Happy Friday! Here are some oddball things I came across, submitted for your enjoyment…

It is “spring” here in New York’s Scenic Hudson Valley, but The Winter That Will Not Die rained ice chips on me while I walked the dogs yesterday and there are still mounds of unmelted snow along side driveways and parking lots in the neighborhood, but I don’t think I have much to complain about because at least we are not buried in tumbleweeds like they are in Victorville, California:

High winds have left a California desert town buried in tumbleweeds. Residents of Victorville, which is northeast of Los Angeles were shocked when hundreds of tumbleweeds blew into their town, burying everything in their wake, including 150 homes. There were so many weeds that they reached the second story of some of the houses.

Video captured and posted to YouTube showed massive piles of the weeds blowing through the town, completely covering some homes as clean-up crews worked to remove the tumbleweed.   MORE

H/T iOTWReport.com

When I saw a headline earlier this week about how some human beings have a genetic mutation that allows them to remain underwater for longer than most people, I expected I’d find out that they’d grown gills, but it turns out that they have special spleens. Via National Geographic:

If you hold your breath and plunge your face into a tub of water, your body automatically triggers what’s called the diving response. Your heart rate slows, your blood vessels constrict, and your spleen contracts, all reactions that help you save energy when you’re low on oxygen.

Most people can hold their breath underwater for a few seconds, some for a few minutes. But a group of people called the Bajau takes free diving to the extreme, staying underwater for as long as 13 minutes at depths of around 200 feet. These nomadic people live in waters winding through the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, where they dive to hunt for fish or search for natural elements that can be used in crafts.

Now, a study in the journal Cell offers the first clues that a DNA mutation for larger spleens gives the Bajau a genetic advantage for life in the deep.  READ MORE

H/T: Instapundit

Two cops were having a rough time trying to arrest a couple of miscreants who were violently resisting. One cop was knocked unconscious, when a female off duty medical assistant came to the rescue with a BODY SLAM to one of the thugs (also a female) who was attacking the cops. The bystander turned heroine then held the crook in place until the downed officer was back up and the cops could finish  the arrest. Via FoxNews:

Officer Brian Lowenhagen and Sgt. Eric Walters were attempting to arrest the suspect, later identified as 21-year-old Jacob R. Hellenbrand, outside of a convenience store on Sunday when a woman who was with him punched Loewenhagen “numerous times,” according to the police department.

As Sgt. Walters attempted to restrain the woman, identified as 21-year-old Olivia J. Boomsma, the “male was able to blade his body toward Sgt. Walters and forcefully kick Sgt. Walters on the right side of his face and head,” according to the police department.

Around that same time, an off-duty medical assistant who had stopped in the convenience store on her way home came to the rescue.

Divine Savior Hospital employee Vanessa Guerra ran toward the officers after she noticed Walters had fallen unconscious. As she was checking on him, the “female suspect was beginning to fight with Officer Loewenhagen again and was yelling about having a knife in her pocket,” police said.

That’s when Guerra “disregarded her own safety to help protect the officers,” the police department explained. She “body-slammed” Boomsma against a wall and “held her there until Sgt. Walters resumed consciousness and was able to handcuff the female,” the station added.

“I’m in the medical profession. When you get into that mode, you’re there for your patients, you’re there for the person that you see in need. And that’s what you do,” the medical assistant later told WKOW.

Portage Police Chief Manthey of the Portage Police Department thanked Guerra for her bravery, WKOW reported. RTWT

Dogs. They really do make everything better! Via SunnySkyz:

A group of Border Collies are having the time of their lives and they don’t even realize how much they are helping the planet.

Last year, wildfires in central Chile destroyed over a million acres of forest land.

Months later, a unique team was brought in to help restore the damaged ecosystem.

A border collie named Das and her two daughters,Olivia and Summer, have been fitted with special backpacks that allow them to distribute native plant seeds throughout burned forests.

Although the task is a serious one, it’s an excuse for the dogs to have fun.

“They reeeeeally love [it]!!” their owner, Francisca Torres, told Mother Nature Network. “It’s a country trip, where they can run as fast as they can and have a great time.”

Depending on the terrain, the four-legged trio can cover as many as 18 miles in a day and distribute more than 20 pounds of seeds.

Credit: Instagram / summerbordercollie via SunnySkyz

Dogs helping to reforest the forest. The longer I live, the longer I come to believe that there is little in this world that cannot be improved with dogs.

Have a nice weekend!

*******

MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

A friend of mine has a new book out, here is a bit from the press release about it.

When Islamic terror strikes,liberals insist that it has nothing to do with Islam. Author Michael Isenberg disagrees. His new book,The Thread of Reason,shows why. Not only is the ideology of terror deeply rooted in Muslim thought,going back to medieval times, but its sources may be found in the writings of one of the most revered figures in Islam.

The Thread of Reason tells the story of the assassination of Nizam al-Mulk, who ruled the Seljuq Empire,wielding more power than the sultans he served—until the fall night in 1092 when a terrorist’s blade struck him down on the road to Baghdad.

Determined to learn who was behind the murder of his chief minister, the sultan turns to the two smartest people he knows: the leading scholar of science,Omar Khayyam, and the leading scholar of shari’ah(Islamic Law), Abu Hamid Ghazali.

“The assassination of Nizam al-Mulk happened in real life,” Isenberg says. “In my fiction book I solve the mystery of who was behind it.
“Khayyam and Ghazali were real people. Khayyamwas quite a character. He’s the only figure I came across in my research who played practical jokes. In the west he’s known for a collection of poems he wrote called the Rubaiyat—Sheldon

If you like historical fiction you’ll like his book. You can buy his book here.

Of course even a fictional account of Islam can get you into trouble with the SPLC of course that was until someone decided to stand up to their Anti-Muslim extremist scam

As those of who you’ve perused my occasional scribblings here have doubtless noted, I’m something of a fan of classic Christian rock. And am occasionally prone to understatement, although it’s not my superpower. I don’t have one of those. But I digress.

Anyway, a longtime favorite band is The 77s. Hailing from Sacramento, thus making them about the only worthwhile thing to come from that political cesspool, The 77s, led by singer/guitarist extraordinaire/main songwriter Mike Roe, are one of those extremely rare bands that manages to carve two distinct yet not unconnected musical paths, one in earthy blues and one in shimmering guitar pop. And they’ve been doing so for decades.

Lately Roe has carried a heavy burden, taking care of his father as he has steadily drawn closer to the end of his days on this earth. Like most every other Christian rocker from back in the day, Roe is anything but independently wealthy, and needing to focus on his dad’s needs instead of making a living with his music has taken a toll. Thus the title of this post: you help him by buying some downloads and perhaps a CD or two, Roe blesses you with his musical and lyrical gift.

Ah, but where to begin — for that matter, where to find out what Roe and the 77s sound like? Glad you asked. (You did ask, didn’t you?) Your faithful scribe has assembled not one, not even two, but three playlists. So as not to overwhelm, I’ll list one a week plus a bonus track from one of the other playlists. The first two focus respectively on the gritty and graceful highlights from The 77s first two lineups, whereas the third covers the band’s third and current incarnation. Each song title links to the band’s Bandcamp page where you can listen and buy, with a few exceptions which shall be noted as they occur. Shall we?

Playlist One

This playlist focuses on the band’s heavier work from 1982 through 1994.

Perfect Blues (from Sticks and Stones; originally released in 1990) One of Roe’s greatest gifts is the ability to lyrically play devil’s advocate, or if you prefer illustrating those on the wrong side of the spiritual tracks. Driven by an irresistible rhythm and hook, Roe evidences his Clapton-level guitar skills — yes, he is instrumentally accomplished to where he is properly noted as being a legit six-string master — and weaves his magic.

What Was In That Letter (from Seventy Sevens; originally released in 1987) Roe has never shied away from discussing relationships, be they good or bad. This time through, along with co-writer Mark Tootle who played keyboards and guitar in the band’s first lineup, he ices a powerhouse tune with musings on just how powerful words are on both their intended recipient and those near to said recipient.

Make A Difference Tonight (from All Fall Down; originally released in 1984) Written by Roe, Tootle, and the band’s original drummer Mark Proctor, this mix of sparse verses and slamming chorus showcases a lyrical cry for deliverance. And may mark the only time you’ll hear the words thatches and tares in a song.

Woody (from Pray Naked; originally released in 1992) Written by Roe and bassist Mark Harmon, who joined the group in its second lineup. Laid atop a massive guitar riff, it’s another lyrical cry for deliverance, albeit this time through from a believer.

Snowblind (from Drowning With Land In Sight; originally released in 1994) Written by Roe and Harmon. What, every Christian band doesn’t do heavy blues to the point of near metal songs about cocaine addiction? Side note: currently unavailable for purchase along with the rest of the album from which it comes, but it will be re-released later this year.

Nuts For You (from Pray Naked) Don’t have the songwriter information in front of me for this one; sorry. This is Roe and company at their most playful. In keeping with the band’s pattern of lyrics you’ll never hear elsewhere in Christian music, this time through the line of choice is “bust my butt.”

Mercy Mercy (from All Fall Down) Written by Roe and Proctor. A near demented Bo Diddley rhythm drives this rock’n’roll revival. Don’t miss the video featuring Roe as a frenetic backwoods preacher.

Caught In An Unguarded Moment (from All Fall Down) Written by Tootle, Proctor, and Roe. Aaron Smith, who before he replaced Proctor after The 77s first album was in San Francisco new wave favorites Romeo Void, lays it down as Roe and company counterpart with a stark musical/lyrical observation of life’s fragility.

Descriptions coming for:

I Can’t Get Over It (from Seventy SevensWritten by Roe and Dave Leonhardt, who would become a member of The 77s second lineup.

MT (from Sticks And Stones)

Falling Down A Hole (from Ping Pong Over The Abyss; originally released in 1982)

Deep End (from Pray Naked)

Don’t, This Way (from Sticks And Stones)

Nobody’s Fault But Mine (from Drowning With Land In Sight)

Jesus (presently unavailable)

And the bonus track from the second, mellower playlist: The Lust, The Flesh, The Eyes & The Pride Of Life

Early this week R. Lee Emery the marine turned actor first known for Full Metal Jacket but more famous for his show Mail Call died at the age of 74

A few days ago Barbara Bush, wife of one president, mother of another not to mention the mother of a governor and matriarch of a grand political family after a long and useful life died at the age of 92.

Yesterday we learned that one of the legends of wrestling and one of the working class heroes of my pre-teen years Bruno Samartino died at the age of 82.

Finally we also heard that Harry Anderson actor and magician, who millions knew as the eccentric but honorable Judge Harry Stone from the very long running series Night Court died at the age of 62.

These people are very different in terms of where they come from although all in the end had fame and were performers (don’t think for one moment Mrs. Bush did not have to perform).  Some had lasting fame, others less known, some had a niche, and others would be recognized anywhere they showed their faces but all of them taught a lesson this week and this is it.

Everybody dies!

It does not matter how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are, how strong or fit you are or how determined you are.  It doesn’t matter if your friends are the most powerful and wealthy people in the world or if  you have access to the best doctors and the best medical treatment, either experimental or conventional  that the world can offer you.

In the end YOU ARE GOING TO DIE!

Today society denies reality all the time, our society has pretended that marriage is something other than what it is, that we can spontaneously change our sex/gender (which meant the same thing for more than 2000 years), that criminality is never the fault of those who commit it, that Islam is a religion of peace and that if we only use the right invented pronouns, smoke the right weed, and bring down western civilization as we know it, we will create paradise here on earth, but no amount of denial will change the fact that every single person who reads this post (and every person who doesn’t for that matter) is doomed to die along with the author of that post.

Act accordingly.

In closing I strongly suggest, implore and plead with you dear reader to take that reality into account, not in terms of life insurance or estate planning (although both are sensible things) but in terms of your soul and the mercy of God.

I am a very ordinary Catholic in a theological sense,  but in one respect my Catholicism is very strange in that it’s not faith based, but reality based.

I maintain that the doctrines of the Catholic Church are truth.

God’s exists.
Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin Mary was his son.
Christ suffered, died and rose from the dead to pay the debt for the sins of man.
Either Hell or Heaven (after a comparatively brief stop in purgatory for purification) awaits us for the rest of eternity.
The Choice of Heaven or Hell rests on our decision to accept the Mercy of Christ and act accordingly.

I submit these are not matters of faith and opinion but facts to be dealt with.

Now you might say my maintaining that these are facts make it so and you are right.  No amount of my stating these facts makes them true, however by the same token no amount of denial of them or insisting they are all fantasy make them false.

100 years from now we will either not exist or both know that I am telling the truth, the only question is will that knowledge be a source of eternal joy or pain.

I lost count of how many times I’ve heard that the cause of all or our country’s problems is the fact that we have two parties that are at political extremes, leaving most of us, who are moderates that inhabit political middle, unrepresented.  The proposed solution to this is the formation of a political party that occupies the middle ground between both extremist parties.

It would seem, based on the heated arguments, the endless bickering, and the fact that nothing gets accomplished, that the two parties do operate at the extreme polar opposites of the political spectrum.  That is not true at all.  Only one party, the Democrat Party, has veered off into one of the political extremes.  The Democrats now inhabit the extreme left.  Don’t take my word for it.  Here is what Senator Bernie Sanders had to say about his political party in this video.  Rather than inhabit the extreme political right, the Republican Party now operates slightly less far to the left when compared to the Democrats.  If you don’t agree please explain to me the latest Omnibus spending bill, their push for amnesty, their failure to repeal ObamaCare, their watered down tax cuts, and their efforts to eradicate true conservatives from leadership roles.

Why are so many convinced that each party operates on an opposite end of the political spectrum?  Why are so many convinced that the policies of the political right are harmful and against everything this country was built on or stands for?  It is because of a phenomenon known as the Overton Window.  Here is how Wikipedia describes this phenomenon:

The Overton window is an approach to identifying which ideas define the domain of acceptability within a democracy’s possible governmental policies. Proponents of policies outside the window seek to persuade or educate the public in order to move and/or expand the window. Proponents of current policies, or similar ones, within the window seek to convince people that policies outside it should be deemed unacceptable.

The media, which is very left leaning, controls the narrative that forms the boundaries on either side of the window.  They focus on the political spectrum in reference to how the two political parties exist today leaving out how both parties have slowly moved toward the left.  What is left out by this narrowed window is how the two parties are now so far from the original position that was supposed to have been set in stone by the Constitution.  The media, academia, and the Democrats paint the ideals of the Founding Fathers along with those individuals as being outdated, deeply flawed, and racist.  They describe the Constitution and its principles using similar language.  The media also uses the deeply inaccurate political spectrum that equates Fascists, Nazis, and conservatives,

Unfortunately the Republican Party abandoned the Constitution and the principles of fiscal responsibility and limited government a long time ago.  Those in the party that still adhered to these principles are marginalized, ridiculed, and stripped of committee chairmanships.  The media paints these individuals as dangerous extremists while championing those with extreme liberal beliefs.

The Constitution, which was supposed to limit the size and scope of the federal government, was abandoned many decades ago by both parties.  The principles of federalism and limited government, which are enshrined in the Constitution, built this nation into the freest and most prosperous nation that ever existed.   Rather than a party that occupies a narrow niche between two parties on the political left, we need one that reclaims a constitutionally limited federal government and free market economics.  Can the Republican Party be reformed so it once again follows our founding principles, which are hallmarks of the true political right?  I now believe the Republican Party is irredeemable.

Instead of shifting the media defined Overton Window back to the right; we need to smash it entirely so everyone can view the political spectrum in its entirety.  This will be extremely difficult since the media is mostly controlled by liberals, along with social media.  Next we need set the record straight about our Constitution and founding principles.   Finally we need to start a new party that embraces these principles.  Once we do this we can solve all of our problems.

Some things are just too funny to write:

The organisation said in a statement that it hopes to create a safe space for all members of the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual) community, and that while the decision may “disappoint” some people “the needs of the most marginalised groups within our community come first.”

Pity the poor drag queens, you can offend members of the general public, parents and Christians all you want, but the moment you might offend transgenders then you just aren’t acceptable anymore.

Via Steven Crowder who comments thus

Obviously, we need a UFC style ranking system of the pound-for-pound most marginalized groups.

His video clip on the subject I think is most appropriate go and see it.

That people have taken any of these folks seriously is one of the most amazing cultural developments I’ve seen in my lifetime.

“Faith?” The Wizard’s laughter shook the sky as the horde behind him joined in. “My mages, warlocks and minions number in the hundreds, my swordsmen the thousands and you would face us alone with but faith?”

‘Yes” Replied the man standing alone between the city and the multitude. “All I have is faith…”
he began, and the horde, led by the wizard, roared in laughter

“…the size of a mustard seed.”

Suddenly even as the rest continued to cackle, the wizard’s laughter died abruptly in his throat and the man saw forming in the wizard’s eyes the beginning of wisdom.

Loves the world, except for all the people

Men at work Dr. Heckyll and Mr. Jive 1982

I think Ace has nailed it when it comes to starbucks.

25. That’ll be great for Starbucks’ business. Their yuppie douchebag clientele love the homeless in the abstract, but we’ll see how much they appreciate their coffee shops being jammed with them, close-up-like, occupying most tables and chairs.

