Saturday, April 19, 2014

Harry Reid's Facebook page

Finally something truly cheering on Facebook, Harry Reid's Facebook page. Comments are full, too full they expand so hidden treasures in there tucked away easily overlooked. A cheerful read indeed. Opening and clicking, amusing pictures, heartening links all the way down, delightful uplifting commentary to all Harry's entries.

The most extraordinary case of profound deafness I've ever seen. Harry Reid's posts followed by comments are two entirely separate conversations. Harry against everybody. He presumes to lead.

Guest Post: The Hope of Holiness

I teach theology. I have a PhD in theology. In common parlance, that makes me a theologian.

Yet, more often than I’d want to admit, I get those accusing, dismissive voices in the back of my mind, “Who are you? You know who you are? And you pose as someone who can talk about God?” Often accompanied by a short, or long, list of ways that I am presumptuous for thinking that. Ways that clearly don’t mark me as a man of God.

Things I’ve done, or not done, in the past. Fears and anxieties and misplaced hopes in the present.

That’s something writers get too. For other reasons usually. The idea that I have something to say is one of the biggest reasons people don’t write or try to share what they write.

Our pasts, our memories, our sense of self have much to say on our potential sources of insight or wisdom. Mostly what it says is, “Don’t bother.”

Who am I to talk about God? Or pursuing the spiritual life?

This is a Saturday question as well. Our pasts have caught up with us... (read more)

Patrick O

House hunting

This home broker's walk through is in somebody's Google documents. I suppose it was too great to have disappear.

With its soft-white interior and sparse color accents throughout you see right off the previous owners were people of style and grace. The page scrolls through a photo set indexed on left as map, a unique bathroom is shown at the bottom.

13 bodies: “The mountains are a death trap”

"The work is dangerous — a year rarely passes without at least one death on Everest — but the Sherpas, who were once among the poorest and most isolated people of Nepal, also now have schools, cellphones and their own middle class."
All that is the result of the economy of Mount Everest, which brings tens of millions of dollars to Nepal every year.

“We have no problem with what we do. It is a job which helps feed our families, sends our children to school,” Dawa Dorje, 28, a mountain guide from Everest’s foothills, said in Katmandu, where he was picking up equipment for clients.

“The risks for Sherpas on the mountain are twice that of the Western climbers,” said Nima Tenzing, a 30-year-old guide who also runs a shop for trekking gear in Katmandu.

Still, he shows no resentment.

“Death and injury on the mountain is part of our lives now. We have lost many of our people to the mountain. But we have to pull ourselves together and continue our work,” he said.

ObamaCare Heartbleed

" users asked to reset passwords following Heartbleed bug."

"The officials are requesting that users reset their passwords after a continuing internal review by the Department of Homeland security flagged the site as possibly being vulnerable to a Heartbleed exploit. The move to reset passwords is being taken "out of an abundance of caution," according to a a notice published on the site, which serves as a portal for the health insurance exchanges set up under Obamacare. In addition, the note says that "there’s no indication" that any information was revealed through Heartbleed."

"Critics of the Affordable Care Act may seize the opportunity to attack the much-maligned website, which was plagued by bugs during its launch last year..."

The Verge

"Only 1999 more parody accounts to go"

"White House delays Keystone XL pipeline decision indefinitely"

"According to White House officials, the decision to delay the presidential go-ahead comes as Nebraska lawmakers debate whether or not the 1,179-mile pipeline can be built through the state. US District Court Judge Stephanie Stacy overturned a law in February that originally approved the project, stating in her ruling that the law violated Nebraska's state constitution. If the ruling isn't overturned, the route of the pipeline may change, affecting future assessments of its environmental impact. The AP reports that the Nebraska Supreme Court isn't expected to hear an appeal until September or October, meaning that the administration will likely schedule their decision for after the congressional elections in November."

"The Keystone XL has faced considerable contention since it was proposed in 2008. Even though the State Department raised no major objections to it in January, the Environmental Protection Agency has long made its concerns known about the potential for heightened greenhouse gas emissions. President Obama, who previously stated that he'd veto the project if the State Department took issue with it, now has until the fall at the earliest to decide its fate."
U.S. Unemployment is at 7.3% (Oct 2013)

Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge

Discovered this by not understanding somebody's comment. Happy Toast left a picture to be remarked upon. Incidental to this, Happy Toast is the person who drew the picture of Batman punching Penguin so hard poop flies out. The cartoon copied and fashioned into a birthday card by someone else and presented to a 6-year old inside a London restaurant that caused the boy to laugh so hard he could not stop, then his sister, then his parents, the whole table, the adjoining tables laughing along without even seeing the card. Today H.T. posted this children's book picture.

"Stop struggling Peter" puffed Simon
"the game was your idea in the first place." 

