Tuesday, June 28, 2005

New "Add Image" Feature From Blogger

There's a cool new feature in Blogger that allows you to upload an image directly from your computer. I have been using Hello and Picasa for picture uploads (which work great), but this feature looks even easier.

These are a few pictures I took in Montana in the Spring of 2004, they are the three B's - Bus, Buffalo and Boiling River.

To use the new "add image" feature click on the picture icon in the post editor window. It's really easy.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Quiet Spaces - Prayer Interludes for Women

A book for today's busy women, "Quiet Spaces - Prayer Interludes for Women" by Patricia Wilson is available from the Upper Room Bookstore.

Readers will learn how to calm the mind and listen for God's still small voice in the midst of the chaos of daily life.


Shop The Body Shop Now!

Wine Cork Bulletin Board Kit

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sierra Club

Pretty good deal to get a subscription to a nice magazine and a backpack for 25 dollars. They also offer a free messenger bag if you prefer that style. Sierra Club's magazine has lots of nice photos and lists of outdoor adventures in various parts of the world that you can sign up for, or browse through...and dream about.

I signed up a couple of years ago and the free backback, although a little small, was of good quality.

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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Poverty -- Jun. 27, 2005

"We are living in a world where 50,000 people die every single day of simple poverty, and it's not treated like a crisis."

Richard Curtis, from Time Magazine article, June 27, 2005 - The Pooh-bahs of Poverty.

Tom Waits - The Heart of Saturday Night

I just heard "The Ghosts of Saturday Night" from Tom Wait's album "The Heart of Saturday Night" on KPLU.

That album, has some great lyrics, like this sample from "The Ghosts of Saturday Night" -

And a solitary sailor
Who spends the facts of his life like small change on strangers...

Paws his inside P-coat pocket for a welcome twenty-five cents,
And the last bent butt from a package of Kents,
As he dreams of a waitress with Maxwell House eyes
And marmalade thighs with scrambled yellow hair.

Her rhinestone-studded moniker says, "Irene"
As she wipes the wisps of dishwater blonde from her eyes
And the Texaco beacon burns on,
The steel-belted attendant with a 'Ring and Valve Special'...
Cryin' "Fill'er up and check that oil"
"You know it could be a distributor and it could be a coil."

This Guy Has Been Hanging Around

He showed up for Becca's graduation and is still lurking around.

Tonight I saw him looking in the window on the back porch. Sometimes he sort of startles me when I see him out of the corner of my eye.

I've been talking to him when I go by but he's a quiet fellow. At least he has a nice smile. I've punched him a couple of times (playfully of course) but he just keeps grinning.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Why is it called Bluetooth?

"Harald Bluetooth was king of Denmark in the late 900s. He managed to unite Denmark and part of Norway into a single kingdom then introduced Christianity into Denmark. He left a large monument, the Jelling rune stone, in memory of his parents. He was killed in 986 during a battle with his son, Svend Forkbeard. Choosing this name for the standard indicates how important companies from the Baltic region (nations including Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland) are to the communications industry, even if it says little about the way the technology works."

Source: Howstuffworks "How Bluetooth Works"

Bluetooth is a wireless connectivity standard that will eventually make our lives simpler. If you have ever connected a home entertainment system, computer, digital camera, or computer network in your home you know how many various cables and connectors you have to deal with. With Bluetooth all those cables go away. Bluetooth can transmit up to 721 kilobits per second (Kbps) in one direction, with 57.6 Kbps in the other. If the use calls for the same speed in both directions, a link with 432.6-Kbps capacity in each direction can be made. Bluetooth is a low powered spread spectrum technology operating around 2.4 GHz. This is pretty close to the frequency of your microwave oven, which operates at 2.5 GHz. There is a big difference in power though, since your microwave might have 700 Watts of power whereas Bluetooth is operating at 1 milliwatt (1/1000 of a watt). The low power and spread spectrum frequency hopping help to eliminate mutual interference once you get yourself a bunch of Bluetooth enabled devices fired up.

I wish I would have had it when I wired up various devices in this old house. It would have been a lot easier than crawling around in the attic, the basement, drilling holes in floors and that kind of thing.

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Thank Goodness It's Today

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Monkey Mind

I woke up this morning thinking.

