Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bad Manors Squirrel Diner

The Bad Manors Squirrel Diner is located in Santa Monica, California -- broadcasting live daily during daylight hours. NONE of the photos have been edited - these are all wild squirrels interacting with weird stuff.

9 wild squirrels visit regularly. The busiest time is usually 7 to 9am PST but squirrels come and go all day long. Please sign in and follow the show so you don't miss the best stuff! You can also find "Betty Squirrely" on Facebook.

This is where the video stream lives. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/Bad-Manors-Squirrel-Diner-LIVE Read more!

I LOVE This Article

Why Buying Nothing, Doing Less & Being Lazy Can Help the Planet

By Matt McDermott
Brooklyn, NY, USA Mon Jul 27 13:21:00 EDT 2009

Much of what we do at Planet Green is give you information so you can do something to make your life greener and generally have a positive impact on the planet. But for one quick moment I'd like you to consider that in many instances do less or doing nothing at all can be the greenest option out there. Here's why:

If I can impart only one bit of green wisdom on you, one which should inform every other decision you make, whether you think of it as green or not, it is that the meta-problem of sustainability and green is that humanity's current consumption of natural resource and production of waste far exceeds the carrying capacity of the planet and is fully unsustainable.

Which is a fancy way of saying humans consume too much stuff. We do too much. We do it in ways that don't allow for the natural replenishment of the soil, the water, and ecosystems. And population growth is making it all worse.

That's the crux of climate change, deforestation, air pollution, water pollution, soil degradation, endangered species, overfishing, animal welfare, energy security... pretty much every single issue we tell you about.
You could use those words in bold up above to tell someone why whatever green issue you're talking about is a pressing problem and be essentially correct. It might be a broader answer than you want to give, but you wouldn't be wrong. Consider that next time you want to do anything that potentially consumes natural resources:

Do You Really Need That Thing You Want to Buy?

You're in the store trying to decide between buying gizmo A and gizmo B. Both are equally green in terms of materials, manufacturer take-back program, and all the other things that makes a greener gadget, but in fact the greener decision is probably not buying either one and either making do with what you have or making do without it in the first place. Ask yourself if you've lived this long without it, do you really need it in the future. You may, but you equally may not. Doing nothing ultimately benefited the environment.

Finish the article here. Read more!

Friday, July 24, 2009

I suppose if you're going to have a wedding...

This is how you ought to do it!

I'm just bummed I missed the reception party! Read more!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Chris!

First time meeting the boys, October 3, Seattle, WA. Paramount Theatre. Photo by Yoni, tour manager, using a disposable camera from Angela (tallest). And who got me back there? Tosh! (To my left) Which only leaves Cornell's #1 fan, Laurie, who introduced me to Chris' wife Vicky. Permanent memories of a dream come true.

Thank you, Chris, for breathing life into us when we need it the most. Your music is always there for us, and your fans will always be there for you. Hope you had a great day off with the family.

This is Chris Cornell live on the back patio at the X107.5 Xtreme Rock Radio studios in Las Vegas, NV on April 6, 2007. It's called "No Such Thing."

And here is an amazing cover of Led Zeppelin's "Thank You." It's Steph's favorite and now one of mine, too. I'll be requesting it next time...

Shaking my hand April 17, 2009 at the Milwaukee concert while telling Sarah and me that he loves us in front of the whole venue. Dude made me cry.

Read more!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Psst: We're gonna need a bigger dog...

[Article courtesy of HuffPost]

Cute Red Panda Cubs Adopted By Dog In China

Two rare red pandas who were abandoned at birth have found a new mother - a small dog, reports The Sun.

The two cubs were born at Taiyuan Zoo in northern China and were abandoned immediately after their birth by their mother, who staff had not suspected was pregnant.

Zoo worker Ha Guojiang told Xinhua news agency that the stand-in mum is good-natured and has happily adopted the cubs.

The red panda species is under special protection in China, and are much smaller than the better known giant pandas, Xinhua reports.

