Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Natural Magick, or lack thereof

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Natural Magick (2005)

by Miria Liguana and Nina Metzner

Devoid of useful information.

Not worth reading, and certainly not worth buying.

It is a good thing I looked at the library copy.

Enchantment of the Faerie Realm

Enchantment of the Faerie Realm: Communicate with Nature Spirits & Elementals (1993)

by Ted Andrews

Includes interesting folklore on herbs, flowers, and trees:

Black-Eyed Susan
Faerie Lantern


Several interesting black & white illustrations taken from older sources.

Magic Gardens

Magic Gardens: A Modern Chronicle of Herbs and Savory Seeds (1939)

by Rosetta E. Clarkson

Contains no color photos or not much modern horticultural information, but includes tons of history and folklore.

Very entertaining book.

If I ever see it at a used bookstore, I will buy it.

Landscaping with Herbs

Landscaping with Herbs (1994) by Jim Wilson

Lots of color photos and good ideas.

Makes several references to comfrey, but curiously omits comfrey from the catalog of herbs.

Recommends an unusual tansy, T. ptarmicifolium 'Silver Feather'

Advocates the use of granite meal and pelleted dolomitic limestone as soil amendments.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Max McGee

Max McGee, the free-spirited Green Bay Packers receiver who became part of Super Bowl lore after a night on the town, died when he fell while clearing leaves from the roof of his home. He was 75.

- AP/Star Tribune (read full story here)

A terrible tragedy.

U of Minnesota football

In what will go down as one of the lowest points in program history, the Gophers were dominated in every way, shape and form by the Bison, who avenged a heartbreaking loss here last season with a 27-21 victory before an announced crowd of 63,088 at the Metrodome.

- Star Tribune (read full story here)

It looks like the Gophers have been drinking the water.


Survived the trip to Dearbornistan and glad to be home again, even if it is for a very short time.

Leave for the beautiful lake country of Michigan tomorrow.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Clantons

"Hillary Clinton's ill-conceived economic plans would devastate middle-class America by placing the burden of massive government growth on the backs of working families," Republican National Committee spokesman Danny Diaz said.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)


Brownback bites the big one

Republican Sen. Sam Brownback abandoned his 2008 presidential bid Friday, his White House aspirations dashed by a lack of money and a failure to gain traction nationally.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Sam can take a small consolation in that he was more relevant than Tommy Thompson.

We Are Ready

The new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that despite the commitment of U.S. forces elsewhere, the military is capable of conducting operations against Iran if called on to bomb nuclear facilities and other targets.

- NewsMax (read full story here)


Conservatives & liberals

Here is proof that conservatives & liberals can get along.


"Politics and the racial environment is threatening the human family. But black males, in particular, are endangered. Our attitudes, our ignorance, our savagery are all lending to a plan — a conspiracy to make the black man, not endangered, but extinct. ... If God doesn't intervene, we will be extinct."

- Louis Farrakhan, quoted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (read full story here)

A white person might get into a lot of trouble for making statements like that.


A photo of a bonfire taken by a Polish construction worker is creating a stir for the resemblance of the flames to a silhouette of the country's beloved son, the late Pope John Paul II.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)

It is a miracle.


Recently, economists Thomas M. Lenard and Brent D. Mast released a report through the libertarian Progress and Freedom Foundation that showed most cell phone users' paid out about $7 a month in federal, state and local taxes.

That's more than people pay in cigarette or liquor taxes, and I don't think we need to be taxing broadband like it was a sin or a luxury. Congress should make permanent the tax moratorium on the Internet, or, at a minimum, extend it.

- Fred Thompson, RCP (read full story here)

We have enough taxes already.


Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Friday the head of the Justice Department's voting rights office should be fired for saying minorities often die before they reach old age.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Liberals are often uncomfortable around factual statements.

Purer sewage

In short, a Republican who is unafraid and unembarrassed to trumpet his conservatism, not as a primary season fa├žade, but as a sincere expression of his heart, still holds the best hope for the GOP. Nor should he ever attempt to bridge the gap between himself and his Democrat opponent. On some issues, no “common ground” exists. Attempts to mix pure water with sewage will not result in purer sewage. And the country knows it.

