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The general elections are now a week away, and for the first time ever, I casted my vote by mail. It was an unusual experience.

On the one hand, I will miss the experience of voting next Tuesday, November 4. I will miss presenting my voter registration card and collecting a ballot from a volunteer, and being handed a receipt upon completion. I will miss thanking those volunteers in person, and I will even miss walking by those people stationed at a coordinated distance outside the polling place, handing out pamphlets for the candidate they are working for.

Heck, I wish I could pass by someone hawking for Bruce "The Ruiner" Rauner. Vote for him??? Right... because a living wage is a bad thing. Good luck planning that pension, dude or ma'am.

So I will miss the in-person experience of voting, at least this year. Yet, after receiving and opening the big envelope in the mail this past week, of holding this ballot outside the familiar confines of my local polling station, and thinking to myself, "Wow, how surreal. Is it legal for me to be doing this? To be holding this pristine ballot in the privacy and comfort of my own bedroom?".... I looked at the ballot, and scanned the long list of judicial retention nominees. And then looked at my computer, then back to the list. My feeling of novelty around this new in-home voting experience departed, and I went into research mode.

See, this is the part that I keep missing, during election cycles... those judicial retention nominees. Over previous elections, I confess to have shown up at the polling station ill-informed about such nominees, wondering afterward whether I had enabled a Judge Dread to remain in power. And refusing to vote "yes" or "no" next to the name of a candidate is the same as casting an affirmative. This was news to me.

This time around, my "no" votes would be decisive. And they need to be, because only enough "no" votes will help evict judges who don't deserve to be behind the bench. With the help of my Firefox browser, I was ready, and typed the search queries "Cook County," "elections," and "judicial retention."

What I discovered is below the squashed pumpkin.

Poll

Vote all the judges out?

10%7 votes
41%29 votes
47%33 votes

| 70 votes | Vote | Results

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Run a news search on the name "Robert Sungenis," and you will find the following series of headlines, posted over the past 48 hours, from various sources:

NPR: Why Physicists Are In A Film Promoting An Earth-Centered Universe

Raw Story: €˜Star Trek€™ actress lends her gravitas to film promoting idea that sun revolves around Earth

Salon: Scientist has no clue how he ended up in Holocaust-denier’s creationism documentary

The documentary in question is The Principle, scheduled for release this spring. The trailer to this film, and more on its executive producer/religious perpetrator Robert Sungenis, can be found below the orange non-geocentric nausea relief tablet.

Poll

Is Lawrence Krauss correct, that we should ignore this?

44%41 votes
55%52 votes

| 93 votes | Vote | Results

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A little over a month ago, I posted the following diary to Daily Kos: I need to find a permanent or foster home for my cats. This was the most difficult diary I had ever posted, about life circumstances that resulted in the most difficult decision I had ever made, that of surrendering ownership of my pets.

Sam Woody closeupMuch to the joy of life partner Lonely Texan and myself, this diary garnered attention from many fellow Kossacks, who offered encouragement, hope, and practical advice on how to find a safe home for Sam and Woody. I received helpful tips on where to go and what to do, as well as offers from kind people to house the cats, had all other efforts fallen short.

To all those who tipped and rec'd the diary, and especially to those whose comments bolstered my resolve to insure that Sam and Woody avoid living in a shelter, this diary is for you. I am glad to report that these fine critters now have a loving and safe new home! The story of how this happened is just below the orange hairball.

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Sam, at age five.
Sam is a 13 year-old female cat. In 2000, a neighborhood friend alerted me to the presence of three stray kittens who were living under his porch. I took one of them into my home, and named what I thought was a he-cat "Sam."

Some five years later, I came across Woody, a nearly one year-old cat who another neighbor of mine had spotted while on a walk one day. His tuxedo-colored frame showed signs of malnourishment. My neighbor, who had two cats at the time and couldn't bring another into her home, pleaded with me to adopt him, and offered to cover initial expenses (physical exam, vaccinations, and a month's supply of litter). So I took Woody in, and after a contentious first two weeks together, he and Sam bonded.

Fast forward to the present day, where I am in the unenviable position of needing to find a home for both Sam and Woody, and I am asking for help from any Chicago-area (or Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, or Wisconsin) Kossack who is able and willing to provide a home for both Sam and Woody.
UPDATE: 6:38 AM PDT A new home would be located ideally in Chicago, for a few different reasons:

* Because of their close proximity, it would be much easier to follow up on the health of Sam and Woody with a local owner, than it would otherwise.

* With a local adoption, the "open adoption" strategy (h/t JohnKWilson in comments) would be more feasible, where I would help a new owner with certain expenses (i.e. cat food, cat litter, vet) that would otherwise keep them from having pets.

So a local adoption is ideal, for a few reasons. However, I have been encouraged by other Kossacks to expand my options geographically, in that anyone seeking ownership of Sam and Woody who lives out of state can be vouched for by other Kossacks, notably those in the PWB Peeps community, thus assuring a sense of safety. Thanks again to Ninepatch for extending the support of the PWB Peeps community.

The basic story behind my surrender of ownership is captioned in this recent video, which features both cats in their current habitat:

The longer story is below the fold.

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Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 10:01 AM PDT

GUS: bsm's behavior mod edition

by bsmechanic

GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or thinking of quitting, please -- join us!  We kindly ask that politics be set aside.  

