The Watering Hole, Monday, October 5th, 2015: Mixed Bag Monday


Let’s start off with a bang:  According to Foreign Policy magazine, the same idiots in Congress who tried to stop the Iranian Nuclear Agreement now want to ‘make it up to Bibi’ by giving Israel bunker busters.  An excerpt from this excellently-written article by Jeffrey Davis:

Since the battle over the Iran deal was largely fought over the question of whether proponents loved Israel or not, both sides are talking loudly about providing the country with a big arms package. Those who supported the deal are eager to make it up to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, while those opposed have to find ever more extreme proposals to prove they love Israel more.

This absurd competition — which is primarily about political posturing, not Israeli security — has reached an almost perfect level of absurdity. There is now a growing chorus of people arguing that the United States should give Israel the Massive Ordnance Penetrator — a huge conventional bunker-buster bomb — and a fleet of heavy bombers to drop it.

Israel’s air bases don’t even have runways that can accommodate heavy bombers, though apparently one base — Nevatim — could be modified.**

[**Personal note:  the engineer for whom I used to work had earned the money that enabled him to buy a nice house and start his own business from a contract constructing the Negev Air Base runways.]

Next, let’s go back to the Pope’s meeting with Kim Davis.  Although most news reports agree that the Vatican’s ambassador to the U.S., Carlo Maria Vigano, arranged the visit, so far none seem to have specifically asked or answered “Why?”  Was it solely Reverend Vigano’s idea?  Or – yeah, I’m the suspicious, cynical type – did someone with a stake in a Papal stamp of approval of Kim Davis and her ilk, someone perhaps running for the Presidency, arrange this very, very quietly?  Yeah, I’m looking at you, Huckabee.

Only the Washington Post appears to be curious about the backstory of this now infamous meeting:

Church leaders in the United States and in Rome have been resolutely tight-lipped about the meeting, perhaps concerned about the prospect of appearing to publicly rebuke or challenge the pope, particularly on such a sensitive issue. At the same time, church-watchers have debated and swapped rumors about who set up the meeting, whether it was at the behest of the pope himself, or whether it was an idea pushed by other bishops or religious freedom advocates or donors.

Among those who declined to comment was the Rev. Carlo Maria Viganò, the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States, at whose residence the meeting took place.

Rev. Thomas Rosica, an English-language spokesman for the Vatican, told the Associated Press. “And in the pope’s characteristic kindness and warmth and hospitality, he shook people’s hands and gave them rosaries. We should understand it as that. In terms of why this person was invited, you have to ask those questions of the nunciature.”

A controversial figure both in Rome and in the United States, Viganò has gone further than other church leaders in his campaign against same-sex marriage. Among other things, he appeared at an event this year with the National Organization for Marriage, a group that vocally opposes same-sex marriage and with which U.S. bishops typically don’t publicly ally.

And, of course, Liberty Counsel, and through them Kim Davis, are more or less calling Pope Francis a liar.  According to Christian Today’s article, “Kim Davis denies Vatican account of her meeting with Pope, says she was invited”:

“Disturbed by statements coming from the Vatican, gay marriage nemesis Kim Davis would like to set the records straight that it was the Vatican that extended an “unsolicited invitation” for her to hold a “private meeting” with Pope Francis at the Vatican embassy in Washington D.C. last Sept. 24.

Liberty Counsel, the group representing Davis, said the Kentucky county clerk—who spent six days in jail for defying a court order for her to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples—had spoken with papal representative Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano before she met the Pope.

“This meeting was a private meeting. No other members of the public were present,” Liberty Counsel said.

Davis, accompanied by her husband Joe and lawyer Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, arrived in Washington on the night of Sept. 23, the Liberty Counsel statement said.

The following day, the Davis couple were met by people with “heavy Italian accents” who led them to the Vatican embassy.

“Kim and Joe Davis were placed in a room with no one else present. Later Pope Francis arrived with only Vatican or Embassy personnel and security,” the Liberty Counsel statement said.

“He stretched out his hands. Kim clasped his hands, and he asked her to pray for him. She said she would, and she asked the Pontiff to pray for her, to which he said he would.

“Pope Francis then thanked Kim for her courage. They embraced. The Pope said, ‘Stay strong.’ He then presented Kim and Joe with two rosaries. There was no line of people or other members of the public seen anywhere,” the statement said.

Liberty Counsel said the Vatican requested Davis to keep the meeting a “secret” until the following Tuesday.”

Really?  In this particular case, I have to say that, since Liberty Counsel and Kim Davis are already proven liars, I tend to doubt their account of the “meeting”, which seems to be just another pathetic attempt to keep Liberty Counsel’s pet martyr for Christianity in the limelight.  But I still want to know, who really arranged this on Davis’s behalf with the Papal Ambassador?

