Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sundance Theater


Sundance Theater moving into downtown

Downtown will have a new art house movie theater by November.

Sundance Cinemas, owned by Robert Redford's Sundance Group, has signed a lease with Cordish Co., a Baltimore-based development firm that has a 55-year lease for the entertainment complex at Bayou Place, Cordish and the city of Houston announced Thursday.

Negotiations for a new theater lasted eight months, and four other theater companies were considered, said developer Ed Wulfe, who participated in negotiations on behalf of the city for free. The city owns the building, where longtime tenant Angelika shut its doors after a dispute with landlord Cordish.

"This is a coup for downtown," Wulfe said. "It brings one more level of entertainment to the downtown district that creates energy and interest and really can do a lot to serve the theater district."

The 36,000-square-foot space will be remodeled to the tune of about $2.3 million. Wulfe said the remodeling costs will be split about evenly between Cordish, Sundance and the Downtown Redevelopment Authority, which operates the tax increment reinvestment zone that encompasses 60 downtown city blocks. Construction starts today.

A cut of the sales

The 10-year lease calls for a percentage of sales to be paid to the Downtown Redevelopment Authority if the theater meets a certain projected sales target, Wulfe said.

"It could be $5 or it could be $100,000, depending on how well they do," he said.

Under a reinvestment zone, some of an area's property taxes are set aside to reinvest them within the zone.

The Houston theater will have eight screens and will offer free parking. There will be no separate restaurant, but an expanded food and drink menu that will include alcoholic beverages.

'Absolutely fantastic'

"I think it's absolutely fantastic to have Sundance, which has a bigger and more hip name than any of the other theater companies," said Larry Plotsky, a retail broker not involved in the deal. "And when you have only one location nearby, it makes it a special destination."

As in its other two locations, in San Francisco and Madison, Wis., the Houston theater will offer only reserved seating, meaning customers must choose their seats. Those theaters also charge an "amenity fee" of $1 to $1.50 that allows it to avoid playing television ads, offer reserved seating and support local artists, according to the theaters' website.

Sundance hasn't decided about amenity fees yet in Houston, CEO Sundance Cinemas President and CEO Paul Richardson said. "As soon as we know, we'll let everyone know."

Sundance theaters play a mix of art, independent, world and documentary films as well as some from major distributors. Movies now showing at the two current locations include The King's Speech,The Lincoln Lawyer and Cedar Rapids.

Sundance Cinemas joins a list of other recently announced tenants at Bayou Place, including four nightclubs that will take up about 18,000 square feet of space on the second floor. The first, a western-themed club called Professional Bull Riders, opened last month.

Sundance Cinemas joins a list of other recently announced tenants at Bayou Place, including four nightclubs that will take up about 18,000 square feet of space on the second floor. The first, a western-themed club called Professional Bull Riders, opened last month.

The clubs will join Samba Grille, which opened last year, and recently opened sushi restaurant Blue Fish.

History of closings

The tenants signal new signs of life at Bayou Place, where several other spots have closed their doors.

In 2008, Sake Lounge shuttered a few months after the high-end dining concept Vin closed. Slick Willie's downtown pool hall is also no longer open.

The complex is still home to Hard Rock Cafe, Mingalone Italian Bar & Grill and the Verizon Wireless Theater music venue.

Cordish didn't respond to requests for comment.

"I am so happy to see our newest Sundance Cinemas facility coming to Houston. It's a great city for our next step forward," Redford said in a written statement. The Redford Group also owns the Sundance Film Festival.


Demotivational 5

Demotivational 4

Demotivational 3

If you have trouble reading any of these, just click the pic and it should open with a larger vision.

Demotivational 2

Demotivational pics

Florida scandal

A recent missive from Florida ex-congressman Alan Grayson.  I sure hope he runs again, or moves somewhere where he can elected.

Republicans are wasting no time in flouting the law and thumbing their noses at the voters.  This is "reform?"

Last night (Wednesday, March 30) was a Grayson “double-header” on MSNBC. I defended the President against Republican attacks on “The Ed Show,” and I also joined MSNBC's Cenk Uygur to discuss Florida Governor Rick Scott's plan to drug-test public employees and welfare recipients, for the benefit of Scott’s own drug-testing company Solantic.

I've attached a full transcript of the interview below, and you can watch the video by clicking here.


CENK UYGUR: Joining me now is former Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson to answer some of those questions. That conflict of interest blows me away. He's got a company making millions of dollars from drug tests and he's pushing the drug tests all over Florida? I mean, should they investigate that? What should they do about that?

ALAN GRAYSON: Well, look, he spent $70 million to buy the office of governor in Florida. He wants a return on his money. He promised us that he would run state government like a business. What we didn't realize is he was going to run it like HIS business, like it's all his. And that's exactly what he has been doing. It's not only what you said. In addition to that, he wants to cut all state funding for health care clinics. There are 4 million people in Florida who can't afford to see a doctor when they're sick. They have to go to health care clinics. He's going to shut them all down so that they will be forced to go to Rick Scott's clinics.

