Sunday, February 28, 2010

No Name Chicken Soup

This pic and additional info were added Monday because of emails I received:
This is what it looks like and if you are shy of spicy.., you may want to add less salsa verde to start. I don't think it is "hot" but just in can always add more after tasting since you are basically just heating soup to temp anyway. I also did not include salt and pepper in the recipe, but you may wish to add either to taste. OK I think I covered everything.

I was just sitting down to a bowl of this soup and thought I should share. This one is so simple and so fast, I'm not even sure it should be called a recipe.
I got this from my sister in law Sarah, who got it from a friend, who got it from a beading magazine I think? Anyhoot...

1 deli roasting chicken - garlic herb style- remove meat from bones
2 cans rinsed and drained white beans ( I use cannellini style or small great northern)
2 cans chicken broth
1 can water
8 oz salsa verde ( I use La Victoria thick and chunky)
chopped cilantro to taste (optional for you but essential for me)

Add all ingredients into pot.
Heat for about 20 minutes.

If you need to stretch, buy the larger size chicken most stores offer, add more broth and water.

I keep all the ingredients in my pantry so that I can run by the store, grab salad fixings and a chicken and by the time I have the table set, dinner is ready: like right now. Enjoy!

Sally Jean

Most of you local gals know that I am a huge fan of Sally Jean; I even went to Portland 2 years back to take her Soldering for Virgins class; well, and see Ben of course. (Hope I'm allowed to paste this pretty logo here, because I wanted to get your attention!)

Last week, Tracy, of Tracy's Watermark, located at 1990 Village Center Circle emailed me with the great news that Sally Jean's wonderful charms will soon be available in her shop!

A lot of people started making charms since Sally Jean became a success, imitation ya know, and I have seen most of them, and many are nice, but nothing compares to these. When you realize that these are all hand made by Sally Jean herself and when you see up close and personal the quality of her soldering, well! I bet you can't have just one! I layer em, a square with a domino with a sphere, with a house shape... too cute! Every time I wear some of her charms, I am asked about them. I, and several other students of mine, even used a charm or two in our advent calendars.

Tracy has promised to let me know when the first shipment arrives, and then I'll let you know; or maybe just give her a call and get on her mailing list.

Just pottering around

I have a wonderful life.  I work in my community and am praised by one and all for doing it.  The truth is I get a lot more out of it than I give.  I am suited to the welfare sector.  These are my people, this is familiar territory. I grew up working class and I have gone back to being working class after living my middle years cashed up and spending. Now I'm back where I belong and I'm loving it

Saturday, February 27, 2010

You, me and the kitchen sink

We have an Australian kitchen with a twist today, it's in Japan.  Adele has sent her photos in and she writes:
"I am an Aussie trying to live a simpler life amongst the hustle and bustle of Japan. I am also a stay at home mum to three children under the age of five. While the Japanese are over consumers there is also a new shift towards thriftiness and frugal living.  In all honesty my kitchen

Friday, February 26, 2010

Desert Gal No More & Doggie Madness

A new phenomenon has begun at our house whenever Darling Daughter Skypes home. Justice immediately shoves me aside and jumps onto the desk to talk to her. It is freaky, funny, and frustrating. Justice begins to shake uncontrollably and whine, no cry, no HOWL at a fever pitch until Darling Daughter's image disappears. I have resorted to wearing headphones in order to talk to her. Other wise I am saying "what? what did you just say?" because pooch is howling. Howie hasn't a clue and just tilts his head from side to side at all the fuss.

Hannah finds it hilarious and calls Justice's name and says "here girl, here girl" until I swear the pooch will suffer apoplexy!
Darling daughter sent this to me this morning. She is loving the snow! Of course she does not have to drive in it, or shovel it, just enjoy it. This is the courtyard of her dorm. Oh, I wish I was there. I am thrilled that darling daughter will finally get to experience a winter the way I did while growing up. Her PapPap would be happy too.

You, me and the kitchen sink

Today's kitchen sink is from Lisa in Germany.  It's very familiar to me as I lived in Hamburg for two years when Hanno and I first married.
Lisa writes: "I discovered your blog a few weeks ago, and I really love it! I check it almost every day :) what I found really interesting are the kitchensink-photos you post on tuesdays.
I study anthropology and what really catches my interest is everydays

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Back to normal

Officially, there are two days left before Autumn arrives in Australia.  The Autumn equinox is actually March 21,so we have a few hot days yet to come, nevertheless, we have begun our major planting of the year.  Where we live, it is much easier to garden organically during the cooler months.  Summer's heat brings many insects and diseases that we don't see when it's cooler.  Generally, we plant

1,124,457 including me

I joined this little group yesterday by calling both my Senators and letting them know I would really like to be able to afford the medical tests that are recommended. I would like not to worry about another knee injury, which is not covered because my private health plan slapped a rider on them as a pre existing condition. Actually the wording is: No injury to either knee is covered unless it includes a broken bone. So, the next time I tear a ligament ( yes, I knocked three times) please stop by with a baseball bat and "batter up."Align Center

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

You, me and the kitchen sink

Today's photo is the last of the original batch. It's Krystal's kitchen in Nova Scotia in Canada.

She writes:"We moved into this house a couple years ago and I have been slowly doing different renos along the way. I painted the kitchen walls and ceiling, put up the panels/rod on the sliding door. Just need to fix the other panel and make it into a topper above the sink. We changed out the old

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reuse - Recycle & Make it WHITE

A friend who scavenges found this lovely which had been put out for the trash. I paid him $15.00 for it. One drawer says it is from the O'Neill photo company, O'Neill Nebraska. Two shallow drawers top and bottom, which have dividers and one large
(looks like 2) middle one.

It originally had a very stained and torn leather top. That took me hours to remove and scrape off all the glue, about 4 months ago. Guess I became distracted.

My constant companions, getting into everything, including the paint.

Deer in the headlights again....

Howie investigating- whoops his treat fell in there! Can you see it?

I find it impossible to paint without getting it everywhere!

and left

You would think I had not used one of these at all.

Almost there - drawers are next.

I rushed putting the drawers in so I could take the pic but it is still out in the garage drying completely. Now, I have to decide if I want to grunge it up or not. I'm leaning toward not. I get the feeling "she" is happy with her fresh coat of paint and fresh, clean WHITE look.

Please take a few minutes to visit this earlier post below if you have not already.
Please visit all the other WW"s over there

A wee bit of Soap Boxing

***oldgreymare design and organizing services will be on sale for the month of March. All work must begin, but not necessarily be completed, in the month of March. Please call or email. Great time for Spring Cleaning and cheap! cheap! OK- HORRIBLE pun!
Something disturbing has occurred twice in the past two days and I am driven to discuss it regardless of opinion.

