Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Estabrook Park

Estabrook Park (Milwaukee County)

East of the Hampton exit (I-43) along the Milwaukee River

This is the old Milwaukee Cement Company quarry

Fossiliferous dolomite and shale

Mineralized zones (featuring Millerite) are underwater

Mormon Stone Quarry

Voree is an old Mormon ghost town on the west side of Burlington (on the Racine-Walworth county line).

There is an active quarry on the site of the old Mormon Stone Quarry, and not much else for collecting.

The Voree story is an odd and little-known chapter in Wisconsin history.

I stumbled upon it when looking for abandoned quarries.

Quarry Lake Park

Quarry Lake Park in Racine (Racine County)

This is a former limestone quarry (the Horlick quarry).

Silurian reef with some very nice crinoid fossils.

Menomonee Park

Menomonee Park is just north of Lannon in Waukesha County.

It lies along the Bugline Recreation Trail that goes from Menomonee Falls to Merton.

There are five abandoned Lannon Stone (Silurian dolomite) quarries in the vicinity of the park.

And there are three working quarries in Lannon.

More ethnobotany

Native Harvests: Botanicals and Recipes of the American Indian (1977) by Barrie Kavasch

Another interesting ethnobotany book, this one is illustrated with beautiful line drawings.

The Three Sisters: corn, squash, and beans.

Chinese Lanterns (Physalis pubescens) unless the berries are ripe they have an unpleasant flavor

Blue Cohosh (Caullophyltim thalictroides) roasted seeds make an excellent coffee substitute

Partridgeberry (Mitchella repens) scarlet berries are very bland and long lasting

Coltsfoot (Tussilaga farfara) a plant much prized to such a degree that it became the object of intertribal warfare among West Coast tribes

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) excellent internally and externally [Yes, but watch out for the spicules and alkaloids]

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) used internally to treat worms; caution: tansy taken internally can be fatal

Special Note: Unfortunately, the library copy of this fine book has been marred by the written comments of some crude boor, a bigoted ignoramus. Maybe the comments were written before the book was donated to the library, and the person was too lazy to erase the remarks, but I doubt it. More likely that this self-appointed expert felt compelled to share their own special brand of genius with us by defacing the library copy.

Ethnobotany 101

Strength of the Earth: The Classic Guide to Ojibwe Uses of Native Plants (2005)

by Frances Densmore

Introduction by Brenda J. Child

Originally published in 1928.

Very interesting and detailed descriptions of how Chippewa (Ojibwe) were dependent on and made efficient use of maple syrup and wild rice.

Many other plants were used for food, medicine, shelter, tools, etc.

"The strength of the Chippewa in conquering the Sioux and establishing themselves in new territory indicates that they were well nourished, that suitable food was available, and that it was prepared in a proper manner."

I wonder if there were deciding factors in the Chippewa-Sioux conflict other than food?

"An old man came to a lodge one winter night tired and cold. He said, 'Never mind, I have some medicine which will soon warm me.' He then took a packet from his bag, put a little of the contents in water and drank it. A few moments later he said, 'I have taken the wrong medicine; I shall die.' And in a few hours he was dead."

Odd anecdote illustrating the danger of carrying poisons among healing medicines.

"The early Chippewa understood the administering of both nourishment and medicine by means of an enema. The syringe was composed of the bladder of the deer."


"Dogbane was used as a protective charm against evil influence or bad medicine."

I need to plant some dogbane.

The author includes two legends: Winabojo and the Birch Tree, and Winabojo and the Cedar Tree. Entertaining, but also illustrate how important these two trees were to the Chippewa.

Fascinating book, worth reading more than once.


The teacher asked me to use the word "pistillate" in a sentence.

I said, "I had to go real bad at seven, but the line was so long that I could not pistillate."

I got sent to the principal's office, but it was worth it.

Cashew toffee

1 cup cashews

3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Butter 9 x 9 pan. Spread cashews over bottom of pan.

Heat sugar and butter over medium heat in heavy saucepan. Bring to full boil, stirring constantly.

Boil 7 minutes, stirring constantly.

Have I mentioned how you have to stir this thing all the time?

Pour boiling hot mixture over nuts in pan, spread evenly.

Sprinkle milk chocolate chips over hot mixture.

Place cookie sheet over pan to hold in heat to melt chips.

