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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

TV for food junkies (and bad boys) and may I ask a favor?

Number one, the favor. If you're going to leave me a comment, please leave your email or your url so I can respond.

Number two: I was looking for a recipe today for chicken croquettes, and got to thinking about my favorite guys on the Travel Channel. They are Anthony Bourdain of No Reservations, and Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods.

They'll take you around the world to holes in walls, tents, back rooms, food courts, city streets, to a fire in the desert, and between them you get sharp, intelligent, witty dialog with great food. Andrew isn't really a "bad boy" (Bourdain is), but he eats really disgusting food - things I'd never consider (he likes worms, which apparently, not a lot of cultures prepare well), and stinky tofu
which he couldn't even gag down.

Bourdain's ascerbic, a great writer (I love his blog), irreverent. Both bring the culture to you; you get the urge to pack a bag every Tuesday (here), reach for the phone and buy a ticket.

Watch then once (Bourdain follows Zimmern) and you'll be hooked.

Who's first in line for the stinky tofu?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

When the jasmine blooms, fireflies light up the night...

It seems that Spring has been a long time coming. The cold weather hung on and then we were given the gift of rain. There's a little creeper of a ground cover (Partridge Berry), native here, which puts forth a pretty white flower that decided to spread itself under the trees. I found one red berry (which is their fruit), and then the spiderwort bloomed. The wisteria followed, dripping amethysts, but my vine didn't do too well this year. Colleen's wisteria, however, was again the focus of things purple on the circle. Azaleas bloomed - standing in the middle of the street, the neighbors that live directly across the county road - have made a hedge of azaleas in three colors. How beautiful to see them blaze in hot colors of pink, coral and red.

Colleen's bank across the street bloomed with tiny two-inch tall violets that are now hidden by a pile of rotting vegetation, including waterlilies, which will be burned. More on that later.

Wild blueberries, producing a bumper crop this year, are turning from green, to garnet, to the deepest, shiny blue.

But now the jasmine blooms merrily, on the fence, on the sides of the porch, in a jumble of beautiful white stars. Two nights ago, the fireflies woke and carried their lantern lights like spirits through the dark woods across the fence. They evoke the happiness of childhood; of evenings with my parents sitting in the yard, and my friends and I running gaily, catching them in jars with grass. I must confess, there was more than one we crushed and sacrificed to see the magic of their light on our fingertips.

Now I know about the chemical process that creates their twinkle, but it's much nicer just to marvel at these little beings, lighting up the night, looking for romance as the jasmine vines scent the yard with their sweet perfume.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The HSUS has a new video on dog fighting

and other subjects. In a troubled world, more cruelty.

My son's part pit bull, Gator, disappeared in a thunderstorm, right out the front door and was never seen again.

A powerful and beautiful dog, they searched for him to no avail. I always worry, in an ethnically mixed neighborhood, if he met his fate like the dogs here. I pray he didn't.

My grandparents loved dogs. My grandfather (the rake), took a dog from a fight and brought him home to my grandmother. This was in the Victorian days of America. She laid him on a pallet by the woodstove and nursed him with salt water. I remember her telling me that he winced terribly when she did it. "Don" had lost his fight, and his owner opened his head with an ax trying to kill him. The wound took months to heal. He was a good dog, she said, but one day he killed her French bulldog, and my grandfather took him to a farm in the Pennsylvania countryside. So the story goes. Not so different from the end the fighting dogs suffer after their wounds are healed and their impoundments are over.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wild blueberries, a coyote and the price of rice...

There's a bumper crop of wild blueberries this year. They're along the creek, in the woods, and along my street, at the edge of the lot next door. Two days ago I gathered some; this morning I gathered more, and I always leave some for the birds. In two days or so, I'll get more, and hopefully there will be heavy ziplocs in my freezer waiting to be made into jam.

Wild blueberries are smaller than the cultivated kind, and a little bit tart. I took a walk around and some are still blooming. They look like sparkleberries. Both look like lilies-of-the-valley, the flower for those born in May. My father planted them for me when I was born. They grew in a corner under the kitchen window. Every birthday, either my mother or father picked me a little nosegay. I love them. Can't grow them here, though. It's too hot. So here I have blueberries and sparkleberries to remind me that my birthday is not very far away.

Coming back from town today, around 3 p.m., with 50 lbs. of rice, 20 lbs. of pinto beans, Purina dog chow and a few other items, I was driving along a road that runs through planted pine forest in some areas, then pretty much native hardwood and scrub in others. A coyote, still in its winter coat dashed across the road right in front of me. You don't see that often. It vanished in the trees.

