Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Beautiful "White Moon"

If you took Everything But the Girl, and removed their sadness, combined them with Trio, and got a producer from a Mac commercial, mixed them up in a food processor, and sprinkled it with a lil bit of Reggatta Be Blanc, I think you might come up with Baltimore's Beach House. Check out their very pleasant song "White Moon". You can give it a listen (link here). I'm going swimmin!

Finally Funny Slapstick

I've never really been a fan of "slapstick" comedy. Three Stooges were often mean spirited, intentional violence - some warranted, much of it not. Old silent films with people being intentionally injured on film for comedic effect were the pre-cursors to Tosh.O's documentum of modern day video buffoons - most of it lackluster, but some of it cringe worthy. Chevy Chase falling through tables or walls on SNL was just plain old dumb, and never made me laugh or even grin. But then came parkour...

Parkour, or parcour, or "urban surfing", "extreme jumping and climbing" LOOKS pretty incredible at first glance. Wow, Cirque du Soleil acrobats, dressed like guys from Stomp!, doing Neo and Morpheus jumps from building to building, stair case-to-wall-to-ground... appears to be cool, even "super human". But like the gazelle who tries jumping higher and taller to show the hungry cheetahs "Don't eat me! I'm strong and fast! See me jump!" ...sometimes, that gazelle plants his hooves in a slippery pile of elephant dung, or a termite tunneled hollowed patch of earth, and then he stumbles and doesn't launch himself quite so high. Not everyone in the Parkour world can be the strong gazelle, just like not every kid who plays basketball can be Michael Jordan, no matter how much they want or try to be.

So I found myself captivated this afternoon, laughing hysterically at face plants and nutshots, of stupid, testosterone driven young men attempting Parkour, and failing miserably. These aren't the slick video productions that show amazing, graceful leaps and landings. No, these are the real thing, where faces meet pavement, testicles are crushed, cartilage gets damaged, teeth are shattered - and it's not some accidental cute stunt of a little kid or a dad getting hurt unexpectedly. These Parkour devotees are often hurting themselves As They Practice to do these insane gymnastics.
Links to a few examples:
here ... park bench nutshot
here ... parking bollard nutshot
here ... one story landing face plant
here ... concrete parking face plant
here ... face into pallet
here ... triple failure
here ... clueless "look at me" has no idea how shoddy the wall is he's aiming for
here ... or launching from
here ... or how little load old galvanized corrugated roofing can hold
here ... gooooooal!
here ... silly French boy tests his intestines impact strength
here ... silly school kid flips of camera he himself set up after miserably failing
here ... dumb high school kid incurs a head injury
here ... Bobby Hill from King of the Hill attempts Parkour
here ... Russian Parkour compilation where many hurt themselves

They're not lemurs, orangutans, or howler monkeys... nor are they Peter Parker, Matt Murdoch, Steve Rogers, Kurt Wagner, Neo, or Morpheus. They're dumb young men. I used to be one once, 30 years ago, before Parkour was invented, I launched my banana seat Schwinn bike off a 3 foot ramp and failed to keep my feet on the pedals - assuming they would somehow magically stay adhered to the pedals while flying through the air. The testicular and perianal impact as I landed on the FRAME in front of the seat was intense, and I learned at that point, that boys are not supposed to fly through the air.

I think it's great that there's guys who can climb buildings and jump from roof to roof without injuring themselves, but they are rare entities, the Michael Jordans and Tony Hawks of their genre. The "common guy" who tries to Parkour is going to end up in a neck brace, wheel chair, dentist's chair, or dead, if he's not extremely, extremely careful. This is not falling off a skate board, this is falling off a multi-story building. The adrenalin rush might be amazing, but it's not worth the risk of having to take the ADA ramp the rest of your life.

I enjoy watching Parkour failures, for the simple fact that no one is making these dolts do this, except themselves. It's intentional, superfluous, completely unnecessary, blatantly dangerous while also being extremely difficult, so when they fail, they've earned what's coming to them.

I wonder how many dentists and orthopedists endorse Parkour as a means of job security, as well as for entertainment purposes?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Eviscerated by a Fiend

My good friend Todd G wondered on FB the other day, if instead of "Friending" someone on FB, you could "fiend" them? Quake has corrupted my circuits. All I can think of when I hear of a "fiend" is: Killmessage: "Player was eviscerated by a Fiend"

Why Do They Build On The Flood Plain?

15 years ago, when we had dial up, Dr Desert Flower and I bought Monkey Puzzle's "Joie de Groissant" album on CD. I still love CDs, and have not embraced DDF's old 4 gig discarded Ipod, preferring instead to rotate CDs in an out of my car, office, and living room CD players. No genius mixes or shuffles necessary, just a little laser is all.

The 2nd song on Joie de Groissant is "Flood Plain". I've searched and searched on Google, and I cannot find the lyrics posted (from dial up days perhaps). So I will post them here:

Trees torn from their roots, roads washed away, leaving no escape
wrestled free fences lay flatten by the river, rolling in waves
verdant fields they file down in shadows deep and spilling over the threshold of our home
this life we've built is drowning in too much of a good thing

WHY? Why did we build on the flood plain?
WHY? Why did we build on the flood plain?
WHY? Why did we build on the flood plain?

We built our home on this low land so we knew we were tempting fate
We ignored our old gramps warnings, 'cause we really loved this place
I guess we loved its lushness, it seduced us with its promise, that everything we planted here would grow
But now our crops are drowning is it time to let them go?

WHY? Why did we build on the flood plain?
WHY? Why did we build on the flood plain?
WHY? Why did we build on the flood plain?

Now, are we sinking back down?

I bring this up, because as we drove around the NE Phoenix valley, we kept passing over this apparently superfluous earthen dam. It tries to wall off the northern valley from some massive invasion of water from Flagstaff perhaps, but pesky things like bridges and overpasses keep penetrating it (here). Apparently, there was some post-deluvian reaction to build a 20 foot high wall when the northern valley was inhabited by Saguaros, jack rabbits, and citrus groves. Maybe they were expecting a massive deluge that's never arrived?

If there was truly a risk of a flood, then shouldn't there be flood gates at each of the road crossings that penetrate the wall.? Googling the "Phoenix Flood" or "Great Phoenix Flood" yielded something interesting though. There's been some massive floods of limited areas - the Gila River and Salt Rivers over-flowing, a small spot up near the mountains around Safford AZ received "1,740 cubic feet per second" in 1974. In the 80s, the Salt River (which runs beside the PHX air port) was 2 miles wide and flooded most of down town through the Cave Creek tributary.

