Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Is There Pasta in Heaven?

The last surviving Italian WWI vereran has died at age 110. Apparently, his family is expected to auction off his old rifle, which was also carried by one of his nephews in WWII. It was never fired, and only dropped once.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

A Perfect Day for The Perfect Pig

Today, after a leisurely morning and a trip to the gym, Ferlotta and I lunched at Carl's Perfect Pig, which is certainly worth the drive out Highway 70 to White Bluff. Carl's is very much a rural, family-run place, and they hand-make the best chicken fingers we've had. Their ribs were the best that I've had in Tennessee, and all the veggies were home-cooked good. We had to help bus our own table to get a place to sit, but the service was more than friendly enough to make up for that. Be warned, when you come visit us, we will make you join us for lunch at the Perfect Pig.....and you'll love it!
A Dork Perhaps, But a Dork With a Good Point

On Meet the Press, I just watched Tim Russert's interview with Bill Thomas (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Mr. Thomas was talking about the need for the Congress to examine all the consequences of changes made in Social Security legislation. He emphasized the need to openly discuss the impacts of changing sources of revenue, individual accounts, and how increasing the age to receive benefits effects people of varying occupations, races, genders, and in different regions so differently. This may sound like good 'ole common sense, but apparently, the dipshits in both parties are digging their trenches in anticipation of a bipartisan inaction session.

Anyone who has observed American politics should have noticed that Social Security has been the sacred cow of the last several decades. I hope that our elected officials will move beyond their fear of the next election, put this issue through intense scrutiny and debate, and do the best thing for our people's future.

Of course, I don't really expect it to happen.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Don't You Love Government In Action?

The Tennessee Department of Children's Services continues it's stellar performance. Story here. Where's Donald Trump and his catch phrase when you need him?
All is Well

For those of you who heard our story of Thursday's early labor scare-- all is well. Little Rani has agreed to continue postponing her arrival for the time being. Several Baptist Hospital staff members are recovering from their dealings with Paul, and are considering career changes before our next visit. But seriously, Ferlie is doing well, and enjoying this, her first official day of Maternity Leave.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Death of a Scumbag

If any of you have been following the rascist propaganda/news coverage of the death of Latino coke-head/scumbag/criminal Lance Cpl. Andres Raya, you'll get a kick out of this article by Michelle Malkin. I stole the link from what had become my favorite newsblog, The Chronicles of Tobermory.

I despise politicized rascism, and I despise it even more when people combine a blatant disregard for the truth with an attempt to use rascism to further their own political agenda. If you read the previous article, just remember, those folks are part of the same rascist, pro-revolution political machine that came fairly close to electing Cruz Bustamante as governor of California.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Another Day at the Doctor's Office

We got to see Rani again today....well, we got to see a visual representation of of the ultrasonic waves which were bounced off of Rani by a lady with a machine....and Rani looked beautiful. Rani bears a striking resemblance to her Mama, especially the way she appeared to be sucking on her toes. Rani is currently weighing in at a little over 5 pounds, and everything seems to be intact.

Oh, and Mark your calendars now, Dr. Thornberg gave unto us a date: February 18, 2005.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Mary Sleazy Lives

Just in case anybody else was wondering, Mary Leigh is alive and doing better. I had a couple of queries after she posted a quasi-suicidal post on her blog and then quit updating. She, Ferlotta and I went to see "White Noise". The makers created a creepy mood, but it was followed by an unfortunately lame ending.

Afterwards, we headed to Borders where we ran smack-dab into this. Byron, an old acquaintance, seemed quite happy to see us, and even stalked me through the store, catching me in the Science Fiction section where we had a fine conversation. I was once to be a witness at one of his trials, but fortunately, all charges were dropped. Byron, or Lord Iohann, it was very nice to see you again.

Dinner was at Siam Cuisine, which serves pretty decent (though conservatively spiced) Thai food. The Tom Kah Kai was a touch bland, but the Larb Gai and Nam Yur were as good as you'll find in Nashville (and yes, I know that isn't saying much). Ferlotta and I yearn for our romantic Thai truck-stop dinners of "the old days", with sauces that doubled as weapons of mass destruction.
Oh Hell....I'm Dreading This

Ever since, at age 12 or so, I stumbled onto Douglas Adams' wonderfully funny "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", I've been imagining and discussing what the movie would be like. Well, it appears that I will find out (along with a lotta-other fan-geeks) on May 6, of this year (the movie was originally said to be released on May 11--the 4th anniversary of Adams' death). Apparently, the production is using the script that Adams finished (apparently a pretty heavy-duty overhauling of the novels and radio programs) in late 2000. Given the lack of talent Adams displayed in his post-1990 work, I am not optimistic about the outcome of this endeavor. More movie info here, and info on the old radio show's site, text-adventure game, and BBC TV version.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

A Fine, Fine Day

Yesterday, Mom and Dad came up to Nashville to visit. We broke our fast at Noshville, bought one of everything at Babies 'R Us, and rounded out the day with dinner at Amerigo's. A fine time was had by all.
Doing Great at 3 Months!

Here are Matt and Mykah, our nephew and niece (nice job, Manny and Famski), but more importantly, MY Godchildren. Matthew definitely has the "cool" thing down pat, and Mykah is displaying the curiosity that will lead her to cure cancer, or something equally grand.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Hello from Titan!

