Saturday, April 24, 2010

2944 Earth Day photos

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Facts do not cease to exist just because they are ignored.


From, 39 photos celebrating Earth Day.

This photo was truncated on the right by Blogger to fit the screen. Click on it to get the whole view.

"The Northern Lights appear above the ash plume of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano in the evening April 22, 2010. (REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)"

Friday, April 23, 2010

2943 Leaving the nest.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
-- Douglas Adams --


Piper and I made a quick trip to NJ today, to look at the house being built across the street from Daughter & Hercules, and to talk with the builder. The house has the sheetrock and kitchen cabinets in, doors hung, and so on, but not floors, toilets, bathroom stuff, counter tops and so on. So the builder took us to another house a few miles away that is almost done, using the same plans. Looked good. Piper was impressed.

On the drive home, we talked about it a bit, and halfway up the Garden State Parkway Piper called the builder and made an offer, they dickered a bit, and our offer was accepted.

I just bought a house in NJ. Ack! 2300 sq ft. Small lot. Contract will be drawn up next week. Daughter had given me the name and number of the lawyer she and Hercules had used when they bought their house, so I'll call him on Monday.

The house will be finished in about two months.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

2942 Jasper and the Mare Cam

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.
-- Douglas Adams --


This is Jasper:
Handsome fellow, isn't he?

In the three years I've known him, he has never once reacted to anything on the TV, or in a mirror. It's as if he doesn't see anything there.

But he's as fascinated as I am by the Mare Cam [], even though it's just blurry shades of gray. He keeps trying to catch himself a horse.


2941 The day's been shot

Thursday, April 22, 2010

In a democracy, people get the government they deserve.
-- Adlai Stevenson --


I was cleaning out the refrigerator and found an empty "vitaminwater" bottle. The stuff is full of sugar, so it must have been there for months, and I couldn't figure out why, until I read the label. I saved it because I wanted to comment on the label. Why I stuck it in the refrigerator, I don't know.

In its entirety (lack of capitalization preserved):
if you've had to use sick days because you've actually been sick then you're seriously missing out, my friends. see, the trick is to stay healthy and use sick days to just, um, not go in, and this combination of zinc and fortifying vitamins can help out with that and keep you healthy as a horse, so drink up.

remember, don't overdo it on the coughing and sniffling (big rookie mistake). just stick with the ever elusive "24-hour bug." the symptoms are vague and people will actually encourage you to stay home.

vitamins + water = all you need

made for
the center for responsible hydration (aka glaceau)
The first ingredient is water. The second and third are sugar and fructose. So much for "responsible" hydration. But that's not what annoys me the most. It's the slacker, play the system, ripoff attitude in that text. Even if it's supposed to be funny, it's still approval of the behavior. People who do stuff like that piss me off, like when the school system schedules in ten "snow days" as part of the spring vacation, and teachers schedule major vacation trips over those days, and then when we have five major snowstorms over the winter and the snow day buffer has been used up by what it was SUPPOSED to be for, the teachers act like their vacation has been taken away from them and it wasn't their fault, no fair, man! Duh?



Celeste, in stall #4, is still walking around in circles, between brief naps. The straw on the floor is swirled in a carousel circle. The note at the bottom of the screen says she is leaking colostrum ("wax"), which usually means delivery will be soon.

2940 Mare Cam 3

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I often think it's a pity that Noah and his party didn't miss the boat.
-- Mark Twain --


I think mare #4, Celeste, will be next. She's walking in circles, licking the sides of her belly, and rubbing against the walls. Not tossing her tail yet, though.

(Sometimes when you tune in, it looks like there's no signal, everything is so still. But watch the ears. They're just asleep, but the ears still flick.)