Prudence tied the rope tightly.

Among the responses to the picture, this I did not understand:

# That Owl Creek Bridge
gets you every time...
(, Fri 18 Apr, 14:29, Add friendIgnoreHideI like this!Reply)

[Owl Creek Bridge] Expecting children's books series, expecting children's books illustrations, but no.

It is a French film based on an American story by Ambrose Bierce set in the time of the American Civil War. 

Ambrose Bierce, boy is my literature education wanting. 

This is not my cup of tea but I was mesmerized watching the film. Everything about this 27 minute film is outstanding. 

The movie in French La Rivière du Hibou, filmed in France, won best prize for best short at Cannes and also Academy Award for Live Action Short but I tried not to hold all that against it. It was picked up for $25,000 for a final episode of The Twilight Zone, considerably less than they paid for their own production. 

How did I miss this? 

Large chunks of my life have no television at all. I missed a lot. I will not be surprised if everyone saw this already. I see comments all around people enjoy watching this again after so long. 

Did you ever ride down a river without a raft, just bang along through the rapids? Even small rapids as found in the Platte when you are actually in it and floating along rather slowly, they hurt like heck when you hit rocks, and you do hit them, no avoiding the rocks, ever,with either your feet forward or hands forward, it's bang bang bang bang bang bang bang until you get past the rocks.

But when we see the lovely woman step forward from the house we realize our dark-eyed sensitive and sympathetic fugitive is landowner, slave owner, and both he and the lovely woman and the life they enjoy suddenly become less deserving of sympathy. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Will Wheaton on being a nerd and on bulling

Surprisingly pellucid advice from an actor to a young fan asking, "were you a nerd?" A room full of nerds cheers.


Kontinuing with The Kinks and with reference to last night's video...

August 14, 1945 Honolulu Hawaii,

Vimeo link.

How young!  Spontaneous Party and Parade in 1945. The Air Force person who sent this said a young woman discovered this film that her father made.

Wonderful color quality and excellent editing. It has a modern feel to it.

Please notice when Jimmy Durante sings "I'll be Seeing You" an officer takes a long pull from a bottle and makes his bare stomach wave visibly as if affected by the drink. That must have been a thing. I bet it was.

I don't know why I get verklempt but I do. Our country is the opposite of this now. I don't even want to type VJ day because now even that means the reverse. The description is touching, the comments are touching, the whole thing extraordinary. What a palate-cleanser.

Were You There When They Crucified My Lord


Now that a political Party has successfully politicized the air that you breath and we know this Party as catch basin for this personality type that can stop at nothing, can stop nowhere, cannot stop, incapable of stopping, you must be prepared for what must follow.

For it is written. Within in the DNA of Party operatives and they are very successful at government capture through regulations issued by Government Departments through their various bureaucracies ceaselessly enlarging, unionized and beholden to Party, making up rules as they please and increasingly brazenly exclusive.

Anthropogenic Tectonic Plate Shifts.  National Geographic.

Anthropogenic Magnetic Field Pole Reversals. NASA.

Anthropogenic Impact Events Near Earth Object Program.

Anthropogenic Tsunami National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Anthropogenic Volcanic Eruptions. Oregon State.

AP: Hawaii lawmakers agree to end police sex loophole

Hawaii lawmakers in both chambers agree that legal permission for police to have sex with prostitutes should end.
Rep. Karl Rhoads, the Democratic chairman of that committee, later explained that he amended the bill to allow the exemption because of the police testimony.

But Rhoads said Thursday that he now wants to return to the bill's original language regarding the exemption. It would bar police from engaging in sex or sadomasochistic acts with prostitutes.
I have no comment.

I know we're funnier than this

Here is the link to the three finalists for last week's New Yorker cartoon contest...and they're not funny.

Shall we enter this week's contest? I'll create an account under the name of Lem Levit and put up our funniest one. Got game?

Politico: Chelsea Clinton announces pregnancy

“Marc [Mezvinsky] and I are very excited that we have our first child arriving later this year, and I certainly feel all the better — whether it’s a girl or a boy — that she or he will grow up in a world full of so many strong young female leaders, so thank you for inspiring me and thank you for inspiring future generations, including the one that we’ll be lucky enough to welcome into our family later this year,” Chelsea Clinton said. “I just hope that I will be as good a mom to my child, and hopefully children, as my mom was to me.”
"Earlier this year, a psychology study found that babies will fake cry to get what they want — which was often their parents' attention. But according to new research at Harvard, manipulative babies have another reason for their crocodile tears: They want to prevent their parents from having sex."

"According to David Haig, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard, babies don't want additional siblings competing for their parents' love. "I'm just suggesting that offspring have evolved to use waking up mothers and suckling more intensely to delay the birth of another sibling," said Haig. He encourages parents to train their babies to sleep through the night."