Hurray! They made it! The European Space Agency's probe, Huygens, has landed on Titan, and a NASA's Cassini probe is relaying the data back to Earth. Mission homepage here.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Let the Whining End, Please....

Working with some Auburn alumni, and having some Auburn fan friends, I've been bombarded with a combination of whining and legitimate complaining about Auburn's undefeated, yet un-crowned season. Granted, the Tigers/War Eagles deserve to share the National Championship with USC, but any claims that Auburn should be hailed as sole champions is ridiculous.

As a side note, only one team has started the season at #1, went undefeated, and didn't win the national championship....Bama, in 1966. And God knows the Bama fans have done their share of whining, too. Thanks to Jacque for the link.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Ahoy! Baby Doctors off the Starboard Bow!

Last night Ferlie and I went to a class put on by the office of our new pediatrician. It was interesting and fun, and we're looking more and more forward to Veronica's arrival. Especially Ferlie who says "She's trying to walk out of my belly". We go back for another ultrasound next week, but for now we're still going with the due date of February 27, even though Ferlie is accepting donations to bribe the doctor to do a C-Section as early as.....tonight?

Sunday, January 09, 2005

I like the sound of this.....I think

While it's still likely years in the future, it looks like another important target for medical science is emerging. If this supplementation, and/or stimulation of vascular endothelial growth factor really works, we would see a huge increase in both the average life expectancy AND the average productive lifespan of the human body. The article only scratches the surface of what will be gained by controlling "arterial placque disease". The authors mention the decrease in the rate of ischemic stroke and myocardial infarction (brain attack and heart attack), but when you take into account the virtual elimination of peripheral vascular disease (which leads diabetics to lose fingers, toes, legs, etc.) and renal failure in diabetics (both side effects brought on because diabetics, with their increased circulation of unbound insulin, are much more likely to develop these blockages, and to do so more quickly than non-diabetics), we'll see a huge increase in both lifespan and quality of life for a huge number of people.

Hmmmmm......what'll we do when it becomes reasonable to expect to be able to work and play actively into one's 70's or 80's? How will our society handle the expected huge increase in the number "welfare retirees" (people who retire dependent soley upon Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid) if we don't address our increased functional lifespan, "workspan", and period of Social Security entitlement. For a wide variety of reasons, we're already seeing problems with the Social Security system that are related to increased life expectancy. If, as individuals, we don't start saving more and taking care of our own families, the problems are going to increase exponentially, never mind the policy/law changes that are needed.

Leave it to me to find the darker side of an amazing potential medical breakthrough.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

North Pole up for Grabs

To the Danes, I say get yer lutefisk-eating fingers offa the Santa-Land! Apparently, there is some sort of race going on to claim the North Pole and it's vast mineral rights. If the Danes can prove that the northern-most extreme of its territory Greenland extends, via it's "continental socket, to within 370km (about 161 miles) of the Lomonosov Ridge (mountains which run up under the North Pole), they get to claim it under the UN's Convention on the Law of the Sea. Of course, the Danes have been refusing to ratify this since 1986 (purportedly because of rules on fishing and whaling). If the Danes don't ratify it by the end of this year, and then provide convincing scientific evidence within 10 years of the date of ratifying the treaty, the legality of their claim will be baseless. This is probably just another bit in the great UN bullshit saga, but I am curious to see what happens.
Paul Be Illin'

If you don't count my time off for knee surgery in 2003, I haven't called in sick work since way back in 2002. Well, today all that comes to an end. Yesterday, after 24 hours of fever and general "feeling like crap-iness" my beloved lil' brown wife made me go to the doctor, where I found out I have an ear infection. Hmmmm. I'm not sure how, but it's got to be Hatch's fault. After a coupla doses of antibiotics, I'm feeling a little better already, and should be back to work tommorrow.

Of course, there is an upside to all of this. I had a whole series of blood tests, urinalysis, and a Chest X-ray which turned out fine. The doctor said, and I quote "Other than your ear, and your big belly, you seem to be in excellent health." Heh heh heh...yay me!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Thank you, but no thank you.

Apparently some folks out in the boonies of the Andaman Islands don't need no stinkin' relief aid, and attacked an Indian helicopter with bow and arrow. Apparently this helicopter had been dropping food and water packages, which left the local tribes (who probably don't vote democrat) somewhat unsettled. Wouldn't the world be a much better place if everyone who didn't need any sort of welfare assistance shot arrows at folks trying to give it to them?
Older Men, Younger Women, and Why Philip K. Dick could whoop Judy Blume's Ass

I found this article on Fark, and read it out of morbid curiosity. There is a good deal of jumping about from topic to topic, but finally she makes a good point, and the lady's point seems to be something like: girls should read "real" books, not the stuff targeted at teenage girls, and certainly not the crap like "Men are Mars, Women Wish They Had a Penis" (Did I get that title right?). Her contention is that reading this sort of stuff ends up making it more difficult for girls, as they grow into women, to bridge the "gender gap" and develop fulfilling relationships with men.

I don't know about all of that stuff, but if the writer likes Philip K. Dick, she can't be all wrong (or all sane, for that matter).