Monday, May 29, 2006


One thing I love about this area of Oregon is that you can be on the coast in about an hour to an hour and a half. There are big and little state parks up and down the coast. And plenty of little turn outs and scenic areas when you can just sit down with a sandwich and a drink and just watch the ocean.

We went over yesterday and caught up with a good friend at Yachats where she was doing an event at a really nice craft show. Had a little trouble finding their spot, but I spotted a couple of her filled pastry pockets going by. Mom and I hung around until closing time. They had some great things to show. One crafter had wonderful, very colorful fused glass pendants; another had some great crystals and spiral pendants, some fantastic chocolates, some neat artwork and just lots of other neat things. So, what did we end up with? The vendor carrying some great glass wind chimes also had some beautiful iris bulbs for sale. We got the irises. We already have two sets of wind chimes. I don’t really need any more chocolate, so on and so forth.

So, after everything was cleaned up we all went down to Florence, had a great dinner, a couple of hours of great conversation and just had a good time. Didn’t want the day to end so we did have a kind of late start back. Parts of 126 are pretty twisty, and not the most fun to drive after dark. I’d just pull off the road and let the speed demons go zooming by. At least the rain we had almost all weekend had pretty much cleared out.

On the way up, we stopped at one of the state parks and I had a chance to get a few pictures between showers. Not great shots but fairly decent quickie shots.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


My apologies for the different type faces. I copied the information from three different windows and it didn't want to reformat in my word document. (sound of a raspberry)


We’ve had a minor disagreement between the City of Portland and the local office of the FBI. Personally, I think that if the FBI wants to know how the local government of the City of Portland works they should just go down to City Hall and ask. I obviously have a feeble grasp of how the Bureau does business, but I thought it best to present everything verbatim. I really love the Bureau press release though. Several paragraphs of absolutely nothing.  I hope no trees were sacrificed to put this turkey out. There is a description of a really great editorial cartoon at the end.


Associated Press Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. - Mayor Tom Potter on Wednesday accused the FBI of using "big brother" tactics in his city by trying to recruit an informant inside the offices of City Hall.

The FBI said it "strongly disagrees on the significance of the incident described."

Dan Nielsen, the FBI's acting special agent in charge for Oregon, said an agent and a city employee "came across each other in day-to-day activities, Starbucks and they work out at the same gym.”

He said the agent made no secret about who he was, and when the city employee was "clearly uncomfortable about the situation," he told her she was free to report the contact."

"It wasn't the jackbooted thug coming in and putting on the klieg lights," Nielsen said.

Potter, a former police chief, has been at odds with the FBI before.

Last April, the mayor and other City Council members voted to remove Portland police from the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force because the FBI refused to give him the top-secret security clearance he said he needed for full oversight of the officers assigned to the task force.

In a letter posted Wednesday on the city's Web site, Potter said a city employee on May 11 was stopped by a special agent from the Portland FBI who asked whether she knew any of Portland's five City Council members.

According to Potter, the employee was asked "if she would be willing to pass information to him relating to people who work for the city of Portland. He said that while he had duties in other areas, the agency was always interested in information relating to white collar crime and other things."

Potter said the agency's actions smacked of "big brother," especially in light of recent news reports about some of the nation's biggest phone companies sharing millions of customer records with the National Security Agency.

Last November, the FBI opened a public corruption investigation into the Portland Police Bureau's handling of pawn and secondhand shops that sold stolen merchandise.

On Wednesday, Potter said that federal authorities have since told him they know of no public corruption in Portland and are not conducting an investigation of the city.

He said "there is no information to indicate any public corruption on the part of City Council members or employees," so "the FBI has no legitimate role in surreptitiously monitoring elected officials and city employees."

Nielsen, the FBI's acting special agent in charge for Portland, saidWednesday that he expects the agency to maintain good relations with the mayor and the city.

"It's normal there will be disagreements of opinion," Nielsen said. "I don't see it as downward spiral."

Associated Press Writer Julia Silverman contributed to this story.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


This is the open letter from Mayor Tom Potter to the city about the incident.


An Open Letter to the Portland Community:


On Thursday, May 11, 2006, a Special Agent of the Portland Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation stopped a City employee and showed her a badge and ID. He asked if she knew any City Council members. He asked if she would be willing to pass information to him relating to people who work for the City of Portland. He said that while he had duties in other areas, the agency was always interested in information relating to white collar crime and other things.


