Fa La La La La and All that Stuff

Last night was the longest night of the year, the shortest day. We had an eclipse that I didn’t see because of cloud cover. It’s only four days until Christmas. The Baby Jesus is coming! Since I’ve got all I need for a cozy holiday, I don’t give a flying fig newton if it snows us in.

For all these reasons, I’m not gonna talk about any of the repulsive, idiotic, evil, buffoons in Congress and elsewhere, until after December 25. We are gonna focus on funny, sweet, interesting, mind-opening, items that enrich, enliven, and empower. Promise.

But come, December 26, well we will be our old snarky self. Count on it.

Now to actually find some nice news.

I know I posted a book review yesterday. You’ll probably want to pick this one up too: It’s called Swallow and would make a great coffee table book, guaranteed to start a lively conversation.

Proving that there is a hobby out there for everyone, one Dr. Chevalier Jackson, began collecting items that he had removed from the bodies of his patients. Umbrella tips, opera glasses and padlocks. There are stories galore of people with strange desires to ingest all manner of bizarre “things.” Mary Cappello tells the tale I am told, with wit and aplomb. Take a look if you can swallow that kind of thing :O

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Every parent knows that children, both boys and girls, attempt to emulate their parents and parent themselves. They use pets, and dolls mostly.

Well it turns out that chimp youngsters, especially girl chimps try to do the same. They carry sticks around, cradling them, and other wise mimicking the “mothering” behaviors of their moms. Although in chimp society, females do most of the child care activities, even a boy or two has been seen caring for his stick. (Don’t you dare go there!)

Which just goes to show, that girl apes are really just chimps off the same block. :O

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Namelessneed is one of those real poets. You know what I mean. The kind of stuff I can’t write, but wish I could. You should always pay attention to such people because they touch you in the most unexpected ways. Go read W O R D M A T H S because I said so.

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Some families read Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus, as a Christmas Eve ritual. They mostly don’t read the opening part, with  all that genealogy stuff. Boring you know. Tim, at Straight-Friendly, shows us why we should read it, and what lessons we can learn from it. If you don’t read Tim regularly, you’re, well, missing more than you know.

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Do you miss Mad Men?  I do. Awfully bad. Really. Big Think has an article on it and why it’s still the best of the best.The message speaks volumes to our lives today. I wouldn’t argue with that assessment. Funny I should, since I have about as low an opinion as one can get of Ad men. I mean they are creatures of some other planet. I guess, their excesses, portrayed so elegantly on the show, are a lesson to us, one we should look at seriously.

What is my bitch with Madison Avenue you ask?   It’s that  their ads never bespeak a world that is actually real. Case in point.

There are, at this time of years, innumerable ads urging us to go out and buy cars as gifts! wrapping them up in big bows and surprising our beloved with their favorite brand. Except, that 99.9 percentages of us cannot afford to do this. Do they really thing the .01 percent who can watch television? Somehow, I rather doubt. it.

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What’s on the stove: t-bones with baked potatoes/sour cream and cauliflower with cheddar cheese.

God Hopes in Ida!

ida-fossil

Isn’t she cute? She’s our ancestor of sorts. At least those who have studied her svelte little body seem to think so. She is the most perfectly preserved fossil of an animal that is “linked” to humans ever found. Much better than “Lucy” found about 30 years ago by Don Johanson. Only about 60% of her was found, while we have 95% of Ida.

Darwinius Masillae is her quite formal name. She was about three feet tall, and was only 6 months old when she died. She lived in what is modern day Germany. At that time, the area was firmly in the grips of global warming and was a tropical rain forest. It was also highly volcanic, and it is surmised that Ida came down to drink and was overcome by noxious fumes and fell into the lake and drowned. She sunk to the bottom, and remained there for 47 million years.

Why she has excited the paleontological world to near hysteria, is that she may we be a transitional fossil, namely the one before the split between prosimians which gave us lemurs, those cute antic-prone animals who climb like monkeys but aren’t, and anthropoids, which gave us monkeys, apes and then US.

Ida seems a cross between the two groups. They checked her very thoroughly, and although she exhibits characteristics of the lemur family, she has neither the “toilet” claw used for grooming, nor  the “comb” tooth, front  bottom. So she is before the line split. She had fingernails like present day chimps and gorillas, and walked on all fours though she could stand up on two legs.

She lived in the trees, coming down for toilet and water. She fed on leaves and berries and nuts. They were able to identify the contents of her tummy as leaves and nuts I believe. It’s all quite wonderful to think about.

I am of the opinion that God created the universe by setting into motion the laws that would govern it along with the “stuff” of the big bang. He watched and watches it materialize. Some places the right stuff comes along at the right time and place, and live evolves, higher and higher if conditions are right.

