The rough weekend

I’ve been on call since 10 AM Friday morning.  Due to network issues, I missed a good deal of sleep that night because our overseas crew could not support the environment—so they paged me some five hours after I finished my first shift.  I then handled our architecture for another 18 hours before going off-line, only to find myself back at the helm a mere five hours later.

I missed my godson’s birthday party, an unexpected vexation that cursed me at the last minute.  My chores remain uncompleted.  I need to spend time with The Kids, but no such time is available.  Work on my novels requires attention.

Hell, I’ve not eaten lunch yet today.

The point is this: Despite what I planned to do, all I can offer under present circumstances will be a few tidbits here and there, perhaps a photo or two, perhaps some rummaging about the mental attic for a shiny bobble to distract your attention, but that’s it—if even that.

My apologies for this disruptive mayhem.

Open thread

If the research bears out as reliable and verifiable, this is very cool!  Part of theoretical physics (or, more specifically, quantum mechanics), something called the all-worlds or many-worlds theory (a.k.a. multiple histories), states that all possible events occur, each giving rise to its own universe and time line.  That is, for every possible outcome, divergent realities are created where those outcomes take place.  To wit (from the article):

Parallel universes really do exist, according to a mathematical discovery by Oxford scientists described by one expert as “one of the most important developments in the history of science”.

The parallel universe theory, first proposed in 1950 by the US physicist Hugh Everett, helps explain mysteries of quantum mechanics that have baffled scientists for decades, it is claimed.

In Everett’s “many worlds” universe, every time a new physical possibility is explored, the universe splits. Given a number of possible alternative outcomes, each one is played out – in its own universe.

A motorist who has a near miss, for instance, might feel relieved at his lucky escape. But in a parallel universe, another version of the same driver will have been killed. Yet another universe will see the motorist recover after treatment in hospital. The number of alternative scenarios is endless.

It is a bizarre idea which has been dismissed as fanciful by many experts. But the new research from Oxford shows that it offers a mathematical answer to quantum conundrums that cannot be dismissed lightly – and suggests that Dr Everett, who was a Phd student at Princeton University when he came up with the theory, was on the right track.

Read the rest of the article for a fantastic journey into scientific discovery, this one stabbing at the very heart of the universe’s nature as we assume it to be.  I realize it’s a bit complicated for novices in this arena, but still I think you can glean the gist of the finding from this exciting article.  I’ll be watching this closely.

Friday Ark #158 is boarding and already has a plethora of zoological goodies for your consumption.  Don’t miss it.

Extreme & Beautiful Weather.  Photos.  And the video at the end is very fascinating.  Need I say more?

I don’t wanna be a soldier

This is a paraphrased edition of song lyrics I have written in one of my journals from some twenty years ago.  While the song was contemporary Christian in nature, I’ve taken editorial liberty to modify it in such a way as to be applicable to present times.  Neither do I remember whose song it is nor claim to be the author.  Creative liberties aside, these thoughts are someone else’s while being my own.

see him in the barrio
in the inner city
surrounded in an alleyway
shot down dead for stealing money
see him on the reservation now
drunk on stinging water
trying hard to drown the memory
of his people’s slaughter
see him in the Nazi camps
a child at the gallows
offered as a sacrifice
his mother stabbed with sorrow
see him in El Salvador
raped and murdered at the roadside
we don’t even recognize our brother
and so we kill him again and again and again

I don’t wanna be a soldier
marching off to war
justified by a man-made cause
all in the name of some lord
and I won’t carry any banner
or step out proudly to the drum
or ravage others while I disagree
just to win and overcome
all in the name of some lord

but I am willing
and desire to be
a simple flute
made form a hollow reed
fashioned by the hand
of peace and kind
to play
for yours and mine
a haunting
universal melody
one that’s ringing out
the theme of peace
though I may be slapped
upon the cheek
I hope to love my enemy

[if you happen to recognize this and can provide the original author/singer/title, I’m more than willing to update this post to give due credit; circa 1985]

One in the hand

Consider this a quick smack upon the brow of Saturday’s journey to the family farm.

While there, we visited a neighbor (in the rural sense, meaning someone quite a distance away).  Her grandson has saved some local wildlife from certain doom (one having been found while “mowing the yard” and subsequently having been rescued).

Keep in mind the farm rests quite near the bayou.  That remains the single most important reason so much wildlife thrives in the area: the availability and accessibility of a major, natural, fresh water system.

Anyway, here’s what we found while helping out a local friend.


Three of these were rescued.  This one, I think, is a male (having seen its tail in detail, although I might be wrong).

The method I used to differentiate it from its two siblings doesn’t apply given the clarification on the species.  Its gender therefore remains a mystery.  But when you’re that cute, does it really matter?

No matter the similarities and regional occupancy, I believe this to be a western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta belli).

As Sven pointed out, this is actually a “hatchling river cooter (Pseudemys concinna).”  I don’t know how I missed that species while trying to identify the little rascal.


While East Texas is well outside its normal range (so far as I can tell), this tiny master of curiosity resembles only one species of this reptile.  The others (eastern, midland, and southern) all fail to describe its marvelous coloring and style.

It does resemble the western painted turtle.  But closer inspection and comparison with photos of the river cooter make clear Sven’s da man for knowing his reptiles.


That’s my hand it’s resting upon.  But resting doesn’t describe it, methinks, for this turtle spent the entire time in my grip by marching about looking for the best vantage point.  Each time it reached the edge of my skin, it stopped, lifted its head to look about, and consumed with minuscule eyes all that could be seen.


That one should give you a bit of scale.  Remember that’s my hand.  To call this creature petite would be to understate things, at least in human terms.

But curious?  Indeed!  I’d call it that with even the simplest of comparisons with the word.  All he wanted to do was get into position to look, to observe.


The fourth discovery, the one saved from the mower, was this three-toed box turtle (Terrapene carolina triunguis).

While I didn’t capture any presentable images other than this one, you need only look at the larger version of that picture to appreciate its size.  The largest picture shows the depth of what it’s eating.  That’s a piece of lettuce.  Look at the leaf’s thickness in comparison to the turtle’s head if you want to fully appreciate how small it was.

[Update] I modified a few bits based on Sven’s comments.  See, I only read the brochure but that didn’t make me an expert!  I’m always happy for someone to give the real answers if they have them.  And now you see why nature is a hobby and not a career; I’d be dirt poor!