Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap year .2. A morning spent at the Saturn dealership getting a new sensor placed in the car so I can pass an emissions test. I wandered around the lot and came to the concluson that all of the new Saturns are either unattractive or too expensive or both. So I guess I will be driving around the 99 Saturn for a while longer.

Work going well, the last few weeks have been very productive. I'm making good progress on finishing several reports. Science!

Best news- Jimbo is coming to visit in mid-March. We have an excellent time hanging out (even last year's mega-allergy mess was alright). This year we intend to go up to Phoenix and visit with Brian, John,and Darin. I'll also have a little party at my house and invite bloggers Cobban (and his bf Ray), Frank, Jim, Panchesco, (and maybe Lee?), and my regular kinda friends Brady, Patrick, Bob, and Steve will have to come over and play games. Will I make lemon meringue? Only time will tell.

In other, completely unrelated news, my goatee is getting very bushy. You could do residue analysis, I'm sure, and determine what I had for dinner last week. Will it stay, again, only time will tell.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I feel sorry for Mark Whitecotton. He is the blogger from the Baltimore, Maryland area who has created numerous blogs pretending to be different people. As 'Marc' he died a tragic death from cancer in 2006. As 'Josh,' 'Marc's' brother, he is undergoing chemo. As 'Steve' he is testifying at a murder trial. And so on. It's really pathetic.

He doesn't like me- I exposed his lies about the 11-year-old girl (he claimed she was murdered, she died a natural death) in August 2007 and ever since then he has posted on his various blogs lots of crap about me. You can search on technorati and find many of those entries. He claims I'm a liar, I'm jealous of him, I've threatened other bloggers with death- that's a good one! My favorite- I write too much about lemon meringue pies.

Now he's fixated on the fact that I'm a scientist. You can go read his pathetic entry here. Oh look, he stole a picture of me from the Arizona Daily Star website. I wonder if he asked permission. That's something he's always doing, stealing pictures. Not the best picture of me, I'll admit.

Mr. Whitecotton (as 52-year-old dying dentist 'Josh') says that you have to have a MD or a PhD degree to be a scientist. This was news to me. I asked my co-workers today if we were scientists and everybody agreed, archaeology is considered a social science. Anthropology, which archaeology is a sub-field of, is well known for borrowing from other sciences including biology, botany, geology, and anatomy. My training has included aspects of all of these fields, as well as historical research.

Let me bore you with some details. I have a master's degree from Arizona State University in Anthropology (1992). My thesis involved the analysis of 12,263 animal bones from a fur trading fort in North Dakota. I identified the bones to animal species where possible, skeletal element, portion and side, butchering methods, and a number of other attributes. Entered the data into the computer and conducted a number of statistical tests to identify statistically significant patterns, and then wrote and defended the thesis.

For my undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan (1986), I did an honor's thesis examining a prehistoric ossuary (a mass reburial of people, common in Michigan from about A.D. 1000-1600). The classwork I took allows me to identify portions of the human skeleton from small fragments, determine the sex and age of individuals, and identify pathological conditions such as arthritis, anemia, and healed fractures, all of which leave evidence on elements. I am frequently asked to excavate burials discovered in the Tucson area. I do this with skill and respect for the remains, often times I think about the person as I am uncovering their remains. That is perhaps the most unscientific thing about that aspect of my work, wondering what kind of lives those people led.

For my job of 15.5 years I have run a variety of archaeological projects. Many of these have been at complex sites with hundreds of features, often stretching back thousands of years. I have identified tens of thousands of artifacts and researched thousands of individuals for work. I have also given over 100 talks to the public and over a dozen at national scientific meetings, the most recent one in Albuquerque in January. The results of my archaeological and genealogical research has been published in dozens of reports. I have five books in the Library of Congress.

So yeah, I consider myself a scientist. It isn't something I boast about, no more than me saying I own a house or I have three cats. I've often thought that I would like my tombstone to read "Archaeologist, Genealogist, Homosexual" since these pretty much identify me.

