Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Off to Michigan again

Off to the beautiful lake country again.

Probably no blogging until Tuesday.

Wednesday's plantings

(2) Ox Eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

(2) Million Bells (Calibrachoa 'Callie Cream w/ Eye')

(2) Million Bells (Calibrachoa 'Callie Yellow')

(1) Million Bells (Calibrachoa 'Callie Orange')

Minnesota gives away tax money

A Hopkins School District social worker erroneously given $2.5 million by the state faces four felony counts after she allegedly spent the money with her boyfriend on luxury automobiles, a U.S. Treasury bond and an individual retirement account.

- StarTribune (read full story here)

The State of Minnesota is so flush with excess tax money, they are giving it away.


Republican Fred Thompson, a former Tennessee senator and "Law & Order" actor, is methodically moving ahead with a likely presidential bid, several officials with knowledge of the plans said Wednesday.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

An already crowded field will get even more crowded.

Coyotes not welcome in Florida

Florida's wild creatures are beleaguered enough without the additional threat posed by an influx of coyotes into the state. Too many exotic species already compete with native wildlife, sometimes even threatening to crowd out Florida's indigenous species.

- Miami Herald (read full editorial here)

Warming zealots

Whether or not blind faith in man-made, catastrophic global warming has become a new religion, many of its adherents, ironically, embrace it with the same type of unquestioning zeal they sloppily attribute to and summarily condemn in Christians.

- David Limbaugh (read his full comments here)

Global warming is the new religion of the far left.


“If you want to scare the American people, what you say is the bill’s an amnesty bill,” Mr. Bush said at a training center for customs protection agents and other federal agents here in southeastern Georgia. “That’s empty political rhetoric trying to frighten our citizens.”

- NY Times (read full story here)

Except for the part where it really is an amnesty bill?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sheehan sent packing

The insult that seems to have finally driven Sheehan back to her California home was delivered by a Democratic Party she helped bring into power in November. Dubbed by the anti-war movement as the “Memorial Day Betrayal,” the new Congress gave President Bush funding for the war in Iraq last Thursday with no timeline for troop withdrawal.

- The Politico (read full story here)

Good riddance, indeed.


Dozens of people were feared killed in remote parts of north-western Nepal after the areas were hit by a freak snow storm, officials said on Tuesday.

- (read full story here)

According to the Goracle, freak snow storms are caused by global warming.

Global warming pounds Argentina

Argentina rationed electricity to companies and severed natural gas supplies to Chile as a cold wave prompted record demand for electricity in South America's second-largest economy.

The temperature in many parts of Argentina fell below freezing yesterday, pushing electricity demand to a record 18,300 megawatts, according to the country's energy regulator. Argentina cut shipments of gas to Chile to meet the surge in demand, forcing their neighbor to rely on residual gas in the pipeline.

- (read full story here)

According to the Goracle, cold waves are caused by global warming.

B.O. tax increases

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama on Tuesday offered a plan to provide health care to millions of Americans and more affordable medical insurance, financed in part by tax increases on the wealthy.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Tax increases on the wealthy have a tendency to transmogrify into tax increases on everyone.

He fights for the users

Read this very idealistic post by Andrew, who like Flynn & Tron, fights for the users.

National Rifle Association

I am a proud new member of the NRA.

I should have joined long ago, but better late than never.


Returned from the beautiful lake country.

Saw many deer Friday night. Sort of spooky seeing all those eye reflected in the headlights.

Also saw a red fox walking along the road and a big opossum crossed in front of the car.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Off to Michigan

Off to the beautiful lake country of Michigan just south of the Mackinac Bridge.

A very different beauty than the desert.

Might not be any blogging until Tuesday.

Today's plantings

(4) Tomato ('Sweet Million')

Nascar brothers

Banging fenders and butting egos are fundamental tactics in stock-car racing, particularly with a trophy and a few hundred thousands dollars at stake. And the dynamics are no different when siblings are battling side-by-side, despite the best upbringing.

- Washington Post (read full article here)

Very interesting article about brothers in Nascar.

Includes Busch, Labonte, Bodine, Wallace brothers.