Rice is a dollar a pound. Pinto beans, not quite that. Purina has gone up at least $2.00 a sack at Sam's. I buy my rice (there will be no more Basmati at Sam's), at an oriental market. Gas is over $3.61 now.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Turtles are on the move on Sleepy Creek -

The turtles are on the move, coming up to "high" ground (nothing is "high" around here), digging nests for their eggs in the sand. They work so hard. After the eggs are laid, they cover the hole and return to the water. I've rescued many a turtle from crossing roads to get to a destination. We have people here who love to run them over. Saw a dead softshell turtle on the road near town today. In my book, "Waltz" I wrote "Only a Turtle". People are so cruel. I was running to save it and this white car just aimed at it. When they are hit like that, it sounds like a gunshot. It's awful.

I once brought a broken and horribly bloody turtle I never guessed would recover to the vet. Actually, the open shell exposed its organs; I could see the spine. Everything sort of hangs from the carapace (the dome, top shell). A year later, one of the doctors asked me to look in the aviary. There it was. The shell had grown back. But how, I'll never know.

My friend, Sue Barnard, a professional herpetologist, once sent me instructions on how to reconstruct a turtle's shell in order to let it heal and grow. I really should post it here, just in case. When I find it, I'll incorporate it into this post. But meanwhile, I'll post two photos - one of the little lady whom I met yesterday, and the other of a softshell, which was taken off the road on the curve and returned happily, I might add, to the water. The other is a Florida box turtle.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Glenn Beck, talk radio host, is getting a little

worried about food shortages, too. But he's a Morman. Bless those people. Part of their lifestyle is
putting food and supplies by. Years ago I had a Morman babysitter. My son was about three. Under her bed and all through the house were food, water, medical supplies which she kept rotated and these were not just for Paula and her daughter. They were for us - the families of the children she kept, cared for and loved so much; after all, we lived in earthquake country. I'll always be grateful to her for that. Thank you, Paula - wherever you are.

Anyhow, here's the link to Glenn Beck's show today with a trucker.

Just stumbled upon my friend's sustainable living blog, which is being hosted by In these uncertain days ahead (have you noticed "holes" where stock used to be in your grocery store), some of these blogs will contain important survival and sustainability information for you and your families.

Being prepared for anything and everything isn't a foolish notion. I live in hurricane country. We have had tornadoes, too. Friends Sue and Jimmy live near Pierce City, MO which was completely obliterated in a tornado. They are farmers. She is no stranger to preparedness.

Brenda's also list mother to an excellent wild foods/herbal list on yahoo, too. Here's the link:

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Let's take a hike - In Andalucia, Spain...

on the Caminito del Rey. Bring dramamine. El Chorro is a limestone gorge in Andalusia in southern Spain, through which passes the Guadahorce river. Dammed in 1921, it forms three reservoirs flanked by pine forests.

The path was closed in 2000 after the death of someone who was using it.

Fortuneless fortune cookie...

Went to dinner last night and broke open my fortune cookie to find NO FORTUNE.

What does that mean?

Will I have misfortune?

Will I remain static - nothing happening either way; moving neither up, down or side-to-side? An endless, gray existence?

Will I get eaten by an alligator with an appetite for Mediterranean ancestral flesh and a penchant for yellow kayaks?

It's never happened before. The wrapper said it came from China. I need to make a trip; to go to the factory; find the person who forgot to put my fortune in the cookie.

I am very depressed.

Good bye... in case there isn't a next time - because - I have no fortune.

(Or maybe I'd better go and get a lottery ticket.)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friday, April 18, 2008

Martial Law in the USA

Could it happen here? Watch the videos.

The Truckers - do you know how hard it is for them?

Timothy Frederick, a fine photo-essayist friend from, has written a wonderful piece about what the economy is doing to independent truckers, and you!

Please enjoy his portfolio and go to this link for the story. You shouldn't miss this.

We depend on our truckers for everything. EVERYTHING. So when you read this, consider how important they are to your life, individually, find your voice and question your elected officials, your local paper about the price of fuel and WHY we haven't built refineries in decades.
We have hydrogen cell technology that doesn't use anything but water; ethanol is bad for engines and a hit to our food supply because we are using grain crops for fuel instead of feeding our own people. My friend Sue in Missouri just bought feed for their cattle. She was in shock. She said if the price of fuel continues to rise, no one will be farming. We import one third of our food and export most of ours, grown here. Why?

How come we aren't "getting it"? How come we aren't screaming - not at each other, but the people, like your representatives and senators, who can do something about this. It's going to be a long, hard winter.

Going hand-in-hand with my previous post,

is this neat article for teens on combining writing and photography. Lots of ideas here, so please visit this link: It's by Leora Krygier, and you can visit her website here!
and one of her two blogs, here:
a blog and images taken from a perch in Starbucks, wherever she is. Neat concept for poetry. Reminds me of my friend, Chuck Adams, who at 80, is still fierce, opinionated and a fixture at his local Waffle House, writing his short stories and novels. I think life in and around the Waffle House is somehow his muse.

