Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Never Too Young, Candid Camera, -and- Bad Cop

Never Too Young - 6-year-old girl charged with felony battery
Candid Camera - "voyeur deputy" wants job back
Bad Cop - sheriff used inmates to do personal yard work

What beautiful weather we enjoyed yesterday! Today is equally beautiful! RAIN is forecast for tomorrow. We shall see.

When I selected a whole, split chicken at the market on Sunday, Laura questioned my selection. We traditionally buy only boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Yesterday afternoon, I did a Cajun spice dry rub on the chicken halves and placed them in the center of the grill, bone side down, over low heat, for 20 minutes. I turned them skin side down for 40 minutes. I turned them skin side up, moved to the rear, turned the rear burner off, and allowed them to roast undisturbed for 2 hours. At the table, the incredibly moist meat fell from the bone, the skin was delightfully crisp and spicy, and Laura exclaimed that it was the best chicken she had ever eaten!

I made a potato salad with red potatoes, white onions, Jalapeños, and radishes. Laura dressed it with spices, ground black pepper, ranch dressing, mayonnaise, and spicy brown mustard. It was most tasty. There is sufficient chicken and potato salad remaining for another meal.

I herewith offer the methodology for making the perfect potatoes for potato salad: Rinse potatoes and leave damp, place in microwave and cook on high until a toothpick inserted into the largest potato indicates it is fully cooked. Place the potatoes in a stainless steel bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Dice and add to other ingredients.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Open Wide!, Cough It Up!, -and- Not Again!

Open Wide! - man frees puppy from alligator's jaws
Cough It Up! - catfish recovers woman's stolen class ring
Not Again! - robber holds up same clerk twice in one night

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Memorial Day weekend! I trust that you are all now well rested and eager to return to your regular schedules!

We spent the weekend relaxing, playing Trivial Pursuit, reading, grilling, watching television, and researching mattresses in anticipation of purchasing a new bed. Although our bed (a Serta Millennium) is barely six years old, it does not give the firm support we need for comfortable, restorative rest. Our chiropractor recommended that we replace it, so the research has begun.

Friday evening, Laura had nursery duties at Harvest Christian Center. It was after 9 PM when she returned home, and neither of us was hungry for a big meal, so we had toasted bagels with cheese, watched a few episodes of "Cops," and got to bed early.

Saturday morning, Laura had a hair appointment at 9 AM. I intended to arise and start preparation of brunch while she was gone, but I fell asleep when she left and did not awaken until she returned. Laura prepared a frittata. We ate and then enjoyed a Trivial Pursuit tournament. I was victorious. We had giant shrimp, sautéed in minced garlic and grated ginger, served over rice pilaf for dinner, watched a documentary on the National Geographic Channel, and retired at 11 PM.

Sunday morning, we attended service at Harvest Christian Center, following which we did our weekly grocery shopping. We snacked on beef taquitos and guacamole and played Trivial Pursuit. We played only two games--each of us winning one game. We lazed about and watched various television programs. From 3 PM to 5 PM, Laura attend meetings at Harvest Christian Center. We had sautéed Cajun dogs on toasted onion bagels for dinner, watched Animal Planet, and retired at 11 PM.

Monday, I made a frittata while Laura did laundry and cleaned the house. We watched a "Walker, Texas Ranger" marathon on the Hallmark Channel. I poached asparagus and grilled New York steaks and calamari steaks for dinner. We watched a few more episodes of "Walker, Texas Ranger," and retired at 11 PM.

It was a very peaceful, restful weekend!

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Fat of the Land, Fighting Back, -and- Order in the Court

The Fat of the Land - 210-pound 6-year-old
Fighting Back - Hollywood teen shoots home invader
Order in the Court - murder defendant tries to strangle lawyer

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful and safe Memorial Day. There will be no blog entry on Monday, due to the holiday.

