October 11th, 2024

Double dog down

  • el
  • pt
  • Had to miss our partner yoga session tonight to take Molly to the vet for a second chiropractic adjustment.

    The story so far… June 24: Smooshed in the road by an ambulance racing at high speed, siren blaring, on a mission of mercy and unable to stop for a crushed pet, Molly crawled off into the windbreak, perhaps to die. In the house, Beth heard Molly’s shriek of pain and rushed out to find her. It wasn’t easy. She was hidden far off the road, unable to respond when she was called. Enlisting the aid of a neighbor, Beth beat the bushes from woodlot to windbreak and eventually found the pup, broken and bleeding.

    Much stitching and binding of wounds ensued.

    She was recovering nicely, so nicely that we left her boarded with the general prison population at the local kennel when we went to Massachusetts for a week in early September. She relapsed. She was in serious pain when we picked her up, in spasm from a week sleeping on concrete. After a few days we took her to our local vet, he drugged her to a point where every muscle in her body was ridiculously relaxed, and she began to improve. But the down side was thatwe discovered her injured tail that we hadn’t picked up on the x-rays in June. Local vet recommended surgery. Co-worker suggested we give her vet a try first, so off to the doggy chiropractor we went and damned if Molly doesn’t seem to be well on the way to recovery after only two sessions. The guy is good, offering advice about keeping her slowed down so she has to use all four feet, about exercising her to recover ranege of motion in the injured leg, about helping her recover lost muscle mass by walking her up hills, and most importantly knowing how to release the tightened muscles in her back.

    Not cutting my dog open at the base of her spine is high on my list of priorities, higher even than partner yoga class.

    Beth and I are going to back up to something more beginner-ish, less challenging than the circus acts we’ve been rehearsing at partner yoga. It sounded cool, but you have to be more advanced as an individual to get the most out of partner yoga I think.

    That leaves Wednesday’s open for the 50 minute drive out to Dodgeville for Molly’s therapy.

    September 28th, 2024

    Sat Nam

    In our dreamsI’m old. Most of my exercise comes from bending over to pull my socks on in the morning and off at night. Of course, you could say I have to be strong to carry that fifty pound bag of excess fat around with me wherever I go. Yet, for all the physical deterioration, buried somewhere beneath the crust of my dimming consciousness there remain the good intentions. Someday I could get in shape. Someday I could break free of my bad habits.

    I’m gullible. Maybe short-sighted is a better word. In early August, when Beth suggested we sign up for the partner yoga class, it seemed far enough away that I could hope maybe I’d die before the first class. I’m averse to conflict. I agreed to go because it was easier to assent than to fight it out.

    Last week was the first class. Beth bought us matching yoga mats, smelly rolls of soft foam outgassing carcinogens. No way could it be healthy to lie about on these mats. I had a conflict. We missed the first class. All week the mats have been in my office, sort of a stealth oncology marketing gimmick if you ask me.

    Last night was the second class. I couldn’t come up with a good enough excuse to avoid it. There we were, with half a dozen other couples. Guess who was the oldest fat guy in the room. Hint: me.

    This morning I feel surprisingly good.

    September 24th, 2024

    Roombah — humbug

    Stewart Brand writes glowingly of the Roomba at Kevin Kelly’s Cool Tools blog. (Thanks to Dave Winer for the pointer.) I was awarded a Roomba for my half baked idea regarding robotic pet exercise devices last year at the Accelerating Change gathering.

    When I tried it at my house it didn’t work. Things that choked the Roomba:

    • Fringed rugs.
    • Differences in floor elevation, room to room.
    • Deep area rugs on hardwood floors… once off the rug, Roomba never wanted to climb back on, just kept cleaning the perimeter.
    • Dining room table and chair legs. Roomba could never find its way under the table.
    • Stairs.

    Our old farm-house just isn’t Roomba-friendly.

    September 15th, 2024

    Popeye’s revenge…

    How about that bagged spinach?

    Tell me some post doc isn’t responsible for flushing a recombinant e coli 0157 death vector out into our food supply via the drain in the sink at his underfunded and poorly supervised lab sometime between 1971 and 1982.

