Friday, June 24, 2005

I'll Say "Hello" to Mickey for You

Image borrowed from intercot

Just wanted to let you know that blogging will likely be light ... to nonexistant ... over the next week. I am headed to Walt Disney World for vacation! Mrs. Brainwise and I were invited to join my sister, her daughter, and my parents for a big family vacation at the happiest place on earth (I think that statement is trademarked ... someone please check for me). I do have a Treo with Internet access, so maybe I will be able to make a post here and there. But while I will miss all of you ... come on! I'm going to be at Disney World!! Who's gonna have time to blog?!? See you in seven...

Friday Pet Blogging | The Scars

"I've got an ouchie on my butt, and a lampshade on my head."

Click the photo for a comment and notes. Oh ... our poor, transgendered cat.

The Modulator has a compilation of today's pet posts from other bloggers. Previous Milo & Otis appearances on Prophet or Madman are indexed here ... just in case you missed one. And do keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of the Carnival of the Cats, served fresh every Sunday.

Friday Pet Blogging | The Security Box

Some cats have security blankets ... Otis has a security BOX. On his first day back from surgery, Otis went right for his box. Even with that stupid e-collar, he got in. And then pooped in it (the box, not the collar).

The Modulator has a compilation of today's pet posts from other bloggers. Previous Milo & Otis appearances on Prophet or Madman are indexed here ... just in case you missed one. And do keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of the Carnival of the Cats, served fresh every Sunday.

Friday Pet Blogging | Collared

Post-surgery, we have to keep a close eye on Otis so that he doesn't pull out his sutures. And to make certain he isn't pooping everywhere (strange side-effect of the surgery ... he seems to have lost control of his bowels.) And when we can't watch him, he has to go into the nifty kennel we purchased ... and wear the oh-so-fashionable e-collar. In this photo, Otis seems to be saying "What are you looking at?" He is definitely less than amused with his e-collar and kennel cage.

The Modulator has a compilation of today's pet posts from other bloggers. Previous Milo & Otis appearances on Prophet or Madman are indexed here ... just in case you missed one. And do keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of the Carnival of the Cats, served fresh every Sunday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Sport Beans!

OK. I just read that there are new "fitness" foods like vitamin-enhanced jellybeans. Yep, that's right. Jellybeans. As a fitness food:
At the All Candy Expo in Chicago, Jelly Belly Candy Co. of Fairfield, California, introduced "Sports Beans." Each one-ounce serving has Vitamins C and E plus 120 milligrams of electrolytes to boost energy and prevent dehydration. "We felt there was an opening in the market for a non-bar, non-chocolate functional product," said Bill Kelley, Jelly Belly vice chairman. "This has the energy component, electrolytes and it tastes good" in lemon-lime and orange flavors. The new beans are expected in stores later this summer.
Seems that candy makers are trying to sugarcoat their profit margins by breaking in on the $3 billion a year fitness market. What's next? A Big Mac with Ginseng?? Cigarettes that allow you to inhale a 1/3 of your daily protein requirements? Yeeeeesh.

Yeah, That About Sums It Up.

Huey and his friends (from the Boondocks newspaper strip) were, of course, following the Michael Jackson trial very closely. Here is the punchline for Monday's strip:
You don't really need the the lead-in ... it was just Huey and Cesar walking along in silence.

Long Time No Update

OK. It has actually been five days since my last update. But in Internet time, that is practically an eternity. It might even be cause for some folks to write this off as a dead link. But no longer! I am working on some updates for you. I have been extremely busy trying to finish everything that has to be done before I head out for my family vacation to ... Disney World! Things have to be done at the office, things have to be done for the theater, and of course ... we are trying to take care of Otis. Otis returned to us on Saturday afternoon. I have pictures from his post-surgery crappy weekend -- and I do mean crappy -- but I have not downloaded them yet. So you'll just have to wait until I finish summarizing "The Return of Otis" and post the photos. I do want to thank all the folks who have extended their best wishes for Otis' health (now please pray for his accuracy -- you'll understand that after I post the update).