That's good and not so good.

Good, because cognitive ability is a sign I'm alive.

Not so good because I was using my monkey mind, or in other words racing from one useless, to not so useless, thought to another.

Buddhists and Christian Contemplatives have some things to say about taming our monkey minds using simple meditative techniques. I've thought and read about Buddhhism and particularly Zen Buddhism for over 30 years now. I can't say I'm any closer to understanding for sure...but some of it seems to be starting to sink in.

The concepts of compassion, letting go, beginner's mind and calm clear meditative states are all very beautiful to think about; it's the implementation that's a bear.

The shortest way I can think of to explain my current learnings -

Eat when hungry, sleep when tired.

In other words do what is right for you at the time. Let it flow. Let it go. Embrace the present moment, smell the flowers, feel the sun, breathe the air. Wash the dishes...

Be aware of your breath.

Use your awareness of your breathing to calm and focus your self.

It is all very beautiful, and at some point (or points) you will be able to let go and let God as they say. It really isn't so important how you envision God as that you tap into the source of energy and compassion available to all humanity.

For my money I'd learn all I could about the tested methods as a basis of my journey. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity all have important (and maybe more important common-sense) things to say about letting go and going with the flow.

I'd be a little leery of a "new age" approach that created a unique "designer religion". I think it's important to have some time-tested anchor so you don't get too far out into woo-woo land. I'd stick with one of the big four as my baseline and then work out from there.


I have to say that we are all human, all too human. I wouldn't want anyone to think I had found the answer or am making a claim to some special knowledge.

I feel bad when I intellectualize a compassionate understanding of humanity and yet half an hour later get upset because of some minor thing another person has done.

We are all works in progress.

Thank God.


Finally I just wanted to mention I'd added ads for "The Body Shop" and "Patagonia" to my sold-out blog. I sold-out to the man and have way too many little ad units...but I like the look and colors, plus I'm a big fan of capitalism.

I remember the first time I went to a Body Shop in Berkeley California in the 70's. It was very impressive to us. We liked the smells and the ambience of the store. It was unlike anything we had in Montana at the time.

I associate Patagonia with good outdoor clothing. There was a Patagonia store in Bozeman, Montana when I lived there, that had nice (but not inexpensive) clothing. Plus I like the picture of that girl on the surfboad over there on the left column. The water, her strength and grace..it looks really fun.


Peace to you and yours.

May you find a calm center at least a few times in this busy day.


Contemplative Outreach

Meditation of the Week

Postscript - Friday June 24, 2005 - I don't want to paint this monkey mind concept with too broad a brush. Primates can have fine minds, even those like my friend hi monkey who has a terry cloth body and a brain made of recycled fibers. Monkey is interested in a lot of the same things I am; snacks, pictures, travel, cooking, friends, humor, learning, playing. Here's some pictures and words about monkey and his tibetan monk friends. Some people call him "monkey" but I like to call him "hi" or "hi monkey". Sharp viewers could see hi monkey sitting on the counter doing a Vanna White move with Rachel, to show a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a recent post on Cafe Jack

Friday, June 17, 2005


Beautiful day in Everett today.

I put a collection of digital photos on a new Blog called Sorticulture. There aren't many people in the photos since the event had not opened to the public. The only people were early birds like me and the vendors and artists setting up their booths. It was a good chance to capture some of the look.

Legion Park is a beautiful spot, and tomorrow is supposed to be even nicer weather than today.

This is a school of silver salmon, just one example of the many cool things at the garden and art show.


Shop Motorola

Wine Enthusiast - 120 x 60


Sorticulture and the Farmer's Market = Pretty Flowers

Monkey With His Cowboy Boots On - Helping Rachel


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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Question Authority - Please

I have some more free advice to dispense, as they say you get what you pay for.

This essay is aimed primarily at graduates or other people going out into the world, although decisions regarding obedience to authority and conformity are not unique to any age group. I personally find this topic fascinating and hope it will be of some general interest to others and possibly spur some additional thought.

Whatever else you do in your life remember two things:

1. Always question authority

2. Be a non-conformist at least until you are sure what you are conforming to.

Non-questioning obedience to authority, and conformity, can cause problems that range on a continuum from the trivial to earth shattering.

