Wednesday, February 28, 2007



I will be gone for awhile.
Scot will be up-dating ARBORETUM


Tuesday, February 27, 2007


WHEN we were in Miami, we went down to the South Beach area where there are those many marvelous old buildings from the 1930's - and after - built in the "art deco" style. Chippie thinks they're beautiful and we all were struck by the uniqueness of the neighborhood and the bustling activity of the whole area.

WHILE WE WERE THERE, we saw one of those cars advertising GEICO insurance. It was parked obtrusively at a curb, with pictures of its mascot prominently displayed on the side.

"Oh look," said John, "A DECO GEIKO GECKO!"

CHENEY SEZ: "I tawt I hoid a BOOM!"


Hey, I don't know about all you other children of the Warner Brothers era, but when I heard about our distinguished V.P. running for the bomb shelter, I had a throw-back to those marvelous days of yesteryear.

cf: Crawford's reminiscences over at "The Thing That Should Not be" CLICK HERE






The gentlemen shown in the picture last week, is actually President Yayeh Jammeh, of Gambia, who claims he can cure disease.

On Thursdays, he cures AIDS. On Saturdays, he cures asthma.



SYCMU: Hitch-hiked from Washington

You may find this really, really, really, really hard to believe, but the man in this picture may not be the upright gentleman you would think from his picture. In fact, Ohio police have arrested this man -- one Christopher Barnhill -- for soliciting a 14-year-old girl for sex on the Internet.

I know, I know -- he doesn't fit our age-old Ned Flanders notions of a dweeby pederast, but looks can be deceiving. Barnhill (and this detail is pricelessly pathetic) apparently hitch-hiked from Washington State to an Ohio truck stop, then called her from a nearby Kroger -- surprise! -- to see if she would meet him. That, fortunately, is when mom caught wind of the scheme.

The story itself, of course, is just evil and not nearly unusual enough. But because of this picture, I have to put this one in the "Stuff You Can't Make Up" file.

Toledo Blade:
Wash. state man held in attempt to meet B.G. girl

Monday, February 26, 2007



Complete this statement by Bill Clinton:


A. Barnyard Animals
B. A skinny woman
C. Anyone in Utah and another state I can't remember
D. Anyone normal
E. Hillary



Cheney plane lands in Singapore after minor problem

Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:07am ET

By Caren Bohan

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's plane, which encountered a mechanical problem after leaving Australia to return to the United States, landed safely in Singapore on Sunday.


O-h-h M-y-y G-o-d-d!!!!


Yes, read about it here: CLICK


Knowing the propensity of the Thurmonds to screw the help, maybe it's no surprise.



The documentary, An Inconvenient Truth has received further acclaim by winning, as expected, an Oscar at the Academy Awards.

There is considerable consternation among the deniers about this, although the global warming skeptics are inclined to excuse this award by saying that Hollywood is full of of gauzy-eyed lefties who fall for any ninny's nonsense. I heard some of those folks rattling on about it last night on the radio.

Here's the thing that, from ARBORETUM's point of view, must be kept in mind. Whether or not Inconvenient Truth wins an award is basically irrelevant. The world is either warming or it is not. This warming is either a danger to us all, or it is not. Oscar has nothing to do with it.

It seems that Inconvenient Truth has won world-wide approval, quite apart from the approval given by Hollywood. So, let the nay-sayers keep neighing. People of good will amongst us will keep trying to improve things despite them. And not because of the Oscar.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Every fall, millions of butterflies emigrate from the United States and Canada to Mexico, where they winter in the Sierra Madre mountains. These resting and breeding grounds are threatened by development. It's that same old problem. Do we need the resources, or do we need the wonder of nature?

Scientists, naturalists of all stripes, and tree-huggers of the most blatant kind have pleaded and demanded that Mexico do more to preserve what is left of the forests. Otherwise, with no wintering territory, it is certain that monarch butterflies will become extinct.

The President of Mexico, Calderone, has now promised that Mexico will institute a zero tolerance policy towards further destruction of the habitat.



Saturday, February 24, 2007


Yes, it would be easy to simply declare Britney the winner. Clearly she's silly and maybe crazy. She treats rehabilitation like she treats marriage: today it's on, tomorrow it's off. But ARBORETUM will pass on this slam dunk.

We were tempted to give the award this week to Dick Cheney. It's not that he's been out hunting again, but rather that he's been traveling the world further damaging American foreign policy interests. Now, he's fulminating against China, one of the few countries in the world which might pose a serious threat to us.

But, once again, we pass.

Then there's the weeping judge who decided to let Anna Nicole get buried. He looks and sounds like a wacko, but he seems to have arrived at a sound and well-reasoned decision with which most people agree. So, he may weep and be weird, but we don't think he's wacko --- at least not this week.

SO THEREFORE, let it be known:
This week's honor is shared by two educators.

