Thursday, July 31, 2014

Clinton “almost brags” about his decision not to take down Bin Laden

Hot Air: A time capsule from Australia via MSNBC, captured for posterity at what would have been around 11 p.m. New York time. The hijackers may have been ritually shaving themselves as he said it. Previewing the audio, the host says Clinton “almost brags” about his decision. Of course he does; at the time, it would have been a no-brainer for a politician to congratulate himself for sparing a terrorist in the name of also sparing dozens (or, if you believe Clinton, hundreds) of civilians, even if that terrorist was responsible for the U.S.S. Cole attack. Twenty-four hours later, I guarantee you he wasn’t bragging anymore. In fact, you can draw a straight line from this audio to America’s drone policy today. These 20 seconds or so are precisely why Obama ended up pulling the trigger on Anwar al-Awlaki and why he continues to pull the trigger on Al Qaeda’s bigger fish even if it means incinerating civilians in Waziristan or Yemen in the process. He’s never going to let a statement like this come back to haunt him. Post-9/11, when you’ve got a big fish on the hook, you reel him in come what may. A presidency can survive anger from doves and civil libertarians that the White House was overly aggressive in targeting jihadis. It can’t survive having skyscrapers knocked over by someone who, you’re sheepishly forced to admit, you had a clear shot at killing years before. By the same token, if the FBI had announced on the morning of 9/11 that they’d busted a spectacular Al Qaeda plot to fly planes into the Twin Towers, plenty of people would have chortled that that’s the most ludicrous, Michael Bay-ish nonsense yet cooked up by a government eager to find pretexts to roll back civil liberties. There’s a reason why the term “September 10th mentality” exists, and Bill Clinton’s not the only one who was guilty of it. (read more)

Here’s the clip. Link  key audio @ 5:30

"Ray Rice Apologizes Again, Says 'Wife Can Do No Wrong'"

"What happened that night is something that never should have happened,"
"It hurts because I can't go out there and play football, but it hurts more because I have to be a father and explain what happened to my daughter," he said.

Rice called his wife an "angel" and said he let her, her parents, his teammates and the entire Baltimore community down.

"I know that's not who I am as a man," Rice said. "That's not who my mom raised me to be. If anyone knows me they know I was raised by a single parent and that was my mother."

Rice was arrested following the altercation, in which he allegedly struck Palmer. Rice has been accepted into a diversion program, which upon completion could lead to the charges being expunged.

bear thank you pop-up card

The card is exceedingly simple. It is a bear offering a fish. You are expected to notice the bear took a bite out of the fish before offering it.

Both arms are placed on a single mechanism that flips up. The mechanism is like a short broad "V" shaped like a scoop. The fish is glued onto the paws at a slightly different angle than the arms of the bear so it bends the bear's paws outward.

O hai
Here have a fish.
Thanks for inviting me. Everyone was well-behaved and lovely.

It's just so deadpan and stupid. I'm imagining the recipient going, "wtf?" Eh, these things are never acknowledged.

Caption contest

Robert Redford, 1972

Wonderful celebrity shots at Cannes through the years.

Former President Bush surprises Derek Jeter

Political Islam politics

"CAIRO — Battling Palestinian militants in Gaza two years ago, Israel found itself pressed from all sides by unfriendly Arab neighbors to end the fighting.

Not this time.

After the military ouster of the Islamist government in Cairo last year, Egypt has led a new coalition of Arab states — including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — that has effectively lined up with Israel in its fight against Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip. That, in turn, may have contributed to the failure of the antagonists to reach a negotiated cease-fire even after more than three weeks of bloodshed.

“The Arab states’ loathing and fear of political Islam is so strong that it outweighs their allergy to Benjamin Netanyahu,” the prime minister of Israel, said Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington and a former Middle East negotiator under several presidents.

...Although Egypt is traditionally the key go-between in any talks with Hamas — deemed a terrorist group by the United States and Israel — the government in Cairo this time surprised Hamas by publicly proposing a cease-fire agreement that met most of Israel’s demands and none from the Palestinian group. Hamas was tarred as intransigent when it immediately rejected it, and Cairo has continued to insist that its proposal remains the starting point for any further discussions.

...At the same time, Egypt has infuriated Gazans by continuing its policy of shutting down tunnels used for cross-border smuggling into the Gaza Strip and keeping border crossings closed, exacerbating a scarcity of food, water and medical supplies after three weeks of fighting.

“Sisi is worse than Netanyahu, and the Egyptians are conspiring against us more than the Jews,” said Salhan al-Hirish, a storekeeper in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya. “They finished the Brotherhood in Egypt, and now they are going after Hamas.”" [my bolding]


"Dedication: Octopus spent nearly 4 1/2 years sitting on her eggs"

"How does she do it? That’s the question scientists are asking after observing an octopus caring for her eggs for 53 months. That’s a record gestation period, they say, for any animal species."
The octopus generally does not feed while brooding, but most don’t brood anywhere near as long.

