Thursday, June 30, 2005

id check

Here ya go, here's my ID.

If you are a Flickr user, make your own badge here.

goodbye, sweet grumpus

I've been neglecting my reading of blogs this week, so I only just read the sad news. Edloe, the portly feline star of This Blog Is Full Of Crap passed away on Tuesday.

Laurence, to you and your wife, I offer my deepest sympathies. As one who has lost a beloved kitty, I have an idea of what you both are going through, and tears have been shed in this house in her memory. Be comforted by the fact that she was not alone, that you and your wife were with her in her last moments.

To Edloe -

May Bast guide your spirit to the Summerlands,
May your spirit find peace eternal,
Your journey has only just begun.
For death is not the end of our journey,
It is simply a resting point before moving on.
Even as you are parted from those who loved you,
All of you will meet once again.

As we all part, we will meet again. Fare thee well, Edloe.

giving a cat a bath, round 2

This time, I'm not the one giving the bath, nor are any of my cats involved, so there is much less bloodshed involved than the last time I gave a cat a bath. This time the victim stinky kitty was Maleficent. While I was not present for the actual bathing process, I did get a good look at the outcome.

You, with the camera! I would claw your eyes out for witnessing this humiliation, if I had any claws left.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Flickr has stopped having it's seizure, so pretty pictures will resume. And no fear, I will go back and add the shots of Madison County Lake.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

more byzantine legends

Continuing my musings on the Fall of Constantinople, and the legends surround the final days of the city, I present to you another legend of holy miracles, and unfulfilled prophecies.

Once the City's walls were breached, and Ottoman soldiers were pouring into the City, the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire himself, Constantine Palaeologus, fought amoung the soldiers, charged into the oncoming wave of enemy soldiers, and presumably died on the ramparts. However, his body was never found, even though his Imperial Insignia was found. It is said that an Angel came down from Heaven, changing Constantine Palaeologus into marble and hidden from the Ottomans. When the time comes (presumably when Constantinople is once again a Christian City) Constantine Palaeologus will be changed back into flesh and bone, be ressurected to lead the City once again.

They took the City, they took it, took Salonica
They took St. Sofia, too, the great monastery
Which has three-hundred semandra and sixty two bells...
For each bell a priest, for each priest a deacon.
Near the time the Sacred Vessels come out, and the king of all...

A dove came down from heavens: Stop the
Cherubic, and lower the Sacred Vessels,
Priests, take the Sacramental and you candles blow out...
For it is the will of God the City should fall to the Turks...

Our Lady was disturbed and the icons tearful.
Hush, Our Lady and you, icons weep not,
With the passing of years and in time she'll be yours again.

-Greek folk song

This folk song touches on the other two legends I wrote about in my previous post. And since I know how much you all like my photos...

Emperor Constantine Palaeologus, the last Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, who died May 29, 1453 defending the city among his soldiers.

The Imperial Flag which was also the Flag of Constantinople


Flickr is still having some sort of fit, so still no pics, and I'm forced to (gasp) blog without pictures. Which is going to be kinda hard since I was exhausted from my visit from my parents I ended up sleeping for about 16 straight hours. Oh, yeah, that's interesting material to write about. Fell asleep around 1am watching TV in my recliner, with my laptop in my lap, hands in typing position. Woke up at 6am when my husband got up to go to work. Turned off TV, got in bed, surfed the internet for an hour, went back to sleep, woke up at 5 pm. Yep real exciting stuff there.

around alabama

My parents made the great journey from Indiana to Alabama to visit for a few days, so I decided that I did have better things to do than take photos.

Looking north toward the source of Madison County Lake, which is a resevoir created for recreational use.

Looking from the fishing pier east, across the lake to a small cove nestled among the trees

A fallen and bleached tree on the eastern edge of the lake

A Monkeyflower bloom among a patch of Monkeyflower growing in a marshy area at the edge of the lake.

There were supposed to be a bunch of pictures of a lake, some mountains, and flowers that I took while we were all at Madison County Lake, but Flickr is having a fit, so no pics until it decides to stop having a fit.
Update 6/29 - Flickr is over it's fit, so obviously there are now pics.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

carnival of the cats #66

It's Sunday night, which means Lab Kat is hosting this week's edition of the Carnival of the Cats, with no payments and no interest for 12 months (with approved credit). Be sure to head on over while there's still a great selection of links to choose from before they all disappear.