One important and legitimate role of the FBI is to investigate public corruption within government entities. For example, recently the FBI arrested a member of Congress for public corruption. But federal officials have told me they know of no public corruption in our city. Federal officials say they are conducting no investigation of the City of Portland.


The only conclusion I can draw is that the agent in question was trying to place an informant inside the offices of Portland's elected officials and employees, in order to inform on City Council and others.


The actions of the FBI – even if they are the actions of one agent acting on his own - come at an uneasy time for many Americans. In the past few weeks, we have learned that our phone records are not private, and conversations are monitored without warrants. Journalists exposing these actions have been threatened with prosecution.


Even if this incident is nothing more than the work of one overzealous agent, it represents an unacceptable mindset within the agency. When there is no information to indicate ANY public corruption on the part of City Council members or employees, the FBI has no legitimate role in surreptitiously monitoring elected officials and city employees.


As a city, we will continue to cooperate with the FBI on investigating criminal activities and terrorism, to ensure our community is as safe as possible.


But in the absence of any reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing, I believe the FBI’s recent actions smack of "Big Brother." Spying on local government without justification or cause is not acceptable to me. I hope it is not acceptable to you, either.


Thank you,



Tom Potter



May 24, 2006


And this the statement from the FBI. If you’ll notice, the statement spends four fifths of the statement saying absolutely nothing.


This is a press release courtesy of the FBI's Portland Field Office

"The FBI has and will continue to have an open dialogue with Mayor Potter and other city officials concerning a variety of public safety issues that are important to the people of this city. Because of this open relationship, the mayor and the FBI have discussed, on several occasions, the issues raised in his letter. Although we strongly disagree on the significance of the incident described, we do welcome the opportunity to keep lines of communication open."

"The FBI is a part of the communities in which it works. To be effective, it relies on the assistance of those who also live and work in those communities. It is entirely proper for an FBI agent to ask willing citizens to provide information when those citizens feel it is appropriate to do so regarding potential criminal conduct – whether that information involves a bank robbery, kidnapping, public corruption or other crime."

"The vast majority of public officials – both elected and appointed – are honest in their work and committed to serving their fellow citizens. Saying that, we’ve seen cases around the country of those who abuse the public trust. The citizens served by the FBI expect – and should expect – the FBI to take reasonable, lawful steps to counter criminal behavior where and when it happens."

"In the last two years, FBI investigations have led to a 40% increase in the number of indictments of government employees involved in corruption. Many of our investigations start with a tip from someone who encounters corruption in the course of their work. The FBI cannot investigate corruption (or any crime) until it determines that that crime exists, and simply providing citizens with an avenue to provide that information is good police work."

"The FBI’s Portland Division has and will continue to abide by the Constitution as well as all federal laws, rules and regulations concerning the conduct of its investigations."

"The FBI will continue to work with the City of Portland, its elected officials and its employees to ensure the safety of the people we jointly serve."


A local cartoonist had a wonderful cartoon in the paper today. Too bad my scanner isn’t working. But, I’ll try to describe it.


Picture a three part card with DOMESTIC SPYING typed on it. There’s a little FBI guy with a spyglass examining a post note. On the left side of the entry are three dots labeled 1, 3, and 5. On the right are three dots and the numbers 2, 4, and 6. The message on the post it?


Dear FBI, See if you can connect the dots on this one.  Love, Tom Potter, Mayor, Portland, Oregon.



What do you call an organization for former Bush supporters?

"Shrubaholics Anonymous"

Friday, May 26, 2006


I'm just curious. Why do so many movies, tv shows etc. still use Roman numerals to show their copyright date? How many people can still read Roman numerals? Actually, I can if I work at it.  But, we all know I'm moderately weird.

And while we're on the subject of weirdness of a sort. Dear Mapquest. Do you just go by mileage when you recommend a route. 'Cause it's painfully obvious nobody had driven the route you recommended for our little jaunt this afternoon. Granted, where we were headed is about as nowhere as you can get and still be about thirty miles from Portland. We ended up on a narrow state road with no shoulders, more curves than a room full of belly dancers, hill on one side drop off on the other, and a half mile or so of 17% (yes, 17%, most highways try to keep the grade at 6% or so) grade at the end. Lots of fun with soaking wet brakes. I'd mention the rain but Mapquest wasn't responsible for that. Most of the roads date from the homesteading days, but I can't imagine taking anything but a saddle horse up or down that grade. Personally, I'd be leading the horse not trying to ride. Yep, I'm a chicken, hear me cluck.

