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Marilee J. Layman

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May 31st, 2007

04:36 pm: In the News
Dr. Mike Fox (loony vet) claims that the FDA estimated 8500 cats and dogs may have died from the poisoned pet foods, but I can't find any evidence of that on the FDA site. However, it turns out that an Ohio company has been adding melamine to the industrial animal feed they make. Still in amounts low enough not to hurt humans, but you wonder why they've continued after the pet food problem surfaced.

A Virginia Democratic Congressman, worried that Department of Labor cutbacks might take the unemployment centers in Northern Virginia, asked for a briefing from Labor to the Virginia congressional delegation. And Labor did give the briefing -- to the Republican members of the delegation.

The ACLU is suing a subsidiary of Boeing because they flew three CIA terrorism suspects overseas to be tortured.

An Iraqi whose father and brother were killed in the Iraq war has set himself up in a tiny Chicago gallery space with a remotely-controlled paintball gun so people can see what it's like to be shot at all the time. People try to hit him with the paintball and he tries to hide behind a plexiglass screen.

Today's Tom Toles editorial cartoon for the WashPost has a potent commentary on the recent Supreme Court decision on discrimination suits.

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04:52 pm: The Silk Code by Paul Levinson
There's three books in this series so far, and I read the second first. This is the first book where forensic scientist Phil D'Amato finds a potential genetic plague that may be related to Neanderthals. The Amish turn up as potential help/suspects as well. Like the other book, there's a lot of suspense, death, and speculation. I liked most of it, but he interpolates a section set in 750AD where a young Indo-European man meets Neanderthals. That part of it is interesting. It's the long story about his travel that leads up to it that made MEGO. Levinson appears to be American, and his editor, David Hartwell, is American, but at one point, a character uses "a scissor" which is more common in the UK than in the US. Threw me out of the plot for a minute or so.

In any case, still a good book, although you can skim the beginning of the 750AD section without any loss.

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04:59 pm: Planet Earth, Disc 1
This is the first of the five DVDs by the BBC in their Planet Earth series. The Netflix sleeve has the wrong episode names and the wrong length (each ep is 45 minutes of geographic exploring and 15 minutes of how they did one particular part of the exploring -- I found the latter more interesting); the discs each have three one-hour episodes. This first disc has "Pole to Pole," "Mountains," and "Fresh Water." Dazzling photography with occasionally funny narration (who knew the Brits say "glacier" as GLASS ee ur?) kept me looking up from my beading all the time. I liked the "Fresh Water" segment best, probably because I'm a water baby. Shiva and Spirit sat with me for most of it and Shiva ignored it all, but Spirit perked up at the otter noise and the dolphin calls.

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05:11 pm: Canned Chicken Taste Test
Today (and tomorrow) is 90F and Orange on the Air Quality Index, so I'll be staying in. I did pop out to the porch to take seeds out of the fountain and put more water in, and fill the birdfeeder as long as I was out there.

I opened all the cans of canned chicken, attracting Shiva's intense interest, and placed a chunk or so in separate places on a plate and drew a little diagram so I'd know which was which. I had my cranberry juice as a palate cleanser. Here's the results:

Valley Fresh - white chicken, water, and salt. The chunk was firm but had no detectable taste.

Swanson - white chicken, water, salt, and modified vegetable starch. Flaked nicely, but way too much salt.

Hormel - white chicken, water, salt, and modified vegetable starch. Firm but too much salt.

Giant - white chicken, water, and salt. The chunk was so firm it skittered across the plate when I tried to put a fork in, and it didn't taste like food at all.

So my final review: Ick! Ick! Ick!

I put the rest of the Giant chicken down the garbage disposal and put the rest of the others in tupperwares for treats for the cats over the next few days, although I'll try to wash the salt off first.

I finally heard from the woman at the Transitional Housing project -- she'd been clearing out her office and hadn't checked her voice mail. She heard about my calls from the person who gave me her phone number originally and who I had emailed yeseterday. Since I can't go out today and tomorrow, we arranged for me to drop things off Monday afternoon.

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