ye old scientific theories, oklahoma conservative is a con-man

flowering pear tree wallpaper

flowering pear tree wallpaper


The Most Bonkers Scientific Theories (Almost) Nobody Believes Anymore

The ancient Greeks were the first to have the crazy idea that a lamb could grow right out of the ground, with a stem attached to its navel. Pliny the Elder later mentioned it, and Europeans picked up the idea again in the 14th century.

This is the exceedingly strange legend of the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary.

Now, these folks were well aware of where lambs came from. They were baby sheep that came out of mommy sheep. Or a stork drops it off. Or whatever. But their story may have arisen out of the first Western accounts of cotton plants, which an ancient Greek by the name of Megasthenes found in India, referring to them as “trees on which wool grows.”

I had not heard the lamb and cotton plant legend before. There is more at the link. It is fascinating how word of mouth becomes highly distorted gossip, which became a conventional wisdom. Matt also includes Phrenology: Like Reading a Crystal Ball, But With People’s Heads. I’ve seen and heard people in real life and the movies play around with phrenology, but I’m not sure they’re serious. It has some ethnocentric origins. It was not enough for old European powers like Spain, France and England to invade, seize countries for profit and subjugate the local population, they had to have some “scientific” rationale like phrenology that showed for a fact these people were inferior.

Pratiqve de la Guerre. Contenant l'usage de

A roughish translation of the title of this book, Pratiqve of War. Containing the use of Artillery, Bombs & Mortars, Artificial Lights & Petards, Sappes & Mines, Bridges & Pontoons, Trenches & Works, With Assault order to Breches. All vn trafficking lights Ioye / by  Francis Malthus. 1650. Malthus was a French engineer and expert in assaulting fortresses.  While very scientific for it’s time, I am fairly certain they did not have guys that rode geese and threw lightning bolts.

Congressman Claims Widespread Fraud Because He Saw ‘Physically Fit’ Couple Use Food Stamps

At a town hall in Welch, OK on Thursday, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) called for the outright elimination of aid programs for low-income Americans, claiming that he has witnessed food stamp fraud firsthand. Mullin said he would like to “do away with a lot of these programs” because they allow people to slack off.

“The food programs are designed to take care of people who can’t work, not won’t work. And we all know those people that won’t work, right?” he asked the audience. “They’re abusing the program, and we’ve got to get them off of it.”

[  ]…Despite Mullin’s conviction that these people cannot be legitimately needy, solely on the basis that they look “physically fit,” food stamp fraud is down to just 1 percent. If the Congressman has noticed an increase in food stamp users in his local grocery store, evidence points to the nation’s dismal employment rate as the true culprit.

Meanwhile, many of those who receive SNAP benefits (from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps) work: More than 40 percent of recipients live in a household with earnings. Those who don’t work are likely to be under 18 or over 60. In fact, strict eligibility requirements for the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program have disqualified one in four food insecure households for being too high-income, and are allowing at least 50 million people to go hungry. Regardless, House Republicans are gunning for more cuts that would kick millions more families off the vital program.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)  is another amateur magician – look over here at this hand where he claims people are stealing pennies ( if you pay federal income taxes, less than 1penny of every dollar you pay goes to food assistance). Do not look at this hand where corporations, places where people reportedly work, are ripping the American public off for billions, and keeping trillions in offshore  banks. Listen to yet another freaky anecdotal story about people who are discouraged from working so they can cash in on that $4 a day in food. Pay no attention to the Walton family who has the net worth of the bottom 30 percent of Americans, yet tax payers subsidize every employee because they do not pay a living wage – neither do most restaurants, fast food joints or large retailers like Target, Sears, Home Depot, Hobby Lobby or Best Buy. Do not look at the pay of the top executives at those companies or how easy their average work day is compared to a minimum wage employee. Conservatives economic policies since the 1980s have made it a priority to shift to an economy that rewards wealth and punishes work.

Conservative economic punishes working class Americans


whistle blowers and the media, mermaids and radical fundamentalists

macro summer flower wallpaper

macro summer flower wallpaper


Top Ten Ways the Beltway Press Will Treat Gen. Cartwright Differently from Snowden

NBC reports that Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright is under investigation as the source for David Sanger’s 2012 New York Times article revealing that the United States is behind the Stuxnet computer virus, which was used to infect computers at Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facilities and at the Bushehr nuclear energy plants and delay their going hot.

