Thursday, April 27, 2006

Join the Virtual March to End the Genocide in Darfur

Join me in helping to end the genocide in Darfur

I just signed up for the "virtual march" against genocide in Darfur, and I'm hoping you'll join me. You can sign up online at: Political Action: Virtual March to End the Genocide in Darfur

Over 400,000 civilians have already died in Darfur. But, almost 2 years after the United States officially recognized it as a "genocide," almost nothing has been done to stop the killing.

A relatively small United Nations peace keeping force (which wouldn't even require new US troops) could protect civilians, stop the violence, and help a real peace process begin. But it won't happen if world leaders, including ours, don't stand up and demand it.

So this week, thousands of concerned Americans will gather in Washington to tell Congress and President Bush to support a real international peacekeeping force - and to do it now. To help show the national media how many voters support this call, MoveOn is organizing this virtual march.

They'll present all our signatures and comments at the big rally, and they're aiming to get 250,000 "virtual marchers" by the end of the week.

Please join me and sign up today:


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Dear Mr President

I found the video below at the following blog: Joe. My. God.: I Got Luv4Buddha:
Joe's words:
"One of the most fascinating aspects of the recent boom in internet video is the phenomenon of the reimagining and resplicing of movie trailers and music videos, as seen on netvid portals such as YouTube. The result is sometimes more entertaining than the original. The most creative video productions often use entirely original images.

Check out YouTube'r Luv4Buddha's original video set to Pink's blistering indictment of GWB, Dear Mr. President, in which he skillfully splices in haunting pictures along with his own lip-sync perfomance. According to his YouTube profile, Luv4Buddha is a 32-year old Harlem-based social worker. Some of his images are over the top, but I think you'll agree that he's created something memorable."

Friday, April 21, 2006

Big Dogs

A comparison of the 7yr old 75 lb greyhound & 5mo old 45 lb puppy. We've got lots to look forward to. Posted by Picasa

King of the Hill

  Posted by Picasa

Loving Life

  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Supporting our Farmers in Good Times & Bad

Supporting our Farmers in Good Times & Bad

"It's so much easier on Saturday mornings to stay under the warm covers with my cup of coffee and my newest book, but I have been trying my hardest to motivate and go to a farmers' market on Saturdays or at some point each week. I am making a point of doing this for the farmers. They have had an unusually rough season, and the most important thing we can do right now is to go to markets in the rain and support them.

This doesn't mean that you have to buy gads of produce that you don't want, but it does mean that you should give the small local farmers a chance. A chance to explain why prices are high, a chance to explain why their produce is looking a little bedraggled, a chance to tell you how the rain is affecting their farm.

The situation was best explained in the weekly newsletter produced by CUESA: "The anticipation that seasonal eaters feel in early spring has turned into more of an ache this year as farmers forecast smaller harvests on later dates for our favorite foods. But the ache we feel is trifling compared to the devastating losses for those whose livelihoods depend on California's fertile soil and sunshine. Storm after storm has discouraged pollinators, muddied fields and rotted flowers and berries; many farmers are struggling through the wettest season they've seen in at last twenty years."

How will this unusually wet season affect what's on our plates this year?

Berries: The rain has decimated strawberry crops throughout the area. Swanton Berry Farm which usually has an abundance of berries by this time has just brought a small fraction of their usual harvest to market. My own CSA had to cancel their May strawberry days due to the small yield of inferior strawberries.

Grapes: If the rain continues in the next couple of weeks, the size of the 2006 local wine harvest could be much lower than predicted.

Stonefruit: Cherries, peaches, apricots, and other stonefruit are in jeopardy. If we continue to have warm days like today, then we may be in the clear, but more rain (as is predicted at the end of this week) may jeopardize the stonefruit crops.

Tomatoes: Though tomato season is months away, farmers have been unable to get their seedlings into the ground due to wet and soggy conditions.

Lettuces: All types of lettuces are being hard hit. Prices will be higher for a while, and the quality may not be what we're used to.

What can we do about all this gloom and doom news? We can't really stop the rain, so we will have to support farmers to the best of our ability with our wallets.

We can hit the farmers' markets. Bundle up if necessary, and wear your galoshes. The farmers will be there, so let's give them a reason to drive their trucks into the city. Small crowds are discouraging to the farmer after they've worked so hard to bring what they do have to market.