So history has shown at the entire Phoenix valley (Tempe, Mesa, Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale) lays within a 100 to 500 year flood plain, theoretically (FEMA links here and here). Since the floods of the 70s and 80s, the state of Maricopa has implemented wide spread spill ways and flood control in all new construction, so such severe flash floods as they had in the 70s are much less likely. The Adobe Dam on the north side of town was built in 1980 to attempt to protect Phoenix from a flooding of Skunk Creek north of town... I just hope that it never rains so much here (or sea levels rise hundreds of feet - link here and here) to flood my home that is at 1100 feet elevation. Of course Roosevelt Dam breaking, 50 miles east of town, would have cataclysmic results for the entire valley, now that it is full of water.

Having evolved in a generation that debuted Red Dawn, The Day After, Omega Man, Escape From New York, Death Race 2000, the 3 Mad Maxes, Threads, the Terminator, and reading Larry Niven's Lucifer's Hammer, Larry King's The Stand... I figured that someday, 'when I grew up' I'd need to
- have a home on the back side of a mountain a few miles outside of a major metropolitan area, to guard against the 1 mile high detonated thermonuclear warheads tipping Russian ICBMs.
- have no one up hill of me, so that there was a clear field of fire to take out marauding zombies, hordes of post-apocalyptic cannibals, invading Cubans, and others who would want to do me harm who were capable of climbing any higher ground
- keep enough sturdy raw materials, fasteners, and a single phase welder on-hand to be able to fabricate impromptu armor plating and bracketry
- store up enough provisions to ride out 2 years of nuclear winter (but I'm not LDS, so in AZ it's kind of strange to try and do so)
- be well armed, and up to date on weapons training
- maintain a working electrical generator, capable of powering my home
- secure an adequate water supply (12,000 gallons of pool, that could be covered / protected from fallout or pillaging, and made potable)
- not live in the flood plain

I've got the last 4 covered (from a 100 year flood, but I'd like to get to the 500 year level, as the Indus River just had). Now I need to work on the first 4. It's not something that I'm actively developing everyday... but it Is always in the back of my mind. =)

Earl Blows

Oh man... poor St. John...

There'll be many iguanas hurtled from the trees. I hope the islands recover quickly.

In Cars

Dr Desert Flower and I spent about 5 hours driving around the NE side of the Phoenix Metro valley yesterday, doing preliminary reconnaissance to escape the west side's inexorable gravity pull. Found a "Patch Work Nation" on the east side similar to the west, where you cross a major street and BAM, the housing prices drop by half (or more) as renters, small square footage, low quality construction, and poorly maintained lots usurped city & mountain views, green spaces, and security gates.

While googling Gary Numan's Car this morning, I unexpectedly stumbled upon this video wherein Dr Desert Flower's favorite sweaty rock idol eye candy, Trent Reznor, plays a "mean tambourine" as Gary Numan performs his classic with NIN in London. It's hard to look cool playing tambourine & keyboard at the same time, but Reznor appears to make it look easy.

It would be nice to see a whole sunset, and not just a fraction that appears over our 2 story neighbor's roof that blocks the best part... especially in August, where Arizona has some of the most amazing sunsets. Looks like for the next few months, we'll be spending a great deal of time 'in cars'. Someday if housing prices start to climb a lil, we can get out of the massive scuba dive underwater adventure we're on. Il faut voir.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Oatmeal

Another tip of the hat to Norine P, for the link to theoatmeal.com. Hilarious stuff there. This is only a small fraction of the installment "working at home" (link here). General link here.

Hilarious stuff! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Jane Says


Has been floating around in my head all day today...
Jane's Addiction, Jane Says (lyrics included). Nominated for best use of steel drums in a none Caribbean song in the JustJoeP music awards. (Winner was Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic [link here] of course).

Glenn Beck & MLK, Accurately Contrasted

A tip of the hat to JustJoeP blog follower Norine P, for this hilarious, and accurate Crooks & Liars post comparing Martin Luther King and Glenn Beck (link here) (the former alcoholic, morning radio "shock jock" DJ, Scottsdale resident, and Mormon, now self-delusional demagogue and spokes-person for the Goldline scheme). Some of Norine's tweets are so funny, I might have to get a twitter account.

For a LARGER version of this micro-time line (if you're not looking at it on a big screen LCD or Plasma TV) go to the Crooks & Liars link.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Feral Hippies Make Unpleasant Chocolates

Last weekend, an organic chocolate shop was recommended to us in Sedona, that had sugar free, organic, free trade ingredient chocolates. So we stopped by the ChocolaTree before heading back down to the 115F Phoenix valley. I was enthusiastic to sample some of the chocolates on display, and they LOOKED delicious. The children (no one who worked there Sunday afternoon appeared to be born before Reagan was president) behind the counter each had a feral hippie, organic wicca-granola-girl appearance, and the clientele who were dining were an eclectic mix... so I picked out 5 pieces of fair trade, organic, stevia sweetened chocolate, and Dr Desert Flower selected 3, and handed the 18 yr old a Andrew Jackson. She rings it up... and says with a smile "that'll be $22.50". Gulp. Ok...

Upon getting home to Phoenix, organic chocolates in the cooler, we tried some more. EW. Bitter, nasty, very unpleasant. "It's not supposed to taste like ass, is it?" Sorry, but these Sedona organic chocolates fell far short of the Belgian, Beaujolais French (from La Clayette), Swiss, Godiva, Lindt, Green & Black, and even Trader Joe's chocolates I've tasted. If you like bitter, unpleasant tasting, expensive chocolates that have a plastic after-taste to them, now you know where to go.

Last Laughs for August

The Daily Show and Colbert Report are taking a two week holiday for Labor Day, returning 13 Sept 2010. Their Thursday programs were quite enjoyable - Wednesdays were fun also, but I was too busy sipping a glass of Armagnac to write down memorable lines.

26 Aug 2010 TDS (link here)
"I have a scheme" - in reflection on Glenn Beck's megalomania
"Black people don't own Martin Luther King, white people own... ugh... "
"It's Raining Glenn"
"Beckapalooza, Beckstock, Beckchella, Beckith Fair, Becking Man"
"If I took AP Faith in High School, can I skip a semester?" - at Beck University
"Romance, does that mean I gotta do it from the front?" - at 'Tool Academy'
"Glenn Beck has a dream. It's the kind of dream you have after eating four peperoni Hot Pockets before bed."
"Shalom, and welcome back to Jew Talk"
" Gay Old Party" - for the GOP

26 Aug 2010 Colbert (link here)
"The next George Washington... a hatchet wielding, toothless, slave owner"
"Momma T with Larry Leper & the Black Hole of Calcut-ups!" - Z95.3 presents!
"Puts the Bang in Bangalore!"
"Glenn's chalkboard is gonna kill him!"
"Mighty Morphin Power Martyr"

Cézanne in Phoenix

2 weeks ago, Dr Desert Flower and I went with some of her European Francophone colleagues to see 'Cézanne and American Modernism' at the Phoenix Art Museum (link here). It was a nice opportunity to see some lovely paintings outside of my favorite museum in the world, Musée d'Orsay (link here). Taking in 16 of Cézanne's works was refreshing after seeing a Henri Matisse exhibit in Chicago back in June (link here and here). The Matisse exhibit was showing works from his "developmental period" that I found somewhat interesting and informative, but not really enjoyable. I prefer Cézanne & Pissaro, stunning Monets, blurry & vivid Van Goghs, colorful Cassatts, and detailed Renoirs. The American artists who Cézanne inspired did some interesting mimicry, and some lovely original works as well.

