Friday, February 29, 2008

Gobble, gobble, gobble

I was downstairs building a couple of birdhouses. Having finished I was about to step out on the deck when I spied these guys and thought, "I'm gonna need a bigger birdhouse." I grabbed the camera and tried to snap a picture out Terry's sewing room window but they caught my movement. There were six, I got a picture of four in something of a panic mode just as they took off into the woods. Amazing to see such big, heavy-bodied birds fly.

Wild Turkeys at the feeder

(PS It's snowing again. Up to 4 inches expected tonight. *sigh*)

Usually they just piss on ‘em

The tires that is.

Dogs trap mail carrier, flatten tires

They flattened three tires and then attacked the police cruiser’s tires when the cops arrived? Sheesh!

We've got a couple of dogs around here that like to wait in their driveway and chase the cars that go past. I like to kid Terry that they want to take her little Aveo home as a toy. Now I don't think that's much of a stretch anymore.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Random thoughts

GuyK of Charming, Just Charmingwas grousing this morning about several things (as he always does before his second POT of jumpstart). He complained about the weather down there in Florida:

It turned off chilly here last night..a genuine two dawg night and damned if I don't think the dawgs figured it wuz a two people night...they snuggled in and kept the bed warm.

Hey, Guy, it was 1 degree F when I rolled out of the sack at 7 AM here at the Aerie. And I slept alone since the wife is away to sunny, southern California where it’s in the 70s (but I'm not jealous!), and because I don’t trust the damn cats to behave themselves One likes to climb up on your chest or your pillow to sleep and another wants to burrow under the covers with you. That may not sound so bad, but the pillow sleeper likes to use your head as a pillow and the burrower likes to lick any bare skin he finds and since I sleep in the nude....

Anyway, another complaint Guy had was about the perseverance of the “cowboy mentality” regarding self reliance. And while that must have sent him off on a search for a Heinlein quote from old Lazarus Long, it sent me to search for Gene Autry’s The Cowboy Code.

Autry created the Cowboy Code or Cowboy Commandments in response to his young radio listeners aspiring to be just like Gene.

1. The Cowboy must never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
2. He must never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
3. He must always tell the truth.
4. He must be gentle with children, the elderly, and animals.
5. He must not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
6. He must help people in distress.
7. He must be a good worker.
8. He must keep himself clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
9. He must respect women, parents, and his nation's laws.
10. The Cowboy is a patriot.

If you aren’t permited to post the Ten Commandments in a classroom, you could do far, far worse than putting these up on the bulletin board.

(BTW, here’s the quote GuyK put up from Lazarus Long:
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

-Lazarus Long, Time Enough For Love

The post was called How Many Can You Do?)


This story just warms my heart:

An armed robber picked the wrong target when he raided an Australian bar where a biker gang was holding a meeting. He ended up hog-tied and in a hospital.

There were around 50 bikers holding a meeting at the bar. I have to wonder about their behavior. Did they follow Robert’s Rules of Order? Did they not ride their motorcycles to the meeting and park them outside? How could 50 members of a biker club—at a bar mind you—be so quiet that two idiots didn’t see or hear them despite walking through the room to get to the cashier? And finally, they only hog-tied the SOB?

Jester [Did I mention the person chairing the meeting only gave his name as “Jester”?-ed] said the robbers had walked past the bikers as they entered the bar but apparently failed to notice them, perhaps because the ski masks obscured their vision.

And the money quote:

"I don't think he did his homework very well," Jester said of the ringleader. "He picked the wrong night."

Dude, these were some very civilized bikers!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oh, no! Not more snow?!

I spent about an hour and a half today using the snow thrower to clear most of the 5 inches of snow from the driveway. I say most because having a gravel drive I need to keep the front blade of the thrower elevated or risk tossing stones all over and the last thing I want is a broken window in the Aerie or one of the vehicles. The result is about a half inch is left on the ground when I’m though. If/when the sun comes out this is usually going to melt pretty quickly and then I’m down to the gravel.

The sun did come out this afternoon for a few brief spurts but the temperatures never got above 24 degrees F and, as a result, the expected melting just wasn’t going to happen. I just went outside and found that it’s bloody cold out there. At 9 PM it’s about 8 degrees with a fairly brisk breeze (not wind) blowing. It’s cold enough that after standing on the deck for a few minutes I could feel my willy trying to crawl up inside where it could get warm. Upon returning to the indoors, it took me five minutes to convince it to come out so I could take a leak.

Shit, I just checked the weather and there’s a forecast for 3 to 5 inches of additional snow Friday night into Saturday. This is going to stop soon, isn’t it? Please tell me it will stop.

(The Bolt Hole got over 10 inches of snow from this latest storm and is forecast to receive 7 more this Friday/Saturday. Those totals are on top of the 8-10 inches that fell Tuesday/Wednesday of last week after I left. At least the current lake effect snow is falling to the south and west of the cabin.)

The Last Great Race

Spring must be right around the corner. They’re gearing up for The Last Great Race out there in Alaska. Yeah, the Iditarod kicks off this Saturday. Trail conditions seem to be “normal,” which, as the news posting says is both good and bad for the mushers heading out.

Due to a decided lack of snow on some stretches of the early trail last year (and encroaching civilization) race officials shifted the trail a bit to give the racers more of a chance to experience the wilderness conditions of the original musher faced in his race to Nome. Of course, Global Warming gets the blame for the change.

If I had to start a “bucket list”—and if the Doc allowed there was sufficient time—this even would most certainly e on it. No, not to participate in the race itself, that alone would probably be the death of me. No, I’d want to go up there and just witness the start and finish of the race. Get a chance to meet some of the mushers and their dogs.

Go on over to the official web site and read some of the history of the race and look through the news files. There are several shorter races that take place in the weeks leading up to The Big One that have ended and it sounds like a couple of them were doozies!

Seventeen year-old Jessica Klejka won the 140 mile Iditarod Jr. race by two (2) seconds!

And Lance Mackey won the Yukon Quest by margin of just 15 minutes with a composite time of 10 days, 12 hours and 14 minutes. It was his fourth victory in that event. That race finished on February 20th. What’s amazing is that Mackey will be on the line this Saturday and that some of the 16 dogs in his team will be from this group that just finished racing, other’s will be from the team that Lance’s son just ran in the Jr. event. But, hey, that’s what the dogs are bred to do and it’s what they love to do. Did I mention that Mackey won the 2007 Iditarod with a time of 9days, 5 hours, 8 minutes, and 41 seconds? That was his third top-ten finish in five starts.

There’s yet one more big race the end of March that starts in Nome: the All Alaska Sweepstakes. That’s a $100,000, winner-take-all race and Mackey and his dogs have their eyes on the prize.

I just peeked at the weather info for Wasilla, Alaska that’s at the top of the Iditarod page. That little widget says it’s 20 degrees WARMER there than it is here at the Aerie in north-central PA. Thirty-four degrees F compared to 13 degrees. (It’s only about 5 degrees at the Bolt Hole—going down to minus 5 degrees tonight.)


As Ace says,
"I thought this was going to be a negative ad against Barack Hussein Obama.

It is. It's just that he made it himself."

Watch. Listen. Cringe or cheer.

Does this man have a freakin' clue of what he is proposing? Absolutely proposing to open the USA to attack from any and all quarters.

The McCain team should pay to have this aired nationally.

(Since Ace admits this needs wide exposure, I have no qualms about posting it here.)

Arctic find

A new/old ”sea monster” has been identified.

A fossilised "sea monster" unearthed on an Arctic island is the largest marine reptile known to science, Norwegian scientists have announced.

h/t Jungle Trader

Feeding at the public trough, Avian style

It's still snowing lightly outside as I type. Through yesterday, last night and into this morning we've received three to five inches of snow. With any luck it won't last much longer AND there will be enough to warrant using the snow thrower.

Looking out the window I can view flocks of birds creating an air traffic controller's nightmare as they zoom in and out to get at the feeder, while all the while squawking and screeching at one another like New York City cab drivers at a busy intersection. I have to believe I'm feeding every Redpoll and Evening Grosbeak in Tioga County. They gobbled up 4 quarts of thistle seed and 8 quarts of sunflower seeds yesterday alone.

Chester (the Fat Cat of the household) is sitting by the window cursing at the birds on the other side of the glass and twitching his tail in frustration. He spends more time at the windows than either of the other two, although both Shadow and Julie take an interest in the noisier swarms of birds.

More Global Cooling evidence

Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling

Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warming

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on.

You say but it’s just anecdotal reporting. Sure, but so was the photo of polar bears on ice floes, the melting of the Arctic ice—in summer, the melting of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro (due more to the change in the forest cover in the surrounding areas for agriculture than Global Warming), and the calving of icebergs from Antarctica from ice shelves that had extended (read grown) too far out to sea. And, lest we forget, the rise in temperature measured by thermometers located in parking lots and other urban settings where once they had been in rural or suburban areas.

The article contains links to other real data measurements and ends with a cautionary warning and a hope.

While the data doesn't itself disprove that carbon dioxide is acting to warm the planet, it does demonstrate clearly that more powerful factors are now cooling it.