A trivial example of conformity might be wearing the "right" brand of jeans.

There is some middle ground such as in a workspace where blind conformity or obedience to authority can result in more serious problems. Cases where what appears to be an obviously "wrong" idea to an individual is taken on by a group as the "right" idea. This could range from something minor like the latest flavor of the month improvement plan to something major like the Challenger disaster.

Earth shattering examples range from Fascism (and maybe other ism) to Bosnia to Rwanda to the Middle East, Northern Ireland, September 11th, or any other example of extreme inhuman, inhumane, less than human, behaviour on the part of one group of people that harms another.


There are two well known social science experiments that deal with questioning authority and conformity. One performed by Stanley Milgram and the other by Solomon Asch.

Let's start with the Asch conformity experiment.

This was a simple experiment where a group of 8 to 10 people were told they were being given a vision test, and asked to compare one line on a piece of paper and select a line of equal length from three lines on another piece of paper. It was obvious which lines were of equal length, in other words the "right" answer was obvious.

Only one person in the group was the actual test subject.

The rest of the people in the group were instructed to give the wrong answer on 12 of the 18 trials in order to see the impact on the test subject's answer.

As you can see, the task is simple, and the correct answer is obvious. Asch asked the participants to give their answers aloud. He repeated the procedure with 18 sets of bars. Asch arranged for the real subject to be the next-to-the-last person in each group to announce his answer so that he would hear most of the incorrect responses before giving his own.

A high percentage, on the order of 1 out of 3 people, "went along to get along" and agreed that the wrong answer was right.

Asch said of the results,

"The tendency to conformity in our society is so strong that reasonably intelligent and well-meaning people are willing to call white black. This is a matter of concern. It raises questions about our ways of education and about the values that guide our conduct."

Source: Solomon Asch social psychology experiment from www.age-of-the-sage.org.


A second fascinating (disturbing and frightening might be better adjectives) social science experiment was conducted by Stanley Milgram.

You've probably seen or heard of the Milgram experiment.

The setup involved an official researcher with proper uniform (the authority figure), a test subject, and a person in another room who was supposed to answer questions provided by the test subject over an intercom.

The test subject was instructed by the authority figure to ask the questions and for each one the person in the other room got wrong to initiate a "punishment" in the form of an electric shock.

The test subject could not see the person they were questioning, but they could hear the faked cries of pain when they administered the shocks (or in some cases what sounded like loss of consciousness, or maybe even death). No one was actually being shocked but the test subject didn't know this. He or she thought they were giving painful and potential lethal shocks to another human being.

The test subject had a panel with a dial that could be used to increase the voltage to 450 volts. The panel had markings like "dangerous", "extremely dangerous" "may be lethal" for the increasing voltages.

"In Milgram's first set of experiments, 65 percent of experimental participants administered the experiment's final 450-volt shock, though many were quite uncomfortable in doing so. No participant stopped before the 300-volt level. Variants of the experiment were later performed by Milgram himself and other psychologists around the world with similar results."

Milgram experiment article from Wikipedia.

and from the same article -

Milgram summed up in the article "The Perils of Obedience" (Milgram 1974), writing:

"The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous import, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation."


There's not much to say about these experiments but, "wow" or "amazing" or "yeah that's what I thought", if that's what everyone else is saying :-)

Of course nothing to do with humanity is simple. Obedience to authority and conformity are important parts of society and other social conventions. Don't join the Marines if you want to question authority and be a non-conformist (or at least put your non-conforming questioning authority self on hold while you are in or you will be one unhappy camper).

I think the point is to be really careful about what or who you give your allegiance to. Stand up for what you know is right. Don't be afraid to go against the flow. Truly champion and appreciate diversity. It's what makes our world such a beautiful place.


References or more information can be found at -

Milgram experiment article from Wikipedia.

The Perils of Obedience, a Harper's Magazine article by Stanley Milgram.

Obediance to Authority by Stanley Milgram.

The Man Who Shocked the World


Asch conformity experiments article from Wikipedia.

Peer pressure article from Wikipedia.

Solomon Asch social psychology experiment from www.age-of-the-sage.org.