The Cézanne exhibit runs to September 26th - and the Phoenix Art Museum is free on Wednesday evenings and first Fridays =)

Elizabeth Fraser's Amazing Vocals


To say Elizabeth Fraser's singing is 'lovely' is an understatement at best. Every time I hear this song, I get both a rush and a feel of calm washing over me... almost hypnotic. As part of the Cocteau Twins, Fraser has provided a wealth of excellent work to be enjoyed for generations. Anecdotally, this Tim Buckley song "Song to the Siren" has been in "Lost Highway", "Texas Chain Saw Massacre" and others.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"How they drown in incomplete capacity"

And one Yes leads to another...


lyrics:
Justice to the left of you
Justice to the right
Speak when you are spoken to
Don't pretend you're right
This life's not for living
It's for fighting and for war
No matter what the truth is
Hold on to what is yours

Jigsaw puzzle traitors
Set to spill the beans
Constitution screw up
Shattering the dreams
Blood flows in the desert
Dark citadels burning too
Watch! Look over your shoulder
This one is strictly for you

Hold on - Hold on
Wait maybe the answer's
Looking for you

Hold on - Hold on
Wait! Take you time
Think it through
Yes! I can make it through

Hold on - Hold on
Sunshine shine on through
Hold on - Hold on
Sunshine shine on you

See it through

Talk the simple smile
Such platonic eye
How they drown in incomplete capacity
Strangest of them all
When the feeling calls
How we drown in stylistic audacity
Charge the common ground
Round and round and round
We're living in gravity

Shake - We shake so hard
How we laugh so loud
When we reach
We believe in eternity

I believe in eternity

Hold on - Hold on
Wait - Take your time
Sunshine shine on through
See it through
Hold on - Hold on
Wait - Maybe a chance
Sunshine shine on through
Is looking for you
Sunshine shine on you

Hold on - Hold on
Hold on - Hold on

Sunshine - Shine on shine on you
Sunshine - Shine on through
Sunshine - Shine on shine on through
Sunshine - Shine on you

Sunshine - Shine on - Shine on you
Hold on - Hold on
Sunshine - Shine on through
Wait - Take your time
See it through
Sunshine - Shine on - Shine on through
Hold on - Hold on
Sunshine - Shine on you
Wait - Maybe the answer's looking for you

Leave It

Yes's 90125 work "Leave It" has been bouncing through my head. The MTV video version can be found on a Russian server here (link here). The "static image" approved by US recording company youtube video is below. When I was a kid, I used to think this was "so cool" - now it's just a nice acapella reminiscent anecdote. Both Alan White and Bill Bruford are formidable drummers, but I like Bruford's style more.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Go Elizabeth!

Banker's don't like Elizabeth Warren (link here). There's no better reason in my opinion, than being unpopular with bankers, for President Obama to nominate her. You've got 51 votes in the US senate. That's a majority. Obama, nominate her. Dodd & Biden, confirm her with 51 votes.

Tuesday's TDS & Colbert

The Daily Show once again provided awesome fake news and biting commentary. Link to Tuesday's full length episode is here (link here).
"These are not the epithets you're looking for"
Team N-Word & Team R-Word
"The R-word is trading at 13 and a 1/2 N-words!"
"The Palin Index"
"Mel Gibson's Pizza was late"
"I knew they weren't sequins!"
"Bed Bugs & Beyond"
"Infestation: He ejaculated into my wound"
"Airing on MSNBC... you don't want anyone to see it?"

And following up nicely, the Colbert Report were no slouches either. Link to Tuesday's episode is here (link here).
"Terror Bunker 5200"
"The Laundry Sack" (as a name for his abs)
"Control Self Delete" (as The WØRD)
"Ambassador of Death... and with diplomatic immunity it can park anywhere!"
"There's no room for you there, because I am already there"

Colbert Emmy Winning Writing

The Colbert Report won this year's Emmy for "Outstanding Writing For A Variety, Music Or Comedy Series", beating The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Real Time with Bill Maher, Saturday Night Live, and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien (link here). I have to say, I agree. Colbert's shows have been painfully poignant, cutting to the bone in criticism of both the left and the right.

Monday's show highlights: (link here)
The WØRD: Losing His Religion
"Je ne sais Christ"
"Shock you all night long"
"Images of Squid, in the Squid Zeeium"
"The Splashin of the Christ"
"God fearing and mildly radioactive Christian"

Futurama Bell Chimes

The Futurama theme song (link here) is an awesome use of bell chimes. In high school, we had a 2 octave bell chime set that I used to lug (often single handedly) from the top of the band room, and down into the orchestra pit. Over 6 feet tall, in a steel frame, the brass bell chimes weighed a good 150 pounds, but it was well worth the effort. The sonorous tones that each bell chime emitted when properly struck rang melodiously within my very being. It wasn't a "church thing" to me, it was a deeper, visceral attraction that warmed my inner self to be able to create such wonderful sounds with the simple striking of a hard mallet on the upper rounded rim of each tuned chime.

So every time I hear to the Futurama theme song, I Listen, and soak it in. I know, it sounds corny. But I find it really catchy, and enjoy it's simplicity. If I was still in High School, I am sure I'd be playing it in the band room as I used to often play Rush's Closer to the Heart (dig the 1975 vintage hair dos, facial hair, and Jesus-clothing, in the youtube video link here, or the Exit Stage Left version, 10 years later, here).

Team Evil, Team Stupid

The Daily Show has been amazingly funny this week. Monday's show was remarkable. Some of the highlights: (link here)

Team Evil, vs Team Stupid
"It's a level of knowing Obfuscation that can only come from having a heart of pure evil"
- Team Evil, regarding Fox News trying to hide the fact that they support Wahhabi funded fundamentalist madrases as their 2nd largest share holder (after Rupert Murdoch) is Prince Al Waleed bin Talal, the head of Saudi Arabia's "Kingdom Foundation".

