Saturday, December 31, 2005

Tim Blair’s Inverse Law

According to Tim Blair—a blogger from Australia—there is an inverse relationship between those who are proponents of global warming theory and the weather. As evidence he has the following posts:

Prior to formulating his Inverse Law T. Blair posted this on December 9th GOTTA GET HOT TO PLAY REAL COOL

From December 17th SNOW MEANS HEAT

From December 30th INVERSE LAW OBEYED



Mr. Blair lampoons the contradictory claims of the Kyoto Kooks who are trying to push their agenda on Global Warming. As with most climate studies/predictions the confidence level of those making the predictions is also in an inverse relationship—with the time element involved. Now, I realize that as Mr. Blair uses individual events to contradict the Kyoto folks and that can be tricky when dealing with long-term trends. That, however, does not make them any less valid.

Scarlet Knights Over Tigers, 54-44

Rutgers R.smallutgers improved its record to 10-3 against the Princeton Tigers. It was the 112th meeting to the two teams.

At half-time Rutgers lead 24-18 thanks in part to free-throws and turnovers. The Scarlet Knights opened a 33-20 lead in the second half but Princeton went on a 14 – 2 run to close the lead to just one at 35-34. RU and PU then traded shots for several minutes as RU’s lead went from 1 to 3 and back to 1 before Princeton knotted it at 42 with 5:08 remaining on a 3-point shot by PU’s Noah Savage. Savage at one point made five 3-pointers in a row. RU then went on a 12-2 run aided by turnovers, blocks and steals to make the final score 54-44

Quincy Douby led RU in rebounds (unusual) and in scoring (not unusual) with 23 points. Webb added 10 points, and Farmer 9 points (all in the second half). Douby leads the Big East in scoring with a 22.8 points-per-game average so he was right on the numbers today.

Noah Savage had 17 points for PU including those five 3-pointers.

Rutgers appeared at the free-throw line 28 times making 18 for only 64%, well below their season average of 75%. Still, Princeton only had 4 appearances at the free-throw line giving RU a big advantage.

PU out rebounded RU 24 – 23 but committed 24 turnovers on its way to a 2-9 start.

Score Rutgers 24-Princeton 18
Turnovers at the half: PU 13, RU 8

Full story and stats can be read here.

RU next plays host to Seton Hall next Saturday, Jan 7th at 2:00 PM in RU’s Big East opener.

From the Rutgers’ Press Guide:
The Tigers have struggled offensively this season and enter the Rutgers game with a 43.9 scoring average. Princeton is shooting .358 from the field and .339 from three-point range. Defensively, Princeton allows just 54.8

So the Tigers average score for the year would be 55-44. Pretty close, no.

Uh, No Thanks.

I like my coffee. Black, strong, and unadulterated (no milk, cream or sugar). And definitely NOT second--uh--hand. Can I get an, “Eeeew!” please.

Would you pay $175 for a pound of coffee beans which had passed through the backside of a furry mammal in Indonesia?

Let me think about that for a moment—HELL NO!

Attack Chihuahuas?

Man, I wouldn’t want to have been this detective when he got back to the squad room. (But I’d love to have been a fly on the wall.) Just think of the ribbing he got. Not to mention the special issue Teflon socks for his next birthday.

Pack of Angry Chihuahuas Attack Officer

Ever See A Flying Idiot?

British plane dumps air rage holidaymaker on island

Hey, at least they landed before they threw his sorry ass off the plane. I think the crew deserves a standing "O" for their common sense and restraint.

Monarch Airlines said Friday that the passenger repeatedly insulted the cabin crew and fellow tourists after the Airbus 321 left Manchester airport, northwest England.

He probably thought he was at a soccer match.

On This Day

In 1879 in Menlo Park, New Jersey, Thomas Alva Edison staged the first public demonstration of the incandescent light bulb. So much interest existed for this street lighting that the Pennsylvania Railroad Company ran special trains to carry spectators to Menlo Park.

In 1775 Patriot troops under command of Colonel Benedict Arnold and General Richard Montgomery were driven back in their attempt to capture the city of Quebec.

In 1947 Roy Rogers and Dale Evans got married.

In 1954 The Shadow radio show—a show that once had as many as 15 million listeners a week—ended its 25-year run. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.”

This Day In History from the History Channel

Tropical Storm Zeta?

Jeesh! Only a pledge at some Greek fraternity or sorority can keep up with the number and names of tropical storms this year. The 27th named storm of the year cropped up yesterday 1000 miles south-west of the Azores in the eastern Atlantic.
Zeta is the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet, which forecasters turned to after they used up — for the first time — their list of 21 proper names for storms. The record for tropical storms and hurricanes in a season had been 21, set in 1933 before such storms were regularly named.

Lady Knights Tame Longhorns

Rutgers R.small
The Rutgers’ women came back from their holiday break but continued to celebrate last night as Cappie Pondexter scored 22 points and Matlee Ajevon added 17 coming off the bench to lead the No. 9 Scarlet Knights over the No. 19/23 Texas Longhorns 63-49 at the RAC.

RU’s strong defense forced 20 turnovers and held the Longhorns’ All-American Junior Tiffany Jackson to just 10 points.

Texas fall s to 6-4 while Rutgers is now 9-1.

Next, the Lady Knights hit the road against Cincinnati Tuesday night at 7:30 PM.

Read the full story and get the stats here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Sun Devils down Scarlet Knights 45-40
in the Insight Bowl

Rutgers R.small
An extremely entertaining game. Lots of scoring—by both sides. Lots of yards—by both sides. Rutgers played a great first half came out a little sluggish in the second half. They got yards on offense. Got a break on defense (fumble recovery). But could only get three field goals. Had to use up all their time-outs early in the half. The Knights fell behind. Got a little desperate. Finally got a TD with 2 minutes to go to get within 5 points but then didn’t get the on-sides kick that followed and Arizona State was able to run out the clock.

RU Senior QB Ryan Hart threw for a career high as did Arizona State’s red-shirt fresman QB Rudy Carpenter. It was a wild affair and, as I said earlier, extemely entertaining. As Mussburger said, it was like a tennis match and easch side had to try and hold serve.

In the second half, Rutgers had to settle for field goals too often (they had three in the second half) while ASU was scoring TDs.

Brian Leonard had over 100 all purpose yards in the first quarter but sort of disappeared after that as Ray Rice took over.

I kept wishing the RU defensive backs could make just one interception but then I would notice the size differential between the recievers and the DBs and knew it wasn't likely. Rudy Carpenter, the ASU QB, threw for NO, as in ZERO, interceptions this year.He didn't have enough game starts, until tonight, to be ranked in the NCAA stats. As soon as he threw his first pass (ASU's first play from scrimmage) he qualified as the No. 1 Ranked QB in college football. Boy did he qualify!

You can read the official Rutgers report here with all the game stats. Rutgers Edged by Arizona State in Insight Bowl, 45-40

Or the Newark Star Ledger’s stories here:Rutgers jumps into a shootout and nearly steals bowl victory

and here:Arizona St. blows Rutgers cover

The Daily Record reports here (in it’s somewhat negative fashion—as always):Rutgers overpowered by ASU

There’s this report from that starts
They closed the roof at the Insight Bowl on Tuesday night and an Arena Football League game broke out.

At least that's the way it seemed as the teams mowed up and down the field for 1,210 yards, a record for any bowl game, before Arizona State escaped with a 45-40 victory over Rutgers.

The rest is here.

And finally there is this report from ABC News/ESPN: ASU Tops Rutgers in Wild Insight Bowl

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

RU and Arizona State on ESPN tonight.

Oh sh*t.

The play-by-play announcer for the Insight Bowl tonight is Brent Musburger. I hate listening to Musburger. I don’t know why but his voice makes me cringe. It’s fingernails on the blackboard bad. And he seems to pontificate everything he says. It's like he's delivering the sermon on the ount or something. Whenever I watch a game he announces I find myself either turning off the sound or using the remote far more frequently than normally. He is reasonably knowledgeable about the game but when he opens his mouth it seems he’s talking down to the audience all the time. No other football announcer turns me off like this (at least not since Howard Cossell).

Only Dick Vitale in the color chair for NCAA Basketball games annoys me more, baby. But at least he is extremely knowledgeable even if he sports a penchant for hyperbole. (And old Dickie is on ESPN2 with the Gonzaga vs Memphis game.

Greasy Tony’s -- In Tempe?

If you went to Rutgers—anytime prior to the mid ‘90s when Tony was forced out as RU grew—you remember Greasy Tony’s from just off Easton Avenue in New Brunswick. The food was greasy, really greasy, but the cheeses steaks were the greatest you could find anywhere, the hot peppers hotter and the fries amazingly crisp for the grease. The décor wasn’t much at Tony’s place but that didn’t matter. You probably weren’t sober enough to remember it anyway or you were only there for the take-out as you made the “grease run” for your frat or your dorm floor. And it might have been 10 PM or 2 AM, didn’t matter, Tony’s was there.

