Saturday, August 20, 2016

When Colorado elected a Klan governor

I was in the last year and a half of high school when we moved to Colorado so I never had Colorado history in school and that suited me just fine. The state hardly had any history to speak of anyway. The state turned only 100 years old in 1976. But neither did the United States have much of a history, for that matter, the country celebrated its bicentennial as Colorado celebrated its centennial. All of those tall sailing ships that converged on New York that birthday year had nothing to do with us. If you saw the film Unsinkable Molly Brown then you pretty much have the entire state history. Come to think of it, the Molly Brown house is a few blocks away on Pennsylvania. We are at 12th St., Molly brown house is between 13th and 14th, and Pennsylvania street is 5 of the short-sided blocks east of Broadway. We can walk there easily. 

But it’s hardly worth it. 

A mansion in its day, not nearly so now. Much smaller than the average McMansions you see all over the place, about the same size as my parents home in the foothills, except made of stone, and except loaded with garish eye-sore opulence, the garden gnome syndrome on steroids. It’s awful. Neo classical sphinxes, Greek plaques, junk all over the place. And the inside is even worse. However, the carriage house in the back is turned into an excellent gift shop. The best I’ve seen at any museum. I nearly bought a wooded boat, a replica of a Titanic escape boats, the model was perfect, it had oars for each person and even sails rolled up, all the rigging, everything. They were eager to be rid of it so marked it way down. They were asking only $100.00, easily worth double or triple that. Problem was, I had too many wooden models already. I was already carried away. And that would just make things worse. But it was perfect for top of my aquarium. I’m kind of bummed out I didn’t pop for it. But all that is beside the point.

Colorado elected a Klan member for a two year term in 1924. The Klan was all over Colorado at the time, influencing the politics of towns all over the state. Most notably Denver and Pueblo. They held sway over judges, over heads of police, they held the most seats in legislature, both Democrat and Republican. Their chief issues were Italian immigration, they were anti-Catholic and the Italians ignored prohibition for their Friday wine. That led to home wineries, speakeasies, and liquor distillation and booze running. All contrived crimes. All anti-freedom. The Klan's platform and their attraction to membership was law and order.

Oh brother.  

The single city that avoided their influence was Colorado Springs. Their police chief had Colorado Springs membership closely monitored so their usual method of secrecy was foiled. 

A klan member, a Denver University educated lawyer named Clarence Morley, and a Republican was elected governor. 

Today these are uncomfortable facts that modern day political commentators, news presenters, educators, various educational media use to condemn modern Republication party members by association. This can be understood at a glance through Google images. [colorado governor, kkk]

Look at them all.  

We can do this the easy way. The way the subject is taught by gliding blithely over the surface and leaving the substance to be filled by assumption, by presumption.  

Scroll down past the nighttime photographs of Klan gatherings, past the marches, past the burning crosses, past the parades, past the various faces of mean-looking men, past the protestors, past the black klansmen, past the threatening scrawled death notes, past the Confederate flags, past shooting victims, past the enlistment posters, past all that unhappy ugliness  to … Trump. To Romney, Trump again, Paul Ryan, Trump again, Trump, Trump, Trumpity Trump, there at the bottom of Google images, faithfully pulling up for us all this related material. They all go together, all pieces of the same puzzle.

See? They’re the same thing. At a glance, on the surface they and their party and their issues are the same: immigration and lawlessness. Their answer: law and order.

At the surface, it’s all so very clear.These issues then and now are exactly the same and with no light in between them.

They’re no fun at all, these people taken together.  Don’t ever vote for them. Don't make the same mistakes. What are you nuts? Only a creepy nut would vote for such creepy nut candidates. All the things that nice people hate. It’s all so very clear. 

This governor, Clarence Morley, went to Indiana and opened a brokerage firm. He was convicted of mail fraud and of bilking his customers and he was sent to Leavenworth for four years. Out of prison he lived another three years then died. He is buried here at Fairmont Cemetery. 

Let’s go there and deface his grave. It's okay for we are good people. Dance a jig and sing, we’re glad that you’re dead.

Do you know why Klansmen wear hooded costumes? 

Because they look this underneath. Hardly threatening at all. 


Keeping with the "40 year rule" of my previous post, I'd like to hear a little more funk in today's music. This one was actually "banned in Britain" due to suggestive "lyrics" and heavy breathing.

The Forty Year Rule

Overheard at Lem's:
Ron said...

I wonder if the '60s interest is due to it being 50 years since the how we talked about the "Greatest Generation" of WWII in the '90s.

August 20, 2016 at 7:43 PM
I've heard of a so-called "40 year rule" from a video I linked to back here: Lindsay Ellis (Nostalgia Chick) said that a generation will get culturally obsessed with the generation 40 years prior to it -- just recent enough to be in living memory, but just long enough that it can be romanticized.

Hmmm, where does that leave us? A mid-1970's revival? But if Ron is correct, we're overdue for a 1960's nostalgia trip.

How would that play out in pop culture?