Short story: Symbols and Signs by Vladimir Nabokov

For the fourth time in as many years, they were confronted with the problem of what birthday present to take to a young man who was incurably deranged in his mind. Desires he had none. Man-made objects were to him either hives of evil, vibrant with a malignant activity that he alone could perceive, or gross comforts for which no use could be found in his abstract world. After eliminating a number of articles that might offend him or frighten him (anything in the gadget line, for instance, was taboo), his parents chose a dainty and innocent trifle—a basket with ten different fruit jellies in ten little jars.
At the time of his birth, they had already been married for a long time; a score of years had elapsed, and now they were quite old. Her drab gray hair was pinned up carelessly. She wore cheap black dresses. Unlike other women of her age (such as Mrs. Sol, their next-door neighbor, whose face was all pink and mauve with paint and whose hat was a cluster of brookside flowers), she presented a naked white countenance to the faultfinding light of spring. Her husband, who in the old country had been a fairly successful businessman, was now, in New York, wholly dependent on his brother Isaac, a real American of almost forty years’ standing. They seldom saw Isaac and had nicknamed him the Prince.
That Friday, their son’s birthday, everything went wrong. The subway train lost its life current between two stations and for a quarter of an hour they could hear nothing but the dutiful beating of their hearts and the rustling of newspapers. The bus they had to take next was late and kept them waiting a long time on a street corner, and when it did come, it was crammed with garrulous high-school children. It began to rain as they walked up the brown path leading to the sanitarium. There they waited again, and instead of their boy, shuffling into the room, as he usually did (his poor face sullen, confused, ill-shaven, and blotched with acne), a nurse they knew and did not care for appeared at last and brightly explained that he had again attempted to take his life. He was all right, she said, but a visit from his parents might disturb him. The place was so miserably understaffed, and things got mislaid or mixed up so easily, that they decided not to leave their present in the office but to bring it to him next time they came.
Outside the building, she waited for her husband to open his umbrella and then took his arm. He kept clearing his throat, as he always did when he was upset. They reached the bus-stop shelter on the other side of the street and he closed his umbrella. A few feet away, under a swaying and dripping tree, a tiny unfledged bird was helplessly twitching in a puddle.
During the long ride to the subway station, she and her husband did not exchange a word, and every time she glanced at his old hands, clasped and twitching upon the handle of his umbrella, and saw their swollen veins and brown-spotted skin, she felt the mounting pressure of tears. As she looked around, trying to hook her mind onto something, it gave her a kind of soft shock, a mixture of compassion and wonder, to notice that one of the passengers—a girl with dark hair and grubby red toenails—was weeping on the shoulder of an older woman. Whom did that woman resemble? She resembled Rebecca Borisovna, whose daughter had married one of the Soloveichiks—in Minsk, years ago.
The system of his delusions had been the subject of an elaborate paper in a scientific monthly, which the doctor at the sanitarium had given to them to read. But long before that, she and her husband had puzzled it out for themselves. “Referential mania,” the article had called it. In these very rare cases, the patient imagines that everything happening around him is a veiled reference to his personality and existence. He excludes real people from the conspiracy, because he considers himself to be so much more intelligent than other men. Phenomenal nature shadows him wherever he goes. Clouds in the staring sky transmit to each other, by means of slow signs, incredibly detailed information regarding him. His in- most thoughts are discussed at nightfall, in manual alphabet, by darkly gesticulating trees. Pebbles or stains or sun flecks form patterns representing, in some awful way, messages that he must intercept. Everything is a cipher and of everything he is the theme. All around him, there are spies. Some of them are detached observers, like glass surfaces and still pools; others, such as coats in store windows, are prejudiced witnesses, lynchers at heart; others, again (running water, storms), are hysterical to the point of insanity, have a distorted opinion of him, and grotesquely misinterpret his actions. He must be always on his guard and devote every minute and module of life to the decoding of the undulation of things. The very air he exhales is indexed and filed away. If only the interest he provokes were limited to his immediate surroundings, but, alas, it is not! With distance, the torrents of wild scandal increase in volume and volubility. The silhouettes of his blood corpuscles, magnified a million times, flit over vast plains; and still farther away, great mountains of unbearable solidity and height sum up, in terms of granite and groaning firs, the ultimate truth of his being.
The last time the boy had tried to do it, his method had been, in the doctor’s words, a masterpiece of inventiveness; he would have succeeded had not an envious fellow-patient thought he was learning to fly and stopped him just in time. What he had really wanted to do was to tear a hole in his world and escape.
When they emerged from the thunder and foul air of the subway, the last dregs of the day were mixed with the street lights. She wanted to buy some fish for supper, so she handed him the basket of jelly jars, telling him to go home. Accordingly, he returned to their tenement house, walked up to the third landing, and then remembered he had given her his keys earlier in the day.
