Monthly Archives: December 2005

Cafe Excreta

You coffee aficionados will certainly want to try this Indonesian variety with “the taste and aroma enhanced by the digestive system of palm civets, nocturnal tree-climbing creatures about the size of a large house cat”, according to this Reuters report. At $175. per pound I’m sure you’ll be rushing right out to get yours.

Apparently the civet eats the coffee berries and excretes the beans which are collected and sold to people with more money than sense. Shall we call it Café Excreta? Crapresso? Civet Shit Especial? I’m sure some of you can come with better marketing handles, so let’s see your suggestions.

Whatever, like all coffee, I’m sure a cup would be good when you’re down in the dumps. It’s alimentary canal certified.

Best wishes for a healthful and prosperous new year.



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I am caring for my next door neighbor’s dog, Dusty, while he is in Spain with his family for the holiday. Joel, as I’ve noted before, plays trombone in the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra. For the first few days Dusty was quite nervous with the change but has since settled in.

Joel gave me very specific instructions on how much and when to feed Dusty and that I was to take him on a three kilometer walk each evening. I included this picture the other day in an email from Dusty to Joel, wherein Dusty assured Joel that I was following Joel’s instructions to the letter.

As it turns out when we’re out walking Dusty causes folks on the street to stop me for conversation. They want to know what Dusty’s name is, how old he is, what breed, and etc. Consequently I’m getting lots of practice speaking Spanish while walking Dusty.

Dusty is about eight months old, so is still as puppy. As such he is a bit excitable and has the puppy characteristic of not minding well, though I have made progress on the two most important commands, sit and stay. I’ve got him so he will sit and stay until I’ve put the food in his bowl and told him OK.

The other evening Dusty was out on the patio, being the rambunctious puppy that he is, and stuck his head under a plant stand to get one of his toys. When he went to pull his head out he hit it fairly hard on the plant stand and let out a series of the most pitiful little cries I think I’ve ever heard, kind of like the mews of a very young kitten. After a couple minutes of consolation he was as good as new.

Dusty is a very sweet little guy but none-the-less reminds me of why I years ago gave up on keeping dogs.

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I am having a bit of an aphid problem on a couple of cantaloupe plants and one watermelon plant, reminding me that aphids are kind of interesting. I guess it’s not the aphids themselves that are interesting; but, rather, their relationship with ants.

Aphids exude a sticky liquid which literature on the subject refers to as “honeydew”. Certain types of ants eat the honeydew and protect the aphids from predators, so as to protect their food source. The aphids are like the ants’ honeydew herd.

The ants here, at least the ones tending the aphids and which are by far the most plentiful, are very small, less than a quarter inch in length. They have paths that are like freeways, with ants moving in both directions from food source to nest; and the freeways have interchanges. It’s like Seattle or Tacoma rush hour traffic, but the ants are moving faster.

Aphids are fairly easy to control with a spray of water with a bit of mild soap mixed in. The soapy water works on the shepherd ants as well.

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Congressman Ron Paul – One of Few True Conservatives

Those of you who have not read what Congressman Ron Paul, Republican of Texas, has to say, you should (please notice I’ve capitalized Republican, whereas I normally place in the lower case.)

Ron Paul is a conservative, not the run of the mill republican Bush Royalist or neo-fascist phony conservative.

If Ron Paul were running for president against Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Evan Bayh, or any of the other democratic wannabes, with the exception of Russ Feingold, I would vote for Ron Paul, despite the fact I abhor many of his political ideals. Congressman Paul, I believe, would stand up for the Constitution whereas Clinton et al. would piss all over it if the polls indicated it would be to their political advantage.

Congressman Ron Paul on domestic spying

Ron Paul on the “Neo-cons”

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Friday Garden Report

In the foreground is the lettuce bed from which I’ve so far taken five cuttings. Just inside the bottom right of the fenced area you can see the little plants of the second crop of lettuce. To the left in the fenced area you can see coffee grounds lining two rows of onions. Just out of the picture to the left are about forty garlic plants.

Toward the upper left of the fenced area, around the log, you can see tomato plants at each of which I have driven a stake to which I will tie the tomatoes when necessary. There are nine Roma type plants. I have also planted a larger variety in the upper right of the fenced area but because of their small size are not visible in the picture. The habanero plants are next to the second lettuce crop but they have not grown much so are not visible in the picture.

The round bed toward the top of the picture is one bed of watermelons which are now blossoming.

Just behind the watermelons is another bed I’ve constructed, and fenced, in which I’ve planted carrots and cucumbers which have emerged and more garlic and habaneros which have not.

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You Can’t Know the Players Without a Program

The Washington Post has published a roster of the players related to the still unfolding investigation of the many crimes of Jack Abramhoff and his cronies, including Ralph Reed, Tom DeLay, and Grover Norquist, amongst many others.

Read the WP story here.

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Nixon Redux – Vol. II

The NSA has reportedly been spying on certain of its own employees, journalists, and congresspersons. Nixon lives.

Read Wayne Madsen’s report here.

You may want to avoid visiting the NSA website as until Tuesday, when someone discovered the practice and complained, it put a “cookie” into your computer that allowed the agency to track you web surfing and didn’t expire until 2035.

Read the Businessweek report here.

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