Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Day the Heat Left Summer

It's today in the Carolina Piedmont. Oh, summer isn't over, and we'll have almost two full months of hot weather yet, but today is the first cool front that came through, with clear blue skies overhead and low humidity. The end of summer is in sight. Usually this day happens in mid-to-late August, though.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Trump Reverses Obama Policy, Will Forbid Transgenders In the Military


On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. Military "will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity," citing the "tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender[s] in the military would entail." The decision reverses the "pro-transgender" policy implemented by President Obama in his final year in office.

"​After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military," Trump wrote in a series of tweets. "Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you."

The antics of transgender intelligence leaker Bradley "Chelsea" Manning probably had a lot to do with this decision, Manning being the direct cause of both medical costs and disruption of the type that the President mentioned in his tweets.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Shipwreck Blog: NAZI GOLD!

"Treasure chest with £100MILLION of Nazi gold is found by a British crew in the wreck of a ship deliberately sunk by Hitler to avoid being captured."

Four tons of it, supposedly, off the coast of Iceland.

A group of British treasure hunters have found a chest that could contain up to £100million in Nazi gold in the wreck of a German cargo ship off the coast of Iceland.

UK-based Advanced Marine Services found a box containing up to four tons of valuable metal, believed to be gold from South American banks, in the post room of the SS Minden, which sunk in 1939.

The gold was believed to be on board the ship and headed to Germany when the boat sank 120 miles southeast of Iceland on September 24, 1939, shortly after World War II began.

Click the link to read the rest. Apparently it's in Iceland's territorial waters.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Headline of the Day

"Salvador Dali’s Mustache Still Perky After 27 Years In A Coffin."

They exhumed Dali to gather DNA evidence for a paternity suit. The exhumers had to resort to a saw to remove a piece of Dali's embalmed body to get to bone tissue.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Building Indigo Snake Populations In Florida

Still considered a threatened species on the US Endangered Species list, efforts are being made to re-introduce these beautiful snakes into former habitats.

When I first expressed a desire for a pet snake as a boy, my father took me to a pet shop and I was shown three snakes: an Indigo Snake, a Southern Hognosed Snake, and an Eastern King Snake. The Indigo Snake was rather sluggish and plain; the Hognosed Snake was active and interesting, but when the pet store clerk told me I'd have to catch toads for it to eat, my interest waned. The King Snake was both active and beautiful, and I ended up with that one. It must have been not too long after that that Indigo Snakes were banned for sale in pet shops.

They're the USA's longest native snake, growing up to 9' in length. They are a glossy blue-black in color, hence their name, although it's possible that they were found preying on rats and other rodents in coastal indigo plantations in the antebellum era.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pope Francis Hits a Home Run With New Policy

Giving your life for another can lead to canonization, pope decides.

To recognize someone officially as a saint to be emulated, the Church has a rigorous, time-consuming process, briefly outlined here. There are stages leading up to canonization, including those marked by the bestowing of the titles Servant of God, Venerable, and Blessed.

Miracles attributed to the intercession of the saint are part of the process.

And today, Pope Francis has made an adjustment to this system by adding another category to the pathways that can lead to canonization.

The document Maiorem hac dilectionem (“Greater love than this”) opens a fourth path for the canonization of saints, a path titled oblatio vitae, “the offering of one’s life.”

This category provides a framework for recognizing “heroic Christian witness,” explained Archbishop Marcello Bartolucci of Bevagna, Italy, secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes, in an interview with L’Osservatore Romano today.

Up until now, there had been three paths leading to beatification and eventual canonization: martyrdom “in odium fidei” [being killed because of your Catholic faith – translator’s note], recognition of the heroic living of virtue, and a third, called “equivalent canonization,” when a pope simply confirms a devotion to a saint who is already well-established in the Church. This equivalent canonization was the case of the Jesuit Pierre Faber (1506-1546) recognized by Pope Francis in 2013, or of Hildegard of Bingen, recognized by Pope Benedict XVI.

This new path, oblatio vitae, is taken from the Lord’s assertion, “Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for a friend.”

*Quickdraw McGraw Voice* "Now Calm Down There, Li'l Jugaloo..."

Axe-wielding Jugaloo prompts swat standoff over radio song-request."

It began just after 1:30 Monday afternoon with 911 calls about a man in a red car brandishing weapons outside the radio studios on Cabot Road in Medford where he apparently tried unsuccessfully to request the song “My Axe” by the Insane Clown Posse and then ranted about his failure to several passersby outside.

“He got out of his car with a machete, stopped a girl who worked up on the second floor and said ‘I want you to play a song for me,’” Doreen Schaivone told WBZ-TV.

A heavily armed swarm of responding officers boxed in the suspect’s red sedan outside the building and the standoff began as the suspect drank beer and huffed something from a paper bag. At one point he climbed out of his vehicle…

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Wine "Experts" Should Be Tested and Certified

USA Today, Wine Tasting 101.

I'd be interested to see how good most wine "experts" when there is a blind taste testing, with the test subject actually blindfolded so (s)he can't see what's in the glass, only smell and taste it. Start out simple - - distinguish between a red and a white. Then move on to varietals in each color; finally, allow them to attempt to distinguish between wines from famous wineries. Anyone scoring less than 80% should not be called an expert. Anyone scoring 50 or below should be declared a fraud.