The Sechny-Schneider Thanksgiving, 2017

Some scenes from our Thanksgiving, courtesy of friend and prolific photographer Lisa Nagy Isaacson:

Some of the food:
While we mostly drank champagne/mimosas, we also test-tasted this not-at-all-bad “Covfefe” wine Our niece Emily with Wayne’s sister Judy.My brother Bobby with one of his oldest friends from the neighborhood, Saul Isaacson.Mike and Emily, slaving away in the kitchen.

Mike and his mother, Mary.

Saul and Judy perusing, as far as I recall, DIckens.

Saul and his wife (and now our family photo archivist, as I told her) Lisa.

Wayne and I melting into the couch.  Those plush ‘drumsticks’ you see in the foreground were actually Thanksgiving-themed ‘party’ headgear, which we were forced to wear for a photograph later, and which I will NOT post here (or anywhere else!)

Several (many many) Mimosas later, after some wonderful NY cheesecake over which some of us drizzled a maple/cream/pecan sauce, Wayne and I headed home to our hungry kitties.  It was an enjoyable visit that, now that we’ve gotten more used to the newer ‘family and friends’ dynamics, we’re looking forward to more and more each holiday.

I hope that all of our Zoo family and friends enjoyed just as comfortable – and tasty! – Thanksgiving.

The Watering Hole: Saturday, October 15th, 2016: KITTENS!

I was going to title this “ALL-PUSSY EDITION”, but it might have attracted the wrong crowd. Heh.

Wayne and I have just added two kittens, sisters, to our family. No names yet, but it’s only been about ten days since we got them, and I’m observing their behavior/personality traits for clues as they settle in. They made themselves at home within the first day or two, and while Wayne and I find them highly entertaining and completely adorable, the rest of our kids are not so amused. The older four, Missy, Buster, Fitzgerald and Cecilia, are happy to have the bonus of Kitten Chow (and even though I started out feeding the little ones separately, in the other side of the house, the others quickly sniffed it out anyway), but otherwise avoid them at all costs. Squiggy, on the other hand…

Squiggy's a big (and heavy!) boy now.

Squiggy’s a big (and heavy!) boy now.

Squiggy, about two years old now, is a big boy and loves to play, especially “fetch”. We’ve always had lots of toys around for him, often stockpiled for when he goes after a thrown toy but comes back empty-mouthed, yet still asking for another throw. With the exception of the occasional spontaneous outburst of play on the part of our older ‘girls’, Squiggy has had most of the toys pretty much to himself. He has his “favorite” toys, his “okay-I’ll-play-with this-one-until-you-find-me-one-of-my-favorites” toys, and the “I’m-just-gonna-let-that-one-go-by-while-looking-bored” toys. Whatever he thought of them before, the two invaders now consider all of the toys to be theirs. Not even Squiggy’s favorites have been spared, and, although he seems simply fascinated by their antics at times, and sometimes joins in when the two girls are running full-tilt through the house, he is all-too-often bemused, bothered, befuddled and bewildered. We’re trying to make sure that he and the others get their previously-normal share of attention and loving, but, as I said, the older ones currently prefer to steer clear. We’ll all adjust eventually, they just don’t know that yet.

No more prologue is necessary, so here they are:

It's tempting to name her

It’s tempting to name her “Blaze”.

Her blaze has stripes.

Her blaze has stripes.

I only got one picture of this little girl's face, unfortunately. And obviously, I had to clean up the background to make it presentable in public.

I only got one picture of this little girl’s face, unfortunately. And obviously, I had to clean up the background to make it presentable in public.

Here's a nice back view of the lighter one's markings.

Here’s a nice back view of the lighter one’s markings.

“She likes to wash.”
That’s Wayne’s hand, for the record.

And one last one – Sorry, but I couldn’t help making this shot into a political meme:nastyorangemanwearingroadkillgrabswha3

This is our daily Open Thread – don’t forget to sprinkle some compliments in amongst your comments!

Also, too, any and all suggestions for names will be welcome.

The Watering Hole; Friday May 13 2016; The Meaning of Life

Take all away from me, but leave me Ecstasy,
And I am richer then than all my Fellow Men . . .

