Monday, March 30, 2009

Dental X -Ray

This morning I enjoyed the kindly ministrations of a skilled Dental Hygienist. After the dental X-rays, scraping, poking, and buffing the old choppers to a high shine I was informed that I only had one cavity, and with luck it could be filled, without luck it will require a crown. A crown is where they fix your tooth using enough resources to enable the Dentist to purchase a golden crown to wear while driving his Cadillac with the silver fox fur upholstery.
No really, my Dental Hygienist is so wonderful. I am sure it is not her fault that the large cards of X-Ray film when inserted in my mouth appended to an expensive looking stick/fixture invariably result in a massive gag reflex. It is now 6 hours later and I am still enduring nasty bile flavored wet burps. My gag reflex notwithstanding (I was never able to handle diapering either) I struggle to understand why such large and decidedly uncomfortable fixtures must be inserted completely within my mouth to get the job done. Come to think of it I have never had to insert actual diapers in my mouth either! Well, at least I didn't actually barf. I am afraid however that the cumulative effect of the X-rays over the years may have had a deleterious effect on the ol' brain pan as shown in photo to the right...

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Recently in "Urban Adonia" the most excellent blog of my LA based common-law daughter-in-law, I read a wonderfully entertaining post about the hilarious names of products at the IKEA store. Her choices for most hilarious were SLUMRA (inexpensive sheets) and SLABANG (an alarm clock). In order to trade on Adonia's sharp skills of observation and discovery of what may be an almost inexhaustible source of humor I am in a few minutes (with notebook in hand) departing for IKEA to collect more wonderful product names. I will be back in a few hours to complete this post. Sound of door closing...

Sound of door opening and me yelling at dog... Well, I'm back! Now that I think of it I could have just browsed through the catalog and not subjected myself to the IKEA maze. I am somewhat consoled however with the thought that my visit to the actual store has resulted in a more authentic experience. Herewith are my choices for best names of IKEA products:

1. SANDIG - Baking set; Is this a Swedish word? Actually this question applies to almost all the names. I think rather that the names are mainly whimsical made up names generated by IKEA employees who are hoping somehow to get the last laugh.

2. GODIS - Highball glass; I am guessing that if you drink enough from these glasses your companion will appear as a GODIS...

3. Fornuft (with umlaut o) - Cutlery; I have no idea what this means but the umlaut seems to be used with a great deal of license in Ikea names. Sorry, but this web software doesn't seem to enable me to type a proper umlaut.

4. SNUDDA - Lazy Susan; This must refer to someone's Swedish sister.

5. SKANKA - Frying pan; I once new a rather homely young woman who aspired to be a chef.

6. BILLY - Bookshelves; This diminutive of William likely springs from the vast numbers of tatooed Swedish baristas.

7. FRACK (with umlaut) - Mirror; OMG! Frack the Cylons!

8. LACK - Shelving; As we lacked shelving for stuff I purchased two of these. I no longer Lack.

9. ARSTID - Lamp; I thought at first a misspelling of the name Astrid, or perhaps ala "The Office", Ass Turd.

10. DUDERO (with umlaut) - Lamp; My personal favorite. This is a man's lamp. It is for dudes!

11. RUTBO - Lamp; This is a girls lamp for the enjoyment of DUDERO.

12. KVART - Lamp; Is this Swedish for Fart? Like, did you just KVART?

13. PJATTERYD (with umlaut somewhere) - Picture; How the hell do you pronounce this one? Is it perhaps Patty Turd?

14. KNASTER - Bag of rocks; Hmm Knasty...

15. Gorm - Wood Slats (purpose unidentified); The expression gormless comes to mind. Look it up.

16. BUMERANG - Clothes hanger; Misspelled? I think not!

17. JABA - Clothes pins; Did the Hut use these?

Enough! I only had the opportunity to view a limited selection of the first floor. There is a vast world of silly names still available to the intrepid explorer who is brave enough to endure the IKEA maze. Please comment with your own examples of this new and superior language!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Carbon Sequestration Ad Nauseum

From Scientific American Carbon-Offset Cowboys Let Their Grass Grow - January 2009

"\Rangeland sequestration projects have generated only about 200,000 credits but are on the cusp of a major boom. The rangelands of the American West naturally absorb about 190 million tons of carbon dioxide a year. That’s about what 40 coal-fired power plants emit, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Through its Rangelands Soil Carbon Management Offsets Program, the exchange offers a financial incentive for ranchers to increase the amount of carbon dioxide that is absorbed by their lands. Sun Ranch was the first to qualify."

