The Watering Hole; Friday October 31 2014; A Diversion . . .


I was originally going to put up a pre-election post on current electoral “abnormalities” such as voter suppression, the money = speech nonsense, and . . . well, you know. Problem is, I couldn’t find the time in the last few days to pen a 5000 page book. So . . .

I checked my email instead and noticed a fresh one from my old college buddy-now-turned-wildlife-photographer Denny Green with subject line “Rattlers.” Following a quick peek at the attachments, my focus immediately shifted from “human” political snakes to the real thing.

Mojave 3054

And wouldn’t you know, the photo perusal wound up reminding me of another old friend, a retired educator-become-poet who called himself Grandpa Tucker, a gifted gentleman who spent his last few years working with middle school children and helping them gain an appreciation of poetry AND in the process, an understanding of life as well. He spent a year or two interfacing with a 7th grade class (in another state) via the internet, via email. He wrote an entire book of poetry in the process, including more than a dozen long story poems that featured the hero — a special critter named Sammy Snake. Sammy was one of the good guys, a snake with an attitude that, for some mysterious reason, meshed with the collection of attitudes commonly attributed to seventh graders. :grin:

Anyway, to make a long story short, several Denny Green photos of a cool and calm Arizona Mojave Rattlesnake quickly merged with those poetic Sammy Snake ramblings by the one and only Bob Tucker. I’ll not try to cover the entire scope of Sammy here, but I thought it might be fun to mix up a few of Denny’s photos with a handful of verses from the first of Grandpa Tucker’s Sammy Snake poems.


Sammy Snake had a dozen brothers,
But he just wasn’t like the others.
They were nice and crawled real straight,
While Sammy moved like the figure eight.

Mojave 3057

Sammy was a problem child
Whose wiggle waggled kinda wild.
This little guy rejoiced in seeing
A badly frightened human being

Once in a while, for stuff to do,
He’d hide in some girl’s empty shoe.
When she looked in, he’d holler, “BOO!”
Sometime he scared old ladies, too.

One time in church, he went in late,
Hid out in the collection plate.
And as they passed it down the aisle,
He flicked his tongue and hissed a smile. [. . .]

That’s how the poem begins; it continues for another 18 verses, then concludes with these final thoughts:

He changed and lived “The Golden Rule,”
And tried his best to learn in school.
Then earned a Smart Old Snake Degree,
At Wiggle University.

His article, “Be Nice, Not Mean,”
Appeared in Playboa Magazine.
Sammy had reformed, it’s clear,
Was voted “Serpent of the Year.”

So, all you other little snakes,
Be good, no matter what it takes.
No one’s perfect, but believe,
It just gets worse if you deceive.

So live a life that’s good and true,
Make other snakes believe in you,
And you’ll be doing what it takes
To fill the world with happy snakes.

(See Below) :grin:

Mojave 3061

I can’t help but think it’d be a grand thing if our politicians could somehow elevate themselves to reflect the forthrightness of a Mojave Rattler with the intellectual acuity of Sammy Snake. But then, well, you know . . .


Note: Photos © Denny Green, Tempe AZ; Sammy Snake poem excerpts from Grandpa Tucker’s Rhymes & Tales (1999), ISBM 1-929146-00-0, by the late Bob Tucker; R.I.P.

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, October 29, 2014.

Why do we learn history?

So we can learn from the mistakes of the past.

But which history will teach us that? The history I learned in grammer school was contradicted by the history I learned in high school, and when I got to college, it was like everything I learned was a lie.

‘Tis true. The history they teach in school is little more than a fantasy with some real names, dates and places thrown in to make it sound real. But grownups feel that young children should be protected from the harsh realities of what really happened. I mean, imagine how upset you would have been to learn that we wiped out tens of thousands of Indians by giving them small-pox infected blankets.

Yeah, I guess you’re right. I mean, I would have thought we killed Pochohantas. But what about something more recent?

Like what?

Like Black Tuesday. The Stock Market crash. The causes of the Great Depression. Now we’re told it was organized labor and high taxes on the job creators that tanked the global economy back then.

Ok, son, it’s time you learned how history works. There’s history, what really happened, and there’s history, what the people in power want you to believe happened.

How do we know the difference?

Do something most people are unwilling to do: Research. Read. Go to original sources. The ruling class learned something 85 years ago. They learned that they needed even more power over the government. And they, slowly but surely, got it. So, this time, when they crashed the economy, they made sure they were well taken care of. They learned from history, and took steps to avoid losing their fortunes this time around. The common man, the masses content to accept the history the ruling class taught them, did not learn, and paid the price this time, too.


The Watering Hole, October 27th, 2014: Mutants are Cool

I don’t normally click on any of those groups of six ads that seem to be unavoidable on most websites, but when I saw the following photo, I just HAD to:

Horse or Zebra?

Horse or Zebra?