"I am confident that given an equal look in terms of my record, my leadership ability, my personal life story and my ideas that I have the best chance of anybody of winning," he [Joe Biden] said in an interview with The Associated Press.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Fish & chips

Since "spiny dogfish shark" is not the most appetizing name, in recent years fishmongers have given it other names in hopes of appealing to consumers. In France it is sold as small salmon. Belgians know it as sea eel. Germans smoke the meat and call it Schillerlocken.

It is perhaps best known in English-speaking countries, particularly the U.K., as rock salmon, one of the most common fish in "fish and chips" shops.

- Discovery News (read full story here)

I like fish & chips.

Today's plantings

(1) Coleus ('Kong Rose')

(1) Coleus ('Kong Red')

(1) Lemon Mint (Monarda citriodora)

Not comfortable

"I'm not comfortable around those people."

- John Edwards, responding to a question about gay rights, as quoted by a former aide (read full story here)

If a conservative said this, it would get a completely different spin by the leftmost media.

We are at War

We are in a race with terrorists who have declared war on America. That race will have one of two outcomes: either we will defeat them, or they will kill many, many more of us. I'm grateful our commander-in-chief is committed to hunting down and destroying these jackals, who are at once savage, malignant, remorseless, and determined. We have prevailed against their kind before; we will do so again. But only because of leaders who understand the gravity of the threat and the stakes of the struggle.

- Peter Wehner (read his full comments here)

I agree with Peter Wehner on this one. John Edwards, and others of his ilk, are not prepared to fight for America's best interests.


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday that an ounce of prevention is worth billions of dollars to the health care system as she called for far-reaching changes to curb rising costs.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Translation = Clinton wants to implement Soviet-style health care.

Unknown animal attacks camper

In what park officials are calling an "oddity," a small bear or other wild animal wandered into a camp site and attacked a man while he slept Thursday morning at a popular state park in northwestern Minnesota.

The animal entered the tent of a 28-year-old man at Itasca State Park around 2 a.m. and batted him around for a short time causing a half-dozen "swipe" type lacerations 2 inches long to the facial area that are consistent with a wild animal's claw, the Clearwater County Sheriff said.

- StarTribune (read full story here)

Drinking the water in Minnesota causes you not to be able to identify the animal that attacked you?

Or it was bigfoot, and he did not want to admit that he was attacked by bigfoot?

Wildlife & deadlife

Saw a toad in the backyard. In some parts of the country, this would be no cause for comment, but here it is a big deal. A once in a year sighting.

Found a dead robin in the backyard. A victim of turf wars between rival robin gangs?

There continue to be two types of droppings in my yard. One type contains seeds and is probably raccoon. The other is more canine-like and contains what looks like rabbit hair. The latter type is probably fox or coyote.

I sure wish I had taken a class in feces identification when I was in college.

Ethiopian coffee

Paradise Roasters - Ethiopia Biloya Special

Intense, sweet-toned, chocolate and blueberry aroma with a slight pungent edge. In the cup sweetly acidy, with a full, syrupy mouthfeel and lavish red wine and blueberry notes. The finish is rich, berry-toned and extraordinarily clean for this style of coffee.

- Coffee Review (read full review here)

I would be willing to try it.

Science vs. Politics

Over the last 5,000 years, the eastern Caribbean has experienced several periods, lasting centuries, in which strong hurricanes occurred frequently even though ocean temperatures were cooler than those measured today, according to a new study.

The authors, from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, say their findings do not necessarily conflict with recent papers asserting a link between the region’s hurricane activity and human-caused warming of the climate and seas.

- NY Times (read full story here)

Translation = Science says one thing, but political correctness says something different.

Creation Museum

For here at the $27 million Creation Museum, which opens on May 28 (just a short drive from the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport), this pastoral scene is a glimpse of the world just after the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, in which dinosaurs are still apparently as herbivorous as humans, and all are enjoying a little calm in the days after the fall.

- NY Times (read full review here)

Add this to my list of places that I would like to visit.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized ABC News on Wednesday for its report about CIA plans in Iran, saying it could potentially jeopardize national security and endanger lives.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

No surprise here. The leftmost media routinely sides with America's enemies.

Liberal slavers

We fought a civil war to force Democrats to give up on slavery 150 years ago. They've become so desperate for servants that now they're importing an underclass to wash their clothes and pick their vegetables. This vast class of unskilled immigrants is the left's new form of slavery.

- Ann Coulter (read her full column here)

Ann Coulter is another person who goes right for the jugular vein of an argument.