Let's hope those factors stop fast. Cold is more damaging than heat. The mean temperature of the planet is about 54 degrees. Humans -- and most of the crops and animals we depend on -- prefer a temperature closer to 70.

Historically, the warm periods such as the Medieval Climate Optimum were beneficial for civilization. Corresponding cooling events such as the Little Ice Age, though, were uniformly bad news.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"A History Lesson"

Mostly Cajun has posted A History Lesson by Raymond S. Kraft that should be read by everyone.

Some excerpts:

The cost of not fighting and winning WW II would have been unimaginably greater - a world dominated by Japanese Imperialism and German Nazism.

The Iraq war has, so far, cost the United States about $160,000,000,000, which is roughly what the 9/11 terrorist attack cost New York. It has also cost about 3,000 American lives, which is roughly equivalent to lives that the Jihad killed (within the United States) in the 9/11 terrorist attack.

This is not a 60 Minutes TV show, or a two-hour movie in which everything comes out okay. The real world is not like that. It is messy, uncertain, and sometimes bloody and ugly. It always has been, and probably always will be.

The bottom line is that we will have to deal with Islamic terrorism until we defeat it, whenever that is. It will not go away if we ignore it.


The Iraq War is merely another battle in this ancient and never-ending war. Now, for the first time ever, the barbarians are about to get nuclear weapons . . . unless somebody prevents them from getting them.

We have four options:

1. We can defeat the Jihad now, before it gets nuclear weapons.

2. We can fight the Jihad later, after it gets nuclear weapons (which may be as early as next year, if Iran’s progress on nuclear weapons is what Iran claims it is).

3. We can surrender to the Jihad and accept its dominance in the Middle East now, in Europe in the next few years or decades, and ultimately in America.

4. Or, we can stand down now, and pick up the fight later when the Jihad is more widespread and better armed, perhaps after the Jihad has dominated France and Germany and possibly most of the rest of Europe. It will, of course, be more dangerous, more expensive, and much bloodier.

If you oppose this war, I hope you like the idea that your children, or grandchildren, may live in an Islamic America under the Mullahs and the Sharia, an America that resembles Iran today.

We have a choice ahead of us. Sitting down to talk with the militant Islamist faction will not work. They have told us it will not work and on this I believe them. The Jihadists want nothing less than the world at their feet.

Right now, they are focused in one place and they are losing. If we do not press this fight to the end, they may come off the ropes and be able to carry on. If we leave the ring while they are still standing, we will have a much more difficult time of picking them out from the crowd of innocents with which they will surround themselves.

Name that Party

(Don't mean to steal other people's themes, but this one seemed to be laying out there and I couldn't resist.)

From my former hometown newspaper we have this story:

Sharpe James is due in federal court

Being as this is a New Jersey paper and the city Mr. James was mayor of for five terms was Newark, the author probably didn’t feel it was necessary to mention his party affiliation. Care to guess?

(No I didn't live in Newark, The Daily Record is from Morris County.)


This has been around on a couple of different sites I visit so I thought I would give it a try.

"This is your true brain, the emotions that run your life!"

WTF? What are all the little faces with their tongues lolling out supposed to mean? And those around the perimeter with the shocked look on their faces?

Just tried it with my real first name and got the back half filled with guys in WWI helmets and cigars stuck in their mouths and a front have that looked worried as shit.


Did I mention that the Aerie is getting snowed on again?

After two days during which the temperature climbed above 40 degrees and much of last Friday's snowfall melted away, a system from out in the mid-west is moving through today and tonight to drop anywhere from 3 to 5 inches of snow on my little mountain retreat. The exact amount will depend upon just how high the temperature rises during the day. If it gets warm enough, we'll get some freezing rain instead of snow and that packs down more than the fluffy flakes.

That's okay though because the Bolt Hole, a little further to the northeast is going to get between 6 and 12 inches.

Terry headed to New Jersey yesterday to meet with some friends from SAGA and will be flying to Irving, CA for a SAGA Executive Board meeting on Wednesday. (Where the temps have been in the 60s--lucky girl.) That leaves me and three cats to deal with the snow and since they can't shovel worth shit (actually they do fine in the litter boxes but snow--HA!), I've strategically positioned the Tundra and Explorer in the driveway to minimize the distance I will have to move the snow if it comes to that. Or I could just wait for the weekend when the temperature is supposed to be back up to 40 degrees F.

Stating the obvious.

Ethanol from food crops has been shown to create more pollution and higher food prices as well as the destruction of wildlife habitats, the call for biodiesel fuels ahs sparked the destruction of rainforests to grow palm oil, and now this:
Plug-in cars could actually increase air pollution

That's because a plug-in's lower tailpipe emissions may be offset by smokestack emissions from the utility generating plants supplying electricity to recharge the big batteries that allow plug-ins to run up to 40 miles without kicking on their gasoline engines. Plug-ins, called PHEVs, are partly powered, in effect, by the fuel used to generate the electricity.

This is a look at the Emperor's new clothes (or lack there of) that was--or should have been--obvious from the start.

Ain’t nothing free in this world, baby, and the more we screw around with the natural systems looking for solutions that aren’t needed because nature takes care of her own in ways far more complex than we mere mortals are as yet able to understand, the more we are going to learn harsh lesson after harsh lesson.

Biodiesel, the great rainforest killer
Biodiesel - the most destructive project on Earth

Ethanol Demand Threatens Food Prices
Why Ethanol Production Will Drive World Food Prices Even Higher in 2008


3rd manmade Grand Canyon flood planned

PHOENIX - For the third time since 1996, officials plan to unleash a manmade flood in the Grand Canyon next month in an effort to restore an ecosystem that was altered by a dam constructed on the Colorado River decades ago.

When Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell were constructed it changed the flow of water through the Canyon. Waters released by the dam are usually from the bottom of Lake Powell, where temperatures are cooler. Silt and sediments are trapped by the still waters of Lake Powell and they do not flow down the Colorado into the Canyon. The Water flowing through the Canyon is, therefore, cooler and less muddy than it was before the Glen Canyon Dam was constructed.

So what, you ask. The water is clearer and cooler. Big deal.
Ah, but it is a big deal to the native species that grew up in that warm muddy water and depended upon the silt and sediment to provide nutrients and sand bars.

Without spring floods to flush the system and help rebuild beaches and fish habitat, native species suffered even as non-native fish thrived. The shift helped speed the extinction of four fish species and push two others, including the endangered humpback chub, near the edge.

Okay, you got that. Several species of fish have finned their way off this mortal coil because the dam has altered the ecosystem where they lived. (Apparently the Grand Canyon is the only place they lived.

What to do about those that are still threatened? Why, create a replica of the annual spring floods, of course. That ought to do the trick!

If approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior, next month's flood will scour and reshape miles of sandy banks on the floor of the Grand Canyon. The department's decision is expected this week.

If approved, flows in the Grand Canyon would increase to 41,000 cubic feet per second for nearly three days — four to five times the normal amount of water released from the Glen Canyon Dam. What scientists and environmentalists want to see is what will happen to the fish and the canyon when the gates close at dam and the staged flood recedes.

As the headline says, they’ve done this twice before starting in 1996. Huge amounts of water are released from Glen Canyon Dam. It scours the Canyon and reshapes the sand bars and beaches in the little nooks and crannies. No word of how the fish fare, Do they get flushed as well, like some belly up goldfish won at the local carnival?

Where’s all that “flushed” material go? Why to the next impoundment downstream, of course. That would be Lake Mead. You know, the major electrical for Las Vegas and water source for half of the southwest. No mention of the troublesome sedimentation filling Lake Mead, however.

According to an article in the Goat, a High Country News blog:
Lake Powell, on the Arizona-Utah border, was created to benefit Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Three hundred miles away, on the Arizona-Nevada border, Lake Mead stores Colorado River water for Arizona, California and Nevada

So water will be pulled from one groups supply and dumped (along with lots of mud and other rubbish) into the holding tank of another group. Doesn’t sound so bad, especially when BOTH reservoirs are only at about half their capacity do to 1) drought and 2) over use. (The former problem may be alleviated slightly this spring when all that snow in the Rockies melts. See: Wet Snowpack Holding for Now from February 22, 2008 for an idea of what the problem might be come April and early May—Hint: it won’t be drought. “…over a wide area of the Rocky Mountains. Statewide, the snowpack is 132 percent of normal, with the highest levels recorded across the southern half.”)

Hopefully, the current snowpack will be absorbed by both the reserve capacities of the manmade lakes all up and down the western rivers and the thirsty soils of the agricultural areas. Otherwise, we’ll be reading about gargantuan flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers—again. (Who am I kidding? There will be flooding as there is every spring whether the snowpack is above or below average. With some luck, however, the melt may be a long, slow event and there won’t be the serious flooding that occurs from a rapid warm spell.)

See The Future Is Drying Up, published in the NY Times last October 21, 2007, for an interesting look at the usage of and claims upon the water supply in the American southwest.
Also from the NY Times of December 10, 2007: Western States Agree to Water-Sharing Pact

Monday, February 25, 2008

Do I feel a chill in the air?