- Christopher G. Adamo (read his full column here)

Exactly right.


Just this year, anti-Muslim fliers were put out on the George Washington University campus -- by leftists, including a member of "Iraq Veterans Against War." When it was thought the leaflets were from the conservative group Young Americans For Freedom, the dean called for the expulsion of the culprits and the university demanded that YAF officers sign a statement disavowing "hate speech." But when it turned out leftists had distributed the fliers, the matter was dropped faster than Larry Craig was dropped from Mitt Romney's campaign.

- Ann Coulter (read her full column here)

Of course.

Albino deer

(from travelwisconsin.com)


To be more precise, Bloggergate is the subsidizing of left-wing bloggers with illegal Democrat campaign contributions, laundered through ostensibly "non-partisan" non-profit groups.

- NewsMax (read full story here)

Liberals business-as-usual politics.


Republican presidential hopeful John McCain's argument as he woos restive religious and social conservatives comes down to this: "I have a record that can be trusted."

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

While I agree with McCain on many issues, I do not trust him.

The McCain-Feingold mess immediately comes to mind.

Osama Obama

Presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday his foreign policy record leaves him immune to Republican attacks likely to be lodged in a general election campaign.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

This is an odd comment coming from a guy with no foreign policy experience of any substance.

The Clantons

"People who are here legally deserve some better treatment and acceptance in the law than people who are not here legally. These are hard choices."

- Hillary Clinton, quoted by AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I am amazed bordering on stupification that I actually agree with something The Clantons say.

Heartless liberals

Conservatives must be prepared in this campaign season to return to their own free-market principles and expose the liberals' compassion for the ruse it is.

- David Limbaugh (read his full column here)

Liberals continue to be the most heartless members of society.



Interesting article on the history of the Honeycrisp apple.


"Woodstock Museum is a shining example of what's wrong with Washington on pork-barrel, out-of-control spending," said John McCain, Arizona senator and Republican presidential hopeful. An example, he said, of "the earmark pork-barrel spending which has made the American people disenchanted and angry."

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I agree with McCain.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney called the United Nations a failure on Thursday and said he would support a new coalition of the free nations of the world.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here).

Agree. The United Nations is a negative asset for the world.

Wisconsin hummingbird

Theories abound about how the bird ended up in her garden. Pidgeon and other bird experts said it could have been blown north from Mexico by a tropical storm. Others believe a mutation in its navigation system could have put it off course shortly after birth. Some blamed global warming.

- MCT/ajc (read full story here)

Global warming in the news again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cheney & Obama are cousins

Though they may spar across the political aisle, Vice President Dick Cheney is close enough to Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama to call him "cousin."

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Amazing. They are actually related.

Dork Tower comics


The Left looks for new taxes

Internet services shouldn't be a tax-free zone.

- Washington Post (read full editorial here)

The Left is always looking for new taxes.

11-foot mako shark

Six friends went to a fishing tournament looking to catch some grouper. They caught an 844-pound shark instead.

- AP/ajc (read full story here)

One of the many joys of fishing is that there is always some uncertainty about what you might catch.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Execution of the Criminal Jesse James

"To say it's slow-going doesn't begin to describe it...."

- Miami Herald review of "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (read full review here)

Turks committed genocide

Turkey reacted angrily Thursday to a House committee vote in Washington to condemn as genocide the mass killings of Armenians in Turkey that began during World War I, recalling its ambassador from Washington and threatening to withdraw its support for the Iraq war.

A total of 1.5 million Armenians were killed in the Armenian genocide, which began in 1915 as part of a systematic campaign by the fraying Ottoman Empire to drive Armenians out of eastern Turkey. Turks have vehemently denied the genocide designation, while acknowledging that hundreds of thousands of Armenians died. They contend that the deaths resulted from the war that ended with the creation of modern Turkey in 1923.

- NY Times (read full story here)

Maybe ex-Rep. (WI) Jim Moody should crawl out from under his rock and once again deny the genocide.


"Democrats should know that there is no preventive measure yet designed to ward off the blue-collar values and patriotism that NASCAR fans represent," said Linda Daves, the chairwoman of the North Carolina Republican Party. "If they aren't careful, they just might catch some of it."