Read more!

Obama Administration Approves Logging In Largest U.S. Rain Forest


Maybe he's just clear-cutting the Tongass National Forest to build a picturesque chapel for same-sex weddings... oh, no, that's not it. Or to re-instate all the hard-working gay service members that have been discharged... oh, that's not it, either.

I think about the only thing Obama's done right so far this term is NOT sleep with any interns. But frankly, I suspect that's because they're so pissed off at all his broken promises.

At this rate I'm about ready to vote for Palin simply for the entertainment value. We can just sit and watch her shoot down all the moose left homeless when the Tongass trees fall...

I know, I'm so hard on him. He's probably building a nice little getaway for Ahmadinejad since he's had such a stressful month... Read more!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


The quickest way to learn balance on a horse is to act as if there is nothing about him that you can use to steady yourself. But the horse, being a slippery and agile creature, comes these days with no shortage of artificial anchors for his balance-impaired human. With blessed relief the first thing we do upon mounting is jam our boots into the stirrups. Thus we feel grounded, no longer suspended with nothing but air beneath our feet. Imagine, for a moment, riding in an airplane where your feet don’t rest on the floor, but rather dangle freely as you sit strapped in your chair. That illusion of having our “feet on the ground” is essential to fooling ourselves into believing we are not really 30,000 feet above the ground. Same with the horse, on a somewhat smaller scale.

You have a saddle sculpted, be it Western or English, to cradle your body in precisely the center of the horse. Sit here and don’t move! Try a relative’s wedding reception with no seating cards and feel the panic of where to position your ass. If you’re lucky, your saddle is also outfitted with a balance strap or horn directly in front of you. Ah—the sturdy pole at the center of the swaying subway car! And if you need that swinging strap for extra security, there’s a beautiful mane lying right at your fingertips.

But finally, it is the horse’s most delicate feature the novice rider relies upon most to stay one with his mount: his mouth. Just how many contraptions have we invented since the domestication of the horse that involve tempering our weight against the bridge of the horse’s mouth? What countless lips and tongues have borne the untold pounds of careening human flesh behind them? Still we wonder why some horses seem to delight in reuniting us with the earth from which we sprang. I wonder only why they don’t do it more often.

I am guilty of using all these tools in the thirty-odd years I have been riding. And among the hundred or so horses I’ve had occasion to ride in that time, there have been only a handful of truly hearty protesters—two over-worked Arabians on the outskirts of Cairo and one previously abused pony here at home that we know and love as Jack. All had paid their painful dues and none deserved to bear another rider. Though the Arabians continued to work until they could be pushed no further Jack, at least, has finally earned retirement.

Lately, I have taken to leveling the playing field between Julian and me. More from laziness than goodwill in the beginning (or from a need to share his warmth in the winter months), I have left Julian’s saddle in the tack room as I bring him in from the field. At first, I still fought to cram his enormous, powerful and reluctant head into his expensive, multi-layered dressage bridle. This would go over his halter, leaving more rope and rigging on his head than might be found on your standard 19th century frigate. Then I would impress myself (or not, depending upon how many times I slid off attempting to mount as he walked calmly away) by riding without any “props.”

With full head gear

I was slow to realize why he hesitated to work beyond a walk. How was I to practice my balance at this pace? Sure I bounced around a bit at the trot, but I always had… the bridle… to steady myself. No wonder he only wanted to walk. 170 pounds of lurching human can’t feel good even on a draft horse’s mouth.

So off with the bridle and on with the rope halter. The first few times I rode like that the only way I could have felt less secure would have been to butter Julian’s back. Bring out the suede seat breeches! Next best thing to Velcro and no adverse effect on the horse. But over time, I felt us moving together in a way I could never feel under saddle. Finally I could feel—and identify—the placement of each foot beneath me without looking. My hips swayed in rhythm with his back, my calves there to apply pressure as his barrel swung into them. Soon we were trotting, and then cantering. And I was surprised to learn that the less I clung to his mane (Oh! so tempting!) the more in tune I was with centering my body naturally.

Horses, regardless of size, are immensely strong creatures. And no less agile (okay, maybe a little) if they are descended from draft breeds. When Julian and I take our balancing act out of the arena and into the open fields, the stakes increase for this untethered rider. Yes, there’s the helmet, but these rarely prevent dislocated shoulders or broken femurs. But as the dangers increase, so too do the rewards for relying on trust and balance rather than stirrup and bit.

And if one day I can achieve true balance out here with my horse then maybe, just maybe, I can achieve it away from the barn with both feet on the ground. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Read more!

Monday, July 13, 2009

More Kaye Gibbons

Finished another book by Kaye Gibbons around midnight Friday. Beautiful piece of work. Flannery O'Connor without the absolute bleakness of blood shed. Strong female characters with very individual voices, all within one family. I highly recommend it.

So stop reading this and go to the library, for heaven's sake. Read more!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Julian!

Julian turned 14 years old today, and I gave him extra apples and extra kisses. Then I ate a chocolate-covered Dove ice cream bar from the barn owners in his honor. (It wasn't big enough to share--really.)

We have been together now for six years, and I love him more with each passing day. Thank you, Julian, for always curing my headaches, and reminding me what is truly beautiful in life.

Read more!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Reading Kaye Gibbons

If you're not going to write, I tell myself, you'd damn well better be reading. After exhausting a run with Netflix, I decided to hit the books again. By accident, I came across an article about an author who had written numerous award-winning novels despite her life-long battle with Bipolar Disorder. I am always drawn to writers who manage to succeed despite themselves, and this seems to be the case with Ms. Gibbons.

The article, found here, states that she is not currently doing well, and my heart goes out to her. The two books of hers I have just read, both written in the voice of the young and embattled Ellen Foster, are so vital and genuine that they are now studied alongside such classics as Huckleberry Finn, Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill A Mockingbird, according to SparkNotes. Biographical notes can also be found at SparkNotes.

I wish Ms. Gibbons and her family the best and thank her very much for sharing the gift of her writing.
Read more!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I don't want to hear any Monday morning bitching

You could have this guy's job.

U.S. Marine Cpl. Brian Knight, of Cincinnati, Ohio, with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, 1st Battalion 5th Marines, pauses briefly in the heat to rest with his heavy pack filled with mortar equipment, ammunition, food, and water in the Nawa district in Afghanistan's Helmand province Saturday, July 4, 2009. Taliban militants attacked a U.S. coalition base in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday with an explosives-laden truck that blew up outside the gates, sparking a two-hour gunbattle and killing two American troops, officials said. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

Courtesy of Yahoo! News Photos

And doesn't your day look a whole lot easier, now? Read more!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Foo Fighters play Obama's 4th of July BBQ

Courtesy of The Huffington Post (Don't sue me, Ariana!)

President Obama held a July 4 barbeque on the White House lawn in honor of U.S. troops, hosted by NBC late night host Jimmy Fallon and headlined by the Foo Fighters.

A YouTube user posted three videos from the evening's musical festivities -- the camera is a bit shaky but the audio quality is great. In the second video, the Foo Fighters play a new song, "Wheels." [Nancy: The third is the best. Fireworks!]

Some more details from the scene via The Hill:

Dave Grohl, lead singer and guitarist for the Foo Fighters, grew up in Alexandria and said he used to "sweat his butt off" watching the fireworks on the mall. He said he never thought he'd be performing on a stage just yards from the Oval Office in front of about 1,500 people. [...]

President Obama, in remarks at the beginning of the evening, said the spirit behind the event was to throw a backyard party just like the ones being held across the county. ... "In small towns and big cities, folks are firing up grills, laughing with family and friends, and laying out a blanket in preparation for the big show," Obama said. "They're reliving the simple, unmistakable joys of being an American."

Dave, Taylor, Nate and Chris--I'm so proud of you boys! Read more!