Saturday, April 30, 2011

A dozen LP's

This is why I love to visit The Rock Zone used record store every so often.  I picked up 12 albums today (highlighted by the two shown below), for the total cost of $3.28.  That's 6 each at 50 cents apiece; and 6 free LP's (buy one; get one free) thrown in for free.  Plus 28 cents tax.

 Yeah, the fifty-centers are in fair shape omly.  And the freebies are albums that are either in poor shape or are from genres no one gives a hoot about anymore.  And it helps that I can convert these to MP3 files and automatically take the scratches out.  Any skips on these cannot be automatically dealt with, though there are the old, manual ways.  Penny on the tone arm, and all that.  Still, it's a cheap way to listen to a lot of new music.
Here's the whole haul, with the 50-centers first :

01) Genesis - Abacab
02) Kiki Dee Band - I've Got The music In Me
03) Arlo Guthrie - Last of the Brooklyn Cowboys
04) Phoebe Snow - Phoebe Snow (RIP, Phoebe)
05) Linda Ronstadt - Hand Sown...
06) John Denver - Windsong

07) Soundtrack - Doctor Zhivago
08) The Young Americans - Time For Livin'  (cheery folk)
09) The Brothers Four - The Big Folk Hits  (cheery folk)
10) Soundtrack - Exodus
11) Soundtrack - Man of La Mancha
12) Bud & Travis - In Concert (missing one of the 2 LP's)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter Dogz - Part 2 (Preacher)

    Preacher is a gentle soul in the body of a pit bull mix.  He loves everybody, but has a phobia about swimming pools.  Christmas is his favorite Holiday.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Books we'd like to read

    This may seem like a Photoshopped take-off of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo title, but it isn't.  There is such a book called "The Dragon With the Girl Tattoo"and yes, it is a spoof. 

    Unfortuately, Adam Roberts is a British writer, and TDWTGT, published in 2010,  is not exactly a best-seller.  So I have my doubts about finding it in any of the local used-book stores.  Yeah, I could always buy it at Amazon, but that takes all the fun out of hunting for it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Easter Dogz - Part 1

Some kewl pics from Easter - one of each of our mutts.  From top to bottom, Mr. Jynx, Huxley (with Rebecca), and Bella.  The photos were taken by our friend, Rosa, who is an awesome photographer.   We've got a few more to show; we'll post them here and there over the next week or so.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Puzzle Night

In both panels below, there are at least six differences between the picture on the left and the one on the right.  See if you can find all six. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Book Excerpt for the Day

"Doubts?  Ay, have I, and many and grievous, too!  Do you think there's one of us that is not looking back now in torment of mind, questioning at every move what we did well, and what was ill-done?  Death makes a man turn his head and re-examine his conscience."

(from A Bloody Field By Shrewsbury by Edith Pargeter)

(the full review is here)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011


    It's official.  Bella is now part of our family.  This afternoon we went down to Friends For Life and filled out the adoption papers.   Jynx and Huxley now have a younger sister.

    We took Bella with us so she could say good-bye to the FFL folks who took her in and hooked her up with us, to say nothing of footing the bill for the very expensive blood transfusion.  But Bella was snippy with them when they tried to pet her.  I guess she thought we were returning her, and she'd be put back in a kennel.

    There's nothing much new to report on her health.  Bella's tongue and gums are getting redder, which is yet another good sign that she's building up her red blood cell count.  She's eating good, barking like she rules the world, and is even wagging her tightly-curled tail.  Her next vet appointment is 05 May.  Hopefully, all the tests will come out normal.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Excerpt for the Day

"Indeed, your gracious Majesty," the monk said, looking down modestly at the carpet.  His voice sounded respectful.  "Our Belief - perhaps not so dissimilar from your own, more venerable and more widely followed creed - is that God is a Mad Scientist and we His experimental subjects, doomed forever to run the Maze of Life through apparently random and unjust punishments for meaningless and paltry rewards and no discernible good reason save His evil pleasure."