In silence he sat down on the steps and in silence rose when, some ten minutes later, she came trudging heavily up the stairs, smiling wanly and shaking her head in deprecation of her silliness. They entered their two-room flat and he at once went to the mirror. Straining the corners of his mouth apart by means of his thumbs, with a horrible, mask-like grimace, he removed his new, hopelessly uncomfortable dental plate. He read his Russian-language newspaper while she laid the table. Still reading, he ate the pale victuals that needed no teeth. She knew his moods and was also silent.
When he had gone to bed, she remained in the living room with her pack of soiled playing cards and her old photograph albums. Across the narrow courtyard, where the rain tinkled in the dark against some ash cans, windows were blandly alight, and in one of them a black-trousered man, with his hands clasped under his head and his elbows raised, could he seen lying supine on an untidy bed. She pulled the blind down and examined the photographs. As a baby, he looked more surprised than most babies. A photograph of a German maid they had had in Leipzig and her fat-faced fiancé fell out of a fold of the album. She turned the pages of the book: Minsk, the Revolution, Leipzig, Berlin, Leipzig again, a slanting house front, badly out of focus. Here was the boy when he was four years old, in a park, shyly, with puckered forehead, looking away from an eager squirrel, as he would have from any other stranger. Here was Aunt Rosa, a fussy, angular, wild-eyed old lady, who had lived in a tremulous world of bad news, bankruptcies, train accidents, and cancerous growths until the Germans put her to death, together with all the people she had worried about. The boy, aged six—that was when he drew wonderful birds with human hands and feet, and suffered from insomnia like a grown-up man. His cousin, now a famous chess player. The boy again, aged about eight, already hard to understand, afraid of the wallpaper in the passage, afraid of a certain picture in a book, which merely showed an idyllic landscape with rocks on a hillside and an old cart wheel hanging from the one branch of a leafless tree. Here he was at ten—the year they left Europe. She remembered the shame, the pity, the humiliating difficulties of the journey, and the ugly, vicious, backward children he was with in the special school where he had been placed after they arrived in America. And then came a time in his life, coinciding with a long convalescence after pneumonia, when those little phobias of his, which his parents had stubbornly regarded as the eccentricities of a prodigiously gifted child, hardened, as it were, into a dense tangle of logically interacting illusions, making them totally inaccessible to normal minds.
All this, and much more, she had accepted, for, after all, living does mean accepting the loss of one joy after another, not even joys in her case, mere possibilities of improvement. She thought of the recurrent waves of pain that for some reason or other she and her husband had had to endure; of the in visible giants hurting her boy in some unimaginable fashion; of the incalculable amount of tenderness contained in the world; of the fate of this tenderness, which is either crushed or wasted, or transformed into madness; of neglected children humming to themselves in unswept corners; of beautiful weeds that cannot hide from the farmer.
It was nearly midnight when, from the living room, she heard her husband moan, and presently he staggered in, wearing over his nightgown the old overcoat with the astrakhan collar that he much preferred to his nice blue bathrobe.
“I can’t sleep!” he cried.
“Why can’t you sleep?” she asked. “You were so tired.”
“I can’t sleep because I am dying,” he said, and lay down on the couch.
“Is it your stomach? Do you want me to call Dr. Solov?”
“No doctors, no doctors,” he moaned. “To the devil with doctors! We must get him out of there quick. Otherwise, we’ll be responsible.... Responsible!” He hurled himself into a sitting position, both feet on the floor, thumping his forehead with his clenched fist.
“All right,” she said quietly. “We will bring him home tomorrow morning.”
“I would like some tea,” said her husband and went out to the bathroom.
Bending with difficulty, she retrieved some playing cards and a photograph or two that had slipped to the floor—the knave of hearts, the nine of spades, the ace of spades, the maid Elsa and her bestial beau. He returned in high spirits, saying in a loud voice, “I have it all figured out. We will give him the bedroom. Each of us will spend part of the night near him and the other part on this couch. We will have the doctor see him at least twice a week. It does not matter what the Prince says. He won’t have much to say anyway, because it will come out cheaper.”
The telephone rang. It was an unusual hour for it to ring. He stood in the middle of the room, groping with his foot for one slipper that had come off, and childishly, toothlessly, gaped at his wife. Since she knew more English than he, she always attended to the calls.
”Can I speak to Charlie?” a girl’s dull little voice said to her now.
“What number do you want? . . . No. You have the wrong number.”
She put the receiver down gently and her hand went to her heart. “It frightened me,” she said.
He smiled a quick smile and immediately resumed his excited monologue. They would fetch him as soon as it was day. For his own protection, they would keep all the knives in a locked drawer. Even at his worst, he presented no danger to other people.
The telephone rang a second time.
The same toneless, anxious young voice asked for Charlie.
“You have the incorrect number. I will tell you what you are doing. You are turning the letter ‘o’ instead of the zero.” She hung up again.
They sat down to their unexpected, festive midnight tea. He sipped noisily; his face was flushed; every now and then he raised his glass with a circular motion, so as to make the sugar dissolve more thoroughly. The vein on the side of his bald head stood out conspicuously, and silvery bristles showed on his chin. The birthday present stood on the table. While she poured him another glass of tea, he put on his spectacles and reëxamined with pleasure the luminous yellow, green, and red little jars. His clumsy, moist lips spelled out their eloquent labels—apricot, grape, beach plum, quince. He had got to crab apple when the telephone rang again. 

