Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 31 

pile of seaweed

August 31, 2005. Daybreak.

footbridge footbridge
bench bench
lake lake

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Ga lee, displaced peoples in the US 

That's a picture of a picture of me and a friend in New Orleans, 1993 or '94. New Orleans is the only vacation spot where I have no relatives I've returned to.

Our economy took a huge hit when several buildings were knocked down on 9/11. Now, we have an entire city - the financial center of the Deep South - put out of commission for several weeks, optimistically.

I've been trying to imagine things from the perspective of one of the 1,000,000+ people displaced because of the storm and levee breaches. The word now is that these people won't be able to return for a month. How many of them have the financial resources to support themselves for a month without a job in a foreign city? Few I'm imagining. And of those who can, how many need life-sustaining drugs the prescription of which can't be transfered to another pharmacy because the prescription is stored in a waterlogged computer?

People will have to be moved ... maybe it's a good thing that we're disbanding military bases - perhaps a couple will be the locations that can provide living space and services to those who cannot return home or have lost their homes.

PS. It's the Republican's fault,

It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay. Nobody locally is happy that the levees can't be finished, and we are doing everything we can to make the case that this is a security issue for us.

-- Walter Maestri, emergency management chief for Jefferson Parish, Louisiana; New Orleans Times-Picayune, June 8, 2004.

PSS. I didn't leave when calls for evacuation were issued for the costal NC city I lived in 7 years. I went to or threw a hurricane party instead.

New Orleans, Minnesota 

Man, some people are really pigs.

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 30 

T'ai Chi Ch'uan

August 30, 2005.

sky sky
swing swing
water water

Monday, August 29, 2005

It takes all kinds 


Monday 29 August 2005
8:48 PM

A beautiful moment just happened at Camp Casey I. There was a candle light vigil honoring troops who have died in Iraq. The counter protesters came across the street and joined the vigilers at Camp Casey, They shared the flag and prayed together for the families on both sides who have lost loved ones in the war. They are now singing and holding candles together. This is a testament to the power of this movement ...

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 29 

light through leaves

August 29, 2005.

water water
bench bench
lake lake

Good reads on Iraq 

Background from the Department of Defense:

40% of Iraqis surveyed support attacks on coalition troops. An unspecified majority want foreign troops to leave the country.

Peter Daou on valuing moral or material strength.

Juan Cole on Ten Things Congress Could Demand from Bush on Iraq.

You can't make this stuff up 

Some idiot neurosurgeon seems to think he can form a testable hypothesis supporting Intelligent Design .... by studying ... NASCAR drivers,

Jeffrey M. Schwartz, a neuroscientist and research professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, is a believer in ID, or as he prefers to call it, "intrinsic intelligence." Schwartz wants to launch a study of NASCAR drivers, to better understand their extraordinary focus. He finds Darwinism, as it applies to a high-performance athlete such as Tony Stewart, to be problematic. To claim that Stewart's mental state as he handles a high-speed car "is a result of nothing more than random processes coming together in a machine-like way is not a coherent explanation," Schwartz said.

New imperialism bare naked 

Rasmussen Reports,

August 29, 2005--Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Americans say that it is important for "Iraq to become a stable company that rejects terrorism."

Best protester ever 

This guy took down the prevailing champion, pictured below.

New Orleans webcams: here comes the rain 

12:53 am,

12:54 am,

NOLA DOT webcams seem to not be updating, some of the NO Times-Picayune cams are still online.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 28 


August 28, 2005.

bench bench
minneapolis minneapolis
swing swing

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 27 

fall leaves

August 27, 2005.

path path
swing swing
lake lake

Friday, August 26, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 26 

enhanced night shot

August 26, 2005.

bench bench
minneapolis minneapolis
swing swing

Scientists: Government schleppin' schwag 

Scientists ask government for better pot hookup,

Scientists say they need an alternative partly because the government's marijuana is of such poor quality - too many seeds and stems ...

Crazy mixed up tree 

I just noticed a tree near me is getting kinda jumpy about the autumnal equinox deadline ...

autumn in august

al Qaeda submits alternate Iraqi constitution 


The group al Qaeda in Iraq -- which has been behind many of the worst attacks, beheadings, and kidnappings in Iraq -- has issued a manifesto in which it calls for violence and hate for all but "true Muslims."

Shiites do not belong among "true Muslims," the group says, calling their faith "a confession of polytheism and rejectionism."

It also declares: "We vow by the name of God that we are determined to destroy the American empire," adding that the insurgency is stronger than Washington acknowledges.

The document also warns there will be no end to the insurgency.

"The call for jihad goes on until doomsday, whether there is an imam calling for it or not."

