Thursday, November 30, 2006

"Have a Very Merry Motherf*#@ing Christmas"

Posted by Wasteland Fan

Another entry in the "alternative" holiday music genre.

(In case the title of this post wasn't enough of a tip, let me be clear: This video is not "work safe" in the conventional sense. I imagine, however, that Bloggerdad wouldn't object too heartily to TH taking a break from her brief writing to play the song in the privacy of her own home.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sign of the day

I agree. Stop it with them already, wouldja?

Music Genome Project (UPDATED)

Posted by Wasteland Fan

(UPDATED so that first link works.)

While we're on the subject of great music (see TH's message below), let me recommend The Music Genome Project.

I've discovered all kinds of music that I really love just by letting it play in the background.

My newest find is Speechwriters LLC. Love 'em.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I only like hippopotamuses

And hippopotamuses like me too!

Oh, glorious day! All hail iTunes! I have found and downloaded my favorite Christmas song ever!

I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do
And my favorite line:
Mom says a hippo would eat me up but then
Teacher says the hippo is a vegetarian
Mr. T's just gonna hate it when I play this song ad nauseam for the next month.


Now I just have to unearth the Looney Tunes version of Blue Christmas and I'll be set for the season.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A brief sidenote

I think I'll just have to say it, as there are rather few ways to whitewash it or soften the edges. We had a close call last week. We were returning to Libby from Kalispell last Monday night, exactly one week ago, when we hit a patch of black ice, lost control, and flipped the truck. Down a hill, and into a creek.

We are all fine. We all walked away, even the dogs in the back. Though I'm still not quite sure how. Once the tow truck arrived and dragged the truck out of the creek, we even drove it away. And back home to Portland yesterday and today. Again, not sure how. The Montana State trooper was amazed.

As I understand it, once you've been through a near-death experience you're supposed to realize that life is short and you're then supposed to make a number of changes, preferably radical, which involve living life much more fully and zestfully. Perhaps that stage will come, but I'm quite not there yet. I'm still grappling with the terror and the enormity of it, frankly. The rest of the week was tinged with a sense of menace, and the world seems just a little darker and less comfortable.

Perhaps the most noteworthy effect of this incident so far is that it has knocked the smart-ass right out of me. Most of you who know me will understand the significance of that development.

And it's a start, anyway.

But life does, as they say, go on. And I do wish to move along, though I'm somehow changed, and it did not seem fair to conceal that from all of you.

And that, as Forrest Gump would say, is all I have to say about that.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Off to the ranch

We're going to spend Thanksgiving week in what I hope will be extreme peace and quiet. Between the renovating we're doing, we'll take a few moments to sit in the hot tub, curl up in front of the fire, and hike through the barren woods of early winter.

This trip, no human or canine will be allowed outside without an orange vest. This is the last week of hunting season, and our place backs up to the national forest. Our neighbor, Dr. G, tells a story about the other physician in her practice who was standing in his own front yard during hunting season one year, minding his own business, when suddenly a bullet came whizzing by his ear.

The G's own about 35 acres that completely surround our measly six and a half, and they have peppered the boundaries of their property with "No Trespassing" signs. In Montana, they observe, people are far more likely to respect these signs than in other places, but hunting season is the time when they are least likely to be respected.

So, neon orange it is.

We're going to try and get internet up at the house this week, but I don't know whether we'll get it done.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

"Put everything in the stock pot and stir the hell out of it"

Only from a Bloggerdad recipe, I tell ya.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

We have so much petroleum left, I'm going to start bathing in it!

That's basically the thrust of the headlines reporting this study, which concludes that oil supplies aren't expected to start falling until 2030, and we have enough oil to last 122 more years at current consumption rates.*

Hummers for everyone!!**

I read this article with interest, because it contradicts everything I've heard from the science community, including my own husband, who holds a master's degree in geology. Then the first part of this statement flipped the old Skeptic Switch, which was blinking wildly by the time I got to the last part of it:

“Oil is too critical to the global economy to allow fear to replace careful analysis about the very real challenges with delivering liquid fuels to meet the needs of growing economies,” said Peter Jackson, director of oil industry activity for Cambridge, a Massachusetts-based consultant to the oil, natural gas and electric power industries.
(Emphasis added.)

