Thursday, May 31, 2007

Spider mine

Come into my parlor,
said the spider to the mountain biker.

(enlarge this close-up and
you will see the spider
waiting by the rock
in the upper left

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Weight Watchers update

John Amato at Crooks and Liars just posted doing Weight Watchers (11 lbs. so far!) and it reminded me that I haven't done an update since I started the program five months ago. I am nearing my target weight of 115. You may not be impressed by that but it impresses the hell out of me, especially as I'm not on a "diet" or randomly starving myself.

A couple of weeks ago I was at 118 and the trainer advised me to declare my target weight, the idea being if I maintain it for 6 weeks, I earn a free lifetime membership. This is the fine tuning phase. I began by adding 4 extra points to my daily intake and in one week I gained 2 lbs. That's not unusual but, as we had a substitute trainer at the next meeting, I dropped the extra points for this week. Freaked me out. Tomorrow is weigh-in. Can't wait to see what's up or (hopefully) down.

Driftwork review

No need to pencil in the Pulitzer award dinner at this point but Driftwork got a good review in issue #24 of Zine World:

Driftwork #1: Describes its contents as "poetry, fabrication, image, rants, and review." Issue #1 is mostly poetry and b&w photographs along with some short essays. There is some very good writing here. The punch-line to "The Gril with the Tootie Fruity Hat" made me laugh. A piece about leaving home at eighteen is poingnant without being sappy. "Sylvia and Ted" deftly describes the dance that is done in relationships, in only a few strokes. Nicely produced. Asha Anderson, PO Box 1436, Gardnerville NV 89410,, [$3, trades ok (contact first), ftp 16S :30]—Anu, reviewer for Zine World, a Reader's Guide to the Underground Press

As for a 2nd issue, I'm still waiting for enough good work to fill it. Think about submitting something, even if you 're in the 1st issue. Full guidelines are here. Keep in mind that simultaneous submissions and previously published material okay. Contributors get 2 free copies and can purchase more at cost. Sorry I can't give more away but it costs me enough out of pocket as it is.

Driftwork is yet another minuscule underground press publication and distribution is really limited but there are other advantages to being included in it, besides going in your bio and impressing friends and family. If you read your work in public, reading it from a publication lends a little credibility to your presentation and may generate a sale or two among audience members. Beyond that, many bookstores reserve a shelf for local and/or small press publications and will be happy to take a few copies so you make a little profit selling them there, what to speak of spreading your fame and glory. So submit, damn it! The future awaits you.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Nevada gold

It was a nice day for a ride so we loaded the bikes into the jeep and headed to the Pinenut range which is about eight miles from our house. One road in particular provides direct access but recently someone posted "Keep Out" and "Private Road" signs at the entrance. It leads to old mine so we decided to drive there in hopes of getting permission from the owner to use it. I suppose it was a bit risky but we were, after all, wearing crazy bike clothes and hardly looked like claim jumpers.

Monster at the fork in the road

It's only a few miles in, winding between the foothills but one turn and all the development, McMansions and frenzy in the valley fades to naught. Went we got to the mine we parked and weighed the possibility of getting shot. We considered going back but heard a generator and decided what the hell? After all, we're here. We went the rest of the way on foot. As it turned out a really nice old couple, Lee and Ted, work the claim. They've lived there for years, even in the winter when temperatures fall to 30 below zero. They look a bit like Jack Sprat and his wife, except she is the one who is thin as a bean. They have quite an operation, crushing rock and separating, by degree, particles of gold from everything else, magnetic sand (lead) being the last to go. At the end stage, they use water, hand, and eye. The process requires great patience, more than most people, or at least I, could possibly muster. I don't know if they sell bags of gold flake somewhere but they do make jewelery. They fill transparent lockets with gold flakes and hang the little pods from necklaces and earrings. Pure Nevada gold. They should have a website.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

4x death and desert kings

As we were poking around Virginia City mountain roads last week, news of this fellow's death in the paper today caught my attention. Besides being a sad tale of a perhaps avoidable death, there is a lesson to be learned. The regular jeep trails are bad enough but driving on the lip of a pit mine is truly tempting fate.

Man killed when Jeep falls into old mining pit

by Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer,
May 23, 2007

From the Nevada Appeal

A 63-year-old California man on a rock-hunting trip with his wife was killed Tuesday when the Jeep he was driving rolled off a narrow trail in Virginia City into an abandoned mining pit.

The Storey County Sheriff's Office received the call about 3:50 p.m. According to Sgt. Kenneth Quirk, Alvin Ellwood Baldwin was trying to maneuver his vehicle on a narrow trail high above the Loring Pit when he lost control and rolled 500 feet into the pit.