Scientists eye harnessing falling Bush approval as alternative energy source 

Bush Approval Rating Continues to Drop

PRINCETON, NJ -- A new Gallup Poll reflects further erosion in President George W. Bush's job approval rating, continuing the slow but steady decline evident throughout the year so far. The poll -- conducted Aug. 22-25 -- puts Bush's job approval rating at 40% and his disapproval rating at 56%. Both are the most negative ratings of the Bush administration. Bush's previous low point in approval was 44% (July 25-28, 2005) and his previous high point in disapproval was 53% (June 24-26, 2005). 

Liberal strongholds and fatalities in Iraq 

Map of fatalities from iCasualties. Rollover to see map of counties that voted Kerry last November, from Michael Gastner.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Bush meets Sheehan

President Bush interrupts his vacation, driving to meet face to face with Cindy Sheehan, the grieving Mother who began her anti-war protest near President Bush's Texas ranch three weeks ago, demanding to be given an audience with the president.

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 5 


August 25, 2005.

bench bench
sky sky
lake lake

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Mexico City from a helicopter 

Stunning photos.

The American Legion, then and now 


Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 24 

squiggly lights

August 24, 2005.

swing swing
minneapolis minneapolis
bench bench

The price of gas vs. war 

This is quite odd: a graph of Bush's approval rating and gas prices. The price of gas dips (indicated in the up direction) along with news commonly thought to account for a bump in Bush's approval rating:

Graph from the marvelous Professor Pollkatz.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 23 


August 23, 2005.

water water
sky sky
lake lake

The FearOfClowns diet: lose 13 lbs in two weeks! 

I'm on a prescription medication with a side effect that helped me gain 38 pounds in less than four months. I don't have a scale, but discovered the weight two weeks before yesterday when I stepped on my parents' scale. Freaked me out, it did.

Instead of buying a book or program to loose weight, I applied knowledge that most second graders have: if you take in more calories than you expend you gain weight but if you take in less than you expend you lose weight.

Here is my weight-loss program which I will now share with the world at no cost past the bandwidth it takes to download what you're reading, and I'll pick up the tab for that. The program works best for single people living alone, but can be modified to fit any living arrangement by adding an additional simple point:

  1. Lothe yourself for being fat.
  2. Decide not being fat is more important than eating.
  3. Buy whatever you want from the grocery store following these strict guidelines:
    • Buy as much fruits and vegetables as you want
    • Buy some crackers
    • Buy enough proteins in the form of 6.5 oz cans of tuna in water or ½ pound fillets of fish so you can have one serving every other day
    • Buy enough yogurt for one small container each day.
    • If you bought salad stuff, make sure you have vinegar to use with black pepper as your dressing
    • Be absolutely certain you don't buy cheese. It is said that East Asians are slim because they eat a lot of fish instead of beef or pork ... I believe the near absence of cheese in their diets helps too. Cheese is a killer: Ounce per ounce, Cheddar has more than twice the calories as NY strip steak, three times that of chicken breast, four times that of tuna, seven times that of apples, and ten times that of carrots.
  4. Only eat three times a day. No snacking. Never in a single meal eat more than the equivalent of 8 saltines in crackers.
  5. Take at least ½ hour of vigorous cardiovascular exercise each day. If it helps you stick to it, start a weblog and post pictures from a location you bike or jog to each day.
  6. If you start to get dizzy when you stand up, you're not eating enough. Eat more fruits and vegetables during your three meals.
  7. Eat out only once a week. Order whatever you want, even dessert.
  8. MOST IMPORTANT POINT: Keep an eye on your hands. If you see one of them bringing food to your mouth that contravenes the above guidelines, use your voluntary motor control to stop the payload before it reaches your mouth.

After a few dizzy spells the first few days, I found that I feel completely comfortable with a diet averaging 700-800 calories a day - a bit under one-third of the 2500 or so calories it takes for me to maintain my healthy weight of 175 lbs. And I have lost 13 pounds in the past two weeks. Yeah.

There are many websites which will help you keep track of calorie intake - I'm using the US Department of Agriculture's.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 22 


August 22, 2005.

path path
minneapolis minneapolis
lake lake

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Religious Policeman is back on the beat 

Now living in the UK, The Religious Policeman is blogging again after a year of silence. He's a liberal Saudi who began a blog giving a view from inside "The Magic kingdom (FAQ): writing, among other things, of the subjugation of women, censorship, traffic, public beheadings, and camels.

His writing is superior and the content unique. As long as he keeps posting, you can find the link here to the right.

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 21 

boat racks

August 21, 2005.

bench bench
water water
lake lake

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 20 

The moon was almost full today and I saw a shooting star.

footbridge footbridge
bench bench
sky sky

Friday, August 19, 2005

MN and America are waking up! 