In today’s human world,  the sad reality is that all that really counts is money, both the acquisition and the possession thereof — the more the better — all without any concern whatsoever for anything else, the earth and everything on it included. As a consequence, one need not look far to find massive evidences of human-directed destruction and contamination of virtually every aspect of the planetary environment from air to land to water to everything between, including virtually any and all life forms, humans included.

We (humans) are not all like that, thankfully. In fact, large numbers of “us” find infinitely more pleasure and purpose in hanging out with and observing critters who have zero interest in money or wealth; they don’t even know, much less care, what money is. No reason to know, because, after all, when your corner(s) of the world provide everything needed to make life meaningful, what would be the purpose of Money? It has no meaning to the talented, to the self-sufficient, to the gifted; it only has meaning to those who have no talent, no gift, no self-sufficiency, to those who can find no real meaning in life itself.

Below are eight photos — each and all from 2016 — which portray the genuine Meaning Of Life, a meaning which seems to, with every passing year, elude ever more humans, most especially those whose sole interests are Money, and Politics, and the presumed Power that comes along for the ride. But “Meaning” does NOT elude these critters!

The first four are of some local Colorado Front Range Canadian Geese including this year’s crop of goslings. I managed to get them to “pose” for me earlier this week, on May 9, when the little ones were roughly three weeks out of the egg. Already they’re out exploring the world — under the close watch of their moms and dads, of course — and already are more aware of legitimate survival techniques than the great bulk of humans of most any age. And they don’t have/need either a bank account or a gun, even!

May 9 2016 goose family 2244

May 9 2016 two goslings 2249

May 9 2016 goose family on water 2263

May 9 2016 goose family on water 2260

Next are four photos of one of this year’s family of Sonoran Desert Great Horned Owls, courtesy of Arizona Naturalist and Photographer Denny Green, longtime friend and resident of Tempe, AZ. These feathered folk typically nest in Giant Saguaro Cacti which are, I’m sure, one of the planet’s safest domiciles.

Great Horned Owl X7A9326

Great Horned Owl chicks X7A9009

Great Horned Owl chicks X7A8960

Great Horned Owl family X7A9511

Speaking of close-knit families! As for money, who needs it!

******

Finally, a bonus shot, this one from Thursday May 12:

May 12 2016 Gosling 2279

Money and wealth, polytics, power — Bah Humbug!

Ill it becometh me to dwell so wealthily
When at my very Door are those possessing more,
In abject poverty –
(Emily Dickinson)

******

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Friday January 29 2016; The Birds

Today I’ve decided to switch from politics to something interesting. My old College bud, Denny Green, has evolved to become, in his retirement, a dedicated nature/wildlife photographer. He recently visited a place in New Mexico called the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, a refuge considered to be parcel to that “national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.” It is clearly a haven for wild birds, a haven which I would consider comparable in design and purpose to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon — but since this post is politics-free, I won’t even mention that place up there.

Anyway, here are some selected early ‘winter’ photos, taken by Denny Green at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in western New Mexico. They are of the waterfowl most prevalent at the time, i.e. Sandhill Cranes and two varieties of Snow Geese.

–And to bird-lover Ebb, wherever you might be, enjoy!!–

Sandhill Cranes, sunrise, at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Bosque del Apache Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Cranes

Sandhill Crane

Ross’s Geese, Bosque del Apache

Snow Geese, mating pair

Meanwhile, back in Arizona, some rare ducks popped up late last month at a secluded pond not far from the greater-Phoenix metro area. The first fellow has shown up — alone –each of the last two years. Where he comes from and where he goes, no one knows.

Eurasian Wigeon

American Wigeons, mating pair

Finally, this ‘Red Head Duck’ mating pair, also from a secluded pond in Maricopa County Arizona.

Red Head Ducks, mating pair

So there you have it: waterfowl from a National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, also some relatively rare ducks from an isolated pond in otherwise human-crowded Maricopa County, Arizona.

Some say cattle (and guns) are more important; I disagree.

All photos ©Denny Green, Tempe Arizona.

OPEN THREAD

 

The Watering Hole; Thursday January 21 2016; Narcissistic Fascism, AKA GOP

There’s a new GOP monster out there,
One that’s emerging from the Narcissistic-Fascist
Ice core that is its heritage, and this day has become:
Trump-Cruz — drip-drip.

Q for America: Whereto from here?

