Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Was Awesome!

Apparently I was quite the good boy this year because Santa hooked me up, big time! The guy is obviously a mind reader because he brought me something I'd have never thought to ask for, a flu! Woohooo go me!

I leaped out of bed first thing this morning for some festive vomiting then spent the rest of the day participating in traditional holiday activities like cold sweats, burning up with fever and sleeping. In between all that I gorged myself on all the holiday trimmings, like water and a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Of course I was all decked out in my finest holiday garb, pajamas and a fuzzy warm throw complete with bedhead so I looked my absolute finest all day long.

Between all that excitement, and the noise and constant go go go of the cat sleeping all over the house all day I'm about worn out.

Bah Humbug!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Funny License Plate

I saw this license plate while driving through a parking lot. I thought it was funny so I whipped out the cell phone and snapped a picture.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Eagle Owl, Slow Motion Attack

One beautiful bird but I would surely not want those feet anywhere near me.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Layered Multiple Box Shadows

A box-shadow declaration may contain numerous values, in the following order: h-shadow v-shadow blur spread color & inset

h-shadow (required)
Horizontal shadow, the higher the value used the farther to the right the shadow is positioned. Negative values position it left.
v-shadow (required)
Vertical shadow, the higher the value used, the farther upward the shadow is positioned. Negative values position it down.
blur (optional)
Blur is the part of the shadow which fades from solid color to opaque, the edge of the shadow. The higher the value used, the larger the blurred area will be.
spread (optional)
Spread refers to the width of the solid part of the shadow, before it starts to blur. The higher the value, the larger the solid portion will be.
color (optional)
Color is self explanatory, the color of the shadow
inset (optional)
Inset, when used, locates the shadow inside the border instead of outside. This one may confuse you, because the positioning behaves opposite of how you'd expect. Shifting the shadow up and right actually displays it on the left and bottom because it is <b>inside</b> the box.

While playing around with box-shadow I accidentally discovered that multiple box shadows can be used for the same selector, and layered one above the other. Below are examples showing two different border shadows. In all six examples both the horizontal and vertical value is set to 0 which distributes the shadow equally behind all four sides of each box. The first shadow is styled with a 10px blur and a 1px spread, the second is styled with the same 10px blur but a spread of 5px so the blur doesn't start until 4px farther out than the blur of the shadow on top of it, making it spread out farther.

Red over Blue

box-shadow:0px 0px 10px 1px red, 0px 0px 10px 5px blue;

 Blue over Red inset

box-shadow:0px 0px 10px 1px blue ;inset, 0px 0px 10px 5px red inset;

 Yellow over Red

box-shadow:0px 0px 10px 1px yellow, 0px 0px 10px 5px red;

 Red over Yellow inset

box-shadow:0px 0px 10px 1px red inset, 0px 0px 10px 5px yellow inset;

 Blue over Yellow

box-shadow:0px 0px 10px 1px blue, 0px 0px 10px 5px yellow;

 Yellow over Blue inset

box-shadow:0px 0px 10px 1px yellow inset, 0px 0px 10px 5px blue inset;

In the following examples you can see how the horizontal and vertical values affect box-shadow, and how using an inset border changes the way you'd position them to the opposite of how they are positioned normally.

box-shadow:5px 5px 5px;
box-shadow:-5px -5px 5px inset
box-shadow:-5px -5px 5px;
box-shadow:5px 5px 5px inset
box-shadow:0px 0px 10px;
box-shadow:0px 0px 10px inset

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Arm & Hammer Essentials - Clumping Cat Litter

A natural product I tried as part of my ongoing quest to reduce my impact on what's left of our environment. This is a corn based product, a fact I'm not overly crazy about, so it weighs half of what comparable uses of typical clay based clumping litters weigh.

Overall first impression was good. Zeus was right in it, no problems there. It seemed to work well and there were no unpleasant odors from the litter box even at close proximity, Until I was halfway through the second bag. Now my opinion has changed.

  • Price: about $8 - $9 for a 10.5 lb bag.
  • Clumping Ability: This litter has weak clumps which fall apart easily, leaving used litter behind in the box after cleaning unless you take excessive time to clean the box using a scoop with very small holes. Even the cat's digging breaks them up, significantly.
  • Odor Control: The ammonia odor of cat urine is now quite strong when cleaning the box and the litter is considerably darker in color. This is most likely due to the weak clumps disintegrating, leaving urine soaked litter behind when cleaning the box.
  • Tracking: Possibly due to the sheer size of Zeus's giant hairy feet, this stuff is everywhere. Its light weight may also be a contributing factor. Through the laundry room, through a large kitchen and across the living room, this stuff literally gets eveywhere. You'll become very familiar with your vacuum.