A consultant to the fossil fuels industries. I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

But hey, that doesn't necessarily mean the study is flawed. I'll reserve judgment on that till I have more time to read it and other scientists' thoughts on it. So let's assume the study's conclusions are correct.

That does leave that other little matter of climate disruption.

But hey, have hope. There are no doubt plenty of consultants to the fossil fuel industry who will be quite willing to tell you that's a crock of shit too.

*I assume, then, that this study assumed that China's consumption rates would remain steady. That's a big farkin' leap without much basis in reality.

**The cars, you perverts.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Well that flattop does look a little scurvy, and God knows where those fingers went

Capitol police fail to recognize Senator-elect Tester:

The Capitol police weren't quite ready for Tester, a farmer with a throwback flat top haircut and fingers missing on his left hand from an old accident with a meat grinder. They asked him to empty his pockets for inspection.

''Just like at the airport, you put it all through?'' Tester asked.

The officer nodded, then recognized the newcomer and waved him through.

Monday, November 13, 2006

My Simian muse

Meet one of the voices in my head here.

Get your own here.

Via Lewis, whom I hold responsible for introducing me to this addictive toy that will strip hours off an otherwise productive life. Yes, I got through that productive part with a straight face. Can you believe it?

A Little Group Therapy

Posted by Wasteland Fan

Hi. I'm Wasteland Fan and I'm a college professor.

Hi, Wasteland Fan.

It's been three semesters since I lashed out at a student in a fit of pique at his or her patently obnoxious and disrespectful behavior.

* * *

Well, in lieu of a twelve-step program, perhaps all of you could help me out. Let's call it a group therapy. In the comments, share a story from your time in college when you behaved toward a professor or approached a class in a way that is now mortifying to you. It might help me gain back my perspective that all people -- even a group as fine and distinguished as the readers of Trailheadcase -- behave in ways in their early 20s that they thankfully outgrow as they become mature, thoughtful, productive adults.

Otherwise, I'm thinking it's possible that my current students are agents of the coming apocalypse.

Note to Googlers (Updated)

Yes, Jon Tester lost three fingers to a meat grinder as a child.

No, I don't think he's a vegetarian. I read somewhere that he used to be a custom butcher.

Yes, he does grow organic crops. (See link above.)

That ought to cover your questions.

I can't wait to see what Kristy makes of this one.

Update/Confidential to Wasteland: Well, I thought it was a meat grinder, anyway.

Who the hell am I kidding? You totally win.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

First snow and a hot pot

Shanghai doesn't get much snow, according to O, our friend who is also Mr. T's China-based colleague. So, because I subscribe to the "Travel is not so much about having fun as just immersing yourself in a completely different milieu" philosophy of globetrotting, we dragged O up to the Timberline Lodge yesterday. Mt. Hood received as much snow in an hour yesterday as Shanghai probably has in the last 25 years. O was surprised by the depth of the cold, but the shutter on his camera was tripping frequently, so I'm hoping the trip at least left an impression.

For my part, I was delighted to unearth my favorite winter jacket from the closet and feel the snow beneath my feet again. (It won't be long, though, before I'm whining about the loss of my beloved summer.)

After my gastrointestinal adventures in China last spring, I determined to do my best to take care of O on his most recent trip to the States. Mr. T and I both found Asian food almost unbearable even to look at toward the end of our trip. So expecting that O would have a similar reaction to Western food, we decided to get him more Asian food toward the end of his visit. To his great credit, O is willing to try almost anything (as Mr. T is when he goes to China). Since he arrived, he's eaten a smoked salmon omelette with hollaindaise sauce at a French bistro we frequent, Mexican tortilla soup, and a number of offerings on their brief trip to rural Arkansas last week to which he could only react with a shudder.

