Sunday, August 30, 2009

It was a nice memorial service yesterday for an ASL teacher and interpreter who I met while I was still an interpreting student. What a loss to the Deaf community her passing is! :(

But she had a deep faith and had time to make her peace with God before passing. So here's to us all seeing one another again when we all get up there. But in the meantime, we sure will miss her down here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In our latest installment of "Life Imitates Farce", we have this:

Comedian sued for mother-in-law humor

No joke, comedian sued over mother-in-law humor

LOS ANGELES - "Take my mother-in-law , please," isn't a joke you're likely to hear often these days from Sunda Croonquist. The veteran comic is being sued by her mother-in-law after making her the punchline of too many jokes.

The mother-in-law is accusing Croonquist of spreading false, defamatory and racist lies with in-law jokes that have become a staple of her routine in nightclubs and on television channels like Comedy Central.

To Croonquist, the in-law jokes seemed like a natural routine after living through one comical culture-clash moment after another: She is half-black, half-Swedish, grew up Roman Catholic and married into a Jewish family.

And she's not shy about making the in-laws the butt of her jokes.

Take the one about her mother-in-law's reaction to news she was pregnant with her first child: "OK, now that we know you're having a little girl I want to know what you're naming that little tchotchke. Now we don't want a name that's difficult to pronounce like Shaniqua. We're thinking a name short but delicious. Like Hadassah or Goldie."

Or her first visit to her mother-in-law's house: "I walk in, I say, 'Thank you so much for having me here, Ruthie.' She says, 'The pleasure's all mine, have a seat.'" Then, in a loud aside, 'Harriet, put my pocketbook away.'"

Croonquist said there was a time when her in-laws would laugh with everyone else at the black-member-of-a-Jewish-family jokes. "They played my tape at Passover one year, and they loved it!" she said.

But things changed after Croonquist, promoting upcoming gigs in New Jersey, posted information on her Web site that, according to her in-laws, allowed pretty much anyone to figure out the identities of her in-laws.

They sued in April in U.S. District Court in New Jersey, where they live. The action seeks unspecified damages and demands that Croonquist remove any offensive statements from her Web site, routines and recordings.

Croonquist says she would drop any language her family finds offensive, but refuses to pay any settlement. Her lawyer has filed a motion to have the suit dismissed, and a judge is scheduled to hear it on Sept. 8.

In the meantime, Croonquist, who lives in Beverly Hills and is a regular on the Hollywood comedy circuit, was at the Laugh Factory on open-mic night recently, eager to test some new non-mother-in-law material. This time the butt of her jokes would be herself, her lawyer husband (his firm is representing her in the lawsuit) and entertainer Jennifer Lopez.

"My father is Swedish, my mother is African-American. You know what that made me growing up?" she asks the audience. "A Puerto Rican! That works for me, honey. ... After having two babies in two years, I look like J-Lo."

Still, she couldn't resist getting a few yucks out of her in-laws, although this time she left their first names out of the act.

Doing her sister-in-law during their first meeting (and in a New Jersey accent the lawsuit notes Croonquist has said sounds "like a cat in heat"): "Oh my Gawd, look at her, she's got light eyes and light hair. What kind of black person is she?"

Then herself (in a black urban street voice): "I said, 'A black person who can hear, that's who.'"

Then (as Haley Joel Osment might sound in "The Sixth Sense," if he spoke in a black urban accent): "I hear white people!"

"They're nice jokes. There's nothing bad, nothing defamatory," says Croonquist, whose own voice carries traces of her upbringing in Paterson, N.J., where she says she was always the cut-up in Catholic school.

It should be obvious to her in-laws, she says, that she's not anti-Jewish. She converted to Judaism before she met her husband and keeps a kosher house.

The lawsuit was filed by mother-in-law Ruth Zafrin, her daughter, Shelley Edelman, and Shelley's husband, Neil. Neither Zafrin, the Edelmans nor their attorney, Lawrence H. Wertheim, returned calls for comment.

