Tuesday, June 30, 2009

He's good enough, smart enough & dog gone it.....

The Minnesota State Supreme Court has ruled against Norm Coleman's appeal!
He's good enough, smart enough & dog gone it..... people voted for AL FRANKEN.

I've said it all along-- if the Senate needs anything, it needs a comedian.

By the way- Norm Coleman deserves the Minnesota Douche Bag of the Year Award, for dragging this out for half a year.
What a waste of time & money.

How much money?
Huff Po reports: "Republican Norm Coleman must pay Democrat Al Franken $94,783 to cover court costs for his appeal of Minnesota Senate election results.

Minnesota law required Coleman to cover some of Franken's court costs because the race's outcome didn't change. The judgment excludes Franken's attorney fees.

The men have spent $50 million so far on their campaigns and legal fight over the November election. That's more than double the cost of the 2002 race when Coleman captured what had been a Democratic seat."

Why such a fight?

"With Franken and the usual backing of two independents, Democrats will have a big enough majority to overcome Republican filibusters."

Before we put on party hats.....

Oh Crap! That means we are relying on @#%#@%# JOE LIEBERMAN (Stood @ the podium of the Republican Ntl. Convention endorsing John McCain) & Bernie Sanders.
Also the likes of turncoat Arlen Specter, who recently joined the ranks of Democrats, because he figured the GOP is the losing party at this time.

Looks like this dog & pony show will continue after all.....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

the heartbeat, the drum

They don't call them *festivals* for nothing.
The Salem Oregon World Beat Festival is an amazing event.
It does the soul good to go to a place where all cultures are embraced, honored & celebrated.
This is all that is *right* with the world.

A cart full of drums Obo Addy brought along for his drumming workshop

The Drum workshop
"I could drum all day, but they tell me we've got 5 more minutes for this workshop"

Obo Addy takes a moment in the sun for a picture w the cart of drums.

Just back from the World Beat festival.....

What better thing to do than go drum with drum master Obo Addy!
Got to sit in on a drum workshop with him.

More photos later....

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Swine Flu update

The CDC posted this weeks #'s

Last week
21,449 cases & 87 deaths

This week
27,717 cases & 127 deaths

6268 new cases in 1 weeks time & 40 additional deaths. These are confirmed stats for the US only.

This bugger is still around!

States w highest fatality rates:
New York- 35
California- 16
Illinois- 12
Texas- 10
Utah- 10

Most # of cases~
Wisconsin 4273 (4 deaths)
Texas 2891
Illinois 2875
New York 2272
California 1492

Scroll down to listen to some music!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Celebrity Death Fixation!

ABC is working on a new show in the Fall called *Celebrity Death Fixation*.
No more worries about the airwaves only being flooded for a day or two with old dredged up footage of the now deceased stars file archives!

Highlights include:

• Old footage of Barbara Walters interviews
• Recaps of hard times & controversies in their lives (no rest for celebrities).
• Up to the minute autopsy reports
• CD's & DVD's can be purchased for a 20% discount for obsessed fans
• Vague comments by Network Medical consultants
• Brief references of criminal behavior, overshadowed by Sequined garb & glitz

• Tearjerking glimpses of stupid things Celebs did in the past
• Unrelenting on the street mourning scenes, where dedicated fans show their love, by selling t shirts & stuff.
• Commentary by the venerable Reverend Al Sharpton

Thursday, June 25, 2009

techno wonderland & sexy scandals

Yea baby.... for those who gotta have the latest/greatest.
It does seem weird the new iphone has a compass-- is the GPS feature that unreliable?
If the GPS is not working, neither would the compass..... right?


Speaking of compasses..... maybe the GOP should get iphones-- maybe the compass feature can help them find their *moral compass*. Either that or they voted to have an elicit affair of the week outing as a planned/ regular event?

SC Guv Sanford leaves the country , wife & 4 kids on Father's day weekend no less, to get it on with his mistress Maria.
Yes, he wins for creating a memorable Father's day for his family, they will NEVER forget.

As a congressman, Sanford voted in favor of three of four articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton, citing the need for “moral legitimacy.”

A big Boo Hoo to Sanford.....

His self proclaimed “The odyssey that we’re all on in life is with regard to heart.”

Yeaaaa right! Guvnah Sanford was thinking with his *heart*.

Sanford is so busted-- he was exploring mountains & valleys alright.... but they had nothing to do the Appalachian Trail.
You can kiss your career goodbye dude. Now you'll have all the time in the world to take that hike you were thinking about.
Just be careful... that moral high ground is surrounded by slippery slopes.

