Cat Pee, another terrible example of Posting the Cat

Now, THERE’S a good title for a post. And actually this doesn’t have that much to do with cat pee. Well, yes it does.

Remember Bob’s vindictive cat, Cheetah? She pees on his stuff whenever he forgets to clean her catbox or fill her food bowl. It’s always been a good reminder for him to be a responsible pet owner.

In the last month Cheetah has looked weird to me AND started peeing on my stuff and she even peed on the new leather love seat twice, the stupid bitch. That took forever to get cleaned up and it still doesn’t look quite right. Smell is gone, though. Whew.

Anyway, Bob was off today and I asked him to take Cheetah to the vet because she looked even weirder than usual yesterday. Good thing he took her in. She has diabetes. Who even knew cats could get diabetes? And now we get to give her insulin shots every day. The vet says it’s easy to regulate, the bulletin boards about it suggest it is *not* that easy. Gawd. $260 to the vet for the tests and diagnosis, and now we have to give her shots and probably do the ear prick thing to test her blood every day, too. Farking cat. I should have backed over her long ago.

Oh, not really. I don’t like her that much but Bob likes her VERY much and has had her twice as long as he’s had me, so I have to respect her ranking in the family hierarchy. I will probably end up being the one who gives her the injections. Just watch. Poor Cheetah. I hope she starts feeling better soon.

Question for all you cat people out there (Lorena, Chatty) – have you ever tried to feed your cats separately? I can’t even imagine how that’s going to work for these three unique indoor cats that we service. We have enough eating issues already.

My fat 9 year old cat was adopted from the pound and had apparently starved for some time – and to this day as soon as she sees the food bowl’s been filled she goes and scarfs as much as she can in as short a time as possible. And at least half the time she barfs it back up just as quickly. In the tub, in the cat bowl, in the sink, whatever. Luckily, it’s almost always in Bob’s bathroom. Easy to hose down and disinfect. And, bonus, it’s not in MY bathroom!  And if it’s out on the rug, the big dogs will take care of it. Oh, gross! Hey, that’s not as gross as Gunnar (retarded German Shepherd) who cleans out the cat box any time he’s given the opportunity. Eww. And frankly, I’d rather have the dogs eat the barf than have me step in it in the middle of the night. How do cats know to barf where you’re going to step in the middle of the night? Do they do that on purpose? And now that I’m old, it’s much harder getting my foot up into the sink in the middle of the night. I can just see the YC headlines after a nightime barfing incident: “Woman Dies In Tragic Foot Washing Accident – Cat Barf Implicated.”

Like You Care

This is rather interesting – different sets of mental tests, not your run-of-the-mill personality type testing. Test your synesthesia quotient!  Test your memory!  I am apparently an idiot-savant.

The results below WERE from a run-of-the-mill personality test.

Your answers suggest you are a Strategist

The four aspects that make up this personality type are:

Spontaneous, Ideas, Heads and Introvert

Summary of Strategists

  • Quiet, easy-going and intellectually curious
  • Use logical, objective thinking to find original solutions to problems
  • Think of themselves as bright, logical and individualistic
  • May be impractical, forgetting practical issues, such as paying bills or doing the shopping

More about Strategists

Strategists are quiet people who like to get to the heart of tough problems on their own and come up with innovative solutions. They analyse situations with a sceptical eye and develop ways of measuring everything, including themselves.

Strategists are the group most likely to say they are unhappy in their job, according to a UK survey.

Strategists are generally easy-going. They are intellectually curious and enjoy abstract ideas. Sometimes they like thinking of a solution to a problem more than taking practical steps to solve it.

In situations where they can’t use their talents, are unappreciated, or not taken seriously, Strategists may become negatively critical or sarcastic. Under extreme stress, Strategists could be prone to inappropriate, tearful or angry outbursts.

Strategists may be insensitive to the emotional needs of others or how their behaviour impacts the people around them.

Strategist Careers

Strategists are often drawn to technical or scientific careers, where specialist knowledge is required. They also seem to enjoy jobs that involve long-term planning, abstract thinking or design.

It’s important to remember that no survey can predict personality type with 100 percent accuracy. Experts say that we should use personality type to better understand ourselves and others, but shouldn’t feel restricted by our results.


Urban Word of the Day

February 26, 2008: WSD

Write Shit Down”. A popular method of organization. Works equally well in one’s personal or professional life.

