Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Kaboom! An unintended consequence of leash laws.

Today was very special. There was a nice cool breeze blowing the shade away from the inside of my bedroom window which is right on the front porch of our single story condominium. The architect was probably either a voyeur as a paper delivery person, or loved to wake up long before the roosters at dawn to the sound of a newspaper smacking against the glass.

My window was open all night and I slept through the paper delivery. It was supposed to be a good day. Once again, our architect in his infinite wisdom designed the baths toward the inside of the building with no possibility of adding any windows. When the lights went out I was in the middle of my shower. Total darkness. The outage was preceded immediately by a loud explosion.

Squirrels were chasing each other around transformers and power lines. Inevitably a squirrel closed a circuit where the wires come together at a transformer, and the immense heat generated by the high voltage created an artificial thunder clap. In my 42 years I have yet to see the resulting spark and flying tufts of fur trailing smoke, but occasionally on our walk, the dog will appear to be obsessed about the base of a particular power pole.

Lately the incidents of squirrel and utility encounters have increased dramatically. Perhaps as a delayed unintentional consequence of pet leash laws. The squirrel population is growing out of control because they have no predators.

I miss the good old days when dogs and cats came home on their own at the end of the day and weren’t so hungry, and squirrels were rarely seen.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Political Poll Fraud?

I don’t want to give out any phone numbers, but I have one from a someone who called me today from the Davlin for Mayor campaign, or so he said.

While I was working today at 2:17 p.m. my cell phone rang. I picked it up and someone said “Hello, I’m ___ working in support of Tim Davlin, Have you voted yet today?”

I said “Not yet,” and the signal started to break up. I heard him say “Well, let me put you down for….” then the signal cut off.

Put me down for what?

I kept wondering most of the afternoon. I wonder if the caller was just checking off people as supporters of Tim Davlin regardless of whether they really are or not? He had to put me down for something. It couldn’t have been that I didn’t vote yet that day, that question is irrelevant so early in the afternoon.

He never got a chance to ask me that, he just said he was going to put me down for something.

That for which I was to be written down, checked off, or whatever, is now a mark among many that represents some kind of statistic for Mayor Tim Davlin’s campaign. Whatever it was, its inaccurate and misrepresentative of me.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pet Food Wheat Gluten Mostly Imported.

C-SPAN Thursday April 12, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing on Pet Food Regulations:

A panelist representing the Food and Drug Administration said that two-thirds of America's Wheat Gluten is imported from China and Northern Europe. Wheat Gluten is a product of wheat that had its starch removed. It’s normally used for thickening and binding food.

A contaminated shipment containing Melamine was added to pet food, sickening and sometimes killing dogs and cats. Melamine is an industrial product used as a binding agent and so also is wheat gluten. Oh, the irony.

The contaminated shipment of wheat gluten came from Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology, of China, according to the Food and Drug Administration, but they also say their investigation continues.

Senator Durbin asked one panelist, Stephen Sundlof of the F.D.A., if he was aware that contamination was found in wheat gluten used to produce products for human consumption. Sundlof replied that he was aware that there were products manufactured but not sold. The FDA website states that there is no record of human food contamination.

While the wheat gluten under scrutiny by the government is a processed product, there are other foods that contain wheat gluten that are normally not harmful to most people. I stopped eating wheat products myself because I have difficulty digesting it (celiac or coeliac), and I feel better than ever!

The Vegetarian Society has a chart that will help us avoid wheat gluten at http://www.vegsoc.org/info/gluten.html.

A search at the website http://www.foodingredientsonline.com returned 58 types of processed products that contain wheat gluten.

http://www.foodnavigator.com was also searched and revealed 88 articles about wheat gluten. The first article noted that wheat gluten could be used as an organic polymer, which is ironic considering that Melamine is also used in the production of plastic.

According to Wikipedia, “Melamine is used combined with formaldehyde to produce melamine resin, a very durable thermosetting plastic, and of melamine foam, a polymeric cleaning product. The end products include countertops, fabrics, glues and flame retardants. Melamine is one of major components in Pigment Yellow 150 that is a colorant in inks and plastics.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melamine

Sunday, April 01, 2007

The British-Iranian situation

Several British sailors are in Iranian custody because the Iranians claimed the British ship was in Iranian waters, but the Brits claim they were 2000 yards into Iraqi waters.

It does not matter. "Intent To Cross" can be rightfully assumed within a range of yards calculated from the boundary based on the height of your ships radar from sea level. The Brits should have been at least 4000 yards from the boundary (about half the distance to the visible horizon from the height of the ship's bridge.

The opposing claims should be set aside, the Brits should concede they at least were too close, and negotiations of a neutral zone on sea borders should be established (four thousand yards wide). Understanding of visual and electronic boundaries should be established. This would mean that skirmishes within the newly established neutral zone remain in the neutral zone and can be construed independently of any official declaration of war.

An "Enter at your own risk," would apply and we could call it the Thunderdome Nautical Law.

For more information about calculating how far you can see depending on how high your eyes are from sea level, visit:

For Wiki-Territorial Waters info: