Friday, August 31, 2007

The Nature Conservancy

Go here to get details of the Nature Conservancy preserves in Michigan. CLICK

They're Coming To Take Me Away (File #3)

Bulldozer Driver Rams Police Station
By Associated Press
August 31, 2007

TROY, N.H. (Associated Press) - A man on a stolen bulldozer repeatedly rammed the town police station early Friday, tearing down large chunks of the front wall. Stanley Burt, 34, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief, reckless conduct with a deadly weapon and driving and probation violations.

Investigators said Burt stole the bulldozer from nearby Troy Mills. The police station and equipment inside, including the phone system, were heavily damaged.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


I'm sorry I wrote such a tough Tuesday quiz that my usual guessers can't answer it. One of you, at least, is going to feel pretty silly.

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker (12)

Just another day for a teacher ---

*click on picture to enlarge

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gary Varvel, The Indianapolis Star CLICK FOR VARVEL
Click on cartoon to enlarge

Soccer balls and Scarves

I note that when the Taleban released the female Korean hostages they had been holding, no doubt in the name of some god or other, they swaddled them in modest Islamic headcoverings. Now, never mind that the Koreans aren't Moslems and might be offended by this. But, these would be the very same fanatics who got their knickers all in a twist because some US troops, in a generous gesture, gave away free soccer balls to a bunch of kids and the soccer balls had a representation of the Saudi Arabian flag on them, and the Saudi flag has the Islamic sword and the word for "Allah" on it, and that isn't OK to the Taleban who think that writing the word for God is a huge sin.

When these matters are left to the religious crackpots to deal with, they will get screwed up. Doctrinaire followers of any religion seem to have a particular sensibility that makes them insensitive to the religious practices of others.

Millions will probably have to die over such little distinctions.

Here is a picture of the damned, sacrilegious, blasphemous ball. Curses! A thousand curses! Death!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tuesday Evening Quiz 08/28/07

Here are portions of the covers of four famous books. Name them. Or any of them!


There are a half-dozen jumping on places for the Saginaw Valley Rail Trail. Last Sunday, this was one of those points. So many people were using the trail --- and so many on bicycles --- that it was almost not a bucolic escape. Looks like we'll need more miles of it soon.

Puppy Love? Muskrat Love? Bear hugs? --- Nothing compared to a camel crush.

Australian Woman Killed By Amorous Camel

BRISBANE, Australia, Aug. 19, 2007

(AP) An Australian woman was killed by a pet camel given to her as a 60th birthday present after the animal apparently tried to have sex, police said Sunday.

The woman, whose name was not released, was killed Saturday at her family's sheep and cattle ranch near Mitchell, 350 miles west of the Queensland state capital Brisbane, state police Detective Senior Constable Craig Gregory said.

The 10-month-old male camel — weighing about 330 pounds — knocked the woman to the ground, lay on top of her, then exhibited what police suspect was mating behavior, Gregory said.

"I'd say it's probably been playing, or it may be even a sexual sort of thing," Gregory said, adding the camel almost suffocated the family's pet goat by straddling it on several occasions.

Camel expert Chris Hill said he had no doubt the camel's behavior was sexual.

Hill, who has offered camel rides to tourists for 20 years, said young camels are not aggressive, but can be dangerous if treated as pets without discipline.

The fate of the camel was not known.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Tigers 16 Yankees 0

Ordinarily, being a decent guy with some compassion for the downtrodden, I would feel badly for a team that was beaten 16-0. But, in the case of the Yankees, I think I will overcome my sense of generosity.


"Iraq is suffering about double the number of war-related deaths throughout the country compared with last year -- an average daily toll of 33 in 2006, and 62 so far this year." CLICK

Friends report addition: underwear

Dashmann asked me about the proposed law in Atlanta to ban clothing which showed underwear and bra straps. So, I turned the question back to him and that got me thinking it would be a good topic for the people to tussle with, so I asked many of my friends, and here's some of their answers:

THE QUESTION: What do you think about the fashion of showing your underwear, and should it be illegal?