Spread melted chips over mixture.

Cool until warm (as opposed to boiling hot).

Invert pan onto cookie sheet, break into pieces.

Sort of like heath bars. Sort of.

Pathetic Peter

Pathetic story today about Peter Jackson portraying himself as the victim in his dispute with the producers of the upcoming movie version of The Hobbit.

Even more pathetic are the fanboys saying they will boycott any Hobbit movie not directed by Jackson.

This has the worst elements of a cult of personality. Reminds me of Hitler in some ways. I can see the fanboys goosestepping around and giving each other the "Heil, Jackson!"

Jackson had his shot. Time to give someone else a chance.

Bad people

"Sorry, haters. God is not finished with me yet."

- Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), in bitterness after being passed over for the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee

Heh. The real beauty of this statement is that it contains more truth than the impeached federal judge intended.

More proof that sometimes, not always, and not often enough, but sometimes bad things happen to bad people.

designated liars

"The spokesman for the imams -- or as I believe it's phrased in their culture, 'designated liar'"

- Ann Coulter

Heh. Classic Ann Coulter.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

When history was interesting

"The history of Arizona properly begins with the first visits of white men to the region, some four hundred years ago."

- Rufus Kay Wyllys (1950) Arizona: The History of a Frontier State

Heh. Most of the really interesting history happened before that.

Stepping stones

Today, I reset the stepping stones (Andrew's stones) around the herb garden below the kitchen window.

It was a rainy and muddy day to do it, but it had to be done before the ground freezes, and according to the forecast, that is about two days away.

Stone fleet

Hollow Pits Sunken Ships: The Story of Wisconsin's Forgotten Stone Fleet (1979) by Alan Rowe

Fascinating book on the limestone quarry business on the Door Peninsula.

The author is a scuba diver who explored wrecks along Door County.

Limestone was big business in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The rock was used for rip-rap along Great Lakes harbors, building stone, crushed road ballast, lime, and cement.

Many of the barges used to haul rock were converted vessels that had previously sailed the lakes in other forms (e.g., schooners).

A very interesting chapter in Wisconsin history.


Helldorado: Bringing the Law to the Mesquite (1992 edition) by William M. Breakenridge

Edited and with an introduction by Richard Maxwell Brown

The original book was published in 1928.

This book is a very interesting first-person account of the Old Wild West.

Unfortunately, the author waited until he was old, decrepit (and probably senile) before he wrote it.

The editor has made a herculean effort to provide (in copious footnotes) corrections to all the errors.

Just one example: The author distinctly remembers two guys being lynched, but court records clearly indicate they were tried and sent to prison.

Breakenridge was one of the perpetrators of the Sand Creek Massacre, so he immediately loses credibility with me right there. [For those of you who do not recall, there were some people (probably mostly Cheyenne and Arapahoe) misbehaving, so instead of punishing the miscreants (which would have required some real guts), Breakenridge and his buddies found a group of friendlies, killed defenseless women and children, and then lied about it.]

Breakenridge was in Tombstone for the Earp-Clanton war, and he describes the conflict in strictly political terms: the Clantons were Democrats, and the Earps were Republicans. Breakenridge was a Democrat, and a crony of the notoriously corrupt Sheriff Behan, so again, not a lot of credibility there.

Breakenridge buddied around with lowlifes like John Ringo and Curly Bill Brocius (both of the latter came to bad ends).

Somehow Breakenridge survived to old age, proving once again that bad things do not always happen to bad people.

Worth reading, but only if you do not take the author too seriously.


The birds are starting to visit more frequently the feeder on the kitchen window.

Black-capped chickadee
Red-breasted nuthatch
House finch

Monday, November 27, 2006

Accumulation report

Collected some very nice rocks today, mostly granites.

But not nearly enough for my landscaping goals.

And hauling them up that cliff is no joy.

Attrition update

Someone dug out one of the prickly pears and cast it over onto the Sanders yard.

I replanted it and scattered Milorganite around it.

It is a war, and I am not winning.


Yesterday's wildlife & deadlife sightings:

Two deer crossed Grange Ave. (going south) between 76th and 84th.

Dead oppossum along Edgerton Ave. between Forest Home and 108th.

Bill & Ernie

Bill & Ernie went to an authentic Door County fish boil.

