Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Wish Us Well! MRI Down, Follow Up w/ Doc

Well, the Mongrel Mistress had her MRI yesterday. Today we take the films to the Neuro Opthamologist for our follow up.

While much of the pain has subsided, my wife still has vision issues in her eye. She's got double vision, and a lack of clarity in the affected eye.

We'd hoped the steroid treatment would have fixed everything, but it hasn't. Don't know if we need to be more patient, or if the treatment was as successful as anticipated.

Basically, we're frustrated, emotionally exhausted, etc...

And yesterday, my son picked the time ot play hide-n-seek in the morning hours before school. We couldn't find him. Not fair considering that my love has poorer eyesight now.


MRI was negative for any major complications. So, all we 'have' to do is sit around and wait. Not an easy thing to do. If, in a couple of weeks, things aren't better, we'll return for more medication. Joy. But, thankfully the best scenario - short of everything becoming normal tomorrow - was envisioned. We don't do well with the 'hurry up and wait' routine.

Ray Nagin on NBC Today... and his wardrobe

What is he wearing on TV? He's got on military fatigues, 4 stars on his colar, a billboard full of ribbons over his heart. Is he some leader of the New Orleans local militia? Does he hold a National Guard position (and if so, why wasn't he activated?) Is he trying to show solidarity with our troops? Or what?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Little Hi, Little Low

I'm still weirded out everytime I remember that Dr. House is Mr. Little from Stuart Little. And now I'm watching him in the remake of Flight of the Pheonix. Dude.

More on Silverbacks Soccer Stadium

In this week's Score Atlanta, see page 28.

Thanks to Lori Markowitz for the article and bigger thanks to Michael Oki, John Latham, Boris Jerkunica and Stephen Pratten for making this possible for Atlanta.

Bill Campbell Prosecution Wraps Up

Former Atlanta Mayer, Bill Campbell, is being prosecuted in Federal Court for bribery and corruption. This is the mayor that let Atlanta's crumbling sewer system fall into complete disrepair, made a flea market out of the Olympics, and ran the city government like a jobs program for friends and political allies. Not so unusual, but disappointing anyway.

I really don't care what happens to the guy. I don't like him, but his tenure is over. If he's guilty, I hope he gets punished. But the damage has long been done. His trial won't change anything. Maybe, just maybe it'll serve as a warning to current and future city leaders/employees.

But I'm not holding my breath. It's one of the reasons I don't live within the city of Atlanta.

Outsourcing: Awesome IT News

Via Jason at Counter Column, A 'phenomenon' called Farmshoring is taking root within our borders.

Instead of outsourcing to India, place your IT Call Center in rural America, (or why not small cities like Macon or Augusta?) that need good paying jobs, but can be paid less than what a worker in Silcon Valley or NY would go for. Part of that is the reason I have job in Atlanta. My company is located here and our wages are less than your typical West Coast development center.

I for one would like to work remotely in rural America as long as I've got a broadband connection and access to cable TV that'll net me some prime international soccer matches. Sorry ESPN2, I love you but, you don't meet my requirements for my addiction often enough.

I would happily relocate north of the Gnat Line, say somewhere in the Ga Mountains or the Piedmont and push the company's bits around for less money. I don't have to work in a tall shiny tower of glass that costs us an arm and a leg to lease, not to mention, it's barely adequate in meeting the infrastructure needs for an IT workshop.

I plan to talk more about outsourcing, especially as it involves my company, but haven't taken the time nor had the energy to devote to it.

Stay tuned.

(Edit - Outsoucing. Is that like going out for drinks and getting soused? Spelling corrected. My spelling wench was tied up and unavailabe for proofing duties at the original time of publishing.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My Idea of Reality TV

Fuji's "Viking" to Debut on America's ESPN 2

Japan's top-rated TV network FUJI TELEVISION joins forces with ESPN, the world's premiere sports channel, to bring "VIKING: THE ULTIMATE OBSTACLE COURSE CHALLENGE" to US viewers.

Produced by Japan's top sports-variety producer Ushio Higuchi, "VIKING" features a series of grueling obstacle courses designed to test the outer limits of human strength, speed, agility, and endurance.

