Monthly Archives: January 2011

About Egypt

Does anyone remember this?

“I know it might not be safe, yet it’s either we live together, or we die together, we are all Egyptians.”

Such are the words one expects of great leaders on the battlefield, of politicians preparing a nation for war, of civic leaders rallying people for an inspiring cause.

But these are the words of Cherine Mohamed, a 50-year-old Egyptian housewife.

These words became a slogan of sorts for many brave Egyptian Muslims who chose yesterday to risk their lives in the wake of the New Year’s violence and attend Christmas Masses with their Coptic Christian brethren, serving as human shields against further potential acts of extremist violence on the Christian holy day.

A movement led by Muslim leaders and journalists, the civilian response has the heartening undertones of a civil rights struggle that transcends religious differences. It is furthermore a demonstration that because government officials in Egypt and other Muslim-majority countries have often failed to defend religious freedom, the people are taking matters into their own hands.

People in Egypt have been risking more than any keyboard commandos have — the ones who bully people without repercussions.

I offer no analysis, except that the people of Egypt have long tired of the constant state of emergency that has allowed the police state to remain in place for nearly 30 years.  I eagerly await KTRH’s sniffing rightwing nag from Egypt stock to weigh in tomorrow.  Will she laud GWB’s doctrine of imposed non-American democracy/republicanism  or will she whip the dead horse that supposedly is the Democrats?

We shall see.  I might even call in.


Waiting for the Rain

I worried over getting things done today, since it is supposed to start raining in about 30 minutes and will continue through tomorrow.   By my rather low standards, it was a successful day.

I got up before sunrise and had no coffee except for some little bag of “Christmas” coffee from the loathsome secretary at work.  I had no choice.  It tasted as bitter as she is.  Having gone to the grocery store this afternoon and replenished my supply of Community coffee, I will pour the foul stuff out.

No pictures for today because it’s all pretty boring (maybe some tomorrow).  Cleaning out the okra and three pepper plants was easy, but the beds were full of pecans and leaves, so that took a bit more effort.

I picked up heartworm and Comfortis for the pups and then headed on to Lighting Unlimited to get the fan for the garage.  While the company emailed me and stated that it was made in the USA with imported parts, I was worried.  Well, the main fan was made in Taiwan (good thing), but the globes for the lights were made in China, which bums me.  I want to get the roof repaired on the garage before I get the fan installed, but I’m having trouble finding someone.  I will keep trying.

Today, beets, parsley, radishes, and fennel went into the two cleared beds.  Everything grows so slowly this time of year.  Tomorrow, tomatoes, oregano, and hot peppers get planted inside.  I’ve got to clear a place and then set it all up.

Now, I’m just waiting for the rain, since I didn’t water the new seedlings.  I’m also going to spread gunite on the front yard to deal with the pup pee.  The rain will soak it in.

I’m not yet at the point that I have a year round producing garden, but I am close, so very close.


He’s a She

I took the little kitten I have held in a dog crate in the bathroom for almost two months to SNAP this morning.  Up until the 4th of this month, the kitten had had a sister to snuggle with.  Day after day went by and my attempts to tame the kitten never worked.  I was feeling guilty.  Attila, the name I had given the kitten due to its aggressiveness, turned out to be a female.  I had thought all this time she was a he.

One of my co-workers suggested Matilda as a name (along with Matty), but I like the first suggestion and her nick will be Tilly.

She’s now resting in the trap I took her in, with wet food and water.  Weather permitting, I will release her back to her tribe Sunday evening.

That leaves two more:  FatToes and Baby.  FatToes is next, as I learned today, kittens have to be three pounds and Tilly was barely four.  Baby is not near 3 pounds.

Pictures tomorrow, of not only Tilly, but also the ongoing winter garden.

Life Outruns Blog


I’ve been living my life and have been preoccupied with other things online (mostly trying knock out a zombie lie started by Michael Berry).

Work has been overwhelming.  I am definitely not complaining.  It’s good to have so many students.  I had some good news today — a student who was belligerent in my class and complained walked out of one of our new (but very experienced) teacher’s class, claiming to have written a research paper, without being taught, in a week’s time, and wouldn’t listen to her teacher.  Sorry, but that the woman is from Venezuela, older and weirdly focused on one theme throughout her course in our school — I’m now glad it’s not me having to deal with her elitism.

Classes are going fine and I only have one problem student — who happens to be a problem for everyone.  We will deal.