- McClatchy/ajc (read full story here)

Not likely. Most Democrats have permanent immunity vs. patriotism.

The Goracle

Former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.'s climate change panel won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for spreading awareness of man-made climate change and laying the foundations for counteracting it.

- AP/Chicago Tribune (read full story here)

Proving once again that Nobel prizes are more about politics than they are about science.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Amazing Honda ad

(Thanks to Brian Petro for this one)


A truly entertaining "Rube Goldberg" style ad.

More taxes

And several Congressional hearings have made it clear that there is no justification for private equity’s low tax rate. Its legality rests on outdated provisions of the tax code that should be changed. It is morally indefensible. And it is illogical from a tax perspective.

- NY Times (read full editorial here)

The NY Times never met a tax increase that it did not like.

Dell Outlet

Dell Outlet, recommended by PC Mech.

Coulter vs. Thompson & Huckabee

Conservatives unhappy with our Republican presidential candidates seem to be drifting aimlessly toward Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee in the misguided belief that these candidates are more conservative than Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.

- Ann Coulter (read her full column here)

Coulter really slices & dices the two candidates.


Finally, thanks to new quality-control measures and increasingly successful micro-distilleries, fans of the forgotten drink are touting a mezcal renaissance: Exports are rising, new plants are being built and food critics are gushing.

- Miami Herald (read full story here)

I want to try the one with the scorpion in the bottle.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Norway tries to close consulate

Norwegian-American groups in the Upper Midwest are not pleased that Norway is considering closing its consulate in Minneapolis.

- AP/Star Tribune (read full story here)

The real reason is that Norway sees what drinking the water does to people.


A police officer has sued the family of a 1-year-old boy who nearly drowned because she slipped and injured a knee responding to their 911 rescue call.

- AP/Miami Herald (read full story here)

Blood-sucking lawyers are out of control.

Big pumpkin

Thad Starr, of Pleasant Hill, Ore., set a record at the annual pumpkin weigh-off here with his 1,524-pound pumpkin. He'll get $6 a pound, bringing his winnings to $9,144.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)

Observation hive of honey bees



Soviet-style health care

If you missed John Stossel's recent 20/20 program, you missed the best documentary on health care I have ever seen. The best scene: in Canada, a dog gets his MRI scan in one hour; people wait six months!

- John Goodman (read his full column here)

After The Clantons implement Soviet-style health care, the wait will be longer than that.

Coulter's Law

When a Stanford University professor like Robert Weisberg can say “It is hard to remember a major fraud case that went to jury trial that led to an acquittal” (actually Health-South CEO Richard Scrushy was acquitted but he is now back in court for supposedly “unrelated charges”), that the rules favor the unproductive lawyers and bureaucrats, and that over 90 percent of convictions are by plea bargains rather than trials there is something seriously is wrong with the legal system. Why is Ms. Coulter the only one talking about this scandal?

- Donald Devine (read his full column here)

Good question.

Grand Canyon

A 4-year-old girl was killed Tuesday when she slipped off the edge of the Grand Canyon and fell several hundred feet.

- AP/ajc (read full story here)

What a terrible tragedy. I am surprised that it does not happen more often.

Draft Gore

Draftgore.com, which describes itself as a group of grass-roots Democrats, underwrote a full-page open letter to Al Gore in Wednesday's New York Times, imploring the former vice president to enter the presidential campaign.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Wouldn't it be wonderful?

I went to http://www.draftgore.com/ and signed up. What a thrill!

Killer alligator

An alligator attack killed an elderly woman whose mauled body was found in a pond, according to an autopsy performed today.

A biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources says it was the first time an alligator killed a person in Georgia since 1980.

- AP/Atlanta Journal Constitution (read full story here)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Human urine

Researchers in Finland have just published results of a study showing that farmers can substitute human urine for conventional fertilizer and get a notable increase in cabbage yields.

- Science News (subscriber-only article here)


Saber-toothed cats living in North America up to 10,000 years ago relied on a strong pounce and a swift bite to kill their prey. Smilodon fatalis, often erroneously called tigers, didn't have jaws strong enough to suffocate their victims as modern big cats do. Instead, says Colin McHenry of the University of Newcastle in Callaghan, Australia, saber-toothed cats probably tackled prey and used their prominent canine teeth to pierce a victim's airway.

