Atoms and Other Particles

George Krause did this beauty, entitled “Fountainhead” in 1970. I suspect that in some parts of the west, such a delightful experience would be most welcome.

Well, the garden is officially planted for the second time. I couldn’t get any more tomato plants or any sweet peppers but I did manage to get four Anaheim peppers which are mildly hot and good for a lot of dishes. The garden doesn’t look too bad, and the corn seems to be going a bit. Some of the tomato plants look rather spindly, but who knows, they may take off. I’m wondering if I should get some fertilizer out on it. Perhaps the heavy rains have washed away nutrients. The little pepper plants, no more than about 7 inches tall are trying to set fruit. That concerns me, since I’m thinking they are not going to produce much. Nothing can be done.

It seems the story is the same everywhere. The Contrariansstep brother has sprayed his fields for weeds so apparently he thinks the corn will come along. Since we planted at nearly the same time, that gives us some hope. Surely he wouldn’t spend the money for nothing. He must feel that the chances are still worth it.


A huge congrats to Deborah over at (Mis)Adventures of a Crafty Wifey. Seems they are pregnant. Stop by and give her and hubby a nice high five.

William Penn is of course the reason Pennsylvania is called, well PENNsylvania. Yesterday marked the anniversary of his penning ( no pun intended of course) a treaty between his white folks and the native tribe there, the Lenni Lenape. King Charles II had given Penn the land, but of course it was never his to give. Read more at Martin’s American History Blog.

Hannibal won a significant battle against the Romans on this date in 217 B.C.E. Of course in the end he lost. N.S. Gill’s Ancient/Classic History Bloghas the details. The Contrarian and I seldom hear of Hannibal when we don’t recall a funny incident. We were watching “Millionaire” back in its beginnings when Regis Philbinwas still hosting at night. The first question to a contestant was “What animal did Hannibal use to cross the Alps in his war against Rome?” Without batting an eye, the young man confidently exclaimed with obvious superiority, “Llamas!” ROFL. Now there is so much wrong with that that well it never fails to get us laughing like crazy.

Sandi’s Crochet Blog offers a pattern for an afghan, and she offers you three different sizes. The pattern is called shell triangles and it’s very lovely I thought. I have a couple of afghans in progress already, but of course I seldom work on them during the summer months. Just to hot and the yarn drags horribly and your hands sweat. (We don’t use air-conditioning) I have tried to leave comments on her site but they never open up. If any of you have any luck, let me know.

You can find a very interesting discourse on George Washington at American Revolution Blogtoday. He discusses at length Washington’s faith, and how he interpreted that in light of his responsibilitiesboth as Revolutionary General and later as President. A very impressive overview.

I’ve been on a cilantro kick for a while. The fajitas we had yesterday were so much enhanced by fresh cilantro in the salsa. So it should come as no surprise that I found this recipe from  Baking Delights enticing. It’s called Cilantro Chickenand is a quickie. I’m rather certain I shall make it before the end of the week, though I will be significantly cutting it down for two.

Today Civil War Women features Judith Carter Henry. The story is about the first battle of Bull Run and an unlikely victim of that battle. Mrs. Henry, 85 years old, was one of casualties and, and as Maggie points out, the romanticism of war soon faded.

My intestines have caught up with me so I’ve had to put on the breaks with my love affair with fruit for a bit. But that doesn’t mean that I want to deprive you of a great recipe. Mango Blueberry Fool is sure to please your family any day, but especially on the hot summer days when fruit tastes just so darn good. Thanks to Epicurious for another fine one.

I thought I would include this fromFeeling Stitchy today, in honor of our friend Vicki at Knitting Dragonflies. A plethora of dragonflies for your inspiration! Patterns, tutorials and links to other great dragonfly-inspired projects for embroidery and quilting. One is also beaded, so lots of different craft ideas are available.

Okay, have you tried planting an avocado seed? I have, and have actually grown one to a real plant, but then it just died. I think I may try again with the expert advice I found at Gardening Tips ‘n Ideas. Take a peek and don’t send that poor old avocado seed off to the compost heap again. Grow your own! Of course it takes years to produce fruit, so either grow as a houseplant or transplant to a movable container and eventually you will get fruit. We can’t plant outside here in Iowa, it’s too cold in the winter.

