Saturday, October 31, 2009


Here's a very funny picture a friend sent to me.

The caption is as follows:

Have fun but remember………..too much could give you a tummy ache!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Saga of the Credit Card from My Credit Union

Or how to be disabused of the notion that a credit union treats customers better than a traditional bank.

The story starts back a few months. Interest rates were dropping and it occurred to me to try and refinance my house. The rates got low enough that it would be worth doing. Several people at work talked about hot credit unions usually had lower interest rater than traditional banks. So I looked into which if any credit unions I could join. As an alumni of GW, I could join the NIH Federal Credit Union which is what I did.

By the time I got around to joining the rates had gone back up.

Several months pass and I decide to take advantage of the low rates they have on a credit card.

And thus my saga begins.

I was told that you apply for a credit on-line. A it usually takes a couple of days to be approved. I figured great this will be easy. I finally got around to on October 6. I did it in the morning before work. It didn’t take very long. I only had one problem with the form. The problem was I couldn’t figure out where one line of text was attached to if it applied to the box above it or below it. But I soon figured it out. I finished it up and pressed send.

Later that day I got an automated e-mail thanking me for submitting my loan application. I was a little confused about this. I made a call to the credit union a couple day later to ask about this. I was told that the credit union looks at credit cards as a loan. The guy I talked to was a little surprised someone hadn’t been it touch with me. He said it should happen soon.

Move forward 16 days when I finally got around to calling the credit union again. Here's part of the letter that I sent to the Credit Union outlining the series of events:

On October 22, I called the credit union since no one had bothered to call me back. It was then and only then that I was told that in order to get the credit card I would have to supply additional financial information. In the course of my conversation with your representative (I unfortunately did not get her name) I confirmed what additional information would be needed. I asked this on three different occasion. The final time I asked I said so I need to provide these three things and that was all. I was told that was correct.

The three things were a pay stub, a photo copy of a picture ID and the NIH Federal Credit Union personal financial statement. I gathered this information and turned it in this morning in person at the GW branch of the Credit Union.

Imagine my surprise and shock when I was told I would have to supply my 2008 income tax return as well. I would really like to know why I was not told this when I called last Thursday. If I had, I would have been able to turn in everything at once. Instead I have to make another trip back to the GW branch. It also further delays an already far too delayed process for applying for the credit card.

The tax return is enclosed. Hopefully there are no other surprise documents that I need to provide to get this process going.

I have to say I am less than impressed with the way I have been treated so far. This gives me pause as to whether, or much more likely if, I will transfer my checking account and other financial services to the credit union.

When I told people about having to supply the tax return, most people's jaws dropped. Several said why are you still doing business with these people. I have to say I'm thinking the exact same thing.

The upshot of the letter was that I did receive a call from someone from the credit union. But it was not someone from the loan department. It was someone from the GW branch. I wasn't at my desk so she left a message. I called back and she wasn't in. She was off today but will be back in tomorrow. I'm going to give her the morning to call me. If she hasn't I'll call her in the afternoon. It should be interesting to see what she has to say.

Oh and as for the credit card, I have no idea if I have it or not. But after all this that's not too much of a surprise. Why would the loan department contact me? After all I'm only a customer.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Working Out is really Starting to Work Out

I’m pleased with my progress. My recovery between work outs is much quicker and we’re moving into a new phase of training.

First the recovering part. I rearranged my training schedule so I could add an extra spinning class on Wednesday morning. Wednesday morning training was moved to Tuesday evening and I got my second trainer Shawn. So now I have training Tuesday night and then a spinning class at 7 am Wednesday. Actually if you get there at 6:45 the instructor is already there so instead of 45 minutes of spinning you can get in a hour. His class is fairly challenging. After working out the night before I’d fell pretty wiped out by the end of the class .