Dude, you don’t need ritalin. Just use the WSD method – trust me, you won’t forget things anymore and you’ll actually get them done!

And we thought it was because the machines were rigged

  Apostrophes in Names Stir Lot o’ Trouble
Associated Press (02/21/08) Odriscoll, Sean

Despite their sophistication, computers are still often confused when an apostrophe appears in a name, which can cause problems for users when they to vote, schedule appointments, rent a car, book a flight, or take a college exam. In addition to names with apostrophes, names with hyphens and names with surnames such as “van” can also cause problems.

Permission Data’s Michael Rais says the problem is sloppy programming. “It’s standard shortsightedness,” he says. “Most programs set a rule for first name and last name. They don’t think of foreign-sounding names.” Rais says problems normally arise in two ways. First, online forms often have a filter that searches for unfamiliar terms that might be a mistake or a joke and might automatically block a last name with an apostrophe, hyphen, or space.

Second, if the computer system is sophisticated enough to accept unusual last names, the names must be stored in the database, where a hyphen or apostrophe can be mistaken for a piece of computer code, corrupting the system.

During the 2004 Michigan caucus, thousands of voters with names such as O’Connor, Al-Hussein, and Van Kemp did not have their votes counted. The technical problem is difficult to correct because computer systems have numerous ways of recognizing names. “It depends on the form filters and it depends on the database program,” Rais says.

The Fabulous Spudtones

The Fabulous Spudtones

Ha ha ha. This must have been 25 years ago + or -. Mair and I as The Fabulous Spudtones for Halloween. We sang, “Here We Have Idaho”* while we wandered around at the dumbest party on the planet. I made the potato outfits. Pretty funny!

My ex sent over a huge box full of pictures that he hid from me when I moved out lo these 9 years ago. I figure he must be getting ready to be late on the mortgage (again) that he was supposed to take me off of (also lo these many years past) per the divorce settlement. My credit would be as good as it gets were it not for the little problem of the ex and the mortgage. I suppose I ought to take it all back to court but it sounds too hard, unless he really starts getting behind again, and then he’s going to have to sell it. I’d hate having to dump the babydaddy out onto the street. I wish he’d get a freaking job.

The pics are mostly of my son, but there were a few other gems, like the above. One of the little surprises was a set of photos of Son when he was 2, followed by some pictures of my crotch as he was crowning, thrown in for a little shock value. It worked! I don’t believe I’ll share those here.

*You’ve heard of the wonders our land does possess,
Its beautiful valleys and hills.
The majestic forests where nature abounds,
We love every nook and rill


And here we have Idaho,
Winning her way to fame.
Silver and gold in the sunlight blaze,
And romance lies in her name.

Singing, we’re singing of you,
Ah, proudly too. All our lives thru,
We’ll go singing, singing of you,
Singing of Idaho.

There’s truly one state in this great land of ours,
Where ideals can be realized.
The pioneers made it so for you and me,
A legacy we’ll always prize.


And here we have Idaho,
Winning her way to fame.
Silver and gold in the sunlight blaze,
And romance lies in her name.

Singing, we’re singing of you,
Ah, proudly too. All our lives thru,
We’ll go singing, singing of you,
Singing of Idaho.

On the housing meltdown

I love Tourbus, even after all these years.  I think they started in 1995? and I’ve had a subscription ever since.

TOURBUS Volume 13, Number 19 — 21 Feb 2008
Tourbus Home —
Stories from the frontline of the US housing meltdown

In October 2005, KABC television (Los Angeles) consumer reporter Ric Romero reported on a new Internet phenomenon called “blogging.”
Unfortunately for Romero, blogging wasn’t even remotely new in 2005– BoingBoing [at launched its blog in 2000 and John Walkenbach launched his J-Walk blog [at in 2002. Thanks to the kind folks at, Romero quickly became the Internet’s poster child for ‘captain obvious,’ someone who “[r]eports the obvious, usually long after everyone else knows it’s Obvious.” [source:

Case in point: if I were to don my Ric Romero reporting hat and tell you that there has been a recent downturn in the United States’
housing market, you would most likely respond by inviting me to purchase my clues in a higher quality clue store. But if I were to tell you that I think there is more to the housing story than the local Ric Romeros have been reporting, you may be interested enough to keep reading for a few more paragraphs.

