Saturday, July 28, 2007

Televised video games

Tomorrow at noon, CBS, the august home of the Masters and March Madness, will become the first broadcast network in the United States to cover a video game tournament as a sporting event.

- NY Times (read full story here)

Interesting experiment.

A very busy day

A very busy day today.

Attended three farmers' markets: New Berlin, Hales Corners, and West Allis. Bought potatoes, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, cherries, raspberries, sweet corn, and live plants.

Attended the Brady Street Festival, a block party covering eight blocks with eight live music stages, tons of good food, and lots of fine beer, including one of my favorite micro-brews, New Glarus Fat Squirrel.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Beware falling ice

Occasionally, aircraft latrines discharge contents at altitude, resulting in chunks of descending ice.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)

Interesting bumper sticker

I saw an interesting bumper sticker today:

"I brake for liberals and other vermin!"

Danger in Belize

Doctors thought the strange, bleeding bumps on Aaron Dallas' head might be from gnat bites or shingles. Then the bumps started moving.

A doctor found five active bot fly larvae living beneath the skin atop Dallas' head.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)


Redskins get tough

"This year we come in with a different approach and the guys really worked hard in the preseason and I definitely think it's going to pay off. I think it's going to be a tough training camp and we're going to take preseason seriously. We're going to go into those games and we want to win. It's not like we want to coast through the preseason. That won't be our attitude. We want to win. We want to play well."

- Redskins linebacker Marcus Washington, quoted in The Washington Post (read full story here)

The newly resurgent Redskins also signed former Green Bay receiver Cory Bradford.


A space program worker deliberately damaged a computer that is supposed to fly aboard shuttle Endeavour in less than two weeks, an act of sabotage that was caught before the equipment was loaded onto the spaceship, NASA said Thursday.

- AP/ajc (read full story here)

Drinking & Flying

NASA officials said yesterday that they will look into reports that astronauts were allowed to fly not long after drinking alcohol -- on several occasions after warnings that they were intoxicated and a potential flight-safety risk.

- Washington Post (read full story here)

It takes a fair amount of courage to launch.

And there is a lot of job-related stress.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


An entertaining resource for translations.

The Real Guitar Heroes

Some reduce Guitar Hero to a simple game of musical Simon. Try telling that to the dedicated rockers at They've modded GH controllers to make real music. Visit their site to listen to the music and watch the concert video - and if you're motivated, download the software tools to mod your own controller for music-making.

- Games for Windows, August 2007, page 49.

Obama vs. Clinton

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama tried to turn rival Hillary Rodham Clinton's words back on her Wednesday, saying her vote to authorize the Iraq war was "irresponsible and naive."

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

A feeble counter-punch.


Sen. John McCain's advertising consultants have resigned from his presidential campaign, the latest in a rash of staff shake-ups in recent weeks.

-AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Like rats off a sinking ship.

Big smallmouth in northern Michigan

Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan


Both East and West Grand Traverse Bays of Lake Michigan are mostly untouched by bass anglers. Fish here are chunkers, with 5-plusers in the mix.

Contact: Captain Chris Noffsinger (231) 620-7000

- In-Fisherman, August/September 2007, page 21.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Attack of the squids

Jumbo squid that can grow up to 7 feet long and weigh more than 110 pounds are invading central California waters and preying on local anchovy, hake and other commercial fish populations, according to a new study.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)

It must be tough to be a hake.

Either they turn you into a fish stick or the squid get you.

By their stench shall ye know them

The stench from piles of dead herring stretching hundreds of yards along the shore of Sanford Cove has forced residents of this coastal community to shut their homes tight.

The kill hasn't been bad for everyone. Lobstermen who use herring as bait have showed up to load handfuls of free feed into buckets.

-AP/azcentral (read full story here)

It is an ill wind that blows no good at all.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

They Should Have Named Him "Al"

Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday called rival Barack Obama's debate claim that he'd be willing to meet with leaders of rogue nations "irresponsible and frankly naive."

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Seems like an accurate description to me.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Returned from the beautiful lake country of Michigan.

Had a ton of fun.

Caught a couple of small pike.

Saw a pair of cranes just off the shoulder of the road in the U.P.

Also saw a dead coyote along the road near Ensign, Michigan.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Gone again

Off to the beautiful lake country of Michigan again.

No blogging for a week.

Kucinich vs. Edwards

An angry Dennis Kucinich lashed out at John Edwards on Friday, saying his Democratic rival showed "a consistent lack of integrity" by suggesting fewer candidates should participate in presidential forums and then trying to explain his remark to reporters.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)


Propane leak

A Chaska woman died and two of her teenage sons were seriously injured when a propane leak sparked a cabin explosion in northern Wisconsin late Thursday night.