Now Tony’s is in Tempe, AZ on the edge of Arizona State’s campus and it has become a haven for the RU fans in town for the Insight Bowl.

If your memory is a little fuzzy, the Star Ledger has a nice little piece to help you out. It relates how Tony ended up in AZ and how his place has become a culinary legend. (And a gathering place for RU Alums from the west coast.)

Read it here.

My favortie line in the story: "You have to eat it fast, because the grease dissolves the bread like acid on plastic." True, but it tastes so great going down.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Battle of Trenton
December 26, 1776

Faced with a fast approaching end to the enlistments of much of his Continental Army and a near year of engage-and-retreat across New York and New Jersey, General George Washington crossed the Delaware River from Pennsylvania on Christmas night with half his men (and none of his artillery) to completely surprise the Hessian garrison in Trenton, New Jersey on this day in 1776.
With the loss of only 4 American lives, Washington’s army succeeded in overwhelming the 1400 Hessian troops taking nearly 1000 prisoners. Without his artillery, Washington was forced to retreat across the Delaware after the victory but returned a few days later to advance upon and win again at Princeton on January 3, 1777. These victories, while strategically insignificant, encouraged soldiers, citizens and the Continental Congress to believe in the potential of the Continental Army.
After Princeton, the army went into winter quarters at Jockey Hollow just south of Morristown, New Jersey.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

May you all enjoy a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

War of 1812 Ends
December 24, 1814

After less than two years of declared war between the United States and Great Britain, the Treaty of Peace and Amity was signed this day in Ghent, Belgium by British and American representatives.
War had been declared upon Great Britain by the US for three primary reasons: British economic blockade of France; impressments of American seamen into the British Royal Navy against their will (essentially an act of piracy on the high seas); and British support of hostile Indian tribes along the Great Lakes frontier (British forces had yet to pull out of some of the forts they were supposed to leave after the War for Independence).
The young United States had a shaky time of it on land. Three major invasions of Canada were repulsed and Detroit remained in British hands. The new capital, Washington, D.C. was invaded and burned. But things were better at “sea”.
… the USS Constitution and other American frigates won a series of victories over British warships. In 1813, American forces won several key victories in the Great Lakes region, but Britain regained control of the sea and blockaded the eastern seaboard.

On September 11, 1814, the tide of the war turned when Thomas Macdonough's American naval force won a decisive victory at the Battle of Plattsburg Bay on Lake Champlain…. The American victory on Lake Champlain led to the conclusion of U.S.-British peace negotiations in Belgium, and on December 24, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed, ending the war.

News traveled slowly back then and the signing of the treaty did not end hostilities immediately. On January 8, 1815 a large British army attacked New Orleans but was decisively defeated by a far inferior American force pieced together by General Andrew Jackson. This victory and the peace treaty bolstered the confidence of the young nation and legitimized its existence in the eyes of the world.

This Day in History, The History Channel

This guy is definitely a few bricks short.

Steal a car.
Rob a house.
Get stuck on the ice in the driveway.
Ask the homeowner for help in getting the car back onto the street.
Have the homeowner’s goods in full view on the seat of the car.

Guess she ate her words, too.

Sooner or later this was bound to happen as the phones got smaller and smaller—or maybe she just has a big mouth. Woman Swallows Cell Phone After Argument.

UPDATE: Or maybe she had “help.”Police now suspect assault.
"It appears she didn't voluntarily swallow this phone," Kintz said. "It's not quite the way it was first portrayed."

"spoonoid" life forms

Science doesn’t have to be dull as proven by this study reported in the British Medical Journal. Concerned with the disappearance of teaspoons, researchers apparently devised a tag-and-release study to determine the severity of the problem. Some 80% of the tagged spoons disappeared from the public commons during the five-month study.
Regretting that scientific literature was "strangely bereft" of teaspoon-related research, the scientists offered a few theories to explain the phenomenon.

Taking a tip from Douglas Adams' Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books, they suggested that the teaspoons were quietly migrating to a planet uniquely populated by "spoonoid" life forms living in a spoonish state of Nirvana.

They also offered the phenomenon of "resistentialism" in which inanimate objects like teaspoons have a natural aversion to humans.

As Glenn Reynolds might say, “Heh?”

Next on their list is the missing sock problem.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Frigate Flies Far For Food

This momma bird traveled quite a bit to obtain food for her chick according to this report out of Bankok.
A Christmas Island frigate bird named Lydia recently made a nonstop journey of just over 26 days and covering nearly 2,500 miles across Indonesian volcanoes and some of Asia's busiest shipping lanes in search of food for her baby.

The trip, tracked with a global positioning device by scientists at Christmas Island National Park, is by far the longest known nonstop journey by one of these critically endangered seabirds.

Lydia left her chick under the care of her partner while she was away. She set a record for both time and distance for a frigate bird, but
it falls short of the top trip among birds monitored by scientists a 46-day round-the-world trek by a gray-headed albatross, according to Birdlife International, a Britain-based conservation group that keeps track of threatened species.

That’s a lot of flying for a bird but should be compared to the long distance migrations of a species like the
Alaskan Bar-tailed Godwits have the longest non-stop flight of any migrant, flying 11,000 km to their New Zealand wintering grounds
11,000 km, non-stop! WOW!

However, this is a seasonal flight that the bird has weeks or months to recover from. Lydia may well have fed her chick and gone out on a long foraging run just a few days later.
(source: Bird Migration

NORAD Continues to Track Santa---after 50 Years

Here’s a feel good story on government surveillance that everyone with a little kid’s soul can appreciate. Since 1955, Santa’s every move on Christmas Eve has been tracked by the government and that information relayed on to anyone who calls and asks for it. You can follow along by either checking the Track Santa website, calling NORAD’s Cheyenne Mountain base 1-888-HI-NORAD, emailing NORAD at or emailing Santa at

I remember riding home from the annual family get together on Christmas Eve and listening to the radio announcers interrupting their broadcasts with constant updates as to Santa’s location. The idea was we had to be home and in bed before he could come to our house. I would have been 6 when NORAD started tracking Old St. Nick and my sister was 4. So I assume the radio broadcasts were somewhere around 1958-59 the first time. We would have been 9 and 7 at that juncture.

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

If you haven’t heard of this—yet—then you need to check out the story about (via Wired News) and the official web site of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The movement began as a somewhat satirical response to the ID move to enter the classroom disguised as science and has taken off from there.

Read and learn and you too may be touched by His noodly appendage and become a Pastafarian.

(You might also learn the correlation between Pirates and Global Warming, too. I did.)

Oklahoma! Where the wind comes howling cross the plains…

Via Lucianne and UPI comes this story of a new crop to be raised on the plains of Oklahoma.
120-megawatt wind farm planned for construction in northwestern Oklahoma…
The wind farm could be constructed and producing power by Dec. 31, 2006.

I think it’s far enough away from Cape Cod so even Mr. Robert Kennedy won’t be complaining.

Another Christmas Tree stowaway.

An opossum popped out of the tree and frightened this family in Englewood, PA. Apparently, Dad threw the tree, lights, stand and all out on to the lawn. Then they had the state Game Commission come and take the 18-inch critter away.

Now, ‘possums aren’t as cute as tiny little stoned screech owls (see yesterday’s posts), in fact they can be ugly as sin, but they can also be good eats should you be so inclined. (No I’ve never tried one! But I don’t think I’d shy away from it.)

via Lucianne and the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

This is sad. “It's a Charlie Brown Christmas for Rhode Island's official Christmas tree.”

From CNN,com comes a tale of a Christmas Tree’s demise.
“Workers kill statehouse Christmas tree
Mandated fire-retardant application snuffs out blue spruce “

Sprayed with fire retardant the Rhode Island statehouse tree withered and died; melting like the Wicked Witch of the West under Niagara Falls.
The pathetic-looking tree was hustled out of the building Wednesday night….

Rhode Island law designates Christmas trees as "flammable vegetation" and regulates their display in public buildings. Until recently, Christmas trees in public buildings had to be doused with fire retardant, said Tom Coffey, executive director of the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review.

The state lifted that requirement on December 6, Coffey said, but that was too late for the Statehouse tree, which was put up November 25.
The reprieve from the new fire code came too late for this year’s 18-foot Colorado blue spruce but it was a learning experience for those involved.
Bettencourt and a team of farmers rushed Thursday to get a replacement tree. The task proved complicated because the law also requires a fire marshal to be on hand when a tree destined for public display is cut down, to ensure freshness.

"This one will not be sprayed," promised Steve Kass, a spokesman for the governor.

A fire marshal must be on hand to ensure freshness? I just squeeze the needles and give a little tug. Then I cut off the bottom two inches of the trunk so the tree can suck up water.

A properly watered tree is not a fire hazard, said Al Bettencourt, executive director of Rhode Island's Farm Bureau, who once tried proving the point on cable TV.

"First we tried to light it with matches -- couldn't do it," he said. "Then we took out a 50,000-BTU blowtorch and we turned that onto the tree."

The pine crackled, he said, but never caught fire.