    The Selectable Marker Gene: Neomycin Phosphotransferase

    In addition to the aroA gene, the nptII gene from transposon Tn5 of the bacterium E. coli has been introduced in


    to be used as a selectable marker. This gene codes for the enzyme neomycin phosphotransferase which confers resistance to the common aminoglycoside antibiotic kanamycin (Fraley et al. l986). The DNA sequence of the gene has been determined (Beck et al. 1982). The lack of risk to humans of the nptII gene can be supported by its use in the first human gene therapy trials (Anonymous 1990). The nptII coding region is under the control of the nos promoter and nos terminator.

    None of the introduced genes has any inherent plant pest characteristics or poses a risk to plant health when introduced into the modified plants.

    E. coli 0157 was first identified as a cause of serious illness in humans in


    Since then the numbers of outbreaks each year has increased steadily. As in other forms of food poisoning, the infection starts with diarrhoea, often bloody, sometimes associated with vomiting and nearly always with abdominal pain. Initially, E.coli 1057 was nearly always caught by contact with cattle, or by eating beef. Now it may infect burgers, rissoles or shepherd’s pie.

    September 6th, 2024

    Why Web 2.0 is doomed from the start…

    It’s not about the shallow nature and the greed of the second generation brass-ring boys seeking to spin straw into gold. It’s not even so much about the immutability of the straw, although that’s a big part of it. What it’s about is the commodity nature of the widgets that the brass-ring boys seek to capitalize.

    In the good old days — say 1997 — there was so much unlaundered mob money floating around in Silicon Valley that no good idea could go unfunded. Since they moved the Bank of America deeper into Christian fundamentalist country and closer to the Florida operation and the off-shore banks, there hasn’t been that much money to launder.

    Of course, there are only so many drop shadow logoed, productized widgets with omitted “e”s available to fund, so the decline in drug money to launder matches the decline in products seeking funds, so the burn rates remain about the ame, although the general contribution to global warming has declined.

    Most of these products are like green beans. They’re tasty with a little buttr, and you can get them anywhere, cheap. Unlike green beans though, they’re mostly based on the characteristics of a current generation of browser and a sense that the whirled wide web is the internet. It’s not, and as tele-immersion applications and the like emerge over the next few years soaking up bandwidth in ways undreamed of by the brass-ring boys, their little dreams of wealth will be dashed. Fortunately for them of course, there will remain a huge market for green beans and they’ll continue to rake a little off the top of every sale, adding value with attitude.

    [This pointless little parable contains a few germs of truth, a few fantastical projections, and should be assumed to be generally meaningless, until it’s not.]

    September 1st, 2024

    Joi’s shii tree

    Earlier this week when I read Joi Ito’s post about pruning his Shii tree I was struck by the intentionality and the meditative quality of the Shinto ritual he described.

    Some connections I made after I read that post… my gingko tree has a similar spiritual value. It was a young tree sixteen years when we moved here. Now it is quite mature, large and dropping more fruit each year, its branches spreading wider over the driveway, over the lawn. While I do not approach the pruning with any particular reverence, this is a tree that demands study and intentionality. Later in the week, my friend Joanna’s kitchen popped up in the San Francisco Chronicle. She gave us some of the marble that she salvaged from the Crocker bank remodeling and we used it in our Berkeley kitchen when we remodeled in the late eighties. Our kitchen was trimmed by hand by a carpenter who had training in Japanese building techniques. Our Berkeley bungalow was not exactly four-square. Each corner of the room was a different height, floor to ceiling. But Nicholas and his team were able to trick the eye when cutting the moldings and the trim in such a way that the irregularities were absorbed by the irregularities they designed into the dimensions of the wood they used.

    When he was finished, Nicholas drilled one extraneous hole into the countertop near the sink. He didn’t want to burden us with a creation that was perfect.

    August 30th, 2024

    BlogHer France….

