Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hitting the Road

We are heading for Florida. Not that we don't like Michigan, but let's face it, 50 mph winds and 10 degrees of temp are easy things to leave behind for awhile.

BIRCHES will struggle to keep in touch but there will be stutters in the line of communication.

Giuliani voter?

Voter runs over man on way to polls
Jan. 30, 2008

APOLLO BEACH, Fla., Jan. 30 (UPI) -- An elderly Florida woman who got lost on her way to the polls ran over and killed a man who tried to give her directions at a golf club.

Valerie Green, 83, apparently hit the accelerator by mistake after shifting into reverse in the parking lot at the Apollo Beach Golf Club, the St. Petersburg Times reported. She hit Earl Hamm, 80, who was changing his shoes with his golfing partner, John Browning.

Green later said it felt like the car "was driving itself." The car, still in reverse, went across the street, dragging Hamm and hitting a carport.

"If someone would have told me I'd leave the house this morning and kill someone, I would never believe it," Green said.


Tuesday Evening Quiz - 01/29/08

All right, you're correct. This quiz is late. We've been extremely busy and tense here under the Birches. So, go ahead and crab about it if you want.

But let's see how good you are. Here are two bits of geography reflective of certain National Parks. If you're any good, you can figure out WHERE they are.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

There's a report now on ARBORETUM from the travelers in Australia

Evening in Paris

Monday, January 28, 2008

History Lesson #3

1865 - The Circular Church in Charleston, South Carolina after the Union had worked the town over.

Contemporary View -

ISP update

Charter Communications has cashed the check I threw at them through the little round talk-hole in their bullet-proof screen, so we are not yet off the internet. I am so pleased!

I should have known that money is something they would never have disdained.

Ping ping! Shooting

Nurse shoots intruder.
Gets a trial -- ?? -- for not killing the jerk!

Well, the nurse happens to be a Green Beret. CLICK HERE FOR THE WHOLE STORY

So, now, does this come in on the side of the gun-haters or the gun-huggers, or both? Neither?

Monday Morning friends report, Jan 28, 08


BILL from WNNCO - Tells us to remember that life is sexually transmitted.

MARSHA - says that the Republican primary election results prove that South Carolina isn't as dumb as everyone thinks.

BILL from WNNCO - says: "I find the political circus fascinating and mesmerizing . This is truly wonderful theatre. Unfortunately they do not focus, nor can they, on anything of real importance."

JERRY - sent this picture of the "Husband of the Year"

SANDY - forwarded a list of terms used by women with the real meanings of those words. For example, when a woman says 'FINE!' - "This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up."

SPARTY - noted this wondrous occurrence: "This year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the UnionAddress fall on the same day. It is an ironic juxtaposition: one involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence for prognostication.The other involves a groundhog.


JIM and MARILYN - are planning an Orlando vacation with children and grandchildren in the Spring. Lots of Disneyland, maybe?

IRISH MIKE and AMY - will be in Florida for spring break. In April? Ye gads! ... a long time to wait.

BUD and PAT - will be in Florida for February.

FELIX - has gone to visit relatives in the east and will be doing some winter hiking/camping. Says he: "Wish me to not freeze to death. I'll be in the Pittsfield-Great Barrington, MA area Mon-Wed and the Kent, CT-Bear Mt. NY area Wed-Fri if all goes well. Watch the news."

MARSHA - will go to the South Seas Islands in April.

ALICE - plans to fly to Tampa from Flint, MI, in mid-Feb. if the airline can ever stop changing her ticket. Three times in one week. What an industry!


DASHMANN - in thinking about the Michigan primary where the Democrats wrote off the state by punishing it for an early primary asks: "Why would the Democrats risk alienating voters in a state they have carried the last 5 Presidential elections with their actions concerning the primary?"

And obviously, that ALSO applies to Florida's primary this week. Says Dashmann: "Voters are hungry to support independent thinking candidates that don't always go with their party - ala "Profiles in Courage."

DASHMANN - also sent this exercise which you can use to measure how your opinions compare against the candidates. CLICK I tried it and thought the results were right.

GIGI - forwarded a story from the New York Times concerning an American who decided to visit all the state capitols, take pictures, talk to people, and write about his experiences. Well, then you run up against a lot of suspicions these days! CLICK
EXCERPT: "... he said, he would like to see his name removed from “the list,” or whatever it is that caused him to be repeatedly stopped and questioned. The journey ultimately left him wondering what it means to be American — and, more fundamentally, who he really was.

