Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Guns allowed in Arizona bars starting Wednesday

This doesn't seem like such a great idea to me. Full story here. I had a gun once and I'm glad it was stolen. Otherwise I might have murdered someone myself.

Wednesday night

Back from gym. Tomorrow's the first day of October. The weather will be cooling down this week. I say "cooling," meaning in the 80s (vs. the 90s) during the day. It was nice out tonight. My electricity bill should start going back down soon.

I have one more meal left from the soup (tomorrow's lunch). Good stuff. Today there was some Parmesan cheese sitting around in the kitchen at work and I added some to the soup. Mmmmm.

I've also been eating my bottom round roast. It was a great roast up till tonight, when, as I was carving some to take to work, I went through a giant vein of fat, which I trimmed off the slices. Then I dumped a bunch of barbecue sauce on top. I'll heat that up at work and eat it on French or Cuban bread, which I can buy at the sundries shop in my office building. I'm smacking my lips already.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Public Option Lost Today, But Future Fights Could Be Less Daunting

See Brian Beutler's post here. See here too and also Scarecrow here ("Should the Public Option Use Medicare Payment Rates?").

Bill Nelson voted for Schumer's amendment, by the way. I should email him a big "thank you."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday night

Today was decent at work, even though two people were taking time off. Watching Anthony Bourdain in Polynesia while roasting a bottom round roast. Tattoos, taboos and tikis are all Polynesian. Paul Gaugin also lived (and died) there (at age 54).

Now "House Hunters" in Savannah (not the Historic District but new stuff that's still beautiful).

Roast beef turned out excellent. I had to have a little. There was a lot of jus. Carved a bunch of that for work, each slice soaked in the jus.

I'm going to start on a different story soon. Didn't like where the other one was going (actually got a lot done on Saturday, and I can probably use at least some of the material in the new story). When I learned about A.'s death, the new story started to crystallize. It's going to be fun and wacky and sad.

Facebook Poll: 'Should Obama Be Killed?'

See what I mean about Facebook? Read here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday evening

Back from the gym and the store. Watching "60 Minutes" and eating that soup for dinner. Delicious.

[Later] Didn't realize "Desperate Housewives" was back on tonight until I looked at the listings. Watched it. Really good. I kind of sympathized with Katherine, after what I've gone through with B. and the BF. Bastards. :-) I'd like to dump some tomato sauce on that new wedding dress, but "vengeance is mine, saith the Lord." (I was raised on the King James Bible.)

Had a long talk with my friend in STL/FTL. The dog is not doing well. A combination of her disability and her aging, it sounds like. What a shame. The BF is not doing well either.

We talked a lot about the health care bills in Congress. (He brought up the topic.) He's a Republican but was raised in a Southern Democratic family, as I was, and he's actually for a single-payer system. So am I. But how to pay for it, he says. The main issue is that the constantly rising medical costs have got to be gotten under control. And eliminating the for-profit insurance companies' overhead would save a bundle. No more private jets serving meals with silver flatware on 24 karat gold-rimmed china. This is not automobile insurance. People don't have to drive, but they do have to have health care. It's fundamentally a moral issue.

If most of the "first" world has been able to create a decent health care system that doesn't kill and/or bankrupt them, then we should be able to do it too. How dumb are we?


Regarding the death of A. (which rattled me), I'm surprised nobody contacted me at the time. But maybe I'd changed telephone numbers or something, and back then maybe it wasn't as easy to track people down over the Internet as it is now.

Sunday afternoon

Not much happening. Will end up at the gym and the store eventually. Been thinking a lot about A. Poor guy. He was 14 years older than I, but now I'm approaching the age at which he died, so I feel a closeness.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday night

For months I've been trying to track down my first partner ("A."), with no success. Then I thought, well, let me try to track down one of our mutual friends ("X."). I knew that X. had kept in touch with A. after A. and I parted ways. It was easy to track down X. and find his phone number. I called him tonight. (Actually, as it turned out, I had his number in an old address book.)

It turns out that A. died at least 10 years ago from cancer in his back. He would have been relatively young then (late 50s or at most 60). Sad to hear.

Well, I'm glad I got back in touch with X. X. is from here and, with his brother, keeps his parents' house in Miami Lakes. He'll be down in November and we'll get together. I haven't seem him in years.

Soup was good. It'll be even better tomorrow.

Saturday evening

Been working on my story, tentatively titled "Prescription Drug Abuse Hits Home." It's kind of painful to write.

Making that beef soup again.

Upper endoscopy

I had one of these a while back. That's when they found the Barrett's.

Poll: Even Republican Voters Favor The Public Option

From TPM here.

The new CBS/New York Times poll not only shows overwhelming support for the public option -- it shows that a plurality of self-identified Republicans are for it, too.

The poll asked this question: "Would you favor or oppose the government offering everyone a government administered health insurance plan -- something like the Medicare coverage that people 65 and older get -- that would compete with private health insurance plans?"

