Saturday, December 15, 2007

What's Next in Texas -- The University of Astrological Studies?

Or a revival of the phlogiston theory in the Chemistry Department?

The geologists should also get up in arms about this, since these are young earth creationists.

The whole article was pretty disturbing -- here are a couple of points that were particularly so.

This first one is pretty scary -- the possibility that the graduates of this Institute could be unleashed on the public schools.

"Patricia Nason, the institute's department chairwoman for science education, said most of the institute's students end up teaching at private Christian schools. But, she said, they learn about evolution and are qualified to teach in public schools."

Of course they want "academic" freedom for themselves, but they aren't willing to give any:

"It is ... expected that faculty members as teachers, scholars, and citizens, will further the ministry of the Institute through their life example and commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord. Acceptance to this limitation of academic freedom is reaffirmed with each annual contract."

Click on the title of this post for the rest of the story, "Creationist institute seeks certificate to operate master's program in Texas Christian facility teaches science from biblical perspective."

Going back to Colorado for retirement is looking more and more attractive, but then of course we'd end up right in the midst of the evangelical cluster economy (Focus on the Family, The Navigators, Young Life, New Life Church, etc.) Yikes -- there's no escape!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Texas is Soooo Much Fun Right now

From Lizzette Reynolds, TEA Deputy Commissioner:

"The concern was, should these sorts of things be on the TEA e-mail?
Maybe this was my sensitivity from working on the federal level. I
looked at it and said, “This could be political.” My goal was to make
sure the right people looked at this.

I realize that people have their opinions. If you want to do that, Yahoo is free. Get a Yahoo account."

and later:

"I still think the e-mail by Comer left the agency exposed. The whole
situation has been a little disturbing to me. Maybe I should have seen
the political side of it."

So which is it?? -- she thought "This could be political" or "Maybe I should have seen the political side of it."

************ ********* ****

I sent this comment in response to the article:

Why should the sending of this message from Comer’s work email be inappropriate?

Barbara Forrest was a witness at the Dover, PA, trial.

The Dover school board had injected the religious concept of intelligent design into the high school biology classes.

There are members of the SBOE who would like to do the same in Texas.

Attending the Forrest lecture should have been mandatory for all
SBOE members so that they could have some idea of what they were
getting into. I’m appalled and dismayed that they didn’t have the
curiosity to attend, and that Reynolds thinks there is anything wrong
with a Science Director informing various populations about a lecture
on a science issue.

The Kitzmiller vs. Dover trial cost the school district over $1,000,000, as they were ordered to pay the plaintiff’s fees.

Can you imagine the cost to the State of Texas to go through such a
trial on a state level? Can you imagine the cost to the State of Texas
as scientists, biotech businesses and concerns, etc. avoid a state with
such a hostile environment to science?

Chris Comer should be lauded for trying to save the State of Texas a vast amount of money, time, and prestige.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Freaky! (as Dave put it)

Click on the title link and take a look -- then read the exchange Scott and I had as we were watching the dancer rotate:

SRI (his initials -- is that cool or what): It just changed rotation.

me: I didn't see it change. Colleen and I were looking at it at the same time,
and she saw it change and I didn't.

SRI: Is she actually changing directions, or is it just me?

me: Did you hear what I said? If you see it go one way, and I see it go the
other, what does that tell you?

SRI: That you're wrong.

me: SCOTT!!!!!

Monday, October 01, 2007

COTN Over 9/11 Tourette's

I can't remember exactly where I heard this, or exactly whom it was referring to, but a certain politician was recently described as having 9/11 Tourette's. My guess that it was referring to Rudy Giuliani's recent appearance at an NRA function where he invoked 9/11 a number of times.

Friday, August 31, 2007


The vet called this morning -- Genji didn't make it. We'll take him to the ranch, where we've buried Ivan (Scott's brother's Golden Retriever), Beast, and Wretch (cats).

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Home Tomorrow?

I haven't been able to see Genji since Saturday. He had an operation late Monday afternoon, and Scott said he looked pretty bad on Tuesday and no better on Wednesday. We were both thinking that this was it -- he's not going to make it after all, but then the vet called this morning and said he was doing better, and that he could go home soon.

This afternoon we went to visit -- since he's no longer hooked up to 2 or 3 IVs and a catheter, we were able to visit with him in an examination room. I didn't get to see him in his little "wife-beater" t-shirt (I hate that term, but they put a little sleeveless t-shirt on him for a couple of days to keep him from getting at the stitches. Scott said he looked so humiliated -- "Here I am a fine tuxedo cat, and they put me in THAT?!")

