Friday, July 30, 2010

Shaggy cat story

To say that I love animals is an understatement. However, one of my dogs - Kenji - saved my life both when I was having a heart attack and after I had it. In so many ways, he taught me how to love more and deeper than I ever knew possible.

Yeah...he made me a soft touch.

But, I'm not a "dog" person. I'm an animal person. Animals have made me a better human and I only hope to help a few of them in return. While I don't have cats - my wife's allergic to them - I absolutely love them.

I "dumbed onto" this site recently.

Imagine spending your time, money, and energy helping blind cats. I admit - I never even thought about blind cats. Yet, here are some folks that not only thought about them; they're helping them. Take a look at the video - there are a lot more on the site.

I imagine that if you talked with them, they'd say they weren't making a sacrifice for the cats. I believe they see it as a work of love.

Each of us has the opportunity to perform works of love. We can do that with the animals and people in our lives. For some of us, the animals open the path to greater love for the people. They have their missions in this life as well.

Enjoy the video. As always, if you're seeing this somewhere that the links don't show, go to and see it in all its glory. If you want to see some interesting shaggy dog stories, go here.

BP to Texas - Trust me

With all respect to journalistic integrity, I need to confess that I'm from Texas (originally). Maybe that's why I find this so funny.

I don't want to oversimplify, but Texas is an oil state. The state continues to be dominated by the petrochemical industry and its governor, Rick Perry, sleeps on a waterbed inflated with oil, combs his hair with oil, uses it to clean things, and worships the sacred PetroGod. No one could possibly be a bigger supporter of oil than Guv Rick.

The BP Oil Spill hasn't affected Texas beaches to the extent that it's affected other states, yet there have been some tar balls washing up on its beaches. Of course a former Texas governor (Preston Smith, Dolph Briscoe...they all run together in a giant oil slick of corruption) once said that tar balls were natural and had nothing to do with oil production.

The former governor's opinion on tar balls notwithstanding, Guv Rick went to his Big Daddy BP and ask for a 25 million dollar cash advance to pay for future Texas oil spill clean ups. After all, Guv Rick figured, Big Daddy BP gave it to his other kids (Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi).

It seems only fair. After all, Texas should have "most favored son" status, as BP's U.S. operations are headquartered in Houston and BP is heavily invested in Texas.

BP said no. They did make a small (comparatively) pledge to the Texas Coastal Protection Fund.

Now, Son of Oil Guv Rick is in a snit. He wrote a nasty letter to BP and someone gave it to Reuters. Nice. Reuters quotes him as saying to BP "you are essentially asking Texas to just trust you."

Very nice.

How does Guv Rick explain to the voters that the oil god doesn't love them as much as the other children? How does he explain that, even though they pledged their souls to PetroGod, they don't get their handout?

Finally, will Guv Rick get a new polo pony to make up for his hurt feelings?

For more thoughts on BP, click here.

If you're reading this somewhere that doesn't show links, just go to and see the whole thing!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Electric cars

Environmentalists love them. Business people hope they'll save the auto manufacturers. They're great...even though they're pretty difficult and expensive to obtain.

GM is bringing their Volt out soon. It costs over $40,000 before rebates, incentives, etc.

Is it right that they cost so much? Are manufacturers making them expensive for reasons known only to them?

Hard to answer those questions but one Oregon 14-year old built his own. Really. It costs him about $4,000 and he didn't get rebates or incentives.

Exactly who is zoomin' whom?

See more environmental stories here. See the complete version of this story here.

As always, if you're reading this on Facebook or somewhere else where the links don't show, go to for the whole enchilada.

Making a choice

Yesterday's post got a lot of reaction. Some were moved, some tickled, some inspired by it. My friend Amy sent me a link to something similar - another video about choice and understanding. How do we chose to live our lives? What is the dominant part of our life?

Here Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor talks about her choices and how having a stroke sharpened the decision.

As always, if you're seeing this somewhere that doesn't show links, just go to

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How do you make choices?

Making choices can be difficult. When you look at it from the perspective of how do Westerners choose vs. Asians or how do Eastern Europeans choose vs. Western Europeans, it gets even more interesting. Even how women choose nail polish can be fascinating.

Eventually, it tells us about ourselves, others, and our cultures in ways we never expected. Sheena Iyengar studies how we choose. So, whether you're guilty of making a living by influencing people's choices, whether you study them as a living, or even if you're just visiting here from Pedestria, this is a fascinating video. As always, if you're viewing this post somewhere and the video doesn't show, just go to

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Working for the Army

Today I took an army training course on environmental conservation and management. One suggestion in it was to minimize printing documents - keeping them in digital format instead.

At the can see this print out your certificate in triplicate: one for you, one for the environmental manager, and one for your supervisor. There was, in our location, no option to do this digitally.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Shaggy dog story

I love dogs. Folks often tell me "They're not the same as humans" - as if that's an indictment of dogs. I'm tempted to tell them that no, they're superior...but folks already think I'm strange enough.