Without doubt, one of the most disturbing aspects of 2016’s Republican Presidential campaign is that its two “leaders” at this point — Donald Trump and Ted Cruz — are politically FAR to the right of that mystical (and poorly defined) boundary that separates American Conservatism from classic European Fascism. Add to that Trump’s indelible and definable narcissistic megalomania — and Cruz’s hyper-religious-anti-government obsession — and what emerges is a potential horror show the world has not seen since, say, 1939.

Number one (currently) in that horror show is the (supposed) billionaire and real estate mogul from New York, Donald Trump. Anyone not brain-dead who’s watched even a video clip from most any of Trump’s campaign appearances cannot help but notice that among all of his myriad undercurrents, two stand tall and proud: Egomania and Narcissism — either one of which could well demand of him, should he become President, some potentially untoward consequences.

A Neuroscientist explains: Trump has a mental disorder that makes him a dangerous world leader

According to a number of top U.S. psychologists, like Harvard professor and researcher Howard Gardener, Donald Trump is a “textbook” narcissist. In fact, he fits the profile so well that clinical psychologist George Simon told Vanity Fair, “He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops.” This puts Trump in the same category as a number of infamous dictators like Muammar Gaddafi, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Saddam Hussein. And although there are narcissists out there who entertain us, innovate, or create great art, when a narcissist is given immense power over people’s lives, they can behave much differently. As the 2016 presidential election grows nearer we must ask ourselves, if elected president would Donald Trump act on the behalf of the will of the people, or would he behave more like a dictator—silencing any dissenting voices, perpetually refusing to compromise, and being oppressive to certain groups? . . . (highlights mine)

Ah, the potential products of Narcissism? Good question. Brings to mind a quote:

The doom of a nation can be averted only by a storm of flowing passion,
but only those who are passionate themselves can arouse passion in others.

And then there’s this, the other side of that same coin:

Ted Cruz’s obsession to destroy America

So far during his candidacy, Ted Cruz has said that if he should become President, he will (at the very least) . . .

  • Move the U.S. Israeli Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel’s “once and eternal” capital.
  • Shutter the Commerce Department in order to promote free trade and “close the congressional cookie jar.”
  • Abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau “. . . and the alphabet soup of regulators.”
  • Abolish the Departments of Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, and the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Rip to shreds the Iran Nuclear Deal on his first day in office, because “it represents a pattern we’ve seen in the Obama administration over and over again of negotiating with terrorists.”
  • Utterly destroyISIS. “Carpet-bomb them into oblivion” until the “sand can glow in the dark.”
  • Repeal every word of the Affordable Care Act and then “pass common-sense health-care reform that makes health insurance personal and portable and affordable and keeps government from getting in between us and our doctors.”
  • Rescind President Obama’s executive orders, esp. those on immigration and gun control. “Those executive orders are not worth the paper they’re printed on because when you live by the pen, you die by the pen, and my pen has got an eraser.”
  • Bar (Muslim) refugees from Syria, allow Christian immigrants only.
  • Ban Sanctuary Cities, because “Not only are these sanctuary policies an affront to rule of law; they are extremely dangerous.” Sanctuary. Dangerous. Papiere bitte the only solution?

Cruz also advocates a budget-busting flat tax, the elimination of payroll taxes and, of course, ipso facto, the eradication of Social Security and Medicare. He also plans to freeze the hiring of civilian government employees and to eliminate the president’s authority to restrict exports of fossil fuels. Because, you know, MONEY!

Ted Cruz obviously fits the radical far-right wing conservative definition of Leader. He may not be the full narcissist that his poll companion — Trump — has proven himself to be, but Cruz remains, as they say, ‘close enough for government work’ to that “leadership” pinnacle. But — mix ’em both together and here’s what will likely follow:

The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty
to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve
and defend those basic principles upon which our nation has been built.
It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and
the family as the basis of national life. Turbulent instincts must be
replaced by a national discipline as the guiding principle
of our national life.

Grrrrrrrrrr !!!!

GOP + Trump + Cruz ⇒ Narcissistic Fascism, AKA GOP

Oh, and lest we forget their defining model:
they clearly belong to and derive from that historical
Narcissistic Fascist,
a.k.a.