I checked out Sanford's voting record (a new habit I am forming!) apparently Sanford does not just screw Maria in Argentina!

Veterans Affairs appropriations bill - NO
Minimum wage increase- NO
Comprehensive Wetlands Conservation & Management Act- NO
Flag Desecration Constitutional Amendment-YES
English as the National Language- YES
Here is the icing on the cake:
Display of the Ten Commandments- YES

Ok Sanford----

VI. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house;
nor his field, nor his servant, nor his maid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any of his cattle,
nor whatever belongs to thy neighbour.

I don't know if Argentina Maria is somebody's wife, maid, or just "ass", but I'm pretty sure you crossed the line here a couple of times.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Psycho squirrel

We usually think of squirrels are bushy tailed critters that live in our neighborhoods, as nut gathering neighbors that frolic by our homes, we peacefully coexist. Like the critter pictured to the left.

Yesterday morning, however, a trio of frisky, perhaps hyper squirrels came scampering through my yard. As I sat at the table eating breakfast toast, the biggest of the three spotted me- and charged towards me, running. Me and or my breakfast were not safe! But what the psycho squirrel did not know, was there was a sliding glass door between us. That sucker charged at top speed & smacked right into the glass! Oh if only I had film footage of this incident.

It's squirrel face was pushed right up to the glass & kind of distorted it's face. As it bounced off the glass it kind of shook it's head, and then scampered away. A few minutes later, the smaller squirrel did the same thing, as I heard another loud bang at the door.

Often in the morning we open the door & run a fan to let in cool fresh air in the summer.
I gave the husband the warning about the psycho squirrels-- to be careful not to let in fresh squirrels in the morning!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Socialized Medicine ~ and other horrors

As Congress plays out their discussions of Health care reform, they are "shocked, shocked" by what the costs will be.
Self admitted "hothead", RNC spokeslunatic Michael Steele says the claims by the democrats are all lies.
Maybe he thought the GOP had sole rights in the lying department?
No one ever seems to be shocked when hundreds of billions bail out greedy Wall Street tycoons, or even the Auto industry, when they shot themselves in the foot by dragging their knuckles when it came to fuel efficiency & alternative options.
They got a stern lecture about private jets.... but they also got hefty bailout money.

Congress wields the APPROVED stamp for war funds (check out the side bar & watch those cost of war numbers spin).... careful though, it might make you dizzy!!!

Bottom line, all that money would have been a tidy sum in which to fund healthcare.
Congress are like the Zombies in this sci-fi horror movie, giving out money to every other entity, but health care for the masses, is just too much.

Cue blood curdling scream.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Song of Hope

Dixie Chicks ~ The song & video say it all....

Lots of dark & destructive things going on in the world these days.
The kids are watchings us, trusting us.

See if you can find some hope today.
Take the time to smell the scent of a rose.
Do something healing.
Send love to your, and other nurturing Dads of the world.
Sometimes we have to look harder, and reach deeper to find hope, and light- but it's there.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Public Service Announcement

The CDC posted this weeks #'s

Last week
17,855 cases & 44 deaths

This week
21,449 cases & 87 deaths

3594 new cases in 1 weeks time & 43 additional deaths. These are confirmed stats for the US only.

Seems like the Swine Flu has faded from the news lately, but the fatality rates are up.

Keep up that heightened germ consciousness!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fly Above

Blue Herons love the river trail
They draw us near to see
Beautiful wings fly above
What we call humanity

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

moving forward

We are trying to pick up the pieces & get our lives on a better path (read the following post for that to make sense).
I found compassion today, realizing there are troubled kids out there with difficult lives.
At risk youth can easily wind up with the wrong "gang" of people, trying to find connectivity or family in the least likely place to find it. Just sad, really.

As the song says... I'd love to change the world.....

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Seething mad

I learned today that my 20 year old son was assaulted on the river trail this morning.  He was riding his bike home (yes at a ridiculous hour, and yes I had told him it was not street smart to ride the remote forested trial in the dark because it is secluded). He is an adult and he made this choice. 
This is a city paved trail that has parks & benches along the way the more metro part has lights, but at some point it changes to the periphery & is on the outskirts of town- still paved, but not lit & more forested. He was riding & called out to a group of pedestrians spread out, blocking the trail,  *passing on your left*, trail etiquette heads up for pedestrians to kindly move over. Well, that is the way it works in daytime hours anyway. But at 4 am, when no one else is around, the pedestrians might just opt to knock you off your bike & rough you up a bit. Rough enough to crack your bike helmet. Rough enough to split your lip. Rough enough to cause extreme swelling over his eye. Rough as in kicking a person and punching them while down on the ground.
After he got back on his bike, they chased him further until they got to the street by the railroad. 
He must have been on some kind of adrenaline dazed rush, his bike did not clear the curb & he was literally between 2 sets of train tracks getting his ribs kicked, face punched. Six guys basically beating the crap out of him. 