- Science News (read full article here)

Romney vs. Giuliani

Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani clashed over tax and spending cuts Tuesday, each saying he was more committed than the other as they vied for conservative support in a debate in the nation's manufacturing heartland.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Maybe each one is more committed that the other one.

The Clantons plan to redistribute the wealth

At a cost of $20 billion-$25 billion a year, the plan is Clinton's largest domestic proposal other than her plan for universal health insurance. The New York senator said it would be paid for by taxing estates worth more than $7 million per couple and would help narrow the gap between the rich and those who don't have enough savings for retirement.

Her campaign said that for every $7 million estate that gets taxed, at least 5,000 families would receive the matching funds.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

And when that does not work, The Clantons will just raise taxes on everyone.

I still blame the Earps.

Osama Obama

"I would not be running for president if I did not believe this time could be different, not because I have some perfect solution that every other expert and every other candidate has somehow missed, but because I believe the American people are ready for a president who can unite us around a common purpose."

- Barack Obama, quoted by AP/Forbes (read full story here)

And that purpose would be to advance liberalism by raising taxes and exerting more control over peoples' lives.


"...if a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged, then a liberal is a conservative who has been busted in a men's room."

- Richard Cohen, Washington Post (read full op-ed here)


The Return of George Allen

Former Virginia Sen. George Allen used to tout his own "comonsense Jeffersonian principles" as the bedrock of his presidential ambitions.

Then "macaca" happened, and Allen's White House bid was over before it had begun. Now, the cowboy-boot wearing, tobacco-chewing politician has found another candidate who is hoping to use a bit of Southern appeal to win the presidency.

Allen was announced Monday as one of three national co-chairs of Fred Thompson's campaign.

- The Trail, Washington Post blog (read full column here)

Macaca happens.

The Goracle

Party insiders believe that a Gore campaign launched as late as October will still have enough time to raise money and challenge front-runners Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards.

- NewsMax (read full story here)

What a thrilling development that would be!

Like The Great White Buffalo, coming to save our rear ends!


Tilth is an Old English word used to describe the structure and quality of cultivated soil. An even older meaning describes it as the cultivation of wisdom and spirit. A soil or person in good tilth was said to be "in good heart."

The Oxford English Dictionary defines tilth as labor, work, or effort directed to useful or profitable ends, especially in regards to the cultivation of the soil.

"Tilth is something every farmer can recognize but no scientist can measure." -Walter Russell

- http://www.snovalleytilth.net/

White squirrel hunter

Sentencing has been scheduled for Nov. 28 for a white squirrel hunter convicted last week of second-degree intentional homicide in the fatal shooting of a Hmong hunter.

- Star Tribune (read full story here)

I have to admit that I was completely wrong about this one.

I predicted the white guy would get off without even a slap on the wrist.

Interesting statistic

(Thanks to Aunt Ruth for this one)

Interesting statistic

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of the U.S. involvement in Iraq , here's a sobering statistic. There has been a monthly average of 160,000 troops in the Iraq theatre of operations during the last 22 months, and a total of 2,112 deaths. That gives a firearm death rate of 60 per 100,000 soldiers per month.

The firearm death rate in Washington D.C. is 80.6 per 100,000 persons for the same period. That means that you are about 25% more likely to be shot and killed in the U.S. Capital than you are in Iraq.

Conclusion: The U.S. should pull out of Washington

Giant Minnesota Moose

The animal weighed an estimated 1,200 pounds and its antlers measured an astounding 5 feet from tip to tip.

The rack scored 236½ inches under the Boone and Crockett measuring system. The existing state record is 227 1/8 inches, set in 1985.

- Star Tribune (read full story here)

Christian values, or lack thereof

No matter what our sterile demographic statistics might tell us, it's difficult to believe that Christian ideas and values are dominant in this nation anymore.

- David Limbaugh (read his full column here)

Liberal propagandists are claiming the dominance of Christian values as a way of rallying the far-left.

The Swiss fight back

"We have addressed the problems that most of the population is thinking about," Schluer, 63, said in an interview outside the opulent marble-columned National Council chambers in the capital, Bern. He said rising crime rates, concern over terrorism and the increasing drain on the national budget to support poor immigrant families have drawn more voters to the Swiss People's Party.