Lorne Gunter of The National Post up north in Canada writes: Welcome to the new Ice Age

As Don Surber of the Charleston Daily Mail (West by God Virginia) points out, “Now Gunter writes for the National Post and Canadians are not exactly known for their opposition to global warming. When you live in a land where people store their adult beverages in a beer fridge to keep the beer from getting too cold in the outdoors, you tend to consider global warming differently than say those who live in Hollywood.”

I figure if there’s one thing a Canadian should know about (or is that “aboot”) it’s ice…and snow, too, eh?

From Gunter’s article:

it's not just anecdotal evidence [he's talking about the freakin' huge amounts of snow that have fallen all around the Northern Hemisphere this winter--even in the not so far northern parts] that is piling up against the climate-change dogma.

According to Robert Toggweiler of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University and Joellen Russell, assistant professor of biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona -- two prominent climate modellers -- the computer models that show polar ice-melt cooling the oceans, stopping the circulation of warm equatorial water to northern latitudes and triggering another Ice Age (a la the movie The Day After Tomorrow) are all wrong.

"We missed what was right in front of our eyes," says Prof. Russell. It's not ice melt but rather wind circulation that drives ocean currents northward from the tropics. Climate models until now have not properly accounted for the wind's effects on ocean circulation, so researchers have compensated by over-emphasizing the role of manmade warming on polar ice melt.

To recap: the models used by the IPCC did NOT take into account the wind pattern shifts in the atmosphere. Winds that are known to drive ocean currents and waves—and, as a result OVER-EMPHASIZED “the role of manmade warming on polar ice melt.” I so totally blame the Polar Bears for this.

But when Profs. Toggweiler and Russell rejigged their model to include the 40-year cycle of winds away from the equator (then back towards it again), the role of ocean currents bringing warm southern waters to the north was obvious in the current Arctic warming.


Manmade actions were over-emphasized in the Nobel Prize winning report because no one accounted for the wind. Additionally, a shift in the wind patterns (that had not been considered in any of the previous models) can cause the warmer waters of the ocean to be pushed northward and thereby melt the ice. (It’s a cause-and-affect thing which they just happen to have had bass-ackwards all this time.) (BTW the ice is back to its former extents and at even greater thicknesses in many places. Go figure.)

Oh, and that melted ice then cools the North Atlantic while also leaving the Arctic open for evaporation resulting in more snowfall around the Arctic Circle. That produces Ice Ages.


Last month, Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, shrugged off manmade climate change as "a drop in the bucket." Showing that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin advised people to "stock up on fur coats."

He is not alone. Kenneth Tapping of our own National Research Council, who oversees a giant radio telescope focused on the sun, is convinced we are in for a long period of severely cold weather if sunspot activity does not pick up soon.

The Sun has conspired against us. It has gone to sleep (or at least is resting with its eyes closed) and reduced the solar output as witnessed by the lack of sun-spot and solar magnetic activity at the surface.

The last time the sun was this inactive, Earth suffered the Little Ice Age that lasted about five centuries and ended in 1850. Crops failed through killer frosts and drought. Famine, plague and war were widespread. Harbours froze, so did rivers, and trade ceased.

It's way too early to claim the same is about to happen again, but then it's way too early for the hysteria of the global warmers, too.

Like I said, though, if there’s anything a Canadian should know about, it’s ice.

I expect you’ll be able to turn off your air conditioner this summer. And don’t forget to bundle up for those mid to late September baseball games. I expect that the last games of the year in Milwaukee could be a lot like the Giants-Packers playoff game in January—you know, 6 below F.

Ah, I love the smell of "consensus" being roasted. Just remember that the terms "consensus" and "science" linked together are terribly unscientific.

What if...

Some thoughts on The Coming of a New Ice Age

Contrary to the conventional wisdom of the day, the real danger facing humanity is not global warming, but more likely the coming of a new Ice Age.

h/t Maggie’s Farm

New addition: Jungle Trader

I’ve just added Jungle Trader to my sidebar over there on the right. It’s a fascinating place to browse with links to interesting stories from around the world about various animals, people, places and things.

A quick glance this hour produced stories about Antarctic Krill, Viking fashion, South African elephants, mobs in India attacking murder suspects (and in Nigeria killing a pistol packing would-be robber using sticks and stones), and lots, lots more.

Once you get there, you could spend hours just clicking through the links to the rest of the story each blurb provided promises to be entertaining.

My Thoughts: Part III
The Republicans

February is drawing to a close and we are locked in a never ending presidential campaign the likes of which I don’t recall in my 58 years on this earth. I’ve spend the better part of this campaign cycle reading blogs rather than watching the endless debates and I’ve gathered some thought of my own. This is a little lengthy so I’m breaking it into three parts.

Part III ( Part I, Part II )

John McCain looks to have the Republican nomination sewn up, and while I would have preferred Fred Thompson, he’ll be getting my vote. Surprisingly, I think he’ll also be getting Terry’s. I say surprisingly because we usually cancel one another out. She’s usually far more liberal than I am and, except for local positions (town and county level), we often disagree.

Now, McCain’s done some dumb things in the years he’s been in the Senate. The Keating 5 thing comes to mind as does his working with Ted Kennedy on Amnesty, excuse me, Comprehensive Immigration Reform last spring. Then there’s that little McCain-Feingold law that’s come up to bite him in the ass. (I wonder if he has second thought on that one!) He’s got some baggage but compared to Hillary, it’s strictly carry-on. He knows the military. He knows how the government works and, hopefully, what it can and can’t do. He’s come to realize the tax cuts were good and that earmarks and pork are really, really bad. Hopefully he’s also learned that people (real citizens) want a fence and active enforcement of the laws to combat illegal immigrants. At least he’s beginning to mouth some of the words to the tune. Now if he’d just pick up on the rest of the lyrics…. He’ll need a running mate who’s strong on the economic issues as well as immigration to back him up, however.

Huckabee is doing neither himself nor the Republican Party any good at this juncture. His continued presence on the campaign trail serves no purpose. He’s not politically conservative enough to appease or draw much attention at all from the Conservatives (capital “C”) within the party. He is just no longer a viable candidate.

My Thoughts: Part II
Barack Obama

February is drawing to a close and we are locked in a never ending presidential campaign the likes of which I don’t recall in my 58 years on this earth. I’ve spend the better part of this campaign cycle reading blogs rather than watching the endless debates and I’ve gathered some thought of my own. This is a little lengthy so I’m breaking it into three parts.

Part II ( Part I, Part III )

Barack Obama, to date, is a cipher wrapped in an enigma. He is the man from nowhere who has burst upon the scenes with—if you believe the main stream media—no past. From what I’ve read of his speeches and debate responses, he must have surged to the forefront on the basis of smoke, mirrors and his voice. The written content of his speeches reveals nothing but “hope” and “change” to be his platform. When he does put something more concrete on the table it is either remarkably similar to Hillary’s Universal Health Care or so damn frightening that it is never mentioned by the MSM. (Have you looked at his proposal to turn US sovereignty over to the UN? It’s a little something called the Global Poverty Act. The title seems innocuous enough, but when you get to the meat of the document it turns you over to Millennium Development Goals which are described in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, General Assembly Resolution 55/2 (2000) and that Declaration is anything but harmless to US sovereignty.

As I read somewhere today, one’s a Marxist and the other a Trotskyite. (Or something like that.) Neither Clinton nor Obama bodes well for The USA. Yet the media has let them slide, they've not examined either's background or ideas with any depth at all. I haven’t heard of one really tough question being tossed to either of them.

In any event, it will be quite interesting to see what happens on the convention floor. The Democrats have established primary rules that are so fuzzy and non-binding that just about anything can and probably will happen. The first clue that the Clinton magic is at work will be if the Florida and Michigan delegates get seated. If a back room deal is struck to permit that after both states broke the Democrat's own rules on when they could/should hold their primaries and after all the candidates promised to remove their names from the ballots and/or not campaign in them (rules and agreements Hillary Clinton clearly broke), all hell will break loose.

My Thoughts: Part I
Hillary Clinton

February is drawing to a close and we are locked in a never ending presidential campaign the likes of which I don’t recall in my 58 years on this earth. I’ve spend the better part of this campaign cycle reading blogs rather than watching the endless debates and I’ve gathered some thought of my own. This is a little lengthy so I’m breaking it into three parts.

Part I ( Part II, Part III )

Regarding the Democrats, I really don’t give a fig which one wins the primaries and emerges from the party convention at the top of the ballot. Neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama will get my vote come November.

Hillary is a carpetbagger who carries more baggage than the box car of an Amtrak train full of snowbirds from Chicago to Orlando. Her years in Arkansas where she logged hours with the Rose Law firm and dabbled in deals from Whitewater to cattle futures while deflecting charges from women wronged by philandering Slick Willy would, by themselves sour me on her ever setting up camp in the Oval Office. Throw in the way she behaved as First Lady—obstructing the inquiries into the Rose Law activities on behalf of the Whitewater crew, Travelgate, continuing to deflect charges by women wronged by Bill, and generally collecting public property (the White House furnishings) as her own—and you’ve got a few more reasons. Then we have what she did to obtain a seat in the Senate…. Just what are those residency requirements again? When it was obvious that she could never be elected to dog catcher in Arkansas it was just oh so easy for her to slip into New York and win on the balance of a few heavily populated and Democratically controlled cities. How convenient for her that Rudy Guliani had that little cancer problem and had to pull out of the running. Would she have won if he hadn’t? And exactly what has she done for her New York constituency in the eight years of her reign? Then we have the fund raising fiascoes such as Hsu. And the poor, poor choice of personnel to organize her inevitable march to victory. Ready to lead on day one? Ha!