Attorney Gary L. Bostwick, an expert in First Amendment law who isn't involved in the case, said suing a comedian is often difficult because courts tend to rule that it should be obvious they are joking.

In one of the most prominent such cases, the Rev. Jerry Falwell lost when he sued Hustler magazine in the 1980s for stating in an ad parody that the preacher had lost his virginity to his mother in an outhouse.

"Most people who sue under these kinds of circumstances are way too sensitive," Bostwick said. "If they contact a lawyer like me I would tell them that, without seeing the script and the blog I have no idea who is right and who is wrong, but I do know there is a very strong defense: It's very difficult to prove that it was not just a joke."

Since the lawsuit was filed, Croonquist has bounced back and forth between anger and humor. She's angry the action has estranged her husband and their two daughters from his family, noting bitterly, "This could have broken up my marriage."

Then, moments later, she's back to laughing about that first mother-in-law meeting, the one that helped launch 15 years of jokes. If she knew then she was going to be sued, she said, she might have tried to make a worse first impression, perhaps impersonating a gangsta rapper.

"I should have went in with a gold tooth. I should have had like one pant's leg rolled up. I should have been like, 'Yo, yo, yo. Shalom, y'all. 'Sup?,'" she says, chuckling.

Um... wow. Every time I think I've heard everything, something like this comes along and I realize that the human race is even wackier than I'd realized.

I'm kind of thinking that in-laws who SUE their standup-comedian daughter-/sister-in-law for her in-law jokes are probably doing more than a few things worthy of lampooning.

Oh, and for people who didn't want others to "figure out who they were" via listening to their daughter-/sister-in-law's routine, well, I can't figure out a better way to maintain their complete anonymity than FILING A RIDICULOUS LAWSUIT OVER IN-LAW HUMOR AND GETTING THEIR NAMES IN COUNTLESS NEWS ARTICLES. Yeah, nobody will be able to figure out who her in-laws are NOW. No one will have the remotest idea.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Oh, look! The Foxwoods Casino can't figure out where they're going to build! CLICK HERE for the article.

It's the guessing game of the summer: What is happening with Foxwoods Casino?

Is it headed for the old Strawbridge & Clothier department store in Center City, or back to the South Philadelphia waterfront? Is it going anywhere at all?

In other words, we have a casino that we THOUGHT had its location all settled, only now its potential location is up in the air again.

Oh, and here is a fascinating detail which I hadn't realized until I saw this article:

Rendell said one of the Foxwoods investors - entrepreneur Lewis Katz, whose family charitable trust is a partner - indicated to him that a relocation petition would be submitted "in a month or so." Other investors include family trusts for developer Ron Rubin and Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider.

OK, we have a proposed South Philly waterfront location that has a good 50 civic and religious associations opposed to the idea and combating it tooth and nail. We have a proposed location in a former department store building, which is on hold because a tenant in that building is opposed to having a casino move in. Neighborhood civic associations nearby are also in opposition to having a casino in the old Strawbridge and Clothier flagship building.

Aaaaaand we have a major investor in this Foxwoods venture who JUST so happens to be involved with a big development project, which will allegedly include a luxury hotel, down at Broad and Pattison... a project which has been rumored to be having trouble lining up things like tenants, investors, and/or financing.

How many times have I predicted, aloud and in print, that I expect someone to make a play to put a casino in that Limb-of-Satan Cordish development? If Foxwoods can't get its act together for either of its previously proposed locations, I expect Broad and Pattison to magically emerge as a proposed Plan C.

Posting from the laptop!

Hooray and Hallelujah! I've got the laptop pretty much up and running the way it should be!

Mind you, there'll still be some tweaks here and there over the next few days; I'm sure I'll encounter a few more items that need to be reinstalled. But for the most part, the software and drivers are installed!

