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csziggy

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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Leon County, Florida
Member since: Tue Feb 12, 2008, 09:18 PM
Number of posts: 16,256

Journal Archives

Murmuration of tree swallows in Florida

Apparently tree swallows have been swarming in Florida at various places - Sarasota in mid-December and now Ruskin since about the first of February. My sister and her husband are going to try to watch them tonight

Here are some videos that people have posted on YouTube:









(This guy has several videos of the swallows, so check his channel)

Chuprcabra or Texas Blue Dogs?

I've been sure that these things were mangy coyotes, but this seems to indicate there are other possibilities!

Texas Blue Dogs
Jon Downes travels to the Lone Star State to solve a canine cryptozoological mystery
By Jon Downes


The blue dog stuffed and mounted in Dr Phyllis Canion's fireplace

February 2012
FT280

My search for the blue dogs of Texas began in November 2004, when I visited a farm in Elmendorf, just south of San Antonio, where local rancher Devin McAnally had shot a hairless, blue-skinned canid in July that year (see FT199:48–49) (1). He took photographs of it to a local convenience store where one of the customers said that it looked just like “the chupacabra that her grandmother had told her about when she was a girl”.

Thus was born the legend of the Texas chupacabra. I took one look at the bones of the unfortunate creature and was convinced that it was nothing of the sort. Meanwhile, the Elmendorf beast was discussed widely across the Internet and dismissed as a coyote with mange. Well, I was pretty sure that this couldn’t possibly be the answer either, and over the next six years I studied the matter from afar and hoped that I would eventually get back to Texas to investigate in person.

In the spring of 2009 – thanks to the generosity of Richie and Naomi West – Corinna and I returned to Texas and became involved in the hunt for the blue dogs, as what started as a holiday became a full-scale investigation. Richie and Naomi had already visited Blanco, Texas, where another specimen was languishing in the deep freeze belonging to a local student taxidermist. He took a number of tissue samples, which were sent off for DNA analysis. The results have since come back from the Davis Labs, California: it was a coyote cross; although what it was crossed with proved impossible to isolate.

More with a good amount of factual information: http://www.forteantimes.com/features/fbi/6298/texas_blue_dogs.html

What Got Lost in the Debate About Birth Control

By Erika Christakis | February 20, 2012
With this hysteria at a fever pitch, it’s easy to forget a few simple truths. Taxpayers spend more than $11 billion each year (in 2001 dollars) on costs associated with unintended pregnancy. It’s a conservative figure that only includes public insurance costs and not the larger financial burden of bringing unwanted children into the world.

An estimated half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended according to an analysis by researchers at the Guttmacher Institute and published in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, and of those unplanned pregnancies, a further half end in abortion. That’s an awful lot of unwanted children and fetuses. By age 45, more than 40% of all American women will have had at least one abortion, a rate almost twice that of Western Europe. A comprehensive study by the World Health Organization confirmed that abortion rates in countries that prohibit or restrict legal abortion are no different than abortion rates in countries with liberal abortion laws; the only reliable way to reduce abortion is through the provision of affordable, accessible contraception. To cap off last week’s debate came the news that there has been a surge in births outside marriage, the fastest growth being among white women in their twenties with some college education. More than half of births to women under 30 now occur outside of marriage. Is this really a time to try to limit contraception? What about the reckoning of the reality of human lives?

People who cry moral indignation about government-mandated contraception coverage appear unwilling to concede that the exercise of their deeply held convictions might infringe on the rights of millions of people who are burdened by unplanned pregnancy or want to reduce abortion or would like to see their tax dollars committed to a different purpose.

Why should an employer’s right to reject birth-control coverage trump a society’s collective imperative to reduce unintended pregnancy? Should employers be allowed to withhold a polio vaccine or cataract surgery or safe working conditions on similar “moral” grounds?

Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2012/02/20/what-got-lost-in-the-debate-about-birth-control/?xid=gonewsedit#ixzz1mvSXxQru




Hassling T-Mobile for fun and frustration

For a long time I've been getting debt collection calls. Problem is, not one is looking for me. My phone is listed as A. E. Ziggy in the phone book and I keep getting calls for people whose first name begins with "A" and the last name of Ziggy. Andrew, Andreas, Anthony, Amanda, Abigail, etc.