All that aside, her positions on Universal Health Care, higher taxes, control, control, control, just turn me off. As I read about her conversion to Marxism in college, I shudder for I see not one hint that she has turned away from those teachings. Hell, she probably wears a Che t-shirt under her blouse. She not only wishes to be Commander In Chief, she wants to be Nanny One.

And do we really want Bill to have the run of the White House again? Pity the poor interns.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Perhaps he just wanted a burger to go.

`Stolen truck' taken by dog in Calif.

Police said Charles McCowan parked his pickup in front of a mini-mart Wednesday, leaving his 80-pound Boxer named Max in the passenger seat. When he came out, the truck and Max were gone.

McCowan called police, assuming the truck had been stolen. When officers arrived, they found the pickup across the street in a fast-food parking lot but had no idea how it got there.

In security video shown Thursday on KCAL-TV, the truck can be seen rolling backward out of the store lot and across the street, threading its way through traffic and out of view.

A few BIG men wanted by the Marlins

This is just too much! I couldn’t stop laughing as I read the article.

Baseball team looking for a few fat men

MIAMI - The Florida Marlins are looking for some footloose fat men. The National League team is creating an all-male, plus-size cheerleading squad to be dubbed the Manatees.

HA! I can see them in manatee costumes doing their thing! But the Marlins better not take them to Milwaukee. Those sausage guys would really have a reason to run then!

Real manatees, 1,200-pound mammals sometimes referred to as "sea cows," are not considered the most agile of creatures and often get caught in boat propellers.

The Marlins want their Manatees to have the same dimensions, but to be decidedly more agile. Men will be judged on how well they dance a choreographed routine.

“dance a choreographed routine” What the heck is the point?

Ya mean like this?

Anyway, the tryouts were today so I missed out on being a star. :-(

Saturday, February 23, 2008


We had a very light 3-5 inch snowfall here at the Aerie from very early Friday morning until after sundown Friday evening. So light and thin was the snow in most of the driveway that I could not use my snow thrower to remove it. That means I had to clear the drive the old fashioned way, with a shove.

It took me the better part of two hours to get the task done even with Terry’s help in clearing the area around the front door and the two vehicles parked outside. I was pleased to see that the stuff the plow left at the end of the driveway was almost as fluffy as the stuff that drifted up on the drive itself. At least I didn’t have to chip and hack away at it until I came up with blocks that could be used to build igloos as I have had to do in previous snows.

I’ve lost track of just how many of these little, piss-ant snows we’ve had this winter, but I know there have been quite a few. I can only recall one snowfall of more than six inches. I’d much rather have a foot or more and then nothing than this near semi-weekly 3-4 inch snow. At least with the deeper snow, I can make effective use of the snow thrower. When we get only a few inches on the gravel driveway it hardly pays to get the thrower out. To clear the stones that stick up in the drive, I’ve got to have the skids set up on the thrower to allow maximum clearance—which is about an inch—even then, I’m hurling stones through the machine.

Oh well, everything looks lovely for the next few days. Then we’ll probably get some rain to melt it all away into mud. That will be followed by yet another snow “storm” that will drop a few inches.

Damn, I wish Spring would get here!

(Almost forgot. Mark says there's been 16 inches and more of snow at the Bolt Hole since I left on Tuesday.)

But the RU Gals are doing great!

Rutgers R.small

The RU women are a completely different story. This afternoon they defeated Providence 62-43 on the road. The victory was the 799th in Coach Vivian Stringer’s career. One more and she will become only the third women’s basketball coach to register 800 wins. (Tennessee's Pat Summit and former Texas coach Jody Conradt are the others.)

(The full story and box score are here.)

Overall, the women are 22-4 and 11-1 in the Big East. They are currently ranked No. 4/5 in the Coaches and AP polls. They have three regular season games remaining before the start of the Big East Championships. First up is DePaul on Wednesday night at the RAC. Then it’s Syracuse, also at the RAC on Saturday afternoon. Then there’s a big one on the road against current AP No. 1 Connecticut on Monday, March 3rd. That’s when the Madness begins in earnest.

Hoo-boy! It's been a bad year

Rutgers R.small

You may have noticed a decided lack in reporting on the Rutgers’ Men’s Basketball season. There’s a good reason for that: it’s been quite painful. At one point in the season, the Rutgers’ Men’s Basketball team was 8-5; then they started Big East play. In 2008, the Scarlet Knights have managed just 2 victories (Villanova and Pittsburgh) while dropping 13. Several of the losses were in close contests, but far too many were in blowouts like the one against Marquette this afternoon. Playing in Milwaukee, Rutgers shot over 50% from the floor in the first half and still trailed 35-29 at intermission. They managed just three (3) field goals in the entire second half. The final score: 78-48.

(The full story and box score are here.)

Youth and inexperience have plagued the Scarlet Knights all season. Luckily, they have just three games remaining i a season they would rather forget. Being at the bottom of the Big East they are not going to have any sort of extended season. Let’s hope that everyone on the squad learns something from this season.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


The clouds were swept from the sky just after sunset last evening and as a result the view of the Lunar Eclipse was grand!

We attended a meeting of the Tiadaghton Audubon Society last night in Wellsboro and got out just as the lower left corner of the Moon began to disappear into the penumbra. By the time we got home nearly half the Moon's disk was darkened. Shortly after 10 PM totality was achieved and I tried to take some pictures with my point-and-shoot digital. (No luck with the pix. Not enough magnification even with full digital zoom.)

The rusty red of the Moon lasted longer than we did. Old fuddy-duddy's that we are, we turned in at 10:30 only to be awakened by a super bright white Moon shining through the window around 3 AM.

The Moon was still shinning brightly when I got up at 6 AM to feed the cats and start the day.

Great eclipse!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


It looks like Mother Nature is not going to cooperate with the Lunar Eclipse this evening. I've been watching the cloud cover get progressively thicker and thicker all afternoon. Currently it covers 100% of the sky and is thick enough to hide even the sun's disk. Unless there's some quick changes, it looks like I'll have to wait until 2010 to see the next one.

Meanwhile, because of the cloud cover, the temperature never got above 22 degrees F and there is a forecast of anywhere from 3-6 inches or 6-10 inches (we're right on the border between the two) of snow from Thursday evening through Friday. Damn! But this is getting repetitive and boring!

April 13, 1968

It was spring semester of my freshman year at Rutgers University. Easter weekend rolled around and everybody on my dormitory floor headed home except for me and one other fella. I don’t recall why we were still there but Saturday night’s entertainment proved as good as any party. A total eclipse of the moon (also called an Umbral Eclipse) occurred Saturday night and we had ringside seats. We sat in the lounge of our dorm before a huge sheet of window glass that faced southeast and watched as the full moon rose in the clear sky and then slid into the shadow of the earth.

Armed with a pair of binoculars and a spotting scope we could see each feature of the moon darken as the shadow of the earth was cast upon the surface. (The binoculars proved better for viewing since the moon was in constant motion and the scope required constant adjustment to keep it in the field of view. With the binocs you could more easily adjust.) First the penumbra, the partial shadow of the earth, and then the umbra, the total shadow, glided across the surface. The moon went from being bright white to being a rusty red.

It took over an hour, but once the moon was red we got the munchies and headed out to one of the ubiquitous grease trucks parked over by the old gym for refreshment. Walking beneath the reddish light cast by the shrouded moon was eerie.

After making our purchase, we walked back to the dorm as the moon began o emerge from the shadows. First out of the umbra and then out of the penumbra.

From beginning to end took over three hours and everything was visible that night. The clear, cloudless skies that night were perfect for viewing the eclipse. In the years since, I’ve never been at the right time or place, nor had the cooperation of Mother Nature I experienced that evening forty years ago. (Jeez! Has it been that long?)

I’m hoping for another chance this tonight, but the clouds may obscure all or part of the show.

Lunar Eclipse Types (and Dates)

February 20, 2008 Lunar Eclipse

A Leap Year Red Moon Lunar Eclipse Tonight

Back to the Aerie

I left the Bolt Hole yesterday around noon and drove back to the Aerie amidst several snow squalls that marked the edge of a massive cold air mass sweeping in from the west.

After a crystal clear night during which a near full moon shone brightly, we have a low temperature this morning of just 7.5 degrees F at 7 AM. Checking the weather underground station nearest the Bolt Hole, it was about two or three degrees colder at the cabin.

Tonight's total eclipse of the moon should be a spectacular sight if the clouds permit. The current forecast is for patchy clouds with a 20% chance of some snow flurries between 9 PM and 3 AM.