One thing I've noticed about the little towns up the valley. They're about five to ten miles apart. About as far as you could ride or take a horse and wagon in about a half day trip to town or to church. Actually the mid point would be three or four miles each way. The whole area north of Salem and west of I5 is a network of small towns, state and county roads, farms, truck gardens and vinyards. Pretty country, very pretty country especially this time of year.

Saturday, May 20, 2006



By Nat Hentoff in USA Today May 16, 2006


Nat Hentoff is an authority on free speech issues and the Bill of Rights


In late January at the National Press Club, Gen. Michael Hayden, deputy director of National Intelligence, was asked whether the Fourth Amendment requires probable cause for government searches of Americans.

"No," he replied. The court standard for lawful searches and seizures, Hayden added, is "unreasonable search and seizure." So reasonable suspicion is the general's standard.

Actually, this most specifically detailed of all 10 parts of the Bill of Rights goes on to require a court warrant for searches based on "probable cause" that a crime has been committed or is being planned. There are exceptions, but rarely to the high standard of probable cause.

Aware that Hayden has been head of the National Security Agency (NSA) for six years, I was not entirely surprised at his bypassing probable cause. After all, the agency's omnivorous secret warrantless eavesdropping program has given us all plenty of reasons to be concerned about privacy.

Hayden, nominated to lead the CIA, will be asked to defend such programs at his confirmation hearings that start Thursday on Capitol Hill. I'd like to ask him whether he knows that the Fourth Amendment is so specific thatit insists the warrants also "describ(e) the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

This requirement by the Framers is especially pertinent now, in light of USA TODAY's report that the NSA has collected records of billions of phone calls since the 9/11 attacks in perhaps the largest database in history.

As the paper explained, these are calls made by "ordinary Americans," not suspects. Since the NSA does not go to any court for warrants for its analysis of these records, there is no probable cause. As such, I would ask Hayden how he fits reasonable suspicion into this ever-expanding web.

This database might be shared with the CIA, the FBI and other agencies. The "call-detail" records do not have your name, address or other personal data, and the NSA is not eavesdropping. Even so, any agency can easily cross-reference those phone numbers with databases that do have your name, address and much more.

Another question I have for Hayden: Does he know why the Fourth Amendment is so insistently detailed? The answer has deep roots in pre-revolutionary America.

The colonists were subject to searches by British customs officials (and troops if need be) bearing "writs of assistance." These were wholly general search warrants that required no judicial approval and enabled the British to enter Americans' homes and businesses and turn everything upside down in search of contraband.

In 1765, outraged patriots, including Samuel Adams, formed the Sons of Liberty in Boston, and seven years later they created a Committee of Correspondence that vividly detailed these invasions.

These committees multiplied — including one formed in part by Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. Jefferson wrote that these committees of correspondence "would be the best instrument for communication." As the stories of British outrages circulated, the galvanizing writs of assistance became one of the precipitating causes of our revolution.

But that was then.

A disturbing aftermath of USA TODAY's story was an initial Washington Post-ABC News poll that showed 63% of Americans approved of the NSA's dragnet. Perhaps as more information became available over the weekend, the story sunk in: A USA TODAY/Gallup Poll showed 51% against the program, with two-thirds of Americans concerned. I hope these worried folks might consider starting their own Internet committees of correspondence.

When I speak to students about the Bill of Rights, I take them to a Boston courtroom where in 1761, a prominent lawyer, James Otis, argued passionately for hours against the king's writs of assistance. He lost the case; but in the room that day was a young lawyer, John Adams, who wrote: "Then and there the child Independence was born!"

When asked about the NSA story, Hayden said, "Everything that the NSA does is lawful and very carefully done and that the appropriate members of the Congress, the House and Senate, are briefed on all NSA activities, and I think I'd just leave it at that."

I didn't hear the Liberty Bell ringing in the background.

I did some googling and his work has appeared in the Washington Post, among other publications. I thought this was worth posting


I’m going to go out on a limb here. I’m guessing that you don’t make general in the modern army without being an academy graduate. I don’t know what kind of US history they teach at the academy, but I’m guessing it’s pretty rigorous. Heck, I’m guessing Admiral Hayden and I are probably pretty close in age and I know what I learned in junior high and seniorhigh US history, before I took the three terms while I was at the U of O. We did a very complete unit on the constitution and the Bill of Rights. (that’s where I learned to spell bureaucrat, among other things) That’s why it’s hard for me to swallow the explanation that he thought that the NSA data mining was legal. He may have forgotten what was in the constitution but it had to have been covered at some point. Maybe he was asleep that week or something.


