Light and power, Andalucia

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Shooting Straight

John's dogs

Bad liver and a broken heart

Step right up

Lots of stupid out there today,  of course. I am sort of going to breeze through the stupid and outrage pretty quickly this morning as I've things to do. Some of these stupidoids even took place prior to the current 24 hour cycle, if you can believe it? Hopelessly  passé.

The schmucky owner of Turing Pharmaceuticals, Martin Shkreli,  is welshing on his promise to lower the price of the anti parasite drug Daraprim.

This guy gives capitalist pigs a bad name. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered, Martin my boy.

A compounding pharma competitor, Imprimus, is about to cut the young price gouging hedge funder Martin's throat in the market place. Hear, hear.

I love how the GOP is waffling and that some members won't get behind a very sensible bill to block sales of weapons to terrorists on Homeland Security watch lists. Very patriotic.

The National Rifle Association signaled this week it will oppose Feinstein's bill, as it did those before it. They'd back giving more guns to the nazis.
NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker pointed to past instances where innocent people were added to the watch list either in error or as the result of tenuous ties to others involved in suspicious activities. She stressed that the NRA doesn't oppose denying terrorists firearms, but said the group wants to ensure that Americans who are wrongly on the list are afforded their constitutional right to due process.
"It is appalling that anti-gun politicians are exploiting the Paris terrorist attacks to push their gun-control agenda and distract from President Obama's failed foreign policy," Baker said.
Oh, Canada.

The Canadians get a chip on their shoulder the size of Manitoba getting outstupided by the United States all the time and decided to fight back this week.

Yoga is being banned at the College of Ottawa on the grounds that it is cultural appropriation when it is practiced by non indians. Cultural appropriation is also known as cultural oppression and frowned on by many politically correct liberals today.

Turkey and Russia deserve each other, both recently engaged in the same sort of double game, both ostensibly fighting Isis but really settling tribals scores against Kurds and Turkmen. Don't think Turkey can win this fight but kind of fun to watch from the sidelines.

Excellent article on the Russia Turkey relationship from Rhagida Dergham, Al Hayat.


The Planned Parenthood shooting makes the eighth or ninth since 1993, I believe. Call me a sap, but even before the guy gets headshrunk regarding his motivations, I am going with anti abortion. I'll go out on a limb. Pro life indeed.

Marco Rubio says that Roe V. Wade is the law but not the settled law and that God's law trumps man's law anyway. This is the kind of thinking that makes many of us very afraid.

Not to be outdone pandering to the evangelicals, favorite son Ted Cruz is accepting the endorsement of a guy who advocates killing abortion doctors, Troy Newman.

More here.
Newman argued in his 2003 book, “Their Blood Cries Out,” that the biblical duty of government “rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people.” (He later explained that while “there’s several prescriptions in the Old Testament that God calls out that the person who commits these crimes should be executed,” he was going for a message of “mercy” in that “we need to repent first for our personal involvement and corporate involvement of abortion and work to restore those that have been involved in it and work to end this terrible tragedy that’s in our nation.”)
Newman also wrote in his book that women who have abortions should be considered “a murderer” just like “any other mother, killing any other family member.” Along with Operation Rescue’s Cheryl Sullenger, who was once convicted of conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic, Newman later claimed that a man convicted of murdering an abortion provider should have been allowed to argue that the homicide was justified.
Newman has claimed that the 9/11 terrorist attacks and AIDS were both warnings from God about legal abortion in America and attributed a drought in California to the state’s liberal abortion laws, insisting that “weather patterns” and economic instability are connected to legal abortion.

Indian Summer


People will tell you that there are no seasons in Southern California. They have obviously never visited the beautiful Santa Margarita River in the autumn. The sycamores are nearly as vibrant as aspens right now. The morning fog lies low in its valleys and the raptors have begun showing their faces again.

I have lived on this river's doorstep since 1989. This has been my first view of the day for a big chunk of my life.

We river dwellers count ourselves very lucky. No signal, no cable, no traffic, no compression. Long way to go to hide, but worth it.

Not exactly a religious man, but I count my blessings regularly.

I caught a double rainbow on the way home yesterday as did many Fallbrookians. I hear that the pictures are plastered all over Facebook. This one is seen through a dirty, rain splattered windshield but you get the idea. I wonder if any animals take pleasure in rainbows, if they are particular pleasing to dogs and dolphins, lemurs or lynx? Humans can't agree on much but I think we have all loved rainbows since time immemorial.

A rainbow never pissed anyone off.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Power balance

Interesting perspective at Weekly Standard, Was the Head of Iran's IRGC Wounded in Syria? by Lee Smith:
...There is plenty of killing and dying that remains to be done in Syria, and the Iranian side will suffer the worst. After all, the Shiites are the regional minority. If the Shiite community once believed that the Islamic Republic of Iran was on course to overthrow more than a millennium of history, politics, theology, and war that identified the Shiites as also-rans, right now the Shiites are fighting to defend themselves against the majority Sunnis. Eventually, they will be fighting for their survival. The question then is, looking down the road, what role will the nuclear weapons program play in the thinking of a millenarian regime with its back against the wall?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Michael Calvanese sent this over...

