Saturday, January 17, 2015

KLEM FM


By far my favorite Aqua Velvets song.

Perhaps someone who knows music better than I do can explain what the guitars are doing -- chord changes? Key changes?  How do they play the same reverbed riff over and over while sounding different?

You've Got A Friend


Hum-y hum-y hum-y hum.
Hum-y hum hum hum
Close your eyes and look at me
Soon I will be there
Hum hummy. 
Hummity hum hum hum.

This whole time I thought
I was Canadian
And nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.
Think again and I'm American
And the sky above you turns dark
And full of clouds

Hum-y hum-y hum-y-hum
Humty hum hum hum 
Keep you head together and call my name out loud
James Taylor, and I am a merry-cun. 

"Visa waivers could help terrorists enter US"

"Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged concerns Friday that terrorists might use the visa waiver program to enter the United States, and said his department is taking steps to address weaknesses in the program."

"To deal with the foreign fighter potential, the foreign fighter threat presented now globally, we need to develop more robust information sharing with our key counterterrorism allies overseas to share information about individuals of suspicion," Johnson said. "There is much work to be done."

Jeh Johnson
Dianne Feinstein: Terrorist sleeper cells are in the U.S.

The most racist field trip I ever took. NSFW for swears

It's how he tells his story of woe and despair, how he discovers what is happening one bit at a time. How elements are introduced that make the tale worse. It is how he describes the way he processes events as they occur that has the room hopeless with laughter.



I too had a fascination with cotton. I heard so much about it. To be that close and not walk among it was unbearable, and then finally I did get to traipse through a harvested field. The machines leave a lot behind. It is very difficult to pick off. It does not just pop right off the stalk into your hand. And combing through it is even harder.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Celebrity Ringtones

I made some downloadable audio clips suitable for ringtones on smartphones. Click on the link and then on the "play" button to hear.

Richard Nixon

J-J-Jimmy Stewart

William S. Burroughs

Walter Brennan

Lurch

John Wayne

Peter Lorre

Larkspur


One of the things that struck me with the Palmer Lake, Larkspur photos is how set the monolithic outcroppings appear with their plant variety grouping in mid winter, so the sticks show. I always thought the Takashi Amano style aquariums with their increased light and CO2 seemed a little too pat, a bit too trite, twee, insufficiently random. They all have a central piece of interest, as a large rock, or driftwood, usually a few supportive pieces, then plants in large number, cost not being thought of, and clustered in clumps varying in height, texture, and color to establish background midground and foreground. The detritus eroded from one outcropping and heaped at its base would be perfect for such rock collecting. The whole thing could be recreated in miniature using its own rubble. Then some branch jabbed into the sand upside down in a corner and sticking out as if it fell into the river, fell into the little area of the river, the aquarium, as if from outside and from above, and provided an armature of sorts in there, a kind of protection. Just so. So much like hair done up to a tossed and tumbled carefree exuberance that takes hours to achieve. And then here they are, bam, one after another, the rock outcroppings with exactly that staid stoic contrived exceedingly traditional Japanese formula. 

This is where you would find arrowheads, you know.

It is where you find dinosaur bones and impressions, leafs, trilobites, what have you.  

Time: How Not to Be ‘Manterrupted’

Manterrupting: Unnecessary interruption of a woman by a man.

Bropropriating: Taking a woman’s idea and taking credit for it.

"We might have thought we were just being paranoid. But thanks to Sheryl Sandberg and Wharton business school professor Adam Grant (a man!) we can feel just a little less crazy when we mentally replay those meetings gone wrong. In a new op-ed in the New York Times, they point out the perils of “speaking while female,” along with a bevy of new research to prove that no, this is not all in our heads." (read more)

Why are some people 'hacking' things we already have a name for, like bad manners, making them into a battle of the sexes thing?

No Tablet Left Behind


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oscar Snubs and Twitter Bust



"Do Western Muslims face a free speech double standard?"

"Today’s events in France, from the arrests to the rush to buy the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo, raise a number of questions about the limits of speech."

