Friday, October 31, 2008

Cockroach invasion

I figured since this day seemed all biological already, I'd keep going with the theme. There is a new import from the war zone -- outside of PTSD and missing limbs and depleted uranium dust -- the Turkestan cockroach (Blatta lateralis). According to this Guardian article, they are spreading across the U.S. at a robust pace. An added charmer, they carry diseases like Typhoid and Dysentery.

In a bizarre twist, it looks like roaches are also being shipped around the country by business people. This article talks not only about non-native cockroaches spreading on their own, but being used for reptile food. James Tuttle, who runs the roach supply company, lays out the numbers:

“It’s the economy,” he said. “You can spend $50 a month buying crickets, so that’s $600 a year, or you could spend $50 (on roaches) and in six months, never have to buy food again.”

Of course most, if not all, of the roaches being shipped around are exotics. They can escape and help the spread of non-natives across the country. Which sucks. Most of the species he keeps are warm-weather varieties from South America, so maybe climate would limit them. Regardless, it's more than likely helping the invasion.

Enjoy some news you'd probably not otherwise have thought to search out,


[Guardian article via Babs, photo credit in article]

Major Herp sighting: Coast giant salamander , Dicamptodon tenebrosus

Look at that handsome Fella!

I was so excited when a mushroom picking friend spotted this "little dude" when we were in the woods. I had just walked past it, in fact. At first, I thought it was a Cope's giant salamander (Dicamptodon copei), but on closer inspection I do believe it was a Coast giant salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus). Make sure to click on the thumbnail photos to get a better look at this handsome dude(ette).

I call this a major herp sighting -- but that only applies to me and my excitement level. These guys aren't rare, but they can be rare to spot due to their reclusiveness and camouflage. "Real" herp experts in this region probably see them on a regular basis.

As amphibians go here in the NW, this guy definitely is a giant. Check out the size compared to my friend's hand. He was a good 10 - 12" long, and hefty. He didn't move a whit when we were surrounding him and talking and pointing and snapping photos. It was quite a sighting, I was very excited.

So, technically this is a "little dudes" post, but a Big Little Dudes one. If I weren't mushroom picking at the time, I'd tell you where I spotted him. As it is, you will have to pry the information from my cold, dead fingers.

Enjoy unusual wildlife sightings in our beautiful Pacific N.W. rainforests,


[photos by the lovely Alethea]

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Awesome Woody Guthrie photo

I love this photo, and just wanted to post it. Not much more to say, if you want to know more about Woody Guthrie there is your link. I also think he looks (acts) a lot like Billy Bragg here, who I also enjoy.

Enjoy effective activist artists of the past,


[photo credit in linked website]

David Byrne: Playing the Building

Here's a great Boing Boing TV episode where David Byrne is being interviewed about a new art/music installation of his called Playing The Building.

Enjoy artists who toughen with time,


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Virile Vampire strikes again: has pet tiger

This guy just cracks me up. I could almost make a separate label just for the Virile Vampire his'self.

Mr. Macho now has a tiger for a pet (no I don't endorse wild cats as pets, btw). No joke. Here's some teaser text from the Guardian article, click for the full article.

He is famous for his macho stunts - which have included stripping to his waist during a Siberian fishing trip, skiing down a volcano and doing judo.

But yesterday Vladimir Putin, Russia's answer to Action Man, went one step further when he showed off his latest birthday present: a rare two-and-a-half-month-old Siberian tiger.

The Russian prime minister, who turned 56 on Tuesday, was given the tiger as a present. Yesterday he posed with the animal at his dacha outside Moscow, stroking her affectionately. "It's the most original present of my life," he told Russian TV. Putin refused to say who had given him the female tiger, which is to be called either Mashenko or Milashka.

Enjoy the Russian Press Show,


[via Babs, photo credit in linked article]

Flying Bulldog

When in doubt, or angst, or on the horns of a quandary -- create art. Here is a nice little collage a fellow Qi Gong student, Leslie Huddart, made this election season. I thought ya'll would appreciate it.
Enjoy the cathartic work of talented friends,


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Joe Cocker at Woodstock -- translated

I love Joe Cocker. And --- well he gets a bit carried away sometimes. Here is a video of him playing Woodstock with some very helpful translation provided. It's awesome.