I don't know I'm even bothering to write this.

I just feel sorry and somewhat repelled by this person. I don't understand the need to tell lies and call other bloggers names when they point out the truth and ask pointed questions (Why don't your pictures match? How can 'Marc' be dead when he is alive and living in Baltimore?). I look at his blogs the same way that I look at car accidents- fascinating, a bit weirded out, and sorry for everyone involved.

I guess the reason I'm mentioning this is that a few people on my blogroll link to a couple of Mark Whitecotton's blogs on their blogroll- "Smiley's Place" and "Defying Despondency." Perhaps they don't know that he uses my name in URLs and mentions my name and company name in tags, apparently trying bring search engines in and get me in trouble in some way. Ohmigod, so fucking lame.

Mark, maybe you need a big slice of lemon meringue pie. You know, it makes everybody feel better.

Later. I guess this big question is why would I bother making this stuff up? Such utter bullshit. The 300+ people who read my blog daily probably have a good sense of who I am. So readers, do you think I'm a liar?

I have been very disappointed in people lately. The current Cute Animal election is very important. Bunny and Squirrel are in a tight race for the Cutest nomination. The amount of animosity directed toward Squirrel by Bunny supporters has been an eye opener.

Erik (who is cuter than either Bunny or Squirrel) said "Besides, squirrels are just rats with fuzzy tails..." Stash said, "They're both technically vermin."

I know, I know, an endless entry about cute animals. But this has been on my mind for a couple of minutes and recently I have been shocked by some things I have seen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It is like a zoo outside my window at work. Today I had house finches, mourning doves, a rabbit, and a pair of ground squirrels with enormous testicles (at least, I think that's what they are). At times when I was busy doing my work as a Research Archaeologist (that's what my business card says I do), I was peeking at the little critters eating bird seed.


And in homage to Mr. Chris Leavins,

Who is cuter?

Baby bunny.


Boy squirrel.

Please vote in the comment section...

When I was a kid and played Star Trek I always wanted to be Uhura. She had the funnest job and when they were thrown around she always got thrown around the most dramatically. Evidence that I was a big homo even as a child.

I'm watching a truly awful original episode "The Galileo Seven." Even Joey meows at me, letting me know she thinks this one was a stinker. I have to get up in the middle of the night because my back starts to ache every night between 3 and 4 AM. I have to sit uprigt for awhile and the pain subsides. I guess I'll be discussing this with my doctor at my next physical.

The only other complaint I have is that my eyes have been getting increasingly "old." I put on my reading glasses and take them off and I have a hard time focusing again. That is very irritating, especially since I paid so much money for the damn spectacles. Oh well, at least I only have a few gray chest hairs.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Today's dessert- angel food cake and lemon curd.

12 yolk lemon curd, 12 egg white angelfood cake.

A co-worker is raising chickens and gave another co-worker a dozen eggs that I ended up with. I picked six lemons from the tree and away I went.

The cake.

It always surprises me how easy it is to make both. The cake is light and fluffy and a little sticky. The curd is sweet and tart and fairly rich. They are excellent together.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I have been very disappointed in people lately. The current presidential election is extremely important. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are in a tight race for the Democratic nomination. The amount of animosity directed toward Obama by some Clinton supporters has been an eye opener.

I guess Clinton supporters automatically assumed they she had the nomination. Well, presidential campaigns involve many basic things including organization, get-out-the-vote, fund-raising, and good speaking and debating skills. Clinton supporters have been surprised at the gradually increasing popularity of Obama. He has shown that he is a better campaigner- runs an excellent organization, manages resources well, and inspires people who are interested in his message. Plus he has been able to raise a huge amount of money.

The response of some people has been to denigrate Obama supporters (mindless, crazy, sheep, religious followers) and Obama (inexperienced, won't promise the same things as Clinton, won't promise different things from Clinton, too bipartisan, wife not proud enough, supporter not well versed on his legislative accomplishments, copies speeches, and etc.). Many of their complaints are false or petty.