So keep those trees watered!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Charlotte 49ers Down Scarlet Knights 85-82

Rutgers R.small
Tonight, in a hard fought, tight game, the Charlotte 49ers defeated the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers tied the game at 70 with 5:40 remaining and it was see-saw from there on out.
With seconds to go and the score 83-80, Rutgers in bounded under the 49ers basket went quickly down the court and Farmer scored a 2-point basket making it 83-82. Then with just 5.9 seconds to go Farmer fouled Goldwire, a 90% foul shooter, who netted both shots making it 85-82. RU in bounded went up the court and, as the buzzer went off, missed the final shot.

Both teams shot over 50% for the game (Charlotte 55%, RU 52%) but it was Charlotte’s foul shooting that spelled the difference. The 49er, usually a poor shooting team from the line, came through with excellent free-throw shooting (77%) to put the game away in the end. (RU shot 82% from the stripe on fewer shots.)

RU had only 9 turnovers and shot 82% from the free throw line but it just wasn’t enough.

Quincy Douby led Rutgers in scoring with 29 points.

Full story and stats here.

The loss was the first for Rutgers at home this year. They are now 7-1 at home.

Next up for the Scarlet is a New Years’ Eve game against Princeton. Tip off will be at 2:00 PM at the RAC.

Cheech the Screech Owl

Gail at Scribal Terror has a little story of a tiny screech owl found in someone’s Christmas tree...three days after they set it up in the living room. Why Cheech? Seems he was stoned out of his little birdy brain on maryjane. I’d say he was flying high but he just sat there staring into space. He’s better now. He went cold turkey, I understand.

Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

Pebblepie posts a rather lengthy piece by Dave Grossman about the difference between the three. It’s worth the time it takes to read it and think about what it means.
”Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident."…

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy."…

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf."…

This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other.
Go here to read it all. Then determine where you are along the continuum.

The Night Santa Went Crazy

If you’re a Weird Al fan, you’ve heard the song. Now you can watch a toon video.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Of Moose and Music

When my kids were in middle school, they each took up the tuba in the band. They continued to play the tuba through high school and, in the case of my daughter, college. They spent one summer in the early 1990’s practicing their tuba playing on the deck of our cabin in the southwest Adirondack Park in upstate New York. It wasn’t long after that that I heard of a radio collared moose wandering the woods on the state land behind our place. While I’ve never seen the moose, I have seen her (since it was tagged its sex was known) tracks in the mud at some of the vlys (marshes). I always thought that the kids playing their tuba scales that summer may have been the reason this moose had wandered down from the larger concentration that was flourishing further north between Blue Mountain Lake, Indian Lake and Long Lake.

Now comes a report of a moose near Sioux Falls, South Dakota who may have been attracted to the sounds of a baritone sax. Music calms the savage beast, I guess.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Christmas Carol

How could I have missed this tidbit yesterday, December 19? Luckily, the Coalition of the Swilling has a nice little post on the day Jacob Marley came to visit back in 1843. (Also click on the link to the Dickens’ self-publishing story contained therein.It's the Jacob Marley one.)

I really, really like the Magoo version of A Christmas Carol. But then again, I’m prejudiced, Magoo went to Rutgers (RC, Class of ’13)

Log Home Progress Report

We are in a quiet phase of our log home project. We received two copies of the engineer’s drawings (blueprints) from Beaver Mountain about four weeks ago. Two weekends ago we met with our general contractor out in Pennsylvania and came to an agreement that we put into writing. Both he and I signed the contract and I asked him to prepare a timetable for us. Don’s rough estimate is that we will have our foundation excavated and in place by the April 19th delivery date for the log package. Once delivery is taken, he estimates four to six weeks until the shell is closed in and approximately six months to completion. If we can keep to that schedule we may be able to move into our new home between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Don had already discussed the different systems with and presented our plans to subcontractors to get estimates. He kept one copy of the blueprints to show to the town’s building inspector for approval and, eventually, permits.

On Monday we met with the representative from M &T Mortgage Company out of Lancaster, PA to see about arranging for financing for the construction phase of the log home and regular mortgage after completion. We should hear from them the first week of the New Year.

Meanwhile all our energy is going into making our NJ home more saleable. Things like painting (ugh!) and packing up the accumulation of material from 24 years of living in the same home. We’ve rented a storage facility near our new place in PA and will soon be carting some furniture and boxes of materials out to fill it up.

December 20, 1860
South Carolina Secedes from the United States

On this day in 1860 the state of South Carolina officially became the first state to secede from the United States. Within the next few weeks six other states would join it to form the Confederate States of America. Once hostilities commenced with the shelling of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor (S. Carolina) in April of 1861, four more states would join the Confederacy.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Dark Chocolate Is Good For Your Heart?

Who knew that all those Semi-sweet Hershey’s Bars and Nestle’s Chocolate Chip Cookies would stave off heart problems? Sounds good to me!

possible benefits arose from the antioxidants in dark chocolate.

From the University Hospital in Zurich:
Dark chocolate may cut heart disease risk

Robo Fauna

This video is a mix of real, animation and computer stuff that will just play with your mind. Turn the volume up on your machine and enjoy the music while you try to figure out what’s real and what’s not. Go see the Robo Fauna

Your Kid Might Be an Idiot If…

He holds a mouse trap up to the side of his nose and….
Go see what happens next. Oooo, that’s gotta hurt!

Matrix Ping Pong

This is just too cool to be left unmentioned. It may take a bit for you to figure out what’s going on but this group of folks show great imagination and some wild skills. Go watch Matirx Ping Pong from Google Videos.

Decoy Deer Used Against Poachers

Here’s another story of “animals” striking back. In this case the author details the use of a mechanical deer decoy to halt shooting from a car—at night—in New York state, but similar programs exist all over the country.
I like the idea. Anything that can be done to get the jerks who spotlight deeer and shoot at night from their vehicles is a great idea. And I love the name for the decoy used here: Timex. Could almost fit into the poem: “On Dasher, On Dancer, On Timex and Cupid…” It’s kind of timeless.

Deer DNA Downs Murdering Hunter

Here’s a story of a hunter in PA being convicted of taking the life of another hunter in part because of the DNA of a deer he also shot in the same field. The killing took place back in ’97 and the conviction took place earlier this month. Seems they had to establish that the deer’s DNA could have only come from the deer killed in the field so a genetic bank of sorts had be constructed. You might say the deer got some kind of revenge.

Anyway, it’s a very CSI kind of story—without the bugs Grissom seems to like so much.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Lady Knights defeat St. Thomas Aquinas

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In an exhibition game played Sunday afternoon at the RAC, the Lady Knights of Rutgers downed the Lady Spartans of St. Thomas Aquinas 78 – 44. Rutgers held only a six-point lead at the half but came out of the locker room smokin’ hot. They posted a 22-6 burst to put the game away. Senior Michelle Campbell led the Knights with 17 points and freshman Kia Vaughn added 16 points and 7 rebounds. Sophomore Matee Avajon (11 points) and freshman Sammeika Thrash (13 points) also scored in double figures.

(The full story and stats are here.)

The game did not count in the standings but served a sa tune-up for Rutgers next opponent, the Texas Longhorns. That game will be played at the RAC on December 30 at 7:00 PM.

A Little Christmas Poetry

Mostly Cajun has a post on The Death of Santa Claus, a poem done to R. W. Service’s Sam McGee but set in Viet Nam.

He also has a post of the Christmas Operations Order.

I heartily recommend you read both of them and enjoy.

The First United States Thanksgiving Is Celebrated
December 18, 1777

Today is the anniversary of the first Day of Thanksgiving celebrated by the United States as a national event. Until this time each and every colony had celebrated their own Thanksgiving Days—or not—but when Congress declared on November first
“It is therefore recommended to the Legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES, to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for solemn THANKSGIVING and PRAISE; That at one Time and with one Voice the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor…”
they were creating an American identity.

The day was in celebration of the Continental Army's victory over General John Burgoyne and his 5,000 British troops at the Battle of Saratoga in October. But an even better reason for celebration had occurred the day before on December 17, 1777 and would be unknown to the Continental Congress for several weeks. On that day France officially formalized a military and trade alliance with the Americans. It was an alliance that spelled the international recognition of the new United States of America and the eventual success of the American Revolution.

This Day In History

Cliff Dwelling of Mesa Verde “Discovered”
December 18, 1888

Richard Wetherill and Charles Mason stumbled across some magnificent cliff dwellings while searching for stray cattle on Wetherill’s southwestern Colorado ranch. These ruins were once the home of the Anasazi constructed some time in the early 13th century and abandoned during a severe and prolonged drought starting around 1275. The Anasazi disappeared as a people but their dwellings remain as Mesa Verde National Park, created in 1906.

Terry and I took the kids to see Mesa Verde while on our 1993. While we spent only a day enjoying the views and didn’t take a guided tour of the dwellings themselves, I have to say that it is an impressive place. As you stand on the rim of the canyon opposite the Cliff Palace and look down upon this city made of adobe tucked into the cliff overhangs, the scale slowly creeps upon you and you are awed by the Anasazi’s accomplishments. Then you begin to wonder just how bad things must have gotten for them to abandon this place after only a few generations and eventually disappear from history altogether.

