Friday, December 31, 2010

New Mexico in the news

Tail end of storms blast some Western states
By CATHERINE TSAI, Associated Press
31 Dec 2010
DENVER – Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico struggled against the tail end of storms New Year's Eve that left more westerly states recovering from a wintertime onslaught of snow, rain and bitter wind.
Major highways were also shut down in parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Nevada.

Forecasters were predicting more of the same in eastern parts of Wyoming and New Mexico.
New Mexico State police Thursday were discouraging drivers from traveling east of Albuquerque. An 80 mile stretch of Interstate 40 from Moriarty to Santa Rosa was closed for about five hours but reopened before midnight. Still, a temporary shelter is in place in Moriarty for stranded travelers.
Albuquerque got a few snow flurries.
Current temperature: 17°F.

... I'm thinking maybe tomorrow the dog needs to wear a sweater for her walk!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

me & The Mahatma (part deux)

Okay, I'm in the supermarket - Smith's, to be exact.
My basket contains milk, cheese (sharp cheddar), cottage cheese, Wheat Thins, brocolli, cauliflower, frozen pot pies (3), frozen pizza (2), paper towel, toilet paper, tall kitchen trash bags, Cheerios, Special K, and Kraft macaroni & cheese.
17 items.
I get in the express lane, "15 items or less".

The clerk refers me to another lane, for having more than 15 items.
Do you know who I am???

I'm The Mahatma!
I'm visiting my sister in New Jersey.
At the airport, at the TSA checkpoint, I strip down to my Speedos.
I beep when I go through the scanner.
Oh, yeah. I forgot about the tungsten nano-tube penile implant.
Do you know who I am?
I'm The Mahatma!

I go out with friends for a minor celebration - my AIDS test came back negative.
(The tungsten nano-tube penile implants really WORK!)
There are, what? Maybe 3 or 4 of us imbibing Guinness at local bar.
So, I'm not thinking too much when I get behind the wheel... then BANG! - within a block of my favorite bar I'm pulled over by some cop:
Have you been drinking, sir?
I guess I should be grateful that I've got Internet access here in the local jail.
Could be worse.
I could've been cut from American Idol.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Number Of Uninsured Americans Soars To Over 50 Million
Even after so-called "health care reform", we are STILL the only developed country in the world without some form of UNIVERSAL health insurance!

Monday, December 27, 2010

"Hah!" to you Al Gore! - so much for Global Warming

East Coast storm strands travelers, vexes drivers

Summer snow, floods in weird Australia weather

More severe weather adds to travel woes in Europe

Vikings-Eagles snowed out; moved to Tuesday night

... free association...

for no reason whatsoever

hmm... i think i appreciate the basic sentiment...

from facebook friend:
Don't make any resolutions for 2011. Instead, make some powerful new choices for yourself. Choose wellness instead of resolving to lose weight or quit smoking. Choose financial health instead of resolving to get out of debt. Choose being connected instead of resolving to spend more time with family or helping others more. Making powerful choices creates opportunities to live in new ways. Make 2011 a truly new year.
... not quite sure i can get into the 'power of positive thinking' aspect, but other than that this seems like not-too-bad advice.

Friday, December 24, 2010

'tis the season... Tom Lehrer: "A Chistmas Carol"

'tis the season

A Christmas Carol
by Charles Dickens
Ultra-condensed by Samuel Stoddard and David J. Parker
Ebenzer Scrooge: Bah, humbug. You'll work thirty-eight hours on Christmas Day, keep the heat at five degrees, and like it.

Ghost of Jacob Marley: Ebenezer Scrooge, three ghosts of Christmas will come and tell you you're mean.

Three Ghosts of Christmas: You're mean.

Ebenezer Scrooge: At last, I have seen the light. Let's dance in the streets. Have some money.
Best wishes to you & yours this season, & in the New Year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Who'd a-thunk?

Senate votes to end ban on openly gay troops
65-31, in the Senate.
Cloture passed 63-33.
Almost unbelievable.

As noted before, I don't usually concern myself with LGBT issues, but repeal of DADT is remarkable!

Congrats to our Congress - House & Senate - and to the unflagging efforts of the LGBT community!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

As promised: G&S

Savoynet production of The Gondoliers, recorded live at the International Gilbert & Sullivan festival in 2010.
... on the duties of a king:

Note 1: The subservient role adopted by the King of Barataria well suits our current Leader.
But the privilege and pleasure
That we treasure beyond measure
Is to run on little errands for the Ministers of State.
Note 2 (less political): When writing The Gondoliers, Gilbert was full up to his eyebrows with the attitude of his principle players. He wrote the libretto with 2 tenors, 2 baritones, 2 sopranos, and 2 altos - not giving pride of place to either in any pair, thumbing his nose at what had become in his mind the much UNdeserved reputation of his players.
[Gilbert was not a particularly pleasant gentleman - very litigious, seeing slight towards him at every turn. His widow was said to have remarked, "Oh, yes, life has been much more enjoyable as Sir William Gilbert’s widow than ever it was as Mr. Gilbert’s wife!"]

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Mahatma and me

For the past several weeks I've sensed the presence of another person within me. This started shortly before the election.
It's a difficult sensation to describe. At apparently random moments I've felt compelled to learn everything there is to know about Modigliani, or Islamic mathematics in the 13th century, or bee-keeping. These are not areas of research to which I would normally be drawn. And feeling compelled to learn everything there is to know has not translated into actually learning everything there is to know about these topics. A quick visit to Wikipedia always satisfies me... or, rather, always satisfies the urge that only a few moments before had seemed so overwhelming.