The New Yorker


Fifty years ago today, The Kinks recorded their second flop in row, "You Still Want Me," a song written by Ray Davies:

The song sounds indistinguishable from many of The Beatles wannabes at that time. Faced with losing their recording contract if they didn't produce a hit sooner rather than later, the band persevered. Guitarist Dave Davies (younger brother of Ray) never lost hope:
We were too energized to worry about that. We knew that we were going to make it. 
Davies went on to invent another guitar sound that changed rock when the band recorded "You Really Got Me" in two takes later that summer.

Wild and crazy guitar solo by Dave Davies at 1 min 12 secs.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"Should more cities follow?"

Munich legalizes public nudity in designated urban zones

Cruz 2016

 Retweeted by 
I could support that! : Paul/Cruz or Cruz/Paul 2016

Retweeted by who?

The photo is incomplete, it really shows Rand Paul at top, and apparently Cruz as candidate for V.P.

May as well start campaigning now. It is the way of American politics. US History American government, a blah straightforward article that comes nowhere near touching the psychosis involved. I was looking for names. Who started this, so I can focus my distain.

Something is still missing. Your bottoms!


Bundy Redux

From the Washington Post on March 21, 1993: The Post article was written more than 21 years ago, before Cliven Bundy had been assessed even one dime in fees, and validates his claim that his grievance is about the intrusiveness of federal rules aimed at protecting the desert tortoise, and how the government has used the rules as yet another tool to pick economic winners and losers.
Three years ago, with tortoise populations crashing largely because of habitat destruction across its range in Nevada, California, Arizona and Utah, the federal government added the tortoise to its list of threatened species. The designation immediately imperiled tens of millions of dollars worth of construction projects in this development-crazed city.    
But it also triggered a novel experiment in the peaceful resolution of endangered species conflicts that is similar, in many respects, to the process Babbitt would like to try nationwide to defuse explosive development-versus-environment fights.    
Employing a rarely used mechanism approved by Congress a decade ago, environmentalists, developers, government officials, cattlemen, miners and off-road vehicle enthusiasts began negotiating a “habitat conservation plan.” The hope was it would satisfy both the needs of the tortoise and the Las Vegas area’s rapacious appetite for development.    
The result was a plan to protect the tortoise by providing vast tracts of federal land as a refuge while sacrificing other tortoise areas to development....    
By mid-1991, the Fish and Wildlife Service had approved a short-term conservation plan that allows for development of about 22,000 acres of tortoise habitat in and around Las Vegas in exchange for strict conservation measures on 400,000 acres of federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land south of the city. The plan is funded by development fees of between $ 250 and $ 550 an acre paid by builders. Almost $ 10 million has been raised so far.
Among the conservation measures required are the elimination of livestock grazing and strict limits on off-road vehicle use in the protected tortoise habitat. Two weeks ago, the managers of the plan completed the task of purchasing grazing privileges from cattle ranchers who formerly used BLM land....
Open Secrets reports that Harry Reid has raised more than $44 million of campaign donations during his time as Senator.  Many of the donors are attorneys, casino owners, developers, etc.

1989 - 2014 Total Receipts: $44,499,256
Say what you will about Cliven Bundy being a cantankerous old guy, the facts suggest that he and other ranchers are being screwed out of a living by the federal govenrment, all so other interests can use the land Bundy and other ranchers have been grazing their cattle for more thatn a century.  The land on which he holds grazing rights is being set aside as tortoise habitat so other lands can be deleloped, likely by people who have enriched Harry Reid's campaign chest.

And who, exactly, gave the order to kill Bundy's cattle?  Shouldn't we know that?  Damn right we should.

Read more here.

"A suspicious email could confirm Lois Lerner's culpability in recent IRS abuses."

"The so-called “smoking gun” proving the Internal Revenue Service played politics with conservative groups seeking official non-profit, social welfare status over the last several years may finally have been found."

