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

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

EOMMD

Time again for the "End Of Month Meme Dump" (EOMMD) where I jettison pictures, toons, and memes that didn't find their way into the blog.










The ospreys have returned to South Texas

and they are excellent fisher-birds
 





















Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Exotica

Neal Schon has a release out called, "So U." There is a variety of music on it, but one cut in particular really stands out to me called "Exotica." For some reason, they made a video from the tune, but the band speaks randomly throughout it. You can see that they put some video effects to the tune, but they have not released an "official" non-speaking version. I do NOT understand this!

Regardless, you can get a feel for it. And crank it up.


I did find an uncut version, although it's just one of those "fan-made" videos and doesn't have the special effects. This tune makes me imagine the never-ending saga of humanity.



Monday, August 29, 2016

Morford on Trump

While I don't think that Donald Trump will win the Presidency, we must not become complacent and take anything for granted. This guy is a con man extraordinare, and he's got a lot of people fooled. He's also got the darkest elements of Americana supporting him: racists, white supremacists, religious bigots, those who value party over country, mindless Clinton haters, the worst.

Over a year ago when he announced his candidacy for President as a Republican, I scoffed, laughed, and thought it could never happen. I'm still scoffing, but I'm not laughing.

Don the Con's candidacy is like a bad joke. A parody. A satire. The lies come so fast and furious it becomes hard to rebut them. And here's a typical Trump-et: "When I am elected, everyone will have a good job again, and quickly. Believe me." And the idiots cheer wildly.

He seems ignorant of so much that you would expect a President to know, but they like it that way. "Donald Trump is outside the box" one gelatinous cretin was heard to say recently. Oh, goodie!

Trump would not even have the "cover" that the Shrub had - Duhbya, George W. Bush, 43 - which is that he would surround himself with smart and knowledgeable people. Look who is surrounding Trump: Stephen "Breitbart" Bannon? Alex Jones? Rudy Giuliani? Scott Baio?


It's sad to see people swooning over Don the Con Trump. Truly. They are either ignorant, or malevolent. And that's about it. And come November, we need to make that plain.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Trump’s trolls: Not long for this world 



Make a note of this moment. Take some kind of karmic snapshot so you remember the exact qualities of the toxic, debilitating rash right now tearing at the skin of the collective soul, for it is unlikely to be repeated anytime soon.


And, I think we can all agree, thank sweet goddess for that.

It cannot be understated: We are at a very surreal, sour moment in America’s neo-history, wherein, thanks to Trump, Fox News, the GOP, the “alt-right” and their scattershot armies of desperate white males, the hell-mouth of intolerance and rage has been cracked wide open like few times in American history, and the worst, the loudest, the cruelest of our species are, for a painful moment, being given the biggest microphones, the widest berths, the gnarliest click-bait headlines.

Here is Stephen Bannon, former “CEO” of extremist Breitbart news organization (among other ignoble credentials), second only to Drudge as the most laughable, morally acidic non-entity in modern media, a man despised even by his own fantastically inept former employees, a man who, as Mother Jones points out, created a perfect online haven for white nationalists, right now running a major presidential campaign.

Let’s be blunt: Hiring the Breitbart CEO to run your campaign is like hiring an aneurism to fix your migraine. Bannon replaced the equally disastrous Paul Manafort, who seems to have been one of Vladamir Putin’s scabby lap dogs, which might seem troubling, until you realize Putin is a petty thug and the Cold War is long dead and Russia is about as much a threat to the American experiment as toenail fungus is to interplanetary space travel.

Bannon has been joined by noted propaganda kingpin Roger “sexually inappropriate” Ailes, late of Fox News and even later of human decency and moral relevance, and, along with Mike Pence – apparently tagging along to remind everyone how much they all hate women and gays, too (not just immigrants) – all are now hoping to steer the nation into an autocratic sewer.

Given this surfeit of bile, it’s easy to understand the temptation – especially when you add in Trump’s fawning adoration of Alex Jones’ infantile conspiracy cults and extremist right-wing hate groups – to buy into the lie that these are indeed The Darkest of Times, that a deep sickness is afoot and there might be no turning back.

