Julie with a B

Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Revisiting the family vacation. . . . oh my

My mom has not been well, so my sister decided to come to visit from Pennsylvania. While she is here, my mom wanted to “go to the redwoods”. Mom wanted to revisit some of the places we saw when we were kids.

We loaded the van and headed north about 10 am. As we trundled up Hwy 101, I heard the expected discussions. “I’m too cold.” “What did you say? I can’t hear you back here.” “When are we stopping for lunch?” “Can we see that tree on the way?” “Did you bring water?” “What town is lunch in?” “How close are we to the redwoods?

We stopped for lunch in the town of Laytonville at “The Indian”. Now the name of the place has changed slightly over the years, but everyone knows how good the hamburgers are at “The Indian”, although currently the sign out in front says “The Chief”.


The Indian Posted by Hello


My sister, talking and eating Posted by Hello


Drive thru tree! Posted by Hello

The next stop....
Next we come to “the tree”. This is one of the infamous “drive thru trees” that dot the tourist part of the area. While this variety of redwoods grows in many places, mostly in the coastal regions north of Santa Cruz, the tourist “Redwoods” begin just north of Laytonville. So 15 minutes after lunch we came to the drive thru tree, also known as the Chandeler tree. Turning off of the highway we paid the $5 entrance fee and wound down thru the giants to a large tree on the edge of a meadow. Slowing down, we crept through the center of the tree and out the other side. The occupants of the car showed the appropriate amazement with oohs and aahs. And then, of course, got out to look around.


Heavy equipment Posted by Hello


Mule deer in the water meadow Posted by Hello


In case you need to take a redwood home... Posted by Hello


Here, sown by the Creator's hand, Posted by Hello


And while you're at it, would you mind throwing that tennis ball? Posted by Hello

Light blogging
My sister is visiting from Pennsylvania. We are taking my mom on a trip up thru the Redwoods over the next few days. I'll be back.

Beer's in the fridge. C'mon in and have a cold one. The dog would like the company.

Perhaps not the results he expected?
Governor makes politics local
Mike Parham, an Irvine Unified School District trustee, is the man in the blue shirt sitting next to Schwarzenegger in a television commercial as the governor touts his ideas as essential to the state's financial health.

Wendy Bokota, who chairs the Irvine PTA's legislative action committee, criticized the governor in Newsweek magazine after attending a rally at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim to denounce the governor's plan to alter the equation for school funding.

And when Parham dined in March with Schwarzenegger as a guest at an Irvine fundraiser, Bokota stood outside in the rain with 2,000 other protesters shouting, "Shame on you!" Her sign read, "Protect Prop. 98," an initiative passed by voters in 1988 that set aside 40% of state revenues for schools.

Schwarzenegger is proposing to change those minimum-funding guarantees, one of three proposals his allies have sent to the secretary of state for placement on a ballot.

Usually, the political machinations of crafting and adopting laws play out among the professionals in Sacramento. But by unilaterally drafting his ideas as initiatives, the governor shifted the debate from the Legislature to local communities, a strategy that has caused both sides to take to the streets.

And everyone is talking about what is going on. These types of things have not made the Governor popular with the legislature. That would be expected. However he has also not made himself popular amongst those who he thinks he is trying to reach. He believes if he takes it to the people he will find support. However, the people have already elected their representatives and the Governor's popularity has never been lower.

Partisan rift . . .
From the LA Times:
Spending Plans Fall Victim to Politics
-Democrats appear set on killing budget items that might win the governor points with the public.
By Evan Halper, Times Staff Writer

The plan to partner the state with local farms to get fresh fruit on school breakfast trays hardly seemed controversial, and it wouldn't have cost much.

But it apparently had a fatal flaw: It was championed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Legislature swiftly rejected the $18.2-million program in budget hearings this month, leaving the nonprofit group that pushed for the project stunned.

"We didn't see this coming at all," said Ken Hecht, executive director of California Food Policy Advocates. "We were shocked."

Some Democrats even suggested that the governor's inclusion of the food program in his budget plan was a political stunt, an effort to obscure an overall strategy that leaves schools without funding for basic services.

Administration officials have said repeatedly that such programs represent creative thinking and are part of their push to find new ways to improve conditions in schools.

The fresh fruit project was one of several advocated by the governor and caught in the political crossfire between him and Democrats in recent weeks.

Democrats are so angry at Schwarzenegger over a number of his policies that they appear especially determined to block items that might win him points with the public as he tries to boost sagging approval ratings.

"The relationship between Democrats and the governor is at an all-time low," said Democratic strategist Darry Sragow. "You have to view these budget issues in the context of everything else going on in Sacramento, including what appears to be an impending special election. Anybody who is trying to get their program funded is going to have to deal with those cross-currents."

The Democrats have targeted a few big items, like the governor's plans to spend $100 million reducing class size in low-performing schools and to boost the pay of teachers in those schools. Major school groups had criticized them as window dressing to divert attention from much larger education needs they say are unmet in Schwarzenegger's budget, and Democrats were quick to agree.

But grass-roots groups were taken aback to see the Democrats dismiss so many of the smaller initiatives the governor sprinkled into the proposed budget he released May 13, such as the plan to bring fruit to schools.

Among other programs that have fallen by the wayside as the political tussle intensifies are a measure to help seniors get affordable prescription drugs, a nurse training initiative at community colleges and an expansion of vocational education classes for seventh- and eighth-graders.

This was a poor move for several reasons. First the Governor is already doing a fine job of reducing his affectiveness. He campaigned on many promises to straighten out the State with suggestions as to how he would do it. He demonstrated early on that he didn't know of the limited reach of the California governorship. He couldn't do it alone. Then he proceeded to try to bully his way into into areas where he needed help from the legislature and threatened them with special elections if they didn't come to heel. He made a list of items for the schools that he promised to accomplish and has reneged on most of them. There isn't much that could raise this man's popularity polls.

What the Democrats are doing now is hurting the grass roots movements that have gotten these initiatives this far, alienating the very people that they want to keep on their side.

Tuesday pun
A family of mice once found a rare underground deposit of Brie cheese. It took three excavations before all of the cheese was removed.
Which raises the question: Have you ever seen such a site in your life as Brie mined thrice?

Monday, May 30, 2005
Late morning ride in the hills
This morning took the camera when I rode Bandit up into the hills. He likes to look out over the valley as much as I do. I wasn't sure how he would take the chime and whirr of the new camera. You will see in most of the pictures that he has an ear cocked back as he listens. He was good about it tho.


headed around the hill and on our way home Posted by Hello


the road winds on around the hill and under the trees. Note that Bandit has his ear cocked back listening to the camera. Posted by Hello


pasture... Posted by Hello


Red barn and farm  Posted by Hello


West Posted by Hello


Southwest. Just a little further to the left and you would see Mt. Tamalpais in the far distance. Posted by Hello


Dad Oct. 20, 1922 - July 4, 2004 Posted by Hello

So many moving Memorial Day posts
Memorial Day . . . . as usual this holiday is a process for me. My father was an officer in the Navy. My Uncle Don a B-26 pilot. My Uncle Bob in the Army. My cousin Billy, Lt William R. Liddycoat, lost in Viet Nam. His brother Donny, joined the Air Force, and now his son is in the Air Force.
All of these sites have something to say. They are as mixed as my emotions on this day.
Not listed in any particular order:

Assumption of Command

Who's your Baghdaddy?

Emigre with a Digital Cluebat

Daisy Cutter

The Gun Line

Democratic Veteran

Mudville Gazette

Saturday, May 28, 2005
Bearly funny. . .

Why is one polar bear attracted to another one?

Animal magnetism


That's it! STOP with the polar bear jokes! Posted by Hello

Lowering the bar...

Did you hear about the magnet that walked into a polar bar?


where did that bartender go??? Posted by Hello

No bearing it, just grin. . .

An Alaskan saloon is a polar bar . . .


aauugg... eeuuuww .. light beer.... grossss Posted by Hello

Bearly a pun...

What’s the most popular drink in Alaska?
The Polar Beer

Friday, May 27, 2005
My mask, Tonto, he wanted my mask!
Apparently in W. Virginia it is illegal to wear masks except for very specific reasons.

Conversation between the Lone Ranger and W. Virginia State Policeman along a dark country road:

SP: Sir, you’ll have to remove your mask.

LR: Oh, no, you need to understand that this protects my identity!

SP: Precisely sir, that’s why you need to *remove* the mask

LR: But I work for the good of humankind! I right wrongs! I rescue the weak!

SP: OK, sir, Now step over to the side of the road and remove the mask!

LR: I wear a white hat! I help catch the bad guys!

SP: That’s my job, sir, you just leave it to me. Now REMOVE the mask!

(scuffling sounds, stage right)

SP: OK, now get this, just take the ma - - ow! That’s it!

(wet hissing sound)

LR: Ow! Stop what is that stuff! Burns my eyes! Silver!

(hoofbeats sliding to a stop)

SP: Hey! That thing bit me! What the heck, hey, get away, OW!

SP: (leaning into car for radio) Yeah, backup and animal control! Yes a horse! No its not funny and I am NOT joking! Ow ! Ow! Dang!

SP: Stop! I’m telling you to stop!

LR: OK, Silver, now! (boot steps) Hi Ho Silver! And awaaaayyyyy

(hoofbeats receding into distance, stage left)

(thank you Jess and Pear for the inspiration...) Cross-posted to Grand Centrist Station

Thursday, May 26, 2005
From the NYTimes by Frank Rich:
It's All Newsweek's Fault
IN the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Fareed Zakaria wrote a 6,791-word cover story for Newsweek titled "Why Do They Hate Us?" Think how much effort he could have saved if he'd waited a few years. As we learned last week, the question of why they hate us can now be answered in just one word: Newsweek.
"Our United States military personnel go out of their way to make sure that the Holy Koran is treated with care," said the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, as he eagerly made the magazine the scapegoat for lethal anti-American riots in Afghanistan. Indeed, Mr. McClellan was so fixated on destroying Newsweek - and on mouthing his own phony P.C. pieties about the Koran - that by omission he whitewashed the rioters themselves, Islamic extremists who routinely misuse that holy book as a pretext for murder.

. . . . Just since the election, we've witnessed the unmasking of Armstrong Williams and Jeff Gannon. We've learned - thanks to Newsweek's parent publication, The Washington Post - that the Pentagon went so far as to deliberately hide the circumstances of Pat Tillman's friendly-fire death from his own family for weeks, lest the truth mar the P.R. advantages to be reaped from his memorial service. Even as Scott McClellan instructs Newsweek on just what stories it should write to atone for its sins, a professional propagandist sits as chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting: Kenneth Tomlinson, who also runs the board supervising Voice of America and other government-run media outlets. He's been hard at work meddling in the journalism on NPR and PBS.

This steady drip of subterfuge and news manipulation increasingly tells a more compelling story than the old news that Newsweek so egregiously botched.

Read the entire article here.

This is a scathing discussion of what has happened overall with this administration and the press. This where we have come. The Newsweek mess is another excuse to obfuscate actions of the administration.

Thursday pun
For DC and his favorite dog:

Did you hear about the well-behaved hunting dog who was so polite he didn't point?
He just nudged.


Yellow Lab for DC... Posted by Hello


Polite bird dog.... Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Tele-petting... uh, hmmmm....
Eggheads Invent Tele-Petting
Researchers have developed a cybernetic system to allow physical interaction over the internet. The system allows touching and feeling of animals or other humans in real time, but it's first being tried out on -- chickens.
Built by a wacky group of researchers at the Mixed Reality Lab at the National University of Singapore, the Touchy Internet works as follows:
You walk into your office, where a hollow, chicken-shaped doll sits on a mechanical positioning table close to your computer.
The doll whirs to life as soon as you switch on the system, duplicating the motion of a real chicken in the backyard whose movements are being captured by a webcam.
Fondling the doll translates into touching the real fowl.
Touch sensors attached to the doll convey tactile information to a nearby PC through radio signals. The data is sent over the internet to a remote computer near the chicken; the remote computer triggers tiny vibration motors in a lightweight haptic jacket worn by the fowl.
The chicken feels your touch in the exact same place where the replica was stroked.
"This is the first human-poultry interaction system ever developed," said professor Adrian David Cheok, the leader of the team, who has been developing the technology for nearly two years.
"We understand the perceived eccentricity of developing a system for humans to interact with poultry remotely, but this work has a much wider significance," he added.
Promoting the welfare of un-caressed chickens is not the only goal here.

Read the rest

Wednesday's feathered fun
Making puns on birds is a habit that crows on you. It's possible to have a starling performance, but you can also give a terrible wrendition that others simply can't swallow. The object is not to be gulled and to avoid being aukward and full of ma-lark-ey. Merely try to have a pheasant time, even if you can't tern a pun. And by all means, don't be bittern.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Ralph passed me the Music meme
From Ralph at Makes Me Ralph

The last CD I bought was Coldplay - X & Y

Song (CD) playing right now: Paul Schoenfield - Four Parables, Vaudeville, Klezmer Rondos

Five songs that I listen to alot or that mean alot to me:
"Just One Thing" by Carole King
"Past the Point of Rescue" by Hal Ketchum
"Water of Love" by Dire Straits
"Cry on My Shoulder" by Bonnie Raitt
"What Do You Want from Me" by Pink Floyd

Two people I'm passing this to are Jeremy "American Warmonger" and Jess "LOSLI"

Wishful Thinking

The words to Carole King's "Wishful Thinking"

I see you but you don’t see me,
like a ghost of the future hovering dark and dreamy
You fade in and out of the mist,
do you even exist, except in my wishful thinking
I reach for you but I can’t touch you,
I feel you just beyond the star
Do you know how much you are
All I ever wanted, is it too much too soon,
am I foolishly dreaming
Just baying at the moon
Playing impossible visions like an elementary tune
How I wish that could I realize my heart
But its only wishful thinking on my part

I reach for you but I can’t touch you,
I feel you just beyond the star
Do you know how much you are
All I ever wanted, is it too much too soon,
am I foolishly dreaming
Just baying at the moon
Playing impossible visions like an elementary tune
How I wish that could I realize my heart
But its only wishful thinking on my part

Leaning left on the filibuster compromise
Ralph at Makes Me Ralph has a clear headed analysis with a left lean.
Salazar and the Compromise
There seems to be a lot of progressive grousing this morning about Colorado Senator Ken Salazar giving in on the nominations of Priscilla Owens and Janice Brown in return for Republicans dropping their attempt to ban a filibuster.

In one sense, the progressives have a point. The point behind the filibuster is to prevent judges you don't want. If you give in on the most heinous of appointments, you might as well give up the filibuster.

However, the point behind the compromise was to live to fight another day. What Salazar did was, effectively, preserve Harry Reid's (D-Nevada) veto over any potential Supreme Court nominee, assuring that the nominee will be a moderate. Because the filibuster was preserved, some Democrats, indeed, some pro-choice Democrats, will be needed to confirm the new Justice.

Read the rest.


Some clues about the next years in Iraq
WaPo article via Alexander the Average via Who's Your Baghdaddy?

Lessons for Iraq From Gettysburg
By David Ignatius

....The Civil War, like the invasion of Iraq, was a war of transformation in which the victors hoped to reshape the political culture of the vanquished. But as McPherson tells the story, reconstruction posed severe and unexpected tests: The occupying Union army was harassed by an insurgency that fused die-hard remnants of the old plantation power structure with irregular guerrillas. The Union was as unprepared for this struggle as the Coalition Provisional Authority was in Baghdad in 2003. The army of occupation was too small, and its local allies were often corrupt and disorganized.

Read the rest here.

Monday, May 23, 2005
New place to meet
Be sure to check into Grand Centrist Station. Be you Coyote Democrat, South Park Republican, or someplace in the middle, you may find ideas that suit your yellow line mentality.

New book meme .... I LIKE books
I got tagged by Chuck over at Burst Transmission. and Scott at Just the Facts Ma'am. Seems like most bloggers love books. And of course, I love naming new victims so here we go.

1. What is the total number of books you've owned?
Alot. This arose because of the library fines. You see, I would take out a book and really enjoy it. Hand it to a friend and say, "This was great, give it a read, and we can talk about it." So they'd read it and then we would haggle over what it meant and then the finer points and then . . . . I would pay the fine for turning the book in weeks late. Then there was the time I took a bunch of books out to read on vacation. I stayed longer than I thought I would, and had to pay the maximum fine of $10 per book. I had over a dozen books out . . . oops.

Really, its just cheaper to buy them in the first place.

2. The last book you bought?
Bought new: American Gods by Neil Gaimon. Which I have read and really enjoyed. There was that bag full of stuff I bought at Paperbacks Unlimited. I think a bunch of murder mysteries, including Michael Connelly's latest "The Narrows". It's the sequel to his book, "The Poet". The bad guy in "The Poet" is Robert Backus. Which is funny, because my father was Robert Backus - he was the epitomy of the ultimate good guy, so I think he might have found humor in having a bad guy named after him.

3. The last book I read.
This is a difficult question since I read several books concurrently. Good Omens, by Neil Gaimon & Terry Pratchett, though is the last one I finished. But somewhere in the middle I read Final Account, by Peter Robinson, and Hard News, by Seth Mnookin.

4. Five books that mean alot to me.
Now, Chuck thought this was an easy question. I think its really hard, because (being Liberal, I am tolerant and inclusive), I want to list ALL the books I love. We could be here for weeks. OK, so I would be here and you would be asleep.

1. I have to list the obvious - The Torah (5 books of Moses). Jews refer to themselves as "People of the Book". It would be hard to leave that one off.
2. I have one HUGE volume of Shakespeare's plays. Might be cheating, but I love Shakespeare. He's the best soap opera ever written and he puns exceedingly, so he's a definate.
3. Sherlock Holmes, (the big book of all of his stories), by Conan Doyle
4. The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith. Because after all, economics makes the world go 'round.
5. Sketches New and Old, by Mark Twain. My copy was published in 1922 and came from my grandfather's library. Be sure to read the story, "Political Economy", since it explains alot about life in general and is screamingly funny.

Now to tag five new . . . victims:
Nickie at Nickie Goomba (back to blogging by popular demand, that is his wife is demanding he do *something* besides plague her)
Kenneth at Ken is a Verb
Ralph at Makes Me Ralph
Gary at American Regression
Jenn at Born Under a Firesign

Lets define a "legal marriage"
What is a marriage under the law? What should the law be doing? I really don't know much about the actual laws. They are different in different states. These are just a few ideas about what the laws should do.

1. provide a common legal base for two people
2. move the assets of the couple, to the remaining spouse should one die
3. provide a connection that says that person has a right to be and to know about the other in a legal sense. Allowed access in a health care institution, access to documents regarding joint finances.
4. define responsibility for natural or adopted children.

What do you think? I don't want to know what your religious institution thinks, I want to know what *you* think a legal marriage should provide.

Mudslinging doesn't help anyone
More often than not lately I run across posts in blogs about "What are they doing in D.C.?" Does anyone remember that there is a whole country out here? The debates in the Congress are so far away from what is important here in the west. How about our lack of health care, education issues, wage and labor issues?

First Victim in Judicial Fight: Congress's Image

. . . . “But she shares the view that, at the moment, the general public does not like what it sees from either side.

"Voters have been fed a steady diet of Terri Schiavo, judicial wrangling and basic bickering," Ms. Walter said. "It is a pox on both of them."

Backing her view, a poll conducted May 11-15 for the Pew center found that 64 percent of those surveyed believed that Congress was bickering more than usual, a level approaching public sentiment found in similar surveys during the budget battle that led to the government shutdown. Federal services were cut off for a total of about four weeks when a Republican-controlled Congress forced a stalemate with President Bill Clinton. And a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released this week found that 51 percent of those surveyed disapproved of Congress's performance, the highest level since 1994, when voters swept Democrats out of power.

. . . . Another factor in the public perception, according to some current and former lawmakers, is that Americans have little personal stake in a rules fight and can reach the conclusion that Congress is not looking out for them on pocketbook issues but is instead caught up in self-serving power struggles.”

Monday pun

Said an ape as he swing by his tail,
To his children, both female and male
“From your offspring, my dears,
In a few million years,
May evolve a professor at Yale.”

Sunday, May 22, 2005
Railroad Square in Santa Rosa
I came down to have breakfast this morning, so hung to take some pictures with the new camera. Santa Rosa is in the movies alot - this area in particular. The train station is in a bunch of old Hitchcock films, but more recently "Cheaper by the Dozen" with Steve Martin used this area. He jogged past the Brothers Bldg with "1906" at the top of it. A good portion of downtown Santa Rosa came down in the 1906 earthquake. This building was part of the re-build after the quake.

In order to hang on to all these old brick and stone buildings, they need to be heavily and expensively reinforced. Consequently many aren't preserved because it costs so much. There are a number of faults that run close to and under Santa Rosa, so its a big concern.


Brothers Bldg, 1906 Posted by Hello


Train station Posted by Hello


Hotel LaRose across the street from the train station Posted by Hello


Another good coffee place Posted by Hello


My favorite place to have coffee. Posted by Hello

Powered by Blogger