"Soil Sequestration Grass absorbs carbon dioxide the same way trees do, but on a smaller scale. Through photosynthesis, each plant takes carbon from the atmosphere and uses it to build more plant matter. When grass dies or trees are cut down, that carbon is released back into the atmosphere. But grass plants also release carbon out of their root tips to fungi in the soil, says Stephen Porder, who teaches biogeochemistry at Brown University. “When those roots die or the fungi die, they’re eaten by some microbe or worm, and a portion of that carbon gets stabilized,” he explains. “It gets stuck onto a clay mineral or a particle and stays in the soil.”"

OK, a tiny tiny portion of the carbon from dead plant material gets incorporated in the cells of the critter (fungi, microbe, etc.) which metabolizes the grass and its roots. The vast majority however is released immediately into the atmosphere. The net actual sequestration is highly unlikely to merit the amount of money our government environment activists would like to award to the "ranchers" who will take this land out of production. If I could get paid for growing cheat grass, rabbit brush and sage I would invest in all the high desert I could lay my hands on.

Carbon sequestration makes a little (very little) sense when considering forest ecosystems, it makes no sense at all when looking at range lands. It is worse than a simple waste of money to invest in this so called technology. Spending dollars to in a what amounts to an environmental scam not only steals from tax payers but does less than nothing to reverse the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. Cap and Trade schemes will do absolutely nothing to reverse the process of climate change. They will provide cash flow for those savvy enough to play the game.

This is simple chemistry and biology. It is no mystery how photosynthesis and respiration work in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Let's stop the wishful thinking and get on with the task of finding alternatives to fossil fuels. Allowing range lands and farm lands to lay fallow, and leaving forest management to the tender mercies of insects and disease will not get the job done. Come on people! Cowboys grow cows and manage their lands. They don't just find ways to scam the taxpayer for funds so that they sit on the deck drinking martinis and grooming their poodles.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


The expression Namaste keeps popping up in my life. The first time was probably 1968 when I was indoctrinated into the "cult" of Transcendental Meditation. I still have never told anyone what my Mantra is. It is kind of comforting to have a real secret. Actually I think of the Mantra as a psychological blood pressure pill.

The second time the expression comes up is when I attempted to join the Peace Corps and go to Nepal. This seemed like a great alternative to the Tet offensive. I did end up in the Peace Corps but in Colombia. Outside of the occasional itinerant hippy, there was no Namaste there.

So I forgot about Namaste for many years, until, in an effort to relieve the pain and stiffness resulting from being an old fart playing tennis, I joined a Yoga class. I confess that the expression of Namaste by the instructor at the end of each class seemed somewhat like a cultural fish out of water. As a consequence of the popularity of Yoga as exercise and meditative pursuit the term Namaste has gained a much wider familiarity and use in American culture.

So here we are all the way to 2009 and I find myself engaged in a non-profit organization called Namaste Kathmandu. Go figure! I have never been to Nepal. I am not a Hindu. I am not even religious, but nevertheless the expression has come to have a great deal of meaning in my life.

Working with a recent graduate of Reed College by the name of Xeno Acharya (who hails of course from Nepal) I have been working to raise money for education and health services for a community of refugees living on the banks of the Bagmati River in Kathmandu, Nepal. We chose the name Namaste Kathmandu for our organization inadvertantly appealing to the popularity and romance of the term as it is understood in English and Western culture today.

We began our efforts in the spring of 2008 with a fund raising dinner and other events. We raised enough money to send Xeno back to Nepal for the summer. Xeno exceeded my expectations with the establishment of Paurohki Gaun Village and the completion of construction of Mechi Mahakali Primary School. On Friday evening we had our second annual Namaste Kathmandu Dinner to raise money for continued funding of the school and construction of a second building to serve as a community center and health clinic.