It’s all just nonsense. Let’s be clear: Trump’s wretched crew, while appalling, is light years from resembling the real horsemen of the apocalypse. Hell, they aren’t even the horsemen’s stable boys. They constitute nothing so much as a demonic clown car of raging sadness, flatulent ego, unchecked megalomania. Even the GOP is abandoning them in droves. They are incompetence writ loud. They mean everyone ill.

Here’s the good news: It will be over soon. The Trump nightmare is reeling and churning, eating itself alive, soon to vanish from the headlines. And when he does? Oh, sweet Jesus with an Obama tattoo, the recoil will be glorious indeed.

Here’s the thing: While Trump and his hate-soaked antics have indeed overwhelmed the news cycle like no other election in modern memory, it’s all just wildly unsustainable. The shock value wears thin. The raging orange sneer becomes tedious. Sure, we’ve never been this pummeled by odium and authoritarian dogma, but, by the same token, we’ve also never been this exhausted, sickened, ready for a national emetic.

It’s coming, and soon. Put it this way: Once Hillary wins by enormous margins and Trump suddenly falls from the headlines, the country will immediately begin to recover. We will purge the poison. We will slough off the dead cells. We will be like a crash victim emerging from a fever-dream coma, one who starts breathing and moving normally for the first time in what feels like forever. And lo, it will be momentous.

This is not at all far-fetched. It’s increasingly clear that Trump knows he’s going to be crushed in November, that he never wanted to be anywhere near the actual presidency in the first place, that it was all a gaudy PR stunt, one that, thanks to Fox News and the GOP’s toxic groundwork, went further and uglier than anyone imagined.

Even more likely, given the presence of troll-gods Bannon and Ailes, is that Trump is merely conspiring to launch his own extremist media empire after the election, with the alt-right hate groups as its ready-made, captive audience.

Do you see the benefit? Trump, unbeknownst to him, has done something exceedingly helpful for the nation. He has not only unified the trolls, but he has named them, called them out, tattooed them with the nefarious Trump logo and made them his own. They think they’ve been legitimized and empowered, when in fact they’ve merely been clearly identified, irradiated and made obvious, like a cancerous tumor after a lengthy biopsy.

In other words, if you didn’t know who or what was making you ill before, women/ immigrants/ minorities/ progressives/ moderates/ intelligent humans of Planet America, you certainly do now. And, very soon, we can all rally, far more powerfully, to excise and eradicate it. Shall we call that a perverse, difficult, but ultimately liberating gift?




Sunday, August 28, 2016

RGV Reef!

Yes, the plans to create an artificial reef off of South Padre Island are moving forward. 


WHO ARE WE?
Friends of Rio Grande Valley Reef is dedicated to assisting on permitting and funding an artificial reef north of the South Padre Island jetties in State waters. Texas Parks and Wildlife Artificial Reef division is currently processing the permits for 1600 acre reef site. This reef will contain the normal large reefing components like pyramids, shrimp boats, culverts, and concrete rip rap.

WHAT DO WE KNOW?
The low relief reef not only grows baby red snapper, it also grows innumerable small bait fish, primarily the perch-like Longfin Porgy. Having a large forage base near the high relief reef allows it to attract and hold more fish. The glass minnows we see in shallow nearshore waters also use these structures to grow into adult sardines, menhaden and pogies as they move offshore and become food for everything we all love to catch.

The proposed reef site is 10 times the size of a normal 160 acre reef
This is to provide an extensive area of low relief scattered patch reefs. The importance of low relief reef materials, patches of small rubble scattered enough to not aggregate big fish, is only very recently being recognized as a critical missing steppingstone for the survival of juvenile fish. The problem is, when the little fish swim over to the big reef, the big fish eat them.

WHAT NEXT?
We are going to make a really great place to fish, and do our damnedest to make a reef that puts fish back in the Gulf. Dale Shivley, Director of the Artificial Reef Division for the Texas Parks and Wildlife envisions a multimillion dollar installation, efficiently placed based on quantifiable research, placed over years, we agree.

Go here to read more. The Army Corps of Engineers has issued the final permit and the first ship is all set to be put in place.



Saturday, August 27, 2016

SUP?!