The website,, didn’t answer the caption’s question, but I’d say it’s a zebra with a cool-looking color mutation…which, of course, was the title of the slideshow: “13 Naturally Color-Mutated Animals.” While there were some that I might call into question (for instance, the quality of the “pink elephant” photo was too poor), many were beautiful and marvelous. Go ahead and check them out, here are some of my favorites:
Brown Striped Zebra (Zebra Erythrism)

Brown Striped Zebra (Zebra Erythrism)

The first two were for Zooey. The next one is for Pachy:
Pink Dragonfly

Pink Dragonfly

This next photo was called a “Piebald Deer”, which is erroneous: “Piebald” (at least in horse terminology) describes a white coat with random irregular black patches; “Skewbald” describes a white coat with random irregular brown patches. So the deer in this pic is actually a skewbald, not a piebald:
piebald deer
This one’s for me, since my ‘toon representation in our header is the majestic tiger (thank you, Paul!):
Four Shades of Tiger

Four Shades of Tiger

And just a few more that were cool:
Half-white Peacock

Half-white Peacock

Pink Grasshopper (sounds like a drink!)

Pink Grasshopper (sounds like a drink!)

Enjoy the rest of the slide show. I did!

This is our daily open thread – feel free to discuss whatever you want.

Sunday Roast: 15 things atheists are tired of hearing

I’ve heard every single one of these obnoxious questions/observations — most of them from certain family members.

Being an admitted atheist is a fairly recent development in my life — the last 10 years, or so — mostly because religion, for many years of my life, was simply a non-thing.  I just didn’t care either way.  *shrug*

My family attended church and Sunday school when I was a child; it was just something we did.  I tried to believe in God and Jesus, but even as a young child, I just couldn’t make myself believe it.  I mean, come on, the whole concept was just so unlikely.

One Sunday, while I was enjoying the most interesting part of church — juice and cookies afterwards — I heard an older man was talking about the joy of feeling the presence of Jesus in every part of his daily life, and I remember thinking that he looked kind of dazed and sounded so child-like.  It felt really uncomfortable, since I was about 10 years old at the time.

Religion has begun to worm its way into our everyday lives, whether we want it or not, and it’s just not okay.  In fact, it’s destructive to the secular world, as well as to religion.  It’s not the American way, and openly saying that I am an atheist (feminist/Liberal/Socialist, etc) is a way of saying “NO, this has gone too far.  Get a fucking grip, people.”

This is our daily open thread — Discuss this topic or whatever.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, October 25, 2014: Five Republicans I Fear Might Win

Courtesy of the good people at Right Wing Watch (a project of People For the American Way dedicated to monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement), here are five Republicans I fear might win on Election Day (which is just one week from this coming Tuesday.) What’s even more frightening than the mere fact that they won their party’s nomination is that they may end up being members of a Republican-controlled House and Senate. And that would be horrific for anybody in this country who isn’t a white, male billionaire which, last time I checked, was just about all of us.

The five names you don’t want to hear announced as winners on Election Night (or however many days it takes to count up every vote against them) are Joni Ernst, Thom Tillis, Jody Hice, Glenn Grothman, and Zach Dasher. The first two wish to become US Senators (in our government!) and the other three wish to become US Representatives (representing the interests of the very, very rich in the People’s House.) Ernst wants to replace retiring Iowa Senator Tom Harkin and Tillis wants to unseat first term North Carolina Senator Kay Hagen. Over in the House, Hice wants to replace the out-going non-believer in Science (and member of the House Science Committee) Dr. Paul Broun (who once called Evolution and the Big Bang Theory “lies straight from the pit of Hell“); Grothman wants to replace retiring Wisconsin Rep Tom Petri (who won’t endorse Grothman because, as he told a reporter, “Why would I endorse a person who has said that if in two years people said he was ‘just like Petri’ he would be insulted?”); and Dasher wants to bank on his family name (which isn’t his; he’s related to the Robertsons of Duck Dynasty fame) to replace the freshman Republican Vince McAllister.

I encourage you to read about each of these five candidates at the link above. Believe me, if you have any sense of decency as a human being, if you have any concern whatsoever about the extremist Tea Party people taking over our government so they can do the bidding of their wealthy benefactors, or if you have an IQ in the three-digit range, you will not want any of these five people to win a week from Tuesday. If they have the right view on anything, I can promise you it’s probably for the wrong reasons. And talk about extremism. Among them, in various combinations, they support: nullification of federal laws they don’t like, personhood amendments, Christian nationalism, anti-abortion laws, and the arming of school teachers. And I just picked one thing out of each of their platforms. They support many, many more extremist positions. I will be very unhappy if any one of them wins, and I will be downright depressed if any of them win and the Republicans take control of all of Congress because any of them might become the head of a Congressional committee. You should be, too.

This is our daily open thread. feel free to discuss Republican extremism or anything else you wish to discuss.