What a freaking RELIEF. Next up: get the Norton 360 CD from Mark, install THAT, and SET UP THE FREAKING BACKUP. I am *not* going through all this nonsense again if the new drive suddenly dies, as the previous new drive did. Once was once too many times.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Yay, hooray! See this post? It's coming from my LAPTOP. The Recovery CD that I ordered online, that has the necessary drivers and whatnot, appears to have done the trick. I can now get online.

Now all I have to do is install, AGAIN, all the freebie software I used to have on the laptop before the hard drive went kaput.

Oh, and I'm SETTING UP THE BACKUP PROCESS for the machine this time. I am NOT going through all this freaking "start from scratch" agita again.

Great Weekend!

Well, I had such a great weekend, it's taken me until now to find the time to write about it. :)''On Saturday, we had my niece's wedding. I am always happy when nice people find one another, as I know what a long and hard search that can be to find a good person. I'm happy to say that on Saturday, we witnessed the marriage of two such good people who've found one another. :)

My 6-year-old great-niece was the flower girl. Her dress was designed to match the bride's gown. So of course she announced that her aunt (the bride) was dressed like HER. :-)

I was struck, once again, at what a cute flock of kids we have on that side of the family. My great-niece has a bunch of cousins on her dad's side of the family, ranging in age from 9 to 3 (plus a few tiny babies that are too small just yet to hang out with the set of cousins in question), and I swear they all ought to model for a kid's catalog. Someone ought to just bring the lot of them in a group to a department store, where they can be given the latest fashions to wear and the latest toys to play with, and let some photographers go to town taking catalog photos. Doggone but my brother-in-law's family has a nice set of cuteness genes that they're passing along to the next generation. :-)

OK, so I'm far from unbiased here, but even a neutral third party would surely agree that these kids are cute.

BTW... we had an Italian/German and Iranian wedding, with a mariachi band providing dinner music. THAT was fun. If the rest of the world would follow that example, of varying nationalities and cultures getting together and enjoying themselves, there'd be a lot more peace on earth.

The mariachi band made me feel like we were back in San Diego. They had guitars and trumpets, but two of the guitars were instruments I hadn't seen before. One was a smaller-than-average-sized guitar. The other was an ENORMOUS guitar, easily the largest such instrument I've ever seen. After the band finished, I asked the player what his guitar is called. It's a bass guitar for mariachi music, called a guitarrĂ²n. Now I regret not asking the guy with the small guitar what HIS instrument is. It shouldn't be too hard to track that info down online, though.

I play violin, so I'm certainly familiar with the fact that there can be a family of instruments of similar appearance and different sizes. The viol family has the violin, viola, cello (its full name is violoncello), and bass violin, plus there are a few other uncommon viol-type instruments out there that I've read about over the years. But I never knew, until this weekend, that the GUITAR belongs to a family of similar-looking instruments of varying sizes. Live and learn.

On Sunday, Mark and I went to the Cote Carnival. It was a pleasure to see fellow fans, Flyers and Phantoms (and my favorite Goalie Coach and his g/f :-) ) during the summer. The Carnival raised over $25,000 to fight MS, which I think is absolutely OUTSTANDING!

So I'm finally recovered from all the activity of the weekend. Time to start getting ready for NEXT weekend. ;-)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

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Cutting the Cake

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The Newlyweds posing for pics, post-ceremony :)

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I'm looking forward to my niece's wedding today! :)

Even if it does age the daylights out of me that my nieces and nephews are all grownups now, and are old enough to be college grads, buying houses, getting married, etc. ;)
It's 2 AM, and this seemingly neverending thunderstorm that rolled in at midnight is still rumbling away. Between the thunder and the repeated weather radio alarms, I am having trouble falling asleep.

Just what I need. My niece gets married today, and I would LIKE to be something resembling awake and functional. So rain, rain, GO AWAY, and take the thunder with you, if you don't mind. Thanks.

Friday, August 21, 2009

BTW, enough with the 145% humidity and T-Storms. I wanna go back to San Diego! :-P
Update on my parents' friends, a couple who both got cancer diagnoses within a few days of each other.