[editor's note--this post has used 100% recycled tags. Tag Lives Matter]

VIDEO: Agitators bang on doors at Trump fundraiser, punch attendees in ‘gauntlet’

Link via Drudge

Exactly the sort of behavior that will cost Hillary votes. I'm not saying she causes it, but she supports it.

səuıɥɔɐɯ ƃuıʎlɟ ɹıəɥʇ uı uəɯ ƃunoʎ ƃuıɹɐp əsoɥʇ

Joel Haski plans to fly upside down from Perth to Sydney next year, which will mean hanging from the straps of his harness for 15 hours. He’ll have wheels fitted to the top of his wings, too, so he can even take off and land inverted. When you’ve been flying aerobatics for 26 years, you gotta keep it interesting.
It’s not all fun and games, though. About one in 10 passengers is a puker, and if they miss their sick bag the consequences of that 200km/h slipstream can be spectacular. “A guy vomited out the side of the plane once and it just covered my windscreen,” Haski says, wincing at the memory. “I had to land looking through chunks of meat pie.”
How I admired those early WW I fighter pilots as a kid. There seemed to be a mini craze too in the mid 1960's; this was probably the 50th anniversary stuff. If so, where is the centennial?

Jonny Quest: The Shadow Of The Condor (1964). This Hanna-Barbera cartoon series was waaay ahead of its time. It remains a personal favorite.

The Blue Max (1965)  This hooked me. My dad took my brother and me to see it in the theater.

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966). This may have started the craze, but I think not.

Get Smart: Snoopy Smart vs. The Red Baron (1968): My brother and I asked my dad to record this on super 8 film because we had to miss it and couldn't wait to see the rerun.

Enemy Ace comic book (1965): A good place to pick up German phrases.

There were lots and lots of scale models to build. The best were Renwal's Aeroskin series:

And finally there was the 1966 song:

[Added] I forgot about Milton-Bradley's "Dogfight" (1963). That was another causative contender:

Future dream

The people I know do not care to hear about my dreams.  What a waste because they’re so colorful. They have bad attitudes about dreams and suggest I just shut up.  Senseless, and of no value at all. Therefore I’ll inflict it on you. Skip if you like, I don’t care. 

Last night I dreamt that a small group of us visited the future. 

The guide there was friend of a friend, an elderly man, unassuming, quiet and noticeably mild mannered. He handed me a key to his SUV for me to open a passenger door to load it with our packed bags. The key was odd, similar to MagSafe power cord connection except with two tiny short metal dowels of different widths that fit just so. It didn’t work. Nothing happened. Another person took the key from my hands and tried. Frustrated he pushed the key so hard that the vehicle rocked but still nothing happened. 

I said, “maybe it IS unlocked. Try the handle.” The door opened. The lock made no sound, no click, no feedback at all that the door is locked or unlocked. Rather like Apple, design so subtle that there is nothing at all to go by. 

Now, by that vehicle we’re in the future we’re driving around and the architecture we study as we pass is all similarly bland. The art all over the place uninspired and derived. My attention is drawn to a large white lion carved in tremendous detail from a single block of unveined marble. It sits in front of a plain building, the most interesting thing around. I ask, “What is that building?” I’m answered, “the city’s museum. Actually, the most interesting thing is outside."

“Where are we going? “ 

“To a theater for you to see future entertainment.” 

Now, all the people filing into the building then into the room are homogenous. There are no separate races. This is how everyone knows that we’re visiting from the past. They’re all dressed plainly, plain block of light fabric rather dull colors. Nobody is wearing anything unique or interesting. No patterned fabrics. 

The security is serious amounting to everyone passing barefooted over a sliding surface. I want to slide like a skater but the surface forces smoothly slow movement. It’s okay to wear socks but not shoes. There is a tray available with dry material inside a powder  to assist with the sliding. The aim is to eliminate footprints from body moisture. A bad thing for people to leave behind. For some reason that is their taboo. I thought the powder would help slide, I wanted some fun, but instead it inhibited sliding even more. 

The whole place is little more than taboo. The entire city is a very long list of taboos that the population has internalized. Everything individual in behavior is taboo. The whole thing self-governing with taboos against personal offense their single and gravest concern is that nobody can be offended. Not ever.  Any variation sticks out and makes you target for chiding. All the citizens naturally chide any deviation from their incredibly long list of social taboos. And that is what make the theater interesting. There was no film, no video, we weren’t there for Hollywood sight and sound, rather the entire experience is one mild taboo challenge after another. They go there to be challenged. But just so. 

The seating was purposefully uncomfortable. All new and spotlessly clean, no food, no refreshments, just slightly uncomfortable seating. The seating is part of the show, vibrations, some mild movement, electric pulses, mood changes. 

“They spit on us!” Someone nearby truly alarmed, “Can you feel that?  They’re spitting on us!” 

The theater sprayed tiny drops of water on the audience blown at us from an angle and measured precisely to annoy and unsettle. This pleasant faint mist was an alarming thrill for the theater goers of the future. 

Then child-sized attendants appeared before each guest. Dressed in red onesie costumes they preformed cute antics as puppies do to get attention. I reached forward and tickled the one directly in front of me as you tickle your dog’s ears. That too is taboo. "Don’t touch! Don't do that."  Don’t ever touch another. My behavior shocked nearby guests and they all told me to knock it off. 

How low class. Honestly, go back to your own time. And do this sooner than later. They seem smug in leaping to chide me. They know themselves better and far more refined than their awful unruly past, and me a regretful reminder.

I looked over my shoulder and noticed a woman signing to the person sitting next to her. I eavesdropped. Another broken taboo, I’m not supposed to look around nor engage a party not my own. She was friendly and knew by my un-amalgamated race that I come from the past. She signed directly to me: 

* Deaf you?


* How know sign you?

From this height to this height (increased height)

* Parents?


* How?


* Nod. 