I said something about when he could go home and the tech said, "He IS going home tomorrow!" The other tech (Brian?) came in to show us how to feed him. Since he's not wanting to eat on his own yet, he has to be fed 4 times a day through a feeding tube. It's actually a bit easier than I anticipated -- the important thing is to make sure the canned cat food and water is well blended so there are no lumps, and then make sure that you aren't pushing the food through the syringe too fast -- else he'll vomit. Then you have to put 5cc of water in another syringe through his feeding tube to flush the food out.

We're hoping that having him home will calm him down so he'll feel more like eating. When we'd take the cats to the ranch, they would often not eat the first day, and eat very little on subsequent days, until we got back home.

Some of his stitches could come out now -- the others will have to wait a few more days. He'll also need to have his pills crushed and dissolved in water and then administered through the feeding tube.

We're turning the cave (our den -- it has two rock walls) into the infirmary. It has a door to the rest of the house, so we can keep the other 2 cats away from him. There are two french doors so he can have a nice view of the back yard, and even get some son if he'd like (and the rest of the room has a couple of dark corners if he prefers that.) He probably won't be able to negotiate the litter box for a while, so we'll line his space with these pads that are made from diaper material. He won't be moving far for a while, so this should be a nice room for his recuperation.

When the vet tech took him back to his cage, he actually looked at us like he knew who we were -- "Halp! Don't want! Taek me home!" (I have mastered cat macro or lolcat language.)

We're keeping our fingers crossed, but he might actually make it -- he's through the worst of it, anyway.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Operation is Over

Well, Genji didn't have much infection in his wounds -- there was some necrotic tissue that needed to be removed. They had to insert another drainage tube. He isn't healing as fast as the vet would like, but we think that could be because he is 10 years old and he's stressed out because there are dogs all over the place! Scott will go see him tomorrow morning, and I'll see him (if I can get away from work in time) in the late afternoon.

Somewhat of a Setback

The 10:00 a.m. report from the vet wasn't so good today. Genji has some infection in his wounds and needs another surgery. Scott called this afternoon, and they started the surgery about 3:00 p.m.

We're crossing our fingers and sending him thoughts of mice and butterflies.

The other cats seem to miss him -- he loves to groom the other two (Saki & Yuki.) Saki is not so fond of Yuki, since he stabbed her a few years ago, and she had an infection that required a trip to the vet. Genji is really the peacemaker among the three.

Well, we hope we have better news with the next update.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

We Are Grumpy Today (Genji)

Saturday visiting hours begin at 9:30 a.m., so we were there bright and early. Genji did his "Meow! Meow!" when we walked in, but seemed rather grumpy. Then we noticed that the 5 drainage tubes that dotted his upper rear leg and lower abdomen were gone -- it's a bit painful to have those removed, so no wonder he wasn't feeling so hot.

I tried to interest him in some food -- he didn't want to eat yet, but both times he actually pushed himself up on his front legs and sat up for a bit. We petted, combed and stroked him and told him what a wonderful cat he was. He seemed pretty tired, so we left after about half an hour. We did take a couple of pictures of him -- the wounds are just horrible, but I felt it was important to document them.

There are no visiting hours on Sunday, so I hope that he's better on Monday. He's got to start eating on his own before he can come home.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Another Genji-cat Report

Today Genji meowed twice when I came to visit. The technicians commented again on his increasing feistiness when they attend to him -- but that is good news, and they didn't seem to mind. He has been on oral pain killers for at least a day, and they were going to switch him off the IV antibiotics onto pills, too. They also said that the 5 drainage tubes in his lower abdomen could come out either today or tomorrow. (This is gross, but when the first vet at the emergency center picked him up so we could see his injury, there was a tube hanging out about the same place his leg had been -- for just a few moments, I thought that it was part of his bone sticking out!)

He was sitting up a little more and was holding his head up longer. I tried to feed him some of the yummy sardines in aspic provided by the critical care center, but that seemed to trigger a hiccuping response. Dr. Armstrong said that he was doing much better, but he would still need at least another week in the hospital. We can visit Saturday morning, but not Sunday.

I scratched under his little chin (kinda hard to do with that big collar around his neck), and he purred for the first time in a week. His eyes are much brighter, too.

Scott came in after I'd been there about ten minutes. He had some quality time with Genji, but then the tattooed technician (I need to find out their names) said that we'd have to leave since an emergency case was coming in.

I left a note for the woman who owns the dogs -- she's been coming by almost every day to check on his progress. She is obviously deeply concerned, and I'm having a hard time reconciling this caring person with the kind of vicious dogs she has. We're really in a quandry, too -- we want compensation for all the vet bills, but we also don't want this dog/these dogs in our neighborhood any more. I would feel just awful if I didn't do anything and the dogs hurt another being -- critter or child. I think the bills are actually now moving out of the realm of small claims court, which complicates things, I'm sure.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Genji-Cat Report

We took Genji to the critical care facility (3 blocks from our house, which is nice) on Monday, where the veterinarian promptly told us in effect, "Most cats with injuries this severe don't survive, in particular, the window between 3 - 5 days is particularly perilous, since that's when the infections start raging. Only about 30% of cats would survive this."

