Saturday, April 7, 2012

Staying Alive: Camouflaged Toads Optical Illusion

 How many toads can you see in this photograph?

How many toads do you see?

Its amazing how they almost disappear on this forest floor in Panama.

There’s a good reason.

For them to stay alive in the tropics (where nearly everything is food for something else), such trickery is necessary to fool a hungry predator’s eye.


Stupid Sayings: ‘Guns don’t kill…people do’ Really?

          Good day Humboldt County!

One of the realities we all face in our journey through life is the possibility of facing violence involving a gun. I have heard the phrase “Guns don’t kill – people do,” and frankly consider it a cop out. The U.S. has the most open gun laws of any society on the planet. The result is predictable; more innocent bystanders are killed daily with bullets than in any other country in the world.

You can’t go one day looking through the daily news without finding incidents of gun play resulting in murders. People of all ages have access to weapons in our gun-happy society. Groups like the NRA play on people’s fears. They promote easy access to weapons in the name of self defense and lobby against any laws restricting the use of any weapon. Laws like the controversial “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida allows people to pull guns and shoot first – and then say they were afraid for their lives.

Cases like the shooting of Trayvon Martin illustrate how easy it is to kill an unarmed person in a scuffle and claim self defense. Despite the fact that the shooter, George Zimmerman, pursued Martin and created a confrontation, then claimed self defense. Zimmerman brought a gun to a fist fight that he started himself, and when Martin hit him he used the gun.

Innocent people, children, teens, and adults die every day from gunshot wounds. Yet, nothing can be done about it when you have groups like the NRA lobbying consistently to keep the flow of guns and ammo steady. They fight any laws meant to restrict sales, or the use of weapons, and get real ugly when asked to do so. It’s no wonder we lead the world on having the most murders of civilians by weapons.

 First here’s an excellent opinion piece on the subject:

Some examples ripped from the headlines today:

Shooter targeting blacks in Tulsa, Oklahoma?

Miami cops: Girl, 15, shot as she sleeps in her bed

Cops: Dad dies after shielding son, 8, from barrage of bullets

Walmart employee killed during robbery in Phoenix

For black parents in Pasadena, shootings give fresh relevance to 'The Talk'

I could go on, but I’m sure you get my point. Anyone in this country that wants a weapon can get it. Law abiding people, and criminals have no problem getting the weapon of their choice. The ensuing result is has gotten completely out of control. I wish there was an answer, a way we could cut back in the accessibility of weapons, but I know that’s not going to happen when you have gun and ammo makers getting rich and the NRA blocking any attempts to stop the deadly stream of weapons from being accessible.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, April 6, 2012

Man's horse-themed 'Pimp My Ride' parody goes viral

No doubt, this will be a trend setter among the horsey set…

The mysterious forces of YouTube have crowned a new viral video: Pimp My Horse, a parody of "Pimp My Ride" that flosses out a guy's mediocre nag with a styling unicorn horn, shutter shades and spinning rims. The spoof is spot on, and the horse owner's reaction to his new ride to "the clubs" is hilarious, but extra credit has to be given to the special effects that allowed them to seamlessly install a mini-fridge in the horse's flank and also place a bass speaker. Hopefully, the horse enjoys the attention and gets a little extra hay for generating all this buzz.

The Venus Project: Beyond Politics Poverty and War


   Good day Humboldt County!

Since the dawn of time mankind has strived for a civilization that allowed people to live in harmony and peace. It hasn’t happened yet.

We’re a war-like species that traditionally accepts the philosophy “Might makes right.”

Still, there are those of us that would like our journey through life to be peaceful. We try to attain a societal peace through various methods – forms of government and creating places that are model communities with peaceful values. Some of these communities are really offbeat. I ran across this “Venus Project” and thought it would be an interesting thing to share. I am in no way endorsing this project. My curiosity just led me here.

According to the creators, “The Venus Project offers a comprehensive plan for social reclamation in which human beings, technology and nature will be able to coexist in a long term, sustainable state of dynamic equilibrium.”


“The Venus Project is an organization that proposes a feasible plan of action for social change, one that works towards a peaceful and sustainable global civilization. It outlines an alternative to strive toward where human rights are no longer paper proclamations but a way of life.

We operate out of a 21.5-acre Research Center located in Venus, Florida.

When one considers the enormity of the challenges facing society today, we can safely conclude that the time is long overdue for us to re-examine our values and to reflect upon and evaluate some of the underlying issues and assumptions we have as a society. This self-analysis calls into question the very nature of what it means to be human, what it means to be a member of a "civilization," and what choices we can make today to ensure a prosperous future for all the world's people.