"How's O doing with the food?" I asked Mr. T over the phone during their trip to Arkansas.

"Oh, about as well as I do in Yangjiang," he snickered with a small but regrettable note of schadenfreude no doubt produced by one too many meals of sea worms and elephant snails.

O's chief complaint is that everything tastes the same here (and no doubt like crap, though he leaves this part out). So you can imagine the gusto with which he greeted the hot pot meal we had arranged with the same Taiwanese friend who had held it last year. Last night was the first time I saw him approach a meal without looking a wee bit like a man walking to the gallows. O takes great pains to be a polite, considerate guest, but you can see the weariness in his eyes.

After our meal last night (during which TK actually sampled a slice of lotus root), there was a definite spring in O's step. Today we left him in the care of one of Mr. T's co-workers who hails from mainland China, so I suspect he ate well again.

And after that, he only has two more days before he can go home and get some decent food.

I know just how he feels.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

All right Kristy

Even I know that there's no such thing as a Montana Vulture Anus, especially one that looks like Jon Tester.

Nice try.


Update: My goodness, now everyone's getting in on the act! I'm being google-bombed!!

Friday, November 10, 2006


Google of the Day, from the United Kingdom:

"beetle ice cream beetles humans."

Okay, unless TK is googling from his preschool, I can't figure this one out. Was it on TV? The Simpsons? Lost? "Everybody hates Chris and his beetle ice cream?"

Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

Memo to solicitor who decided to come to my door and annoy me this afternoon while I was working

Telling me that you'll come back when I'm "in a better mood" is not the most effective way to convince me to do what you want. Go away, and do not come back.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

We were this close to Jesus coming back!

Colbert on the election. Hee.

(Sorry, FM)

Bear with me for a moment while I enjoy this

Looks like the Senate's starting to look a little bit more like Montana.

What's this strange feeling?

Something's different here. Oh yeah....


Friends, it's been eight years since I've felt this good the morning after a national election. And I tell ya what, I'm doing a happy dance over here, though it was a little belated till I could feel confident about my big political crush, Montanan Jon Tester.

Look at what we've accomplished:

  • South Dakota voters rejected a nasty, punitive abortion ban by 12 points.
  • Oregon and California defeated parental notification measures, both by 8 points.
  • Missouri's measure to allow stem cell research passed by two points.
  • Arizona's measure to ban gay marriage, while not finally called, is flagging by about 30,000 votes with 99% of precincts reporting.
  • Nancy Pelosi is poised to become the first female speaker.
  • A Democrat took Tom "I heart DDT and Jack Abramoff" Delay's House seat.

  • It's a good day. And shortly, we here at Trailheadcase will return to our regularly scheduled programming on the biology of turkey vultures.

    And the hits keep coming

    Donald Rumsfeld to step down, says CNN.

    So, Joe Lieberman anyone? A Republican Connecticut governor will get to appoint Lieberman's replacement, thus tipping the balance of the Senate back to the Republicans.

    Nah, surely the White House wouldn't be that nakedly cynical, would it?

    Now watch this drive.

    Let's see how this one plays out.

    Bush nominates ex-CIA chief Robert Gates for Defense Secretary.

    Flat Top wins it

    So say the AP and NBC.

    Hello, Senator Tester.

    I'm actually a little bit teary. We have an organic farmer from Montana in the United States Senate.

    Where we are

    Via Daily Kos, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee has sent out the following statement on Tester and Webb:

    Both Jon Tester and Jim Webb have won their races in Montana and Virginia but want to make sure that every vote is counted. We expect to have official results soon but can happily declare today that Democrats have taken the majority in the U.S. Senate.

    Montana Vote Situation: Jon Tester leads Conrad Burns by approximately 1,700 votes (as of 11am EDT) and counting. In Silver Bow County (Butte), a Democratic stronghold, votes are still being counted but Tester is winning there with 66% of the vote. We expect to gain the majority of these uncounted votes and to add to Tester's margin.