Here's a link to some folks who do so much for dogs...and horses. Read about them and donate - they're good folks and one of my favorite charities.

For more on dogs, click here.

As always, if you're reading this on Facebook/Twitter and want to see the links, go to

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tina Turner, Buddhism, and Larry King

I love all three...check it out!

Fix the Gulf - BP Oil Spill

As discussed many times here before, the BP oil spill is a disaster of monumental proportions. It's time to demand change. Watch the video and sign the petition. It's the least you can do. Thanks to my friend Janell for posting this first.

If you're reading this on Facebook and want to see the links, etc, go to

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Norwegian Olympic race walker busted for doping

The AP and Outside magazine have reported that Norwegian race walker Erik Tysse tested positive for the blood booster CERA.

In Beijing he placed fifth in a 50-kilometer race. He denies using drugs and is protesting his suspension.

Where do I start?

  1. Why is walking a competitive sport? It should be a pleasure, an exercise, a transportation method but not a competitive sport. It's walking, not running. Grow up! The Olympics banned women's softball but has walking events. How out of touch is that?
  2. Why would a walker need to dope? It's walking. If you need to dope, you should just slow down...or run.
  3. Why is he using such crappy drugs? He only placed fifth. If he was using good drugs, wouldn't he win?
  4. Why is he protesting? Everyone always says the same thing, then later confesses. Boring. How about saying, "Hell yeah I doped. I was smokin' fast too. Passed 12 old people in the mall and passed Bryant when he was err..........jogging?
  5. Scandinavians just don't seem as cool anymore. They need to get back to snow sports.
A good walk spoiled indeed!

If you're reading this on Facebook or Twitter and want to see the whole blog, go to

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Judge rules it's okay to lie about receiving a Purple Heart Medal

Judge Robert Blackburn just ruled that the law making it a crime to lie about earning a Purple Heart is unconstitutional.

He said that it violated freedom of speech.

I think he's nuts.

Folks, earning a Purple Heart is serious. It means you were wounded or killed by an enemy of the U.S. while you were serving the country. Lying about it isn't about free speech - it's about slandering the efforts of honest men and women who put it on the line.

You're probably thinking that this is another activist liberal judge. Actually, he was appointed by George W. Bush. Wow...guess it all makes sense now.

If you're reading this on Facebook and want to see the links, go to

Friday, July 16, 2010

Why are we getting fat - Fattening up the poor

We drink too many sodas. Imagine the logic of drinking 32, 48, or 64 ounces of soda at one time. Yet, people do that routinely.

What does that mean calorically? A 12-ounce can has 136 calories. Those are rare these days. A 16-ounce plastic bottle has about 181 calories. That's the size you buy from the store. The 32-ounce that you get from your Big Gulp dealer has 362 calories. A woman leading a normal life should be getting between 1200 and 1800 calories daily; a man should be getting between 1600 and 2400 calories daily. Obviously some folks need a little more and some a little less.

Still, you don't need to be a mathematician to determine that three of these a day would add a lot of calories - calories that don't contribute to your nutrition or feeling full - so you're still just as hungry.

Almost all commercially available sodas contain high fructose corn syrup. Tests administered by neutral folks (not sponsored by corn growers, etc) all show that it contributes to obesity. Dentists will tell you it rots your teeth. There's not much good to be said about these.

How does it affect the poor - and your taxes?

There is a program called Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. It once was called Food Stamps. This program subsidizes cola purchases by the poor using your tax dollars.


You're buying Dr. Peppers for poor people.

Don't read this wrong - I believe in helping poor people but this is insane. Soft drinks don't help anyone except the people selling them.

Has anyone tried to change this? Absolutely. But, rules passed during the Bush administration "gag" supplies and forbid them from using funds to educate people relying on this program.

How much money is spent? The American Journal of Public Health estimates that we spend 4 billion dollars each year buying sodas for poor people.

They cite studies that say, "SNAP participants appear to purchase at least 40 percent more carbonated soft drinks than other consumers do. At one major supermarket chain, SNAP participants bought 4.3 percent of carbonated soft drinks even though they only represented 1.8 percent of transactions. At another large chain, carbonated soft drinks accounted for 6.19 percent of the grocery bills of SNAP participants."

Instead of helping poor people, we're helping them get fat and lose their teeth. That's something along the lines of government-sponsored sickness.

This program doesn't allow the purchase of cigarettes, alchoholic beverages, or hot, prepared foods. Why should it cover cola?

Send your congressperson a note. We're fat enough. Poor people suffer from this sickness in even greater percentages. It's time for change.

To see the editorial, click here.

If you're seeing this on Facebook or somewhere else and want to see the links, go to

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why are we getting fat?

Americans, along with many other nationalities, are getting fatter. Why?

There are lots of answers but the basic one is we have more time, more convenience foods, and no concept of calories. In the end, after all the fancy diets and exercise machines, only one formula works - eat less than you burn.