And that was the most interesting person I met in the future. Everyone else is a complete dud. It was taboo to speak to a stranger like that, but she did. She was different that way from all the others. People around her chided her for engaging me. She dismissed them.

The theater show went on with uninteresting displays of mildly taboo breaking. It ended, we departed, returned to non-feedback door locking SUV, all of us with a new understanding about how regimented and tacit-law abiding our future is, and we all understood better the personality of the quiet and unassuming and meek guide who prefers being here in the challenging and outrageous past, more observing than participating, but still a lot more interesting. 

I woke up, pleased that I'm born in my appropriate time.

Unassisted: Don't challenge those legs next time

You're out!

Reason 698 why Donald Trump should be elected President.

Know English? For NYC Cabdrivers it is no longer a requirement. 
New York Times By Emma G. Fitzsimmons August 19 2016
Hail a yellow taxi in New York City, and there is a good chance the driver is from another country. Passengers are regularly exposed to a range of languages that span the globe, from Spanish to Bengali to Urdu.
It can be charming, but also maddening for riders who feel that drivers do not understand where they want to go. Don’t you have to speak English, some wonder, to drive a taxi here?
As of Friday, the answer is no.
That is when new rules went into effect eliminating the requirement that taxi drivers take an English proficiency exam. Now, the test for a taxi license is available in several languages, to accommodate non-English speakers.
The sponsors of a City Council bill to remove the English test argued that the requirement was a barrier for would-be drivers from immigrant communities who were looking for work. But the shift has prompted concerns over whether communication between taxi drivers and passengers could become even more difficult.
“If you’re in New York, you must speak English,” David Hernandez, 26, a cook who lives in Queens, said on a recent afternoon, noting that he already had problems communicating with some taxi drivers. “This is an English-speaking country.”

Role reversal (in advertisement)

I noticed a new ad running on television for, um, something. I guess they blew it as advertisement or else I know right off what it was for. Fail.

A family is cheerfully sitting at a restaurant booth, two children facing their parents. The dad is seen nicking a forkful of spaghetti from his wife's plate and the boy asks, "How you like your spaghetti, Mom?" She answers, "Ask your dad."

Clever, eh? She hadn't a chance to try her own meal yet, but the dad did.

Every woman I've dated, every one without exception, wants a bite of whatever I have on my plate. Just a taste. Often they have the first taste. An no male has ever done that. Not once. No male has shown the slightest interest about what I have on my plate and every female will have a bite before mine. That is my experience.

One female in particular was obsessed. She demanded a taste even though we've been to the same restaurant several times, and even though she ordered the same thing herself before. She was and probably still is an insanely compulsive taster.

Her case was so extreme it became an issue of discussion. She defended her practice. I just have to have a taste. The whole time would be ruined if refused.

"Oh man, this is good. Wanna try some?" Offered to a male, "Nah, I'm good."  (Don't mess up my buds with conflicting flavors. Or cause unnecessary regret for poor ordering decision. I suppose.) As for myself, I couldn't care less what your meal tastes like. My attention is focused on my own. Not yours.

The ad makers know this. I'm certain of that. When I see this ad I know for certain the writers purposefully reversed natural roles. Now, I'll bet you have different experience, but that is mine.

Snarky Response To Public Records Requests

"The most passive-aggressive public records response in MuckRock history"
Three years ago, Shawn Musgrave kicked off MuckRock’s first big FOIA (Freedom Of Information Act) project - the Drone Census, which looked into how police departments across the country were approaching the idea of utilizing the tech as a law enforcement tool. Often, this turned out to be more theory than practice.
Though the Census tracked down drone use to departments as small as the Georgia Tech police, several towns were confused by project, and others outright resented the idea that they’d want anything to do with silly flying toys.
And then there was Brockton.

Two months after the initial request, Brockton Police Department responded with an email that was blank except for a single attachment, “drones.pdf.”

The document contained an photo of the BPD’s fleet in action …

What do you consider genuinely cool?

Reddit best comments...
People who do things without needing the approval of anyone else. Independence is a really good trait to have.
A quick wit, not just the obvious jokes.
Witnessing someone understand something after trying really hard to practice and learn.
I am an ESL teacher and it is so awesome seeing the excitement on my students' faces when things start clicking for them. You can see it all click and then they get overwhelmed with excitement that they start making errors again. The other kids will applaud and it is just a fantastic time.
I've got to remain cool, but I'll be damned if it doesn't make me choke up when I see someone learning. 
People who have a genuine passion for something,
That is the coolest shit of all
People who can laugh at themselves
Would have to be space. Its like the more we know the less we understand.

"Hunter S. Thompson's widow returns antlers he stole from Hemingway in 1964"

CBC RadioThompson had long felt a deep connection to Hemingway, and he would end up becoming a large influence in his written work. It was in 1964 that Thompson decided to drive out to Ketchum, Idaho, to visit the house where Hemingway had lived and died. Hemingway committed suicide there in 1961.

Thompson was also there to write a story for the National Observer about Hemingway's legacy in Idaho. And when Thompson got to the home, it was empty. As he was leaving, he noticed a massive pair of elk antlers hanging above the doorway — and stole them.

"[Hunter] made such a long journey to go and visit, and he just couldn't help himself. And he was much younger then, and not as wise." Thompson's widow, Anita Thompson, tells As It Happens guest host Laura Lynch.

"When he would talk about it, he was embarrassed. Because Hunter is not a thief — he's just so caught up in the moment. We planned to take a road trip several times in 2003 and just quietly return them, but we never did," she says.