Overall I'm very disappointed, this isn't the quality I'd expect from this brand. Poor odor control due to weak clumping ability mean that you'll need to completely replace the litter more frequently than with other clumping litters. This defeats the whole purpose of clumping litter and makes it a more expensive option in the long run. I'll be trying a different brand next time.

Oatier Oatmeal Cookies

These have ore oats than typical recipes, and rum-soaked raisins add an extra kick. What you'll need:

  • 1 lb rolled oats
  • 10 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 oz dark brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 oz sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • kosher salt
  • 4 oz raisins (optional but recommended) soaked overnight in dark rum

How to proceed once you've got all your ingredients:

  1. Spread oats evenly on a sheet pan, bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly toasted.
  2. Place half of toasted oats into food processor, process until reduced to a fine powder.
  3. Combine both sugars and the butter in mixer, beat at medium speed for 3 minutes, umtil smooth.
  4. Reduce mixer speed, add egg and vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Add cinnamon, baking soda, and a pinch of kosher salt to the powdered oat mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Slowly add powdered oat mixture to butter/sugar mixture while mixing. Mix until incorporated then mix in raisins and the other half of the oats. Mix a few minutes until fully combined into smooth batter.
  7. Place 1 1/2 oz scoops of batter on pan lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375° for 12- 14 minutes until edges are brown, rotating halfway through.
  8. Cool on pan for 2 minutes, then move to rack.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

A few twists in the typical recipe put these over the top. The instructions below will produce 16 large cookies. The photo is 10 of them on a standard size dinner plate (roughly 10").

  • More brown sugar than white sugar adds extra chewiness
  • Melting the butter first and browning a portion of it adds a little extra nutty flavor
  • Two egg yolks but only one egg white makes them less cake-like and more moist
  • Allowing the sugar to dissolve improves the texture
  • Skipping the cheaper household standard name brand chips in favor of good chocolate makes a huge difference. Use either Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips or, if you can't find them, Hershey's Special Dark Mildly Sweet Chocolate Chips will suffice.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

RGBA Colors

What the heck are RGB Colors? Many of you are already familiar with RGB color values, they are the Red Blue Green values sometimes used in place of the more familiar hexadecimal values. While hexadecimal values use the numerals from 0 - 9 and the letters A-F, RGB values use only numerals from 0 - 255. For example, if you would use hexadecimal to denote the color red you would use color:#FF0000; but in RGB it would be color:rgb(255,0,0); instead. It's just another way to specify a color value.

So what's the new "A" at the end? That stands for the alpha channel, the technical term for the layer which contains the opacity information for the specified color. This enables you to render the color itself opaque without having to use any other opacity codes. The higher the number the more opaque (solid) the color, the lower the number the more transparent the color will be. This differs from using a color plus an opacity because this method affects only the color itself. For example, to color any specific selector with a translucent background color you'd use a color as a background then add opacity:0.5; or similar but that would cause everything in the selector to be semi-opaque including the content. Use of RGBA color values would render only the color itself semi-transparent, not the content.

So how do you use it? First, you add an "a" to "rgb" when expressing the color value then you add a value to the color code to define the level of opacity. The scale is 0 - 1 just like the standard opacity property, and the number is added to the RGB color value as if it were another value. So if you wanted to make color:rgb(255,0,0); halfway transparent you would use color:rgba(255,0,0,0.5); which is 255 red, 0 blue, 0 green, with 0.5 opacity. Below are some rather ugly examples using a red text highlight over a patterned blue background, note that the red gets more translucent but the font does not..


Does this work in all browsers? You can use this anywhere you'd use a color value; as a background color, a font color, a border color, box shadow color, etc... Browser support is limited to IE9+, Firefox 3+, Chrome, Safari and Opera 10+, basically anything current. According to the rules browsers are supposed to follow, any older browser which doesn't recognize RGBA colors will not just read the first three values to obtain the color then skip the opacity value, it will instead skip the entire declaration resulting in no color. I believe you can get around this by using a standard color value first then adding a second color property:value; for the rgba color. Older browsers should render the first one and ignore the rgba. I have only been able to test this theory with IE8, with successful results. You'll know your browser is incompatible if you do not see the the red backgrounds above. If it works anyone could use RGBA without worrying about browser compatibility, anything incapable of rendering it would still show a color. Example:

