The Watering Hole: August 17

Basalt columns, Snake River

Basalt columns, Snake River

Photo by Zooey

I think basalt columns are some of the most interesting geological formations on the planet.

During the cooling of a thick lava flow, contractional joints or fractures form. If a flow cools relatively rapidly, significant contraction forces build up. While a flow can shrink in the vertical dimension without fracturing, it cannot easily accommodate shrinking in the horizontal direction unless cracks form; the extensive fracture network that develops results in the formation of columns.

Go here for some really amazing photos of basalt columns all over the world.


78 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: August 17

  1. Ugh. Monday…

    Am I the only one who forgot that Rachel Maddow’s reporting on Armey helped get Dick fired? I didn’t remember that while watching MTP yesterday (thanks for the online link) but I guess it explains (not justifies) why he was such a Dick to her!

    Have a great day, Zoo Friends!

  2. Yesterday there was a sad, sad story in my Sunday paper. It seems that an elderly man was walking around in a lower-income area of a New Jersey city, when a resident reported him to the police. A twenty-something cop pulled up and questioned him, asking his name and what his business was in the neighborhood. A second officer of about the same age showed up to assist. Nothing unusual here, right? Well, the gentleman didn’t have any I.D. on him and the young cops didn’t recognize his name. This is the really sad part. The officers took him back to his hotel, where the desk clerk identified him as….Bob Dylan! He was in town to do a concert with Willie Nelson and John Cougar Mellencamp. The officers didn’t recognize the name BOB DYLAN?!?
    Of course, the obvious question comes to mind for Bob?

    “How does it feel,
    to be on your own,
    With no direction home,
    A complete unknown,
    Like a Rolling Stone?”

    Thankfully, the cops were professionals and didn’t roust him and lock him up on some bogus charge.

    • Mom, that could have turned out badly, huh? “Bob Dylan dies after being tasered in NJ low-income neighborhood.” Yikes.

      My bro-in-law in Texas is one of the most uptight, nerdy, fundie christian weirdos around, but he’s a hardcore Bob Dylan fan. He and my sister went to the Dylan/Nelson/Mellencamp concert in Corpus Christi recently.

  3. Zooey, remember Dylan went through his own fundie Christian phase (and produced some seriously crap music) back in the day.

    Creepy to think of him potentially senile, though.

    • I didn’t know that, gummitch. That must be the attraction.

      I didn’t read the news article, but how does walking around a neighborhood make you think he might be senile?

  4. He was wandering around the neighborhood, possibly in someone’s yard, in the rain, wearing sweatpants and two raincoats and carrying no identification. Reports differ; he was either “looking at houses while killing time” or “thinking of buying a house”, and the young policemen were not at all sure he hadn’t wandered away from one of their local facilities.

  5. Van Morrison also went down Fundie Lane, although he remains one of my all-time favs. And we know what happened to Cat Steven. He went fundie but in a very different direction.

  6. Considering Bob’s age and his past lifestyle, it would be sort of surprising if he didn’t get a little drifty now and then.

    • I saw an old friend (and former lover) recently, and he has the beginning stages of dementia/Alzheimer’s. The long term memory still seems fine, but the short term is very bad. It’s heartbreaking.

  7. Why is it that the older one gets the easier it is to remember phone numbers from high school but not where your car keys are?

  8. When my dad started to have trouble staying on topic in conversations, I began to realize the same thing Zooey. He would begin talking about something totally unrelated to what was being discussed.

    • House, that could have been related to hearing loss. My dad does the same thing now and then, but I don’t think it’s his hearing.

      Med, I just tell myself that I don’t have to remember certain things because I know where to access the information, and always put my keys (and glasses) in the same place.

      No, I’m not in denial….what were we talking about?

  9. There is a lot to be said about hearing loss in older folks. It makes it very difficult to follow conversations when you can’t hear them and sort of have to decide what to say based on what you think you are hearing.

    • Don’t I know it, Med. I’ve had a hearing loss in the last year, accompanied by tinnitus. The doc said it was “age-related,” since there was no other apparent cause. No hearing aids, yet.


    • I’ll take the hearing loss, Med. At least I will be able to read a note.

      I love taking pictures, and I really need to see so much more of this world.

      My vision sucks too, but it’s correctable. So far!

  10. My ex used to get so angry with me when she would try talking to me when my back was turned and I wouldn’t acknowledge her. At the time, I hadn’t realized how much of my hearing I had lost.