When they were done eating, Bill looked down at the enormous pile of fish bones on his plate, shook his head in disbelief, and said, "That was the boniest fish I ever had."

Ernie looked down at the equally huge pile of bones on his plate and replied, "Mine wasn't bony at all, I took all the bones out!"


"Despite what we read in the popular press, the only known symptom of 'empty nest syndrome' is increased smiling."

- Daniel Gilbert, Harvard psychologist

My own comment = What a crock. Another out-of-touch ivory-tower ultra-liberal.


The Tree Book: A Practical Guide to Selecting and Maintaining the Best Trees for Your Yard and Garden (2004) by Jeff Meyer

Author's Favorite Trees:

Live Oak
Bur Oak
Blue Spruce
Sugar Maple
Black Gum
Flowering Crab Apple
False Cypress
Southern Magnolia

Ten Best Bang-for-Your-Buck Trees:

Bur Oak
Red Maple
Sargent Crab Apple
Fraser Fir
River Birch
Japanese Maple
Bald Cypress
Lombardy Poplar
Norway Spruce
Kousa Dogwood

Conjunction of shade-tolerant and drought-tolerant lists:

European beech
Ohio buckeye
Northern catalpa

A very comprehensive book with some curious omissions:

Kentucky Coffee Tree


"We're going to be sick about this one forever."

- Tom Coughlin, after the Giants blew a 21-0 4th quarter lead and lost

1) Coughlin and Eli Manning deserve each other
2) Sometimes bad things happen to bad people

Rush was right

Mike Vick apologized for giving the finger (with both hands) to his own fans after yesterday's loss. Vick's initial gesture was in response to his own fans booing him mercilessly.


Those fans must not have read all the gushing stories by sports media hacks about how Vick is the greatest quarterback ever to have played the game.

Jazz clarinetist

Jazz clarinetist Joe Aaron (87) is prominently featured in a story on the front page of today's Milwaukee paper.

The story must have come as quite a shock to the public school music teacher who once declared that the clarinet is not a jazz instrument.

A Sobering Thought

A man and his wife are dining at a table in a plush restaurant, and the husband keeps staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sits alone at a nearby table.

The wife asks, "Do you know her?"

"Yes," sighs the husband, "She's my ex-girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up seven years ago, and I hear she hasn't been sober since."

"My God!" says the wife, "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?"

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Fighting, or lack thereof

"If they take the fighting out of hockey, they will ruin it as a sport, just like they did boxing."

- Norman Chad (2006)

Pep talk

On champion featherweight boxer Willie Pep:

"Pep is the only outstanding white fighter in a sport which has been taken over to a great extent by Negroes."

- R.G. Lynch (1946)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Wisconsin death penalty

"The death penalty is not meant to deter crime. It is a punishment for a committed crime."

- Kevin D. Batcher (Milwaukee)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

US Airways is my favorite, too

"Six imams removed from a US Airways flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix are calling on Muslims to boycott the airline. If only we could get Muslims to boycott all airlines, we could dispense with airport security altogether."

-Ann Coulter (11-22-06)

Crabb's head

I saw an interesting bumper sticker today:

"Honk if you have seen Crabb's head!"

I think they might be referring to the head of Henry A. Crabb, killed in 1857 at the town of Caborca (in Mexico).

Crabb made the mistake of believing the commander of the Mexican militia when the latter reassured him that if Crabb and his men surrendered, they would be afforded military POW rights.

Crabb and his men surrendered, and were promptly executed.

Crabb's severed head was preserved in a jar of mescal.

The Mexicans reportedly later drank the mescal, but the fate of the severed head remains uncertain.

There was an unconfirmed report that "Big Nose Bill" Sunomono (a member of the infamous Sunomono clan that terrorized the Old Wild West) perished with Crabb at Caborca.


Arizona: The History of a Frontier State (1950) by Rufus Kay Wyllys

The Info-Fascists at Texas Christian University who clearly do not understand free speech rights regarding selective quotations [you coprophages can sue me any time]

Unpublished personal communications from several people who prefer to remain anonymous (for obvious reasons)

three more guys

Name three (3) guys who got shot in the back of the head in a theater.

1) Abe Lincoln
2) the guy sitting in front of Pee Wee Herman
3) the guy sitting in front of Craig Stys (see #2 above)

three guys

Name three (3) guys that never died.