"We at the NewsHour have made the decision not to show the cartoon on the new cover of the satirical magazine depicting the Prophet Mohammed. The reason? We believe the offense it could cause outweighs the news value."


Jefferson's Enlightenment

He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me.
~Thomas Jefferson link
Toyota made a startling announcement last week, pledging to allow royalty-free access to its patents on hydrogen fuel cell technology. Read the whole thing here.

"Working Longer Hours Can Mean Drinking More"

"Around the world, people working long hours are more likely to drink too much, according to a study that analyzed data from 61 studies involving 333,693 people in 14 countries."
They found that people who worked more than 48 hours a week were 13 percent more likely to engage in risky drinking than people working 35 to 40 hours a week.

And since almost 40 percent of Americans working full time work more than 50 hours a week, according to a 2014 Gallup poll, that could mean a lot of problem drinkers.

Since the researchers are based in Finland, they defined risky drinking by the European standard as more than 14 drinks per week for women and 21 drinks for men. In the U.S., risky drinking is defined more conservatively, at more than 7 drinks per week for women and more than 14 drinks per week for men.

sourdough in a bread machine

Q: We got a bread machine for Christmas. How do we use the machine to make sourdough bread?

A: If you make a slurry out of flour and water to the consistency of thin pancake batter, and set it outside for a couple of days to collect airborne organisms floating around in the air, then that will be enough to cultivate with consistent 95℉ heat to a fully active sourdough starter within another twenty-four hours.

The longer the slurry is out there, even if refreshed with new water, then the more complex the culture, the more active, the faster and stronger the culture. The more it endures out there the better. Better to be rained on a few times bringing water from the sky right into it. If it is hot outside then the culture will most likely begin cultivating on its own while it is collecting. On Maui this happens in one day. Within a few hours, actually. Wind blows organisms directly into your slurry and conditions are already perfect. The more wind the better.

If collected in winter and kept from freezing by careful in and out attention, especially if it is windy then the organisms collected over time will be cold-enured. Loaded with organisms that survived extreme cold and revived when conditions improved. This is crucially important when fermenting because the cold storage will have very little affect, it will keep right on going if only a bit slower.

Back inside, the yeast in your jar has a schedule to be fed. Whatever you have there, swirl it around and use a teaspoon of it to inoculate a bowl or jar of fresh slurry and let the inoculated bowl or jar sit there for eight hours at room temperature, and watch it. Observe if it peaks at eight hours or if it continues to rise slowly to the twelfth hour. The faster it reaches peak then the more robust.

Then feed it again with more water and more flour. Observe again at eight hours, but be patient to twelve hours. 

Feed it again with fresh flour and fresh water, doubling the mass with each feeding and you quickly realize you must do something with this, break off the largest portion to bak or discard and continue feeding a smaller amount down to, say, 1/4 cup. Either discard the surplus or add flour to it and salt for a loaf and bake it. One or the other. 

The whole project can quickly get out of hand with regular feedings that double the bulk.

This is what makes sourdough so demanding. It's why bakeries can do it better than home cooks can. It takes too much dedication. 

When the yeast culture you have is fed the organisms gobble up the new food, foam up and peak then fall back. The point where it peaks is your culture's schedule. It can be anywhere from eight to twelve hours. 

You can force the issue and have yeast so powerful and so fast that it peaks within eight hours. Or you can slow to twelve. You force the issue by sticking to a schedule and those organisms that do best on your schedule survive to thrive and predominate. It is a demanding routine and few people are up to it. There is some margin for error, but not much. 

But I learned that all that does not on its own make bread sour. It makes it different, and better, but not sour.

The point of all this regular feeding is to get the starter going full blast on a regular basis, then use it to produce a loaf of bread by adding flour to stiffen it. And right near its peak, because you know your culture so well, cover the dough early and stick it in the refrigerator to chill, to slow down, and to ferment. It must age a few days for the bacteria colonies to grow and develop as much as the yeast has. Get it chilled before it peaks, so the yeast can pick up where they left off once it is out again at room temperature or warmer.