They did not take his brand new bike he just got for cross country riding. 
They did not take his wallet or money. 

But as fate would have it, at some point an SUV drove by, saw the assault & called 911. 
The Police arrived while the crime was in progress, and arrested 2 people. The others scattered. But the SUV people were able to identify a 3rd suspect. 

He later told me one of them had a gun. Both the SUV people and my son observed a gun. 

This is a worst nightmare scenario. 

He said 6 of the 7 were wearing red hoodies.  Is it a Gang?
Was he on their turf?

My son himself said...... "I could have died". 

He's right, and I am seething mad.  Waiting to hear back from the Officer who responded (looks like 5 did & maybe a K9 unit ???). We've lived in this town for 25 years without incident. 
But my friend said if you read the police incident reports, "you'd never go out."

He's OK, and perhaps wiser, but thankfully, alive & on the mend.
And a huge heartfelt THANK YOU to those Good Samaritan people, who had the compassion to call the Police. The police report states they wish to remain anonymous, but the truth is they may have saved a life- my son's life. It was a simple thing to do-- just call to have Officers check it out, it probably only took a minute or two. I am so appreciative that they saw something was wrong/bad and took action.  I want to encourage us all to do the same. If your gut tells you something is wrong, or obviously some crime or crisis is taking place- there is no harm in making the call. You may save a life, and can choose to be an anonymous hero.... but Heros for sure!!! Thank you anonymous callers for your true humanity that caused you to take action. 

What kind of world do we live in where people just randomly beat others for sport?

Compassionate Conservative

George H.W. Bush-- aka old man Bush, Bush 41--  celebrated his 85th birthday by doing a skydive with the elite Army Golden Knights. (Did WE pay for that???)

The old coot actually said this:

"Just because you're an old guy, you don't have to sit around drooling in the corner."

We don't have to "Read his lips" to get the gist of his comment. 
Bush has no compassion for those who have suffered with debilitating disease, stroke victims or the very elderly who are not as fortunate as he is to have good health. 

The guy who promoted the "thousand points of light" theme, sure is one dim bulb!

Doh! I stumbled on this picture.... apparently Bush 41 is doing some sitting around & drooling
himself. Check out those socks!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sharpening the Sword

The "summer of hell" began as 10,000 Marines arrived in southern Afghanistan, in the past six weeks. The first wave of 21,000 troops is filtering in. An Army brigade of 7,000 soldiers will follow, along with 4,000 forces to "train Afghan security forces."
Allegedly Iraq is supposed to phase out by 2012, the military "envisions a long term presence in Afghanistan." News flash! We've already spent 8 years in Afghanistan. One soldier described getting Camp Leatherneck built and functional, preparing for the mission as "sharpening the sword."

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Right out of the bible, no less-- 

'Those who live by the sword die by the sword'

I've read some comments about them planning on having "boots on the ground" for another 10 years. 

Here come the updates on the Afghanistan Surge front (aka the Summer of Hell)

06/11/09 AP: Petraeus - Afghan violence at peak level last week

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Clinic shutting down

I was saddened to read today that the clinic of the slain abortion Doctor's clinic will close. 

"Dr. George Tiller's family said relatives had chosen to honor him with charitable activities instead of reopening the clinic."
"We are proud of the service and courage shown by our husband and father and know that women's health care needs have been met because of his dedication and service."

They did not elaborate on their reasoning to close. 

Operation Rescue- the rabid anti-choice group, considers this a kind of "mission accomplished"...they have wanted to shut down the clinic. 

Publicly they say it is "bittersweet", that they want to see abortion clinics closed through peaceful, legal nonviolent means. 

I can understand that the staff was probably rattled to the core. The building was once bombed, the Doctor shot in both arms and then later, killed at point blank range, at his church. Clearly, Operation Rescue's headquarters in close proximity- almost set up to target this particular location would give anyone ample reason to not want to continue at that location. 

No one can accuse them of not giving their best effort, and undaunted courage to continue to provide Women's specialized health care. 
 They need to do whatever they must to find closure, and heal. 

Indeed, the good Doctor has given his life for the cause. 

I just hope closing the clinic does not encourage those who embrace terrorism, to think this is the way to achieve their goal. 

