Thursday, June 30, 2005

Snopes is a great resource

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!!! The heat is getting to us, isn't it? The heat wave is altering our judgement and obliterating the last shreds of common sense.

At this hour (21:54) there's a link from Newzjunky to the infamous Bonsai Kitten website. The blurb beneath the link reads: A newz junkie writes: "I'd like to bring to your attention a company that is operating out of New York City that call committing cruel acts to kittens by shoving them in jars art and entertainment. Worst of all our U.S. government gave them a permit to do such cruel things."
I do hope that the smart person behind Newz Junky is just playin' with us tonight.
This is a rather old urban legend. This myth has been debunked.
So has the viper /heroin needle in the ball pit of McDonald's/Burger King rumor. I've received countless variations of that email, too.
Seriously, Snopes is your friend!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Summer Un-Schooling: Biology, Ecology and PE class

Can you spot the frog?

"Tickling" a frog and warding off Nature Deficit Disorder. Taken on the Calcium Nature Trail, June 28, 2005.  Posted by Hello

Halt! Who goes there?

Gandalf the Gray, poised to take a little swipe at anyone who dares to come up his stairs. Except bats, of course. Posted by Hello

Monday, June 27, 2005

Hot under the collar

We came close to a record in the greater Watertown area today - just one degree (F) short of the record of 93 degrees set in 1941.
Of course, such oppressive heat does create a strain on the power grid. That's perfectly understandable. What I can't understand is why the St Regis - Akewsasne Mohawk reserve had to endure rolling blackouts. Smells a little racist to me. I think the Hermes store in Manhattan ought to have been the first spot targetted.

Unbearably hot!  Posted by Hello

Luna moth at the Thompson Park Zoo. Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Luxury on ice, or how to raise Rose's blood pressure

There is an interesting article in the style section of today's New York Times. Allen Salkin tells of an experiment in which a reporter tested the temperatures of various commercial centers in Manhattan. It was found that, "almost without fail, the more ritzy the establishment is trying to be, the colder the air-conditioning is kept. In other words, the higher the prices, the lower the temperatures." The author cites the Hermes store as an example, where it was 68.6F, and a stainless steel thermos had a price tag $1,200.

Consider the (rich) irony of that little tidbit of information. I use a thermos because I'm cheap and fussy, and I don't care to spend $3 for a cup of mediocre coffee on the road when I can travel with my own splendidly brewed, economical coffee from home. A thermos that is "worth" more than my 96 Saturn doesn't compute in my frugal mindset.

I suppose I could just roll my eyes and snicker at the idiocy of this air conditioned decadence. A fool and his money and all that jazz, eh? But we are all paying the price for such energy wastage. As the article points out, "The Energy Department says that each degree setting on a thermostat below 78 degrees increases energy consumption by 8 percent." Unless Hermes has signed on with an eco-friendly supplier of electricity such as Green Mountain Energy (like we have), their excessive demands for energy will result in increased air pollution.

My big brother tells me that Toronto's summer air quality has deteriorated drastically in the past few years, to the point that his family could not go outside yesterday. The iconic CN Tower was barely visible through the smog. Half of Ontario's smog comes from the United States.

Gandhi said something to the effect that, when we take more than we need, we steal from those who do not have enough. How his heart would break to realize that in 2005, such mindless decadence is literally choking us.

Interesting fusion

Weekend mornings tend to be quite relaxed around here. The husband and I are early risers who enjoy puttering about while listening to Fresh Air on CBC. The ever-pleasant, never-offensive Jeff Goodes invariably introduces the listener to off-beat musical experiences.
Today's treat for the ears is Salsa Celtica. As the reader can no doubt surmise, this band fuses fiery, exuberant Latin rhythms with the whirl and skirl of Scottish folk music.

Foggy Sunrise, 0600, 26 June 2005. T'ick as Habitant pea soup, dere eh? Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 25, 2005

I should have let it stay!

Once upon a time, there was an Army Wife who lived in a little house in the country with her son, her dog, and three cats. The Army even allowed her husband to come home from time to time. This story does not take place during one of those times.
One morning, last summer, our heroine traipsed upstairs to the master bedroom. Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted something large and brown on the curtain. "Oh, my! That's a very large moth!" she thought. A few seconds later, her eyes began to focus (darned myopia and astigmatism!) and she realized that it was, in fact, a bat which had taken refuge in the curtain.
Hmmm, thought the heroine as she looked at the three cats sleeping on her bed, apparently unaware of and/or unconcerned by the presence of the winged rodent. "Justify your existence!" she said to the felines.
The heroine ushered the child downstairs, closing the door behind her. She gathered her supplies: a camera (to provide visual documentation of the fun and excitement that her husband was missing out on), concertina wire gloves, and a hefty dose of intestinal fortitude. With one swift motion, she lowered the top section of the nifty-neato vinyl replacement window, and threw the curtain, bat and all, out onto the lawn below. Mission accomplished, sans injury to the bat and sans the heroine's screaming like a little girl. Pride abounded. The end.