His party has initiated and won national referendums making it tougher for foreigners to enter Switzerland and obtain citizenship and easier to deport immigrants. Switzerland now has the strictest naturalization laws in Europe.

- Washington Post (read full story here)


But the CIA secretly developed a simple dragonfly snooper as long ago as the 1970s. And given recent advances, even skeptics say there is always a chance that some agency has quietly managed to make something operational.

- Washington Post (read full story here)

If they haven't yet, then they need to do it ASAP.

Incompetence or treason?

The founder of the company, the SITE Intelligence Group, says this premature disclosure tipped al-Qaeda to a security breach and destroyed a years-long surveillance operation that the company has used to intercept and pass along secret messages, videos and advance warnings of suicide bombings from the terrorist group's communications network.

"Techniques that took years to develop are now ineffective and worthless," said Rita Katz, the firm's 44-year-old founder....

- Washington Post (read full story here)

The W administration is looking more and more like the Carter administration.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Intellectually dishonest institutions

I am old enough to remember when America's colleges and universities seemed to be the most open-minded and intellectually rigorous institutions in our society. Today, something very much like the opposite is true: America's colleges and universities have become, and have been for some decades, the most closed-minded and intellectually dishonest institutions in our society.

- Michael Barone, RCP (read his full column here)

Les Miserables

It's a hefty price for a pastry: A man accused of stealing a 52-cent doughnut could face time in jail.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)

Deer kills man

A 66-year-old Ball Ground man was attacked and killed by a deer Sunday night, authorities said.

- Atlanta Journal Constitution (read full story here)


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Life Could Be A Dream

We attended The Milwaukee Rep's production of "Life Could Be A Dream" at the Stackner Cabaret today.

It was clever and humorous.

But I am not a fan of do-wop music, unless, of course, it is Frank Zappa's do-wop music.

They also had Sprecher Black Bavarian on tap, which was a definite plus.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Great American Beer Festival

Great American Beer Festival, Denver, CO, October 11-13

I sure wish I could attend, but I have schedule conflicts, as usual.


Really big pike

(thanks to Mark for this one)

56 pounds, caught on a river in Canada.

Soviet-style health care

Doctors in New Zealand lost a man's false teeth during his back surgery but found them four days later - stuck in his throat.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)

This kind of event will be common after The Clantons implement Soviet-style health care.

Plant Information Online


University of Minnesota plant database online for free. It used to be subscription-only.

Lying liberals

Once again, liberals have wandered into the unfamiliar waters of patriotism, righteous indignation, and pontification offered in “support of the troops.” And once again, their moral and philosophical bankruptcy, their intellectual dishonesty, and their overarching hysterics reveal far more about themselves than about their intended target, in this case radio giant Rush Limbaugh.

- Christopher G. Adamo (read his full column here)

Business as usual for the lying left.

ICE parties with Hezbollah

Julie L. Myers, America's top immigration enforcement official, will host an event at a Hezbollah club well known for it's anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Semitic speeches and vitriol. The club is host to Hezbollah rallies and planning. The event is headed up by "former Islamic terrorist Imad Hamad, a known marriage and immigration fraud perpetrator, with whom Myers will share the stage. The government tried to deport Hamad--an open supporter of Hezbollah and HAMAS--for more than two decades.

- Debbie Schlussel (read her full column here)

Beyond pathetic. W is a major disappointment.

Osama Obama

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has stopped wearing the American flag lapel pin that has become a common symbol of patriotism since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Osama Obama tries to appeal to his anti-American liberal base.

You Send It


A way to send large files over the Internet.

The foot tapper

Senator Larry E. Craig of Idaho, defying the wishes of many in his own Republican Party, said Thursday that he would remain in the Senate through next year despite a court ruling against him in Minnesota, where he had sought to rescind his guilty plea stemming from an undercover sex sting.

- New York Times (read full story here)

What a loser. Determined to drag the party down with him.

And why did the Republican nurture and enable someone like this for all those years?

Gross negligence

The Maplewood man was convicted of negligent manslaughter for shooting what he thought was a deer. His victim was in blaze orange.

