Friday, July 31, 2015

Trump Politics

Mostly I sit by and watch, amused, as the Republican presidential contenders try to out-do each other on the crazy.**

But every once in a while I read something about one of the candidates--in this case Trump--that makes me blow coffee out my nose:

“The Trump circus is largely comprised of hangers-on with a key skill set: kissing Donald Trump’s ass,” Wilson told the Guardian. “Oddly, the same skill set doesn’t extend into other domains like politics, common sense or judgment.”


** This is what my presidential platform would be (courtesy of Corrente's 12 Point Platform):

  1. A Living Wage
  2. Medicare for All
  3. Tax the Rich
  4. Job and Income Guarantee
  5. Debt Jubilee
  6. Retirement Security
  7. Free Public Education, pre-K-16
  8. Post Office Bank
  9. Enforce the Bill of Rights
  10. End the Wars
  11. Clean Air, Water, Soil, and Food
  12. Carbon Negative Economy



Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tough Trail Work

A work group from the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) called he Cadillac Crew came to our local section of the Tuscarora Trail to assist with some weed whacking this past weekend.  I was not along on this particular trip, but I had been weed whacking on the Tuscarora Trail solo two weeks ago since I knew I could not join this particular effort.

My forward progress was 1/4 mile per hour.  The briars were chest high and the trail was all but impassable.  My hat is off to the Cadillac Crew members who came out to assist, because if the main through trail, the Tuscarora, is not maintained and open, then all the good work I may do to keep my feeder trail (Reese Hollow) and backpacker's shelter spiffy goes for naught.

Anyway, here's the trip report from the crew's leader.  Sounds like a struggle:

Work on the TT this past weekend almost killed a few members of our crew, myself included.

The larger contingent went up the trail from Little Cove and took a left. We worked from where it was impassible till it seemed to descend from the ridge. A few made the decent but I ran out of water and string for my string trimmer so I'm not sure how much further they got. They were beyond my hearing of their brush cutters. We all got stopped by a lack of water.

I have no idea what distance we cleared, we waffled between just clearing a path and trying to clear enough so it wouldn't have to be redone in a month...

A smaller contingent went up the Alice trail. I didn't really condone this and wanted them to come down from Hells Hill but I couldn't convince people to go up Hells Hill again after our experience last year. They cleared a few blowdowns on the Alice and felt they made good progress North on the TT from the Alice. They had a much easier time, reporting that they mainly cleared vines that were knee high vs the shoulder high thorny stuff my group was clearing.

Sunday we didn't have the energy to hike all the way out to where we stopped so we went up to Rt 16 and worked our way south. It was pretty much lawn(&fern) mowing exercise, some places the trail was totally obscured but not with anything a string trimmer couldn't take care of. We only had 4-5 people working this stretch for a half day and we didn't meet up with where they had stopped the previous day.

I understand another crew is going out this weekend, one of our guys is contacting them to let them know where we got to. I'm not in a position to have the crew go out in August, 2 trips in a row to the same area was enough, especially if the weather is similar in August as I suspect it will be. I'm looking at options for August, one option would be to pull the November work at Silberman up to August so we could go back out to the TT when the weather is less harsh and to give us a variety of work before returning to the TT.

Since Cadillac did so much work on the TT relocation, we are obviously dedicated to this trail. I think we can plan at least 1 trip a year to go do maintenance on the TT in this area since it gets so little support. It would be better to do it when the weather is more conducive to carrying tools great distances and fighting the dragons we fought this past Saturday.

We could use some more help!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Seen at the Beach

We usually head to Nags Head, NC, but we had an opportunity to go to Ocean City, MD last week.  The two venues are quite different from one another.

I took this shot along the boardwalk:


The flying pig in the background--a huge kite--is quite appropriate juxtaposed with the sign.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cats in Art: Morning (Tuxford)


From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art. I am using some ideas from the coffee table book, The Cat in Art, by Stefano Zuffi.  

I have a loved one who lives in Eureka, CA, and works at the Humboldt Arts Council in the Morris Graves Museum of Art.  So...I perused the on-line images held by the Morris Graves Museum of Art and came up with 3 works containing cats (this is post 3 of 3).