No one will obsess about the exercise habits of Gen. Cartwright’s wife.
Gen. Cartwright will not be characterized as “a 63-year-old hacker.”
Gen. Cartwright will not be described as “nerdy” or “flaky.”
David Gregory will not ask that David Sanger be prosecuted for espionage because he aided and abetted Cartwright’s leaking.
We won’t get stories every day about where in McLean, Virginia, Gen. Cartwright is living.
Gen. Cartwright won’t be accused of being a spy for Iran.
No lurid stories will be rehearsed on the Sunday afternoon shows about Cartwright’s allegedly overly familiar relationship with a young female aide in 2009, with heavy innuendo as to what the episode said about his reckless character.
No FBI informants will be placed inside the elite Alfalfa Club in DC that Cartwright was known to attend.
Cartwright’s loyalty to the United States won’t be impugned by anchors or congressmen.
Dirt won’t be dug up on David Sanger’s private life in an attempt to discredit his reporting on Cartwright’s Stuxnet.

Regardless of what thinks about Mr. Snowden’s actions, the above is a strange facet of our media culture. While I disagree with with on a few things Noam Chomsky is right about how the media – that seems more Right of center than liberal or moderate – shapes and frames the news, thus how much of the public perceives events and people.

Mermaid by the sea ; woman by the sea

Mermaid by the sea ; woman by the sea. An illustration from Harper’s in  1877. I can barely read the text. Some of it is not very good poetry and some of it is humor. I thought of it after I read this story, Five reasons mermaids are impossible

The second is that were Nature somehow to fuse a fish butt onto a woman’s torso, how does said fusion creature make new creatures? Are mermaids parthenogens, mitotically producing new mermaids from some unseen orifice after being sown together from fish and people? You see, reproduction is a key element of being something that exists, that is alive. Animals gotta get it on, either with themselves or others of their species, to be here. An all-female human-fish mashup organism without sex bits, much less some way to lay an egg (fish style) or push out a baby (human style), isn’t gonna be able to do that. For a review, check out the comparative anatomy again. See?

One of those rare science articles that is fun to read. They wrote in in reply to a silly mermaid special on Animal Planet. They have so much silly stuff – mixed in with the good, on Animal Planet I would not have thought it worth bothering with. Though I do get that some people would seriously entertain the idea that half human-half fish creature could exist. And as long as we’re on the subject of a certain three letter word, Virginia Gov. Candidate Cuccinelli Asks Supreme Court to Revive Ban on Oral, Anal Sex.

But in 2004, when a bipartisan group of state Senators was trying to fix the sodomy law so that it would only apply to cases involving minors and non-consensual sex, Cuccinelli, then a state Senator, blocked the effort.

…As Mother Jones noted, some 90 percent of Americans would be felons if the Virginia law were to be applied nationally. Cuccinelli has remained mute as to whether he’s one of them.

We already put a lot of people in jail for spurious reasons, and do not put people in jail that might belong there. Perhaps some of us have a naive concept of what laws are for – to punish actions that hurt others. Ken Cuccinelli and his sycophantic followers think the law is about punishing people for doing things they find personally distasteful. That is a worm that can certainly turn. Many may find Ken’s bizarre and tyrannical politics distasteful.


the bell jar celebrates its 40th, the family leader antebellum myth, pygmallion by paul delvaux

“The Bell Jar” by Sylvia Plath has its 40th anniversary of its American publication this year, Sylvia Plath’s YA novel reaches middle age. by Emily Gould

It’s always interesting when a very strange book is also an enduringly popular book. The Bell Jar has sold more than three million copies and is a mainstay of American high school English classes; it was made into a movie in 1979, and another version, starring Julia Stiles, is currently in production. Like The Catcher in the Rye, it is a touchstone for a certain kind of introspective, moody teenager—the kind of teenager who used to listen to the Cure and, later on, Tori Amos, and who these days listens to—actually I have no idea, but she definitely has a blog. (There are an amazing variety of embarrassing shrines to The Bell Jar online.) Unlike Catcher, it also has other sources of partisan support: feminists of the 1970s claimed Plath as a martyred patron saint of repressive domesticity, and mental illness advocates have found in her work easily identifiable symptoms and syndromes that were misdiagnosed and barbarically treated.