Friday, June 17, 2005

Friday Pet Blogging | Milo Missing His Brother

It has been almost a week since Milo last saw his brother, Otis, who went to the emergency room last Saturday with a blocked urinary tract. From the ER, Otis went to our vet on Monday and awaited surgery to deal with his condition (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease). As you can tell, Milo misses his brother terribly. Typically a quiet cat, Milo has become more and more talkative as the week progressed. Mrs. Brainwise and I recognize the plaintive mews as his "Brother, where are you?" call. It's so sad, but Otis should be home soon. Mrs. Brainwise saw him last night and said he is doing well.

She also said that Milo will probably laugh at his brother's shaved butt.

The Modulator has a compilation of today's pet posts from other bloggers. Previous Milo & Otis appearances on Prophet or Madman are indexed here ... just in case you missed one. And do keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of the Carnival of the Cats, served fresh every Sunday.

photo taken with my Treo 600 on June 17, 2005

Condi, Please be Charitable

via TimesOnline.co.uk:
Condoleezza Rice Plays Piano for Charity Condoleezza Rice, who took her first piano lesson at the age of three and was a would-be concert pianist in her teens, played in front of a packed theatre at the weekend to raise awareness of a rare and life-threatening disease. The US Secretary of State accompanied a 21-year-old soprano who had pulmonary hypertension, a lung disease, diagnosed a little more than a year ago. Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick sang as Dr Rice played selections by Verdi, Mozart and Jerome Kern. [full story]
Hey, Condi. If you really want to do something charitable, just resign your post in the Bush Administration. Oh, and encourage some of your colleagues to do likewise. Then you can go and play piano as often as you like, instead of shilling lies for Dubya.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Quotable

an open quoteOne of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say. -- Will Durant (1885 - 1981) Oh, if only GWB would have spent the better part of his presidency saying nothing (he would seem so much wiser) and doing nothing (this country would have a lot less stress without him mucking about in things he understands very little).

More Peace Loving Than Thou

Bwah hah haaaa! Click for the full comic. Prelude to a Blood Bath, indeed!
Originally posted June 16, 2005.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

"Nothing Interesting to Report"

That was the vet's summation of Otis' surgery today: "Nothing interesting to report." And, believe me, that's a good thing. Otis will need to stay at the clinic for another two or three days just so he can be monitored -- and so he has time to get used to using his, um, new plumbing. Mrs. Brainwise will visit him after work tonight. Related Entries:
  1. Friday, April 15: Hush
  2. Monday, May 9: Traveling Otis
  3. Friday, June 3: Cool Otis
  4. Monday, June 13: Blocked Kitty Blues
  5. Tuesday, June 14: Otis and Oscar Meyer

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Rabble Babble

I heard about this on NPR during my lunch break... Herman Miller, manufacturers of fine office cubicles, is branching out into high tech equipment for those same offices. The first product from the fertile minds of their Creative Offices division is called Babble (official press release).
"Say 'Hello' to my little ... Babble."
Babble is a conversation masker. It listens to speech, and then repeats the conversation in multiplied and "babbled" form through proprietary speakers arranged in the work area. A conversation between two people will sound like a small crowd in a busy restaurant. The idea here is that our minds are distracted not by noise but by meaning. And Babble strips all meaning away. There is nothing to grab your mind -- it's the vocal equivalent of white noise. Herman Miller states that Babble can be used not only for sound management but also for privacy. In fact, their press release claims Babble is a breakthrough technology that provides voice confidentiality and security of information. I wouldn't mind having one in my office, where heated,technical discussions occur on a frequent basis. And since I work in a cube farm, it would be nice to mask personal phone calls (both my own, and those of my neighbors). But I really want to get my hands on one of these things and experiment with sound effects for the theater. Read more about Babble:

Otis and the Oscar Meyer Wiener Song (An Update on His Condition)

Mrs. Brainwise and I met with the vet last night to discuss Otis' treatment options in his ongoing battle against Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), formerly known as FUS (Feline Urologic Syndrome). As I mentioned yesterday, we knew he was a candidate for the surgical procedure called a perineal urethrostomy (more specifics on that later). What I did not know at the time was that the surgery is our only option. Well, OK, we really have two options:
  1. Do the surgery now, or
  2. Keep him on meds for a while and do the surgery later (within a month).
Since he ultimately has to have the surgery, we opted to not delay it. A perineal urethrostomy is a surgial procedure that removes the narrow part of the urethra that is usually the focus of the blockage. More specifically, the surgery enlarges the urethral opening by shortening the male penis and removing the poor guy's wiener and re-routing the urethra to create a wider urine canal. You can find more information about this procedure, and the disorder in general, at the following pages: This morning, Mrs. Brainwise told me that she had the Oscar Meyer song going through her head, and that she tried to change it for Otis. Immediately, I came up with these lyrics:
"Otis' Pre-Surgery Song" (or "The Further Emasculation of an Already Neutered Cat") Sung -- from Otis' perspective -- to the tune of the Oscar Meyer Wiener Song Oh, I wish I didn't have to lose my wiener A boy cat is what I truly love to be But since the doctor's gonna take my wiener Just like a girl cat I will have to pee.
That's not exactly what she had in mind, but we got a good chuckle out of it. I leave you with some photos of Otis at the vet. We were able to spend some time with him after speaking with the vet. Click for larger image (with brief descriptions):
Update 4:25pm: Surgery has been postponed. There was a surgical emergency today (another critter, not Otis). It took up most of the day and the vet does not want to be tired when he performs Otis' procedure. So ... maybe tomorrow. We have been told that Otis is fine and we can even visit him this evening if we want.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Help Me Vapor Wan Kenobi

Remember that scene in Star Wars (1977), in which the robot R2-D2 projects a 3-D image of Princess Leia begging Obi-Wan Kenobi for help ("Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi ...")? Well, this may not be portable holography but it sure is cool. news@nature.com reports that inventors have developed a display made from a curtain of mist. It is somewhat similar to a public lightshow display, but in this case the sheet is made of fog. From news@nature.com:
The FogScreen uses ceiling-mounted air jets to create a vertical, turbulence-free slice of air a few centimetres thick, into which a fine mist of water is pumped. An ordinary projector can be used to display images on the resulting wall of fog.
Users can even click on an element in the display. As a user pokes his or her finger into the display, the surface of the fog is interrupted and laser beams scanning the surface of the FogScreen can detect where the "click" occurred.

Blocked Kitty Blues

Click photo for previous entry on this topic
Well, Otis had to return to the ER over the weekend because he was blocked again. Mrs. Brainwise transported him to our regular vet this morning, and I am awaiting word on his condition, but I do know that he is now a candidate for the surgical option of treating FLUTD (Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease). During her morning surfing, Mrs. Brainwise found this wonderful site: which she summarizes thusly:
"It is a story (from a cat's point of view) on this surgery. It also has some good links for the actual specifics about the surgery in the first section if you are interested (but I would not recommend ... click[ing] on the second link as they are not wrong about the photos -- it is graphic). You also don't have to read the whole thing BUT you do have to read the end section - it explains it all."
I concur. And I feel horrible because Mrs. Brainwise had to deal with this practically all by herself. I was on the run constantly this weekend with shows (two musical productions, "The Jungle Book" and "Friends Forever") as well as a workshop. Fortunately, Mrs. Brainwise's mother had come for a visit and to spend more time with the cats since she will be watching them when we go on vacation. (Boy, did she get the full experience or what?) Please, keep our furbaby in your thoughts if you have the time. His brother, Milo, misses him terribly. We all want him home, healthy and whole, as soon as possible.