Unfortunately, the Gonzo journalist would never get around to making that trip to Idaho. On Feb. 20, 2005, Thompson — like Hemingway before him — shot himself.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Live TV, anything can happen!

Watch out for that's a killer.

Elliot Carlin: I think I'm overcoming my agoraphobia. 
Dr. Robert 'Bob' Hartley: I didn't even know you had a fear of open places. 
Elliot Carlin: Open places? 
Dr. Robert 'Bob' Hartley: Agoraphobia is a fear of open places. 
Elliot Carlin: I thought it was a fear of agricultural products. 
Dr. Robert 'Bob' Hartley: Sorry. 
Elliot Carlin: Well, anyway, wheat doesn't scare me anymore. I'm still a little skittish around barley. 
Dr. Robert 'Bob' Hartley: Yeah, barley's murder compared to wheat. 

Pandora gets closer to offering songs on demand

Pandora gets closer to offering songs on-demand

New York Post August 19, 2016

Pandora is wading deeper into the music streaming wars.
The internet radio service plans to add two on-demand subscription tiers in addition to its free service, according to a report.
Pandora is close to deals with the major record labels that will allow it to roll out the new options in the US and abroad, although the final terms haven’t been hammered out, reported.
Pandora’s popular free tier has about 4 million listeners who can select artists and “stations” but not specific songs. Spotify, which has emerged as the dominant streaming music service in the US, offers both free and subscription on-demand options.

Things to do in Florida when you are dead

2 arrested after cops find 16 decomposing bodies inside funeral home

New York Post August 19,2016

Funeral director Gregory Dunphy, 64, and Felicia Boesch, 39, the daughter of the funeral home’s owner, were arrested and charged with a combined 16 misdemeanor counts of unlawful storage of human remains.
The News-Herald reported that Bay Country sheriff’s deputies responded to a tip about bodies being improperly stored at Brock’s Home Town Funeral Home near Panama City.

According to WJHG-TV, deputies found flies throughout the building and found at least six bodies being stored without any refrigeration. An additional 10 bodies were being stored in an area called the cooler, which is supposed to be kept at no more than 40 degrees; the cooler was 62 degrees.

A proper thank you note in the midst of difficulty

I'm going to post the whole thing, but don't be intimidated by it. It's a heartwarming, eyes welling up story I'm sure you will like.

"To the usher at the Cardinals game who spent two innings finding my son a bottle of milk: thank you"
When I asked you if you knew where I could find milk for my son, at Busch Stadium on a sweltering summer evening, I expected you to tell me I was out of luck, or at best offer a vague suggestion.
Instead, you took us several sections over into the Redbird Club even though our tickets didn’t grant us access, because you knew it housed a bakery – but they were out of milk. Instead of giving up, you took us three levels down to a store on the main concourse, where we once again struck out – which you know, because you stayed and helped us look. So you led us halfway around the stadium to a donut stand, where we at last found what we were looking for. While I paid for it you grabbed us the straw my son was asking for, along with some napkins for good measure. And then you went back with us, halfway around the stadium and up three levels and back through the Redbird Club and over several sections, to make sure we didn’t get lost on our way back, because we’d had to travel so very far to find that bottle of milk. It took two innings, but you made sure my son was happy.
You did all this not knowing why that milk was important to us. You may have thought my son was spoiled, or that I was a pushover unwilling to say no to her three year old. If you thought that, you didn’t show it. You were wonderful.
What you didn’t know is that beneath my son’s Yadi t-shirt there’s a central line and a feeding tube. You didn’t know that the unusual form and function of his little body mean that he dehydrates easily, but also that drinking too much water could ultimately land us in the hospital, and for whatever reason, against most logic, right now milk is the thing he tolerates best. 
You didn’t know that for the better part of the last three years it’s been incredibly hard for us to go places on a whim, or that in recent months we’ve vowed not to let his medical needs stop us from doing things, and so taking up our friends on these last-minute Cardinals tickets was a small triumph for us. You didn’t know that we might be facing another big surgery soon that could keep us mostly quarantined to our own house for weeks or months; or that I’d forgotten to grab his milk because I’d received an unexpected and lengthy phone call from his doctor as we were packing up our ballgame bag and had been distracted by talking through the laundry list of changes she wanted us to make in a last-ditch effort to avoid that surgery.
You didn’t know those things. You just saw a boy who wanted some milk, and you were kind to him. And I can’t thank you enough.
These people have all the reason in the world to be mad and upset, that this is happening to their little boy, and they are not. They took a little time to say thank you to somebody for going the extra mile, as he would for any other person probably.

Male Bong Privilege

"Smoking marijuana provides more pain relief for men than women"
“These findings come at a time when more people, including women, are turning to the use of medical cannabis for pain relief,” said Ziva Cooper, PhD, associate professor of clinical neurobiology (in psychiatry) at CUMC. “Preclinical evidence has suggested that the experience of pain relief from cannabis-related products may vary between sexes, but no studies have been done to see if this is true in humans.”

“This study underscores the importance of including both men and women in clinical trials aimed at understanding the potential therapeutic and negative effects of cannabis, particularly as more people use cannabinoid products for recreational or medical purposes,” said Dr. Cooper.

@JimBobElrod chalks it up to... "men smoke dope to get relief from women." Just so we are clear, I do not subscribe to JimBob's theory. It's unscientific and anecdotal at best.