At present we are left with very few alternatives. The answers of yesterday are no longer relevant. Either we continue as we have been with our outmoded social customs and habits of thought, in which case our future will be threatened, or we can apply a more appropriate set of values that are relevant to an emergent society.

The Venus Project advocates an alternative vision for a sustainable new world civilization unlike any social system that has gone before. Although this description is highly condensed, it is based upon years of study and experimental research by many, many people from many scientific disciplines.” (Go here to read more and to see videos on the subject)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, April 5, 2012


        Good Day Humboldt County!

 Sound is one pathway to the brain. If we’re blessed we have other pathways like sight, taste, touch, and smell.

Back in the day (hint early 60s), when tape recorders were pretty crude by today’s standards, I recall hearing my voice and asking who the hell was that?

The drone on that machine sounded like Alfred Hitchcock with indigestion! I couldn’t believe it was my voice, despite being there when it was recorded.

I remember speeding up the RPMs on records and listening to people sound like chip monks. It’s probably where they got the idea for the voices for Alvin and the gang. Despite the many advances in recording sound…my voice still sounds funny. Not like I think it should. You know what I mean?

Along those same lines, I ran across this interested article:   How would you sound on Mars?


If you could speak on Venus, you might sound like a deep-voiced Smurf — while on Mars, your voice could have the shallow ring of a higher-pitched Shrek. And if you enjoy the sound of a waterfall on Earth, wait until you hear what that tinkling would sound like on Titan. Researchers at the University of Southampton have simulated all these sounds, based on the physics of planetary atmospheres.

"This is the real deal," Tim Leighton, an acoustics professor at the British university, said in a news release. "It's as close as we can get to the real sound of another world until a future probe or astronaut actually goes there and listens to what it really sounds like." The sounds are being shown off over the next week at the Astrium Planetarium at INTECH, near Winchester, as part of a show titled "Flight Through the Universe."

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Get Your Funk On With This Funky Town Illusion

Remember when South Park was in its very beginning? I remember there was this crazy dude character named Towelie, who was in fact a speaking towel whose only interest was getting stoned (?!).

Hilarious! If my memory serves me well, he was a result of a terrible army experiment gone wrong. Dunno why this animation below made me remember of Towelie, but I think it has something to do with that tuneWon’t ya get me down, to funky town” he sang all the time.

Anyhow, concentrate on the red dot in the middle of the .gif right, wait for the counter to drop to zero, and watch the black and white town turn colorful without consuming any illegal substances! Drugs are bad, illusions are awesome!



      Good Day Humboldt County!

I’ve been reading a lot of articles about how fat Americans are lately. Yes, fat. I know it’s more politically correct to say obese, but let’s face it…we’re becoming a nation of porkers! Each study I read gets more dire every year. For example:

An April 3rd article “Obesity in America: Rate Higher Than Previously Thought, BMI Unreliable

"Roughly 30 percent of Americans are obese, but when you use other methods, closer to 60 percent are obese," Dr. Eric Braverman, lead researcher and president of the Path Foundation, a nonprofit medical research group, told HealthDay. "We call BMI the 'baloney mass index.'"

From the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

                                                       U.S. Obesity Trends - National Obesity Trends:

“More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) are obese.
Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.”
[Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)]

                                                        Trends by State 1985–2010

“During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and rates remain high. In 2010, no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-six states had a prevalence of 25% or more; 12 of these states (Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) had a prevalence of 30% or more.”imagesCAFOMLTJ

I could go on, but you have the idea. Now it’s time for the big announcement:

                The Big Announcement

My wife and I joined a health club and we’re both determined to lose weight and turn our jello-like muscles into ripped, rock-hard pythons! Well, Shirley’s not too interested in getting ripped. She’s all about getting her muscle tone back and losing a few pounds. Me too. I’m really not worried about sporting a six-pack, but any improvement would be a better look than my current man-boobs!

What I’m really excited about is there’s an indoor basketball court. I was Basketball Jones until fracturing my back in 1991, while playing in a men’s league in Palm Desert. Basketball was my favorite sports activity throughout school, while in the military, and with city teams from Cleveland, Ohio, to numerous cities in California.

Since my injury in 1991, I was barely able to play. I played in a men’s pickup league in Mack Town briefly before hanging up my sneakers. I finally had back surgery in 1995. It’s been a slow rehab. I have arthritic knees. But I have been walking for the last couple of years (with my beloved pug Millie) and it’s time for me to get serious about my rapidly deteriorating body. There’s a hot tub to soak in after I spend time on that basketball court…dribbling (and drooling) around and taking impossible shots because I have not attempted one since 1992.

Why now? Why not? My wife and I both want to be around for a while. Staying in shape should help. I figure it’s never too late to try. No pain. No gain. Stay tuned for a future post where I whine like a baby about how my much muscles hurt (or how I broke my ankle before taking my second shot at the hoop)! Meanwhile, TODAY IS DAY ONE!

