Thursday, March 27, 2008

I would remember if someone shot at me..


I did find myself in a war zone in the Viet Nam war. Collected combat pay and got to mail stuff for free. Thankfully I was stationed on the Carrier USS Bon Homme Richard and the Vietnamese didn't seem inclined to bomb us.

So imagine my surprise when Hillary told her harrowing story of dodging sniper fire. I thought about this a bit. Wouldn't this be imprinted on your memory? Having people shooting at you?

"There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result."
Winston Churchill

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama's speech - "A More Perfect Union"


The pundits and talk show hosts will show segments of this speech and pontificate upon what it means. I think it is worth watching the entire speech without having it interpreted for us.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Buster Fails to be transgendered


We are responsible pet owners. We neuter all the cats that we share our lives with.  Buster is a gentle loving cat. He was very playful with his male cat buddy Twinkie (our original cat) and gets along with the older male cat Pickles. However Twinkie got ill and passed on. We tried to introduce another male cat "Sam" but that was disastrous.  Buster was very aggressive to the poor guy. Finally poor Sam went outside one evening and never returned. He may have been a victim of a Fisher Cat attack.

When my daughter moved into an apartment that didn't allow pets we ended up with a neutered female cat "Paris". She is a feisty little thing and Buster hates her. He's attacked her and has picked up the very disgusting habit of spraying around the house. Besides convincing us that we will never own another male cat, I tried a few remedies. After chasing him around with a spray bottle (taste of his own medicine) I decided that negative responses is going to work with this cat. I purchased an aerosol pheromone spray that is supposed to calm cats. It is called "Feliway" and as the disclaimer in the literature mentions that it may not work on all cats. It is supposed to mimic the "calming" pheromones that a cat releases when it rubs against objects instead of the territorial spraying "MY SPACE" pheromones.  Buster scoffed at this product.

Finally we settled on a vet visit with female hormones for good old Buster. He was okay for a day or two, obviously in a state of sex confusion. I actually had a pang of guilt... but he's back to his nasty spraying attitude. He is so gently with human (especially me) but can't deal with this particular female cat. We have given it over a year to work to no avail.

I've decided to teach her some defensive moves with a bit of sparring and although she can draw human blood (mine), I can see that this is going to be a long process.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The War Continues... pay attention!

Bob Schieffer (Face The Nation) commented this morning how the war in Iraq has slipped from the public consciousness. Of course this can never be true for the families affected by the separation, injuries and deaths of our servicemen.


I was reminded of this fact from a former shipmate who sent this email early this morning:

Just a quick note to let  y'all know what is going on in my life right now.
I am in Mena Arkansas to attend my uncles funeral. He was my Fathers youngest brother.
Wednesday morning I received word that my older brother Pat was killed,died, in Iraq.
Won't know anything about how or what happened till he gets back to Dover AFB on Tuesday.
He's the same brother that was a "River Rat" when I was cruising on the Oriskany.
It always bothered him greatly that he was IN Country and I was mostly on Yankee station
or Dixie station. He was drawing one set of hazardous duty pay, while I was getting 2 sets for flying.
I told him it was for all the mean things, and trouble he would get me to do.
I will miss them both.

See y'all (the ones that are going) in April,


Most of us will never get that call, but we should realize how many have. I'm so sorry for my friend and his family. I just want this damn war to end

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tai-Chi at Work

One of the benefits of working with computer engineers is meeting a number of interesting individuals from various cultures. When I worked on Spitbrook Road in Nashua, NH for Digital, twice a week we would start our day with a Tai-Chi long form in the parking lot. Tai-Chi is relaxing and strenuous at the same time, it is wonderful. It was great practicing outside as long as the weather cooperated. Later I ended up back in Massachusetts and discovered another lunchtime group that would practice in a conference room. That group was led by Taichun Pan, a software engineer. I knew he was a good teacher but didn't realize what a good musician he is. It was just a matter of time till he appeared on a YouTube courtesy of a local Boston show "Asian Focus".


I was sent these links from a co-worker who is also a musician and practitioner of martial arts (with swords no less). On Spitbrook Road we did a brief stint with swords and I got to meet security one morning (Note: The swords are useless as weapons). Enjoy the videos

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Temporal Displacement and Vivid Dreaming

One of the joys of being an elder is the opportunity to try new medications. I managed for decades to avoid any prescriptions but finally my borderline hypertension needed some tweaking. After reading about what high blood pressure can do and seeing stroke effects in my own family, I was only too willing to join the rest of my pill popping generation. Thankfully I only need low dosages of Enalapril and Hydrochlorothiazide. Enalapril was developed by clever folks who found a way to utilize Brazilian viper toxin secrets.... that impressed me greatly.

Of course all medication has side effects and as an aficionado of Google I had a great time reading about all the possible side effects of these drugs. Buried deep in the list is something called "vivid dreaming". I missed this on the first pass, instead developing a psychosomatic "dry cough" which was totally self induced (and quickly dissipated). However my dreaming has taken on a more realistic presence. I'm begging to feel like Billy Pilgrim who became "Unstuck in Time" in Kurt Vonnegut's novel "Slaughterhouse Five". It's a weird sensation when dreams seem to blend into reality. Since dream time flow differs from waking time, there is a slight time shift. It seems to be a harmless phenomenom because I attempt to live a uneventful stress free life and have uneventful stress free dreams. Or pehaps I may be experiencing a placebo effect. I cannot imagine how either of these drugs can have psychotropic qualities. I like to know how things work.

In a recent episode of ABC's LOST, our hero Desmond has a few problems with temporal displacement. He had it really bad, and that's the kind of thing that happens to folks on that island. The show did capture the feeling of jumping into different times and it does give a sense of what vivid dreaming feels like, being here and there at the same "time".

Why this posting? It's one in a series of "musings" but perhaps a helpful reader can give me some insight about the biological mechanism. In the meantime I'm hoping to graduate to "Lucid Dreaming"... that would be even cooler!

Pleasant dreams