There is a scene late in the second season of Babylon 5. Two planetary systems have been at war. One side is losing, but not fast enough to suit the other. The potential winners decide to speed things up by resorting to planetary bombardment with small artificial asteroids. It doesn’t matter that they’re going to win anyway, they want the war over at a minimum of expense and loss of lives on their side. The other side? Bomb ‘em back to the stone age. Their ambassador to B5 protests that they’ve signed treaties that ban this action. The reply? “Words on paper.”


A constitution is “words on paper” too.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006


I wonder what Christianity wants to be when it grows up. And will we survive
until that little miracle happens. Anybody out there willing to lay odds?
Hmmm... I'm awfully snarky today. Good.


Forgive me my fellow bloggers, for I have sinned. I signed on to AOL last night, saw the stories about the DaVinci Code film and went diving into the calls for a boycott like an addict looking for a fix.


Let me see, what can I say?  To the cardinal from Nigeria who thinks that some sort of lawsuit should be attempted and that Christians have “turned the other cheek” long enough. I could say this. Your government makes Al Capone look like an Eagle Scout, you’ve got rebels blowing up your oil producing facilities, Muslims and Christians are practicing mutual ethnic cleansing and there are countless other problems that are probably covered pretty much under the verses from Matthew 25. Quit worrying about a couple of hours worth of celluloid and get busy doing what Jesus told you to do.


To the executive secretary for the president of the Philippines. Pretty much the same thing only less oil and more rebels who like to kidnap foreign tourists and threaten to behead them. Although since the word has gotten out that a visit to the Philippines may include more thrills that you bargained for, this seems to have quieted down. Maybe less corruption, too but the jury is out on that. Maybe it’s because they have less to be corrupt with. Still don’t have the democracy bit down pat though, and there’s plenty of poverty, hunger, bad housing and child hood diseases to deal with first. Again, get busy taking care of what Jesus told you to worry about and I suspect that rest will take care of itself.


To Opus Dei. Funny, the story about you disappeared. Appropriate for a group accused of secrecy and cult like tendencies. With a founder who thought that Hitler should be admired because he helped defeat Communism and who cooperated with Spain’s own home grown fascist, Franco, I think I’d want the story to disappear to. If you want a thrill, look up the word cilice on the ‘net. Heck, if you have the time, look up Opus Dei. There are several sites on the ‘net. They range from adoration to extreme skepticism. I suspect that the Vatican would prefer that more main stream Catholics not find themselves wondering how and why the late Pope ended up designating this group a “personal prelature” answerable only to him.


To everybody else. I have five words. The Passion of the Christ. There were a lot of people who didn’t want that movie shown either. (loud two fingered whistle) Guess what, Mel Gibson had the right to show his film and the DaVinci Code, (flaws and all) has the right to be shown too. No one is going to twist your arm and make you fork over the ten bucks or whatever movie tickets are going for these days and make you see the film or read the book. Get over it. God/dess has managed to survive Constantine, Justinian, the Crusades (both sides), the inquisition, more than a few corrupt popes, several severely bent “reformers,” the European wars of religion, etc and ad nauseaum. I think H/She will survive a couple of hours of film and an extremely convoluted book.


And if some folks get curious enough to look up the details on how the books of the bible were chosen, how and why the various creeds came to be written, how certain teachings that might have the original disciples scratching their heads and muttering “what the …. ? Where’d that come from” came about, and how the people who didn’t agree with the results were dealt with, more power to them. I suspect that this is what has the churchmen worried, and the only spokesmen I’ve seen quoted are men. Curious, I wonder how that happened?


Oh, and I don't even want to go into this turn the other cheek baloney. Puhleez! Get over the inferiority complexes already.


I think my "cranky" genes are in full tilt today. Good.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


I'm not sure where I ran across this. There is a belief that a good intention can be undermined or fail if it's carried out in the wrong way or begun on a flawed foundation. The war in Iraq and the "War" on terrorism are perfect examples. Perhaps removing Saddam Hussein and spreading democracy was a noble endeavor. Pretecting our citizens from terrorist attacks is necessary. But these houses were built on sand and the sand is being blown away by a gale.  