    On the occasion of the publication of photos from BlogHer France I am feeling all literate and shit. The images of these young bloggy-bloggers blogging has inspired me to poetry. Lacking the verbal facility to whip up a good poem for you today… it’s one of those days when I can’t remember people’s names… have you experienced that? I got up this morning and thought to call a colleague and let her know I was running a little late. You know. The one I meet with on Wednesday mornings. What’s her name. Just look her up in the directory and give her a ring. What’s her name… can’t call, don’t remember her name. Really. There’s an entire gingko tree just outside the bedroom window and I can’t remember this woman’s name. I wonder if after dark, while we’re sleeping, the gingko insinuates tiny tendrils through the window screen, across the floor, beneath the pillow and into my ears, then draws out the naturally occurring flavone glycosides from my gray matter leaving me in some kind of Chekhovian syntactic and phonological knowledge bind… unable to remember the name of the horse much less the name of the woman of which the name of the horse might remind me… a classic anterior cingulate-prefrontal cortical bind as it were.

    Diane, her name is Diane…

    I read about gingkos in Hiroshima that survived the blast when all around them was blackened wreckage.

    But really, if I can’t remember people’s names, how can I write a poyme? I’ll have to pull one from the cellars, a modest vintage from the wet sunny slopes, the crider soil formations of Kentucky, formed in a mantle of loess with an underlying limestone residuum — a screw-top bottling, modestly priced, suitable as accompaniment to the best that vegan cuisine can offer…

    Presented then, in honor of all who attended BlogHer France, women who don’t need the advice but may be expected to understand and appreciate the sentiment:

    The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
    by Wendell Berry

    Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
    vacation with pay. Want more
    of everything ready-made. Be afraid
    to know your neighbors and to die.
    And you will have a window in your head.
    Not even your future will be a mystery
    any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
    and shut away in a little drawer.
    When they want you to buy something
    they will call you. When they want you
    to die for profit they will let you know.

    So, friends, every day do something
    that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
    Love the world. Work for nothing.
    Take all that you have and be poor.
    Love someone who does not deserve it.
    Denounce the government and embrace
    the flag. Hope to live in that free
    republic for which it stands.
    Give your approval to all you cannot
    understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
    has not encountered he has not destroyed.

    Ask the questions that have no answers.
    Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
    Say that your main crop is the forest
    that you did not plant,
    that you will not live to harvest.
    Say that the leaves are harvested
    when they have rotted into the mold.
    Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

    Put your faith in the two inches of humus
    that will build under the trees
    every thousand years.
    Listen to carrion — put your ear
    close, and hear the faint chattering
    of the songs that are to come.
    Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
    Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
    though you have considered all the facts.
    So long as women do not go cheap
    for power, please women more than men.
    Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
    a woman satisfied to bear a child?
    Will this disturb the sleep
    of a woman near to giving birth?

    Go with your love to the fields.
    Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
    in her lap. Swear allegiance
    to what is nighest your thoughts.
    As soon as the generals and the politicos
    can predict the motions of your mind,
    lose it. Leave it as a sign
    to mark the false trail, the way
    you didn’t go. Be like the fox
    who makes more tracks than necessary,
    some in the wrong direction.
    Practice resurrection.

    August 30th, 2024

    Free Beer

    These lists of “best freeware utilities” are too interesting to lose track of. A lot of guys would bookmark them on del.icio.us or in their browser. Not me. I’ll use my web log instead. (This is some kind of old school thing, like before the artists, the pomos, and the squirrels took over the tech)…

    46 best ever freeware utilities

    good enough to make the list freeware utilities numbers 47 through 95

    August 18th, 2024

    Proud Dad Brags Again

    Turn to the Contributors page (page 78) of the September, 2024 issue of Details magazine and you’ll see a blurb about Ben Paynter’s article (found on page 198) “Weapons of Mass Distraction.” It’s a story about the distracting influence of internet access on American soldiers in Iraq. No longer does a “Dear John” letter or a foreclosure notice take days and weeks to find its way to the GI at the front. Now the guys just log on and get the news directly as it’s happening back home.

    The Details biographical blurb on Ben says,

    Paynter writes for the Pitch, a weekly in Kansas City, Missouri. A story of his will appear in Best American Sports Writing 2024, out next month from Houghton Mifflin.

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