Sunday Roast: Just another Sunday


Cape Perpetua

Photo by Zooey

When you think of Oregon, this is what you think of, right?  Well, it’s true.  The entire state looks just like this, and that’s why I need to live there.

Nah, I’m just full of crap, as per usual (but not about the ‘living there’ part).  ;)

Oregon has all sorts of geography types:  Oregon Coast (my fav), Willamette Valley, Rogue Valley, Cascade Range, Klamath Mountains, Columbia Plateau, Oregon Outback, and Blue Mountains (which are visible from my area).  All of them beautiful in their own ways, of course.

Another favorite place is the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, in the middle of the state.  Beautiful lakes and evergreens, right next to volcanic flows on the surface, located between the high desert and the Cascade Range.  The juxtaposition is a little startling!

Anyhoo, I’m off to Glacier National Park today, with my youngest in tow.  Another gorgeous place in our beautiful country!!

This is our daily open thread — You know what to do.

Sunday Roast: Stop and smell the flowers

Photo by Zooey

The world is going crazy, and there’s far too much we can’t do anything about — even if we can’t or won’t admit it.

So, instead of all that, enjoy this pretty picture I took on Sauvie Island, outside Portland.

Do you feel the calm washing over you?

This is our daily open thread — Relax!

Sunday Roast: Glacial Erratic



The trail to the glacial erratic.

Mossy trees.

The erratic!

The view from the erratic.

Another view from the erratic.

Photos by Charles Meier

My eldest and I recently took a trip to the Oregon coast to celebrate his 31st birthday, and we stopped by Erratic Rock State Natural Site, in the Willamette Valley near Sheridan.  I gave him my camera, and found that he’s another member of our little family with a great eye for photos.

A glacial erratic is rock that is different from the type of rock normally found in the area where it has been found, having been carried to its present location by glacial ice.

This particular erratic is a bit different, in that it was carried to this place encased in an iceberg let loose by the Missoula Floods.

The pre-historic Missoula floods began in western Montana fifteen to twenty-thousand years ago. These large floods altered the landscape of the Columbia River valley and flooded the Willamette Valley. Many rocks were transported down the Columbia encased in icebergs and deposited from Montana through Idaho,Washington, and Oregon when the flood waters receded and the ice melted.

The really cool thing about this rock — other than the fact that it’s a friggin’ glacial erratic — is that it comes from Canada, and it’s the only rock of its type outside of Canada.

Geologically, the rock comes from Canada and is the largest glacial erratic rock in the Willamette Valley. The rock is argillite believed to be 600 million years old and originally part of the sea-floor.

This geology geek just went all tingly.  Coolness!!!

This is our daily open thread — Geekify!

Sunday Roast: Mount Hood

Photo by Zooey

Finally!!  I made a trip to Portland, and the mountain is visible!  Woo hoo!

Being a geology geek, I was going to write about the type of volcano Mount Hood is, and the subduction zone of the Pacific coast, but this post is really late, so here’s one of the legends of Mount Hood, Mount St Helens, and Mount Adams, according the Multnomah people, via Wikipedia:

The Multnomah name for Mount Hood is Wy’east. In one version of the legend the two sons of the Great Spirit Sahale fell in love with the beautiful maiden Loowit who could not decide which to choose. The two braves, Wy’east and Klickitat, burned forests and villages in their battle over her. Sahale became enraged and smote the three lovers. Seeing what he had done he erected three mountain peaks to mark where each fell. He made beautiful Mount St. Helens for Loowit, proud and erect Mount Hood for Wy’east, and the somber Mount Adams for the mourning Klickitat.

Cool, huh?

This is our daily open thread — Go ahead, visit!

Sunday Roast: Oh Em Gee!!


I’m not in the mood to deal with the bullshit going on in the world today, so I decided to find a picture of a cute cat on the interwebs.  Who knew there were so many!?

Anyhoo, I’m browsing among the cuteness on Google Images, when I came across this picture, and my only thought was, “OhmygodOhmygodOhmygodOhmygodOhmygod, that’s sooooooo cute!!!”