Mr. and Mrs. B both have had their surgeries. In both cases, the docs believe they got everything. Mrs. B still needs chemo, and Mr. B. still needs chemo and radiation. Mr. B's surgery was also extremely complicated, involving using a graft of bone taken from his leg to replace the removed part of his jawbone, so there is a lot of medical recovery to be done from all that.

Besides prayers for the couple's continued recovery, please spare some prayers for their daughters (who are adults) and their dog, who is completely bewildered by the hospitalizations of first Mrs. and then Mr. B. This is a little shaggy ball of fuzz that the Bs adopted when they found him as a stray, and he's such a sweet little thing that even my dog-phobic mother likes him.

The dog is not eating with Mr. B absent from the household. So along with the prayers for all the humans in the B family, please also send a few that the dog suffers no ill effects before Mr. B comes home from the hospital. Aside from my being a softie toward fur-kids, I make the request because IMO the last thing the Bs need now is to have something happen to their dog on top of all the other trauma they are battling through.

Thanks, all.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stanley's not too sure what to make of the latest Term of Endearment that's come his way. I told him that he's a Stripey Little Endorphin, which is a good thing, because endorphins make you feel good. But biology was never his favorite subject, so all he got out of it was "Mom's doting on me with some syllables I don't recognize."

So in other words, he understood the most important part of the messge. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Out of Order

I thought I'd have to pay for parking when I met Joe & Betty for dinner, but I didn't. The parking meter is out of order.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

Mark picked up some Osteo Bi-Flex while at BJ's, on the recommendation of my mom that I should try it for my knee.

So here's hoping it knocks out, or at least reduces, the unwanted knee symptoms.

Friday, August 14, 2009

We'll be bringing my laptop to Geek Squad tomorrow. I JUST got the hard drive replaced at the end of May. Now the machine won't go past the Toshiba splash screen when I power it on. Not to mention, the disk access indicator doesn't flash at all during the boot. I think the new disk is DOA.

Farging Gremlins.
WTH were the Eagles thinking?

I hope PETA protests every Eagles game, home and away, that dog-killer Vick is on the roster.

:headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ig-fray. I think the recently-replaced hard drive in my laptop is kaput. I power on and get the TOSHIBA splash screen, and then.... nada. Just a blinking cursor.

This would be substantially less annoying if our desktop PC's motherboard hadn't died a few days ago.

Gremlins, Gremlins, GO AWAY. Come again NO other day!

:headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk:

Monday, August 10, 2009

I finally found a combo of canned food plus chopped up kibble that the Royal Felines seem to like. I fed it to them in the kitchen, rather than in their usual eating place in the basement, and they appear to be OK with it. For now. At least they both sat down and ate enough from their respective bowls for me to notice that food had been consumed.

Pampered furballs. Good thing they're cute. ;)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Uh oh. I got a good look at the shaved areas on Captain's side and foreleg last night. Both cats have an area on one flank that was shaved for the post-surgical pain patch, and an area on a foreleg where an IV must have been put in.

Stanley's shaved areas have the fur growing back in, no problem. Captain has had some slightly irritated areas from the word "go" on both sites.

Well, last night, I noticed that the irritated areas are getting WORSE instead of better. Uh oh. I think they itch, and he's gnawing at them and causing additional problems.

Fortunately, I know what to do for this. Melody had "hot spots" all her life where she would chew at the fur and sometimes cause irritation and bleeding on the skin. Or at least, she had hot spots until I found out about an anti-inflammatory spray with a bitter taste called Lido-Med. I sprayed THAT on the hot spots and she would leave them alone and let them heal.

The moment I realized that Captain was starting to get a hot-spot problem, I got online and ordered Lido-Med. This is one behavior that I will bend over backward to prevent from becoming a habit. The spray in question has lidocaine in it to knock out the itching, and bitter apple flavor to discourage chewing at the inflamed region. It's the only thing I ever used for Melody that actually made her stop worrying at the hot spots and making them worse.

