31 May 2008
pretty great: two mockingbirds hopping around on my balcony railing, 13 floors up--first there was just one, and then another one joined him/her--- didn't stay long after the dog spotted them and started into his stalking routine---they're young, still a little brownish, and probably the offspring of the birds which were nesting down near the marta station and giving passersby so much grief----the only other time i've seen a bird out there was not long after i moved here and it, too, was a mockingbird---maybe one of the parents now----
Posted by tomitron at 5/31/2008 10:51:00 AM
30 May 2008
a great discussion here of the legal implications of the stupid federal "defense of marriage act," which a goddam democrat (that would be clinton) signed and which, like the equally stupid georgia constitutional amendment, had nothing to do with outlawing, say, fornication or anything else that had to do with the straight world's crumbling marriages----here is a great piece on the huge legal mess that has ensued---
As many people have remarked, these holdings are immensely significant for reasons that go beyond the issue of marriage. The California Supreme Court is one of the most respected courts in the country and is fairly conservative on many issues, with six of the seven members having been appointed by Republican governors.
With this ruling, it is the first state supreme court to hold that antigay discrimination is inherently constitutionally suspect (i.e. that it provokes "strict scrutiny"), and the first to recognize the fundamental right to marry as one that includes same-sex couples.
Posted by tomitron at 5/30/2008 06:25:00 PM
29 May 2008
the euphorbia blooms all the time, but the one of a gazillion species of mammillaria that there are that i have there on the right only does its thing once a year----this time one of the several baby mammillarii around the base is starting to bloom and another looks like it might be budding----
Posted by tomitron at 5/29/2008 07:13:00 PM
watch the video, even if you find o'reilly to be a generally disgusting human being:
Posted by tomitron at 5/29/2008 05:35:00 PM
28 May 2008
in a city that's still very much suffering in the aftermath of Katrina, the URBANbuild program truly serving an important purpose in the community by creating in-fill housing in neighborhoods where it sometimes seems like every other home is still abandoned. It's helping to bringing back a density and sense of community while teaching students and introducing contemporary architecture (informed, of course, by the vernacular) to an area that's never really seen anything like it. This is really just a terrific program that keeps getting better every year.
they are mighty sparky buildings, although i'm not quite sure how they were "informed" by the vernacular-----
Posted by tomitron at 5/28/2008 08:02:00 PM
they claim it dates back to the 12th century and there are records of its going on as early as 1683---
In the small English town of Ashbourne during 2 days a year the people divide to play a sport with the purpose of scoring the “toughest goal”. Sure kicking a ball into the net takes some skill, but even these people would say scoring in a sport such as rugby is only for the weak. Imagine thousands of people, divided by a river, with 2 days to get a ball across town with one simple rule: no murder. That is only the beginning in Royal Shrovetide Football.
Posted by tomitron at 5/28/2008 06:50:00 PM
26 May 2008
a view of the margaret mitchell house in the spring of 1987----and another in 1988 after the buildings in front of it (which were there when mitchell was living in the building) were torn down---twelve years ago about this time, the house had just burned down for the second time and i was wondering what i was going to do with all of that furniture----
Posted by tomitron at 5/26/2008 07:16:00 PM
25 May 2008
the lane brothers collection at gsu is just so good----this is a view south of margaret mitchell square, peachtree at pryor, st. patrick's day, 1950---
Posted by tomitron at 5/25/2008 08:51:00 AM
23 May 2008
and this is just a fraction of the godawful waste of iraq---which now includes 4,080 dead soldiers along with god knows how many iraqi civilians----
When the results were compiled, they revealed a lack of accountability notable even by the shaky standards detailed in earlier examinations of contracting in Iraq. The report said that about $1.4 billion in payments lacked even minimal documentation “such as certified vouchers, proper receiving reports and invoices,” to explain what had been purchased and why.Another $6.3 billion in payments did contain information explaining the expenditures but lacked other information required by federal regulations governing the use of taxpayer money — things like payment terms, proper identification numbers and contact information for the agents involved in the transaction. Taken together, those results meant that almost 95 percent of the payments had not been properly documented.
Posted by tomitron at 5/23/2008 04:55:00 PM
from pollster.com, how the battle for gay equality is going---all those amendments in '04 did a lot of good, didn't they?