"Potatoes with mouths" - Team Stupid
"Not even potatoes. A potato could power a digital clock" - Team Evil
"Rocks, Rocks with mouths" - Team Stupid

The Last Ear Bender
"You don't understand diplomacy" - regarding Iran's own version of W
"I wonder how many box tops they had to save up for that" - regarding the cheesy looking cruise missile that looks alot like a Nazi V1 rocket, circa 1940

In the Blagojevich Interview
"I would like to see you as a Dickens Character, I would like to see you as a victim... but you make it So Hard!"

"You're either the victim of a terrible persecution thing, or you're a sociopath"

"If you get off scot-free, there's a hug waiting for you"

Not Far From The Tree

Even the village idiot sometimes reproduces. In this case, Dan Potatoe Quayle's son Ben, a Scottsdale Arizona resident, won his Republican primary last night. It seems I cannot escape truly terrible politicians, where I am in Indiana or Arizona. As a former Indiana resident, daddy Quayle used to be my senator. He was one of the dullest knives in the drawer, and struggled with public speaking and the English language.

Some of his memorable quotes are:

I am not part of the problem. I am a Republican.

I have made good judgments in the Past. I have made good judgments in the Future.

People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.


Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.


The American people would not want to know of any misquotes that Dan Quayle may or may not make.


The future will be better tomorrow.
We don't want to go back to tomorrow, we want to go forward.

We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a *part* of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a *part* of Europe.


We're all capable of mistakes, but I do not care to enlighten you on the mistakes we may or may not have made.


Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and my fellow astronauts.


What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.


When I have been asked during these last weeks who caused the riots and the killing in L.A., my answer has been direct and simple: Who is to blame for the riots? The rioters are to blame. Who is to blame for the killings? The killers are to blame.


[It's] time for the human race to enter the solar system.


Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.

Dan Quayle, 11/30/88

One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.
Dan Quayle, 12/6/89

Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it.
Dan Quayle, 5/20/92 (reported in Esquire, 8/92)

I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change. Dan Quayle, 5/22/89

Mars is essentially in the same orbit... Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe.
Dan Quayle, 8/11/89

Murphy Brown is doing better than I am. At least she knows she still has a job next year.
Dan Quayle, 8/18/92

The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this century's history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century.
Dan Quayle, 9/15/88

Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children.
Dan Quayle, 9/18/90

We're going to have the best-educated American people in the world.
Dan Quayle, 9/21/88

We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.
Dan Quayle, 9/22/90
For NASA, space is still a high priority.
Dan Quayle, 9/5/90

Public speaking is very easy.
Dan Quayle, to reporters in 10/88

I stand by all the misstatements that I've made.
Dan Quayle, to Sam Donaldson, 8/17/89

With such an insightful male role model, it's no surprise that his son Benjamin has become the man he is today. His son, has uttered such things as: (link here)

- "Barack Obama is the worst president in history"
(he forgot James Buchanan, Herbert Hoover, and George W Bush)

and
- "And my generation will inherit a weakened country" (thanks to W's failed foreign policy and domestic fiscal policy, yes)

and
"Somebody has to go to Washington and knock the hell out of the place"
(isn't that sedition? inciting violence?)

Hopefully Democrat Jon Hulburd (link here) will beat this son of the village idiot, but in passionately red state Arizona, I won't be holding my breath.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Darn Delicious Duck

Last Saturday night, Dr Desert Flower and I dined at the L'Auberge Restaurant On Oak Creek. We both love ducks... those that swim in ponds and streams, as well as those that have been well prepared and are served exquisitely. On the dinner menu, was Juniper Dusted Duck Breast: (link here)

Juniper Dusted Duck Breast & Foie Gras Vanilla Parsnip Puree Citrus Scented Mache Pear Vinaigrette

The duck breast pieces were succulent. The foie gras had been fried, and had a firm crispiness to the upper and lower sides. This was one of the best duck dinners I've ever had - in France or in the US. Absolutely delicious.
L'Auberge is a beautiful, peaceful, independent (not a chain) well-run resort on Oak Creek in Sedona. Fastidious service, that is "tip free" with a well earned $25 a day 'resort fee'. A serene atmosphere, next to the gently flowing creek, L'Auberge offers a pleasant climate in contrast to the blast furnace that Phoenix becomes in August. Convenient location to be able to walk to downtown Sedona, with free parking makes it logistically ideal. Dr Desert Flower has wanted to go there since we moved here 3 years ago - I should have agreed to it much earlier. L'Auberge has the Hilton and Yavapai at the Enchantment beat, as far as price, quality, deliciousness, and convenience. If you want to pay through the nose and feel very very exclusive, then Enchantment is perhaps more your style, but for $225 a night L'Auberge is a better deal. If you've got little kids or want to golf, go to the Hilton, they've got 3 pools and a golf course adjacent. Our kid is almost 2 dozen years old, and I abhor golf, so I'll give the Hilton a wide berth. If you want to pay $450 a night for a small room, then Enchantment is the place for your cash. We'll stay at L'Auberge again in the future... maybe for our 25th? Il faut voir.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Solar Power in China? LOL!

I heard a story on the radio today about Chinese mass transit in cities trying to run on solar power. Anyone who has ever visited China, and spent any time in the cities, and who knows how solar power works, sees this for the stupidity that it truly is.

Lemme explain. In 1999, I stood next to the general manager of quality, and the general manager of manufacturing, from a large factory in a western Chinese city where 8 million people lived and worked. A truck was being loaded, to head off to America, full of shiny, smooth surfaced, stainless steel parts that were 4 axis rough machined and manually hand polished. I was the quality engineer responsible for assuring that what was going into that truck was what was specified on the drawings and specifications. I picked up one of these hand polished stainless steel parts out of a almost sealed shipping crate, and held it in the air, pointing to towards where the noon day sun SHOULD HAVE BEEN. It was not a cloudy day, but there was so much smog in this large western Chinese city that the location of the sun was indiscernible.

An old gray bearded engineer back in the US had taught me the trick of holding parts up to a bright light source, to look for the amplification of hand polished "waviness" would invariably produce - like a cheap mirror distorting the photons. The Chinese factory executives watched me do this, and asked my interpreter in Mandarin what I was doing. I told them "checking for waviness, per the specification for grind lines and finish lines". The Chinese managers erupted in laughter. "Mei Wenti!" the head of Quality exclaimed (which means "No Problem"). "In China, we can never see the sun, so there is no waviness!". He wasn't kidding. In 13 trips, totaling 6 months of my life, the only time I saw the sun was when flying at altitudes over 10,000 feet in commercial jet liners. The entire landscape below was a shroud of gray. We knew it was time for a landing when you heard the landing gear go down, and then around 1000 feet of altitude, features of the landscape below would just start to emerge in the sun-less, soot covered, bird-less land.