This is definitely one of the places I would like to visit again. 2006 will be the centennial year for this park and I'm sure they will have all kinds of special events planned. (Unfortunately, this wil have to be a year of limited travel for Terry and I as we will be constructing our own "cliff dwelling" in PA.)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Winter Solstice

Winter solstice for 2005 will occur at 1:35 pm EST on December 21.

Because of the Earth’s tilt on its axis half the time, the North Pole points toward the sun and half the time it points away. When it points toward the sun, we in the Northern Hemisphere have our Spring and Summer. When it points away, we have our Fall and Winter. (In the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons are reversed.)
The winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The sun appears at its lowest point in the sky, and its noontime elevation appears to be the same for several days before and after the solstice. Hence the origin of the word solstice, which comes from Latin solstitium, from sol, "sun" and -stitium, "a stoppage." Following the winter solstice, the days begin to grow longer and the nights shorter.

(From Infoplease)

Man has celebrated some form of winter festival for thousands of years. Most early celebrants were looking for one thing: they wanted the sun back. Being hunter/gatherers pickings became slim when winter took hold. Fruits, berries and many game species were no longer available. Things didn’t improve when agriculture developed. Winter meant living off your stored foodstuffs. The loss of daylight hours did not go unnoticed.
Many, many cultures the world over perform solstice ceremonies. At their root: an ancient fear that the failing light would never return unless humans intervened with anxious vigil or antic celebration.

(From Candlegrove)

With the development of civilization came the creation of gods and religion. Many, many gods and religions. All of which recognized the importance of the Winter Solstice. The rebirth of the sun as it first stop disappearing and then started to reappear soon became the symbolic celebration of the birth of various god-man-heroes. It was the Romans who consolidated many of the celebrations and encouraged the celebrations to take place on one day. (Probably so all of the religious holidays didn’t interfere with business.)
Emperor Aurelian (270 to 275 AD) blended a number of Pagan solstice celebrations of the nativity of such god-men/saviors as Appolo, Attis, Baal, Dionysus, Helios, Hercules, Horus, Mithra, Osiris, Perseus, and Theseus into a single festival called the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun" on DEC-25. At the time, Mithraism and Christianity were fierce competitors. Aurelian had even declared Mithraism the official religion of the Roman Empire in 274 AD. Christianity won out by becoming the new official religion in the 4th century AD.

Aurelian backed the wrong horse in that race but his selection of December 25 for the “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun” eventually gave us our Christmas. No one else seemed to know exactly when it should be celebrated.
CHRISTIANITY: Any record of the date of birth of Yeshua of Nazareth (later known as Jesus Christ) has been lost. There is sufficient evidence in the Gospels to indicate that Yeshua was born in the fall, but this seems to have been unknown to early Christians. By the beginning of the 4th century AD, there was intense interest in choosing a day to celebrate Yeshua's birthday. The western church leaders selected DEC-25 because this was already the date recognized throughout the Roman Empire as the birthday of various Pagan gods.

DRUIDISM: Druids and Druidesses formed the professional class in ancient Celtic society. They performed the functions of modern day priests, teachers, ambassadors, astronomers, genealogists, philosophers, musicians, theologians, scientists, poets and judges. Druids led all public rituals, which were normally held within fenced groves of sacred trees. The solstice is the time of the death of the old sun and the birth of the dark-half of the year. … The three days before Yule is a magical time. This is the time of the Serpent Days or transformation...The Elder and Birch stand at the entrance to Annwn or Celtic underworld where all life was formed. Like several other myths they guard the entrance to the underworld. This is the time the Sun God journey's thru the underworld to learn the secrets of death and life. And bring out those souls to be reincarnated."

(From Religious

Burning the Yule Log
The term Yule stems from the Anglo-Saxon "yula" or "wheel" of the year. In ancient pagan ritual, the Yule Log was lit on the eve of Winter Solstice and burned for twelve hours. Later, the Log was replaced by the Yule Tree, but instead of being burned, it was adorned with burning candles.

Scarlet Knights Housebreak the Bulldogs, 63-45

Rutgers R.smallutgers' Scarlet Knights forced 25 turnovers by the South Carolina State Bulldogs tonight and came away with their ninth victory of the year. Quincy Douby led the scoring with 14 points in the first half and 21 overall while Ollie Bailey scored 18 and had 9 rebounds.

RU held the Bulldogs to just 31.9% shooting from the field and just 45 points. This was the fourth time RU has held an opponent to less than 50 points and the fourth time they held an opponent to less than 32% shooting.

The Knights showed a little lack of focus shooting only 8 of 16 from the free through line, committing too many turnovers of their own, and allowing too many easy baskets on the transitions. This could have been caused by the three games in six days during the exam week.

(The full story and stats are here.)

Rutgers improves to 9-2. South Carolina State is now 2-6.

Next up for the Knights: Charlotte 49ers at the RAC on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 7:30 PM.

Winter Blahs, Part 1

Every year as autumn passes into winter I start getting the blahs. I’m not usually depressed by the onset of winter, I just want to eat and sleep—and I would almost rather do the latter than the former. This condition begins to take hold right around the time the clocks go back to Standard Time but it becomes almost overwhelming after the 15th of December. By then we in the Northern Hemisphere have entered The Time of Darkness. Today the sun rose at 7:17 AM and set at 4:32 PM. We had just 9 hours and 15 minutes from sunrise to sunset. Tomorrow it will be more of the same. In fact, the sunrise and sunset times are the same. They won’t change much during the next two weeks. They might shift slightly in the next day or two to give use even less sunlight, but then the gap between sunrise and sunset will widen and we will have more light and less dark. This will be noticeable to the casual observer somewhere around New Year’s Day. I won’t begin to “feel” the change until sometime after Ground Hog Day in February.

Last Thursday I had to go to the doctor to get a nerve block on my lower spine. (My herniated disc was acting up again and didn’t respond to oral meds.) In preparation of the procedure, the nurses took my blood pressure and pulse. My BP before the shot was 129/66 and my pulse rate was between 49 and 52. And this was after I had had four cups of coffee for breakfast. I weigh in at around 215 and stand only 5' 10" so I'm not in the best of physical shape. (Although I have lost some 35 - 40 pounds from Jan 1, 2004.) From those numbers it is clear that my metabolism really slows down during the winter.

When I was teaching, I would gain 10 to 20 pounds every fall with the bulk (literally) of it coming between Thanksgiving and New Years. During the last two falls I haven’t put on that weight yet I’m eating just as frequently. My days are a little more active than they were while in the classroom. Between hunting and yard work I’ve been burning off the food. When the sun goes down, however, I’m just as tired.
Up north, where the days are even shorter, I don’t hit the sack early as I must tend the fire, my sole source of heat. If I don’t stay up until 10 or 11 PM then the fires will burn out before I get up—usually at 6 AM—and the house will be cold. Very cold. The morning temperatures can drop to single digits and sometimes even into negative numbers. But during the day there is snow removal from the driveway or the roofs to deal with. And there are snowshoes to don so I can go walking in the woods.

Here in New Jersey, there are indoor chores to do. Painting has occupied some of the days when I’m not afield looking to fill the freezer. When the sun goes down the TV offers up sports four or five times a week. (It would offer more if I were a hockey fan—I’m not.) After New Years and the Bowl games have passed and the pros are back to playing on Saturday and Sunday only, I’ll probably be in bed by 8-9 o’clock unless RU basketball is on the tube. I’ll still be out of bed by 6-6:30 most mornings.

By then, the days will be getting longer again and the added sunlight will trigger something inside me. My activity levels—physical and mental—will start to climb. I’ll start to pace around the house when the weather is bad waiting for the spring thaws. If I’m up north, I’ll be outside on my snowshoes if I need them walking the woods and waiting for the little bit of warmth that will make the nearly four feet of snow on the lawn disappear in a couple of days. Once the grass starts to show, I’ll be looking and listening for the woodcock and ruffed grouse, the robins and the sparrows.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Battle of the Bulge

On this day, December 16, in 1944 the Germans launched their last major offensive of the war. Called the Battle of the Bulge, Operation Mist, or the Ardennes Offensive this battle was the largest on the western front and lasted for several weeks. Under cover of heavy fog and the Ardennes Forest, 250,000 Germans attacked 80,000 Americans along an 80 mile long front as they attempted to cut through the allied lines to the coast of Belgium.

It was during this battle that the 101st Airborne Division was completely surrounded at the town of Bastogne. Given the opportunity to surrender or face annihilation, U.S. Major General Anthony McAuliffe sent this terse reply to the German Commander on December 22:
To the German Commander:


From the American Commander

The 101st held on until relieved by elements of General Patton’s 3rd Army on December 26th.

Boston Tea Party

On December 16, 1773 the Sons of Liberty lead by Samuel Adams dumped 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor in protest of the Tea Act of 1773. The British reacted by establishing military control over Massachusetts, making British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America and forcing the colonists to house British troops in their homes. The Colonists then convened the Continental Congress and the resistance to British rule was begun.

