Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


slow learner


You’d think this dog would learn, but he requires more second chances than the most incorrigible felon—but there’s nothing felonious about Max. He’s just curious.

My neighbors and I have gone a whole season without seeing a single rattlesnake, but Max has found one somewhere on the desert. A day after his run-in with the skunk, he was bitten on the nose by a snake. Normally, the head is the safest place for a dog to get bit. I got him down to the vet within a couple hours of the bite, but his face is badly swollen, he’s drooling badly, and only time will tell if there will be any further complications.

Now there is another smell about him. In addition to the skunk odor, there is a second aroma which results from the effect of the rattlesnake venom on his flesh. It is described of the Internet as the smell of roadkill, but this is inaccurate. The venom causes necrosis. I don’t know how to describe the smell, but it is definitely unpleasant.

Max will be tough to take for at least a couple days, maybe more if his flesh experiences more problems.

“The snake will always bite back.”

~ Jake Roberts (The “Rattlesnake Man”)



Weather Report

96° and Clear and Smellier


mixed bag

Pepe le Pew.

Just when I had begun to think that life couldn’t get any better, both dogs came in smelling of skunk. The odor is so strong, I can’t even fool myself into thinking that the smell is remarkably like good marijuana. It isn’t. It smells like skunk.

Now Maggie is asleep in the doorway, using the threshold as a pillow, her “gift” wafting through the house. Luckily, Max is sleeping in the road—a good distance from the house—where he belongs.


“When you are a skunk you learn to hold your breath for a long time.”

~ Pepé le Pew




Weather Report

88° and Clear but Smelly


going dodo


No, not doo-doo. “Dodo,” as in the dodo bird, which was driven to extinction by humans in 1681. Though by the end of this post, you will probably conclude we are in deeper doo-doo than we’ve ever been before.

Over the past half-billion years, there have been at least twenty mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on Earth has suddenly and dramatically contracted. Today 99.9% of all species that have ever existed on Earth—estimates run as high as fifty billion species—are ancient history.

Five of these extinctions—the so-called Big Five—were so devastating that they are usually put in their own category:

The Ordovician-Silurian extinction (about 439 million years ago) due to a drop in sea levels as glaciers formed, and a subsequent rise in sea levels as glaciers melted. During this extinction 25% of marine families and 60% of marine genera (the classification above species) were lost.

The Late Devonian extinction (about 364 million years ago), cause unknown. Because it appears that warm water marine species were the most severely affected, many paleontologists believe it was caused by global cooling. Glacial deposits in northern Brazil  suggest another glaciation event on Gondwana, the land mass of that time. It appears that 22% of marine families and 57% of marine genera were lost.

The Permian-Triassic extinction (about 251 million years ago) was Earth’s worst extinction event, and was probably caused by volcanism in present-day Siberia. Evidence suggests that 95% of all species, 53% of marine families, 84% of marine genera, and an estimated 70% of land species of plants, insects, and vertebrate animals were killed in this catastrophe.

The End Triassic extinction (about 199-214 million years ago) was most likely caused by massive flows of lava erupting from the central Atlantic magmatic province, triggering the breakup of Pangaea, the opening of the Atlantic Ocean, and deadly global warming. Rocks from the eruptions now are found in the eastern United States, eastern Brazil, North Africa, and Spain. It appears 22% of marine families, 52% of marine genera, and an unknown percentage of vertebrate deaths resulted.

The Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction (about 65 million years ago) was famously caused by the impact of an asteroid which created the 4-mile-wide Chicxulub crater now hidden on the Yucatan Peninsula and beneath the Gulf of Mexico. During this extinction, 16% of marine families, 47% of marine genera, and 18% of land vertebrate families, including the dinosaurs, were killed.

A majority of scientists believe that a sixth mass extinction is underway. They’ve even given it a name: The Holocene extinction event.

This isn’t Bible-thumping prophesy. There’s empirical evidence that the present extinction is happening right now and is going faster than that which wiped out the dinosaurs. Animals are going extinct 100 to 1,000 (maybe even 1,000 to 10,000) times faster than at the normal background extinction rate, which is about 10 to 25 species per year. Since 1900 alone, 69 mammal species are believed to have gone extinct, along with about 400 other types of vertebrates. Evidence for species lost among nonvertebrate animals and other kinds of living things is much more difficult to come by, researchers say, but there’s little reason to believe that the rest of life on Earth is faring any better.

Though it’s difficult to put a precise figure on the projected losses, it is estimated that if current trends continue, by the end of this century as many as half of Earth’s species will be gone. And unlike a meteorite or large volcanic eruption, the cause of this extinction event is us.

