You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2011.

1) Pictures – Nature

Nasa image, captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft, shows virtually simultaneous solar eruptions on opposite sides of the sun (Guardian)

A stampede of wild ponies in Hexigten, Mongolia, is captured by 62-year-old photographer Li Gang, who spends winters trailing the horses in temperatures well below freezing (Guardian)

Volcanic lightning seen above Shinmoedake Volcano, Miyazaki, Japan (LA Times)

2) Memories?

A friend sent me this video. I would mention her name but I can’t remember it.

Pam Peterson

How do you keep your mind, and imagination, sharp?

3) Poetry

Excerpts from the works of Alan Ginsberg:

a. From “Howl”

Angelheaded hipsters burning for the the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

Who poverty and tatters and hollowed-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz

b. From “Footnote to Howl”

Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucinations holy the miracles holy the eyeball holy the abyss!

Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours! bodies! suffering! magnanimity!

Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!

c. From “Song”

The warm bodies shine together in the darkness

the hand moves to the center of the flesh

the skin trembles in happiness

and the soul comes joyful to the eye

The complete version of “Howl” contains many obscene words. The poem “Song” does not. Should high school students be allowed to read obscene literature? Pretending of course that you could keep them from doing it.


1) As you can see from the pictures below we have had some snow here in Connecticut, 3 1/2 feet so far in January, snowiest month on record.

My car’s snow story




After, after

What is the most snow you have ever had to deal with?

2) Two music vidoes I came across yesterday that I really enjoyed.  I though they were both very creative, in different ways.

Which of the following do you look for the most in music you enjoy – lyrics that tell a story?  a voice that you love listening to? Music that moves your soul?

Boyce Avenue and DeStrom cover of B.o.B song – Airplanes

Mummers – Place For Us

3) Water Words by Robert Creely

The words are beautiful music
The words bounce like in water

Water music,
loud in the clearing

off the boats.
birds, leaves.

They look for a place to eat
to sit and eat-

no meaning
no point.

1) January has become the snowiest month on record here in CT, with 28.3 inches so far and another 8-12 inches expected overnight.

Tonight I will dream of this:

and wake up to this:

Today’s view from my condo, so tomorrow those cars will look like snow cones.

2) Being in need of a chuckle I give you:


and from the fashion runway today in Paris – Parrot Girl

3) All Gil Meche had to do to collect 12 million dollars was show up for Spring Training at the Kansas City Royals baseball camp. The money is guarteened no matter how he performs.

Instead he pass on the money and retired, saying:

“When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it,” Meche said this week by phone from Lafayette, La. “Once I started to realize I wasn’t earning my money, I felt bad. I was making a crazy amount of money for not even pitching. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I didn’t want to have those feelings again.”

Gil Meche chose self-respect over money. No amount of money can, in its self, make you feel good about yourself. I have no doubt that he made the right choose.

I wonder how many people could walk away from 12 million dollars?  I am not sure I could.

A link to the story in the New York Times –

1) Pictures

a. Man places candles in an Orthodox cathedral in Russia, mourning the 35 killed at the Domodedovo Airport blast.

b. Hong Kong, China: Children take part in an early Chinese New Year performance at a shopping mall marking the coming Year of the Rabbit (Guardian)

c. Malmö, Sweden: A man walks past a giant lamp placed on Lilla Torg square (Guardian)

d. From Guardian slide show – Climate change in Tanzania: a search for water takes its toll:

The women walk to caves each day to fetch water. Carrying buckets, they descend 30m on precarious homemade bamboo ladders

2) “Cead Mile Falite” to my Scots friends as you celebrate Burns Nicht. On January 25th Scots around the world celebrate of the life and poetry of Roberts Burns, (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796), the National Poet of Scotland, with readings of his poetry at a traditonal supper.

“Address tae the haggis”

3) January 26th is Australian Day. It comemorates the arrival of the British “First Fleet” at Sydney Cove in 1788. The date is controversial to some Australians, particularly those of Indigenous heritage, who have had little to celebrate since its arrival.

“I am Australian” by The Seekers

What song(s) do you think best represent your home country?

Purely for you entertainment and edification. If you wish to, post a question you would like me to answer.