.selector {

Older browsers should read the first color, then skip the second because they don't recognize it. The background color would still be red. Compatible browsers will read the first value, then read the second which will override the first, giving you a semi-transparent color.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ready For Irene

It's been a busy day thanks to Irene, damn her. There was a lot to do but I think it's all done and I'm as ready as I'll ever be

  • The grass was high already and I knew I won't be able to mow it for days so I took care of that today.
  • I got all the patio furniture moved into the shed, as well as the trash cans. That's less things to look for later.
  • I pulled the window unit air conditioner in the master bedroom so I could seal up the window, then made sure all the storm windows in the house are closed up tight and the weep holes in all of the storm window frames aren't blocked or clogged. I left a towel in each of the 4 bedrooms upstairs for use later if the wind starts pushing the rain in through the storm windows so I'm prepared for that. I learned my lesson about that from Isabel back in '03.
  • Everything in the basement has been put up on shelves and/or moved out of the low side so it has a better chance of staying dry.
  • I made sure to fully charge my cell phone, and have batteries and flashlights set out as well as a few candles and a lighter.
  • I'm stocked with plenty of water in case we lose water pressure again.
  • I'm stocked on food I can eat with no preparation needed (including cat food for Zeus) plus I cooked a bunch of food because I probably won't be able to cook anything for a couple days once I lose power, and I have two big bags of ice in the freezer to keep all the perishables cold.
  • I doubt I'll need to leave but just in case I even filled the fuel tank in my truck so I'm good to go even if the gas stations are all closed due to power failure.
  • I have cash in case I need to leave and any purchases are required since no electricity means no credit card or debit card processing. A lot of the local small businesses will open for cash sales.

I'm as ready as I'll ever be.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pseudo-elements Offer More Customization Options

Pseudo-elements are basically a part, portion or specific form of an element. The correct syntax to use with a pseudo-element is selector:pseudo-element{property:value;}. You're most likely already partially familiar with these, even if you don't know it. To make it easier to explain them I will group them into three categories; links, actions and text or content.

Link pseudo-elements are the type probably already familiar to you. They are :link:visited and :active. They style the specific form of links, a:link{property:value;}  would style all unvisited links, a:visited{property:value;} would style only those links which had already been clicked and a:active{property:value;} would style the appearance of a link as it is clicked. You can use the :hover pseudo-element with links also, just be sure to use all of the link pseudo-elements in the correct sequence or :active and :hover won't work. The correct sequence is :link, :visited, :hover, :active. You don't have to use all of them, as long as you keep them in this order they'll still work

Next are the action type of pseudo-elements, :hover and :focus. Most are already familiar with :hover, it's pretty self explanatory. When used, it styles how something looks when the cursor is hovered on it. You can use :hover for more than just links. For example, I tend to use dark themes which would of course require a light colored text in order for the text to be visible. This is opposite of everything else we read since we are accustomed to a light background with dark text. What I did was enclose all of my blog entries in a div with a custom selector (.blog) then styled .blog in my custom CSS. Through the use of .blog:hover all of my blog entries now become easier to read when hovered, the colors change to a light background with dark text. There are a lot of uses for :hover, from changing text properties to replacing images. Then there's :focus, this one is of more limited use. It works only in places where user input is allowed, basically comments and replies, or forms. I've used this to make it easier and more natural to comment on previous sites. I used .selector{background-color:black;}, this turned the background of the comment text entry box black so it matched my theme. Then I added .selector:focus{background-color:white;} which caused the background of that same area to turn white when it's clicked. That box blends perfectly into my theme but when anyone clicks it to type a comment it reverts back to what people are used to when writing or reading, a light background with dark text.

Last are the text or content category of pseudo-elements, these are :first-letter, :first-line, :first-child, :before and :after. These can be used to add some interest to text items on your site. I'll use the previous example from my own site to explain these. I enclose all of my blog entries (and a few other odds and ends) in a div, giving them a class of .blog with <div class="blog"> then style .blog in my Custom CSS. The following all pertain to this setup

