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Tom Foolery's

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Miscellaneous Randomness

Oh for gosh sake.

I just blew a big ol' bubble while I was talking on the phone. Now I've got bubble-gum all over my face. And the phone. Some days I'm brighter than others. This is shaping up to be a fairly dim day, I'm afraid.

Last weekend I learned a lesson I learn at least five times a year: don't blow bubbles when you're riding your motorcycle. It collects bugs and makes a mess.

At least I don't smoke any more...

The Littlest Bear

Boy, I tell ya what, 2000 was an interesting year for me! In June I bought my little house in the 'hood. I met Dagmar over the Fourth of July holiday. Our "first date," such as it was, was at my housewarming party. (I gave a buddy of mine who knew Dagmar ten bucks to "bring that Austrian gal" to the party. Somehow he conned her into coming to the shindig, for which I gave him his ten bucks and a pint and a half of Jägermeister.)

As soon as I'd cleaned up the cans from the housewarming party the next day (and made sure I had that Austrian gal's phone number) I made a trip to the Humane Society. It was my longtime dream to own my own house -- partially so I could have a cat without worrying about landlords kicking me out. So now I got the house, it's time to get a cat... (I briefly thought about getting a pooch, but my yard is so very tiny... A cat it shall be.)

Once at the Humane Society I was immediately overwhelmed. For a reasonably small town, Sioux City had a LOT of animals for adoption. I scanned rows and rows of cages, each holding at least one cat, most having several kittens. Cats and kittens and kittens and cats. I stood there, not real sure where to start. I mean, here I am, trying to pick out a critter who will hopefully be my bestest buddy, my boon companion, my little pal. It's kind of a strange thing to think about... One wants to be careful in these decisions.

"Can I help you?" asked a lady. She seemed to work there.

"Yeah," I said, "I want a kitty..." I made vague pointy gestures at a cage of kittens.

"Oh, here's a nice kitty," the lady said, opening a cage and reaching inside. I peered inside to see a massive hissing lump of white and gray. "She's only five years old. Her owners had to get rid of her because she kept biting the children." The lump of gray and white hissed some more and nipped the lady on the thumb. "You don't have children, do you?"

"Uh, no," I said. "I'm really hoping for a kitten."

"Everyone wants kittens," the lady said, abandoning her attempt to get the gray and white lump out of the cage. "The problem is that they turn into cats and end up here, and we have a hard time finding homes for the adult cats. Are you sure you don't want a more mature kitty?" She gestured at the neighboring cage which had what looked like a mutant bobcat stuffed in it.

"No, really, I want a kitten," I repeated. "I'm looking for a smaller female cat. I have a small house so I don't really want a big ol' clumsy tomcat stinking the place up."

"Kittens, everyone wants a kitten. Okay, pick one," the lady said as she turned away.

I spent about an hour looking at kittens. Little gray kittens and little black kittens and mean kittens and shy kittens. I'd about made my decision to take a little gray kitty home with me when a small orange fluffball in a cage towards the bottom caught my attention.

"Where have you been?" I asked the orange kitten. Little kitty yawned and stretched. "Oh, you were napping." The kitten came up past all the other kittens in the cage to the front and gave me the big-eyed look. I peeked at the tag on the cage with the kittens' names on it. "Petunia, Rose, Buttercup, Shadow, Stinky" it said. I could see Stinky over in the corner of the cage. "Hmmm," I said to little orange kitten, "you must be Petunia, Rose or Buttercup."

I went to the front counter and told the lady I'd made my decision. She came back with the key and opened the cage. The little orange kitty walked right into my hand. "Oh," said the lady, "that's Buttercup. She'll be a good kitten for you." Buttercup purred and wriggled around until she was on my shoulder. She sat on my shoulder the whole time I signed the papers and paid the bill and got all my instructions... When you get a cat from the pound you gotta promise to get 'em fixed or else they'll repo your pet.

The ride home was interesting. Turns out Buttercup didn't like cars. She spent the whole ride under the gas pedal, which made for some interesting driving...

"We gotta change your name," I said to Buttercup a bit later as I dropped her into her new litterbox. "Buttercup just isn't gonna work..." If I get naming rights, I traditionally name cats after the first thing they catch, as one thing I admire about cats is their ferocious and tenacious hunting ability. I had a cat named Cricket for years.

