Saturday, September 13, 2008


Latest Coalition Fatalities

09/14/08 MNF:
Soldier dies of non-combat related causes
A Multi-National Division - Center Soldier died this morning of non-combat related causes. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and official release by the Department of Defense.


Mercifully, the number of U. S. military casualties is down. Unfortunately, Iraqi deaths are not. Violence continues unabated.
Two big bombings targeted Shiites on Friday. A bomb killed over 30 persons and wounded over 40 in Dujail, a largely Shiite city northeast of Baghdad. Earlier on Friday, a bomb at the Dhakir al-Din Mosque in Sinjar killed two and wounded 15.

The security situation has deteriorated in Mosul, (pop. 1.8 mn), Iraq's second largest city, which lies in the north of the country. Reuters reports that "U.S. military officials say attacks fell from around 130 per week just before the May offensive to 30 a week in Nineveh by July, before creeping up to 60-70 per week."

When you've got 60 attacks a week in the country's second largest city, things are not "calm."
--Juan Cole at Informed Comment
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

I commend to your attention

Imprecatory Prayer of the Northern Wolves
Posted by MJS at Jesus' General.

An excerpt:
we are standing as sentries among the killers
this night we howl in their lives
this night will be all nights
and the killers will know us and fear sleep
and the killers will know us and fear sleep
May the northern wolves indeed invade the nights and dreams of the flying killers and may the flying killers know no rest, no peace, no sleep.

$150 bounty for each wolf foreleg from Her Brutal Wasillity.

Note: as others have asked on sites posting this video, BE WARNED: CRUELTY TO ANIMALS DEPICTED.

--the BB

Day Ten: Flagstaff to Albuquerque

Today saw the final leg of our journey: a drive from Flagstaff, Arizona, back to Albuquerque and home.

I want to apologize for yesterday's photos. It seems I cleverly used a close-up setting for the cat and then forget to go back to the usual setting. As I took photos of distant objects they invariably turned out blurry. I wondered why, just as the shot of the San Francisco Peaks seemed to be in focus, it shifted to a blur when I pressed the shutter button. Now I know. I did not post those sad attempts - and they were a sore disappointment to me yesterday evening.

Here is a shot anyway.

And here is a picture of the moon above the sunset clouds.

This is a bluff overlooking a rest stop and tourist information spot just inside the New Mexico border.

I must say: the Arizona and New Mexico deserts are lovely. The California desert, not so much.

Wonderful to see the Sandias and be home again. Alas, I fly out tomorrow for another stint. Well, alas that I leave home, but not that I have gainful employment.

Thanks for the prayers for a safe journey and for comments while we traveled. There will be more photos in the near future since I shot more than I could post.

It was a good trip. A real treat to see at least some of the folks we love, though certainly not all. A rather rich collection of emotions around places we have been and lived in the past. No desire to go back to the past, but fun to see sites. Nostalgia meals (the configurations of people and locations and food) were fascinating. Always interesting to see how places have changed over time (and people, needless to say).

The journey of life, of course, never stops. Bill and I and our families and friends all journey on, following our sundry paths, experiencing ever-shifting configurations, deepening and enriching the texture of the cosmos in our own infinitesimally small corners.

¡Buen viaje!
--the BB

Safely home

More later. Doing laundry, unpacking so I can repack, etc. Catching my breath.

--the BB

The NYT notices

From today's lead editorial at the New York Times:
What made it [her first interview] so much worse is the strategy for which the Republicans have made Ms. Palin the frontwoman: win the White House not on ideas, but by denigrating experience, judgment and qualifications.

The idea that Americans want leaders who have none of those things — who are so blindly certain of what Ms. Palin calls “the mission” that they won’t even pause for reflection — shows a contempt for voters and raises frightening questions about how Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin plan to run this country.