Needless to say when I started this, I’d wake up on Thursday mornings and could barely get out of bed. But now it’s not that hard and in fact I have enough energy to go out for my morning walk. The reason for the quick recovery is that I’m getting stronger and it’s very noticeable to me by the level of energy I have on Thursday morning. Also I don’t hurt like hell all over the place most noticeably in my legs. Doing leg work during the Friday training session used to really hurt. Now not all that much now.

I asked Shawn some questions during Friday’s session (Shawn was filling in for Ed who was at a meeting). I asked Shawn if he came up with a different routine for each person or just did the same thing for everyone. He said each one was different. He said I seemed to like free weights and not machines so much (this comes from training with Randy and Ed). My workouts then concentrate on that. Shawn knew of trainers that did the same workout no matter who the client was. He said that was boring and didn’t help the client out all that much. He then added that there are a limited number of types of exercise that you can do for each of the muscle groups. A chest press is a chest press. The same type of action is used for the exercises even if the exercises itself is not always the same. You can do all sorts of variations on a lunge but at the end of the day it’s still a lunge.

I also learned the order you should do exercises in. You start with the legs because they have the biggest group of muscles. Then you can either do chest or back. It’s interesting Shawn likes to do chest while Ed does back. Finally you do arms. Shoulders you usually work in with back work.

The training is undergoing a change. The emphasis is going to be adding muscle mass. This means higher weight with fewer reps. The higher weight I started to encourage a couple of weeks ago. When either Ed or Shawn ask if I want to try a higher weight I’ve been saying yes. I figure we can lower the weight if necessary. I’m excited about the next phase of training.

The remaining part of the training regimen which is still not exactly where it should be is the eating end of things. My weight is holding between 175-179. I want to try and make 175 my ceiling and my floor around 170. I’m hoping to get there around the first of the year if not sooner.

I have to say I’m very pleased the way things are progressing.

Drippy Dreary Saturday

Saturday was another dreary Saturday. There was actually some sun out but very early in the morning. The day clouded over and then it essential rained on and off for the rest of the day. I thought well this would be a good time to do all sorts of things around the house. Also get up a whole bunch of posts on subjects that I’d been thinking about.

The fact I’m posting on Monday about Saturday shows how well that worked out.

I did get in three loads of laundry. I changed the bed with of course the help of Sam who is always likes to help out with changing the bed. I got together some financial information for the credit card I was applying for through my credit union. More on that story later.

One other thing I did was go to a spinning class. I was sort of on auto pilot heading over to the class. I say that because I was going to the wrong Results location. The class I was taking on Saturdays got canceled. The new one is at the Mt. Vernon Square location. I was about half way to the old place before I realized what I was doing. I was able to get there on time. It turns out my old instructor was subing for the guy who normally teaches. It was a great class.

I read my book a little and played Civilization and the took a very long nap.

And that was my drippy dreary Saturday.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

2Political Episode 19

2PP019 - 22 October 2009

2Political Podcast Episode 19 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.

Get 2Poltical Podcast for free on iTunes

No Special Days today, because Jason talks about a holiday special instead. Then we talk about a topic today: Glass houses. We take three recent incidents of people completely missing the point of pushback against things they’ve done, instead attacking their critics: A Homophobic column by British columnist Jan Moir, Rush Limbaugh missing out on the chance to be a part-owner of the St. Louis Rams and the Mormons claiming they’re being treated the same as African Americans in the 1960s.

These topics allow us to elaborate on one of the background issues about these folks: They can’t see their own homophobia, racism or religious intolerance, nor the consequences of them. We even mention George H.W. Bush—in a different context.

Please leave a comment (anyone’s welcome—agree or disagree!), or you can send an email to arthur[at) or jason{at], or you can ring the US-based 2Political Comment line on 206-350-3982.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Afghanistan Moves onto the Stage

In the past few weeks Afghanistan has been slowly moving to center stage.

The election there that turned out to be not much of an election at all. Something like 1 million votes were fraudulently cast for the current president Hamid Karzai. It sounds like there was a great deal of arm twisting but Karzai finally agreed to a run off (the Afghan constitution says there has to be a runoff if no candidate receives 50% of the vote):

Having pushed for a do-over, U.S. officials have even less ability to scold the winner. That winner is likely to be incumbent Karzai, who conceded Tuesday, under heavy international pressure, that a runoff was “legitimate, legal and according to the constitution of Afghanistan.”