Today's plantings

(1) Chameleon Plant (Houttuynia cordata 'Chameleon')

(1) Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)

(1) Red Valerian or Jupiter's Beard (Centranthus ruber)

(1) Fern (unknown species purchased from Trimborn Farm)

(1) Coral Bells (Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple')

(8) Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Wizard Rose')

(8) Coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Wizard Mix')

Also moved the largest rock on the property, no small feat.

The Breck Girl

Democrat John Edwards Wednesday repudiated the notion that there is a "global war on terror," calling it an ideological doctrine advanced by the Bush administration that has strained American military resources and emboldened terrorists.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

The Breck Girl has a serious disconnect with reality.

American Muslims

The National Public Radio headline: "Pew Study Sees Muslim Americans Assimilating."

Since when is one in four members of a religion supports homicide bombings in America a sign of "assimilation"?

Perhaps when the homicide bomber grew up learning who Paris Hilton is on FOX News and CNN and seeing the latest Spiderman movie. And, while his classmates shop at the Gap for the latest fashions, he's there to find hoodie under which to camouflage the explosive belt.

- Debbie Schlussel (read her full comments here)

As usual, Debbie Schlussel cuts through the liberal PC hype and goes for the jugular vein of the argument.

Spin 101

(Many thanks to Mark for providing this one.)

Judy, a professional genealogical researcher, discovered that Hillary Clinton's great-great uncle, Remus Rodham, a fellow lacking in character, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889.

The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows. On the back of the picture is this inscription: "Remus Rodham; horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889."

Judy e-mailed Hillary Clinton for comments. Hillary's staff of professional image adjusters cropped Remus's picture, scanned it, enlarged the image, and edited it with image processing software so all that's seen is a head shot.

The accompanying biographical sketch is as follows: "Remus Rodham was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to service at a government facility, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Knights vs. Bishops

The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery (1999)

2nd Edition/Expanded

by IM Jeremy Silman

In the chapter "The Battle Between Bishops and Knights" the author sets forth ten rules.

Rule 1 - Bishops and Knights are both worth three points (as far as point count is concerned). It's up to you to manipulate the position and make whatever piece you own more valuable.

Rule 2 - Bishops are best in open positions where pawns don't block their diagonals.

Rule 3 - Bishops are very strong in end games where both sides have passed pawns that are dashing to their respective queening squares. In such situations, the long-range capabilities of a Bishop make it far superior to the slow, short-range Knight.

Rule 4 - The term 'bad bishop" means that your Bishop is situated on the same color square as your center pawns (which block it and limit its activity). If you have such a Bishop you usually want to do one of three things: trade it for a piece of equal value, get the pawns off the color of your Bishop, or get the Bishop outside the pawn chain.

Rule 5 - A Bishop's weakness is that it is stuck on one color for the whole game; anything resting on the other color is safe from its attention. Two Bishops work together very well because they control both colored diagonals, thereby negating this "one color" weakness.

Rule 6 - Knights love closed positions with locked pawns. Their ability to jump over other pieces makes them very valuable in such situations.

Rule 7 - Knights usually stand better in the center of the board. One old chess adage goes: "A Knight on the rim is dim." There are two reasons for this: The first is that a Knight on one side's rim must make several moves to reach an endangered area on the other wing. A Knight in the middle can jump to either side at will. The other reason for this distrust of the rim is that a Knight simply controls fewer squares there.

Rule 8 - Since Knights are not long range pieces, they need to have secure, advanced homes to be effective. These homes are called support points.

Rule 9 - Knights are superior to Bishops in an endgame if all the pawns are on one side of the board. This is because the Bishop's long range powers no longer have meaning while the Knight's ability to go either color square means that there is no safe haven for the enemy King or pawns.

Rule 10 - The first official World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, pioneered work on the minor pieces. He stated that the way to beat Knights was to deprive them of any advanced support points. Then they would be inactive and, as a result, inferior to Bishops. The reverse, of course, is that if you possess Knights, you must strive as hard as you can to create support points for them.

Note: Thanks to Mark for motivating me to re-investigate the Knights vs. Bishops game. I have not thought this much about Knights vs. Bishops since I got demolished in the GenCon chess tournament several years ago.