26. I don’t even want to defend Starbucks; I want them to have the full taste of Social Justice Warrior progressivism. If this is the company’s ideology, then they should live that ideology to the full.

27. I have a feeling Starbucks is just claiming this policy until the Social Justice Warrior locusts find a new business to harass, and then, when they do move on, they’ll quietly shift the policy back to “Paying Customers Only,” but I think it would be a hoot if conservatives monitored them to make sure they’re sticking with this new, idiotic policy of letting anyone just sit and lounge without actually buying anything.

28. I think it would be funny if rightwing blogs made sure they were continuing this policy and made sure everyone knew they were backsliding when they do, inevitably, backslide into a non-insane position.

Starbucks has caught themselves between a rock and a hard place.  The gated community crowd that lives in neighborhood far removed from those they agitate for are unlikely to be anxious to share a coffee shop with the great unwashed as they mutter to themselves.  Nor will they be anxious to avail themselves of the facilities as the homeless gather.

Even better with thousands of locations around the nation  the first time a homeless person, particularly one of color is turned away from either a bathroom or a table they can be sure that even an Obamaphone video of such an act will be made viral by the first conservative who sees it, presuming of course a conservatives isn’t ready to shoot such a video themselves.

If I owned a Starbucks franchise, I’d sell now because one they make it policy to reject the “unconscious desire to keep vagrants and transients from just parking themselves in their shops all damn day.”  I suspect nobody will have any interest in buying.

by baldilocks

When depredation after depredation mandated promote and allowed by California’s government, this should barely register in the Sweepstakes of Surprise.

Trains along the popular Capitol Corridor are running later than before, and homeless camps are partly to blame.

Rail officials say more people have trespassed on train tracks in the last year, forcing engineers at times to hit the brakes to avoid a possible crash – and at times tragically unable to. That’s left trains loaded with commuters or freight grinding to a halt in the middle of nowhere.

Capitol Corridor board chair Lucas Frerichs said the issue is foremost about human safety. But, it’s also a business problem.

You think?

“Frankly, we have a business to run, a service to the public. If people can’t depend on the train being on time, they will choose other options,” he said. (…)

The problem has become significant enough that Kutrosky sent an email last week to passengers asking them to report any encampments or large piles of trash they notice along the tracks while on their train ride.

He said he and his crews have seen camps in secluded and wooded areas recently in Sacramento, West Sacramento and Davis in the capital region, and Suisun City, Hercules, Berkeley, Oakland and Fremont in the Bay Area.

Capitol Corridor officials did not provide crash numbers requested by The Bee, as of Friday. But a spokesman for the Union Pacific said three people were hit by trains between Sacramento and the Bay Area.

If a person is killed by a train, it may be held in place for two to three hours as coroners, police and track inspectors do post-mortem work, officials said. That creates a domino effect, slowing passenger and freight trains from Sacramento to San Jose.

The writer points out that hobos and trains have a long history. However, I wonder if California’s elected officials plan to give CA to the homeless and the illegal aliens. Actually, I don’t wonder.

On more nail in the coffin.

(Thanks to Breitbart California)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar for his new not-GoDaddy host!

Or hit Juliette’s!

A few days ago I noted that the because Trump’s Syria strike caught both the MSM and the Democrat allies completely off guard meaning they had no chance to coordinate their message.  This meant that the MSM in general and CNN in particular was forced to play it straight.

Given that the strike was a success, coordinated with allies and the Russian response positively Obamawellian (do it AGAIN and you’ll be in trouble) the coverage was a positive disaster for the entire left, their only sop being the attempt to use the President’s “Mission Accomplished” tweet against him.

At the time I said once Democrats had a chance to poll and focus group the issue we would see what united message the Media and left would push on the Syrian strike we now know what that meme is:

What Syrian Strike?

Rush Limbaugh noticed the same thing:

Ladies and gentlemen, have you noticed how quickly, I mean, instantly the Drive-By Media has stopped reporting about Trump’s attack on Syria? You can’t find anything about it! You can’t find anything about anything other than Comey today. The attack began Friday evening, and by Saturday morning it was already pretty much disappeared from the headlines. I wonder why that is?

There is an old saying, if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all, with our friends on the left it’s more like, if all you can’t find something nasty to say about Donald Trump, don’t say anything at all.

Or in the words of Iowahawk

The left can only hope that Syria gets the message, because the last thing they need is Trump reminding voters of before the fall elections is what a President who leads looks like.