Here’s an interesting take from Secretary Gates on the election:
“The outcome of the elections and the problems with the elections have complicated the situation for us. But the reality is, it’s not going to be complicated one day and simple the next,” he said. “We’re going to have to work with this going forward, and I believe the president will have to make his decisions in the context of that evolutionary process.”

The question has to be asked will the election this time around be any different from last time.

As to the war itself well there are decisions to be made. The background for this is of course the failure of the Bush administration for finishing what it started. Instead it spun fantasies about Iraq and then got us into a war there. We took our eyes off of Afghanistan and that’s come back to bite us in the ass.

The debate is on going on what exactly to do. The debate needs to thorough but it needs to be done with some dispatch. General Stanley McChrystal wants an increase of 40,000 troops to help fight the Taliban. This is based on the situation on the ground.

But is also came from a meeting in March that decided on:

>>That conclusion, which was later endorsed by the president and members of his national security team, would become the first in a set of recommendations contained in an administration white paper outlining what Obama called “a comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Preventing al-Qaeda’s return to Afghanistan, the document stated, would require “executing and resourcing an integrated civilian-military counterinsurgency strategy.”<<

But it seems not everyone interpreted this to mean a huge increase in the number of troops:

To some civilians who participated in the strategic review, that conclusion was much less clear. Some took it as inevitable that more troops would be needed, but others thought the thrust of the new approach was to send over scores more diplomats and reconstruction experts. They figured a counterinsurgency mission could be accomplished with the forces already in the country, plus the 17,000 new troops Obama had authorized in February.

Not having everyone on the same page seems to have slowed down the decision process on the part of the Obama administration. As I said before, they need to decide something soon.

The bottom line is we need to finish what we started in Afghanistan but we need to have an idea of what being “finished” is. If not we'll end up like so many countries before us (Soviet Union, Britain etc) that have been sucked into Afghanistan and then spit out years later with the country being in just about the same shape before we came. And that cannot be acceptable.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Red Bull at Union Station

At Union Station there was an exhibit by Red Bull of what people could make from Red Bull cans. Here's a sample.

More from Red Bull

There were some very creative designs.

Back to the Portrait Gallery

At the end of the day, after seeing the Red Bull exhibit, it was back to the Portrait Gallery Complex. I never knew there was so much to see.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Kalb Report: Ink on the Brink

Took me a little while to get to this. Last Monday I went to the first Kalb report for this season. It was Ink on the Brink.

This was a discussion on th future of print papers. THe opening question was where would papers be in 20 years. Or would there even be papers.

Most everyone believed that papers would be around in some form. But there would be a great deal of consolidation. Papers in large cities would survive but regional papers might not be. David Hunke said that papers will find business models to be here in 20 years.

Part of the problem with papers is that many are now parts of huge media conglomerates. An individual paper may be successful but not successful enough to help the bottom line of the conglomerate. The smaller profit margins which would be ok for one paper or a few papers in a small change just don’t make it the way the market is set up today.

Everyone was rather optimistic that papers would survive. Marvin seemed a little skeptical of this. But all the panelists agreed that newspapers would still be printed but there would be a larger element that would be electronic.

They then brought up a rather interesting point about the digital divide. Not only a divide of those people that could afford a computer and gain access to on-line content but a divide along age lines as well. What happens if the local paper goes away in a community and there are people who don't have access to a computer, not because they can't afford one, but because they don't know how to use one.

I'd hoped to take some pictures but the battery on my camera died.

In all a very interesting time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bob Dylan's Christmas Album

Bob Dylan puts out a Christmas album just in time for Halloween. I have no idea if this is a trick or a treat. Here's the review from the Post.