1. Anthony Giancola, principal of a middle school in Tampa Florida, was arrrested in the lobby of his school, during school hours, after buying crack cocaine from a policeman right in the school office.

2. Bernadette Burks an elementary teacher in Saginaw, MI, arraigned on counts of maintaining a drug house and resisting a police officer.

The burden of being in charge of other people's children, or any children at all, is huge and can be daunting. But the responsibility is even greater, and the duty to be good to those kids is absolute.

Friday, February 23, 2007

He said so himself

"And there is distrust in Washington. I am surprised, frankly, at the amount of distrust that exists in this town. And I'm sorry it's the case, and I'll work hard to try to elevate it."
The self-proclaimed decider of our country, on National Public Radio


MIAMI TALES #2: Your Tired and Poor

While Chippie and I and our friends John and Joanne were at the beach, we decided one afternoon to take the bus down the line into Miami proper. It turned out to be more of an adventure than we had expected.

When we entered the bus, the seats toward the back were all filled. So we sat in the front side-facing seats which have warnings: "These are seats reserved for handicapped or senior citizens, Please vacate the seats when these passengers enter."

Sho 'nuff, we hadn't gone two stops before a hefty man wearing a medical mask got on the bus. He was pulling one of those little carts which you usually see oxygen tanks in, but it carried no tanks, just things that some people might call 'junk.' I stood and allowed him to sit down.

"Thank you very much," he said, "it's hard to have to go by bus, but that's the only way I can get around."

"No problem," I replied, "I'm happy to do it."

At the very next stop, a man with two military style duffle bags got on the bus. By this time, someone had left the seat across from the man with the mask, so the very thin new-comer sat there. He looked not at all well nor even very clean.

"You know," said Face Mask to me, "I'm a transplant patient so I have to wear this mask. My immune system is shot to hell with all these drugs." He explained that he was liable to catch colds and flu just from ordinary exposure to other people. Catching even a mild bug was apt to threaten his life. Duffle bag across the aisle listened attentively and tsked his tongue.

"I used to be a health inspector," said Face Mask. "You know, I saw some filthy kitchens in restaurants. We use-ta close 'em down just like that! But nothin' was worse than them hospitals. Every time I hafta go into one I start to vomit and get diarrhea."

"Hey! No one wants to listen to that shit," said Duffle Bag. "I just come out of the hospital in Tucson. I had a hernia operation and they screwed it up so I almost died. That's why I came to Florida. I get out in the sun and pretty soon I feel pretty good. Those goddamned doctors'll kill you."

"It ain't the doctors," said Face Mask, "it's the filth."

I am a good Christian and a patient, caring person, really I am. But at this point I wanted out of the conversation. A prickly discussion between two sickly types of uncertain mental soundness was turning into an argument, and so I retreated back further into the bus leaving our friend Joann to deal with them. It was a cowardly move on my part, but I told you I was patient, not brave. (Although I probably could have handled them both with my hands tied behind me.)

I am a believer in public transportation. But, there are good reasons why folks like the solitude of the private car.

Southwest U.S. Warned about Warming

Scientists warn global warming will intensify Southwest droughts

By Patrick O'Driscoll,
Updated 2/21/20075:51PM ET

DENVER — "The fast-growing states of the arid Southwest must plan for more severe droughts and make difficult water management choices — choices made even tougher by global warming, says a new scientific assessment of the Colorado River Basin.

"The report Wednesday by a National Research Council committee says agriculture, which comprises 80% of the West's water use, is the likeliest target for shifting use to urban needs in the fastest-growing region in the USA. But it cautions that "the availability of agricultural water is finite." It adds that rising population and water demands "will inevitably result in increasingly costly, controversial and unavoidable trade-off choices" in managing a shrinking resource."


desaparecidos* (the disappeared)

Well, Bush, I think this really means it's over.

Lithuania Mulling Iraq Troop Withdrawal

By Associated Press
Feb 21 2007

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Lithuania is "seriously considering" withdrawing its 53 troops from Iraq, a government spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Defense Ministry spokeswoman Ruta Apeitkyte told The Associated Press that the Baltic country was considering not replacing the contingent when its mission ends in August.

It was the first time that Lithuania, a staunch U.S. ally, indicated it would reduce its commitment in Iraq.

* Word commonly used in some Latin American countries for those who 'disappeared' after being arrested by the government. In this case, those who are disappearing from Iraq, thanks to the Bush disaster.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


"A float depicting U.S. President George W. Bush being spanked by the Statue Of Liberty passes by during the Rose Monday carnival parade in Mainz, western Germany, on Monday, Feb. 19, 2007. Thousands of spectators attended the traditional street carnival parade in the state of Rhineland-Palatinates's capital. (AP Photo/Bernd Kammerer)"


(via WTF is it now? AP, Yahoo)


Something worth reading, in my opinion. (Put this in the category of misplaced priorities.) We in the ARBORETUM may make fun of this stuff in our modest postings, but this gentleman has nailed it much better.)

