Friday, April 25, 2008
EID is packed cover to cover with the type of material I spend my days editing, so I do take a professional interest in seeing how journal articles look in their final format (although nothing I've edited since I started my current job has been published in EID -- everything my authors have done has gone into much, much less appealing publications, like Vaccine). Of course, part of EID's appeal for me is that unlike many of the professional journals out there, EID practices plain language (or close to it; some polysyllables and technical terms are unavoidable). No strange abbreviations or acronym soup, just nicely organized articles that present interesting information.
That said, my favorite part of this month's issue is "Bedtime at Nana and Pop's House." It actually is light reading.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Miley Cyrus has reportedly inked a seven-figure deal to pen her memoirs. And none too soon. At 15, she's achieved the maturity and distance needed to reflect on her life's lessons. Although the book won't hit stores until 2009, Celebritology has obtained (wink wink) an incomplete outline of the book's proposed chapters, complete with handy descriptions.
The descriptions are, of course, totally tongue-in-cheek. Too bad the book deal itself isn't a joke.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Tree i.d. books use terms like "invasive" and "weedy" when describing acer negundo. Maybe "highly adaptable" would be a better term. Box elders like disturbed areas and edge spaces so in urban areas they tend to pop up in vacant lots and along alley fences. Or, in the case of the fellow pictured here (and it is a male tree; box elders are dioecious, which means every tree is either male or female, and those are boy parts dangling there), on the inside of a patio fence. Box elder grows fast so, at least according to the Corin Center for Biodiversity at UW-Green Bay, has occasionally been used in the past as a street tree. Not anymore. Box elders aren't particularly long-lived compared to other shade trees, nor are they particularly strong. They are, in fact, generally viewed with considerable contempt. No commercial value, no long term landscape value, ergo, of no use in general.
The song birds that hang out in the box elder growing on our patio would beg to differ, of course. The mockingbirds, cardinals, robins, and a wide variety of LBBs seem perfectly happy with the tree. And so are we. It may have popped up accidentally not that many years ago (I'm guessing sometime in the 1990s), but previous tenants ignored it. It's now tall enough to provide shade for our west facing wall, which is basically two stories of glass. That tree allows us to keep the blinds open all summer instead of turning our townhouse into a gloomy cave. It's leafy enough to provide shade, but the growth isn't so dense that it completely blocks light -- it just filters it. It may be a fragile tree compared to, for example, a white oak or a sugar maple, but the branches are still more than strong enough to hang a bird feeder or a potted plant from. It doesn't shed tons of crap like the balloon nut tree one patio over from us (although I will concede the balloon nut has showier flowers), and, maybe because it's male and has no seeds it doesn't seem to attract squirrels. I am, in short, rather fond of that tree.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Marietta police spokesman Mark Bishop said the pig apparently came off a small truck traveling southbound at the Canton Road Bridge at about 9:30 a.m.
"Traffic temporarily halted to rescue the pig," he said. "The pig has minor injuries. They got it tied up to keep it from getting hurt any more until Animal Control can get it."
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Barack Obama caught hell last week for daring to tell the truth about the ragged thing that the American spirit has become. He said that small-town Pennsylvania voters, bitter over their economic circumstances, “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them” to work out their negative emotions. He might have added that the Pope wears a funny hat (see for yourself this week), and that bears shit in the woods (something rural Pennsylvanians probably know). Nevertheless, in the manner lately prescribed for those who slip up and speak truthfully in public (and in contradiction to the reigning delusions), Obama was pressured to apologize for his statements.
The evermore loathsome and odious Hillary Clinton, co-owner of a $100 million personal wealth portfolio, seized the moment to remind voters what a normal, everyday gal she is -- who would never look down on the small-town folk of Pennsylvania the way her "elitist" opponent had -- forgetting, apparently, that the Clinton family's consigliere, James Carville, famously described the Keystone State as a kind of redneck sandwich with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as the bread, and Alabama as the lunch meat in between.Head on over to Clusterfuck Nation to read the whole thing.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Well, this was the weekend Senator Clinton crossed the line. Senator Obama spoke a plain and simple truth -- lots and lots of potential voters are feeling extremely bitter about the way this country is going. They've seen good jobs vanish, they know perfectly well that odds are their kids are never going to have as comfortable a life as they once did, and they're angry. I see angry, unhappy people all the time. They're working multiple miserable, low-paying jobs, putting in 50, 60, 70 hours a week, keeping their fingers crossed no one in the family gets sick, their hours don't get cut, and they can manage to keep gas in the car so they can get to work. These are not happy people. They're not reaching out to religion because it's their tradition; they're turning to their church and their families because society as a whole is failing them.
This would have been a perfect opportunity for Senator Clinton to acknowledge those truths about the economy and the devastating effects ordinary citizens have experienced at the hands of a Republican administration. She could have pointed to efforts she's supported, such as raising the minimum wage, she could have emphasized things a previous Clinton presidency accomplished such as the Family Medical Leave Act . . . but instead of taking the high road, elevating the debate, and saying, yes, look at what Republican economic policies have done to you, she chose to spin Obama's words and interpret this simple, basic truth (people are pissed for a reason) as having been an elitist attack on god and guns. I want to puke.