BBC - Radio 4 - Mind Changers discussion of Solomon Asch's work.

The Solomon Asch Center

True Believer by the longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffer.

And of course the classic on newspeak, doublethink and thoughtcrime, where we learned that 2+2 does not equal 5, no matter what someone or some institution tries to tell you, 1984 by George Orwell.

Why smart people defend bad ideas - scottberkun.com



Big Weekend In Everett

This is a big weekend.

The 74th annual Marysville Strawberry Festival Grand Parade starts at 8 pm on Saturday June 18th, and a Carnival and Market-in-the-Park on Sunday, June 19th.

Biringer Farm "PigOut on the Farm" Berry Fest will be held June 18 & 19, 2005 10-5 pm. The farm is located off Hwy 529 between Everett and Marysville.

Sorticulture - Friday June 17th and Saturday June 18th - Legion Park -
Everett, Washington.

A variety of Farmer's Markets including the one on Marine View Drive on the Everett Waterfront every Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm.

If you like Arena Football you could go see the Everett Hawks play Miami on Friday night.

You could head down to the 2005 NWSource.com Summer Brewfest on Friday, Saturday or Sunday at St. Edward park in Kenmore on the shores of Lake Washington.

And biggest of all Becca is graduating from Everett High. Graduation ceremony is Saturday June 18th at 8 pm. in the Everett Events Center. Students should arrive at 7 pm and the doors open to the public at 7:15 pm.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Nice and Quiet at 3:20 A.M.

This is a good time to be up if you like the quiet. All I can hear is the faint hum of the refrigerator. No cars, TV's, people; almost like being in the mountains, forest, a quiet river or lake.


I'm feeling better all the time. Had some sort of sinus infection that wouldn't seem to go away and caused a hacking cough. Taking some horse-pill sized antibiotics now, and I think they are starting to work.

Having a cough makes me think of the days before antibiotics when the treatment for T.B. was to send people to sanitariums, or sanitoriums as this Canadian article calls them.

The types of cures they tried for T.B. at the turn of the century seem like they would help your immune system fight an infection, plus they sound pretty relaxing. Fresh mountain air, good food, rest, hot mineral baths, all sound healing. Unfortunately for the people with active T.B. the ability of the immune system to fight off that slow growing bacteria is limited and a lot of people died of what was called consumption (people thought T.B. was a genetic disease that "consumed" someone from the inside, as they gradually wasted away). It's a little scary to think T.B. is making a resurgence now, with more virulent antibiotic-resistent strains on the horizon.

It's interesting to think about the relative lack of lingering sinus/lung infections in a dry climate like Montana vs. what I've experienced in the damp/moldy Pacific Northwest. It seems reasonable that dry mountain air or maybe even better, dry desert air would be less conducive to funk growing in your lungs or sinuses. I'm thankful that we have good antibiotics today.

Fear led to Montana's sanitarium for TB patients talks about the T.B. sanitarium at Galen Montana. I never made it to the Galen sanitarium, but according to the article the treatment focused on milk, fresh air and sunlight. That sounds pretty boring. I think I'd opt for a more spa-like sanitarium if possible, something with a hot springs and a nice view of the mountains; like Chico or Hunters Hot Springs.

I love the hot springs in Montana. I've been to Bozeman Hot Springs, McCleod Hot Springs, Hunters Hot Springs, Chico, Norris, Boiling River and Elkhorn Hot Springs and they were all lots of fun. Hunters and McCleod are gone; but the rest of them are still around. It would be a fun trip to visit hot springs some time...or maybe just go to one and hang out. At Chico you can sit in the hot pool with a drink, Elkhorn has great muffins, Boiling River isn't a hot springs but it's hot and cool, Norris was sort of scuzzy but a good place for a party...not sure what it's like now, ditto for Bozeman Hot Springs.

One of these days I need to get up to British Columbia to check out some of their hot springs.

Hot Springs Enthusiast Text Links Page has links to little topo maps showing hot springs in various states. It's interesting but you would need to do some additional research if you are looking for a hot springs to visit; for example, in Montana, it has Hunters Hot Springs which used to have a pool, hotel and cafe; but not anymore, same for Corwin Springs which was a nice resort in the early 1900's but it's a pipe with hot water running into the Yellowstone River now.