There was nothing of significant interest at the swamp this morning. The beach at the river, however, provided some entertainment. This boy has lost his head!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Like a Pagan, For the Birds, -and- The Right to Remain Silent

Like a Pagan - Madonna defends mock crucifixion
For the Birds - Joan Baez living in tree in Los Angeles
The Right to Remain Silent - ACLU tries to stop free speech of its own members

On This Day in History - May 25 1925

John T. Scopes is indicted by a grand jury for violating Tennessee's anti-evolution statute, which he claimed to have broken by teaching Darwin's theory of natural selection in a Dayton high school. Later, on July 10th, the "Scopes Monkey Trial" begins.

A client asked me this morning, with frightening enthusiasm, "Did you see 'American Idol' last night?" She apparently assumed that I had and added, "Wasn't that great?" "I was otherwise occupied, watching my cat groom himself," I said. A look of complete astonishment came over her face, and she asked, "How could you NOT watch it? It was the FINALE!" I replied, "I have never watched that show. There are certain things that are so patently foul that a sane person knows instinctively to eschew them. Karaoke is one of these things!"

And so the day began.

No, kid! Eat the LEGS!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Living in Sin, Number of the Beast, -and- Count on It

Living in Sin - U.S. town tells unwed parents to marry or get out
Number of the Beast - Qatari pays $2.75 million for 666-6666 mobile phone number
Count on It - Dracula's castle returned to owners

The sun is shining brightly, the sky is blue, and the birds are singing. Spring has returned!

While traveling past the swamp on the way to my office this morning, I saw this boy and his pet!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hic!, Just Say No, -and- Satanvision

Hic! - driver had 18 times legal alcohol limit
Just Say No - Elton John's gay sitcom canned
Satanvision - Mel Gibson slams "Da Vinci Code"

On This Day in History - May 23, 1934

A group of FBI agents and police officers from two states ambush Bonnie and Clyde on a highway near Gibsland, Louisiana. The men open fire as the bank robbers drive past the concealed posse, unloading hundreds of rounds into the car.

SALT LAKE CITY - A campground at Natural Bridges National Monument has been closed because of bubonic plague detected among field mice and chipmunks. Plague also has been found this spring in rodent populations at Mesa Verde National Park and Colorado National Monument.

National Park Service officials said there never has been a reported human case of bubonic plague originating from the parks or national monuments. "We come down on the conservative side when it comes to closing campgrounds," said Joe Winkelmaier of the U.S. Public Health Service. "We just like to be sure when it comes to plague."

One would certainly hope they would " to be sure..."!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bad Press, Drink Up!, -and- Show Me the Money

Bad Press - Elton John says all photographers should be shot
Drink Up! - wallaby milk hailed as cure-all
Show Me the Money - Democrat congressman caught on tape taking bribe

What disappointing weather we had this weekend! It drizzled all afternoon and into the evening on Friday, it was overcast and windy Saturday and Sunday, and it rained Sunday afternoon and into the night! Today, the sun has returned!

Friday evening while Laura worked in the nursery at Harvest Christian Center, I previewed "Domino." The story sounded interesting (the true story of a female bounty hunter), but my preview quickly determined that the movie was entirely too vulgar for our viewing. We watched two episodes of "Walker, Texas Ranger" when Laura returned home.

Saturday, we grilled chicken breasts, Jalapeños, mushrooms, yellow squash, and white potatoes. We watched "Shrek 2" for the fourth time. What a wonderful movie! Later that evening, we watched "The Fog" and found it to be entertaining and exciting.

Sunday, Laura did a spicy dry rub on two racks of baby back ribs, tossed them onto the grill, bone-side down over indirect heat, and tended them for three hours, spraying them every 20 minutes with a mixture of 1/2 apple cider vinegar and 1/2 apple juice. While they roasted, we watched "Ray." It was remarkably well done and thoroughly enjoyable. The ribs were delightful!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Bzzzz!, Lost!, -and- Slap!