“The principal question now remaining,” they write, (link) “is how does the mother survive for so long?”

via Washington Post


Siberia giant hole(s) just became a lot less mysterious.

Check out this apparently self-contradictory explanation, that is, either something happens often with general features or else it is a theory that just got proved. One or the other, but please, not both.

A pingo often forms when a mass of ice embedded in the earth starts to get pushed towards the surface by rising ground water. Generally, this rising water level is in-turn caused by warming temperatures, especially in the Arctic where permafrost in the ground is beginning to melt. Once the ice mass reaches the surface, it can violently rupture from the Earth, creating a ring of disturbed soil that resembles a crater. When the mass finally melts, all that remains is a damp and very deep hole. 
This theory was all but confirmed by experts this week after investigating the hole for themselves.
Anyway. That inconsistency of certainty to theory aside, this is what they are talking about.

What, no anthropomorphic climate change? Come on, you're slipping. Arctic permafrost not being permanent. You're passing on a chance at driving your obsession. Has something changed?
"Such kind of processes were taking place about 8,000 years ago. Perhaps they are repeating nowadays. If this theory is confirmed, we can say that we have witnessed a unique natural process that formed the unusual landscape of Yamal peninsula," 
Certainty then theory again, but wow, I'm impressed with the restraint. And in comments too. There is glimmer of hope for scientific method of observation, theory, testing, and reproduction and verification prevailing over ideologic belief after all. 


Nature World News for a refreshing clean description. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Video: "Sadie doesn't want her brother to grow up"


"His father was a mudder, his mother was a mudder"

Bill Clinton on today's NY Daily News

Founder Effect among the Amish

"The Amish make up only about 10 percent of the population in Geagua County in Ohio, but they're half of the special needs cases. Three of the five Miller children, for example, have a mysterious crippling disease that has no name and no known cure.

...The three Byler sisters were all born with a condition that has no cure and mysteriously leads to severe mental retardation and a host of physical problems. Last year, doctors figured out the girls have the gene for something called Cohen Syndrome; there are only 100 known cases worldwide. 

..."Nobody knew it was around here and we found, what, 20 to 30 cases in this area now that they didn't realize. Nobody knew about it," says Erwin Kuhns.

...The genetic problems come down to something called the "founder effect" because the nearly 150,000 Amish in America can trace their roots back to a few hundred German-Swiss settlers who brought the Amish and Mennonite faiths to the United States in the 18th century. Over generations of intermarriage, rare genetic flaws have shown up, flaws which most of us carry within our genetic makeup but which don't show up unless we marry someone else with the same rare genetic markers.

...While 60 Minutes Wednesday was in Ohio, Dr. Wang [a pediatrician hired by the community] made a house call to check on the Miller children. Bobby Junior, the sickest, can't tell Wang what's bothering him because he can't even talk.

And the doctor was treating these challenging cases under the most rudimentary conditions since Amish custom prohibits electricity. Still, he doesn't complain. In fact, he calls the heritage beautiful and says, "We are not come here to change them."

..."I knew as soon as I had the third one, I knew," [the mother of the Byler sisters] says. "They kept telling me, 'No, she's OK.' No, she wasn't. I could hear by her cry that she was gonna be like the others. Their cry is different. You can tell. After you've lived with it that long, you know."

Now, when she needs to go to the doctor, she wheels the girls into her van. She's left buggy rides, and the whole Amish lifestyle, behind. But the price was being shunned forever by the community, as well as her ex-husband and her two healthy adult children.

Irma's now tuned in to the 20th century, and Iva's plugged into the 21st. Using a genealogy Web site, she's figured out she and her ex-husband were distantly related, something that appears to be common among the Amish.

"I don't think the Amish really understand that it's a genetic disorder that causes the handicapping condition," Byler says.

The Amish think it is God's will; "Gottes Wille" is how they describe it."

-CBS News

a wheat farmer's bread

I mentioned to a friend here in Denver it had been a decade since I bought a loaf of bread and his expression of being stunned in response was comical. But that was without thinking first. I actually did buy a loaf, and carefully chosen too for its multiple grains, but once home it was so oddly unlike real bread I had become used to that I threw it away. So I lied there. And I realized how fast time is flying, it's been closer to two decades. One loaf of bread in two decades and that one tossed out in disgust.

And that got me thinking what does Dean the wheat farmer do. So I asked him. He has a hired hand who cooks like a chef. I was out there one weekend with my dog, rode a tractor around all day grooming a field, and met him and ate his lunches and dinners, but I didn't notice anything particular about bread. I also asked about harvest because it is that time of year. My inquiry included a few links to bread, tortillas, pastry, pie crusts and such. I mentioned sometimes I buy grain and mill it. Nothing judgmental, he is more busy than I, there is no reason for him not to buy things, just curious. His careful thoughtful response follows.