Intelligence was ignored or manufactured. The beaurocrats planning the operation tried to do it on the cheap. Anyone who disagreed was accused of disloyalty. Treaties that were ratified by congress and signed by earlier presidents were ignored. Basic rights that thousands of our fellow citizens fought for on the battlefield or the courts have been ignored. Three of the four largest phone companies have handed over phone records without a fight. (note: our local company, Qwest, apparently refused. The CEO basically said the request wasn't legal in his opinion. And guess what, he's still CEO and nobody took him to court to get those records.) The president has said that he doesn't have to obey the law. What part of his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution doesn't he understand? Or was he asleep during the swearing in ceremony. Too many of our brothers and sisters are saying that "I don't care what rights I give up, as long as I'm safe."

Just how safe do think you're going to be?


Years ago I bought one of those terra cotta fire pits complete with chimney. Then I read the fine print about how to use the thing safely. So, it's sat in the back yard ever since. Well, with the addition of a small strawberry pot it is now a planter in the front yard. We had the austrian pine tree taken out last year. The stump was taken down at ground level and it makes a great place to put our new flowers. Baucopa and wave petunias on top, landscape strawberries in the little pockets and a red wave petunia and strawberries below. We'll see how it goes. And the chimney? It's now the base for a slightly slanted bird bath.

Friday, May 12, 2006


This is why I keep a notebook by the bed. I read something that got me going and my brain wouldn't stop chewing on it like a pup with a nice juicy bone. Now, I can keep rewriting possible journal entries in my head and never get to sleep or I can write it down and hope I can decipher it later.


Ran across an editorial inserted into another journal. Blogger said it came out of Florida but didn’t identify the paper. Anyway it was another of those “love it or leave it” pieces.


There are some things I just don’t understand. And I'm not sure that I want to.


Why does it matter so much if In God We Trust is engraved on our dollar bills or if the Ten Commandments are hung on a public wall? If the words aren't written on your heart the rest doesn't matter. And too many of us make it very clear every day that not all of those commandments were created equal.


Why should it matter so much if someone says Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, or Seasons Greetings. Getting bent out of shape over how you’re greeted in public between the day after Thanksgiving and December 26th is just more noise and distraction. Heck, holiday is another way of saying holy day. And I’m only in my middle fifties, but being around to greet any season is a blessing in my book. Heck, waking up to greet another day with the cats, mom, the yard, my camera and my job is a blessing. Perhaps we should try to greet every day as a holy day and look at every place we stand as holy ground.


I’d love to find out when this writer’s family came over the water. Supposedly one branch of my family settled in the Plymouth Colony. There’s a signer of the Declaration out there somewhere in the wings. Some of the Smiths were in Vermont in the early 1800’s. There were some Kaisers in Iowa by the middle 1800’s. Family lore claims a part Cherokee great great grandmother. I don’t have a name or dates so I’m not going to make an official claim. But if it’s true, then my roots in this land run deeper than most. So, yippee, what have I done with it? What have I done to make this a better place?


Yes, most if not all of the founders were Christians. They were Baptists, Quakers, Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Catholics, Lutherans and Deists. Sorry, when someone talks about a Christian” culture, what exactly are they talking about? If it isn’t written on your heart, an act of congress declaring this is a “Christian” nation is just a piece of paper. A very dangerous piece of paper. Too often in the past Christian meant white, Protestant, northern Europeans. If this is officially a “Christian” nation, is there a place at the table for those of us who aren’t?


America, I love you. I love you enough to believe that this isn’t the answer. I love you enough to believe that we can do better. WE CAN DO BETTER. It doesn’t matter what’s written on the papers, on the stones or on the plaques. What matters is what is written in our hearts. Because if it isn’t there…..the rest isn’t worth a damn.


Thursday, May 11, 2006


Springfield is probably a pretty typical small city. Officially, there's fifty thousand or so people who live here. Several small towns around the fringes. And over the river, our big sister Eugene. Named for Eugene Skinner, the first settler. I have to admit, as a name for a city, Eugene is pretty unique. On the other hand, I'm not sure how many Springfields there are scattered across the country.

Dad used to joke that the last time Eugene thought it needed Springfield was back when Springfield was "wet" and Eugene was "dry." And if any of you are young enough to not know what that means, call your folks.