Alice Parker is another of those unfortunate women who was tried as a witch. While many try to play down this time in our history, especially the religious right who never want to admit that Christianity can get out of hand, History of American Womenmakes it very clear by her essays that it was indeed prevalent for a time. It is important that these poor women not be forgotten. Her conviction was later reversed and her family received 8 pounds in recompense. How very nice. :(

Inspired by Antique Quilts has another one she is getting ready to finish. A lovely applique that is colorful and looks quite quick. The pattern is large as you can see if you follow the link and take a look yourself.

Science purely shocks me sometimes. It tells me things that frankly I never thought about before.  Most know of Homer’s Odyssey, if they haven’t read it, or seen some representation of it in film. Of course we know it is part fiction but also part fact, since Troy has long been known to exist, featured so prominently in the Iliad. In the Odyssey, an eclipse is mentioned in the 20th book. Astronomers have pinpointed the date of that eclipse as April 16, 1178 B.C.E. some months after Odysseus return, near in time to when he slayed the many suitors vying for his wife’s hand. Read all the fascinating details of how this was done at Live Science.

The new Pew Report is really fascinating as it looks at American views on religion. Some of the results are simply astounding in my view. Some of this I saw last night on the news. Apparently most of us, even most evangelicals don’t believe that their faith (Christianity) is necessarily the only way to salvation. A huge majority of Catholics (79%) feel this way, topped only by Buddhists at around 83%. That suggests I think, major room for interfaith dialogue and cooperation. The Politico has the story. Here is a link to the forum itself where you can spend a long time reading through this very detailed work.

Pesto! I love the stuff, and have about 8 basil plants doing just fine in a container by the front door. I plan on making pestowhen they are as big as i can get them. It’s very easy to make, just basil, olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. Whiz it in a food processor, spoon into ice cube trays and freeze, pop out and put in a freezer bag. You can add it to pasta, soups, well just about anything you wish. Once Upon A Feast has some great new and different ways to make it. Cilantro is a favorite substitute. Just looking at the photos are enough to make a person swoon.

Well I found this next one a bit weird to say the least. It seems glass is not a proper solid at all. It’s moving. Yeah, did I say weird? Atoms are prohibited from moving where they want to by being blocked by neighbors. All of this means (heck if I know why) that glass could be the new component in airplane construction. I’m not thinking I want to sit in a transparent plane anytime soon!

Canada can boast a new find archaeologically speaking, and we always like to speak archaeologically whenever possible. An ancient fort constructed by people before Europeans arrived in the area, has been located in Western Canada, near Cluny and east of Calgary. It is defined as a Siksika First Nation reservation and is around 250 years old. The site was long known to native peoples.

Wow, I sure missed a number of posts by Melisende at Women of History. There are several so I’ll just give you the main site and you can scroll down and read what you like. The first is onMaria Comnena, Queen of Jerusalem, grandniece to Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Comnena of Constantinople. Second is Theodora Comnena, niece of the same Emperor. Next is Margaret Anjou, Queen to the King Henry VI of England, Artemesia of Hallicarnassus, Queen, and lastlyGalla Placidia, Empress and daughter of Theodosius the Great of Rome. They are all from June 22, so she’s been quite prolific. A lovely run of important women


More Sign Humor:

At a Music Store: Out to lunch. Bach at 12:30. Offenbach sooner.

At a tire shop in Milwaukee: Invite us to your next blowout. 

At the electric company: We would be delighted if you send in your bill. However, if you don’t, you will be.

Church sign: To remove worry wrinkles, get your faith lifted

In a department store: Bargain Basement Upstairs.

In a Maine restaurant: Open seven days a week and weekends.

In a Pennsylvania cemetery: Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves.

Inside a bowling alley: Please be quiet. We need to hear a pin drop.

On a maternity room door: Push. Push. Push.

On a New York convalescent home: For the sick and tired of the Episcopal Church

If I Knew the Answer, I’d Sell it.

