Monday, January 30, 2006

Quotable

open quoteI have realized that the past and the future are real illusions, that they exist only in the present, which is what there is and all there is. -- Alan Watts

Thursday, January 26, 2006

(Almost) Friday Pet Blogging | Long Day

Can you tell what this is:

Hmmm, let's see...
  1. There's a metal table -- with a lift, no less.
  2. Plain walls.
  3. Roll of paper towls.
  4. Bundle of blankets on the table.
  5. Feels maybe a tad confining in this room.
Oh my Gods! Milo had to go to the emergency vet again!

Milo blocked on the way home Thursday night. For the uninitiated, that means he wanted to pee -- but couldn't. And a urinary blockage can be fatal for cats. What an unbelievable ending for his long day. On top of fasting (Milo couldn't have food from 11pm Wed night up to his Thur 5pm appt); being driven all across Bucks county (oh, and crapping on the way) to the only board-certified, specialist radiologist; getting shaved for the ultrasound; learning that indeed a PU surgery was in his future; and then making the long trek back home ... Milo had to be catheterized as well. You see, we were on our way home from having tests done to determine what is at the root of the recurring bacterial infection that causes Milo's urinary problems -- the results of said tests, as I mentioned earlier, confirm that Milo will need the PU surgery just like his brother, Otis, had last year -- and his urinary tract became blocked. Well, we weren't certain he was blocked, but we knew something was wrong. We could tell he was trying to pee. So we pulled over and checked him out to see if he had done anything. He had not peed ... but he had left a few spots of blood on the carrier floor. Good thing we were driving right by the emergency vet, huh? Milo was there from 6:30pm through about 10:00pm -- that's gotta be a record, even for us. Of course, we just dropped by without a phone call, so they were unprepared for us. Tommorow, Mrs. Brainwise will talk to our regular vet and schedule Milo's upcoming surgery.

More Pet Blogging
  1. See the Friday Ark, featuring a compilation of today's pet blogging posts, over at The Modulator.
  2. Check the M&O Archives for previous Milo & Otis appearances.
  3. Carnival of the Cats, coming at you every Sunday.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Squirrels?!?

Interesting weekend near the Motherwise-in-law's home. But this is the big news that hit the local paper:
I should mention that one of the "interesting" things that occured was ... gunfire! But I guess a little squirrel action is much more important news. That's right. It's almost as though they were saying: Rest easy everyone. Even though we won't tell you anything about the gunplay that occured practically in your backyard, aren't you glad you only have to worry about horny, not rapid, squirrels? Yeeesh!

Quotable | Attention

open quoteThe moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.
-- Henry Miller, American author (1891–1980). Of note: Miller’s first two works, Tropic of Cancer (Paris, 1934) and Tropic of Capricorn (Paris, 1939), were denied publication in the U.S. until the early 1960s because of "alleged obscenity." Apparently, some folks were focusing too much attention to some of Miller's confessional material. So we see that the States' puritanical and "holier than thou" campaigns keep coming around. Ah, the cycles of inanity.

Fruits Fighting Forgetfulness

From EurekAlert:

British Blackcurrants Beat Alzheimers' Public release date: 23-Jan-2006 "Compounds in blackcurrants could prevent Alzheimer's disease and the characteristics of British berries suggest they do it best…New research led by Dilip Ghosh of the Horticulture and Food Research Institute in New Zealand, shows that compounds in blackcurrants have a potent protective effect in cultured neuronal cells against the types of stress caused by dopamine and amyloid-b, a peptide associated with Alzheimer's disease."

I wanted to make a comment about this story, but I cannot remember what it was.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Chinese Government on the Dover (ID) Verdict

Man, the Chinese are not only a burgeoning economic powerhouse, they're already ahead of the curve regarding Intelligent Design! The Chinese government, via the People's Daily Online (People's Daily, China) has weighed in on the Dover verdict. The concluding statement, in English:
"...not everyone agreed with the [Dover ID] ruling. One poll after another has shown that quite a few people really believe that God creates the world and the people in six days described in Genesis. Thus people don't think this ruling has ended the dispute for good. Although creationists will not stop here, they will surely fail in front of science."
Go check out the full piece: Is Intelligent Design Science?

Tickle U.

The psychology of tickling: The following quote comes from a Queen's University (Canada) press release about an article in PLoS Biology:
"'It's well-known that you can't tickle yourself … One explanation is that since all the sensations are completely predictable, we do "sensory attenuation" which reduces our touch perception.' Because people continually receive a barrage of sensory information, it's necessary to distinguish between what is caused by our own movements and what is due to changes in the outside world."
I'm betting that this "sensory attenuation" occurs in many other areas of life, too. Click to read the full Press Release and see pics of the Virtual Eye-Hand Coordination Laboratory.