A few weeks ago, the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes aired a story on “how the U.S. sub-prime mortgage meltdown, in which risky loans drove a housing boom that went bust, is now roiling capital markets worldwide.” You can watch the video online at

The part of the story that focuses on the Fontinau family [at about the 7:30 mark] is particularly heartbreaking because it vividly depicts the problem at the heart of the sub-prime mortgage market
correction: people purchased, or were induced to purchase, houses they can no longer afford.

But jump ahead to 8:40 and you’ll see what I consider to be an even scarier problem that the mainstream media, even CBS, seems to miss.
The Valdez family purchased a house in Stockton they *could* afford, their mortgage payments increased to a level that the family could
*still* afford, but the house is now worth less than the Valdez family owes. The Valdez family is now considering walking away from the house and leaving the bank holding the debt.

I may be misreading the situation here, but the Valdez family’s situation doesn’t seem to be indicative of a meltdown in the *sub-
prime* market. Rather, it hints at a larger problem in the PRIME housing market: people with good credit and prime loans are considering defaulting on their mortgages not because they can no longer afford the payments but rather because they see no benefit in continuing to pay X for a house that is now worth 1/X. You don’t need to be an economist (or Ric Romero) to see that that is bad on many different levels.

For a perfect example of a town smack dab in the middle of the combined sub-prime and prime housing meltdowns, look no further than my beloved hometown of Irvine, California–a large, semi-aquatic, mostly plant-eating, African mammal. In July 2007, announced that “America’s most reckless real estate investors come from Irvine, Calif.” You can read Daniel Gross’ commentary on Irvine

For even more shocking examples, check out the Irvine Housing Blog at

which proudly chronicles “the seventh circle of real estate hell.” A typical post starts with a 1970’s stadium rock song’s lyrics, a link to a YouTube video of that song, and then the fun stuff: the real estate listing of an Irvine home or condo followed by some snarky comments explaining how *incredibly* out of whack this listing’s price and financial history is. As you read through the irvinehousingblog’s posts, you’ll see homeowners who used their homes as automatic teller machines, withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars each year as the housing bubble expanded. You’ll also discover that Irvine sellers (who are often foreclosing lenders) are now frequently losing $100,000 or more on each house sale.

I introduced my wife to the irvinehousingblog recently, and for about an hour or so was treated to her exclamations of “oh, my!” and “no!”
as she reacted to the carnage chronicled in the blog’s posts. I know that schadenfreude (pleasure from the misfortunes of others) is unbecoming, but I also know that Christine and I are thankful that we don’t own a house in Irvine–we rent an apartment instead. Stockton, CA, may be getting everyone’s attention, but I think the real story is here in Irvine. Irvine’s housing market is horrible, getting horrible-er [I are a college student!] each day, and will ultimately take down several financial institutions (at $100K at pop) before the market bottoms out.

Oh, and for all the kidding I’ve given Ric Romero in today’s post, I should add that he’s ten times the journalist I’ll ever be.

The Best of Everything –

Subscribe, Signoff, Archives, Free Stuff and More at the
Tourbus Home – =====================================================================
Patrick Douglas Crispen

Panic at the OK Corral

So, since that announcement that the flu shot doesn’t cover but 40% of the strains out there, people have been touchy about sickness.  Weird about touching keyboards (me).  Walking far around cubicles with coughing occupants.  Keeping the Purell handy.

It’s a general feeling of unease (dis-ease??) in the air at work, floating there in a palpable layer with all the germs.

The guy in the office next to mine went home mid-afternoon today trying not to vomit on the stairs on the way out.  ACK!  I’m taking my Airborne.  I think it might work – I didn’t catch what Bob had either time he was sick this month.   I’ve just been dragged out and kind of sniffley, never quite succumbing to anything.

But, dammit, I got my Flu Shot.  That should have been enough!

Waiting for the Pandemic

From Knowledge News – see end of article for information

February 18, 2008

The Deadliest Flu Ever

After a slow start, flu season is now in full swing across the United States. What’s worse, flu experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are reporting that this year’s flu vaccine is not a good match for two of the
main strains of flu that are going around.

“Slightly more than half of the viruses that we are looking at in our lab are viruses that are different than the vaccine strain,” said the CDC’s flu chief. “So, they may not be well covered by the vaccine.” In other words, that flu shot you got may not protect you against this year’s bugs.