1) Enoch
2) Utnapishtim
3) Tiny Tim


Yesterday, someone dug up the easternmost of the two hemlocks. I replanted it, but its chances for survival have been decreased.

Today, someone dug up the backyard tulip tree. Again, replanted, but decreased chances.

The red oak was completely shredded, a total loss.

Getting closer to building wire cages.

The combined liquid fence / dried blood is not sufficient.

if you need a house

Found a dead mouse in the basement yesterday. Not sure what he died from. Stress, I guess.

Addendum: I placed his cadaverous remains out next to the rock ford where they promptly vanished. I can think of several possibilities:

1) a Lazarus-like recovery (I particular like this one)
2) major necromancy was involved (but I knew him before he got promoted, he was only captain necromancy back then)
3) nothing goes to waste in a natural yard, and he got scavenged (I hear dead mouse is not too bad with the right sauce)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

On the relative depth of meaning

"Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life."

-Friedrich Schiller (1759-1805)


"Everything you can imagine is real."

- Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Lost Things

The Book of Lost Things (2006) by John Connolly

Very odd novel.

I agree with the reviewers who called it dark and disturbing. It is all of that and more.

Borrows heavily from stories like Little Red Riding Hood and Rumplestiltskin, yet is a fresh perspective.

Also approaches the Rosie Lyons / Octavia Butler school of literature, but in this case, the protagonist refuses to completely surrender to victimhood.

Features Childe Roland en route to The Dark Tower. The story hints that Roland might have chosen an alternative lifestyle.

The Crooked Man is a villain that a reader could learn to hate.

The author has an unhealthy fascination with loss and betrayal, and some very negative feelings about wolves.

Worth reading, but probably not more than once.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Amberg granites

Amberg and Athelstane Granites

Amberg is located in Northeastern Wisconsin about 60 miles north of Greenbay in Marinette County. The Amberg-Athelstane Granite is part of the Wisconsin Magmatic Terrane. The Wisconsin Magmatic Terrane is an area formed by a tectonic plate collision at about 1850 Ma. marked by the Niagara Fault Zone. The Amberg Granite is one of the most extensive in Wisconsin. It is well known for its great variety of color and texture. The two most common types are a fine-grained gray granite and a course-grained red granite known as "Amberg red". These granites were a valuable commodity in the late 1800's early 1900's, causing quarries to pop up in the area.

There were several main companies in the Amberg area during that time. The Amberg Granite Company was the first in the area and later, the Pike River Granite Company, which formed in large part due to poor working conditions at the Amberg Granite Company. The Amberg Granite Company was owned by William Amberg of Chicago and consisted of quarry operations in Amberg - the Argyle, Martindale,the Athelstane and Aberdeen. The Argyle and the Martindale quarries produced the fine-grained gray granite and the Aberdeen quarry produced the "Amberg red". The Athelstane produced a gray granite, but course grained, similar in texture to the Amberg red. Much of their granite was used in Chicago for curbing blocks and street paving. It was also used for buildings such as, the Capital building in Minnesota, and buildings in Chicago and Cincinnati. The Pike River company produced primarily the fine-grained gray granite and much of it was sold as monumental stone because of its strength and attractiveness. However in 1929, 500-600 cars of this stone was sold to the Universal Granite Company of Milwaukee to be used as breakwater stone. Although, once a thriving, profitable businesses, there are no longer any active quarries operating in the Amberg area. More about the history of these quarries and the surrounding area can be found at the Amberg Museum complex, this is located in the town of Amberg on Marinette County V, right off of Highway 141.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Shot

June 27, 1874

Hundreds of warriors (including Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapaho) attacked an isolated outpost known as Adobe Walls (northeast of present day Borger, Texas). The leaders of the attack included Comanche chief Quanah Parker and medicine man Coyote Dung (or Rear End of a Wolf in some accounts).

Coyote Dung had promised that his medicine would protect the attackers.

Adobe Walls was defended by a few dozen hard cases, including Bat Masterson and Billy Dixon.

The initial assault failed, and the warriors withdrew to reorganize.

Coyote Dung explained that his medicine failed because a Cheyenne warrior killed a skunk along the way to the attack.

