Sunday, July 31, 2005

Have You Seen the Little Piggies?

I've been talking with members of my family (mom, twin brother, sister). They're all asking the same thing. Is Karl Rove going to get away with treason? The news has gone fairly quiet after the stunning, adrenalin-pumping revelations of the past few weeks. We were jazzed by Karl's plummet. It was thrilling.

Then, it went quiet. And not only that, the republican machine went into full gear in Congress. They passed regressive legislation (energy bill, homeland security, exemption to gun manufacturers, etc), handing more over to the wealthy--some delicious pork for the swine-in-suit insiders. They dragged their lard-fatted bellies up to the trough, and it was a snorting hog-fest of the worst kind. And perphaps, for dessert they will be served the interim appointment of Bolton to the UN. Mmmm deeeelicious.

Yes, we're bemoaning this cruel fate, to be in the hands of the worst and most corrupt administration, certainly in my lifetime. So, I do what I always do in the face of such gut-wrenching, mind-numbing reality-- go for walks, read poetry. Here's something by Wendell Berry I found the other day. I actually did the unthinkable, I edited it for my tastes (isn't that outrageous?). Here's a link to the full text of Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

We are practicing resurrection. Awakening. Walking. Learning the land. Going light.

I see something beautiful in the distance.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Flights of Fancy

Sometimes the only answer is to be as light as a feather.

Cliff Swallow along Port Townsend Bay.

Killdeer takes off from beach at Fort Flagler.

Goldfinch takes off from our pond.

Bald Eagle flies around the corner and out of sight.

Blue Heron standing still, but looking quite elegant.

The War Ends Without Peace

Glad to know that the war is over. We're moving in great strides on to the struggle against global extremism. It doesn't have quite the right snappy cadence, but oh the war is over.
One good thing to come of this momentous occasion is that the normal deference paid to a war time president can now cease. I don't think global struggle provides a cover the way a war does. What will the wingers do with this dissonance? The war is over, did we win?
The pirate and I were surprised to see the war end so soon (forgetting momentarily the 2006 congressional races). The president hadn't even given us an opportunity to do our bed-in for peace, and the pirate has been growing his hair for the occasion. Oh well. Maybe we'll invade Iran and all won't be lost.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Dog Days of Summer

Canis Major
You know it when it hits you, but what are the Dog Days of Summer, anyway? That's what I've been thinking about when I have no energy to do anything and not a creative thought it my head. There's so much going on that it is driving me absolutely crazy, and I am stuck in a torpor of heat and overload. Here are a few things that I could rant about, but because of these Dog Days of Summer, I have gone silent. These all fall under the category of WTF?
1. Changing the language: War on Terror to the Struggle Against Global Extremism.
2. Nominee John G. Roberts can't remember if he was a member of the Federalist Society.
3. The Bush team won't release all of Robert's relevant and pertinent paperwork, but the Senate is asked to advise and consent without them (see if they hold papers, we can talk about that and not about Karl Rove). Did I ever tell you how much I hate these people?
4. The gears have begun grinding to do troop withdrawals from Iraq before the 2006 congressional season is upon us. (Planning the future, ten steps ahead.)
5. Karl Rove got a raise.
6. The Wingnuts think you can't be both a patriot and a democrat, even if you are career, covert CIA.
7. The MSM still seems woefully ignorant of what a free press is supposed to do when traitorous and treasonous activities have taken place in the highest office of our country.
8. There's been an insidious extremist right-wing takeover of our country that has been encroaching since 1974, and I'm not sure it is at all un-doable.
9. Jane Fonda on a bio-fueled bus. (This bothers me because of the attention it will get.)
10. The smirking, arrogant Bush is more teflon-coated than Reagan. (Why is this man so lucky?)
11. Will Bolton be an interim United Nations appointment?
12. Just how much money does the new Energy Bill give in tax credits to companies?

So what are the The Dog Days of Summer?

It is the name for the most sultry period of summer, from about July 3 to Aug. 11. Named in early times by observers in countries bordering the Mediterranean, the period was reckoned as extending from 20 days before to 20 days after the conjunction of Sirius (the dog star) and the sun. It also refers to a period of stagnation or inactivity.

But where does the term come from? Why do we call the hot, sultry days of summer “dog days?”

In ancient times, when the night sky was unobscured by artificial lights and smog, different groups of peoples in different parts of the world drew images in the sky by “connecting the dots” of stars. The images drawn were dependent upon the culture: The Chinese saw different images than the Native Americans, who saw different pictures than the Europeans. These star pictures are now called constellations, and the constellations that are now mapped out in the sky come from our European ancestors.