  • :first-letter will style only the first letter of the selector used. Using my site as just described, if I added .blog p:first-letter{property:value;} to my custom CSS I could individually style the first letter of each paragraph contained in my .blog selector. I used this with font-size to make the first letter of each paragraph appear larger than the rest of the font. You could use color, font-face, whatever you wish. 
  • :first-line will style only the first line of the selector to which it  is applied. Using my setup as an example .blog p:first-line{font-variant:small-caps;} would style the first line of text in every paragraph in my .blog div, changing the lower case letters to small upper case letters.
  • :first-child will style only the first child element of the type specified. For example, in my .blog div I may have several paragraphs written using the HTML <p> tags. Those paragraphs, being contained within the .blog div, are the children of the .blog div. So if I were to add .blog p:first-child{color:red;} to my CSS then in every blog entry I'd enclosed in my .blog div the first paragraph would have a red font color. If I added something to it, like .blog p:first-child i {color:green;} then anything italicized in the first paragraph of any .blog div content would be green.
  • :before will allow you to add content in front of existing content while :after will allow you to add content after existing content. You can add text or an image this way.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Layering Multiple Background Colors/Images

While goofing around with inline CSS I accidentally stumbled across a way to use multiple background colors and/or images. For this post I'm using only colors to keep the sample code short and easily read. I see no reason why you couldn't break this out of inline CSS by assigning each div a different class or id. This is not done with a table or multiple tables, it's purely CSS.

<div style="width:98%;height:450px;position:relative;border:3px ridge black;margin:auto;">
<div style="height:90%;width:90%;background-color:green;position:relative;margin:auto;top:5%;border:2px solid black;">
<div style="height:80%;width:80%;background-color:blue;position:relative;;margin:auto;top:10%;border:1px dashed black;">
<div style="height:70%;width:70%;background-color:red;position:relative;margin:auto;top:15%;border:1px dotted black;">

The code above produces this:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Osama bin Laden Is Dead

It's about damned time. If there's a Hell I hope he finds himself trapped there for all eternity, that murderous piece of shit.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

White House Releases Full Obama Birth Certificate

From this Huffington Post article

Attention conspiracy theorists, "birthers" and Tea Party supporters, full and final proof has now been given regarding what the rest of us already knew. President Obama was born in the US, is a US Citizen and is therefore eligible for the position he now holds. You must now accept the reality that Obama is your president. Get over it.

John McCain, Obama's opponent in the last election, was not born in the United States. He was born in the Panama Canal Zone, an unincorporated US territory. Persons born in the Canal Zone were not granted citizenship status, only the status of US national. While this was later changed and applied retroactively it doesn't change the fact that McCain was not a natural born US citizen as is required of anyone running for the Presidency. Oddly enough, there was no fringe group of ultra-liberals proclaiming him ineligible for the job or demanding he withdraw from the race. There was no public outcry, it was barely even given any mention at all.

The next time you latch onto some ridiculous theory supported by zero proof of any kind and feel the need to use that theory as a means to justify your own personal bigotry or to farther your own agenda of hate, divisiveness or political bias please do the rest of the country a favor, sit down and shut up. There are issues facing this nation which are far more important than proving yet again what has already been proven numerous times.

Thank you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend, Workend, Whatever.

I had a constructive weekend, actually getting a few things accomplished. Things I've been meaning to do but never quite got around to doing. There was also the usual laundry, picking up/putting away and cleaning of the house. I had to be extra thorough because a realtor had scheduled a showing for noon Saturday so that added some time and work, wasted time at that but that's a different story.

A couple years ago I removed one of the windows in a seldom used room of the house so I could prettify the whole mess. It's 110 years old, all wood frame with the top sash permanently painted shut. The bottom sash was difficult to open and everything was covered with layer upon layer of paint, each layer an uglier color than the last. Most of the trim and the frame components were rotted or otherwise unusable once removed. I was motivated when I first took it out, it wasn't long before I had all the old paint stripped and sanded from both sashes, all of the glass removed and all of the old glazing scraped out, the glass back in and reglazed, and the whole mess primed and painted and ready to install. Then it sat in the basement collecting dust.

Fast forward a couple years to when I put the house up for sale, I cleaned up and painted the frame and sill, caulked where it was needed then brought the window sashes upstairs so I could put them back in. There they sat... until this weekend. Earlier in the week I finally went out and tracked down the trim pieces and other assorted parts I needed. Friday night I did all the measuring and cutting then primed and painted them with a couple coats of semi-gloss white. Saturday, when the whole mess was dry I put it all back together and gave it a final coat of paint then installed a miniblind. Oddly enough everything actually works, too. The top sash goes down and the bottom sash goes up, the ropes, weights and pulleys are all good and everything fits and operates the way it should. That was the last time-intensive project I had left and I'm way glad to finally have it done.