"In a rash of documents provided under the Freedom of Information Act to Judicial Watch, a non-partisan public interest law group, is an April 2013 email written by David Fish, acting manager of IRS Exempt Organizations Technical Guidance and Quality Assurance and sent to, among others, former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner. It was part of a thread discussing a recent U.S. Senate hearing on the potential for the abuse of the 501(c)(4) tax status by organizations intervening inappropriately or improperly in candidate elections."

US News via Intapundit


East Rutherford — In a bit of an ironic scenario, New York Jets football player Michael Vick was attacked by a pitbull as he left MetLife Stadium this Saturday (March 22, 2014).

As not for whom the dog barks, it barks for thee.

NYT: Putin Asserts Right to Use Force in Eastern Ukraine

"President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia emphasized on Thursday that the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament had authorized him to use military force if necessary in eastern Ukraine, and also stressed Russia’s historical claim to the territory, repeatedly referring to it as “new Russia” and saying that only “God knows” why it became part of Ukraine."
Speaking in a televised question-and-answer show, Mr. Putin also admitted for the first time that Russian armed forces had been deployed in Crimea, the disputed peninsula that Russia annexed last month immediately after a large majority of the population voted in a referendum to secede from Ukraine.

During the question-and-answer show, Mr. Putin stressed that he had the authority to invade Ukraine, but that he hoped it would not be necessary.

“I remind you that the Federation Council has given the president the right to use armed forces in Ukraine,” he said, referring to the upper house of Parliament. “I really hope that I do not have to exercise this right and that by political and diplomatic means we will be able to solve all of the sharp problems.” (read more)


Rocket snapdragons from maanursery.

Annuals. Several species, Several types actually. The Afghanistan snapdragons are hardly recognizable as such. Several sizes to choose from, 12" to 36". 

You can have 50 seeds for $3.00 + shipping from paceseeds. I bought several things from Pace this year and they are very good. The seeds arrive within a few days.

With snapdragons you can get a photograph of bees sitting comfortably inside as if having a siesta from busy bee activities.

And it is the cutest little thing.

All you have to do to achieve such photographic excellence is have a good camera and sit around a patch of snapdragons and watch for bees.

The bee is not taking a nap, rather, it never stops, it is seeking out young untouched damsel maiden snapdragons to roughly open them right up, as if a door, and crawl right in, and rape  and pillaging inside there, who know what they get up to once inside with the cover down, and then come crawling out drunk all covered with moist sticky bright yellow pollen from antennae to stinger and grinning from dilated eye to dilated eye.  Like this:

The flowers are called snapdragons because some species have what appears to be a menacing face and their petals separate when squeezed gently between two fingers giving the appearance of speaking. Without actually snapping. That's a bit oversell. So talking dragon then. It is a childhood thing to make the flower talk amusingly, to say dragonly things. Everybody does this. Come on, put on a little ventriloquism to it. 

When the flowers expire the petals wither and the dry stalks look the unkempt mess. If left alone pods will develop that contain tiny black seeds. The seed pods of some snapdragon species look like human skulls, [snapdragon seed pods] and let the anthropomorphism begin. 

Photo pinterest.

While others look like impish faces.

More  impish seedpod faces, ritebook.blogspot.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


"Portrait of Lotte - 0 to 14 years in 4 min."

“This new Time-Lapse shows Lotte changing from baby to 14 years in four minutes,” he says at his YouTube video. “I filmed my daughter every week, from birth up until she turned 14 years old an then made this time lapse edit.”

The pig trap

I found this piece interesting reading all the way through. I found it within comments somewhere, a link to a post at taxicabdepressions. The writer brags his piece was picked up by Western Rifle Shooters, at first scan that appears to be exceedingly far right prep group.

The piece begins with a photo a a militarized vehicle with soldiers hanging off it within an urban street scene and the reader reasonably assumes the term pig refers to them, but the photo is a bit superfluous, perhaps descriptive of intent, the term refers to an actual pig trap.

The taxi driver describes meeting two people. The first is a fare with an alarming response to simple discussion. The rider said something incredibly provocative, while demonstrating and maintaining clear thought and astute response to query, and with decisive uncompromising conclusions, the whole thing disquieting. The driver dismissed the rider and his thoughts as conspiracy in nature but over time the man's saying continued to nag. And nag. And nag. The description of posture caught my attention. The driver describes noticing what I would have noticed.

The second person the driver describes he sought out for endorsement and for photos to include in a website, previous to driving a cab. This is the pig trap person, a Ted Nugent type minus the flash, hype and ego. The author describes his live-off the land lifestyle, his non-hunting approach to animal husbandry that the man developed for himself on his own land.

In the cab driver's synthesis, the pig trap is metaphor for what government is doing to the country in stages. He nicely correlates present day political activities with his endorser's method of herding intelligent creatures to slaughter by using their their need, their greed, and their complacency in overriding their intelligence.