Every time I blew my nose in China, the facial tissue would come out black. And it would take a week of recovery, in Europe or the US, before I could breathe normally again. The Western Hotels there had "day of the week" floor mats in the Elevators. Each morning you could read MONDAY or TUESDAY on the elevator floor, and by that evening, the letters were indecipherable, covered in blackish gray soot-mud. This happened regardless of rain, or no rain. Chengdu, Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chongqing.. every city holding millions of inhabitants had this issue. But that was 1999 and 2000 - China's quadrupled the numbers of cars on the streets since then. I am sure that all of those cars running on leaded gasoline are Much Cleaner than the 100s of millions of bicycles commuters used to use.

So it is against this back drop, that the Chinese are going to put in solar panels to "power" their mass transit. Unless they hire someone to wipe clean the panels every hour or two, the photo voltaic energy produced won't be enough to light up a dim LED, much less power a train.

Illegal to Stop Mosques - RLUIPA

Hey, Republican Peter King of New York, do you have ANY idea what a hypocrite and federal law breaker you're being in trying to hinder, in any way, shape, or form, the building of a Mosque (a religious place of worship) in America, anywhere that the zoning board approves it to go? Do you have any clue how this goes against the UNANIMOUS vote in Congress (in July of 2000), to approve Orin Hatch's bill, the RLUIPA? Yes Peter King, and Lazio, and every other clueless Republican trying to cater to Idiocracy's fearful whim, Get Over it.

The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA, link here) passed with a unanimous vote, and is Federal Law. RLUIPA has Already been used to enforce the building of a Mosque in New Jersey, in 2006 (link here). I guess New Jersey fear mongering panderers are not as effective as New York City fear mongering panderers.

The RLUIPA states, clearly:
"(1) EQUAL TERMS- No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that treats a religious assembly or institution on less than equal terms with a nonreligious assembly or institution.
(2) NONDISCRIMINATION- No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation that discriminates against any assembly or institution on the basis of religion or religious denomination. "

So all you myopic, fear-stoking, New York politicians, do you really want to be breaking Federal Law? Do you have no grasp of recorded history? How many blocks away would you "feel" it's appropriate to build a religious center with which you don't agree? 5 blocks, 10 blocks, another state? Jersey might take them... they already had to once. But wait, there's already several mosques and temples and places of non-Christian worship all around lower Manhattan... a 1/2 dozen of which are already "within the shadow of Ground Zero". But those haven't stirred up the hatred and fear of ignorant voters - many who are convinced all Muslims are alike.

Yeah, keep it up. Al Qaeda was having problems getting new suicide recruits with W out of office. But all of your broadcasts of fear and hate and generalized denunciations of Islam, you're getting that pipeline filled back up again. Congratulations, fools.

The next terrorist attack on the US mainland, when they round up some incompetent or 1/2 bloodied henchmen, it would not surprise me to hear him say 'we did this because Americans lie, they do NOT have religious freedom here, Americans wage war against all of Islam!' - and they'd be right, in part, considering that 34% of Fox channel watchers are still birther denialists.

At that time, we can quote Krzysztof Janczar's character Andrei Bonovia from The Hunt for Red October: (link here) "You arrogant ass. You've killed us!"

Pink Jeeps - Sedona

Yesterday, Dr Desert Flower and I took a "Pink Jeep" tour South East of Sedona, on the "Broken Arrow" trail. It lasted 2 hours, and it was fun, intense, beautiful, and well worth the $75 ticket price.
We've been to Sedona on 1/2 a dozen occasions, and I'd seen the "Pink Jeep" tour offices and ubiquitous jeeps many times before, but had never really paid them much attention. When Dr Desert Flower petitioned that it could be alot of fun, and we'd be able to see back country that was beyond the reaches of a day-long strenuous hike, I acquiesced.

Our 27 year old driver's name was "Ryan". He'd been driving a Pink Jeep for 3 years, and in his words "they trust a $70,000 off-road monster truck, and the lives of 7 passengers, to a 27 year old - it's pretty good work, and can be alot of fun." Ryan served as chauffeur, tour guide, safety officer, botanist, geologist, naturalist, photographer, and stand up comedian. He was a good driver and an affable young man. To say that the trail we took was extreme, would be an under-statement. 45 degree inclines, sand stone stair cases, extremely narrow crevasses, each navigated safely by our driver. The vistas we saw were breathtaking. Pictures cannot really express the magnitude of the experience.










We can tell we're getting older though, because after a 2 hour bouncing jeep ride, our knees, hips, necks, and shoulders felt a little achy. I remember 10 years ago when we took our son and one of his buddies to Disney World and rode Space Mountain's rapid, sudden, dark turns - where you couldn't brace or prepare, just got thrown around in the roller coaster - and the neck pain I sustained at that time. The Pink Jeep Broken Arrow trail was not AS BAD as the Space Mountain ride - it was alot slower, and you could SEE where you were heading, climbing, descending, gradually and carefully. But lacing an exoskeleton, the soft tissues that connect our bones and link muscles to bones tend to not react so positively when bounced around in strange ways for middle aged people.

It was tremendous fun, and like visiting the Grand Canyon, climbing the Eiffel Tower, or walking on the Great Wall of China, it's something everyone should do once in their life. I won't be taking my mom on it though - the Pennsylvania Turnpike was enough to almost give her a stroke 35 years ago. I am sure the Pink Jeep ride would send her waaaaaaay over the cliff.

Stones Into Schools - Read It

While relaxing Poolside at the Amara resort in Sedona this weekend (for our anniversary we stayed at the L'Auberge de Sedona, the sister property, which had no pool), I finished Greg Mortenson's Stones into Schools. It's given me hope that SOMETHING constructive can come out of Afghanistan. It's not by force, not by aggression or imposed rule - it's by channeling the free market.

Yes, the free market. That invisible hand, who has crept into land locked Afghanistan via cell phone and satellite dish. The poorest and most illiterate of blue collar, semi-agrarian, subsistence farmers and unskilled laborers, and their dirt poor wives, are getting cell phones. Not cars, or refrigerators, or large screen TVs, no. But they are getting cell phones. And those cell phones are CONNECTING them to their relatives outside of Kabul, out in Herrat, down in Helmand Province, over in Uzbekistan, everywhere. And these very poor, mostly illiterate people, are gaining connectivity that they NEVER had before. Not during the Russian occupation, or the 3 previous British land wars of retribution. Not during Alexander the Great's invasion millennium ago. Now women are talking to other women on cell phones in Afghanistan, and wow, is it starting to make a difference.