Friday Pet Blogging | Update on Milo

Whew! What a week we've had. Or, rather, what a week Milo has had. You may recall that we had to run Milo to the emergency vet last Thursday night (Jan. 12). He was blocked, and he had to be catheterized. He spent two nights with the catheter, one night at the emergency vet (V.E.T.S.) and then the next night at our regular vet's office in Doylestown. Milo stayed at the Doylestown Animal Hospital for the whole weekend. I did get to visit him on Saturday afternoon, just before the catheter was removed. He was happy to see me, but tired of being poked and prodded:

Milo's Malady: "Sigh" ::: SIGH :::

Milo came home on Monday, January 16. Mrs. Brainwise swooped by on her way home from work. The PU surgery is not an option at this time because Milo's blockage -- or near blockage as the case had been prior to that weekend -- is always prefaced by some kind of infection. Usually a raging infection, in the words of our vet. The antibiotic Clavamox is usually prescribed. And, in general, it does a good job of beating the infection back. But because the infection does return, often within mere days of finishing the Clavamox, it is now apparent that this antibiotic does not eliminate the source of the infection. Of course, to do that, we need to know the specific bug that is, ahem, "bugging" our boy. But efforts to culture the bacteria from samples have come up empty. The thinking now is that the Clavamox beats the bacteria into a retreat, but then it lies low somewhere in Milo's body and waits for an opportune time to once again do its thing. In order to determine if this is the case, we need to take Milo to a radiologist for tests. But there is more than one way to do the screening, so we are waiting for our doc to speak with the local radiologist and choose the most effective test. As I said, Milo came home on Monday night. And, as per usual, he has a two week prescription for Clavamox. And he was doing fine. Just fine. But you knew there would be a wrinke, right? Wednesday evening, I am on my way home following a chiro appointment, and I finally notice that Mrs. Brainwise has tried to call my cell phone no less than three times. I don't see a message indicator (not just yet, anyway), so I quickly return the call. I get Mrs. Brainwise on the line, and she says she is at the vet's office ... again. And she says a few other things rather quickly. I am completely flummoxed ... because I have not listened to a message she left (and she thinks I have). Once I tell her that I only saw an indicator for three missed calls, and saw no message indicator, she briefly brings me up to speed before the doctor comes to speak with her. Milo peed ... in the litter box (well, that's good) ... and there was some blood (what?! oh my gods!!). She said he seemed fine afterward, and that there had been no straining or complaining when he was in the box. But she did call the vet (of course). When she supplied this latest news, the receptionist understandably told her to come on down. She did not have to bring Milo with her. But she was going to meet with Dr. Ran, who was probably going to change Milo's prescription. Mrs. Brainwise then had to get off the line because the vet was ready. I got home before Mrs. Brainwise, and I saw Milo under the "living room" blanket -- something he rarely does, but he did seem to be a little chillier than his norm:

Milo: Still a sick boy

We do have a new prescription to fight the infection (the name escapes me). Now, instead of two pills per day, he needs to get two pills in the morning, and once again in the evening. No word yet on when the radiologist will be testing him. He seems to be more or less OK. He is eating and drinking regularly. He is playing. He is not complaining, as far as we can tell (he is a quiet boy). The only issue since Wednesday is that he does not seem to have used the litter box at all yesterday. And he is regularly quite ... um ... regular. Please, keep your fingers crossed for a positive, and healthy outcome.

More Pet Blogging
  1. See the Friday Ark, featuring a compilation of today's pet blogging posts, over at The Modulator.
  2. Check the M&O Archives for previous Milo & Otis appearances.
  3. Carnival of the Cats, coming at you every Sunday.

Friday Pet Blogging | Separated at Birth?

Tiger at Mexico City's Chapultepec Zoo ...
(San Francisco Gazette - SFGate.com)
Otis, in my dining room ...

Rowr!  (The Closeup) "Give me the freakin' feathers!!"

I dunno about you, but I sure see a resemblance.

More Pet Blogging
  1. See the Friday Ark, featuring a compilation of today's pet blogging posts, over at The Modulator.
  2. Check the M&O Archives for previous Milo & Otis appearances.
  3. Carnival of the Cats, coming at you every Sunday.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bishop Spong on "Death with Dignity"

The following statement was made regarding the Supreme Court's decision in the case of Gonzales vs. the State of Oregon.

open quoteAffirming choice as a human right at the last phase of life requires a shift in thinking about death. Death is not evil or sinful; rather, it is as natural as our birth. Each of life's stages, including the last, must be embraced with vigor.