The top-line result is 65% in favor, 26% opposed. Among Democrats only, it's 81%-12%, and independents are at 61%-30%. And among Republican respondents, 47% are in favor, to 42% opposed.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Went to the store and got some teas. I can drink them here in the A/C. Right now I'm having an Earl Grey with lavender. I also got regular Earl Grey, green tea with mint, and green tea with jasmine. Watching Anderson Cooper. (It looks like the lavender tea bags are made of silk.)

Later I had a cup of the jasmine tea. Also good.

See here for the latest on the public option in the Senate Finance Committee. (See what's up with Bill Nelson today.)

[Later] I'm going to back off on the Facebook. There's a lot of right-wing madness out there, and I don't want it intruding into my space (up in my face, if you will). I know it's out there, fulminating and fuming, but I'm not going to deal with it directly. Last night there was this: "& for the record: msnbc has no ratings and is voted to be the most biased channel. It is owned by general electric, and general electric got bailed out with tarp money. & guess whatt ?? now they're making deals with Russia ! all they do is bash fox news." There is so much wrong with that "reasoning" that I wouldn't know where to begin, and that was just one entry. (But this person has almost 600 "friends.") (I can only imagine this person probably hates gays, too, which is part and parcel of the paranoid right-wing mindset.) I'm not going to participate in the "discourse." I kept it civil and made a graceful exit. That's all, folks.

I've been honing my personal information on Facebook, however. I think I've got it to where I like it. (It's a lot, but that's not uncommon.) Got a lick in at Anita Bryant, who painted gay people as devils. She's a sick ticket.

P.S. I got an email from my mortgage servicer (CitiMortgage) saying everything was acceptable regarding my insurance coverages. I've also been asked to participate in a survey and I'll be sure to mention the trouble I had last year when they ordered unnecessary and exorbitantly priced insurance for me and tacked it on to my escrow account, which took some effort on my part to have cancelled. Aggressive, immoral Wall Street bastards.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday night

Watching Keith Olbermann now. Glen Beck really is dumb. I've been reading a three-part series of articles about him in Salon.

Recently in one of the now three magazines I read (on paper) -- I can't remember which -- I read an article on taking drastic measures to cool the planet down until we get a handle on the greenhouse gases. I found a similar article here. I think it's going to come to this. (Click on WSJ image below to enlarge.)

Wrote an email to Sen. Bill Nelson, who's on the Senate Finance Committee. My personal subject line was "Please Read My Story and Support the Public Option."

Dear Sen. Nelson:

As a Florida resident (5th generation) and one of your constituents, I would like to commend you on your work in the Senate on behalf of health care reform, your efforts to end the drug industry windfall, in particular. I have a chronic ("pre-existing") medical condition and must take prescription drugs that cost well over $3,000 per month. Fortunately, at this time I have health insurance through my employer and pay only $90 per month in co-pays for these incredibly expensive drugs. One of my biggest concerns, however, is what would happen to me if I became unemployed and lost my health insurance. I certainly would not be able to afford these drugs on my own, most especially with no job. Would I end up having to sell my condominium and become destitute in order to, say, qualify for Medicaid? The prospect is frightening. Therefore, I strongly urge you to support a vigorous "public option," not only as a safety net for otherwise uninsurable people like me but also as a measure that will put pressure on the private insurance companies to keep costs down for everyone else and put a check on the pressure from Wall Street to profit ever more at the public's expense. The status quo is no longer viable.

Thank you for your attention.


Yes, my drugs now cost over $40,000 a year. (I'll do some research on what they would cost in other countries.) [A few minutes later] Just did a quick search at Canadian pharmacies online. The drugs that here cost over $3,300 a month would cost $1,187.99 in Canada. There is no end to articles available on the Internet about the pharmaceutical companies, but see this, for example. Also I suggest reading this book: The $800 Million Pill: The Truth behind the Cost of New Drugs. From the publisher's blurb:

Why do life-saving prescription drugs cost so much? Drug companies insist that prices reflect the millions they invest in research and development. In this gripping exposé, Merrill Goozner contends that American taxpayers are in fact footing the bill twice: once by supporting government-funded research and again by paying astronomically high prices for prescription drugs. Goozner demonstrates that almost all the important new drugs of the past quarter-century actually originated from research at taxpayer-funded universities and at the National Institutes of Health. He reports that once the innovative work is over, the pharmaceutical industry often steps in to reap the profit.

Everyone should know this.

The ice machine is still working, thank God. I'm a typical American in that I love my ice. But another thing has been aggravating me lately -- the weather. I'm so sick of the heat. It keeps me shut up in my place at night. Next month should bring nicer weather. I just don't remember it being this hot here when I was growing up. (I should do some research on that.)