Canadian Comedian fined and College "Privilege Board" at Appalachian State

Canadian comedian Mike Ward was fined a whopping $42,000 by Quebec’s Human Rights Tribunal for jokes he made about a disabled boy.

Appalachian State University students must walk past a “privilege board” denouncing their white, male, able-bodied, Christian, or cisgender privilege any time they enter the Student Union. 
(Click to enlarge)
The bulletin board is located in Plemmons Student Union (PSU), which the school calls “the centerpiece of the Appalachian campus,” and was apparently put up by a student group last semester, but has been allowed to remain in place to date.

Blame Bush Lives

"Clinton told FBI Colin Powell advised her to use personal email"
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton told federal investigators that Colin Powell, a former secretary of State, advised her to use a personal email account, the New York Times reports.
The newspaper said the information, from a three-and-a-half-hour interview with Clinton in July, is included in notes the Federal Bureau of Investigation gave to Congress on Tuesday.

Quick Reminder

Don't forget to support Lem's other venture.  Perfect for all your back-to-school footwear needs!

Thursday, August 18, 2016


It was symbolic: 'If we ever get out of here … All I need is a pint a day' … [In the Beatles] we'd started off as just kids really, who loved our music and wanted to earn a bob or two so we could get a guitar and get a nice car. It was very simple ambitions at first. But then, you know, as it went on it became business meetings and all of that … So there was a feeling of 'if we ever get out of here', yeah. And I did. – Paul McCartney
lyrics after the jump


Here's the thing that kills me. I'm no kind of meteorologist or whatever, and I've never had much interest in weather. At all. A schoolmate's dad was on t.v. explaining weather and even he was uninteresting. And growing up inside a few military airbases, and weather being crucial to training, covered in CAP, I never much cared. I always preferred weather to be a surprise. Stupid, I know, but I didn't much care for technical things.

They just rattle off a bunch of numbers.

But this weather here just blows my mind. And I mean it. Because it ia so clearly observed. The picture is actually framed. All there is to think about is the show right there before you. I'm mesmerized, and it's not just me, others have sat out there too, how you can see the localized rain. Like in a western movie. I haven't seen it anywhere else. Or noticed. Within the frame the rain races around like a lunatic. Like someone up there with a gigantic watering can and we are its garden. And they're very careless about randomly emptying their sprinkling pail on us. The rest of the sky cannot do that, only one area is heavy enough to drop some of its water and the area flings around like a dripping mop. I'm fascinated by the moving localized rain in the narrow blue strip under the clouds. And it's barely raining. People stuck in the rain are not suffering.  I still have to go out there and water the plants.

Honestly, sometimes it's better than television or movies, or videos.

It's very short. I heard thunder and tried to get lightning. I think for that there needs to be a lot of positive and negative and this looks more homogenous, so no lightning.

We photographer types learn to live with disappointment.

Speaking of technical: [Look down there, now that there are so many, I'm getting the hang of this labels thing, or tags or whatever. When I type wea...t...h...e...r, then the thing makes suggestions as I type. There are so many now I can pick one best fits, or close, and that stops the spread of wildfire labels.]

leaping armadillos

Stick with this video, if you will, I think you will find that it's worth it. It is children. Indulge them. It's worth hearing the girl laugh. Please bear with the photography. It's short.

My older brother called to ask a question. I answered  then hung up. Then he felt guilty for giving me the short shrift. (I didn't even think of it. That was ridiculously far from my thoughts, But bless anyway) Without anything in particular to say. 

I reminded him of a school friend in Louisiana and mentioned a very large parcel of farmland. Gary's mother was interested in buying a lot more acres for her husband's cattle. His small herd of cattle is the single biggest indulgence I've ever seen. He was actually a milkman. The cattle was his hobby. They had only 40 acres, a strip that ended with bayou at its narrow border. 

She bought 50,000 acres* much farther away, a lot less convenient, adjacent to the Red River.  The river shifted naturally and wiped out the entire thing. The whole strip is now under the Red River. Gary's mother died. Gary inherited zero from that.  I asked a lot of questions about that. Gary thought it was funny. He laughed anyway. In many ways he is incomprehensible. He insisted he tried everything possible and there is nothing legally he can do. Apparently the lot was described in terms of the river, such as between the river and the highway. I don't know exactly.  And now all that is gone. 

But, before all that happened we all went down there to see it. This was when she first bought it. The lot was a long narrow shape. Something like five sections with gates between them. We went through them all, inspected each section and returned to first at the road to the highway.  It was incredibly hot. Nobody wants to be out there. The temperature and the humidity sapped our energy. 

Gary and I were messing around pretending the scraggly jungle beyond the fence with the river nearby was tropical jungle. But it's not. That lasted about fifteen seconds. It is horrible vegetation. There is nothing attractive about it. It's all dirt and gnawed dying leaves in various degrees of degradation and saturated with insects. It's awful. A person cannot walk through it. Can hardly crawl through it. The mess was unlike anything I've ever seen and nothing at all like a forest as you imagine. A 3-D net of scratching snagging ripping dead and dying mean prickly vines. 

I saw an armadillo! 

My first one close up. They do not roll in a ball when scared, they run, and this I found again by his scratching desperately into the roots of a tree to escape me. His tail was sticking out so I grabbed it. It thrashed wildly in that horrible place and its claws could tear me to shreds and it's heavy. I was holding it extended forward so its claws couldn't rip me with its thrashing. 

"Throw it into the back of the truck!" 