I think God “hopes” that lots of life develops into sentience, because then he can truly interact with it. So I imagine that he was cheering on little Ida that day, and hoped the best for her and her kind. Being God, I guess he could project out the possible outcomes, so no doubt, Earth was a place that thereafter he kept an especially close eye on. We were a “promising” place.

What was shocking about learning about Ida, is the underbelly of this business of paleontology. One would like to think that all this stuff is conducted by universities and higher places of science. Sadly this is not the case, and is definitely not the same for antiquities either. Rather, privateers find a lot of this stuff and sell it to the highest bidder. Private collectors end up with some of it, and it can remain hidden from science and the world for decades.

Such happened to Ida. She was actually found back in 1986, and would have been sold to the highest bidder if not for the efforts of Jorn H. Hurum, from Norway. He collected over I believe, one million dollars, to buy the fossil and preserve it for the scientific community.

We saw a special on this Monday night I believe on the History Channel. A book entitled “The Link” is on sale now. What was all quite amusing to me, is that the brain-dead who argue that evolution is all a massive hoax perpetrated by millions of atheists, always complain that there are no transitional fossils as an argument. Of course that is shear nonsense on its face. But during the show, they interviewed a professor of paleontology I believe from Duke University. His speciality is “transitional” fossils and his collection is I think the largest in the world. I imagine he would be quite shocked to learn he was an expert in nothing!

To be fair, Ida is not a direct ancestor as such. She is more aunt than grandmother. But still, isn’t it grand to learn about how incredible God is in creating a universe that has such symmetrical beauty in it. Evolution proves too wonderfully that we are all in God and God is in all. We are all inextricably tied together in a beautiful symphony of DNA. It’s elegant to be sure, and something so very worthy of God.

 

evolution

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Memey Kind of Friday

Mauigirl, bless her heart, tagged me with the meme that’s been a traveling around the bloggy land these past few days. Since I haven’t a great deal to say today, (so far that is), and it’s an easy one, I thought I’d take a stab.

The hysterical thing is that I had no idea that google had a separate search engine for images. You cannot imagine how long it takes me sometimes to find a pretty picture for the post. And all posts look better in my opinion, with a picture. I’ve recently discovered Art.com which is wonderful by the way, with something like half a million poster shots to choose from. I ‘ve been finding pics quite easily that way. But now I have the google image search. Go figure, I am a bit dull in the old crank case some times.

To get to the meme:

  • Grab the nearest book, and open to page 25.
  • Count to the tenth word
  • Google the word in google images
  • post the third pic
  • link to the person who tagged you
  • tag 4 others

Well, I cheated somewhat, but here goes:

The book nearest me was “Fear and Trembling” by S. Kierkegaard. The tenth word was with, and the next one was is, so I continued to the next which was “countenance.”

I googled that and the third pic was this one:

bushyechWell just imagine my horror. Thought I was done with Chimpy for ever!

But I dutifully fell to my knees and thanked the good Lord, Kublai Khan and the tooth fairy that said simian was no longer pretending to run the government of the US of A.

This pic looks like he just lost out to be called on by  the teacher and is pouting.

Anyway, that’s just about it, but it does lead me to another subject. Oh and those that wish to, go ahead and do the meme. It takes little time, especially if you are a whit smarter than me, and that would be most of ya, and, it might, as it did me, suggest another subject to pontificate upon.

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Speaking of chimps, most everyone is saddened and appalled at what happened to the chimp Travis in Connecticut.

Chimpanzee AttackIt is just awful that the victim of his attack will be permanently disabled and will spend untold surgeries just getting a face back.

It is equally awful that Travis was killed. This was not his fault. He was merely acting as an animal can on occasion.

It is easy to understand why someone would fall in love with such an animal. With such a fine intelligence and mannerisms so human like, it’s easy to think of them as a super pet, nearly one’s own child. I think some do traverse the line and make them children.

But they are apes. Anyone who has spent time watching nature shows, especially those by Jane Goodall, is not at all confused about the fact that they are animals, not humans. They can and do act in ways that we find horrifying at times, even killing each other for reasons that seem unclear to us. (Of course, much of human killing human is also tragically unclear to us as well, but that is another matter.)

This all around tragic occurrence points up once again that animals have rights, and one of those rights is not to be placed in situations that they may be ill prepared to cope with. And when things go awry, sometimes the only immediate answer is the killing of the animal. It seems to in this case at least.

Poor Travis paid the price for human error. While there is not lack of sympathy for his victim, Travis cannot be held to any human standard of conduct, and thus he is not at fault here from my point of view. While I don’t  wish jail for his “owner” I hope that this event, horrible as it is, will point out to people, that such “ownership” of wild animals is simply inappropriate.

No doubt many will claim that the alternative is some caged existence. That is not right either of course. These animals deserve either their freedom if that can be secured in a reasonable manner, or at least life in a troupe of chimps, normal to his species, with a realistic lifestyle similar to that in the wild.

I’m really getting to a place where I find their use for human entertainment just plain wrong. I haven’t gone so far as to say zoos are wrong, and most aren’t. Today, modern zoos provide a life experience that is both safe for the animal and is appropriate to their native conditions. But the traveling circus and using them as props in movies and the like is probably wrong, and we should be looking to end the practice in my opinion. Nuf said.

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OKJimm thought it was funny that I said yesterday that I had a “bad habit of thinking.”  Well, I do aim to make you chuckle, but I can assure you, no hilarity was intended. It is a bad habit, but one that I take most seriously, and with great fear and trepidation actually. I am compelled to continue doing it for survival purposes.

Some of you may not be aware, but the original Star Trek television show, answered in one episode or another, most all of lifes pressing questions. I highly recommend it if you have burning questions about war, disease,  love, God, or, as I said, most anything. The answer can be found in one episode surely. No need to read vast tomes written by highly educated intellectual elites. Just set the old Tivo and wait for TVland or SciFi Network to run some, and tape away. It’s pretty much all the philosophy you will need in life.

As to thinking:

stdaggermindIn Dagger of the Mind, a “neural neutralizer” is being used at a penal colony to treat the criminally insane. The machine wipes the mind.

Of course, when a person is left attached to the machine and is unattended, all of his thoughts are removed, and his mind is emptied. He then dies, having nothing to think about.

Well, you can be sure, I have determined, that it is essential to keep thinking at all times. I’m always worried of course at night when I sleep, but so far so good! It’s no laughing matter at all and certainly is not meant to be humorous! I’m alive today because of Star Trek and just how many people can say that?

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I am Woman, hear me Roarrrrrrrrr!

This gem is called “Salome.” Artist, Henri Alexandre Georges Regnault, 1870. I fell in love with it the minute I saw it. She is wild, saucy, smart, and definitely knows what she wants in life. She will be loved deeply and with great passion but can never be possessed. That is the way I see her anyway.

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No doubt I am not alone in thinking Augustus Caesar one of the most fascinating of men from our most ancient times. No? Come on you must be kidding! Doesn’t everyone love to read about ancient Rome and Greece? On this day in history Augustus Caesar was made Pontifex Maximus of Rome. It was a very important post, and was given for life. It was given to Roman Emperors and later to Popes. I think he would have fallen in love with Salome for sure.
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Well, I have to tell you, this next one, well it brought to mind some ideas that I don’t think they are desiring. It seems that the public is being invited to submit sketches of what George Dubya’s library should look like. First the idea that George should have a library is somewhat incongruous, since he has no love of books. Secondly, oh my goodness, the designs that come to mind, jail cell? circus big tent? cemetery entrance? tower of London? Seriously if you have the artist in you or just want to vote on what’s thus far been submitted, be my guest, chase the link through American President’s Blog.
Actually folks, if you go to the link, there are some pretty funny ones. Seems I’m not alone in thinking a toilet is too good for this joke of a president. Enjoy and vote often!
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If you are interested in weird flowers in your garden, sneak a peak at An Iowa Garden today. This might make a contest or poll. What is the strangest plant in your garden? Mine would be weeds. Lol. I’d say that Don has a winner. It’s an ugly little devil for sure. I call your Asarum Minamitanianum and raise you a spiderwort. The name is ugly, but the flower is kinda cute.
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I think we first started to really get earmarking in Congress with the exposure of Senator “the internet is a series of tubes” Ted Stevens and his bridge to nowhere. Bill Moyer’s has a wonderful story about earmarks and features a Seattle reporter, David Heath, who has done some investigative reporting about this way out of hand practice. Don’t forget the link to the Q & A by Heath when you finish the main article. This is important stuff kids, we have got to gain control of these spendthrifts who do this crap only for re-election purposes.
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Coconut and Lime has a nice recipe, the kind I particularly like, all in one dish. This is an upgrade for mac and cheese for sure. Try Baked Penne with four cheeses. Oh this one is a keeper for sure! The Contrarian would love this one, and he must have his meat every day!
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DIY Herbs has a very long thing about herbal remedies. I do not, REPEAT DO NOT, endorse the use of any herb for any ailment you have. Some people swear by it, some do not. I love herbs for food, and I know personally that some are not harmful and can be used as teas for various minor ailments. I do not share my beliefs here. Proceed at your own risk. But I’m hoping the blogger also writes about growing and storing herbs as well. But you may be interested in some of these, and so follow the link if you are so inclined.
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If you are inclined to do something a little fancy for dinner, then consider quesadillas. Oh not the usual cheesy Mexican version, those are good, and we know that. For fancy we do it with goat cheese! Epicurious comes up with another neat one from Bon Appetit, called “Potato, Greens, and Goat Cheese Quesadillas.”
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Let me see. Coffee, praline, cheesecake, balls. That about sums up this recipe. A wonderful Easter? happening. Just ritzy enough to impress, fairly easy to do, finger food. What could be better. Try this Tiramisu Praline from Gourmet Cakes and be amazed. Remember before you start to grump, I have a conversion widget on the sidebar to convert grams and litres to American sense! I’d place this in desserts, but more like truffles. Like an after-dinner mint with coffee?
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I love pancakes, ever since I started making them from real ingredients an not from a box. What to put on them? Don’t you just love the fruit syrups? But hate the price? Make your own! Simple as could be. Home Made Jams and Jelly Recipes has a simple, and quick method which can be adapted no doubt to all manner of fruit. Again, the converter is on the sidebar. This one is for blueberry syrup, and we know that blueberries are very healthy, so ignore the sugar and eat up!

