Wednesday, February 29, 2012

AtlasObscura has a post about Hachiko, the faithful dog.

You might have seen the US film about Hachicko:

but the Japanese film can be found also on youtube:

the next big movie?

the buzz is that this is the next big film, at least with the twilight/harry potter set.

Cat item of the day

Stuff below the fold

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble

why gas and water bubbles in magna lead to explosive volcanic eruptions.


Climate change is ongoing, but there are gaps in the western records.

A new examination of Arab records might fill in some gaps for the 8-10th century, One example: Three times it snowed in Baghdad, possibly due to volcanic caused cooling

there is a joke that the US and the UK are two countries separated by a common language, since many words used for common objects are different.

Yet few English speakers realize the same thing is true for Spanish.

Now there is a song about it.

Zenobia, the queen, the woman, and the legend...a book review here.


If Otzi hadn't been murdered, he probably would have died of a heart attack...and they have the new "improved" chubby Otzi photo at the link, showing him looking like your average redneck beer drinking NASCAR fan.
photo© South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, Photo Ochsenreiter

Toy car found at Quoser from the Mardin Museum (Turkey) , dated back to 5500 BC.

(Photo: Cihan)

more here.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Musical interlude of the day

Key passage about the importance of fasting in Lent Isaiah 58.

which is why Obama says he is following Jesus.

update: No I was not being sarcastic.

5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

quick: Does that sound like the Democrats or the Republicans?
The reason that I don't always vote Democrat is that part about "turning away your own flesh and blood".

The "every cloud has a silver lining" post of the day

Worried about what would happen if Iran tries to nuke Israel?

Look at the bright side: It could stop "global warming"...

Freedom of speech item of the day

Guess the country:

How Dahrun Ravi Could Get 10 Years for Expressing Unapproved Views

more HERE.

being spied on without a court order.

Censoring free speech: removing a non PC discussion from on line.

Good news Story of the day

Africa's quiet revolution.

Yes, even my old Shona teacher Sister Euphrasia has a cellphone at her convent, and an email address she can use on it.

I'm probably the only one in the world without a cellphone (mine went kaput and I never bothered to get a new one since there is no one here I phone).

Leap year day

Okay, Ladies, pop the question:

Leap Year has been the traditional time that women can propose marriage.

In many of today's cultures, it is okay for a woman to propose marriage to a man. Society doesn't look down on such women. However, that hasn't always been the case.

When the rules of courtship were stricter, women were only allowed to pop the question on one day every four years. That day was February 29th.

St. Bridget's Complaint
It is believed this tradition was started in 5th century Ireland when St. Bridget complained to St. Patrick about women having to wait for so long for a man to propose. According to legend, St. Patrick said the yearning females could propose on this one day in February during the leap year.

and no, it's not the same as Sadie Hawkin's day. which is Novermber 15...

semi related item: Trivia question: Who played Stupifying Jones in the movie?

and she not only acted, she owned three patents.

WTF stories of the day

When 150 bishops protest a health care regulation, and the press doesn't cover it, is it news?
Cardinal George is the latest one noting that the Obama regulation means they might have to shut Catholic hospitals, social service, and schools.

In the public discussion thus far, efforts have been made to isolate the bishops from the Catholic faithful by focusing attention exclusively on “reproductive” issues. But the acrimony could as easily focus next year or the year after on assisted suicide or any other moral issue that can be used to distract attention from the attack on religious liberty. Many will recognize in these moves a tactic now familiar in our public life: those who cannot be co-opted are isolated and then destroyed. The arguments used are both practical and theoretical.
and if you think his reference to death panels is exaggerated, think again...

What is more disturbing is that now it is PC to mock Catholics, not only in the grammies but in major news blogs.

The link is to fatherZ, because I refuse to give them hits.

The good news: the Arab Alquaeda types are leaving Pakistan.
The bad news: They are going home to their home countries.

But StrategyPage points out that becoming a terrorist is no longer "hip" in these countries either.

CityJournal has a story about internet and the new revolutions.

Alas, what they share is a romanticized idea of the past but no plans for a viable future.
(and the past wasn't as great as they imagine, but that's another story).

Hieropraxis finds his students know little or nothing about World war II...

A little probing allowed me to arrive at the dismaying conclusion: This group of twenty-five industrious second-year college students had, essentially, no knowledge of the Second World War, outside of “Hitler was a bad man.”

And so I had to teach an impromptu history lesson in order to help the students think about Lewis’s novel. The resulting discussion was, inevitably, shallow. And there was an opportunity cost: the time that it took to present these facts to students could have been used for more and deeper learning.

The cost of outsourcing memory to search engines is higher than we think.

He blames google for making it unnecessary to remember things, but in my experience Google only lets you find facts easily that you remember already, but want the reference and details of what you already know. The real problem is that they aren't bothering to teach the basics in high school...

or maybe he needs more geeks in his English composition classes.


No, I didn't watch the academy awards...the only movie I saw was the Iron Lady and although Meryl Streep was good in it, the screenplay was disjointed and full of fast references to things that many Americans wouldn't have a clue about. Quick: For example: Google this: Margaret Thatcher the milk snatcher.

The ever cynical Spengler conjures up Richilieu's answer to solving the Middle East's problems: HERE and HERE.

Hmmm...I'll have to read up on the 30 year war again...but it actually sounds like he's really channeling Anne Coulter...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

We stole it first it belongs to us

There is a minor story about Spain suing an American salvage company to get back the treasure in one of their ships.

They argued that since the ship was sunk in a war, salvage rights don't count, and the courts agreed with Spain.

Bummer, you say.

Now the story has a twist: Peru is asking for their treasure back.

The Spanish took the silver from Peru when it was still a colony of Spain, so they essentially stole it in the first place.

Probably won't change the court's mind, since legally Spain was allowed to steal all the gold from their colonies,

but one does wonder why Spain is asking for the treasure back when they had 200 years to salvage it themselves but didn't bother...

Audiobook of the week

The old Durant series "the Story of Civilization" is now on Internet Archives, as an audiobook.

In the US, I had most of the series (bought used) and brought three of them with me here to the Philippines. They cover not only history but culture and ideas that are important to understanding the history.

Not all the series is available, but you can find Links to the series in audio or ebooks HERE.

Yes, I know: They are not always up to date and some historians disagree with them, but for ordinary folks, they are worth listening to.

And this one (which I downloaded since it's not one of the volumes I brought with me) seems to be an audiobook rather than a computor generated audiobook.

They are M4B type audiobooks, but I usually just convert them to mp3 or ogg for my mp3 player.

History lesson of the day

Stuff below the fold

The UK argues Science vs Religion:
Virtually by definition, nothing in science is ‘incontrovertible’ – especially in a primitive and complex field as climate.

‘Incontrovertibility’ belongs to religion where it is referred to as dogma.

from a seminar given to the House of Commons.

It is possible to be "green", against pollution, and worried about degradation of the environment without being for a monolithic one world order that destroys the economic base of society for religious reasons.


And attention scientists: It's one thing to "steal" and release emails.

But don't try to use fake memos unless you are a computer geek...


The 5000 year old hug.

Newt called Obama's opposition to the the "born alive" act that mandated treatment for babies who survived abortions as being the same as "infanticide".

Now some bioethicists have published an article supporting "afterbirth abortion".

No mention if these ethicists, like the one who suggested we take organs from the brain damaged, are working for the US government...
and never say it couldn't happen....

The man who prints houses.

and now PirateBay has a "physible" category.

Drill, baby Drill:

the Russians are planning to exploit the Arctic.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mark Your Calenders:

Mr. Potatohead just turned 60.

and coming out soon:

Mr. Potatohead Superheros

Audiobook of the week

Noli Me Tangere, the classic Philippine novel, is now at Librivox.

I keep getting sponatenous posting of the line "" in my blogposts...I try to catch them and remove them, but as you can see, I have missed a few.

I'm not the only one.

Braincontourblog says it is because I post with firefox.

But if this is a firefox 4 problem, why did it only start when I upgraded to firefox 9.1?

And no, I refuse to use chrome, which is the "fix". And no, I'm not the only one who wonders why a google fix for blogger insists you need to use the google browser.

Stuff below the fold

YUM! weeds!

The lowly Lambsquarter
(aka goosefoot aka pigsweed) has been used for milleneum for both it's grain and it's leaves, so should we try to encourage planting it again?

the chic grain quinoa is part of the species...and it is gluten free...

Does munching fruits and veggies make your spring allergy worse?

Well, I did notice my BigMac/salad bar dermatographia mainly occured during hayfever season...the rest of the year I didn't have problems.

Does drinking beer cause a beerbelly?
answer: No.
(but cirrhosis might, and alcoholism can cause cirrhosis).

The story of the Mexican Mormons.

Other American political refugees include the Brazilian Confederadoes and the American loyalists who fled to Canada or back to the UK...


Will Mattel start selling hover boards?

This is a good idea:
Hermetic bags that keep oxygen out will save African crops from insect destruction.

Of course, the question is if the bags will keep mice from eating holes in them, letting the oxygen in and defeating the bag's purpose...


Good news headline of the day

US gives $15-M grant vs sugarland child labor

when I first read the headline, I wondered if all the money would go into the pockets of the local politicians and their families, or to fund rich NGO outsiders to "examine" the problem, but the good news is no:

With the grant, World Vision hopes to assist 52,000 children and 25,000 families get education opportunities for the children, sustainable livelihood for the parents and jobs for the youth. The project will be undertaken over four years.

more HERE.

The ABK 2 Initiative is holistic in its approach. It focuses on direct intervention and support at the micro (target beneficiaries), meso (institutions) and macro (policy) levels.

Video of the day

fast forward to 7 minutes and dance!

Bad reporting of the week

If I am writing a lot of medicine right now on this site, it's because I'm "upgrading" my medical blog on Xanga and it won't post. Sorry, but if you have a weak stomach you might want to skip this post.

GetReligion covers the biased reporting about the Catholic institutions who refuse to fund contraception and abortion causing medicines for their employees. First amendment anyone?

This goes beyond the first amendment problem, because it is a "headsup" to docs.

I had a bozo on my Xanga blog saying that since hospitals and doctors "take" money from the gov't that the gov't has the right to tell us to do abortions etc.

Note that being reimbursed for work done (educating students on scholarships, caring for indigent uninsured or Medicare/medicaid patients,) is not the same as being employed by the gov't (as I was when I worked for the IHS).

But Obama's "regulations" suggest that in the future, doctors and hospitals could be told what procedures to do and not to do. True, insurance will refuse to pay for these things, but often docs do what is needed anyway, and figure to forgo the money or that they might be paid months later after an appeal. But you can't fight the government.

Which brings us to part two:

Colonoscopy lowers the rate of colon cancer by 50 percent.

A new study provides what independent researchers call the best evidence yet that colonoscopy — perhaps the most unloved cancer screening test — prevents deaths. Although many people have assumed that colonoscopy must save lives because it is so often recommended, strong evidence has been lacking until now.

Yes, now they have proof, so it means the gov't may actually pay for these tests.

Wait: It should be lowering the rate 100 percent, since you are taking out the pre cancerous polyps, right?

there is a graph that won't replicate that shows the actual decrease is from 1.5% to 0.75 %, so the risk is low. The graph also shows that most of the cancers were found ten years after the colonoscopy was done.

That's why by some groups that we should do a single colonoscopy on everyone at age 60, and then only do repeat colonoscopies every ten years on those with polyps.

Yes. So in order to catch all the cancers you would need to repeat every five years when you find a polyp; to get most of them you would have to repeat the colonoscopy every ten years, on every high risk person.
Problem: There aren't enough docs trained in the procedure to do this. And although the risks of the procedure is small, it isn't zero...and the patients HATE the test.

The transition from benign adenoma to colorectal cancer is thought to have a long natural history of between 10 and 35 years. It is estimated that the annual conversion rate of a polyp to a cancer is approximately 0.25%.

So removing a polyp means a zero chance, but if you have one polyp, there is a much higher chance you will get another one (in this small high risk group, the chance of a second polyp over 7 years was 30 percent)....this means that there are new polyps or polyps that are missed.

The colonoscopy often can't see those in the start of the large intestine, and miss these.

Then there is the problem: The rate is highest in black men, and it may not be racism but let's face it: There are few friendly neighborhood clinics where you know doc from church and the nurses live down the street.

Finally, not mentioned is that colon cancer has changed over the last 50 years. When I was in medical school, half could be found by rectal exam, but now only 10 percent are. Why the change? Maybe a better diet? not much information here.

So what is needed is a better screening test...maybe a blood test to check who needs the colonoscopy, and then do the colonoscopy more often.


35"the percent obesity rate in the US. The highest rate was in black women...

Michelle's passion has a reason.

Many women who have heart attacks don't have pain...

female heart patients may exhibit these symptoms, they are also more likely to show symptoms that are less typically associated with heart attacks, like sleep disturbances and severe unexplained fatigue in the days and weeks prior, as well as cold sweats, weakness and dizziness during the attack

not mentioned in the article: We see this in diabetics too...

One of the worst parts of the 1917 flu epidemic was that it hit and sometimes killed not the old, but the young, especially men in military barracks, and pregnant women.

So how many pregnant women are covered by flu shots? between 30 and 50 percent.

Cancers that docs often miss (and don't find until several visits): Pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, and multiple myeloma.

Why? Because they are rare, don't show on routine tests and their symptoms are similar to those of much more common illnesses.

Yeah, my last myeloma patient took 4 visits before I found the problem because I thought his kidney failure was from his diabetes and his pain was from arthritis...sigh...

Junk science report of the day: Painkiller can help a "broken heart".

no, not oxycodone, any painkiller, because emotional stresses can make you hurt.

Researchers have discovered that emotional and physical pain cause similar reactions in the brain and are so similar that some studies have shown that taking painkillers can actually dull emotional pain, the authors claim

Friday, February 24, 2012


Medical stuff below the fold

Adding an old anti malaria medicine to chemo will help the chemo work better.

Actually, the medicine, Chloroquin, isn't used much for the bad malaria since the Falciparum form is resistant, but we do use it to treat some collagen diseases, because it has effects on the immune syst That makes sense, because Malaria is a parasite (in the animal family) not a plant (many antibiotics work on bacteria with cell walls by destroying the cell walls e.g. penicillin. Others do work on the metabolism of the bacteria, and you find they have other uses related to this).

it has something to do with autophagy, which is how the cell rids itself of damaged materials. But cancer cells do this more than normal cells, and recycle the damaged parts for energy, so that if you try to "starve" the cycle with chemo, they manage to survive.

Cancer cells might be addicted to autophagy, since this innate response may be a critical means by which the cells survive nutrient limitation and lack of oxygen commonly found within tumors. And, it is likely to explain how some cancer cells evade chemotherapies by using, essentially, a work around.

Apparently, the chloroquin blocks the ability of the cell to do this, so they are more likely to die from the chemo.

Still preliminary, of course.

Fried food is bad for you: Some fats develop toxic aldehydes when they are reheated.
The oils that do this are the ones considered "heart safe" ones like sunflower oil, olive oil, and flaxseed oil.

Researchers from the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU, Spain) have been the first to discover the presence of certain aldehydes in food, which are believed to be related to some neurodegenerative diseases and some types of cancer....
We use cheap locally made palm oil, which is supposed to be bad for cholesterol, but doesn't deteriorate in heat as much. Supposedly when used for cooking it has less toxic aldehyde than sunflower oil.

oh have to die of something, and when you live in an area where the threats include earthquakes, terrorism and dengue fever, why worry.

another study links BPA (in plastics) with heart disease.

Wouldn't it be ironic if we all ate expensive diets and exercized all the time only to find that the diet soda or bottled waters we drank was the cause of our obesity?

no, I'm on an icetea kick right now (trying to cut down on coffee drinking) and rarely use bottled water or sodapop.

Non medical headline of the day:

'Faster than light' measurement blamed on loose cable

Read more here:

Key Lime Pie: The history

Via Epilog: The curious case of Key Lime Pie.

a discussion of the history of the pie and a search for the original recipe.

includes the factoid of the day:
This pie was invented to use condensed milk. William Curry made his fortune in hardware. He provisioned ships. He brought the first condensed milk to the Keys not long after Gail Borden invented it in 1856."
It also mentions why it is so hard to find KeyLimes:
Most of what you find around here are not indigenous limes. Those were wiped out by a hurricane in 1926." Instead of Key limes, Persian limes were planted.
and links to several recipes. What could be better than Key Lime Pie?

KeyLimePie with bacon...

All your Base are belong to us

Article on how to turn off Google.

Springtime for Hitler

Springtime for Hitler is a joke, but imagine if someone actually made the film.
Well, not exactly for Hitler, but for another mass murderer whose exploits put Hitler to shame.

MariaElena, who should know better, checks out the movie and reviews of the 2007 movie about Genghis Khan, Mongol, which all are positive.

The most powerful element of the film is Temudgin's relationship with Borte, the young girl who against all odds becomes his wife and the mother of a dynasty. Borte's fiery love for Temudgin knows no bounds...Theirs is a love which endures every test and emerges stronger than ever.

Right. Hitler loved his Mistress, and Adolph Eichman was a family man too.

Or as the UKGuardian;sPhilip French wrote:
  • His name is a byword for cruelty, but a biopic of Genghis Khan depicts him as a god-fearing family man with politics akin to Tony Blair's

He even stopped global warming!

The deaths of 40million people meant that large areas of cultivated land grew thick once again with trees, which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

And, although his methods may be difficult for environmentalists to accept, ecologists believe it may be the first ever case of successful manmade global cooling.

ThenAndNow blog has a list of his murders, rapes, massacres, and destruction of cities and infrastructure if you have the stomach to read it.

But later, the result was "free trade" and revival of the conquered lands, so apparently all is forgiven. This is similar to the lack of outrage over Mao's millions of dead. He helped the Chinese get rich, so why worry that 30 million starved by his policies or killed by the Red Guard or died in his gulag?

And presumably our children would be watching fuzzy glamourous films about the founding of the Third Reich if Hitler had played his cards right.


In a related item:

Sacha Cohen has been banned from attending the Oscars. for fear he would show up dressed like the hero of his latest film

The Dictator, described as "the heroic story of a dictator who risked his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed"...

However, I suspect if you dress up like a decadent nun accompanied by someone dressed like the pope, you will be allowed in and even feted for your daring.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Budget Song

yes, it's Flanders and Swann...lyrics and explanation HERE.

it was originally written for Churchill but rewritten for Harold Wilson.

Starwars controversy of the day

apparently it is no longer pc for a preemptive strike on someone who has a gun and says he's planning to kill you, so they edited the new edition.

Stuff below the fold

The Pope Tweets:
According to the Vatican, themes from Benedict XVI's papal message for Lent are to be posted on a Twitter account ( each day during Lent.

and the local bishops have videos and will add an online retreat for our OFW's...

Lots of Dengue cases in the area, and now there is a one hour dengue fever test.

The Japanese are monitoring 6 volcanoes in the Philippines, as part of a plan to monitor volcano whose ash could affect air travel

Factoid of the day: they are watching 110 active volcanoes inside Japan...


Family news

Florinda is back from the states and visited us yesterday. She looks well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Family news

I just got my abcessed tooth pulled, so won't be blogging much today.

It's Ash Wednesday, but I went to the dentist instead of church.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Don't mess with Republican politicians

sci fi fantasy - Dirty Harry Potter
see more Set Phasers To Lol

don't mess with the mayor...

or maybe you would prefer:

Podcast of the week

the BBC "inour time" podcast covers various subjects and one always learns something new.

This week: The An Lushan the eighth century which caused a "demographic shift".

25 percent of the population probably died. More HERE.

oh, but it's okay because it inspired some nice poetry...

WTF stories of the day

from Forbes: the quote of the day:

A government endowed right granted to women now trumps our unalienable right to act in accordance with our religious beliefs and conscience. Not only does this overturn the First Amendment, it also tramples the nation’s founding principles as announced in the Declaration of Independence. Such an achievement would be the true audacity of power...

Stuff below the fold

From the (left wing) UK Guardian: Eugenics: the skeleton in the closet of the left.

Did the dingo kill the baby?

and did religious prejudice convict her mum?
Texting rewires your brain.

or maybe not: as SeanW comments:

Other studies have found the opposite but since this one had a sample size of 33 university students... it must be true.
All your info belongs to us.

yes, big brother is watching you.

the last bow of the 35 mm film?

wars you won't read about: Senegal, Myamar, and Nigeria....WestAfrica's narco trade is booming

and what about those Haitian refugees trying to enter Brazil?

the Russians planted a seed from a 32000 year old plant and got a flower.

PinAm blogger Belmontclub reports on the Lin "racism" the real problem that Lin is normal, and the press despises normal people?

will they have to evacuate the space station?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Big Brother alert of the day

First they came for you cigarettes, and now they are coming for your candy bars...

No candy bar will now have over 250 calories.

Stuff below the fold

Playing by the new "rules"...

The real worry for those of us who played by the rules and are now retired:

10) Owing in our new millennium shall be less stressful than saving. The man with a little money in the bank is more worried that he thereby will be taxed more, earn no interest, or have his small sum expropriated, than the borrower is worried that he will have to pay back the full amount of quite a lot that he borrowed for his mortgage, credit card, or student loan.

Yes, I lived through the Carter years, where inflation ate up my savings and I suspect the same thing is happening now: I have an IRA that gets one percent interest when inflation is several times that amount...

Did you know that the dust thrown up by the tanks may be the reason for Gulf War Syndrome?

toxic metals, bacteria, spores etc. were released into the local air when all those tanks invaded Iraq in 1990...and health problems affected the Saudis too.

Does the VA know about this? Toxic metal inhalation isn't on their short list...more HERE


quote of the day:

“Yeah, right.” replied Ryan. “We cut it off at the end of the century because the economy, according to the CBO, shuts down in 2027 on this path.” The U.S. economy shuts down in 2027?

Your tax dollars at work: forcing Military instructors to have "empathy" wearing pregnancy "empathy" bellies and breasts.

This week, 14 noncommissioned officers at Camp Zama took turns wearing the “pregnancy simulators” as they stretched, twisted and exercised during a three-day class that teaches them to serve as fitness instructors for pregnant soldiers and new mothers.Link

The dirty little secret is that ordinary guys will already feel strong emotions that lead them to protect pregnant women...(which are the "emotions" that Santorum was talking about)...this training is actually about how to better integrate women into combat...

Yum! Frankenburgers!

Swine Flu shot Narcolepsy?
well, it could be worse...

Chaput as Warrior bishop?

Yes...he did the same in Denver (as for the charge he is Republican, you haven't read his pro immigration essays). But isn't calling a him a "warrior" a racist headline?

Nun on the Run (for an Oscar).


and it's the 50th anniversary of John Glenn's spaceride.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Art podcasts

The National Gallery of art has podcasts and also vodcasts on their website.

A lot of it is on various art subjects, including classic art, from Pompei to Michelangelo to Picasso, and the video has various subjects for your artistic pleasure, including lectures, and musical presentations. LINK

you can get it rss or via itunes.

Librivox has several audiobooks for you if you are interested in art:

How to listen to music.
and there are a few more "how to " for those interested in art or music

  1. Bennett, Arnold. "Literary Taste: How to Form It" · (readers)
  2. Devlin, Joseph. "How to Speak and Write Correctly" · (readers)
  3. Lehmann, Lilli. "How to Sing (Meine Gesangskunst)" · (readers)

Alice is number one

Major Rodney reports:

Yea!!!! Alice got a Gold medal at the Mass State Games. She got Golds at the next level of US State Games, but only got Silvers at the Mass State Games. Now we will be making plans to go to the 2013 State Games. On and Upward

Godspeed, Whitney

Whitney Houston's funeral was on CNN (no we didn't watch it).

The Winans sang in her memory:

GetReligion has a report, including part of Kevin Costner's speech

He choked up towards the end. “Off you go Whitney, off you go,” he said. “Escorted by an army of angels to your heavenly father. When you sing before Him, don’t you worry. You’ll be good enough.”

in an unrelated item: Those from our parish killed in the car wreck (including one of our nuns) last week were remembered at church, and a collection for their families.

Mark your calenders:

It's time for Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras cat  is hungover

The bad news:

Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent

Big Brother is watching you

This article made me laugh:

Animal rights group says drone shot down by hunters

But the subtext is disturbing: Since when do people have the right to spy on you on your private land?

Factoid of the day

Before 1492, no one ate cold pizza for breakfast.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Romans and Huns and Goths and...Tolkien?

Mike Duncan's excellent Roman history podcast is getting into the barbarian invasions now.

This week's podcast:

169- Huns and Vandals and Goths, Oh My

In the 430s the Romans dealt with increasingly agressive and confident barbarian tribes living both inside and outside the traditional borders of the Empire.

169- Huns and Vandals and Goths, Oh My

I'll have to listen to it again and take notes.

I did bring a copy of Bury's classic book on the Barbarian Invasions with me (you can find the book on line here) but although I read it twice, I still can't keep them straight.

more free ebooks here.

The joke is that the Chinese built the great wall to keep out the Huns, so they attacked Rome. Probably a closer explanation is that it was a domino effect, where the Rouran Khaghanate chased the Turkish tribes to chase out the Goths from the Maeotian marshes and into the Roman empire.

Essentially the Huns invaded the Goths, some of whom just joined up with them, and some of them fled over the Danube into Rome, etc.

So where does one find the history of the Goths vs the Huns? I was listening to a podcast speech by Professor Tom Shippey where he mentions that this battle is remembered in the sagas, specifically in Hervarar's saga, which was translated by Christopher Tolkien (among others) and influenced Tolkien.

Hervarar saga. from wikipedia:

Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks is a legendary saga from the 13th century combining matter from several older sagas. It is a valuable saga for several different reasons beside its literary qualities. It contains traditions of wars between Goths and Huns, from the 4th century, and the last part is used as a source for Swedish medieval history. Moreover, it was an important source of inspiration for Tolkien when shaping his legends of Middle-earth.

Of course, the sagas are about as accurate as Greek legends. Biblical stories, or modern movies as a guide to history, but until I started telling stories to my grand daughter here I didn't realize how the teller reshapes the story for the audience...Tolkien's classic lecture on Beowulf (the Monster and the critics) reminds us that sagas have history embedded in them, but are not history but stand on their own for their beauty as a work of art...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Lecture of the month

Rufus Fears' excellent series on famous Romans.

Quick, before the copyright cops find it is there.

Let the wookie talk

First amendment

Long ebook about the US constitution at project gutenberg, Most of the actualy constitution is not about rights but about procedures....and if you are not from the USA, you might want to check out what the first amendment actually says.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It says nothing about separation of church and state, nor about a "wall" between church and state. It does say government isn't allowed to interfere with religions.

Bad news of the day

the bad news is that most of the news is not news but political spins. UGHH.

But plenty of bad news is apolitical:

Mardi Gras Beads pollute the environment!

They're censoring Colbert!

Five Budget Realities no one is talking about (not even Ron Paul)

LED light bulb prices are going down: only five dollars a bulb...

This article suggests that doctors keep your credit card information with your electronic medical record.

yeah. What could go wrong? LINK2

Fat? Blame the plastics.

Another sign that the end of the world is nigh: Thigh Gate.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Musical interlude of the day

Don't overlook the fine print

ThorinOakenshieldblog notes that in the original Hobbit, that Bilbo's contract was only a page long.

But now it is many pages long, and includes lots of small print.

First off, one need only glance at the yard long document Bilbo is holding to know the movie dwarves are leaving nothing to chance. The length of the contract appears to be at least 10 times that of the book version (and almost every available inch is taken up with fine print!) ... These dwarves are exceedingly specific in their “Conditions of Employment”, and I would say this time around, they will have Bilbo over a barrel if he tries anything with that Arkenstone (lame barrel-rider pun fully intended).

he then goes on to decipher the contract, which is exceedlingly funny if you ever had to cope with legal documents.

headsup the one ring net

Factoid of the day

Ancient Chihuahuas Once Roamed, and Eaten, in Southeastern U.S.?

why are these pots important?

most research about the origins of the modern Chihuahua breed speculated that they were the result of crossbreeding native Mexican dogs with European or Chinese dogs brought with the first explorers in the 1500s. Since the dog pots in Georgia dated to around 1325 AD this seemed to contradict this widely held belief about the origins of the Chihuahua.
so why did they raise the dogs?

The shocking conclusion was that Native Americans in the southeast likely raised Chihuahuas as food for their elite and that these Chihuahuas arrived there from west Mexico, 1800 miles away,

I should note that this is a speculation, not a known fact.