DASHMANN: I understand what they’re trying to do, but it brings back memories of those lists of outmoded laws they used to print in Readers Digest.

PAT: I thought underwear was supposed to be 'under'. Some of these kids in school look so ridiculous.

STEVE: Old curmudgeon. Do we really want to go so far as to dictate how people wear their clothes? You can wear a bikini at the beach...or for that matter any kind of swimtrunks - it shows more skin than the kid in the picture... I think it's stupid to wear baggy pants and lots of other people think it's not. They will wear baggy pants for a while until it's been the norm so long people will wear pants above their belly buttons to be different. OR perhaps we should just all wear uniforms......maybe the uniforms should have little american flags sewn onto the arm....and we can all start marching in step.

JERRY: I’m a very simple person so my answer is very simple...
Ban underwear!

(Better yet, ban politicians who want to regulate morality.)

Aren’t there any parents left who can say, “No” to their kids?

ALICE: What should we do? Nothing! Everyone has the right
to chose to be as crazy looking as they like. I
choose not to have to look at all this any more than
necessary, just as I prefer not to listen to thepublic vulgarity ... Reducing to the
lowest common denominator seems to apply to humanity
as well as to mathamatics. ... I'd really rather see us work on
getting some important legislation
universal health care... and on, and on and on...

BILL FROM WNNCO:[ He found that there are two positive benefits of low-hanging pants]

If you have ever watched a person with the "low pants" syndrome run, you will be amused and astonished at how difficult this is to do. At least one hand is necessary to hold up the pants while trying to run. In addition, some of the people that display the "low pants" syndrome also have a tendency to run afoul of the law. With this in mind can you imagine how difficult it is to run with a television on your shoulder, stabilized with only one hand as the other hand is necessary to hold up the pants? These people will be easily captured by the law enforcement officials.

Additionally the "low pants" syndrome may have a tendancy to raise the IQ of the populace. Think about this for a moment. How intelligent can a person be that wants to endure the difficulty of having the pants at that level? With the possibility of low intelligence and the difficulty of moving with the impaired leg motion, these people may often trip and fall. The fall could be fatal causing an infitesimal increase in the IQ of the world. Not at all bad.

BINA: While I think the baggy pants, etc., are in very poor taste & should be regulated somehow in public---- I think jail time and/or $500 fine is definitely going overboard! Where are the parents? Or where were they when this all began? if they had curbed it right away, society wouldn't have to deal with it.

CHRIS: What happened to freedom of expression? As long as the guys and gals are not indecent (meaning they are not exposing their privates), then what is the harm in dressing with some underwear showing?

I can understand and would support a dress code in schools, but not a dress code when folks are on their own time. I don't want laws dictating to us what can and should be worn. Where will it stop? Are we next going to mandate shorts having a certain inseam length, perhaps ban tank tops, or require everyone to wear snowsuits?

There are more important and urgent problems facing this nation and world, we should be telling our city, county, state, and country elected officials to focus on those. We need to focus more attention on the war on terror.

BUD - I'm all for them showing all they want, especially the good looking ones. What doesn't titillate us can makes us laugh. As for me, for the benefit of all the world, I will keep it all covered as much as possible.

Monday morning friends report.

MARSHA: Is having eye surgery today. Best of luck for a perfect result! Our thoughts are truly with you. Besides, it will be nice to trust you behind the wheel again.

STEVE - has been reading Orwell's 1984 and asks this question: "Have any of you seen people blindly swallowing orthodoxy in our society, being told when to cheer or when to boo, or people who accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasp the enormity of what is demanded of them?"

[sounds like some of the Bush rallies I read about where "flacks" in the audience drown out dissent, and where people get arrested for the shirts they wear.]


Yesterday was a fabulous day in Mid Michigan, so a trip on the Rail-Trail was in order.

JIM - at 'planetary gears" is back from vacation in the U.P., his old stomping grounds. There's always something provocative on his blogsite.