    I guess it is one of the reasons I have gravitated to the web. I can still read pretty good. 😉

  11. If I had a choice, I would say I want both. The most frustrating part is that diminished hearing isn’t visible. My years of working in noisy places have cut my hearing spectrum. The cynic in me says at least it was women and children first.

    How long? About 2 seconds if one has the capacity to realize that it might need to be done. My ex still thinks it is some sort of attention grabbing ploy on my part. Good news is, I can’t hear her say it.

    • I want both, too! Just don’t move my glasses. That would be mean. 😆

      Heh. My ex used to think my having allergies at what — to him — was an odd time of year, was an attention seeking behavior. Weirdo.

      We’re both lucky — can’t hear ’em say it. Yay!

  12. I have the same occupational hearing loss, Med. I’ve always worked around noises, and the noise from compressed air, cleaning off a vise or machining fixture, is one of the most common causes of hearing loss in machine work. I can hear a pin drop in a quiet room, but I can’t understand what people are saying if there are masking noises nearby.

    My future ex-wife would get mad at me too. The one person I counted on to know me better than anyone else, couldn’t call my name and get my attention before starting a sentence, then get mad because I asked her to start over, so what she had said made sense.

  13. Same here, House. Put me in a crowd and I can hear noise but can’t discern conversation. Add ADD on top of it and it gets frustrating. Only a very few people know that if they want to have a conversation with me, they have to touch me and get my attention. And then speak slowly and clearly.

    I am learning how to read lips though. 😀

  14. I did have a sort of funny a while back. I was in a local bar, stopped in for a burger because they make a great jalapeno one, and struck up a conversation with a lady. It went ok for a bit and then died out.

    A couple of weeks later a friend told me I had ‘creeped her out’ because all I could do was stare at her mouth instead of making eye contact.

  15. As I recall, that might have been acceptable. Not particularly interesting though.

    • Too funny.

      I usually don’t get all bent out of shape if I catch a man getting a look. What the hell, it’s only natural. What gets under my skin is when I’m trying to do a job (helping a lawyer file docs at the counter), or have a more than casual conversation — and the guy is ignoring what I’m saying because he’s focused on the chest. That is truly annoying.

  16. Besides, I have always been an ass and leg man. Neither of which she had in interesting quantities.

  17. That has been one of the most irritating thing about losing my hearing. To hear a conversation, I sometimes have to ‘see’ it. And as much as I appreciate the aesthetic qualities of the female form, it really is about the eyes.

  18. Scalia has lost it. He is claiming that innocence of a crime is no reason to overturn a death sentence.

  19. Great news from Firedoglake:

    ” We’ve confirmed that eight more major advertisers have pulled their support from Glenn Beck’s show — Wal-Mart, Best Buy, CVS, Travelocity, Allergan (maker of Restasis), Ally Bank, Broadview Security, and Re-Bath.

    Overall, twenty advertisers have now ended their support of Beck. We’re going to keep the pressure on Beck’s remaining advertisers this week, and we’ll let you know how you can help.”

      • I love how Scalia puts the word “actually” in quotation marks.

        The death penalty is barbaric, and I am totally against it.

  20. medjhiesco
    August 17, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    “”I don’t know, fuzzy isn’t all that bad. Some people actually look better.””””

    you’ve never seen an Amish girl naked….

  21. If Scalia’s public statement is not enough to initiate impeachment proceedings we might as well just shut down the show.

    I have a posting I am going to put on my blog, it will be called Requiem.. 5th, if you are around I would appreciate some input from the British Empire side of things if you are so inclined.

    • I’m looking forward to reading it, Med.

      I’m also looking forward to getting the perspective of legal scholars like Turley and Dean.

      • Re the Davis case:

        The slain officer’s mother, Anneliese MacPhail, was in shock.

        “I was really hoping they’d deny this appeal, not just shove it off to somewhere else,” she said, noting Wednesday is the 20th anniversary of her son’s death. “I would like it to come to an end.”

        While I understand this woman is under considerable stress, I would think she’d want to make sure the RIGHT person was being executed in her son’s name.

        But that’s just me…

        Scalia, who noted it had been almost 50 years since the high court took the action it took on Monday, made note that the court “has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant” who later convinced the courts he is “‘actually’ innocent.”

        Wow. Just wow.