Mr. Rumsfeld's Letter To The IRS

Lovely tiny house

Consider watching this with the sound off if the voices enrage. This a beautiful little house. What do you like? What do you question?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fly Away Home

Did this movie win any academy awards? No. It should. Because this movie gets me. Every aspect of it does. Even before it was a movie, and just a documentary about Bill Lishman. If only it had sound. (It does, just very very very low)

The full movie is not free on Amazon. A whole $3.00 to watch it. 

Maybe some day it will be free. Free like the birds.

The girl should get an award for her acting abilities. Her full range of acting is like this:


And that is impressive indeed. But on top of that you get basically a friendly approachable nutter solving a problem with birds. A problem he creates for himself. He is a right-brain type. Creative in pretty much everything, it just comes out of him, so problems then, his own architecture, home in the side of a hill, studio in home, his own art, his entire environment his own creation, including disastrous relationships. 

In real life his nutter ways go far in finding solution to a vexing real life bird problem having to do with migration patterns becoming lost for threatened bird populations. Already experimenting with various light aircraft on his own sloping property, Leshman, wondered if migrating birds could be induced to following ultralight aircraft.


It takes a bit of a nutter to ask that, don't you think?

Turns out they do. The key is imprinting so you get scenes of birds born by cracking themselves out of eggs. The thing is, once flying the birds gladly accept the plane taking the lead in the V, much less work for them flapping. That is why birds switch off, the lead tires out and drops back in line allowing/causing another bird to cut through the air while the rest flap on the air coil spilling off the lead's wings, stronger and stronger air coils, bird by bird so that the last bird is hardly flapping at all, just sailing along, so sure, ultralight aircraft, have the lead.

The whole time the birds thinking, "you could give us a ride you know." 

So much involved, high emotions everywhere, perfect for movies! The story only needed a little juicing here and there. 

My favorite part of the whole thing is the effect Leshman's pursuit had on the ornithologist's world. The effort captured their imagination globally and concerned ornithologists all over immediately grasped the importance of Leshman's insight, his discovery, his development. 

This genius and persistence, this fail, fail, fail, fail, win, is right up there with Joseph Swan inventing the lightbulb, I think. Not so clever as Tesla, but still. Come on, people are copying this all over the world. He saved the birds!

Bald ibis. (German)  for example.

The projects inspired other films, Winged Migration (French) 

This is my all-time favorite movie. It has my best movie award. 

A Different Take On The Bundy Ranch Conflict

The best part of the video is in the middle.   The beginning has some fluff, the end is a commercial of sorts.  There is clear information that Harry Reid and his son are involved in the BLM attempting to end Cliven Bundy's cattle operation.

"Happy Tax Day. Have you filled out your Form WUT911 yet?"

"Cherry Trees That Flew To Space Bloom Six Years Early"

"Japanese astronauts took hundreds of cherry tree seeds with them to the International Space Station in 2008-2009, after which they were planted in several locations throughout Japan. About 265 seeds were taken from a celebrated old tree outside a Buddhist temple in Gifu, in central Japan, that is thought to be 1,250 years old. One of the space seeds was sprouted near the temple, but oddly, shot up more quickly then other cherry trees of its variety (that weren't taken to space). And now the tree is blooming, at four years of age -- about six years ahead of schedule. "We are amazed to see how fast it has grown," Masahiro Kajita, chief priest at the Ganjoji temple, told AFP. The seeds were planted at a total of 14 locations, and blooms have already developed in four locations."

"The precocious pips have baffled the Buddhist monks and scientists alike. The project was not primarily a scientific one, rather "an educational and cultural project to let children gather the stones and learn how they grow into trees and live on after returning from space," said Miho Tomioka, a spokeswoman for the project's organizer, Japan Manned Space Systems (JAMSS). For that reason no "control" seeds were planted to contrast with the space-flown ones--although this cherry variety usually doesn't bloom until the age of 10." (read more)

Popular Science

"US Airways tweets graphic photo of nude woman to customers, then apologizes"

"A photo of a naked woman lying exposed on a bed with a toy plane between her legs was publicly shared by the airline late Monday afternoon while responding to disgruntled customers who were angry about a recent flight delay."
The extremely graphic image sent to one Twitter user came with the caption: "We welcome feedback, Elle. If your travel is complete, you can detail it here for review and follow-up."

Instead of a link matching that description, however, it was a link to the photo.

It was soon deleted on the airlines' Twitter feed before replaced with an apology.

"We apologize for an inappropriate image recently shared as a link in one of our responses. We've removed the tweet and are investigating," it read.
Hilarity ensued...