It is the culture starter and the fermentation period that makes the bread sour. This is how you make strong sourdough. You control how strong it is by how long you let the finished dough ferment.And this is how you can get it to be really sour, by extending the fermentation period.

You can do the same thing with commercial yeast, but as a single cell type it will not be as complex, it will be improved but not be very sour.

Sourdough starter is  like a pet. 

One that you occasionally starve, here and there.

It needn't be captured in slurry from air. That's just a way to have sourdough unique to your area. It also starts from the yeast already on the flour. The yeast on the flour that makes the slurry to capture more airborne are fewer in number than in the air, they are combined, duke it out, have a war, and the airborne organism prevail. 

If you have a race between two jars, one plain slurry started fermenting on its own, and another outside collecting more organism, the first one wins the race and makes a fine culture itself, although of uncertain origin. You have no idea whence the grain and neither does the person or company that milled it. Grains are combined to make flour. Sometimes Whole Foods can tell you precisely where their wheat seeds come from. They can order a specific type. Either way, volunteer starter, or active collection starter, the results are worth the effort especially if  you go through a lot of bread. Nothing beats it. Once you get the hang of it, how it behaves. I think it's fun. I don't mind having a pet around for awhile, but that means I'll be cranking out a lot of sourdough bread just as part of keeping the culture at 100% peak activity.

I do this for fun wherever I go. That's why I have about a dozen different cultures in powder form and in frozen powder form, and in thick sludge form, and only one in wet 1qt jar form.

There is another way to use the languishing sourdough culture not at peak activity as flavoring to regular dough made the regular way in the machine. It's a cop out. It is what a lot of bakeries do, merely flavor regular commercial yeast with aged chilled languishing sourdough culture.

Incidentally. the last time I collected a culture, this summer for fun, I left it outside for two weeks. There was a period where it rained lightly every day. I wanted my culture to be strong as can be, and it is.

I talked about this to people at Tony's Market, an upscale market nearby. Even more expensive than Whole Foods, but a dependable bodega. They will have something so unusual as buffalo mozzarella. But things are expensive. Everyone there, from hipster, to jock, to immigrant type, whatever, every person I've talked to there and at Whole Foods too, are totally into their thing. Whatever department you're in, people are eager to talk about things. So I'm talking about this collecting yeast unique to Denver and my careless way of doing it, and the result. The person is 30-something, you'd have no idea that they are really interested. But they are. The questions he asked indicated amazement. He never thought any such thing possible. "It's a way to overcome allergies." 

So I thought what the heck. I have to produce more bread than I can consume when my culture is active. Either that or spill it away to keep the size manageable as I feed it. So I made an extra loaf, wrapped it white dinner napkin as if its a valuable thing, and took it to Tony's Market and gave it to the guy to show him what I am talking about. I went shopping. Returned to the checkout counter. He said by then everyone back there had tried it and were all mightily impressed. It is a very strong sourdough culture that ferments incredibly complexly. It is stunning. They were stunned. 

The guy goes, "I wrapped up what is left and not sharing anymore before it is gone. I'm hogging the rest for myself." 

Then he gave me his employee discount on top of my regular card-carrying discount which reduced my bill greatly, just for sharing my bread. That turned out to be a very profitable loaf of bread. Like $30.00 savings right there.

Plus I blew them away with the knowledge you can collect airborne organisms and cultivate them to produce awesome bread.

Awesome Opossum bread.

But see, all of this runs counter to the convenience of using a bread making machine. Either you are a dedicated baker or not. 

Even so, the guy who runs "Sourdough International" keeps several unique strains separated by continuously  feeding multiple strains and freeze-drying it, uses a bread baking machine too. I do not understand why. After all that, why a machine? It's his preference. I think the loaves come out in the shape of a cube.

When you get used to working with the dough, when you get the feel of it, you find a very wet, very stretchy dough lends itself to closed clay cloche technique for baking. Sort of a tight clay oven within an oven cranked all the way up to top heat. Rocket-hot clay. They can cause the dough to expand to maximum size, when dough is sufficiently wet, with largest internal holes and tight thin toasted skin, a light crunchy crust.