(In a similar action in the Carolinas, the tea was confiscated and sold rather than simply dumped.)

AP: Towns With Unhealthy Air Fight Back


Towns with a preponderance of industry usually enjoy the tax ratables and jobs those industries bring to their communities. They sometimes covet the jobs to the point of giving the companies tax incentives to build and operate in the area. The taxes that are collected from the industries mean the residents enjoy a lower tax rate than they might if they had to foot the entire bill for police, fire, schools, etc.

It seems somewhat hypocritical to me that they then complain about the very devil they welcomed into their parlor.

A number of years ago, we had a case in northwest NJ where a family purchased a new home constructed on a subdivision carved out of a farm. The neighboring dairy farm was still in operation and I’m sure the wide open spaces were one of the selling points of the home. Well, as the year progressed, the farmer did what he had always done with the cow manure that built up in the barn—he spread it upon the fields to fertilize the corn and alfalfa and soybeans he grew to feed the cows.
The new homeowner, fresh from a city to the east, didn’t appreciate the country perfume that wafted into his windows and sued to stop the farmer from doing what he had always done. The court appearance went something like this:
Judge: “So, Mr. Homeowner, you want to stop Farmer Jones from spreading cow manure on his fields. Is that right?”
Homeowner: “Yes, your honor. It smells something awful and is not what I expected when I moved into my home. Why, I’m sure the smell is driving down my property values.”
Judge: “I see. Just when did you buy your home, sir?”
Homeowner: “I purchased my home last fall, your honor.”
Judge: “Farmer Jones, have you been spreading manure on your fields this spring?”
Farmer Jones: “Your honor, I have always spread manure on my fields in the spring, just as my father, grandfather, and my great-grandfather did. It helps keep the soil healthy and saves me money on fertilizer.”
Judge: “I see. Just how long has that farm been in your family, Farmer Jones?”
Farmer Jones: “My family has been farming that land since the Civil War, sir. But it was great-granddad that switched from straight corn to dairy cattle close to 100 years ago.”
Judge: “So you and your family have been farming that land for over a 150 years? And you, Mr. Homeowner have been in your home for less than a year, correct? Case dismissed.”

Turtle Gets Braces

Well, it’s not his two front teeth but it’s still pretty neat.

Hermie, a 2-3 year-old turtle at the Thompson Park Zoo in Watertown, NY, had a defective lower beak so they got him some orthodontic work for Christmas. The little guy needs to have his lower and upper beak aligned so he can tear his food apart before swallowing.

Dr. Peter M. Virga, a Watertown dentist who along with veterinarian Jeffrey G. Baier performed the unique procedure.

I’m disappointed there are no pictures of Hermie with his red and green rubber bands.

UPDATE: Hermie has died of kidney failure.

Humans in northern Europe 700,000 years ago

The discovery of flint tools in northern England from “a time when England's climate was warm enough to be the home of lions, elephants and sabre-tooth tigers” indicates that humans at least visited the area 700,000 years ago.
Jim Rose, a professor at the University of London who also was involved in the study, said that 700,000 years ago England was still connected to the European mainland and enjoyed periods of balmy weather between the time that massive glaciers swept through the area, freezing and reforming the landscapes.

During such thaws, he said, early humans would have been able to migrate from the Mediterranean to England, where there were mild winters, flat landscapes and major rivers.

Rhinoceroses, elephants, sabre-tooth tigers, lions, hippopotamuses and bears lived in the area at the time. The scientists said they don't know whether the humans used the newly discovered tools to kill animals for food, or merely to scavenge from carcasses that predators left behind.

Now, why was it so warm back then? Global warming? The article doesn’t say as it focuses upon the surprising adaptability of early humans.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

RU Downs Black Bears

Rutgers R.small
The NJ Bear Hunt of 2005 ended last Saturday, but when the Scarlet Knights hosted the Maine Black Bears tonight you almost expected the Bear Hunt protesters to show up at mid-court. The Scarlet Knights took complete advantage of their guests and it wasn't pretty.

By half-time, RU had a 20 point lead, 52-32, and Quincy Douby had 19 points. Although Douby would slow down in the second half (he would eventually leave the game with nearly 5 minutes left and 22 points), RU kept up the pressure and opened the gap even further even when Coach Walters again emptied the bench.

The final score was Rutgers 91- Maine 56.

The Scarlet Knights improve to 8-2 while the Black bears drop to 3-7.

(Game Story and stats here.)

Next up: the Scarlet Knights host South Carolina State at the RAC Saturday night, December 17th with a 7:30 PM start.

Bill of Rights Adopted in 1791

On this day in 1791 Virginia became the last state to ratify the Bill of Rights. Virginia’s ratification created the three-fourths majority necessary to make the first ten amendments to the Constitution law.

Mistletoe Rustling?

There is this report (Sorry, I'd like to kiss you, but...) of mistletoe rustling in England that threatens the traditions of Druidism. Seems folks are taking the entire plants and not thinking of sustainable harvest techniques.

Actually, if you need the mistletoe to serve as an ice breaker and get a smooch out of some lass or laddie, you may want to think about this stuff instead. (Thanks to Parkway Rest Stop.)

Plump Penguins Parade

The Asahiyama Zoo has instituted an exercise program for their king penguin flock in an effort to keep them from gaining too much weight during the winter.
The zoo, on the northern island of Hokkaido, takes the penguins on strolls from December until April. The first walk of the season was Thursday.
Seems the penguins put on weight during the winter 'cause they are predisposed to just standing around in the cold.

I can empathize since I too put on some weight during the winter usually because of all the party food around the house and the inactivity of the season vis-a-vis football and college basketball on TV. No grass cutting, tree felling for firewood, or outdoor construction projects to keep me busy either. Like a bear, I tend to hibernate from December to March. Problem is, unlike a bear, I keep eating!

Rebels Deal RU First Loss

Rutgers R.small
The unranked Ole Miss Lady Rebels handed the No. 7 Scarlet Knights their first loss of the season, 67-57, Wednesday night behind the scoring of Armintie Price and Ashley Johnson. Both Price and Johnson rang up 22 points while teammate Ashley Awkward added 13 of her own.

The Lady Rebels led by as much as 13 in the second half but saw almost all of that lead disappear as the Knights pulled to within 3 points with just 3 minutes to play. The Rebels then went on an 8-1 run to open a 10-point lead at the 1:18 mark. They were 7-8 from the foul stripe in the final minute to put it away for good.

Cappie Poindexter led RU with 16 points.

Fouls played a big part in the game. RU was 10 for 15 from the free throw stripe while Ole Miss went 24 for 37.

Ole Miss is now 7-1 on the season while RU is 8-1.

Full story and stats here.

The Lady Knights next play an exhibition against St. Thomas Aquinas at the RAC on Sunday, December 18 at 2:00 PM. RU’s next regular season game will also be at the RAC on December 30 at 7 PM against Texas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


I came across a link to this video on Acidman’s Gut Rumbles. It just blows me away. 850 rounds in 1:45 WOW! — I want to be that triggerman just once!
"...and a whole pile of brass later."

Well, That Didn’t Take Long

Corzine ends his vow to leave gas tax alone

The Newark Star Ledger reports Governor-elect Corzine has put an increase of the NJ state gas tax back on the table as a means to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund. He does so in light of the $5 billion budget gap.

It doesn’t surprise me that he would go back on his word, but he should have been more honest to begin with.

Will he next stop pushing for all the expensive programs he talked about while he was campaigning for office?

Nah, didn’t think so.

But this quote in the last paragraph is promising:
"I would rather see the budget stay where it is or shrink, as opposed to grow in its red ink proportions," he said. Referring to the new spending, he added, "We're not in a mode of where we can afford it right now."

By the way, why is money collected via the gas tax going into the general fund and not the Transportation Trust Fund?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Rutgers Dominates,
Downs St. Thomas Aquinas 94-56

Rutgers R.small
Thirteen players scored for the Scarlet Knights with Quincy Douby getting 27 points in just 24 minutes. On defense, RU held the St. Thomas Aquinas Spartans to just 30.4 percent shooting from the floor.

While St. Thomas Aquinas was able to stay within 12 points at the half, RU exploded with a 17-4 start after the break.

Freshman Jaron Griffin scored a career high 13 points and sophomore forward Ollie Bailey 10 points in 11 minutes.

RU improves to 7-2.

Full story and stats here.

Next up for the Knights is Maine at the RAC on Thursday, Dec. 15.

Lady Knights Down Tigers

Rutgers R.small
The Scarlet Knights' women's team had to come from behind to defeat the Princeton Tigers on Sunday afternoon, 65-56. Cappie Poindexter scored 21 of her 25 points in the second half to lead the Lady Knights to a hard fought victory.

The Tigers held a two point lead at the half and opened a six point lead with less than a minutes gone in the second half. RU fought back and took the lead for good with 7:27 left in the game. The Tigers closed to within 4 points, (60-56) with 1:48 left but RU sophomore Essence Carson (14 points) made a huge block of Ali Pritchard’s three-point attempt, Pondexter drained a three of her own for RU and Kia Vaughn iced the game with a pair of free throws.