Specifically, five major human activities are to blame:

Habitat destruction including human-induced climate change;

Pollution with carbon emissions that drive climate change and ocean acidification and toxins that alter and poison ecosystems;

Introduction of invasive species;

Human overpopulation including land clearing for farming, logging and settlement; and

Over-harvesting (hunting, fishing, and gathering).

Of the five activities above, human-induced climate change and pollution have gotten the most attention.

We are all familiar with the argument that high amounts of greenhouse gas emissions (primarily carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) trap heat from the sun. Other human activities such as habitat destruction and fragmentation are making the earth inhospitable to life. Through global trade and international travel, humans have transported countless species into ecosystems that are not prepared for them. Invasive/aliens species displace native species through predation, competition, and disease organisms.

Chemical plants fix more atmospheric nitrogen than all natural terrestrial processes combined, and fisheries remove more than a third of the primary production of the temperate coastal waters of the oceans. We have pumped enough carbon dioxide into the air to alter the climate and to change the chemistry of the oceans.

Farming, logging, and building have transformed between a third and a half of the world’s land surface, and even these figures probably understate the effect, since habitat not being actively exploited may still be fragmented. Most of the world’s major waterways have been diverted or dammed or otherwise manipulated—in the United States, only 2% of rivers run unimpeded—and people now use half the world’s readily accessible freshwater runoff.

Such dramatic ecological change and biodiversity loss will also put humans in danger within just three generations, particularly if we also lose crucial pollinators such as the honeybee.

Though these facts have been known at least from the early ’90s, researchers released another report in June of this year in an attempt to provoke action. “If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover, and our species itself would likely disappear early on,” said one of the lead researchers, Gerardo Ceballos from the Universidad Autónoma de México.

“We are sawing off the limb that we are sitting on,” said Paul Ehrlich, another researcher.

Their results are published in the journal Science Advances.

But it’s not all bad news—the researchers remarked that we could still avoid such steep biodiversity loss through intense conservation action. “But that window of opportunity is rapidly closing,” they conclude.

Another of the researchers, Anthony Barnosky, says there are a few key steps people can take:

Reduce your carbon footprint—this is to hold back climate change from falling below critical levels and to prevent altered conditions which can ravage fragile ecosystems.

Never buy products made from a threatened or endangered species—this includes items like ivory, animal furs and rhino horns.

Eat less meat—40% of the Earth is currently under cultivation, and if the lands used to feed livestock were used to grow crops for people, there would be 50% to 70% more calories available for humans to eat, which is enough to feed an additional billion people. It would eliminate the need to clear natural ecosystems like rainforests for farmland.

Are we going to do enough to fix the situation? Probably not.

As long as corporations and other players who profit from the exploitation of the earth continue to promulgate disinformation, skeptics and deniers will continue to accuse most of us of wearing foil hats. There will continue to be asshole dentists who have to bag just one more trophy before they’re all gone (in the last couple days, a Minnesota woman who vandalized the dentist’s sign was arrested by the long arm of the law). Poachers will continue to kill rhinos for their horns so Asian men can get hard-ons (as it turns out, a myth). Escape to another planet is probably a pipe dream; anyway, who would have us? As long as there are people like me who are relieved we’ll be dead before the bill comes due, humanity’s extinction is assured.

At least we know what’s going to kill us. It will be death by a thousand cuts.

But maybe some kid will come along and change the whole thing. You can always hope.





Weather Report

96° and Clear


black / white / red

eastern coral snake.

It is said that the pyramids at Giza were originally clad in stone of three colors: black, white, and red. (I tried to find you a picture to illustrate this, but was unsuccessful—so you get an eastern coral snake instead, which I think is pretty cool as a consolation). However, the pyramids can be found on Youtube at 41:26 in episode 1 of The Pyramid Code: The Complete Series.)PyramidDatePalms

These three colors were somehow integral to the ancients’ technology. But the knowledge of the colors’ significance is lost to us today. It has been theorized by some that, far from being tombs, the pyramids were actually built as energy-generating machines; even in their dilapidated state, they still create measurable electric energy today.

Because of the ancient significance of these three colors, I have adopted them to facilitate my study of the runes. The 24 runes of the Elder Futhark can be arrayed in 3 wheels of 8 runic symbols each which emphasize the oppositional relationship that each rune has with its mate.

Fionn's Shield.