Date-a manipulation

"First, Facebook admitted it was screwing with your "friend"-ships. Now OkCupid has admitted it’s been screwing with your hookups. 

The dating website said yesterday that, like Facebook, it experimented on users without telling them. But unlike Facebook, OkCupid is unapologetic about the experiments. Co-founder Christian Rudder put it bluntly in a blog post: "If you use the internet you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site. That’s how websites work." 

...The similarity to Facebook's data manipulation is most apparent in OkCupid’s third experiment, in which the company sought to answer the questions, "Does this thing even work?" To figure that out, Rudder writes, "we took pairs of bad matches (actual 30 percent match) and told them they were exceptionally good for each other (displaying a 90 percent match)." Then OkCupid watched what happened, waiting for users to send first and second messages. Ultimately, Rudder writes, he and the OkCupid team determined that "when we tell people they are a good match, they act as if they are.""


Ever used a dating site? It seems a logical use of computers, unless you use one like OKCupid. Or do they all do it, and OKCupid is just being honest about it?

Mediaite: "Testy Exchange Between Delta Pilot and Air Traffic Controller"

The pilot was supposed to take the plane to the “Mike” taxiway but apparently went to the “Lima” taxiway instead. When the air traffic controller noted this, the pilot said, “Hey, you know what, we’ll taxi out there any way we want unless you tell us to, I don’t like your attitude.”
The air traffic controller continued trying to explain the pilot made a mistake, but the pilot just scolded him for his attitude. He said, “I make a mistake every two to three minutes but my attitude is not like yours. We’re out on Mike and you didn’t tell us how to get there, so next time you can try doing that.”

It’s at that point that someone says, “Settle down, Captain Happy.”

Listen to the audio here (the exchange in question begins at the 1:50 mark):

Via Imus in the morning

maggie and milly and molly and may

Long Beach, NY, 1927 via Shorpy

maggie and milly and molly and may 
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang 
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing 
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone 
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me) 
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea
-e.e. cummings

Politico: The Flip-Flopping Architect of the ACA (ObamaCare)

"The problem with his explanations is that Jonathan Gruber doesn’t “flake.” He knows this law in and out. He knew what his words meant, with all their implications, when he spoke them. He knew the feature he was describing essentially gave each state a veto over the PPACA’s exchange subsidies, employer mandate and to a large extent its individual mandate. He knew that could lead to adverse selection. To claim Gruber didn’t know what he was saying is as absurd as saying a conductor might fail to notice that the brass section suddenly stopped playing."

Supporters of the Obama administration have downplayed Gruber’s comments because he is not a member of Congress. Nevertheless, he played a larger role in writing the PPACA, and knows more about it than most members of Congress. Gruber’s comments raise questions about whether this (correct) interpretation of the law was also understood by the members of Congress and administration officials Gruber advised.

They also corroborate other evidence showing that the administration was aware it was breaking the law all along. Last year, seven career Treasury and IRS officials told congressional investigators that they knew the PPACA did not authorize them to issue tax credits in federal exchanges, and that their regulations had originally confined tax credits to exchanges “established by the State.” At the direction of their political-appointee superiors, however, they dropped that language and announced that tax credits would be available through exchanges established by the federal government as well.

hand koala

Seen on Ace

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


A few years ago, I blogged a series called "50 Years of My Tunes." Beginning in 1960 -- the year I was born -- I considered all my favorites from each year going forward, one year at a time. It helped to have my iTune songs labelled with its year -- something I appended by hand -- err, by finger. With a mouse click, I can summon all of my favorites from any given year.

I gave up the blog project when I reached 1998 and I realized that I had stopped caring about pop music around the time my first child was born. Music just seemed less important. I'm going to try it again in reverse, beginning with 1959 and working back in time to seek out the roots of rock and roll. It's a contentious topic (much like most of Lem's topics) and it won't be solved in one night.

1959 was a turning point for pop music. A series of events -- Elvis' draft; the untimely deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, & J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson; Little Richard's hiatus; Jerry Lee Lewis' scandals -- all these events dimmed and defocussed the first phase of rock and roll. Some doors closed only to be reopened abroad and reimported. But other doors -- American doors -- also opened: 1959 saw the release of two great jazz albums: Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" and The Dave Brubeck Quartet's "Time Out." The former album, "Kind Of Blue," had a subtle and profound influence. Consider the two quotes below from two disparate rock guitarists:

Referring to his own guitar playing on the song "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed," Duane Allman said in an interview:
You know, that kind of playing comes from Miles and Coltrane, and particularly Kind of Blue. I've listened to that album so many times that for the past couple years, I haven't hardly listened to anything else.
Keith Richards wrote much later in life:
The early days of the magic of guitar weaving started then. You realize what you can do playing guitar with another guy, and what the two of you can do is the power of ten, and then you add other people. There's something beautifully friendly and elevating about a bunch of guys playing music together. This wonderful little world is unassailable. It's really teamwork, one guy supporting the others, and it's for one purpose, and there's no flies in the ointment, for a while. And nobody conducting, it's all up to you. It's really jazz -- that's the big secret. Rock and roll ain't nothing but jazz with a hard backbeat.
~Keith Richards, Life, p. 104.
Here are my nominees for best singles and albums in 1959:


"Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" by The Platters
"Raining In My Heart" by Buddy Holly
"El Paso" by Marty Robbins
"A Worried Man" by The Kingston Trio
"The Tijuana Jail" by The Kingston Trio
"M.T.A." by The Kingston Trio
"Shout (Parts 1 & 2)" by The Isley Brothers
"Tallahassee Lassie" by Freddy Cannon
"I Only Have Eyes For You" by The Flamingos


Miles Davis ~ Kind of Blue
The Dave Brubeck Quartet ~ Time Out

Here are some further suggestions for nominations: Link

"Ventura wins $1.8 million in defamation suit"

"Jesse Ventura won his defamation case against an author who said he punched out the former Minnesota governor for criticizing the U.S. Navy SEALs’ role in the Iraq war."
The jury awarded a total of $1.845 million: $500,000 in defamation damages and $1.345 million for “unjust enrichment” — or to be specific, $1,345,477.25.

Jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict, as instructed. Instead, with the consent of both sides, they voted 8 to 2 in Ventura’s favor.

Ventura was not in the courtroom when the verdict was read.

Not your father's botanical drawings

"Botanical art has some conventions that have helped the practice remain accurate and disciplined: portions of the plants painted in isolation on white backgrounds; often 1:1 in size with the real plant; typically in watercolour for the range of colours (Opera Pink, anyone?) and known factors in preservation.
After seeing these works-in-progress by Mieke Roth, I find myself wondering why more of it doesn’t look like this..."
This is art created on a computer. If you go to Mieke Roth's site you will see more examples. I think some of the images will rotate, etc., but I don't think my internet speed is fast enough.

Boehner rules out impeachment: ‘Scam started by Democrats’

"Talk of impeachment was cooked up by a White House desperate for something to rally Democrats ahead of November’s elections, House Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday, flatly ruling out any action on the controversial suggestion."

“We have no plans to impeach the president. We have no future plans,” Mr. Boehner said. “Listen, it’s all a scam started by Democrats at the White House.”

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Boehner

9 poncho tent configurations

"An essential item for ANY outdoor outing and certainly in every Survival Kit and Bug Out Bag is a good quality Poncho.  If you don’t have one and need one go to the NOT IF BUT WHEN STORE HERE. There is nothing more miserable (and dangerous) than getting soaked by rain. There are 100′s of different ponchos to choose from. I prefer a Military Style Poncho with grommeted corners and snap closure sides. These are typically constructed of a nice quality rip-stop nylon material that not only makes them water proof but very durable."


What should be in the ideal bug out bag?

Breitbart on YouGov Poll: "64% of Hispanics Back Deportations"

"Rather than convince the American people that passing a mass amnesty is what's needed, the burst of border coverage earlier this month convinced 77% of the American people that the kids need to be sent back home. A full 42% want the kids sent back immediately regardless of what's happening in their home countries. Add to that another 35% who want them sent back unless their home country is deemed unsafe."
Only 11% want what Obama, Democrats, and the media want -- which is amnesty for everyone.

The numbers are not all that different among Hispanics. Only 22% want to give the children amnesty. A full 64% want the children deported. Of that 64%, 28% want them deported immediately; 36% want them deported unless their home country is deemed unsafe.

That puts Hispanics almost perfectly in line with the rest of country.
In other words, the constituency the democrats claim the republicans "need to win", Hispanics oppose amnesty.

Aw bless.

And this is why your miserable culture is doomed.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The world makes a comeback.

Japanese, American, French sign languages

This must have taken some time to put together, they switch out team members for each word, involving choosing a team member, positioning them, agreeing on a word. I am realizing that French version is more eloquent than American version and that is odd as American sign owes so much to French, Gallaudet himself being of French ancestry, having founded the first school for the deaf, his father personal secretary to George Washington, his son founding the first college for the deaf. 

French is ever so slightly more intuitive, American ever so slightly more brutal, more abrupt. 

They do not just say the word, they say, "start, Japanese, like this...," "ok, American sign ..." and so on. 

I notice no kanji here in the Japanese sign as I expected. I understand it is present throughout, I'm just not seeing it. I noticed no kanji finger spelling in the air, rather, intuitive pantomime.

