The Watering Hole, Monday, November 23rd, 2015: NatGeo, Take Me Away!

I can’t deal with “Ugly Americans” [of course, “Ugly Americans” = “Republican Presidential Candidates and their Fans/Supporters”] anymore; we keep thinking, “How can these guys sink so low?”, then, the next hour or day or week, one or two or several of them come out with such outrageous shit that we really need a new word to define what circle of hell lies beyond “outrageous” or “horrific” or “despicable” or “abhorrent” or “inhuman” – sorry, I need more words!

And I’ve had it up to HERE with the holidays being turned into meaningless “shop-’til-you-drop” commercialism [how about if “Black Friday” could be turned into “Black Lives Matter Friday” – hell, make every day of the entire Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday shopping season a day of protests]. So I’m going with some beautiful photos from National Geographic to start the week.

Here’s some pretty birds, from “A Flight of Birds”, a section of NatGeo’s Photo Ark, including a photo capturing the iridescent plumage of the Purple Glossy Starling, such as seen below,
and a more close-up shot of the Javan Rhinoceros Hornbill, like the one seen below:
javan rhinoceros Hornbill

And if you prefer a larger gallery for leisurely viewing, here’s more from NatGeo’s 2015 Photo Contest. The “Week 10” group includes a brooding sunset photo of Godafoss Waterfall in Iceland – here’s a chilly winter shot of the falls, just to start the calming process:

This is our daily Open Thread – enjoy the views or rant away – or you can do both!

The Watering Hole; Friday November 20 2015; American Darkness

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me . . .

The Paris terrorist attacks of a week ago — Friday, November 13, 2015 — have served to again expose one of this country’s most deep-seated and extremely dark undercurrents: her penchant to accept hate and fear rather than intelligent analysis and action. As Obama has just recently pointed out, “We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic. We don’t make good decisions if its based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.” 

Here are just a small handful of current examples of that ‘descent into fear and panic‘ which has suddenly (?) come to drive the opinions of so many:

A Complete Guide To How The GOP Candidates Reacted To Syrian Refugees After The Paris Attacks

Tony Perkins: Refugee Resettlement Shows Obama & Liberals ‘Hate America’

Congress takes up Syrian refugee fight, starts slide toward shutdown

“There is not one voice of sanity among Republicans as they try to one-up each other in the xenophobia game.”

Paris Terror: Why ISIS Needs The ‘Useful Idiots’ Who Demonize Muslims

“Sadly the Republican candidates for president, and too many in their party, will seek to use this crisis as a partisan weapon against President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential contender. They will charge the Obama administration with “weakness” even as American warplanes fly thousands of sorties against ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria. Such political attacks sound ridiculous to anyone familiar with the recent history of the Mideast. As a product of Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS rose directly from the ill-conceived invasion and occupation of that unfortunate country – and the fact that Clinton mistakenly voted to give George W. Bush the conditional authority to wage that war in no way makes her (or Obama) responsible for its botched execution.

“The social chaos, religious strife, and massive bloodshed resulting from the US invasion created fertile ground for a new terrorist movement. And as Washington Post reporter Joby Warrick explains in Black Flags, his authoritative new history of the rise of ISIS, the Bush administration elevated its founder, a minor Jordanian gangster named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, into an international terrorist celebrity with its bogus claim that he represented a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden.”

And last but by no means least — and speaking of “Useful Idiots”

Trump crosses the Nazi line: Maybe Muslims should wear special ID badges

Gee, Herr Donald. What could possibly go wrong?

Star of David

It obviously doesn’t take a lot to bring America’s Dark Side to the forefront. I wonder why that is? Are we as a nation so uniformly burdened that irrational fear and hate are the only available option? Or maybe the burden is limited to just one segment of vociferous folks? A relatively low percentage? I recently saw somewhere — can’t name the source, unfortunately — the results of a current poll which asked, concerning the fate of Syrian refugees, whether the idea of allowing them entrance to the United States as refugees is supportable or not. I don’t remember the  precise result, but somewhere in the neighborhood of 55% said NO, no Syrian refugees, period. The percentage that said YES, do it, was somewhere above thirty but less than forty percent. The poll also noted that those who identified themselves as ‘Republican’ were far more likely to say NO! than were all others.

And with that view in mind, here are the results from another similar poll on a similar issue, a poll that was taken almost 76 years ago, in January of 1939:

Note that only slightly more said NO back then than now. I’m guessing those two surveys may well support what seems to be the obvious conclusion that in America, the percentage of people who are driven/defined by fear, hate, and greed doesn’t change much from century to century. Makes me think that perhaps the concept of “darkness” more clearly defines we the people than does the oft-quoted “gleaming city on the hill” meme (or however it goes).

So. With apologies to Emma Lazarus, I’m forced by the circumstances detailed above to slightly modify the last line in her famous and epic poem, ‘The New Colossus,’ to make it a bit more accurate:

 I lift douse my lamp beside the golden door

American Darkness thus defined.



Sunday Roast: Dia de los Muertas

The Day of the Dead is a celebration held every year on November 1 and 2, mostly in southern and central Mexico, but celebrations are held all over the world — sometimes called “All Saints Day” or “All Souls Day.”  They are days to remember departed loved one, and celebrate their lives with prayer, food, flowers, and sugar skulls that bear the name of the departed on the forehead.

Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.

Although I have never visited a loved one’s grave after burial, and never intend to do so, I like the Day of the Dead because it’s a celebration of life, rather than a remembrance of illness, tragedy, and death.  And sugar skulls — which are amazing works of art!

This is our daily open thread — Don’t forget that annoying time change thing.

Sunday Roast: Cranberries!

It’s getting to be cranberry season!!  Everybody cheer!!  Or whine, if necessary.  Go ahead, we’ll wait.  *looking at watch*

I luvs me some cranberries — especially since they’re grown in Oregon.  Throw a handful of dried cranberries in my morning oatmeal, and I won’t get upset.  Hand me a refreshing glass of cranberry juice, cut 50/50 with ice-cold soda water, and I will follow you around the rest of the evening — fair warning.  How about a whole cranberry dipped in chocolate — OMG!!!!

The only cranberry thing I don’t like is that wiggly jiggly can-shaped cranberry “sauce.”  It’s too sweet, and the texture makes my tongue want to slap me, and cry “Why?  How could you do this to me!?”  Then I have to sooth it with a large slice of pumpkin pie, because I’m nice like that.

Okay, enough of my raptures.  What Fall flavors are your favorites, and what are you most looking forward to preparing/eating?  Recipes are welcome!

This is our daily open thread — Mmmmm, cranberries…

Sunday Roast: Taino Genocide Day

This is a few years old, but still pertinent, as Thom scrapes away at the white-washing — literally and figuratively — of the life and actions of Christopher Columbus.  It’s absolutely sickening, and a horrifying indicator of the coming genocide of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Thank goodness the holiday isn’t until Monday — you have time to get to the mall for that big sale.

This is our daily open thread — Barf.