Yesterday I was warned by another blogger that I should not discuss the health care issue on my blog or "you could get trashed on here. Just wanted you to be careful." I addressed privately back to this blogger and it shall remain private. Because we both participate in a blog party, I suppose she believed that determined what the content of my blog should be, though I am confidant our host holds no such criteria.

Then, this morning I read on Tongue in Cheek, that Corey has been told to "lighten up" and not talk about depressing things on her blog. Her friend, who was very recently widowed, is visiting, and of course sadness and sorrow are surrounding them.

A reader chooses to visit a blog and can just as easily choose not to visit.

A blog, at it's very core, is personal. Although out there in the public, it is not a giant billboard unable to avoid. We all hold fast to our own beliefs and core values and shouldn't we as travelers down this super highway, have the decency to respect that? We have the right to comment or not, hopefully in a respectful manner, but no one should EVER feel they have the right to dictate to someone else what content they should have on their blog. Your only right is to click delete and visit no more!

I have tremendous faith in the women that I share blog parties with and whose blogs I visit. I believe we came together with a shared love of design, gardens, food and family. I do not believe we are simple window dressings who have limits to the extent our minds and hearts can expand; or that we are not intelligent enough to consider the ramifications of politics, religious issues, racism, bigotry, and our environment, to name but a few.

You may be a great gardener and also an animal rights activist. You may be a beader and a militant liberal. MY point is SO WHAT?

I refuse to be placed into a virtual blog box that dictates what format I may use, and I am confidant that most of the really bright, intelligent women I have had the occasion to meet here in blogdom agree with me. They may choose to limit their content, but that is exactly my point, and let me drive it on home.
It is p e r s o n a l and their choice.

I am not one of these gals whose goal it is to get as many followers as possible. I have real connections with most of my followers outside blogdom. Real friendships made right here, real connections to the most wonderful women. I care about them, and they have shown such love and kindness to me. That is the goodness and the miracle of blogs between women.

I will not apologize for this detour from my routine posts, it is far too important to me. I hope you all agree. If not, exercise your right.

Now, I am heading out to the garage to paint a lovely chest white, because .....
I choose to!

See you tomorrow for WW, well, if I get it finished :-)


Simple sights

Thank you for the kind thoughts for Bernadette.  We went to chemo yesterday and I'm happy to tell you she was pain-free all day.  Maybe it was your prayers and good thoughts that helped that along.  On the way home we picked up her daughter from the airport and they collected Flora McDonald on their way home.  Hanno drove them home from here because I was tired and needed a short sleep.  What a

Monday, February 22, 2010

Old recipes

Hanno with Flora McDonald. Flora is Bernadette's little dog, we are looking after her for a few days.

I have always loved books and learned early in my life that books were entertaining, explanatory, trustworthy, and a dependable companion both in my home and when travelling around.  Books are where I go to for my information, even now in the age of the internet, my first port of call when I

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Health Reform

So I will detour away from my vow to stay politically neutral here, well, this will still be politically neutral because health care is not about politics or shouldn't be. No one wants another lecture here. Either you get it or you don't.

For my local followers here are the numbers you need for Nevada
Senator Reid 202-224-3542
Senator Ensign 202-224-6244

I'm calling them both this Wednesday, the 24th, the day before the summit. Please consider doing the same.
If you are not a NV resident it will take you one click to get the numbers for your state.

Please, please consider calling. It is one- two minutes of one day. We can all make a difference. We have to make the difference because they are not willing to do it for us, are they?

We now return to our previously scheduled blog posts.


Chickens and an afternoon at the movies

Well, some of you realised what I'd done even if  I didn't. I'd spent a rather harrowing day with my friend Bernadette in the emergency room of a hospital yesterday, came home at 4pm, checked the comments, made a couple of notes for today's post, pressed "publish" instead of "save" then shut down the computer. Oops.
So let's go through that list.  After a very busy week, I took time out on

Saturday, February 20, 2010

reconnect with the chooks, new plants in, a well kept home and julie julia

You, me and the kitchen sink

Blue is the colour for this weekend's kitchens - look at this little beauty.  This is Suzanne's kitchen in South Australia.  You can tell when this photo was sent by the Christmas pudding hanging there.
Suzanne writes:
‘This is my little kitchen, we have an old home so our kitchen is walk through with the bathroom coming off of it on the side.
I lack all of what ‘most’ girls have with their new,

Friday, February 19, 2010

You, me and the kitchen sink

We have another Carla today but today's kitchen is in Western Australia.  

Carla writes:
"Here are some photos of my kitchen. The first one is of the sink and the outlook I have through the window. The blinds are wooden and I have them drawn up so that hopefully you can see it also. It overlooks the patio where we sit to have our cuppas and breakfast. In the background there is my 60th birthday

Introducing my sponsors ...

I currently have some lovely and interesting sponsors. Please visit them and check out their sites.

Introducing Cricket McRae, Cricket writes books set in the home and featuring various crafts ...Welcome to the Sophie Mae Reynolds homecrafting mystery series.Sophie Mae makes soap for a living. If you think she sounds like a dowdy old dear who dotes on her fourteen cats,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Busy times

I am going through a very busy time here right now. I worked again yesterday but apart from a meeting with the high school principal and teachers to work out an agreement between us and the Flexischool, my day involved not doing the work of the Centre but showing various visitors around. I was actually very pleased to be able to show the Centre to one of the two politicians who raised the money

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

You, me and the kitchen sink

Today we're in Carla's kitchen but I'm not sure of the location.  Carla, if you read this, drop me a line.  I do know Carla is a chicken girl because she has chook curtains and wall hangings, so we are in familiar territory.

Carla writes:

"Here is my Kitchen sink.   It is always busy.   I would shine it all up but it would be fruitless as I am always doing dishes. This is my dining area which

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mending and repairing - revisited

I slept in this morning.  I was exhausted last night and still feel tired.  I don't have time to write now because I have a deadline today for a writing assignment.  I'll be back tomorrow with another reader's kitchen  photos.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy re-reading, or reading for the first time, this post from January 2008.  Is about the important skills of mending and repairing.


If You Think Dogs Are Good Practice for Kids ...

From Toothpaste for Dinner

Cubbie Stories and White

Some of you may remember my PB cubbies I placed above my computer table a few weeks back. I have slowly been adding things as I come across them. They meet certain criteria. First they have to fit in the square, (duh) and secondly, they have to hold some kind of memory for me.

My paternal Grandfather (the original PapPap) Rennie in his softball uniform.

Another one of DJR'S favorite quotes in it's original frame. It was always hung above his desk at home as long as I can remember.

