Yak Attack

A place to unwind and spend some time yakking.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lewis Carrol, blinded by science

Kirsten, my trusty blog friend from Enjoy Every Sandwich, pointed me in the correct direction when she suggested Jabberwocky as the source of the whimsical speech that accompanied the Protein Synthesis ala' Hair video.

If you listen closely to the narrator, she refers to the poem through out the whole interpretive dance. My most favorite part was this section of the narration:
"And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'
He chortled in his joy"

Monday, October 30, 2006

Thai... It's what's for dinner

One of my favorite Thai dishes is Swimming Angel (some places call is Swimming Rama). It's fresh spinach leaves, peanut sauce and your choice of protein (chicken, prawns or tofu). I prefer chicken.

Lew grilled up some thinly sliced chicken this evening, seasoned with fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. He made a batch of peanut sauce in our blender, then heated it on the stove. Right before serving, he stirred in a large bowl of freshly washed and dried spinach. It had the perfect amount of wilt.

Serve with rice, and you have a wonderful, aromatic dinner that's oh-s0-easy to prepare. It makes great left overs, if you reserve some of the sauce from the green machine, and add fresh spinach to it before serving at your next meal.

Happy Halloween

For many individuals, Halloween is the season to celebrate squash. Zander is one of those folks-- his zeal for orb-shaped, day-glo orange squash is legendary. It's almost an obsession-- finding the most perfect pumpkin for the application in mind.

He starts thinking about pumpkins early in the fall. This year, we had some volunteer pumpkins that spouted from last year's pumpkin-fest. He was quite excited when these little squashlets hit the scene. When the first one was ready for harvest, it became Jack, the practice pumpkin. This little guy was carved in early September and was laid to rest in my compost bin by the end of the month.

Next was Scarecrow Pumpkin. It's a shame we didn't get a good night-time photo of this lovely fruit, because it really was spectacular. There's a funny story that accompanies this pumpkin design-- you are viewing a photo of Scarecrow #2. Alas, I'm not at liberty to share the fate of Scarecrow #1, but it's quite a hilarious tale. Modeling with the pumpkins is Miss Virginia. The Scarecrows were carved in the first and second week of October; they, too, now R.I.P. in my compost.

Now for the piece de resistance: The Headless Horseman. This was carved yesterday. It involved computer enhanced patterns and endless patience. Isn't it gorgeous?

I hope you have an enjoyable Halloween. Give a pumpkin a hug =).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Are you sitting down?

That's what I asked Deadhead Girl when she telephoned tonight. Tee asked me to take him for a haircut! This is the same kid I had to drag to the salon last wrestling season (yes, almost a year ago), and that was only possible after the underarmor beanie deal didn't stay on his pile of bedhead during a match, and he lost. She didn't believe me at first.

This is the haircut he'd like to get. I'm cool with that, but if he's ready for the 'hawk, then maybe he should do it right.

He's toyed with the whole dreadlock thing, but I think not washing and combing his hair would drive him bonkers.

Protein Synthesis -- it's feelin' groovy

Rosie is taking Biology 100 this quarter at the local community college. Their current course of study involves protein synthesis. In her quest for knowledge, she ran across some groovy science videos.

For those who preached that interpretive dance and science didn't mix, Rosie showed me the video that proves such nay-sayers wrong.

It's 1971 at a little CA college called Stanford. Call them crazy kids-- hey, call them pioneers. These students stood for something; they were scientists. Watch them explain protein synthesis the only way the Age of Aquarious could, and do justice to such a biological subject.

By the way, can any readers enlighten me? What does, "All mimsy was mRNA and Protein chain outgrabe," mean? Fictitious bonus points to the reader(s) who can fill me on this mystic language.

For the Dude, Where's My Car generation, here's another interpretation of protein synthesis. Fans of Night at the Roxbury will thoroughly enjoy this production, even though they might not know what protein is, let alone that it can go through any type of synthesis process. Again, bonus points dear reader: this video contains my musical guilty pleasure. Name the guilty pleasure correctly, and I'll snail mail you a special prize printed by the company Lew and I own.

