Thursday, June 03, 2010


Have you ever wondered why chickens lay eggs every day while other birds in our trees only lay a few in a nest maybe once or twice a year?
I’m glad you asked! It seems that chickens were domesticated about 10,000 BC , in India or Vietnam from the Red Jungle Fowl, who still exist and look just like a real chicken. Dogs & pigs were also domesticated about the same time, my guess is that you needed eggs with your bacon, didn’t you? A chicken, if left alone, when about a dozen eggs are laid (a clutch) she stops laying and sits on them , turning them over until they hatch, then they’re on their own pretty much. However, some clever dude found that if he took away each egg as soon as it was laid, the hen automatically laid another to take it’s place. The hen does this diligently for a few years until she runs out of eggs, then it’s time to whip up the Coq au vin. Those of you who are anti-Columbus should realize we have the Spanish to thank for introducing this wonderful commodity to the Western World.

It has degenerated from an original contest between men to see whom would be the victor or the best or more skilled at a particular area like javelin, discus, wrestling, racing, etc. How do you justify that the current highlight of the Olympics is “Ice Dancing”, have we become a world of pansies? How do you even judge that? It appears that if you perform a couple of “Triple Axels” in your choreography and not fall down too much and show a lot of panties, wee, you’r going to be the toast of the sport world. I have to admit that it may be more physically exerting than “Synchronized Swimming”, or even “Curling”. Curling is all skill, if you’re adept at sweeping furiously with a broom. What’s next? Yoga? Ballet?

Here is something has mystified me for years. I have yet to get a clear answer from anyone & I thought hordes went to Niagra Falls to get married. All the pictures I have seen of the falls show the river running from right to left. However, I assume (maybe this is where I am wrong) that the river runs from the lakes to the Atlantic, in other words, from left to right from the US side. If that the case, all the pictures of the falls are taken from the Canadian side. Help me out here.!

A new house was just completed next door to our little ‘A’ frame cabin at Donner Summit and has presented us with a new problem as their roof snow builds up on their 4 in 12 metal roof and will slide off in a big mass which ends up inside out porch. Joy is afraid someone will be caught in this small avalanche and has taken steps to alleviate the danger. Hearing the avalanche canons occasionally gave us the idea that a loud bang could knock their snow off when we desired. We considered getting some blanks for a handgun, but settled on trying a recording of Beethoven’s 1812 Overture which features actual cannons in the score. Not having that handy, the closest score she had was Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lot of Love”. Joy positioned the Subaru in our drive, opened the doors, put on some earplugs and played the drum solo part wide open. Voila! The whole snow load slide right off the roof! Mission accomplished! We now have plans to drive up and down the streets playing our song and blowing all the snow off everyone’s roof.

On one of our trips to France, we discovered a pretty far out and progressive electrical generating system that uses tidal movements for generation. This is situated in a large estuary near Dinard and St. Malo, just South of Mont St. Michael. As the tides flow in or out, it passes thru a long series of turbines that lie beneath the road bridge. All this is incorporated in a bridge which runs on top of it. When the tide changes, letting the water in or out of the estuary, the turbine blades rotate and generate electricity. Each turbine is about 8' in diameter, one of the few drawbacks is the corrosive salt water on the equipment. This installation has been operational for many years, maybe twenty years? I'd show you pictures of it but some asshole stole my camera.

One of our most memorable experiences (Only if you’re a history buff) is staying in an old walled Medieval city in France. Aiuges Mort, in the Languadoc area of Southern France, is one of the few left that have a couple small hotels inside the city. Cars are not allowed so you have to drag your bag all thru the city banging around on the old cobblestones. Naturally they do have a system of allowing small delivery vehicles in at certain times. In the Hotel St. Louis (He really wasn’t a saint but a real asshole). We had a small room in a sixteenth century building with a tiny balcony overlooking a small square . It’s not the same as the Reniassance Faire, but you do get the feel of life in a fifteen century, before the cannon rendered the huge walls obsolete. Nevertheless, you could almost read the history of these walls, from the lower level Roman stonework to the top of the battlements, the stonework changing style about every 400 years of it’s building.
Also in southern France is Carcassonne is totally restored, being restored in the 1800's by the Architect Villet le Duc. Of the three hotels in the cite, we stayed for a few days at Hotel _____? It also gave one the impression of living in a filthy town, in a 12th century abbey, converted when indoor plumbing arrived. However, they never quite understood the system of plumbing vents as the sewer smell was sometimes pretty ripe. (Naturally, this was the cheapest of the three hotels in town). Otherwise, we were happy, roaming up and down the ancient stone circular staircase that was amazingly worn from hundreds of years of wear.

I am currently reading about the people and companies who make war, not love. It’s pretty interesting reading a book written just before the 2nd World War. The names Krupp, Rothechild, etc. have a marvelous method of supplying both sides of antagonists with weapons with deals made between countries to go easy on bombing other’s plants & facilities.

Then I read about Victor Bout, a Russian and a current purveyor of weapons. This guy is pretty amazing, selling to both the rebels & the government of all the African countries so they can kill each other more efficiently. He has developed a huge clandestine airline of huge, tough, Russian Air Force surplus planes. He knows how to get around all the controls the UN imposes on arms selling. Incredibly, he was selling to the Taliban and the US occupation force at the same time in Iraq and Afganistan. Sometimes these things just don’t seem believable.

An even more interesting book is The Sorrows of Imperialism, by Chalmers Johnson. The extended title is “Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic”. The author describes the rise of our Imperialism in the last 100 years, beginning with our acquisition of the Phillipenes, Guatanamo Bay & Hawaii. The military is so ensconced in our government with lobbyists, the shuffling of presidential advisors & advisors that we probably will not be able to reverse this process. Did you know we had 80 bases on Okinawa alone? Shit, that has to be smaller than California, doesn't it? No wondedr the Okinawans hate us, as well as the rest of the world. However, most of the world relies on our money that they have a hard time getting us out. It seems we have about 800 bases in a network around, the world, probably why our military budget of 400 Billion a year is larger than the combined budget of several of our allies combined. We just want to protect our oil supplies. And it just isn't Republicans like Bush I and II, as Democrats have kept it going also, even Carter.
There's no hope!