The terrorists have not won, they lost a Doctor who  helped save Women's lives in a very difficult & personal health decision. 
In fact, maybe these terrorists, hell bent on preventing late term abortion, often done to save the life of the Mother or terminate the pregnancy of a very sick, or compromised fetus will actually be an accomplice to the crime of not having a Doctor to help save Mother's lives, and cause more deaths. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

CDC Slacks on Reporting Updates

The CDC Web Site had been doing daily updates of the Swine Flu, they then changed to 3 X a week, and have now taken it down a notch-- the site says it will post updates once a week, on Fridays.

I was checking the site because the State I live in, Oregon, had it's first Swine flu death this week.

To date:

13,217 have had Swine flu (confirmed cases)
28 have died, although the updated number won't show up at The Center for Disease Control's Website for a few more DAYS?

I still don't understand while people are dying from the disease we don't continue to post daily updates? This IS the information age, right????

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Censored & Denied


All personal computers sold in China are required to be installed with software that blocks access to Web Sites that parents and the Government deem off limits.

What's to stop anyone from creating new web sites with names like * I Love the Chinese Government* or *Censorship is a beautiful thing*???

We need a cyber Tank Man!

Think oppression and lack of civil rights are just happening in China?

Right here in the alleged "Land of the Free"- The Supreme Court refused to hear a legal challenge to the Don't ask, don't tell (DADT) policy.

This allows the Obama administration to continue to allow the military to dismiss gay & lesbian soldiers.

The Senate Armed Services Committee says the law is "not a high priority".

Not a high priority UNLESS you happen to be a Gay American Citizen who is trying to serve their country, and are denied equal rights.

I can't believe the Supreme Court would not even hear the case. So it is in Obama's hands as Commander in Chief to make this right. He can order this practice to be stopped.

Gay parenting

I read a heartwarming story about a gay couple, men who adopted an infant that had been abandoned.  The couple have been nurturing and excellent parents. 
Authorities involved in the case said "sex and coupling in our world don't always have something to do with reproduction."

Did I mention the couple are gay male penguins???

The RG reports: They live in Germany, in the Berlin zoo. The couple are one of three same-sex pairs among the zoo's 20 Humboldt penguins. 

They are raising a chick from an egg abandoned by it's parents!
The males incubated it for 30 days before it hatched & have continued to care for it. 

Clearly, we humans can learn something from the Animal kingdom!

Monday, June 8, 2009


The concept for World Oceans Day was proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and it had been unofficially celebrated every year since then. Official designation by the U.N. is a significant step in conserving and protecting our world's ocean. 

World Oceans Day provides an opportunity each year to celebrate our world ocean and our personal connection to the sea. The Ocean Project, working closely with the World Ocean Network each year, helps to coordinate events and activities with aquariums, zoos, museums, conservation organizations, universities, schools, businesses. 

As of 2009, "World Oceans Day" has been officially declared by the United Nations as June 8th each year! Congratulations to all for helping make this happen!

Why Should I Celebrate World Oceans Day?

The world's ocean:
 Generates most of the oxygen we breathe

 Helps feed us

 Regulates our climate

 Cleans the water we drink

 Offers us a pharmacopoeia of potential medicines

 Provides limitless inspiration!

Yet for too long, human society has taken the world's ocean for granted.

Now we can give back! Take part in World Oceans Day events and activities this year and help protect our ocean for the future!

It's up to each one of us to help ensure that our ocean is protected and conserved for future generations. World Oceans Day allows us to:

Change perspective - encourage individuals to think about what the ocean means to them and what it has to offer all of us with hopes of conserving it for present and the future generations.

Learn - discover the wealth of diverse and beautiful ocean creatures and habitats, how our daily actions affect them, and how we are all interconnected.

Change our ways - we are all connected to the ocean! By taking care of your backyard, you are acting as a caretaker of our ocean. Making small modifications to your everyday habits will greatly benefit our blue planet.

Celebrate - whether you live inland or on the coast we are all connected to the ocean; take the time to think about how the ocean affects you, and how you affect the ocean, and then organize or participate in activities that celebrate our world ocean.

~ From The Ocean Project

Maybe if we all spent more time at the Ocean, our lives would have a lot less commotion?
But the Ocean is a habitat~ 
Bill Olivers Habitat Song Lyrics:

The ocean is a habitat, a very special habitat
It’s where the deepest water’s at
It’s where the biggest mammal’s at
It’s where out future food is at
It keeps the atmosphere intact
The ocean is a habitat we depend on! 

And now, some international words from our sponsor (the planet!)