That night my new Austrian girlfriend Dagmar stopped by to visit. "Ach!" she said as she opened the door. "Vhat is DAT?" She stared at the floor with a horrified look.

"Oh, that's my new kitten," I said, scooping the cat formerly known as Buttercup off the floor. "Kitten, meet Dagmar. Dagmar, this is a kitten."

"I'm allergic," said Dagmar. "Cats make me sick."


It's a testament to her love for me that Dagmar went out and bought a bucketful of allergy pills and came back to visit again the next day. "Dat furball," she said, perched gingerly on the sofa, "it has a name?"

"Not yet," I replied. "Cats are known for being fierce hunters. I'll name her after the first thing she hunts. I have to take her to the vet to get her shots in a little bit. Do you want to come along?"

"Vell, okay... I guess I did take my allergy pill. I should be okay to go with you to the vet. Vhat is de furball doing now?" She pointed to the kitten, who was engaged in a mighty struggle with something over there in the corner.

"Yay!" I said. "The kitten is bravely earning her name! Let's go see what she caught..."

So, when we got to the vet, the first question on the form they handed us was "Pet's Name." I dutifully wrote "Fruitloop."

"Ah," said the vet, "so it's time for young..." (he looked at the form) "Fruitloop to get shots, huh?" The vet picked young Fruitloop up off the counter. A few minutes later Dagmar and I stood by the door as the vet gave us our final instructions. "The shots are good for six months, you'll have to bring Fruitloop in again then for some more. Oh, and you got him from the Humane Society, so you'll have to get him fixed in a few months as soon as he's old enough."

"Um..." I said, "You mean get HER fixed, don't you?"

"No, Fruitloop's a boy," said the vet. Dagmar broke out laughing.

"Gaaaahhh!" I said. "I told the lady at the pound I wanted a girl cat -- they're smaller and don't pee on people. And the sign said 'Buttercup'." Dagmar laughed harder.

"Well, Buttercup's a boy. It's good you changed his name. Here, do you want me to show you?"

"NO! No, I'll take your word for it..." Dagmar had tears running down her face.

So, I picked out a girl cat named Buttercup and ended up with a tomcat named Fruitloop. Go figger.

Fast forward to the weekend (editor's note - I stole this part from a column I wrote for a local paper years ago): “Had much to drink tonight?” asked the nice policeman. “Oh, a few,” I answered, muttering a word my dad taught me under my breath.

I’d been in the neighborhood all of a week, and hadn’t yet met my neighbors. Now, at a quarter to four in the morning I’m getting pulled over in my own driveway. I looked to the left. Sure enough, the lights were on in the house next door, and someone was peeking through the window. I looked to the right. Yep, they were watching as well. Poop.

I explained to the nice officer that I had just finished playing with my band at a local bar, and he suggested I might as well step out of the car anyway. I watched my new neighbors watch me touch my nose and walk an imaginary line. “Hey, Ethel,” I could hear them say. “Come watch the new hippie get arrested. Bring the popcorn.”

The nice officer eventually agreed that I wasn’t a hazard to society and let me go my merry, though embarrassed way. For a week I avoided the neighbors. Long hair, black leather jacket, odd hours... I don’t often make a good first impression.

“What do you wanna bet my neighbors are still up?” I asked my friends about a week later as we came around the corner to my house at a quarter to four in the morning. “The last time they saw me I was standing on one foot trying to say the alphabet backwards.”

“Naw, don’t worry about it,” my friends said. “No one will notice.” So I got out of the car, wearing nothing but a very colorful blanket.

In my defense, we really weren’t skinny-dipping. I had worn my clothes in the water; hence the blanket. Wet clothes are COLD. As I scuttled towards my house I happened to glance across the street. Sure enough, the neighbors were there, sitting on their porch. “Hey, Ethel, get the popcorn! The hippie’s out doing odd things again.” I waved. They didn’t. I vowed to be inconspicuous and polite in the neighborhood from that moment on. I just wasn't fitting in. The neighbors wouldn't talk to me.

Three weeks later I was wandering about the neighborhood peering furtively under bushes, hoping desperately that no one would notice me. “HEY, MAN, WHAT’S GOING ON? WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” my friend bellowed from his car as he pulled up.

“Trying to be inconspicuous,” I answered politely. “My cat escaped.”

“Oh, man... Fruitloop’s gone?”

“Yeah, I must have left the door open a bit,” I answered, peeking under someone's car.