A. Hitler.

******

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Friday December 4 2015; Shade, and Sun

Had I not seen the Sun
I could have borne the shade . . .
(Emily Dickinson)

First, the shade — and yes, it’s hard to bear sometimes:

I’ll be brief. “Brief” seems a blessing, actually, once you read the following contributions by right wing and evangelical (assuming there’s a difference) nutcases. Best advice is to just hang on, it’ll all be over. And soon!

OK, so here goes nuttin’ — eight nuttin’s, actually:

(caution: recommend Saran wrap over your keyboard  before proceeding)

Ted Nugent: Time To ‘Cleanse This Country’ Of Liberals Who Want Everyone ‘Bending Over And Taking It In The Ass’

Erik Rush: Obama Wants Billions To Die To Curb The World Population

E.W. Jackson: Black Lives Matter Is ‘Demonic’

Mike Huckabee Ties Syrian Refugee Issue To San Bernardino Shooting

Glenn Beck: Obama Is Either Delusional Or ‘The Dumbest Son-Of-A-Bitch On The Planet’

Leading Dominionist Says Donald Trump Is A Modern-Day Lincoln Anointed By God

Trump’s Anti-Muslim Bigotry Isn’t Hurting Him. It’s Helping.

Ok, so there, in no particular order, were eight full doses of toxic waste. Glad we’re done with that part. And now, prepare yourself for several (eight, actually) breaths of really clean and fresh air! (And yes, it’s now OK to remove the no-longer-needed Saran Wrap from your keyboard).

Here’s an abbreviated glimpse of what can reasonably be called ‘November’, or maybe ‘Autumn in the Rockies.’ Note the absence of humans, also the absence of things named Trump, Cruz, Huckabee, Nugent, Beck, et al. No toxic waste, in other words. No garbage! So go ahead, feel free to just sit back, relax, and enjoy.

Nov 1 Autumn idyll Beckwith 2055November 1: a pair of Canadians ‘On Golden Pond’

11-2 buzzer in flowers cr 2073November 4: Busy bee working the local ‘Forget-Me-Not’ bonanza

11-3 Last Rose 2076November 7: ‘The Last Rose of’ . . . Autumn

Nov 25 Sunset 2091November 25: The lull — and the SKY! — before the storm

Nov 30 Greenhorn 2110November 29: Same mountain, clear skies (finally!) and LOTS of snow

Dec 1 Snow bunny 2118November 30: Little feller checking out his fresh white world

To close it out, here are two more from a similarly memorable November past:

Nov 2, 2009: Front Range lake reflection (inverted)

November 29, 2009: Thanksgiving (morning) backyard Guest

OK, so that’s it. Two worlds, both available, both accessible, amazingly different. One’s peaceful, the other nerve-wracking. Why is that? Why is the human world so indelibly messed up? Has it always been that way?

William Wordsworth once asked pretty much the same questions, then answered them in just a few words when he wrote, in his poem Lines Written In Early Spring:

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.

Who, besides political or evangelical hacks, could ever find argument with that? Yeah, I know, there’s not space enough or time enough to list them all. Wouldn’t do any good anyway.

OPEN THREAD

 

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,
purple_glossy_starling
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:
waterfall-godafoss-iceland

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

The Watering Hole; Thursday February 26 2015; Weird Week Weather-Wise

It’s been a weird week, weather-wise, both in Colorado and across much of the country. Here at the foot of the Rockies, we literally went from temps in the 70s and 80s — and a completely thawed lake — to heavy snow and temps near zero, then back into bright sunshine and warming days, then back to more cold and more heavy snow.

Following are six photographs that pretty much summarize the weird weather’s week. It begins on Thursday the 19th — a bright sunny and warm day at the local lake with a scene that definitely doesn’t look like mid-winter. It’s a lake view on an incredibly still afternoon. The water was glassy smooth and after looking at the photo, I thought the reflections of the bare and leafless trees looked better when the scene was inverted — a touch of Monet, maybe? Oh, and that white stuff at the waterline is the remnant of the snow that fell a couple of weeks earlier.

Beckwith reflections 899The next day, Friday the 20th, not too much changed. It was cooler, and by afternoon the wind had picked up. Something was definitely in the air, though, and the weather forecast was looking pretty grim — this time they got it right. The following five shots show the progression of the storm; in order to avoid freezing my delicate shutter finger, each and all were taken through my front window.