Caring for the Blue Planet, you can make a difference!

Pour l’avenir de la Planète bleue, chacun de nos gestes compte !

Para el futuro del planeta azul, cada gesto cuenta!

Elk individueel gebaar speelt een rol in de toekomst van de blauwe planeet!

Auch Du kannst etwas für unseren Blauen Planeten tun!

Preocupe-se com o planeta azul, você pode fazer a diferença!

Tutti i nostri piccoli gesti sono importanti per il future del Pianeta blu!

Dla przyszłości błękitnej planety liczy się każdy, choćby najmniejszy gest!

 Для Счастливого будущего голубой планеты, важно каждый изнаших действий!

Film Trailer


Oceans cover over 70% of the Earth’s surface.
The oceans contain 97% of our planet's available water.

Besides being an amazing natural resource, Ocean waters are healing and beautiful places to have this watery worldwide connection.

The ocean puts you in your place.... yes you really are a tiny dot on the planet.

But like the way land mass has been exploited, the way we have managed our interrelationship with Oceans has been careless. We are there to use, profit from, and abuse it. Pollution & shoddy fishing practices have pushed this magical ecosystem to it's limits.
Be it oil spills, sewage dumps, or commercial applications like fishing, we've not been nice or wise about how we care for 70% of the planet.

It's never too late to change.
It took the United Nations 16 years to come onboard in officially recognizing World Ocean's Day.

Maybe there is hope for us yet....

Sunday, June 7, 2009

R.I.P. Koko Taylor

From the Official Koko Taylor website:

from Alligator Records

Grammy Award-winning blues legend Koko Taylor, 80, died on June 3, 2009 in her hometown of Chicago, IL, as a result of complications following her May 19 surgery to correct a gastrointestinal bleed. On May 7, 2009, the critically acclaimed Taylor, known worldwide as the “Queen of the Blues,” won her 29th Blues Music Award (for Traditional Female Blues Artist Of The Year), making her the recipient of more Blues Music Awards than any other artist. In 2004 she received the NEA National Heritage Fellowship Award, which is among the highest honors given to an American artist. Her most recent CD, 2007’s Old School, was nominated for a Grammy (eight of her nine Alligator albums were Grammy-nominated). She won a Grammy in 1984 for her guest appearance on the compilation album Blues Explosion on Atlantic.

Born Cora Walton on a sharecropper’s farm just outside Memphis, TN, on September 28, 1928, Koko, nicknamed for her love of chocolate, fell in love with music at an early age. Inspired by gospel music and WDIA blues disc jockeys B.B. King and Rufus Thomas, Taylor began belting the blues with her five brothers and sisters, accompanying themselves on their homemade instruments. In 1952, Taylor and her soon-to-be-husband, the late Robert “Pops” Taylor, traveled to Chicago with nothing but, in Koko’s words, “thirty-five cents and a box of Ritz Crackers.”

In Chicago, “Pops” worked for a packing company, and Koko cleaned houses. Together they frequented the city’s blues clubs nightly. Encouraged by her husband, Koko began to sit in with the city’s top blues bands, and soon she was in demand as a guest artist. One evening in 1962 Koko was approached by arranger/composer Willie Dixon. Overwhelmed by Koko’s performance, Dixon landed Koko a Chess Records recording contract, where he produced her several singles, two albums and penned her million-selling 1965 hit “Wang Dang Doodle,” which would become Taylor’s signature song.

After Chess Records was sold, Taylor found a home with the Chicago’s Alligator Records in 1975 and released the Grammy-nominated I Got What It Takes. She recorded eight more albums for Alligator between 1978 and 2007, received seven more Grammy nominations and made numerous guest appearances on various albums and tribute recordings. Koko appeared in the films Wild At Heart, Mercury Rising and Blues Brothers 2000. She performed on Late Night With David Letterman, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, CBS-TV’s This Morning, National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, CBS-TV’s Early Edition, and numerous regional television programs.

Over the course of her 40-plus-year career, Taylor received every award the blues world has to offer. On March 3, 1993, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley honored Taylor with a “Legend Of The Year” Award and declared “Koko Taylor Day” throughout Chicago. In 1997, she was inducted into the Blues Foundation’s Hall of Fame. A year later, Chicago Magazine named her “Chicagoan Of The Year” and, in 1999, Taylor received the Blues Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2009 Taylor performed in Washington, D.C. at The Kennedy Center Honors honoring Morgan Freeman.

