I wanna go out but it's too cold but I wanna go out but it's too cold but I...

Top O' The Head To Ya

Bored with the selection of DVDs in the condo, Curly gazes intently at the floor, wondering what interesting items might be found, there.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Doot Doot Doot, Part Doot

Out the front door, down the steps, and to the end of the walkway, south. Believe it or not, kids were preparing to assult this "hill" with a plastic toboggan-ish item when I took this. Poor dears probably aren't used to seeing so much (heh!) snow.

22F outside... I sit, indoors, with ostrich skin cowboy boots and a fleece jacket over my insulated waffle shirt, shivering.

Doot Doot Doot

Lookin' out my front door.

(with apologies to John Fogerty/CCR)

UPDATE: There's about this much snow all over the balcony deck (a first for the season, and it's less than 0.5", but with a thin layer of ice, underneath). Curly won't go out there. He doesn't wanna get his paws wet and/or cold. :)

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Word "Directed"

In the e-mail exchange between the WaPo's Jim Brady and myself (here), I take his organization to task for continuing to assert that Jack Abramoff directed his clients to funnel monies not only to Republican members of Congress, but to Democratic lawmakers, as well. Why does it matter?

Well, the Washington Post, however properly, is still considered one of the better newspapers in the country -- although with few exceptions, all the newspapers in the U.S. have seemingly abandoned investigative reporting where the current administration is concerned. If "abandoned" is too strong a word for you, Deborah, Jim... let's just say this nation's reporters certainly do appear to stop digging shortly after being handed the official White House storyline.

But setting aside all that, for the time being, what excuse is Mr. Brady or Ms. Howell prepared to offer for this glaringly imprecise usage of the word "directed?" After all, journalists of the caliber found at the WaPo ought to hold themselves to more exacting standards. I'm certain their grasp of the English language exceeds my own -- and I find this use of the word "directed" to be entirely unwarranted, given the facts in evidence.

As I understand it, Jack Abramoff was hired by select tribal leaders to lobby Congress on their behalf.

Now, if I were hired by someone to do a job, would there be any conceivable instance where it would be accurate to say that I directed the people who hired me to do anything? To be sure, I might suggest a course of action; I might even recommend that my bosses do a certain something. But would I, by any stretch of the imagination, direct them?

If you can believe that to be possible, you'll probably even buy a shooting victim apologizing to the person who accidentally shot him.

However, you'll note that using the words "suggested" or "recommended" with regard to what Abramoff may have done regarding his tribal employers' contribution amounts to Democratic legislators would make it much harder to sell to the public that the Abramoff scandal is, as WaPo and so many other claim, bi-partisan. The word "directed" makes it seem so... authoritative, and fact-checked. If it is said that I directed you to do something, it's implicit that you actually did it -- a direction is a command, whereas a "recommendation" or "suggestion" can be disregarded.

Setting aside semantics (and please note, I'm trying to be fair to Mr. Brady and Ms. Howell, in all my set-asides), does WaPo provide a single piece of evidence that Abramoff's tribal clients did what he "directed" them to do? Would it matter if the amounts of cash he "directed" were less than what the same clients had given to the same lawmakers in the past? Have we seen comparisons from the WaPo on those amounts, both prior to, and after Abramoff's hiring by these tribal clients? If so, I seem to have completely glossed over those reports.

Peter Daou had a very interesting post on media bias, and the provability vs. assertibility thereof; I recommend y'all read it.

For Sallyh

This is for Sallyh only -- the rest of you, go home!

Contented upon his new bed/throne...

Curly Friday

Enjoying that little bit o' sunshine, this morning...

WaPo's Jim Brady Sends Me an E-mail

After reading this article (here) by Jim Brady, I felt it necessary to write him an e-mail, to wit:

I'm very much afraid you still don't get it. You're *still* using the line about Abramoff "directing money" to Democrats, when you've never presented anything in the pages of the WaPo that would indicate any such thing ever occurred.