From the Star Tribune,

Locally, conservative-talk icon Rush Limbaugh's show has lost 43 percent of its audience among 25- to 54-year-olds in the past year. Sean Hannity's show is down a whopping 63 percent. The shift is serious enough that "we're weighing where these shows fit for us in the future," according to Todd Fisher, general manager at KSTP (1500 AM), which carries both syndicated programs.

Many Americans also are switching the dial. While ratings for political talk radio typically drop the year after an election, experts around the country sense something else in the air. Many metro listeners are turning to local, often sports-oriented shows.

"We're not sure yet what's really going on," said talk radio veteran Ken Kohl, Clear Channel's director of news and talk programming for northern California. "In general, the talk shows that are succeeding are ones that haven't been reliving the election, or constantly harping on the polarization between liberals and conservatives."

Kohl thinks many listeners have tuned out because of "war fatigue. I don't think a lot of people want to talk or hear about the war at this point."

Or maybe Minnesotans are switching party sympathies: last November, Bush got within three points of Kerry here in MN with 47% of the vote ... his state-wide approval rating is now 39% according to SurveyUSA. In the same election, DFLers picked up a whopping 13 seats in the state's House, a few of them in the "safe" Republican Twin Cities suburbs and exburbs.

MyDD notes that political independents are now closer to Democrats in Bush approval in all 50 states.

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 19 

racked canoes

August 19, 2005.

swing swing
tunnel tunnel
lake lake

Back up 

My server was down for a stretch there, but now I'm back up with the last three days of Lake Calhoun photos and a bump up for my question regarding the morality of separating conjoined twins vs. abortion.

If life begins at conception ... 

What is the moral difference between an early abortion and separating conjoined twins, one of whose body didn't develop?

boby with two heads

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 18 

looking down at bike

August 18, 2005.

path path
tunnel tunnel
lake lake

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 17 

bush leaves

August 17, 2005.

path path
bench bench
sky sky

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 16 


August 16, 2005.

swing swing
water water
lake lake

The counter-protesters 

Some idiot got themselves arrested for vandalizing the memorial markers at Camp Casey. Good grief.

Be sure to read the comments. Good grief.

h/t ellagoes

Monday, August 15, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 15 

climbing thing

August 15, 2005.

bench bench
swing swing
water water

A man parks his truck near a protest ... 

Story from Camp Casey,

As everyone was going about their business, waiting for the counter protesters to arrive, a man drove up in a huge diesel pickup truck. You know the kind, with the big doolie wheels and such. He parked right in the center of the triangle - right in the space no one from Camp is supposed to be. He parked in such a way that the front end of his truck was facing directly towards the tents where Cindy and the other military families sleep - and where all the crosses of fallen soldiers have been erected.

The man sat in his truck for quite some time while our people looked on and waited to see what he intended. After a while, one of the vets from Camp Casey walked up to the man's truck and informed him that no one was allowed to park in the triangle. The gentleman identified himself as the father of a fallen soldier. Anne Wright walked up to this man's truck and began speaking with him through his rolled down window. He told her that he did not support what Cindy and the others are doing at Camp Casey, but he wanted to come and see if his son's name was on one of the crosses. Anne invited him to come walk the crosses with her. The man got out of his truck and went with Anne to move up and down the rows of crosses, looking together for his son's name. When they found it, they sat down in front of it, wrapped their arms around each other and cried together.

h/t ellagoes.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 14 

looking at lake through a tree

Today, I rode at night.

swing swing
tunnel tunnel
lake lake

Saturday, August 13, 2005

White House is molting 

WaPo front page,

The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq ...

The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society where the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.

"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

... "We've said we won't leave a day before it's necessary. But necessary is the key word -- necessary for them or for us? When we finally depart, it will probably be for us," a U.S. official said.

Finally may have found Iraqi WMD though,

Combined, the chemicals would yield an agent capable of "lingering hazards" for those exposed to it, Boylan said. The likely targets would have been "coalition and Iraqi security forces, and Iraqi civilians," partly because the chemicals would be difficult to keep from spreading over a wide area, he said.

Boylan said the suspected lab was new, dating from some time after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 13 

from inside a canoe

Today, I rode at dusk.

minneapolis minneapolis
water water
sky sky

Friday, August 12, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 12 


Today, I rode at night.

minneapolis minneapolis
swing swing
lake lake

Cindy Sheehan Blogs 

Cindy Sheehan's vigil brings the Crawford to the Internet and Internet to Crawford

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 11 

an evergreen tree

Today, I rode at sunrise rather than sunset.

path path
bench bench
water water

What have we here? Liberals and crosses? 

In Crawford, TX, A child runs among a makeshift memorial to the soldiers who have died in Iraq,

crosses remembering troops who have lost their lives in the Iraq war

Who will be the first wingnut to demand the ACLU file suit to remove this religious display? Spot-checking the Religious Left seems to indicate they're right-on with what's happening in Crawford.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 10 

sky and buildings

August 10, 2005.

bench bench
tunnel tunnel
water water

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Gutboy's weight day 1 


Off to a roaring start.