Of course, most cases of flu aren’t serious. But
complications from the disease still claim around 36,000 lives each year in the United States alone. Worldwide, the number is ten times that. And some strains are far worse than others. Just how bad can flu get? Today, let’s turn the clock back 90 years and see the flu at its all-time worst.

Swift and Fatal

In 1918 and 1919, more than a fifth of the world’s
population caught the flu. And not just any flu–the deadliest flu ever, which caused one of the worst pandemics in history. Before it was over, between 1 and 3 percent of the world’s people had perished. That’s at least 20 million
people worldwide.

Military bases served as incubators for the virus, in America and Europe especially. In fact, a huge number of casualties in World War I came from the flu, rather than from enemy fire. Within months, following troop movements and trade routes, the virus had traveled around the world.

The illness was so fast and so deadly that doctors couldn’t believe it was influenza. It wasn’t like any flu they had ever seen before. A patient who started to feel under the weather on Monday was often dead by Wednesday. Many patients turned a blue-gray hue, as fluid built up in their
lungs. “It is only a matter of a few hours then until death comes, and it is simply a struggle for air until they suffocate,” reported a doctor at a military base near Boston. “It is horrible.”

Even worse, this virus devastated people for whom flu is normally just an inconvenience. Healthy men and women in their twenties, thirties, and forties were dropping dead on the street on their way to work or the market. How could this be the flu? Some even speculated it was a plot by the Germans, or a side effect of the mustard gas used during
World War I.

Dramatic Mutation

But it was the flu–a horrible new strain, but just the flu. Every few decades, the flu virus, which mutates at least a little bit every year, undergoes a dramatic change. This new virus is especially dangerous because no one has built up an immunity to it. The virus of 1918-19, from the
time it likely got started in Asia, was of this sort: different enough from previous strains that few people were immune.

Because flu spreads through the air, it was also
frighteningly easy to get infected. All you had to do was breathe the air that a sick person had just coughed or sneezed into. The most dangerous place you could be was in a crowd.

Unfortunately, it was hard to avoid crowds in 1918. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were being packed into barracks and onto troop ships. And huge military parades and war-bond rallies helped the virus make the leap from soldiers to the civilian population.

Flu Crosses the Nation

By autumn of 1918, life in big cities had become
nightmarish. In one month–October 1918–nearly 200,000 Americans died from flu. Medical care was hard to come by, because so many doctors and nurses had been dispatched to Europe to care for the troops (and because many of those who stayed got sick, too). Churches, theaters, and taverns
closed. In some cities, even funerals were limited to 15 minutes.

When one person in a family got sick, the flu usually spread to everyone else in the house. Volunteer nurses, arriving with broth and clean sheets, were seen as saviors by people too ill or too poor to get to a doctor. “In some cases,” a New York City nurse wrote, “the nurses were even
locked in the house by the patient’s friends, or kidnapped on their rounds, so panic-stricken had people become.”

The East Coast was ravaged in September 1918, and it took only a few weeks for the epidemic to spread to the West. In San Francisco and Seattle, wearing gauze masks was required by law. In Prescott, Arizona, the town council made it
illegal to shake hands. Other towns quarantined themselves, forbidding trains from stopping, only to fall ill when they welcomed the postman. On the playground, children had a new jump-rope rhyme:

I had a little bird, and its name was Enza
I opened the window, and in-flew-Enza.

It’s a Small World

By the time it had run its course, the 1918-19 flu had killed more than half a million Americans. Beyond the United States, the death toll was even more appalling. What Americans called the “Spanish flu” (incorrectly thinking that was where it started) cropped up all over the world.

Germany, France, and the United Kingdom each lost at least 200,000 civilians between June 1918 and May 1919. More than half a million Italians died. In poorer and more densely populated areas, the death toll was catastrophic. In parts of Mexico, more than 10 percent of the population perished.
On South Pacific islands, more than 20 percent did. In India, at least 12 million people died from flu.

The death toll for the whole world is difficult to know, but the most conservative estimate is that 20 million people died. Many researchers double that number, and some go so far as to say that the death toll could have reached 50 million.

The 1918-19 pandemic was extreme, but not unprecedented. The World Health Organization has records showing that there have been 31 documented influenza pandemics since 1580, most recently in 1968-69. And medical experts say we’re overdue for another devastating flu.

–Colleen Kelly
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Quote O’ The Day

Two of ’em.  I think I’ve posted the first one before but I like it enough to do it twice.

Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.
– Howard Aiken


The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations.
– David Friedman