it has been a while since I read ‘The Bell Jar”. It was in some kind of special edition called the Collected Works of Sylvia Plath or something like that. It’s in a box somewhere or I might have given it to someone. There is a PDF version on-line.I do not remember being particularly moved by it in the way I was moved by say Look Homeward Angel, which I read around the same time. Though as I reread a few pages of the pdf it reminded by how much I admired Plath’s peculiar and artful eye for detail. It was at a time that I suffered from writer’s envy. I would say something about the feminist aspects of her work, but frankly I just did not absorb ‘The Bell Jar” or her poems through a feminist lens. I generally dislike, as most people do, the idea of someone, male or female, living a repressed life or not being able to escape the cloak of despair that permeates their thoughts. Plath was severe in her judgement of other women, though she was not without compassion.

This kind of detail impressed me. It suggested a whole life of marvelous, elaborate decadence that attracted me like a magnet.

The only thing Doreen ever bawled me out about was bothering to get my assignments in by a deadline.

“What are you sweating over that for?” Doreen lounged on my bed in a peach silk dressing gown, filing her long, nicotine-yellow nails with an emery board, while I typed
up the draft of an interview with a best-selling novelist.

That was another thing — the rest of us had starched cotton summer nighties and quilted housecoats, or maybe terrycloth robes that doubled as beachcoats, but Doreen
wore these full-length nylon and lace jobs you could half see through, and dressing gowns the color of skin, that stuck to her by some kind of electricity. She had an interesting, slightly sweaty smell that reminded me of those scallopy leaves of sweet fern you break off and crush between your fingers for the musk of them.
“You know old Jay Cee won’t give a damn if that story’s in tomorrow or Monday.” Doreen lit a cigarette and let the smoke flare slowly from her nostrils so her eyes were veiled. “Jay Cee’s ugly as sin,” Doreen went on coolly. “I bet that old husband of hers turns out all the lights before he gets near her or he’d puke otherwise.”
Jay Cee was my boss, and I liked her a lot, in spite of what Doreen said. She wasn’t one of the fashion magazine gushers with fake eyelashes and giddy jewelry. Jay
Cee had brains, so her plug-ugly looks didn’t seem to matter.

This passage has the kind of carefully grafted detail that I remember envying.

Remember teanut presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum signing pledge by the Family Leader that read,

Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.

This article sets the record straight – Putting an Antebellum Myth to Rest

However, this was not a harmless gaffe; it represents a resurfacing of a pro-slavery view of “family values” that was prevalent in the decades before the Civil War. The resurrection of this idea has particular resonance now, because it was 150 years ago, soon after the war began, that the government started to respect the dignity of slave families. Slaves did not live in independent “households”; they lived under the auspices of masters who controlled the terms of their most intimate relationships.

Back in 1860, marriage was a civil right and a legal contract, available only to free people. Male slaves had no paternal rights and female slaves were recognized as mothers only to the extent that their status doomed their children’s fate to servitude in perpetuity. To be sure, most slaves did all that they could to protect, sustain and nurture their loved ones. Freedom and the love of family are the most abiding themes that dominate the hundreds of published narratives written by former slaves.

Though slaves could not marry legally, they were allowed to do so by custom with the permission of their owners — and most did. But the wedding vows they recited promised not “until death do us part,” but “until distance” — or, as one black minister bluntly put it, “the white man” — “do us part.” And couples were not entitled to live under the same roof, as each spouse could have a different owner, miles apart. All slaves dealt with the threat of forcible separation; untold numbers experienced it first-hand.


Pygmallion by Paul Delvaux,1939 Huile sur Bois oil on wood. Delvaux was a Belgian Surrealist painter and a colleague of Rene Magritte. I have a few of his paintings in jpeg. I especially liked this one because it reminds me of Magritte – the man in the bowler hat and the woman with lettuce for hair. It is based on the Greek myth not the play by George Bernard Shaw.

Solitude by Paul Delvaux 1956 Huile sur Panneau oil on panel. It was amazing how his style evolved. This one, 17 years after Pygmallion  is more architectural and the lone human figure is like looking at a Gothic inspired Edward Gory illustration.