First, Saturday morning, the gathering storm as it wrapped its arms around Mt. St, Charles, a 12.000 ft peak in the Front Range, the Wet Mountains.

Mt St Charles 904The snow started falling Saturday afternoon and was still coming down on Sunday morning, with close to a foot on the ground by 8AM. In the photo below, note the two almost buried cars, parked on what was once a passable road.

Snowy day 909Monday morning, the sun was out, the sky was blue, and the snow was covering everything in sight, trees included. The Front Range was still shrouded in an ice fog, however, and remained that way the entire day.

Snow scene 917Tuesday morning, the fog had dissipated and the sky over the mountains was crystal clear, and COLD!

Roundtop & St Charles 926The sun was still shining on Wednesday until around noon when the next weather front started coming over the front range. Dark clouds hailed the front’s arrival over Mt. St. Charles.

Mt St Charles 929Within the hour the Front Range was completely immersed in low clouds and fog, and by mid-afternoon the snow started to fall here. By seven PM Wednesday night, several inches had already fallen and the wind was blowing it all over the place; visibility was down to a few feet at best.

The bad part of the story is that, according to the National Weather Service, it’s likely to be Monday-next before things calm down again. So here’s some advice to everyone living east of the Rockies: don’t put your snow shovels away just yet!

I guess Emily Dickinson sort of summed it all up some 160 years ago when she wrote this little gem:

The Sky is low — the Clouds are mean.
A Travelling Flake of Snow
Across a Barn or through a Rut
Debates if it will go —

A Narrow Wind complains all Day
How some one treated him
Nature, like Us is sometimes caught
Without her Diadem.

Sure am glad all that climate change bunkum is nothing but a giant hoax. I mean hey, if it was for real, then various corners of the country might be getting some really goofy weather now and again!

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Thursday February 12 2015; The Week That Just Was

It’s been a weird week. Last Thursday, the fifth of February, Obama attended the National Prayer breakfast, and when he spoke, he included a condemnation of all who ‘hijack religion’ and use it for tyrannical purpose even as they consider there actions justifiable by said religion. He was duly critical of the Islamic State aka ISIS, calling them a “death cult.” He was also critical of all religions who have, in their respective histories, irrefutable evidences of tyrannical behavior. He said, for example, that

“Unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

“So it is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a simple tendency that can pervert and distort our faith.”

From that point forward, the shit hit the fan bigtime in Wingnuttistan. In the days that followed, there clearly was more ‘Christian’ (I use the word loosely when it refers to far right wing adherents) outrage — more virulence — than most of us have seen in years, and it all came thundering down within a few days. I won’t bother to quote the vitriol, but for the curious, a quick peek here should satisfy: it’s where one Janet Mefferd Slams Interfaith ‘Garbage’ At National Prayer Breakfast and reveals a fairly good-sized chunk of wingnut Christian misinterpretation, especially of each and every word spoken by their arch-enemy — that Muslim-commie-fascist-Nazi-usurper — President Barack Obama.

OK, enough of Wingnuttistaniarrhea. There were other ‘happenings’ in the week that were a whole lot more interesting, happenings that I managed to record with my Sony (boy, do I like that 64X optical zoom and 20 megapixel resolution!) digital camera.

Here are a few captured moments from the past week. First, from February fifth (and note that even after the National Prayer Breakfast, the universe appears relatively undisturbed) a humble attempt at Monet-style impressionism with this inverted scene of shore and goose reflections in our slowly thawing local lake:

Geese 817 flipNext, the big event on the evening of that same day, the full moon rising behind the thinnest veil of winter’s hazy sky. Notice how, in spite of Obama’s earlier-in-the-day National Prayer Breakfast ‘blasphemy,’ the surface of the moon remains dutifully scarred, and even though it’s our nearest ‘heavenly’ body, it has obviously NOT been tossed from our view by a vengeful and merciless G– . . . Oops, never mind. Sometimes I tend to get carried away when the nuts come out — during the full moon, y’ know..

Rising moon 824On Feb. eighth (temp in the 70’s) most of the surface snow on the ice had melted, leaving behind only a series of goose tracks, dutifully recording the ‘pathways’ upon which they walked to/from the grassy area on the the shore where they like to hang out, and to/from their island roosting places:

Icy goose prints 827On the ninth — another mid-70’s day — the ice was melting fast and the honkers were, predictably, enjoying it. Most interesting was something I’d never before noticed in the local goose population which has been forever staffed with typically light brown Canadians. I don’t know whether these near-black critters are a variety of Canadian or another type altogether, but whatever, they seemed to get along with the more common locals, no problem. Here are a pair of the dark guys standing one rock away from a typical Canadian in the process of catching forty winks.