You can get them on eBay, intended for clay-roasting chickens. They have ridges built into the bottom so I use them upside down. I make the most incredible hamburger buns in them. Or a football-size loaf of bread. I have two of these, and a third one for long loaves of bread like a baguette except shorter.

I also have a large unglazed bowl that I turn upside down on a pizza stone to cover a round loaf of bread and contain the heat and the moisture closely long enough for it to expand by heat then toast hard at maximum expansion. They are all excellent. 


This one is $32.00 plus shipping on eBay. I see another one for $10.00. There are similar things. But then, at this point you are dedicated baker and that runs contrary to the convenience of the machine where you toss in the ingredients and it does everything. 

This is the sort of thing I talk to women about to the point that their husbands get mad at me. It happened. But the women are very interested in my discoveries and this is among the best. These three things make my sourdough bread better than what you can buy. It is. Because,

1) my culture comes from right here. It is Denver culture, it suffered many indignities, blew in from parts unknown,  and it is quite extraordinary.

2) it is formed into a loaf at peak activity and chilled before peaking in its cycle to ferment for at least three days, whereas five days is pushing it.

3) brought back to life in a heated kitchen, stretched and formed its yeast redistributed, and finishing its peak activity the refreshed dough  is stretched as it is dropped into a pre-heated cloche, covered and baked at high temperature. Something magical happens inside, the dough inflates like a million dough-balloons inside a dough-balloon providing a stretched skin that toasts.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

KLEM FM

[Continued-in-part from my previous KLEM post]

Speaking of Joni Mitchell's song "The Circle Game," I think it anticipated the following scene in "Mad Men" in every important way:


Mad Men: The Carousel from ray3c on Vimeo.

Here's the Joni Mitchell song, "The Circle Game:"


Link in case the video doesn't load 

TOMAHAWKS: “They’re really, really hard to throw properly”

"The Truth About Tomahawks: they’re really, really hard to throw properly. And an insane amount of fun."

"I’m not going to lie, I initially thought throwing a tomahawk was the dumbest thing on the planet, but I’m very grateful that good sense took a break and the urge to chuck a hunk of metal at stumps took over. What was initially meant to be a day of practicing drawstroke and reloads with the pistol quickly turned into tomahawk fever and not a shot was fired. A surprisingly fantastic day!..."

"And just so everyone knows, after three hours on-and-off of trial and error, tragedy and triumph, we did finally make it stick." (via Instapundit)

"California City Outlaws Single-Stall “Gender-Specific Restrooms"

"Businesses in West Hollywood have 60 days to comply with a new law requiring all single-stall restrooms to be gender-neutral and not restrict usage to a single sex."


 "The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that the law takes effect on Thursday with the aim of accommodating transgender and gender non-conforming people."

“I hope we can encourage other cities to adopt this,” Abbe Land, a councilwoman who initiated the law, reportedly said at a meeting last month. “It’s really so easy when you think about it, and I’m glad that we’re one of the cities that is moving forward on that.”

"Ulbricht denies all allegations. He is not the Dread Pirate Roberts"

"The prosecution insists off the bat that Ross Ulbricht = the Dread Pirate Roberts, and the Dread Pirate Roberts = Ross Ulbricht. The grand jury indictment is premised on that equation."
The Dread Pirate Roberts could not have picked a better pseudonym. The name is taken from a character in William Goldman’s The Princess Bride (later made into a film in 1987)—a dastardly masked man in black who later turns out to be the female protagonist’s childhood sweetheart Westley in disguise. In the novel and the film, “The Dread Pirate Roberts” is itself a pseudonym without a stable identity. Westley inherits the name from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, who hands it over after retiring. The Dread Pirate Roberts is not so much a single individual as it is a persona, a reputation, a mask.

In the Silk Road case as well, there are rumors that the Dread Pirate Roberts was actually multiple people. It remains to be seen what the Ulbricht defense’s exact theory of the case is, or whether they will completely flesh out an alternative theory.

