The Watering Hole, Monday, July 28th, 2014: Childhood (and history) Lost?

The development where Wayne and I grew up sits atop a hill overlooking the Middlebranch Reservoir to the west, and used to be part of the Tilly Foster Farm to the north. When my family moved there in the late ’50s, we were visited by cows, sheep and goats from the farm, as our road was the closest to the farm’s property. Several acres were left undeveloped between us and the farm, which made for an enjoyable childhood spent roaming the woods, climbing trees and building ‘forts.’

While we were growing up, the farm mostly had horses; at one time, I remember, they had a Secretariat foal at the farm, and were a bit uptight about security: I pulled into the entrance once to take a picture, and within moments, a cop car arrived. For a while, it was closed as the county decided how best to utilize the property. Until a short while ago, the farm was run as a living museum, with old tractors and other farm equipment on display, as well as various breeds of cows, sheep, chickens, pigs,etc. The goal of the farm was to showcase rare American farm animals.
tilly foster sheepTilly Foster Farm 2012tilly foster goats 2tilly foster donkeytilly foster calves

Now, however, for some reason the county has decided to close the farm. Although the new caretaker just took delivery of newborn chicks for the farm, it is uncertain exactly what is ahead. According to one commenter at the farm’s website, a carnival was held there over 4th of July weekend. A terse notice on the museum’s ‘Welcome’ page states:

“The Society for the Preservation of Putnam County is no longer managing the farm. All of the rare American farm animals have been sold and we will not sponsor any more events at the farm.”

Hopefully the farm will be reopened as a living museum again. For us locals, the history of our area would be done a great disservice if this beautiful landmark were to be ruined for the sake of ‘progress.’

This is our daily open thread–what’s on your mind today?

Sunday Roast: San Francisco

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; 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, HumpDay, June 4, 2014: Breaking Gnus: Obama to Offer New Prisoner Bargain With the Taliban

Tweeter calls in another Zoo Exclusive

Tweeter calls in another Zoo Exclusive

THIS JUST IN: PRESIDENT OBAMA TO ANNOUNCE NEW PRISONER BARGAIN WITH THE TALIBAN

With polititians and pundits heating up over the prisoner exhange that saw the release of 5 Taliban leaders in exhange for one American Soldier, President Obama is taking a bold step by conducting further discussions aimed towards the release of the remaining 149 or so prisoners still held in Guantanamo. Early reports by annonymous sources indicate that the President is on the verge of making yet another deal with the Taliban.

According to low-level interns in the White House document shredding room, Obama has struck a hard bargain with the renegade Taliban government: for every Republican Senator they agree to take, Obama will release 2 prisoners held at Guantanamo; should the Taliban accept all of the Republican Senators, the remaining prisoners will be exchanged on a one-for-one basis with Republican members of the House of Representatives.

Republicans expressed immediate outrage. “If an American Soldier is worth 5 Taliban, a Senator should be worth at least 10!” one eexclaimed. On the other side of the aisle, a Democratic aide observed “It’s about time we got rid of those terrorists once and for all. They’ve caused more damage to the United States than all the prisoners in Guantanamo put together.”

Senator McCain reportedly commented, “I’ve been a prisoner of war, and I can tell you it is pure hell. Whatever I can do to relieve the suffering of those poor men, I’ll do it.” After an aide whispered in his ear, the Senator continued, “But I’ll be damned if I let this President, or any other President, for that matter, negotiate with Congress, I mean, Terrorists!” His aide then quickly whisked McCain out of the room.

Calls to the White House were met with the standard “The White House can neither confirm nor deny these reports.”

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Monday, June 2nd, 2014: “Travel Is So Broadening”

Let’s start off the week with a quick trip around the United States. Courtesy of The Weather Channel, here’s a state-by-state photo gallery of some of our country’s natural wonders. In alphabetical order, they range from:

Noccalula Falls in Alabama…
alabama noccalula falls
…to the Cahokia Mounds in Illinois…
cahokia-flood-illinois_72986_600x450
…to Acadia National Park in Maine…
Otter-Cliff-Acadia National-Park-Maine
…to Niagara Falls in New York…
AA019259
…to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota…
ND_THRO_2
…to Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone Park, Wyoming.
Old Faithful Geyser at Sunset, Yellowstone Natio

Whew! I think I need a vacation after that “quick trip”!