(from Against A Dark Background, by Iain M. Banks)

The full review is here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Metal Fans

   Me three.  Although I prefer my Metal "mixed".  Such as Symphonic Metal, Folk Metal, Viking Metal, and the impossible-to-imagine-until-you've-heard it Polka Metal.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Excerpt for the Day

Lord Hong  was twenty-six, and thin, and handsome.  He wore very small, very circular steel-rimmed spectacles.  When asked to describe him, people often used the word "smooth" or "lacquered." (*)  And he had risen to the leadership of one of the most influential families in the Empire by relentless application, total focusing of his mental powers, and six well-executed deaths.  The last one had been that of his father, who'd died happy in the knowledge that his son was maintaining an old family tradition.  The senior families venerated their ancestors, and saw no harm in prematurely adding to their number.

(from Interesting Times, by Terry Pratchett)  Full review here.

(*) : And often the phrase "a bastard you don't want to cross, and I didn't say that." 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bella Update (04/19)

    Bella and I went to the Vet yesterday to get some more blood tests.  She was not crazy about the whole affair (rectal thermometers will have that effect), but for the most part, the news was good.

    Bella's red blood cell count is now up to 26%, surpassing the expectation of the Vet.  Saturday morning it was 10%, Saturday afternoon - after the blood transfusion - it was 21%.  Normal is 30%-50%.  The Vet was expecting 20% or so.

    It isn't Tick Fever and it isn't Valley Fever.  That's a mixed blessing.  The Vet says most of the time, it is never determined what triggered it.

    In a nutshell, Bella's immune system went haywire and started attacking the red blood cells.  The antibodies (white blood cells?) basically coat the red ones, and that is still happening.  So things aren't back to normal yet.

    The meds seem to be working, and she is eating and drinking again.  Last night, she had the pukes, but that is probably due to one of the meds.  It looks like today she made it through the day without upchucking.

    She is however, in "reduced activity" mode, per the Vet's instrux.  Which is an issue, because Bella really likes to go for walks.  So we leash her up, let her walk a short distance, then I carry her the rest of the way.  Amazingly, the little princess is very comfortable with that arrangement. 

    Assuming no tragic trend reversals, the next critical time will be in a couple months when Bella is weaned off the meds.  That's when we'll see if this was a one-time thing or if she has to be on meds for the rest of her days.  Our next appointment is in two weeks, so it appears the Vet isn't too alarmed about Bella's present condition.

    There's an acronym for this, which of course I've already forgotten.  IHMT or something like that.  In talking with pet-owning co-workers today, it's not that uncommon.  It can hit cats as well as dogs, and for some reason it's prevalent in Shih Tzus.

    So all in all, things are about as good as they can be.  Next up, on Friday, is Huxley, who gets tested for something called Cushing's Disease, which I am told is a syndrome where the body makes too many steroids.  And which is also prevalent in Shih Tzus.  Fortunately, it's treatable.

    More updates as we get 'em.  Until then, this blog returns to its regular schedule of rants, silliness, cute photos, and cultural enlightenment.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Movie quote for the week

From the greatest movie of all time, and featuring Kim Il Jung and Li'l Kimmy.  Who knew Monty Python was so popular in North Korea?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Life in the Balance

   We were planning to go to the 2011 Phoenix Gay Pride Parade yesterday, but unfortunately our foster-dog, Bella, was at Death's Door, and that took precedence.

    Bella's been with us for a week now.  She was all-puppy until Wednesday, when she became lethargic and stopped eating and drinking.  We thought it might be some sort of 24-hour crud, but by yesterday morning, she still wasn't eating/drinking and was literally on her last legs.

    So it was a trip to the vet as soon as they opened Saturday.  Blood tests there revealed that basically, Bella had no more red blood cells.  Hence the trip to Emergency Care, where she was given a doggy blood transfusion (who knew there was such a thing?), a shot of steriods, and more blood tests.  By the time we picked her up late yesterday afternoon, her red blood cell count has risen from "10" (can't remember the units) to "21".  Normal is "30-50"

    The cause of her anemia is not known.  Apparently, there is some sort of auto-immune disorder that can strike animals suddenly, for no reason, and quickly kill them.  Treatment is a bunch of drugs, including steroids (prednazone), but there is no guanratee that this will work.  Sometimes the dog recovers to live a full, normal life, sometimes the dog needs to stay on the drugs to stay alive, sometimes the dog simply succumbs anyway.

    It is also possible that this is due to Tick Fever, but we won't get those results for a few days.  Bella was out in the sticks for a while before Friends For Life took her in, so maybe this is the Root Cause.  You actually end up hoping it is Tick Fever, because that is curable.