Adding to the strange ephemerality of this case is how the bulk of the evidence seems to be electronic in nature: digital footprints, IP addresses, e-mail accounts, chat logs, Internet postings, messages, Bitcoin transactions. Much of this evidence comes from the laptop that Ulbricht had open at the time of his arrest, so it is not as though the government’s case is impossibly flimsy. But the nature of the evidence still undermines their efforts to make the allegations sound as serious as possible. The evidence they present inevitably makes it all sound like a video game, or a recap of an Internet forum dispute in which the community manager bickers with other moderators and ends up permabanning them from the site.


"Saudi cleric issues fatwa on snowmen"

"Asked on a religious website if it was permissible for fathers to build snowmen for their children after a snowstorm in the country’s north, Sheikh Mohammed Saleh al-Munajjid replied: “It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun.”"
“God has given people space to make whatever they want which does not have a soul, including trees, ships, fruits, buildings and so on,” he wrote in his ruling.

That provoked swift responses from Twitter users writing in Arabic and identifying themselves with Arab names. 
Lego Snowman
“They are afraid for their faith of everything ... sick minds,” one Twitter user wrote.

Another posted a photo of a man in formal Arab garb holding the arm of a “snow bride” wearing a bra and lipstick. “The reason for the ban is fear of sedition,” he wrote.

KLEM FM

Neil Young's "Sugar Mountain" always reminded me of Joni Mitchell's "The Circle Game."  If you're a fan of both songs, perhaps you've thought the same or maybe you knew it already. Not until tonight did I realize that they are explicitly related. Joni Mitchell explained:
In 1965 I was up in Canada, and there was a friend of mine up there who had just left a rock'n'roll band (...) he had just newly turned 21, and that meant he was no longer allowed into his favourite haunt, which was kind of a teeny-bopper club and once you're over 21 you couldn't get back in there anymore; so he was really feeling terrible because his girlfriends and everybody that he wanted to hang out with, his band could still go there, you know, but it's one of the things that drove him to become a folk singer was that he couldn't play in this club anymore. 'Cause he was over the hill. (...) So he wrote this song that was called "Oh to live on sugar mountain" which was a lament for his lost youth. (...) And I thought, God, you know, if we get to 21 and there's nothing after that, that's a pretty bleak future, so I wrote a song for him, and for myself just to give me some hope. It's called 'The Circle Game.' Link
Here's a video version of "Sugar Mountain" that includes some rare before and after banter by Young which usually gets deleted in compilations:




Link in case the video doesn't load

Peter Gunn Theme


 
The song was used in the season three opener of the television series The Sopranos, mixed with Stings & The Police's song "Every Breath You Take" and Steely Dan's "Dirty Work".

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Update On America's "STEM Crisis"

[This post is a continuation-in-part of a prior post here: 'STEM Crisis' In American Workforce May Not Be Real]

New legislation proposing to raise the number of H-1B visas for science and technology workers has lots of bipartisan support: Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are on board. Link

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions is having none of it:
[A] stunning 3 in 4 Americans with a STEM degree do not hold a job in a STEM field—that’s a pool of more than 11 million Americans with STEM qualifications who lack STEM employment.
It is understandable why these corporations push for legislation that will flood the labor market and keep pay low; what is not understandable is why we would ever consider advancing legislation that provides jobs for the citizens of other countries at the expense of our own. Who do we work for?
Democrats and a silent majority of Republicans are squeezing the American middle class from the bottom by holding out essentially limitless importation of unskilled labor; now Republicans and a silent* majority of Democrats are squeezing the American middle class at the top by offering essentially limitless importation of highly-skilled labor.
________________________
*Except for that Sugar Mountain** chap, who is a loudmouth.
**Zuckerberg means "Sugar Mountain" in German
I was reading about Jerry Lewis and the affection for him in France. Most of what we assume is not true, all of that happened in the 60's and no longer holds force. France does appreciate Jerry Lewis but no more than Italy Germany, Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands. At one point "The Delivery Boy" is mentioned. I hadn't heard of it.

Straightdope.com

It comes right up on YouTube.