Some string/twine from my Dad's workbench.

Right below the cubbies: Two gifts from two different friends given years apart but they match exactly. Yes, that is a Z on the box lid. An amazing find from Kathy. The timer is a 30 minute timer, very hard to find. Heather gave it to me this past Christmas in honor of my "30 minute timer cleanup theory." How special is that?

This special piece arrived by surprise one afternoon from my longest time friend in the world. She carved it from driftwood she picked up along the shore where she used to live.We became friends when I was a Junior in HS and she was a Senior. While I was flirting with a boy in the doorway of the Spanish Lab, she subtly tied my elastic belt from my red Villager pin-tucked dress to the door. The boy asked to walk me to my next class, and as I walked away I rebounded "slam" back into the door. The boy turned out to be a horrible person, but the girl, my Macky, turned out to be the treasure of a lifetime. We have only seen each other twice in the last 35 years, but it never seems to matter. It was Macky who gave me the "Suzan with a z not an s" that resulted in everyone calling me Z . This little bird is placed in the cubbie directly in my line of sight above the monitor, and it is priceless to me.

Directly to the right of the cubbies is my newest obsession in front of an old obsession; a few of my Robert B Parker books. I hope to collect a lot more timers, but I have finicky criteria for them too. There is a small pink one at Anthropologie I am coveting but the price! Yowza!

A place to contemplate the next WW.

A favorite heart box with mementos inside.

Please visit all the other WW by linking over there to the left. Kathleen at Faded Charm is our wonderful host each week.

Aren't we all in love with this magazine? Here is a great place to get it and it is worth every penny! Only two pages of ads. More like a book, than magazine. You will refer back to them ( I want them all) again and again. Look for Carole's link on her right sidebar, and be sure to visit not just the latest post, but older posts also. You'll soon see why I adore Maynard Greenhouse!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Simple Living Series - Making compost

If you're about to start a new season garden, your time will be best served by enriching your soil.  This will do more for the health of your garden and the abundance of your crops than any fertiliser you apply later in the season.  If you plant your seeds and seedlings into fertile, living soil, you give them the best chance of success.

Our garden in full production with the compost heap and

HSUS Promoting Imported Dog Food

Where do you start with this one?

You could start with what we learned with the toxic dog food fiasco: you do not want your dog food coming from a nameless, faceless company that has no real market share in the U.S., and which has nothing to lose when it cuts corners to save pennies (i.e. any dog food company that was not around when you were a little kid).

You could start with the fact that the Humane Society of the U.S. is a direct mail mill where more than 75% of any donation you make will be used to send out more direct mail, and where none of the money raised will go to help local shelters actually helping to rehome dogs.

Instead, I will simply give you the facts about the product at hand.

It seems the Humane Society of the U.S. is now marketing a new vegetarian dog food that is not made in the U.S.A.

It's made in Uruguay, and will be sold at Petco, Whole Foods and other stores.

A vegetarian dog food? For a carnivore with canine teeth?

Yes, that's right.

And the dog food is being made in Uruguay?

Yes, that's right. The capitol of Uruguay is Montevideo. See if you can find it on a map.

And what does HSUS President Wayne Pacelle, the President of the Humane Society of the U.S., have to say about this? He tells us:

"Americans are concerned about the food we eat, and it just makes sense that we'd be concerned about the food we provide to our pets. Humane Choice is a nutritious, environmentally friendly and ethically responsible food for our best friends.


We are so concerned about the food we feed our pets that we are (supposedly) going to feed them food from a company that has no name, and which is made in a country we cannot find on a map.

Quick Quiz: Name one food that you ate this month that was grown in Uruguay? Name one thing you have ever bought that was made in Uruguay? What is the money of Uruguay? What is the form of Government? Name something that Uruguay is famous for?

And we are so concerned about the environment that we are (supposedly) going to feed our dogs a dog food that was imported from 5,000 miles away? Hmmmm.....

How much oil was used to truck, ship and fly that stuff to the U.S? Did the energy consumed, and the CO2 produced, outweigh the product itself?

And what do I mean when I say this company has no name? Just that. Go to the web site of this dog food brand and tell me the name of the company making this stuff. No company or factory is named. No farm is named. There is no address, or even city named. Why is that?

If you look at the bottom of the web page, you find that this product has something to do with "G&B Marketing"

It turns out that G&B Marketing is an outfit located at 1485 Poinsettia Ave., Suite #109, in Vista, California. The address appears to be that of an industrial office park, where you can also find Fineline T Shirts, North County Garage Door, Kelso Design Studio, Glasswall Systems, AlphaStudio Design Group, BlueSky Medical Group, and the like.

G&B Marketing clearly does not make dog food, and they appear to be little more than a middleman for some nameless, faceless company in Uruguay that makes dog food.

So who really makes this dog food? I will bet cash money it is Wenaewe, a Uruguayan maker of a type of organic vegetarian dog food.

Do I think Wenaewe is some quaint "family farm" operation, as suggested by HSUS? Nope. Not for a second. Nor do I think they are particularly anti-meat. After all, Wenaewe manufactures a lot of dog food made from left over cattle bits -- same as every other dog food maker on the planet.

So why is the Humane Society of the U.S. endorsing this particular brand of dog food?

It's not because dogs are doing poorly with what is on the shelf now, and it's not because there is an absence of U.S.-made vegetarian dog food.

Natural Balance, AvoDerm, Dick Van Patten, and Natural Life all make vegetarian dog food.

Nope, it's not that.

It's simpler than that: Profit.

Some dog food company in Uruguay is willing to pay a kickback to the Humane Society of the U.S. to have their name put on a bag of their no-better-than-anything-else product.

Apparently they don't know that for a lot of pet owners, HSUS's name is a liability not an endorsement. Shhhhh! Don't tell them different!

How much of a kickback is HSUS getting? They're pocketing a 6 percent kickback from the wholesale price of each 6.6-pound bag of dog food sold, and that's money that comes straight out of the pocket of anyone buying this dog food.

What? The dog food is being sold in a 6.6-pound bag?

Yes, that's what the HSUS press release says.

Apparently you can never have too much packaging in an "environmentally friendly and ethically responsible" dog food!

Of course at the price this dog food is going for -- $18 for a 6.6 pound bag -- no one would even think of buying a 20- or 40-pound bag of the stuff.

And what about freshness?

Well, I can assure you that this dog food will be about as fresh as any dog food can be after it bounces from warehouse to warehouse for 5,000 miles across the steaming-hot equator.

And what is this dog food made of?

The first five ingredients are ground canola seed, brown rice, soybean meal, buckwheat, and flaxseed.