I don't think my behavior has changed, but my attitude towards this behavior has. When pouring a rye whiskey, for example, I no longer execute the action thinking, "Boy, this'll taste good - I really need this drink!", but rather, "This sacrament will strengthen me." Lighting a cigarette is no longer simply a concession to a horrible nicotine addiction, but participation in a ritualistic herbal sacrifice to placate the gods of agriculture.

Just who or what this second spirit inhabiting my body is eluded me, till about a week ago.
Then, at 11:17 a.m., Monday, 6 December 2010, it hit me.
My body has been inhabited by The Mahatma, the Great Soul that once inspired Gandhi.

The signs were subtle, the revelation stark and sudden.
First there were the dreams. For these past several weeks I've been dreaming in Sanskrit, which I don't understand and which has made my dreams even more baffling than usual. I doubt Mohandas Gandhi knew Sanskrit (his mother tongue was Hindi), but I'm pretty sure The Mahatma understands Sanskrit fluently. (I do wish The Mahatma would share this fluency with me! - dreaming in incomprehensible Sanskrit is more than a little disconcerting!)
Then there's my recent, again sudden, compulsion to spin.
No, not spin as in 'twirl around', but spin as in 'make thread'. I've constructed a crude spinning wheel from a bicycle wheel. (Those of you who know my mechanical abilities can imagine the less-than-satisfactory device I've constructed.)
I've been hitting local craft fairs in search of combed wool. Tho' I'm pretty sure Gandhi spun flax, not wool, nevertheless this compulsion to spin is easily attributable to The Mahatma.
(I note that the 'thread' I've so-far produced is more like yarn... and even calling it 'yarn' is a bit of a stretch.)

Note: I'm NOT claiming to be Gandhi, reincarnate! - Such a claim would be delusional, warranting my commitment to ye local mental hospital.
No, all I'm claiming is that The Mahatma has temporarily inhabited my body.
I'm guessing The Mahatma has been transmigrating since Gandhi's death, just to see what's out there.
In my case, I'm guessing my lack of religious convictions provided an acceptable receptacle.
That and my bad habits - alluded to above: I drink & I smoke.
I'm guessing that after 78 years inhabiting Gandhi, The Mahatma is looking for something other than strict asceticism, just for the experience.
Who knows what other bodies The Mahatma has inhabited since Gandhi's death - it's been over 60 years. Maybe I'm the first. (You know, 'one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day'... )

I don't know quite how to address this second person inhabiting my body.
'It' seems too impersonal, and I'm afraid to offend by choosing either 'he' or 'she'.
I'd ask The Mahatma, but I haven't yet figured out how to communicate with it/him/her.

My reluctance to confront contemporary U.S. politics may be attributable, at least in part, to The Mahatma's presence.
On the bright side, this presence induces me to expand my world-view to encompass more than just politics, to include, for example, bee-keeping.

Some might view this circumstance as an affliction, others as a blessing.
Me? I'm just taking it one day at a time.

Meanwhile, I've got to get back to my spinning.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

At last!

... my primary machine is back in service!

... unfortunately, just about EVERYTHING needs to be re-installed.
It took about 1.5 hrs to figure out correct settings for the printer.
Then I discovered basic tools (MS Word, MS Excel) were missing.

On the bright side: the thing is a WHOLE LOT faster than the back-up machine!!!

I'm guessing I'll have most of what I use up and running in another week or so.

p.s. Thanks to folks for comments regarding recent somewhat pessimistic post!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Solely in the interest of preserving a presence...

Confession - said to be good for the soul -:
Since the recent election I've lost interest in politics.
... or, perhaps more accurately, I've despaired of politics.

For the next two years we will experience nothing but gridlock, or - worse still - our glorious leader (for whom I voted) will continually capitulate... before negotiations even start!

Loyal readers: anticipate, look forward to, enjoy - Tom Lehrer, Gilbert & Sullivan, H.L. Mencken...
... these are likely my brilliant contributions to contemporary political discourse.

Till then: thanks to you.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Once upon a time...

... in a galaxy far, far away...

My first real paying job (a summer job, but it DID pay) was coding FORTRAN... using Hollerith cards.

Type up the program & data cards. Submit to computer center. Come back next day to pick up print-out of results.

I'm remembering this as I try to deal with my VERY SLOW back-up computer while primary computer is in the shop for rebuild.
This dinosaur likely has 10 times the computing power of the air-conditioned mainframe on which those FORTRAN jobs ran. The mainframe consumed a VERY LARGE air-conditioned room.

For what it's worth: I made extra $$$ in graduate school as a key-punch guy. Typing programs on Hollerith cards. I was pretty proficient.

Just for fun: Hollerith cards (aka, "IBM cards") were sized the way they were 'cuz this was the size of a 1900 U.S. dollar bill. The automated equipment existed to handle dollar bills, so when IBM got into the computing business they wisely decided to size the punch-cards so's existing equipment could handle 'em.

(All this said: I'm still amazingly frustrated with my VERY SLOW backup computer!)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

From "Mysterious Man..."

This following poem is composed entirely of actual quotes from George W. Bush.
Make the Pie Higher

I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen
And uncertainty
And potential mental losses.

Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the internet
Become more few?
How many hands have I shaked?

They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
I know that the human being and the fish
Can coexist.

Families is where our nation finds hope
Where our wings take dream.
Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher!
Make the pie higher!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Augghhh!!! - a statement from W with which I can agree

"I think we agree, the past is over."
George W. Bush

hmm... likely to be non-communicative for a while...

... hardware/software issues.
For unknown reasons, my machine no longer recognizes my scanner.
I'll be taking machine in for fix manana.
(I suspect a registry issue, but have no idea how this might have happened.)

In the meantime, if you don't hear from me for a day or so, at least I have an excuse!