If you've never taken the time to watch a Lunar eclipse, do so. It's a long drawn out affair as the Moon passes into the shadow cast by the Earth and then emerges again. because of the bending of the Sun's rays as they pass around the Earth, the Moon will never go totally dark but it will change color becoming quite red. (Red light, having longer wave lengths, is bent more as it passes through the Earth's atmosphere.) The view is well worth the time.

The shape of the Earth's shadow cast upon the Moon is one of the pieces of evidence that allowed early man to realize that we live on a sphere--something that was well known before Columbus ever set sail, despite what some "history books" try and tell us.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bolt Hole Weather, Feb. 18

Remember that snow on the trees in the pictures I posted yesterday? Fuhgit aboud it.

It rained all afternoon and through the night. It's still raining now. It also warmed considerably thanks to the south winds. Yesterday it was 0 degrees at 7 AM today it was 40 degrees.

Snow on the barn roof is gone. Most of the snow on the cabin roof and the garage roof is gone. Water is pouring off both like there was a hidden spring somewhere near the peak.

The grass is even peeking through where I used the snow thrower although the layer of ice that formed the base is stubborn in some areas.

As long as this wind stays out of the south and the rain continues there will be melting. That's good for me up here on the hill but not so good for the folks along the creeks and rivers. Ice dams and flooding are sure to occur.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Winter wonderland... least for a little while.

Here’s a peek at what I found when I travelled to the Bolt Hole. There’s 2-3 feet of snow on the ground with the higher amounts in the shaded woods. In the lawn area it’s been compacted by the sun and rains of the last week or so and as a result there’s two feet of dense snow with just the top six inches of powder. That’s likely to change this afternoon as the winds out of the south will bring warmer temperatures and significant rains that will cause more compaction. There are warnings up for potential flooding due to the combination rain and melt water.
Here’s the Bolt Hole after I’ve cleared the snow from the “driveway” and backed the Tundra up to the door.
100_0005 Bolt Hole
The firs at the entrance to the yard look pretty with their pointy shape and coating of snow.
100_0007 Firs with snow
Even the normally ugly and totally worthless (unless you’re a red squirrel who eats pine cones) “scotch” pines look better with a coating of snow. Although, they do tend to suffer broken branches more than the firs, white pines and even the blue spruces I’ve got surrounding the yard.
100_0004 Pine

I’ve managed to shovel the snow and ice off the woodshed attached to the north side of the cabin, but upon advice from Mark, left the snow on the garage. With the rains and warm temperatures predicted for this week that snow may go slip sliding away on its own.

I’d strap on the snowshoes and go for a walk, but the rain is supposed to start any time now and I’d rather stay inside where I can stay dry. It’ll be an afternoon for a book and a warm, dry seat beside the wood burner.

Bolt Hole Weather

It was 0 degrees on the thermometer under a crystal clear sky when I went to bed at 10 PM last night. I was ready to say the thing was busted until I checked the nearest weather underground station (it's about 10 miles west of the Bolt Hole and at a lower elevation) and they recorded about 5 degrees at midnight. i usually record about 5 degrees lower than they do so apparently it did get down to 0 degrees F.

Today it's supposed to get up into the 30s with rain showers this afternoon and evening. I better get the snow off the roofs before it becomes sodden and heavier than lead.

But first I need another cup of coffee.

Just asking...

So, I'm at the Bolt Hole where I'm using dial-up service. Since I have only one phone line, the computer is disconnected when I'm not actually online and the phone is plugged back into the jack in the wall.

Last night I checked for messages around 9 PM and then unplugged the computer when I was through.

This morning, when I woke the computer from it's slumber I got a message saying Windows had installed new software updates during the night and when I clicked for information, sure enough, the date stamp on the installation was after midnight as it bears today's date.

I'm running Vista on a Toshiba Satellite. What I want to know is how the hell it was able to download and install the updates while the computer had no access to the internet?

Forget FISA, put Microsoft in charge of tracking terrorists. Apparently they can do miracles. (Oh, wait, Bill Gates would then be the first to see all this information...Forget about it. Reminds me of the portrayal of Ma Bell in Our Man Flint.)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

At the Bolt Hole

So, I traveled the 240 miles from the Aerie to the Bolt Hole this morning without incident. For most of the ride the worst I had to contend with were wet pavement surfaces and the drivers around me. Only in the Syracuse area was there any falling snow. Which makes sense since Syracuse is one of the snowiest cities in the USA. being on the southern tip of Onondaga Lake. means they get some snow almost every day from mid-December until April and sometimes beyond.

When I arrived at the Bolt Hole I had to park out on the road. There was a foot of snow in the area that had been cleared previously and no way was I going to be able to drive right up to the door of the cabin. I slogged through the snow to put the groceries away and build a fire in the main stove to warm the place up. I also opened the drapes to let the sun shine through the glass for added warmth. (The temperature was a very sunny 20 degrees F outside, although tonight it may drop to 10.) Then it was out to the garage to fire up the snow thrower.

It took a little doing to get it going but once it started it ran like a charm. For about four hours I cleared my driveway and then went across the street to clear Mark's for him. (He doesn't plan to come up this weekend but I thought I'd clear his drive so when the warm rains come Monday there's a chance it might actually do some god instead of just packing down the snow that's there.) When I finished I gave the thrower a nice big kiss and cleaned as much of the accumulated ice off its surface as I could. If it's sunny tomorrow, I'll open the garage door and let it bask in glory.

I've about 10-12 inches of snow on the roof of the garage and will try to get up there tomorrow to clear that off before it becomes a layer of dense, heavy ice. The same for the roof of the woodshed that's attached to the cabin. If I can clear them, then there's less likelihood of the weight growing sufficiently to cause any collapse.

If I get the chance I'll take some pictures tomorrow and post them. One thing I will say, it looks like a Currier and Ives post card outside. The wind hasn't knocked the snow off the pines or even off the branches of the deciduous trees so there's a layer of white on every horizontal surface. (The only problem with posting pictures is the download time to Flickr is gargantuan when using dial-up.)

Heading north

I'll be hitting the road to the Bolt Hole in just a few minutes. It's going to take me all morning to drive there and, I suspect, much of the afternoon to clear the driveway and get the cabin warm.

I'll be back on line (dial-up service only) later this evening and I'll let you know what I find. (I expect there will be lots and lots of snow on the ground and on the roof, but we'll see.)

I'll spend the next couple of days shoveling snow off roofs and using the snow thrower to clear my driveway and Mark's. I hope to get it done before there's any more freezing rain. That stuff just packs the snow into ice cubes and the thrower can't chunk it up too well.

Obama lip-syncs the lyrics

Bob Owens compares Barack Obama to Milli Vanilli for Pajamas Media.

He’s mouthing the words folks want to hear and soaring on the charts but there’s little more substance than a pretty face and smooth talk. Certainly nothing new.

Friday, February 15, 2008


From Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit )
MORE DISSING OF HILLARY: "'At a minimum, a head of state should have a head,' Putin said." She's just losing one superdelegate after another . . . .

"Angry White Man"

Gary Hubbell had an interesting opinion piece in the Aspen Times Weekly a few days ago that is well worth reading: In election 2008, don’t forget Angry White Man

Not to nitpick, but I believe Mr. Hubbell has narrowed the field too much for the purpose of a captivating, eye-catching title. There are more than "white men" involved here is technically wrong on two counts:

1- He limits the anger to Men. There are many women out there who own businesses and have succeeded on talent and intelligence. They look at the deals Hillary has made in the past (Whitewater, cattle futures) and shake their heads. They look at the way she aided and abetted her husband's sexual proclivities and shake their fists. They refuse to be victims and take a strong, active role in business and in life.

2- He limits the perceived anger to Whites. Those who would like to see government get the hell out of the way since it clearly can not or will not lead aren’t just white, either. Which African-Americans are most directly impacted by the illegal immigrant set that keeps wages and benefits artificially low in entry level positions. The African-American has also been handed a bill of goods that says “you aren’t good enough” (that’s what “affirmative” action does) for years and many have begun to recognize this for so much hogwash. They refuse to be victims anymore and, as per Dr. King’s Dream, wish to be judged by their abilities.

That said, I really smiled when I read the last three paragraphs:

He also votes, and the Angry White Man loathes Hillary Clinton. Her voice reminds him of a shovel scraping a rock. He recoils at the mere sight of her on television. Her very image disgusts him, and he cannot fathom why anyone would want her as their leader. It’s not that she is a woman. It’s that she is who she is. It’s the liberal victim groups she panders to, the “poor me” attitude that she represents, her inability to give a straight answer to an honest question, his tax dollars that she wants to give to people who refuse to do anything for themselves.

There are many millions of Angry White Men. Four million Angry White Men are members of the National Rifle Association, and all of them will vote against Hillary Clinton, just as the great majority of them voted for George Bush.

He hopes that she will be the Democratic nominee for president in 2008, and he will make sure that she gets beaten like a drum.

True, so true. Nor do we need an empty suit full of glorious verbiage and eloquent speech (but damn little substance) just because he is half black.

h/t Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit

Common sense energy plan

This makes so much sense that it will never get through congress.

Ross bill calls for energy 'independence' on back of oil drilling

A plan introduced Thursday by U.S. Rep. Mike Ross to encourage alternative and renewable energy relies on oil drilling in Arctic wildlife lands and the Gulf of Mexico to meet its goals.

