With Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, the Christmas Season has officially begun, yay! I have a little boy at home who loves to show me videos he finds of little critters doing cute things, and among his (and my) favorites are the Peacock Spiders. The males are very pretty and do flashy dances, for the ladies. Here is a specially edited video featuring spidey footage, made festive for the holidays:

National Geographic provides a fun educational video about our little fancy dancing friends.

If disco is your thing, enjoy these spideys dancing to the Bee
Gees’ “Staying Alive”:

Back to the Christmas spirit with the Dance of the Sugarplum Peacock Spiders:

Here is some great information about these flashy spidies, via Mental Floss:

They’re fuzzy, they’re flashy, and they’ve got great moves.

1. They’re small, but they’re scrappy.

Peacock spiders (genus Maratus) cram a whole lot of swagger into a teeny-tiny package. The biggest Maratus species can reach 0.3 inches—about the size of a pencil eraser.

Like almost all spiders, peacock spiders are venomous. But that doesn’t mean they’re dangerous to humans: Their little jaws are so tiny that they couldn’t even puncture our skin.

We’re safe, but crickets and other spiders are not. Like all jumping spiders, the peacock spiders don’t build webs. They stalk their prey like lions. When the time comes, they pounce, and can take down prey three or four times their size.

2. Each species has its own dance—and house mix.

Female peacock spiders are the Tina Belchers of the animal kingdom. To impress them, you need two things: a terrific butt, and a talent for shaking it.

To fulfill these requirements, male peacock spiders have evolved spectacular iridescent fans on their butts, and fancy dances to show them off. The dance of each species is unique, but most of them involve sensual leg waving and booty shaking.

As if that wasn’t enough, a male also periodically pauses his dance to drum on the ground, and occasionally on the female’s head. Spiders don’t have ears like we do, and instead hear through organs on their legs. The drumbeats’ vibrations travel across the ground and up the legs of the female, which is apparently super-hot. If the male’s little vaudeville routine is satisfactory, the spiders get down to business.

MORE HERE!

Unpopular Science can tell you more about these and a few other kinds of special spiders, HERE.

I hope you enjoyed the cute spiders, my kids and I sure do – and it is nice to get away from the news once in a while, especially near Christmastime.

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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. 

Yesterday Jose Ines Garcia Zarate was found not guilty of the 2015 murder of Kate Steinle.

My initial reaction was that of outrage, since Garcia, previously deported five times, had been released from a San Francisco jail despite a standing federal deportation order (yes, one more deportation order) and San Francisco is a sanctuary city.

Patterico, who is a prosecutor, posted,

I didn’t see the trial, so I don’t know if the verdict was rational or irrational. However, only in the last few days did I learn some facts that made it sound like a tough case. It was a single ricochet shot off pavement. The interview was poorly conducted and failed to clearly establish that he pulled the trigger, due to a translation issue. I am not shocked by the verdict and it may be right.

Why did the jury reach this decision?

Sarah Rumpf looks at the case:

These two facts are undisputed by the prosecution and defense:

  1. On July 1, 2015, Kate Steinle was fatally struck in the back by a single bullet as she walked on Pier 14 with her father to view the San Francisco Bay. 
  2. Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a Mexican citizen illegally in the United States, fired the gun that killed Steinle. 

The complicated part is pretty much everything else.

The defense presented a credible case that the death was an accident, while the prosecution pressed for a first degree murder conviction (which would have meant that Garcia premeditated killing Steinle).

The jury convicted Garcia Zarate of a lesser charge of being a felon in possession of a gun, and is pending sentencing:

there is an outstanding U.S. Marshals Service warrant against him, and despite the sanctuary cities policy, San Francisco apparently does turn over undocumented immigrants to the feds when they have a warrant.

I urge you to read Rumpf’s lengthy post.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

There is one thing thing missing the current spate of pervnado stories that surprises me.

For decades are friends in media and culture have existed that the idea of absolute truths as taught by the Catholic Church is incorrect and that truth, right and wrong are completely subjective and that the idea that man is not just another animal but made in the image of God is nonsense.

That being the case can anyone explain why not a single member of the liberal Pervnado crowd is saying:

I know that to Ms. xxx what I did is wrong, but that’s HER truth. In my truth what I did is perfectly fine.

Since we humans are animals and males are biological driven to seek sex how can you consider me wrong for satisfying that biological urge?

If a woman chooses to sexually satisfy me in order to advance her career who are you to object? It’s a simple transaction that gives both parties what they want.

How dare you try to impose the Christian idea that sex outside of marriage is wrong!

What I choose to do behind closed doors to satisfy myself sexually is none of your business!

