Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Yesterday morning I held a hummingbird in the palm of my hand.

We have an partially enclosed porch and it flew in and got turned around, kept trying to fly through the glass at the end of the porch. The wings were so loud in the enclosed space and was that chirp coming from that bit of beak and feathers. I managed to get the lower pane open and then came the fun part. Finally I had it in my hand. How does something that tiny survive? Managed to maneuver it down to the open window. In a moment it was streaking away, chirping all the way. 

Monday, July 30, 2012


Before I tackle Chick fil A here is a partial list of companies and corporations targeted because they support gay rights and/or marriage equality.

Note: The American Family Association is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group and the National Organization for Marriage is basically on their watch list.

Oreos – In June 2012, Oreo posted a phote of a rainbow sextuple stacked cookie to its Facebook page in honor of Pride month. While the responses were most positive, some commenters were outraged, even calling for a boycott of the product.

General Mills – Betty Crocker, Cheerios, Wheaties, Pillsbury and Green Giant targeted by the National Organization for Marriage for opposing the Minnesota Marriage Amendment. Go get a Rainbow Chip cake mix.

Levi’s – In 1992 Levi’s pulled its funding of the Boy Scouts over the organization’s exclusion of Gays. Supporters included disgraced Texas congressman Tom Delay.

American Apparel – in 2009 American Apparel put its “Legalize Gay” t-shirt in its storefront windows in DC. Vandals broke the stores windows. They fixed the windows and left in the shirts.

Walt Disney World – although Disney World’s Gay Days are not officially sanctioned they were on object the Florida Family Association. The group paid to have two planes fly over the park with warning banners; lest any unsuspecting families be in the park during Gay Days.

Starbucks – In January 2012 Starbucks released a memo support gay marriage. The National Organization for Marriage launched DumpStarbucks.com to urge people to boycott the company.

Procter and Gamble products – Tide, Pampers, Crest - In 2004 Proctor and Gamble angered conservatives by opposing an anti gay rights statute that would have exempted gays and lesbians from special civil rights protection in its hometown of Cincinnati. The American Family Association called for a boycott of some of the most popular products and presented a petition with almost 365,000 signatures urging a change in policy.

Home Depot – In May of this year the American Family Association announced a boycott of Home Depot until it agrees to remain neutral in the homosexual culture war. Home Depot was condemned for giving financial and corporate support to open displays of homosexual activism. Etc and so forth. Home Depot was not impressed.

Pepsi – The American Family Association strikes again. Calling for a boycott of Pepsi, Frito lay chips, Quaker Oats and Gatorade because PepsiCo gave donations totaling a million dollars to the Human Rights Campaign and PFLAG.

Safeway – In June 2009 Safeway put large gay/lesbian Pride posters in stores across the country. Here’s the American Family Association to the rescue again.

Old Navy – In 2011 Old Navy planned to sell shirts to benefit the anti suicide, anti bullying It Gets Better Project. American Family Association to the rescue again.

Girl Scouts – In 2011 the Girl Scouts decided to allow a transgender youth to participate. Here comes the American Family Association again. Who’d have thought one little kid could cause such a stir.

Penney’s – Boycotted by the One Million Moms for Choosing Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson. Penney’s came under criticism because its June catalog showed two men playing on the floor with their kids and hugging them. The American Family Association again.

Gap – When Gap launched an ad campaign featuring two men pressed toether under a shared t shirt the One Million Moms (part of the American Family Association) swung into action launching a boycott of Gap brands until the corporation decides to remain neutral in the culture war.

So, OUR boycotts are good because we’re doing God’s will or some damn thing and your calls for boycotts from the other side are bad because you’re a bunch of Godless, atheistic heathens. Count me on the side of the heathens 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Aurora, Colorado. The list just keeps getting longer. It’ll keep getting longer until we realize that the right to buy guns isn’t the problem. After all, according to a quick check on the net, this country has almost as many guns as people. That we know about. Trying try pry those guns from our cold, dead hands is not going to happen anytime soon. If buying isn’t the problem then the right to sell them, and to keep selling them no matter what the cost could be what’s happening around us.

There were twenty seven years and a revolution between the writing of the Declaration of Independence and the prologue to the constitution. During that time the phrase life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness morphed to life, liberty and property. Most of us understand the phrase as protection for the property we OWN. There’s another kind of property though. The property we want to SELL to somebody else.

My first Sony Discman lasted forever. I finally had to tape the batteries in but it kept truckin’ along for years until the drive finally died. I’ve had two since then and neither one of them lasted more than two years. That’s how companies keep costs deceptively low.  And it doesn’t really matter to anything but your pocket book if electronics don’t last as long as they used to. Can’t do that with guns though.