Ross' bill, the "American-Made Energy Act of 2008," also would create tax credits to build new nuclear power plants throughout the United States, with an aim of having 40 percent of the nation's power come from nuclear sources.

Drill for oil on our own shores, build non-CO2 producing nuclear power plants, distance the US from dependence upon foreign energy sources…it all makes great sense. But you know that the environmental weenies will stall every aspect of this plan, will lobby and rail against it as “raping the earth,” and will likely win against a bunch of spineless politicians who see the money (and the votes) raised by the Birkenstock crowd as more important the health and safety of the USA.

"We're not just trying to suck the oil out of the ground for no reason," said Ross, D-Ark. We're trying "to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and take the revenue from the sale of that oil and invest in all of these environmentally friendly and job-creating emerging technologies."

Even as a source of funding for alternative energy sources (and that’s what nuclear power is) drilling along the Florida coast and in places people never go to—and on only a tiny little fraction of ANWAR, at that—will be a difficult sell.

Ross said the drilling in the Arctic and off the Florida coast called for in his bill would raise about $80 billion over 30 years. He said that money would be "more than enough" to fund efforts to expand tax credits to fight global warming, encourage renewable energy operations and help consumers buy plug-in electric and flex-fuel cars.

Ross said the bill's tax credits for nuclear power plants would help wean the U.S. off of fossil fuels as well, though his bill includes subsidies to encourage liquid fuel production of coal. He said that could encourage further exploration of Arkansas' own coal reserves, bringing more jobs and industry to the state.

However, Ross acknowledged encouraging nuclear power and drilling in the Arctic might be a tough sale to Congress.

And that last sentence is just plain sad. Our political class—our leaders on virtually all levels from town council to the president—has lost its vision, its innovative get up and go, for the ability of Americans to achieve anything when presented with a challenge. Instead members of the political class have aligned themselves with those who build obstacles against achievement. As a result problems that are identified are seldom if ever solved but are allowed to ferment until a crisis arises and then either a patch of little or no significance is applied or a particular practice is banned outright.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Some positive thoughts on Global Warming

Global Warming Song by two guys in Minnesota who, apparently, like the idea.

(I'm pretty sure I found this over at Maggie's Farm.)

Sombody read this before you vote!

After a lack luster start to his Senate career, Barack Obama now has a bill heading out of committee that gives a true picture of what he has in mind for America—what he plans to change, if you will. (Apparently, the House passed this POS without knowing much about it. The Democrats rushed it through before it cot a thorough hearing and the same is being attempted in the Senate.)

Barack Obama's Global Tax Proposal Up for Senate Vote

The bill [(S.2433)], which has the support of many liberal religious groups, makes levels of U.S. foreign aid spending subservient to the dictates of the United Nations.

He wants the US to simply hand over its (our) money to the United Nations so they of the Oil For Food, rape brigade can see that it gets spent wisely to do…well, just about everything except cure the common cold. (As we’ll see a little later.)

“How much money are we talking about?” you ask.

The legislation would commit the U.S. to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid, which amounts to a phenomenal 13-year total of $845 billion over and above what the U.S. already spends.

That’s a whole lot of moolah to be throwing at the Ivory Tower crowd. (Not that their goals aren’t Ivory Tower stuff, for they definitely are. No, the crowd at the UN wants to LIVE in the Ivory Tower with gold faucets on every sink, marble floors, etc. And they want to do it on your and my dime.)

Where’s the money coming from?

And the only way to raise that kind of money, Sachs has written, is through a global tax, preferably on carbon-emitting fossil fuels.

Well now, that will certainly go a long way to keeping the cost of gasoline(used in transporting almost every single item you buy) and home heating fuel down.

But wait! There’s more.

In addition to seeking to eradicate poverty, that declaration commits nations to banning “small arms and light weapons” and ratifying a series of treaties, including the International Criminal Court Treaty, the Kyoto Protocol (global warming treaty), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Mighty lofty goals. And each and every one of them requires we, the USA, forfeit our sovereignty.

We must submit to an International Criminal Court. And I’m sure that court would have just the right mix of sitting judges to find every fault it could with…oh, say our First Amendment. Try criticizing one of the mullahs in print and you’ll get hauled before the International Criminal Court. Try to prevent a barbaric dictator from performing genocide? It’s the International Court for you!

Like to hunt or shoot or just defend yourself as per the Second Amendment? Forget about it. The UN wants to ban all small arms so that .30-.30 deer rifle will have to get melted down. Let’s not even talk about your 9mm Glock.

Kyoto Treaty. You know, the one that says we can’t “pollute” but it’s just fine for India and China to keep right on building a coal fired generation station each week. Hey, if it means our economy goes in the tank, it’s okay. After all we wouldn’t want the oceans to rise a couple of centimeters because of us. Oh, and ignore all the snow and ice and the fact the global temperatures have been stable for a decade.

I confess, I’m not up on the Convention on Biological Diversity, but it sounds like a noble cause. I’m sure it means we can’t kill anything any time anywhere…not even for food…cause it would reduce the diversity of living things on planet Earth. Or something like that.

Now those last two really are noble causes: the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. I think we should get right to it. Just as soon as China stops putting the kids to work, the Islamic states recognize that women are intelligent beings and should be afforded an education, as soon as the Islamists stop all “honor” killings, forced marriages, forced female circumcisions, using women and children as human bombs.

Meanwhile, I think I preferred the Barack Obama who did nothing in the Senate except vote present. (When he voted at all, that is. Both he and Hillary seem to have missed the vote on water boarding as torture today. You’ll have to go to page 2 to find that information, however. For some reason, the Washington Post didn’t think that was important.)

I like the US just fine the way it is, thank you, and see no reason to become part of a world government in the way Senator Obama apparently would like. Our Constitution has served us well for over 20 years now and if we can keep the socialists from creating the state they want (nanny and huge, very huge) it might keep us going for a long, long time.


We had a little excitement here at the Aerie this morning. After clearing the snow from the driveway, Terry went down to the post office for the mail. While she was gone, I stepped out on the deck for some air and saw smoke rising from behind one of the houses a short distance down in the valley. I didn’t think much of it assuming someone was either burning trash or they had a smoky fire in the fireplace. Then I heard the fire sirens sound.

When Terry returned, I was emptying the cat litter when she called to look down the hill. The damn house was on fire! There were a couple of pick-ups in the yard but no fire trucks yet. And the house was pretty well engulfed in flames. The fire trucks eventually showed up but by then there wasn’t a whole lot they could do.


From the time I saw the smoke and heard the sirens to the time the fire trucks pulled up was only about 20 minutes. Not a bad response time for a volunteer organization but way too much time to save the structure. They did pour water on it in what I assume was an attempt to save enough for an investigator to determine the cause of the blaze but that’s about all they could do.

As I write this, about an hour and a half after the first flames were spotted, there are two fire trucks still at the scene and the building is a steaming pile of debris. One or two of the first floor walls are standing but nothing else.

This was an older stick-built structure and it must have been tinder dry. It was really amazing to see how quickly the building was engulfed. I hope and pray that there was no one trapped inside. From watching the actions of the firemen I assume it was a simple structural fire. They certainly were not acting like there might be a threat to human life. I expect we'll learn more when we check the news and/or go for the mail tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How much would a President Obama cost?

“If Obama Could Enact All Of His Campaign Proposals, Taxpayers Would Be Faced With Financing Over $850 Billion In New Spending Over One White House Term:”

The Obama Spend-O-Meter

Glenn Reynolds says: “That this has appeared is itself a bad sign for Hilary.”
I looked, there’s no such Spend-O-Meter for any of Hillary’s plans. Wonder what that means? Mmmm.

Seen first via Instapundit.

View of the future?

Is this what we have to look forward to?

The discussion between the piece’s author—manny—and a business man of his acquaintance is with regards to some of the silly season being currently unleashed in Australia with the installation of the left into the seats of power. It specifically relates to the “apology” offered by current Prime Minister Rudd to the Aboriginal people for the “stolen generation.” An apology that is being hotly debated downunder, to say the least. (See Stolen farce #2 - Stealing your own children for an example of what’s going on.)

John Howard - Australia's John Galt

He remarked that today's affairs have made a fallacy of the argument that the Howard government had offered very little in terms of bold policy platforms or reform and that therefore its November 2007 defeat was long overdue. Howard was very much Australia's John Galt: it was against his shoulders that movement leftists railed and to which he yielded not an inch. Howard's removal he argued unravelled that Newtonian relationship, foisting insane ideas, held back for 11 years by Howard, straight into the most vulnerable demographic - our children. Almost from swearing in of the new government, the leeching and corrupting the youth has recommenced.
[Emphasis added.]

For nearly eight years, the Democrats have railed against Bush much in the same way the Aussie left castigated Howard. BDS has run rampant through the American left, probably doing more damage than any Bird Flu might have done. Now we face the prospect of either Hillary (looking more unlikely every primary that goes by) or Obama in the White House with a Democrat House and Senate for support. Are we likely to see the crazy ideas rushed through to become law as several have in Australia? (I mean crazier than the light bulb POS.) Are the looters and moochers about to run the government? Will the Sanction of the Victim become a reality?