And then my heart grew three sizes.  That is all.

This is our daily open thread — Grumpy Cat will return.

Sunday Roast: Prairie Dogs

Photo by Zooey

Prairie Dogs are sooooo cute!!  I could watch them for hours.

Highly social, prairie dogs live in large colonies or “towns” – collections of prairie dog families that can span hundreds of acres. The prairie dog family groups are the most basic units of its society. Members of a family group inhabit the same territory.

As cute as they are, prairie dogs are tough little critters!  Watch them take on a rattlesnake, with their cute squeaky bark, cooperation in the community, and earth-moving skills.

This is our daily open thread — Squeak among yourselves.

Sunday Roast: March 24, 2030 – Future Edition

Karl Rove- The Architect of the Republican’s Downfall

May I venture a guess? A few years down the road, say in 2030, the current state of the GOP will be seen by political scientists and historians as follows:

By opening up the GOP right wing to the Evangelicals Karl Rove achieved a short term victory, which brought the defeat of the Republicans in its wake. The Bush Presidency, Rove’s biggest strategic achievement, and its costly illegal war in Iraq, in addition to its unchecked supply side economics, unbridled spending, while lowering revenue, led to a deep recession which left Millions of Americans on the brink of destitution.

The conflicts within the party were glossed over by a victory in the 2010 mid-term elections, which came at the height of the economic fall-out and was aided by inherent racist tendencies against a black President. Tendencies in constituencies which have been tapped years before, when Rove’s strategy opened the GOP to the right.

In the aftermath of this “victory” the “purists” in Congress managed to bring Government to a virtual standstill, thus enabling the sitting President to win re-election. A victory won not on policy in the first place, but on a deep seated division in the country mostly about “social issues” brought to the forefront by some contenders for the nomination, which have to be counted as candidates for the Rove constituency.

The loss in 2012 brought about a prolonged battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, which showed victories of both sides, but left relevant policy making on the sidelines for years to come. Meanwhile, the society and economy in the United States evolved and modernised, while the conflict left the GOP without any discernible answer to economic and /or societal problems. It took the Republican Party another 16 years to regain their footing and be competitive again.

The name of Karl Rove, highly acclaimed in the early 2000s has by now become synonymous for self-defeating strategy among GOP politicians.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: A draft of the above post was found near the Way-Back Machine. We post it now for your reading pleasure.]


Sunday Roast: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

On this day in history, December 23, 1954, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was released.

I loved this movie when I was a kid, but I enjoyed Jules Verne’s book even more.  During the giant squid attack scene, I remember thinking that on the interior shots, it looked like the squid was waving.  Well, I was only about ten when I read the book and then saw the movie. :D

I was also crazy for that old show in the 60s, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

This is our daily open thread — What was your favorite childhood  movie?

Sunday Roast: Astoria Column

Photo by Zooey

My eldest son and I took a drive to Astoria when I was in Portland for his birthday in August.  Neither of us had any idea this column was there, but we caught a glimpse of it through the trees as we were exploring the town, so we made our way there.  That’s when we found out it’s called the Astoria Column, and it was built with money from the Astor family, to commemorate the town’s role in their business success.

125-foot (38 m)-tall column stands atop 600-foot (180 m)-tall Coxcomb Hill and includes an interior spiral staircase that leads to an observation deck at the top.[1] The spiral sgrafitto frieze on the exterior of the structure is almost seven feet wide, and 525 feet (160 m) long.[1] Painted by Electus D. Litchfield and Attilio Pusterla, the mural shows 14 significant events in the early history of Oregon with a focus on Astoria’s role including Captain Gray’s discovery of the Columbia River in 1792 and the Lewis & Clark Expedition.[1]

Designed to resemble the Roman Trajan’s Column, the Astoria Column was built of concrete and has a 12-foot (3.7 m) deep foundation.[4] Built at a cost of $27,133.96, the tower has 164 steps to the top, where there is a replica of the State Seal of Oregon.[4]

It’s pretty cool when you come across things you never knew were there, especially on such a beautiful day.