This photo is of Francis Benjamin Johnston and his family, 1890-1910 and is from the Library of Congress.

The sky is clearing and the sun is starting to come out nicely. We missed the rain yesterday, so we are looking forward to a few days of dry weather. I got behind the fridge today and then did my “baking” pantry, this tiny little closet that is next to the fridge. I hate it, since its too narrow to use well, and its deep, but I have it now reorganized into a better system I believe. I’d say about 1/3 of the kitchen is now done. Tomorrow we are heading to town for shopping, so whatever blogging I do tomorrow will be short and later in the day.

On to the news:


(Mis)Adventures of a Crafty Wifey did a nice plaque for Mother’s Day and presents a tutorial to help you learn how to do them yourself. I’d say hers turned out very nice indeed. She gives you all the particulars so you can dive right in for that next special occasion.

In case you missed it amid all the hoopla about Clinton’s landslide victory in West Virginia, Democrats scored another victory in a special election in Mississippi, making it now three seats they have thus far picked up in special elections and making them also 3-0. Republicans are hand wringing and sobbing, but this is exactly what polls predict as well as all other standard indicators based on past elections. It’s gonna be a straight win across the board for the Democrats this year according to the experts. 

Britannica Blog posts a question that has been on my mind since the cyclone hit Myanmar. Do we, as a global community have a duty to protect the innocents against rogue goverments that allow what amounts to genocide in their countries? I’m not sure what the answer is, but I come down at the moment on the side of a UN led force designed essentially to take them out and allow aid workers in to help in the crisis. Of course, I have no plan as to what to do then, and perhaps that’s the crux of the problem. China and Russia will obviously disapprove given their problems with “provinces” in rebellion. What do you think?

Civil War Women has a biography today of Mary Morris Husband, civil war nurse. These posts are always so delightful, and one gets such a sense of how brave and heroic these women were. Women were generally not thought to be in the forefront during the Civil War, and well, women were generally not in the forefront in any sense in those days. These are the trailblazers that made way for us today. Oh and Maggie has another blog. I’m not sure if it’s new, but I just found it: History of American Women. I’m sure I’ll be featuring it soon on a regular basis.

As most in Iowa know at least, a major raid was conducted in Postville a few days ago, and a bunch of “illegals” were rounded up. The media and all went to great lengths to keep telling us how humane it all was. Several were released if they could show that they had minor children with no other supervision. It’s disheartening to see this. There are estimates of at least 10 million illegal immigrants in the US. Catching a few dozen here and there does virtually nothing but cost us money. It is just something that the government can point to and say, “see, we are doing something.’ Sigh, I think there are better solutions than this. Read more at Essential Estrogen.

Ezra Klein has a nice link to Josh Marshall from TPM about Obama and the Appalachia problem. You see, that’s how Josh sees it. Obama is not having trouble with working whites per se, but only those portions of states that reside within Appalachia, and West Virginia is all Appalachia. See what you think of the analysis.

Garrison Keillor has a post, and that always makes me smile big. Today his topic is individualism, and as usual, its the usual mix of homegrown advice, commentary and flights of free thought. Enjoy.

While our mislead government continues to rattle the sabre at Iran, and McCain promises to continue in that vein, History News Networkhas some advice. Michael Axworthy has just written a book on the subject of Iran so he might have something worthwhile to say. Read his advice to the next president.

The Iowa Independent has a very good post on the “New GI Bill” introduced by Senator Webb and cosponsored by Senator Hegel. McCain is gonna get creamed on this issue for sure. Wesley Clark had some very unkind but true remarks to make of McCain’s counter bill and the reasons why he opposes the Webb bill. Harkin is on board, Grassley is still wavering, so a e-mail to him is most appropriate.

Since we all need more women’s history, bop on over to Live Science and read a article on The Most Powerful Modern Women Leaders. Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir are just three of the top ten.