In America, Idiocracy uses their cell phones to text message while driving, take videos of bigoted comedians or subway platform police brutality. But in Afghanistan, cell phones are being used to discuss upcoming elections, where schools are being built, where vocational centers for women are being built, which villages are being threatened by Taliban, etc. They are empowering women and enabling connectivity that has never before been possible. The illiterate husbands want their wives to go to these local classes, so that they can Earn More Money, to help the household. More work on the women's shoulders, yes, but the Afghans are an incredibly resilient people.

Mortenson says it best: "I knew this idea of yours was popular," I remarked to Wakil later that afternoon, after we had toured several more facilities, "but you didn't tell me how many there were or how quickly this concept was growing."
"It's hard to keep count - in another four months, we'll probably have three dozen [women's vocational centers]" he said. "When women take charge things start to get out of control really fast."

Wakil Karimi is the Central Asia Institute's (CAI's) Afghanistan manager. A former refugee from the Afghan war, who learned English in Pakistan, and worked in a Western Hotel at the front desk, Wakil relentlessly pursued Greg Mortenson and his team to build girls schools and vocational centers closer to Kabul - instead of at the end of the road of known existence. Once Wakil's idea caught on, the slow process of building schools ramped up exponentially. There's a 130 women's schools now in Afghanistan that the CAI has grown.

The women who attend these schools are taught at night, for 3 or 4 hours, after all of their maternal house work is done. They're learning to read and write Dari, Pashtun, Arabic, Urdu, English. They are learning skills in weaving, child care, disease prevention, domestic skills, and basic cell phone usage. yes, cell phone usage - so that they can call their sisters, girl friends, mothers, cousins, old friends, in other parts of the country and in other countries, to provide a neural social network. A "counter insurgency" to fight back against the Taliban. These women sit cross legged on dirt floors in adobe mud buildings, 40 to 60 packed into the room, eager & hungry for basic knowledge.

Reading this gave me hope for the first time. The Taliban are a minority Pashtun force, governed by Wahhabi Sunni fundamentalists, funded by rich Saudies. They are only 40% of the Afghan population, and the Afghan population is nearly as multi-ethnic as the United States. And more than 1/2 of those Pashtuns, are women (30 years of war, and stupid military tactics by the Taliban have culled the male Pashtun population pretty severely). Like the Basiji in Iran, the Deobandi Wahhabi of Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia, and the Tea Partyers and Libertarian Militias of the United States, the fundamentalist Pashtun males are a small, violent, hateful, vocal minority. Instead of UN sanctions, or the 82nd Airborne, or a NATO imposed peace, the Petraeus counter insurgency in Afghanistan and NW Pakistan needs to continue to focus on education for women, home grown solutions, listening to village elders and helping them to affect long lasting positive societal change. Turn the neck, the head will turn as well.

If you'd like to have hope about Afghanistan, read Stones into Schools. It's made a significant improvement in my outlook on Afghanistan.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rickles & Palpatine

The Daily Show and Colbert have been ON FIRE this week. Poignant, relevant, hilarious. It is sad that it takes a satirical fake news show to excoriate moronic politicians and Idiocracy in general.

Wednesday's TDS (link here) (with a Perfect Glen Beck parody)
Wednesday's Colbert (link here)
Thursday's TDS (link here)
Thursday's Colbert (link here)

"6 Degrees of people who don't eat bacon?"
"Is Fox News a terrorist command center!?!?"
"If there is anyone who can bring Muslims, Christians and Jews together, it is Moses"
"The law firm of Rickels & Palatine" - this had me jetting my drink out of my nose!
"The Republicans should be paying News Corp a million dollars!"
Lewis Black on Eat, Pray, Love... not Sh*t, Shower, Shave: "Tip of the crapberg machete"
"No Jon, she stunned me with a cattle gun"
"Laura Rove"

"Nixon had a parlor game where he wrapped babies in ice"
"Irish churches, or 'pubs' as they call them"
"Land of Deportunity"
"It's not Money, Fame, or Records. It's all those things together"
to Brett Favre: "Stab you in the eye with a broken broom handle"
from Rand Paul: "Electric fence under the border"

I do like my DVR.

C... c... c... Colourbox Stuff

"Play some more of that Colourbox stuff."
I've been enjoying the wealth of Colourbox songs that have been uploaded to youtube this morning. Used to listen to these on album, and cassette tape, continually, when I was in Terre Haute in the 80s.

The Moon Is Blue (link here) [lush, gorgeous vocals]
Punch (link here)
Edit the Dragon (link here) [silliness]
Sleepwalker / Just Give'em Whiskey (link here)
Just Give'em Whiskey (link here)
Fast Dump (link here)
Baby I Love You So (link here)
Hipnition (download link here)
Inside Informer (link here)
Arena II (link here) [if you want to wallow in your own self pity]
Manic - You Just Keep Me Hanging On (link here)



(it gives your speakers a good left-right sound check - lol!)

Found a nice blog that had a mp3 download link in it (here) as well.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chup!

The lovely and melodic Pakistani singers Zeb and Haniya sing beautifully. Attached here is a link to an acoustic version of their hit song "Chup!" - which in Urdu ( چپ,) means "Stop!" or "Hush!" (link here). The song is very simple, and a catchy tune - I heard it on BBC radio this afternoon. The essence of the song, as Zeb explained, is "Hush! it's time for love".

I see no better way of fighting fanatical Islamic fundamentalist extremism than to promote positive, societal change, from within. It's just too bad they didn't sing this in Pashtoon - the native tongue of coward Mullah Omar, the bastard father of the heretical Taliban movement. But singing (OMG! Singing! It might lead to dancing!) in Urdu, spoken by about 40% of Pakistanis, and Pakistan being where the majority of the Taliban training camps and madrasses are, is a good start. And the mega-flood that is covering 1/8th of Pakistan currently, they need all the love they can get.

You can see a video of an acoustic performance of "Chup!" here (link) but it's low quality. The "Coke Studios" youtube versions aggravate me as being way way way over-produced and bollywood sensationalized to the point of being creepy - making me wince. Just let the lovely girls with the sweet voices sing. That's enough for me.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Eric Schmidt Speaks Some Truth & Some Self Aggrandizing BS

Google's CEO Eric Schmidt is speaking some truth (link here)
"I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time... I mean we really have to think about these things as a society."

and... for those who might 'expect' or 'trust there's internet privacy' (link here)
"we know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are."

Those statements are true, and they reveal what Schmidt and his leviathan are focusing on developing, irregardless of Facebook anarchy or annoyance.

But he is also delusional and self aggrandizing: (link here)
""I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions," he elaborates. "They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.""