SUP, y'all? I think I have found a new sport that I will be trying once we move down south and have the huge, smooth Laguna Madre just outside our door.

Stand Up Paddleboarding! SUP.


How to Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) | Beginners Guide

Learn all about stand up paddle boarding and how it started, plus some helpful tips and SUP gear guides for beginners. Below you can find everything you need to know to get out on the water and have a safe and fun paddle.

Basic Paddle Board Equipment

Here are all the items you need to get out on the water paddling:
  • Stand Up Paddle board – Paddle boards come in all shapes and sizes. The most common construction method is epoxy and fiberglass wrapped around an EPS foam core, with one or several fins to help the board track in the water. A standup paddle board is much thicker than your average surfboard.

  • Paddle boards typically range from 8 to 12 feet in length, 28 to 32 inches wide, and 4 to 5 inches thick. If you’re just starting out, the best thing to do is select a wider, longer, thicker board. This type will offer the greatest stability to learn the paddleboard basics on a flat body of water. As you gain experience, you can progress to a much smaller board.
Shop SUPs here.

  • Paddle – Stand Up Paddles come in a variety of constructions, from plastic, aluminum, wood, and carbon fiber – all with a variety of handle, blade and shaft shapes. The general rule is that a paddle used with your paddleboard should always be 6 to 10 inches above the height of the paddler. Size your paddle on the longer side for flat water use and the shorter side for use in the surf. The blade is typically bent at a slight angle to the shaft to allow for more forward reach when taking a stroke.
Shop for Paddles here

  • Leash – A sup leash keeps your paddle board attached to you with a Velcro strap around your ankle (or calf) that is attached to the paddleboard. Leashes come in a variety of sizes, and the general rule is to use a leash around the same size or slightly smaller than your board. In the event of a fall, currents and winds can quickly sweep your paddle board away from you – and in the ocean, your board becomes a lethal weapon when carried with the force of an ocean wave. Always remember to use your leash!
Shop for Leashes here

  • Board Bags – The majority of dings and blemishes happen outside of the water – usually in transportation or storage. Board bags will remove that dilemma and conveniently aid in traveling, as well as add years to your board’s life.
Shop for bags here

  • PFD (personal floatation device) – If you use your stand up paddle board beyond the limits of a swimming , surfing, or bathing area, the U.S. Coast Guard requires you to have a USCG-approved life vest. Please see the following link by the WPA (World Paddle Association) regarding the Life Vest Safety Laws.
Shop for PFD's here

If you'd like to learn more, go here. See you on the Laguna!

Friday, August 26, 2016

the US a theocracy?

How many times do we hear from conservatives to "love this country or get the hell out!"? 

Well, here's another perspective which makes a lot more sense.


Dear Conservatives: If You Want to Live in a Theocracy, Get the Hell Out of the United States

by Allen Clifton at Forward Progressives
The word “freedom” is something I don’t think most conservatives understand.  While it can be subjective at times (I wouldn’t recommend yelling “bomb” in an airport, for instance) it’s not really that difficult of a concept to grasp.  Especially when it comes to religion. 

See, in this country, religion is meant to be a private matter.  After all, isn’t that much simpler?  Even those who believe that this country was founded on Christianity can’t tell me what denomination we should follow.  Because the fact of the matter is, Catholics and Baptists (while both Christians) practice their faiths very differently. 

“Religious freedom,” as conservatives like to call it, means that privately we’re allowed to identify with whatever religion we want to identify with.  That doesn’t mean, however, that we’re allowed to discriminate against people just because we disagree with them. 

Our Constitution, as subjective as it might be, presents one undeniable fact – the words Christianity, Christian, God or Jesus Christ appear within its text not even once.

So, if the United States is indeed a “Christian nation,” our Founding Fathers sure as hell forgot to mention that.

But the truth of the matter is, conservatives don’t want to live in a nation based on liberty and freedom – they want to live in a theocracy.  They want a nation and government based on religion. 

And if that’s what they want then they need to get the hell out of the United States, because this isn’t a nation based on theocracy.  Our Founding Fathers made that perfectly clear when they wrote our First Amendment. 