1) LA Times slide show, This Week in Pictures –

a. A four-month-old Luwak civet is tempted by some red coffee beans at the BAS Coffee plantation in Tapaksiring. Kopi luwak, the world’s most expensive and lowest-production coffee, is made from the beans after they have been eaten and passed through the digestive tract of the animal.

Kopi Luwak coffee cost around $300. This is what is looks like when harvested, sorta kinda looks like….nough said.

b. At the other extreme we have mud cakes some Haitians have to dine on.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti — A woman rests next to a pot of dried mud cookies. The cookies are made of dirt, salt and vegetable shortening and are one of very few options the poorest Haitians have to stave off hunger.

c. My new hero is Cyril Wood. At 87 he was oldest competitor at the United Kingdom’s Cold Water Swimming Championship. Okay he is a tad crazy but I see that as a positive. Here he takes a towel after taking part in the male heads-up breaststroke. Check out those trunks. 🙂

2) Comedian Miranda Hart won the British People Comic awards for people’s choice vote, best actress and best new comedy. The following video shows why.

Warning – It does have some naughty bits, well it is British, but no nudity, thank god.

1) In Pictures

Storyteller by Balazs Pataki

A sculpture I would love to have in my backyard – A giant bunny, actually titled “Crawling Lady-Hare” by Sophie Ryder, at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in West Bretton, Wakefield, England.

Sunset Story by Valentin Bondarenko

2) In Words

a. Vision by Erica Funkhouser

With age mirage assuages
what the youthful eye
would have studied
until identified–
chicory? bluebird? debris?

Today no nomenclature
ruptures the composure
of a chalk-haze
pausing, even dawdling.
now and then trembling
over what I’m going to call
fresh water.

b. Wednesday, was the 202nd birthday of one of my favorite poets, Edgar Allen Poe, January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849.

For everything you could ever want to know about Poe here is a link to the web site of the Museum of Edgar Allen Poe, in Richmond, Viriginia.

My favorite quote of his:

“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.”

I must admit I often show a rather hard exterior to the world. I don’t remember crying since my grandmother died, when I was nine. I do think I have a sensitive soul, I just do all my crying on the inside. I am sure that part of this is because I was born into a culture, 1940’s America, where boys weren’t suppose to cry, at least not in my family.

How sensitive is your soul? Is your public face the same as you private one?

1) Soul-Sight by Archibald Macleish

Like moon-dark, like brown water you escape,

O laughing mouth, O sweet uplifted lips.

Within the peering brain old ghosts take shape;

You flame and wither as the white foam slips,

Back from the broken wave: sometimes a start,

A gesture of the hands, a way you own

Of bending that smooth hand above your heart,-

Then these are vanished, then the dream gone.

Oh, you are too much mine and flesh of me

To seal upon the brain, who in the blood

Are so intense a pluse, so swift a flood

Of beauty, such unceasing instancy.

Dear unimagined brow, unvisioned face,

All beauty has become your dwelling place.

2) From Christian Science Monitor slide show –

Priests and believers hold a religious service, before swimming in Markovacko Lake to retrieve a cross, during Epiphany celebrations in Mladenovac, about 37 miles from Belgrade, Serbia. The retrieval of a cross is a traditional event that marks Orthodox Epiphany, which, according to the Gregorian calendar, falls on January 19

A Hindu holy man stands in the backdrop of a tent during the annual Magh Mela festival at Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges and Yamuna, in Allahabad, India. Hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims take dips in the rivers, some hoping to wash away sins and others to secure a fine spouse during the month-long festival.


A baby is baptized during a mass baptism ceremony in Tbilisi, Georgia. More than 500 children were baptized by the Georgian Orthodox church during the 15th mass baptism ceremony at the country’s main Holy Trinity cathedral.

Devotees gather around the Living Goddess Kumari while she is being brought back to her residence at the Kumari temple from Taleju Temple after taking part in the Changunarayan Jatra festival in Kathmandu, Nepal.

A boy from the cattle herding Mundari tribe stands in a settlement near Terekeka, Central Equatoria state, south Sudan. South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly to declare independence from the north in a referendum, according to officials in seven out of the region’s ten states polled by Reuters.

3) Home cooking for your pets?

Do you think feeding your dog(s) or cat(s) homemade healthy food, similar to what your family eats, is better for their health than processed pet food? Would you prepare homemade food for your family dog and cat?