I've decided I can no longer watch political shows after 11:00 at night. They get me worked up and make it harder to unwind before bed. Watching Anthony Bourdain in Japan now. Perfect.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday night

Back from gym. Glad I went.

Good news -- the ice-maker has started working again. I was sitting here earlier and heard what sounded like ice dropping in the freezer and, sure enough, it's back making ice. I wonder what that was all about. Maybe there was another water pressure fluctuation today? The broken ice-maker has been aggravating me. It stopped working before my vacation and meanwhile I've been buying bags of ice. I'd planned on getting Sears out here to fix it, which meant taking precious time off from work.

Another thing that's been aggravating me is my mortgage servicer (CitiMortgage) sending me threatening letters about my wind and flood coverage. I'm all covered. Last year I wasn't quite quick enough (for them) to prove my coverages and they bought me an expensive policy that I had to cancel and get refunded for. This is apparently a big money-maker for them. They're cut-throat. I have to call them back tomorrow and make sure everything is OK. They were supposed to call me back last week. Another aggravation has been that my drug store no longer accepts my flex card (or the flex card no longer accepts my drug store) for my prescriptions, so I have to make a claim every month and get a check in the mail and deposit it. Just little things like that add up.

I'm tired of Facebook already. Hardly anybody says anything particularly interesting or thought-provoking or apropos of much. It's mostly pretty cryptic and silly. There is little, say, serious debate or commentary on anything important. Maybe I wish it were more of a town hall. But it's a good way to find old friends, perhaps, and share photos, but I don't get a lot of feedback. It is what it is, but for me it's basically a big waste of time and unrewarding. I'd rather be doing this. I'll also be glad when it gets cooler and I can visit Starbucks again and sit outside and read magazines over a cup of tea.

Watching "Renovation Realities," a repeat, but amusing. Now Rachel Maddow.

This health care legislation process is a really nail-biter. I can't let myself get too worked up about it, although I've been doing everything in my poor power (emailing, donating, making phone calls) to get the public option included.

Sarah Palin, talking in Hong Kong, full of crap. Financial crisis caused by too much regulation? She's such a ditz. See here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday night

Not well today. Stayed home from work. Slept a lot.

Got cleaned up and went to Flanigan's for Steak House Soup and dolphin fingers. (Excellent.) Then shopped at Publix. Bought more stew beef (it's on sale this week) but they didn't have Mrs. Grass vegetable beef soup mix, so I bought the Bear Creek minestrone again. That soup turned out great, with little work (with the addition of the stew beef cooked till tender with crushed tomatoes, and some frozen mixed vegetables thrown in at the end). Normally I chop a leek, parsnip, turnip, etc.

While I've made up my mind not to contact B. anymore, I have to say I still care (or, at least, am concerned about him). When several weeks ago I overheard him telling the BF over the phone (when the BF called here) that I was a "better person," that really got to me. (And the BF was threatening to call the police if B. tried to go back there.) But B. let himself get himself into that situation.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday night

Watching the Antonio show now. It's OK. He keeps talking about the pink ducks, which I thought were kind of silly. I wouldn't want something like that in my house.

Was at the gym and the store earlier. Bought a long loaf of French bread to take to work for the pâté, along with some reduced-fat Ritz crackers. (I packed a 24-oz. container with pâté to take to work.) It'll be a nice treat for my co-workers. Two pounds is a lot of pâté for me to eat in a week. And even though I could freeze it, I'd rather share it. Also taking soup and tamale pie (for me).

I had the soup for dinner tonight, along with some pâté and crackers. The soup is better today than it was yesterday -- I'd call it excellent -- but things like that always taste better the next day.

[Antonio show over] I don't know about that guy. He's pretty rough around the edges. Plus I wasn't really impressed with the design of his house. Good luck!

Sunday afternoon

Getting ready to go to the gym and store in a minute. Gym closes at 7:00 on Sundays.

Had tamale pie and chicken liver pate on reduced-fat Triscuits for lunch. Delicious!

Later will watch the show on HGTV where "Design Star" Antonio will fix up his own house. Looks like fun.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday night later

I was going to do some writing today but relaxed and cooked instead. (I don't have to worry about food tomorrow and can go to the gym.) Actually, I did write two sentences. (It's a beginning!) I'll try to continue next Saturday. I really needed some down time this weekend. Last weekend I was toiling over the travel blog. Doing a project like that, like writing a story, is fun work but work nonetheless.

The pâté tastes fantastic but it has to get good and cold to firm up a bit. It's not going to be a very firm pâté since it has less butter than usual. The more-traditional Jacques Pépin recipe uses 1-1/2 sticks of butter for 1/2 lb. of chicken livers. I used 2 sticks for 1.8 lbs. Still it's not exactly diet food. But I hadn't made it in years and was in the mood for it. It's very smooth coming out of the food processor.