CENK: I mean, it's beyond absurd. So, again, you know, let me turn to the prescription problem because that's a whole, another thing. Why does he not want to track these prescription drugs?

AG: Well you said it. Florida has nine times as much as the rest of the country combined. I think eight times as much is Rush Limbaugh alone. It's exactly what you said. I don't think he wants to take the heat from Rush Limbaugh.

CENK: You think it's just that simple? On Rush Limbaugh alone, he's like, let's leave these guys alone.

AG: Well look, all the right-wing leaders have catered to Rush Limbaugh for years and years. He says jump and they say how high. You're seeing that now with the governor of Florida.

CENK: Let's go back to the election for a second. There's a new poll out that says if the elections were held today, Rick Scott would actually lose by 19 points. That's a huge swing. So obviously the people of Florida, once that he got into power, and it didn't take long, we're like, whoa, that is not what we expected. So what did they expect and what did they get?

AG: Listen, this is somebody who made his fortune by cheating sick people. And the only reason why he got in in the first place is because Democrats in Florida, like Democrats all across the country, simply didn't vote in 2010. And it's like Ed Koch said in his last election. He said, “The voters have spoken, and now they will be punished for it.” And that's exactly what you are seeing in Florida. We're being punished for it. This is someone unfit to be governor; this is someone who is unfit for any job. My thinking was that he would get elected, he'd assume office and then he'd pardon himself and quit, but unfortunately he's doing far worse than that. He's using the state of Florida to stuff money in his own pocket, because he thinks the real problems facing Florida today, with 4 million people without health insurance, with 13% unemployment, the real problem in Florida is that Rick Scott doesn't have enough money, and he's dead set on doing something to correct that problem.

CENK: So final question for you. What can the people of Florida do about this? Now that they realize the scam he ran on them and you've seen they don't like him anymore, and they're like, whoa, I didn't know he would funnel all this business to his own companies, now run by his wife, what can they do about it?

AG: Look, it's a fundamental problem. The government is being run by a corrupt clique called the Republican Party of Florida. The last person in charge of the Republican Party of Florida was led away in chains and has been indicted. It's as if the state has been taken over by the mafia, that's how bad the Republican Party of Florida is. Unfortunately the governor himself appoints five of the nine members of the Florida's Ethics Commission. So you can be sure that all those republicans are going to do nothing about this. The only recourse we may have in the end is to storm the Bastille.

CENK: What if he says, hey you know what? Look, I'm going to make more money; this money is going to get funneled to my companies because I'm going to drug test everybody? I'm going to drug test you and your dog and all that money is going to get funneled to me. What are you going to do about it? What can we do about it?

AG: I'm just glad that Rick Scott's company doesn't do proctological examinations, because then we would all have to bend over and cough.

CENK: Congressman Grayson, you are definitely clear on the topic. We appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Compost happens has a ton of good stuff.  You could spend weeks and weeks there following all the links.

Definition: Compost is the end product of the decomposition of organic matter. Organic matter includes: garden waste, kitchen scraps, manure, leaves, grass clippings, straw... There are many methods of composting, but all organic matter will eventually decompose, with or without our help.

Compost is not particularly high in essential nutrients, (N-P-K), and is considered a soil conditioner rather than a fertilizer. However, organic matter is a valuable soil amendment because it: can improved soil structure, aids in necessary microbial activity in the soil, attracts beneficial insects such as earthworms, can suppress several soil born diseases and holds its nutrients in organic or slow release form, allowing for availability throughout the growing season. While there are many methods of composting and many composting bin styles, there is no best method. As the bumper sticker says, "Compost Happens". The important thing to remember is that you can never add too much compost to your soil.

You can till compost directly into the soil or add some as a side dressing to established plants.

Also Known As: Humus Organic Matter


While all organic matter will eventually decompose, composting speeds the process.


Blogger BS

Suddenly, this Blogger software just deletes paragraph returns so that all text looks like one humongous paragraph. Quite stupid and annoying. But it only does it on SOME websites. Not all. Not always on the same website. And, uh, what do we really expect for "free?"

Losing our way

Another one bites the dust. Another voice for the people muffled.

Losing Our Way

by Bob Herbert

So here we are pouring shiploads of cash into yet another war, this time in Libya, while simultaneously demolishing school budgets, closing libraries, laying off teachers and police officers, and generally letting the bottom fall out of the quality of life here at home. Welcome to America in the second decade of the 21st century. An army of long-term unemployed workers is spread across the land, the human fallout from the Great Recession and long years of misguided economic policies. Optimism is in short supply. The few jobs now being created too often pay a pittance, not nearly enough to pry open the doors to a middle-class standard of living.