The word "Japanese" describes the long archipelago, starting as it does with two "L" hand shapes it closely resembles the word for "language," two "L's" shaken apart from each other. Without the shake the word "language"  becomes "Japan."  I say that word at an angle, others describe a flat strip of land.  The old way was a "J" flicked at the corner of the eye, but now we've adopted their word for themselves. 

One of the Americans is Japanese descent and that threw me off. The word "America" is the fingers of both hands meshed and moved together around in a circle parallel with the ground. He abbreviates the word by simply meshing his fingers which can mean a whole lot of things as we saw in the video "Somebody That I Used to Know" where a similar mesh of fingers conveys, "you were right for me," it also means "breed" and when the fingers are rigidly crooked then "machine" or anything relating to mechanics. They depict gears that fit and work together sometimes actually turning as gears. A very useful hand configuration. But at one point the Japanese-American says "American" as "WHAP" meshed together hands plus "karate chops" straight down, in English "er" for "America-er," or America person. But all you see is "mesh" whap, "person" whap, and since we are on the subject we all know he means "American." 

If you will keep your pointer at on/off and glance at the subtitles back and forth, and take this in chunks then I think all this will make a good deal of sense. And you can readily see how much fun these people are having together.

My quick notes follow.

CNN: "Health officials say the Ebola outbreak, centered in West Africa, is the deadliest ever"

"As of July 20, some 1,093 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are thought to have been infected by Ebola since its symptoms were first observed four months ago, according to the World Health Organization."
Testing confirmed the Ebola virus in 786 of those cases; 442 of those people died.

Of the 1,093 confirmed, probable and suspected cases, 660 people have died.

There also are fears the virus could spread to Africa's most populous country, Nigeria.
"Second American infected with Ebola"

"Americans really wish they had elected Mitt Romney instead of Obama"

"Americans are so down on President Obama at the moment that, if they could do the 2012 election all over again, they'd overwhelmingly back the former Massachusetts governor's bid. That's just one finding in a brutal CNN poll, released Sunday, which shows Romney topping Obama in a re-election rematch by a whopping nine-point margin, 53 percent to 44 percent. That's an even larger spread than CNN found in November, when a survey had Romney winning a redo 49 percent to 45 percent."

Via Instapundit... Top comment there... Krishnan  said...                                 
Ah ... No, I do not believe it.

The American Electorate has been, I believe, dumbed down to such a level and so many redistributionist policies are in place, that they are NOT likely to vote for anyone who Is a businessman who has made money and created jobs for others so they can make money - because they are conditioned to think that they are owed by anyone else who works.

All it will take is another demagogue to talk about how unfair the US is, how someone makes millions while someone is on the street - Perfection is the enemy of the good (as they say) - so, a demagogue will come along and mesmerize the voters yet again ...

It is painful to watch the deterioration of this great country - that last great hope as someone wisely said.

If This Is True......

Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of this article.  It's a depressing read for a Monday morning, or any morning for that matter.

A military coup in the US?  Our power grid brought down by a nuclear attack?  The US military deploying offshore to save itself from an attack on land?  Russian troops invited in to help "crowd control"?

It's easy to read the article here and believe that it's probably fiction.  And equally easy to read it and believe that it may be true.  What do you think?

Amazon has excellent prices on standby generators, by the way.


"Let us not be upset and overwhelmed in that terrible rapid and whirlpool called a dinner, situated in the meridian shallows. Weather this danger and you are safe, for the rest of the way is down hill. With unrelaxed nerves, with morning vigor, sail by it, looking another way, tied to the mast like Ulysses."

P. J. O’Rourke: "Why I hate the beach"

"I just came back from a family vacation at the beach. Will someone please explain the beach to me?"
An Ironman triathlon is, shall we say, a day at the beach compared getting to the beach from the beach parking lot carrying beach umbrella, beach towels, beach toys, beach bags, and a beach picnic in a beach cooler the size of a Manhattan studio apartment.

I consulted my wife who had spent two weeks Googling “beach” to make sure we had enough beach stuff to carry to the beach from the beach parking lot.

She said walking in the sand dunes environmentally degrades the sand. Sand being ground-up rocks, you’d think sand is about as environmentally degraded as things in the environment get.

She also said beach grass in the sand dunes is home to deer ticks, even though a crowded beach is an odd place for ticks to look for deer.

Another memory I have of youthful fondness for the beach concerns tiny bikinis. Not anymore. Please, you leviathans, don’t wear tiny bikinis. No, what am I saying? Please, you leviathans, don’t take them off! (read more)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Manta ray: Wikipedia Phone App Featured Article

Manta rays are large eagle rays belonging to the genus Manta. The larger species, M. birostris, reaches 7 m (23 ft 0 in) in width while the smaller, M. alfredi, reaches 5.5 m (18 ft 1 in). Both have triangular pectoral fins, horn-shaped cephalic fins and large, forward-facing mouths. They are classified among the Elasmobranchii (sharks and rays) and are placed in the eagle ray family, Myliobatidae."