I thought what the hell and went ahead and made the tamale pie. It's in the oven now. Washed a load of dishes in the dishwasher, emptied it and began filling it back up again. (Dirtied a lot of dishes today.)

Watching Project Runway for a change. They're making dresses out of paper. Tommy Hilfiger and Eva Longoria are two of the judges.

[Later] Tamale pie came out great!

Another sunset

(Pretty much like the last one.)

Miami Beach off in the distance.

People enjoying the pool today. See how the windows of the building in the center reflect the orange sun. They must have some serious reflective tinting. (Glad I don't face west myself.)

View to the west.

Saturday night

I forgot to mention that I'm also making chicken liver pâté. I was using these two recipes I found on the Internet.

I used 1.82 lbs. of livers, half a red onion, 3 large cloves of garlic, thyme, sherry wine, bay leaf, salt and white pepper, and 2 sticks of butter.

It can be messy. Clean-up is not a "breeze."

Now it goes in the fridge to cool. (I'll take some of this to work.)

Saturday evening

Soup is done. Came out very good. At the time I added the soup mix -- after the meat was tender -- I also added some frozen mixed vegetables. Afterward I grated in some Locatelli Peccorino Romano cheese. Had two bowls for dinner. It's very meaty -- I used two packages of stew beef. Next time, I'll try the Mrs. Grass mix, if I can find it.

Saturday afternoon

Put rest of groceries away and started the soup. It'll take a couple of hours for the stew beef to get tender. It's simmering with the crushed tomatoes and a little thyme, marjoram, bay leaf, salt and pepper.

Had a Hormel "Compleat" chicken breast and dressing. The chicken itself wasn't horrible but I threw most of the rest of it away. Last night I had the beef tips and mashed potatoes. It wasn't that bad (ate the whole thing). I'd never had these before and decided to give them a try. See here.

I also came across this review of the chicken breast with mashed potatoes.

Today I ate... well, I hesitate to call it "lunch", because that puts a lot of other food in bad company. Let's say, "I ate at noon". . . .

To shamelessly paraphrase from Star Trek: It may be sustenance, Jim, but not as we know it.

Thursday's sunset

Saturday night late

Since I've come back from vacation, after my neighbor had been feeding the cats only twice a day, I've cut back on third feeding of canned food (midnight snack) mostly. I don't care if they beg. They've got their dry food sitting out and I keep that fresh. Tonight I backed off, however, and gave them a third can. I should probably do this on Friday and Saturday nights anyway, since I don't wake up early in the morning to feed them, as I do on weekdays.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Homophobia on the rise in the Muslim world

"As recent incidents in Iraq show, in many Islamic countries, gays are ostracized, persecuted, even murdered". From Salon here (originally appeared in Der Spiegel).

More than 30 Islamic countries have laws on the books that make homosexuality a criminal offense. In most cases punishment ranges from floggings to life imprisonment. In Mauritania, Bangladesh, Yemen, parts of Nigeria and Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, convicted homosexuals can also be sentenced to death.

In those Muslim countries where homosexuality is not against the law, gay men and women are nonetheless persecuted, arrested and in some cases murdered. Although long known for its open gay scene, Egypt has recently started to clamp down hard. The lives of homosexuals are monitored by a kind of vice squad that taps telephones and recruits informants. As soon as the police have accumulated the kind of evidence they need, they charge their victims with "debauchery." . . .

In Istanbul there is a free gay scene, Christopher Street Day is celebrated, and even religious Muslims are among the fans of transsexual pop diva Bülent Ersoy and the late gay singer Zeki Müren. But outside the world of show business it is considered both a disgrace and an illness to be a götveren, or "queen." In the Turkish army, homosexuality is cause for failing a medical test. To identify anyone trying to use homosexuality as an excuse to get out of military service, army doctors ask to see photos or videos showing the recruits engaging in sex with a man. And they have to be in the "passive" role. In Turkey being in the active role is considered manly enough not to be proof of homosexuality.

It looks as if a wave of homophobia has swept over the Islamic world, a place that was once widely known for its open-mindedness, where homoerotic literature was written and widely read, where gender roles were not so narrowly defined, and, as in the days of ancient Greece, where men often sought the companionship of youths.

Islamists are now a dominant cultural force in many of these countries. They include figures such as popular Egyptian television preacher Yussuf al-Qaradawi, who demonizes gays as perverse. Four years ago the Shiite grand ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a fatwa saying that gays are to be murdered in the most brutal way possible. These religious opinion leaders base their hatred for gays on the story of Lot in the Koran: "Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation [ever] committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds." Lot's people suffered the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins. The prophet Mohammed has a number of dicta in which he condemns these acts by Lot's people, and in one of them he even goes as far as to call for punishment by death.

European prudery exported to the colonies

The story of Lot and related verses in the Koran were not interpreted as unambiguous references to homosexual sex until the 20th century, says Everett Rowson, professor of Islamic studies at New York University. This reinterpretation was the result of Western influences -- its source was the prudery of European colonialists who introduced their conception of sexual morality to the newly conquered countries.

