Category Archives: General

Music of Erin

I would be remiss on St. Patrick’s Day if I didn’t point out my favorite Irish band, Altan.

They’re traditional, yet they have a very fresh sound. They’re led by a fantastic fiddler with a beautiful, ethereal voice, Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh (Mary Mahoney to us anglo speakers and readers), from County Donegal (and her ornamentation when she plays is a blend of that county’s style and her own). She’s the daughter of another famous Irish musician, Frank Mahoney.

They get a unique sound (in my opinion) by having a second fiddle, with very good guitar (and other plucked stringed instruments, such as bouzouki) backup and the traditional bodhran drum. The music is sung in both English and Irish, and is wonderful in both cases. Even if you don’t like dancing, their reels, jigs and slip jigs will pull your feet from the floor.

Check out the web site, check out the music, and buy an album or two. I’ve never found one I didn’t like. Also, they’re on tour now on the east coast. If you get a chance to hear them live, don’t miss it.

Where Was Jane Galt?

So, we all got into our skycars last night and blasted over to the Encounter Restaurant at LAX, Jetsons style, to meet and imbibe alcohol and comestibles with the inimitable Jane Galt and estimable companion (whose name, forgive me, has escaped my feeble mind) during their several-hour layover from Mexico back to the drudgery of her job (which she claims to love) in New York.

As can be seen below, I had a camera with me, but decided to not be obnoxious and take pics of everyone there. I’ve got a rare and (in my humble opinion, difficult to create) unflattering photo of Jane, that I won’t post (I’m saving it for extortion purposes, after the point at which she becomes not only famous, but rich).

I sat across the table from the charming and lovely Asparagirl. I captured a picture of her embracing an Evil Democrat (TM). I’ve no desire to blackmail her (it would be pointless–she just started a job with Mouseland–Eisner, even in his present semi-submissive state, isn’t going to make her rich any time soon).

I’m going to post the picture, as a punishment and perpetual reminder, sort of like the Scarlet Letter, to modify her future behavior, and make an example of her for any others who may desire to stray from the true path of non-Democratism (which, I hasten to add, is not the same as being a Republican).

It’s probably a fruitless endeavor, though. Given that it’s her husband (who’s surprisingly charming himself), I suspect that she’ll remain incorrigible, and persist in such shameless activities.

The two newlyweds apparently have a new joint blog, called the Protocols of the Yuppies of Zion. I guess I’m behind the times, because I see that all the cool blogs have already blogrolled it.

Others in attendance that I can recall (forgive me again, do I have to remind you that there was alcohol involved?) were Pejman, who has his own report, the lovely Emily Jones (the blogger formerly known as Hawkgirl), and several others who may remind me if they see this.

A good time was had by all. If anyone didn’t have a good time, they didn’t deserve to. That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.

[Update on Sunday night]

In looking at the pic, I realize that I didn’t realize how spiffed up for the occasion the happy couple were. They’re not just dressed for the twenty-first century, with George and Elroy Jetson. As anyone can see, Scott actually garbed himself for the twenty-fourth. He looks ready to step onto the bridge of whatever version of the Enterprise is extant at the time.

“Scotty, the airplanes continue to come in. Can you hold the restaurant steady?”

“I canna’ hold her, Captain. I need more power.”

And won’t Brooke make a positively fetching ensign? And not just one of those unnamed expendable ones that goes off on an away team…

Return Of The Queen

For those who were following the saga, I brought Stella home yesterday. She had another close call on Friday, but the antibiotics seemed to finally kick in on the weekend.

She’s as ornery as ever, particularly when fighting to keep pills from going down her gullet twice daily. She has banished the usurper, Jessica, and retaken her rightful place in my lap.

Wednesday Stella Update

Last night, the prognosis wasn’t good.

The doctor still didn’t know what was wrong, and didn’t think she’d make it through the night without a transfusion. She also didn’t know how well she’d do with one–there was a good chance that we’d either get a test in the morning that indicated something dire and untreatable, or only expensively treatable, or that wouldn’t indicate anything at all. Any of those results would be bad news. She wasn’t hopeful for a test result of something that was easily treatable.

Nonetheless, we decided to, in cryonics parlance, “transport her to the future,” in the hopes of superior medical technology on the morrow, by giving her a two-hundred dollar transfusion, but not spend the extra hundreds of dollars to move her to an emergency clinic overnight, where they might do more extensive (and expensive) tests.

Bottom line–the gamble paid off. She was more alert this morning, and her red cell count was doubled from yesterday. An hour or so later, we got lab results that indicated a blood parasite that had been munching on her platelets, easily treated with tetracycline.

Her underlying health seems to be very good for her age–the doctor says that her liver and kidney functions are those of a much younger cat, and if we can get her through this, she should have more good years left.

Hooray!

I could bring her home tonight, but I’m working long hours right now, and going to Fort Lauderdale this weekend, so we decided to keep her at the vet until Monday, where they can keep an eye on her progress and get the medicine in her.

Hopefully, I’ll have a healthy cat again next week. Thanks you again for all the good wishes–I really appreciate it.

And though I’ve never cat blogged before, I’ll post pics when I get her home, for those who are now curious.

And Speaking Of My Sick Cat

Stella is fifteen (which is probably pretty geriatric in cat years). Which makes me feel old, because I’ve had her since she was a kitten, and I wasn’t any spring chicken when I got her.

She lives for three things–lying in my lap, clawing expensive furniture, and food.

Yesterday, she didn’t show up for dinner. In fact, she didn’t show up for lap, either. I didn’t see her at all.

When I got home from work today, she wasn’t upstairs complaining about being fed late. Indeed, she wasn’t upstairs at all. I found her downstairs, lying on the floor in the middle of a bedroom.

I picked her up, and carried her up to the kitchen. Normally, she’d be crying by the cabinet in which the cans of food are kept, but she seemed indifferent. I opened a can and put food into the bowls for her and Jessica (the younger cat). She didn’t eat.

I couldn’t get her to drink, either. She wandered out of the kitchen, and seemed to be walking quite wobbly. She’s spent most of the evening lying on one of the stairs.

I don’t have a good thermometer for taking her temp, but I’m wondering if she’s come down with something. It seems too sudden for her to just be getting old.

Anyone have any ideas?

[Update on Tuesday morning]

Per the advice (and I’m sure I’d have done it anyway) she’s ensconced at the vet. No word yet on what the problem is. Thanks for all the good wishes.

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On

I’m hearing about a 6.5 quake up off the California central coast a half hour ago. I’m down in southern California right now (Redondo Beach) and didn’t feel anything, but if it was really that big a quake a few miles from San Simeon and Cambria, I hate to think what this place looks like right now. Every time I go in there, I can’t help but think about what a disaster in waiting it is, in the event of a significant quake. They have some beautiful art glass there, but their insurance company may have a big bill, assuming they carry quake insurance.

I’m also wondering how many of the antiquities at Hearst Castle in San Simeon were damaged.

[Update a few minutes later]

It also occurs to me that this isn’t far from the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, the one that was being protested by Martin Sheen and other loons back in the eighties. I wonder how it held up?