Posted by tomitron at 5/23/2008 06:49:00 AM
22 May 2008
so mccain just disowned the "rev." hagee, who has assumed falwell's position as the most odious preacher alive-----and rod parsley, too---- i think he's just lost the election since a whole bunch of christianists will either stay home or vote for bob barr-------
Posted by tomitron at 5/22/2008 10:17:00 PM
21 May 2008
st. helena's island, southeast of beaufort, is the site of penn school and of this excellent ruin----during the colonial period, several parish churches established "chapels of ease" at outlying locations so that planters and their families could attend services without a long boat and wagon ride to town---this was a chapel of ease established by st. helena's church in beaufort---a tabby structure built around 1740 to serve several of the sea island plantations in that area----it became an independent episcopal church after the revolution but was destroyed by a wild fire in the 1880s---there is a grave yard around the ruins, but all of the graves had been vandalized, including a magnificent egyptian-revival mausoleum built in 1852 for edgar fripp---it was described in 1876 as "a fine affair, and it did not have to wait very long for its occupants, edgar and wife. the yankees broke it open during the war, hoping for treasure. it is now somewhat out of order"----
Posted by tomitron at 5/21/2008 06:08:00 PM
just back from beaufort (which they pronounce like "bu-fort" with a long "u"), south carolina, and a part of the low country between savannah and charleston that i had never seen before---saw the wilds of hilton head for the first time (like peachtree city on steroids at the beach), which, at least, is not the blight upon the face of the earth that is, for instance, nags head on the outer banks---local communities, including the town of hilton head, have had the foresight to preserve at least some of the area from development, but the best is hunting island, most of which is a south carolina state park built by the ccc in the late 1930s---wonderful mix of loblolly pine, liveoak, and palmetto palm, five miles of beach and said to be one of best birding habitats in the country----
Posted by tomitron at 5/21/2008 04:58:00 PM
18 May 2008
Some 75,000 people flocked to Portland’s waterfront Sunday to watch Barack Obama speak, making it the biggest rally the campaign has held to date. Thousands stood on the lawn, dozens watched from boats and from the bridge stretching across the Willamette River. A few kayakers held their paddles and tried to keep their kayaks straight as they watched the candidate, who stood on a makeshift platform.
Posted by tomitron at 5/18/2008 08:04:00 PM
17 May 2008
i didn't know how much stuff the atlanta history center has on line---it's all got their logo across it but it's still a great resource---at left is a view north on peachtree from just south of peachtree place---and below that is lenox square when it was still an open-air mall (greenbriar, which opened in 1966, was the area's first enclosed mall)---
Posted by tomitron at 5/17/2008 04:48:00 PM
16 May 2008
actually the georgia tech foundation described it as a "1950s industrial building" when they applied for a demolition permit---it's the crum & forster building, constructed in 1927 on the east side of spring street between fourth and fifth----an insurance company founded in 1896, this was the first of their regional hdqtrs., designed by atlanta architects ivey & crook, who also designed lullwater, the olympia building, decatur first baptist, and a bunch of other buildings---ivey was in the first graduating class of georgia tech's new school of architecture in 1911, and news of the proposed demolition has turned into a public-relations nightmare for the school----the outcry may save the building since it has no historic district protection----
Posted by tomitron at 5/16/2008 09:57:00 PM
15 May 2008
yippeee! the california supreme court has overturned their law against gay marriage and ordered it into effect in 30 days----the homophobic wingnuts (which is not entirely redundant) are going on about the court usurping the will of the people, blah, blah, blah, overlooking the facts that the legislature voted for gay marriage not once but twice and that gov. arnie supports the rule and is against the anti-gay constitutional amendment that may go on the ballot this november----whatever, they won't be able to stop a ton of marriages between now and then, and not just in the state, as was the case in mass., but allowing couples from all over---and it was a republican court that made the ruling---and no mealy-mouth platitudes from the big people either----pelosi said,
"I welcome the California Supreme Court’s historic decision. I have long fought against discrimination and believe that the State Constitution provides for equal treatment for all of California’s citizens and families, which today’s decision recognizes. I commend the plaintiffs from San Francisco for their courage and commitment. I encourage California citizens to respect the Court’s decision, and I continue to strongly oppose any ballot measure that would write discrimination into the State Constitution. Today is a significant milestone for which all Californians can take pride."