They saw images of bears, (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), twins, (Gemini), a bull, (Taurus), and others, including dogs, (Canis Major and Canis Minor).

The brightest of the stars in Canis Major (the big dog) is Sirius, which also happens to be the brightest star in the night sky. In fact, it is so bright that the ancient Romans thought that the earth received heat from it. Look for it in the southern sky (viewed from northern latitudes) during January.

In the summer, however, Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets with the sun. During late July Sirius is in conjunction with the sun, and the ancients believed that its heat added to the heat of the sun, creating a stretch of hot and sultry weather. They named this period of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20 days after, “dog days” after the dog star.

The conjunction of Sirius with the sun varies somewhat with latitude. And the “precession of the equinoxes” (a gradual drifting of the constellations over time) means that the constellations today are not in exactly the same place in the sky as they were in ancient Rome. Today, dog days occur during the period between July 3 and August 11. Although it is certainly the warmest period of the summer, the heat is not due to the added radiation from a far-away star, regardless of its brightness. No, the heat of summer is a direct result of the earth's tilt.

So, basically, I got nothing but these Dog Days. Heading out to Marrowstone Island this afternoon to explore Mystery Beach. Maybe I'll find inspiration there.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sunflower Sea Star

We saw a sea star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) much like this one in Port Townsend Bay, but the wind on the water kept the surface from being smooth enough for us to photograph it. We tried.
Description: Commonly 65 cm radius, but some large specimens reach 1 m across; orange, yellow, red to brown, sometimes purple; broad central disk with approximately 24 soft flexible arms.

Habitat: Commonly found on sand or gravel bottoms, and often on dock pilings.

Natural History: This is our largest and fastest sea star. Its soft, flexible body and numerous tube feet allow it to move quickly. It has been observed moving over sand or gravel at speeds up to 3 meters per minute. It feeds upon a large variety of organisms which include urchins, sand dollars, bivalves and sea cucumbers. It will also scavenge upon dead fish. Its mere presence causes many animals to show a dramatic escape response.

Here's what our camera was able to record.

When the water surface was calm, we could photograph this crab very easily.

Monday, July 25, 2005


"He was a bold man that first eat on oyster."
Jonathan Swift

"Why, then the world's mine oyster; Which I with sword will open."
The Merry Wives of Windsor Act 2 Scene 2, Shakespeare

'Twere better to be born a stone
Of ruder shape, and feeling none,
Than with a tenderness like mine
And sensibilities so fine!
Ah, hapless wretch! condemn'd to dwell
Forever in my native shell,
Ordained to move when others please,
Not for my own content or ease;
But toss'd and buffeted about,
Now in the water and now out.
William Cowper, The Poet, the Oyster and Sensitive Plant

"We are bound to our bodies like an oyster is to its shell"

the pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas, was introduced to the west coast of north america from Japan in 1904. females release millions of eggs. males release, well, as much sperm as they can. that any egg and sperm meet is indeed wondrous. the larvae that develop drift down to the bottom of the water and if they happen to land in the proper intertidal zone (somewhere in the lower half of the upper half, the third quartile up from lowest perhaps, from my limited observation) and in a suitably rocky place they grow, sometimes attaching themselves to rocks and sometimes not.

i have enjoyed collecting and eating clams for many years and i have gotten some experience at finding them. the first time i looked here not far from our new house i found a nice edible clam in about three minutes digging with an empty shell. i learned that there were oysters somewhere local when i got a license and read the regulations. but where? i had no idea of oyster habitat. so we were walking on a beach in town, port townsend, and while walking over a rocky stretch at a medium low tide RD asks "is that an oyster?"

well i'll be darned. an oyster it was. looking around we saw more. later on, another day at another beach i saw the same sort of rocky place at the same sort of tide zone and there were some oysters. not too old yet to stop learning.

the photos below show, we hope, the habitat and appearance of oysters in the wild. there are also native oysters, but they grow much smaller.

oyster habitat. the first place of discovery.

there is an oyster here.

see. right there.

oh well. this one is firmly attached to a rock. someone or something else will eat this one eventually.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Everybody's Eating

Gary Snyder wrote:
All that moves, loves to sing.
We write:
All that lives, loves to eat.
To paraphrase Dylan-- Everyone serves somebody, and in this case by being food.