Today's plantings

(1) Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata 'Atropurpurea')

(1) Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata 'Snowflake')

Battle for the Blues

Rudy Giuliani campaigned Tuesday for a second straight day across New York with a message aimed obviously at Republicans outside his home state: I can battle them for the blues.

The "them" is, of course, the Democrats who have been making much of picking up a red state or two and winning back the White House, perhaps riding there with Giuliani's home-state rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Giuliani pledges to take the battle against the Democrats to the blue states.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I am not a big Giuliani fan, but better him than Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Gore, etc.

The Other Kerrey

We must not allow terrorist sanctuaries to develop any place on earth. Whether these fighters are finding refuge in Syria, Iran, Pakistan or elsewhere, we cannot afford diplomatic or political excuses to prevent us from using military force to eliminate them.

- Bob Kerrey, former Democratic senator from Nebraska (read full editorial here)

A surprisingly reasonable statement from a former Democratic senator.

Ralph the whale shark

Taiwan will ban the harvest and sale of whale sharks beginning in 2008, a decision that could have repercussions at the Georgia Aquarium and other facilities where the world's largest fish are displayed.

The aquarium had four whale sharks until January, when a male, Ralph, died. A necropsy showed the fish died of peritonitis, an inflammation of the abdomen. He also had stomach perforations, possibly caused by force-feeding through a PVC pipe.

Taiwanese officials say they want to know more about Ralph's death before approving the export of two more.

- Atlanta Journal Constitution (read full story here)

Worst, revisited

Former President Jimmy Carter said today his remarks that appeared to be critical of the Bush administration were "perhaps careless or misinterpreted" and said he was not talking personally about President Bush.

- AP/AJC (read full story here)

A transparent Clintonesque attempt to lie his way out of it.

Elitist Political Class

The almost-stealth immigration bill light-speeding its way through Congress represents all that is wrong with politics and an elitist political class that is too far removed from its constituencies.

One silver lining in this unfortunate series of events is that such cavalier displays of power by the elite governing class serve to catalyze patriots in this nation and crystallize their thinking about what is still right with America and worth preserving despite the highhandedness and callousness of those who masquerade as representing their interests.

- David Limbaugh (read his full column here)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Today's plantings

(60) Gladiolus (mixed)


Republican John McCain accused presidential rival Mitt Romney of flip-flopping on immigration Monday and said with sarcasm: "Maybe his solution will be to get out his small varmint gun and drive those Guatemalans off his lawn."

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

The Breck Girl

Presidential hopeful John Edwards said Monday that Americans should speak out against the war in Iraq this Memorial Day weekend, renewing an anti-war call that has been criticized by the leader of the American Legion.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

The Breck Girl has it all figured out.

Unfortunately, what Edwards has figured out is not in America's best interest.


In a biting rebuke, the White House on Sunday dismissed former President Jimmy Carter as "increasingly irrelevant" after his harsh criticism of President Bush.

Carter was quoted Saturday as saying "I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history."

- AP/AJC (read full story here)

This is the kind of comment I would expect from Carter. Carter was one of the worst presidents ever, and so far is the worst ex-president ever.

Young liberals, who were not even alive back then, have no idea just how awful the Carter administration was. Reading about it does not even come close to living through it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Weekend plantings

(1) Twinspur (Diascia hybrid 'Flying Colors Coral')

(1) Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)

(1) Mosquito Plant (Pelargonium citrosum)

(1) Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie')

(1) Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas 'Marguerite')

(1) Parrot's Beak (Lotus hybrid 'Amazon Sunset')

(1) Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia 'Goldilocks')

(1) Bacopa (Sutera cordata 'Abunda')

(1) Dichondra ('Silver Falls')

Waiting for Godot

Donnie Fowler, a Democratic consultant in Palo Alto, Calif., said party donors in Silicon Valley and Hollywood have told him, "I'm waiting for Gore, I'm waiting for Gore," even as they contribute to other candidates.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

China poisons the world

For years, U.S. inspection records show, China has flooded the United States with foods unfit for human consumption. And for years, FDA inspectors have simply returned to Chinese importers the small portion of those products they caught -- many of which turned up at U.S. borders again, making a second or third attempt at entry.

- Washington Post (read full article here)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

New York Times chess blog

Chess blog started May 13, 2007.