“Let’s go look,” he said.

About that time Dagmar happened along, hoping to visit. We explained the situation and headed off down the street to find the cat. So we’re wandering the streets -- an inconspicuous, skinny hippie boy, a very conspicuous professional comedian, and an amused Austrian woman.

“Excuse me, haf you seen a liddle kitty vandering by?” Dagmar asked a couple of girls. I noticed their father watching from the side yard.

“Yeah,” one of the girls answered. “A little yellow cat was playing around here about half an hour ago. He ran off that way.” The other girl ran up to her worried-looking father and said something in a language I didn’t recognize. The father smiled and waved at us. We headed in the indicated direction.

About a block later, we ran into another group of kids. “We’re looking for a little tiger cat,” said my friend in his best John Wayne voice. “Can ya help us?”

“Yeah,” said one of the kids. “We’ll help watch for your cat.”

Half an hour later, after talking with several groups of kids, I was sitting on the curb, head in hands, sure that my poor little kitty was gone. I could hear echoes of “Ver haf you gone to, liddle Fruitloop,” and “Here kitty, kitty, kitty; Come here, ya little pilgrim,” dancing down the street. I suddenly realized that I was hearing other voices as well. (I mean besides the ones in my head.)

Not only were my friends looking for my cat, but several packs of neighborhood kids were calling for my cat as well. I looked up the street an saw a little old lady standing in front of her porch with a bowl, peering expectantly around as though sure that my kitty would come running for a milk treat.

I walked up the street a ways. A couple sitting on their porch asked if I was the one with the lost cat. “Yep,” I answered. “Don’t you worry none 'bout your cat,” the man told me. “Come round midnight he’ll be crawling up to your door, smilin’ and lookin’ all satisfied.”

“I hope so,” I replied. I wandered off to talk to the little old lady with the milk. “You haven’t seen my cat, by any chance?” I asked her.

“No. Are you with that foreign lady who was asking about a cat earlier?” she asked. “I’ve been hoping to find her cat, too. It’s nice that people care about their pets.”

“Yep, we’re looking for the same cat,” I replied. “I’m starting to get worried.”

“Well, if I find him, I’ll let you know.”

About that time I heard a bellow from the couple on the porch. “HEY! HEY! HEY! I found your cat! He’s right under here!” I looked down the street and saw the man waving his arms at me, smiling. “Fruitloop was sitting under my chair the whole time.”

Several months later, I still got a friendly nod and a smile from the little old lady. The neighborhood kids came to tell me every time they saw a stray tabby cat outside. The couple on the porch always waved at me when I walked by. It’s a little humbling to realize that one little lost cat could bring an extremely diversified neighborhood together, get one inconspicuous hippie welcomed to the community, and provide a "bonding" experience between my friends and I.

The power of pets. Amazing.

A few months later: "Vhat I don't understand is vy he always pees on my right foot. Never on my left, only on my right foot." Our relationship was still fairly new, so I wasn't sure if Dagmar was truly upset or only peeved. I could certainly tell she wasn't happy, though. I handed her another paper towel so she could wipe the Fruity-pee off her shoe.

"I don't know," I said. "I hope he quits peeing on you when we get him fixed. They say male cats don't mark their territory so much once they've been fixed."

"Vell, I'm NOT his territory," she said. "Why doesn't he pee on you?"

"Well, maybe he sees me as the leader of the pack, so to speak. He doesn't know where you fit into the pecking order yet. He might be trying to solidify his role in the household."

"So if you're the king, what am I?"

"Well, you're obviously the queen, Princess!" I said.

"Vell, den, that must make Fruity the joker, huh?"

Life went on. Dagmar and I got married, Fruitloop got fixed and quit peeing, and the allergy pill makers made a mint. Our happy little household trundled along well as could be for years. Mama-Bear, Papa-Bear, and the Littlest Bear of All. Every year we take Little Bear Fruitloop to the vet for a checkup. The vet was a little peeved at us last February.

"Fruitloop's eight now," he said. "Last year he weighed sixteen and a half pounds. This year he weighs over seventeen pounds. That's really too big for a cat. Now I told you last year that you needed to watch his weight. We need to get him down to about twelve pounds or so..."

"But but but but..." I said intelligently, "we put the poor little boy on diet food." I looked at my beloved wife Dagmar for support. "Yeah," she said, "und ve hardly give him much at all."