I killed another 4 hours going out to rent a carpet cleaning machine and using it on the only remaining piece of old carpet in the house. Of course that would be the largest room in the house. Short version.... ew. It's clean now though. After returning the machine I even managed to get a little more yard/garden cleanup done.

The last couple weeks have been a little rough and I'm not feeling all that great, neither mentally nor physically. I think my favorite tick-borne disease is trying to make a comeback, it doesn't seem to take much to leave me feeling totally drained these days so all in all I did pretty good. Mmmmm.... lymeade anyone?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Republican Party And Abortion... Or, WTF??

Abortion again, it seems to be the hot topic lately. At least it is for Washington Republicans, and others at the state level. I'm not gung-ho on handing out abortions to anyone who wants one for any reason, nor do I think they should be viewed as just another method of birth control, but I do think the choice should be left to the pregnant woman. I think most women don't treat such a decision lightly, it's not something most of them will do just because they had unprotected sex or are mad at the father, then run out to get knocked up again etc... Sometimes it is simply the right decision, the one which does the least harm to the least people.

I've already blogged about the DC Republicans' attempt to redefine what constitutes rape as a means of limiting access to abortions. Now they've gone even farther, to the point of despicable. At the local level, a married couple in Nebraska were forced to watch their very premature baby die a slow painful death. An anti-abortion law had been recently passed which flat out forbade abortion past 20 weeks if the mother's life was not at risk and the baby's heart was still beating. They left no exceptions, because they frankly don't care how much suffering results from their never ending quest to turn America into a theocracy as a means of keeping their lunatic, extreme right ultra-conservative base happy so they can continue to hold power. In this case the infant was born 23 weeks into the pregnancy. Because of complications arising from the premature loss of the mother's amniotic fluid doctors said the infant, if it went full term, had at absolute best a ten percent chance of surviving even if there were an all out medical frenzy using every available means to keep her alive. If she somehow survived she had at best a two percent chance of ever being able to perform even basic functions, like feeding herself. So even if she survived, the child’s quality of life would be nonexistent, she'd have a severely damaged body with almost guaranteed brain damage. The law forbade an abortion in their case so when the infant was born 17 weeks early she lived for fifteen minutes, unable to breath, gasping for air, with no idea what was happening, knowing only that she hurt and couldn't make it stop. All the mother could do was watch her baby die, after 3 of her 4 previous pregnancies had ended in miscarriages. Read the story here and here (also linked at the bottom of the first article).

At the federal level the Republicans are now trying to make it legal for a hospital receiving any federal funding to refuse giving a woman an emergency abortion even if her life depends on it, opting instead to simply let the pregnant woman die. Currently all hospitals in America receiving Medicaid or Medicare funding are required by a 1986 law known as EMTALA to provide emergency care to all comers, regardless of their ability to pay or other factors they have to stabilize them and provide them with emergency care without factoring in their ability to pay for it. If a hospital can’t provide the care a patient needs, it is required to transfer that patient to a hospital that can, and the receiving hospital is required to accept that patient. In the case of an anti-abortion hospital with a patient requiring an emergency abortion, ETMALA would require that hospital to perform it or transfer the patient to someone who can.

The proposed bill would free hospitals from any abortion requirement under EMTALA, meaning that medical providers who aren’t willing to terminate pregnancies wouldn't have to — nor would they have to facilitate a transfer. The hospital could literally do nothing at all, allowing both the mother and the infant to die. So much for "First do no harm." Somehow their bizarre logic considers 2 deaths better than one, as long as no abortion occurred. In any other situation this would be called negligent homicide.

You can read the story about H. R. 358 or the "Protect Life Act" here. Maybe you can figure out how murdering a mother protects life, I couldn't.

This last one is something else entirely. I had to read it twice to even believe I'd read it at all. South Dakota Representative Phil Jensen has proposed legislation to actually legalize the murder of abortion doctors. I shit you not. The proposed bill "alters the state’s legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person “while resisting an attempt to harm” that person’s unborn child or the unborn child of that person’s spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman’s father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion—even if she wanted one." Most of this possibility is due to vague and nonspecific language, the Republicans' favorite tool lately when trying to limit access to abortion. You can read about the proposed bill, and several updates to the story, here.

It's sad state of affairs in the US these days when a majority political party approves so highly of murder that they seek to legalize it for the sole purpose of imposing their religious beliefs upon an entire country. Time and time again, in vote after vote, Americans have voted against banning abortion but the GOP just doesn't seem to get it. I have to ask myself a great big "WTF?" Unfortunately, I can't think of an answer to that question.