Arthur Miller, echoing the poet Archibald MacLeish, liked to say that the essence of America was its promises. That was a long time ago. Limitless greed, unrestrained corporate power and a ferocious addiction to foreign oil have led us to an era of perpetual war and economic decline. Young people today are staring at a future in which they will be less well off than their elders, a reversal of fortune that should send a shudder through everyone.

The U.S. has not just misplaced its priorities. When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.

Nearly 14 million Americans are jobless and the outlook for many of them is grim. Since there is just one job available for every five individuals looking for work, four of the five are out of luck. Instead of a land of opportunity, the U.S. is increasingly becoming a place of limited expectations. A college professor in Washington told me this week that graduates from his program were finding jobs, but they were not making very much money, certainly not enough to think about raising a family.

There is plenty of economic activity in the U.S., and plenty of wealth. But like greedy children, the folks at the top are seizing virtually all the marbles. Income and wealth inequality in the U.S. have reached stages that would make the third world blush. As the Economic Policy Institute has reported, the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion.

Americans behave as if this is somehow normal or acceptable. It shouldn’t be, and didn’t used to be. Through much of the post-World War II era, income distribution was far more equitable, with the top 10 percent of families accounting for just a third of average income growth, and the bottom 90 percent receiving two-thirds. That seems like ancient history now.

The current maldistribution of wealth is also scandalous. In 2009, the richest 5 percent claimed 63.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. The overwhelming majority, the bottom 80 percent, collectively held just 12.8 percent.

This inequality, in which an enormous segment of the population struggles while the fortunate few ride the gravy train, is a world-class recipe for social unrest. Downward mobility is an ever-shortening fuse leading to profound consequences.

A stark example of the fundamental unfairness that is now so widespread was in The New York Times on Friday under the headline: “G.E.’s Strategies Let It Avoid Taxes Altogether.” Despite profits of $14.2 billion — $5.1 billion from its operations in the United States — General Electric did not have to pay any U.S. taxes last year.

As The Times’s David Kocieniewski reported, “Its extraordinary success is based on an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.”

G.E. is the nation’s largest corporation. Its chief executive, Jeffrey Immelt, is the leader of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. You can understand how ordinary workers might look at this cozy corporate-government arrangement and conclude that it is not fully committed to the best interests of working people.

Overwhelming imbalances in wealth and income inevitably result in enormous imbalances of political power. So the corporations and the very wealthy continue to do well. The employment crisis never gets addressed. The wars never end. And nation-building never gets a foothold here at home.

New ideas and new leadership have seldom been more urgently needed.

This is my last column for The New York Times after an exhilarating, nearly 18-year run. I’m off to write a book and expand my efforts on behalf of working people, the poor and others who are struggling in our society. My thanks to all the readers who have been so kind to me over the years. I can be reached going forward at

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Talking Points Memo

Ever get tired of the HuffPost's overly dramatic and often misleading headlines? Or tired of the other fluff that fills up the HuffPost website? I do. That's why I often go to Talking Points Memo, created by Joshua Micah Marshall, instead of the Huffington Post. Check it out here. When you want fluff, go back to the HuffPo.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Save the Date!!

Oh, Lord. (Figure of speech) These Christians just won't give it up. They've been predicting the return of Christ forEVER. And lo and behold, they're always wrong.

I swear, if we were visited by aliens from another galaxy and they gave us the technology to save ourselves from ourselves and showed our religions to be bunk, the Christians would still insist that God put THEM there too! As they say, ignorance is bliss.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rich get richer

Change we can believe in? Oh, I believe it, but I don't like it.

Rich Get Richer With New Congress
Wednesday 23 March 2011
by: Jim Hightower, t r u t h o u t Op-Ed

Change is not the same thing as progress. In fact, change can be the exact opposite. It can be regressive, as we're now learning from -- where else? -- Congress.

A flock of tea party-infused Republicans has certainly changed the political dynamic there, and exultant GOP leaders are claiming that they are now the voice of "The People." But most people won't find themselves represented by this change, much less see it as progress.

That's because the newcomers in Congress, whether Republican or Democrat, tend to live high up the economic ladder, way out of touch with the people they're representing. Indeed, 40 percent of newly elected house members are millionaires, as are 60 percent of new senators.

While the great majority of workaday Americans are struggling to make it on about $30,000 a year -- and having, at best, puny pensions and iffy health coverage -- these incoming lawmakers tend to be sitting pretty on hundreds of thousands of dollars each in accumulated wealth. Their financial reports show them holding extensive personal investments in such outfits as Wall Street banks, oil giants and drug makers.

Their wealth and financial ties might help explain the rush by the new Republican House majority to coddle these very same corporate powers. From gutting EPA's anti-pollution restrictions on Big Oil to undoing the restraints on Wall Street greed, they're pushing for a return to the same laissez-fairyland ideology of the past 20 years that got our country in massive messes.

At the same time, they're out to kill a green-jobs program, bust unions, cut Social Security, defund Head Start and generally stomp on the fingers of working families trying to hold onto the middle class rungs of the economic ladder.

The change in Congress is taking America backward, not forward, for the new majority literally is the voice of millionaires. That's not progress.

Speaking of wealth, there is one piece of uplifting economic news that's sure to bolster the millionaire Congress' solidarity with "The People" -- meaning the people who actually count in their world.

Forbes magazine reports that there are 199 more billionaires this year than last. Moreover, the combined wealth of the world's 1,210 billionaires now totals $4.5 trillion dollars, up by nearly a trillion dollars from a year ago. So, see, the economy is not stuck in the doldrums, as so many party-poopers keep saying.

Also, with an average of $3.7 billion in their bank accounts, you can just bet that these uber-rich folks will be spending like crazy, and you know what that means, don't you? It means that their vast piles of wealth will soon begin to tinkle down on you and me -- just you wait and see!

And wait. And wait. And keep waiting.

Workers in our country have been dramatically increasing their productivity since the highly ballyhooed economic recovery began about 20 months ago, generating billions of dollars in new wealth. Yet wages have stayed stagnant. Practically none of the increased wealth from worker productivity gains has gone to the workers.

Instead, 94 percent of the money has been siphoned off by the corporate powers for such things as fattening profits at a record pace and jacking up CEO pay to exorbitant levels. Also, nearly $2 trillion of the gains have simply been stashed in the corporate vaults, rather than using it for wage hikes or new job creation.

And even the little bit of job creation that is taking place is "bottom heavy" -- 40 percent of the jobs lost in the recent economic crash were higher-paying positions, but 49 percent of the new jobs are low-paying.

So we see corporations and billionaires wallowing in fabulous new wealth, while productive workers fall out of the middle class. And our new congress-members are just fine with that, even pushing a program of more tax breaks and subsidies for the corporate elite, while vehemently opposing efforts to create jobs and advance the middle class. Making the richest people richer is not a recovery -- it's a robbery.

National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks..

Earth Hour 2011

At 8:30 PM on Saturday 26th March 2011, lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour and people will commit to actions that go beyond the hour.

With Earth Hour almost upon us, our thoughts are with the people of Japan during this incredibly challenging and sad time for their country.

Go to the official website by clicking here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sex can kill you

I think we have all known that having sex can kill you, but, what a way to go! Much better to go bye-bye getting your rocks off than to fall off of the treadmill.

Now that I am over 50 years of age, the acrobatic monkey sex is pretty much history. But that still leaves quite a spectrum of possibility. And my tongue is STILL sore! TMI?

Yes, sex can kill you, U.S. study shows

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Sudden bursts of moderate to intense physical activity -- such as jogging or having sex -- significantly increase the risk of having a heart attack, especially in people who do not get regular exercise, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

Doctors have long known that physical activity can cause serious heart problems, but the new study helps to quantify that risk, Dr. Issa Dahabreh of Tufts Medical Center in Boston, whose study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The team analyzed data from 14 studies looking at the link between exercise, sex and the risk of heart attacks or sudden cardiac death -- a lethal heart rhythm that causes the heart to stop circulating blood.

They found people are 3.5 times more likely to get a heart attack or have sudden cardiac death when they are exercising compared to when they are not.

And they are 2.7 times more likely to get a heart attack when they are having sex or immediately afterward compared with when they are not. (These findings do not apply to sudden cardiac death because there were no studies looking at the link between sex and cardiac death.)

Jessica Paulus, another Tufts researcher who worked on the study, said the risk is fairly high as such studies go. But the period of increased risk is brief.

"These elevated risks are only for a short period of time (1 to 2 hours) during and after the physical or sexual activity," Paulus said in a telephone interview.

Because of that, the risk to individuals over the course of a year is still quite small, she said.
"If you take 10,000 people, each individual session of physical or sexual activity per week can be associated with an increase of 1 to 2 cases of heart attack or sudden cardiac death per year," Paulus said.

She said it is important to balance the findings with other studies showing that regular physical activity reduces the risk of heart attacks and sudden cardiac death by 30 percent.

"What we really don't want to do is for the public to walk away from this and think exercise is bad," she said. (Or get them to think that having sex is bad)

What it does mean is that people who do not exercise regularly need to start any exercise program slowly, gradually increasing the intensity of the workout over time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Notes from the Trail

I "treated" myself to a viewing of Inside Job last night, and never have I seen a more compelling exposé on "gold collar crime." Naturally, we see Reagan and both Bush Administrations helping to establish the absolute rule of private wealth over our commonwealth. Unnaturally, we see "Democrats" Clinton and Obama cheerfully moving the program along as well.

In one tragically compelling scene, we see Obama reappointing Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the (extremely well) Fed. Obama is actually averting his eyes, as Bernanke steps up to accept the appointment. As someone at the showing said, "Without knowing who either of these guys are, it is very obvious by looking at their interaction where the real power lies." (Hint: We the people had nothing to do with putting this power into power.)