Enjoy having musical dilemmas cleared up by the intarweb,


[via Richard]

Techno pumpkin light show

One of my favorite people lives outside Salt Lake City. He's an enormous geek, a talented poet (won and placed in the Utah slam competition multiple times), a musician, amazing husband and Dad. His screen name is Stingite, from an old MMORPG we used to play together, Everquest. And this is his front yard during Halloween, simply fabulous:

PS: make sure to click the youtube link and then "more details" so you can read the technical details -- just hilarious.

Enjoy your talented and eccentric friends using their multitude of skills to be uber dads,


Monday, October 27, 2008

Make Believe Maverick

Here is an exhaustive (10 page -- exhaustive for Rolling Stone at least) investigation into the temperament and history of McCain by Rolling Stone Magazine. It's worth a read if anyone on this blog is undecided, or needs some information that could shine a light on the psychological motivations of this candidate.

Click the quote below for a link to the article:

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House.

Enjoy getting better educated about a problematic candidate,


[via Uncle Ted, illustration credit in linked article]

13 cool words not found in the English language

Yuri sent me this link from The Urban Recluse about words from other languages that have no direct English analogy. There is a name for them, and I can't remember it for the life of me. Although some of the definitions below are thin (Duende, for example, which I've studied quite a bit), they are still workable. To find more examples like these opens my mind in a pleasant and invigorating way. I have copy/pasted the list below.

I've studied many of these kinds of words in the course of my writing (career? -- avocation?) life, and it has always been enormously and surprisingly eye-opening for me. The cliche example of how different language and thought can be culture-to-culture (and, apparently erroneous one) is all the words the Eskimo use to describe snow.

Even though I normally lose the word after a time, the concepts tend to stay with me. I remember a concept from a Hindi word that means roughly, "the importance of small talk in a community." Small talk is sometimes scoffed at in our culture as a waste of time, but in a different culture it is seen as necessary and healthy -- it is understood in an entirely different way.

Words like this can be a direct illustration of how radically different a world view cultures and language create -- deep, fundamental beliefs and perspectives. I have had the experience, while studying some of these types of words, of bumping into a belief that I never realized was [simply] cultural, and took as fundamentally true. I could then question that belief. It can be mind blowing to digest if you are in the right head space.


These words do not have direct equivalents in English. Some of them would definitely be useful for us English-speakers, what do you think?

1. Waldeinsamkeit (German): the feeling of being alone in the woods

2. Ilunga (Tshiluba, Congo): a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time

3. Taarradhin (Arabic): a way of resolving a problem without anyone losing face (not the same as our concept of a compromise - everyone wins)

4. Litost (Czech): a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery

5. Esprit de l’escalier (French): a witty remark that occurs to you too late, literally on the way down the stairs…

6. Meraki (Greek): doing something with soul, creativity, or love

7. Yoko meshi (Japanese): literally ‘a meal eaten sideways’, referring to the peculiar stress induced by speaking a foreign language:

8. Duende (Spanish): a climactic show of spirit in a performance or work of art, which might be fulfilled in flamenco dancing, or bull-fighting, etc.

9. Guanxi (Mandarin): in traditional Chinese society, you would build up good guanxi by giving gifts to people, taking them to dinner, or doing them a favour, but you can also use up your gianxi by asking for a favour to be repaid.

10. Pochemuchka (Russian): a person who asks a lot of questions

11. Tingo (Pascuense language of Easter Island): to borrow objects one by one from a neighbour's house until there is nothing left

12. Radioukacz (Polish): a person who worked as a telegraphist for the resistance movements on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain

13. Selathirupavar (Tamil): a word used to define a certain type of absence without official leave in face of duty

Of course, I’m just relying on the accuracy of online resources for this information, if you speak any of these languages please let me know if there are any errors or inaccuracies above.

Update: Sources were Times Online and NPR



Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wake up, freak out, then get a grip

There is some straightforward, rational explanations of positive-feedback loops within the "climate change" arguments in this video. For that alone, it's worth watching. But it has a nice feel about it as well -- not hysterical, not doomsday, not too pedantic. It presents what is known and at least a beginning picture of how to digest and act on the information.