Billy Dixon borrowed a rifle (a Sharps .50, some accounts say that it was Bat Masterson's rifle) and knocked a warrior off his horse at a range of almost a mile (1538 yards by one account).

It was known afterwards as "The Shot."

The event was interpreted as bad medicine, and the warriors called off the attack.

Milwaukee Art Museum

On Saturday, we attended the Ornaments & Adornments Holiday Show and Sale at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

We did not buy much, but we enjoyed seeing the artists and their treasures.

Watercolor artist Geri Schrab (who specializes in paintings of petroglyphs) told me that she remembered seeing me at the Madison show last week.

Very kind of her, but I would prefer to be more anonymous.


congrats Jimmie

Jimmie Johnson won the Nascar Nextel Cup series championship.

Congratulations, Jimmie.

I like both Jimmie and Matt Kenseth, so either one was fine with me.

As long as it was not Kevin Harvick, Nascar's smarmiest driver.

To borrow from Joe Nemechek, "That is just Kevin being Kevin. He is an idiot."

The New McCarthyism

Packer head coach Mike McCarthy accomplished something that no one has ever done before.

The Packers were shutout for the second time at Lambeau in one season.

Amazing when you consider just how pathetic pseudo-coaches like Bart Starr and Forrest Gregg were.

coach killer

Former NFL head coach Jim Mora (senior) apparently described quarterback Mike Vick as a "coach killer."

No coincidence that Mora's son is Vick's coach.

Maybe Mora should have his name legally changed to Jim Moron.

Marquette fumbles again

Marquette University fumbled another one when they disrespected alum George Thompson.

Thompson, one of the greatest basketball players Marquette ever had, thought that his number had been retired.

But in classic Marquette double-speak, PR flacks explained it away by saying that they only retire jerseys, not numbers.

Of course, this is contrary to Marquette's own published words.

Same old same old.

The Warlord Vang

Vang, the Minnesota Murderer, is valiantly trying to appeal his conviction, despite getting no help from the public defenders.

According to Vang, he was surrounded by a lynch mob of drunken white bigots and they threatened to kill him.

The Merciless Vang, taking them at their word, killed several of them in self-defense, shooting some of them in the back as they ran away.

Vang apparently subscribed to the belief "better twelve judging than six carrying."

If he was black, I think it is probable that people like Eugene Kane would be slobbering all over themselves to make sure that he got numerous appeals.

It just shows that race does matter.

some amount of failure

Without Fail (2002) by Lee Child

A Jack Reacher Novel

In this novel, the author is very good at setting up the plot, and terrible at resolving it.

Set in an alternate universe where rogue cops are able to go around torturing and murdering people with impunity.

Maybe the author was influenced by newspaper stories about real-life City of Milwaukee cops.

Barely worth reading.

another lost gold story

McKenna's Gold (1969)

This movie is a distant cousin to the legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine.

Here it is the Lost Adams, or the Canyon del Oro.

Edward G. Robinson is Adams. The Apache burned out his eyes to protect the location of the gold because of the belief that as long as the gold remained hidden, the Apache would remain strong.

Gregory Peck is the Arizona marshall named McKenna who murders an old Apache to get the treasure map.

Omar Sharif is the outlaw named Colorado.

Julie Newmar (Catwoman from the Batman TV series) is an Apache. Her nosedive off a cliff into the canyon is one of the highlights of the movie.

Ted Cassidy (Lurch from the Adams Family TV series) is another Apache who gets it in the back.

There is an all-star cast of good townspeople who all come to a bad end: Eli Wallach, Lee J. Cobb, Raymond Massey, and Burgess Meredith.

Telly Savalas is a murderous Army sergeant who gets it with a tomahawk.

Entertaining if you are willing to suspend your sense of disbelief.

The scenery, partly filmed in Arizona, is breathtaking.

Rock migration

Moved the rock twice today, to compensate for not moving it yesterday.

It is not getting any lighter.

Where are those rats of NIMH when I need them?

Bartolotta's at Boerner

Attended the Bartolotta's fish fry at the Boerner Botanical Gardens on Friday.

Live blues band, nice range of Sprecher beers and sodas, excellent salad bar (two great potato salads and two great cole slaws).

The best clam chowder I ever had.

The entrees were deep-fried shrimp, deep-fried cod, deep-fried perch, and pan-fried walleye. I tried them all and they were all excellent. The walleye was my favorite.

