Saturday, July 30, 2005

Summer Listening Livejournal Thingy

Vestal Vesta puts the pressure on me and four others to reveal our musical hot buttons for the summer:

“List ten songs that you are currently digging ... it doesn't matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they're no good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying right now. Post these instructions, the artists, and the ten songs in your blog. Then tag five other people to see what they're listening to.”

Vestal has quite a mix going on there whereas my summer tunes are less varied:

1. Bafflin’ Smoke Signal: Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – Bombin' reggae beat that will make you move your feet, wave your hands, and gyrate your body into weird moves, all while referring to the Vatican and the hypocrisy of it all.

2. Egmont Overture: Ludwing von Beethoven – One of Ludwig’s most powerful pieces. Very inspiring, motivating and just plain kick ass classical music. From a compilation disc.

3. Ketchy Shuby: Peter Tosh – Get next to your lover, burn one, laugh a little, love a little.

4. Ring of Fire: The Late Great Man in Black Johnny Cash - Another one of Cash’s timeless tunes, very gritty and down to earth. Speaks to the common man and every day struggles of life and love.

5. Vietnam: Jimmy Cliff – This song always makes me angry and sad at the same time. Listen to it much more since we invaded Iraq.

6. 3 O’clock Road Block: Robert Nesta Marley – Powerful song for the ages. The entire Rebel Music CD should be required listening material for any and everyone under the age of 85.

7. Playin’ With My Friends: B.B. King’s Blues Summit, duet with Robert Cray - That whole CD rocks and it’s one I’ll let spin more than once. Blues served with catfish! (that whole album is packed with B.B. playing duets with other blues greats)

8. Buck Jump: Dirty Dozen Brass Band – New Orleans favorite! This is a hoppin’ tune. Have seen the DDBB at a couple of Jazz Fest’s and here in ‘ol Virginny as well. Listening to this tune right now as I put this list together!

9. Violin Concerto (Rondo): Ludwig again – Played violin as a child, from 8 years of age to age 15. Still have my fiddle and it's on the list of things to do once the current studies are finished. The violin is one of the most beautiful instruments to learn, play, and listen to and I think this concerto does the instrument justice.

10. Them Belly Full: Marley again – What can I say? I think Marley’s tunes are timeless and speak to the soul. The man’s voice was a musical instrument in and of itself.

Ok, that’s my rap sheet…who can I pick on?

How about Mark of recidivist journals, Dr. C., oldwhitelady, Paul the spud at Adventures of the Smart Patrol, and saving the best for last: Pepper from the Daily Pepper!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Runnin' 'round the Blogosphere...

No real posting today.

Have spent my time just cruising and perusing the internets.

It's Friday, it rained last night (finally), and the temps not only went under 100, but under 90 as well!

Frist flips on stem cell research, London bombers getting caught and cornered, and in a odd and humorous twist; Donald Trump is offering to rebuild the U.N. building in New York for free.

Trump said. "I don't want any fees. I'd like to do it for humanity."

Who's the bigger media whore? Trump or Senator John McCain?

Anyhow, today just feels good for some reason, how about you?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Adding a Little More Spice to The Farm

My travels through the blogosphere via recidivist journals lent to the discovery of It’s morning somewhere.

With contributors such as ‘trailertrash’, ‘oldwhitelady’, and ‘CottoSaddieMango’ I would be a complete fool not to add them to my little blogroll linky list.

Welcome to The Pepper Farm yall!

Jalapeño Rojo Bloggin'

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

'Turd Blossom' Reality Not Acceptable

Just a piece of the article, which can be found here;

"Given that I'm writing for a general audience, I try not to use crude or vulgar language gratuitously," replied Trudeau, after E&P e-mailed him several questions this afternoon. "But in this case, I felt that [President] Bush's nickname for Rove was illuminating. 'Turd blossom' has so many connotations,
none of them flattering. It's a small masterpiece of nastiness."
Comic strip can be seen here.

Check out the article. I agree with Trudeau’s view that if a paper wants to drop the comic strip for what they consider inappropriate material, fine.

But altering the strip and representing it as what Trudeau sent is unacceptable.

(Thanks to Mark N. for the tip.)

In other news regarding the recent London events, visit recidivist journals for up to the minute info and complete commentary from someone that lives in the middle of it all. Recidivist links up to other informative sources as well, and you're gonna get more than just commentary about London, so be ready.