I normally shy away from climate change stuff, but this one made it through my defenses and may be a change from what you've seen as well.

Wake Up, Freak Out - then Get a Grip from Leo Murray on Vimeo.

Enjoy learning in a less-fundamentalist way about our current world state,


[via Nessa]

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Back TUVA Future: Ondar in Vladivostok

This one is pretty much beyond "totally random" -- into WTF territory. I love it. Tuvan throat singing + Rap + horribly fantastic music video. Enjoy.

Enjoy getting blindsided by the fantastically improbably mixtures that the intartubes make possible,


[via the indomitable Yuri]

Friday, October 24, 2008

Max Payne -- schlocky action movie

Tony and I have this tradition, I realized as I was driving him home from this mediocre schlocky action movie. We like junk. Trash, rather. Or at least, when we're together, we can complain about it enough to create enjoyment.

After every term at Portland State we had together, we went out for honorary drinks. But not good drinks, see. We went to a shitty SE dive called The Space Room for sugary drinks that glowed in the blacklight, named after bugs or candy. (To this day The Space Room is the only Portland bar where I've seen an actual lady of the night hawking her wares -- she was pretty too, which surprised me somehow).

We also watch schlocky action movies.

He called mid-week and said we were going to see Max Payne. I knew it was going to be total schlock, but I didn't know until Tony told me in the theatre itself that it is a movie based on a video game. That's an even lower bar than "schlocky action movie." Normally I wait until at least Beer theaters for those dogs, sometimes DVD, often I just skip them entirely.

So, yeah -- we went to the movie. It didn't totally blow chunks, but it was no Professional or Bourne movie.

The movie is well shot, but completely and utterly formulaic. And, it spends way too much time on back story and motivation. We get it, he's getting revenge, he's dead inside, yadda yadda yadda. More guns less talk, people.

I am feeling (and was feeling) generous, and give the movie a C. I like Marky Mark, what can I say.

Wait for a DVD rental on this one, or -- if you are feeling flippant, a beer theater. Here's a trailer, in case you missed it.

Enjoy watching dumb movies with friends,


I couldn't help myself

The picture says it all:

Enjoy how language usage and meaning changes depending on context,



Thursday, October 23, 2008

I don't understand, but you need to try it

Simple exercise, type in Barack Obama into the english->german translator here, and see what happens. It has to be capitalized right.

I don't understand it, but it sure is weird.

Enjoy random intarweb easter eggs when you can find them,


[via my Canukistani Operative Yuri, I have no idea how he finds this shit]

Presidential Campaign as D&D

This is freaking awesome, some gamer geek wrote up the '08 election as Dungeon and Dragons talk around a gaming table. He's now an internet superstar. I'll quote a bit below:

OBAMA: "My friends, I am a totally unoriginal grizzled character class stereotype. I should lead the party because I have more testicular damage than that one."

MCCAIN: Yeah, well, you pal around with dark elves.


MCCAIN: Whatever, so's your mom.

OBAMA: So's your FACE.

MCCAIN: So's your Mom's face!

HILARY: WTF you guys. Why am I playing the cleric?

MCCAIN: Hilary, we've been over this.

HILARY: No, dude. I am so sick of being the girlfriend healer. Seriously, I can't even use a sword. Fuck this noise.


OBAMA: That's nice.


MCCAIN: Oh, Jesus. Here we go.


HILARY: C'mon you guys, I've been playing this shit since Gygax was in eighth grade. Why can't I be the party leader with the magic sword for once?

I could post the whole thing, it kills me.

Enjoy your 7th grade obsessions being used to create humor out of a scary situation,


[via The Good Reverend, photo credit in Boingboing article]

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Two Karl Rove gems in one convenient video!

First gem: Another attempted citizens arrest of Rove for treason.

Second gem: Fantastic comment on stage by former Sen. Majority Leader George Mitchell to Mr. Rove — “I have to say, I feel like Dorothy in the Land of Oz hearing you lecture about negative campaigns by others.”