FELIX: Sez it's boxes he's interested in, not 'Boxing."

ALICE: From what she reports, the task of being a teacher these days is almost impossible. In her school, the administration has said teachers and students must start wearing pedometers. This is because all other problems in education have apparently been solved, so everyone has time to consider how much they're moving. There is a huge teacher shortage developing in America, and kids, if you follow Bud's recommendations, you won't grow up to be one, either.

BINA - Says that we all need to see NO END IN SIGHT, a documentary which won a Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. It promises to tell the truth about Iraq War involvement by interviewing those in the know. See film preview here: CLICK

MIKE the Irishman - has been working on a big decision. We hear it's been made and will be announced soon.

BILL FROM WNNCO - sent this picture of the launching of a brand new $2.5 million yacht.

It does my heart good to sometimes see the experts screw up even worse than I do.

JIM and MARILYN - Have bought a new camper to see the country in. It's beautiful and so well laid out. They even have secret hiding places for carrying the grandchildren where they won't be able to make trouble.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

another win

THE US WOMEN'S SOCCER TEAM defeated Finland on Saturday 4-0. The score does not reflect how thoroughly the team dominated the game. Finland had no shots on goal.

In about two weeks, the US begins competition in the WOMEN'S WORLD CUP vs. N. Korea, Sept. 11.

The Boogie Man is Going to Die

News Item: (CNN) -- John Evander Couey was sentenced Friday to death for abducting, raping and killing a 9-year-old Florida girl, Jessica Lundsford, by burying her alive in 2005. CLICK

"Simply stated, civilized society recoils in horror at the image of the abject fear and terror that Jessica experienced in her final, conscious minutes of life." -- Judge Ric Howard

When I was little, every kid believed in the Boogie Man. He was someone who crept around in the night and stole children from their beds and killed them. Maybe he lived in your closet.

There really is a Boogie men (Boogeyman, Bogeyman) and this week, he was given a death sentence of his own.

The monster who kidnaped a nine year old girl, raped her and tortured her, and then buried her alive in a garbage bag, got a just sentence. While I am skeptical of the death penalty, and have gradually come to think that in general it's probably a bad idea, sometimes it seems perfectly deserved, as in the malicious torture of a child. The alternative would be to lock him away for the rest of his days in a place much worse than a closet. That would be OK, too.
Here is News for

1, those who believe that farting cows are the cause of global warming.

2. --or who believe that belching mooses are the cause.

Michigan Orchards

Here is where to find a list of apple orchards in Michigan. Some have cider mills. All have fruit that is locally grown. Sometime this autumn, make a visit.



Saturday, August 25, 2007

Wacko of the Week -- 08/25/07

Marine Drill Instructor Jerrod M. Glass

Charged with 225 counts of abusing recruits at the Marine Recruiting Depot in San Diego. Possibly the worst case of recruit abuse in history.

Story here: CLICK

Video report available here: CLICK

The charges speak for themselves.

"also rans" this week:
(less than fully wacky)

1. Nanu Ram Jogi

Who, at the age of 90, welcomed into the world his 21st child. Do you have any idea how old this gentleman will be when his kid graduates high school?



2. Captain Dan the Demon Dwarf

... a British dwarf who superglued his penis to a vacuum cleaner as part of a stage act. Surgery was required. Sorry No photo available of the vacuum cleaner.

One of the week's most quotable quotes: 'It was the most embarrassing moment of my life when I got wheeled into a packed A&E on a wheelchair with a Hoover attached to my willie..."

Recommended Viewing

HBO: The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib"

Remarkable documentary about the crimes committed under the duress of war - and under the force of orders from superiors - by Americans guarding the prisoners in Iraq.

*Reminder: What is done by some of us should not be attributed to all of us. And yet, it goes on in our name.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Corporate Child Molesters

*Click on the cartoon to see it larger.[Joel Pett, USA Today, SLATE]
The more I think about these damned American toy companies, the more incensed I get.