Meanwhile, the upwising in Wisconsin continues. Caught up in the anger are remorseful union members who got suckered by the rhetoric of Fox "News" and the Koch Brothers-funded Tea Party movement, and voted Republican.

Now before we fall in with those tie-dyed-in-the-wool lefties who dismiss Tea Partiers as "a sorry bunch of Koch-suckers," let's remember this. Those Tea Party folks at the very least got off their duffs and stood for something - before the election. If all of those who enthusiastically worked for Obama stood up with the same commitment and passion - well, we wouldn't need Obama, would we?

Again - back to Inside Job - one of the saddest, most truthful parts of the movie shows Obama offering his heartening rhetoric before the 2008 election followed by his disheartening acquiescence to the power of money afterward. Would that qualify progressives who fell for the "debate and switch" as "Obama suckers?"

The good news in the sad news is that more progressive leaders and activists are now ready to move past Obama and create a movement that goes far beyond the Democratic Party. Along with this awakening is an understanding that to do so means reaching and communicating with those Tea Partiers, many of whom share some of the same core concerns about the out-of-control power of the corporate state.

At Tikkun Magazine's 25th anniversary celebration this past week, Rabbi Michael Lerner spoke more eloquently than ever about reaching for a broader coalition, particularly around the common concerns the common people from all sides have about the "great banking robbery" that occurred over the past decade. As part of his presentation, he showed a clear, entertaining and well-made video that suggests a Constitutional Amendment abolishing corporate personhood (and hence lots of the corporate "poisonhood" that has been poisoning our 'hood). As the video cartoon states, 85% of all Americans believe corporations have become too powerful. Does that 85% include many Tea Party folks? You betcha.

If we simply stick to speaking to our own "tribe" we will never connect with these folks, and Rabbi Lerner understands that. So does David Swanson, a pioneering progressive activist who started (now, and has written the highly-informative book, War Is A Lie. He recently reviewed my e-book with Joseph McCormick, Reuniting America: A Toolkit for Changing the Political Game for the Seattle Post Globe and he defines "transpartisan" as "an American interested in introducing humanity and complexity (and civics lessons) into political communications by working around the corporate media."

Swanson continues:

"For decades our televisions have taught us that only wealthy liberals care about poor people, while noble working folks care mostly about the rights and privileges of billionaires. Wisconsin shatters that crazy pretense and presents a conflict between the super wealthy who look out for the super wealthy and the rest of us who look out for the rest of us. That's a very different division from the primarily cultural division of partisanship."

That is a brilliant call to both sides to rise above the scam of the culture wars and recognize common self-interest. And what's in the way of that happening?

In both of these statements, Swanson hints that the source of much of our political polarization, disinformation, misinformation and missing information is the corporate media.

What would happen if awakening individuals on both sides turned off the media, tuned out the rhetoric and came together in Transpartisan circles, just as has been happening in Seattle? And what if they did so not around some pre-arranged agenda, but simply addressed the concerns that arose from those ordinary citizens present? Each side would emerge with a better understanding of how we've all been hoodwinked by winking hoods. Most important of all, perhaps finally a true multicultural (i.e., hippie and redneck) movement would emerge, the only force powerful enough to "higher-jack" our hijacked commonwealth.

To find out more about Reuniting America and how YOU can help change the political game in America, please click here... from here on out, it's politics as unusual.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Shared Sacrifice

Damn shame that no Democrats are able to clearly cut through all the bullshit. Ignorance and greed rules in America!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Class War 2011

The answers to our financial "crisis" are staring us in the face, but our politicians are too beholden to the wealthy to do the right thing. And, in too many cases, our politicians ARE the wealthy.

(you should probably click on the image below to be able to read it)

Monday, March 14, 2011


from Al Jazeera.

Rather shameful to admit that al Jazeera provides more honest, hard-hitting news that any of the American entities. But it's like Jack Nicholson said in "A Few Good Men," YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

Japan tsunami

The level of destruction in Japan is almost beyond words. It looks like WW2 after a hydrogen bomb. So how do the "intelligent design" idiots explain this type of thing? And when will we hear that Japan is suffering God's wrath because of ... what?

I don't suppose any location on the planet is totally safe from ... some type of calamity. At any given moment ...

BBC has a lot of video you may not have seen, but it's been everywhere.

Click here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fungus Among Us

What the hell is that thing? It/they are suddenly colonizing the Garden! It's ALIVE!!

Tom says:

This month's fungus is really not a fungus at all, but the "dog vomit slime mold," Fuligo septica, which belongs in the phylum Myxomycota in the Kingdom Protista. Why isn't this a real fungus? Why is it crawling around your yard?

Incidentally there's no way to get rid of it, so I recommend you just enjoy it.

