Saturday, July 31, 2010

Great Seats for a Nationals Game

Got great seats for the July 28 game of the Nationals against the Braves. These were from a friend in the office. In Section 130. As I said in the e-mail thanking him for the tickets, the seats were great. The results of the game not so much. They lost 3-1. The problem the Nationals had was they got men on base but usually with two outs and so couldn't score any runs. Also Adam Dunn had a hit that if it had gone maybe another 20 feet or so would have tied the game. But alas it was not to be.

More from the Great Seats for a Nationals Game

Like I said the seats were fantastic. Just about even with first base. Here are a few pictures from that great view. Ever notice how much Screech and Slapshot look a like.

Running Presidents

I love the running presidents one of the highlights of any game. Too bad Teddy never wins.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2Political Episode 34

2PP034 - 28 July 2010

2Political Podcast Episode 34 is now available. You can listen to it on the widget on the right side of my blog, or you can go the podcast site, You can leave comments there as well as download or listen to any episode.

Special Days are up first—we missed Rat Catcher’s Day on July 22! Jason talks a bit about the massive storm that hit Washington (part of someone’s roof is in the photo on our site).

We then talk about yet another Republican politician advocating secession. From there it’s a talk about the current right wing meme about who is a “patriot” and a “real American”. Where’s the pushback to their rhetoric? Part of the problem is how far right the Republican Party has moved.

Arthur brings up the controversy over the political spending by the retailer Target. That leads to a wider discussion about the efficacy of boycotts, citizen action, and the need for a longer term, historical view of politics.

Please leave a comment (anyone's welcome—agree or disagree!), or you can ring the 2Political Comment line on 206-350-3982.

Link for this episode:
July 28 - Chincoteague Pony Penning (and also here)

Enough right-wing propaganda -Washington Post

Target Corp. Defends Minn. Political Donation - via ABC News

Jason’s Blog

Arthur’s blog, podcasts and videos can be accessed here.

Get 2Poltical Podcast for free on iTunes

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Another Republican for Secession?

Well then again maybe not. But the proof is in what was said. I'm going to start with what Republican Rep. Zach Wamp of Tennessee said most recently.

This is what the Congressman said a couple of days ago

"Of course we will not secede from the union," Wamp told reporters at a campaign stop in Franklin, Tennessee over the weekend, according to the Associated Press. "But we will also not have a governor who will cave in to Barack Obama."

That sounds all well and nice but here's what Wamp said Friday with Hotline on Call:

"I hope that the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government," Wamp told the Hotline.

Funny how there's absolutely nothing in there talking about opposing the policies of Barack Obama. There's only the notion that if people don't vote and vote for Republicans states will have to consider separation from the government.

In something I read when Wamp was asked about the comments, he said he couldn't understand how someone could think he was talking about secession. Really? What other conclusion can be drawn from that. Separation from the government. I only know of one way to do that.

Wamp continued in the Hotline interview to say:

"Patriots like Rick Perry have talked about these issues because the federal government is putting us in an untenable position at the state level," Wamp told Hotline.

Once again we have a conservative Republican appealing to the far right fringe of that party. It's interesting to see how quickly this guy changes his tune when he was called on what he said.

Oh and Congressman Wamp there is a word that comes to mind when a politician makes a statement like this and patriot is not it.

Arthur and I will be discussing this more in an upcoming 2politcal podcast which will be posted shortly.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Front Comes Through

The front came through in a very big way this afternoon. I stuck my head out the front door just as it was starting to come through. And I saw this land not more than 25 feet from me. I rather quickly stuck my head along with the rest of my body back inside.

That wasn't the only damage done as you can see by these pictures.

I was a little panicked that the roof was mine. I don't think that is the case. I don't have access to my roof (that another story). But my dish and the air conditioner unit are on top of the roof. I think if that much of the roof came off they would have come with it or have been damaged in some way. Both are working fine. The damage also seem to be from the back of the houses.

I also looked into my attic and could not see any sort of damage up there. Either in the form of light coming through the roof or any sort of water damage or leak. There also wasn't any leaking into any of the upstairs rooms.

I went out back once the rain had stopped. From what I could see from street level my roof looked fine. We (a couple of my neighbors) then walked back down an alley. From this vantage point you could see more of all the roofs of the houses on our block. The roof on my house looked fine. All the houses with damaged roofs had part of the roofs pealed back. And it does seem that that is the direction the big gust of wind came from. It damaged a couple of siding panels on another house. They were on the back of the house too.

I called my insurance company (the 800 number) to see what to do. They said I should get someone out to inspect the roof and if there was any damage to file a claim then. The agent said that I might be able to see who my neighbors were using. I also plan to call my local agent tomorrow and see if they recommend anyone in particular.

Hopefully that's all the excitement from the front today.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Music

My trainer, Shawn, and I were talking what we did over the weekend a few Wednesdays back (our usual training day). He said he heard a local artist called Peter Fox sing. He said he was very good. I went home and looked on iTunes for him but didn't find anything. The only Peter Fox I found was someone from Germany.

Then one of the local weeklies did a story on Peter. I checked iTunes again and there was the album. So I downloaded it. The guy has an amazing voice. Here's a link to his home page.

And here's the cover his album.

In other music news, George Stanford has new music out. He's the guy I saw at Jammin' Java a few years back. He opened for Jon McLaughlin. This is a great second effort from George. Some great songs. You can read more about him here.

Here's his new album cover.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hot, Hot, HOT

Oh my it is soooooo hot.

Not just HOT.

But HOT!

Washington is having one of its worst heat waves in a very long time. To which tomorrow it will be over 100 degrees and the heat index could be at 115. I'm thinking of going spinning and then coming home and staying home. I think I'm going to go up in my bedroom and turn on the window unit air conditioner and leave the central air off. I just don't see how it will be able to cool the house at all. I'll turn it on around 8pm when the sun starts to go down.

There's a great deal to cover the NAACP's resolution and Sherrod and then Rep. Zack Wamp who comments on secession.

But its just too HOT!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tuesday Treat

The heat wave in DC continues. It is supposed to be up in the 90s again today. A great way to get through all that heat is have a nice air conditioned place to go to and have a smile on your face. So here's the smile.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sam Update

I heard back from the vet on Thursday about Sam’s urine culture. She said everything was negative. So there would be no antibiotic for that. She was still concerned about the thyroid because the test results are still in the high normal range. But a high thyroid can help kidney function. Treating it could cause the kidney levels to go way up. So for now at least no medicine for that either.

Sam is still on his hydration therapy and the supplements in his food. He continues to be his same old self. There are no signs of what I would call being a sick cat. That usually entails hiding out, not wanting to be touched or held (that is more than normal) and not eating or drinking. Sam has none of those symptoms.

The upshot being that I take him back to the vet the first full weekend of August.

Getting Back on Track at the Gym

With the things going on with Sam and holidays and what not, it’s been hard to maintain my schedule at the gym. I’m not missing any training sessions but spinning has suffered. I went to my first Monday spinning class in more than a month. But I’m hoping to get back into the groove. I went to the class on Saturday. I also made it to the gym on Sunday for a workout.

The goal for each week is this: Sunday-work out; Monday morning-spinning; Wednesday morning-spinning; Wednesday evening- training session; Friday morning-training session; Saturday-spinning. Tuesdays and Thursdays I want to go for morning walks while working in hydrating Sam. It’s been very hot lately but I still want to try and get in the walks.

That leaves the one ares I’m still having problems with my weight. I was up above 180 for a couple of weeks. I’m going to put that up to all stress over the situation with Sam and life in general. But I’m making some improvements. I’m going to try and ride the stationary bike for 15 to 20 minutes after dinner. It won’t be right after dinner probably half an hour or so. I also hope to maybe go for a short walk a couple times a week. I also plan to be a little more active around the house. Doing some cleaning things along that line. I know the house will greatly appreciate it.

The training sessions are going great. I got to pick what type or routine I wanted to do with Shawn on Wednesday. I could pick one of our regular workout or I could pick three body parts and we’d concentrate on just those. I choose the three body parts: legs, chest and arms. It was a killer workout. It was really taxing. But I did a couple of exercises much better than I did them a couple of months ago. I was very pleased. The work out with Ed on Friday went just as well. There is no doubt that I’m getting stronger and more coordinated. I have to improve my non-training days and get my diet to where it needs to be. I’m hoping in the next month or so accomplish that.

Friday, July 16, 2010

We Had an Earthquake

And not a political one.

An actual real earthquake.

It was about 5:04 this morning. Around 3.6 or 3.7:

The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 3.6 magnitude earthquake centered in Montgomery County at 5:04 a.m. Friday morning.

I was actually awake at the time. There are railroad tracks not too far away from my house and I thought it was a train going through. But the sound and shaking lasted a little longer then usual. Usually the as the train passes the sound decrease but that wasn't the case. I thought it was strange but really didn't think that much about it until I came down and watched the news.