    Montana Process: When the counting phase is completed, a canvass will verify the vote tallies. That process could take as long as 48 hours, and must begin within three days and end within seven. Unless the canvass shows the margin to be within ¼ of 1%, there is no recount. As the loser, Burns would have to request the recount. When the votes are all counted, we expect to be outside that recount margin.

    Virginia Vote Situation: Jim Webb is up by approximately 8,000 votes and once the provisional ballots are counted, we expect Webb's margin to increase. (Please note that VA absentees were included in the tallies from last night.)

    Virginia Process: A canvass is underway to verify the results and we expect that process to finish within a day or so. To be in recount, the margin needs to be less than 1% and Allen (as the loser) would have to request it. Because of Virginia voting laws, the margin would have to be much tighter than it currently is to see any change in the outcome. Given the current margins, that is highly, highly unlikely.

    Leave it to Montana (Updated again and again)

    To be the last state to report. Yellowstone county is getting a recount, and word is, it won't be done till morning.

    I'm going to bed.

    Update: Crap. This sucks. Montana is starting to look a lot like Florida in 2000. Tester is ahead by a paper thin margin with 96% of precincts counted. People all over the world care about this. I'm getting hits from Finland, for crying out loud, from people googling "Yellowstone County."

    Yellowstone county. Daily Kos has the best selection of information on this. I need to go back to bed for a few hours. I'm only up because TK wanted some water, and I'm such a geek I couldn't resist checking in.

    Update Deux: With 99% of precincts reported, Tester has 1,586 1,735 vote lead, says CNN. I believe there's only a very small county left to tally along with a tiny portion of Yellowstone.

    If the numbers I'm seeing are correct, the only county left is Meagher, which only has less than 1,500 electors. Burns would have to take every single vote to erase Tester's lead. People on Daily Kos are calling for Tester to declare victory. I suspect there will be recounts, but I'm inclined to agree with the clamoring masses here. Call it, Flat Top.

    Tuesday, November 07, 2006

    Macaca in trouble?

    Holy crap. I watched all evening as Webb closed the gap on George "Macaca" Allen, and darned if he didn't just pull ahead by something like .08%.

    I think the lawyers are gonna hash this one out.

    A new House

    At least, so say ABC and CBS.

    Tester's leading in early returns, but it's an awful lot of blue counties. I'm not at all confident.

    Proud to be a Hoosier tonight

    The first GOP House seat turned over to the Dems: Indiana-08, Brad Ellsworth.

    And Baron Hill over Sodrel!


    Senator Man-on-Dog.


    First returns (Updated)

    From CNN, Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders, who says he'll caucus with the Dems, projected to win. Richard Lugar of Indiana is also projected to win. Considering Lugar had no challenger, that's not much of a surprise, though I guess it means Flies With Moose's write-in candidacy couldn't squeak by.

    Also from Indiana's 8th Congressional District: Democrat Ellsworth 70%, Hostettler 30%, with 12% reporting.

    Update: CNN has Webb up by 1 point with 23% of precincts reporting. (I can't really give you a link because it's from my customized list of races.)

    And so it begins

    CNN's exit polls finding corruption to be top issue for voters.

    Corruption? Day-um. That only cuts one way.

    That sounds a little off to me, though. Any thoughts?

    Well that sucked

    I was just about to post the following tidbits about ninety minutes ago when my electricity went out. It just came on again. Must be a Republican conspiracy, hee.


    Republican National Committee chair Ken Mehlman prefers to vote on a paper ballot, as does columnist Bob Novak. I can't imagine why.

    Conrad Burns campaign has hissy fit, pulls Great Falls Tribune's credentials for his election night event because the newspaper published a Gallup poll last night showing Tester ahead by nine points. Then, perhaps realizing the utter dumbfuckery of that move, the Burns campaign reinstated the Tribune's credentials.

    Tidbits (Updated)

    Interesting news out of Montana:

    "[T]he MT Sec of State reported Friday that 106K voters cast ballots early or by absentee... well over 1/4 of the votes expected in the state. Of these, Dem internal polls had Jon Tester winning 58-37."