For example, Jera and Dagaz (the runes of the winter and summer solstices) and Ken and Beorc (the runes of the fall and spring equinoxes) are opposite one another and represent similar yet opposite phenomena in the wheel of the year. The same is true for Hagal and Laguz (both of which are harbingers of death), and for Thorn and Elhaz (which are both warning signs). The relationships as I have described them are superficial at best and will require a good deal of contemplation and meditation before I understand them to my satisfaction.

By depicting the three wheels in three colors and placing each wheel on one of three appropriate background field colors, I am hoping this will lead to deeper insights. So hopefully there will be more to come.

But what is the significance of these three colors? Frankly I don’t know yet.

In more recent history, the black-white-red flag were the Imperial colors of Germany’s Kaiser Reich. The flags of Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen also all share red, white, and black horizontal stripes today (albeit in the reverse order as Germany’s old flag).Plakat_Lasst_die_alten_Fahnen_wehn_1932

After World War I, the colors of Imperial Germany became symbols of monarchist and nationalist protest, and were often used by right-wing organizations such as the Stahlhelm and Bund der Frontsoldaten. Many nationalist political parties during the Weimar period—such as the German National People’s Party and the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) used the imperial colors, a practice that has continued today with the National Democratic Party of Germany.

The tricolor flag and the swastika flag both briefly served as the national flags of Germany until 1935 (one year after the death of president Paul von Hindenburg and Hitler’s elevation to Führer), when the dual flag arrangement was ended and the the swastika flag became the exclusive national flag of Germany. Yet the colors were retained.

So the associations below with these three colors are a mix of positives and negatives, just as the coral snake above is incredibly beautiful yet deadly poisonous. I suspect this must contribute to the color combination’s potency.



Black derives its significance from the notion that new things get darker while they mature; and physical aging comes with spiritual maturity.

The Akans ( the largest meta-ethnicity and ethno-linguistic group in Ghana and the Ivory Coast in West Africa) blacken most of their ritual objects to increase their spiritual potency.

Black symbolizes an intensified spiritual energy, communion with the ancestral spirits, antiquity, spiritual maturity, and spiritual potency.

Black is a color to be used for promoting stability and protection, healing misunderstandings.

Black is required for all other colors to have depth and variation of hue—it’s a forceful feature and represents formality, dignity, force, convention, stability, and zero-tolerance.

Black is affiliated with the planets Saturn and Pluto.

Black’s zodiac signs are Capricorn and Scorpio.

Black’s mantra is: “I am endless”

The ancient Egyptians and Romans used black for mourning, as do most Europeans and Americans today.

The “Blackshirts” were the security troops in Hitler’s German army, also known as the SS.

Black often stands for secrecy.

Black humor is morbid or unhealthy and gloomy humor.

A “blackhearted” person is evil.

If a business is “in the black,” it is making money.

A “blacklist” is a list of persons or organizations to be boycotted or punished.

Black is associated with sophistication and elegance. A “black tie” event is formal.

A black belt in karate identifies an expert.

A black flag in a car race is the signal for a driver to go to the pits.

A blackguard is a scoundrel.

The ancient Egyptians believed that black cats had divine powers.

Black lung is a coal miner’s disease caused by the frequent inhaling of coal dust.

Blackmail is getting things by threat.

Black market is illegal trade in goods or money.

A black sheep is an outcast.

“Blackwash” (as opposed to “whitewash”) is to uncover or bring out in the light.

A blackout is a period of darkness from the loss of electricity, for protection against nighttime air raids, or, in the theater, to separate scenes in a play.

When you “black out,” you temporarily lose consciousness.



White derives its symbolism from the white part of egg and also from white clay used in spiritual purification, healing, sanctification rites and festive occasions.

In some situations it symbolizes contact with ancestral spirits, deities, and other unknown spiritual entities such as ghosts.

It is used in combination with black, green, gold, or yellow to express spiritual vitality and balance.

Contemplate the brilliance of a new white snow and how it pulls a blanket of peace over everything it touches—white stands for peace, cleansing, illumination, purity, innocence and the highest understanding.

White is affiliated with the planet Mercury and the Moon.

Its zodiac sign is Virgo.

White can be used for cleansing, establishing order, illumination and clarity

White’s mantra is: “I am illumined.”

A white flag is the universal symbol for truce.

White means mourning in China and Japan.

Angels are usually depicted wearing white robes.

The ancient Greeks wore white to bed to ensure pleasant dreams.

The Egyptian pharaohs wore white crowns.

The ancient Persians believed all gods wore white.

