Thursday, April 14, 2011

History Repeats Itself!

I'm still on the audio-animatronic president kick. Last time, I posted a (sorta) resurrection of President Lincoln, who was shot on this day in 1865. Alas, it was apparently not meant to be! There he goes again...

Happy Death Day, President Lincoln

Yes, the man on the penny and the $5 bill was shot 146 years ago today. Why not post something about a resurrection of sorts? Mr. Disney "tampered in god's domain," as the immortal Ed Wood would have it, and here are some of the results.

Sorry about the black bars on either side of the video, but when I adjusted the height in the code, it shrank the actual video to a little box in the middle. I don't know if this is yet another impediment to embedding YouTube videos attractively. I still miss the changeable colors for the bottom bar.

Anyhow, the Lincoln stuff starts at 2:20.

You can check out the updates to the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln show in this post.

By the way, did you know that President Obama himself did the voice for his Hall of Presidents figure? "They're robots. Well that's kinda cool." Hee hee! Should I be uncomfortable, though, that an American President is unfamiliar with something so quintessentially American, or maybe should I be relieved? I guess the never saw the TV special I posted above.

Oh well, never mind all that. Enjoy!

And here's a little making-of video.

How 'bout we end with a moral, just for fun?

"Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow." - Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lightning in Slow Motion



A Train Leaving the Mekong Station

And I thought that the tracks are close to the bike path I take to go food shopping...

200 Posts Later...

Yep, this is post #201! Not too bad considering that I started three months ago, give or take a few days. I seldom run out of stuff to say, I guess.

Things have changed a lot since I started this site a short time ago, and they just keep changing. Kat and I continue to work to build a life together. We're investing in the remainder of our days, so the growth goes deep, shaping who we are as individuals and together. Whatever our shared time has brought, I've returned to The Nervous Vegan with fresh thoughts, confident that, somehow, the blog will have a place in our future.

When we met, we were both already dissatisfied with life as it's now lived by the majority of people, and we're still striving to find a comfortable way to live under the radar, off the grid, and outside of the rushing throng. I started this site as a focal point for our explorations, and I trust that it will serve that purpose well, if not now, then at some other time.

I've talked about developing the basic concept here, my formula, and I concluded that it seems to grow organically rather than responding to any plan I could concoct. For the first time in quite a while, I find myself at a loss again.

I've started selling some writings online, so this blog has taken a different place in the scheme of my life. What I do here now will have to be the pinnacle of my online efforts. So how will I go on? What do I say? I'm not sure, but if I press ahead, I'm sure I'll find out.

Thanks to my regular readers for sticking with me this far. The best is yet to come!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Texas Police Officer Spraying a Cute Little Baby Squirrel With Pepper Spray

It's so-o-o-o tempting to judge this guy. It's hard not to wish that the old fears of lightning strikes were well-founded, to hope that some sort of wrath would fall upon him, leaving a pile of ash where he stood. Please be kind to him in the same measure that he was horribly unkind to this helpless creature. Just be better than that, or you're participating in the cruelty in your own way.

I promise I tried to get engaged in this response. I promise. It seems a bit opportunistic though. He's not really... saying anything at all. Eh...

And here's... eh... Guy Fawkes... gonna throw his... comic book collection? At you... eh... oh dear...

Wow, we're all in trouble. Poor little squirrel.

A Few Miracles to Start Your Week Off Right

Have you heard of the elephant-headed Hindu deity Ganesha and the worldwide phenomenon of his statues drinking milk? Yep. It happened in 1995 and 2006, and again in 2010 in Trinidad. Other murtis (images) also drank, but the miracles started with a statue of Ganesha, and they seem to have been focused on such images, or at least the events were reported that way. Ganesha is beloved of a great number of Hindus, and he appears in the temples on many other gods.

The usual nonsense, mass hysteria, was called in by scientists to save the day, but I don't feel terribly hysterical as I watch the video. Nor do those making offerings. I tend to think that certain personality types feel threatened by phenomena not easily or instantly explained by science. I understand if you feel an emotional need to contain the world within mechanistic models of prediction, but you don't have to try to convince the rest of us. I'm comfortable with a certain amount of unpredictability in the world around me. In fact, the lack is a comfort in itself. If that's troubling to you, I offer all my sympathy and compassion, but please don't depend on my agreement, or that of anyone else, to get you to sleep tonight. You can't have complete control over external circumstances, no matter how strong your need may be.

"Capillary action" is another explanation. It's funny, I can back you up on temporary changes in the laws of physics, but I don't think that the notion really fits into your worldview. How is it that this miracle only occurred on certain days?

Let me tell you as story. My mother was an elementary school student in Athens, Greece. One hot afternoon, when she was coming home for a siesta (a wise practice, by the way), she found images of the Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus on all windows. Some women were scrubbing the glass with soap to try to get them off. People were out in the hot sun wondering at the images. In a few hours, they disappeared.

The way Mom told it, scientists showed up and examined the windows, seeming more distressed than all the others. Their verdict? An effect of the light, and of course, mass hysteria. My mother, an extremely practical woman, thought that the conclusion was all nonsense, since she knew what she saw. Her first-hand experience was not at all in line with those trying to explain the phenomenon away.

So in that context, here's a video from 1994, a statue of the Virgin Mary miraculously opening and closing her eyes. This eventually made its way to Sicilian TV.

Let me tell you another story. More than a decade ago, I was helping an antiques dealer do an estate sale in the house of a woman who had died of cancer. An estate sale, if you don't know, is one set up in the house itself, rather than moving the stuff to an auction or whatever. This friend was a rather hyper and willy-nilly sort of person, so when we were in the bedroom where the woman had passed on, she hit the "talk" button of an intercom and said, "Hello?"