It is misleading to say that Abramoff's "suggestions" of amounts that his Indian tribal clients should give to Democrats equate to "direction," since we do not know that the tribes gave the suggested amounts, nor do we know exactly how much money the tribes had given those same Democrats prior to their dealings with Abramoff.

If I'm wrong on these points, please let me know.

Otherwise, I think the WaPo *still* owes Democrats an apology.

Nashville, TN
Mr. Brady responds:

Thanks for your e-mail... Deborah and The Post's senior editors have posted links to articles and graphics to support the paper's reporting on the Abramoff issue at http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/washpostblog/2006/01/abramoff_covera.html and http://blogs.washingtonpost.com/washpostblog/2006/01/deborah_howell_.html. Obviously, you're entitled to your opinion of the conclusions, but wanted to pass on those links.

Jim Brady
Now did I miss it, or was there anything in there at all that addressed how much these tribes had given to Democratic politicians prior to their dealings with Abramoff?

UPDATE: In response, I sent the following to Mr. Brady:

Thank you for your timely response.

If I may, I'd like to clarify only one point with you: Do you feel the issue of how much money these tribes had given to Democratic legislators *prior to* their involvement with Jack Abramoff is irrelevant to the WaPo's choice of wording, in re: "directed," versus "suggested?"

Thanks again,

Nashville, TN

New Venture

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As little as $5 for an ad, and we commit 10% of net profits to further ad buys throughout the blogosphere, in order to bring even more traffic to your blogs.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Full Nocturnal Curly

Workin' and practicin'... those night moves.

Another KCMO Gift

He really likes the pen that P.G. sent. :)

Intermittant Posting

Not sure how long I'll be on -- WiFi benefactor is unplugging the cable modem, more often than not. :(

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Half Chubby

... tail! Get your minds out of the gutter. He got excited by a close fly-by (bird -- thankfully not a quail; no shotgun pellets came near), and this was taken only seconds after he jumped up onto the railing to get a better prowling perspective.

Curly and Jeffraham are both severely diggin' the 61F temps, today. I've turned off the furnace, and cracked the balcony door open, to allow Curly easy, willful access (and to get that fresh, spring-like smell into the condo).

In other good news, my IRS refund hit the bank, today, so I was able to go to Aldi, and stock up on some foodstuffs (as well as e-mail the landlord to let him know my check would clear). I may have to get a haircut, even.

Return of the Sun Beast

Here he is, again, sunning himself for the scant 20-minutes or so that he can each February morning on the balcony. The photo below shows the vantage from which I have to take the photo, since getting closer (or even opening the door, for that matter) causes him to want to roam around, gravitating towards me.

Welcome Home

This is the greeting I get when I come back from taking out the trash. He's afraid I'll be eaten by predators in the 90 seconds I'm gone.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Outdoors In The (Brief) Sunshine

I let Curly out at 8:45 a.m.; by 9:00, there wasn't a single bit of sunlight on the surface of the deck, anywhere.

Anywhoo, today was a nice day -- sunny, in the 50F range. Got a lot of cleaning done, as the neighbor's Innernets connection went bye-bye really fast this morning. It may go again...

Rule Of Law?

"For thee -- not for me!"
--Sufficiently-connected Republic Party member

As hilarious as this whole Vice President Cheney Shoots A 78-Year Old Man In The Face With A Shotgun thing is being made out to be (and, I have to admit, seeing The Daily Show with Jon Stewart's take on the incident was, in fact, pretty funny), it's actually pretty serious stuff. It's serious from two perspectives:

• Mr. Whittington is 78 years old, and may well die from his injuries -- and at the very least, may be debilitated and disfigured as a result. NOTE: I composed this post early this morning, before learning of Mr. Whittington's heart attack.

• How Dick Cheney is treated due to his negligence in this matter will, once and for all, clearly and unambiguously demonstrate to the American people whether the Bush administration values the Rule of Law.