The fact of the matter is that half of the laws across the world that prohibit homosexuality today are derived from a single law that the British enacted in India in 1860. "Many attitudes with regard to sexual morality that are thought to be identical to Islam owe a lot more to Queen Victoria than to the Koran," Rowson says. . . .

Friday night

Napped and ran out to the grocery store. I'll be making chili, tamale pie and minestrone soup with beef stew meat. (Ground round and stew beef were on sale.) I bought a large package of dried minestrone soup mix (never tried it before) that needs water only. The package also suggests adding stew meat. So I'll cook the stew meat first till tender in the water and a can of crushed tomatoes, then add the other stuff. How easy can that be. I hope it turns out good, since it eliminates a lot of slicing and dicing. (Years ago I used Wyler's Soup Starter to make vegetable beef soup but apparently they don't make that anymore). I also have ingredients to make West African Tuna Casserole (Joy of Cooking recipe).

I did a Google search for Soup Starter and found that Soup Starter is now Wyler's Mrs. Grass Hearty Soup Mix (Homestyle Beef Vegetable). I'll have to look for that. It was easy and tasty. This minestrone soup mix is made by Bear Creek Country Kitchens (they didn't have vegetable beef).

Went to the Publix up past B.'s place of business. B.'s vehicle was there. On my drive back, I noticed the restaurant was almost dead (it's Rosh Hashanah) and I saw B. inside. Alas. I won't be visiting him anymore. He's lost me.


Took a break from the blog.

Glad this week is over. The supervisor was out on vacation but everything got done. It was just a bit hectic, especially with me coming off my vacation. I don't think the supervisor has taken a week off in the five years or so she's been there. I hope she was able to get out of town somewhere, if just down to the Keys. I hadn't taken a week off in three years myself. (Last year was the kitchen remodel and the year before that B. and I did spend a long weekend visiting my father upstate.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday night

Last night I OD'd on Facebook. No more.

Here's the latest from Big Tent Democrat ("Obama Rejects BaucusCare: Supports Public Option"):

Via daily kos:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday night

Vacation's over!

Didn't leave the apartment this weekend, except to go to the truck and the mailbox.

Today I did some tidying up and unpacking and cooked lunch for tomorrow. Worked some more on the travel blog. Watching the last episode of "Design Star" in a few minutes.

[Later] Antonio won. I'd been kind of rooting for Dan all along, but I think Antonio would be a great asset for HGTV. He's something completely different and unconventional (and talented). So congratulations! I can see him becoming very popular. (Still, I preferred Dan's solution to the final challenge, and Dan's equally as if not more talented.)

Watched "60 Minutes" tonight with the Obama interview. This was taped on Friday, after Obama's healthcare speech. Yes, Obama will "own" the health care plan, and he doesn't want to own a lemon. I think this is heading for reconciliation in the Senate. Getting one Republican vote in the Senate is not worth foisting a lousy program on the American people. They'd turn against Obama and the Democrats and he knows it.

Again tonight, Obama mentioned the media's penchant for reporting the sensational rabble-rousing vs. treating the important issues. This is so true. It's a a disservice to the public and an abdication of the Constitutionally-protected freedom of the press to keep people informed on the issues.

Watch the interview here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday evening

I was tremendously relieved when I got back home last night to see no sign of trauma in the cats. No one was hiding, etc. Lucy used to be in hiding and act all shell-shocked when I got home. It took hours for that to wear off and made me feel terribly guilty. Lucky was just going about his business, acting perfectly normal (I'd been most worried about him vs. Bootsy). So it's good to know I can get out of town for a few days and not feel guilty about it.

When I got in -- it must have been a little after 7:00 or so (I didn't look at the time) -- I called my neighbor who'd been feeding the cats. (He'd fed them a while earlier.) He said Lucky was always vocal and lively when he came in to feed them. (He really loves Lucky, who looks just like his own cat but is a few years younger.) He'd had a few bottles of the beer I left for him in the fridge.

Spent hours today fine-tuning the travel blog. It's posted on Facebook. I hope someone looks at it (it's mostly photos). So far, no one has commented. Maybe I'm being ostracized for being too political. Last week was a big week, with Obama's healthcare speech and all. Up till then, I was promoting the public option, etc. Miami can be a very reactionary place. I was extremely pleased with Obama's speech. No more kicking this can down the road. If it comes to reconciliation in the Senate, so be it (as I already said). It would be a travesty to sacrifice real reform to get the vote of one or two Republicans. The Republicans aren't in charge here. And most of them want Obama to fail flat-out, for political reasons -- damn the health and welfare of their constituents.