Guns are not like single use cameras. They can be used again. Guns are not like cheap clothes from third world countries. Fool around with the quality of manufacture and you may end up with a handgun that blows up when the customer tries to use it. That is not good for business. The same with boxes of ammo that have a lot of duds.

So how do you solve the problem? Convince people to buy as many guns as possible, make it as easy as possible and don’t give a damn about where the guns go after the original buyer forks over his money.

 I tried Googleing the phrase “National Rifle Association Donor Transparency.” Didn’t get much information beyond the fact that any useful information is scarcer than hen’s teeth. And, that earlier this month the NRA went to a great deal of time and trouble to threaten our representatives who were getting ready to vote on campaign finance law that would have made it easier to find out where the money comes from.

I suspect that if we could trace donations to the NRA we would find that much of the over $205,000,000 in income in 2004 came from the same groups that benefit the most from the NRA’s lobbying efforts; the manufacturers of weapons, ammunition and those other lovely accessories the well dressed nutcase needs to go on a rampage. After all there are only so many SWAT teams in the country and body armor isn’t single use either.

So, who benefits from the shell game that hides behind the second amendment? It isn’t us. It’s said that if you follow the money, you’ll usually get to the truth. If only it were that easy.

The mantra started within a day. “If only there had been someone in the audience with gun, he could have….” A dark theater, smoke grenade, bullets flying, a room full of people all trying to be someplace else. You sat in the middle where the picture is best. How do you get to a spot where you can get a clear shot without getting trampled or drawing fire? Or even get there before shooter bugs out looking for new targets?

And there’s the old standby “you need a gun to protect yourself in case someone invades your home.” For that to work you need a gun in every room. Otherwise, how do you get to the gun stored in another part of the house before the bad guys get to you? The answer is, ninety percent of the time you probably can’t. So, again, who benefits. The manufacturers not the customers. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


“When you go to build a cathedral, you must build your foundation strong.” Robin Longstride in Ridley Scott’s version of the Robin Hood story. Or you can go with Sir Isaac Newton. “If I have seen further than other men it’s because I’ve stood on the shoulders of giants.”

The president made a speech the other day. Rush Limbaugh excerpted about three sentences from the whole thing and issued one of his over the top fulminations. Oh, Rush, the gift that just keeps giving, like dysentery. 

“I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together." (Ok, maybe he was speaking off the cuff and wasn't as clear as he could have been)

The president didn’t say businesses don’t succeed on individual hard work and creativity. He did say that you have to have a strong foundation to build on. And a profound appreciation for all the hard work that went into building those foundations. That pyramid of strong shoulders we stand on.

Some early human realized that you could use scrap rock with sharp edges to cut pieces off a critter. The first brick in the foundation came when somebody, somehow realized he/she could recreate that edge on demand. That you could shape those rocks, put them on the end of a long piece of wood and have a more reliable weapon than a sharpened stick.

Lightning starts fire. Humans made it semi portable. More bricks went in when several somebody’s figured out how to make it reliable and portable. How DO you get from rubbing sticks together really, really fast to making fire? How DO you get the idea of putting a piece of string (after you’ve invented string), gut or tendon between the ends of a piece of wood and using it to shoot another piece of wood with a stone tip at something, preferably dinner.

Domesticating animals for meat, milk, hides and fleece. Love to know how that happened. When did some bright man or woman (Probably a woman, men still hate to take out the garbage) notice that the wild grain they’d been gathering was growing near the camp’s rubbish tip?

Weaving? How did we get to that? Watch spiders spin their webs? But spiders don’t use looms or spinning wheels. What Neolithic genius fastened a piece of hide to a stick and used it to catch the wind to help move his raft along? And who the heck was the unsung genius somewhere in the Med who came up with the Lateen sail. That triangular steering sail that lets a ship tack against the wind?

Wheels? And some folks saw the Central American natives as backward because they put wheels on their kid’s toys but didn’t use them the way Europeans did. And did I also mention they lived in either a jungle or steep mountains or both. Even the northern Europeans used the sea, rivers or man made rivers when they could.

The biggest improvements in the last thousand years haven’t been in how we do the jobs but where we get the power to do them. From animals walking in circles to power millstones to water wheels to internal combustion engines. Same job, different power source. And what genius figured out how to use a series of wheels and gears to turn the round and around motion of a water wheel into up and down or back and forth to power sawmills, lathes, trip hammers the whole foundation of industry. Actually, what genius realized he could put two really big wheels together with flat pieces of wood between and harness the power of a river in the first place. All Watt’s engine did was make it possible to have your factory someplace besides the edge of a river or canal. As long has you could get fuel you could keep the engines going. 