Bob Herbert, "From Anna to Britney to Zawahiri
The New York Times




A friend sent me one of those snappy little e-mails that tells how to make a woman happy. There were 54 items on the list. It's my understanding that no single one of the items will suffice, that you need to accomplish all of them. In the thundering thickness of my addled and aging brain, I nevertheless can recognize that such a list is bound to offend some people, for example, all women!

(Actually, I know for a fact that at least one thing is missing from the list, but I won't bore you with that detail. To add to a list of insulting things would get me into some deep trouble with Chippie, and I'm always in shallow trouble, already.)

And then, yesterday, I received an email that offered a series of definitions for the letters PMS. They include things like "Pass My Shotgun" and "Psychotic Mood Swings." Talk about playing with fire.

I believe I've fundamentally outgrown the tendency to see myself as part of a gender battle, although those of us of a certain age were raised with that concept. I understand there are lots of people in the next generation who are wiser than I am about this, men who do not stereotype women with PMS, or consider themselves generically at odds.

But I also hear plenty of comments from younger men on the subject, sitting around the bars I frequent. There is some hostility out there.

Women aren't all innocent, either. I get those emails, too, which are offensive to men. I'm actually pleased when I hear women say things like, "Men are always..." or, "Why do men ....?" It helps excuse my past sins.

It could be, that to some extent, these things are a matter of style and class, and not generational at all. Sort of like the difference I've noticed in the way younger people approach writing --- and the words they use. Yep! It's not a lack of communication, it's a difference in approach and usage. So we learn from each other.

Still, I do admit that when I get some really noxious example of male chauvinism through the portal of this computer, I usually pass it on to my good friend Marsha in Carolina because it will annoy her. How's that for fostering friendship? But, I think she understands the game and accepts it. If I show such stuff to Chippie, she clucks her tongue and hits me.

This all reminds me of H.L. Mencken's observation:

Husbands never become good; they merely become proficient.

Um, is that a no-no? I'll have to ask Marsha.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

how to smarten up a chump

You may find this commentary on "science fights back" interesting and truthful, as I did. For one thing, it quotes a Michigan State professor. For another, it suggests a good way to combat the creationist take-over of school boards. Run against them.


There is a shortage of people in this country who can think intelligently about evolution. We need more of those people on school boards.

Could one of them be you?



THERE is a good discussion going on below under the posting "Last Drink At the Cafe Pt. II: This CAFE sucks." This was prompted by a posting from Jim on OIL IS FOR SISSIES, and also for the fine essay written by Scot.

Join in.



The Environmental Protection Agency, which under the Bush government protects business before it protects the environment (this is a matter of public policy for the Bush government, not just a hysterical claim from some Democrats), has made an edict that allows some cement companies to emit illegal levels of mercury pollution. Ah, can it be illegal you ask, if the EPA has set the standards? Oh yes, the EPA often acts counter to the law.

Now Michigan is suing the bastards. Along with Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,Connecticut,and Delaware, our state has filed suit against the EPA. The EPA rules set stricter standards for new operations than for old ones, and this is contrary to the Environment Protection Act, say the plaintiffs. All the mercury pollution should be curbed.




Loons are in trouble. They tend to avoid places where people are making noise and using the waterways. Like many species, their habitat is threatened.

Now there has been a strange die-off of loons in New Hampshire.


By Brian Early

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (Reuters) - Scientists are struggling to explain the rare death of 17 loons in New Hampshire, saying warm weather may have confused the threatened species of bird which typically heads to the ocean for winter.

Twenty-two male and female Great Northern Divers, known as Common Loons, were found on Saturday and Sunday on Lake Winnipesaukee, many them covered in snow from wind gusts with their heads tucked into their wings to keep warm.

Biologists are unclear why the loons congregated on the ice deep in New Hampshire when they normally migrate to open water such as the ocean in winter. The five that survived were transported to the ocean and released.




Tuesday, February 20, 2007



Who is this smiling gent?
And what is his claim (literally) to fame?


As my faithful readers know, I went to Miami mostly to establish a claim to paternity. While there, I also brushed elbows, and other body parts, with some of the beautiful people who have more money and entrepreneurial sense than they seem to have brains. But cool bodies make up for a lot of dim-wittedness, and I admit I saw quite a few of the bodies.

Being the true father of Anna Nicole's baby, I wanted to get my DNA on record with the court there in Hollywood, Fla., a wholly owned subsidiary of Miami. You know, courts from the Bahamas to California to Florida are fighting over the body and the baby.

As I stood in line with a big crowd of paternity pretenders, who unlike me, have no chance at all, I had a very fascinating conversation with some of them about the intensity of our interest in the welfare of the child (whose name some of us -- like me -- could actually remember!) and of the multi-million dollar inheritance. Among other things. I keep reiterating that my interest was in the proper rearing of the baby, which I believe is a little girl, and not in the filthy money, which when I inherit it, I will give away to a charity of my choice; well, most of it. Some I will use to treat my very best friends. And perhaps a few odds and ends for me, like a home in the Bahamas.

[And let me also dispel a rumor which I know many of you have foolishly believed. Those jugs are real! Would I lie?]

While I was in Miami, I got to know and brown nose many other great and famous people, people of enormous accomplishment and intelligence. People like Mike Tyson and Wayne Gretsky and Matt Damon, all of whom were in town for one reason or another. As we sat poolside enjoying some gin Rickeys, we traded stories about our rise to fame --- well, all right, their rise to fame.

"Pharedsnottengummy," said Tyson as he spat out the nipple he'd chewed off the bargirl. Mike is not always easy to understand, you know. Not as articulate as some of us who have been hit less often and can remember learning how to read. But, man-oh-man can he tell a joke. He told one about a missionary, a chicken and a can of axle grease, that cut us all up.

Anyway, conversation eventually turned to Britney. At first, Gretsky mistook the conversation as being about him, but I told him not all conversations about quick scores are about hockey stars.

Ah, Britney, a bright and shiny bauble amidst the hardened core of the jaded and abused ladies who comprise most of the music world. After our gentle lovemaking session, that continued well into the early hours, I said to her, "Britney, honey. I think you need a haircut." Here we have an example of a body which makes up for a lack of brains. She flew off to California and whacked off her hair. Damn! This is a mistake that new lovers often make. They go to extremes. What will she shave next? Hmm

However, to return to my main point. After looking at my DNA under a microscope, or maybe it was the bottom of a shot glass, they told me I have a very good chance of being declared one of the fathers. When I passed this news on to my new friends at the pool, Matt Damon said, "Cool, dude," and Mike said, "Glustsengutz, bro."


Old Chip is back from vacation in Miami with lots of interesting stories.

Well, come to think of it, "interesting" may be in the mind of the beholder. In Chip's mind, some pretty bizarre things are interesting, but you may be more conventional. Alas, for you.


And I must tell you that I am still having troubles with "blogger" **** I have no doubt that this is my own failing, not theirs, as they are wise and intelligent computer nerds while I am mere intellectual residue, the sort that Bill Gates would scrape off his shoe and deposit over the cliff from the window of the 800 billion dollar house he lives in.


I have not seen ARBORETUM for 8 days and would like to say I very much appreciate the postings on CAFE standards that SCOTSW did and also the comments by Anonymous Marty and Jim. I have been to the mountaintop and seen the other side of the automotive excess world. It's a valley filled with gas-guzzling monstrosities sitting in traffic jams -- way beyond my former understanding of it. There was also that flotilla of giant mechanized icebergs they call "Yachts" which were not only amazing but shocking. Miami is a petrochemical sinkhole, but my word, it is warm and mainly beautiful.

I'm feeling less much guilty about my own auto-petro use. Hate to admit it. You are I are pikers compared to some of the human energy suckers out there.

I thought Scot did some mighty fine writing and I especially appreciated this:

People have talked about the holy grail of a 100 MPG car. Frankly, who cares? The low-hanging fruit here are the huge bus-sized battering rams that people are driving around with the hand that isn't holding their cell-phone. We should be finding ways to put hybrids in the big SUVs, not in the already-frugal econo-boxes. That's where the gas savings are.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Last drink at the CAFE, pt. II: This CAFE sucks

CAFE stands for "Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency". In short, it means that the models of vehicles an automaker offers have to AVERAGE a certain number of miles per gallon. There are separate classes for cars-based and truck-based vehicles -- truck standards are lower. So if you have a pretty-big "crossover" you'd like to sell, make sure it meets the definition of a "truck" and life is a lot easier. This is a fact which many have pointed to for abetting the death of the big car and the outrageous popularity of SUVs until the last few years. Some lawmakers are talking about eliminating this distinction, which seems like a good idea to me. I think anything you can drive without a commercial license should be lumped into one pool.

I don't comprehend all the ins and outs of the law, but one key is that it doesn't matter exactly HOW MANY of each model you sell -- you could sell a few ultra-efficient Model 1s and a million gas-guzzling Model 2s, and as long the average of those two numbers is over the CAFE standard, you're golden.

Warning: Math ahead (but it's easy)

The fundamental flaw with "miles per gallon" as a measuring stick is that it looks like a linear measurement, but it's really an exponential measurement of gasoline usage. Instead of asking how many miles per gallon a car gets, ask how many gallons it requires to go 100 miles, and you'll have a much better idea of what it will take to keep that sucker running. As a simplified example, let's start by considering a hypothetical 16-cylinder muscle car that gets 5 MPG. It would take you 20 gallons to drive from Ann Arbor to Flint, MI.

