Friday, August 29, 2008

Very Brief Hiatus

I've been a bad, bad blogger this week.

My grandfather was taken to a hospice center on Tuesday after a prolonged battle with circulation issues in his legs. We're headed up for the weekend.

Hopefully back on Tuesday.

Thoughts and prayers appreciated.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Michelle's Speech & Disenchantment (but not with her speech)

Did you see Michelle Obama last night?

Me neither. I own an XBox360 now - and just downloaded Bionic Commando: Rearmed.

But it was supposedly pretty good according to some sources. Anyway, you know me - meh - here it is. I'll comment in YAY or capitalized MEH after I actually watch it.

UPDATE: After viewing: no capital letters, but still meh.

She looked good, she delivered her speech in that perfect "I'm not a professional speaker but passionate about what I speak of" tone with lovely pauses, almost no UMs the hubby's famous for (in my mind).

I guess it's a level of sad disillusion about politics based on heading into the same hurricane with the same slam ads, the same commercials that border slander, and the same ignorant public, many of which think Barack Obama is a Muslim while others eat up the bullshit lie that his birth certificate is invalid with sporks, pitchforks, and hunting knives.

I'm 31 (personal bit!). This will be the fourth presidential election I get to take part in since my 18th birthday. Two of the three previous elections resulted in questionable and borderline fraud from the voting booths to the Supreme Court.

Can I expect better?

No. Apparently the only thing we've learned from "hanging chads" is that we need to eliminate paper - and accountability. And now Diebold machines that can be hacked with a magnet and a PDA are being instituted all over America. Machines designed by a company that has tight ties to the Bush administration, machines that have a history of complete failure (I noted at least one "memory card" issue during the primaries).

Let's throw in voter scare tactics by Republicans, just for shits and giggles.

What do we have now? More - but not better - technology, more advanced intimidation tactics not focused on discouraging illegal practices but people not entirely certain of their rights, and more lies and lies and lies.

And that's why I'm "meh" today. I hope America works this time, but there are many, many people working to make sure they fry the circuits or piss on the keyboard or steal the whole computer.

Let's be vigilant. Give me to Thursday. I'm hoping for a rally cry.

Dennis Kucinich in Denver

Kucinich is in Denver this week (duh!) and will be speaking today: Tuesday!

From his office:
Dear Friends,

Yesterday, kicked off what promises to be a great week for Kucinich supporters as we arrived in Denver for the Democratic National Convention. We will be reporting daily from Denver so keep an eye on our website for updates!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Dennis will address the Democratic National Convention on the pressing issue of the Economy. Be sure to tune in at around 6:00pm ET.

This week too, both the New York Times Magazine (Sunday August 23) and the Washington Post Magazine (Sunday August 31) have special feature articles on your Voice in Congress, Dennis Kucinich.

Dennis will also be on a number of other shows this week including the Bill Maher Show, CNN, The Randi Rhodes Show, Hannity and Colmes. We will give you Dennis' media appearance notifications on Twitter.
Love that man, and I wish I was in Denver.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Who's Got Giant Wasps?

I've got giant wasps!

Just when I thought all the summer excitement of the cicadas of Cincinnati was completely gone (except for the occasional husk), there is more fun!

Yesterday, I was outside and, like any good homeowner, weed-whacking, when I looked down to see a large mound of obviously-dug-out dirt. Next to another one. There were almost a dozen, actually, anywhere from four to nine inches in width.

What the hell? Moles again? Some kind of crazy ants?

So I did what every reasonable male without supervision would do: I poked one of them with a stick. And I poked again. And from a certain angle, I could see the entrance hole in one of these buggers. and it was about as thick as my pinky finger.

That's no ant.

Figuring that it was innocuous, I stood back up, picked up the weed-whacker, and just before I pulled the trigger - a deep, resounding "Bzzz-bzz-bbzzzzz" and I turned quickly to catch a quick shift of movement to match the noise and ...this:

The Cicada Killer
Not My Picture

That image is about right: hovering from the dirt nest like an Apache Chopper, and slowly moving in my direction, was a wasp larger than I'd ever seen. There was black and there was yellow, but my senses were first overwhelmed by the tremendous noise it made and then by the fact that it was almost two inches long and as thick around as my pinky finger.

So I did what every reasonable male without supervision would do: I dropped the weed whacker, screamed like a schoolgirl, and retreated twenty feet, doing a twitchy, shivering dance of sorts. After calming down and seeing several of these behemoths come and go, I slowly reeled the weed-whacker in by the power cord and retreated to the internets to find out about this monstrosity.

The Cicada Killer (Sphecius speciosus)

The boring part of the story is that these guys are called Cicada Killers. Regionally, they have adapted to their habitat and emerge only after the cicadas - surprise! They tunnel into the dirt, one female per mound, and bind up their eggs with cicadas so their babies can feed...when the cicadas wake up.

The males, most often seen, cannot actually sting. And the females, who can, will only do so if stepped on barefoot or grabbed.

Aren't you lucky! This means at least one more post. I've got some pictures of the mounds, but by the time I got my blood pressure down and opened a beer, it was nearing dusk, and I couldn't catch any pics of the wasps. Better luck tomorrow.

Christ Died For Our...

I used to have this as a magnet on my fridge and had one of those "Wherever did that go?" moments. I really don't know.

Christ Died for our Dunkin Donuts

I will have to get another at Big Fun in Coventry (Cleveland) next time I'm by.

What the Internets Say: Bugs!

In doing some insect research (more coming on that), my Firefox tabs again provided me with situational humor.

McCain Lieberman Bugs