Subject: World situation explained

President Assad ( who is bad ) is a nasty guy who got so nasty his people rebelled and the Rebels ( who are good ) started winning ( Hurrah!).
But then some of the rebels turned a bit nasty and are now called Islamic State ( who are definitely bad!) and some continued to support democracy ( who are still good.)

So the Americans ( who are good ) started bombing Islamic State ( who are bad ) and giving arms to the Syrian Rebels ( who are good ) so they could fight Assad ( who is still bad ) which was good.

By the way, there is a breakaway state in the north run by the Kurds who want to fight IS ( which is a good thing ) but the Turkish authorities think they are bad, so we have to say they are bad whilst secretly thinking they're good and giving them guns to fight IS (which is good) but that is another matter.

Getting back to Syria.

So President Putin ( who is bad, cos he invaded Crimea and the Ukraine and killed lots of folks including that nice Russian man in London with polonium poisoned sushi ) has decided to back Assad ( who is still bad ) by attacking IS ( who are also bad ) which is sort of a good thing?
But Putin ( still bad ) thinks the Syrian Rebels ( who are good ) are also bad, and so he bombs them too, much to the annoyance of the Americans ( who are good ) who are busy backing and arming the rebels ( who are also good).

Now Iran ( who used to be bad, but now they have agreed not to build any nuclear weapons and bomb Israel are now good ) are going to provide ground troops to support Assad ( still bad ) as are the Russians ( bad ) who now have ground troops and aircraft in Syria.

So a Coalition of Assad ( still bad ) Putin ( extra bad ) and the Iranians ( good, but in a bad sort of way ) are going to attack IS ( who are bad ) which is a good thing, but also the Syrian Rebels ( who are good ) which is bad.

Now the British ( obviously good, except that nice Mr Corbyn in the corduroy jacket, who is probably bad ) and the Americans ( also good ) cannot attack Assad ( still bad ) for fear of upsetting Putin ( bad ) and Iran ( good / bad) and now they have to accept that Assad might not be that bad after all compared to IS ( who are super bad).

 So Assad (bad) is now probably good, being better than IS since Putin and Iran are also fighting IS that may now make them Good. America ( still Good ) will find it hard to arm a group of rebels being attacked by the Russians for fear of upsetting Mr Putin ( now good ) and that nice mad Ayatollah in Iran ( also Good ) and so they may be forced to say that the Rebels are now Bad, or at the very least abandon them to their fate. This will lead most of them to flee to Turkey and on to Europe or join IS ( still the only constantly bad group).

To Sunni Muslims, an attack by Shia Muslims ( Assad and Iran ) backed by Russians will be seen as something of a Holy War, and the ranks of IS will now be seen by the Sunnis as the only Jihadis fighting in the Holy War and hence many Muslims will now see IS as Good ( Doh!.)

Sunni Muslims will also see the lack of action by Britain and America in support of their Sunni rebel brothers as something of a betrayal ( mmm…might have a point…) and hence we will be seen as Bad.

So now we have America ( now bad ) and Britain ( also bad ) providing limited support to Sunni Rebels ( bad ) many of whom are looking to IS ( Good / bad ) for support against Assad ( now good ) who, along with Iran ( also Good) and Putin ( also, now, unbelievably, Good ) are attempting to retake the country Assad used to run before all this started?

Don Covay & The GoodTimers -See -Saw

Call for photo submission - End of year

Thanksgiving tomorrow, one of my favorite holidays. Hope everyone has a great day giving thanks and having a good time with the people they love.

I have been working diligently, trying to dig out of my hole and I definitely see light at the end of the tunnel. Piling up little victories.

Light follows darkness, things always look better in the light and promise of a crisp, new day.

December is quickly approaching. Continuing the end of year tradition of best photos from the Blue Heron Blast readership, I ask you to submit your favorite photo taken in 2015. Your work gets better and better every year and I look forward to seeing what you got this time. The submissions never fail to blow me away. I think that we may have started doing this in 2012.

The pictures don't have to be perfect, technically sound, competent, understandable or even fit the popular notion of "good," they just have to mean something to you. If you want to send two or three I will pick my favorite. Cell phone shots are perfectly fine, often my favorites. And if you haven't taken a shot worth a damn this year, well, there's still time. Will post late December.

Happy Thanksgiving,


My secret life

Monday, November 23, 2015

Crystal Blue Persuasion

I knew that the jihadis were getting high but I had never heard of this stuff, Fenethylline, also known as Captagon. Last month a Saudi prince was captured with two tons of Captagon tabs on his plane. Turks nabbed another 11 million tablets the other day. So that's what is priming their pump. Now it starts to make sense.

Takes away fear and minor irritations.
“I felt like I own the world, high,” one said. “Like I have power nobody has. A really nice feeling.” And another had this to say: “There was no fear anymore after I took Captagon.”

Makes you long for the good old days when the love of Allah was enough to motivate even the most retrenched and dour killer. Now they have to resort to this crap. Kids...

I have heard several hippie types opine that we need to drop ecstasy on the bastards and turn them into marshmallow pies but most druggies will tell you that speed freaks eschew hallucinogens and the happy stuff.

Fenethylline is is a chemical linkage of amphetamine and theophylline and operates as a psychostimulant, been around since 1961, the drug was once used to treat hyperkinetic children. Apparently the stuff is all the rage in the middle east. Perhaps it helps to desensitize its user?

Maybe we should fight fire with fire and send a bunch of our most hardened speed freaks to do battle with them? The Crystal Wars...

Lewis & Clark

Terrorism sprouts up in Brussels

I wanted to be the first one to write it...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Tonight's The Night

Mixed messages

Interesting article from USN, Paris Muslims face hostility after attacks but also throw their weight against terror:
Muslim reaction to the latest massacre has been more clear-cut than after the January extremist attacks in Paris. Although the Muslim majority was repulsed by that violence, some also felt that Charlie Hebdo's cartoonists had insulted them and their faith and deliberately courted trouble with their satirical drawings poking fun at the Prophet Muhammad. For those reasons, some Muslims couldn't get behind the "Je Suis Charlie (I am Charlie)" rallying cry that caught fire worldwide.
"With Charlie, we weren't for a massacre, but it is true that we weren't too sorry," said Kader Benamou, who was browsing at an Islamic bookshop opposite the Grand Mosque.
..."It is different, because this time there wasn't a gram of reason to it," said Benamou. "They killed everything without knowing who their victims were. Just anybody. Just like that, wantonly, with no reason. So of course we're against that, 100 percent against, even 200 percent."

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Weirz - Gypsies From Bonsall

Come see me at the fair.

Blue Heron Gallery at the Del Mar Fair Friday through Saturday this weekend.


Dante's Peak - Charles Fries 24 x 36"

more political crap

Jean Paul Sartre
As usual, participants on both sides of the political aisle are acting like imbeciles in the Isis/refugee debate. Certain GOP candidates only want to bring christian refugees over and some think that now is the time to start a new wave of internment camps.

The liberals all of a sudden have perfect faith in the ability of the government to vet any hijab and kaffiyeh wearing newcomers to make sure no more americans get whacked. Both sides are way off. As usual. When the TSA has a 95% failure rate, it makes it difficult for some of us to suspend disbelief.

I heard Barack Obama mention yesterday that America is such a great country that we barely missed a step after the Boston Marathon bombing. Like, hey, these things happen. The shut up and take it strategy.

Vice President Biden, a guy I generally like but who is prone to occasional bouts of utter stupidity, yesterday said that ISIS didn't present an existential threat to our country.

We discussed this at coffee this morning. Bill looked up the term "existential threat" at PolitiFact on his iPad and this guy weighed with this definition but others disagreed, as philosophers weighing existential matters are often prone to do.
"An existential threat is one that would deprive the United States of its sovereignty under the Constitution, would threaten the territorial integrity of the United States or the safety within U.S. borders of large numbers of Americans, or would pose a manifest challenge to U.S. core interests abroad in a way that would compel an undesired and unwelcome change in our freely chosen ways of life at home."  Ted Bromund,  Foreign policy analyst - Heritage Foundation.
I haven't has an existential threat since college myself, when a large and heavy volume of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason fell off the bookshelf and hit me square on the head, causing quite the headache. Sort of soured me on philosophy.

Obama has done everything he can not to ramp up the fight against radical youknowwho so it was sort of funny that after the French took out the ISIS headquarters in Raqqah, he piped up that we had given them the intelligence and coordinates. Okay, so then why didn't we do anything if we had the coordinates?

There is a small controversy brewing about the current administration and liberal postulation that refugees have never been responsible for terrorist acts. When someone pointed out the Tsarnaev brothers the riposte was that they were not technically refugees, but asylees. Talk about hairsplitting. Plus there is the Kentucky case that somebody conveniently forgot about. And the Uzhbeki.

The truth is that the French and Belgium Isis bastards were not refugees but natural born which makes things even worse and begs another question which nobody wants to answer; can those people ever integrate into civilized society and was it a mistake to ever try to accommodate them? Would you break bread with a person who finds it perfectly acceptable to kill somebody over a cartoon, something nobody but John Kerry apparently finds remotely legitimate and understandable?

Interesting that according to a 2014 poll conducted by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Doha, Qatar, almost 23% of Syrian refugees had a somewhat positive or nuanced view of ISIS, a number that is admittedly dwarfed by the Palestinians 60%.

Isis has been remarkably good at backing up its threats of late. They say they have some activities planned in New York and Washington D.C.. The guy on offense always has a tactical advantage over the defender, a reactive position. Don't be surprised if they make good on one of these threats. The politicians will beat their breasts in sorrow for the cameras, grab a few headlines, and just watch, nothing will change, nothing will be accomplished.