I am not part of the Idiocracy of which Eric Schmidt wants to rule / market to / manipulate / and INSTRUCT. No, I still have a few neurons to rub against each other and I'm capable of free thought, and making my own decisions. I don't need Google, or anyone else, deciding for me, thank you. Leave your instructions for the lemmings in the herd who are barely capable of independent thought.

Schmidt's myopic, self exaggerations of omnipotence, are dangerous, and should be duly noted and kept in perspective accordingly.

Limits are out and veils are in

For a nice explanation of how influence peddling, corruption breeding, buy-your-candidate campaign funding is evolving, listen (audio link here) or read (text link here) to Peter Overby's excellent report.

I found it extremely enlightening, and disheartening.

"It's a result of rulings by the Supreme Court, a federal appeals court and the Federal Election Commission — rulings that, taken together, allow corporations to funnel money into electoral politics while remaining anonymous."

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129259183

Magic Bus, or Box?

AWSmith's "Magic Box" (link here) has inspired me, and now it's stuck in my head...

The Who - Magic Bus 2000

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

ILC - Cult of Personality

Along with this week's theme... and besides, I think the guitar and drum parts jam, powerfully, inexorably.
Living Colour - Cult of Personality (Official Music Video)
(In the earlier 90s, my hair used to be as long as Corey Glover's - LOL!)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Krugman's Advice On How To Counter Republican Social Security Nonsense

Paul Krugman has some valuable tips on how to counter-act Republican fear mongering and lies about "The Social Security Crisis" by using facts. Link here. It's worth a read.

Crooks & Liars sums it up best (link here):

"The math is wrong and so is their attitude

Social Security’s attackers claim that they’re concerned about the program’s financial future. But their math doesn’t add up, and their hostility isn’t really about dollars and cents. Instead, it’s about ideology and posturing. And underneath it all is ignorance of or indifference to the realities of life for many Americans.

What crisis?

So where do claims of crisis come from? To a large extent they rely on bad-faith accounting. In particular, they rely on an exercise in three-card monte in which the surpluses Social Security has been running for a quarter-century don’t count — because hey, the program doesn’t have any independent existence; it’s just part of the general federal budget — while future Social Security deficits are unacceptable — because hey, the program has to stand on its own.

What's really going on here?

What’s really going on here? Conservatives hate Social Security for ideological reasons: its success undermines their claim that government is always the problem, never the solution. But they receive crucial support from Washington insiders, for whom a declared willingness to cut Social Security has long served as a badge of fiscal seriousness, never mind the arithmetic.

There's much more to Krugman's article, all worthy of attention. Bottom line is easy: Social Security should not be on the table", doesn't need to be on the table, and has no business on the table of rational, fact based, realistic Americans. At all.

Iran's W, folksy Ahmadinejad

Last week in Iran, the country's "elected President" (yeah, right) Mahmud Ahmadinejad used the phrase (link here): "The bogeyman snatched the boob" ( مایه ترس ووحشت ربوده ممه ) - in regards to the United States, and how (in his opinion) the US 'needs to just stop threatening Iran and move on', in the same way the lowest class of any Iranian mother might tell her child, when she is weaning the toddler, that the bogeyman has taken the mother's breast away. It's a crude phrase, and most speakers of Farsi, including all diplomats, would never utter such a base, guttural phrase. But Ahmadinejad likes to follow in Bush's footsteps, and is trying to be folksy with his nation. Also, he got a round of laughter from his audience, and really wanted to ham it up. Using the Farsi word "ممه " ("mameh") is a lower class slang than using "tit" or "teet" or "knocker" or the anatomically correct "breast". Mahmud Ahmadinejad has studied Palin and Bush closely - he doesn't want to appear "elitist" or bother with all that book learnin - naw, he want's to be folksy, and relate to the common man "Joe Six Pack" (in Farsi "جو شش بسته").

He followed up with this phrase later in his diatribe with:
"Pour the water where it burns," he said, "why are you wetting other parts?", in regards to the United States being angry and having "burning asses" or "سوزش باسن". More rounds of laughter erupted. (See video here).

In Farsi, slang for 'breast' is "mameh". But it is not often uttered publicly in a country where words and expressions of even the slightest sexual nature are considered taboo and commonly censored in books and publications. Like his counterpart W, rules apparently don't apply. Like other demagogues (Scott Brown, Palin, Joe Arpaio, Michele Bachmann), Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (محمود احمدی‌نژاد) has realized that many less intelligent constituents are easily motivated by fear and rhetoric, and getting down to their folksy level - and Never sounding Elitist or Educated! - helps the masses to relate. For a complete list of folksy Bushisms, see this helpful and comprehensive Slate link (here). If any of our Persian visitors know of a similar list for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (محمود احمدی‌نژاد) folksy expressions, please leave a comment here! =)

Kya Mujhe Pyar Hai

Until very recently, my good friend Sundar had this tune (Kya Mujhe Pyar Hai) on his mobile ring tone. Every time I called his mobile, I'd hear 10 seconds of this in my head set here in the US, while his phone was ringing in Bangalore. From the movie Woh Lamhe, music is by Pritam, and sung by KK.

It's a catchy tune, and gets stuck in my head each time I hear it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rentals to Watch & Avoid

DVD or iTunes Rentals to Avoid:
Hot Tub Time Machine (Thank you Ryan for the tip)


DVD or iTunes Rentals worth watching:
Alice In Wonderland (especially on a big screen HD TV)
Run Ronnie Run!
Idiocracy (we own a copy)
Breaking Bad (surprising captivating first season... 2nd season is losing steam and becoming just a sad & weird train wreck)
Apocalypse WWII (sad and depressing, stark, vivid)

Supposedly "Kick Ass" is supposed to be good... il faut voir.

Facebook Bogs Down Mozilla

Is it just me, or does any computer running Mozilla Firefox get bogggggged dowwwwwwn once Facebook is opened? I can keep Gmail open, run youtube videos, make blog postings, stream video from news sites, and all is well. I open up Facebook, and BAM! All the FB data mining, net tracers kick in, and it's like I'm surfing in molasses, bogging everything down.

Now granted, my old ZT systems Win XP desktop, and Eee net books are not powerful graphics or computing machines, they're basic Plain Jane models. But it is an epic failure of Facebook to make such a poorly designed, insidiously serveilling, processor hogging program that it annoys the user. Yet another reason to not spend any time on Facebook and to always Log Out so it has a harder time tracking and mining me.

SOAD - Cigaro

I woke up at 3:45am (to start my work day... 10 minutes before my alarm) with this song running through my head... and it's been stuck there all morning.