Open thread–what’s on your mind today?

Memorial Day, May 26th, 2014

World War I Memorial, Washington, DC

na-WWI-Memorial

World War II Memorials, Washington, DC
ww2memorialDC
ww2 marines-memorialpacific atlantic ww2

Korean War Memorials, Washington, DC
washington-dc-korean-war-veterans-memorialKorean-WarKorean War Memorial in the Snow 04

Vietnam War Memorials, Washington, DC
vietnam-memorial-three-soldiersvietnam-war-nurses-memorialvietnam-veterans-memorial-washington-dc-ilker-goksen

Tomb of the Unknown
an american soldier

Iraq War Memorial, Washington, DC

?

Afghanistan War Memorial, Washington, DC

?

Open thread–have at it!

Sunday Roast: Robert Greenwald’s “Koch Brothers Exposed”

I know it’s an hour long, but please watch this video.  It’s only ONE HOUR of your life.

It’s important for all of us to know how the despicable Koch brothers have woven their tentacles throughout this country, like a deadly cancer.

They have a very specific ideology, and they don’t give a shit if you subscribe to it or not.  Given their way, we will all feel the toxic Koch boot on our necks, sooner or later, and we can’t fight them if we don’t know what they’re about.

This is our daily open thread — Are we ready to give the Koch brothers the boot?

Sunday Roast: American Spring Betrayal

Where was y’all!?  Where was ya!!??  They stole all my granddaddy’s guns!!

Betrayed by tens of millions of teabaggers who failed to show up for the great American Spring, it must be devastating.  You bastards!

This is our daily open thread — See you bastards at Bundyfest!

Sunday Roast: Glacier Valley

L1030142

Photo by Zooey

This picture was taken just after the switchback, and looks back toward the direction we came.  Lake McDonald is behind the mountains.

Who wants to sit on the rock wall and dangle their feet!!??

This is our daily open thread — Anyone have road trip plans this summer?

The Watering Hole, Monday, April 7th, 2014: Torture

Over the past month or so, there’s been a lot of talk about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the previous administration’s CIA torture program (oh, excuse me, “enhanced interrogation techniques”.) Chair of the Committee Senator Dianne Feinstein has accused the CIA of accessing Congressional computers and deleting memos and other evidence. Last week brought the news that Senator Feinstein is pushing to have the results of the report made public, in order to “ensure that an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation will never again be considered or permitted…”

Cue the attacks, specifically on FauxNews: First, former CIA Director Michael Hayden questions Senator Feinstein’s possible “motivation for the report” is “emotional.” An excerpt from the ThinkProgress article:

“Citing specifically Feinstein’s line about not using such techniques again, Hayden told Fox News Sunday host Chis Wallace, “Now that sentence that, motivation for the report, Chris, may show deep emotional feeling on part of the Senator. But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.”

A surprised Chris Wallace asked,

“…You’re saying you think she was emotional in these conclusions?” Hayden did not respond specifically to Wallace’s question, but rather said simply that only portions of the report had been leaked but it did not tell the whole story.”

Despite whatever Hayden believes the “whole story” to be, the portions that have been leaked seem to be quite detailed and very damning, as discussed in this March 31st article from WaPo.

“Officials said millions of records make clear that the CIA’s ability to obtain the most valuable intelligence against al-Qaeda — including tips that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011 — had little, if anything, to do with “enhanced interrogation techniques.””

It does not seem possible that Hayden’s “whole story” could in any way mitigate the fact that torture was systematically used, both here and abroad at “black sites”, supposedly in the name of our “security.”

From the Washington Post article on Hayden’s “emotional” characterization:

“Former CIA and National Security Agency director Michael Hayden suggested Sunday that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) might have compromised the objectivity of a report on CIA interrogation techniques because she personally wants to change them…Hayden suggested Feinstein feels too strongly about the issue on an “emotional” level.”

Feinstein struck back at Hayden’s comments later Sunday by calling her committee’s forthcoming report “objective, based on fact, thoroughly footnoted, and I am certain it will stand on its own merits.”