PS: What do you think of Initiator One and Two?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Saving tips from the edge of financial ruin

Back in August, Northwest Airlines made a huge gaffe when the company passed out a handbook,"Ground Operations Restructuring Q&A and Employee Support" to employees who received pink slips. The handbook included a section on coping with job loss which featured, 101 Ways to Save Money. Among the suggestions, from a company on the brink because they mismanaged their finances and had to claim bankruptcy, was this gem, "Don't be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash." Needless to say, the employees on the chopping block that received these helpful hints weren't amused.

One recently released NWA employee took the handbook to heart. Here's his video on YouTube: My Summer Vacation.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I've been pondering for quite some time the apathy we have, as a country, about the evidence leaked out concerning torture perpetuated by the U.S.. Besides the photographic evidence at Abu Ghraib, the stories of people being tortured by agents of our government have gone largely unnoticed.

How many people have heard of Ashraf Abdullah Ahs? Or read about Bagram Collection Point, in Afghanistan? I spotted news stories, for a brief period, about Khalid El-Masri, but hadn't ever heard of the name the Salt Pit, or about El-Masri's fellow detainee, Laid Saidi, until I read about them in the wikipedia.

Add to the mix the recent passing of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, barely heralded by ho-hums and anemic, ruffling newspapers. Is it really true that the American public doesn' t possess much of an opinion concerning people that are being roughed up by Uncle Sam, and that Habeas Corpus is now deceased?

I halfway wonder if Hollywood is helping brew apathy, with a sort of psychological Wag the Dog effect curried by the gore and violence dripping off the silver screen. It appears to me that the expansive catalogue of mainstream movies being produced include a growing pool that are comprised of prolonged scenes of torture. Movies like Hostel, the Saw trilogy, Seven and Rob Zombie's flicks ooze horrific torture scenes; their plots serve up suffering and torment with a side of barbarity. When bombarded with such images as entertainment, plus daily doses of the latest, local crime featuring blood, broadcast as news, does the human brain say, "Enough," and shut the rest out?

Are we so inundated with extraordinary movie makeup, fx and premium sound effects, that the hint of the real thing doesn't resonate with us anymore? Are we so pelted from every side-- entertainment, news, internet and print media-- that premeditated violence is the expected norm, rather than the sorrowful, putrid exception

Or, is it because nobody cares?

Friday, October 20, 2006

What kind of "Today" do you choose

You know that old saying, "Today is the first day of the rest of my life?" Yesterday, we could all state, "Today is the first day of the rest of my life, in a police state."

That isn't such a rosy statement, is it? It doesn't have to be so, though, friends. Take a moment to read Kevin Tillman's featured report at Truthdig, After Pat's Birthday. Then, take another moment to read Kevin Olbermann's special comment, Beginning of the end of America.

We can say no to fascism. We can say no to torture. We can say no to the end of liberty in our lifetime. We each need to take a look in the mirror and, like charity, start at home. Today can be the first day of your life, in your quest for freedom.

When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered.~ Dorothy Thompson

A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you.~Ramsey Clark

If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.~ Somerset Maugham

Thank you to Claire ,at Wolfeblog, and Mark, at South Puget Sound Libertarian, for blogging about the previously mentioned articles .

Might as well run the FRNs through a meat grinder

$200,000 later, and Seattle has a new tagline, Metronatural.

I can come up with a few, and it doesn't cost anything.

Seattle: We know what's best for everyone else.

Seattle: Taxpayers' money? Oh Yeah! [high tech toilets; loser monorail project; cost of bad cops]


My favorite: You spent that $%#^& money to come up with Seattle: Metronatural? Seattle: Metronausea

Monday, October 09, 2006

Seattle Funny

From Beast Mom's blog post Answer Me People:

15. Why does coffee cost so much? It's BEAN WATER. Water with some bean bits in it. Beany water. Aren't beans supposed to be one of the cheapest cash crops?

Russo's Film in Yelm

Mark, over at South Puget Sound Libertarian, posted information on the limited engagement of Aaron Russo's film America: Freedom to Fascism in Yelm, WA.