5 MPG x 20 gallons = 100 miles

Ouch -- that cruise will set you back 60 bucks. Next, let's take a big SUV that gets 10 MPG:

10 MPG x 10gallons = 100 miles.
(100% improvement in MPG)

Okay, so this vehicle took 10 gallons to get you to grandma's house, and that would run you about 30 bucks. But you saved 10 gallons of gas -- that's 30 bucks cheaper than the hot rod, and you've only done half as much damage to the planet. Let's compare that to a small pickup that gets twice as many MPGs, and therefore uses half as much fuel:

20 MPG x 5 gallons = 100 miles.
(100% improvement in MPG)

As you'd expect, it's half as expensive -- about 15 bucks at today's 3$/gallon gas prices -- to drive this vehicle. But take a look -- Even though this looks like a much bigger jump in MPG than going from a 600 hp hot rod to a behemoth SUV, you've only saved HALF the gasoline. This 10 MPG upgrade saved you 5 gallons, and $15. Over the life of the vehicle, upgrading from a big SUV to a small truck is like taking another 20 MPG truck off the road forever! What if we went for something mid-sized?

30 MPG x 3.3 gallons = 100 miles
(50% improvement in MPG)

OK, This 10 MPG upgrade saved you 1.7 gallons of gasoline, or just 5 bucks at the pump on a trip to Grandma's. That's still a combo meal at Wendy's, but you're not feeling as brilliant as when you sold that titanic SUV to get your little pickup truck. With savings like that, why consider the extra expense of a little hybrid?

40 MPG x 2.5 gallons = 100 miles
(33% improvement in MPG)

So what? You would save a measly .8 gallons of gasoline on this trip, and while driving a high-tech car would make you feel good, that only saved you about $2.50, and doesn't make all that much difference to the planet, compared to a midsize sedan. At this point, you're really not using all that much gas. In our example, if six people upgraded from mid-size cars to hybrids, that still wouldn't save as much gasoline (4.8 gallons) as ONE person upgrading from a 10 MPG to a 20 MPG vehicle (5 gallons).

If you're buying relatively fuel-efficient cars, there's just not that much gasoline to be saved, and thus, not that much money to save. Consider this another way. How much is a 10% improvement in mileage worth to the driver of a 10 MPG SUV? That's 1 MPG, and on a 100-mile trip, that would save almost 1 gallon of gas, or just under $3. For the driver of a 40-MPG hybrid, that 10% jacks his mileage to 44 MPG, which sounds impressive. But he's only saved himself 1/4 of a gallon, or about $.75.

Yeah, it adds up -- but it adds up pretty slowly.

Now, look at this same situation through the eyes of an automaker. He's not worried about how much GAS you're using, he's worried about the MILEAGE number. In his CAFE equations, that 1/4 gallon of gas saved by the hybrid driver is worth MILLIONS because that's an extra 4 MPG in his pool of numbers to average out. But a 10% improvement in a dinosaur-sized SUV may only be worth 1 MPG, even though that represents almost a whole gallon of gas over 100 miles!

Still, slapping a hybrid motor in a tiny car to squeeze out 5 or 10 extra MPG enables that automaker to jack up the horsepower in several other (more profitable) vehicles, and still come out even on the CAFE standards. What a great shell game!

People have talked about the holy grail of a 100 MPG car. Frankly, who cares? The low-hanging fruit here are the huge bus-sized battering rams that people are driving around with the hand that isn't holding their cell-phone. We should be finding ways to put hybrids in the big SUVs, not in the already-frugal econo-boxes. That's where the gas savings are.

Last drink at the CAFE

In all the discussion about weaning the United States off of foreign oil -- and there are so many good reasons to do that -- it has become clear that our motor vehicles have got to be part of the solution. There's no way to avoid it -- they represent a very large chunk or our fossil-fuel consumption. So people are talking about jacking up CAFE standards, which in the absence of better ideas seems like a pretty reasonable approach. But what nobody talks about at all is scrapping CAFE and coming up with a new way to measure and regulate fuel efficiency.

So let's talk about it. I think it's time to drive a stake through the heart of this dinosaur of a regulatory system. What most people don't know, don't understand, or don't care about is that CAFE is a big shell game. There are so many ways to fudge the rules, and the mileage-based numbers are so misleading, that I think it's time to start over with a new system. We need a fuel-economy system that focuses on gasoline used, rather than miles driven.

Die-hard free-marketers ought to LOVE this idea -- it's absolutely loyal to the philosophy that better information flow makes for a more efficient market. My suggestion, I believe, unpacks the hidden deception of the current CAFE standards.

