A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Lost and Found

What a scare we had today! The household was all topsy-turvy, with much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments (well, that was the fault of the cats, mostly Gojira, who admires to stick her sharp little claws into the bum end of one's clothing and paw away as if unearthing some treasure). Maxx the Lion Kitty disappeared last night and was reunited with his loving Fambly only a little while ago.

I'm not trying to reignite the endless debate on indoor/outdoor kitties. Mine go in and out freely, and I think we're very lucky that because they have this huge expanse of hill all around, with lots of tasty mice and lizards and bugs, and interesting skunks, raccoons, possums, deer, and other critters, they don't care to schlep all the way down to the street with its dangerous cars and strange people and dogs. It's a rare dog that comes up the hill, and it would be a fat and foolish cat indeed that couldn't escape one easily, so no worries on that score. And no one would be stupid enough to climb up here looking for kitties to kitnap.

But for a brief moment there, I remembered how fond Madu is of the downhill neighbours' garden (why? the little twit, our garden's exactly the same, if not better), and suffered gut-twisting pangs of fear on his behalf. Well, Madu The Narcolept is in, now, and, true to form, promptly passed out on the Other Half's feet. Butt pressed up to the laptop for maximum warmth. I swear, he doesn't stay awake longer than it takes to climb into bed. Oh, and he talks in his sleep. Right now he's having some kind of muttered conversation, with very complainy overtones. But I'm glad to have him home, locked safely indoors for the night.

Madu stays awake long enough to attempt to hypnotize us into fetching more kibble

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From Sappy to Snarky in Several Steps

If you haven't already seen Jurassic Pork's brilliant take on that sappy, sappy Xmas movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," hie thee thither this very second. It is to larf. Which I did, plentifully und snarkily.
(Thanks to the Jeffraham Prestonian Fambly of Fur for the directions!)

Of course, for amusement of the movie review variety, you can't go wrong withs.z. and scott, and in fact this review of It's A Depressing Life should put us all right in the mood for the holidays.

Or you could read their other movie reviews and get a hernia from laughing. Or just buy the book for a joyful and early death. But enough about me. Be sure to go to their blog, if you want to buy the book. Someone has to support s.z.'s hordes of hungry rescue beasts, and it might as well be you. Buy lots of copies. She might be able to feed a kitten on the revenue.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Good grief. The New York Times today carries an article about diabetics in which it discusses workplace discrimination against diabetics and then casually lets drop this interesting statistic:
The debate will probably intensify. The number of diabetics in America swelled by 80 percent in the past decade. Experts say the disease is on its way to becoming a conspicuous fact of life in the nation’s labor force, raising all sorts of issues for workers and managers.
Not a word, of course, about who these "Experts" are, who say, and so forth. Not a word about the actual numbers. An eighty per cent increase doesn't mean anything without a baseline figure. If we started out with five diabetics, and now have nine, it's nothing to worry about, yet. Damn, I hate stories like this. The peeved may complain here.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Xmas Orts

Ridiculous. When the fuck will these people emerge from the dark ages? Dalit (untouchable caste) girl has her fingers chopped off for taking a few spinach leaves from the farm of a high-caste prick. I hope he gets a virulent bout of E. Coli from the spinach. Details here.

There are many sources of information about Dalits, also known as Harijans or Untouchables. Here is a good one. The Mahatma would be turning over in his grave to hear that this crap still goes on today.

It is simply unconscionable that Wall Street is handing out largesse of this ilk at a time when workers in China are literally slaving to provide these conspicuous consumers with their luxuries. No matter how hard these wellfed swine work, I doubt any of them puts in a 94-hour work-week.

And it's not just the poor employed in China who are getting the boot in their tender bits. Minimum-wage workers in the U.S. have not seen a wage increase in a decade.

Figure it out, greedbags of Wall Street. $5.15 an hour doesn't exactly help you save for that Ferrari. Shoot, you're lucky if you can afford underpants without holes on those wages.

While middle-class workers slide into bankruptcy, CEOs take home bonuses in the multimillions, even if they've driven their companies into the ground.

