Monday, August 21, 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

oxybelis fulgidus, aka slenderman

You may have never heard of the vine snake, even though the species (there are several) are found everywhere in the tropical world, from Texas to the ghats of western India. Some are brownish, but most are bright green with racing stripes. All of them are about 3/4 of an inch thick and between 1-1/2 and 2 meters long.

Additionally, they all have long, pointy snouts, and their huge mouths are as long as their heads. Vine snakes are technically vipers, and have two long fangs at the backs of their mouths, with which they make holes in their prey to introduce their toxic saliva into the bloodstreams of the mice, frogs, and little birds they hunt.

Apparently, these long, skinny guys never leave the tree when hunting. They hang around by their long and delicate tails, and watch the ground, looking for a mouse (or a mouse's nest), a frog, or whatever. They try to get close enough to carefully smell the intended prey, and if it passes the sniff test, drop down far enough to grab it by the head, and immediately raise it a foot or more into the tree. They waste no time giving the fatal bite and then immediately once it's immobilized, eating the victim.  Then they head straight for the top of the tree and a month or so of napping and digesting,

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

branwell & me

I can’t remember if I ever told U the story of Branwell and me.

This was in Utah in 2014. There were some  brontosaurus pups, and one of em followed me home a couple of times, but I wasn’t allowed to keep him. I named him Branwell after
the Bronte's disreputable younger brother.

He soon was able to recognize our car.   
"Uh oh! Branwell Bronte sawr us."

Every other day or so I’d have to walk him back up to ye store, where he and his family lived on the produce that otherwise  would  have been dumpstered.

Kit took this pic on Dec 13, 2014, as we were leaving town.  I just had to stop & say g'bye to the little guy, who was about 12 weeks at the time.  He’s fully grown by now, and  having a better life than his namesake did, I'm sure.

Monday, May 22, 2017

destiny, and all that

As usual, Mr. Kunstler is great this morning. He uses postgraduate words at times, but mostly simple syntax and un-convoluted ideas to explain to a mostly clueless American public what we're up against.

Today's final short paragraph, plus the stinger (para fragment) on the end say pretty much all that need be said about our current predicament.

Donald Trump could never be a Franklin Roosevelt or a Lincoln. These were figures who, if nothing else, could articulate the terms that reality had laid on America’s table in their particular moments of history. Mr. Trump can barely speak English and his notions about history amount to a kind of funny papers of the mind. A sinister host of adversaries who ought to understand what is happening in this country, but don’t, or can’t, or won’t, are coming after him, and they are going to get rid of him one way or another. They have to. They must. And they will.
And then what?
I spent the early hours of the morning today listening to outtakes from old speeches by Oswald Mosley, the English fascist who was a political heavyweight in the 1930's, and a study in contrasts with Preznit Trump.  
The first contrast is that Mosley was literate, educated, and an excellent public speaker, for whom A. Hitler provided the speaker's template. Secondly, he knew what he was doing in manipulating crowds -- one reason he did it so well. His problem lay in the same place as Trump's, and Mussolini's and every Fascist who ever lived: he was a romantic who believed in destiny.
This belief in destiny is dangerously close to a belief in God's Plan. And wh0's to say -- it might be God's plan that we become ever more fat, stupid, diabetic, and addled by TV and lack of exercise that over a couple of centuries we'll die off. The dams will crumble, the continent will revert to ownership by bears & lions, moose & elk, salmon & trout, rattlesnakes, beavers, and birds.
And we will have succeeded in making America Great Again. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

prisoners of trumpistan -- day 112

Looks like Fearless Leader has really got his tit in the wringer now. Check out this front page article from The Guardian (UK), or the front page of any other world-class daily (NY Times, LA Times, etc.). A dispassionate reading of these sources leads to the inescapable conclusion that Trump is on his way out.

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning of the end. Remember Watergate; recall how the story first broke in early  1973, a full year and 2/3 before Nixon's resignation. Since the end of this sad chapter is not in doubt, we need to move a little more quickly this time; the U.S. was healthier in the mid-70's than it is now, and I don't know if we're mentally or spiritually equipped to handle another "long, national nightmare."