Mantas are found in temperate, subtropical and tropical waters. Both species are pelagic; M. birostris migrates across open oceans, singly or in groups, while M. alfredi tends to be resident and coastal. They are filter feeders and eat large quantities of zooplankton, which they swallow with their open mouths as they swim. Gestation lasts over a year, producing live pups. Mantas may visit cleaning stations for the removal of parasites. Like whales, they breach, for unknown reasons." (read more)

Churches hewn from rock

...[Ethiopian king] Lalibela envisioned a dozen churches carved from stone — not made of stones, but each one literally carved out of one unbroken rock with its roof at ground level.
Details on the construction process have been lost in the mists of time, but 13 churches were indeed built between the late 12th and 13th century. These were no simple structures — the rock-hewn churches had arched windows, moldings with religious symbols, and murals covering the interior walls. Built on either side of a trench — which was named the River Jordan in recognition of the new holy city — they connected to one another through a series of tunnels.

In the ensuing centuries, seismic shifts, erosion, and water have severely damaged the churches. But the last one to be built — Bete Giyorgis, or the Church of St. George — remains spectacular. Extending 40 feet down into the stone and shaped like a cross, Bete Giyorgis continues to draw Christian pilgrims and curious tourists.

-Atlas Obscura
-Google Images

Fish and Dogs

Communing with the stragglers on the road of progress

The Independent: "Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda"

"In a campaign to improve its image abroad, the Israeli government plans to provide scholarships to hundreds of students at its seven universities in exchange for their making pro-Israel Facebook posts and tweets to foreign audiences."

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, which will oversee the programme, confirmed its launch and wrote that its aim was to “strengthen Israeli public diplomacy and make it fit the changes in the means of information consumption”.


While reading I often encounter a word I do not know so I look it up. At one time I had hundreds of index cards for words in English, now my laptop computer file has only 1,130 word files (I just now looked and checked.) Most of those words come from Professorial legal types and are hardly useful in conversational English. But I do not know what became of the previous index cards, they did not survive five moves.

Presently I have thousands of Egyptian hieroglyphic index cards in hard files and thousands more on my computer most of them uploaded online. I had a terrible time finding a site with a decent search feature, Blogger didn't cut it for that specific task.. Blogger does not go back to the beginning for some reason. (Although it does for the owner's post page, useful to myself but not others)  I had all my hand drawn cards uploaded as a phrase finder on a site that I paid for but the site raised their prices astronomically and unacceptably and now that add on feature does not work, although the rest of the site does. What a bummer. I poured a lot of energy into that phrase finder. It was a useful tool. Maybe I'll persist with Blogger and upload my scanned cards there. I do not understand why Bloggers search works so well for my other sites but not so well for the Gardiner's sign list. I keep hoping that will self remedy.

Today I was reading in English but processing in ASL when I came upon the word "refugee" and realized I do not know that sign. I checked five separate online dictionaries to no avail. Here is what came up on Spread the Sign.

As you know, the word refugee implies escape from something, some danger, usually political. Immigrate suggest simply moving. Migrant suggests returning, a back and forth. We can expect those distinctions to be clear in any sign in any language.

U.S. refugee 1
mental disturbance (vaguely one version of "immigrant"
there conflict
challenges, attacks
foreign country
blow it off, give up, I've had it.

Come on. She signs the definition of the word, not the word itself. Cannot the U.S. of A do better than this? 

In downloading the file I notice two video files are present but only one displaying. One must be backup or something. Or two people responded for American sign and they chose hers to display. Here is the other.

U.S refugee 2

stashing, raking, person, person, person

That's better. But oddly, he is using the European personification, not the US personification, the "er" suffix that conveys the trunk of the body not the two handed karate chop that conveys that same thing two handedly. He does three of them as to suggest three refugees. The crooked "V" clawing at the side of the palm of the hand is the configuration for "grabbing," "itching" "annoyance" and such. Here it looks like "crawling under" "person" "person" "person."  It looks unAmerican to me. I can see why it is a secondary file.

Most of the counties on Spread the Sign use an index finger jabbing underneath a flat palm. This is the American word for "kill" or "murder" but not for "dead."

Either with the palm flat as if "go" "underground" or sideways as "go" "along a wall"

Most European signers do not use an index finger, instead a palm sliding under another palm as to suggest "go underground." 

The American word for "migrant" is a sideways "W" pulled across the face with fingers trailing. It can mean "immigrant." 

