Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Notice To Readers: I’m on my annual blog break until Aug. 28th


Just to keep it real I pull myself away from my blog once a year.

That time has come. I’m going to be wandering in the hinterlands and heartland of America just because.

If you haven’t gone through my blog archives (they go back four years), you may find them amusing. Then, there’s my newspaper column archives – on the right. Feel free to leave comments, I always answer acknowledge them.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Livestock Pollution Unchecked: FDA doesn’t even know where all the livestock farms are!

A report to Congress in 2008 said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was failing to regulate pollution from the nation's livestock farms because it lacked information as basic as how many farms existed. Four years later, the EPA still doesn't know the location of many livestock farms, let alone how much manure they generate and how all the waste is being handled.

Environmentalists say they were flabbergasted when the EPA recently decided against adopting a rule that would require livestock operators to provide the agency with information. But industry officials say there's no reason for farmers to have to give the EPA information. An EPA spokeswoman says nobody at the agency is available to discuss the decision. (source)

Table Dancers Turn Tables, Show Up To Church To Protest Being Protested


            Good Day Humboldt County?

I can’t help thinking about that popular song back in the day, “Harper Valley PTA.” The following story really struck me as funny and full of irony.

The dancers at the Foxhole in Coschocton County, Ohio, are used to arriving at work to the sounds of protests from members of the nearby New Beginnings Ministries church. But the same couldn't quite be said for the churchgoers, who showed up for services on Sunday and were greeted by the sight of bikini-clad protesters.

For the last four years, the pastor at New Beginnings has led a protest outside the Foxhole every weekend. Beyond just voicing their disapproval of the strip joint, the church members also videotape the license plates of the bar's patrons and then post the info online.

So the crew at the Foxhole decided to give the churchgoers a taste of their own medicine, sitting outside the church in skimpy outfits and cooling each other down with Super Soakers as they grilled up burgers.

They also held signs with Bible quotes like:
Matthew 7:15: Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing
Revelations 22:11: He that is unjust, let him be unjust still

The strip club's owner has unsuccessfully tried to sue the church for their protests, but now he's hoping that this table-flipping will help to put an end to things. "When these morons go away, we'll go away," he said. "The great thing about this country is that everyone has a right to believe what they want."

One of the Foxhole dancers, a married mother-of-six, says the protesters outside the strip club every weekend are ill-informed:

These church people say horrible things about us... They say we're homewreckers and whores. The fact of the matter is, we're working to keep our own homes together, to give our kids what they need.

The New Beginnings pastor counters that he and the other protesters aren't there to condemn the dancers, but to offer them a way out. "I tell them, 'I will put a roof over your heads, and your bills will be paid, and your children's bellies will be full,'" he explains.

The pastor says the protests outside his church of only served to confirm the churchgoers' feelings. "They have now seen the evil firsthand," he says. "This has just made us stronger." The Foxhole owner sees things differently. "They're just mad," he said, "because their wives won't let them come to my club." (source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, August 20, 2012

WEBSITE PICK OF THE DAY: History of swords and armor, types of swords and armor, and sword information

                                                                   Roman swords
History of Roman swords. Roman gladius sword, Roman spatha sword and gladiator swords. Roman pugio dagger. Sword history.
roman legionaries

The Roman Sword or Gladius is one of the most widely recognized swords of any culture. These swords were in use between 4th century BC and 3rd Century AD.

The Romans where highly skilled and disciplined and great weapons such as the sword were a must especially for cavalrymen and infantrymen. The skills of these men and the advances in sword making techniques made this sword a deadly weapon and was one the major factors behind a long and successful military reign. To identify a person’s sword the name was often etched into the blade.


Meandering Monday: some views on current news

                   Good Day Humboldt County!

Let me start by saying this world gets weirder by the day; exhibit A:

A former hacker wanted by Swedish authorities for rape and sexual assault charges, Jullian Assange, steps out on the balcony of the Ecuadorean embassy in Great Britain (where he’ll be arrested if he dares set foot outside it) and calls for the President of the United States to free a member of the American military who was caught leaking Top Security information to Assange (or whoever gave it to him)??? Really?

Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican who recently won a senate seat did so despite his lame ass remarks on abortion rights in instances when a woman is a victim of rape. You want ignorance? Listen to this baby-faced (see photo on right) woman-hater explain his wacky rationale regarding some rapes:

First of all, from what I understand from doctors, [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin said. Yes, I know, it’s an incredibly insensitive remark to make about rape, but he still won the election. What’s with the GOP assault on women anyway?

composite image, with magnified insets, depicts the first laser test of Curiosity Mars rover

I’m trying damn hard not to imagine how many millions of dollars are being spent as we watch NASA’s new play toy on Mars break a rock with a laser beam!