Eh? That's not dog food, that chicken food!

Well yes, but the dog probably won't die from eating it. You see, this fine mix of grains has been "certified" by the Uruguay Agricultural Services General Direction of the M.G.A.P. (whatever that is), and it has been "certified organic" by the Organizacion Internacional Agropecuraria (whatever that is).

And NO, HSUS did not bother to have this food undergo an actual feed trial under the auspices of the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Instead, they went for the lowest standard established by AAFCO -- a "nutrient profile".

In short, in theory, your dog will be fine.

And, for the record, I am sure it will be.

And what about a puppy formula?


This high cost, minimally certified, imported dog food maker from an unknown manufacturer did not bother to crank out a puppy formula. The web site advises to not feed this dog food to a puppy!

Oh, and by the way, just because this dog food is "vegetarian" does not mean it is actually free of animal products.

Yes, that's right, it turns out some of the vitamins that go into this dog food (such as B-12) comes from "animal sources".

What's that mean? It means there's a little bit of death, bone, marrow and blood in every bag.

And you know why?

Because dogs are not pure vegetarians by nature and will get sick and die without vitamin B-12.

And vitamin B-12 is not made by plants it is made by flesh-and-blood animals.

In this case, the vitamin B-12 is probably derived from rendered animal carcasses (i.e. downer cows and cooked bones and bits from healthy cows).

All of this is perfectly safe, by the way.

HSUS can brag that no animals were killed expressly to make this pet food.

But of course, that's true of all dog food isn't it?

So what is it that we are supposed to paying for again?

Apparently, for the privilege of buying an over-priced, low-standard dog food that is made in some un-named foreign factory, and which is wastefully packaged and shipped vast distances across the equator while burning up tons of fossil fuel on the journey.

What an offer!

A final thought ....

You want to be natural? You want to respect the environment??

Then accept nature for what it is, red in tooth and claw, and entirely unsentimental.

Mother Nature gave us the robin eating the worm, the hawk eating the sparrow, the fox eating the mouse, the shark eating the fish, and the polar bear eating the seal.

Mother Nature believes in locally grown, locally lived, and locally employed.

She does not believe in $3 a pound, wastefully packaged vegetables for canines, imported from 5,000 miles away, and marketed by way of kickbacks.

Mother Nature does not believe in "Humane Choice" dog food.

An Open Letter from an Ethical Old Veterinarian

Integrity is not quite dead. Steve D. Vredenburg, DVM, of Banks Veterinary Service in Banks, Oregon writes in the February 1, 2009 edition of Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Vol. 234, Number 3):

As an aging veterinary practice owner operating a mixed-animal practice near enough to a large city to have a perspective on trends in practice management today, I feel obligated to offer criticism of what I perceive to be a trend harmful to our profession and culture, as well as make some suggestions to improve and integrate our profession and lives.

I am tired of the litany of articles appearing in our trade journals and magazines advocating financial management changes from marketing strategies to helping clients say yes to methods aimed solely at increasing average per client transactions. I don't believe it is ideal to strive for working less and making more money. I believe this is a core component of our current culture's deteriorating work ethic.

I don't believe it is important to maximize our per client transaction, especially when it means selling clients things their pets don't need or shaming them into doing more diagnostics or heroic procedures that may or may not help, but often represent a clear financial hardship. And if we are successful in persuading them to that point of view, expecting full payment up front seems a little sinister, especially when less expensive options may not have been offered. I also don't believe clients want or expect a veterinary technician, however competent, to work up a case and then take the pet back to the veterinarian. It seems to me that there are several things wrong with this, not the least of which is a lack of interaction with your clients. A considerable part of our job is to educate clients. I don't believe it is ethical to pay a technician to, for example, perform a dental procedure on a dog a charge a client a price that would be consistent with a veterinarian doing the work.

I believe that veterinary medicine is more than just business. We are here to improve the quality of life of animals and their owners. We are a service industry. We can influence our clients and our community through that service and by our example, and can enrich our own lives and appreciation for life in that application. We are also people, and as such, we have a fundamental connectedness to other people, to our community, to our past and traditions, and to humanity. That means we have responsibility to do what we can to make our life and life around us as understandable, rewarding, and enriching as possible. I urge everyone to approach their work with passion so it will begin to feel less like work. If you engage your clients, you may find they have interests, talents, perspectives, and insights. They may have something of value to offer you.

I encourage everyone to strive to perfect their craft because it will enrich your soul. This may be the most perfect marketing strategy you can imagine or implement, and it is FREE.


The Wife Is Seldom Impressed

Click to enlarge.

A huge internt following? Sure you do. Breathe deep the ether.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Now what? *** What now?

So...the sale is over, the Give Away has been given, the garage is finally in perfect order, the house is clean, the garden tended, the dishes are done, the laundry washed and folded and put away. The pups are asleep, the candles are burning down. Now what?

Have you had those days when all seems to be completed and you have that sense of what do I do with myself now?

Well, right now I'm enjoying a nice glass of Pinot and watching The Holiday for the umpteenth time. Not so productive but nice all the same. Paula was by earlier trying out some clothes that Darling Daughter no longer wore. Paula is one of those classic ladies who can wear just about anything and look adorable. If I didn't love her, I'd hate her for that.

Going to visit a new friend's boutique tomorrow and go out for lunch with pal Sue.

so, all is right with the world right now. tomorrow may bring...what now?

Pit Bulls, Pearls and Small Possibilities for Change

Melanie McCoy is a true Pit Bull lover and a canine advocate of the first order. She apparently came across a post on this blog, and it served as fodder for her column in the Southeast Missourian:

The vast numbers of Pit Bulls dying in shelters are healthy 14-18 month old dogs that come in with little or no training. The majority are owned by young adults that purchased them from young adult breeders. Neither of these parties realistically consider the responsibility required to care for an adult Pit Bull. They do not look any further than the image they portray by being a "pit bull breeder" or a "pitbull owner". When these dogs reach adulthood, and the peak of their strength, these young owners find they can no longer deal with the dog. It might surprise you how many of these dogs are relinquished by the parents of "owners" that have no comprehension of how long a dog's life span really is.

The older dogs that turn up in the shelters tend to be females that have been repeatedly bred. They are no longer pretty due to the sagginess associated with nursing numerous litters of puppies. The last group tends to be adult males that have not received the proper socialization. These dogs are usually too scary for most pet owners to even consider.

Normally these dogs have been owned by the very people that profess to have such a love for the breed. When I get called to appear before city council meetings where breed bans or restrictions are being considered, it is because someone professing to love the breed has not shown the proper degree of responsibility.