Time for me to walk on down the road…    


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

There are 13 faces hidden somewhere inside in this optical illusion below. Can you find them all?


Free-Market Fans Encourage Rush for Off-Planet Real Estate

     Good Day Humboldt County!

 Mankind will never get tired of exploring. It’s in our DNA. What’s beyond that far planet? Or galaxy? Or universe?

 What roads lie ahead? While America is cutting back nationally on the space budget, private companies are yearning to to fill the void and to venture out and claim new worlds.

Dreams of otherworldly profits are motivating space settlement activists with a mind to explore, to claim foreign real estate. Who knows? Maybe Newt Gingrich is right and we’ll be colonizing the mood to mine it’s resources someday soon. Moon dust anyone?  (Above) Moon Colony Concept NASA/JSC -                

And in the news…

  “Getting to the moon is a noble and ambitious goal for any country, and other nations will probably follow in our footsteps here pretty soon. But private companies won’t go without the promise of profit, and until they do, space will be left unsettled, advocates say. The latest in a drumbeat of pro-colonization comes from the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is advocating the recognition of property rights on the moon or other celestial bodies. Space settlement activist Rand Simberg says in a new white paper that the U.S. should recognize land claims off-planet, which would allow for legal land titles sort of like the former Homestead Act. Moon land titles could be used as collateral for loans, or sold to raise money to develop the lunar landscape, he argues.

“It would have great potential to kick the development of extraterrestrial resources—and perhaps even the human settlement of space—into high gear,” Simberg writes.Other experts have weighed in on this before, noting that corporations have settled new worlds in the past. Recognizing property rights in space would fly in the face of the Moon Treaty, established in 1979, which outlaws private property claims. But the U.S. is not a signatory to that treaty.

It is a signatory to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which prevents establishment of colonies on celestial bodies. But Simberg and others, including Alan Wasser, chairman of the Space Settlement Institute, argue that it prevents nations from doing the colonizing — not private corporations.”

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, April 2, 2012

‘There is no creature among all the Beasts of the world which hath so great and ample demonstration of the power and wisdom of almighty God as the Elephant.’

photo source                    quote by Edward Topsell, “The Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes”

DOJ dispensary raids spur protest set for tomorrow at S.F. City Hall



California NORML invites friends & supporters to rally in protest of the Department of Justice's attack on medical marijuana at S.F. City Hall on Tuesday, April 3rd.

“In a report to Congress, Cal NORML denounced the DOJ crackdown as arbitrary, inconsistent, disrespectful of state and local laws, and destructive of efforts to legally regulate marijuana.

The protest begins on the steps of City Hall (Polk Street entrance) at 11:30 a.m. A majority of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will be joined by representatives from the offices of the City Attorney, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, State Senator Mark Leno, and the Board of Equalization, to show their support for medical cannabis patients by delivering a strong message to the Obama Administration regarding recent actions by the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) and the State’s 4 U.S. Attorneys against local medical cannabis dispensaries.

District Attorney Gascon is sending a statement from his office affirming his stance on medical cannabis laws. A lively rally will precede the press conference at 11am, and at noon patients and supporters will march to the Federal Building located at 450 Golden Gate to demand that Attorney General Eric Holder end the federal attacks on safe access.

Other speakers at the press conference will include affected patients and dispensary operators, ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford, Steph Sherer, representatives from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and San Francisco Medical Cannabis Task Force.”

- D. Gieringer, Cal NORML

For further information:

San Francisco Campaign for Safe Access:

UPDATE: 1:23 p.m.                                 This kind of thing is why there’s a rally tomorrow!

Federal authorities raided Oaksterdam University, a “cannabis college” in northern California, on Monday morning.

Agents with the Internal Revenue Service, Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. Marshals were spotted outside the medical marijuana facility, with some entering the site with power saws and a sledgehammer and other carrying out bags of material to a van, and the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Thank you readers! Your response was really great!


               Good Day Humboldt County!

I’m humbled, surprised, gratified, and reminded of why I write my column – As It Stands – after yesterday.

It’s fun, and I’m happy learning and sharing things during my life’s journey. Yesterday’s response to my April Fool’s story caught me off guard.

It was easily the most emails I’ve received in response to a column since I began writing for the Times-Standard in July 2008. Thank you all.

Apparently, I have more than three regular readers. One of my favorite emails (and I can’t disclose the person’s name because they sent it to me personally) really gave me a good laugh:

Reader: Dear Dave, I will miss your column in the Sunday paper. Best wishes and happy journeys!”