- Star Tribune (read full story here)

Propane leaks and cabins do not mix.

More liberal fearmongering

As pointed out by Rep. Mark Gundrum in his Assistant Majority Leader Update (July 13, 2007), the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has once again resorted to the tactics of liberal fearmongering:

"You may already have seen the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story, which suggests that the Assembly budget places the Amber Alert program in jeopardy.

That allegation is not true. This is yet another example of the scare tactics government offices and bureaucrats use when they feel their funding is threatened. "

Liberals are not willing to debate the budget on its merits. Instead, they resort to misrepresentations and outright lies to try to scare people into agreeing to yet more tax increases.

Conservatives despise the Milwaukee paper for taking such liberties with the truth.

Liberals admire the paper for the same reason.


Republican presidential hopeful Sam Brownback is counting on his conservative credentials and a Midwest bond to lift his candidacy in Iowa.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

With zero national name recognition, I rate Brownback's chances at close to zero.

Ditto for Tancredo, Hunter, etc.

Yellow Streak Road

"The cowardly lyin’ Dems are skipping down the Yellow Streak Road."

"So Democrats follow the Yellow Streak Road, going wherever cowardice leads."

- Jed Babbin (read his full comments here)

This is another guy who is hitting some bulls-eyes dead center.

Soccer moms at the O.K. Corral

A 10-year-old and two adults were wounded by gunfire at a Brooklyn Center soccer match after an argument turned violent.

- Star Tribune (read full story here)

Ashraf Marwan

And like so much in the complicated life of Ashraf Marwan — a 62-year-old Egyptian who had been the most effective spy in the history of the Middle East — the mysterious circumstances of his death two weeks ago provoked further speculation.

- Howard Blum, NY Times (read the full essay here)

Israeli spy or Egyptian double agent?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Burt Lake fisherman drowns

(thanks to Mark for calling my attention to this one)

A local man drowned in a boating accident while fishing alone in Cheboygan County's Burt Lake.

- Traverse City Record Eagle (read full story here)

A terrible tragedy.

Recent plantings

(1) Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)

(1) Canadian Ginger (Asarum canadense)

(1) Houttuynia cordata ('Chameleon')

(1) Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)

(5) Barrenwort (Epimedium 'Sulphureum')

(1) Lungwort (Pulmonaria 'E.B. Anderson')

(1) Sweet Bay (Laurus nobilis)

(1) Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)

(1) Greek Oregano (Origanum beracleoticum)

(1) Apple Mint (Mentha suaveolens)

(3) Pineapple Mint (Mentha suaveolens var.)

(1) Dwarf Bee Balm (Monarda 'Petite Delight')

(1) Datura ('Ballerina Yellow')

(1) Mother of Thyme (Thymus serpyllum 'Coccineus')

(2) Lovage (Levisticum officinale)

(1) Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla)

(1) Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys)

World's Best Coffee

This extremely rare and exotic coffee consumes your senses with floral aromas. Complex fruit and floral notes explode on the palate as licorice hides beneath a sweet acidity and syrupy body. The raspberry and blueberry flavor is powerful and compliments glorious jasmine and orange blossom fragrances. This coffee more than lives up to its fame with cupping notes that read like a menu at a high-end restaurant.

- The Roasterie, describing a $130/pound coffee

Leftwing crackpots

That's when you know your newspaper might have a wee hint of a liberal bias: when even the sportswriters are left-wing crackpots.

- Ann Coulter (read her full comments here)

John Edwards is Elmer Gantry

"The last thing you want to do is become the Elmer Gantry of the 2008 election cycle," said former Rep. David Nagle, D-Iowa, referring to the fraudulent preacher depicted in Sinclair Lewis' novel. "His [John Edwards] opponents are trying to paint him as Elmer Gantry, and some of that paint is hanging on the canvas."

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)


"I've been very clear, I think, to people all across the commonwealth, that my `R' didn't stand so much for `Republican,' as it does for `reform,'" Romney said in a Sept. 21, 2002, interview with WBZ-TV.

"I lived in a place that had a one-party state that was primarily Republican. I thought, `Well, won't that be nice?' The answer is no," Romney told the New Beford Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 16, 2002.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Interesting quotes. Old, but still interesting.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Black Lace

retail sources for Black Lace Elder

The dangers of catching big pike

A 62-year-old Minnesota angler is missing and presumed drowned in a remote fly-in lake in northeastern Ontario.

- AP/Star Tribune (read full story here)

Only true church

Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation.