You want to know what they think of children? They think children should be manufacturing their toys cheaply in some other country, deprived of fundamental working rights, deprived of their childhoods, deprived of their health and education.

That's what the bastards think of children.

If it were not so, it would not be so.

I am not talking about the Chinese people in these companies, I'm talking about the Americans: American business executives who pretend they don't know how the stuff they market is made, that they don't know what it's made of, that they don't know it is unsafe.

Why have the deregulation of big corporations and the dropping of OSHA standards and the laying off of inspectors not been good ideas? Because capitalist corporations have often been, in history, leeches and thugs. When they aren't pillaging our people, they're out pillaging the world.

They must be constantly watched. In principle, there is nothing wrong with profit motive or innovation or private enterprise, so long as it is regulated.

I'm sure these companies would like nothing better than to see the blame laid at the feet of the Chinese. But when you put into the chain of commerce a product intended for the American people, you have a responsibility for its safety and the environment in which it was made. Not some foreigner, you!

We should be reading stories like this about the executives at American toy companies:


The boss of a Chinese toy firm involved in a huge safety recall has committed suicide, Chinese media has said.
Zhang Shuhong, who co-owned the Lee Der Toy Company, was reportedly found dead at his factory in southern China.
About 1.5 million toys made for Fisher Price, a subsidiary of US giant Mattel, were withdrawn from sale earlier this month. Many were made by Lee Der.

Read a story from UPI about Child Labor and working conditions in Chinese toy industry: click

Gold Star Awards

Alice would like it to be noted that she actually beat Dashmann this time. But both of them independently arrived at the right answer for the Tuesday Quiz: Springfield, Kentucky.

Glenn McCoy Slate
Click on cartoon to enlarge


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bush pardons Vick

READ THE STORY at "Unconfirmed Sources" HERE

Excerpt: "The president feels that Mr. Vick and the NFL have suffered enough, and that the loss of his career should be punishment enough."

* Cartoon by Bob Gorrell CLICK

would I lie?

Honest, this is an actual conversation reported to us by secret sources. Honest! Would we lie?
"I'm thinking of renaming the United States. I'm going to call it the Kingdom of America."

"I'm sorry Mr. President, you can't do that. In order to be a kingdom, there must be a king in charge."

"Then I guess I'll rename it Empire of America."

"Again Mr. President, to be an empire, there must be an emperor in charge."

"Don't worry George. It's perfect as a country."

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker (11)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Man defends US with handgun

A security guard in Washington DC, practicing the skills he was taught in anti-terrorism training, grabbed his handgun, stripped off all his clothes, and began shooting at Al Qaida.

COMMENT: This is how the country will be defended, my friends, not by all that army and navy stuff, but with Guns in the hands of good Americans willing to fight and die for the cause.

EXCERPT: Naked Security Officer Shoots at Coworkers

Tuesday, 21 Aug 2007, 5:36 PM EDT

"DC Special Police officer Donald Cardwell is accused of firing his gun at fellow officers Sunday while on duty at the Blue Plains impound lot in Southwest Washongton DC. Police are investigating a bizarre incident that involves a naked security officer shooting at his co-workers.

DC Special Police officer Donald Cardwell is accused of firing his gun at fellow officers Sunday while on duty at the Blue Plains impound lot in Southwest.

Shortly after being handed his service weapon for work, Cardwell fired two shots into the ground before stripping his uniform off and firing at two fellow officers. Police say as he began shooting, he repeatedly shouted "Al Qaida."


noted, without comment

"I'm going to try to see if I can remember as much to make it sound like I'm smart on the subject."

we doubt it ...

This is the story, briefly:

Iran to produce new 1-ton smart bomb
TEHRAN, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Iranian defense officials said Wednesday the country is set for full production of an Iranian-developed 2,000-pound smart bomb.

A statement released in Tehran said manufacturing would begin Monday to mark the national observation of Government Week, the Fars news agency reported.

The statement said few other countries have such a bomb with an intelligent guidance system and that it had performed well in test-firings from F-4 and F-5 fighter aircraft.