I was talking about this in comments. Before, in the past, my friends wondered what a song was saying so they'd ask me and that forced me to listen carefully to lyrics best as I could, but now anybody can have all lyrics instantly so that no longer happens. They can feel a beat. What they didn't know is what makes the song uniquely interesting. What is the singer doing with their voice, how do the lyrics punctuate the music, how does the voice match? What is the song doing, pleading, describing, angry, sad, melancholy, cheerful, or what? When a trombone makes a slide, what does that sound like? Does the voice do the same thing? What? What does the music sound like, what emotion does it evoke?

I think this segment is brilliant. It is silly. Ridiculous. But it is perfect. Without a single useful word Jerry Lewis physically describes the music. Whatever else you may think of him Jerry Lewis is a natural signer.

The Clintons Money Troubles

"Protesters gathered outside the Clinton Foundation in New York City to complain about "missing money" from the Haiti recovery effort from the 2010 earthquake:"



"The protesters claimed that the $10 billion meant to help rebuild Haiti did little to help the country after the devastating quake. And that much of the money went to non-Haitian companies."
 
***

From Early April Last Year...
The State Department misplaced and lost some $6 billion due to the improper filing of contracts during the past six years, mainly during the tenure of former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, according to a newly released Inspector General report."

The $6 billion in unaccounted funds poses a “significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions,” according to the report.
***
 
Then there was that time Hillary said they were "dead broke" when they left the White House.
 


And Democrats want the Clintons back in charge after what Obama has made of the presidency?

"Nine optical phenomena captured in one amazing photo"

"On Friday, Joshua Thomas captured this amazing photo of nine atmospheric optical phenomena in Red River, N.M., which was then shared on social media by the National Weather Service."


“You don’t really think about anything”

“You simply exist. It’s a very dark place to find yourself because, in a sense, you are allowing yourself to vanish.”
One day, Joan, in a state of hopelessness, told her son, “I hope you die.”

“Yes, I was there, not from the very beginning, but about two years into my vegetative state, I began to wake up,” Martin recalls. “I was aware of everything, just like any normal person. Everyone was so used to me not being there that they didn’t notice when I began to be present again. The stark reality hit me that I was going to spend the rest of my life like that – totally alone.”

Martin had even heard his mother’s cruel words.
"Man awakens from 12 years in 'vegetative state'"
 
Martin Pistorious fell into a mysterious coma
when he was a vibrant 12-year-old boy in the 1980s.
Not the guy I would spot in a lineup ;) Looks very good for a guy who's been away that long.

More on this story here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Mozaic Restaurant, Palmer Lake and environs of Castle Rock

Mixing a good cocktail is a work of art. 

I still cannot make my favorite drink, Cuba Libre. Not as well as the guy did in Mexico nor as well as the guy at Ship's Tavern here in Denver. I have no idea what they are doing that is different, and I asked. Same with Bloody Mary. One person I know makes them better tasting than anybody else and when you ask him he says nothing special.

This is the the Bloody Mary at Mozaic. It is reliably excellent. I notice a lot of celery seed floating around in there with black pepper. 


Joe drove us down Palmer Lake from Denver. Past the outlet mall, past Ikea, past Castle Rock, then an offramp earlier than the previous times. It seems this ramp goes into Palmer Lake obliquely, from the north not from the east, parallel with the highway the length of the foothills. I was anticipating a shot of the whole town at once to capture the sense of a multitude of small churches that impressed me before with only a few cars at each church on a Sunday, with houses sprinkled around and the most amazing rock formations in their back yards and nearly so many cars as the churches.  

But that did not happen. We slid in past the bars clipping the edge. And it appears the whole lake is drained.

What happened to the fish in the lake? Were they treated humanely and transferred? Surely the lake had fish, or else what would be the point? Now I saw excavating trucks along the edges. Trucks that look like they're built for terraforming. Seemed impossible. The place is named after the Lake. Take that away and then what? Palmer dry Ravine? Palmer Lost the Water Dispute? Palmer Garigue. That's a word I learned from Principles of Gardening. It means a dry harsh limestone area and the type plants therein where climate in hot and harsh even though it might be near the Mediterranean. Some are formed by degrading marquis communities, another type that tends to form along valleys. 