Koko Taylor was one of very few women who found success in the male-dominated blues world. She took her music from the tiny clubs of Chicago’s South Side to concert halls and major festivals all over the world. She shared stages with every major blues star, including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Junior Wells and Buddy Guy as well as rock icons Robert Plant and Jimmy Page.

Taylor’s final performance was on May 7, 2009 in Memphis at the Blues Music Awards, where she sang “Wang Dang Doodle” after receiving her award for Traditional Blues Female Artist Of The Year.

Survivors include Taylor’s husband Hays Harris, daughter Joyce Threatt, son-in-law Lee Threatt, grandchildren Lee, Jr. and Wendy, and three great-grandchildren.

Koko Taylor is the great female blues singer of her generation. Raw vocal power and blustery swagger.”
– Rolling Stone

Koko Taylor is a national treasure…she packs firepower a lot of youngsters only wish they had. 
– Chicago Tribune

Koko Taylor is the blues…a growling goddess of down-and-dirty. Sheer, unstoppable shouting power, full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes. There are many kings of the blues but only one queen. Koko’s voice is capable of pinning a listener to the back wall.
– Boston Globe

Raucous, gritty, good-time blues…Taylor belts out blues in a gravel voice with ferocious intensity. Foot-stomping music that’ rough, raw and wonderfully upbeat.
-- People

Chicago’s best blues singer…she has fire in her lungs.
--Chicago Sun-Times

True blue to the blues, thank you Dear Sweet Lady

Rest in Peace

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Crazy news

These can only be real stories-- you can't make this stuff up!

The Oregon Ntl Guard Armory in Coos Bay is undergoing a $1 million dollar refurbishing, using State & Federal Stimulus money. 

Due to State revenue shortfalls,  they are looking at cutting $4.7 million to Oregon Guard funding- possibly closing 4 armories. 
The newly refurbished building may be closed or sold. 

Toymaker Mattel aka Fisher Price will pay a $2.3 million dollar civil penalty for selling toys with excessive lead. Will the toxic toys become a collector's item??

A local gas station has been slapped with a lawsuit for trademark infringement. 
The company owned the station for 42 years-- and used to be a Texaco franchise, but mergers & purchases flipped the ownership from Shell to Chevron. 
The company got rid of the Texaco Star logo, changed Texaco red to Brentwood Orange & changed to HP - Higgins Petroleum. 
The corporation thinks the logo is too Texaco-y, and filed the lawsuit. 
Apparently Texaco's trademark rights include a red & black canopy & gray poles. 

"How do you own a color" asked the independent station owner?
"Texaco can't own red!"

The owner said since being unbranded, he was able to add biodiesel fuel & sales went up 10 to 15%.
 Let's hope HP Hewlett Packard, and British Petrol giant BP do not get lawsuit happy as well. 

Although the name *JUST A FRIGGING GAS STATION* has a unique ring to it. 

That's enough crazy for today!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Frozen, Green & Magic ~ Friday Mashup

You're lucky to have a job! 
That is the buzzword for the workplace these days.  It is true, there are lots of people out of work, health insurance, and facing foreclosure or homelessness, if not, struggling with chronic poverty. As job searches and hundreds of resumes, interviews, etc, don't yield gainful or similar wages, people begin to lower standards to a more desperate level- a "take anything you can get" approach. Times are hard, and it's rough out there. 

Just like how Real Estate markets fluctuate between "Buyers" & "Sellers" markets, when circumstances favor one or the other, a really bad economic turn creates an "Employer's Market"- where the employer knows these are hard times, jobs are scarce, they can get away with exploitive pay, pay freezes, and unrealistic workload expectations- because- You're lucky to have a job!

Things are looking up!

Yes-- things are looking up. Just the other day we got a notice of a 24% water rate increase. 
The Mortgage payment went up. The Insurance rate went up. Gas prices are up. Medical co-pays are up & so are out of pocket costs.  Hell even the garbage rate is up!
My wage, however is frozen. Solid.

It's a real struggle to be so lucky these days. 
An update on Mr. Ramblings

Many of you have endured listening to the saga of Mr. Ramblings workplace laying off 2,200 employees with promises of a return date pushed back repeatedly. They finally announced all were terminated, filed for bankruptcy,  then pulled the rug on health insurance. 
It's been about 6 months now. The company was sold, and the new owner took possession this week.  Mr. Ramblings has been called back to work~ starting today. No solid information about anything yet, other than they are starting up slowly. 
 I did come across this article about a project the new company is working on:

Treehugger reports:

US DOE has selected the firm for a "cost-shared award of up to $10 million--half of the total projected cost. As part of the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Technology Acceleration and Deployment Activity program, Navistar will develop and deploy 60 plug-in electric hybrid buses to fleets across the nation during a multi-year program.