In reverse, a "W" crossing the face in the opposite direction and with fingers leading, means "weird," especially when the fingers are wiggling. The weirder the thing then the weirder the fingers are wiggled and the weirder the facial expression. The word for "strange" is a "C" that bends downward while crossing the face so sometimes the wiggling "W" for weird  then weirdly bends downward like the "C" for "strange."  The "C" across the face for "strange" is similar to the word for "search" depending on the signer and on the context. 

Here are three pages of nearly thirty videos clips depicting the word "refugee" in various sign languages in differing European countries. All of the video clips are from Spread the Sign. So here I am spreading them. Click "older post" on the bottom of the page if you care to view them all. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014


R Crumb's "Keep On Truckin'" (1968):

The Grateful Dead's "Truckin'" (1970):

In the 1920s and 1930s, black jazz musicians used the verb "to truck" in the Robert Crumb sense of "Keep On Truckin'." You can see an example of it in Disney's 1941 "Dumbo," where one of the crows says "And they tell me that a man made a vegetable truck," and all the others crows assume the Keep on Truckin' position. link

Here's the scene from "Dumbo;" the line occurs at around 58 sec:

The crows do a lot of stereotypical strut and swagger, and I wonder if R Crumb was influenced by this in creating his iconic cartoon? Terry Zwigoff's documentary "Crumb" recorded how the young Crumb brothers were obsessed with at least one Disney movie, "Treasure Island" (1950), and Crumb probably saw Dumbo too as a kid (what boomer didn't?). Also, Crumb showed an early fascination with -- ahem -- African American caricature.

California Dreaming... again

A different take

Unaccompanied Elderly

Known Unknown

"Go Vegan, Get Your Water Bill Paid?"

"The water shutoffs in Detroit have gained attention from around the country — including PETA. The organization is offering to pay one month’s water bill for 10 Detroit residents."

"In return, those residents have to go vegan for a month."

Eleanor Holmes Norton on Executive Privilege

"You don't have a right to know everything in a separation-of-powers government, my friend. That is the difference between a parliamentary government and a separation-of-powers government," Norton said during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing.

What are the chances the congressional delegate would defend presidential executive privilege, if, let's suppose for the sake of argument, Karl Rove was being invited to testify?

How I love tap

Why is the White House inviting impeachment punditry?

Google News "Impeachment" search


Instructions for delivery taking into account hard of hearing customers, rickety, elderly, inform, wheelchair bound, etc.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Food bringing us together

“Not infrequently, Southern food now unlocks the rusty gates of race and class, age and sex. On such occasions, a place at the table is like a ringside seat at the historical and ongoing drama of life in the region.”
— John Egerton, founder, Southern Foodways Alliance

Importing The New Voter Base

He will do it and he doesn't give a shit what you think

This would be a good time for HRC to speak up and distinguish herself from BHO.  Except she won't.

"Suddenly I See"

National Geographic: "It's Time to Stop Thinking That All Non-Native Species Are Evil"

"After all, nativeness is just one environmental value, and arguably not as important as preventing extinctions and preserving biodiversity. In some cases we can best serve biodiversity by leaving the non-natives alone or even—brace yourself, now—introducing them on purpose."

"This is the thinking behind, for example, installing the Aldabra tortoise on the islands of Mauritius. The islands lost their own large tortoises, and the fruiting plants that formerly had their seeds moved around by these fruit-loving reptiles have been on the decline. A tortoise that's related to the island's large tortoises—a non-native from the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean that was intentionally introduced in 2004—is now handling some of that work."

Cathy Young: What ‘Women Against Feminism’ Gets Right

"The latest skirmish on the gender battlefield is “Women Against Feminism”: women and girls taking to the social media to declare that they don’t need or want feminism, usually via photos of themselves with handwritten placards. The feminist reaction has ranged from mockery to dismay to somewhat patronizing (or should that be “matronizing”?) lectures on why these dissidents are wrong. But, while the anti-feminist rebellion has its eye-rolling moments, it raises valid questions about the state of Western feminism in the 21st Century — questions that must be addressed if we are to continue making progress toward real gender equality." (read the whole thing)

It's Believable

Good satire needs two qualities: It has to sound authentic enough to be believable, and it has to be something the reader or listener actual wants to believe.


MSNBC Anchor Resigns; Admits to Spreading “Lies on Behalf of Obama” 

The article appeared on the National Report website.  National Report is an Onion wannabe.  Readers who don't know it's a satire site want to believe the MSNBC anchor actually said this:
“I have spent my entire professional career working toward a position based on false pretenses.  I have worked hard to obtain a position with a major news network and expected to be reporting on serious issues.  Instead, I am handed Pro-Obama scripts and asked to be a mouthpiece for the administration.”
Except she didn't say that.  Readers believed that she did, even after National Report added a few lines at the bottom of the article that should tip off any reader that it isn't a real story. Didn't work. Commenters still believe that it's true, even after even after other commenters try to point out that it never happened, that the story is false.