Quotable

The image “http://www.brainwise.org/Images/quoteOpen.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.No one can turn you completely upside down and inside out. You must accept yourself as you are, instead of as you would like to be, which means giving up self-deception and wishful thinking. -- Chogyam Trungpa

Friday, June 10, 2005

Friday Rosebud Blogging | Drops

Courtesy of Mrs. Brainwise ... and our little rose garden

Friday Pet Blogging | Milo Addict

"Let me get my claws into that mag ... I gotta see those tips!"
Milo shows how he tames the new OS X operating system. Of course, an intelligent orange cat like Milo would be a Mac fan.

The Modulator has a compilation of today's pet posts from other bloggers. Previous Milo & Otis appearances on Prophet or Madman are indexed here ... just in case you missed one. And do keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of the Carnival of the Cats, served fresh every Sunday.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Beethoven Experience on BBC

Beethoven
Download all nine of Beethoven's symphonies here the day after they are broadcast. All the symphonies are performed by BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Five symphonies posted so far ... Only four more to go. Gotta collect 'em all!

The Last of the Rens

Blackfives.com has a must-read reprint of Steve Rushin's SI column about Basketball Hall-of-Fame candidate, John Isaacs, formerly of the New York Renaissance (known as The Rens):
It's a great piece that gives a little insight into what basketball was like during the latter half of the 1930s. It also provides some insight into a man of whom Rushin writes:
But then the last of the Rens, the team that is credited with inventing the motion offense, has always given more than he's taken from basketball. "I think each of us is put on this planet for a reason,” he says, strolling across 125th Street in Harlem. “Some are great visionaries – everyone knows about them – but some are hardly recognized. They just do what they do in the community.” John Isaacs is one of the latter. But everyone ought to know about him. And we still can. On April 4, the Basketball Hall of Fame will announce its 2005 inductees. Isaacs is on the veterans' ballot. If he doesn't get elected, he'll be none the poorer. "I don't need anyone patting me on the shoulder,” he says. It's the rest of us who'll be diminished.
The article was posted 03-18-2005 and was at the top of the list on the day I made this entry.

Quotable

The image “http://www.brainwise.org/Images/quoteOpen.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Seeing misery in views and opinions, without adopting any, I found inner peace and freedom. One who is free does not hold to views or dispute opinions. For a sage there is no higher, lower, nor equal, no places in which the mind can stick. But those who grasp after views and opinions only wander about the world annoying people. -- The Sutta Nipata The Sutta Nipata ("The Sutta Collection") is the fifth book of the Khuddaka Nikaya. It consists of 71 short suttas divided into five chapters. You can read selected suttas, translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, here. This site features sutta passages that originally appeared in John Ireland's The Discourse Collection: Selected Texts from the Sutta Nipata. This page gives a good overview of Buddhist Literature and where the Sutta Nipata fits into the overall picture.

Brother Nuclear Option

Today's Non Sequitur cartoon would be funnier ... if it wasn't so close to the truth!
Non Sequitur Cartoon for 06-09-2005 That big guy in back is making me nervous!
Who is that "big guy"? He is Brother Nuclear Option. What does he do? He is the go-to-guy for dealing with difficult converts. He's alot of fun at parties ... confirmation hearings ... divorce decrees ... the playground ... etc. Ucomics.com only provides the last week's worth of funnies for free, so I have archived the comic here.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Quotable

The image “http://www.brainwise.org/Images/quoteOpen.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Human affairs are like a chess-game: only those who do not take it seriously can be called good players. Life is like an earthen pot: only when it is shattered, does it manifest its emptiness.

- Hung Tzu-ch'eng (1593-1665)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Sole to Soul?