Geese rocks water ice 862Here’s a closer view, one of each.

Geese Canadian and dark 857 William Wordsworth once managed to sum up the enduring nature/human disparity when he wrote (in Intimations of Immortality) —

Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;
Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,
And, even with something of a Mother’s mind,
And no unworthy aim,
The homely Nurse doth all she can
To make her Foster-child, her Inmate Man,
Forget the glories he hath known,
And that imperial palace whence he came.

Long story short: I can’t imagine why it is, but for some reason my tendency is to enjoy the natural world “out there” far more than the non-feathered two-legger’s domain — you know the place, “that imperial palace whence [we] came.” It’s where, according to Rick Santorum, ‘Sexual Activity’ Rights are Encroaching On Religious Rights.  Funny how geese and most other wild critters never seem to have that problem. Wonder why that is?

OPEN THREAD

 

 

The Watering Hole, Saturday, January 31st, 2015: Dogs and Cats

First, the dogs: From rantpets.com, “25 Uncommon Dog Breeds You Didn’t Know About” (I did know about some of them, as I’m sure many of you do.)

I love some of the (often minimal) breed descriptions:

Number 23, the Berger Picard: “French Shepherds, which date back to 800 AD, are a very rare breed.” [But their bloodline is continued into the 25th century, minus most of the hair, of course.]

Number 11, the Jade Terrier: “The Jade Terrier appeared between the two world wars.” [What, did it come through the Wardrobe from Narnia?]

Number 8, the Mudi: “About 100 years ago in Hungary, a spontaneous breed surfaced called the Mudi dog.” [A “spontaneous” breed? Another Narnian?]

Number 2, the Finnish Spitz: “This adorable breed was originally bred to hunt game like bears and squirrels.” [BEARS and squirrels? BEARS?!]

Number 1, the Otterhound: “These dogs are said to be [the] most intelligent carnivorous mammals in all of Europe.” [I’d have to agree that otterhounds are probably smarter than most human “carnivorous mammals.”]

Otterhounds (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Otterhounds (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Now, the cats: With tomorrow’s Super Bowl in mind, here’s “20 Things Your Cat is Thinking While You’re Watching the Super Bowl”, also from rantpets.com. Not as funny as I had hoped, but some cute cat photos make it worthwhile. And for those who won’t watch football, there’s always Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl for tomorrow’s entertainment.

This is our daily Open Thread, brought to you from the frozen tundra of New York. Brrrr!

The Watering Hole; Friday January 30 2015; Ice Geese

We’ve had some weird weather here the last couple of weeks. First it rained, then it got cold, then it snowed, then it got COLD, then it stayed cold for a few days, then it got sunny and really warm. Most of the snow melted; the frozen lake stayed mainly frozen except for a few thawed spots along parts of the shoreline. On the warmest day, we took a couple of hours and a camera along with us on a leisurely walk around the lake. The local goose population was there in force, and was clearly enjoying the ice, the water, and even the sheltered corner where the ice was still snow covered.

Following are a few photos from that day, none of which need a caption or further description — they are what they are, sotospeak. Take a look, enjoy the view, and if you can, please explain to me how it is that any critter anywhere can stand for hours on the ice ON ONE LEG while sleeping. Me, I’ve decided not to try it, but still . . . 😀

Beckwith geese 775

Tree GeeseGeese and reflections 801

Geese on ice 798I’m thinking that being a goose is kinda cool. About the only hassle they have in life is the idiot with a gun — but I guess that we humans also have THAT problem. I do know a few folks who can stand on one leg in that yoga “tree” pose, but I’m not one of them, either.

Maybe in the next life? Nah. Prolly not. Life ain’t THAT fair!

Anyway, that’s all for today. Feel free to chatter away on whatever happens to tweek the imagination.

OPEN THREAD

 

 

The Watering Hole; Friday January 9 2015; Merciless Savage Travesty

As nearly all “good” Americans know, our hallowed statement of purpose — aka the Declaration of Independence — begins with these familiar words (highlights added):

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.  –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form . . .

