Friday, November 30, 2007

When Santa Turned Green

I just found this great book by Victoria Perla online. HCPL doesn't have it and there is no record in OCLC but it is available at several major bookstores.

Here is a synopsis from the Barnes & Noble website:
"It's November up in the North Pole. Everything's going along smoothly at Santa's workshop, until he discovers a leak in his roof. Santa soon learns that this little leak is connected to a far bigger problem -- global warming! Faced with the reality of what this could mean for Christmas, not to mention the planet and the future, Santa is determined to turn things around."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The stupidest thing to come out of Texas since...

They are going to build, in Texas, "a winter wonderland like no other. Situated on a 250 foot tall 35 acre landscaped man-made mountain structure, Glacier Peak will keep you busy for days with over a mile of multiple expert and intermediate ski runs and jumps." Somehow, Utilizing [an unexplained] environmental friendly technology, Glacier Peak will envelope you in an atmosphere that is 15 to 20 degrees cooler than the surrounding area."

There are caverns filled with real snow. "Deep within the Snowball Caverns beneath Glacier Peak, guests can experience real snow play in the largest indoor snow experience of its kind anywhere in the world. Once you are inside the Bearfire Snowball Caverns, you can completely ignore the rising mercury level outdoors.
The snow remains frozen throughout the year and you can even experience snowfall here. Ice caves and gulleys can be used by children for sledding and sliding. Bundle up and experience Snowball Caverns.

I didn't believe this when I first read it but apparently it's true and while this might be a lot of fun, the amount of energy used to fuel this type of winter wonderland is absurd even by Texas standards. For more info on this resort which will be built in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area see

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cheney has a heart?!?

This was the response of one of my co-workers on learning that doctors had administered an electrical shock to his heart after he had experienced an irregular heartbeat.

Some other reactions from the blogosphere:

"In any case, doctors were in for a surprise when they pried open his chest.
'All his precious bodily fluids vere there,' the Dr. said after the operation. 'Just no heart.'
Scientists call this condition 'Heart-Eroding A-hole Reactionary Termino-Legalistic Entropic S-head Syndrome,' or HEARTLESS. It generally afflicts angry white males, particularly those making over $500,000 a year who pay more than one-tenth of one-percent of their income in taxes. It begins in the heart's right wing and eventually eats away at the rest of the organ. "--Gabriel Rotello.

Allen L. Roland has another theory, that Cheney has a wooden heart.

"Cheney's wooden heart is incapable of making a heart/mind connection which obviously accounts for Cheney's well known mantra ~ The natural state of man is War .
It is also incapable of empathy, compassion and most certainly love and is totally resistant to social cooperation and altruism. It seems to be unaffected by reality, has a strange aversion to sunlight and prefers to operate in seclusion ~ which explains Cheney's tendency to operate from his bunker deep beneath the White house West wing."

Others have suggested that finding Dick's heart would require microsurgery.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Property Tax

I received my property tax bill and was shocked. Despite my house going up in value, my taxes went down almost $250.00 from last year. I had heard this was going to happen but expected the amount to be much less.
The picture is from the cutest site on the web.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The outing of Valerie Plame Wilson and the White House coverup

Former White House press secretary Scott McClellan has written a book entitled What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and What's Wrong With Washington

Although it won't be released until April, 2008, Public Affairs Books has published this excerpt on their web site

"The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.
There was one problem. It was not true.
I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the President himself"

Scooter is the only person to be charged in this case and Bush commuted his 30 month sentence.
After promising to fire anyone in the WH responsible for the leak, Bush refuses to discuss the case.
The outing of a CIA operative is a treasonous act. It is certainly worse than anything ever done by the Nixon White House or by Clinton with the intern.
It's time to, at the very least, impeach Bush and Cheney for these crimes.
For more on this see Valerie Plame Wilson's comments on the Huffington Post

Week 10: #23 Is this really the end? Or just the beginning...

Having this blog has been the most fun and educational thing I've ever done at work and I will continue to blog about things of interest to me (unlike the dog in the cartoon)
One really nice thing I've noticed is a spirit of cooperation among co-workers. Everyone in my department has at one time over the course of the 23 Things been the "expert" who helps others and we have all at one time or another needed help with some of the exercises.

Some of the features I like that I didn't know about before are the Library Elf and Bloglines. I've discovered some great sites through Bloglines that I check everyday, like Treehugger and I like the email message I get from the Library Elf every week telling me what items I have on hold, what I have out, and what is waiting for me.

With technology changing daily, I hope that this will be something we can continue, perhaps adding a new exercise every month or so. I believe this will be of benefit to all of us, especially the staff who work directly with the public.

