Monday, October 30, 2006

"Freedom of speech is fine, but you shouldn't do it publically"

I've always been with the Chicks on this one. The sheer amount of shit they've had lobbed at them for speaking out against Bush is amazing. See the trailer below.

Oh, and guess what? NBC is refusing to air this trailer because it's "disparaging to President Bush." Welp, it's good to know what their broadcast criteria are.

Happy Birthday Bloggerdad

The Inspector wishes you many happy returns.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

New on the blogroll

Check out Spirit of Saint Lewis, one of Bert's frequent readers and commenters who has started his own blog. I'm looking forward to reading him. After all, how can a guy who's been followed by the KGB not have an interesting blog?

The Great Pumpkin

All hail Charlie Brown.

Friday, October 27, 2006


So here I sit, downloading horror movie soundtracks for the party tonight, and reveling in the campy spookiness that is my favorite holiday. I enjoy Christmas, with its happy festivities, its peace on earth and goodwill toward all, but for my favorite holiday, toss me a jack-o-lantern, a blacklight and friends actually using power tools to construct their costumes for my party. (Isn't Tony great?) Never underestimate the willingness of perfectly mature adults to put on an outrageous getup and party down.

So I'm counting down the days till the witching hour with some Halloween clips. Here's today's. Who couldn't love this video?

Is Heroes the New Lost?

Posted by Wasteland Fan (in full-on Wasteland Fan mode, no less)

Who's watching Lost this season? It's still great TV, but I'm feeling less involved. The cast is cumbersome and the storytelling a little more disjointed than in previous seasons.

Heroes, on the other hand, is this season's Lost. I am lovin' that show. Anybody with me? It gets better each week.

Halloween party

Tomorrow night. You're all invited.

I'll miss you, former Indy Halloween partygoers. It really, really, really won't be the same without you.

But I'm sure there are some last minute cheap flights. Let me know when to pick you up.

Full Moon, who in the hell is going to be my dead bartender?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


So they executed Danny Harold Rolling in Florida for the murders of five college students in Gainesville in 1990.

I moved to Gainesville in 1993. One of the apartments I had was a quarter of a mile away from where Danny Rolling killed one of his victims. I worked with the cousin of one of the victims, an 18-year old college student. Rolling had killed her and left her head on a bookcase to be found later. I remember my co-worker breaking down in agonized tears on the day Rolling was convicted.

I'm generally against the death penalty, and even worked hard my third year in law school on behalf of an inmate on North Carolina's death row (he's now serving life without parole). But there are days when it's hard to work up a lot of passion about it. This is one of them.

This is it, right here (Updated)

As you all either know or have surmised, I am interested in and feel strongly about politics.

Why? Because ultimately, it's about people. And I care about people. I've never been able to shrug off the responsibility of caring about people by ignoring politics. In the end, you never know when it'll be your ass on the line.

But I don't blog it as much as a regular "political blogger," because 1) that would turn this into a completely different blog, and 2) there are already some amazing political bloggers, and what I have to say here is mostly gilding the lily.

But if you want to see the most critical issue of our time summed up in a single political ad, here it is. Three thousand people, folks -- and those are just the Americans. Though estimates have gone as high as 655,000, let's just take Bush's numbers and assume that 30,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed in this conflict.

Those 33,000 people had spouses, lovers, friends, parents and children. Some of them were children. Just like yours.

The Republicans say the stakes are high in this election. You're damned right they are.

They don't know what they are doing. And they're willing to lie about it.

I'm not asking you to become some left-wing diehard. I'm just asking you to think, hard, about what to do in this election.

UPDATE: Bloggerdad asked that I include Michael J. Fox's recent ad for Claire McCaskill in Missouri. Read here about Rush Limbaugh's slam on Fox, in which he claimed that Fox was acting, or had gone off his meds in order to exaggerate his symptoms. In reality, Fox's appearance in the ad is far more likely a side effect of the meds that he is taking.

Rush then apologized, but said it was still "exploitive" of Fox to make the ad. Oh, yeah, I forgot that rule of civil discourse where it's actually wrong to show the real life effects of policy -- in this case, the effects of a disease that could be alleviated with the help of embryonic stem cell research. Silly me.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A haiku for Thomas

My underwear gone
Chewed and ripped on the carpet
And you look guilty

Monday, October 23, 2006

More on the Montana place

Mr. T and I have been spending a great deal of time scanning my slides in, and I stumbled across this pic in the middle of the literally hundreds of slides we're working with. I usually take snapshots with a regular old point and shoot, but I went ahead and snapped this one with my pro gear because I was headed down the road to shoot across the valley.

This was from the first trip I ever took there. I made two trips in the dead of winter before I ever got there in the summertime. So I didn't know when I took this shot that lupines, balsamroot and wild hyacinth were all buried under the snow, awaiting spring. But not everything is asleep up there during the winter. Deer regularly stop by in the morning to nibble on whatever plants are sticking up through the snow.

As I recall, the evening of the day I took this picture, three more feet of snow fell -- enough to reach halfway up the front door.