I did not take any pictures on the way in because nothing fit my sense of composition. Nothing would work. But I did take photos on the way out passing by the same building that for some reason seemed more photogenic in the opposite direction. All those photos are taken from the car either though a windshield or through a side window. The weather turned cold. The sun seemed to withdraw behind a smothering carpet of cloud. We are in the cloud. All the photos are muted with atmosphere that is usually absent. It was a most unusual day of pure gray sky with us right there in the clouds. 

I got out of the car early to walk up to Mozaic and snap photos as a train passed through the valley, and show what it looks like out there by itself with nothing around it but nature. On any other day the photos will be different and even on a day gray as can be I was stunned all over again with beauty.


Palmer Lake is at the bottom. Coming straight home via Family Circus style circuitous desultory meandering through residential areas, the patches of green, reveals homes and properties for sale with the most incredible formations right there on their acreage. Impressive custom homes built for the location. Every corner you turn, every curve you follow is stunning.






The day before this, the hairdresser and I hit it off instantly. Gordy is the most gregarious barber I've ever encountered. I struck the right chord with his first cuing note.

"How are you today?"

"I feel lucky."

"Why?

"Because I got you." 

"Thank you. But why lucky for getting me?"

"Because that means I didn't get 'Cold Fingers'." 

"Who's Cold Fingers?"

Bink, bink bink, concealed finger signal pointing to the woman at the chair next to him. He tightened with suppressed laughter. There's nothing like dissing on somebody's co-worker by way of icebreaker. We are instant confederates. 

We talked about everything in haste because they were busy and our time will be short. We talked about everything including "black brunches" in the news. We talked about everything including omelets. I said, "I make the best omelets that I've eaten so those off the menu for brunches. Nobody can match them. So they are always a disappointment." He said. "I never order omelets either because nobody makes them as will as I do. I used to work at a restaurant that did best brunch ever" We each knew we found a kindred spirit.

I should never have scrambled eggs outside of home either for the same reason. I make mine as a fast failed sauce and they are wet as I choose to have them. Everywhere else, and I mean everywhere, scrambled eggs will be dry. Reliably dry. Its a thing. Omelets and scrambled eggs, once you are expert, then nobody can touch your own. It is a problem that comes with excellence.

They just cannot. 




This is on the way back from Mozaic Restaurant.



Some of the photos are blurred but I like them that way. The whole thing is about privacy anyway. The car was moving. We can stop any time we want, but there is so much to take in, we'd be stopping every minute.

s

I like this one a lot.


Too fast for you, BooBoo, now shoo.






Now that's a garden. Imagine a garden so splendid that your little home is the gnome-decoration to it, and your little home is a palace. 


People living amidst geological splendor, their landscaping carefully chosen.







I could keep going like this forever. There are hundreds of such photos, all taken on a single drive in short distance west of Castle Rock away from the highway and nestled into the foothills.  It is the January 11th 2015, the dead of winter, and I am blown away by the beauty in holding. 



On an earlier trip down by these parts between Denver and Colorado Springs around Castle Rock, my dog showed signs of the car getting to her. She would start to make foamy saliva and that told me her stomach was feeling uneasy, so I pulled over and opened the door. She flew out in the right direction, the woods, not the highway. From her point of view that emergency stop is our destination so I resigned myself to play awhile with the dog.

Beavers backed up a rivulet and created a swamp in a fold of the land with a very broad margin around it of dampened soil and slick black mud. My dog took off so fast through the mud she slipped on her back and slid with her paws swimming the air frantically trying to twist her body for foothold, but she slid the full length mud covering her body with mud and I laughed so hard at that dog I nearly split my sides open, and so cheerfully amused with my laugher and joy of being out of the car, she circled back up the hill and took another run and another slide just to keep me laughing at her. She discovered a new game. That guaranteed a very long side-trip getting the dog cleaned up enough to get back in the car and on to our real destination.





The view goes on and on like this endlessly. You imagine all the wildlife in there. 