11:10 am - Now #3, Black Lace, is licking and rubbing. It could be an interesting afternoon.
11:19 am - Camera #4 just flipped to fullscreen. That means whoever is monitoring onsite has decided something is about to happen in that stall!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2939 Mare Cam 2

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds.
-- Albert Einstein --


Earlier today I mentioned the Mare Cam ( I had it up most of the evening, and I decided that the first mare to foal would be the white one, "Cloud 9", in window #2. She wasn't the furthest along, but she was acting funny. She was restless. She was flicking her tail a lot, and licking at her sides, and rubbing her rear against the walls. She was hungry and had her face in the food bin a lot, but was just throwing the food around, not eating.

At about 8:50 I brought up another window and answered some email. At 9:30 I went back to the mares, and found that stall #2 had gone to full screen. There was a foal in stall #2! It must have just been born. It looked like a little whippet dog lying there - all legs and ears. Mommy was sniffing and licking it.

A woman entered the stall and toweled the foal off, dried it with a hair dryer, put (probably) iodine on the cord stub, put food in the bin for Momma, and spread more straw. The mare is a good mother. This may not be her first. She licked, sniffed, nudged the foal every few seconds. She was hungry and dove into the food bin, but after every bite, she looked at and touched noses with the foal while she chewed.

A half hour or so later, the woman came back in and held up a sign to the camera: "FILLY". The little one was trying to stand, got her feet under her by about 9:45. Momma moved to present her udders, nudged the baby to the right spot, and the little one found a nipple. The woman gave a thumbs-up to the camera.

It's now 10:53, and the little filly has her feet more square under her, but is still wobbly walking. It looks like all that straw may be catching on her feet. She's nursing every few minutes.

Cloud 9 is a good momma.

Note - I knew these were miniature horses, and I was aware that of the four on the cameras, Cloud 9 seemed to be the smallest, but I didn't realize how small until the woman entered the stall. Cloud 9 doesn't come up to the woman's waist.


Later: It's now midnight, and two hours since the filly found a nipple, and I swear she's already doubled in bulk! She's gone from whippet to pit bull shaped in two hours! Getting a little broad in the beam there.

2938 Mare Cam

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

He who controls the present controls the past.
He who controls the past controls the future.
--Orwell --


Four miniature horse mares ready to give birth any day (based on gestation period of 320-360 days), at They are all certainly huge!

You can move the bar across the top of the viewer to make the picture larger.

It is a live feed, although the ladies are moving very little. I don't blame them.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2937 Crazy House Market

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The end move in politics is to pick up a gun.
--Buckminster Fuller --


Wow! What does Vancouver, BC, Canada have that makes it so desirable? Or at least makes the land/houses so expensive? Go to to find out what one million dollars will buy. (It's a test to determine whether you can tell the difference between a mansion and a crack house. It's mind-blowing.) They're talking about one million Canadian dollars, but the current exchange rate is almost dollar for dollar, so it's still one million.

I couldn't believe it, so I found a real estate listing site, and checked. At, sorted by lowest price to highest, the cheapest 1 bedroom "bachelor" condo in West Vancouver, 393 sq ft, is $240,000. You don't see two bedrooms and more than 700 sq ft until the $400,000 mark. And that's apartments, not houses.

At the $598,000 mark I found a large 5/6 bedroom house - the first - followed by more condos. I wondered what was wrong with the house that it should be so cheap, and found this little tickler: "Land lease is 10,200 yearly." Huh? No wonder.

I didn't see another freestanding house until $839,000.

So, ok, maybe West Vancouver is the ritzy area. It's near the ocean. Let's head inland to East Vancouver, at Ok, we can get a bachelor suite for $190,000, but prices go up rapidly. The fifth cheapest condo is $225,000. Not a lot better than West Vancouver.

Here's what $580,000, the cheapest house, will get you:
"Handy man special. Needs TLC. Mainly Land Value." They don't say how much land.

What is going on in Vancouver? Are the salaries commensurate? This is scary.

2936 I STILL hate winter!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Tis an ill wind that blows no minds."
-- Malaclypse the Younger --


Yesterday I marveled at the spring growth. It was 35 F degrees out there at 7:30 this morning. That's only three degrees above freezing.

I don't understand.

