Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What I did on my day off

Off to Europe

What a beautiful couple. I love her outfit!

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes...

My home state has been an embarrassment to me for the last 8 years or so but here is something that should make any Texan feel a little proud. You may have heard that Texas, thanks in part to T. Boone Pickins, is the leader in wind power, producing more than any other state, but now Texas is trying to become the leader in solar power as well. There are 69 alternative energy bills before the Texas legislature right now and 50 of those have to do with solar energy. Some legislators are actually referring to the current legislative session as "the solar session." Austin, the bright spot in our state, is planning to build a large solar panel just outside of the city. It will be the largest solar panel in the nation.
I doubt if this new interest in renewable energy has anything to do with fears of global warming, but more to do with the declining oil industry, and with making money. I really don't care why people are interested in alternative energy sources, I'm just glad they are. Now if we could just get them to believe in evolution.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The White House Garden

Here is a picture (click to enlarge) of the layout of the new organic garden Michelle Obama started at the White House. This is the first working garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt had a Victory Garden during WWII. Some of the produce will be used in the White House kitchen and some will be given to Miriam's Kitchen for the homeless in DC.
The garden is being tended to by the First Family and by local school children from Bancroft Elementary School.
I'm really enjoying reading my new favorite blog First Guns http://firstguns.tumblr.com/
Not only is it funny but there is also some useful information. This was in the last post I read: "The Essentials of Exercise Physiology tells us that when 63 women in a nursing home began strength training, their muscle strength increased an average of 113% percent. That is not a typo. More than 100%! Imagine how great it would be to improve anything by that much."
I thought is was too late for me and my arms but maybe it's not. I've never done strength training but I'm going to add this to my exercise program which now consists of walking with dogs.
I didn't know this but when a president takes office, he/she is allotted $100,000 of tax payer money for renovations for the Oval office and their private residence. No big surprise that the Obamas are not using this money or money from the White House Historical Association but will be paying for any renovations themselves. $100,000 isn't a lot of money, but at a time when so many people are losing their homes, it's a wonderful gesture, something the previous residents would never have thought of.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thunder and Lightning

Michelle Obama's arms have their own blog now: http://firstguns.tumblr.com/

Here is a description from the blog "Everyone's been writing about us. Now we're speaking out. We're Thunder and Lightning, the First Guns."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Potluck #56: To Tweet of Not To Tweet...Twitter

I set up a Twitter account several months ago but have never really done anything with it. Today I tried to add a picture but it was too large, changed the background, added a line about what I was doing, added a brief biographical note, and am now following Keith Olbermann. I am also following another person I know. He was the one who initailly asked me to join Twitter.
1. Through Twitter Elite I found PETA's Twitter account and I Tweeted them. I'm still not sure how all of this works but something from PETA did show up on my Twitter page. I also found a lot of other people who follow PETA.
2. I typed pugs into the search field and got 8 hits. I decided to look at "Pug Tales" which is "The Stories and Adventures of Three Pugs. Otis, Elmer and Mrs. Beasley" This is a cute site so I'm going to follow their adventures. I'm thinking that rather than having my own Twitter account, I might see if one of my dogs is interested in doing this. Of course I would have to help.
3. I'm not sure about the advantages of Twitter. I prefer Facebook and I also think one social network site is enough for me.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Extreme Sheep

This gives me an idea for decorating the dogs next Christmas.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pot Luck #55: Getting the Most Out of Facebook

1. I've had a Facebook account for almost a year now. I have 35 friends which seem like a lot to me but is nothing compared to what younger people have. My niece has over 400 friends.

2. There are always new people to add to my "friends" list and I found another one and made a request.

3. Because I don't have enough dogs at home, I adopted a little mixed breed dog named Zogby. We went on a long walk and then played Frisbee and fetch. Unfortunately I don't have enough points to feed him. Sigh.

4. I like Facebook. It's a nice convenient way to keep in touch with people I don't see all the time. I also enjoy seeing all the pictures people post, especially pet pictures. When I was taking care of Lucy, the adorable Great Pyrenees puppy, for my neighbors a few weeks ago I posted pictures of her on my page. Then I wrote on the owner's wall telling him about the pictures. He received a message on his phone and looked at the pictures and commented on my wall. This all took less than 1 hour. I don't really care about applications like flair and adopting plants and pets but it seems others do since I get gifts and requests all the time. I don't have a lot of time for this but if I did I would probably do it more often. I do like being able to post a link to an article I've read with one click of the mouse. I also think its fun to join groups like "I have more foreign policy experience than Sarah Palin." Since I am "friends" with Bill White someone was able to contact me and ask for a contribution for his senatorial campaign through my Facebook account. There is also a group associated with this request that I can join. This seems like a useful tool.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Here is a transcript from a speech Obama gave about the AIG bail out and the bonuses paid. It's so wonderful to have a leader in Washington willing to accept responsibility and not play the "blame game." Thank you Mr. President for putting the country's well being before politics. What a refreshing change.