But then what? What would be the point? The thing is mental. 

It was too heavy for me. I had to get rid of it so I twirled like a hurler and flung it far as I could, it took off into the filthy dry tore up half dead, half baked half drowned jungle. 

That right there put me off jungles permanently. Jungles stopped being Hollywood informed, expertly designed with  greenhouse plants, exotic tropical foliage and bizarre flowers that attract impossibly beautiful birds and with tall trees that have canopies and draped with climbable and swingable vines. That boyish fantasy finished right there. Done. Forever. 

Then Barry told me that he and a friend, a name I didn't recognize, went hunting with old school bows blunted  arrows. The punks. (See what I mean about being ditched? His story pissed me off because the story he told me would have been fun.) Not really hunting, just practicing marksmanship with moving living creatures. What an asshole now that I think about it. They encountered an armadillo. He shot an arrow at it. They frightened it and it jumped straight up. Right in front of his friend who shot it right in its side. Boink. I said the arrows were blunted. 

At first I thought he meant arrows with rubber suction cups on the end that seemed kind of weird. But no, metal blunted arrows. And rather weak bows. His story is about that quick reaction and successful shot especially surprised by  a leaping armadillo.

I heard similar stories before. There are a lot of dead armadillos in the south. The sides of the roads are kept mowed and that brings out the armadillos for easy insect pickings. They are startled by approaching automobiles and when they are on the road and startled they leap straight up right in front of the fast moving car and get hit by the grill. They literally jump into the grill. 

If they would stay low they could live. But you cannot expect an armadillo to understand this. 

At any rate, these things together formed the impression in my mind all along that armadillos jump rather high. Surprisingly high. So these videos I'm seeing disappoint me. 

But then, really, how could they jump at all? Their legs are so short, their bodies so heavy, their anatomy not made for jumping. But animals do impossible things. So I thought armadillos really do that.  But they don't. It's just that behavior is so unexpected. 

So I made this animation to compensate. No point in being bummed out about it. For the not so high jumping armadillos. 

And you know what? You really shouldn't touch those things. Apparently they are carriers of a leprosy virus or something, or somehow they can transmit the disease to humans. Some can. Yes, there you go, leprosy. 

* edit: The 50,000 figure never did sound right but Gary insisted on it. At fifteen years of age I gave Gary a hard time about it. I said, "50,000 inches?" He said, no, acres." I asked are you sure it's not 50 acres? Because that would be a reasonable addition." And since then I toured a 2,000 acre wheat ranch, and the Louisiana property was larger than that but not so much, the portion that I saw. I could have been even 5,000 acres which is an incredible high amount, but that property really was obnoxiously large.  I did ask again two decades later after the river moved and he insisted again it was that large. But I think he is wrong. That figure is ridiculous. It's amounts to nearly 80 square miles and I just can see his mother negotiating that. Garry did say a lot of outrageous things, he did always speak expansively. But except for this this they all turned out true. He told me studied classical style piano. That he wrote a few of his own songs. I thought, eh, there he goes again. Then at school we were called to assembly. Gary strode out, he really does stride, He's so fat that his arms are loose by his sides and move by his entire bulk shifting so his dangling arms waft back and forth to an "I don't give a s**t what anyone thinks as you all stare at me. He sat down a t a piano onstage and banged out an impossibly complex tune, again his fingers so fat they hit multiple keys but the cords so complex the mistakes are less apparent. He stopped and told the entire high school, "I wrote that." 

Everyone called him 'Haystack' because that was his actual silhouette. But after that it was Haystack spoken with awe and with respect. He is a remarkable and amazingly funny individual. I still think he must be full of s**t about the number of acres. All of Louisiana has only 145.5 thousand square miles. His mother did could not have negotiated 1.8% of it. 

Judge Napolitano Hot Take


Sweet corn. I think the harvesting is beautiful. It makes me want to drive one of those harvesting trucks and be a part of all the fun that they're having. 

But I cannot help but think of all the things being stripped off and pulled up along with the corn, undesirable things like spiders and their webs with their trapped bugs, dead birds, bird poop, mice, voles, dead bats and the like. And the giant monoculture seems a bad idea, especially with corn, a particularly depleting plant.

I think that I may have just put myself off corn for awhile. 

If only they'd plant the seeds along with a dead fish and squash and beans like native indians taught us to do. But NooOOOoooo. 

There are two main types of corn, you know, dent and flint
Dent corn is most commonly used for animal feed and for milled food ingredients, grits, meals, flours. it has deposits of a waxy starch at the top that makes the dent when the kernel is dried. Popcorn and flint corn have a larger amount of protein that surround granules of starch.

So we're interested in flint type corn.  

A woman online said one of her favorite books is Zingerman's so I bought it and read it.
It is a fun book. [Amazon] You can buy it for ¢75 plus shipping. Ari Weinzweig writes about his obsessions and his travels as they relate to food and how he latched onto trying to find the best of all things. 

Zingerman's is a famous deli. I recall a news item about Obama and his entourage shutting down the whole place for a lunch. For some reason these proprietors don't seem to mind the loss of business for the prestige of a presidential visit even though the entire security detail cannot order their own sandwich. I'm imagining. 

Ari writes at length about his visit to Northern Italy where a single farmer up there still grows an heirloom type of corn called otto file, eight rows, that is spectacular for polenta, its characteristics described in loving detail. He recalls having the prepared polenta at an Italian family's home and deciding that he must carry this type, expense being no barrier. It is expensive on the Zingerman's web site, $12.00 per kilo, $5.45 LB, I think. That's not so terribly bad until you add flat shipping that doubles the cost. 