update: a walk on the shore at low tide. crows like seafood too.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


RD's photo in her high school literary journal 1969

Dave over at Via Negativa wrote a while back that he felt nostalgia for the present. Such a notion intrigued me. I have often felt such a nostalgia.
The hummingbirds have stopped coming to our feeder. I continue to change the sugary sweet water that I fill the feeder with, but it's been over a week, and they have not returned. We are still in thick of summer. Most of the blogs I read are steeped in the sweat of their stifling humid summer days. But the hummingbirds here in the Pacific Northwest seem to be responding to a different cue-- an early winter? has the light changed with enough significance to send them on their migratory voyage?
We took a walk along a new trail the other day and ran into a couple older than we are. They were making their way along a cliff above Port Townsend Bay. They asked, "Have you seen any good birds today?" We said, "Oh yes, we saw a Belted Kingfisher diving for fish over on the other side of the park." They said, "Our neighbor told us that the hummingbirds have stopped coming to her feeder." We looked out over the blue water. The quiet waves of time and light were moving. It is now summer, and summer is now over. The hummingbirds have gone.
When I look at this picture of me when I was 17 years old in the high school literary journal, I remember even then feeling a nostalgia for the present. The evanescent moment. It was 1969, the summer before my high school senior year. The poems in our literary journal were all about Vietnam. This one by a classmate was one of my favorites:
In a sunken rice paddy,
You are what you believe,
and your country dies
as you bleed.
The anguish of an ill-conceived war was palpable everywhere. A sub-culture was born that rent the country and people poured into the streets. Passion was the force and fruit of everything-- this anti-war movement, the music, the marches, the chants, and the sensual sharing of our flesh in hope for the taste of something nectar sweet and infinite.
It was all as fleeting as this hummingbird summer-- leaving feeders hanging in the lazy sun and swaying almost imperceptibly to the hint of fall breezes.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Hawk Gets Lunch

We were driving home from the beach today and turned down a nice country road that we hadn't been on before. We noticed this hawk (maybe a Red-Tailed Buteo jamaicensis) perched on a wire, so we pulled over to see if we could get a picture of it. The following shots are how the action unfolded. (Definitely click on the pictures for a much larger view.)

It flew away, lunch in talons, beyond the flowers and fence and out of sight.

Cold Comfort Farm

the pirate in, oh, about 1975, at cold comfort farm

some of our loyal readers expressed an interest in "cold comfort farm" so here is a brief explanation of how we came to use that name, and a hint of the history of the place.

in 1969 my first wife and i lived in london, and watched, on the telly as they say, a dramatization of a novel called "cold comfort farm." it was hilarious. we got the book and read it. we joked often about the characters.

in 1971, or close enough, we bought ten acres of redwoods with a very dilapidated house. we made it livable, which included having a septic system installed and reroofing the house. a pony came with the property. an ornery pony. we gave him away. there was a chicken coop. we got chickens.

my wife had a sign made, for my birthday, with "cold comfort farm" in fancy script and a border of flowers. i built a post with a cross piece. i put it where our driveway left the road and hung the sign on it. by and by, though not due to the sign, our place became a minor way station on the san francisco/arcata hippie highway. we had a stream of interesting visitors, most interesting in a good way, some in a not-such-good way.

off in the woods there was a cozy little opening where my brother (an actual sibling, not a hippie "brother") and his girlfriend would camp when they visited. other people also began to camp there when visiting. one of the rather strange but very industrious and kind visitors asked if he could build a small dome there and we said ok. he scrounged lumber and built a hexagonal platform and then a hexagonal dome or yurt on it. he lived there for a while and moved on. many others spent longer or shorter times there.

the yurt, not being sturdy enough to survive after its plastic cover disintegrated, crumpled after several years. a newcomer then built a more substantial little cabin on the still sturdy platform and lived in it for a while.

still later i rebuilt the big house, making it larger and much nicer, and sold it and moved further out. another story for another time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Belted Kingfisher

Rurality has some beautiful close-up shots of the Belted Kingfisher today. These birds are fairly hard to photograph. They move almost as quickly as hummingbirds, and are very elusive. We were out photographing birds yesterday, as well, and were able to capture this kingfisher as it went for fish.

This Belted Kingfisher perched in tree before taking off for food.

It hovers before plunging headfirst into Port Townsend Bay.