From a New York Times article –

“We know processed foods are wrong for us,” Ms. Laino said, scratching behind Orion’s ears as he licked his nose and paws clean. “It has to be wrong for them. If you can feed yourself healthily and your children, then you can feed your pets healthily, too. It really isn’t that hard.”

According to many veterinarians and pet food producers, it can, in fact, be quite hard to formulate an animal’s diet at home. But Ms. Laino, the students in her workshop and others say they have reasons for taking on the challenge. Many of them say they made the switch out of desperation after their animals had lingering illnesses that resisted medicine and other remedies. With home-cooked meals, they say, those health problems cleared up.

But they also say it’s hard to justify dumping a can of mystery meat for Bo while the rest of the family is sitting down to grass-fed osso buco with a side of biodynamic polenta. As people eat more sustainable seasonal produce and meat raised and butchered outside the industrial system, so do their pets. And as do-it-yourself hobbies like canning, gardening and raising backyard chickens have taken off in recent years, grinding 40 pounds of pet food starts to look like another fun weekend project.”

1) Pictures from a Guardian slide show of the 32nd Dakar Rally, a 5,976-mile off-road marathon stretching across Argentina and Chile,

Fans sit on a dune to watch the ninth stage in Copiapo, Chile.
Wonder how much these guys paid for their seats?

The BMW driver Guerlain Chicherit and his co-driver Michel Perin, from France, race their car in the sixth stage between Iquique and Arica in Chile.

Mitsubishi’s driver Guilherme Spinelli and his co-driver Youssef Haddad, both from Brazil, compete during the fourth stage between Jujuy, Argentina, and Calama, Chile.

KTM MRW Rally Factory’s Juan Pedrero Garcia rides through barren terrain between Iquique and Arica in Chile.

2) In 1944 Dr. Martin Luther King traveled to my home state to work at a tobacco field in Simsbury, Connecticut. The experience influence his decision to become a minister and heighten his resentment of segregation. The news story about that trip, linked to below, also gives us a window into the America I was born into, where in most places skin color dictated your place in society.

Can you remember any experiences from your youth that shaped your life?

From a Comcast news story –

“On our way here we saw some things I had never anticipated to see,” he wrote his father in June 1944. “After we passed Washington there was no discrimination at all. The white people here are very nice. We go to any place we want to and sit any where we want to.”

Until then, King was thinking of other professions such as becoming a lawyer, Conard-Malley said. But after his fellow Morehouse College students at the tobacco farm elected him their religious leader, he decided to become a minister.

In his later application to Crozer Theological Seminary King wrote that he made the decision that summer “when I felt an inescapable urge to serve society. In short, I felt a sense of responsibility which I could not escape.”

In a letter to his mother three days after he wrote his father, King marveled over a trip he took to Hartford.

“I never thought that a person of my race could eat anywhere but we ate in one of the finest restaurants in Hartford,” King wrote. “And we went to the largest shows there.”

He wrote a week earlier of going to the same church in Simsbury as white people. His new calling as a religious leader was emerging, too.

“I have to speak on some text every Sunday to 107 boys. We really have good meetings,” he wrote.

King was nicknamed “Tweed” by his friends because he often wore a tweed suit to church, said Alexis Kellam, whose late father, Ennis Proctor, worked with King that summer in Connecticut.

In her book “Through It All: Reflections on My Life, My Family, and My Faith,” Farris wrote that her brother underwent a “metamorphosis” as a result of his time in Connecticut.

1) The wisdom in comics

a. Agnes “A closed mind gets musty and may even start to mold. When people seem to be out of their minds they may be just out to get some fresh air.”

b. 9 Chickwood Lane Advise column. Question – “I am thinking of going into politics, but I am worried, do politicians go to hell?” From Paved with good intentions.

Answer – “Don’t worry politicians never go to hell. Quite the contrary. Hell goes to the politicians. It tags along, pays all their meals, arranges junkets, etc. Don’t worry Paved, you’ll be well taken care of. Hell knows a bad thing when it sees it.”

***We interrupt this segment of the post for the following commercials, brought to you by “Ed’s Politics” ****

Dear President Obama, I don’t want my politicians to be civil. I want them to speak with passion about what they believe in.