WARNING to parents of small children and those in offices with Big Brother Overlords watching your internet traffic - the link above is CAPTIONED and the lyrics are NOT 'family friendly' or 'appropriate in the corporate work place'. System of a Down - Cigaro.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Überballed

Stephen Colbert's most recent fan-fare word is "ÜBERBALLED" - except he created a new letter "A" with the umlaut under the A's horizontal cross bar, for additional silliness and inferred testicularity.

Colbert's character is so completely full of himself and utterly filled with hubris, he makes Hannity and O'Reilly and all of Fox's mouth pieces look moderate, or even reasonable in comparison. It's really genius, the market niche he's carved.

For insights into alternative accented ASCII characters, this link (here) can help. No such "A with lower umlaut" exists, of which I am aware. Any blog visitor who knows differently, please correct me with a comments.

uberballed, Überballed, überballed.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Acupuncture & Knee Injuries

Last Friday, I had my third and final acupuncture appointment for the knee injury I sustained at the beginning of July, and I'm pleased (and quite surprised) to report that my knee is now fully healed. No surgery. No prescription pharmaceuticals. No painful physical therapy.

No, instead Muki Ramsey (B.A., M.S.O.M., L.Ac., Dipl. O.M.) at Zen Medicinals did some (in his own words) "really masterful work" on my left knee, inserting 38 gauge needles, thinner than human hairs. The needles were painless. I've had glucose meter sticks that have elicited MUCH more of a sting. As Muki adjusted each one to stimulate my Chi, I'd feel a SURGE - sometimes surged DOWN the leg, sometimes ran up it, sometimes it felt like a pair of pliers was pull UP on the skin even though I could SEE there were no pliers and nothing was being pulled. First visit made me 85% better - as I walked out. 2nd visit made me 95% better 4 days later. The third visit last Friday, 99.997% better (a 3 sigma confidence level).

For 2 weeks, I hobbled around popping Naproxin Sodium and applying cold packs, and it wasn't getting better. 3 acupuncture visits, and I am pain free, able to swim, ride the stationary bike, do difficult yoga poses... so in celebration, and because Zen Medicinals is not far from the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG), I walked all around the garden for my "lunch hour" on Friday before driving back home to the West side. This photo is my new "favorite spot" in the garden. I sat reading a dozen pages of "Stones Into Schools" there, in the shade, next to the bubbling fountain. Last year I sat at a similar bubbling fountain in the garden before they remodeled it, and watched a hummingbird hover and drink from the stream. No hummingbirds drinking from the fountain last Friday, but a great respite nevertheless.

Muki told me that "knees and shoulders are easy, elbows are alot harder, I think we can get your knee back into shape in probably 3 visits." He was right.

Later this year, I am going to let Muki make an attempt to "cure me" of my cat allergies. He's mentioned a electromagnetic diagnostic machine that proven to have a P value less than 0.005 (link here) ... and it can help to fine tune allergy therapy when combined with acupuncture.
"90% of all patients received some degree of remission (18% full remission, 72% partial) and only 10% reported no improvement" ... after a year of getting traditional cat & mold allergy injections into my triceps in 2008 from a local allergist, all it did was make me itchy, reducing none of my symptoms, and in fact, when I ceased getting them 2009, my upper arms erupted in red hives for about a month. Let's see what my acupuncturist & herbal medicine practitioner can do - especially now that I've met my deductible for the year! =)

Civil Rights Are Not Subject To Popular Vote

Civil rights are not subject to popular vote. If they were, then:

- South Carolinians would still own slaves

- Black Americans would not have the right to vote

- Lunch counters, buses & drinking fountains would still be segregated in many Southern states where introduction of FEDERAL civil rights legislation was very unpopular in the 60s

- Sheriff Joe Arpaio could detain suspects without reasonable cause, for as long as he and his deputies wanted to, and all the scared elderly and Red State Republicans would cheer him on enthusiastically. ("Oh I like that Sheriff Joe" - I hear repeatedly out of the lips of rich, blue haired, AARP members in Arizona)

Civil Rights: right or rights belonging to a person by reason of citizenship including especially the fundamental freedoms and privileges guaranteed by the 13th and 14th amendments and subsequent acts of Congress including the right to legal and social and economic equality.

For those Americans who think that Civil Rights are subject to a popular vote, you're living in the wrong country. The US Constitution says otherwise.

The Silence of the Lizards


Lizards don't "dance" like honeybees can, or sing like birds, or write like humans, but they can do push-ups. I used to think that ONLY the male lizards do these push-ups, but both males and females do. The sub-order Inguania (which are part of the order Squamata) contains iguanas, chameleons, agamids, and "New World lizards" such as anoles and Phrynosomatidae. They don't "speak" or "sing", but raising and lowering on all 4s can be seen from many feet away, even by other tiny lizards. Messages can be:
- Hey Baby, You're Lookin' Good!
- This is my rock, you can't have it!
- I'm available, take me you beast!
- You gotta problem with that??
(paraphrased, but long the lines of the observations made by scientists that watched 1000s of lizards in the SW US, link here).

I enjoy watching these little reptiles run along the border walls at home, and across paths at the Desert Botanical Garden or on hiking trails. I'm not fast enough to catch them, except on camera.

Of course in this video, with my paranoid neighbor's home directly behind me in the background, they probably think I was trying to photograph them! But that's fine, they can think I am the old crazy white guy next door, that doesn't bother me. I had no idea that my neighbor behind my house thought I was watching them, until another neighbor diagonally from us said to me a month ago "yeah, they don't like how you're always looking at them over the fence" - huh??? I had (and still have) no idea who really lives in the house behind me, and I really don't care. I'm looking at the birds, insects, reptiles, and plants... not the paranoid /self-conscious neighbors.

Not everyone can enjoy or appreciate the Silence of the Lizards.

Once (or more) in a Lifetime

Talking Heads have been running through my brain all morning.

The lyrics are in dispute however... on the last refrain.

Sing365 is no help: (link here)
Time isn't holding us
Time isn't after us
Time isn't holding us
[unknown line]

KOHIT is completely off their rocker (link here): (there's no twister)
SAME AS IT EVER WAS
HEY LETS ALL TWIST OUR THUMBS
HERE COMES THE TWISTER

Lyric Freak and Lyrics007 get it close: (link here and here)
Time isn't holding us, time isn't after us
Time isn't holding us, time doesn't hold you back
(and in the studio version, I think this is very close)

I used to think the lyric was
Time isn't holding us, time isn't after us
Time isn't holding us, time is an omnibus ...but I guess you only hear what one Wants to hear.

The live version, from Stop Making Sense, is here:

Wherein it is very clear... Time is a pony ride. (note clarity at the 4:20 mark)

Pandora and Songlyrics.com got it right: (links here and here)
Time isn't holding us
Time isn't after us
Time isn't holding up
Time is a pony ride

I learn something new everyday.