The vet peered over his glasses at us. "You may need to exercise him more, or limit his portions. Somehow he has to lose some weight. He's a healthy cat other than that, but just like in people, the more he weighs the more likely he is to die at a young age. He's been slowly gaining weight for years, and I've been telling you for years to do something about it. It's time for you guys to listen."

We collected Fat Boy Fruity and made our way to the door. "We'll do better," I said to the vet. "We'll make sure to exercise him more."

When we got home, Dagmar went straight to Fruitloop's food dish and dumped it out. "Sorry Little Buddy," she said. "From now on you only get a cup of food a day." I rummaged around and found the kitty's favorite toy and put it out where we'd be sure to see it more often.

Strangely enough, our new routine of feeding Fruits less and playing with him more actually lasted quite a while. Normally within a few days we're back to our old ways, but this time we stuck with it for a while. A few weeks ago Dagmar called across the house to me, "You know, I think Fruity's lost some weight!" I went over and looked at the boy. "Yep, he looks a little skinnier to me too!" We were happy -- this is what the vet wanted!

The next week found Dagmar and I standing in the kitchen, staring at Fruity's food dish. "I haven't fed him yet today," I said.

"Me either," answered Dagmar. "He's not eating, is he?"

"No, he's not."

"Shall I give him some chicken?"

"Sure, sounds good."

Fruitloop did indeed eat the chicken. The next day he started eating his food again. Life went back to normal -- the three of us in our small house. I'd nap on the couch with a Fruit-Monster snoozing on my feet. We'd sit in the computer room where Dagmar would play hide-and-pounce with the Ferocious Fruits. Rarely has there been a time in the past eight years where we're home and our Little Bear isn't within just a few feet of us. We're a close fambly. (Daddy sings bass, Mama sings tenor, and kitty sings Fruitissimo.)

Then he quit eating again.

"Should we call the vet?" Dagmar asked me, a slight quaver in her voice.

"Nah, he's okay," I said. "He's just being finicky."

But Dagmar persisted. "He's looking awfully skinny. I vood like to call the vet. I'm worried about the little fella." I nodded. "Okay, but the vet's just going to say that he's just being finicky..." We made an appointment.

"He's lost a third of his body weight," said the vet. "That's not good in such a short time. Something's wrong with him. This is not trivial." He pulled the thermometer out of where they put thermometers in cats. "His temperature is okay... I'm going to need to do some blood work." He picked up Fruity and went into the other room. We heard a yowl as the vet drew blood...

Dagmar and I made small talk until the vet came back with our little buddy. "I'll send the blood sample off to the lab this afternoon," the vet told us. "You take Fruitloop home. I'll call you tomorrow and let you know what I find out. It could be any number of diseases. I have suspicions that he's a very sick little kitty, but we'll know more tomorrow."

Dagmar drove us home as we sat in stunned silence, Fruitloop on my lap, staring apathetically out the window. "Vhat are we going to do if it's serious?" asked Dagmar. "We should probably talk about this."

"There's not much we can say until we know more," I said. "We'll do what's best for Fruitloop." He lay still as I stroked his chin.

"It's going to be hard not to be selfish," said Dagmar. "I vant him to be around." We paid a lot of attention to the little guy that night, scratching his head, not complaining when he woke us up at four in the morning. Dagmar cried.

The next morning (yesterday) I sat at work fidgeting, waiting for the vet to call, wondering if this was the day I'd have to make the decision to put my buddy down. When my cell phone finally rang I didn't want to answer it. Maybe if I don't know what's wrong, well, maybe then there's nothing wrong...

"Hi, this is the doctor from the vet's office. I have the results back."

I mumbled something.

The doctor continued, "Fruitloop's glucose level is over twice what it should be in felines. He has diabetes. He's a very sick cat." The doctor talked a lot more, finishing with "You'll have to give him shots twice a day. I'll need you to bring him in so we can get his insulin level stabilized, and we need to keep him for some more tests to see how serious it is."

My little buddy's been at the vet's office ever since. He's a sick little kitty. But of course we'll do what we need to do to keep him... The insulin is (they say) about two-hundred dollars a year. That's not bad. We can afford that.

Tomorrow we get to bring our little pal back home again. Tomorrow we can sleep knowing Fruity's with us. Tomorrow we can hug him. Tomorrow we start the insulin.

