Sunday Roast: San Francisco

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I grew up just across the San Francisco bay, in a town called Alameda.  My dad was in the Navy, and he managed to allow us to live in one place for about seven years, by alternating being stationed on the base at Alameda and being stationed on the USS Coral Sea.  At that time, it was the longest time I’d lived anywhere in my life!

Watching this video, it made me remember how much I loved the Bay Area.  So much history, beautiful scenery, and amazing weather.  I remember watching from across the bay as half of the Transamerica Pyramid was built — the top half, obviously.  :)

I left Alameda in 1989 — having moved back there as a married woman with one child, and another on the way — moving to Salem, Oregon just a few months before the Loma Prieta earthquake.  The only reason I had the TV on that afternoon was because of the World Series game between the A’s and the Giants.  Even though I’m not a baseball fan, I had to watch this particular series!

I walked out to the living room to see how they could possibly have such a quiet lead-in to the first game.  That’s when I saw raw footage of the Cypress freeway collapsed in on itself, and just stood there in shock.  I’d driven out of the Bay Area just a few months before, on the lower deck of that freeway, and I knew what that road was like at rush hour — packed.  The Portland news guy was narrating the raw footage, and I was going absolutely batshit, because he just didn’t understand that the Cypress was a double-decked structure.  A lot of people died on that freeway the day of the earthquake, but a mere fraction of the number that would have died, if not for the historic World Series starting that afternoon.

I haven’t been back there in over 25 years, but I’d love to visit San Francisco and the East Bay again.  I’d drive around the narrow streets of my old hometown, even though the base has been closed for many years, and the military housing I lived in is gone.  I noticed that the Myth Busters are making use of the old runways and my high school pool, so that’s pretty awesome.  Then I’d drive across the bridges, down Lombard Street, catch a cable car to China Town (if they’re still running), visit Coit Tower, where the ladies of the Officer’s Wives Club — led my my mom — hung a giant yellow ribbon, to welcome home my dad’s ship after the war, and I’d walk around Fisherman’s Wharf.  From what I could see on the video, it looks like they’ve spiffed up the piers and wharf area quite a bit.  Weird.  I liked it as it was.

Well, enjoy the video.  It brought back a lot of memories for me, as you can tell.

This is our daily open thread — What places do you miss?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, July 26, 2014: This Week In Crazy Right Wing Libertarian Talk

Cindy Lake wants to be a commissioner in District G of Clark County, NV. And she wants to because…it’s YOUR money. Good one, Cindy Lake. A more compelling argument I’ve yet to hear. Especially from you. Cindy Lake believes she has earned an important endorsement, that of Dr. Ron Paul.

​”Cindy Lake has worked for years as a citizen to fight for limited government and more personal liberties. She has also been a great supporter of mine. I am proud to endorse Cindy Lake for the Clark County Commission in District G.”

Vote for Cindy Lake because she supports me, way over here in Texas. Now who could argue with that? Besides me? Look, Ron Paul is a Conservative Libertarian, while I’m a Liberal Libertarian. We’re as different as Milton Friedman and Mohandas K. Gandhi. Ron Paul often has the right final opinions, but often for the wrong reasons. He rightly opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not because they were based on lies and misinformation, but because he opposes using the military anywhere else in the world. He opposes giving foreign aide to Israel (which usually takes the form of loans that are forgiven, so they can buy military weapons to kill innocent children; don’t get me started on what’s going on in Gaza, because this post is about insanity in America), but that’s because he opposes foreign aid to everybody. He’s sometimes right, but for the wrong reasons. So having him endorse you is not necessarily as good a thing as you might think.

But does that alone earn her a spot in This Week In Crazy Right Wing Libertarian Talk? No, of course not. It’s her stance on fluoride and chemtrails that does. Cindy Lake says on her website that she will “work to lower water rates and improve water quality.” What she doesn’t say is what that means. She is one of those folks who believes that the fluoridation of our water is a huge government conspiracy to…you know, I’m not quite sure what the motivation would be to poison all of us systematically, but that’s what they claim the government is doing.