The Lady Knights improve to 8-0 on the season.

Full story and stats here.

RU heads to Mississippi to for an 8 PM tip off on Wednesday, December 14.

Battle of Fredricksburg

December 13, 1862

In 1862, General Ambrose Burnside in command of the Army of the Potomac attacked the entrenched position of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in Fredericksburg, VA. General Burnside had taken over the Union command when George McClellan was sent home by President Lincoln for not following up after the Battle of Antietam on September 17th.

Burnside’s crossing of the Rappahannock River at Fredricksburg was delayed several days when the pontoon bridges were not ready. This allowed the Confederates all the time they needed to fortify their positions along Marye's Heights above Fredericksburg. Burnside chose to attack anyway. The Union troops attacked Lee’s position 14 times and were repelled each and every one of them. It would be his last major battle as commander of the Army of the Potomac. The Yankees suffered 12,653 killed and wounded while Lee lost only 4,200. General Joseph Hooker replaced Burnside in January 1863.

This Day In History

Two Years Ago Today

December 13, 2003

Two years ago today US soldiers found the former dictator Saddam Hussein hiding in a hole nine miles outside his hometown of Tikrit.

My reaction: TWO YEARS and this guy is still sharing the same air as the rest of us?

Monday, December 12, 2005

This Day in History

December 12, 1787:
Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the new Constitution of the United States when two thirds of its representatives voted to accept.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

NFL Madness

I thought I might have to wait until next year to see both the Giants and Jets win on the same Sunday afternoon.

But then:
Oakland plays their second string QB for no particular reason and the Jets defense eats him up. AND despite Martin's plans for surgery on Monday, the Jets get two (2) touchdowns to go with four (4) field goals. (Did I mention the Jets had lots of great defense.)

Meanwhile, the Giants pull one out in overtime on a Feely field goal and despite their Manning having a so-so day.

Jets over the Raiders 26-10
Giants over the Eagles 26-23 in OT

PS Who's bright idea was it to schedule a night game in GREEN BAY in DECEMBER? Were they counting on Global Warming or something? 6 degrees at game time.

Rockefeller’s Treachery

I don't recall seeing much of this story in the US press or on the tube. It hasn't been widely reported on the web either so far as I can tell.
"I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq – that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11."

So spoke Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) on "Fox Sunday" on November 14, 2005, who at the time of his trip was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and is now its vice chairman.

The full story By Joan Swirsky is here. Once you've read it, you may wonder just WTF is going on in Washington. Between the CIA leaks from anonymous sources to the flat out comments that aide and abet he enemy, it is obvious that there is a concerted effort from groups within our borders to hinder the successful completion of our mission in Iraq.

In Rockefeller's case, he was speaking to heads of state in the Middle East about actions the US might take months before we went to war. Just how much did he tell them? Could this be why tractor trailers were seen fleeing Iraq for Syria months before the invasion? Why is he (Rockefeller) still sitting on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence?

Break up the 9th Circuit, Please

Court rules against Lolo National Forest

Sharon Sweeney, Lolo National Forest public affairs officer, said the agency was disappointed in the decision and at this point isn't sure how it will affect other watershed restoration work tied to the project.

Sweeney said it's been difficult for the Forest Service to keep up with the requirements of the court.

“The bar continues to rise,” she said Friday. “It's a concern as the court continues to get more involved in deciding what an EIS should look like.”

The Forest Service wanted to go in and thin out some of the old growth areas where fires ravaged 74,000 acres. They would be working on 4,600 acres. They had a 1900 page EIS, 150 maps and 20,000 pages of background information detailing what they wanted to do and why. The court (spit)), with one dessenter, said it wasn’t enough.
Justice Margaret McKeown, in a written dissent, said the court went too far in its decision to overturn the lower court.

While the 9th Circuit plays a critical role in the review process, McKeown said this time the decision crossed the line from administrative review to decision making. She chastised the majority view, saying the court shouldn't be in the business of deciding which Forest Service report was reliable or pass judgment on an employee's field notes.

“Apparently, we no longer simply determine whether the Forest Service's methodology involves a ‘hard look' through the use of ‘hard data,' but now are called upon to make fine-grained judgments of its worth,” she wrote.

“This view is contrary to the basic principle that we reverse agency decisions only if they are arbitrary and capricious. This standard of review does not direct us to literally dig in the dirt (or soil, as it were), get our fingernails dirty and flyspeck the agency's analysis.”

In this case, inaction or delay threatens the very species that the Ecology Center seeks to protect, said McKeown.

“The status quo is anything but stable,” she wrote. “The Forest Service presents uncontested evidence that the failure to treat old-growth areas risks the very harms feared by the Ecology Center.”

The 9th Circuit Court is known for its activism. It tends to write law instead of interpret the statutes in question before it. It needs to be revamped, soon.

Germany Declares War on US—in 1941

It was on this day, December 11, 1941, that Germany declared war upon the United States. Since Japan had bombed Pear Harbor four days earlier, Hitler knew it was a matter of time before Franklin D. Roosevelt would declare war upon the European members of the Axis that included Japan. Hitler also believed Japan to be much stronger than it was and figured they would handle the US and then could join the Reich in defeating the Russians.

Archeological Digs at Fort Drum, NY

Parts of Fort Drum sit on the edge of Glacial Lake Iroquois. Among other finds are an 11,000 year-old boat building site, a major Iroquois village and a Jesuit trading post from the 1600s. The four person team and their college student summer help have been busy folks up in the North Country.

Full article here.

'Don’t-Ask, Don’t-Tell', Law Schools and Federal Money

George Will’s op-ed, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Hypocrisy, in this Sunday’s Washington Post is an interesting read for its exposing of the entitlement mentality of the publicly funded law schools involved in the current case before the Supreme Court. They declare they should continue to receive federal money even while baring military recruiters from their campuses.

From reading the comments and questions asked by the Justices, it would seem they, the law schools, are doomed to failure on this one.
My favorite parts include:
… last week Chief Justice John Roberts said that "nobody" infers an academic institution's support for the views and policies of every employer allowed to recruit on campus. And as Justice Sandra Day O'Connor noted, schools are free to communicate their moral and political stances constantly. Certainly schools are not bashful about doing so. But the court has held that "students may not be regarded as closed-circuit recipients of only that which the [school] chooses to communicate."
Regarding the schools' theory that any conduct can be imbued with "communicative force," Justice Antonin Scalia wondered whether the schools might also justify banning military recruiters during a war the faculty disapproved of, because allowing the recruiters would be tantamount to the schools' endorsing the war.

Or because the professors object to the military's barring women from combat or using land mines. The possibilities are as numerous as the professors' reasons for interposing their moral sensibilities between Congress and its constitutional power to "raise and support armies."

Furthermore, more than four other justices probably share Scalia's incredulity concerning this implication of the schools' argument: When an individual or institution gives as a reason for violating the law the fact that he or it wants to send a message, the violation acquires First Amendment protection. By such reasoning, a school barring blacks from campus could say its conduct is infused with an expressive purpose, hence shielded by the First Amendment.
And there’s this final paragraph:
Today's schools bristle with moral principles that they urge upon the -- so they think -- benighted society beyond their gates. But as Roberts blandly reminded the schools regarding their desire to bar military recruiters: "You are perfectly free to do that, if you don't take the money."

Of course, Colleges and Universities have a “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” policy too. Theirs relates to the politics of faculty members, visitors or students. Should one be conservative, you better not espouse your beliefs or you’ll become the target of the “tolerant” Progressives on campus. It might result in a pie in the face, a firing or harassment so severe you need to leave.

NJ Bear Hunt, Part 4

The 2005 bear hunt is over in NJ and the preliminary numbers are in. As of 8:30 Saturday night 297 bear had been killed, a slight drop from the 2003 numbers. The decline is understandable given the near foot of snow that fell in the northwest corner of the state on Thursday night and the drop in permits issued this time round.

2005 Black Bear Hunting Season Information

The Star Ledger reports that six protesters were arrested at Wawayanda State Park when they left the area they were permitted to protest. Those against the hunt still think you can control the bears if you control the garbage.

"Unless you take care of the garbage, you can kill half the bears in this park and the other half would still get in our garbage," said Lynda Smith of the Bear Education and Resource Group, one of two anti-hunt organizations that failed to stop the hunt with a lawsuit last month.

They contend people, particularly those who do not secure household trash that attracts bears to human habitat, are to blame. Six of the marchers were arrested after they moved beyond an area of the park where they held a permit to demonstrate.

I’ve been witness to two bear break-ins up in the Adirondacks. Both took pace in the spring when the bears were coming out of hibernation and neither had anything to do with garbage. The first bear broke a window to enter the cabin of a neighbor before rampaging through the pantry and spilling canned goods all over. There was no garbage outside or inside the cabin. The second time, I interrupted a bear that had just broken a window to enter the same cabin. When I shouted and beeped my horn (I stayed in my vehicle not wanting to be injured and not having a rifle handy) the bear took off into the woods. Several cabins nearby have had to install electric fencing around the building and/or “bear welcome mats” (sheets of plywood with 16 penny nails point up) at the doors and windows.