A “white elephant” is a rare, pale elephant considered sacred to the people of India, Thailand, Burma, and Sri Lanka; in this country, it is either a possession that costs more than it is worth to keep or an item that the owner doesn’t want but can’t get rid of.

It’s considered good luck to be married in a white garment.

White heat is a state of intense enthusiasm, anger, devotion, or passion.

To whitewash is to gloss over defects or make something seem presentable that isn’t.

A “white knight” is a rescuer.

A white list contains favored items (as opposed to a blacklist).

A “whiteout” occurs when there is zero visibility during a blizzard.

A “white sale” is a sale of sheets, towels, and other bed and bath items.

A “whited sepulcher” is a person who is evil inside but appears good on the outside, a hypocrite.

“White lightning” is slang for moonshine, a home-brewed alcohol.

A white room is a clean room, as well as a temperature-controlled, dust-free room for precision instruments.

White water is the foamy, frothy water in rapids and waterfalls.



Is associated with sense of seriousness, readiness for a serious spiritual or political encounter.

It is also associated with blood, sacrificial rites and the shedding of blood.

Red is therefore used as a symbol of heightened spiritual and political mood, sacrifice and struggle.

Think fire and blood—red rushes to us with messages of passion, primal urges and power, action, pleasure, vibrance, radiance, and love.

Red is affiliated with the planet Mars.

Red’s zodiac sign is Aries.

Red can be used to boost energy booster, protection, to enhance libido.

Red’s mantra is: “I am ignited.”

For the ancient Romans, a red a flag was a signal for battle.

Because of its visibility, stop signs, stoplights, brake lights, and fire equipment are all painted red.

The ancient Egyptians considered themselves a red race and painted their bodies with red dye for emphasis.

In Russia, red means beautiful. The Bolsheviks used a red flag as their symbol when they overthrew the tsar in 1917. That is how red became the color of communism.

In India, red is the symbol for a soldier.

In South Africa, red is the color of mourning.

It’s considered good luck to tie a red bow on a new car.

In China, red is the color of good luck and is used as a holiday and wedding color. Chinese babies are given their names at a red-egg ceremony.

Superstitious people think red frightens the devil.

A “red-letter day” is one of special importance and good fortune.

In Greece, eggs are dyed red for good luck at Easter time.

To “paint the town red” is to celebrate.

Red is the color most commonly found in national flags.

In the English War of the Roses, red was the color of the House of Lancaster, which defeated the House of York, symbolized by the color white.

The “Redshirts” were the soldiers of the Italian leader Garibaldi, who unified modern Italy in the nineteenth century.

To “see red” is to be angry.

A “red herring” is a distraction, something that takes attention away from the real issue.

A “red eye” is an overnight airplane flight.

If a business is “in the red,” it is losing money.




Weather Report

91° and Clear


whew! still here


I woke up yesterday morning to a spectacular sunrise and to a new season of backpedaling by Christian prophets-of-doom trying to hold onto their followers.

Two nights ago was the fourth and final “Blood Moon” eclipse of the lunar eclipse tetrad—a series of four consecutive total eclipses occurring at approximately six-month intervals. The total eclipse of April 15, 2014 was followed by another on October 8, 2014, and another on April 4, 2015, and another September 27, 2015.

For three hours and eighteen minutes (from 8:07 pm Central time to 11:27 pm) the moon passed through the Earth’s shadow and reflected back a strange red glow—hence, the “blood moon.”

John-Hagee-353331According to Christian Bible-thumper John Hagee, the stage is now set for the end of the world. “Four blood moons points to a world-shaking event,” he said. What kind of event? Oh probably an earthquake or other devastating apocalypse signalling the second coming of Christ. Or maybe the Rapture. An event having to do with Israel. Or Iran and the pending nuclear deal.

The net keeps being cast wider, so Hagee cannot be accused of being wrong and discredited in the eyes of his followers. If that net were only to bring in an old shoe, Hagee would probably claim to have been right.

Professor Gary Shogren, a former pastor who studied the New Testament at Aberdeen University, said: “You’ll never go broke predicting the apocalypse.”




Groove of the Day

Listen to Leon Redbone performing “Shine on Harvest Moon”


Weather Report

84° and Clear




This is the first day of the fortnight (September 28-October 12) governed by the rune Gyfu or Gebo. Shaped like the Roman letter “X,” Gyfu’s form is the “sacred mark” used to denote things dedicated to the gods. It is usually interpreted as symbolizing “gift,” and its form esoterically represents the intersection of heaven and earth. It describes a part of the mystery of sacrifice as the gift, ultimately of power, that is given to mankind by the gods in order to maintain the ecology of cosmic power. The rune’s phonetic value is a hard “G.”