Mike Huckabee has a resume fit for a GOP presidential nominee - Southern Baptist preacher, former Arkansas governor, fierce opponent of abortion and gay marriage. Those attributes would seem to be exactly what fellow conservatives are looking for in a candidate. What he doesn't have is money or a household name, and those deficiencies have proven costly to his campaign. He barely registers in polls and is struggling to break out of the pack of Republicans seeking to be seen as credible alternatives to the strongest contenders, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

No national name recognition + no money = no chance.

Ditto for Hunter, Tancredo, Brownback.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Is this guy fishing or just enjoying the view?

DeWeese Reservoir

Awesome scenery but where are the fish?

Muslim doctors

Perhaps, Dr. Applebaum's suit against Rush North Shore Medical Center will make hospitals think twice before they hire Muslim doctors inclined to practice Medical terrorism against their patients. Today, the victim is a Jew, solely because he is Jewish. But tomorrow, it will be a Christian, solely because he/she is a Christian. Or some other non-Muslim victim, solely because he/she is a non-Muslim victim.

- Debbie Schlussel (read her full comments here)


Dobson vs. Giuliani

A prominent Christian leader said Thursday that "my conscience and my moral convictions" prevent him from voting for Rudy Giuliani should he win the Republican nomination.

In a blistering online column, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson wrote that, should the former New York mayor become the nominee, "I will either cast my ballot for an also-ran - or if worse comes to worst - not vote in a presidential election for the first time in my adult life."

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Given the choice between Clinton and Giuliani, he would rather have Clinton?

I do not find that attitude very helpful.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Today's plantings

(2) Sargent Crabapple (Malus sargentii)

(2) American Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

(2) Washington Hawthorn (Crataegus phaenopyrum)

(2) White Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

(2) Goldenraintree (Koelreuteria paniculata)


Returned from my trip to the other desert.

Lots of fun, caught a few small fish (rainbow trout & smallmouth bass) at DeWeese Reservoir.

But also good to be home again.

Obviously, my plan to blog from Penrose did not work out.

Not enough hours in the day.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The other desert

Heading out to the other desert in a few hours, the one in the wilds of Colorado near Penrose.

Will make every effort to blog from the other desert.

Fishing hurts

The anti-fishing lobby tries for a homerun and strikes out.

Faster cars

"For years, while foreign competitors were investing in more fuel-efficient technology for their vehicles, American automakers were spending their time investing in bigger, faster cars," according to a text of the Illinois senator's [B. Hussein Obama] remarks that were provided to The Associated Press.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I like faster cars. That is one of the reasons that I am a Nascar fan.

Spiders in his ears

Dr. David Irvine said it looked like the boy had something in his ear when he examined him.

When he irrigated the ear, the first spider came out, dead. The other spider took a second dousing before it emerged, still alive. Both were about the size of a pencil eraser.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)


Presidential candidate John Edwards said Monday it's silly to suggest that his wealth and expensive tastes have hurt his credibility as an advocate for the poor.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I do not have a problem with his wealth. I have major problems with his liberalism and his hypocrisy.


Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years (2007) by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery

Very impressive book reviews data from ice cores, tree rings, stalagmites, and other sources to document climate change over many thousands of years.

The authors conclude variable output from the sun causes a 1,500 cycle.

They raise some interesting questions about cause and effect, and many other topics.

Do rising temperatures cause rising CO2 levels because warmer water holds less gas in solution?

Will rising temperatures cause changes in precipitation that increase polar cap ice?

Will relative sea levels in parts of Scandinavia drop because rebound (from withdrawal of glacial ice) raises the land faster than sea levels are rising?

Are Al Gore and his cronies aware of the contradictory nature of the huge body of data regarding global warming and climate change? Are liberals ignorant, dishonest, or both?

Liberals are so politically invested in the doom-and-gloom scenarios that they either ignore or lie about any data that does not fit their preconceived notions.

Browser trends

Thanks to PC Mechanic for calling my attention to this interesting site with statistics on browser trends.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy greeted news of his election Sunday to a five-year term as France's president with a vow to serve as a leader for all people of France.

Sarkozy added that he wanted to tell his "American friends that they can rely on our friendship ... France will always be next to them when they need us."

- CNN (read full story here)

True friendship between France and the United States would be excellent.

But I am very skeptical.

Rapid Chess Improvement

Rapid Chess Improvement: a study plan for adult players (2002) by Michael de la Maza

According to the author, if I study hard enough (until my forehead bleeds) and long enough (equivalent to getting a college degree) I can significantly improve as a chess player.