          Justice John Paul Stevens, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer: “The substantial risk of putting an innocent man to death clearly provides an adequate justification for holding an evidentiary hearing. … Imagine a petitioner in Davis’ situation who possesses new evidence conclusively and definitively proving, beyond any scintilla of doubt, that he is an innocent man. The dissent’s reasoning would allow such a petitioner to be put to death nonetheless.”

          Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas: “The court proceeds down this path even though every judicial and executive body that has examined petitioner’s stale claim of innocence has been unpersuaded, and (to make matters worse) even though it would be impossible for the District Court to grant relief. … Today, without explanation and without any meaningful guidance, this court sends the District Court for the Southern District of Georgia on a fool’s errand.”

  22. Ok, it is silly but what would happen if the northern tier states decided that being part of Canada was more advantageous than remaining in the US?

  23. Interesting question, med. Of course, I can’t speak for any of the other states, but I live in The Empire State, New York. And I will unapologetically claim it is the best state in the country, but that’s not why I’m here tonight. 🙂

    I learned something after the 1992 elections. That was the first year that Jane and I actually registered, and the first time we voted. (Yes, I served my five years in the Air Force without ever exercising my right to vote, but I did it for all of you. 🙂 ) We both voted for Clinton, of course. Afterwards, I saw a map of how each New York county voted. While the state when to Clinton as expected, he only won in two areas: Albany County (where the capital Albany is) and New York City. The entire rest of the state, including Long Island, voted for GHW Bush. Outside our state capital and The City, New York has a lot of redneck conservatives who love their God and their guns and hates the gays. If New York ever seceded from the USA to join Canada, there would be a whole bunch of very unhappy people deep inside their new country (as opposed to being closer to the “American” border.)

    So I doubt it would happen here. If I remember my fuzzy US History correctly, didn’t we get Maine from Canada in the first place?

  24. Zooey Says:

    Too funny.

    I usually don’t get all bent out of shape if I catch a man getting a look. What the hell, it’s only natural. What gets under my skin is when I’m trying to do a job (helping a lawyer file docs at the counter), or have a more than casual conversation — and the guy is ignoring what I’m saying because he’s focused on the chest. That is truly annoying.

    When the day finally comes that we meet, Zooey, I promise you that your chest will not be the only thing on which I focus. 😉

  25. After I re-installed my operating system a couple of months ago (damn viruses; I’m okay now), I had to find new copies of the Constitution (for quick reference). And I found a fantastic website with great information.

    Check it out. It has the entire text of the Constituion and all the Amendments (andwhat Constitution website would be complete without those two? Well, maybe the House of representaives one, which has the Constitution separate from its Amendments), italso has copies of the transmittal letters to the States and to the Continental Congress. It has dates that each state ratified the Constitution and the dates they ratified each of the Amendments. It has the first two of the original twelve Amendments submitted to the states. Numbers 3 through 12 were adopted as, what we now call, “The Bill of Rights”. The first of the original twelve never passed and we should be thankful for that. If ratified, it would require that we have, today, about 6,000 Representatives in the House. I kid you not. And the second of the twelve was ratified in the 90s (the 27th) and it says , “No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.” Now excuse me while I go all Bill Clinton on you. (Don’t worry, I’m keeping my pants on.)

    Exactly what does “take effect” mean?

    Right around the time the Amendment was ratified, I’m pretty sure that Congress passed law that automatically raised their compensation every year without ever having to take a vote. How does “take effect” fot in here? Does it mean simply the first time that any raises could be accepted was after the next election of Representatives and then the automatic part kicks in and the issue is over? Or does it mean that the law “takes effect” when the compensation of the members of Congress is adjusted? And, if so, wouldn’t that mean that they could only increase their own pay every two years at best? That once their pay goes up, they have to wait until they are re-elected to see their pay go up again? (Personally, this is how I would interpret what the Framers who drafted this Amendment had in mind.) Because if I am right, it would mean that annual pay raises are unconstitutional.

    The next time I get to meet my Congressman, I am going to ask him about that. I suppose I should do my research first, just in case he tries to bamboozle me. Maybe I can get a printout of the bill, since it would have been passed long before he got elected, so I could excuse him not knowing about it. I think I’ll research it and if they somehow get annual raises, I will contact his office about it. Then I’ll contact the ACLU.

    I have to go now. Jane and I are going to watch an episode of Stargate SG-1 (on DVD).

  26. Zooey:
    If you are here later, I need someone to talk me down.
    Earlier this evening I took a whack at both Eric Odom and Trajan over at TP……with a proverbial 2×4 between the eyes.