"I know Washington's all in a tizzy, and everybody is pointing fingers at each other, and saying it's their fault, the Democrats' fault, and the Republicans' fault. Listen: I'll take responsibility. I'm the President.
We didn't draft these contracts. We've got a lot on our plate. But it is appropriate when you're in charge to make sure that stuff doesn't happen like this, so we're going to do everything we can to fix it.
So for everybody in Washington who's busy scrambling to try to figure out how to blame somebody else, just go ahead and talk to me, because it's my job to fix these messes even if I don't make them.
But what's just as important is that we make sure we don't find ourselves in this situation again, where taxpayers are on the hook for losses in bad times, and all the wealth that's generated in good times goes to those who are at the very top of the income ladder."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Books, Readers and Beyond: #54 Social Networking Through Books

1. I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of a book club. If I was going to join one I would prefer to join an in-person club.

2. If I was going to implement a book club at a library I would be inclined to go with some of the "Great Books" and not more popular fiction, just because it would force me to read books I'm not disciplined enough to read on my own. I looked at the website for the Houston Great Books Council and found a group called the Philosophy Cafe that I find fairly intriguing. I might model a book club on this one with my first selection being The Plague by Camus or Process and Reality by Whitehead. This would probably be a really small group.

3. On Goodreads, Animal Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver has an average rating of 4.20 with 11,313 ratings. I'm not sure what the rating means but I enjoyed this site and reading reviews by members. It also has recommendations for other books if you like this one.
The Readerville Forum has no way to search for specific titles so I couldn't look up this author or title. Shelfari has over 233 reviews of this book and over 11 discussions. Almost all of the comments are positive but I couldn't find a specific rating.

Books, Readers and Beyond: # 53 Finding Books Online

1. Since the West University Branch is the one closest to my house I decided to look for bookstores in that area rather than the Adm. building. The bookstores that I found are Brazos Books on Bissonnet (my favorite bookstore in Houston), Murder by the Book (also on Bissonnet) and Half-price Books on University at Kirby. Brazos has a wonderful website: http://brazos.booksense.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp They include many features including what Houston is reading, Brazos picks, Brazos Kids, Indie picks, and information about upcoming events and signings.

Murder by the book also has a great website: http://www.murderbooks.com/ with award winners, book discussion group events, book signings, best sellers, and a lot more.

Half-price books books has a store locator and map for the specific store I choose but individual stores don't seem to have their own websites.

2. When I searched Barbara Kingsolver in the search field at the Brazos bookstore website I got 72 hits. One of her latest books Animal,Vegetable, Miracle is available in all of these formats: 26.95 (hc), 14.95 (pbk), 39.95 or 99.95 (CD), Audiocassette (94.55), Adobe, Microsoft and Palm e-reader (all 11.95).

3. I went to the HCPL website and tried to download a book. First I had to install an Adobe program and while I was there decided to look through their (Adobe's) selection of books. I downloaded The Geography of Bliss: One Man's Search for the Happiest Places on Earth / by Eric Weiner. I didn't actually download the whole book, but the introduction and contents. Then I went back to HCPL and downloaded The Ultimate Chocolate Cookie Book / by Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough. Even though I don't cook or bake I like looking through recipes. This book has some wonderful recipes including one chocolate cookie made with tofu!
I work in 2 libraries and live withing walking distance of 2 major bookstores so I probably won't download ebooks I also prefer to have an actual book in my hand. I would have loved this when I was a child because I never had enough books to read. ebooks would be great for people in rural areas or for people who for one reason or another can't leave their home.

Books, Readers and Beyond: #52 What to Read

1. For this exercise I choose the author Barbara Kingsolver. Some of the recommended read-alikes suggested by Novelist Plus are books by Lorna Landvik, Billie Letts, Sandra Dallas, Rachel Carson, Hannah Holmes, and Michael Pollan. I tried Fiction L Booklists but could not find a place to enter an author. I instead looked at A Sense of Place 1 Novels where the scene, the setting, or the environment is a major character because I knew I would find Kingsolver on that list and her book The Bean Trees was on the list. Even though it didn't work like Novelist Plus I like this site better because there are so many options/genres to choose from. It's very detailed and has some great lists like "Books for porching." What should I read next didn't work even though I tried it many times. Library Booklists and Bibliographies has at least 2 different lists of recommended books, many of which I have read and enjoyed including books by Jonis Agee, Charles Baxter, Gail Godwin, and Louise Erdrich. Of all the sites I looked at I would probably use Fiction L Booklists again because I really like the very detailed lists.

2. Since it's spring and she is almost in 5th grade and precocious I decided my 4th grade girl who likes animal stories would like to read Julie of the Wolves by Jean C. George which is for grade 5-6 and Star in the Storm by Joan Hiatt Harlow.
For her older brother who like ghost stories I recommend: Get that ghost to go by Catherine MacPhail and John Bellairs's Lewis Barnavelt in The whistle, the grave, and the ghost by Brad Strickland. For this assignment I used Novelist Plus.

3. For the reader who likes Dean Koontz, Novelist Plus recommends Dan Simmons and John Saul. Library Booklist recommends Peter Straub and Greg Bear.