Headed into the bay.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Garden Update

we have been having a warm spell lately and the garden is growing quite well. here are a few pictures. as always---click on pic=large pic.

eggplant flower in the greenhouse. the outside eggplants are catching up quickly.

another grand squash flower

corn! tasselling! (is that a real verb?) and an artichoke plant to the left, from which we have already eaten a 'choke.

our first jalapeno. it's about 3/4 inch long. i have been trying to grow peppers for years. this is the absolute best so far. close to it in the greenhouse are the peppers growing from seeds from organic red bells. flowers are forming. stay tuned for news of them.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Zogby and Me

Anderson Lake

I participate in Zogby online polls. I like to contribute to the cultural ambiance that way. I always answer polling questions, even when interviewers call during dinner. I think it's important.
I received one of Zogby online polls today. The first 79% (when you fill in the questionnaire online, it gives you a running total of how complete it is) was entirely on spectator sports, and specifically about boxing. I don't care a whit about boxing. I never watch it, ever. For some reason though, I kept up with the all the inane questions. Screen after screen. Blah blah boxing decisions. Blah blah officials mettling. I answered every question "Not sure" wishing they had a "Don't Care" category. But then, suddenly the questionnaire changed completely. And this is what the last 20% of the poll was about:

One of the most important steps in making water safe to drink is disinfection - the removal or inactivation of bacteria and other harmful pathogens. Some methods and/or technologies currently used by cities for disinfecting water, however, have been found by the U.S. EPA to add new risks to treated water, such as creation of byproducts that have been linked to cancer and birth defects in humans. In addition, some methods have been found by the EPA to be inffective in reducing certain targeted pathogens such as Cryptosporidium. Other concerns include use of technologies that expose water to fragile equipment that contains mercury that could accidentally be released into the water.

In the following question, imagine that you are presented a choice of one of four glasses of water to drink. Each has been treated with a different method or technology for the disinfection process. A listing of the pros and cons of each disinfection method is provided based on the 3 key health and regulatory concerns - creation of harmful byproducts, effectiveness with treating targeted pathogens like Cryptosporidium, and potential mercury risk-mentioned above. Other characteristics of each method, such as history of use and relative costs, are also included. Which glass would you choose - A, B, C, or D?

Glass A:
• Creates harmful byproducts
• Not effective in treating Cryptosporidium
• No mercury risk
• Long use history; moderate costs

Glass B:
• Does not create byproducts
• Effective for treatment of Cryptosporidium
• Risk of mercury contamination
• Limited use history; moderate costs

Glass C:
• Creates harmful byproducts
• Effective for treatment of Cryptosporidium
• No mercury risk
• Moderate use history; high costs

Glass D:
• Does not create byproducts
• Effective for treatment of Cryptosporidium
• No mercury risk
• New technology; moderate cost

What action do you feel your city should take to ensure that your water matches the glass you chose?

  • Switch as soon as possible to the disinfection method you selected
  • Continue current method while studying alternatives
  • Take no action
  • Not sure
What action do you feel the EPA or other regulatory agencies should take regarding continued use of the water treatment methods you did NOT select?

  • Phase-out or ban the use of such methods
  • Provide incentives to switch to the method you selected
  • Take no action
  • Not sure

Which of the following phrases or slogans do you feel best describes the water disinfection method you chose

  • For Safer Water
  • The Higher Standard for Safe Water
  • Safe. Certain. Secure
  • No Compromises
  • Ecomagination
  • None of the above

Now, why would they put such important polling question at the end of a boxing questionnaire? Makes you wonder, doesn't it? In case you're interested, I voted for Glass D. I'm sure you can guess how I answered the rest.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Rice Cooker

an indispensible kitchen appliance in our house is this electric rice cooker. put in rice and water, push the lever down, wait till the red light goes off, eat the rice. it comes out perfect every time!

vegetables can be added and will cook right along with the rice. carrots. peas. ?.

and spices. cinnamon. star anise. cumin seed. cayenne. coriander. saffron. sugar. not all at once of course. pick a theme. add chopped basil when you serve the rice. yummy.

Gone to the Lake for the Day

Hey, we're out exploring a new lake today. Brought binoculars and camera. Swim suits and a picnic.
Check out Frank Rich while we're gone:

July 17, 2005

Follow the Uranium

"I am saying that if anyone was involved in that type of activity which I referred to, they would not be working here."
- Ron Ziegler, press secretary to Richard Nixon, defending the presidential aide Dwight Chapin on Oct. 18, 1972. Chapin was convicted in April 1974 of perjury in connection with his relationship to the political saboteur Donald Segretti.