Then she piled it even higher and deeper by talking about her grandparents' "cottage at the lake." You want to talk elitist? Most ordinary working people don't have summer cottages. I'm close to the senator's age, I grow up in a mining community, and, major news flash for you, Hil, none of us summered at the lake. Judging by the calls in to C-SPAN this weekend, it's clear I'm not the only person who doesn't think it's Obama who's out of touch; quite a few people think it's the candidate now trying to cling to God and guns and saying, please drink the patriotic Kool Aid because, really your lives are fine, Obama doesn't know what he's talking about. Tactically, this may help her in Pennsylvania, but it's a truly stupid thing to do long term. She's blurred the distinctions between herself and McCain on a major issue, the economy. The only thing left for her to do before she drives the Democratic Party totally into the ditch and hands the general election to the Republicans is jettison gays -- and I expect that to happen anytime.
I really, really wanted to be able to vote for a woman for president in my lifetime, but now I find myself hoping that this is not the year.
And, yes, to those of you who have been telling me all along that Clinton is an opportunistic liar who would say and do anything, no matter what the long term cost, as long as her name ends up on the ballot in November, please save the I-told-you-so.
On the bright side, as long as she's got Bill out there campaigning for her and putting his foot in his mouth at every opportunity, odds are she won't be the nominee. There's nothing quite like reminding people the candidate is no longer young and/or having senior moments to make her seem like a viable alternative to the Republican candidate, is there?
Friday, April 11, 2008
I do know they'll grow in northern Wisconsin. I did the orchards tour around Bayfield back in 2006 and spotted some growing at one of the farms there, although they may have been in the nature of an experiment, too. There weren't many plants, and they were part of an ornamental garden. In any case, Bayfield County is the banana belt compared to the Michigamme highlands in upper Michigan.
The S.O.'s gardening fantasy for the U.P. used to be watermelon grown from seed. That challenge was met a few years ago. Maybe hops will be the new one.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Maybe now people will heed the warnings of climate change. A scientist has warned of a possible shortage of beer.
Climate change could cause a drop in beer production within 25 years, warns Dr. Jim Salinger of New Zealand's National Institute of WaterThere have been reports elsewhere that global beer production is already being affected by a shortage of hops from other growing areas, e.g., Europe, and that prices are going up for grains. Apparently a lot of farmers who had been growing barley or wheat are switching to corn in response to the demand for corn for ethanol fuel production.
and Atmospheric Research.
In a speech given this morning, Salinger said the weather can cause a decline of malting barley production in parts of New Zealand. Further, The New Zealand Herald reported, "that Australia was likely to be hit harder because the dry areas in that country would become drier and
water shortages were only going to get worse."
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Monday, April 7, 2008
Barr forms presidential exploratory
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr
eased into presidential politics Saturday with an announcement that he has formed an exploratory committee to gauge voter interest in his candidacy as Libertarian.
If there are "sufficient numbers" of people behind a Bob Barr presidential race, he's running, the former Republican said.
The good news is that while he explores running for President his blog, The Barr Code, has vanished from the AJC.
That's not a paint stain in the parking lot. It's pollen. Our truck is no longer white -- it's yellow. So is everything else in DeKalb County. When I did an ATM withdrawal on Friday I think the bills came out of the machine coated with pollen. You can see pollen drifting in clouds in the air. I thought the rain this weekend would help, but apparently not -- according to the AJC today's pollen count is 1705. Anything over 61 is not good. Pretty soon they'll have to stop counting individual pollen grains in a cubic meter of air and just go straight to giving us the count in inches on the ground.
I guess the good news is that I'm pretty sure I don't have any allergies -- at least not to sweet gum, birch, pine, oak, dogwoods, azaleas, cherry, redbud, box elder, wisteria, . . .
Friday, April 4, 2008
Some Teens Also Believe Mountain Dew Will Stop Pregnancy
I was all set to make some comment about young 'uns getting dumber, but then I remembered some of the teenage wisdom disseminated in the girls' locker room way back when I was surviving adolescence -- like the ultimate OTC contraceptive, the Coca-Cola douche (and it had to be Coke, no substitutions of Pepsi or RC).
A recent survey that found some Florida teens believe drinking a cap of bleach will prevent HIV and a shot of Mountain Dew will stop pregnancy has prompted lawmakers to push for an overhaul of sex education in the state.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Report: Stabenow's husband paid prostitute in sting
The Detroit News said the motel was located near Big Beaver and I-75.This probably doesn't count as much of a sex scandal, though, when it's the Senator's husband who got caught paying to play and not the Senator herself.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Just coincidentally, the park is located almost within spitting distance of the largest flea market in the South. I have a hunch that may have been the deciding factor in getting the S.O. signed on for this expedition.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Third-graders questioned on plot to kill teacher, paper reports
Police questioned a group of Georgia third-graders suspected in a plot to kill their teacher at Center Elementary School in Waycross, apparently because she had scolded one of them for standing on a chair, a Florida newspaper reported.
The nine students — girls and boys, 8 and 9 years old — are too young to be charged with a crime under Georgia law, a prosecutor told the Florida Times-Union. Authorities withheld the students' names because of their age and student privacy laws, the paper reported.
I'd love to know why they're stuck in a special ed class. If they're smart enough to figure out that duct tape is the solution to almost every problem, then you'd think they could handle being in the regular third grade classroom.
I'm also mildly curious why the AJC is getting this news second hand from a Florida paper instead of picking up the phone to talk to someone in Waycross, but not particularly surprised.