That high tech little off-road vehicle called Curiosity fired 30 pulses at a nearby rock in a 10 second span and guess what? It put a hole through it! Okay. For the sake of science you say?

 Like all good Martian land rovers, Curiosity has a  social media team who made a reference to Austin Powers when it tweeted, "Yes, I've got a laser beam attached to my head. I'm not ill-tempered; I zapped a rock for science." Then it signed off "#PewPew," a nerd reference to the sound lasers make when discharged.

 So that you have it folks; we’ve destroyed a rock on a distant planet with a laser gun, and are heralding the moment as historic and only the first in many more to come. Man’s calling card, “Mindless destruction.” Don’t you just feel “tingly” about spending your tax dollars on this? I sure don’t.

Another reason to hate Mondays: Mondays really are the worst day of the week for the stock market.

Records show Monday is the only day the stock market is more likely to fall than to rise. The Dow Jones industrial average has been down 10 of the past 11 Mondays. And the two worst days in market history are both known as Black Monday.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, August 19, 2012

AS IT STANDS: Contemporary Art is Not for Everyone


The people no longer seek consolation in art. But the refined people, the rich, the idlers seek the new, the extraordinary, the extravagant, the scandalous. I have contented these people with all the many bizarre things that come into my head. And the less they understand, the more they admire it. By amusing myself with all these games, all this nonsense, all these picture puzzles, I became famous... I am only a public entertainer who has understood his time.” (Pablo Picasso)
                     By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard 
   One person’s junk can be another’s treasure. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase used in many contexts before. There’s no better example than contemporary art. For those not familiar with what constitutes contemporary art I’ll give you a brief description: anything goes.
  That’s right. Contemporary art is basically a tangible piece of art or installation ranging from a row of porcelain men’s urinals on a wood frame to a rock tied up with colorful ribbons.

Artists and gallery owners say the most important thing to remember is that contemporary art is a frame of mind, in addition to taking action. That said, I freely admit I don’t get it.
  I’m certainly not going to make the same mistake Morley Safer did twenty years ago on a 60 minutes segment, when he made fun, scorned, and satirized the whole contemporary art movement.

  With knowing winks, he showed odd-looking displays that seemed to be nothing more than stuff pulled out of peoples garages, cellars, recycling bins, and trash cans. The art world took notice of this infamous snub.
   Last April, Safer followed up on that controversial segment. He gamely took the “I told you so’s” from art dealers and collectors who were enjoying unprecedented sales, like a good sport. Most of those interviewed for the new segment were people who remembered his earlier attitude.
   I won’t say Safer seemed convinced contemporary art was “legitimate” art in this last segment, but I think he regrets his original condescending attitude. The prices contemporary art commands today make an argument for some legitimacy.

  I’ve discovered that most people who buy contemporary art are wealthy. As in uber-wealthy and ready to pay any amount for the latest “hot” piece. Status comes with owning a collection of electrical cords arranged around a sculpture of a broken telephones that sold for $1.2 million dollars.
  Contemporary art is a billion dollar a year industry in America, according to Safer’s report. There’s nothing laughable about that.

    If you’re interested in buying, or investing in contemporary art works I recommend reading In Art Auctions: A Survey of Empirical Studies (Working Paper No. 8997) by Research Associate Orley Ashenfelter, and co-author Kathryn Graddy.
  They review what is known about how the art auction system actually works and discuss whether art makes a good investment. They also assess the accuracy of expert estimates of value, and examine the determination of reserve prices.

   Just be prepared to enter unregulated territory where insider knowledge is the norm, and fixed prices among art gallery owners is the way business is done. It’s like the stock market on steroids. Like an artificial bubble, that when it bursts, won’t really affect the main players. They mostly spend their pocket money anyway. 

   Getting involved with contemporary art is easy. Google “ArtBook Guy” to see how. I wish you the best of luck. I think it’s kind of silly to pay for things I perceive to be everyday objects going for astronomical prices, so I’ll never be a collector.
  I suppose that’s just a sign of my art ignorance. Somewhere down deep in my brain the “art spot’ must be underdeveloped. I would like to add that I do appreciate more traditional art, and I’m not a complete art philistine.

  Thus far, no contemporary art pieces have rivaled traditional ones like Paul Cezanne’s “The Card Players” which sold for $250 million in 2011, to the country of Qatar. Needless to say, that was the most expensive piece of art ever sold.
  Pablo Picasso was among the first contemporary artists to be internationally recognized for his work. It’s interesting to note that he had no illusions about what he was doing. He was amusing himself at the expense of others and getting famous for his efforts.
   As It Stands, when someone sells a pair of dirty socks for a new art record, I’m going to become a contemporary artist!

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...