Georg over at Running Scared posted a link to In-Souls, which are (xtian) inspirational shoe inserts. That's right, we're talking Dr. Scholl's for your soul:
In-Souls™ inserts are designed to provide a tangible support to assist Christians to literally "walk in the word of the Lord." Worn in the right shoe, each one provides a related scripture and affirmation. To enhance the spiritual walk with God, the inserts help one to "stand" on His Word, meditating on it day and night. Inserts may be alternated daily to help cultivate the word of God in your life. Look for other In-Souls sets to cover a variety of topics – from trust, obedience, patience and redemption to marriage, work and body image.
"Worn in the right shoe..." Hmmmm. Can't exactly "walk in the word of the Lord" if your left foot is left to wallow in a secular shoe all by its lonesome, can ya? Maybe you're supposed to hop on one foot? And what about left-handed people -- most left-handed people are also left-legged (er, left-footed), so I don't see how this insert -- which is focused on the lefties' non-dominant foot -- would really help them.

Ooooooh. Monogramed, too!

What's really funny is how much this reminds me of the ritual of boku-maru from Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle:

John found his room to his satisfaction, but the bathroom lacked toilet paper. When he wandered about the empty embassy looking for a chambermaid, he came upon two workers sitting on the ground with the soles of their feet pressed together. They begged him not to tell anyone because they would be punished with the hook. John had come upon the Bokononist ritual of boku-maru. [Cat's Cradle, Chapters 56-72]
Ahhhhh, yes. I remember it well. Lovely, lovely boku-maru. You see, Bokonists believe "it is impossible to be sole-to-sole with another person without loving that person, provided the feet of both persons are clean and nicely tended." "Sole to sole, and soul to soul," I think there is a Bokonist calypso like that. I cannot find a link to support my fickle memory. But I did find the following links to entertain you (in case you have never read Cat's Cradle):

Monday, June 06, 2005

D-Day Blogging

Today is the 61st anniversary of D-Day. On June 6, 1944, the Battle of Normandy began — commencing the British, American, and Canadian liberation efforts of mainland Europe from Nazi occupation during World War II [wikipedia article]. World War II veterans, their family members, and dignitaries from around the world gathered in Normandy for a dozen or so ceremonies to honor the sacrifices of Allied soldiers who died in those D-Day landings. No matter how much I read about it, no matter how many movies or documentaries I watch (or listen to, if it's just audio), I will never be able to understand what those men went through. But I can appreciate it. In honor of the brave men who stormed the beaches of Normandy 61 years ago, I am posting not my own words or artwork, but the works of a few other people whose memorial efforts have touched me.
----------------------------
Let Them In

Let them in, Peter, 
They are very tired
Give them couches where the angels sleep 
And light those fires

Let them wake whole again
To brand new dawns
Fired with the sun 
Not wartime's bloody guns

May their peace be deep
Remember where the broken bodies lie
God knows how young they were
To have to die
God knows how young they were to have to die

Give them things they like
Let them make some noise
Give roadhouse bands, not golden harps
To these our boys

And let them love, Peter
'Cause they've had no time
They should have trees and bird songs
And hills to climb

The taste of summer in a ripened pear
And girls sweet as meadow winds
With flowing hair

Tell them how they are missed 
And say not to fear
It's gonna be alright 
With us down here

Let them in, Peter...
Let Them In was made into song by John Gorka from a poem found in a hospital in the Philippines during World War II. The nurse that found the poem kept it all these years until the recent war brought out all the memorabilia. Luckily, her daughter sent a copy to John. John Gorka recorded the song on his 2001 album, "The Company You Keep" [Amazon link]. Listen to an audio snippet of his recording here [Windows Media File]. David Wilcox and Edwin McCain have also recorded version of the song. Here is Edwin McCain's version [.wav file].
----------------------------
Michael Jantze, creator of The Norm cartoon strip, memorialized his own grandfather in a strip he made for the 60th D-Day anniversary:


All might and main to the valiant D-Day soldier's families. And to the families of all veterans on this day. I stand in awe of each and every one of you.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Doesn't This Just Say It All?