If they want to practice whatever religion they want, in the privacy of their own homes (or churches), by all means go right ahead. But that doesn’t give them the right to force their narrow-minded religious beliefs on those who don’t agree with them. 

I always find it funny how these religious conservative radicals talk about how much they love this country, yet seem to hate the principles on which it was founded.  It’s especially ironic considering a large part of why this nation was founded in the first place was to escape religious persecution from a tyrannical form of government. 

But for some reason these people still seem to believe that restricting their “right” to discriminate against others based on their religion is somehow an infringement on their rights.  Basically, their attempts to infringe on another person’s rights are being infringed upon and that’s ticking them off. 

So to these people, I say – get the hell out.  If you think a government based on theocracy would be so wonderful, by all means, go check out Iran and Saudi Arabia then come back and tell me how “free” the people of those two nations are.

Because that’s what these people seem unable to understand.  The words “freedom” and “religion” are complete contradictions.  Religion is about control – not freedom.  You can’t say you support freedom, while trying to control people with your religion.  Because that doesn’t make any damn sense.

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on both Twitter and Facebook. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

big story


We hear from Trump constantly about how horrible everything is today, like jobs, wages, crime. It's bullshit, of course. What we don't hear much of is a comeback to remind people that it's the GOP that put up - and continues to put up - every roadblock they could against Obama's plans to revive the economy or move the country ahead. 

The GOP was purposely sabotaging the economy to keep Obama from succeeding, but Obama was still able to pull the country out of the Bush/Cheney recession. We need to have more Democrats in office if we really want to do better as a nation. Dems should keep hammering that point.

by 
The conservative media can’t stop complaining that we’re in the midst of the worst recovery since World War II — despite the fact that it’s likely that more private sector jobs will be created in President Obama’s second term than have ever been created in four years under any Republican.
But conservatives aren’t complaining, they’re bragging.
A little-noticed report from the Economic Policy Institute earlier this month should have been national news, but was drowned out by the sturm und drang of the campaigns and low-grade trauma generated by Donald Trump’s constant toxic mix of abuse and gaslighting.
Here’s the conclusion EPI came up with as it examined the role government investment has played in the last four recoveries:
The recovery since 2009 has been historically slow, and the disappointing pace can be explained entirely by the fiscal austerity imposed by Republicans in Congress.
Here’s what that looks like in graph form — and you’ll notice that the Reagan recovery that Republicans rest the entire credibility of their party upon was largely driven by government investment.

“Had government spending during Obama’s tenure behaved the same way it did during Reagan’s, government spending would currently be roughly one trillion dollars higher than it is,” The Week‘s Jeff Spross explained.
And there’s a direct connection to Trump in this story.
You probably heard about the recent Gallup study that found that Trump’s supporters aren’t any poorer than average Americans, but they tend to not be college graduates. In other words, their kids are exactly the people who have been brutalized by Republican austerity.
The way the recovery has worked is the more education you have, the better you’ve done. And those raised by parents without degrees are far less likely to be encouraged to go to college.
Since the Stimulus ended, the kind of good jobs that come from construction or public investment and are readily available to Americans who don’t have college degrees have dried up — purposely.
Republicans have shifted hard to austerity following the worst financial crisis in 70 years to deny President Obama the sort of economic boost most presidents take for granted. They’ve done it to increase economic anxiety, which they know will increase resentment of all sorts, including the racial resentment that has driven much of the resistance to Obama.
This is the perfect formula for creating a monster willing to exploit the racial resentments that have long been stirred up by conservatism.
This is how the GOP Congress helped bring us Trump.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Paul Hardcastle

As a counterbalance to the amped-up nature of Joe Satriani's guitar playing, we have Paul Hardcastle

Paul has been Mr. Smooth Jazz over the last decade or two. His grooves are very relaxing, chill-full of mellowness. Somebody needs to take some of these mellow grooves and put beautiful pictures to them, but more than what you get with fan-made videos. I see a niche.

Paul really broke out in the 1985 with "19." You probably heard it, or traces of it. It was an auspicious start, and I'm glad he morphed into an easy-going groovemaster. After all, he's getting up there in years now. It's hard to dance all night at 60.