The president’s speech might have been better written but it was said in praise of the foundation builders. The ones who provided the tools for the bright, hard working business builders we have now.

Cross posted in Women On

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


"thanks"  Blogger. It's only taken you four years to get your blogs to do what AOL Journals could do with pictures. Yes, I know there were codes I could use, but it never seemed to work for me.


I mentioned a few posts back that we had a new "adoptee."  He showed up during the big snow last Spring.

He had a collar missing its tag, Said hello and moved in. By the second evening he showed up with his right front leg through the collar. Picked him up, tossed him through the front door and cut off the collar. That's when we discovered he knew what windows and doors were for. Went to the front door, meowed and went out when I opened it. Since then he's evolved into something of an outie/innie. Especially when he discovered that he could mooch some of Bandit's dinner.

Bandit tolerates the obstreperous upstart. Big change from trying to kick him in the pants, so to speak. And Smokie Jo is obviously very comfortable with the situation. 

And the other night he hopped up with mom in her chair. That did put the Bandit's nose out of joint. "That's my place!" Relax kid. Smokie never stays in more than half an hour or so, so far. He sniffs at but hasn't tried to use the litter box. I am not sure how that would go over right now. I'm really not, so I'm not pushing it.

And best of all, he knows that Amber was here first. I put another towel on the bench out back while the weather was still cool and damp. Whoever got there first usually ended up in the corner but there's room enough for two and some munchies. I haven't been able to get a good shot of the two of them snoozing in semi perfect harmony. LOL

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Was out at four thirty or so feeding the porch kitties and happened to look up. I'm very nearsighted so two really bright lights above the horizon caught my attention. Fired up my astronomy program, ran it back to the right time and there they were Venus and Jupiter. And up in the corner what some folks call a dry moon because the tip of the curve is pointed up as if it were a cup.

Found this shot on the Astronomy Picture of the Day website. This was taken just before dawn from the Atacama Desert yesterday morning. A really lovely shot. 


"I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that's the America millions of Americans believe in. That's the America I love."
–Mitt Romney (January 2012)

This is absolutely, totally, out of this world scary. How the heck did this person ever get his bachelor's degree much less make it through law school? I'm not looking for a genius to run for office, but this is ridiculous. What is this? The northern version of Texas' "all hat and no cattle."

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Half awake, half asleep my mind goes its own ways sometimes. I'm no fool. Life was hard in the old days. But I believe there was a respect for the world around them and for each other, at least for those around you that we've "misplaced" shall we say. I posted most of this over in Green Woman last night. I left the screen up and it was the first thing I saw this morning. And I reread it.   Oh, Mother of us all. Those words you had me write, they're hard, hard. 

Daughter I tried to follow the old ways. The paths of the Great Mother and the Bards. There were no temples of stone in the green lands. Groves of beech and ash and oak were good enough for the walls. When the sun shone clear the roof was a thousand shades of green, gold and blue. And when the mists came no one was sure where this world ended and the Otherworld began.

Perhaps we had less freedom than your world offers, but we had a place in our families. If there was food and drink for some there was some for all even if it was only bread from the good earth and clean water from the streams. Our bards told the old stories so that we knew who our families were and the stories of the God’s and heroes.

Now, I watch through your eyes and I grieve. The sacred groves where we sang our songs and celebrated the wheel of the seasons are gone, fallen to the saws and bulldozers. The green is gone, the skies are glowing brass and the clouds bring no rain or too much. The grasses that welcomed our steps are burned and brown. What the Mother created to feed her children men breed to withstand their poisons. The water we could dip from our streams with no danger, you must filter, boil and treat with chemicals. Your land is dying and what it grows kills. You sing no songs. Your bards are as silent as your skies, your seas and your fields.

Daughter, listen to your heart, try to learn the old tales, rediscover the paths I walked and the songs we sang. Live for the children of the earth, as we tried to live for you. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I don't know if there are any Jackson Brown fans out there or not. I first heard this song on an old Miami Vice episode that had to do with El Salvador during the civil war fought with our support during our proxie war with the Soviet Union. There's a definite Latin beat to the music.

When I listen to this I can't help hearing the voices of Bush and Cheney selling our newest wars as a way of spreading democracy. As if democracy could be passed out so much to the pound with a guaranty that the results will be what WE want. As if we can export democracy when we don't have it at home.