It seems likely that the reverse situation is happening, but in the blogs and comments I have read, the comments against Mrs. Clinton are based on reality while those against Obama often are not (e.g., comparing him to Hitler) and at times I wonder whether his racial background has something to do with it.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have very similar positions on most issues. Either could make a good president and would raise the image of the United States at home and abroad. I honestly have been impressed with Obama and not because of his speeches (I prefer to read background and position statements rather than listen to speeches and debates).

I like Hillary Clinton, but she is less electable against John McCain. Somewhere around 35 to 40 percent of the American population will not vote for her, there are many, many people who view Mrs. Clinton with distrust and anger, mostly for totally spurious and fictional reasons.

If Mrs. Clinton somehow gets the nomination, the likelihood of her getting elected is much, much less certain. I know many people who would vote for Obama, but who will not vote for Clinton. I am looking at this with a rational, unemotional viewpoint.

Whoever gets elected is in for an unpleasant time, with the economy getting worse and the mess in Iraq. But they also will be picking Supreme Court and other judges, and making basic decisions about civil rights, things that will effect most of the people who read this blog. This is why it is important for a Democrat to win above everything else.

I know, I know, an endless entry about politics. But this was been on my mind for a couple of weeks and recently I have been shocked by some things I have seen.

Cathi Herrod is a nasty, nasty person.


Arizona voters rejected the anti-gay marriage amendment in 2006. Karl Rove came to Arizona couple of weeks ago and chatted with Timothy Bee, the Arizona State Senate President. Bee is running against Democrat Gabrielle Gifford in the upcoming congressional election. Soon afterwards, Bee introduced another anti-gay marriage amendment. Do you think there was a connection between Rove's visit? The State Senate and House voted to place it on the ballot.

Ms. Herrod is ecstatic. For the last 20 years she has wasted her pathetic life fighting against every single measure that would provide gays and lesbians equality in Arizona. She claims to be a Christian. Really, she seems more Old Testament than New.

Years from now Cathi Herrod will be a footnote in some history book. People like her don't show up on stamps (last time I checked, there aren't any stamps featuring the Ku Klux Klan). I hope she lives long enough to see gay marriage legalized in the United States. Miserable, nasty thing.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Boldly go!

CBS has posted every episode of the original Star Trek series online for free viewing.

Also the first season of Hawaii 5-0. And McGyver. I am content.

Report cards.

Kindergarten, Mrs. Harrison [wonderful person]:

"Shows thoughtfulness and fairness to others." and "It would strengthen Homer's arms and legs to take part in a short period of strenuous exercise each day."

First grade, Mrs. Gray [hit me with a pen because I could add in my head]:

"Homer has an enjoyable sense of humor. Good sport- can laugh at himself."

Second grade, Mrs. Maier [encouraged me to read]:

"Homer makes delightful books, beautiful pictures, and good stories."

Third grade, Mrs. Fitch [nice woman]:

"He only missed one word."[in spelling, it was studying]

Fourth grade, Mr. Panter [don't remember him at all]:

"Could be encouraged to participate more."

Fifth grade, Mrs. Donahue [our health book was from the 1930s]:

Arithmetic A-
Language A-
Reading B+
Science & Health A-
Social Studies A-
Spelling S
Writing B
Band A

And Sixth grade, Mrs. Drake [mean, spiteful woman]:

Arithmetic B
Language B+
Reading A-
Social Studies B+
Spelling B+
Writing C+
Citizenship A

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My great grandmother Grace.

Grace (1875-1929).

She died before my grandfather was married so she never met her four grandchildren. From stomach cancer- she'd had a hard life raising her three young children after her husband unexpectedly died from peritonitis in 1907. Later she married an older cousin, probably hoping things would get better.

She is young and beautiful in all of the pictures I have of her.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Grandma F., August 1968.

