Max, 2008/06/30 

Double O Arch at Arches National Park

Double O Arch at Arches National Park, one of the wonders of southern Utah, an area a good friend once claimed should be turned into a National Hallucinogenic Park.

Go, Moe, Go.


Chimp With Troubled Past On The Loose
Moe, The 42-Year-Old Chimpanzee, Escaped From Southern California Sanctuary

(CBS/AP) There’s a chimp on the loose in San Bernardino County.

County animal control staff and volunteers were fanning out over the weekend across a densely forested area near the town of Devore in search of Moe the chimpanzee.

A friend of Moe’s owners says the chimp escaped Friday from his cage at an animal sanctuary near the town.

Mike McCasland says he thinks Moe may be lurking in a nearby part of the San Bernardino National Forest.

“We could find him in a heartbeat if we could just get a break,” McCasland told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. “He’s somewhere out there.”

Moe lived with his owners in their West Covina home until 1999, when the animal bit a police officer and a female visitor.

Owner St. James Davis was nearly killed in 2005 by two chimps who attacked him while visiting Moe at the Bakersfield sanctuary where the animal was living at the time.

Yes, I know it’s dangerous for him and others. But I feel an enormous empathy for this creature, and a thrill at the feeling he must have at being at large in a somewhat natural environment for the first time.

Michelle II Then, For Friday.

byronius, 2008/06/27 

Four more for Saturday. Monday.

chicken drop

raison detre, 2008/06/26 

i drew this on my lunch break… i took my laptop and digital tablet to New Montgomery and ate a salad with free range chicken on it… sorry vegetarians. i am still very picky on what i eat… nevertheless….


it sparked lots of conversations, one on paprika, but no one addressed me directly. people walking to the bathroom had to go by my screen. i was sitting next to windows, so people walking down the street stopped and watched me draw. it was great fun, a great break from my usual hectic day.

The concept is for BAG HUNGER… Different departments compete to hold internal events to raise $$$$ that is donated, and sometimes matched, by the company. The $$ goes to the SF food bank.

Someone came up with the idea of having a chicken drop. i’d never heard of it. but you feed a chicken, and lay down some stuff, like a tarp, then some numbers, then bet on the numbers, and collect the $$… the winner is the one who selects the number the chicken…er…. drops on.

then you cycle and repeat. and you can sell hot dogs and chicken feed and all other sorts of wonderful, twisted items.

so that’s what this poster is about.

the event was canceled today. It had been approved.

Hut 37. Part One.


Springtime In Tahoe

The world became that which they so revered, so much sought after. Mile after mile of gliding, telemarking, impossibly balancing on the knife edge of a broken leg, and always at speed. Speed was the Wombakinnon’s heart, their tofu steak and potatoes, especially speed at great risk. None could fly the same path, everyone failed, even their oldest friends; only Wombakinnons could walk this way, and they were exceedingly proud of this fact. Max and Aldous were middle brothers, and so stuck together naturally; but they had a younger sister, Hathan, who could ski them into the snow, so they often accidentally forgot to tell her they were going.

Shush, shush. Sweep, peg, twist, turn, shush. The climb was steady. Thirty miles and three days in already, so they were getting faster and faster, and all of it over ten thousand feet. Max could feel his quadriceps booming, the skis knifing through powder, could hear Aldous behind him, the familiar focused breathing, machine-grace rhythm. For the last hour they’d been crossing a range of small peaks, angling for height; soon they’d find the pass, and the hut, and then would begin the Great Wombakinnon Brother’s Party, indescribably lascivious and marked by wild stumbling behavior, leaping off snow cliffs naked in the dark, all while spouting history as if they had been there, eyes glowing, a mad moment of Gleam, you’d-just-have-to-be-there. An old friend of Max, Horsepuckey, had started to find reasons not to be able to make it — he was crazy enough, but mild by Wombakinnon standards, and he often found himself injured and vomiting the next day — not the sort of thing an insurance agent really enjoys.