Had Chinese food delivered -- pork eggs foo yung and beef chow mein.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday night

I've got 13 more photos to format and post on the other blog. Ran out of time. I've been using Paint.NET (a free program) to adjust and resize the photos. It does an admirable job, I think. It has a Photoshop interface, so I find it easy to use.

Looking forward to returning home tomorrow. I do miss the cats and have been concerned about Lucky since I've never left him alone for days on end before. (My neighbor is taking care of the cats.) I hope Lucky doesn't think he's been abandoned (again). He was a foster cat when I got him over a year ago. (Bootsy's been through this before.)

Was watching and reading the political stuff. Such a furor over the Joe Wilson comment. I'm glad I don't have to fabricate news for a living, no matter if I were on the left or the right. But these people have shows and blogs to fill on a daily basis, so it's always something, whether it's really important or not. And the politicians then take advantage of this. Ultimately it's the media's fault, in letting things get out of hand and thereby distorting the issues. It happened with the death panels, for example. The Right are adept at using the media to create these distortions and ultimately misinform the public. The Left sit back and expect the truth to be told my the media, which doesn't happen. (Why? Because most journalists these days have no integrity as journalists.) This phenomenon appears to be contrary to what was intended as the function of a free press per the U.S. Constitution.

I'm glad Obama mentioned the media's role in this healthcare misinformation campaign last night.

Meanwhile the shit's still going on.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday night late

Watched Obama speech tonight. I thought it covered all the issues and was very moving. I was in tears when he talked about Ted Kennedy and the moral imperative behind this legislation. I'm lucky I have good insurance, but what if I didn't? Is it moral to let people fall through the cracks of this creaky system? To go bankrupt and/or die? Is that good for our society, our families? Other wealthy countries don't treat their citizens this way. It's immoral.

One more full day here and I'm going home. Glad I came but am looking forward to returning home to the cats. No emails or calls from my neighbor who's tending the cats, so I trust they're OK.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wednesday afternoon

Slept well.

Tuesday night

Been keeping another blog on the trip.

I do miss the cats and trust they're OK. Last night I had a dream about Lucky or Lucy or both. (Let's use the masculine pronoun.) He had for some reason been on his own, out in the wild (my cats are strictly indoor cats, although they go out on the terrace). Then I found him outside as I was walking around and picked him up. He'd lost a lot of weight, was hairless, and had been spray-painted a glossy grey. Even his eyelids were painted grey. He wasn't doing well and I realized I had to get the paint off him somehow, since I was afraid it would kill him (like in "Goldfinger"). Around then I woke up and then went back to sleep. I wonder if the cats are dreaming about me...

The only thing wrong with this room is that it's on a busy street. I have my earplugs, but the noise was still waking me up as I was trying to sleep through most of the morning. Today I tried to change rooms to the other side of the building, but none was available. (Maybe tomorrow.) Tonight I'm going to leave the AC fan on high. Maybe that'll help drown out some of the noise. The lady at the front desk said the other side could be noisy, too (on the weekends, but this is Tuesday). It faces the City Market, where bands play. (Actually, I saw someone playing there tonight.) Unfortunately, I can't set the TV to make white noise.

Tonight I had a little scare with the netbook when I came back here for the night -- the screen was black. Apparently it had been switched off by mistake when someone came in to clean the room. (I didn't know about that switch -- luckily I found it.) I was beside myself for a few minutes. All alone in a strange place with no backup computer... I was about ready to go home tomorrow. (Kidding, sort of.)

Watching this public option thing very carefully. That's what the people want. See TPM here (via Jane Hamsher, who's had breast cancer).

Am I the only one who thinks that if the Dems pass a bill with mandates and subsidies for poor and moderate income people to purchase it but no public option or competition with the insurers, that it will be pretty much a catastrophe for the Democrats in political terms?. . .

If the public option passes through reconciliation, so be it. That's what the public wants. The Republicans are huffing and puffing about it, but all they've done is obstruct the whole process and worked contrary to the public's best interests. (To put it mildly.) They've sold their souls to the Devil (how's that?).

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sunday night

Well, tomorrow night at this time I'll be in the air somewhere (knock on wood). I arrive in Savannah at 8:48 p.m.

Was back at the gym and the store. Basically I needed more cash. But I got some more cleaning supplies as a pretext.

[Later] Again, the right person was kicked off "Design Star" tonight. She really wasn't that original (although a capable designer). All she had was her "accent walls." A "one-trick pony," as Vern Yip would say. I think Vern's pretty much a one-trick pony himself. (Takes one to know one, I guess.) I not a fan of Vern's "Deserving Design." It's always the candles all over the wall that would be a pain in the ass to light and would just otherwise collect dust.

Been doing a lot of cleaning. So being on vacation has put me into some kind of a cleaning mode? All I really have to do tomorrow is water the plants, run the electric broom, prepare the cat boxes, and pack.

Today I ordered a pizza from Bari and also had some fried chicken.