Over several future posts, I'll outline some of my ideas, in the hope that someone with a LOT more readers than I have will see these ideas and pass them along (with attribution, hopefully).

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Death: Tragic AND Untimely

It seems one can't have one without the other.
What genius coined this phrase? And why is it the catch phrase of all news channels.

When I die- I'll let you know... so that it's neither of the above. I'd appreciate the same consideration from any and all of you. :)

Because frankly, I simply can't be bothered.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A smart comment on Iraq

This comes to us from Gen. William E. Odom's recent Op-ed column in the Washington Post, "Victory Is Not an Option".

"For the moment, the collision of the public's clarity of mind, the president's relentless pursuit of defeat and Congress's anxiety has paralyzed us. We may be doomed to two more years of chasing the mirage of democracy in Iraq and possibly widening the war to Iran. But this is not inevitable. A Congress, or a president, prepared to quit the game of "who gets the blame" could begin to alter American strategy in ways that will vastly improve the prospects of a more stable Middle East... No task is more important to the well-being of the United States."

Saturday, February 10, 2007


OH DEAR! Where to start?

There have been so many crazies at work around the world this week, it's almost too much to handle!

Of course, you all think that we will be declaring the Astro-naughty, Lisa M. Nowak (the astronaut caught in a love triangle and now accused of trying to kill another woman) to be Wacko-of-the-Week. It seems no one could be more deserving nor worked harder to achieve the award.

In fact, if you deconstruct her name you find "L.M.N. IS A WAKO" right in it!

TA-DA! A wacko, Ipso Facto! Case closed? Right?
Well, not quite yet.

She is not the only Wacko running loose this week.

What about the guy who stripped and masturbated in a ski Gondola in Vermont? When arrested he was found to be carrying illegal drugs. His comment, "Oh, damn, more trouble!" He was going uphuill at the time, but now his life seems to be going downhill.



Then there is the Canadian man who has been hassling the authorities for 3 years to remove a stump in Lake St. Clair because it's a danger to lake users. You guessed it, he ran into it with his snowmobile and killed himself. Now, that's hard to believe on several levels.



Or the Optician in Toronto who attacked a TV reporter looking into claims that he was hot-headed and didn't honor services to clients who disagreed with him.


AND THERE ARE OTHER CHOICES: We haven't even mentioned that Iranian fool, Ahminadinajahdwhatsis, who threatened George Bush with 'nuc-cu-lar' war if we even looked crooked at him. Threaten Bush with nukes? You shouldn't tug on Superman's cape or mess around with LeRoy Brown.

It was a good week for nuts like us Arboreans.
FINALLY: Here's our choice:


Walk, jog or bicycle across a New York street with an iPod plugged in your ears and you could get slapped with a $100 ticket under a new law proposed by a legislator from Brooklyn. State Sen. Carl Kruger's bill would also outlaw the use of cell phones, Blackberries, video games or other electronic devices when crossing the street.


Sen. Carl is a fighter against modernity. A Luddite! A stick-in-the-mud! A Don Quixote! Fie on the obstacles to progress like Senator Kruger. Call him Carl-the-"Freddie Kruger" -Wacko of the Week.


Two business notes:
Our blog. is hosted by "BLOGGER" which does not always work perfectly.

There has been a problem with posting things lately. In case we run into more problems, do not despair. The fact that something has not been posted on our blog doesn't mean that we aren't trying.

Old Chip will be absent for a week or so. He's going to Florida. Those of you who may think he may be going to Miami to file a brief in the case of his dead lover, Anna Nicole, are encouraged to think that. This is how heroes -- and legends -- are made!


Friday, February 09, 2007

Senator Carl drops Scotsw a friendly note

You may not be aware that I'm an intimate correspondent of Senator Carl Levin's. He writes me from time to time -- usually e-mail, because who has time to send hand-written correspondence anymore? -- and lets me know what's on his mind. I know he's writing particularly to me because each letter begins with a very proper invocation, thus:

Dear Mr. Woods:

Which is how these things are done among the well-bred. Anyhow, today's personal note regards Global Warming, a problem which Carl agrees is important -- very important. However, the good Senator is a careful man -- very careful -- when it comes to the economy. And so he writes to me:

"Climate change is a global problem, and it requires a global solution. The most important action that would tackle global warming is to create an effective and enforceable international treaty that binds all nations to reduce greenhouse gases, including developing countries such as China and India. Without actions to limit greenhouse gases worldwide, nothing we do in the United States will really matter...

I appreciate Carl's thoughtfulness on this. I mean, we're buds, so I don't want to sound too harsh. But how bloody dumb does Carl think we are? This pap may mollify the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, but it is, of course, nothing short of delusional.

This warming problem is Hard Reality. This issue is unlike terrorism or abortion or all the other political footballs which politicians in Washington are used to kicking around and recycling in each election. Global warming will have its effects regardless of what politicians say, regardless of blather about what's wise or not wise, regardless of posturing. New Orleans was not a joke, nor a fluke. That's how Hard Reality works.