One of the quirky things about my job is that when I listen to international news, more often than not, I know someone from the country being reported on.  Most times, I can ask them about how they feel about the events in their countries.  One of my South Korean students stopped by today and we talked about just that.  It made me think about just where in the world I know people.

I think I will start by continents.

Europe:  France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Latvia

Eurasia:  Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

Middle East:  Saudi Arabia, Yemen, U.A.E., Qatar, Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria

Asia: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Mongolia, Thailand, Burma, Nepal

Africa:  Tunisia, Cote d’ivoire, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Somalia, Angola, Chad, Kenya, Tanzania

Americas:  Mexico, Guatemala,  Honduras, Panama, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia

If you are a regular person, you know you remember your teacher better than your classmates most times.

One day I will see one of my students on teevee, a leader of something.  I know it will happen.


Michael Berry Drunk Again

This is getting to be routine.  Perhaps I should worry.  Here’s what I wrote to him:

The jin is up.  I have been telling people that your little video is a lie made up by you and Clayton.  I have refrained from outing Clayton as an impostor Marine.
> While you have bragged about the video you and Clayton cooked up, it looks like the truth tellers and OMG military themselves are seeing how this video you did and spread was disrespectful to Sal Giunta and his family.
> You lied Michael.  You and Clayton concocted a lie.  And I am making sure that people on youtube and facebook know that.
> You would be pleased to know that all of the people who have posted yours and Clayton’s video didn’t even think about it not having anything from the actual ceremony in it.
> That also made it easy for me to discredit.
> While you name drop and scream and whine, I’m out here doing the hard stuff — revealing your lies.
> I hope you are happy.   I have a full time real job, but I spend what time I can fighting your lies.
> Michilines
> calle viena

Michael Berry at his finest:



Back to hoarding i see

That was the first email.  Here’s the second:

You are a crazy sick psychotic bitch

The cat urine has made u nuts emily

Go away u nasty skank

Sorry u r ugly n gross

But no interest in indulgin ur need for attention

Ur cats dont love u hoarder skank

I almost feel sorry for him.

Here’s the third email:

U should change ur name to hoarder urine

Three attack emails.   I guess I should count myself lucky.  It’s more that others have got.

Perhaps I should add “drunk Michael Berry” to my tags.

Killer First Lady

(Ok, I’m only linking to this silliness because I wanted to post this awesome pic.)

Basically, pedestrian-auto collisions have risen 0.4% and some people today blamed our First Lady for it.  Sort of. And then saw how silly they were being.

Michelle is awesome.

Hopey is not too bad either 🙂

Others not so much.

You Tell Me if This is Weird

From our local wingnut talk stations here in Houston:

Operation Desert Storm: 20 Years Later
Analysts: withdraw was the right thing to do.
By Nik Rajkovic
Monday, January 17, 2011

It has been two decades since Americans became glued to their radios and television sets as coalition forces began to bomb Baghdad.

Just like many of us, retired Army General Bill McClain also was watching the coverage on television, but from inside a briefing room at the Pentagon.

He says although the first assault came as somewhat of a surprise, the U.S. military began preparing the day Iraq invaded Kuwait.

“We knew it was going to come, because Saddam Hussein wouldn’t give up on anything,” says McClain.  “It was a good feeling to say now this is getting started.”

In what appeared to be an easy victory for U.S. forces, some still question the decision to pull back without taking out Iraq’s leadership, adding we could have avoided the most recent conflicts in the Middle East.

But Texas A & M military history professor Joseph Dawson says Bush One made the correct call.

“The American military as strong as it was,” says Dawson.  “We still did not have complete plans for occupying the country.

For those who argue we could have prevented going back or even the events of 9/11, former ambassador Ryan Crocker disagrees.

“I would see no connection at all to 9/11,” Crocker says.  “Osama bin Laden simply didn’t care about those things, operating on a completely different ideological structure.”

In fact, all agree that the time between the two Gulf Wars allowed U.N. sanctions to set it, and U.S. officials to develop a plan for occupancy before Operation Iraqi Freedom got underway in 2003.


Again, what?

My Dream

That this country could wake up from its gun fetish.

The gun industry,  its manufacturers, ammo producers and its advocates eat up enough money to stamp out many societal ills, but all of the money is wasted on toys people will only ever shoot at a target at a gun range.  They should all go the way of the carriage:  just a novelty of fake wild west shows.  Let the real entertainers — the thespians — take over to show us how it was in the day.

Having a handgun didn’t seem to help Michael Berry.

Let’s Talk About Guns

Yesterday I heard someone wax prolific on the idea of gun regulation.  His point was that things are dangerous.  If we outlaw one thing (guns) that is dangerous, we should outlaw everything that is dangerous.

Read this.

And then read this.

This will not work out nicely.  Rabid second amendment screamers, as well as those who rallied  to the 2nd amendment remedies, will have to answer for their rhetoric.

Call me naive, but I think the gun talk will fade and mayors against guns will win the day.


What a Day!

I got up early and got everyone here fed and out to potty, and then it was off to the Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale.  I had been planning to go to this for a year, and as it happens, Roberto promised that the two trees would be my Christmas present (I’ve got to get around to ordering the rest of his).

I got to Robertson Stadium and UH a little before 9:00 a.m. and there was already a very long line.  (I had arranged to meet Roberto and Bar there.)  I got in line and a very nice lady was asking people to fill out invoices on clipboards.  One rather rotund, senior, paranoid guy refused.  The woman simply stated that he wouldn’t be able to buy any trees without it.  I wonder now what happened with him.

Just as the line started to move, I saw Roberto up ahead.  And the line moved quickly.  It wasn’t like other lines, where you stop and start.  Once it started, we were on the go.  R called Bar, who was parking her car, and we caught up with her around the bend — R kept saying, “we’re coming your way!” and we did.

When I first walked up to the line, I had a face-palm moment:  why hadn’t I asked Roberto to bring his dolly (named Salvador) to haul our purchases?  Several people had either dollies or trucks or little red wagons — which I found out later were being rented.  I thought — we can carry the two little trees I wanted to buy. . .

After I filled out the invoice, some other very helpful person (there were tons of them) gave me a map to the sale.  I knew exactly what I wanted, based on this book (which was the greatest present ever!!!!!! also from Roberto!!!!!):  a persimmon and a tangerine.  They were in different places.  We scooped up Bar and then went straight to the persimmon — my first priority.  They were in HUGE pots — maybe 30 gallon ones.  I panicked.  There was more than one variety.  I pulled out my gardener’s bible.   All I could think was:  hurry up idiot.  I found the part about which persimmon to buy, and left Roberto there to get one — after finding out that they were pulling them out of the big pots one by one.

Bar and I headed to the tangerines.  Which to pick?  We consulted the book again, and I turn to the page that said “the Pong Koa is the best fruit tree you can plant in Houston” or something very authoritative.  And there they were!  Bar went back to help Roberto, and I picked out a Pong Koa — not the biggest, not the smallest, not the fanciest, but just the right one.

Then I headed back to the persimmon area.  Roberto was holding a bare tree about 4 foot tall with its root exposed.  He said we need a bag to put it in.  Once again, a very helpful young person got us a bag, put our tree in it and added some straw, which they had there in bales.

With our two trees in hand, we consulted the map and found our way to the check out.  It was all very organized and we went the cash route.  Along the way, young people, including a very young boy (very confident), filled out our invoice, stared it, and checked it again.  One older woman tried to sell us the book I already had, as well as a membership, but otherwise everything was smooth, courteous and efficient.  As we left, a woman at the exit wished us “Be Fruitful!”  It was only 9:35.

A friend of mine is in town from New York, and we arranged to pick him up and go for brunch.   He’s Japanese, very funny and wonderful and just saying — used to comment on this blog until he got addicted to Facebook 😦

We went to Croissant-Brioche in the Village — which has the best French onion soup.   It was crowded when we got there, but we quickly snatched a four top and everything was cool.   Good friends, good food, good conversaiton — you just can’t beat it.

Roberto said that while he was waiting to get the persimmon, he over heard that it should be planted today.  I wasn’t quite ready, so we parted ways from brunch, and I took my friend from New York back to where he was staying.  I returned home to build the raised bed for the new persimmon.

I’ll have pictures tomorrow, because, by the time I got home and got the tree set up, it was getting dark.  It was a lot of work, but I think the finished product is good.  I put two rebar stakes in and tied them loosely with some strong cloth cord even though it seemed pretty stable — we’re supposed to have thunderstorms tomorrow, so I don’t want it waving around in the wind.

The most amazing thing today — though that might just be a timing factor — the Tree Sale was pretty darn amazing — was how easy it was to trim the bricks for the raised bed I built.  I had never done it before, but just following simple instructions, I was able to cleanly trim two bricks.  I was all like, “damn that worked like it was supposed to.”  It says everything about having the right tools for the job and following instructions.  That’s one of my strong points, I think.

Today was a very good day.  It was exciting, fun, and satisfying, spent with friends and kittens and the earth and promise of things to come.  There’s nothing better than that.