Already, we have reports of the Secret Service denying a sheriff's deputy access to Mr. Cheney on the evening of the incident. As I understand it, whenever there is a hunting accident involving injury with a firearm, the local authorities are required by law to test for the presence of alcohol in both the victim's and the injurer's bloodstreams. Clearly, delaying access to one of the parties involved shows a clear lack of regard for the law. If Mr. Cheney had in fact been drinking, delaying his contact with authorities would allow his body time to metabolize the alcohol in his system before a BAC test could be administered.

Granted, most people can't be bothered to keep up with the details of the outing of a covert CIA operative, who was working on WMD counterproliferation, or the whole Bush circumvention of FISA to conduct domestic surveillance on God-knows-who (due to lack of oversight). But the average voter is going to understand that if they had pulled that fateful trigger, and injured a friend while quail hunting, they would not be treated so deferentially.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Curly's New Last Name

... after taking this picture is now officially "Whittington."

Haw! I crack me up, sometimes.

Eh, okay... this isn't really one of those times, but... you know what I mean.

A Very Curly Evening To You

Blogger's having a fit, so I'll leave out any commentary...

Let's Imprison Whistleblowers

More great writing from Glenn Greenwald, whose 3-month-old blog, Unclaimed Territory, is now going under my "Daily Reading" list:
And it isn't just potential whistle-blowers whom they are attempting to intimidate, but journalists as well:
At the same time, conservatives have attacked the disclosure of classified information as a illegal act, demanding a vigorous investigative effort to find and prosecute whoever disclosed classified information.

An upcoming article in Commentary magazine suggests that the newspaper might be prosecuted for violations of the Espionage Act and said, "What The New York Times has done is nothing less than to compromise the centerpiece of our defensive efforts in the war on terrorism."
So now we're a country which allows its leaders to flagrantly violate the law -- even cheering them on as they do it -- and we imprison the journalists who report that illegal behavior to the public. That sounds like a lot of things. The United States isn't one of them.
Read more of this article here.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

watertiger: I'd Hit It

C'mon, folx -- watertiger's less than 6K away from hitting the 500,000 hits mark before her blog's first anniversary.

Show her some love!

UPDATE: Today's the day -- her blog is one year old. She's still about 3,000 hits shy of the mark. You know what to do!

Modern Conservatism

Glenn Greenwald has a couple of excellent posts up about modern conservatism. Excerpt:
And, as described by Milbank's column, it's particularly noteworthy how true conservative believer Bob Barr was treated like an evil traitor at the Conservative Political Action Conference held this weekend all because he is critical of The President's violations of FISA. Conservatism in some circles really has morphed into The Cult of George Bush, which is why any criticism of the Leader -- even when the criticism is based on conservative principles -- is deemed to be blasphemous to the Cause. This really tells you all you need to know about what "conservativsm" has come to mean in certain circles:
Barr answered in the affirmative. "Do we truly remain a society that believes that . . . every president must abide by the law of this country?" he posed. "I, as a conservative, say yes. I hope you as conservatives say yes."

But nobody said anything in the deathly quiet audience. Barr merited only polite applause when he finished, and one man, Richard Sorcinelli, booed him loudly. "I can't believe I'm in a conservative hall listening to him say [Bush] is off course trying to defend the United States," Sorcinelli fumed.
Even to be subjected to the idea that "Bush is off course" is traumatic and wrong. Such an opinion has no place at a "conservative" event, where only praise and reverence of the Commander-in-Chief is appropriate.
Read more here.

And then, we have this excerpt:
People who self-identify as "conservatives" and have always been considered to be conservatives become liberal heathens the moment they dissent, even on the most non-ideological grounds, from a Bush decree. That’s because "conservatism" is now a term used to describe personal loyalty to the leader (just as "liberal" is used to describe disloyalty to that leader), and no longer refers to a set of beliefs about government.