Enjoy the horses starting to trickle back into the barn,


[via Media Monarchy]

Contraception = abortion to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

I've been sitting on this article by Ann Woolner called Millions Who Had Abortions Don't Know It: Update I for many reasons. For one, the government calling contraception abortion is so out of line I just didn't want to believe it. For two, it pissed me off to no end and I didn't like the idea of doing the same to others. And finally, I just couldn't find the name or the exact lines from the Dept. of Health and Human Services that the author is referring to.

I still want to find them, but I thought one of the best ways to do that is post the article here and ask folks to find out what they can. Please dig if you have the time, I'm dying to know if this is B.S. or not.

A quote with the central point of the article:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has drafted a rule that would call it abortion when a contraceptive prevents a fertilized egg from embedding itself in the uterine wall.

That's one of the ways many birth-control pills and intrauterine devices work. And if that's abortion, millions of women who didn't know they were pregnant -- who medically weren't pregnant -- have killed their unborn children.

Let me know if you find anything else out, this is driving me crazy,


[photo credit in article, via Catherine the Great]

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pre-emptive strike against downer political posts -- competitive Bunny Jumping

As I look at my flooded email inbox, I can see a lot of posts on the horizon about some pretty damned dour and serious subjects. To preemptively strike against getting too down, here is an insanely cute video of competitive bunny jumping. No joke.

Enjoy trying to keep it fair and balanced,


[via Canukistani Kate]

Word of the day: Synecdoche

An appropriate word of the day, considering the upcoming movie:

synecdoche \si-NEK-duh-kee\, noun:

a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole or whole for a part or general for the special or vice versa

Photographers had to resort to visual synecdoche, hoping that a small part of the scene -- a wailing child, an emaciated mother, a pile of corpses in a freshly dug trench -- would suggest the horrors of the whole.
-- Paul Gray, Looking At Cataclysms, Time, August 1, 1994

We're using the part-for-whole type of synecdoche, for instance, when we describe a smart person as a "brain."
-- We Live by the Brand, Hartford Courant, August 9, 1995

By 1388, from Middle Latin synodoche, from Late Latin synecdoche, from Greek synekdokhe, literally "a receiving together or jointly," from synekdekhesthai "supply a thought or word, take with something else," from syn- "with" + ek "out" + dekhesthai "to receive," related to dokein "seem good".

Enjoy good words provided by (hopefully) good movie titles,


[via's word of the day email list]

Monday, October 20, 2008

Back Home!!

We had a great visit, enjoyed the wedding, and I'm back at a working computer. Really makes me realize what an enormous information nipple this thing is for me to be without for a while. The feeling was made that much more poignant by having a computer in the house but totally crippled by spyware and bizarre mini applications (a peeling banana cursor animation, for example), so it's really just a tease and not actually usable.

I will be gratefully immersing myself back into cyberspace pronto.

Hope all is well,


Friday, October 17, 2008

Crippled in the field

Hello loyal readers,

I'm currently in Barthoud (sp?) Colorado with The Wife, for a wedding. The computer here is riddled with spyware and can barely crawl forward enough to open a web page. I'm wrestling with the system -- because I can't help it. But, missives from the road may be lacking unless I can get this system to move quicker than a constipated anaconda.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Visit with The Luddite

So I'll be gone til Wednesday PM, for a quick visit with The Luddites. I didn't have time to stack up posts ahead of time so *gasp* there will be a gap in postings.

I hope to get a few in before The Wife and I leave for her little brother's wedding too.

Ya'll have a great time watching the Hindenberg economy while I'm gone.



Monday, October 13, 2008

What could $700 billion do for the rest of us?

Click on the picture to find out:


[via Canukistani Kate and]

Fungus Cannon

Here's a little something to dazzle those who read the blog over their monday morning coffe -- preferably before their Monday morning coffee.

If you want an explanation, however brief, of the awesomeness you are viewing (dig the music dude), click here for a brief discussion of the video with some funny commentary.