I did hook a nice rainbow trout near Corwin Springs last year (and they have really good soup at the Four Winds Cafe.

I think I'll look into a trip up to Harrison Hot Springs or something near by...like the Y.


Here is a link to some good looking books about touring Hot Springs from Amazon.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Into the West

Into the West started Friday June 10th on TNT. It airs for six weeks airing Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The first episode was great.


"Night Fires" by Jeanne Rager

"Night Fires" by Jeanne Rager

Sorticulture Is Next Friday and Saturday

Sorticulture - Friday June 17th and Saturday June 18th - Legion Park - Everett, Washington

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Lewis and Clark - On This Date Two Hundred Years Ago

On this date in 1805, Lewis and Clark were in Northern Montana, on their way west.

The expedition was in the area of the Missouri River in Montana where the Marias River enters into the Missouri from the north. The confluence of the Marias and Missouri rivers is about 1 mile south of Loma, Montana.

They weren't sure which river was the Missouri so Lewis headed north up the Marias River and Clark headed up the Missouri which leads to the Great Falls, then to what is present day Helena, Montana, and eventually to the Three Forks of the Missouri made up of the Madison, Gallatin and Jefferson rivers.

The expedition would leave the Marias river on June 12 and take until July 15 to cover only 100 miles upstream on the Missouri, due to the difficult portage.

Lewis's portable iron-frame boat sank during this time. This boat has an interesting place in the expedition. Lewis had delayed starting the trip from St Louis for some time waiting for this special boat to be finished. It was made of strap iron, could be disassembled and carried upriver until the party reached a point where the larger boats were no longer practical. Because of the difficult and long portage, the Great Falls of the Missouri were the perfect place for the iron-frame boat to be put together and used. It was to be covered with animal hides, which was not a problem since there were many buffalo in the area. The hides were to be sealed with pine pitch, unfortunately there were no pine trees in the area and the improvised ground charcoal and tallow sealing compound did not work and Lewis's boat sank, which forced the expedition to spend 5 days hewing boats from the cottonwood trees near the river.

Sacajawea had become ill with a fever and Lewis was treating her with some frontier medicine.

A simple Google search for "Lewis and Clark" returns a wealth of material.

A great book about the expedition is "Undaunted Courage Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West" by Stephen Ambrose.


Compare and save on phones, plans and pagers.

Friday, June 10, 2005

They Paved Paradise

I had a chance to take a few snapshots of two spots in the city I live in today.

One is a beautiful old city park, the other a hillside in the city being cleared and leveled to make way for development.

I pass both these spots most every day and the contrast in "planning" styles has been of interest to me for some time.

They Paved Paradise is my blogging effort to record a bit of that contrast.

This particular space being clearcut is "paradise", for some kids, animals and other people who live/walk/drive/bike by that spot. We have a very short supply of that kind of wild greenspace left in this area.

It saddens me to see it go.


Joni Mitchell of course, was the artist who came up with the phrase "They Paved Paradise" in her Song "Big Yellow Taxi". I only mention that because, although it seems obvious to a person of my generation where that phrase comes from it may not be so obvious to everyone.



monkey makes a summer drink

It's fun to get some fizzy water and flavorings and make your own Italian soda like monkey.

I bought a bottle of raspberry flavoring after I read monkey's recipe. It said "pure sugar" on the bottle. That's what I'm talkin about!

Books to Read and Have Read to You This Summer

Books to Read and Have Read to You This Summer

For K-2 but these are some good stories for any age. I wouldn't mind having someone to read these to or who would practice reading them to me.

Capybara Pictures

Capys Arrive has some cute pictures of the Capybara.

This is a PDF page you can color of Capy's and other animals courtesy of the
Philadelphia Zoo.

Nathan's Net has both a review of the book Capyboppy by Bill Peet, and a short biography of President Bush.

Google Store

I think the Google Store has some perfect gifts and things for the geek in you or in your life.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


PETsMART Cat Food Calculator

That cat looks kind of funny to me with his tongue out.

It would be cool to have a smart herding dog like the one in the ad below, but you'd need a lot of space for him to run, and preferably some sheep he could herd.

Shop at PETsMART


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