The author feels that the two keys to improvement are chess vision and tactics. I am inclined to agree with him.

Today's plantings

(1) Globe Flower (Trollius hybrid 'Prichard's Giant')

(1) Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens 'Purity')

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Today's plantings

(1) Flowering Fern (Incarvillea delavayi) pink

(2) Hosta ('aureomarginata')

(25) Gayfeather (Liatris spicata) blue

(25) Gladiolus (mixed)

Friday, May 04, 2007


His voice rising, the Arizona Republican [John McCain] recounted atrocities by suicide bombers who had blown up their own children and beheaded captives on videotape. "These are evil, extreme, terrible people that are bent on our destruction," he said.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Once again, I agree with McCain.

Spanish Civil War

The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 (1982, 2006) by Antony Beevor

Update and revised version of the 1982 edition.

The Spanish Civil War was right vs. left, state centralism vs. regional independence, and authoritarianism vs. freedom of the individual.

The legally elected leftist Republican government was opposed by a right-wing coup d'etat led by General Franco. It is interesting to note that before the election, leftists stated that they would engage in civil war if they lost.

The Republicans were backed by the Soviet Union. The Republicans shipped Spain's gold reserve to Stalin, and in return they got obsolete and often defective weapons and incompetent advisers. Many of the Soviet advisers were shot when they returned to Russia.

Franco's Nationalists were backed by Germany and Italy. The Condor Legion contained some of Germany's best aircraft and pilots. The war served as a testing and training ground. The development of Stuka dive-bomber tactics was particularly interesting. The effectiveness of 88mm anti-aircraft guns against tanks was also demonstrated. Italy provided lesser quality troops and arms.

Britain and France stayed on the sidelines.

Catholics in the United States blocked aid to the Republicans, but American trucks provided to Franco proved decisive in certain situations where the Nationalists needed to rapidly shift troops.

Several International Brigades fought with the Republicans. Volunteers included Americans.

There were many reasons that the Nationalists won and the Republicans lost. One of the main reasons was that the communists spent a lot of their energy trying to eliminate their own allies. The communists also suffered from believing their own propaganda. Political considerations often trumped military ones. One example was the reluctance to concentrate armored fighting vehicles because the Russian proponent of such tactics had been politically discredited..

There was an appalling loss of life, including civilians, and numerous atrocities committed by both sides.

Many Republicans were executed or imprisoned after the war's conclusion. Some escaped abroad. And some of those who escaped to France were arrested by the Gestapo when Germany invaded France in 1940.

With hindsight, it is difficult to understand how a civilized society could descend into the madness of a disastrous civil war.

Gays for Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani emerged as a favorite among many members of the GOP's largest gay organization, who cited his record on social issues, taxes and defense.

"Mainstream Republican voters and moderate voters are going to vote for you. Don't tilt to the right," said Frank Ricchiazzi, who helped found the Log Cabin group 30 years ago.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I would prefer that Giuliani move to the right.

Today's plantings

(8) Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea 'Excelsior')

(1) Columbine (Aquilegia alpina)

(1) Columbine (Aquilegia 'Crimson Star')

(4) Sedum ('Dragon's Blood')

(2) Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

(2) Irish Moss (Sagina subulata)

Intelligence, or lack thereof

The House next week will consider the Democrat-crafted Intelligence Authorization bill, which includes a provision directing an assessment of the effects that climate change has on national security.

"It's hard to imagine how anyone could believe that climate change represents a more clear and present danger to the United States than radical Islamic terrorists armed with bombs, but that's essentially what Democrats have concluded in this bill," said Brian Kennedy, a spokesman for Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican.

- The Washington Times (read full story here)

Another facet of the liberal plan to weaken national security.

Leftist Thought Control

The political left, which holds itself as progressive, rational and fact-based, is becoming an enemy of academic inquiry, and a practitioner of thought control on a wide variety of issues. Increasingly, from the left's perspective, there is just one acceptable viewpoint.

- David Limbaugh (read his full comments here)

This is the same Stalinism that has been with us for decades.


Dell has finally broke down and stated that they will begin to offer select PCs pre-loaded with Ubuntu Linux, which resulted in a cheer from linux enthusiasts this week. The cost of a Windows license will be stripped from the price of these computers, but in the same light, you will lose all support from Dell for the Operating System. So if you have a problem, with the software, you'll be on your own to hunt down your issue online.