Longer term, Xeno will be attending University of Washington in the fall to pursue a degree in Public Health Administration. The goal is to return to Nepal and build both Namaste Kathmandu and working on a greater scale for the economic and social development of Nepal. Until such time as Xeno is established full time in Kathmandu it is our intention to keep Namaste Kathmandu small in scale, highly focused, and practical in nature.

OK, fair readers, here's the pitch. We need your support, your ideas and if possible some of your money. For more information on Namaste Kathmandu please visit Your checks made payable to Namaste Kathmandu may be sent to:
Namaste Kathmandu
5815 SE 18th Ave.
Portland OR 97202

Namaste! Peace be with you...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Welcome New Reader!

With the recent addition of a site counter to my blog I am now able to view not only how many people (thousands!) are reading my posts but where they hail from. I would like to welcome a new reader (whoever you are) from, I am not making this up, NICEVILLE FLORIDA. I looked this up and yes, Niceville looks really nice.

Niceville as I have learned is the home of the annual Mullet Festival. I am not sure if this is a festival honoring a fish or a haircut but I suspect the latter. Please visit Niceville's website at: or better yet have a real vacation in Florida.

I am sooo offended!

From the Oregonian 3-14-09:

A mask similar to one President Barack Obama himself wore in a "Saturday Night Live" skit prompted a Portland school principal to ban a boy from performing while wearing it at his elementary school talent show after deciding the rubber likeness of the 44th president was "inappropriate and potentially offensive."

Dru Lechert-Kelly, 11, a fifth-grader at Llewellyn Elementary School in Southeast Portland, decided to dress up like his role model and dance to a popular YouTube song that features an Obama look-alike dancing to a parody called "I Can Do Whatever I Like."

Local school says no to Obama act

This kid is a Romanian orphan son of two liberal gay SE Portland guys. The article goes on to worry relentlessly about the fear that someone might be offended by young Dru's depiction of our President. SINCE WHEN WAS FREE SPEECH LIMITED BY THE "POSSIBLITY OF OFFENDING SOMEONE" CLAUSE? This line of thinking is analagous to banning the monkey bars for fear that a child could be "hurt" by playing. I believe the reverse is true. The child will be hurt by not being able to play, by not being able to express himself, by not being allowed to move beyond a rigid set of politically correct strictures defined by a narrow group of fearful citizens more motivated by their need to avoid conflict than the responsibility to support free speech as defined in the constitution. (deep breath...)

When did we as a nation, state, city etc. become so terrified of the notion of offending someone? I presume the next step will be to ban MAD Magazine as my parents attempted to do when I was a callow youth with a collection of MAD and Playboy in the attic. If the goal is to protect our children from the dangers of thinking as well as playground accidents then we are in deeper shit than even the personal injury lawyers can imagine.

I am afraid we are in danger of becoming a nation of of pussys (in the sense of lacking the courage to speak, act or express our true feelings). Speak up! Act up! (remember these guys?). Don't let "them" do this to "us"!

Oh, bye the bye, a number of years ago I yanked both of my kids out of the aforementioned Llewellyn school due to great disappointment with the antics of the principal. Some things just don't seem to change.

Be a true American! Get out there and offend someone today!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Just Don't Get It

I thought blogging might be fun. I was right. It is. Some friends told me about another web based communication tool called Twitter. I have tried this and I just don't get it. The entire concept behind Twitter is the frequent answering of the question "What are you doing?". You get a limit of 140 characters to answer this fascinating question. There are two facets to this exercise:
1. Trying to think of something hip, cool, useful etc. to say in 140 words.
2. Reading the 140 word stylings of others.

Why would anyone want to know what I am doing from moment to moment? Why do I care what others are doing? Apparently I am not able to answer this question as I have succumbed to lack of interest and will be bidding a not so fond farewell to Twitter.

One more thing, I actually have a few friends whose Twitt's (is this the right term?) I have attempted to follow, but I have noticed a gradually increasing number of total strangers who are following my Twitting. Who are these people? How did they find me? Why do they want to read my posts?

I am afraid that I am just not cut out to be a Twit!