In a statement, Feinstein noted that the committee’s investigation began in 2009 and the report’s conclusions “came from documents provided by the CIA and the result is a comprehensive history of the CIA program. The only direction I gave staff was to let the facts speak for themselves.”

“I believe last week’s 11-3 vote to declassify the report demonstrates that both sides agree that Americans should see the facts and reach their own conclusions about the program,” she added.

Raw Story tells it slightly differently:

“Yeah,” Hayden replied dismissively, noting that a Washington Post columnist had reported that “Sen. Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would ensure that an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.” [Emphasis mine, in that I have been unable to find to which "Washington Post columnist" Hayden is referring, nor any such reporting that Senator Feinstein had directed how "scathing" the report should be.]

“That motivation for the report may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the senator,” Hayden opined. “But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.”… ““You’re asking me about a report that I have no idea of its contents,” Hayden admitted.

[The notion that Hayden has "no idea of" the report's "contents" seems pretty ludicrous; regardless of his professed ignorance, it didn't stop him from attacking the Senator for one moment.]

Raw Story also provides us with cyborg former Vice-President Cheney’s reaction, which also sparked an invitation from Senator Angus King (I-ME) to have Cheney waterboarded:

“The accusations are not true,” Cheney told college television station ATV last week. “Some people called it torture. It wasn’t torture.”

“If I would have to do it all over again, I would,” he insisted. “The results speak for themselves.”

Sorry, the report’s results do speak for themselves:

“A report that has been completed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, however, has found that the CIA misled the government and misstated the effectiveness of the so-called enhanced interrogation program. The report concluded that the CIA lied when it said it had gotten “otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives.”

“I was stunned to hear that quote from Vice President Cheney,” Senator King explained. “If he doesn’t think that was torture, I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go through what those people went through, one of them a hundred and plus-odd times.”

And finally Cheney’s spawn, Liz, reliably shouts “Benghazi!” Again from Raw Story:

“Fox News contributor Liz Cheney on Sunday argued that a United States Senate report on Bush-era torture was “political” and that lawmakers should spend more time investigating President Barack Obama’s role in failing to prevent terrorist attacks in Benghazi.

“If you’re going to say that we should not have conducted the enhanced interrogation program, if you’re going to say that we shouldn’t have waterboarded three terrorists, then you’ve got to say that you’re willing to accept the consequences of that,” the former vice president’s daughter said on a Sunday morning Fox News panel. “You’ve got to be willing to say how many American lives would you have been willing to put at risk because you didn’t want to waterboard Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.”

“Fox News political analyst Juan Williams quipped that Liz Cheney was the “good daughter,” but the American people had a right to know what the CIA was doing in their name, and if the techniques were effective.

“I want to start by agreeing with Juan,” Liz Cheney shot back. “That we need more congressional oversight… of Benghazi, for example.”

She added that the Senate did not produce a “fair report” because it was “written entirely by Democratic staffers.”

“The Republicans wouldn’t participate!” Williams replied. “People not only wouldn’t cooperate, [the CIA] tried to spy on the U.S. Senate.”

Liz Cheney concluded by saying that she had “missed Juan” during her absence from Fox News for a failed Senate run in Wyoming.

[Yeah, how'd that work out for ya, Lizzie? Finally found out that no one in your home state likes you?]

A couple of the commentors on that Daily Kos thread could have helped Juan Williams bitch-slap that she-devil:

JW: I got a better idea Liz, why don’t we focus on the 22 embassy attacks that happened under your daddy’s watch.

bplewis24:

[Quoting Liz Cheney] “If you’re going to say that we should not have conducted the enhanced interrogation program, if you’re going to say that we shouldn’t have waterboarded three terrorists, then you’ve got to say that you’re willing to accept the consequences of that,”…Yes. I am fully willing to accept the consequences of that. Reports tend to tell us there are no real consequences of it, but even if there were, that’s the “sacrifice” I’m willing to make in order to live in a civilized world.

I think that I would just go with what Sheppard Smith once blurted out “emotionally”: “THIS IS AMERICA AND WE DON’T FUCKING TORTURE!”

This is our daily open thread–what’s on YOUR mind?

Sunday Roast: Cats & Zooey take a day trip

Yesterday, it was such a beautiful day that Cats and I decided to take a spur of the moment day trip.  We made a loop from Eugene, down past Cottage Grove, over to Reedsport, then up to Florence, and back to Eugene.