Crispy fries were outstanding.

I had the blood orange sorbet, served with a light crisp cookie and a piquant blood orange sauce, for desert. Best sorbet I ever had.

It was a wonderful experience, and well worth repeating.

Friday, November 17, 2006

moving the rock

Moved the rock again today (about two feet).

Seems to be getting easier for some reason.

1) I am getting stronger (doubtful)
2) My technique is getting better (probable)
3) The rats of NIMH are secretly helping (I wish)

Holy Hill Bigfoot

Several days ago, there was a report of an unidentified creature near Holy Hill.

A DNR employee (OK, we already have a credibility problem here) reported that he was picking up roadkill deer carcasses when a 7-foot tall black furred creature suddenly appeared (out of thin air?) and lifted a deer carcass out of the back of his pickup truck.

The DNR guy (by his own admission) panicked and drove off. When he finally calmed down, he returned to the location, but both the creature and the deer carcass had vanished without a trace.

The DNR guy claimed that he had not been drinking. (I consider this irrelevant. A DNR guy is no more or less credible if he is stone cold sober or falling down drunk.)

Q: How can you tell if a DNR guy is lying to you?

A: His lips are moving.

Q: What is the difference between a DNR guy and a used car salesman?

A: The used car salesman knows when he is lying to you.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

more rocks

Collected some nice rocks today.

Not as big as I would prefer, but hauling them is no joy either.

A few very nice pieces of granite.

peripatetic stone

Moved the largest rock on the place again today. About two feet.

I wish Nicodemus and the rats of NIMH were here. I could use their help.

serviceberry bites the big one

Service Berry (no relation to Chuck) bit the big one last night.

Amelanchier arborea (downy serviceberry)

Completely shredded, nothing salvageable at all.

Huge disappointment. Used both liquid fence and dried blood (simultaneously at once).

Might have to build wire cages around the trees and shrubs.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

bad taste

Yesterday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an editorial by S.R. Sidarth where the author gloated that he was the one who brought down Virginia Senator George Allen.

Questionable taste to publish that piece of tripe, but not surprising, given the Milwaukee paper's long history of poor taste (and resulting declining circulation).

denial and deception

"But Lieberman won only through denial and deception."

- Paul Krugman, New York Times columnist.

Heh. Really?

Odd comment coming from a guy whose newspaper makes a living on denial and deception.

And if I were to make a list of all the Democrats who won through denial and deception, it would take me a long time to get down to Lieberman.

wildlife sightings

One of my gray squirrels was killed by a car on 122nd St. today. What a heartbreaker.

I saw a deer cross Janesville Road at Kurtz Road, going north, just as it was getting dark.

Monday, November 13, 2006

more lost mines

Colorado's Lost Gold Mines and Buried Treasure (1961) by Caroline Bancroft

This book contains over two dozen myths and legends.

Entertaining, plausible, and each story contains a little tragedy.

For example, one old timer marked the location of his treasure by driving a knife into a tree. Then the forest burned down and the location was lost. He spent the rest of his life pathetically digging in the area. Heh.

Well worth reading as long as a person does not take them too seriously.

Lost German Mine

Quest for the Dutchman's Gold, the 100-year Mystery: The facts, myths and legends of the Lost Dutchman Mine and the Superstition Mountains (1991) by Robert Sikorsky

An expanded version of Fool's Gold (1983).

Robert Sikorsky? Really? The helicopter guy?

This is an interesting book that alternates chapters on the older history of the area with the more recent experiences of the author.

The author pretty much covers the entire soap opera from the Spanish conquistadores to the present.

The Peraltas were Mexicans that mined the area before it became part of the U.S. in 1848. They abandoned gold while fleeing Apaches on their last expedition in the area. This gold became known as massacre gold.

Jacob Waltz, of German descent, was the Dutchman of the title. It is still not clear if he actually found a mine, stole gold from another mine, or harvested massacre gold. On his deathbed, he left instructions on how to find the mine, yet no one could find it.

The large number of unsolved murders in the area are explained by some as a conspiracy to conceal the location of the lost mine (or mines). Note that more murders occur in one year in Milwaukee than occurred over several decades in the area of the Superstition Mountains. More people in Milwaukee? Yes, but it is supposedly a civilized area. One wonders what the people of Milwaukee are trying to conceal. Heh.