4. For the reader who has read Alanna: The first adventure by Tamora Pierce and wants to read the other books in the series I looked at Novelist Plus. The name of the series is Song of the Lioness and the titles in that series are: In the hand of the goddess (2); The woman who rides like a man (3); and Lioness rampant (4).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Prescott Public Library

Prescott Arizona is one of my very favorite places in the US. My friend and I went there every time we would go to Arizona, which was a lot, and we would always climb Thumb Butte Mountain and go to the Sharlot Museum downtown.

I also love the Prescott Library and would love to work there. When I went to their website tonight I found this nifty Library Use Calculator where you enter the number of time you use different services offered by the library (like checking out DVDs) and it calculates how much money you save by using the library. Here is the link: http://www.prescottlibrary.info/index.php/about/89.html

The calculator was developed by the Maine State Library and their website explains more about how these figures were calculated and how you can customize one for your own library. There is a link on the Prescott site to the MSL.

This beautiful picture which I didn't take shows the library in Prescott with beautiful mountains in the background

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Here is a letter I received today from the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party:

Dear fellow Democrat,
Today, Governor Perry announced that he intends to turn down $555 million in stimulus funds that would provide additional benefits for unemployed Texas job-seekers who are trying to get by in the wake of layoffs caused by the Republican recession. After his announcement, it was clear the Governor cares about only one job - his own. First, he compared out-of-work Texans to junkies, and now he's using them as political pawns to appeal to the talk show bosses that drive the agenda of his Republican base. We don't need a right-wing candidate masquerading as Governor; we need a leader who will work with mainstream Texans in a bipartisan effort to rebuild our economy. It's shameful that Rick Perry would rather play politics to keep his job than help Texans who have lost their jobs. In these tough times, Texans should be able to count on our elected officials to look out for our best interests. But we're not getting any help from Gov. Perry -and our U.S. Senators, Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, have refused to condemn Perry's destructive actions. Call on U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn to oppose Gov. Perrys' stunts. Sen. Hutchison's Washington D.C. Office: 202-224-5922Sen. Cornyn's Washington D.C. Office: 202-224-2934Here are the latest facts on our unemployment crisis in Texas. According to the Texas Comptroller and the U.S. Federal Reserve: * The Texas economy will lose between 180,000 to 300,000 jobs in 2009* The Texas unemployment rate is expected to rise from 6 to 8.2 percent by October * 26,000 Texans are filing new unemployment claims each week* The unemployment fund is already running low and will reach zero by October 1st
Your fellow Democrat,
Boyd L. Richie
Chairman Texas Democratic Party

3D cities in Google Earth

So many stupid people

I was driving the other day and saw a bumper sticker with Sarah Palin 2012: real change for America. I honestly couldn't believe it. Are people really that stupid? I turned to the woman in the car and said: "are you a f*** ing idiot?" Of course my window was rolled up and her window was rolled up and she wasn't looking at me so it didn't really matter.

Today I read that Bristol Palin and the father of her child are breaking up and that Bristol won't allow the father's family access to the baby because they are white trash. Takes one to know one I guess.

Meanwhile, the stupid republicans continue to embrace Rush as their new leader. Rush wants Obama to fail even it means our country fails. Our incredibly stupid Governor Goodhair has rejected 555 million dollars of the stimulus package intended to help unemployed people in Texas. I guess he would rather punish the people in this state than take a chance that Obama and the democrats might succeed in getting us out of the mess caused by his predecessor.
I can't understand how any person with a conscious or a brain could support any of these horrible people. I also don't know any democrats who wanted Bush to fail, especially after 911. Even though I didn't support his stupid war I said to several people that I hoped I was wrong and that there were WMD's in Iraq. I would never put my party before the good of our country. To bad most republicans would rather see America destroyed than see a democrat succeed.

Jail for the Hero, Mansions for Murderers

The courageous Iraqi journalist Muntader al-Zaidi who threw his shoes at the mass murderer bush received 3 years in prison for his actions. According to a recent poll by ABC News and the BBC, 62% of the Iraqi people consider him a hero with only 24% seeing him as a criminal. Meanwhile, the real criminal sits in his multi million dollar mansion in Dallas, polluting my state.

Iraqi artist Laith al-Amari was inspired by the incident to built this huge shoe statue with a poem honoring al-Zaidi. It resides in Tikrit.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lucy in the Garden

Lucy and Sparky

Lucy slept in my bed last night along with the other dogs. She is supposed to sleep in her crate but we decided we wanted her with us. She is getting spoiled here. Good thing her parents don't read my blog. This morning she went on a long walk and then she and Sparky took a nap together.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I'm dog sitting for my neighbors this weekend. They adopted a Great Pyrenees mix puppy from the SPCA a few weeks ago and she is staying at my house. I'm having a great time but my dogs are a little annoyed because she is jumping on them wanting to play with them. Her name is Lucy but I can't help calling her Little Bear or Knut because she looks like a little polar bear. If you are a little depressed or down I suggest borrowing a puppy for a few hours.
One of the pictures is of Knut.