“What I thought would be an exercise in self-betterment turned out to be something a little bigger,” he said dryly."

CHRIS - points out that this time, the politician caught with his pants down is a Democrat: Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and that he's really in trouble because he may have committed perjury. Read about it here: CLICK

ALICE - notes the death of "Gordon B. Hinckley, the humble head of the Mormon church who added millions of new members and labored long to burnish the faith's image as a world religion." CLICK



Sunday, January 27, 2008

Update: Tasering revisited

I suppose you overly sensitive antitasering people are gonna get all uppity about this one, too. Such bleeding hearts!

Saint-Isidore, Quebec: 
Canadian Police tasered an unarmed man to subdue him when he was found in the bathroom of a Greyhound bus tearing the skin off his own head. 

Republican Humor (39)

"Monkey See, Monkey Do" 

(thanks to Bill from WNNCO)
Deanna Favre announced she will be the starting Quarterback for the Green Bay Packers next year. She has been married to Brett Favre for 16 years.

Deanna asserts that she is qualified to be starting QB because during the marriage she became familiar with the definition of a corner blitz, and is now completely comfortable with all other terminology of the Packers offense. A survey of Packers fans shows that 50% of those polled supported the move.

In an amazing parallel, Hillary Clinton makes the same claims as to why she is qualified to be President and 50% of Democrats polled agreed. 

Sunday silly Sites #10

As George W. Bush has so often remarked:

"The Internets represent a vast new eclectic frontier where our progeny are able to explore with unbounded enthusiasm. All of us, of whatever age or extraction are able to find in these labyrinthine perambulations, vast new empires of learning and enlightenment."

Well, that might not be an exact quote, but you get the gist of it. To be honest, our fact checker has done a little research, and what W actually said was: "Hey, you can play games on yer TV thing, did y'all know that?"

Here are some wonders I found. (Where someone else may have clued me in, I give them credit):

-Go here to pop some bubble wrap. Really! It's cool. Be sure to try "Manic mode" as well. click

-(Thanks to Jerry) Most powerful snowblower - 412 HP for your driveway. click

-Go here to find a Minyan in Detroit (or another city, for that matter). click

- The worst possible Elvis Impersonator (and a real bad videographer,too.) click

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wacko of the Week -- 01/26/08

Terri Lynn Land
Michigan Secretary of State
Has capriciously decided that
no illegal immigrants will be
driving in her state.


Don't get me wrong now. I know there are too many people driving. Most of the people I see on the road these days are a threat to me, I know that. And I don't appreciate the word "Gringo" being shouted at me anymore than the customary "You dumb Bastard!" I usually hear.

But wait a minute. Will the Canadians who can't have licenses just because they sneaked in be worse drivers than the people who were simply dropped here from out the much-abused wombs of crack mothers, and who thus have a right to a driving license?

Just wondering.

Will these people who now have no training in driving here and have not been tested to see if they're competent really be off the roads? Or will they do what every good red-blooded American does who loses his license: Drive anyway?

Do you suppose unlicensed Salvadorans flying around our roadways will be insured? Or do you need a license for that? Are we exchanging insured, tested and legal drivers for uninsured, untested, illegal ones? 'Splain that one to me, Terri Lynn.

If a guy from Pakistan can't drive a car, can he ride a bicycle any more safely? Are we going to take those away?

Well, you ARE our Secretary of State. You inherited a lot of money from a rich family and you turned Republican and became our duly elected law enforcement czar. Are we any safer with your new dictate? Hmm --- I think not. I believe you're Wacky! CLICK



Craley Pennsylvania

Practicing a form of sexual "enlightenment" he plugged his wife's titties into the wall and gave her a charge. This is a sure-fire cure for the romantic nonchalance that often creeps into marriage practices after some years. The same old, same old can get pretty dull.

Toby says she's always enjoyed these experiments. Next, perhaps, he was going to tie her to a kite and float her into a thunderstorm. Bail is set at $100,000.
click and click


SECOND RUNNER-UP - The unidentified 16-yr. old boy who wanted to fly a plane into Hanna Montana. Where do these kids get these strange ideas? He thought she was a place in the Western U.S., evidently.