We can taste before judging. Chances are that when apricots come to the market, they will be sort of ugly and have some brown spots. But there is a good chance that they will actually taste great. Don't be quick to dismiss the ugly fruit, and listen to the farmers when they tell you why it looks the way it does.

We can adjust our spring repertoires to match what's available locally. I am as ready for spring peas and strawberries as the next person, but instead this week I was cooking yet another butternut squash. In the grand scheme of things, a few more weeks of butternut squash isn't going to kill me, and I feel good supporting my local farms instead of buying foreign strawberries to meet my craving.

For more information, you can read some of the great references below, or you can head out to a market and ask your local farmers how the rain has affected them and what we can expect in the coming months."

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

Aside from it being an actual holiday today...

My letters of complaint to Dish got us a free month of service.

I spent the day with Granite & Timm. Granite got to see the cute vet today and she has mites. Not contagious to humans or other dogs. A mite that lives on us all and some beasts are suseptible to "infection" (balding patches). We must apply topical ointment & revisit cute vet in 10 days. If ointment doesn't work we go into dip therapy. Whee.

I'm off to pick up the wife, have pizza and beer and see a movie.

Happy Easter to all and to all a Good Friday.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

When Customer Service & PMS Collide

This past weekend we discovered that our second TV had lost reception from our satelite dish. After several phone calls to try to fix without a service tech. visit we decided that while we were at it to upgrade our equipment as well.

I scheduled a service call to fix broken dish for yesterday and a service call to upgrade equipment for tomorrow. I asked several times if both calls could be set for the same day, same window of time. I was told NO. Each issue needed it's own appointment.

I spent the afternoon at home catching up on tv & netflix, training the dog, relaxing... and waiting, waiting, waiting. Finally at 5:05 when nobody showed up I called back to customer service to find out what was going on.

The good news was that both service calls CAN be scheduled on the same day & time window. The bad news is they did it without telling me so I took a day off work for no reason. So our equipment will be fixed & upgraded all in one visit tomorrow - phew.

The annoying news is that Dish Network ships it's service calls overseas. How do I know this? Well it's a two parter. First call answered by thick accented man named "Joe". Here is transcript of conversation
Joe (w/ accent): To whom am I speaking?
Me: Sarah
Joe: Can you spell that?
Me: spell it out
Joe: What is the name on the account:
ME: Jxxx Lxxxx
Joe: What is your relation to J
Me: Domestic Partners
Joe: Excuse Me?
Me: Domestic Partners
Joe: I'm sorry I don't know what that is.
Me: Domestic Partners
Joe: Ma'am can you explain? (YEAH - You're based in Tulsa aren't you!)
Me: No - hang up phone.

I call back hoping to get someone based in US to help me. Casper (another accent) answers the call so when I get the relation question I say "married" and we move on.

Let it be known that I have no problem with accents or with those who have a primary language other than English. My problem is with outsourced customer service reps pretending to be located in Booger, Wyoming and assuming names like "Joe" and "Casper" when clearly they are on another contenent.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Excellent Response

Way back in 2003 the lead singer of The Dixie Chicks stated she was ashamed that GWB was our president. The chicks took a lot of flack from the right. Finally they respond:

I quite like the song regardless of its "big middle finger" back to the right.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Talking It Out!

On the Barry Gibb Talk Show

Sometimes Jane and I burst into the theme song.

Oh The Terror

I my have inflicted permanent emotional damage with Granite yesterday. I was working on "distance commands" - getting the dog to sit, down etc regardless of the distance between me & her. Once the skill is mastered she should sit when I tell her at 100 yards (ha ha ha).

I had her leash tethered to the leg of the table next to the front door. This would keep her in one place while I moved to various locations around the living room, dining room and hallway, give the command and reward her for sitting. She was doing pretty well so I thought I'd walk down the hall, through the kitchen & reappear in the dining room for the next command.

Woops! Bad idea. I heard a crash and rumble rumble rumble. She tried to follow me down the hallway while tied to the table. That four month old puppy is strong enough to drag it along with her. The problem is that the top heavy table toppled over, the crash freaked her out and she was now on a tear to get away from the furniture that was chasing her. She looked so scared. I felt horrible.

I caught her at the end of the hall and undid the leash, Jane returned the table & contents to their original position. Granite stood frozen in fear. She was terrified of the hallway for the rest of the night.