Tomorrow I get to see the shock of betrayal in my little pal's eyes as I jab a needle in him as he sits in my lap. Twice a day I'll hurt my kitty. Twice a day from now on I'll be able to hear the vet's voice in my mind telling me over and over to limit my buddy's intake. Twice a day I'll feel guilty that I was irresponsible. Twice a day I'll have to look into those big trusting eyes as I give him an injection and wonder why I was so selfish, why I let my cat get sick, why I didn't listen...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day

The Rock

There's a guy down in central Iowa who, for the last ten years, has painted the local "graffiti rock" with some pretty neat murals. Sunday a bunch of us trekked the 180 miles down there to see the 10-year anniversary of Bubba painting the Freedom Rock. Pretty neat, actually. The Iowa Army National Guard was there with the Orange County Chopper that had been made for the Guard. Then they started talking about "large hail and tornadoes," so we flew back up the Interstate 'bout as fast as you safely can on cruisers in a hard sidewind.

Pictures follow:

The Ceremony

Monday was Memorial Day itself. I went to help the American Legion Riders in my hometown. We were in a parade, and some of our Vietnam vets helped with the ceremony at the courthouse. Plymouth County puts up a flag for ever veteran from the county who's passed on. Every flag has a dogtag with that veteran's name. You ain't seen nuttin' until you've seen nearly 1,100 flags waving gently in the breeze, hearing the faint tinkling of the dogtags as they blow... And they STILL read each and every name during the ceremony. It takes longer and longer every year to read all the names, but no one has complained.

You can see the pictures here:

08-05-26 ALR at Memorial Day

Disclipine and Trust

Trust and Discipline

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stone Park

A Walk in the Woods

Dagmar and I went for a walk yesterday in Stone Park here in SUX. (You gotta love it when you live in a city with the airline designation SUX.) Anyway, Sioux City sits on a boundary of sorts. To the east there's the entire state of Iowa laid out in neat squares of farmland, hundreds of miles of gently rolling hills checkered with roads that go entirely across the state with nary a curve. To the west is what I consider the true Great Plains -- from the Missouri River all the way to the Rockies are the sweeping, windblown, seemingly-empty prairielands of Nebraska and South Dakota.

But in the middle is the Missouri River, and there's Sioux City, right on the river, a break between the farmlands to the east and the plains to the west. The wind sweeping along the plains has, over the millenia, dropped it's fine dust along the river, creating the Loess Bluffs. For a mile or so on each side of the river there's an alluvial plain, but bordering the plain are the bluffs...

Stone State Park is just on the northwest corner of Sioux City, right on the Big Sioux River which serves as the border between Iowa and South Dakota, just a few miles from the Missouri. Here are photos. If you click on 'em they get bigger. (I really wish Blogger wouldn't try to color-correct and sharpen my photos. I had 'em the way I wanted 'em. Oh well.)

Heading down the trail

We startled two wild turkeys just a
couple hundred yards from the road.

Just a few yards farther we saw this guy watching us.

Near Turtle Pond. I love the angles of the trees.

This is the largest part of the pond...

Another little fella peeking at us...

A quarter mile farther...

Another happy little guy (look at the lower right).

Sadly, this is endemic. I did notice it's a non-native species.

Back by our car Dagmar spotted this pretty guy.

I love the orange! He was loud, too. His mate was nearby.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008



My beloved Austrian Snowflake Dagmar is scheduled to have her surgery in a month. I hope we have enough money piled up... All our scribbling on the backs of envelopes and midnight insomniac mental math tells us we should be okay. Things will be a little tight, but we'll cover our bills and will have grocery money. I'm very grateful that I've had enough freelance work in the past few months to be able to save up for this!

Dagmar wants me to take a few days off and go fishing in Minnesota with my parents in a couple weeks. I have to say it sounds really good... A good 350 mile solo bike trip up to the lake region, a few days in a tent behind the little hotel in the woods, a day spent fishing, a day spent riding, plenty of opportunities to take photos, a nice 350 mile ride back home... My only problem is that I feel guilty spending money to go fishing just a few weeks before Dagmar's surgery, even though I'm sure we have enough to cover it. It seems insensitive to me somehow. I'm not sure what to do.

I do know I'm really looking forward to next summer when Dagmar's healthy again and has some vacation time! We'll go to the zoo, we'll go to the park, we'll go camping, we'll ride our bicycles, we'll go EVERYWHERE together 'cause she's my best friend!