Bzzzz! - 200,000 bees found inside walls of new home
Lost! - couple arrested for asking for directions
Slap! - Senate raises fines for indecency on television

The two top stories in America this week are simply astounding: Illegal aliens continue to invade the United States seemingly at will, and alligators are on the prowl in Florida, threatening anything that moves. Both these problems have received considerable media coverage, and much of America in a panic. So what is the nation to do? Put alligators on the border!

Simply transplant a large sample of Florida's reptile populace along a path from Texas to California and see how fast the illegal invaders "vamanos" when faced with the killer smiles of the four-legged American welcoming committee.

Florida residents will breathe a sigh of relief.

Animal-rights activists will be thankful that many of the alligators will not be rounded up for slaughter.

The alligators could reside in the Rio Grande, which already serves as a natural moat along much of the border. It could be extended with a little digging project, a task much easier than construction of a giant wall.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hic!, Satanic Verses, -and- Good Dog!

Hic! - 70,000 beer cans found in Utah home
Satanic Verses - "Da Vinci Code"-bashing #2 podcast download
Good Dog! - Labrador pulls boy from raging river

May 18, 1980

After a 5.1 magnitude earthquake in Washington state, 57 people are killed in an avalanche of volcanic mud in the eruption of Mount St. Helens. The volcano spews out 200 million cubic yards of of pumice, ash, and debris, covering 24 square miles of the valley below.

I recall this well. It certainly does not seem as if it were 26 years ago!

BAKERSFIELD, CA — A rabid bat crawled out from under a rack at a discount shoe store and bit a 6-year-old boy on the foot. The incident occurred Tuesday at a Payless Shoe Source. Workers from the Kern County Animal Control Services Division captured the bat, and it tested positive for rabies. The virus is potentially fatal, but the boy is undergoing treatment and doing well.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Satanic Verses, Buckle Up!, -and- On Second Thought

Satanic Verses - "Da Vinci Code" gets thumbs down from Cannes critics
Buckle Up! - seat belt saves woman from bullet
On Second Thought - man falls in love with woman he robs

Bill Gates and MTV have joined forces to declare war on the iPod. Until today, the iPod has dominated the market for Internet music downloads. Apple, manufacturer of the iPod, controls 68 per cent of the download market through its online music service, iTunes. The second-largest operator, Napster, controls only 4.4 per cent.

Today, Bill Gates' Microsoft company and MTV are launching the first serious rival to the iPod. The service, called Urge, will use Microsoft's Media Player technology and MTV's marketing power to target owners of non-iPod digital music players.

Individual songs will cost the same to download as iPod songs, but the Microsoft/MTV service will offer a new all-you-can-listen-to service. Apple does not offer a subscription service. Urge is also planning to offer video downloads.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bang!, School Daze, -and- Take a Deep Breath

Bang! - "Super Columbine Massacre RPG" sparks controversy
School Daze - 6-year-old boy ready for university
Take a Deep Breath - canned oxygen to go on sale in Japan

I recently received a solicitation call from the Better Business Bureau and noted at the time that the Caller ID box reported "Better Business Bureau." I was confident this morning when a caller identified herself as a representative of that agency that she was dishonest, since the Caller ID reported "Unknown Name."

CALLER: This is Karen with the Better Business Bureau. Is the owner or manager in please? ME: Yes. CALLER: Is that you? ME: Yes. CALLER: And your name is? ME: David Louis Harter. CALLER: Well, David, we have a complaint filed against you by John and Rhonda Thompson. The complaint states that you refused to service their computer. [Readers may recall this episode several weeks ago. It was impolitely demanded of me that I remedy repairs made by another shop and that I send my bill to that shop! Understandably, I refused.] ME: I recall these creatures and the abhorrent demands they made of me. CALLER: So you don't deny the charges? ME: Of course not! In fact, I would further extend my patience in this matter and allow them to darken my doorway once again so that I may have the opportunity to repeat my refusal. You are certainly welcome to accompany them. Please give me sufficient lead time so that I may arrange for a representative of the Better Business Bureau to be here! [PLONK!}

Laura had lunch yesterday at a new Chinese restaurant in Chico, Wok the Dog.
She enjoyed her meal, until she read her fortune cookie!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Oh Dear!, Catch a Wave, -and- That Bites!