The Brothers Alone skied this trail. Higher and higher, and Aldous began to notice something odd: something was wrong with the air. He sniffed at the darkening sky. “Yeah, we better frickin’ move,” said Max, eyes on the horizon behind Aldous. “Something vastly bad over there.”

“What’s the air?”, said Aldous. “Can you — it feels wrong.”

“Yeah, I feel it, maybe it’s just storm pressure –?” Max trailed off.

Aldous struggled with his words. “Almost like the air is scared — is that weird?”

Max looked at the horizon again. “No,” he said, “and we’d better get moving now, right now, go.”


FISA lowdown


A good analysis here

Martian Skies


Mars sky - click to enlarge

An exaggerated color image mosaic of images from NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity. The clouds can be composed of either carbon dioxide ice or water ice, and can move swiftly across the sky. (NASA/JPL/Cornell)

Taken from a nice set of pictures showing atmospheric effects on Mars.

Lucia di Lammermoor

Max, 2008/06/24 

A few years ago I came across a new talent in the opera world, a Russian soprano named Anna Netrebko, who I’ve featured here previously. I bought a CD featuring several of her arias and a couple of them jumped out at me as being exceptionally beautiful musically as well as technically very difficult. They were from a Donizetti opera entitled Lucia di Lammermoor. I’ve been waiting ever since to see it and last night got my wish. It was a very nearly perfect operatic experience. The soprano was not Netrebko, she was better. Natalie Dessay was in the title role and she blew me away. Her singing was not quite as spectacular as Netrebko (or Joan Sutherland who is famous for the same role), but more artful and human. She also brought the role to life in a way I’ve seldom seen in opera.

It’s the story of a Scottish clan whose glories are fading. The leader of the clan thinks he’ll restore their glory by marrying his sister off to some rich dude. Unfortunately, she’s fallen in love with his arch enemy. He forges a letter making it look like he’d ditched her and she goes ahead with the marriage but goes mad and kills the rich dude on the wedding night. This sets the stage for one of the great “mad scenes” in opera, one of the wonderful arias I’d heard Netrebko sing. Dessay was just brilliant.

Here she is in the mad scene- just after the stabbing:

the brunt of war

raison detre, 2008/06/19 

BBC NEWS | UN classifies rape a ‘war tactic’

The UN Security Council has voted unanimously in favour of a resolution classifying rape as a weapon of war.

The document describes the deliberate use of rape as a tactic in war and a threat to international security.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said violence against women had reached ‘unspeakable proportions’ in some societies recovering from conflict.

let’s see what happens… they’ve been asking for help for years.

To Barsoom (or not to Barsoom)?


John Carter of Mars and Dejah Thoris

Production on Pixar’s “John Carter of Mars” project is fast moving forward with the studio recently revealing their plans to develop the Edgar Rice Burroughs sci-fi novels into a trilogy of films.

A trilogy? Take me to there, Pixar! Alas, not until 2012- so says the linked article. Perhaps no other series of books had quite as significant an impact on my developing psyche in adolescence as the eleven volumes of Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars series. I vividly recall how enthralled I was by the impossible trials and the violent battles John Carter had to overcome to win his otherworldly princess, the beautiful Deja Thoris. I still remember his brave resistance in the face of certain death again and again with the bold declaration “I still live!”

OTOH, I have some ambivalence about exposing my own impressionable youngster to this spectacular series of adventures. As wonderful as the stories were, I think they screwed up any chance I had at having a healthy relationship to women in my youth. Deja was not human, but a goddess of Mars. She was the antithesis of all those human girls that tormented me, and provided a convenient escape from the horrors of true social integration. My strongest attachment in college was to a woman who I privately considered my Deja Thoris, who I was ready to woo until the end of time. She remained ignorant of my unspoken desires and I ended up heartbroken. Later, I had a tendency towards a savior complex towards various troubled women, possibly another inheritance from the identification with John Carter?

Still, I can’t resist urging my son to dive in. I’ll just have to compensate somehow. I guess the best way would be to encourage him to get to know some real human girls (before they get to the age when they become horrible monsters). Ah, fatherhood.

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