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!

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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. 

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

Part of this process we are all going through, usually categorized under the label “being human,“ consists of those moments when we take stock of the situation, look around, look up, look within, and admit certain things hurt like hell but we’d just as soon not talk about them with anyone. It’s not that we are totally averse to the notion of seeking advice and comfort from others. Rather, it is either not wishing to burden those already carrying their own burdens with further difficulties, or a sudden flash of self-awareness that other people, in fact, also hurt and they’re tired of listening to you whine all the time like you’re the only person who’s got issues. Laugh, and the world laughs with you; pity party, and you pity party alone.

There is a third possibility: you simply don’t want to talk about it, no matter how deep the pain, because discussing things is the emotional equivalent of tearing a bandage off very, very slowly just to prove there’s a wound underneath. You know it’s there. Whether the world sees it is immaterial. It’s real, and it’s not that spectacular. It hurts like it is, though.

Still, it’s good to find some kind of commiseration. There is solace in knowing that others know, or have known, what we’re going through. We might not want to talk about it, but we wouldn’t mind hearing from others who are willing to talk about it. We know we are not alone, but we’d still like some reassurance we’re not the only one hurting.

Enter Mike Roe.

Roe, be it with his band The 77s or solo, has carved a path in Christian rock for naked honesty trumping needless homilies. In addition to possessing guitar skills legitimately placing him alongside such blues and rock legends as Eric Clapton, Roe is an amazing songwriter in two distinct genres: shimmering guitar pop and earthy blues/rock. That he is not feted as rock royalty is near criminal, but Roe perseveres. And he talks about the things we’d often rather not: divorce, alienation, loved ones dying.

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 and company bless you with their musical and lyrical gifts.

Ah, but where to begin — for that matter, where to find out what Roe and the 77s sound like? I’ve assembled a suggested playlist covering some of Roe’s gritty and graceful highlights. Each song title links to the band’s Bandcamp page where you can listen and buy, with one exception that’s not presently available but will be later this year. I had written descriptions for some of the songs, but I’ve discarded them as unnecessary. Just listen. You’ll get it.

This Is The Way Love Is

Woody

Begin

Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba

Nowhere Else

Dig My Heels

Mercy Mercy

Holy Hold

The Rain Kept Falling In Love

Make A Difference Tonight

Caught In An Unguarded Moment

The Years Go Down

Unbalanced

Perfect Blues

Sevens

The Lust, The Flesh, The Eyes & The Pride Of Life

Nobody’s Fault But Mine

The playlist is also available on YouTube.