Friday, June 24, 2005

friday cat blogging

Continuing the cats on 'nip Friday Cat Blogging theme, Noah and Eep engaged in a life or...munchies struggle for control of the catnip box.

Noah and Eep face off in preparation of impending doom.


The face-off ends with an itch and a need for water.

baby thrashers, week 2

The thrasher chicks are now one week old, and have almost doubled in size.

Their eyes have opened, one was looking at me, then decided to go back to sleep. I didn't get any pics of them with their eyes open.

The adult brown thrasher, Toxostoma rufum (had to slip the Latin name in here somewhere), was less than thrilled with me taking photos of the chicks. I even experienced a low flying thrasher in my hair, fortunately it was a dry run, until I moved away from the nest area.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

tonight's moon

Since I couldn't get a pic of the full moon last night, I was able to get a picture of the nearly full moon tonight.

That's the actual color it was when I took the photo, a deep orange-red. When I was growing up, I sometimes heard this called a Blood Moon, and was considered by some to be unlucky.


Why is it that every time I eat, I get a case of the hiccups? This is something new, started in the past few weeks. But it's annoying as hell. OK, that's my bitch for the day.

sunrise on the summer solstice

Yes, I dragged my sorry butt out of bed to watch the sunrise on the morning of the summer solstice, Litha, or whatever you may prefer to call it.

The first glimmerings of sunrise, through the clouds and fog.

The first rays of light, shining from behind the clouds.

The sun continues to rise, and the clouds thin even more.

The remnants of thunderstorms that came through the night before.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

great links for solar/lunar data

I'm about to reveal some of my secrets here, some of my sources where I learn about interesting celestial events before they're a footnote on the 6 o'clock news.

U.S. Naval Observatory, Astromical Applications Department - The Data Services page has all sorts of astronomical calculators, including a Sun and Moon Data generator for any day.

An example of the data generated, for today:

Sun and Moon Data for One Day

The following information is provided for Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama (longitude W86.6, latitude N34.7):

21 June 2005 Central Daylight Time

Begin civil twilight 5:04 a.m.
Sunrise 5:34 a.m.
Sun transit 12:48 p.m.
Sunset 8:03 p.m.
End civil twilight 8:32 p.m.

Moonrise 6:56 p.m. on preceding day
Moon transit 11:47 p.m. on preceding day
Moonset 4:35 a.m.
Moonrise 8:08 p.m.
Moonset 5:37 a.m. on following day

Full Moon on 21 June 2005 at 11:14 p.m. Central Daylight Time.

A transit of either the sun or moon, is when it is at it's apex along it's path that day, at it's highest point. - Sun, Moon, and Stars: Movement of the Heavenly Bodies, June 2005 - lots of animations explaining the seasons, what a solstice is, and calendars of astronomical events

merry summer solstice

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, today is the Summer Solstice, or Litha if you prefer the Celtic name, the longest day of the year. Today, sunrise is at 5:34am and sunset is at 8:03PM. That means that the sun will be above the horizon for 14 hours and 29 minutes, at the latitude I am at, 34.7 degrees N, with much more daylight before and after actual sunrise and sunset.

If that wasn't enough, it is also the full moon. Moonrise is at 8:09PM, just 6 minutes after the sun sets. The June full moon is known by several names, including: Full Strawberry Moon, Full Rose Moon, Full Hot Moon.

Sunrise at Stonehenge at the 2005 Summer Solstice. (Yes, today) Since the sun rises 6 hours earlier at Stonehenge than in Alabama, there are already some pics of the event online.

If you happen to be in the Southern Hemisphere, then today is your Winter Solstice. Yep, we're hoarding the sun up here in the North. Oh, the Celtic name for the Winter Solstice is Yule, as a note of trivia.

Monday, June 20, 2005

we have babies

The Brown Thrasher, Toxostoma rufum, eggs have hatched, and there are 3 apparently healthy hatchlings.

They are so young that they don't make any noise, nor have their eyes opened yet. I'm estimating they are 2-3 days old in these photos.

The top chick heard me rustle the brush pile and thought I had food.

One of the parents, perched nearby watching me.