Built around a maritime theme, the VIKING course resembles a giant pirate warship, full of ropes, wooden masts, and gigantic cannonballs. On the forbidding 1st Marine Stage (larger than a football field), 100 contestants navigate perilous obstacles such as the "Swing Mast," "Loading Dock," and "Captain's Cabin." Contestants who fail to overcome an obstacle plunge headlong into pools of water waiting below. Those few intrepid fighters who successfully complete the 1st Marine Stage proceed on to stages with gradually increasing levels of difficulty, culminating in the "Final Viking"
— the ultimate test of mind, body, and spirit.

Following in the footsteps of its incredibly successful "Iron Chef" franchise (aired in the US on The Food Network), Fuji Television continues its impressive track record of importing spectacular television entertainment from Japan to the United States. (I watch this)

6 x 30-min episodes of "VIKING: THE ULTIMATE OBSTACLE COURSE CHALLENGE" will premiere on ESPN2 beginning February 18, 2006.

VIKING is produced by Monster 9, in association with Fuji Television. The English-dubbed version is produced by Fujisankei Communications International.

Hooters Ain't Racy

According to the Georgia House.

Rep. Tommy Smith, R-Nicholls, had a pressing concern about the portion of the bill regarding adult entertainment billboards.

"You're not messing with Hooters are you?" Smith asked.

Rep. Dan Lakly, R-Peachtree City, said he opposed the bill as anti-business and anti-property rights. He said claims that the measure would harm the environment were overblown.

"People don't like billboards. Well you know what? Get over it," Lakly said.

Apparently, city boys don't just live in Atlanta. Anybody want to buy his neighbor's property and put up a really racy billboard on it? Howabout with lights and sounds and smells? Something to do with hairy beavers?

Got Gas?

Heating bills could rise under a bill approved in the (Georgia) House on Wednesday that would allow Atlanta Gas Light Co. to build a $300 million natural gas pipeline and bill customers pay for it.

I like the idea of a second gas line in the effect that we'd have a 'back-up' pipe line in case of any emergency. And, I assume that building of the new line will not begin today, therefore our gas rates won't rise just yet, during this difficult, post-Katrina, winter.

Hopefully, more gas supply in Georgia would pull prices down in Georgia, whose consumers tend to pay above the price of their Southern neighbors, but close to the average.

High heating costs have become a hot political topic this session. The first bill signed into law by Gov. Sonny Perdue this year slashed the state sales tax in half for a modest savings of about $6 on a $300 bill. Gas prices in Georgia have begun to creep back down. But critics say they remain among the highest in the nation.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Stuart Little 3 Racist?

Anyone else forsee problems with casting Wayne Brady as the voice behind the skunk in the new, straight to DVD Stuart Little movie?

Atlanta's Soccer Specific Stadium!

From an email that I received earlier today:

The Atlanta Silverbacks have unveiled plans for a 15,000-seat stadium, reconfirming that Atlanta Silverbacks Park is the premier soccer-specific facility in the region. Atlanta Silverbacks Park, located at Spaghetti Junction (I-85 and I-285), will undergo considerable construction in the coming months.

The four phase construction project will transform the park into the state’s finest soccer facility. The first phase began two years ago when the Silverbacks built two artificial turf fields and one grass field, state-of-the-art lighting and drainage systems, and parking. The rest of the recently unveiled plans call for three additional phases of construction: the second phase (scheduled to open June 3) will include a 3,000-seat stadium and a bar/restaurant; the third phase will include the expansion of the stadium to 7,500 seats, the addition of the health club and all its amenities, along with the relocation of the administrative headquarters for the Atlanta Silverbacks; the fourth phase calls for the addition of an upper deck that will increase the total capacity to 15,000-seats. The Atlanta Silverbacks Men and Women will play all their home games at the new stadium in the upcoming season.