    For now, she's back with us.  She's still very weak, but at least today she's eating and drinking a bit, which is very encouraging.  She even tried to go for a walk with us this morning, but quickly got winded so she and I came back home while Liz and the boys continued on.

    Technically, Bella still belongs to Friends For Life, which means much of the decision-making rests in their hands.  They approved taking her to the Emergency Center, which is very costly.  We in turn picked up the visit to the Vet (a couple hundred $$), and will do so again tomorrow, when she has to be taken there for more blood tests.  Gotta see if her red blood cell count is continuing to rise.

    I suppose we could just give her back to Friends For Life as "damaged goods", but that'll only happen if FFL demands it.  Bella is part of our family now, even if it is still unofficial.  And you don't give up on family just because they become a fiscal liability.  We have our fingers crossed re her recovery, but it's really in the hands of Fate and all we can do is give her loving, drugs, and sustenance; and hope for the best.

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's Not Killing Me - Mike Bloomfield

Album Title : It's Not Killing Me
Artist  :  Mike Bloomfield
Genre  :  Honky R&B
Year  :  1969
Overall Rating  :  5*/10

     I know of Mike Bloomfield through the two albums he did with Al Kooper, who has always been one of my favorite honky R&B musicians.  It's Not Killing Me was Bloomfield's debut solo album, after stints with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band (who?) and the Electric Flag (who?).

    Mike Bloomfield was a brilliant guitar player - he ranks #22 on the Rolling Stone "100 Greatest Guitarists Ever" list.  Here, he downplays that in favor of his song-writing skills (he penned all but one of the tracks) and his vocals.  Unfortunately, he couldn't carry a tune if you gave him a bucket.  So while INKM is a pleasant mix of blues, rock, hornsy Big Band, and even country-&-western genres, it gets pulled down every time Mike starts to sing.  Not surprisingly, this album got almost zero radio-play when it came out.

Track List (with my favorite ones in pink) :
01.) If You See My Baby
02.) For Anyone You Meet
03.) Good Old Guy
04.) Far Too Many Nights (great honky R&B)
05.) It's Not Killing Me
06.) Next Time You See Me
07.) Michael's Lament (more great blues)
08.) Why Must My Baby
09.) The Ones I Loved Are Gone
10.) Don't Think About It Baby
11.) Goofers (instrumental smoothness)

    Mike Bloomfield's career was hampered by a drug addiction that would eventually kill him via an overdose in 1981.  He's at his best on the two collaborative works with Al Kooper, where he can shine on guitar without having to struggle with vocals.  If you can ignore the singing on It's Not Killing Me, you'll find it holds some outstanding blues-rock that will sadly never see the light of day anymore.

    This was another LP-to-CD conversion on my part.  The vinyl was in good shape and cost me $7.50 at the nearby Half-Priced Bookstore.  I've wanted to hear this album for a long time but it's been hard to find.  If you're an Al Kooper enthusiast, it is a nice complement to his albums.  For everyone else, this is probably non-essential.  5 Stars.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Book Excerpt for the Day

She would have considered staying longer had she not made an enemy of a slow-witted young hoodlum who haunted the bar of her backstreet hotel. Finally she lost patience and whacked him on the head with a brick, checked out of the hotel, and took a ferry to St. George's, the capital of Grenada.

(from The Girl Who Played With Fire, by Stieg Larsson)

(full review is here)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

She's Bella!

   "Tulip" is now "Bella".   Our FaceBook friends came up with a dozen or so excellent suggestions, which made choosing difficult. 

    We picked 'Bella' for several reasons.  First, it's close to "Belle", which I lobbied for.  Second, my friend Arzu (who suggested it) tells me it means "Beautiful" in Italian, and Bella is certainly a cutey.  Third, it can be short for both "Belladonna" and "Florabella".

    She seems to be settling in nicely, after running away within 24 hours of us bringing her home.  Mr. Jynx and Huxley have accepted her into their circle, albeit a bit grudgingly.

    This coming weekend, we either take her back or pay for her.  The latest poll indicates there's a 99.99999% chance we'll keep her.  So expect lots of schmoozy pictures of Bella over the next few months.  And years.  And of course, lots of pics of Jynx and Huxley as well.