It appears that the author was somewhat sceptical of the myths and legends until a young Apache offerred to reveal to him the location of the lost mine. The young Apache was killed in a car accident before he could actually reveal the location. Another victim of the conspiracy?

One thing we can conclude about the lost mines: if they exist, they are extremely well concealed to have eluded detection by hundreds of dedicated searchers over the decades.

Note that these lost mine/treasure stories are a staple of the local history of many areas, not just the Superstition Mountains.


Very disappointing loss by the Giants to the Bears last night.

The Giants showed, again, that they are a very poorly coached football team.

You can make all the injury excuses you want, but the Giants beat themselves with mental errors.

Absolutely inept defense on 3rd and 22.

Eli showed, again, that he is not ready for prime time.

Absolutely unprepared for a return on a missed field goal.

Coughlin has reached his goal of becoming the next Ray Handley.

more wrong Russ

(from the Monday 11-13-06 issue of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Feingold alters the calculus in presidential race

Clearest voice against war now lacking

Sen. Russ Feingold's decision not to run for president removes from the potential Democratic field the one candidate who voted against the use of force in Iraq.

"My first raction was definitely real disappointment," said Chris Bowers, who writes, a popular progressive blog. Bowers said Democrats interested in Feingold perceived him as filling a "leadership vacuum" on issues where the party had failed to take strong positions.

weekend in review

On Saturday, we attended Madison's 17th Annual Winter Ar Festival at Monona Terrace. We bought some cool stuff like a native american alphabet poster, rug (from our best friend Serena), dragon note cards (from Charlotte Fung Miller, who used to show at the Hales Corners Library), wrought iron hooks, wooden spoons, etc. Really liked the Arkansas Buffalo painting (based on an ancient petroglyph) by Geri Schrab. Saw Hales Corners painter Constance Pelzek (acrylic and metal leaf). Briefly spoke with Green Bay painter Andy Van Schyndle about web sites and blogs. We bid on a few items at the silent auction, but did not get any of them. We saw a deer and several wild turkeys on the way home.

Sunday's big project was burning brush in the outdoor fireplace, one handful at a time. Also watered, mulched, and protected (by spraying with liquid fence) the new trees & shrubs.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

the wrong Russ

(from the Sunday 11-12-06 issue of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Feingold rules out 2008 run for president

Feingold had been publicly weighing a presidential bid since early 2006, forming a political action committee, traveling to key states such as New Hampshire and Iowa, and cultivating a more national constituency as an early and outspoken opponent of the Iraq war, the Patriot Act and other Bush adminstration policies.

"But I have never had a craving to be president of the United States, " said Feingold.

Feingold sent an e-mail to supporters Saturday night announcing his decision.

In it, he said, "I'm sure a campaign for president would have been a great adventure and helpful in advancing a progressive agenda."

"However, to put my family and all of my friends and supporters through such a process without having a very strong desire to run seems innappropriate to me."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Uncommon fruits

Uncommon Fruits Worthy of Attention: A Gardener's Guide (1991) by Lee Reich

The author provides an interesting list of choices.

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) deciduous tree hardy to zone 5
Gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa, Ribes hirtellum) deciduous shrub hardy to zone 3
Nanking Cherry (Prunus tomentosa) deciduous bush hardy to zone 3
Medlar (Mespilus germanica) deciduous tree hardy to zone 5
Juneberry (Amelanchier spp.) deciduous shrub or tree hardy to zone 3
Maypop (Passiflora incarnata) herbaceous perennial vine hardy to zone 6
Kaki and American Persimmons (Diospyros spp.) deciduous trees hardy to zone 5
Raisin Tree (Hovenia dulcis) deciduous tree hardy to -10F
Black Currant (Ribes spp.) deciduous shrubs hardy to zone 2
Elaeagnus (spp. including Gumi, autumn olive, russian olive) dec. shrub/tree zone 3
Actinidia (spp. of various kiwifruits) woody vines hardy to zone 3
Jujube or Chinese Date (Ziziphus jujuba) deciduous tree to -20F
Alpine and Musk Strawberries (Fragaria spp.) herbaceous perennials to zone 3
Currants, Red and White (Ribes spp.) woody shrubs to zone 3
Mulberry (Morus spp.) large deciduous trees to -25F
Lowbush Blueberry (Vaccinium augustifolium) woody shrubs to zone 3
Asian Pear (Pyrus spp.) deciduous trees to -60F
Jostaberry (Ribes nidigrolaria) gooseberry/black currant hybrid to zone 4
Cornelian Cherry (Cornus mas) dogwood tree to zone 4

Appendices on pollination, planting, pruning, propagation, etc.