I've been waiting for something to happen
For a week or a month or a year
With the blood in the ink of the headlines
And the sound of the crowd in my ear
You might ask what it takes to remember
When you know that you've seen it before
Where a government lies to a people
And a country is drifting to war

And there's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who send the guns
To the wars that are fought in places
Where their business interest runs

On the radio talk shows and the T.V.
You hear one thing again and again
How the U.S.A. stands for freedom
And we come to the aid of a friend
But who are the ones that we call our friends--
These governments killing their own?
Or the people who finally can't take any more
And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone
There are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire

There's a shadow on the faces
Of the men who fan the flames
Of the wars that are fought in places
Where we can't even say the names

They sell us the President the same way
They sell us our clothes and our cars
They sell us every thing from youth to religion
The same time they sell us our wars
I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they're never the ones to fight or to die
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire


One thing that has happened since the 2010 elections. We know who the puppet masters are now. Shadow masters work best in the shadows. They can't stand it when they're dragged into the light. Yes, they have the money and the media. But we have five of the most powerful words in the English language. NO and MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. Shout it loud, shout it often. And keep shouting until they have to listen,

Monday, July 2, 2012


We have a handful of DVD’s that really aren’t entertainment. We haul them out about once a year just keep us grounded and to remember the costs. Today it was Why We Fight.

This time my reaction was different. Yes, I’m still disgusted at the lies, deception, ambition, indifference that led us into two largely voluntary wars that still seem never-ending. The blatant attempt at a power grab by the fundagelicals brought something into laser sharp focus. The list of reasons to grant tax exemptions for the churches usually include the charitable work of the churches and the moral example the churches offer for society. Lies, deception, ambition, indifference, often with the right wing churches leading the charge. Many of the churches have certainly done an excellent job.

Lisa has started a series on her blog. She asks when we’ll get angry. I passed angry a long time ago, am in the middle of totally pissed off and heading for cold, icy disgust and contempt. But, I have to remind myself that these emotions may get us moving but you can’t rebuild a society if those are the only materials you have to work with.

This is an old Jackson Brown piece.

The Rebel Jesus

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants' windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God's graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by 'the Prince of Peace'
And they call him by 'the Savior'
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
As their faith in him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus

Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgment
For I've no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There's a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

Jackson Brown

This heathen is going out looking for the rebel.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


I didn't fall off the face of the earth, I've been rereading some English history that doesn't lend itself to blogging very well. At least not yet. Then I ran across this letter to the editor. This guy's ego is so off the map it's not even funny.

Station should sell anthem spot

I recently contacted McKenzie River Broadcasting in an attempt to have my company, Hyland Auto Sales, sponsor the playing of the national anthem weekdays at 8 a.m. That’s being done at a radio station in the Portland area, and I really like the idea.

The company’s sales representative sent this response to my request: “Currently, we do have the Pledge of Allegiance that plays one morning per week, Monday at 6:50 a.m. It is being sponsored. After that, we don’t do anything like this, and the program director would prefer to not do anything like this beyond what we’re doing.”

Once I calmed down, I responded to his e-mail and apologized for being too patriotic for KKNU-FM. I said, “I find it hard to believe that your station would deny me the right to play our country’s national anthem. After all, I would be paying for the airtime.”

It boggles my mind that in these tough economic times, when the entire country is in turmoil, a locally owned radio station would choose not to play the truly magnificent tribute to our freedom and heritage, especially when the station would be profiting from it.

It’s just another example of what’s tearing this once-great country apart and leaving the children of tomorrow with little to no pride in being Americans.

David N. Hyland


Where to start? How about “I find it hard to believe that your station would deny me the right to play our country’s national anthem. After all, I would be paying for the airtime.” What is this crap? I’m willing to pay for airtime therefore you don’t have the right to say no?

This isn’t his business; it’s the broadcasting company’s business. They have the right to say no. If they want to play the Beach Boys greatest hits 24/7 it’s their business. If the station manager is a die hard Springsteen fan they can program the “Boss’s” music as often as they wish and their advertisers will tolerate.

My. Hyland has his business, presumably he has some kind of sound system. He can play the Star Spangled Banner as loud and as often as his employees and neighbors can stand. He doesn’t seem to get it. The station has the right to say no. And that’s what’s missing these days. We all start with the “it’s my right to…” and ignore the rights of the rest of us to say “NO.” Without being called traitors or Un-American

So now we get to the crux of the matter. This is bullying, pure and simple. Why should we be surprised that our children are bullies? After all, the adults around them are such good role models.