By the way, The U.S. Air Force has identified the boy as one of their planes. This is being checked out by the skilled newsfolk at Fox. Former reports that he was a UFBO (Unidentified Flying Boy Object) have been discounted by the officials who say that was an unfortunate misstatement.

Jimmy Hoffa found

... seen on Mars

(cick on picture to enlarge)
Picture from THIS IS LONDON click

Friday, January 25, 2008

Republican Humor (38)

Some shrewd right-wing commentary on Barack Obama. Think what vistas will open up if he gets the nomination.

"I refer to him as B. Hussein Obama. He's half white and half black, half Christian and half Muslim and half atheist. Something there for every Democrat."
--Republican pundit, Ann Coulter

"I have a telegram from the White House. They're going to have to change the name of that building if Obama's elected."
--Republican fundraiser William R. Farr

" And it is true that Barack Obama is on the move. I don't know if it's true that President Bush called Musharraf and said, 'Why can't we catch this guy?' "
--Republican news commentator Roger Ailes

Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Shut the hell Up LIst" addition

JOHN GIBSON - Fox News. Disgusting. Cruel. Disrespectful.

Thursday Morning Smile-Maker (29)

(click on picture to enlarge it)

Report from Trase in Australia

Further north though, as well as to the south west of
us, there's been heaps of flooding. People are having
to be rescued by boat and helicopter. The scarier part
is that the people keep saying that it's not the flood
they should be worried about, but rather the snakes--
they are nasty, nasty things here. They have eight of
the ten most poisonous snakes in the world here in
Australia--- and most live in Queensland. Add that to
the whopping spiders, and countless things that will
kill you in the ocean, and it adds up to a really
scary place. Rest assured, we have yet to see any of
these things. Knock on wood.

FEEDBACK -- Thank You

Many thanks to the folks who added their thoughts about this election. I really appreciate the participation. I think it's very interesting what you all had to say.

DASHMANN - Did some research – I like what 'pretty boy' says—Would support an Obama – Edwards ticket. What are the chances?????

PAT - Did you notice that every time a news person refers to Hillary Clinton they just call her Hillary. When it's Barack Obama, they just say Obama. But with John Edwards, it's always the whole name. What does this suggest?

FELIX - The more of the 'process' I see, the less I like it. Now, tell me this....Why were the Nevada caucus results out ("Romney wins Nevada") at about 1 o'clock Nevada time?

MARSHA - I saw the Ron Paul blimp floating over town.

PAT - I just wonder who put up all those Mitt Romney signs all over Michigan.

SANDY - I cannot wait for Bush to be out of office, and I'll be happy as long as we have a Democrat for President (well, and a majority in both the Senate and the House would be nice)

SPARTY - I always swore I would never vote for another person with a Southern accent.

ANONYMOUS - seems like the only real human being is McCain. Everyone else is a political creature.

DEB - I just wonder if Hillary gets in, how much we'll have to put up with Bill.

GIGI - Turn off the TV and wake me up on election day.

DASHMANN- Did you see this ?? (Clinton sound asleep during a speech) A man after my own heart-

BILL - I find the political circus fascinating and mesmerizing . This is truly wonderful theatre. Unfortunately they do not focus, nor can they, on anything of real importance.

SPARTY - It seems that all those liberals in my group are for Kucinich. I say "But he can't win" and they say, "That's because people like you are always saying he can't win."

"If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves."
- Thomas A. Edison


Gold Stars awarded

SCOT - "It's a U.P. timber cart, used about 100 years ago. The log would be chained underneath the axle, slightly off the ground. The other end dragged on the ground."

TRASE - "Fine, smarty pants! I knew it too... you just got to it first... "

click on the pictures to enlarge these examples:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

See? We told you


All those people who said they saw UFO's over Texas on Jan 9 turn out to be crazy, just like BIRCHES told you.

The Air Force says they had 10 F-16's flying around there at the time. So, people mistook our planes for saucers from Jupiter or something. Foolish people.

Someone in the Air Force made a mistake and said there weren't any planes around there. When they said that, they were just funning y'all out there in Gila Monster land. It was a misstatement, or something like that. Now, we got it all straightened out. Occasionally, it takes a little while for the Air Force to figure out where its planes are. In this case, a mere two weeks. But, we got it right now, y'all.

See, BIRCHES told ya!