I read an interesting quote from a woman in the newspaper the other day who said that "When people show you who they are, believe them." I believe that we have lost our facility to see and would rather project, obscuring the essential nature of our opponents. And of course, to a sizable number of our fellows, no matter what happens, it will always be our fault.

Eagles of Death Metal. Such a strange name for a band, now forever linked to blood and tragedy. Altamontian.

Another one from SunTzu:

Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory.

George Will wrote an editorial today called Time to get serious which was anything but. The Bow tied sesquipedalian had the ludicrous idea that it is now time for the tough talking bully Chris Christie to assume the presidential mantle. The smarmy pedant has a big fat boy crush on the porcine bridge botcher.

The New Jersey native is reviled in his home state, has no traction nationally and is best known for telling the great majority of the people he encounters to shut up.

Whatever. Not my horse to whip. What really pissed me off is that the pasty patrician also took a couple unnecessary shots at John Lennon, in matters of political thinking and grammar. Dissed the song imagine as a saccharine wallow.

Insipid and uncalled for. Too bad John isn't around to give it back. Pick on a dead Beatle, Will. Very classy. Better be careful going after Trump. He could win and make your miserable life even more miserable.

A note from Winston Churchill

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. 
A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. 
Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.
Winston Churchill - The River War: An Historical Account of the Reconquest of the Soudan, 1899

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

La La La La La La La La Means I Love You

Kissinger on Guerrilla Warfare

I dare not mention the word Kissinger around some of my cohorts, it is immediately answered with swift calls for war crimes tribunals and an even quicker trip to the gallows. Be that as it may, I find the man fascinating and prefer to look at his life and work without passing so much judgement. A brilliant and complicated man.

I recently read his 1994 book Diplomacy and it is an honest and cogent walk through and analysis of various crisis and diplomatic imbroglios that shaped his tenure as a diplomat under both Nixon and Ford. His pithy analysis of the Vietnam conflict should be required reading for every history student.

One of the sections that he wrote on Guerrilla War was brilliant and I thought that I would share it with you as it has some tangency with the problems that beset us today:
In a conventional war, a success rate of 75 percent would guarantee victory. In a guerrilla war, protecting the population only 75 percent of the time ensures defeat. One hundred percent security in 75 percent of the country is far better than 75 percent security in 100 percent of the country. If the defending forces cannot bring about nearly perfect security for the population - at least in the area that they consider essential - the guerrilla is bound to win sooner or later.
The basic equation of guerrilla war is as simple as it is difficult to execute: the guerrilla army wins as long as it keeps from losing; the conventional army is bound to lose unless it wins decisively. Stalemate almost never occurs. Any country engaging itself in guerrilla war must be prepared for a long struggle. The guerrilla army can continue hit and run tactics for a long time even with greatly diminished forces. A clear cut victory is very rare: successful guerrilla wars typically peter out over a long period of time. The most notable examples of victory over guerrilla forces took place in Malaya and Greece, where the defending forces succeeded because the guerrillas were cut off from outside supply sources (in Malaya by geography, In Greece due to Tito's break with Moscow).
Neither the French nor the American army, which followed in its footsteps a decade later, ever solved the riddle of guerrilla war. Both fought the only kind of war they understood and for which they had been trained and equipped-classical conventional warfare based on clearly demarcated front lines. Both armies, relying on superior firepower, strove for a war of attrition. Both saw that strategy turned against them by an enemy who, fighting in his own country, could exhaust them with his patience and generate domestic pressures to end the conflict. Casualties kept mounting while criteria to define progress remained elusive.

The battle is over (but the war goes on)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Rope a dope

I listened to our President speak yesterday. A truly brilliant man but as they say pride goeth before a fall. He has that fatal condition of the highly intelligent, he seems to be so enamored with his own brilliance that he is unwilling to see that things aren't working, that there might be a better way and he obviously has real problems changing course. I do not recall ever seeing him as defensive as he was yesterday.

The current malaise was evident when he recently derided the Islamic State as a jv team. He continued yesterday by pointing out their crude tools lack of sophistication. What they lack in sophistication they more than make up for in efficacy and planning and I wonder why it is so hard for Obama to see this? The status quo is not working.
"This is not, as I said, a traditional military opponent. We can retake territory. And as long as we leave our troops there, we can hold it. But that does not solve the underlying problem of eliminating the dynamics that are producing these kinds of violent extremist groups." President Obama
Oh yes, the underlying dynamics. Perhaps it would be cheaper to send all of the terrorists to shrinks for counseling. Let's rationalize their barbarous behavior.

Obama wants to get rid of Assad, a laudable goal, but if it is not attainable at the moment is it really worth giving ISIL a free pass by not cooperating with the Russians, who at least seem serious about getting something accomplished? How long do you wait and sulk until you get everything your way?

He reminds me of Floyd Mayweather, one of my least favorites boxers, satisfied with playing pretty defense on the ropes, a dancer with no punching power. We need to see less Floyd and more Holly Holm.