The Loring Pit is located across State Route 341 from the Historic Fourth Ward School on the south end of town.

Quirk said Baldwin, of Occidental, Calif., was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.

"They were up above the pit and that is on the very narrow roadway, it's more of a trail," he said. "The wife actually got out because it was too treacherous. He tried to do a maneuver and it rolled."

Quirk said the couple had driven to Nevada from Occidental and had gotten a room at a hotel in Carson City.

Quirk said the wife was taken to the sheriff's office where she called friends in California, who drove over to stay with her.

"It was horrible, simply horrible," he said.


Desert raven riding a wild horse.
Sorry the resolution is so small. It's almost
impossible to see the raven but he's there
right on the horse's withers.
There was one particularly sweet moment I forgot to mention in my post about our misadventures last week. Unfortunately, the photo I took doesn't show much, but if you look closely at the horse's withers, you might be able to make out the hitchhiking bird riding him. They crossed the road in front of us but neither were a bit concerned about our presence. The bird was as regal as a desert king riding slowly through the land upon his favorite steed.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Our oceans are turning into plastic...are we?

You owe it to yourself to at least skim this article in Best Life Magazine. Yet another reason to avoid bottled water - a vast swath of the Pacific, twice the size of Texas, is full of plastic.
Our oceans are turning into plastic...are we?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

War Pigs - The Iraq Video Remix

"War Pigs was originally an anti-Vietnam War song and is perhaps the best known of Black Sabbath's work. It first appeared on their 1970 release, Paranoid, but has come to be used by anyone who hates the horrors of war and warmakers." Read more...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gonzales bullys for Bush

This footage of James B. Comey, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States, testifying yesterday, May 15th, about how Gonzales and Card tried to force a reauthorization of the administration's spying on the general American population. Watch it. It's chilling how far the neocons are willing to go. Enter the labyrinth through DailyKos.

Gonzales, a bully for Bush

Attila, the Attorney General

Monday, May 14, 2007

Bad Mother's Day

My daughter sent me this great card for Mother's Day, which was yesterday. I hope it was a lovely day all around. Anyway, her card got me to thinking. However loving and forgiving our children may be some of us are too neurotic, vain, and self-centered to meet the standard of the Good Mother. It is embarrassing for both the children and us, the bad mothers, to go through the motions of Mother's Day, knowing that the honors are not exactly meant or deserved. Therefore, with an end to restoring integrity all around, I hereby declare that, henceforth, the second Monday of May will be known as Bad Mother's Day. From now on this is our day, we Bad Mothers, to do with as we please. And for good measure, because enough is never enough, I threw in the rights and privileges of Blue Monday [¹] , such as calling in sick and sighing a lot.

Naturally, many good children of bad mothers will not want to send their bad mothers Bad Mother's Day cards, irregardless of what a crap head she is. Not to worry. If you don't send one, it will just go to prove how terribly unappreciated we are. All the more reason for The DAY.

With the help of the troupe here at the Invisible Theatre, I threw together this little video to launch the holiday. In keeping with the theme, it's a variation of the old saying, "the hand that rocks the cradle" merged with the idea that, indeed, "it is never too late." I don't want any flack over the fact that a man does the lyrics. It's about time one of them kicks in. If you'd had a husband like this, you'd have been a bad mother too.

The quality of this video is pretty bad but, hell, what can you expect on Bad Mother's Day? Like I tell my kids, I tired. Anyway, the sound track is good, at least I think so and that's what matters. So sit back and enjoy William Shatner doing "That's Me Trying" from his never a hit album, "Has Been".

Happy Bad Mother's Day.

That's Me Trying for bad mother's everywhere


What? So you think something as important as Bad Mother's Day doesn't deserve footnotes?

[¹] The much ridiculed work of Cliff Arnall, former part-time tutor at Cardiff University explains a lot. Cardiff University distanced themselves from Arnall, but I stand by his efforts to render in mathematical terms such important concepts as Blue Monday.

Based on Cliff's work, I got my little brother (who actually is a scientist) to whip up a formula for Blue Monday Bad Mother's Day. I call it the BMBMD Effect.

... where weather (W) PLUS debt (D) MINUS ability to pay (d) MULTIPLIED BY THE time since her birthday (T), the combined time of all previous Bad Mother's Days (T¹) and the time since blowing her latest New Year’s resolutions (Q) DIVIDED BY Mommie's massive need to be right (M) MULTIPLIED BY her never ending need for appreciation (Na) EQUALS a very bad Blue Monday Bad Mother's Day. 