The scenery was AMAZING, and here are just a few of the things we saw:

Canada Geese having a rest on their journey home.

Canada Geese having a rest on their journey home.

Roosevelt Elk, looking a bit raggedy and having lunch of fresh green grass.

Roosevelt Elk, looking a bit raggedy and having lunch of fresh green grass.

More Roosevelt Elk having a lie down.

More Roosevelt Elk having a lie down.

Stunning pink rhododendrons.

Stunning pink rhododendrons.

Dunes in Florence.

Dunes in Florence.

It was a perfectly lovely day, and, as you might imagine, we discussed all the issues of the day, and solved every single one of them — if only people would listen to us.  ;)

This is our daily open thread — Get on with it!

Watering Hole: Tuesday February 4, 2014 – Tidbits (bite-size morsels on food and environmental politics)

Is Monsanto giving up on GMO Foods? Well maybe not cash cows like corn and soy, but veggies don’t seem to want to respond in ways that make them better through genetic manipulation. Mother Jones has the whole story… No GMO Monsanto!

House votes to de-fund food stamps in Blue States. After de-funding the left, the Right’s next goal is to make the poorest among us grovel for food on the street. I guess getting free food when so many Americans are working for theirs is just too much for them to bear.They would much rather have the poor begging in the streets (again)

Monarch butterflies drop, migration may disappear. The famed annual migration of monarch butterflies to Mexico is at an all time low and may be history. Who to thank? Start with the big M. Urban sprawl is a boogeyman here as well. Read on…
Flight canceled.

And now for some good news…
Slow Cities: The Growing Movement Putting Sustainability and Community Back in the Forefront. It all starts in Europe, of course. First it was the Slow Food movement, and now out of Italy again Cittaslow, an expansive vision of how smaller places can remain viable. Here are the variables in play:

Contain fewer than 50,000 people
Commit deeply to preserve and sustain the environment.
Encourage thoughtful development and use of new technologies for sustainability.
Foster local culture and preserve heritage traditions.
Promote healthy eating and lifestyle.
Support local artisans and businesses.
Welcome visitors.
Encourage active participation in community life.
Read on…
Create a slow city (or neighborhood) near you.

Sunday Roast, February 2nd, 2014: Two “Super” Bowls

It’s Super Bowl Sunday (or, as Stephen Colbert has been referring to it, “Superb Owl”), and if you’re couch potatoes like Wayne and I, you have two major viewing choices. One can watch hours on end of pre-game football discussions, the actual Super Bowl game featuring the Denver Broncos vs the Seattle Seahawks, followed by endless post-game analysis,
denver_broncos_horse_logoseattle_seahawks-29136
~ or ~

One can watch hours of cute puppies (and kittens at ‘half-time’) playing faux-football on Animal Planet’s 10th Annual Puppy Bowl. You can meet the entire starting lineup of puppies here.

Puppy Bowl X pre-game warmup (photo credit: DCL)

Puppy Bowl X pre-game warmup (photo credit: DCL)

Or you may have something better to do today.

This is our Sunday open thread–what’re you up to today?

The Watering Hole: Monday, January 20, 2014, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day

Today is a day dedicated to the memory of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of this nation’s most important civil rights activists. Although the first federal holiday was observed in 1986, it hasn’t been a holiday in every state since then. It wasn’t until 2000 that South Carolina became the last state to sign a bill recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday. [And not everybody has a paid day off. Jane and I have to work, but since we're lucky enough to have jobs, we won't complain.]

But in addition to being a federal holiday to honor a great man, it is also a Day of Service.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?'”

Each year, Americans across the country answer that question by coming together on the King Holiday to serve their neighbors and communities.

The link can also lead you to projects in your local communities to help you find ways to serve.

mlk day

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about Martin Luther King, Jr., your plans for serving in your local community, or anything else you wish to discuss. I wish I could say I was serving my community, but I’ll be working and checking in on my mother twice.

The Watering Hole, Monday, January 13th, 2014: Just for Fun

I thought I’d start the week off with some just-plain-silly stuff. It started when, on a couple of totally unrelated threads at Think Progress recently, mention was made of the New York Daily News newspaper. One commenter, in response to another who was using the NYDN as a source for some ‘evidence’, said “The NY Daily News is probably the closest thing to a rag sheet that is published on a daily basis in NYC.” So I says to myself, “hmmm, wonder where Weekly World News is published?”