So I consulted my foreign policy and military policy advisers and this is what they said:

HENRY KISSAGERM: It would be one of the few smart things in Iran since the wackos took over. It'll never happen.

ZBIGNIEW BREWSTER: There's no such thing as a smart bomb. The cleverest one is an idiot savant.

MADALYN ALLWET: The best they could do is drop it on their own cities.

DONALD RUMSALOT: The last time they ever were successful in war, Xerxes was king.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Light Through the Leaves

"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."
- Peter F. Drucker

Monday Morning friends report.

[What some friends and family are doing, thinking, or saying]

PAT - (with some of her kin) is off to Shipshewanna to inventory this summer's line of junk and see what she can't live without. That usually includes wash cloths.

MARSHA - had her house invaded by a 'possum. It apparently got in through the kitty door and went to hide. She had to call an expert to get the thing evicted.

ALICE - is preparing for another year in the classroom by keeping herself as busy as possible doing all kinds of things that aren't anything like teaching ... such as canning tomatoes and enjoying one of the busiest social lives in the county.

SPARTY - sent a reference to a New York Times article which discusses the dictatorial nature of this government of ours. Lawyers for the President are still arguing they have a right to anything they want in order to defend the country, despite what Congress may say.

FELIX - has taken up boxing.

MIKE CARROLL almost from Carrollton - sent this picture and noted that water sports are not necessarily for everyone.

I call it, "Moon Over the Ozarks"

I asked some of my friends whether they could trestify to Posh Spice's talents. Is she really a singer or does she just help Beckham with his balls? Here are some answers:

JERRY: I’ve heard Paris Hilton try to swing
And I’ve seen her being fokkered
I’ve never heard Posh Spice sing
But I’d like to see her soccered

[this has to be considered a gold start effort]

SCOT; Well, she has a variety of talents, including successfully filling leather hotpants, but I'm not aware of any real talents worthy of being a star of stage or screen.

LARRY: I don't know if she can sing, but she must be able to hum. (This agrees with the second part of your question.)

MARTY: Maybe she's good at juggling and kicking them.

CRAWFORD: Oh, for cryin' out loud.

BILL FROM WNNCO: I am very unfamiliar with Posh Spice. I know that none of her music would be familiar to me, however I am uncertain about the present market for soccer balls on e-Bay so her interest in Beckham's Balls is another area of unfamilarity for me.

IT'S REALLY GREAT to have such clever friends ... Thanks everyone!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

“Good on ya Kevin..."

The aspiring Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, is not simply a Christian and a gentleman, he is an erstwhile Good Time Charlie.

He has admitted that in 2003, he went to a strip club in New York with some dipolomatic buddies, but he cannot remember exactly what happened there because he was too drunk.

Some say he was thrown out for "inappropriate behavior." CLICK FOR STORY Frankly, we don't know what inappropriate behavior could be in a den of inquity, so we doubt that part of the story.

Pubic opinion seems to be split on whether this will damage his chances of being elected. Prior to this dislosure, he was leading the polling by a large number. CLICK FOR PUBLIC OPINION

Most of us who frequent this blog are Americans, but there is a lovely lady from Australia who contributes quite often. We're hoping to hear from her soon. As Americans, we can sympathize with the dilemma this brings to your nation, because we also have a President with a shaky past. He didn't just go to a strip club, he was a coke-head, a habitual drunk and a general wastrel in his prime. Of course, our guy admits nothing. Like he says, "I don't want to talk about what I may or may not have done."

As you can see, it hasn't done him any harm.

another Dean annoys him

It did occur to me back then, when Katrina hit New Orleans, that it would have been much better if it had hit Houston. The Federal government would have reacted more responsibly and done a better job if the people being attacked were from George Bush's home state.

Whether it is Scooter Libby or the red states or the interests of business people, Bush takes care of his own, and he cares only peripherally about those who are not his own. I suspect he cares about them like he cares about "sinners" -- in the abstract. I would be like that, too, if I were a holder of great power. This is one more reason why it's a good thing I'm a nobody.