There is no known danger to humans or other animals from inhaling the spores or ingesting this organism, although I don't think you will have a pleasant dining experience if you decide to try it-- I do not recommend it.

THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT THEM short of paving over your yard, so you might as well find some way to enjoy it.

Enjoy it? It may not be "harmful" but I wouldn't go around pissing it off or breathe in the spores. Usually not a good idea. No psychotropic qualities whatsoever.

Visit Tom Volk. What a fungi!

America is not broke

It's a good read, it's right on target, and I'm sure it was a stirring speech, but ... I guess I'm still too cynical to think it will make any difference.

America Is NOT Broke
...the Madison speech by Michael Moore
Delivered in Madison, Wisconsin on Saturday, March 5th, 2011. Video available here.

America is not broke.

Contrary to what those in power would like you to believe so that you'll give up your pension, cut your wages, and settle for the life your great-grandparents had, America is not broke. Not by a long shot. The country is awash in wealth and cash. It's just that it's not in your hands. It has been transferred, in the greatest heist in history, from the workers and consumers to the banks and the portfolios of the uber-rich.

Today just 400 Americans have the same wealth as half of all Americans combined.
Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have as much loot, stock and property as the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can't bring yourself to call that a financial coup d'état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true.

And I can see why. For us to admit that we have let a small group of men abscond with and hoard the bulk of the wealth that runs our economy, would mean that we'd have to accept the humiliating acknowledgment that we have indeed surrendered our precious Democracy to the moneyed elite. Wall Street, the banks and the Fortune 500 now run this Republic -- and, until this past month, the rest of us have felt completely helpless, unable to find a way to do anything about it.

I have nothing more than a high school degree. But back when I was in school, every student had to take one semester of economics in order to graduate. And here's what I learned: Money doesn't grow on trees. It grows when we make things. It grows when we have good jobs with good wages that we use to buy the things we need and thus create more jobs. It grows when we provide an outstanding educational system that then grows a new generation of inventors, entrepreneurs, artists, scientists and thinkers who come up with the next great idea for the planet. And that new idea creates new jobs and that creates revenue for the state. But if those who have the most money don't pay their fair share of taxes, the state can't function. The schools can't produce the best and the brightest who will go on to create those jobs. If the wealthy get to keep most of their money, we have seen what they will do with it: recklessly gamble it on crazy Wall Street schemes and crash our economy. The crash they created cost us millions of jobs. That too caused a reduction in tax revenue. Everyone ended up suffering because of what the rich did.

The nation is not broke, my friends. Wisconsin is not broke. Saying that the country is broke is repeating a Big Lie. It's one of the three biggest lies of the decade: 1) America is broke, 2) Iraq has WMD, and 3) The Packers can't win the Super Bowl without Brett Favre.

The truth is, there's lots of money to go around. LOTS. It's just that those in charge have diverted that wealth into a deep well that sits on their well-guarded estates. They know they have committed crimes to make this happen and they know that someday you may want to see some of that money that used to be yours. So they have bought and paid for hundreds of politicians across the country to do their bidding for them. But just in case that doesn't work, they've got their gated communities, and the luxury jet is always fully fueled, the engines running, waiting for that day they hope never comes. To help prevent that day when the people demand their country back, the wealthy have done two very smart things:

1. They control the message. By owning most of the media they have expertly convinced many Americans of few means to buy their version of the American Dream and to vote for their politicians. Their version of the Dream says that you, too, might be rich some day -- this is America, where anything can happen if you just apply yourself! They have conveniently provided you with believable examples to show you how a poor boy can become a rich man, how the child of a single mother in Hawaii can become president, how a guy with a high school education can become a successful filmmaker. They will play these stories for you over and over again all day long so that the last thing you will want to do is upset the apple cart -- because you -- yes, you, too! -- might be rich/president/an Oscar-winner some day! The message is clear: keep you head down, your nose to the grindstone, don't rock the boat and be sure to vote for the party that protects the rich man that you might be some day.

2. They have created a poison pill that they know you will never want to take. It is their version of mutually assured destruction. And when they threatened to release this weapon of mass economic annihilation in September of 2008, we blinked. As the economy and the stock market went into a tailspin, and the banks were caught conducting a worldwide Ponzi scheme, Wall Street issued this threat: Either hand over trillions of dollars from the American taxpayers or we will crash this economy straight into the ground. Fork it over or it's Goodbye savings accounts. Goodbye pensions. Goodbye United States Treasury. Goodbye jobs and homes and future. It was friggin' awesome and it scared the shit out of everyone. "Here! Take our money! We don't care. We'll even print more for you! Just take it! But, please, leave our lives alone, PLEASE!"
The executives in the board rooms and hedge funds could not contain their laughter, their glee, and within three months they were writing each other huge bonus checks and marveling at how perfectly they had played a nation full of suckers. Millions lost their jobs anyway, and millions lost their homes. But there was no revolt (see #1).