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As a Catholic, I find myself at odds with my Church a lot. I have always however been fond of Sr. Joan Chittister and her wonderful homiletic writings. This is another of those that you really should read, simply because you are a woman, or you are a man. My Church has yet to come out of the dark ages when it comes to empowering women in eclessia or elsewhere. Sr. Joan makes a very important point about wasting valuable resources. The statistics are sobering, and this state of affairs is immoral.
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I for one have never felt the least bit offended at being so closely related to chimpanzees. They seem all around nice creatures and probably are nicer than many people I’ve met. It seems what separates us from the chimps gets less and less every day. Now the way the brain is wired for communication has been found to be the same in both of us. The bottom line, the differences between us are of degree not of kind, and the most different thing about us, is that hair!
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Oh another fine tale from Scandalous Women, this time about the sisters of Henry VIII. Some of you may be watching the “The Tudors” on Showtime. We don’t get that premium channel, so maybe I’ll get to see it in about 3 years. Turns out they conflated Henry’s two sisters into one, making for very bad history, and both women were important in their own right. This is the first of a two-part bio she’s doing, and very well done too.
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Today’s hey your a woman, you should know this question:
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How do you get rust stains out of white clothes?
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You might be tempted to bleach rust stains away, but chlorine bleach can cause the iron in water to precipitate out into fabrics, leaving additional stains. Instead, treat the stains with a solution of equal parts lemon juice and water, letting the mixture sit for a few minutes. Then hand-wash the garment. If the stain has already set, try this: After you soak the stain with lemon juice, hold it over a steaming teakettle until the stain is thoroughly steamed. This may loosen the stain’s hold on the fabric and enhance the bleaching action of the lemon juice.
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On this day in History:
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322 BCE Aristotle dies
~1274 Thomas Acquinas dies, theologian, saint
~1530 Denied his divorce, Henry VIII declares himself the head of England’s church
~1644 Massachusetts establishes the first 2-chamber legislature in the colonies
~1774 Port of Boston is closed to all commerce by the British
~1850 Daniel Webster endorses the Compromise of 1850
~1876 Telephone is patented by A. G. Bell
~1912 South Pole discovered? hehe, by Roald Amundsen ~ didn’t know it was lost
~1933 Game of Monopoly invented
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“Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, “Where have I gone wrong?”/ Then a voice says to me, “This is going to take more than one night.”” ~~Charles Schultz
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“I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” ~~Pablo Picasso
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No one is entirely useless; even the worst of us can serve as horrible examples.
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A farewell salute to Mike Huckabee, the huckster, the I don’t believe in evolution but I sure love televangelists guy, the doesn’t know when he’s worn out his welcome but I know women are to obey their husbands guitar playing all around preacher/exgovernor man.
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“I’m pretty sure there will be duck-hunting in heaven and I can’t wait!” –Mike Huckabee, speaking to an NRA group
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“If anybody wants to believe they’re the descendants of a primate, they’re welcome to do it.” –answering a question about evolution
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“If a person dresses provocatively, they’re calling attention — maybe not the most desirable kind — to private parts of their body.” –after being asked whether he’s against miniskirts~
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“One of President Bush’s closest advisers said that Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is going to have trouble getting elected ’cause his last name is Huckabee. He said the only way it could be worse is if his name was George W. Huckabee.” –Conan O’Brien
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And just for all around amusement:
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So we revert to Daylight Savings Time this weekend, and in a public service announcement President Bush reminded all Americans to turn their smoke detectors forward. – Marc Ragovin, New York
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John McCain went to the White House to get George Bush’s blessing and both their smiles were so tight you could hear the enamel cracking.– Will Durst
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