"Any individual who works here at the White House has the confidence of the president. They wouldn't be working here at the White House if they didn't have the president's confidence."
- Scott McClellan, press secretary to George W. Bush, defending Karl Rove on Tuesday.

WELL, of course, Karl Rove did it. He may not have violated the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, with its high threshold of criminality for outing a covert agent, but there's no doubt he trashed Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame. We know this not only because of Matt Cooper's e-mail, but also because of Mr. Rove's own history. Trashing is in his nature, and bad things happen, usually through under-the-radar whispers, to decent people (and their wives) who get in his way. In the 2000 South Carolina primary, John McCain's wife, Cindy, was rumored to be a drug addict (and Senator McCain was rumored to be mentally unstable). In the 1994 Texas governor's race, Ann Richards found herself rumored to be a lesbian. The implication that Mr. Wilson was a John Kerry-ish girlie man beholden to his wife for his meal ticket is of a thematic piece with previous mud splattered on Rove political adversaries. The difference is that this time Mr. Rove got caught.

Even so, we shouldn't get hung up on him - or on most of the other supposed leading figures in this scandal thus far. Not Matt Cooper or Judy Miller or the Wilsons or the bad guy everyone loves to hate, the former CNN star Robert Novak. This scandal is not about them in the end, any more than Watergate was about Dwight Chapin and Donald Segretti or Woodward and Bernstein. It is about the president of the United States. It is about a plot that was hatched at the top of the administration and in which everyone else, Mr. Rove included, are at most secondary players.

To see the main plot, you must sweep away the subplots, starting with the Cooper e-mail. It has been brandished as a smoking gun by Bush bashers and as exculpatory evidence by Bush backers (Mr. Rove, you see, was just trying to ensure that Time had its facts straight). But no one knows what this e-mail means unless it's set against the avalanche of other evidence, most of it secret, including what Mr. Rove said in three appearances before the grand jury. Therein lies the rub, or at least whatever case might be made for perjury.

Another bogus subplot, long popular on the left, has it that Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, gave Mr. Novak a free pass out of ideological comradeship. But Mr. Fitzgerald, both young (44) and ambitious, has no record of Starr- or Ashcroft-style partisanship (his contempt for the press notwithstanding) or known proclivity for committing career suicide. What's most likely is that Mr. Novak, more of a common coward than the prince of darkness he fashions himself to be, found a way to spill some beans and avoid Judy Miller's fate. That the investigation has dragged on so long anyway is another indication of the expanded reach of the prosecutorial web.

Apparently this is finally beginning to dawn on Mr. Bush's fiercest defenders and on Mr. Bush himself. Hence, last week's erection of the stonewall manned by the almost poignantly clownish Mr. McClellan, who abruptly rendered inoperative his previous statements that any suspicions about Mr. Rove are "totally ridiculous." The morning after Mr. McClellan went mano a mano with his tormentors in the White House press room - "We've secretly replaced the White House press corps with actual reporters," observed Jon Stewart - the ardently pro-Bush New York Post ran only five paragraphs of a wire-service story on Page 12. That conspicuous burial of what was front-page news beyond Murdochland speaks loudly about the rising anxiety on the right. Since then, White House surrogates have been desperately babbling talking points attacking Joseph Wilson as a partisan and a liar.

These attacks, too, are red herrings. Let me reiterate: This case is not about Joseph Wilson. He is, in Alfred Hitchcock's parlance, a MacGuffin, which, to quote the Oxford English Dictionary, is "a particular event, object, factor, etc., initially presented as being of great significance to the story, but often having little actual importance for the plot as it develops." Mr. Wilson, his mission to Niger to check out Saddam's supposed attempts to secure uranium that might be used in nuclear weapons and even his wife's outing have as much to do with the real story here as Janet Leigh's theft of office cash has to do with the mayhem that ensues at the Bates Motel in "Psycho."

This case is about Iraq, not Niger. The real victims are the American people, not the Wilsons. The real culprit - the big enchilada, to borrow a 1973 John Ehrlichman phrase from the Nixon tapes - is not Mr. Rove but the gang that sent American sons and daughters to war on trumped-up grounds and in so doing diverted finite resources, human and otherwise, from fighting the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11. That's why the stakes are so high: this scandal is about the unmasking of an ill-conceived war, not the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative who posed for Vanity Fair.

