We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, June 19. 2007
Outdoor people often tend to misunderestimate black bears and only fear Grizzlies. Bad bear story. Tragic indeed. Up here in the Massachusetts Berkshires, we have tons of Black Bears. I saw one two weeks ago running across the road.
Brand new pair of rollerskates. Update on Melanie and Donovan. Assistant Village Idiot
The Pres of Vietnam comes to call. Not a free country, but definitely capitalistically-inclined. Gateway
Free Scooter Libby! Hitchens. The entire story stinks, in my opinion. Not to defend perjury, which needs to be a crime but which is frequently not pursued as a crime. I must confess that I had to look up "nugatory." Cool word because it sounds so nugaty.
More Hitchins: Fine summary of the story of Jefferson and the Barbary Pirates. America's first encounter with pesky Moslems helped create our idea of the United States.
Recycling is bad for global warming. But since I don't care about global warming, should I begin recycling?
Church shopping in the 1980s. Right Wing Nation
Go to jail in Sweden if you say something unpleasant - if accurate - about Kosovar Albanians. Gates of Vienna. Aren't they drug dealers?
Getting serious about Key Lime Pie. We are always serious about Key Lime Pie. In fact, in season, you can buy fresh Key Limes up here - in the fancy stores.
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Funny you should picture a black bear today..
I spoke with my wife about an hour ago. She's in Montana tending to some land business. She told me to check out the Helena paer for this story....given that bears are now coming out of hybernation, a state where they lose considerable weight , this was one big griz.
Papa Bear: Massive grizzly a model citizen
By The Associated Press - 06/19/07
GREAT FALLS (AP) — State bear managers seeking to capture and collar female grizzly bears as part of a population count recently trapped a 7 foot, 6 inch male grizzly that weighed 750 pounds after a winter of hibernation.
Mike Madel, bear management specialist with the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said it took two scales and a hydraulic crane to weigh the 8-year-old bruin that had 3½-inch claws and a neck circumference of 4 feet.
‘‘This bear was just a beautiful bear,’’ Madel said.
Madel said the big male with the bronze head, golden back and dark chocolate legs could weigh as much as 900 pounds by the fall.
‘‘This is really a large male,’’ he said. In fact, it is the second-largest male grizzly ever recorded in the Northern Rockies Region, Madel said.
Madel captured the bear he dubbed ‘‘Big Daddy,’’ on May 24. He was trying to capture female grizzlies near Choteau to fit them with radio collars to track their movements and whether they have cubs.
‘‘We actually were trying to avoid males,’’ Madel said.
But he decided to put a radio collar on the bear to track its range.
Madel said he didn’t know the big bear even existed.
‘‘Here’s a bear that’s down on the Front, and he’s accustomed to moving in and around human activity, and he’s never caused a conflict before,’’ Madel said.
The average-sized male grizzly along the Rocky Mountain Front is 600 pounds, while females are around 300 to 325 pounds.
Madel, who has been managing bears on the Front for 24 years, wonders if the bear he trapped this spring was sired by the largest male grizzly ever recorded in the Northern Rockies: an 8-foot, 800-plus pound bruin trapped in 2003 in the Blackleaf Wildlife Management Area northwest of Choteau.
‘‘This bear,’’ he said, ‘‘looked very much like that bear.’’
Barbary Pirates. I remember those illustrations of Stephen Decatur in the Barbary Wars in books I read as kid. Now I'm revisiting the whole thing. Here are four of the best books I have found on this:
White Gold, The Extraordinary Story of Thomas Pellow and Islam's One Million White Slaves by Giles Milton: (kid ships out on a trading vessel to the Mediterranean, gets captured, spends 23 years in slavery) -
Breaking the Chains, The Royal Navy's War on White Slavery by Tom Pocock (from the Anglo-Dutch attack on Algiers in 1816, forcing the release of some 3,000 European slaves to the Greek wars of independence against the Ottomans and the Battle of Navarino in 1827 that crushed Ottoman naval power) -
Two more are "Victory in Tripoli" by Joshua E. London and "The Barbary Wars" by Frank Lambert, both focusing on the US campaigns.
You won't learn much you didn't already suspect to be true. But it does reinforce the fact that all that stuff denigrated by the PC crowd as Orientalist nonsense - well, of course it all happened. In spades.
What is most enlightening is how parasitical it was. Two famed Barbary pirate admirals (de Veenboer and Simon the Dancer) were renegade Dutchmen. Some Scot named Lyall was designing ships for Algiers. The Ottoman navy was full of French officers. All the know-how, all the guns, all the training came from the cultures of the victims.
