Monday, February 25, 2008

Dear God, What Do We Do Now?

It is the end of Febuary and it has been cold and dreary. Today the temperature is in the 70's and the wind is 35mph out of the SW. It feels like storm weather. In Oklahoma we learn to walk outside close our eyes and feel the weather. The smell, the touch of the wind, the feeling of the moisture. Then you look. After you decide what's happening, then you go in and check the weather on TV for validation.

Today began to feel like Spring Storms.

It's a little early, but heck we had thunder ice a few weeks ago, so anything is game.
Look above, the cold air is on the left and the hot air is on the right. In a few minutes after this picture was taken the lower cloud would have looked like a steam roller.

Someone who knew I was a geographer sent me these photographs.
I've tried to find them on the web, to attribute them to the original photographer.
No luck.

The are all wall clouds /meso cyclones. This one has a funnel on the ground that is about a quater of a mile wide.

These were taken, if I remember correctly, in Oklahoma and Texas during the May 1999 outbreaks.

One thing for sure when you see these outside your home, you better have a hole, the deeper the better, to crawl into.

If you see something like this you better be taking the picture from the door of you storm celler.

Just looking at the photographs make my gonads tingle.
If this one landed on you, you best not be there.

Thanks to whom ever sent these to me and especially to those that took them.
This is real theology.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Why We Fought! Cause and Comrades

My good friend ER, trying to show that even though he is of Southern Blood he supports Obama for President, went and opened those old saws about the brave and true southern soldiers and why we should honor their shibboleths and respect their sacrifice.

Well he got miffed and went and closed up his thread before I could put my 2 cent in on this continues canard.

You know ER, if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, but only weighs half as much as a duck, it is a canard.

So here it will be expounded upon just for the record.

First let me make clear I have ancestors and ancestral cousins and uncles and etc. Who fought and died and killed for both sides in the civil war. Family carrying my name had Farms burned north of Gettysburg and in the Shenandoah Valley. Family carrying my name are buried south of the R.R. tracks in the confederate section of the cemetery in Atlanta. Family carrying my name are listed on monuments on battlefields in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Our Family name was emblazoned on the sides of wagons pulled by Confederate horses full of Confederate supplies from farms run by my direct ancestors.

Secondly let me make clear. I am a combat veteran of the Vietnam War. I know what it feels like to have your service to you country degraded, ignored, and belittled. So I would never do that intentionally to any other soldier neither enemy nor ally.

That said, here is my point.
Both sides in the Civil War fought for their cause. Clear and simple. As always, soldiers on both side also fought for their buddies, and to stay alive.

To say that the Southern soldier fought for something other than the continuation of their way of life which demanded the enslavement of others is mystical bullshit.

Here is my source and here is its data:

JAMES M. MCPHERSON. For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997. 237 pages. $25.00

"Recent popular scholarship serves as a testimony to the vast variety of interpretations of the causes and purpose of the war, the motives that encouraged soldiers to fight, and the value of accomplishment in relation to the bloody cost. Many arguments remain based on traditional interpretations of events, while others are clearly subject to a political agenda. For many students of the Civil War, resisting the temptation to succumb to regional and/or cultural sensibilities, often separate and distinct from historical accuracy, remains a challenge. A consistent emphasis on the quality of evidence supporting any interpretation, however, continues as the historian's greatest mechanism for maintaining accuracy. Indisputably, the most reliable evidence for answering questions involving motives, perceptions, and the goals of Civil War soldiers are found in the various writings of the participants."

"With his new book, For Cause and Comrades, James McPherson both highlights the significance of the soldier's view and furthers his standing as one of our nation's foremost Civil War scholars. Employing more than 25,000 letters and nearly 250 diaries, 60 percent Union and 40 percent Confederate, McPherson offers an impressive array of evidence certain to enhance our understanding of why soldiers fought in the Civil War. "

"His analysis of Civil War soldiers has led him to conclude that they remained unique among modern fighting men. In McPherson's view, the ultimate motivating force that sustained the ordinary soldier through suffering and combat was a commitment to the cause. And, echoing a theme evident in much of his earlier work, McPherson finds that cause to be either the maintenance or the destruction of slavery. "
"The preeminence of slavery as a motivating issue for the average Yankee may come as a surprise to many students of the Civil War who acknowledge that attitudes of white racial superiority remained ubiquitous in all regions of nineteenth-century America. A desire to preserve the Union and camaraderie have long been regarded as issues at least as important as slavery among Federal soldiers. McPherson acknowledges the importance of other issues, but argues that "larger ideals remained the glue that held the armies together" .
Some Southerners, especially those familiar with letters written by Confederate soldiers, may be inclined to question McPherson's conclusions about the motives of those who wore the gray. A belief that the South would thrive as an independent nation, as well as defense of home and honor, have long served as the primary ideals that motivated Confederate soldiers in the minds of many. McPherson admits that only 20 percent of the 429 Southern soldiers he examined voiced proslavery convictions, yet he defends his position by noting that "none at all dissented from that view"