Enjoy cinematic, biological randomness,


[via Butternutjelly]

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Word of the day: Plaudit

Here's one I've never heard before, and thought I'd share.


plaudit \PLAW-dit\, noun:

1. A round or demonstration of applause.
2. Enthusiastic approval; an expression of praise.

A large, robust man, he had earned the plaudits bestowed on him at that testimonial dinner through a lifetime of earnest toil.
-- James T. Fisher, Dr. America

The aim of the wise man was no longer the plaudits of the masses but autarkeia, or self-sufficiency.
-- Peter France, Hermits: The Insights of Solitude

Despite the plaudits her work received, her particular emphasis did not gain many adherents for more than a generation.
-- Michael Kammen, American Culture, American Tastes

Plaudit is from Latin plaudite, "applaud" (said by players at the end of a performance), from plaudere, "to applaud."

Enjoy expanding your vocabulary,


[via's word of the day]

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Brokers with hands on their faces Blog

The title of my post pretty much explains it -- check it out.

Enjoy the inventiveness of others in times of trial and tribulation,


[via Uncle Ted]

Friday, October 10, 2008

W. and McSame similarities clarified in The Nation via movie review

My friend Babs sent me a link to this Nation article talking about Oliver Stone's W. Biopic, but using it to talk about McSame as well.

Here is the most-stellar, scathing, and on-point closing paragraph:

McCain evidences the underlying motivator attributed to Bush in Stone's movie: the distorted priorities of a son of privilege doing battle with the legacy of more gifted and responsible family ancestors. Both grew up as spoiled screw-ups repeatedly bailed out of trouble by their highly accomplished fathers, in McCain's case an admiral. Both assume, as a matter of legacy, that they have a right to rule. What they ignored in their legacy was a Christian's obligation to make the economic system that handsomely rewarded their kin at least minimally responsive to the needs of ordinary folk.

And here's the trailer for W.'s Biopic:

Enjoy the truth laid bare,


[thanks Babs]

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Virile Vampire strikes again: Putin puts out instructional Judo video

This guy just cracks me up! Both him and the way the Russian press handles his image. Just hilarious.

Enjoy uber macho world leaders,


Ever heard of Seckel Pears?

Ever heard of Seckel pears? Me either. It turns out, they're really freaking tasty.

I was at Whole Foods the other day, and saw these tiny little pears for sale. They were like play pears or something, really small. I have this thing that I sometimes do when I'm shopping -- I try to buy one item that's out of the ordinary for me. One thing that I've never heard of and want to try. This urge normally overcomes me in the cheese section, especially if the words "raw" and "cave aged" are used in the description.

Back to the toy pears. The Wife loves pears (especially with almond butter), so I got them for her. She took them to work and around 11:00 I get a couple texts: "What is the name of these tiny pears?" "Apparently they are the best pears Cyndi has ever had."


I'm eating one right now, and I have to say, it's a dandy. Best in my life? It's been a long day and my senses are not totally reliable, but very possibly so.

The texture is nice and smooth (not that weird graininess you can get with pears), and it tastes not only sweet as all get out, but also -- fresh. Green, I guess you could say. And the skin lends a bit of tartness and astringency to the experience that I really appreciate.

Something else that I appreciate is that they ripen after being picked. So you can get rock hard ones at the store and know that in a few days they'll be dandy.

I have this theory that the more wild a food is, the better it is for you -- like, on a genetic level (I'll have to post an elaboration of this point sometime). So, when I see an unusual looking fruit or vegetable, I check it out to see if it's heirloom or not because I want to eat heirlooms whenever I can.

It turns out, the Seckel pear is old-timey. This page on the USA Pear website states that the Seckel pear is the only truly American pear, and originated probably from wild seedling near Philadelphia.


Enjoy adventuresome eating producing a stellar new find,


[photo credit at the USA pear website]

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Songs Stuck in my Head Series: Cake -- Short Skirt Long Jacket

I love this song for a few reasons, not the least of which is it has a nice beat and you can dance to it.

But, what always brings me back is the lyrics. They're so on-point, and the metaphor in them is absolutely consistent. Mike McCrea does a great job of keeping all the imagery very focused and by the end you have a total sense of the irony, and humor, and accuracy of the language.

The original video is a cool concept, but there are people talking over the song so it's no good to listen to for lyrics. So, I chose a fan video/sideshow to post for ya'll so you can concentrate easier on the song. Ignore the visuals, they really aren't the point.

