Of Course I Know What I'm Talking About!

Years ago, it was not okay to say the word "ass" in media broadcasting according to FCC regulations. This outdated way of thinking was updated because, as everyone knows, an ass is a donkey. Consequently, all of the following terms are to be taken completely within that context.

Ass: This is a donkey.

Jackass: Again, this is a donkey. Calling someone a jackass is like calling them a donkey and is supposed to be insulting. Donkeys would also be insulted if they understood this.

Donkey's ass: This is just redundancy. It could be referring to a donkey's bottom, but I doubt it.

Cute ass: A really adorable donkey.

Smart-ass: This is calling someone a donkey and a smart aleck at the same time. It may also imply that donkeys are clever in an annoying way.

Asshole: Obviously, this is a hole that is big enough for a donkey to fall into. Dangerous and annoying for both the donkey and its owner, assholes are found all over the world.

Ass-wipe: What better way to clean up your donkey than with an ass-wipe. This is especially handy if your donkey has fallen into an asshole and gotten all messy. Some people think this means toilet paper, but cleaning a dirty donkey with toilet paper would take a really long time, so they are wrong.

Piece of ass: When someone is talking about getting a piece of ass they are showing the same satisfaction that a vulture would experience upon finding a dead chunk of donkey.

Fine piece of ass: A particularly succulent piece of dead donkey. Vultures love this.

So, there you go. The next time you hear someone in the media say something like "I told him to get his ass out of my way" you'll know they are just referring to someone's donkey. Really, people who can't control their donkeys are irritating, I must agree. Some people are so bad, they can't find their ass using both hands and really just need to keep it stabled somewhere, don't you think?

In Which I Become Contemplative

When you renew your marriage vows for your 25th anniversary it's like saying, "I would do this with you all over again, - for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health." Then off you embark on your next 25 years (God willing) and holding hands, you dance into the future.

Renewing your vows for your 50th must feel a bit different. You won't be doing it all over again, for one thing. Holding hands, you would dance off into the future knowing that every year from here on out is a gift. Granted, it's a gift no matter what your age. However, when you can look back on more years than you can look ahead to, I'd have to believe that time together becomes more precious.

Which brings me to Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. N
o matter what else Paul has done to show us what a life well lived looks like, staying married to Joanne for 50 years is at the top of his accomplishments that I admire. I even got a little teary and shared about it here.

What have I learned from getting to where I am? Cheri
sh those you love. Time is fleeting. Eternity is real but today is a gift to be lived well. Our lives are somewhat like leaves - when the production of chlorophyll in a leaf declines you can see its true colors. When the number of years we have yet to sojourn on this planet declines, our true colors are seen, too.

Let me leave you with this: love is the most important thing we have to share. Love. A life lived for love - of a beloved, of family, of friends, of animals, of the helpless, of those in need, of those who share our dreams, of our planet - that life is beautiful.

Amazing Randomness or Does This Butt Make My Dress Look Big?

Big butt

This will have nothing to do with my butt, sorry to disappoint you, but the statement "Does this butt make my dress look big?" is my little commentary on how we humans use language. Many of us use circumvention, manipulation, finesse and flattery to attain affirmation and other positive benefits. Just listen to a salesperson or politician at work if you doubt me.

Language can be beautiful though and the language of love is the most beautiful of all. Since I'm celebrating 25 years of marriage this year, I can safely say that you can live "Happily Even After!" Oops, I meant "Ever After!" Plus, I didn't even need one of these to make it this far:

Fast forward to the random. It may only be the last day of August, but the scent of Autumn is in the air here in the Northwest. Thoughts of berry harvesting, crisp apples, pumpkins and yes, even Halloween are running through my mind. Costumes are fun any time of year and dog costumes are particularly funny. This one is a bargain and just too, too cute:

Which you can buy for your own pooch here.

It is possible to get your cat into a costume and they can be unbelievably adorable. More than likely though, the cat will just look extremely put upon and you may end up reaching for the antibacterial ointment and bandages.

Since I have the Yoda dog costume here, I can't pass up the chance to post Dogth Vader:

You don't have to have a dog or a cat to pimp out your pet in style:

For truly amazing randomness (mathematically speaking) - Click Here!

A Little Summer Reading List

There aren't really any other blog links listed here as of yet, but there are definitely some that I check in on from time to time. Since I like to promote reading and post links, here (in no particular order) are some blogs that are among my favorites. Please enjoy them with a refreshing beverage of your choice and have a happy summer.

Science & Super Models
Making The World Safe For Science One Super Model At A Time

Gumby The Cat
Science And Critical Thinking For The Common Man

Passive-Agressive Notes
Painfully Polite And Hilariously Hostile Writings From Shared Spaces The World Over

Hello Kitty Hell
One Man's Life With Cute Overload

Travel Lightyears In Heartbeats

Bad Home Cooking
A Food Blog... With A Twist Of Incompetence

The Lipstick Chronicles

Where The Book Tarts Talk Love, Laughter, Laundry And The Mysteries Of Writing Life

Mike Sterling's Progressive Ruin

It's Squishy

Dog's Eye View
Some Days You're The Dog... Some Days You're The Hydrant

Cocktail Party Physics
Physics With A Twist

WWdN: In Exile
Wil Wheaton Says, "Don't Be A Dick!"