Gyfu refers to a gift and the act of giving or receiving. Gifts played an important part in German culture. A chief would give his young warriors gifts of horses, weapons, and lavish feasts. Relations between tribes were always conducted with the exchange of costly gifts. Tacitus wrote in Germania: It is usual to give the departing guest whatever he may ask for, and a present in return is asked for with little hesitation. They are greatly charmed by gifts, but they expect no return for what they give, nor feel any obligation for what they receive. The giving to, and receiving gifts from, the gods would have been looked upon as a natural extension of these customs.

Symbolically, Gyfu describes the gift of one’s own ability or talent in the service of another. Talent and ability are gifts from the gods to the individual. When anything is given, a relationship is established between the giver and receiver. Gyfu signifies the unifying effect that the exchange of a gift makes between the donor and the recipient. It expresses the qualities of linking seemingly separate parts of society or individual people in a common bond that produces a creative power greater than their sum total.

It can also signify cooperation between people. This may take the form of a common cause, a business partnership, or a magical working involving a voluntary sacrifice of one’s resources.

Even before the advent of Christianity, Gyfu was linked with charity and sacrifice—but sacrifice within reason. Generosity was the virtue of great chiefs. The covetous were despised and believed to suffer an ill fate. Gyfu means giving away something of personal value freely and willingly. It might mean forsaking present comfort or advantage for future joy, or giving your life for a higher good. Consistent with ideas of wise stewardship, however, it was considered good to sacrifice the lower for the higher, and evil to sacrifice the higher for the lower. Or translated into a principle of modern risk management: “Always risk a little for a lot; never risk a lot for a little.”

In modern usage, Gyfu is the sign used to represent a kiss on lovers’ letters. Gyfu is also the rune of brotherly or sisterly love, and it is the unity and psychosexual force exchanged between two poles of power—human to human, divine to divine, human to divine. In the latter case Gyfu describes the sexual life force used in fertility magic in shamanistic practices. It is the rune of ecstasy.

Gyfu is one of the runes I most cherish. It has been my experience that this fortnight in the annual cycle is one of the easiest and most prosperous times of the year. It is a time when the most appropriate wisdom is to feel gratitude.

However, setbacks and misfortune can and do happen in this cycle phase. Even in the face of difficulties, Gyfu reminds us that we must be grateful. By being thankful for whatever is, we are in a better position to make the most of our situations and recognize the solutions, opportunities, and lessons hidden within problems. Problems, too, are gifts from the gods.

Esoterically, Gyfu is the quality of abundance personified in the Norse goddess Gefn the bountiful giver, who is the equivalent of the goddess Abundantia, formerly worshipped in central Europe.

Magically, Gyfu is a sign of initiation, of what must be given up in order to gain wisdom and spiritual power. No advance is possible without occasional pain and loss.





Weather Report

91° and Clear


Note: This is the final post of twenty-four describing the runes. You can access all 24 posts from one place by going here.


goodnight, mrs. calabash


How anyone could be nostalgic for such an unlikely entertainment personality is beyond me, but here we are.

James Francis “Jimmy” Durante (February 10, 1893 – January 29, 1980) was an American singer, pianist, comedian, and actor. His distinctive clipped gravelly speech, New York accent, comic language butchery, jazz-influenced songs, and prominent nose helped make him one of America’s most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s. He often referred to his nose as the Schnozzola, and the word became his nickname.

Durante Sign-offOne of my earliest childhood memories is Jimmy Durante’s sign-off from his TV variety program The Jimmy Durante Show (which aired from October 2, 1954 to June 23, 1956): “Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are”—whereupon Durante walks offstage through a series of four spotlights. Durante’s bulbous nose, piano, and broken vocabulary were the mainstays of the half-hour program.

There are a number of theories regarding the origin of his familiar sign-off, but this is my favorite. Some say that it referred to the owner of a restaurant in Calabash NC, where Durante and his troupe had stopped to eat. He was so taken by the food, the service, and the chitchat, he told the owner that he would make her famous. Since he did not know her name, he referred to her as “Mrs. Calabash.”

Well, I have been looking for some time for an excuse to feature this song as “The Groove of the Day,” lacking more pressing subject-matter, and with the arrival in a few minutes of one of my friends for a visit, today’s the day.



Groove of the Day

Listen to Jimmy Durante performing “Make Someone Happy”


Weather Report

82° and Clear


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