Even the Pope had to set aside his Prada-shopping habits for the season to hand out this Ort of Popely Wisdom:
It was shameful that in "this age of plenty and unbridled consumerism" many remained deaf to the "heart-rending cry" of those dying of hunger, thirst, disease, poverty, war and terrorism.
I don't know about the "terrorism" part. That's obviously in there to satisfy the Allies of Good. The rest of it, though, is pretty spot-on.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Catblogging Orts

In honor of all the recent catblogging, I wandered over to Carnival of the Cats, and found this while rooting through the archives. Yeah, figures. So, what type of cat are YOU?

What type of cat are you?

You're not a normal house cat. You're all muscle. Kinda like Arnold Schwartznager with stripes.
Take The Quiz Now!

Quizzes by

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Inanity, Insanity, You be the Judge

Seems to me just this week I was raving about what legislators of the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Jewish, or other, non-Muslim faiths might think of Rep. Virgil NotSoGoode's Christianist rantings.

Reality seems determined to whup me upside the head. Two Buddhists have been elected to the 110th Congress. I wonder how much Rep. Virgil likes the taste of shoe? P'raps we should get him a peppermint-soled pair for his next foot-in-mouth display.

A Hair Part With Bat Of Clue to Rep. NotSoGoode: when the Tuscaloosa newspapers think your attitude stinks, you're, ah, sadly in need of a paddle with which to navigate that creek o'shit in which you find yourself, buster.

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The Bratz back when they won "Cutest Kittenz of the Year" competition. These days, Gojira (the gray girl) spends most of her time trying to bite Madu's ass. The poor guy must leak like a sieve every time he takes a pee. On the plus side, he's a sweet-natured narcolept who shares a dimly flickering brain cell with his Uncle Zingiber. On the minus side, he now weighs twice what she does, and when he does get tired of the assmunching, he usually rewards her with a severe thumping. Not that it works. For one thing, she's small, slim, incredibly athletic, and can do a 180 in mid-air; for another, she's really, really smart and usually rushes over to sit between us in between assmunches, so he rarely gets to thwack her as she deserves. Wotta brat.

Zingiber in his svelte yoof.

Bandicoot, in all his Cootly glory, resting his weary head on the nightstand.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Bits and pieces

So it turns out that P. Diddy is behind the line of Sean John "faux" fur jackets - made of raccoon dog fur. Don't look at me like that, goddammit. I don't know squat about fashion, and don't care to, either. All I know is, animals are killed in horrible ways to retrieve their fur. How would you like a red-hot poker stuck up your arsehole? Cooking your internal organs slowly so that your pelt might be retrieved intact? No? Then boycott the damned label and let Mr. Diddly or whatever he's calling himself this week hear from you pronto. Oh, yes, Macy's is a fellow offender. Let them know.

I don't know how much more of this I can take. 655,000Iraqis killed, 12,000 Iraqi police killed, 2,950+ American troops killed, 1.5 million Iraqis displaced, up to 1,000 attacks each week, 3,000 Iraqis leaving Iraq daily - and Chimpy McStupidSon's response?
We enter this new year clear-eyed about the challenges in Iraq and equally clear about our purpose. Our goal remains a free and democratic Iraq that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself, and is an ally in this war on terror.

Followed by:
... And I encourage you all to go shopping more.
Is the motherfucker stark raving insane? More windbaggery here.

The marriage made in hell: Michael Medved and James Dobson discover Teh Gay in still more interesting nooks and crannies, I mean, movies. Do these people ever stop thinking about sex, homosexuality, and children? One wonders what they pull their puds to. Ick. No, one doesn't. One suffered a brief slip in the space-time continuum. One is off to bleach one's eyeballs.

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Health News

A potential cure for Alzheimer's??? Science is wonderful! Just this month, I've already been treated to the wonderful news of a potential cure for diabetes. These two great scourges of human health, to be gone soon? One can only hope. Of course, the problem of thinning the herd remains with us. Let's be honest, there's quite a few humans whose purpose in life seems to be limited to (i) unwarranted consumption of oxygen and other resources that could better be used to support other lifeforms, human and not; (ii) serving as an example to those around them that evolution does not mean survival of the fittest, unless you define "fittest" as "best adapted to the existing environment."

Yet another study touting the benefits of olive oil. I see a rise in pasta consumption in this household. Okay, there's plenty of uses for olive oil other than pasta, but what better way to limit the quantity of red meat consumed at the same time?