This is our daily open thread — Have you lately made any new discoveries?

Sunday Roast: We


Republicans, what part of this do you fail to understand?  No, we’re not asking you if you like it or think it’s good (by your standards) — that’s been decided.  Whether or not you like, accept, or understand it, Barack Obama is still our President.

“We” includes you, Republicans, so lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way, because we’re still trying to clean up your messes.

This is our daily open thread — Who else is beyond done with the WHINING?

Sunday Roast: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

By resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem on that day. Women’s activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981. This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960, of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961).

On 20 December 1993 the General Assembly, by resolution 48/104, adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.

In the United States, we had the Violence Against Women Act — also passed in 1993 — written by the current Vice President, Joe Biden.  The Act currently up for re-authorization, which would seem like a no-brainer, but it’s hung up in the Republican controlled House, which favors a reduction of such services to undocumented and LGBT women.

Because undocumented and LGBT women aren’t quite women?  Violence up to a certain level should be acceptable?  Maybe if these women get beaten and raped enough, they’ll mend their evil ways.  That could be it.

This is our daily open thread — posted by the late, late, very late Zooey.  LATE AGAIN.  Sorry!!

Sunday Roast: Missing the Sylvia Beach Hotel this year…

Photo by Zooey

For the first time in five years, I’m not spending Thanksgiving week at the Sylvia Beach Hotel.  Right now, I’m supposed to be sitting in the parlor on the third floor in front of a crackling fire, reading my book, and waiting for the hot spiced wine to arrive.

But because a job remains elusive, it was not to be this year.  I’m listening to the wind howl outside my window, trying to pretend it’s a storm at the beach.

So instead, I’m planning a low budget Thanksgiving dinner with Zoo Jr — he’s bringing the turkey — and am truly thankful that my son and I will have the whole weekend to hang out together.

This is our daily open thread — What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Sunday Roast: Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a United States holiday which honors ALL military veterans, living and dead.  Remembrance Day is commemorated on the same day in Britain, Canada, and several other countries, to remember those who died serving their countries, and marking the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice by the Germans at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918, which ended World War I.

Please join TheZoo in honoring all who serve their countries in the military, and remembering those who never came home.

This is our daily open thread.

Sunday Roast: Glacial Lake Missoula

Photo by Zooey

I took this photo on my recent trip to Glacier National Park, having taken a detour down to the National Bison Range.  Over 13,000 years ago, this lush farmland was the site of a huge glacial lake; today we refer to it as Lake Missoula.

The lake was the result of an ice dam on the Clark Fork caused by the southern encroachment of a finger of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet into the Idaho Panhandle (at the present day location of Clark Fork, Idaho at the east end of Lake Pend Oreille). The height of the ice dam typically approached 610 metres (2,000 ft), flooding the valleys of western Montana approximately 320 kilometres (200 mi) eastward. It was the largest ice-dammed lake known to have occurred.

Approximately forty times over a 2000 year periodthe glacial ice dam ruptured, and the contents of Lake Missoula went screaming across the Idaho Panhandle, Eastern Washington (creating the Scablands), and the Columbia River Gorge.  You can see that the flood even reached my little corner of the world on the Snake River.

The cumulative effect of the floods was to excavate 210 cubic kilometres (50 cu mi) of loess, sediment and basalt from the channeled scablands of eastern Washington and to transport it downstream. These floods are noteworthy for producing canyons and other large geologic features through cataclysms rather than through more typical gradual processes.

If you drive across Eastern Washington, you’ll see that even today it looks like a virtual wasteland.  Being in the rain shadow of the Cascades has something to do with it, but the main culprit was flood after flood after flood scouring off the land.  It’s really quite fascinating to imagine the raw and determined power of WATER.

This is our daily open thread — Hey, you learned something new today!