Niki’s Ventures gives us another couple of freebie patterns. One for a Kleenex box cover and the other for a quilt square. I just made a Kleenex box cover from 3-ply thread that was yellow, green, pink and grey. It was my own pattern and it turned out quite well, though it’s far from being “professional” looking. This pattern is for scraps of material and is definitely better looking than mine. Quite delightful indeed and perfect as a seasonal change. Applique would be the operative word on this one. The quilt blog is patriotic, cute if you like that sort of thing.

When you use the word evangelical, most people know what side of the equation they stand on. And to some degree that is correct, but in some ways it is not. There is a broad group of evangelicals who do indeed feel their cause hijacked by the ultra reactionary right and they are trying as best they can to set the record straight and return the good name to evangelism. On Faith weighs in on “what is an evangelical”and its usual list of panelists respond, and of course people comment like crazy. Always a fun place to stop.

It truly shocks and delights me that there is so much stuff still out there to be found. Huh? Oh, I mean artifacts of old civilizations. The oldest to date bust of Julius Caesar has been found at the bottom of the Rhone. It has been tentatively dated at 46 B.C.E. Thanks to Rogueclassicism for the post.

Did you know that sloths in captivity sleep more than those in the wild? I guess it stands to reason, predators and all? Do sloths have predators? I assume they do. I assume as well that zoos can be mighty boring places. If you’ve ever been to one, you find a lot of sleep going on. As you might expect, scientists think that there is something more important to be learned.



Talk to Action has a good post on McCain and his love affair with hate mongerers John Hagee, and Ron Parsley.Hagee has made a public apology to Catholics, now claiming he’s “learned” about Catholicism and presumably it’s not the Great Whore of Revelation any more. Uhuh, sure. This is just making nice between fellow wingnuts of the ultra right fundamentalist persuasion, folks, and nothing more. Why McCain aligns himself with such riff raff is well telling I guess. Anything to win, it seems, morals, and ethics be damned.

Speaking of which, it’s Wednesday, and Susan Posner is back with another installment of Fundamenalist at American Prospect. As usual, its good.  

The Artful Crafter has something that may be wonderful, I’m just not sure and don’t have the time to look at it much right now. It claims to be software for making your own cookbook easily and quickly. I would be very interested myself, given that I have a stack of pages getting very very high, all of recipes I’m determined to make. LOL. Right. Anyway, take a look if you’re interested. I guess you can do other things, like calendars and family trees with it also.

Remember Phylis Schlafly?The woman who made a career and no doubt tons of dough saying women should stay home where they belong? She’s backkkkkkk. And if you can believe it, she’s being offered an honorary degree at Washington University in St. Louis. Two hundred forty faculty and 14 law school profs have objected. Schlafly’s response: “They are a bunch of bitter women.” Oh how thoroughly disgusting. Unreal, transporting to another universe once again.


“Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.”  Douglas Adams

“The higher the buildings, the lower the morals.” Noel Coward

“History is the short trudge from Adam to atom.” Leonard Lewis Levinson


The kind of things the Contrarian thinks of: (trouble is, he whines, “why don’t you look it up on the internet. You’re so much better at that than me.”

Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the car-pool lane?

Can you cry under water?

If a man alone in the woods said something would a woman still say he was wrong?

How old are you before it can be said you died of old age?

If someone owns a piece of land, do they own it all the way to the center of the earth?

Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

Why is it said that an alarm clock is going off when really its coming on?

Why did Sally sell seashells on the seashore when you can just pick them up anyway?

If you fart and burp at the same time, would it make a vacuum in your tummy?

If an African elephant comes to America, is it an African-American elephant?


Of course, big primary tonight in West Virginia, that’s the story. Barack Obama, slugging it out. And I guess — I don’t know if Barack Obama’s getting tired or what, but in a recent speech, he said he had visited all 57 states. Yeah, after hearing this, President Bush said, “Ha-ha, he forgot Alaska and Hawaii.” Conan O’Brien

Travis Childers, the Democrat who won Mississippi’s special Congressional election, is both pro-gun rights and anti-abortion. I guess that is what’s known as a Cheney Democrat.

John McCain is refocusing his message to seniors. Not simply saying what they want to hear, but also saying it much louder. – Will Durst