So put aside Mr. Wilson's February 2002 trip to Africa. The plot that matters starts a month later, in March, and its omniscient author is Dick Cheney. It was Mr. Cheney (on CNN) who planted the idea that Saddam was "actively pursuing nuclear weapons at this time." The vice president went on to repeat this charge in May on "Meet the Press," in three speeches in August and on "Meet the Press" yet again in September. Along the way the frightening word "uranium" was thrown into the mix.

By September the president was bandying about the u-word too at the United Nations and elsewhere, speaking of how Saddam needed only a softball-size helping of uranium to wreak Armageddon on America. But hardly had Mr. Bush done so than, offstage, out of view of us civilian spectators, the whole premise of this propaganda campaign was being challenged by forces with more official weight than Joseph Wilson. In October, the National Intelligence Estimate, distributed to Congress as it deliberated authorizing war, included the State Department's caveat that "claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa," made public in a British dossier, were "highly dubious." A C.I.A. assessment, sent to the White House that month, determined that "the evidence is weak" and "the Africa story is overblown."

AS if this weren't enough, a State Department intelligence analyst questioned the legitimacy of some mysterious documents that had surfaced in Italy that fall and were supposed proof of the Iraq-Niger uranium transaction. In fact, they were blatant forgeries. When Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said as much publicly in the days just before "shock and awe," his announcement made none of the three evening newscasts. The administration's apocalyptic uranium rhetoric, sprinkled with mushroom clouds, had been hammered incessantly for more than five months by then - not merely in the State of the Union address - and could not be dislodged. As scenarios go, this one was about as subtle as "Independence Day" and just as unstoppable a crowd-pleaser.

Once we were locked into the war, and no W.M.D.'s could be found, the original plot line was dropped with an alacrity that recalled the "Never mind!" with which Gilda Radner's Emily Litella used to end her misinformed Weekend Update commentaries on "Saturday Night Live." The administration began its dog-ate-my-homework cover-up, asserting that the various warning signs about the uranium claims were lost "in the bowels" of the bureaucracy or that it was all the C.I.A.'s fault or that it didn't matter anyway, because there were new, retroactive rationales to justify the war. But the administration knows how guilty it is. That's why it has so quickly trashed any insider who contradicts its story line about how we got to Iraq, starting with the former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill and the former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke.

Next to White House courtiers of their rank, Mr. Wilson is at most a Rosencrantz or Guildenstern. The brief against the administration's drumbeat for war would be just as damning if he'd never gone to Africa. But by overreacting in panic to his single Op-Ed piece of two years ago, the White House has opened a Pandora's box it can't slam shut. Seasoned audiences of presidential scandal know that there's only one certainty ahead: the timing of a Karl Rove resignation. As always in this genre, the knight takes the fall at exactly that moment when it's essential to protect the king.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Apples, too many?

below are pictures of apples on our trees. it seems to me that they are a bit too thick and that the crop might benefit from thinning, so i googled "apple thinning" and all the results were about spraying something on the flowers. well, i'm obviously too late for that and wouldn't spray poison on them anyway. my only previous experience with apple trees was in an orchard long abandoned and untended for many years. twenty or so trees of a wide variety produced lovely luscious apples with zero help from humans. i ate a lot of delicious apples. tasty delicious, not variety delicious, tho some may have been.

so i would be grateful (tho not yet dead) for any advice any of you may have from your experience of apple cultivation.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Critters and Submarine Blogging

Here are a few of the things we've been seeing lately in the Pacific Northwest.
Red Dragonfly

Great Blue Heron

Bee on a flower

Two Bald Eagles

A Nuclear Submarine with Coast Guard Escort

If this were an intelligence test, the question would be, which of these photos doesn't belong with the rest? Or, is this coast guard boat part of the old dilapidated fleet?

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Pond Changes

i recently decided to change the layout of the pond/waterfall that came with our property here. i was inspired by wayne and glenn at niches (scroll down to their july 1 post titled "ponds."), who posted a very informative piece of their multi-pond system which uses biological filtering to maintain water clarity and general water quality.

here is a picture of the waterfall we started with. there is a small basin at the top which is good for growing algae.

here is a picture of the waterfall uncovered.

here is the new waterfall with a small pond above the large pond with aquatic plants which will soak up fish excreta and provide more oxygen. more plants are planned.

and finally, an aerial photo of the new double pond configuration. ok, i stood on a ladder. the large pond is about 800 gallons, the small pond about 75 gallons.