  27. If I were a Secret Service agent, I’d be like WTF? with all these people allowed near the President of the United States with guns!

    But, as we learned from the last administration, guns don’t kill people, bumper stickers, t-shirts and unscreened questions do.

  28. reggie or someone, what is the history with this trajan? I guess I wasn’t around when it was…

  29. s’mom,

    Suffice to say that Trajan is a bit of a legendary creature in the blogosphere. Sort of. It was because of him and people like him that we started TheZoo. And because we started TheZoo (and taking some of their regulars with us), TP changed to a registration system. The power of protest.

    Zooey, or one of the others, may be able to give you a more detailed (and colorful) history of him. I’ve tried to block him out of my mind. 🙂

  30. Thanks Wayne, and thanks for the link above.

    Now, aren’t you supposed to be snugglin’ your best gal in DVDland? Or are you suffering with the same heat we have down here? Ugh.

  31. s’mom

    Trajan’s story can be summed up in two words, epic failure.
    He is an internet legend because he has the ability to F up everything he touches.
    It may be time to dust off a never used blog that has been parked out in cyberspace, and use it to tell Trajan’s hilarious story……. in his own racist sexist hated-filled words.
    Trajan had a bad habit that he never could control when he was angry, he always resorted to death threats when he was pwned.

    • Jane, did you watch Rachel tonight? Her first segment was devastating.

      I’m just sick about all this. I told Obama that the American house is on fire, and he’s dealing with arsonists.

  32. Yes, she was fantastic as always. I wonder if we emailed the President with a link to that segment, would it make it through? I would think that having a link in the email might make it end up in their spam filter.

    I’m also glad to see that the C-Street story is getting more heated up. That’s some scary shit that Coe guy preaches. It’s a freaking cult!

    I gotta get to bed, see you tomorrow! Oh, and I’m glad to know that you made that appointment. 😉

    • Reg, I don’t know what to tell you. I seriously don’t think Trajan has been on TP for a very long time. People make guesses that certain trolls are Trajan, but they really don’t fit the pattern. None of that crowd can resist using “Islamo-fascist” or “Islamo-Stalinist.” And Trajan can’t resist bringing up his stupid latin kings. I think I’ve seen Pee now and then, but he disappears quickly.

      Personally, I think they are not worth the time or effort.

  33. s’mom
    I must be getting senile, I forgot the funniest part of trajan’s epic tale of failure.
    Right about the first time he got pwned at Toasterhead’s parody blog, our little fascist friend decided to open a second front in his war on sanity.

    I swear, this is true, I can document everything……the mental midget decided to take on Charles Johnson and his blog, Little Green Footballs.
    Trajan believes that LGF is a marxist web-site, he pissed them off and once again got pwned…..this time from the right. He was banned several times at LGF for trolling.
    Trajan used to be the “Golden Boy” of Eric Odom, the self proclaimed founder of the grass roots tea party movement.
    Twajie had his own personal war with Islam and has gone on record claiming to have inflicted bodily harm on Muslims.
    Trajan put his war against Islam on hold a few weeks ago, after he was brought to the attention of an anti-hate group based out of Dearborn Michigan
    If I am not mistaken his truce with Islam occurred the same week that the troll Proud turned down our invitation to meet for lunch Monday in Warren Michigan.
    Guess how many miles Warren is from Dearborn.?

    I have a confession to make, I have voiced my concerns regarding Trajan’s irrational behavior to a group of intelligent open minded Muslims who are proud to be Americans.

    Poor pathetic Trajan called for an immediate cease fire a few days later at his stalker/blog.

  34. Hey Reg: So Trajan’s Column means today exactly what Trajan’s Column meant when it was built – which is another war that didn’t really change anything …

  35. medjhiesco at 2:01 pm
    “And as much as I appreciate the aesthetic qualities of the female form, it really is about the eyes.”

    Amen, brudda!

    spencersmom at 8:35 pm
    “If I were a Secret Service agent, I’d be like WTF? with all these people allowed near the President of the United States with guns!”

    If I were Secret Service, I’d expect that any dickhead walking around packing near the POTUS would have the crosshairs of a sniperscope centered on his melon at all times. One false move and SPLAT! And said dickhead would deserve it IMHO!

    prim8 at 11:04 pm

    I work 2:15pm to 12:45am, zoo time. Sorry I wasn’t about. There still aren’t any Bobs here, however. 🙂

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