Other unimportant news; The Pepper Farm keeps bouncing between Flappy Bird and Adorable Rodent in the TTLB Ecosystem. Growing up as a little swamp boy naturalist and pursuing a minor in biology, I find it rather amusing.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Karl Rove Captured!

Man, went to the beach and STILL could not get away from politics…crap!

Tossed out a couple chunks of bloody mullet, and we caught Karl Rove. We noticed a large amount of blood dripping from his mouth once we untangled and removed the double rig. We threw him back in the ocean wondering if the other sharks would smell the blood and attack, tearing and ripping Rove to shreds. But alas, we cannot see into the ocean and will have to wait until the investigation is complete.

Personally, I think the blood was not enough to warrant other sharks of similiar species to attack. Plus, this particular shark appears to be a fast swimmer and possibly smart enough to hide amongst other larger 'protective' sharks that have no interest in devouring him and may actually enjoy the bloody odor he puts off in that it will attract other sharks for them to play with, or eat.

Other than that, hot and sunny. Taught my nephews and niece how to build drip castles which entertained them until we pulled Rove out of the water.

A little later on the tide began to recede and the waves became rather large. Myself and two of the boys played in the surf dodging waves and trying to stay on our feet. That was pretty fun being a kid with them. The five year old got tossed off his feet and went under the boiling surf for a few seconds. Terrified he ran to shore, a whole 10 feet, and looked around spitting and wiping his eyes. Once he realized that all was safe, he laughed hysterically and charged right back in.

The adults imbibed various toxins and played Hearts after the children went to bed. We keep the score ongoing, as in a lifetime game. It’s kind of a ritual for my sister, her husband and me. We play just about every weekend and every weekend my dominance continues as if it were Le Tour and I was Armstrong. The gap just keeps getting larger and larger, and then I feel bad and try to shoot the moon knowing I can’t just so I’ll get some points and they won’t be so far behind. (reading this dear sister?) She says I trash talk too much, but can’t imagine where she gets that. (still reading sis?)

The sound and smell of the ocean is one of the most therapeutic things in the world for me, and probably a lot of other people as well. It was a great time hangin' with sis and her brood of scorpions.

It was way too short of a time for sure, always is.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Need a Break

Need to lay on the beach and listen to the ocean.

Going here.

Back soon.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

In Memorium

Amy Gillett

SYDNEY, July 20 (Reuters) - Australia's next generation of women road racers has suffered a terrible blow after six members of the team were stuck by a car while training in Germany, the country's media said on Wednesday.
Amy Gillett was killed while team mates Louise Yaxley and Alexis Rhodes were seriously injured when an 18-year-old learner driver veered across the road and struck the riders on Monday.
Their team mates Katie Brown, Lorian Graham and Kate Nichols were also in hospital with fractures and abrasions but considered stable.

"They were Australia's next generation of road racers, preparing to enhance the country's growing reputation in cycling at the world championships in Madrid in September and at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne," said The Australian newspaper.
"But now one is dead, five are in hospital, the Australian Institute of Sport cycling program is suspended indefinitely and Cycling Australia is counting the cost of potentially the biggest tragedy to have hit the sport in this country". Cycling Australia president Mike Victor said it would take a some time for the sport to recover.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Doctor is In

Dr. C took a bit of a hiatus from bloggin', and now is back in the mix.

Please visit and add your two cents, opinion, or vitriolic rant to the topics at hand.

I did and it's my post for the day.

Happy Monday yall.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Hincapie Wins!

Today was a great race, with multiple battles playing out.

That’s great for George Hincapie, that guy is as steady as they come. George Hincapie is the only rider to have been with Lance Armstrong for each of the his six Tour victories, and what may very well prove to be the seventh. Hincapie is always tough in the Paris-Roubaix, another favorite road race of us mountain bikers.

Congratulations to Hincapie! A well deserved win!

At this stage of the Le Tour, Basso looks to be the only real challenge to Armstrong. Ullrich and Rasmussen keep losing time, and will need some standout performances and stellar luck to threaten at this point.

People tend to forget Ullrich won Le Tour once and finished second to Armstrong three times, he is every bit as tough as Armstrong but maybe not as smart in some areas. If Ullrich had better teams and stronger personal discipline perhaps the last seven Tours could have been a battle of back and forths between the two. Ullrich takes a lot of heat but I admire his perseverance, he’s got grit.

Next year’s Tour will feature a battle between Basso and Ullrich, plus a host of newcomer’s that are hungry for a win and a ‘Armstrongless’ Tour.