Poor kitty. I wouldn't have thought he even had enough teeth left to chew an itchy area into a worse state of irritation, but apparently I was mistaken.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

We were in Target this evening, and I found a mini food chopper (1.5 cups) for $9.99. Or so I thought. It was actually on sale for $7. :)

So I grabbed one and used it to pulverize some of the cats' food.

I poured one serving of ground/broken-kibble Oral Care into each cat's dish. They looked at me. It SMELLS like their regular food, but it doesn't LOOK like their regular food.

Well, it IS their regular food, just crushed/broken into smaller pieces. So here's hoping that I go downstairs tomorrow morning and find that they've made a good dent in it. I'm at my wits' flipping end over here in getting the Pair of Cats to actually EAT something other than their regular food.
The good news: I have a netbook to hook up to our printer so we can at least print stuff while we shop for a new desktop PC. The bad news: Someone (either Mark or the cats) put the CD-ROM driver for our printer someplace that I can't locate it.

Since the cats aren't usually the ones who install software around here, I'm waiting for the other possessor of opposible thumbs in the house to tell me where the CD-ROM with the print drivers is. He's the one who bought the printer and installed the drivers originally, so I'm thinking he's the one who'll be able to locate the disc.


News of the Deaf-Blind Communicator device is being coverered by the BBC now! :)


Gotta love it! And even more, at least I've gotta love that I know people mentioned in the article. I met (and exchanged Braille snail-mails with) Graham H. back in 1989/1990. That's when AADB sent a delegation to a deaf-blind convention in York, England, and when a group of British deaf-blind came to the AADB convention in Williamsburg, VA.

You'll see the phrase "Deaf small world" a lot in the Deaf community, as there are so many instances where everyone seems to know everyone else (or know someone who does). Well, the small world is even smaller, and there's even more of a chance for people to know one another, in the deaf-blind community.
Well, DRAT and DOUBLE drat. Now I know what the VCORE VOLTAGE error is on the hardware monitor, which is what we were getting when we tried to boot our desktop PC.

The motherboard is toast. As the PC in question is from 2001, motherboards compatible with it stopped being made years ago. The fellow at the Geek Squad said that even if it were possible to locate a replacement motherboard, it'd cost so much that it would be more cost-effective to just replace the entire machine.

So we'll be looking through ads for a bit, to find out what's out there in desktop PCs these days.

On the one hand, DOGGONE IT, we really don't need to be hit with another expense after this year of Car Repair Bills from Hell and a jaw-droppingly high veterinary bill. On the other hand, we got eight good years out of this computer, so I really can't gripe tooooo loudly.

Still... phooey. What crummy timing for something else to break. Oh, well. Life goes on.
Yet again, the Royal Felines ate the bare minimum of the canned food they got.

I never in my life saw cats who preferred kibble to canned food. This is a new one on me.

Meanwhile, this morning, to make sure they'd at least eat SOMEthing, I put a few handfuls of their regular Oral Care food into the dishes. As before, they're having to swallow the kibble whole -- there's no crunching noise whatsoever when they eat it.

They both ate some food, as I watched, and then looked up at me with a "Something's wrong here" expression. Yes, it's called "the teeth you used to use to chew the food up are no longer in place, so I wish you'd eat the darn soft food when I put it out."

Sigh. At least they ate a little. I'll try giving them soft food again later today.

Why Mark can't surf

Mr. Captain has decided he wants some doting. He has unsubtly made this fact known to Mark. :)

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Need an airplane

This is how low planes come in over San Diego. I took this shot from a tour bus. That actually is an airplane, not part of the weather vane.

Royal Felines Update

Tonight, I got a better look at just how much food IS in half-a-can of this cat food. Looks like they DID eat at least some of yesterday's fare. Not enough to suit me, but some.

This time around, since the food in question was little chicken cubes in gravy, I mixed the kibble in from the outset. I figured that the gravy would soften it up, and the kibble would impart the familiar scent of the food that Captain and Stanley are looking for. If they consume more of everything that way, win/win.