Well, according to Wikipedia, WWN is no longer published:

“The Weekly World News was a largely fictional news tabloid published in the United States from 1979 to 2007, renowned for its outlandish cover stories often based on supernatural or paranormal themes and an approach to news that verged on the satirical. Its characteristic black-and-white covers have become pop-culture images widely used in the arts. It continues to exist as a website.”

I abandoned my search for lesser rags published in New York City (WWN had been published in Florida, anyway–why am I not surprised? Sorry, Florida!) and headed straight for the WWN website. A couple of “articles” from Friday included a few with sideways pokes at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (and had nothing to do with the GWB!):

First, did you know that the “God particle” was discovered in New Jersey?

“…Physicists have been trying to find the “God particle” (the Higgs boson) for over forty years, so it’s no real surprise that they finally did it. But what IS a surprise is it was found it in an abandoned bank depository in Camden, New Jersey. And it was found by singer-actress, Taylor Momsen…”

““Of course the universe began in New Jersey,” said Governor Chris Christie. “Everyone who lives here has known it all their lives. That’s why so many want to live here. They may not know it, but they are drawn to the universal source. It’s official now – New Jersey is the center of the universe.”

I’m sorry, but you’ll just have to read the rest for yourselves.

This one, titled “Hugging Banned in New Jersey” pokes fun at New Jersey, RWNJs, and Christie:

“We are a no hugging state,” Governor Chris Christie reportedly told reporters yesterday. “If we catch anyone hugging it will be a $100 fine for the first offense, $250 or the second offense and $1,000 for the third. After that, it’s jail.”

“…Christie got the idea from Matawan school district that decided that middle school children shouldn’t hug each other. “It’s not normal or natural,” said school superintendent John Jacobus. “If kids hug, then the next thing you know there having babies and we can’t have that happen in our school.”

“…Governor Chris Christie isn’t budging and it’s not because he “can’t” budge, he just doesn’t want to go back on his decision. “Hey, that’s the new law, get used to it.”

If you wish (proceed at your own risk), you can also check out the “World’s Biggest Butt”, read up on “The Moonshine Diet” (“You can flush out fat fast without pesky dieting or exercise, on the flabulous new Moonshine Diet!), or find out why the “End of the World [was] Postponed.”

Bat Boy, of course, is probably the most famous character(?) from WWN.

"Bat Boy" (photo courtesy of wikipedia/Weekly World News)

“Bat Boy” (photo courtesy of wikipedia/Weekly World News)

They even put together a Bat Boy “ancestral tree” – from wiki:

“According to the Weekly World News, the discovery of Bat Boy’s family tree on a genealogy chart recently stunned evolutionary scientists who used to think the famed imp was a pitiful, one-of-a-kind mutant – but now believe he belongs to a race of creatures who have interacted with humans for at least 400 years. In the tabloid’s account, the chart itself was written on vellum and found in the same Ozark Mountains cave where Dr. Ron Dillon, a biologist, rescued Bat Boy after he was trapped by a falling rock in 1992 (it should be noted, however, that the Ozark Mountains are nowhere near West Virginia). Carbon dating revealed the chart to be over a hundred years old.”

One Bat Boy “article” from April of 2013 teases with “BAT BOY UNCOVERED…Mitch McConnell discovered Bat Boy at a convenience store in Wisconsin.” However, most of the article references a “Mitch O’Connell, not the mutant-but-not-in-the-same-species-as-Bat-Boy Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Turtle/Human Hybrid.) It has not yet been determined whether Bat Boy and Governor Rick Scott (?-FL) share the same DNA; Governor Scott is known to have refused to provide a urine sample for testing.

Hard to tell 'em apart, huh? (photo courtesy of totallylookslike.com)

Hard to tell ‘em apart, huh?
(photo courtesy of totallylookslike.com)

For a few more laughs, check out this Bat Boy photoshop contest at freakingnews.com. And on the WWN website, the brief video montage of “Bat Boy: Going Mutant” “Breaking News” posted by Frank Lake in June of 2013 is fun, too.