This nation has suffered through eight years of an ill-prepared and unblinkingly obstinate president. One who didn’t pause to think before he started a disastrous war of choice in Iraq. One who blithely looked the other way as the Taliban and Al Qaeda regrouped in Afghanistan. One who obstinately cut taxes and undercut all efforts at regulation, unleashing today’s profound economic crisis.

In a dangerous world, Americans need a president who knows that real strength requires serious thought and preparation.

--the BB

Friday, September 12, 2008

Flip. Flop.

“I have had a strong and a long relationship on national security, I’ve been involved in every national crisis that this nation has faced since Beirut, I understand the issues, I understand and appreciate the enormity of the challenge we face from radical Islamic extremism. “I am prepared. I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn’t a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn’t a governor for a short period of time.”

He's singing a new song today!

h/t to SilentPatriot at Crooks and Liars
--the BB

An embarrassment

As Josh Marshall puts it: "Sarah Palin ducks and weaves as she's caught out on the Bridge to Nowhere lie ..."

--the BB

Tonight's threefer

Planned Parenthood doesn't like the distortion from the McCain campaign. Neither do I.

Another via John Aravosis at Americablog
--the BB

Let's have more folks speak up

And shut these lying mofos down! Don't stand for blatant lying!

Speak truth to power. Tell them to their faces when they are lying. Don't allow them to evade or waffle.

Ari Melber shines and the truth actually gets on the air.

Shame on John McCain and his campaign. Shame!

h/t to John Aravosis at Americablog for this one too.

And no, I don't know why I cleaned it up and typed mofos. Y'all know what I meant. I really don't have words vile enough for how these assholes come across.
--the BB

I want to nail the LIAR because people need to know

h/t to John Aravosis at Americablog for this private video, what someone would do "if she had a 527."

Palm Springs to Flagstaff - with bonus Friday cat blogging

Yes, there were two lovely cats where we stayed in Palm Springs. This friendly feline is quite gregarious. Her brother, who is black with bits of white, tends to keep his distance from people.

And old volcano? Shot while traveling (by the passenger).

A long stream of Archer Daniels Midland cars, most with corn syrup, hauled by the BNSF

Unenhanced scenery in Arizona (the AZ desert is much prettier than the CA desert, though I know this is disloyal to my native state).

And a shot from near Seligman

So far just a driving day after a leisurely start.
--the BB

Day Eight: WeHo to Palm Springs

This is another hasty post.

Here are the boys checking out the West Hollywood landscape.

The Huntington Museum and Gardens in San Marino. This is one of the new buildings added in recent years, an excellent IMHO demonstration of good proportion in neoclassical architecture.

A fountain near the entrance

A portion of the library from before.

And finally the avocado and blue cheese hamburger in Palm Springs last night with a fist for comparison. I was conquered - ate all the meat and avocado and half of the bun, a few of the fries, and gave up.

Today we head to Flagstaff.
--the BB

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The honor was there but now it's gone

John McCain is, and I will say it in print if others are too damned polite to do so, a LIAR. And his campaign is replete with lies.

It took years for the American public to wake up to the fact that Bush lied to them repeatedly, and still does. How much time do we have to wake up to McCain?

UPDATE: If it won't play for you, here is the link.
--the BB

OK, a bit more

The La Brea Tar Pits next to the Los Angeles County museum complex. It is a redundant name since La Brea means The Tar, so we have what Bill calls "the the tar tar pits."

They have recovered something like 100 tons (!) of ice age fossils from the tar pits here. I expect John McCain to float to the surface on a bubble of methane gas any day now.
--the BB

This will be a quickie

Yes, I was in San Francisco two days ago: here you can see the famous Castro Theater (way off in the distance near the end of the block)!

I was also in East Oakland. Here is one of the signs for St. Cuthbert's that went up after I had left. I am so happy to see the church being announced like this!

It was a foggy day yesterday and this is a very unclear photo but it is of the Golden Gate Bridge viewed from Moeser Avenue in El Cerrito, a view I saw many times a week when I lived there.