Until now. On Wisconsin! Never has a Michigander been more happy to share a big, great lake with you! You have aroused the sleeping giant known as the working people of the United States of America. Right now the earth is shaking and the ground is shifting under the feet of those who are in charge. Your message has inspired people in all 50 states and that message is: WE HAVE HAD IT! We reject anyone who tells us America is broke and broken. It's just the opposite! We are rich with talent and ideas and hard work and, yes, love. Love and compassion toward those who have, through no fault of their own, ended up as the least among us. But they still crave what we all crave: Our country back! Our democracy back! Our good name back! The United States of America. NOT the Corporate States of America. The United States of America!

So how do we make this happen? Well, we do it with a little bit of Egypt here, a little bit of Madison there. And let us pause for a moment and remember that it was a poor man with a fruit stand in Tunisia who gave his life so that the world might focus its attention on how a government run by billionaires for billionaires is an affront to freedom and morality and humanity.

Thank you, Wisconsin. You have made people realize this was our last best chance to grab the final thread of what was left of who we are as Americans. For three weeks you have stood in the cold, slept on the floor, skipped out of town to Illinois -- whatever it took, you have done it, and one thing is for certain: Madison is only the beginning. The smug rich have overplayed their hand. They couldn't have just been content with the money they raided from the treasury. They couldn't be satiated by simply removing millions of jobs and shipping them overseas to exploit the poor elsewhere. No, they had to have more -- something more than all the riches in the world. They had to have our soul. They had to strip us of our dignity. They had to shut us up and shut us down so that we could not even sit at a table with them and bargain about simple things like classroom size or bulletproof vests for everyone on the police force or letting a pilot just get a few extra hours sleep so he or she can do their job -- their $19,000 a year job. That's how much some rookie pilots on commuter airlines make, maybe even the rookie pilot who flew me here to Madison today. He told me he's stopped hoping for a pay increase. All he's asking for now is enough down time so that he doesn't have to sleep in his car between shifts at O'Hare airport.

That's how despicably low we have sunk! The wealthy couldn't be content with just paying this man $19,000 a year. They had to take away his sleep. They had to demean him and dehumanize him and rub his face in it. After all, he's just another slob, isn't he?

And that, my friends, is Corporate America's fatal mistake. But trying to destroy us they have given birth to a movement -- a movement that is becoming a massive, nonviolent revolt across the country. We all knew there had to be a breaking point some day, and that point is upon us.

Many people in the media don't understand this. They say they were caught off guard about Egypt, never saw it coming. Now they act surprised and flummoxed about why so many hundreds of thousands have come to Madison over the last three weeks during brutal winter weather. "Why are they all standing out there in the cold?" I mean, there was that election in November and that was supposed to be that!

"There's something happening here, and you don't know what it is, do you ...?"

America ain't broke! The only thing that's broke is the moral compass of the rulers. And we aim to fix that compass and steer the ship ourselves from now on. Never forget, as long as that Constitution of ours still stands, it's one person, one vote, and it's the thing the rich hate most about America -- because even though they seem to hold all the money and all the cards, they begrudgingly know this one unshakeable basic fact: There are more of us than there are of them!

Madison, do not retreat. We are with you. We will win together.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Art in the Park

A great event. Maybe NEXT year I can get the wife to become one of the artists/merchants. She's good enough and gosh darnit, people like her.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Blue Man Group!

Got tickets for The Blue Man Group next week in Jones Hall in Houston. I'm psyched! Hey, where's the psychedelics?!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Plant & Pedal 2011

Can you read the flyer below? Can you click on it to make it legible?
If not, here is the text ...
Plant & Pedal 2011!!

Join us as we 'dig in' to our favorite event that depicts the continuing evolution of a community that was once in dire need, to a community that is growing and changing.

Plant & Pedal 2011
Meet at Baldwin Park at 9AM 1701 Elgin @ Chenevert
Friday, March 25, 2011
A catered lunch is served at 12PM

Plant flowers and greenery in the urns located on one of our main corridors, Elgin Street, from Hamilton to LaBranch and in Baldwin Park. We provide a catered lunch, great door prizes, the ever popular P&P t-shirts and lots of fun.

It's about all of Midtown because even if you don't come out to Baldwin Park you can do your part at your home or business. Plant flowers, wash the windows, sweep up and pick up because company's a comin'. The warmer months are on the way and that always means extra visitors to our burgeoning little community. Everyone needs to work together to put our best face forward.
Contact Cynthia Alvarado at the Midtown Management District to volunteer!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

History bites

Android Malware

If you have an Android phone, like I have, you are probably a little careful about downloading new apps. After all, there is no entity that reviews and approves the apps for Android, as there is for Apple.

While you may want to be careful, often there is little way you can know in advance that a particular app is malicious in some way. So, like so many things in life: you pay your money, you takes your chances.