After Grandma died in January 1998, I went through her house searching for color slides. My mother, for who knows why, had thrown away the slides we had once had. "We don't have a projector" she had said when I asked her where they were. She also threw out almost all of the negatives. Sometimes you just want to say mean things.

So anyways, I found a handful of slides and took them, since I fully expected them to be thrown away too. Today our receptionist at work scanned them for me. The vivid color on some of them is surprising.

Grandma is 58 in this picture, standing in her garden at her house in Traverse City. I'm certain Grandpa F. took the slide, he was almost always behind the camera. That garden still produced vegetables and flowers when I was a kid. I well remember helping weed.

It's strange to think that other people live in Grandma's house and that I can never go back there, or even if I did it wouldn't be the same.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

In case you are wondering, it smells like crap at the sewage plant.


A leisurely stroll at the Sweetwater Wetlands was perhaps the most interesting part of the day.

Northern shovelers.

There were thousands of Northern Shoveler ducks there. I also saw a roadrunner, cinnamon teal, a hummingbird, a wading bird that had the birders all orgasmic, and lots of cute mud turtles.

Mud turtle.

I wish I had a better camera with a close up lens. But I don't (thanks Tax Refund Cat!).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Scream Puff.

Hates the camera.

Mama Cat (AKA Tax Refund Cat) does not like her medicines. The eye drops are the easiest. The oral antibiotic seems to go alright, although she usually reaches up trying to swat the syringe out of my hand. The third is the worst- I grind up pieces of two different pills, mix them with a little milk, and suck that up into a bigger syringe. This morning she spit most of it out onto me. Nice. The blood clot in one eye is slowly dissolving. The vision in her other eye comes and goes- today is a good day. The animal opthamologist has done every test possible and is unable to determine a cause.

The orange tomcat who lives outside has taken to peeing on my back door. My house already has that end-of-winter litter box odor. The addition of cat urine under the kitchen door has made it particularly fetid. So I mopped the floors, picking a few lemons off the tree and adding the juice to the water. I washed all the rugs and covers. I squirted citrus smelling stuff on the curtains and ceiling fan. I have some sliced up lemons and oranges sitting around. Hopefully the house will be presentable again.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Only a thin pane of glass saved me from the Killer Ground Squirrel.

Hungry after hibernation, everyone in Arizona knows better than to get close to one of these little varmints. They are wicked things, they'll lie to you, steal from you, sell your cats to a lipstick company. I looked up and it was examining me, probably wondering how much my kidneys would go for.

Lucky for that pane of glass.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It is Spring time in Arizona. Outside my office window little sparrows with red heads (and you know how much I like redheads) jump around eating the bird seed I left out for them. Yesterday I saw the first ground squirrel and the first gecko. The orange tree is getting ready to blossom.

Little red finch.

Tomorrow is the worst holiday ever invented. For single people. Why isn't there a similar holiday for us? Hallmark needs to get their act together- more cards to sell!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Banana Cream Pie!!! I declare this the year of pudding-filled pies.

Banana cream pie, 4 egg meringue.

I also declare this the year of:

- porn-staches. Moustaches are going to be big this year.
- cut off jean shorts. Let's revisit this intriguing fashion trend of the 70s.
- Helen Keller-Mama Cat jokes: How did Mama Cat burn her paws? Trying to read the waffle iron!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Mama Cat update. This morning I was lying in bed and Mama Cat climbed off of me and over the bed to the window sill. I wondered how she was able to do that so easily. Later, as I was getting ready to give her medicine, I realized her left eye was cleared up and she is regaining her vision.

Poor Mama Cat hates her medicine. She makes faces and tries to scratch me. I have to grind the tiny pill into powder and wipe that across her tongue. I'm sure she is saying cat swear words at me.

She goes back to the vet tomorrow. Her right eye still looks terrible (blood red) but perhaps that will also get better.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Post 1502. Words I hate:

-- "kudos" Often used in phrases like, "Kudos to XXXX for XXXX." Isn't this the name of a lame candy bar? It sounds really Greek to me. And although Greek men are really, really hot, they use a different alphabet that includes triangles for letters and when I was in Greece it took me forever to figure out what words were supposed to be in good American English.