There is such cognitive dissonance with this administration team. I heard retired general after retired general on the radio expressing dismay and chagrin over our current strategy as well as the same from many key intelligence operatives. Bi partisan people, ex administration people.

Ex Sec'y of State William Cohen said that our armed forces are only at 31% of readiness, we have let them lapse into a serious state of decline. So maybe we don't have the resources to attack Isis, let alone the resolve. Shameful.

The President got very snitty yesterday when he rhetorically asked his critics if they knew better than his joint chiefs of staff about how to attack Isil. I would love to hear from those men and women, unfettered, I get the feeling that they would give us an entirely different read on the situation.

So we are left with a wimpy containment strategy, we are going to double down on doing nothing. I kept thinking about Jefferson and the Barbary Wars yesterday, they started around 1793, when four muslim nations' pirates were shaking our merchant ships down with regularity and holding them for ransom.

Thomas Jefferson wouldn't take any shit. I wonder what Teddy Roosevelt would have done when confronted by today's problems? Actually I have a good idea, we would have a force on the ground and we would be mopping things up, Teddy wasn't a guy that liked to get punked.

Similar situation regarding the Syrian refugee issue. We hear about all of this vetting and crosschecking of potential emigres and then the FBI admits that there isn't even an available database. We are told that refugees do not commit terrorist attacks. Of course the Tsnarnaev brothers had refugee status but that's ancient history now.

Paris was a game changer. It unmasks the threat of radical Islam in a very real way. Citizens of the world and lovers of freedom can not and will not accept such barbarity. I hope that our President will change course and let the military do their job.

Iraq, Syria and the middle east are a mess, a mess of our own making, thanks George, the Islamic State is merely a manifestation of a sunni bloc that hates the now more powerful shia bloc even more than it hates the west, but it was marginalized by our inept clumsiness and the old balance not likely to reach a new stasis until a lot more blood has been spilled.

Birds and buckshot

I belong to a large online birders group. I get messages daily along these lines; LindaLou found a Red Pharalope over at Obsidian Butte or did you get a load of the gams on that evening grosbeak at Prado Dam? I like the chatter, birders are attentive, invariably nice and quite devoted.

I got this chain of messages the other day that gave me pause:

I decided to post because nobody else has.  

The San Jacinto Wildlife Area Facebook page sports some pictures and video of a swan there today.  Of course, if it sticks around until tomorrow it will be someone's dinner, since SJWA has a hunting day tomorrow.  I wouldn't even start to try to identify the species of swan.  


Redlands, CA

Based on what I am reading its illegal to shoot one in California. I hope the hunters know that.


Riverside, CA

Swan has not yet been re-found as of 8:30.


San Bernardino

I have birded the gigantic San Jacinto Wildlife Area several times.  19,000 acres with 9 thousand acres of restored habitat, it is an ideal place to bird. The first time with Ken happened to be the opening day of duck season. Bad move.

As you may remember if you read my earlier post, two visiting populations (besides the birds) are allowed to use the facility at the same time, those who like to watch and take pictures of birds and those that want to kill birds. Kind of a strange deal; observe our fine feathered friends on Tuesday, blast them on Wednesday and Saturday.

It is an odd marriage frankly. While our interactions with the hunters were for the most part pleasant, they seemed to take great pleasure in driving by as fast as they could in their large pickups, alpha males displaying their testosterone by the size of their dust storm. Blasting shotguns put the birds we did see plainly on edge.

But after getting this email I got to thinking. Is the hunter/birder interplay not a classic parasitic relationship or does it not have the makings of one? Birders find rare swan, hunters monitor birders online communication, hunters shoot swan. Could birders unwittingly be helping hunters target birds and waterfowl in a strangely symbiotic fashion? Now my question is purely hypothetical, I have no knowledge of hunters monitoring birding sites but in this world of expanded social media it is certainly a possibility.

In nature species that are mutually dependent are said to have a symbiotic relationship. Symbiosis describes close interactions between two or more different species. There are three main kinds of symbiotic relationships, Mutualism, Commensalism & Parasitism.  In a mutual relationship, both parties get something out of the deal and nobody is harmed. The above scenario is not a mutual one because if a hunter shoots a swan, birders can no longer enjoy its presence.

In a commensalistic relationship, one party benefits and the other is not significantly affected. Parasitism is where one organism or party benefits and causes harm to the other organism or party. That would be the relation in our hypothetical if the hunters were actually using birders to birddog their game.

There is another symbiotic relationship called amensalism, a relationship between two species of organisms in which the individuals of one species adversely affect those of the other and are unaffected themselves. Amensalism works in two ways, competition and antibiosis. The latter occurs when the dominant organism kills the other by chemical or pathogenic means.

Symbiotic relationships can be obligate or facultative. Obligate symbiosis is when two organisms are in a symbiotic relationship because they can't survive without each other. Facultative symbiosis is when the species live together by choice.