Alexander had the same problem--the shock units in the armies of his Persian enemy were Greeks fighting for pay.
Ridley Scott has been working on a Tripoli feature film for several years. It is a pet project. William Demerest (sp?), who wrote The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven, has written the screenplay, and at first Russell Crowe was to star as William Eaton, but that has changed. As recently as last year both Scott and Demerest have stated Tripoli will get made. Scott has stated he greatly admires the American Marines who went in to fight the Barbary pirates.
The Pirate Coast by Richard Zachs is also an excellent recent book on the subject.
By the way Key Lime Pie is God's gift to desert. Thankfully I can get some real stuff in FL close by.
Thanks for the update on the bear situation:
oh S___! retirement is gonna be interesting
Have you read Patrick O'Brian's series (20 books) of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars? Aubrey/Maturin series - that's what his loyal fans call them. So excellent.
Interesting that the grizzly bears move to the very high alpine in high summer and can fatten up on cutworm moths (an agricultural pest).
"Every summer, many millions of army cutworm moths take flight from the Great Plains and fly up into the rugged mountains of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, said Mattson. "They turn into little fat bombs," Mattson said, feeding on the nectar of mountain flowers at
night, then taking refuge under rocks of nearby talus slopes. The moths are 50-75 percent fat, said Mattson, and a hungry bear can eat as many as 40,000 moths in a single day, for 20,000 calories."
"Ecology and bear use of alpine moth aggregations: Bear food habits research documented that bears in the Greater Glacier Ecosystem (GGE) feed on army cutworm moths. From entomological studies, it was known that these moths migrate in early summer from the Great Plains to spend the summer in the Rocky Mountains. In Glacier NP, army cutworm moths spend their days resting in the cool spaces between jumbled rocks in talus fields near the tops of some of Glacier's highest peaks. The moths emerge at night to feed on nearby flower nectar. Research on bear use of moths in the GGE and the alpine ecology of army cutworm moths estimated the nutritional importance of this diet item; during peak feeding periods when moths are abundant, bears eat approx. 40,000 moths/day which is equivalent to 20,000 kcal/day. This study also addressed moth densities in talus fields where bears feed......"
Phoenix: Sure have read some of them - not all, though.
JC Loophole: Looking forward to the film. And thanks for mentioning The Pirate Coast.
Thread coincidence: Speaking of Crowe and O'Brian, among the best 18th-century naval warfare films ever, "Master & Commander" from 2003.
I guess strictly-speaking, the depicted sea fight with the French was early 19th century. Tho the terms 18th and 19th bring to mind sail vs steam, and the film is about sailing ships--and how!
Actually, the Greeks (well, Lord Cochrane, fighting for the Greeks) introduced an early - maybe the very first - combat steamship, the "Karteria", a sidewheeler, in 1827. It could fire preheated, red-hot shot.
A nice movie, "Master and Commander."
yep--but the RN--and the USN--both are infamous for how slow they were to embrace new tech, back in those days. The first steam ironclad, the CSA's Virginia (AKA--wrongly--the Merrimac), won its first victory against a sailing warship little different from the ships of the Revolution nearly 100 years earlier.
It makes sense, ships of the line are such huge investments that dicey new ideas are not exactly welcome.
I loved the movie of "Master and Commander". The cinematography was breathtaking! The character of Stephen Maturin was off, but I'm not criticizing. He's such a complex, delightful character that it would have been impossible to capture him for one movie.
Another movie from a book that I loved was "Cold Mountain". Wow. The book knocked me out and knocked something off my Top Ten List, and then the movie was terrific. I always worry the movies will be disappointments, but in both these, I was not disappointed. In "Cold Mountain", the movie, it was clear half the audience had not read the book. When Inman was killed the whole theater cried. oh... :( I boo-hooed, too, and I knew what was going to happen.
Also, the love scene in the movie might be one of the hottest ever without showing a thing untoward. It kind of sucked you right into it.
I just pulled a 'Luther'. :}
Said what I was thinking without thinking.
Oh. :] (oops)
HA - My last poll for the evening and what do I find - my own self becoming... well.. not quite sure what. You're funny P. And right as well I suppose. Now let's see..hottest...untoward...yep.. time to rent that DVD again.
Another stupid story, a place where I did once work, a long lunch on Friday was called a "Luther Lunch". Leave early, come back late. It was quite the thing for a few years. On the morrow.
I did a Freudian thing. I said the love scene sucked you right into it. I'm thinking I could have said something less lubricious.
But it made me think of 'lube'.
ha ha... :)
I knew that... :-) I resisted down below though. You were right on your basic point anyway, I should think before I write.