Here's "19" put to video.


And his more-current stuff, in fan-made form.



Paul asked me to share this one from his new release "History."

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Menso

Menso by Brian Kent is an often brilliant single-strip comic that you'd probably never seen. 

Behold the Internet!

About Menso:

I’ve been drawing this cartoon in one form or another over the last fifteen years. An earlier and even less funny version of the cartoon appeared my university paper in the mid nineties. Since then I’ve drawn it mainly to hear the forced laughter of friends and family.

I’ve named the web-comic Menso, which is Spanish for stupid and foolish. The newer cartoons are in the taller format, and the older cartoons are wider, and they may or may not be colored. I have years and years of cartoons already drawn, so there’s no excuse not to post at least a few every week.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at mensocomic@gmail.com

Brian

Monday, August 22, 2016

Redneck Americans!


Recently Donald Trump has been trying to appeal to black voters by asking, "What do you have to lose by voting for Donald Trump?" I can think of quite a number of things, and anyone with a functioning brain ought to be able to do the same.

A comic long-thought to be deceased, A Whitney Brown, has reanimated again and is asking a similar question to the rednecks in America. After all, what the hell have Republicans been doing for YOU, rednecks?!

It's an excellent question better left answered by the professionals. That's your cue A.

by AWhitneyBrown

And now, to my Redneck American Community, where are my Rednecks? There they are, there’s my Redneck American, okay… For generations, you have been giving your vote to the Republicans, and what has it gotten you? Nothing! Your lives are a catastrophe, believe me. You have no health care, your children are all dying of meth and heroin, you have no education, you are shooting yourselves with your own guns on accident every day. So sad. Just a disaster.
You have been losing, losing, losing. The big banks are buying all your farms, you have nothing to eat but junk food, you all have diabetes, and your water is totally poisoned from all the fracking going on. Absolutely horrendous. A complete waste. And what do you get for it? Nothing! Even the gays are better off than you. They’re taking all your marriages. Your homes are totally broken, I can tell you.
The Republicans have totally taken you for granted. They think you’re stupid! They are taking advantage of you and it’s got to end, believe me. The Democrats will straighten this out so fast it will make your head spin. We will give you Medicaid, if you will just vote in a Democrat governor, believe me. It will happen. I guarantee it. What the hell do you have to lose?
We will fix your environment, we will clean up your water, we will help you get educated, and we will take the guns away from your crazy neighbor. It’s going to be beautiful, believe me. We will give you Obamacare, we will give you an Obamaphone, and we will help your children go to college if they are smart enough. We will fix your roads and and bridges and we will stock lunker bass in all your fishing holes.
We are going to build bridges and roads, and send your kids to college. And who is going to pay for it? The billionaires, that’s right. They are going to pay their fair share once and for all. You are going to start winning again, and it is going to be beautiful. You are going to win so much you’re going to get tired of winning. You’ll say, Democrats, stop with the winning all the time, I can’t take it, and we will say, no, we are going to keep on winning for all the Redneck Americans. We will be your voice! What the hell do you have to lose, I ask you? And after 4 years, I guarantee you we will have 95 percent of the Redneck American vote. I guarantee it. Believe me. Just give us a chance.

Original, or, at least, where I found it.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

watermelon!

Watermelon is one of my favorite foods of all time, and deep into the summer, watermelon is everywhere!! Here are a few interesting things you may not have known about watermelon, courtesy of the AARP.

6 Things You Didn't Know About Watermelon
 


Here is the amazing thing about watermelons: They are 92 percent water, which is why we want to dive face first into a cold, juicy slice on hot summer days. But that’s not the only reason to gorge on this delicious fruit. Watermelons are also “nutrient-dense,” as dietitians put it, which is a shorthand way of saying they are chock full of stuff that’s good for you. Here are six surprising things you may not have known about summer’s favorite melon.


It’s a fruit! No, it’s a vegetable!


Most of us consider watermelon a fruit, because it’s sweet and juicy; it also has seeds — the botanical definition of a fruit. But watermelon is also a vegetable, from the same family that includes cucumbers and squash. So which is it? Oklahoma thinks it knows. In 2007, watermelon was officially declared the state vegetable — probably because the state fruit was already taken.