An interesting way to start a Friday morning.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

2Political Episode 33

2PP032 - 14 July 2010

2Political Podcast Episode 33 is now available. You can listen to it on the widget on the right side of my blog, or you can go the podcast site, You can leave comments there as well as download or listen to any episode.

We tried a different sound set-up today, but we still we had a few issues. After Special Days, we talk about the upcoming elections. The Republicans could take control of the US House, and that would be a disaster. Arthur is sick of the mainstream media allowing the rightwing to get away with their nonsense, and that leads to a wider discussion.

From there, we talk about another lunatic, a Republican panderer from the South. Hypocrisy comes to mind, along with stupidity. These leads us to speculate on what’s wrong with the mainstream newsmedia in the US. We talk about the “fear factors” that the Republicans keep pushing. Arthur says Republicans are actively working to make things worse for ordinary Americans, working only for the rich and corporate elites. He then moves it back to his pet peeve. Jason points out a reason for hope.

Please leave a comment (anyone's welcome—agree or disagree!), or you can ring the 2Political Comment line on 206-350-3982.
Link for this episode:
July 15 - St. Swithin's Day (and also here)

July 16 - First Atomic explosion, Alamogordo NM, 1945

Confidence in Obama reaches new low, Washington Post-ABC News poll finds

Sharron Angle: Utah Sen. Bob Bennett ‘outlived usefulness’

Republican senator says he backs birther lawsuits

Gingrich says he's considering presidential run

Billboard linking Obama, Hitler draws complaints

Jason’s Blog
Arthur’s blog, podcasts and videos can be accessed here.

Get 2Poltical Podcast for free on iTunes

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fun Things around Town

Have been to a couple of wonderful events around town. Last Tuesday saw this Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Telling Stories is the first major exhibition to explore in-depth the connections between Norman Rockwell’s iconic images of American life and the movies. Two of America’s best-known modern filmmakers—George Lucas and Steven Spielberg—recognized a kindred spirit in Rockwell and formed significant collections of his work. Rockwell’s paintings and the films of Lucas and Spielberg evoke love of country, small town values, children growing up, unlikely heroes, acts of imagination and life’s ironies.

The other was at the Kennedy Center. The Reduced Shakespeare Company's Completely Hollywood (abridged). Absolutely hysterical.

From the review in the Washington Post:
Even a jaded critic who winces a little at the irony -- the commercially shrewd RSC (CDs and DVDs on sale outside the theater!) skewering commercially shrewd Tinseltown -- has to admit that "Completely Hollywood" is both witty and appealingly goofy. The show, which premiered in 2005 but is making its D.C. debut, consists of 90 minutes of skits and shtick lampooning or referring to 197 films (according to a numbered list in the program). Whether original cast members Reed Martin, Austin Tichenor and Dominic Conti are donning bonnets for "Darcy's Angels," a Pride & Prejudice action-flick spinoff ("It is a truth universally acknowledged that one of you has been kidnapped," a deep voice-over intones), or simply tossing out punning suggestions for sure-fire celluloid hits (how about a double-dose of epic: "Gandhi With the Wind"? Or a Robert De Niro-Jessica Tandy collaboration, "Taxi Driving Miss Daisy"?), the tone is one of gleeful absurdism.
A most enjoyable evening.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sam’s New Hobby

Sam has a new hobby. It is one that he doesn’t particular like and which I find rather expensive. The hobby is of course going to the vet. That’s what we’ve been doing for part of the last three weekends. Two Sunday’s ago it was to DuPont Vet for his check up to see how he was doing. A week ago Saturday it was the trip to SouthPaws for his sonogram. (Below is a sketch the vet did to show what was going on more about that later.) Yesterday it was back to DuPont to get a urine sample and a weigh in.

Besides the kidney and potential problem with his thyroid, the big problem with Sam is his continual loss of weight. When he got out of the vets he was about 10.5 pounds. His first check up he was 9 pounds 7 ounces. Then two weeks ago he was down to 9 pounds. I could tell because when I pet him on his butt I could feel the bones in his butt. But a week ago when he had the songram he was up to 9.44 pounds. Then yesterday at DuPont he was 9 pounds 8 ounces. Up again. Not a huge gain from the week before but he weighs more than he did about a month ago. So at least for now the numbers are moving higher and that’s avery good thing. I think Sam’s finally gotten over the drama of being at the vets for those days. His system has adjusted to the new diet and no longer has soft stool. I’m also a little better and putting out his food so he has enough to eat.