In the first place, the 5% of the world's population which lives in the United States emits 25% of the world's greenhouse gases. So by definition, yes, even acting on our own, what we do in the United States WILL matter. In the second place, acting now puts us several steps ahead when the treaty comes into effect. We'll be that much further along in the development of technologies the rest of the world will want.

But third -- and this is the whole point -- WE HAVE NO RIGHT to continue to imperil the future of the world's poorest people. For the nefarious cruelty of this issue is that the people who have benefitted least from the activities which caused this pollution are the people who will pay most for our actions. There is a moral imperative that we act now. And I would say that people who have been paying attention have known this for a decade at least (thus the Kyoto treaty), so we're already very late in acting.

The arguments about India and China are also false. Auto suppliers and other manufacturers are already heading for India and China as fast as they can pull up stakes. Besides, those people have the same right we do to a good standard of living. When Americans can get their per-capita emissions down to the level of the Indians and Chinese, then we can start moralizing to them about how they need to act. Please.

But underlying all of this is the wrong-headed idea that this is an economic issue. I simply don't believe that's true. It's insulting to argue that a certain amount of avoidable cataclysm is acceptable to us, and use hypothetical economic calculations to justify our intransigence. We don't know what the future holds -- there may be recessions, depressions, wars, inventions, migrations, natural disasters -- too many variables to try to put a price tag on economic growth down the line.

While the specific effects of global warming aren't known -- and given the chaos of weather systems, are not even knowable -- the general picture is pretty clear: More famine, millions displaced, oceans rising at least a few feet, changing rainfall patterns, species extinguished, and ecosystems turned upside down. That's the Hard Reality, and it don't care about Gross Domestic Product. Try to put a price on that, O pointy heads.

So, no Carl, I don't agree. Everything we do will really matter. It is past time to act. And if a few more jobs go to India or China, so be it. We have bigger fish to fry.

Celeb deaths -- a contest.

Old Chip's recent posts about the passing of Frankie Laine (reverent) and Anna Nicole Smith (irreverent) got me thinking about the way we clean up a person's loose ends when they head to the hereafter.

For instance, the last paragraph of that Frankie Laine story went something like this:

"Laine's family said he would be remembered for the beautiful music he brought into the world, his wit and his sense of humour."

I'm sure that's all true, and that's probably about how Laine will be remembered. But that's not true for everyone. It sure would be great to read more obits which deal with a person's demise honestly. For example, for Anna Nicole Smith:

"Family members say Smith will be remembered for her classic beauty and flighty laughter, her Playboy modeling, for marrying and fucking to death an octogenarian billionaire, and most especially for her enormous breasts."

So we need to come up with other examples, and there are so many great candidates: Think Paul Rubens, Charles Manson or Tricky Dick Nixon. Please add and submit your own contributions in the comments section. Proper entries will be one sentence, and begin with the format: "____________ say ____________ will be remembered for ___________."

Please note, the hypothetically deceased need not actually be presently dead.


Fresh from the Outrage Machine

This is an outrage machine. It is used by journalists, political agitators, and religious convulsionists of various stripes. They place a little dab of bullshit under the machine and it pounds out a cow-pie of outrage. This can be flung hither and yon, smearing all over targets/people. In this way, something of very little significance can be converted into something that seems very outrageous. It is important that the outrage be manufactured rather than natural.

The fact is: The Speaker of the House needs safe transportation back to her district in California.

The manufactured outrage:

Pelosi wants a huge military jet to fly her and her friends around the country, like a flying Lincoln Bedroom. This will cost $300,000 one way.



Here in the Arboretum, the badgers and skunks have formed an Anna Nicole Smiff Autopsy Appreciation Club to await the coroner's findings. Mostly, they just wanna see the photos, but that's the sort of thing that fascinates skunks and gives badgers something useless to do.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Here's a duh-h-h-h moment:

Quotation from CNN news reporter Ed Lavandera, standing at an airline terminal window in Houston, waiting for the astro-naughty, Lisa Nowak, to walk out of a plane:

"Lots of people are crowding around. There seems to be a bizarre fascination with this case."

uh, yeah! Thanks to you!


Thank You to Bill from WNNCO for this new addition to our collection.
A tree hugger from Los Angeles bought a piece of land in the wilderness and on it was a huge tree. Thinking it would be a great observation point, she climbed the tree. A spotted owl startled her, and she ended up sliding down the tree and getting lots of splinters in her crotch.

She hurried to the doctor and explained her plight. The doctor, not sympathetic to her environmental and anti-hunting ideas, nevertheless promised to help.

He went away and left her sitting for hours. When he finally returned to her, she was very angry. "What took you so long?" she demanded.