Anyway, Springfield your basic mill/industrial type town. Not too pretty. The tallest building is the local hospital. Lots of little post war homes. Lots of big lots that have been subdivided so that there are two or three little houses where there used to be one little house. Lots of little auto repair shops and the like east of town. Some newer, glitzier developments to the north. A fairly nice mall. That sort of thing. And right now it's downright beautiful.

All the trees have leafed out. There are pink and white dogwoods all over town. The first flowering shrubs are bursting with blooms. The grass is still green and a lot of the old lawns are full of violets and those little English daisies. The birds are singing their little hearts out in the mornings. The first bulbs are up. And some lucky people with more sun than our yard gets actually have irises all ready. Ours are still poking their leaves out and wondering if it's a good idea to stay up or if it's possible to rewind the tape.

And, once again we have a bird family in the wall of the garage. Finally realized what the Bandit was finding so fascinating in the evenings. The hole in the garage wall is just above the window and there's just room enough to sit on the sill (if you're a cat) and watch the parents trying to keep up with the babie's bottomless pits.

It's actually almost fun to make the drive home in the evenngs just to see what's started blooming in the last couple of days. When it's your home town it looks pretty good just because it's home. Right now it looks like the prettiest place around.


Sunday, May 7, 2006


We had a cloudy, drizzly day. This allowed some good shots of the dogwood tree without having to fight the overexposure demon. They are predicting sunny skies for the rest of the week so I think I caught these just in time.


We have ourselves a nice little army recruiting scandal brewing in little ol’ Oregon. According to a front page story in the Portland Oregonian the local recruiters signed up an 18 year old autistic high school student in spite of his parents’ continued efforts to stop the process. At this point the kid is supposed to report for basic in August. They not only accepted him he’s supposed to be trained as a scout. This is a kid who didn’t even know there was a war on until after he told his folks he’d been approached by a recruiter in a local mall.


The story included several reports that included a mentally ill Ohio recruit who was accepted even though his medical records were readily available. A Houston kid was told he could be arrested if he backed out of a recruiting appointment. A Colorado high school journalist doing and undercover story on recruiting claims he was told to fake a diploma and how to beat a drug test. He’d claimed he was a drop out with a drug problem.


The Portland recruiting office started an investigation after the parents called the local paper and the paper started making calls. The officer in charge of processing enlistment paperwork has stated that the young man’s papers have no record of his disability.  The fact that he’s been a special-ed student for his entire academic career would disqualify him from being signed on.


The young man was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism and has needed special-ed classes all the way through school. With a lot of help he will graduate with a standard diploma this spring. While he may have trouble with academics he is a fantastic musician and holds down a part time job doing janitorial work. Actually, he’d probably do just fine in a stateside quartermaster type assignment, but I suspect that most of those jobs have been contracted out to civilian companies at three or four times what a private would be paid.


The parents have stated that their attempts to alert the recruiters to the young man’s disabilities were brushed off. The corporal working with him told his step mother that he’d had special-ed classes too. For dyslexia. Which is a far cry from autism. The next step up the ladder was a sergeant who told the step mother that the young man is question was “a man. He didn’t need his mommy making his decisions for him.” When the paper contacted him he denied ever being contacted by the parents. The denial was followed by an attempt to remove the tape from the reporters’ recorder.


This is a brief coverage of the story. At this point there is an investigation being started.. The corporal faces a reprimand and a possible dishonorable discharge. But these things are happening after all recruitment was suspended last year so that everybody could be reminded about the rules.


It makes me wonder how many have been slipped through because they didn’t have dedicated family looking out for them.


Our clump of chives makes a great spring flower. The other shot includes the chives in the background, forget me nots, groundcover geraniums, strawberries and ever blooming violets.

Had our first rainshowers for two or three weeks. Kind of sorry to have the rain on the weekend, but all the plants are usually better for the natural rain.

Saturday, May 6, 2006


Dipping into the Astronomy Picture of the Day site again. This is a shot of the Southern Pinwheel galaxy. From the description, I'm assuming the best viewing is from the equator or southern hemisphere. Supposedly it's visible through binoculars but it'll probably look like a big blur. The bright blue areas along the spiral arms are areas of star formation and home to countless hot, bright blue stars. This is how the galaxy looked about 15 million years ago. Other members of the group include another galaxy known as Centaurus A.

The object in Centaurus A that looks like skewed triangle is the reamains of a collision of another smaller galaxy with this one. To make things even more interesting astronomers assume that there is a super sized black hole at the center of the galaxy.

So many stars, so little time