The Director of Atlanta Silverbacks Park, Michael Oki, commented on the new project, “The goal for our long-term construction plan is to create a soccer-specific facility for the public to enjoy. During the first phase we accomplished our goal of creating a top-notch environment for the player, now we want to improve the atmosphere with the spectators in mind as well. With this new phase of development, we hope to create a complex that spectators, players, and coaches alike can enjoy.”

The new stadium will provide an atmosphere few soccer fans in the United States have an opportunity to experience. The world-class stadium will feature: individual seats which merge innovative artistic appearance with functionality; an elevated concourse enclosing the field – offering excellent vantage points; and many more services and facilities specifically created for the soccer fan.

In addition to the fans, the stadium caters to coaches and players as well, providing both with a top-of-the-line FieldTurf field, fully equiped locker rooms and extensive training rooms. With fans surrounding the field and only a few feet from the sidelines, the atmosphere in the stadium will surely provide a unique playing experience for all who step onto the field. Atlanta Silverbacks Park is quickly becoming known as a desired location for soccer organizations throughout the region and beyond, and the addition of the stadium will undoubtedly increase the drive to play at “the park”.

Oki expects the second phase of construction to be completed by June 2006, in time for the Atlanta Silverbacks Men’s and Women’s 2006 seasons. In total, the second phase of development will include the construction of the 3,000-seat stadium and bar/restaurant, the replacement of the grass field with an artificial field turf, and the construction of concessions, restrooms, and additional parking.

Several groups have collaborated on the more than $20-million project: Richard Taylor (Taylor Architecture) – Project Architect; Seth Ellington (Choate Construction) – Project Manager; James White (Breedlove Land Planning) – Civil Engineer; Matt Street (MZA Real Estate Services) - Development Manager.

For more information about the park, visit www.atlantasilverbacks.com/park

Monday, February 20, 2006

"Tag!" Not It on Playgrounds Anymore

While sitting in the IV ward, watching the wife milk some protein out of the cybertronic medical cow, Fox News ran a report on Tag! being outlawed in the Seattle school system.

Apparently kids were bullying others into playing. They'd *tag* an unenthusiastic peer and then the tagged would feel obliged to play. If you don't WANT to play tag, don't TAG anyone else. Trust me, the tag bullies won't be having any fun if you don't threaten to *tag* another.

And get this, a bunch of kids in the school signed a pettition to stop the game. No bullying, peer pressure or the like there I bet.

And why is *tag* so popular these days? Well, schools (under the threat of lawsuit) have removed the jungle gyms, the see-saws and swing sets. And organized sports, aka kick-ball and keep away are too competitive and favor the tall, strong and quick. And spying on the girls, playing soldier and throwing rocks at distant trees are just not kosher, 'PC' wise. Playing in the sand stirs up small airborne particulates that make an asthmatic's life experience less than optimal. Digging to China reduces property values in the third world.

And get this paraphrased quote, "TAG is still being played in Phys Ed but supervised with a Nerf! Ball(TM)" ? ? ? ?

Recess just isn't fun anymore.

Imagine this school's recess,
a recess with no fun,
No sand to speak of,
Above you only sky,

Imagine all the students,
rolling in viynl spheres.

Isolated from their peers,
No touching allowed,
Free from competition,
No kick-ball games too,
Imagine no friends,
in your recess ground...

Imagine no ball games,
No winners or losers,
No need for plans or scheming,
A childhood of safety,
Imagine all the children,
Shielded from life at school...

You may say they're cynical,
about the youth we had,
hope the kids could have ours,
And maybe even have some fun.

I wonder for how long my kids will have a geodaisic set of monkey bars, swing set, plastic & wood jungle gym and tree covered playground. Won't be long before they're playing on a recycled, non-allergenic, squishy foam rubber indoor playground, with no acute angles, no kinetic equipment, covered with an anti-bacterial, polarized, UV filtered dome.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Bleeding, Sucking Chest Wound

No, not another Mongrel medical emergency.

I was at a party hosted by an old friend and his family a while back. His oldest daughter had been playing with her agressive younger sister (you know, younguns compensating for their youth, perceived injustices and all that) and had been whacked on the arm with a piece of sporting equipment. She came crying to the door, seeking asylum from the fanatical youngling and appealled to the Secretary General of the House only to hear "If it's not a bleeding, sucking chest wound, I don't want to hear about it."