We decided to see how Monday went. We visited him and he meowed a few times, but didn't really get up -- although he tried to jump out of the kennel! On Tuesday he was a little worse, and didn't stay awake very long. I wasn't able to get away from the office on Wednesday, but Scott said he was about the same as Tuesday and he did try to knead Scott's arm a little. They said there was a little fluid in his lungs and some necrotic tissue somewhere.

This morning the vet called around 10 a.m. We were expecting her to say that he'd died during the night, but she said he was slightly better, and she was very guardedly optimistic. He still isn't eating, and she said he'll need at least another week in the hospital (assuming things don't get worse.)

I'm taking off work a bit early today to go visit the little guy -- it seems to cheer him up to see us, and I think it will cheer us up to see him doing better.

Monday, August 20, 2007


(click on the title for a picture of sweet Genji)

About 1 a.m. Saturday morning, Scott heard an awful sound and ran outside to find a guy pulling two dogs off our tuxedo cat, Genji in our yard. Scott rushed him to the vet, and he had to have a rear leg amputated. There didn't seem to be any internal organ damage (thank Bast), but when they did an x-ray Saturday afternoon, they found that his bladder had migrated out of the abdominal cavity (there may have been a tear in the muscle, and when the leg was removed, the pressure keeping the bladder in may have been released, allowing the bladder to move.)

They had to do another operation to fix that (they said it was a relatively simple procedure) and also to do a small repair to the muscle of his remaining rear leg. His tail isn't moving they way they'd like it, but that could just be all the anesthesia, and hopefully not nerve damage.

Scott said the guy with the dogs said they would pay for the vet, (they live on our street, 1 block away) and Saturday morning the woman who owned them came by to apologize and again offered to pay for the vet. She said they are kept in her back yard, but escaped. Scott gave me a description of them, and one of them sounds like this dog who was running loose a few months ago who ran toward me growling and snarling fiercely when I stepped onto our carport -- I had to run back into the yard and close the gate and wait until he ran off -- now I feel dumb for not following up on it, but it was something that I'd forgotten by the end of the day. I need to go see if that is the same dog, because if it is, I think the neighborhood has a problem. Scott said that one of the dogs(the one that looks like the one I saw earlier) growled and snarled at HIM when he was trying to help Genji -- in our own yard.

We moved him to a critical care facility (just a couple of blocks from our home), where we were told that the prognosis for such an injury really isn't very good, but if he can make it through the next 48 - 72 hours, he'll most likely recover. When we saw him during visiting hours, he wasn't very responsive at first, but then he put his head up, and he tried to jump out of the kennel. His eyes looked much better than yesterday, as he didn't have that glazed over look, and it seemed that he knew who we were. He was pretty vocal, and it sounded more like, "Please get me out of here!" than "I'm in horrible pain," although I'm sure he is in awful pain. We'll get an update on his condition in the morning.

Even though the dog owners said they'd pay, we're not going to count on it until it happens. (They may not feel like it when we report the dog -- the Austin code has a provision that a dog that has killed or seriously maimed another pet cannot be kept in the city (unless the injured pet was in violation of the code, which I don't think Genji was.) We really anguished over this, since it's such a lot of money, but I really don't want that dog in the neighborhood where he might get out again to injure another pet or even a child.

When Genji was seriously ill with pancreatitis in 1999, we called him "rent payment" when we got the bill. When we got the bill for Saki's trip to the emergency vet earlier this summer (she's fine, now), we called her "mortgage payment. His new nicknames have been escalating now -- we're on "engagement ring," "small used car,"and we may end up with "house down payment" before we're through with this.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What We Did to Our Lawn this Spring

When I say "We," I mean "Mostly Scott!"

We are tearing out our lawn and turning it into a small prairie. The Indian Blanket and coreopsis grew about 3 feet higher than we anticipated due to the rich soil. The plants in the back of this group are over 6 feet tall now.

EDIT: July 20, 2007
The work of Lady Bird Johnson has inspired the design of our yard. Wildflowers aren't just for the highways, y'all!

Friday, March 16, 2007

New Book in the Physics/Math/Astronomy Library

There is a new book in the PMA Library: Contact Geometry and Nonlinear Differential Equations.

For some reason, this title bothers me. I can't help but imagine being poked in the side by a particularly insistent acute angle.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I Coulda been a Baraminologist

I recently discovered a new source of humor and fun, although I'm not sure that was the intention of the homeschooled founders of -- a site designed to counter the "Anti-American, Anti-Christian Bias" of wikipedia.