The next step is to see how the urine culture turns out and what if any new antibiotic he needs to be put on. I might try and see if I can get him to eat it as a pill. Here’s hoping.

The main thing to get from this is that the right kidney is a little smaller than average. Also, for lack of a better way to describe it, it's receded from the tube that flows out of it. That's shown by the drawing of the lone kidney upper right.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

An Outing to a ball game

Went to a Nationals game on Thursday. It was pretty cool to see four home runs hit. The only problem was they were hit by the Padres and not the Nationals. Final score 7-1. The Nationals were just flat the entire game.

First picture is Sue, Lisa and myself setting off from the game.

The last two are of Josh Willingham, who's my favorite player on the team. He delivered the home run that won the game against Baltimore. Tonight wasn't exactly his night or anyone else night on the Nationals.

More from the Nationals Game

This from the Post abut the San Diego picture:

Latos (10-4) even helped himself at the plate in the fourth with the first home run of his career for a 3-0 lead. That was more than adequate support with the way he was abusing the Nationals' lineup, but San Diego added insurance runs in the sixth, seventh and ninth to all but settle the outcome.

There was Strasburg jerseys everywhere you looked. Last shot is the wonderful gelato that I had. It was fantastic.

Sunday Smile

On what looks like a pretty nice day in July, here is a great Sunday Smile.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Political Laughs

The Republicans can always come up with a good laugh now and again. There’ve been a couple in the past week.

The first is from the laugh riot Michael Steele head of the RNC. His latest is that the Afghan War is a war of Obama’s choosing. Now I know I’m getting older and perhaps my memory isn’t what it used to be but didn’t George Bush start this war after the US was attacked on 9/11. Also didn’t Republicans under Bush say that if you said something against the war or something that would undermine the morale of the troops you were some kind of traitor to the country. My how times have changed.

At least this time there was some reaction on the part of Republicans. No less than John McCain said that:

Steele “is going to have to assess as to whether he can still lead the Republican Party as chairman of the Republican National Committee and make an appropriate decision,” McCain said in an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

McCain, who appeared on the program from Kabul, called Steele’s remarks “wildly inaccurate” and inexcusable. He also noted that Steele sent him an e-mail explaining that his comments were “misconstrued.”

It is always interesting to me that the so-called “party of personal responsibility” never seems to own up to the things that are said by its members. I guess the personal responsibility is for the other guy.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham:

On “Face the Nation,” Graham lamented Steele’s “uninformed, unnecessary, unwise, untimely comment.”

“This is not President Obama’s war; this is America’s war,” Graham said. Both senators stopped short of calling for Steele’s resignation.

The second laugh comes from Minority Leader John A. Boehner. There was as story about him in Sunday’s Post:

If the GOP were to gain the upper hand, and Boehner were elected as speaker, the question is what he and his party would do with that power. Boehner listed three priorities. First, he said, was a renewed commitment to fiscal discipline -- a test his party badly flunked the last time it was in the majority. Second, he said, was to engage in “an adult conversation with the American people” about the need to rein in entitlement spending. And third, he wants to increase bipartisan cooperation in the House.

As I read this I literally laughed out loud. Fiscal discipline from the Republicans what a joke. An adult conversation on entitlements, nothing has shown that the Republicans have any interest in this. As for bipartisan cooperation, that’s the biggest joke of all especially from this guy.

As to where the Republican Party stands on specific issues:

He offered few concrete thoughts about the GOP agenda but promised that the party will make that clearer before November.

They better get going since they haven’t had any ideas since the 2008 election except to oppose everything the Democrats and Obama are for.

I think I’ll be laughing more about this as November approaches.

Local Fireworks

Here's some video that my brother shot of the local celebration of July 4th in Springfield. He also has a very interesting post about it as well.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Fireworks Story

This is actually a funny story. I watched the 4th of July fireworks from the roof of the building I work in. I went last year met up with some people from work and really enjoyed it. This I ended up being there by myself. I left my house a little after 7:30. I figured better to be there a little early and get a place to sit. I got to the office around 8:15 or so. I checked in. The building management had asked a couple of weeks earlier who wanted to see the fireworks from the roof. There is a limited number of people that can be on the roof so the management wanted a list of people who’d be there.

I stopped in my office and got some water and a magazine that I happened to have at my desk. I went up to the roof. There were a couple of groups of people up there. They’d brought food and were having dinner and waiting for the fireworks to start. There were still a couple of unclaimed chairs once of which I too for my own. I found myself an open space where I would have a good view of the fireworks and sat down and started to read. Although it had been hot during the day it was starting to cool down and the humidity wasn’t all that bad. It had all the makings for a really great night.