Enjoy witty lyrics, rare as they can be in contemporary pop,


McCain sucks: McCain and the Keating Five

Here is a fantastically scathing 13-minute movie about McCain and his connection with the infamous Keating Five, and thus his connection with the enormous S & L failures of the late 80's.

And this guy is STILL pushing for de-regulation, despite the precedent of doom -- McCain sucks.

Here is a trailer if you want a taste of that longer video linked above.

Enjoy learning more ways to rebuff arguments supporting McSame for President,


[via cousin Andrea]

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And where is the bailout money going? Pedicures of course.

effing effers,

Here is and ABC news (meaning -- it must have been DEAD EASY to dig up) story about how the AIG execs handled themselves right after the bailout. In a resort, of course.


[via Canukistani Kate]

Earth From Above photo exhibit

There are some seriously stunning photographs in this exhibit. It's worth your time to hit the link and peruse them. Here is some text from the post about the artist and the exhibit. I can't imagine how powerful these would be in person, at 4ft by 6ft.

Photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand will bring his work back to the United States - to New York City for the first time in 2009. Aiming to inspire people to think globally about sustainable living, Arthus-Bertrand has been photographing unique views of our planet, seen from the sky, since 1994 - and has produced an exhibit of over 150 4-ft. by 6-ft. prints which will be on display in New York City at the World Financial Center Plaza and along the Battery Park City Esplanade from May 1, 2009 to June 28, 2009. When completed in New York City, the Earth From Above exhibit will also move on to California in 2010. Photographs and captions all courtesy of Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

Enjoy beautiful perspectives,


Martial law threatened?

Some serious strongarm tactics were being used to try to push the bailout bill through.


Enjoy watching the show in all its glory,


[via Babs]

Monday, October 6, 2008

And now for something completely different: man survives lightning strike, while pumping gas!

Too random and cool not to post -- man get struck by lighting, while pumping gas, and survives:

[Click Here for Neatorama Post and link to the video -- the embed was spamming my readers with ads, so I got rid of it]

Unfortunately, I know the sensation of having been electrocuted hard enough that every muscle in your body is sore. Though I've never been tagged even close to this this hard.

Enjoy having no personal anecdote relating to this story,


[via Neatorama]

Lets get clear about the government's priorities here

Here is a little visual to help you out. Of course, now there's the bailout to fit into this pie, but this gives the general visual outline of the situation. Make sure to click on the picture to read the small details, like "Science and Energy" and "Agriculture."

Enjoy getting a clear representation of things,


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Crazy ass Borscht recipe

So I innocently search the web for vegetarian Borscht recipes, and Sergei Svetloff's Authentic Russian Borscht Cabbage Beet Soup Recipe catches my eye. It had more steps to it than the other recipes I'd seen, so I thought it might be more authentic or something and wanted to try it out.

Dude, it took forever. Ok, maybe not forever, but way way longer than I figured a soup aught to take. It also dirtied up 4 or more dishes, since you have to saute the vegetables separately, and then set them aside. And there were weird instructions, like sticking tomato paste into a hot saute pan with veggies, without even adding liquid. I kept wondering if there was some bad translation going on or something.

In the end, however, it make a damned fine soup.

I probably won't do it exactly this way in the future, but I did learn a few things that I'll keep. The biggest was to cook down the peeled beet skin and tips into broth for the soup. Nice way to stretch the veggie and get the most nutrition out of it as well. Also -- there seems to be a big deal made about not boiling the broth once the vinegar is added. Interesting.

So, if you are feeling adventurous, follow these directions to the letter and see what you can come up with. I'd love to hear what folks think.

Enjoy trying out labor-intensive foreign recipes just for the hell of it,


[photo via Taste of Europe website]

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Some good reading: Stu's letter to the Editor regarding the Bailout

Stu send this via Email and I saw it wasn't on his blog. I figured it aught to be on someone's blog, for crissakes. The Times sure as hell won't be printing it.


To the editors of the New York Times:

When I saw that the New York Times had posted the text of the economic
bailout bill (H.R. 1424) I decided to attempt to read the bill.