Just remember that no matter how “bad” John McCain may seem to those who desire a perfect conservative, the next president may well appoint 2, 3, even 4 judges to the Supreme Court. Do you really want them to be appointed by Obama or Hillary? With either of the two in the White House we will pay the price for a very long, long time.

Finally, it's stopped snowing

We had snow most all of yesterday starting around 9 AM when the temperatures were around 10 degrees F and continuing through the day and into the night. Most of that snow was very, very fine, light powder and really didn't amount to much except where it drifted.

Sometime during the night the snow switched to freezing rain/rain mixture as the temperatures rose. (It was 32 degrees F this morning but has since dropped again to 25 degrees F.)

Around 10 AM it had pretty much let up and I went out to shovel a few areas where and the heavy wet goop the snow plow had left at the end of the driveway. Of course, as I was shoveling, it started to snow again--and snow pretty hard. This continued until near 4 PM this afternoon.

Looking at the radar maps I can pretty well determine what happened. The storm was formed around a cold front coming in from the west. As it approached this area, the moist warm air swept north-northeast along the front but the front itself moved from the west to the east. Unfortunately, as it approached central PA the front stalled. It just plain old stopped moving from west to east. The belt of precipitation along that front, however, continued to move from the south-southwest to the north-northeast and we were directly in its path.

So we had a conveyor belt of precipitation--most of it pretty cold--hanging over us for much of the morning and early afternoon. The front has now just barely inched its way to the east and we have colder air in place but--for the moment--no precipitation.

What's on the ground now can wait until tomorrow to be cleaned up. It's not deep enough for the snow blower being only 2-3 inches where it hasn't drifted and 4-5 where it has. It's too heavy to shovel in comfort or with any speed.

I forgot to mention: the belt of precipitation also passed over the Bolt Hole up in the Adirondacks where it was almost exclusively snow. I'm sure there's between 6 and 10 inches of fresh snow on the ground up there.

Safety Tip Of the Day

Humorous Pictures
moar humorous pics

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Needle and Thread

I’ve often mentioned that Terry is an accomplished stitcher who does hand embroidery and smocking. I’ve tried to get her to put some things about her projects on this blog but to no avail. To recognize some of her talent, I’m going to have to snap few pictures of her work and post them myself.

In the mean time, I’ve added a category over on the sidebar with links to three of the organizations to which she belongs:

Stitching Organizations:
American Needlepoint Guild
Embroiderers’ Guild of America (EGA)
Smocking Arts Guild of America (SAGA)

She belongs to several local and not so local chapters of each of these but is the current President Elect of SAGA on the national level. That means sometime this fall (probably right in the middle of my hunting season!) she will be installed as the President at the National Convention in Atlanta. I think she plans on forcing my attendance.

Bangers and Mash for dinner

Terry took some fresh ground pork sausage that already had some spices mixed in, added an egg yolk, some mace, nutmeg, thyme, cloves, salt and pepper and a little fresh read crumbs. She hand mixed this and then set it in the fridge to firm up a bit. Once firmed sufficiently, she formed the mixture into...well…sausage shapes. Each sausage got rolled in a battered egg and then panko. They were then browned them in the frying pan with some Colman’s Sausage Casserole Mix with onions and peppers.

Mashed potatoes and peas on the side with fresh sliced buttered bread completed the meal.

Talk about a good meal to have while it was snowing outside…mmm! That recipe's a keeper!

Is there any wonder I can’t seem to lose any weight? Every night it's something different. If I don't make a specific request, I've no idea what will be on the table.

I'm sure you're right Ed

According to Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania,the reason Obama may not do well against Hillary (whom Rendell supports) in Pennsylvania is because he is black.
"You've got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate," he said bluntly.

If this is the way the Democrats are going to go about their primary—thinking only of race and gender—what does it say for the ideas they have—or have not. Are we going to see race or gender become the major platform of the Democrats in the general election?

Remember, Rendell once held the position of the head of the DNC. This politics of gender and race and identity in general runs rampant in the Democratic Party.

You know, the PA primary is not until April 22 and by that time, Mr. Rendell’s candidate of choice may be on her way back to the Senate. If she lingers on to fight for the seating of Florida and Michigan delegates at the convention and attempts to sway super delegates in some unforeseen way, she just might be able to sit in the senate for the remainder of her current term.

In any case, it will be interesting to see what happens to either of the left-wing, socialist, defeatists when the November election comes around. As I’ve said before, they will have to start talking particulars and not just “change, change, hope, hope.” When the ideas they have espoused (and the cost of those ideas) become well circulated—and even the MSM will not be able to hide them—I think either one will get their butt handed to them.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Humor Me.

This just came in over the transom from a relative down Tampa way. He claims it was nominated as Joke of the Year, but I don't understand what's funny about it.


A Somalian arrives in Minneapolis as a new immigrant to the United States.

He stops the first person he sees walking down the street and says, "Thank you Mr. American for letting me in this country , giving me housing, food stamps, free medical care, and free education!" The passerby says, "You are mistaken, I am Mexican."

The man goes on and encounters another passerby. " Thank you for having such a beautiful country here in America !" The person says, "I not American, I Vietnamese."

The new arrival walks further, and the next person he sees he stops, shakes his hand and says, "Thank you for the wonderful America !" That person puts up his hand and says, "I am from Middle East , I am not American!"

He finally sees a nice lady and asks, "Are you an American?" She says , "No, I am from Africa !" Puzzled, he asks her, "Where are all the Americans?"

The African lady checks her watch and says..."Probably at work!!!!!!!


Just curious...

Another question about Hillary's $5 million to her campaign (besides how much interest she's charging):

If she's not willing to actually spend the $5 million (as in see it paid out with no possibility of repayment) on her campaign to be chosen as the candidate, why should anyone else?

Is she that unsure of victory that she doesn't want to risk any of her own capital?

Does she not feel winning the nomination is worth spending the $$$?

She's obviously never heard the saying: "No pain. No gain."

New used car.

So, once we had warmed up a bit this morning and the outside temps “soared” to 0 degrees, I made a phone call to our mechanic friend to see if he had located any studded snow tires for the Aveo. He had just got in and would be making some calls he said. I told him not to commit to purchase any but to just find out the price as Terry and I were going out to look for a used 4x4 under $5K.

Well, Ryan’s ears must have perked up and his eyes bugged out. “Listen,” he says, “I’ve got a 2000 Ford Explorer here on the lot with 76,000 miles on it that’s for sale for $3,400. It belongs to my grandmother. She’s had it for 4 years and put less than 20K miles on it since she only drove it during the winter. Come on down and take a look.”

“We’ll be right there,” says I.

Less than an hour later we’re down at Ryan’s. He tells me he located some 15” snow tires for the Aveo, but they don’t take studs AND they would cost $165 each without additional rims.

We start looking at a white Explorer that’s two years older than Rick’s Blazer with 25K fewer miles on it. It had been in an accident before Grandma purchased it and Ryan and his crew had fixed it up so you couldn’t tell. It, therefore, carries what’s called an “R-title” which merely alerts the purchaser to the previous damage. The metal all around is sound with no rust. There’s some paint peeling around the trim that looks to be due to poor adhesion to the primer and there’s a burn mark or two in the cloth upholstery. We took it for a spin up on Route 15. She rides well with no shimmies or shakes or rattles. It’s got power windows and doors, AC, CD and tape player in the radio. Everything seems to work (especially the heater and defroster). The tires have plenty of tread on them. (Okay, cruise control is an unknown and doesn’t seem to work, but we hardly use it anyway.)

We get back to Ryan’s and tell him to call his Grandma ‘cause she’s sold her car. And is it okay if the Aveo stays in your lot until we get a thaw and can get it up the hill?

While we went to the notary with his Grandma and Grandpa (who live with several sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, including Ryan, in various houses just down the hill from us) to complete the deal, Ryan pulled the Explorer into one of his bays to do and inspection, oil change, and lube. An hour later we had the temporary registration and a new plate (which Ryan attached) and we were on our way. And here I was prepared to spend the day schlepping all over to look at five or six vehicles of about the same vintage but with considerably more miles and costing about $2K more.

So Terry’s got a white winter car now to go along with her bright yellow summer car. At least I won’t need to go play fetch when we get a couple of inches of snow on the road.

Does this count as spurring the local economy?

It must be one hell of a mustache.

Well, he was wearing a garter and boots
PORTLAND, Maine - The Cumberland County Sheriff's Office is looking for a man with a mustache who is pulling in front of female drivers and then jumping out of his vehicle while wearing women's underwear, a garter belt and black high-heel boots.

With that get-up who notices a mustache?

Aah, school daze!

50 chickens found loose in Philly school
Monday mornings are hard enough. Imagine finding 50 chickens running loose in your high school.

Workers arriving about 5:30 a.m. to open Northeast High School in Philadelphia found dozens of hens and roosters wandering around the hallways. The birds were apparently brought to the school sometime over the weekend

The worst pranks we ever had to deal with when I taught high school was the release of about two dozen white mice into the hallways. This sounds like a lot more fun and used considerably more imagination and planning.
Police are checking surveillance tapes to see if they can determine the perpetrator of the fowl prank. The culprit will have to pay a hefty fine, said Gallard.

