Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Just A Wee Formality

After nearly 40 years, England's last troops in Northern Ireland are leaving! NPR reported "The move is largely symbolic because British troops have not patrolled Belfast streets for about two years."

Three cheers for the peace process!

As always, click the title line to link to the full story.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Headlines from last week's news stories:

Ya don't say??

"Teen Drives Truck Into River, Gets Stuck." -- Press Enterprise Online Edition, 7/23/07

"Man finds out wife, not daughter, having affair" Reuters, 7/23/07

Visual FX:

"Man Spreads Fire on Flaming Hay Wagon" -- AP 7/21/07 Hart Township, MI.

"Tourists fined for cycling nude in heatwave" Reuters, 7/23/07

"An Astrologer's Guide to Foreign Affairs" The Moscow Times 7/24/07 (
"Stan Lee: ‘I’m no superhero’" Wireless Flash 7/23/07

No Pun?

"Tiny Brain No Problem For French Tax Official" Spiegel Online, 7/20/07

"Democrats play safe on YouTube" Telegraph Co. UK, 7/24/07

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

They Declined...Revisited

Follow up. Sigh.

updated 3:14 pm Eastern time 7/24/07. CNN News

"5th Minnesota sextuplet dies "

Tragic beyond words in so many, many ways.

Click headline for link to story.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Moanday & Dangerous Ideas

It is nothing new that we have the start of the week today। Arbitrary as it is, today is the start of the work week throughout most of the so-called civilized world.

After the usual ablution stuff, including grumbling at that bright ball in the sky known as the Sun or Sol, I poured my coffee, made chit chat with DH (he's the morning person in the house & was already up for the last 3 hours) until he left for his day। While sipping my coffee, I read an article in Arts & Letters Daily "In defense of dangerous ideas" by Steven Pinker that was in the Chicago Sun Times dated 7/15/07.

Now reading that makes me want to play hookey from work (which I shan't do) to indulge in the risky business of playing around with a few dangerous ideas myself.

Pass me some more coffee, please....

for article, click on the subject header.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Ditchbank

This is where I started my fitness walking earlier this year. I can show this now because of Google Earth! Have y'all ever played with Google Earth? It's fun! It rocks! I liked geography when I was a kid - a lot. If I could've imagined something like this back when I was a kid, I think I'd've done just about anything to get my hands on it! You betcha, I would've!

Y'all are seeing about 2/3rds of the area I get to play in. To the left of the ditchbank are the fields used to grow feed for the Nature Center and beyond that is the Nature trail on the upper levee where I bicycle.

I wanna....

...just wanna
run in the rain
feel mud squish
between my toes
my shirt ringing wet
to my back
when the lightning
flashes rivers of water
run down my street.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tit For Tat

A few days ago, Britain expelled 4 Soviet diplomats over the radiation poisoning death of Litvenenko. Yesterday, the Russians expelled 4 British diplomats to get even over the same issue. We return now to Cold War Tactics 101.

:::Mutter, mutter::: I really hate reruns

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Only Pinter remains..."

I read this article by Terry Eagleton in The Guardian which I linked to today from Arts & Letters Daily. I thought it was pretty damn good and showed me a point of view I hadn't considered recently. Now, this article goes to British literature, but these days I suspect the same can be said of American lit as well. I think the fact is our literature should make us feel a little uncomfortable and challenge us, but too often it falls short of the mark. We readers are guilty of settling for being entertained or being told how-to-do something.

Gods, I love reading The Guardian's lit crit at times!

Just click title to read article.


Twenty pounds.

I'm so close I can taste it. I've been faithfully exercising 3 to 4 hours a week. I've kept to my diet for the most part. I have made allowances for special events, but even then I'm still counting calories and stopping before I hit my limit.

I've always had a good appetite. Like many boomer kids, I also grew up with being obligated to finish what was on our plates. "Think of the poor starvling children in Applachia, in India, in China, in Russia" and so on. When I was young, it was easy to stay fit -- there was a ton to do everyday and our play could drag us distant miles from home during the course of the day. Run, bike, roller skate. Chase balls, throw balls, run the bases, slide home. Bike to the ice rink. Hike to the foothills. Ya just didn't think about stuff like that as exercise.

I've stuck with this exercising bit now since February when I found out how high my cholesterol and triglycerides were. I also weighed 192 lbs then. I look in the mirror now and see my inches are moving around. There's muscle in my arms. My waist is a bit thinner and tummy is starting to flatten and shrink just a little. I don't mind seeing myself in the mirror quite so much now when doing my hamster routine on the treadmill. At 192 lbs, I saw my body was beautiful in a Rubenesque way only in certain lights or angles. Generally when clothed.

In another age, Rubenesque would be good enough. But in this age, it was a little too much and I was certainly heading toward the unhealthy side of too much. High levels of triglycerides (152) when they should be in the low 40s is not good. Massive coronaries felled a couple of my uncles in their tracks. (They died 7 years apart and within a mile on the same stretch of Florida highway. Ick.) As a public health issue, heart disease is also expensive to the public even when a person has insurance. I have insurance. Do I really want to pass some of that cost on to an already burdened public? Nah.