Many thanks to all the people who organized this program and to the poor person assigned to read this blog and wade through all the non-work related entries.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Our [B-word] will beat their [A-word]

Last week, one of McCain's supporters asked "So, how do we beat the bitch?" referring to Hillary, and McCain laughed. I wonder if he would have laughed if someone said how do we beat the heeb (Lieberman), the spic (Richardson), or the (n word) (Obama). This would have been the end of his campaign no doubt.

Today in the Washington Post Andi Zeisler, co-founder of Bitch Magazine answers the question of what the B-word really means in today's world.

"Bitch is a word we use culturally to describe any woman who is strong, angry, uncompromising and, often, uninterested in pleasing men. We use the term for a woman on the street who doesn't respond to men's catcalls or smile when they say, 'Cheer up, baby, it can't be that bad.' We use it for the woman who has a better job than a man and doesn't apologize for it. We use it for the woman who doesn't back down from a confrontation ... When these people call Clinton (or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or Sen. Dianne Feinstein or former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro) a bitch, or even the cutesier "rhymes-with-witch," it's an expression of pure sexism -- a hope that they can shut up not only one woman but every woman who dares to be assertive."

Hillary isn't my first choice but I think she will be an excellent president if elected. I do wish, and I think most people feel the same way, that the candidates would stick to the issues and stop the name calling and dirty politics. We will need the most capable person/persons to dig us out of the mess left by the current administration.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Kerry takes on the Swift Boat Veterans

This is from Salon:

Kerry takes on the Swift Boat Veterans
We interrupt this presidential campaign to bring you a blast from the not-so-distant past.
At a recent
gala dinner for the American Spectator, Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens, a major contributor to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, apparently offered $1 million to anyone who could disprove any of the Swifties' claims about John Kerry's service in Vietnam.
In a letter sent to Pickens today, Kerry has accepted the challenge himself. "I welcome the opportunity to prove that you are a man of your word and that the so-called 'Swift Boat Veterans for Truth' lied," Kerry says in his letter. "While I am prepared to show they lied on allegation after allegation, you have generously offered to pay one million dollars for just one thing that can be proven false. I am prepared to prove the lie beyond any reasonable doubt."
Kerry proposes that he and Pickens meet at some mutually agreeable public forum in either Texas or Massachusetts to settle the score. The senator, who doesn't exactly need the $1 million himself, suggests that the oilman come prepared with a check made out to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, an organization that helps veterans with spinal cord injuries and diseases.

Good luck collecting anything from these liars.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ice cream test

I found this cool test on another blog. If you want to find out your flavor you can click on the image.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The First Amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Citizens all over the US who are speaking out against the war and against the illegal actions by the criminals in this administration are being attacked. Anti-war veterans were banned from a Veterans Day parade in California last week. Students in Chicago were threatened with suspension for staging a peaceful anti-war protest. Every day there are new stories about our rights and our Constitution being trampled on by this administration. Please show your support for a candidate in the next election who will respect and uphold our constitution.

Not ready to make nice

After winning the the championship at an international bridge competition in Shanghai last month, the United States women's bridge team held up a sign, written on the back of a menu, saying "We did not vote for Bush." Like the Dixie Chicks they have been accused of treason and have received death threats. They are also facing a 1 year suspension and 200 hours of bridge related community service (whatever that is)
This has caused international debate, with the French team sending an email in support of the women saying "you were doing only what women of the world have always tried to do when opposing the folly of men who have lost their perspective of reality."
If you would like to support these women you can email Jan Martel, president of the US Bridge Federation, at

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Whole Foods Vegan Holiday Dinner

Holiday Hazelnut & Cranberry Field Roast
Edamame & Carrot Salad
Roasted Garlic & Leek Mashed Potatoes
Wild Rice, Pearl Onion & Dried Cranberry Pilaf
Green Beans Amandine
Wild Mushroom & Sage Gravy
Fresh Cranberry Sauce with Orange
Vegan Pumpkin Mousse with Maple Pecans
$59.99 serves 4 guests
$15.99 serves 1 guest
I have had everything on this menu except the pumpkin mousse and it's all delicious!

Don't eat the mascot!

Consider a Tofu Turkey or some other vegetarian option for your Thanksgiving meal. Visit for some meatless recipes for the holidays. Whole Food Market also has come complete vegan or vegetarian meals and will be open Thanksgiving Day, limited hours. Enjoy your Thanksgiving and let the TURKEYS enjoy theirs. Thanks to PETA for the title and image in this post.