Most of the time there is a human on the line that I can tell (1) they have the wrong number and no one by the name of A----- Ziggy lives here and (B) Don't call this number again. Sometimes, it's a robocall but when I call back the number I can reach a human and tell the (1) and (B). It's worked, those companies do not call me again.

T-Mobile? Nope, no humans involved. It's a robocall. If I make any of the choices in the menu, I eventually get to a place where I have to have a T-Mobile phone number or account number to get to a customer service representative. I've never been a T-Mobile customer, so that gets me no where.

I reported them to the Do Not Call list but I kept getting calls. I called the local T-Mobile sales place, tried every T-Mobile number I could find on the web, still get the calls. This has been going on for months.

So I put in a complaint with the state consumer agency and for good measure, the state Attorney General. I got a nice letter from the consumer agency with a copy of a letter from T-Mobile. The T-Mobile letter claimed they had removed my phone number from their accounts and notified their debt collectors to put it on their do not call list. The next day I got a robocall from a T-Mobile debt collector looking for Andrea Ziggy...

I had already written a letter to the consumer agency telling them that while I appreciated that MY number had been removed from T-Mobile's list, that did not solve the problem of other consumers having no way to tell T-Mobile that they have the wrong number and that T-Mobile should not call it again.

Tonight I got a call from a T-Mobile customer service person. She was trying to convince me that T-Mobile had done everything they could to make sure I was not called by their company again. Uh, lady, you JUST called me. According to her, my number has been on their do not call list since December and I should not get any calls from them. So who was it claiming to be calling from T-Mobile LAST WEEK?

I warned her in the first minute of the call that I was antagonistic to any one from T-Mobile. I was polite and did not use any curse words, but was not pleasant. I explained to her everything I wrote above.

At the end of our discussion, she asked what she could do to make me happy. I told her "Nothing. T-Mobile will never be able to make me happy with the company. I've never been a T-Mobile customer, will never be a T-Mobile customer, and will tell everyone I know, in person, in emails and over the internet that they should never be T-Mobile customers."

I did tell her that I might be satisfied if I don't receive a call from T-mobile or anyone representing them for at least two years. Or never.

My husband tells people I don't hold grudges - I nail them to the wall and throw darts at them.

Oh yeah - DO NOT do business with T-Mobile.

OK, maybe her son will redeem her - Bobby Deen on Not My Mamma's Meals

First episode I've watched, he tackled Paula Deen's infamous Krispy Kreme burger. I missed the calorie count on the original but here's his remake of it:

Monster Mushroom Burger

Ingredients

4 large portobello mushrooms caps, wiped cleaned
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 lime, zested and juiced

4 large slices whole-grain peasant bread, each cut in half
1 cup baby arugula
1 large tomato, cut into 8 slices
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted red pepper strips, drained

Directions
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Place the mushrooms in a baking dish or pie plate. Whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper until blended. Brush the mushrooms with the vinegar mixture; let stand for up to 15 minutes.

Place the mushrooms on the grill rack and grill until tender, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, rosemary and zest and juice of the lime in a small bowl until blended. Brush the bread slices with the yogurt mixture. Layer half the slices with the mushrooms, arugula, tomatoes, onions and red pepper strips. Top with the remaining bread slices. Serve immediately.

NUTRITION FACTS
NUTRITIONAL ANALYSIS PER SERVING
Calories: 202
Fat: 6 grams
Saturated Fat: 0.5 grams
Sodium: 541 milligrams
Carbs: 27 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Sugar: 6 grams
Protein: 12 grams

http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/bobby-deen/monster-mushroom-burger-recipe/index.html


If he can reformat her recipes like that it might be worth watching his show.

AlienGirl - Former Democratic state House candidate Shelly Leonard dies of cancer



Former Democratic state House candidate Shelly Leonard dies of cancer

By Mike Brassfield, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Wednesday, February 15, 2012

CLEARWATER — When she ran against incumbent state Rep. Ed Hooper in 2010, Shelly Leonard wasn't your typical candidate. She was a 37-year-old single mother and cancer survivor.

The feisty Democrat made her cancer history a part of her stump speech, talking about the need to make health insurance more accessible. More than 16,000 people voted for her in Clearwater-based House District 50. But nearly 24,000 voted to keep her opponent in office, so Leonard went back to her job as a social worker.