'World's Most Popular Blogging Anesthesiologist'

Curious Cat Science And Engineering Blog
Science And Engineering: Innovation, Research, Education And Economics

Eavesdrop Writer
A Writer's Inspirations From Eavesdropping
Plus another blog from the same author:
Diva Cosmos
This Is My Alter-Ego's Blog. I'm Nice. She's Not.

Geeks Are Sexy
What more do you need to say after that?

Brownie Points
A Good Girl's Notebook Of Her Culinary World

Olga, The Traveling Bra
Keeping the World Abreast of All My Exciting Globe-Trotting Adventures!

The Wordmachinist
This guy rocks his MySpace blog.

July Is For Blowing Things Up

Before I get into the joys of blowing things up to celebrate American freedom, I'd like to briefly implore anyone who has access to a child to:

A - Keep them safe around fireworks, fires, flammable things ... you catch my drift. A local grade-schooler here on the river just did himself some serious damage by being allowed to handle gasoline near an open fire.

B - See if they really know what the words in the National Anthem mean. Otherwise it ends up being the Star Mangled Banner with lines like "Jose, can you see?" and "the home of the Braves." Personally, I have sang it at so many baseball games that I often hear a phantom echo of the words "Play Ball!" at the end of it. But really, how many kids have ever seen a rampart anyway? You can enlighten them as to the meanings of words in that first verse (we never sing the others) and then all they'll have to deal with is the near impossibility of hitting those high notes in the latter part of the song. It's not necessary to share that the melody is actually from an old drinking song. Save that tidbit of information for when they're older.

So ... back to blowing things up. Being born and raised in Southern California I never got my hands on many legal fireworks. It took a move to Oregon to give me that access. Yay, Oregon! Some organizations make their budget funds for the entire year just by throwing up a tent and waiting for folks to come empty their wallets there in pursuit of explosive bliss.

Then came a trip to New Mexico. Who knew that Texas chasers really chased you? Or that fireworks could bounce up into the air and off the ground several times and maybe end up on someone's roof? You could walk into a shack, plunk down your money and walk out with a firework that shot way up into the sky and massively exploded! What really blew me away was how everything there was just like tinder and yet extremely dangerous fireworks were, in fact, totally legal. Cool.

Our neighbor down the road just happens to have his
Oregon Pyrotechnics license. While we will still be lighting off our own stash of fireworks in our yard at some point in the evening this 4th, we also want to pitch in for his display this year and watch him ignite it. Good times.

Finally, I just want to convey blessings and gratitude to our military and their families at this time - you are appreciated!

Thought For Food

Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard that phrase “food for thought” and possibly even taken note of what came before it. Case in point: Corn is being used to produce ethanol and worldwide hunger is increasing; now that’s food for thought. Still, how much do we (the not-so-hungry) take thought for our food?

First things first, just how should I define food anyway? There’s an old saying: If Nature made it – it’s good for you, if Mother made it – it’s not. That’s a quaint way of saying that raw, whole foods are best for our health. Does this mean that if Frito-Lay or Pepsi made it, I can almost be guaranteed some harm? Probably, if all I eat is Cheetos and Mountain Dew.

Moderation is most likely the key here. There are good reasons for making sure that much of my food is… well, real food. Food like berries, yogurt, broccoli, beans, almonds, spinach, oatmeal, lean proteins, onions, garlic, carrots, walnuts, tomatoes, tea, herbs, and more – all of which have beneficial properties!

Recently, scientific researchers discovered that there is a flavonoid called Luteolin found in abundance in celery and green peppers that impedes inflammatory response. This discovery could lead to better treatments for Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and even plain old aging.

Another recent discovery points to a compound called emulin, found in the skin of citrus fruits. It could be the next big thing in the prevention and management of diabetes as it speeds the removal of excess sugar from the bloodstream, reduces the amount of carbohydrates absorbed after meals and also reduces the amount of glucose that is manufactured by the liver.

Dark chocolate has long been touted to have health benefits. Now Mars, Inc. has funded scientists to study their own concoction, a cocoa flavanol-rich drink that is shown to “positively impact the blood vessel dysfunction associated with diabetes.” It may even help improve skin condition, age-related blood vessel dysfunction and cognitive performance as it improves vascular health.

Dang, I can just go out right now and buy celery, green peppers, citrus, and dark cocoa, incorporate them into my family’s diet and we can get these health benefits directly. All those advantages could be ours, without waiting for science to put the isolated compounds in a pill at an exorbitant cost.

So, how do you like them apples?

Death To Insects That Bite!

As I look out my back window, I see a glorious sight. Dozens of tree swallows are swooping and gliding, eating insects and perusing the newly refurbished nesting boxes located around our property. Whether you have several acres or a small plot, there’s good reason to make these birds welcome.

“What?” you may ask. “They’re cool and all, but why bother to attract them to nest?” Well, here’s a reason – mosquitoes! Here’s another one – no-see-ums! These birds will eradicate most, if not all, of these pests from around your home.