Between all that and the republican party freaking out over three consecutive losses in special elections for the u.s. house, well, it's enough to make one think that the wheel has finally turned-------
Posted by tomitron at 5/15/2008 06:05:00 PM
14 May 2008
climbed clingmans dome this morning----6,643 ft above sea level---in eastern north america, only mt. mitchell and mt. craig, also in north carolina, are taller-----blowing and cold, but you could see forever from the top of the 54'-high observation tower built in 1959----enjoyed the peace and quiet just in time, since going back down, i passed two bus loads of chirren noisly making their way to the top-----it was spring in the valleys, but still half-winter up in the air----like the hemlocks at lower elevations, the fraser fir at the higher elevation are being killed by an imported pest, a wooly aphid that has killed 70% of the mature trees in the park in the last 30 years-----
Posted by tomitron at 5/14/2008 08:28:00 PM
this is hilarious:
"The House Republican brand is so bad right now that if it were a dog food, they'd take it off the shelf," said retiring Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (Va.), who chaired the NRCC for four years earlier this decade.
and john edwards is finally endorsing obama----woo woo
Posted by tomitron at 5/14/2008 05:27:00 PM
13 May 2008
a wonderful part of the forests in the mountains are the eastern hemlocks----from a distance their dark green, almost black needles are an excellent contrast to the oaks and other hardwoods---and there's nothing quite so magical as the deep shade of old-growth hemlock----but now they are being decimated by the hemlock wooly adelgid, which is sorta like an aphid----they suck the life out of the trees, which are now dying all up and down the appalachians----they have had some success with beetles, but with hundreds of thousands of acres of wilderness, there is no way to treat all the trees----
Posted by tomitron at 5/13/2008 08:22:00 PM
up in the smokies this week, mighty nice coming over newfound gap, but i'm staying in gatlinburg, which is a wretched place with more crappola per square foot than any other place in the universe---walking down the street, i overheard some woman opining that she liked it since there was "more to do than in cherokee"---she probly loves pigeon forge and the outlet malls
---on the other hand my hotel room overlooks the creek, so i get nice white noise, not unlike the whir of air-conditioning compressors at the fda across the street from metropolis----
Posted by tomitron at 5/13/2008 08:07:00 PM
10 May 2008
Vegetarians give up meat for a variety of ethical, environmental, and health reasons that are secondary to this essay's goal of increasing brotherly understanding, so I'll mostly set them aside. Suffice it to say that one day, I suddenly realized that I could never look a cow in the eyes, press a knocking gun to her temple, and pull the trigger without feeling I'd done something cruel and unnecessary. (Sure, if it's kill the cow or starve, then say your prayers, my bovine friend—but for now, it's not quite a mortal struggle to subsist on the other five food groups.)
Posted by tomitron at 5/10/2008 07:19:00 PM
09 May 2008
08 May 2008
from the treaty of tripoli, 1797---it would not pass the senate today, but it was approved unanimously then:
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."presumably it's still in force---
Posted by tomitron at 5/08/2008 09:14:00 PM
a great article from scientific american---pretty much catches all that i have ever thought about race, although the actual studies that back it all up are fascinating---and i know exactly what jesse is talking about:
"There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life,” Jesse Jackson once told an audience, “than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery—then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.” Jackson’s remark illustrates a basic fact of our social existence, one that even a committed black civil-rights leader cannot escape: ideas that we may not endorse—for example, that a black stranger might harm us but a white one probably would not—can nonetheless lodge themselves in our minds and, without our permission or awareness, color our perceptions, expectations and judgments.
while you are at it, you might as well read another one in the same vein: "how harvard students perceive rednecks"
Posted by tomitron at 5/08/2008 06:07:00 PM
07 May 2008
we're starting the planning for rehab of the lighthouse so they can open it to the public----built in 1859 to replace one built in 1812---169' tall and 216 steps to the top, which i climbed four times yesterday----the last time was a bit of a chore, but it wasn't like a couple of years ago when i could barely make it to the top of bodie island light one time-----of course great views of the atlantic, the cape itself---the shoals arc out to the left in these images, with the bight on the right----the shoals stretch out for 15 or 20 miles and were actually just as dangerous, if not more so, as diamond shoals at cape hatteras----
Posted by tomitron at 5/07/2008 08:18:00 PM
Posted by tomitron at 5/07/2008 07:31:00 PM
03 May 2008
it was a fine afternoon in the park yesterday, especially fine for treeing the squirrels, which guinness thinks is a great accomplishment----but there won't be any festivals in the park this year, which i still think is an over-reaction to the drought, which now seems to be abating----the place never looked as parched and brown as one might think it would be, given the city's decision to close it to some of the city's biggest festivals----there are plenty of people that would like to keep it that way, continuing the de facto privatization of our parks
Posted by tomitron at 5/03/2008 10:07:00 AM