Okay, so what's the deal here? Does it fookin' kill you or cure you, dammit? Last week it was "Breast cancer rates drop, linked to drop in HRT." This week, it's "Actually, estrogen prevents heart disease and protects against plethora of ailments associated with menopause." Whatthehell, just read it.

Funny how obesity doesn't seem such a problem where people don't get large quantities of calorie-dense food, but. I do have friends who are certifiably obese, and let's face it, the more you weigh, the harder (and more painful) it is to try and exercise the problem away. So any little thing helps. Except surgical intervention, which seems a rather heavy-handed way to solve the problem.

Of course, MS is a disease that primarily affects white folx, women more than men, but that doesn't mean there aren't other beneficial effects of taking vitamin D supplements. So, y'all white girls, I've upped my vitamin D intake, now up yours!

This is just sickening. Why the fuck do the godbags get to tell us when and how and why to live and die? Why don't they stick to governing their little flock of sheeple??? Truly, I'm just sick and tired of their nosy interference. Sod off, you eejits. What's it to you how and how often people fuck or brush their teeth or the color of their underwear? Why is it any of your business to regulate the length of women's hair or the nature of people's sexuality? Who cares what other folx dine on on Fridays? The fookin' pope, that's who. Doesn't he have enough to do? I can just see a deity deciding that meat shall be verboten on Fridays. That's a deity with nowt much to do, eh? Clearly too busy mandating and designing Sacred Underwear to worry about saving the last of the whales or preventing disease or ameliorating the suffering of the oh-so-suffering masses!!

Finally, maybe a cure for MRSA! And other antibiotic goodness here.

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News 'n Blues

We begin with the usual look at the sordid world of politics in the U.S.A.

Time was when I pretty much ignored politics. Oh, I read political news, and political treatises. I engaged in political discourse. I had strong political opinions. But politics was a small part of my life. Reading, writing, work, cats, I had plenty of other interests.

Over the past five years, however, politics has become an obsession - and not just for me, either. It seems as if the world around us has turned dangerous in an "unknown unknown" way, as the grinning totenkopf Rummy might put it.

Of course, the world has always been a dangerous place. There have always been "terrorists," at times more "terrorists" than there are now. Remember the 60s and the Baader-Meinhof gang, piracy on the high seas, the hijackings of aircraft that seemed so commonplace they became comedy skit fodder.

Today's dangers seem different, though. It seems as if a small cabal of very - I'm sorry, there is no other word - evil people have come into power and they are manipulating the remaining 6+ billion of us in ways that cause the more paranoid among us to begin spouting conspiracy theories.

Not that there's any need for theorizing. There's plenty of shit going on all around us, who needs to make this stuff up? Here, for your entertainment, I present:

Cars stolen in US used in suicide attacks
By Bryan Bender in Washington
October 4, 2005

Just lovely, eh? Are war profiteers, uh, independent contractors working for, say, Corporation H, selling their vehicles in the knowledge that they'll be replaced on the U.S. taxpayer's dime? Details available here.

And why the hell is Chimpy McStoopit trying to keep us from finding out that Iran has been making peace overtures to the U.S. for the past three years?

North Carolina Nutbag-du-Semaine, Robin "Birdbrain" Hayes, has the solution for the Mess That Is Iraq: just convert those Dayumn Moose-lims to Christianity! The festering godbag goes on to opine:
“Stability in Iraq ultimately depends on spreading the message of Jesus Christ, the message of peace on earth, good will towards men. Everything depends on everyone learning about the birth of the Savior.”
Someone should tell the idiot that Muslims know plenty about the birth of his saviour - the fella preceded their own saviour by some 600-odd years. Where do they find these idiots? Is there a special Stupid Factory churning them out? I'm sure he only opens his mouth to change feet.

Meanwhile, fellow godbag Virgil NotSoGoode wants to kkkeep out of America "people not from European countries" because some of them might be Muslim, or something, and might want to take their Oath of Office on the Quran. He should tell the Jews, atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, Jains, et cetera, who might also be Americans, that they need to dump their sacred tracts and take up his particular Book o' Godnuttery instead.
In further foot-in-mouthment, Mr. NotSoGoode goes on to say that he wishes his fellow Americans would stand up for the principles on which this country was founded - forgetting, in his brain-damage-induced amnesia, that those principles would happen to include freedom of religion. Can't someone toss a large pile of hay over this twit and leave him to compost peacefully? He would certainly be more useful in that state.