Imagine, sitting outside on a summer’s evening not covered in Deet. Leaving your windows open and waking up welt-free. Plus, they’re pretty. What more do you want?

So how do you do it? What does it take?

Not much, really. They will happily settle in an old tree cavity, so almost any nesting box will do. We’ve even picked them up at garage sales. We have 18 boxes now and they will all be used at least once this spring and summer. Often a second pair of birds will nest in the box once the first pair is finished with it.

It’s good if they are hinged, so that you can clean them out later if you want to. They need to be several yards apart; we have one or more on each side of our buildings and some in trees. Place them about 8-feet off of the ground. We like to attach tree branches or dowels so the birds have a place to perch and we can get a good look at them. Our cats enjoy looking out the window and seeing them, too!

In a short amount of time, a few weeks, you will hear little babies trilling in the nest and the parents will be feeding them like crazy. Congratulations! Your pest control brigade has just tripled in size.

Here’s to an itch-free summer.

Photo 1 (c) Boris
Photo 2 (c) TrilbyKat

Robots Will Have Your Back

I’ve always been fond of robots as far back as I can remember. Maybe it was the prepubescent exposure to Isaac Asimov. Maybe it was my fascination with mechanisms of all types. Or maybe it was because I didn’t
envision the kind of future that Fred Saberhagen proposed in his Berserker novels, but one rather more along the lines of I, Robot - the book, not the movie – please!

My dad just had robotic surgery. Ironically, I had discovered
the da Vinci Surgical System some years ago and applauded the effort and concept of it. Thanks to Robert Heinlein’s Waldo story, I was long familiar with the concept of human manipulation of objects and tissue via remote control. This surgery probably not only helped save my dad’s life and functions, it did so with minimal invasion. He was extremely lucky to have the machine available locally and to be operated on by a doctor who trains others in its operation. How cool is that?

Robots will someday enable the elderly and disabled to have and retain their independence. They will be our companions, caretakers, workers, servants, entertainment, warriors and lifesavers. They will enable us to care for the planet, explore its depths, heights and breadth and reach out for a foothold on other worlds. In the future I envision, robots will do so much more than care for our floors, act as geeky toys, or battle in an arena. They will be our helpmates, instilled with the programming and AI to do for us more than we can do for ourselves. Give me The Door Into Summer and I will gladly go through it.

All American Alley Kat

I never know what to put on those forms. You know, the ones that ask you to label your ethnic background? What to choose, what to choose? Do I go by skin color? How about by largest percentage of heritage? Do I take into account the trip to Mexico my parents took when I was little? They were stopped at the border coming back into the States and detained to make sure I was really theirs and not some orphan waif. Personally, I think we need a new form, and so I have invented this:

Please Self-Describe Your Ethnicity:

100% this ethnicity:

50% this ethnicity:
50% that ethnicity:

Approximate percentages of multiple ethnicities:

Any possible ethnicities that you have no proof for:

Any suspected ethnicities that your family won't talk about:

Ethnicities that you would like to be:

Ethnicities that you lay claim to from a past life:

Species that you lay claim to from a past life:

Note: Genetic testing for ethnic markers will in no way invalidate your self-described ethnicity and is merely for medical risk factor associations only.

Really, the only reason for these kinds of forms is for the gathering of statistical data or for identifying medical risk factors.
Someday soon it may be possible to trace every person's ancestry down to the last little detail, but for now, self-description will still have to do for most of us. In the meantime, when confronted with a form of this type, I may just have to write in a description or add the choice: All Of The Above.

Things That Make Me Go W00t (Or Not)

I’m ridiculously fond of Topix right now. It gives me news, lets me edit and I can blog there to my heart’s content. I highly recommend checking out some of the 360,000 plus categories they have.

Speaking of ridiculousness, there’s an invention coming soon to a restroom near you. It will dole out toilet paper just like those automatic paper towel holders do. Sorry, but you’ll only get 5 sheets with each wave of your hand. This company just wants a little piece of the $1 billion away-from-home toilet paper market.

Robots are always cool. They can perform surgery, clean my floors, poop out bricks of snow while clearing the streets and entertain me in so many ways. I will need a robot of my own soon.

The International Space Station is getting some Japanese food this year. Yummy. How have they managed without it?

There is a gorgeous Japanese website that has the most elaborate bento box food I have ever, ever seen. It is way too pretty to eat, but I would.

Sanrio has made some bodacious Hello Kitty products – even a sushi bar – but I’m not too sure where I stand on the Hello Kitty Urinal Target that I saw at Hello Kitty Hell. It seems wrong to pee on her, you know?

There’s this guy I discovered named Baron Bob who will sell you the most ludicrous crap in the most entertaining way. Do you doubt me? Just watch him sell you on this Singing Dancing Tequila Worm.

Here’s something to do. Determine if you are left-eyed or right-eyed. It really works and you’ll be so proud. It’s like you joined a special club.

When I want to get my cute on I go to the purveyors of the adorable, the folks at Cute Overload. There’s more fun to be had at Stuff On My Cat and of course, the LOL cats at I Can Has Cheezburger?