“Blood libel” refers to the claim that religious minorities, usually Jews, murder children to use their blood as part of a ritual. Dear Sarah Palin you are a clueless idiot.

***We resume our regular progaming***

2) Martin Luther King was someone who spoke with great passion, and knew a great deal about false accusations. He was killed for his beliefs. Dr. King is being honored in January 17, 2010. His contribution to making the words in our Constitution “that all men are created equal” a reality makes him one of the greatest American leaders of my lifetime.

This recognition took longer than it should have. Many today still don’t agree Dr. King deserves it. While the rest of the country celebrates Dr. King, the Tea Party in several states are holding rallies to support their views, and the Tea Party supported the Governor of Maine, Paul LaPage, who has declined to take part in MLK Day celebrations.

***Up Date – Maine governor LaPage changed his plans and did attend the NAACP breakfast honoring Dr. King. I applaud Gov Lapage for recongnizing the importance of this day. ***

Ronald Reagan was also opposed to the holiday. He threatened to veto the King Day bill but recanted only after Congress passed it with an overwhelming veto-proof majority (338 to 90 in the House of Representatives and 78 to 22 in the Senate).

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) voted against the creation of the holiday to honor King, and later defended Arizona Republican Governor Mecham’s rescinding of the state holiday in honor of King created by his Democratic predecessor. After his opposition grew increasingly untenable, McCain reversed his position, and encouraged his home state of Arizona to recognize the holiday despite opposition from then-Governor Evan Mecham.

On May 2, 2000, South Carolina governor Jim Hodges signed a bill to make Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday an official state holiday. South Carolina was the last state to recognize the day as a paid holiday for all state employees.

On April 3rd King made his last political speech in support of the black sanitary public works employees, represented by AFSCAME Local 1733, who had been on strike since March 12 for higher wages and better treatment. In one incident, black street repairmen received pay for two hours when they were sent home because of bad weather, but white employees were paid for the full day.

“And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

At 6:01 pm an assassin’s bullet took his life. King died at St. Joseph’s Hospital at 7:05 pm.

1) Winter Trees by William Carlos Williams

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

2) If you are in the market for a new home this one bedroom, 1,704 sq ft house, in Hawaii, is a steal at only $80,000,000.

“Once a major portion of the Kaiser Estate, the magnificent property was developed by industrialist and developer, Henry J. Kaiser. Unsurpassed in significance and scale, the property contains nearly 5.5 acres and is sited in the prestigious Portlock neighborhood on the East Oahu coastline. Commanding spectacular vistas of Maunalua Bay and Diamond Head, the setting is both tropical and grand and includes a boat harbor. The property can be divided and sold in 3 separate parcels.”

3) It was a big week for American astronomers, they held their 217th annual meeting in Seattle.

Of course any meeting of great minds must be fueled by coffee. What is your favorite energy booster?

Religion and science do mix

The people at this conference, and the instruments they build, have advanced our knowledge about the Universe outside our solar system more in the last decade then the sum total of all that had previosuly been known.

I predict that in 2011 we will find an “earth like” planet, where earth like life could exist on its surface.

Do you think finding life on another planet will significantly change how we think about life on our own? How?

One of the news stories coming from the conference is that NASA’s Kepler mission’s confirmed the discovery of its first rocky planet, named Kepler-10b. Measuring 1.4 times the size of Earth, it is the smallest planet ever discovered outside our solar system.

Kepler-10 was the first star identified that could potentially harbor a small transiting planet, placing it at the top of the list for ground-based observations with the W.M. Keck Observatory 10-meter telescope in Hawaii

Natalie Batalha, Kepler’s deputy science team lead at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif:

“Kepler’s ultra-precise photometer measures the tiny decrease in a star’s brightness that occurs when a planet crosses in front of it. The size of the planet can be derived from these periodic dips in brightness. The distance between the planet and the star is calculated by measuring the time between successive dips as the planet orbits the star.”

“The discovery of Kepler-10b, a bona fide rocky world, is a significant milestone in the search for planets similar to our own,” said Douglas Hudgins, Kepler program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Although this planet is not in the habitable zone, the exciting find showcases the kinds of discoveries made possible by the mission and the promise of many more to come,”

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