Yesterday afternoon we visited the museum and gardens of the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in downtown San Luis Obispo (commonly abbreviated, thus SLO).

This afternoon we arrived in Los Angeles, hoping to see the revamped Los Angeles County Museum of Art (we visited there often when we lived in West Hollywood). Well, it's closed on Wednesdays and does not open again until noon tomorrow. By then we plan to be at the Huntington Museum in Pasadena and on our way to thence to Palm Springs. The best-laid plans of men and mice (or ravens and bears) gang aft agley.

I have lots more photos and tales to tell but this is it for tonight, except to say we had dinner at The Gardens Of Taxco Restaurant in WeHo - total nostalgia. I remember eating there with my folks over thirty years ago. The idea is that it replicates eating in an upper class private home in Mexico City. No menu. You tell the waiter if you want beef, fish, chicken, or shrimp and he tells you what dishes are available. Once you choose that it all goes into motion. Chips and dip and hot pickled vegetables, then a mini-quesadilla with guacamole, then albondigas soup, then a beef enchilad, then your main course with rice and beans, and finally a dessert cup with banana slices in a creamy custard with a maraschino cherry on top. It has not changed in all these years. At a table across from us a Latino family was celebrating a birthday and the energy was wonderful. Except for our waiter giving a rote bit of patter on the menu we hardly heard a word of English during the whole meal, unless we were speaking it - and we spoke a lot in Spanish. Wonderful evening.
--the BB

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blogging running behind

Good morning, sports fans!

I have not been able to get online and post and upload photos, etc. for a while. We have been running about and visiting and connections have been iffy and I've been exhausted. Great trip (but not restful). Monday I visited dear friends from Saint Cuthbert's and said my farewells to Phyllis (please continue to keep her in your prayers). I also spent some time in San Francisco and did a nostalgia dinner with a colleague at Rene's Restaurant in Albany, eating the same dishes we had there a few years ago. Incredible orange scallops, huge and fluffy and delicious in a great orange sauce. Later that night we saw photos of our godsons' family traveling in Sweden.

Yesterday we drove down 101 to San Luis Obispo, a charming town where Cal Poly (California Polytechnic Institute) is located as well as the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. (More on St. Louis later.) We have a surprise stop here in that friends, learning of the road trip, invited us to spend last night with them. What a delight this has been. We all worked at the same company at one point or another (I for 7 months, they for years). Wonderfully gracious hosts and this is a fun visit and I am getting back to it now. Just wanted to check in.

There are photos but I will have to download them then post some tonight.
--the BB

Monday, September 08, 2008

Day Four: Lodi to El Cerrito - partial

This is a partial post as I am having some trouble with my blogger link at the moment. One of my sister's nieces asked if I am always the one taking photos. Here are three (count them: 3!) pictures with me in them. Don't hold your breath for the next occurrence of this.

We had breakfast with my family this morning then drove across the Sacramento Delta, crossed into Antioch then on to Berkeley where we had lunch. Then we went up to the campus of the University of California (locally known as Cal; only outsiders call it the University of California at Berkeley). I took lots of pics but these few have to do for the moment.

The Doe Library reading room - now THAT's a library!

Me in front of Sather Gate:

The Doe from another angle

My godson Jack and me (totemically, he is another bear approaching life with a great heart and a hearty appetite for life):

Jack took this photo. L to R: my friend Bill, L. Wm. Countryman, retired NT professor at CDSP, me, Jack's father Jeremy. Mom and brother were inside.

OK, gang, gotta get to bed.
--the BB

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Another little milestone

Some of my blog friends far surpass this but some time today, amid our adventures, a visitor brought the total number of page views since last October up to 30,000. [Though I have been posting since 2004, I only put in the new site meter in October 2007.]

Thanks to one and all who have visited here. Welcome too all who are new to this site. I hope you find something inspiring, encouraging, invigorating, informative, or entertaining here.
--the BB