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

try walking a few steps in somebody else's shoes...

The greatest weakness of the present day incarnation of the U.S. (since 1945 or the end of
WWII) is and has been its foreign policy. Informed by an extremely defensive doctrine of exceptionalism, which appears to have conferred on those who hold this conviction that they are the de facto owners of the earth and everything in it, the U.S. has run roughshod over various peoples who share the planet with us, and have been surprised whenever we met with resistance or condemnation for our aggressions.

Americans tend to believe in their own virtue, a posture which would be exploded if we were to walk half a mile in the shoes of a typical citizen of Central America, or a Vietnamese veteran of the Vietnam war, or anyone who was "shocked and awed" by the events of 2003. So if you were to credit the bluster coming out of the White House, no matter which party occupies it at any given moment, or the paranoid nonsense coming from the Perennial Aggression Wing of the Pentagon, I'd expect that  you haven't noticed the huge loss of international power America has suffered since 2003, nor the rise of other powers that neither fear nor have an excess of respect for us. Chief among these is our old enemy Russia, now divested of its weak economy crippled by communism, and led by the enormously popular and democratically-elected dictator Vladimir Putin.

This country's shabby treatment of Russia has been continuous for the last 15 yrs or so, moving seamlessly from the Bush administration to Obama, which tells you the policy originates somewhere else other than the White House. I suspect the Pentagon is where the "Ukrainian crisis" was first cooked up, along with Putin's "mad desire to re-annex Ukraine and restore the old Soviet Empire," This piffle followed Russia's calling for a vote in the Crimea, which was found to be 90% in favor of the Russian navy resuming its business in Sevastapol -- the country's only year-round warm-water naval base -- a fact which never appeared in U.S. press or TV accounts of America's mad desire to stir up trouble with Russia. Instead everyone followed the lead of the NY Times and the Washington Post, which chose to act as stenographers for the State Department in this dispute rather than doing any real reporting. 

At this point, as we went through a "regime change" here at home, the decision was taken to double down in our aggressive and obnoxious behavior toward  the people that some in Congress still referred to as "The Soviets." Putin hadn't reacted to U.S. provocation re: Crimea, so we decided to set up "defensive" anti-missile missiles in Poland,  When Russians objected that such weapons could easily be converted  to aggressive purposes, the U.S. countered that this had never been done before, ignoring the fact that there is no history of nuclear warfare beyond Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

What I've written here is not a comprehensive history of the last 15 years, but simply a brief recounting of the two main areas of dispute. it doesn't even begin to ask "Why?" Why is the U.S. so eager to pick a fight with people who have done nothing to offend, and why has Vladimir Putin failed to react to the provocation?

The first question  can't be answered except to point out that the U.S. appears to be the lunatic of international relations, with Kim Jong-un running a close second. And we can now answer the second  question this way: Putin did react to the provocations and aggressions, by waiting for the right circumstances to arise for him to act. Now, as the debris from the 2016 election begins to settle, we see the right circumstances for Russian action present themselves in the person of Donald J. Trump.

Putin worked as hard as any Republican to assure Trump's elevation; from Putin's point of view he's a dream candidate, being as how he's too dumb to know when his pocket is being picked. There's a lot due in Mr, Putin's account book, and we don't know at this point what the wily Slav has in mind for us. All we know for sure is he's in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. This is going to be grim.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

march of the jiggle ohs

I'm still not sure of the spelling of the topic (i.e., "Jiggle ohs,"), but it's phonetically sound so it must be OK, according to my way of thinking. I believe that if you take care of the sounds, the sense will take care of itself, and vice-versa.

That may sound like nonsense, especially when you learn that Lewis Carroll had a hand in it, as he originally wrote it, but believed the other way, that is, he believed the versa, and wrote "take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves." But that in itself is a corruption of ye olde English witticism "Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves," which also makes just as much sense upside down as right side up.

But forget all that; I'm probably just confusing you for no purpose.  So here, without further ado or b.s., is the march of the jiggle ohs.