Breakfast: 2 bananas, milk (350 calories), small piece of ham, brown mustard (200)

Dinner: salad, crackers (< 500)

Other: Half a bottle of vanilla Coke (125)

Total calories: about 1200. Minus 500 calories burned biking equals 700 calories. I figure it takes about 2500 calories for me to maintain a weight which means ... I'm too lazy to figure out how much weight a similar regime each day would allow me to lose in how long.

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 9 

sky and trees

August 9, 2005.

minneapolis minneapolis
swing swing
sky sky

Monday, August 08, 2005

Gut alert! 

Here's my gut December 17th, 2004 which happened to be the last anniversary of the Wright brother's flight in North Carolina,

Here it is now,

One would think being that I see it every day, I would have noticed the rise of a Walter Mattheau fold under by pectorals, however I had to put on the third pair of pants I'd thought changed before I realized it was me that had changed. Quick! An ungodly 25 pounds since late April. While cycling 5+ miles a day.

I'm tough on fat people, which is easy to do as my body is quite comfortable around 175 lbs. at about 6'1". Or was - I'm now on a prescription that has weight gain as a possible side effect ... and I've been eating tons of doughnuts.

So now, I have to walk the talk and lose some weight.

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 8 

up into the tree

August 8, 2005. 115th day.

bench bench
tunnel tunnel
lake lake

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 7 


August 7, 2005.

path path
tunnel tunnel
water water

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Kirkuk still a monsterous problem and still under the radar 

I've been watching Kirkuk as sort of a bellwether of how close Iraq is to all-out civil war, and since I've been watching, I've not noted significant progress resolving the seeming irresolvable disputes. Kurds still demand an autonomous or semi-autonomous government and there seems no possible resolution to the conflict between Kurds who were forcibly displaced by the Hussein regime feeling their land should be returned to them, Arabs who feel that because they too were forcibly moved and many have no other "home" than Kirkuk, and the Turkomen who claim they should have the land because they have been there longer than either group, pre-dating Saddam Hussein.

To grasp the magnitude of the problems stemming from Hussein's movement of people in and out of Kirkuk for the aim of "Arabization", read my brother's childhood friend George Packer's October 2004 New Yorker article, The Next Iraqi War. (I would not outright call Arabization "ethnic cleansing", but perhaps "ethnic cleansing lite " - to me, "ethnic cleansing" involves killing people, just stealing and transferring their land doesn't qualify).

In the meantime, pipelines in and near the city keep on blowing up.

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 6 

cop car

August 6, 2005.

minneapolis minneapolis
lake lake
bench bench

Friday, August 05, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 5 

sky and lights

Still night.

path path
sky sky
lake lake


I ate an apple new to me - a Southern Rose - in bed, thinking about why Delicious apples aren't, and concluding that people liked the way they looked. I immediately thereafter loaded the Washington post's home page and found an article confirming my inductive reasoning. It's an interesting piece. (I had heard or read elsewhere that the name and address of the winner of Stark's contest was lost, so the same contest was held the next year hoping the farmer would enter the same apple - and he did).

Superstitiously minded folks tend to see such coincidences as signs ... such as they do when opening the Bible to a passage they then relate to thoughts on their mind.

I don't believe the gods were giving me a message through the Washington Post. In fact if I decided to go around all day telling people I'd indeed received a message from the gods through the WaPo and it had something to do with apples, there's a good chance I'd end the day under observation.

Others can go around quite calmly claiming that the Holy Ghost not only speaks to them through scripture and it has something to do with Sin or Grace, but can speak these things to everybody who listens. That puts one on the path to a deaconship.

PS. Hormel has a great one--stop page all about apples.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 4 


74°. What a difference just 20 degrees makes.

bench bench
minneapolis minneapolis
swing swing

Nothing says "I love you" like Elephant dung 


A reddish powder trickling from a letter caused a terrorism alert in a Paris postal sorting office - but turned out to be dried elephant dung, police said on Wednesday.

Six staff and two policemen were medically examined after contact with the powder - but it was found on analysis to be of the sort used in religious rites in Sri Lanka, a spokesman said.

It's unclear wether the envelope was made of elephant dung paper.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 3 

woman doing crunches

August 3, 2005. Today, I saw the Twins break a six game losing streak. Yay.

path path
swing swing
sky sky

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Aliens I took a picture of today 

I was shocked when I looked closely at the "tunnel" photo I took on August 2.


Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 2 


August 2, 2005.

path path
tunnel tunnel
water water

Monday, August 01, 2005

Lake Calhoun yesterday on August 1 

blurred lights

August 1, 2005.

bench bench
tunnel tunnel
lake lake

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