See that thing on top with its own deck? That's called a crow's nest (just like on ships) and the original owner built that on after the place was constructed. From the crow's nest, there's a clear, unobstructed view of the valley, the town and the Kootenai River. We can hear the faint whistle of the trains that pass through town from up on the mountain. TK always wants to climb up to the crow's nest when he hears it, so he can view the train as it winds along the river.

It's on a little over six acres, and the property line extends up the mountain a significant distance to a little clearing where the view is even better than in the crow's nest. I'm ashamed to admit that I climbed up there for the first time just this summer. I think it was up there that Mr. T and I firmly decided to take the plunge and buy the place. The corral is located just off the right edge of the picture, and enclosed by a beautiful log fence my father-in-law constructed by hand his first summer there.

The house was built in the early 80s, and hasn't been redecorated since then. Being more of a sportsman than aesthete, my father-in-law didn't really care. But his son and daughter-in-law are both! (Well, let's just say I'm not a sportsperson, but I'm an outdoor type.) So we'll be doing some renovating, starting during the week of Thanksgiving. We've decided to make our renovations as environmentally friendly as possible, which means they'll probably be more expensive, and so will take us longer to complete.

We're going to start with zero VOC paint on the walls, and from there we'll be investigating salvage timber floors, Paperstone countertops, and so forth. We pressure-washed the solarium the last time we were there, and got a start on pressure-washing the roof. Next spring we'll pressure wash the cedar siding, which has been burned black in places from the relentless summer sun -- as you can see from the picture.

The hot tub is in good shape, and I don't see any point in expending the resources to replace it right now. The house also has a solar water pre-heater, and we'll probably get that checked out next summer and serviced if needed.

Mr. T also plans to make most of any additional furniture that might be required. Instead of buying wood to do this, we've been prowling the national forests for whole, downed logs. He's long wanted to try his hand at whole-log furniture, and he's going to avail himself of the opportunity. We won't cut any or purchase any logs; all the furniture will be made from wood that's already down. We have a pile of spruce logs curing in our garage right now. Fortunately, I bought Mr. T a draw knife, used for peeling logs, last year for Christmas.

We will also be getting DSL up there soon. (Two years ago, that wouldn't have been possible, but the reach of technology has expanded up the mountain.) I enjoyed the unreachability for a long time, but it's too hard to work when I have to go into town every time I want to access e-mail or the online legal research databases I use so often. With DSL, I can spend more time there.

I'll probably be posting updates as we go, along with before and after pics.

Home . . . and a Confession

Posted by Wasteland Fan

I'm home from India feeling irretrievably jet lagged. WS and I went to "The Producers" last night and I all but slept through the second act. Then, when I got home and tried to go to bed, I was wide awake until 2:30 a.m.

Now for the confession: Though it was entertaining to cause Mr. T to freak and to get the adoration of all you snake fans, I must admit that the Charming picture was snapped from the safety of a motor coach. Not that I would have been afraid to approach the snake charmer, I woudln't have been. But the picture gives the impression of a daring that I cannot claim in this particular instance.

You know how you learn something every time you travel? Well, put this one in the "now you know" file: In order to re-enter the U.S. after travelling abroad, foreign students in the U.S. on student visas must take not only their native passports and the student visa, but also a little form called an I-20. Immigration officials get very testy when, say, a student from South Korea visits India and forgets to bring along his or her I-20. It can result in threats to detain the student in India, delayed flights, nearly missed connections in Frankfort, and a lot of angst for both student and faculty chaperones.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Actual conversation on the trail up to LaTourell Falls yesterday

Trailhead Kid (looking down at the trail at an insect busily crossing the path): Oh, look at this new beetle!

Me (unaware that there was an old beetle somewhere): Oh, cool!

Mr. T: Where do you think he's going?

Trailhead Kid: To the beetle restaurant, to get some dinner and...and...and...then some beetle ice cream.

Me: Wow, beetle ice cream. I wonder what that tastes like. Beetles, maybe?

Trailhead Kid: Um, it tastes like people and beetles.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

More on Tester

This is rich:

Former U.S. senator Max Cleland is in Montana, campaigning for Democrat Jon Tester, who’s running against GOP incumbent U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns. This in today’s Billings Gazette:

“During his speech, Cleland made light of his own amputations by grabbing Tester’s left hand, which is missing three fingers lost in a meat grinder.

“‘At least he won’t be putting his hand in the till like someone we know,’ Cleland said, referring to Burns’ campaign donations of about $150,000 from Jack Abramoff, his clients and associates.”

Photo of this here.

That meat grinder thing? Ow.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wherein a paw reaches out from the great beyond

When Boo died so suddenly this summer, I finally wanted another dog. But I didn't want a female, and I wanted the dog to be as different as possible from Whiskey (our Golden Retriever who died three years ago) and Boo. Thus the tri-color mutt. The strange thing about Thomas is that, as much as I wanted him to be different -- starkly different -- from Boo and Whiskey, that's not how events have unfolded.