I put the bowls down and told the cats, "EAT. I want to see these dishes empty tomorrow."

So now we'll see what happens.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Oh, these felines and this cat food!

I need to find out from the vet just which canned cat food they were eating while they were there. They're giving me grief trying to get them to eat canned food here.

They keep wanting to eat the Oral Care kibble that they can't chew anymore because they haven't got enough teeth matched up on the top and bottom of their jaws. I drop a few kibbles in onto the canned food, and they swallow the darn things whole, which makes me nervous because the kibble is so large. (It's large because it's MEANT to be chewed, so that it can clean the cats' teeth while they eat it.)

The vet said they liked canned food, but I'm astonished at my lack of luck in getting them to eat it here. Apparently when they're HOME they want the food they're familiar with.

Oy. We're having one of those "Cats, you're lucky you're cute!" moments over here.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Please send some prayers and good thoughts along for a couple who have been close friends of my parents for many years.

Mr. JB was just diagnosed with cancer of the jaw. He will have to have teeth and his jawbone removed, and a piece of bone excised from his leg and put in place of his jaw. At the same time, his wife went to the doctor to find out why her voice was hoarse, and they wound up finding something suspicious and doing a biopsy.

Understandably, my parents are beside themselves over this. It would have been bad enough if they had gotten this kind of bad news about ONE close friend, never mind two at once. :(

So anyway, like I said, all prayers and good thoughts for my parents' friends will be welcome.


The kitties are home, and thanks to their recent dental procedure, I crushed their oral care cat kibble (which is made with large bits so the cats will have to chew it), and added some water so it will soften.

Then, instead of two bowls of water, I gave them one bowl of water and one bowl of shaved ice (from the sno-cone maker). We discovered last summer that the cats like ice anyway, so it's only natural to give them lots of it while we wait for the stitches in their mouths to dissolve.

Maybe I should look into Cool Claws. It's ice cream made for cats. That should be nice for them to eat right about now, too.

Not that the cats are, you know, SPOILED or anything like that. These are medical necessities. Yeah, that's it. Necessities. That's the ticket. :)

P.S. Did I mention that the shaved ice was made with distilled water?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Vcore voltage?

What the Sam Hill is "vcore voltage"? And why won't our main computer boot when said vcore voltage is not to the Hardware Monitor's liking?

Freakin' thunderstorm. I have a feeling we need to replace the power supply on our desktop PC. :headdesk: :headdesk: :headdesk:

Sunday, August 02, 2009

After another long nap this afternoon, I'm now feeling completely functional.

Which, of course, should make life interesting when it's time to go to bed. But we'll see how that goes in a few hours.

We pick the Kitty Committee up from being boarded at the vet's tomorrow. They still might need to eat soft food for a few more days, given that they had teeth extracted during the week we were away. I had a chat with the vet's office on Friday, for an update on how the cats were doing, and I reminded them that the kitties like to have ice cubes either added to their water bowl or in a separate dish.

There's actually a logical reason why the Royal Felines have gotten to like ice cubes. It started last summer when our air conditioner was going senile and the house was constantly hot. We had to wait several days for the repairman to come (and replace the unit, as it turned out). During that time, we added ice cubes to the cats' water, and they liked it. Now, all a person has to do is touch the freezer door and one or two furballs will teleport into the kitchen, mewing for ice.

Spoiled? My cats? Whatever do you mean? ;)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

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Just landed @ PHL, 30 mins early. What time we'll get a GATE, so we can deplane, is anyone's guess. ;)

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Next flight

Chicago-to-Philly is wrapping up boarding now. See you in a couple of hours!

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Bulkhead seat

My reward for nearly getting bumped off the flight is a bulkhead seat.

P.S. The bulkhead seats have NO tray table, not even the hideaway folding ones I've seen on some airplanes. Made life VERY interesting trying to put sugar/creamer in my coffee. But I managed it without spilling a drop! :)

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