What most Americans do NOT realize, however, is that the same Declaration also contains these words:

The . . . present King of Great Britain . . . has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

Interesting how even way back then, the Western Hemisphere’s white-skinned and newly-arrived (what today would be called “illegal”) immigrant population was unwilling and unable to admit that aboriginal inhabitants of said lands had any intrinsic rights. The original inhabitants were, after all, nothing but merciless and non-white Savages and therefore were not at all burdened by the all men are created equal meme that had been spelled out and worshiped so extensively — at least by the white European (illegal) alien invaders.

In the new America, in other words, all was well IF you were a white European (illegal) immigrant. Otherwise? Not so much, since from the moment of European discovery of the Americas forward to the present day, it can safely be said that the superiority implicit in white skin remains codified, in effect, as the legal license that enables white America to take —  from any aboriginal land remnant anywhere in the country — whatever might be considered useful and to, without challenge or legal barrier of any kind, do with it as they please.

In fact, in 1823 a Supreme Court decision (under Chief Justice John Marshall) effectively ruled that ever since since discovery, the (illegal immigrant) Europeans have held superior title and sovereignty to the entire of all the land in North America, and that the inferior and savage aboriginals have only the mere right of occupancy — which can be terminated at any time and for any reason. Those precepts still hold today; they have not been overturned or even reevaluated.

Enter year 2014. Enter Rio Tinto and the continuation/acceleration of Merciless Savage Travesty, American style:

When the U.S Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 on December 12, 2014, it thereby approved a land swap that will hand over to the global Rio Tinto Mining Company a 2400 acre area that is part of the traditional territory of, and sacred to, the Apache Nation. The area is the location of a massive copper deposit which will be mined for the billions of dollars that will accrue to the dominating societies of the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

So. 2400 acres of land that’s considered sacred by the San Carlos Apaches is essentially handed, by the US Congress via a non-defense addendum to the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, to a British-Australian company that wants to mine the copper deposit embedded in said sacred land, and the Apache people have absolutely NO SAY in the matter because as we all know and as was affirmed by the Marshall Court in 1823, merciless savages are inferior and have no real rights beyond ‘occupancy’ — which is similarly tentative.

I wonder if maybe the term “Merciless Savages” ought to be redefined to include the Western Hemisphere’s white European (illegal) immigrants and their descendents?? I wonder, too, if maybe all of this Rio Tinto nonsense might soon come to define the fate of South Dakota Sioux lands, lands which the descendents of ancient Aboriginal Peoples do NOT wish to see gouged and/or contaminated by the environmentally insane Keystone XL Pipeline. The final decision may well not be theirs to make, however, given that they are technically and in the eyes of legal precedent little more than “merciless INDIAN savages.”

For a far more complete discussion of American aboriginal legal status and “rights” see the Bill Moyers interview with University of Arizona Law professor, Indian rights advocate , and author of “Savage Anxieties” Robert A. Williams, Jr. It’s well worth the half-hour it takes to watch it; transcript also included.

Meanwhile, I should note that this Rio Tinto vs. Apache Sacred Land deal is not brand new, it’s been ongoing for several years. I left Arizona in 2008, but recall that even then procedures were underway that would one day ‘soon’ hand Rio Tinto the copper mining rights to the land in question, and no Apache protest — nor any common sense thesis, for that matter — would be taken into account; AZ’s right wing politic had only one solution in mind, and would tolerate nothing less.

The land in question lies east of metro Phoenix and in the mountains just to the north of US 60 near the town of Superior, AZ, also to the west of existing copper mines near Globe, and to the west of the current western boundary of the San Carlos Apache Reservation. Adjacent to Superior and just across the US 60 highway is a place I often visited back then, a desert botanical ‘garden’ called the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum, a place dedicated to the survival of plant species native to the area and beyond. Following are a pair of photos of flowering cacti taken circa 1980 in Boyce-Thompson, just across the highway from the Sacred Lands in question.

Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus_grusonii)

Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus_grusonii)

Bishop's Cap Cactus (Astrophytum myriostigma) local variety

Bishop’s Cap Cactus (Astrophytum myriostigma) local variety

So which is it? What shall it be? A giant open pit copper mine? Sacred Land left undisturbed? You be the judge. Vote here.

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