Kudos to DiFranco at Minute of Angle for his original post about the Yelm showing, and to Don at Current Observations, for blogging about his trip to Yelm to view the movie.

Is security worth the price tag?

Here's a small opinion piece from guest columnist Kathleen Braden. She poses an articulate question, "Survival yes, but at what cost? And toward what end?"

Are we so afraid, so insecure that we'll trade our very soul for a moment of false security? More and more people in America are refusing to do so. Enslaving ones' self on the premise of security is not worth the price tag. We can see from history's looking glass that those who make such a deal end up being held to the bargain they agreed to, while their partner, the government, reneges on their end of the collective deal. When the enemy is all rounded up and sequestered, then who becomes the enemy to feed the machine in motion?

Friday, October 06, 2006

You Don't Represent Us

Take a minute to read about a demonstration held yesterday in Seattle. I'm sure the people were from a multitude of backgrounds and espouse a plethora of philosophies, but it sure is encouraging to see them taking some time to gather and say, "Hell no." The organization who sponsored the demonstration, The World Can't Wait! Drive Out the Bush Regime is one I haven't heard of before. Their website's front page features some of the same, old liberal celebrity loudmoths, but I haven't check out the site at all, other than to pull it up for reference.

Now, if only these folks can understand that any other government they have to offer can (and probably will) abuse it's office power as well as Bush and Co. ...

{note to myself: working, talking and blogging at the same time doesn't function well}

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tell Cheney his policies are messed up, go directly to jail

Don, over at Current Observations, made mention of a news article about the arrest of Steve Howards, and the subsequent lawsuit he filed against the Secret Service member who arrested him.

Howards saw VP Cheney at an outdoor mall in Colorado on June 16, 2006. He told Cheney, as he walked by the VP and the crowd posing for pictures, that he found the policies governing our invasion of Iraq to be objectionable. Ten minutes later, a member of the Secret Service arrested Howards for "assaulting" Cheney. He was handcuffed on the spot, in front of his seven year old son, and taken to jail. The assault charges against Howard were dismissed by the local district attorney's office on July 6th, 2006.

A hero of mine who shook off her fear

One of my personal heroes is Corrie ten Boom. She was a woman of honor and respect, but so real at the same time. She was honest that she had fears and struggled, at times, with the way her life unfolded.

She grew up Haarlam, Holland, living with her folks, two sisters, a brother and a network of extended family. She shared her father's love of watchmaking and joined his shop during the 1920s, becoming the first female watchmaker licensed in Holland. The ten Boom shop and home welcomed all sorts of people, and was often the hub of social networking in the part of Haarlam they lived in.

When the Nazis occupied Holland in 1940, many Dutch resisted the occupying forces in a variety of ways. The Dutch Underground became a strong resistance organization, one that the ten Boom family joined to help hide Jewish compatriots and fellow resistance fighters. I can't do justice to sharing Corrie's story-- the story of her family reaching out to friends, neighbors and total strangers. The book The Hiding Place does such an excellent job of showing both the real woman who was Corrie and describing, in detail, the sacrifices her family made to rescue people. It's estimated that her family helped rescue 800 Jewish people.

Her family was eventually compromised by an informant. Corrie's 84 year old father, Casper, her older sister and brother, along with one of her nephews , died in prison or concentration camps, due to their work with the Dutch resistance movement. Corrie was released from Ravensbruck , due to a clerical error, in December 1944. Her release was a week before the extermination of all the women her age held in the camp.

When she was a little girl, Corrie told her father about her fear of dying, after a neighbor's baby died. Her father happened to take her on a special train trip on a regular basis, and when she shared her fear, he asked her about her train ticket. When her father asked about the time period he'd always present her with the train ticket, Corrie replied that he gave it to her after they boarded the train, right before the conductor came by to collect it. This way she wouldn't lose it before she needed it. He went on to explain that courage was the same-- God would give her the courage she must have at the exact time she needed it. This advice from Casper sustained her through out her life, especially when she was so frightened during the war.