"Well, he said, I had to get permits from the Environmental Protection Agency, The Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management in order to remove old-growth timber from a recreation area, and they turned me down!"


QUOTED from The Wilderness Society (Click)

"For Second Year in a Row, President’s Forest Service Budget Proposes Massive Sell off of Public Lands..."

WASHINGTON (February 5, 2007) – For the second consecutive year, the President’s Forest Service budget includes a proposal to sell off up to $800 million of National Forest lands (pg 177 of President's FY 2008 budget). A similar proposal announced last year met with strong and widespread opposition from hunters, anglers, locally-elected officials, businesses, governors, and both Democratic and Republican Members of Congress.


Dead at 93.

"Dan, can you see that big, green tree,
Where the water's runnin' free?
It's waitin' there for me and you?"

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Demonstrators in London hold a fake funeral. What are they pretending to bury?

a. the monarchy
b. Tony Blair
c. garbage from Canada
d. fish
e. the Iraq War
f. None of the above (go ahead, make a suggestion)


Thanks to those who contributed comments. You made me laugh.
The picture showed two people sitting in a very awkward position and wearing skates.

These were members of the Italian figure skating team who fell during their routine at a competition in Warsaw, Poland.


Last Fall, ARBORETUM had an item about the establishment of a National Park and Refuge on Vieques Island. CLICK HERE This is the island off Puerto Rico which the Navy had long used as a bombing range.

It is being restored to a natural wonderland.

Now there is a story from the Associated Press that the process of clearing away the remains of the bombs and other ordnance is proceeding much more slowly than expected:

"Cleaning the area has proved more difficult than expected, with much of the 14,500-acre site covered with tangled vegetation reaching 15 feet high. The Navy says up to 9,000 acres may contain munitions.

"Officials had expected to clear 400 acres in seven months, but it has taken almost a year-and-a-half to finish just 235 acres, said Daniel Rodriguez of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the cleanup."


Nevertheless, we (through the federal government) are helping to restore a piece of paradise for the wildlife --- and for our posterity.

WOODCHIP OF WISDOM (from Molly Ivins)

Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.”

-Molly Ivins

Monday, February 05, 2007


A NOTE FOR our southern friends.

It is cold here. In Mid Michigan, all the schools are closed because kids can't wait at bus stops or walk a half mile in -10 weather. The windchills are into the minus-30's. It's so cold, people are staying home from the mall.

It's so cold that the anti-science folks are saying clever things like, "And then they claim there's global warming. Haw!"

As it happens, we have been baby-sitting a malamute (as godparents, we hate to say "dog-sitting"), a malamute which owns our son, Steve. An Alaskan malamute is completely unaware that the temperature is below zero. The authorities say that malamutes are perfectly safe at 50 below. They can run halfway across the Yukon dragging a sled at that insignificant temp. When we sent him into the back yard, he will lie in a snowbank and take a half-hour snooze.

So we have been walking him. There is a park near here with fields and woods where this dog revels in the snow. He runs and rolls and dips his nose into the snow. He grabs mouthfuls of it. If we throw snow at him, he laughs.

Meanwhile, we bundle ourselves closer into our parkas and wonder what has become of the balance of nature, that he can be liberated and we can feel so entombed.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


MAYA ANGELOU'S tribue to Molly Ivens in the Washington Post




It is not news to any regular reader of this humble blog that we in the ARBORETUM are supportive of scientific methods and scientific investigation. This applies especially to matters of the environment and conservation. This is one great area of our disagreement with the current government in Washington, not that he/they give a damn what we think.

We are also supportive of America's scientific efforts in space. As Stephen Hawking has said, ultimately space will be the salvation of mankind, if mankind is to be saved. (read about here)

One journalistic commentator whose opinions I respect and whose writings I think interesting is Derrick Z. Jackson of the Boston Globe. Recently he discussed the difference between the attitudes of one Republican president, Eisenhower, and those of the current Republican decider, Mr. Bush.

CLICK FOR ARTICLE (registration may be required)

This is one paragraph:
[Berrien] Moore [of the National Academy of Sciences] said the least the Bush administration could do is restore the earth science budget to the levels of the Clinton administration. Just as frustrating to him is that even as the evidence piles up that humans cause global warming -- the Intergovenmental Panel on Climate Change releases major new data this week -- there is no White House proposal to cap fossil fuel emissions. Moore said it is "almost irresponsible" that the CEOs of 10 major corporations have called for caps on carbon dioxide emissions but Bush still has not.

There is a silly notion whirring through part of society that science must be made to serve some people's concept of Christianity. There are is another notion that science must be made to serve some people's idea of good business, and there is a third notion that science must be made to serve some people's political interests. It is apparent that our current White House occupant has all three of these attitudes.

These continue to be good reasons for jubilation when he finally exits, stage far right.