I did not realize both parents help care for the chicks until I had 2 thrashers watching my every move, fussing at me from time to time. Both kept a wary distance, but did not seem to be too agitated. Perhaps they sensed I meant their babies no harm.

movie spiders

I'm sitting here watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and after having watched the Lord of the Rings Trilogy many, many, times, I started to wonder, which is the scarier film spider? The poll is for as depicted on screen, not as you imagined. If your imagination differs from what was portrayed on screen, share your thoughts in the comments. So, without further ado, here is the first ever poll on The Oubliette.

Which is the scarier movie spider?
Aragog - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Shelob - Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Free polls from

Sunday, June 19, 2005

carnival of the cats #65

The often imitated but never duplicated, Carnival of the Cats, 65thed. is now up over at Blog d'Elisson. Hakuna and Matata are the gracious hosts of this weeks Carnival, so be sure to head over and enjoy the kitties.

Friday, June 17, 2005

wtf? am i going insane?

I'm hallucinating, or something. I swear by all that is holy, I heard my husband come in the house, talk to his brother, and trundle off to do some project. I walked into the kitchen, looked outside, and my husband's car isn't here. He's not home from work yet, just me and my brother-in-law. Am I having auditory disturbances as well, to go along with the visual ones? Sure, why not. Let's throw one more symptom into the mix.

the cycle of life continues

My husband and his brother were cleaning up in the back yard when they scared a bird out of a brush pile and discovered this:

Later, I went to photograph the nest, and was able to see what the momma bird was, a brown thrasher, Toxostoma rufum. She flew off of the nest and into the shrubs and brush a few feet away, fussing at me the whole time. This following is not my photograph, but clicking on the photo will take you to a page with more information on brown thrashers.

The Friday Ark is up at Modulator, and while it won't save you any money on your car insurance, it's sure to add some crittery goodness to your day.

updates on the medical marijuana front

As Barry notes in Compassionate Use:Medical Marijuana, the Hinchey-Rohrabacher amendment failed to pass in the House by a wide margin. So the Federal Government retains the power to prosecute those patients who have a prescription for marijuana for a medical condition. Whether or not this will actually occur remains to be seen.

Oh, and the post where Barry made a post from a rather lengthy comment to the announcement post for Compassionate Use, where a Crohn's Disease patient writes about the different options for the control of nausea/vomiting and appetite loss...yes, that is me. So yes, Mom, I've smoked marijuana. About 7 years ago when I had such a severe flare and lost about 80 pounds.

friday cat blogging

Noah and Maleficent enjoy a little evening catnip.

First Noah has a turn in the box

Then Maleficent takes a turn while Noah just chills

Someone is a mean drunk, and I'm not really sure which one

friday morning cat poetry blogging

Kitty: What She Thinks of Herself
William Brighty Bands (1823-82)

I am the Cat of Cats, I am
    The everlasting cat!
Cunning and old and sleek as jam,
    The everlasting cat!
I hunt the vermin in the night -
    The everlasting cat!
For I see best without the light -
    The everlasting cat!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

note of trivia

In the movie Manhunter, there's a scene towards the beginning where Will Graham (William Petersen) has his first chat with Hannibal Lecter (Brian Cox) in the Institution for the Criminally Insane, Lecter manages to really get under Graham's skin. Graham cuts the session short, and goes running out of the cell, then down a long series of ramps infront of a 4 story tall wall of windows. That wall of windows, and the exterior shot of the Institution is actually the High Museum of Art, in Atlanta, Georgia. I've been there on a couple of occasions, for a special exhibit. I just thought it was amusing.

The Meier Building, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

The wall of windows, at night from outside.

mmm, baklava, breakfast of champions

Nothing beats phyllo, nuts, honey, butter, and more honey for breakfast. Yummy. Tom and I went to a new place for dinner. Papa Gyros is a new Greek restaurant that opened recently in Huntsville. It's nothing fancy, gyros, dolmatas (grapeleaves stuffed with seasoned rice), falfel (spiced and cooked chick peas), spanakopita (spinach and feta in phyllo), mousakas (baked eggplant layered with seasoned ground beef, parmasean cheese topped with bechamel - served only on Tuesdays), orzo salad, tabouleh salad (cracked wheat, tomato, green onion, feta, lemon, and olive oil), and such. Oh, and baklava. Can't forget the baklava...

Tom and I had the traditional gyros, and shared a tabouleh salad. The gyros were wonderful, with the roasted lamb, tzatziki sauce (yougurt, cucumber, dill), tomatoes, green onions. The next time I'll get them to leave off the lettuce and bell pepper next time. The tabouleh had mint in it, which was not in the description, so I didn't like it as much as I like tabouleh from other places.

