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Apr. 25th, 2013

cougar face

(no subject)

This post is of no interest whatsoever. It is in response to LiveJournal's notification that I haven't used my account in forever and if I don't speak up, they'll purge it.

I use it to read other people's journals, mostly Ursula Vernon's. So there.

If anybody reads this, here's something that happened to me on 24 Nov 2012. I was out delivering papers at night, as I do, within the city limits of Montrose, CO, and I saw a MOUNTAIN LION! Is that cool or what?!

Nov. 18th, 2009


A Leonid

As you all remember, I run a paper route at night. Last night, having been reminded that it was time for the Leonid meteor shower, I actually stood around a bit on the very darkest point of the route and waited for a meteorite [or whatever they're properly called]. It was a cold, clear night and there were lots of stars visible and a very nice chunk of the Milky Way. But there were no celestial fireworks. Okay. I've seen lots in my time, including one in broad daylight. So okay.

Tonight on my paper route in one of the subdivisions, I saw the most impressively bright and dramatic meteorite I have ever seen. It was white and then it glowed bright green as it got closer to the ground and then the glow turned orange and then it was gone. It may well have hit somewhere relatively* nearby. Wow!

Now I know what I will do when the world ends. I'll stand [or, if driving, as I was tonight, sit] there with my mouth open in awe.

* within 50 miles or so. I'll see if it makes the paper.

Jul. 28th, 2009

manatee from top

dentistry and Transformers and intelligent design

Today I had a crown prep.  That is to say, my dentist did horrible [but generally not painful] things to a tooth well in the back that has had a root canal [sometime in the forgotten past], but has decayed.  In three weeks, he'll put in a crown.

My dentist has various kewl things in his office, including these screen jobbies on arms on which you can view your x-rays while someone points out exactly what the problem is or, alternatively, DVDs while you're waiting for the xylocaine to kick in or whatever.  So they had Transformers in the DVD player.  I would never have intentionally watched it.  But now I'm going to have to rent it, because I didn't get to see it all and because I'm not entirely sure of what was going on in the parts where my view was blocked either by the dentist or the tech.  And because I was mildly amused.

But the question is:

Why would living 'bots from outer space choose bipedal locomotion?  It's not a particularly stable design. 

So I was fussing in a mildly stunned way to the woman who collects the money afterwards [the stunned part was a result of having horrible things done to my mouth and, possibly, the new anti-depressant I'm on] and remarking that vertebrates are set up the same way with bilateral symmetry and four limbs and all, but that's no reason for 'bots from outer space to be and I said, as an explanatory aside, that I believed in evolution.  She's a very nice person and quite good at interpersonal relations, but it turns out that she believes in intelligent design.  [We agreed to disagree.  In this part of the world -- maybe everywhere -- quite a few people turn out to think evolution didn't happen.]

I realized later that I'm not exactly sure what that means.  I don't _think_ it means believing that God built each creature from scratch, which I know the Biblical literalists [like my tame Jehovah's Witnesses] believe.  But if it does, and definitely for the literalists, why believe that God could only come up with one basic vertebrate body design?  What poverty of imagination for an all-powerful deity!

And, if you were going to make a large animal that lived on bamboo, would you start out with a bear?  Seriously.

Mar. 31st, 2009

eagle owl

meme sheep

Okay.  Here's my list.

Bold means I read it.  Italics mean I started but didn't finish.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling [all but the last one. I just couldn’t hack it any more. Lots of people write better books for young people about magic.]
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare [Not including The Two Noble Kinsmen, which wasn’t a work of Shakespeare when I read them.  So to speak.]
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy [more than once.  I like it.]
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown [I am totally ashamed of having done this.  The only reason I did it was that I thought it might make Thud by Terry Pratchett more enjoyable, but it isn't really necessary.]
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Apparently that's 54.  I suppose I ought to read some Thomas Hardy.  Just so I can say I have.

I'd love to know where the Beeb got this list, and what it's supposed to mean.

Nov. 5th, 2008

tiger shaking head

Hoo yah!

Not all the results of the election nationally are pleasing to me, but:


On another paw, Carl Levin was elected to the Senate for the first time without my vote. Well, that's what happens when you move out of Michigan.

I believe I will join Kenya and celebrate Thursday as a holiday.

Nov. 4th, 2008

clinging rodent


The rule is this:

If you're eligible to vote in the election in the USofA today and you don't, you may not complain for four years about anything that happens.

So get out there and vote, if you haven't already.

[Colorado has early voting _and_ no-questions-asked-absentee-voting. I turned my absentee ballot in last Friday. In past elections, I did the early voting thing, but there were so many amendments this year, I couldn't face voting anywhere but curled up in bed undisturbed.]

Sep. 29th, 2008

great gray owl

Ursula Vernon's live journal

I'm a big fan of Ursula Vernon, who does the webcomic _Digger_, lots of art, a couple of books, and has an LJ I really enjoy. You, too, can share in the bliss by clicking ursulav.

In her most recent entry, she talks about having played the Presidential Debate Drinking Game, which involves:

- drink whenever anyone says "golden parachute"

- drink whenever someone says something about Wall St. vs Main St.

- drink whenever somebody challenges the other person's facts

- drink whenever McCain mentions he was a POW

Needless to say, they got completely hammered.

I would add

- drink whenever McCain alludes to Obama being inexperienced.

Pundit Kitchen had a nice entry for that:

Sep. 28th, 2008

great gray owl

proposed Amendment 48 to the CO state constitution

For anyone who might find themselves reading this and is not already aware of the fact: I am a liberal. Actually it's quite a bit worse than merely being a liberal, so you have been warned.

The state sport in Colorado is amending the state constitution. I'm not sure why people can't just pass laws -- well, I do understand it, really: this way everybody actually gets to vote on things instead of leaving it up to their duly elected representatives, who apparently can't be relied upon to do the right thing. And yet they keep on electing representatives. Oh, well. Anyway, my source of most knowledge and wisdom on things political taught me that constitutions should be left alone most of the time.

What is proposed amendment 48, you ask, hoping beyond hope that I will stop dithering and get to the point?

- it would define the term "person" to "include any human being from the moment of fertilization."

- it would apply this definition of "person" to the sections of the Colorado Constitution that protect the natural and essential rights of persons, allow open access to courts for every person, and ensure that no person has his or her life, liberty, or property taken away without due process of law.

Are they NUTS? What woman in her right mind could seriously consider this? Everybody would have the right to interfere with her life while she was pregnant! Never mind outlawing abortions, the morning-after pill and some other forms of birth control. I am pro-choice, myself. If you don't want to have an abortion, fine. But this is ludicrous. Say you smoke. And you get yourself knocked up, unbeknownst to you for a month or so. All that time, you've been guilty of child abuse, and your foetus can take you to court. I just love the thought of the foetus's lawyer having a meeting with your lawyer. Child Services is going to be so overburdened ....

Anyway, I need some really pithy retorts if anybody asks me about this, other than screaming: are you NUTS?!

And don't ask me about the Republican vice-presidential candidate, because I will go ballistic.

Mar. 29th, 2008

great gray owl

meem shepe

77% Geek

Nov. 13th, 2007

great gray owl

meem shepe

You're the Frontier Mail!

While your presence used to conjure up
images of unexplored lands and exotic beauty,
now you're fairly settled down. You now have a
strange fascination with golden temples, making
you almost reminiscent of Indiana Jones. And
while you do like tigers and swashbuckling
adventures, you prefer to consider things
carefully and make democratic decisions.

Sometimes, however, you consider going postal.

Take the Trains and Railroads Quiz
at RMI Miniature Railroads.

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