- Star Tribune (read full story here)

It is incomprehensible to me how someone could shoot a hunter dressed in blaze orange at a range of 100 yards and claim it was an accident.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The foot tapper

A Minnesota judge on Thursday rejected Sen. Larry Craig's bid to withdraw his guilty plea in an airport sex sting, a major setback in Craig's effort to clear his name and hang on to his Senate seat.

- AP/Star Tribune (read full story here)


Log Cabin Republicans vs. Romney

But in a 30-second television ad that will air in Iowa and on national cable, the Log Cabin Republicans use clips from a debate during Romney's unsuccessful 1994 campaign for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts to portray him as an enemy of religious conservatives.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Machiavellian move by the Log Cabin Republicans.

Gryposaurus monumentensis

The newly named Gryposaurus monumentensis, or hook-beaked lizard from the monument, was discovered near the Arizona line in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 2002 by a volunteer at the site. Details about the 75-million-year-old dinosaur, including its name, were published in the Oct. 3 edition of Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.

- AP/ajc (read full story here)

An interesting find.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rush vs. The Clantons

Rush Limbaugh, under fire from a liberal group known as Media Matters for America, has unearthed surprising evidence tying Hillary Clinton closely to the group.

- NewsMax (read full story here)

The Clantons have always been the chief practitioners of the politics of personal destruction.

Liberals worm themselves

While liberals have managed to worm themselves into every important institution in America, from the public schools to the CIA to charitable foundations, they are shamefully absent from the military.

- Ann Coulter (read her full commentary here)

Hezbollah's U.S. Attorney

A top U.S. Immigration official has been accepting bribes from Hezbollah operatives in America for years. But the U.S. Attorney--Stephen Murphy III, the Justice Department's top official in Eastern Michigan--delayed indictment for FOUR Years(!), while he quietly allowed the Hezbollah criminals involved to flee the country.

The questions is: Is Murphy really the United State's of America's Attorney or Hezbollah's? I know the answer. And it isn't the former. Incredibly, the Bush Administration continues to pimp this man for Federal Court of Appeals Judge.

- Debbie Schlussel (read her full commentary here)

Beyond pathetic. W is losing me on this one.

Blackwater defends itself

The chairman of the Blackwater private security firm said yesterday that guards working for his company have "acted appropriately at all times" while protecting U.S. diplomats in Iraq and accused critics of making "baseless allegations of wrongdoing" against them.

In his opening statement before the committee, Prince, a former Navy Seal who started Blackwater in 1997, said that nearly 30 of his employees have been killed carrying out their duties in Iraq. Meanwhile, he said, no one under the protection of his personnel has been killed or seriously injured. He said Blackwater "does not engage in offensive or military missions, but performs only defensive and protective duties."

- Washington Post (read full story here)

I side with Blackwater.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Landscaping with Herbs

Landscaping with Herbs (2000) by Nancy Ondra

Provides plans for herb gardens:

Hummingbird and Butterfly
Rock Wall
Herbal Flower
Scented Shade
Herbal Kitchen
Moonlight Herb
Herbal Cottage
Friendly Front-Door

Essential Landscape Herbs:

Bee Balms
Geraniums, Scented
Lady's Mantles
Lemon Balm
Purple Coneflowers
Sweet Woodruff

For some strange reason, the author omitted comfrey, costmary, tansy and valerian.

Paths and Walkways

Paths and Walkways (1998) by Hazel White

Lots of color photographs.

The author is a strong advocate for the use of paths in garden designs.

Emphasis on brick, gravel, stone, and concrete paths.

I found the following combinations the most interesting:

Decomposed granite and catmint
Fieldstone and irises
Sawdust slope and geraniums

The Breck Girl vs. Blackwater

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards wants to limit the role of security contractors working in Iraq and elsewhere, joining the growing criticism of a shootout that left 11 Iraqi civilians dead.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Typical liberal form over substance.

Salmon Berry




Myth of brown recluse spider bites


Interesting site dealing with myths and over-diagnosis of brown recluse spider bites.

Just for the record, I have never been bitten by a spider, brown recluse or otherwise.

McCain vs. The Clantons

Republican John McCain is accusing Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton of indecisiveness on foreign policy, arguing that the nation can't afford a post-Sept. 11 commander in chief who employs a triangulation policy.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I agree with McCain.