While I have not yet read the entire 451 pages, my first scan of the text
turned up several surprising sections:

Sec. 402
. Permanent authority for disclosure of information relating to
terrorist activities

Sec. 502. Provisions related to film and television productions.

Sec. 503. Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children.

Sec. 504. Income averaging for amounts received in connection with the Exxon Valdez litigation.

These sections are disturbing to me in a number of ways. Among them:

* How can a there be time to insert unrelated (and, in the case of
section 503 (e..g.), frivolous) provisions into a bill of such purported
importance and urgency?

* Is our Congress truly incapable of passing legislation which is not
treated as a vehicle for pork barrel politics?

* Section 402 leads me to wonder how deeply the administration's war
on terror has insinuated itself into unrelated legislation, and how broad
and deeply the powers and provisions of that effort are intertwined in our

I also wonder where the free press is in this debate. It seems to me that
more attention should be given to informing the public regarding the actual
provisions of this legislation and less to the political posturing of the
various parties involved in drafting and passing the bill.

This bill, and the economic crisis that it is intended to address, have
further eroded my already shaky confidence in our elected officials. The
partisan and ideological wrangling surrounding the effort demonstrates that
those officials are concerned first and foremost about political power.

In addition, the complete lack of accountability on the part of those
officials is disingenuous and self-serving. This crisis has its roots in the
anti-government sentiments that became entrenched during the Reagan
presidency and continue until today. Neither party can claim innocence, as
both parties have held the presidency, majorities in Congress, or both
during this period, yet neither was vigilant in putting in place the
regulatory boundaries that could have prevented the current situation.

I am again left to wonder whether our elected officials are concerned
primarily with the interests of the citizens who elect them or the special
interests that fund them. Again, neither party is faultless; most special
interests, including the financial sector, are careful to spread their
monetary and political support between both parties in order to ensure that
their interests are considered and protected regardless of the party
currently in power.

My wife and I are in out mid fifties. We are seeing the value of the
investments - investments funds, 401k, IRAs, and our home - that we worked
for in order to secure our retirement decline sharply, and while we wonder
whether the value of those assets will recover so that they are sufficiently
for their intended purpose.

I am distressed to discover that our elected officials have, in many ways,
treated this bill as politics as usual, all the while giving lip service to
its importance and calling attention to what they would have us believe is
their concern for the American taxpayer.

I am distressed that the press has neither provided us with information to
help the public better understand this crisis nor alerted us to the facts
and details of the legislation as proposed and passed.

I note with pride and satisfaction that one of the Senators from our home
state of Washington, Maria Cantwell, opposed this bill. I note with distress
that the other, Patty Murray, supported it.

I also note that both presidential candidates supported the bill, and wonder
the extent to which that support was decided upon based on the political
risks and benefits to their campaigns, as opposed to the content of the

Finally, I wonder who, if anyone, will benefit from the bill as written, or,
if benefit does accrue, whether it will extend beyond the politicians'
backers in the financial industry.

Palin cartoon almost too scathing for me to post -- but I did anyway

From the ever-entertaining Guardian Uk, behold a view from across the pond:

'Nuff said,


[via Babs, cartoon credit at Guardian UK]

YGTLO: Bakery held hostage by child picking out donuts

This Onion Radio News spot was just too funny to pass up. Absolutely hilarious -- "snipers have been placed on standby while a police negotiator attempts to convince the boy to make a purchase and move on."

Just kills me.

Enjoy your Saturday morning bakery purchase,


Friday, October 3, 2008

YGTLO: Lobbyist gets Candy into Food Pyramid

This one kills me: Lobbyist gets Candy into the Food Pyramid, from The Onion Radio News.

Enjoy biting, black humor,


Making mushrooms out of lemonade... er

As you can see from the sidebar, I've been reading Paul Stamets's book Mycelium Running. This has me thinking about mushrooms and mushroom cultivation.

SO -- we had this Blue Spruce in the chicken yard that was dying. Possibly beetle infestation. We had our friend who is an arborist cut the tree down, leaving the stump good and tall so we could use it as a framing member.

And then I realized: we could inoculate it with mushrooms!!!