BIRCHES is providing you pictures for a comparison of the two types of craft. You can readily see why they would be confused. So, before you go making foolish police reports, check it out with us first.

history lesson #2

A Lesson in What We Can Do

1925: The town of Kempton, a coal mining community on the border of Maryland and W. Virginia.

1939: The grimness of Kempton is clear in this black-and-white photo from the Depression years. The pollution of the air, river, and land is on-going.

1960's: A view of the waterway, Laurel Run, and some of the surrounding countryside in the wake of the mining operation.

"Following closure of the Kempton #42 Mine in April of 1950, the site was abandoned and left in an inadequately reclaimed condition. Many of the abandoned surface support structures, including the tipple, rail siding, and other facilities were left in a state of disrepair and collapse, posing a severe threat to public health and safety. The vertical shafts, each in excess of 12 feet in diameter, and over 400 feet in depth, were inadequately sealed and left to deteriorate, posing an imminent threat to the public safety. Over 160,000 cubic yards of abandoned coal refuse had been dumped within the channel and floodplain of the North Branch of the Potomac, a designated American Heritage River, and also within the Kempton Glades, a designated Wetland of Special State Concern, destroying biologically unique wetlands and clogged the river with eroding and acidic sediment. Unauthorized dumping and disposal of industrial and residential waste at the site created further public health and safety concerns. Illegal burning of the residential waste and debris also posed a risk of combustion of the coal refuse.
Additionally, as the abandoned underground mine flooded, acid mine drainage (AMD) emanating from the entire 12.2 square mile mine complex began discharging from the abandoned ventilation air shaft and a nearby 18” diameter borehole, both located adjacent to Laurel Run. Combined drainage from the air shaft and borehole currently discharges an average of three and 3.5 million gallons per day of highly acidic AMD into Laurel Run and the Potomac River."

1998: What's left of the town's houses in our time. Compare with earlier pictures. and you can see they're the same houses. Only 7 remain.

Now: The countryside by Kempton after efforts to reclaim the area:

Relic of the Mining Company still standing:

Read more about it, here CLICK

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Nag! Nag! Nag!

"Here it is almost February. Get out there and take those Christmas lights down."

Tuesday Evening Quiz - 01/22/08

Anyone know what this is?

Recommended: Crying

Go listen to 2 great voices meet the challenge of a difficult melody.
You will smile.


Pigs Fly!

Go here to see a picture of Bush in a library. It may be the first and last time. CLICK

In all likelihood, however, you will get to see him still annoying children for years to come.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What good people do ---

Johnny Depp says thanks a million to hospital
January 16, 2008
London Daily Mail

LONDON - ACTOR Johnny Depp secretly visited London's Great Ormond St Hospital yesterday to donate a million pounds to thank staff for saving his daughter's life.

Depp arrived unexpectedly at the renowned children's hospital where eight-year-old Lily-Rose was treated last year when her kidneys failed.

Last week he invited five Great Ormond St doctors and nurses to the party for the London premiere of his film Sweeney Todd.

And unknown to the public, Depp spent four hours at the hospital telling bedtime stories to patients dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates Of The Caribbean.

Last March, Lily-Rose spent nine days at Great Ormond St when E.coli poisoning led to the failure of her kidneys.

She is said to have contracted the bug while staying with Depp, 43, and her mother Vanessa Paradis, 34, in Surrey while Depp was filming Sweeney Todd.

Monday Morning friends report, Jan 21, 08

It's easy to get the impression that people are sort of hunkered down right now. The weather has been very cold in mid Michigan.

But here are a few notes.


BRENDA and STEVE - The date is August 16, the place is Walhalla Michigan. The forecast is: superb!

FELIX - two things I've never understood, economics and the menstrual cycle.

BILL From WNNCO - "Gads it's cold!"

GIGI -recovering from a nasty cold.

IRISH MIKE: "I'm going cross country skiing."

DEB VAN - was in town for a visit and spread a lot of sunshine to people who hadn't seen her in a while.


from ALICE -
Here is your "Thought for the week," from San Francisco zoo director, Sam Singer: "'s not a good idea to drink, it's not a good idea to be high on dope, and it's not a good idea to taunt a man-eating tiger."

from SPARTY : Go read this editorial click which says that the U.S. has become an Empire in Decline" and gives evidence of this. Interesting and provocative. We would print at BIRCHES any comments you folks have on this.