Navistar's IC Bus is the only bus manufacturer that currently offers a plug-in hybrid school bus. In the proposed project, Navistar will work to further develop the plug-in hybrid bus into a vehicle capable of all-electric drive for extended periods. This proposed vehicle will have engine-off driving capability, saving fuel and reducing emissions while traveling on electricity only.

We remain cautiously optimistic, while sighing a huge sigh of relief. 

Very cool to be on the front end of green technology for big rigs. Yay!

The Who~ Magic Bus

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Long Time Gone

Long Time Gone

Woodstock! 40 year anniversary this year.
More to come, looking back at that far out concert scene.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Terrorism in America

Dr. George Tiller, the Medical Director of Women's Health Care Services in Wichita, Kansas, was shot and killed as he entered his church to worship. His wife, Jeanne, was sitting in the choir as her husband was killed. In 1993, Tiller had been shot in both arms by an anti-abortion zealot, Rachel Shannon More, and in 1985, his clinic was bombed.

Dr. Tiller, a former member of the United States Navy, a husband, and a father of four children, was one of the few doctors in the nation who would provide legal and safe late term abortions to women facing "serious or lethal health problems."

Karl Chisholm references John McCain:

"But let's be clear about something: if you're going to repeatedly say that a doctor performing a legal medical procedure is committing "murder" and engaging in a "holocaust", then you shouldn't be surprised when one of your more motivated supporters actually does something about it. After all, if you're convinced that someone is committing "mass murder", then killing him is a perfectly logical thing to do.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Dr. Tiller was first shot back in 1993 - shortly after Bill Clinton was elected president; and again, in 2009, shortly after Barack Obama was elected president. It's after Democrats get elected that the right-wing rhetoric ramps up to insane levels.

It's not enough to denounce the assassination. It's time for anti-abortion activists and other conservative leaders to renounce the use of rhetoric that incites terrorism and violence."

Carla Axtman:

"This was a man who was treating patients in dire need of help. His cold-blooded murder for what looks like political and religious reasons is revolting. The justifications for his murder by the repugnant Randall Terry and the swill that is Free Republic are a stark reminder that the Americanized version of the Taliban are alive and well.

Dr Tiller is a hero and a martyr and should be remembered as such. His murder should galvanize Americans further against the hate-filled, fear-mongering fringe that treat women and choice with visceral disdain."
According to Wiki:
Tiller was shot in the head at point blank range; he was wearing a flak jacket, as he had been since 1998, when the FBI told him he was No 1 on the hit list of violent anti-abortionists. After threatening two others who tried to prevent his departure, the gunman fled in a car. 

After the shooting, Tiller's clinic, Women's Health Care Services, closed for the week to mourn his death. It will reopen on June 8, according to Tiller's colleague, Dr. LeRoy Carhart of Nebraska, who said, "What people need to know is... the women's services that we provided for 30 years are not going to change."

That was good to hear. Women's Health Care Services will continue to provide specialized health care to those who need it.  

In closing, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement saying, "The murder of Doctor George Tiller is an abhorrent act of violence.... Federal law enforcement is coordinating with local law enforcement officials in Kansas on the investigation of this crime, and I have directed the United States Marshals Service to offer protection to other appropriate people and facilities around the nation."

Otherwise, the terrorists would have won. 

The Art of Tea

I love Coffee & I love Tea. Over the years I have sampled all different kinds of both. Recently I have had the opportunity to sample the most amazing tea ever ~the good stuff

"Puer, what is that?"

"Puer is its own category of tea..."
Pu-erh, Pu'er tea, Puer tea or Bolay tea is a type of tea made from a "large leaf" variety of the tea plant Camellia sinensis and named after Pu'er county near Simao, Yunnan, China. Also grown in Taiwan.

Pu-erh tea can be purchased as either raw/green (sheng) or ripened/cooked (shou), depending on processing method or aging. Sheng pu-erh can be roughly classified on the tea oxidation scale as a green tea, and the shou or aged-green variants as post-fermented tea. The fact that pu-erh fits in more than one tea type poses some problems for classification. For this reason, the "green tea" aspect of pu-erh is sometimes ignored, and the tea is regarded solely as a post-fermented product. Unlike other teas that should ideally be consumed shortly after production, pu-erh can be drunk immediately or aged for many years; pu-erh teas are often now classified by year and region of production much like wine vintages.
While there are many counterfeit pu-erhs on the market and real aged pu-erh is difficult to find and identify, it is still possible to find pu-erh that is 10 to 50 years old, as well as a few from the late Qing dynasty. Indeed, tea connoisseurs and speculators are willing to pay high prices for older pu-erh, upwards of thousands of dollars per cake. (wiki)