The fun began when more people started arriving. A family came along and ended up being right next to me. A sitting right next to me was this incredibly obnoxious kid. He and his mother had a running verbal battle over one thing after another for a good 15 minutes. He was rocking in his chair. His mother wanted him to sit down in the chair an get comfortable because it would be a little while before the fireworks stated. He had some sort of noise maker that he kept playing with that his mother wanted him to stop playing with.

More people arrived and the mother advised the kid that he might want to move or else he might not be able to have a good view. He promptly moved his chair right up next to the fence that marked the boundaries of where people were allowed to be. Thankfully, I thought to myself, this was on the opposite side of where I was. I started to think maybe some peace and quite. But that was not to be the case. I figured out where the kid learned all of his mouthing off from his mother. There was a good half hour before the fireworks were to start and I don’t think she stopped talking the entire time. And I’m not talking about having a conversation with someone. She just talked and talked and well you get the idea. One of her best comments was how the fireworks probably would start late because everything must start late now that Obama is in office. I came very close to saying something but thought better of it. Why ruin the night by same something.

Finally these people moved a little and I thought I was in the clear but that was not to be the case. Along came another group of people. One women was dressed in sort of a halter top. And perhaps 20 or so years ago she might have been able to pull this off but not now. She’s one of those people that had been out in the sun way too much and it was starting to catch up with her. She had her husband and daughter came over towards me. The first thing out of the woman’s mouth was that there should be more chairs for people to sit in. Of course it was a few minutes before 9 when they arrived so perhaps if they’d wanted chairs they should have arrived a little earlier than that.

The woman struck up a conversation with the people sitting on the other side of me (who were no problem at all). We quickly learned they were from Pittsburgh. In fact for a few minutes Pittsburgh seemed to be coming out of her mouth every other word. The daughter then chimed in to say this was the first 4th of July she could remember in a while where she wasn’t at an internet cafe. I believe she was the person who worked in the building.

One thing I learned about Pittsburgh is that there is some fireworks maker family that lives there and that’s the reason Pittsburgh’s fireworks are always so good. They left the impression that DC’s wouldn’t match up. I wanted to say but then again there in Pittsburgh but I was good and didn’t say anything.

The daughter made up for the fact she wasn’t at an internet cafe but essentially texting during the entire time the fireworks were going on. The only time she wasn’t looking down at her phone was in trying to take a picture she then handed off here camera to her mother. And then to comment about the fireworks that was the first one that wasn’t boring.

It was difficult for me to figure out how she could say this when she wasn’t watching them.

I thought they were wonderful as always. A great setting. A great night. A great show with a wonderful finale. On the way off the roof (sort of the parting gift for the night) was this comment: only 20 minutes you think they could do better in Washington, DC. I thought you can always come back from where you came from.

As I said I thought they were great. I had to share this story with someone so I called up my dad. Ed and Jennifer were over and about to set off the fireworks they had bought. Springfield had canceled fireworks the last couple of years. I told the story and we all got a good laugh out of it.

My final destination for the day was DuPont Italian Kitchen. I got some garlic bread with mozzarella, tomato and basil on it and a strawberry daiquiri. It was a great way to end a spectacular and very amusing night.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Pictures from the 4th

Here are some pictures of the fireworks from last night. There's also a story to go with my night on the roof watching the fireworks which I'll tell in the next day or so.

Video from July 4

Here's some video from last night fireworks.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy July 4

Happy Birthday America.

Several years back I posted this clip from the musical 1776. I still think it sums up what the leaders of the American Revolution must have felt. And it is just a damn good song so here's Is Anybody There.

It also reminds me of just how lucky I am in live in the the US. Also how lucky I am to live in Washington, DC. I'll be going down to see the fireworks a little later this evening. I'll be watching from the roof of the building I work in. Just a few blocks from the White House and the Washington Monument. Oh how I love living here.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Sam's Sonogram Saturday

In a further attempt to find out what is wrong with Sam, I'm taking him to have a sonogram done today. It is at a place called SouthPaws which is way out in Fairfax. I have a 2 pm appointment. I'm going to give myself at least an hour to get there. Better to be early than late.

I decided to let Sam back down the basement. I first made sure there were no plants down there that he could get at. He really likes it. Here he is emerging from his hiding place underneath the steps.