Bless her heart! <- and that's a story for different day

Ah, such love. Reminds me of the relationship with me and my children, or me and my parents. Warms my heart it does.

Well, we members of the Adult Politburo went back to our important duties of Gossip Intelligence, Chili Consumption and Gridiron Grousing when I spy through the glass portal, a freshly wounded oldest daughter, approaching our gates and wearing a face worthy of an Oscar. I'd just glimpsed the tail end of the affront, the previously mentioned bit of sports equipment had apparently come to a sudden stop upon the crown of her head.

I thus shout out to my familiar host, "Hear comes your bleeding, sucking chest wound." Not quite, but be careful what you ask for. :P

Friday, February 17, 2006

RetroBulbar Ocular Neuritis

The Mrs. has been fighting with this lately. We'd thought it was a nasty manifestation of a migraine, but with the discovery of a loss of peripheral vision, we ran back to the lab coats for more tests. Got an MRI on the way and likely an IV steroid treatment for most of next week. There goes her Olympic aspirations.

This is only affecting one eye, so we kind of have to walk up and down an aisle at the grocery store twice. Otherwise, we miss a whole half of the aisle. :P

Glad we've got a diagnosis. And a plan. Hated the wild guessing as to what the problem was, if it would ever go away, and how it would be remedied/treated... if left untreated, blindness will result.

Well due to her lack of visual clarity, I've been driving Miss Daisy all week. Happily I might add, despite the inconvenience to my personal desires & schedule.

I figure it just means that she won't be able to keep up with how old, ugly and fat I'm getting in my old age. I'm almost 50% more handsome that I was previously.

Fear the Govt. ...

that fears your dildo.

Feb. 15th - the US 11th Circuit Appeals Court struck down a Georgia law seeking to legislate sexual morality. HT Eugene Volokh

Keep the damn government outta my bedroom, please - says this "conservative", religous, white male.

Don't want someone telling me I've got to sleep with a board between me and the Mrs. ya know.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

VP Shot Somebody While Hunting

Why is it the president or the VP's responsibility to report on the health of the injured lawyer hunter? Doesn't HIPPA prevent that sort of thing? Individual rights of the actual patient, who is not a member of the executive branch, overrule here I think. It's up to the laywer and his family to publicly release any information about his condition.

But it's interesting watching the press contort itself into all sorts of positions demanding for statements from the administration, demanding to know why they weren't first on the phone list, and how dare you send some flacky for us to interview.

The press is likely turning a lot of people off, people between the coasts, with this obsession. As long as Cheney didn't attempt to murder the guy, I've got no problems with treating this as a typical hunting accident. Alot of us here in 'middle' America have been hunting, or have friends and family who do it. They've ALL been sprayed with birdshot before.

At least it wasn't a duel, 'a la Aaron Burr.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

One last football game...

Yay. Go NFC. *sniff* Nothing more 'till next fall. Course there's always the draft. And Madden's games on my PS2.


Cancel School, buy all the milk, wreck the car! It's SNOWING!


It's been snowing all day here. Heavy flurries, no flurries, light flurries, heavy again now. Been kind of nice. Too warm for it to stick on the ground though.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Cap'n Kidd - White Hat on a Pirate Ship

Gotta recommend The Pirate Hunter : The True Story of Captain Kidd by Richard Zacks. Gives a convincing argument via a well written story that Captain Kidd was a Pirate Hunter and wrongly portrayed as a notrorious pirate. Loved the book. Been reading a lot of the Master & Commander series as of late but this, despite being non-fiction, was much easier to read.

I'm going to have to buy this fella's other books...

Black History Month

Took the Mongrel Daughter to a Thrashers Hockey game the other day. It was 'diversity' day and we got to meet and get a picture taken with the wonderful Willie O'Ree of Boston Bruins fame. Heard him speak of his experiences (blind in one-eye and facing racial harassemnt - in the North & Canada of all places!) and implore that the young ones get their education (that implies that the parents see to it too).