Oh Dear! - wife of 17 years did not realize husband was a woman
Catch a Wave - California town trademarks "Surf City, U.S.A."
That Bites! - man spits own tongue at cops

There were no tournaments this weekend. For the most part, we lounged! We watched "Lord of War" (dramatic, entertaining, excellent acting and photography) and "The Chronicles of Narnia" (incredibly wonderful in every way). Sunday, we had a festive Mother's Day dinner: Grilled New York steaks, giant shrimp, and baked white potato.

The Car Show was a great success. The weather was perfect, and the attendance was excellent. There was one vehicle that did not fall within the specifications for any of the standard classifications, and for this reason it could not be judged against other vehicles. Click to enlarge.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Don't Get Up, It's a Zoo, -and- Purr!

Don't Get Up - "paralyzed" woman runs from police
It's a Zoo - workers take 227 animals from California home
Purr! - police rescue 95 cats from Rhode Island home

The 10th Annual Corning Car Show begins! Tonight, there will be burnout eliminations (in front of the police department!) from 5 PM to 7 PM, followed by a cruise from 7 PM to 9 PM. Tomorrow, there will be a car show all day, a low-rider hydraulic show from 10 AM to 11 AM, burnout finals from 11 AM to 12 PM, raffle drawings from 12 PM to 3 PM, and award presentations at 3 PM.

A reader of this blog followed with great interest the comments regarding the anti-PETA photograph in yesterday's post. She lives in a rural area near here and plants a large vegetable garden each spring. Traditionally, she has been plagued by rabbits, moles, gophers, voles, groundhogs, ground squirrels, and other varmints. This year, however, she has implemented a garden-protection plan that has proven to be highly successful!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

This Tent's for You, Lost at Sea, -and- Punch Lines

This Tent's for You - Sheriff Joe intensifies immigration crackdown
Lost at Sea - three saved by text message after 22 days adrift
Punch Lines - Chuck Norris humor online

This video is truly hilarious! If you are a cat lover, you must see this!
Talking Cats!

Look closely at this photograph, and you will learn the hunters' opinion of PETA! Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

This Tent's for You, Bone Appetit, -and- All in the Family

This Tent's for You - Arizona posse jails illegal immigrants
Bone Appetit - cannibal flashes teeth at judge
All in the Family - mother and son crime team faces over 100 charges

Here's how to create your own personal Stage 2 Smog Alert: Buy an indoor air purifier! Using a popular process called ionization, the air cleaners can actually generate ozone levels in a room that exceed the worst smog days in Los Angeles, a new study finds. Ionic air purifiers are said to work by charging airborne particles and then attracting them to metal electrodes. They emit ozone as a byproduct of this ionization process. In a small and poorly ventilated room, the ozone adds to existing ozone and creates potentially unhealthy concentrations.

Yesterday's photograph of "Toenail Girl" created such interest that I am offering photographs of the creature's sisters in weirdness. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

PTA, Who's Yer Daddy?, -and- Nothing Is Out There

PTA - mom arrested for making Ex-Lax cookies for teachers
Who's Yer Daddy? - researchers build robot that can reproduce
Nothing Is Out There - UFO study finds no aliens exist


L. Ron Hubbard publishes the first edition of "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health." This follows on the heels of a feature article in the pulp sci-fi magazine "Astounding Science Fiction."

A book review in the "The New Republic" describes the work as "a bold and immodest mixture of complete nonsense and perfectly reasonable common sense, taken from long-acknowledged findings and disguised and distorted by a crazy, newly invented terminology."

The subsequent movement goes on to become one of the scariest, most powerful pseudoreligious cults in modern history, Scientology.

This creature's nails are in serious need of trimming! Click to enlarge.