I also know of at least one Boy Scout who was dragged, in his sleeping bag, from the lean-to in which he was sleeping in Sussex Co. No food or garbage there either. Luckily he had sense enough (and the size) to punch the bear in the nose and then radio for help when the bear backed off.

I’ve seen, in either the Ledger or the Daily Record, quotes from the protesters saying that no one eats bear meat, this is just a trophy hunt. This is plain wrong as every hunter the press has talked to has said he will be eating the meat and/or donating it to a food bank. Yeah, it is a “trophy” hunt in that you don’t get many chances to take a bear in NJ. This is only the second hunt in 35 years and being one of the less than 8% of permitted hunters to succeed in taking a bear is pretty special.

As for the two guys who shot bears but either 1-didn’t report the kill as required even though he had a permit and 2-didn’t have a permit, here’s hoping they get the maximum penalty the law allows including loss of all hunting privileges in NJ for life.

Have You Been Naughty or Nice?

Since time is running short and you may want to know if you need to make a few last minute adjustments to get on Santa’s good side, I present Santa’s Nice-o-Meter. Just fill in your name and click “Ask Santa” to find out which list you’re on.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Candidate for the Darwin Awards

16 year old shoots himself—by using a hammer on a .45 caliber bullet he found in his backyard.

Of course, this guy might qualify too:

Man tries to rob bank by phone

He didn’t get enough on his first robbery of the place, so he tries to order out! Jeesh, what a maroon!

Okay, How Many of You Can Say You’ve Done This?

Kangaroo killed by truck (wait for it) in WISCONSIN!

Apparently this is not an isolated little roo either:
But kangaroos hopping around southern Wisconsin are becoming an annual occurrence.

Last winter, a 130-pound kangaroo eluded Iowa County authorities for two days until he was finally corralled in a horsebarn on a farm south of Dodgeville.

This one only weighed in at 50 lbs. But then, I've seen deer smaller than that on some bumpers.

Just remember, them's good eatin'!

RU Drops a Physical Game
to Buffalo Bulls 62-53

Rutgers R.small
The 6-1 Scarlet Knights got off to a slow start against the 7-1 Buffalo Bulls team tonight falling behind by as many as 9 points before closing to a 1 point deficit 27-26 at the half. Marquis Webb (10 points) and Quincy Douby (13 points) were the only dependable scorers as RU struggled to develop any kind of inside game. Anthony Farmer was the only other scorer for RU with 3 points.

A 14-0 run spanning the half saw RU eventually jumping out to an early second half lead of 36-29 before the Bulls managed to crawl back. The Bulls had their own 10-2 run to retake the lead 39-38 as RU had little luck in the paint and had to battle some questionable officiated. RU went cold from the perimeter and Buffalo eventually moved to a 12-point lead with about a minute left. The final score was 62-53 as Buffalo improved to 8-1.

Buffalo Bulls Scoring:
Roderick Middleton 19 points
Calvin Cage 16 points
Parnell Smith 10 points

RU Scoring:
Quincy Douby 24 points
Marquis Webb 15 points
Anthony Farmer 7 points

Full story and stats here.

RU Coach Gary Waters, who had had a 7-0 record against Buffalo, was less than happy with the officiated.

RU (now 6-2) begins a 7 game home stand on Monday when St. Thomas Aquinas visits the RAC.

Treed By a Beaver

Pirate’s Cove (linked on the sidebar) had a post about being Chased by a Beaver. That led me to the original article out of Virginia. Seems a rabid beaver chased some folks around the park a bit before the animal control people showed up. The scary thing about the newspaper article is that there have been 22 cases of rabid animals in Orange County this year.
It is unusual to see a rabid herbivore like a beaver but his one seems to have been bitten by something else.

A number of years ago, four of us walked into a beaver pond north of Hunter Mountain, NY, to do some duck hunting. We walked in while it was still dark and set ourselves around the perimeter of the pond so we could ambush the ducks we expected to show up with first light. While it was still dark, one of the guys suddenly fired his shotgun. And then again. Since there were no calls for help, I stayed on post until it got light enough to see. (Don't want to sneak up on someone in the dark when you know he's got a shotgun.)

Upon investigation, I learned that he had been approached in the dark by a rabid raccoon. He shot it once at about 15 yards with the bird shot he had with him but it kept on coming so he had to shoot it again. He said the beast was growling and snuffling and popping its teeth like a miniature bear. Let me tell you, that can be very scary in the dark. And stink! I have never smelled an animal that stunk so bad! And that includes when I’ve had t dress out a deer whose stomach has been opened by a broadhead during the bow season.

New Jersey Bear Hunt, Part 3

Through Thursday, the NJDEP is reporting 264 bear killed in the 2005 Bear hunt. Although the hunting zone is the area north of I-78 and west of I-287, most of the bear have been taken north of I-80.

In the 2003 hunt a total of 328 bear were killed. That may be difficult to reach this year as we had between 8 and 10 inches of snow Thursday night into Friday morning. While snow may make tracking a bear easier, that kind of depth may also send the bears into their dens for the winter. I don’t imagine there was much activity on Friday but today is bright and sunny with a chance of temperatures reaching 40 degrees. It will be interesting to see what happens today, the final day of the hunt and of the regular firearms deer season. It is usually the second busiest day of the hunting season.

This Day in History

December 10, 1869: Wyoming granted the vote to women. With 6000 men and only 1000 women in residence the legislature passed the bill for the best of all reasons: “…they thought it would win the territory free national publicity and might attract more single marriageable women to the region.”

Lady Knights Down Old Dominion

Rutgers R.small
The 6/7th ranked Lady Knights, playing only their second home game of the season at the RAC, dominated Old Dominion Friday night 77-41, coming away with their seventh victory of the season. Cappie Pondexter lead the scoring with 26 points while Kia Vaughn dropped in 17 coming off the bench and Matee Ajavon added 13. The RU women are no 7-0 on the season.

The full story and stats can be seen here.

The Scarlet Knights will take on the Princeton Tigers Sunday afternoon trying to extend their unbeaten record.

Friday, December 09, 2005

128 mph Not 'Reckless'

At least that’s a ruling by a judge in Nebraska. The perp was a motorcyclist who was trying to flee from state troopers. I know that vast expanses of Nebraska are rural and that some highways in that state may be flat as a pancake and straight as a ruler…but 128 mph?

The judge said: "If you had had a passenger, there would be no question of conviction. If there had been other cars on the roadway, if you would've went into the wrong lane or anything, I would have convicted you."

I guess since the perp, one Jacob H. Carman aged 20, was the only one (beside the cop chasing him) who was in danger, the judge felt it was okay.

Martin fails to budge U.S.

Good. The Montreal meetings are just so much BS. 10,000 people fly in for a conference on conserving energy? What happened to tele-conferences? (Link)

And exactly why should the US listen to a man whose government recently received a “no confidence” vote and who is struggling to save his own political life—as corrupt and morally bankrupt as it has been.

Then there is this little gem at the bottom of the page:
On the election campaign trail, opposition leaders scoffed at Martin's environmental enthusiasm. Conservatives said Martin is campaigning in a Boeing 727, which they called "one of the world's ... most environmentally unfriendly aircraft."

Their leader, Stephen Harper, uses an Airbus 320 "widely respected for its low greenhouse gas emissions and noise control," they said.

"I guess that's something we could look at," Martin told reporters.

Yeah, Mr. Martin, I guess it is.

Cop Said to Taser Partner

But according to the gun control crowd, only cops should have guns because they are professionals. Right.

This guy cop tasered his female partner in Michigan. After an argument about a soft drink? You might say he was a soda jerk. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Story link.

And then there is this police Lieutenant in Ohio who tasered a 68 year –old Grandma—5 times! For resisting arrest while she was in the police station!

Former Pres. Clinton to Speak In Montreal: Why?

The AP reporter (whom I shall not name) piles it on about the former Pres. “championing” the 1997 Koyoto Protocols. But there is no bias here.
Yeah, William Jefferson Clinton “championed” it so well that he never sent it to Congress for ratification. Slick Willy wanted it both ways. He wanted to look like the “environmental President” while at the same time doing no harm to the economy that was chugging along nicely without much input from the Whitehouse. He knew that Kyoto was bad policy when he had AL Gore sign it and let it quietly lie on his desk for two years.

When Bush took over in 2000, straight talker that he is, he had the cajones to call a spade a spade when asked about Koyoto. For telling the truth, G.W.B. gets labeled the bad boy.