I listened to excerpts on iTunes and could not stop laughing. I will say this is not for the faint of heart. I suggest listening to it with the lights on and with several friends which is what I did. We all had a good laugh a really good laugh. Go to iTunes and see for yourself and then make sure you read some of the comments; they’re good for a laugh too!

Here are a couple of the one star reviews:

Oh my God. I want to kill myself
Just bad. So bad. So terrible. So not Xmas. What in God’s name did they think this sounded like. This would make any kid or adult scream in pain to listen to. I’m saving it for Halloween.

Big Dylan Fan, This is horrible

I am all about artists wanting to change their style, showing versatility and being more artistic. This album concept sounds more like a drunken night in the studio and it was then recorded and released. I think I have found the best white elephant gift fro the holiday season. Dylan is a musical genius and he is an icon. This album just proved that everyone makes a bad one now and then.

Just terrible.
What more can you say.

2Political Episode 18

2PP018 - 13 October 2009

After Special Days, we talk a bit about the Nobel Peace Prize, then Alan Grayson. That leads eventually into talk about the newsmedia, left v. right, and in general. It’s another wide-ranging talk.

2Political Podcast Episode 18 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.

Get 2Poltical Podcast for free on iTunes

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Silly Cat Video

This is a very funny video from YouTube about the silliness of cats. Enjoy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not So Direct TV

It started before I went to Springfield. All of a sudden I would loose the picture getting an error saying the satellite single has been lost. It was what you usually got when there was bad weather. I would press the reset button and after a few minutes I would get the picture back and everything would be fine. I didn’t pay too much attention to it. But it seemed to be happening more and more often.

I made sure Stuart knew about it when he took care of Sam.

When I got back it just continued to get worse. I also had the receiver not recognize the card. I called DirecTV and they talked me through what to do to get the card back working. I also tole them the problems I’d been having. They said it might have something to do with the card and to see what happened.

The signal continued to drop. I called into DirecTV again. The thing is when you call in it takes a very long time to actually get to a real person. The automated voice goes through a whole bunch of things you should do. Make sure your connections are not loose. Make sure there are no tree branches blocking the dish which would be very interesting considering I live a row house with no trees of any kind around. Finally get to a person. I tell them my problem. We got through a whole bunch of things. Disconnect the wires and screw them back in which I did. Then I’m asked if I can see the dish. I say no it’s on the roof and I don’t have any way of getting up there. I’m told the reset should take care of the problem but if it doesn’t to call back and they’d make arrangements to have someone come out and check things out.

The problem only got worse. I was lucky if I got 20 minutes of watching in before it the signal dropped. I called from work where I was told I needed to be home to run some sort of test on the receiver. I said it would have been nice if I’d been told that the last time I called in. When I got home I decided I was too tired to call (I’d been out to the Kalb report more about that later). The next morning I had a picture the entire time I had it on.

Finally on Tuesday I got the call in. Again it took more than five minutes to finally reach a person. So we performed this test. It tests the signal. It seemed to be fine. I was then told to make sure the connections were fine and was it possible to follow the cable to the dish to see if anything was wrong with the cable. I said the dish was on the roof and I didn’t have a ladder to get up there. The women said well we wouldn’t want you climbing on the roof. So I got an appointment for Sunday between 8-12.

After I got off the phone, I was struck by something. If I’d been able to follow the cable how would I have know if something was wrong with. Unless the cable wasn’t connected to the dish how would I be able to tell if the connect was correct. It didn’t make that much sense to me.

By this time I was getting about 5 minutes of viewing in before it would go out. So I was like oh no I don’t want to see if the Ravens drive down the field and win the game against the Patriots of gee I really didn’t want to see the last scene of Brothers and Sisters. I just kind of stopped watching TV.

Sunday came. Thankfully the guy didn’t arrive at 8 am. I got a call around 9 from him saying he would be there in an hour or hour and a half. Then about 10 minutes later I received an automated call asking if the new time would work for me. I said yes although it really wasn’t a new time.