Last year, her oral cancer returned. On Saturday, she died due to complications from chemotherapy, just days before her 39th birthday. "She was fighting the cancer valiantly," said her friend and campaign treasurer, Van Farber. "She passed away peacefully, without pain, and surrounded by members of her immediate family."

<SNIP>

Celebration of Shelly Leonard's life

What: Dinner, live music and dancing

When: 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25

Where: Fort Harrison Hotel, 210 S Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater

Admission: A $35 check made out to the Neighborhood Coalition to Preserve the MLK Center

Information: (727) 729-6887

More: http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/elections/former-democratic-state-house-candidate-shelly-leonard-dies-of-cancer/1215436

Tallahassee Mayor gets Leon Co. Democratic committee in hot water

Democratic Leader Points to Tallahassee Mayor in Campaign Probe

A local Democratic leader says Tallahassee Mayor John Marks and his campaign chair Sean Pittman were involved in a questionable campaign contribution days before the August, 2010 primary.

Watch video at link for a part of the story: http://www.wctv.tv/home/headlines/Democratic_Leader_Points_to_Tallahassee_Mayor_in_Campaign_Probe_139061609.html?storySection=comments


What I understand of the story: Jon Ausman, Tallahassee' long time Democratic "leader" and DNC member was told to pick up a check for a contribution from Mark Herron, head of Alliance for a Better Government, to the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee just before the election for Tallahassee mayor. Then the LCDEC gets a bill from a local printing company for a flyer for Tallahassee mayor John Marks - the bill totaled exactly $250 less than the contribution check. The flyers stated they were "approved and paid for" by the LCDEC, but the LCDEC never approved them.

It is illegal in Florida for political parties to give contributions to a candidate less than five days before an election. The LCDEC is negotiating with the state Department of Elections to pay a fine of $500.

The problem I have with this situation is that Jon Ausman has been a political operative for decades. He knows how things work and I'm sure he knew that a check for an odd amount, $4675.66, was not an ordinary contribution. I also want to know who in the LCDEC cut the check to actually pay a bill for an expense that had not been approved by the committee. That person seems to be complicit in this mess.

Whining thread - I got good news and bad news about my knees

The good news is that I am discharged from physical therapy.

The bad news is that I am discharged because the PT is not going to help my worn out knees.

The physical therapist says that the motion and strength are good and gave me exercises to try to maintain, but he thinks that the sooner I check into knee replacement, the better. Since I am bone on bone, the damage will just get worse. If I put it off too long, replacement may be much more difficult.

The three questions he asked me is if the knee pain:
Keeps me from doing what I need to do?
Keeps me from doing what I want to do?
And keeps me from sleeping?
The answer to all of those has been YES for well over two years.

So I guess I need to call my orthopedic surgeon and talk to him. I want to see if they will replace both knees at the same time. I only want to go through this once, at least in this decade. But I'm worried about cost - our insurance will only cover 70%. I don't know how much the 30% will be and how I will cover it.

Getting old sucks.

Excuse my whining. I've been in denial and hoped that the therapy would help delay things. That he gave up after only three sessions is NOT a good sign.

A new arrival _GRAPHIC WARNING

Yesterday morning we had a new arrival here:



This was the first picture I managed to take that turned out. When I first saw him, he was still in the birth sack and his mamma had her back leg over the top of his barrel. I had to pull the sack AND mamma's leg off so he could breath.

Even with that set back, he stood and nurse very fast - within an hour! Within two hours he was already cantering around, keeping Mama moving.

Here he is today, dried off and steady on his feet:

The White Lions of the Timbavati

In the greater Kruger National Park area of South Africa, there is no story more legendary than that of the white lions of the Timbavati.

Discovered in the mid-70s these snow white felines are not albino as one might think but simply carry a recessive gene that causes their coats to be white. Amazingly enough, every white lion world wide is ancestrally related to the white lions of the Timbavati.


After mysteriously disappearing for many years they were spotted again in 2006. A great place to see these cats in the wild today is the Motswari Private Game Reserve. They are known as the "Xakubasa Pride", "basa" means "white" in Shangaan. Photographer and field guide Chad Cocking has captured some truly breathtaking images of these rare cats which can be seen below.

http://www.africam.com/wildlife/the_white_lions_timbavati_amazing_images




Pretty amazing animals and some nice pictures. In the article is a link to a blog with more pictures.
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