Overall I was very happy with Papa Gyros, and you can get a gyro for the same price as a Big Mac. Hmm, let me think, gyro or Big Mac, tough choice there.

my first harvest

Yay! I have gathered my first harvest from my garden.

Ok, it's not a huge harvest, more like salad garnish. One roma grape tomato, one sweet banana pepper, and some catnip from the herb garden, which the kitties appreciated very much.

the wild eep

I always knew she was posessed...

And yes, The Wild Eep is her full name. Don't let her fuzzy cuteness fool you. She will eat flesh given a chance.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

not all of my faith in congress has been lost

With this Yahoo News story, I have found at least a little bit of my lost faith in Congress.
By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - In a slap at President Bush, lawmakers voted Wednesday to block the Justice Department and the FBI from using the Patriot Act to peek at library records and bookstore sales slips.

The House voted 238-187 despite a veto threat from Bush to block the part of the anti-terrorism law that allows the government to investigate the reading habits of terror suspects.

The vote reversed a narrow loss last year by lawmakers concerned about the potential invasion of privacy of innocent library users. They narrowed the proposal this year to permit the government to continue to seek out records of Internet use at libraries.

Read the rest of the articleThe vote came as the House debated a $57.5 billion bill covering the departments of Commerce, Justice and State. The Senate has yet to act on the measure, and GOP leaders often drop provisions offensive to Bush during final negotiations.

"This is a tremendous victory that restores important constitutional rights to the American people," said Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., the sponsor of the measure. He said the vote would help "rein in an administration intent on chipping away at the very civil liberties that define us as a nation."

Congress is preparing to extend the Patriot Act, which was passed quickly in the emotional aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Then, Congress included a sunset provision under which 15 of the law's provisions are to expire at the end of this year.

Supporters of rolling back the library and bookstore provision said that the law gives the FBI too much leeway to go on fishing expeditions on people's reading habits and that innocent people could get tagged as potential terrorists based on what they check out from a library.

"If the government suspects someone is looking up how to make atom bombs, go to a court and get a search warrant," said Jerold Nadler, D-N.Y.

Supporters of the Patriot Act countered that the rules on reading records are a potentially useful tool in finding terrorists and argued that the House was voting to make libraries safe havens for them.

"If there are terrorists in libraries studying how to fly planes, how to put together biological weapons, how to put together chemical weapons, nuclear weapons ... we have to have an avenue through the federal court system so that we can stop the attack before it occurs," said Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Fla.

Last year, a similar provision was derailed by a 210-210 tie after several Republicans were pressured to switch votes.

In the meantime, a number of libraries have begun disposing of patrons' records quickly so they won't be available if sought under the law.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told Congress in April that the government has never used the provision to obtain library, bookstore, medical or gun sale records.

But when asked whether the administration would agree to exclude library and medical records from the law, Gonzales demurred. "It should not be held against us that we have exercised restraint," he said.

Authorities have gained access to records through voluntary cooperation from librarians, Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller said.

I hope I can be a little less cynical now. I'm glad that federal agents can't come raid my home just because of what books I decide to check out from my local library. Heaven and Hell both help me if I check out a book or two that isn't on the government's approved reading list. I think we all have witnessed Congress getting some sense back.

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
   US author, diplomat, inventor, physicist, politician, & printer (1706 - 1790)

ah, technology

While running some errands with Tom tonight, we stopped by a small shopping center with several small trees in traffic islands. I heard a cell phone ringing, and ringing, and ringing. Answer your damn phone, I thought. I realized the phone was ringing from somewhere up in a tree. The phone in a tree kept ringing then it suddenly changed to a chickadee song. The mockingbirds in Huntsville are now mocking cell phone ring tones. I swear, only in Huntsville, Silicon Valley of the South.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

geraniums after a storm

The geranium in a hanging basket in front of my house, after a summer thunder-shower.

and you thought kitty piddle was just annoying

Be very careful where you let your kitties take a leak. Via Yahoo News.

TOKYO (Reuters) - Two kittens picked the wrong place to relieve themselves when they urinated on a fax machine, sparking a fire that extensively damaged their Japanese owner's house.

Investigators in the western city of Kobe have concluded that the fire in January was caused by a spark generated when the urine soaked the machine's electrical printing mechanism.