"It's not going to be chicken scratch," he said.

Let’s hope he keeps his sense of humor when they find out who did the deed.

Unintended Applications

Doctors use Wii games for rehab therapy
There’s plenty of arm waving and stretching that goes on with many of the Wii games. This makes perfect sense when someone needs to improve their range of motion. And it’s fun too. Beats the heck out of playing with a rubber band or a big ball.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

An interesting day

Today has been one of those "interesting" days in regards to the weather. (The cat races were something else entirely different.) Saturday night was cold and still but quite clear when we went to bed at 10 PM, but sometime during the night two bands of snow showers pressed through and left behind a light snow that amounted to approximately 1-2 inches. The sky was clear again, however and the sun shone brightly in the 30 degree temperatures.

I drove Terry to church and ran a few errands before picking her up at 10 AM. We drove home beneath a beautifully clear sky and 32 degrees.

Then the fun started. The wind picked up from the north-northwest. Clouds started to appear. And it started to snow. Very heavily. So heavily that we had white out conditions at 1:00 PM. That lasted on and off for an hour or two.

Then the snow stopped and the wind started to get serious. The gusts swirled the freshly fallen snow about and formed "snow devils" (something like the dust devils you see over fields when it's dry in spring) that appeared and disappeared across the yard and down the driveway. And all the time the temperatures were dropping.

The Aerie creaked and groaned under the onslaught of the wind. Bird feeders swung out to near horizontal position as if they were wind socks at a helipad and a chopper was landing. When night arrived the wind continued to gust upwards of 50 mph. Yet the sky remained mostly clear. There was even a good view of the waxing crescent moon a short time ago. Tilted as it is, it looks like the grin of the Cheshire Cat in Alice In Wonderland. And as a bank of thin clouds passes beneath it, that grin fades into non-existence much like it does in the story. And the temperatures continue to fall.

Currently, the wind is still howling with sustained speeds easily in the 25-30 mph range and gusts that surely must reach 50+mph. The temperature has fallen to a very frigid 2 degrees F and I do not want to think of what the wind chill is.

I've built a fire and it's very cozy here inside as I listen to the wind blow.

I can only think of how much I would like to get my hands around the furry neck of the groundhog that's know as Phil.

UPDATE: The temperature fell through the night. Not by much, however. It was "just" -3 degrees F at 7 AM. May not come near International Falls' -39 degrees F, but it's still downright cold. And the wind has died down to a respectable (and survivable) 5 mph with little gusting and no blowing snow.

Just call her the streak!

Well that was certainly interesting!

A short time ago, Shadow (she's the black cat) managed to get her head through the handle of one of those plastic Wal-Mart bags. Not thinking to back up and pull her head out of the loop, she proceeded to race around the first floor of the Aerie, bumping into Chester, Julie, the furniture, a few walls and assorted other obstacles. So frantic was her mad dash and so...well, pinball-like her trajectory that I was in stitches. Terry was too. But not Julie and Chester.

Having a black cat darting all about the room upset them enough. Having a black cat darting about the room while being chased (apparently by a crinkly white ghost...well, that was another story. Soon there were three cats madly dashing about and banking into things and one another.

They all made the left turn and went down the steps to the basement. As quickly as they disappeared, Julie came flying up the steps and looked for a hiding place. All was quiet below.

When I managed to catch my breath (and stop laughing) it was time to search for Chester and Shadow who were still somewhere in the now silent basement. Chester was easy to find. He had made a dash for the bathroom and was up on the deep window sill which was a rather good defensible position. (Although, if the black-and-white specter that had prompted his dash had attempted to join him on his perch, I've no doubt he would have clawed his way through the glass or dove for the door to escape.) Finding Shadow was another matter.

Despite still having the plastic bag around her neck, everything was deathly silent in the basement. We poured fresh food in their bowl, we looked in every nook and cranny we could think of and into which she might have darted, and still no sign. Terry and I peered over boxes and under furniture. Nothing. We went back up stairs and checked to make sure she hadn't darted into the sewing room. Nope. We went back down stairs and started to search again.

Finally, in the far reaches of the basement, amidst some of the boxes of Rick's belongings and computer software, behind several boxes that were not quite shoved under a desk and beneath the desk itself, Terry spotted two wide open yellow eyes.

While both Chester and Julie walked around as if on egg shells with their tails cocked at an angle and bristling like a bottle brush as only the best Halloween cats can, Shadow was dragged from under the desk and the plastic bag removed from around her neck.

It took nearly an hour for Julie and Chester to return to normal. Shadow is just beginning to come down from her fright and it's nearly two hours.

The TV writers can stay on strike for all I care. I've got plenty of entertainment options.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Oy vey! What a day!

When we woke up this morning to Chester’s insistent caterwauling—insistent demand for breakfast, that is—it was already lightly snowing outside. It wasn’t supposed to do that until this afternoon. That by itself would not be bad except for the fact that Terry had to attend an EGA (Embroiderers’ Guild of America) meeting over in Wellsboro. She would have to take her little Aveo and I would have to go get the mail (the post office is only open 9-11 on Saturday) and run a few other errands down in Mansfield.

She left at 8:30 and I went down the hill around 9:30. There was already about an inch of snow on the ground around the Aerie. Upon descending 3-400 feet however, I found there was no snow on the road or grass. What the heck? Apparently, like that little character in the Lil Abner comics that walked around with a tiny rain cloud over his head, it was only snowing above 1900 feet and the Aerie was at 2100 feet.

Well, I ran my errands and retreated back up the hill confirming that it was indeed snowing over the Aerie and on the slope directly below. I sat and watched it snow and grew increasingly concerned about Terry’s chances at getting back up the hill. Turns out I was right to be concerned.

Her meeting ended around noon and she drove back toward the Aerie along Route 6. The road was wet but there was no snow. She left Route 6 and headed up, and up , and up toward the Aerie. She never made it. About 200 feet from the driveway, the accumulated snow—all 2 inches of it at this point—packed down under the front wheels of her Aveo and became so much ice. Her “all season” tires spun on that ice and that was all she wrote. Once they began spinning and she lost momentum, forward progress ended. That’s when I got a phone call.

“I’m stuck,” she says.

“Really? Try turning around and going down the hill. Then try again.” And I hung up.

I got my boots on and headed for the road to see she was easily within sight (and sound) and was spinning her wheels as she attempted to back out of a neighbors drive and head down the hill. She succeeded and disappeared around the bend before I could get far enough down the road to intercept her. I waited to see if she would try to make it up the road one more time.

After a few minutes, I grew concerned that she might have put the little yellow car in the ditch so I called her cell.

“Where are you?”

“I’m at the log cabin…the other log cabin down the hill. I’ve met the neighbor and he’s going to drive me up the hill in his Jeep. I’ll leave the Aveo here until later.”

“Okay, I’ll try to keep Molly out of the road.” (Molly is a lovable shepherd mix that belongs to another neighbor just below us. She’s quiet as anything and a talented escape artist. When she first wandered into our yard early last summer, I put a rope around her neck and tied her to the front porch railing before I took the telephone number off her tags and called her owner. Molly’s owner apologized and said she would send her husband up as soon as he returned from the post office. He showed up about 45 minutes later and Molly was still curled up on the front porch. But she wasn’t tied to anything anymore. She had chewed through the rope and was happily napping when her owner showed. He laughed about her chewing through the rope saying she had done the same thing to a seat belt in his car ad about a dozen ropes in the yard. I suggested he get a chain—a very thick chain—but since she is so loving and quiet…well. I guess no chain was ever bought.)

A few minutes later a Jeep Wrangler comes up the hill in 4-wheel drive and deposits Terry on the doorstep. I got to meet the new neighbor (he moved in to his place a little after we moved in here) and we showed him around our log home.

After he had gone, Terry and I decided it was time to see about getting some real snow tires or studded tires for her little car. If I had been at the Bolt Hole (where, by the way, there may be a foot of snow or more this weekend) she would have been SOL.

Of course the local tire place in Mansfield is closed by the time we get there and we just managed to find the garage where we take our vehicles open. So, rather than traipse all over, we stopped and told the mechanic what we needed (one pair of rims and snow/studded tires to go on the front) and, “oh, by the way,” could you do an oil change and 35K mile check up on it while you’re at it. We’ll just leave it here, okay?

Did I mention that it was not snowing down on Route 6 or in Mansfield? It didn’t start again until we passed where Terry had been stopped earlier. It lightly snowed all afternoon and when I looked at the radar I could clearly see it was only snowing along the mountain ridge. I would guess it was snowing only above 1800 feet.

Now, with her car in the shop, I’ve got to ferry her down to church in the morning. Oh well, I’ll stop at the Goose and get an apple fritter, coffee and the papers and search the ads for a gently used 4-wheel drive vehicle. Something with reasonable weight and that’s able to climb that last 200 feet of hill. I don’t really want a third vehicle, but it was nice to have Rick’s Blazer here for a while. Hey, it’s only money.