Been putting a lot of stuff on Facebook I would otherwise put on here (stuff from the media and blogs). I have a potentially larger audience on Facebook. I used to have a lot more customers here, but apparently they've migrated to other venues or died. This has become my diary, I guess, which is fine with me.

[A little bit later] One more spate of cleaning and I'm back. B.'s mother and her boyfriend used to get paid to clean this place, but alas that is no more. She's retired now. Maybe she'd like to make some extra cash on the side? (B. said he'd give me her new phone number but that hasn't happened, since he knew I'd tell her that he was living with a drug dealer. Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn't.)

[After another spate of cleaning] It's about time to call it a night. I love the Lysol cleaner with bleach. But the more I clean, the more I realize I need help. If all I did was work and clean, I wouldn't have any time to do anything else, like read and write and watch TV and otherwise just chill.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

Saturday night

Whew. Just finished a bunch of chores. Had two cups of coffee at Starbucks after I got home from the store and -- aside from a long phone call with my friend in FTL/STL -- I've been working ever since.

Bootsy is washed and dried. I also cut some mats out of his coat with my electric clippers. He seemed to enjoy that. The laundry is mostly done. One of the dryers was broken so I'll dry a load tomorrow. (Meanwhile it's sealed up in a plastic bag.) Kitchen counters and floor are clean. Eyebrows, etc. are trimmed. I just have a little more floor to vacuum, water the plants, run the dishwasher, and pack. I have plenty of time, since I'm not leaving till 4:00 p.m. on Monday.

[Later] I hope I didn't make Bootsy catch a cold. He was snorting earlier. I keep it rather cold in here and he was still a little damp after the bath.

I think he's OK.

It was rainy here all day, which suits me at this time of year when it's otherwise so hot.

Saturday evening

Didn't stay up too late or get up too late. Did some cleaning, had a burrito and a taco at Lime and did last minute shopping at Publix and got some cash. Arranged for Super Shuttle to pick me up on Monday (at 4:00 p.m. -- flight leaves at 6:45). Found a few nightspots in Savannah online and mapped them out. Here's this:

Club One defines itself as the premier bar in a town priding itself on a level of decadence that falls somewhere between New Orleans's and Key West's, and it's the hottest and most amusing spot in town.

Patrons include lesbians and gays from the coastal islands, visiting urbanites, and cast and crew of whatever film is being shot in Savannah at the time (Demi Moore and Bruce Willis showed up here in happier times). There's also likely to be a healthy helping of voyeurs who've read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and are catching the monthly Lady Chablis show.

(I'll miss the monthly show; she's performing tonight.) This place is right near where I'm staying, as is one of the bars.

Neighbor came over re: feeding the cats. He'll feed them in the mornings and after he gets home from work. I didn't ask him to -- he volunteered. He'll also visit with them. I've got a half-case of Miller Lite in bottles cooling in the fridge. There's also rum and Sambucca.

Got an email reminder from CheapTickets about the trip.

Still no further reply from the virus software people.

Friday, September 04, 2009


Officially on vacation. Tonight I made a list of things to do before I head up to Savannah on Monday. I basically have to do some cleaning, water the plants, do a little shopping, some laundry, get with neighbor about taking care of the cats, and pack.

Public Option More Popular Than Obama, Congress, Blue Dogs, Republicans, The Media . . .

From Big Tent Democrat here.

It is pretty funny that the "Left of the Left" public option is more popular than everyone of its critics. In fact, it is easily the most popular feature of the entire health care reform discussion. Jed Lewison explains:

The most recent Daily Kos poll released today shows the public option is supported by a 58-34 margin, including 57-33 among independents and 81-12 among Democrats. Here's the key thing about about that 58-34 margin, though: with President Obama's favorability rating at 52-43, the public option is now more popular than the president.

It's more popular than President Snowe? No way.

Thursday night

Was busy shopping tonight in advance of my trip next week (cat food, etc.). Then spent hours looking for downloads and information on creating patterns in Photoshop (someone wants a pattern tomorrow morning -- got it).

So, the debate on health care is getting serious again? Aside from the fact there was an altercation at a political event in California and someone got part of his pinkie bitten off when he landed a (second) punch on an adversary and his pinkie ended up in the other guy's mouth. (Who likes getting punched, repeatedly no less?)

One more day of work and I'm off for nine days and getting out of town. What a relief. I haven't had a vacation like this in three years, since B. and I went to San Francisco during Labor Day week, 2006.

I trust the cats will be OK. I think it would be more traumatic for them to board them than to let them stay here and have my neighbor across the hall take care of them, as lonely as they will be. (But they sleep most of the time anyway.) (But still.)

Still no word on the anti-virus program for the netbook computer.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Wednesday night

Back from the gym and the store.