Competition is another type of symbiosis as is resource partitioning. We'll leave you those and we'll take these...Another type is neutralism, basically staying out of each others way. That is probably the best paradigm for birders and hunters. Hope the swan made it.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Quinn the Eskimo

Isis and kali

Intellect is the ability to avoid belaboring the obvious.
Alfred Bester

Isis, Philae temple

I am optimistic enough to think that most people are thoroughly revulsed and horrified by the actions of Isis terrorists in France last night, as I am. While the six coordinated attacks on innocent westerners were immediately celebrated on social media by Isil supporters, those people have to be a small minority of our fellow humans, or so we hope anyway.

Babe calling his shot in Chicago

The fact that at least one of the perpetrators was a recent refugee with a purported Syrian passport is horrifying although I should admit that I did in fact call it and was and am worried about the export of such atrocities from a region where they seem to be performed routinely for pure sport.

I emailed a friend who shall remain anonymous, while things were playing out in realtime last night. I got this response:
No such thing as a religion of peace.

Killing in the name of one's God seems to be in the nature of humans.

Remember we invaded Iraq killing ten of thousands.

I emailed him back that I saw, if nothing else, a qualitative difference in what we do versus what they do. And got another note:

Yes, they are monsters.

How many theater and school killings have we had here, and when you find out about the killers they usually have been radicalized by some religious or racist groups.

Disenfranchise, desperation, add a little god and boom. 

Or, just carpet bomb and napalm the shit out of little brown people. How about "Shock and Awe" who are the monsters, what is the religion of the monsters, they are of all religions given sick leadership.  

When one group, one country dehumanizes another group it's easy to get people to kill people. 

Do you feel good when you see the bombs we drop on our "enemies" think about it? 

I didn't answer him. I didn't have the energy. The standard liberal response. We're as bad as they are. Are we? Do we deliberately set out to hurt, maim and murder civilians?

While I was against the invasion of Iraq in the first place I still don't feel that the United States has militarily assaulted foreign countries willy nilly, there is usually some provocation or rationality involved in the decision making, while some sorties have certainly proven unwise and ill considered and the calculus for the drone strike casualty figures is beyond self serving. 

I don't accept that terroristic behavior is ever justified, by any rationale and I am one of the apparent few that don't think that our government are terrorists, although our hands are not sparkling clean either by any means.

Some people like to think that Islamic militancy started at 9-11 but we were victims of many unprovoked assaults long before that time. There's a list that looks pretty accurate here but they miss many like the Feb. 26 incident in New York City, when a bomb exploded in the basement garage of World Trade Center, killing 6 and injuring at least 1,040 others. In 1995, militant Islamist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and 9 others were convicted of conspiracy charges, and in 1998, Ramzi Yousef, believed to have been the mastermind, was convicted of the bombing. These people like to give the world a constant ration of shit.

Anyway my friend, who we shall call M sounds a lot like my liberal friend W. Here are a few of many similarly written emails:

I always felt who ever owns the actual and approved vocabulary controls the debate......The sole word Terrorism immediately precludes any true debate or critical analysis of 9/11 and is a literal Shibbolith that sanctions every thing from shredding the Bill of Rights to murdering people 10,000 miles away who upon even the most cursory examination have no military capacity except IEDs and K47s.....best...w

I know of "no other" culture besides America that dropped more bombs on 3 of the world's poorest countries 10,000 miles from its borders killing  1,000,000 people than made it into  pop adventure movies like Rambo starring a campy muscle bound "hero......than followed it up with Operation Just Cause (Because) into Panama killing 5,000....followed by the invasion of a veritable dot in the  ocean labeled Grenada... and topped this off with a "video game slaughter labeled"Shock and Awe" killing 1,000s and in the process literally decimating a 3000 year old culture and accompanied with a "play by play" by Wolf Blitzer; all this somewhat  predicated on   $600,000,000 in profits......."one must enter a court of opinion with clean hands"!  ..this in no manner rationalizes  the terrorism and fanaticism of what one   must categorically admit is an iota of the 0ne  and half billion of the Muslims in the world...
I have a tough time with this sort of reasoning from my friends. Not exactly defending terrorism but engaging in an equivalence argument and basically taking the position that whatever the west gets they have coming. I can't come to grips with a group that methodically kills 129 people and injures hundreds more, in order to avenge and/or establish the new caliphate.

It would be certainly ridiculous to maintain that United States and Israeli rockets and bombs don't incur collateral damage. They do. But the general aim is not to take out innocents and civilians. The Israelis even go to the trouble of asking people to vacate certain buildings before they disappear. (The buildings, not the people.) But taking out people one by one at a concert, soccer game or jewish delicatessen in France, burning people in cages, cutting their throats, engaging in this kind of indiscriminate barbarism, I do think there is a difference, at least in initial intention. 

I do think there is a difference between what we do and they do. I don't think the French had it coming, I think it was very noble for Europe to invite these people to live in their respective countries  and they don't deserve this sort of hospitality from the new guests. 

I also ask my liberal friends to consider, as hard a concept as it admittedly is, that some of the bombing campaigns against Isis, Al Qaeda and the Taliban were actually undertaken by the evil americans to help free the islamic miscreant's countrymen from their barbarity and reign of terror. And while religion is certainly pernicious here at times, I haven't heard about any southern baptists strapping on suicide vests yet.