I challenge those who see the Supreme Court's decision as a harbinger of abuse – who imagine scenarios of state-ordered executions of the elderly or health maintenance organizations curtailing medical payments until a quick death is achieved. The risk of abuse can be eliminated by investing this life-and-death decision solely with the affected individual. Results of Oregon's seven-year experience with the aid-in-dying law show NO evidence of abuse.

The right to a good death is a basic human freedom. The Supreme Court's decision to uphold aid in dying allows us to view and act on death as a dignified moral and godly choice for those suffering with terminal illnesses.

-- Bishop John Shelby Spong

You can read the whole piece here.

Top 100 Chuck Norris Facts

The full list is just too long to post in its entirety. But here is a taste of it, and a nudge in the right direction to read the rest of it. Nice job, eBay user aspang1!
Top 100 Chuck Norris Facts
  1. Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried. Ever.
  2. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
  3. Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.
  4. The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.
  5. If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris, you may be only seconds away from death.
  6. Chuck Norris has counted to infinity. Twice.
  7. Chuck Norris does not hunt because the word hunting implies the probability of failure. Chuck Norris goes killing.
  8. Chuck Norris doesn’t wash his clothes, he disembowels them.
  9. Chuck Norris is 1/8th Cherokee. This has nothing to do with ancestry, the man ate a f***ing Indian.
  10. In fine print on the last page of the Guinness Book of World Records it notes that all world records are held by Chuck Norris, and those listed in the book are simply the closest anyone else has ever gotten.
  11. There is no chin behind Chuck Norris' beard. There is only another fist.
  12. Chuck Norris once roundhouse kicked someone so hard that his foot broke the speed of light, went back in time, and killed Amelia Earhart while she was flying over the Pacific Ocean.
  13. Crop circles are Chuck Norris' way of telling the world that sometimes corn needs to lie the f*** down.
  14. Chuck Norris is ten feet tall, weighs two-tons, breathes fire, and could eat a hammer and take a shotgun blast standing.
  15. The Great Wall of China was originally created to keep Chuck Norris out. It failed misserably.
  16. If you ask Chuck Norris what time it is, he always says, "Two seconds 'til." After you ask, "Two seconds 'til what?" he roundhouse kicks you in the face.
  17. Chuck Norris drives an ice cream truck covered in human skulls.
  18. Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse-kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.
  19. There is no theory of evolution, just a list of creatures Chuck Norris allows to live.
  20. Chuck Norris once ate three 72 oz. steaks in one hour. He spent the first 45 minutes having sex with his waitress.
  21. Chuck Norris is the only man to ever defeat a brick wall in a game of tennis.
  22. ...
Check the comments for the rest of the list. Really, go ahead and click the COMMENTS link, or just go to the source. _____________________ Update (02-14-2006): Spreadshirt.com and Chuck Norris himself have teamed to bring you...
Use it wisely!

Quotable | Ordinary

open quoteWhen you buy something that has assembly instructions, you follow the directions, but you do not then venerate the instructions. Spiritual attainment is no different. Once you've gained it, instructions become secondary. Spirituality gained is no different than the ball game you play, the work you do, the car you drive, the love you make. If you constantly regard Tao [or the divine as you know it] as extraordinary, then it remains unknown and outside yourself -- a myth, a fantasy, an unnameable quantity. But once you know it, it is yours and part of your daily life. --Deng Ming Dao

Anonymous?

What if all of the sacred scriptures of the world were signed: An aspect of Divinity or Anonymous? For that matter ... what if anything we ever read, anywhere, was simply signed, Anonymous? How then would an individual approach the material? What a challenge for one's discernment skills!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Quotable | The Search

open quoteThe search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.
-- Walker Percy (1916 - 1990), American author and "philosophical novelist" It seems to me that Percy implies a search lends some form of exhilaration to life. That this search is something of a healing balm against life-deadening "everydayness." But I just cannot shake the feeling that the search itself begets despair. Perhaps this only happens when the search is simpy an intellectual exercise that never feeds the soul. If knowledge is the only goal, and there is no sense of joining in the mystery. Does your search feed your soul?

