Purple Fingers

I went for a walk on the north side of Blue Mountain today. I met a bird and a bunny. I saw some flowers, and found a veritable cornucopia of wild raspberries.

Violent Skies

Flowers

Bird

Bunny Rabbit

Wild Raspberries

Sunny Skies

I have now done all of the AT between Caledonia State Park and the Susquehanna River.

John Adams

I was in Washington DC for a business trip a few weeks ago. I don’t have HBO at home, but they had it in my hotel room.

While flipping through the channels, I caught a bits and pieces of the HBO mini series John Adams.

My hotel had a replica of the Declaration of Independence hanging in the lobby, and I had a picture of Thomas Jefferson in my room.

And there I sat watching the revolution on TV. It was all very patriotic…

When I got home, I ordered the DVD set. It was astoundingly good.

Join or Die Flag

It was quite amusing to watch the founding fathers arguing at the continental congresses. Whenever someone in a modern political debate goes on about how the founding fathers would agree with his position, he is at least 33% full of shit, because it seems like the founding fathers could barely agree on anything, including breaking away from England.

John Dickinson
Mr. Dickinson wouldn’t even sign the declaration!

It’s not all just politics and war, though. The love story between John and Abigail Adams is probably the most believable I’ve seen in the movies.

John and Abigale Adams

I really can’t say enough nice things about this series. I was sad when the story ended, and I think I’m going to read the book.

I hope they make one about Jefferson next.

5 Jihadis out of 5

I enthusiastically give John Adams 5 Jihadis out of 5.

Why You Should Wear a Helmet

A fellow can scarce read a newspaper lately without being reminded of the imminent collapse of the petroleum economy.

It seems obvious that we will soon be building nuclear power plants at a frantic pace, which (I predict) will forestall the total collapse of civilization by about 15 minutes.

the total collapse of civilization

In light of these pressing matters, people are asking themselves all sorts of questions.

  1. “How much oil is there in ANWR?”
  2. “What is the half-life of Plutonium 239?”
  3. “How many cans of beans will it take to get through the winter?”

These are all perfectly good questions, but I think the question we all really need to be asking ourselves is:

“Can Zombies Ride Bicycles?”

If not, the masses can expect to flee from zombie-infested areas on bicycles.

If, on the other hand, zombies can ride bicycles (perhaps recumbent trikes or some such), then escape will be much more difficult, and you may expect to see widespread hand-to-hand combat (or bike jousting) between humans and zombies.

Zombie

In either event, any reasonable person can agree that there can be no chance of survival without an adequate supply of bicycle helmets, as either eventuality carries great risk of brain trauma, either my pavement impact or by undead mastication.

Bike Helmet

I know many of you are hoarding rice and ammunition, and some are even starting their own vegetable gardens to try to survive the coming apocalypse.

All the rice and vegetables in the world won’t help you if your brain is splattered on the asphalt, or rotting in the innards of a putrid zombie.

Zombie slayer
Image shamelessly stolen from Post Carbon Comics

Unless you think the Bicycle Zombie Slayer is going to come to your rescue, stock up on bicycle helmets — before it’s too late!

Fruitcake

I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, to take one example, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I can’t simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

–Barack Obama ( Professor of constitutional law)

Barack Obama

“That [the foregoing quotation] is a fruitcake interpretation of the constitution.”

James Dobson (Religious political agitator)

James Dobson

“Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”

James Madison (Principal author of the US constitution)

James Madison

Bad Pictures From Stony Creek

Last week, I got myself a neutral density filter for my camera, because I was tired of having so many overexposed pictures. It worked out pretty well last weekend. Everybody seemed to like my wheat picture.

So, today, I went into the woods, all overconfident in my new equipment. It was pretty much midday, which means shafts of white-hot sunlight stab into to the deep, dark shadows all over every picture I took. Basically, all my stuff is simultaneously overexposed and underexposed, all in the same shot. Maybe there is come combination of equipment and technique that can counteract this sort of thing, but I don’t know what it is.

Anyhow, here’s some pictures.

Bike in the woods

Monkey

Out of focus deer

I think this deer escaped from the military base on the other side of the mountain, and is actually wearing some sort of top-secret military cloaking device. You might think I’m just a bad photographer, and that the picture is out of focus, but she was out of focus in real life, too.

Honest.

County Line

Waterfall

This little waterfall is the first picture I’ve ever taken with my camera set to fully manual mode where you can actually make out what it’s a picture of. I guess I should be thankful for small miracles.

Today: 25 miles
June: 25 miles
2008 Utility Miles: 182
2008 Total Miles: 297 miles

Boo Hoo! There’s Bears!

The local news ran a story this morning about a man who built his house right next to 14,000 acres of protected game lands, and now he’s shocked and amazed to learn that bears live there.

Map
Interactive Map

The Yellow arrow on the map shows the approximate location of the housing development in question. The green areas are the game lands.

He wants the game commission to ‘relocate’ the bears. I’m not sure where they would relocate them to, since the game lands are where the bears are supposed to live in the first place.

Bear Cavalry

In the north country where I come from, everybody has bears in their yard, and nobody runs crying to the game commission about it. Bears really aren’t all that dangerous, and they generally make better neighbors than most people do.

The “Sylvania” part of the word “Pennsylvania” is Latin for “forest land.”

Bears live in the woods.

Deal.

Catching up On Some Reading

So, I’ve been doing the lacto-ovo vegetarian thing for one solid month now. The increased fiber in my diet has afforded me ample time to catch up on some reading.

How about some shoddily-written book reviews then?

Ishmael

Ishmael

Ishmael is a weird book. It’s written as a kind of extended Platonic dialog between a man and a gigantic, telepathic gorilla named Ishmael. Ishmael has all sorts of interesting ideas about ecology and the role of agriculture in the Bible and in modern society.

He makes an interesting argument that the story of Cain and Abel is really about the conflict between agriculturalists and nomadic herdsmen in the ancient world.

The gorilla gets a little preachy at times, but it’s an enjoyable book nonetheless.

I give Ishmael 3 Jihadis out of 5

3 Jihadis out of 5

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

Omnivores Dilemma

I actually started reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma while I was still eating dead animals, and it was the next-to-last straw that pushed me over the edge (Scott’s infamous tirade being the final straw).

The book takes you on a pretty good tour of the modern agricultural-industrial food machine that turns government corn subsidies into animal cruelty and human obesity in as efficient a manner as possible.

It’s a long book, and it gets kind of tedious in the very last chapter. I’d give it 4 Jihadis based on the actual quality of the book, but considering that it catalyzed a pretty serious lifestyle change, I’m inclined to give it the 5th Jihadi anyway.

5 Jihadis out of 5

Buddhism Without Beliefs


Buddhism without Beliefs

This book advocates a version of Buddhism stripped of all supernatural hocus-pocus. No Karma, no Reincarnation. It’s kind of a modern, secular, “95 theses” approach to the Dharma. I’m not a fan of supernatural hocus-pocus generally, and so I’m fully on board with rationalism, wherever it appears.

After it establishing its thesis, though, the book kind of meanders along with goofy meditation exercises and gets kind of boring.

Still, it’s nice to be able to be a Buddhist and a Positivist at the same time, so I give Buddhism Without Beliefs 3 Jihadis out of 5.

3 Jihadis out of 5

For a dissenting view, Dark Zen has an interesting critique.