When I heard a couple of weeks ago that Obama was wavering on the public option (a trial balloon?), I emailed Organizing for America (which is now part of the DNC) to cancel my $1/day donation "until health care reform passes" (i.e., $30/month paid in advance on the 1st of the month by credit card). I never got a reply and let it slide when Obama reiterated his support for the public option. Earlier I was checking my bank accounts online and noticed that the DNC had charged me another $30 yesterday. I might have let that slide had I not read today that Obama will not be sticking by the public option in his speech next week. First I called the bank, who gave me the DNC's telephone number. I then called the DNC long-distance in Washington and not only cancelled the automatic donation but also got a $30 refund for this month. Ha!

It's interesting to see in the post below that Organizing for America is still pushing the public option (because they're getting money?). I hope more people do what I did and get the message across that today's trial balloon don't fly. Hit 'em where it hurts, people!

And no triggers. Do what's right, now. Why prolong the agony. The public option is the compromise. (I'm for Medicare for all.)

Also I read today that Obama is willing to "stare down" the Democrats over health care (when he should be staring down the Republicans). I hope that isn't true. (Just another "balloon"?) I'm tired of these balloons.


Watching "My Big Amazing Renovation." This one's set in Miami -- a house on Biscayne Bay (on one of the islands) overlooking downtown. The owners are John and Alison Kunkel. John's the founder and CEO of Lime Fresh Mexican Grill restaurants, where I go for burritos. The first restaurant opened on South Beach in 2004.

I'd seen this show a while back, but it must have been before I started going to Lime. (There's a lot of promotion for Lime in the show. She wears a Lime t-shirt; he's shown at the restaurant(s).) At any rate, the Kunkels are very simpatico and the episode is good.

Didn't hear back from the virus software people today.

'Reformers to Obama: You Don't Win By Disappointing Your Supporters'

From TPM here.

President Obama will clarify his health care reform principles before a joint session of Congress Wednesday, and a number of White House officials have come forward to suggest that the public option will not be among them. If that's the case, it will devastate the large segment of the reform community that regards the public option as one of the most crucial elements of legislation. . . .

"You win by rallying your supporters and convincing the middle," Kirsch says. "You don't win by disappointing your supporters and confusing the middle."

Amid today's controversy, Obama's political arm Organizing for America is continuing to push for a public option. So isn't the White House sending (at best) mixed messages about the public option?

"White Houses have a history of floating trial balloons," Kirsch adds. "What will really matter is what the president says Wednesday."

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tuesday night

Got all bills paid that need to get paid before I come back from vacation.

The netbook computer, which I'm taking on my trip, came installed with a 3-month trial of McAfee virus software, which just expired. RadioShack also threw in a separate "box" of CA Internet Security Suite Plus 2009 software. Tonight I tried to install it from the USB port, but Firefox didn't know how to open it because "protocol (d) isn't associated with any program." Nothing I did would get it to install. So I emailed the support people at CA and we'll see what they say. I suspect they'll have me download it from their website. I did supply them my license number, as requested. Meanwhile I downloaded something free to tide me over. (Actually, McAfee was still working at some level at least, since it prompted me when I tried to download the freebie, endorsed by USA Today and Computerworld, so I would think it's safe.) (The download was free, but the software really isn't.)

Had one of those Third Pounder Angus burgers with bacon and cheese tonight at McDonald's (excellent). Also got some grilled chicken sandwiches and Quarter Pounders (without cheese) to take to work. Also had an ice cream cone.

I could have used a nap today but I needed to get some cheap food for lunches and didn't feel like cooking tonight (nothing here to cook anyway). Plus I went to GNC to get alpha lipoic acid. (I get a discount at the beginning of the month.) (The GNC is by the McDonald's.) Last night I marinated some cubed steaks and grilled them on the Foreman Grill. They were so good that I ate four of them for lunch today. (I marinated them in white vermouth, soy sauce, olive oil, ground cumin, garlic powder, dried mustard and a little curry powder. They don't take long to marinate -- maybe little over an hour.) (If you marinate them too long, they turn to mush.)


Found a big feather in the parking lot tonight and gave it to Lucky. He loves it and is playing with it now.

The Problem With The Public Option: Blue Dogs Object To Cost Savings

From Big Tent Democrat here.

TPMDC reports:

According to Martin Paone, a legislative expert who's helping Democrats map out legislative strategy, a more robust public option--one that sets low prices, and provides cheap, subsidized insurance to low- and middle-class consumers--would have an easier time surviving the procedural demands of the so-called reconciliation process. However, he cautions that the cost of subsidies "will have to be offset and if [the health care plan] loses money beyond will have to be sunsetted."

And there the irony continues: Some experts, including on Capitol Hill, believe that a more robust public option will generate crucial savings needed to keep health care reform in the black--and thus prevent it from expiring. But though that may solve the procedural problems, conservative Democrats have balked at the idea . . .

(Emphasis supplied.) That's not irony. That is a farce.

It is hoped that people will do the right thing.