So be a good kid and do something nice for your mother or not. Hop to it.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

Factoid: Did you know that Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother's Day, was jailed on Mother's Day for protesting how commercial the observance had become?

My daughter sent me this poem today and it's well worth sharing. I do believe women, with children or not, must lead the way if we are ever to come anywhere near establishing world peace.

Happy Mother's Day.

Mother's Day Proclamation
Julia Ward Howe

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses
and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and
earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Also, time to dust off this internet classic ...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Time past and passing

I'm gone for a couple of days and when I get back I find that Roy pulled the plug on his blog. What the hell's up with that?

I was in Oregon the last few days where, unexpectedly, I got to spend time with family members from whom I have been estranged for several years. Much as I would like to rush a healing along, I have no control but I am grateful to still be around. Both of my parents died during my prodigal wandering.

Anyway, It's been a long day.

Friday, May 4, 2007

627 days to go.

Uncle Monkey explains the curse
of evil bush spirits to Ugly Bear.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Slide show - Dulary's arrival

There is now a slide show of Dulary's arrival in her diary. Great pics. If your heart needs a little warming, check it out.

Dulary update update

Dulary and Tarra get to know one another.

May 1, update

Meanwhile, back at the Elephant Sanctuary, after 41 years of confinement, it only took Dulary a little over 4 hours to decide at that it was okay to step out of the trailer and meet her new sisters Tarra, Delhi and Misty who stood nearby the whole time eagerly waiting to show her around. An elephant in the wild can easily take a hundred mile stroll before breakfast so what a thrill it must be for her, after a lifetime of concrete, bars and leg chains, to walk freely with friends along the lovely, lovely, rolling miles of soft, sweet dirt elephant trails. I can't wait to hear about Dulary finding the lake. She is water bug. I would love to work at the sanctuary. Full report at Dulary's Diary.

Commander Guy

"I am the
Commander Guy".

Just for the record, here is an excerpt from The Caucus reporting this newest, mind-boggling display of Bush's hubris and stupidity. Unfortunately, Commander Guy is so delusional and self-centered that he will probably never grasp just what an asshole we think he is. Too bad. It would be some, small satisfaction, if not comfort, to know he is capable of shame. As it is, Commander Guy, aka The Decider, is a really scary man.

The Caucus
Political blogging from The New York Times
May 2, 2007, 5:11 pm
Bush: ‘I’m the Commander Guy’

By Sheryl Gay Stolberg

WASHINGTON, May 2 – And you thought he was still “the decider.”

President Bush has coined a new nickname for himself — ‘’the commander guy” — on Wednesday, as he criticized Congressional Democrats in a speech to the annual gathering of the Associated General Contractors of America, a construction industry trade group.

The man who last year proclaimed “I’m the decider,’’ in response to a question about whether he would fire Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary, came up with this latest moniker in explaining why he vetoed an Iraq war spending bill that dictated a timeline for troops to withdraw from Iraq.

“The question is, ‘Who ought to make that decision, the Congress or the commanders?,’’ Mr. Bush said. “As you know, my position is clear – I’m the commander guy.”

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Dulary update

In happier news, Dulary arrived at the Elephant Sanctuary today. Here is a clip from her diary at

May 1, 2007

5:37 p.m.
As Dulary was backing out of the trailer, Tarra came up to see what was happening -- Dulary was a little uncertain about that, but after she realized that Tarra just wanted some of her food, everything was OK. Dulary followed Tarra and they have been playing ever since!

2:30 p.m.
Dulary has arrived, safe and sound. She took a bath in the trailer where she remains, enjoying the sights and sounds of her new home. She is munching on lots of hay and 3 of her new sisters wait anxiously -- Misty, Delhi, and Tarra.

7:30 AM
Dulary is on her final leg of her journey home.

Mission NOT accomplished

George W. Bush is a disgrace to this country. And a menace to the world. On this, the 4th anniversary of his bullshit "Mission Accomplished" photo opp and speech on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, there are 3351 American soldiers dead and 4 more pending DoD confirmation. Dead, Mr. Flight Suit. Dead. Because of your phony "war". And a country in ruins, countless citizens dead, maimed, homeless, outraged. Their civil war is on you Poster Boy, and your fascist buddies Darth Cheney, Crazy Rummy, Condie Baby (your ever-adoring war wife), Bill Kristol and the rest of the neoconservative elites who pull your strings, the religious freaks you duped and the corporations you serve. Happy Anniversary, asshole.

Propaganda wars