Saturday, May 30

Not Eggsactly

This oak parasite looks like an egg at first sight. Put it in a nest with other like-spotted eggs and the deception is even greater. But closer inspection reveals the illusion.

What are you believing that you haven't really studied?

Wednesday, May 27

The Great Mystery Excavation

I've finally been able to see and take pictures of Angel's excavated archeological find. You can see the size and shape by the pictures. I don't see any nostril holes as you'd see in a bird beak, plus the four grooved length of the piece doesn't really look beak-like.

So any forensic help would be appreciated. The broken tip has been re-attached after these photos were taken, so it's a little crooked looking.

You can e-mail me at Thanks.

Saturday, May 23


Your daily diet of planetary existence is rife with decision-making. Think what you will, deny any affinity, argue blue blazes --- it is a truism of universal proportions: Your waking hours are a continuous string of choices. Sleeping --- now that's a different story.

Tuesday, May 19


"A dear friend of mine who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story: 'Rising early one morning,' he said, 'I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, moreover, that its race was well-nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over, when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength.' So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God. Well do I remember when the hounds of sin were after my soul, until, at last, I ran into the arms of Almighty God." -- A. C. DIXON 1854-1925

Wednesday, May 13

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Beware of eight year old snapshooter on the loose!

Angel wanted to take closeups of some toys she bought today, so I gave her a 30 second tutorial on how to set the camera for no flash and macro mode, and she started shooting. First indoors, then outside. Amazingly, a lot of her pictures looked like something I'd take. But after she's seen thousands of photos I've taken, I think she is a bit biased and trained in good composition techniques.

As God's creatures, we tend to imitate what we see --- for better or worse.

Thursday, May 7

Before Antibiotics

There was a time in San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles when NOT wearing a protective mask to prevent a spreading flu virus would cost you up to $100 or some time in jail.

Over 60,000 were infected just in California. The year? 1918. The cure? Lemonade.

Thanks to David Middlecamp's blog, The Vault, for these articles. And thank the Lord for modern medicine. As much as we have to complain about, medical technology isn't one of them.

Monday, May 4

Being Taxed To Death

One province in China is forcing their population to buy more cigarettes --- or else. If purchase quotas aren't met, fines equal to one month's pay will be levied, according to

"The edict, issued by officials in Hubei province in central China, threatens to fine officials who "fail to meet their targets" or are caught smoking rival brands manufactured in neighbouring provinces.

"Even local schools have been issued with a smoking quota for teachers, while one village was ordered to purchase 400 cartons of cigarettes a year for its officials, according to the local government's website."

Up to 10% of China's tax revenue is from cigarette sales. With the economy dropping, boosting cigarette sales will add to the government coffers.

The World Health Organization provides the following 2002 statistics:

* About 67% of men smoke, and 4% of women.
* Among youths, about a third of male teens smoke and nearly 8% of females.
* One of every three cigarettes consumed worldwide is smoked in China.
* Smoking will kill about a third of all young Chinese men alive (under 30 years).
* About 3,000 people die every day in China due to smoking.
* There are more than 300 million Chinese smokers - more than the entire US population. They consume an estimated 1.7 trillion cigarettes per year - or 3 million cigarettes every minute.
* China is the world's largest tobacco producer, accounting for about a quarter of the global tobacco leaf production.
* China used to be closed to tobacco multinationals. But in the last two decades, with the opening up of the Chinese economy, multinationals have been aggressively fighting for a piece of the Chinese market, seen as a "prize" market.
* In 1990, 68% of male physicians were smokers and 65% of teachers.
* Smoking contributes to four of the five leading causes of death in China today.
* In 1993, WHO estimated that while China gained $5 billion in tobacco taxes, the country lost $7.8 billion in productivity and additional health care costs.
* A study in Minhang district found smokers spent an average of 60% of their personal income and 17% of household income on cigarettes.
* In Hong Kong, tobacco companies spent an estimated $63 million on all forms or advertising and promotion in 1995.

ATTENTION: Be careful that you don't get trampled as thousands of American trial lawyers catch flights for this lawsuit haven on the other side of the world.