The guy arrived when he said he would. He checked things out and tested the signal and looked at the box on the outside of the house. In the end he replaced the receiver and ran a new cable from the box to the receiver. The other cable had a connector on it and he thought that could cause a problem. Around 11:30 I had a working signal and except for a problem in the middle of the Redskins game (which was a problem Fox was having broadcasting the game) everything’s been fine.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Smile

I can identify with both Linus and Snoopy on this. It sort of been like my week. DirecTV should be coming today to "fix" the problem I've been having with my TV but more on that later.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

A Trip to the Portrait Gallery

I went to the first Kalb Report on Monday (more on that later). I had some time to wander around and take in some things.

This elephant is outside the DC Library. It was part of the elephants and donkeys they had out and around DC about 7 years ago. I'll post some pictures of them soon.

A piece of art across the street from the museum.

Here's the intro from the Smithsonian site on the Gallery:

Welcome to the National Portrait Gallery The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery tells the stories of America through the individuals who have shaped U.S. culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts, and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists who speak American history.

Alexander Hamilton

Ben Franklin

Henry Knox

Elizabeth I

National Portrait Gallery

The Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum is becoming one of my favorite places to go there are always new things to discover there.

September Afternoon by George Inness.

The Chief's Canoe by Belmore Browne.

This is the Chasm of the Colorado by Thomas Moran.

This is Achelous and Hercules by Thomas Hart Benton.

This is Magnolia by Charles Walter Stetson.

Here's a picture of John Adams by Gilbert Stuart from 1826, the year Adams died.

The Ever Noble Bank of America

Here is a really really funny story about Bank of America.

It starts with:

Bank of America said it will not raise credit card interest rates before February, when a law restricting industry practices takes effect, unless a cardholder is in default.

Yes because the SOBs have already raised rates. What a load of crap from this company. My interest rate went up 50% in April. They make it sound like they are so magnanimous. When they are anything but.

Unfortunately for the time being I’m stuck with the one Bank of America credit card I have. It is in fact the only I have but I’m taking steps to change that. I will keep the card but the only thing I’ll charge on it will be Netflix. My car loan is also unfortunately with them too. But that will be paid off in the next six months or so. After that I plan on not having anything to do with Bank of America at all.

The thing that annoys me about the story is that there is little context. There is no mention in this story or the one in USA Today that many people's rates have already been raised. And some raised even more than the 50% that I was socked with. Rather sloppy reporting I'd say.

A Crash in the Night

Last night at around 3:30 am, so I guess that's yesterday morning, there was a huge crash at my house. It set off the alarm system. Needless to say it woke me up.

I went downstairs with my heart pounding not knowing what had happened. Did someone try and break into my house? If so did they get scared away?

The crash was very loud so I figured, if someone was trying to break in, they were doing it at the front of the house. Both windows in front were fine. They I thought perhaps Same had caused one of the window shades to fall. There'd been a cat on a neighbors porch that he was none to pleased about. But the shades were fine.

I then looked to see if the door to the basement was closed. It was. I then looked out the back window in the dinning room to see if the motion detector lamp that's on the garage had come on. That was off.

I was at a loss until I looked at the dinning room table. There in broken pieces was the cover to the dinning room light fixture. This is one of those old very heavy glass covers. It had fallen and shattered. I can't exactly say glass was everywhere but there was a great deal of it scattered around.

Thankfully most of it seemed to be in big pieces. I went down the basement and put on a pair of rubber gloves. I got out a garbage bag and started putting the pieces in it. That proved not to be the best idea since the glass just tore the bag. I looked around for something that was a little more sturdy. I happened upon the tote bag that had been given out for Crafty Bastards on Saturday. I used that.

I got most of the big pieces up and then I got out the vacuum. I vacuumed for the next half hour or so. I carefully moved the things off the one side of dinning room table where the cover had landed. I vacuumed the table. I then went around the vacuumed the floor.

Around 4:30 I was done. I then took the tote bag of glass which I'd since dumped into another garbage bag out.