That "conservatism" has come to mean "loyalty to George Bush" is particularly ironic given how truly un-conservative the Administration is. It is not only the obvious (though significant) explosion of deficit spending under this Administration – and that explosion has occurred far beyond military or 9/11-related spending and extends into almost all arenas of domestic programs as well. Far beyond that is the fact that the core, defining attributes of political conservatism could not be any more foreign to the world view of the Bush follower.
Read more here.

The Trust Gap

If you read nothing else this glorious Sunday, please read this editorial in today's New York Times:
We can't think of a president who has gone to the American people more often than George W. Bush has to ask them to forget about things like democracy, judicial process and the balance of powers — and just trust him. We also can't think of a president who has deserved that trust less.

This has been a central flaw of Mr. Bush's presidency for a long time. But last week produced a flood of evidence that vividly drove home the point.
Read the whole editorial here.


But a smattering, but it's more than the 3-6" we got yesterday. Yes, Virginia, it does snow in Gnashvegas!

Been awake for about 90 minutes now... feelin' fine, even after the six gifted SNPA left on my doorstep, last night. Sneezin' my fool head off, though -- SNPA always does that to me, the next day. Ah, the sacrifices we make for hoppy beer. :)

Okay -- diving back into work on The Big Secret Project (soon to be revealed -- very soon!). My partner stayed up all night, coding some of the things I'd requested. Now, I just have to tweak a few things, and we're ready to rock.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

New Bed

Curly's found a new, favorite sleepin' spot -- the top of the far-left back cushion of my really cool mossy-fabric couch. It looks pretty comfy, doesn't it?

Wow, Look At All This Snow!

Taken this morning at ~10:30 a.m. The traffic will be murderous -- Gnashvegans can't even drive in rain, for cryin' out loud.

Anyway, I just knew y'all would want to see what 3"-6" of snow looked like in the South.

UPDATE: It looks like the no-show snow got on some people's tits.

Friday, February 10, 2006

FVC™: String

Okay, not his most enthusiastic playdate, I'll admit. But the camera guy can't operate the camera in handheld-mode, and move the string stick at the same time... he's just not that talented. Curly would much rather have the string dragged along the floor.

Btw, how pitiful is it that that is longest piece of string I could scrounge up in my household? :)

Any guesses on the music...?

Post Something... Anything!

Just get that lovechild of Marty Feldman & Aunt Bea off the top of the screen!

If you behave, I will post some Curly video, later. Seriously. I think I've got some of him playing with string that y'all might like.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Behind The Mask

Jeffraham... revealed! No big deal. So many people online know me... why shouldn't the NSA?

More Kitty Love

Aww, c'mere you li'l snugglebeast. You're such a love sponge. You know you are! Yes, you are!

Underutilized Titans Jacket

Ah, yes -- the perfect place for a nap -- on top of this leather Titans jacket that no mortal being would dare don before stepping out into public view!

Oh, and for you NFL fans, don't miss Curly's incredibly prescient Super Bowl prediction.

watertiger needs your hits

She's trying to reach 500,000 hits by... well, by sometime Real Soon Now. She's just under 15K shy of the goal. She keeps us all laughing with her excellent news photo captions, and has coined more nicknames and phrases than Carter has pills. Let's give her some hits, folx -- spread the news!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

His Favorite Thang

Pettin', of course! He likes to purr with his mouth partially-open, so you can hear it really well, too. 15lb. Love Sponge.

Blogger's Syndication Features

I have to admit, even though I've been an Innernets guys since 1989, I don't fully understand the ins-and-outs of RSS. I haven't really tried, to be honest. Still, I wonder how the atom.xml thingie actually works here at Blogger.

Does it only update every couple of hours?

Why do sites (like NashvilleIsTalking.com) never have what I'd consider to be the accurate timestamp for my posts? Why would changing time zones in the Blogger settings not affect this?

Anybody wanna help me out with these mysteries?


From our good friends at The Onion -- click graphic to expand to a readable size.