The fire damaged the kitchen and living room before it was put out by the house's owner, who was treated for mild smoke inhalation, said Masahito Oyabu, a fireman at the Nagata fire station in central Kobe.

The kittens quickly ran to safety, he added.

"If you have a cat, or a dog for that matter, be careful where they urinate," Oyabu said. "Especially keep them away from electrical appliances and wires."

File this under crap that can't be made up.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

carnival of the cats #64

The 64th edition of the Carnival of the Cats is now up at Music and Cats, which, if you weren't aware, also has a new domain, so be sure to update your blogrolls. Be sure to check out all of the fuzzy kitty goodness there. I'll spare everyone on any attempts on kitty poetry today.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

medical marijuana support blog

Barry of Enrevanche created a new blog after he vowed not to turn his home blog into a medical marijuana site. I am happy to announce that Compassionate Use is the result of that vow. While it's not quite ready for primetime, the site is up, a work in progress that has great potential.

Thank you, Barry for doing the research needed and the work to create this site. I know you're only getting started, however I think Compassionate Use will become something great. I'll support you as much as I can. I've already added you to my blogroll. Thanks again for your work in creating Compassionate Use.

Friday, June 10, 2005

friday cat blogging

It's dinner time in the Oubliette, and Maleficent decides she wants to join in, enjoy a little wet food along with Noah and McCullough.

We're hungry. It's time to eat. Look at us, we're wasting away to nothing.

McCullough joins the swarm of circling cats.
We know the food is up on the cabinet. Put it down, lady. by-products. Yummy, gravy makes anything better.
Three little cat-asses, all in a row,
Who will get full and be the first to go?

You done with that yet? Can I have what you don't want? Hmmm? Done yet? How 'bout now?
Two little cat-asses, all in a row,
One will get full, and one will blow.

Ah, Friday. Which can only mean one thing, Steve has the Friday Ark up at Modulator. There are all sorts of wonderful creatures, as always. Creep, crawl, run, fly, or swim over to check it out.

Don't forget the Carnival of the Cats, either. The current edition is being hosted by Barry at enrevanche. Submissions are being taken as I type for Sunday's Carnival, to be hosted by Kimberly at Music and Cats. You can submit your catblogging posts by emailing them to submissions(at) or use Ferdy's the Conservative Cat's Carnival Submission Form. Note, the email address for submissions has changed, due to the massive amounts of spam the old address was getting. Trust me, as a past CotC host, it was only amusing for the first 10 Japaneese spam emails.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

a day in florence, alabama - part ii

And now for some of the archeological sites. Florence, Alabama has several Indian Mounds from the Copena Period, about 300 CE, of the Woodland cultural period in the Southeast from 1000 BCE to 1000 CE. The Copena period is so named because of copper and galena found in burials of this period.

I believe the following 3 pictures, from McFarland Park, are Indian Mounds. A rather unhelpful historical marker said there were Copena period mounds "nearby", and the mounds I photographed are definitely man-made - they are too geometric to be natural, and are less than 1/4 mile from the banks of the Tennessee River, which floods the area at least once a year, scouring flat the area near the banks.

This shot is from me standing about 4 feet from the crest of the mound, looking across the top of the mound. There's a slight rise on the opposite corner of the mound, while the rest is perfectly flat.

Standing on the top of the same mound, looking the length of the mound, with 2 rises on either side

Looking across to the first mound I climbed. My husband is sitting on the side of it, which gives a sense of scale of these mounds. These are all located at McFarland Park

This mound is the Great Florence Mound, the tallest domicillary mound in the Tennessee valley, at 43 feet high. Of course, it's closed on Sundays and Mondays, which includes the grounds as well as the museum. I had decided against trespassing, and took the best shots I could over the fence. I'll get better photos the next time Tom and I head over to Florence.

guess what, it's gonna rain

Let's all say hello to Tropical Storm Arlene.