It's a conifer, and not one that grows in our area, so I don't know what mushroom would be best to grow in it. I'm going to use Fungi Perfecti's plug spawn to do it. I'm thinking Chicken of the Woods or the Conifer Coral. I called Fungi Perfecti and told them the situation, and Paul his'self is going to get back to me with his suggestions.

I'm thinking Chicken of the Woods growing in the chicken yard has a certain poetic ring to it. I'll report back when I hear from the fungal superstar.


Ps/Addendum: Fungi Perfecti got back to me, Chicken of the Woods it is. We were leaning that way anyway, because of the crazy neon color and the poetic nature of chickens growing with the chickens.

Your views on the Veep debate?

I couldn't watch the veep debates. Just couldn't stomach it. What did ya'll think? Anyone want to share some thoughts?


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Earth, Wind, & Fire -- Shining Star

I figured it had been a while since I posted a rocking Burt Sugarman's Midnight Express video. Here is a classic -- Shining Star, performed in 1975.

And, although the music is great live, it is still all about the outfits. You go Mr. Bass player in all pink, you GO.

Enjoy funk, let it move your booty,


Friends of the Multnomah County Library 35th Annual Fall Used Book Sale 2008

I'll let the Library folks speak for themselves -- sounds like one not to miss! Here is the link, and here is their info:

Friends of the Multnomah County Library
35th Annual Fall Used Book Sale 2008
Oregon’s Largest Used Book Sale
October 10 - 13, 2008

New Location!
8150 N Lombard Street
Portland, Oregon 97203
(St. Johns neighborhood, in a former car dealership building)

MEMBERS ONLY Pre-Sale: Friday, October 10, 6 to 9pm

* Memberships available at the door
* Individual memberships start at $30; Family $45; Senior 65+ $20
* No scanners, cell phones or any other electronic devices used to seek information about books are allowed during this Members-Only time.

General Sale

* Saturday, October 11, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
* Sunday, October 12, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
* Monday, October 13, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. - 50% off Discount Day
* Scanners, cell phones or other electronic devices may be used only at the book sale tables and only on individual items. Items may not be set aside to be scanned later.

Enjoy chances to revel in materialism in an easy-to-rationalize way,


[via Phoebe, photo credit at linked website]

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Word of the day: Slugabed

slugabed \SLUHG-uh-bed\, noun:

One who stays in bed until a late hour; a sluggard.

Nemecek's business is not for slugabeds. He opens for business every weekday at 4 a.m.
-- Drew Fetherston, "He Can Really Make Pigs Fly", Newsday, December 12, 1994

I found Oriana, as usual, up before me, for I always was a sad slugabed.
-- W. Hurton, Doomed Ship

All save Whit elected to sleep in that morning. Whit came back to report that he had spotted the tracks of a doe and a fawn made in the new snow directly beneath my unoccupied stand, and I regretted being a slugabed.
-- "Paying Tribute to Deer in Minnesota Woods", New York Times, December 6, 1998

Slugabed is from slug, "sluggard" + abed, "in bed."

[from's word a day email list]

So it's my birthday today

Man, this blog is all personal lately, with babies and birthdays and whatnot. Sheesh.

Anyhoo, I turn 38 today. No real feelings about that, the incoming child is a much bigger deal to me.

I share this birthday with Jimmy Carter and, of all people, The Virile Vampire. Who'd a thunk it.

After digging a bit more, I found that Youssou N'Dour also shares this birthday. Frankly, that's groovier than the other two by far.

Ok, lets get even cooler. Annie Bessant -- socialist, President of the Theosophical Society, womens' suffrage supporter, and general badass.

There are more, but it's late (the night before -- this is posted by autoblogbot) so I'll call that good.

I'll leave you with a nice music video from brother Youssou N'Dour and the beautiful Neneh Cherry called 7 Seconds.

Ya'll have a great day now,


Fox News "fair and balanced" caught on tape!

Check out this video, it's hilarious. The Fox reporter counts one (maybe two votes.. including his own) against basically a whole room of votes "split." Why? Well because the nearly unanimous vote goes for Obama.

Hell yeah, fair and balanced baby.

Enjoy the obvious lunacy of it all,


[big thanks to Cynical-C blog for this treasure]