The ten Boom family were humble, kind folks. They weren't glory seekers or radical wildfires. They took a look at the abhorrent turn of events in their country and joined their voices with thousand others who said "No, you're not going to do this to our friends and neighbors." They had to shake off some mighty fear to complete the actions and activities they knew they were compelled to undertake, because the alternative, to cooperate with the occupying forces, would have been too horrible of a sacrifice for their family to bear.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Say No To Torture

TortureProtest.org features information on the torture perpetuated by US military personnel and agents. They also share ways to passively protest torture every day.

A protest is planned in the Portland area in early November 2006, and may usher in protests in other locations. If you are in the area and would like to participate, check back for updates.

The blog and forum features at TortureProtest.org are small and underused at this point. As more people check out the site and want to show they do not support torture, hopefully the features of the website will grow. I'm placing a black ribbon here at Yak Attack. If you'd like to do the same, go here.

"What could you accomplish today if you shook off your fear?" B.W. Richardson

Like many bloggers out in the 'sphere, my blood's run cold since Friday, Sept. 29th, 2006.

There's been much chatter about how heinous this legislation is. I'd like to take a moment to point toward B.W. Richardson's Montag post A Nation of Eveys. What an inspirational post! As Richardson states, "But Evey didn't feel helpless and stunned forever." We don't have to either.

I'd like to highlight some historical Eveys. Let's start with the Swing Kids, or Swingjugend, who were Eveys during the oppressive Nazi Germany period. The name Swingjugend was used to spoof Nazi youth movements.

Wikipedia does an excellent job of explaining who the Swing kids were. Please note that this movement didn't start out as political-- these kids grouped together because they enjoyed American jazz, swing dancing and colorful, counter-culture dress. As the Nazi totalitarianism became more entrenched in Germany, the kids began to mock Hitler and National Socialism. For example, they'd say Swing Heil instead of Sieg Heil.

When the Gestapo and Hitlerjugend clamped down the Swing Kids, they went underground and started clubs to continue to meet. When raids and round ups targeted them, and peers were sent to concentration camps or put under survellience, they were resilient. Swing kids began openly opposing the nazi government and even helped hand out leaflets against fascism.

To paraphrase Richardson, Swing Kids shook off their fear and raised their voices to say no to one of the biggest bullies of the 20th century.

Please don't bump me to hiatus status =(

I need to brush away the cobwebs that have invaded the corners here at Yak Attack. I couldn't think of a better way to do so than to participate in the music meme over at Kirsten's place, Enjoy Every Sandwich. This meme was written by John, one part of the dynamic duo at Bloodthirsty Vegetarians.

Besides, Kirsten bumped me to "blog in hiatus" status. That just won't do, you know. So, here are my answers:

Music of My Life meme

1. Have you found a song running through your head on more than one occasion? What is it?

Yes. Lately it's been that song that goes "The old grey mare, she ain't what she used to be." I don't know the name of the Simpsons character who sings this song, but I call him Toothless Joe. Little K has been losing his baby teeth with abandon the last month, so I've dubbed him Toothless Joe and taught him the song. I find myself singing it while I work or drive. How pathetic is that?

2. If you've gone through a particularly bad breakup, what song do you associate with it?
When I was going through my divorce, Burden in My Hand by Soundgarden played on the radio a lot, and it seemed an ironic song for my life at the time.

3. What's your musical guilty pleasure? A band, song, or genre that you enjoy but are ashamed to admit it?
I love Come Sail Away by Styx.

4. Name a song that makes you sing out loud when you're alone in the car?
So many songs do. A few of them are The Remedy by Jason Mraz; Space Oddity by David Bowie; Soulshine by Gov't Mule; Pride and Joy by SRV

5. Name a song, band, or genre that forces you to change radio stations and possibly even rip the knob off?
ANYTHING by Bruce Springsteen.

6. Is there a song that can make you cry?
Maybe this should go under the "guilty pleasure" section. Sister Christian by Night Ranger and More Than Words by Extreme.

7. Is there a song that always cheers you up?
Two of Us by the Beatles. edit: I forgot about Try a Little Tenderness by Otis Redding. I heard it on the radio (total rare event) and happiness ensued.

8. Is there a single song that reminds you of high school?
Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants.

If you'd like to participate, please play along.