Sunday, May 31, 2009

Devine Dining and Other Activities

Friday night one of my daughters and son-in-law took me out to dinner at Mozza for an early Father's Day present. Mozza is an upscale restaurant on Melrose near Hollywood. One of the owners is Mario Batali who has several restaurants around the country and spends a lot of time on the Food Network.

It is not the kind of restaurant or neighborhood that I usually frequent. I prefer smaller, more intimate, neighborhood restaurants with good food, but it doesn't have to be fancy food. I like the little places that not too many people know about. They are usually quieter and not so crowded. If the food is good, you have got me as a regular customer.

That being said, I must admit that the dinner at Mozza was one of the best I have had in a long time. I would definitely go back again, even if I have to pay for it. I had a butter lettuce salad that melted in my mouth and a grilled quail that was seasoned to perfection. The dessert was bombolini, vanilla gelato with huckleberry sauce and donut holes. (They called the donut holes something else in Italian, but whatever you call them, they are still donut holes.) We started off with an Italian sparking wine, and then had a Sicilian red with dinner. I am sure it cost a small fortune but my SIL makes a bazzion dollars, so he can afford it. Actually, I would have gladly paid for it myself because it was so good.

That's been the excitement in Critterland for the last couple of weeks, except for all the street repairs that have been going on. Nothing like waking up to a front-end loader backing up your street early in the morning. Beep Beep Beep. Of course early for me in 7 am, so I know I am not going to get much simpathy from most of you out there. You are probably on your way to work by that time.

Mrs Critter went back to the doctor last Thursday and got a clean bill of health. The wrist is all healed up and she can climb back up on chairs again. I said that to the doctor after he said that she was all healed, and he did not see the humor in it. Oh well, we did not go to him for his sense of humor.

The oldest grandson fell off his bike last week and ended up with 7 stitches in his chin. This isn't some little kid. He is a college student and 20 years old. It happened about 10 pm and he was at the emergency room until about 3 am in the morning. His mother's comment was "Aren't you glad you are going to college fulltime so that you have health insurance. Otherwise you would have had to pay for the emergency room." Of course this was after spending 5 hours in the emergency room with him because when you fall and bust open your chin ( and bite you tongue, scrap up your cheek and arm) you call your Mommy, no matter how old you are.

So that's what's been going on.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Cartoonists are geniuses at condensing a topic into a single sentence. Garry Trudeau is one of the best. His line, "In other works, to get the truth from terrorists, our geniuses chose techniques specifically designed to make people lie", sums up the whole terror/torture issue.

Monday, May 18, 2009


I had a successful weekend. I finally got the Christmas lights down from the house. Can you say procrastination?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Why Torture?

Why did we torture people?

There was very interesting testimony, under oath, yesterday at the Senate subcommittee meeting. A former FBI interrogator, Ali Soufan, who questioned al-Qaida prisoners testified Wednesday that the Bush administration falsely boasted of success from extreme techniques like waterboarding, when those methods were slow, unreliable and made an important witness stop talking.

He said his team's non-threatening interrogation approach elicited crucial information from al-Qaida operative Abu Zubaydah, including intelligence on "dirty bomb" terrorist Jose Padilla. He also said that the involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks of al-Qaida mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was discovered in April 2002, months before waterboarding was introduced.

He also said that when CIA contractors took over and began using harsh methods, that Zubaydah "shut down".


What if the purpose of torture was to SHUT UP people? Not to get reliable information - as some people have said. Not to get false testimony - as some people have said.

No, but to make sure that people do not give any information. It quickly became clear that Zubaydah had information about 9/11. He is the source of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's involvement. Once they knew that, they brought in the torturers.

I think it was to shut him up, not get more information.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Money Wins

Why am I not surprised here?

The Senate rejects a bill to help homeowners. The bill would have allowed bankruptcy-court judges to reduce the value of some mortgages. The financial and real estate industries opposed it. Twelve democrats voted against it.

Guess who were the top contributors to these 12 democrats? The table below lists the democrats that voted against this bill and the money contributed to them by the Fiance, and Insurance & Real Estate sector.
They are listed in order of total contribution over their career. Money wins over helping the people...again. Now, how many more people are going to lose their homes?

Another reason why we need public financing of elections. The politicians need to answer to us, not to big business.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Do It With Purpose

"Do it with purpose", said Mrs. Critter.

We went to the doctor yesterday, and he gave her permission to drive again. He wants her to wear her brace most of the time for the next two weeks, but it looks like her wrist is pretty well healed up. If you don't remember what happened, here is the link.

I have had to play chauffeur for the past month, a job that neither one of us particularly enjoyed. She says that I rush her too much when she is shopping. I say she shops too slowly. I think there is a fundamental difference in how men and women shop, but that is a topic for another post.

So this morning she was out the door on her way to Costco to do some serious shopping. She turned to me and said,

"I am going to Costco to meander around the store and browse up and down the aisles, probably several times."

I started to laugh and she added,

"but... I do it with purpose."

Good advice. Whatever you do, do it with purpose!