"Most significantly, this book reminds us that most often the truth of a matter remains in the accounts of the eyewitnesses. Those interested in understanding the horror and sense of purpose that accompanied men in battle during the Civil War will find McPherson's study an essential addition to their libraries. "

These words are from a review by:
Samuel C. Hyde, Jr. is an associate professor of history at Southeastern Louisiana University.
The full review may be found at:
And of course other reviews may be found on Amazon.

It is time to put away these shibboleths of the South and move on into the 21st Century.
Yes they can be studied as history. But please not by those with an agenda.

Do we want change?
Well then this is one of those things that will have to change.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Perspective, Reality, and Shadows Talking to the Brain

Once upon a time, long, long ago and far, far away and in universe not unlike this one, I learned to read upside down and backwards. It was a skill I had to master to read the newspaper, that is the newspaper I was creating inside the chase on the stone where I was making-up the pages. All hot or cold type printers could do that then. It is a lost skill because there is now no need for it.
But it is a skill that has had strange benefits over the years. Doing that night after night after night burned pathways into my brain that most people haven't got and probably no-one needs.



What we have here is a matter of perspective, and altered reality, and the quirk of shadows playing with your brain. This is the kind of thing I pick out of a series of photos knowing from past experience if I twist things just a bit, they change completely, even thought they haven't changed at all.

Now if you have binocular vision, some people don't, picture "A" appears as a hole in a boulder.
This by the way is a picture I took going down the Grand Canyon in the previous blog. Picture "B" however will look like a raised surface. If you can't see that, don't bother any further with this blog.

In fact, that is in reality, they are the exact same picture. Picture "B" is picture "A" rotated 180 degrees. There are no tricks involved except those your mind is playing with you. The shadows are lying to you. well not really lying, shadows can't lie. You are misreading the environmental clues. Thus a hole becomes a mound, and a mound becomes a hole. (Don't believe me? Copy one of them onto your computure and rotate it your own self) A good artist can use this phenomena to create some really interesting effects in their paintings. Next time you are in an art gallery try standing on your head and see what you can learn.

Which picture is "correct" you ask. That's my little secrete.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

There and Back Again: Down the Grand Canyon

It is early April, 1973. The cast of characters are Lobojo geographer, his wife, sister in law, and brother in law. It is cold and snowing and the wind is blowing and we are out of our frickin minds.

We are camped on the south rim of the grand canyon in Arizona. Our intent is to take a three day trip into and out of the bottom of the canyon. This is Shiva's Temple from a third of the way into the canyon.

It is an 18 mile round trip. It is about a mile down and a mile back up. Of the 18 miles, it is that last 1/3rd back up that is the killer. We started down on the Kiabab Trail across the botton and back up the Bright Angel trail. We were not granted an overnight permit for in the canyon, and so the only way to do this was to go into and out of the canyon in one day.

The snow was deep along the top of the rim. A narrow channel allowed us to get down to the top of the trail. That is where we encounter this sign.

This is the wife.

This is the sister in law.

This is when we are fresh and just starting down the trail.

The Kiabab trail decends along the edge of the rim that you see here.

It makes a long decent, much like walking down a sidewalk. That changes however.

The switchbacks begin.

Then we encounter the trash mule train. This is how they bring out the trash from Phantom Ranch each morning by mule train up the Kiabab trail.

Not a very talkative type. He did tell us to sit down, don't move, and keep quite while the mules came by.

Enlarge the picture and you will see the mule train going up one of the streaches of trail we have come down.

Now is the "jump off" down to the Tonto Rim. we are less than 25% of the way down the Canyon.

Down and down we go.

Here we are at 60% of the way down on the Tonto Rim walking towards the edge to drop off in to the river gorge itself.

And down we go again.

The Mule corral at the bottom. Phatom Ranch is about a mile up the creek.

The Colorado river. Next to it the ground vibrates and you can actually hear the boulders being moved in the river.

Over the rim and down to the bridge.

At the bottom, through the tunnel, across the bridge.

Don't we all look cool? In about 9 hours we won't look this good.

On the river are some of the rafts making the trip down river. Enlarge the picture and you will see that these rafts are much smaller than those that run the river today.