Actually, I remember Easters on Red Rock mountain, when I was in high school. We'd walk to the chapel on the base in a blizzard, through hip-deep snowdrifts, bundled in heavy coats over our Easter, spring, fluffy, cotton finery. (No spring flowers then. We'd still be hearing the boom of frozen tree trunks exploding in the forest.)

The chaplain told us it was silly to get so dressed up just because it was Easter, that we should wear our plain wool usual clothes. Dress for the weather, not the calendar.

He made sense.

Monday, April 19, 2010

2935 Biting off....

Monday, April 19, 2010

You're worth only the amount of bail people will pay for you.


I drove about an hour west today to have lunch with a friend. I was surprised at all the flowers and green leaves. We've exploded! I swear there wasn't so much going on only a few days ago.

Preparing for the trip to Morocco, searching for a new car, and looking into buying the house across from Daughter had eaten into available time since about mid-March, so I'd been neglecting the Meetup groups (now at 47 members each, with very little overlap). Today I scheduled two movies for the movie group, and a hike and dinner for the singles' group, and within 10 minutes of posting, I'd already had positive RSVPs. Next weekend and into Tuesday will be very full.

I may have started a problem with the western friend. He's very lonely way out there in the mountains, and I think he wants more romance than friendship. I never know how to handle stuff like that.

The local Mensa group is imploding. Personality clashes and some hurt feelings, and an effort (or more accurately the impression thereof) by one person who (has the power) to avoid the election due this fall by ignoring the schedule for announcements and nominations. People have been asking me to intervene, and I really really don't want to. On the other hand, I have the ability and the intimate knowledge of the Bylaws, so much against my desire to avoid conflict, I volunteered for the nominating committee, and I'll make the stupid election happen. I may regret this.

It's bad enough that people are looking into the national organization procedures for censure.

Nothing else much going on. Sheesh - I may have to move to New Jersey just to get out of this fouled nest.


Later: I have a message on my home phone from the person causing the Mensa problems mentioned above. She just wants to chat, but I really really really don't want to call her back. I don't know what to do.

Can I please move now?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

2934 Earrings, bonsai, and tea

There is a direct correlation between the size of the hoop earring and the sluttiness of the wearer.


Ever notice that most men love big hoop earrings? About the only earrings I've ever got male compliments on were either huge thick dangling hoops, or demure pink pearl buttons. Madonna or whore.


"Sunday Morning" did a story this morning on bonsai. I've never been a fan. Yes, they are lovely, and take you into a fairy land. But they make me very sad, because they are like old Chinese women hobbling on bound feet. They were never allowed to be what they want to be, what they were meant to be.


For a while now I've wanted to say something about the tea party (for a long time I called them "the tea baggers", and it wasn't until I asked someone why they used that term, "don't they know what it means to frat boys?" when I was told the proper name. I'm amused that no one had corrected me before) but I never knew quite what to say.

I do think the concept is a good one, a movement of ordinary people gathering to make their concerns known. Takes me back to the anti-war days. But their language, and the degree of misinformation disseminated is disturbing. Although so far the gatherings have not been violent, the incendiary language is, and that frightens and repels me.

Pres. Clinton seems to have said it best in a speech last Friday in Oklahoma City:
"What we learned from Oklahoma City is not that we should gag each other or that we should reduce our passion for the positions we hold - but that the words we use really do matter, because there's this vast echo chamber, and they go across space and they fall on the serious and the delirious alike. They fall on the connected and the unhinged alike[.]"
That's who scares me - the delirious and the unhinged.

"Sunday Morning" (or maybe it was "Face the Nation"? Whatever. I can't find it either place, but it's netted out here: outlined the demographics of the tea party this morning. They are overwhelmingly white, the majority are middle class, employed, gun owners, in other words, "the haves".

On a slightly different topic, I keep hearing that something like 70% of Americans are against health care reform, and yet in every venue at every opportunity, I have asked friends, acquaintances, and strangers, close to two hundred people by now, and so far I have found only one person against it, and he happens to be a Wall Street denizen and the most wealthy person I know. He's got his.

Either I don't know and never meet any ordinary people, or someone's lying.