Just a thought...
Hey, next time we have one of these election thingies, why not do all the states at once? Maybe over a long weekend or something. Say, the polls open at noon on Friday and close nationwide Sunday at 7 p.m. Eastern time. That would give everyone time to get to the polls... I can handle a long weekend, but GEEZE we gotta do something about this 19-month-long election cycle! I know, I know -- Iowa makes a lot of money by having the candidates and all their entourage spending a year campaigning across the state. But realistically I went to four or five candidate rallies and I didn't learn one single thing I didn't already know, except that Joe Biden looks bigger on TV than he does in person.

From the Party of Family Values
Found this on the Innernet...

Actually, Senator John McCain started having affairs with other women in the late 1970's, even though his first wife, who was crippled in a car accident, had waited faithfully for him for years to come home from Vietnam (McCain was a POW in Hanoi for five years). Speculation abounds that McCain started cheating on his beauty model wife shortly after his return to the states (and recovery from the torture he endured in prison) due to the fact that she didn't look the same after her accident. Some people contend McCain broke the UCMJ during that time frame by having affairs with subordinates while in the military, and might have been court-marshaled, or at least disciplined, had he not had the right connections. Eventually the 42-year-old McCain met 24-year-old Cindy, who happened to be heiress to millions of dollars. They were married just a month after his divorce from his first wife. McCain and his present wife do not live together due to their schedules, though they do vacation together every year.

Senator McCain has done a lot for the United States, but if he starts preaching family values this is gonna come back to haunt him -- especially after what the Republican party did to President Bill Clinton. Personally, I think his family life of nearly 30 years ago is his own business, and his familial problems may be a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to his service in Vietnam... But if the Republican party tries to fly the Family Values banner over Senator McCain this could be a problem for him. People may forgive McCain's indiscretions, but they hate hypocrisy.

Four Bucks!

How long do you think it'll be before the riots start? I'm just happy that two of our three vehicles get 40+ miles per gallon (I don't drive the third car more than six blocks to work, and then only when it's snowing or raining).

Think about it. Nearly all our economic problems stem from oil going from $18 a barrel when George W. Bush was appointed president in 2000 to $130 a barrel today. (I guess that's what happens when you put two men deeply invested in the oil industry in charge of the government.) Food costs more because it costs more to transport it to the market. Same with all consumer goods. Prices are going up at a startling rate, all due to the increased price of oil.

Now, it doesn't really matter WHY oil prices are going up, what matters is what we're doing about it, and what we're allowed to do about it.

Drill for oil in Alaska? Not gonna help. It'd take between 17 and 20 years before the first drop would get to us, and the percentage of oil that would come through the pipeline would be minuscule compared to our daily usage. Too little too late. ANWR really is more valuable as a
wildlife refuge than a source of oil. It's just not gonna get us out of this crunch.

What we need is to find the Model T of alternate fuel vehicles. Don't give me a Prius that costs nearly as much as my house. I don't have that kind of money -- I gave it all to the oil executives so they can hire lawyers to get them out of paying taxes. Rather, give me a little plug-in hybrid for $7,000, and let me build a wind turbine on my garage to make the electricity for the car. Make a bunch of these. Sell 'em to the Chinese and Indian folk. Don't tell me we can put a man on the moon and build atomic bombs but we can't find a way to put a battery in a car... We can do it.

Shoot, I'm about out of time.

My next item up for bid, real quick and without any more forethought than the preceding ravings, is ethanol. I live in Iowa, so I could probably be shot for saying this, but we really shouldn't be making fuel out of corn! Two reasons. The first is that corn-based ethanol yields 1.4 units of energy for every 1 unit it takes to manufacture. In other words, it takes just about as much energy to make corn-based ethanol as we get out of it. Switchgrass, on the other hand, yields a ratio somewhere between 7 and 9 to 1 -- MUCH higher than 1.4 to 1. Second reason -- corn is not native. Corn really doesn't grow well without a lot of help from the farmers. Switchgrass, on the other hand, is what grew here before we plowed it all under to plant corn... It grows all on its own.

'kay now, I'm done.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Would they?

Would they...?

I stole this from Skyler's Dad over at Chewing Through the Straps.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Surprisingly Busy for the Bush Economy

Golly, I've had more business in the past few weeks than ever before! I'm designing Web sites like a maniac, and I've had two people call me already today about doing wedding photos! I hope I get a photo shoot or two to look forward to over the summer -- I like doing Web design, but I really need to get away from the computer and go outside every now and then...