All teens (and younger) seem to have cell phone and digital cameras. Try you hand at something new, and experiment with one of the pinholes. There are some photographers on who have extremely interesting pinhole camera photos in their galleries. If I can find someone with a cereal box (ain't gonna spend nearly $5.00 on cereal), I may make one if I can stay out of my kayak this weekend.

For me, Starbucks deprived (but there's one in Panama City, FL), I prefer my La Llave (Cuban)
from a Bodum coffee press.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Good Thursday morning!

Here's a real treat for just about anyone who loves photography, and something special for children, to foster their creativity. It's a pinhole camera! I've often wanted to try one, but when you see these off-the-wall designs, you're going to want to make one yourself. These are courtesy of a great site, Photojojo. Here's the link:

What you'll get here are wild looking, cereal box pinhole camera designs. Make one (or two or three), from the printable files and just...have fun. If you do it and send me a digital photo, of either the camera or your best shot, I'll put it here.

Now, Vern has decided to play with the papers on my desk and distract me. There's something he wants. I am trained by a cat. Talk to you later.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My son loves his dirt bike...

Bought a new one recently - the first he's had since high school. He's nearly 38, married, two wonderful children and the best, patient wife any man could have.

Here he is jumping his bike, and here's the x-ray of the fracture to his femur from last weekend. He bought it recently and was wearing a neck brace which broke in the crash. And from what I understand, he took one of those wooden structures out or something similar made of 4x4s. I am very happy that he didn't break his neck, become a para- or quadriplegic or wake up to his late grandparents playing harps.

4/22/08 This just in. He just came from the doctor. He broke the femur in FIVE places, not three and is in complete denial that it was serious.

I wonder about men closing in on middle age and extreme sports. have nothing to prove!

Now, I don't know how many people read my blog, but I'd like to take an informal poll. He says that he wants to ride again and his reasoning is that when you have an auto accident, you have to get in and drive.

What do you think? Leave a comment and I'll forward them to him.


Wise words on the economy

from Congressman and Presidential candidate, Ron Paul via the excellent blog,
Liberty Maven.

It's not too late to consider a vote for Ron Paul for President.

If you, like I, consider yourself a gray-haired pro-Republic Constitutionalist, maybe you'll be interested in the Granny Warriors, here:

We owe it to our children and grandchildren to return our government to a representative Republic, and Constitutional government. There's not one of us who can sincerely say we are giving a better United States to our children.

I just received the following as email. I've seen it before, but it sounds really good to me:

Wouldn't It Be Great To Turn On the TV and Hear Any U.S. President,
Democrat Or Republican Give the Following Speech?

My Fellow Americans:

As you all know, the defeat of the Iraq regime has been completed.
Since congress does not want to spend any more money on this war, our
mission in Iraq is complete. This morning I gave the order for a
complete removal of all American forces from Iraq. This action will
be complete within 30 days. It is now time to begin the reckoning.

Before me, I have two lists. One list contains the names of countries
that have stood by our side during the Iraq conflict. This list is
short. The United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia and Poland are
some of the countries listed there. The other list contains every one
not on the first list. Most of the world's nations are on that list.
My press secretary will be distributing copies of both lists later
this evening.

Let me start by saying that effective immediately, foreign aid to those
nations on List 2 ceases immediately and indefinitely. The money
saved during the first year alone will pretty much pay for the costs of
the Iraqi war. Then every year thereafter it'll go to our Social
Security System so it won't go broke in 20 years.

The American people are no longer going to pour money into third world
Hell holes and watch those government leaders grow fat on corruption.
Need help with a famine? Wrestling with an epidemic? Call France.

In the future, together with Congress, I will work to redirect this
money toward solving the vexing social problems we still have at home.
On that note, a word to terrorist organizations: Screw with us and we
will hunt you down and eliminate you and all your friends from the face
of the earth. Thirsting for a gutsy country to terrorize? Try
France or maybe China.

I am ordering the immediate severing of diplomatic relations with
France, Germany and Russia. Thanks for all your help, comrades. We
are retiring from NATO as well. Bonne chance, mezamies.

I have instructed the Mayor of New York City to begin towing the many UN
diplomatic vehicles located in Manhattan with more than two unpaid
parking tickets to sites where those vehicles will be stripped, shredded
and crushed. I don't care about whatever treaty pertains to this.
You creeps have tens of thousands of unpaid tickets. Pay those
tickets tomorrow or watch your precious Benzes, Beamers and limos be
turned over to some of the finest chop shops in the world. I love New

I continue to call the three major candidates, Obama, Clinton and McCain, the Three Stooges.