This corn is expensive because of ridiculously low yields. It is also a late harvest. And picked by hand. Nobody wants to grow the stuff, no matter it tastes better than any other. That is the tradeoff between flavor and production. It just doesn't make sense to grow the low yield pain in the butt types. 

I can find one other vendor that imports the same stuff, Formaggio Kitchen, they are $1.00 more expensive, their shipping is similar. They too are obsessed with recapturing the older type grains that taste noticeably better.

Both places offer promo codes that could bring down the cost significantly if only they worked. I'm convinced at this point those offers are bogus. I had no success with either of them. After a good deal of time spent I gave up, rather angry at trying so long.

A third place I found, AnsonMills offers the same and similar products. I think all the grains there are grown in the U.S. They all have low yields no matter the grain. They all taste better. They are all more expensive. They don't want to mess around with mail order for anything  smaller than four packages of their products. So you have to buy multiples, or try other of their lauded heirloom products. 

Here is what Anson Mills writes about their eight row type of polenta. Their page on this subject is rather lengthy.
Folks often ask us which is better, white or yellow corn? Native Americans grew corn of every color, of course, and even in Charleston today, the best of the heirloom kitchen, mill, and whiskey corns that survived into modern times are, in order of flavor diversity, red, blue, purple, pink, orange, white, and yellow. Our slightly unsatisfying answer to the question of white versus yellow heirloom corns is this: white corn is generally less manipulated from its Native American antecedents than yellow corn, even if both are equivalent-era heirloom varieties. White flavor traits are mineral, floral, and dairy up front supported by lovely sweet and cream corn aromas and flavors. Yellow corn says “corn” robustly up front: roast corn, sweet corn, cream corn, and parch corn, a mélange of corn flavors and aromas with distinct mineral and citrus nuances underneath. 

" to Shut Down Next Week"

The Hollywood ReporterThe end of is near.

The 14-year-old website will shut down next week, according to a post on

Univision on Tuesday agreed to buy the six other sites, including Jezebel, Deadspin and Gizmodo, that make up Gawker Media for $135 million, but the broadcaster did not plan to operate the flagship site. The news comes just ahead of a bankruptcy court hearing on Thursday in which Univision will seek approval of its bid.

Gawker Media founder Nick Denton told staff about the shuttering of the website on Thursday, per The future of Gawker and its archives is still being finalized, but the site is likely to remain online.

"U.S. cash to Iran was dependent on Americans being freed"

Market WatchNew details of the $400 million U.S. payment to Iran earlier this year depict a tightly scripted exchange specifically timed to the release of several American prisoners held in Iran, based on accounts from U.S. officials and others briefed on the operation.

U.S. officials wouldn’t let Iranians take control of the money until a Swiss Air Force plane carrying three freed Americans departed from Tehran on Jan. 17, the officials said. Once that happened, an Iranian cargo plane was allowed to bring the cash back from a Geneva airport that day, according to the accounts.

"Valley adult film producer blasts state for ‘tiresome’ condom fine"

LA Daily NewsAn adult film production company has been fined by state regulators after inspectors found its performers working without condoms, which is against the law in California, officials said this week.

Boy Racer Inc., which produces the Burning Angel website, was cited $32,400 for four violations based on an inspection conducted in April at a production site in Porter Ranch, according to Cal/OSHA.

Burning Angel founder Joanna Angel said in a statement she would not let the violations stop her from creating her work.

“In addition to the financial loss I have impending, this citation has been incredibly tedious and tiresome, and incredibly straining for a small business like mine to deal with,” she said. “My lawyer and I will deal with this and not let down my fans, my followers or any of the amazing talent in this industry.”

Brazilian authorities seem determined to find out what happened with American Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte

AP:  Lochte's swim teammates to meet with authorities on robbery

Three American Olympic swimmers planned to meet with Brazilian law enforcement Thursday to discuss a reported robbery targeting 12-time medalist Ryan Lochte and his teammates, a U.S. Olympic Committee official said.

USOC spokesperson Patrick Sandusky said Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were released by local authorities after being pulled from a flight at the Rio de Janeiro airport, with the understanding that discussions would continue amid uncertainty over what truly took place during a late outing the night Olympic swimming wrapped up at the Rio Games...

NBC reported Wednesday night that Lochte backed off some of his earlier claims about the robbery. He now says the taxi wasn't pulled over by men with a badge, but that they were robbed after stopping at a gas station, NBC reported. Lochte also said the assailant pointed a gun at him rather than putting it to his head.

The U.S. Olympic Committee said police went to the athletes village to try to collect the passports, but the swim team had already moved out.

Lochte's father told The Associated Press by phone from his Florida home that his son called him Tuesday after arriving in the United States.

The 32-year-old swimmer was going to pick up his car and buy a new wallet to replace the one that he said was stolen. "I'm just happy he's safe," Steve Lochte said. "It was an unfortunate experience for him and the other three. I don't know what all the controversy is. They were basically taken out of the taxi and robbed. The main thing is he's very lucky that he's safe and that all they got was his cash and wallet."....

A police official with knowledge of the investigation told the AP that police cannot find their taxi driver or witnesses from the robbery.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing. Police interviewed Lochte and one other swimmer, who said they had been intoxicated and could not remember what type and color of taxi they rode in or where the robbery happened, the police official said.