- AP/jsonline (read full story here)

Giant squid

A squid as long as a bus and weighing 550 pounds washed up on an Australian beach, officials said Wednesday.

- AP/jsonline (read full story here)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Black Elderberry

Sambucus BLACK LACE PP15575 is the very newest. Proven Winners says: "It was the talk of England’s Chelsea Garden Show in 2003. BLACK LACE™ is a stunning development in Elderberry breeding. Intense purple black foliage is finely cut, giving it an effect similar to that of Japanese maple. Indeed, some designers are using it in place of the more sensitive acer varieties since BLACK LACE™ is extremely durable and adaptable. Creamy pink flowers in spring contrast nicely with the dark leaves. They are followed by blackish red fall berries which can be harvested for making elderberry wine and jam, or left on the plant to attract birds and other wildlife. BLACK LACE™ is very cold hardy and easy to grow, and adaptable to most sites. Full sun is needed for the best color. It can be used as a dramatic accent plant, planted en masse for a trouble free high hedge, or incorporated into the mixed or perennial border. Left alone it will reach up to 8 feet in height, but BLACK LACE™ can also be pruned back each year to fit into more formal settings."


McCain & Kerry

McCain's situation resembles that of John Kerry, who struggled in fundraising, languished in polls and fired top aides in late 2003.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Not a very favorable comparison.

Giuliani vs. dope smokers

Presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said Tuesday that people who want to legalize marijuana for medical purposes really just want to make the drug available to everyone.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)


There's a reason I call Department of Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff, "Serpenthead." He not only looks like a snake. He is one.

Tomorrow, in Detroit for the NAACP national convention, Chertoff will take his shoes off--and any sense of discretion--and attend the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center, the Dearbornistan mosque headed by open Hezbollah supporter and Iranian agent, Imam Husham Al-Husainy. And Chertoff will be kissing ass. . . er, meeting with Al-Husainy and sundry other Islamic extremists, who should have long ago been deported.

- Debbie Schlussel (read her full comments here)

Gotta give her credit. She really calls them out.

Wish list

Elderberry (one of the snobby black varieties)
Forsythia (the low-grow groundcover variety)
Ginkgo 'Princeton'
Kentucky Coffee Tree
Valerian (the herb Valerian, from the genus Valerian, not Red Valerian, not Jupiter's Beard)
Bible leaf (costmary)
Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata)
Heartleaf Alkanet (Brunnera macrophylla)


Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken raised nearly $2 million in the latest reporting period, pulling in more money than both his Democratic rival and the Republican incumbent, Sen. Norm Coleman.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Rich white liberals flexing their economic muscles.


The Senate Health Committee will have to dig beneath the surface on Thursday to consider the nomination of Dr. James Holsinger to be surgeon general. Dr. Holsinger has high-level experience as a health administrator, but there are disturbing indications that he is prejudiced against homosexuals.

- NY Times editorial (read the full editorial here)

It is obvious that the NY Times editorial board is more prejudiced against the nominee because he is a Christian conservative than the nominee is prejudiced against homosexuals.

Once again, we see the NY Times trying to manufacture a rationale to hide their own left-wing prejudices.


The manicured suburban lawn, often attacked as an environmental evil, faces competition -- and growing unease -- across the region.

- Star Tribune (read full story here)

Interesting article on alternatives to the evil suburban lawn.

I think the real answer is for America's Worst Generation to die off and make way for better people.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Sheehan vs. Pelosi

Cindy Sheehan, the slain soldier's mother whose attacks on President Bush made her a darling of the anti-war movement, has a new target: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

This could get entertaining.

The Abyss

The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss (2007) by Claire Nouvian

Gorgeous coffee-table book packed with color photographs and computer-generated images of various denizens of the deep.

Features one of my favorites, Vampyroteuthis infernalis ('the vampire squid from hell').

Other squids include Mesonychoteuthis hamiltonii (Colossal squid with hooks) and Architeuthis dux (Giant squid).

Includes creatures from the deep sea-floor, polar depths, deep-sea canyons, seamounts, deepwater coral reefs, and hydrothermal vents.

60% of the world's 400 known shark species live in the depths.

There is a brief section on the communities that scavenge sunken whale carcasses. Whale bones are 60% fat!

Fascinating book. If I were going to buy a coffee-table book, this one would be on my short list.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Friday, July 06, 2007

In like Reagan, out like Carter

“The President is going to undermine his own party on the way out the door.”

“His legacy right now -- came in like Reagan -- went out like Carter, being Ronald Reagan’s son I can say these things… because I get it.”

- Michael Reagan, referring to W (read full column here)

In like Reagan, out like Carter.

