Slivers of Life

Here is an interesting artifact over on Slate:



The US banned the importation of Slaves in 1807, but they were still being bought and sold internally.  The Deep South needed raw labor in its fields, and many slaves from northern states were “Sold Down the River” to feed the industry.

A simple business document behind which lies a lifetime of anguish and torment.

Read the story here:




I picked this out of the news a few weeks ago and wanted to address it, but what with one thing and another, just couldn’t get in the right mind frame to lay it out.

This is a pretty hideous clip of an execution in Syria.  It horrified folks when it came out (with good reason) and due to the timing of it, while we publicly debate what involvement is appropriate for this country, it was fairly widely distributed.

The government forces gassing of children in Syria galvanized many in this country into self-righteous indignation and the public call for intervention on the behalf of the rebel forces.  No-one loves the underdog like the USA.

Not to denigrate the emotions dredged up by those heinous acts.  As a parent myself, I couldn’t bring myself to watch the various videos out there.  I can’t imagine living through that, and I myself feel the swell of self-righteous indignation too.  I want to strike back at the people who did that, I want to hurt them.

But then hard on the heels of those videos, comes one like this.  A summary execution by the rebels that we felt such a sudden kinship for after the gassing ordeal.

For anyone paying attention, it does sort of rip the bandaid off.

We want to believe in black and white.  We want to believe in right and wrong.  We want to believe in Good and Evil.  But those are silly, childish, conceits.

We are all of us capable of the full spectrum, and it is only our self-control; our adherence to the civilizing influences of society, culture, or religion, that keep us from descending into madness and purely animal behavior.

These influences are all over-run by war; trampled into dust, left in pieces in the treads of a tank, the rubble of a church, the shallow grave of a friend.

Sometimes War is necessary. Sometimes War has to be.

But don’t ever forget, there is no honor in war.  There is no dignity in war.  There is always atrocity in war.  For all involved.

Thus it ever was, and thus it ever shall be, for ever and ever, amen.

To continue on my current course of being depressing, thought I would post this little tidbit of info that I first ran across a while ago.

This is a timeline of what you do to yourself when you chug that soft drink.

As usual,  I always knew in my heart that if I loved something this much, there must certainly be something wrong with it (I’m not going to discuss any other things love, thank you).


  • In the first 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor, allowing you to keep it down.
  • 20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get its hands on into fat. (And there’s plenty of that at this particular moment.)
  • 40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dilate; your blood pressure rises; as a response, your liver dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked, preventing drowsiness.
  • 45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production, stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.
  • > 60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium, and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.
  • > 60 minutes: The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium, and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolytes, and water.

> 60 minutes: As the rave inside you dies down, you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like hydrating your system, or building strong bones and teeth.

You can read the full article, and several other helpful articles full of rotten news here:




It seems like it has been such a long time since my last post.

Looking back I was surprised to see that it has actually only been a couple of weeks, although it feels like a lifetime.

After 17 years of battling Ovarian Cancer, my mother finally succumbed last Sunday.

Since then a thousand jumbled thoughts have whirled around my mind.  Big thoughts, important thoughts, heavy thoughts.

So many times my fingers have sought the reassuring comfort of the polished keys, the beckoning cursor penetrating the fog like a lighthouse trying to guide me to safety.  But the words haven’t come, the thoughts refuse to close ranks and stand at attention, and all is chaos.

What I do know is this: The currents of my life have changed their course.  Glassy swells give notice of unknown forms gliding through the oily depths, too deep for my reckoning.  I see a course to set, but there is no destination, no arrival date, and no indication of what may lie along the path.

In the interim though, I have to write.  Silly, funny, serious, dumb, annoying or boring; the thing is to write.

Cover of "The Oxford English Dictionary (...

Cover via Amazon

Here is an interesting little tidbit for all you word junkies and lexicographers.

Those of you who don’t suffer from either of these particular illnesses;

  1. Consider yourself lucky.
  2. This will probably strike you as the opposite of interesting.

This Page:

has a scrollable PDF of the longest definition in the Oxford English Dictionary – all 221 pages of it.

60,000 words to be pedantic, and it is almost impossible to avoid being pedantic when discussing the OED.

And what is that word, you may ask, brain abuzz with esoteric rarities that survive solely in the speech of pasty-complected Middle-English Professors with elbow patches and bulgy eyes?

Well, The Most Complex Word in the English Language is …..


yep, that’s it; set.

And what’s more, in all those 60,000 words, I think they missed the usage that I heard the most often during my childhood.

And that would be:

When the number of fleas chewing on your bluetick hound Zeke reach critical mass and he starts to scratch with such ferocity that the front porch is in danger of detaching from the house, the correct response is to bellow “Set!” in a fine mist of beer and chewing tobacco as loudly as possible.

I think they missed that one, but truthfully I am not quite sure, cause try as I might, I just couldn’t read all those 60,000 words.  The first few thousand are worth a peep though.

D words.

D words. (Photo credit: canonsnapper)


Love this cartoon.  It is not actually Bill Watterson, but a young fella who has taken up the cause and run with it.  He draws a pretty great Calvin and Hobbes, and has embraced the ethos that goes along with it.

In case you don’t know much about C & H’s creator and his approach to life, art, ambition, money, and happiness, then you should read this:

Click on the comic below to enlarge it, I can’t figure out how to do it (but I’m happy doing my own work.)






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