I have to admit, I’m already looking forward to next years Tour and there’s still so much racing left in this one!

However, let there be no doubt about it, Lance Armstrong has put his stamp on Le Tour once again. He is still the man to beat and it’s going to take some doing. His team is not as strong as they have been in years past but Armstrong seems to be making up for that by himself. He’s dominating Le Tour.

Now, I’m off for a ride!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Konniving Karl

The Architect.

You have to give the guy credit for adapting to his environment.
I’m betting he’ll come out of this unscathed, whether he is guilty of something or not.

Last night I was thinking about how proud Clinton would be of the way the Republican party is splitting the hairs on this Plame case, and how the definition of ‘fixed’ is being tortured concerning the Downing Street Memo(s).

This administration has sold the American public a war based on completely false intelligence. We are at war with a country that a) had nothing to do with 9-11 and b) had nothing to do with Osama and his crew. The majority of sane and rational thinking people can plainly see this, yet Bush is still the President of the United States. Astounding that is.

The only connection between Osama and Hussein is their hatred for America. IF there were more credible ties, as Bush has implied, (“The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and Al Qaeda, is because there was a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda” – George Bush), wouldn’t the administration show the American people those solid connections? Bush defends his war constantly, using the ‘spread democracy’ and ‘liberation of Iraqi people’ rationale, and no longer mentions Osama. I would think that if there were solid, irrefutable connections, that would be the first thing that would be shown to the American public. I know if I was going to invade a country that I deemed an imminent threat to the United States, I would have my presentation wound pretty tight, after all, the evidence would be obvious would it not? Go here for a bunch of statements on the pro/con of the Osama-Saddam connections. Note when the article was published.

If hatred for America is enough evidence for an invasion, then we have quite a few countries to attack.

If Osama had these direct connections with Saddam, and Osama has been credited with 9-11, (you know that worst terrorist attack ever on American soil?) wouldn’t it stand to reason that Osama bin Laden would be our number one priority? Why Saddam instead?

Osama: religious extremist, lives in caves, non-materialistic, projects god-like image.

Saddam: dictator, lived in opulence in plain view, projects militaristic power image.

All the satellites in the world could not produce any evidence of what Osama was up to regarding 9-11.

Those same satellites were trained on Iraq daily. Colin Powell paraded a bunch of ‘evidence’ before the U.N. when the U.S. was pretending to seek a U.N. resolution to invade Iraq. Evidence that later, Colin Powell said was wrong. Colin Powell resigned.

This is an old story by now and it’s clear to anyone and everyone that can look at these events and timelines. No point in beating this particular issue to death. We are in Iraq, people are dying, we screwed up and will have to do our best to fix it and hope that in the long term all of the little jihadists that being created and recruited due to the Iraqi conflict will not turn into a bunch of Osama’s. If it is not wholly obvious to everyone by now, military means will not solve the war on terror. In fact, it only seems to increase terrorism and terrorist attacks. (oddly enough, see Iraq, and incidentally, I joked with a co-worker right after the London bombings that Bush's approval rating would rise, anybody's guess why that happens)

If Bush, Rove, Rumsfeld and Cheney can pull off going to war in Iraq, then Rove is bullet proof on the Plame case. Already today the blame has shifted onto Novak. It’s all Novak’s fault…ie the liberal media strikes again trying to discredit an honorable man like Rove.

Bush said he would remove anyone in his administration that was the source of the leak. He has also stated he has full confidence in Rove.

Rove’s not going anywhere, even if he is found guilty of something. Republicans practically own the government and Rove helped put them there.

Get real people, Rove will not be removed. I hope I’m wrong as I can be, but we have smelled ducks, heard ducks, tasted ducks from the beginning of Bush’s adventure as president and we are still smelling ducks, hearing ducks, tasting ducks and most likely will continue to dine on this fowl until 2008.

I’m not sure things will change so much in 2008 either. I thought the blatant ineptitude of Bush during his first 4 years would be enough for Bush to NOT be reelected but man was I wrong about that. Even though the election was near a dead heat, a pretty lousy showing for an incumbent, he was reelected by a ‘mandate’. I found that parroting of ‘mandate’ pretty comical.

‘Mandate - A command or an authorization given by a political electorate to its representative.’

I assume that when Bush said ‘mandate’ he did not mean the majority of the American public, he meant a Republican\conservative\religious mandate, his political electorate.