Born Loser comic -- Watching News w/o Sound

Well, hey, if Dubya's on the screen, I have to turn the sound off. I become intensely sick whenever I hear a public official mangle the English language so frequently and effortlessly.

Email-gelicals

Ah, yes. A little spam, flavored with that old-time religion.

Clicky for full comic

Well, at least it wasn't a direct mail glossy or a Jack Chick tract! It's so much easier to delete the email. Of course ... burning Jack Chick tracts can be mighty satisfying.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Friday Pet Blogging | Climbing a Stairway ... to Milo

And we're watch-atch-ing... a stare-are-way ... with Milo

With all the attention Otis has received due to his illness, you might think we only have one cat. Not true! Milo returns to Friday Pet Blogging with this ... thoughtful ... pose.

I wish I remembered what he was looking at.

The Modulator has a compilation of today's pet posts from other bloggers. Previous Milo & Otis appearances on Prophet or Madman are indexed here ... just in case you missed one. And do keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of the Carnival of the Cats, served fresh every Sunday.

Friday Pet Blogging | Cool Otis

The Legendary Air Conditioner Sitter

And now ... for an update on Otis ...

Well, Otis seems to be doing better. I mean, he had no trouble getting on top of the air conditioner. His food and water intake are both normalizing. And, the two biggest indicators of normalcy occurred this week:

  1. He started lounging with Mrs. Brainwise again, and ...
  2. He started wrestling with his brother again ... and the little runt is winning.

Photo taken 05-30-2005.

The Modulator has a compilation of today's pet posts from other bloggers. Previous Milo & Otis appearances on Prophet or Madman are indexed here ... just in case you missed one. And do keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of the Carnival of the Cats, served fresh every Sunday.

Film Meme Blogging

Mira d'Oubliette tagged me with a film meme last week (05/26/2005). I am only now getting around to it. I'll do my best with the questions. 1. Total number of films I own on DVD/video:
Mrs. Brainwise and I jointly own around 54 DVD/videos. This does not count concert videos ... or my Batman films. Adding those in would raise the total closer to 70.
2. The last film I bought:

I think the last film I bought was Spiderman 2 on DVD. Good deal, too, as I recall.

3. The last film I watched:
When I received Mira's email, the last film I had watched was The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. But after the Memorial Day Weekend, I have now added Spiderman 2 (via DVD) and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith to my viewed list.
4. Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me:
In no particular order...

The meme doesn't require or request explanations, but permit me to break from the meme just for a moment. I had such a difficult time picking only five movies (and one might say I failed), but the films that make up my 3-way tie are all deeply entwined because of watching them with my father.

I want to give the following flicks an Honorable Mention...

5. Tag 5 people and have them put this in their journal/blog:
OK. I choose the following. You've been tagged, folks. Get busy!

Store Wars: The Organic Rebellion

via Storewars.org

Clever Flash send-up of the Dark Side of Agribusiness, starring Cuke Skywalker, Obi Wan Canoli, and Princess Lettuce. Pass it along to unconscious food shoppers in your area. [View It]

May the Farm be with you.

Friday Megalith Blogging

From Wikipedia:
A megalith is a large stone which has been used to construct a structure or monument either alone or with other stones. Megalithic means made of such stones, but without the use of mortar or cement. The word megalith comes from the Ancient Greek megas meaning large, and lithos meaning stone.
From Columcille:

"Manannan," named for the mighty Irish Sea God, is the tallest stone at Columcille (20 feet high!)

Definitions are handy, but they don't always convey the full sense of the defined. You know what I mean? The above photo was taken at Columcille Megalith Park and Celtic Art Center on May 14. Columcille is located between Bangor and East Stroudsburgh, PA. I have a buncho of pics from my May 15 visit posted to my Flickr account. Or, to see all the thumbnails in one blast, just surf on over to my A Visit to Columcille page. Scroll down to the "Megaliths and Other Structures" heading.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005