This the largest one we see.

Shiva's Temple from the river level. From here we go up the Bright Angel trail.
The last three hours of the hike up is in the dark and cold. It is 9PM before we get to the top.
The next morning even standing up is almost impossible. So we lay freezing in our down sleeping bags cursing the bright idea of hiking in and out of the Grand Canyon in one day.
I am glad we did it, but I have never remotely be tempted to try it again.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Saint Christopher

I am continuously amazed at the world and what is in it. when I posted the last blog with that puppy faced icon, I thought it was something that had been cobbled together as humour.

When bb-idaho commented that it might be Saint Bernard, I smiled and then thought, OK, let's see how many dog breeds are named after saints. The next thing I know I am looking at actual Icons of Saints with dog's heads. Whoops, what it this?

From a Psalmatry in Kiev Museum

From Wikipedia

"Cynocephalus and St. Christopher :
Cynocephalus ( κῠνοκέφᾰλοι) is a Greek word, literally meaning "dog-head", for a sacred Egyptian Baboon with the face of a dog.... "

Thot, The Egyptian God of scribes

"In the Eastern Orthodox Church, certain icons covertly identify Saint Christopher with the head of a dog. The background to the dog-headed Christopher is laid in the reign of the Emperor Diocletian, when a man named Reprebus Rebrebus or Reprobus (the "scoundrel") was captured in combat against tribes to the west of Egypt in Cyrenaica, and was assigned to the numerus Marmaritarum .....He was reported to be of enormous size, with the head of a dog instead of a man......"

Dog faced Saint(?) by Schedel

"Cynocephali figure both in pagan and in Christian world-views. A legend that placed St. Andrew and St. Bartholomew among the Parthians presented the case of "Abominable," the citizen of the "city of cannibals... whose face was like unto that of a dog." After receiving baptism, however, he was released from his doggish aspect (White, 1991). Quite similar was the portrait of St. Christopher, a giant of a cynocephalic species in the land of the Chananeans (the "canines" of Canaan in the New Testament) who ate human flesh and barked. Eventually, Christopher met the Christ child, regretted his former behavior, and received baptism. He, too, was rewarded with a human appearance, whereupon he devoted his life to Christian service and became an athlete of God, one of the soldier-saints (Walter of Speyer, Vita et passio sancti Christopher martyris, 75)."

Christophorus in the Byzantium Museum in Athens

"Cynocephali illustrated in the Kievan psalter, 1397
The "cynocephali" offered such an evocative image of the magic and brutality deemed characteristic of bizarre people of distant places, that it kept returning in medieval literature: Augustine, Isidore of Seville, Paul the Deacon, Adam of Bremen, and Ratramnus all reported on the Cynocephalae, with the aplomb of anthropologists. Quoting St. Jerome, Thomas of Cantimpré corroborated the existence of Cynocephalos, in his Liber de Monstruosis Hominibus Orientis, xiv, ("Book of Monstrous men of the Orient"). The encyclopedist Vincent of Beauvais acquainted his patron St. Louis IX of France with "an animal with the head of the dog but with all other members of human appearance... Though he behaves like a man... and, when peaceful, he is tender like a man, when furious, he becomes cruel and retaliates on humankind" (Speculum naturale, 31:126). The werewolf tradition is an archaic Greek one as well as an ancient European one. Additionally, in Chinese record Liang Shu (History of the Liang Dynasty), the Buddhist missionary Hui-Sheng describes an island of dog-headed men to the east of Fusang, a nation he visited variously identified as Japan or the Americas."


Icon Identification

As an aside to my quest for information about my icon I received many strange replies. This I think was one of the most interesting. One should not be amazed that some people actually venerate(some even worship) their blessed pets..

"That's amazing--I've been on a similar hagiographic quest for some time. Can anyone identify the icon in the attachment?-Marion D."

Actually it is a cute pup.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

What's In Your Head?

Lost all of your marbles? Scrambled your brains. Shit for brains? Dumb as a door knob?
Well having been accused over time of all of those, I now have definitive proof that I have a brain. Unlike the scarecrow there is something inside that skull besides sawdust or mush.

Getting an MRI is really Star Trek stuff. When I came home I imitated the sounds the machine made for my wife. She was not amused.

They took aout 120 scans just to prove that it all was there.

It is a wondrous thing the brain

Naw, they didn't find what they were looking for.
So I guess Ill be around a while longer.
Say next month they have scheduled a colonoscopy.
Pictures in March.