-- "wombat" That poor animal is stuck with the stupidest sounding name ever. Luckily, wombats mostly live in Australia, like Sandy, so I don't have to see them regularly and have that strange name pop up in my head. Instead I get to see normal animals like javelina and gila monsters.

-- "scrotum" Let's make an interesting part of the male anatomy sound disgusting. In fact, most interesting parts of the male anatomy have disgusting scientific sounding names. Testicles. Glans. Etc.

-- "caucus" Another Greek-sounding word. Yes, I know they invented democracy and algebra, but this is America!!! I like the word "primary" much better.

There are many other words that I think should be banned from the liberal media so that I don't have to hear them. What ones do you dislike?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The pollster wanted to hear my opinion on whether I was interested in helping the liberal Democrats lose the house this year. Some Congressman's spiel included the horrors of gay marriage. Afterward a woman came on the line, "Mr. T----" she began to say.

I didn't give her a moment to speak. "I'm a gay man. I found your phone call to be very offensive. Take me off your goddamn list." Click.

In retrospect I should have chatted the woman up and wasted their money. But really, who needs to listen to such shit?

A canvasser tried to get Puff and Joey to vote for John McCain in today's primary. They meowed at him, "We think he belongs in the litter box!"

Puff, Joey, and a stray.

Monday, February 04, 2008

It is a rainy day in Tucson. I was sitting at my desk and there were a few moments of hail. A cute bird, whose head was covered with red feathers, perched on the tree outside my office window (it also had red feathers on its tummy).

Cute red bird. Later: Jimbo has identified the bird as a Vermillion Flycatcher (it's also a male).

At home I watched Mama Cat maneuver around the house. She still has partial vision in her right eye. I wanted to assure people that everything that can be done for her is being done. Last Friday the vet told me that something was wrong with the blood vessels in her left eye. I had her blood pressure taken (normal), blood and urine tests (slightly elevated protein in her urine, which is a sign that blood is being resorbed from her eye), and a glaucoma test done (the left high has elevated blood pressure, she is on a medicine to reduce that). She's going back to the vet again, although I'm not sure if anything else can be done. If the bleeding stops the blood will be resorbed and her eyesight will come back. The strange thing is my father had the same exact condition, although in his case it was from diabetes, and he ended up going blind at the end of his life.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

To keep my mind busy I made a yellow cake with chocolate ganache frosting.

I should have trimmed the cake to make it more symetrical, but really, who notices?

A rare three-posts-in-one-day day

I voted for Barack Obama for the upcoming Arizona primary on Tuesday. In our state we can vote early and I was downtown at the courthouse last week (doing research, no, I wasn't on trial) and so I went and voted.

I like the guy. He's smart, articulate, has worked hard for poor and disenfranchised people. He's also my seventh cousin, but that doesn't have a lot to do with my decision. He also doesn't come with the baggage others are carrying. So that's it.

Something is wrong with Mama Cat. Last week she went to see the vet because she had a cold and a discharge from her right eye. That night she had a nose bleed. On Friday morning I discovered her right eye was filled with blood. Another visit to the vet where they couldn't find anything wrong. Today her left eye has started to fill with blood and she's obviously going blind.

Mama Cat, two weeks ago.

It breaks my heart.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Vintage beefcake.

Yale Varsity line-up, circa 1910s. [click image for full size]

The Library of Congress is putting photos on the Flickr website and I came across this one. I like the guy with the moustache the best.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Tombstone. Spent yesterday down in Tombstone- I'll be doing a small project around the courthouse.

Courthouse, built in 1882.

Very well known place. The town is doing a horrible job maintaining its historical character. When you walk down the street, with men dressed up as cowboys, and there are shows selling dragons and crystal balls, that kinda ruins the effect.

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