So, uh, not to be nosey or anything, but how's the old blood pressure? Eh? Need a couple more points? Read this. No, really. Go on. Just don't put any salt in your food for the next three days.

And if that didn't get you up and about, try this.

No? Still feeling a bit sluggish? Surely this will send the blood coursing through your veins?

Okay, now you're just playing hard-to-ignite. I guarantee this will give you the leaping fantods.

Now, then. You've earned your light relief.

Okay, which would you rather have? A drunk driver, or a blind driver?

You want to be careful with making excuses for avoiding work. Nothing too far-fetched, you know.

Okay, I'm not against alternative medicine as such, but one really does need to proceed, er, carefully. In case one gets mistaken for an idiot or something. I'm just glad the beastie is unharmed.

Is it legal? Or just stupid?

Check back in next week, y'all. I'm back to regular blogging, at least till the next work or home or health fucking crisis.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Health news this month

I guess I need to post more regularly. Anyway, I've been meaning to do this forever -- post about medicine and health and eventually, perhaps a digest of science news for the week, since I seem to spend a lot of time emailing stuff like this to All and Sundry. So. Perhaps Type I diabetes is reversible, after all. I am so hopeful.

And yet another reason to go vegetarian. Not that we'll have much of a choice in a decade or two. The new strain of E. coli is so much more virulent than the old. And campylobacter can result in arthritis. Yum.

Why, oh why, did the good editors of this story pick this picture, I ask myself. Frankly, it looks as if the subject has just relieved themselves of a stupendous fart, one which has colored the grass behind them a vivid fuschia.

Topical anesthetic creams, often used in procedures such as laser hair removal and tattoos, are the subject of a warning by the FDA. Serious health risks. Hmm. I wonder if the OTC creams I use for my fucked up knees count?

A tribute to our Dear Heroine is surely in order during this season of celebration. No? You don't think so? Well, at least let's not let her (mis)deeds be forgotten. Admittedly, her psychopathic boyfriend was more to blame than she, but without willing followers, such "leaders" will find themselves, as they so richly deserve, strung up by the appropriate portion of their anatomy.

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Ayam Masak Golek

This recipe calls for aniseed, which is not very often used in Southeast Asian cooking. However, my recent exposure to a nice Sumatran Nasi Padang restaurant leads me to believe that aniseed is a primary ingredient in the Ayam Rendang. But, without further ado:

1 chicken, approximately 4 lb, cut in 16 or more pieces
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp anise seeds
15 candlenuts
4 tomatoes
2 shallots
2 green onions
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
Approximately 3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

Wash chicken, pat dry thoroughly, and season with salt and pepper. Let stand for about an hour, uncovered.

Dry-roast the cumin seeds in a heavy skillet over very low heat, stirring constantly, until lightly browned and fragrant. Set aside and dry roast the anise seeds. Grind the seeds in a clean coffee grinder, preferably one used exclusively for grinding spices. Place the freshly ground spice powders in a food processor with the candlenuts and grind to a smooth paste, adding coconut milk as needed. Do not let this paste become too watery!!

Peel the shallots and slice thinly. Chop the tomatoes, and thinly slice the green onions.

Heat a large, flat-bottomed skillet, then add the oil and when the oil is smoking, brown chicken pieces in batches, reducing heat to keep the chicken from burning. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Pour off oil so that there is not more than 3 Tbsp. in the pan. Add the spice paste and turn down heat to low. Cook, stirring, for approximately 2 minutes until the spice mixture releases its fragrance and the oil "returns."

Add shallots and white part of green onions, and stir for a minute or so, add tomatoes, stir till slightly collapsed, about 3 minutes. Add rice vinegar, stir, add coconut milk gently at low heat, stir to blend, then add salt and pepper to taste. When the mixture begins to thicken, add chicken and simmer till tender. Serve garnished with remaining green onions.

If you cannot find candlenuts, macadamias are a good substitute. Try Kara brand coconut cream from Indonesia, for good results. Otherwise, Orchid is a good Thai brand - be sure to mix well before using, the cream tends to float, leaving a thin, watery milk below it. You want a mixture of the cream and milk. Spice seeds should be fresh for maximum flavor. Kosher salt is preferable, also freshly ground whole peppercorns.

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