A confused, elderly voice responded, "H-h-h-ello?" You can bet my hair stood on end! Oh @#$%!

We ran to the kitchen, where the other intercom had been placed, to see if anyone else was in the house. Nobody. And the doors were all locked.

My friend returned to her labors with increased speed. When, about a half an hour later, I said, "That was weird, huh?" She repeated in a frantic tone, "Nothing happened. Nothing Happened. Nothing Happened."

I learned something. I knew what had happened, though I wouldn't try to explain it. She did too, but she chose to deny it. Some people simply can't cope with such things, so they pretend that they didn't happen. Just another peek at the amazing variety among people.

I think that reality's unpredictability is a comfort. Just think: If you can hold all of the universe in your mind, how much pressure do you feel to make decisions, to be the god of your universe and to manipulate it? 

We're all subject to external circumstances, like it or not. You can choose to deny the fact, or you can acknowledge the world around you with all its bewildering, troubling complexity. When it comes to adaption, when it comes to survival, doesn't it seem more effective to accept the world as it is? If there are unexplained phenomena, if there are miracles, you're wasting your energy denying them. Just go with the flow. If you let go, you'll thrive in the end.

If, after all, this is a magical universe, maybe you can be magical too. Now there's an interesting idea. Yes, you can do magic. Don't forget that, and don't fear the world. You can do magic.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Nimblewill Nomad

I like this guy. You don't get much more American than this! I guess Mark Twain didn't make him up for a story, because he's right there, moving around in a video. You can check out his site here.

The Decorah Eagles and Eagle Mania!

People love watching those eagles! You know, the live, streaming video of the bald eagle nest that I posted a few days ago? NPR is only the latest outlet to post a story about it in my Facebook feed. Kat and I have been fascinated by the care of the two hatched eaglets, and a third one's due soon!

I can't help myself, I've got to post it again. I'm not repeating myself, because the video's always changing.

These aren't the only parents of their kind to stir up interest. In my own area, a bald eagle's first flight just caused some excitement. Eh... please endure the ad...

The streaming video of the Decorah Eagles means something personal to me, because Kat and I are working to find a reasonable balance between simplicity and comfort, nature and civilization, self-sufficiency and connection with our fellow creatures, etc. I mean, humans are animals too. Do we see any evidence of insomnia due to worries about money or the future in these birds? No, they're simply going about their lives. They're just living, and they're doing it well.

Kat wondered aloud about the thoughts of one eagle while it just sat in the nest. I said that I thought there was very little going on in the creature's mind. Y'know, there are gurus and other spiritual and religious figures who have spent decades struggling to reach that state, and here are these eagles, these fellow living things, just doing it. And we humans have created most of the stuff we worry about! We've just got it wrong.

So I think there's an awful lot to learn from watching. I wonder if at least a small number among the million-plus viewers feel the same way.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Does a Nervous Vegan Poop in the Woods?

Only once. All I'll tell you is that you must have to choose leaves for absorbency or friction or something. If you're inexperienced, you may want to do it near a river of lake. That's all I'll say.

I'd like to learn to go outside successfully, since then I'd feel less dependent on toilets and all that wasted water, so I went looking around for videos.

This first fellow seems like a seasoned pro, and he can definitely help me in my choice of wiping materials. The second one prefers bidet-style hygiene, which I guess is okay if you get the water from a stream or something, rather than a poor, tired-out aquifer. I'll try both methods some day and get back to you on that.

Bombs away!

Tens of thousands of years! Oh, eh, poop away from a water source. Ignore my previous suggestion.

To me, this guy's a little too civilized about it all. I'm guessing he's out there to kill things, so, y'know, we're definitely on different wavelengths.

So there you have it, Natural Pooping 101!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Bald Eagle's Nest, Streaming Live!

We have doves nesting in a tree in our yard, which is nothing like this! One egg has hatched already, and another one's due soon, so maybe you'll see it as it happens. You can watch, find video of the first hatching, and learn more here. This is awfully swell!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cold War Satellite Sounds

Sven Grahn of the Swedish Space Corporation has an interesting hobby. Apparently, the fellow's been recording the sounds of satellites since the 60s. Now how 'bout we avoid additional alliteration and go check out some audio? If you don't feel compelled to visit the site yet, maybe a sample will help, a recording of the China 1 satellite from 1970 shrilling The East is Red. That's real Cold War gothic, folks! Creepy...

Go on, check it out, and puzzle over the doings of that strange animal, the human.

A Kitty Massage

"Is that the spot?" "A little lower."

A Lamb? More Like an Ogre... or a Dragon.... a... Water-Breathing... eh... Well, You Know What I Mean...

The way March went out yesterday was pretty scary for the Bay Area, and this wasn't even a tropical storm! As Groucho says in The Cocoanuts, "Florida folks, land of perpetual sunshine. Let's get the auction started before we have a tornado." And we did have one, and a water spout too.

I was home, and I found all the Sturm und Drang pretty appealing, but Kat had to be out traveling in it. I was grateful when a new Facebook status popped up because it meant she was okay, though she was reporting the harsh conditions. Here's a little video she took with her phone; The clanging sounds are from boats in the marina to the right.

Here are some interesting news pictures, linked to their sites of course:

Tampa Bay Area storms, March 31, 2011

Tampa Bay Area storms, March 31, 2011

Tampa Bay Area storms, March 31, 2011

Yes, another one. Among many things, Florida is the Land of 1,000 Convenience Stores.

Tampa Bay Area storms, March 31, 2011

Ahoy there!

Tampa Bay Area storms, March 31, 2011

I know this ain't no tsunami, and I'm not sure that the video and pictures convey the terrors of the storm, but, well, it was pretty intense.

And that's the end of my story.