My daughter plays roller-hockey in a local league. Boy, I never thought I'd see that day. Sure, I figured I'd watch her play soccer, softball or *sigh* gymnastics or something. But Hockey? Never.

We had a wonderful time watching the Thrashers with her teammates. I couldn't help but notice that the young players represented there were from various ethnicities. A friend of ours even got to drop the puck at the start of the game. Another rode the zamboni prior to the third period. In the end, we saw a goal fest as the Thrashers won 6-4.

We also saw a bright future. Black, hispanic and white kids... playing (roller) hockey together... in Atlanta.

I'm still hoping to get my daughter firmly into soccer though. ;)

In-Fill Housing Debate Heats Up in Metro Atlanta

I noted during the last Atlanta Election the numerous house signs for and against In-Fill Housing. Basically, people are buying lots ITP (inside the perimeter a.k.a. inside the loop I-285) and demolishing the old houses in favor of building "McMansions".

The problem? The McMansions don't fit the character of the neighborhood and the McMansions literally dwarf and overshadow neigboring domiciles.

Not much of a problem where I live. By all means, PLEASE come and raze the shoe box, cinder block houses and rebuild nice two story homes with wraparound porches on the lots!

But this is happening in neighborhoods like the one my wife grew up in. Places like Virginia Highlands and Ansley Park. These homes were the starter homes for young families three to four decades ago. Nicely built and definitely not lacking in character or uniqueness. It's the closest thing to historic homes that we've got seeing how Sherman helped us fight blight and rezone the city ages ago.

Mayor Shirley Franklin recently imposed a temporary ban on this sort of thing and the city is debating what to do. Basically I figure they're posturing for votes and feeling the competition out. I hope they come up with a way to save the historic neighborhoods while still allowing modernization of the homes without changing the overall character.

Not that any of this directly affects me. It'd be nice to save these neighborhoods but, there are still more important issues like restocking the police force, keeping the roads in good condition, getting the sewer system taken care of, schools, etc...

But there are people with big money on both sides of this debate. I expect it to get lots of air play in the next couple of years. Hopefully a sensible solution will be found.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Nothing Quite Like Chili Season

... and seeing the look on your pussy cat's face after he's helped you polish off a bowl of the spicy sustenance. He just sits there and licks his face, and lick his face, and licks his face.... :P

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Bush Admin Won't Tolerate Religious Criticism

"We all know how the Republicans are. Always stiffling dissent and protecting religion from criticism."

But there's something unexpected about this from the state department.

Friday, February 03, 2006


Short Coke stock now!

Spent gob$ to come up with Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke. They may have come up with the longest soft drink name ever, but it was a bust today at the boss-man's meeting where the only competition was water.

Not a good sign. And I love my Coke.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Frozen Carnivorous Shrinkage

My mainly meat diet is paying off. Staying away from sugar and starches has reduced my pants size another two inches. I'm cinching my belt further to keep my 'old', skinny pants on.

Not to mention that we acquired a working freezer from a neighbor's junk pile. A little rust never hurt anyone, right? Plugged it in next to my run down jalopy in the carport. It's chugging away, keeping my $300 worth of meat from spoiling. (Queue the annual ice storms that knock out the power grid and cause spoilage) Having the extra space is a God send! I can better plan my meals, and be more flexible when offering (I do most of the food burning around here) dinner for my clan.

Maybe I'll diminish my horizontal stature even further considering that footy season is right around the corner.

The Road is My Dump

What is it with the leaf-blower wielding landscapers who just blow the leaves and yard debris into the street?

Creative Ways to Save Money - part 3.

Does your church have a weeknight learning program? Mine does. I get to drop the kids off at the 'nursery', eat an adult dinner and take time together for a bible study class.

It's winter. Save money by putting your frozen and refrigerated foods outside during this cold season.

Hey, let you're hair grow out, some of us wouldn't need sweaters. :P

Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act

Today, the AJC reports on Georgia State Sen. Chip Rogers' (R-Woodstock) proposal to be filed next week. Immigration, and the state's response to the Federal failure to stem the flow of illegals will be a big item on the state's agenda this year.