And maybe if McCain had been at the O.K. Corral, we would not be having these problems.

More B.O.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Tuesday called for ridding the world of nuclear weapons, arguing that U.S. policy is still focused on the defunct Soviet Union instead of combatting the nuclear threat from rogue nations and terrorists.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

And more form over substance.


GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson argued Tuesday for increased military spending and said soldiers fighting in Iraq need better equipment and effective leaders.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

I am in favor of increased military spending.

Mammoth hair

Analysis of hair from several ancient mammoths suggests that even tiny samples that are tens of thousands of years old can contain enough genetic material to allow reconstruction of portions of the animal's genome. The new findings hint that museum collections could be untapped troves of genetic treasure.

- Science News (read full article here)

China rejects sardines

A shipment of 47 tons of frozen sardines originally from the United States was rejected at a Chinese coastal city because regulators said it was infected with disease-inducing bacteria, state media reported Tuesday.

- AP/azcentral (read full story here)

I prefer anchovies.

Magical Herbs

The Book of Magical Herbs: Herbal history, mystery, and folklore (2000)

by Margaret Picton

An odd book, but a very entertaining book. Features quotations from the bible, recipes, references to mythology, poetry, and lots of folklore.

Bay (Laurus nobilis)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Angelica (Angelica archangelica)
Garlic (Allium sativum)
Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
Chives (Allium schoenprasum)
Mint (Mentha)
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
Rue (Ruta graveolens)
Borage (Borago officinalis)
Dill ( Anethum graveolens)
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Marjoram (Origanum)
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)
Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Bergamot (Monarda didyma)
Sage (Salvia)
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
Marigold (Calendula officinalis)

Omits some of my favorites such as lovage, comfrey, costmary, and valerian, but still covers an impressive list of herbs.


Hardscaping: How to use structures, pathways, patios & ornaments in your garden (2006)

by Keith Davitt

The author's thesis is that hardscaping lends shape, dimension, balance, and focus to outdoor areas.

Contains numerous color photos. Of particular interest are the case studies with before and after shots that demonstrate the difference that hardscaping makes.

The chapters are:

Structure & Balance
Structure for Dimension
Structure for Instilling Motion
Structure for Delineating Space
Structure for Creating Focal Points
Structure for Creating Privacy
Structure for Outdoor Living
Structure for Ornamentation

Yet another excellent book on landscaping. And probably one I should buy instead of just reading the library copy.


Nobody can dispute that Barack Obama opposed the Iraq war from the start and, with striking prescience, predicted U.S. troops would be mired in a costly conflict that fanned "the flames of the Middle East."

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Like most liberals, Osama Obama always emphasizes form over substance.

They should have named him "Al."

Monday, October 01, 2007

3:10 to Yuma

Westerns, until the 1960s the most popular movie genre, are rare birds nowadays, but I regret to report that the new version of 3:10 to Yuma is one of the three worst Westerns I have ever seen.

- Spencer Warren (read full article here)

Very interesting article about the history of western movies and the collision with modern politics.

Third party

Some of the nation's most politically influential conservative Christians, alarmed by the prospect of a Republican presidential nominee who supports abortion rights, are considering backing a third-party candidate.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)



We attended the Saturday afternoon Milwaukee Rep production of Cyrano de Bergerac.

Lee Ernst in the title role, a fabulous performance.

3 hours with 2 intermissions.


A massive volcano eruption triggered by an earthquake has ripped apart a tiny island in the Red Sea.

Terrified witnesses reported lava spewing hundreds of yards into the air with plumes of volcanic ash also rising from the site.

- Daily Mail (read full story here)


The grace period for people traveling by air to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda is over. Guidelines requiring travelers to those countries to have a passport to re-enter the country to went into effect at 12:01 a.m. today.

- Star Tribune (read full story here)


But one huge question is: Can cheating really be stifled?

"What I've always said is: It'll go away the same time crime goes away," said Tony Ray, founder of Even Balance Inc., which makes cheating-detection software called Punkbuster. "There's always somebody trying to get around the rules."