My new digital camera had taken a hit. The battery cover had been knocked off. I put that back into place and turned on the camera. It seemed to work. I had to reenter the date information. Other than that it seemed to work fine. Seemed to being the operative word. When I got home from work I tried to actually take a picture. Unfortunately, the shutter release button doesn't work. I can press it down but nothing happens. I'm going to take into a camera store today and see if they can figure a way to make it work. But I have my doubts. Rather sad. I'd only had it for six weeks.

So because of that excitement, I'm way behind on my posts but I'll try and catch up. I was able during the course of cleaning to post the U2 photos from the concert my friend went to. I figured I'm up at 4 in the morning vacuuming glass I can at least do something productive after the crash in the night.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

U2 Concert

My friend Lisa got to go to the U2 concert at Charlottesville, Virgina October 1, 2009. Here are her pictures from the concert. It looks like it was a blast!

More U2 Concert Pictures

Video from U2 concert

Here are a couple of clips from the concert

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Vaccine Roll Out Starts

The roll out of the Babe Flu vaccine has started. Mostly in the form of nasal mist which I have to say sounds pretty gross. Here’s what’s coming into the Washington area:

The initial availability of the vaccine will be strictly limited. The District has ordered 36,000 doses; Maryland has ordered 35,400 doses; and Virginia has ordered 43,500 doses, according to health officials. The first order will also test the distribution system for the vaccine.

It’s interesting that the vaccine: will be shipped directly via FedEx or UPS to health-care providers on the list to receive it. Seems a strange way to be getting a vaccine but then again it’s probably the fastest and most dependable way to get it health care providers. I’d be interested to know where it’s being sent from.

Here’s how the roll out of the vaccine will proceed:

States began ordering vaccine last week, and about 7 million doses are expected to be available by the end of this week. About 40 million doses of nasal spray and injectable vaccine will be available by the middle of the month, with another 10 million to 20 million to become available every week after that.

So let’s do a little math here. There are 300 million people in the country lets say 250 million end up getting the vaccine. It said 40 million could be vaccinated by the middle of the month. That leaves 210 million left. Let’s take the high end of the estimate of available doses coming along each week and that’s 20 million each week. Will drop our count to 200 million just so the math is easier. It means it will take 10 more weeks to get everyone vaccinated. That takes us to the beginning of next year. But if only 10 million doses are available each week that’s 20 weeks and that takes us into March of 2010. Actually it’s probably more time than that when you factor in the fact that kids are going to need two doses of the vaccine.

This assumes people are going to be seeking out the vaccine. I think a great deal depends on what happens. If people stop dropping like flies or a bunch of kids get sick and die, I assume people will be storming the gates trying to get the vaccine. But if things stay as they are with mild symptoms and people being sick for a short time, they’ll be plenty of vaccine to go around.

Here are a couple of things I’m wondering about. How do you determine when people who are not in the high risks groups start getting the vaccine? Is this done on a state by state basis? If one state vaccinates everyone on the high risk group does that state get to start giving the vaccine out to anyone? For example say Montana vaccinates all the people considered high risk does it then get to vaccinate people not on the list if say New York state hasn’t finished vaccinating everyone considered at high risk. You assume that it might be easier for Montana to finish before New York because of the differences in population. Who decides that.

Another thing I thought interesting is the CDC is just now starting an advertising campaign. Why wasn’t this done earlier? Why aren’t government officials showing up all over the TV? Why aren’t we seeing ads right now.

Then there’s this quote:

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” said Gregory Poland, a flu vaccine expert at the Mayo Clinic. “Then you mix into that people’s concerns about conspiracy theories and government misbehavior and conflicts of interest and all of that, and the average layperson has a difficult time discerning what to do.”

Well if there’s a great deal of false information out there why aren’t the health care people putting out the correct information. Seems to me the health care community is a little flat footed on this.