If any Republicans supporting this attitude happen to stumble across this blog please explain it because I am at a complete loss.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Republicans To Redefine Rape

The Grand Obstructionist Party is at it again, yet another attempt to shove their twisted and hypocritical views down the throats of all Americans. This time, through H.R.3 - No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, they seek to redefine what actually qualifies as rape. The goal is to not only prohibit access to any funds authorized or appropriated by Federal law which could in any way pay even part of the cost of an abortion, but to also prevent anyone from claiming any tax benefits from either the medical costs of the procedure or the cost of any insurance which helps pay for the procedure.

Here's a brief and probably incomplete summary of what can not be used to help defray the costs under this new proposal:
Employer Sponsored Health Insurance
If a health insurance provider receives so much as a penny of federal funds it can not pay any part of any abortion costs. Additionally, if an employer offers a health insurance plan which does cover abortion that employer would be prohibited from taking a tax deduction for the cost of that plan, even if no portion of any abortion was ever paid for, meaning most employers would simply stop offering plans which covered abortion. This, by the way, includes all federal government employees since their salaries and insurance are paid with tax dollars.
Low income individuals and families, as well as some disabled persons, and anyone else enrolled in Medicaid could not be reimbursed or covered for any abortion costs through Medicaid, most likely their only form of insurance or assistance. Low income means highly unlikely to be able to afford an abortion for any reason, so they're stuck.
Tax-Exempt HSA (Health Savings Account)
Have you put aside money to help defray any unexpected medical costs? Too bad, you can't use it if an abortion is what you're after.

According to this proposed new law the only exceptions would be forcible rape, incest (but only if the female is still a minor) or the presence of any physical issues which may threaten the life of the mother.

So here are a few scenarios which would be ineligible for the use of any funds or insurance previously described:
Statutory Rape
Your very young (12 or 13 years old) but physically mature daughter experiments with sex and is impregnated by her older, non-minor boyfriend. You will pay the entire bill for any abortion or abortion related expenses, and you can not claim any tax deductions for those expenses. If you can't afford the costs you're out of luck and a few months away from being a grandparent.
Drugged Then Raped
Women, were you slipped some of the date rape drug? Or just plain drugged into unconciousness, or perhaps a little too enthusiastically encouraged to drink until you passed out? Did your "date" or anyone who happened to accompany them then have a turn with you while you were out, resulting in your unwanted pregnancy? You better hope you can afford an abortion, because if you don't have the cash or can't get it you have no choice but to bear the child of (one of) your rapist(s) because technically, according to the Republicans, you weren't really raped so no funds for you! Enjoy that baby.
Rape Of A Mentally Disabled Person
If a mentally disabled person is tricked into sex, naively pressured into sex or in any other way has their disability exploited with the result being pregnancy, they are out of luck. No insurance, no clinic, no Medicaid, nothing receiving any federal funds can pay them or their caregiver a dime to help them out. Nor can their caregivers deduct any abortion related medical expenses at tax time. Way to add even more to the financial burdens of someone acting as a caregiver for a mentally disabled person. Nice.
Did daddy love his little girl a little too much? Too bad, no help for her! Unless she's a minor of course, but given the state by state variations in the legal age of consent that cutoff point could be anywhere from 12 to 18. Given the rather vague wording of this legislation the term "minor" could be defined by state law, or maybe by Federal law, nobody really knows. Imagine a 13 year old girl forced to bear the child of her own father because according to the Republicans, she wasn't really raped and is therefore undeserving of any assistance. Now, if dear old Dad would have beat the shit out of her, then she would be eligible for some assistance because somehow the extra physical abuse, though entirely unrelated to the sexual abuse, qualifies the crime to meet the new Republican definition of "rape." Even if this twisted legislation specified 18 years of age as the cutoff it would then force adult women to bear the children of their incestuous male relatives unless they had the money to cover all of the costs themselves. Somehow, it's ok to help one set of incest victims but a serious no-no to help another set, even though the one differentiating factor may be nothing more than a couple of weeks variation in birth date.