Don’t let the scaremongers scare you. There’s good reason to doubt them, and little reason to believe them. Just because you won’t accept evidence that your crazy theory is false doesn’t mean you’re right. And the whole nonsense with chemtrails is a good illustration of that. The problem with trying to argue against the Great Chemtrail Conspiracy Theory is that it’s about a secret government plot, so naturally there would be no proof that they’re doing it. Which makes it perfect fodder for a conspiracy theorist like Cindy Lake. But chemtrails are nothing more than ordinary condensation trails, not unlike the cloud of breath you exhale on a cold day. I ridicule the idea that the federal government is spraying chemicals on us from these high-flying planes because what would be the point of doing that? From so high up, there’s no way they can be sure that the people being targeted are the ones getting sprayed. The wind could easily push anything being sprayed twenty miles away and poison, or whatever they were trying to do, the wrong population of people. It’s an extremely unreliable way of conducting any kind of experiment. And the idea that it still might be happening because it’s theoretically possible that they could do this makes for a ludicrous proof. Just because nobody can prove it’s not happening doesn’t constitute proof that it is happening. And falling back on the “government is hiding all the evidence”-excuse does not mean you have a persuasive argument, either. There’s a very perfectly rational explanation for why there’s no proof that the government is spraying us from 30,000 feet – it isn’t really happening. And the worst thing any Democracy can do is elect people who believe this nonsense to public office. They should be getting treated by the government, not put in it.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about chemtrails, fluoridation, your precious bodily fluids, or anything else you wish to discuss.

The Watering Hole; Friday July 25 2014; Wisdom

The World English Dictionary defines Wisdom as “the ability or result of an ability to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.” I find it most interesting that those nineteen words clearly manage to automatically disqualify a remarkably substantial portion of today’s American electorate, including (being kind here) no less than 99.999% of all on the political right, and regardless of party affiliation.

The obvious question arises: has America always been so . . . ummm . . . so intellectually dense destitute as it appears to be today? Has our “leadership” always been so contaminated with the equivalent likes of (to name but a handful) John Boehner, Louie Gohmert, Pete Sessions, Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, et al.? The answer is a simple one: NO!

Some fifteen years ago I ran across a book, a small hardcover masterpiece entiled The Wisdom of the Native Americans, ed. by Kent Nerburn (ISBN 1-57731-079-9), and it leaves no stone unturned as it presents the “uncompromising purity of insight and expression” gathered from Native American “orations” and “other first-person testimonies” most of which were originally “recorded only in imposing governmental documents and arcane academic treatises.” Following is a small sampling of the wisdom included, along with attributions.

“It does not require many words to speak the truth.” ~Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

“One does not sell the land people walk on.” ~Crazy Horse, Sept. 23, 1875

“Why not teach school children more of the wholesome proverbs and legends of our people? That we killed game only for food, not for fun… Tell your children of the friendly acts of the Indians to the white people who first settled here. Tell them of our leaders and heroes and their deeds… Put in your history books the Indian’s part in the World War. Tell how the Indian fought for a country of which he was not a citizen, for a flag to which he had no claim, and for a people who treated him unjustly. We ask this, Chief, to keep sacred the memory of our people.” ~Grand Council Fire of American Indians to the Mayor of Chicago, 1927

“Behold, my brothers, the spring has come; the earth has received the embraces of the sun and we shall soon see the results of that love! Every seed is awakened and so has all animal life. It is through this mysterious power that we too have our being and we therefore yield to our neighbors, even our animal neighbors, the same right as ourselves, to inhabit this land.” ~Sitting Bull

“We didn’t inherit this world from our ancestors; we borrowed it from our children.” ~Lakota Proverb

“For the Lakota, mountains, lakes, rivers, springs, valleys, and woods were all finished beauty. Winds, rain, snow, sunshine, day, night, and change of seasons were endlessly fascinating. Birds, insects, and animals filled the world with knowledge that defied the comprehension of man.” ~Chief Luther Standing Bear, Teton Sioux

“Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library . . .” ~Chief Luther Standing Bear

[to the Lakota] “The animals had rights — the right of man’s protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man’s indebtedness — and in recognition of these rights the Lakota never enslaved an animal, and spared all life that was not needed for food and clothing. This concept of life and its relations was humanizing, and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. … The Lakota could despise no creature, for all were of one blood …” ~Chief Luther Standing Bear

“We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of the land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy — and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his fathers’ graves, and his children’s birthright is forgotten.” ~Chief Seattle, Suqwamish and Duwamish

“Civilization has been thrust upon me … and it has not added one whit to my love for truth, honesty, and generosity….” ~Chief Luther Standing Bear

And finally this eye-catcher:

“The white man who is our agent is so stingy that he carries a linen rag in his pocket into which to blow his nose, for fear he might blow away something of value.” ~Piapot, Cree Chief

Who knew there were Teabaggers around even way back then?