The majority of the American public did not vote for Bush, unless you are one that counts the non-voters as a vote for Bush. Two elections, both shady at best. Bush is still the prez.

Not sure what it will take for the non-voters to get involved. Not sure what ‘side’ they will pick if they do. And let’s be real about that too, our political landscape is about winning, not producing viable results for the good of America and it’s people.

The tactics The Architect has employed work and work beautifully. Politicians are regarded as crooks and liars across the spectrum, regardless of party. Why then should we be surprised that the sleazy underhanded tactics of Rove and company work so well?

The bombings in London underscore some heavy things for Americans to think about. As more details emerge regarding these suicide bombers, it is increasingly apparent that our involvement in Iraq is creating a perfect recruitment center for jihadists against America and a real-time training ground for such recruitments. These otherwise law-abiding peaceful Muslims see their brothers suffering so at the hands of Americans in Iraq and at the hands of Israel in Palestine. These young idealistic Muslims are easy prey for their older idealistic Muslim extremists. These people all have conviction in their faith and to them this is a holy war, a spiritual crusade.

Rove’s comment about therapy and understanding in a way is very accurate. True liberals do not solve conflicts with war, conservatives do. As a jihadist, as a terrorist, who would you rather fight: someone that will give you the fight you’re looking for or someone that will not?

Bush gives them the fight they want. “Bring it on!” “We fight them in Iraq so we won’t have to fight them here.” I’m sure the jihadists are thinking ‘we better get our butts over to Iraq, to make that last stand’. The bombings in London should send a wake up call to that part of the American public that still believe in Bush that Bush’s war in Iraq is not – will not decrease the reasons middle east jihadists and terrorists commit their acts of violence. They love violence, they love death, death is entry into heaven. What better way to martyr one’s self than to take some infidels and babylonians with you?

I find this conviction in faith by Muslims striking when compared to the faith of Christians in the United States. Muslims are willing to die for their convictions, Christians, at least in this country, are not. This is interesting as Christianity preaches heavily on the afterlife, the end times, Revelations and all that. Then, the lion shall lay with the lamb and everybody’s happy. Is that really that different than the 72 virgin thing? Utopia in the afterlife where all desires are met?

“Everybody want to go, up to heaven, but none of them, none of them want to die” (apply thick reggae accent, title and artist please)

Back to my original point before it gets lost in my ramblings, Rove will come out of this free and clear. There’s nothing else this administration could do that’s any worse than it has done already. Nothing. Rove is the architect and Bush and the Republicans will stand by him all the way.

In other news: recidivist beat me to the punch on Le Tour news for today and the weekend so I’ll just add that he’s spot on and I’ll be watching the race. I really hope Rassmussen shakes things up a bit and we have a race, a real race to the end of Le Tour. I would like to see Armstrong win, but I want to see him earn it every step of the way.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Le Tour de France

Looks like there will be some excitement for Le Tour after all.

Manuel Beltran of the Discovery Channel Team has abandonded the tour today due to injuries sustained in a crash. T-Mobile and Rabobank still have all 9 of their team members. Jan Ullrich rides for T-Mobile but I don't give him much of a chance at this point, he is 4 minutes back and barring any unforseen luck, his chance at winning Le Tour is slim.

Rassmussen rides for Rabobank and is only 38 seconds back of the leader, but his team is relatively weak compared to Armstrong's team. I like Rassmussen because he is a mountain biker, which has a bit to do with his climbing ability.

Recidivist links to a Tour quiz by Fat Cyclist. It's a funny quiz and Fat's post that leads up to the quiz is just as humorous. My results are in recidivist's comment section.

Speaking of recidivist, his post about Armstrong is a good read. I had my own personal experience with Armstrong during the '96 games in Atlanta. (There was a terrorist attack during those games, if any of you recall.) My then-wife and I watched the road race from La Fonda Latina in Buckhead. La Fonda's had the best paella I have ever eaten on American soil. The best ever paella I've had was at Taste of Spain on Yonge Street in Toronto. That city has an incredible array of international restaurants to choose from and believe me I've visited my fair share.

Back to Armstrong; we were watching the race which was a 12 mile or so course that the riders had to complete a number of laps. (I forget the exact mileage and laps and am too lazy to research it.) Armstrong attacked with 3 laps to go, way too early. He was expecting other riders to help him pull away from the peloton, but this was the Olympics. Nobody helped Armstrong, he got swallowed and finished off the podium.