But if we get lucky and most cases are mild, we won’t have to worry about this. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Sam’s Saga

I took Sam to the vet on September 13 that was the Sunday before I left for Springfield (note to self never do that again). He was supposed to get his rabies vaccine. In the course of his examination the vet said he probably should have four teeth pulled. A quick little back ground on this for the past several years the vet has been pushing to have Sam get his teeth cleaned. I have a problem with that mostly because of his age. Also because I know of one person who did that and the cat died. Another one said their cat was never the same after they had it done. My reaction the first time this was suggested was he seems a little old for this to be done to him. And my reaction this time, several years later no less, was why are we doing this to a cat that’s going to be 14 in a few weeks.

The vet recommended that it be done at a specialist. The cost some where around $1,200 or more. I have to say I have a little problem with the cost because in all likelihood it is going to cost more than that. But what are credit cards for. The vet said it probably needed to be done in the next few weeks. She seemed to think he might be some sort of pain. I have to say I notice no difference in his behavior at all. In fact Sam seems to be doing just fine. He saw a cat on the front porch the other night, at least I assumed it was a cat because of the way he reacted, and went nuts. Puffing up and hissing and all that.

Also the vet drew blood for all sorts of test since he is now an older cat. It is funny Sam’s a gray cat going gray. After they were all done and I had him back in his carrier, they decided they needed a urine sample. Well Sam was all empty. There’s more to this but more on that later.

It’s interesting the reaction I’ve gotten from people. My dad was well maybe you need to get it done. My brother said that his vet has brought this up about his cats cleaning their teeth. My brother says he just changes the subject when it’s brought up. He seemed to think this is a way for vets to make additional money. He said his one cat that lived to be 18 never had her teeth cleaned at all. My friend Mark was like hell no way. He said if Sam was in pain or had an infection or was loosing weight then maybe you consider it. He added there’s very little reason except when the cat’s at risk to put a 14 year old cat under anesthesia (oh and Sam has a heart murmur too so how does that complicate things).

The vet called with the results of the blood test the next day. Sam is essentially in fine health. I raised my concerns about having the teeth pulled. The vet said well if it was my cat I’d have it done. I felt like saying all right Sam’s your cat take care of this. I said I needed to think about this. There was nothing I could do because I was going to be out of town for a week. The vet added she did want to try and get a urine sample. I could do this be either bring Sam in or I could pick up something called No Absorb. I said I’d figure this out when I got back.

Last Monday I got a call from the vet. It was a follow up. They wanted to know if I’d made the appointment with the cat dentist (which I had not) and about the urine sample. I decided to try and use the No Absorb stuff.

And here’s the tale on that. I go and pick this stuff up on Friday. It is in a small container maybe about a cup in size. And cup is the way to describe it. The idea is to empty out the litter box and pour the contents in . The idea is to mimic cat litter. The cat will then use the box as normal. With no litter the pee isn’t absorbed. You can then pour the urine into the cup and then refrigerate it until you can get it to the vet.

Well here’s how this worked. I got home on Friday night and emptied out the box. I emptied the litter into a garbage bag and just put it near the box (litter is not exactly the lightest of things to tote around also I wasn’t sure where to put it). Sam did indeed pee and poop but he peed and pooped on the carpet not in the litter box. First he peed. I cleaned that up. I thought maybe since the garbage bag of litter was near by he tried to use that. So I moved the bag of litter carefully out of the room and must stuck it in the bathroom. A little while later I went up and saw that Sam had pooped. I decided that was enough. I put the regular litter back in the box. At some point in the not too distant future I’ll see if I can take Sam to the vet and see if they can get a sample. But then again there are no guarantees on that one either.

Now back to the issue of the teeth. I’m going to make an appointment with the specialist and see what they say and also how much it is going to cost. But I’m not in any hurry to do it. I feel like I’m in a no win situation here. I feel no matter what I do no surgery/surgery it will be the wrong thing. So I need to do some thinking on this.

Music from the Street

You seem them on the streets often in Washington. Street musicians. What's interesting is the number that play classical music or use classical instruments. This duo play outside Results, my gym. They are really good. I'm going to post them from time to time.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Funny Funny Ad

I happened upon this ad while surfing the net the other day. It's an ad for Durex condoms and it is hysterical.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

2Political Episode 17

2PP017 - 30 September 2009

2Political Podcast Episode 17 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.

