Friday, May 31, 2013

Feminine Products Toxic. Food For Thought. "Real Food." GMO Labeling. China Destroys GM Corn. Healthiest Fare. Johnstown Flood.


For “Foodie Friday:

But first this:

Most Feminine Hygiene Products Contain Toxic Ingredients

“When chemicals come in contact with your skin, they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind, going directly to your delicate organs

Feminine hygiene products such as tampons and sanitary pads are an oft-ignored source of a variety of potentially toxic ingredients, including genetically modified organisms and pesticides

Manufacturers of tampons and sanitary pads are not required to disclose the ingredients used in their products.

One conventional sanitary pad contains the equivalent of about four plastic bags

A number of plasticizing chemicals have been linked to endocrine disruption and disease processes associated with heart disease and cancer. Conventional tampons and pads may also contain dioxins, synthetic fibers and petrochemical additives

Tampons can react with bacteria in your body to create the ideal environment for bacteria to flourish, triggering potentially fatal toxic shock syndrome (TSS). 

What's Really in Your Sanitary Pads and Tampons?

Naturally Savvy sets Always Infinity and Natracare 100% organic cotton pads on fire. See what happens when they are compared side-by-side. You won't believe it!”

Complete article at:


Food For Thought



Food For Thought


"Real Food, Patriotism on a Plate”

How our food was changed in 1994.

“Robyn shares her personal story and how it inspired her current path as a "Real Food" evangelist.  Grounded in a successful Wall Street career that was more interested in food as good business than good-for-you, this mother of four was shaken awake by the dangerous allergic reaction of one of her children to a "typical" breakfast.

Her mission to unearth the cause revealed more about the food industry than she could stomach, and impelled her to share her findings with others. Informative and inspiring.”

“Do you know what you are eating? In this extraordinary personal account, Robyn O'Brien tells the story of how she started paying attention to what's in food. The answer may surprise you and it will certainly inspire you to be more deliberate about your food choices.”


Genetic Roulette Movie Trailer

“Are you and your family on the wrong side of a bet?

When the US government ignored repeated warnings by its own scientists and allowed untested genetically modified (GM) crops into our environment and food supply, it was a gamble of unprecedented proportions. The health of all living things and all future generations were put at risk by an infant technology.

After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves.

This seminal documentary provides compelling evidence to help explain the deteriorating health of Americans, especially among children, and offers a recipe for protecting ourselves and our future.”


GMO A Go Go - Truth about GMOs

“New animated cartoon covers all the basics on why GMOs are dangerous.”


GMO Labeling Laws Advance in Vermont, Maine, Connecticut

“Legislators in three New England states are signaling the biotech industry that they’re ready to go to battle for consumers’ right to know about genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

GMO labeling bills recently cleared hurdles in Vermont, Maine and Connecticut. They still have a way to go before becoming law. But it’s a good sign that despite millions spent on lobbying, and despite threats of lawsuits against states that pass the GMO labeling laws, lawmakers are starting to take a stand.

On May 10, the Vermont House of Representatives passed H.112 by a vote of 99-42. The bill will be taken up by the Senate in January, 2014. On May 14, Maine’s L.D. 718 passed out of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee by a vote of 8-5. If passed, the law won’t go into effect until 2018, and then only after four of the nine northeastern states approve similar laws. And on May 21, the Connecticut Senate approved SB 802 by a vote of 35-1. The bill moves next to the Connecticut House.”

More on Vermont    More on Maine    More on Connecticut


Breaking News: China Destroys 3 US Shipments of GM Corn

Breaking News: China Destroys 3 US Shipments of GM Corn“Could the global tide in support of GMOs be turning? A new report reveals that the formerly pro-GMO Chinese government, one of the largest consumers of GMO food crops in the world, is beginning to crack down on GM corn shipments from the US that have not followed appropriate biosafety regulations.

The first two shipments entered Wanzai Port in Zhuhai City on May 7th, and were subsequently destroyed.  The existence of a third shipment was confirmed in a May 19th article appearing on titled, "Harbin intercepted a total of 115 kgs of GM corn seeds, which will be destroyed":

"[T]he new government's decisive move to destroy the illegal GMOs "progressive, encouraging, and satisfying". He regards it as a sign that it is keeping its promise to work for the people and the nation.
Mr Li said: "The deeply pro-GMO old government would not have made such a thing public. It would have secretly returned the shipments, or in most cases it would not even have inspected shipments that could contain GM ingredients." More at:


How to Find the Healthiest Fare in Meat and Produce Aisles

“Research has shown that pesticides and other agricultural chemicals can cause disruptions to your neurological system and your brain. Your best bet is to buy only organic fruits and vegetables, as synthetic agricultural chemicals are not permissible under the USDA organic rules

For conventional produce, the Environmental Working Group has released its updated annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, detailing the foods that have the highest and lowest amounts of pesticide residues

Recently published data from tests conducted on supermarket meat samples reveals the presence of several disease-causing bacteria, including the super-hardy antibiotic-resistant versions of salmonella, Campylobacter and E. coli on virtually all types of store bought meats

In a recent analysis of reported food violations spanning 73 countries, China was identified as having the most violations. Excessive pesticide levels were the number one complaint. Chinese seafood was also found to be high in antibiotics and other drugs

The USDA is expected to reduce the number of inspectors in poultry facilities by 75 percent, instead allowing the companies to put all the poultry through an antimicrobial wash, using chlorine and other chemicals. The agency plans to implement the new rules by September 2014.”  Complete article at:  

See: 7 Tips for Cleaning Fruits, Vegetables.


On This Day:

The Johnstown Flood, May 31, 1889:

“In a river valley in central Pennsylvania, heavy rain and a neglected dam lead to a catastrophe in which 2,209 people die and a prosperous city, Johnstown, is nearly wiped off the face of the earth.

Johnstown, located at the confluence of the Little Conemaugh River and Stony Creek, was 14 miles downstream from Lake Conemaugh, a reservoir turned recreational lake that was owned and maintained by the prestigious South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club. The sporting club, which catered to a wealthy clientele from nearby Pittsburgh, included Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick on its membership rolls. Lake Conemaugh was held back by the South Fork Dam, a large earth-fill dam that was completed by the club in 1881. By 1889, the dam was in dire need of repairs.

When several days of heavy rain struck the area in late May 1889, club officials struggled to reinforce the neglected dam, which was under tremendous pressure from the swollen waters of Lake Conemaugh. The dam began to disintegrate, and on May 31 the lake's water level passed over the top of the dam. Realizing that the dam's collapse was imminent, club officials sent riders down the valley to evacuate area residents. However, flooding was a familiar occurrence in the valley, and few Johnstown residents heeded the riders' desperate warnings. Most just took the same simple precautions they did when Little Conemaugh River flooded: They moved their belongings to the second story of their homes and settled down to wait out the storm.

At 3:10 p.m., the South Fork Dam washed away, drowning several laborers who were struggling to maintain it. Club officials on high ground watched awe-struck as 20 million tons of water went roaring down the valley toward Johnstown. The deluge swept through the communities of South Fork, Mineral Point, Woodvale, and East Conemaugh, accumulating debris, including rocks, trees, houses, barns, railroad cars, animals, and people, both dead and alive. By the time it reached Johnstown, at 4:07 p.m., the flood appeared as a rolling hill of debris more than 30 feet high and nearly half a mile wide. In a terrible swoop, the northern half of the city was swept away, sending some 1,500 demolished Johnstown buildings tumbling down with the roaring torrent.

It took 10 minutes for the waters of Lake Conemaugh to pass through Johnstown, and 2,000 people were drowned or crushed in the torrent. A few survivors were washed up along with numerous corpses several miles down the valley. At the old Stone Bridge in Johnstown, debris piled 40 feet high caught fire, and some 80 huddled survivors of the flood perished in the flames. A total of 2,209 died as a result of the disaster.

Among the survivors of the calamity, there was a scarcely an individual who had not lost a friend or relative in the Johnstown Flood. Despite the great scale of the tragedy, reconstruction of the devastated community began almost immediately, and Clara Barton and the American Red Cross constructed shelters for homeless residents while well-wishers around the country sent tons of relief supplies. The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club was widely criticized for its failure to maintain the South Fork Dam, but no successful lawsuits were ever brought against the organization.”



Misty and I went to get Jay and had our walk down there.  Misty has a certain spot there that she prefers to use, so she goes right to it, and then we can carry on with our walk.

When we got back here, we started back on the roof of the screen porch in front of my living room.  Jay had put some white polycarbonate roofing on it, but it is the kind that does not let in any light, so it wasn’t any good for the many aloe plants in there, or for brightening my living room.  If there is no light coming from above, my aloe all grow sideways to the light.  I need something where they will grow straight up to the light. Clear would be too bright in the TX sun, but translucent would be fine.  The roofing company says it lets in 85% of the light, without glare, so that’s what I need. 

Jay was in an funny mood, and I suspect that he fell off the wagon. I didn’t like the way the porch roof was framed, and when Jay really looked at it from the road, and from inside my living room, he didn’t like it either.  He removed the roofing, and reframed the roof, so it is level now.  But we didn’t have time to screw on the new translucent panels.

Finally, someone is supposed to be here to put in a driveway between the two houses, today.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Clueless about RVing. Electrical Adapters. Mice and Ants? Mold. Awning. Fitted Sheets. Gas vs Diesel? RV Insurance. Decoration Day. First Indy 500.


For “tRaVersing Thursday”, or RV Day:

Clueless about RVing.

“You can get a good laugh from someone clueless about RVing. I came across a remark by a guy named Randy on the Thousand Trails Facebook page. He was commenting on the photo to the right.

He wrote: "I've told my friends, for years, that I will meet them at the campfire in the morning. But I'll stay in the nearest motel and have running water and a comfy room to sleep in. Didn't work all my life to act like a homeless person on a camping trip and call it fun!"

I could not resist responding. I wrote: "Geez, Randy. You'd rather stay in a motel in a bed where some person you don't know slept the night before? Hey, ya gotta love those bedbugs, too! Did you know that RVs have running water, just like motels? Amazing huh? You are severely undereducated in the comfort level of RVs."

Look at that photo: That's a fifth wheel trailer in the distance. I don't know anyone familiar with RVs who, observing that scene, would say they'd rather stay in a motel because, in so many words, "it's more comfortable." Randy, for example, shows his RV ignorance with a comment about how he'd rather stay in a motel where there's "running water," like maybe we RVers need to brush our teeth in a stream. Where has this guy been for the last 50 years? Has he ever stepped inside an RV? Me thinks no.

When I look at the photo, I go a little bit nuts. I want to be there. I know what it's like. I know what it's like to wake up in the morning in a beautiful place like that. I can imagine the sounds of birds, the warmth of the sun filtering through the trees, and the smell of the crisp, clean air. I can imagine stepping outside with my freshly brewed coffee, taking everything in, feeling I'm the luckiest guy in the world.

I also know what it's like to wake up in a motel room to a glorious view of a parking lot and those magnificent, scenic American icons — Denny's, McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell and maybe even a gas station.

Randy can have his stinkin' motel.”  By Chuck Woodbury


Electrical adapter may cut power to your RV

“Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, has a tip about using electrical adapters when plugging an RV into power at a campground or elsewhere.”


What to do when your RV power plug begins to fail

“Sooner or later, the connection between your RV's power cord and its plug will begin to separate. When this happens, you have a couple of options:”


Is your RV range a magnet for mice and ants?

“RV technician Chris Dougherty discusses how the range in an RV kitchen can be a big attraction for mice and ants. He also offers a tip about keeping the pests away.”


RV Mold Monster: Don't let this happen to you

“Chuck Woodbury confesses a stupid mistake that led to something very ugly appearing in his RV kitchen. It didn't need to happen, as Chuck explains.”


Use less hot water when taking a shower

“When taking a shower, use your water pump and the fresh water tank when your tank water is lukewarm but the well water for the RV park is icy cold. That way less hot water is needed to mix with the cold.” From reader David Bushouse


How to fix an RV awning that will not retract properly

“An RVer asks Gary Bunzer, the RV Doctor, why the awning on his recreational vehicle will not retract evenly and what he can do to fix the problem. In order to fully secure it when not in use, he must go onto the RV's roof to manually adjust the awning to fully secure it.”


HOW TO: Make a Fitted Sheet fit an RV Mattress

“It seems that we're not the only ones who've found that "King" and "Queen" beds aren't always exactly the same size we were used to in a stick house.

It didn't take long for us to hatch a plan to solve the problem, figuring that some sort of elastic strap beneath the mattress would keep it pulled tight. During a stroll around Wal-Mart (during a typical overnight camping stop) we discovered the perfect solution: suspenders! "


How To: Fold A Fitted Sheet

“Help is on the way! Premier bed-stylist and soft-goods expert Steven Whitehead reveals the age-old secret of how to properly fold a fitted sheet.”

From Me:  If you don’t want your bottom sheet to go slipping and sliding around, hook both TOP corners over the mattress first, and then do the bottom.


Should I buy gas or diesel?

“If the question is which truck will tow more or which motorhome has more torque the diesel will win hands down, but I honestly have no complaints with our gas powered motorhome either. Especially when considering the price.

Question: Why does a diesel engine have more torque?
Mark Says: Much of the reason is in the way the engine is designed. Internal combustion engines use spark from a spark plug to ignite fuel in the combustion chamber of a gasoline engine and the high heat from compression to ignite the fuel in a diesel engine. It’s more difficult to burn diesel fuel so diesel engines have higher compression ratios resulting in more heat to ignite the fuel and more power.

Question: I have always heard that a diesel engine is much louder than a gas engine, is this true?
Mark Says: If you asked me that several years ago the answer would have been yes, but newer diesel engines are actually very quiet.

Question: You said in the article a diesel motorhome rides better, why is that?
Mark Says: Most gas motorhome chassis’ use leaf spring suspension systems. With this suspension system you will experience things like “body roll” and “pitch.” whenever pressure is exerted against one side of the motorhome. It can be caused by a gust of wind, a shift in weight while cornering, or a passing truck. The effects of sway on a motorhome are increased because of the height and mass of the motorhome. A diesel chassis uses an air ride suspension system. These systems keep the chassis adjusted to the proper ride height at all times by adding and releasing air as required. And the way the system is designed eliminates the pitch and roll affect you get from leaf spring suspensions, resulting in a smoother riding motorhome.   Happy Camping,   Mark J. Polk”  More at:


Dutch RV insurance commercial -- no need for geckos

“So if you can sell car insurance with a gecko, can you sell it without the lizard? A Dutch insurance company shows how you can still have fun without the leapin' lizard.”

(Chatwakan - 2000) “Another commercial for Centraal Beheer Achmea, a Dutch insurance company who always (try to) make good commercials, you can watch them all on their site:  Then there is this one:


Shopping for RV insurance -- what all those terms mean

“When it comes to buying RV insurance, it can be a bit tricky — the terms can be so daunting. Just what are you shopping for, and what does it cover? In this and our next installment, we'll walk you through some of the seemingly mysterious terms that come with RV insurance. Read more.”


On This Day:

Civil War dead honored on Decoration Day, May 30, 1868:

“By proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, the first major Memorial Day observance is held to honor those who died "in defense of their country during the late rebellion." Known to some as "Decoration Day," mourners honored the Civil War dead by decorating their graves with flowers. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.

By the late 19th century, many communities across the country had begun to celebrate Memorial Day, and after World War I, observers began to honor the dead of all of America's wars. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May. Today, Memorial Day is celebrated at Arlington National Cemetery with a ceremony in which a small American flag is placed on each grave. It is customary for the president or vice president to give a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. More than 5,000 people attend the ceremony annually. Several Southern states continue to set aside a special day for honoring the Confederate dead, which is usually called Confederate Memorial Day.”


First Indianapolis 500 held, May 30, 1911:

“On May 30, 1911, the inaugural Indianapolis 500 is run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana. The 200-lap, two-and-a-half mile race has since become a Memorial Day weekend tradition. With the exception of a break in 1917 and 1918 for World War I and from 1942 to 1945 for World War II, it has been run every year since, and is now the largest sporting event in the world, attended by about 270,000 spectators annually.

When the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was designed, the track was meant to have a crushed rock and tar surface. That surface was abandoned after only a few races in 1909, due to fatal results caused by unevenness. The rock and tar was replaced by over 3 million street-paving bricks that were filled in with sand and then mortar for strength. The track has since been referred to as "the brickyard," although subsequent resurfacing has covered all but about three feet of the bricks.

At the first Indy 500 in 1911, 40 cars met the qualifications to race. Track founder Carl Fisher felt the large number could lead to danger, so he decided to lead the first lap around the track at about 40 or 45 miles per hour, before pulling off to the side. The "pace car" has since become standard practice at all auto races.

A multi-car accident occurred 13 laps into the race, and the ensuing chaos temporarily disrupted scoring, throwing the finish into dispute when the eventual runner-up, Ralph Mulford, argued that he was the rightful winner. It was Ray Harroun, however, who took home the $14,250 purse, clocking an average speed of 74.59 mph and a total time of 6 hours and 42 minutes.

In the 30th mile of the race, 80,000 spectators watched as a driver from Chicago lost a front wheel, which caused his car to turn over on the track. Both the driver and his mechanic, who rode in the front seat with him, were thrown from the car. The mechanic landed against a fence and was killed instantly, while the driver escaped with a broken arm. The race continued, and the crowd watched nervously as accidents piled up, knowing another fatality could take place at any moment. None did, and Ray Harroun, driving a Marmon, was the only driver in the race who didn’t ride with a mechanic. Instead, he employed a rear-view mirror, his own invention, to keep an eye on the other cars on the track.”



Misty and I went to get Jay, and we all had our walks down there.  It was time to go shopping.

First stop was Lowe’s to return some of the unused polycarbonate roofing.  It is 26” wide and 10’ long, so it meant that Jay had to crawl under it and sit in the second seat until we got that out of the way.  I bought some 10’ long drip cap there, but that just rides down the middle of the van.

Then we went to Walmart for Jay to get a few things, and dropped off a bunch of used plastic bags in that recycling.  To save another stop at Petsmart, I bought Misty some Paul Newman’s organic canned dog food there.

Jay had a wheel to return to Northern Tool, so I bought a new ratchet for my tool set there.  My Craftsman one had broken and I don’t know when I can get to Sears in The Woodlands for a free replacement.

We unloaded the paper recycling at St. Marks thrift shop and Jay bought several bargains there, but I didn’t see anything I needed.  But I did find some bargains at Krogers, and then we came home. 

None of the driveway surfacing people that I have called have returned my calls, so we are still stuck on that project for a few more days.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sage Sparrow. Un-“thunk” Your Windows! Deadly PVC Markers. A Rooster Crows. Hummingbirds, Buntings, and Sapsuckers ... Lake Tahoe Trespassers. Wisconsin. JFK. Yellow Stars For Jews.


For ”Winged Wednesday”:

Sage Sparrow

Sage Sparrow by Greg Lavaty,

“At first glance, the Sage Sparrow might seem rather ordinary, but look closer, and you’ll find a species with distinctive behaviors and conservation needs.

Unlike some sparrows that can use a variety of habitats, the Sage Sparrow must have open sagebrush habitat to breed successfully; it breeds in these areas over 90 percent of the time. A mixture of bare ground and plants also appears to be an important component for breeding success.

The Sage Sparrow is often seen running with its longish tail cocked; when perched, it wags its tail up and down like a phoebe. The bird spends much of its time on the ground foraging for insects and seeds.

Although populations appear stable across most of its range, the clearing of sagebrush for grazing has had a significant negative effect on the Sage Sparrow. Fire suppression, which leads to a build-up of brush and invasive weeds such as cheatgrass, also degrades suitable habitat.
Five subspecies of Sage Sparrow are currently recognized. The three non-migratory subspecies found in coastal California and Baja California were once considered a separate species and are again being considered for a potential split by the American Ornithologist’s Union (AOU).

The Californian subspecies belli is listed by the state as a Species of Special Concern, and the subspecies clementeae of the California Channel Islands is listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened.

You can help the Sage Sparrow by joining our Spring 2013 Fundraising Challenge. We urgently need your support to conserve sagebrush and other critical bird habitats!”


Simple ways to prevent bird strikes on windows

imagesCA8PTR8B “Recently, I was sitting in a meeting at a conference center that had two walls of windows. I heard a “thunk” against one of the windows, and I immediately knew what caused it. I got up to see if the victim survived. Sitting on the windowsill was a dazed little bird. I felt bad, knowing that the building we were located in was the visitor center of a nature reserve, but there were no bird collision avoidance measures taken.

imagesCANCT3SA In fact, bird collisions with windows are all too common. It is very difficult to estimate how many birds are killed, and how many more injured, from windows. Some come flying full speed into glass, thinking they can fly unimpeded to a location beyond it; others attack their own reflection over and over until they cause enough brain damage to themselves to be fatal. The numbers of dead birds is impossible to accurately estimate–from hundreds of millions to a billion birds every year in North America alone. Some birds are able to recover fully and fly away. Some birds die instantly on impact. There are an unknown number that start to recover, fly away and end up dying from their injuries in another location.

imagesCACRRIQT At home, you may not need to pay for materials or take drastic measures. There are some simple steps you can take. If you have bird feeders out, move them closer to the window. Studies have shown that having feeders within 2 to 3 feet of the window will reduce collisions. If you do not have feeders, try picking up a suction cup feeder and attaching it to the window; not only will you protect birds, but you will feed and attract them.

imagesCAFBI05F You can close curtains, partially close mini-blinds, or hang up pictures or decals on your windows to warn birds as well. If a window has a lot of green plants next to it, that could attract birds as well; consider moving them back just a bit.

Come to the DNR office and pick up a coloring sheet of a kestrel. Your kids or grandkids can color it, cut it out and tape it to the window. The birds will not see this as a real predator, but as an object they cannot fly through.

Take a few minutes to consider what minor changes you can make to reduce or eliminate bird collisions at your home or office. Even minor changes you make can make a big difference to the birds.”  More at:


“I had birds great and small hitting my picture window so I stapled a big piece of blueberry bush netting over it. Not another fatality or rehab situation. When I installed a big window in the chicken house, I tipped it forward an inch at the top so it reflected the ground instead of sky. Not a fatality there, either. Much better. All new construction in homes should use this simple window installation adjustment to eliminate this hazard to our avian friends.”


Quigley Moves to Prevent Millions of Bird Deaths

“America’s bird population has a very real and direct impact on our economy. Americans spend about $36 billion in pursuit of birding activities.  These activities generate about $4.4 billion in federal tax revenues, nearly $6.2 billion in state tax revenues, roughly 670,000 jobs, and provide $28 billion in employment income.”   More at:


Pipes staking mine claims kill birds

Conservationists are now replacing PVC with solid posts

imagesCA0EKGL2ELKO, Nev. — “Wildlife officials and conservationists in Nevada say they're making progress knocking down the white plastic pipes that miners traditionally have used to stake their claims, because such markers can become death traps for hundreds of thousands of small birds that get stuck inside.

Small cavity-nesting birds mistake the openings for an ideal home, but once inside are doomed by the smooth sides of the pipe with a narrow diameter that keeps them from climbing or flying out.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management estimates there are more than 3.4 million of the white polyvinyl chloride pipes sticking out of the ground across the West — more than 1 million in Nevada alone in a 2011 survey.”  More at:


“Join ABC in the fight to help birds get home this spring. Here are two simple steps you can take to help ensure a future for birds across the Americas.

Step 1: Support protection of the top 10 habitats

More than five billion migratory birds are returning to their nesting grounds in North America. What will they find? Intact and healthy habitats, or lost breeding grounds?

One-third of bird species in the United States are declining as their habitats are lost or degraded to the point of being unproductive. Help us turn the tide in our top 10 bird habitats, from the Native Forests of Hawai’i to the Eastern Deciduous Forests.

Your gift today will provide twice as much funding for habitat projects happening right now, thanks to a generous dollar-for-dollar match up to $100,000 offered by renowned author Jon Franzen and investment banker Bob Wilson. The match is good only through July 31, so please act now!”  More at:


Crowing Communication

An Amazing Fact: “Roosters do not always crow at the crack of dawn. Some will crow any time during the day. A rooster crows to protect his hens and ward off enemies, and they are very territorial. Since they are active during the day, they are most rambunctious in the morning when their testosterone level is highest.

“Cock-a-doodle-doo” is the phrase we often think of when a rooster jumps up on a fence post at the crack of dawn to welcome the new day. But lots of other things can set off a rooster to crow, such as a train passing by or a car starting. A cockerel (another name for rooster) is also very protective of his hens and will be quick to fight off any intruders.
Crowing roosters can sometimes be such a bother to neighbors that people look for ways to quiet their “fowl” talk. Locking him up at night, sealing off the cracks in the henhouse that let light in, or using blackout curtains are a few ways to fool him into holding back the crowing. Caponizing (neutering) a rooster will also sometimes help.

There is a familiar story in the Bible about a rooster crowing. Peter was told by Jesus in the upper room that he would deny Christ three times. Peter vehemently rebuked Jesus, saying, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny you!” (Mark 14:31). But it happened in the courtyard of the high priest—Peter denied Christ. “A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.’ And when he thought about it, he wept” (Mark 14:72).
How sensitive are we to God’s call to our hearts when we sin or deny Christ? How tuned in are we to the Holy Spirit’s whisper? Would we hear the Lord wooing us if we heard a rooster crow?”
And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
- John 10:4



BirdNote Weekly Preview: Hummingbirds, Buntings, and Sapsuckers ...

Upcoming Shows

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Hummingbirds See Red
by Frances Wood

Lazuli Bunting

Lazuli Bunting -
Jewel of the Canyons
by Bob Sundstrom

Peregrine Falcon

City Peregrines
by Ellen Blackstone

Northern Flicker

Watching Flickers Fledge
featuring Paul Bannick, photographer & naturalist

Costa's Hummingbird

Spring Rain
Refreshes a Desert
by Bob Sundstrom

Williamson's Sapsucker

Williamson's Sapsucker
by Bob Sundstrom

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Audubon and The Ruby-throat
by Frances Wood


And our water-winged friends, the fish:

Giant Goldfish One of Several Trespassers in Lake Tahoe

Goldfish“Researchers checking for invasive fish species in Lake Tahoe have discovered not only goldfish, but gargantuan goldfish as well.

Goldfish and other warm-water fish in the lake present a problem because these invasive species threaten Tahoe’s ecosystem.

Goldfish and other similar invaders are dumped into the lake by aquarium owners. Other invasive species wind up there as the result of aquaculture, live seafood and bait, and fishing and recreational boats.

If you’re an aquarium owner, you should never dump fish in lakes. Instead, call the store where you bought the fish or your state department of fish and wildlife. Boaters should remove all aquatic plants and animals from vessels.”   Complete article at:


On This Day:

Wisconsin enters the Union, May 29, 1848:

“Following approval of statehood by the territory's citizens, Wisconsin enters the Union as the 30th state.

In the first decades of the 19th century, settlers began arriving via the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes to exploit Wisconsin's agricultural potential, and in 1832 the Black Hawk War ended Native American resistance to white settlement. In 1836, after several decades of governance as part of other territories, Wisconsin was made a separate entity, with Madison, located midway between Milwaukee and the western centers of population, marked as the territorial capital. By 1840, population in Wisconsin had risen above 130,000, but the people voted against statehood four times, fearing the higher taxes that would come with a stronger central government. Finally, in 1848, Wisconsin citizens, envious of the prosperity that federal programs brought to neighboring Midwestern states, voted to approve statehood. Wisconsin entered the Union the next May.


John F. Kennedy is born, May 29, 1917:

“One of America's best-loved presidents, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, is born into a politically and socially prominent family in Brookline, Massachusetts, on this day in 1917. He was the first American president to be born in the 20th century.”


Jews in Paris are forced to sew a yellow star on their coats, May 29, 1942:

“On this day in 1942, on the advice of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler orders all Jews in occupied Paris to wear an identifying yellow star on the left side of their coats.

Joseph Goebbels had made the persecution, and ultimately the extermination, of Jews a personal priority from the earliest days of the war, often recording in his diary such statements as: "They are no longer people but beasts," and "[T]he Jews... are now being evacuated eastward. The procedure is pretty barbaric and is not to be described here more definitely. Not much will remain of the Jews."

But Goebbels was not the first to suggest this particular form of isolation. "The yellow star may make some Catholics shudder," wrote a French newspaper at the time. "It renews the most strictly Catholic tradition." Intermittently, throughout the history of the papal states, that territory in central Italy controlled by the pope, Jews were often confined to ghettoes and forced to wear either yellow hats or yellow stars.”



Misty and I went to get Jay, and had our walk down there.  Jay and little Maddie, the Yorkie, joined us.

We can’t do much to my front porch roof extension yet as the parking space next to it, that was under the torn-down RVport, really needs to be re-surfaced with asphalt or something.  Anything we build might get in the way of the machinery.  So we prepared the area instead.  Jay took down the temporary fiberglass sheets which were rain proofing the latticed side of the storeroom attic when the RVport was torn down, and replaced it with some of the used grey-clear polycarbonate roofing.  As that can also be used as siding, it will let in more light up there.  Then we will add a lean-to storage area to the lower part, after the ground is re-surfaced.  Jay is going to re-use the fiberglass on his mother’s shed.  This fiberglass had been skylights on the RVport.  Nothing goes to waste around here.

When the three-sided RVport was there, we had just covered the ground with big pieces of used carpet.  It worked fine for years as a non-muddy surface and we could blow it to keep it clean.  But now that will be re-surfaced, so it all had to come up while it was dry, and before it rained again.  Ray cut it up into strips and put it on the burn pile, but it was too windy to burn it yesterday.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dallas, TX. Regions of TX Tour. Dealey Plaza. Bronze Hands of the Famous. Giant Murals. Dallas Fifty FREE. Dallas Cowboys. NY Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers Move To CA.


For “Travel Tuesday”:

#Region.R_Description#Let’s visit Dallas, TX in “The Texas Prairies and Lakes Region, which offers a wide variety of destinations & attractions, from the fast-paced cosmopolitan excitement of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex with the best in shopping, dining & entertainment, to the beautiful lakes & laid-back country lifestyles found throughout the region. Discover the Excitement of the Texas Prairies & Lakes.”

If you wondered about the seven regions of TX, maybe this will help:

Regions of Texas Tour 


Dallas, TX

images[11] “Dallas is on the Trinity River in the center of Dallas County in North Central Texas. It is crossed by Interstate highways 20, 30, 35, and 45. The city was founded by John Neely Bryan, who settled on the east bank of the Trinity near a natural ford in November 1841. Bryan had picked the best spot for a trading post to serve the population migrating into the region. The ford, at the intersection of two major Indian traces, provided the only good crossing point for miles.

Two highways proposed by the Republic of Texas soon converged nearby. Unknown to Bryan, however, he had settled on land granted by the republic to the Texan Land and Emigration Company of St. Louis, headed by William S. Peters. Bryan eventually legalized his claim, and the extensive promotional efforts of the Peters colony attracted settlers to the region. In 1844 J. P. Dumas surveyed and laid out a townsite comprising a half mile square of blocks and streets.

The origin of the name Dallas is unknown. Candidates include George Mifflin Dallas, vice president of the United States, 1845–49; his brother, Commodore Alexander J. Dallas, United States Navy; and Joseph Dallas, who settled near the new town in 1843. The Texas legislature granted Dallas a town charter on February 2, 1856. Dr. Samuel Pryor, elected the first mayor, headed a town government consisting of six aldermen, a treasurer-recorder, and a constable.

6th Floor.

Dallas suffered its most traumatic experience on November 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza, only yards from the site where John Neely Bryan had settled in 1841 (see KENNEDY ASSASSINATION). Two days later, his alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was killed before television cameras by a Dallas nightclub owner, Jack Ruby. In 1989, after twenty-five years of debate about how the city should commemorate the event, the Sixth Floor, a museum, opened in the former Texas School Book Depository. In 1993 Dealey Plaza was declared a National Historic Landmark District, the city's second after Fair Park.”    A lot more at:


Kennedy Assassination Cenotaph, Dallas.

imagesCAZGUYWR “This 30-foot-tall empty box, made of concrete slabs, was designed by big-deal architect Phillip Johnson, who called it an "open tomb."

Visitors can walk through gaps in the walls and read an inscription to Kennedy on a block of granite in the enclosed courtyard.

Johnson said that the design would provide visitors with a spot of quiet privacy. It has never been popular.  

Still, you can stand inside and listen to your own echoed cries of "Why? Why?"”


Bronze Hands of the Famous

At Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas

Hands of famous tennis players.“What's cooler than wax sculptures made from photos of famous people? Well, a lot of things, but the thing I've got in mind is bronze casts made from the ACTUAL HANDS of famous people -- presidents, astronauts, athletes, actors, etc. Louis Armstrong, Winston Churchill, Joe DiMaggio, Andre the Giant and Walt Disney are among the highlights; there's also a handful of medical oddities. The casts were named for surgeon Adrian E. Flatt, who made celebrity hand-casting his hobby.”

View of the wonderful hands:


Bizarre Giant Murals

imagesCA1LWGGN  “This is worth stepping off the beaten path of I-35 or I-30 as you breeze through Dallas to cooler climates. This is a giant mural of a pudgy little kid pulling a wagon full of toy cars painted on the side of a building overlooking a parking lot.

But wait... The little toy cars are the same size as real cars in real life! The wagon mural was subject to some bizarre attention recently when wall-size murals promoting hit movies began appearing downtown. The Dallas City Council, in it's infinite wisdom, wanted to regulate this giant advertising, so they wanted to distinguished the "art" from the "ad." The rule of thumb? "Advertising" has words. "Art" does not. Think any fans of roadside attractions might disagree with the city council?  There is also another building-size mural of whales visible from this location.

image of mural by Chris Arnold and Jeff Garrison

“We came up with this idea with these kids,” Garrison says. “They’re juxtaposed in front of this barren landscape, a dry lake bed. They seem to be unaware or unaffected by it. They’re looking forward at the teacher, for the most part, except there’s a silhouette of one of the children, which represents one of the kids who fell through the cracks. We wanted to use these big fins above the painting, but we couldn’t figure out how to incorporate them and keep within their budget. We realized by painting just on the front of the 3-inch face of these fins, that you get this really interesting kinetic effect.”
“As you drive up on it, you can see the image and then it disappears,” Arnold says. “It portrays the elusive problems of education.”"       More at:


Cattle Drive Through Dallas

Cattle Drive comedy.

Steer sculptures in Dallas.

“This use may not have been envisioned by the sculptor.

Native Texan Robert Temple Summers II was commissioned by the Dallas Trees and Parks Foundation in 1992 to sculpt three cowboys on horseback and 70 longhorn steers - each 130% of life-size. The bronze covers four acres in downtown Dallas, at Griffin and Young streets in front of the Convention Center.”


AT&T's Golden Boy

Golden Boy.“The stunning 28-ft. tall Golden Boy (aka "The Spirit of Communication") has been moved to the headquarters of his conquering corporate lords at 208 South Akard St., Dallas, TX.

We love the big gilded lad, as much a symbol of a former monopoly, entangled in its own landlines, as a spirit of soaring communication.

The move from New Jersey, refurbishment, and installation was accomplished with little fanfare. Anything to do with a giant gold-covered statue -- during a recession -- is a bit of a PR lightning bolt....”


Zoo-Themed McDonald's

Zoo-themed McDonald's.“This McD's is a great place to stop with children. A zoo-themed McDonald's, complete with trees and fiberglass animals.  The animals and murals inside the restaurant are as exciting as the exterior. The entrance to the Dallas zoo shares the same exit.

Most McDonald's are Gorilla with fries.decorated straight out of the corporate catalog, and often try to capitalize on local interests. But we like this feverish hallucination of fries-clutching African wildlife.   An elephant guards the entrance to the restrooms, while a giant fiberglass anaconda drapes itself across the bench seating...but no one seems to mind. Appropriate jungle sounds play in the background a la the Rainforest Cafe.”


Clyde Barrow Childhood Home

Gas station childhood home of Clyde Barrow.“Old abandoned filling station, formerly Barrow gas station and childhood home of Clyde Barrow. Clyde's dad Henry built and ran the Barrow Star Service Station.

Grave of Clyde Barrow - Bonnie and Clyde

Clyde Barrow grave, augmented with liquor bottles and shotgun shells.Clyde Barrow's grave is worth a stop, but would not want to be here at night.

The grave is still maintained.  The graveyard was designated a historical site in 1988.

The dead Bonnie and Clyde bandit is honored with graveside donations of empty liquor bottles and shotgun shells.”


Whirlygig Water Tower

Whirlygig Water Tower.“In the suburb of Addison, an artistic water tower has sunburst design on the metal (not painted on) with "whirly gigs" on the top.

The whirly gigs actually generate electricity to power the tower and nearby streetlights.

When the wind is blowing, the whirly gigs spin rapidly and enhance the view of the tower.”



Ten Fun and Free Activities in Dallas, Texas

Cheap, Budget-Friendly Things to Do in Dallas

“Entertainment in a big city can be expensive-a single movie ticket costs $10, and you'll be lucky to eat out anywhere other than fast food for $20. However, in Dallas, Texas, you can have a great day without breaking the bank - in fact, you can have it for free! Keep reading for ten fun and free things to enjoy in the Big D.:”   More at:

______ AND MORE:

The Dallas, Texas Fifty Free
50 Great Things - Yours "Free to Enjoy"

“Having fun doesn't have to be expensive! The many things to see and do in Dallas include those that can be enjoyed absolutely free. Consider these offerings at: "


Dallas Cowboys and Stadium

imagesCAX3PWX4 “An article from Forbes Magazine, dated September 5, 2012, lists the Cowboys as the highest valued sports franchise in the history of the United States, and second in the world (behind Manchester United of the English Premier League), with an estimated value of approximately $2.1 billion. They are also the wealthiest team in the NFL, generating almost $269 million in annual revenue.

Cowboys stadium.JPGThe Dallas Cowboys are a professional American football franchise that plays in the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL). They are headquartered in Valley Ranch in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The team plays its home games at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, within the Dallas–Fort Worth metropolitan area, which finished construction in time for the 2009 season.”  More at: 


Offbeat Places:

Dallas, Texas: Muffler Man - Happy Half-Wit



“A giant country goof with an Alfred E. Neuman head stands over a muffler repair shop parking lot and holds a muffler.

So you if you can't read, you might still figure out what they do here.”





Giraffe statue at Dallas Zoo

Tallest statue in Texas: a giraffe.  “When the Dallas Zoo was remodeled, they constructed this massive giraffe statue that can be seen from I-35. The statue is really a neat thing to see, and the zoo is good too. Catch the train from a park and ride to save money on zoo parking.

The Giraffe is promoted as the "Tallest Statue in Texas," a metal sculpture over 67 ft. tall just outside the zoo parking entrance. Randy Stevens writes: "Don't know exactly how tall it is, but it reportedly was going to be a tad shorter. When the giant Sam Houston went up on Hwy 45 it was designed to be barely taller.

So Dallas put a blade of grass on the giraffe's tongue to gain the 'Tallest in Texas' title."


Muffler Man Blood Feud

photo by John Cirillo“Bud and Ben's used to be Bud and Ken's. Some time ago, at least 20 years, they had a falling out and parted ways.

Bud changed the ''K" in Ken's to a "B" because he was too cheap to change the whole sign. There is NO Ben!!!”



Traveling Man - 38-Foot-Tall Robot Gumby

Robot Gumby.


“Traveling Man towers over the Deep Ellum station of Dallas's downtown light rail system.

He was conceived and built by a group of local artists as an allegory of the neighborhood: a guitar-shaped head honors nearby musicians, a stainless steel body reflects the industries that moved away so that the musicians could move in, etc.

We like Traveling Man because he's 38 feet tall, weighs 35,000 pounds, and looks like a truckin' robot Gumby. There are two other, smaller, Traveling Men at the station as well.”   [ Team, 12/03/2009]


Robot Playing Guitar

Robot guitarist.“This 9 ft. robot dubbed the "Traveling Man Waiting on a Train" is one of three giant robots in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas. This one in particular is leaning against a piece of concrete from a tunnel that was removed.

There are also birds that function as seats. I didn't see the other two, but they are on the same street.”


On This Day:

Baseball owners allow Dodgers and Giants to move, May 28, 1957:

“On May 28, 1957, National League owners vote unanimously to allow the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers to move to San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively, at the mid-season owner’s meeting in Chicago, Illinois.

There were, however, conditions attached to the owners’ decision. First, either both teams had to move or neither could, which meant that if one team reconsidered, the other would have to change their plans as well. Second, both teams had to announce their plans before October 1, 1957. In the end, both teams did move: The Giants hosted a farewell party at a game on September 29, and the Dodgers formally announced their move on October 8. West Coast baseball fans were overjoyed, and the people of New York City were heartbroken.

The Giants were an up-and-down team leading up to 1957, both fiscally and on the field. In spite of winning World Championships in 1951 and 1954, the team could not draw fans as consistently as their Brooklyn rivals did. Owner Horace Stoneman thought the relocation to San Francisco would revitalize the team, but they continued to suffer from inconsistent play and attendance even after the move. On their final day at the Polo Grounds in Coogan’s Bluff, after fans stormed the field, former baseball writer and the Giants PR man Garry Schumacher chided, "If all the people who will claim in the future that they were here today had actually turned out, we wouldn’t have to be moving in the first place."

In 2000, the two teams faced off in the World Series, the first "subway series" since the Dodgers and the Yankees met in 1956. The Yankees prevailed, four games to one.”



Misty and I went to get Jay, and Misty was a lot more enthusiastic about her walk than she has been the last couple of weeks.  I had trouble keeping up with her, even though I am getting over my bronchitis/allergy, whatever it is.

Ray took everything out of my van and vacuumed all the debris out of it from hauling all that trash and form lumber from the church the day before.  Even the cup holders had cement dust in them. I went through everything and cleaned it before putting it back.  There are umbrellas, sweaters, blanket, tool box, two 12v. refrigerators, sunshades, and a bin with extra oil, tranny fluid, coolant, funnel, rope, etc.  Nothing like being prepared.

Jay took down the last of the framework over the front porch, and Ray helped him as it was the heavy part.  Then Jay removed what he had attached to the side of my house.  Now we are back to square one.   New plans will have to be drawn up.

The weather is alright in the mornings, but it gets muggy and hot later in the day.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Infographic. Thanks. Wordless Mammal Monday. St. Petersburg. Golden Gate Bridge.


For “Mammal Monday”:  Well, Almost Wordless!!

First, a sobering infographic about Memorial Day:








Did You Lose a Cat?





































































On This Day:

St. Petersburg founded by Peter the Great, May 27, 1703:

“After winning access to the Baltic Sea through his victories in the Great Northern War, Czar Peter I founds the city of St. Petersburg as the new Russian capital.

The reign of Peter, who became sole czar in 1696, was characterized by a series of sweeping military, political, economic, and cultural reforms based on Western European models. Peter the Great, as he became known, led his country into major conflicts with Persia, the Ottoman Empire, and Sweden. Russian victories in these wars greatly expanded Peter's empire, and the defeat of Sweden won Russia direct access to the Baltic Sea, a lifelong obsession of the Russian leader. With the founding of St. Petersburg, Russia was now a major European power--politically, culturally, and geographically. In 1721, Peter abandoned the traditional Russian title of czar in favor of the European-influenced title of emperor. Four years later, he died and was succeeded by his wife, Catherine.”


Golden Gate Bridge opens, May 27, 1937:

“On this day in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge, connecting San Francisco with Marin County, California, officially opens amid citywide celebration.

Named for the narrow strait that marks the entrance to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge was constructed from January 1933 to May 1937. At the time, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, at 4,200 feet. From the beginning, the bridge's location posed challenges for its construction, not least because of its proximity to the mighty San Andreas Fault, which passes from north to south through the San Francisco Bay area. In addition, the tumultuous waters of the strait posed grave dangers for the underwater construction work necessary to build the bridge.  Still, the engineer Joseph Strauss waged a tireless 16-year campaign to convince skeptical city officials and other opponents of the controversial project.

On the bridge's opening day, he triumphantly exclaimed: "The bridge which could not and should not be built, which the War Department would not permit, which the rocky foundation of the pier base would not support, which would have no traffic to justify it, which would ruin the beauty of the Golden Gate, which could not be completed within my costs estimate of $27,165,000, stands before you in all its majestic splendor, in complete refutation of every attack made upon it."

By 6 a.m. on May 27, 18,000 people were lined up on both the San Francisco and Marin sides; in all, some 200,000 showed up that day. At the appointed hour, a foghorn blew and the toll gates opened, releasing the earliest arrivals, who rushed to be the first to cross. Many schools, offices and stores were closed, and the day was designated "Pedestrian Day." The next day, the bridge opened to vehicular traffic. Across the country in the White House, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt proclaimed the bridge open to the world, and by the end of the day, more than 32,000 vehicles had paid tolls and crossed. According to the official Web site of the Golden Gate Bridge, nearly 2 billion vehicles have crossed the bridge (in both north- and southbound directions) in the 70-plus years of its operation.”



Misty and I took our walk down at Jay’s when we went to pick him up.  He is still high, but high on life and the several days of his sobriety.  He says he feels so much better, and the Lord took away the shakes when he prayed for it.   That’s great.

We loaded up the van with a cordless circular saw, big trash can, trash bags, rake, dustpan, tape measure, cold drinks, and drove to the church.

The Men’s Clean-Up team was already there, some were pressure washing the building.  Some were weed-whacking and blowing the parking lot.  Some kids were washing down the new steps and pathway from the church down to the big fenced basketball-volleyball-hopscotch-tennis court, with a water hose.  This congregation does a lot of activities together.

Jay and I just quietly started what we went to do.  Off in one corner by a pine tree, there had been a lot of trash and form lumber left by the contractors who built the new steps.  I picked up all the trash, cans, bottles and plastic, while Jay loaded some of the lumber into the van.  There were a lot of little pieces of wood that they had used to stake the boards, and I piled them into the trash can.  We knew we had to make a second trip to clean it all up.  We came back here and put a lot of it on my burn pile.  Some of the lumber can still be used, so we saved that. 

On the second trip to the church, I raked a lot of the pine needles up into the trash bags held open by the trash can.  And the dustpan?  That’s for holding the pine needles against the rake, to pick them up.  There might be snakey-poos or fire ants, and gloves won’t help then. Even tiny, baby snakes can be poisonous.

Jay loaded the rest of the lumber, and even some big globs of dried cement that had been left there.  One lump was so big that the pastor had to help Jay pick it up.  We put it in the van, as Jay has a use for it.  We left the area nice and clean so a mower won’t get damaged when they cut the grass there now.

Usually, Jay wanted to avoid the afternoon service at Willis Church, as it interfered with his beer time, so that is why he always wanted to go to the Conroe service in the mornings.  But he said that the Willis Church feels like his ‘home church’, now!

We really have to vacuum out the van today!