You can also click the GUS tag to view all diary posts, or access the GUS Library at dKosopedia for a great list of stop-smoking links. Check it out!

Please post a comment in the butt can if you would like your name added to the GUS Buddy List.

Good morning GUSville. Today's regular diarist flumptytail is unavailable this week, so the floral finery has been temporarily replaced by bsmechanic's bicycling B.O. Let's go for a ride!
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Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 05:48 PM PDT

GUS: Pre-three year party edition

by bsmechanic

GUS (Givng Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or thinking of quitting, please -- join us! We kindly ask that politics be set aside.

You can also click the GUS tag to view all diary posts, or access the GUS Library at dKosopedia for a great list of stop-smoking links. Check it out!

Please post a comment in the butt can if you would like your name added to the GUS Buddy List.

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Sat May 26, 2012 at 06:32 PM PDT

GUS - the first week and change

by bsmechanic

GUS (Giving Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. We avoid discussion of political issues. If you are quitting or even thinking about quitting, please -- join us!

The GUS Library at dKosopedia is organically evolving, and stocked with free-range information: quit-smoking links, helpful GUS diary writing tips, and the GUS Buddy List.

Good evening, residents of GUSville. This is an unofficial substitute diary for Saturday GUS diarist extraordinaire effervescent, who regularly leads the community with a few morning yoga poses. I will do no such thing. Because... well, it's evening, after all. However, I will show you the very same first-person view from where I practice my five minutes of daily morning yoga:

porch

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GUS (Giving Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. We avoid discussion of political issues. If you are quitting or even thinking about quitting, please -- join us!

The GUS Library at dKosopedia is organically evolving, and stocked with free-range information: quit-smoking links, helpful GUS diary writing tips, and the GUS Buddy List.

Good morning, this is bsmechanic substituting for regular Saturday AM GUS diarist effervescent. My own particular stand-in feature has no yoga. Which might be a good thing. I am three days into my quit. Though I am using e-cigarettes to better de-elevate my nicotine level, my thinking isn't focused enough to lead any except the most basic yoga practices:
Breathe in.

Slowly exhale.

Along with the most basic thought exercises:
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GUS (Giving Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. We avoid discussion of political issues. If you are quitting or even thinking about quitting, please -- join us!

The GUS Library at dKosopedia is organically evolving, and stocked with free-range information: quit-smoking links, helpful GUS diary writing tips, and the GUS Buddy List.

Our regular diarist flumptytail is off today, so I figured I'd offer some Friday filler material. Only this particular filler is both tasty and healthy. Matter of fact (emits Barney Fife sniffle), you might even say it's a super food.
Poll

Sarah Connor, who is your toughest opponent?

0%0 votes
8%1 votes
16%2 votes
75%9 votes

| 12 votes | Vote | Results

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GUS (Giving Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. We avoid discussion of political issues. If you are quitting or even thinking about quitting, please -- join us!

The GUS Library at dKosopedia is organically evolving, and stocked with free-range information: quit-smoking links, helpful GUS diary writing tips, and the GUS Buddy List.

The following GUS diary contains profanity, abusive language, sex talk, and use of an image that I stole borrowed from gchaucer2.

*

If smoking ads were real, and I mean really real, the cigarettes would talk.

Poll

But of course,

8%1 votes
25%3 votes
25%3 votes
0%0 votes
41%5 votes
0%0 votes

| 12 votes | Vote | Results

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I was surprised to see little mention of this, so here you are.

I caught it a few minutes ago on CSPAN.

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GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. We avoid discussion of political issues. If you are quitting or even thinking about quitting, please -- join us! GUS Library at dKosopedia is organically evolving, and stocked with free-range information: quit-smoking links, helpful GUS diary writing tips, and the GUS buddy list.
I hadn't intended to write what is shaping up to be my own GUS trilogy of terror. My first and second diaries, written under fire while engaged in a painting project from hell at my eastern coastal parent's abode... well, they have a lot of cussin'n. Check them out, if you feel that your (my) first half-pot of coffee hasn't quite yet filled you with enough piss 'n vinegar to start off your Monday with a "howdy-do, neighbor!" If this is your ill-willed intent for the day, then believe me, I got your back on that one.

Now, in writing this third entry, also done in the span of a half-hour or so, I am on the last major day of the project, using tomorrow to do a walk-around, fill paint in touch-up areas, and recommend further needed fixes to my folks. There won't be too much cussin' in this one. Nope, nothing but an odd concept that I'd like to present.

This concept is based in harm reduction, and what is known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It has worked for me in tackling a life-long problem with alcohol abuse, and I am now offering to you a micro-model of how I am applying it to nicotine... to cigarettes... the butts... the smog.

Before going below the fold, please note that my model will contain very specific descriptions of feelings of mine that revolve around the mental and emotional side of the physically addictive qualities of good ol' tar and nicotine... fucking death sticks (oops). So I would like to warn you that such descriptions may be triggersome to those of you brave quitters who have also dealt with an addiction to cigarettes. And theres a reason for my acute detail, though I won't preface it here.

Read on, if you dare, and I think you may get where I'm coming from. Or at least have a laugh. Or at the very least, receive a take-away from this and the previous two diaries: beware of conducting business with family (bless their hearts), and always use a respirator, when removing crappy-assed popcorn ceiling finish from your abode. Better yet, call a contractor when in doubt. Enough about that for now.

This piece is centered around reasons I love cigarettes.

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