Sort of a catchy phrase.

$19 million toilet

NASA has agreed to pay $19 million for a Russian-built toilet system for the International Space Station. The figure may sound astronomical for a toilet in space, but NASA officials said it was cheaper than building their own.

- AP/Miami Herald (read full story here)

Tax dollars at work.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Race-baiting Democrats

Based on their consistent behavior in recent years, and specifically again in their presidential debate last Thursday, it is fair to ask whether there is any race-sensitive situation Democrats will not exploit for political purposes.

- David Limbaugh (read his full comments here)

The obvious answer is 'No!"

Liberals will not only always exploit any situation, they will create situations to exploit.

Scorpion detection

This guy built his own uv scorpion detection light.

Very clever.


The researchers say they hope to use this new technique to swap a bacterium's DNA for an artificial genome that they will assemble from scratch, thus creating the first synthetic life form.

- Patrick Barry, Science News (read the full article here)

This is some scary stuff. Creating "slate-wipers" has been a staple of science fiction for years.


Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief strategist is being accused of illegal eavesdropping in a civil lawsuit that alleges he and his polling firm monitored the personal e-mails of a former associate who started a rival company.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

The Clintons have no objection to eavesdropping in general, they just do not want us eavesdropping on Muslim terrorists who intend America harm.

Criminals and liberals

Indeed, in the 2004 election, Lott says, felons in Washington state "voted exclusively for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry."

- Ann Coulter (read her full comments here)

Criminals and liberals are a natural pairing. Consider the American Criminals and Liberals Union (ACLU).


Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton drew a distinction between President Bush's decision to commute the sentence of White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby - which she has harshly criticized - and her husband's 140 pardons in his closing hours in office.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

The Clintons are brazen hypocrites.

Which is why so many liberals admire them.

Osama Obama

"I think I'm in a position to bring about the change that people want," said Obama. "Change can't just be a slogan. Change has to mean that we're not doing the same old thing that we've been doing."

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Osama Obama would be the wrong kind of change.

Miami Herald gets it wrong again

What is so galling about this arbitrary and unnecessary favor to a White House colleague is that it stands the notions of fairness and justice on their heads. Stripped to its essence, the commutation is a blatant political act that invites cynicism and distrust. It sends the sad message that if you are a part of the administration, you are unaccountable, above the law.

- Miami Herald (read full editorial here)

Wrong as usual.

The commutation sends the message that prosecutorial misconduct is not going to be tolerated.

Libby deserved a full pardon, but commutation of the sentence was better than nothing.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


You may have heard of the nematode, that microscopic gelatinous worm in your garden soil, but did you know that four out of every five living creatures on Earth is a nematode? The whole bloody planet is crawling.

- Washington Post (read full article here)


A 10-year-old Nepalese girl was stripped of her title as a living goddess because she traveled overseas to promote a documentary about the centuries-old tradition, a news report said Tuesday.

Living goddesses are worshipped by both Hindus and Buddhists.

- AP/azcentral (read full article here)

Human evolution

People have continued to evolve since leaving the ancestral homeland in northeastern Africa some 50,000 years ago, both through the random process known as genetic drift and through natural selection.

- Nicholas Wade, NY Times (read full essay here)

Some interesting ideas about ancestry and convergent evolution.


Now finally, after more than a century of puzzling, scientists are finding answers coming fast and furious and from a surprising quarter, the field known as evo-devo. Just coming into its own as a science, evo-devo is the combined study of evolution and development, the process by which a nubbin of a fertilized egg transforms into a full-fledged adult. And what these scientists are finding is that development, a process that has for more than half a century been largely ignored in the study of evolution, appears to have been one of the major forces shaping the history of life on earth.

- Carol Kaesuk Yoon, NY Times (read full essay here)

It sounds like we do not know a lot of things about this.

Evo-devo, a new modern synthesis, and paradigm shifts

None of these concerns provide a scintilla of hope for creationists, as scientific investigations are already providing new insights into these issues.

- Douglas H. Erwin, NY Times (read full essay here)

Very dense. Assumes a scientific literacy not attained by many Americans, including me.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Finally returned after some very rough flights dodging thunderstorms.

Caught a few pike and a couple of tiger muskies, but did not get into the big trout I was looking for.

There was a bald eagle near our camp at Eleven Mile Reservoir.

Saw a small tarantula, a first for me outside of zoos.

Visited the Dinosaur Museum in Canyon City. Very interesting.

Saw the dinosaur tracks along Skyline Drive above Canyon City. Also very interesting.

Had fun, but also glad to be home again.