Anyway, this story does not surprise me at all:

Bush declares emergency in Texas
CRAWFORD, Texas, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- President George W. Bush Saturday declared a state of emergency in Texas, days before Hurricane Dean was projected to strike the Gulf Coast.

Bush ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response to the hurricane, effective Aug. 17. The order authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide assistance for emergency efforts in 32 Texas counties.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Rampaging Orcs?

Headline: Bottle bombs rattle New Zealand city

Update: apology,0,4979021.story

Lawmaker Apologizes for Muslim Remarks
By TODD DVORAK Associated Press Writer

BOISE, Idaho
Rep. Bill Sali has apologized to a Muslim colleague for remarks suggesting the nation's founders never intended for Muslims to serve in Congress.

In an Aug. 8 interview with the conservative Christian-based American Family News Network, Sali also questioned the wisdom of Senate leaders, who last month invited a Hindu clergyman to give the morning prayer in the chamber.

COMMENT: Evidently there is still no apology for the Hindu reference.

Wacko of the Week -- 08/18/07

KASEY KAZEE: He tried to rob a liquor store dressed like this:

When arrested he said, "It wasn't me." A jury will have to tussle with that tough question, but this is a police photograph and it will be pretty good evidence.

By the way, he was apprehended by the owner with a baseball bat -- wrapped in duct tape.

But Kazee (look, I refuse to make the obvious joke with his last name!) was not the only creative madman running loose. It was only a week earlier that another Wacko, James Coldwell, tried to rob a New Hampshire bank disguised as a tree. Yes, he used branches and duct tape. They say he was caught leafing the scene. CLICK FOR STORY
Other recent notable efforts include disguises as:




Friday, August 17, 2007

a triumph of self defense

It's hard to see how this could have turned out any better.

Police: 2 Neighbors Killed Each Other
Associated Press
9:12 AM EDT,
August 17, 2007

ANDERSONVILLE, Ind. - Two neighbors in rural eastern Indiana apparently shot and killed each other during a dispute, police said.

Heather Steele, 29, was found dead Thursday morning of an apparent gunshot wound, Indiana State Police Sgt. Noel Houze Jr., said.

The body of Albert Cummins, 64, was found dead outside of his home a short distance away. "They just shot each other in an exchange of gunfire and both of them died of fatal gunshot wounds," Houze said.

Recommended Reading

Highly recommended:

THE DARK SIDE by David Owen in New Yorker August 20, 2007 edition, page 28.

Read an abstract online HERE

Discusses what we are missing by lighting things up too much at night ... and how we actually encourage accidents and criminal activities while spoiling the world of darkness.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Yankee doodles

What a great thrill it is to watch the Yankees play baseball, each man stalking imperiously to the plate, each face unmarred by even the slightest sign of humility. No one bearing the burden of being an ordinary wage earner.

And what a greater thrill it is to watch them go down in flames, smirking, as they did tonight, 8-5.

Gold Star awarded ...

DASHMANN got the answers to Tuesday's quiz. You gotta be really old to know all of these. :)

George Raft
Victor Mature
Eddie Cantor

I think I should buy you a beer, Bub, but with George Raft, probably whiskey on the rocks would be more appropriate.

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker (10)

Today is our coffee clatch morning. For one reason or another, we've missed the past couple, but this morning, I'll be there in splendor.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


This made me snicker a lot!

E. Lansing, August 2007

Believe it or don't believe it, these people were having a great time at the Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing on Saturday. Every year, people gather to hear the music, eat the food, and cook in the sun. What could be better?

Here is Henry Butler, wailing some New Orleans blues.

*Pictures by Cole

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

We're glad you're dead

I heard on the news this morning that Heinz Barth is dead. He was a Nazi war criminal who makes us hope there is a hell just for him. A very bad man is gone. CLICK

Tuesday Evening Quiz 08/14/07

WHO Are these black-hatted gents from the video past?