Friday, January 13, 2006

By The Way ... More Blocked Kitty Blues

I cannot believe I forgot to post the latest Milo news in today's Cat Blogging post (Under). So I'll post it now before I head out for the weekend. It finally happened. Milo blocked. In past incidents, he had only partially blocked, and was able to work things out on his own (or have his bladder expressed by a nice doctor at the Emergency Vet). But yesterday ... that trend came to an end. He seemed to be straining in the morning, but then shrugged it off. Well, not completely ... he did have a slight incident of crapping outside the box (I guess that might be called stinkin' thinkin' ... maybe not). And a few days ago, he did pee outside the litter box -- but inside a cardboard box. So much for one of Otis' favorite toys. But I digress. Last night, Otis was a bit more aggressive toward his brother than usual. And it took me a few clashes to realize it, but each time I broke up a confrontation, Milo would scamper off and then stand in place for a while. Unmoving. Because he was squatting, trying to relieve himself. Well, he already had some meds in him (for infection and urinary issues), so we placed a call to the emergency room. Um, they know us by now -- and they know Milo by name. 10:30pm last night, we arrive at the emergency room. Milo is admitted. And blockage is confirmed with a quick diagnosis. Milo had to stay overnight and be catheterized.

Milo resting in his fancy suite at Bucks County V.E.T.S.

This morning, Mrs. Brainwise had to move him from the emergency vet to our regular vet. For more testing and observation. We are thinking that Milo may be going down the same road has his brother -- he may need to have the nifty surgery that Otis endured last June. But, hey, if it helps and cuts down on these little trips, it's fine by me. We'll find the money ... somehow. Anyway, the vet called Mrs. Brainwise about an hour ago. He had not completed Milo's urinalysis yet -- he was doing it at that time. We need results from that test to determine when Milo can come home. At this time, we are hoping for tomorrow afternoon, and the doc does not think it is time for surgery yet. But it sure seems like we are getting close to it. Update: 01/20/2006

Quotable | Who You Are Is Active

open quotePeople want so much. We want to be someone else. 'I want to be stronger.' 'I want to be more directed.' 'I want to be superwoman. But it’s not possible. You must accept your condition. But “accept” is active. Who you are is active. Passive acceptance—that’s the immobile, inanimate Zen. It’s not the Zen I’m talking about. There’s passion here. Spirit for the quest. This is important: the sincerity of our quest and how we go about it. It’s a long path. Are you prepared? Do you want to walk on this path? Don’t think about it too much. Just walk! C’mon, let’s go! That’s Zen.
-- Jakusho Kwong, Zen master and author You can replace Kwong's Zen with something like Tao, of course. Or, if you are unfamiliar (or uncomfortable) with Eastern terms, use something like Presence, or Being. Now consider ... is there truly something such as immobile, inanimate Being as opposed to passionate, active Being? You betcha! If you are just surviving, you are living in the inanimate Being. If you are striving to thrive, then you are moving in the passionate Being. Take an inventory today ... are you walking the path, or passed out in a rut?

Friday Pet Blogging | Under

The Pet Blogging Word-Of-The-Day is ...
un·der preposition The image “http://www.brainwise.org/Images/UnderPhonetic.png” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. [phonetic pronunciation guide]
There are several definitions for under, and they depend upon usage. For today, in dealing with under as a preposition, we will focus on the following definitions:
  • In a lower position than or place than: a rug under a chair.
  • To or into a lower position or place than: rolled the ball under the couch.
  • Beneath the surface of: under the ground; swam under water.

Milo, Otis ... can you boys demonstrate?

Very good, Milo! You are under Big Ben's jersey.

Very clever, Otis. You skitted under the tree skirt.

Thanks for visiting Prophet or Madman, kids. Can you use today's preposition in a sentence correctly? I knew you could!

More Pet Blogging
  1. See the Friday Ark, featuring a compilation of today's pet blogging posts, over at The Modulator.
  2. Check the M&O Archives for previous Milo & Otis appearances.
  3. Carnival of the Cats, coming at you every Sunday.

Monday, January 09, 2006

You're I.T.! (as in "Interstellar Tag")

Via MSNBC.com...
Deep-space ‘laser tag’ sets a record Mercury probe involved in longest-range laser communications By Ker Than Updated: 2:32 p.m. ET Jan. 5, 2006
Artist's impression of MESSENGER in orbit around Mercury. Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/CIW Photo Source: Space.com | Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/CIW
In a cosmic version of laser tag, NASA’s Messenger spacecraft and an Earth-based observatory successfully exchanged laser pulses with each other while millions of miles apart. The feat sets a new record for laser transmission in space, a process which may one day be used to communicate across interplanetary distances and provide scientists with a powerful tool to measure the movement of planets and test fundamental principles in physics...
That would make one heckuva laser pointer. [Full Article] [Messenger Info]* *The spacecraft, not a web app.

Koan

open quoteI have something.
When you look at it, it’s there, but when you look for it, it’s not. What is it?