Estimates on the number of illegal immigrants in Georgia vary from 250,000 to 800,000, and their impact on the state is also vigorously disputed. Critics say they sap vital resources from legal residents and state programs. Supporters argue they provide needed labor to major state industries.

Both statements about illegal immigrants in Georgia are correct in my opinion. But we could resolve part of the problem of illegals being a drain on state resources (aka money to fund social programs). How?

Get rid of the state income tax. Illegals don't pay it. Therefore they don't contribute to the state's resources to fund roads, rec centers, trauma hospitals, numerous social servies, etc... Dump the income tax and switch to a consumption tax. A state sales tax. All those illegals working to get Georgia's crops to market, working in our building industry and getting paid in cash, would then pay taxes on anything they buy in the state of Georgia. They'd be paying their fair share.

And guess what? If the state collects a surplus? ONLY Georgia citizens would get a refund.

The state of Georgia would suffer immensely if all illegals were booted out of the state tomorrow. Granted, you'd have less strain on the government's resources, but the cost of labor for farm workres, construction workers and what not would rise dramatically. And that get's passed on to you and me.

Not to mention, the costs of Georgia goods and services would be higher than our competitor's (other states and even countries). We'd be able to sell less due to our higher prices.

I really hope that we'll have meaningful, valuable conversation and exchange of viewpoints this legislative session. But I'm not holding my breath. Likely to be "Kick the bums out and man the borders!" vs. "You inhumane, racist pigs!" Politics as usual. Which mean the only winners are the politicians.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Those Apartment People

Not long ago, the AJC's "blogger" for the new city of Sandy Springs had an article on racism in the suburbs. I wouldn't call it racism per se. But he went on about how the rich Atlanta suburbanites have replaced the old derogatory terms with the term, "Apartment People".

The Apartment People he was writing about were mainly hispanics. But I'll attest that the term really applies to all the people in the apartments. All races are included in that term. I was one of them. I lived among them.

Today I got to yell at the Apartment People. They made me mad. They made me late. They wasted my time. They showed no concern for their neighbors.

You'll know what I mean if you've ever been stuck behind a school bus at an apartment comlex. The children (no younger than middle schoolers - most likely high schoolers) weren't at the road waiting at the 'bus stop'. They were inside the leasing office, 30+ yards from the road. Too chilly for them I guess. They open the door and then they crawl up hill, through the January molasses to the bus. Meanwhile, traffic backs up for eons on this very busy 5 lane road.

They finally board the bus, just moments before my aneurysm can come to fruition. But Lo! Behold! Another apartment dweller appears from the cavernous depths of the complex! AaiaGH!

And another. And two more. And another. And...

All of them taking a leisurely spring, er... winter, stroll through the indigenous asphalt fields. No rush. Not a care in the world.

And another appears. There's a volcano in my car. You can't see it but it's there under the surface. I'm about to go postal. About to let my Grand Theft Auto fantasy run amok in a dark, sadistic outpouring of ...

Another one appears! My car is now a convertible and my lungs are screaming with fiery curses lobbed in the Apartment People's direction. But no one can hear me.

And another one! The only way they'd move quicker to their dreaded prison transport is to trip and fall down.

Not like I've got anything better to do this morning. I'm off to my cube farm as the local byte counter. Not like I'm really late. But this has been going on for 5+ minutes. I know, I started timing their languid embarkment.

I'm shocked by their gall. My momma woulda (and did) snatch a knot in my head had I acted so callously. And the poor bus driver is unable to do anything. They'd be labled a racist for leaving 'my poor child behind in the cold without a coat'.

About 4:30pm the bus finishes loading for school. :p

Nah, they did finish and Mt. Mongrel's eruption was postponed. I got to work and had a very productive day.

I'd rather their mammas kick their kids in the fanny and tell 'em to giddyap. Or maybe even the bus driver pull over to the deceleration lane and turn off it's stop light that part traffic like Moses did the Red Sea.

What is it with some people? What is it with those Apartment People? They're definitely not neighborly. Some of them anyway.