Perhaps, but Gary McGraw and Greg Hoglund, authors of the new book "Exploiting Online Games," argue that video game makers could do much more to stop it. McGraw and Hoglund contend that poor software design enables the vast majority of cheats.

- AP/Star Tribune (read full story here)

Jewish organizations vs. McCain

Several Jewish organizations criticized John McCain on Monday after the Republican candidate said he would prefer a Christian president over someone of a different faith.

- AP/Forbes (read full story here)

Colorado students

About 50 Boulder High School students walked out of class Thursday to protest the daily reading of the Pledge of Allegiance and recited their own version, omitting "one nation, under God."

The students say the phrase violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

- Fox News (read full story here)

ASMBA Veterans Blog covers the story here.

Mahmoud for President

Democrats should run Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for president. He's more coherent than Dennis Kucinich, he dresses like their base, he's more macho than John Edwards, and he's willing to show up at a forum where he might get one hostile question -- unlike the current Democratic candidates for president who won't debate on Fox News Channel. He's not married to an impeached president, and the name "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad" is surely no more frightening than "B. Hussein Obama."

- Ann Coulter (read her full comments here)


Conventional wisdom is hardening around the proposition that Fred Dalton Thompson is too lazy, ill-prepared, tired, old, lackluster, inexperienced, inconsistent and bald to make a successful run for President.

Of course, conventional wisdom rarely gets anything right. When it does, it's only by accident.

In this case conventional wisdom is not just wrong but comically so. Thompson will win the Republican nomination for two reasons. First, he's a very impressive candidate. Second, there's no realistic alternative. He will win the general election for the same two reasons.

- Peter Mulhern, Real Clear Politics (read the full column here)

I am not yet a convert, but he does make some interesting points.

Starcraft board game


Late Summer Flowers

Late Summer Flowers (2006) by Marina Christopher

Lots of beautiful color photos.

Good advice on dealing with soil type/drainage issues. The author favors raised beds of amended soil to deal with poorly drained heavy clay.

The author advocates a dynamic garden.

There is a good section on plant propagation (seeds, softwood cuttings, root cuttings, division).

The plant directory comprises the bulk of the book.

I have several of the recommended plants for late summer flowers: yarrow (Achillea), anise hyssop (Agastache), Aster, Centaurea, Jupiter's Beard (Centranthus), Chrysanthemum, Coreopsis, purple coneflower (Echinacea), Epimedium, Eupatorium, Geranium, Gladiolus, daylily (Hemerocallis), Lobelia, bee balm (Monarda), sweet marjoram (Origanum), Phlox, Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium), Rudbeckia, Salvia, and Veronica.

Several of the recommended plants would be welcome additions to my late summer garden: Acanthus, Aconitum, Angelica, Colchicum, Delphinium, Gypsophila, and Ligularia.



The above link is an interesting article on backyard beekeepers.

Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping

The Bee Lab, University of Minnesota

American Bee Journal




In 1950, Michigan was one of the most prosperous states in America. There were 1,800,000 people in Detroit, and Detroiters enjoyed the highest per capita income of any large city in the country.

Today, Michigan is an economic basket case. Its unemployment rate is a crushing 7.2 percent -- the highest in the nation. And to make matters worse, Michigan taxes are higher than the national average.

So with no jobs and high taxes, it's no surprise that Michiganders are going elsewhere to live and work. Its population is declining so much that the wry joke in Michigan is that the last one to leave please turn out the lights.

- Newt Gingrich (read his full comments here)

Number base converter


Very handy if you need it.

Liberal newspapers rationalize falling circulation numbers

“It’s a rational business decision of newspapers focusing on quality circulation rather than quantity, shedding the subscribers who cost more and generate less revenue,” said Colby Atwood, president of Borrell Associates, a media research firm.

- NY Times (read full story here)

Of course.

On the dangers of air travel

A traveler who may have accidentally choked herself to death while handcuffed in an airport holding cell was a "wonderful" woman and mother, according to New York City's public advocate, who is her relative.

- AP/ajc (read full story here)

Remind me to be extra careful when flying to Phoenix.

Minnesota terrorists

The town on the edge of the wilderness wrestles with evidence that local anti-environmentalist sentiments fueled a drunken shooting rampage.

- Star Tribune (read full story here)

They drank the water.