Please note I am not a snob, and I sure don't have thousands of dollars to shell out for high grade sippin' tea.
A local vendor imports and sells these teas, and also sells tiny pouches of these rare teas. I was able to access it because of those samplers. It's hard to describe, but truthfully, this ain't no Lipton Tea. Although I have enjoyed a strong Chai with spices & cream, this tea needs no extras, it's pure flavor is meant to be enjoyed straight up. It brews up fairly light colored, but has it's own unique flavor, to be enjoyed traditional style - all by itself.

While unaged and unprocessed raw pu-erh is technically a type of green tea, ripened or aged raw pu-erh has occasionally been mistakenly categorised as a subcategory of black tea due to the dark red colour of its leaves and liquor. However, pu-erh in both its ripened or aged forms has undergone secondary oxidization and fermentation caused both by organisms growing in the tea as well as from free-radical oxidation, thus making it a unique type of tea.


This really is a rare & unique tea, and part of what makes it so is how it is handled after it is harvested. I recently saw a film about a "Tea Guru" who traveled to the region and met the farmers, sampled the tea, watched the post harvest process.
This is hand done, as many of these teas really do grow on tiered mountainsides at specific elevations. The handpicked teas are harvested, dried and then taken to a special fire/kiln area with giant woks where a "tea master" gently tosses and moves the tea in the wok, for a special temperature treatment. They are then pressed into disks or different shape, & dried in special humidity controlled zones, so they can then ferment properly.

There is nothing commercial about this. All elements are done with a first hand learning, passed on through the generations.
The purer "cakes" can be packed as fermented and sold "raw", but the most coveted is the vintage, fermented style.
Click here to read more about this tea, and see some of the different shapes the cakes are made in.


Well sure, if this rare and wonderful tea comes your way, you might as well take it up a notch. I had scored a wonderful cast iron Tetsubin teapot. It has a stainless steel basket, and you first infuse the pot w hot water to get it heated and charged, then infuse the tea. With this tea, a little goes a long way. Although I heard a connoisseur say in China, they use a lot of tea, and a little water. But because this stuff is spendy I use it sparingly, with wonderful results.

One of the keys to this delicacy is to not overdo the brew time! Officianados go berzerk if you let the tea steep for more than 3 minutes. Another little trick is you can get a few infusions out of it if you don't oversteep it.
Steeping times last from 12-30 seconds in the first few infusions, up to 2-10 minutes in the last infusions. The prolonged steeping techniques used by some western tea makers can produce dark, bitter, and unpleasant brews. Quality aged pu-erh can yield many more infusions, with different flavour nuances when brewed in the traditional Gong-Fu method.
I have learned to set a timer to remind me to remove the infusion basket.

So here is the first step into this sampling.... taking the lid off the teapot (water should be *superhot* .... is the fragrance.
Oh -- it is sweet & floralish, but not overly perfume-y (I don't write tea reviews for my day job, OK?)
Anyway, without waxing too poetic here, the bouquet of flavor, and tea like I've never tasted before is smooth & delightful. If you have the opportunity to sample some, and that's your *cup of tea* per se, go for it.


Drinking pu-erh tea is purported to reduce blood cholesterol. This belief has been backed up by scientific studies not only demonstrating experimental results of lowered LDL cholesterol in rats, but discovering specific mechanisms through which chemicals in Pu-erh tea inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol. Pu-erh tea has been shown to have antimutagenic and antimicrobial properties as well. So! You can avoid becoming a mutant & spar with microbial thingies while you enjoy your lovely tea!

Let me not neglect to mention that other perk-- this is a caffeinated tea, so you get a bit of a buzz.

Just for fun, I'm including a Caffeine Buzz comparison chart:

Espresso, 1-oz shot 40 mg
Coca-Cola, 20-oz bottle 57 mg
Red Bull energy drink, 8.3-oz can 80 mg
Brewed coffee, 12-oz cup 200 mg
Mountain Dew, 64-oz Double Big Gulp 294 mg
Purer Brewed tea, 8-oz cup 50 mg


The local vendor travels to China & Taiwan to purchase tea. J- Tea is my local source & yes you can order a small sample of this sought after tea.  (I have no affiliation or ties to this tea merchant, I have only sampled the rare teas he has brought here to enjoy.)

In closing, I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy this rare tea. It is like none other I have ever experienced.

Zen meditation