Then there are the “conscience protections.” These would empower courts to ensure that doctors, nurses and other health care practitioners may opt of performing abortions if it conflicts with their personal beliefs, with no repercussions. Are you kidding me? This from the same party who forced Terry Sciavo to be kept alive in a vegetative coma, against her own personal beliefs and wishes as determined by the courts, and against the personal beliefs and opinions of the medical staff attending to her, to the extreme point of the President of the United States signing legislation intended to violate the comatose woman's personal beliefs and keep her alive against her proven wishes. So now, a woman who has experienced the trauma of any of the situations outlined above, has been denied any financial assistance of any kind should it have any federal money involved but has somehow managed to scrape together the money to abort the child of her rapist can still be told "No" because some good "Christian" doctor doesn't believe the procedure should be performed at all. We'll overlook the fact that these same hypocritical assholes have no problems with forcing surgical procedures onto other people when the personal or religious beliefs of those people forbid it, that's different. Somehow.

Given everything going on in the world today, even the issues faced by this country, I think there are more important things to worry about. Our economy is in the toilet, jobs are few and far between, oil is again rising in cost, the climate has gone loco, crime and violence have passed the point of being simply ridiculous, our air isn't safe to breathe, our water isn't safe to drink, our food isn't safe to eat, terrorism, Iraq and Afghanistan, nuclear proliferation by rogue states run by looneytune despots and religious fanatics, but somehow this is the one thing on which the Republicans feel they need to focus their undivided attention. To quote House Speaker John Boehner's comments from a press conference held 12 days ago (Jan 20), "ending taxpayer-funded abortions is a top priority on the Republican agenda during the 112th Congress." Yeah, because compared to that none of the other stuff I just mentioned is important at all.

The language of this Bill is horrendous, intentionally vague and full of holes leaving way too much room for interpretation. The whole thing is shit, pure and simple. The term "forcible rape" is not even defined by federal law, no legal definition exists for the term and the Bill itself offers no such definition. Some states don't even have legal definitions for "forcible rape" so it's quite possible that a woman who was brutally beaten and gang raped could be forced to give birth to the child resulting from that rape unless she could afford the abortion herself. Without a legal definition of "forcible rape" there can be no forcible rape exemption, the victim must then pay because any assistance would be denied her if any of its funding came from federal tax dollars. Even if she could afford it the doctor, the nurses, or even the hospital administrator could still just refuse on personal grounds.

The ever growing extent of the hypocrisy demonstrated by the Republican party sickens me, infuriates me and saddens me. They have become the party of lies, the party of divisiveness and the party of hate. The party which believed in less government interference in the personal lives of its citizens no longer exists, no matter how loudly they continue to proclaim that as one of their goals

After America voted them back to power in November I can only imagine what the rest of the world thinks of us, they must think we are out of our ever loving minds.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Winter, Blech!!

We're finally down to about 18" of snow on the ground. I haven't seen grass since the day after Christmas (5 weeks ago) and probably won't see it again until March. Then I made the mistake of looking at the weather alert on my weather widget. Woohooo, a two day long alert!









Man, I love winter!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State Of The Union Address

I don't always agree with what Obama has to say, nor do I think some of his ideas are even possible in our lifetime. That being said, I realized after watching the entire address that I hadn't once found myself scratching my head while asking "wtF?" or thinking "Oh crap, our ‘leader’ is an idiot."

What a refreshing change.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ahhh, The Joy Of Shortcuts.

Yes, I'm getting lazier as I get older. Or maybe I'm just getting tired of repeating the same unnecessary steps over and over and over ad nauseam. Whatever the reason may be, I've become increasingly dependent on a variety of keyboard shortcuts for my Windows OS. A lot of this is probably due to the fact that I now use a laptop instead of a desktop computer and I hate using the touchpad mouse on laptops. I use shortcuts to start my most commonly used applications, to close windows or shut down applications and to perform numerous tasks in whatever browser I happen to be using at the time.

Many people know about the more common keyboard shortcuts used within a browser like Ctrl + C to copy, Ctrl + V to paste, Ctrl + R or F5 all by itself to refresh a web page but most don't know about the shortcuts you can use to open an application. That may have something to do with the fact that you have to create some of them. No worries, it's easy. You'll need to locate a few folders in your computer; your "Windows" folder which in Vista is quite easily found at C:\Windows via My Computer, and the folders containing the executable (icon you click to start the application) for the applications requiring a shortcut. You may find some of the icons right on your start menu.