South of all this, in line with Palmer and with this, is Monument Colorado. You can imagine why it is named such. And further still is USAF Academy, and then Colorado Springs. The whole length between the two cities is being built up incredibly fast. Throughout all this area we see property being divided for development. There is still a chance to get a piece of all this.

There are some 173 or so photos here in slideshow form, here in Photobucket's storybook form. (adblock must be off for it to work)

Those photos are all optimized for internet use, reduced to 800 width for fast loading.

The full-size photos of some 3,000+ Width , 177 larger photos here that you can choose slide show or storybook if you like. 

"Cops Say Nothing Happened at UVA Frat Accused of Gang Rape"

"The University of Virginia reinstated its chapter of Phi Kappa Psi—the fraternity where Jackie claimed to have been gang raped, according to Rolling Stone—after the cops failed to find evidence that the horrible crime actually occurred. The fraternity's national organization has reinstated it as well, effective immediately.

According to the press release:
The reinstatement resulted after consultation with Charlottesville Police Department officials, who told the University that their investigation has not revealed any substantive basis to confirm that the allegations raised in the Rolling Stone article occurred at Phi Kappa Psi... (read the whole thing)
 That's it? No apology? No sorry about our huge mistake and rush to judgment? Keep in mind that the false accusation had consequences for the Phi Psi house, which was vandalized by angry students after Rolling Stone's story broke.

Dianne Feinstein: Terrorist sleeper cells are in the U.S.

"Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and her party’s ranking member on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, flatly stated that she believes terrorist cells are hiding in Europe and the U.S., waiting to be activated and carry out attacks similar to the ones that claimed 17 lives in France last week."
“I think there are sleeper cells not only in France but certainly in other countries and, yes, in our own,” she told CNN. “This calls for vigilance. … Hopefully, we can be more active in terms of doing those things which enable us to find terrorists, see who they’re communicating with and to track that.” (bold emphasis)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

"Obama, Kerry absent from unity rally in Paris"

"The heads of Great Britain, Germany and Israel were there."

"But President Barack Obama didn't attend a unity march in Paris on Sunday, days after the deadly attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Nor did his secretary of state, John Kerry, who has deep ties to France."
Paris Unity March

Kevin D. Williamson: The New Royals

"I have trouble typing these words without pitching my computer across the room in a fit, but: On Wednesday, a federal judge — a by-God federal judge! — was obliged to weigh in on California’s ban on foie gras, and he threw it out on — God help us — constitutional grounds. I do not have an opinion on the legal merits of the case, but I am of the opinion that the fact that the case exists — that we need competing state and federal interventions on chopped liver — is a symptom of national insanity. There was once an expression advising against overreacting: “Don’t make a federal case out of it!” But if you can make a federal case out of fatty duck liver, you can make a federal case out of anything."

"Making a federal case out of it is the new status symbol, the new Cadillac. As in the case of the princess in Hans Christian Andersen’s 1835 story, so sensitive that she could feel the pea under 20 mattresses and 20 featherbeds, acute dissatisfaction with the tiniest, most ridiculous little details of life is how 21st-century progressives communicate to the world that they are indeed the new royalty, with sensibilities finer than those known to mere commoners. No normal, mentally healthy adult human being actually gives a good and sincere goddamn about the “emotional needs of chickens.” But that sort of posing, along with such daft enthusiasms as foie-gras horror, wetting oneself liberally over the fact that Bradley Manning’s Wikipedia page identified him as “Bradley Manning” for a full eleven minutes after he declared that he wants to be called “Chelsea,” sneering at SUVs and roomy suburban homes, insisting that Melissa McCarthy is a comic genius, using the word “mansplaining,” being terrorized by “thigh gaps” in advertisements, fretting about “micro-aggressions” — all of it is a way of saying, “Look at me! I went to a good school! (Or am truly at heart the sort of person who might have!)” There is a term for this that is uncharitable but cannot be improved upon: status-whoring. The old status symbols may have been shallow; the new ones are shallow, destructive, and a great deal less fun to drive."