But don't tell Paris Hilton.

update: I've been wondering about the part where it said the ate the dogs...

The South American Indians did eat a type of guinea pig, but these small animals are quiet and easy to raise (my son's first mom raised them in her kitchen for meat).

But these dogs tend to be high strung and wirey. So did they eat them, or did they use them to hunt and kill rodents?

according to Wikipedia, they were eaten:

In the time of the Aztecs, Mexican Hairless Dogs were bred, am

ong other purposes,[1Link02] for their meat. Hernán Cortés reported when he arrived in Tenochtitlan in 1519, "small gelded dogs which they breed for eating" were among the goods sold in the city markets.[103] These dogs, Xoloitzcuintles, were often depicted in pre-Columbian Mexican pottery. The breed was almost extinct in the 1940s, but the British Military Attaché in Mexico City, Norman Wright, developed a thriving breed from some of the dogs he found in remote villages.[104]

more HERE.

The hairless dog is probably the first domesticated animal in the Americas, they were bred for companionship, hunting and food

Headlines that make you go WTF (plus rants)

Physicians refusing to treat patients because they refused to let their kids get five million shots at the same time?

And other reports show docs turn down patients for smoking.

What's next? Refusing to treat alcoholics and drug abusers? Refusing to treat my "green" patients who deliver their babies at home and who who refuse to use chemical contraception? Refusing to treat gays who won't stop visiting the bath houses? Refusing to treat overweight people? Refusing to treat those patients who keep missing appointments?

heh: There go half my patients.


Iranian man blows himself up accidentally placing a terrorist Thailand?

Actually, the Thais have a very nasty Islamicist group in their south who are busy killing Buddhist teachers and Muslims who don't want to live as their ancestors did 800years ago. But this guy was a visitor, suggesting Iran is making mischief.

the bad guys in Iran have decided to hit their enemies in third world countries. The problem? It might make it harder for Iranians to emigrate.

Even here in the Philippines, we have a couple thousand Iranian students: our schools are good and teach in English, which means you will be able to get a job in the UK or US or Canada and won't have to go back home.

The emigration of the educated from Iran is a dirty little secret (it occurred under the Shah too). But this year, there is even an Iranian movie about the problem.

But a similar movie could be made about our OFW here, or in India, or in a dozen other countries where decent paying jobs are limited, and often getting ahead means who you know, not what you know...

latest "green" invention: rediscovering the heat exchangers.

I had one of these for my medical office 20 plus years ago.


make energy cheaper, and poor people will get greedy and want to buy more stuff that uses energy.

Yeah: Imagine that. Here, even the poor have cellphone, and buy used Korean TV's for 30 dollars, and vcd players that play pirated movies.

Discussion at Freakonomics.


Switzerland has plans to clean up the garbage in space
no, it will not use Megamaid, but a satellite with claws.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Another sign that the end of the world is nigh

Kim Kardashian was spotted going to church. photos here:

this report says:

Taking to her blog on February 12, Kim wrote, “I was shocked and saddened yesterday when I heard Whitney Houston had passed away....

heh: She has a blog?

I'm probably the only one in the blogosphere who doesn't know what Kim Kardashian does, or why she is famous.

Another sign that the end of the world is nigh

helloKitty Plush dolls

buy one as a Valentine present for your favorite pervert.

via HelloKittyHell

Family news

I spent the morning at the dentist, so not much blogging today.

Lolo is fine.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Six years waiting for justice

there are wanted posters all over town for the mayor....he actually was indicted awhile back but was walking around free.

Now he is "missing" and the family of the two sons of the politician who were killed have put up a reward.

For some reason, the murder charges could be done by the politician's family but we can't do much about it, because our nephew was just a bystander and not the target.

I find it ironic that the US embassy has done little or nothing to help. It took PNoy's slow cleaning up of corruption to get things moving.

However, we're still waiting for justice.

happy valentine's day

today it's chocolate, hearts and flowers.

In Ancient Rome it was a bit more R rated.

Emergency war surgery

Heh. the textbook Emergency War surgery is not only still in print (my copy was from the 1960's) but is on line

they have other textbooks for pdf download at their webpage, so if you in the medical field check them out.
they also have a link to buy them hardcopy, which would come in handy if all our iPads and tablets got zapped by a solar storm or an EMP...

These would be good for missionaries, rural folks, for survivalists, or just those of us who practice medicine, especially in rural areas, and have a tight budget.

and for those going on mission trips, or traveling to exotic areas, you might want to check out the Field support site. It has sections on exotic countries, with cultural orientation and tips, and many sites include phrase books for medicine or other emergencies.

For example, this is the Tagalog site (they also have a cebuano site). I appreciate the medical phrases (most tourism oriented language instructions don't tell you how to ask of someone has LBM or ever had an STD).

another language site, although not with much for Tagalog, is this site, which has some FSI mp3 courses. No tagalog there, but if you want to speak Shona or Hausa, you might want to check it out.

Stuff below the fold

so you think the big fight is Obama vs the bishops.
A bigger question is Obama vs Mother Angelica...EWTN is a church related businesses that self insures... and what about individuals who don't want to pay for what they oppose?

Well, it could be worse: The proposed RH bill on the Philippines will fine you 200 dollars if you "maliciously" criticize the bill.

Could the Killer Lake be turned into a source of energy?

Preparing for Captain Trips:

would closing schools be a way to limit flu epidemics?

The Science of Pony Tails.

Attend college on line, get credit.

First Mythgard, now MIT.

and for high school math or basic economics, try Khan academy

there are a lot of colleges that are now putting their lectures on line, either at iTunesU or now at Youtube. Most are introductory courses, and few offer college credit, but it is a good way to learn something new. (I have several good ones linked on the side panel).

my latest discovery: the University of Houston has a course on the Vikings that I just started. They also have one on Pirates and another on the CIA that I haven't gotten around to, but that sound interesting.

yes, there are also a lot of science and medical courses on line, but I've studied them one way or another for 50 years, so now that I'm retired, I am able to catch up on the liberal arts courses I couldn't take in college because I was a science major.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ingeneous fixes

Lots of interesting fixes (too many to post here) over at Dark Roasted Blend:

How to tell a terrorist from a criminal

In a lot of places, including here and in Colombia, the "insurgents" terrorize people, kidnap, bomb enemies, are involved in drugs, and of course kill politicians and police. But the criminal gangs in the US and Mexico do a lot of these things too.

But how can you tell which is which?

From StartegyPage:
Thugs Just Want To Have Fun

....Al Qaeda wants to establish a global Moslem caliphate, which has ideological, social, and political implications of a very high order. The Zetas want babes and billions in the bank, they don’t care if you worship Zeus or Dr. Seuss, just don’t cross the gang.

Stuff below the fold

Story about New Mexico's new Space port.


I Wonder if nano particles are safe?

Chickens exposed to high oral doses of polystyrene particles 50 nanometres (50 billionths of a metre) across absorbed less iron in their diet, according to their study.

links to Medical headlines and rants on my xanga blog HERE.

via DaveBarry: beware of exploding pigs.

Large midwestern hog farms have for the last few years been battling a mysterious foam that is forming on top of their barns. In the worst case scenarios, the foam blocks ventilation ducts and the barns explode — yes, explode — killing the thousands of hogs inside. The report reads:

Whitney Houston Rest in peace

Rest in Peace.
another troubled singer who brought joy to millions has died...

Her last song, sung at the Grammies party, was "Jesus Loves Me".

Fuzzy video HERE.
more information in this Report HERE (in Spanish)
and here is the song from a 1994 concert in Brazil.

Seventy Years old

discussion here:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Insomnia downloads of the week

The Insomnia download of the week is Thoreau's essay Civil Disobedience.

what you think it says and what it actually says is quite different, so you might want to listen to it.

Joy, Lolo and Chano

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Love, ain't it sweet

except here in our bedroom, the dogs sleep on the floor (all three of them).
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Lessons for today

Music downloads of the day

Internet archives has old 78 records there for you to download.

Here are some oldies by Ethel Waters.

or how about some classical music?



funny pictures - Challenge Accepted
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

The lady in the gingham dress

From Ride the Lifetrain blog:

Anyway, when I came across this story…it made me reminisce and laugh because I was in a slightly similar situation MANY years ago.…don’t judge a book by its cover…

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a Homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston , and walked timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President’s outer office. The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn’t even deserve to be in Cambridge

‘We’d like to see the president,’ the man said softly. ‘He’ll be busy all day,’ the secretary snapped. ‘We’ll wait,’ the lady replied.

For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn’t, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.

‘Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they’ll leave,’ she said to him!

He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn’t have the time to spend with them, and he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.

The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple. The lady told him, ‘We had a son who attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus.’

The president wasn’t touched. He was shocked. ‘Madam,’ he said, gruffly, ‘we can’t put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.’

‘Oh, no,’ the lady explained quickly. ‘We don’t want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.’

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, ‘A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard.’

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now.

The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, ‘Is that all it costs to start a university? Why don’t we just start our own?’

Her husband nodded. The president’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto , California where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University , a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.

You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Obama's shell game

the press is hailing President Obama's "accommodation" for religion in his abortion/contraception mandates.

Ex Ambassador MaryAnneGlendon, a law professor at Harvard, and several other prominent law professors analyze his proposal and find it is deceptive, and call it a "cheap accounting trick"

It does not matter who explains the terms of the policy purchased by the religiously affiliated or observant employer. What matters is what services the policy covers.
and of course, even if he changes the fiat to get reelected, the dirty little secret is that it can easily be changed back again, by fiat, if he is reelected.