I'm wondering if Clinton will return the White House china and really get rid of NAFTA, which, if you remember, helped our country slide down the slippery slope to economic disaster. Obama offends me (any candidate who would ignore or challenge the Constitution) when he dismisses and disrespects my Constitutional rights, and continues to open old racial wounds to divide the country. I don't believe McCain can be trusted because what you hear of his imprisonment is not completely true, yet he is our poster child for a war hero. I know there are many soldiers more worthy than he. And these are just minor points.

For an interesting few minutes, listen to Jackie Mason on Obama:

I hope no one votes for a candidate solely on the basis of sex, race, label or fairness of face.
The country is in dire need of a real leader. I only see one. And it's not one of the Three Stooges.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Don't forget to check the older posts -

There's some really useful information on photography, writing (a whole section on writing links), slideshows, politics, animals and nature. I'm going to have to find a way to resurrect old posts so you can get a chance to see them, rather than going back and finding them.

For you writers, here's a good link.

A HREF="">
The Internet Writing Journal (R)


Saturday, April 12, 2008


I am so honored that someone, my internet friend and Youtube musician, Kei (known as Keituji) from Japan, and his friend, Akira have chosen to write and record this lovely bossa nova for me.

The Bossa Novas came from Brazil, and I love them still. Can't get enough of them.

So, Kei, to you, Akira and your wife, my humble and heartfelt thanks. This is a kindness I will never forget.


Friday, April 11, 2008

Bubbly fun...

Years ago, because I am enchanted by soap bubbles, I found a book on bubbleology and the wand that went with it at a yard sale (pre-grandchildren). It's still in the bookcase in back of me waiting for the next time mine visit.

My daughter-in-law (actually, I never use that term - she's my daughter and any other term is degrading) just sent me photos of the children playing with bubbles in the backyard.

I just sent her the recipes for giant bubbles you'll find here:

Friday, April 4, 2008

Light with a price...

In a world where green living is at least tucked somewhere in the back of everyone's mind, we have a bit of a problem.

In a year, incandescent light bulbs, Swan's and Edison's magnificent invention, will no longer be available for use. They are (gasp) energy eaters! We have been given a taste of those new, low energy mercury filled twisty-curly delights and now they will replace our old friend.

They last longer (one of mine just burned out yesterday after about a year), we are told, and energy consumption is so small, we are led to believe these will lead to sustainable energy, or at least wise energy consumption.

The big BUT here is that they contain MERCURY! Please read this link and ask yourself why these are being foisted upon us. I took that lightbulb that burned up and put it in a plastic container. When that plastic container goes into the landfill, it will degrade eventually, or be crushed and damaged. That lightbulb will release mercury into the landfill, to end up in our water or in the air. It is so terribly toxic that in this beautiful lake I live near and enjoy, we are cautioned not to eat the fish, especially the bass, who are at the top of the food chain. Children and pregnant women should not eat them at all. We have landfills that have been covered up and built upon, a paper mill, and an incinerator nearby that cannot contain the runoff from cleanup, besides being without its scrubbers.

Add hundreds of millions of these mercury-filled lightbulbs to the mix for which no recycling method is available, and there could be a catastrophe for your children, grandchildren and great grands.

Think about this one.

I am all for green living. I believe in low tech so much that I wouldn't mind sitting here peddling a generator attached to a battery to keep my computer charged. But these lightbulbs have the potential to be very dangerous on a mass scale. Mercury is mercury. Even in miniscule amounts, it is deadly.

It's the old thing about looking good on paper. But it's not so great when it becomes reality. You be careful around the children when one is broken. Ventilate the house. Watch yourself and your animals as well. This is NOT a good thing.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Finding small treasures...

Doesn't take much to make me happy. I've been seeking the elusive damselfly exuviae, or dragons and damsels emerging so I can catch the process and record it for years. Haven't gotten to that point yet, but I did find my FIRST damselfly naiad's exuviae last night. What a treat!

The neighbors had a tree service come and clear the alders, oaks, gums and blueberries down at the water, and the trees over the house cut down. Made me shiver. But the stumps are there and they will grow. As I was walking back home, I noticed a very bright blue Bluet carrying another damsel underneath, and when they came to rest under a leaf, I was sure they would be mating. I was wrong - dinner was being served. The Bluet was holding the Powdered Dancer, which is a large damsel. As I watched and photographed them, the Bluet pierced the body just behind the head and dined on the soft brown, moist tissue underneath. I had seen this once before with a Rambur's Forktail devouring a Southern Sprite.

Here is the best photo. Bugs! I love them!