The swimmers also could not say what time the events occurred. Lochte's attorney, Jeff Ostrow, has said there is no question the robbery occurred.

"Why would anybody fabricate anything?" Steve Lochte said. "It's just ridiculous." Lochte told USA Today that he and his teammates didn't initially tell the U.S. Olympic officials about the robbery because "we were afraid we'd get in trouble." Steve Bentz, father of Gunnar Bentz, when reached by phone late Wednesday night, said: "I really don't want to say anything," and hung up.

offer to Lem's Levity readers: free sourdough starter

This is impressive sourdough starter. It is powerful, strong, fast, and its flavor is fantastic. You may have it for free. 

I will mail an ample tablespoon to you. Email your address to

boure AT AT comcast Dot Dot Net. Obviously repair that address. I will not keep your mailing address nor use it or sell it. Scouts honor.  *holds hand on Scout Handbook* 

If you'd like to try your hand at sourdough by taking this offer you'll  miss the most amazing and fun part. It really is fun and I think exciting to collect your own starter and that has the advantage of originating from your own location. And you can be careless in handling forevermore because your local airborne organisms cannot contaminate your own sample. Over time eventually they will invade. 

It's childsplay. And it's done by various means. This sample is strong because I totally overdid the whole collection process on purpose.  

Chefs simply add water to flour to pancake-thick batter, a flour slurry about a cup, and let it sit in a jar for a few days at room temperature. The organisms present on the flour will activate and by the third day a few tiny bubbles appear. They always do. I've done it a dozen times at least. It is a reliable method. In that case the organisms originated from the place where the wheat was grown. Most likely Nebraska. It is a solid technique. Wheat fields are yeasty places.

This starter slurry was left outside so it has those organisms from the flour plus any blowing around in the atmosphere carried to it by wind shoving them into slurry out there. I wanted it to rain into my slurry, a few times. I left it out there for a whole week unnecessarily. I was very careless with handling, debris also flew in too, bits of grit, tiny twigs, a few bugs had to be picked out. It stank. (But not so bad as the samples collected in Hawaii in just a few hours. Hawaii's conditions are incredibly rife with yeast and bacteria that makes its own type of sourdough) One tablespoon is used to inoculate a new batch of pancake-thick slurry and the bread dough developed from that. This is the fun part. When you see your slurry come alive to full on bubbling, well, it's just amazing. 

The first time I called my science teacher friend and put on Igor's voice, "It's alive!" 

What I will do is prepare another batch of wet slurry from full on bubbling mixture, very wet dough without salt, bring it to full bubbling state and spread it out on a baking tray. Allow it to dry, scrape it off, process it to powder, seal in a sandwich bag and mail it to you, if you would like to have this incredibly powerful and fast and delicious starter. Much stronger than the San Francisco starter that you can buy. Understand though that you can do the same thing at your place. 

These bits shown above have been languishing in the freezer for the last two years. I used one teaspoon and mixed it with 1/4 cup water and enough flour to make the pancake-thick slurry. Covered the small bowl and let it sit for three days to reactivate. 

It came back to life overnight showing a few bubbles on top the next day, on day two there were many more bubbles, pictured above. Day three the bubbles popped and slurry thinned. Today is day three, I added more flour to thicken the tiny batch to nearly proper dough and it doubled in size and filled its bowl to the top.

A loaf of bread can be made directly from that using only this sourdough culture. 

My intention was to use a small portion of fermented slurry to flavor regular bread using regular yeast and that is what I did tonight. But my small portion grew completely out of hand. I used only half. The rest is fed a tablespoon water and fresh flour and put in the refrigerator. The culture is so strong that cold storages does not hamper it. It will continue to rise in there. It's on! This culture will take over the world if I let it. 

Even diluted this way the sourdough the baked bread is stronger than the loaves that I buy. I don't know what the commercial places are doing but they don't come even close to my own 100% sourdough. No contest. I win. Hands down.

When I told this to the workers at Tony's Market nearby, they're all foodies there and interested in this sort of thing, they didn't believe me. I gave them a loaf and it blew their minds when they ate it. They had no idea you can make bread with the flavor unique to your own place. But you can. And if you're sufficiently careless and let the collecting go for a week, refresh the collection as you go, add water if it dries out, now and again, just try to keep it wet and stir in the dried edges, then it can be powerful as this.

A mere tablespoon is taken from that  mess of a collection and used to inoculate a fresh batch that is brought to full bubbling. And there is your new culture, made powerful by the hardship it suffered, and unique to your place. 

Sourdough rises much more slowly than commercial yeast does, that is a selected organism isolated for being particularly farty. But this Denver culture is nearly as fast. It should take about 8 hours to rise once the culture is going full blast, all the other cultures I collected other places do, but this one is much faster than all the rest. The bowl today puffed up in four hours. I was stunned that the culture is that active.

Now my entire apartment smells of baked sourdough bread. 

All this for a mortadella sandwich. An enviably delicious and simple bologna sandwich. There is nothing else like it. And I'm not exaggerating for dramatic effect either.  I diluted this bread on purpose, and I did not have the final dough ferment as serious bakers do to develop the sourdough flavor further. It's not needed. I  just got on with baking a loaf.And it's still stronger sourdough flavor than you can buy from a bakery. Any bakery. Were I to ferment a finished loaf as sourdough books tell you to do, then the bread would become too acidic. It would take the whole project too far. 

In liquid terms it would be Guinness on steroids.