It's called Apophis. It's 390m wide.
And it could hit Earth in 31 years time

That’s the title of the article in Wednesday’s Guardian by Alok Jha. Reading it could scare the beejezus out of you, make you start planning to do some crazy things before it’s too late or look for a way off this rock.
Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer from Queen's University Belfast, said: "When it does pass close to us on April 13 2029, the Earth will deflect it and change its orbit. There's a small possibility that if it passes through a particular point in space, the so-called keyhole, ... the Earth's gravity will change things so that when it comes back around again in 2036, it will collide with us." The chance of Apophis passing through the keyhole, a 600-metre patch of space, is 1 in 5,500 based on current information.
So the odds are much, much better than winning the lottery, but they are still 1 in 5,500. I’d say it’s not time to panic. Especially when they are planning to do something about it.
The favoured method is also potentially the easiest - throwing a spacecraft at an asteroid to change its direction. Esa plans to test this idea with its Don Quixote mission, where two satellites will be sent to an asteroid. One of them, Hidalgo, will collide with the asteroid at high speed while the other, Sancho, will measure the change in the object's orbit.
Now that would be a cool job. Bumper cars in space. Smash and crash. Ooh boy!
But there is no time to waste. Even if the ultimate collision is predicted for 2036, the Smash&Crash would be best done in 2013 when Apophis is a leeeetle further away from Earth.
"It may be a decision in 2013 whether or not to go ahead with a full-blown mitigation mission, but we need to start planning it before 2013," said Prof Fitzsimmons. In 2029, astronomers will know for sure if Apophis will pose a threat in 2036. If the worst-case scenarios turn out to be true and the Earth is not prepared, it will be too late. "If we wait until 2029, it would seem unlikely that you'd be able to do anything about 2036," said Mr Yates

Then there is this more reassuring article in which the chance of astrophysical catastrophe is down played. (Although I note the lack of asteroids in their discussion.)

Rudolph Takes Care of Business

He's through playing games!
From Lucianne

Pigs Gone Wild

VA beaches are host to lots of visitors during the year but here is one that arrived way back in the 1600s and decided to stay—the pig. After all that time, the little porkers (they only reach 100 pounds or so unlike hogs that can go to half a ton) are suddenly a problem? What are they doing that is so bad?
tearing up sensitive beach lands with their tusks and threatening rare plants at Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge…
Feral hogs pose a public health threat because they are capable of carrying brucellosis and rabies. In Back Bay and False Cape, though, Duncan found no such diseases in any of the hogs he sampled between January and March.
Hey, at least they’re not breaking into homes the way NJ black bears are.

Could it be that in the past human hunting activities kept the numbers of pigs quite low and now that hunting is restrictive the populations are exploding?

Did I say exploding?
Duncan conducted a study in which all 16 female pigs that were examined were either pregnant or lactating. "When 100 percent of your sample is successfully breeding, that's an incredible sign that your population is doing quite well," he said.
Yeah, I’d say 100% pregnancy rate was indicative of an exploding population.
What is the remedy for this sudden increase in porcine rooters?
They include expanding annual hunts, trapping and removing some of the animals, and baiting and killing a certain number each year and donating the meat to homeless shelters….
For years, the preserves have allowed limited hunts to curb hog numbers. About 60 hunters participated in October's hunt.

The one disturbing thing in this report is that the authorities seem to have no idea as to the size of the population. How can they begin to implement a control program without a starting reference? I volunteer to go do some live trapping and population sampling if they want me. All I ask is to be able to keep every tenth piggy that comes my way. Make some wicked luau, man!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Men Cause Global Warming?

The Pillage Idiot has a post about how men cause global warming but women have to suffer the effects. Allow me to direct you over there so you can access the links regarding methane production in the two sexes as well. (Hint: It isn’t all the male’s fault.)

Back Pain is the Pits

Back in 1999 I had to have arthroscopic surgery on my lower back. The L3-L4 disc had ruptured and the fluid leaking out was pressing my right sciatic nerve making…well, everything painful. The bulge was removed and after a short period of rehab I was back to 100%

In 2001 the pain returned but this time on both the right and left. An MRI showed “something” on the anterior (inside) of the spine just 1 disc down at L2-L3. Surgery was scheduled but it would be more invasive. A partial laminectomy had to be done so the doctor could access the bulge, which turned out to be a cyst. Three days in the hospital, a few weeks at home and then weeks of physical therapy and I was again 100%.

In 2003 my left sciatic nerve began to act up so it was back to the doctor. A slight bulge at a herniated disc in the L4-L5 area was pressing against an irritated nerve. This in turn caused it to become more irritated and so on. No operation was necessary but there was also no “corrective cure” for the situation. I was given a steroid block, which allowed the nerve to stop being irritated. I needed no physical therapy for this. The bulge would remain and I might have a flare-up at any time. I was living with a time bomb.

It went off in September of 2005. At first I tried self-medicating with Aleve and it worked—for a while. Eventually it got to the point where the Aleve didn’t cut it any more, so I went back to the doctor who prescribed a Medrol pac. That, too, provided temporary relief. Today I went in to have a lumbar block. If it works as well as it did in 2003 I’ll be back to 100% soon.

So far I have three different disc problems in the lumbar area. Three out of four damaged discs. Not good.

Psst. He said “penis.”

Pirate's Cove (A wretched hive of scum and villainy) [love the sub title!] has posted a short video and the lyrics of The Penis Song! It is actually kind of cute—in a risqué kind of way. Go play the video.

Damn, Who Put That Here?

Any time you start a project in an old city you’re bound to make some interesting finds. When the new Federal Building was being constructed in lower Manhattan near Broadway and Canal, they found an old cemetery. It held up construction for a year as they excavated this archeological find and created a memorial to those buried there. [As an aside, a city isn’t necessary. When my son wanted to do his Eagle Project in Jockey Hollow (he was to realign a trail as part of the project) he came a cross an unusual pile of rocks. Since it might have been a chimney for one of the Revolutionary soldiers’ huts an archeologist had to be called. It took several months for them to determine it was not of importance.]

Apparently, a new subway tunnel under Battery Park ran into a wall. Riehl World View has the story and a link

Four Arrested for Harassing Bear Hunters

The Newark Star Ledger reports today that four bear activists were arrested at Wawayanda State Park in Sussex County when they tried to block bear hunters from going into the woods.
McHugh[NJDER-F&W spokesman] refused to discuss the involvement of the state park ranger, who other state authorities confirmed had accompanied the hunters. Activists said he was not wearing any identifying badges or patches, and had a knit mask pulled over his face.

"They had an undercover state ranger," said Lynda Smith, head of the BEAR Group. "Angi (Metler) called me and left a message early today. She said she was under arrest and that it was a setup."
And if he had a badge and a F&W coat on, you would have let them walk right on by and waited for another group of hunters to stick it to, wouldn’t you? Knit mask over his face? It was bloody cold out yesterday! Set up? Hardly. It will be interesting to see what the activists video camera had recorded.

NJ Bear Hunt, 2005, Part Two

UPDATE: Apparently the hunt numbers are right around where the Division of Fish and Wildlife expected them to be after two days. In 2003 approximately 350 bears were harvested with the majority taken on opening day and the second largest number taken on the following Saturday. This past Monday 136 bruins were taken and another 66 on Tuesday. (Monday opener and Saturday are the two days with the largest number of hunters in the woods and also the largest for the deer kill as well.)

One who has taken the bear seminar and gotten his permit has informed me that the target harvest is 25% of the tagged nuisance bears. (Apparently all nuisance bears are released in the hunt area during the year.) When that figure is reached, the hunt will be halted.

The number of nuisance (tagged) bears killed compared to the number known to have been released (assuming they didn’t high-tail it to NY, PA or the suburbs outside the hunt zone) can be compared to the total number of bears harvested to yield a value for the bear population in the hunt zone west of I-287 and north of I-78. It will be interesting to see what value they come up with when the hunt is over.

New MOS: Video Gamer?

Scott Adams (he of Dilbert fame) posted (”The Best and Worst Jobs”) about the coolness of being in today’s military. You can literally be a video gamer and blow stuff up. Then there’s the al-Qaida ops running from mud hut to mud hut….

I love this comment in Adams’ post:

i wonder if bin laden sends out @all to the entire al quaeda network everytime we kill #3? kind of like a big company. "praise allah, i'd like to announce that ali has left the organization for personal reasons. effective immediately, ahmed will assume all the duties of the #3 al quaeda leader. please give him a warm welcome to his new position, and give him your full support as we struggle to incite a global war. also, our united way campaign is about to kick off, and as usual, our #3 leader will be in charge of it."

and of course, *this* is what makes the #3 al quaeda job the worst job on earth - he has to run the united way campaign. being killed by a drone-fired missile is something they hope for!


“…should be arrested, exiled, or hanged.”

Silent Running (from one of those South Pacific countries, Australia or New Zealand where summer is about to start) has a brief post about Sen. Joe Lieberman’s call for a War Cabinet and a suggestion as to what it’s first order of business might be.
“Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged.”

At the very least, they should be voted out of office should they have the temerity to run for reelection.

It’s a damn shame the main stream press has fallen in with the left-wing of the Democratic Party and allowed these traitors to have a platform for so long.

Perhaps the pair of clowns shown in SR’s post is the reason Massachusetts was the only state to lose population last census.