Perhaps the heroine should have adopted the little brown bat as a pet. For the past two nights, the family has been pestered by hordes of mosquitoes. As it turns out, the aforementioned nifty neato vinyl replacement window, including the screen, was wide open. Two nights of itchy insomnia ensued. Why do mosquitoes exist? Intelligent design, my itchy, welted, bug-bitten behind!
 Posted by Hello

Friday, June 24, 2005

Quote of the day

"As far as I know, there are no electrically-powered contraceptive devices."
My husband's response to this article about Floridian babies conceived during the electrical outages following Hurricanes Charley, Francis, and Ivan.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Rose's Raspberry Martini: Into an ice-filled shaker, pour equal parts vodka, creme de cacao, and raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord. Pour into chilled martini glasses. Share with husband as sun sets on a perfect summer day. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Another quilt .. a busy bee table runner for Mrs. S. Yeah, I'm a manic quilter. Wanna make something of it?? Posted by Hello


There is fury at the house of the Miniature Rose today. I'm not even sure where to begin.

While the number of American soldiers killed in Iraq has steadily climbed to 1724 and the stream of severely wounded soldiers continues unabated, the attention of the mainstream US media is turned to Saddam Hussein's junk food preferences.

I am not certain if Saddam Hussein is technically considered to be a prisoner of war, but let's err on the side of caution. The Geneva Conventions clearly state that: "Prisoners of war must be protected against insults and public curiosity."

Who in the hell authorized those five media whores Pennsylvania National Guardsmen to talk to GQ and Matt Lauer???? What in the hell were they thinking???

As my Dad would say, "the optics are bad." There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator and a terrible man. No-one could have sympathy for that devil. However, we must take the higher ground. This is a zero-defects situation. Violating the Geneva Conventions, even if they don't strictly apply to this situation, is unconscionable.

I am furious because this puts my family at direct risk of retaliation - my soldier husband, and my precious child who attends a school comprised mostly of military dependents.

To those five Guardsmen, I ask: how much did you get for your soul?

Monday, June 20, 2005

Monarch Posted by Hello

Original design. Quilt made for Ms. R. Posted by Hello

Spring Splash Quilt made for Mrs. P. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Impending Apocalypse?

If you're a lapsed Catholic (like me) you might want to consider a trip to the confessional. Pourquoi, dites-tu??

I find myself in complete agreement with Michelle Malkin. This is surely a sign of the apocalypse. Stock up on bottled water, and atone for your sins, for the end is nigh!

Je ne sais pas le raison, mais je veux ecrire en Francais ce soir. Mais je ne sais pas comment faire les accents. Encore, je dit, prepare-toi pour le fin du monde.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Interesting ...

This month's issue of The Annals of Internal Medicine discusses discusses the health of soldiers who served in the first Gulf War. Whilst I believe that the study's methodology is flawed, the results are astonishing. Gulf War I vets were forty times more likely to suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome than those who were on Active Duty at the time, but not serving in the area.
While my husband has been all around the world in BDU's, this upcoming deployment will be his first to the Gulf. He's already had the chronic fatigue label stamped in his extensive medical file. I know that such a condition exists, but I'm not convinced that every diagnosis of CFS is truly that. In hubby's case, I have to wonder if the diagnosis wasn't the written equivalent of a shoulder shrug - just a white lab coat-wearing high priest of the church of big pharma saying, "damned if I know what's wrong!"
Fortunately, we have found answers outside the realm of big pharma. Dr. Andrew Weil's website is an excellent resource. I won't label a cause and an effect, but my husband's health has improved substantially since he started taking Co-Q 10 and Milk Thistle supplements. I'm just saying.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Statesman and Earthday Boy.  Posted by Hello

The quilt and runner I made for the PTO silent auction. I'm not sure what the final bid was, but I'm told it brought in more money than any other item. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Snippets from the New York Times

Nicholas Kristof has written extensively about Darfur in his NY Times column. Today's piece is a call for action, citing the success of modest international interventions in restoring hope to the village of Labado, Sudan. It is a painful piece to read, because it describes specific and heinous atrocities. The closing paragraph is particularly powerful:

"Mr. Bush values a frozen embryo. But he hasn't mustered much compassion for an entire population of terrorized widows and orphans. And he is cementing in place the very hopelessness he dreads, by continuing to avert his eyes from the first genocide of the 21st century."

Another great article from today's NYTimes describes a Lactivist Nurse-in outside of ABC's headquarters yesterday, in response to rude anti-breastfeeding comments made by Barbara Walters on "The View." The article cites several examples of nursing mothers being hassled and/or evicted from public spaces. This surprises and saddens me. I breastfed my son, who will turn 8 this summer, for 18 months. I nursed on planes and trains, in waiting rooms, malls, grocery stores, libraries and parks in Europe, the United States, and Canada. The closest I came to being "harassed" was on the train from Milan to Vicenza. I was attempting to be very discreet and covered my son and my torso with a blanket. I was still quite new at breastfeeding, and I didn't want to offend the Italian sensibilities of the distinguished-looking businessman sitting across from me. He told me, "Take that blanket off! You'll suffocate your baby!"

When we returned from Europe, I had the good fortune to find myself living in New York, which was the first state to enact specific laws protecting the civil rights of nursing mothers and their babies.

Shame on you, Ms. Walters. I wish I had a TV so that I could boycott you!!

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Is this not the saddest little doggie you've ever seen? This is my brother-in-law's doxie, Cookie. Trust me, she has nothing to be sad about. She's wearing a Coach dog collar. Posted by Hello

Batman and my son (incognito of course!) at Wizard World 2005. Posted by Hello

Quote of the day

"Aaaah, the smell of Philadelphia: garbage, exhaust, and cheese steak off in the distance."

~My Philadelphia born-and-bred husband, June 4/05, walking along Arch Street after attending Wizard World 2005.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Happy Lilac Day!! Posted by Hello