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Blog!!

Daniel and Sofie, who are doing marvelous work at the local hospitals, have a new blog to chronicle Sofie's exploits.  You can find it here.  It's a bit sparse right now, so stop on by and tell them "Hi".

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Nap Pill

   A highly contrived pun - just the way I like them.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Name the Puppy!

Meet our newest addition.  She's 2-3 years old, probably some sort of Lhasa Apso mix, and sometime recently had a litter of puppies.  She's house-trained, knows how to use the doggy-door, chases the ball, and was already spoiled rotten when we brought her home.

Technically, we are her foster home for the next week.  We can take her back if our two resident dogs don't accept her, if we tire of her, if she turns out to be psycho dog, etc.  Yeah, fat chance of any that happening.

We got her through a no-kill shelter in Gilbert called Friends For Life.  When they picked her up a week ago, her hair was all matted and she obviosuly was the worse for wear out in the wilds.  FFL spayed her, gave her all her shots, clipped her, and micro-chipped her.  We will plop some money down for her next Saturday when we go back to FFL, but it's well worth it.

    The only problem is her FFL-temporary name - TULIP.  Everybody agrees it's a sucky name.  So we're taking suggestions from anyone and everyone.  Names like "Dog" and "Spot" are not acceptable; she needs something unique, comparable to what our two resident dogs are named - HUXLEY and MR. JYNX.  We have to decide by next weekend, but that should be no problem.

Friday, April 08, 2011

American Idol update

Oh for goodness sake!  Randy, Steven, and JLo are in a tizzy cuz the audience voted Pia off of American Idol.  It's a reality show, you three dolts.  The public gets to sack whomever they choose.

It was obvious last season that the talent-deprived Bristol "Abstinence Begets Babies" Palin was getting huge amounts of votes from the Dittohead crowd.  So what?  Let 'em watch DWTS, cheer for Brisket, and vote for her.  At least that's better than them watching Faux News.  Hey, maybe that's why Glenn Beck's numbers plummeted, to the point where Faux had to recently can his vitriolic butt.

But back to American Idol.  Liz, our resident expert, says that, while Pia had a very nice voice, she was frankly boring as heck.  So Pia, the lesson is - it takes more than a body-clinging outfit, 6" heels, and sucking up to the judges to avoid getting voted off.  You actually have to also try to please the audience.

And don't even get me started on Iggy Pop.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Piscine Palin

   Sarah the Fish!!  The sign doesn't lie.  Kudos to the photographer for catching this just right!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Faux News Commentators

The gym I go to has four televisions in the treadmill area.  One, and sometimes two, are always on the Fox channel.  As luck would have it, from 5:00 to 6:00 PM, it is time for the Bill O'Really show.

The cartoon above accurately captures the posturing of Bill's talking-dittoheads.  As long as they can read the teleprompter, they all are experts on everything.  Every night.  Thank the gods for two things.  First, one of the remaining two TV's is usually set to ESPN.  Second, I never go to the gym without my MP3-player.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Tax Time Tonight

    Fortunately, I have a poopload of $$$ withheld from my paychecks, so we will be getting hefty refunds from both the Feds and the State.  Still, the whole evening gets shot.  I could be doing other, more productive things - like hanging out on FaceBook, watching Kirstie Alley try to dance, or conquering an HOMM3 world and slaying every creature that stirs within it.
And yes, I know that by getting these large refunds, I am in effect letting the government draw interest on my $$$ all year long.  Frankly, I'm cool with that.  And there is an emotional high to be experienced when I get those two refund checks in the next 6-8 weeks.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Book Excerpt for the Day

Of course, it was ending in a cocktail party.  Wherever Terran humans went, they planted tobacco and coffee, to have coffee and cigarettes for breakfast, and wherever they went they found or introduced something that would ferment to produce C2H5OH, and around 1730-ish each day, they had Cocktail Hour.  The natives on planets like Loki and Gimli and Thor and even Shesha and Uller thought it was a religious observance.
Maybe it was, at that.
(from Fuzzy Sapiens, by H. Beam Piper)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Our policy

Here at Terliz, you'd be surprised how broad-minded of an approach we take to feedback.  Really.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Finnish him!

Don't be Russian him though.  He's Dane-gerous.