Week 9: #22 Downloadable Media

I looked at Wowio but decided not to sign up because HCPL has a larger better selection. I had no idea that there were free services (outside of libraries) like Wowio available. I also took the Digital Media Guided Tour that was suggested.
Digital Books 101, a class taught here, was a great introduction to this topic.

Week 9: #21 Podcasts, Smodcasts!

Through I signed up for Wildebeat, an audio journal about getting into wilderness and Vegan Freak Radio which is about vegan issues and animal rights. I also looked at several library sites but decided that 8 hours a day of library issues is enough. I don't think podcasts are for me but I'll give it a try anyway. I was unable to get anything from

Monday, November 12, 2007

Week 9: #20 Discover YouTube and other video sharing sites

I love YouTube and find it rather addicting. I guess for this reason it's a good thing HCPL blocks the site. I put a YouTube video on my blog when we first started the assignment. It can be seen on the right hand side of the page way down. I have also looked at Yahoo and Google videos.

As part of a staff enrichment digital storytelling class, some of the staff at the Fondren Library at Rice produced short videos which are on YouTube. Here is a link to a video by my friend Liliana who works in acquisitions

I think this might be a good thing for the staff to do here next year since we will need something fun as a followup to the 23 things.

Aroma Tires

Kumho Tire USA has introduced a line of scented tires. The first on the market is lavender but orange and jasmine will be added later. The target audience is female drivers (duh) and I have to admit I'm tempted to at least go smell/look at them and maybe even buy one the next time I need a tire.
I found out about these tires from Scotty Kilmer's website. Scotty Kilmer used to have a TV show on one of the local channels where he answered caller's questions about cars. I often see him in Whole Food Market and yesterday decided to speak to him. He had his name on his shirt so I figured he wouldn't mind someone talking to him. Anyway, he gave me his card and told me to check out his website which I did. He will answer questions you have about your car and will also do repairs. His website is

Friday, November 9, 2007

The economic consequences of Mr. Bush

This essay by economist Joseph Stiglitz is from the December issue of Vanity Fair and is excerpted in Salon. I'm looking forward to reading the entire essay when my Vanity Fair arrives.

"You'll still hear some -- and, loudly, the president himself -- argue that the administration's tax cuts were meant to stimulate the economy, but this was never true. The bang for the buck -- the amount of stimulus per dollar of deficit -- was astonishingly low. Therefore, the job of economic stimulation fell to the Federal Reserve Board, which stepped on the accelerator in a historically unprecedented way, driving interest rates down to 1 percent. In real terms, taking inflation into account, interest rates actually dropped to negative 2 percent. The predictable result was a consumer spending spree. Looked at another way, Bush's own fiscal irresponsibility fostered irresponsibility in everyone else. Credit was shoveled out the door, and subprime mortgages were made available to anyone this side of life support. Credit-card debt mounted to a whopping $900 billion by the summer of 2007. "Qualified at birth" became the drunken slogan of the Bush era. American households took advantage of the low interest rates, signed up for new mortgages with "teaser" initial rates, and went to town on the proceeds.

All of this spending made the economy look better for a while; the president could (and did) boast about the economic statistics. But the consequences for many families would become apparent within a few years, when interest rates rose and mortgages proved impossible to repay. The president undoubtedly hoped the reckoning would come sometime after 2008. It arrived 18 months early. As many as 1.7 million Americans are expected to lose their homes in the months ahead. For many, this will mean the beginning of a downward spiral into poverty...

Globalization means that America's economy and the rest of the world have become increasingly interwoven. Consider those bad American mortgages. As families default, the owners of the mortgages find themselves holding worthless pieces of paper. The originators of these problem mortgages had already sold them to others, who packaged them, in a non-transparent way, with other assets, and passed them on once again to unidentified others. When the problems became apparent, global financial markets faced real tremors: it was discovered that billions in bad mortgages were hidden in portfolios in Europe, China, and Australia, and even in star American investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns. Indonesia and other developing countries -- innocent bystanders, really -- suffered as global risk premiums soared, and investors pulled money out of these emerging markets, looking for safer havens. It will take years to sort out this mess."

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Happy Birthday Rosie!

Rosie the pug is 8 today. She was adopted from a pet shop in College Station in January, 2000 but her birthday is November 7, 1999.
My friend and I were up at his farm in Anderson for the weekend when we decided to drive into the Border's in College Station. On the way there we passed a pet shop that had puppies in the window so I of course made him stop. Rosie was in a little pen with other puppies and I immediately fell in love. She was pretty expensive so my friend bought her for me. She is the baby in fourdogmom's family and very spoiled. Here are some pictures of her. There is a baby picture, a formal portrait, and a picture of her chilling out with her sisters Ginger and Gracie.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The unelectability of Hillary????

