Sunday, September 28, 2008

Alpacas and Things

Photos from the fall Minnesota Alpaca Farm Tour 2008. I won't bore you with a lot of words, except: aren't they cute?

Bravo and Betty

This is a movie showing them moving around.
Listen for a moment over the wind noise and you can hear them humming.

At the Applebees in Lakeville (where the house sirloin steak was inedible for all the gristle so they didn't make me pay for it), we came out to this very brightly colored car. (I painted out the license plate so as not to embarrass the owners.)

Yup! That's duct tape!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I'm getting really, really tired of politicians telling me how bad the other guys are without really telling me how good they, themselves, are. Al Franken keeps talking about Norm Coleman's taking money he shouldn't and not giving it back. Norm Coleman keeps ranting about Al Franken's radio show content. I want to hear more about why I should vote for either one of them, not why I shouldn't.

The same thing goes for the presidential race. But that's for another blog. I have to get ready for work.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Hurricanes are a fact of life, even more so now with the rise in the Gulf water temperatures. My first reaction to people who chose not to evacuate was "Why did you stay? Quit complaining! It was your choice!" Some of the people who stayed behind are too stubborn or too stupid to understand what the consequences are and then they scream bloody murder when they find out.

But I realize as I read the news accounts from various sources that one big reason so many stayed is money. It costs money to get into your car and drive and it costs money, usually, to stay somewhere other than your own home. The extra cost after having evacuated once already for Gustav can be too much for a family.

To these people I suggest, "Stop complaining!" Stop complaining because it took rescuers so long to get to you. Stop complaining because you don't have any power to run your air conditioner or refrigerator. Stop complaining because you can't use your toilet. These things happen.

To the ones who are in shelters, again, "Stop complaining!" Perhaps you are only getting a small amount of water every few hours and a little peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat. Perhaps the folding cot you are sleeping on is uncomfortable. This isn't your home. It's a shelter. Things are supposed to be meager in shelters because of the sheer numbers of people needing assistance. I suspect a large percentage of people giving the assistance are volunteers. Give them a break.

Because of the increased number of hurricanes and their increased size and intensity, I say it's time for people to start thinking about living somewhere else. Somewhere farther inland and up the hill.

Living in New Orleans, for instance, below sea level, is just asking for problems. Living inland but still at sea level is still asking for trouble. I understand there's a lot of history to be lost by abandoning places like New Orleans or the many small towns along the gulf that have been there for a couple hundred years. But that history is in danger of being washed away anyway. Better to lose history than lives. Things can be replaced. People can't.

- - - - - - -

Sometimes I wonder if the earth is just getting back at us for trashing it. I read in the Discover magazine about all the trash in the oceans. There's a huge floating garbage dumb that circles the Pacific. I'm glad Jacques Cousteau isn't alive to see it. We have land fills containing poisonous trash. We have industrial sites that seep poisonous chemicals into our drinking water. We have nuclear waste that will never go away. We have trashed Mother Earth.

I think she's pissed and wants to wash us away like so much dirt on her hands.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Physical Therapy

Apparently, Dr. Daniel Buss decided at some point to find and train up in his tradition of treatment a few physical therapists around the Twin Cities area. I met one of them yesterday, Rick Hjelm (pronounced Yelm). He is a very interesting and interested person to work with. He asks good questions about what I do for a living and about my martial art.

He tried a number of passive (meaning I didn't have to use my own muscles) exercises, only to find I could do them without difficulty or pain. He prescribed four exercises to do this week, a couple of which I've already aced. He explained why I shouldn't yet be trying for external rotation, especially with my palm up. Until the subscapularis tendon is firmly healed, I could damage it and delay the healing process. I forgot to ask about the biceps tendon and what I need to avoid.

But I go back next Tuesday morning, so I can ask him then.

Working is much less of a problem now. I still take Aleve every 8 hours. Sometimes it doesn't quite last 8 hours but I'm on a schedule (6 a.m., 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.) that fits my life so I don't take it early. I still take Vicodin when I go to bed, but I don't think I'll continue that past this week. We'll see how that goes.

The one problem is I still get really tired in the middle of the day. I try to eat well-balanced meals to avoid mid-afternoon droop. There's no way to take a nap at work and get away with it. I try not to nap when I get home because this makes falling asleep difficult at 10. Whine, whine, Merlot ... .

These are all expected problems that I am confident will go away soon.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Popcorn at the movies

While driving to work this morning I heard on public radio the following discussion:

"McKenzie: OK, well, what the theaters are doing is walking you up your demand curve and charging you a high price for the first few ounces, then they're sort of walking you down. They know they can sell you more, but they've got to drastically lower the price on those marginal ounces.

"Jagow: Show us what you're talking about.

"McKenzie: OK, what I'm going to do is pour out the contents of a full tub of popcorn, the large. [sound of popcorn pouring out out of a tub] And then I'm going to take the medium bag and I'm going to pour it into the tub. [sound of popcorn pouring into a tub] And as you can see...

"Jagow: It overflows.

"McKenzie: It's on the floor.

"Jagow: So, why do people buy the large?

"McKenzie: Well, I think some of them think that they're getting more popcorn. But you also get the option of free refills. And there are some customers who will buy the tub and then on the way out of the theater ask for another refill ...

"Jagow: You're kidding.

"McKenzie: ... to take it home. And once you get two refills, you've got the price of the popcorn at the margin, down to less than 8 cents an ounce. But ...

"Jagow: That's a heck of a lot of popcorn.

"McKenzie: I have to warn you that if you get a tub, refill it twice and smother all three tubs with butter, you're going to be consuming the calories recommended for an adult male for three days."

[I admit, this is copied directly from their web page and violates all sorts of copyright laws, but I have at least given you a link to their page. Red text is my emphasis.]

Saturday, September 06, 2008

As my grandmother used to say . . .

"I'm some better." Working a full 8 hours is just too much. I plan to work a little bit this weekend so that, if I need to, I can leave work early once or twice next week I can.

The air is cool this weekend. Some friends at our campground had a "Finnegan" on their lot. There's a little statue, kind of like the one in the add for Travelocity or whatever that is, which they put on their deck. David and Bob burned brats and burgers; everyone else brought food to share. One estimate had 50 people there. Our camp is known for its food.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

For those who want to know

After only 2 days full-time at work, I ended the day in severe pain and exhausted. My arm and upper left back hurt and my left hand cramps. But when I got home, a vicodin took the edge off, after about 45 minutes. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Thanks for asking.