I've fought weight my entire life. Finally, I think I'm getting some control but I have a long way to go to be really healthy.

Still, things like this really help me.

The other thing that really helps is tracking your calories. Measure damn near everything and put it in your diary. One place I've used is here. Currently I'm using a different program for a while but this one works really well. The key - enter every calorie. It's an education.

If you're reading this on Facebook, go to to see the links.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jimmy Buffett and the Gulf Coast Concert to help with the BP oil spill

By all reports, it was incredible. For folks who missed it or just want a bit of memories, here's the redo of "When the Coast is Clear".

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Master Yoda (Star Wars) does directions

TomTom now offers Star Wars characters as voices for their GPS systems. Here's Master Yoda recording his share.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tea Baggers support British Petroleum's pollution of the Gulf

 I want to say first that I don't accuse all Republicans of this - that would be as insane as those Republicans who support the oil giant. But, check it out.

Rand Paul first said that Obama's trying to control the oil company is un-American. He backed off that for awhile but yesterday said that Obama's attacks on BP could harm its ability to clean up the spill and might destroy its financial stability.

Now that's just patently stupid. It's like telling the police not to arrest an axe murderer because he hadn't finished mopping up the blood yet. His financial take is equally clueless. Every financial analysis I've seen on BP says that, while this will definitely affect their bottom line, they could survive much worse. Rand Paul isn't a real libertarian - he's a real moron who will sell out his nation for small political gain.

Sharon Angle - running against Harry Reid in Nevada - called the BP fund for recovery a slush fund. Then, when the stuff started hitting the fan, she backtracked. This isn't her first back-track. She took down her old website because it was such a political liability then threatened to sue Harry Reid for making it available.  Nothing warms my heart more than seeing new faces in campaigns but her presence has gotten old real fast. As cynical as I can be about Harry Reid, she's making him look like a candidate for sainthood.

Naturally, we all remember Joe Barton of Texas apologizing to BP because American asked them to pay for the damage they did. He backtracked also.

So, what's worse - Tea Baggers selling out our nation to an oil conglomerate or their lack of courage to stand by what they say?

The best tea doesn't come in bags. Sorry Ms. Palin.

Time to change how we view oil

The British Petroleum oil spill is a disaster of untold proportion. There is zero question that deep water drilling is a failed technology. Yet, folks argue it must continue.

The decision really is a simple one - will we destroy the planet for us, for our children, and for our grandchildren for a few more years of cheap oil? Are we really that selfish?

The answer is also simple. We have been that selfish - now we need to change. We need to immediately declare war on oil dependence and slash our usage - not reduce the amount, slash the amount. We need to stop talking and start acting.

This would not weaken our economy - it would create thousands of new jobs and make our nation less dependent upon the dictators and haters of the world for our "SUV fix".

Watch this video, then go to and sign the petition. It matters - a lot. The Gulf is your ocean. This is your land.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Veterans' Rights and political leadership

Everyone seems to assume that Republicans support the military and Democrats don't. Actually, the voting record is quite different than this stereotype.

Anyone looking at veterans' rights and protections  has to consider the GI Bill a primary benefit. It provides for education, training, home purchasing rights, and much more.

Who sponsored the first bill in 1944? It's a bit complicated but Senator Ernest McFarland (Democrat from Arizona) is often called the Father of the bill. In all fairness, there was some bipartisan effort in those days. A California Republican Warren Atherton, working with the American Legion and Edith Rogers, a Republican Congresswoman pushed the bill through. It was signed by Franklin Roosevelt, a very Democratic president. The original draft was written by a former RNC chairman. Score one for bipartisanship and for Roosevelt's leadership. Many, if not most, of his American detractors today have benefited in some way from his policies.

In 1984, the bill was revamped and modernized by a Democrat from Mississippi, former congressman Sonny Montgomery.

The current version of the GI Bill was sponsored by Jim Webb, a Democrat from Virginia and Chuck Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska.  It was opposed by none other than George W. Bush and John McCain. While one could argue the bill was bipartisan, it really saw significant opposition only from the Republican party. Former President Bush and Senator McCain argued against it, saying passage would reduce re-enlistments. Hagel was pushed out of leadership in the Republican Party, largely due to his willingness to work with Democrats and his unsuitability for Tea Bagger Leadership - meaning he is a moderate.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars website reported that there is an significant upgrade to the current GI Bill just proposed by Daniel Akaka, a Democratic senator from Alaska. Note - as of this writing, Republicans were too busy persecuting Latinos in Arizona, gays everywhere, and generally teaching hatred toward various groups to do anything positive toward the bill's passage.

In the end, there are probably several lessons here:

1) Once upon a time, we acted in a bipartisan manner for the good of the nation.

2) There has never been a GI Bill passed with Republican leadership and Democratic opposition.

3) Democrats, for the most part, support veterans' rights.

Who knew? When the rubber meets the road, Democrats are our best - albeit somewhat sketchy - friends.