Time For Blood Sacrifices to Nourish Liberty's Tree

Over at the Erudite Rednecks he wanted people to lists all those positive things we need to do to get America back on track. Below is what I wrote. It is only 90% a result of frustration and only 10% in jest. Lest you think I'm wierd and insane, let me assure you you are quite correct.

OK, here's what we should do.

First vote Democrat!

There are going to be a chorus of people who will begin to say, "It is a new day. Let's move on to tomorrow. Make America a better place. Forgive and forget what has happened but do it right this next time."

I say bullshit. Total stupid bullshit.That's the hogwash I heard after the Vietnam War and after Nixon's resignation. We are STILL PAYING for that Stupid Optimism, Naivete, and wish washy crap right now, this very day.

What we need is some blood sacrifices. I mean real sacrifices and real blood, but not ours.
Otherwise the Iranians, and the Saudis, and the Halliburton's and the Enron's will simply do it again. We need to indite and bring to open trial (no plea bargains allowed) all those who have criminally started, perpetuated, and profited from this current Iraqi war.

We need to place G.W. Bush under close protective house arrest on his ranch with restricted access, because he is a known colaborator with the enemy (Saudia Arabia for example) and an intellegence security risk.

We need to demand that Saudi Arabia give us a formal and direct apology for what its citizens did to us and pay us reparations in excess of 500 billion dollars or we will f..ken Nuke their oil fields up so much that they will be using ox carts for a thousand years.

We need open our borders and then to tell Mexico exactly how their economic problems are going to be solved and how they are going to kiss our ass in the mean time.

We need to take that Saudi $500 Billion, add an excise tax on everyone making over $5,000,000 a year, take back half the profits of the oil companies and use that money to double the size of our Naval forces, double the size of our Marine forces and put them on permanent disaster relief duties around the world until we need them to kill for us.

We need to move all our overseas military bases to ocean based floating cities/deployment platforms that we can move to where ever we want to.

We need to tell Cuba to come around to our way of thinking or we will simply take the land away from them.

We need to tell the Palestinians and the Israelis they have 12 months to create a lasting peace to help stabilize the middle east or we will dig a nuclear ditch around both of them and let them starve to death.

We need to tell China that this one way trade shit is over.

We need to plant multiple nukes onto few places around the world that are nuclear threats to let people know that we really are crazy and we do mean to harm them if they don't cooperate with us.

We need to tell Putin if he wants to stay alive, to cool what he is doing, or better yet just kill off the KGB S.O.B. and dare the next guy to try to follow in his footsteps.

We need to send Bill Clinton to the UN as Ambassador with the message of getting their ass in gear or going out of business. Tell them to go whole hog after the international terroist and kill them. Give them 6 months to comply.

Let the CIA rendition all those dumb mothers that blew the cover on our CIA agents and operatives. They just need to disappear.

One last thing, package that dumb f..king traitor Henry Kissinger up in a WalMart sack and air drop him into the Hague to stand trial for his war crimes.

Oh yes, and FOX news....well I'm keeping that one secret.

Now did I forget antything?

Now I feel much better.

I'm going into the kitchen and take my meds now.

Pictures at 11:00.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Icon in a Finished Display

This is the partial Icon of Saint Catherine with the additional art work to give it balance.
The Icon image has been reproduced and flipped to give a symmetrical form, and the eyes, which I believe to be the very soul of the object, have been enlarged, as has the small "Christ" figure in the upper left of the original Icon and placed on the left side of the frame.

These added elements are all off scale and lighter in contrast from the original to show that they are separate from the original. They are printed and mounted on acid free paper and poster board, with 300 year archival photo inks used to make the prints. The Icon itself is not attached to the added elements, but is floating separate from the materials used. Multiple versions of her official and non-offical biography are attached to back, in addition to the symbolic nature of the Icon's elements themselves.

I am still considering whether or not to recontructing the "wheel" and add it to the work. Opinons?

I have been advised to watch for any traces of "saw dust" in the frame after I close it, to assure that there isn't any live beetles or grubs still in the wood. That will be done, and appropriate measures taken if they are.

Now I will find an appropriate place in my home, away from any direct sunlight or heat for her to reside and rule and bring peace.

Any final suggestions or comments?

Thanks guys, for all the help you have given me, publicly and privately.

I am sure, that Saint Catherine will also bless each one of you for assisting her on her journey from some one's dust bin, to yard sale, to rejuvenation and the light of day.

Yet again the ICON

Here are some more pictures for the expert (or curious) among you to examine.
Remember to enlarge the picture, click on the image.

Any help?
I was only mildly curious before. Now I'm getting interested.