After reading the section on kangaroos, I found that my background in biology and anthropology has most likely disqualified me as a career as a baraminologist:

"According to the origins model used by creation scientists, modern kangaroos, like all modern animals, originated in the Middle East[1] and are the descendants of the two founding members of the modern kangaroo baramin that were taken aboard Noah's Ark prior to the Great Flood. It has not yet been determined by baraminologists whether kangaroos form a holobaramin with the wallaby, tree-kangaroo, wallaroo, pademelon and quokka, or if all these species are in fact apobaraminic or polybaraminic.

Also according to creation science, after the Flood, kangaroos bred from the Ark passengers migrated to Australia. There is debate whether this migration happened over land[2] -- as Australia was still for a time connected to the Middle East before the supercontinent of Pangea broke apart[3] -- or if they rafted on mats of vegetation torn up by the receding flood waters[2]."

Friday, February 09, 2007


This popped out of SRI's mouth today -- it was so funny I almost dropped the dinner I burned last night (but that's another story):


#@$%! Viruses! I Should Try Apple!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

We Do Have the Best Crimeline!

O. M. G. -- for once I have no words to introduce this:

Disorderly Conduct: A UT student reported being approached by an unknown female twice over the course of two days. The student stated that during a recruiting drive, the unknown female began talking to him, then placed her hands on his shoulder continually while they talked about the student organization. The next day, the female attempted to kiss his hands and cheek. The student became offended and told her to stop. After being told to stop the female placed her head within several inches of the student's nether region and explained to him that she would love to hum the National Anthem with a certain part of his body in her mouth. The subject stood up and began showing nude pictures of herself to other students that were standing around watching the events unfold. The unknown female was told to leave. The unknown female began screaming and yelling obscenities, then left the area. The unknown female was described as: White female, 5' 04', slender build, shaved head, and last seen wearing a white dress with multi-colored dots, a long black dress with a fur collar, and a pink hat. Occurred on: 02-02-07, at 1:05 PM.

In anticipation of Valentine's Day, this tale of "wooing":
Public Intoxication: UT Police Officers responded to a suspicious person that was harassing one of the residents and was refusing to leave the dormitory. During the investigation, the officers located the subject and observed that the subject was crying. The subject explained that he had broken up with his girlfriend and had driven to Austin to "woo her back." Officers detected a very strong odor of alcohol on the subject's breath and noted ththathat the subject needed the support of the surrounding walls to maintain his balance. As the investigation continued, the subject displayed several clues that indicated he was intoxicated. The subject was taken into custody for Public Intoxication. The subject was being transported to Central Booking. Occurred on: 2-03-07, at 3:10 AM.

This one had better not be one of "my" students (I know some have classes/labs there):
Harassment: A UT student approached the main gate leading onto the research campus and was granted access. Following established protocol, the student was required to sign in. The subject drew his rendition of the male genitalia on the signature line then handed the clipboard back to the UT guard. The guard saw the rendition and was offended. During the investigation, the student explained that he was "just trying to be funny." The staff member declined to file charges, but wanted the student referred to the Dean of Students Office. Occurred on: 02-03-07, at 2:29 AM.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Molly Ivins, RIP

Molly Ivins lost her third fight against breast cancer tonight.

What a wit she was -- she gave us "Shrub" for goodness sake -- and how fitting a moniker that is.

We lived in the same part of town, and would see her on occasion in Shady Grove or Magnolia, two neighborhood restaurants. We restrained ourselves from running over and asking her to autograph our Texas Observers, but I doubt she would have minded had we done so.

Here are a few quotes, in case you have managed to have missed her wit:

"It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America."

"In Texas, we do not hold high expectations for the [governor's] office; it's mostly been occupied by crooks, dorks and the comatose."

"...Phil Gramm, the senator from Enron..."

"I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn't actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle."

and from her last column: "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders and we need to raise hell."

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I am a Bible Scholar

You know the Bible 93%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

(I thought some of the questions were way too easy, what with 3 modern references in a 4 answer multiple choice question.)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Icepocalypse 2007, Austin Texas

I think this was taken by someone I work with. And if not, it still looks exactly like our yard earlier this week.

The city of Austin was pretty much closed down for two days -- so I was looking forward to watching "The Peoples' Court" with Judge Marilyn Milian, but NOOOOO! KXAN had to preempt it both days with their stupid weather report. Those meteorologists have been insufferable since they got their NEXRAD and Doppler systems -- "Oh, look, it's raining on 12th street, and it is heading toward your neighborhood and will be there in 15-20 minutes."

I don't mind being warned about possible weather danger, but do they really need to take an entire hour at 4 p.m.?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Algorithm March With the Ninjas

This has been around a while, but I seem to have missed it. (Click on the title for the link to the video.)

Stay with it -- it all comes together after the Pythagoras Switch!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Why I Was Late for the Meeting

I was driving into work this week for the Dean's monthly meeting, when I got a funny feeling and looked down at my feet and. . . Bunny Slippers!