President Obama said the usual things, condemning the attacks without uttering the dreaded i or m words. What he said was interesting if you feel like parsing such utterances; the attacks were an "outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians."

More than an attempt, Barack. I'd say they delivered.

Jihadi John prepares to cut off Alan Henning's head
The British group CAGE, which is a total front for non repenting terrorists, had this to say regarding the recent targeting of Jihadi John, Emwazi;
CAGE reaffirms its opposition to extrajudicial killing of any kind. State sponsored targeted assassinations undercut the judicial processes that provide the lessons by which spirals of violence can be stopped. Emwazi should have been tried as a war criminal.
Dr Adnan Siddiqui, Director of CAGE, said:  “Killing Emwazi is evidence that the US and UK do not consider the families of hostages in their actions. This is backed up by reports that US authorities threatened families if they negotiated payment of ransom money.” “Emwazi’s execution of defenceless hostages was inexcusable. But all avenues that led him to that point need to be investigated.” “CAGE’s repeated efforts and offers to negotiate for the release of Alan Henning were obstructed and squandered by the UK government and serious questions remain regarding these failures.” “CAGE has acknowledged mistakes were made in our handling of the Emwazi affair, but we reiterate our call for a full inquiry into what caused Emwazi to feel so alienated in the UK that he felt his only option was to leave. Such an enquiry is essential if we are to understand and put an end to individuals being drawn into political violence.”

So Jihadi John should get a trial but none of the people whose heads he cut off deserved to get one? And we need to find out what drove all these poor boys to seed, what was the motivation for their heinous crimes? Hire a bunch of shrinks? It's the United States fault because they didn't pay a ransom? These people have surrendered their humanity, I think they have relinquished the right to have us worrying about their motivations.

Sick fuckers. Die soon.

I was thinking about gods, well at least the ones I am familiar with, and with only a few exceptions, can't think of many omnipotent deities that are so weak and insecure that they require their followers to mortally avenge any real or imagined slights to their reputation. Maybe Mictlantecuhtli, Yama, Erebus, that crowd. You would think that absolute powers would be above that sort of thing.

Darkseid - Jack Kirby's New gods

Grateful Dead - Terrapin Station - 3.18.1977

Friday, November 13, 2015

Walt builds a cozy fallout shelter - National Archives

Bob Dylan - Visions of Johanna

Great version being released in new Dylan set The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12. I believe this was one of the versions from the New York sessions for Blonde on Blonde that was never ultimately used. The Hawks on backup. Peppy.

Portlandia - Early Onset Grumpiness

Tommy James & The Shondells - Crimson & Clover

Full  album version - Tommy James, guilty pleasure.

Trips, Words and Greetings

One of the things I have honestly learned as I have gotten older is this, to keep your own counsel. People can have problems with certain other people and you can absorb their tsuris by osmosis and it may turn out that the people were perfectly fine! You can waste so much energy buying into other people's issues. I try not to. I find myself getting along just fine with some folks that others abhor.

Bill Kreutzmann, the longtime Grateful Dead drummer, a great drummer in fact, wrote a book which Vlad sort of disliked. I gave it a quick going over at his house and didn't think it was that bad, actually certain parts were pretty darn good not to mention very honest. But on to the story;

Death of Captain Cook
Kreutzmann recounts a passage where he is fishing with a large Hawaiian fellow and gets into the etymology and history of the word haole, a pejorative word for non Hawaiians.

Kreutzmann is told by the locals that the literal translation is "without breath." Apparently the natives that lived in the islands when Cook arrived had carried with them the Polynesian custom of sucking in another's person's breath on greeting.

The newcomers didn't do that, so hence, were without breath.

I thought that this was very interesting and quite intimate really and so I did a little research on some of the odder greeting customs around the globe.

Two Monks Bowing, Stanley Roseman, 1979, chalk on paper,  35 x 50 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington.
They put knuckles on their foreheads in the Philippines, snap fingers in Benin, place their noses and top lips on someone's cheek and breathe in in Greenland, wave their fists at each other in Niger, stick out their tongue in Tibet, press palms upward to forehead, the wai, in Thailand, Bedouins rub noses, offer snuff bottles in Mongolia, kiss an elder's feet in India, a man's nose in Oman, the list goes on and on.