Unfortunately, the contact list is long out of date, with many of the suppliers now out of business.


"The clarinet is not a jazz instrument."

- public school music teacher, uttering one of the most ignorant comments in the history of music


Star Trek Insurrection (1998)

Very preachy, tree-hugging movie.

So nauseating that I started hoping that the evil guys would kill a few liberals.

Tries and fails at a few humorous moments (Warf's puberty and Data learning to play).

About the only mitigating factor was that the smarmy admiral got what was coming to him.


3 religions unite against gay parade

by Dion Nissenbaum, McClatchy News Service

Jerusalem - Jerusalem's lesbian and gay community has unintentionally succeeded in doing something that has eluded the world's greatest thinkers: unite the three major monotheistic religions.

Orthodox Jews, conservative Muslims and prominent Christian leaders are united in their opposition to a gay pride march in Jerusalem.

The pope called for the march to be cancelled. Muslim leaders criticized it as a disgrace. Orthodox Jews organized weeks of violent demonstrations.


The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories (2006) by Susanna Clarke

This book is a very fine collection of stories by the author of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

The Ladies of Grace Adieu (where three witches explain to Jonathan Strange that when he learns some magic, then he can talk to them about theirs)

On Lickerish Hill (a bizarre variation on the Rumpelstiltskin story, told in the vernacular)

Mrs Mabb (a young woman, after many trials and tribulations, rescues a young man from the clutches of a fairy queen)

The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse (set in Neil Gaiman's Stardust, this story explains why the Duke felt like a stick figure in his later life)

Mr Simonelli or The Fairy Widower (a Christian half-fairy destroys a fairy prince, but does not necessarily save himself in the process)

Tom Brightwind or How the Fairy Bridge Was Built at Thoresby (a Jewish physician persuades a fairy prince to better treat his female relatives)

Antickes and Frets (Mary Queen of Scots comes to a bad end despite her embroidery)

John Uskglass and the Cumbrian Charcoal Burner (an unworthy dolt, through no skill of his own, gets the better of one of the greatest magicians who ever lived)

Brit humor

Here is an example of typical Brit humor. I bet he laughed all the way to the hospital. Heh.

British man hurt after lighting firecracker in buttocks

(Associated Press)

London - A man suffered internal injuries after lighting a small firecracker he had inserted into his buttocks.

The man suffered burns and other unspecified internal injuries.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I planted a packet of Lunaria seeds today (Lunaria annua, also known as honesty, silver dollars, or money plant).

Top-dressed the bed with composted manure, scattered the seeds, sifted some peat moss over it.

It will be interesting to see how it turns out.


This week, the voters of Wisconsin passed a death penalty referendum.

Simultaneously, they re-elected a governor who has pledged to veto any death penalty legislation.

How does this make sense?

Just for the record, I am consistently pro-death: pro-abortion, pro-death penalty, and pro-euthanasia.

To paraphrase the Catholics of the Albigensian crusade against the Cathar heresy, "Kill them all, let God sort them out."

young programmers

"A student on his way to the Microsoft Technology Center in Chicago has written a new browser from scratch in C#. If you're not impressed yet, he's only 12 years old and already has 3 years of programming experience. Just imagine the possibilities if you started to learn how to program around the time you learned how to write in cursive."

-PC Mech Newsletter #165

trees & shrubs

I planted 15 trees and shrubs this week.

1 Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
1 Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
2 Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)
1 Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa)
1 Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
1 River Birch (Betula nigra)
1 Sargent Crabapple (Malus sargentii)
2 Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
1 Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum)
1 American Hazelnut
1 Chinese Chestnut
1 Downy Serviceberry
1 Red Maple

another one bites the dust

There have been a lot of doves in the backyard recently.

Today, just before dark, a Cooper's hawk killed one of them.

It was fun watching the hawk peeling and eating the dove.

That is life in the food chain, I guess.