NYT: Pulling Tricks From Everyone’s Sleeves

"Mayor Bill de Blasio can swell with enthusiasm for people and movements and moments progressive."
So he showed up at the Sheraton last week for the National Action Network’s convention to offer a rhetorical bear hug to that cat with 43 lives, the Rev. Al Sharpton. The mayor spoke of the ever-more diminutive and nattily tailored reverend in tones so reverent that reporters craned their necks to see if the reincarnated Martin Luther King Jr. had taken a seat on the dais.
“We have all seen leaders come and go,” the mayor said. “When we find someone that actually stays the course, and in fact becomes better, stronger, clearer at the work with every passing year, that’s a blessing.”

A blessing: That’s one way of describing Mr. Sharpton.

As it happens, The Smoking Gun website and William Bastone last week suggested a few more descriptives for the city’s pre-eminent shape-shifter. Like: F.B.I. snitch, friend to at least two prominent cocaine dealers, and a man on a first-name basis with a striking number of made men from various and many Mafia families. A Genovese here, a Gambino there, Baldy, Fritzy, Vinny the Chin, the reverend was nothing if not ecumenical. (read more)

Reid, the early years

This land is my land, this land is my land.
From Humboldt county to Ruby Valley
From Black Rock Desert to southern border
From Pyramid Lake on up to Washoe
And down in Reno where everyone knows
This land was made for mostly me….
When I'm walking the sun is shining
and all around me, everything that I see
Every mineral, and every last tree
All the water, and all the elements
All the gambling and all the industry
All State services and taxabilites
Every animal, anything I please
This  land is made for mostly me.

Monday, April 14, 2014

What The Hell Is Wrong With Old Men?

Commenter Lindyhop* asked:
Lindyhop said...
What the hell is wrong with old men? Why are they such insufferable pricks?
April 14, 2014 at 1:26 AM
My starting answer/offer is a Max von Sydow monologue from Woody Allen's "Hannah And Her Sisters" (You can listen to the clip/rant here, but I can't embed it).
You missed a very dull TV show on Auschwitz. More gruesome film clips, and more puzzled intellectuals declaring their mystification over the systematic murder of millions. The reason they can never answer the question ‘How could it possibly happen?’ is that it’s the wrong question. Given what people are, the question is ‘Why doesn’t it happen more often?’
You see the whole culture — Nazis, deodorant salesmen, wrestlers, beauty contests, talk shows. Can you imagine the level of a mind that watches wrestling? But the worst are the fundamentalist preachers. Third grade con men telling the poor suckers that watch them that they speak with Jesus, and to please send in money. Money, money, money! If Jesus came back and saw what’s going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.
Answer how a man can get like that, and you'll have your answer, Lindyhop.*
*Is that you, Inga?

WSJ: The West Leaves Ukraine to Putin

"'We're the chosen generation," says Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Ukraine's interim prime minister. He's referring to all those who made this winter's European revolution. For the first time since 1654, when Ukrainian Cossacks formed a fateful alliance with Moscow against Polish rulers, Ukrainians are heading back West."
Their timing is terrible. Two decades ago, when the Berlin Wall fell, the West embraced another generation of Eastern Europeans. Ukraine has gotten a different welcoming committee. An economically feeble European Union gorges on Russian energy and dirty money while lecturing Ukraine on Western values but refusing to defend it. Asking for Washington's help against Russian attack, Kiev finds a man "chosen" in the past two presidential elections to get America out of the world's trouble spots.

Vladimir Putin sees a West made soft by money, led by weak men and women, unwilling to make sacrifices to defend their so-called ideals. In the Ukrainian crisis, the image fits. Russia's president is many things, but most of all he is resolute. He took the EU and America's measure and annexed Crimea last month at minimal cost. Ignoring Western pleas for "de-escalation," Russia this weekend invaded eastern Ukraine. Just don't look for video of T-72 tanks rolling across the borders, not yet at least. (read more

A Museum Tour

And not just any old museum, but the one-and-only Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum in sunny Madison, Georgia.

"Microcars?" you ask, "what are microcars?"
World War II came to an end in 1945 and Europe lay in ruins. A shell-shocked population came out of the bomb shelters and faced an unimaginable scene of devastation and ruin.
As if the seemingly endless task of clearing away the rubble wasn't enough, there were crippling shortages of food, raw materials, electricity and gas. Value and worth were measured in Chesterfield cigarettes.
The population collectively rolled up its sleeves and went to work. The astonishing rebuilding of an entire continent over a period of ten years was accomplished through a unity of spirit and purpose unimaginable today. Bright, talented engineers, many out of the former aircraft industry, put their minds to the problems of mobilizing the population under adverse conditions. It's said that the true master reveals himself within limitations and so this focusing of energy and talent resulted in an enormous variety of small vehicles; some successful, others less so - but all of them interesting!

You can click here for a virtual tour.  But unfortunately, you can no longer be one of the 35,000 annual visitors to the Microcar Museum, as all the cars and memorabilia were auctioned off in February.

Be careful not to step in that Messerschmidt.