Over and over again, Thomas has channeled his predecessors through various actions and behaviors, and kept their memories firmly on the forefront. They're mostly little things, like the way he yawns with a little yelp, hoards rawhides and the expression he gets when he grabs a sock. But the other day, I got a startling example on film.

You know, I couldn't feel anything of Boo that had lingered behind after she died. Until we got Thomas.

What I did on my hiatus

It's clearly time for another one, as soon as I get over this plague. (Mr. T, Trailhead Kid and our friend and his daughter are in the canoe.)

In the same vein

Good heavens, but Conrad Burns is nuttier than a sack of Planters.

Is it just me, or are the people laughing at him, and not with him?

Fire Burns, indeed

Can I just take a moment and bore you with my latest political crush?

Yesterday I threw some scratch to Jon Tester's senatorial campaign. As much of a political junkie as I am, this is the first campaign contribution I've ever made. I know, I know. I have volunteered time, run phone banks, sat by phones giving legal advice to people having trouble voting, and done voter registration. But I've always spent my money on environmental organizations and other nonprofit groups.

But I was compelled to do it this time because damned if I don't have a huge political crush on Jon Tester, who's running in Montana against Senator Conrad Burns, a Republican. The polls are looking good for Tester, and I really wanted to be a (tiny) part of his victory. I'm only a part-time Montanan (for now), but my heart is lodged firmly up in the northwest corner of that great state.

I was in Libby the day before the primary, when it was still kind of expected that Morrison would beat Tester. But I was seeing Tester yard signs, and not much for Morrison (though Morrison did end up winning Lincoln County.) I'd heard about Tester from the various political blogs I read, probably Daily Kos or something.

He's a farmer. And more than that, his farm has been moving toward organics for some time. He also used to be a custom butcher. That this fact has not diminished this vegetarian's enthusiasm for him is testament to the size of my crush.

This is shaping up to be a great election season, but the biggest bummer for me is that I don't get to vote for Jon Tester. I just have one thing to ask of the future Senator Tester:

Please, please, please. Don't let DC turn you into a washed-out, limp copy of your robust self. I want to keep my political crush on you for a long time.

That is all.

Here are my favorite Tester ads. I love the way he says "Montana" in that clipped kind of, well, Montanan way.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Taj

Posted by Wasteland Fan

Lots of good pictures, but here's a teaser on a day I'm in a hurry to get out the door to a bus that will no doubt drive heedlessly into oncoming traffic for most of the day.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Posted by Wasteland Fan

I'm in India right now with 59 undergraduate business students. Just thought I'd share. I'll probably write more later about it and post some pictures.

We leave for the Taj Mahal in about an hour.

I'm not sick . . . yet.

Friday, October 13, 2006


It's 5:45 a.m. That most ruthless of predators, the common cold*, has been stalking me for days, and last night laid me flat. Fever, watery eyes, muscle aches, congestion. Yippee! And just in time for the weekend.

And now, thanks to this tiny rhinovirus, I cannot sleep.

Am I the only one for whom the term "rhinovirus" conjures up a distinctly comical image?

*It's preschool petri dish season.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Tale of Two Googles

"Lawyering for cold weather hiking." Well of course you landed here, dude.

"Texas vulture anus." Okay, now we're getting somewhere with this vulture anus bit. So, do you think it was Laura or Condi that did this one?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Intermission II

Up in this high air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be. --Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa
It's autumn again, and that always seems to mean international travel season. Rose has been on a tour of Europe, Wasteland's leaving for India tomorrow, and commenter ASP is leaving tomorrow as well, heading to Tanzania. Fall always seems to move people to travel beyond their own borders. Indeed, it was two years ago today that I was preparing to leave Spain after 8 days of exploring Madrid and Toledo. And even today, I look out the window and think, "Maybe I should go to Chile." Must be the cheap airfare.

But I won't be traveling internationally this fall, as I've allocated my resources elsewhere for the moment. Mr. T and I have purchased the beloved Montana house. His parents wanted to sell it, and we wanted to buy it. And so the place I was so sad to think was going away is now ours. We're not moving there full-time, (yet!) but we will be spending even more time there from now on.

It's a good, good place.

Deer in the corral at the house

You can see the rest of my images from the surrounding area here. (At least till I take down THI, which will probably happen pretty soon.)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hi, Atus!

The weakness of that title alone ought to tell you I need a break. I really didn't know I needed one until I simply stopped posting last Friday when our Constitution was shredded, consumed and shat out like one of my dog's rope toys. Remember that? Yeah, I know it's hard to recall such trivialities in the midst of a good old-fashioned American sex scandal, complete with underage boys, staggering hypocrisy, and the requisite cover-up.

So here I am, postless for almost four days running. I've been doing a number of other things -- making a flannel quilt (did y'all know I do girly things too?), kayaking up near Mt. Hood, preparing to take the photography thing to another level, laundry, playing with my kid, having discussions about religion with good friends, and actual legal work.

I'll be back later.