End of training session for the day.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Happy Brew Years Eve!

Hoppy Brew Years Eve!: "Celebrate
Brew Year’s Eve!

On April 7, breweries all over America will raise a pint in celebration of the day that beer once again became legally available at the end of prohibition. And using the locator below, you can find out what breweries in your state are doing to celebrate. This page also provides background on why we celebrate April 7 and the many things that brewers contribute to America.

Click on the link to select your state and find a place to celebrate!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

What a name

Excellent cause. Click here:ITMFA

Graduation Day

We love Sirius Dog Training's methods and our teacher was awesome. Here is a pic. of Granite's graduation:

We start continuing education in June. This is just some of what she'll be the master of...

(Sit, Down, and Stand)to estimate your puppy's reliability to verbal cues and fading hand signals

Advanced attention—extended eye contact

Placement—go to your mat and settle-down

Rev and settle-calming the crazies

Loose-leash walking and heeling

Sit and Down Stays—with mega-distractions

Emergency distance Sit or Down

Real Life Recall— from play session with distraction

Plus continued work on Collar Grabs and Sits during the play session,

Handling and Gentling, and Object Exchanges

At least we'll have one dog who can do what it's told.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Fast as lightning?

This might explain why he is a retired greyhound...

Doggie Smackdown

It really is a fair fight...

Monday, April 03, 2006

A Protest Song for Our Times

A Free download: Compadre Records: James McMurtry Download

"We Can't Make it Here"

Vietnam Vet with a cardboard sign
Sitting there by the left turn line
Flag on the wheelchair flapping in the breeze
One leg missing, both hands free
No one's paying much mind to him
The V.A. budget's stretched so thin
And there's more comin' home from the Mideast war
We can't make it here anymore

That big ol' building was the textile mill
It fed our kids and it paid our bills
But they turned us out and they closed the doors
We can't make it here anymore

See all those pallets piled up on the loading dock
They're just gonna set there till they rot
'Cause there's nothing to ship, nothing to pack
Just busted concrete and rusted tracks
Empty storefronts around the square
There's a needle in the gutter and glass everywhere
You don't come down here 'less you're looking to score
We can't make it here anymore

The bar's still open but man it's slow
The tip jar's light and the register's low
The bartender don't have much to say
The regular crowd gets thinner each day

Some have maxed out all their credit cards
Some are working two jobs and living in cars
Minimum wage won't pay for a roof, won't pay for a drink
If you gotta have proof just try it yourself Mr. CEO
See how far 5.15 an hour will go
Take a part time job at one of your stores
Bet you can't make it here anymore

High school girl with a bourgeois dream
Just like the pictures in the magazine
She found on the floor of the laundromat
A woman with kids can forget all that
If she comes up pregnant what'll she do
Forget the career, forget about school
Can she live on faith? live on hope?
High on Jesus or hooked on dope
When it's way too late to just say no
You can't make it here anymore

Now I'm stocking shirts in the Wal-Mart store
Just like the ones we made before
'Cept this one came from Singapore
I guess we can't make it here anymore

Should I hate a people for the shade of their skin
Or the shape of their eyes or the shape I'm in
Should I hate 'em for having our jobs today
No I hate the men sent the jobs away
I can see them all now, they haunt my dreams
All lily white and squeaky clean
They've never known want, they'll never know need
Their sh@# don't stink and their kids won't bleed
Their kids won't bleed in the da$% little war
And we can't make it here anymore

Will work for food
Will die for oil
Will kill for power and to us the spoils
The billionaires get to pay less tax
The working poor get to fall through the cracks
Let 'em eat jellybeans let 'em eat cake
Let 'em eat sh$%, whatever it takes
They can join the Air Force, or join the Corps
If they can't make it here anymore

And that's how it is
That's what we got
If the president wants to admit it or not
You can read it in the paper
Read it on the wall
Hear it on the wind
If you're listening at all
Get out of that limo
Look us in the eye
Call us on the cell phone
Tell us all why

In Dayton, Ohio
Or Portland, Maine
Or a cotton gin out on the great high plains
That's done closed down along with the school
And the hospital and the swimming pool
Dust devils dance in the noonday heat
There's rats in the alley
And trash in the street
Gang graffiti on a boxcar door
We can't make it here anymore

Music and lyrics © 2004 by James McMurtry