There is also the fact that I really do want my DH back in my arms again... I've missed him there for a long time. We all acknowledge it's not fair that he could not find me sexually inviting because I was not smaller & more petite after he got into recovery for a problem that I couldn't fix for years. The genie has been out of the bottle regarding open marriage since last year before I met my lover. I wanted it and the freedom to have uncommitted sex since DH cannot go there with me for the time being. It isn't fair, it wasn't fair. But that's the way it was and is. A person can endure being untouched for a long time, but being touched intimately is also as essential to being human as DH's aesthetic preferences in body type. Of course, I do have certain conditions to live by in this bargain. But that's another blog for another time.

I'm liking the way my body is feeling and starting to look again, I'm taking pleasure in my body's physicality for the first time in decades, only this time I'm trying to be conscious and appreciate of it as well. I like being able to move more freely. It's sweet having more energy and the clarity of mind that goes with it.

So I've got two more pounds to lose before I hit that first 20 pounds lost and hit 172. That doesn't mean I'm done... I've got ___ number of pounds after that to go yet. Yes, you read that correctly. I've left a blank. I have an idea of what my goal is, but I'm in this for the long run so 2, 3, 5 lb losses will cumulate to an overall loss. Coy, but there you have it.

The History Boys: Politics & Power: vanityfair.com

The History Boys: Politics & Power: vanityfair.com

Worth the read. Happy Tuesday to you all!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Alterman's Altercation

Folks, I was reading Alterman's blog from 7/3/07 and I really would like you to read the article: "Remarks on the theme of The Public Good: Knowledge as the Foundation for a Democratic Society, at a joint meeting of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, The Library of Congress, April 28, 2007:..."

The article is a bit down the page after the bits 'n pieces and is a heck of a good read by E.L. Doctorow: http://mediamatters.org/altercation/200707030003#2

Make Up Day

I needed to do some heavy making up Saturday. It was only the right thing to do. After all, I hadn't gotten in a decent work out all week. I didn't grind to a halt, but my workouts just got cut short because other fun things came up. Y'all know how that one goes.

Friday night's party was just dandy. We fed people grilled rib-eye steak, boneless country pork ribs with bb-q sauce all nicely slow cooked, and grilled chicken with sides of potato salad & cole slaw. One friend brought some Kabul Party Rice which tasted really wonderful to me; another brought the fixings for strawberry-rhubarb cobbler so it could be served fresh from the oven. (that gal also wins ribbon for her pies at the state fair too.) After eating and lots of talkin' we lit off fireworks for nearly an hour, barely making a dent in what we'd gathered up. Gosh, we'll be able to shoot some fireworks for a rack of birthdays in August and have plenty left for New Year's Eve.

So yesterday, @ 3:00 pm, I drove up to work to use the workout room. After a few minutes of stretching and loosening up, I did a quick lap on the treadmill to finish warming up. Then it was time to hit the weight machine with leg curls and leg presses. I did about 20 crunches after that and some squats while holding on a 10 lb dumbbell in each hand. Then it was on to the stationary recumbant bicycle. Pedaled til the meter said 2.5 miles and read part of a chapter of "Kushiel's Scion." (can't wait for Kushiel's Justice, either.) I was starting to feel a little dewy at that point, moisture prickling my arms, shoulders and face, as I set up the teaadmill for my 30 minute weight loss regimen... varying inclines and walking speeds up to 3.5 mph.

Working out like that, my iPod serenaded me with:
  • Arlo Guthrie: "The City of New Orleans'

  • The Battlefield Band: "The Lady Leroy" and "The Yew Tree" from their Best Of Battlefield Band 1977-2001

  • Celtic Shores: "Siuil a Ruin"

  • Eileen Ivers: "Darling Corey" from Immigrant Soul

  • Focus: "Hocus Pocus" from Moving Waves

  • Israel Kamakawiwo'o': "Somewhere Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World" from Facing Future

  • Gaelic Storm: "Bonny Ship the Diamond/Tamlinn" & "Johnny Jumpup/Morrison's Jig" from Gaelic Storm

  • Joe Satriani: "It's So Good" from Super Colossal

  • Miles Davis: "Concierto de Aranjuez, Pt. 1" from Sketches of Spain.
So what did you all catch up on doing recently? Was it good?

I Sent Bush An Email

Told him he has betrayed us citizens by commuting Libby's sentence and proven once again, that money & position will stop people from facing the justice they deserve while the rest of the ordinary and poorer folk pay more & longer when we screw up & break the law, even inadvertently. Shame, shame on him & his favoritism & so-called executive privilege.

On second thought, I also called the White House's comment's line and left a new message just as a back-up. Just in case. The operator was professional and didn't wince at yet another criticism of his boss.

The phone number for the White House is: 202-456-1414 or 202-456-1111. Either one works.