Monday, May 08, 2006

No Laughing Matter, Bang!, -and- Willard

No Laughing Matter - Wal-Mart to own all smiley faces?
Bang! - dad protecting family fatally shoots would-be robber
Willard - rats trained for landmine searches

POSER: (Congratulations to Cap'n Jack for solving!)
Q: What do you call a synthetic champion golfer?
A: Arnold Polymer

The weather was beautiful all weekend. We snacked and played a Scrabble tournament Saturday. I was victorious. For dinner, we had grilled chicken breasts and garlic/Jalapeño mashed potatoes.

Sunday, we snacked and played a Trivial Pursuit tournament. Laura was victorious. While Laura tended the grill, roasting baby back ribs, I prepared a large batch of Cajun beans. It was a delightful meal.

It appears that we shall have wonderful weather for our annual Car Show. There will be burn-out competition and a cruise Friday evening and burn-out finals, a car show, raffle, and awards on Saturday.

Friday, May 05, 2006

This Tent's for You, Welcome Home, -and- You Can Stop Now

This Tent's for You - Arizona posse to arrest illegal immigrants
Welcome Home - cat to be returned to owner after 10 years
You Can Stop Now - 4-year-old boy runs 40 miles

POSER: (Answer will appear on Monday.)
Q: What do you call a synthetic champion golfer?

A federal court has ordered a man who was at the center of the nation's first "spyware" case to be fined $4 million. Sanford Wallace was accused by the Federal Trade Commission of running an operation that infected computers with software that caused pop-up ads and then tried to sell consumers cures called "Spy Wiper" and "Spy Deleter" for $30.

In a related case Thursday, the government reached a settlement with Jared Lansky, an ad broker who disseminated ads containing Wallace's spyware. He is to give up $227,000 in ill-gotten gains.

A client brought a computer to me for an upgrade this morning. I believe the upgrade went very well indeed! Click to enlarge.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

In the Name of the Father, Go Granny!, -and- Who Ya Gonna Call?

In the Name of the Father - Navy chaplain may face court-martial for praying
Go Granny! - world's oldest person celebrates 128th birthday
Who Ya Gonna Call? - riot slimer will bring mob to its knees

Moussaoui said as he was led from the courtroom, "America, you lost." He clapped his hands. The jury's decision on Moussaoui was not an act of compassion; it was a gross failure of nerve. He should have been sentenced to death.

This is what Moussaoui did: He was in jail on a visa violation in August, 2001. He knew of the upcoming attacks. He had taken flight lessons to take part in them. He told no one what was coming. He lied to the FBI so the attacks could go forward. He pled guilty last year to conspiring with al Qaeda. At his trial, he bragged to the court that he had intended to be on the fifth aircraft, intended to destroy the White House. He could have stopped it. He did nothing. 2,700 people died.

The jury did not doubt Moussaoui was guilty of conspiracy. They did not doubt his own testimony as to his guilt. They did not think he was incapable of telling right from wrong. They did not find him insane. They did believe, however, that he had had an unstable childhood, that his father had been abusive, and that as a child he suffered the trauma of being exposed to racial slurs.

Of course he had a bad childhood. Of course he was abused. One generally does not become a killer because one enjoyed a childhood filled with love and sweetness. He should have been sentenced to death.

My complaint is not with the jury, however; my complaint is with the sentencing system. I believe it should be the responsibility of the jury to determine the verdict in the guilt phase, and it should be the judge's responsibility to pass sentence. Additionally, I believe there should be mandatory sentences for particularly abhorrent crimes, and mandatory sentencing in Moussaoui's case should have been death. Treason, terrorism resulting in death, mass murder, and serial murder should all qualify for mandatory death sentencing, in my opinion. Child rape should have a mandatory sentence of 25 years, and a subsequent offence should qualify for a mandatory sentence of death.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Drugstore, Sticky Situation, -and- Generation Gap

Drugstore - Walgreens shut down after meth lab found in parking lot
Sticky Situation - man glued to toilet seat in Wal-Mart
Generation Gap - 33-year-old man marries 104-year-old woman

As I predicted, Sirius Satellite Radio, Inc., reported yesterday that its first-quarter loss more than doubled, due largely to expenses of $225 million in stock-based compensation to Howard Stern. Sirius reported a net loss of $458.5 million, or 33 cents a share, for the January-March period compared with a loss of $193.6 million, or 15 cents a share, a year ago.