In an article in the Modesto Bee (11/30/07), novelist Mary Gordon is quoted as saying "I think no woman is electable in America, and particularly not Hillary because she is married to this guy whom everyone is libidinally attached to. I think there is unconscious sexual jealousy of her among women."
I guess that explains why Hillary is not my first choice. It's not her vote for the war in Iraq or any of her other positions I don't agree with, it's my jealousy of her relationship with Bill. Give me a break. If anything, her relationship to Bill makes me more inclined to support her candidacy. What thinking person wouldn't want Bill back in the White House even as First Whatever. The years of experience that Bill and Hillary bring to the office may be the only thing that can save us from the disastrous 8 years of W's regime.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

W's resume

In response to my "Anybody but a republican avatar", Richard sent me this GWB resume which I though I would share.

Past work experience:
I ran for Congress and lost.
I produced a Hollywood slasher B movie.
I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas; company
went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock.
I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money.

Biggest move:
Traded Sammy Sosa to the Chicago White Sox.
With my father's help and the name, was elected Governor of Texas.

Accomplishments as Governor of Texas:
I changed pollution laws for oil and power companies and made Texas the most polluted state in the nation.
I replaced Los Angeles with Houston as the most smog-ridden city in
I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas government in billions of borrowed money.
I set a record for most executions by any governor in American history.
I became president after losing the popular vote by over 500,000 votes, with the help of Republican appointments to the Supreme Court.

Accomplishments as president:
I attacked and took over two countries.
I spent the country's surplus and bankrupted the treasury.
I shattered the record for biggest annual deficit in history.
I set economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.
I set an all-time record for the biggest stock market drop in its history.
I am the first president in decades to execute a federal prisoner.
I am the first president in US history to enter office with a criminal record and in my first year in office set the all-time record for most vacation days taken by any president. After taking the entire month of August off for vacation, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.
I set the record for most campaign fundraising trips of any other
president in U.S. history.
In my first two years in office over 2 million Americans lost their jobs.
I cut unemployment benefits for more out of work Americans than any president.
I set the all-time record for the most mortgage foreclosures in a
12-month period.
I set the record for the lowest number of press conferences than any
president since the invention of television.
I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. istory and refused to intervene when corruption was revealed.
I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history and refused to use the national reserves as past presidents have done.
I cut healthcare benefits for war veterans and set the all-time record for the most people worldwide to simultaneously take to the streets to protest me (15 million people), shattering the record for protest against any person in the history of mankind.
I dissolved more international treaties than any president in U.S. history.
My presidency is the most secretive and unaccountable of any in U.S. history.
Members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S.
history. (The 'poorest' multimillionaire, Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her).
I presided over the biggest corporate stock market fraud of any market in any country in the history of the world.
I created the largest government bureaucracy in the history of the United States and set the all-time record for biggest annual budget spending increases, more than any president in US history, while at the same time proposing tax cuts.
I am the first president in U.S. history to have the United Nations
remove the U.S. from the elections monitoring board.
I withdrew from the World Court of Law.
I hold the record for most corporate campaign donations. My biggest
lifetime campaign contributor, one of my best friends, presided over one of the largest corporate bankruptcy frauds in world history (Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron Corporation).
I am the first president in U.S. history to unilaterally attack a sovereign nation against the will of the United Nations and the world community.
I am the first U.S. president to have a majority of the people of Europe (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and stability.
I set all-time records for the number of administration appointees who
violated U.S. law by not selling huge investments in corporations
bidding for government contracts.
I failed to get Osama Bin Laden 'dead or alive'.
I failed to capture the anthrax killer who tried to murder the leaders of our country at the United States Capitol building. After 18 months I have no leads and zero suspects.
In a little over two years I created the most divided country in
I entered office with the strongest economy in U.S. history and in less
than two years every economic category plunged.

Records and References:
I have at least one conviction for drunk driving in Maine (Texas driving record has been erased and is not available).
I was AWOL from National Guard.
Records from my tenure as governor of Texas are in my father's library, unavailable for public view.
All records of any SEC investigations into my insider trading or bankrupt companies are sealed and unavailable for public view.
All minutes of meetings for any public corporation I served on the board are sealed and unavailable for public view.
Any records or minutes my VP or I attended regarding public energy
policy are sealed and unavailable for public review

For personal references please speak to my father or uncle James Baker.

October 31, 2007 9:53 PM