Sunday Roast: 11 Sacred and Iconic Trees

National Geographic

A car drives through the so-called Chandelier Tree in California’s Underwood Park in the 1930s. An iconic giant, this 315-foot-tall redwood was tunneled out as a novelty during the early days of gas-powered cars.

I remember driving through this tree with my family when I was 12 or 13.  We had a great big Dodge van at the time, and the door handles barely missed the sides of the tree tunnel.  It was so cool, but I remember thinking that it was too bad that whoever hollowed out that tree had no respect for such a lovely Redwood giant.  Thank goodness the tree managed to stay alive.

Check out the other ten sacred and iconic trees, such as the baobab,  the dance tree, and the Bohdi tree, at National Geographic.

This is our daily open thread — Enjoy the trees!

Sunday Roast: Hello, Autumn

(photo source)

On Fields O’er Which the Reaper’s Hand Has Pass’d

On fields o’er which the reaper’s hand has pass’d
Lit by the harvest moon and autumn sun,
My thoughts like stubble floating in the wind
And of such fineness as October airs,
There after harvest could I glean my life
A richer harvest reaping without toil,
And weaving gorgeous fancies at my will
In subtler webs than finest summer haze.

~Henry David Thoreau

This is our daily open thread — Talk amongst yourselves…

Sunday Roast: The Death of a Butterfly

by Chris Streich

The New York Times

There was a suicide bombing in Afghanistan the other day.  So far away…the other side of the world.  It means so little in our daily lives.  What does it have to do with us anyway…?

At 8 years old, with freckles and a penchant for frilly dresses and soccer cleats, Parwana was just as I was at that age: equal parts tomboy and little princess. In the last few weeks, she had begun to wear a head scarf, but she clearly was not willing to grow up completely just yet. She was the undisputed ringleader of the little girls, and enough of a spitfire to give the bigger boys as good as she got.

She could belong to any one of us, really.  But she doesn’t.  She doesn’t belong to anyone now…except maybe our consciences.  We hear of another suicide bombing on the other side of the world, and think “Not again,” for about 10 seconds, and then it’s gone.

But this time, we see a face.  We can’t un-see her.  Because sometimes in this world, heroes come in the form of an eight year old child and her friends, who, beside skateboarding, loved nothing more than standing up to a big “bad boy.”

Her name was Parwana, which means “Butterfly” in Dari.  She gave all she had to give, and it has everything to do with us.

This is our daily open thread.

Sunday Roast: Fear

Fear.  What does it mean to you?  What does it mean in your life?  Is your life influenced by fear?  Even just a little bit?

1. a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.

2. a specific instance of our propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights.

3. concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.

4. reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God.  Synonyms: awe, respect, reverence, veneration.

5. something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension; something a person is afraid of: Cancer is a common fear.

My biggest fear is speaking in public. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself to picture the audience naked, or that I don’t know these people and I’ll never see them again in my life. My brain gets it, but my body does not. No matter how confident I feel walking into the room, as soon as I begin speaking, my knees will begin to shake, my face goes beet red, and I start talking a mile a minute so I can get the fuck out of there.

Fear is an emotion induced by a perceived threat that causes animals to move quickly away from the location of the perceived threat, and sometimes hide. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger. In short, fear is the ability to recognize danger leading to an urge to confront it or flee from it (also known as the fight-or-flight response) but in extreme cases of fear (horror and terror) a freeze or paralysis response is possible.

Yep, that’s me moving out of a public room in which I have spoken.  I know what causes it:  I have a fear of being perceived as stupid.  It doesn’t matter if it’s reasonable or not, that’s why it’s a fear, all y’all!

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.
~H.P. Lovecraft

What we fear comes to pass more speedily than what we hope.
~Publilius Syrus

Courage is not the lack of fear, but the ability to face it.
~Lt. John B. Putnam Jr. (1921-1944)

That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it? Fear keeps you alive; we create what we fear; and fear cannot rule over us if we face it.

Like an old friend once asked me, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

This is our daily open thread — What are you afraid of?