"Electile Dysfunction": the inability to become aroused over any of the choices for president put forth by either party in the 2008 election year.

JERRY - This isn't a critter, it's a hand. It's been painted. Cool, huh? There are many more like it. You can see them here: click They are amazing!
MARSHA - sent this picture of the little dinghy in which she's going to be floating around French Polynesia. Unfortunately, she's also said that her trip is delayed until April.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Goodbye John Stewart

"For a wailin' song
and a good guitar,
the only things
that I understand, poor boy,
the only things that I understand."

LISTEN: click

and click

Sunday silly Sites #9

A person could spend hours and hours just wandering around the internet and discovering fascinating things. Here are some I found (except for one someone else found).

Go here to find out how to cook cats, sea otters, hedgehogs and sheep's penises in the medieval style (from cooking instructions of the time): click

(Thanks to Jerry for this) Go here to read "Every Rule of Thumb on Earth" click

Go here to find the right Colorado Dude Ranch for you and your family: click

Go here to find where to take your date in Mississauga, Ontario: click

Hey! Check it out. Look what they found in Australia! Who would-a-thunk it?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Quiz Awards

Stars to: Marsha, Scot, Alice, Pat.

1. Incan
2. Irish-Celt
3. Navajo
4. Pacific Coast Indian, Inuit
5. Mayan
6. Etruscan

News Flash!

Headline: US Fears Europe-based Terrorism

(from the BBC)- "One of the biggest threats to US security may now come from within Europe, US Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff has told the BBC. He said militant attacks and plots in Europe over recent years had made the US aware of the "real risk that Europe will become a platform for terrorists".
lugubrious face of chertoff



Now we have to invade Europe again.
Well, "If we don't fight 'em there, we'll have to fight 'em here."*

*so saith "The Decider"

Mama Goose returns to the BIRCHES

Another new version of the ant story:

Ant works hard all summer long, building a house and laying up supplies for the winter. He takes grass stalks from the yards of his neighbors, the crickets, who are much too polite to protest, and he fashions them into a lovely nest below ground. He finds that he can slip into the worm holes and take away the moist earth from the tunnels of the worms who are too languid to resist. He recruits small mites to carry the worms' mud under ground to pack around the interior of his nest to make it warm and safe. Then he kills the mites and stores them with his food larder.

Ant slips into the home across the yard and carries off the granules of sugar he finds in the people's sugar bowl. He eats some right there in the house, and shits on the table. He gets into the corn flakes box and chews up some tender morsels, leaving the rest exposed to summer humidity through the holes he has opened in the wrapping.

Then he goes off to the surrounding ant hills and tells all the others where to find some supplies for the winter. Soon, there is an army of ants parading into the home across the yard, carrying off the sugar, the flakes, the honey, and the chocolate.

MEANWHILE: Grasshopper thinks the ant is a criminal. He disdains the thievery. He laughs and dances and plays the summer away, sawing on the fiddle his father left him.

Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving. Grasshopper writes a folksy melody and some clever protest words which he plays and sings. This tends to make bystanders gather to applaud and harmonize and generally make loud merriment.

Alarmed, Ant calls the police. The police come and threaten Grasshopper with arrest for posing a clear and present danger to the tranquility of the community. They confiscate his fiddle because he has broken the noise curfew. The Anttolic priest appears and tells Grasshopper that coveting his neighbor's sugar is a sin. The local Republican Ant Party sends a lawyer to represent Ant. The lawyer explains that grasshoppers are notoriously communistic and unable to appreciate the entrepreneurialism of ants. If they had any ambition and honesty, grasshoppers would go out and swipe stuff, too.

Rush Antbaugh rants daily on his antennas about the decline of society. The Grasshoppers, he says, are destroying the fabric of society by expecting to be handed everything on a platter. They are different from the ants, because the ants earned what they have.

CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper. They knock on Ant's doors and repeatedly try to call him on the phone. But, the enterprising little ant has no reply. He has flown off to Aruba for the winter, catching a free flight on the back of an unsuspecting robin. He leaves his home and larder to sit peacefully, in storage, under the ground.

Meanwhile, Grasshopper starves to death.

MORAL OF THE STORY: In a purely capitalistic society, it does not pay to make music for free. Always charge! Plenty!