This is our daily open thread–try to have a good laugh today!

The Watering Hole, Monday, January 6th, 2014: Odds and Ends

First, the weather: Here in southeastern New York, just a few days after two separate storms brought us 6+ inches of snow apiece, all that’s left of the snow are a few small scattered patches. Sub-frigid temps have given way to, well, right now it’s 55 degrees, according to my computer. Despite overnight temps in the mid-to-upper 40s, a band of freezing rain (which I could hear during one of my ‘up’ phases at around 3:00am) passed through during the night. Tonight, we’ll be dropping back to sub-freezing again. We’ve got some pretty strong wind gusts right now – the wind actually opened our front door a few minutes ago! And in the meantime, other parts of the country will be experiencing killer record-low temps and wind chills. Think warm thoughts, folks!

Second, our neighboring Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT): ICYMI from TP a few days ago, Senator Murphy spent a day with a local homeless man, and his account of the day and the Catch-22 in which so many homeless people are caught up in should be plastered across the country. (Senator Murphy is also one of the few senators who spent a week trying to live/eat on $4.50/day.) Every state should have at least one of their two senators be a hands-on, down in the trenches with the 99%, guy like this. I’m glad that he’s only 40, and should have a good long career as a true public servant ahead of him.

Lastly, to perhaps lift the spirits a bit, here’s The Weather Channel’s Top 100 photos of 2013. Enjoy!

This is our daily open thread–how is the weather affecting you? Speak up, about this or anything else on your mind.

The Watering Hole, Monday, December 23rd, 2013: Less Than 48 Hours ’til Christmas…

At this point before Christmas during most years, I’ve got everything done with just a few exceptions. This year, however, I still haven’t done any of this:
christmas-ornament-01
~ or this ~
christmas-wrapping-paper-1024x919
~ or this ~

Wrapped Presents

Wrapped Presents


~ or this ~
Baked Cookies

Baked Cookies

Good thing I don’t have to cook Christmas dinner!

This is our daily open thread–how are your Christmas preparations going?

The Watering Hole; Friday December 20 2013; Of Mice . . . Of “Men”??

I’ll be brief. In his poem “To a Mouse” Scottish poet Robert Burns summed up a big pile of ‘stuff’ more than two centuries ago when he wrote:

Still thou are blest, compared wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

He also, around the same time, wrote “To a Louse” in which he enumerated the essence of most everything else:

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion:
What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea’e us,
An’ ev’n devotion!

Burns wrote those words in the late 1700’s, circa 1785. That’s roughly 225 yrs ago, and yet he somehow summarized the very pile of crap we still, on this very day in December of 2013, find ourselves having to deal with. Photo evidence follows; first, the Mouse (photo by Denny Green, Tempe AZ, December 2013):

Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!

MouseStill thou are blest, compared wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee . . .

And then there is, too and of course, The Louse:

Ha! whare ye gaun, ye crawlin ferlie!
Your impudence protects you sairlie . . .

Bon erYe ugly, creepin, blastit wonner
Detested, shunn’d, by saunt an’ sinner . . .
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner
On some poor body

So: even though the answer is invariably OBVIOUS, apparently that always eternal question forever remains: “Whereto from here”??

Burns proffers those two options: a Mouse, or a Louse. The choice remains, apparently, up to each and all of us.

Me? I’ll take the mouse. He be cool. The Louse? Not so much.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Monday, December 2nd, 2013: Happy As A Pig ‘n’ Sh!t

First, here’s the Happy Pig:

Happy Pig

Happy Pig

Now, here’s the Shit: I received another pamphlet from our friendly neighborhood Jehovah’s Witnesses. Luckily for you, gentle readers, I have not had the chance (or inclination, yet) to read the whole thing, so I’m limiting this to a few excerpts based on the topic of the pamphlet’s blow-in:

“Can the dead really live again?”

WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS[**] “There is going to be a resurrection.” – Acts 24:15, New World Translation[**]
WHAT THAT CAN MEAN FOR YOU
-Comfort when loved ones die – 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4
-Freedom from a morbid fear of death – Hebrews 2:15
-A real hope of being reunited with your dead loved ones – John 5:28, 29

CAN WE REALLY BELIEVE WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS? Yes, for at least three reasons:
-God is the Creator of life. The Bible calls Jehovah God “the source of life.” (Psalm 36:9, Acts 17:24, 25) The One who gave life to all living creatures is certainly capable of restoring life to someone who has died.
-God has resurrected humans in the past. The Bible reports eight instances of humans – young, old, male, and female – who were brought back to life on earth. Some had been dead for a short while, but one had been in a tomb for four days! –John 11:39-44
-God is eager to do it again. Jehovah hates death, he views it as an enemy. (1 Corinthians 15:26) He has “a yearning” to conquer that enemy, to undo death by means of the resurrection. He longs to bring back those who are in his memory and to see them live on earth again.–Job 14:14, 15.

Who will go to heaven, and why? Millions long for life in heaven. Jesus said that his faithful apostles would live there. Before he died, he promised to prepare a place for them with his heavenly Father.–Read John 14:2. Why will people from earth be resurrected to life in heaven? What will they do there? Jesus told his apostles that they would be kings. They will rule over the earth.–Read Luke 22:28-30; Revelation 5:10.

~~~ and the last one, I promise ~~~

Do all good people go to heaven? In most lands, only a few people are rulers. Since Jesus resurrects people to heavenly life so that they can rule over the earth, we would expect those chosen to be few. (Luke 12:32) The Bible says exactly how many will rule with Jesus.–Read Revelation 14:1. Those going to heaven will not be the only ones rewarded. Faithful subjects of Jesus’ Kingdom will enjoy life without end in a restored paradise on earth. (John 3:16 [or, as Wayne and I call it "Johnny on the Spot" - one so often sees cardboard signs with just "JOHN 3:16" held up toward the camera at televised baseball, football, and other sports competitions.]) Some will enter Paradise by surviving the destruction of the present wicked system of things. Others will enter by resurrection.–Read Psalm 37:29; John 5:28, 29

[**] Since the JWs use their own Bible “translation”, I suggest that, if you’re interested, go to biblegateway.com, you can choose which bible flavor you want to see each one’s translation of a particular quotation. Since the choices do NOT include the “New World Translation” indicated above, the links that I used were the American Standard Version. Just keep in mind that the JWs believe that every word in their re-written/re-translated version of the ‘original’ bible (both of which were likely written solely by enterprising males) is factually true, simply because the bible that they wrote says it is.

BTW, I copied (re-typed) the inconsistent all-caps, boldfaces, references, etc., exactly as they were printed in the ‘literature.’

Now you can go back and look at the cute pig again.

This is our daily open thread–please feel free to air your thoughts on pigs, Jehovah’s Witnesses (or any other religious group), etc.

Sunday Roast: For Some Folks, Life is a Hill

Trail_to_Red_Hill_Summit

Having been off for a week, listening to crashing Pacific waves, breathing salt air, reading, reading, more reading, and getting my head straight (kinda, sorta, pretty much), Mr Blow asked me, via facebook, to read his column for tomorrow.  I agreed to do so, and, for me, this column is very powerful.  What do you think?

Charles M. Blow, The New York Times

I strongly reject the concept of respectability politics, which postulates that a style of dress or speech justifies injustice, and often violence, against particular groups of people or explains away the ravages of their inequality.

I take enormous exception to arguments about the “breakdown of the family,” particularly the black family, that don’t acknowledge that this country for centuries has endeavored, consciously and not, to break it down. Or that family can be defined only one way.

I don’t buy into the mythology that most poor people are willfully and contentedly poor, happy to live with the help of handouts from a benevolent big government that is equally happy to keep them dependent.

These are all arguments based on shame, meant to distance traditional power structures from emerging ones, to allow for draconian policy arguments from supposedly caring people. These arguments require faith in personal failure as justification for calling our fellow citizens feckless or doctrinally disfavored.