As an example, I got tired of navigating through the Start menu to open Microsoft Word or Excel, or even a specific Office document which I had need to access quite frequently. So I went through the Start menu, right clicked the icon for Microsoft Word, hovered on "Send to" and selected "Desktop (create shortcut)". I wanted it to have a simple name, easy to remember and easy to type (you'll see why in a minute) so I right clicked the shortcut newly created on my desktop and renamed it "w", for Word. The last step was to drag that shortcut into the Windows folder. Now it's much simpler to open Word, I simply push and hold the Windows key while pushing the "R" key to bring up the Windows Run prompt, type the letter "w" and press the enter key. I repeated the process for Excel with an "x" shortcut. Now I can open my two most commonly used Microsoft Office applications without having to scroll and navigate my way through any menu or folders.

If you've got a specific document or folder you access frequently and would like to create a shortcut for those, the steps are identical. Just navigate to the folder containing the document or folder for which you'd like a shortcut, right click the item and start the process with "Send to..." exactly as previously described. Rename the shortcut then drag it into the Windows folder and you've got another time saving shortcut ready for use. This also has the benefit of not leaving an icon on your desktop meaning your desktop won't be so cluttered, and some of your most used apps will be less obvious to anyone looking at your screen.

One last trick, a shortcut which will automatically open the Chrome browser in Incognito mode. Create the shortcut on your desktop the same as described above, and rename it to whatever you like. I used "cc", having already used "c" to open Chrome normally. Right click the shortcut link and select "Properties". Select the "Shortcut" tab in the Properties window and look for the "Target" information. Click into the text box then use the right arrow key on your keyboard to get to the end of the target location, it should end with chrome.exe or possibly with chrome.exe". Make sure the cursor is at the very end of the target location then use the space bar to add a space, then add --incognito then click the OK button. Go ahead and drag that into the Windows folder too and now you can easily open Chrome in Incognito mode by using WIndows + R, typing the name you gave the shortcut then pressing your Enter key.

In Vista, possibly other Windows systems as well, there are also built in shortcuts related to the taskbar. The taskbar is the small bar at bottom of your screen which contains the Windows "Start" button, buttons corresponding to all open applications, your clock, etc... Part of this, the section at far left containing the Start icon and a few other icons used to open some applications, is called the Quick Launch toolbar. Any icons in this toolbar have a built in shortcut, at least in the Vista operating system. For example, the icon for the Chrome browser is the third icon in the Quick Launch toolbar, so I can press and hold the Windows key while pressing the 3 key then releasing both.

Give both methods a try, see how they work for you.

My Consolation Prize

I had just finished watching the Ravens lose one of the sloppiest, ugliest and most poorly officiated Ravens vs. Steelers games I can recall. It was pretty disappointing, not just the second half self-destruction of the Ravens but the general ugliness of the entire game. It ended up being quite the nailbiter but 5 minutes of good didn't really compensate for the rest.

What, you may ask, could help console a disgruntled Ravens fan after such an ugly loss in a playoff game? Cookies, of course! So I made some. Of course, by the time I got around to taking this picture several of them were already gone, lol. Big surprise there...

No, this isn't a little salad plate with tiny little cookies on it, it's a full sized dinner plate with BIG cookies on it. So if I say "I only had three cookies" you'll know why I won't want to get out of my recliner to do anything even remotely resembling constructive.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'm Free!! Or Damn Near, Anyway.

This morning I found in my mailbox a letter from my attorney accompanied by a copy of the final, time-stamped divorce decree. As of the 6th of January, she who can not be named is now officially my ex, thank God. I never thought I'd be so happy to be a statistic. I think I'm going to order a clean copy of the actual decree so I can frame it then hang it on the wall where it will be a daily source of happiness.

Final tally, just over $10k and counting but that should just about do it. Money well spent as far as I'm concerned even if I now spell the word "broke" with the letters j, e and f. However, as broke as I may be, swcnbn is even more so. Her petty bitch attitude, incessant lies and overall stupidity cost her a ton. $20,000 cash out of pocket paid to me, $16,000 out of her pension plan paid to me, at least $12,000 paid to her attorney and the court. That's $48,000 dollars cash out of pocket she had to pay for a divorce that would have cost her $500 had she not been such a stupid bitch about every single thing. Plus she is excluded from all proceeds resulting from the sale of our house, the house in which I still live. Even if her share would been only a couple thousand dollars she's out 50k, or 100 times more than her total expenditures would have been if she'd have acted like a grown up and used some common sense.

That's two steps down now, one to go. Now to sell the house, and the sooner the better. Once it sells I'll be completely done with the whole mess and free to move on, every trace of swcnbn will be removed from my life and as far as I'm concerned she will have never existed. Woot!!