I decided to look into the Hawaiian thing. From Wiki:
The 1865 Dictionary of the Hawaiian Language, complied by Lorrin Andrews, shows the pronunciation as ha-o-le. A popular belief is that the word is properly written and pronounced as hāʻole, literally meaning "no breath," because foreigners did not know or use the honi, a Polynesian greeting by touching nose-to-nose and inhaling or essentially sharing each other's breaths, and so the foreigners were described as breathless. The implication is not only that foreigners are aloof and ignorant of local ways, but also literally have no spirit or life within. [7]

Professor Fred Beckley
St. Chad Piianaia, a Hawaiian educated in England, said the word haole implies thief or robber (from hao, thief, and le, lazy). [7] In 1944, Hawaiian scholar Charles Kenn wrote, "In the primary and esoteric meaning, haole indicates a race that has no relation to one's own; an outsider, one who does not conform to the mores of the group; one that is void of the life element because of inattention to natural laws which make for the goodness in man. In its secondary meaning, haole ... implies a thief, a robber, one not to be trusted. ... During the course of time, meanings of words change, and today, in a very general way, haole does not necessarily connote a negative thought ... The word has come to refer to one of Nordic descent, whether born in Hawaii or elsewhere."[7]
Native Hawaiian Professor Fred Beckley said, "The white people came to be known as ha-ole (without breath) because after they said their prayers, they did not breathe three times as was customary in ancient Hawaii."[7]
Maori hongi with Stephen Harper
I believe that there is a misspelling here, honi is actually a Maori word Hongi but no matter. In any case, this scholar thinks it is all a bunch of hooey.  Adam Keawe Manalo-Camp says that the Hawaiian language doesn't break down that way.
The word "haole" does not mean "without breath". Any one who is familiar with the Hawaiian language, Hawaiian grammar and basic Austronesian linguistics knows that that word can not be broken apart in that way linguistically because 'ole can not made ro create an elison (slurred with the preceding word). 'Ole consists of four letters (' + o + l + e), begins with a consonant (') and the stress is on the 'o. Pau'ole (end-less) for example is never pronounced as "Paule" by manaleo or native speakers of Hawaiian. Without getting heavy into piliʻōlelo (Hawaiian grammar), elisons in Hawaiian are only created by two vowels and mostly occurs when a preceding definite article (ka/ke/nā) is followed by a noun that begins with a or e. 
Adam seems to know of what he speaks. I will try to reserve judgement. In addition he traces the negative attributes of the word to American missionaries.
I personally think that one of the reasons why the missionaries were called "haole" had nothing to do with the way they prayed (as the urban legend goes) or they being "breath less" but due to historical and mythological references associating the term "haole" with those who speak a foreign language or "leo pahaohao" as the mele inoa of Kuali'i does. Native Hawaiians did not make the term "haole" into negative racial slur. It was actually the descendants of American missionaries who first began to turn "haole" into a pejorative term because of politics. The concept of "race" as we know it today did not exist in the Hawaiian world view 200 years ago. 
This subject brought my mind to another subject. There is another long time linguistic controversy about the sections in the bible where people would apparently grab each other's balls when swearing an oath. Supposedly the latin roots of the word testify lay closely wedded to testes, and well, you can fill in the dots.
 “So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.” Genesis 24.9
You will often read the translation as putting one's hand under the other's loin in such an oath making. This man believes it has to do with the transmission of the seed of Israel.

Judaism views the meaning of the ritual a bit differently, as in submitting to a higher authority. According to Rabbi Ibn Ezra, the phrase “under the thigh” means literally that. For someone to allow his hand to be sat on was a sign of submission to authority. If this is the symbolism, then Joseph was showing his obedience to his father by placing his hand under Jacob’s thigh.

Don't know your feelings on the matter but I would think you would definitely get somebody's attention when you had the family nutsack firmly in grasp.

Enoch translating
Speaking of the bible and words, did you know that Enoch didn't die, he translated? Although I have discussed this recently with several christian friends who were well acquainted with the usage, it was certainly new to me.
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. Hebrews 11:5 KJV
The Character and Translation of Enoch - John James 1852

Such an odd word for expiring, to be translated.

Who was Enoch, you may ask? Enoch was the son of Jared, the father of Methuselah, and the great-grandfather of Noah.  Enoch lived 365 years before he took his trip.

Dithmarus Blefkenius in his 1607 tome Islandia, reported that the native Icelandic girls liked to ply visitors to their shores with gratis sexual favors, a sort of nordic welcome wagon. Beats gravlax.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Carol Doda R.I.P.

Carol with the Monkees

Obama administration is condemning the horrific suicide bombing of the Hezbollah allied residents in Lebanon. Because we all know sunni extremists are so much worse than shiite extremists.

walk on by


Life comes crashing

 candy spun sails

attempt to navigate treacherous straits.

the captain and


 carefully consider the terms of surrender

no fatal wounds, certainly nothing visible in this color spectrum

 beaten down by a thousand paper cuts,

the newspaper said it was a case of attrition.

Nothing to see here, move along.

life never misses a beat, does it?

Ali baba had a bauble, a bully bauble baba bought.

Bester solved the time differential
good enough for me anyway
a zillion pasts and futures
existing simultaneously like a big fat roman candle in the quantum tunnel
they brush each other aside
barely touching 
with an occasional
faint glimpse of recognition
 mostly quiet sleep

Erwin's kitty cat
slips through the eye of the mountain
which may not even exist
the physicists said it was bound to happen
in an infinite world or all probability
alive and dead at the same time
would close her eyes but she's of afraid of waking up again