Last, a belated birthday present for our resident Turtle:  from National Geographic, glowing sea turtle!

“The critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle is the first reptile scientists have seen exhibiting biofluorescence—the ability to reflect the blue light hitting a surface and re-emit it as a different color. The most common colors are green, red, and orange.”

This is our daily Open Thread–go on, discuss things!

Sunday Roast: Mesmerize me, Fibonacci


I found this on facebook, which found it on The San Francisco Globe.  Never heard of it before, but I haven’t heard of everything yet.  Heh.

I watched this video until my eyeballs went googley, and then I watched it some more the next day.  Here’s the info:

John Edmark is an inventor, designer and artist who teaches design at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. One of his latest creations is a series of 3D-printed sculptures designed with proportions corresponding to the Fibonacci Sequence. When Edmark’s sculptures are spun at just the right frequency under a strobe light, a rather magical effect occurs: the sculptures seem to be animated or alive! The rotation speed is set to match the strobe flashes such that every time the sculpture rotates 137.5º, there is one corresponding flash from the strobe light.

These masterful illusions are the result of a marriage between art and mathematics. Fibonacci’s Sequence is defined as a recurrent relationship that can be expressed as  F_n = F_{n-1} + F_{n-2}…  where the first two digits of the sequence can be defined as F_1=1, and F_2=1. What this means is that the sequence starts with two 1’s, and each following digit is determined by adding together the previous two. Therefore, Fibonacci’s Sequence begins: {1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89…} etc.

What does all that mean?  No seriously, I’m asking — what does all that mean?  I dunno, but it creates some pretty cool designs and amazingly mesmerizing video.  Or a dude in Palo Alto has way too much time on his hands — could be that.

This is our daily open thread — Watch the video over and over…

The Watering Hole: October 1, 2015 — Something stupid

Our frugal’s computer is behaving badly, so it’s been sent off to reform school or camping or some other horrible thing.  ;)

I told him I’d post one of my stupid things, and our Zooster houseofroberts suggested the above video.  Thanks, House!!!  *tipping hat*

Listening to that old song reminded me of the olden days — you know, my childhood — which not only smelled of cigarettes and coffee, but sounded like Sinatra, Perry Como, Smokey Robinson, and Herb Alpert.  Thanks, Mom!!  Except for the cigarette part — coulda done without that.  *cough*

Anyhoo, more Nancy!!

This is our daily open thread — Happy October!

The Watering Hole, Monday, September 28th, 2015: It’s Autumn, Isn’t It?

It’s week 3 of football season, baseball only has another week in the “regular” season, both of which are normal clues that we’re into fall. Normally, by the end of August, we have at least some trees starting to change their leaves as the first harbingers of the spectacular foliage show to come, but…

With a very few exceptions (certain vines, etc.), our tree-covered hillsides are as green as ever.

According to the official “I Love NY” foliage report,

“Hudson Valley foliage change will remain minimal this weekend, according to foliage spotters. Look for up to 25 percent change in Rockland County, where green still predominates, but some purple, orange and red leaves are beginning to emerge. Dutchess County spotters in Poughkeepsie expect 15 percent color change, with more bright yellow leaves coming into play. Spotters in Columbia, Westchester and Orange counties expect just about 10 percent color change this weekend.”

For some reason, Putnam County, where Wayne and I grew up, is never mentioned, even though there’s plenty of scenic and historic areas in Putnam. And Dutchess County, where we live now, has the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, the Walkway Over the Hudson.

So, where’s our fall foliage? I think I’ll blame Pat Robertson and the religious right for screwing with our seasons. Damned end-timers!

This is our daily Open Thread–whom do you want to blame for something?

Sunday Roast: Spider!


Photo by Zooey

This beautiful spider has set up an abattoir on a huge web outside my kitchen window.  He’s got about five of these little “packets” in his web at any given time, and just goes from one to another, stabbing in his sippy straw and chugging away.

It’s really rather disgusting, but fascinating at the same time — and as long as he stays on his side of the window, we will remain the best of friends.

This is our daily open thread — Anyone know what kind of spider this is?

The Watering Hole; Friday September 25 2015; Pope v. Wingnuts

So. Pope Francis is in the US, and he spoke to Congress. In case anyone missed it, here’s a transcript of his interesting and compelling speech:

Pope Francis’ address to Congress

From the Washington Post, this first reaction:

Pope Francis implores Congress to accept immigrants as their own

And here’s what is probably just a preview of the tone (and the intellectual desolation) the Wingnut reaction will ultimately embrace:

And then there’s this: the more-than-elegant-and-appropriate reaction to the Wingnut reaction(s) by critters who (mostly) reside “out there.” Curiously, I couldn’t agree more, nor could I have said (or portrayed) it better. Fascinating that geese and bugs both understand the problem AND are perfectly willing to toss the proper salute to each and all of the intellectually challenged hominids (aka Wingnuts).