The redder the better

Fully ripe, deeply red watermelons are the ones you want. That deep color signifies the most lycopene, an antioxidant and the bright red pigment that gives red fruits and vegetables their rosy color. Seedless watermelons also tend to have more lycopene than the seeded variety, say scientists with the government’s Agricultural Research Service. Research suggests that lycopene may help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. A recent Finnish study found that men with the greatest level of lycopene in their blood had a 55 percent lower risk of stroke.


Beyoncé believes in it

“Lemonade” may have been the name of her latest mega-selling album, but BeyoncĂ© recently announced that she was investing in WTRMLN WTR, a company that turns surplus watermelons into cold-pressed watermelon juice. The entertainer, who has invested in other wellness-oriented companies, called watermelon juice “the future of clean, natural hydration.” Somehow she forgot to mention that it also helps reduce muscle soreness after exercise, according to a 2013 Spanish study. 

Good for prostate protection

Chow down on watermelon, guys — it can help with prostate health and erectile dysfunction, thanks to phytonutrients like lycopene and citrulline. Lycopene — also found in other red fruits and vegetables — plays a role in protecting against prostate cancer. And citrulline, according to a recent study published in the journal Urology, can help with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction by improving blood flow.


Eat it with a little fat

Watermelon is a rich source of vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene, which is important for vision, healthy skin, teeth and gums. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, meaning it needs to be consumed with some fat to help the body absorb it. Try making a simple summery salad of watermelon, crumbled feta cheese, minced fresh mint and a lime dressing to get the most nutrients.


Kidney disease? Don’t go overboard

Watermelon is a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps maintain a normal blood pressure and helps muscles and nerve function properly. That’s great for most of us, but those diagnosed with hyperkalemia — too much potassium in the blood — or who have kidney disease and are at risk for the condition, probably should not eat more than a cup of watermelon a day, say kidney experts. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

solar is #1


It's past time for governments and corporations to take solar power seriously and quit putting roadblocks in front of it. Some of these fossil fuel multinational corporations talk alternate energies but they are not doing much about it. If they wait much longer, they are going to be irrelevant even quicker than by the inevitable, natural process of petroleum running dry.

From ThinkProgress


Solar Delivers Cheapest Electricity ‘Ever, Anywhere, By Any Technology’

Half the price of coal!

Chile exceeded 1000 Megawatts of solar this year. CREDIT: ACERA.
Chile has just contracted for the cheapest unsubsidized power plant in the world, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) reports.
In last week’s energy auction, Chile accepted a bid from Spanish developer Solarpack Corp. Tecnologica for 120 megawatts of solar at the stunning price of $29.10 per megawatt-hour (2.91 cents per kilowatt-hour or kwh). This beats the 2.99 cents/kwh bid Dubai received recently for 800 megawatts. For context, the average residential price for electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.
“Solar power delivers cheapest unsubsidised electricity ever, anywhere, by any technology,” BNEF Chair Michael Liebreich said on Twitter after this contract was announced.
Carlos Finat, head of the Chilean Renewable Energies Association (ACERA) told Bloomberg that the auction is “a strong warning sign that the energy business continues on the transition path to renewable power and that companies should adapt quickly to this transition process.” Indeed, in the same auction, the price of coal power was nearly twice as high!
Grid-connected solar power on Chile has quadrupled since 2013. Total installed capacity exceeded 1,000 megawatts this year — the most by far in South America. Another 2,000 megawatts is under construction, and there are over 11,000 megawatts that are “RCA Approved” (i.e. have environmental permits).
Chile is aided by the fact that its Atacama desert is “the region with the highest solar radiation on the planet,” according to the Inter-American Development Bank. So much solar is being built in the high-altitude desert that Northern Chile can’t use it all, and the government is rushing to build new transmission lines.
Chile is part of a global trend where solar energy has doubled seven times since 2000. In the U.S. alone, it has grown 100-fold in the past decade thanks to a sharp drop in prices that has brought the cost of solar (with subsidies) to under four cents a kilowatt hour in many places, as I detailed last month.
The future for solar could not be sunnier.