The analogy of Pits in the River has given me a different perspective on a message I have been trying to express for many years. The uneducated, unchecked breeding, breed bans and the subsequent death of millions of Pit Bulls a year is due to the irresponsibility of owners. How many negative headlines do we need to see before we start to deal with the actual problem surrounding not only this breed, but every dog that becomes popularized because of image? These dogs are literally being loved to death.

Read the whole thing.

Sometime change starts as small as this -- a pearl that grows from a very small but irritating piece of sand.

Mostly it doesn't of course.

Mostly the sand is jettisoned out with the next siphon of the clam or oyster.

But if a pearl ever does form, it is always due to some type of irritation.

Comfort and acceptance do not a pearl make.


Simple Living Series - Enriching the soil

There is one thing you can do that will improve your harvests and the quality of your produce more than any other - enrich your soil before you start planting.  There is an old gardeners saying that is as true today as it was when it was first said: Feed the soil, not the plant.  Garden soil is not just rock particles, organic matter, water and air; good soil also contains microbes, fungus, worms

An Ethical Puppy?

Dogs shows are not about dogs -- they are about human ego.

Lucy Siegle has a very nice piece in The Guardian in which she notes that "Pedigree dogs are often born with chronic levels of inbreeding. Until someone takes a lead, rehome one":

Posing with a puppy is in many ways the celebrity equivalent of a politician kissing baby. Cue Victoria Beckham holding a Retriever puppy aloft in a photo shoot, apparently to signify her soft and cuddly side. As I'd just read a Dogs Trust report on battery-farmed canines, all I wondered about was the puppy's provenance. An estimated 900,000 of us bought our dogs via the internet, a pet retailer or a newspaper advert, often collecting it on "neutral ground" rather than making a visit to see where it was raised, which could mean it originated from a puppy farm....

... And this nation of dog lovers bypasses the thousands of existing dogs waiting to be rehomed because we love pedigree puppies and their characteristics of determined inbreeding, be they excessive folds of skin or snubbed noses. In an effort to meet the bonkers "extreme confirmation" demanded by some pedigree proponents, some breeders even mate mother and son. The result is an ever-declining gene pool, "comparable to that of rare endangered animal species", according to Dr Hellmuth Wachtel, an expert in canine genetics. Other studies show an increase in debilitating inherited illnesses in many pedigree dogs, especially Golden Retrievers (take note, VB).

... [D]on't take ... the fact that next month's Crufts is back on TV, with a different broadcaster – as a green light to go get a pedigree pup. Until the industry acts decisively, the dog days are far from over.

The good news is that the message has already gone out here in the U.S., and has been in play for more than a decade and a half now.

In the last 15 years, AKC registrations have declined 55% while shelter adoptions have increased even more than that.

Of course, we still have problems.

In a word, the problem is Pit Bulls.

For more on that, read "Is 400 Million Pounds of Dead Pit Bull Enough?" -- an earlier post on this blog.


400 Pheasants an Acre?

Reposted from 2006.

A new report from the Game Conservancy Trust (a very good conservation group in the UK) notes that the release of up to 35 million pen-raised pheasants and 10 million partridges a year in that country can have a "negative impact" on some vegetation. Their recommendation: release "no more than 400 pheasants ... per acre of woodland."

Ugh .... right. More than 400 pheasants per acre would be wrong. I have always thought so.

It turns out some estates release as many as 1,000 pheasants per acre. Yow! Can this be true? We don't have densities like that at the average chicken farm.

Of course, here in the U.S. we generally do not hunt pen-raised birds. Most serious bird hunters sneer at canned hunts. You find a little bit of this kind of thing going on in Texas and near some East Coast cities, but most of our shooters are going into real nature and are content with smaller bags.

What's the purpose of shooting 200 or even 40 pheasants in a day?

In the Dakota's, a man and his dog will work large open fields all day long for a bag of three. That's real hunting.

In my mind, a bunch of over-dressed men and women walking a line to shoot pen-raised birds is a chicken shoot. There is no field craft, and there is no chance you will go home empty-handed. It's not hunting, because it does not entail skill or chance or expertise of any kind.

We do not say a butcher has gone hunting, and yet we say a person has gone hunting even if he or she has spent three days in the woods and shot nothing. Hunting is not a chicken shoot and it is not entirely about killing, is it?

Each to his own, of course. We kill a billion chickens a year in this country and I am not wringing my hands over that, so I am not going to rip out my own beating heart to protest canned pheasant, quail and partridge shoots in a country where I do not even live.

I am just glad to be an American. I am glad we (mostly) do it differently.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

You, me and the kitchen sink

Hold on to your hats, everyone, today we have a man's kitchen. This is Jordan's kitchen in Washington state, USA.

Jordan writes:

"My sister says I need to send you the pictures of my kitchen. It is very chicken and fun. This is a Man's Kitchen. My Kitchen is very small but taken care of.I am a single 44 year old Cowboy who currently drives Semi for a living. I live in Washington state, USA.

World Wildlife Fund Finds Tofu Worse Than Mutton

A study done by The Cranfield University and commission by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) found that eating British-bred beef and lamb was better environmentally than eating meat substitutes imported from abroad, such as tofu and Quorn.

The reason: Production methods for meat substitutes are often energy intensive, highly processed, and often shipped great distances. The result is that meat substitutes often result in increased land under cultivation, raising the risk of deforestation.

The researchers concluded: ‘A switch from beef and milk to highly refined livestock product analogues such as tofu could actually increase the quantity of arable land needed to supply the UK.

As The Lonon Times noted "The findings undermine claims by vegetarians that giving up meat automatically results in lower emissions and that less land is needed to produce food."

Of course the best diet (for both the person and the planet) is both local, seasonal, and not very processed, and while it includes some meat (especially chicken), it is heavy on local cereals, tomatoes, potatoes, vegetables, fruits, beans, and grains.

Margaret Atwood Misses the Cause for the Effect

In recent piece in The Guardian, Margaret Atwood turns up her literary prowess to note that birds have always carried messages to men:

How to justify the ways of men to birds? How to account for their attraction for us? (For, despite Hitchcock's frightening hunt-and-peck film, The Birds, it is mostly an attraction.) Why is Chekhov's play called "The Seagull" instead of "The Sea Slug"? Why is Yeats so keen on swans and hawks, instead of an interesting centipede or snail, or even an attractive moth? Why is it a dead albatross that is hung around the Ancient Mariner's neck as a symbol that he's been a very bad mariner, instead of, for instance, a dead clam? Why do we so immediately identify with such feathered symbols? These are some of the questions that trouble my waking hours.

For as long as we human beings can remember, we've been looking up. Over our heads went the birds – free as we were not, singing as we tried to. We gave their wings to our deities, from Inanna to winged Hermes to the dove-shaped Holy Spirit of Christianity, and their songs to our angels. We believed the birds knew things we didn't, and this made sense to us, because only they had access to the panoramic picture – the ground we walked on, but seen widely because seen from above, a vantage point we came to call "the bird's eye view". The Norse god Odin had two ravens called Thought and Memory, who flew around the earth during the day and came back at evening to whisper into his ears everything they'd seen and heard; which was why – in the mode of governments with advanced snooping systems, or even of Google Earth – he was so very all-knowing.

Some of us once believed that the birds could carry messages, and that if only we had the skill we'd be able to decipher them. Wasn't the invention of writing inspired, in China, by the flight of cranes? Thoth, the Egyptian god of scribes credited with the invention of hieroglyphic writing, had the head of an ibis. In the ancient world, an entire job category grew up around bird reading: that of augury, performed by seers and prophets who could interpret the winged signs. When Agamemnon and Menelaus were setting out for Troy, two eagles tore apart a pregnant hare and ate the unborn young. The augur's prediction was victory – Troy would fall – but an ill-omened victory with a heavy price to be paid; and so it turned out. "A bird of the air shall carry the voice," says Ecclesiastes, with impressive gravitas, "and those that have wings shall tell the truth"; and we can bet that those bird-borne truths were momentous.

By the 1950s, when I was what's now called a young adult, respect for birds had dwindled considerably. Birds might still be thought to carry messages – "a little bird told me," we were fond of saying – but these messages were no longer from the gods, and they no longer concerned the deaths of kings and the fates of nations. They were more likely to be from the girl who had the locker next to yours, and to be about who just broke up with whom. "Bird-brained" meant stupid, and people with too obsessive a knowledge of birds were considered geeky and ridiculous . . .

. . . But times change, and we're heading back towards an older way of reading the birds. It's Fates of Nations time again, and ill omens seen through birds in flight – or the absence of them - and deadly prices to be paid for getting what you want. The birds have something to tell us again, and the truths are not comfortable ones.

Well said, but not enough said. You will notice, if you read the entire piece, that Margaret Atwood is very poetic and very literary, but she quite never closes in on the problem.

What is threatening birds? What is threatening the environment? Are the birds committing suicide? Are the forests?

No, that's not what is happening.

The birds and trees are not committing suicide -- we are killing them.

Sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally, sometimes with regret, often without a thought.

And why are we doing this?

Is it because we are evil? Well yes, some individuals are evil, but most people are not. Most people are just trying to survive with as much stuff as possible, and with as little effort as possible.

Isn't that true for just about everyone?

And so we get down to the nexus of the problem.
The problem is us, but it's not that we are "evil".

The problem is there are too damn many of us.

To give some idea of man's impact in the planet, I animated this map showing 2,000 years of history in just 15 seconds.

The data for this map originates with the late great demographer Nathan Keyfitz.

To be clear, I am very happy Margaret Atwood is speaking up for nature in general, and the birds in particular.

But isn't it long past time for us to drop the literary charade that all this wildlife and wild lands destruction is due to some invisible hand we are too delicate and too polite to actually mention?

To be blunt, the problem is not "industry" or "development" or "consumption".

If you are using those kinds of words, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

The problem is that there are too damn many of us.

Stop at two? How about stop at none?

The Center for Biological Diversity has taken a small step in the right direction in the form of handing out "Endangered Species Condoms" to bring attention to the connection between an exploding population and species extinctions. Extra points for the rhyme: "Hump smarter, save the snail darter."

But of course, condoms are not actually the answer are they?

Surely we are adults and can note that the most common form of family planning in the world is voluntary surgical sterilization, not condoms (which fail at their task at a 15% annualized rate).

And surely we are adults and can note that in the U.S., the main problem is not high birth rates, but unbridled immigration?

In fact, the U.S. has the fastest population growth rate of any industrialized country in the world, and more than 95% of that population growth is due to immigration.

But is the Center for Biological Diversity talking about that?

No, they are not. Instead, they are fighting secure fencing along the border -- despite the fact that it is the single most important enviromental action being taken in the U.S. today.

As I noted in a 2006 post entitled Drawing the Line at the Border for Wildlife's Sake, there were 33 million legal and illegal immigrants living in the United States, and those 33 million were a combined population greater than that of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Dallas, San Antonio, Detroit, San Jose, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Jacksonville, Columbus, Austin, Baltimore, Memphis, and Milwaukee.

Thirty-three million people in the U.S. is 12 million more housing units, 15.8 million more passenger cars, 825 million more imported barrels of oil, and 75 million acres of forest cut to supply their paper and wood needs.

Can we talk about that? Not yet, apparently. Not yet.

For Valentine's Day: A Field Guide to Contaceptives

The single greatest threat to wildlife and wild places in the world today is unrestrained population growth and the poverty that is maintained by that population growth.

For far too long, environmentalists have wrung their hands and talked too vaguely about "development," "industry," "mining," "drilling,' "over-fishing," "factory-farming" and "consumption."

All of these are symptoms of the same disease: too many people.

Even as environmentalists have shied away from naming the problem, too many others remain entirely ignorant about the mechanics of the solution.

Here's a hint: it's not bio-diesel or backyard chickens, grass-fed beef or nuclear energy.

It's contraception.

The litany of birth control methods that follow is a thumbnail guide to some of the options women and men have today ... and might have tomorrow.

The good news is that today women have more birth control options than ever before.

The bad news is that there are precious few male contraceptive methods available, other than condoms and vasectomies, and many tried and true contraceptive methods, such as Norplant, are being taken away from U.S. women.

Research into male contraception is simply NOT getting the funding it deserves, and clinical trials are too small even when they produce promising results.

Please be advised that the list below is NOT comprehensive, nor is it designed to endorse any particular method of birth control. This list is simply a 'field guide' to some of the contraceptive options out there, and should not serve as a substitute for a physician's advice or your own research.


  • Male and Female Surgical Sterilization: Surgical sterilization is the most common form of birth control, both in the United States and overseas. In the U.S., among ever-married women ages 15-44 years, 41 percent now rely on surgical sterilization for contraception. Of this 41 percent, 26 percent report having had a tubal ligation, 7 percent had a hysterectomy, and 12 percent were currently living with a husband or partner who had a vasectomy. The above numbers do not quite add up, as some couples were double-covered, i.e. one partner had a vasectomy and the other had a hysterectomy or tubal ligation. Click here for more data showing the increase in surgical sterilization over the last 20 years. This trend is likely to continue as the population ages and as easier methods of sterilization are made available (see Essure and Quinacrine in the list below).

  • Essure: Essure is a type of permanent, FDA-approved contraception that does not require any incisions, and is inserted into a woman's fallopian tubes in less than 30 minutes in a doctor's office with only local anesthesia. Most women are able to resume their normal activities the next day. How does Essure work? Basically, a net-like sleeve is inserted into each fallopian tube, and the fallopian tubes, aided by the micro-insert, seal shut over the course of a three-month period during which time other types of birth control are used. The Essure inserts do not contain hormones, and are made out of the same nickel-titanium metal and polyethylene fibers that hold open Dick Cheney's heart vessels. Data from clinical testing shows that Essure is 99.8% effective in preventing pregnancy after two years of follow-up (the same as for a vasectomy or tubal ligation). 98% of women who relied on Essure rated their long-term satisfaction with the method was "good" to "excellent". Essure is not reversible. Essure was FDA approved in November of 2002.

  • FemCap and Lea's Shield: the FDA approved FemCap in April of 2003; it's been available in Europe for years. FemCap is a cervical cap used in conjunction with spermicide and it can be left in place for up to 48 hours. FemCap is not as reliable as an intrauterine device or hormonal methods of contraception and is reported to have a one-year failure rate of 20%. Lea's Shield, another barrier method, was approved by the FDA in March of 2002. Lea's Shield is a reusable, vaginal contraceptive made of medical-grade silicone rubber. One size fits all, and failure rates are reported to be about 15 percent over 12 months. Lea's shield has been in use in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Canada since 1983.

  • Ortho Evra Patch: The Ortho Evra patch was FDA approved in November of 2001, and is 99% effective in women that weigh less than 198 pounds. The patch is 1.75 inches square and is to be placed on the buttocks, abdomen, upper torso or outer part of a woman's arm. The patch releases progestin and estrogen hormones into the bloodstream to stop a woman from getting pregnant. A new patch in applied every week for three weeks, and the woman is supposed to go patch-free during the fourth week. The patch can withstand bathing, showering and exercising, and comes in a beige color that looks very much like a band-aid.

  • NuvaRing: The NuvaRing is a soft, flexible ring, about 2 inches in diameter that slowly releases estrogen and progestin after a woman inserts it into her vagina. The product is left in place for three weeks, and the woman is supposed to then go ring-free for the fourth week. NuvaRing was FDA approved in October of 2001, and is about as effective as hormonal oral contraceptive.

  • Mirena: Mirena is a hormone-releasing intrauterine device that can prevent pregnancy for up to five years. Marketed as "birth control for moms" Mirena is a plastic-T design, and like other intrauterine devices is a reversible form of contraception. Mirena was FDA approved in December of 2000.

  • ParaGard: ParaGard is a "Copper-T" intrauterine device that does not contain hormones and can be left in place for up to 10 years. A copper-T IUD can be used as emergency contraception if inserted within 5 days of having sex, and is a reversible but long-lasting form of birth control. Copper-T IUDS have been in use for more than 20 years, and more than 50 million have been distributed in over 70 countries around the world. The FDA first approved the marketing of the Copper T in the United States in 1984.

  • Seasonale is a series of active birth control pills taken for 84 straight days instead of the usual 21. The result of this regime is that a woman on Seasonale has periods only four times a year. FDA approval of Seasonale is expected within the next few months. A continuous regime of active birth control pills is expected to help women who suffer from heavy periods, bad cramps or endometriosis. Many women already use standard birth control pills in an "off-label" protocol to achieve these same results.

  • Depo-Provera and Lunelle: Depo-Provera is injectable progestin that inhibits ovulation, prevents sperm from reaching the egg, and prevents the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. It is effective for up to 12 weeks. Depo-Provera was FDA approved in 1992, and is now used all over the world. A similar product, Lunelle, provides contraception for one month, and is a combination of progestin and estrogen.

  • Norplant: Norplant consists of six silicone implants that continuously release synthetic progestin in order to provide contraceptive coverage for up to 5 years. First used in Finland in 1983, Norplant was approved for use in the U.S. in December of 1990 and is now used in over 44 countries around the world. U.S. sales of Norplant were discontinued in 2000 due to threats of litigation by a small number of women who claimed hair loss and depression caused by Norplant use. Though this litigation never came to fruition, in July of 2002 "due to limitations in component supplies" the manufacturer of Norplant decided to permanently discontinue the sale of this very effective reversible form of contraception in the U.S.

  • Today Sponge: The Today sponge prevents pregnancy by covering the cervix with a sponge containing a spermicide. The Today sponge was taken off the market in 1995 due to manufacturing problems at the plant. The Today sponge is now available again in Canada (it is now made in a new factory in New Jersey) and is expected to be available in the U.S. without a prescription in 2004. With a failure rate of about 10 percent, the Today sponge is not as reliable as an intrauterine device or hormonal methods of contraception, but is inexpensive (about $36 for a dozen) and women can use it only when they intend to have sex.

  • Implanon and Jadelle: Implanon is an implant placed into the under side of the upper arm and it protects against pregnancy for two to three years. Implanon works very much like Norplant, but has only one rod instead of six. Implanon has not always been injected correctly by inexperienced doctors. A minor change in the manufacturing process and delivery method is expected fix this. Not yet available in the U.S., FDA approval of Implanon is expected in 2004. Note that FDA approval does not mean the product will ever reach our shores. A similar product, called Jadelle, is a two-rod levonorgestrel implant that has been approved for use up to 5 years by the FDA, but is not yet on the market in the U.S.

  • Emergency Contraception: Two dedicated emergency contraceptive products are available: Preven and Plan B. Both work by delaying or inhibiting ovulation, inhibiting fertilization or inhibiting implantation of a fertilized egg. Preven and Plan B are little more than high-doses of normal birth control pills. Plan B is a progestin-only pill, while Preven is a progestin-estrogen combination. In California, Alaska, and Washington State, some pharmacies will provide emergency contraceptive pills without requiring you to see anyone except the pharmacist. In addition, emergency contraception is available over the counter in Quebec. If Preven or Plan B are not available, women can get the same results by taking several active birth control pills at once (see here for protocols). In addition to hormone-base methods of emergency contraception, the insertion of an IUD within 5 days of having sex, can also work.

  • Female Condom: The female condom is a lubricated polyurethane sheath with a flexible ring on the closed end, which is inserted into the vagina. The female condom is difficult to use and not very popular; the FDA reports a 22% failure rate (i.e. number of pregnancies expected per 100 women per year) as compared to 11% for male condoms.