This episode was delayed by several days because Arthur was busy. After special days, and Jason’s unusual experience on the Washington Metro, we talk a bit about healthcare reform. Then, Bill Clinton’s comments on “Meet the Press” let’s us talk about rightwing nonsense. Arthur thinks both the left and the right got it wrong in talking about it. That leads us into comments, which are extensive. Arthur minces no words, and Jason takes exception to some of what Arthur says. Feel free to disagree with either of us!

Get 2Poltical Podcast for free on iTunes

Friday, October 02, 2009

Babe Flu Vaccine Arrives

So the Babe Flu vaccine is about to arrive:

Vaccine for the H1N1 flu will begin arriving in the nation’s hospitals, clinics and schools as early as Tuesday, the start of an effort to protect Americans against a swine flu virus that emerged this past spring and quickly circled the globe.

This from a story in USA Today.

The article goes on to say:

In a task worthy of a deadly serious video game, state health departments have to organize thousands of workers at 90,000 sites nationwide to administer as many as 250 million doses in three to four months, making sure the people at greatest risk from swine flu — such as pregnant women, young children and health care workers — are first in line.

But there’s been very little information on where people should go to get the vaccines.

There is this story in the Post today about how public schools will be vaccinating school kids in the coming weeks. But the details are a bit sketchy to say the least. Now maybe things have not been finalized which I can understand. However, it that’s the case then what the public should be told now is where to go and get information on the hows, whens and wheres of the roll out of the vaccinations. But you sure haven’t seen much of that at all.

It is good to be able to the DC health site and see that there’s only been one case of Babe Flu reported. But there is this one caveat to this statement and that is: * As of September 1, the Department of Health only tests for H1N1 in hospitalized flu cases. Counts are the number of confirmed cases since September 1, 2009. It seems to me that’s a better way to count the number of cases. These numbers represent the people who are badly sick as opposed to people who just had a mild case.

More on the numbers USA Today has an interesting map of the US. The map from the CDC divides the country up into regions and give the number of Babe Flu cases per million people. It also has a time line. You can click on a date starting in August until mid-September (the dates are a week apart). You can see how the numbers have increased over time. The problem is the number don’t mean all that much. There’s no context to the number. How does this compare with the normal flu? Are the numbers going up faster than normal flu. Are certain regions getting more cases than normal. I don’t understand why there isn’t more of this so people can get an accurate picture on how serious the Babe Flu is.

Earlier in the year all sorts of number were bandied about about the number of people with Babe Flu. The problem with that is once you’ve had Babe Flu you were part of that total number. If gives no context as to the number of people who’ve died or even the number of people who were still sick.

It will be interesting to see how the vaccine distribution progresses. How well things go probably depends on how severe Babe Flu becomes.

Final Home Game for the Nationals

I went to the final Nationals ball game and the one on Monday. They won both. So of the six games I went to this year, the Nationals record is 3-3. Oh if they were only that good for the rest of the season.

But the final game was very exciting. The Nationals trailed 4-2 going into the bottom of the 9th.

As the story in the Post put it:

As a parting gift, the Washington Nationals delivered pleasure -- no complications. The last scene of the 81st and final home game of the season was unlike any moment that preceded it, perfect and delirious, the one-minute attempt to undo a forgettable year. The manager said, "There's no way I can explain how good a feeling that is." And the guy who took the last swing said, "It's like everything I've ever dreamed of in the big leagues."

That would be Justin Maxwell who delivered a walk-off grand slam. And he did it with a full count and 2 outs. It just made it over the fence but it made it. Great way to end the game!

Ryan Zimmerman about to cross the plate from his single shot home run in the 8th. That made the score 4-2 to go into the very exciting 9th inning.

The crowd and the Nationals team celebrates Justin Maxwell's grand slam to win the game.