Dave: “Don't worry__________, I'm not really going anywhere.
Check out the last sentence of the column..."As It Stands, April Fools! See ya next week!"
Thank you so much for being a loyal reader, and such a considerate person.
Cheers! Dave”

Reader:Whew!  that will teach me to read unpleasant things to the not so bitter end!”

Comment: my first though was the writer was so bored with the column they did not read it all and were sending me a standard blah blah e-mail (good luck).

Another person pranked!

Reader:When I saw your Goodbye! article, I said, “Oh, darn!” (the last two letters of DARN kind of blend together to look like DAM, but if I had said that I would have spelled it damn)

As I’ve expressed before, I really enjoy your articles. It seems like especially lately that you have been talking about more difficult-to-talk-about subjects, which makes your articles both enjoyable to read and informative. I especially liked a recent article where you talked about extended military tours and their effects on our troops.

I hope that you continue to enjoy writing your articles, so that you continue for a long time. That will then allow me to continue to enjoy reading them!”

Dave: “Good to hear from you and thank you for your kind words.”

And so it went. I got some hilarious emails. A couple of people called and warned me that they were going to get even some day. My niece in Las Vegas was taken hook-line-and-sinker…until that last line. She told my wife that she couldn’t imagine me being a crab fisherman – especially at my age! Now, I’m going to have to top this prank next year!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, April 1, 2012


By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
 Au revoir. Ciao. Do svidaniya. Goodbye. Hasta la vista. Lebewohl. Say┼Źnara.

No more Dave to kick around. I’m moving on to new adventures. People to see. Places to go. Things I want to do.
I can quit feeling like the Rodney Dangerfield of journalism on the north coast. No respect I tell ya. I get no respect. I’m just that crazy freelancer who writes a column for the newspaper, and who has a debatably local blog.
I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous - everyone hasn't met me yet.” - Rodney Dangerfield.
Well folks, that’s in the past now. My witty words will no longer grace this publication and I’m going to blow up my blog! You won’t recognize me around town either because I don’t look like the photo you see on this page.
I have grown a long scraggly beard Blackbeard would have been proud of, even though it’s more gray than black.

Then I donned a black eye patch. It seemed like a good idea so irate readers and critics wouldn’t recognize me in public. Disappearing won’t be hard. I’ll miss my readership. All three of you.

  I plan to do a Forest Gump and walk across the country for no good reason. I’m having some difficulty putting together a support team. My wife assured me she wouldn’t go along with anything so stupid, so I turned to other family members and friends. Guess what? No takers! I guess that means you’re my last chance. 
  If any reader is moved by my mission to walk aimlessly to the east coast and wants to help, they can contact me via the e-mail address at the end of this column.

I also have other plans.
When I get back to the north coast after my meaningless journey east, I plan to become a crab fisherman. After years of watching my next door neighbor, a Vietnam veteran who owns his own boat, with 300 plus crab pots, I think I’m experienced enough to take on this new profession.

I’ve watched him stack the smelly things at the end of each season. I’ve observed the proper methods of taking out the little yellow and red floaties inside, and smelled the sea for months - the odor from the pots wafting gently, but persistently, to my front porch and making me gag.
 Then one day I stopped hurling when I opened the front door, and realized I was a seasoned salt! The rotten crab stench had turned to flowers in my olfactory system, and a time of change lingered in my nostrils.
 At 62 years-old, it’s not a common thing to change course in your life work. I’ve been a wordsmith since I scribbled my first graffiti on my desk with a penknife. As a journalist, I’ve researched and written about countless subjects over the years.

But now, a new destiny calls. A new purpose. I’ve lived within walking distance of the sea for decades and now its allure says, “Join me, you crazy old man. I’ve got a ticked-off White Whale who wants to meet you!”
 Obliviously that siren call has mesmerized me. Yes, I’m the same guy everyone calls “Chicken of the Sea” because I’ve always hated going out in a boat.

My only experience was a fishing trip on a half day boat in Palos Verde in the 70s. I puked like the worst landlubber ever, and watched helplessly seasick, as the rest of the people drank beer and had fun fishing.

Upon reflection, I think the whole idea came up when I started to wear the black eye patch. I got into a habit of calling my grandchildren “mateys” and talking like a pirate. The performance was good enough to get approval from all five.
Nothing ventured,nothing gained.Right? Sure,it won’t be easy to get a boat.There’s this little issue of money.If I can find one for sale then I’ll have to raise the shekels to purchase it.
 Or, I suppose I could wait until someone from my old unit in Vietnam showed up in a wheelchair (like Captain Dan in Forest Gump) with his own crab boat and in need of a partner. I know that’s a bit of a stretch because everyone in my platoon was a landlubber.
 If there’s anything that really makes me hesitate about this new profession, it’s the fact  I can’t stand the taste of crab!
As It Stands, April Fools! See ya next week.


Journalism Newswire -

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...