One has to wonder just what it is that’s gone so terribly wrong over the last several hundred years? Why have we Americans, in spite of our manifest scientific and technological advances and accomplishments, so completely abandoned The Wisdom of the Native Americans — our forbears in this land? Why have we descended so far into the abyss of intellectual penury that it seems unlikely that we have any chance of ever finding our way up and out?

I suppose we could ask Ted Cruz, or Louie Gohmert, maybe Sarah Palin, maybe even Rick Perry. They seem to know most everything worth knowing these days. Or perhaps it makes more sense to hearken back to the words of Chief Seattle as spoken to one Isaac Stevens, the newly appointed (by President Pierce) governor of the Washington Territory, in the company of a large gathering of Suquamish people on the shores of Puget Sound in December, 1853:

“Your time of decay may be distant, but it surely will come. For even the white man . . . cannot be exempt from the common destiny.” 

Amen to that.

Petroglyph composite-b

OPEN THREAD

 

The Watering Hole; Thursday July 24 2014; Soliloquy

Dictionary.com defines soliloquy as an utterance or discourse by a person who is talking to himself or herself or is disregardful of or oblivious to any hearers present. I guess I have a quibble with the word “person” in the sense that there are a lot of other voices ‘out there’ in the natural world that are a whole lot more worth a listen than is your average ‘person’! William Cullen Bryant, in his poem Thanatopsis, put it quite well when he wrote,

“To him who, in the love of Nature, holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language …”

Lord Byron wrote of his enlightening “interviews” with nature:

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods –
There is a rapture on the lonely shore –
There is society where none intrudes –
By the deep sea and music in its roar –
I love not man the less but nature more –
From those our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before –
To mingle with the universe and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot conceal.

Edmund Burke apparently agreed and, in the process, pretty much summed the issue’s essence with poetic brevity:

“Never, no never, did nature say one thing and wisdom say another.”

I couldn’t agree more, especially these days where the list of chattering fools is endless and never-ending, where “wisdom” has become a condition that’s largely alien to the human species. So each day of late, beginning at first light, my goal has been “To mingle with the universe and feel / What I can ne’er express, yet cannot conceal.” The photos below are ‘messages’ received in just the last week; since a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, I’ll let the natural world do all most of the ‘talking.’

Foggy Sunrise

Sunrise on a Foggy Morning

Sunflower, backlit

Sunflower, backlit

Water bird; Cormorant?

Water bird; Cormorant?

Reflections

Reflections

Garden Geranium

Garden Geranium

Those five photos represent, of course, only a tiny handful of the Voices ‘out there’ — voices that speak their soliloquy to each and all who dare listen. Unfortunately, the vast majority of human passers-by appear to be stone deaf to anything other than their own typical conversational dregs even as they’re blind to the beauties that surround them. And far too often, they’re also destructive as well, and clearly unaware of Henry David Thoreau’s thesis that “Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.”

Case in point — a roadside thistle in full bloom, duly knocked over and trampled by person or persons unknown.

Thistle photo pair

Why? “Cuz them’s noxious weeds.” 

 To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
William Wordsworth
from Lines Written in Early Spring

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, July 23, 2104: BREAKING GNUS: OBAMA CAVES AGAIN!

Tweeter calls in another Zoo Exclusive

Tweeter calls in another Zoo Exclusive

Ok, we get it. Republicans voted some 50+ times to undo ObamaCare. Major Corporations insisted Obama give them extra time to implement ObamaCare and he caved to their wishes. Now, Republicans, led by none other than Mr. Orange Himself, John Boehner, are suing Obama for caving in to their constituents.

And – shock – Obama caves once more! We here at The Zoo learned that President Obama and John Boehner have stipulated to an agreement that will be filed in Court shortly, and fully enforceable, whereby Obama will rescind his granting of additional time for Big Businesses to fully enforce ObamaCare.

Ironically, this means that Boehner’s suit will succeed, and the Republican donors who asked for more time to implement ObamaCare will lose, and have to incur costs for implementing ObamaCare right before the 2014 elections.

D’OH PEN
THREAD

The Watering Hole, Tuesday July 22, 2014 – Special Report

The first person I ever knew who had AIDS was a professor of Special Education at Temple University. He died a few months after being assigned to the facility where I was working. He was too weak to teach in the classroom anymore.This was in 1981, when the epidemic was just being discovered. Here we are, 33 years later and perhaps we have now found a cure. Fingers crossed.

Health: Temple University Researchers Successfully Eliminate HIV Virus In Human Cells

Open thread.