Things keep up like this and I may be able to get away from the print shop and actually work for myself! It's getting harder and harder to keep up the freelancing and the day job both, as well as the charities. (By the way, if anyone needs a Web site or a pretty photo or anything, see www.hippieboydesign.com -- I'll be glad to help!)

I may also be getting back into music again in a limited capacity. I certainly don't have time to be in a "real" band again, but maybe a jam session or two mightn't hurt...

Darwinism at Work

You know, over the past few years I think I've accidentally bred a species of dandelions that know how to duck when they see a lawn mower.

In an odd twist...

...a homeless guy bought me an ice cream cone yesterday. I guess I looked hungry. (Well, he's not really homeless any more, but he was for a long time.) The ice cream truck in our neighborhood is, I kid you not, a 1980s conversion van with the words "ice cream" spray-painted on a piece of cardboard in the window and a pair of 20-year-old fuzzy dice hanging from the mirror. The two 20-something kids who drive it (I think of them as Cheech and Chong) must have found a tape of the traditional "ice cream truck jingle" or something 'cause I don't think they have a loudspeaker or anything -- they just play the song on their tape player really loud and leave the windows open.

Monday, May 12, 2008

ow ow ow ow ow


Never, under any circumstances, no matter how desperate you are, ever mix a piece of Orbit Raspberry Mint and Orbit Maui Melon Mint together. Ever.

Man, that'll twist your face up...

Thursday, May 08, 2008



I just now realized I haven't written in days and days. Sorry 'bout that.

An Open Letter

Dear Senator Clinton,

I've learned a lot about you in the past fifteen months as you've campaigned for the Democratic nomination for President, Senator Clinton, and you have some very admirable qualities. Your knowledge of world events is extensive, and you've shown that you've cultivated a wide-ranging group of supporters within the Democratic network in Washington D.C. You've shown how admirable it can be to "stick with a fight," and how important it is to keep plugging along...

However, I strongly urge you to quit now. You've shown us the qualities of determination and tenacity, but what you're teaching us now is that determination and tenacity are but a short step away from stubbornness and willful ignorance. Senator Barack Obama has all but won the nomination, yet he cannot concentrate on the general election while you're still in the race. Your continuation of this prolonged nomination process is, at this point, doing nothing but helping the opposition, wasting money, and hurting the environment. While Republican nominee John McCain is free to concentrate on his run for the White House, you're stalling the Democratic party, miring Senator Obama in a mudslinging contest in which he doesn't wish to engage or continue.

Please, Senator Clinton, do the right thing and step aside for the good of the country. Please.

Thank you for your kind attention,
Christopher L. Radloff

Sunday, May 04, 2008

My stomach hurts...

...from laughing.

My sister sent me a link to the top 50 comedy sketches of all time. I haven't watched all of 'em, but I did notice one sketch missing.

Way back in the days of yore, people used to work in front of live audiences. Here's a sketch where Carol Burnette is supposed to be telling her Mama something. Tim Conway ad libs some goofy story. They do the sketch again. Conway ad libs a completely different story...

Friday, May 02, 2008


Random Thoughts on a Friday

1. Number One was an angry rant. When I re-read it, it sounded childish and petty, so I deleted it. Feel free to continue on to Number Two.

2. I wish I had enough money to quit my job. I'm burned out, angry, grumpy, and generally unhappy. I don't know if it's anyone's fault, particularly, though I tend to be upset at my bosses. It's just the way I feel.

3. Dumb quote of the day: Republican Representative John Duncan -- "… it seems rather elitist that people with academic degrees in health think they know better than parents..."

When did being "elite" turn into a bad thing? When did it become a sin to be educated and trained? Personally, I WANT my doctor to be one of the elite! I want the people governing me to be elite. I want the people teaching today's children to be elite.

Rep. Duncan was talking about sex education. His view is that the parents should be in charge of educating their children about sex, and he's right -- parents should teach their children about such things. But they're not, so the schools have to instead. And if the schools are doing it, what's wrong with having an educated professional in charge of the program?

It seems miserably backwards to me that we should choose those who are to educate our children based not on their education and qualifications, but rather their lack of such education or qualification.