Could it be that the reason why we are not hearing any of these defenses either from those accused or from those who defend them be that they don’t believe the pap they have been telling us for decades and instead secretly know that Sr. John Dominic is right?

1: Why Educate in Virtue? from Dominican Sisters of Mary on Vimeo.

I submit and suggest that our liberal friends who decided 50 years ago that because they were so much smarter than every generation that came before them it was a good idea for society to abandon the tenets of Judeo christianity that had centuries of trial and error to test their value to humanity for the whole “Morality is subjective and if it feels good do it” were only slightly less idiotic than those is society who didn’t have the guts to tell them to get stuffed when they had the chance.

That’s the sad part, We as a society did this to ourselves and we did so because we still haven’t figured out that God’s rules are not for his benefit, but for ours.


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In most every area of life, there’s a seeming perpetual second fiddle; someone or something that while garnering a certain amount of acclaim is always viewed as the poor man’s version of whoever, or whatever, is the high profile high roller. This happens a lot in music, where an artist in a given genre no matter their skill or accomplishments is usually written off with a “well, he/she/they is/are okay, but he/she/they will never be as good as so-and-so.” Some artists acknowledge this fate; veteran British mellow progressive rockers Barclay James Harvest self-depreciatingly titled one of their songs “Poor Man’s Moody Blues.”

Keeping with the music theme, various instruments also fall into this perpetual silver medalist category. There are many superb pianos out there, but none have the allure of a Steinway; there are many superb violins, but none have the cachet of a Stradivarius. In a more down to earth category, namely the electric guitar, while the Gibson Les Paul is revered and rocked by players great and small, the Gibson SG is usually relegated to the that’s-nice department, often with a “so you couldn’t afford the real thing, huh?” smirk aimed its owners way (a new standard SG costs $1,650 less than a new standard Les Paul).

The SG was born out of, hard though it may be to believe given the Les Paul’s omnipresence, necessity when in the early 1960s Gibson was faced with a dilemma: no one was buying Les Pauls. Some rethinking and reengineering was called for, with the SG being the result. The SG’s body was noticeably thinner than the Les Paul, with some strategically located beveling incorporated for greater player comfort. Away went the maple top on a mahogany body that was the Les Paul’s normal wood selection; instead, the body was all mahogany. The neck was moved further away from the body, allowing easier access to the upper frets although much to Gibson’s chagrin it became rapidly apparent they had gone overboard as the neck-to-body joint was notoriously weak (this was corrected in the mid 1960s). Electronics and hardware were essentially the same, but the SG’s substantially different construction resulted in a somewhat less bright, more rounded tone than the Les Paul along with less sustain. Gibson discontinued making the Les Paul after 1960, introducing the SG in 1961 initially under the Les Paul name. The real Les Paul — yes, Virginia, there was a man named Les Paul who was a monster guitar player and guitar building innovator — was decidedly nonplussed with the new guitar and requested his name be removed from it. Which happened, the guitar being renamed the SG for solid guitar. Apparently no one at Gibson had any naming ideas that week.

Should one be inclined to peruse music video and concert footage from the 1960s, a fair number of SGs will be spotted. Eric Clapton played one boasting, sort of, a psychedelic paint scheme durin his time with Cream. Pete Townshend of The Who routinely played (and demolished) SGs during the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, the Les Paul was rediscovered during the 1960s, leading Gibson to reintroduce it in 1969 at which point the SG was relegated to “and we still make these too” status.

While the Les Paul is synonymous with rock royalty — Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, Duane Allman, Slash from Guns ‘N Roses, etc etc etc etc etc and a few dozen more etc after that — given how the two guitarists most commonly identified with the SG are Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath and Angus Young of AC/DC, the SG is more commonly associated with underworld pretend deity. Its pointed body tips are oft referred to as “devil’s horns.” Given how the SG is nine times out of ten finished in a medium to dark cherry red, I prefer to think of them as the tips of angel’s wings dipped in the blood of the martyrs. A simultaneously more lofty and sobering identifier.

I own a SG. It’s my favorite guitar to play. With the proper technique you can make it sound good for multiple musical genres, including country, in addition to the blues and rock with which it is normally associated. Does it have the almost unlimited sustain of a Les Paul? No. But it has its own unique, warm sound and you can hold a note for a decent length of time. It’s a dream to play, with low string action and its light weight helping you focus on the music alone rather than wondering if there’s a chiropractor in the house slinging a Les Paul over your shoulder for any length of time suggests.

The SG will never have the panache of a Les Paul. It will never be a status symbol or trophy guitar. Rather, it modestly exists for the sole purpose of enabling music creation.

Which, after all, is the idea behind any musical instrument.