Look where she's headed, right for Alabama. Yep, it's going to be kinda damp this weekend. Looks like this year's hurricane season is getting off to an early start. To keep up on the hurricane season, head over to the National Hurricane Center/Tropical Prediction Center's website.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

gotta love hypoglycemia

I think I've discovered my personal magic blood glucose number, where if my levels drop below that number, I turn into Queen Bitch of the World, also known as the ESAD, MF stage. 70. I drop below 70, things aren't pretty, I drop below 60, and I become truly homicidal. I've never experienced anything below 54, that I'm aware of, and I'm sure the world in general doesn't want to witness such a transformation.

weekly status update

For those who are keeping up, no real news this week. I have an appointment with a neurologist in July, so another month of sitting at home and waiting. Things aren't getting any better, or worse. Yeah, I have a round of a GI virus, but after seeing Dr. F for it, I'm feeling much better. He couldn't give me anything for the actual virus, but could give me some meds to keep the symptoms under control, make sure I didn't get dehydrated. So, I'm starting to feel better, but a large part of that may be the meds taking effect.

the vegetable garden's progress

Here are some photos of the backyard vegetable garden, from 3 weeks ago, and from 2 days ago.

The garden on May 20, about 3 weeks after planting it, all from starts. For the first time this year we found sweet corn seedlings to transplant, at Home Despot. The only thing there growing from seeds is the peas.

The garden on June 5. The stuff has just exploded, I had to stake all of the tomato plants, even the so-called shrub varieties.

The miniature roma-type grape tomatoes, on May 20 this was our only bunch. The largest tomato was about the size of a small grape.

On June 5, this whas the same cluster looked like, about triple in size. the largest (top) tomato is about 2 inches long and 1 inch in diameter (about 1/3 the size of a standard roma tomato). Oh, did I mention they haven't started changing colors yet? These were supposed to be small tomatoes - not that I'm complaining, more like shocked.

now, why didn't i think of this sooner?

I have a viral GI infection right now, and have since Friday, and so my food intake has been limited to say the least. Tom has the same infection, and it's an annoyance to him, while I had to go see Dr. F., my family physician for treatment. Like any other Crohn's patient, any kind of GI problem affects me much worse than someone with a normal digestive system.

So, I've been taking my meds for the infection, just some stuff to make it more bearable while it passes, which make naps not an option. I think I almost landed in the hospital for an overnight rehydration stay, because I had to admit that while I was able to stay ahead on my fluid intake, it was barely. The anti-spasmodic has worked wonders, I'm actually able to consume food and fluids and not be miserable. (Then I take a nap. May cause drowsiness is an understatement.)

I've been looking for some kind of snack food all weekend, but couldn't find anything that wouldn't irritate my bowels any more than they already were. Suddenly Monday it hit me. Rice cakes! They're just puffed rice, with whatever flavor, I tend to prefer the sweet ones. I've had Crohn's for 19 years and just now figured out that rice cakes make a good snack that's low fiber, and doesn't irritate the digestive system nearly as much as some other snack foods, like potato chips (too greasy), tortilla chips (too much fiber), and the like. Rice cakes are nice and fat-free, and have practically no fiber to irritate the digestive system. (sigh) I should have thought of this sooner. Oh, well.

severe weather in the upper midwest

Tonight, there is a derecho racing across the Dakotas and just crossing into Minnesota. A derecho is a line of storms that moves rapidly across several hundred miles, with strong straight-line winds. It's your normal thunderstorm squall-line on steroids. Being the weather buff I am, I'm now glued to the Weather Channel, waiting to hear more about the derecho, how fast the winds are, etc. Yeah, I know, I really need to get a life.

There's what the derecho looked like as of this post. Yeah, I snagged the radar image from the Weather Channel's website. The bow-shaped line of thunderstorms is the derecho itself, which is several hundred miles long, and has been moving along, intact, for a few hundred miles so far.

Why is it called a derecho, you ask, and haven't clicked on the link yet? Derecho is a Spanish word that can mean "straight ahead", as opposed to tornado, which is thought to be derived from Spanish for "to turn".

Until I read the Storm Prediction Center's Derecho Fact Page, I didn't realize that 2 years ago I experienced a derecho first hand when one formed in Arkansas and swept across Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and Northern Alabama, before it disapated into a heavy rain event. I don't remember that day, really. I vaguely remember Memphis getting the living shit pounded out of them by straight line winds, and things were a little interesting here, but we're used to that here in North Alabama.

Monday, June 06, 2005

i just found a new reading list

I'm not sure how I found Heretical Ideas, but I'm glad I did. Lots of food for thought. This post led me to my new reading list. Human Events, The National Conservative Weekly since 1944, posted their list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries, with 20 more as (un)Honorable Mention. Unsuprisingly the top ten list includes Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf, Mao Zedong's Quotations from Chairman Mao, and Karl Marx's and Freidrich Engels's The Communist Manifesto all made the list. The list also includes Alfred Kinsey's The Kinsey Report, Freidrich Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, and Auguste Comte's The Course of Positive Philosophy. On the (un)Honorable Mention list, we have The Origin of the Species by Charles Darwin, Introduction to Psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud, and Unsafe at Any Speed by Ralph Nader.