Those who espouse such arguments must root for failures so that they’re proved right. They need their worst convictions to be affirmed: that other people’s woes are due solely to their bad choices and bad behaviors; that there are no systematic suppressors at play; that the way to success is wide open to all those who would only choose it.

Any of us in the country who were born poor, or minority, or female, or otherwise different — particularly in terms of gender or sexual identity — know better.

Please read the rest of the article here.

(photo source)

This is our daily open thread — How is everyone?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, November 16, 2013: Taylor Swift and The Gettysburg Address

From the website “Learn the Address“:

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, documentarian Ken Burns, along with numerous partners, has launched a national effort to encourage everyone in America to video record themselves reading or reciting the speech.The collection of recordings housed on this site will continue to grow as more and more people are inspired by the power of history and take the challenge to LEARN THE ADDRESS.

The site features this mashup of all five living presidents and a slew of politicians and celebrities, including Taylor Swift, who ABC considered the most important of the celebs to be featured in the video. (Each recorded his or her own.)

At the site you are invited and encouraged to share your own Gettysburg Address reading. You can upload a YouTube video of yourself, then give them a link to it. If accepted, they’ll post it at their site along with the presidents, politicians, and celebrities already featured there. Here is the complete Gettysburg Address, which takes about two minutes to read Continue reading

The Watering Hole, Wednesday, 11/13/13: Stopping Bad Guys With Guns.

The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Recently someone (a good guy?) fired off some celebratory shots at a birthday party in a house crowded with teenagers. Someone else (another good guy) took it upon himself to open fire in response. Result: 2 dead and more than a dozen injured. By a good guy with a gun.

With so many guns per capita in the U.S. you’d think good guy vigilanteism would stop most of the mass killings. But, no. A survey of mass murders over the years reveals a surprising number of “bad guys with guns” kill themselves.

Two good guys with guns kill each other. oops.

2013: A bad guy with a gun opens fire at a Naval Yard, kills a dozen people before he is killed.

2012: Sandy Hook Elementary; 27 killed; gunman commits suicide.

2012: Aurora, Colorado; 12 killed; gunman dressed in head-to-toe protective gear is taken into custody.

2011: Seal Beach, California; 8 killed; gunman wearing body armor is arrested without incident trying to leave the scene.

2010: Manchester, Connecticut; 8 killed; gunman commited suicide.

2010: Appomattox, Virginia; 8 killed; gunman surrenders to police the next morning.

2009: A bad guy with a gun kills 13 people at Ft. Hood. Lots of good guys with guns. Bad guy not shot, is sentenced to death. Hmmmm….the death penalty didn’t stop this guy.

2009: Binghamton, New York; 13 killed; gunman commits suicide.

2009: Alamaba; 10 killed; gunman commits suicide.

2009; Carthage, North Carolina; 8 killed; gunman convicted of second degree murder, sentenced to 141 to 179 years in prison.

2007: Virginia Tech. 32 killed; gunman commits suicide.

2007: Omaha Nebraska; 8 killed; gunman commits suicide.

2005: Red Lake High School, Minnesota; 8 killed; gunman commits suicide.

1999: Columbine High School; 13 killed; gunmen commit suicide.

1999: Atlanta, Georgia; 12 killed; gunman commited suicide.

1993: San Francisco; 8 killed; gunman commits suicide.

1991: Killeen, Texas; 23 killed; gunman commits suicide.

1989: Louisville, Kentucky; 8 killed; gunman commtis suicide.

1984: San Ysidro, California, McDonnalds; 21 killed; Police sharpshooter kills gunman.

1984: Manley Hot Springs, Alaska; 8 killed; gunman is killed in a shootout with police.

1982: Miami Florida; 8 killed; gunman shot in the back by a witness who pursued him.

1982: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; 13 Killed; gunman committed to mental institution.

1973: New Orleans; 9 killed; police snipers kill gunman.

1966: University of Texas; 18 killed; police officers killed gunman.

So there we have it. Of the 20 deadliest shootings in U.S. history from 1965 to now, only once has a good guy with a gun taken out a bad guy with a gun (not counting the police, who are supposed to be the good guys with guns).

What’s the solution? Some throw up their hands in despair, there’s too many guns out there, there’s no way to stop it. Others point to Australia, that decided after one horrific incident that enough was enough, and had a massive gun riddance campaign. Others wrap themselves in the flag and flack jackets and openly brandish their firearms, threatening to use them if anyone dares impinge upon their “Second Amendment Rights.”

We’re coming up on the anniversary of Sandy Hook. Nothing has changed. Not enough kids have been slaughtered yet for Americans to say “enough is enough.”

OPEN THREAD