Reminds me of an old song. Lessee: How’d go? Something like

Birds do it . . .

Sep 19 goose dive 1893Sep 19 geese dive 1888Bees do it . . .Bee in cactus bloom 2aEven educated – ummm – bugs(?) do it . . .

Bug on Sunflower 352aLet’s do it, let’s fall . . . Something like that

Glenn Beck definitely earned that standard ‘salute’ when, following Pope Francis’ speech, he tweeted:

The Popes speech was a “Mr Gorbachev tear down this wall” moment. Unfortunately, the “wall” is capitalism.

Do we dare hope? I mean, if “capitalism” is to ultimately be defined by the radical right wing in this country, then I, for one (E Pluribus Unum?), could most assuredly agree with Beck’s nonsensical ‘conclusion.’ Meanwhile, to Beck and all the others of his mental ilk,  I do hereby toss to each and all of them the ‘intelligent’ species’ version of the “signals” portrayed above — as demonstrated via George Bush’s “eloquent” (sotospeak) ass-ignation (sotospeak):

Der FingerMany of us may not agree with every one of the premises advanced by Pope Francis in his speech before Congress, but hopefully disagreement with the crapola advanced by the Wingnuttistanians will be manifest to the point where their influence on the nation’s politic will be permanently dismissed by the electorate — ASAP. Because, should those nutcases EVER gain full power of the state, the operative words will soon become those that traditionally signal the termination of a given tale: The End.

Or, stated another way,

Sep 6 Shadow in the flowers cr 1814GRRRRR!! (sort of)


The Watering Hole; Thursday September 24 2015; *BatShite Craziness*

T.S. Eliot, in the opening verse of his poem entitled The Hollow Men, wrote . . .

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

. . . and with those forty-three words perfectly summed up and described each and all of those screwballs who drive this day’s American political insanity. The fact that Eliot penned this work ninety years ago — in 1925 — suggests he was either *extremely* prescient or that there were lots of ‘Hollow Men’ nutcases around even way back then. In any case, his ‘definition’ is a perfect fit, these days, as it describes a very large number of our very own wingnuts, including even the entire cadre of passengers in the Republican P-Candidate Clown Car.

In just the last few days, I’ve somehow managed to stumble across five of the absolutely most insane “ideas” I’ve read in at least the last year or two; and believe me, THAT is SAYING SOMETHING! If you should dare to wander in and take a closer look, prepare yourselves for the absolute pinnacle of *BatShite Craziness* — and understand that ANY help in redefining the entire concept will be most appreciated!

Savage: Obama’s Nomination Of Gay Army Secretary Proves He’s A Psychopath 

Michael Savage: Only Donald Trump Can Stop Obama From Killing Us All

‘I Don’t Believe In Women Voting’: Theodore Shoebat Declares That ‘Women Have No Place In Politics’

Theodore Shoebat Unhappy With Nomination Of A ‘Flaming Fag’ To Serve As Army Secretary

Theodore Shoebat: Force Gays To Submit To Christianity Through ‘Death And Strong Suppression’ 

And finally, one more consummate example of just how far into the muck and mire of intellectual desolation the human consciousness can sink. It took a little digging to find it, but when the topic is *BatShite Craziness*, this one not only speaks volumes, it also serves to suggest that the entire concepts both of .*BatShite Craziness* and of *Hollow Men* are WAY out of date and are in desperate need of redefinition.

The Ultimate Obama-Islam-Sharia-Agenda 21-Immigration-Debt Conspiracy

T.S. Eliot pretty much summed up the hopes and fears of the batshit crazy who waft and waddle among us with the final two lines of “The Hollow Men” —

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Whimper. Indeed. Are they capable of anything else?


OK, enough of that. On a far more reasonable note, I recently received a request to sign a petition from I admit I was a bit surprised to learn the the petition wasn’t about any sort of complaint or agenda, but was instead a Thank You to the US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. MoveOn put the request this way:

The nation’s doctor has issued a rare Call to Action calling on cities and states across the country to invest in ways to make walking and biking safer, more attractive, and easier to use.

Less than half of Americans get enough daily physical activity to help ward off chronic health problems like obesity and cancer, but more “active transportation” options can be part of the solution.

By issuing this challenge to cities and states, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recognizes that not only is this something more people want, but it’s also something we need.

Thank the Surgeon General for his leadership on keeping America healthy.

As one who very much enjoys the myriad benefits one can gain from the physical activity implicit in both walking and bicycling, I signed the petition immediately. Maybe some who read this will feel the same way? If so, here’s a link to a site that is NOT *BatShite Crazy*!

More Walking and Biking: Thank You Surgeon General!