Google Pulls 21 Apps in Android Malware Scare

Google has just pulled 21 popular free apps from the Android Market. According to the company, the apps are malware aimed at getting root access to the user's device, gathering a wide range of available data, and downloading more code to it without the user's knowledge.

Although Google has swiftly removed the apps after being notified (by the ever-vigilant Android Police bloggers), the apps in question have already been downloaded by at least 50,000 Android users.

The apps are particularly insidious because they look just like knockoff versions of already popular apps. For example, there's an app called simply "Chess." The user would download what he'd assume to be a chess game, only to be presented with a very different sort of app.

These apps are all pirated versions of popular games and utilities -- an expeditious solution for busy hackers. Once downloaded, the apps root the user's device using a method like rageagainstthecage, then use an Android executable file (APK) to nab user and device data, such as your mobile provider and user ID. Finally, the app acts as a wide-open backdoor for your device to quietly download more malicious code.

Below is a complete list of the bad apps, all of which were made by an entity called Myournet. If you've downloaded one of these apps, it might be best to take your device to your carrier and exchange it for a new one, since you can't be sure that your device and user information is truly secure. Considering how much we do on our phones -- shopping and mobile banking included -- it's better to take precautions.

Falling Down
Super Guitar Solo
Super History Eraser
Photo Editor
Super Ringtone Maker
Super Sex Positions
Hot Sexy Videos
Hilton Sex Sound
Screaming Sexy Japanese Girls
Falling Ball Dodge
Scientific Calculator
Dice Roller
Advanced Currency Converter
APP Uninstaller
Funny Paint
Spider Man

Remember, the Android Market is open, which can be great and unfortunate in different circumstances. Always read user reviews before you download; and if you have any doubts, play it safe.


March Stargazing

March Stargazing Summary

Venus and Jupiter continue to bracket the sky as winter gives way to spring. Venus is the brilliant "morning star," low in the east before sunrise, while Jupiter is the "evening star," sliding lower in the west day by day. Little Mercury slides past Jupiter in mid-month. Leo, the lion, leaps proudly across the sky, and is in view all night. Some of the icons of winter remain in good view as well. Orion is in the southwest at nightfall, with Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, twinkling in the south.

More stargazing information:

Radio Program Highlights

Hear StarDate every day on more than 360 radio stations nationwide or subscribe to our podcast:

March 1-6: Underground astronomy. Most astronomy is conducted on high: from mountains, balloons, and spaceships. But some astronomy is conducted down low: from deep under water, under ice, and underground. Join us for details on the depths of astronomy.

March 7-13: Black holes. We have tales of several black holes this week, including a big one in a small galaxy, and a monster one in a giant galaxy. Join us for black holes, plus a man who discovered a planet using only pencil and paper.

March 14-20: planet fall. Even though Mercury is one of our closest planetary neighbors, no spacecraft has ever orbited the planet. But that's scheduled to change this week. Join us for details on the Messenger mission to Mercury and much more.

March 21-27: Lightshows. Lightning is one of the most spectacular lightshows any of us will ever see. But the fireworks don't end at the tops of the clouds. They extend high into the sky and even into space.

March 28-31: Moon meanderings. The Moon passes by the brilliant "morning star" this week - the planet Venus. They're on good display in the dawn sky. Join us for details on the Moon's meanderings plus much more on the night sky.

March Program Schedule:
Find an Affiliate:

Public Lecture in Austin: Exploding Stars!

Stars explode once every second in the universe, often becoming brighter than their home galaxies. Though most remain undiscovered by astronomers, recently enhanced capabilities to scan the skies now detect over 10 per day. This has revealed new modes of explosions, some much brighter than we expect, and some much fainter. This talk by visiting Tinsley Professor Lars Bildsten of UC-Santa Barbara will focus on exciting new discoveries about these exploding stars and their novel theoretical interpretations. The talk will be held March 24 at 7 p.m. in room 4.102 of Robert Lee Moore Hall (RLM) on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin.

Map to RLM:

This Month in StarDate Magazine

Take a peek into the life of the French astronomer who predicted Neptune's existence before anyone spied the planet: Urbain Leverrier. We'll celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth in March. And learn about one of the least expensive, easiest to use telescopes: the Dobsonian.

Subscribe online:

News from the Observatory

Take a peek into the life of the French astronomer who predicted Neptune's existence before anyone spied the planet: Urbain Leverrier. We'll celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth in March. And learn about one of the least expensive, easiest to use telescopes: the Dobsonian.

First Stars in the Universe Weren't Lonely

The first stars to form in the universe were not as lonely as previously thought. These are the findings of an international collaboration between researchers at the Center of Astronomy at Heidelberg University, the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, and at The University of Texas at Austin. These results were recently published in Science magazine. The astrophysicists used state-of-the-art computer simulations to model the birth of the first stars to form after the Big Bang.

Read more: