The Hearty Goldfish

A true story, heard from the mouth of a person that heard from the mouth of the story-teller:

A man and his wife move from one house in the LowCountry to another house in the LowCountry. Wishing to keep the accoutrements of their happy existence, they decided to move their  three (3) goldfish (carp?) to the yard of the new house. Accordingly, a new, small pond was excavated, shaped, and filled. The fish settled in, apparently happy with the new environment.

Several days after the move, the man ventured out into the lushness of his new yard and saw a snake slithering away into the far reaches of the yard. Not concerned, given his professional job as a biologist, and thus respectful of all God’s creatures, he went about his business. A thought occurred, and he looked in his new pond and noticed that one of the fish was missing. Moving in the direction of the disappearing snake, he found his precious carp(o) flapping in the high grass.

His pet was quickly and gently secured in his soft hands and tenderly placed in the small pond. Concerned that the fish might have been traumatized by the kidnap and assault, he prepared a sanctuary for the victim, separated from his fellow fishes by chicken wire, so that it might recover in solitude. And so the goldfish did.

Several days later, again in his yard, he checked the pond. Sacre’ Bleu! The fish was, again, missing. Moving towards the rear of the yard, he quickly found the snake, this time with the victim in his mouth, apparently very near to beginning the final descent into the belly of the beast. The man advanced on the snake, who, deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, spit out the fish and slithered into the dense foliage of the outer back yard (no doubt to seek shelter in a den filled with his evil compatriots). His escape was not effected, and the man severed the head from the body. No more snake!

To the man’s astonishment, his precious carp was flapping furiously and gasping for water. He, again, tenderly transported his beloved fish to the "safety" of the pond, where he continues to thrive as of this report.

Said the man: "That’s one hearty goldfish!"

To which I add: Amen!

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Perturbations in the Field

Mike the Mad Biologist has a fascinating post linking to an article in Ecology (online journal) that discusses the effects of Roman settlements on the local flora in French forests. He writes:

One interesting thing is that calcium carbonate leaching from the
building’s mortar alters the soil pH, and consequently affects nutrient
availability. This increases the number of species found close to these
settlements.

That’s right:  mortar that is at least 1700 years old is still determining plant community composition.

Get it? The ruins are continuing to influence the plant life immediately surrounding and on top of the old Roman structure. From the abstract itself:

These extensive observations in a forested region on acid soils
complement and confirm previous results from a single Roman settlement
on limestone. Ancient Roman agricultural systems are increasingly being
identified in contemporary French forests; the broad extent and
long-lasting effects of previous cultivation shown in this study
require that land-use history be considered as a primary control over
biodiversity variations in many forest landscapes, even after millennia
of abandonment.

612961894_342add9168 Pardon my wonderment, but I think it is amazing that the ruins of an ancient house are affecting the micro-climate of a forest. From the text, it appears that the presence of the mortar is beneficial to the environment, but I will leave the final determination of that opinion to experts. Regardless, this bit of news serves only to remind your scribe that we are all part of Gaia, and that everything that we do, no matter how innocuous, leaves ripples on the pond of our existence.

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Life Lesson

My mother died recently after a short bout with that damn Cancer. It came upon her (and us) very quickly, and took her before our family and a lot of her friends really understood the extent and severity of the disease. Although we can all comprehend the inevitability of death, it never quite seems so real until it takes a parent or a child. Sadness and the feeling of loss are our constant companions now, as we struggle to understand that she is no longer a telephone call or short drive away, available for those priceless words of wisdom, our comfort in the stormy seas of life. It is as if a part of me has been taken away, forever.

But from her death has come the wonderful experience of people, really acquaintances, and friends, some closer than others, who have made the effort to contact me, or other family members, to console us, or to let us know that we are in their prayers, that they share our grief. And in these notes, and calls, and casual encounters in the run of daily life, I receive great comfort. These kindnesses truly make the world a little brighter for her husband and children and grandchildren.

I moved away from my hometown about 17 years ago, and returned 4 years ago. During my absence, many of my friends raised children, experienced their own personal losses, and experienced the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune. In my absence, I had begun to assume that people in grief did not want to hear from someone that was no longer closely connected to their lives. I didn’t want to appear hypocritical by not re-establishing old friendships but extending condolences during a time of loss.