Here's what the museum website says about their mission:

Museum art collections represent the nation’s patrimony and heritage, and the Humboldt Arts Council is conscious that we are entrusted with a resource that essentially belongs to the whole community— it’s yours to enjoy!

Collecting works of art is one of the most basic undertakings of an art museum. Moreover, what the museum collects strongly determines its overall character and influence in the art community at large. As a consequence, the Humboldt Arts Council in the Morris Graves Museum of Art is founded upon the principles of ethical art collecting and stewardship. The Museum recognizes that it holds for posterity a significant portion of our cultural wealth.  The Morris Graves Museum of Art is dedicated to the arts and artists of the Pacific Northwest with the highest priority given to the works of our patron artist, Morris Graves. Emphasis is placed on collecting art which builds on the evolving strengths of the collection and which also have a significant potential for long-term usefulness. 

With that intro, here's a very intriguing image:


Image credit Humboldt Arts Council in the Morris Graves Museum of Art, Brenda Tuxford, Morning, etching, 1995, size unspecified


I used the word "intriguing" because the cat does not appear on the table, yet its shadow does on the wall.  Maybe you could argue that the cat is really just out of the picture on the left, but why?  Seems to me that the whole intent is to draw the viewer in with this optical anomaly.

The kitty is relaxed and evidently pausing in the act of washing, as evidenced by the back feet in the air and the sense that the cat is looking at something.

In this one small etching of a silhouetted cat, Ms. Tuxford manages to capture so well the essence of catness.  



Friday, July 24, 2015

J. Geils Band Grammar Fail

Since my recent rant about no trespassing signs that read "Posted" (link here), I may as well dump on a rock band's butchering of the English language as well.

I'm talking about the J. Geils Band and their classic rock tune, Must of Got Lost.  My Sirius XM Radio was conveniently playing this the other day for my listening pleasure:




If the embedded video playeth not, here's the link.

Of course, the grammatical error is that it should read Must Have Got Lost.  Or if you really want to go full grammar police, Must Have Gotten Lost.

But then if I had the band's money I could burn mine, so what do I know.

Ed Note: I should point out that later iterations of the lyrics found on the web use the word Musta or Must've, which are perfectly OK, but the earlier versions of the title and lyrics use the word of.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Where I Run: Harshman Road and its Chicory Display

I've probably used that title before, as that 5 mile road loop is my absolute favorite run.  It's comfortable as an old shoe (great analogy, don't you think?), mostly traffic-free, and just plain pretty as the route winds past various farms.

And did I mention the roadside wildflowers?


[image credit Gary]

This is chicory, a lovely blue flower that seems quite content to grow well in crappy roadside areas.  It'll reach near waist high, and bears numerous 2" wide flowers close to the stalks, all summer long.

The pretty blue flowers do not seem to like being used for cut flowers, as they quickly wilt, despite being placed in water.  So the place to enjoy chicory is out along the roads, where it often is in association with Queen Anne's Lace, creating a lovely blue and white pageant.  


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More Saint Stuff...and Ultrarunning

From a different Catholic web site I've examined another list of patron saints and patronages.  You may recall my post of a couple weeks ago on this topic, here, which identified St. Sebastian as the Patron Saint of Athletes.

The web site linked above specifically expands St. Sebastian's reach to be the Patron Saint of Running:


"...as he was a centurion he was extremely fit and able to withstand long physical endurance."

And his feast day is 20 January.  Sounds like a great reason for a midwinter party or ultra run to commemorate the day and the person.

An Ultrarunner!  Yay!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

What to Do About the Middle East

This is some months old but every bit as timely as when it aired.  Thanks to Digby for the link:


Soon-to-be-ex–Daily Show host Jon Stewart recently interviewed Egyptian comedian and satirist Bassem Youssef about America and the Middle East. I found this surprisingly entertaining as well as nuanced; a smart piece. Their opening exchange:


Stewart: Tell me, Bassem. With the Middle East spiraling out of control, what should America do about this?

Youssef: (winning smile) Well, how about ... nothing.


Sounds like a plan to me.  There are nearly 200 nations on the planet.  The U.S. has troops in approximately 150 of them.  And a tough-to-pin-down number of permanent overseas bases, totaling some 800-900 (go ahead and Google for the number...your head will quickly spin).

Maybe it's time we un-assumed the role of the world's policeman?