4. I'm tired of getting political "jokes" e-mailed to me. I'm getting probably 15 or 20 anti-Hillary e-mails a day. I'm hoping Obama gets the nod in the primary, but I don't wanna see anti-ANYONE e-mails. They're rarely funny, and all they do is prove, once again, that our nation can't decide politics on issues -- we depend instead on slurs, slander, and cheap humor. Don't get me wrong, a good political cartoon can make a definite statement, and so can a well-turned phrase. But the vast, vast majority of what I see is merely ignorant name-calling. I don't want to see it in my e-mail any more.

That's what blogs are for.

5. United States President G. Walker Bush has disappointed me. He has once again stood in front of the nation and failed to take responsibility for his actions. Instead of acknowledging that his policies may be flawed, he's telling everyone that the current political and economic mess is Congress' fault and that there's nothing he could do about it.

Whatever happened to Democratic President Harry S. Truman's famous "The Buck Stops Here" philosophy? Whatever happened to the notion that we must hold our public officials accountable, including the President, for their actions? Yes, Congress plays an important part in public policy, but I don't want to hear excuses. Get the job done, dammit.

Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain is already showing signs of continuing the Bush/Cheney/Rove policy of blame-shifting. He has publicly denounced an attack ad being run by the North Carolina Republicans as being false, but claims he's powerless to stop them from running the attack ad. Isn't he kind of the guy in charge these days? Doesn't he have control over his own party? Why won't he step up to the plate, do the right thing, and declare attack/smear ads be stopped? Because then he'd be held accountable...

6. I get an e-mail roughly three times a day, the same message, listing the various ways Christianity has played a part in American history. At the end it says, "It is said that 86% of Americans believe in God. Therefore, it is very hard to understand why there is such a mess about having the Ten Commandments on display or 'In God We Trust' on our money and having God in the Pledge of Allegiance. Why don't we just tell the other 14% to Sit Down and SHUT UP!!!"

Well, I have problems with that.

My first question is quite simple -- who's trying to change our money? Is someone seriously trying to change the Pledge of Allegiance? No. Oh, sure, some whacko comes up every now and then who wants to make waves, but no one takes them seriously. This is NOT an issue, as far as I can tell. Liberals do believe in the separation of church and state, but I don't see anyone getting freaky about it... Most liberals are, after all, Christian -- just like Jesus, the most famous progressive of all.

My second problem is a bit more touchy. It's my opinion that if your faith in God is so weak that you need to be reminded of Him every time you spend a dollar to buy yourself some Ho-Ho's, you have more problems than you know. If you truly had faith in God, you mightn't feel so threatened.

My third problem with the e-mail revolves around the base logic of the last sentence, quoted above. Iowa passed a law recently banning cigarette smoking in bars and restaurants. This has caused quite the upheaval -- the level of chest-thumping and moaning by smokers is incredible; they feel their rights are being violated, and that the government has no right to tell them what to do. One survey I saw said that some 82% of Iowans are non-smokers. So why can't we tell the other 18% to sit down and shut up? That's what the e-mail said about religion... So, if the smoking minority are upset about their rights being trampled by the majority, don't you think they'd also be vocal about the religious majority trampling the rights of the minority religions? Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be working that way.

Personally, I fail to see where another person's beliefs threatens my belief in God. We are a Christian society, by and large, and part of Christianity is accepting other people. Acceptance. Compassion. You know, those values. They pertain to other people, too, you know.

7. A meme... SkylersDad memed me a while back. I haven't forgotten, I've just been busy. Until now. It's a simple one -- list five relatively clean web sites you like. Feel free to play...

Torso pants -- Odd t-shirts. Fun site.

I Can Has Cheezburger -- lolcats

HippieBoy Design -- My site. Go there. Buy a website or something. Please.

Weather -- I live on this site waiting and hoping for good riding weather...

Drew -- My buddy's site. He's trying to work his way out of the print shop too.

8. I'm tired. Shoot. I just caught myself sleeping. I think I was snoring. Not good when you work ten feet from the boss' door.

9. I'd best get something done. Have a good weekend, ever'buddy!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Welcome Home!

They made it!

I don't know why my pictures are always so dark after I upload them. They look fine beforehand... Anyway, we rode 100+ miles up the road, met the bus with the soldiers, and escorted them 100+ miles back again to see them reunited with their families.

What an experience! What an experience.

I'll write more later.

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