  • Male Condoms: The male condom and the female condom, are the only two barrier methods which prevent the transmission of the HIV virus. Latex or polyurethane condoms do not allow the HIV virus to pass through. Breakage and slippage rates for latex condoms range from 2 to 6 percent, and may be higher among inexperienced users or those unable to read the directions. Condom breakage is related to how packages are open, how they are rolled on, whether and what types of lubricants are used, and the age and storage of the product. Due to slippage, breakage and inconsistent use, couples typically report a 10 to 15% annualized pregnancy rate with condoms.

  • Diaphragms with Spermicides: Diaphragm use has fallen off rapidly in recent years due to the product's high failure rate as a contraceptive (17% according to the FDA) and the fact that it also offers no protection from sexually transmitted diseases.

  • Quinacrine Sterilization: Quinacrine sterilization is achieved using quinine tablets (the same quinine tablets used for Malaria). Two quinine insertions, made one month apart, result in a chemical reaction which leads to a sealing over of the fallopian tubes, very much like what occurs with the FDA-approved Essure (see above). While Essure is fairly expensive, quinacrine sterilization can be done for very little money and few negative side effects have been reported. Over 100,000 women in 20 countries have been sterilized using quinacrine without a single fatality. With surgical sterilization, several deaths from general anesthesia or from surgical complication would have been expected in this number of procedures. Because quinacrine is such a cheap and easy method of achieving sterility, some human rights activists have raised the specter of mass sterilizations of the uninformed. In fact, quinacrine is much more likely to liberate women: female sterilization is the most common form of birth control in many countries, and would probably be even more popular if women were not incapacitated from work and did not have to notify their husbands before getting the procedure. An alternative to quinacrine sterilization, using erythromycin as a method of transcervical sterilization, is being researched by Family Health International which patented this methodology in March of 1999.

  • Abstinence: Periodic abstinence is the least effective method of birth control available. According to the FDA, the failure rate (number of pregnancies expected per 100 women per year) is at least 20 percent.

  • RISUG or SMA: RISUG stands for Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance. In essence this is a method that coats the male vas deferans glands with styrene malic anhydride (SMA) mixed with the solvent DMSO (think of it as glue). RISUG does not completely close the vas deferens, but when sperm passes through the coated walls, an ionic charge is created that ruptures the sperm membranes causing them to be incapable of fertilizing an egg. RISUG has completed some small clinical trials, but it unlikely to be seen in the U.S. any time soon. A single injection of 60 milligrams of RISUG is thought to be able to provide contraception for up to 10 years, and the method is reportedly reversible.

  • Birth Control Pills: Birth control pill are safer and more effective today than ever before, and are available in a dizzying array of brands. Birth control pills, also called oral contraceptives (OCs), come in two basic forms: a combined pill consisting of two synthetic hormones, estrogen and progestin; and, the "minipill," which consists solely of progestin. The combination pill works by suppressing the natural hormones in the body that stimulate ovulation; the progestin-only pill works by thickening the cervical mucus and preventing the egg from implantation in the uterus. If taken consistently, both forms of birth control pills are very effective forms of contraception, with combination pills being somewhat more effective than progestin-only pills. The failure rate of combination pills is less than 1 per one hundred women using this method of contraception for a year. "The pill" is the most popular reversible contraceptive in use in the United States, with about 27 percent of all women that are having sex and using contraception choosing the Pill as their contraceptive option.

  • Vas Deferens Plugs: In China over 500,000 men have received polyurethane or silicone injections into their vas deferens. These injections harden to form a plug. Tests show a 98% effectiveness rate, and all the men who have had their plugs removed for at least four years have fathered children, most within the first year. Another kind of plug is the "shug," which is a made up of two non-injectible silicone plugs with nylon tails to help anchor the plugs to the vas. The Shug is also reversible, and is in clinical trials in China. Neither method is FDA approved in the U.S.

  • Male Hormonal Contraceptives: Several types of hormonal pills for men are currently being tested with mixed results. It appears that about 10% of all men simply do not respond to hormonal pills, and researchers are not sure why. Another problem is delivery: the male hormone pill has to be taken 3 times a day to keep androgen levels consistent, and if delivered as a shot it must be given as often as every 10 days. Male hormonal contraceptives have also produce some unpleasant side effects (such as nausea and weight gain). Contraceptive patches for men have yet to deliver enough hormones to be effective. Research is ongoing, but underfunded.

  • Gossypoll / Cottonseed Oil: Gossypoll is a substance derived from cottonseed oil. Large-scale studies done in China in the 1970s showed gossypol provided reliable contraception, could be taken orally as a tablet, and did not upset men's hormonal balance. Unfortunately, between 5 and 25 percent of the men who took Gossypoll for long periods of time remained infertile for up to a year after stopping treatment. In addition, gossypoll lowered potassium levels and strained kidney functions. Due to a combination of high infertility rates and renal interactions, research into gossypoll has largely been abandoned.


How to Trap a Republican ... First Get a Paper Bag

"The only way this health care meeting is a trap is if Boehner's got nothing. It's like a paper bag is only a trap if you can't punch your way out of it."

Watch this to the end, when the Republicans go to Hawaii (in winter) to denounce "socialized" health care, unaware that Hawaii has universal coverage and loves it!

Oh, and Rush Limbaugh gets a heart attack in Hawaii and then proclaims the medical attention he gets on the island to be the best he has ever gotten. Nice!

Finally: Dog Chapman, the Bounty Hunter, explains how it works on the mainland and how it's different in Hawaii. Bonus!

Friday, February 12, 2010

The House Is Not Surviving the Storm's Aftermath

Well a massive ice dam on the gutters of the house has resulted in the entire gutter on half of the house coming down -- smashing through the greenhouse roof, and leaving a 3 foot shard of glass sticking out of the hot tub cover like a javelin.

Along with the gutter coming down in a spectacular fashion, a small section of the fascia boards has been torn away as well.

On the upside, my roofer is a very good friend and an honorable man who does excellent work. He and his family have been in the roofing business in Northern Virginia for over 110 years. At least I do not have to worry that the repair will be done right, or that I will be price-gouged, or that it will fester on someone's "to do" list until June! Of course, the work will not be free. Now let's see if home owner's insurance will cover any or all of it.

In other fun bits of news, my daughter's car needs about $1,200 worth of repairs. Guess who's paying for that? Not me! The car is not worth that much, so it's a total loss and we will have to find some way of getting her a new (used) car.

You, me and the kitchen sink

Today we have an Australian kitchen.  It is Hughesey's kitchen in Melbourne.

She writes:
"I have attached two photos of my kitchen.  My husband and I rent in Melbourne's west.  Because we rent we can't change much about our little house but I do like it here.  
My sink is rarely this clean and tidy because I don't like washing up much!  My husband does it most of the time as I cook.  You can see