    Come on, flat top!

    Also, Colorado congressional candidate, Democrat Jay Fawcett, was the victim of vandals last night who trashed his office and sprayed "skunk smell" all over the place. Yippee. Oh yeah, and he was the recipient of a death threat. But it was his third, so he's used to it, you know.


    Harassing Republican robo-calls actually using the Democratic candidate's voice. Nice touch, assholes.

    Tension reliever

    I'm trying to listen to some calming music to soothe the frayed election nerves, but for some reason, I still have "Who Let the Dogs Out?" running on loop in my head.

    Who let the dogs out
    Woof woof woof woof woof


    Meanwhile, here's a hysterically funny send-up of the negative ad for your viewing pleasure. (I realize I'm coming very close to becoming a youtube addict. No intervention necessary.)

    FBI investigating voter intimidation in Webb-Allen Senate race in Virginia

    Good grief:

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the possibility of voter intimidation in the U.S. Senate race between Sen. George Allen, a Republican, and Democratic challenger James Webb, officials told NBC News.

    State officials alerted the Justice Department on Tuesday to several complaints of suspicious phone calls to voters who attempted to misdirect or confuse them about election day, Jean Jensen, Secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections, told NBC’s David Shuster.


    In the Washington, D.C., area, NBC affiliate News4 reported on its Web site that it had received e-mail from a viewer in Virginia who said he received a phone call from so-called volunteers threatening voters with arrest if they cast ballots.

    News4 reported: “The viewer's e-mail stated after he had voted, he received a call from an unknown caller who said they knew the voter was registered out of state and would be arrested if they voted today. The viewer's e-mail stated he's been registered to vote in Virginia for the last three years and has the Virginia Voter Registration card to prove it.”
    Here is an audio file of one of these calls.

    Indiana problems

    Widespread problems getting voting machines started in Marion County, Indiana (Indianapolis). Problem involves about half of the voting machines, which poll workers forgot how to start. County clerk Doris Ann Sadler said it could take all day to fix. Meanwhile, paper ballots are being used.

    Hoosiers voting today, how has your experience been? Where are you voting?

    Election orgy

    That's what it's gonna be today, folks. Basically my way of communicating with the three people reading this blog for the political stuff.

    By the way, if you're still deluded enough to think we don't have election problems in this country, go read all the posts on the front page of Talking Points Memo. Ugh.

    Sunday, November 05, 2006

    Election specifics and a plug for Oregon's balloting system

    On the evening of November 7, 1988, my father pulled me aside and gave me the following advice: "Vote before you go to class tomorrow, as early as you can get to the polling place. That way, if you die later in the day, your vote has been counted."

    1988 was the first general election I voted in, though I'd voted in the Indiana Democratic primary the previous May when I was still 17, under the law that allows 17 year-olds to do so if they'd be eligible to vote in November's general. My dad's advice made sense, and I followed it. It didn't help Michael Dukakis, but I still remember it every November.

    Now there's an even better reason to vote early -- so you have time to work it out if you're getting a hard time. Remember this number: 1-866-OUR VOTE. This is an election protection hotline, and you should call it if you're having trouble voting.

    I worked the election protection phones in Indiana in 1998 (If I recall, Wasteland worked them with me that time). See what high-quality folks are staffing these phones?

    Don't let them screw you out of your right to vote. Fight back if you're getting a raft of shit.

    All that said, I think Oregon has the best damn system in the country. Our paper ballots arrived in the mail a little over a week ago. Mr. T and I sat down at the kitchen table tonight and marked our ballots at our leisure. You can mail them in, but they have to arrive by 8 p.m. Tuesday or they don't count, so tomorrow morning I think I'll run them to the collection spot at the library two minutes away.

    Because, you know, one or both of us could die tomorrow afternoon.

    Sometimes the clothes do not make the man

    It's almost over. But until Tuesday, I won't be shutting up.

    Meanwhile, this is the best piece of political youtubing I've ever seen. Watch it, dammit.

    Thursday, November 02, 2006