Now I understand. To all of you that have reached out to my family, thank you so much for thinking about my mother, but thank you also for teaching me about life, and kindness, and the power of friendships.

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Talking Bout My Generation

We have, over the past two years, engaged in a few spirited debates with our fellow bloggers from the left side of the forum. For the most part, the tenor of the debate has been positive and friendly, with the purpose, I hope, of seeking some common ground on the major issues of the day. Has my perspective changed? Absolutely? Have my progressive friends moved me to their side? Absolutely not!

No matter the subject, the perspective from this small corner of the blogosphere is that my progressive friends seem to be proselytizing from a position that has never quite seemed, to me at least, based on a verifiable reality. In trying to justify the underpinnings of a political philosophy, they ask us to assume that the world around us is, in fact, a much worse place than we understand it to be. Yes, there are problems, but, for the most part, I don’t believe that those problems are the consequence of nefarious politicians and corporate giants secretly plotting world domination. Should an enlightened culture strive to improve the lot of all people? Absolutely! Is the lack of perceived progress due to the machinations of self-serving interest groups, or is that lack of progress a victim of the difference in opinions about how to solve the problem?

Has the left lost its way? Read this article and decide?

A taste:

It shies away from hardcore economic issues but howls endlessly
about anything that sounds like a free-speech controversy, shrieking
about the notorious bugbears of the post-9/11 “police state” (the
Patriot Act, Total Information Awareness, CARNIVORE, etc.) in a way
that reveals unmistakably, to those who are paying close attention, a
not-so-secret desire to be relevant and threatening enough to warrant
the extralegal attention of the FBI. It sells scads of Che t-shirts
($20 at the International ANSWER online store) and has a perfected a
high-handed tone of moralistic finger-wagging, but its organizational
capacity is almost nil. It says a lot, but does very little.

The sad truth is that if the FBI really is following anyone on the
American left, it is engaging in a huge waste of time and personnel. No
matter what it claims for a self-image, in reality it’s the saddest
collection of cowering, ineffectual ninnies ever assembled under one
banner on God’s green earth. And its ugly little secret is that it
really doesn’t mind being in the position it’s in – politically
irrelevant and permanently relegated to the sidelines, tucked into its
cozy little cottage industry of polysyllabic, ivory tower criticism.
When you get right down to it, the American left is basically just a
noisy Upper West side cocktail party for the college-graduate class.

And we all know it. The question is, when will we finally admit it?

Read it and weep………..

Via Arts & Letters Daily….

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Via the gang at Q&O:

The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational once
again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by
adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new
definition. Here are this year’s winners. Read them carefully. Each is
an artificial word with only one letter altered to form a real word. Some are terrifically innovative:

1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

3.
Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people, that stops bright
ideas from penetrating. The Bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little
sign of breaking down in the near future.

4. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

5. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

6. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

7. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

8. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

9. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

10.
Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really
bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a
serious bummer.

11. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

12. Glibido: All talk and no action.

13. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

14. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked throug h a spider web.

15. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

16. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you’re eating.

17. Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an a$$.

These will be added to my lexicon for use at the appropriate time.

Thanks, McQ.

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SquirrelZilla

In a rapidly changing world, under duress from Man’s unquenchable thirst for Gaia’s resources, the inevitable stress on eco-niches is producing ever increasing cycles of evolutionary responses. The familiar spectrum of species in Kingdom Animalia is changing before our very eyes. Thanks to the ubiquitous camera and omnipresent Man, these changes can be recorded for posterity.

Behold SquirrelZilla…………..

Squirrel

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Hogzilla The New Piltdown?

I confess. Your scribe is a sucker for any storyline that includes a lone man and a pistol staring down death in a confrontation with any large animal. I have heard, from the mouths of participants direct to my ears, stories of hunting wild hogs armed only with a large knife and a big pistol. Oh, for the time when Men were men. Apparently I am not alone in this longing, as witnessed by the series of Hogzilla stories. Now comes the news that the most recent tale of boy versus boar may be a hoax. Even the mighty Today Show was duped. Is Hogzilla the new Piltdown Man? Pig

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