My friend, Frank, sent me two examples of how idiots entertain themselves. Take a look at these videos!

Redneck Surfing

Exploding Melon

Bird flu has struck in South Florida! Click to enlarge.

Bird flu has struck in South Florida!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Bloodlust, The Bare Facts, -and- Free at Last

Bloodlust - teen vampiress attacks schoolgirls
The Bare Facts - dude ranch becomes nude ranch
Free at Last - man freed from life sentence by DNA evidence after serving 17 years

Great Scott! The wind is howling! The wind is so fierce that it is difficult to stand erect! What would otherwise be a perfect morning is severely marred by howling wind. At least it is warm and dry! Forecasts show the wind abating by late morning. Perhaps this will be one of those rare times when the forecasters are correct!

My friend, Chris, from Michigan, has an excellent photograph on his blog. Take a look at Kung Fu Kitty!

Laura and I met via email six years ago. She was living in Santa Cruz, CA, researching the olive industry. She happened upon several of my Web sites during her research and emailed me to express her appreciation of the sites. An email relationship developed, and soon we decided to meet. Soon, Laura was driving to Corning each weekend! The commute quickly became onerous, she moved here, and we were married.

We drove to Santa Cruz in a rented U-Haul truck and collected Laura's belongings. We stopped to dine at Pink Godzilla Sushi Bar before returning to Corning. While doing some spring cleaning here at the office, I found a napkin from Pink Godzilla. The food at Pink Godzilla is wonderful, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is visiting Santa Cruz!

Here is a scan of a napkin from Pink Godzilla Sushi Bar - Santa Cruz, CA.
Click to enlarge.

Scan of napkin from Pink Godzilla Sushi Bar - Santa Cruz, CA

Monday, May 01, 2006

Good Sports, POW!, -and- Vroom!

Good Sports - homeschoolers create own teams
POW! - 14-year-old girl fights off attacker
Vroom! - man puts jet engine in VW Beetle

POSER: (Congratulations to Cindy for solving!)
Q: What European city is home to the largest number of rodents?
A: Hamsterdam!

The weather was beautiful all weekend, and this glorious weather continues today! I believe that spring has finally arrived!

Laura brought two 12-ounce containers of ceviche home from Sierra Nevada Friday. We enjoyed this wonderful treat with Mission tortilla chips and Cuervo margaritas while we played a Trivial Pursuit tournament on Saturday. I was victorious. Following the tournament, we watched "Billy Graham: God's Ambassador." It was a beautiful tribute to an awesome man of God. For dinner, we had pan-seared ahi steaks and oven fries.

Yesterday, following service at Harvest Christian Center, we did our weekly grocery shopping at Sav-Mor Foods. We relaxed and watched the first half of a documentary on Henry VIII. Laura had to leave to attend a meeting at Harvest Christian Center. I recorded the balance of the documentary. We shall watch it tonight.

While Laura grilled chicken breasts, I made a green bean dish: I poached fresh green beans for three minutes, plunged them into cold water, drained them, and set them aside. I sautéed large green onion, garlic, white mushroom, Jalapeño, and tomato in La Conda Ranch extra-virgin olive oil. When this mixture was cooked, I tossed in the green beans and removed the pan from the stove. The dinner was wonderful, and Laura will enjoy leftovers for her lunch today.

Here is a studio shot of me taken in the late 1960s for a newspaper advertisement for a music store at which I was manager and guitar instructor. Click to enlarge.

Studio shot of David taken in the late 1960s for a newspaper advertisement for a music store at which he was manager and guitar instructor.