Once again we have Evil Knowledge rearing it's ugly head. Knowledge is not inherently evil, it's what people do with it that is evil. Even Mein Kampf, isn't evil, it's what people did with that knowledge, those ideas that caused so much suffering. In the same breath, The National Conservative Weekly is condemning the Third Reich and it's ideals, and at the same time is wanting to institute the same control of ideas.

No knowledge is inherently evil, it's what is done with that knowledge that can be good, evil, or somewhere in between. We all have choices to make, based on what we know, our experiences, or prejudices. Yes, some of the ideas written in those books on that list may be horrifying, offensive, terrifying, or worse. But they make us think, which precious few of us do anymore.

One does not have to like or agree with an author or a philosophy for it to have merit. By understanding one philosophy, one that we may not agree with or even find offensive, we better understand the philosophies and beliefs we hold dear. Writers react, to events, to other writers, to previous ideas, whether they agree with them or not. That is how new philosophies, new ideas are born. This adds to the great accumulation of human acheivement.

Of the books on the National Conservative Weekly's list, I've read a few, and excerpts from many of the others. I think I need to fix that, and read every book on that list.

a vision

I know usually, my stuff more on less serious side, but tonight, or this morning, since it's after midnight after all, I'm going to take a little side-trip. I truly had a vision, a waking dream, an hour ago or so, which I wrote down on paper while it was still fresh in my mind. While the text is rather lengthy, it flashed in my mind, I was able to see it all in a manner of a second or two.

Read my vision, if you dare - safe for work In my vision, I saw our Nation, it's People and it's Leaders, all walking in solemn procession down a Golden Road. The Road wound through a beautiful and peaceful forest, tall trees, low ferns, and flowers of all sorts along the Road.

Everyone walked slowly, referentially, with the Leaders in the front of the procession while the People of our Nation followed - men, women, young, old, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, all the wonderful varieties that make our Nation their home. None spoke to each other, they walked calmly, peacefully, some carrying small children, some holding each other's hands, out of brotherly love, not fear. Some of the people carried banners, flags - the U.S. Flag, the President's Flag, each of the States' Flags, all fluttering in a light breeze.

As I walked along the Road, I looked down at the Road itself. It was composed of cobblestones, each one had something written on it. Many were too small to read, while the text of others was written in varying sizes. I saw one stone, with the text written in very large letters "Executive Order 9066, Forcible Internment of Americans of Japanese Descent, February 19, 1942".

I realized what the stones were inscribed with, something the Nation had done, all in the Name of the Greater Good, that unjustly harmed someone or some other Nation. The size of the inscription was proportional to the injustice that had been done. The road stretched as far as the eye could see in either direction.

I stopped walking and looked around. Most people were still walking, looking forward, never looking down. A few others had stopped, as I had, and read the words on the stones.

I asked loudly "Can none of you see what is written on these stones? Can you not see all the wrongs we all have done as a Nation, those lives we all have had a small part in ruining, because we thought and was told it the Right Thing to do, all in the Name of the Greater Good?"

A few more people stopped and looked down at the stones. None of the Leaders stopped, they continued to look forward, walking with heads held high, not saying a word. Most of the People walked around me, continuing in the procession, following the Leaders. A few gently held my hands, kindly smiling, and quietly urged me to continue in the procession, to not speak. I looked around, and the others who had stopped walking were receiving similar treatment - kind urgings to continue walking.

I stepped off the Road, stood on the side, and watched the Nation walk past me. Some of the others who had stopped continued walking, as they were before, while most stepped off the road, sadly watching the Nation walk past us. The People were oblivious to to what was written on the road, and what it actually was. They only went where the Leaders went, following without question, blindly, encouraging those who questioned to do the same.

The Golden Road, winding it's way through the beautiful forest, was the Path to Hell, and each stone was a single Good Intention of the Nation.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

meditations on feline beauty


This week's edition of the Carnival of the Cats is being hosted by Barry at Enrevanche. You can see what other bloggers' cats have been up to this week.

Also, you can also check out this week's edition of the Friday Ark, at Modulator if you need more than a simple cat fix.