Well done, National Report.  Article here.

Meet the Press host to be replaced?

"But the Page Six item—which suggested that Turness will replace Gregory at MTP shortly after the midterm elections in November—prompted an energetic round of speculation among network insiders about who planted it, for what reason, and which ambitious on-air personality will dislodge Gregory from the anchor chair of the third-place Sunday show.        

In multiple conversations that I had with people inside and outside NBC after the item appeared, it was taken as a given that Gregory is toast. The Post reported viewership has sunk an alarming 43 percent—and in recent months MTP has been beaten consistently by ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos and CBS’s Face the Nation, hosted by Bob Schieffer—since Gregory assumed the unenviable position of taking over for the late Tim Russert, who turned the show during his 16 years as moderator into No. 1 must-see Sunday television.

The principal pretenders to the MTP throne are NBC News’ chief White House correspondent and political director, Chuck Todd—who anchors The Daily Rundown, MSNBC’s weekday 9 a.m. show—and the cohosts of the three-hour-long Morning Joe program that precedes it, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski."

The Daily Beast

"Alabama man claims penis was amputated by mistake"

"An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday."

"Johnny Lee Banks Jr., 56, said in a lawsuit filed in state court earlier this week that no one at the Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama, had told him why it had been necessary to remove his penis." (no video at the link)

butterflies pop-up card

This is a sympathy card for a friend whose mother died. Her name is Dorothy, we called her Dot.

If you cannot make it out, it is a double arc of scritchy-scratchy butterflies connected with horizontal braces in the shape of more butterflies. 

Butterfly, metamorphosis, standard condolence symbolism. Usually I do something along the lines of a caterpillar on one page, or the cover, with a butterfly on the next, or a butterfly on a lily pad or a butterfly that appears to fly off the page or some such, but this time I made a mess of butterflies. I could have drawn nice ones, I could have drawn them carefully and copied using a printer. I could  have found appropriate butterflies online and copied those, I could have used Hobby Lobby type butterflies made of feathers, but Instead I scratched them out rapidly.

I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't have patience anymore for careful drawing. Everything comes out scribbly and I send it off. 

The arc is based on Robert Sabuda's idea of Alice in Wonderland (video, skip to the end for Alice with cards) under a similar construction of deck of cards tossed into the air. It is marvelous because it really does look like they're carelessly tossed and seems to have no organization at all with cards flying all over the place, yet it all tucks in obediently. His version is fantastically imaginative. I like it a lot and so do other people too. Benjamin Lacombe copied Alice and the cards explicitly in his Il Était Une Fois [Once Upon a Time] (Video, Alice and cards at 0:54)

These two books together make an interesting contrast. I notice both authors struggle with themes. Sabuda relies heavily on familiar stories rather than making up his own. So does Lacombe rely on familiar fairy tales decidedly un French as if at a loss for material or unable to contrive something unique. Whereas Saubda is brilliant at devising pop-up mechanism, often times overly elaborate, so elaborate they need a bit of help closing shut because he relies on mechanism upon mechanism upon mechanism upon mechanism taking each to an extreme. But his art suffers. He is not that great of an artist. 

Lacome, on the other hand is a beautiful artist. I've shown his book to several women and they all fall in love with his art. They deeply appreciate his take on common themes and marvel at his interpretation through his careful painting. For example, his cards that are tossed in the air are all wonderfully imaginative and beautifully detailed. But his mechanism are terrible. Some hardly work. Most are exceedingly basic as if he has no training in pop-up mechanisms at all, and figured things out on his own just for this one book as I did for my first cards. His flower pedals are whole pages that shift on a tiny hinge. They almost don't work. There is no symmetry or balance, they do not actually pop up but rather fail to fall flat, and they barely shift and almost never stand upright so you worry your copy has something wrong. His strength is in his art.

And that tells me if I'd just take the time to make things beautiful then I don't have to concern myself with mechanisms, women will love them anyway. But it's not how I roll. I lost the patience I had at age twelve for tediously getting the drawings perfectly representative of my vision. Now I just scratch them out. I think hieroglyphics did that. Draw those things a couple thousand times and you're over it. 

Scritchy-scratchy will just have to do.

I have no idea how this card was received. The subject was never brought up.

More on this card if you care to, here.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Breaking News: U.S. House Panel Votes to Authorize Lawsuit Against President Obama

"Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday took another step toward authorizing a lawsuit against President Barack Obama, claiming he has overstepped his executive powers in carrying out his landmark healthcare reform law."

"In a partisan vote of 7-4, the House Rules Committee approved the legislation, likely setting it up for consideration by the full House next week. The Republican initiative already has spawned a bitter debate with Democrats less than four months before mid-term elections that will determine the political control of Congress next year." (video at the link)