As he cruised across the finish line he was visibly pissed and cussing. The Olympic volunteers formed a human circle around the riders as the crossed the line, separating them from the spectators. Armstrong did not want to be in the circle and as he headed out of it, an older lady volunteer motioned for him to stay inside of the circle.

"Get out of my fucking way bitch" is what he said to that woman. Now, I have been in many bike races and the intensity level is high, emotions are high, nerves are strung out, etc., but that is no reason for that kind of behaviour. I found it appalling and I was embarrassed to be an American.

That event soured me on Armstrong until he was diagnosed with cancer. That huge slice of humble pie did indeed change his nature, gave him something to fight for; his life.

There are things about Armstrong I do not like, but I do admire his cycling ability and his drive and determination to overcome cancer. I just can't be down on the guy like many out there can.

I think it will be great if he succeed's in winning his 7th Tour, and if he does not win, then congrats to the person that does win because they will have earned the hell out of it.

Many would like to say Armstrong is 'cruising' to victory but this ain't no cruise and there are a ton of things that can go wrong. Think about it, racing between 80 and 120 miles twenty-one of the thirty-one days in July.
The crashes, the weather, the politics, the emotion, the fans, you name it and it's there and anything can happen.

If Armstrong get's knocked of his high horse it will be because there is another rider out there with a tad more desire, talent and luck that wants that title, and that's the way it should be.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Silver Lining Where are You?

Feeling pretty low lately.

The world view is not looking all that positive, and I keep telling myself we will persist and triumph, but some days I just don't know.

That's where the giant cup of Expresso roast comes into play, I feel better already. Mabye not so much better as fired up to do something, but what exactly?

Registered for school yesterday, pretty soon it's work all day, school all night. Was able to schedule 9 credits inside of 3 nights, the schedule I have been dreaming of. I almost bit off another class but that would leave me virtually no time to do anything, much less homework.

As it stands now, Tues - Wed - Thurs nights from 6 pm to 10 pm, English Lit., statistics, and U.S. History. Sometimes I think I will be in school forever but that's really not a bad thing as far as I am concerned. Can't wait for the day when I reach that tenured liberal professor status, indoctrinating young conservative students in to leftist drones, teaching them how to hate America and capitalism...or just teaching young minds how to think critically, to always question, to think. To some on the right, that is the same thing.

My little urban garden is providing quite the harvest even though we are in drought conditions here. We had a nice deluge from the remnants of Cindy, and we may get some thunder-boomers from Dennis, but overall it's looking pretty dry here. Despite that, and the fact that I'm not watering my garden, I am able to harvest 2 to 4 zukes a day, along with a colander of snaps and a handful of tomatoes. No peppers as of yet, and one Thai plant bit the dust; big gust of wind snapped it at the ground. I took all the peppers off of that plant (about 15 or so) and mixed them in with the green beans. Now there's a pleasant surprise...

For an interesting twist on T.V. reality shows, head on over to World O' Crap for Wingnut Survivor, it may provide a spot of humor during these unfunny times.

Speaking of which, please check in with recidivist journals for ongoing commentary from London. Recid's attitude and the attitude of Londoners in general are great examples of human resiliency in the face of an enemy of mankind.

Shakespeare's Sister will be keeping us up to date on Rove's big mouth and The Downing Street Memo's.

Me: treading water and trying to keep a smile! I'm back on the bikes after a terrible accident and two year hiatus/recovery period. Watching Armstrong go for the seventh victory is motivating no matter what your hobbies are.

Spent some time as a messenger, have a few stories there to tell...

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London is Attacked

I had a wonderful, down-home post ready to go this morning until the events in London unfolded.

Please go here for a view of this violence and how it impacts the daily life of a person that lives and commutes in the middle of it.

Too bad I don't have a way to get ALL Americans to read Mark's post about this event, as I think there are many lessons to be learned from this man's point of view.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Adding Some Pepper

Today I have added Daily Pepper to the blogroll linky list.

Liberal and witty view on politics, movies, assorted other interests, and the Daily Pepper has balls, big brass balls.

So, as gardener of The Pepper Farm, I am more than happy to add another pepper to the mix, especially one that has a multitude of flavors.

Remember, using peppers requires patience, experience and skill. It has to be more than just hot, it has to be complex and layered, quietly revealing yet in your face in a most pleasant way.

So get your ass on over to the Daily Pepper and get your flavor on!