- PC Mechanic Newsletter #188

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Today's plantings

(1) Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii 'Black Knight')

(7) Butterfly Bush (generic mix)

(2) Columbine (Aquilegia hinckleyi 'Texas Gold')

(1) Irish Moss (Sagina subulata)

(1) English Ivy

Occupational hazard

"'We need to leave. This is not right. We need to get out of here."'

- real estate agent Linda Chabucos-Galow, upon finding a woman who had been dead for two weeks

(read full Chicago Tribune story here)

Knowledge, or lack thereof

If you're keeping score, that's two major religions the Democrats lack a working knowledge of -- Christianity and Islam.

- Ann Coulter (read her full comments here)

Sea serpent

"I was diving on Juno Ledge. That's about a mile off shore of Juno Beach. At first I thought it was a sea cucumber although no one's every seen one stretched 7 to 10 feet the way this one was. It's sort of grey and putty like and very smooth and taffy like in the way it stretches. Some of my friends and I have sort of dubbed it the living intestine."

- Jay Garbose, quoted by (read story here)

Odd burial

Yesterday, I observed a gray squirrel burying something in my garden.

Something about it did not look right, so I went over to examine the burial site.

The squirrel had buried two freshly killed baby cottontail rabbits.

This was the first time I have ever seen this.

In a brief search of the Internet, I could not find any references to this behavior.

Hexagon on Saturn

The universe is a strange, mysterious and glorious place. An unusual event has taken place at the North Pole of the planet Saturn. A huge weather system over the pole has created a bizarre hexagon-shaped formation within the center of the massive storm.

- (read story here)

Very strange.


There were some "chemistry makes our lives better" type ads on Wednesday Night Fights last night.

Big crime in Hales Corners

A 46-year-old man was arrested for retail theft and obstruction after he allegedly took a package of hamburger and then provided police with a false name....

- Hales Corners police report, Thursday May 3, 2007, Oak Creek-Franklin-Greendale-Hales Corners NOW

This was the most serious crime committed in the village in an entire week.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Today's plantings

(48) Snapdragon 'Rocket Mix'

(1) Clematis 'Ernest Markham'

(1) Ostrich Fern

Attacking with 1e4

Attacking with 1e4 (2001) by John Emms

Densely packed with detailed chess analysis, the book focuses on attacking eight defenses:

Sicilian (1 e4 c5 2 Nc3)
e5 (1 e4 e5 2 Bc4)
French (1 e4 e6 2 d3)
Caro-Kann (1 e4 c6 2 c4)
Pirc (1 e4 d6 2 d4 Nf6 3 Nc3 g6)
Modern (1 e4 g6 2 d4 Bg7 3 Nc3 d6 4 Be3)
Scandinavian (1 e4 d5 2 exd5)
Alekhine (1 e4 Nf6 2 e5)

Lots of interesting advice.

Hugo Chavez

Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, whose law firm represents an American subsidiary of a Hugo Chavez-controlled oil company, said Tuesday that the socialist Venezuelan president is dangerous to U.S. interests.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Pat Robertson was right.

Breaking free

Across the country, on secular campuses as varied as Colgate University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of California, Berkeley, chaplains, professors and administrators say students are drawn to religion and spirituality with more fervor than at any time they can remember.

University officials explained the surge of interest in religion as partly a result of the rise of the religious right in politics, which they said has made questions of faith more talked about generally.

- NY Times (read full story here).

Could these be steps toward breaking free from the tyranny of the left?

Brown Thrasher

There was a Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) in the yard this morning, which is unusual for us.

Curved bill, long tail, reddish brown above, light below, about the size of a Blue Jay.

It was feeding on the ground, scattering debris with its bill as it looked for insects. has a good picture here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Gates of Vienna t-shirts

Interesting shirts (here) that say:

"At the siege of Vienna in 1683 Islam seemed poised to overrun Christian Europe. We are in a new phase of a very old war."

The Religion of Peace

Sheik Ahmad Bahr, acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, declared during a Friday sermon at a Sudan mosque that America and Israel will be annihilated and called upon Allah to kill Jews and Americans "to the very Last One".

- The Jerusalem Post (read full story here)